SHIMMER 91 (4.1.17)

SHIMMER 91 (4.1.17)

SHIMMER returned for their yearly foray onto PPV with a solid show – and a couple of break-out performances to boot!

Well, after Friday’s debacle, we’re back to for the annual SHIMMER iPPV. Yeah, SHIMMER is still like PWG, relying on (a heavily-delayed) DVD distribution model for their product than attempting anything digital outside of their WrestleMania shows, but I guess it works for them to some degree… We start 25 minutes late for whatever reason, as WWN’s technical problems persisted once again, with reports of paying fans unable to view their purchase. Sigh.

Cherry Bomb vs. Alex Windsor
Yes, that’s Impact’s Allie under her SHIMMER/indy name. Alex Windsor looks thrilled to be here, and in the rather unfamiliar role of babyface. She starts with a big boot to an on-rushing Cherry Bomb, then leaps over Cherry in the corner to take her down for an armdrag.

Cherry lands a dropkick to the arse of Windsor for just a one-count, then distracts the referee with a minor thing so she can choke Alex in the corner. A sliding forearm hits Windsor in the ropes for a near-fall, but it’s all Cherry Bomb here, at least until Windsor sends her into the corner and follows in with an avalanche and a clothesline for a near-fall.

Windsor heads up top and lands a clothesline, before she kipped up… but Cherry pushes her away and runs into a Blue Thunder Bomb attempt for a near-fall. Bomb recovers to superkick Windsor off the top rope, and just like that that’s the win. Pretty abrupt, I have to say, but the match was alright, if not forgettable. **¼

Whomever’s directing this is giving me motion sickness, cutting to wandering mobile cameras… Sigh.

Veda Scott vs. Samantha Heights vs. Britt Baker vs. Nevaeh
This is the first time I’ve seen Heights, who mainly works out of Ohio… Baker was one of Nia Jax’s squashees on Raw last year, but she’s got more in her locker than that.

Apparently this was meant to work under tag rules, something that Bryce Remsburg tried to enforce until all four women threw kicks at each other. We finally settle down with Heights and Nevaeh, the former landing a flip neckbreaker for a near-fall, before a sunset flip almost took Heights into the bottom turnbuckle. A dualling pair of head kicks force both of them to tag out, so we get Baker and Veda, the latter cowers away from a superkick as Scott had some teeth knocked out during the Joey Janela Spring Break Show on Friday night.

A springboard bulldog gives Veda a near-fall, before a falling up-kick sees Veda tag out to Neveah. Why would you tag out in a no-elimination four-way? Scott tags back in, then backs away from a kick as Baker’s left in to take a back rake. A double clothesline from Baker knocks down Veda and Neveah, as does a double missile dropkick from Heights, who follows up with Diamond Dust to Scott.

Heights drapes Veda on the apron and runs in with a boot to her head, before a Neveah clothesline takes her down hard. We get a low-pe as Heights dives through Neveah to take out the other two. Back inside, Baker hits a Rocker Dropper to Neveah, before catching a kick for a short powerbomb on Scott. Neveah hits a tombstone to Baker, but it’s Britt who gets the W after reversing a series of waistlocks into a roll-up for the win. Eh, this was alright, a little disjointed in places, but multi-way matches usually struggle like that. **¼

LuFisto vs. Leva Bates
You probably heard my groan when the graphic revealed this one. Apparently Leva was dressed like Tina Belcher from Bob’s Burgers… o-kay.

LuFisto charges at Bates and chops her in the corner, but Leva replies with some overhanded chops before deciding to spank LuFisto. Uh-huh… Bates rolls up LuFisto into a crossface, but they’re way too close to the ropes, so LuFisto gets hung across the middle rope for a dropkick to the arse.

On the outside, LuFisto swerves a PK and powerbombs Leva onto the apron, before booting her on the side of the apron for a near-fall. A running hip attack almost kills Leva in the corner, but she kicks out at two and manages to come back by draping LuFisto across the middle turnbuckle for a double “knee stomp”.

We go back to the chops from LuFisto, who sent Bates down in the corner for a cannonball… but Bates rolled away and kicks her like she was Bishop Brennan. Right in the arse. A Northern Lights suplex gets Leva a near-fall, as do a flapjack and a dropkick, before Bates hits a double stomp to a bent-over LuFisto to edge closer to victory.

A savate kick rocks LuFisto, who’s then taken back into the corner, where Leva gets caught with a Burning Hammer out of nowhere for the win. Another rather abrupt finish, but this was alright. I still can’t get past Leva’s cosplay gimmick – although her match here didn’t bore or annoy me as much as some of her SHINE stuff. **¾

Solo Darling – with her tail, since we’re not in CHIKARA – comes out to make the save as LuFisto kept beating on Leva afterwards.

Lenny Leonard came to the ring for an interview next, where the Heart of SHIMMER champion Nicole Savoy came out. She won the title on a tournament at last year’s iPPV, but has been out with an ACL injury recently. Savoy’s sporting a compression brace on her right leg, and she tells us that she’s planning on making her return in July.

Savoy introduces her partner in the Trifecta – Shayna Baszler (a former MMA fighter who’s turning her hand to this pro wrestling lark). Baszler tells us about her path in wrestling, and then introduces her mentor: Mercedes Martinez. She completes the Trifecta, and builds up to her title defence against Candice LaRae, noting that LaRae’s lost more than she’s won, and so she feels like Candice isn’t deserving. So Mercedes makes it a non-title match… but Candice heads out to issue a reply… in the form of an attack to Mercedes, but Shayna Baszler joins in and beats her down.

Santana Garrett runs in, and we have our WWN trademark of the weekend – an impromptu start to a scheduled match!

Shayna Baszler vs. Santana Garrett
Santaga starts with a satellite headscissors that sent Shayna to the outside, but Baszler returns to hit a big boot as the Trifecta member took over.

Baszler chokes Santana in the ropes, before going all Timothy Thatcher on us with a series of gutwrench suplexes for a near-fall. An armbar follows from Shayna, who tweaks away at Garrett’s wrist a little until a rope break is forced.

My feed jumps around a little and recovers when Garrett sits up as both women trade punches on the top rope, but Santana’s knocked down and taken into a Boston crab. That’s turned into a sunset flip for a near-fall, before Garrett misses the Shining Star Press and gets caught in a Falcon Arrow that transitioned to a rear naked choke for the win. Pretty short, but effective in continuing to establish Shayna as a dominant, bloody-nosed monster. **¾

Cat Power vs. Jessicka Havok
Power’s had a bit of a winning run in SHIMMER lately, and since Dave Prazak called it out on commentary, I guess this could be called “big lasses wrestling”?

It’s Havok who takes the early advantage with a backbreaker that takes Power to the outside for some chops, before she’s placed in a chair… and that’s not going to end well as Havok flies in with a boot against the guard railings. Power sidesteps a second one, and eventually returns to the ring to keep up the beatdown, knocking a seated Havok down with a running boot for a near-fall.

Power escapes a chokeslam and applies a sleeperhold, but Havok charges her back into the corner to loosen the grip. Eventually she hits that chokeslam for a two-count, then some running boots in the corner to kill Power. A clothesline’s ducked and met with a uranage as Power snuck in a pinning attempt, but she tried for a Fireman’s carry that Havok elbowed free, before hitting an Air Raid Crash for the win. Another short one, but this was pretty good – Havok’s getting back to her best after losing some pounds, after having her critics towards the end of last year. **½

Nicole Matthews vs. Shotzi Blackheart
Blackheart – Ashley Urbanski – had a try-out for WWE’s Tough Enough series a few years back, but failed a medical so had to drop out. Shotzi’s the “Phoenix of RISE” champion – with RISE apparently being a developmental group for SHIMMER, according to Dave Prazak.

Matthews delivers an armdrag that takes Shotzi into the corner, and you’d guess that Nicole may be underestimating the relative rookie here. The self-proclaimed SHIMMERtaker takes a roll-up, then a La Magistral for a near-fall, but it’s Blackheart who’s on the offence here with kicks and a neckbreaker to take the veteran down.

The match spills to the outside, where Matthews takes over, chopping Shotzi in the guard railings, but Blackheart returns the favour, before throwing in a Tarantula in the ropes. Matthews clubs her to the mat and throws in a rear chinlock, but Shotzi keeps fighting back and comes back with a missile dropkick after shoving Matthews out of the corner.

An enziguiri takes Matthews into the corner for some back elbows and a cannonball! That gets Shotzi a near-fall, before she catches Matthews in a Texas Cloverleaf, but she’s able to make the ropes to force a break. From there, Matthews mounted a comeback, and went straight to a brainbuster to almost win this, but Blackheart comes back with a reverse DDT! A back senton off the top misses though, and that leaves Shotzi open for the Vancouver Maneuver (Cross Rhodes) for the win. I was really impressed with Blackheart – there’s someone who needs to be seen in more places! ***½

SHIMMER Tag Team Championship: WDSS (Kay Lee Ray & Mia Yim) vs. Mount Tessa (Tessa Blanchard & Vanessa Kraven) (c)
Mia’s gone back to her former name after she was Jade in Impact… the champions jump their challengers at the start, but it’s Mia and Kay who get the early advantage, exchanging frequent tags against a cornered Tessa.

Kay Lee hits a trust fall off the apron into Kraven, who then takes a PK off the apron by Yim as this broke down a little, ending with Mia pounding on Tessa in the ring. Kraven nonchalantly comes in and pulls Blanchard into the corner so she can tag in, and it’s Kraven who overwhelms Mia with chops and splashes.

The SHIMMER feed buffers big time here, and recovers as Kraven throws Mia into the ropes… then tries to stomp Mia as she went for her legs. A Kay Lee Ray clothesline helps turn that into a sunset flip, but Kraven throws in another big boot for a two-count, before missing a cannonball as Yim moved away, tagging in Kay Lee for a senton bomb.

Ray gets a near-fall from that after she knocked Blanchard off the apron to make sure, but perhaps a Gory Bomb wasn’t a good idea as Kraven pushes away and boots Kay Lee again for a near-fall. Blanchard finally comes in and goes after Ray, landing a snapmare and a big kick before bringing Kraven back in to choke away on the Scotswoman.

Kay Lee fights back and goes for the Gory Bomb, but Blanchard escapes with a DDT for a near-fall. Kraven accidentally nails Tessa, and that riles up Blanchard, who slaps her partner back. The champions implode from there, but Tessa grovels and Kraven falls for it… Vanessa also falls into her partner after a double dropkick before Kay Lee nearly won it with a facebuster that the cameras missed.

A forearm-assisted German suplex takes the mountain Kraven down, but Kay Lee misses the senton bomb as Tessa grabs the tag title belt. She gets the referee distracted so she can hit Kay Lee with the tag title belt, and that’s one of the cheapest wins you can get. Pretty good until then, and having not followed SHIMMER for the past year, I kinda dug the story of the infighting between Tessa and Kraven. ***

After the match, they seemed to tease a restart, but Ray and Yim headed to the back without any argument – so no Dusty finishes here!

There’s a slight break as one of the cameras was inadvertently in strobe mode.

Kellyanne vs. Dulce Garcia
Garcia is the former Sexy Star, as she’s not changed her ring gear despite losing her mask.

Garcia starts off with a wristlock that turns into a couple of lucha armdrags off the ropes, before Dulce mocks Kellyanne with some handshake attempts that was a bit like a matador riling up a bull. Kellyanne throws Garcia to the outside for some chops, but the tables turn back and forth as the fans are used to hold Dulce back for a chop… and then they head deeper into the crowd as this becomes a slugfest!

The cameras struggle to pick this up as they head towards the merch tables, then back towards the ring where Kellyanne hits a suplex, then chokes the luchadora in the ropes. Kellyanne eventually riles up Dulce enough into a comeback, but the Aussie just kicks her to the outside, where she pulls a Marty Scurll… only to eat a seated senton off the apron.

Back inside, Garcia lands a couple of slingshotted bronco busters for a near-fall, then chops Kellyanne in the ropes before we get some lucha leapfrogs. Another flying armdrag is followed up with some headscissors and a suplex, before Kellyanne catches Garcia out of the corner with a backpack stunner for another near-fall.

Garcia moves away from a cannonball in the corner, then stomps away on Kellyanne after what I guessed was a neckbreaker attempt, before a double stomp off the top rope and the Three Amigos suplexes get the win. This was pretty good – that brawling spot in the middle was a little weird, but this was hard hitting and fun to watch, so that ticks all of the wrestling boxes, no? ***

SHIMMER Championship: Candice LaRae vs. Mercedes Martinez (c)
Mercedes was out with Nicole Savoy, with the gimmick that Savoy’s got a manager’s license for while she’s injured.

Candice heads out early with a baseball slide, before a dive into the ring’s caught and turned into a rope-hung DDT by Martinez, but the challenger rebounds with a flurry of forearms in the corner… only to get decked with a clothesline by Martinez. LaRae pushes Martinez out of the corner for a near-fall, before a rope-walk attempt sees Candice shoved hard to the floor.

They head into the crowd for some chops among the front row, before Martinez threatens a death valley driver off the apron, before she’s dropkicked into that front row. A tope follows as Candice clears the guard railing, but she gets pulled back down by Savoy as she tried to return to the ring. The referee misses that as Martinez hits another rope-hung DDT for a two-count, but Candice manages to switch up into an Octopus hold, then swivel Martinez to the mat for a Gargano Escape. Hmm…

Savoy pushes the bottom rope to help Martinez grab it as Shayna Baszler heads out for some reason… “to protect Savoy”. Martinez misses a kick and gets taken down with the Ballsplex, but Baszler jumps on the apron to distract the referee, allowing Savoy to slide in the title belt. Bryce Remsburg’s more concerned with ejecting them than counting a pin, and eventually we’re down to one-on-one.

Candice takes the belt shot anyway as Bryce had his back turned, but he doesn’t count the pin for a while, and Candice is able to kick out at two as Savoy and Baszler take forever to walk that aisle back. LaRae’s flat out in the ring, but she’s playing possum as a small package gets a near-fall, before another Ballsplex is blocked and switched into a spinebuster for a near-fall!

Another small package, this time countering a Fisherman’s buster, gets LaRae a near-fall, and she follows up with a rope-walk DDT for another two-count. A Balls-superplex nearly does it, but Martinez rebounds with the Fisherman’s buster to retain. A pretty decent main event, although I could have done without the pointless interference, but the story continues as the Trifecta continue to hold the singles titles in SHIMMER. ***

This got off to a rocky start, again partially due to the WWN Live stream issues, but the second half of this show was really strong. I said this after attending Pro Wrestling EVE’s shows earlier this year, but women’s wrestling in general needs more exposure – yes, there’s some wrestlers who aren’t very good, but the same can be said of men on the indies. Give it enough exposure, and the diamonds will form. Trust the process!

It’s just a shame that SHIMMER are so tardy with their DVD releases, otherwise this could be a group to follow in almost-real time, without the fear of people disappearing mid-storyline for WWE!

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