Bunch of Fives: Gone Too Soon

Goodbye cardIt’s always a shame when you see a wrestler depart the industry before their possible potential is realised. Those who go tend to have their reasons but it still leaves fans wondering what could have been. As a result, we’ve looked at five names who could have gone further in the wrestling business but chose to move on for one reason or another. They range from names you have seen on TV on a regular basis to some who showed promise but didn’t work out. So, let’s start with a recent departee which disappointed us greatly at Ringbelles HQ…

Kaitlyn

kaitlynYes, we’ve spoken about how Kaitlyn was marginalised and pushed into the shadows to make way for AJ Lee and was left on the sidelines after she dropped the WWE Divas Championship, but she’s a real example of someone with great desire and potential to offer something interesting and different to the product and becoming so disillusioned that she elects to move on to pastures new instead. She later discussed about how her decision to go may have been a little hasty but she hasn’t done too badly since leaving, having gotten married and her Celestial Bodiez business seemingly doing well. However, had she stayed in WWE a little longer she may have been a big part of the revival of the Divas division, with her kooky personality and desire to excel driving her forward. She may still return, but I wouldn’t put too much money on it – we’ll just have to wonder what might have been.

Kalamity

KalamityNobody really knows the reasons for Kalamity‘s decision to step away from wrestling 15 months ago, but nothing has been heard from her since. While fans understood that made the choice to back away for personal reasons, there were many who felt disappointed at how she was on the verge of being something really special, having main-evented SHIMMER Volume 56 two months before electing to bow out. Many also had her pegged as being LuFisto‘s successor for Montreal wrestling, but that hasn’t panned out in the way it would have been expected – though because there has been no word of her officially retiring, she may still return in the future to continue her ascent. There would be many fans who would be happy to see her come back, though most would be satisfied to know that she’s comfortable in her life.

Rayna Von Tosh

Rayna Von ToshThis one is a little different as we’re not generally talking about wrestling quality but has an initial focus on aesthetics. Yes, Rayna Von Tosh had completed the Ring of Honor training academy after a year or so wrestling as Rayna Fyre and was working the lower undercard of SHIMMER, but her real appeal is in her appearance. With flame-red hair, a beaming smile and a burlesque look, Von Tosh was bite-the-back-of-your-hand attractive. Her in-ring work wasn’t brilliant but she was a new face who was very beautiful and could improve, given the right training and guidance. TNA was reportedly interested in taking a look at her before she made the decision to bow out, leaving us with assumptions of what could have been. Rayna is currently a member of the singing troupe American Bombshells, which performs for the armed forces and veterans.

Candice Michelle

Candice Michelle WWEA sad tale, this. Candice Michelle came through the original Diva Search in 2004 and was considered a bit-part player until she was given a push in 2007 – and she really made the most of it, plugging away and working hard to contribute before winning the Divas Championship that summer. She lost the belt to Beth Phoenix as part of a feud which was on fire and was getting over well with fans, which was to culminate with a two out of three falls match on Raw that October. It was during that match that Michelle fell from the top rope, breaking her clavicle and knocking her unconscious. She returned after three months but re-injured herself when the scar tissue over her clavicle tore apart, shattering the bone in four places and putting her out for another six months. Following a brief return in late 2008, she was released from her contract in June 2009. Had she remained in shape, she could have been a much bigger star – she was easy to get behind, had charisma and possessed a real desire to work at her wrestling.

Eve Torres

Eve Torres WWEI’ll be honest – compared to the others I don’t particularly miss Eve Torres, who left WWE after dropping the Divas Championship to Kaitlyn in January last year. However, the 2007 Diva Search winner had found a niche as a heel and was the most dependable female wrestler in the company at that point, though her zenith in the division also coincided with her love life reaching its happy peak, as she was on the verge of getting married to Rener Gracie. Since leaving, she has taken to acting and is also a spokeswoman and head instructor for the Gracie Women Empowered Self-defense programme, which is something that could have worked into a gimmick, as explained by Stew in this article a couple of years ago. Had she been able to work an MMA gimmick, she would have likely separated herself from the big hair and shiny outfits which are synonymous with Divas. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

So what do you think – did you think these five had more to offer the wrestling industry, or are there others who you feel disappeared too soon? Let us know in the comments.

Photos by WWE (2,5,6)

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In Video: the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge compilation

Stephanie McMahon Ice BucketIf you have a Facebook or Twitter, you can’t have missed the phenomenon which is the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which sees people dump buckets of ice water on themselves in order to raise money and awareness for the ALS Association – ALS stands for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease. The gimmick is that you donate money to the Association or dump the ice bucket over your head, though those who go for the chilly option are also encouraged to make a donation anyway. Once you accomplish the task, you’re allowed to challenge others to do the same. The challenge has also been adapted by some so they donate to other charities, but it all counts.

Of course, this has gravitated towards wrestlers, so we’ve collected as many of them as we can for your amusement. Let us know in the comments which video was your personal favourite.

Stephanie McMahon (featuring the Four Horsewomen)

Summer Rae

Alexa Bliss

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Eva Marie
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Nikki Bella

Bete Noire

Kellie Skater

Evie

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Kimber Lee

Jessie Belle Smothers

Sassy Stephie

Leah Von Dutch

Thea Trinidad
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Dixie Carter

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Beth Phoenix

Eve Torres

Maryse Ouellet

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Candy Cartwright

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Celeste “Kaitlyn” Bonin
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“Hardcore” Heather Owens

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La Rosa Negra

Trina Michaels

Kaitlyn leaves WWE; calls it "bittersweet"

Kaitlyn WWEIn a move for which we were unprepared – and yet are unsurprised – Kaitlyn has parted ways with WWE via mutual consent. The official statement by the company was a little longer than its standard announcement of someone leaving:

As of Jan. 8, Kaitlyn (Celeste Bonin) will no longer be under contract with WWE. The former Divas Champion has chosen to pursue other endeavors outside the sports-entertainment world.

WWE wishes Kaitlyn the best in all her future endeavors.

Kaitlyn’s final WWE match took place on a Main Event taping in Philadelphia, PA last night where she wrestled Divas Champion AJ Lee – a woman she broke onto WWE TV with, stood alongside and more recently fought against. The contest will be televised tonight. Continue reading “Kaitlyn leaves WWE; calls it "bittersweet"”

Ringbelles Roundup (15 January 2013) – Kaitlyn, Eve Torres, Women Of Wrestling and more

Kaitlyn WWESo Kaitlyn is finally the WWE Divas Champion. A week shy of five months after (accidentally) winning a battle royal to challenge for the title at Night Of Champions – a shot which never happened after she was written out so Eve Torres could vie for the belt like was originally planned – the NXT Season 3 winner reached the top of the pile, defeating Torres on the 20th anniversary episode of Raw. We’ll get to the new champ in a moment – but firstly, let’s discuss the noise which preceded the match…

Yesterday, PWInsider reported that last night would be Eve’s final match with WWE before leaving the company, and it would be likely that she would be dropping the belt to Kaitlyn, who she has been feuding with since mid-September. As it turns out, that is exactly what happened, though her title loss came a bit earlier than others were expecting. According to the most recent Wrestling Observer Radio, Torres handed in her notice a month ago with the agreement that she would stay on to build up the title feud with Kaitlyn and then drop the belt to her, with the internal expectation being that she would lose the title at the Royal Rumble in two weeks, after a series of matches between the two when Eve would use underhanded tactics to retain the title. Instead, the decision was made for the switch to take place on the milestone Raw – which makes more sense, as it means more viewers would see the change and Kaitlyn’s moment of glory would take place in her home town of Houston, TX. It was a smart move, as the partisan crowd was hotter for the match than it would have likely been compared to the audience at the Rumble in Phoenix, AZ. Besides, fans have been conditioned to a certain extent to not be that bothered about the Divas, so it was unlikely that the match would have generated a massive amount of pay-per-view buys. Continue reading “Ringbelles Roundup (15 January 2013) – Kaitlyn, Eve Torres, Women Of Wrestling and more”

Kaitlyn wins the Divas Championship; Eve quits WWE

Kaitlyn WWEIn front of her hometown fans in Houston, TX as part of the 20th Anniversary episode of Raw, Kaitlyn finally ascended to the top of the company’s women’s division by winning the WWE Divas Championship, pinning Eve Torres with a spear after outwitting the three-time titleholder.

In a match where the stipulation was added that should Eve be disqualified or counted out she would lose the belt (an amendment added because Torres deliberately got herself counted out last week to save her reign), she tried to gain a count-out victory by throwing the challenger over the barricade. Unbeknownst to her, Kaitlyn had already returned to the ring, and was waiting to deliver the match-winning move.

The match was arguably the best outing the pair have had, and was aided by an enthusiastic crowd. However, one person was seriously unhappy. Continue reading “Kaitlyn wins the Divas Championship; Eve quits WWE”

Ringbelles Roundup (8 January 2012) – Madison Eagles' return, GAMI announces retirement and more

Madison Eagles is backOn October 1, 2011, Madison Eagles was at the height of her career. As well as being the reigning SHIMMER Champion – holding the belt for close to 18 months – she had just been presented with the plaque for emerging on top of the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50, becoming the first woman who wasn’t a WWE Diva or TNA Knockout to win the honour. Despite a nagging shoulder injury suffered in a car accident the previous April which had restricted her bookings, she was in the middle of a string of five matches in three days, culminating with her dropping the SHIMMER belt to Cheerleader Melissa in the main event of volume 44.

Two days later, Eagles’ momentum would come to a crashing halt.

During training for a match in CHIKARA with Kana on Friday, October 7 in Burlington, NC, a double stomp hyperextended her knee so badly that when the doctor was able to take a good look at it, the prognosis was as bad as it could be. The 28 year old was given two options – have surgery which would solve the problem but mean that she could never wrestle again, or to see if it will heal of its own accord, though there would be no timeframe to determine how long it would take. It could be a few months, or it could be years, if ever. Not willing to bow out of wrestling if it was not on her own terms, the 11-year veteran elected to wait it out.

So she waited. And waited.

And then, things started to feel better. Continue reading “Ringbelles Roundup (8 January 2012) – Madison Eagles' return, GAMI announces retirement and more”

Ringbelles Roundup (1 January 2013) – holding wrestlers back, Ribbonmania, news and more

Michelle McCool gives Melina a DDT on the barrier. Photo: WWEFormer WWE Women’s and Divas Champion Michelle McCool must have talked to her official fansite MichelleMcCool.net for about a kabillion years for it to produce as many different releases about things she has said about her time in WWE. There are masses of quotes about Beth Phoenix, Maria Kanellis, Layla, Sharmell Huffman, Vickie Guerrero, Tara, Natalya, Torrie Wilson, Mickie James and more. Seriously, the interview must have gone on for about three hours to sufficiently cover all these topics. Quite why she has decided to do this now after spending more than 18 months out of the wrestling spotlight is a discussion in itself, as it is doubtful that she is doing to come back, and she has positive things to say about everyone, which doesn’t lead to that many juicy tidbits. However, it is her comments about her experiences with Melina which we found the most interesting.

The 32-year old discussed how they collectively got in trouble following their contest at Night Of Champions 2009, where McCool successfully defended the Women’s Championship, with one particular move on the outside of the ring causing the problem:

It was that day – I was like: “could you not tell anybody, but do you think we could do a DDT on the barricade?” And [Melina] was like: “Ohhhh! Yeah!!!” — Not even thinking twice about it. We kind of hid it all day, even though we did ask our agent for approval, I think it was Fit — which is no secret that he was always fighting for the girls. We just made sure that we can stand up and get our balance, but we never actually did the bump. She was the one who was going to take the huge bump, and there was no doubt, no hesitation, that she would make it look ridiculous — and it did! [During the match] She finally takes the bump, it looks sick [pictured above], pops off — up to that point, that was the best match I’ve ever had. We had the pay-per-view, we had time, I was really proud of that match. Continue reading “Ringbelles Roundup (1 January 2013) – holding wrestlers back, Ribbonmania, news and more”