You know you have intrinsic importance when people seem to work around you to make things work.
Courtney Rush participated in her first training session after receiving clearance from her doctor. She has been given a clean bill of health after fracturing her clavicle on September 15 in the pre-show ahead of Smash Wrestling’s CAN USA event in Toronto, ON, Canada. At the time, nobody knew she was hurt as she was wrestling under a hood under the name of La Tigre Diablo against Jasmin, and the break happened in what Rush described at the time as a “freak accident”. She didn’t appear on the show as planned, and instead was rushed to hospital with the fear in her head that the plans she had for the following month or so were out of the window.
Rush had been due to travel to England to defend the Bellatrix World Championship at Bellatrix 7 on October 6, but the match between Liberty and she was pushed back – meaning that she would not have to relinquish the title which she won from Allison Danger at NCW Femmes Fatales XI in March. She still participated in the proceedings, turning heel and costing her title challenger the RQW European Championship, which she dropped to Sammi Baynz.
Like Bellatrix, Femmes Fatales also made concessions to accommodate Courtney’s literal tough break.
Courtney Rush and Cheerleader Melissa will face off at Femmes Fatales XIV on April 19 next year in a 30 minute Iron Woman Match, with the winner becoming the number one contender to the International Championship. The match was meant to take place at Femmes Fatales XIII last month but not with the Iron Woman stipulation, but with the same reward up for grabs. The pair had battled to a no-contest at Femmes Fatales XII with the stakes being raised for their rematch – though the injury meant that it had to be altered (with Xandra Bale taking Rush’s place) then scrapped altogether (when Bale suffered an injury of her own). In the end, Melissa was slotted into the main event, teaming with Mercedes Martinez against LuFisto and Sweet Cherrie, and Rush stopped Melissa getting a cheap pin by shoving her feet off the ropes. It helped to keep their feud warm while Courtney recovered.
Under normal circumstances, when a wrestler goes out with injury, the machine rolls on and changes are made – an example of that is Women Superstars Uncensored, which had to make big booking changes to its title matches over 2013 when LuFisto and Athena were unable to challenge for the World Championship because of injuries. Promotions could have shuffled Courtney to one side to push someone else and then try and find a new story for her when she is given the all-clear. However things are different when it comes to Rush, as plans have been changed to make sure she’s available.
While I do not know booking plans for Bellatrix or Femmes Fatales – or any other promotion for that matter – it is telling that both promotions have made sure that she hits the ground running on her return pretty much where she left off. I’m no soothsayer, but it makes one believe that she heavily features in their booking plans for the future. 2014 could prove to be a very successful one for the 5-year pro, and as fans, we look forward to see what fortunes possibly await her.
Incidentally, Rush still holds the Great Canadian Wrestling WILD Championship. She won it on November 28, 2009 – and was still called PJ Tyler at the time.
So that’s the Ringbelles Year End Awards completed for another year, with Mercedes Martinez grabbing the Wrestler of the Year slot. While we don’t believe it’s a controversial announcement as we delivered a slew of reasons why she is so great, we can appreciate that some may argue that others may have had more valuable, productive or critically-acclaimed years. In order to gain more insight into our decision-making, read on.
Our observations are ongoing across the 12 month period, which runs from December to December in order to get the awards made and despatched for the end of the year when we make the announcements. As a consequence, things that happened during the last month of this year carry over for the 2014 award – so things like Arisa Nakajima’s regaining of the JWP Openweight Championship from Kana wouldn’t have counted for this year. As a general rule, most of the big news happens before the end of November as many promotions shut up shop for the Christmas period – with the exceptions being joshi groups, with events like this year’s Ice Ribbon RibbonMania show taking place next week.
Early on in the year, we thought Madison Eagles would be a lock to regain the crown she had in 2010 – back when we had just two awards and didn’t have a website – but Mercedes came through in the end. While there is no set criteria for what we are looking out for, we generally look for outstanding stuff. In 2011 with Hailey Hatred, it was holding six championships (some of them major titles) at the same time in a foreign country, while last year Ayako Hamada won the honour because of the high quality of her work. As we explained, Martinez was named Wrestler of the Year partly because of her wrestling quality and her title achievements, but also because of her vulnerability. You may wonder why that is such a quality, but it really is for when it comes to putting over her opponents.
Wrestlers like Cheerleader Melissa, Kana and Eagles are among the best of the best, no doubt about it. However, because of their auras, it it tough to believe that they are going to be defeated when they wrestle, which means the result can sometimes tend to be less important than it can be. Granted, when the defeat comes, it’s a really big deal, and their win-loss records are in the hands of the promotion’s bookers, but because Martinez loses from time to time, it leads one to feel that she is at more risk of being beaten by a wrestler who could earn a reputation by claiming a big win over a celebrated veteran.
While she defeated Solo Darling in their SHINE match, she did her best to make her less-experienced opponent look a million dollars and make it seem as if she would pull off the upset. Ditto for Miss Mina at Bellatrix 7 in October, and she did fall to Mia Yim at SHINE 10 – and Yim went on to main event the following SHINE as part of the title tournament final. However, the biggest accomplishment was making Sweet Cherrie a seriously credible threat to her Femmes Fatales International Championship.
While Cherrie may be very popular in Montreal, that strength is weaker outside of Quebec, so it was a big ask to get “outsiders” to become emotionally invested into the title match at Femmes Fatales XII. Due to the generosity of Martinez and the willingness to put over the challenge of Cherrie, the pair put on a great contest and established Cherrie as a credible threat to the title – and also main-evented the following show. While you can’t have any control of what happens to the wrestler after the match is over – that’s left in the hands of the promoters, and the fans to a certain extent – Mercedes provides the biggest springboard that she possibly can. That sort of generosity and forward thinking should not go unnoticed.
Again, there is a number of great wrestlers out there. Some may have better matches than Martinez, boost their profile more effectively (in fact, all of them do that as Mercedes shies away from social media) or have won more – or higher profile – titles. However, in the spirit of doing great business and trying to elevate as many people as possible through their matches, none have been more accomplished than the Latina Sensation over the last year.
While we are on the subject of the awards, there will likely be some changes for the 2014 edition. As we pointed out with the Discovery of the Year category, it’s a relative title as fans tend to discover wrestlers at different paces. As a result, we’re considering doing away with that prize, and replacing it with two more. Yes – we’re looking at expanding the Year End Awards by one to four.
If you wanted to check out why we selected Nikki Storm as our Discovery of the Year, and why Kimber Lee took the Breakout Star award, click their names to jump to the articles. The last week has also seen us post a new Retro, featuring Trish Stratus’ seventh WWE Women’s Title win in September 2006.
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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Chris Harrington from Voices Of Wrestling has tallied up everyone’s win-loss records in WWE up to December 18. The busiest of the Divas was Kaitlyn, who has wrestled the most matches out of all the women (113) and has a 74% victory record with 82 wins, 29 losses and 2 no-contests. AJ Lee has wrestled the second highest number of matches out of the women (90), but has a 40% success rate (36-53-1). Aksana’s record is wretched, with just one win out of 75 matches. The best record belongs to JoJo, who with three wins and no losses has a 100% success record. Kaitlyn and Tamina Snuka have locked horns the most often out of the women, facing each other in a total 57 singles and tag matches. AJ and Kaitlyn fought a combine 38 times, while Aksana and Natalya tangled 31 times – mostly on international house shows… Raquel Diaz made her in-ring comeback on the final show at the old Florida Championship Wrestling Arena in Tampa, FL on Thursday night. She teamed with Sasha Banks in a losing effort against Bayley & Emma. Diaz attacked her partner after the match and smeared her face with lipstick. Eden Stiles (Brandi Rhodes) also made her return on the show, and Sweden’s Sarah Backman also made her first appearance in front of a live audience… Nikki Bella says she lost a tooth from Tamina Snuka’s superkick on last week’s Raw… AJ Lee was given a stiff talking to by WWE over her explosion at NBCs Michelle Beadle at the Tribute to the Troops taping, but is unlikely to be disciplined further… Natalya told WWE.com that her worst travel experience was when she and a large portion of the roster was stranded in Europe because of the ash cloud from the volcano in Iceland in April 2010. She said she kissed the ground at JFK airport in New York when she finally made it home a week later… In an interview with the Miami Herald, Gerald Brisco put over Dave Finlay’s work in developing the WWE Divas to make them more credible in the ring. Trish Stratus often says the same thing about him… Trainer Sara Del Rey was given a Christmas gift by the developmental Divas before they all went their separate ways for Christmas. It was a hamper full of gum. Those women know the former SHIMMER Champion very well.
Brooke Tessmacher wrote a blog on TNA’s website about breaking her jaw in 2010. She explains that she had the surgery and while things looked fine on the surface, the enamel on her teeth was being ground away because of the way her jaw was aligned. She recently had a load of surgery to fix her law to align her teeth after three years of daily pain – which also caused her to be tentative in the ring as she couldn’t deal with the hurt of being hit in the face – and had new veneers put on to boot. The results look pretty good… Madison Rayne was victorious in her in-ring return to TNA last Thursday on Impact Wrestling, teaming with ODB to beat Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa. Rayne pinned Kim with a backslide after countering the Eat Defeat attempt.
Leah Von Dutch’s next defence of her Xtreme Bombshells Wrestling Championship will be on February 9. She will put the belt up against Jillian Hall in a cage match. No reason for why it’s a gimmick match with no build up though… In an interview with the Miami Herald, Tammy Sytch reiterated that she doesn’t believe women should wrestle and it should be left to the men, but has nothing against it because it’s become so commonplace. At least she’s not so against women’s wrestling these days. Speaking of Sytch, she had a second surgery for her cervical cancer on Wednesday. She had a hysterectomy earlier this year… Former TNA Knockouts Champion Taylor Wilde tweeted that she is making a few wrestling related appearances in 2014. It’s unclear whether she will be wrestling or things like signing autographs at conventions. She is scheduled to be at Squared Circle Wrestling’s show in Whitby, ON, Canada on February 16. The 27 year old retired in February 2011 and has retrained as a firefighter… Absolute Intense Wrestling has announced a second double taping of its Girls Night Out shows. GNOs 11 and 12 will take place on March 29 – names announced include Athena, Kimber Lee, Veda Scott, Hania, Leah Von Dutch, Marti Belle, Annie Social, Heidi Lovelace, Xandra Bale, Angel Dust, Jasmin and Women’s Champion Allysin Kay… Ray Lynn could have won the Ohio Valley Wrestling Women’s Championship on Wednesday but misread The Bodyguy’s intentions. He came to the ring willing to lie down and gift the title to someone else as he was fed up of being called “Bodygirl”. When he lay on the mat and encouraged Lynn to get on top of him, she thought he was making advances to her and slapped him. The Assassin came out and attacked the Bodyguy, earning Lynn a DQ loss… Xandra Bale is out of her cast after breaking her fibula in mid-October at Women Superstars Uncensored’s Blood and Thunder show. She is hoping to be back in the ring by mid-January… Vivian St John, who was part of Fabulous Moolah’s troupe, passed away on December 20 at the age of 63. Standing close to 6 feet tall, she debuted in 1974. Her body was found by Leilani Kai, who had moved into St John’s Fort Lauderdale, FL home to look after her… Mickie Knuckles won a 20 person battle royal at a IWA Mid-South/Evolution Pro Wrestling charity show on Sunday.
Leon and Ray won the REINA World Tag Team Championship on Sunday. They beat Ariya & Aki Shizuku, who were dethroned on their first defence.
Carmel Jacob will face Shauna Shay at LCW Roses on January 25. Kay Lee Ray v Erin Angel v Nikki Storm is another contest which has been announced… Lady Lory and Morgane Leigh meet on Friday with the winner gaining the vacant Italian Championship Wrestling Women’s Championship… Nikki Storm lost to the debuting Courtney on the Scottish Wrestling Alliance’s show on Saturday.
Princesa Sugheit became the number one contender to Marcela’s CMLL World Women’s Championship on Sunday by winning a cibernetico against the rest of the roster. The last person to be eliminated was Amapola.
Australia & New Zealand
Madison Eagles has been announced for May’s New Horizons Pro Wrestling Global Conflict shows. She was in this year’s tournament, replacing Saraya Knight – who is the only other person confirmed for the 2014 tournament so far… Evie is heading to Japan next month to spend three month wrestling with World Women Pro Wrestling Diana. She was selected by Zero 1 Australia, and is the first woman to have been chosen by the promotion to go to the country.
December 13: Division 3 Wrestling (Chicago, IL) – KO Kendra b Crazy Mary Dobson
December 17: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Estrellita, Goya Kong & Marcela b Dalys, La Seductora & Princesa Blanca
December 18: WWE Main Event (Austin, TX) – AJ Lee b Kaitlyn
December 18: WWE NXT (Winter Park, FL) – Paige b Sasha Banks
December 18: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – The Bodyguy b Ray Lyn via DQ
December 19: GakePro (Warabi, Japan) – GAMI b Miyako Matsumoto; Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto b GAMI & Miyako Matsumoto
December 19: WWE Superstars (Dallas, TX) – Summer Rae b Kaitlyn
December 19: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Madison Rayne & ODB b Gail Kim & Lei’D Tapa
December 19: WWE NXT (Tampa, FL) – Bayley & Emma b Sasha Banks & Raquel Diaz
December 19: Championship Wrestling From Hollywood (Bell Gardens, CA) – Danielle Martinez & Shelly Martinez b Jezabel Romo & Sage Sinn
December 20: World Association of Wrestling (Gressenhall, England) – Saraya Knight b Penelope
December 20: Pro Wrestling Guerilla (Reseda, CA) – Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae b Johnny Goodtime & Johnny Yuma
December 20: I Believe In Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Santana Garrett & Chasyn Rance b Gabriel Black & Lizzie Parris
December 20: WWE NXT (Orlando, FL) – Alexa Bliss b Sasha Banks
December 21: Wrestling New Classic (Gifu, Japan) – Shuri b Kaho Kobayashi; Takuya Kito b Lin Byron & Jiro “Ikemen” Kuroshio in a 3-way
December 21: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Miyako Matsumoto v Yuka went to a time limit draw; Meari Naito b Kyuri; Neko Nitta b Tsukushi & Maki Narumiya in a 3-way; Tsukasa Fujimoto b 235; Hikaru Shida & Hamuko Hoshi b Risa Sera & Rutsuko Yamaguchi
December 21: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Glasgow, Scotland) – Courtney b Nikki Storm; Viper, DCT, Tom Fulton & Dillon Harris b Mr Byers, Bobby Roberts, Adam Carrel & Damian O’Connor
December 21: Pro Wrestling Guerilla (Reseda, CA) – Drake Younger, Joey Ryan, & Candice LaRae b the Young Bucks & Kevin Steen
December 21: Desastre Total Ultraviolento (Tlalnepantla, Mexico) – Christine, JC Mclean, Keira, La Magnifica & Zuzu Divine b Diosa Atenea, Mystique, Princesa Ahy Leen, Reina Dorada & Star Fire
December 22: WRESTLE-1 (Sanjō, Japan) – Riho b Emi Sakura
December 22: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Sachie Abe b Kayoko Haruyama; Hanako Nakamori b KAZUKI; Rydeen Hagane won a battle royal
December 22: REINA Joshi Puroresu (Tokyo, Japan) – Makoto b Kaho Kobayashi; Dump Matsumoto & Mima Shimoda b Seleziya Sparx & Jenny Rose; Ray & Leon b Ariya & Aki Shizuku to win the REINA World Tag Team Championship; Syuri b La Comandante
December 22: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Amapola, Goya Kong, La Seductora, Lady Afrodita & Tiffany b Dallys la Caribeña, Estrellita, Princesa Sugheit, Silueta, Zeuxis; Princesa Sugheit b Estrellita, Goya Kong, Silueta, Lady Afrodita, Amapola, Tiffany, Dallys la Caribeña, La Seductora & Zeuxis in a cibernetico
December 22: CHILANGAMASK (Coacalco de Berriozábal, Mexico) Silueta b Chik Tormenta
December 22: IWA Mid-South/Evolution Pro Wrestling (Clarksville, IN) – Mickie Knuckles won a battle royal; Heidi Lovelace b Jordynne Grace; Mickie Knuckles & Jay Bly b Raphael King & Devyn Nicole
December 23: Stardom (Osaka, Japan) – Hiroyo Matsumoto b Koguma; Kellie Skater b Mayu Iwatani; Yoshiko & Natsuki☆Taiyo b Io Shirai & Kairi Hojo; Takumi Iroha b The Female Predator “Amazon”; Kaori Yoneyama b Yuhi; Nanae Takahashi & Miho Wakizawa b Kyoko Kimura & Act Yasukawa
December 23: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – La Comandante b Makoto; Lin Byron, Shinose Mitoshichi & Masaya Takahashi b AKIRA, Syuri & Horizon; TYusuke Kodaka & Syuri b AJIRI & Makoto; La Comandante & Koharu Hinata b Lin Byron & Kaho Kobayashi
December 23: WRESTLE-1 (Tokorozawa, Japan) – Emi Sakura b Riho
December 23: WWE Raw (Austin, TX) – Eva Marie, Natalya, Cameron, Naomi and Nikki & Brie Bella b Aksana, Alicia Fox, Tamina Snuka, Kaitlyn, Vickie Guerrero & Summer Rae
December 27: Italian Championship Wrestling (Cecina, Italy) – Lady Lory v Morgane Leigh
December 28: Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – Christina Von Eerie v Candice LeRae
December 29: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Takumi Iroha v Yuhi; Natsuki*Taiyo v Kaori Yoneyama; Act Yasukawa v Kellie Skater; Kyoko Kimura, Alpha Female & The Female Predator “Amazon” v Hiroyo Matsumoto, Miho Wakizawa & Mayu Iwatani; Nanae Takahashi & Meiko Satomura v Yoshiko & Kagetu; Io Shirai v Arisa Nakajima
December 31: Ice Ribbon “Ribbonmania” (Tokyo, Japan) – Hikaru Shida v Kagetsu; Jun Kasai & Miyako Matsumoto v Hamuko Hoshi & Kouzy; Misaki Ohata & Mio Shirai v Risa Sera & Rutsuko Yamaguchi; Tsukushi & Manami Toyota v Kurumi & Kyoko Inoue; Tsukasa Fujimoto v Maki Narumiya
January 4: NWA Smoky Mountain (Kingsport, TN) – Kacee Carlisle v Jessie Belle
January 4: Ring Wars Carolina (Lumberton, NC) – D’Arcy Dixon v Mia Svensson
January 11: World Xtreme Wrestling C4 (Orwigsburg, PA) – Hania v Niya
January 11: Conflict Wrestling (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Jennifer Blake v Leah Von Dutch v Jewells Malone
January 14: Alpha-1 Wrestling (Hamilton, ON, Canada) – Leah Von Dutch v Psycho Mike Rollins
January 15: Wrestling Cares Association (Gardena, CA) – Katarina Leigh v Cheerleader Melissa
January 18: Pure Wrestling Association (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Jasmin v Beautiful Beaa
January 18: Xtreme Impact Championship Wrestling (Detroit, MI) – Taeler Hendrix v Jordynne Grace
January 24: SHINE 16 (Ybor City, FL) – Rain v Ivelisse Velez
January 25: LCW Roses (Leicester, England) – Rhia O’Reilly v Addy Starr; Viper & Jenna v Nadia Sapphire & Violet Vendetta; Carmel Jacob v Shauna Shay; Nikki Storm v Erin Angel v Kay Lee Ray
January 25: RAD:PRO Wrestling (South Shields, England) – Rubix Roach & Kirsty Love v Felis Atrox & Freya Frenzy
January 25: Pinfall Wrestling Association (Springfield, IL) – Allie Kat & Miss Dark Shadow v Lady Vendetta & Lucy Mendez
February 8: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ)
February 9: Xtreme Bombshells Wrestling (Richmond, MI) – Leah Von Dutch v Jillian Hall
February 16: Beyond Wrestling (Providence, RI) – Kimber Lee v Drew Gulak
February 22: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Rahway, NJ) – Angelina Love v Missy Sampson v La Rosa Negra v Mickie James
February 25: Kana-Pro (Tokyo, Japan) – Kana v Meiko Satomura
March 2: Bellatrix 8 (Norwich, England) – Sammi Baynz v Blue Nikita
March 15: Warzone Wrestling (Berwick, Australia) – Savannah Summers v Miami
March 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 11 & 12 (Cleveland, OH)
April 5: SHIMMER Women Athletes (New Orleans, LA)
April 19: NCW Femmes Fatales XIV (Montreal, QC, Canada) – Cheerleader Melissa v Courtney Rush
– Lee Burton
– Photos by Ringbelles, Tabercil, NCW Femmes Fatales, Brooke Tessmacher, TNA, Michihiro Tomita
– 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