Song for Whoever (Bonus Track): Daffney edition

I have something else in mind for my Song for Whoever this week, but I wanted to make quick mention of something that I read yesterday and this seems as good a place as any.

Other than the odd rant, we’re not generally a “serious” blog here at Wrestlegasm, but some things need to be said. We also try to refrain from swearing when possible, but I’m afraid this will be an exception: TNA are fucking awful. I know… I know… preaching to the converted. Big suprise, Andrew hates TNA! But rather than my general deep-seated loathing of a company that wastes amazing talent in favour of overpaying and overexposing ancient has-beens like some kind of Wrestling Antiques Roadshow, there is something specific that’s, frankly, appalled me this time.

Over at cagesideseats.com, a report has turned up describing some of the details behind the recent TNA release of Daffney and her treatment by the company prior to that.

“Yesterday my picture was taken down off of the TNA roster page. My contract expires today and TNA did not renew it. I do not know if it has anything to do with it, but I’ve filed a Workers Comp claim against them for injuries I’ve sustained in the ring and my lawyers said to not go into anymore details.”

This quote from Daffney’s Facebook and Twitter accounts is only the tip of the iceberg. The catch-all term of “injuries” covers a list that is pretty substantial (to quote from the article):

1. a serious concussion at Bound For Glory 2009 after she was chokeslammed from the ring apron by Abyss onto a barb-wire board
2. a deeply bruised sternum, a severe stinger and yet another concussion in the now infamous try-out, dark match for indie wrestler Miss Betsy
3. another concussion in her program with Tara after she got clobbered on the head with a toolbox

Concussions are scary enough, but in pro-wrestling today you would hope that the supposed Number Two company in the world would be especially aware of their consequences after the added media attention following the Benoit murders and the work done by ex-WWE wrestler Chris Nowinski at the Sports Legacy Institute but apparently not.

The first injury on the list, after being chokeslammed from the second rope to the floor through a barbed wire table, is probably the most shocking on first glance. Certainly it was a move that was arguably unnecessary at best, and positively manipulative at worse. According to the article (via a “long term employee” of TNA) Daffney was unsurprisingly hesitant to take the move, but was persuaded by Director of Talent Relations Terry Taylor that she would be taken care of and it was important for the storyline. Of course, the move happened and she was injured and taken to hopsital and billed for it. TNA then neglected to pay the bill, despite months of emails between the two parties, in the end denying they had any reponsibility to pay.

To literally add insult to injury; all this was for a spot that didn’t lead anywhere storyline-wise, was never allowed to be shown on TNA Impact as it breached the networks policy on violence towards women, and wasn’t even caught on camera live and was only shown on replay!

As for the second injury on that list, it’s probably pretty well know by now, but just in case: Miss Betsy was a very inexperienced trainee of Team 3D. In her tryout match she landed on Daffney’s chest, leading to sternum bruising – a move followed by a powerbomb which left Daffney with another concussion. As the article mentions, anybody else who injured a full time member of the roster in their tryout match would have been rightly run out of the building. But this is TNA, who have shown time and time again that they couldn’t care less about the welfare of their roster (especially, it seems, the Knockouts.) So of course they signed Miss Betsy (as Rosie Lottalove) to a contract, and actually showed the footage of the injury on Impact in an attempt to get her over.

I should point out that I (and I believe Daffney) aren’t about to start criticising Betsy/Rosie for the injury. It was another unfortunate example of ageing wrestlers politicking behind the scenes, in this case Bubba Ray Dudley. In fact, when TNA realised that even they couldn’t justify having her on the roster, Bubba Ray allegedly blamed Daffney and gave her the cold shoulder backstage. Oh, and it should probably go without saying that TNA didn’t pay Daffney’s medical bills for this one either.

The third injury, although it sounds almost innocuous up there in the list, is certainly the one which shows TNA at their most petty and heartless. TNA tape their shows in advance: rather than filming each week like WWE, they will film a block of episodes over a number of days to fill the upcoming month. In this case, it was Day 1 of a five day taping schedule when Daffney received yet another concussion. Daffney was told again by Terry Taylor that she should work the next two days (with a concussion remember) and she’ll be fine. After consideration Daffney quite rightly decided against wrestling and risking worsening her condition. This is where TNA’s petty side comes out, as they announced she would be unable to take part in a photoshoot that would have been useful income for her (given TNA’s notoriously low pay for female wrestlers) if she wasn’t prepared to wrestle.

Not only were TNA asking Daffney to wrestle with a concussion for a further two days (all while still refusing to pay her medical bills from the Rosie incident; this was all while they were happily running a concussion angle with Ken Anderson – to the point of going on air and singing the praises of the Sports Legacy Institute and constantly reminding the viewers that “Dixie Carter has always looked out for the welfare of her performers.” Hey kids! Can you spell “HYPOCRISY”?

So, Daffney, quite understandably, has had enough and contacted her lawyers. Shortly after TNA remove her from their website and allow her contract to expire. Reports are circling that she is not the only wrestler considering legal action against TNA for unpaid medical bills, and hopefully this is true. Strangely, I don’t want TNA to fail – I want another large wrestling company giving wrestlers international TV exposure. I want competition – without it the industry will stagnate and mainstream pro-wrestling will slowly become unwatchable. I hate TNA as it stands, but I genuinely hope they can turn things around and become a company that appreciates and respects some of the amazing talent they have, while ending their seeming obsession with re-enacting the final years of WCW.

As for Daffney, if even if only a third of the claims in that article are correct, that’s enough to justify my support. This songs for you, good luck!

The original article can be read at: http://www.cagesideseats.com/2011/4/21/2125160/the-sad-story-of-shannon-daffney-spruill and is well worth a read if you care about the wellbeing of wrestlers in anyway

wrestlegasm’s top 10 female wrestlers – part 2

Join me if you will, as I take you back through the mists of time (travelling at approximately 88mph)… back to the end of March. Ah, March… a time of Labour Government; a time of Wrestlemania; and, I’m ashamed to admit, a time of lies ladies and gentlemen.

Yes, I lied to you all (or at least the few of you that read my last piece on Women Wrestlers). Back on the 22nd March I wrote a piece listing the people in places 10-6 in my Top Ten Current Women Wrestlers list. I finished that article with a sentence I now deeply regret, one that included not just one, but two inexcusable untruths.

“I’ll be getting the second part (Ranks 1-5) together very soon…”

Now, the first lie is obvious. Unless you measure time using the shifting of tectonic plates, you will agree that 2 months is not, by any stretch of the imagination, “very soon”. There are a multitude of reasons I could give for this delay, but I fear they would essentially boil down to “sorry everyone, real life keeps getting in the way.”

The second lie may not become obvious until you reach the bottom of the page, so let’s keep it as a little surprise – the textual equivalent of the shoddily manufactured choking hazard enshrined in the so-called chocolate of a Kinder Egg.

By the way, if you didn’t read Part One, and you feel the need to (despite having the last sentence spoilt for you already: “Darth Vader is Luke’s father” “Bruce Willis is dead” “He lies twice in the last sentence”) then you can read it here.

Right, we’ve waited long enough… let’s crack on shall we? Starting with:

While Daffney may not the greatest wrestler in the world (and indeed arguably spent more time as a valet), she deserves a degree of credit for bringing a different character to pro-wrestling, not to mention a longevity not often seen for women in this industry.

After graduating from college and a short stint as an actress, Daffney entered a 1999 contest held by WCW to find new talent. She was hired and debuted on-screen as the mentally deranged girlfriend of Ric Flair’s son David. Her character at this time, a combination of Mallory Knox (Natural Born Killers) and Harley Quinn (Batman) became known for her piercing screams at ringside (something that our next entry, Daffney’s sometime tag partner MsChif, is also known for.) After defeating Chris Candido and Tammy “Sunny” Sytch in a mixed tag match, Daffney became the co-holder of the WCW Cruiserweight Championship with Crowbar, one of the wrestlers she managed alongside Flair. Daffney and Crowbar then faced off in a one-on-one match to determine the outright champion, a match which she won, becoming the second of only three women to ever hold the title.

After her brief run as Cruiserweight champion, Daffney went on to feud with Miss Hancock (later known in the WWE as Stacy Keibler) for the affections of Flair, and later feuding with Torrie Wilson. She was mainly used as a valet character during this time however, and was released in 2001 – only a month before WWE bought out WCW.

After spending a number of months training at Dusty Rhodes’ camp, Daffney made a few appearances for TNA as Shark Girl (Shark Boy’s valet) and Ring of Honor (as the valet for the Second City Saints, featuring CM Punk and Colt Cabana)  In 2003 Daffney was signed to a WWE developmental deal, working with Ohio Valley Wrestling as a valet for a short time but was released after a few months.

After her release from WWE Daffney decided to retire from professional wrestling, and return to her previous acting career – famously giving her wrestling boots to her then room-mate Mickie James. However, after a couple of years working as a personal trainer, Daffney returned to wrestling on the independent scene; first as Lucy Furr, then working for SHIMMER as Daffney (in a managerial role for MsChif) as well as Shark Girl (as a wrestler).

While working for SHIMMER, Daffney also returned to TNA in a one-off appearance as an audience member who took up (and predictably lost) Awesome Kong’s $25,000 Open Challenge. However, this did lead to Daffney returning to TNA after a few months, this time wrestling as The Governor – a spoof of Sarah Palin. As The Governor she teamed with Taylor Wilde and Roxxi to feud against The Beautiful People, culminating in a victorious 3-on-3 PPV match at Destination X.

After getting her hair cut by The Beautiful People, she returned to her Daffney character again, joining forces with Steven Richards (in his Dr Stevie gimmick) and Abyss- working a number of increasingly violent mixed tag matches. After a mixed tag Monster’s Ball match at 2009′s Slammiversary in which she was slammed into thumbtacks by Taylor Wilde, Daffney took part in (and lost) the first ever Knockout’s “Match of 10,000 Tacks”.

Since then Daffney has gone solo, feuding with the likes of ODB and Tara (including having a First Blood match against Tara) – as well as appearing in the, perhaps regrettable, Wrestlicious promotion as a female vampire character called Draculetta.


Not much seems to be known about MsChif outside wrestling, other than the fact that she’s a researcher in a microbiological laboratory. Trained at Gateway Championship Wrestling (the closest training school to her college), MsChif quickly became a regular on their shows, usually against male wrestlers. As an aside, you may notice that the wrestlers that I have listed all seem to take part in intergender matches from time to time. This is no coincidence, and should be taken as further evidence to support Ray’s excellent article on Intergender Matches.

MsChif soon teamed up with future ROH and CHIKARA star Delirious as Diabolik Khaos, feuding against the likes of Daizee Haze and Matt “Evan Bourne” Sydal. MsChif followed Delirious from Gateway to IWA: Mid-South, feuding first against Haze and then against Mickie Knuckles (briefly “Moose Knuckles” with The Beautiful People in TNA), eventually obtaining the NWA Midwest/IWA Mid-South Title, a title she eventually lost in a Mixed Tag Steel Cage Match alongside Delirious against Haze and Sydal.

Following a lot of behind-the-scenes wrangling over the rights to various titles among the NWA, MsChif now started chasing the NWA World Women’s Championship, which she eventually won in January 2007. However, a few months later she lost the title in a champion vs champion match against then AWA Japan Champion Awesome Kong.

As often seems to be the case in this list, MsChif then went to work for SHIMMER, making an enemy of Cheerleader Melissa in her debut match at Volume 1, and wrestling Beth Phoenix at Volume Two. MsChif and Melissa would meet in the first SHIMMER Hardcore match at Volume 4, and the first SHIMMER Last Woman Standing match at Volume 6. However, this is wrestling, and the two soon teamed up (as MelisChif), eventually leading to MsChif challenging and defeating Sara Del Rey for the SHIMMER Championship, a title she went on to defend against, amongst others; Awesome Kong, Lufisto and Serena Deeb (now Serena of the Straight Edge Society.) Unfortunately, however, MsChif lost the SHIMMER Championship after almost two years in an upset defeat against Madison Eagles last month.

MsChif also wrestled extensively for the Chickfight promotion, winning her debut tournament (Chickfight IV), as well as making regular appearances for Ring of Honor and one-off shows for TNA. There has been talk of Daffney wanting to bring MsChif into TNA as the two have worked together (as The Scream Queens, MsChif and DisChif), however MsChif has stated that “The main reason I won’t go to TNA is because where I am right now in wrestling, I am completely stress free. I have complete control of my character, and no one breathing down my neck over what I am or am not doing. I like my freedom. Since I do have my career, wrestling is my fun time. My enjoyment.”


She also has strong views on the way WWE portrays women wrestlers, saying that “It’s sad to me to see talented women wrestlers go to waste because the WWE won’t let them really wrestle. Instead they use them as nothing more than sex objects. I don’t ever want to leave wrestling the way I wrestle now. I don’t want to be told what I can and can’t do.”

So, not only is MsChif an awesome wrestler (and ridiculously flexible, to the point of making Melina look stiff), she’s also an extremely intelligent woman who has a successful external career and the money to be able to what she wants. Sounds pretty ideal to me…


By now you all now who Sara Del Rey is, or have at least heard her name mentioned. If you haven’t, then you obviously didn’t read Ray’s article I linked earlier discussing Sara’s intergender matches in CHIKARA. And quite frankly, if you didn’t read that then I’m not sure we can be friends anymore – I’ll be round to pick up my copy of Wrestlemaniac next week…

Trained by the awe-inspiring combination of Japanese WWE Hall of Fame legend Antonio Inoki and current Wrestlegasm Crush and “Best in the World” Bryan Danielson, Sara Del Rey is simply one of the toughest female wrestlers out there. Actually no, she one of the toughest wrestlers out there, regardless of gender. You may have guessed that I am a big fan, and I’m pleased to say that I’m not the only member of staff that feels this way.

Starting her training at All Pro Wrestling’s Boot Camp, Death Rey went on to work for a number of smaller promotions in the US before embarking on both a Japanese tour and a short stint under a mask in Mexico in 2005. Del Rey has been a regular member of the SHIMMER roster since Volume One, defeating the likes of Daizee Haze, Cheerleader Melissa, Nikki Roxx (TNA’s Roxxi) and Nattie Neidhart (now wrestling as Natalya in WWE). She eventually went on to become the first ever SHIMMER Champion, later defending her title against wrestlers such as Awesome Kong before losing the belt to MsChif.

After losing the title Sara went on to feud with Serena Deeb (as mentioned earlier, now Serena of the SES) and then to team with Awesome Kong as the Death Kongs in an unsuccesful attempt to capture the SHIMMER Tag Titles.

As well as SHIMMER, Del Rey has been one of a small number of female wrestlers to maintain a spot in the Ring of Honor roster, at one point being crowned unofficial “Intergender Heavyweight Tag Team Champion” alongside Chris Hero. She has also appeared on the ROH TV tapings on a number of occasions, facing off against the likes of Nikki Roxx, Daizee Haze and MsChif. Del Rey has also wrestled extensively for Jersey All Pro Wrestling Women’s Division since their first show, becoming their first and, as of this writing having successfully defended the title 12 times, only Women’s Champion in January 2009.

Meanwhile, having first appeared in 2006 as a one-off, Del Rey became a regular in the CHIKARA promotion, regularly having matches against the likes of Daizee Haze and SHIMMER co-promoter Allison Danger, as well joining forces with the tag team of Cheech and Cloudy in a 3 on 3 intergender tag match (which has been covered in Ray’s article). Recently however, with the emergence of a new faction known as the BDK, Del Rey & Haze have joined forces and have been involved in a number of victorious and violent tag matches against male teams, Del Rey actually getting disqualified for excessive violence after giving her male opponent numerous piledrivers.

So, have you figured out the plot twist yet? Yep, I promised you wrestlers 1-5 and you’ve only got 3-5. “Why?” I hear you cry… “Why do you torture us so?” Well, it’s for your own good. Wrestlers 1 & 2 are both pretty damn awesome (hence their positions) so this way I get to write larger pieces about them without making this article stupidly long.

In the meantime, do yourself a favour and have a look at some of these wrestlers on YouTube – I promise if you like the idea of women’s wrestling being more than botched handspring back elbows by identikit blonde swimsuit models you won’t be disappointed.