For months Ring of Honor has been including Women of Honor matches at their television tapings. While not being aired on their weekly television programming, they have been uploaded for viewing on their YouTube channel. Typically it has been one or two matches, varying from singles to tag team to four corner survival matches. In response to demand for more, Ring of Honor announced that at their February 6th Nashville television taping they would have a “special spotlight” on their women wrestlers. They will be filming multiple Women of Honor matches for an upcoming VOD release, in addition to debuting their newest female graduate from the ROH DOJO. A list of great talents has already been announced, including ROH regulars such as Veda Scott and Taeler Hendrix, in addition to the likes of Amber Gallows and Sumie Sakai.
Lucha Underground is less than a day away from returning and we couldn’t be more thrilled. Wednesday nights have become prime wrestling viewing for fans all around, and it’s wonderful to have the combination of excellent storyline and beautiful technical work back for our weekly consumption.
Just before the return, which will see the introduction of Rey Mysterio since we lost Alberto back to the WWE, the folks at El Rey have composed a great recap video to either remind us of what happened, or as a little intro for those of you who may not have given the entire first season a sit down just yet.
And to add to the excitement, El Rey Network has released the first of four original comic books for free download! The debut issue, scripted by Fabian Rangel Jr. with art by A.C. Osorio, follows the international wrestling legend Rey Mysterio Jr.’s voyage to the “Lucha Underground” temple. Next three comics will be released bi-weekly and will help bridge story lines in between seasons and offer new information into the lives of Vampiro, Catrina, Mil Muertes, and notorious owner and promoter Dario Cueto among others, and we’ll make sure to update you with them as they are released.
This expansion on the Lucha Underground universe is helping fill the hunger all of us at Femmezuigiri have for great content with a lot of diversity and entertainment, and we’re going to continue working with them to bring you some exclusive interviews with the workers in the near future. Keep your eyes peeled, and get ready to watch with us tomorrow night!
Imagine yourself all settled in to indulge in your favourite pastime– whether it’s getting all dolled up in your best swag, holding up your meticulously crafted sign or curling up on your couch next to someone you care about complete with snacks- both instances ready to scream your heart out. Your favourite workers have entered the ring and– BOOM! you get a glaring reminder that this place isn’t for you. This is a man’s game and no matter how much you cry out the odds are never in your favour. “This is how it’s always been,” they cry, “Why are you such a killjoy?”, and “Learn to play along, it’s just for fun.” Being in this community is full of constant reminders that this space is not safe and it’s our responsibility to play along if we wish to be included or leave.
All of the above was made abundantly clear during the 2016 Royal Rumble Divas title match in which the audience is blatantly reminded that women are objects who are at the whim of everyone else around them. You’re peeled in to a match that is showing exceptional prowess and mat work that has, up until recently, been unbeknownst to the women’s division but all eyes (read… cameras) keep cutting to Ric Flair. Don’t worry, Charlotte, Daddy’s here. It’s okay, WWE Universe, there’s still a man near the ring so everything is fine and dandy… nothing to see here. But look, they’re doing such a great job! They’re actually wrestling! Ric Flair has to prove he’s still the boss, so in his natural heel state he grabs Becky Lynch, turns her around, and kisses her against her consent. Talk about a jarring moment that filled me with rage and disgust. But it’s all in the nature and fun of pro-wrestling, except it isn’t. The fun was fully removed when you sexually assaulted a woman. Some would argue that Becky Lynch obviously consented to this outside of kayfabe, but take a moment and think about why– if she won’t do her job, someone else will. It is not a woman’s job to be harassed in the ring by men, and it shouldn’t be expected of anyone at this point (or ever). What a way to throw a wrench into the excitement of an otherwise wonderful match and suck any potential fun out of it, making it almost impossible to pay attention to what’s happening before me– at this moment seeing nothing but red. This extends beyond Becky, past her taking one for the team in the most horrid fashion imaginable, losing the match and getting buried with no room for revenge in a storyline. This extends beyond all of the women who are workers in, and outside, the WWE who are constantly put in these spots where we are treated as nothing more than mere sexual playthings. This extends beyond everyone watching who feels violated, who feels sick to their stomachs, who feel a deep and painful empathy because they to have experienced unconsentual sexual behaviour at the hands of others. It permeates into our culture for workers, for fans, for passersby where this is the norm, and the lovely motto of “Just don’t look” can’t be applied here. This affects everyone. Situations like this continue to fuel wrestling being an unsafe space for anyone who isn’t a cisgendered heterosexual white male. Unless you’re the Nature Boy himself, it’s all downhill from here.
Fellow Femmezuigiri contributor, Brittany Meyer, offered up some personal experience with this sort of situation and how toxic and misogynistic this community can be:
I fell out of love with wrestling after I was a valet, one time, for a wrestler I thought I respected. It wasn’t until the gimmick faded and the texts came from the person, and not the character, that I had to come to terms the fact that this is just spandex and dudes living out a dream on whatever ring that will have them. I have not seen him in person in almost three years, and in that time he had held a toxic relationship with a friend of mine, harassed other wrestlings friends on Facebook and Twitter, and has tried to manipulate me back into his life with suicide threats and promises that he’s getting better. With so many incidents proving he was untrustworthy and manipulative, I cut him out of my life. That was one year ago, and I have refused any message or friend requests since.
As a Chicagoan, I felt good about the fact he was seldom on the wrestling scene here since he’s located in Florida. I have gone to many shows in the greater Chicago area and have come to love one particular company, Freelance Wrestling. Freelance was started by some local wrestlers that I have been watching grow since I first moved to Chicago; they’re smart, driven, and produce one hell of show. They have been around for over a year, and I would religiously attend their events, often introducing friends of mine to live wrestling through their shows and having our own designated standing location by the ring so we could be in a good position to high five wrestlers and yell into the camera.
About a month ago, I saw they booked the unstable wrestler who I had pushed out of my life. I was nervous to attend this show, but I also didn’t want to shirk support of my favorite promotion just because he was in the opening match. Hoping the wrestler wouldn’t say anything to me or attempt to reconnect, I thought it would be best for me to not post about it on Facebook or twitter and quietly attend– thus sacrificing any potential world of mouth the promotion could get at the hands of their fans in order for me to have some peace of mind.
With his match in progress, I noticed he didn’t look at me and he mostly stayed on the other side of the ring; I thought I was in the clear. He won his match and I saw him blow a kiss across the ring to my side. It looked as if it went to a girl standing near me and just acted like nothing happened. I then watched him cross the ring and climbed over the ropes on my side. Now, I got nervous.
As a part of his scummy heel character, he usually asks for a kiss on the cheek when he wins a match. I was now concerned with the fact that he may ask me for a kiss and I would have to decline, in front of all the cameras, and audience members who will most definitely cheer him on. I was getting worried.
Once he hopped off the ring, he was just feet from me. He received a borage or high-fives from a friend before I saw him turn to me. Instead of him presenting his cheek, I saw him lunge, face first, into my face. It looked like he was about to kiss me, and play all of this off as ‘just part of the show!’ Instinct kicked in, and I slapped him with my right hand to get his face away from mine. His lips didn’t touch mine; he just shoved me and ran off.
I was mortified. I couldn’t believe that a show I love so dearly became a place of harassment for me directly. This left me to attempt to logically rationalize how to go forward– I guess I’ll avoid his shows since he’ll use his heel gimmick to get away with whatever he pleases. The bigger fear is how Freelance would response when I approached them. After approaching others within the community for advice most of what I received was unfortunate, but many of them offered condolences with the caveat that this was the sad reality of wrestling culture. It’s amazing for something that exists purely in the realm of fantasy that this was an acceptable ‘reality’.
The reality I was dealing with was the fact that I didn’t know how I could ever feel comfortable at a wrestling show again. My reality was grappling with the conflicting emotions of how something I love can accept this behaviour and side with the aggressor. It may have been the reality, but I couldn’t rightly live with it. For myself, and for every person out there that had dealt with a similar situation and was too afraid to speak up since ‘This is just how it is,’ I needed to say something to the promoter. I swallowed painfully and sent out a lengthy message with a fear at the pit of my stomach awaiting the inevitable “Yes, we heard his side and we know you’re crazy; if you didn’t want to see him you shouldn’t have come.” The moment I pressed send, I began to cry. I’ve accepted the fact that I was targeted, harassed and nothing will be done about it. The unwelcome whiny outcast of the Chicago Wrestling community who spoke up and ruined all our fun.
It only took moments for me to get a response, but my heart exploded with joy. A profuse apology from the promoter thanking me for bringing the situation to his attention complete with reassurance that the footage will be reviewed with their team. More tears, now ones of pure joy. I was awarded the rare opportunity of having a voice and a valid opinion. Legitimate shock that I was allowed to enjoy wrestling without disgust or dread. Being believed and listened to was never a response that I could have anticipated, and I honestly cannot thank Freelance Wrestling enough- you have set the bar for integrity and I hope that promotions around the world can learn from your example.
It would be nice if the story ended there, but to no one’s surprise I’m sure, word got back to the worker of the interaction and the ever-changing “stories” began pouring out. He’s just doing his job and if he upset anyone in the crowd then he was doing it well. News flash: harassing women is no longer an acceptable way to gain heat or pops, and it never should have been in the first place. Instead of the story ending here, he took to his own social media to villainize the company for refusing to book him going forward.
Situations like the one Brittany so kindly shared with us are met with a lot of harsh skepticism and a tense request that we keep our mouths shut. This is not just an issue at a wrestling level but for women across the board. The worker currently isn’t being mentioned because of fear of further backlash, harassment and a furthering sense of dread with regards to attending wrestling events. We don’t want to see the promotions that go out of their way to be decent promotions hurt because of scorned men who don’t want to let go of their patriarchal privilege.
We’re finally getting our brief reprieve from having Jerry Lawler on commentary, but we’re not out of the weeds yet. Someone other than Mr. McMahon needs to tear down this wall and let wrestling fans know that there’s no more room for sexual harassment here. That one day, twitter feeds won’t be inundated with men explaining why it’s okay to ask if a female wrestler has breast implants. Soon rape jokes won’t just be seen as ribs in t
he locker room, or in training centres, that are fun and lighthearted. Eventually, intergender matches won’t be rife with spots where our opponent drools and gets a huge pop from the crowd by miming that they’re going to fuck us or get their face between our legs. *Insert pathetic wolf whistle here* We’re here to let everyone, including Ric Flair, know that Space Mountain may be the oldest ride in the park, but it’s high time we shut the old guy down and give him a rest– the park is desolate and he doesn’t even go here. We got off that ride ages ago and we’ll do just fine without it.
New Japan Pro Wrestling Wrestle Kingdom 10
On the surface, the news coming out of NJPW’s January 4th Tokyo Dome show is dire. Attendance for the annual spectacle dipped to 25,000, reflecting critically on what many have called attention to over the past year: the at times stale booking of NJPW matchmaker Gedo. If losing 11,000 fans wasn’t enough to cause panic, the next day saw the rumored and all-but-confirmed departures of top draws Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles, and the tag team of Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, for World Wrestling Entertainment. On the upswing, however, Wrestle Kingdom 10 was an artistically satisfying, hugely significant show that is completely worth spending five hours with.
Leaving aside the NJPW Rumble (King Haku! Cheeseburger!), the main card featured nine matches, eight of which were for championships. The first of these, a four-way scramble for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, is easily the most exciting of the opening contests. Tag team wrestling is largely inconsequential in the United States in 2016 and NJPW’s Junior Tag Team Division, while exciting, has suffered from repetitive booking, but that’s hardly a reflection of the talent in the division. Matt and Nick Jackson, The Young Bucks, are by far the best tag team in wrestling right now, and no team, not even the other three in this match, can touch them. Just listen to them wrestle: The two are in constant communication with each other, in peril or otherwise. All four teams (reDRagon, Aerial Dogfight, and Roppongi Vice) have great tag team moves and work cohesively as a unit (which is more rare than you’d think), but it’s the way the Bucks talk to each other that puts them over the edge, in a way that’s over the top while belying the extreme cohesion you’d expect from a pair of brothers who’ve been teaming for over a decade.
The middle of the card featured two matches that symbolized a changing of the guard, and the evening’s one non-title affair. In the Junior Heavyweight Division, Kenny Omega lost his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship to KUSHIDA. The match more than set-up KUSHIDA as the new ace of the juniors, fighting, as he did, from underneath Omega and his Bullet Club back up, The Young Bucks. Omega’s a human cartoon on offense and when he’s selling, and that’s either a thing you like or have a big problem with. I happen to be a big fan, and Omega was over the top against KUSHIDA, who is a very serious competitor once the Marty McFly bubble vest comes off.
The evening’s one non-title match, between Tetsua Naito and Hirooki Goto, was interesting mostly as a means of tracking Naito’s progress as a scumbag heel. Naito is currently the dark horse of New Japan’s roster, a former semi-main event caliber wrestler who turned heel and really found himself as a member of CMLL’s Los Ingobernables. His heel persona took off in NJPW, but the creation of Los Ingobernables de Japón seemed to weigh him down a bit, if only because it feels so forced. Joined by junior heavyweight BUSHI and laughably named and attired heavyweight KING OF DARKNESS EVIL (with whom Naito nearly won the World Tag League), Naito’s matches have largely become a showcase for routine cheating and sneak attacks, and this match against Goto did nothing to shake that pattern up. After two Bullet Club matches that began with surprise sneak attacks, that a third match on the card began the same way was noticeable, and I can’t get over how backyard KING OF DARKNESS EVIL is. BUSHI, though, is a good compliment to Naito, someone who has spent time in CMLL and, as a masked character, was ripe for reinvention. The match does its job, which is to establish Naito’s stable as a legitimate threat while also establishing Goto as a threat to the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
At the top of the card, Wrestle Kingdom 10 featured three matches that showcase what New Japan Pro Wrestling does better than any promotion going right now, in-ring and long-term storytelling. A title like the NEVER Openweight Championship may seem superfluous in a promotion that has two top-tier championships (or, I suppose, the IWGP Intercontinental Championship may be the superfluous one), but has largely been defined by the stout, hard-hitting brawling of Tomohiro Ishii and Togi Makabe, who switched the title back and forth several times over the course of 2015. With Makabe in the tag division, Ishii took on Katsuyori Shibata, who pinned the champion twice during the 2015 World Tag League. Looking at the two next to each other, the odds would seem to be pretty clearly in the larger man’s favor, but for all the pain and misery a Tomohiro Ishii lariat so obviously inflicts, Shibata’s kicks are capable of that and much more.
The NEVER Championship, thematically, is about proving one’s worth as a warrior, and Shibata and Ishii exchanged a sort of delicious violence that can be heard and felt, not just seen. Though the two come out of the gate avoiding each other’s strikes, they soon dare each other to take the other’s strikes. Ishii loses an opening kick battle, flinching with every blow as Shiabata dusts his off. Shibata is, throughout the course of this contest, a man who will not be denied. Every time Ishii has the advantage, Shiabata finds the will, somehow, to turn the tables on the Stone Pitbull. The brutality of his attack, focused around kicks and submisisons, is a beautiful counterpoint to Ishii’s lariats, chops, forearms, and disgusting suplexes. Ishii, for his part, is resolute and terrifying. Every blow seems like a killing blow. Every submission feels like an end. But Shiabata or Ishii gut up and get back into the fight until the point where they’re exchanging headbutts in the center of the ring. All of this to see who the better man is, which is simplicity itself in professional wrestling. I’ve never been much for tracking a wrestler’s “moveset” as a measure of skill, and the NEVER division is proof that such metrics are overrated. With both men working loud and brutal, it’s the subtle things that Ishii does, on the attack and in selling Shiabata, that put this over the top. You know he’s in trouble early from Shiabata’s kicks and the way each one makes him flinch though none are as lethal as the heart-stopping PK. And you know he knows he’s in trouble when he accidentally illegally chops his challenger in the throat, sees that it works, and purposefully does so again. Just an exhausting, classic encounter that revels in physicality.
Outside of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, there is likely no more important a title in wrestling than the IWGP Intercontinental Championship, largely because of the man who currently holds it, Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura is New Japan’s top draw and, in terms of sheer presence, virtually unmatched as far as charisma goes. Nakamura put out an open challenge to any wrestler in the world to face him for the title and was answered by AJ Styles, setting up a rare first-time-ever dream match between two stars of equal stature that’s actually worthy of the “dream match” billing.
I watched the match live, and while I forget what time it was playing and didn’t have the benefit of caffeine, I was really, really alive for it. Thanks to the invaluable live translation of E. Key Oide (@e_key_oide), I know that the announcers for the contest (which included Jushin Liger and Masahiro Chono) put over the match as a clash of two true originals in the world of professional wrestling, and that’s exactly what it felt like. By extension, this is what the IWGP Intercontinental Championship seems to represent: Stars that are IWGP Championship grade (as Nakamura’s t-shirt has it) but who stand just outside or above it, Nakamura being above it and his Wrestle Kingdom challengers (Styles here; Kota Ibushi, Tanahashi, and Kazushi Sakuraba in the past) just to the side of the dominant narrative of Kazuchika Okada’s ascendency to the position of New Japan’s ace. Unlike last year’s match against Ibushi, this one doesn’t start with The King of Strong Style toying with his opponent—there’s a certain amount of gamesmanship, to be sure, as when Nakamura catches Style’s pantomimed bullet and swallows it whole—Styles has nothing to prove to Nakamura, and the two wrestle an even contest from the start. While I find the story of Nakamura/Ibushi to be the best of his Wrestle Kingdom championship defenses, I absolutely love the pace of this match, a measured heavyweight clash that is punctuated by bursts and flurries of violence and technical wizardry. Both men are in scary-good control of their body’s motions and language, such that spots like an early-match counter backbreaker from Nakamura manage to look and feel more gruesome for managing to be a successful audible.
Despite how even the two are, Nakamura is on offense much of the time, with Styles opting to employ the Calf Killer as a defensive submission maneuver designed to neutralize the BomaYe. It’s smart, and gives Styles an edge after all the work Nakamura puts in on his back, but the BomaYe’s success as a finishing blow is such that Nakamura goes for it regardless of injury. On equal footing, the two break out the big strikes and moves, a particularly good near-fall being Styles’ counter knee lift into a brutal 450 splash. It’s a beautiful match that I can’t recommend enough, even if Nakamura and Styles’ tenures with NJPW are over and the future of the Intercontinental Championship uncertain except for its pending vacancy when Nakamura leaves for the United States. Their coda, a tag team match on New Year Dash that also featured Kenny Omega and YOSHI-HASHI in a match designed to make Omega the new ace of the Bullet Club and credible challenger to Nakamura’s championship, which it did, but now mostly serves as a teaser for a match that will not be happening. There’s certainly a number of possibilities for New Japan now, none of which I am qualified to speculate on, but as far as final images go, the mid-ring fist bump between Nakamura and Styles in the Dome is a particularly neat one, complete with the required zoom in.
The culmination of a years long rivalry that’s headlined the Dome on a number of occasions, Kazuchika Okada’s quest to defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi on a January 4th show came to an end in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 10, where he successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight Championship and staked his claim as the true ace of New Japan by defeating the man who previously held that spot. It’s a contest that goes nearly an hour, which was rough going live, and really pays off well if you know the history of the two, just an old-school match wrestled at a classic pace, Tanahashi (who doesn’t look anything like he’s near 40 or ready to relinquish the role of ace) playing the sure veteran to Okada’s justifiably cocky younger rival.
The first time I saw the match, it was in sequence with the rest of the card, at the end of a very long night, and I just did not have the patience for it. About 10 minutes in, it seemed like the two would be doing everything in their power to go the 60 minute time limit, which, not including a video package and introductions, they very nearly do. The focus of the match is Okada’s leg, which Tanahashi works over fiercely with dragon screw leg whips, dropkicks to the knee, and targeted High Fly Flow splashes from all over the ring. Okada, never one to back down, often sacrifices his leg or knee if it means punishing Tanahashi. That means not selling the leg when he goes into sequences that involve his leg drops, but if that’s a flaw in the storytelling of the match, than it is a very small one in what has largely been a very satisfying epic novel. That legwork is largely what won Tanahashi the match at Wrestle Kingdom 9, the conclusion of which was one of my favorites of a major wrestling event, Okada exiting the arena in tears as Tanahashi played air guitar. It seems like the strategy will work for him again, only it wouldn’t make much sense narratively for Tanahashi to beat Okada in the Dome for a third time. This is the story of Okada’s ascendency, after all, and torch-passings don’t end with the bearer sucker-punching the recipient and taking the torch back.
While I’m able to appreciate the match more in a second and third viewing, I have to admit that my mind continued to wander from the match. There was a sense of destiny to the whole thing, and, in a wrestling match, that’s something I can’t claim to be that big a fan of. Okada fighting from underneath Tanahashi and establishing that he truly is the most dominant force in New Japan Pro Wrestling is fine and necessary, but this one just lacked the nuance of previous encounters and didn’t have a classic moment like Okada crying on his way out of the Dome. With both men in the semi-main event on their way out of the promotion, it’s good that Okada is being firmly planted as the new figurehead of NJPW. The next few months will be vital, both in building the promotion around Okada such that a situation like his and Tetsua Naito’s losing the Wrestle Kingdom main event doesn’t happen again, and in filling the holes left by styles and Nakamura. Wrestle Kingdom 10 showed that the way forward for New Japan is not without hope—this still-young year may be the most interesting in recent memory.
Match Results (Recommended Matches in Bold)
Pre-show) Jado won the New Japan Rumble
1) The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) def. reDRAGON (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly, champions), Aerial Dogfight (Matt Sydal and Ricochet), and Roppongi Vice (Baretta and Rocky Romero) for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
2) The Briscoe Brothers (Mark and Jay Briscoe) and Toru Yano def. The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Yujiro Takahashi) for the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship.
3) Jay Lethal (champion) def. Michael Elgin for the Ring of Honor World Championship.
4) Kushida def. Kenny Omega (champion) for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
5) G.B.H. (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) def. Bullet Club (Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, champions) for the IWGP Tag Team Championship.
6) Hirooki Goto def. Tetsuya Naito.
7) Katsuyori Shibata def. Tomohiro Ishii (champion) for the NEVER Openweight Championship.
8) Shinsuke Nakamura (champion) def. A.J. Styles for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
9) Kazuchika Okada (champion) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
It’s that time of year that we all look forward to and end up leaving bitterly disappointed. We decided to go over the card and craft for you how we think Royal Rumble 2k16 will playout.
Pre-Rumble Tag Match
With all our feelings towards ECW it’s with great shock to say most of us are leaning towards a Dudley Boyz win since the pairings of Henry/Swagger and Young/Sandow seem quite far fetched, but it’s be cool to see what they could do with the latter of those teams.
Dean Ambrose vs Kevin Owens
Same as before, we seem to be at a draw on who we like more out of the two. There’s been some speculation that it might have to end with a double count out with both men trapped under a pile of rubble and debris just to continue the trend of Ambrose losing due to hilariously convoluted means in gimmick based matches. If Owens wins then it can lead us on the pathway to the Owens/Sami Zayn title match that we all wish to see at Wrestlemania!
Charlotte vs Becky Lynch
Like a plot straight out of Mean Girls we’re going to see Becky show up and burn Charlotte’s diary since she’s just too darn mean. The inventor of the #DivasRevolution, the every woman – Steph McMahon, will then call out for a lumberjack match of the entire Divas division. Becky will call a no contest and snatch the belt and break it into pieces– one for each Diva and all they’ve contributed.
But in reality there will be a win for Lynch with a finish that allows Charlotte to keep the strap all to herself. Becky getting cheated will allow for a triple threat or 4 corners match at Mania between Charlotte, Becky, Paige and Sasha Banks. Becky getting cheated will get the crowd on her side for what will make for a really interesting future for the booking of the main roster women’s division.
The New Day vs The Usos
Most of our predictions are looking towards how it’s going to play out as part of a Wrestlemania lead up, and this tag team belt match is no different. New Day is going to retain, and they have to avenge Francesca at this point. The only other way for them to do this is to give the Usos the belts so that they can win the rumble as a trio and then turn on another another– and let’s hope that this doesn’t happen. We need a good faction to stay in tact for a little while longer, I can’t handle another Shield upset.
Alberto Del Rio vs Kalisto
The US Championship belt is almost like a poorly attended game of hot potato, so it’s looking like it’s Kalisto’s turn. It’s be nice to see someone hold onto it for longer than a week this go around.
Let’s Get Ready to Be Disappointed!!!!!
We all know the only reason to truly watch the rumble is to see who the old school entrant is and we’re going way out of left field with The Great Khali.
As for the surprise entrant will most likely be Triple H. Even though there’s slight whispers of Styles, Triple H is going to come at the end just so someone can beat Roman. Who knows, maybe Sledgie will make an appearance. The smart move, despite our iffy feelings about Bullet Club, is to have Finn invade with Balor Club up from NXT and NJPW. It’ll at least make for something interesting to chatter about. Other things we’d like to see is a Diva entering the rumble, maybe even Natalya, and having them go far or even win.
So there you have it, folks. Don’t forget to follow us on the twitter for all the nonsense during the show where we consistently outshine the official commentary.
When WWE introduced the “Divas Revolution” in an attempt to make up for decades of treating their women talent as “less than,” every wrestling promotion took the hashtag and ran with it. Some pointed out they had been doing not only women’s wrestling, but intergender matches, for years. TNA boasted that they had given women’s wrestling plenty of airtime, in addition to World Title shots. However, Ring of Honor had been noticeably quiet up until fairly recently. While women are included in their shows and on television, it’s only in the context of a managerial role–Veda Scott and Moose, Maria and the Kingdom, Veda Scott and Cedric Alexander, Taeler Hendrix and the House of Truth. While’s there’s nothing wrong with women valets and managers, to choose not to do more in the midst of this was a little annoying for myself as not only a fan of women’s wrestling but also as a fan of Ring of Honor. I knew they used to have women’s wrestling, so where is it now?
Enter the return of Women of Honor. As of now, they are dark matches being taped for YouTube, but something is better than nothing. I hadn’t had the opportunity to see any of these matches, but I finally had my chance on December 12th in Philadelphia during the TV tapings after Final Battle. We were going to get not one, but two women’s matches–a tag team match, and a four corner survival match. Eight women were going to be wrestling, and I was looking forward to seeing it, but nervous of the crowd’s reaction. So I held my breath and waited.
Tag team match: Deonna Purrazzo & Hania the Huntress vs Mandy Leon and Sumie Sikai
I’m not at all familiar with Hania or Sikai, but I had seen Purrazzo on NXT recently, in addition to wrestling Leon previously on YouTube. Leon definitely has shown improvement since the last time I saw her, and I think she could be great if she keeps working at it. The crowd was initially quiet, but eventually some “Let’s go Mandy” chants popped up. The Sikai and Purrazzo were definitely the strongest wrestlers, which helped the match considerably when they were in the ring. I thought I could relax regarding the crowd and then Sikai got some “Asuka,” chants, which, well, fuck you.
The match ran about 9 minutes, and Mandy and Sumie walked away with the pin.
Four Corner Survival: Kelly Klein vs Taeler Hendrix vs Kimber Lee vs Veda Scott
I was slightly more familiar with the competitors in this match, I’d seen Scott and Lee wrestle before, and Hendrix has become a familiar face with the House of Truth. I knew of Kelly Klein, but hadn’t seen her wrestle yet.
This match was miles better than the tag team match, which makes sense considering the collective experience in the ring. Kimber Lee just recently won the CHIKARA Grand Championship, and Veda Scott has won her fair share of championships. It was a hard hitting match and the crowd was very into it. Klein won via submission on Scott after about 12 minutes (music to end).
Something that stood out to me before the match was that Veda, Kelly, and Taeler all came out to Cedric Alexander’s, The Decade’s, and House of Truth’s music respectively, and Kimber Lee came out to generic music with no video package. Now, Taeler makes sense considering her affiliation with the House Of Truth, even Kelly and The Decade. I wish Veda at least came out to her own video, even if she came out to Alexander’s music.
I’m hoping Ring of Honor keeps up with the Women of Honor matches and thinks about giving some television time to these matches, and develops some storylines around them so they can fully integrate into the promotion. I was thinking out loud with my friend on the drive home from Final Battle about my concerns that Ring of Honor wants the benefits of claiming women’s wrestling, but not fully committing to it. Having 8 women in 2 matches that will never make it on TV fits that narrative, but I would like to be proven wrong.