Day one of SHIMMER: Women Athletes is in the bag, with volumes 41 and 42 seeing some top class matches, strong debuts and some advancements in storylines, which should add intrigue to tomorrow’s event.

Before the tapings began, we were treated to two SPARKLE pre-show matches, with BoNayNayBugs (Jessie “Bonesaw” Brooks, She Nay Nay and Buggy) defeating Veda Scott, Kimberley Maddox and former WWE Developmental Diva Su Yung when Bonesaw nailed Yung with a double underhook DDT, and Allysin Kay & Maja (Mia) Svensson went to a time limit draw with KC Spinelli and Cherry Bomb.

Volume 41:

1. Nikki Roxx beat Kellie Skater with a schoolboy as Skater went for her Skate Or Die finisher.
2. Mercedes Martinez pinned Davina Rose with a Fisherman Buster.
3. Hailey Hatred pinned Kalamity with a running powerbomb. Hatred showed respect to Kalamity for her effort afterwards, but were attacked from behind by Mena Libra and Melanie Cruise.
4. Sara Del Rey beat Yumi Ohka with the Royal Butterfly.
Amber Gertner then brought out former SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Ashley Lane (AKA TNA‘s Madison Rayne) who called out Nevaeh after her former partner’s heel turn at AAW last night. The two got into a pull-apart brawl.
5. Kana (who was shown in video packages lanking Sara Del Rey and Cheerleader Melissa) made Mia Yim tap out from the Kana Lock (crossface chicken wing).
SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles was presented with her award for being number one in the PWI Female 50, then talked trash about Serena Deeb, who was her challenger for the taping. Serena then cut the best promo of her SHIMMER career to express her desire to be the champion.
6. Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara defeated Daizee Haze & Tomoka Nakagawa to win the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship. Haze and Nakagawa came out beforehand to say they were taking the night off, but were forced into a defence. Nakagawa was pinned by Kurihara following two exploder suplexes.
7. Nevaeh b Ashley Lane with a German Suplex.
Daizee Haze returned to ringside to quit the promotion.
8. Cheerleader Melissa pinned Britani Knight following an Air Raid Crash. Britani’s mother Saraya gave her some verbal abuse after the match.
9. Portia Perez beat Jessie McKay after hitting her in the head with a chain wrapped round her fist, then wished rival Serena Deeb all the best in her title match, as she wanted to become SHIMMER Champion by beating her.
10. Saraya Knight defeated Allison Danger in a British rounds-based match. Danger got the first fall at the opening of round one; Saraya equalised by pinning Danger with her feet on the ropes in round three, and; Knight won the third fall in round four by pinning Danger with her forearm over her throat.
11. Hiroyo Matsumoto beat Nicole Matthews with a backdrop driver.
12. Madison Eagles retained her SHIMMER Championship after pinning Serena Deeb with the Hellbound.

Volume 42:

The taping began with a video of Sara Del Rey talking about Kana blanking her and challenging her to a match.
1. Mercedes Martinez beat Leva Bates with the Fisherman Buster, then kicked her a few times after the bell.
2. Mena Libra and Melanie Cruise defeated Hailey Hatred and Kalamity when Libra pinned Kalamity with the Ambassador Bridge (samoan drop with a bridge).
3. Tomoka Nakagawa defeated MsChif, LuFisto and Kellie Skater in a 4-way when Nakagawa pinned MsChif.
4. Yumi Ohka pinned Courtney Rush following a chokebomb.
5. Portia Perez made Davina Rose tap out with the Just Facelock. Perez had called for Serena Deeb to sit at ringside to watch her destroy Deeb’s protege. Perez refused to break the hold so Serena got in the ring to break it, only to be attacked by Nicole Matthews. The four then had a wild brawl which saw the locker room clear to break them up.
6. Nevaeh and Sassy Stephie defeated Nikki Roxx and Ariel.
7. Cheerleader Melissa pinned Christina Von Eerie following the Kudo Driver.
8. Athena won a 3-way featuring Jessie McKay and Mia Yim with the O-Face (leaping Stunner from the top rope).
9. Nicole Matthews beat Serena Deeb with the Roll The Dice after Portia Perez interfered. Deeb then challenged Perez to a no holds barred match for volume 43.
10. Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara retained the Tag Team Championship over Saraya and Britani Knight when Hamada pinned Britani. Saraya refused to help her daughter during the match, who she blamed for being soft after the match during a scathing promo, where she said “they” would want her anymore.
11. Kana beat Sara Del Rey via referee stoppage when she passed out in the Kana Lock.
12. Madison Eagles retained the SHIMMER Championship by beating Hiroyo Matsumoto with the Hellbound.

Click after the jump for more thoughts.

New SPARKLE faces Buggy, Veda Scott, Kimberley Maddox, Su Yung, KC Spinelli and Allysin Kay all made good impressions in their debuts. Maddox was slightly lost in the shuffle during the six-woman match and Yung needs a “look”, but all should be happy with their work.

Mercedes Martinez looks on course for a heel turn. She was more aggressive than normal with Davina Rose, and continued to punish/humiliate Leva Bates after their match was over.

Hailey Hatred and Kalamity battered each other during their match. Loads of impact, loads of OMG moments and loads of fun. Hatred – considering she was only there for today only – got a ‘please come back’ chant. Understandable, considering how great she is. Meanwhile, ‘The Oncoming Storm’ Kalamity made a great first impression, and has an amazing look to make her stand out.

Yumi Ohka is great. She – like Kalamity – connected right away and garnered a reaction. Del Rey was a great first opponent for her, and delivered a fantastic contest. One of Del Rey’s new moves is a delayed Northern Lights brainbuster which has to be seen to be comprehended.

Ashley Lane’s surprise return was a great moment, as Amber Gertner hinted that she was calling for Nevaeh to the ring, and we were treated to the former TNA Knockouts Champion. The fact that was also got to see her work – in new gear, which was a blue camouflage top and skirt, presumably to honour her husband who fights in the Armed Forces – was an extra treat. Nevaeh’s heel turn is a massive boost for her character, which was pretty vanilla as a singles babyface. Now, with Stephie, they both have direction in the promotion.

Kana is great. She is fast, precise and aggressive, and also gets over the importance of winning big matches – she really made it seem that beating Del Rey was a massive moment for her. I haven’t clicked with her yet, but that’s more my problem than hers.

Mia Yim’s stints in Japan have seen her skill levels skyrocket. She is pretty damn good now, and warrants the overwhelming attention that she received early on in her career which was over-representative considering how green she still was.

Daizee Haze could be done with wrestling. She barely took any punishment during her Tag Team Title loss and was pretty emphatic in her subsequent promo where she quit SHIMMER. However, Tomoka Nakagawa went out like a champion after kicking out of multiple pinfall attempts after being hammered with big dropkicks, slams and suplexes before going down for the three.

Portia Perez and Serena Deeb’s war escalated bigstyle. Their match tomorrow should be spectacular.

Saraya Knight’s criticism of Britani making mistakes and not taking things seriously enough is leading to a Britani babyface turn and a match tomorrow. Considering how many times they have wrestled, this one – taking into account the promotion and its DVD distribution range – will be the most high-profile and will probably leave everything in the ring.

The audience didn’t wholly take to the rounds match between Saraya and Allison Danger. It’s a shame, as they both worked hard and were pretty beaten up afterwards.

Fans aren’t sure how to react to Serena Deeb’s new aggressive style. It reminds me of when Bret Hart started roughing up his opponents a bit more in early 1995, despite remaining a babyface.

As mentioned in the ACW Third Annual American Joshi Queen Of Queens review earlier this week, Athena is awesome, but her moveset and athleticism is generating some of the loudest pops in SHIMMER. Despite being a heel, she is one of the most over babyfaces there.

Clocking in at three and a half hours, volume 41 was too long and burnt the crowd out by the end. It also meant that it took time for them to get into volume 42, which in itself was more than three hours long. Having 47 wrestlers there is just too many.

Overall though, some great matches, some interesting threads going into tomorrow’s tapings, and the prospect of Serena Deeb v Portia Perez and Kana v Cheerleader Melissa, and the ultimate likelihood of Saraya v Britani, we’re going to be in for a treat.

– Lee Burton