Brandon Morrison reviews SHIMMER 61


SHIMMER 61 DVD Review
December 1, 2014
Review by: Brandon Morrison

Hello Wrestleview, fans of professional wrestling, and devotees of the lovely ladies of SHIMMER Women Athletes. I am the Chief of Staff of your favorite Canuck and mine, Greg McNeish, I am former Wrestleview VIP  member Goober,  now henceforth coming out of the shadows and introducing myself as Brandon Morrison. And I have the honor of leading you on a magical journey through the final volume of the October 2013 SHIMMER tapings: Welcome to SHIMMER Volume 61!

First up, we get the “Gem City Queen” Nevaeh with Mademoiselle Rachelle, taking on Santana Garrett. This was a fun matchup, to come out of the intermission in the venue and get the crowd re-engaged in the in-ring action. Nevaeh and Santana were really solid, putting together simple, fluid chain wrestling exchanges, Rachelle was interactive on the outside without overwhelming the affairs, and the good girl got the win in the end, in relatively quick fashion, to go home happy after putting Mercedes Martinez over in the previous volume. This was quite everything you could want from an opener, except for one black mark: Nevaeh couldn’t have possibly telegraphed the ending with the Shining Star Press more, if she had a giant neon billboard with flashing lights on it. It’s not enough to ruin the match but it is a small nitpick. That aside, this match was a solid farewell to Santana as she goes off to bigger things in 2014 in TNA as Brittany, and all of the building blocks of Nevaeh’s ascension to the upper echelon of women’s independent wrestling are on display here. She was pretty close to being ready to break out here, and having seen the actual breaking out occur, it’s no wonder how we got there when you see her handling this match expertly.

Next up, of course, is the complete opposite of everything you could want, if you’re Crazy Mary Dobson, because she drew the short stick of getting to face the “Havok Death Machine” Jessicka Havok. With this being the debut weekend in SHIMMER for Crazy Mary, she is known from the Mid-West Indies, where she has done some pretty rough hardcore and deathmatch wrestling. You wouldn’t know it, however, when this awesome and bubbly girl comes out and does headstand flips in her ring entrance. All the other wrestling she’s done, she’s not fooling me. She’s a babyface-in-peril if I’ve ever met one. After just barely losing to Madison Eagles, Havok needed something to die for her, and Crazy Mary is a perfect choice. She showed just enough pluck to make Havok pay for about 4 seconds when Havok didn’t take her seriously, she was personable enough to make you want to see her not end up a skid mark even though it is inevitable, and she definitely earned the chant for her to come back. Can you ask for more out of girl who is sent out to die? As for Havok, this is the culmination of a fantastic weekend that truly integrated Havok into the SHIMMER roster. In April, she was an invader. In October, she is part of SHIMMER. That is as successful a weekend as you could ask of Jessicka Havok.

After that assault, we get an assault on the English language as the Kimber Bombs tell us that the SHIMMER Tag Team titles are going to be theirs tonight. This was a pretty basic and stock promo, as SHIMMER does. Most often SHIMMER promos are just enough fluff and hype to let you know what’s going to happen later on in the show and that’s exactly what we get here.

Back to the ring we get Angie Skye coming out to take on Mia Yim. Considering Angie Skye is another Sparkle debut girl, and Mia Yim has been in the midst of a breakthrough type of weekend, one would have expected this to be another SHIMMER showcase match. But it was not, and I could not have been more disappointed. I will allow for the mitigating circumstances that the roster was laid pretty bare by the various cancellations and missing regular talent that wore holes in the roster, of course, and I don’t inherently have a problem with Angie Skye getting a nearly 8 minute match to show what she can do as a heel. Certainly not when she acquitted herself well, and looked like a passably solid opening heel if she were to come back. The problem is that after taking Shida Hikaru and Madison Eagles to their limits, and getting a solid showcase against Melanie Cruise, there had to be someone else who could walk the new girl through the paces. That said, Mia did a great job at walking the new girl through the paces, which in its own way solidifies Yim’s awesome weekend, so let me not get too bent out of shape. While it wasn’t what I would’ve expected out of Mia here, it definitely delivered on what the show needed, so check marks all around.

Let me preface my next statements with the qualifier that I am a child of the late-80s WWF and I am a connoisseur of super awkward promos, and this was that. A late-80s WWF promo cut by Kelle Skater on behalf of 3G, hyping their match with the Kimber Bombs. I smiled and giggled all the way through, as Skater weaved her way through telling us how close 3G is to surviving the weekend as champions and how they’re going to drop a bomb on the Kimber Bombs. She was endearingly unsmooth on the mic and I refuse to believe anything except that Skater intended that herky-jerky cadence just to tug at my heart. Because everything the Aussies do in wrestling is designed to tug at my heart. YEAH!

Only Taylor Made could follow that up and the way the crowd deflates when Slim Shady comes out couldn’t be more perfect. Except when thunder…Thunder…THUNDERKITTY! Comes out, looking decidedly naked without her ring robe, which Portia Perez is still in possession of. This match completely picked up the mood of this show, because Taylor Made and Thunderkitty, of all people, came to have a fight. Not a wrestling match, and not a brawl like we’ll actually see later on, but a straight-on fight. This felt like what you’d see in the schoolyard: two girls trying to methodically beat up the other chick. It was slow, deliberate, looked like it was probably painful, and grew organically from the really fun chain wrestling they did at the beginning of the match. As Thunderkitty was successful and talked more and more trash, Taylor got more and more desperate to smash Thunderkitty’s big fat mouth in. They didn’t force this match to be more than it was, and because of that, it was able to shine as more than it should have been. More people in wrestling should wrestle like this, keep it simple, and play to your strengths.

We get a quick little hype promo from Madison Eagles before her triple threat match against the Joshis, Kana and Shida Hikaru. All you need to know is Madison’s going to win. Obviously, because she doesn’t lose in SHIMMER, and because Aussies rule wrestling.

Then…I just…I don’t know man. Nicole Matthews, you tricky minx, when did you become so awesome? From the first moment the bass guitar rift of Hysteria begins, till you finish wiping the mat with Heidi Lovelace, you just…rocked. From pouring one out for Maddie Eagles, on her t-shirt, to making Kevin Harvey blush with your potty mouth, to making yourself look so caught up in making Maddie look bad or beating Kendo experts at their own game that you very nearly get blown up by a newbie like Heidi Lovelace, only to blow her out of a cannon…where has this been for forever? And Heidi really did look like a million bucks going toe-to-toe with Matthews and there’s no doubt why her stock is so high on the indies currently. She was more than on her way to fulfilling all the hype, based on her performance here. But the real story is the turdball that is Nicole Matthews. THAT is how a heel becomes a superstar.

I NEED GOJIRA MASK~! I WILL DESHROY PORSHA~! That is all.

From one fantastic promo, to another we get Nikki Storm obliterating the galaxy. Because she’s the best in the galaxy and she can do that. From the utterly unruly Scottish mane, to the deep Scottish accent, to stuffing 7 feet worth of bravado into a 5 foot package, there’s just nothing you can say about Nikki Storm except she’s a chaotic…storm that blows in and wreaks havoc wherever it lands. She doesn’t know exactly what to do with all of her powers yet, but she has that 10% that you can’t teach someone, about being able to connect with the audience and make them care about you. As she gets the other parts of the game under her belt, she’s going to be more and more fantastic. And then my heart grew about five sizes larger because for the first time in way too long, I finally got to see the Leva Bates I adore again. Leva coming out as Han Solo, the crowd eating up every bit of her cosplay and throwing it back at Nikki Storm to her dismay, just the pure fun on display made me melt just like when I first met her in Regeneration X. The only two quibbles I have are that she didn’t do a Highlander cosplay, or that she wasn’t having a rematch with Miss Natural, where she famously dressed up in a Star Trek cosplay in Volume 56. Then, if that’s not enough, we get an honest-to-goodness Leva Bates in-peril as Nikki Storm goes powerhouse heel on her and it is REALLY good. Nikki Storm has no business being as good at pounding a babyface into paste as Jessicka Havok but she is and it is fantastic here. You don’t get a better delusional heel than Nikki Storm here, and you can’t blow a delusional heel out of a bigger cannon than Leva does with her Pepsi Plunge. And even when she’s blown someone out of a cannon, even then, Leva Bates has no idea how to handle actually winning because that’s just not what she does. This is wrestling…all of it. And I couldn’t adore it more.

Speaking of that Miss Natural lady, she’s up next against Your Soul’s Tormentor (and Greg McNeish’s favoritest SHIMMER original) MsChif. This match was just a straight-on brawl. Two very experienced girls, who need to fill up time on the fourth show of the weekend, went out there and have a very professional fight. There’s not a lot to say because there was no grand story or elevation coming out of this match. Natural looked solid in defeat and MsChif looks like a total danger to anyone on the roster, which is exactly where we were before we came in here. This match tells us they are who we thought they are, and on this show, that’s all we really needed.

The Terrible Human Being (as coined by Dave Prazak), Portia Perez (still wearing Thunderkitty’s ring robe, MsChif’s entrance chains and Hiroyo Matsumoto’s Godzilla mask, which she “won” in her previous matches at Volumes 58-60) is out next to face Matsumoto in a return match. And this match, as Portia’s entire weekend was, was a farce. From Matsumoto divebombing Portia, to Portia doing everything possible to not die, to all the other aggrieved babyfaces dispensing cold justice on Portia when she tried to use the turnbuckle (and then Nicole Matthews) to cheat her way to victory. You can’t ask for more, when you’re going to make a slimy heel eat crap and die. Portia could write a textbook on how to eat it for a babyface, and this would be at the top of the list for examples. It was fantastic. And now everybody can Live Happy, once again. MATSUMOTO! GODZILLA! DESTROY!

We jump right into the SHIMMER Tag Team title match between Kimber Bombs and the champions 3G. Unfortunately, for 3G, all the momentum of their title win in April 2013 feels evaporated by now, the fourth taping of the October 2013 show. There’s nothing actively wrong in this match, and it actually benefits from being the only match of their four that has Kellie Skater being the primary in-peril. Her energy, being the emotional core of the 3G team, is what made them special as they chased the Ninjas, and not tapping into it for the entire weekend was a curious decision, but going to her here was a wonder for the energy of the match. But the magic that carried them to the titles, and kept the anticipation high for seeing their title reign be released just isn’t there, and hasn’t been there through the weekend of tapings. 3G is still very enjoyable but you just can’t call them magical anymore.

A couple of caveats before the next match: 1). I hate the British Rounds rules of 5 minute rounds in their matches. 2). I am anti-blood and deathmatch style wrestling in general, and especially so when the ladies are involved. That out of the way, the Saraya Knight/Christina Von Eerie 3 stages of hell match got us where we needed to get to, but I cannot say I enjoyed the trip to get there. First of all, the first fall was pretty well structured: Von Eerie was conflicted between wanting to be up Saraya and getting the pinfall, while Saraya was pretty committed to doing the job of snuffing out the little tart that’s been a thorn in her side. The only problem with this, is as they’ve spent the 5 minutes building up the dynamic, the fall is drawn and over before we can get any kind of payoff to the build-up. Then we get the second fall, which should be Saraya’s to win, but instead it’s Von Eerie that’s making Saraya tap out. And it is only made clear, in passing, that we could have 2 falls of Anything Goes rules to determine a winner here. Then we get to the Anything Goes portion of the match and it is not for the faint of heart. I had been warned about the carnage here, and I’m especially fond of Von Eerie, so it was not fun or easy for me to watch her have $20 bills stapled to her forehead. What made it worse is that they didn’t do anything to make the violence pay off, as they go pretty quickly into Von Eerie blowing Saraya out and winning the fall and match 2-0. But they did achieve the goal of elevating Christina Von Eerie into the upper echelon of SHIMMER, so all of my misgivings aside, congratulations on that. I’m just going to pass on this match, to get there. Though the final shots of Von Eerie, blood pouring down her face, leading the crowd in Oi chants is a keeper.

Thank God for Madison Eagles, Shida Hikaru, and Kana, cleansers of my palate. This was an exceptional three-way match: Hikaru Shida is a fantastic young Joshi babyface, she’s adorable, and she swings a MEAN Kendo stick. What else could you want? Kana, showing off character chops that could make anyone jealous on top of her usual ruthless assortment of strikes and holds, is just mind-boggling. She’s playful and flirts with the crowd, she lures in the competition then ruins their world, and she can turn it on and off at her pleasure. She’s simply unfair. And then you put them in the ring together and let them blast away at each other, only to be outdone by the best indy wrestler on the planet? This match went from being a very good match to being exceptional because Madison Eagles is simply in full control of everything that happens around her at all times. The list of people in wrestling who can hit the kind of range that Maddie does is a very short list. The list of people who can just go back and forth at will from up the card to down the card, slimiest heel to cheer-worthiest babyface is even shorter. That Maddie can do that, at times, within the confines of the same match is completely absurd. If there is every any doubt, just pop in a match like this, and you will understand why Aussies..Rule..Wrestling. And if Fork-Spoon-Kendo Stick doesn’t become the new Rock-Paper-Scissors, we have failed as a society.

Finally, we have the makeshift main event of LuFisto facing Mercedes Martinez in a Falls Count Anywhere match. This match evolved out of the main event of Volume 60 which had LuFisto legit bust SHIMMER Champion Cheerleader Melissa open, forcing her to the hospital to get stitches and ending her perfect attendance record at SHIMMER. So her bestie, Mercedes, is going to extract a pound of flesh in her stead. I’m going to be perfectly upfront; this match lost me and it probably never had a fair chance at it. They were throwing together a 15 minute main event on the fly, but with at least 2 different brawls on this show being better than the brawl they had, I was completely deflated by the action of the match. They did a very good job, though, of getting you to the end of the match where all the really important action was happening: Cheerleader Melissa returning to blast LuFisto between the eyes with the SHIMMER Title and lead Mercedes to a dirty as all hell victory. Having to spitball a build to the SHIMMER match in NOLA they are obviously building to, they did a great job making the finish of SHIMMER Volume 60 not overwhelm the audience, as trying to explain how LuFisto could deserve a title shot after getting so cleanly beaten. Melissa actively putting herself into the crosshairs clears that business right up and sets us on the road to SHIMMER Volume 62.

All in all, this is a wonderful volume of SHIMMER action, and probably the best fourth volume of a weekend I’ve had the pleasure of viewing. Everything up until the main event hits the mark, and the final angle setting up future business does what it needs to, and excuses the main event for not being able to stand up to the rest of the show. While there are obvious holes in the roster during this set of tapings, due to the amount of roster regulars that weren’t able to be here, the girls that did make it made this weekend of shows rock. I give this volume a full recommendation, so make sure you go to SHIMMER’s website and support the product by getting your hands on SHIMMER Volume 61. That’s it for now, so thank you for joining me on this trip back to SHIMMER Volume 61 and take care until next time when I review more action from SHIMMER Women Athletes.

Match of the Night: Madison Eagles defeats Shida Hikaru and Kana

Most Valuable Performer: Nicole Matthews

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You can listen to the audio review of SHIMMER 61 on Radio Influence with Jason Namako & Greg McNeish at http://radioinfluence.com/indyroundtable/shimmer61review.mp3

Read Jason’s recap of SHIMMER 61 by clicking here. 

Follow Jason Namako on Twitter @Jason_Namako

Follow SHIMMER on Twitter @SHIMMERWomen

Purchase SHIMMER 61 on DVD at http://www.shimmerwrestling.com

E-mail Jason with your thoughts on SHIMMER 61 at jason@wrestleview.com.

Listen to SHIMMER audio reviews, as well as reviews of other indy wrestling companies at http://www.radioinfluence.com/category/ippvdvdrecaps

Follow me on Twitter @BMorrison1016