Open Female Fight season kicks off in a big way today with Bellatrix 7 from Norwich, England on iPPV – click here to order – featuring a Bellatrix v SHIMMER theme, complete with four interpromotional contests.
The big one is between former SHIMMER Champion and Bellatrix matriarch Saraya Knight and current SHIMMER titleholder Cheerleader Melissa in a non-title affair. We covered the topic at length in this week’s Roundup, so for more flavour on the history of this match, you can click here. Considering the location is a stone’s throw away from where they originally fought and the bad blood which has been between the two in the past, and considering it will be in front of a *very* pro-Saraya crowd, this has all the makings of one hell of a spectacle.
Elsewhere on the show, Mercedes Martinez – who we spoke to earlier this week for the Women Of Wrestling Podcast defends her NCW Femmes Fatales International Championship against Miss Mina, while the Bellatrix v SHIMMER contests are rounded off with Destiny facing LuFisto, and Skarlett taking on Christina Von Eerie.
As well as Martinez defending her belt, there are also two other title matches on the show. Erin Angel puts her British Championship on the line against Penelope in a rematch from their great encounter at Bellatrix 4, while Liberty puts the RQW European Women’s Championship up against Sammi Baynz in a match which will be watched very closely by Bellatrix World Champion Courtney Rush – who was due to defend the belt against Liberty until her fractured collarbone injury, though the pair will now face off at Bellatrix 8 next March.
Ringbelles is on hand to see how it all goes down – but if you want to keep abreast of the results, click the jump and keep refreshing the page.
1. Christina Von Eerie pinned Skarlett with a stranglehold lungblower.
2. Destiny beat LuFisto with a 747 splash.
3. Erin Angel defeated Penelope by 2 straight falls to retain the Bellatrix British Championship.
– Angel won the first fall with a hurracanrana in round 2.
– Angel won the second fall with a reverse rana from the second rope in round 3.
4. Mercedes Martinez pinned Miss Mina with a Fisherman Buster to retain the NCW Femmes Fatales International Championship.
5. Saraya Knight v Cheerleader Melissa went to a 20 minute time limit draw. The pair hugged afterwards.
6. Sammi Baynz pinned Liberty to win the RQW European Women’s Championship. Courtney Rush sucker punched Liberty to let Baynz score the pin.
• If you looked at the card for this show thought it was one which you could afford to miss, you were wrong. Bellatrix is gaining the reputation of being a solid hand when it comes to putting on events. Great wrestling all night, no referee mess-ups (attributed to having three refs for the show), a big full stop in one storyline, and a new one set up as part of a great main event.
• Having six matches on the card was a great move. It allowed all the matches to breathe a lot more and tell more intricate stories. With nine contests, Bellatrix 6 probably had too many contests, so going with the quality over quantity was a great move.
• Also, there isn’t another promotion running during this Open Female Fight Season which has a better setup than Bellatrix. With its massive wall hangings, top quality lighting, audio system and high-end cameras, its presentation is the benchmark for other promotions to aspire to.
• So, to the matches. We kicked off with Christina Von Eerie and Skarlett putting on a decent opener. Skarlett was working heel, but being a Bellatrix representative, she was cheered by the Norwich fans – though Von Eerie did a good job of turning some of them around to her favour. Some of the sequences in the match were pretty nice, including some of the activity on the apron including a backdrop on Von Eerie and later and Pedigree, which didn’t make me recoil in horror – in a good way, as it’s always a risky place to fight, so for them to be safe was a good sight. The finishing stretch was also sweet, as Skarlett went for her Skarlett’s Web finisher, which has put away everyone since Bellatrix 4, though Christina managed to force her way to her feet and reverse the attempt into a stranglehold lungblower for the win.
• Overall, I think I’ve seen each other them have better matches, but that’s not to say that it was bad – just that it served its purpose as an opening match and didn’t need to be anything more than it was. The pair brawled to the back, which got over the high stakes of the show.
• Destiny had a great outing against LuFisto. Incorporating some hard-hitting, cheating and some light comedy, it was a fun all-around showing by both. Like Skarlett, Destiny was cheered by some fans, though the crowd work by both competitors got most people on side. As well as working with the audience, the pair opted to really lay into each other and it made for a great contest. There was some nice strikes, as well as moments where they opted to speed things up and slow them down.
• The finish came along when the high-flying came into action. After hitting a missile dropkick earlier in the match, LuFisto went to the top for a big splash – however, Destiny got out of the way and nailed a 747 splash to the back that she had been working on during the contest to secure the win. One could call it an upset considering LuFisto’s back catalogue of work, but Destiny wasn’t at all carried here. Good stuff.
• I was really looking forward to Erin Angel and Penelope’s match, and what we got was really great stuff – it’s just that there wasn’t enough of it. By that, I don’t mean that I’m concerned about the match being decided over two straight falls, as that’s not an issue. For matches where it’s a best of three, it can be a pleasant surprise for you to see a contest not getting that equalising fall. My issue is that the contest only went around 8 minutes.
• However, in that 8 minutes, we got a lot of really nice stuff. There was some frenetic rope-running spots, some nice high-flying and a couple of moments which really spiked the fans’ interest. Penelope nailed a perfect tope suicida onto the rampway, while Angel hit a sweet reverse rana from the top for the victory. Despite losing by two straight falls, this wasn’t a one-sided match, and I’d love to see a third Bellatrix outing between these women.
• Following the interval, things kicked up into high gear. Mercedes Martinez’s intensity was hugely evident for her title defence against Miss Mina, and it appeared to throw Mina off guard at the start. However, once the motor got running, the Norwegian gave as good as she got by laying in the forearms and chops as hard as her opponent.
• Martinez really got the audience buzzing with her big vertical suplex, while Mina popped the crowd with a running Ace Crusher into a dragon sleeper, though that was reversed into the match winning Fisherman Buster – which took Mercedes three attempts during the match to execute – for the Femmes Fatales International Champion to retain the belt. Another top match, and Mina really stepped up.
• Considering the SHIMMER Championship was not on the line, considering the match was taking place in Norwich and considering it was supposed to be the match to end it all, I would have put the house on Saraya Knight beating Cheerleader Melissa. I would be homeless right now, though I think I would have been alright with that, as the result is probably the right one.
• Melissa is much better as a heel than as a babyface. Yes, she is beloved when she works face as she takes no shit, fights hard and is exciting to watch – though her character work stands out more when she is winding people up. Facing a hostile crowd, she came out waving, smiling and blowing kisses to the crowd, pouring petrol on an already-blazing fire. As expected, their match was crazy and wild with brawling all over the ringside and plenty of muscling each other around for the advantage. As a consequence, you can’t really judge the match in the same way that you would judge other wrestling matches, as it was more of the struggle-type situation which we have become accustomed to with these two. Instead, you have to look at it like it’s a worked MMA fight. Having said that, it was the same sort of high-action, emotional struggle that we should have expected.
• While the match was fun, and the crowd was gasping for more when the time limit expired, it was the final moment which nobody was expecting. Instead of fighting, the pair shook hands and embraced, symoblising the end of the war between Saraya and Melissa. With two wins and two draws each, it was honours even and that is probably the most fitting way for this to end. Even if one woman won, it wouldn’t make a difference – what is more important is the end of this Cold War in women’s wrestling. We’ll have more on this in tomorrow’s Roundup.
• When I heard of the running order for Bellatrix 7 and found out that Liberty v Sammi Baynz was going to be the main event, I admit that I was sceptical. Considering Baynz has been out of wrestling for around five years, I wasn’t sure that it would be as good as some of the other matches on the card. I was wrong. Dead wrong.
• Fought at breakneck speed for around 18 minutes, the pair put on a cracking contest which was worthy of the main event. With crisp, sharp wrestling and some really exciting moments, it fully deserved to be the last match on the show. Most of the really big spots took place on the outside, which included a Baynz baseball slide to Liberty which sent her sailing to the outside, Liberty hitting a Tornado DDT on the concrete and a crossbody from the apron to the floor – which saw Sammi’s head crack off the floor – and a wheelbarrow by Baynz which led to Liberty’s throat being dropped over the guardrail.
• The finish came when the referee was accidentally taken out by the defending champion and her getting the opportunity to go for the pin. At that moment, Bellatrix World Champion Courtney Rush – who came out before the contest to express her upset at not being able to compete – came into the ring to count the fall, but stopped after two, sucker punched Liberty and gave Baynz the opening to score the winning pin for the upset title change.
• After the match, Axl Lynch – who was revealed to be the half-owner of Bellatrix and the reason why Baynz was shoehorned into the title match despite not working her way up the ranks – came out to congratulate the new champ while Rush stood over a shocked Liberty and also alongside the new RQW European Women’s Champion, solidifying her heel turn and providing a solid build-up for Bellatrix 8 next March where Liberty challenges Rush for the World Championship. Saraya came out to protest the result, but what’s done was done – so it looks like we also have a power struggle involving the two business partners.
• So that was Bellatrix 7 – a show that on paper, looked like it suffered with the loss of Rush, but was still a top event which drew a line under the roughest feud in women’s wrestling over the last half-decade, and also ramped up the hype for the next show. With no bad matches, and four ranging between good and great, this is worth buying to see the replay.
• We also caught up with the new RQW European Women’s Champion after the show to get her thoughts on her highest-profile match since her return. Click here to learn more about Sammi Baynz.
– Lee Burton