“You blame Russia for the recent current events? In fact, you Americans should be scolded for your warmongering in Afghanistan and Iraq. You Americans should be insulted and afraid.”
It seems as it “current events” is an abstract term which was used during a promo by Lana at WWE Battleground on Sunday. However, “recent current events” is likely to be referring to the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over the skies of Ukraine last Thursday, killing 298 people from countries including the Netherlands, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States. It was a horrible tragedy which has increased tensions between Russia and the US, UK and more. There was discussion as to how this may affect WWE’s ongoing storyline involving Russia supporters Lana and Rusev against US defenders Jack Swagger and Zeb Colter, which is using the real life political tensions between the two countries to forward a storyline. As it turns out, WWE wasn’t going to deviate from its plan, and even (possibly) referred to real incidents to forward its programme.
The comments by Lana received a lot of mainstream international coverage with media companies criticising WWE for invoking a real incident to generate heat and money. It’s not the first time that WWE has done it either. The bulk of the 1980s had antagonists like the Iron Sheik, Nikolai Volkoff and others stirring up emotions around issues like the Iranian Revolution and the Cold War, with wrestlers like Hulk Hogan, Sergeant Slaughter, Hacksaw Jim Duggan and Corporal Kirchener defending the United States. Slaughter was involved in a serious media backlash in 1991 when he became an Iraqi sympathiser during the first Gulf War – a real conflict where soldiers were dying – and while the ground aggressions ended early in the year, it was continued within WWE TV to keep his heat going. However, the backlash saw fans walk away in their thousands.
A lesser incident took place in 2003 when WWE created La Resistance to capitalise on France’s decision to not supply troops for the second Gulf War, though it did not generate as much mainstream anger. Two years later, there was real anger generated by a poor decision around the time of the July 7 terror attacks in London, England.
The Muhammad Hassan character was designed to generate anger, though it went over the line from being about an American Muslim character trying to defend Islam to him becoming a terrorist character following his drafting to SmackDown, leading to he and masked men trying to strangle the Undertaker with piano wire. The filming of the angle took place two days before the blasts, and while WWE cut the segment from the UK transmission on July 8, it was left in everywhere else in the world and caused such anger that the Hassan character was no longer allowed on SmackDown and was written out of the promotion soon afterwards.
The negative reaction to what happened with last week’s plane attack prompted WWE to release a statement to F4Wonline.com:
“Last night’s segment during WWE’s Battleground event was in no way referring to the Malaysia Airlines tragedy. The storyline with characters Rusev and Lana has been a part of WWE programming for more than three months. WWE apologizes to anyone who misunderstood last night’s segment and was offended.”
It’s debatable about whether WWE was referring to the missile attack. It was mentioned in such a way that the company could have plausible deniability if the backlash occurred – which it did. While many fans say they’re not upset or angry with Lana’s promo – which was scripted for her – it’s arguable that wrestling fans have become conditioned to let stuff slide. However, while WWE likes to claim it has its own universe, it still exists within the real world, and it’s doubtful that others would share the same lack of anger towards the promo. The real world also includes WWE’s shareholders, so it clearly had to do something to quell the frustration.
How this will affect Lana and Rusev remains to be seen. She was cut off by The Great Khali’s promo when she tried to deliver her usual promo on last night’s Raw, and F4W reports that the storyline with Rusev and Swagger is to be quietly dropped. Worst case scenarios may see Lana and Rusev removed from TV until the genuine international tensions ease, though this is unlikely.
Lana has done a great job in forwarding her character and generates great heat, regardless of how cheap that heat may be. Let’s hope that the writers letting things get too close to the bone doesn’t affect her marketability in the future.
Let’s go chronologically with what’s been happening on WWE TV, shall we…?
Emma made her return to TV following her shoplift arrest, firing and re-hiring earlier this month by beating Cameron on Main Event in a match which was more about forwarding the loser’s feud with Naomi, who was on commentary and made the save for the Australian after the bell. On SmackDown, Eva Marie and Alicia Fox abandoned their match to attack special ref Nikki Bella, while AJ Lee and Paige’s frenemy dynamic continued as they defeated Summer Rae and Layla in tag team action. AJ tagged herself in at the end to make Summer tap out to the Black Widow and Paige was not pleased about it. AJ extended her hand but Paige responded with a hug.
At Battleground, Cameron pinned Naomi in the pre-show with a tights-assisted roll-up, while AJ beat Paige with the Shining Wizard on the main card, though the expected heel turn did not happen. We had to wait until last night’s Raw for that, as Paige attacked AJ following their tag team victory over Emma and Natalya, when AJ got the submission win the the Black Widow. The fans got into the attack, which is a positive sign.
Elsewhere on Raw, Summer Rae and Layla continued their torment of Fandango by helping Zack Ryder beat him – much like they did the night before with Adam Rose – and things leapt forward in the programme the Bella Twins and Stephanie McMahon.
Nikki Bella has been put into handicap matches as of late as a punishment for sister Brie slapping Stephanie and quitting the promotion. The latest saw her face a seemingly jobber quartet of Alicia Fox, Cameron, Eva Marie & Rosa Mendes, though Brie was at ringside as a fan to support her sister. This brought out McMahon, who bad-mouthed Brie and tried to have her thrown out of the building but Bella produced a ticket. Stephanie then slapped Brie, who then tried to hop the rail to fight back – which saw her get ejected from the building. Later on, Stephanie was confronted by two officers who arrested her on suspicion of battery and was led from the building to jail. Brie – who somehow got back into the building to make the accusation – tried to get at Stephanie while she was in cuffs. It generated a great reaction and was a well-executed couple of segments. This also potentially leads into Brie v Stephanie at SummerSlam with the proviso that Brie drops the charges, and with in the stipulation that if she wins, she is reinstated to WWE.
Fierce Females was in something of a lull at the start of this year. That lull is now a distant memory thanks to what has been described as a blinding card last Sunday topped off with an angle which is the first real storyline surrounding the belt since the title’s inception 14 months ago.
There has been a support for Nikki Storm on recent Fierce Females shows, and it led to a double turn in the Scottish Championship main event between she and the defending Kay Lee Ray. After years of fighting, Kay Lee aligned herself with Carmel Jacob and Sara to form a heel trio who managed to get the title match thrown out, turning Storm babyface in the process. It should lead to a rematch between the two down the line, but could also see Nikki facing Carmel and Sara in some fresh matches which should create intrigue.
Also swelling the roster on this show was four representatives from Bellatrix, with Penelope, Liberty, Sammi Baynz and Saraya Knight all making the trip with varying success. However, it seems as if Baynz and Knight are likely to return considering their partnership in Fierce Females, taking out Viper in the semi-main. It allows the promotion to create some new angles – though there’s the possible issue of things being a little heel heavy. With KLR, Carmel, Sara, Saraya, Sammi, Debbie Sharpe, Fiona Fraser and others in the mix, it feels like the babyfaces are a little outnumbered. Hopefully this is a potential issue which can be quelled in the smaller shows before Fierce Females returns with its next big event on November 23 in Glasgow.
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Rosa Mendes has been doing promotional work for WWE in Mexico… Jillian Hall says she will be at today’s SmackDown tapings in Orlando, FL… The Wrestling Observer claims that Thea Trinidad will be part of the next Tough Enough season following her role as being a travelling Rosebud with Adam Rose… Natalya v Charlotte from NXT Takeover has been ranked as the best singles match in WWE so far this year. Coming in at number 2 in its top 10, it was beaten by the Shield v the Wyatt Family at Elimination Chamber… Natalya told CBS Baltimore that she once drunk-dialled Stephanie McMahon… Eva Marie was given a rough time by the fans at the recent NXT tapings during her match against Bayley. We’ll see how it’s tidied up in post-production for its broadcast in a few weeks… Figure Four Online says the reason why Layla & Summer Rae have been put together in a faux Lay-Cool guise is as a kneejerk reaction to TNA’s Beautiful People reunion. Obviously, they couldn’t go with Michelle McCool as she’s retired. Having said that, the pair were on opposite sides of the ring in a six-woman tag team match at Saturday’s house show in Tallahassee, FL… Paige told WWE.com that she was excited about her first trip to Japan earlier this month. She beat Alicia Fox in the two shows in Tokyo with her PTO finisher, which went over well – which it would, as joshi legend Bull Nakano used to use it… Kaitlyn spoke to the Baltimore Sun about leaving WWE, saying if the division when she left was more like how it is now then her decision may have been trickier. She was also backstage at Raw last night, but insisted it wasn’t leading to a comeback.
Rebel from the Menagerie made her wrestling debut on Wednesday’s Ohio Valley Wrestling tapings. She beat Jessie Belle in a dark match, with Mary Elizabeth Monroe making the save for Rebel after Jessie tried a post-match attack… Madison Rayne defeated Brittany in a no-DQ match as part of TNA’s first episode of it’s Impact Wrestling tapings in New York City… In an interview with Fanatix, Brooke (who seems to have officially dumped the “Tessmacher” element of her name) says the Knockouts division is at an “ultimate high”. I know there’s towing the company line, but that statement is pretty delusional.
Veronica Ticklefeather has quit the wrestling business. She has insisted that she is neither pregnant or getting married, but says it’s time for a new chapter. Coincidentally, her cousin Sammy Geodollno is also leaving in October to “to take care of her grandmom in New Orleans”, much like when El Generico went to help orphaned children in Mexico when Sami Zayn was signed to WWE… Courtney Rush and Allysin Kay compete on SMASH Wrestling’s August 9 show to hype the upcoming CanUSA Classic, which will be held on September 15. Following her victory over Xandra Bale (who was returning from a fractured wrist in February which she suffered in her comback match from a broken fibula last October) on Sunday, Cherry Bomb declared her allegiance to Team USA, which means she will join Kimber Lee, Veda Scott, Allysin Kay and a captain who is yet to be announced. LuFisto captains Team Canada, with Bale, Vanessa Kraven, Courtney Rush and Jewells Malone also on the side… Women Superstars Uncensored’s next show will be on September 13… Rain hinted that we may see her make further appearances at SHINE… Veda Scott – who joined us on the most recent Women Of Wrestling Podcast talking about a wealth of subjects – had a fan thrown out of Friday’s Ring Of Honor show after he grabbed at her. A note to fans – keep your hands to yourselves… Congratulations to Kc Spinelli, who defeated Leah Von Dutch on Saturday to win the Pure Wrestling Association Elite Women’s Championship. Beautiful Beaa became the number one contender for the belt by beating Jodi D’Milo… Kacee Carlisle and Sumie Sakai will wrestle to crown the first Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling Champion on the promotion’s next show. Carlisle beat LuFisto via DQ on Saturday while Sumie Sakai defeated Angel Dust, maintaining their respective unbeaten streaks. Elsewhere, the Cherry Bomb v Kimber Lee match didn’t happen because Cherry’s train was delayed for an ungodly amount of time after a boulder fell onto the tracks… Quintessential Pro Wrestling has announced an 8-woman tournament for September 13 in Las Vegas, NV. The competitors will be Serena Deeb, Jillian Hall, Ivelisse Velez, Candice LeRae, Veda Scott, Laura James, Kahmora & Christina Von Eerie.
Despite announcing her intentions to leave Stardom, Alpha Female retained the Goddesses of Stardom Championship. She and Kyoko Kimura defeated Takumi Iroha & Io Shirai on Sunday… Risa Sera will be out of action for a while after suffering bleeding from her left ear during her Ice Ribbon International Ribbon Tag Team Championship defence yesterday. She was hospitalized for further examination.
Pro Wrestling Kingdom is planning to run an intergender tag team tournament in Birmingham, England on November 14. Called Kings and Queens, it features Leah Owens on the poster… Penelope challenges Miss Mina for the Nordic Women’s Wrestling Association Championship on August 30’s Svensk Wrestling Syd show in Malmo, Sweden… Violet O’Hara will face Kimber Lee as part of a Tidal Wrestling v Combat Zone Wrestling show on October 8 in Leeds, England… Nixon Newell defeated Lana Austin at ATTACK! Pro Wrestling’s show on Friday, but they teamed up later on to collectively win the promotion’s 24:7 Championship from Mark Andrews and Pete Dunne, but lost it in a handicap match to Mike Bird… Mia defeated Jezabeth on Saturday to win the Total Action Wrestling Women’s Championship.
Australia & New Zealand
Following a spat over who is the rightful holder of the Impact Pro Wrestling New Zealand Women’s Championship, Interim Champion Britenay and Carmen Rose will take on former titleholder Evie and Olivia Shaw this weekend… Adelaide’s The Advertiser ran a report on some of the city’s wrestlers who will be receiving WWE tryouts next month. Savannah Summers was one of them, and Demi Bennett was also featured – even though at 17, she was told she was too young to take part. She says she’ll get a tryout when she turns 20…
July 16: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Kurumi b Akane Fujita; Kaho Kobayashi b Meari Naito; Mio Shirai & Miyako Matsumoto b Hamuko Hoshi & Manami Kanda; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Yuuka b Neko Nitta & Risa Sera
July 16: WWE Main Event (Fayetteville, NC) – Emma b Cameron
July 16: Ohio Valley Wrestling (Louisville, KY) – Rebel b Jessie Belle
July 17: WWE NXT (Winter Park, FL) – Sasha Banks b Alexa Bliss
July 17: WWE Superstars (Richmond, VA) – Naomi b Rosa Mendes
July 17: TNA Impact Wrestling (New York City, NY) – Madison Rayne b Brittany
July 17: IWA Mid-South (Clarksville, IN) – Mickie Knuckles b Mistress Burgandi
July 18: Total Action Wrestling (Milton Keynes, England) – Mia b Jezabeth to win the TAW Women’s Championship; Toni Storm b Nightshade
July 18: ATTACK! Pro Wrestling (Bristol, England) – Nixon Newell b Lana Austin; Lana Austin & Nixon Newell b Mark Andrews & Pete Dunne to win the 24:7 Championship; Mike Bird b Lana Austin & Nixon Newell to win the 24:7 Championship
July 18: WWE SmackDown (Fayetteville, NC) – Alicia Fox v Eva Marie went to a no contest; AJ Lee & Paige b Summer Rae & Layla
July 18: WWE (Pensacola, FL) – Paige, Summer Rae & Nikki Bella b Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes & Layla
July 18: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – Matt Cage b Davey Vega, Flip Kendrick & Heidi Lovelace in a 4-way
July 18: TNA (Louisville, KY) – Gail Kim b Velvet Sky
July 18: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dalys, La Seductora & Princesa Blanca b Lluvia, Marcela & Princesa Sugehit
July 19: Union (Tokyo, Japan) – Ladybeard & Kaori Yoneyama b Cherry & Mio Shirai
July 19: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto b Akane Fujita; Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi b 235 & Kyuri; Risa Sera b Kurumi; Kurumi & Yuuka b Aoi Kizuki & Maki Narumiya
July 19: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Ariya & Yuji Kito b Kaho Kobayashi & Masaya Takahashi; Aki Shizuku b Alex Lee; Dump Matsumoto b Miyako Matsumoto; Neko Nitta & Syuri defeat Haruka Kato & Tsukasa Fujimoto; Makoto & Ray b La Comandante & Yumiko Hotta via DQ
July 19: World Wide Wrestling League (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Carmel Jacob b Sara
July 19: Pro Wrestling Elite (Ayr, Scotland) – Carmel Jacob b Viper, Nikki Storm & Kay Lee Ray
July 19: Fight Factory Pro Wrestling (Dublin, Ireland) – Katey Harvey b Pollyanna Peppers & Siren in a 3-way
July 19: House Of Pain: Evolution (Mansfield, England) – Nixon Newell b Violet Vendetta
July 19: Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling (Brooklyn, NY) – Kimber Lee b Nikki Addams; Jessie Brooks b Samantha Heights; La Rosa Negra b Nevaeh; Sumie Sakai b Angel Dust; Mistress Belmont b Davienne; Kacee Carlisle b LuFisto via DQ
July 19: TNA (Lexington, KY) – Gail Kim b Velvet Sky
July 19: WWE (Tallahassee, FL) – Nikki Bella, Paige & Summer Rae b Layla, Rosa Mendes & Alicia Fox
July 19: CWF Mid-Atlantic (Gibsonville, NC) – Su Yung b Amanda Rodriguez
July 19: Maryland Championship Wrestling (Joppa, MD) – Reby Sky b Shelly Martinez
July 19: Pure Wrestling Association (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Beautiful Beaa b Jodi D’Milo; Anthony Fiasco & Alexia Nicole b Ryan Swift & Skylar Rose; Kc Spinelli b Leah Von Dutch to win the PWA Elite Women’s Championship
July 19: Steel Domain Wrestling (Hopkins, MN) – Stacy O’Brien b Miss Natural
July 20: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – Tsubasa Kuragaki b Mika Iida; Manami Toyota b Kagetsu; Mayumi Ozaki & Sakura Hirota b Yumi Ohka & Mio Shirai; Hiroyo Matsumoto b Hikaru Shida; Dynamite Kansai & Aja Kong b AKINO & Tomoka Nakagawa
July 20: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Azumi b Maaya; Kairi Hojo & Nanae Takahashi b Kaori Yoneyama & Yoshiko; Kyoko Kimura & Alpha Female b Takumi Iroha & Io Shirai
July 20: Gatoh Move (Tokyo, Japan) – Kaori Yoneyama b Fukin Kitazawa; Kazuhiro Tamura & Hanako Nakamori b Madoka & DJ Nira; Hiroyo Matsumoto b Kuinshinbo Kamen; Nanae Takahashi & Emi Sakura b Riho & Kotori; Danshoku Dino b Sayaka Obihiro
July 20: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland) – Saraya Knight b Bete Noire; Debbie Sharpe b Penelope; Sammii Jayne b Liberty; Leah & Kasey Owens b Sara & Carmel Jacob; Viper b Sammi Baynz; Fiona Fraser b Courtney; Kay Lee Ray v Nikki Storm went to a no-contest
July 20: WWE Battleground (Tampa, FL) – Cameron b Naomi; AJ Lee b Paige
July 20: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Athena & Jessica James b Donny Brookes & Dylan Dunbar; Angel Blue b Ricky Romida
July 20: Smash Wrestling (Toronto, ON, Canada) – Cherry Bomb b Xandra Bale
July 21: Ice Ribbon (Warabi, Japan) – Kurumi & Kaho Kobayashi b Meari Naito & Akane Fujita; Hamuko Hoshi, Mochi Miyagi & Manami Kanda b 235, Kyuri & Yuri Kotobuki; Tsukushi & Rabbit Miyu b Makoto & Aoi Kizuki; Maki Narumiya & Risa Sera b Mio Shirai & Yuka; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Neko Nitta
July 21: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Leon v Sachie Abe went to a time limit draw; Command Bolshoi & Kayoko Haruyama b Rydeen Hagane & Yako Fujigasaki; Arisa Nakajima, Leon & Yume Hayashi b Hanako Nakamori, KAZUKI & Rabbit Miu
July 21: WWE Raw (Miami, FL) – Alicia Fox, Cameron, Eva Marie & Rosa Mendes b Nikki Bella; AJ Lee & Paige b Natalya & Emma
July 25: RESISTANCE Pro (Willowbrook, IL) – D’Arcy Dixon v Angel Dust; Thunderkitty v Lucy Mendez
July 25: Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – Hudson Envy v LuFisto
July 26: Impact Pro Wrestling (Auckland, New Zealand) – Britenay & Carmen Rose v Evie & Olivia Shaw
July 26: Scottish Wrestling Entertainment (Perth, Scotland) – Sammii Jayne v Debbie Sharpe
July 26: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Veda Scott v Gregory Iron; Athena v Louis Lyndon; Rickey Shane Page v Kimber Lee; Eddie Kingston v Seleziya Sparx; Heidi Lovelace v BJ Whitmer; Jasmin v Davey Vega; Athena v Heidi Lovelace
July 27: Kamikaze Pro (Birmingham, England) – Nixon Newell v Marshall X
July 27: Inspire Pro Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Barbi Hayden v Mia Yim; Jessica James v Miss Diss Lexia v KC Warfield; Leva Bates v Paige Turner; Athena v Kat Green; Solo Darling v Delilah Doom
July 27: Ring Of Honor (Laurel, DE) – Veda Scott & Jenny Rose v Hania & Mandy Leon
August 1: Preston City Wrestling (Preston, England) – April Davids v TBA
August 2: Mid Atlantic Memories (Charlotte, NC) – Taryn Terrell v Amazing Kong
August 3: Mid Atlantic Memories (Charlotte, NC) – Tessa Blanchard v Chasity Taylor
August 8: Pro Wrestling All-Stars of Detroit (Melvindale, MI) – Hudson Envy v Thunderkitty v Randi West
August 9: Melbourne City Wrestling (Craigieburn, Australia) – Evie v Toni Storm
August 9: Southside Wrestling (Nottingham, England) – Martin Kirby v Kay Lee Ray
August 9: SMASH Wrestling (Brantford, ON, Canada) – Courtney Rush v Allysin Kay
August 10: Pro Wrestling Kingdom (Birmingham, England) – Nixon Newell & Chris Brookes v Ryan Smile & Lana Austin
August 10: FutureShock Wrestling (Stockport, England) – Danni Hunter v Lana Austin v April Davids
August 10: Insane Championship Wrestling (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Nikki Storm v Viper
August 16: NCW Femmes Fatales XV (Montreal, QC, Canada) – Mercedes Martinez v LuFisto v Cheerleader Melissa v Courtney Rush; Missy v Kimber Lee; Vanessa Kraven v Sassy Stephie; Addy Starr & Kaitlin Diemond v Mary Lee Rose & Pink Flash Kira; Sweet Cherrie v Niya Barela
August 16: Conflict Wrestling (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Seleziya Sparx v Jewells Malone
August 17: SMASH Wrestling (Toronto, ON, Canada) – Cherry Bomb & Kimber Lee v LuFisto & Vanessa Kraven
August 17: AAA TripleMania XXII (Mexico City, Mexico) – Faby Apache v Taya Valkyrie
August 22: Hybrid Pro Wrestling (Sunderland, England) – Kirsty Love v Freya Frenzy
August 25: Conwy County Wrestling (Llandudno, Wales) – Nadia Sapphire v Jezabeth
August 30: Svensk Wrestling Syd (Malmo, Sweden) – Miss Mina v Penelope
September 6: Tidal Wrestling (Darlington, England) – Ruby Summers v TBA
September 13: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ)
September 21: Insane Championship Wrestling (Glasgow, Scotland) – Leah & Kasey Owens v Bete Noire & Viper
September 21: SMASH Wrestling CANUSA Classic (Toronto, ON, Canada)
September 28: Bellatrix X (Norwich, England) – Sammi Baynz v Blue Nikita
October 3: 4 Front Wrestling (Swindon, England) – Shanna v Hikaru Shida
October 8: Tidal Wrestling (Leeds, England) – Violet O’Hara v Kimber Lee
October 18-19: SHIMMER: Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)
November 16: Tidal Wrestling (Newcastle, England) – Kay Lee Ray v Shax
November 23: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE (1-4), David J Wilson (5), Tabercil (6,9), ATTACK! Pro Wrestling (7), Evan Arnow (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