Tonight, one month removed from their first anniversary show (and the crowning of the first SHINE Champion in the shape of Rain), SHINE Wrestling returns to its home base at The Orpheum in Ybor City, FL for SHINE 12. A bit of a curious card this, as other than the situation surrounding the title – where Jessicka Havok, Mia Yim and Ivelisse Velez will battle in a three way match for a shot at Rain’s title on the same night – much of the rest of the show seems to have hit a reset button, with no real issues to be settled on the rest of the show. However, with a highly rated debutante in the shape of Portugal’s Perfect Athlete Shanna and the return of the always show-stealing Kimber Lee (along with the first showing of Daffney‘s A.S.S. as a unit), there’s plenty of potential for a good show. Oh yeah, and two of independent wrestling’s biggest and most talented names get it on as Mercedes Martinez renews her old rivalry with Amazing Kong.
Has that whetted your appettite? You can order the show either live, on demand, or even with an accompanying DVD of the event from WWNLive.com, but otherwise, click through past the cut and follow along with our live results.
1. All Star Squad (Nikki Roxx & Solo Darling) beat the West Coast Connection (Tracy Taylor & Su Yung) when Roxx pinned Yung following a Barbie Crusher.
2. Leva Bates beat Christina Von Eerie via DQ (Von Eerie used a chair outside the ring).
3. Kimberly beat Kimber Lee via submission (Cloverleaf hold).
4. Three Way #1 Contendership: Jessicka Havok beat Mia Yim & Ivelisse Velez by pinning Velez after an Air Raid Crash. She goes on to challenge Rain in the main event.
5. Leva Bates beat Christina Von Eerie via DQ (Von Eerie laid out the referee)
6. Santana Garrett vs Brandi Wine started but soon became a tag match…
7. Santana Garrett & Amber O’Neal beat Brandi Wine & Malia Hosaka when Santana pinned Wine after a Shining Star Press.
8. Amazing Kong pinned Mercedes Martinez following an Implant Buster.
9. Angelina Love pinned Shanna following the Botox Injection.
10. SHINE Championship: Rain (c) pinned Jessicka Havok after Havok’s knee buckled and April Hunter assisted with some extra leverage on the pinfall.
• Right… let’s get some things absolutely clear off the bat here. I like SHINE, I enjoy almost all of the talent they promote, and I have given high praise to SHINE shows in the past… but this show? This wasn’t one of them. It brings me no great pleasure to say it, but frankly, it was the worst SHINE show to date. But hey, that’s alright – not every show is going to be great, and to unduly praise something just because you want it to succeed really doesn’t help anybody. I’ve got a lot of questions and concerns over the show, which – as noted – I didn’t particularly enjoy this month, so I’ll try and deliver some honest criticism. Let me know in the comments if you strongly agree or disagree with me.
• First off, call it a hangover from the SHINE tournament show last month or not, but the late announcement of an actual card for this show (it was only announced last week) suggested that this show was an afterthought. The fact that now, less than 24hrs after SHINE 12 we’ve already got a main event and a talent list for SHINE 13 suggests that perhaps normal service is resuming after a blip this month, but we’ll see.
• While I went into the show with an open mind, I had remarked privately in the days before the show that a lot of the matches on the show didn’t appear to have a reason to be happening – and the matchmaking looked suspect. Heel/face divides in particular were all over the place. Daffney’s All Star Squad were having their big debut match as a babyface unit… against a fellow babyface team. Heel Kimberly vs Heel Kimber Lee (which – and I think this was borne out on the show, was literally *only* booked for comedy commentary purposes). Babyface Leva was talking on babyface Christina Von Eerie. Even in more defined roles, there was no particular reason for Amazing Kong to face Mercedes Martinez on the show – other than “just because”. Now, you can call me picky over this, but I think that the complete lack of anything that seemed to “matter” on the show really affected the crowd. I don’t know if there were less people than usual in the building (The Orpheum seems like a very difficult place to estimate a crowd on TV), but the people that were there barely reacted to anything on the show. I know some people seem to think the concepts of babyfaces and heels are passé, but when you’ve got a crowd struggling to care about a match and you don’t give them an easily identifiable babyface and a heel, it’s going to be doubly difficult to move them emotionally.
• Case in point, the situation with Su Yung, Christina Von Eerie and Leva Bates. Up until now, all three of these women are babyfaces in SHINE, and with good reason. Suddenly a surly Christina Von Eerie attacks Su Yung after her match… making Christina a heel now, it seems. Except this is based on a Dragon Gate USA angle, where I’m informed on twitter that (in DGUSA at least), Christina is a babyface and Su is a heel. Christina then calls out Leva for her match, and the two have a short match where Christina is overly rough with her, and gets disqualified for a chairshot outside the ring. Well, we know Leva’s a babyface, and with CVE getting DQ’d, that seems to confirm Von Eerie as a heel (despite Christina randomly trying to start a babyface “Oi!” chant during the match)… except after the match, Leva superkicks Von Eerie. By that point, I’ve totally lost interest.
• Let’s talk about the ring ropes. We understand that there was a problem with the ring ropes during the show, and apparently talent were told to use them as little as possible. Certainly the bottom rope sagged throughout the show, but as long as the talent were careful, they seemed usable – however, issues over the ropes may have necessitated a 20 minute interval after Match 4 (and the relatively abbreviated nature of the first half of the show). I don’t know – I wasn’t in the ring, so I can’t tell you how bad or difficult they were to work with… but I can certainly see how such an issue could have a detrimental effect on the in-ring product – so bear that in mind too.
• I have to say, Solo Darling is a little firecracker, and for me she really shone (if you’ll pardon the expression) during the opener. I don’t know where they’re going with Daffney’s ASS, but I can see how a veteran/inexperienced pair like Nikki & Solo can work by giving Darling the rub. There certainly was an implication later in the show that Daffney was scouting Amazing Kong, so I’ve no idea how big they’re going to… err… “expand” Daff’s ASS, but I’m really happy that a new talent like Solo is getting a chance to be seen alongside established stars.
• Kimberly vs Kimber Lee threatened to be a good match, but ended before it had really got in gear. These were two heels fighting it out, although Kimberly is obviously the one that the people knew a bit better (as the SHINE regular), so she was the de facto babyface in the match. I don’t know if it means a full-time turn for Kimberly or not, but she just won, clean. As noted, this match was just a chance for Lenny Leonard and Amber Gertner on commentary to riff on their name similarity. At least Lenny threw in an Abbott & Costello “Third Base” reference just to underline what was going on. I like both of these women… and I’d like to see them wrestle for a bit longer, and when it actually means something.
• The three-way for contendership to Rain’s title was, as you might expect, a step up in quality, and was the best match of the first half by some margin. As far as style was concerned, it wasn’t the sort of three-way where you get lots of cute three-way spots – it was the sort of match where for much of the time it was one on one, with the other woman selling – which is pretty much fine with me. Match still felt rushed though. Jessicka Havok had a good performance here, and as we’ll discuss later, she was arguably the best performer of the night. Finish was supposed to be Ivelisse eating both a lionsault from Yim and then an Air Raid Crash by Havok, but while Yim landed low on Ivelisse’s body, it was still a pretty decisive finish.
• After the intermission, Leva and CVE went out there to have a rematch… or a take two, perhaps? Von Eerie asked for a rematch and said she didn’t want to have the match end the way it did (which is a kinda babyface deal) – only for the match (which wasn’t clicking anyway) to end when Von Eerie shoved down the referee for a second short and lame DQ finish. Right, by this point I’m pretty sure Von Eerie is a heel… so in retrospect, why didn’t Leva ask for this rematch? As the fighting babyface wanting retribution, that promo should’ve been hers. I guess we’re building for a No DQ match? But isn’t Von Eerie’s heat with Su Yung? I don’t know any more.
• Turning Santana vs Brandi Wine into a tag team match was one of the most clearly signposted “impromptu” tag matches I’ve ever seen. All we needed was Teddy Long to make it official, right? Crowd didn’t care about this match IN THE SLIGHTEST. Hosaka & Wine (I guess we’ll call them The Experience 2.0?) did a long beatdown on Santana, who is, let’s not forget, one of SHINE’s most popular performers. Santana’s hot tag to Amber O’Neal was so quiet you could hear a pin drop… and the finish? Brandi Wine delivers a vertical suplex to Amber O’Neal, but after taking the back bump involved in delivering the suplex, Wine was apparently INCAPABLE OF GETTING UP, so Santana hit a Shining Star Press and pinned her. Really poorly put together finish, in my opinion.
• Amazing Kong vs Mercedes Martinez was good. They worked hard, and they probably had the best series of near-falls on the night. But let’s talk about Amazing Kong. She’s ditched the leather valkyrie (not to be confused with Valkyrie) gear and she worked in what could be described as clubbing clothes – a spangly top, a headband, leggings and a skirt. Safe to assume that with the massive amount of weight she’s lost of late – thanks, at least in part, to DDP Yoga – she just can’t pull off her old look convincingly any more. It’s a bold move, but she pulls it off. Hopefully the weight loss will continue to aid her back issues and get her back on the road to being where she needs to be. As noted earlier, Daffney appeared to be scouting Kong – so we’ll see where this leads.
• Shanna tried to work the crowd up with some heel promo work before the show. Unfortunately, it didn’t really wake the crowd up from their slumber – a shame, because with an appreciative crowd, this might’ve been rather fun. Shanna went for the Injection of Perfection (Warrior’s Way), missed, and Angelina hit a Botox Injection for the pin. Good effort.
• The main event then – and I don’t know if this was the only match anybody cared to see, or if they started handing coffee around the audience, but Jessicka Havok, to her credit, got the fans to care. It actually took a bit of cajoling from Havok to do it (I’d never seen Havok openly cheerlead a crowd), but she did it. Rain worked hard here too, and the match they put together (based around working over Havok’s leg/knee) really worked well and kept people’s interest. Havok sold and made herself sympathetic, and as noted earlier, was probably the only person to really grab (and hold) the fan’s attention all night long. The finish was one of those finishes where you’re disappointed, but disappointed in a good way (i.e. Havok will get her next time) rather than a bad way (I’m never buying another show). The post match run-ins seemed to set up Rain vs Angelina Love for next month (which has since been confirmed).
• So that was the show. I’ve seen worse shows than this… but this was without a doubt the worst effort SHINE have produced since they debuted. A combination of a really bad crowd, a bunch of matches that screwed around with established babyface/heel divides and didn’t appear to make any sense, a set of ring ropes that apparently didn’t do their job, and in certain circumstances, some matches that just didn’t appear to click, all makes for a disappointing viewing experience. Creatively the show has taken a dip this month for some reason, so let’s hope some of the spark that was missing this month comes back next month. Lucky 13, anyone??
— Stew Allen