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Reviews From The City of Orange: SHIMMER: Volume 24 – Taped 5.02.09

September 12, 2009 | Posted by Mike Campbell
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Reviews From The City of Orange: SHIMMER: Volume 24 – Taped 5.02.09  

In the interest of full disclosure, I’d like to thank Dave Prazak for sending me this DVD to be reviewed

taped May 2, 2009

May 2, 2009 was a good day for SHIMMER, but, then again, almost every day they have a show is a good day for SHIMMER and their fans. Madison Eagles becomes a star, Portia Perez channels the spirit of Casey Jones (the one who wore the mask and always wanted to break stuff), and Wesna Busic and LuFisto beat each other senseless!

Madison Eagles . . . looks for all the world like the next threat to the SHIMMER Title, despite going 0-for-2 on this night.
Serena Deeb . . . continues to show the heart and desire that got her to the main event, despite her failure to win the gold.
Sara Del Rey . . . gets a measure of revenge on Mschif for ending her title reign.

Aside from “The Rate Tank” picking up the win this time, this isn’t all that much different from her match with LuFisto. Kellie gets in a few nice spots, like the fisherman’s suplex and their Lucha sequence to start off, but the bulk of the match is Jessie bumping Kellie all over the ring. Granted, Kellie seems to be rather good in this role, her selling of Jessie’s HHH facebuster was especially nice, and she looked all but dead when Jessie hit the running boot, but it seems odd that she’s booked in this manner. Of course, out of all the debuts from this set of tapings, she’s the only one who’s shown any discernable character, so it’s not like there’s nothing being done with her.

Although it’s fun at times, this never picks up the way you’d expect it to. The big reason is because it’s Rayna’s first match, so her portions are worked extra slow to make sure she can keep up, like the overly slow headstand escape to the head scissors. But, even then, The Experience doesn’t put her through the sort of torture that their promo and demeanor would suggest, they mostly just bait Tenille in and then double team Rayna in the corner behind the ref’s back. There’s a few nice double teams, such as the slingshot to bearhug, and the double gourdbuster that they finish off Rayna with, but not much else. I went into this expecting to see Lexie and Malia looking like female counterparts to Ohtani and Kanemoto, I can respect the fact that they didn’t want to rough her up too badly in her first match, but it makes them come off like their bark is worse than their bite.

The story isn’t as straightforward as Amber/Tenille, but this winds up being another fun outing from Amber. She starts out acting like the diva she thinks she is, stalling and using the stereotypical women’s wrestling offense of hair pulling and the like, including a hilarious moment when she stopped and asked the ref to get the phone number of someone in the crowd. When push comes to shove, though, Amber drops the diva bit and starts wrestling. Blake isn’t bad at all, she’s got a few good moments, like the backhand shot she gives Amber to escape the camel clutch, and the superkick that she levels Amber with looked like it’d have been enough to win, even if Blake hadn’t gotten any other offense at all. But, the story and the offense are carried by Amber. The only real strike against the match is Amber’s ugly missed splash from the second rope, which was most likely due to her wardrobe issues, and even that is covered by the notion that Amber has no business climbing the ropes.

This is a nice follow up to the matches that Mercedes and Madison had on Vol. 23. It gives Mercedes a strong win to show that she’s still someone to watch out for, and Madison gets another strong showing against one of SHIMMER’s top wrestlers. The big difference here is that Mercedes isn’t out to simply hurt Madison like Sara Del Rey was, Mercedes doesn’t light her up with chops and throw forearms as hard as she can just to show Madison who’s boss, she does them because Madison is constantly outwrestling her on the mat and always seems to have escapes and counters ready. The strikes were just about the only thing that Mercedes had left to fall back on, and even then, Madison was still tough enough to try to hand it back.

What really puts it over the top, for me, is Madison’s selling, so many matches feature extended exchanges of chops and forearms. They’re hardly put over to a great degree, and they’re rarely done for anything more than some crowd pops anyway. However, they’re an important part of the match, they’re Mercedes’ big weapons, and Madison puts them over as such. She takes a single chop from Mercedes and falls to the mat in a heap. The finish is similar to Sara/Madison with Madison escaping the first attempt at the Fisherman’s buster, and Mercedes hitting it on the second try. But instead of doing something flashy, like Sara’s tilt-a-whirl, Mercedes just waits for another opening and plants Madison with it. The only thing that this really lacked was the personality that Sara/Madison had, but that’s only due to them going the sportswoman route. ***1/4

Without the restrictions of a 2/3 falls setting, this flows quite nicely. It’s a typical formula tag team match, with all four understanding their roles and playing them to a tee. Roxx and Ariel have a little fun early on, by taking the masks off of Rain and Jetta, but Lacey trips Ariel from the floor and Rain and Jetta zero in on her arm. Watching Rain and Jetta work the arm over is a blast, they show the mean streak that Fyfe and Hosaka were lacking, and are inventive at times. Ariel’s selling is good, but not outstanding, whenever she’s in the ring, she manages to keep the arm in mind, but that’s really the biggest compliment she can be given. Roxx is great as the hot tag, getting more and more angry when the heel team double, or triple, teams behind the ref’s back and she’s unable to stop it. But, the onus is on Rain and Jetta to carry the offense and tell the story, and they do a great job of it.

There are a few odd things that keep this from being much more than good. The hot tag wasn’t very hot. Nikki gets a blind tag when Rain is trying to pull Ariel away from the corner. Sure, it’s an original idea, but the fans didn’t seem to respond to it too much. Had they done the blind tag, with the ref missing it and putting Nikki out, then it might have gotten a better reaction. It didn’t last very long anyway, with Nikki tagging back out to Ariel, and then going back to where they were before, with Ariel’s arm being worked over and then Ariel making a more traditional hot tag, so there really wasn’t much point to doing the blind tag in the first place.

Lacey’s interference also leaves a bit of a bad taste, the idea is that she distracts the ref and saves Rain and Jetta from being pinned after a pair of stunners. But, it didn’t seem like they were in much danger, and they really hadn’t taken much punishment anyway. It’d make more sense to use the Barbie Crusher and Dariel instead of stunners, they’re both moves that have been used to win matches for Nikki and Ariel before. The finish is fine, Jetta counters the Dariel into her lungblower and straightjacket hold and Ariel gives it up. But, considering how much they’d hurt it, Jetta switching up to an armbar seems like a more appropriate finish. But again, there’s certainly nothing wrong with Jetta using her finisher. ***1/4

Like Mercedes/Madison, this is a nice follow up to their matches on the previous volume. Serena gets to show that it was no fluke that she got a title shot, and Cat is able to show that she can wrestle But, this isn’t put together nearly as well as Mercedes/Madison. It’s established that Serena is clearly the better wrestler, she spends a lot of time working a headlock, Cat will escape, or counter to a head scissors, and Serena will escape it and find a way to go back to the headlock. Cat does a second head scissors counter and Serena knows that she can’t do the same escape and headlock again, so she opts to do a headstand and float over into a pin, and when Cat kicks out, it’s back to the headlock. The problem is that they don’t seem to be going anywhere with the hold, it’s not used to potentially soften up Cat’s neck, nor does it seem to be used to drain her energy. It’s fun to watch Serena working back to it and outsmarting Cat, but that’s all it’s really used for.

Cat gets her own chance to shine when she blocks a monkey flip and hotshots Serena, Serena hurts her arm on the way down, and Cat goes right after it. It doesn’t get nearly as much time to play out as Rain and Jetta working over Ariel’s arm, but Cat gets in a few nice spots, a couple of which were also employed by Rain and Jetta. Cat gets thrown off a bulldog attempt and Serena hits the spear and wins. It’s smart of her to hit the spear at the first chance she got, especially with how much Mschif put over the spear in their title match, but it’d have been nice to see Cat’s arm work cause some doubt about the effectiveness of the spear and some doubt about the outcome. ***

The follow up to Matthews’ star making performance is rather underwhelming in the aspect of star making. It’s not just because Nicole loses, Madison Eagles went 0-for-2 and came out looking like a potential main eventer for the company. But, yet again, it never looks like Matthews can pull off the win. The match plays off the events of their previous match, which is a given, Daizee outwrestles her at the start, and it’s only through illegal tactics, like going to the eyes, and hair that Nicole can have the advantage. But, Nicole is never given a real run of offense to look like she can legitimately win. Nicole gets a few nice near falls, such as the brainbuster and German suplex, but compared to what Daizee rolls out, it looks like she gets in next to nothing. Probably Nicole’s best near fall from the previous match was the Northern Lights suplex, but she isn’t even able to do it this time. There’s even times when it’d make sense to let Nicole get an extended run of offense, but it never happens. When Daizee is stuck in the tree of woe, Nicole could have charged at her a couple of times and then taken over, instead she runs into two kicks and then gets hit with a Daizee cutter. Nicole also blocks Daizee’s moneky flip, but Daizee just turns that into a facebuster.

If one can look past the lopsidedness of this, then it’s still pretty good, there are a couple of flubbed spots from Daizee early on, but, those are the only real setbacks, their work is clean other than that. Despite the apparent lack of respect to Nicole, she’s good with respecting Daizee’s offense. Daizee doesn’t hit the Yakuza kick right away because Nicole falls after taking the heart punch. The Portia Perez run-in works much better than the Lacey run-in, because it was plausible that Nicole was about to be beaten. The finish is also nice, with Daizee countering the rolling cutter to the Mind Trip. So it’s not like this is devoid of anything good, it’s just a bit disheartening to see, what looked like, Matthews breakout match followed up in such a manner. ***

Portia Perez attacks Daizee Haze and draws out Allison Danger, and we’ve conveniently got both participants for the next match ready to go!

Despite this being Danger’s return to action after being injured by Portia, there is precious little intensity and outright hate being shown here. Melissa/Wesnic kills this six ways from Sunday in that department, and they didn’t even have a personal grudge. Danger starts off hot and heavy, and then takes a cookie sheet to the head and lets Portia take over for the bulk of the match. I can understand, and respect, the fact that they didn’t go overboard with huge bumps and crazy spots, but they also didn’t do much to compensate for the lack of them. Portia has her moments when she shows just how ruthless she is, such as whipping Allison with the belt, and attacking her with the hockey stick, when Allison can’t even get to her feet under her own power. But, by and large, it’s a lot of Portia casually putting the boots to her. Considering that Portia injured Danger to put her on the shelf, it’s surprising that Portia didn’t try to target the injured arm. It would have certainly gotten over her ruthless side a lot more, and also given her more leeway for creative use of the weapons.

Allison only gets in two big spots, but they both wind up counting in their own way. The neckbreaker on the chair is the biggest bump of the match, and, after Portia dominated for so long, it was a great way for Allison to get a convincing near fall on Portia. The other was the STO when Portia tried to use the chain. The STO is one of the few moves that she’s used in SHIMMER to win on a regular basis, and it gives her another good near fall and is the perfect lead-in to Nicole Matthews’ run-in which causes Portia to win via KO by choking Danger out with the chain. It’s disheartening to see both matches involving the Canadian Ninjas fall into the realm of good, but could have been better, but that’s still a hell of a lot better than what some other promotions and workers are putting out, which speaks volumes about how good the wrestling in the company is.

Although this isn’t as overtly hateful as Melissa/Wesna, this is a similar type of match. It’s got the big fight atmosphere of a boxing match or MMA fight, with the idea that one big shot could easily change the momentum, and when combined with the knowledge of just how far Wesna and LuFisto are willing to go, this has the makings to be something special. Wesna starts the proceedings with a big running boot, and sets the tone for how the match is going to go, a hard-hitting, brutal affair. They both unload with big boots to the face, Wesna unleashes some brutal kicks to the back and midsection, and LuFisto uses forearms and an ode to Kobashi in the corner. They slam each other into the guardrails with about as much force as they can, and neither has any qualms about taking the other’s best shot and coming back for more, be it the Ki Krusher, Northern Lights off the top or a reverse rana. If you need to see how far they’re willing to go, look at what Wesna and Melissa did to each other on Volume 23, and look at the Burning Hammer Wesna takes in her previous match with LuFisto (shown in a video package before the match).

It’s not just their stiff strikes and willingness to take big bumps that make this special. It’s also got some smart work to it. Wesna also targets LuFisto’s knee early on, to prevent the Burning Hammer, which she’d beaten Wesna with previously, its quickly dropped, but the thought was nice. Annie Social as Wesna’s manager was another welcome addition to the match, her interference behind the ref’s back ensured that the crowd stayed firmly behind LuFisto. Annie grabbing LuFisto’s leg toward the end was another smart thing. There’s this mentality that anytime a ref gets bumped or someone interferes, that it ruins a match, but ref bumps and interference can be effective if done right, such as it is here. Wesna had just taken a reverse rana right on her head and Annie’s interference gives her an extra minute to get her bearings together and finish LuFisto off with the CB4 driver. The only real problems with this are a few ugly spots, like LuFisto’s tope and Wesna almost losing LuFisto in the CB4 driver. It’d have also been nice to see some more respect given to the bigger moves, Wesna is on her feet after the reverse rana before LuFisto can try to pin her, and, considering the bump Wesna took, that would have been a great near fall. But, with the idea being that they’re both tough girls and fighting to see who the toughest is, something like that, while perfectly logical and understandable, doesn’t quite play to that mentality. ***1/2

Compared to the Wesna/LuFisto match, this seems rather tame, and, considering the closing events of Vol. 23, it seems like this ought to be more intense and hateful than this. That’s not to say that this is bad, you really can’t go wrong with a formula tag match, but, with Melissa and Mschif’s toughness being displayed so often in SHIMMER, it’s hard to buy them as being in real peril. It’s fun to watch Sara and Kong put Melissa through the ringer, and do the same to Mschif later. Sara brings the mean streak and Kong brings the power and eye-candy spots, but it’s never quite believable that they’re in big trouble. The finish is the same way, just about anyone would be done after the Amazing Bomb, let along having Kong give Sara the implant buster onto them, but Mschif isn’t just anyone. We’ve seen just how much abuse she’s been able to withstand and keep fighting. The question this bears is what it would take for Mschif’s loss to be believable. I suppose a longer stretch of getting double teamed, and maybe a near fall form the Royal Butterfly before going into the finishing sequence would do it. But keeping the Butterfly in the bag keeps it protected to an extent.

Although lacking in believability to a degree, there are plenty of nice touches and smart moments. Melissa’s early kick to Del Rey is a highlight, although it’d have been hard to not be, with Prazak and Portia giggling like schoolgirls, and all the replays of it that are shown. There’s also a nice moment when Mschif charges for the panic attack on Kong, and Del Rey trips her, so Melissa jumps in and does it for her. Then, Mschif gets free from Sara and does it too. Kong is great at putting them over, she’s all but dead in the corner and Mschif and Melissa need to drag her out of the corner. There’s Kong’s cheap shot from the apron that starts up the control segment on Melissa, she’d been holding her own against Sara, so Kong levels her with a lariat from behind and puts a stop to it. There’s also a nice throwback to Kong’s match with Mschif on Vol. 9, where Kong, once again, does the torture rack and makes Mschif kick herself in the back of the head. One of SHIMMER’s best traits has been how the events of one DVD volume will lead into the next one, and this is no exception. The new #1 contenders (who also want Mschif’s title) keep assaulting her, and it draws out Wesna Busic to help (her back to back wins put her in line for a title match). The Ohio Girls try to help Mschif, but are no match for Kong and Sara. The show ends with Kong, Sara, and Wesna each holding up the title belt that they’re gunning for, while the three title holders are laid out in the ring, and Melissa on the floor. Volume 24 is over, and now it looks like Volume 25 is going to be must see. ***1/2

The 411: What a surprise, SHIMMER brings the goods, yet again. It doesn’t hit the same level as Vol. 23, but it’s still quite good on its own merits.
411 Elite Award
Final Score:  9.2   [  Amazing ]  legend

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