At last November’s Survivor Series, we watched a pretty rotten 7 on 7 Divas elimination match. Not content with its badness, it was then repeated on Raw the following night. Having not learned that more does not necessarily mean better, WWE has booked a 14 woman match for WrestleMania XXX on April 6.
It came about on last night’s Raw after Divas Champion AJ Lee deliberately got herself counted out in her title defence against Naomi. Irritated, SmackDown General Manager Vickie Guerrero decided to punish AJ by booking her in a title defence at WrestleMania with 13 challengers. That means that going for the title in New Orleans, LA will be Naomi, Cameron, Brie Bella, Nikki Bella, Natalya, Eva Marie, Emma, Aksana, Alicia Fox, Summer Rae, Rosa Mendes, Layla and Tamina Snuka.
How happy a Diva would be in being in this match depends on the Diva to whom you are referring. Should you ask Eva Marie, Cameron, Emma, Aksana, Alicia, Summer, Emma, Layla, Tamina or Rosa, I would imagine you would get a happy response – especially Rosa and Layla, who have barely been seen in recent months. Under normal circumstances, there would be little to no chance of them being involved in a title match at WrestleMania. Because of this booking, they can say they challenged for the belt at a WM and will receive a big pay-per-view payoff in the process. However the opposite feeling may be forthcoming from the rest – who could have held a claim for at one time being in the frame for a singles challenge on the show.
Overlooking the head-scratcher that a SmackDown GM booked a title match on Raw for WrestleMania, it also means that the story of this match is not AJ against her challengers, but is a war between AJ and Guerrero. It means that we don’t have a strong challenger story going into the show – not that you could really produce one for all 13, meaning that they’re all just a bunch of women going for the title. Previous booking hinted at Naomi v AJ in a singles match, or maybe Nikki Bella getting a crack. Even Natalya, Brie Bella and possibly even Cameron had some sort of claim, but because of throwing every woman on the roster into one match, those storylines are for naught.
Earlier today, we asked what you thought of the announcement and the reaction was an overwhelmingly negative one. Descriptions like “train wreck”, “clusterfuck”, “useless” and “fiasco” were thrown around. I would tend to agree.
In terms of match quality, out of all the possible matches WWE could have gone with, it picked the worst one – a prospective mess of a contest with no strong story, rhyme or reason to it. If the Survivor Series match is anything to go by we can expect a slew of finishing spots with nothing tying them together and no sense to anything. Worse still, because this is a one fall match we’re going to see women fighting all over the place, making it potentially difficult to follow and even more difficult for people to get a chance to shine. Sure, the winner will get the spotlight at the end, and if the winner is someone other than AJ, they will also become champion in the process – but this is never going to be a contender for match of the night. Fair enough, it may never have been anyway – but the booking for this contest pretty much guarantees that this will be chaos, and not in a good way.
Some have said if the match gets some time to play out, it could work – but that’s unlikely to happen as WWE probably isn’t that bothered about investing 15-20 minutes of valuable PPV time on what is already a throwaway contest. If anything, it will more likely look like the Cruiserweight Open from WrestleMania XX which featured 10 men and went a measly 10 minutes. If it goes that long I’ll be surprised.
As mentioned earlier, the booking was eluding to a Naomi v AJ match at WrestleMania – albeit with title challenges by Nikki and Natalya along the way – but that was blown off last night. The reasons why could be down to the quality of their matches over the weekend on the house show loop. Perhaps they weren’t up to scratch and WWE didn’t want to chance it for WrestleMania, leading to what we have here.
Should this be the end of AJ’s reign, it would be a bit of a damp squib. For argument’s sake, let’s say that someone other than AJ wins the belt. If they don’t pin AJ to win the title then it’s potentially a tainted victory, and that’s not how you would want to end the longest Divas Championship reign of all time. Why would you not want someone to chase the title, overcome obstacles in their path and convincingly beat the titleholder to establish themselves as the better wrestler – instead someone could get a lucky pin on someone like Rosa and become champion. How prestigious a win is that?
Still, let’s take a look at the potential likely winners. Naomi could still be in line to get the belt, as could either Bella, with possibly Natalya as an outside bet – though if it’s not Naomi, informed money may go on Brie Bella, as it could make for a nice end to WrestleMania to have the soon-to-be married couple of Brie and Daniel Bryan holding the top men’s and women’s championships as the show goes off the air.
Female Fight Season kicks off this weekend with Absolute Intense Wrestling’s Girls Night Out 11 & 12 tapings, with the main match being Allysin Kay defending the Women’s Championship against Leah Von Dutch in the main event of GNO 11. Other matches which certainly look intriguing are Mia Yim facing Athena, Kimber Lee taking on Hania, and a potential hardcore war between a debuting Kay Lee Ray and former champion Mickie Knuckles. The following taping is still being unveiled, but Shanna v Hania and Yim against Jasmin could tick the right boxes.
The following weekend sees attention turning to New Orleans, starting with the WWN Wrestling Odyssey show on April 4, with Ivelisse Velez defending the SHINE Championship against Jazz. Lexie Fyfe explained that the reason why Jazz is being given a shot because she beat Velez to qualify for the title tournament (from which she had to bow out because of injury). Meanwhile, Jessie Belle Smothers and Sassy Stephie will challenge Leva Bates & Mia Yim for the SHINE Tag Team Championship on the show.
The following day, Cheerleader Melissa defends the SHIMMER Championship against LuFisto in a 2 out of 3 falls match with a 90 minute time limit in the main event of SHIMMER Volume 62 on April 5 in New Orleans, LA. Barbi Hayden and Candice LeRae will also make their debuts on the show, and Nikki Storm has hinted that she could also be part of proceedings.
We’ll be ramping up the coverage over the next few weeks to cover all of these shows, so keep your eyes on Ringbelles for regular updates.
In the past week, we’ve posted a few videos – Bete Noire v Crazy Mary Dobson from ICW: Fierce Females last year, Gail Kim taking on Madison Rayne in Japan earlier this month, Io Shirai against Cheerleader Melissa for the World Of Stardom Title, and a Retro featuring the original incarnation of the Beautiful People in action.
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.
Layla made her first TV appearance since her comeback a week last Friday – she and Alicia Fox lost to Cameron and Naomi on last Tuesday’s episode of Main Event. Layla took the fall following Naomi’s split-legged moonsault… Summer Rae walked out on partner Natalya during their match against the Bella Twins on SmackDown, leading to their defeat… Nikki Bella told ElvisDuran.com that Bray Wyatt apologised to her before going out and calling her plastic on last week’s Raw. She also revealed that her implants cost $6,500… Alexa Bliss teamed with Sasha Banks and Charlotte at Friday night’s NXT house show against Paige, Bayley & Emma. She may be brought into the Beautiful Fierce Females to replace Summer Rae, who’s rather busy these days… Lita will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame by Trish Stratus… Total Divas’ rating for the second episode of its second season rose to 1.28 million viewers. Next week’s episode goes head to head with The Walking Dead season finale.
Gail Kim and Lei’D Tapa’s week-long feud ended with Kim beating her former bodyguard with Eat Defeat. Afterwards, commentator Taz said that Tapa was gone from TNA – confirmed by Tapa on her Twitter, and that it was TNA who let her go, not that she chose to leave. What a farce. It’s unclear as to who benefited from the year long relationship, as Tapa hardly wrestled and TNA didn’t make money from her… Angelina Love and Velvet Sky reformed the Beautiful People, though Madison Rayne declined the offer to be part of it. Love attacked Rayne in the locker room later on, marking a heel turn for her and presumably Velvet. The latter’s turn makes little sense since she was so reluctant to break the rules on behalf of her then-boyfriend Chris Sabin, and the pair only split a couple of months ago.
Karen Jarrett will be the special guest referee for the IWA Mid-South Indian Strap Match between Mickie Knuckles and Randi West on April 13… Leah Von Dutch and Midianne have accepted Mercedes Martinez’s challenge which she threw out for NCW Femmes Fatales XIV. There is still one more person to be announced for that Fatal Four Way elimination match for Martinez’s International Title… Maria Kanellis told PWMania that Ring Of Honor is planning a reality series to find new female talent… Barbie “Kelly Kelly” Blank admitted to Wrestling101 that she is not sure on whether she will return to wrestling but there was no hard feelings when she left WWE… Lei’D Tapa came out to confront Randy Royal on last week’s Ohio Valley Wrestling TV but was attacked by a pipe wielding Women’s Champion Jessie Belle… No joke – Seleziya Sparx will face Michael Elgin on Alpha-1 Wrestling’s show on May 11… Congratulations to Stacy Keibler, who has confirmed she is pregnant with her first child… D’Arcy Dixon retained the RESISTANCE Pro Women’s Championship on Friday as part of a Captain’s Fall Match – if her team had lost, opposing team captain Mickie Knuckles would have won the belt… Taeler Hendrix defeated Serena Deeb in the main event of the first Queens Of Combat show. Jessicka Havok beat Sojo Bolt in the semi-main… Hudson Envy is the new Alternative Wrestling Show Women’s Champion – she defeated Christina Von Eerie on Saturday – Von Eerie had held the championship for a whopping FOUR YEARS and a day… LuFisto beat Hania earlier in the show… Chrissy Rivera won the New York Wrestling Connection Starlets Title on Saturday by German suplexing Marti Belle on thumbtacks… Barbi Hayden puts the NWA World Women’s Championship on the line against Angelina Love on April 4… Saraya Knight is featured on AAW’s poster for it’s show on April 11 in Berwyn, IL – Heidi Lovelace and Athena are on there too… Alissa Flash (Cheerleader Melissa) is involved in one bizarre contest on Friday. She puts her River City Wrestling Angels Championship on the line against Joey Spector’s Phoenix Title in a match where both belts will be hidden somewhere in the building. The winner will be the one who finds them – making this the equivalent of a violent Easter Egg hunt.
Viper and Kay Lee Ray face off at LCW Roses next show on May 10… Sara Elektra and Aurora Flame will compete in a First Blood Match at Fight Club Finland’s show on April 12… Vulture and Freya Frenzy won the RAD:PRO Wrestling Mixed Tag Team Championship on Saturday, beating Rubix Roach and Kirsty Love… Australia’s Toni Storm takes on Kasey Owens for the debut British Empire Wrestling show in London in July… Spain’s Revolution Championship Wrestling is holding an 8-woman tournament on July 8 in Barcelona to crown a Women’s Champion. Bete Noire, Leah Owens & Lady Lory have been confirmed.
Estrellita retained her CMLL Mexican Women’s Championship on Tuesday, defeating Dalys by snaring falls 1 and 3… It got worse for Dalys on Friday, as she lost her hair after being defeated by Marcela as part of their ongoing feud… Dark Angel reportedly received a WWE tryout last December.
Australia & New Zealand
Britenay beat Olivia Shaw on Saturday to retain the Impact Pro Wrestling Interim Women’s Championship.
March 18: WWE Main Event (Houston, TX) – Cameron & Naomi b Layla & Alicia Fox
March 18: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Estrellita b Dalys
March 19: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Misaki Ohata b Mika Iida; Moeka Haruhi b Natsu Sumire; Fairy Nihonbashi b Shuu Shibutani; Kana & Mio Shirai v Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto went to a time limit draw; Ayako Hamada, Yumi Ohka & Yuu Yamagata b Rina Yamashita, Sawako Shimono & Yuhi
March 19: WWE NXT (Winter Park, FL) – Bayley b Sasha Banks
March 20: JWP (Saitama, Japan) – Leon b Yako Fujigasaki; Mika Iida b Rydeen Hagane; Sareee b Rabbit Miu; Manami Katsu & Sawako Shimono b Rina Yamashita & Yuhi
March 20: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Gail Kim b Lei’D Tapa
March 20: WWE Superstars (San Antonio, TX) – Natalya b Alicia Fox
March 21: Outback Championship Wrestling (Melbourne, Australia) – Joel Bateman b Vixsin; Nikita Naridian b Miami
March 21: House of Pain Evolution (Mansfield, England) – Violet Vendetta b Lana Austin
March 21: Premier British Wrestling (Inverness, Scotland) – Grado & Kay Lee Ray b Red Lightning & Carmel Jacob
March 21: Fight Factory Pro Wrestling (Clara, Ireland) – Siren b Katey Harvey
March 21: All Star Wrestling (Sevonoaks, England) – Penelope b Sammi Baynz
March 21: WWE SmackDown (Houston, TX) – Brie & Nikki Bella b Natalya & Summer Rae
March 21: WWE (Bridgeport, CT) – Alicia Fox b Aksana
March 21: Chaotic Wrestling (Dracut, MA) – Kasey Ray b Alexxis Nevaeh
March 21: Highspots Queens Of Combat (Charlotte, NC) – Leva Bates b Amber O’Neal; Amber Rodriguez & Amy Lee b Heather Owens & Miss Rachel; Reby Sky b Nevaeh; Jessicka Havok b Sojournor Bolt; Taeler Hendrix b Serena Deeb
March 21: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – Heidi Lovelace b Seleziya Sparx
March 21: RESISTANCE (Chicago, IL) – D’Arcy Dixon, Amazing Maria, Starr Venus, Thunder Kitty & Angel Dust b Mickie Knuckles, Camron Star, Lucy Mendez, Devyn Nicole & Jessie Belle Smothers
March 21: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Marcela b Dalys
March 22: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Kurumi v Shiori Akiba went to a time limit draw; Kurumi b Kyuri; Hamuko Hoshi b Yuuka; Mio Shirai b Miyako Matsumoto; Hikaru Shida & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Maki Narumiya & Meari Naito
March 22: Chigusa Nagayo produce Marvelous Night VI (Tokyo, Japan) – Chigusa Nagayo, Kagetsu & Takumi Iroha b Dump Matsumoto, KAORU & Yoshiko; Eiger b Sakura Hirota; Mio Shirai, Misaki Ohata & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Hiroyo Matsumoto, Rina Yamashita & Sawako Shimono; Kyoko Inoue & Sareee b Mima Shimoda & Yumiko Hotta; Io Shirai & Natsuki*Taiyo b DASH Chisako & Sendai Sachiko; Ayako Hamada, KAORU & Takako Inoue b Meiko Satomura, Shinobu Kandori & Toshie Uematsu
March 22: Impact Pro Wrestling (Lynfield, New Zealand) – Britenay b Olivia Shaw
March 22: KGW Promotions (Doncaster, England) – Erin Night b Mel D’Major
March 22: Herts and Essex Wrestling (Braintree, England) – Skarlett b Rhia O’Reilly
March 22: Target Wrestling (Dumfries, Scotland) – Viper b Kasey Owens
March 22: Great Bear Promotions (Northwich, England) – Fearn Wai b Pollyanna Peppers
March 22: RAD:PRO Wrestling (South Shields, England) – Kirsty Love & Rubix Roach b Freya Frenzy & Vulture
March 22: Pro Wrestling RIOT (Titusville, FL) – Brittany b The Executioner; Lizzie Parris b Gabriel Black
March 22: NWA A-L-T (Gilmer, TX) – Bree Ann b Myka
March 22: Maryland Championship Wrestling (Joppa, MD) – Nui Tofiga & Renee Michelle b Cobian & Jessie Kaye
March 22: New York Wrestling Connection (Deer Park, NY) – Chrissy Rivera b Marti Belle to win the NYWC Starlets Championship
March 22: Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – LuFisto b Hania; Hudson Envy b Christina Von Eerie to win the AWS Women’s Championship
March 22: WWE (Atlantic City, NJ) – Naomi b AJ Lee
March 22: WWE (Uniondale, NY) – Brie & Nikki Bella b Aksana & Alicia Fox
March 23: World Woman Pro-Wrestling Diana (Kawasaki, Japan) – Yuiga b Cindy Sanders; Crazy Mary Dobson b Lylah Lodge; Cherry & Jessica James b Kaho Kobayashi, Sareee & Yako Fujigasaki in a handicap match; Mask de Sun & Mima Shimoda b Kaoru Ito & Rydeen Hagane; Kyoko Inoue & Tomoko Watanabe b Keiko Aono & Yumiko Hotta
March 23: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Command Bolshoi v Yumi Hayashi went to a time limit draw; Sachie Abe b Rabbit Miu; KAZUKI b Yako Fujigasaki; Hanako Nakamori, Kayoko Haruyama & Manami Katsu b Command Bolshoi, Leon & Rydeen Hagane
March 23: UNION (Kawasaki, Japan) – Cherry b Mio Shirai
March 23: Grapple Wrestling (Garforth, England) – Ariana & Joseph Hyde b Erin Night & Adam Dark
March 23: Futureshock Wrestling (Stockport, England) – Danni Hunter b Lana Austin
March 23: Canadian Pro Wrestling (Woodstock, ON, Canada) – Jasmin b Courtney Rush
March 23: Beyond Wrestling (Providence, RI) – AR Fox b Kimber Lee via DQ
March 23: WWE (Binghamton, NY) – Naomi b AJ Lee
March 23: WWE (Trenton, NJ) – Brie & Nikki Bella b Aksana & Alicia Fox
March 23: Future Stars of Wrestling (Las Vegas, NV) – Shelly Martinez b Reby Sky
March 23: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Estrellita & Goya Kong b Princesa Blanca, Princesa Sugheit & Zeuxis
March 24: WWE Raw (Brooklyn, NY) – Naomi b AJ Lee via count out
March 28: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – April Davids v Bubblegum
March 28: River City Wrestling (San Antonio, TX) – Alissa Flash v Joey Spector
March 29: Scottish Wrestling Entertainment (Dundee, Scotland) – Debbie Sharpe v Kirsty Love
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; Kimber Lee v Hania; Angel Dust v Nikki Storm; Jenny Rose & TBA v Heidi Lovelace & Annie Social; Veda Scott v Shanna
March 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling Girls Night Out 12 (Cleveland, OH) – Mia Yim v Jasmin; Annie Social & Heidi Lovelace v Russ Myers & T-Money; Shanna v Hania
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: Xtreme Intense Championship Wrestling (Warren, MI) – Scarlett Bordeaux v Veda Scott
March 30: Smash Wrestling (Etobicoke, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush v LuFisto v Vanessa Kraven v Seleziya Sparx
April 4: 3X Wrestling (Eagle Grove, IA) – Randi West v Heather Patera
April 4: Mid-South Legends Fanfest (Chalmette, LA) – Barbi Hayden v Angelina Love
April 4: A Wrestling Odyssey (New Orleans, LA) – Ivelisse Velez v Jazz; Leva Bates & Mia Yim v Sassy Stephie & Jessie Belle Smothers
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) – Cheerleader Melissa v LuFisto
April 6: HXC Wrestling (Manchester, England) – Leah Owens & Lana Austin v Violet Vendetta & Viper
April 12: Fight Club Finland (Helsinki, Finland) – Aurora Flame v Sara Elektra
April 12-13: SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
April 13: IWA Mid-South (Clarksville, IN) – Mickie Knuckles v Randi West
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 Leah Von Dutch v Midianne 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: Coventry Pro Wrestling (Coventry, England) – Nadia Sapphire v Fearn Wai
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; Viper v Kay Lee Ray
May 10: Women Superstars Uncensored Queen and King of the Ring (Voorhees, NJ) – Jessicka Havok v LuFisto
May 11: Alpha-1 Wrestling (Hamilton, ON, Canada) – Michael Elgin v Seleziya Sparx
May 24: Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling (Brooklyn, NY) – Kacee Carlisle v Mickie Knuckles
June 9: Bellatrix 9 (Norwich, England) – Blue Nikita v Sammi Baynz
July 6: British Empire Wrestling (London, England) – Dragonita v Dean Michael; Toni Storm v Kasey Owens
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE, TNA, Gonzalo Lopez, Tabercil
– 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