SHIMMER Women Athletes returned to action on Sunday to film Volumes 39 & 40 of their DVD series. In results and news from the show:

a. Rhia O’Reilly & Jett Riley defeated Brittany Force & December in SPARKLE action. As the only women’s SPARKLE match on the day, this got a little more time than the two matches yesterday. O’Reilly beat Force with a cross body to avenge her loss from the day before. A fairly good match, with O’Reilly’s fire and Force’s personality coming through most strongly.

1. Kellie Skater defeated Courtney Rush with a Skate or Die, giving “Rate Tank” a much needed win, albeit at the expense of one of the stars of the first day of tapings. Tank’s knee-bend Torture Rack initiated chants of “Total Package” in a decent, and somewhat surprising victory. Rush wasn’t back on Vol 40, but I hope to see a lot more of the former PJ Tyler, who looked very good in her appearances this weekend.

2. LuFisto defeated Sassy Stephie with a twisting Downward Spiral. Stephie was making her first SHIMMER appearance in several volumes, having missed the previous set of tapings with a shoulder injury. Madamoiselle Rachelle managed Stephie here, and although she didn’t get particularly involved in the pleasingly pretty even matchup, she did contribute to the end of the match, when Stephie and Rachelle coming together on the apron, setting up LuFisto for the win. A fine match.

3. Rachel Summerlyn defeated Mena Libra via submission to the Texas Cloverleaf. The weekend featured none of Summeryn & Jessica James as a tag team, and while James seemed to have a more interesting run of matches, Summerlyn kind of seemed to tread water. Mena Libra did well again here, and she’s got the style and body shape to be a kind of “bruiser” type that SHIMMER could really do with. Seemed fairly inconsequential, but fun.

4. 3S defeated Pretty Bitchin’ (Nikki Roxx & Ariel) to retain the SHIMMER Tag Team Titles when Matsumoto pinned Roxx after an exploder suplex. 3S were super over by this point – and why wouldn’t they be? They’re two of the most empathetic babyfaces I’ve ever seen, and it’s practically impossible not to smile when Matsumoto especially is in the ring. Nikki Roxx is never one to pass up the chance of some shenanigans either, and the match was a good one. Roxx is absolutely crying out for a heel turn though, in my opinion.

5. Mercedes Martinez defeated Britani Knight (w/ Rebecca Knox) via Fisherman Buster. This was the first and only time that the younger member of the Knight Dynasty got to appear without her mother all weekend, so it was interesting to see how much of the previous day’s heat Britani could replicate without Saraya withering ringsiders with acerbic threats. She did very well, although the heat that she and Knox got wasn’t the same “dangerous” heat that Saraya generated. I’ve seen, written about and commentated on a great number of Britani’s matches over the years, and this can happily stand amongst the best. Unsurprising considering her opponent, Mercedes. It was a joy to see Knight’s flighty, hammy character contrasted with the no nonsense Martinez, who chopped Knight SO hard in her sunburnt chest. Knight got some good offence in on Martinez, who eventually won handily with the Fisherman Buster.

6. Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa defeated Mia Yim & Jamilia Craft via Fisherman’s Suplex on Yim by Nakagawa. A fine, if by the numbers, tag match. Seemed strange to be further up the card than the Tag Titles match, but they may be flipped by the time the DVD comes out. Yim & Craft make a fine undercard babyface tag team. Likeable and talented. Post match, Haze & Nakagawa challenged for the tag team titles.

7. Jessica James defeated Athena via the Hard Boiled Egg. This was good, as I expected it would be as the two would have wrestled numerous times in Anarchy Pro in Texas.

8. MsChif defeated Sweet Saraya (w/ Rebecca Knox) via Desecrator. The match was all about the character contrast between the competitors. Saraya refused to be intimidated by ‘Chif’s screams, and dragged manager Knox into the ring to offer a reply. She managed a scream, followed by a yelp, when she realised that her screams were ineffective against MsChif. Saraya tried her best to wrap ‘Chif up in submissions, but the ever-flexible former champion was able to come back with a Desecrator for the win. I wonder if that was the right result. With Saraya being so white hot based on a believable credibility, a clean loss seems like a bold move. Saraya got heat back by frogmarching Knox out from ringside after the loss.

9. Serena Deeb deafeated Portia Perez via DQ after Perez was disqualified for whacking Deeb with a cookie sheet. An interesting match, this, as it featured arguably the best heel in the promotion (Perez, who appears to understand what makes a heel better than most everybody) against arguably the person who displays the most effective babyface fire in the promotion. The match was cut short by the cookie sheet incident (for which Deeb stayed down for a long time), but the continuation of the Deeb/Perez feud works fine for me.

10. Nicole Matthews defeated Jessie McKay 2-1 in a best two-out-of-three falls match. First fall went to Matthews via tights-assisted roll-up. McKay equalised with a pinfall after multiple Schoolgirl Crushes, before Matthews won the decider with the Roll The Dice. Although the McKay/Matthews rivalry has been going for a while, the match here was set up by Matthews calling McKay a “Diva” wannabe, and that she should leave the real wrestling to the real women. It’s funny, because to a certain extent, that’s a babyface promo. Either way, I found myself enjoying Matthews’ brand of wrestling, facial expressions and ringside interactions more than I did McKay’s character. A fine match, abeit one that I enjoyed more for the heel than the babyface.

11. Ayako Hamada & Cheerleader Melissa defeated Madison Eagles & Sara Del Rey when Ayako pinned Eagles with a rollup. A very good main event style match from four excellent main event style wrestlers. By pinning Eagles, Hamada secured her spot to challenge Eagles in the main event of Volume 40.

After the usual 15 minute scrum that passes for an interval, we were back for the tapings of Volume 40:

1. Kellie Skater defeated Taylor Made with the Skate or Die. This takes “Rate Tank” to the incredible height of having a two match win streak. Probably Skater’s least impressive showing of the weekend, to be honest, and her matches are very samey, so by the time I’d seen four of them back to back on a weekend, I was overdosed on Tank. Interesting to see where she goes with a win streak now.

2. Rachel Summerlyn defeated Bonesaw. Bonesaw started the match by falling flat on her face, and that’s a good metaphor for the match. Inconsequential and dull. As noted, Summerlyn has been treading water this entire set of tapings.

3. Mercedes Martinez defeated Christina Von Eerie with the Fisherman Buster. After a couple of dull matches, Von Eerie was a great shot in the arm. Despite losing back to back matches to Sara Del Rey and Mercedes Martinez, I thought Christina definitely secured her position on future SHIMMER tapings with her work this weekend. She’s still learning, but she’s got a load of potential and works well as a sympathetic babyface, with her “Oi!” chants getting over strongly. I also really liked that despite being overmatched against both SDR & Martinez, Christina always left on her own steam, arm aloft, defiant and unbroken. Very, very likeable.

4. MsChif defeated Melanie Cruise with a Desecrator. Cruise dominated a good portion of the match, but there was never any doubt on who would win. With two straight losses, it looks like Cruise is very much on the back burner now. Of interest, Cruise wrestled this match missing one of her front teeth, which was knocked out during her match with Melissa the night before, so credit to her for working regardless.

5. Jessie McKay defeated Athena with the Boyfriend Stealer. I found my attention wavering on this one, partially due to the fact that we’re halfway through the second day of intense tapings, but also due to the fact that neither woman has a particularly defined character, so how they get over (with me at least) is based on whether they can drag me in with their wrestling. They did that eventually, and by the end the match was pretty great. Athena pulled off an utterly outstanding top rope stunner on McKay which unbelievably wasn’t the finish. Not sure where either go from here.

6. The Knight Dynasty defeated Regeneration X following liberal Knox interference. Finish saw Danger try to suplex Britani in over the ropes, only for Knox to grab Danger’s foot, causing Knight to fall on top of Danger for the pin. In the aftermath, as Danger shouted at Knox, Bates delivered a suicide dive onto the Knights at ringside. Danger finally managed to get her hands on Knox, laying her out with a neckbreaker.

7. Sara Del Rey defeated Jessica James with a Royal Butterfly in what turned out to be a pretty great match that James came within inches of winning with a guillotine choke. Del Rey appeared to be fading on more than one occasion, bringing back memories of James’ upset victory over Del Rey at the American Joshi Queen of Queens tournament last year, but Del Rey eventually forced her smaller opponent into the Royal Butterfly for the win.

8. Serena Deeb won a four corner survival match also featuring Portia Perez, LuFisto & Cheerleader Melissa. Perez awesomely ducked Deeb at the start of the match, but ended up stuck in the ring with her at the end, as Melissa & LuFisto ended up fighting to the back. Finish was curious as Deeb pinned Perez following a spear, but Perez had her foot on the ropes. The referee missed it, and even Deeb once she had had her hand raised didn’t seem all that concerned. The feud continues!!

9. Ayumi Kurihara defeated Nicole Matthews with an exploder suplex. Great match, though it’s curious as to why Kurihara (who had been placed as the “star” of the young joshi movement in SHIMMER) only ended up wrestling twice across four tapings, while Nakagawa, Ohata & Matsumoto were all over the weekend. I’m sure there’s a reason, but it did mean that Kurihara kind of stalled on momentum this weekend. Good performance from both her and Nicole, who always delivers when she’s given these top singles matches.

10. Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa defeated 3S to win the SHIMMER Tag Team Titles. While the match itself was really, really good, the result was utterly soul-sapping. 3S had done such a great job of establishing themselves as champions (and one of the most over babyface acts of the weekend) that to see them lose here was just so disappointing.

11. Madison Eagles defeated Ayako Hamada to retain the SHIMMER Title in a match that went 100mph right out of the gate with intense striking. The closing phase was phenomenal, with Hamada hitting her AP Cross for a ONE count, then Hamada herself kicking out of the Hellbound (an unheard of event) before falling to a second one. Eagles was magnificent here, and by this point can only be described as “unbeatable”