That Was Then, Is This Too? 03.16.10: They Are Women, Hear Them Roar
Posted by Jasper Gerretsen on 03.16.2010
With Daizee Haze and Sara Del Rey on a tear as the BDK's Dornenblume and Schildmaid, That Was Then, Is This Too? takes a look at another woman who made a career of wrestling with men.
Welcome to yet another installment of That Was Then, Is This Too?, the column that looks for parallel lines in all the right places. As usual, we have comments:
What happened to the show this week? I checked on MAV TV and it wasn't on.
And that black chick at the bottom picture is ungodly hot. I would like her to sit on my chest.
Posted By: Sammy Boy (Guest) on March 09, 2010 at 12:12 PM
As was posted in the news section of this site, Wrestlicious was moved off Monday nights on Bite TV and MAV TV.
I got halfway through and quit watching. It's entertaining in a so-bad-its-funny kind of way, but even then it's pretty terrible. This'll probably fold in 3 months.
Posted By: Guest#2077 (Guest) on March 09, 2010 at 04:24 PM
If you gave up halfway through, you missed the excellent two thirds of the main event tag match, something which really redeemed the show in my opinion.
The awful wrestling should be a bigger negative, but really, is it that much worse than the matches they put on WWE? Sure, TNA has it better, but they have the crutch of having the spotlight on good workers who happen to have "great personalities". And it's not like the Beautiful People are world-class, either. And, sure, the comedy is silly and headache-inducing. At least they are going all the way in one direction. I'm not sure what anyone expects from this; As far as I know, not that many wrestling people are hooked up with Wrestlicious. I'd watch it if I had the channel, but in that "Rock N' Wrestling" way and not as a serious program. And, man, those raps are hot to the limit! Too fresh. Dog.
Posted By: ThePants (Guest) on March 09, 2010 at 09:40 PM
While there certainly is bad wrestling on the show, it seems that so far the good wrestling by experienced independent workers is actually getting more time. I certainly agree with you in that they are at least consistent, and the audience reactions are surprisingly strong.
That leads us to Banner 2.0!
Since its inception at last year's season finale show, the Brüderschaft des Kreuzes has been on an absolute tear in CHIKARA. Reunited with his old tag team partner Ares and backed up by the enforcer Tursas, Claudio Castagnoli has taken five wrestlers who each hold an individual grudge against CHIKARA and turned it into a well-oiled unit that seems poised to take over all aspects of CHIKARA. First there's Pinky Sanchez, who was pissed off because CHIKARA fans didn't take him seriously. Tim Donst joined the BDK to get back at his mentor Mike Quackenbush, for whom he risked his neck, only to be thrown by the wayside after Jigsaw made his return to the company. Lince Dorado meanwhile joined the BDK out of frustration over the fact that he was doomed to be the least successful member of the Future Is Now stable. The BDK members that stand out most however, are Daizee Haze and Sara Del Rey. These two women, who for the past five years have been some of the best women's wrestlers in America, shocked CHIKARA fans the world over when they joined forces with Claudio Castagnoli's BDK.
But the above sentence illustrates their reason for joining the BDK perfectly. They don't want to be the best women's wrestlers, they want to be the best wrestlers, period. For years they languished in CHIKARA, feuding with each other simply because they were the only women on CHIKARA's roster. Sure, there were occasional special attractions brought in for one-off appearances, but other than that, the entire CHIKARA's women division has been a two-woman show. This essentially put the two women in an impossible position. They never got the competition they so desperately craved, yet they weren't allowed to prove that they could compete with the men of CHIKARA either. The women's frustration at this problem was finally voiced at the 2009 Cibernetico Incredible show, where both women once again faced each other, teaming with foreign imports Bullfight Sora and La Malcriada. Although Daizee Haze and Bullfight Sora officially won the match after Del Rey got disqualified for excesivo castigo (excessive violence), the true story of the match is in what took place backstage afterwards:
Both women were tired of being helped back, and the BDK gave them an oppertunity to prove themselves. With Dieter von Steigerwalt having ousted Leonard F. Chikarason as director of fun, the Death Haze team got their very first chance to prove that they could play with the boys at the season's opening show, A Touch of Class. The women certainly got the competition they asked for, as they got a chance to go up against the Osirian Portal (and former 411mania rookies of the year) of Ophidian and Amasis, who held the Campeonatas de Parejas for the majority of 2009. From the moment the opening bell sounded, the ladies showed they meant business, and that all those years they spent as rivals certainly gave them the experience they needed to function as a team. They started out using an elementary tag team strategy, continuously knocking Amasis off the apron while isolationg Ophidian in the ring. Eventually Amasis did make his way into the match, and the two teams ended up giving each other a run for their money. In the end it was Ophidian who would fall victim to a pair of very basic moves, with Del Rey hitting him with a piledriver before handing him over to Haze, who finished him off with a bridging German suplex.
The two women wouldn't truly express their frustration at the pair of shows held at the last weekend of February. At Mint Condition, the BDK team of Pinky Sanchez, Lince Dorado and Daizee Haze took on The COlony. The BDK team would end up getting disqualified after interference from Del Rey, who basically just ran in right under the referee's nose and started squashing ants. The following night, at Comforting Illusions, Death Haze took on the Incoherence team of Hallowicked and Frightmare (another 411mania rookie of the year). The ladies wanted to send a message, and they did so by getting disqualified for excesivo castigo after Del Rey repeatedly hit Frightmare with piledrivers without even pretending to be interested in actually pinning him.
Years of CHIKARA's condescending attitude towards them has driven Sara Del Rey and Daizee Haze to the very brink, and thanks to Von Steigerwalt they finally have a chance to unleash all that pent-up anger on the rest of the CHIKARA roster. They are no longer just looking for a chance to show their worth as wrestlers. In stead, they've become the BDK's goons, running roughshod over whoever happens to cross their path. CHIKARA has put Death Haze in a position where they are legitimate threats to the men on the roster, something that, as far as I know, has only happened once before in wrestling history...
That Was Then...
Like many WWE stars before her, Joanie Laurer had a strong background in bodybuilding prior to her WWE career. She received her training at the hands of the legendary Killer Kowalski and during her independent career she often worked for the Fabulous Moolah. Eventually she was discovered by Triple H and Shawn Michaels. According to her autobiography Vince McMahon was eventually reluctant to sign her, and she was actually approached by WCW to work for them as the only female member of the NWO. Eventually she was signed by WWF, although who was ultimately responsible for that move depends on who you ask, as both Triple H and Killer Kowalski have taken credit for the signing.
Chyna made her debut for the WWF at In Your House: Final Four, where she choked out Marlena after Goldust had cost Triple H the intercontinental championship just moments before. She would play Triple H's bodyguard in the following months, and join him when the original D-Generation X was formed. As a member of DX she continued her role as the group's enforcer, often allowing them to win matches after hitting opponents with low blows. Chyna's rather masculine appearance meant that she was frequently the butt of DX's comedy, which, more often than not, relied heavily on references to genitalia. After losing the WWF championship at WrestleMania XIV, Shawn Michaels left the group and Triple H assumed leadership. However, in 1999 Chyna suddenly turned on Triple H, joining the Corporation. The heel turn seemed to be short lived, as Chyna turned on fellow Corporation member Kane at WrestleMania XV, only to turn heel again later that night when she joined Triple H in interfering in X-Pac's European Championship match against Shane McMahon.
In 1999, Chyna eventually broke out as a singles competitor. She was already the first woman to enter the Royal Rumble, and in the following months she would add being the first female entrant in the King of the Ring tournament, being the first female #1 contender for the WWF championship and being the first female intercontinental championship winner to the list. She won the title after an extended feud with Jeff Jarret who, if Chyna is to be believed, received a $300.000 payoff to get pinned by a woman. From there she would move into an extended feud with Chris Jericho, whom she defeated at Survivor Series. She would lose the title at Armageddon, but be named co-champion after a double pinfall on the final episode of SmackDown of the year. The matter was settled at the 2000 Royal Rumble, with Jericho defeating Chyna and Hardcore Holly in a triple threat match to become the sole champion.
From there, she would start an on-screen relationship with then-heel Eddie Guerrero. The pair quickly turned face and as his "mamacita", she competed with Guerrero in an intergender tag match against Val Venis and Trish Stratus, in which Venis' intercontinental championship was on the line. She managed to pin Venis and claim the title, only to lose it to her boyfriend two weeks later. She was originally scheduled to defend the title against Kurt Angle, but Eddie Guerrero, fearing for her health, convinced commissioner Mick Foley to insert him into the match to make it a triple threat match. During the match Angle hit Chyna with the belt, and when Guerrero checked on her condition, the referee counted it as a pinfall and awarded the title to Guerrero. The pair would finally split when Chyna found Guerrero in the shower with a pair of other women.
Chyna would continue the tradition of WWE divas appearing in Playboy magazine when she was the magazine's covergirl for the November 2000 issue. This lead straight into Chyna's final feud of her WWF career, as the puratanical Right to Censor took exception. Since RTC member Ivory was the current WWF women's champion, Chyna finally made her debut into the women's division after nearly four years of playing with the men. The two first met at the 2001 Royal Rumble, with Ivory being declared the winner after Chyna kayfabe injured herself. To say that the 'injury' was presented in a rather tasteless manner would be an understatement, as the commentary team basically put on a repeat performance of Owen Hart's accident at Over the Edge '99, with JR being lost for words while Lawler headed to the ring to check on Chyna. She would return at WrestleMania X-7, beating Ivory in what was essentially a squash match. Her only significant defence was against Lita at the 2001 Judgment Day PPV. She was eventually taken off the air and later released. As with her arrival in the WWF, there are conflicting stories about her departure, as she herself claims she left due to Triple H leaving her for Stephanie McMahon while others claim it was a simple contract dispute.
Following her departure from the WWF, Chyna would finish her wrestling career with a brief run in New Japan Pro Wrestling. She did another Playboy shoot and accompanying documentary. She also wrote an autobiography, and would appear in a whole slew of celebrity-based reality shows, as well as some straight to DVD movies. While she has several other dubious claims to fame, such as the infamous One Night in Chyna movie and the fact that her breast implants were apparently custom made for her and are now considered to be the industry standard for large-framed women, she will forever be known as the first woman to be booked as a legitimate threat to male wrestlers. The question is whether Daizee Haze and Sara Del Ray are simply following in her footsteps, or if there's more to the BDK's Dornenblume and Schildmaid des Kreuzes' attempts to leave their mark on Chikara's landscape.
...Is This Too?
A single glance at Chyna, Daizee Haze and Sara Del Rey should be enough to answer that question. After all, the only justification Chyna ever needed to be considered a legitimate threat to the men of the WWF were her muscles. Haze and Del Rey meanwhile are still fairly muscled, but they'd never come anywhere close to approaching Chyna at the height of her status of Ninth Wonder of the World. The Death Haze team however does have something Chyna never had: motivation. The years of condescension at the hands of CHIKARA management have driven the two women to set out to prove that hell doth indeed hath no fury like a woman scorned. Of course there's the added advantage of the fact that CHIKARA's roster is, on average, about a foot shorter and fifty pounds lighter than that of the WWF during Chyna's days, which means that Del Rey and Haze are actually about as big and almost as heavy as most of the men on the CHIKARA roster.
Having women compete against men in any way is always a tricky thing to book. TNA teased it for a while with the treatment Ms. Brooks received at the hands of Robert Roode. However, Spike TV put out a global ban on women getting physical with men, and outside of Awesome Kong appearing in a tag team title tournament on PPV, TNA hasn't tried anything like that since. The closest WWE has come to producing another Chyna is Beth Phoenix, who occasionally showed feats of strength like lifting two women at once or lifting D'Lo Brown. She also successfully eliminated the Great Khali from the 2010 Royal Rumble, although this was through trickery rather than force. Still, while Phoenix has her occasional moment, she is mainly spends her time in the women's division.
The fact of the matter is that, while male chauvenism certainly plays a part in it, asking wrestling fans to suspend disbelief to the point where a woman can be a serious threat to a man is simply too much to ask. However, it should be noted that Death Haze aren't just thrown out there at random. They have three things that put them on the same level as the men: their wrestling skill, which both women certainly have in spades, their frustration at the treatment at the hands of CHIKARA management and their determination to make the most of the oppertunity the BDK has given them. They have shown a vicious side that most men they've stepped into the ring with so far seem unable to handle. All in all, I certainly believe that Death Haze have proven themselves as worthy as any man of the BDK to be in the ring, and I applaud CHIKARA for managing to book women in a men's division in a way that makes sense without making the men look weak or the women look like freaks of nature.