Last year I went on a bit of an odyssey discovering independent wrestling. This year I took an odyssey into a much deeper subset and found a culture that I really liked and even found myself becoming a part of a new world. I discovered the world of women’s wrestling. This is by no means the first time I’ve said this so bear with me. I’m the daddy of a little girl. And let’s face it: role models for a little girl aren’t too plentiful. Elmo likes underage boys. Dora takes 20 minutes to solve a simple task and can’t even do it by herself. And Max’s & Ruby’s parents are never anywhere to be seen. But there’s always been one place you can hopefully look to-the world of sports. The only problem is where are the great female athletes? Mia Hamm has retired. Name somebody who watches the WNBA. You come across some good gymnasts, track stars & swimmers or figure skaters & skiers, but that’s only relevant every four years. I love the women MMA fighters like Miesha Tate or Rhonda Rousey. But the world of women’s wrestling gives me some positive role models I can point my daughter towards. (And let’s be honest. She cares way more about Elmo than any wrestler, but a Daddy can dream.)
I’m going to be honest in that I found my attitude towards women’s wrestling changing this year. I began to watch more of the wrestling and tell myself, “Look at what these girls can do.” But then I saw more intergender matches in companies like Anarchy Championship Wrestling, Chikara, Absolute Intense Wrestling and Metroplex Wrestling. I stopped seeing that as violence against women and started seeing it as an opportunity for women to be on the same level playing field. I even saw myself grow to be a fan going from a guy who struggled with getting a girl’s t-shirt to a guy who later displayed his fandom very proudly of wrestlers like Mia Yim & Bacardi. Through the magic of Twitter, I got to see inside the minds of some of the hardest-working wrestlers in the business, male or female. Also, I believe I now owe Addy Starr a bbq meal, Cherry Bomb ice cream and SHIMMER a visit.
This is a look through my favorite matches of the year. There’s 9 here. I really did some deep pondering but could not come up with a 10th. There are some really great ladies who didn’t make this list (Alicia, Marti Belle, Tina San Antonio, Athena, MsChif), so not making the list just means these are the matches that stood out to me. I found a lot of really great gems this year as well-Barbi Hayden, Saturyne, Thunderkitty, Bacardi-who might just be on the cusp of greatness. These are not necessarily the best matches; they are simply my favorites of 2012.
This is probably my favorite feud of the year in all of wrestling, not just women’s wrestling. Though there were three really excellent matches in this series, I think this was my favorite match of the year, but it’s not for the reason you think. When it comes to actual ring-work, I think the other two were better. The second was a “Fans Bring the Weapons Match” that included a machete. The third was a steel cage. The first match was not the best match of the three. But a Mia Yim kick to the face gave Allysin a bloody nose. This lit a fire in a lot of people, most importantly Allysin. She was a changed wrestler. For me, it meant a whole new set of rules and possibilities for women’s wrestling. In the WWE, if a diva breaks her nose, it’s because some fitness model botched her routine. This was not that. It’s because when Mia Yim kicks you, she tries to decapitate you. This was no longer Joey Styles yelling “Cat Fight!” This was real wrestling. They just happened to have lady parts.
I spent a lot of time
stalking following the career of Cherry Bomb, my number one favorite, this past year. Sassy Steph is number two on my list of my favorites. I would officially call it a dream match. Cherry looked enthusiastic and happy to be there. Steph looked the opposite. At first, it seemed like she was shiny happy Cherry a little too much. But when the bell hit, she was totally different. And then there was the b****-slap from Cherry. The match was very excellent. The crowd was really into this, and the story played out well.
This is another match that changed my opinion on the legit toughness on the ladies of wrestling. Hailey Hatred does not hit. She obliterates. This was such a stiff, insane match. I made a comment about how tough they were, and Ms. Rose responded on Twitter that she loved it. After that match, I wrote, “If the only matches you have ever witnessed with women involve WWE Divas, you have never experienced life. There is a whole world of women who give everything and leave it all on the line. They needed to have a maintenance man come through the ring sweeping for body parts. What a match. I think this is legit one of the best matches AIW put forth this year, regardless of gender.”
This was not the best technical match of the year, but it makes it for a big reason the ladies couldn’t control. This match was still pretty good. It was my first exposure to Spinelli and first chance to really see Skater shine. I really got a good look at the “Ratetank” character and saw it in action. But what made this match memorable was my daughter sitting on the couch with me. Every move, my daughter reacted to. There was a DDT and my daughter said, “Ohhhhhh…” Then she asked, “You ok?” It was such a sweet little memory and something I will never forget.
I know this is embarrassing, but this is from my first ever Anarchy DVD. This also took place ON THE NIGHT OF MY 6TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY otherwise I would have made an effort to travel down to Austin to see this event. (Somehow my wife said no on going to see a women’s wrestling tournament. Go fig.) This show was Athena’s night. This was her chance to win the U.S.’ most prestigious tournament for women. But the show was stolen in the first round by two these two sensational ladies. I’ll make it no secret that I watched Jazz live locally in her post-ECW, pre-WWE days. The lady has been to the mountaintop. Now she gave back. Shine also gave us a chance to see the dream match of Jazz-Sara del Rey. The match with Summerlyn was epic.
This was a journey that I decided I would take up north about an hour and a half with my mother. My mother looked at it as an adventure, my wife looked at it as a night she didn’t have to go, and I looked at it as a night to go support women’s wrestling. This was also my first time to experience the tandem of Carson/Hayden in action. And I gotta say they are the future of Texas wrestling, if not the present. We saw three great matches from Barbi that night, but that’s not what stood out to me in this match. What struck me was Starr’s presence. She had such an effective enthusiasm and is such a bright shining light in an oftentimes dark business. During intermission, I was out supporting the economy at the merchandise tables and had the chance to meet her. She was so radiant and so infectious, a great ambassador for women’s wrestling.
Barbi Hayden vs. Miss Diss Lexia vs. Jordynne Grace
I was sitting in the bar where wrestling was going that night. The ring announcer had a blown something in his car and couldn’t make it that night. So the promoter and a member of the creative team were trying to figure out what they were going to do about that. Since I was probably just going to do an interview and write about it for my blogs, I volunteered. I learned I had 30 minutes to get everybody’s names, weights and where they were from. It was a daunting experience. I got a wrestler’s name wrong, forgot to announce the tag match was for the tag titles, moved more than the WSX ring announcer and asked the ladies how much they weighed. Other than that, I got to be the voice of the company for one night. It was such an emotional experience. So what does that match have to do with this? This was the ladies’ match I got to announce for. What happened in the match? Well, honestly, most of the match was a blur. The crowd was rabid for Lexi. Barbi had the crowd hating her like always. And this was my first time to see Jordynne, who was a pleasant surprise. My favorite part was Barbi deciding to sit on the couch and let the other two duke it out. The whole match was a moment I’d never forget from a night I’d never forget.
These were my thoughts after seeing the first Shine DVD. They were a nice welcome addition to the ladies wrestling scene.
“This DVD is worth seeing for nothing else other than Rain in her outfit. Roxx worked her size advantage. They fed off each other very well. You know these two have wrestled each other plenty times considering their tenures in WSU. The crowd was into this match so you have to give the ladies some credit. Roxx had a red chest. Remind me to never be chopped by Rain. I don’t say this very often, but I believed Rain. They capitalized the drama and the near falls. As a fan, I was able to suspend my disbelief to where I didn’t know who was going to win it. Easily best match on the card up to that part.”
Of course I think this deserves Ladies’ Match of the Year. “Two pioneers in this generation’s era of great women’s wrestling going at it. Also, this was the first time they had ever met on American soil. LuFisto’s kicks look like they will make your head roll. Every move she does looks like she’s going to kill you. And Mercedes is Mercedes. She’s an icon of her era. Were it not for that pesky Sara del Rey, she’d be hands-down, the best of her era. This was LuFisto’s showcase, plain and simple. If you are not a fan of LuFisto or women’s wrestling in general, you need to watch this match. I try not to use this word too much, but I’d dare call this match epic.” Another thing that meant a lot to me is that I was given the ball to write about women’s wrestling, more specifically, WSU. They went through a lot of management changes and a lot of them were for the better. It meant a lot that I had the chance to be the guy to watch WSU for PW Ponderings. I even had a wrestler share my review with her followers which meant so much to me.
Thank you ladies for a great 2012. Here’s hoping for a great 2013.