411’s SHIMMER Women Athletes House Show Report – 4.26.08
SHIMMER: Women Athletes taped Volumes 17 and 18 of its DVD series on April 26, 2008 at the Eagles’ Club in Berwyn, Illinois. The show was sold out roughly two months in advance, which put attendance at around 250 fans. The crowd was lively if not a bit unorthodox in its reactions, and it included representatives from all over the world, including but not limited to New York, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and the United Kingdom.
Ring announcer Joey Eastman, after missing Volumes 14, 15, and 16, made his return to a warm reception.
The in-ring action began with a SPARKLE dark match, in which local wrestlers Dan Lawrence and Joey McIntyre (Wasn’t that the name of one of the New Kids on the Block?) beat two wrestlers whose names I didn’t catch. The sad thing is tjat at least one of said anonymous wrestlers was also in the last taping’s pre-show tag match, and I haven’t been able to figure out what he’s called on either occasion. Oh well.
In a match taped exclusively for viewing on SHIMMERwrestling.com, Allison Danger defeated Cat Power. Cat was billed as being from Windsor, Ontario and was making her SHIMMER debut here. She has a weight and size advantage over most members of the roster, which will help her stand out if she sticks around. Danger dispatched Cat relatively quickly with a neckbreaker. The execution of the moves here wasn’t bad at all, but it didn’t do a heck of a lot in terms of getting the crowd going.
A new compilation of SHIMMER highlights was played on the big screen with the theme of the video being “American Joshi.” It’ll probably be up on YouTube soon if it isn’t there already. After the video wrapped up, the DVD tapings proper began.
1.) In the opener, Jetta and Rain defeated the debuting team of Danyah and “Girl Dynamite” Jennifer Blake. Danyah and Blake are two more Canadian competitors who were making their first appearance with the company. After they teamed together in a six woman tag on Volume 16, it now looks like Jetta, Rain, and Lacey are officially a Freebirds-esque unit. Everybody looked pretty good here, and, oddly enough, some of Jetta and Rain’s double teaming looked better than some of Lacey and Rain’s tandem moves. Blake hit a pretty scary move about halfway through the match, sitting Rain in a chair on the floor and then giving her a huge dropkick. There are no mats in the Eagles’ Club, so everybody involved in that spot hit nothing but hardwood floor. The finish was also fairly innovative. Rain was in the ring with one of the babyfaces when Jetta got a blind tag. Jetta rushed the face from behind and shoved her in to a lungblower-style jawbreaker (a “Codebreaker”) from Rain. This sent the face falling backwards in to Jetta’s finisher, which is a straightjacket lungblower rolled in to Jinsei Shinzaki’s Heavenly Lock. All in all, a solid opener.
2.) Shark Girl defeated Nicole Matthews. Shark Girl is Daffney, essentially working as the female version of Shark Boy. She’s done the gimmick in other promotions in the past, and I’d assume that there will be some explanation given in commentary as to why Daff has vanished from SHIMMER and Sharky has appeared. It probably has something to do either with Daffney’s poor win/loss record or her perpetually injured knee. (Daffney was hanging out around the venue after the show and wearing a knee brace/limping despite no apparent problems with her legs during her two matches.) Anyway, this was probably Daffney’s best match in SHIMMER so far, and Matthews looked good as a singles competitor after having previously been half of a tag team with the unfortunately absent Portia Perez.
3.) The Experience of Lexie Fyfe and Malia Hosaka defeated Ashley Lane and Nevaeh. This was Nevaeh’s debut and Lane’s second taping with the company. The two almost came off as a female version of the Rock n’ Roll Express in terms of their gimmick, as they were the attractive, undersized babyfaces to the menacing veteran heels of Hoska and Fyfe. And, yes, Lexie did get plenty of “Hillary” chants. This was a pretty standard tag team affair, competently worked but nothing that left a lasting impression.
4.) In a rematch from Volume 16, Amber O’ Neal bested Lorelei Lee. On early SHIMMER volumes, Lee was brought in without a lot of experience and looked pretty bad, but the tide is beginning to turn. These two worked very well together, and Lee has added a ton of flashy moves to her offense. Fortunately, they all hit, minus one small misfire in which she came up short trying a handspring elbow in the corner, landing on her feet about six inches away from her opponent. She was smart enough to just turn around and forearm Amber in the face, though. Eventually, O’ Neal got the win with a SWANK variation of the backslide which I had never seen before. She managed to contort her body in such a way that Lorelei was in the traditional backslide position with the difference being that Amber was bent in half and placing her full body weight on Lee’s backside. A lot of people in the crowd were taken aback by how good this was compared to the women’s other matches in the company, and I’d like to see them finish off the series with a third encounter.
5.) Daizee Haze defeated Cindy Rogers. There was a lot of comedy early, with Rogers stealing Haze’s flowers and Daizee stealing Cindy’s leather jacket. When things got going, Rogers targeted Haze’s knee and did a good job of working it over with a style very similar to what she used in her excellent two out of three falls match with Allison Danger on Volume 14. The highlight of the match was Cindy getting the Haze in to the Tree of Joey Lawrence (Woah!) and Daizee reversing it in to a swinging Daizee Cutter en route to picking up the victory. Rogers continues to look very good, but it seems like the main event scene is too cluttered for her to be anything other than JTTS at the moment.
6.) Ariel beat the Amazing Kong. The building erupted with “KONG!” chants the second the TNA Champion walked through the curtain, but Ariel is so beloved by the Berwyn crowd that, after about ten seconds of “Kong is going to kill you!” catcalls, the crowd got behind the Portuguese Princess and was chanting her name the rest of the way. The beginning of this was what you would expect from a match between these two, with poor Ariel being brutalized and periodically hitting a couple of good looking comeback moves. Throughout the match, Kong was having issues with referee Laura Mattano, including Mattano at one point preventing the behemoth from using a chair. The tension culminated in Kong striking and powerbombing Mattano. After that occurred, senior official Bryce Remsburg got on the mic and announced Ariel as the winner by DQ. He also stated that, if Kong touches an official again, she will be fined and suspended.
7.) Mercedes Martinez made her return to SHIMMER competition after an absence of roughly one year. She took on Wesna Busic, a highly touted European wrestler making her debut with the company. This was a very hard hitting match, with each woman laying in big chops, kicks, and forearms. It was immediately apparent that Wesna will be able to fit in with the company’s top tier of Kong, Stock, Lacey, Del Rey, and Melissa. Mercedes picked up the victory with her trademark fisherman buster, and the two woman shook hands afterwards, apparently placing Ms. Busic on the babyface side of the locker room.
After the match, Martinez was interviewed by Becky Bayless and opined that, because she is the only person to have beaten Sara Del Rey and because she was not involved in the title tournament, she should receive a shot at the championship.
8.) Sarah Stock defeated Lacey. Stock worked exclusively against faces after her debut with the company but was always heavily cheered, and now it appears that she’s being treated as an outright technico. The two did some lucha-style matwork early, and I wish they’d gone a bit longer with that, as Lacey did a better job of keeping up with Stock in that department than anybody else in SHIMMER has. This is as good as you would expect from the two, though probably a step below what each of the women has done against Del Rey. Eventually Stock’s Tiger Driver put Lacey away after being teased a few times.
9.) In the main event of Volume 17, Cheerleader Melissa and MsChif defeated the Dangerous Angels of SHIMMER Champion Sara Del Rey and Allison Danger in tag team action. The crowd favored MelissChif early on, so the wrestlers went with it, as the Angels subtly heeled it up for the rest of the match. The first Melissa/Del Rey interaction of the night had some odd MMA overtones, as they went in to the clutch and the guard position for about fifteen seconds before scrapping that plan and trading straight pro wrestling holds. There were the periods during which each team got the heat on the other, after which we got a very exciting climax. The big news during the bout was not actually the finish. Instead, it was a visionary pinfall, as MsChif at one point hit Del Rey with her Desecrator (a DDT variant) and covered her behind the referee’s back for roughly ten seconds. When the official did finally begin counting, the champ was able to get out at two. The match continued from there, with Danger and Melissa winding up in the ring and the Cheerleader landing an Air Raid Crash to pin Allison.
Intermission. The highlight was Joey Eastman announcing that tickets for the next taping were on sale and then having to get back on the microphone a few minutes later to explain that the company was in fact NOT re-selling the tickets which had already been ordered online, as apparently there were questions to that effect. Well, nobody ever accused wrestling fans of being the brightest lot.
1.) Shark Girl beat Amber O’ Neal. This was a pretty standard “post-intermission” match with a lot of comedy and inoffensive if basic wrestling. Again, Daffney looked much better than she has in her prior SHIMMER outings. She busted out the old Trish Stratus “Matrix” spot and followed it up with a Thesz Press. I was going to make a joke about how Shark Boy knocks off Steve Austin and how Shark Girl apparently knocks off Trish, but then Daff hit a stunner to pick up the victory, so I guess they both emulate Stone Cold.
MsChif got some in-ring promo time with Becky Bayless. By SHIMMER standards, it was a pretty good little interview. ‘Chif referred to her visionary fall over Del Rey on the previous volume and challenged her to a title match. Death Rey came out and responded, giving us our main event for the evening.
2.) Nicole Matthews defeated Lorelei Lee. This wasn’t quite as good or as heated as O’ Neal/Lee from the prior Volume, but Lorelei’s fundamentals looked better, and Matthews again proved that she’s a pretty solid little singles competitor. I wanted to see Lee get the victory given her recent improvement, but Matthews wound up taking it with a Roll of the Dice.
3.) Daizee Haze pinned Jetta. As with the Cindy Rogers match and as with many of Jetta’s matches, there was a lot of comedy-based stalling built on plush flowers being stolen and tossed around. It actually worked to get Jetta a good deal of legitimate crowd heat, more so than many of the other heels on the card, who get respectful receptions when they walk out through the curtain and are then booed because it’s what the audience knows it’s what they’re supposed to do. When they started wrestling, Jetta did a bunch of wacky mat tricks right out of World of Sport. This caused one fan to scream, “Hey, look, Colt Cabana turned in to a fat British girl!” This comment ignores the fact that a.) Jetta isn’t fat and b.) she probably didn’t learn any of those moves from watching Colt Cabana. Epic fail, young fan, epic fail. Jetta was pinned when she got hit with Haze’s heart punch, avoided the subsequent Yakuza kick, but did not avoid a HARD Mind Trip.
Becky Bayless came back out, and for some reason she was wearing a different outfit than what she wore two segments ago. She interviewed Allison Danger, who entered the ring with her arm in a makeshift sling. She claimed that the Air Raid Crash from Melissa at the end of Volume 17 broke her collarbone and that, at least for the time being, she would be ending her tenure as an in-ring competitor in SHIMMER. At the time, I had no clue whether the injury was legitimate, but the promotion released information after the show which made it clear that Danger actually did fracture the bone.
4.) The Experience defeated Jennifer Blake and Danyah. We got another idiotic fan comment during this one, with a couple of guys directing a “USA” chant at Hosaka despite the fact that she’s American and her opponents were Canadian. Even the rest of the crowd, who were booing the heels, had to shout down the geographically challenged audience members on that one. It was during this match that I realized that Danyah is insane . . . in a good way. She’s got this over the top frenetic energy and long curly hair that bounces all over the place, which makes her an awesome choice for standing on the apron and waiting for a hot tag and making comebacks. Blake looked pretty good as well, landing a huge tope suicida, which was probably the best version of the move that I’ve ever seen executed by a woman who was neither Mexican nor Japanese. Fyfe teased a dive after that, and, if you think she actually delivered on it, you’ve probably never seen her wrestle. Ultimately, the veterans put away the younger wrestlers with their double team gordbuster, which I believe they hit on Blake. Whoever took the move, she got up far higher than I’d see anybody get up for that particular finish.
5.) Ariel beat Cat Power. With Ariel’s crowd response after the Kong match, I figured that this would be essentially a squash for her. However, Power got a lot more offense than expected, even though she was eventually put away with the Dariel. This was a bit better than the prior Power match of the evening.
6.) Mercedes Martinez came out on top against Cindy Rogers. This probably wasn’t as good as it could have been, as it looked like Martinez was taking things a bit easy after what had to have been an exhausting match with Wesna. It wasn’t bad, but it was a level or two below what I normally expect from Mercedes. I can understand holding back, though, given the Volume 17 encounter and the fact that there were still four matches coming on this show which shouldn’t have been upstaged.
7.) Ashley Lane and Neveah upset the Minnesota Homewrecking Crew of Lacey and Rain. Jetta was out with her fellow Homewreckers early on but got sent to the back by the taunts of the fans, which aggravated her Mind Trip-induced headache. (At one point, after being told to shut up, the fans literally just started chanting the word “Noise!”) Lane and Neveah, despite being inexperienced compared to their opponents, didn’t look out of place at all and put on a pretty fun little match all things considered. Their victory came with a combination flatliner/kick. The crowd reaction wasn’t as big as I expected, probably because it was starting to get a little late at this point.
8.) The Amazing Kong defeated Wesna Busic. Well, any lack of energy on the part of the fans was cured when Kong came out for her second match of the evening. These two DRILLED each other with kicks, chops, and fists. (The key being that they were primarily hitting each other in safe places, as opposed to far too many indy wrestlers today who enjoy jacking each other in the face or over the head.) They also briefly played to the story from Kong’s last match, as she confronted referee Andy Long but thought better of laying her hands on him. Eventually the two did a pretty rockin’ finish, as Busic went for a somersault body block but got snatched from midair and hit with the sit-out powerbomb. That gave Kong the victory.
9.) In a rematch from the first round of the SHIMMER Title tournament, Cheerleader Melissa defeated Sarah Stock. Melissa is now the only person other than Sara Del Rey to have beaten Stock in SHIMMER competition. The crowd was very high on both of these wrestlers and had a hard time figuring out who to cheer. I know a lot of people who loved the first encounter between these two. I thought that it was good for the time that it was given but too short to be anything epic. This match fixed that problem, as they wrestled for between fifteen and twenty minutes and had a very fun back and forth affair. In fact, this may well have been the best match of the entire evening. Melissa picked up the victory with the Kudoh Driver, which has still earned her a three count every time that she has used it in this promotion. Hopefully two high profile victories in two volumes means that Melissa will be receiving her first shot at the SHIMMER Title before the end of the year.
10.) MsChif defeated Sara Del Rey to become the NEW SHIMMER Champion in an excellent match. Del Rey continued to play heel after receiving some light boos in the main event of Volume 17. She made it clear that she wasn’t to be cheered from the very beginning, cutting off “Final Countdown” and therefore the audience’s reaction to the song before the lyrics could even kick in. After some good stuff on the mat early (including the now-traditional game of “How many ways can you bend MsChif?”), the match opened up in to some intense reversals and finisher attempts. At one point, ‘Chif was sitting on her opponent’s back and preparing for the Code Green/Yoshi Tonic, only for Death Rey to block the move and somehow maneuver the challenger in to position for the Royal Butterfly. She never got the hold locked on, but the visual of the two jockeying for position was very impressive. Ultimately, a Royal Butterfly attempt was blocked and turned in to the Desecrator for the pinfall and the title change. The three count didn’t get as big of a pop as I would have expected, probably because a lot of people were expecting Del Rey to kick out and got caught off guard. I know that I certainly did, as I figured Sara’s title reign would include rematches with Kong and Stock and a defense against Martinez before wrapping up. However, once it set in that there actually was a new champion, MsChif got a very strong reaction to close the show.
Overall, this was another highly enjoyable set of tapings from SHIMMER, and the two DVDs will be worth going out of your way to purchase. Del Rey/MsChif, Stock/Melissa, Dangerous Angels/MelissChif, and Stock/Lacey maintained the high standards that have been set for the company’s main events on recent shows, and there are also some hidden gems on the newest volumes in the form of O’ Neal/Lee and Ariel/Kong. On top of that, newer faces like Lane and Jetta continue to come in to their own, while the promotion’s commitment to bringing in fresh talent means that the roster never feels stale. If there was a downside to the evening, I’d say that it was the absence of several of the midcard acts that the Berwyn faithful have come to enjoy in recent months, including Eden Black (out with a shoulder injury), Portia Perez (booked on a Canadian tour), Josie, Serena Deeb, and Alexa Thatcher. However, the promotion did a fine job of plugging the holes that these women left, and a fun time was had by all I spoke with who made it out to the Eagles’ Club.
SHIMMER has announced that their next set of tapings will be held on Saturday, July 5 at the Eagles’ Club in Berwyn, Illinois. Assuming that they all weren’t snatched up at last night’s event, tickets for that show can be purchased at SHIMMERwrestling.com. Also, the recently completed Volumes 15 and 16 of the SHIMMER DVD series were available in limited quantities at the tapings. I got my copies, and I would assume that you will be able to get yours from ROHwrestling.com within the next week.