THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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An item doing the news rounds here in Britain about women’s wrestling in Bolivia reminded me that I hadn’t done a list of my ten favourite women’s wrestlers from the past ten years. Sadly, as I’ve never seen any of the aforementioned South American Knockout Divas I can’t list any of them, but the list does contain some of the best female grapplers from Japan, America, and merry old England.
As with my previous lists I haven’t used any kind of scientific formula or anything like that. These are women whose performances I’ve enjoyed over the past decade.
10. Klondyke Kate
If you’ve never heard of the name of Klondyke Kate then you’ve never seen one of the most fearsome wrestlers in action.
This woman is a legend here in Britain. She’s been in films and television documentaries, and has terrorised the women’s division for over twenty years, and despite having retired a number of times, she’s still going strong, and still scaring the hell out of fans up and down the country.
Away from the ring though she’s one of the nicest people you could hope to meet. But now I’ve said that she’ll probably tear me a new one!
9. Nikita/Katie Lea Burchill
The second British representative on my list earned a huge following as Nikita for the Frontier Wrestling Alliance among others before she made her way to America and found herself on television as Paul Burchill’s sister.
Sadly one of the best female grapplers this country has produced over the past decade was woefully misused, leaving many of her British fans scratching their heads and wondering why she wasn’t given a run with one of their titles.
Now free from the clutches of the McMahon empire, we Brits eagerly await her next move.
8. Meiko Satomura
The only Japanese star on my list. I didn’t know much about Japanese women’s wrestling until The Wrestling Channel began in 2004. That was when I saw the Gaea promotion for the first time.
A product of the Gaea training school, Satomura, along with Ayako Hamada, was the stand out star of the promotion. She also featured heavily in the Gaea Girls documentary, proving to be a no-nonsense trainer as well. Just look for the Google video where she teaches a young student how to perform a drop-kick.
Satomura currently runs another all-female promotion, Sendai Girls Pro Wrestling. Sadly I haven’t seen much of her work since The Wrestling Channel closed down.
This may be a controversial choice to some, especially among the internet wrestling community. She may be known more for what she did outside of her wrestling career, and for what went on in her personal life, but there’s no doubt that at one time she was a hell of a wrestler.
Her long-running feud with Trish Stratus was the highlight of the women’s division in WWE for many years, and although she will be fondly remembered for the suicide dive that almost broke her neck, she will always be remembered as one of the best Divas of the past decade.
It’s had to believe that, like Lita, this woman originally began as one of The Godfather’s lady friends, and first came to our attention as part of the Eddie Guerrero/Chyna relationship angle.
A feud with Trish Stratus, back when WWE actually bothered to give their Divas strong storylines, really put her on the map and cemented her place as one of the top female grapplers of the decade.
A brief stint in TNA helped maintain this status, but it’s difficult to predict just what will happen next in her career.
5. Sweet Saraya
Britain’s number one female wrestler. The matriarch of the Knight wrestling family and co-founder of the World Association of Wrestling is a twenty year wrestling veteran who has torn up rings all around Europe. Saraya is probably the most technical wrestler on this list, and can have a good match with everyone.
She’s also regarded as the top trainer in Britain today, with many of her students having gone on to carve out careers on the British circuit.
However, I almost considered leaving her off this list. When I published my list of least favourite wrestlers from the past ten years, a list that included three WAW trained wrestlers, topics appeared on the UK and WAW Fan Forums, topics where I was heavily criticised for my decision to include those wrestlers. It got to a point where WAW banned any mention of me from their fan forum, and one of their associates even started a Facebook group so people could insult me. (The group has since been removed, so don’t bother looking for it.)
So given the negative response that my former friends in WAW gave me before, it will be interesting to see if I receive an equal amount of praise. I doubt I will though.
4. Gail Kim
One of the best things to come out of Canada, Kim made a massive impact in her first televised WWE appearance when she won the Women’s title during a battle royal, and although she only held the title for a few weeks, she made a lasting impression.
Since then she’s gone on to become recognised as one of the best wrestlers in the world. Her series of matches with Awesome Kong launched the Knockouts division in TNA, producing some of the best matches I’ve seen in any division anywhere in the world.
Kim later returned to WWE, but she has failed to reclaim the glory she found in the Impact Zone, which is a criminal under-use of her talents.
3. Nikki Roxx/Roxxi Laveaux/Roxxi
Some may wonder why the former Voodoo Queen is up so high on this list. But those who post those questions probably never saw her in action before she hooked up with the Voodoo Kin Mafia.
A stalwart on the women’s scene for the likes of New England Championship Wrestling, their sister company World Women’s Wrestling, as well as Shimmer and others, Roxx garnered the most attention when she ventured to TNA and became Roxxi Laveaux.
Losing a match and having her head shaved proved to be the best thing that happened to her in TNA. No longer saddled with the voodoo gimmick, she became Roxxi, the Hardcore Knockout, and she was finally able to shine and show her skills as one of the best female grapplers in America today.
Sadly her TNA career has been blighted by injury and other backstage happenings, and she currently competes on the independent circuit. There’s a part of me that would like to see WWE sign her, but there’s also a part of me that would like to see her steer well clear of McMahon-land, given the way WWE treats women who can actually wrestle.
2. Awesome Kong
Along with Gail Kim, Kong helped establish the fledgling Knockouts division in TNA a few years ago as she went on a series of astounding matches with her rival. She is one of the most amazing female grapplers I’ve ever seen, and one if the most imposing. There was a time when it seemed like nobody in the Knockouts division could take her down.
Sadly her TNA career came to an end earlier this year during the early stages of the Hogan regime, and partly because of the actions of Hogan’s fat, useless disc jockey buddy. She’d cause a storm if she ever went to WWE, but she doesn’t exactly fit the Diva mould. A pity though.
1. Trish Stratus
Could there really be anyone else who could top this list? Voted Diva of the Decade and a multi-time champion, Stratus combined brains, beauty and athletic skill to become the best women’s wrestler WWE has ever seen.
Originally beginning her career as the manager of Val Venis and the T&A team of Test and Albert, Status later moved to the Divas division and became the stand-out competitor, winning the Women’s title seven times, the Hardcore title, and engaging in remarkable feuds with the likes of Victoria, Mickie James, Molly Holly, and most memorably, Lita.
Stratus retired from active competition in 2006, although she made a couple of in-ring appearances in the past two years. But even after four years she is still sadly missed from the Divas division.
Well, that’s my final list. I know that there will be some discussion about who did and who didn’t make the list. Just don’t go and make a hateful Facebook page about me!
THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!