There have been many plaudits for Charlotte’s NXT Women’s Championship tournament victory over Natalya at Takeover last Thursday, and with good reason. It was a great match which played to both women’s strengths – and with Charlotte’s father Ric Flair and Natalya’s uncle Bret Hart in their respective corners, it added to the drama of the whole deal. Given a big video package to hype it, a seal of approval from former titleholder and reigning WWE Divas Champion Paige, big entrances – along with new music for Charlotte which is a dance track with Flair’s theme sampled – 17 minutes to have a contest which built up to a fever pitch and shows of respect after the bell, the match was a home run and the best contest of the show.
The match itself was great, with the pair exchanging holds at the start and Charlotte looking to beat Natalya at her own technical wrestling game and Natalya taunting Flair by delivering a “whoo” right at him. Charlotte got the edge with a dragon screw from the apron which probably worked better in theory than in practice, and went for a risky moonsault which didn’t pay off. It gave Natalya the opening to lock in a Sharpshooter before Charlotte beautifully reversed it into a figure four leglock and ended with her hanging off the apron for extra leverage. Back in the ring, she abandoned her plan to re-apply the hold in order to lock in a Sharpshooter of her own while looking square at Hart in what was a great moment. Natalya fought loose but was kicked away, allowing Charlotte to nail her Bow To The Queen facebuster for the clean pin. Seriously, this match was brilliant and is worth going out of your way to watch.
It’s even more startling considering Charlotte debuted less than a year ago and didn’t start training until mid-2012. She’s been promoted as being a natural in the ring, and there’s a lot of evidence to support that. Coupled with her gymnastic ability, height and physique, she is certainly a great prodigy for the Divas division, but let’s not get too carried away yet.
Yes, the match was a real corker, but we have also seen that when Charlotte is placed against fellow development talent that things aren’t as amazing, and we don’t know how much time was spent putting that match together. That’s not a criticism, as nobody is brilliant from the start and everyone needs to learn. In fact, putting her as the Champion is a wise move as she can be the focus of the division for the next year to 18 months where she can really hone her craft and be totally polished for if/when she graduates to the main roster when she can deal with wrestling on a more consistent basis and can deliver each time.
While Charlotte has deservedly received a slew of plaudits, let’s not forget about the other half of the match who was put in the position where she could steer the ship, bring it back in line if things potentially went wrong. Natalya played an absolute blinder in the match and showed fans just what she is capable of when she is given the position to get on the mat and wrestle. As a performer, she can be totally relied upon to have good matches, but it’s totally soured by her horrendous character which is whiney, moaning, sulky and entitled – and she’s meant to be a babyface. Total Divas has done very little to make her more of a likeable human. If only they could wipe her character clean and create a new one while retaining her wrestling skills.
Stew asked if the NXT Takeover match is a sign of things to come. It’s very possible, but this won’t happen overnight as the Divas division is in a transitional/rebuilding phase. Paige and Emma on the main roster is a start, and more will emerge in the months and years to come, but it may take a while for things to fall into place. Having said that, confidence is high.
SHINE 20’s main event will be the greatest match in the promotion’s two-year history.
That’s a bold prediction, but how can Ivelisse Velez’s defence of the SHINE Championship against Valkyrie’s Serena Deeb be anything but brilliant?
The match was announced last night for the June 27 card following Deeb pinning and eliminating Velez in last month’s 5 v 5 match at SHINE 19 – a contest which was eventually won by Serena and Taylor Made. In fact, Serena has been a thorn in Ivelisse’s side for a while as it was Velez who was the victim for Deeb’s heel turn at SHINE 16 in January. She and Valkyrie hit the ring after Velez’s successful defence against Mercedes Martinez the following month and did it again at SHINE 18 in April. In fact, the pair have been on a collision course since Serena’s debut.
We’ve enthused about both wrestlers in the last few months. Ivelisse has certainly boosted her standing since winning the SHINE Championship from Rain by beating Martinez, Jazz and Saraya Knight, while Serena has been racking up Match of the Night honours. Considering their skills and the backstory, this can’t fail be be brilliant.
While it may be the only contest announced so far, we also know the rest of the SHINE 20 roster – and it’s certainly whetted our appetite.
Tag Team Champions Mia Yim & Leva Bates, Valkyrie’s Allysin Kay, Taylor Made & Su Yung, the SNS trio of Sassy Stephie, Nevaeh & Jessie Belle Smothers, the Buddy System’s Heidi Lovelace & Solo Darling, the Kimber Bombs’ Kimber Lee & Cherry Bomb and Legendary’s Malia Hosaka & Brandi Wine are all involved. In addition, Jessicka Havok, Leah Von Dutch and La Rosa Negra will be in action, as well as the debuting Candice LeRae. It’s certainly a talent-heavy lineup.
Natsuki☆Taiyo bowed out of wrestling on Sunday, losing to Nanae Takahashi in the main event of her swansong card at Tokyo’s Korukuen Hall. Having competed for the last decade, the 30 year old competed in the dying years of All Japan Women after coming through the AJW dojo before bouncing around a few promotions, winning the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship in 2006 before joining Takahashi’s Pro Wrestling Sun group and changing her name from Natsuki☆Head to her existing guise, winning the World-1 Women’s Championship the following year by beating Amazing Kong & Toshie Uematsu in a 3-way – which was visually some mismatch considering Kong’s size and Taiyo’s 5 foot frame.
Taiyo and Takahashi broke away and formed Passion Red in 2008 and became the NEO High Speed Champion along the way – a title with which she would become synonymous when the belt was carried over to Stardom following Passion Red’s demise and Takahashi’s 2010 launch of her current promotion. During her Stardom run, she held the High Speed Title two more times as well as the Goddesses and Artist of Stardom championships.
For anyone who didn’t get to see Taiyo’s work, you would be astounded at her speed. There’s fast, there’s sudden, there’s a bolt of lightning, and then there’s Natsuki☆Taiyo. That sentiment is reflected by Kellie Skater, who Ringbelles approached for a comment:
“Natsuki is the speediest, and one of the most spirited people I have ever wrestled. You always knew if you were facing Natsuki to expect chaos, and fun.
“Natsuki is one of the most talented wrestlers I have had the privilege of wrestling. She can wrestle any style and bring her crazy sense of flair to each match. I am disappointed SHIMMER fans never got the chance to see her on a show.”
Elsewhere on the site, Stew has reviewed Highspots’ debut Queens of Combat show from March – the next one is scheduled for later this month.
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It wasn’t just Charlotte’s abilities which received praise from Triple H during the build-up to NXT Takeover. He also held a Twitter Q&A on Thursday before the show where he named Alexa Bliss as someone to look out for in the future… Paige defeated Tamina Snuka in her most dominant showing yet on last Friday’s SmackDown with the PTO (Scorpion Crosslock). The feisty nature which was highlighted in NXT also came out as Alicia Fox came to fingside and pranced around with the Divas Championship belt. The following night, Paige and Natalya went to a no-contest in Springfield, IL after Fox ran in and went after both of them. Cameron and Naomi came out to clean house and the babyfaces danced. Paige ended up beating Fox at Payback – again, the match was put in the “death spot”. Cameron interrupted Paige’s interview on the post-game show – the pair wrestle on Superstars this week… Fox was back in action on Raw last night when she and Aksana took on Nikki Bella – it was a punishment for Nikki by Stephanie McMahon because sister Brie quit the promotion at Payback to save husband Daniel Bryan from having to forfeit the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Nikki was beaten, and then assaulted after the bell… Rosebud watch: Seleziya Sparx, Scarlett Bordeaux and Mary Elizabeth Monroe accompanied Adam Rose on Raw.
Brooke Tessmacher is appearing on TV show The Amazing Race alongside her other half, Robbie E… Brittany defied Madison Rayne’s advice to leave the Beautiful People alone on last week’s Impact Wrestling, and the newcomer recruited Gail Kim instead. Kim got the hot tag but Brittany quickly tagged herself back in and fell to Angelina Love’s Botox Injection. Afterwards, Brittany called Rayne to the ring and asked by Madison didn’t like her, then admitted she wanted to “be with” her. Love and Velvet Sky came back out, saying “That’s the real Madison Rayne that nobody but us knows about. And do you know why? Because we made her that way. That’s why.” That’s silly, cryptic and now TNA will likely create a backstory to fill in the gaps, which is the wrong way round. This is all likely leading to a Brittany heel turn, but this segment was the absolute pits.
Mary Elizabeth Monroe is still unbeaten in Ohio Valley Wrestling competition. She defeated Ray Lyn – whose entire repertoire is twerking, it seems – last Wednesday, and was named the number one contender for the Women’s Championship, with her challenging Lei’D Tapa this Saturday. Jessie Belle emerged to say she deserved the shot and the pair started fighting before Tapa came out to destroy both of them, and said she would defend the belt against both women… IWA Mid-South’s Volcano Girls was held 10 years ago last Friday. It was seen as the blueprint for SHIMMER… A curious tidbit: Jessicka Havok wrestled for Combat Zone Wrestling on Saturday night. Considering Havok was fired by WSU and the promotion is part owned by CZW boss DJ Hyde, it’s an intriguing booking… Christina Von Eerie won the Alternative Wrestling Show 4th Annual Women’s Tournament on Saturday, beating Kahmora, Cole Pistol and Amazona. The big shock of the tourney came in the first round where Amazona defeated Candice LeRae. Elsewhere on the card, Cheerleader Melissa beat Serena Deeb, and AWS Women’s Champion Hudson Envy retained her title by overcoming Brittany Wonder… Leah Von Dutch is still the Pure Wrestling Association Elite Women’s Champion after beating former titleholder Beautiful Beaa on Saturday… Kimber Lee will make her Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling debut on July 19. Her opponent is yet to be announced… Angel Blue and Leva Bates are the final participants announced for this months Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens tournament… Barbi Hayden beat Miss Diss Lexia on Sunday’s NWA Houston show, retaining her NWA World Women’s Championship… All six pro wrestlers emerged unscathed after Saturday’s Lingerie Fighting Championships show in Las Vegas, NV. Susan “Tatia” Cordell (Cat Power) beat Riley “Nuclear” Norris (Taylor Made) via unanimous decision, Sheila “Crash” Cardinal (Cheerleader Melissa) defeated Beth “Mount Crush” Moore (Allysin Kay) via split decision, and Megan “Baby” Doll (Mia Yim) knocked Brenda “Juice” Jones (Sassy Stephie) out in the third round. The show will be broadcast on PPV on July 11… Change of plans for Remix Pro’s June 21 show – Allysin Kay will now be wrestling Brittany instead of Brooke Tessmacher.
Amapola defeated Syuri by 2 falls to 1 on Wrestling New Classic’s show last Thursday to successfully retain the CMLL-Reina International Championship… Cherry celebrated her 10th anniversary in wrestling on Sunday with a self-produced card. She lost to Aja Kong in the main event… Tsukushi is out for a while as she need an appendectomy.
Kay Lee Ray wrestled for Kamikaze Pro on Saturday. She was beaten by Ryan Smile – though had appeared to win the match before it was restarted. She also participated in the 5 on 5 elimination main event as part of a team from Premier British Wrestling – her team won, but she was eliminated along the way… Pollyanna Peppers is the first woman announced for upcoming female British promotion Empress Pro Wrestling… Miss Mina defeated Sara Elektra in a 24 minute match at Fight Club Finland’s show on Saturday to retain the Nordic Women’s Wrestling Alliance Championship. Also on the card, Jessica Love beat Finnish Heavyweight Champion Heimo Ukonselkä but did not gain the title as it was a DQ victory… Jezabeth won the Total Action Wrestling Women’s Championship on Saturday by defeating Mia… Bellatrix IX on June 15 will feature a Queen of the Ring tournament featuring Saraya Knight, Erin Angel, Bacardi, Skarlett, Lady Lory, Penelope, Destiny and World Champion Liberty, with the brackets being drawn this weekend. Destiny won the last tournament in 2012, beating Chanel, Lady Lory and Liberty. The tournament didn’t take place in 2013.
Zeuxis told terra.com that she wants to wrestle Marcela for the CMLL World Women’s Championship before 2014 is over.
Australia & New Zealand
Riot City Wrestling Women’s Champion Demi Bennett defeated former titleholder Savannah Summers on Saturday.
May 27: WWE Main Event (Atlanta, GA) – Natalya b Brie Bella
May 27: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Estrellita & Silueta b Dalys, Tiffany & Zeuxis via DQ
May 28: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Kurumi & Neko Nitta b Akiba Shiori & Cherry; Manami Katsu v Risa Sera went to a time limit draw; Mio Shirai & Yuuka b Kyuri & Tsukasa Fujimoto; Tsukasa Fujimoto won a battle royal
May 28: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Lei’D Tapa b Jessie Belle; Mary Elizabeth Monroe b Ray Lyn
May 29: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Sumire Natsu & Rina Yamashita v Risa Sera & Shiori Akiba went to a time limit draw; Mio Shirai b Sawako Shimono; Tomoka Nakagawa v Tsukasa Fujimoto went to a time limit draw; Fairy Nipponbashi, Kana & Cherry b Moeka Haruhi, Mika Iida & Kyusei Ninja Ranmaru; Shu Shibutani b Yuu Yamagata ; Ayako Hamada & Misaki Ohata b Yumi Ohka & Hikaru Shida
May 29: Wrestling New Classic (Tokyo, Japan) – La Comandante, Lin Byron & Alex Lee b Makoto, Kaho Kobayashi & Koharu Hinata; Amapola b Syuri
May 29: TNA Impact Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Angelina Love & Velvet Sky b Gail Kim & Brittany
May 29: WWE NXT Takeover (Winter Park, FL) – Charlotte b Natalya to win the NXT Women’s Championship
May 29: IWA Mid-South (Clarkesville, IN) – Heidi Lovelace b Jordynne Grace
May 30: WWE SmackDown (Atlanta, GA) – Paige b Tamina Snuka
May 30: World Xtreme Wrestling (Allentown, PA) – Kacee Carlisle b Sammi Pandora
May 30: TNA (Pikeville, KY) – Gail Kim b Velvet Sky
May 30: Santino Bros Wrestling (Bell Gardens, CA) – Allie Parker b Fern Owens
May 30: Chaotic Wrestling (Lowell, MA) – Kasey Ray b Mistress Belmont
May 30: Lucha Libra Feminil (Monterrey, Mexico) – Jade b Candy Girl; Lady Flamer b Sadik Maiden; Angelica b Amazona & Tsunami in a 3-way; Sadica b Bombona Love via DQ
May 31: Riot City Wrestling (North Adelaide, Australia) – Demi Bennett b Savannah Summers
May 31: Fight Club Finland (Helsinki, Finland) – Miss Mina b Sara Elektra; Jessica Love b Heimo Ukonselkä via DQ
May 31: Westside Xtreme Wrestling (Oberhausen, Germany) – Melanie Gray b Svetlana Kalashnikova via DQ
May 31: Swiss Wrestling Entertainment (Bern, Switzerland) – Liberty b Lady Penelope & Layla Rose in a 3-way
May 31: Total Action Wrestling (Dunstable, England) – Jezabeth b Mia to win the TAW Women’s Championship
May 31: Kamikaze Pro (Longbridge, England) – Ryan Smile b Kay Lee Ray; Kid Fite, Joe Coffey, Kay Lee Ray, TJ Rage & Kenny Williams b Pete Dunne, Ryan Smile, Tyler Bate, Dan Moloney & Robbie X in an elimination match
May 31: Scottish Wrestling Entertainment (Dundee, Scotland) – Nikki Storm b Debbie Sharpe
May 31: WWE (Springfield, IL) – Paige v Natalya went to a no contest
May 31: New York Wrestling Connection (Deer Park, NY) – Chrissy Rivera b Rick Cataldo
May 31: Chaotic Wrestling (Stoneham, MA) – Kasey Ray b Alexxis Nevaeh
May 31: World Xtreme Wrestling (Subnury, PA) – Niya b Sammi Pandora
May 31: Big Time Wrestling (North Chaleston, SC) – Reby Sky b Sojournor Bolt
May 31: TNA (Corbin, KY) – Gail Kim b Velvet Sky
May 31: Combat Zone Wrestling (Dayton, OH) – Jessicka Havok & Nevaeh b Kimber Lee & LuFisto
May 31: NWA Houston (Cypress, TX) – Barbi Hayden b Miss Diss Lexia
May 31: AAW (Pontiac, IL) – Heidi Lovelace b Heather Patera
May 31: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Kenny Lush, Billy Suede & Nicole Matthews b Brady Malibu, MR2 & Jaida
May 31: Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – Cole Pistol b Kikya Nakamura; Christina Von Eerie b Kahmora; Nicole Savoy b Datura; Amazona b Candice LeRae; Sage Sin & Raze b Kitana Vera & Allie Parker; Christina Von Eerie b Cole Pistol; Amazona b Nicole Savoy; Cheerleader Melissa b Serena Deeb; Hudson Envy b Brittany Wonder; Christina Von Eerie b Amazona; B-Boy, Hector Canales, Joey Ryan, Lil Cholo & SoCal Crazy b Candice LeRae, Kikyo Nakamura, Datura, Kahmora & Allie Parker
May 31: Pure Wrestling Association (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Skyler Rose b Alexia Nicole; Leah Von Dutch b Beautiful Beaa
June 1: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Shiori Akiba & Tsukasa Fujimoto b 235 & Kurumi; Mio Shirai & Yuuka b Kyuri & Rabbit Miu; Mochi Miyagi v Risa Sera went to a time limit draw; Hamuko Hoshi b Maki Narumiya
June 1: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Yoshiko, Act Yasukawa, Kairi Hojo & Koguma b Kyoko Kimura, Alpha Female, Tomoka Nakagawa & Danshoku Dieno; Hiroyo Matsumoto, Miho Wakizawa & Mayu Iwatani b Kaori Yoneyama, Hatsuhinode Kamen & Sayaka Obihiro; Io Shirai b Takumi Iroha; Nanae Takahashi b Natsuki☆Taiyo
June 1: Union Cherry 10th Anniversary (Tokyo, Japan) – Isami Kodaka & Yuko Miyamoto b Kyoko Kimura & Tomoka Nakagawa; Jun Kasai & Sachie Abe b Takashi Sasaki & Meari Naito; Kana b Shu Shibutani; Aja Kong b Cherry
June 1: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Leon b Kayoko Haruyama, KAZUKI & Sachie Abe in a 4-way; Rabbit Miu b Yume Hayashi; Arisa Nakajima, Command Bolshoi, Hanako Nakamori, Kayoko Haruyama, KAZUKI, Leon, Rabbit Miu, Rydeen Hagane, Sachie Abe & Yume Hayashi b Manami Katsu in a gauntlet match
June 1: Insane Championship Wrestling (Newcastle, England) – Liam Thomson & Carmel b Stevie Boy & Kay Lee Ray
June 1: Target Wrestling (Penrith, Scotland) – Nikki Storm b Viper
June 1: Total Action Wrestling (Leighton Buzzard, England) – Jezabeth b Nightshade
June 1: Big Time Wrestling (Hickory, NC) – Reby Sky b Sojournor Bolt
June 1: WWE Payback (Rosemont, IL) – Paige b Alicia Fox
June 2: WWE Raw (Indianapolis, IN) – Aksana & Alicia Fox b Nikki Bella
June 6: Pro Wrestling 4 U (Newcastle Under Lyme, England) – Jenna v Violet Vendetta
June 7: Newcastle Pro Wrestling (New Lambton, Australia) – Bee Boy & Rachel Rose v The Blue Oni & Shazza McKenzie
June 7: Pride Wrestling (Glasgow, Scotland) – Nikki Storm v Viper
June 7: RAD:PRO Wrestling (South Shields, England) – Sammii The Dolly v Vulture; Freya Frenzy v Switch
June 7: Pro Wrestling Syndicate (Rahway, NJ) – Missy Sampson, La Rosa Negra & Annie Social v Jessie Kaye, Hania & Amber Rodriguez
June 7: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Lei’D Tapa v Mary Elizabeth Monroe v Jessie Belle
June 7: Northeast Wrestling (Ansonia, CT) – Reby Sky v Alexxis Nevaeh
June 8: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland) – Kay Lee Ray v Sammii Jayne; Debbie Sharpe v Courtney; Nikki Storm v Bete Noire; Sara Marie Taylor & Carmel Jacob v Leah Owens & TBA; Fiona Fraser v Viper
June 8: IPW:UK/Progress (Swanley, England) – Evian Sky v Jinny Sandhu v Mischa East v Olivia Brae v Rhia O’Reilly v Rosie Leigh
June 8: SMASH Wrestling (Etobicoke, ON, Canada) – Cherry Bomb v Vanessa Kraven
June 13: Queens of Combat (Charlotte, NC) – Heidi Lovelace v Marti Belle
June 13: All Pro Wrestling (Daly City, CA) – Cheerleader Melissa v Reby Sky
June 14: Pro Wrestling Alliance (Casula, Australia) – Evie v Shazza McKenzie
June 14: Melbourne City Wrestling (Tullamarine, Australia) – Miami v KC Cassidy; Siren Monroe v Toni Storm; Savannah Summers b Miki Fortune
June 15: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto v Risa Sera
June 15: Bellatrix 9 (Norwich, England) – Blue Nikita v Sammi Baynz
June 21: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – Allysin Kay v Brittany
June 27: SHINE 20 (Ybor City, FL) – Ivelisse Velez v Serena Deeb
June 28: Warzone Wrestling (Wendouree, Australia) – Savannah Summers v Siren Monroe v Harley Wonderland
June 28: IWA Mid South Queen of the Deathmatches (New Albany, IN) – LuFisto v Jordynne Grace
June 29: Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Queen of Queens (Austin, TX)
June 29: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Veda Scott v Gregory Iron
July 1: Pure Wrestling Association (Cambridge, ON, Canada) – Kc Spinelli v Beautiful Beaa
July 6: British Empire Wrestling (London, England) – Dragonita v Dean Michael; Toni Storm v Kasey Owens
July 12: German Hurricane Wrestling (Nauheim, Germany) – Svetlana Kalashnikova v Stella
July 12: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ) – LuFisto v Mickie Knuckles
July 19: Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling (Brooklyn, NY)
July 20: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
August 9: Southside Wrestling (Nottingham, England) – Martin Kirby v Kay Lee Ray
August 16: NCW Femmes Fatales XV (Montreal, QC, Canada) – Mercedes Martinez v LuFisto v Cheerleader Melissa v Courtney Rush
October 18-19: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE (1,2,5), Youji Kawauchi (4), Jezabeth (6), Samantha Kemmler (7), Tabercil (8)
– 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