Ohio Valley Wrestling’s women’s division has had an interesting year.
The first four months of 2013 saw a litany of title changes, with Jessie Belle, Heidi Lovelace, Taryn Terrell and Epiphany claiming the championship at some point, before it landed in the hands of a returning Trina Thompson, who gravitated towards a feud with Lei’D Tapa before her 5 month reign came to a sudden end due to a knee injury a week before they were to square off at September’s Saturday Night Special.
Over this time, Lovelance and Taeler Hendrix were drawing more eyes to the division by their beautifully played out same-sex unrequited manipulative romance with Lovelace having eyes for the conniving redhead and being bent to do Hendrix’s bidding in order to show how much she cared – including fighting friend Trina, who was doing her best to make her see sense. The storyline got a bit skewed near the end as it was cut short fairly quickly, but Lovelace ended up seeing how she was being played and got her revenge against her former crush. It was a great showing by both parties and really helped to show off their versatilities as characters.
The success of this storyline meant there was a huge amount of interest in who the vacant Women’s Championship was going to end up on, and was decided in a 4-way Ladder Match with Tapa, Hendrix & Hannah and Holly Blossom all looking to climb the rungs to victory. As it turned out, the underlying friction that the twins were experiencing at the time came to a head as Hannah knocked her sister off the ladder to snare the title – though quickly lost it to Tapa while repairing the bond with her sibling.
Unfortunately, since that high, things have fallen apart.
After doing away with Miss OVW Lovely Lylah, Tapa entered into a feud with The Bodyguy, who’s going with a misogynist gimmick, saying that women should be in the kitchen or sewing, rather than being in a wrestling ring. He illustrated his point by defeating last Wednesday ahead of his Women’s Championship challenge to Tapa at last weekend’s Saturday Night Special – a match which he won. Yep – The Bodyguy is the OVW Women’s Champion.
Now, I’m not going to say that men should not challenge for the Women’s Championship, as women are winning more mens’ championships in promotions these days – but the difference is that when women go after mens’ titles it portrayed as a serious quest to prove their equality, while it is usually the case that when a man goes after a female title, it’s played for laughs and tarnishes the belt. Harvey Wippleman wore drag in early 2000 to win the WWF Women’s Championship, while Cody Deaner was involved in a storyline involving the TNA Knockouts Championship in 2009. Neither helped to elevate the prestige of the championship, and played their part in tarnishing its credibility.
I’m confident that The Bodyguy will drop the belt to another female member of the roster – but the question is, which one? In the last few months, the number of women working there has drastically fallen. Heidi Lovelace left soon after her storyline with Hendrix came to an end, and Taeler has also moved on after spending close to two years there. Epiphany retired earlier this year, Trina is out with injury, while Terrell was only there for a brief period. As a consequence of TNA cutting ties with OVW, contracted wrestlers Hannah and Holly Blossom along with Tapa have been finishing up in order to relocate to Florida – and the title change is probably a way to write the Gut Check winner out. As a result, the only women left are Lovely Lylah, Jessie Belle and Ray Lynn – and that’s nowhere near enough, especially when you consider how new Lynn is. It’s a massive difference compared to when the Ladder Match took place just 3 months ago, when names like Santana Garrett, Candice LeRae and Marti Belle made the trip to get noticed.
OVW’s women’s division needs an injection of names, and despite it not being a feeder system for TNA it is still a great place to work. With regular episodic TV and higher profile cards every couple of months, a wrestler can learn how to work for cameras and get some regular ring time. It is also noted for having a rich alumni like Beth Phoenix, Serena Deeb, Mickie James, Lisa Marie Varon, Jillian Hall and ODB, it is a place that has taken women’s wrestling seriously in the past – though the current champion isn’t much of a reflection of that – and it has a reputation for producing stars.
We hope that this is a blip rather than a sustained slide, as OVW has been a lot of fun this year.
SHINE 15 takes place this Friday and while there are a lot of matches which we have an eye on, the main event will mark the end of an era, regardless of the outcome.
Win, lose or draw, Rain’s SHINE Championship defence against Amazing Kong will be her final match, as she has made no secret about her intentions to retire from the ring. She made the announcement a year ago that 2013 was going to be her final year, marking an end to her 13 years of wrestling – a career that saw her help with the building blocks for SHIMMER, wreak havoc as part of one of the most accomplished female tag teams in the US this century, and winning the SHINE title in the twilight of her run.
Rain first got interested in the business after living with her cousin and her friend being a wrestler – she got into the industry as a manager for him and was asked if she wanted to train. After starting out with bookings in her hometown of St Paul, MN, she made her first hit with IWA Mid-South in 2002, competing against fellow new face Lacey – and the pair had a rivalry which rolled across a number of promotion including Steel Domain Wrestling (where the feud technically started), Pro Wrestling America, French Lakes Wrestling Association, Mid American Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling. However, in the spring of 2004 the two enemies formed an alliance to kick bottom as the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew, where the pair were integral parts of the fledgling women’s division in IWA MS, though she never claimed the promotion’s Women’s Championship and left to become one of the SHIMMER Originals, losing to Ariel on the first show and then falling to Allison Danger on the second.
As time went on, SHIMMER’s relationships with Ring Of Honor and Full Impact Pro saw her profile expand further and caught the attention of TNA, who appeared as a plant on the October 18, 2007 episode of Impact as a Robert Roode superfan. Her continued appearances raised the ire of Roode’s valet Miss Brooks (Traci Brooks), who was then attacked by the nasty newcomer. However, instead of siding with Brooks, Roode announced that she had be usurped by the superfan, who was renamed as Peyton Banks. The two women kicked off a feud which incorporated a PPV contest, where Brooks defeated Banks at Against All Odds 2008. Her run with TNA didn’t last very long, as she was let go after she and Roode lost to Booker T & Sharmell at Lockdown that April.
Despite being the heel in the Rain v Lacey feud, it almost felt as if Rain was more of a Lacey facsimile for a while, though the introduction of Jetta and the retirement of her enemy-turned-teammate refreshed her character as part of the International Home Wrecking Crew and saw her comedic side come out a bit more, as it was teased out by the Brit’s goofy personality. In hindsight, it’s a shame that the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship didn’t exist during the MHWC’s run, and eluded the IWHC.
2008 also saw Rain start working with Women Superstars Uncensored where she was a losing finalist in the following year’s J-Cup, and also earning title shot against WSU Champion Mercedes Martinez in 2010, though was defeated each time by the Latina Sensation, despite forming an “army” consisting of Nikki Roxx, Jessicka Havok and Angel Orsini. As well as working across the US, Rain also started competing for AAA in Mexico during 2009 as part of the the La Legion Extranjera which also included the likes of Jennifer Blake, Goddess and Christina Von Eerie during its four year incarnation, though she, Blake, Von Eerie and Sexy Star also founded Las Gringas Locas in 2010.
Considering her profile, it took 11 years before Rain claimed a major title (she won belts at FLWA and Midwest Intensity Wrestling in the past though they are not such prominent promotions), and even then it only lasted for a few hours. After turning babyface in WSU, she won the Spirit Championship from Sassy Stephie as a Great Championship Wrestling show in September 2011, though lost the belt later on in the show to Havok, who was on a sustained ascent to the top of the promotion.
Rain seriously scaled her bookings back last year to primarily work for SHINE, as the promotion emanates from Florida, where she currently resides – and was the centre of attention from the beginning. Main-eventing SHINE 3 in a losing effort to Jazz – though she rejected the loss as she was working on an undefeated streak – she was also part of the main match of SHINE 5, where she teamed with Martinez against Kong and Jazz in a match where she suffered a broken wrist which kept her out of SHINE 6. However, she would still be involved in the proceedings as she revealed herself to be the leader of the Valkyrie faction comprised of she, Allysin Kay, Taylor Made, Ivelisse Velez & April Hunter, and proceeded to run roughshod over the roster en route to becoming the first SHINE Champion after winning the tournament at SHINE 11 in July, beating LuFisto, Havok and Mia Yim to claim the title. Successful defences against Havok, Angelina Love and Hiroyo Matsumoto have followed, leading to this match against Kong in three days.
In 72 hours, Rain’s wrestling career will be over – and despite it not being littered with title reigns, she is a significant contributor to the women’s wrestling scene in the US. She will be moving forward in her business with fellow retiree Nikki Roxx, as they look to improve more people’s health as part of their BonRoxx Fitness venture. It’s good to see her have a plan for the future, and we wish her all the best.
Elsewhere on the site in the last week, we have videos from Heidi Lovelace’s match at National Pro Wrestling Day, and a match featuring Candice LeRae taking on Cheerleader Melissa over the summer. We also featured a Retro with Tough Enough winners Nidia and Jackie Gayda squaring off in Italy.
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!
Meanwhile, if you want one of our t-shirts, click here and pick which shop is best for you. We have stores for the US/Canada (which also ships to Australia) and one for the UK and mainland Europe. Check out the latest Wrestling Yay, SHIMMER Like A Girl and No Limits 2.0 designs, as well as the Evielution and Free AK47 shirts which we are selling at cost price, and the brand new I Am Not A Bad Person and WoMan Up shirts.
The best of the rest
Paige defeated Natalya on last Wednesday’s episode of NXT to successfully defend her Women’s Championship after the match was set up the week before. The pair hugged afterwards… In an Q&A with the Las Vegas Review Journal, Brie Bella said that she wouldn’t want to be stuck in a cage with UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, saying her “armbar doesn’t look too pleasant”. Nikki said she could break Ronda’s arm, and I fell over laughing… Kaitlyn has been nominated in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Most Improved category in their 2013 awards… The Wrestling Observer reports that there were plans to turn the Funkadactlys and Tons Of Funk heel, but E! claims pressure was put on WWE to not turn Cameron and Naomi for the sake of the Total Divas show. Brodus Clay and Tensai may still do it though… The Bella Twins won the Slammy award for Diva/s of the Year. Daniel Bryan and Brie won Couple of the Year, and the Funkadactyls won Best Dance Moves. The voting was said to be 100% legitimate. WWE.com followed up by saying that AJ Lee was snubbed in favour of the reality TV stars… Former WWE employee Angela Fong participated in the finals of the Tropic Beauty bikini pageant in Los Angeles last week.
Cherry Bomb is the latest indie name to be beaten as part of Gail Kim’s Open Challenge. She was defeated on last Thursday’s Impact Wrestling, wrestling under her real name of Laura Dennis… Like Kaitlyn, Taryn Terrell is also up for PWI’s Most Improved title… Velvet Sky forgave Chris Sain for his harsh treatment of her recently, saying “no matter how badly you get treated in a relationship, if you really and truly love the person…I forgive him”. From a domestic violence standpoint, that’s one hell of a dangerous statement to make.
Mickie Knuckles made a surprise unannounced return to IWA Mid South on Saturday, winning a 5-way match over Heidi Lovelace, Randi West, Jordynne Grace and Thunderkitty… Nikki Roxx wrestled her last match on Friday, defeating Alexxis Nevaeh. Thanks for everything Nikki… Kasey Ray got a win over World Women’s Wrestling Champion Mistress Belmont on Saturday – unfortunately for Ray, it was via DQ… Jasmin won the Pure Wrestling Association Elite Women’s Championship from Beautiful Beaa on Saturday… Jennifer Blake is returning to Canada in the new year to compete for Conflict Wrestling. She’ll take on Leah Von Dutch… We still don’t know who the number one contender to Maria Kanellis’ Family Wrestling Entertainment Women’s Championship is going to be. Angelina Love and Ivelisse Velez went to a double count out on Saturday.
Kana will hold her next self-produced show on February 25 in Tokyo. She will headline the show against Meiko Satomura… Alpha Female was admitted to hospital after Sunday’s stardom show in Tokyo, suffering from chest pains. They couldn’t diagnose what it was, and Stardom won’t clear her for wrestling again until it’s know what caused the pain… Meiko Satomura won the Joshi Puroresu Grand Prize at the 2013 Tokyo Sports Grand Prix Awards.
Bellatrix will hold a 30-woman Rumble match at Bellatrix 8 in March to determine a new number one contender to Sammi Baynz’s RQW European Championship… Chanel faces Addy Starr at DOA Wrestling this Saturday… The RAD:PRO Mixed Tag Team Championship will be on the line on January 25. Titleholders Rubix Roach & Kirsty Love defend against Felis Atrox & Freya Frenzy… Blue Nikita retained her German Stampede Wrestling Women’s Championship at the German Wrestling Federation show on Saturday, beating Vanessa La Bestia… Sammii Jayne has challenged Viper for the Scottish Wrestling Entertainment Future Division Championship.
Pimpinela Escarlata lost her hair in an eight person cage match at AAA’s supercard on Sunday. Sexy Star also made her return on the show after bowing out in March because she was pregnant – she gave birth in August… Estrella Explosiva lost her hair after losing a Mask v Hair match against Angelica at Lucha Libre Feminil’s show on Friday. Lady Flamer & Lady Puma also won the vacant LLF Tag Team Championship after beating Baby Puma & Lady Star and Katary & Shekinah Elijah in a four team, one night tournament.
Australia & New Zealand
Shadow Shinobi lost her mask on November 30’s Outback Championship Wrestling show. She was defeated by Vixsin in a match where Vixsin’s hair was also on the line… Evie regained the vacant Impact Pro Wrestling Women’s Championship on Saturday by beating Olivia Shaw & Britenay in a 3-way. Later in the show, she turned heel and joined a new stable called The Investment… Madison Eagles is collecting masks in Newcastle Pro Wrestling. She beat Bee Boy on Saturday and stole his to go along with the one from Mantis from when he was beaten by Eagles last month… Savannah Summers regained the Riot City Wrestling Women’s Championship on Saturday. She was scheduled to take on Kellyanne English again but she couldn’t make it due to travel issues. Instead, Summers beat Izzy Shaw to win the belt back – it was declared vacant after then-champion Eliza Sway suffered an injury.
November 30: Outback Championship Wrestling (Kangaroo Flat, Australia) – Vixsin b Shadow Shinobi
December 1: Elite Championship Wrestling (Houma, LA) – Jessica James v Miss Diss Lexia went to a double DQ
December 3: Desastre Total Ultraviolento (Pachuca, Mexico) – Articus & JC Maclean b Chica Yeye & Xatana and La Magnifica & Lancelot
December 4: WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Sawako Shimono b Mika Iida; GAMI b Rina Yamashita; GAMI b Natsuki Urabe; Moeka Haruhi v Ryo Mizunami went to a time limit draw; Yumi Ohka b Fairy Nipponbashi; Shuu Shibutani v Ayako Hamada went to a time limit draw; Yuu Yamagata b Misaki Ohata; Ayako Hamada, Misaki Ohata, Ryo Mizunami, Mika Iida, Fairy Nipponbashi, Rina Yamashita & Natsuki Urabe b GAMI, Yumi Ohka, Yuu Yamagata, Moeka Haruhi, Sawako Shimono & Shuu Shibutani
December 4: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Jessie Belle b Lovely Lylah; Bodyguy b Jessie Belle
December 4: WWE NXT (Winter Park, FL) – Paige b Natalya
December 5: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim b Laura Dennis
December 5: WWE Superstars (Tulsa, OK) – Kaitlyn b Aksana
December 6: Wrestling New Classic (Osaka, Japan) – Makoto b Kaho Kobayashi; El Hijo del Pantera & El Pantera b Jiro Kuroshio & Lin Byron
December 6: WrestleClash (Melbourne, Australia) – Kellyanne English & Adam Brooks b Miami & Mr Juicy
December 6: Pro Wrestling 4 U (Newcastle-Under-Lyme, England) – Violet Vendetta b Jenna
December 6: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – Addy Starr b Leah Von Dutch
December 6: Ultimate Championship Wrestling (Radstock, England) – Princess Nadia Sapphire & Faith Lehaine b Vicky Morton & Miss Flash
December 6: New England Championship Wrestling (Beverly, MA) – Kasey Ray b Mistress Belmont via DQ
December 6: IWA Mid South Wrestling (Clarkesville, IL) – Mickie Knuckles b Randi West, Thunderkitty, Jordynne Grace & Heidi Lovelace in a 5-way
December 6: Lucky Pro Wrestling (Clinton, MA) – Nikki Roxx b Alexxis Nevaeh
December 6: WWE SmackDown (Tulsa, OK) – Natalya b Tamina Snuka
December 6: WWE (Stockton, CA) – Naomi & Cameron b Alicia Fox & Aksana
December 6: Full Impact Pro (Orlando, FL) – Mia Yim b Jessicka Havok
December 6: Lucha Libre Feminil (Monterrey, Mexico) – Katary & Shekinah Elijah b Gacela & Lady Maldad; Lady Flamer & Lady Puma b Baby Puma & Lady Star; Diana La Cazadora b La Chacala; Lady Flamer & Lady Puma b Katary & Shekinah Elijah; Sadica b Lady Star & Tsunami in a 3-way; Angelica b Estrella Explosiva
December 7: Ice Ribbon (Kamisu, Japan) – Miyako Matsumoto & Risa Sera b Meari Naito & Kyuri; Cherry b 235; Neko Nitta b Tetsuya Nakazato & Hayate in a 3-way; Maki Narumiya b Mio Shirai; Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Hamuko Hoshi & Kurumi; Nanae Takahashi b Tsukushi
December 7: Impact Pro Wrestling (Lynfield, New Zealand) – Evie b Olivia Shaw & Britenay in a 3-way to win the IPW Women’s Championship
December 7: Newcastle Pro Wrestling (Newlambton, Australia) – Madison Eagles b Bee Boy
December 7: New Age Wrestling (Melton, Australia) – Siren Monroe b Minzy Montana
December 7: New European Championship Wrestling (Hessdorf, Germany) – Kick Ass Jane b Amber Rox & Jessy Jade in a 3-way
December 7: German Wrestling Federation (Berlin, Germany) – Blue Nikita b Vanessa La Bestia
December 7: International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom (Swanley, England) – Rhia O’Reilly b Olivia
December 7: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – The Bodyguy b Lei’D Tapa to win the OVW Women’s Championship
December 7: Full Impact Pro (Ybor City, FL) – Leva Bates b Su Yung
December 7: WWE (Sacramento, CA) – Naomi & Cameron b Alicia Fox & Aksana
December 7: East Coast Wrestling Association (Newark, DE) – Jessie Kaye v Renee Michelle went to a time limit draw
December 7: Wrestling Cares Association (Culver City, CA) – Katarina Leigh b Tracy Taylor
December 7: Pure Wrestling Association (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Jasmin b Beautiful Beaa to win the PWA Elite Women’s Championship
December 7: Acclaim Pro Wrestling (Greely, ON, Canada) – Vanessa Kraven, Deeno & Cheeky b Jody D’Milo, She Nay Nay & Portia Perez
December 7: Adrenaline Championship Wrestling (Millersville, MD) – Kacee Carlisle b Rebecca Payne & Holli Quinn in a handicap match
December 7: United States Wrestling Organisation (Millersville, TN) – Miss Rachel b Sex Kitten Kathy
December 7: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Brooklyn, NY) – Angelina Love v Ivelisse Velez went to a double count out; Taeler Hendrix b Christina Von Eerie
December 8: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – The Female Predator “Amazon” b Mayu Iwatani & Yoshiko in a 3-way; Kyoko Kimura, Act Yasukawa & Alpha Female b Nanae Takahashi, Miho Wakizawa & Kairi Hojo; Takumi Iroha b Koguma; Natsuki*Taiyo & Yuhi b Io Shirai & Kaori Yoneyama
December 8: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – Cuty Rieko b Moeka Haruhi; Manami Toyota & Tsubasa Kuragaki b Carlos Amano & Kyusei Sakura Hirota; Tomoka Nakagawa b GAMI & Yuu Yamagata in a 3-way; Yumi Ohka b Mio Shirai; Chikayo Nagashima & Sonoko Kato b AKINO & Ayako Hamada; Aja Kong, Dynamite Kansai & Mayumi Ozaki b Hiroyo Matsumoto, Hikaru Shida & Kagetsu
December 8: WWE (Yakima, WA) – Nikki & Brie Bella b AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka; The Great Khali & Natalya b Fandango & Summer Rae
December 8: Battlewar (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) – Vanessa Kraven b Leon Saver
December 8: I Believe In Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Santana Garrett b Gabriel Black
December 8: AAA (Nayarit, Mexico) – Pimpinela Escarlata lost her hair in a match also involving Taya Valkyrie, Mamba, Jennifer Blake, Faby Apache, Pasion Kristal, Polvo de Estrellas & Sexy Star
December 9: WWE Raw (Seattle, WA) – Natalya b Tamina Snuka
December 13: SHINE 15 (Ybor City, FL) – Rain v Amazing Kong; Jessicka Havok v Allysin Kay; Sassy Stephie & Jessie Belle Smothers v Santana Garrett & Amber O’Neal; Ivelisse Velez v Mia Yim; Leva Bates v Nevaeh; Angelina Love v Taylor Made; Solo Darling v Su Yung; Sojo Bolt v La Rosa Negra; Heidi Lovelace v Mercedes Martinez
December 14: FutureShock Wrestling (Manchester, England) – Viper v Danni Hunter
December 14: DOA Wrestling (March, England) – Addy Starr v Chanel
December 14: Pro Wrestling Syndicate Bombshells (Avenel, NJ) – La Rosa Negra v Missy Sampson; Jennifer Cruz v Amber Rodriguez; Jessie Kaye & Sienna Duvall v Angel Dust & Vanity; Annie Social & Amy Lee v Mia Yim & Alexxis Nevaeh; Mistress Belmont & Sumie Sakai v Niya & Hania
December 15: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Su Yung v Rhia O’Reilly
December 15: WWE TLC (Houston, TX) – AJ Lee v Natalya
December 21: Herts and Essex Wrestling (Takeley, England) – Infinity, Penelope & TBA v Brett Meadows, Skarlett & Dominator
December 28: Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – Christina Von Eerie v Candice LeRae
January 4: NWA Smoky Mountain (Kingsport, TN) – Kacee Carlisle v Jessie Belle
January 11: World Xtreme Wrestling C4 (Orwigsburg, PA) – Hania v Niya
January 11: Conflict Wrestling (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Jennifer Blake v Leah Von Dutch
January 25: LCW Roses (Leicester, England) – Rhia O’Reilly v Addy Starr
January 25: RAD:PRO Wrestling (South Shields, England) – Rubix Roach & Kirsty Love v Felis Atrox & Freya Frenzy
February 8: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ)
February 25: Kana-Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana v Meiko Satomura
March 2: Bellatrix 8 (Norwich, England)
April 5: SHIMMER Women Athletes (New Orleans, LA)
– Lee Burton
– Photos by OVWMania, Slammin Ladies, WWE, Savannah Summers, Mr Reyes, 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, Ringstars, PWInsider, NHB Girls, North Starz, WrestlingData