It’s time for the second of our three honours which comprise the Ringbelles 2012 Year End Awards, and that brings us to the Breakout Star of the Year. While we define the Discovery category as someone who caught our attention and made us believe that great things are in that wrestler’s future, the Breakout Star award is for those wrestlers who have gone from being another name in another match to someone who has become a genuine player, breaking through that proverbial glass ceiling to being a must-have selection for promoters, and someone who fans are now going out of their way to see, learn more about and follow.
As was mentioned in yesterday’s Roundup, the Breakout Star category saw the biggest field of potential winners, with fifteen women in contention for the award. Names on the list included Hiroyo Matsumoto, who challenged for numerous championships in Japan and earned another crack at the SHIMMER title on volume 51; Courtney Rush, who was part of the brilliant Queens Of Winning storyline and has been part of higher profile matches in 2012, showing how well regarded she is and how you can rely on her to put on an entertaining contest; Athena, who won the Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens and had big outings against the likes of Ray, Mercedes Martinez and Ayako Hamada, as well as challenging for both the SHIMMER and nCw Femmes Fatales International championships; Evie, who in the space of seven days in August won two of the most high-profile titles in Australasia and fought some staggeringly hard-hitting matches along the way; and Nikki Storm, who blossomed over the year from an entertaining prospect for the future into a consistently entertaining performer and the Pro Wrestling: EVE Champion – albeit for only a matter of minutes.
Three of the aforementioned names came within a gnat’s whisker of winning this award. However, we elected to give it to a woman whose rise over 2012 came to be because of an errant kick which caused her nose to explode…
The match between Mia Yim and Allysin Kay at Absolute Intense Wrestling‘s Girls Night Out 5 show on January 29 was not really designed to turn into a feud. However, with one shot from Yim which broke Kay’s nose in three places, things changed. From there, a rematch was booked between the two at the following GNO show which was meant to determine the number one contender for the promotion’s Women’s Championship – but due to a twist of fate which saw Mickie Knuckles forfeit the title due to falling pregnant, their match then became for the vacant pink belt, and saw the then-24-year old win the championship in a heated unsanctioned, fans bring the weapons affair. At the time, I noted that “Kay is a big deal and someone to watch” – and she lived up to that assertion.
In August at Girls Night Out 7, the pair fought again with the title on the line in a steel cage match, which upped the ante from the previous crazy match and featured the jaw-dropping ending of the champion getting the win with a hanging gogoplata off the side of the cage which was both terrifying and amazing to see. And bear in mind, these matches came about because of an accidental broken nose. As SHIMMER promoter Dave Prazak points out on the next Women Of Wrestling Podcast (coming on Saturday):
The best thing that happened to Allysin Kay was her getting her nose broken… and that was a fluke thing… [AIW] ran with it, and Mia Yim and Allysin Kay ran with it, and they got a series of matches out of it – that did a lot in establishing Allysin Kay… she is THE pushed female wrestler in that promotion right now.
To highlight Prazak’s point, as well as the wins over Yim, Kay has also successfully defended the belt against Jennifer Blake, Crazy Mary Dobson and KC Warfield. She is steamrollering the competition, and raising her own profile – as well as the belt which she wears – in the process.
However, the Detroit native has excelled in other promotions, both new and familiar. For example, at the start of the year, she competed against Sara Del Rey in the opening round of 2CW‘s Girls Grand Prix – and even though she fell to the Queen of Wrestling, the contest was the match of the night. More recently, she debuted on Ring Of Honor‘s TV show, losing to ROH veteran MsChif.
Meanwhile, her association with Sassy Stephie and Jessicka Havok in the Midwest Militia paid dividends back in March when she and Stephie won the Women Superstars Uncensored Tag Team Championship from Luscious Latasha & Jana, and successfully defended them against the former champs as well as against Brittney Savage & Alicia, and beat Kimber Lee and Annie Social in a non-title affair. The Militia also ventured north of the border as a triumvirate to debut in Femmes Fatales, defeating the Canadian threesome of Courtney Rush, Cat Power and Xandra Bale.
WSU promoter Drew Cordiero recognised her ability, and sang her praises during the upcoming WOW Podcast:
She’s one of those competitors who can get it done in the ring no matter who’s standing across from her, just from her striking to her presence. She’s a standout competitor for sure.
So Kay’s association with her friends from the central portion of the United States was reaping rewards and seeing her go to new places, but she also managed to excel as part of a second team – one which opened up even more doors.
Teaming with Taylor Made to form Made In Sin on the inaugural SHINE iPPV was a curious choice, but both went for it with gusto, forming the excellent Made In Sin team, bringing April Hunter into the fold as the hired muscle and evolving into one of the most entertaining tandems in women’s wrestling in the western world. Touches like doing their damnedest to dress similarly in order to present themselves as a team and the “pinkies up” gimmick – claiming that they are classy when anything could be further from the truth – have seen them enjoy an unbeaten run in Florida’s new promotion, and has established them as a great pair to watch.
On top of that, Kay has flourished in the team, assuming the role of captain and keeping some of their matches together when there were signs of them losing their way. In addition, her partnership and chemistry with Taylor saw the lady from Las Vegas enjoy a resurgence in fortunes – before, she was a wrestler lacking some direction, and didn’t really click as a babyface. In her team with Allysin, Taylor Made has found her groove as the sneery, slimy bad girl. Who knows where Taylor Made would have been now if it wasn’t for Made In Sin. As it turns out, she knew where she would be in late October – back in the SHIMMER fold, along with Kay, who moved from wrestling SPARKLE pre-show matches a year before to being one of the most anticipated debuts of the volumes 49-52 tapings…
Made In Sin came out of the blocks, beating Veda Scott and Shazza McKenzie on volume 49, but lost on volumes 51 and 52 – however, Kay got to spend some time in the ring with Kana as part of the loss to she and LuFisto, which an opportunity that she would have been unlikely to have enjoyed anywhere in North America. Despite the 1-2 record for the weekend, Allysin made sure that she was someone who was not just there to make up the numbers, and made sure she was someone who will deliver in the ring, and can even generate a reaction when she is standing on the apron waiting for a tag.
The irony is that Allysin Kay never though of herself as a tag team wrestler, even though she is so good at it. During our interview with her on episode 44 of the WOW Podcast, she said: “I have always enjoyed tag team wrestling, I’ve always been a huge fan of tag team wrestling, I just never physically did it myself, and it’s like learning a whole new world.”
However, we don’t just want to quote things that she has said in the past – so we got in touch with Kay to ask for some thoughts on how she feels her 2012 has gone, and she was more than happy to oblige:
There is an infinite abundance of people that say “This will be my year!” Then there are the few select people that say nothing and MAKE it their year. I think now it’s safe to say that I’ve made 2012 my bitch.
I started this year off with my nose being shattered, and ended it wrestling on ROH TV. Not to mention winning (and retaining) two championships, and all the promotions where I’ve had the opportunity to showcase my talent in between. I can honestly say I’ve hit every goal I set for myself at the end of last year, and now it’s time to set new ones for 2013. I won’t get into the specifics just yet, but I will say I’ve definitely set a much higher standard for myself. And if you’ve been paying attention at all this year, you know damn well I don’t take “no” for an answer.
No doubt, Allysin is at the high point of her career (a rise which was well on the way by the end of June when we covered her progress in the first six months of the year), though don’t think of a moment that she has peaked. Judging from what she says above, she has big plans to take next year by the balls. It’s going to be a tall order for her to top the success which she has enjoyed this year where she has worked in the three most established all-women promotions on the continent and has featured in almost all of the main women’s divisions in the US, but be honest – would you bet against her? We certainly wouldn’t, and that’s why Allysin Kay is our Breakout Star of the Year for 2012.
– Lee Burton