This one seems so damn obvious, I’m almost apologetic at even including her. She’s the woman who was the best female wrestler in the world before she was struck down with a career threatening knee injury in late 2011, and she’s the woman who came back earlier this year and immediately laid down a marker that she’s *still* the best female wrestler in the world. She’s possibly part machine, and certainly lubricated by coffee – but whatever she is, she’s already a strong front-runner for 2013’s Wrestler of the Year award. She’s Madison Eagles, and let’s take a look at her 2013.
On a professional level, 2012 was a year to forget for Madison Eagles as she didn’t wrestle at all. In fact, from what she blogged on this site in the middle of 2012, the idea of even *bending* her leg was off the table for much of the year – although she never gave up on the thought of a return by the start of 2013. Lo and behold, when we spoke to Madison in January (for me it was Jan 11th, but for Eagles it was the morning of her return match on Jan 12th), she admitted being nervous and that the whole thing might “be a big disappointment” if she wasn’t as good as she had been. So, the return match happened at PWA’s “Bash at the Beachie” (Eagles & Mick Moretti falling in tag team action to Ryan Eagles & Jessie McKay), followed by a match the next weekend where Eagles pinned PWWA Interim Champion Evie in a tag match at “The Unusual Suspects”. While reports on match quality were slow to surface, the important thing was that Eagles had come through both matches without breaking down. So far, so good.
The big “return” as far as non Aussies were concerned was in April at SHIMMER Vol 53 on iPPV – where the former longtime SHIMMER Champion returned to the US and took on Jessie McKay. As well as being former tag team partners, Eagles & McKay had competed in one of the best SHIMMER Title matches in history – so the expectation on WrestleMania weekend was high. As we eloquently put it in our review of the show, “Madison Eagles looked to outright laugh in the face of ring rust, and then kick ring rust in its stupid head.” They had a stormer. Expectations met, and exceeded.
The following weekend back in Berwyn, IL, Eagles ended up having one of the best performances of the SHIMMER Vols 54-57 taping block (Vol 55 vs Kana) while we struggled not to repeat ourselves in our praise too much by constantly pointing out how much it appeared like she hadn’t missed a beat. From there, it was down to Florida for SHINE 9, where Eagles took on Jessicka Havok and stole the show with an outstanding match. Match of the night and arguably the best match in SHINE history. That, my friends, is how you do a comeback. Then apparently just to be a dick, she returned to Australia and turned heel on her own husband (Ryan Eagles) at a PWA show on June 1st. How supportive.
I’d like to refer you all to go and have a read of NHBGirls.com‘s Rhi Lockwood‘s column on Eagles, published less than a month ago where she shares some of her thoughts on Eagles, her comeback and her influence, and I don’t intend to rehearse the same stuff all over again here when it’s been so ably covered by Rhi – but bottom line, Madison Eagles has been eye opening this year. To go from being unable to run or bend her knee and to be faced with the very real threat of being forced to retire from active competition – to returning as strongly as she has? Outstanding. If 2012 was a year to forget, 2013 so far is a year to remember… and it might get even better. August sees not only the return of PWWA (and a chance to unify her PWWA Title with Evie’s PWWA Interim Title) but a chance to win the PWA (men’s) Championship as she takes on Robbie Eagles on August 31st. By the end of August, Eagles might essentially “own” Australian wrestling – and from there, one has to believe that unless there’s a major issue stopping it from happening, Eagles will be back in North America during October for SHIMMER (at least). Want to put a bet on that she steals the show again?
It’s Madison Eagles’ world. We’re just living in it.
— Stew Allen
— Photography by SlamminLadies and Just Julie Photography