So, you’ve seen our main six picks in our 2013 “A good half year for…” series – Kellie Skater, Ayumi Kurihara, Mickie James, Heidi Lovelace, Nikki Storm & Madison Eagles – and you can see even from those picks that we made our decisions on different criteria, and we stand by our picks as women who have all raised their stock since the turn of the year. However, the selection process of choosing a final six for full write-ups meant drawing up a longlist of potential picks, and we figured we’d wrap up the series by sharing a few of those women we thought had a great six months, but fell just below making the final six. Click through after the page break for… a few others.
– Mercedes Martinez is almost at a disadvantage for a series like this. She’s consistently great to the point where although we absolutely consider the current NCW: Femmes Fatales International Champion to be one of the best around today, can we realistically say she’s had a better January-June 2013 than she had July-December 2012? Or any other given six month period, come to think of it. Still, kudos for remaining the absolute safest of hands.
– Taryn Terrell has done a superb job of changing people’s perceptions about her during her TNA run. Stepping away from her position as Knockouts referee and into an actual feud with Gail Kim, Terrell proved adept at everything she put her mind to – backstage angles, promos and actually wrestling. Terrell’s performance at Slammiversary‘s ‘Last Knockout Standing’ match dropped jaws worldwide, and from live accounts, her Ladder Match rematch with Gail (yet to air on TV) is at a similar level.
– Much of what we wrote about Madison Eagles also refers to Serena Deeb. She also returned from a career-threatening injury that kept her out for the entirety of 2012 like she’d never been away. For one woman to achieve this is unbelievable. For two? Unfathomable. But Deeb is back, still full of fire, still throwing the best punches in the business, and still working like a genius. She got us all hook, line and sinker at Bombshell Ladies of Wrestling by working a recurrence of her head injury too. Serena is incredible and is on her way back to Japan again soon.
– Allysin Kay calls herself the AK47 of Wrestling. Given that the firearm is known for its reliability to work regardless of condition, it’s an apt nickname. Be it part of Made In Sin in SHINE/SHIMMER or the Midwest Militia in Women Superstars Uncensored/Femmes Fatales, or solo in Absolute Intense Wrestling – Kay is as solid as they come. She’s a key part of every promotion she’s in, and celebrated a fantastic six months by heading off to Japan for her first extended tour.
– As the star of “the best women’s wrestling show of the year“, Kay Lee Ray should be proud of her achievements in 2013. Of course, we’re talking about ICW: Fierce Females in Scotland, where she was all over the show en route to a memorable victory to crown the first ICW:FF Scottish Women’s Champion. Not only that, Kay Lee started the year on her first tour of Japan, continued to be a focal part of Pro-Wrestling EVE and made her Bellatrix debut last month. On the verge of a major breakout.
– Speaking of Champions, how about SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa? She celebrated 2013 by ending Saraya Knight‘s reign as Champion and doing it in a steel cage at SHIMMER’s biggest event of all time. She followed that up by a slow burn heel turn across the following weekend, climaxing in a full blown turn following Allison Danger‘s retirement match. Not only has she had a successful 2013, but the SHIMMER heel turn is a character reinvigoration that was a long time coming.
– Santana Garrett has certainly benefited from SHINE. She has grown from a steady mid-card performer to one of the most over babyfaces in the promotion. Her look, demeanour, style and moveset are certainly easy to get behind, and her Shining Star Press finisher looks great. When you couple that with her winning the Women Of Wrestling Tag Team Championship with Amber O’Neal, two more matches on the most recent SHIMMER tapings – both of them victories – and wrestling pretty much every weekend in Florida, we expect her shining star to rise even further in the near future.
– She was controversially overlooked by TNA during their Gut Check in favour of Lei’D Tapa, yet still worked two of their pay-per-view tapings – including technically becoming the first female member of Aces and Eights. She’s had a great deal of exposure by her work in SHINE as one fifth of Valkyrie, and has won four of her five matched in the promotion this year, including an eye-opening victory over LuFisto. She won (and lost) the Pro Wrestling Revolution Women’s Championship and is carving her own niche in the women’s division in Family Wrestling Entertainment. Yes, things are going very well for Ivelisse Velez.
– By winning the Bellatrix World Championship from Allison Danger at Femmes Fatales XI in March, Courtney Rush managed to subsequently secure one of her career goals by getting the chance to wrestle in the UK. That was the start of a big spring for the 29-year old from Winnipeg, which saw her earn her first SHIMMER main event and Championship match by beating Athena, Madison Eagles and Saraya Knight, but was defeated by Cheerleader Melissa in the title challenge. Nevertheless, Rush has made some pioneering steps in her career in the last six months.
– Ice Ribbon‘s ICEx60 Champion Tsukushi probably wouldn’t be holding that title if it wasn’t for Maki Narumiya‘s unfortunate injury in January, but nobody can deny that she is unworthy of holding the title. Starting out the year as one half of the International Ribbon Tag Team Champions (her fifth reign, which is a record-tying amount), she defeated Miyako Matsumoto in the final to claim the top title for the first time, in what was an inevitability for her, and she has made three successful defences. Probably the best 15-year old grappler there has ever been, she is a cornerstone of the promotion, and has also started taking bookings for JWP too.
– Despite CMLL being her home promotion, Dark Angel‘s real success came in Japan, and specifically in Stardom. Boasting a record where she won more than she lost, she won the vacant Wonder Of Stardom Championship by beating Act Yasukawa at the promotion’s biggest show, Ryogoku Cinderella, and has knocked up two successful defences already. So confident is the promotion in her that she has returned to Mexico as champion, and will venture back to Japan for more defences in the future. This Canadian has become a proper nomad…
– While we’re on the subject of Stardom, Alpha Female made history in March by becoming the first European woman to win a joshi promotion’s top title. She defeated inaugural World Of Stardom champion Nanae Takahashi to win the belt as part of a big night for she and her Monster-gun cohorts. Dropping the title six weeks later to Io Shirai and Ryogoku Cinderella, she helped to propel the new titleholder and give Stardom a good nudge as it moved into its post-Yuzuki Aikawa era. She’s also being followed around by the team behind women wrestling’s documentary Breathe It.
– Finally, there’s Kimber Lee, who’s one busy woman. Notching up bookings in SHINE, Wrestling Is Respect, Wrestling Is Fun, Combat Zone Wrestling, Absolute Intense Wrestling, Women Superstars Uncensored and SHIMMER, she has been all over the place in the first half of 2013. Her standout moments came in SHIMMER – where she made a great first impression in her first singles match against Evie – WSU – where she reached the final of the Queen and King of the Ring tournament alongside Drew Gulak – and AIW – where she opened a lot of eyes by making it to the semi-final of the JT Lightning Invitational Tournament and took more than her fair share of lumps along the way. Great wrestler, top promos and the ability to make people instantly like or dislike her, we’re big fans of our pick for the 2012 Discovery of the Year.