SHIMMER Volume 34
SHIMMER Women’s Wrestling
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack
I’m not so sure that there is any other indy promotion with as deep a roster as SHIMMER these days, and more importantly, no other promotion seems to use its talented roster like SHIMMER does.
Over the past year or so, SHIMMER has brought in Joshi talent, Aussie talent, the top indy women talent, as well as its own home-grown gals. But what makes SHIMMER’s approach better than most is the intermixing of veteran and rookie talent, whether local or international. The dynamics of moving up and down the roster is another specialty of the promotion, and it makes winning and losing all the more important, and means that the matches don’t have to have crazy stips to be meaningful.
What has been traditional in SHIMMER booking is having one ‘specialty’ match on each Volume. Number 34 features a Triple Threat match, making it the rare promotion that doesn’t overdo (i.e. make meaningless) these types of battles.
And, of course, the same can be said about any other modern staple of matches.
Your SHIMMER World Champion is Madison Eagles, and she’s actually defending on this DVD. That concept is one I appreciate, since having the Champion on every card does make for far too many ‘going through the motions’ type matches. Eagles, playing the stereotypical Aussie heel (for SHIMMER, that is), is a bit of an enigma. She’s tall, talented and worthy of the Championship, yet she’s also in that Chris Hero/Claudio Castagnoli mold, where standing head and shoulders above the roster creates matchup problems.
Here, Ayumi Kurihara comes across as a spitfire of a challenger, and while her reputation as a hard hitter would enhance her standing with the hardcore types, the visual of her taking on the taller Champion only goes so far.
But Kurihara takes it to the distance.
If we want to go to All Japan Women references, she’s reminiscent of Cutie Suzuki. Which is strange, since Steve Corino called her Lil Kawada for her stiff kicks and strong style approach. Eagles proves why she’s the champ, a highly talented, darker haired version of Stacy Keibler. (Minus Clooney, Plus a lot of wrestling skill, but she does have long legs.)
There was a sequence involving a submission attempt, which Prazak and company (Portia Perez, likely) talked about only being able to do it with the size differential. Which of course is the problem with having such a size differential.
Ayumi Kurihara, however, didn’t make it seem like a mismatch, although I’m still trying to figure out the Hell Bound finisher for Eagles…. Sounds more like a MsChif hold to me. Madison Eagles vs Ayumi Kurihara was a top notch match.
I don’t recall too many three-way dances in SHIMMER, and by the initial glance, a match involving Ayako Hamada vs Sara Del Rey vs Jessie McKay kinda suggests who’s putting someone over. But the hallmark of great wrestling is turning expectations on their head (as opposed to turning staples of professional wrestling on its head, and wondering why expectations went out the window).
Yeah, I know where Hamada worked for too long.
There’s a definitive change in Sara Del Rey’s look, and she’s molding herself into something more WWE palatable. With her talent, she should be on bigger stages, but then again, look what happened to Hamada.
Jessie McKay is billed as “everyone’s favorite girlfriend”, which doesn’t quite make sense for a babyface if you think about it too much, but then again, it works in the modern era. Opening the match, McKay is joined with Hamada as being the babyfaces.
Yeah, it was kinda weird, but it played out fine.
Hamada and Del Rey had their working boots on, but McKay was hanging with them.
There was an amazing spot about ¾ of the way in, where Jessie did a cross-body block on both opponents, for which the timing was spectacular on all accounts.
Yet the finish… the finish wasn’t just great because, but because of how they played it out afterwards. This is the type of emotion that gets lost these days.
Heel vs Face dynamics are often lost as well these days. While the Triple Threat challenged it a bit, it did make sense in the end. But Heel vs Face seldom feels as good as with Cheerleader Melissa vs Tomoka Nakagawa. Nakagawa is as throwback to sinister Japanese wrestlers, especially keeping in mind that spitting water should never be allowed on national television.
Cheerleader Melissa seems to have a spark these days, and she’s looking as great as ever.
(Wow, it’s not even January 1, and I’m already desperately trying to avoid unnecessary knocks about TNA, as well as trying not to reference TNA because it’s a clearly sexist acronym, no matter that a women runs that promotion.)
This match just showed that Old School wrestling, in the year 2011, can be done and done well; especially if the talent in the ring is calling the shots.
Only one Tag Team match on the card, but we’ve got the SHIMMER Tag Team Champs, the Canadian Ninjas, so that’s all anyone should really need. Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews vs Rachel Summerlyn & Jessica James is another classic matchup. Perez & Matthews may not be actual Ninjas, but I think they are actual Canadians. Rachel & Jessica’s Excellent Tag Team is all that. There’s an interesting Big/Little visual with the Challengers, especially with Jessica riding on Rachel’s shoulders.
The Champions are filling the void of The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew, in terms of taking Women’s Tag Team Wrestling to the highest level.
I just love a well worked tag match, mostly because I rarely see them these days, but that’s no knock against these ladies working in the ring.
Yeah, I knocked Allison Danger last review because I said she looked dangerously like the Fabulous Moolah. That was wholly intended to be about her fashion sense and that one piece costume that she may have bought at some wrestling convention (from Mae Young, perhaps?)
All kidding aside, Danger is still a long way away from looking like she doesn’t belong in the ring. And this Volume, she shows her talents and her pro wrestling brilliance. Sometimes Allison hams it up and sometimes she telegraphs it too much, but in a match like this one, where it’s Allison Danger vs Veronica Vice, she was definitely on her game.
Vice is an interesting wrestler. But Danger is a master in the ring, and she shows what veteran talent should do when they’re in the ring with a job to do. In the end, making the match and making the opponent look better are the two most important things a talented wrestler must accomplish.
Mission accomplished and then some.
Then we hit a match were two relative newcomers do battle. Tenille vs Athena is another showcase match, and while these ladies have some experience to gain, they both have tons of potential. Tenille has the WWE look, and Athena the look of a Commodores song, but both bring it and bring it well.
Neither Nevaeh nor Daffney are relative newcomers today, but Daffney has a different attitude (wow, TNA reference deleted) and Nevaeh seems to be moving on from tag team action, or is she? This is a match(Nevaeh vs Daffney) where storyline and character progression plays a bigger role, and there’s nothing wrong with any of that.
Nor, in this situation, is having one name wrestlers
Nikki Roxx vs Misaki Ohata is one more struggle against making incessant yet justified negative TNA references, but then again, one can find justification under any rock. I can’t help but saying that Nikki Roxx is one talented and great-looking lady.
And so is Misaki Ohata.
A really well worked match, here.
As is Leva Bates vs Melanie Cruise. This is another heel/face match, with the towering (and quite glamorous looking) Cruise dominating on this DVD. Bates has an undercard babyface gimmick that will get her lots of attention and interaction. She really knows how to work the crowd, which is yet another rarity these days.
The opener for SHIMMER Volume 34 was a bit odd, with Jamilia Craft vs. Kellie Skater. While Jamilia Craft still needs experience, Kellie Skater went from challenging top names to jerking the curtains. Not quite sure what’s up with that, but Skater is the typical SHIMMER Aussie heel, and there’s nothing quite like her heel commentary with that Aussie accent.
I may be finally figuring out the Rate Tank moniker, but then again, what do I know about Australian wrestling other than the knowledge that Dominic Denucci was one awesome talent.
Somewhere along the DVD, Serena Deeb was interviewed about her Title chasing hopes, and her concussion situation.
Not quite sure where those are going, but best wishes on her recovery.
SHIMMER, as always, presents a satisfying pro wrestling product, loaded with talent, body shapes and logical booking (ain’t that the Truth!) and # 34 is one more example for jaded wrestling fans to get an enjoyable few hours of in-ring action and restore your faith in the industry.