Not making it to Bellatrix 5 in Norwich, England on Sunday may have been unfortunate, but it did provide me the opportunity to utilise the option to watch the show on iPPV. Considering a lot of the changes from Bellatrix 4 last November were being done because of this one being broadcast live, it was interesting to be able to assess if those changes were successful.
Improvements to aesthetics like giant wall hangings of the roster, an improved entranceway, ringside barriers and more attention paid to start and running times were coupled with the venue being a purpose-built TV studio with full-scale lights and sound systems, the Epic Studios in Norwich looked vastly different to 5 months ago. The benefit of it being a proper studio also made it easier for the show to be streamed online, as the facilities to broadcast were all there, and had been tried and tested with previous unrelated shows. As a result, Bellatrix 5 was one of the slickest women’s wrestling iPPVs produced to date.
Sure, there were some errors with things like cuts between camera shots and two typos in the name introductions, but for the most part, things went very smoothly in what was a high-pressure situation for the promotion. In addition, the show started at the exact time that it said it would, the interval was exactly as long as was announced, and the timings in the matches was accurate. It was a polished affair that raised the bar – one that will be tested in a week and a half during the WrestleCon iPPVs, which will likely boast some the largest paying audiences for shows in many a moon.
When you consider how Saraya Knight’s all-women shows relaunched with WAWW The Return in November 2011 – in an intimate hall in small village in front of around 100 fans – has quickly evolved to being in a TV studio and presenting a successful iPPV which fans watching and tweeting about the show say was more than worth the money is certainly an achievement to shout about. Incidentally, the roster has matured at the same rate as the promotion, with some of its home-grown talent showcasing exactly what they have been working towards for the past 15 months.
Destiny – who proved that she was indeed worthy of main-eventing the show and challenge for Knight’s SHIMMER Championship – came through after recapturing her spark last year and producing some entertaining outings; Liberty – who was in the beginnings of a heel turn at The Return and won the British Women’s Championship from Britani Knight – is now one of the promotion’s most beloved and captured the RQW European Championship from Queen Maya, who has also come on leaps and bounds in the last year and a half; Chanel is coming along in her development and didn’t freeze when the stakes were raised; Miss Mina evolved her style and look to stand out from the crowd, and Penelope – who was a 3 month-old rookie when The Return took place – is now an exciting flier who has the ability to fire up a crowd like few others in the promotion. You could argue that this was a roll of the dice for Bellatrix, as it was a big step up – but for the most part, everyone came though.
Bellatrix 6 takes place on June 23, and while iPPV buys aren’t possible since the show is still available to buy as a replay at half the original price, the presentation is more than sufficient to justify it being another iPPV. As an experiment, it was successful, and the show set itself in a different standing to other British promotions. For example, while Bellatrix is – for now – focussed on the in-ring product, it differs from Pro Wrestling: EVE, which features more angles and stories, and is also a departure from the adult themes and chaotic antics of Insane Championship Wrestling: Fierce Females. That makes things more varied and attractive for fans, as well as wrestlers to vary their styles and present themselves in different ways.
This is a topic to which I am planning to return in the future – but for now, it is clear that Bellatrix is in good standing, but there is one more loose end that needs cleaning up, and that’s who will be the promotion’s top champion by the end of the month…
Canada’s NCW Femmes Fatales returns on Saturday with a groundbreaking four championship matches from four different promotions taking place on the Femmes Fatales XI card. As alluded to, Bellatrix World Champion Allison Danger will defend the title against challenger Courtney Rush, who rebounded at Femmes Fatales X with two victories following a soul-crushing FFIX where she lost the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship when her partner and hetero girl-crush Sara Del Rey abandoned her and the belts.
Elsewhere, Women Superstars Uncensored World titleholder Jessicka Havok returns to Montreal after missing FFX to defend the belt against Cheerleader Melissa in what is likely to be a clubbering affair featuring two hard-hitting bruisers. While these matches may not feature any focussed build-up in the titles’ respective promotions, the other two championship matches taking place have lots of hype behind them.
After beating Destiny, Saraya Knight has the challenge of LuFisto next. The pair clashed last November over the two FFX volumes with Knight making it clear that she was coming after the Super Hardcore Anime, and struck after LuFi’s defeat at the hands of Mercedes Martinez inside a steel cage. The pair have been on a collision course since then, and will meet with the SHIMMER Title on the line, which could really derail proceedings for the following weekend’s SHIMMER volume 53 iPPV, where Saraya is booked to defend the belt against Melissa in a cage. Regardless of whether Knight is still champion after FFXI, that cage match will still take place, but may not be for the title. In fact, if results go in a certain way, it could be Melissa who rolls into the match as a titleholder, sporting the WSU belt – or both of them could be carrying championships. Either way, the WSU Championship is highly unlikely to be recognised or defended on the show, as SHIMMER only acknowledges SHIMMER titles.
The main event sees Kalamity and Martinez clash for a third time in the promotion with The Oncoming Storm’s International Championship on the line. The background to this encounter began at the cage match at FFX, where the titleholder made the save for her mentor. This was elevated at last month’s WSU An Ultraviolent Affair when she again came out to stop a beatdown by Martinez on a victorious LuFisto – with Mercedes walking away promising to win the title. Both each hold a win against the other in Femmes Fatales, so with the being the rubber match and also for the belt, it promises to be a big battle.
As I mentioned in the past, I can see two of the titles changing hands – at least one is going to be swapped. I can’t see all four going to the challengers, as it would hurt the occasion of a new champion being crowned by the time the fourth title change happens – but two is my guess. We’ll all find out on Saturday.
Figure Four Online is reporting that WWE may go with a Divas Championship match for WrestleMania XXIX featuring Kaitlyn defending against AJ Lee. This latest suggestion is the latest in a number of purported matches featuring women on the April 7 card.
According to PWInsider, there was originally going to be a multi-Divas tag match as we have become accustomed to on WrestleManias with 5 current Divas going against 5 former Divas. Kelly Kelly, The Bella Twins, Maryse and Maria Kanellis were thought to be taking on current Divas like Kaitlyn, Layla and three others. However, this fell apart when some of the former Divas reportedly made some demands which WWE were not happy to grant, such as right to their names – more of an issue for Kelly Kelly, as it is the name most know her by, while Maria and Maryse benefit from their character names also being their real names – as well as a suitable payoff. Things reached a standstill, so the match was scrapped.
The next suggestion was Kaitlyn, Cameron and Naomi of the Funkadactyls and Maria Menounos (who has a lot of similarities with the Undertaker in that she would work once a year and is unbeaten at WrestleMania) against Layla – who would have turned heel – with the Bella Twins and Tamina Snuka. However, despite claiming to receive death threats over the suggested contest, very little has been mentioned of it since, and seems to have been quietly pushed to one side, along with talk of turning Layla heel… at least for now.
One of two remaining prospects for female interaction seems to be a eight person mixed tag match with Damien Sandow and Cody Rhodes teaming with the Bellas against Brodus Clay, Tensai and the Funkadactyls. The two female tandems had a set-to during a tag match featuring the guys on Friday’s SmackDown episode, leading to the contest being thrown out. The women clashed again on Raw last night during a rematch between the four men, so there’s a decent chance that they’ll end up on the card in some capacity.
The other match may make history in that it could become the first Divas Championship match to ever take place at a WrestleMania. After a backstage attack with Kaitlyn getting battered for speaking about her former friend AJ Lee, the pair tangled in a heated couple of minutes in the third hour of Raw with the titleholder getting the advantage, but losing by count out when AJ avoided a spear on the outside and saw Kaitlyn hit the barriers.
Kaitlyn’s been in need of a title programme since becoming champion, and as we predicted back when she won the title, the best way to do that would be for her to get a win over Snuka (which happened) and then to face AJ at WrestleMania (which may happen). However, the title match is something of an afterthought and lacks that much of a build-up or storyline progression, despite the fact that the pair’s progress in WWE has seen them associate with each other for a large portion of it.
Should the match take place and see AJ win, it won’t mean that much. Lee has seen her star nosedive in 2013, and Kaitlyn’s title reign has hardly been the stuff of legend, so it’s not that prestigious a title change. On the flipside, should Kaitlyn retain, she’s beaten someone who is nowhere near the threat that she was three months ago. It’s a damp squib regardless of the result. Let’s just hope that the match is good and can add some drama ahead of the ending.
Elsewhere on the site this week, we’ve offered video of current matches (LuFisto v Cinthia Moreno as well as Shanna v Saraya Knight) and a Retro from the build-up to WrestleMania I. We also have a review of the recently released WSU An Ultraviolent Affair.
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
Former Diva Maria Kanellis killed rumours that she was going to induct Bob Backlund into the WWE Hall Of Fame. She also said that she is cool with the Bellas and Barbie “Kelly Kelly” Blank after some friction between she and them because of comments she made on her Afterbuzz show… Bayley (FKA Davina Rose) made her TV debut on last week’s NXT, losing to Paige in a short match. She worked a mild heel role… Stephanie McMahon may be in her husband Triple H’s corner at WrestleMania during his match against Brock Lesnar to counteract Paul Heyman’s influence… Rosa Mendes released a Tout video showing her accomplishing her first ever pull up. This shocked me, as I was doing dozens of them in my teenage years.
Mickie James revealed in a radio interview that Christy Hemme is now in charge of the Knockouts photoshoots… Brooke Hogan fired referee Taryn Terrell on Thursday’s Impact Wrestling after she put her hands on Gail Kim during last week’s tag match, despite being on probation. She then immediately rehired her as a wrestler, which the crowd ate up. Looks like these two will finally get a chance to square off in the ring on an equal plane. This has been a good storyline so far… The Knockouts Knockdown PPV will be screened in September… Tara has joined the cast of scripted drama Tainted Dreams, described as a “soap within a soap”… TNA is relaunching the Gut Check Challenge next Thursday, but is short of a number of women.
Rachel Summerlyn and Colin Delaney take on Cherry Bomb and Pepper Parks at Squared Circle Wrestling’s free iPPV on April 20… Nicole Matthews and her cohorts in the Riot presented Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling’s show on Saturday, and she defeated Kc Spinelli on the show to regain the ECCW Women’s Championship. Spinelli had held the title for 17 months… Cherry Bomb has been added to the SHIMMER Volume 53 roster. Santana Garrett revealed to us on Friday’s Fight Like A Girl show that she has been added to the SHIMMER volumes 54-57 DVD tapings the following week in Berwyn, IL, while MsChif has been confirmed as being in Berwyn too… Portia Perez is off the NCW Femmes Fatales XI show this Saturday after announcing that she didn’t want to be there. Instead, her opponent Pink Flash Kira will take on Jewells Malone, who worked the dark match at Femmes Fatales X and did a good job… Chyna has left the porn industry to travel to Japan to teach English as a foreign language. It was something that she had planned to do back in May 2011 before entering the grot game. Good on her – a year ago it looked like she was on a tragically slippery slope, but this is a positive step for her life… Amazing Kong defends the RESISTANCE Pro Women’s Championship against D’Arcy Dixon on Friday, while Nikki St John faces the debuting Mickie Knuckles and Crazy Mary Dobson takes on Thunderkitty… Kimberly beat Leva Bates by referee stoppage in their Fans Bring The Weapons/I Quit match at SHINE 8. Elsewhere, Jessicka Havok told Reby Sky that she respects her after losing their match, Valkyrie beat Amazing Kong, Angelina Love, Mia Yim & Christina Von Eerie (though Ivelisse Velez took a beating afterward), and Nikki St John wrestled her entire match with her glasses on. Someone’s been watching some Mr Hughes matches… Courtney Rush won the Acclaim Pro Wrestling Women’s Championship by beating Addy Starr on Saturday… Terra Calaway says that it will be a “long, long time” before she returns to the ring after suffering a severe patella dislocation and tearing all the ligaments surrounding her knee during her Wrestling Is Respect match against Veda Scott on Sunday. Best wishes to her… Women Superstars Uncensored has announced that the King and Queen of the Ring is being renamed to the Queen and King of the Ring. Cherry Bomb and Pepper Parks were already announced – now Addy Starr and Matt Tremont are in the lineup for the May 11 show… Congratulations to Reby Sky, who announced her engagement to Matt Hardy yesterday… Serena Deeb will wrestle Shelly Martinez on the Bombshell Ladies Of Wrestling show on May 11.
During her recent trip to Mexico, Ayako Hamada admitted that she would be interested in joining WWE. As much we like her – so much so that we awarded her the Wrestler of the Year title for 2012 – I doubt WWE would be that interested in her, which is a big shame… Io Shirai’s resurgence from her (later quashed) drugs bust last year is complete – she challenges Alpha Female for the World Of Stardom Championship next month after winning a four-woman tournament on Sunday to earn the shot. They faced off at the end of the show, and the size difference is amazing.
Blue Nikita’s been added to the ICW Fierce Females lineup for May 4… Aurora Flame recaptured the NWWA Championship by beating Sara Elektra… Shanna has been booked for an upcoming World Wrestling League show in Puerto Rico.
Jennifer Blake has turned technica in AAA. New Reina de Reinas Champion Faby Apache says told Estrellas Del Ring that she is happy to welcome her over to the light side.
March 17: Xplosion Nacional de Lucha Libre (Santiago de Chile, Chile) – Kristy b Ariki Toa
March 20: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Taeler Hendrix & Dylan Bostic v Ryan Howe & Heidi Lovelace went to a no-contest; Jessie Belle b Lylah Lodge
March 21: WWE NXT (Winter Park, FL) – Paige b Bayley
March 21: WWE Main Event (Cincinnati, OH) – Layla & Natalya b Alicia Fox & Aksana
March 22: Fight Club Finland (Helsinki, Finland) – Aurora Flame b Sara Elektra to win the NWWA Championship
March 22: Diana (Tokyo, Japan) – Etsuko Mita b Piyota Mask; Manami Katsu & Megumi Yabushita b Jenny Rose & Manami Toyota; Jaguar Yokota & Sareee b Hamuko Hoshi & Tadahori; Kaoru Ito, Tomoko Watanabe & Tomoko Watanabe b Keiko Aono, Mask De Sun & Yumiko Hotta
March 22: New England Championship Wrestling (Randolph, MA) – Kasey Ray b Mistress Belmont via DQ
March 22: Canadian Pro Wrestling (Woodstock, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush b Kellie Skater
March 22: New Zealand Wide Pro Wrestling (New Plymouth, Australia) – Misty b Amy St Clere & Lolli Lane
March 23: Wrestling Is Fun (Allentown, PA) – Princess Kimber Lee b Saturyne
March 23: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Manami Katsu & Taro Yamada b Risa Sera & YANAGAWA; Hamuko Hoshi b Leon; Aoi Kizuki b Kurumi; Hailey Hatred & Miyako Matsumoto b Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto
March 23: Zero 1 Australia (Marion, Australia) – Savannah Summers b KC Cassidy
March 23: Newcastle Pro Wrestling (New Lambton, Australia) – Madison Eagles b Shazza McKenzie
March 23: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – MsChif b Heidi Lovelace
March 23: SHINE 8 (Ybor City, FL) – Nikki St John b Luscious Latasha; Su Yung b Brittney Savage; Jayme Jameson b Brandi Wine; Santana Garrett b Sojo Bolt; Mercedes Martinez b Nikki Roxx; Kimberly b Leva Bates; Reby Sky b Jessicka Havok; Rain, Allysin Kay, Taylor Made & Ivelisse Velez b Amazing Kong, Angelina Love, Mia Yim & Christina Von Eerie
March 23: Oaktown Wrestling Association (Alameda, CA) – Sienna DuVall b Jessie Kaye & Brittany Wonder in a 3-way
March 23: Acclaim Pro Wrestling (Greely, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush b Addy Starr to win the APW Women’s Championship; Vanessa Kraven b Kellie Skater
March 23: United States Independent Wrestling Federation (Winston-Salem, NC) – Lei’D Tapa b Mia Svensson
March 23: WWE (Fairfax, VA) – Kaitlyn b Tamina Snuka
March 23: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada) – Nicole Matthews b Kc Spinelli to win the ECCW Women’s Championship
March 23: World Association of Wrestling (Norwich, England) – Penelope, Chanel & Liberty b Destiny, Phobia & Miss Mina
March 24: Stardom (Matsuhita, Japan) – Act Yasukawa, Kairi Hojo & Natsumi Showzuki b Mayu Iwatani, Yuhi & Sumire Yoshino; Kyoko Kimura, Hailey Hatred & Alpha Female b Miho Wakizawa, Eri Susa & Yui Yokoo; Nanae Takahashi & Natsuki*Taiyo b Yuzuki Aikawa & Yoshiko; Dark Angel b Hiroyo Matsumoto; Io Shirai b Kaori Yoneyama; Io Shirai b Dark Angel
March 24: WWE (Baltimore, MD) – Natalya b Aksana
March 24: WWE (Salisbury, MD) – Kaitlyn b Tamina Snuka
March 24: Wrestling Is Respect (Boonton, NJ) – Veda Scott b Terra Calaway via count out
March 24: New Wrestling Entertainment (Turin, Italy) – Amazon Ayesha Ray b Rhia O’Reilly
March 24: Bellatrix 5 (Norwich, England) – Phobia b Chanel; Violet O’Hara b Bacardi; Miss Mina b Amy Lee; Liberty b Queen Maya to win the RQW Women’s Championship; Skarlett b Rebecca Mason; Erin Angel b Penelope; Saraya Knight b Destiny
March 25: Tokyo Women’s Wrestling (Tokyo, Japan) – Chikage Kiba v Daisuke Kiso went to a time limit draw; Miyu Yamashita b KANNA
March 25: WWE Raw (Philadelphia, PA) – AJ Lee b Kaitlyn via count out
March 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Addy Starr v Angelus Layne
March 29: RESISTANCE Pro (Willowbrook, IL) – Amazing Kong v D’Arcy Dixon; Nikki St John v Mickie Knuckles; Crazy Mary Dobson v Thunderkitty
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; Jewells Malone v Pink Flash Kira
March 30: New Horizons Pro Wrestling (Maddington, Australia) – Eliza Sway v Miami
March 30: Florida Underground Wrestling (Tampa, FL) – Mia Yim v Solo Darling
March 31: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Eri Susa v Sumire Yoshino ; Yuhi & Mayu Iwatani v Natsuki*Taiyo & Yoshiko ; Nanae Takahashi, Miho Wakizawa & Yui Yokoo v Kaori Yoneyama, Kairi Hojo & Natsumi Showzuki ; Io Shirai & Dark Angel v Alpha Female & Kyoko Kimura ; Yuzuki Aikawa v Act Yasukawa
April 6: IndyGurlz (Boonton, NJ) – Jana & Jessie Brooks v Cherry Layne & Nikki Addams; 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: CHIKARA (Secaucus, NJ) – Saturyne v Kobald
April 6: Vanguard Championship Wrestling (Norfolk, VA) – Kacee Carlisle v Persephone
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: Stardom (Sapporo, Japan) – Miho Wakizawa v Sumire Yoshino; Mayu Iwatani v Yui Yokoo ; Nanae Takahashi v Eri Susa; Yuzuki Aikawa, Kairi Hojo & Natsumi Showzuki v Alpha Female, Kyoko Kimura & Hailey Hatred ; Io Shirai, Dark Angel & Kaori Yoneyama v Natsuki*Taiyo, Yoshiko & Act Yasukawa
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: Squared Circle Wrestling (Watertown, NY) – Cherry Bomb & Pepper Parks v Rachel Summerlyn & Colin Delaney
April 20: Battling Bombshells (Deerfield, FL) – La Rosa Negra v Mia Yim
April 21: World Wrestling League (San Jaun, Puerto Rico) – Cheerleader Melissa v Ivelisse Velez
April 24: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – Mayumi Ozaki v Ayumi Kurihara; Hiroyo Matsumoto & Tomoka Nakagawa v Aja Kong & Hikaru Shida
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 5: Plymouth Wrestling Alliance (Plymouth, England) – Pollyanna v Erin Angel
May 11: Women Superstars Uncensored Queen and King of the Ring (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; Shelly Martinez v Serena Deeb; Sumie Sakai v Amber O’Neal; Amber Rodriguez v Alicia
May 25: Pro Wrestling: EVE Queen of the Ring (Nottingham, England)
May 25: OMEGA (Wendell, NC) – Kacee Carlisle v Reby Sky
June 23: Bellatrix 6 (Norwich, England)
June 23: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Austin, TX)
July 6: nCw Femmes Fatales XII (Montreal, Quebec, Canada)
October 6: Bellatrix 7 (Norwich, England)
– Lee Burton
– Photos by Bellatrix, WWE, Tabercil, Stardom, Resuner Yokoyama
– Data collated from (but not limited to) Cagematch, joshifans.com, PuroLove, Dramatic DDT, Luchablog, Lords Of Pain, Wrestling Observer, Open The Puroresu Gate, PWInsider