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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Kaitlyn talks leaving WWE, and if she should have stayed

Kaitlyn WWEWhen Kaitlyn left WWE in January, we totally understood her decision. After losing the Divas Championship she pretty much vanished off the face of the earth. Six months on, Celeste Bonin – who also became Mrs PJ Braun after leaving WWE – has been speaking to the Baltimore Sun about a number of topics including her first appearance in wrestling since stepping away from the ring, her reasons for leaving, her new business ventures and most importantly, whether she would have stayed in WWE if there was more focus on the Divas like we’re enjoying at the moment.

When I retired, it was a bit of a last-minute decision. I had been thinking about it for a while because there was a lot of things happening in my life and it was a transitional time for me. I had just gotten engaged, and I wanted to plan my wedding. I also had this project on the backburner, with this business site, that I wanted to wait to start until I retired from WWE. When I made the decision, rather quickly, to leave the WWE, I went full throttle into making my business work, while also planning a wedding.

There are a lot of peaks and valleys, and once I lost the title, I was back in the background, which was fine, we all have our turns. But there was other things brewing. I had recently gotten engaged, and there were other things I wanted to pursue. So it was all these things happening at once, not being in a storyline at the time, and not being able to spend time with my fiance, and feeling like I had more to offer. So it all came to a head in January.

I might have stayed a little bit longer, possibly [had there been more focus on the Divas at the time of leaving]. I just reached the point where I had done a lot of cool stuff in the WWE and traveled the world and I had the title, and I think I did some really great stuff. It wasn’t a super-hard decision to step back and leave. I can’t really go back and say I would’ve stayed longer. But it’s possible. I guess it depends on what was going on at the time, especially if there were more opportunities for more storylines like there are now. But I guess Kaitlyn Elimination Chamber WWEwhat I’m saying is that I don’t regret leaving, because I love my life. I love everything that I have going on right now.

I don’t think I will ever wrestle again, but if I do, it would be for WWE. I just feel like that’s my place. It’s where I developed my wrestling abilities and character and that’s where I would stay if I was to wrestle again. The good thing about when I left is that I left on very good terms with the WWE. It left the door open for me if I ever wanted to come back.

It’s encouraging to know that she is happy with her life at the moment, and that her Celestial Bodiez business is going well – however, there must be a little bit of regret or speculation about what her wrestling career would have been like had she stuck with it for a little longer. At the time, her decision was totally sound, and you never know what the future may hold – but she could have been storming the Divas ranks right now.

So what do you think – did Kaitlyn make the right move by leaving in January, or do you think she made a mistake and should have stuck around? Let us know in the comments.

Ringbelles Roundup (14 January 2013) – Kaitlyn's departure, Emma appearance, Mae Young & BSW BS

Kaitlyn WWESo Kaitlyn has left WWE. I’m not going to lie here – it totally sucks. Considering she is just 27 years old, considering how she had a personality and physique which could make her stand out from the other Divas, and considering how eager she was to work, she’s a massive loss. The worst part is that her departure is totally understandable as WWE had failed her. Given different circumstances, she could still be a Diva, kicking bottom and being a valuable asset to the company. The reason that she’s not is WWE’s fault, not her’s.

According to the Wrestling Observer, Kaitlyn was keen to get stuck in and was looking for a new storyline. She was reportedly promised that certain opportunities would be forthcoming, but when they were not, she decided that enough was enough and she would hand in her notice. Here was someone who was eager to work, contribute and deliver the goods, and she got nothing. Instead of twiddling her thumbs and receiving a paycheck, she wanted to work. That has to be respected.

To highlight her work ethic, she posted a video telling fans that she is busy planning her wedding, working with a new fitness company and is also setting up her own firm to sell workout clothing for women, entitled Celestial Bodiez – derived from her real name of Celeste Bonin. Continue reading “Ringbelles Roundup (14 January 2013) – Kaitlyn's departure, Emma appearance, Mae Young & BSW BS”

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 (24 December 2013) – Courtney Rush cleared, awards insight & more

23 Courtney RushYou know you have intrinsic importance when people seem to work around you to make things work.

Courtney Rush participated in her first training session after receiving clearance from her doctor. She has been given a clean bill of health after fracturing her clavicle on September 15 in the pre-show ahead of Smash Wrestling’s CAN USA event in Toronto, ON, Canada. At the time, nobody knew she was hurt as she was wrestling under a hood under the name of La Tigre Diablo against Jasmin, and the break happened in what Rush described at the time as a “freak accident”. She didn’t appear on the show as planned, and instead was rushed to hospital with the fear in her head that the plans she had for the following month or so were out of the window.

Rush had been due to travel to England to defend the Bellatrix World Championship at Bellatrix 7 on October 6, but the match between Liberty and she was pushed back – meaning that she would not have to relinquish the title which she won from Allison Danger at NCW Femmes Fatales XI in March. She still participated in the proceedings, turning heel and costing her title challenger the RQW European Championship, which she dropped to Sammi Baynz.

Like Bellatrix, Femmes Fatales also made concessions to accommodate Courtney’s literal tough break. Continue reading “Ringbelles Roundup (24 December 2013) – Courtney Rush cleared, awards insight & more”

Ringbelles Roundup (3 December 2013) Renee Young is great, Gail Kim praises Taryn Terrell, plus more

Renee Young NXTFemale backstage interviewers are as rare as rocking horse poop in World Wrestling Entertainment, and finding a good one is hugely unlikely. In late 1994, Stephanie Wiand signed on, co-hosting WWF Mania with Todd Pettengill, and also worked a few pay-per-views in 1995, though very few fans remember her, and probably could not pick her out of a lineup. Rue DeBona also did a bit of backstage mic work on SmackDown in 2004, but wasn’t around long enough to do anything apart from marry (and later divorce) Josh Mathews. Some Divas also turned to asking the questions rather than answering them. Lilian Garcia has done the job at pay-per-views in the past, Terri Runnels performed interviewing duties between 2002 and 2004, Sunny did the odd bit in 1997 but seemed to be more keen on having the spotlight for herself, and after being eliminated from the Diva Search, Maria Kanellis worked the backstage but was given the ditzy gimmick where she asked poor questions, got wrestlers names wrong and simpered a lot.

However, WWE seems to have stumbled across a diamond in current interviewer Renee Young. Continue reading “Ringbelles Roundup (3 December 2013) Renee Young is great, Gail Kim praises Taryn Terrell, plus more”

Survivor Series: Machine-gun eliminations ahoy

JoJo Eva Marie Natalya Nikki Brie Bella Cameron Naomi WWEIn what is the Survivor Series match with the most participants since the 10 on 10 tag team elimination match from the 1988 offering, the Total Divas cast of Natalya, Eva Marie, Jojo, Cameron, Naomi and Nikki & Brie Bella take on Divas Champion AJ Lee, Kaitlyn, Alicia Fox, Rosa Mendes, Tamina Snuka, Aksana & Summer Rae in a 7 on 7 elimination match.

The Background
• From a long-term standpoint, AJ Lee has been squabbling with the Total Divas cast since the Raw after SummerSlam where she verbally berated them and turned them all baby face as a result. Since then, she has turned back the title challenges from Naomi, Natalya and Brie Bella.
• Short-term, the 14 women had a shoving contest on last week’s Raw during a game of Musical Chairs which set up this match. No, really.
• Before the match, AJ delivered a pep talk to her teammates which didn’t go well and only served to separate herself from the others – barring Tamina, who stayed loyal. Essentially, AJ was telling her partners that they were overlooked for Total Divas selection and should be annoyed about it. Continue reading “Survivor Series: Machine-gun eliminations ahoy”