As we’ll never tire of telling you, Ringbelles is founded on our podcasts. Our flagship “Women of Wrestling Podcast” predates the very existence of Ringbelles as a website (Lee & I have been podcasting together since August 2009 – about a year and a half before this website debuted), and we’re meticulous about bringing you the best audio we possibly can – whether in our longform flagship Women of Wrestling Podcast, in our one-on-one shorter Fight Like A Girl series, in our website exclusive My Name Is… series (which shines the spotlight on younger wrestlers taking their first steps as a pro) to one of our wrestler hosted shows like Courtney Rush‘s Rush Hour or Angelus Layne‘s Layne’s Brain – we have a commitment to quality audio we hope you enjoy.
We produced 15 episodes of the Women of Wrestling Podcast this year, along with a staggering 24 editions of Fight Like A Girl (with an even split of 12 presented by me and 12 presented by Lee), while Lee produced a further 12 website exclusive My Name Is… shows. Add in a couple of Layne’s Brains towards the end of the year, and we’ve had 53 audio shows on the site this year, which means we’re averaging about a show per week… which is pretty amazing.
As we prepare to get nostalgic over the weekend with a few personal thoughts on the past year, let’s take a look back at the year that was for the Women of Wrestling Podcast – a series of interviews featuring new guests, returning favourites, Brits, Canadians, Americans, promoters, wrestlers, former national TV names and the top indy talents around today.
Five of our guests this year were much loved former guests making a return to the show. One of which, Allison Danger, was our first ever guest back in August 2008 – here making her return to talk her emotional retirement this year, following health concerns which included a stroke and the discovery of lesions on her brain. Some pretty heavy stuff, and a must listen to really understand what she’s had to go through in this really rough year – but peppered with the Danger wit we know and love. Quebec’s LuFisto also experienced a tough period in the middle of the year, following an injury at SHIMMER 53 on iPPV which saw her kneecap explode on impact with the floor. Her appearance back in May was a Ringbelles exclusive interview, and ended up with some quite heavy discussion not only on where she stood in her career at that point, but also in the wake of the ridiculous TNA Gutcheck debacle from earlier in the year, whether she felt she had “succeeded” in her wrestling career. Also returning to the Podcast this year (and returning to wrestling in general) was the quite lovely Serena Deeb, who joined us to share news of her then imminent return to the ring after over a year on the sidelines. Surely the world is a better place with Serena Deeb entertaining people in a wrestling ring? One of our favourite WOW Podcasts of 2013 was the return conversation with Allysin Kay, our 2012 Breakout Star of the Year, who went international with a three month trip to Japan across the summer. We joined her just ahead of Fight Season to discuss her experiences in Japan (and there were many) and her plans back in the US. Speaking of Award winners, we also spoke to the woman who would later become our 2013 Wrestler of the Year, Mercedes Martinez, back for another round. Mercedes doesn’t do a lot of interviews, so to get the chance to have her back with us for the third time was a treat, discussing her year to date in SHIMMER, SHINE, WSU and NCW:FF ahead of her visit to the UK for Bellatrix Female Warriors.
One of our biggest WOW Podcasts of the year was with former WWE Diva (and current ROH valet) Maria Kanellis. As charming as she is gorgeous, the First Lady of ROH discussed her engagement with Mike Bennett, working with Paul Heyman and Fit Finlay, through her time in WWE and her (then) current situation regarding her future, including some comments on her alleged issues with Kelly Kelly and the Bella Twins. We talked to a couple of former developmental stars this year, who both found themselves on the indy scene and making quite an impressive name for themselves – namely former WWE/NXT star Ivelisse Velez and former TNA/OVW star Taeler Hendrix. They also had in common the fact that they were both involved in TV Gutcheck opportunities on Impact Wrestling this year (with differing results), and also that these two were right up there as two of our absolute favourite interviews of the year – Ivelisse talked about her career to date, her issues in NXT, her Gutcheck experience and her time in SHINE, while Taeler talks OVW, *that* angle with Heidi Lovelace, her issues in TNA and more.
Closer to home (well, for us Brits at least), we gave full WOW Podcast treatments to two of Britain’s most impressive talents – with Kay Lee Ray talking about balcony dives in ICW:FF, wrestling international talent, working for Pro-Wrestling EVE and wrestling death matches, and Erin Angel talking about touring the Maritimes, her career to date and everything from wrestling camps in Britain to international experience.. It was really interesting to see the rest of the world go hoopla over Nikki Storm this year when we’ve been covering her work for the last couple of years on this site, so for international visitors, while Kay Lee and Erin may be under your radar at the minute, you might want to get in on the ground level and discover two of Britain’s next most promising exports.
Okay, so we skipped out on a Christmas Podcast this year – sorry, nothing really got our juices flowing for an idea this year – but last year we closed out 2012 by talking to the head men of SHIMMER, NCW:FF and WSU in one of our most downloaded shows ever. Early in 2013 we checked in with the creative minds behind a couple of the other big promotions in female wrestling in North America, as we talked to SHINE’s Lexie Fyfe and AIW’s John Thorne. Lexie was actually our fiftieth show, and she was a great guest, talking not only about her backstage roles at SHIMMER and SHINE, but her long career, including brief flirtations with WWE & WCW, working military bases with Wendi Richter and much more, while John discusses the development of AIW’s Girls Night Out shows from inception to the point where they were about to go onto live worldwide iPPV with GNO8.
One of the people who impressed us most during the year with their desire to work everywhere they could, get their name out there, use media opportunities to their utmost and generally expand their horizons was Leah Von Dutch. When we talked to her back in April, she was on the verge of her first (of two) extended trips to the UK to wrestle. LVD previewed her UK tour, talked the origins of her ring name, the Edge scholarship, wrestling Sara Del Rey and loads more. The Wrestling Goddess Athena was someone we’d been meaning to talk to for months, and we finally got our schedules to match up in March for an eye opening, wide ranging interview which included training under Gen. Skandor Akbar, the origin of the O-Face, Booker T & Sharmell, and something that we should probably bring back on future shows… the WRESTLING BUCKET LIST. The woman who would later become our 2013 Breakout Star of the Year Kimber Lee was another interview we had in our minds to do for months before it finally happened, and it too was worth waiting for. Kimber discussed how she was talked into giving wrestling a try by DJ Hyde, how wrestling *is* a bit like ballet, international wrestling opportunities and October’s Fight Season.
So there ya go. Returning favourites, new favourites, creative minds, wrestlers, valets – even a GUY. If you’re playing an important part in women’s wrestling, you’re probably ON THE LIST of past, future or desired guests on the Women of Wrestling Podcast. We’re now 64 episodes old, and while The Beatles once famously wrote a song about Paul McCartney‘s doubts on whether he’d still be needed on turning 64, we have no inclination to stop yet. In fact, we have a number of guests in mind for the new year and beyond, so while we’ve had a month off in December, look for more audio content in January. We’ll be back to round up the best of the shorter audio interviews (FLAG/MNI) in a few days, but before we go we’d like to remind everyone to subscribe via iTunes for all of the major audio shows, or if you prefer, use Stitcher Radio. Leave us a rating, why dontcha?
Final question of the year… what was your favourite episode of the Women of Wrestling Podcast this year? Let us know via social media or in the comments below!
— Stew Allen