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- The Remarkable Reign of Trish Adora!
Starting in the 80s, we started to see the importance of phenomenal talent competing for the European and intercontinental titles. This was a benchmark for athletes in WWE, to predict the next big stars in the company. However, it also showcased legendary European and Canadian wrestlers such as Pat Paterson, Bret Hart, British Bulldog, Owen Hart, Willian Regal, and Edge to name a few. As a kid, I often wondered if there could be an African or African American Championship that could’ve ushered in a crop of talented black wrestlers from around the world who would be pushed to become superstars. Then I grew up, and I saw that that wouldn’t be a possibility in major promotions. My fandom after that soon turned to indie wrestling, where I would get a glimpse of what I wanted to see. Outside of wrestling, my love for researching the vast cultures of the African diaspora around the world grew in my twenties. Including being enamoured with the Afropunk musical and artistic culture in New Jersey and New York. I hoped that this black subculture could be reflected in wrestling. Then Trish Adora came along. Trish Adora was a beacon, a light in my vision to see the pro wrestling world reflect what I felt was missing. To hear that Trish Adora’s historic, three-and-a-half-year Pan Afrikan World Diaspora title run came to a close two weeks ago, was a bit shocking, yet understandable. She accomplished so much. 1,388 days as a champion is no small feat. Adora has adorned that title with style and grace and with a constant Pan-African mindset. Which is to build up and uplift other phenomenal black wrestlers as you rise. It only makes sense to take a look at her unmatched title reign. What pride Trish Adora brought to DC during her title reign: When Trish Adora really found her voice in wrestling, she returned to her hometown of DC after cutting her teeth in Florida and California, with a mission to bring great wrestling to a city with a rich African-American history and show what black wrestlers have to offer in this generation. Trish Adora’s friend from the army started F1ght Club Pro Wrestling in 2019 and Trish Adora became the inaugural Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Champion after she won a tournament in February. 15, 2020. A month later, the pandemic started. This could’ve broken another champion, but it didn’t break her. She worked on showcasing herself in the best possible way within the COVID restrictions at the time and even got to the point during her reign, that the Pan Afrikan World Diaspora title was recognized as a world championship by PWI and Adora was placed 44th on PWI’s top 500 wrestlers list in 2021. The input that Trish Adora had in developing this title: In the Southplex mini-documentary (which is available on YouTube) Adora talks about the great detail that went into the development of the Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Championship belt and her involvement with the look of it. It is the most impressive belt that I have ever seen and tugs at my heartstrings every time that I see it because of the beautiful African patterns on the edges, the five plates on it and the map of Africa smack dap in the middle of it. Trish held this belt with pride and always made me feel that it was not just a title, but a part of her. Only similar to the pride that I saw Nick Aldis have for the Ten Pounds of Gold. Memorable title defenses that Trish Adora had: The matches that a champ has, determine how strong their title reign was and Trish certainly has some bangers over the past three and a half years. If I tried to list them all, then we would be here forever, so here are just a few of Trish Adora’s title defences. Trish Adora vs Queen Aminata : GCW This was a dream match for me because Trish Adora and Queen Aminata happen to be some of the best women’s wrestlers on the planet right now and truly embody the representation that I love seeing with black female wrestlers. This was a perfect challenge that I wanted to see competing for this Pan Afrikan World Diaspora Championship. Chocolate City DC and Guinea are being represented in this matchup. Trish Adora vs Lee Moriarty: Battle Club Pro The chemistry between Trish Adora and Lee Moriarty is unmatched and great for the viewers. They stay on each other and have done their homework on one another so is hard for either to get a leg up on one another. It’s truly two wrestling intellects playing chess. Trish Adora vs Darius Carter :F1ght Club Pro Wrestling This last fighter standing match showed off the endurance and wealth of wrestling styles that both Trish and Darius possess. A recent title defence that I recommend. Trish Adora vs Jazz Black Girl Magik PPV I think it's safe to say that every black woman that laces up a pair of boots list Jazz as a hero, and also someone that they would want to face off against. Well, Trish got that opportunity when she was able to face off against Jazz at a Black Girl Magik PPV that is made to showcase dream matches for black women in wrestling. How could this not be perfect? Trish Adora defending her title in the UK A year ago, Trish Adora was able to prove that her Pan African World Diaspora Championship was a world title when she went across the pond to defend her championship against Mercedes Blaze. A black female British wrestler is on the rise. Trish Adora vs Darius Lockhart I would be remiss to not bring up one of the best challengers for the Pan Afrikan championship against Darius Lockhart. Outside of Trish Adora, the pan afrikan mentality of having something for us, by us, runs through the veins of Lockhart. Not only is he one the best talkers in the business, a modern renaissance man, and a revolutionary, but he is also a whiz in the ring. It was a no-brainer to have these two collide during Trish’s reign. Trish Adora’s Washington Post article: A superhero for a new generation. The headline read. Trish Adora, an independent wrestler was getting a feature story on her impact on wrestling fans for this generation. This article posted in 2021 declared that Adora was the woman to watch in wrestling moving forward. But most importantly, her impact on young wrestling fans is felt right now. She is so uniquely made that she captures the youth in a way that a Marvel superhero would. Talk about making an impact. How wrestling fans started to see more African pride displayed among other wrestlers after Trish Adora: Currently, in AEW we see The Embassy proudly showcasing Prince Nana and Kaun as real-life royalty from Ghana and Cameroon. We see Kofi Kingston being more public about his Ghanaian roots. I believe that a lot of that newfound pride and push by major wrestling companies to highlight the African lineage of a lot of African American and Caribbean wrestlers is due to Trish Adora helping to set that tone in 2019. Also, the respect that fans and other promotions like ROH had for the Pan Afrikan World Diaspora title. What is your favourite Trisha Adora match?
- Tensions Run High between Mickie James and Trinity Ahead of Bound For Glory
This weekend on Saturday, October 21st, we will see Trinity and Mickie James face off for the Knockouts World Championship. As they appeared in tag team action on the go-home show this Thursday, we saw two self-proclaimed sisters come together to take it to Gisele Shaw and Savannah Evans. However, will the love and admiration still be there when they are standing on opposite sides of the ring in Chicago? Even with the sisterhood that we see amongst the women in their main event tag match, Mickie and Trinity also had the chance to pick apart and examine each other's wrestling styles and patterns during this bout. Mickie James’s eyes have never left that title since her return. James went so far as to try to hold on to the belt when Trinity was trying to exit the ring after their tag match. During the pre-match interview, Mickie was making it clear that the best woman will win, with a victorious smirk on her face. There was no mistake that both women feel that they will come out on top this weekend. Mickie wants what she lost. She wants a sixth title reign. Trinity is still in the infancy of her title reign and I don’t think that she sees this coming to an end. I predict that we will see another side of Trinity that we haven’t quite yet. The glow will be put to the side and a fierce lioness will claw and scratch to keep what’s hers. That hardcore country brawn and strength of Mickie James will be on full display and honestly will turn this match into an all-out barn burner on one of the biggest shows of the year for Impact, Bound for Glory. Be sure to watch Bound for Glory on Fite TV or YouTube on October 21, at 8 p.m. EST. While you wait for this dream match between Mickie James and Trinity, check out this week's tag team match between Trinity/ Mickie James vs Gisele Shaw/Savannah Evans Order Bound for Glory on Fite TV: https://www.fite.tv/watch/bound-for-g... Watch Bound for Glory on Youtube: • IMPACT Bound For Glory | LIVE October... Also, check out WWT Live where we give our predictions:
- Rhea Ripley is on Top...Of the PWI 250
Pro Wrestling Illustrated just dropped its annual rankings, and it's got the world buzzing about where each superstar checked in. One new wrinkle in this year's list is its addition of 100 superstars, from previously ranking 150. Each year PWI, starting in September, evaluates wrestlers for their rankings based on five criteria: In-Ring Achievement - Wins and losses, championships, and tournaments won Influence - Visibility and prestige within a promotion and/or the industry Technical Ability - Quality of moves, matches, and ring psychology Competition - Success against the most varied and highest-quality opponents Activity - Minimum of 10 singles matches total One thing is for certain, and that is women's wrestling is booming, as the PWI featured talent from promotions all over. The top 10 in particular had two WWE talents, 3 talents from AEW and ROH, 2 talents from Stardom, two talents from Impact, and 1 talent from NWA. With so much awesome women's wrestling in the past year, there could only be one at the top, and that award went to Rhea Ripley who's been on a tear all year. Debates over number one will ensue until the next rankings arise, however, Ripley is arguably the biggest star in the biggest promotion when it comes to Women's Wrestling. From winning the Royal Rumble to her crowning victory over Charlotte at Wrestlemania only tell a partial tale. Her fingerprints are all over the most dominant faction in WWE, the Judgement Day, and she's a pivotal factor in each member's success. Couple that with her fan support being tangible judging by merchandise sales. The "Eradicator" is in a much-deserved spot, while the top 10 is rounded out by phenomenal performers: 1) Rhea Ripley 2) Giulia 3) Bianca Belair 4) Jamie Hayter 5) Tam Nakano 6) Athena 7) Deonna Purrazzo 8) Willow Nightingale 9) Kamille 10) Jordynne Grace This year's PWI 250 also has historical context as it's the first time in a decade that none of the four horsewomen are featured in the top 10. Charlotte Flair checked in at 21, while Becky Lynch was at 29, and Bayley ranked at number 41. Mercedes Mone did not make this year's ranking, as she did not meet the minimum criteria for matches. These four women being outside of the top 10 can signal an official changing of the guard as a new day dawns upon women's wrestling. Check out our show: What are your thoughts on the PWI 250? Did they get it right? Should anyone be ranked higher? Which first-timer will improve next year? Let us know in the comments!
- Let The Wrestling War Begin!
Wrestling fans were in for a treat a week ago as we had not one, but two jam-packed events to sink our teeth into. Both promise amazing announcements and for the first 30 minutes to be commercial-free. Such a dilemma to be in. A dilemma that 90s kids know all about during the Monday Night Wars. Especially when you don’t know which show to tune into first. NXT and AEW were certainly neck and neck with viewership last night. NXT was able to lock in 921,000 viewers while AEW Dynamite brought in 609,000. There certainly were must-see moments from both promotions. A great night for wrestling fans in general and whether you are a diehard WWE or AEW fan, you must admit that we are living in a great era for wrestling. Let’s take a look at last night's action. NXT has been bringing some dream matches and stand-out rookies on their roster to the forefront over the past few weeks. However, this jam-packed, star-studded night, has wrestlers from all of the WWE brands and some amazing matches including the women’s roster. Asuka vs Roxanne Perez This women’s match starts in such an exciting way. With Shotzi coming out on her tank to be on commentary during this match. Shotzi also announces that she will be hosting Halloween Havoc. The in-ring action is really fast-paced and Roxanne has to keep up with Asuka. Roxanne starts to make a comeback and even makes a dive out to Asuka to turn things around for herself. But several backhand fists and kicks take out the former NXT champion Perez. The crowd chants welcome back to Asuka as she disappears into the night. Dani Palmer vs Lola Vice In this quarterfinal match for the women’s breakout tournament, we see Lola Vice and Dani Palmer compete. Both women come into this match confident as they lock up and try to feel each other out. Dani Palmer is the first to get a submission in, but Lola quickly recovers. These ladies are quick as lighting as they counter each other's holds and kicks it’s really hard to tell who will get the win. After pulling off a crossbody from the top rope, Palmer gets the upper hand. Palmer gets a bit cocky and Lola delivers a brutal kick to the side of Palmer’s head to get the win. Lola advances in the tournament. Jade Cargill’s first NXT appearance Reminiscent of the '90s Attitude Era, when a mysterious limousine would pull up, we see this same thing, when a mysterious car pulls up halfway into this week’s episode of NXT. Who comes out? None other than Jade. Draped in an all-pink attire, with superstar written all over her. As Shawn Michaels greets her. Jade Cargill is getting the five-star treatment from all brands in WWE. On a special edition of AEW Dynamite, on a Tuesday for that matter, we see a jam-packed card and some great moments for women on this episode. Timeless Toni Storm Lover’s Lament Segment We start out with Act 1, as viewers we can only assume that the timeless star is preparing for a scene in her dressing room. You feel that they are in a time machine as it looks like she is preparing for a silent film in this segment and is on a wild goose chase that's filled with action and twists and turns. In Act 2 of Toni Storm, we see a glittery Toni Storm getting ready for a different kind of scene. As she is giving the camera her sexiest, most flirtatious looks. Then she seems to be shooing away this invisible man, dismissing his advances. Then she’s back to flirting and even crawling on the table to get closer and whisper I love you to the camera. She is told that she is needed on set and scrambles to gather her belongings. Toni is diving deeper and deeper into this timeless starlet role and we can’t help to enjoy watching. Saraya vs Hikaru Shida This women’s heavyweight title match is definitely worthy of being on this title Tuesday episode. Shida took out Ruby Riot two weeks ago to get this title shot. Saraya comes out as the reigning and defending champion who doesn’t doubt for a minute, that she will have to part with that title. Saraya starts this match by calling Hikaru a loser, but it doesn’t affect Shida in the least bit. Shida throws some blows that ignite Saraya to return the favour with punches that should take anyone out. However, Shida isn’t just any competitor, she still has a champion spirit. Saraya throws a fit and takes a break at ringside. Maybe second-guessing belittling the former champ Shida. A masked person comes out to attack Shida, but Shida removes the mask to reveal Ruby underneath. Shida uses the spray that Ruby is on her instead and in an interesting turn of events, Toni Storm comes out and attacks and even chases Ruby out of the arena. This chaos at ringside doesn’t phase Saraya. She actually gets the upper hand. Rapid fire knees, taunting the fans, ripping signs and skipping around the ring by Saraya causes the fans to root for Shida. Hikaru gets her mojo back and takes it to Saraya, even delivering an effective missile drop from the top rope and a German suplex off of the apron. Saraya favours her neck, which we know was once badly injured. Saraya is still in the game though and plants Shida right on the top of her crown with a powerbomb. Even reverting to cheating by using the spray brought to ringside by Ruby behind the ref's back to get the win. It doesn’t give the champ the win. To everyone’s surprise. The falcon arrow from Shida, a pull-up pin from Saraya, and then a reverse pull-up pin from Shida helps her to get the win and become the new AEW women’s heavyweight champion. The look of pure shock on Saraya’s face is priceless. Hikaru Shida is now a three-time champ.
- Former WWE Superstar Ariane Andrew Introduces Luxury Indie Promotion
Formerly known as Cameron in WWE, Ariane Andrew has been a major player in the overall discussion of women that a lot of wrestling fans have wanted to see make a comeback. Ariane is not only returning to wrestling but taking an executive role backstage. In September, it was announced that Andrew would be starting a new promotion in West Hollywood, California, Pound Town Wrestling. The main focus of this “luxury” indie promotion is to have story-driven programs as opposed to spot-focused bouts, frequently associated with Indie wrestling. As well as providing a party-like atmosphere with a live DJ, bottle service and VIP seating. The first live event took place on October 12 and turned heads. Especially, after Ariane took off her business suit and laced up the wrestling boots to face off against Sonny Kiss. Without giving too much away, because this October 12th event will be available on PPV on October 19th, Ariane starts off the match pretty much in control, showing off the fact she is not the same wrestler that she was with only three months of wrestling training in WWE. She goes blow for blow with Sonny and even pulls out a hurricanrana early on. The crowd is lit and split between Sonny and Ariane. This was a proper showcase that showed off Ariane’s improvement in the ring. However, it was also refreshing being reminded of how impressive Sonny Kiss is and what a loss that was on the AEW roster. Suplexes, bronco busters and a split for a pin were all on display for this debut main event match. Sonny Kiss vs Ariane Andrew. Women's Wrestling Talk exclusive footage of Sonny Kiss vs Ariane Andrew This surprise in-ring appearance from Ariane starts to make you become a fantasy booker in your head and think of the possibilities of what she could do in other promotions. Let’s dive deep into this line of thinking and go over these prospects. Impact: With one-half of the Funkadactyls, Trinity at the head of the knockouts division, it makes you think what a reunion with Ariane would be like. Maybe Trinity can revisit her feud with Gisele Shaw and Savannah Evans as the odds can finally be even for a tag team match. Or in a shocking twist of events, have Ariane join forces with the quintessential diva, Gisele Shaw and take it to Trinity. Ariane has had to take crap and hear comparisons to Trinity. Trinity is seen as the ultimate athlete, while Ariane hasn’t had that confidence from the fans. So to see that frustration bubble over to her real-life friend and biggest confidant would honestly be amazing. There are so many talented women and storylines in Impact wrestling, the possibilities are endless. NXT: It always feels good to make a name for yourself and return to a company that you had your first start in. It allows you to have that track record highlighted and admired by the new talent on the roster. Ariane famously left the main roster to go to developmental in NXT to get better. So why not return to NXT and face off against these phenomenal athletes on the roster and revamp her career like Mandy Rose did? Someone like Lola Vice or Jakara Jackson would have that same spiciness that Ariane has and make some great TV moments. MLW: I think Ariane’s great mics skills and a keen eye for upcoming talent would be greatly used as a manager in MLW. Similar to the likes of Salina de La Renta. She can collect talent like Thanos with the gems and even butt heads with Salina. Even this collision among managers climaxes with a tournament to determine who has the best clients. MLW respects and sees the importance of managers and valets and Ariane would fit great in that locker room. AEW: AEW is not the best with having a wealth of women’s matches on the card, but there is room for managers and I think that would be a strategic way for Ariane to make it up to the upper crest of the AEW locker room. Possibly seeing Ariane manage Kiera Hogan and push her client to get more opportunities would be great. WWE: Since the inception of Smackdown it has always been seen as the secondary show, but nine times out of ten, has the best talent and segments out of both rosters. Possibly due to the chip on the shoulder of Smackdown talent not being seen as the red-headed stepchild in WWE. Ariane would probably have the same chip and rise to the occasion. Bayley would be the one that I think could bring something out of Ariane that she wasn’t expecting. Bayley was part of a group of women who wanted to change the landscape of women’s wrestling in WWE. Who more than likely played a role in Ariane wanting to go to developmental to work on her in-ring skills. So Ariane would feel that she has a lot to prove. Especially because she was a part of that last crop of Divas in the company. Asuka would be a nightmare that still taunts her as probably one of the hardest matches that she had in her short stint in NXT. Maybe if Ariane returned to NXT, she would want to prove that she could have a rematch with Asuka and avoid those deadly strikes. WOW Ariane would be a natural fit in WOW with the over-the-top, campy personalities in WOW. The all-female atmosphere would be a haven for a girl’s girl like Ariane. The LA vibe would be perfect for a California girl like Andrew. ROH Ring of Honor has been doing a phenomenal job of giving women a great amount of TV time. Also, a great amount of time to develop proper stories. This might sound far-fetched for some, but Ariane facing off against the World Women’s champion Athena would make sense to me. Think about it. Athena is currently an unbeatable champ, someone who left the financial safety of WWE to challenge herself to some of the best women’s wrestlers in the world. To also prove what she knew all along. Which is that she is a force to be reckoned with. Ariane knew that with training she could become a good wrestler. However, facing off against someone like Athena could be an uphill battle. Some things could prove to be too hard at first, but her resilience can win the crowd over, and her determination to continue to challenge the champ can bring her the thing that she’s wanted for a long time. The fans acceptance of her as a wrestler. NWA NWA prides itself on upholding old-school wrestling and traditions from the territory days of wrestling. Respect for pro wrestling is a must-have on the rosters in NWA, I think it would be appropriate to see Ariane, who doesn’t have the brawler style face off against the women’s TV title champion Max the Impaler. These two are such opposites that it would humanize Ariane to fans who want to see her earn her stripes in the ring. That even if Ariane was able to last a few minutes in a match with Max that would give her street cred. The clear position of light vs pure darkness in the potential feud would be money. Especially with utilizing Max’s manager James Mitchell to play mind games on Ariane throughout this feud. I could go on with the booking, but you get the picture. This is one of the best times in the history of women's wrestling, so the possibilities are endless. With wrestling fans having a pick of the litter for wrestling content, why not feel like you’re a part of VIP and watch Pound Town Wrestling on PPV this Thursday, October 19th? Some wrestlers that you can expect to see are Zeda Zhang, Mazzerati, Alex Garcia and Sonny Kiss. Follow Pound Town Wrestling on social media to stay up to date! Pound Town Wrestling Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/poundtownwrestling/ Pound Town Wrestling Twitter: https://twitter.com/ThisisPTW Ariane Andrew instagram: https://www.instagram.com/arianeandrew Check out our interview with Ariane Andrew below:
- Is Joshi Wrestling the Most Globally Successful Women's Wrestling?
For a long time, Joshi wrestling was considered the red-headed stepchild of Japanese wrestling. They weren’t always given the same market share as the male-led promotions. Now, is it true that the all-women-led Japanese wrestling companies of the past like AJW, GAEA and Arsion always had top-tier wrestling, and during their peaks would easily sell out arenas and create an amazing life for their young female wrestlers? However, major international appeal was another story. Despite the huge boom that Joshi wrestling had in the 1980s and '90s in Japan. I wage to argue that over the past two years, Joshi wrestling has gotten an international spotlight than they have ever had before. Companies like Stardom, NJPW, NXT, Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling, Progress, ROH, Pro Wrestling EVE, Shimmer and AEW, have played a big role in the new pairs of eyes around the world that are looking at some of the best women’s wrestling in the world. Over the past decade, Joshi Wrestlers have produced wrestlers for Western audiences. Similar to their male counterpoints in Japan. Let’s take look a at what contributed to this international boom for Joshi Wrestling. Prominent runs in NXT of legendary Stardom Wrestlers Triple H had a mission with NXT, to not only develop new talent in the industry but to make NXT its own brand. He also wanted to showcase international talent that could shape up the next generation of WWE superstars. The talent taken from Stardom, one of the first being Asuka, later on, KAIRI and IYO Sky made such an impact on the American scene as major attractions and champions that you can’t think of the black and gold era of NXT and not put these three former NXT women’s champions in the conversation. NXT gave a spotlight to these women’s backgrounds in Joshi wrestling and put them over majorly as women who are the standard of how wrestling should be. For the longest time, the question on everyone’s lips was who could beat Asuka. This was certainly due to the strong style approach that Asuka had to her wrestling which was unmatched at that time. KAIRI’s unbelievable aerial ability, but also her enchanting entrances were a sneak peek to women’s wrestling fans who not have seen the Stardom’s wrestlers pageantry that is at another level in Japan. IYO made such a splash that in NXT and the main roster her heavyweight title reigns were demanded. Kenny Omega’s dream to bring Joshi Wrestling to AEW When AEW was formulating its roster, one of AEW’s VPs, Kenny Omega’s biggest goal was to showcase Joshi wrestling for the women’s division. In his own words on what his motivation was to use Joshi wrestlers initially for the AEW roster: "There hasn't been much exposure to Stardom on a worldwide scale, but people know who they are, mainly due to Kairi Sane and lo Shirai. Since their NXT debuts, people have dug a little deeper and gone back to the roots and seen what Stardom is all about. I'm sure they've gained fans through that, but there are other styles of Joshi wrestling and other talent that people haven't seen, that don't wrestle for Stardom. These are the people I want to introduce to the world”. Talent like Aja Kong, Yuka Sakazaki, Emi Sakura and Roy Mizunami were given opportunities to progress in tournaments and the women’s rosters, showing what they were bringing to the table. Was the booking great? No. Did Covid also put a halt to this Joshi takeover of the AEW roster? Absolutely. However, it can be said, that the mission to have phenomenal Joshi wrestlers spearhead the AEW women’s locker room is still a priority. Especially with seeing women like Riho and Hikaru Shida get major storylines and championship runs. NJPW and Stardom Partnership In late 2019, NJPW’s parent company, Bushiroad, purchased Stardom. This was the beginning of us seeing women’s matches in NJPW. This collaboration helped NJPW gain customers that they lost, that Stardom was drawing in. To have a female-led promotion have this level of drawing power internationally is no small feat. A year ago, Stardom outdrew New Japan’s three Korakuen shows with just one of theirs. This is not a knock against New Japan of course. Because they had to deal with reduced seating during the pandemic years. So these huge promotions working together for the greater good of both promotions make sense. In the 2022 Stardom strategic meeting, it was announced that Stardom and NJPW would create a title for defences not just in Japan, but also in the US on New Japan Pro wrestling events. This was a major deal and a brilliant strategy to bring light and attention to the women of Stardom. A historic moment as well since this was the first time in NJPW’s 50-year history, that a belt for female talent would be featured. That showed the confidence that Bushiroad has in the Stardom World brand. Foreign wrestlers goming to Japan to successfully bring in American viewers Initially, many American fans were perplexed when they tried to piece together why Mercedes would want to go to NJPW after such a successful career in WWE. They knew that she had the pick of the litter when it came down to where she could sign, but she chose NJPW. When those same fans tuned into her first match in NJPW and saw the pageantry, the out-of-this-world entrances and five-star calibre matches with not only Mercedes, but the women of Stardom, many minds changed. It also opened the eyes of many American female fans, who never knew what Stardom was. Or where KAIRI was before coming into NXT. Now, you see more wrestling fans talking about factions like Oedo Tai and wrestlers like Mayu Iwatani. Mercedes Mone was able to have this successful transition in her career, because she chose the right dance partners and promotions, during this Joshi boom. The emerging creation of US based All Japanese promotions As the popularity of Joshi wrestling spreads across the globe, it seemed fitting for Japanese promotions to take a cue from NJPW and have a US-based promotion as well. In September, it was announced that the all-women’s Japanese promotion, Sukeban would debut in Manhattan on September 21st. This exciting new promotion has a unique, yet very Japanese approach with the wrestlers having very elaborate characters, and some comedic bits, but still showing off some hard-hitting action. Even having legendary Joshi star Bull Nagano as their commissioner. This pro wrestling league reminds me of the authentic punk rock, hard-hitting and over-the-top showcase that was frequent in the 70s and 80s for Joshi promotions like AJW. Spark Joshi is seen as the first Japanese pro wrestling promotion based in the US. They feature well-known talents such as Maya Yukihi, Sumie Sakai, Malika Ozaki and American wrestlers as well. A promotion like this allows American fans, like me, to be able to support Joshi wrestling locally and see this phenomenal wrestling up close. I think it’s very important, especially in this global age, to see how impressive it is to have female-led promotions corner the market in their respected country, but also be able to bring in the same amount of crowds across the globe. The gym regime, the hours of practice at the dojo, the delivery of well-developed characters that hold a strong level of kayfabe in this era, the unmatched entrances and fascinating characters. I would be lying if I said that I don’t feel that Joshi wrestlers are the benchmark for modern women’s wrestling.
- Face The Heat! Wrestlers Episode 3 Review
Faces and Heels This episode starts with an announcement on Kentucky Sports Radio that the next stop in the OVW summer tour is the 2022 Poke Sallet Festival. This festival is giving me flashbacks to the Parks and Rec TV show Pawnee Citizens. Just a small town, a sacred festival that is beloved in the Kentucky area. Co-owner, Matt is so excited about this festival. It’s a time for him to show off his hometown and the wrestling company that he bought. Also, a moment to show his mom, who knows nothing about wrestling, what he’s invested in. Matt wants to put Kentucky on the map with this promotion and thinks that the buzz from appearances like this will do it. We see Leila Gray and Haley J in action at this festival. It wouldn’t be a wrestling event at a country festival without a funnel cake being shoved in the mouth of the women’s champion now would it?! An intimate glimpse into the home life of the wrestlers, as they gear up for a full weekend scheduled for wrestling, showcases another side of them. Haley J getting waxed at a salon, Cash Flo hanging out with the family, Shera getting his meal prep together and a tender moment, seeing Mr. Pectacular reading to his kids in bed warms my heart. A montage of a few more stops on the summer tour plays out. The tour dates include Harrodsburg, Pulaski County, Somerset, Jasper, Louisville,. Breweries, country fairs, festivals you name it, were all on the docket. With all the excitement and joy on display throughout these events, we find out that there was an incident that occurred at one of the shows. One of the wrestlers was arrested for doing drugs in the parking lot of the venue. This, of course, pisses off AL Snow and Matt. This does not look good for the company and is a bad reflection on everyone in the locker room. Maria calmly goes to pick up the wrestler from jail, and tries to comfort him, but makes it clear that the owners have to hold the the wrestlers to a certain standard. AL, being the father to these very young wrestlers, and also knowing what it’s like to be in the locker room, understands the personalities and demons that these men and women face. So there is sympathy on his part. Along with consequences for the reckless actions. Cash Flo asserts himself as a locker room leader in this episode. Which seems to come quite naturally. He balances the praise for the others but doesn’t hold back when telling them where they need to step up as a roster. He’s the locker room Dad and it’s awesome to see. It’s a tough scene watching Jake (the wrestler caught using drugs) go through withdrawals as his partner helps him through it. His young daughter witnessed this as well. You can tell that the loss of his child, when he was supposed to have twins, really sent him into a spiral. The pain from wrestling, and the use of pills to numb this, really brings stress to his partner Heather. He was also told that he might be in a wheelchair by forty, due to his years wrestling. So that news has probably added to his depression. Jake calls AL and I love the compassion, understanding and encouragement that AL gives him, to help Jake see that there isn’t judgment for his drug use. It’s just a concern for his well-being. This episode doesn’t shy away from a hot-bottom issue like drug use in the business. They face it head-o, but also analyze why it happens and how many veterans try to be there for their peers. This episode also does a brilliant job of bringing to light what type of personalities are needed to be a wrestler, but how that doesn’t easily translate to regular civilian life. How it’s hard to cope without getting that dopamine hit from a live audience. Also, how hard it is to be the companion of someone who wrestles. Some wrestlers haven’t seen their kids for months because they had to move to a state like Louisville that has the opportunities that they need to further their careers. That’s brutal. These wrestlers also have to work regular jobs to make ends meet. I’m assuming it must be hard to turn off the creative side of their minds to be a 'regular Joe' during the weekdays. One of the female wrestlers, Freya The Slaya takes a huge risk by selling her house. The only asset that she has left. It’s hard to remove that layer of security to continue to chase your dream. Some people might ask why these wrestlers sacrifice their bodies, families, and livelihoods for this business. The answer is simply that they have a passion that won’t go away. A fire that will never stop burning for this industry. We get a look back on Cash Flo’s wrestling career. He started on the indie circuit in the 2000s. Even faced off against CM Punk during that time. His specialty was death matches. Which were popular at the time. Now he’s thinking about his health more and decided to tuck that part of his career away. His wife has been very supportive throughout their 23 years together. For ten years, she worked as a nurse, while he pursued wrestling and took care of the kids full-time. Now, wrestling takes care of them full-time. Making time for one another is still hard, but they both put each other’s needs first and make it work. I’m a sucker for a good love story. Especially when opposites attract, so this tugged at my heartstrings. Reverend Ronnie brings up the issue of pay to Matt and honestly, Matt is so clueless about what these wrestlers go through to pay their bills, including gas to get to shows. Matt makes it seem like it's not an issue when he is seen leaving the show. Then we see a montage of other wrestlers bringing up that Matt made them cancel shows for other promotions. Threatening them to do it or they can’t work for OVW, then not paying them after shows. Maria stands up for the wrestlers and brings this issue to Matt. Making it clear that she knows that when there is money available, the wrestlers still don’t get paid. What does Matt say to her? It’s not her business. Beyond disrespectful. Al makes a good call, and talks to co-owner Craig Greenberg and suggests Matt have fewer interactions with the wrestlers. Honestly, Matt is creating a tense work environment when it doesn’t need to be. AL is out there trying to hold the whole thing together. During a staff meeting, Matt brings up a tense conversation that he’s had with a wrestler when he starts to have a seizure. I think this also brought to light how stressful these high-pressure situations in wrestling can be and how it can affect the health of the staff dealing with such A-type personalities. As viewers we are left on a cliffhanger with several ice packs being applied to Matt's head and the ambulance being called. Matt recovers from the seizure and even walks out on his own. So that gives us some solace that he will be okay, but how does this affect the team? Stay tuned to find out. How do you like 'Wrestlers' so far? Also, check out our interview with Wrestlers star, Freya the Slaya
- Getting Over : Wrestlers Episode 4 Review
Get Over We start this episode off with Mahabali Shera talking about his only true love. His car. A sleek, black Nissan. A look into his home life reveals that Shera comes from the Sikh culture and prays to Hanumanji daily. A Hindu god with a big tail that is 30 feet long. All of the sportsmen in India would pray to him for strength and power. Like Hanumanji, Shera wants to follow in the Hindu god's footsteps and not get married and focus on building his strength. Shera is a bit afraid of love and doesn’t want to face heartache. He’s worked 20 years for where he is now. And honestly seems like he doesn’t want any distractions. After the scary seizure incident with Matt in the last episode, it is revealed that he suffers from epilepsy. Seeing other people’s reactions embarrasses him. He specifically feels that the seizure bothered Al Snow. He doesn’t like that he can’t get a read on Al's reactions to things. He’s never seen Al sweat. Honestly, this episode really humanized Matt. It showed why he is the way he is. He’s insecure and at the core, a people pleaser. Starting from him wanting to please his mom. He feels that he has to protect her. Especially after she had to deal with his dad serving jail time because of a drunk driving incident that led to several deaths. Matt really seeks the approval of Al. There are a few kinks in their relationship, but I think that they can make it work. For the sake of OVW. Mahabali is being seen as a strong leader in the locker room as champ. Also a major talent in the industry in general right now. Al Snow had really been building Shera as the ultimate babyface. Now the next mission... finding a formidable opponent for Mahabali to face and essentially put him over. Matt proposes to Al that they have some wrestlers go to AEW Elevation and Dark to have some matches. To work with established wrestlers and to create attention for OVW. Matt has ambitions to make OVW a feeder system to AEW. This allows the OVW talent to have valuable TV time in AEW, learn proper etiquette and make connections backstage. This seems like a good idea to me. Al Snow doesn’t seem to think so. He believes that it would make the OVW wrestlers look weak. That people wouldn’t tune into OVW just because a few of their wrestlers are on AEW. Matt wants Al to realize that there is a bigger world outside of OVW and that making connections with other companies is essential to build up a fan base. Brian is out looking for sponsors to bring in some revenue. As another way to show his worth as a staff member. He visits a local comic store to ask for sponsorship. He has to compromise on the price but lands a deal. Nice to see Brian get a win. OVW sees a packed house in this episode and things start to look up. The feud between Maria and Haley J heats up. Maria vows to never fight her daughter. But Haley attacks her dear mother with no regrets. Matt, Brian and others agree that Haley J has a charisma that can’t be taught. Matt believes that she is the most charismatic person on the roster. You can see that Haley really enjoys what she does and has really great chemistry with Leila Gray. Eric Darkstorm is really feeling an onset of jealousy toward Haley. He feels that everything is moving too fast for her and that it's going to go to her head. Al Snow feels that Haley still has a lot of growing up to do, and has to learn proper conduct to make it far in the business. Al makes the announcement about who will be going to perform on AEW Dark. You see all of the wrestlers' ears perk up. CashFlo, Hal, Freya, Luke, Kal and Omar make the cut for luckily few, that get to be backstage in AEW. You see the competitive looks being exchanged by the others because being a part of AEW is a big deal. I believe Haley J wasn’t chosen because she was caught smoking on the OVW premises prior to this. These wrestlers are going to give Al a heart attack with the code of conduct being violated. CashFlo seems to be the only wrestler who sees Matt Jones being a co-owner of OVW as a plus. He feels that he’s getting opportunities that he hasn’t gotten in 20 years since Matt came on. Al Snow calls on James Storm to come in to be a formidable opponent to Shera. I agree that this is a great choice. Storm can make anyone look good. With the time that James has had in Impact and NXT and his phenomenal tag teams and solo runs, he knows what the fans want in a heavyweight champion. Matt doesn’t want to spend money on James Storm but still agrees to bring Storm in. Digging deeper into Shera’s background we find out that In 2012, TNA discovered Mahabali. They trained him for three months and then he became the first Ring Ka King heavyweight champ for Impact India. It made him so happy to get his father's approval. A father who put him through the ringer as a child with his alcohol addiction. His father’s death due to cancer made him a much more serious, focused person. He was given a tryout with WWE and got signed shortly thereafter under the name Amanpreet Singh. This signing received a lot of press. So, it seemed like it was a no-brainer that Mahabali would get a good run with WWE. Sadly. after eight months he was let go in 2018. He felt that things were hopeless. Even wanted to commit suicide. But quickly, he let go of that anger and let it fuel him. He then became The Lion and gave Al Snow a call. Jessie Belle from WOW asked if Haley J could come in to do some TV tapings. This is exciting news for her because even though she is getting opportunities in OVW, it wouldn’t be the same as it would be in an all-women’s promotion like WOW. WOW has a national TV deal, so it's a wonderful opportunity for Haley J. Especially with her personality and WOW lends itself to wrestlers with over-the-top personalities. Maria already works for WOW, with a character named Big Rig Betty, who’s a truck driver. Now her daughter is joining in on the fun and becoming a country truck driver as well. You see Haley doing a mini photo shoot in front of a truck and getting into this character. While her mom gives her posing tips. I love this mother/daughter duo as the mother truckers! The build-up for the James Storm/ Mahabali Shera match is heating up, as the fans wait outside and make their choice for the potential winner. Loyal OVW fans are rooting for The Lion Shera. Al Snows has both James and Mahabali come into his office to discuss the outcome of the match. Shera is taken for a loop when he hears that he will lose his title to Storm to build up heat. Moments before the match. This step is being done to showcase Shera’s climb back up the top of the mountain. After this announcement, Shera’s eyes look vacant. Like he feels that he lost something very special to him. You can also see that this news added fuel to his fire. James Storm is a veteran, so this feud will definitely build up Shera, as a former champ that will prove that he will soon become the National Heavyweight champion again. The fans are 100% behind Shera in this match. When the pin is made and James Storm is holding that title, it must be truly surreal for Shera. Young fans are crying at ringside and Shera looks a bit brokenhearted. Mahabali still remains an ultimate professional and thanks James for the match and Al for the opportunities that he has been given in the promotion. You can see the trust that Shera has in Al, and that speaks volumes. Especially in the wrestling business. Next, we see Al on the phone call in his office. It’s Maria, and she’s asking if she and Haley J are needed for their upcoming event. Al Snow makes it clear that they are needed because their feud has been building up in OVW. Maria announced that she and Haley J are committed for three weeks to WOW for TV tapings. This frustrates the hell out of Al, but as usual, he has to suck it up and find a solution. This was surprising considering Maria works behind the scenes and knows how important these feuds are to the overall show. It’s great that Maria and Haley J are getting these opportunities, but it did leave Al hanging. This does mean that another woman will get the opportunity to shine as Haley J and Maria will be gone. This episode did a wonderful job of showing Mahabali’s journey in life and wrestling thus far. It also makes us as fans want to root for his eventual championship title recapture even more. His hard work, discipline and professionalism, motivates me, to one day be as morally rich as Shera is in my own life. What did you guys think of this episode? Check out our interview with WOW Superhero Jessie Belle
- Ex-WWE Supertsar Mandy Rose Drops a New Podcast
We last saw Mandy Rose aka Mandy Sacs on NXT, on December 13th when she lost her NXT Women's Championship to Roxanne Perez and the next day was fired from WWE reportedly due to her FanTime website. Since then she has been living her best life and recently let us know she will be launching an Only Fans account. Having multiple streams of income and thinking about the future seems to have always been the play for Ms. Sacs because on top of her OF account , her fiance Tino Sabbatelli and herself have launched a new podcast called Power Alphas Podcast. The goal of the podcast is to inspire folks to WIN in life and business. In the premiere episode Mandy talks about it all, from her going back down to NXT, to her release from WWE, to her brother passing away and and so much more. Check out her side of the story and let us know what you think.
- Welcome to Ohio Valley Wrestling! Wrestlers Episode 1 Review
Episode 1: Ohio Valley Wrestling Pro Wrestling fans have a new reality show to attach themselves to available on Netflix and it’s simply entitled Wrestlers. This show gives us a lens into what co-owner, booker, producer and all-around father to the wrestlers, Al Snow has to do to keep the famous indie wrestling promotion OVW alive. While also butting heads with the other co-owners on what tactics will work to get more ticket sales and viewers to their product. This spotlight on OVW will show us who can be the next wrestling stars in the industry. A promotion that has an amazing history of having dream rosters during the 00’s, when they were a developmental territory for WWE. Immediately, this first episode starts off by giving us a sample, just a taste, of what we can expect from the wrestlers that will be highlighted on this show. Standouts like female wrestler Hollyhood Haley J. The 26-year-old started wrestling as a last resort to get away from a chaotic life and actually grew to love the wrestling business. Al Snow is bringing all of his expertise as a highly respected trainer and equally successful in-ring performer, during one the biggest booms in wrestling history. He intends to preserve the legacy of OVW and continue to have a platform for upcoming talent. Al brilliantly explains the objective of a wrestler. A wrestler should always be to able create the suspension of disbelief for that fan at ringside or watching on TV. A viewer should become completely immersed in that character, to the point where the audience is in awe of what they’re presenting. Simply put, It is physical storytelling. This leads to a look back into the history of wrestling and how society over the decades has always dictated what we see in wrestling. And how OVW has always been a third-tier promotion that is one of the last regional promotions in the US. You really get to see Al Snow’s everyday responsibilities with keeping OVW open and running. It’s not an easy task, but he does it because of his love for the business. I love that Al Snow provides this kind of insight for this generation. His wealth of knowledge and care is needed. Having a live television show is paramount for these wrestlers to learn on the job, how to handle the intense, fast-paced, strict, yet unpredictable world of live TV. The babyfaces on the rise in the company are: Mahabali Shera, known as the Indian Lion is the national heavyweight champion. He has the whole package. Cash Flo is the veteran of the roster. He adds a certain level of experience to the group and seems to have a heart of gold. The Reverend Ronnie is a charismatic wrestler who is experienced, more than others on the roster and really cares about the promotion's growth. Leila Grey is the new OVW women’s champion. She started out in AEW but is in OVW to make some waves. The heels of the company are : Freda the Slaya. A heel on the women’s roster, who has height, strength and a mean attitude. Mr. Pectacular. Has the shredded, douchebag persona locked in and has seen some success in Impact Wrestling. That experience and true conflict in his gimmick will take him far. Eric Darkstorm seems like a no-nonsense guy that’s in his own words, wants to take out all the the boys in the company. He’s not that crazy about authority and is as straightforward as you can get. Amon is a demonic character, who is cunning and downright evil. The amazing Maria is an older female wrestler who feels that she has one more run in her. She’s also a segment producer for OVW behind the scenes and plot twist… Hollyhood Haley’s J mom. Hollyhood Haley J is a heel, but she’s in that gray area where the fans actually love to hate her. You can’t really help it. She’s down to earth, with an attitude where she truly doesn’t care what anyone thinks. Matt and Craig Greenberg are the other side of the owners for OVW. Craig is a business guy, who was also running for mayor in Ohio and loves wrestling. So he called Matt who has leveraged his spot in talk radio to promote OVW. Jessica Sarven, Al Snow’s wife, who is very involved with OVW, feels that Matt and Craig didn’t take a moment to get to know how the company is made up. How it is different to run a wrestling promotion, as it would be a regular company and their lack of understanding of this, created a distaste in the mouths of the wrestlers for the new co-owners. Craig and Matt nominate building up attraction for the promotion, by having a travelling summer tour. Al Snow is skeptical of it, he thinks that the tour still won’t bring in enough money. Matt and Craig are losing every month. So they are demanding the tour. Matt and Craig want to attract a bigger audience, outside of wrestling nerds according to Matt. If they don’t make it through the summer and break even, then OVW may need to close their doors. You get a glimpse of what this company means to wrestlers like Cash Flo and Haley J. And why OVW could end their wrestling dreams if it cease to exist. Sheba has a following in India, due to his time in Impact Wrestling. You can see how serious he is about getting to the next stage in his career. Haley J and Maria work together at their daytime jobs at the hotel that Maria owns. Wrestling brought them back together after having a hard relationship during Haley’s formative years. Maria was a young Mom. She was hard on Haley and had several stints in jail for dealing drugs. Haley was on her side own since 15, so under the hard attitude, you can see the vulnerability there. She doesn’t feel like anyone has her back. I loved seeing the behind-the-scenes lens of what an agent like Maria and Al has to do to make the television show run smoothly. Lots of yelling, and even laughing when things go well and how much structure the ref gives to a match. Once you get to the end of this episode, the viewers are shown the many obstacles ahead for this promotion, but also the wealth of talent that OVW currently has.