SHINE Wrestling returns to iPPV this evening with what is without doubt the most stacked card in company history – featuring, as it does, a Steel Cage Match main event to (presumably) cap off the long standing rivalry between Leva Bates & Kimberly, which currently stands at 2-2 after four matches (Bates won at SHINE 3, then after Kimberly turned heel at SHINE 5, she won their rematch at SHINE 6. On SHINE 7, Leva won a Last Woman Standing match, only to see Kimberly win the Fans Bring The Weapons/I Quit match at SHINE 8).
The show also sees the first Qualifying round of the SHINE Title tournament, which takes place at SHINE 11 in July – with eight hopefuls looking to advance to the single elimination tournament. In a first time ever dream match, Madison Eagles takes on Jessicka Havok, while Sweet Saraya Knight battles Su Yung. VALKYRIE stable members Rain & Ivelisse Velez will also see tournament action, against Jazz & Angelina Love respectively. And that’s not even all. Jump through after the page break to follow results as they come in from the Orpheum in Ybor City, FL.
1. Allysin Kay beat Courtney Rush with a cut-throat Saito Suplex. April Hunter had the referee distracted and he missed Kay tapping to a Rush Sharpshooter.
2. SHINE Title Tournament Qualifier: Saraya Knight pinned Su Yung with a sitout powerbomb.
3. Three Way: Rhia O’Reilly won over Brittney Savage & Solo Darling when she pinned Darling with a Samoan Drop.
4. SHINE Title Tournament Qualifier: Rain pinned Angelina Love with an Implant DDT.
5. All Star Six Woman Tag: Kellie Skater, Jessie McKay & Shazza McKenzie beat Nikki Roxx, Mia Yim & Santana Garrett when McKay pinned Garrett with the Boyfriend Stealer.
6. SHINE Title Tournament Qualifier: Jessicka Havok pinned Madison Eagles with an Air Raid Crash in an excellent match.
7. Mercedes Martinez pinned Evie with a Fisherman Buster.
8. SHINE Title Tournament Qualifier: Jazz pins Ivelisse Velez with a Jazz Stinger.
9. ‘Arkham Asylum’ Steel Cage Match: Leva Bates beats Kimberly by placing Kimberly into a straightjacket.
• So, SHINE 9 was the start of the road to the SHINE Championship, as noted above – and with the international talent from last weekend’s SHIMMER tapings still in the country, this was the most stacked and probably the most anticipated SHINE event to date. However, the biggest problem in retrospect was timing. The Cage for the main event was still being set up well after the 3 hour mark – similar, in some regards, to the SHIMMER vol 53 iPPV a couple of weeks ago. It’s an arguable point whether this card was actually *too* stacked and a combination of the long show and the long cage set-up meant that by the time the show concluded, it was half past midnight local time (and half past five in the morning here in the UK).
• A case in point as regards the timing of the show is the opener between Allysin Kay and Courtney Rush. Now, they’re two of my favourite wrestlers in the world, so cards on the table, I’d happily watch them wrestle for as long as they want, but from another point of view, the slower paced, playful, character-based start probably was better suited for a midcard match than an opener. Very enjoyable match though, with Rush’s enthusiasm and quirkiness playing well off Kay’s “Made In Sin” persona. Would happily like to see a rematch.
• Of the matches in the first round of the SHINE Title Tournament, Su Yung vs Saraya Knight seemed like the most blatantly one sided for obvious reasons – but it turned out to be one of the more enjoyable matches of the night. It played out kind of how you’d expect if you’ve got any idea of either woman’s work, but the fun was in the telling of the story. I think Saraya probably surprised a lot of people by winning and progressing in the title tournament given that she’s a fly-in talent, but I’m happy that the tournament isn’t predictable. Su Yung’s best performance to date in SHINE.
• Rhia O’Reilly vs Brittney Savage vs Solo Darling was fairly inconsequential in the grand scheme of things, but it was fine. Savage showed some personality, Darling showed some fire, and O’Reilly appeared to hold it all together.
• Rain vs Angelina Love was a good match, however, I think the fact that this was Love’s first singles match in the promotion, not to mention going against the leader of VALKYRIE, the match was kind of overshadowed by some of the other big matches on this show. They worked well together though, and Love looked motivated to show she’s still able to be a big part of the promotion.
• The six woman match was a lot of fun. Team Australia went glam, which wasn’t a major stretch for Shazza McKenzie or Jessie McKay… but for Kellie Skater? Wowzer. A one piece, no wrist tape, straightened hair and makeup? Uhh… that’s not our Rate Tank. A nice mix of action and comedy – including a six woman body-pop which nearly killed the tiny McKenzie. Very fun.
• Eagles vs Havok, then. Well, what is there to say other than the match delivered in spades? Is this worth seeing? Yes. Two of the best performers around today had one of the best matches in SHINE history. We’ve already extolled Eagles for the last couple of weeks for how well she’s come back and looked as good as she ever has… but credit here to Havok to for stepping up to the challenge. Havok seemed to be on the verge of something big a little while ago, but had her momentum stall a bit through no fault of her own (WSU’s change of ownership curtailed the number of shows the promotion has run, and Crossfire went under just after an apparent national TV taping), but her work at SHIMMER last week and SHINE yesterday seem to paint the impression of a motivated Havok, getting to work with different people and getting to prove why she got such a buzz behind her in the first place. It was interesting to see both Havok and Eagles work with women that were of a similar size too – with both often working against much smaller women. If I have one criticism, it is that I don’t think the fans knew who they wanted to cheer for. Havok got some cheers (as acknowledged by Lenny Leonard on commentary), though Eagles is probably the one who might be considered the more traditional tweener type. It’s a minor point to note though, and overall I’m super happy the match was put together even despite the similar alignments. Great stuff though. Worth staying up for.
• Martinez vs Evie was enjoyable – good to see Evie again after last weekend, and working someone who is such a veteran too. It’s worth noting that Evie tends to end up wrestling the same few girls in New Zealand all the time, other than the odd trip to Australia – so getting a chance to work someone like Martinez can only be a thrill for her. Evie had her hope spots and got in some good kicky offence (and a dodgy looking top rope rana). Emphatic victory for Martinez.
• I have to say, I really enjoyed Ivelisse vs Jazz a lot. Ivelisse came out still apparently selling her ribs from the last SHINE show (they were bandaged up), only for her to eventually use those bandages to choke Jazz later in the match like a real heel. Loved some of Ivelisse’s ground-based submissions too – with both Mexican and Japanese influences, including a sweet Koji Clutch. Unfortunately for VALKYRIE though, their intended interference/distraction didn’t work, and Jazz picked up the win with the Jazz Stinger, giving VALKYRIE their first loss since their formation. Enjoyed probably more than I thought I would. Ivelisse continues to look good, and Jazz is utterly dependable.
• The main event conceptually is awesome – and the idea of Leva locking up the crazy bitch Kimberly in a cage, stuck in a straightjacket sounds like a wonderfully apt way to end the storyline between the two… however, getting to that point was the problem. The two worked hard and took some hard shots, but the cage didn’t look good (the mesh appeared to be coming away from the structure in places) and the straightjacket stipulation took away much of the tension you might otherwise have hoped for. You can’t do near falls in a match like this, after all. Nor can you do scrambles to escape the cage. Instead, you’ve got to wait while someone carefully puts their opponent in a straight jacket – which seemed to take forever. Two arms in. Close the jacket at the back. Connect several claps at the back. Cross the arms. Tie the arms up too. The ending was therefore quite anticlimactic – and it’s a shame, because after Leva & Kimberly hitting gold last month with their Fans Bring The Weapons/I Quit match, this was a comedown. That and the extended cage set-up time meant that while the final visual was still there, and while both women tried, it just didn’t work for me.
• All in all, a good show – even if watching live did seem to be too long. You want to see Eagles vs Havok, and for my money there’s solid fun to be had with Yung/Knight, Love/Rain, Velez/Jazz, Rush/Sin and the six woman too. The main event we’ll chalk up to an experiment that – in my opinion – didn’t deliver as well as it might have done (check SHINE 8 for the definitive Bates/Kimberly match).
— Stew Allen