Cheerleader Melissa defends her newly-won SHIMMER Championship against Nicole Matthews, Athena looks to settle the score with Mercedes Martinez, and four women make their debuts.
1. Courtney Rush pinned Rhia O’Reilly with a Skyward Suplex.
2. Melanie Cruise & Mena Libra defeated Shazza McKenzie & Veda Scott. Cruise got the pin following a top rope legdrop on McKenzie.
3. Sara Del Rey beat Leon following a big powerbomb.
4. Sweet Saraya made Davina Rose tap out to the Knightmare (half crab).
5. Jessie McKay beat Mia Yim with the Boyfriend Stealer.
6. Ray pinned Kellie Skater with a Phoenix Splash.
7. Hailey Hatred & Kalamity beat LuFisto & Kana. Hatred pinned LuFisto following a running powerbomb.
8. Ayumi Kurihara & Ayako Hamada retained the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship by beating ReGeneration X – Allison Danger & Leva Bates. Hamada pinned Danger with the AP Cross.
9. Athena defeated Mercedes Martinez with the O-Face.
10. SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa retained the title by beating Nicole Matthews with the Air Raid Crash.
• Rhia O’Reilly, Shazza McKenzie, Leon and Ray all made their debuts – only Ray was victorious.
• Sweet Saraya was in even more scary mode than when daughter Britani was about. This was the first show that she was the lone Knight there, and made a cryptic proposition to Nicole Matthews before the Canadian’s challenge for the SHIMMER Championship.
• Allison Danger enjoyed her first title shot in the promotion, despite being one of the few SHIMMER Originals still about.
• Athena finally got a pinfall on Mercedes Martinez at the third time of asking. Athena was very popular with the crowd at the Berwyn Eagles Club in Illinois.
• Cheerleader Melissa retained the SHIMMER Title over Matthews, but was attacked by Portia Perez after the match.
• A small aesthetic point to start with. The entrance now has flashing lights, and the barriers have been tightened. It reminds me of the Madison Square Garden entrance back in the day.
• I loved Rhia’s “one potato, two potato” schtick in the corner on Courtney Rush. O’Reilly got over straight away, and was certainly helped by the charismatic Rush.
• Veda Scott and Shazza McKenzie had INSTANT chemistry. They were totally adorable as a team, and it is physically impossible to dislike them. Go ahead, try. Cruise seems to lose her focus at times – I’ve no idea where her head goes, but a prime example was when McKenzie went for a wheelbarrow and Melanie didn’t think to catch her legs.
• Sara Del Rey looked leaner and more physically defined than ever. She had also retired the Bull Nakano “Boss of the World” theme – possibly because Bull herself had officially retired in the interim between volumes 44 and 45.
• Three matches, three debuts, and three sets of thumbs-up. Leon’s spear and D’Lo Brown style frog splash are both spectacular, and her match with Del Rey was a great way to introduce her to an audience who may have not seen much of her.
• By this point, Saraya was not pulling any punches with getting crowd heat. She was attacking fans, rattling guardrails and making a beeline for anyone who even attempted to look at her. She even slapped ring announcer Joey Eastman around the head when the microphone wasn’t on. Her calling out of SHIMMER forum members was a wonderful moment – it was like when Jay and Silent Bob went round to teenagers’ houses to beat them up for talking crap about them online.
• Jessie McKay v Mia Yim was based on the spirit of competition. A nice change of pace following the previous match.
• Rate Tank 2.0 has arrived. She’s serious, focussed and awesome, though there are still some comedy elements in there so there isn’t a sudden change. Plus, her gear doesn’t show off how muscular she really is.
• Ray is such a smooth and graceful flier. Everything she does looks so effortless, and that cartwheel into a powerbomb is delicious.
• Kana & LuFisto v Hailey Hatred and Kalamity was a hard-hitting affair that did not follow the usual tag team formula of a wrestler being beat on before making the hot tag. It was frenetic, pretty even and hugely entertaining.
• Christina Von Eerie’s look, gear and physique still fascinates me. She’s so unique. Her match with Portia Perez was fine and they both worked very hard, but couldn’t really follow the preceding tag match.
• Allison Danger wrote a bucket list of wrestlers she wanted to face, and on volume 45, she ticked Ayako Hamada off the list. The moment of them getting a photo together was beautifully sweet. As for the match, there was comedy involved, but also some great action. Leva and Danger had their best match since becoming a team, and worked well with their joshi opponents.
• I’ve also transcribed part of the conversation Dave Prazak and Portia Perez shared over ReGeneration X’s Rocky Balboa and Apollo Creed outfits.
PP “Now, I get Danger’s costume, she’s Butterbean. Does that make Leva Bart Gunn?”
DP “This isn’t the Brawl For All, what are you talking about?”
PP “It’s Butterbean and Bart Gunn.”
DP “No, no no – it’s Rocky.”
PP “Maivia? That’s the worst Rocky costume that I’ve ever seen in my life.”
DP “No, the boxer.”
PP “Does that make Danger Faarooq?”
DP “No, it’s Apollo Creed and…”
PP “That’s not a very good Faarooq costume.”
PP “Are Hamada and Ayumi the Disciples Of Apocalypse?”
DP “No! They’re the Tag Team Champions; they’re skilled professional wrestlers.”
PP “Which one’s Crush? They forgot the face tattoo.”
• Mercedes Martinez has a new lease of a life as a heel in SHIMMER, and didn’t need to change much of her style to do it. Athena is also in a more natural situation as a babyface when you take her spectacular repertoire into account.
• They had a great brawl which did well to bed in their respective new positions, and saw some amazing moves on the outside like Athena delivering a draping DDT and an O-Face from the apron to the floor. Inside the ring, Mercedes hit a Fisherman Buster for a near-fall, and countered an O-Face into a back suplex, but Athena successfully nailed her finish for a great win.
• Cheerleader Melissa’s first SHIMMER Title defence was a good one, as she and Nicole Matthews put together a great contest with some genuinely heart-stopping near-falls. There was some proper drama when Portia Perez interfered in the match after an errant Melissa missile dropkick wiped out referee Bryce Remsburg after Matthews pulled him in front of her.
Match of the Night
Hailey Hatred & Kalamity v LuFisto & Kana
Kana & Hatred started out with speed and attempts at kicks, followed by student Kalamity facing teacher LuFisto, which was an exchange of solid forearms, leg kicks and slaps. These two were holding absolutely nothing back. Kana and LuFisto took advantage with a great stunner/dropkick combination on Kalamity, with Kana following up with hard kicks and a camel clutch. A chinbreaker by Kalamity on LuFisto freed her up to tag Hatred, and the tall Ohioan took control. However, Kalamity’s return to the ring saw her come unstuck again, as her opponents’ speed seemed to be causing problems, but recovered to nail a spinebuster.
Some fantastic sequences followed with moves like T-bone suplexes, leg cradle suplexes, armbar attempts and top rope double stomps employed as the match reached its conclusion, with Hatred scoring the pin on LuFisto with a Liger Bomb. It’s not your standard formula tag team match that you would expect, but it was great to watch. Kana refused to shake the hands of the victors, while LuFisto did offer her hand in congratulations.
By the way, if it wasn’t for this match, Athena v Martinez would have taken this honour, as that was equally great.
This was the first SHIMMER tapings that I had not been present for since the middle of 2009, and it was a massive bummer to not be there, especially as the results came flooding in. However, it allows me to watch these DVDs with a fresh set of eyes and assess them with the added benefit of the commentary from Prazak and Perez, which was hilarious in parts, informative in others, but never boring. As a team, they have really gelled.
We get some stick for not criticising SHIMMER in the same way as other shows, but there is a simple reason – there is precious little to criticise. Some say there isn’t many storylines, but every contest has its own storyline, as exemplified by McKay v Yim. Wins lead to getting higher up the card and title opportunities. However, this also means that when there are hot-blooded programmes like with Athena v Martinez, they mean more as they stand out.
Even the promos – which used to be the falling down point of many wrestlers on the roster – have improved. None were cringeworthingly terrible, and a couple of them were nice surprises, like the one featuring Martinez and Amber Gertner, which helped to highlight the character change by the Latina Sensation.
The falling down point of the previous four shows was the massive roster, which was tightened for the tapings in March, and really benefited. Sure, there were 10 matches on the show, which may still be one too many, and even with cutting the wrestlers’ exits, the DVD is still 3 hours and 11 minutes, but it allowed for better pacing.
All of the debuts worked and were in the right place. O’Reilly and McKenzie made me smile with their antics, while Ray and Leon caused some proper reactions while I was sitting on my sofa, so even if you weren’t there, you can still get a sense of what it was like to be in attendance.
So I’ve been told, there is a lot more great stuff to come, so I’m looking forward to watching volume 46, which is on top on my “pile of women’s wrestling DVDs to watch” next to my TV. You can watch them both by ordering them from the SHIMMER website.
- Lee Burton