This Week: THIS is Why Women in Wrestling are Worth Watching...
Thunder Rosa to Ring of Honor, Von Heez a Champion Outside The Ring, Women's Wrestling in WWE BEFORE Attitude and Divas, and Ladies Lead the MITB Main Event
1. No Doubt About It: Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax are Main Event Material
Last month, the talk focused on women not being allowed to compete at WWE's Greatest Royal Rumble event in Saudi Arabia. That remains a valid concern moving forward, and for now we can only hope that the women of WWE get the chance to do what they do best at future events sooner than later. Looking ahead, whether it's a "make good" or not, the level of star power headlining the Money in the Bank Pay Per View in a week and a half is undeniable.
The Men's and Women's briefcase ladder matches will be noteworthy, as they are often the launching pad for the respective winners, but the real match arguably anyone watching this show will be curious about is the Raw Women's title match.
Ronda Rousey and Nia Jax are THE main storyline on Monday Night Raw right now - on a show that is starting to develop a nice collection of stories. The rivalries for the briefcases are heating up, making the viewer believe that the guaranteed title opportunities inside each case are the main focus for anyone who isn't Elias - who is also becoming more intense in his pursuit of Seth Rollins' Intercontinental Championship.
On the Smackdown Live Side, the Last Man Standing stipulation between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura adds mystery to WWE's most established championship, and the mystery of which New Day member will be in the Men's MITB match adds another dimension to the match.
Still, the real spotlight continues to shine on the women, because frankly, that's where the biggest stars are right now. Next week, I'll make my first PPV Picks for #WrestlingOnAWednesday. I'm traditionally horrible at this, so feel free to start putting your lists together as well!
2. Thunder Rosa to Ring of Honor
A couple of years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Thunder Rosa. Then under contract to Lucha Underground, she came to the region a virtual unknown. I was ring announcing, as well as handling production, which meant coordinating lights and music.
Upon meeting her, she was embarrassed to tell me she had forgotten to bring a copy of her entrance song - something she told me she insisted the students she trains ALWAYS remember (HINT HINT WRESTLERS).
I managed to find the song she wanted, and I was glad I did. Any wrestler worth their salt should be able to come out to any music and make it work... to a degree. As she was new working with us, and as she was making a name for herself elsewhere, I wanted to do my best to accommodate. A performer DESERVES to feel comfortable with every part of their appearance. That's entertainment, friends.
The match was Thunder Rosa vs. Gisele Shaw, another rising name on the Canadian independent scene. While both women delivered with a strong, physically intense match with a few potatoes being tossed among other solid move, Rosa's entrance established a presence that I didn't expect.
Quiet and keeping to herself before the face paint and gear came on, the woman who sauntered to the ring, in perfect sync to her music, set a mood which set up the match as something to watch.
Clearly, others were taking notice. Rosa has competed around the world, both as part of a tag team and now, once again as a singles wrestler. Her work has now created an opportunity for her in Ring of Honor, as she'll be making her debut against Tennille Dashwood June 15 and 16 in Texas.
I'm not the first to say it, but keep your eye on Thunder Rosa. She's something special.
3. Kat Von Heez Wins Strength Competition
Continuing with women in wrestling doing amazing things, Edmonton's Kat Von Heez took home some hardware in her first Strength competition.
I had the chance to chat with Kat about her win. While she's no stranger to the gym, working out an average of six times a week, she said there was a different type of weekly training that prepared her for the competition.
As for how it has affected her wrestling, Von Heez says, "I did find that this style of training gave me more strength, in positions and moves that require awkward lifting or catches. It improved my functionality and sense body control. It will allow me over time to be a much better base, as well as increase my strength for moves that I found difficult to do on any of my opponents."
Keeping her momentum going, Kat is also planning on competing again on June 16 in Ashmont, AB. "It is a fundraising event for Ashley Albert-Hunter, who a beautiful woman and mother that was a lifting partner of mine along with her husband. She recently found Cancer in her body and fought that battle."
After recently reclaiming the HIW Wildside Provincial Championship at Battle Arts V in Saskatoon, Von Heez makes her way back to PWA in Edmonton for Night of Champions on June 23. Jay Lethal will be appearing, taking on Michael Richard Blais for the PWA Championship. For information on that show, head to www.pwawrestling.ca. She's also scheduled to be a part of the Pile O'Bones Rumble, August 31 in Regina, featuring Mick Foley and Chelsea Green. www.hiwcanada.com has your info there.
4. Classic Match of the Week: Bull Nakano v. Alundra Blayze - SummerSlam 1994
While the current "Women's Evolution" in WWE touts that the matches are more hard hitting and serious than many of the "Divas" era, it's important to remember that hard-hitting women's wrestling hasn't been a complete stranger to the big stages of professional wrestling.
Impact's Knockout Division, with Gail Kim as a cornerstone, set a trend of modern day North American Women's Wrestling being given an equal platform, but WWE had a pair of wresters whose chemistry and physicality went largely under-appreciated by audiences of the time.
Bull Nakano, with Luna Vachon as a spokesperson, was brought in as the evil foreign foil against Madusa, here known as Alundra Blayze. Going back and watching this match, the level to which these women performed would have today's fans applauding. After watching this match, I can't suggest enough that you find some of Nakano's matches in All Japan and elsewhere. Amazing stuff.
That's it for this week's edition! Thanks as always for reading, and would love your comments and suggestions below!