March 10 2017
We’re in Ybor City, Florida for one of these FloSlam gimmicked events. Having just acquired Flo I popped in to check out the latest SHINE show. American Indie women’s wrestling is something I’m pretty unfamiliar with. I like a trip into the unknown. Host is Lenny Leonard. It’s a bit weird they do a “we are starting in 10, 9, 8,…” countdown when they’re already on the air. A bit of professionalism, ladies. The pink ring is a bit weird too. As if they’re drawing attention to the good ladies of SHINE as women first and wrestlers second.
Lindsay Snow vs. Aria Blake
We’re off to a cracking start with two women I’ve never even heard of, let alone seen wrestle before. A trip into the unknown. Snow looks suspiciously like Sexy Star, only littered with tattoos. Most of the wrestling is perfunctory although a couple of spots stroll across into the Fucking Terrible side of things.
I suppose it is the opening match but the opener tends to set the level of expectation for the rest of the show. The bar is low. Candy Cartwright runs in to allow a Blake backslide for a sloppy finish. This was not the best of starts. Having seen the match I don’t know why Snow was masked.
Final Rating: ½*
Post Match: Lenny Leonard informs us that Tessa Blanchard is injured so Thea Trinidad has no opponent. Brandi Lauren shows up to make a challenge.
Aerial Monroe vs. Priscilla Kelly
Kelly has a Gothic look that wins me over pretty quickly. Aerial is representing the hip-hop genre (based on her entrance music). We basically have a big old music ruck.
Priscilla is representing the Carnies and looks like Paige if you squint. They do too many of my most hated armdrag; the Japanese armdrag. Monroe has a pleasant habit of shouting weird stuff to try and get over like “I love Jesus” ahead of a Sister Abigail’s Kiss. Priscilla goes to give her a hickey. This is a strange match. There are definitely ideas at play but the execution is inconsistent. For example; on a pin Kelly doesn’t even ensure both of Aerial’s shoulders are down. It’s not even a tough pin. Monroe belts Kelly across the chops with a spinning slap she calls “Dirty Dancing”. Both women got their characters over nicely but the wrestling was patchy at best.
Final Rating: *
Post Match: Malia Hosaka comes out to berate Kelly and tells her to go back to school and learn some respect. It’s a fucking shoot, lads!
Malia Hosaka vs. Angel Rose
Angel is “Priscilla Zuniga” the latest NXT jobber. She’s spunky, I like her. She’s a tiny woman too, barely over five feet tall. Hosaka, the “Modern Day Moolah”, has never struck me as a good wrestler. When she was younger she worked for WCW as part of their women’s division. For her to get that exposure and essentially go on to nothing major since shows her talent level. Perhaps that’s harsh as when she was at her peak the majors were dominated by models. This match is made by Rose taking big bumps. Malia gets a quick win. It’s a throwaway. I was honestly more impressed with Rose, who clearly has a future. Even if it’s only making other people look good.
Final Rating: *3/4
Post Match: Kelly comes back out to mouth off at Malia. The veteran’s mocking crying is very funny. Kelly has worked out what she wants to say and Malia is far better at improvisation, based on a career in the Biz.
Brandi Lauren vs. Thea Trinidad
Brandi looks like she’s rehearsing her entrance without any of the attached emotion that you expect from living human beings. Thea is doing the laziest Harley Quinn cosplay, ever. She’s basically just carrying a baseball bat in the same way as the DC character and skipping around in the same fashion. Brandi looks so incredibly green.
She has a slightly creepy smile but all her in-ring looks as if she’s trying to memorise a sequence. According to Cagematch she’s only been wrestling for a year. I would have guessed at less. Thea doesn’t help proceedings by attempting things that are clearly beyond Brandi. It is an awful, awful professional wrestling contest. Brandi is clearly finding her feet and I’m sure she’ll get better with experience. Thea, as a seven year pro who’s wrestled for TNA, should realise Brandi’s shortcomings and control the match more. The problem they have is that heels are supposed to lead and Lauren is the heel. It’s as if Thea is happy to let her crash and burn before throwing in her big spots at the finish so that’s all people remember.
Final Rating: ¼*
Dynamite DiDi vs. Jayme Jameson vs. Leva Bates vs. Amanda Carolina Rodriguez
ACR is accompanied by La Rosa Negra. They have a Puerto Rican thing going on. There’s lots of butt-shaking. Jameson looks like Victoria Varon. I did a double take when she was in the shade. She ruins the effect by sporting a “Keep Calm and Suplex On” t-shirt. If that’s not bad enough there’s a guy in the front row with a replica WWE title over his shoulder. Fuck’s sake, lads. Leva “Blue Pants” Bates is cosplaying Buffy.
She has the Buffy entrance music and everything. When we get underway some of the spots are an absolute shower of shit. In particular a double noggin knocker from La Rosa Negra. Leva looks particularly good, compared to the others, and she was generally disliked by the Wrestling Elite during her NXT run. A problem with a lot of moves in matches with inexperienced wrestlers is that moves that are intended to miss look as if they were intended to miss. That’s not good. Some of the moves that do connect are untidy. Especially when they rely on multiple participants to be in the right place. ACR gets a roundhouse for the pin in the midst of the mess.
Final Rating: *1/2
Candy Cartwright vs. Su Yung
Candy wins me over right away by coming out to Cherry Bomb. Candy is a big fan of Candy. She has a girly girl gimmick and wears a lot of pink, which is a nice contrast to Su, who comes out dressed like the Bride of Satan.
In years gone by the clean cut Candy would be the babyface but that hasn’t been the case for many years. Su is the first person on the show to convey a presence. She’s suitably manic most of the time but when she stops and glares she can tell stories without doing anything. It’s like watching the killer from a horror movie made real. This is amplified by Candy looking like the typical victim in an 80s slasher movie. They’ve flipped the genre on it’s head like Lita taking a bump off a tope. Candy makes for a fine scream queen and her buddy Aria Blake is also adept at playing the role around ringside. So much screaming! Candy doesn’t fully embrace the ‘victim’ role though and hits a dive off the stage to reflect she’s not completely helpless. I love her and Aria dancing around shouting “oh my God” over and over. For this Aria gets blood spat into her face. Some of the wrestling is clumsy but as a concept match it’s tremendous. It’s a shame the crowd is so unresponsive. Su gets the win, naturally, although there was always potential for interference.
Final Rating: ***
SHINE Tag Team Championship
Chelsea Green & Santana Garrett (c) vs. Kennadi Brink & Vanessa Kraven
Chelsea is known as Laurel Van Ness in TNA. Santana has also worked for TNA and Kennadi has been an NXT jobber. The challengers are cornered by Amber O’Neal, formally Amber Gallows aka the Bullet Babe.
Santana and Chelsea are the faces and Garrett has developed a nasty habit of winking whenever she poses, which means almost all my attempted screencaps look terrible. I’ve had to go out of my way to get a shot of her that doesn’t make her look bad. Chelsea is subbing in for Raquel (Gabi Castrovinci) and Amber was supposed to be wrestling too but she’s injured. Bubbly Chelsea gets her character over in a matter of seconds. That makes her the second easiest character to relate to behind Su Yung. This is a fairly standard formula tag match. For those with limitations, sticking to rigid formula isn’t the worst of ideas. Chelsea takes heat and Santana gets a hot tag. It works, because it’s always worked. I get annoyed with formula when talented people do it.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Mercedes Martinez vs. Allysin Kay
Allysin comes out to Gangsta’s Paradise (instrumental version).
She’s naturally working face. Her “AK47” nickname is cute too. They set out a methodical pace here, shooting for the epic. The trouble they immediately have is that the crowd are barely interested and it’s really, really quiet during this. The combination of chinlocks and silence is not a good one. Putting such a tedious contest at the business end of the card does not help matters. It’s not that the match is a mess or anything, and it’s technically a lot better than some of the more disastrous undercard bouts, but it’s not that interesting. Even the false finishes are so boring. Kay gets an armbar that’s supposed to be this thrilling near finish and the crowd just sit there. I wouldn’t want to work Ybor City. The actual match would probably be great in front of an appreciative crowd and it shows just how much the crowd plays into the making of a truly great match. By the time they get into the rolling cradles and near falls it has genuinely hooked me. It’s just a shame the Ybor City crowd aren’t into it. Allysin hits the Pounce but the 20 minute time limit expires. Both women were looking absolutely gassed at the finish so it’s probably for the best they don’t do five more minutes. Good match but the crowd wrecked any suspense they were building.
Final Rating: ***1/2
LuFisto (c) vs. Ivelisse
LuFisto has been around on the Indies for fifteen years. She’s never had a WWE approved ‘look’ so that ship has probably sailed. Ivelisse has come into her own since starring in Lucha Underground. Let’s not forget she was in WWE’s system when NXT started out as an independent show. She actually beat Paige on NXT’s third ever TV show. LuFisto is in C4 so the other members (Amber, Kennadi etc) come out here and shenanigans ensue. The outside interferences hangs over the match like a cloud over a gloomy autumn afternoon in Skegness. It doesn’t help that the match seems uneven with LuFisto making her strikes look more realistic and her power moves being on point. Ivelisse does nothing wrong, in particular, but she’s never able to convince me that this isn’t a mismatch. Also the usual crowd issues apply, with the match being so storyline heavy. It needs heat to succeed and it has none. ACR turns on La Rosa Negra during the match and joins C4, which distracts Ivelisse and she jobs to a Burning Hammer. This had moments but the nonsensical turn shouldn’t have impacted Ivelisse at all and it left a bad taste in the mouth.
Final Rating: **1/2
This wasn’t a particularly good show. The standard of the wrestling in the first half was poor and it barely improved in the second half, peaking with a good but heatless 20 minute affair for a number one contenders spot. I wasn’t keen on the booking either with a screwy finish in the main event and a non-finish in the secondary main. Bizarrely the one match I’d definitely recommend is Su Yung vs. Candy Cartwright. I’ve never seen anything so engineered to be like a slasher film done in reverse.