Diva Dirt presents its annual selection of women who have been most newsworthy and talked about in 2012. The 12 women selected have embodied the zeitgeist of the year by hitting the headlines, breaking boundaries, stopping the show, and becoming trending topics. The Diva Dirt editors and contributors have picked one woman as the Diva Dirt Woman of the Year, as well as 11 runners-up who have helped define 2012. Join us as we count down our runners-up before unveiling the Woman of the Year on December 31st.

The British Invasion


She may have a twenty plus year career under her belt, but we think it’s safe to say that this year was one of the best ones she’s ever spent in wrestling.

On March 18th 2012, Saraya Knight shocked the world when she forced Cheerleader Melissa to tap out to a submission hold to become the new (and fifth ever) SHIMMER Champion. Melissa had only won the title a mere five months earlier after a long, long chase. She had only made three successful defenses.

This title change was especially surprising, as many fans worried that Saraya wouldn’t make it to the volumes 45-48 set of tapings due to her daughter, Britani, being signed to the WWE. It turned out they had nothing to fear though – Saraya’s overly aggressive demeanour, vicious and brutal tendencies and venom-laced promos catapulted her straight into the spotlight. She had a score to settle with Melissa and nothing and nobody was going to stop her.

Their story began way back at ChickFight 7 in January 2007 – a singles match between the two ended in a no contest when the dastardly Melissa hung Saraya up in the ropes by her neck. As Saraya thrashed around, unable to breathe, Melissa continued her relentless assault on the veteran and the match was thrown.

Saraya swore revenge.

On June 16 for RQW in Colchester, England, another singles match between them ended in a no contest when Saraya suffered a near career ending injury. She attacked Melissa before the bell had even rung and the two brawled all over the building. During their fight, Saraya landed on a used Coca Cola can… which managed to slice through the main tendon in her knee. Saraya’s screams of agony are still etched into the fans’ minds as she – and they – faced the very real possibility of her retirement.

Saraya is a tough woman though – she returned less than eight months later and is still going strong today. She paid Melissa back by taking away her title. Next step, taking over the world.

Since March, she’s made several successful defences of her SHIMMER Championship. All five of them were in October 2012 – one was when she debuted for SHINE Wrestling in Florida against former WWE superstar Jazz (this victory may have come with a little help from Mercedes Martinez and Rain), another, a week later at AAW against former champ, MsChif. The other three were at SHIMMER’s tapings of volumes 49-52, which saw her defeat the likes of Athena, Kellie Skater, Hiroyo Matsumoto and MsChif. She even defeated Melissa in a much anticipated rematch.

She was on a roll when she made her way North to Canada in November for NCW Femmes Fatales – toppling a recently returned Cat Power at their first set of tapings, then getting disqualified in matches with Mary Lee Rose and Sweet Cherrie due to some accidentally-on-purpose low blows at the second set of tapings. She also showed LuFisto that she’s ready for that challenge too… locking herself in a steel cage with her (right after LuFisto’s bloody battle with Mercedes Martinez) and battering her, just because she could.

Back home in the UK, the matriarch of female British wrestling played puppet master behind her own all women’s promotion, WAWW – which returned after a three year hiatus in November 2011. She competed in WAWW’s “Queen of the Ring” tournament in September, falling only in the final round (to Destiny) after a Jetta assist. WAWW now rounds out the year with the announcement that effective January 1 2013; they will be re-branded under the title of Bellatrix – a fresh start to the year, with a new approach.

The Knight family were also featured in a documentary called “Fighting with My Family” in July, which chronicled their lives as wrestlers… and Britani’s rise to stardom as Paige in WWE. We saw a side not often seen in Saraya – the doting mother, protective of her children.

Awarded the #8 spot on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Female 50 this year, and now, a spot on Diva Dirt’s “Women of the Year” list, Saraya is sure to only climb spots on lists of the same vein if she continues on the same path she’s on.

Her body count is also sure to rise.

Check back tomorrow for another Women of the Year post.

More Women of the Year: Lita