The Final Belle

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The final day of 2014 is also the final post on this website – and to mark it, dotted throughout this final post are logos from our history, some which have never been seen before, as they were used when we were still trying things out. The end of the site’s got a positive edge to it though, as the Ringbelles Roundup (now in the capable hands of the talented Ciara Reid) will have a new home from next week when it becomes part of the PWPonderings website, as revealed yesterday. That’s a big comfort and it also makes me glad that Ringbelles will continue in some fashion in 2015.

However, it is still with some upset that I bid farewell to this website. Since its official launch in March 2011 – following months of beta-testing and plenty of confabulation before that – there has been more than 1,700 posts, 171 audio podcasts and more than 200 Roundups. We have reported on 223 events, posted more than 350 videos and have reviewed dozens of shows. In doing so, I’d like to think that we have helped to increase the profile of women’s wrestling around the world and also cast a critical eye over it, as well as higher-profile outfits like WWE and TNA. With news, views, reviews and interviews from wrestlers from the past and present around the world, Ringbelles has endeavoured to give female athletes a voice and platform. I hope that we leave the scene in a positive situation.

While Stew and I contributed the bulk of posts, there are others who helped to this site’s success, and that leads to a torrent of thank you messages.

When this site first launched, we were a team of four – Stew, myself, Shanti and Jennifer. While Shanti’s personal life meant that her contributions were not as often as she hoped, her support was a big help and I thank her for being there at the start. Similarly, Jennifer’s commentaries in the first year provided some controversial and lively talking points. She also reported matches from WWE and TNA’s pay-per-views for a while too, and was very enthusiastic about the subject. Since going our separate ways there has not been any direct contact but I understand she is in a good position in her life, and I wish her all the best.

Thanks also to Rhi Lockwood from NHB Girls. She has been a great source of support over the last few years, joined Stew and I for SHINE iPPVs and also stepped in to cover Women Superstars Uncensored shows when neither of us were available. Rhi, I’m grateful in ways you will never know.

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We also had blogs from talent from around the world – to Nikki Storm, Madison Eagles, Veda Scott and Taya Valkyrie, thanks ever so much for taking the time out of your lives to write pieces for the site. Similarly, I have a lot of gratitude for Courtney Rush and Angelus Layne who recorded podcasts for the site and provided some amusing, interesting and emotionally powerful audio.

Next, the great people who sent us results from shows which we were unable to attend – and that’s a lot, believe me. Reid Allen, Ben Ward, Martin Alexander, Chris Kelly, Pat Laprade, thank you all for providing updates from shows in order for us to relay them to the rest of the world. However, I must single out Dave Muscarella for his tireless commitment to travelling to shows, tweeting results, taking photos and providing thoughts from some of the bigger events.

As well as meeting great fellow fans at shows in North America and the UK, I have also been fortunate enough to strike up some friendships with women within the wrestling scene who have been very open with news and their feelings. For example, this website may not have existed were it not for Allison Danger being the first Women of Wrestling Podcast guest. Her welcoming nature was always well appreciated, and her retirement was a highly emotional moment. Similarly, some of our most emotionally-charged tales came from LuFisto, a woman who has great passion for wrestling and has made a lot of selfless sacrifices to help others along the way. Saraya Knight holds the record for being featured in the most podcasts, appearing four times and stunning us with stories where she went blind, was nearly beaten to death by fans, suffered health issues and much more. She has also been a sounding board for us from time to time and has become a good friend.

Elsewhere, women like Angelus Layne, Serena Deeb, Kimber Lee, Courtney Rush, Nikki Storm, Amber Gertner, Allysin Kay, Sassy Stephie, Daffney, Alpha Female, Amazing Kong, Rhia O’Reilly, Shanna, Kellie Skater and more have been very open and honest with us, and we respect their honesty and openness. Similarly, thanks to the likes of Saraya, Dave Prazak, Stephane Bruyere, Drew Cordiero, DJ Hyde, Dann Read, John Thorne and Mikey Whiplash for helping us with updates concerning their respective promotions. Without your input, Ringbelles would have been a poorer place.

Finally, thanks to you, our audience. With every view, comment, share, like, retweet, favourite and the like, you spread the word of women’s wrestling and those involved in it. Keep buying tickets, going to shows, buying DVDs, VODs, iPPVs and MP4s, as well as buying merchandise like t-shirts, signed photos and stuff.

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Just one more thing – I’m planning to archive the website on a free blog page so everything can still be accessed. Keep an eye on our Facebook and Twitter accounts – which are staying open – to see what’s going to happen. Should the archiving not go according to plan, all the audio will be uploaded to our YouTube page. That will be quite a big undertaking so it may take some time, but I’ll keep you posted.

So that’s it – the end of Ringbelles. Thanks to everyone who has contributed, supported and spread the word of the website since our launch, you won’t be forgotten. I’ll be keeping a foot in the women’s wrestling world in some form or fashion so I’m not going the way of the dodo, and you can follow my thoughts on my Twitter – but as mentioned, check out PWPonderings for the Roundup as well as wrestling news and results. But for now, this is Lee Burton on behalf of Ringbelles, tapping out.

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Ringbelles Roundup (December 30, 2014) –New beginnings, Heidi Lovelace, Hudson Envy & Dragonita bound for STARDOM & more

In the fifth grade, my guidance counselor proposed that my class put together a collage of what we intend to be when we got older. Chef, nurse, singer, florist, work in the XFL (no really), Secretary of State and more were among the choices, but I had to be the odd ball. The nerve I had to paste pictures of Chyna giving someone the Military Press and Lita performing a moonsault onto an opponent along with pictures of art (I am an artist) not only shocked my classmates, but also gave me the courage to stand firm in my dream. At eleven years old, nothing mattered but wrestling, I had given all my Barbies to Goodwill and brought action figures. The whole “he or she can’t wrestle” or “This angle sucks” did not matter to me back then because wrestling was so cool to me and I wasn’t ashamed of it. As I got older things changed, known as the “girl that watches professional wrestling” became hard and at times embarrassing.

As a wrestling fan, I get the redundant, “You know that stuff’s fake right?” or the rare “Oh that’s cool.” I have been defending my passion for it as long as I can remember, even more when it comes to women’s wrestling. Over the last several years, I’ve been questioned more times than I could count about my willingness to support something that was “only good for eye candy.”

In 2010, I joined Angrymarks as a co-host of their Tuesday night show, called Ring the Bell, being on with three additional personalities that shared their own view on wrestling was intimidating; till that point I had only one friend my entire life that loved it as equally or more than me and completely understood. The experience gave me the opportunity to be vocal about wrestling, whether I disliked or liked something a huge weight lifted from my shoulders and I felt free to do so and not regret it. Fast-forward to 2012, noticing that women’s wrestling was not being covered to the fullest; I decided to take on the duty myself and provide an outlet for those fans week in and out, the Angrymarkette Newsfeed. Gathering news items, results and everything in between from various websites and condensing it down to an organized piece that is not only readable, but brings about conversation takes a great amount of patience, hard work  and dedication.

After four years at the site, this past April I stepped away completely. It was a tough decision, but it was for the best. I honestly felt dissatisfied with continuing to cover women’s wrestling in detail all for listeners to hear negative commentary on the podcasts from others. No one criticized what I wrote, but its disheartening to push for something to be taken seriously when not everyone else sees the bigger picture. Between that, my run with Ring Sirens magazine (no longer in publication) ending and life happening faster than I could control, I needed a new direction.

This brought me to Ringbelles.

PWPonderingsMy time here has been short, but I feel I shared some of my best work with you all and want to continue to do so for as long as I can. For those wondering, the Ringbelles Roundup is continuing after the site’s departure, as I have accepted Lee’s offer to do so.

Last week, my mentions and direct messages were shot with multiple inquiries and interest from other websites- I am nothing but grateful for those that expressed interest and respect that there is an audience for women’s wrestling and were willing to throw their hat in the race to add the best coverage to their site.

With that said, I am proud to announce that starting next week, the Ringbelles Roundup will become an official part of Pro Wrestling Ponderings going forward. If you happened to catch the Year in Review show up on the site, I dropped the announcement towards the end after having a great two-hour conversation with Jerome, Jennifer and Dave that was nothing short of positivity and laughter. Their coverage of independent wrestling alone is remarkable, whether its through podcasts, reviews or posting the latest results. I have a huge amount of respect for their love and use of their platform to raise awareness of indy wrestling as a must-see product.  I feel this is a perfect fit and I’m just excited to be a part of something great.

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Heidi Lovelace, Hudson Envy and Dragonita are the latest competitors to be heading over to Japan. Last week, World Wonder Ring STARDOM announced that all three competitors would be making their first trip to the country to take up training and competition. In addition, the promotion has announced all it’s cards for the month of January. This Sunday’s show at Shinkiba 1st RING will feature Io Shirai and Mayu Iwatani teaming up against Act Yasukawa and Kairi Hojo. Takumi Iroha will be taking on Kris Wolf, Hatsuhinode Kamen in a three-way match, Kaori Yoneyama goes up against Momo Watanabe and Reo Hazuki, and Yoshiko will face Koguma and Nanae Takahashi in the main event.

STARDOMThe January 11th show at Shinkiba 1st RING will see Lovelace, Hudson and Dragonita make their debuts for the promotion, as Lovelace teams up with Yasukawa against the current AWS Women’s Champion and Kris Wolf. Yasukawa and Wolf’s growing rivalry reached a high back on December 23rd at “Yearend CLIMAX” as Wolf was bloodied at the hands of Yasukawa. Dragonita will be in singles action against Kyoko Kimura. Kamen will be taking on Iroha, Shirai goes up against Watanabe and the current Goddess of STARDOM Champions Takahashi and Hojo and Koguma take on Hazuki, Iwatani and Yoshiko in trios action.

Yoshiko will be defending the World of STARDOM Championship against Nanae Takahashi as part of the promotion’s fourth anniversary show at Korakuen Hall on January 18th. The show will also feature Iwatani making her third title defense as Wonder of STARDOM Champion against Kairi Hojo and the High Speed Championship will be also be on the line as Shirai takes on Yoneyama. Lovelace, Hudson and Dragonita have yet to be announced for the show.

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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? If so, send me a tweet here and I’ll direct you to my email address.

Again thank you to everyone that has continued to support Ringbelles over the years and I wish you all a Happy New Year!

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 WWE

Nikki Bella was named WWE’s Second Most Unexpected Breakout Star of 2014. In a list compiled by WWE.com, the WWE Divas Champion’s infamous “died in the womb” quote landed at the number two spot on WWE’s latest Top 10: Most Memorable Quotes of 2014. AJ Lee’s “talent is not sexually transmitted” line in reference to Brie and Nikki landed at number seven on the list. Both lines were tasteless, it says something about the company when those are deemed “memorable.” Charlotte and Natalya’s NXT Women’s Championship match from NXT Takeover was ranked sixth on WWE.com’s 25 Greatest Matches of the Year list. Brie Bella’s match against Stephanie McMahon at SummerSlam was also made the list, ranked at number twenty-four…Speaking of Charlotte, she successfully retained the NXT Women’s Title over Sasha Banks for a second time on last week’s episode…Naomi wrestled Alicia Fox on Friday Night Smackdown, winning following a split-legged moonsault. The Usos defeated The Miz and amien Mizdow for the WWE Tag Team Championship last night, it appears the “rocky” marriage storyline between Naomi and Jimmy Uso is done…Meanwhile WWE is continuing on with the storyline between Natalya and Tyson Kidd. On Monday Night RAW, Tyson Kidd caught Nikki Bella as Natalya knocked her off the apron. Once again seeing her husband show sympathy towards another woman besides herself, Natalya allowed the distraction to be her downfall. Nikki Bella picked up the win following a Rack Attack after blindsiding Natalya with a clothesline to the back..Mandy Leon has been on the road with WWE this past week as a rosebud for the recently turned “heel,” Adam Rose

TNA

With the transition to Destination America in full swing, the company has revealed a newly redesigned Knockouts Championship. It’s seen on their official Instagram account that the new belt is sporting a traditional look, a black leather strap with the blue gems as opposed to the white leather strap with red gems… The first set of episodes of Impact Wrestling will be taped on January 7-8th, the following day the company will pre-tape their all-cage event, “Lockdown” which will be aired on Destination America instead of pay-per-view, all taking place in New York City…Brooke Tessmacher has confirmed that she and Robbie E are no longer together. Tessmacher made the announcement on Facebook, stating that the couple had separated before filming for CBS’ Amazing Race had wrapped.

“NO, I am no longer with Robbie E. We filmed the race this past summer and separated by the end of filming. I am so so incredibly happy in my life and have fully moved on. Hope you guys can as well.”

North America

More matches have been announced for Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling’s next show on January 23rd.  Davienne will be taking on Miss Diss Lexia and Jennifer Cruz will be taking on Deonna Purrazzo, the latter three will be making their debuts. Nyla Rose will also be making her in-ring debut… Sassy Stephie will be defending the Fury Championship against LuFisto and Veda Scott in Marietta, Ohio on April 25th. Winning the championship this past April, the match will be her second title defense; successfully retaining against Allysin Kay back in June… Mia Yim and Santana Garrett are set to go one-on-one n the SHINE Wrestling showcase match for Full Impact Pro’s upcoming show on January 10th. The match will be non-title…Samantha Starr will be taking on Mandy Leon for Vicious Outcast Wrestling on January 10th under non-title contention… Amber Gallows became the Global Championship Wrestling Women’s Champion over the weekend, defeating Tracy Taylor… Mickie James announced her engagement to TNA star Magnus.. LuFisto will be wrestling Heidi Lovelace this Friday for Rockstar Pro Wrestling in Dayton, Ohio… In addition, Barbi Hayden’s NWA World Women’s Championship will be on the line this weekend against Veda Scott. Inspire Pro Wrestling provided an in-depth backstory here.

Japan

Arisa Nakajima & Tsukasa FujimotoThe anticipated double title match between Tsukasa Fujimoto and Arisa Nakajima took place on Sunday. First, Fujimoto retained the ICEx Infinity Championship against Nakajima in the main event of Ribbonmania, landing her tenth title defense. Nakajima wore attire in the fashion of Azumi Hyuga on the show. Mio Shirai retained the Union Fly to Everywhere World Title over Tsukushi and Maki Narumiya and Risa Sera picked up their eighth title defense as International Ribbon Tag Team Champions over Yuka and Kurumi… That evening, Nakajima retained the Openweight Championship against Fujimoto in the main event of JWP’s year-end show, “Climax.” Also on the show, Rabbit Miu successfully retained against Eri, the JWP Tag Team and Daily Sports Women’s Tag Team Titles changed hands as Leon and Ray defeated current titleholders Command Bolshoi and Kyoko Kimura. This is Mascara Voladoras’ first run with the titles… Kana is the new REINA World Champion after beating Syuri via referee stoppage on Friday. Kana now holds the promotion’s top title and the REINA Tag Team Champions with Nakajima… Tsubasa Kuragaki will be defending the OZ Openweight Championship against Kagetsu on January 11th. The show will also feature the return of Sonoko Kato taking on former titleholder AKINO… Riho retained the IWA Triple Crown Title against Emi Sakura in the main event at the Itabashi Green Hall on Saturday. The promotion has announced the date for their first show at Korakuen Hall for August 13, 2015.

Europe

Candice Lerae will be heading back overseas in the new year. First up, she will be returning to Southside Wrestling Entertainment on February 28th as she, Saraya Knight, Kay Lee Ray and a competitor to be announced will be a part of a four-way match to crown the first-ever Queen of Southside. Going into March, Lerae and Joey Ryan will be apart of WXW Germany’s 16 Carat Gold shows… Nikki Storm will be wrestling Sammii Jayne on Scottish Wrestling Alliance’s January 4th show in Pollockshaws, Glasgow… Nadia Sapphire versus Nixon Newell has been added to Empress Pro’s debut show on January 17th.

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Results

December 25: Producciones Sanchez (Ciudad Nezahualcoyotl, Estado de Mexico, Mexico) –Bugambilia, Diosa Atenea & Lady Dragon b Golden Bull, India Mazahua & Star Fire

December 26: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Veda Scott, Alexia Nicole & Jasmin b Tessa Blanchard, Jennifer Blake & Heidi Lovelace; Rickey Shane Page b Candice Lerae, Dick Justice, Eric Ryan, Flip Kendrick & Joshua Singh

December 26: WWE Friday Night Smackdown (Sioux City, IA) – Naomi b Alicia Fox

December 26: WWE Live (Rosemont, IL) – Naomi, Charlotte & Natalya b Camero, Sasha Banks & Summer Rae

December 26: Vendetta Pro Wrestling/ National Wrestling Alliance (Santa Maria, CA) –Raze b Sage Sin

December 26: WWE Live (New York City NY) – Alicia Fox & Emma b Brie Bella & Nikki Bella

December 26: REINA Joshi Puroresu(Tokyo, Japan) – Kyoko Kimura b Raideen Hagane; Haruka Kato & Eri b Yuiga & Hamuko Hoshi; Yuji Kito & Koharu Hinata b Keizo Matsuda & Alex Lee; Arisa Nakajima b Rina Yamashita; Maki Narumiya & Kagetsu b Mika Iida & Meiko Tanaka; Dump Matsumoto & Yumiko Hotta b Goya Kong & Muñeca de Plata; Lin Byron b Makoto; Kana b Syuri(c)

December 27: Global Championship Wrestling (Pell City, AL) – Amber Gallows b Tracy Taylor(c)

December 27: Squared Circle Wrestling (Elmira, NY) – Mickie James b Cherry Bomb

December 27: Gatoh Move (Tokyo, Japan) – Cherry b Fukin Kitazawa; Kaori Yoneyama, Madoka, Sayaka Obihiro & PSYCHO b Antonio Honda, SAKI, MIZUKI; Kagetsu b Kotori; Riho(c) b Emi Sakura

December 27: WWE Live (Cincinnati, OH) – Charlotte, Naomi & Natalya b Cameron, Sasha Banks & Summer Rae

December 27: WWE Live (Uniondale, NY) – Alicia Fox & Emma b Nikki Bella & Brie Bella

December 27: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – Chris Sabin b Heidi Lovelace

December 27: Ice Ribbon(Warabi, Japan) – Aoi Kizuki & Hamuko Hoshi b 235 & Akane Fujita; Kurumi & Kyuri b Maki Narumiya & Maya Yukihi; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Meari Naito; Risa Sera & Tsukushi vs Mio Shirai & Yuka – time limit draw

December 27: I Believe I Wrestling (Orlando, Florida) – Josh Hess b Santana Garrett

December 28: Ice Ribbon Ribbonmania (Tokyo, Japan) – Cherry & Maya Yukihi b Shu Shibutani & Kyuri; Meari Naito & Neko Nitta b 235 & Akane Fujita; Hamuko Hoshi & Mochi Miyagi b Miyako Matsumoto & Yuri Kotobuki; Kayoko Haruyama b Aoi Kizuki; Mio Shirai(c) b Tsukushi; Maki Narumiya & Risa Sera(c) b Kurumi & Yuka; Tsukasa Fujimoto (c) b Arisa Nakajima

December 28: K-DOJO (Chiba, Japan) – Bambi & Kaji Tomato b Hikaru Shida & Masao Inoue; TAKA Michinoku & Kaori Yoneyama b Kengo Mashimo & Yuma

December 28: JWP Climax 2014 (Tokyo, Japan) – Yako Fujigasaki b Yua Hayashi; Rabbit Miu (c) b Eri; KAZUKI, Jaguar Yokota & Raideen Hagane b Manami Toyota, Tsukushi & Neko Nitta; KAORU b Kayoko Haruyama; Hanako Nakamori b Kana; Leon & Ray b Command Bolshoi & Kyoko Kimura (c); Arisa Nakajima(c) b Tsukasa Fujimoto

December 28: DIANA (Kawasaki, Kanagawa, Japan) – Kyoko Inoue b Kaoru Ito , Keiko Aono , Sareee, Meiko Tanaka, Megumi Yabushita & Kaho Kobayashi

December 28: Tokyo Women’s Wrestling(Tokyo, Japan) – Ai Shimizu b Erin & Nonoko; Shoko Nakajima and Yuka Sakazaki b KANNA and Chikage Kiba; Miyu Yamashita b Akane Miura

December 28: K-DOJO (Chiba, Japan) – Hiro Tonai & Kaori Yoneyama b Ayumu Honda & Bambi

December 28: Beyond Wrestling (Providence, RI) – Kimber Lee b David Starr

December 29: WWE Monday Night RAW (Washington, DC) – Nikki Bella b Natalya

December 30: WWE Live (Richmond, VA) – Charlotte, Emma & Alicia Fox b Sasha Banks, Cameron & Summer Rae

Upcoming Shows

January 3: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Cat Power vs Kate Carney

January 4: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Glasgow, Scotland) – Debbie Sharpe vs Viper; Sammii Jayne vs Nikki Storm

January 4: PROGRESS Wrestling (London, England) – Jinny vs Pollyanna

January 4: Inspire Pro Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Barbi Hayden(c) vs Veda Scott; Jessica James vs Kimber Lee

January 10: Vicious Outcast Wrestling (Connellsville, PA) – Samantha Starr vs Mandy Leon

January 11: OZ Academy (Tokyo, Japan) – AKINO vs Sonoko Kato; Kagetsu vs Tsubasa Kuragaki(c)

January 17: Empress Pro (High Wycombe, England) – Bete Noire & Viper vs Addy Starr & Rhia O’Reilly; Ruby Summers vs Chardonnay; Nikki Storm vs Pollyanna; Nadia Sapphire vs Nixon Newell

January 17: Clash Wrestling (Taylor, MI) – Leah Von Dutch vs Jasmin

January 17: Lone Star Wrestling (Cypress, TX) – Barbi Hayden(c) vs Tessa Blanchard

January 18: Alpha-1 Wrestling (Hamilton, ON, Canada) – Seleziya Sparx vs Allysin Kay

January 18: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Jessica James vs Jojo Bravo; Athena vs Su Yung(c)

January 23: SHINE 24 (Ybor City, FL) – Malia Hosaka, Brandi Wine & Thunderkitty vs Kimber Lee, Cherry Bomb & Leah Von Dutch

January 23: Wrestling Cares Association /Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – Nicole Savoy; Sage Sin; Savanah Riley; Kikyo Nakamura; Hania; Brittany Wonder; Christina Von Eerie; Taeler Hendrix; Raze; Kahmora; Datura; Marriah Moreno

January 23: Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling (Woodbury Heights, NJ) – Kacee Carlisle(c) vs Mistress Belmont; La Rosa Negra vs Aja Perera; Davienne vs Miss Diss Lexia; Jennifer Cruz vs Deonna Purrazzo; Nyla Rose

January 24: Pure Wrestling Association (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – KC Spinelli vs Courtney Rush; Kaitlin Diemond vs Beautiful Beaa; Jewells Malone vs Alexia Nicole; Holly Madison vs Silvie Silver; Ingrid Isley vs Skylar Rose

February 7: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Jamaica, NY) – Candice LeRae(c) vs Veda Scott; Taeler Hendrix vs Katarina Leigh

February 7: KANA Pro (Japan)

February 8: Tidal Championship Wrestling (Leeds, England) – Violet O’Hara vs Nixon Newell

February 14: Mio Shirai Produce (Tokyo, Japan) – Mio Shirai vs Io Shirai

February 21: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ) – Hania vs Athena; Kimber Lee & Annie Social vs JT Dunn & David Starr(c)

February 22: Dragon Pro Wrestling (Newport, Wales) – Nixon Newell vs Pollyanna

February 22: Bellatrix 12 (Norwich, England)

February 28: Southside Wrestling Entertainment (Essex, England) – Candice Lerae vs Kay Lee Ray vs TBD vs Saraya Knight

March 14: Rock N’ Wrassle (Nottingham, England)

April 4: NCW Femmes Fatales (Montreal, QC, Canada) – Courtney Rush vs Saraya Knight; Portia Perez vs Xandra Bale; Sassy Stephie, Allysin Kay & Jody D’Milo vs Vanessa Kraven, TBA & TBA

April 11/12 – SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)

April 25: Remix Pro Wrestling (Marietta, OH) – LuFisto vs Veda Scott vs Sassy Stephie (c)

– Ciara Reid

– Photos by PWPonderings(1), STARDOM(2), WWE(3), Kenji Misaki(4), Southside Wrestling Entertainment(5), Yuichi Kojima(6), Ichiban Drunk(7), Empress Pro(8), Remix Pro Wrestling(9)

– 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

© Ringbelles

Ringbelles Roundup (23 December 2014) – Awards, Natalya talks lots of stuff and more

2013 awards Mercedes MartinezRingbelles usually goes to the trouble of creating physical awards for its year-end honours but things have been a bit strained in the last few months, so there’s no glass trophy for this year’s winner. However, after considering not doing them due to the intention of closing, I’ve decided to write a little bit about the awards which we did want to highlight.

Last year’s victor of the top prize was Mercedes Martinez, who had excelled as NCW Femmes Fatales International Champion and was also a very solid hand in SHINE and SHIMMER, though she decreased her bookings in 2014 and eventually stepped away from the ring after dropping the International belt to Courtney Rush in August.

There are just two awards this year – that’s because the Discovery of the Year honour was going to be dumped anyway. The reason is because there’s a big disparity between when we discover someone and when others do the same. For example, Nikki Storm won last year’s Discovery title even though we’ve been championing her for years, but she made a big splash on US fans with her antics at SHIMMER so we went with it despite it not making the most sense. As a result, the Wrestler of the Year and Breakout Star of the Year will be the ones we’ll look at.

Let’s start with the latter, which was a very competitive category. Sammi Baynz was given consideration for being so great at Bellatrix’s shows in 2014, wrestling Blue Nikita three times and also having another entertaining outing against Liberty. In addition, she made a good impression in her Scottish debut where she took on Viper at Fierce Females’ Mad Maxine show in July and returned in August to team with Liberty against the Owens Twins. Kay Lee Ray also received a lot of thought for turning heel in Fierce Females, and making it to the final three of TNA’s British Boot Camp 2 show. She also held Southside Wrestling’s Speed King title for a lot of the year and won the first Aerial Assault match held in Europe, beating five men to do so. Had she won British Boot Camp, she may have snared the award. Mia Yim also received a look after winning both the SHINE Tag Team and singles championships this year, as well as receiving her first SHIMMER title shot in April, though was unsuccessful in that attempt.

Heidi Lovelace Dave MuscarellaHowever, the Breakout Star of the Year title goes to Heidi Lovelace, who showed her versatility in matches all across North America. While she showed her comedic and light-hearted side in SHINE alongside Solo Darling, she also decided to work IWA Mid-South’s reprisal of the Queen of the Deathmatches tournament, beating Hudson Envy in a Tacks, Ladders and Canes match before losing to Ludark Shaitan in a Fans Bring The Weapons contest. That also goes along with her well-received work in SHIMMER, impressing in both singles and tag team action.

Heidi has also excelled in intergender competition, making it to the quarter finals of Absolute Intense Wrestling’s JT Lightning Invitational Tournament before losing to Michael Elgin, and also scored the AAW Heritage Title by beating Matt Cage – though her work in Wrestling Is Fun has helped her to break new barriers for women in wrestling. Lovelace fought through two matches – including a six-way elimination match – to make it to the final of the Young Lions Cup tournament, which she won earlier this month by beating Missile Assault Ant in the final, showcased in the pre-show of Chikara’s Tomorrow Never Dies iPPV. In doing so, she became the first female victor of the cup and also solidified her as a well-appreciated performer who has the ability to adapt her style for different types of matches against different opponents. It’s a safe assertion to say that the Punk Rock Rag Doll will climb even higher in 2015.

So, the other award is the Wrestler of the Year honour, which was a pretty tough call. Paige has been winning accolades all over the place this year after winning the WWE Divas Championship on two occasions as well as holding the NXT and Divas belts at the same time. She also racked up quite a few successful defences on PPV before turning heel and really ratcheting up her character work. Elsewhere, LuFisto had one of her best years by winning the Women Superstars Uncensored World Championship by beating Mickie Knuckles, Allysin Kay and Jenny Rose, as well as getting into an angle with WSU owner DJ Hyde and his hand-picked star Sassy Stephie which led to the Wounded Owl Ronin going after Hyde with a knife on a Combat Zone Wrestling show. In addition, she almost wrested the SHIMMER Championship from Cheerleader Melissa at volume 63 in April and undergoing a mild heel turn the following week before reverting back to being a babyface. However, our winner has showed off her wrestling skills at a main event level and has also showed how she can verbalise too.

Ivelisse VelezIvelisse Velez started off the year by winning the SHINE Championship from Valkyrie cohort Rain but was kicked out of the group because of her victory and turned babyface in the process, which saw her get over huge with the fans. Successful defences over Mercedes Martinez, Saraya Knight, Nevaeh and Madison Eagles all followed, along with an entertaining 60 minute draw against Serena Deeb before dropping the belt to Mia Yim in China last month. In addition, she has been able to display more character development since dropping the belt by getting obsessive over winning it back, shown by her aggression levels in her win over Amanda Rodriguez on the last show and then getting involved in Yim’s defence against Nevaeh which led to the match ending in a DQ win for the challenger. While this is all a good example of how she has evolved her persona, it has also been demonstrated in new ventures.

Velez signed on for Lucha Underground and has proved herself to be an entertaining heel who can irritate on the microphone. Teaming up with Son of Havoc, she has been tormenting Sexy Star, which las led to the pair engaging in a feud, which also saw her debut for AAA in Mexico where the roles were reversed and Sexy was the heel with Ivelisse working as the babyface. When you factor in how much her star has risen in the last 12 months and how much more marketable she was this time a year ago, you can understand why Ivelisse has earned Ringbelles’ Wrestler of the Year award, and also makes you wonder how both WWE and TNA had the chance to have her on their books and both let her slip through their fingers. I don’t understand wrestling sometimes…

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Natalya WWENatalya spoke to the Mirror UK about things like Total Divas – where she claimed the tensions between she and husband Tyson Kidd was genuine, as well as the reaction to her being booked to beat Charlotte in less than 3 minutes on Raw earlier this month:

“We don’t control a lot of things in WWE, it’s live TV, you can’t control how long you’re going to get. Sometimes you’re going to get 20 minutes and sometimes you’re going to get 20 seconds, you just have to maximise those minutes and do the best you can.”

She also discussed the difference between the Divas wrestling in NXT and on WWE’s main roster:

“That’s why I go to NXT, any chance I get, I go to NXT. I want to be on Raw, I want to be on SmackDown, and NXT, and Total Divas, and Main Event, and Superstars, and I want to be on the WWE app – because I want to take any moment I can to get TV time and I want to tell stories.

“The girls and the guys in NXT are extremely fortunate because Triple H has taken NXT under his wing. I tell Triple H this, I look around the room and make sure no one’s looking, and I tell him it’s my favourite show. It’s my favourite show because the Superstars and Divas do get time and it’s a cool show because you get to watch these different characters grow and come to life.”

It seems as if there is a lot of love being openly directed towards NXT at the moment without trying to knock the main product as a result. Natalya was very diplomatic with her praise and dodged criticising her bread and butter.

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This is the final Ringbelles Roundup before this website departs but I am happy to say that this portion of the site may continue on after our departure. Contributor Ciara Reid has accepted my offer of taking it over and posting it elsewhere, though where that may be is still up for discussion – so if you’re interested in having it, send her a tweet at @ciara92189.

Ciara used to write something similar when she was linked with Angrymarks so she has the ability to cover wrestling from all over the world, and will put her own personal stamp on it. Hopefully this will mean that women’s wrestling fans looking for a weekly fix of what is going on globally will still have somewhere to get it.

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WWE
Nikki Bella retained her Divas Championship by beating Naomi on Tuesday’s live SmackDown show. It was set up on the Main Event show broadcast earlier. Naomi is currently in a strained relationship with husband Jimmy Uso, which means that when you consider the issues between Natalya and Tyson Kidd, WWE has two rocky marriage angles going on at the same time… Becky Becky Lynch Bayley WWELynch’s heel turn kicked up a notch when she tapped out Bayley on last week’s NXT with her new submission hold, the Four Leaf Clover… It was 1-1 for Emma last week. She lost to Paige on Main Event but beat Summer Rae on Superstars… Alexa Bliss has been beating Carmella & Dana Brooke in 3-way matches on the latest NXT house shows… Speaking of Dana, she will be representing WWE at next year’s Arnold Classic bodybuilding event. She will be competing in the fitness division. She told WWE.com, “My dreams are coming true. It’s like Christmas came early for me. I cannot feel more honored. This just shows how much WWE wants their athletes to succeed. I’m blessed. I will not let the WWE Universe down”… Former developmental talent Shaul “Raquel Diaz” Guerrero is engaged to current NXT talent Aiden English… Developmental Diva Dasha Kuret ring announced NXT’s show in Tampa, FL last Friday… Paige was named Diva of the Year by Rolling Stone magazine… Following in AJ Lee’s footsteps, Emma has launched her own personal website, entitled tenilledashwood.com… Natalya pinned Brie Bella on last night’s Raw before knocking Nikki off the apron, leading her holding the Divas Title belt. Looks like Nattie’s next in line.

TNA
Brooke Tessmacher and Robbie E were eliminated from The Amazing Race last week, missing out on the $1m prize.

North America
Jessica James will make her SHINE debut next month as part of SHINE 24. Meanwhile, after what happened at SHINE 23, a 6-woman tag team match has been announced for on January 23. Kimber Lee, Cherry Bomb & Leah Von Dutch will face Legendary members Malia Hosaka, Brandi Wine & Thunderkitty… Speaking of Hosaka, she will be honoured with a Retired Women’s Wrestling Award by the Cauliflower Alley Club next April. Someone at the CAC later noticed the error and removed the “retired” part of the title… Two matches have been announced for Women Superstars Uncensored’s next show on February 21. Hania and Athena face off again, though this time it will be under Tables Ladders and Chairs rules, while Kimber Lee & Annie Social get another shot at Tag Team Championship JT Dunn and David Starr after beating them in individual matches on the last show… Athena challenges Su Yung for the Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Championship on January 18… Athena also defended her Absolute Intense Wrestling Women’s Championship on Saturday at Metroplex Wrestling’s show in Bedford, TX. She beat Claudia by curb stomping her onto thumbtacks and making her tap out to the Red Wedding… Nevaeh is eyeing up a February return from her knee injury.

Japan
Hikaru Shida’s joint Pro Wrestling WAVE Regina di WAVE and Revolution Championship Wrestling title defence against Mio Shirai on Sunday’s WAVE show ended in a 30 minute time limit draw… Mio Io Shirai StardomIt’s confirmed: sisters Mio and Io Shirai will wrestle on February 14 on Mio’s self-produced show. It was made official after today’s Stardom show after Io’s match where she teamed with Mayu Iwatani & Masaaki Mochizuki to beat the retiring Miho Wakizawa as well as Manami Toyota & Genki Horiguchi. 35-year old Wakizawa is stepping away after 18 years of competition… Two title changes on Diana’s show earlier today. Keiko Aono defeated Manami Toyota to win the singles title while Jaguar Yokota & Sareee beat KAORU & Mima Shimoda to win the tag straps. The show was topped off with Kyoko Inoue beating Yumiko Hotta in a No Ropes Barbed Wire Current Blast Time Bomb Death Match.

Europe
As you would expect, Southside regular Kay Lee Ray has been added to the 4-way to crown the first Queen of Southside. Debuting Saraya Knight is the other person who has been announced.

Mexico
Lucha Underground is interested in signing Dark Angel, according to the Wrestling Observer. Considering she’s part of CMLL and Lucha Underground has ties with AAA, that could be a difficult ask.

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Results

December 16: WWE Main Event (Grand Rapids, MI) – Paige b Emma

Naomi Nikki Bella WWEDecember 16: WWE SmackDown (Grand Rapids, MI) – Nikki Bella b Naomi

December 16: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Zeuxis b Princesa Sugehit

December 17: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi & Akane Fujita b Miyako Matsumoto & Yuri Kotobuki; Neko Nitta b Maya Yukihi; Maki Narumiya v Meari Naito went to a time limit draw; Arisa Nakajima & Risa Sera b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Hanako Nakamori

December 17: Union Tokyo, Japan) – Cherry & Ladybeard b Riho & Sayaka Obihiro; Mio Shirai b Ryu Gouma

December 17: WWE Tribute to the Troops (Columbus, GA) – Naomi, Emma & Natalya b Paige and Nikki & Brie Bella

December 18: WWE NXT (Orlando, FL) – Becky Lynch b Bayley

December 18: WWE NXT house show (Tampa, FL) – Alexa Bliss b Carmella & Dana Brooke in a 3-way

December 18: WWE Superstars (Detroit, MI) – Emma b Summer Rae

December 18: AAA (Mexico City, Mexico) – Jennifer Blake & La Jarochita b Cinthia Moreno & Sexy Lady

December 19: Diana (Kawasaki, Japan) – Megumi Yabushita b Meiko Tanaka; Keiko Aono & Mask De Sun b Kaho Kobayashi & Koharu Hinata; Kaoru Ito b Tomoko Watanabe; Jaguar Yokota, Kyoko Inoue & Sareee b Yumiko Hotta, KAORU & Mima Shimoda

December 19: WWE NXT house show (Jacksonville, FL) – Alexa Bliss b Carmella & Dana Brooke in a 3-way

December 19: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, La Vaquerita & Marcela b Amapola, Dalys & La Seductora

December 20: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Shu Shibutani & Miyako Matsumoto b 235 & Kyuri; Maki Narumiya b Yuka; Risa Sera v Kurumi went to a time limit draw; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Aoi Kizuki b Hamuko Hoshi & Tsukushi

December 20: Attack Pro Wrestling (Bristol, England) – Pete Dunne & Mark Andrews b Nixon Newell & Chris Brookes

December 20: 4 Front Wrestling (Bristol, England) – Nadia Sapphire b Chardonnay

December 20: WWE house show (Winnipeg, MB, Canada) – Natalya b Paige

December 20: Metroplex Wrestling (Bedford, TX) – Athena b Claudia

December 20: WWE NXT house show (Lakeland, FL) – Alexa Bliss b Carmella & Dana Brooke in a 3-way

Tsukasa Fujimoto Tsukushi Resuner YokoyamaDecember 21: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Yako Fujigasaki b Haruka Kato; Eri b Yua Hayashi & Raideen Hagane in a 3-way; Kayoko Haruyama b KAZUKI; Command Bolshoi & Kyoko Kimura b Leon & Hanako Nakamori; Arisa Nakajima & Tsukushi v Tsukasa Fujimoto & Rabbit Miyu went to a time limit draw

December 21: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Osaka, Japan) – Fairy Nipponbashi b Moeka Haruhi; Yuu Yamagata b Hiroe Nagahama; Yumi Ohka b Kaho Kobayashi; Kana b Rina Yamashita; Shu Shibutani b Mika Iida; Misaki Ohata b Sawako Shimono; Hikaru Shida v Mio Shirai went to a time limit

December 21: Stardom (Osaka, Japan) – Kris Wolf b Momo Watanabe; Act Yasukawa & Kellie Skater b Kaori Yoneyama & Hatsuhinode Kamen; Io Shirai b Mystique; Kairi Hojo & Koguma b Reo Hazuki & Takumi Iroha; Nanae Takahashi & Miho Wakizawa b Yoshiko & Mayu Iwatani

December 21: Tidal Championship Wrestling (Leeds, England) – Lana Austin & Ruby Summers b Nixon Newell & Violet O’Hara

December 21: Insane Championship Wrestling (Glasgow, Scotland) – Layla Rose b Sammii Jayne

December 22: WWE Raw (Minneapolis, MN) – Natalya b Brie Bella; Naomi, Alicia Fox & Emma b Paige, Cameron & Summer Rae

December 22: CMLL (Puebla, Mexico) – Amapola, La Comandante & Zeuxis b La Vaquerita, Lluvia & Princesa Sugehit

December 23: JWP (Tokyo, Japan) – Arisa Nakajima, Command Bolshoi & Rabbit Miyu b Leon, Raideen Hagane & Yua Hayashi; Kayoko Harumya b Yako Fujigasaki; Hanako Nakamori won a battle royal

December 23: Diana (Kawasaki, Japan) – Yuiga & Hamuko Hoshi b Kaho Kobayashi & Koharu Hinata; Eiger & Mask De Sun b Arisa Nakajima & Raideen Hagane; Takako Inoue & Cherry b Keiko Aono & Megumi Yabushita; Tomoko Watanabe b Meiko Tanaka; Kaoru Ito b Manami Toyota to win the Diana World Championship; Jaguar Yokota & Sareee b KAORU & Mima Shimoda to win the Diana World Tag Team Championship; Kyoko Inoue b Yumiko Hotta

December 23: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Reo Hazuki b Momo Watanabe; Act Yasukawa b Kris Wolf; Koguma b Kyoko Kimura, Kaori Yoneyama, Hatsuhinode Kamen, Mystique & Kellie Skater; Io Shirai, Mayu Iwatani & Masaaki Mochizuki b Miho Wakizawa, Manami Toyota & Genki Horiguchi; Yoshiko b Saki Akai; Nanae Takahashi & Kairi Hojo b Takumi Iroha & Risa Sera

Upcoming

December 26: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Tessa Blanchard, Jennifer Blake & Heidi Lovelace v Veda Scott, Alexia Nicole & Jasmin

December 27: Squared Circle Wrestling (Elmira, NY) – Cherry Bomb v Mickie James

December 27: AAW (Berwyn, IL) – Heidi Lovelace v Chris Sabin

Kimber LeeDecember 28: Ice Ribbon Ribbonmania (Tokyo, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto v Arisa Nakajima

December 28: JWP Climax 2014 (Tokyo, Japan) – Arisa Nakajima v Tsukasa Fujimoto

December 28: Beyond Wrestling (Providence, RI) – Kimber Lee v David Starr

January 3: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Cat Power v Kate Carney

January 4: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Glasgow, Scotland) – Debbie Sharpe v Viper

January 4: PROGRESS Wrestling (London, England) – Jinny v Pollyanna

January 4: Inspire Pro Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Barbi Hayden v Veda Scott; Jessica James v Kimber Lee

January 11: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)

January 17: Empress Pro (High Wycombe, England) – Bete Noire & Viper v Addy Starr & Rhia O’Reilly; Ruby Summers v Chardonnay; Nikki Storm v Pollyanna

January 17: Lone Star Wrestling (Cypress, TX) – Barbi Hayden v Tessa Blanchard

January 18: Alpha-1 Wrestling (Hamilton, ON, Canada) – Seleziya Sparx v Allysin Kay

Athena Su YungJanuary 18: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Jessica James v Jojo Bravo; Athena v Su Yung

January 23: SHINE 24 (Ybor City, FL) – Malia Hosaka, Brandi Wine & Thunderkitty v Kimber Lee, Cherry Bomb & Leah Von Dutch

January 23: Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling (Woodbury Heights, NJ) – Kacee Carlisle v Mistress Belmont; La Rosa Negra v Aja Perera

January 24: Pure Wrestling Assocation (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Kc Spinelli v Courtney Rush; Kaitlin Diemond v Beautiful Beaa; Jewells Malone v Alexia Nicole; Holly Madison v Silvie Silver; Ingrid Isley v Skylar Rose

February 7: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Jamaica, NY) – Candice LeRae v Veda Scott; Taeler Hendrix v Katarina Leigh

February 8: Tidal Championship Wrestling (Leeds, England) – Violet O’Hara v Nixon Newell

February 14: Mio Shirai Produce (Tokyo, Japan) – Mio Shirai v Io Shirai

February 21: Women Superstars Uncensored (Voorhees, NJ) – Hania v Athena; Kimber Lee & Annie Social v JT Dunn & David Starr

February 22: Dragon Pro Wrestling (Newport, Wales) – Nixon Newell v Pollyanna

February 22: Bellatrix 12 (Norwich, England)

March 14: Rock N’ Wrassle (Nottingham, England)

April 4: NCW Femmes Fatales (Montreal, QC, Canada) – Courtney Rush v Saraya Knight; Portia Perez v Xandra Bale

April 11/12 – SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)

– Lee Burton
– Photos by Mercedes Martinez (1), Dave Muscarella (2), WWE (4,5,7), Stardom (6), Youji Kawauchi (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

© Ringbelles

Malia Hosaka to be given Retired Women’s Wrestling Award… despite still being active

Farewell to Malia Hosaka. Photo: Gilda PasquilWell, this is awkward.

Despite still wrestling and currently holding one half of the SHINE Tag Team Championship, Malia Hosaka is to be presented with the Cauliflower Alley Club’s Retired Women’s Wrestling Award at next April’s reunion in Las Vegas, NV. To make it seem even weirder, that presumably means that Beth Phoenix is being given the active wrestling honour at the same ceremony, despite hanging up the boots more than two years ago.

Regardless of the foul-up, Hosaka is a prime candidate for an honour. As well as being a current holder of the SHINE doubles titles, the 27 year pro has also worn the NWA World Women’s Championship – albeit for a solitary day back in May 1996. Trained by Misty Blue Simmes, the 45-year old competed for the Ladies Pro Wrestling Association and also worked for the trifecta of top US promotions in the 1990s, taking booking for Extreme Championship Wrestling as well as working for World Championship Wrestling and having a developmental deal for the World Wrestling Federation – though her opportunity for the latter was cut short as plans to anonymously introduce her was thwarted when she was recognised for her past work and was in line to accompany Essa Rios in early 2000 but was overlooked in favour of Lita.

As well as SHINE, Hosaka worked a great deal of the SHIMMER DVD series, debuting on volume 3 and parting ways with the promotion following volume 32. While she experienced success as a singles wrestler, her most prominent role was as one half of The Experience tag team, working alongside Lexie Fyfe. At the moment, she is a quarter of the Legendary stable with championship teammate Brandi Wine, former WWF Women’s Champion Leilani Kai and golden era throwback Thunderkitty.

Ringbelles Roundup (16 December 2014) – the difference between WWE’s developmental and main roster, Syuri success, Ivelisse called a refugee & more

Charlotte Sasha Banks WWEHow can one promotion offer such polarising women’s matches on its big shows – and how is it that the show with the bigger audience produce such a bore-fest while the one with less TV time, less fame and a comparatively weaker storyline leads to the best women’s match on TV for 2014?

Charlotte and Sasha Banks put on what was probably the best Divas (or Knockouts, for that matter) match of the year at NXT Takeover: R Evolution with Charlotte retaining the Women’s Championship with a top rope Natural Selection. Granted, the build-up for the event did not have the same depth or spark as Paige’s NXT Women’s Championship defence against Emma, the title tournament match between Charlotte and Natalya, or Charlotte’s defence against Bayley, which had a hell of a build-up. Instead, this match was the consequence of a lot of elements like Bayley and Charlotte’s respect turning to friendship, Becky Lynch’s heel turn to join Banks as Team BAE and there was a title challenge mixed up in all of that. As far as interaction goes, there was precious little between champion and challenger but Banks’ antagonism has helped to push things along – a prime example being her customisation of Charlotte’s t-shirt so it says “If you’re gonna do it, do it LIKE A BOSS”, which at least showed that there was some real negative feelings between the pair rather than it being the professional rivalries of the other Takeover Women’s Title matches we have seen this year.

However, the slightly soft build-up was compensated by the contest itself. Put in the semi-final position and given 12 minutes, Charlotte and Sasha put together a great story in the match with the titleholder on the backfoot because of Banks using a lot of her own moves against her. It also allowed Charlotte to work as a sympathetic babyface for once and also show some fire in the comebacks. Her highspots also worked well to pop the crowd as she adjusted her top rope moonsault because Sasha moved out of the way by landing on her feet and then hitting a senton for a near-fall, as well as the top rope Natural Selection which looks a lot better than the standard version – but should be saved for special occasions.

After the NXT show – a huge success from top to bottom – there was reportedly some discontent amongst the main WWE roster as they did not want to be outdone. As a consequence, it was said that the TLC pay-per-view would endeavour to be better than Takeover. It failed.

Part of that card was Nikki Bella defending the Divas Championship against former titleholder and recent Slammy-winner AJ Lee. The build-up to this match has elements which stem back to June when Nikki’s sister Brie “quit” WWE in order to protect her husband Daniel Bryan’s WWE World Heavyweight Championship reign, which came to an end anyway. That in turn led to Nikki Bella being victimised by Stephanie McMahon, Brie getting reinstated and wrestling Stephanie, though losing when Nikki turned heel. The pair then fought at Hell in a Cell with Nikki winning and making Brie her personal assistant for 30 days, leading to Brie turning heel to gift her sister the Divas Championship at Survivor Series when Nikki pinned AJ Lee in less than a minute.

Nikki Bella AJ Lee WWEUnfortunately, the Bella feud was an utter dud and produced some of the worst storytelling and acting in a long time and was seemingly written off by Brie’s heel turn – though any sort of reasoning didn’t come until the pre-match interview at TLC, where Brie said she aligned with Nikki because “blood is thicker than water”, and saying that AJ wouldn’t come between them – though she had never tried, so I don’t see how that was any sort of point. The Bella storyline is the dirt worst, though there has been a glimmer of success in that Nikki has got reasonably better in the ring and her character has improved. However Brie has gone backwards at an amazing rate as her wrestling is sucky and her character and acting are unbelievably wooden and hokey.

The build-up to TLC for the Divas had been sparse at best. AJ made Nikki tap out in a tag team match but that was about it. As for the match itself, it was an awkward watch as the spots did not flow and a lot of the moves which you would hope have a great impact lacked any sort of gravity. You could say that their position on the show didn’t help as it followed John Cena v Seth Rollins but a match can still be good even if the fans aren’t into it. Unfortunately this did not have the fans support and didn’t do much to elicit a reaction. When you consider that the ending came when Nikki hit a Rack Attack after spraying AJ in the face with some sort of substance while the ref was sending Brie away from ringside for interference, it felt really flat.

There’s a yawning chasm between the title picture in NXT and on the main WWE roster. While NXT has minimal women, just one writer and a small segment during a weekly one hour show to push a story, it’s amazing to think that it’s outdoing the army of writers on the main roster, coupled with how there is a combined seven hours of TV to put together a number of segments to push a story. In all honesty, if I was a developmental talent wanting to have good matches which demonstrate my abilities as a wrestler and a character, I’d be wanting to stay in NXT for as long as possible before going into the main roster and collecting the extra payoffs and merchandising deals while having my enthusiasm for excelling ebbing away, one Raw at a time.

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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? Would you want to discuss your feelings on any particular subject about women’s wrestling as part of The Soap Box? Send us an email!

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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 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.

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WWE
AJ Lee WWEPrior to the NXT Takeover R Evolution show, Triple H led a conference call when he seemed to distance himself from the booking on last week’s Raw where Natalya pinned Charlotte on the latter’s Raw debut. Former TNA Knockout Santana “Brittany” Garrett was also in attendance backstage at the NXT show… AJ Lee reportedly needed treatment after being sprayed in the eyes at the end of her unsuccessful title challenge against Nikki Bella at TLC on Sunday. WWE revealed that she was tended to by trainers in what was described as a “scary incident”. The company’s website said that AJ suffered chemical conjunctivitis but they were able to flush her eyes with saline and that there shouldn’t be any long term damage to her vision… Naomi has confirmed that she will not be a part of Total Divas’ third season… Alicia Fox has revealed that she has returned to education and that she was preparing for an anthropology exam. She also teamed with Natalya on last night’s Raw to beat the Bella Twins. Natalya made Brie tap out to the Sharpshooter, but her husband Tyson Kidd spent the post match checking on Nikki on the outside, which angered Nattie.

North America
Nevaeh was injured at last Wednesday’s Rockstar Pro show. She’s confirmed that she sprained her knee and may also have torn her MCL. She was in a big leg brace last week and may need an MRI. All the best to her… Crazy Mary Dobson defeated Amazing Kong in the main event of Premiere Destination Wrestling’s show on Thursday… Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae retained the Pro Wrestling Guerilla Tag Team Championship on Friday when the defeated Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels… Kc Spinelli was unsuccessful in winning the Magnificent Championship Wrestling Women’s Title on Saturday. She beat titleholder Holly Madison but it was by DQ, so Madison retained the belt… Vanessa Kraven won a 5-way elimination match on Sunday’s Smash Wrestling show, beating Xandra Bale, Veda Scott, Kimber Lee and Cherry Bomb. The Kimber Bombs Cherry Bomb Tabercilwere pinned simultaneously by Kraven to end the match following stereo chokeslams. After the show, the promotion revealed its 2014 with Cherry Bomb doing very well – she won Women’s Wrestler of the Year, her match teaming with Kimber against Courtney Rush and Xandra Bale from this year’s CanUSA Classic was voted Women’s Match of the Year… SHIMMER’s next DVD tapings will take place on the weekend of April 11 and 12. The promotion says front row tickets (which are only to be sold on a weekend deal and not for individual days) will be slightly increased, saying “the reason for which will be obvious by the time the shows take place”. It has also said it’s looking into the feasibility of a show on WrestleMania weekend, but not decision has been made. However, there will be women’s event as part of the WWNLive Experience on March 28… Kacee Carlisle’s first Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling Title defence will be against Mistress Belmont on January 23… Athena will return to SHINE for the SHINE 24 show on January 23.

Japan
Nobody won the Women’s Wrestling honour at the Tokyo Sports Awards last week. Io Shirai picked up 6 votes, while Syuri got 3 – neither got enough to win… Speaking of Syuri, she defeated Marcela by 2 falls to 1 on Thursday’s REINA show to win the CMLL World Women’s Championship. Syuri won falls Syuri Youji Kawauchi1 and 3 to end Marcela’s 1,008 day reign with the title… It was announced at Pro Wrestling WAVE’s show on Sunday that Shuu Shibutani will end her career on May 3. Debuting in September 2004, the 35 year old has won WAVE’s Tag Team Championship and Ice Ribbon’s Triangle Ribbon title. Ayako Hamada & Yuu Yamagata made their first successful defence of the WAVE Tag Team Championship in the main event of the three shows held on the day, beating Cherry & Shuu Shibutani.

Europe
Viper’s Electric Chair Drop was enough to score her the Full Tilt Wrestling Women’s Championship. She and Bete Noire were fighting over the vacant title… Chanel won the vacant Bellatrix British Championship on Saturday when she beat Aurora Flame, Violet O’Hara & Lady Lory to win the one night tournament. Elsewhere on the card, Miss Mina and Saraya Knight went to a time limit draw and Liberty defeated Sammi Baynz. The next Bellatrix show will be on February 22… Sammii Jayne v Layla Rose will take place Insane Championship Wrestling’s December 21 show in Glasgow, Scotland… Nikki Storm and Pollyanna will wrestle at the debut Empress Pro show on January 17… Former WWE Women’s and Divas Champion Melina is booked for a Southside Wrestling show in April.

Mexico
Sexy Star says that Ivelisse Velez is not a match for her in a AAA ring, calling her a “refugee” in a piece posted on the promotion’s website. She also spoke to Variety Latino in her babyface guise to promotion Lucha Underground, reiterating that wrestling saved her from suicide due to depression and pointing out how the promotion is the only one on TV in the US which has intergender wrestling.

Australia & New Zealand
KC Cassidy made Madison Eagles tap out at Saturday’s Melbourne City Wrestling show.

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Results

December 9: CMLL (Guadalajara, Mexico) – Zeuxis b Dark Angel, Amapola, Princesa Sugehit, Tiffany, Lluvia, La Vaquerita & Dalys in a cibernetico

December 10: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Risa Sera b Yuri Kotobuki; Rabbit Miyu b Miyako Matsumoto; Eri & Meari Naito b Maki Narumiya & Akane Fujita; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Misaki Ohata b Hamuko Hoshi & Maya Yukihi

December 11: WWE NXT (Orlando, FL) – Charlotte b Sasha Banks

December 11: Premiere Destination Wrestling (New Albany, IN) – Crazy Mary Dobson b Amazing Kong

December 12: REINA (Tokyo, Japan) – Kyoko Kimura & Alex Lee b Kellie Skater & Raideen Hagane ; Keizo Matsuda & Yako Fujigasaki b Yuji Kito & Koharu Hinata; Goya Kong & Muñeca de Plata b Haruka Kato, Erin, Koyuki Hayashi & Miyako Matsumoto; Arisa Nakajima, Kana & Lin Bairon b Tsukasa Fujimoto, Makoto & Maki Narumiya; Syuri b Marcella to win the CMLL World Women’s Championship

December 12: WWE SmackDown (Columbus, GA) – Nikki Bella b Alicia Fox

December 12: Fans United Wrestling (San Diego, CA) – Ashley Grace b Eli Everfly & Rudy in a 3-way

December 12: Pro Wrestling Guerilla (Reseda, CA) – Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae b Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels

December 12: Freelance Wrestling (Chicago, IL) – Melanie Cruise b Darin Corbin

Madison Eagles KC Cassidy Cory Lockwood PhotographyDecember 13: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi b Akane Fujita; Cherry & Aoi Kizuki b Maki Narumiya & Maya Yukihi; Kurumi & Yuka b Risa Sera & Koyuki Hayashi; Tsukasa Fujimoto & Tsukushi b Mio Shirai & 235

December 13: Melbourne City Wrestling (Thornbury, Australia) – KC Cassidy b Madison Eagles

December 13: Bellatrix 11 (Norwich, England) – Violet O’Hara b Nixon Newell; Chanel b Aurora Flame; Erin Angel b Bacardi; Lady Lory b Addy Starr; Saraya Knight v Miss Mina went to a time limit draw; Chanel b Violet O’Hara; Lady Lory b Erin Angel; Elsie Paige, Holly Burrage & Lillie Fae b Shax, Karama & Leah Elise; Liberty b Sammi Baynz; Chanel b Lady Lory to win the British Championship

December 13: World Association of Wrestling (Norwich, England) – Saraya Knight b Lady Lory

December 13: DOA Wrestling (March, England) – Nina Sparkles b Emma-Jade

December 13: Full Tilt Wrestling (Newcastle, England) – Viper b Bete Noire to win the FTW Women’s Championship

December 13: Magnificent Championship Wrestling (Brantford, ON, Canada) – Kc Spinelli b Holly Madison via DQ

December 13: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada) – Cat Power & Jaida b Nicole Matthews & Violet

December 14: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Masked Tsukka & Yapperman #3 b KAGUYA; Shu Shibutani b Kagetsu; Gabai-jichan b Madoka; Tuskushi v Kyusei Sakura Hirotawent to a time limit draw; Mio Shirai, Misaki Ohata & Tsukasa Fujimoto b Aja Kong, Kurumi & Ladybeard; Cherry & Meari Naito b Yua Hayashi & Hiroe Nagahama; Sawako Shimono, Rina Yamashita, Raideen Hagane, Risa Sera & Manami Kanda b Mika Iida, Kaho Kobayashi, Tsukushi, Eri & Rabbit Miyu; Sawako Shimono & Mari Apache besiegen Mio Shirai & Misaki Ohata; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Mika Iida; Yumi Ohka b Hiroe Nagahama; Kyoko Kimura b Rina Yamashita; Fairy Nipponbashi b Moeka Haruhi; Kana b Kaho Kobayashi; Kyusei Sakura Hirota b Hikaru Shida; Ayako Hamada & Yuu Yamagata b Shu Shibutani & Cherry

December 14: Stardom (Aomori, Japan) – Kris Wolf b Mystique; Kellie Skater b Makoto & Miyako Matsumoto in a 3-way; Lin Bairon & Kinya Oyanagi b Koharu Hinata & Yoshihiro Takayama; Act Yasukawa & Syuri b Reo Hazuki & Takumi Iroha, Io Shirai, Yoshiko & Mayu Iwatani b Nanae Takahashi, Kairi Hojo & Koguma

December 14: Pro Wrestling Kingdom/Shropshire Wrestling Alliance (Dawley, England) – Bubblegum b Lana Austin; Chris Brookes & Nixon Newell b Damian Dunne & Chris Ridgeway

Veda Scott Cherry Bomb Kimber Lee TabercilDecember 14: Smash Wrestling (Mississigaua, ON, Canada) – Vanessa Kraven b Kimber Lee, Veda Scott, Xandra Bale & Cherry Bomb in a 5-way

December 14: WWE TLC (Cleveland, OH) – Nikki Bella b AJ Lee

December 14: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Jojo Bravo, Ricky Romida & Jessica James b Dillon Divine, Donny Brookes & Johnny Dbol; Angel Blue, Dick Money & Wade Olsen b Darin Childs, Jason Silver & Killah Kash

December 14: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Dark Angel, Lluvia & Marcela b Amapola, Dalys & La Seductora

December 15: WWE Raw (Detroit, MI) – Natalya & Alicia Fox b Nikki & Brie Bella

Upcoming

December 21: Tidal Championship Wrestling (Leeds, England) – Lana Austin & Ruby Summers v Nixon Newell & Violet O’Hara

December 21: Insane Championship Wrestling (Glasgow, Scotland) – Sammii Jayne v Layla Rose

December 26: Absolute Intense Wrestling (Cleveland, OH) – Tessa Blanchard, Jennifer Blake & Heidi Lovelace v Veda Scott, Alexia Nicole & Jasmin

Cherry Bomb Mickie JamesDecember 27: Squared Circle Wrestling (Elmira, NY) – Cherry Bomb v Mickie James

December 28: Ice Ribbon Ribbonmania (Tokyo, Japan) – Tsukasa Fujimoto v Arisa Nakajima

December 28: JWP Climax 2014 (Tokyo, Japan) – Arisa Nakajima v Tsukasa Fujimoto

January 3: Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (Vancouver, BC, Canada) – Cat Power v Kate Carney

January 4: PROGRESS Wrestling (London, England) – Jinny v Pollyanna

January 4: Inspire Pro Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Barbi Hayden v Veda Scott; Jessica James v Kimber Lee

January 11: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland)

January 17: Empress Pro (High Wycombe, England) – Bete Noire & Viper v Addy Starr & Rhia O’Reilly; Ruby Summers v Chardonnay; Nikki Storm v Pollyanna

January 17: Lone Star Wrestling (Cypress, TX) – Barbi Hayden v Tessa Blanchard

January 18: Alpha-1 Wrestling (Hamilton, ON, Canada) – Seleziya Sparx v Allysin Kay

January 23: SHINE 24 (Ybor City, FL)

January 23: Valkyrie Women’s Wrestling (Woodbury Heights, NJ) – Kacee Carlisle v Mistress Belmont; La Rosa Negra v Aja Perera

January 24: Pure Wrestling Assocation (Kitchener, ON, Canada) – Kc Spinelli v Courtney Rush; Kaitlin Diemond v Beautiful Beaa; Jewells Malone v Alexia Nicole; Holly Madison v Silvie Silver; Ingrid Isley v Skylar Rose

February 7: Family Wrestling Entertainment (Jamaica, NY) – Candice LeRae v Veda Scott; Taeler Hendrix v Katarina Leigh

February 22: Dragon Pro Wrestling (Newport, Wales) – Nixon Newell v Pollyanna

February 22: Bellatrix 12 (Norwich, England)

March 14: Rock N’ Wrassle (Nottingham, England)

SHIMMER datesApril 4: NCW Femmes Fatales (Montreal, QC, Canada) – Courtney Rush v Saraya Knight; Portia Perez v Xandra Bale

April 11/12 – SHIMMER Women Athletes (Berwyn, IL)

– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE (1-3), Tabercil (4,7), Youji Kawauchi (5), Cory Lockwood (6)
– 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

© Ringbelles

Charlotte and Sasha Banks tear the house down at NXT Takeover: R Evolution

Charlotte WWESeen the NXT Women’s Championship match between Charlotte and Sasha Banks on last night’s Takeover: R Evolution show? You really should – it’s the best TV match put on by any Diva or Knockout in 2014 and shows what the women can do when you let them loose with more than 12 minutes to play with and create a contest with a great story. Part of the success of the match was down to the athleticism displayed by both women – the ending of which saw Charlotte get the win with the Natural Selection from the top rope – but a lot of it came down to the story which was played out for the fans at Full Sail University in Orlando, FL.

There’s a difference between a back and forth match where each wrestler takes turns to be on the offensive and there being a real struggle with holds and counter-holds – essentially the human game of chess that pro wrestling exemplifies when done at a high level. This was that human game of chess. Starting with a lot of aggression from both women, this was different to Charlotte’s other high profile contests against Natalya in May and Bayley in October, she and Banks fought hard with the challenger trying to get into her opponent’s head by customising the titleholder’s t-shirt to wind her up as well as doing the strut made famous by Charlotte’s father Ric Flair and utilising the champ’s figure-four headlock. They even got in a crafty nod to Monday’s divisive match between Natalya and Charlotte by having Sasha reverse the figure four leglock into a cradle for a two-count.

The titleholder’s victory helps to solidify her versatility. While her last two big matches on Takeover shows have been as a heel, this was as a babyface, and it was great to see her work the sympathetic character who had to fight back against a woman who had the edge on her on a number of occasions. Her ability to generate a reaction and also emote to the crowd also made her very easy to get behind. It’s amazing to see her develop into such a well-rounded package so quickly.

While a lot of love is directed towards Charlotte – and with good reason, as she’s an absolute prodigy – there should also be a lot of kudos for Sasha, who finally got an opportunity to show Charlotte Sasha Banks WWEoff what she can do. Her character is the strongest of and woman in WWE and she has the in-ring ability to back it up. Hopefully we will see more of her in the weeks and months to come and this wasn’t just a temporary push to showcase Charlotte. Considering how NXT seems to create great stars, this seems unlikely.

Again: if you can see this match, do so. It’s a great match with a top story and makes both women look amazing. In the meantime, check out this post-match video with Charlotte talking to Renee Young.

– Photos by WWE

Plenty of fallout over Natalya v Charlotte from Monday’s Raw

Charlotte Natalya WWEThere’s been a huge reaction over the booking for the match between Natalya and Charlotte from last Monday’s Raw. As it was described in this week’s Wrestling Observer, “You could seriously have a monkey with a lobotomy in charge of creative and he’d make a smarter call than this.”

If you didn’t see the show or see our report in Tuesday’s Roundup, Natalya got the victory over the NXT Women’s Champion in less than three minutes when she reversed a figure-four attempt into a cradle for the pin. The contest was Charlotte’s debut on Raw and was meant to be an advertisement for the titleholder’s defence against Sasha Banks on tonight’s live NXT: R Evolution show. Quite how Charlotte getting pinned in a short contest against the woman who she beat to win the title in the first place helps to build her profile is anyone’s guess, and it wasn’t like it didn’t have people within WWE arguing against the decision at the time that it was made.

Observer author Dave Meltzer says he received a lot of feedback from people within the company “all totally mystified how this actually happened”. The contest started as Natalya v Charlotte but was then changed to a tag team contest where Charlotte was to have got the winning pin but was turned back to the original matchup with Natalya winning – and even she thought that everyone would be better served with Charlotte getting the victory, and should receive a lot of credit for being unselfish and thinking of others before herself. Triple H also admitted afterwards that he would not have gone with a Nattie win, but the decision was made from above – as in, Vince McMahon.

This topic was brought up by Mike Johnson from PWInsider during the conference call to hype tonight’s NXT show, where Triple H put the decision down to time constraints – the match length was cut to make way for more Slammy awards – as well trying to downplay her being beaten in her debut in a match which should have gone longer or should have seen her win:

Charlotte HHH“Yeah, you know, one of the difficult things about live programming is – it’s live – and times are crunched; times are tweaked. Having been in a million different things going on that night, I can’t speak to the exact amount of time that they were given, or had but the show is in flux; it’s live. I am sure, I, just having seen what happened that night, I know they were given more time than that, but by the time they get there, things go over, things get crunched. We have a lot of responsibility to make within that show, commercials and it’s not just, we can’t just throw things on the air. They are what they are.

Would we have preferred to have given them more time? Hell, I would have liked to have given them the time I gave them at the NXT special and be able to showcase what they do.

As far as the decision of who went over, Nattie or Charlotte or anything like that – those decisions are heavily debated and made. It is what it is.

At the end of the day, for me, it’s about promotion. When you look at what they have done in NXT and everyplace else, the amount of the people that see them there compared to the amount of people who will see them on Monday Night Raw with the whole world watching is, is – the difference is mind boggling, and just for them to be exposed in that vein is massive.

It isn’t to get Charlotte…you know, a lot of people say, ‘Oh, it was her debut and all those things.’ Well, it was, in some ways. But, it’s not like she’s going to be on there again next week and by the time she’s is back on Raw and ready to be competing on Raw on a regular basis and performing on Raw, you’re going to see a different Charlotte and see it presented in a different way. It was really just exposure.

As far as what the outcome was, that can be debated. You know, I put out a picture of her and I last night because she was so emotional afterwards and came back and it was just such a positive for everybody involved. For Nattie. For her. They were just so excited for getting the opportunity and getting to do it the way that they did and you know, you can go back and pick apart bits and pieces of it, but when you overall look at it in the bigger plan, six months from now, a year from now, two years from now, whenever it is, no one is going to go, ‘Well, they killed her on her debut.’ The bigger picture is involved.”

Charlotte WWEAs well as distancing himself from the booking on Monday, Triple H seems to be trying to be diplomatic with the way things went as publicly going against his father-in-law probably wouldn’t be too prudent. It’s funny how Charlotte’s debut is almost dismissed as being nothing too monumental and will be forgotten about as it does not reflect well on the impact the TV show has. If it is the case that nobody remembers the match, let’s hope that the booking is more favourable towards her the next time she appears on the main roster.

Incidentally, we’ll be back tomorrow with reaction to her NXT Women’s Title defence against Banks. You can watch it on the WWE Network.

– Photos by WWE (1,3), Triple H (2)