2014 has seen a lot of women ascend to new heights and break into that main event echelon of wrestlers. It started in January with Ivelisse Velez scoring the SHINE Championship after defeating veteran Rain before going on a 10-month run with the belt, racking up more than a dozen successful title defences against the likes of Madison Eagles, Serena Deeb, Shanna, Saraya Knight and Mercedes Martinez. NCW Femmes Fatales has crowned a new International Champion in the form of Courtney Rush, who ascended to that main event status with a year-plus long war against Cheerleader Melissa, and cemented her spot as a top-liner by decisively beating Melissa on the promotion’s most recent show. In SHIMMER, Melissa’s reign as the champion came to a halt when she was eliminated first in a 4-way match which saw Nicole Matthews capture the gold and rack up a successful defence against Evie. The trio had been bubbling under for quite some time and this year has seen them be given the opportunity to take it to the next level. Last weekend, a fourth woman was added to the list.
Mia Yim had been the nearly woman when it came to winning a top title over the last 18 months. She was the losing finalist in the SHINE Title tournament last summer; she fell to Cheerleader Melissa in her SHIMMER Championship challenge back in April; she lost to NWA World Women’s Champion Barbi Hayden in July and she was defeated by LuFisto in her attempt to become Women Superstars Uncensored Champion last month. She even missed out on winning the SHINE Title back in May when she and Ivelisse went to a no-content on a Full Impact Pro event. However, her consistent performances and enhanced ability to connect with an audience did not go unnoticed and it culminated with her pinning Velez with a Package Piledriver on Sunday to win the SHINE belt in front of more than 10,000 spectators in Beijing, China as part of WWNLive’s tour of the country.
As I mentioned at the time, the match featured a range of styles like hard strikes, suplexes, submission holds and aerial moves as the pair were given a decent amount of freedom to show a curious audience what female wrestlers could do. It would be fair to say that the Chinese audience probably wasn’t that au fait with what professional wrestling was all about but I found it to be a pretty decent match with the exception of a couple of squirmy moments. The most obvious one was Yim’s 450 splash seeing her land on her feet and then flop onto a prone Ivelisse, who had spent a long time shifting herself on the mat to get into the right position for the move – it didn’t look good at all.
Mia’s title victory sets her up pretty nicely for 2015 and could be a harbinger of things to come. Yim has made huge strides in connecting with an audience, making moves matter and has also been trying to improve her promo skills – which is arguably the weakest part of her act – and she deserves a lot of credit for the measures she has taken to better herself over the year. However, it’s doubtful that she will score another big title in the near future as SHIMMER and Femmes Fatales have their own new champions that they will want to establish and push while LuFisto seems to be on a collision course with Sassy Stephie over the WSU belt – though Yim is in a prime position to make herself the figurehead of SHINE. Plus, when you consider that she is seemingly on WWE’s radar after working the most recent NXT tapings, it seems that there are a lot of bright prospects in store for the promising 25-year old.
A quick heads-up: next week will be the 200th edition of the Ringbelles Roundup and I wanted to throw it open to you.
I’ll be answering questions on anything site-related that you wanted to know. If there’s something you wanted to know about Ringbelles, it’s inception, circumstances around interviews or whatever you like, get in touch by leaving a comment at the bottom of this week’s newsletter. I’ll pick a few examples and expand on them for next week. I look forward to reading the sort of things that you’re curious to know more about.
On the site this week, we’ve posted videos featuring D’Arcy Dixon against Mickie Knuckles, as well as matches from the Pro Wrestling Live 2 show in Switzerland in May which saw Leva Bates battle Layla Rose as well as Lady Lory facing Sara Elektra.
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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AJ Lee has launched her own website. Called aj-brooks.com, the URL is an amalgamation of her wrestling gimmick and her real-life married surname. Figure Four Online speculated that AJ may be on the way out of WWE – with a big indicator possibly being if she loses the Divas Championship to Nikki Bella at Survivor Series on Sunday. Speaking of which, Nikki made sister Brie dress up as AJ as part of an “exhibition match” between the pair on last night’s Raw, which essentially meant that it was meant to look staged. In the end, the real AJ – who appeared at ringside for commentary – distracted Nikki to allow Brie to score the surprise pin. Nikki then attacked her sister with AJ making the save before beating up Brie as well. It’s hardly the best way to sell that her title may be in jeopardy this Sunday, and hardly endears her in that she beats up on a put-upon Brie. In addition, that was Brie’s first singles pinfall win over Nikki in this feud, and it was thrown away as part of a bullshit match. This assistant storyline sucks… Paige edged out AJ Lee to top the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50 list for 2014… The constant flip-flopping of Alicia Fox between face and heel continued during the European tour. While she worked babyface against Cameron on last Tuesday’s main event, she was on the heel side of six woman tags on the house shows… Alexa Bliss suffered a busted nose during her match against Sasha Banks, which was shown on last week’s NXT. Banks then cut a promo setting her sights on Women’s Champion Charlotte… Beth Phoenix spoke to WWE.com about her life as a mother, as well as her in-ring career, saying she enjoyed the heel role: “I always enjoyed being a villain more, probably because you get to do and say a lot of things you wouldn’t do in real life. And I felt like given what my physique and personality was, it kind of fit that way.” She also talked about her Divas of Doom partnership with Natalya, which had bags of potential but never really went anywhere, saying “We had been pitching and pitching to wrestle each other… We had been begging and begging and begging, but then it kind of became this organic thing where they just put us together and boom.” When asked about a possible return, she pitched out the old “never say never” line, but I doubt we will see her back… On a similar note, there have been indications that Maryse and Eve Torres are considering a return to wrestling.
Taryn Terrell beat Madison Rayne on last week’s Impact Wrestling when she avoided the Rayne Check and nailed her Cutter finisher. Earl Hebner – who Rayne manipulated during her last heel run but was not acknowledge here – was the referee for the match… On last weekend’s British Boot Camp, Kay Lee Ray found out that if she advances to the final 3 of the competition she will face Gail Kim in a singles match.
Bishop is refusing to give Nicole Matthews a rematch for the Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling Title. Meanwhile, Cat Power has reached the finals of the Women’s Title tournament, which will be held on January 3… Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan has cut ties with RESISTANCE Pro, which he helped to found. The promotion has been very high on women’s wrestling since its inception and the Women’s Championship was the first belt to exist… Missile Assault Ant got ready for his Young Lions Cup final match against Heidi Lovelace next month by beating Kimber Lee in singles action on last weekend’s CHIKARA show… LuFisto will wrestle Jessicka Havok at the Queens of Combat 3 event on November 30. The pair were meant to wrestle at Women Superstars Uncensored’s Queen and King of the Ring event in May but Havok was banned from the promotion and stripped of the World Title for choosing to work for TNA on the day of the show… Kimber Lee will make her Inspire Pro Wrestling debut on January 4 when she takes on Jessica James… Amy “Lita” Dumas has been working with the female talent at Maryland Championship Wrestling. She worked there in her very early days under the name Angelica… Melanie Cruise and Mickie Knuckles wrestle on Friday’s Strong Style Wrestling for the vacant AIWF World Women’s Championship.
Tomoka Nakagawa wrestled more than 40 minutes on last Wednesday’s Pro Wrestling WAVE show as part of five singles matches as part of a retirement series. She won one, drew one and lost three.
Saraya Knight is the new DOA Sirens Champion. She beat Addy Starr as part of a World Association of Wrestling v DOA Wrestling show on Saturday. The title had been vacated after Penelope decided to take some time away from the ring… Lana Austin’s been using her charms to get an advantage. She beat Nixon Newell at True Grit Wrestling’s show on Saturday while her feet were clearly on the ropes – but the referee ignored it because he’s got a crush on Lana… Viper’s open challenge at a charity show for fellow wrestler Kris Travis saw her easily defeat Erin Night, so she demanded another opponent. That turned out to be Ruby Summers, who was also easily dispatched. Male competitor T-Bone then answered the call and put her away with a Tombstone – but not before she headbutted him so hard that she ended up with a massive lump on her forehead… Toni Storm returns to the UK at the end of this month. One of her first bookings is against Danielle Hunter for Futureshock Wrestling on November 30 with Hunter’s Women’s Championship on the line… Following in the footsteps of her Bellatrix counterparts, Chanel makes her Fierce Females debut on Sunday when she takes on Carmel Jacob.
Amazona & Angelica defeated Dark Magic & Estrella Negra and Polly Star & Tsunami as part of a 4-team, one night tournament on Friday to win the vacant LLF Tag Team Championship.
Australia & New Zealand
Harley Wonderland won the Riot City Wrestling Women’s Championship on Saturday by beating Demi Bennett in the main event of City Chicks Unleashed 3. Kellyanne English was meant to wrestle but suffered an injury just before the show… Congratulations to Jessie McKay, who got married on Sunday… Miami will step away from the ring after Friday’s Melbourne City Wrestling charity show. She faces KC Cassidy in a match which has been building up for a year as part of the three semi-final matches, with all three winners going forward to a triple threat final for the Vera & Jenny Cup.
November 11: WWE Main Event (Liverpool, England) – Alicia Fox b Cameron
November 11: WWE house show (Brighton, England) – AJ Lee b Paige & Nikki Bella in a handicap match
November 11: CMLL (Mexico City, Mexico) – Estrellita, Goya Kong & Lluvia b Dalys, Tiffany & Zeuxis
November 12: WWNLive (Emei, China) – Mia Yim b Su Yung; Ivelisse Velez b Allysin Kay
November 12: Pro Wrestling WAVE (Tokyo, Japan) – Kaho Kobayashi & Kana b Mari Apache & Sawako Shimono; Mika Iida b Hiroe Nagahama; Ayako Hamada & Rina Yamashita b Hikaru Shida & Mio Shirai; Melanie Cruise v Yumi Ohka went to a time limit draw; Shuu Shibutani b Tomoka Nakagawa; Cherry b Tomoka Nakagawa; Tomoka Nakagawa b Moeka Haruhi; Tomoka Nakagawa v Yuu Yamagata went to a time limit draw; Misaki Ohata b Tomoka Nakagawa
November 12: WWE house show (Newcastle, England) – Naomi, Natalya & Emma b Cameron, Summer Rae & Alicia Fox
November 12: WWE house show (Paris, France) – AJ Lee b Paige & Nikki Bella in a handicap match
November 12: TNA Impact Wrestling (Bethlehem, PA) – Taryn Terrell b Madison Rayne; Knux, Crazy Steve & Rebel b Jessie, DJ Z, Angelina Love & Velvet Sky
November 13: WWE house show (Glasgow, Scotland) – Naomi, Natalya & Emma b Cameron, Summer Rae & Alicia Fox
November 13: WWE NXT (Orlando, FL) – Sasha Banks b Alexa Bliss
November 14: World Wrestling Network (Emeishan City, China) – Allysin Kay & Su Yung b Ivelisse Velez & Mia Yim
November 14: WWE SmackDown (Liverpool, England) – Natalya b Layla
November 14: WWE house show (Braunschweig, Germany) – Natalya, Emma & Naomi b Cameron, Summer Rae & Alicia Fox
November 14: Scottish Wrestling Alliance (Cumbernauld, Scotland) – Courtney & Debbie Sharpe b Nikki Storm & Viper
November 14: Pro Wrestling 4U (Newcastle-Under-Lyme, England) – Pollyanna b Violet Vendetta via DQ
November 14: Maryland Championship Wrestling (Joppa, MD) – Amber Rodriguez b Jessie Kaye
November 14: Northeast Wrestling (Danbury, CT) – Velvet Sky b Jake Manning
November 14: Lucha Libre Femenil (Monterrey, Mexico) – Baby Hagar b Aero Chika; Amazona & Angelica b Dark Magic & Estrella Negra via DQ; Polly Star & Tsunami b Estrella Divina & Guerrera Negra; Lady Jaguar b Alicia & Baby Puma in a 3-way; Amazona & Angelica b Polly Star & Tsunami to win the LLF Tag Team Championship
November 15: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Hamuko Hoshi & Kurumi b Aoi Kizuki & Miyako Matsumoto; Mio Shirai b Kyuri; Tsukasa Fujimoto b Koyuki Hayashi; Tsukushi & Yuuka b Maki Narumiya & Risa Sera
November 15: Riot City Wrestling “City Chicks” (Adelaide, Australia) – Rachel Rose b Blair Alexis; Vixsin b Daisy Chayne; Toni Storm b Siren Monroe & Savannah Summers in a 3-way; Izzy Shaw & Miss Fortune b Michelle K Hasluck & Aria Gracie; Harley Wonderland b Demi Bennett to win the RCW Women’s Championship
November 15: Norwegian Wrestling Federation (Oslo, Norway) – Grom Gravalid & Knoke b Miss Mina, Natasja & Tommy P in a handicap match
November 15: Fight Club Finland (Helsinki, Finland) – Julia Kyy, King Kong Karhula & Pyöveli Petrov b Mikko Maestro, Sara Elektra & Sly Sebastian; Heimo Ukonselkä b Jessica Love
November 15: WWE house show (Frankfurt, Germany) – Naomi, Natalya & Emma b Cameron, Summer Rae & Alicia Fox
November 15: World Association of Wrestling/DOA Wrestling (Bury St Edmunds) – Saraya Knight b Addy Starr to win the DOA Sirens Championship
November 15: True Grit Wrestling (Leeds, England) – Lana Austin b Nixon Newell
November 15: CHIKARA (Haverhill, MA) – Missile Assault Ant b Kimber Lee
November 15: I Believe In Wrestling (Orlando, FL) – Brandon Scherer & Joey Mayberry b Gabriel Black & Santana Garrett
November 16: Ice Ribbon (Saitama, Japan) – Neko Nitta b Koyuki Hayashi; Cherry, Meari Naito & Yuri Kotobuki b 235, Kurumi & Tsukushi; Maki Narumiya & Risa Sera b Tsukasa Fujimoto & Yuka
November 16: JWP (Asakusa, Japan) – Yako Fujigasaki b Yume Hayashi; Kayoko Haruyama b Aiger; Akira Kibishi & Command Bolshoi b KAZUKI & Rydeen Hagane; Kana b Rabbit Miu; Ray b Arisa Nakajima, Hanako Nakamori & Leon in a 4-way
November 16: Diana (Kawasaki, Japan) – Koharu Hinata b Meiko Tanaka; Jaguar Yokota & Sareee b Keiko Aono & Yuiga; Kaoru Ito b Megumi Yabushita
November 16: Stardom (Tokyo, Japan) – Takumi Iroha b Momo Watanabe; Yoshiko b Kellie Skater & Reo Hazuki in a 3-way; Hatsuhinode Kamen & Kaori Yoneyama b Koguma & Miho Wakizawa; Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani b Mystique & Star Fire; Kairi Hojo & Nanae Takahashi b Chris Wolf & Kyoko Kimura; Kairi Hojo & Nanae Takahashi b Io Shirai & Mayu Iwatani
November 16: World Wrestling Network (Beijing, China) – Mia Yim b Ivelisse Velez to win the SHINE Championship
November 16: Insane Championship Wrestling (Edinburgh, Scotland) – Stevie Boy & Davey Boy b Liam Thompson & Carmel Jacob
November 16: TravAid (Sheffield, England) – Viper b Erin Night; Viper b Ruby Summers; T-Bone b Viper
November 16: Tidal Wrestling (Newcastle, England) – Kay Lee Ray b Robbie Ryder
November 16: Alpha Omega Wrestling (Indio, CA) – Tab Jackson b Crystal Michelle
November 16: Anarchy Championship Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Jessica James b Angel Blue, Livi Loca & Scotty Santiago in a 4-way;
November 17: WWE Raw (Roanoake, VA) – Brie Bella b Nikki Bella
November 21: New Horizons Pro Wrestling (Perth, Australia) – Saraya Knight v Demi Bennett v Evie v Madison Eagles
November 21: Strong Style Wrestling (Goshen, IN) – Mickie Knuckles v Melanie Cruise
November 22: Alternative Wrestling Show (South Gate, CA) – Hudson Envy v Cheerleader Melissa
November 23: Melbourne City Wrestling ‘Fight For A Cause’ (Hampton Park, Australia) – Evie v Shazza McKenzie; Siren Monroe v Toni Storm; Miami v KC Cassidy
November 23: Fierce Females (Glasgow, Scotland) – Courtney v Fiona Fraser; Viper v Layla Rose; Nikki Storm v Sara; Carmel Jacob v Chanel
November 23: HXC Wrestling (Manchester, England) – Nadia Sapphire & Faith Lehaine v Pollyanna & TBA
November 23: WWE Survivor Series (St Louis, MO) – AJ Lee v Nikki Bella
November 23: SMASH Wrestling (Mississauga, ON, Canada) – Candice LeRae & Joey Ryan v Cherry Bomb & Pepper Parks; Courtney Rush v Vanessa Kraven
November 28: Shropshire Wrestling Alliance (Dawley, England) – Ryan Smile & Pete Dunne v Chris Brookes & Nixon Newell
November 29: Warzone Wrestling (Berwick, Australia) – Savannah Summers v Kellyanne English
November 29: Showcase Wrestling (Dumfries, Scotland) – Viper v Leah Owens
November 29: XWA Wrestling (Colchester, England) – Nikki Storm v Rhia O’Reilly; Addy Starr v Kay Lee Ray
November 29: Beyond Wrestling (Providence, RI) – Kimber Lee & Drew Gulak v Cherry Bomb & Pepper Parks
November 30: Southside Wrestling (St Neots, England) – Kay Lee Ray v Nixon Newell
November 30: Futureshock Wrestling (Stockport, England) – Danielle Hunter v Toni Storm
November 30: Queens of Combat (Winston-Salem, NC) – Mickie James v Tessa Blanchard; Joey Ryan & Candice LeRae v Mia Yim & Leva Bates; Sojo Bolt & Dani Jackson v Amber O’Neal & Jessie Kaye; Angelina Love v Nevaeh; LuFisto v Jessicka Havok
January 18: Alpha-1 Wrestling (Hamilton, ON, Canada) – Seleziya Sparx v Allysin Kay
February 22: Dragon Pro Wrestling (Newport, Wales) – Nixon Newell v Pollyanna
December 5: SHINE 23 (Ybor City, FL) – Mia Yim v Nevaeh
December 6: CHIKARA (Philadelphia, PA) – Heidi Lovelace v Missile Assault Ant
December 7: PAID Promotions (Morecambe, England) – Nikki Storm v Viper v Lana Austin v Kay Lee Ray
January 4: PROGRESS Wrestling (London, England) – Jinny v Pollyanna
January 4: Inspire Pro Wrestling (Austin, TX) – Jessica James v Kimber Lee
January 17: Empress Pro (High Wycombe, England)
January 23: SHINE 24 (Ybor City, FL)
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
– Lee Burton
– Photos by WWE (3,5), Tony Knox (4), Resuner Yokoyama (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