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Thoughts from the Top Rope 11.27.07: The Ultimate SHIMMER Starter Guide (Part 3)

November 27, 2007 | Posted by Ryan Byers

Welcome, one and all, to Thoughts from the Top Rope. I’m Ryan Byers, and your regular host Dan Wilcox is still on a self-imposed hiatus from the site. During his absence, I’ve taken the reigns of this little column and have been using it to introduce readers to my current favorite wrestling promotion, SHIMMER: Women Athletes. In week one and week two, I ran down my ten biggest reasons for supporting SHIMMER. This week, we’re going to do something a little bit different, as I’m counting down the top wrestlers, DVDs, and matches in the promotion as well as generating a couple of other fun lists. I’m hoping that the lists will allow those individuals who may have been interested in checking out SHIMMER thanks to my prior columns in narrowing their search and selecting the starting point that is right for them.

Also, before we head in to the meat of the column, I feel that it’s worth noting that the two latest editions of the SHIMMER DVD series were released yesterday. They are Volumes 11 & 12, with Volume 11 consisting of the first two rounds of the tournament to crown the first SHIMMER Champion and Volume 12 consisting of the semi-finals and finals as well as several non-tournament matches. They can be purchased through the ROH website here and here.

With that said, let’s get to the lists!

SHIMMER’s Top Ten Performers

Though a few of these performers were already highlighted in the prior two editions of the Starter Guide, there were several great talents that I didn’t address simply because their work in the company thusfar doesn’t lend itself to a narrative format. Despite that, they’re still great wrestlers and deserved to be acknowledged here. In addition to a few comments about each athlete, I’ve also included links to their websites and/or MySpace pages, in large part because several of the women sell their own merchandise through those sites, meaning that this is your opportunity to support them directly if you so desire.

10.) Allison Danger (MySpace)

Based on her prior exposure in Ring of Honor, Allison Danger probably could have dominated the main events of SHIMMER from Volume 1 onward if she wanted to. However, for whatever reason, Danger and the company have opted to keep her lower down on the card, which was an excellent choice. Even though the Can-Am athlete does have main event level talent, top notch performers are necessary at all levels of the card, and Danger’s mid-match performances on SHIMMER shows have helped to make some DVDs that would have been simply “okay” in to DVDs that were excellent. Highlights included helping Amber O’ Neal along to what may have been the greatest match in O’ Neal’s career on Volume 7 and her excellent feud with Cindy Rogers, which took Rogers from being an unknown commodity to somebody who is legitimately loathed by SHIMMER fans.

9.) MsChif (Website)

‘Chif’s feud with Cheerleader Melissa was already covered in-depth in an earlier edition of the Guide, but, even when she’s not involved in that rivalry, MsChif has been awesome. Though it’s not a technical masterpiece, her matchup against Beth Phoenix on Volume 2 remains one of the most entertaining encounters in the history of the company more than two years after it took place. Furthermore, on the recently-released title tournament DVDs, the green-haired goth is one of three women who had the opportunity to work with the debuting Sarah Stock, and ‘Chif’s match with the Canadian Dark Angel certainly did not disappoint. Combine that with a reportedly excellent match against Daizee Haze on the forthcoming Volume 14 DVD and participation in a six woman tag on Volume 16 that was simultaneously athletic and hilarious, and you’ve got all of the makings of one of SHIMMER’s greatest athletes.

8.) Rebecca Knox (MySpace)

Though her run in SHIMMER was short, Rebecca Knox was out of this world in her four appearances during the course of the company’s DVD series. All of her matches were worth going out of your way to watch, but she provided more than just great ringwork. Knox may also have been one of the best pure female heels that I’ve ever seen in my life, as she did so many little things in the ring in terms of facial expressions and body language that they were impossible to count. If you consider that she accomplished all of this at the delicate age of nineteen, it becomes even more unfortunate that a head injury pulled the K-Nox away from wrestling well before her time.

7.) Lacey (MySpace)

It seems odd that this is the first time I’ve had anything to say about Lacey. She’s been an integral part of the promotion since the main event of the first volume, and I honestly cannot think of a SHIMMER match in which she has put forth a poor performance. For those of you who may only have seen Lacey wrestle in Ring of Honor, trust me, you’re not seeing the full scope of her talents displayed. I’m not attempting to knock ROH, but they don’t exactly make their women’s matches in to featured attractions, and, as a result, the Lacey that most people have seen is not the Lacey that SHIMMER fans see. She may be the most diabolical heel in the promotion, and her interaction with the crowd often winds up being more entertaining than the interplay that far more well known wrestlers have with their audiences.

6.) Daizee Haze (Website; MySpace)

Take everything that I said about Lacey’s Ring of Honor exposure and double it for Daizee Haze. There are so many aspects of her in-ring game that have yet to be revealed in ROH that it’s ridiculous. In fact, I may go as far as calling her one of the most multi-faceted wrestlers in SHIMMER. We’ve all seen her brawl in her ROH street fights. We’ve all seen her fly high on virtually every show on which she’s booked. However, if you watch SHIMMER, you can see Daizee Haze the skilled mat wrestler in her matches against Rebecca Knox. You can see Daizee Haze the superb underdog in her Volume 10 encounter with Amazing Kong. You can even see Daizee Haze the LUCHADORA~! in her pair of matches against “Dark Angel” Sarah Stock. Simply put, this is a woman who knows more about wrestling than many of her contemporaries have forgotten.

5.) Cheerleader Melissa (Website; MySpace)

Most fans will speak highly of the feud between Melissa and MsChif, but that is far from the only thing that the California import has done in her SHIMMER stint. In fact, even though she lost in the MsChif feud, she has probably gone on to produce more quality encounters than her former rival. On Volume 9, Melissa and Lacey had quite the entertaining old school affair, while on Volume 10 she and Sara Del Rey locked it up in a classic example of women’s strong style. From there, she had quite the hard hitting affair against Sarah Stock in the first round of the company’s title tournament and proceeded to go up against the biggest and the badest in the form of the Amazing Kong on Volume 16. Though she’s small in stature, Melissa certainly packs a punch, and her ability to curb stomp, air raid crash, or Kudoh drive any of her opponents at will makes her among the most dangerous performers on the roster.

4.) Mercedes Martinez (MySpace)

Like Rebecca Knox, Martinez has been sidelined for several volumes of the SHIMMER DVD series by an unfortunate injury, and, to make matters worse, a winter storm prevented her from attending Volumes 3 and 4. However, also like Knox, her limited appearances have all been of the highest quality. The majority of them have involved Sara Del Rey in some way, shape, or form, and the majority of them have been the best matches in the history of the young promotion. At the same time, Martinez has gone above and beyond in her matches with women other than Del Rey, proving that she’s not simply being carried to greatness by the American Angel. Mercedes’ singles match against LuFisto on Volume 7 was the perfect fit for that card, and we’ve also seen her gel very well with Daizee Haze, Lacey, and Rain during tag team and four-way action.

3.) Sarah Stock (Website)

Sarah Stock, a Canadian-born wrestler who has spent most of her career in Mexico, actually hasn’t made that many SHIMMER appearances. She’s only been at two DVD tapings for the company, although across those two tapings she did wrestle five matches, giving the promotion’s fans more than enough material on which to assess her abilities. She’s not just looked good in her own right, but she’s also brought out the best in each of her opponents, taking Daizee Haze, MsChif, and Cheerleader Melissa to what were arguably their best SHIMMER matches. She’s also had two knock down, drag out fights with Sara Del Rey, and the crowds in Berwyn are more than open to the possibility of a third.

2.) Amazing Kong (MySpace)

Bringing with her years of experience from Japan, the Amazing Kong made her SHIMMER debut on Volume 5 of the DVD series, and it became clear from the second she set foot in the ring that she was something special. She immediately helped to solidify Nikki Roxx as a star in two of the best matches that Roxx has ever had, and then she went toe-to-toe with MsChif in one of the most anticipated matches in the history of SHIMMER. Perhaps the biggest testament the quality of Kong’s performances is that they wound up putting her on the fast track to national television, as the Amazing one’s unique style and high powered offense being showcased in Berwyn was a key factor in landing her a contract with TNA.

1.) Sara Del Rey (MySpace)

This selection shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody who is even vaguely familiar with the promotion. After all, what can I say about Del Rey that hasn’t been said numerous times before? Because of her early association with Bryan Danielson, she’s often labeled as the female version of the “best in the world,” and I don’t know if I can dispute that claim. Del Rey has yet to miss a volume of SHIMMER action, and she’s taken on every other top woman on the roster. Having seen 90% of those matches, there has not been a one yet that I would classify as being anything less than great. My only hope is that the “Death Rey” stays healthy and is able to support herself on the indy circuit, because it’s hard to imagine a SHIMMER without Sara.

SHIMMER’s Top Five Crowd Moments

I do have to admit that, in addition to the quality in-ring action, one of the reasons that I’ve been so attracted to SHIMMER is the fact that I’ve been able to attend several live shows. In doing that, I’ve come to appreciate the small, intimate atmosphere that wrestling in the Berwyn, Illinois Eagles’ Club provides. It’s a truly unique opportunity to interact with wrestlers that is even lacking at other indy shows of comparable size. As such, I thought it would be fun to take a look at my favorite happenings in SHIMMER audiences, most of which can be picked up on the DVDs if you watch closely enough.

5.) Sing Along with Sara

For my money, there’s no better entrance music in wrestling these days than Europe’s “Final Countdown” as used by both Bryan Danielson and Sara Del Rey. For some reason, there’s something infectious about the tune that gets a crowd going, and, in the case of SHIMMER and ROH audiences, singing. There have been points at which the small crowd nearly managed to drown out the company’s sound system, and, if you pay attention during Del Rey’s entrance on Volume 10, you can her the fans nearly rioting when the song was cut off before they had an opportunity to yell out the climatic “IT’S THE FINAL COUNTDOWN!” I have yet to implement my plan of providing everybody in the Eagles’ Club with a kazoo on which to accompany Europe, but the singing is good enough for the time being.

4.) Fans to Melissa: “You’re a bitch!”

Most everybody in a SHIMMER audience has a certain degree of respect for Cheerleader Melissa, though you wouldn’t realize it from one chant that was directed at her during Volume 7. During her match with Daizee Haze, the action spilled out of the ring, with the Cheerleader lifting up the Haze and swinging her head and face first in to the steel guardrails. As if the moment wasn’t memorable enough, the men and women in attendance immediately showered Melissa with the words listed above in a tongue-in-cheek show of appreciation for her hard hitting style.

3.) The first three rows WILL get wet.

An admonishment like the one above is normally reserved for shows featuring Shamu, but it was equally applicable to SHIMMER Volume 1 when a ringside fan got a little too far under Lacey’s skin. The Eddie Sharkey trainee, who always carries a bottle of water with her, immediately took a big swig of the liquid and DRENCHED the gentleman with it. Nothing garners the boos like actually spitting on a member of the audience, and the Lovely Lacey was cascaded with negative reactions for the rest of the night.

2.) Portia’s Prepubescent Problems

Poor Portia Perez. Everybody was polite to her during her first several appearances in SHIMMER, but then they turned on her for no reason. I mean, sure, she did hit one of her opponents in the face with a chain, but does that really justify fans in jeering a wrestler? Worse still is the fact that some members of the audience picked up on Portia’s rather, um, youthful appearance and used that as ammunition. Since that time, the following chants have been heard when Portia hits the ring:

– “You look sixteen!” clap-clap-clapclapclap
– “You look twelve!” (when the crowd is feeling particularly cruel)
– “You are grounded!” (in response to some bending of the rules)
– “Worth the jail time!” clap-clap-clapclapclap (I don’t understand what that one means. Ahem.)

And . . .

“Where’s your school bus?” clap-clap-clapclapclap

Portia’s typical response to that last one? “It’s Saturday!”

1.) Lacey vs. Child

Indy wrestler Chuck Taylor has recently gained a cult following for scaring the crap out of kids at IWA Mid-South and CHIKARA shows. However, he’s got nothing on Lacey, who had an epic feud with what appeared to be an eight year old boy on SHIMMER Volume 10. Though I didn’t personally witness any of this, I was told that Lacey did some serious heeling on the kid during intermission, signing an autograph for him with something to the effect of “Dear loser . . .” With the child distraught, he managed to rally the entire front row behind him, and an all-out verbal war erupted. The kid informed Lacey that she “had rabies” and that she should “go back and play with her Barbies.” The front row followed up, letting Lacey know that she “got served.”

SHIMMER’s Top Ten Matches

Moving away from the lighthearted world of crowd chants and sing-alongs, it’s time to take a look at the top ten matches in the history of SHIMMER. I’m only considering the matches that have been released on Volumes 1 through 10 of the DVD series, primarily because I don’t think it’s fair to compare matches that I’ve only seen live to matches that I’ve seen both live and on DVD. It’s also worth noting that, if you are interested in watching any of these matches but for some reason do not want to buy an entire SHIMMER DVD, downloads of some of the bouts can be purchased through ClickWrestle.com.

10.) Rebecca Knox vs. Allison Danger (Pure Wrestling Rules) – Volume 6

This match was set up at the end of the Daizee Haze/Rebecca Knox two out of three falls match, in which Knox used the ropes repeatedly to gain a victory. Danger, none too happy with the turn of events, asked for a match in which Knox could legally use the ropes if she could first force Danger to use three breaks. The rules in these matches might be a little bit hard for a mainstream wrestling fan to grasp at first, but, on the whole, I thought the two women did a good job of working with the rules for an audience that was already educated to them. The only flaw in the match in my opinion is the fact that, though the rules were used throughout the body, they didn’t play in to the finish at all, which one would think is the point of doing the gimmick bout in the first place.

9.) Daizee Haze vs. Rebecca Knox – Volume 4

This is not the aforementioned two of three falls match but rather the initial confrontation between Knox and Daizee haze. Rebecca was just coming off of a very hot heel turn, and the crowd hated her guts. Of course, she took every opportunity to rub her recent victory over Allison Danger in the crowd’s face, exhibiting the wacky Irish charisma that allowed American fans to take to her so quickly. With the K-Nox constantly dominating and gloating, Daizee did an awesome job of working from underneath, ultimately pulling out the victory that many individuals considered to be rather surprising at the time.

8.) Amazing Kong vs. Nikki Roxx – Volume 5

I discussed this match a good deal already when running down the individual SHIMMER careers of Kong and Roxx, and I don’t have that much more to say about it. However, this was the contest that put both of them on the map, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it had a large hand in getting both of them contracts with TNA.

7.) Rebecca Knox vs. Daizee Haze (Two Out of Three Falls) – Volume 5

More Knox! More Haze! Can you tell I was really in to this feud? I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen better female chain wrestling than I did during the first ten or so minutes of this match, and the greatness only continued throughout the falls, as the two largely resumed their roles from the prior match, albeit with a few slight alternations. One of those alterations was an excellent extended sequence in which Rebecca worked over her opponent’s knee to the point that a rope-assisted Indian deathlock put Haze in so much pain that she was unable to lift her shoulders from the mat as the referee was counting three.

6.) Daizee Haze vs. Lacey – Volume 1

It was always been my impression that this match was booked to main event Volume 1 based more on name recognition than its potential to be a good match, but, by the end of the evening, it certainly wound up being more than worthy of main event status. Daizee Haze has taken a lot of beatings during her career, but she may never have taken a beating quite this severe, with some nasty bumps in to the turnbuckle bolt and a few knees from Lacey that look like they were laid in extra deep. As the Haze is wont to do, she battled back despite all of this adversity and won the match after some high risk offense and a very well-timed comeback.

5.) Cheerleader Melissa vs. MsChif (Falls Count Anywhere) – Volume 4

I’ll admit that this match may not be some people’s cup of tea because it’s not a great match in the traditional “workrate intensive” sense of the term. However, for sheer creativity, I don’t know that this one can be rivaled. The two women brawled all over the venue and used various parts of their environment in novel ways, including a dolly, trap doors under a stage, and even support beams outside the building. On top of that, I dare anybody to forget the brutal finish of the match, which involves Melissa using MsChif’s own foot to repeatedly slam a steel chair in to the back of her head.

4.) Sara Del Rey vs. Nattie Neidhart – Volume 7

This is a match that I don’t think gets the love from the SHIMMER faithful that it deserves, perhaps because it wasn’t part of a major storyline. However, with a unique blend of power moves and mat wrestling for a women’s contest, it is definitely something that needs to be remembered. It was in this contest that Neidhart convinced me that she may already be a better wrestler than her father.

3.) Sara del Rey vs. Mercedes Martinez – Volume 1

In many ways, this was the match that started it all. It was the match that first got the names Sara Del Rey and Mercedes Martinez on the lips of certain indy fans, and it was the most talked about match coming out of SHIMMER’s first volume. If you told me that SHIMMER never would have lived passed its first taping without this match delivering, I certainly wouldn’t argue that point. I’m not just ranking it this highly because of its historical significance, though. I’m ranking it this highly because, two years later, it still holds up as an awesome professional wrestling match and the beginning of a feud that would help to redefine what women’s wrestling can be in America.

2.) Cheerleader Melissa vs. Daizee Haze – Volume 7

The two women involved in this match were under a lot of pressure to deliver, as it was a last-minute replacement for a scheduled sixty minute ironwoman match between Haze and Rebecca Knox. The fact that it’s number two on this list shows that, at least in my opinion, it certainly did deliver. Melissa has always had a mean streak in her wrestling style, but that mean streak was cranked up to eleven for this particular encounter, as poor Daizee was absolutely brutalized. Haze did make the crowd believe that she was going to win on several different occasions, but she walked out of the Eagles’ Club as the first SHIMMER victim of the Kudoh Driver in one of the more spectacular finishes in the history of the promotion.

1.) Mercedes Martinez vs. Sara Del Rey – Volume 8

There were so many things done properly in this match that it’s difficult to articulate them all in a concise manner. I guess that means I’ll just have to hit the highlights. For those not familiar with the feud, this was the third match in the series between the two, with the first having been a draw and the second having been a narrow victory for Del Rey. This match was wrestled with the perfect level of intensity for that scenario, with it not quite rising to the level of passionate hatred that would exist in a blood feud but staying in a range in which it was easy to buy that the two women were athletes engaged in a promotion’s most heated rivalry. They certainly pulled out all of the stops for the encounter, with Del Rey busting out a wild cannoball dive to the floor and then taking four consecutive Saito suplexes for the finish. The finish was also perfect, as it evened the series between the two and also provided an additional reason for the feud to continue, as neither woman had managed to beat the other with her own signature finishing move. A fourth match in the series has been delayed due to a shoulder injury to Martinez, but hopefully we get that bout as soon as is practical.

2008 SHIMMER Wish List

SHIMMER management recently announced that the company would not be running any more shows until after the winter season had concluded, in part due to concerns about weather making wrestlers’ transportation difficult and in part due to the fact that the promotion currently has four DVDs worth of material in the can that has not been released. The time off has given me plenty of time to think about what might be upcoming for the next SHIMMER “season,” and, when you combine that with the fact that it’s the holiday season, I figured the time was right for a wish list of sorts. Without further adieu, here are the five things that I want to see the most out of SHIMMER next year.

5.) More Undercard Feuds

Though I think that the company has done a great job in developing the rivalries that take place in the main events or just underneath the main events, there seems to be a distinct lack of storylines in the undercard. I’m not an individual who is of the mind that EVERY match on a given card needs to have some kind of angle supporting it, but I think one additional storyline per show involving some of the younger wrestlers such as Alexa Thatcher, Portia Perez, or Ashley Lane could help them develop as performers and gain more of a following among the SHIMMER audience.

4.) Improved Promos

I’ve had very little to complain about in terms of SHIMMER’s ring work or booking, but I do have to admit that the weak point in their game right now is the women’s work on the microphone. I’d imagine that a lot of this has to do with the fact that there aren’t many indies who give promo time to their main eventers, let alone the women that the bring in for the undercard. I think solving the problem here is twofold. The first is figuring out who the best promos in the company are and featuring them more heavily. The second is doing more takes of the pretaped interviews that are included on DVDs, as it often feels like they’re shot once and only once despite a few glaring problems.

3.) Quicker DVD Production

This one may be a bit of a pipe dream, because the reality of the situation is that SHIMMER currently shares production facilities with Ring of Honor and FIP and generally has to wait for ROH production to clear out before they can do their own work. However, it did take nearly six months for production to wrap up on the title tournament DVDs, which may have killed off some fans’ anticipation for the product. I’m not advocating SHIMMER switching over to poor quality DVD-R’s just so they can have the shows out for sale the week after they take place, but it’d be nice to cut the turnaround time down to two months max.

2.) LuFisto

After making her initial SHIMMER appearances on Volumes 7 and 8, LuFisto had to briefly bow out of professional wrestling to heal up a few injuries. She was greatly missed during that time and since made her return to the ring. Booking conflicts prevented her from appearing on the promotion’s most recent DVD tapings, but hopefully something will be worked out before the next event. With TNA expanding its women’s division and possibly snatching away some more SHIMMER talent, LuFisto would be an excellent way to plug up a hole or two in the roster.

1.) Del Rey vs. Martinez IV

Mercedes Martinez is currently sidelined following shoulder surgery. In updates posted on her blog, she makes it sound as though the recovery is going well and that she will be able to wrestle again at some point in 2008, which is in line with her initial prognosis. When she does return to the ring, the natural match to have is obviously a fourth in her series with Sara Del Rey. In addition to their record against each other being tied up at 1-1-1, Del Rey won the first SHIMMER Championship in Martinez’s absence and has successfully defended it numerous times against top contenders such as Sarah Stock, Lacey, and The Amazing Kong. While Death Rey looks unstoppable in her reign, Mercedes is the only person to ever beat her in SHIMMER competition and thus would be a perfect challenger for the belt if not the perfect person to ultimately unseat the American Angel.


And now we’ve reached the main event. Not counting the two title tournament DVDs that were just released yesterday, there have been ten installments in the SHIMMER DVD series thusfar, and here they are ranked in order of my least favorite all the way up to my favorite. (Though I’d even consider my least favorite DVD of the whole series to be a good show.) Every installment in the series can be purchased at ROHwrestling.com, and, for anybody who may want a perspective on the shows other than mine, I’ve also provided the links to reviews by 411’s own Brad Garoon.

10.) SHIMMER Volume 6 (Brad’s Review)

I think that the primary thing that turned me off on Volume 6 was a main event that didn’t quite live up to its hype. The show was supposed to see an epic final encounter between Cheerleader Melissa and MsChif in a falls count anywhere match. Though the contest was fine and even gained some high levels of praise in other circles, I personally thought that it failed to live up to the standards of their excellent Volume 4 encounter and, as a result, the match came off flat. The Volume 6 undercard is also somewhat disappointing, with a six woman tag occupying several women who would be better suited for singles competition and a match featuring rookie Lorelei Lee in which I feared for Lorelei’s life on more than one occasion. Of course, the DVD is not without its positives, as it did play host to the pure wrestling match that I consider to be one of the best in the history of the promotion. There is also a very strong “bonus match” featuring Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger against Nattie Neidhart & Cheerleader Melissa which did not take place at the SHIMMER taping.

9.) SHIMMER Volume 2 (Brad’s Review)

Though Volume 2 didn’t have any one match that stood out well enough to make it on to my top matches list, I think that as an overall card it was still stronger than Volume 6. The four way elimination match on top of the card was good fun and managed to clock in at around thirty minutes, though it’s not a bout which stands out as being particularly memorable beyond a first viewing. Also worth watching is the excellent interaction between Beth Phoenix and MsChif, with Phoenix’s fear of ‘Chif reaching levels of hilarity that have yet to be matched by any other SHIMMER performer.

8.) SHIMMER Volume 3 (Brad’s Review)

Volumes 3 and 4 of the DVD series were hurt by a winter storm that took place during the taping, stranding several key pieces of talent in airports and preventing them from making the show. With that talent gone, the shows were weakened and had to be relegated to the bottom half of this list, although they did still manage to provide a few highlights. In this particular case, the highlight was Daizee Haze vs. Sara Del Rey, a very good match that many SHIMMER fans forget about because a.) it was on an otherwise weak show and b.) they have wrestled each other so many times for so many other promotions.

7.) SHIMMER Volume 4 (Brad’s Review)

Though it suffered from the same talent problems as Volume 3, I have to rank Volume 4 as the slightly better show because the booking here did a better job of making the best of a bad situation. Obviously if features the Cheerleader Melissa vs. MsChif falls count anywhere match that has already been highly praised throughout the Starter Guide, and it is also home to the first Daizee Haze vs. Rebecca Knox match. Again, though, an unremarkable undercard prevents it from climbing much higher up the ladder despite the fact that those two matches are among my ten favorites in the history of the promotion.

6.) SHIMMER Volume 10 (Brad’s Review)

This show, on the other hand, was a near-perfect example of a strong top to bottom card with virtually no weak points. Of course, the flip side is that it is lacking the one absolute blow-away match that would have made it a contender to break in to the top five. It does feature the culmination of the “Nikki Roxx ascends to the main event” storyline as she takes on Sara Del Rey. Though I think that Nikki did a very good job in that match and proved that she does belong on the main event level, it was still a bit weaker than other top matches from SHIMMER. The other highlight of the card is Daizee Haze vs. The Amazing Kong in the ultimate David vs. Goliath bout. Though it’s a solid match for the story that needed to be told and is an awesome “sprint” of a wrestling contest, it’s a bit too short for me to class as a top notch affair.

5.) SHIMMER Volume 9 (Brad’s Review)

Taped at the same time as Volume 10, Volume 9 is also a very strong top to bottom card, in large part due to the fact that its talent roster is identical to V10’s. However, it outranks the prior volume on this list in part because the main two matches (Cheerleader Melissa vs. Sara Del Rey and Amazing Kong vs. MsChif) are quite a bit stronger than the Del Rey and Kong matches found on Volume 10. Another big selling point for me in regards to this DVD is the heel turn of Cindy Rogers, which kicked off what I consider to be a very promising storyline for the promotion.

4.) SHIMMER Volume 5 (Brad’s Review)

Though from the rankings it’s easy to tell that I generally have a preference for the later DVDs in the series, Volume 5 still manages to hold a special place in my heart. A large part of that is due to the Sara Del Rey vs. Mercedes Martinez match that occurs on the card, which is still an easy thumbs up despite the fact that I consider it to be the weakest of their trilogy. Combine that with Nikki Roxx vs. The Amazing Kong and Daizee Haze vs. Rebecca Knox in their two out of three falls match (two of my ten favorite matches in company history), and it’s easy to see why Volume 5 has held up much better than many of the other entries from the first half of the series.

3.) SHIMMER Volume 8 (Brad’s Review)

As it features the Del Rey/Martinez match that I consider to be the best in company history, you knew that this one had to rank fairly highly. Yet, despite the match taking number one for its list, the show as a whole couldn’t quite reach that lofty height. As one could imagine, this is due to the undercard. There was a fairly lengthy Daizee Haze vs. Tiana Ringer match which did not really click for me, and there were also efforts from Lorelei Lee and Serena Deeb before those two became the more polished performers that they are today. V8 does make up some ground, though, for featuring Nattie Neidhart vs. Ariel, which is a great exhibition by the uber-talented Neidhart and also allows Ariel to display some of her skills that are normally hidden on the SHIMMER series.

2.) SHIMMER Volume 1 (Brad’s Review; BONUS: Mike Campbell’s Review)

I think it’s rare that the first wrestling show in a series of them holds up as being one of the best. However, in the case of SHIMMER, this is undeniable. With the main event of Lacey vs. Daizee Haze and the semi-main of Del Rey vs. Martinez both being among the top matches in the history of the company and the undercard being solid enough to not drag things down, it’s hard not to put Volume 1 at number two on the list. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s an extremely close second. The difference maker in my mind was the experience level of some of the women, as our eventual winner included more competitors who had traveled across the world and been in wrestling for a period of longer than five years.

1.) SHIMMER Volume 7 (Brad’s Review)

And here we have it, SHIMMER Volume 7 at the top of the DVD countdown. There’s one simple reason why I consider this to be the best show in the history of the promotion: Bang for your buck. On this card, you’ve got LuFisto vs. Martinez, Del Rey vs. Neidhart, and Melissa vs. Haze. I would be willing to buy a DVD with the world’s worst undercard in order to see any one of those matches. When you consider that you’re getting all three of them on one disc AND a good undercard to boot, a purchase here is a no brainer for any professional wrestling fan. If you only buy one SHIMMER DVD in your entire life, make it this one. I can’t imagine anybody walking away disappointed.

Well, with all of our counting down having wrapped up, that finally puts an end to the Ultimate SHIMMER Starter Guide. I have enjoyed these last three weeks, as it’s given me an opportunity to discuss a product that I enjoy immensely. Hopefully I’ve managed to convince a few individuals to give the promotion a chance, and hopefully I’ve given some guidance to those of you who have been planning to check it out for a while now.

If you need more information beyond what has been contained in the last three editions of Thoughts from the Top Rope, head over to SHIMMERwrestling.com. Of course, SHIMMER DVDs are available through ROHwrestling.com, and some individual matches can be downloaded at ClickWrestle.com.

Daniel Wilcox will be taking one more week off from the column, though I won’t be here to fill in for him. From what I understand, though, there will be something rather special in this slot. Be sure to check it out!


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Ryan Byers

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