I’ve had a few days to knock up my thoughts on NCW: Femmes Fatales X from this past Saturday at the Centre St-Barthelemy in Montreal. A few days that have given me a little distance from the show, both mentally and physically (I’m now sitting back in my home over 3,200 miles away). I’m working from memory that has already been through the jet-lag wringer, so apologies if I’m a little vague with anything I struggle to remember clearly.

This was the first time that the NCW crew had decided to run a SHIMMER-style double taping, and I think there were some definite positives and definite negatives to the decision. On a positive note, I enjoyed the shows and got to see over 20 matches featuring talents from around the world – but on the other hand, the show felt different to the one I attended in March, and I wonder how much of that was due to the raised ticket prices possibly turning off local casual fans. Yes, there were lots of travelling fans (a good few having been at SHIMMER the weekend before), but the atmosphere was certainly lacking during the first taping especially, and the audience seemed far harder to rouse. Had FFX ended after the first taping, I think I’d have been disappointed, but luckily the second half of the show redeemed the day, both by producing better matches and by the crowd finally loosening up and reacting. I’m pretty certain that this double taping was an experiment rather than the new status quo at FF, and I’m sure that’s something that management will be looking at going into 2013.

As far as the shows were concerned, the match of the night was the cage match with LuFisto and Mercedes Martinez. As the match we all came to see, it didn’t disappoint as a spectacle. The cage was used smartly too – i.e. sparingly – so that when LuFisto was finally thrown into the cage and came up bloody, it really meant something. Saraya Knight entering the cage at the end to batter the bloodied LuFisto (and locking herself inside to do it) all worked magnificently, and with LuFisto’s #1 student Kalamity being the one to clear the cage, it seems set up for the next show either to have a double main event of Saraya vs LuFisto and Kalamity vs Mercedes, or double them up as a tag match. Speaking of Saraya, she was a major highlight, causing devastation wherever she went – she clobbered Cat Power in the first half, then ran through Mary Lee Rose and Sweet Cherrie (losing both by DQ due to deliberate low blows) on a path of rage. It’s always fun to see Saraya working in front of a new crowd, and she lapped it up – going for ringsiders and physically abusing staff and security. Montreal wrestling expert and FF staffer Pat Laprade was left face down, crying like a baby at the hands (and feet) of the SHIMMER Champion.

– Outside the cage match, probably my favourite match on the show was Hiroyo Matsumoto taking on Cherry Bomb. Cherry was excellent here, working heel against the impossible-to-hate Matsumoto. Dramatic, and one of the best performances I’ve seen from Cherry. Big congrats. Matsumoto vs LuFisto from the first half, by the way, for my money wasn’t as good a match as Matsumoto vs Cherry, but it was filled with lovely character work from both competitors.

– Was interesting to see the Femmes Fatales who went to the SHIMMER pre-show back in their home environments a week later – and as you might expect, they’re much more comfortable in their own back yard. Sweet Cherrie, for example, is someone who thrives off crowd support, and she was much more fun to watch here than in front of a crowd who didn’t “get” her yet. Disappointingly, I thought Pink Flash Kira had a poor show. She seemed out of her depth against Mercedes Martinez on the first half – a step behind in what should’ve been a showcase match for her. Not sure what it was, but after being fairly anonymous at SHIMMER, this was a surprisingly dispiriting showing back on home turf. Even against Portia Perez on the second half, Kira looked leaden. There is potential in Kira though – she just needs to go back and work on her weaknesses – she’s still young, and in LuFisto she’s got a heck of a teacher. Angie Skye though, had a really strong showing, I thought. Her duo with Kath Von Goth was very fun, and Skye looked good in both the four way and singles matches with Cheerleader Melissa. She definitely had a good couple of weeks.

Kalamity’s performances were undeniably strong – producing two good matches and two good title defences. Not going to lie, it was weird to see Kellie Skater, who had spent the last weekend at SHIMMER basically turn babyface and come within inches of becoming SHIMMER champion one week later being the usual heel Skater character, using the protein shaker for an advantage and so-on. To be fair to Skater though, she busted her ass – and in fact, probably came close to *actually* busting her ass on Kalamity’s finisher (Kalamity Driver through two opened chairs – OUCH!). Kalamity vs Athena on show 2 was also strong.

Courtney Rush bounced back from her “Worst Day Ever” at FFIX to rack up two back-to-back wins over Portia Perez and Ryo Mizunami. She appears to be headed up the card.

– Mizunami continued to impress, not only vs Rush but also in the three way with Ontarians Leah Von Dutch and Xandra Bale. Simple story in that one, in that the two blond Canadians tried to team up to take out the tank-like Mizunami, but Mizunami was having none of it, en route to victory. Good stuff.

– France’s X-Cute Sweet had a good debut, first in a four way title eliminator, and then in a win over Sassy Stephie. X-Cute is different and a little bit wacky. We liked that.

– Didn’t really understand the story as to why Midianne turned on Missy, or why she was blowing a whistle during show 2. To be honest, don’t really understand the Missy character other than that she’s a female version of Raven. It’s an interesting idea, but I don’t know enough of her backstory.

– The pre-show match was better than anything at SHIMMER’s pre-show the week before. Serphantina seemed like she may have flip-flopped between babyface and heel a bit during the match (still not sure), but she’s got a good look and worked well. Jewells Malone struck me as Baby Beth Phoenix, and that can only be a good thing. I’d like to see more of her.

– It’s difficult to really rate FFX – as a double taping, it lacks the breadth of star-power that SHIMMER has, but equally this felt like quite a different show than the show I watched in March (FFVIII) due to the length and the pacing. All I can say is that after a slow start, the momentum built well through the second half of the show to a superb ending which sets up stuff for 2013. Can’t hate that. Recommendation to pick up on DVD when it comes out, and depending on how it’s released, the second half especially.

– Stew Allen

William says:

This was my 2nd time at FF, the July show sold me on coming back. After attending SHIMMER back in March I thought it would be a good idea to conserve my energy during the first show, perhaps others did the same. Those double tapings are gruelling! However I think I prefer the double taping because then I get to see them wrestle twice, as opportunities to see a lot of the talents are limited.