Joe Babinsack looks at Shimmer Wrestling's latest DVD

SHIMMER Volume 33
SHIMMER Women Athletes
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack
Rachel Summerlyn & Jessica James vs. Athena & Bonesaw
Aside from being a credible tag team match, the other aspect here that you wouldn’t see elsewhere is the bringing up of new talent and the sizes and shapes of the gals in the match.
Summerlyn looks powerful, and James is shorter (their entrance with James piggy-backing on Summerlyn is clever), while the African-American team is comprised of Athena, who truly reflects The Commodores “Brickhouse” in a positive way, and Bonesaw is new, not imposing but definitely exuding that Homicide influenced attitude.
What impressed me was the opening sequence where Bonesaw went for the “3 Amigos” but was stopped short in her execution. There was a bit of a hesitation there, but it played well.
Liked this as an opener.
Jamilia Craft vs Cat Power
I believe these two are students of the SHIMMER Wrestling Academy. If you don’t know, Craft has a mask and Power doesn’t any longer, which doesn’t quite make sense on a few levels…
Cat Power gets it in terms of her gimmick, and she’s a real powerhouse in the ring. Craft has energy and drive, but there’s just something that isn’t clicking with her.
Just not sure why these two are wrestling each other, when they would benefit from other positioning.
Allison Danger vs Leva Bates
Except for the fact that Danger looks dangerously like Moolah here, I’m all for this match-up.
Bates is a newcomer with an Anime look with goggles and a fan-friendly attitude. She gives Danger all she can take, and then some. Maybe it went too long, but the story was right here. (Which is the problem when almost every match seems the same pattern, but let me stop.)
Showing that Leva Bates can hang with Allison Danger is great.
Then, after the match, Veronika Vice hits the ring and complains about opportunity, and of course Danger accepts the challenge. It was typical overstatement by Danger, but it all worked.
I loved how they made Vice look like a someone in coming to the ring, and she definitely has a look. We’ll have to see if she can go (she was in Shimmer last year) with Danger…
Taylor Made vs Melanie Cruise
This was the match that made me wish for a squash, and wow, I pretty much got it.
Taylor Made has crazy colored hair and a petite body, and she’s up against the very powerful Melanie Cruise, and Cruise screams Old School challenger already, with or without Annie Social.
Misaki Ohata vs Portuguese Princess Ariel
This Ariel’s back in SHIMMER …. a solid addition to the roster, and she’s paired up against a Joshi Submissions master.
Well worked.
Serena Deeb vs Kellie Skater
Skater is a brash, obnoxious Australian who looks like a babyface until she turns on the accent. As an announcer, she’s nails on chalkboard annoying. I may be finally getting the “Rate Tank” – ratings monster, perhaps, but that’s still a weird nickname.
Skater challenges anyone from the back, and out comes Serena Deeb to answer it.
Deeb gave a lot in the match, but looked very happy in the end to be appreciated, and got the “Welcome Back!” chants.
Nevaeh vs Sara Del Rey
I liked this as another replay of the newcomer with potential against the veteran match. Neveah used Kendrick’s Sliced Bread #2 to almost perfection, but that’s about as close to Kendrick as she came, which is a good thing.
Definitely had the heel/face dynamic going, and I liked the match, but I think Nevaeh is stronger in a tag team.
Afterwards, we have Nikki Roxx setting herself up for a run for the gold.
Jessie McKay vs Nicole Matthews
A rematch of battle between the two, I believe on the last Volume.
Both McKay and Matthews are everything the mainstream does not expect from wrestling: athletic looking bodies, able to sell, telling a story in the ring and working to a finish, not just working to high spots.
This has the heel/face dynamics and the sense of meaning to the match. McKay is awesome in her selling, and while she’s slight enough that it detracts from her offense, she has creative moves and knows how to use them. Nicole Mathews has a sense of solid heel – not overly arrogant (she leaves that for Portia Perez), and a confidence that works to her advantage.
On first glance this seems odd above Sara Del Rey, but this match is much better.
Ayumi Kurihara vs Daizee Haze (No Countout)
Ok, they went quick with the No Countout stip, but it’s meaningful with the result of the last meeting between these two. Kurihara is a strong wrestler, who claims no losses – until The Haze pulled a fast one and prevented her from re-entering the ring and got the countout.
There’s a bit of a rule bend there, or is there?
I mean, should the ref have stopped the count with the interaction? Technically, perhaps not.
Thus a more clever use of the rules than the typical ignore ‘em all and make something up next TV segment. But that’s not what this match is about. Between the always impressive Haze and the well-built up expectations of Kurihara (no real losses, we’re told), they put on quite the show.
Ayako Hamada vs Tomoko Nakagawa
If SHIMMER is the modern day All Japan Women’s Wrestling promotion, then Hamada and Nakagawa are straight out of FMW.
In a relative sense.
Otherwise, this was like watching All Japan men after catching a re-run of All-American Wrestling from the 1980’s. The level of intensity and the stiffness and the pulling out the craziness was so different than the norm in SHIMMER.
I don’t want this to go into CZW land, but it’s a nice mix-up of the expectations and Hamada/Nakagawa apparently have been waiting for this matchup for some time, and they did not disappoint.
SHIMMER Title Match      Madison Eagles vs Cheerleader Melissa
Nice setup to this match, with Cheerleader Melissa talking it up and wanting to try her best against the newly crowned SHIMMER Champion. Madison Eagles is all but ducking challenges. There was an awkward moment with Dave Prazak when Perez said she doesn’t have to defend every Volume as Tag Team Champion, so why should Eagles have to do that!
I love the awesome “Australian Heels” attitude of the ladies from that nation in SHIMMER (except for McKay). Of course, Melissa is a long-time favorite of mine, and they put on a strong style match – though note quite as crazy as the previous one, but more solid in the execution.
Submissions and breaks, building a story, and establishing the credibility of the Champion, that’s what it’s all about.
I still don’t ‘get’ the Madison Eagles thing yet – she’s tall but athletic, she’s definitely showing a MMA base (and they play that up), but what’s up with a move called “Hellbound”?
But the heel champ, actually the very concept of a heel in this day and age, is well presented.
Wrap up:
SHIMMER has been reinventing itself, with incursions from Australian women, Joshi, new trainees and even the return of Serena Deeb from that entertainment based portion of the industry.
The new names and styles have definitely freshened up the faces and the potential matchups, but the only drawback is the same old American Independent style match lengths. It’s like professional wrestling lost a dimension or two of the artform over the past two decades.
It’s not that the result is bad wrestling, but the result is that far too many matches don’t have an in-ring focus. There’s too much countering of moves that would be better established as a finisher or dangerous, and too many matches that would be better served shorter and to the point.
As if I knew anything about shorter and to the point, but I'm trying.
But to pick on SHIMMER isn’t fair, since that’s the same complaint I have across the indy scene.
What always impresses with SHIMMER is the movement up and down the card. There is a distinct establishment on the roster, and seeing Sara Del Rey and Allison Danger positioned to bring along new names is important for the promotion moving forward.
What I also love about SHIMMER is the lack of gimmicks and focus on straight-forward matches.
And, of course, there’s no cookie-cutter shape here, with almost every wrestler with a distinct look and a different approach to the game.  But above all, the ladies in SHIMMER are putting their passion into their work and performing at levels and with matches that are impressive without qualifiers. With SHIMMER, the matches are lengthy and the moves are plentiful and there's no two-minutes an out mentality.
If you haven't watched any really good wrestling in a while, here's a promotion that doesn't disappoint.
Joe Babinsack can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  I'll have WSU up next, then Ring of Honor, some spotlights (Jessicka Havok has been promised) and more comments and commentary about Professional Wrestling, and MMA if the tangents lead me there. 

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