Guest Post: Joe Babinsack looks at women's pro wrestling in the U.S.



By Joe Babinsack ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it )

It’s been a while since I looked at Women’s wrestling, and the landscape has changed enough that I wanted to provide an overview of a few promotions before jumping into some long-promised reviews.

Women’s Superstars Uncensored has been a favorite of mine, a promotion more in line with mainstream names and angles, yet vastly more respectful to pro wrestling history. There is an ownership change, and look forward to getting a DVD of the upcoming event on May 11th.

There are some controversial directions, changes in faces (and a change in a babyface as well, and a lot of rumbling on a lot of sites. Last time I watched, the Midwest Militia of Jessicka Havok, Allysin Kay and Sassy Stephie took the promotion by storm and dethroned Mercedes Martinez. Marti Belle was the young babyface full of promise.

WSU has been a place where top indy names, visiting stars from the mainstream and a solid variety of home grown talent has mixed very well. Despite the presence of Mercedes Martinez and other hard-hitting ladies, the undercard has been less workrate oriented and more angle driven.

Which, at least, has made the promotion different.

WSU will always be tops for inducting Georgiann Makropoulos into their Hall of Fame, and while in transition, it’s a promotion that has been around for five years plus and hopefully remains as a viable promotion.

The New Jersey based promotion is putting on the 2013 version of “Queen and King of the Ring”, co-promoting with CZW, at the Flyers Skate Zone in Voorhees.

SHIMMER remains the biggest, best and longest running women’s promotion in the United States. I’ve sampled some matches here and there recently, but need to sit at the computer and watch one of the stack of DVDs.

Over the past year, I’ve missed the Saraya Knight reign, her battles with top stars and feud with Cheerleader Melissa; the last year of Allison Danger’s career; and a lot of wars over the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship.

The Chicago based promotion is more workrate than highspots, more sports oriented than storyline, and has featured the best of the best of the indy pro wrestling scene, no matter if fans (and the mainstream) can’t seem to appreciate that these ladies have a purer version and vision of professional wrestling than the other gender.

Over the years, most SHIMMER events have minimal gimmicks, mostly straight-forward matches, clearly understandable win/loss dynamics and a true diversity of body shapes and talents. SHIMMER has brought in Japanese, Australian and even Canadian talents of great repute, and has constantly changed up the roster.

But at the core, SHIMMER is all about the Championship, setting up new contenders and keeping a focus towards the top of the card, making those matches more meaningful, and keeping the decisions and booking simple – to let the action speak for itself.

Even though mainstream nonsense is mostly out of the question, there are still entertaining names like the Global Green Gangsters and the Canadian Ninjas.

The last “Volume” of SHIMMER was an April Event numbered 53, main evented by Saraya Knight vs Cheerleader Melissa in a cage match.

Check out http://www.shimmerwrestling.com/ for DVDs, usually at $15 each.

Shine is the new promotion on the block, already with nine events on the books, and using much of the same talent that SHIMMER and WSU has used.

The SHIMMER Championship has been defended on Shine iPPV’s, but a tournament is underway, with Qualifiers taking place on Friday May 24 at The Orpheum in Ybor City. The 16 women tournament features the elite of the women’s indie scene.

The Florida based promotion had been hosted by everyone’s favorite scream queen – Daffney, and is a sister promotion to EVOLVE and Dragon Gate USA. Shine's iPPV's are available on the World Wrestling Network (http://www.wwnlive.com/)

Women’s wrestling continues to be little more than eye candy and short matches on TV, but strangely enough, every time that national alternative features the ladies in the ring, the ratings improve. Maybe one day someone will take note, realize that wrestling without all the craziness and emphasis on look instead of actual talent, and give well deserved opportunity to very capable wrestlers.

Well, they did give Sara Del Rey a job, after all.

(I’d insert a crack about women leading the big two wrestling promotions, but that rarely causes a stir.)

What I like about watching women wrestling is enjoying the artform and the selling and the storytelling in the ring.

I also appreciate that not every wrestler looks like every other wrestler; that the talent seems to find its level; that the decisions make logical sense most of the time; and that focus is on … wrestling.

(In a week where ‘contests’ were more important than professional wrestling matches, isn’t that unique?)

While I’ve seen the extremes, even the worst of the matches doesn’t have the gratuitous bloodletting, the nonstop spot-fests nor the cards of one match looking like the next, looking like the next.

To me, there’s a lot to learn about what works and what doesn’t in any of these promotions. And more importantly, there’s a lot to enjoy about watching a purer form of professional wrestling.

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