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Reviews From The City of Orange: SHIMMER: Volume 23 – Taped 5.02.09

September 6, 2009 | Posted by Mike Campbell
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Reviews From The City of Orange: SHIMMER: Volume 23 – Taped 5.02.09  

In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to personally thank Dave Prazak for sending me a review copy of this DVD.

taped May 2, 2009

It’s been quite a while since I’ve visited SHIMMER, and there’s clearly been some changes. They’ve added several international wrestlers, established titles, and they’ve even got Ninjas! One thing has remained the same though, SHIMMER still brings quality wrestling!

Amber O’Neal . . . continues to impress with her wrestling even though she’s supposed to be a clueless diva.
Nicole Matthews . . . shows the true power and skill of a Canadian Ninja.
Cheerleader Melissa . . . has a very heated and hate-filled fight with Wesna Busic.

This isn’t bad for an opener, although it could have used either more offense from Nikki or some real offense from Cat. It’s fun to watch Cat work her gimmick, but her only real offensive move is the horse collar. Scratching Nikki’s back might play well for the gimmick (and for referencing Ted Nugent), but it’s nothing that anyone would believe would put away anyone, let alone someone established like Nikki.

Nikki doesn’t use a whole lot of offense herself, but the little she does use sends a clear message, which is Nikki’s ability to outsmart Cat. Nikki points to the ceiling and takes advantage early on, and a bit later after Cat uses some underhanded tactics to get control, Nikki chases her outside the ring, and is smart enough to put on the breaks before Cat can drop an elbow on her as she rolls into the ring. Nikki follows up the missed elbow by working an armbar. Nikki doesn’t even really need to work hard for the Barbie Crusher, she only hits a single kick and grabs Cat and plants her. It may not be anything outstanding, but it’s yet another example of why Nikki Roxx is such a highly regarded worker.

Wow. For someone with a gimmick of being a diva and not being able to wrestle, Amber puts on quite the wrestling show here. It looks like your typical Veteran vs. Upstart match, with Amber’s goal being to torture and embarrass Tenille, Amber never hesitates to slap Tenille in the stomach or back, throw kicks into her back, or stop whatever she’s doing to put the badmouth on her. However, Amber also throws in a few smart touches, she halts one of Tenille’s attempted comebacks with a hotshot over the ropes, but stays on the neck and throat area with a sleeper and even using a guillotine choke. When Tenille escapes her attempt at a Rock Bottom, Amber quickly hooks her arms and backslides her, complete with Amber bridging up with it, and scores the pin.

Compared to Amber, Tenille looks rather underwhelming. It’s obvious that she’s got potential, but she doesn’t do much here other than revenge spots on Amber (and Amber’s overselling is great). After Amber put her through the ringer, it’s fun when Tenille gets Amber in a seated position and starts throwing kicks into her back (although they telegraphed the spot, with Amber’s long delay before attempting to kick), and it was funny when she stole Amber’s stalling and breaking the count on the floor. All she had to offer beyond that was some typical spunky babyface offense and a single near fall from a Flatliner. Again, no question that Tenille has potential, but this is the Amber O’Neal show. ***

Daffney scores points with me right away by being billed from Badstreet: Atlanta, GA (the baddest street in the whole USA). This is pretty short, but it does its job in making Daffney look good for winning and Cruise look good in defeat. Cruise shows that she can do pretty much whatever she wants to Daffney without much trouble. She bumps her around with relative ease, and stretches her out pretty good. Cruise even chokes Daffney at one point, which is pretty smart when you consider Daffney’s love of screaming. Daffney doesn’t get much to do other take the abuse, but she does her little bit well. The comedy spots involving the Nerf ball and Daffney startling Cruise with the scream and the roll up are good additions. Daffney doesn’t get much else to do other the throw slaps and hit Daff-Knees, but she really lays in the slaps before hitting her finisher. Cruise was a bit more ‘to the point’ than Amber was in dishing out punishment, which makes this lack the personality of the previous match, although its still fun.

As good as Sara Del Ray is, she’s even better as a heel, especially with this mean streak. Watching Sara here is like watching a Ric Flair promo when Flair really gets going. You get that feeling that Sara is going to snap at any second and will probably kill Madison, the ref, or both. Madison accomplishes this feat of getting Sara worked up the best way possible, by outwrestling her. Madison is able to take Sara down to the mat and work over her arm time and time again, Sara will try to escape and take Madison down, but Madison is always able to come out on top and keep Sara in trouble. Sara finally gets an opening and starts to punish Madison, she surprises Madison with a kick to the back and starts throttling her with every roughhouse type of move she can think of, she chokes, goes to the eyes, and even bounces her head off the mat. But Sara also still shows that she can wrestle when she takes down Madison and starts to stretch her out. Madison mounts a small comeback, and counters the Royal Butterfly, but Sara is one step ahead of her and tilt-a-whirls her into position for the Royal Butterfly for the win. Yet again, both of them come out looking good, and it combines the personality of Amber/Tenille with the good offense of Daffney/Cruise. ***1/2

The story here is that Kellie Skater is a “Rate Tank” and therefore is a bad ass who can beat anyone, she puts out an open challenge and LuFisto makes her eat her words. Kellie gets in next to nothing other than a nice knee strike combo, and a snap mare driver. The rest is all LuFisto unloading with kicks and punches, puts Kellie in a few embarrassing positions, and finishes her off in short order with the Burning Hammer. There’s nothing wrong with a heel getting her comeuppance, but, it seems weird to fly in someone from Australia just for this, when Tenille and Madison (also flown in) and Cruise (also making her debut) all got to look good before losing.

This is the polar opposite of Amber/Tenille. Daizee doesn’t try to put Nicole through the ringer and show her who’s in charge. She simply does what she does best, which is wrestle. There’s quite a bit of filler, which is to be expected with them going to a draw, but the filler is useful in terms of characterization. Daizee shows her wrestling skills by always being able to take down Matthews and apply an armbar, and at one point, she goes for a short arm scissors, to show that she’s not just killing time with the hold. Matthews uses a lot of typical heel techniques like choking to keep Haze in trouble, as well as throwing in a few surprises like the hotshot, which also shows that Matthews isn’t going to be toyed with.

The one thing this lacks, as a time-limit draw, is the feeling that both of them had a chance to win. It never seems like Nicole has the chance to actually win. She gets a few good shots on Daizee toward the end, the Northern Lights while Daizee was charging was especially impressive, but nothing that looks like it could beat Daizee. Compared with Daizee, who gets a near fall off a German suplex, and the heart punch and Yakuza kick combo for another near fall (the fact that Matthews kicks out is impressive in itself), and then they go into the rolling cradle as time runs out. Despite appearing that Nicole got the short end of the stick, this was yet another case of the young upstart having her stock raised, and when you add in the fact that she was the only one to not lose, it’s that much more rub for her. Give Nicole a few more spots to look like she can legitimately beat Daizee, and it’s probably match of the show. ***1/2

Despite its short length and mostly being a squash for Kong, this is still rather smartly worked. Mercedes knows that she can’t overpower Kong, so she tries to win by outsmarting her. Mercedes uses headlocks early on to try to wear Kong down. They don’t have the desired effect, but they do keep Kong at bay for a time. Kong is simply too fresh to be worn down that quickly, and she starts unloading on Mercedes, culminating in a near fall from the implant buster. Mercedes doesn’t lose sight of her strategy and after she counters the Amazing Bomb to a facebuster, she starts throwing kicks at her head, which will have an effect no matter how big you are. Indeed, Kong is stunned enough for Mercedes to get near falls from both the fisherman’s buster and the Saito Suplex. Mercedes has nothing left and is forced to face defeat, which comes in the form of a big Amazing Bomb. Mercedes put up a good fight, but Kong was just too big, too tough, and too strong.

NEVAEH/ASHLEY LANE © vs. RAIN/JETTA (SHIMMER Tag Team Titles – 2/3 Falls)
The first fall is over before most 2/3 fall matches finish their feeling out process. Both teams get a chance to show off something, Nevaeh’s snap mare/sliding lariat combo and Rain’s knee flurry to the face are the highlights. Lacey makes a surprise return as the Home Wrecking Crew’s new manager and turns over Lane’s cradle to give Rain and Jetta the win.

The second fall is the heat portion of a formula tag match, with Nevaeh in peril, and the Home Wreckers doing all sorts of fun stuff to wear her down. Rain chokes her and then acts like she didn’t know she was doing it, and then a minute later stands on her hair and pulls it, and again, makes like she didn’t know. Rain and Jetta are fun at double teaming Nevaeh in the corner and baiting in Lane to distract the ref and continue their onslaught. Like the previous fall, the finish is a bit out of left field, there’s no hot tag to Lane and no big mistake or communication error between the heels to set up the finish. Nevaeh does a single counter to give Rain a victory roll, and sets up Rain for their finisher (STO/Yakuza kick). Lane sees Lacey getting ready to interfere, so she stops to knock her off the apron, and Nevaeh rolls up Rain for the pin. It’s a good idea in theory, Lane preventing Lacey from costing them the titles in two straight falls, but it’d have worked better as a near fall that led to Nevaeh making the hot tag.

The third fall looks like they hit reset on the second fall, only with Lane in peril. Again, the highlight is watching the Home Wrecking Crew work her over. Lacey even gets involved for some triple teaming in the corner. Rain and Jetta also take turns stretching out Lane, with Jetta adding some hair and face pulling, and rubbing Lane’s face in the mat. A recurring theme in this match has been ending too soon, which happens here as well. It takes a total of one move from Lane, a neckbreaker to Rain, to make the hot tag. Nevaeh cleans house and the champions look to hit their finisher, only for Lacey to slip Jetta a chain and KO Nevaeh for the titles. Then another ref tells the ref what happened and the match is restarted, with the champions hitting Jetta with their finisher for the win. As it is, this is more than watchable, but, it could have been so much better if they’d slowed things down. The second and third falls could have been easily combined into one fall. Aside from the Lacey return to put the champions behind the 8-ball and the fact that it was a suitable stipulation, with each team having a win over the other, I don’t know what the purpose of making this 2/3 falls was, they seemed to have the tools and ability to make it work, but not the time.

It can be hard to judge a match when it’s made clear that there is an ongoing feud with previous matches to it. You never quite know if a certain spot or sequence is being done to play off of previous matches or angles in the feud, which can often be the difference between bad and good, or between good and great. However, this is awesome on its own merits, so, if anything, its getting shortchanged by being just awesome. As a reviewer, it sucks to think that I might be shortchanging it, but, overall, I don’t think it’s a horrible idea to think of a match like this as being simply awesome.

The story is pretty clear and straightforward, neither of them wants to lose. No, it’s not the most elaborate story in the world, but it doesn’t need to be complex to work, as this shows. Neither want to lose, neither gives an inch, and Melissa is well aware that Wesna has the same mentality as her, and vice versa. So every punch, kick, slap, and forearm has that combo of desire and hate behind it. Wesna tries to take out Melissa’s arm early on with a juji-gatame, and Melissa sells it afterwards for quite a while, which is something that’s not often seen. Wesna stays on the arm for a bit, and sets up Melissa in a seated position for a back kick, and then extends her arm and kicks her in the elbow. Melissa’s arm isn’t a permanent focus though, the match has several little mini themes, but they all get dropped in favor of them simply trying to beat each other senseless. Another example of that is their use of the guardrails. Wesna whips Melissa into them as hard as she can, and Melissa outdoes her by separating a section, hanging Wesna over one, and then slamming the other into her. The anger and hate is never more apparent than when Wesna kicks out, and Melissa grabs her and plants her with a curb stomp, and then rolls her over and does an inverted curb stomp.

Another thing that they do is a surprisingly good job protecting Wesna’s finisher, the CB4 Driver (Cradle Belly to Back Piledriver). Wesna tries for it several times, and Melissa shows that she’s got it scouted by blocking the first couple of attempts. Wesna does finally get Melissa off of her feet, but Melissa knees her in the head to prevent Wesna from hitting it. Annie Social (a manager scouting talent) comes down to give Melissa some pointers, and Melissa tells her where to stick them, and the momentary distraction allows for Wesna to finally hit the CB4 and finish off Melissa. A fun, if simple, story, that’s told very well, with smart work to boot. ****

Where the Home Wrecking Crew and the Ohio girls fail, Mschif and Serena succeed. Despite not having a whole lot of time, they tell their story and, once again, both of them wind up looking good in the end. They both know what they’ll need to do to win, Serena will need to hit her spear and Mschif needs to hit the Desecrator, but, like the previous match, Mschif also knows what Serena needs to do, and Serena knows what Mschif will need to do. Mschif targets Serena’s back to keep her grounded and prevent her from even attempting the spear. Mschif uses a backbreaker/straightjacket variation to stretch her out, and then drops three consecutive standing moonsaults on her back. Serena tries to block out the pain and go for the spear, Mschif ducks and Serena goes to the floor, and continues to sell her back when she lands.

If you compare the amount of offense that Mschif and Serena use, then it appears that Mschif squashes her, but it’s anything but. Serena doesn’t get much offense in, but she’s got plenty of counters and escapes that she uses to keep Mschif on her toes. On three separate occasions, she’s able to counter or escape the Desecrator, one of which involves her putting Mschif on her shoulders and giving her a hotshot across the top rope. The opening gives Serena a chance to hit the spear and Mschif rolls to the floor and is seemingly out, Serena has to roll to the floor, pick her up and roll her into the ring, and Mschif just barely gets the shoulder up. MsChif finally does hit the Desecrator to retain her title, and she’s good enough to sell the midsection from the spear even while her hand is getting raised. Like the tag titles match, this probably could have benefitted from going a bit longer, and maybe giving Serena a long control segment, but this isn’t a case where the short length was a big detriment. ***1/2

The 411: Do I really need to make a formal recommendation on this show? The “worst” matches here are still watchable, and the bulk of them are more than watchable. You need to pick this up yesterday!
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.5   [  Amazing ]  legend

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