Live SHIMMER Volume 23 and 24 Results
On Saturday, May 2, 2009, SHIMMER Women Athletes returned to the Eagles’ Club in Berwyn, Illinois to tape Volumes 23 and 24 for their DVD series. This was the first SHIMMER show since October 2009, and it was the promotion’s first day of an ambitious two-day, four DVD marathon taping session. Here are all of the results from May 2:
SPARKLE Dark Matches
Match A: T.D. pinned Jeff Brooks. This was a quick, quick match, though the guys worked at a breakneck pace and it felt like each one got in every move in his arsenal. In some ways, it felt like they were doing too much for a dark match, especially when Brooks busted out a running standing shooting star press. Ultimately, T.D. won with a move that I completely missed, as I was briefly distracted by the people who were still filing in to the building.
Match B: Silas Young and Dan Lawrence defeated Jordan McIntyre and Knight Wagner. Again, this was a fairly quick yet fast-paced match. It was primarily built around McIntyre and Knight getting heat on Lawrence. Unfortunately for Dan, after getting beaten up by his opponents for a good long while, he nearly KILLED himself on the quebrada that set up the hot tag. It looked we could have had a Hayabusa-esque situation had Lawrence not gotten his arms down to catch himself. Young then came in and finished the match with a Fit Finlay roll followed up immediately by a split-legged moonsault. Young looked leagues above the majority of the guys who work in these dark matches, which I suppose is not surprising when you consider the fact that he’s got experience in WWE developmental.
Match C: Rachel Summerlyn & Rana Von Tosh beat Sassy Stephy & Kimberly Kash. The cameras were out for this one, so, even though it was technically “dark,” we might see it as a DVD extra or a YouTube release down the road. Summerlyn and Stephy are returning to the world of SPARKLE matches after making their debuts at the October tapings. Kash was making her debut with the company, and Von Tosh is the first graduate of the SHIMMER training school. (The SHIMMER training school, for those wondering, is a set of classes specifically for women taught by Daizee Haze out of the same facility the ROH school uses.) Von Tosh was in early, and everything she did was very basic and well-executed, which is a good sign for somebody just getting out of wrestling school. In fact, she looked significantly better than comparative veteran Summerlyn, who had several mistimed spots with Kash. Rana got to make the comeback as well, and she again kept it basic but did a good job in the execution of all her basic spots. The finish came when Summerlyn hit a BRUTAL blindside tackle on Kash (brutal as in, “You know wrestling is a work, right Rachel?”) and took her out of the ring. Stephy then attempted to hit Rana with her “Kiss My Sass” finisher, but the rookie turned it in to a rollup for the three count. Overall, I’d say that Von Tosh looked SIGNIFICANTLY better than ROH school students with the same level of experience that I’ve seen wrestle, both in terms of her physical appearance and in terms of her in-ring peformance.
Taped for SHIMMER Volume 23
The show opened with a “live” video from the parking lot being played on the big screen. An interviewer found indy worker Annie Social entering the building, even though she was not scheduled to wrestler. Social explained that she was coming to SHIMMER as one of two new individuals issued a managers license by promotion prior to this set of tapings. She further stated that she was looking for somebody that she could take to the top of the promotion.
Match #1: Nikki Roxx downed Cat Power. Power came out in an outfit that was her take on Halle Berry’s Catwoman movie and got balls of yarn thrown at her by the audience. I think that the idea was for them to unravel like streamers in the air, but that didn’t quite happen. The crowd was in to both women big time, and they had an encounter that was perfectly acceptable for the opener on a long show. Ultimately, Nikki got the completely clean win with her Barbie Crusher.
Match #2: Amber O’ Neal defeated to debuting Tenille. Tenille is a recent graduate of Lance Storm’s wrestling school who has competed in her native Australia since her “graduation.” As anybody who has watched her in SHIMMER knows, O’ Neal is a master of interacting with the crowd, and this match was no exception. The impressive part of the match was that Tenille not only looked good in executing all of her moves but also held her own when it came to responding to Amber’s taunts and insults of the crowd. That’s the kind of thing that a lot of new wrestlers don’t get right out of the gate, even though it’s probably just as important (if not moreso) than any of the athletic aspects of wrestling. Everything was going very smoothly until the finish. Amber uses a unique bridging backslide to beat her opponents, and poor Tenille just couldn’t seem to get it right. Her shoulders were nowhere near down on the initial backslide portion of the move, and the situation got even worse when O’ Neal went to bridge over. The two women just laid in a knot on the mat for a while until the referee finally informed Amber that her opponent’s shoulders were not down. O’ Neal was not happy, so she slapped Tenille HARD a few times and then went for the move again. It still wasn’t perfect, but it looked close enough to an actual pinning combination this time that the ref was able to count the three. I almost hope that this gets edited on the DVD release, as Tenille did a great job other than the finish, and it would be a shame if that’s what everybody’s first impression of her winds up being.
Match #3: Daffney was victorious against Melanie Cruise. Cruise was in dark matches on the last set up tapings and was stepping up to the main SHIMMER show on tonight’s tapings. Daffney looked better in this match than she did in her initial SHIMMER offerings, countering Cruise’s largely power-based offense with some impressive bridges and other evasive maneuvers. The focal point of the match was actually Annie Social coming out to the ring and taking notes, presumably scouting one or both of the wrestlers. Ultimately, Daffney got the win with a jawbreaker on to her shin. After the bell, Social came in to the ring and helped Cruise to the back. This did not play in to any storylines later in the day, so it remains to be seen whether an association between the two is in the works.
Match #4: Sara Del Rey pinned Madison Eagles. This match ran around ten minutes and was clearly designed to be the beginning of turning Eagles in to a legitimate main event competitor in SHIMMER. It ran just over ten minutes, and the offense was probably split fifty-fifty. Eagles, who is an eight year veteran of wrestling but is just now getting her due in the United States, really did look like she “belonged” in there against Death Rey. However, her going toe-to-toe with Del Rey was not quite enough to get her away from the Royal Butterfly, which put her down for the three count.
Match #5: LuFisto punked out Kelly Skater. Skater is another Australian wrestler who was making her debut with SHIMMER. She came out and established herself as a heel on the microphone, challenging anybody in the back to accept her open challenge. The crowd immediately started chanting for Amazing Kong, but they got LuFisto instead. The audience was happy to see LuFi, as her appearance was a bit of a surprise given that she has recently discussed having trouble getting in to the United States on her MySpace blog. The Montreal-based wrestler gave Skater a bit of offense but was largely dominant, hitting big moves like her diving cannonball in the corner and finishing the bout with a burning hammer. She didn’t have an opportunity to show much, but Skater appeared to be a solid performer based on this match.
Match #6: Nicole Matthews wrestled Daizee Haze to a twenty minute time limit draw. You could tell that they were going long early, because the first eight minutes of the match was nothing but mat wrestling. However, I will say that it was GOOD mat wrestling. Sometimes while watching mat wrestling, you can tell that it has just been designed to kill time. Yet, in this case, it served a higher purpose, establishing Nicole as being on Daizee’s level and providing several nice counters for the crowd. Things got out of mat mode when Matthews managed to lift Haze up and drop her stomach first over the top rope. The Canadian Ninja dominated for quite a while after that, thought he Flower Powered performer ultimately got back in to her groove and landed a big plancha from the top rope to the floor. When things got back in to the ring, the two opened up on each other with big highspots designed to bring the match to an end. Nicole landed a MASSIVE missile dropkick that took her roughly three-quarters of the way across the ring, and, not that long thereafter, she fired off a big superplex as well. Not to be outdone, Daizee came back with her Heart Punch/Yakuza Kick combo, though the young British Columbian surprised the crowd by kicking out. With less than a minute left in the match, the two wound up in series of cradle reversals which lasted until the time limit expired. The crowd and Haze wanted five more minutes, but Nicole, ever the heel, walked off. Matthews looked absolutely fantastic here, definitely like somebody who should be mixing it up in the promotion’s top matches.
Match #7: Amazing Kong put down Mercedes Martinez. Kong’s big SHIMMER matches have a bit of a formula to them, as she beats down her opponent for a while, only for the opponent to fire up and reel off some big moves before the two ultimately trade finishers until it’s time for the match to end. However, there’s nothing wrong with a match following a formula so long as the formula works, and it absolutely worked here. Mercedes landed a series of three intense Yakuza kicks in the corner, her Saito suplex, and even her fisherman buster, but none of them were enough to put the former TNA Women’s Champion out of commission. Kong responded with many of her signature moves, including two large powerbombs and the Implant Buster. Martinez got her hand on the ropes after the first powerbomb, but the second one allowed the Amazing one to get the three count. This was Kong’s best SHIMMER showing in a while, as recently she’s been stuck squashing the Lorelei Lees and Rachel Summerlyns of the world.
Allison Danger came out for an in-ring interview. This was her return to the promotion after giving birth a couple of months ago. She came out looking exactly like you would expect a new mother to look, wearing the baggiest sweatsuit in existence. The fans were in to Danger, who began yelling at Portia Perez to build up their Volume 24 street fight. Not surprisingly, Portia made her way out to the ring, cookie in hand. Perez claimed that she was on the way up while Danger’s career was coming to an end, and things escalated until the two women began brawling. The locker room emptied to separate them in typical pro wrestling fashion.
Match #9: Ashley Lane & Neveah retained their SHIMMER Tag Team Titles in a best two out of three falls match against the International Home Wrecking Crew of Jetta and Rain. Jetta and Rain came out to the ring wearing facemasks, claiming that they were afraid of catching swine flu from all of the pigs in the crowd. Genius. The first fall went rather quickly, as LACEY~! made her return to the promotion by doing an run-in and reversing a pinfall behind the referee’s back to allow the Homewrecking Crew to get the first three count. The referee saw Lacey at ringside after counting the fall, and he tried to eject her, but Lacey responded by producing a managers license from her back pocket. Yes, she had a physical license to display . . . awesome. Fall two ran a little bit longer, and Lacey interfered regularly as one would expect. Of course, this ultimately backfired, as when Lacey got up on to the ring apron while Rain was working with Ashley Lane, Neveah charged the ring to nail Lacey and send her crashing to the floor. Jetta left her corner to go check on Lacey, and, with the other two Homewreckers distracted, Lane was able to pin Rain. The interference continued in fall number three, and it built to Jetta getting a chain handed to her. The chain allowed Rain and Jetta to get the decisive fall on the Ohio girls, and it looked like we had new champions . . . but wait! Referee PJ Drummond ran in to inform the ref officiating the match of the chicanery, which lead to the bout being restarted once the chain was discovered. Immediately after the match was restarted, Lane and Neveah hit their Yakuza kick/STO combination move and got the victory.
Match #8: Wesna Busic was able to pin Cheerleader Melissa due to the interference of Annie Social. These two have had several hard hitting matches in Europe for the Chickfight promotion, and this was their first showdown in a SHIMMER ring. Chickfight did allow SHIMMER to use clips of their earlier matches in a video package hyping up the bout, which hopefully makes it on to the Volume 23 DVD release. This was one of the most intense bouts that SHIMMER has seen in a while, as the two women hit each other as hard as you’ll see two female pro wrestlers hitting one another. One of the big spots was Melissa and Wesna trading forearms in the middle of the ring, only for both of them to fall to a knee and begin exchanging slaps. They then fell again and began trading kicks to the face from prone positions on the mat. Things went to the outside for a little while, and both women used the guardrails to their advantage. The Cheerleader was particularly brutal with the steel, as she hung Busic over one piece of railing and then repeatedly swung another in to the back of the Croatian Panther. Eventually Annie Social strutted down to ringside, and Melissa began yelling at her. The two went nose to nose, and the distraction allowed Wesna to plant Melissa with the CV4 Driver and pick up the somewhat-tainted victory. Busic and Social shook hands after the match, and I swear Wesna’s level of charisma immediately increased ten thousand-fold when she was allowed to start overtly acting as a heel.
Match #10: MsChif successful defended the SHIMMER Title against Serena Deeb. Before the match, we got a video package of Deeb working her way up the company’s cards from the opening match, which was the entire story behind this bout. Serena legitimately started out as one of the lowest of the low in the promotion and improved to the point that she was a viable main eventer, setting up this title shot after she defeated Sara Del Rey in singles competition on the last set of tapings. She continued to look like a top notch performer in this match against MsChif, with her main spots being a Deeb arm drag on to the arena floor and a big spear which sent ‘Chif tumbling through the ropes and down again to the floor. When Serena got the champion back in to the ring after the spear, she got a count of 2.9. Not long thereafter, MsChif went for her Desecrator DDT. Deeb rolled through the first attempt at the move, but ‘Chif hung on and hit the DDT immediately after the roll-through to retain her championship. The match was shorter than I would’ve expected for a title bout (just over ten minutes) but was a solid outing for both women and the natural progression of Deeb’s storyline. I personally would have liked to see her win to bring the angle to its natural conclusion. However, I’m afraid that there might have been a backlash against her if she did pick up the title, given that fans in the modern era oftentimes don’t react well to the old school, clean cut, white meat babyface.
After the bell, Sara Del Rey ran in and went face-to-face with MsChif. It looked like things were going to get physical, but then Amazing Kong made an appearance and also went nose-to-nose with ‘Chif. The two heels cooperated in laying out the champion, with Cheerleader Melissa running in with a chair for the save.
Taped for SHIMMER Volume 24
Match #1: Kelly Skater pinned Jessie McKay. McKay is the regular tag team partner of Madison Eagles, though there was no apparent association between the two tonight, nor were they wearing their team gear . . . so perhaps the idea is now to use them as singles wrestlers. Skater and McKay are in all likelihood familiar with one another from the Australian wrestling scene, and they wrestled like two opponents who had been in with each other before. The highlight of the match was McKay’s beautiful delayed rana from the corner, though it was Skater who picked up the victory with a handful of tights on a rollup.
Match #2: The Experience of Lexie Fyfe & Malia Hosaka defeated Rana Von Tosh & Tenille. At the top of the show, we got a video promo from Fyfe and Hosaka in which they indicated their disgust for the relative rookies. The Experience did a good job of getting the younger wrestlers through a match that went past the ten minute mark, though there was some miscommunication towards the end which left a bad taste in some fans’ mouths. First of all, there was a weird spot in which Von Tosh got angry with the heels’ tactics and distracted the referee, though absolutely nothing came of it . . . no additional double teaming, nothing. Then, after the hot tag, the younger wrestlers were making their comeback and had some trouble doing so. First of all, it looked like they were setting one of the heels up for a double Irish whip, and the only thing which it lead to was a Rana back elbow as opposed to an actual double team move. Then they tried to the spot again, and it looked like Tenille had no clue what was going on while Von Tosh ran forward for what I think she assumed was going to be a double team clothesline. Tenille did not run forward with her, and the result was a one-woman clothesline which made zero contact. After that, it was not long at all before the Experience hit their double team gordbuster and picked up the win. As with the Tenille match on the first volume, the younger duo looked really good until the finish, which is a shame since the finish is the part that fans will probably remember the most
Match #3: Jennifer Blake took out Amber O’ Neal. Jennifer Blake wrestled a different kind of match than what I’m used to seeing from her in SHIMMER. Normally she has all of these indy-riffic highspots like machine gun chops, suicide dives, and dropkicks on the floor that she seemingly HAS to get in, but tonight she skipped out all of those and, at least in my opinion, had a better match because of it. The whole match was built around Amber lollygagging and Girl Dynamite having to work to get her opponent in to gear. The finish came when Amber walked in to a Blake superkick.
Match #4: Mercedes Martinez beat Madison Eagles. This was similar to the Eagles/Del Rey match from the prior DVD taping in that you could tell throughout that Martinez was giving her opponent enough offense that Eagles would look like somebody on the rise, even if she did wind up getting pinned in the end. It absolutely worked too, based on my personal reaction and also the reaction of the crowd as a whole. After pinning Madison clean in the middle with the fisherman buster, Mercedes got on the mic and claimed it was an honor to have an opportunity to work with Eagles, saying that she could one day be a SHIMMER Champion. Whether she was legitimately moved or whether she is a good actor I do not know, but Madison’s reaction to the speech made it feel like a special moment.
Match #5: The International Homewrecking Crew of Rain and Jetta defeated the new tag team of Ariel and Nikki Roxx, collectively known as “Pretty Bitchin’.” Ariel and Nikki are legitimately good friends who came up in the Boston independents together, and that relationship has been played up in SHIMMER storylines in the past, so their teaming makes perfect sense. Lacey was out again with Rain and Jetta again, and the three have apparently decided that the Sprinkler is their new favorite dance. (For those of you who don’t know the Sprinkler, just YouTube it.) Jetta at one point applied a camel clutch to Ariel and did the Sprinkler while keeping the hold on, which was epic and resulted in me wanting to have her babies. Yes, I know that is biologically backwards. In any event, there was a long heat sequence on Ariel, and eventually Roxx came in and cleaned house. Nikki and Ariel hit the Barbie Crusher and the D’Ariel simultaneously, but Lacey distracted the referee and prevented us from seeing a double pinfall finish. Not that long thereafter, Jetta managed to get her lungblower on Ariel, which she followed up with Jinsei Shinzaki’s Heavenly Lock for the finish. With women tagging in and out, Lacey getting involved, and the referee trying to calm everybody down, it felt like this fell apart towards the end, but we still had some fun spots throughout.
Match #6: Serena Deeb picked up a victory over Cat Power. This was a good match in which to give Deeb some momentum back after losing in the title match on the last volume. The highlight was Deeb jumping up on to Cat’s thighs for a monkey flip, only for Cat to block the move and hold Serena in that position, walking her across the ring to drop her arm-first on the top rope. Cat POWER, indeed. I thought that would give us a good long heat sequence with Cat working over the arm, but Deeb came back within a couple of minutes and hit a spear for the victory.
Match #7: Daizee Haze pinned Nicole Matthews in a no time limit rematch from Volume 23. Daizee tried to run wild with her lucha spots early on, but she was having an off night and missed about three of them in a row. After that, the match slowed down, and both women looked significantly better. Matthews again dominated early on, at one point getting her opponent tied up in the Tree of Joey Lawrence . . . only for Haze to fight back with some kicks when Nicole tried to charge in. She followed that up with a Daizee Cutter from the Tree of Woe position, which, for a fleeting moment, made it look like we might have a Haze victory. However, Nicole escaped the pin attempt which followed that hold. Daizee maintained the upper hand and looked for the Heart Punch/Yakuza kick combo, but Nicole’s tag partner Portia Perez thwarted the move by running interference. Unfortunately, things backfired for the Canadian Ninjas, as Daizee fended off Porita and hit one of the better looking Mind Trips I’ve seen in a while to pick up the win. This wasn’t quite on par with the match from the previous volume, but it was close if you exclude the early miscues by Daizee.
Match #9: Portia Perez vanquished Allison Danger in their no disqualification street fight. This directly followed the prior match, as Danger ran in to save Daizee while she was being attacked by Perez. Since both women were in the ring anyway, we rang the bell and got the scheduled street fight underway. Danger was again wearing the baggiest clothing possible and looked like she was still carrying a bit of baby weight, but it didn’t seem to negatively impede her movement or her stamina at all. (Or, if it did, the two wrestlers did a good job of working around it.) Weapons abounded, including a cookie sheet, hockey stick, and the guardrails being used early on. We also saw a chair come in to play, which Portia got up close and personal with thanks to a Danger hanging neckbreaker on to the furniture. Perez responded by busting out the Playskool chain that she used to defeat Josie in her original heel turn way back on Volume 9, but Allison avoided the shot and hit an STO. Danger then decided to get her own, more menacing chain involved, but the Frickin’ Awesome Ontarian got the better of Allison applied a chokehold with the chain. That was all she wrote, as Danger passed out in the hold and lost the match. Some Canadian Ninja double-teaming followed the bout, but Daizee Haze ran in for the save.
Ashley Lane and Neveah did an in-ring promo. There was not much to this, as it was mainly used to establish the fact that the winners of tonight’s main event would be receiving a shot at Lane and Neveah’s Tag Team Titles on Volume 25. The highlight was Neveah’s one word response of “Wow” to the prospect of wrestling Amazing Kong and Sara Del Rey, which was then chanted at her by the crowd for the rest of the promo.
Match #10: Wesna Busic beat LuFisto, again due to the interference of Annie Social. This was a rematch from the two women’s encounter on Volume 23 of the DVD series, and this one may have been even more intense. The two beat each other senseless, including LuFi giving Busic a rana on the floor only to immediately pop up and alert a concerned crowd that, “I’m OK!” The brutality continued as Wesna sent the French Canadian in to the guardrails. Normally this wouldn’t be a noteworthy spot, as it happens all of the time in matches like this. However, it was notable here because something that I had never seen before. Normally, an individual hits the guardrail and stops. LuFisto, however, hit the rail and literally BOUNCED OFF. Sick. When things got back in to the ring, LuFi sent her opponent immediately back to the floor and went to a suicide dive. Unfortunately, referee Andy long tried to get out of the way by ducking down in front of LuFisto instead of just stepping to the side like a normal human being would do. Unfortunately, ‘Fisto caught her foot on him as she was flying out of the ring, and the whole spot turned in to a massive trainwreck with both women winding up in an uncomfortable-looking heap on the floor. This resulted in LuFisto yelling “I HATE YOU!” at Long at the top of her lungs and the crowd starting a “Fire Andy!” chant which was probably the most sustained and passionate chant of the evening. Fortunately, LuFisto made it things up to the crowd when she took Busic down with a REVERSE FREAKIN’ RANA. If there is one move that is guaranteed to make me mark out, it’s that one. Yet, before she could follow it up with the Burning Hammer, Annie Social got involved by grabbing LuFi’s leg. This distracted her just long enough for Busic to hit the CV4 Driver for the tainted victory.
Match #11: Sara Del Rey & Amazing Kong defeated Cheerleader Melissa & MsChif. It was fun to watch Kong in this match because, as I noted before, her singles matches have started to fit in to a certain formula, and this helped to show that she is still a more than capable performer even when she breaks out of that mold. The majority of the bout consisted of a lengthy heat sequence by the bad girls on Melissa, hitting her with all sorts of brutal maneuvers in a match that was reminiscent in some ways of a tag team main event from the glory days of All Japan Women. Eventually MsChif got the hot tag, but she too was quickly beaten within an inch of her life. Ultimately, she got put away when Kong powerbombed her and then gave Del Rey an implant buster on to ‘Chif’s prone body. It was interesting to see Kong allowing Death Rey to pin the SHIMMER Champion, as one would think that Kong would be guaranteed a title shot if she did the deed herself. However, I’m sure there will be a storyline explanation of that at some point. After the bell, the heels continued to pound on their opponents, with Wesna Busic and Annie Social joining in. MsChif sold the beating big time, and I had to chuckle at the woman who was shouting legitimate medical advice at the referees who were helping to remove the fallen champion from the ring.
This was another strong pair of shows from SHIMMER. My only real complaint was the length of the show, as, with dark matches, most fans were in the building for eight hours before everything was said and done. However, that will hardly be a problem for those of you who intend to check the shows out on DVD, which is how they’re meant to be seen by the majority of fans. Of the two, I would say that Volume 23 is the must-own and may be one of the more stacked SHIMMER DVD releases in history, with Deeb/Chif, Martinez/Kong, and Melissa/Busic all delivering big time. Volume 24 was not quite as strong bell to bell, but I would peg LuFisto/Busic on its own as justifying a DVD purchase, with the main event not being quite as good but acting as some nice icing on top of the cake. I would peg LuFisto as having the single most impressive performance of the show in her match against Wesna, and both Madison Eagles and Nicole Matthews walked away form the weekend looking like the promotion’s next surefire main event prospects.
Unfortunately, I was unable to follow up by attending the set of tapings that SHIMMER was holding on May 3, but I wish everybody involved the best of luck in making those as successful as the May 2 event.