It’s WrestleMania weekend, which means it’s also WrestleCon – and the return to action for SHIMMER Women Athletes for their Spring taping season. While there’s a weekend of festivities in prospect next weekend in Berwyn for four tapings across two days, there’s the small matter of today – right now – when SHIMMER makes its iPPV debut in front of its biggest live crowd to date.
You’ve read our primer, you’ve watched Eagles/McKay from Vol 35, you’ve listened to Athena’s podcast and you’ve followed Saraya’s winding road to Vol 53 with successful title defences in both Bellatrix and Femmes Fatales, and you’re ready for action, right? Well, we hope you’re watching live on iPPV via WWN, but we’ve got your results right here as they come in anyway.
Show started 15 minutes late
1. Amazing Kong SHIMMER Return: Amazing Kong pinned Mia Yim via sitout powerbomb.
– An interview with Serena Deeb was interrupted by a debuting Jessicka Havok, Nevaeh and Sassy Stephie – Regeneration X made the save, setting up a Regeneration X & Serena Deeb vs Havok, Nevaeh & Stephie later in the show.
2. Veda Scott & Shazza McKenzie beat Cherry Bomb & Kimber Lee when Scott pinned Cherry with a Mind Trip.
3. Five Way: Christina Von Eerie won a five way featuring Rhia O’Reilly, Evie, Kalamity & Yuu Yamagata when she used a backcracker on O’Reilly.
4. Ayumi Kurihara’s Last Match in US: Mercedes Martinez pinned Ayumi Kurihara following a Fisherman Buster.
5. Serena Deeb, Allison Danger & Leva Bates beat Jessicka Havok, Nevaeh & Sassy Stephie when Serena pinned Nevaeh after a Spear. Post match, Havok laid out Deeb.
6. Madison Eagles SHIMMER Return: Madison Eagles pinned Jessie McKay with the Hellbound
7. SHIMMER Tag Team Titles/Four Way: Canadian NINJAs (c) (Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews) retained the Titles over 3G (Kellie Skater & Tomoka Nakagawa), Made In Sin (Allysin Kay & Taylor Made) & LuKana (LuFisto & Kana)
a. LuFisto pinned Taylor Made with a Burning Hammer. b. Skater pinned LuFisto with a rollup after Nakagawa spat water in her eyes. c. Perez pinned Skater with a rollup after Matthews spat water in her eyes.
8. Athena pinned Ayako Hamada with an O-Face
9. SHIMMER Championship/Steel Cage: Cheerleader Melissa pinned Saraya Knight (c) after an Air Raid Crash to win the title – NEW CHAMPION
Post Show Thoughts
• The setup in the Meadowlands was simple but effective, and the larger crowd certainly does give a more major league look to the promotion. Not having watched any of the other WWN iPPVs from the weekend I’m going on anecdotal evidence only, but the SHIMMER crowd – numbering over 700 – apparently came across as louder than Evolve the night before. Some of the fans were SHIMMER fans, sure, but a majority of them were casual fans, so it was interesting to see what fans got into and what they didn’t.
• The opener was a perfect opener for a casual-heavy crowd, as they broke out the return of Amazing Kong to the promotion. As expected, fans reacted well to this, and Mia Yim proved to be a very good opponent. Not sure on Kong’s SHIMMER future given that she’s not coming in for the Vols 54-57 tapings this coming weekend, and placed later in the card I might have hoped for an upset, but to me there’s no way you job out a star like Kong in an opener. Good match.
• Veda Scott & Shazza McKenzie vs Cherry Bomb & Kimber Lee was next up, and was a fairly low key way to introduce Kimber Lee to the promotion. She did well, but was ultimately in the most forgettable match on the card. Cherry Bomb’s heel mannerisms continue to be superb, and she was arguably the star of the match – and underlines what a shame it will be she’s not in Berwyn next weekend. Veda & Shazza’s deal as the scrappy, adorable geeks is certainly charming, but Veda in particular could do with stiffening up her strikes, which currently look like they’d fail to dent a cupcake.
• The five way match was a bit of a cluster – with five women all struggling to make an impression in limited bursts. You could say, for example, that the debut of the highly touted Evie would’ve been better showcased in a singles match – and you’d probably be right… but you could say the same thing for fellow debutante Yuu Yamagata (who we understand was a last minute addition, turning a four way into a five way). Everybody had a few minutes here and there to show some of their signature stuff, but overall the match was a bit too busy to really gel, and the finish – with Von Eerie pinning O’Reilly – sort of came out of nowhere.
• Mercedes Martinez and Ayumi Kurihara knocked the show up several notches with their match, which is, as reported, Kurihara’s last match in the US before her pending retirement. If you thought Ayumi might be going at less than her usual capacity as she prepares to hang up her boots, you’d be very much mistaken. She threw herself all over the place, delivering signature dropkicks, suplexes and even dives to the outside. All part of the reason why she’s retiring at 28, I guess. Anyway, tremendous match.
• The six woman match was good. Jessicka Havok, making her SHIMMER debut, looked magnificent – stylistically almost completely different from everybody else on the roster, and her character gives an edge of danger that is only rivaled by Saraya Knight. If we assume her addition to the roster is a permanent one (and she’s already part of SHIMMER in Berwyn next weekend), you can totally see why. On the other side, Serena Deeb looked like she hadn’t missed a step in her year-and-a-half out with injury. She still throws the best punches around, still generates tremendous babyface fire and still makes herself one of the easiest people to get behind as a fan. In other news, the confirmation of Deeb/Havok next weekend? Take all my money, Dave Prazak… I don’t need it any more. In other news, nice to welcome back Nevaeh – who had been getting some traction with Stephie as a tag team back in 2011. It remains to be seen, and the term ‘Midwest Militia’ was never used on the broadcast, but with Allysin Kay busy as part of Made In Sin, Nevaeh may slot into her position in a kind of pseudo Militia in SHIMMER. A quick word on Regeneration X’s “Jay & Silent Bob” gear – excellently realised, very funny – and gave Amber Gertner on commentary a chance to pull out her Big Book o’ Kevin Smith jokes. A win.
• If Serena Deeb didn’t show any ring rust, Madison Eagles looked to outright laugh in the face of ring rust, and then kick ring rust in its stupid head. I know she’s had a few matches in Australia to prepare her for this US comeback, but damn. Eagles also showed plenty of personality in her match with Jessie McKay – and while the caveat is that those two have probably wrestled dozens of times, they worked so well together I don’t think Eagles could’ve hoped for a better re-introduction to the promotion. Great to see McKay back after missing the last set of SHIMMER tapings too.
• Well, we may as well start talking about the four way tag match with the big talking point of the match – *that* moonsault by LuFisto. If an injured knee is all she got away with from that, then she’s very lucky – that was one scary splat. The fact that she got up and was able to deliver a Burning Hammer to eliminate Taylor Made from the match a few minutes later is almost a miracle. For what it’s worth, she appeared to throw herself right to an area nobody was standing. Ouch. As for the rest of the match, I enjoyed it – but like the five way match earlier, it’s difficult to really stand out when you’ve likely only got short bursts to do it. Kana looked as tremendous as ever. Allysin Kay remains one of my favourite people to watch in the ring. There was a funny Ebessan/Kikutaro inspired moment of slow-motion wrestling by the NINJAs early which tickled my funny bone, and Allison Danger on commentary at this time was on fine form riffing on how much she hated the NINJAs. After the elimination of Made In Sin, the final two eliminations were all about the different philosophies of Skater & Nakagawa. Nakagawa spat water in LuFisto’s face, allowing Skater to pick up that elimination – but when Tomoka tried to do it again – against the NINJAs, Skater told her partner that they didn’t need to use it. Seconds later, Matthews spat water in Skater’s face and she was pinned. Soooo, an interesting story going forward in this one. Can Skater change Nakagawa? Will 3G split up? We’ll see.
• One of the main reasons we made Ayako Hamada our Wrestler of the Year for 2012 was that she was almost without fail involved in the best match on every show she appeared on – and from our twitter feedback we received in the half hour after the show, this was the majority pick for Match of the Night. On commentary, Dave Prazak and Allison Danger were putting over how similar in styles these two were, and how Athena was testing herself against a higher level with Hamada, and that’s how the match played out, with Athena matching Hamada as much as possible throughout. Lots of spin-kick based offence, and at one point Hamada replicated LuFisto’s moonsault to the outside, but landed it safely. If I had one criticism of the match, the finish – Athena’s spectacular O-Face – appeared to come a bit out of nowhere. Great effort by both here, and opens a possible rubber match, which I think everybody would be fine with. Was it match of the night? Hmmm… On a personal level I might have enjoyed Kurihara/Martinez a little more – or even McKay/Eagles – but if this was your MOTN, I can totally see it.
• Main event time, and Saraya & Melissa continued (or possibly concluded?) their rivalry in a Steel Cage. Much like their previous two matches in SHIMMER (Vols 48 & 52), they worked a niggly, gritty match – stylistically very much still a pro-wrestling match, but with a frisson of tension. And it works very well for the two – the finish, which saw Melissa counter a potential top rope powerbomb into a super-hurricanrana, hit a missile dropkick and an Air Raid Crash, was exactly what it should’ve been, with Saraya taking her payback for all the pain she’s caused Melissa in the last year. Memorable ending, which woke the crowd up after a quiet start. All in all, a home run of a show in front of a bigger than usual crowd, and hopefully some of the fans who experienced SHIMMER for the first time will come back and support the product more at future tapings and by buying future DVD releases. Well done.
Photography (above) via Lexie Fyfe on twitter.
Screen Caps (below) captured directly from the live feed.