It was late 2011 when I watched my very first SHIMMER. It was Volume 37 and I am not going to lie, it was a bit of a blur. I marveled at the fact that this show catered for women’s wrestling, that the women… *actually* wrestled. There were no fart jokes, there was no nonsense timing of matches, this shit was serious and it was bloody awesome. I had always been a fan of women’s wrestling, but it was more aimed toward the Australian local scene (and with talents such as Madison Eagles and Kellie Skater, who could blame me?), I was used to seeing short matches on a card stacked with men, so to see SHIMMER match that went against the very grain of everything I knew, well: mind blown.
The main event for that show was Eagles v Mercedes Martinez. I think it’s pretty obvious in my third instalment of this column, that I am a pretty huge fan of Madison’s work and naturally this match was no exception. To see her in that match amongst her ‘own kind’ was spectacular and I was blown away with the high calibre of wrestling shown throughout the entire show. It was then I quickly realised, SHIMMER was the grand mecca of women’s wrestling. THIS was the place to be if you are a female wrestler and are damn serious about it.
SHIMMER: Women Athletes is the brainchild of Dave Prazak and Allison Danger, established in 2005. With blocks of DVD tapings twice a year and more than 50 Volumes notched up, some of the women have gone on to WWE and found fame there – and it was quickly then I realised that I had a *lot* of catching up to do. But where do I start? I had no idea.
By the time the tapings came around in early 2012, I stayed tapped into Twitter, desperate to hear the results and hear how the Aussie girls went. For the first time in a long while, Eagles wasn’t making the trip due to injury, but Shazza McKenzie was making her debut, so the Aussies were being represented pretty well. I tried my best to keep up – and while most of the women’s names were different and unknown to me, it was like I had opened the door and found a brand new world, which I was desperate and anxious to explore. I had to know… more.
It was through social media that my teaching really began. I was following some of the women on Twitter, and liking their fan pages on Facebook. I was a witness to the passionate and enthusiastic discussions and exchanges on various message boards and trying to understand, who was feuding with whom and getting the title history straight. It was always a delight to see the free match here and there released via SHIMMER themselves, a few purchases on ClickWrestle of women I’d heard about or matches that I was told were really great. But… it wasn’t the same. I needed something more.
When my birthday came around in late 2012, my mother asked me what I’d like as a gift. My face spread into a smile as I replied, “SHIMMER DVDs”, thought she stared back at me blankly and leaned forward asking, “Is this another wrestling thing?” My very first SHIMMER DVDs were Volumes 45-48. I think the DVDs got more hugs than people that day (shh! Don’t tell anyone that). There’s nothing quite like getting your very first SHIMMER DVD, I am sure you can all remember the very first volume you got too!
It was through these four volumes that I really started to properly form some opinions on my own. Fall in love with Courtney Rush and her interactions with Sara Del Rey, become absolutely terrified of Saraya Knight and become a huge fan of wrestlers such as Athena, Davina Rose, Mia Yim, Ayako Hamada, Allison Danger, Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez – just to name a few!
Being able to communicate via social media with like-minded fans has really enhanced the learning experience for me. I’ve met some incredible people in my women’s wrestling journey, some I am proud to count as my friends. During SHIMMER 53, I held a viewing party through my website NHB Girls for other fans that were unable to make the trip. Being able to interact at the same time whilst the show was going on, react to the same thing and chatter excitedly about the match we just witnessed really made it a memorable experience, and lessened the blow of not being able to be there in person!
One day, I’d love to make the adventure out to Berwyn, and truly enjoy a weekend of something I’ve become really passionate about. Sure, it’s great to get the DVDs but it’s something else to experience it in person. I am so glad for that day that I stumbled upon SHIMMER Volume 37 – it’s changed everything I know about women’s wrestling and created the most awesome avalanche effect for me in how I appreciate wrestling in general.
SHIMMER: Women Athletes… Wrestling YAY!
– Rhi Lockwood