Good afternoon, boys and girls. You may not be aware of this, but this past weekend one of the most hotly anticipated indie wrestling events of the year took place, as the finest women’s wrestlers from all over the world converged on Berwyn, IL for the Spring Shimmer tapings. If you’ve never seen Shimmer before and have no idea what I’m talking about, Shimmer is the biggest all female promotion in the United States and has become one of the most important hubs of international wrestling in the country. Competitors from Japan, Australia, New Zealand, England, Ireland, and Canada came to meet America’s best that you might be familiar with from promotions like WWE, TNA, ROH, CZW and pretty much everywhere else that people kick each other in the face.
In Japan, Face Kicking Is How Women Say Hello.
So yeah, Shimmer is pretty much completely awesome, and since there are only two Shimmer events a year, (they tape 4 shows at each one,) it’s a pretty significant event. So since Mrs. Cewsh, DDT and I were at the shows, just like we are pretty much every single time, we’re bringing you a snazzy report on what the women of Shimmer got up to over the weekend. This is the first of four recaps you’ll be getting this week, going from today to Sunday, documenting the events of each show and letting you in on the worst kept secret in independent wrestling.
Spoiler Alert: IT’S FUCKING FANTASTIC.
Cewsh: Alright, there are four of these shows to do, so I’m just going to do a short summary of what happened, or some thoughts for each one, along with Mrs. Cewsh’s pictures taken at the event and the results, courtesy of Ringbelles.com.
Mrs. Cewsh: I haven’t been around much ducklings, but I’ve missed you and I’ve missed Shimmer! I do want to make a note that my day one photos are a little off because Shimmer changed the lighting up, (and it’s going to look SO good on tape,) and I had a hard time getting any action shots. I think I did much better on day 2, so stick around for 56-57. Pretty please, with sugar on top?
Sparkle is basically Shimmer’s minor leagues. These are the matches that take place before the official tapings begin, so that they can try out new talent and see if they’re ready to make the main roster. It’s a great way to see who the future stars of the company will be, and many of them tend to wind up on tapings later in the same weekend.
Angie Skye, Marti Belle & December beat Pink Flash Kira, Leah Von Dutch & Xandra Bale. Skye pinned Bale with The Hard Goodbye
Cewsh: December is over to a ridiculous extent in Chicago, and Angie Skye and Marti Belle both look like absolute can’t miss prospects. I haven’t seen a ton of Angie Skye, but she continually impresses me in terms of how far ahead she seems to be in her peer group.
Marti Belle, Angie Skye and December
The other three were, um, fine? Von Dutch, Bale and Kira seemed a great deal less polished than their opponents at any rate.
Xandra Bale, Leah Von Dutch and Pink Flash Kira
Here are some more photos from the match:
Heidi Lovelace beat Angelus Layne with a hairpull takedown.
Cewsh: Heidi Lovelace seems to fit pretty much exactly the role on the Shimmer roster that KC Spinelli did, so it’s probably for the best that they aren’t both here this time around. She’s a plucky, energetic babyface. Angelus Layne has Sparkled before, and really worked a power style this time around. It worked very well for her, and she looked terrific all round.
SHIMMER Volume 54
Coming into this show, the big storylines were that Cheerleader Melissa had finally beaten Saraya Knight to reclaim her title, making her the first 2 time Shimmer champion. On this volume, she’ll be taking on one of her biggest generational rivals, Mercedes Martinez, in her first title defense. Also, on the previous volume, Serena Deeb, (she of WWE fame,) made her grand return to Shimmer after an 18 month absence due to injury, and was jumped by a debuting Jessica Havok. Beyond that, Shimmer made the announcement that this weekend would be the last of Allison Danger’s career. But more on that later.
Santana Garrett defeated Miss Natural with a Shining Star Press.
Cewsh: Santana Garrett is actually the woman who was one of Orlando Jordan’s valets during his disastrous “Bisexual people are creepy monsters” storyline in TNA, so there wasn’t a ton of excitement for her coming in. But she showed the hell out of us, because she is a shockingly well polished and exciting performer who has a serious future in front of her. Miss Natural, for her part, is a seasoned veteran who I adore for consistently putting on fantastic midcard matches with a wide variety of talent. She makes people look damn good, and that’s a priceless thing to have in your midcard. Terrific opener.
Santana Garrett and Miss Natural
Mrs.Cewsh: For the first time in the 20+ volumes we’ve been going to Shimmer, I attracted the ire of not one, but two heels. So Miss Natural, I’m smiling now that Santana won. Also I really like your hair.
MsChif pinned Rhia O’Reilly with a Descecrator.
Cewsh: MsChif is a former champion who is, kayfabe glasses on kids, an actual banshee that hurts people with the power of her screams. Rhia O’Reilly is an up and coming heel who has shown some really interesting flashes of potential, but it still on her way up the ladder. This result was never in doubt. Shimmer actually has so much main event talent floating around, that it’s very common to see main eventer vs. rookie matches on the shows. It gives the kids a chance to shine.
Rhia O’Reilly arguing that MsChif’s voice is an actual weapon
Evie beat Kimber Lee with the TTYL.
Cewsh: These are two new talents for Shimmer. Evie is New Zealand’s first female wrestler, (she had a piece about her in New Zealand’s version of 20/20 and evertything,) and Kimber Lee is a fixture in CZW. Those are some dramatically different backgrounds, but this match really made them both look terrific. Evie is the most polished and impressive new talent that I’ve ever seen walk into Shimmer. I adored her immediately. Like, “new favorite indy wrestler” adored her. And Kimber looked fantastic as well, both here and later in the weekend. You’ll see these two again for sure.
This also marks 3 great matches in a row to start the weekend.
Kimber Lee and Evie
Mrs.Cewsh: This is such a weird compliment, but Kimber Lee has the best hair use I’ve seen in wrestling. She’s got a signature flip she does when she comes out, but she’s also really good at letting it fall in her eyes so she can blow it out when she takes a hit. It’s a small detail, but it added a lot of dynamics.
Kalamity defeated Yuu Yamagata with the Kalamityville Horror.
Cewsh: Kalamity is basically Lufisto’s protege from Montreal, and this was a big weekend for her. First she takes on Yuu Yamagata here, who is the newest Joshi wrestler to come over on loan from Japan. Shimmer has a really interesting setup with Joshi For Hope in Japan right now, where a steady influx of new Joshi talent keeps coming in to freshen things up, and add an air of credibility to things. Yuu isn’t the best one that we’ve gotten from this, but she’s no slouch. Unfortunately, I never felt like this match really got out of the blocks, and there seemed to be some miscommunicating going on, (Kalamity primarily speaks French, and Yuu Japanese.)
Veda Scott & Shazza McKenzie beat Re-Generation X (Leva Bates & Allison Danger). Scott pinned Danger with a schoolgirl.
Cewsh: This is the first match on Allison Danger’s retirement tour, and she lost to the adorable underdog tag team that is the lowest on the Shimmer totem pole. That should give you an idea as to the kind of things she’s going to be doing. For the record, Re-generation X is basically a cosplaying tag team where they dress up like various famous characters and wrestle as them, (whenever it’s convenient.)
Danger actually works as a bit of a heel in this match to let Veda and Shazza get over on her. It was a solid match, though the crowd seemed confused and upset to see Danger lose. Still, there were hugs all around at the end, and we got to see professional wrestlers dance and sing Vanilla Ice’s Ninja Rap, so all was well.
Veda and Shazza
Kana made Jessie McKay tap out to a cross armbreaker.
Cewsh: Kana is pretty much just flat out amazing. She’s the hottest Joshi in the world right now, (in terms of momentum, I mean. Mostly.) and she’s basically a walking guarantee of an exciting match. Jessie McKay is someone who started out in Shimmer with your basic innocent babyface routine, and has really grown up as a performer right in front of our eyes. She is also, with the exception of Mrs. Cewsh, the most beautiful human being I have ever met in person. Like, I go out of my way not to frame women’s wrestlers in that way, because of all the trouble they have with chauvinists taking them seriously, but I would basically be lying by omission if I didn’t mention it.
These two have a great, great match, that really shows off how much McKay has matured in the ring over the years, as she goes toe to toe with one of the most intimidating wrestlers in the world. Kana won, but both got a lot of momentum from this, and they’re both right on the cusp of the title scene.
Ayako Hamada beat Melanie Cruise with a top rope moonsault.
Cewsh: Remember those main eventer vs. rookie matches I was telling you about? Well Melanie Cruise isn’t a rookie, but this is definitely one of those. Cruise is around 6 feet tall, and is basically the Big Show compared to the rest of the roster, and the days of her mega push don’t seem like they’re far off now. And, of course, Ayako Hamada is one of the greatest working legends in the wrestling industry. She’s a damn force of nature. Bad matches don’t even know how to find her.
Ayako Hamada: “BIG!”
Jessicka Havok defeated Serena Deeb with a sit out powerslam.
Cewsh: Jessicka Havok was a huge star, (both literally and figuratively,) in the second biggest all women’s promotion in the United States, WSU. Like the recently debuted Allison Kay and Marti Belle, she made her name there and has come over to Shimmer after an ownership change in WSU. She’s roughly double the size of some of the talent on this show, and to say she’s intimidating doesn’t really do her justice.
But she’s up against the fieriest babyface on the entire Shimmer roster in Serena Deeb, and this match turns into a knock down, drag out fight in no time.
Here They Are Doing Just That Right In Front Of Us.
Serena looked to have things well in hand despite giving up a ton of height and weight to Havok, until Havok’s WSU tag team partner, and all around villainous villain, Sassy Stephie showed up with her manager Mademoiselle Rochelle. They hopped up to the ring apron to distract Serena…
…which went poorly for Serena.
So the heels pull one over on the fan favorite once again, and she just can’t catch a break since her comeback. But her luck is set to change and this feud is far from over.
Mrs.Cewsh: Allow me to eat some crow. I really hate blood and ultra-violence in wrestling, so after hearing Havok used a machete and threatened to kill people, I completely wrote her off. Totally. I’ve never seen a match she was in and never felt I was lacking. This is me being very wrong and very sorry. She’s a great addition to the roster as intimidating hosses are hard to find in a women’s division.
The Global Green, Gangstas (Kellie Skater & Tomoka Nakagawa) beat The Canadian Ninjas (Nicole Matthews & Portia Perez) when the Canadian Ninjas deliberately got counted out to retain their titles.
Cewsh: There are a lot of big stories that came out of this weekend of tapings, but one of the biggest was the emergence of 3G as Shimmer’s top babyface tag team. Just a few tapings ago, both Skater and Nakagawa were preposterously heelish heels who cheated in such ridiculous ways that you couldn’t help but love them.
Skater and Nakagawa
So they joined forces and have their sites trained on what is easily the premier female tag team walking this planet today, the Canadian Ninjas.
Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez
The Ninjas are basically classic Memphis style heels, who antagonize the crowds like crazy, don’t even consider winning fair and square and seem to have the titles at all times. And they are very, very, very good at what they do.
The idea of this match is that the Ninjas had to cheat to beat 3G at Volume 53, so now 3G gets another shot. And then, after a few very entertaining minutes, the Ninjas decide “to hell with this” and walk out.
That Moment Where You Remember You Can Just Go Home And Get Some Tim Horton’s.
This is old hat stuff in WWE and the like, but in Shimmer 99.9% of matches have pinfall or submission finishes, so this got nuclear heel heat for them, and did a great job of setting things up for the next show.
Courtney Rush defeated Athena, Saraya Knight &Madison Eagles in a 4 way. Rush pinned Athena with the Skyward Suplex.
Cewsh: This was a number one contenders match for the next shot at Cheerleader Melissa. Saraya Knight and Madison Eagles are the past two non-Melissa Shimmer Champions, (Melissa beat both of them for her title wins,) Athena is rising up the card like a phoenix lately, and Courtney Rush is still riding a wave of support that came from her short live, but amazing tag team with Sara Del Rey.
From Left To Right: Courtney Rush, Saraya Knight, Athena, Madison Eagles
While Athena is the rising star and Rush actually pulled out the upset victory here, this match is all about Eagles and Saraya. Like Serena, Eagles returned at Volume 53 after a long injury time out, and while she’s heeling it up as much as she ever did, the fans are so happy to see her that they are in love with everything she does. (Mrs.Cewsh: This is me. Sorry.) And then there’s Saraya who, and I am not lying to you for one single second, is the most intimidating wrestler that I have ever seen. She is MAYBE 5’6, she’s in her 40s, and she makes me avert my eyes to avoid getting her attention. Here she is doing the things she does in a normal days work.
Cursing Out Friend of Cewsh Reviews @PocketVolcano
Choking The Ring Announcer To Make Us Stop Booing Her (Sadly, We Did Not)
Committing Atrocities With A Pleasant Disposition.
Generally Not Giving A Fuck.
And here is Madison Eagles being very excited that someone threw a streamer for her.
Cheerleader Melissa pinned Mercedes Martinez with an Air Raid Crash to retain the SHIMMER Championship.
Cewsh: These two have been among the biggest names in independant women’s wrestling, (along with Sara Del Rey,) dating back over a decade ago. As such, they’ve met countless times. But usually before, Melissa had been the bad guy and Mercedes good, and those roles are completely reversed here. They go at each other full tilt in a great main event that caps off a particularly wonderful night.
Cewsh: We’ve attended a number of Shimmer tapings by this point, and I think to date, this may be my favorite of them. The main event matches weren’t the best in Shimmer history, but I would say that the undercard was absolutely the best I’ve ever seen from them, and as good as you will see anywhere this year. I didn’t rate these matches or this show, because I don’t think it’s fair to grade things live since that’s such a different experience from the one you would have if you chose to watch this show for yourself. I’ll just say that if you are looking for a show to break into Shimmer with, this one is a fantastic choice from top to bottom.
SEE ALL OF MRS. CEWSH’S BRILLIANT PICTURES IN THEIR FULLY SIZED GLORY HERE. THERE ARE DOZENS I DIDN’T EVEN INCLUDE. DON’T MISS OUT!
Well that’s it for today, you guys. Be on the look out tomorrow for the next installment of our Shimmer weekend recap special, where we tackle Volume 55. You’ll see Dr. Seuss character come to life, one of the best fatal four ways ever contested in the United States and even the champion dancing the night away. Don’t miss it, or make us miss you. And until next time, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.
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