Welcome to what has become a tradition for Ringbelles – a rundown of the wrestlers who have enjoyed a good start to the year. In the past, we have featured five or six names who have had a positive six months but this time we have a whopping eight of them, as well as the final article where we list the others who have done a good job. We start with a woman who has been part of the longest women’s match in the western world in 2014 – though there is more to speak about in the last six months when it comes to Serena Deeb…
After dipping her toes back into the wrestling waters in 2013 following an 18-month layoff due to a big concussion – one which threatened to put her out of wrestling for good – Deeb kicked off 2014 by making her debut for SHINE Wrestling in a mid-card match against Santana Garrett at SHINE 16. However, she would make a further contribution later in the night as she turned heel to align herself with the Valkyrie stable, ostensibly replacing Rain as its leader. Victories over Angelina Love and Mercedes Martinez – the latter described by us as “engrossing” and “fantastic” – put her within touching distance of a SHINE title shot against reigning champion Ivelisse Velez, and that was underlined as Deeb got a pinball over the titleholder as part of the 10-woman elimination tag team main event at SHINE 19, and went on to win the match alongside Taylor Made. All the pieces fell into place for Velez v Deeb for the championship, and it took place at SHINE 20 last Friday, which ended up being an hour-long broadway which left both women battered, bruised and totally sore. It was some way to kick off her 28th birthday weekend.
While Serena’s highest-profile work of the year has taken place at SHINE, she has also worked elsewhere to great accolade. She produced the match of the night at Queens of Combat‘s debut show in early March against Taeler Hendrix, as well as at Pro Wrestling Syndicate Bombshells later that month against Mia Yim. She also ventured to Californian promotion Alternative Wrestling Show in May as part of a losing effort against Cheerleader Melissa, though the bulk of her wrestling so far in 2014 came in the more remote areas of Canada as part of an all-women touring promotion.
The end of April and half of May was spent working with the Beauty Slammers group around Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, mostly wrestling Beautiful Beaa but also against Bambi Hall and Dark Angel Sarah Stock in a 3-way to determine a Beauty Slammers champion – with Stock emerging as the winner. The tour was the most intensive since returning from her concussion and she came through it without any issues, which is certainly a welcome piece of news.
2014 has seen Serena spend much of her time working heel – a big departure from the rousing babyface which she has been for most of her career on the indies, not taking into account her time in WWE developmental or on the main roster – and it is something at which she has proved very adept. Avoiding the need for flashy moves and adopting a “no wasted motion” attitude, her move set is more calculating and sinister, and it has given her the opportunity to display some brilliant facial expressions. Her look when she attempted to spear Velez at SHINE on Friday was one of an obsessed, manic individual with a one-track mind and really helped to add flavour to what was an-already absorbing match. As we have pointed out in the past, Deeb is so beautifully old-school in her work and attitude towards wrestling – and it is an ethos which serves her very well.
Some would argue that she has not wrestled enough dates to really be considered in this list, but this is certainly a case of quality over quantity. When a wrestler goes into the ring against Serena, she can be assured of a top contest against a woman who is supremely confident when it comes to working an opponent as well as the audience, regardless of whether it is a local spot show or an iPPV. Most – if not all – of the matches Deeb has had this year have been in consideration for being the best on the card, and that is a testament to someone who clearly knows what they are doing.
Quite what is in store for Serena for the second half of the year is unclear. There is likely a SHINE Championship rematch in her future, though we could not really speculate on if she will be part of SHIMMER‘s DVD tapings in October. Once an integral and valuable member of the roster, she has missed the last two sets of tapings – though this may be by choice, as working a potential 4 matches in 48 hours may be a stretch for someone who suffered such a serious injury to her brain. Wherever Deeb chooses to work for the rest of this year, she is certainly someone who is worth going out of your way to see live. Should her next six months be similar to the previous six, we may be discussing her in further detail for our Year End Awards.