Joe Babinsack looks at Shimmer

SHIMMER Women Athletes
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack
Even at over three hours of a DVD, there’s not enough of SHIMMER to enjoy.
What sets this promotion apart from others is the constant mix of talent, an emphasis on setting up matches, a solid recapping of its history and an utmost respect for both the talent in the ring and the fans watching at home and at the arena.
What I find interest from my perspective is that SHIMMER’s talent is all over the place, in terms of body shapes, styles and just … well, diversity. In an industry where “cookie-cutter” seems to be the mainstream’s favorite approach to style, body and matchmaking, I can’t help myself in pointing out how different everything looks.
Even when the announce team (Dave “the Truth” Prazak and Portia Perez) seems to wander off topic, there’s a distinct charm and more importantly, a distinction in the presentation. I can name announcers that are more technical and more historical (Lenny Leonard) and teams that are more entertaining (AAW’s Phil Colvin and Derek St. Holmes (hey, I quoted myself from Google!) or Ohio’s Aaron Bauer with Joe Dombrowski or Pedro Deluca) but there’s something about Prazak’s undercurrent of incredulity and Perez’s often subtle heelishness that is … well, like I said, charming.
Before I get too carried away, let’s get to the matches:
The opener is Mercedez Martinez vs Leva Bates. There’s something odd about Double-M in the opener, but with SHIMMER’s up-and-down the card movement, it works well.
Prazak sets the obvious observation when he says this is the “most ridiculous opening in forty-two DVDs” or some such paraphrase. What’s crazy is that Leva Bates is in full cosplay X-Men mode (Prazak is hilarious in no-selling the character “Cyclops”…. He is no-selling?!?) and she goes overboard with a “force field” spot that had to make tag partner and ringsider Allison Danger cringe.
Ok… let me not get started.
Let’s just say, for my own satisifaction, when Mercedes Martinez had enough, it was over pretty quickly, but I wish her heelish bent would have taken a bigger bite out of that crapola.
We then get the first of many recaps, showing SHIMMER 41 with Hailey Hatred taking on Kalamity. The two were attacked post-match by Mena Libra & Melanie Cruise. This nicely sets up 42’s tag match, pitting a monster team of Libra/Cruise against the makeshift-team-coming-off-a-big-battle.
Hatred and Cruise are powerful women and classic heels in look. (although Hatred is a babyface... go figure). Both Libra and Kalamity have more babyface faces. By the way, I haven't seen this much or many black outfits since the Upstage (Pittsburgh/Pitt Campus) closed a decade ago.
Nice appreciation from the crowd. A solid, solid match.
Next up is a four corners match, which often felt like a tag, but had a very interesting mix of screamers and heels, Anime and Goth, Asian/Pacific and … well, that definitely worldly sense of inclusion.
LuFisto looks really shiny in that purple get-up. I figured we'd have two ladies in black & green, but MsChif is all Freddy Kruger this match --down to the glove & claws. Nice touch. That Kruger knife-glove is impressive. Then Kellie Skater comes out with her nifty "green with envy" intro.... tying in the green theme.
Just when it looked like almost a tag team match, MsChif hits LuFisto in the back... These ladies put on an interesting and interactive multi-person match, and while the stealing a pin finish gets old, it doesn’t get old when it isn’t expected.
Video packages and interviews set up more matches.
Then comes Yumi Ohka vs. Courtney Rush. Ohka has the most awesome outfit ever, if you're into Japanese Goth... from the long black coat with tons of buckles to the industrial looking material.. very impressive.
Courtney Rush does some powerful suplex.... but that Northern Lights was a bit odd.
Dueling chant and dueling attacks.... these two ladies are tall, it seems. I’m not much of a fan of the back-and-forth matches, but for a shorter match, it worked well.
Then Portia Perez, having abandoned the announce table, takes on Davina Rose.
This is mostly Old School setup of another match on the card, and inevitable tag match, as Serena Deeb get’s “coaxed” to ringside by Perez’s taunts. Davina Rose sportsa velvety costume, but as the protege of Serena Deeb, there’s a lot to be expected on many levels, and with the Canadian Ninjas, it all spells angle alert, and I don't mean Kurt.
But at least it isn’t tag team members turning on each other.
Simple, solid match by Davina, and Portia Perez is great in her heelish ways: taunting, mocking, not breaking the finish hold, and setting up future issues.
Hiroyo Matsumoto cuts a promo in English, short and to the point, about her match for the SHIMMER World Championship. Matsumoto claims she is the best in the world.... not another one!
We get to another tag match, with Neveah & Sassy Stephie against the always awesome Nikki Roxx & the “Portuguese Princess” Ariel.
It’s a tag match with women in 2013, which seems outdated, but Stephie is throwing knee-strikes like she's in the UFC. Ariel seemingly sets up the hot tag. Well, that assisted leg drop of doom wasn't expected and Roxx, unfortunately, didn't play the hot tag either. Not sure what that double eat dafeat/sole food to the chest is called, but someone should come up with something clever.
Now we get Cheerleader Melissa vs Christina Von Eerie, which isn’t quite dream match, but is very much anticipated by those in the know. Christina Von Eerie is sporting a fabulous war-hawk. Cheerleader Melissa not sporting a cheerleader skirt these days.
At some point, they almost went airborne, but then ….
Melissa tied Von Eerie up like a pretzel. OI! Prazak & Perez talk about injuries, then segue into wondering about Von Eerie's legs and how she could continue with the pretzel tie-up... cool. Wow, Von Eerie with the Cobra clutch.... and no call on that at all. OI! Kudo driver after a face-plant. Did the spiky hair make a bigger impact? That’s the kind of commentary I want to hear. OI!
We get a recap of SHIMMER 40, and that Athena stunner is something I’ve never seen Stone Cold pull off. Not sure where Mia Yim fits in, but she's been improving, and of course Jessie McKay does look like “Everybody’s Favorite Girlfriend”.
McKay gets the early focus, taking on both opponents, with a few stereo spots, then she's out, but back in with a cross-body on both. That was a bit contrived, but a spot's a spot. McKay has a lot of fire... the Thesz from the top was tops, but that super-kick was even better.
And yet, that diving stunner from the top rope tops it all.
We then move into the match set up earlier on the card, with Nicole Matthews vs. Serena Deeb.
Matthews does a Northern Lights Suplex that was the best of the night. A bit too much by going outside the ring, but just in time for Portia Perez to show up, and at least they went to the finish fast. After the match, it’s a donnie -brook, bringing out the locker room. This is fun!
SHIMMER Tag Match features more the Knight Dynasty (Saraya & Britani) than the Champs (Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara) but I don’t think any promotion could put Saraya Knight in the ring and not have her steal the spotlight. She has a presence that is unbelievably superior to most on the card, and works the crowd like few others, anywhere these days.
and Ayako Hamada plays off it well...                                                                                           
The Saraya/Britani dynamic is thus infused with a level of facial expression, reaction, response and emotion to an even larger degree. Which works even further because there's a highly technical, talented Japanese team that's all but ignoring that interplay, and working stiff.
That back turn towards the end was priceless.... And then Hamada shaking her head after the finish, and then the public berating...
Spectacular stuff here.
The next match is pure technical mastery, with Kana vs Sara Del Rey. There is something about Sara Del Rey's demeanor that speaks volumes. Kana comes out in the Kabuki mask, Kimono and a lingerie outfit that screams volumes.
Portia Perez is back out... for announcing duties. She brings up the two living/training in a Japan dojo in 1995, which actually adds some, but not much, to a solid, solid match... Kana spends a lot of time working on the leg. There’s an awesome spot where Kana is irish whipped into a second rope landing, then into a drop kick. Kana ends up with a chicken wing and an anaconda-like leg positioning. She does flip it into the cross face/chicken wing for a big win!
Ironically, this one was probably more deserving of a longer "that was awesome" chant, considering the slo-mo replay highlighting the action.
The main event is SHIMMER Champ Madison Eagles vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. It’s the ninth defense by Eagles, and we get a recap of Madison Eagles run. (Nice touch, which sets up possibly a change).
Prazak touts the back drop driver of Matsumoto. Perez notes that Hiroyo is the strongest, Eagles the tallest, on the roster. Good action throughout... then I grumble as it hits the outside. Eagles misses a kick with one of the sickest thuds (she didn't miss the ring post!) I've heard... They stay outside.... a little too much of that this DVD, but it's something to complain about my Mr. Grumpy.
Perez points out that the title can't change on a count-out as Eagles is crawling back to the ring, and she may be selling well, but she may not need to be selling. Eventually, Madison works the arm, then a few leg drops show she must not have hurt her leg too bad, but that was a thud of all thuds. In the end, it’s SHIMMER Championship defense #9.
Three hours of wrasslin’ deserves a lot of text, and three exclamation points, because it was that good!!!

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