Meteora4 Media’s Ring Post Journal #1: A 2020 Women’s Wrestling Year in Review provides a snapshot of the pro wrestling industry over the course of the year that was: highlights of the most significant developments, commentary on some of the biggest matches, and profiles of rising and fallen stars.
In his introduction, editor Colby Applegate explains the impetus for this inaugural year-in-review issue. Not surprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic played a major role.
“Last spring while I was hunkered down in my Florida apartment with no job and nowhere to go, I thought about how I could help cover wrestling in a ‘grand’ way outside of writing weekly articles,” Applegate wrote. “That idea snowballed into this passion project.”
In her foreword to the journal, wrestler Thunder Rosa sums up how the year 2020 will go down in history as representing the best of times and worst of times. She explains how the pandemic forced the industry and everyone in it to either adapt or go extinct.
“2020 was very devastating for millions of people around the world. We probably suffered one of the hardest crises ever in the history of the world,” Thunder Rosa wrote. “But amongst all this crisis, something in the world fires up during this incredible time… women’s wrestling. Although there were few fans or no fans at all, I feel that women wrestlers found a stronger voice and a strong presence in 2020.”
In the journal’s rankings, Thunder Rosa is listed in All Elite Wrestling’s (AEW) Tier Two, with a 5-2 record over seven matches and an overall score of 71 per cent. Applegate explains how the rankings were compiled of wrestlers in AEW, Impact Wrestling, and World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
“Title matches, title reigns, pay-per-view appearances, and much more carry weight in deciding how to list everyone,” Applegate wrote. “I want to emphasize that these rankings are statistics-based and are in no way meant to compare anyone based on talent or skill.”
In “Revisiting Bayley vs. Sasha Banks,” Applegate notes that the March 13, 2020 match was the first closed-set show at the Performance Center due to the then new COVID-19 restrictions. The article documents the build-up from that match to the ultimate showdown between Bayley and Banks, the Hell in a Cell match on Oct. 25, 2020.
“This is the culmination of years of storytelling deriving from their previous bouts,” Applegate wrote in summing up the encounter. “I believe the Sasha/Bayley story was one of the best told in all of professional wrestling in 2020.”
Applegate also gives an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the only women’s pay-per-view main event of all three promotions covered in the journal: Shayna Baszler defeating five other women inside the Elimination Chamber. In this WWE event, the former cage fighter defeated Asuka, Natalya, Ruby Riott, Liv Morgan and Sarah Logan.
Applegate argues that since the Elimination Chamber event, Baszler “has yet to return to form.” But the article holds out the possibility that Baszler will become a singles champion and main event star again in the near future.
Writer Granger Chapman explores one of the grim events of 2020: Black Wednesday, April 15, 2020, when the WWE released nearly 30 talents within the company.
“While many WWE mass releases have happened in the past, they had never been of this magnitude,” Chapman noted. “Former champions and main events were on the cutting board this time. As the day went on, fans knew that nobody was truly safe.”
Chapman profiles one of the talents who had a fortunate soft landing after Black Wednesday, Deonna Purrazzo, who had just signed with the WWE in May 2018. Shortly after her dismissal, she was immediately picked up by Impact Wrestling. By the end of May 2020, Purrazzo had declared herself “The Virtuosa.”
“Purrazzo has proven herself as one of the best women to step inside the ring,” Chapman wrote. “The WWE has to regret letting Deonna slip through their fingers, like many others that were on the shocking list of released talents.”
One wrestler who didn’t fare as well in 2020, according to the journal, is Tessa Blanchard. Accusations of Blanchard’s alleged bullying and intimidation toward female colleagues surfaced on the internet early in 2020 and followed her until the fall, when she lost the Warrior Wrestling women’s championship to Kylie Rae. “The Rise and Fall of Tessa Blanchard” is a cautionary tale of how social media can drudge up past mistakes and topple a career.
On a more optimistic note, profiles of Thunder Rosa and Kay Lee Ray by writers Molly Belle and Kristen Ashly, respectively, project bright futures for those stars.
One of the most practical and useful features of the journal is the 2020 Timeline listing. The timeline highlights several firsts that happened last year:
- On Feb. 12, Nyla Rose defeated Riho on Dynamite to win the All Elite’s women’s championship, making her the first transgender woman to accomplish such a feat.
- On June 5, in the main event of WWE SmackDown, Sasha Banks and Bayley defeated Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross to capture the WWE women’s tag team championship. Bayley became the first woman to hold both a tag title and the Smackdown women’s championship simultaneously.
- On Dec. 6, Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair teamed for the first time to beat Bayley and Natalya at Tribute to the Troops.
Overall, Ring Post Journal #1: A 2020 Women’s Wrestling Year Review provides a comprehensive snapshot of women’s wrestling in a pivotal year.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Applegate says he is working on releasing a second issue of Ring Post Journal this year and then plans to release them on a quarterly basis in 2022.