“Candice Michelle went to PWG in 2008 & raved about me to John Laurinaitis. When I saw him, he said ‘What does a Diva know about wrestling?'”
This is a tweet from Joey Ryan which he posted back in January – one of many which he wrote in reference to his tryout with WWE, where he asserts that was told that he was too old and too experienced to be in developmental.
Despite his wrestling persona being someone who is quite misogynistic and employs moves like the Boobplex, it is clear that he would not be allowed to do moves like this unless the recipients were comfortable with him – in fact, because of the amount of inter gender wrestling that he does, you could argue that he’s a huge advocate for women’s wrestling. With these tweets, one would imagine that Ryan is not thinking about trying out again, but it’s difficult to see if he has an axe to grind. If he does, it calls into question the validity of the claim – but if it is real, what does this say about WWE’s former Senior Vice President of Talent Relations?
Laurinaitis – who resigned from the post in July 2012 but still works within WWE – has form with not taking the Divas division very seriously. In 2006, he suddenly hired two models who he spotted in a catalogue – 20-year old Victoria Crawford and 19-year old Barbie Blank, who became known as Alicia Fox and Kelly Kelly respectively. It doesn’t show that much respect for women who toil for years to become good wrestlers to see two women hired just by how they pose in swimwear. While WWE still does hire women with no wrestling background, they do seem to go for people who have athletic ability. Summer Rae for example, used to be part of the Lingerie Football League, while new signing Shara used to be a competitive arm wrestler.
The issue is that if that is how Laurinaitis feels about women wrestling, what exactly were they hired for? One would imagine that it would be for eye candy, which does a disservice to any woman who takes the time to train, develop and work towards a goal.
If the question is ‘What does a Diva know about wrestling?’, you could argue that the answer lies in Sara Del Rey, who was featured on WWE.com last week under her real name of Sara Amato as being NXT’s sole female trainer and responsible for the Divas matches we’re seeing on TV at the moment. When the likes of Summer Rae and Aksana are crediting her for their development and you see that the quality of matches have improved over the last year, you have to imagine that we would not have seen this sort of improvement if Laurinaitis was still in charge – hell, Amato may not have been hired, as she doesn’t have the swimsuit model look of Kelly or Fox, and it seems as if he wasn’t that bothered on making great wrestlers out of the women, so she wouldn’t have been brought in as a trainer either. Admittedly, he may have been involved in bringing her in but it can’t go unnoticed that Amato signed the contract for her WWE job in July 2012 – the same month that Laurinaitis resigned from his post. Probably a mere coincidence, but there you go.
AJ Lee retained the Divas Championship on Tuesday’s live Main Event show, making Natalya tap out to the Black Widow. If you haven’t seen the match, go out of your way to watch it, as it was excellent – much more enjoyable than the Gail Kim/Madison Rayne match from TNA Lockdown earlier this month which was well-received by some and disliked by others. Lords Of Pain reports that at 12:31, it is the longest Divas Championship match in the title’s history and the longest women’s title match since Velvet McIntyre against Sensational Sherri in 1987 which went 14:31.
With a healthy amount of time allotted, it allowed time for the pair to engage in a quality contest which pulled in the fans, told an engrossing story and also provided a great couple of false finishes including AJ’s first attempt at the Black Widow and Natalya locking in the Sharpshooter, pulling the titleholder away from the ropes – though AJ managed to escape after Tamina Snuka pushed the rope towards her.
Watching the match made me think that we as fans may need to be more realistic about our wants for Divas matches on TV. While we would all love for there to be longer contests on Raw or SmackDown, the reality is that WWE is juggling so many different characters that the women’s storylines get lost in the shuffle. It shouldn’t be that way but it is – and it’s unlikely to change for the foreseeable future. However, there is an alternative, and it’s provided by of the WWE Network.
We got a taster of what women’s wrestling we could receive at the NXT ArRIVAL show last month where Paige and Emma engaged in a good contest, and that was expanded upon with AJ/Natalya. Granted, you can’t have matches all the time as they need to be built up, and the big title changes will still happen on pay-per-views – but some of the longer contests could end up on programmes like Main Event. Also, you would not want to have matches with lesser skilled wrestlers going 12 minutes but at least it means that a good Divas match could be less of a rarity – because they were only really likely on PPV rather than TV.
Shows like Main Event don’t concern themselves as much with storyline as the more high-profile TV offerings so it frees the hour up for solid wrestling. It could be that if you want your Diva angles and storylines leading to pay-per-views you watch Raw and SmackDown, while Main Event can be a place for Divas to shine in the ring rather than on the mic. Should matches like AJ and Natalya take place on a regular basis on Main Event, we’re going to be well catered for.
We’ve gone way overboard with the interviews with this week producing four Fight Like A Girl interviews. Solo Darling talked SHINE, OVW, her dialect and teaming with Heidi Lovelace; Jasmin discusses becoming a brand, fellow fresh faces in Canada and being involved in Courtney Rush’s broken collarbone; Bete Noire talks about Japan, getting a title belt imprinted onto her head and laser eye surgery; and Thunderkitty talks about her gimmick, returning to AIW and being a cult figure.
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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Charlotte went after Paige following the NXT Women’s Champion’s win over Sasha Banks with the Scorpion Crosslock. Natalya made the save… Stephanie McMahon recorded a fitness DVD at the Performance Center last week – Naomi, Alexa Bliss, Carmella, Kendall Skye, Shara, Sasha Banks & Veronica Lane were also part of the filming… Layla wrestled her first match since last September on Friday when she and Alicia Fox lost to Eva Marie & Natalya at a house show in Waco, TX. Internal speculation had been that she may not have been returning… Total Divas returned on Sunday night and did not rank in the top 100 cable TV shows in the adult 18-49 demographic for the night. PWInsider says the show did 1,072,000 viewers, which is the 4th lowest rated episode in the show’s history… Tamina Snuka shoved AJ Lee to the floor following their loss to Cameron & Naomi on last night’s Raw. The match was also Naomi’s first match back following her fractured orbital socket, and she got the pin on AJ with a split-legged moonsault then reiterated her goal to win the Divas Championship. She may be wearing an eye patch, but she probably doesn’t need it as she must have been medically cleared to wrestle, and would have had to fly to Texas, which wouldn’t have been allowed if she was still injured.
Santana Garrett was renamed as Brittany by TNA ahead of her debut on Impact Wrestling last Thursday. She defeated Gail Kim in a 121 second match which was just a foil to spark the premature break-up of Kim and Lei’D Tapa… Elsewhere on the show, Angelina Love returned to TNA after being away for more than 18 months. She proposed a Beautiful People reunion with Velvet Sky – but Velvet was reticent to accept immediately… Gail Kim was named the Sexiest Woman Alive by Smartass Magazine… Brooke Tessmacher resurfaced on social media after deleting her Facebook and Twitter accounts earlier this month. There was talk that it indicated that she was on her way out of TNA.
Serena Deeb takes on Taeler Hendrix in the main event of Highspots’ Queens of Combat show on Friday… Speaking of Serena, she is one of the names announced for what’s being described as Canada’s first and only all-female traveling professional wrestling circuit. Called Beauty Slammers, the promotion is planning to run 8 shows in as many days in Nova Scotia starting from April 25. Deeb will be joined by Sarita (Dark Angel), Canadian Diemond (Kaitlin Diemond), Beautiful Beaa, Skyler Rose and Serphantina. Former GLOW girl Hollywood will be the “Beauty Hostess”… Stacy Keibler’s representatives have denied reports in the New York Post that she is pregnant with new husband Jared Pobre’s child… Jessie Brooks has been added to the Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling lineup… Ohio Valley Wrestling Women’s Champion Jessie Belle defeated Ray Lyn in the dark matches before last week’s TV tapings. They’re the only two women in the promotion at the moment… AIWF Women’s Champion Devyn Nicole has issued an open challenge to anyone who fancies a shot… Ivelisse Velez will defend the SHINE Championship against Jazz at April 4’s Wrestling Oddessey show in New Orleans, LA. Jazz has been out of wrestling for close to a year after suffering a back injury which forced her to withdraw from SHINE’s title tournament last June… Jenny Rose and Veda Scott have been announced for Ring of Honor’s Future of Honor show on April 18 in Newville, PA. It’s comprised of ROH trainees and graduates for the most part… Mickie James commented to NOLA.com about Lita’s induction into the Hall of Fame, saying “I admire her so much. She really helped me out when I was nobody. I credit her with a lot of my success. She’s definitely one of the most overlooked women in the last decade. She wasn’t like anybody else. She let people know that it’s OK to just be yourself. She totally deserves it, and I couldn’t be happier for her”. Mickie’s also been cancelling getting physical in bookings over the last month or so, with speculation that she may be pregnant… Melanie Cruise won the SSW Lightning Championship on Sunday night in a 5-way contest… Gregory Iron bludgeoned his crush Veda Scott as part of Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Gauntlet for the Gold on Friday. She was left bloodied by the encounter. Leah Von Dutch and Seleziya Sparx were also involved in the match… Angel Dust faces Nikki Storm at Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 11 on March 29, while Thunderkitty takes on Marti Belle. Meanwhile, Chest Flexor has announced that Leah Von Dutch did not win the Women’s Championship at TGIF last month as the match wasn’t sanctioned. Therefore, Allysin Kay is still the reigning titleholder – though the pair will still meet at Girls Night Out 11.
Hikaru Shida (who is still tweeting selfies of her ass on a daly basis) spoke to PWSmartTalk about her career, admitting that she hated her debut because she thought she “sucked”, and that the trip to SHIMMER last year all happened very quickly. She pointed out that American fans are more energetic fom the get-go than Japanese ones and that her favourite contest was the Kendo Stick Match against Nicole Matthews on Volume 60… Speaking of Shida, she and Tsukasa Fujimoto retained the Ice Ribbon International Ribbon Tag Team Championship at the weekend, beating Tsukushi & Kurumi. Mochi Miyagi wrestled her first match in two years on the show, going to a time limit draw with Shida… Io Shirai retained the World Of Stardom Championship on Sunday, defeating SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa. Shirai’s next challenger will be Alpha Female on April 29 – a year to the day that the pair fought with Io winning the title… Ray may have let slip on Twitter that she’s returning to SHIMMER next month… Rabbit Miu & Tsukushi won the JWP Tag League on Sunday, defeating Leon & Ray in the finals. They will now challenge for the Tag Team Championship on April 20.
Kay Lee Ray, Nikki Storm, Leah Owens & Bete Noire were all featured in a documentary featured on BBC TV on Insane Championship Wrestling… Lana Austin will debut at HXC Wrestling in Manchester, England on April 6. She will team with Leah Owens against Viper & Violet Vendetta… Pollyanna Peppers will be the first woman to ever wrestle for Great Bear Promotions. She will take on Chris Brookes in an intergender match on March 22 – she got the shot after successfully campaigning to answer an open challenge… Kelly Adams wrestled her first match in around five years last Sunday, teaming with Saraya Knight in a losing effort against Sakura Lily & Olivia. Her most high-profile match in the women’s wrestling sphere was probably against MsChif at ChickFight VIII in April 2007.
There’s a Kickstarter running for a documentary based around Luna Magica. Called Luchadora, it;s after $10,500, and has already got $7,465 committed to it… Mary Apache challenged Sadica for the LLF Junior Championship after defeating her in a non-title match on Friday. Sadica accepted, as long as the match was fought under extreme rules.
Australia & New Zealand
Toni Storm is returning to the UK. She trained and wrestled with All Star Wrestling last year, and has now been booked for British Empire Wrestling’s debut show in London, England on July 6. Spain’s Dragonita is also featured on the poster.
March 11: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Amapola, Dalys & Princesa Sugheit b Estrellita, Goya Kong & Lluvia
March 12: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Risa Sera b Yuka; Mio Shirai b Meari Naito; Neko Nitta b Kaho Kobayashi & Cherry in a 3-way; Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Hamuko Hoshi & Miyako Matsumoto
March 12: WWE Main Event (Little Rock, AK) – AJ Lee b Natalya
March 13: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Jessie Belle b Ray Lyn
March 13: WWE NXT (Winter Park, FL) – Paige b Sasha Banks
March 13: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Brittany b Gail Kim
March 14: Full Impact Pro (Ybor City, FL) – Ivelisse Velez b Leva Bates
March 14: WWE (Waco, TX) – Eva Marie & Natalya b Layla & Alicia Fox
March 14: WWE SmackDown (Little Rock, AK) – Nikki Bella b Tamina Snuka
March 14: Premier Wrestling Xperience (Charlotte, NC) – Su Yung b Chase Brown
March 14: Fans United Wrestling (San Diego, CA) – Kitana Vera b Hudson Envy
March 14: Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (Clinton Township, MI) – Scarlett Bordeaux b Taeler Hendrix
March 14: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Estrellita & Marcela b Dalys, Princesa Blanca & Princesa Sugheit via DQ
March 14: Lucha Libre Feminil (Monterry, Mexico) – La Gladiadora b Nahomi; Katary b Dark Fantasy; La Chacala, Lady Flamer & Tsunami b Angelica, Bombona Love & Shekinah; Mari Apache b Sadica
March 14: Brew City Wrestling (West Allis, WI) – Stacy Shadows b Melanie Cruise
March 14: Pure Wrestling Association (Cambell River, BC, Canada) – Reia Von Slasher b Bambi Hall
March 15: Sendai Girls (Sendai, Japan) – Rabbit Miu b Yako Fujigasaki; Kellie Skater b Kyusei Sakura Hirota; Meiko Satomura & Mio Shirai b Hiroyo Matsumoto & Sareee; Kagetsu b Takumi Iroha; DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko b Arisa Nakajima & Raideen Hagane
March 15: JWP (Sendai, Japan) – Rabbit Miu b Yako Fujigasaki; Kellie Skater b Sakura Hirota; Meiko Satomura & Mio Shirai b Hiroyo Matsumoto & Sareee; Kagetsu b Takumi Iroha; DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko b Arisa Nakajima & Rydeen Hagane
March 15: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hikaru Shida v Mochi Miyagi went to to a time limit draw; Yuka b Kyuri; Maki Narumiya & Risa Sera b Hamuko Hoshi & 235; Cherry b Miyako Matsumoto; Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Tsukushi & Kurumi
March 15: Warzone Wrestling (Berwick, Australia) – Savannah Summers b Miami
March 15: Ouest Catch (Plouasne, France) – Kay Lee Ray b Shanna
March 15: BCN Wrestling (Barcelona, Spain) – Dragonita b Erin Angel & Miss Monica in a 3-way
March 15: Pride Wrestling (Glasgow, Scotland) – Viper & Chris Saynt b Glen Dunbar & Nikki Storm
March 15: UK Main Event Wrestling (Maidstone, England) – Rebel Yell b Bacardi; Sakura Lily b Nadia Sapphire
March 15: Vanguard Championship Wrestling (Penn Laird, VA) – Kacee Carlisle b Sammi Pandora
March 15: Premiere Wrestling Xperience (Hickory, NC) – Su Yung b Mia Yim
March 16: JWP (Itabashi, Japan) – Kayoko Haruyama b Yako Fujigasaki; Kana b Raideen Hagane; Takaco Inoue b Sachie Abe; Command Bolshoi, Hanako Nakamori & Kyoko Kimura b Arisa Nakajima, Kayoko Haruyama & KAZUKI; Rabbit Miu & Tsukushi b Leon & Ray
March 16: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Yuna Manasa b Koguma; Takumi Iroha b Madison Eagles; Miho Wakizawa, Hiroyo Matsumoto & Mayu Iwatani b Kaori Yoneyama, Kellie Skater & Hatsuhinode Kamen; Act Yasukawa b Yuhi; Kyoko Kimura & Alpha Female b Nanae Takahashi & Kairi Hojo; Yoshiko b Natsuki*Taiyo; Mio Shirai b Cheerleader Melissa
March 16: Ray produce EIGHTSTAR (Tokyo, Japan) – Tsubasa Kuragaki b Sakura Hirota; Command Bolshoi, Leon & Ray b Dump Matsumoto, La Comandante & Zeus
March 16: International Pro Wrestling: United Kingdom (Swanley, England) – Olivia & Sakura Lily b Saraya Knight & Kelly Adams
March 16: SSW Entertainment (Kenosha, WI) – Melanie Cruise b Anthony Antonelli, Matt Dewar, Jason Parks & The Masked Stretcher to win the SSW Lightning Championship
March 16: Premiere Wrestling Xperience (Winston Salem, NC) – Mia Yim b Su Yung
March 16: AAA (Monterrey, Mexico) – Alan Stone, Dinastía, Faby Apache & Pimpinela Escarlata b Mamba, Mini Charly Manson, Sexy Star & Silver King
March 17: WWE Raw (San Cesaro, TX) – Cameron & Naomi b AJ Lee & Tamina Snuka
March 21: House of Pain Evolution (Mansfield, England) – Lana Austin v Violet Vendetta
March 21: Premier British Wrestling (Inverness, Scotland) – Grado & Kay Lee Ray v Red Lightning & Carmel Jacob
March 21: Highspots Queens Of Combat (Charlotte, NC) – Serena Deeb v Taeler Hendrix
March 14: Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (Warren, MI) – Scarlett Bordeaux v Veda Scott
March 21: Lutte NGE (Châteauguay, Quebec, Canada) – Angie Skye v Pink Flash Kira
March 21: RESISTANCE (Chicago, IL) – D’Arcy Dixon, Amazing Maria, Starr Venus, Thunder Kitty & Angel Dust v Mickie Knuckles, Camron Star, Lucy Mendez, Devyn Nicole & Jessie Belle Smothers
March 21: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Marcela v Dalys
March 22: Impact Pro Wrestling (Lynfield, New Zealand) – Britenay v Olivia Shaw
March 22: Target Wrestling (Dumfries, Scotland) – Kasey Owens v Viper
March 22: Great Bear Promotions (Northwich, England) – Chris Brookes v Pollyanna Peppers
March 22: RAD:PRO Wrestling (South Shields, England) – Freya Frenzy & Vulture v Kirsty Love & Rubix Roach
March 22: Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – LuFisto v Hania; Christina Von Eerie v Hudson Envy
March 23: Futureshock Wrestling (Stockport, England) – Danni Hunter v Lana Austin
March 28: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – April Davids v Bubblegum
March 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 11 (Cleveland, OH) – Mia Yim v Athena; Allysin Kay v Leah Von Dutch; Kay Lee Ray v Mickie Knuckles; Sassy Stephie v Kaela; Angelus Layne v Jasmin; Thunderkitty v Marti Belle;
March 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 12 (Cleveland, OH) – Mia Yim v Jasmin; Annie Social & Heidi Lovelace v Russ Myers & T-Money
March 29: Acclaim Pro Wrestling (Greely, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush v Vanessa Kraven
March 30: Ice Ribbon (Tokyo, Japan) – Hikaru Shida v Tsukasa Fujimoto
March 30: Smash Wrestling (Etobicoke, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush v LuFisto v Vanessa Kraven v Seleziya Sparx
April 4: A Wrestling Odyssey (New Orleans, LA) – Ivelisse Velez v Jazz
April 5: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Motherwell, Scotland) – Viper, Bete Noire & Sammii Jayne v Courtney Stewart, Debbie Sharpe & Fiona Fraser
April 5: SHIMMER Women Athletes (New Orleans, LA)
April 6: HXC Wrestling (Manchester, England) – Leah Owens & Lana Austin v Violet Vendetta & Viper
April 12-13: SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
April 13: Warrington Wrestling (Warrington, England) – Lana Austin v Violet O’Hara
April 18: House Of Pain: Evolution (Nottingham, England) – Violet Vendetta v Shax
April 18: SHINE 18 (Ybor City, FL)
April 19: NCW Femmes Fatales XIV (Montreal, QC, Canada) – Cheerleader Melissa v Courtney Rush; Angie Skye v Cat Power; Sassy Stephie, Jody D’Milo & Anna Minousha v Mary Lee Rose, Pink Flash Kira & Vanessa Kraven; LuFisto v Nikki Storm; Portia Perez v Kaitlin Diemond; Mercedes Martinez v TBA v TBA v TBA; Deziree v Mistress Belmont
April 24: Hardcore Roadtrip (London, ON, Canada) – LuFisto & Jewells Malone v Leah Von Dutch & Jazz; Warhed & Jewells Malone v Lufisto & Necro Butcher
April 26: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Sassy Stephie v Athena v Cheerleader Melissa
May 4: Insane Championship Wrestling (London, England) – Kay Lee Ray v Carmel Jacob v Erin Angel
May 10: LCW Roses (Leicester, England) – Rhia O’Reilly v Addy Starr
May 10: Women Superstars Uncensored Queen and King of the Ring (Voorhees, NJ) – Jessicka Havok v LuFisto
May 24: Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling (Brooklyn, NY) – Kacee Carlisle v Mickie Knuckles
June 9: Bellatrix 9 (Norwich, England) – Blue Nikita v Sammi Baynz
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE, Wayne Palmer, Shannon Callahan, Resuner Yokoyama
– 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