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Women of the Year 2015: The Canadian Ninjas

Every hour until the clock strikes midnight (Eastern time) and we usher in 2016, Diva Dirt will highlight – in no particular order – the women who made an impact in 2015.

The Canadian Ninjas (Nicole Matthews & Portia Perez)

Portia Perez and Nicole Matthews (The Canadian NINJAs) may have started off 2015 on a high note, but by the end of the year things had most assuredly not turned out as they may have planned. The once dominant team suffered losses in every match that they tagged together in during 2015: despite teaming with Andrea, they lost to Mia Yim and the Kimber Bombs at the WWNLive Supershow during WrestleMania weekend; to the Global Green Gangsters Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa in what was Tomoka’s last match during her retirement weekend at SHIMMER Women Athletes in April; to the Midwest Militia’s Sassy Stephanie and Allysin KayLacey and Kimber Lee in a losing effort to Daizee Haze, Lexie Fyfe, Kellie Skater and Madison Eagles. More on the retirement of the said NINJA in a moment.

Nicole Matthews had a decidedly better year overall: she began 2015 as the SHIMMER Women Champion, overcoming deserving challengers such as Tomoka Nakagawa, Heidi Lovelace, Jessicka Havok, Kay Lee Ray and Madison Eagles in April. She held off Candice LeRae on Volume 76 in October; however, due to their ongoing rivalry that began when she won the title from Eagles via questionable means in 2014, Eagles once again secured a title shot and managed to defeat Matthews to regain the SHIMMER Championship.

Meanwhile in her home promotion of Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Nicole became a two-time ECCW Champion by defeating Bishop in January. She is the only woman to hold their top title, and now she’s held it twice, holding off challengers until she lost it in July. Also in ECCW, her long standing feud with Cat Power came to an end when she defeated Cat in a Loser Leaves Town match. Matthews continues to make strides in intergender wrestling by maintaining her status as a top tier player there. It remains to be seen what and where 2016 will find this talented woman.

The other half of the Canadian NINJAs, Portia Perez, had a decidedly low-key 2015, scaling back on her singles matches and bookings in general which had many fans wondering if something was up. Four promotions in all saw Portia wrestle: Acclaim Pro Wrestling, SMASH Wrestling, SHIMMER and NCW Femmes Fatales. The majority of her matches saw her in losing efforts to a variety of opponents. Finally, at the start of the Sunday, October 11th SHIMMER tapings, the former two-time SHIMMER Tag Team Champion announced that she was suffering from a significant neck injury that would require surgery. Her doctor had strongly recommended she retire from wrestling but that she could have one more match before having the surgery. At first, fans were skeptical – we had seen time and again how Portia Perez can fake an injury to get out of most anything. However, this was an all too real scenario unfortunately, so Allison Danger, one of Portia’s long time rivals, came up with a farewell match: she would pick four people to wrestle Perez and three team mates of her choosing.

Danger’s picks turned out to be the new reigning SHIMMER Champion, Madison Eagles, Kellie Skater, the semi-retired Lexie Fyfe and a surprising throwback to the main event of SHIMMER Volume 1: Daizee Haze. Not to be outdone, Perez recruited her faithful tag team partner Nicole Matthews, one half of the current SHIMMER Tag Team Champions, Kimber Lee and the other half of the main event from SHIMMER Volume 1 – Lacey. Despite the power of these ladies, Portia’s team lost as Daizee Haze rolled up Portia for the victory. Post-match, Perez took to the mic to deliver a farewell message to the fans…by telling them “You suck.”

Only 28 years old, Portia chose to end her eleven-and-a-half year career to concentrate on recovering from the injury she has had for four years and finish her schooling. Animals have always had a special place in her life, and who knows, she may go into an area that allows her to help animals suffering from cruelty and trafficking. Looking back at her wrestling career, she held several titles, including the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship on two separate occasions with fellow NINJA Nicole Matthews; the Squared Circle Wrestling Tag Team Championship with partner Jason Axe; the Anarchy Championship Wrestling American Joshi Championship twice, the ACW Heavyweight Championship; and she was the ACW American Joshi Queen of Queens Tournament winner in 2010. She was, it’s fair to say, a major player in ACW at one point as she was in SHIMMER in the United States.

She competed all over the world, including Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, Mexico and France. When making her Japan debut in January 2013, she wrestled for STARDOM and teamed with Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa as “Team SHIMMER” to compete in a tournament for the vacant Artist of STARDOM tag titles. Although they lost in the finals to Act Yasukawa, Natsuki Taiyo and Saki Kashima, it was still an incredible honor to compete in the world famous venue of Korakuen Hall. Not bad for a 25 year old. The number of promotions Perez has wrestled for is too numerous to mention, given she started wrestling when she was in high school. It is a mark of her reputation that no one has had a bad thing to say about her, and after giving so much of her life to wrestling and to fans, I can only say thank you so much, and wish Portia Perez a happy and healthy life. She most definitely deserves it!

Come back at the top of every hour to see who else has been crowned 2015’s WOTY.

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