We’re back for a second day of DVD tapings for SHIMMER, with questions being raised about LuFisto‘s current intentions. After being denied another chance at the SHIMMER title in the near future while Cheerleader Melissa still holds the belt, she came out to try to help Yumi Ohka win the strap in the main event of volume 64, but was rebuffed for her actions. The pair came to blows after Melissa retained the championship, leading to LuFisto and Ohka meeting as part of the volume 65 card today.
Elsewhere, Melissa defends the title against Mia Yim following Yim’s wins over Hikaru Shida and Mercedes Martinez, while Shida and Martinez will face off in a first-time ever match. Following her walking out of their tag team match yesterday, Veda Scott will wrestle Leva Bates in a rematch from volume 62, but with more hostile feelings abound.
Meanwhile in tag team action, Kimber Lee and Cherry Bomb square off against Ray and Leon, while Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa defend the Tag Team Championship against Saraya Knight and Rhia O’Reilly.
a. Pink Flash Kira pinned Angelus Layne with a victory roll.
b. Alex Bernadino & Markus Crane defeated The Archangel and Moondog Bernard. Crane pinned Archangel with a knee lift/Cutthroat Lightning Spiral combination.
c. Mary Lee Rose made Stacy Shadows tap out to a rocking horse.
SHIMMER Volume 65
– A video promo showed Thunderkitty at a bar where she gets a call from her agent booking her for tonight, but balks at the 80% agents’ fee.
1. Veda Scott pinned Leva Bates with a tights-assisted inside cradle.
– Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez come out, with Matthews challenging Madison Eagles to a rematch. Eagles comes out in a sling, with Nicole claiming that Madison is ducking her. Courtney Rush, Evie and Heidi Lovelace came out to challenge them to a 6-woman match and to find a partner to replace Eagles. Portia replied that they can find someone better than her.
2. Christina Von Eerie beat Angie Skye with a stranglehold lung blower.
3. Thunderkitty pinned The Spider Lady with a small package.
– Amber Gertner interviewed LuFisto, who says she had the best intentions when she came out to help Yumi Ohka in her match against Cheerleader Melissa. Saraya Knight interrupts and tells LuFisto that she’s going about things the wrong way.
4. Courtney Rush, Evie & Heidi Lovelace beat Portia Perez, Nicole Matthews & Jessicka Havok. Lovelace pinned Perez with an O’Connor Roll after avoiding a wrench attack.
5. Kana made Nikki Storm tap out the the Kana Lock.
SHIMMER Tag Team Championship
6. Kellie Skater & Tomoka Nakagawa (c) beat Saraya Knight & Rhia O’Reilly to retain the title. Nakagawa pinned O’Reilly following The Hangover. Saraya gave a death glare to Rhia for accidentally knocking her off the apron in the closing moments of the match.
7. Yumi Ohka pinned LuFisto with a running Yakuza Kick. Saraya came out during the match cradling Pegaboo, and then pulled her head off after the match, leading to a brawl between LuFisto and Knight.
8. Ray & Leon beat Kimber Lee & Cherry Bomb. Both were pinned following a Senton Bomb by Leon and a moonsault by Ray.
9. Athena defeated Kay Lee Ray with the O-Face.
10. Mercedes Martinez pinned Hikaru Shida with the Fisherman Buster.
11. Cheerleader Melissa (c) pinned Mia Yim with an Air Raid Crash to retain the title.
SHIMMER Volume 66
1. Leva Bates beat Marti Belle with the Pepsi Plunge.
2. Nikki Storm pinned Christina Von Eerie with the Eye of the Storm.
3. Kay Lee Ray defeated Leon, Nevaeh & Kimber Lee in a 4-way. KLR pinned Nevaeh with a Senton Bomb.
4. Evie beat Nicole Matthews with a double stomp in the Tree of Woe.
5. Yumi Ohka pinned Melanie Cruise with a running Yakuza Kick.
6. Veda Scott made Courtney Rush tap out to an arm bar while using the ropes for extra leverage.
7. Kana made Cherry Bomb tap out to the Rings of Saturn.
8. Heidi Lovelace pinned Jessicka Havok after Portia Perez went to swing the wrench at Lovelace, only for Heidi to duck and she hit Havok instead.
9. Mia Yim defeated Ray with the Package Piledriver.
No DQ, no count out
10. LuFisto beat Saraya Knight after ring announcer Kevin Harvey punched Saraya and LuFisto hit her with a chair.
11. Hikaru Shida defeated Athena with a Three Count.
SHIMMER Tag Team Championship
12. Kellie Skater & Tomoka Nakagawa (c) beat Cheerleader Melissa & Mercedes Martinez to retain the titles. Skater pinned Martinez following The Hangover.
Right, apologies for the delay of typing up some match by match thoughts on Sunday’s SHIMMER shows. A *very* late night on Sunday (well, let’s be honest, it was morning) resulted in sleeping most of the day and the contracting of a cold – the dreaded SHIMvirus – soon rolled into a day’s travel on Tuesday and a day’s sleeping on Wednesday. I guess the reflections a few days later won’t have the same immediacy, but at least they’re finally here – with a few days of travel and sniffles on top.
Vol 65 thoughts
• SPARKLE on Day 2 was again, a bit of a mess. I came in just as Angelus Layne and Pink Flash Kira were starting their match, and while it looked like Layne was trying, Kira was kinda falling around a bit. It was a bit like Angelus’ story from Day 1, to be honest. Tried hard, looked good, but ultimately was a bit let down by her opponent. The other female SPARKLE match was Stacy Shadows vs Mary Lee Rose, which was going nowhere until one of the competitors (I believe it was Mary, but I may be mistaken) reacted to a chop by yelling “That’s my chest, BITCH!!!”, which drew an “oooh” from the audience. Mary then chopped Stacy, who replied with the same phrase – and the match kinda went on from there with a new sense of aggression. Wasn’t good, and I don’t imagine management will be particularly pleased with the non-family show remarks, but I kinda appreciated that they eventually showed some fire. This weekend was not one of SPARKLE’s best.
• Veda Scott debuted her heel persona in the opener of Vol 65, and let it be said, I really like it. As noted in the thoughts from yesterday, it’s basically a port across of her AIW character, and that’s awesome. She should remain a heel for the foreseeable future. So much better. She even cut a promo pre-match where she referenced having nine lives (and being a winner in every one). Match was fun too, but and although the dynamic was much better here with the face/heel thing, wasn’t as good as their match at Vol 62 the previous week (at least, that’s the impression I got at the time). Veda won with a pull of the tights… because OF COURSE she did. By the way, Leva was Arrow in this one.
• Christina Von Eerie vs Angie Skye was a good match. Skye’s been hit and miss at SHIMMER, in my opinion. I thought she looked bad at Vol 61 last October, and she was involved in a mess of a SPARKLE tag match yesterday, but this definitely showed her in a better light. It’s hard to impress in such a high standard of competition, but this was her best match yet, in my opinion.
• Thunderkitty vs The Spider Lady. #JusticeForWendi
• Jessicka Havok was the replacement for the injured Madison Eagles in the trios match set up on Vol 64, and it was a fine substitution. There was a good antagonistic chemistry between the no-nonsense Havok and the NINJAs, who seemed to view Havok much like a blunt weapon of force. Babyfaces all looked good, and after her participation on SHIMMER weekends tends to have been limited on previous shows due to other bookings, it was awesome to see Heidi Lovelace be involved on both days of tapings.
• Kana vs Nikki Storm happened. And I was over the moon. While nothing’s beating 3G vs Mascaras Voladores on Vol 64 for match of the weekend, Kana vs Nikki Storm deserves to be in the discussion for runner-up for that award. This was great. Nikki did her schtick, but eventually what it became was an ultra engrossing wrestling contest. Yes, wrestling contest. Kana was trying to manipulate Storm into various locks, Storm was reversing and trying to avoid them. There were near falls, believable submission attempts, and when Kana finally muscled Storm into the Kana Lock, I think I breathed for the first time in five minutes. This match absolutely GOT me. Hook, line and sinker. I was emotionally invested in the match, and Kana & Nikki were absolutely on here. I’m starting to think there’s nothing Nikki Storm can’t do – and honestly, while these tapings were just dripping with talent, this was *much* better than a fifth match on an eleven match card had any right to be.
• 3G vs Saraya & Rhia was next, and 3G have this great talent where they’re (after this weekend) the most successful SHIMMER Tag Team Champions of all time, yet they still seem just vulnerable enough that every time they wrestle, a title change *could* happen. It means the fans are always well into 3G’s matches, and this was no exception. The finish, with O’Reilly knocking Knight off the apron by accident only to fall prey to The Hangover – resulted in Saraya glaring a hole at Rhia while she pleaded her apologies. As this was her last match of the weekend, kudos to Rhia O’Reilly for coming back after missing the October tapings and finding herself not only a spot, but a good spot. Likewise, after a pretty wretched October tapings for Saraya, she appeared significantly more motivated this time out and seemed to have a new wind for this. Great to see.
• LuFisto vs Yumi Ohka was a stiff affair, and if you know the two women involved, that’ll come as no surprise – though apart from going “oooh” at a bunch of elbows and kicks, this is one match that I can barely recall a few days later. LuFisto did flirt with being a heel in the match, including not bringing Pegaboo to ringside, which did at least result in the most memorable part of the match – Saraya Knight, who pulled the arms, legs and head off Pegaboo with glee.
• Ray & Leon vs The Kimber Bombs. The Kimber Bombs’ big “plan” from the off here was to try and befriend the Japanese stars by offering them Hello Kitty cookies – then pulling them back at the last minute while yelling “PSYCHE~!!!”. It’s utterly stupid, and I adore it. I also adore how both “Kim” & “Bombs” (as they refer to themselves) talk back and forward really loudly – and how, at some point during the match, Kimber Lee will call a halt to the match and exclaim “Wait a minute – I have an idea!”, which invariably results in certain doom for the duo. Just beyond fun. As far as the wrestling went, that was good too – while they act like idiots, both Kim & Bombs are more than capable to go in there with such a dynamic team.
• Athena vs Kay Lee Ray was a good match. Possibly Athena’s best of the weekend – I’d have to weigh that up on DVD eventually. Typical Athena style match, with an O-Face on top. Amusingly, as Kay Lee was thanking the crowd, a bunch of people chanted “Please Come Back” at her… I guess taking KLR’s waves as a wave goodbye. When she came back out on Vol 65, yes, she got a “Welcome Back” chant… so at least it’s consistent.
• Mercedes Martinez vs Hikaru Shida happened. I know it did because we’ve got the result of the match… but it’s not a match that I remember anything of. I can almost certainly say that it was great – because Martinez & Shida are default “great”. If anybody has any particular memories of the match, please add them to the comments. Damn SHIMvirus.
• Melissa vs Mia Yim was excellent. I feel like I’m repeating myself a lot with these thoughts, but there are only so many times and so many ways you can say how much you enjoyed something – but I damn sure enjoyed this. I never really thought that Mia would win the title (it just didn’t feel like the right time for a title change), but I liked what they did. As a friend of mine said to me over the weekend, Melissa’s become such a good heel, it’s getting hard to dislike her.
Vol 66 thoughts
• Onwards and upwards to Vol 66, which kicked off with Leva Bates vs Marti Belle – a match notable for Leva’s cosplay as Pee Wee Herman. Now, as a Brit, we have no cultural affinity with Pee Wee Herman at all, unlike my American friends, so the references went over my head – but I’m pleased to say that they did, at least, make me laugh. Leva did a bit of business where she explained that the secret word of the day was “three” and that when anybody says it, the fans all cheer. This resulted in much hilarity on disputed pinfall attempts, or when the referee was counting to five for a break. It was a bit of fun, and I liked it. Everybody got into it – but on the negative side, the “three” = CHEER! thing rolled over for another 2-3 matches. Thankfully it didn’t go much further.
• Nikki Storm vs Christina Von Eerie was next. Good, but not a patch on Storm’s earlier match with Kana. Match is mostly memorable for what appeared to be a nasty finish when Von Eerie hit her head on an Eye of the Storm. Storm took a long time leaving the ringside area, watching to see if CVE would get up – and eventually Stephane Bruyere, Kevin Harvey, Allison Danger and officials all ran in to check on her. Word we got is that she was fine afterwards.
• The Four Way was all action, and a nice way for Kay Lee Ray to get a win on her last volume for this set of tapings. (You wouldn’t know it considering how well she impressed, but she was 0-3 for the weekend tapings at this point. One presumes she’ll be back, which only leads to more money concerns for poor DP.
• Evie vs Nicole Matthews – This was fine, but it was also the fourth match on a stacked taping and perhaps because of that, this one seemed a tad short. Got the impression that these two have a better match in them at a future date. Nothing wrong with this though.
• Yumi Ohka vs Melanie Cruise continued Cruise’s run of great matches with Japanese talent – following on from her matches with Hamada & Matsumoto. Cruise’s power vs Ohka’s kicky offence. All good.
• I really, really enjoyed Veda Scott vs Courtney Rush. The big moment of the match was a fake knee injury spot by Scott – the Fit Finlay spot, basically – where she appeared to blow out her knee… then time stood still while Rush stood back, the referee checked her, Veda looked distraught – and eventually even Lexie Fyfe came out to check on her. Rush went to leave the ring, but as Rush was standing on the apron, Scott speared Rush to the floor – taking out Lexie in the process. I’ve seen the Finlay knee injury spot done loads of times, but I have to admit, I got fooled here. And of course, Veda even does a cartwheel by way of dickish celebration. The finish was vastly disappointing, but in the good way. I was worked, and the heel beat one of my favourites. I’d like to see her get revenge some time. That’s how this pro-wrestling stuff works after all.
• Kana vs Cherry Bomb is a weird combination to put together, but I did like this. Cherry was in full Kimber Bombs mode for the most part (as opposed to Kimber Lee, who gets serious when she’s solo), so the contrast between the ultra serious Kana and the not-so-serious Cherry Bomb. In some ways, it’s a shame Kana didn’t have a more meaningful match to end the weekend as she ended up going 4-0 and is (presumably) in line for a SHIMMER Championship match in October, but I give credit to Kana and Cherry for putting together a fun match. Cherry Bomb’s facial expressions are golden.
• Heidi Lovelace vs Jessicka Havok finished up really good weekends for both women. Heidi’s on her way up, and Havok, coming off a low key October tapings (where she had one good competitive match and three squashes) looks to have direction going forward too – specifically due to the botched interference by Portia Perez and her wrench. The size and style dynamic with Lovelace and Havok is great, by the way.
• Mia Yim vs Ray was excellent. These two are amongst the MVPs of the weekend, and this match was certainly not an exception. Yim won with the Package Piledriver, keeping her warm after her title shot loss. Lots of mutual respect here.
• LuFisto vs Saraya was announced as No DQ/No Countout – and frankly we were expecting a crowd brawl… instead the match was done in double quick time (I didn’t have a clock on it, but it didn’t seem long at all) before Saraya started acting up, and paying off an ongoing “feud” that has been rumbling for three years, ring announcer Kevin Harvey finally stood up to Saraya and punched her in the face. Saraya landed on an opened chair, where she was promptly walloped by LuFisto with a second chair. Boom. All over. Despite the clear teases for it, we didn’t get our LuFisto heel turn – and I assume that this will take her one step closer to another title chance. Effective stuff. Match actually didn’t need to go any longer – it was perfect the way it was.
• Hikaru Shida vs Athena started cold for me – I was suffering a bit of Sunday evening burnout by this point and I was ready for the main event, not this match – but they did manage to bring me (and everybody else) back around by the end of the match with some tight work. Can’t remember much else – this is one better watched back on DVD.
• Main event time, as 3G took on The Mega-Bitches for the SHIMMER Tag Titles. A worthy main event, and a worthy topper-off for the weekend, featuring as it did, four of the most impressive and hardest working talents of the weekend. Skater and Tomoka were both immense here, taking the super physical offence from Melissa and Martinez, who really had their chemistry and teamwork down pat. Melissa and Mercedes especially just had a torrid weekend of matches – each working four times, and each one in increasingly physical matches… and as noted above, 3G have this uncanny knack for showing just enough vulnerability that you think that they’re beatable, only to pull out the win. A Hangover from 3G on Martinez finished it, and the fans were able to go home happy. No last minute challenges, no turns, no cliffhangers.
In fact, the only cliffhanger is how in the bloody hell Dave Prazak manages to top this set of tapings in October. It wasn’t too long ago where there used to be a really distinct class gap between the undercard on a SHIMMER show and the “big matches”, which would make up the last 4-5 matches on a volume. Nowadays, there are supremely talented women almost from top to bottom. There seemed to be a lot of emphasis put on fresh talent – pushes for Heidi Lovelace, Evie, Kimber Bombs, Kay Lee Ray (all as noted by Dan Murphy on SLAM! Wrestling), there are possible title contenders lining up for next time, feuds to be advanced/settled in October, and generally a very positive attitude going forward. We all talked about how important all the various names were who missed October through whatever reason – but none more so than Ayako Hamada. Did anybody miss Ayako Hamada this weekend? Not a chance.
– Stew Allen
– Photos by Sean Sloan