Wrestling! Yay! Shimmer! Yay! Reviews! Yay! Saraya! Boo!
Hello muffins. For some people March is basketball, but around here March is for Shimmer. And once again we are here to bring you our post taping coverage. Who retained? Who lost the belts? And who is SHOCKINGLY photogenic? All this and more to come from a weekend that contained the best that wrestling has to offer. Tonight we’ll recap the very first Volume that was taped over the weekend (out of four) and all week long we’ll be recapping the other shows as Shimmer week rolls on. Would we say we’re excited? We’re more than just excited. We’re My Little Pony excited.
Cewsh: I can definitely confirm that this match took place. Anything else would simply be asking for too much.
Mrs. Cewsh: December has Sparkled 2 or 3 times now and she’s not a bad opening talent but with her generic female indy heel gimmick (really? Vain is your gimmick?) I can’t ever see her moving up to the big show.
Mrs. Cewsh: O’Reilly Sparkled a couple shows back working a generic face gimmick. Here she plays the heel to a much greater effect. Great heel music, but the overall match was pretty forgettable.
Cewsh: Let the record show that at this point in the shows, I saw nothing in Courtney Rush. Like it genuinely bothered me that she seemed to have ripped her entire moveset off from Japanese wrestling tapes and I couldn’t see an original thought to her. Of course, these things tend to change…
Cewsh: Athena cuts a promo about how she wants to be taken seriously and about how she’s going to force Mercedes Martinez to take her seriously in their grudge match later tonight. She then calls Mercedes a Hashtag Hussy, which was easily the top catchphrase of the weekend from fans in the crowd, who would randomly chant it during other people’s matches.
Mrs. Cewsh: Veda Scott is the last graduate of the Shimmer/ROH Wrestling School partnership. She’s an IRL law student and looks like your favorite librarian. Shazza McKenzie is another one of Madison Eagles’ Aussie students and looks like if Barbie and Veronica Mars had a baby. Together they make the cutest cannon fodder you’ll ever find.
Cewsh: What is a Veda Scott and where can I get one? They are adorable.
The most noteworthy thing here during this prolonged squash match is the dramatic improvement of Melanie Cruise. After several tapings she really seems to be coming into her own in terms of presence and comfort in the ring, to the point where during the match I leaned over to Mrs. Cewsh and told her that Cruise is a surefire future Shimmer Champion. It’s far off in the future, but the ground work is already being laid.
Cewsh: Nicole Matthews is outside and talking up her title match in the main event of this show against Cheerleader Melissa. She is unshakably confident in her impeding victory, but that confidence lessens considerably when Saraya creeps up out of nowhere and declares that she has a business proposal for Matthews and will pay good money for her time. They wander off together to plot diabolical things and this cannot be good for Melissa or anyone else for that matter.
Mrs. Cewsh: Having seen none of Leon’s previous work, I wasn’t sure what to expect from this match. From her entrance to the final bell, Leon was one of the most high energy and impressive performers that I have ever seen.
Cewsh: Absolutely right, and Sara Del Rey is the star maker. And let the record show that this was the first match on this Volume to completely steal the show. On virtually any other Volume it would be THE match that people walked away remembering. Bear that in mind as we move forward.
Mrs. Cewsh: This was kind of a weird promo. Both women were tripping over themselves to assure us how friendly the match was going to be. It really made it seem like a heel turn was a possibility, but there wasn’t any resolution at the end.
Mrs. Cewsh: Davina Rose is Serena Deeb’s protege. She had a big time storyline on the last 4 Volumes with Serena, but because Serena is on the injured list this time around she’s flying solo. Having only seen her on Volume 41 I wasn’t sold on her. Saraya Knight, however, I’m TOTALLY SOLD ON. This is another extended squash match, as all of Saraya’s were this weekend with one notable exception. Saraya comes out, Davina looks scared, Saraya beats the ever loving fuck out of her and it takes half the locker room to get her back to the back.
Cewsh: If you listen to not one single other word I saw in this wrap up, please listen to me now. On this weekend in Berwyn, IL, Saraya Knight walked out through the curtain and became the top heel in American wrestling. This may seem long a tall order for a 40 something British woman who has a kid in WWE Developmental, and who is less physically imposing than many of the referees, but this is no joke.
From the second Saraya entered the arena, things shifted in a major way. All of a sudden she was taking swings at fans, and bullying them whenever she pleased. Any attempts to antagonize her by tough guy fans twice her size was met with scathing wit that stung and full handed slaps that stung worse. The fear she instilled in the crowd consisting entirely of smarks who knew better is nothing short of crazy, and hasn’t been seen in this country since the days of Brusier Brody and Abdullah the Butcher.
Think i’m exaggerating? By the second show of the taping, the fans took to loudly chanting “Please Don’t Die” at anyone unlucky enough to get in the ring with her. Right up until she would walk by, that is. She squashed Davina Rose here, but the win was entirely secondary to the act. And when ring announcer Joey Eastman gave her some lip, she slapped him so hard that he was still flexing his jaw back into working motion at the after party.
This is some seriously next level shit, people. This is a woman who makes grown men sit down with a glance. And she’s been unleashed on Shimmer. I hope I’m not underselling it when I say that this act is the most must see thing in Shimmer history.
Cewsh: Skater is backstage and says that she’s sick and tired of being seen as a joke character and wants to prove herself against top international competition. It’s interesting to see a more serious side to Skater as she shows here, and they’ve clearly decided that it’s time to move her past the opening match warm up comedy hour she has been excelling at for a good long while now. It’s hard to say if it will work, but it’s worth a try.
Mrs. Cewsh: At the time, I remember thinking that this was a good match. But here we are two days removed from the shows and I can’t remember anything about it.
Cewsh: The trouble with so much wrestling in so short a time is that sometimes perfectly fine matches that aren’t overly memorable slip through the cracks and this is one of those. It was just sort of there, and while Jessie McKay is, at this point, a charisma machine, there wasn’t anything here to write home about.
Mrs. Cewsh: We cut to a video of Madison Eagles explaining how much she wishes she was here and how disappointed she is that her shoulder injury isn’t where it needs to be for her to compete. It’s a pretty depressing promo, but she ends by promising that we will see her back in Shimmer someday. I don’t think it’s the way that any of us wanted to see a great champion go out, and I know that I wish her a speedy recovery.
Cewsh: And I wish her gummy bears.
Mrs. Cewsh: Kellie Skater has been the definition of an opening match wrestler. It’s a spot she’s good in, but not a spot you can stay in forever. Here she’s fresh off a tour of Japan and facing our second new Joshi, Ray. We were a bit more familiar with Ray than we were with Leon, since Ray worked in SMASH as Lin Bairon, but nothing could prepare us for seeing the high flyer in action. Skater looks a little more serious and it works for her, pulling out some interesting moves and meshing well with the Japanese style. I do think that she is need of a character revamp, though. Either a face turn or a more vicious heel persona, because the fans often don’t know how to react to her current gimmick.
Cewsh: First of all, Ray was dazzling. She was crisp, she was freakishly agile and she was a joy to watch that I never expected. Skater did a good job grounding her and setting up for Ray’s big comeback, but this was a highlight match for Ray more than anything, and while Skater showed she can be a more serious heel effectively, this was Ray’s world, and the Rate Tank was just jobbing in it.
Mrs. Cewsh: Melissa’s appeal has never laid in her promo skills and this is a pretty standard attempt. Nicole stole her moment from her (jumping Melissa after she won the Shimmer Championship on Volume 44) and now Melissa will make her pay.
Mrs. Cewsh: Three of the girls in this match are basically new to me. I’ve previously seen one Kalamity match as a bonus match on a previous Shimmer volume and of course I’ve seen Kana on Youtube. Both had previously impressed me and neither disappointed this time out. With so many different languages being spoken in the locker room, miscommunication can be a big issue for the foreign girls (Kana speaks only Japanese, Kalamity speaks only French.), but I didn’t notice any issues here.
Excellent tag match that made good use of all four of its participants. Kana and Hailey, especially, were a joy to watch together.
Cewsh: Kana and Hailey hatred are probably the two biggest names in Joshi wrestling right now. Kana has taken the entire Joshi world by storm since her arrival in SMASH and Hailey hatred has just plain bulled over everyone in her path to win so many titles that it’s getting kind of ridiculous. Having them wrestle here, as well as LuFisto and her protege Kalamity clashing, is a pretty big deal. The match doesn’t try to make things too epic, as this is still just a midcard match, and in the end everyone has a good time and leaves more over than they started. And while LuFisto appears to be in amazing shape now and seems more energized and excited that i’ve seen her in a decade or more, it’s the sheer star power of Kana and Hatred that steal the show.
They are next level talents and they act like it.
Mrs. Cewsh: There were A LOT of promos on this show and this one kind of got lost. Mercedes and Athena had a double turn starting on Volume 43 after Mercedes refused to restart their match after a double count out. It culminated on Volume 44 when Martinez took a chair to Athena’s knee, possibly breaking her leg. Tonight’s the rematch and Mercedes isn’t worried.
Cewsh: Portia Perez is not a nice person.
Here, Perez has a singles contest against Christina Von Eerie that doesn’t really have much purpose beyond getting two prominent roster members some screen time, but Portia Perez treats every match like it’s done something to personally wrong her, so she just goes ahead and ruins Von Eerie’s day. She bullies the bigger woman around, messes up the trademark mohawk and finally ices her off with a superkick to cement herself as one of the top dogs in Shimmerland once again. And she did it all with a scowl that could curdle milk.
Mrs. Cewsh: This was a cute match. Re-X came down to the ring dressed as Rocky and Apollo Creed and if you follow Danger at all you’ll know it’s been her career goal to wrestle Hamada. This results in a nice spot early on when Ayumi and Leva are in the ring, Leva goes for a tag and Danger asks Ayumi to tag in Hamada saying “Dream! Dream!”. Ayumi does and then Dangers asks Leva to take a picture on her phone of the two of them together.
It ends with the ref taking a picture of all four of them posing before going on with the match.
Cewsh: Look, Ayako Hamada doesn’t have bad matches. That’s not hyperbole, it’s actually just a thing that does not take place. Even here, where the styles of the two teams really couldn’t conflict any more, the teams manage to put together a charming and fun match that got the crowd laughing and cheering along.
Mrs. Cewsh: This seemed like a great, heated grudge match, though it was hard to tell since we were on the opposite side of the ring from the action. This really put over Athena and made her seem like a legitimate midcard star.
Cewsh: Star is right. Before this match, Athena had been someone to watch, without a doubt, but in this one performance she went from a young lady with great potential and a long way to go, to an immediately upper midcard sensation knocking on the door of the main event. Here she finally put it all together with the truly amazing finisher, the confidence, the intensity and the fire. As a result, Mercedes was able to make her a star tonight. The sky’s the limit.
Mrs. Cewsh: Nicole’s a great wrestler, but I feel like she still has a way to go before being seen as a real the threat to the title. The previous match had been so hot, that fans were kind of quiet here and it did affect the enjoyment of the match. It certainly wasn’t bad, and Portia’s interference did add some interest but it wasn’t really to my taste.
Cewsh: At the end of the match, Portia comes tearing ass down and destroys Melissa with the title belt, before standing victorious over the fallen champion. Will this lead to the natural title match between the two? Maaaaaaaybe…
Mrs. Cewsh: With the exception of the main event, I thought every match really worked. At the end, I was left feeling that this was one of their strongest showings. It set a lot of storylines in motion for the rest of the weekend and resolved any unanswered questions from the last tapings.
Cewsh: Shimmer is great. I’m not just saying that because I have been replaced by some kind of spam bot designed to respond positively to women slapping each other in the face. Shimmer really, truly is the best wrestling promotion in North America. Here they proved it in spades, by producing a show that had no less than 4 matches on it that would have stolen the show on any other indy card this year. The main event was maybe a tad disappointing, but with the incredible array of main event talent at their disposal, they could afford to take a chance on Nicole Matthews and i’m glad they did.
You won’t hear me say a bad word about this show. ME. Not having a bad word to say! Ordinarily that would just be horrible for business here at Cewsh Reviews, but I’m so happy from Shimmer that I can’t be buggered to care.
We hope you enjoyed our recap of the first of four Shimmer Volumes that took place over the weekend. All this week we’ll be featuring our recaps of the other tapings, so stayed tuned for those, give Dave Prazak your money and while you keep reading, make sure to be good to one another.