It’s that time again, as we continue our search on the world wide web for the freely available gems of matches that can provide a quick distraction from what the WWE is currently churning out. This time, we focus more on the fairer sex, and drop in on the early days of a future WWE diva.
Barbi Hayden vs. Kimber Lee (Women Superstars Uncensored, October 11, 2013 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15HP_wYEsiY)
This was a first round match in the WSU promotion’s International J-Cup, although unlike the more renowned Super J-Cup, this appears to have been filmed in front of about a dozen people at a training school (a la the Beyond Wrestling four-way in our first Random Review piece!).
Hayden starts off with an arm wringer on Lee, but Lee backs into the ropes and forces a break whilst the commentator (who also appears to be the cameraman) talks over everyone involved. Having commentary is usually a good thing, but when it’s in such an intimate environment as this, you’d better be able to go quiet at a moment’s notice, otherwise you’re really detracting from the in-ring product.
Back in the ring, we go back to a test of strength, with both competitors taking it in turns to bridge as Hayden hits an arm breaker. Lee gets back into things with an awkward looking armdrag, followed up by a kick to the midsection for a two-count. Lee whips Hayden into the corner, but whiffs on an avalanche attempt, allowing Hayden to rub Lee’s face into the second turnbuckle. Hayden tries to charm her way out of trouble after choking Lee with a high boot, but after a brief comeback, Hayden gets back in control, but a camel clutch from Hayden is broken up once the referee notices that she’s using her fingers to hook Lee’s mouth.
Hayden succeeds where Lee failed earlier by connecting with an avalanche in the corner, before using the ropes to delay a headscissors. On the mat, Hayden locks in a Dragon sleeper and throws some forearms to the chest to try and coax a submission, but Lee fights out and hits a jawbreaker to free herself. Lee then stamps on Hayden’s calf to lower her to her knees, then proceeds to land an awkward-looking bulldog for a two-count.
The end mercifully comes when Hayden wriggles out of a piledriver attempt, before nailing a DDT for the win. Whilst not bad, if you’re looking for a match to reference when you’re in an argument over “whether good women’s wrestling existed before NXT”… this isn’t it!
Solo Darling vs. Kelly Klein (Ring of Honor – January 15, 2016 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uQTzFeH4tzA)
A fairly interesting match here, featuring two of ROH’s “Women of Honor”; Klein has been wrestling since 2007, with her more prominent work coming in ROH, SHIMMER and OVW, whilst Solo Darling has been wrestling for two years less, with a fairly similar background. That being said, Klein looks more like a wrestler, as Darling comes out as if she’s taken the wrong turn at a comic convention, coming to the ring with a sugary drink and an attempt at racoon cosplay. Klein looks far from impressed as Darling leaves the tail on for her match, making her the closest thing that wrestling has had to a female version of Mantaur. On commentary, BJ Whitmer is also suitably unimpressed, but there you go.
Klein declines the test of strength to open the match, and as she motions to the crowd, Darling snatches in an armwringer, but Klein easily reverses it. Darling tries a few lucha-style rolls to loosen the hold, before ending on her knees and breaking the hold. Darling’s tail comes into play as Klein grabs hold of it to stop her from running away, only for referee Kevin Keenan (let’s not open that can of worms) to start a five count – resulting in Klein flipping over when she’s forced to release her grip.
Darling grabs a headlock, which Klein successfully breaks at the third attempt, sending the so-called “Sugar Princess” into the ropes. Cue a series of ducked clotheslines by the standing Klein, and she seemingly changes her mind and stands aside, as Darling continues to run the ropes for no good reason. Because cardio. And sugar.
A bored Klein decides to end Darling’s rope running by levelling her with a clothesline, then goes to work with a fishhook-assisted chinlock. Klein pulls at Darling’s tail as she tried to come off the ropes, allowing Klein to firmly take down her opponent, before taunting Darling on the mat. That racoon tail seems to have shifted, as it’s now sprouting from Darling’s hip…
Darling tries to launch a comeback with a few chop, but Klein easily picks up Darling and drills her with a Samoan drop. Darling starts to crawl to the corner, seemingly to try and grab her drink and Hulk up, but yet again Klein grabs the tail to cut her off. The crowd gets the hint and starts to chant “juice” – hopefully Juventud doesn’t come out to spoil this party!
Darling is picked up for a fallaway slam, but manages to reverse it into a DDT – that looked for all the world like Klein was going for a swinging side slam until she started to sell the DDT. That break enables Darling to crawl into the corner to grab her drink and juice up for the sugar rush, which she signifies by doing the Ultimate Warrior rope shake to the middle ropes.
Darling rushes into Klein with a series of forearms, all of which are totally ineffective, but Darling does manage to take her foe down after ducking a clothesline and connecting with a spear for a one-count. Darling gets back to her feet and tries to charge Klein in the corner, but she gets out of the way, only to eat a back elbow as she tries to take advantage of things. Darling mounts the ropes and hits the Candy Crush on Klein (think of it as a jumping bulldog-come-headlock takedown), getting her a two-count.
The racoon tail comes into play as Darling wraps it around Klein’s neck as if she were to go for a DDT, but Darling gets backed into a corner, as Klein connects with a bridging Northern Lights suplex for a two-count of her own. Klein takes too much time in setting up her finisher, allowing Darling to hit several knees to the midsection, but Klein switches things up, hitting a Northern Lights-buster and rolling through into the guillotine choke she calls “End of the Match” for the tapout victory.
A really fun match – with neither of the two going for the age-old “move, pinfall attempt” template, this was a match that was easy to watch and really enjoyable to boot!
QT Marshall vs. Tenille Tayla (Pro Wrestling Eclipse, May 8, 2009 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xWHUuDiWJZE)
Some proof now that the latest craze of “intergender” wrestling has been on the indie scene for a good few years, as we head over to Florida for a match involving a future WWE and NXT diva, as Tenille Tayla (the future Emma) takes on Florida indie mainstay QT Marshall. This would be one of Tenille’s first matches in the business after being trained at the Storm Wrestling Academy in Calgary.
This appears to be in clip form, as we start out with Tenille kicking away at the legs of Marshall, before QT’s attempt at a tilt-a-whirl is blocked with a headscissor takedown. Tenille gets a one-count following a dropkick to a sitting Marshall, and Tayla’s offence comes to a screeching halt there, with Marshall whipping her into the ropes and connecting with a back elbow for his first near fall of the match.
Tenille does manage to elbow her way out of a rear chinlock, before getting a two count of her own from a roll-up attempt. Marshall chokes Tenille using the middle rope, before going back to the rear chinlock. A jawbreaker frees Tenille this time after some elbows to the midsection don’t get the job done, then mounts another comeback with a few punches and a couple of clotheslines for a two count, with a dropkick to the head of Marshall getting another near fall. The finish abruptly comes when Tenille is sent into the ropes for a back body drop attempt, only for her attempt to turn it into a sunset flip to get blocked as Marshall drops to his knees and lean into the ropes for the three-count.
At barely four minutes long, this match was too short to be anything of note, and although Tenille was in the early stages of her career, she probably could have done without this man vs. woman match, particularly with the unnecessary strikes from Marshall. I’m not usually a fan of intergender matches, and this was no exception.
Portia Perez vs. Daizee Haze (SHIMMER, May 21, 2006 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SMY4ml57Zw)
Going back to strictly womens’ wrestling here, with a match filmed in the early days of the SHIMMER womens’ wrestling promotion. Haze comes out with her signature oversized plushy daisy, and both women get cheered, despite Haze getting the louder pop on her entrance.
Perez starts off with an armwringer, which Haze escapes out of as if she’d just finished watching her Johnny Saint tapes, before the pair trade headlocks with each other. Haze shoots Perez into the ropes, but the Canadian goes for a wheelbarrow-style roll up for the match’s first near fall, which is replied with by an inside cradle for a two-count for Haze, before Perez gets another two count. The pace slows down as Haze works an armlock on Perez, but Portia escapes and is able to connect with a headscissors, only for an attempted Unprettier to be blocked as Haze pushes her into the corner.
Haze rolls through after a cross-body from the middle rope for a two-count, before connecting with a heart punch and the Mind Trip (better known in 2016 as the One Percenter by EC3) for the win.
Again, this one was way too short to be anything more than an exhibition, but this was easily the most solid of the three quick matches that I’ve looked at so far today.
Jessicka Havok vs. Rain (Women Superstars Uncensored, September 24, 2011 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9WQbYiqpAg)
We go back to WSU for a match that’s actually filmed in front of a proper crowd, featuring a pre-TNA Jessicka Havok who looks nothing like the Havok she’d become, with only her ring-gear giving it away, against Rain (formerly TNA’s Peyton Banks), who was coming to the end of her in-ring career. Rain’s WSU Spirit title is on the line here, having won it earlier in the evening from Havoc’s Midwest Militia stablemate Sassy Stephie..
Rain starts by ducking a clothesline and connecting with a low dropkick that sends Havok to her knees, before following up with another dropkick that puts Havok on her back. Havok gets back up, but another dropkick in the corner plants Havok on her rear end, as I’m starting to wonder if Rain knows more than one move. Thankfully she does, in the form of a rope-assisted double stomp to Havok’s gut that gets the first pinfall attempt of the match.
Havok whips Rain into the ropes to try and mount a comeback, but her attempt at a tiltawhirl sees Rain lock in a satellite octopus hold, which Havok spends an age trapped in, before eventually powering out of with a sidewalk slam. Havok starts to take the upper-hand, choking Rain with a boot in the corner, as the action spills outside with Havok smashing Rain’s head against the apron, before sending them back in, where an attempted Samoan drop is turned into a sunset flip by Rain.
Havok takes Rain into the corner and connects with some shoulders to the midsection, before tossing her across the ring for a near-fall. We start to fall into the pattern of “move, pinfall” from Havok, as a snap suplex gets a two-count, before visibly choking Rain in front of the referee, then moving onto a version of a surfboard stretch, which almost results in Havok pinning herself.
After some more time in the corner, Havok locks in a Boston crab, but Rain makes the ropes after being helped on her way. Havok taunts the crowd, which allows Rain to sneak outside the ropes, giving Rain the chance to hit Havok with a shoulder barge through the ropes, and connect with a neckbreaker between the ropes. Havok rolls outside with the impact of the neckbreaker, and gets a receipt for those blows on the ring apron from earlier in the match, before getting whipped into the ringpost. Rain then throws some weak-looking slaps into the chest of Havok. Back in the ring, Rain connects with a codebreaker for a two-count.
Rain goes for a DDT, but gets distracted with the classic WWE 2015 finish of “hey, there’s some people in the aisle watching, I’ll turn around and shout at them”, then turns around in time to get kicked in the midsection, with Havok connecting with the Emerald Fusion for the pinfall victory. Post-match, Midwest Militia (Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie) come in to celebrate and that is that.
All in all, a much better outing that the earlier WSU match I reviewed, with Havok playing the role of monster effectively, but the only complaint I had is that Havok sold far too much during the match, especially given that Rain had already wrestled that evening.
Candice LeRae vs. Brittany Force (Empire State Wrestling, April 4, 2015 – viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tNYc-4mj6wM)
We end our reviews with the New York-based Empire State Wrestling promotion. LeRae has wrestled all over the world, and is probably best known for her intergender tag team with Joey Ryan, whilst Force has been more restricted to indies in the North East of the US, with an appearance in SHIMMER in 2011 probably being the highlight as far as getting into the mainstream.
Force appears to be working as the heel, doing something similar to the Beautiful People gimmick out of TNA, as I have a feeling I’ll be working against this cameraman, who seems to be aiming the camera a good six inches lower than it should be, focusing on the women’s rear ends. Did Ed in San Antonio moonlight as a cameraman here??
After some stalling, the match begins with a collar and elbow tie-up, as Force takes LeRae into the corner for a clean break. Force offers a handshake, but the predictable cheapshot is avoided, with LeRae snatching a two-count from a roll-up. They’re that worn out already after a collar and elbow tie up and a roll-up?! A low dropkick gets LeRae a one-count, as Force takes a powder following another brief flurry of offence. Force breaks the count several times to jaw with the crowd, but returns to the ring as LeRae chases after her. Back inside, LeRae gets a near-fall from a backslide, but Force returns fire with a knee to the face and a spear in the corner. Force lays into LeRae with some forearms to the gut, and starts to take control of the match, chopping LeRae in the corner.
LeRae fires back with a flurry of punches, but that doesn’t last long, and Force cuts her off with a sidewalk slam for another near fall, before locking in a surfboard stretch. LeRae tries to fight out of it, but gets yanked down to the mat by her hair, before Force uses the ropes to stretch her some more with a chinlock. A missile dropkick by LeRae gets her back into the match with a near fall, whilst a backstabber achieves a similar result. Unsurprisingly, an attempt at a Ballsplex doesn’t work when LeRae realises that her opponent, well, doesn’t have any, and Force uses the referee as a human shield when LeRae goes for a punch.
Force then shoves the referee into LeRae, and takes advantage to connect with a move similar to Kenny Omega’s One Winged Angel for the win. At a shade over eight minutes, this match was starting to build to something, but as a second-on-the-card match, it served its purpose.
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