On Sunday, TNA records an all-female version of the One Night Only pay-per-views which it is using to run in the months when it’s not presenting one of its big PPVs like Genesis, Lockdown, Slammiversary or Bound For Glory. Entitled Knockout Knockdown, it is advertised as a show to determine the true Queen of TNA. It is possible that the show will be a tournament if it is going to determine an overall winner, and to make it an occasion, TNA invited former members of the Knockouts roster to be part of it.
It probably didn’t go as well as they had hoped.
When asked on Twitter, Angelina Love, Nikki Roxx (Roxxi), Traci Brooks & Amazing Kong (Awesome Kong) all revealed that they were not going to be part of the proceedings and Dark Angel (Sarita) is also unavailable as she is in Japan. Considering the impression that each of them made to the division and the contributions that they made, for them to decline or not be in the country speaks volumes about what they may feel about TNA these days.
Traci Brooks is one of the earliest Knockouts, debuting in the promotion less than a year after TNA started, while Angelina Love was part of the promotion’s hottest stable at the time in the Beautiful People – which means that a big-time reunion with Velvet Sky is out of the question – and Kong was half of the first all-women main event on Impact, and had a series of scorchers with Gail Kim, helping to establish the division as the place to be for a female wrestler at the time.
None of the women who’ve said that they aren’t going to be there left on the best of circumstances. Love has made it clear since leaving last July that she is happy managing her own dates and is not looking to return to TNA at the point. Roxx’s second stint with the promotion (the first ended with her being released while serving a suspension) came to end with a couple of hours notice when her title challenge against Madison Rayne at Slammiversary VIII in 2010 was given the added stip during the PPV that if she lost, she would leave TNA. She lost, and was sent packing without any real time to get used to the idea.
A month shy of her seven year anniversary with the promotion, Brooks was let go after a long period of nothing happening for her, which seemed like a flimsy way to go out after such a long stint. She returned about a year later, wrestling more regularly than in the past but was merely making up the numbers and saw her released last April after a huge amount of time of inactivity.
And there’s Kong, who left in early 2010 following an altercation with Bubba The Love Sponge in January and being sent home from the Impact tapings, leading to her filing a lawsuit against him. It was a volatile situation, and it is surprising that TNA extended the offer to her, though it is not surprising that she turned them down.
If it were to be an eight-woman tournament, Knockout Knockdown should not need to bring in anyone from the past. Gail Kim, Madison Rayne, Mickie James, Brooke Tessmacher, ODB, Tara, Taryn Terrell and Velvet Sky would be enough, and if you wanted to intersperse tournament matches with others, TNA has a number of women in its developmental system who could be called on like Taeler Hendrix, Hannah and Holly Blossom and Lei’D Tapa to fill in the gaps. Were the PPV meant to be a celebration of the promotion’s women from the past, present and future, it’s still possible that other women from its history could be there such as Cheerleader Melissa (Alissa Flash), Taylor Wilde and Katarina Leigh (Winter).
However, some of the ones who will be absent may have had their opinions swung with more money on the table. After all, this is a business, and all of the women have bills to pay. Perhaps the monetary offer was too low, or perhaps it goes deeper than that. Could it be down to principles?
As covered earlier, the aforementioned four left under acrimonious circumstances, and have years of experience under their belt, and don’t have to take every job offer under the sun. Unlike other wrestlers who would love for the exposure which TNA can offer, there are some that have been there, done that, and may have removed the rose-tinted glasses.
I’m not saying that any of these scenarios are true – it’s pure speculation – but there has to be some reason why they aren’t keen for being part of Sunday’s show. Perhaps the answer lies below in TNA’s section of the Best of the Rest.
As mentioned last week, Mae Young turns 90 years old today. WWE marked the occasion on last week’s Old School Raw – which, when you consider that Paul Bearer passed last week, was an unknowingly prudent move. However, it’s worth writing a short biography about this remarkable woman who is still working very occasionally to this day, is still not officially retired as far as her wrestling career is concerned, and is still looking forward to lacing up the boots in a decade’s time when she turns 100…
Depending on who you believe, Mae Young made her debut either in 1939 or 1941 – records aren’t that clear from back then, as you would imagine. Either way, Mae Young debuted before or around the time that the attack on Pearl Harbor happened. Think about that – she was tying up other wrestlers before the atomic bomb existed. In fact, on the day of the attack on December 7, 1941, she was wrestling Memphis, TN.
Born on March 12, 1923 as the youngest of eight children, Johnnie Mae Young was one of the most recognisable female wrestlers in the 1940s, and opened doors for other women who were plying their trade in the ring, including heading into promotions where wrestling was all-male because a lot of men were fighting overseas as part of World War II. As a result, women wrestlers such as she, Mildred Burke and Gladys Gillem were given more of an opportunity to make up the numbers and become an attraction of their own. During this decade, she and Burke were training more women – including a well-known grappler who went on to gain fame as the Fabulous Moolah.
Moving into the 1950s – where she had her own valet – Young started winning championships including becoming the first NWA Florida Women’s Champion, and was part of a tour of wrestlers who went to Japan in 1954 in which she was among the first female wrestlers to compete there since the end of the war 9 years earlier. In 1966, she added to her trophy cabinet by winning the California Women’s Championship, and claimed the NWA United States Women’s Championship in July 1968.
The renaissance of her career took place a generation later when she and Moolah made an appearance as part of misogynist WWF Intercontinental Champion Jeff Jarrett’s feud with Chyna in September 1999. On the SmackDown episode on the 9th, Moolah was hit over the head with Jarrett’s guitar and Young endured a Figure Four Leglock. Mae made her WWF debut on September 27 on Raw with she and Moolah defeating Women’s Champion Ivory in a handicap Evening Gown Match. Despite being 76, Young was taking big bumps – such as having Ivory dropkick her from the apron to the floor during Moolah’s title win over Ivory at No Mercy the following month, and she made her in-ring PPV debut at Survivor Series with she, Moolah, Debra and Tori beating Terri Runnels, Ivory, Jacqueline & Luna Vachon.
From there, Young’s bumps got bigger, and her angles got sillier. For example, her stripping at the 2000 Royal Rumble where she exposed a prosthetic pair of elderly boobs was enough for UK network TV’s Channel 4 to immediately regret a deal to show a number of WWF PPVs which started with the Rumble. As a result, the shows were put on a tape delay – and at times, heavily edited.
Around the same time, Young entered into a relationship with Mark Henry and fell pregnant – which resulted in her giving birth to a slimy hand in one of the weirdest storylines to ever take place in wrestling. During her “pregnancy”, she was taking some huge falls at the hands of Bubba Ray Dudley (now TNA’s Bully Ray) who powerbombed her through a table in the ring, then repeated the act from the stage to the floor through a table. According to folklore, he was reticent to do it, but she slapped him around the face and told him to treat her like one of the guys. This woman…
After a year of larking around, Young would make sporadic appearances in WWE either to be beaten – such as when Three Minute Warning attacked her in 2002 – or to be a comic relief – like making out with Eric Bischoff or with Gene Okerlund and Bobby Heenan at WrestleMania XX – or to threaten to strip again – for example, at New Year’s Revolution 2006. All the antics show how game she is for a laugh or a shock at her own expense. Even last week, she had her birthday celebration crashed by CM Punk to give him some heel heat. Nobody should feel bad for her being used in this way either, as she loves this stuff. However, a candid look at how WWE feels about her took place after the show when Vince McMahon presented her with a replica Divas Title belt as a gift and he had genuine affection and respect for who she is, what she has done, and how she loves wrestling. It really was heartwarming.
I’m in two minds about her idea about wrestling when she is 100. As an historic moment, it can’t be denied, and it would be great to see her get her wish. On the flip side, she is massively frail these days, and it would terrify me to see her try and work a match. In 2008, she took a bump during a 16-Diva match which saw her snap her neck across the bottom rope which was scary enough. Add 15 years to that and you’ll see my point. Still, if the match were to take place, I’m sure WWE would bend over backwards to make it work and to make it as safe as possible, probably with a shedload of interference and smoke and mirrors.
Still, that’s a decade away. For now, happy birthday Mae. Thanks for all you’ve done, all you’ve contributed and how you created a world of opportunities for three generations of female grapplers.
Elsewhere on the site, we’ve had two Fight Like A Girl interviews – one with Trina Michaels talking about Dragon Gate, Full Impact Pro and her former career; the other with Penelope about the impending Bellatrix 5 iPPV. We also have two videos – the Retro featuring the WrestleRock battle royal from 1986, and Hailey Hatred v Jenny Rose from Girls Night Out 6.
Got any news, results or upcoming events that you want to tell everyone about? Are you a female wrestler looking to tell us about upcoming bookings? Are you a fan who went to a show and saw a match, and would like to tell others about it – what you liked, what you didn’t and would like to encourage others to check it out for themselves? Send us an email!
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The best of the rest
World Arm Wrestling Champion Sarah Backman has publicly acknowledged that she has signed a developmental deal with WWE. The 21-year old from Sweden will travel to Florida when her visa is completed… On the subject of developmental, Kendall Skye has been added to the NXT roster page… WWE put together a list of the top 10 Divas moments at WrestleMania. While Chyna’s win over Ivory at WrestleMania X-Seven and Maria Menounos’ stinkface from last year were included, Trish Stratus v Mickie James from WrestleMania 22 was nowhere to be seen. For the record, Victoria shaving Molly Holly’s head at WrestleMania XX came top… Nikki and Brie Bella returned to WWE on last night’s Raw in a backstage segment where they went out with Damien Sandow while Kaitlyn was flirting with Cody Rhodes. They seem to have done precious little in the 11 months that they have been away, but have had a foot inside WWE because they are dating Daniel Bryan and John Cena. The Wrestling Observer says more former Divas may return over time to swell the number of women on the roster, which seems counterproductive when you consider that most of them (barring a few like Maxine or Amazing Kong/Kharma) will have done everything that there was to do… Former NXT Diva Shaul “Raquel Diaz” Guerrero told Inked Magazine she’s in recovery from anorexia and bulimia. Sounds like she made a wise move to get out when she did.
Despite Ivelisse Velez winning the match against her on February 28, it was Lei’D Tapa who was voted the winner of the TNA Gut Check on last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling… Daffney’s Workers’ Compensation lawsuit with TNA over her multiple concussions has come to an end. Click here and here for more… Velvet Sky retained the Knockouts Championship at Lockdown, pinning Gail Kim. Referee Taryn Terrell took a shot at Kim during the match after being provoked.
Angelina Love, Nikki Roxx and Santana Garrett appeared on the syndicated Daytime show on Wednesday to promote SHINE. Garrett replaced Amazing Kong, who was originally advertised as appearing… Kellie Skater has been officially announced for all of SHIMMER’s dates next month, as have Veda Scott and Shazza McKenzie… The final two matches for NCW Femmes Fatales XI on March 30 have been announced. Mary Lee Rose, Allysin Kay & Cherry Bomb face each other in a 3-way, while Portia Perez takes on Pink Flash Kira. The latter is a rematch from Femmes Fatales X part 2, where Perez walked out of their contest… LuFisto will face Sumie Sakai at IndyGurlz show on April 6 in Boonton, NJ, while Kyoko Inoue will face Mercedes Martinez. Considering there is so much wrestling going on at WrestleCon over that weekend, they could be wrestling in a near-empty hall… Should she still be Women Superstars Uncensored Champion come May 11, Jessicka Havok will defend the title against number one contender LuFisto… WSU also announced that it would be continuing the King and Queen of the Ring tag team tournament, though the male wrestlers will come from Combat Zone Wrestling… And speaking of CZW, Nevaeh and Jessicka Havok went to a double count out over the weekend… Jungle Grrrl defeated Lana Starr to win the Women Of Wrestling Championship in Las Vegas on Saturday… Leva Bates has selected her half of the stipulations for her Pick Your Poison match against Kimberly at SHINE 8 on March 23. She’s chosen Fans Bring The Weapons… Congratulations to Su Yung, who will be travelling to Japan in the near future to wrestle… Brittany Wonder had all her gear stolen from a car at the weekend. She’s looking to raise money to buy some new stuff.
Hiroyo Matsumoto and Tomoka Nakagawa regained the OZ Academy Tag Team Championship on Sunday, defeating Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka… Kaori Yoneyama became the first Union Fly To Everywhere World Champion by beating Cherry on Sunday in Yokohama… Reports from Open the Puro Gate suggest that Tsukushi will defend the Ice Ribbon ICEx60 Championship against top contender Kurumi at the end of this month.
Crazy Mary Dobson and Leah Von Dutch have been added to the ICW Fierce Females show in Glasgow, Scotland on May 4. Dutch has already been booked for two Pro Wrestling: EVE shows in April and May… Nikki Storm defeated April Davids on a Scottish Wrestling Alliance show on Sunday to retain the Pro Wrestling: EVE Championship.
Marcela will defend her CMLL World Women’s Championship against Amapola on a Deportivo Juarez Lucha Libre in Denver, CO on March 17… Estrellita is insisting that she will win her Hair v Hair match against Amapola on March 15… Ayako Hamada is booked to wrestle for Lucha Libre Feminil on Friday against Sadica.
Australia & New Zealand
Eliza Sway will have her work cut out for her if she wants to retain the Riot City Wrestling Women’s Championship at the promotion’s 100th show on April 6. She takes on inaugural champ Savannah Summers, Lou Lou Lockhart and her Worst Blokes partner Harley Wonderland in an elimination match with rival Miami serving as a special guest referee.
March 7: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Hanna & Holly Blossom b Lylah Lodge & Taeler Hendrix
March 7: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim, Kazarian & Christopher Daniels b Velvet Sky, Chavo Guerrero & Hernandez
March 7: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Yumi Ohka & Yuu Yamagata b Shuu Shibutani & Cherry; Kana & Mio Shirai b Moeka Haruhi & Tomoka Nakagawa; Hikaru Shida b Kyusei Sakura Hirota; Misaki Ohata & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Ryo Mizunami & Sawako Shimono; GAMI b Aya Yuuki
March 7: WWE Superstars (Buffalo, NY) – Layla b Tamina Snuka
March 8: WWE SmackDown (Albany, NY) – Tamina Snuka b Kaitlyn
March 8: IWA East Coast (Nitro, WV) – Crazy Mary Dobson b Nevaeh & Jessicka Havok in a 3-way
March 8: CHIKARA (Ybor City, FL) – Arctic Rescue Ant, Missile Assault Ant, Orbit Adventure Ant & Soldier Ant b assailANT, Fire Ant, Dasher Hatfield & Saturyne; Eddie Kingston b Amazing Kong
March 8: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (North Ayrshire, Scotland) – Rhia O’Reilly & Nikki Storm b Viper & Bete Noire
March 9: Combat Zone Wrestling (Voorhees, NJ) – Jessicka Havok v Nevaeh went to a double count out
March 9: WWE (Broomfield, CO) – Kaitlyn b Tamina Snuka
March 9: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Beith, Scotland) – Viper b Rhia O’Reilly
March 9: Southern Championship Wrestling (Sanford, FL) – Green Light Hit Squad & Justine Silver b Fan Boys & Leva Bates; Justine Diamond b Solo Darling
March 9: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hailey Hatred b Meari Naito; Risa Sera & Tsukushi b Kurumi & Rutsuko Yamaguchi; Miyako Matsumoto b Neko Nitta & Sakura Hirota in a 3-way; Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Aoi Kizuki & Hamuko Hoshi
March 9: Battling Bombshells (Homestead, FL) – Amazona b Angel Rose; La Rosa Negra b Mia Yim
March 9: Wrestleforce (Calhoun Falls, SC) – Pandora b Jessie Kaye & Nina Monet in a 3-way
March 9: Coastal Pro Wrestling (Hammonton, NJ) – Veda Scott b Kylie Pierce
March 10: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Elizabethtown, KY) – Hannah Blossom v Holly Blossom went to a no-contest
March 10: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Amapola, Princesa Blanca & Princesa Sugheit b Goya Kong, Luna Mágica & Marcela
March 10: Union (Yokohama, Japan) – Kaori Yoneyama b Cherry to win the Union Fly To Everywhere World Title
March 10: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Glasgow, Scotland) – Nikki Storm b April Davids
March 10: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Hannah & Holly Blossom b Lylah Lodge & Taeler Hendrix
March 10: I Believe In Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Josh Hess & Justine Silver b Gus Money & Santana Garrett
March 10: Squared Circle Wrestling (Mississauga, ON, Canada) – Christopher Bishop b Xandra Bale; Gabriella Vanderpool b Leah Von Dutch & Jazmine in a 3-way
March 10: Stardom (Takamatsu, Japan) – Miho Wakizawa b Sumire Yoshino; Hailey Hatred b Mayu Iwatani; Kairi Hojo & Natsumi Showzuki b Eri Susa & Yui Yokoo; Kyoko Kimura & Amazon Ayesha Ray b Nanae takahashi & Kellie Skater; Yuzuki Aikawa, Io Shirai & Dark Angel b Natsuki*Taiyo, Yoshiko & Act Yasukawa
March 10: JWP (Saitama, Japan) – Tsubasa Kuragaki b Raideen Hagane; Command Bolshoi b Manami Katsu; Kayoko Haruyama b Nana Kawasa; Sachie Abe & KAZUKI v DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko went to a double count out; Hanako Nakamori & Morii b Leon & Neko Nitta; Yumiko Hotta & Keiko Aono b Arisa Nakajima & Rabbit Miu
March 10: OZ Academy (Yokohama, Japan) – Dynamite Kansai & AKINO b Chikayo Nagashima & Misaki Ohata; Manami Toyota b Mima Shimoda; Tsubasa Kuragaki b Sonoko Kato; Carlos Amano & Meiko Satomura b Aja Kong & Hikaru Shida; Tomoka Nakagawa & Hiroyo Matsumoto b Mayumi Ozaki & Yumi Ohka to win the OZ Academy Tag Team Championship
March 10: TNA Lockdown (San Antonio, TX) – Velvet Sky b Gail Kim
March 11: Wrestling New Classic (Otsuki, Japan) – Ryo Mizunami & Yankee Lion b Syuri & Jiro Kuroshio; El Hijo del Pantera & Lin Byron b Yun Gang Chul & Makoto
March 15: North Shore Pro Wrestling (Quebec City, Quebec, Canada) – LuFisto, Franky the Mobster & Buxx Belmar Vs Giovanni, Maddog & Lucky Sabiti
March 15: Lucha Libre Feminil (Monterrey, Mexico) – Ayako Hamada v Sadica; Angelica & Lady Jaguar v Polly Star & Lady Flammer
March 16: Europe Catch Tour Association (Nogent-sur-Oise, France) – Lady Lory v Morgane Leigh v Queen Maya
March 16: Pacific Pro Wrestling (Bundamba, Australia) – Madison Eagles v Storm
March 16: Swiss Championship Wrestling (Wil, Switzerland) – Shanna v Saraya Knight
March 17: Deportivo Juarez Lucha Libre (Denver, CO) – Marcela v Amapola
March 17: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Nanae Takahashi v Alpha Female
March 22: Canadian Pro Wrestling (Woodstock, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush v Kellie Skater
March 23: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – MsChif v Heidi Lovelace
March 23: SHINE 8 (Ybor City, FL) – Rain, Allysin Kay, Taylor Made & Ivelisse Velez v Amazing Kong, Angelina Love, Mia Yim & Christina Von Eerie; Leva Bates v Kimberly; Reby Sky v Jessicka Havok; Nikki Roxx v Mercedes Martinez; Santana Garrett v Sojo Bolt; Brandi Wine v Jayme Jameson; Su Yung v Brittney Savage; Nikki St John v Luscious Latasha
March 23: United States Independent Wrestling Federation (Winston-Salem, NC) – Mia Svensson v Lei’D Tapa
March 24: Bellatrix 5 (Norwich, England) – Rebecca Mason v Skarlett; Penelope v Erin Angel; Miss Mina v Amy Lee; Chanel v Phobia; Violet O’Hara v Bacardi; Queen Maya v Liberty; Saraya Knight v Destiny
March 24: Women Of Wrestling (Bethlehem, PA)
March 30: nCw Femmes Fatales XI (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Kalamity v Mercedes Martinez; Cheerleader Melissa v Jessicka Havok; LuFisto v Sweet Saraya; Sweet Cherrie v Sassy Stephie; Allison Danger v Courtney Rush; Xandra Bale & Leah Von Dutch v Deziree & Midianne; Kellie Skater v Angie Skye; Mary Lee Rose v Allysin Kay v Cherry Bomb; Portia Perez v Pink Flash Kira
March 30: New Horizons Pro Wrestling (Maddington, Australia) – Eliza Sway v Miami
April 6: IndyGurlz (Boonton, NJ) – Jana & Jessie Brooks v Cherry Layne & Nikki Syxx; Sienna Duvall v Sassy Stephie; Sumie Sakai v Lufisto; Amber O’Neal & Angel Orsini v Annie Social & Kimber Lee; Leva Bates v Jessica James; Mia Yim v Kalamity; Mercedes Martinez v Kyoko Inoue
April 6: Riot City Wrestling (Wayville, Australia) – Eliza Sway v Savannah Summers v Lou Lou Lockhart v Harley Wonderland
April 6: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Secaucus, NJ) – Sweet Saraya v Cheerleader Melissa; Athena v Ayako Hamada; Mia Yim v Amazing Kong; Jessie McKay v Madison Eagles
April 7: Insane Championship Wrestling (Glasgow, Scotland) – Bete Noire v Kay Lee Ray v Carmel Jacob v Sara-Marie Taylor
April 7: HXC Wrestling (Manchester, England) – Holly Rocamora v April Davids
April 13-14: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
April 20: Battling Bombshells (Deerfield, FL) – La Rosa Negra v Mia Yim
April 27: Pro Wrestling: EVE (Sudbury, England)
April 27: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Sassy Stephie v Christina Von Eerie
May 4: ICW: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
May 11: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ) – Jessicka Havok v LuFisto
May 11: Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling (Metuchen, NJ) – Missy Sampson v Alexa Thatcher; Amy Lee v Amazing Kong; Mia Yim v La Rosa Negra
May 25: Pro Wrestling: EVE Queen of the Ring (Nottingham, England)
June 23: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Austin, TX)
July 6: nCw Femmes Fatales XII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
– Lee Burton
– Photos by TNA, WWE, Sarah Backman, Tomoka Nakagawa, Youji Kawauchi
– Data collated from (but not limited to) Cagematch, joshifans.com, PuroLove, Dramatic DDT, Luchablog, Lords Of Pain, Wrestling Observer, Open The Puroresu Gate, PWInsider