Titles were on the line and farewells were bid as SHIMMER made their regular trip to WrestleMania weekend’s festivities.
We’re going back to La Boom for this one… and this is jarring. Rich Palladino, who’d been ring announcing most of the Collective’s shows in Jersey City, is here. The old joke used to be that SHIMMER was never in date because they took forever to release stuff on DVD. That’s still largely true, but they’ve now moved into more frequent iPPVs, as they did a couple of shows on FITE a week before…
SHIMMER Championship: Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Nicole Savoy (c)
There’s (some) pyro for Matsumoto, whose music is absolutely destroyed by the sound system in LaBoom… does anyone within WWN ever watch their shows back?
Oh my GOD the audio for this is bad. Commentary is from Lenny Leonard and Dave Prazak, who both originally sound like they’re doing this down a telephone. Thankfully they fix it before the bell rings, with Savoy flossing, because of course. They start off evenly, with Matsumoto charging into Savoy with a shoulder charge, as commentary tells us how Matsumoto has had rotten luck in title matches here. Savoy won the title at SHIMMER 99, a show that isn’t out on DVD yet and may not even be up to stream, despite it being over 500 days ago…
Matsumoto nearly lost to a ‘rana, but is able to come back with a powerbomb out of the corner, before she took Savoy outside, breaking a guard rail with an Irish whip. A powerbomb on the apron’s attempted, before Matsumoto kicks Savoy back to the floor for a sliding lariat. Back in the ring, a neck crank puts Savoy in trouble, but the champion slipped out into an ankle lock… albeit one that ended quickly in the ropes.
A chop battle ends poorly for Savoy, who gets taken into the ropes for some choking, before she caught the champion with a boot. There’s a lariat, but Savoy ducks it and replied with a bodyslam as she found her way back into the match. Savoy drags Matsumoto into a Fujiwara armbar, before changing it into a triangle armbar… but she’s quickly having to get to the ropes as the challenger countered with a Boston crab.
Christ… a Vader bomb knee drop crushes Savoy for a near-fall, before she ran into some forearms. Eventually Savoy tries her luck with a sunset flip, then countered a sliding lariat into a crucifix, before Savoy staggered off the ropes and fell to the mat. A second wind helps her land a head kick and a release German suplex though, before Matsumoto issued a swift receipt. Another German suplex has Matsumoto rocked, and when Savoy followed back in with a Dragon suplex, that was it – despite the challenger kicking out at this. This was a nice, hot opener, albeit with some rough spots. ***¼
Veda Scott vs. Brittany Blake vs. Brandi Lauren vs. Allie Recks vs. Hyan vs. Shotzi Blackheart vs. Indy Hartwell vs. Leva Bates
This SHIMMER Scramble is under lucha rules… so yeah, this is going to be insanity, with a line-up of, shall we say, varied abilities? Leva Bates cosplayed as Britney Spears, in that she wore a red catsuit and came out to her music.
Lenny Leonard points out how an eight-woman scramble was a maths failure, as Hyan and Blackheart started off trading blows, leading to Hyan getting caught by a 619 in the corner… before Shotzi missed a dropkick through the ropes, as Brittany Blake took over. That starts a series of quick entrants and exits, with Blake absolutely waffling Leva with a 619 as she was stood on the floor. We get Leva and Veda for a spell, featuring a clothesline from Veda and an attempted Muta lock… in which she throws in a German suplex to Shotzi as Allie Reks came in. Brandi Lauren’s in too, as there’s a handful of boos for her, as a strike exchange led to more comings and goings. Veda heads up to the ropes for a rope-walk splash into the pile, which started a dive series.
Back in ring, we get a pile of submission attempts, which then gave way to a big ol’ Parade of Moves, such as Shotzi dumping Recks with a Saito suplex and a cannonball before Hyan stole her thunder with a 450 knee drop onto Recks for the win. I swear that missed, but it’s enough for the win after an enjoyable enough scramble. **¾
Allysin Kay vs. Kris Statlander
This was Statlander’s SHIMMER debut, as she continued to earn plaudits in her relatively-young career.
“Streamers are not food” – especially if you’ve ever accidentally tasted one. Don’t ask…
Statlander started by taking Kay down in a knuckle lock as they went back-and-forth early. A rolling clutch dizzied Kay for a near-fall, ahead of a cartwheel legdrop for a near-fall. Kay takes the fight outside briefly, before she heeled on the crowd by refusing to give them what they wanted: chops! Statlander fights back with a Falcon arrow to come close, only to miss with a follow-up moonsault as a big boot from Kay turned it back around. Kay tries for a superplex, but she’s fought off before Statlander catches her in an Electric Chair facebuster instead. Some wet willies follow – with Kay’s own pinkies – before Kris tries the moonsault again… this time landing it for a near-fall.
In the end, Statlander’s piledriver gets countered into a Jig ‘n’ Tonic for a near-fall by Kay, before a discus lariat out of nowhere landed for the win. A nice, even match that should serve Statlander well in SHIMMER down the road, but it was always going to be asking much to get such a big win on the first night in. ***
Su Yung vs. Shazza McKenzie
Shazza starts by booting away Su Yung’s attempts to gross her out, before a floatover suplex and a roll-up led to some early two-counts for the Australian.
A snapmare and some kicks rock the back of Su Yung, who then fell to a diving legdrop as the pair ended up on the apron, with Su getting kicked in the chest. Su catches one and comes back with a punch, then a spinning sidewalk slam on the apron for a nasty landing, before Su brought in a chair. Back in the ring, Su gets a series of one counts, before a hanging neckbreaker out of the corner led to a near-fall. An Irish whip took Shazza into the corner, but she’s quickly back with a ‘rana off the middle rope, only for Su to take her on the apron as a hanging DDT was teased… only for Su to hit almost a slingshot piledriver instead.
McKenzie runs in with a forearm, but gets an instant receipt in the ropes, before she retaliated with a running knee to start a standing ten count. Things descend into back and forth strikes until Su’s taken into the ropes for a knee to the back, before a crossbody off the top almost won it… but Su takes McKenzie into the corner with a neat headscissor takedown for a near-fall. Su looks for a move called the Panic Switch, but Shazza counters with a Northern Lights suplex. Some mounted punches are escaped by Su, who looked to go in with her Kendo stick… and once the ref stops her, she decided to land a palm strike before a chop battle ended with a nice splits-stunner off the top for the win. Another solid outing, with McKenzie getting a win since she’s not here for just the weekend – and I guess is going to be gunning for the title in due course. ***
SHIMMER Tag Team Championship: Twisted Sisters (Holidead & Thunder Rosa) vs. Cheerleader Melissa & Mercedes Martinez (c)
Championships in SHIMMER typically are held for ages, largely because of how infrequent their shows are, but with ever-lasting question marks over Mercedes’ future on the indys, I wouldn’t be too shocked if there was a switch here.
The crowd’s pretty split here with duelling chants, but Martinez slaps Thunder Rosa down early on as she tried to blast through her challenger. A series of roll-ups from Rosa gets some near-falls ahead of a low dropkick, as Holidead tags in to try and help wear down Martinez. A legdrop gets Holidead a near-fall as the challengers aimed for Martinez’s recently injured ribs… but it doesn’t last as Cheerleader Melissa tagged in to help with an elbow drop on a sidewalk slam for a near-fall. Holidead struck back with a neckbreaker for a near-fall… but it’s not long before the champions struck back with a knee from Martinez as Thunder Rosa found herself isolated.
Martinez tries to end it with a Dragon sleeper, only for Holidead to come in and inadvertently distract the ref as the double-teaming continued. Melissa keeps up the pressure until she’s caught with a backslide for a near-fall as Thunder Rosa finally gets a tag out, with Holidead cleaning house. Mercedes cuts her off though, taking Rosa down with a superplex to start the Three Amigas… but Holidead broke up the cover before it got going.
A nasty-looking powerbomb/cutter combo nearly gets the champs the win, before Thunder Rosa hit a Destroyer/Code Red attempt… only to turn around into Melissa, who eventually hit a Samoan drop. Of course, she wasn’t going after the legal woman… which opened the door for the challengers, who looked for a finish… but Mercedes brought in the tag titles, and used them to distract the ref as Melissa hit an Air Raid Crash onto one of the belts, before a curb stomp off the top proved to be way too much. This was quite solid – some good back and forth, but I was not too keen on the long bit where the referee allowed Melissa to beat on the “wrong person” while also doing nothing to clear the ring. **¾
Tessa Blanchard vs. Britt Baker
We start with some nice back and forth as Tessa and Britt seemed to be mirroring each other, before Tessa backed off from a superkick attempt.
Tessa edges ahead when she ran Baker into the ring post, as the match spilled outside with Blanchard not exactly getting in the crowd’s good books. A lungblower out of the corner gets Blanchard a near-fall as she continued to club away on Baker’s back, only to get rocked with a superkick that may have been designed to give Britt some work in her day job as a dentist. Forearms continue to rock Blanchard, who fought back in kind as this turned into a slugfest. Blanchard lands a cutter to put Baker down ahead of a crushing back senton that Baker really struggled to kick out of as Blanchard came down hard. Referee Brandon Tolle checks on Baker as Blanchard took her time… and it nearly backfired as Baker managed to haul her up for a Falcon arrow for a near-fall.
A modified double chicken wing slam from Blanchard has Baker rocked, before a lungblower off the top almost won – with Britt getting a hand to the ropes just in time. That pissed off Blanchard, who went in with a clothesline, before a rolling elbow and a Destroyer left Blanchard down, as a flying lungblower nearly had Tessa beat with her own move. From there, Baker pulls Blanchard into a Rings of Saturn, but Tessa stands up out of it and popped her up into an elbow, before Britt fought back with another superkick. Another rolling elbow grazes Baker though, as Blanchard finally puts her away with a DDT. This was pretty good, save for the few moments in the middle where Baker was out of it after that back senton. ***½
Team Blue Nation (Charli Evans & Jessica Troy) Steph De Lander & Zoe Lucas vs. Team Sea Stars (Ashley Vox & Delmi Exo), Kris Wolf & Solo Darling
Holy distortion, Batman, this WWN sound system does NOT handle bass well. This was Kris Wolf’s final match in SHIMMER ahead of her retirement at the end of the month… and just how quickly that’s rolled around is a little triggering, if I’m being honest.
Kris brought Tito with her, who was immediately snatched by Charli Evans (whose own feud with Tito is also coming to a head).
Troy and Vox start us off with some nice back and forth, inspired by some old World of Sport sequences until a dropkick got Vox a one-count. We’re quickly cycling through tags as Zoe Lucas tagged in and ran into a Boston crab attempt from Solo Darling, who just peppered Zoe with kicks ahead of a tornado suplex out of the corner for a near-fall. De Lander whips Ashley Vox into the corner, but quickly gets caught in the ropes for a hanging lungblower, before tags took us to the centrepiece: Charli Evans and Kris Wolf!
Headscissors took Evans down into the ropes, as the impromptu team “Surf ‘n’ Turf” choked on Evans in the ropes, only for Charli to get free and grab hold of Tito. Kris just kicks her low and regains Tito, who then jumped onto the head of De Lander for what was quite the visual. Ashley Vox returns to fish hook De Lander into the corner for a cannonball, but De Lander’s right back in as she took Vox into the ropes for a scissors kick on the apron from Lucas for a near-fall. Vox finds herself isolated for a long spell as she was kept in the wrong part of town, leading to a backbreaker from Evans for one of many near-falls. Eventually Vox got free with a missile dropkick to Evans and Troy as she finally tagged out to Delmi Exo, who cleared house with clotheslines, as we went back to the frequent tags on both sides. A snap suplex and a wacky pumphandle driver nearly got Solo the win, before a Cloverleaf had Zoe in trouble.
Charli Evans came in to kick Darling from behind as they looked to isolate again, but Solo’s able to make the tag out to Kris Wolf, who came back with a low kick and a DDT to De Lander for a near-fall. She’s back out as Exo returned, sparking a Human Centipede of fish hooking, ending when Ashley Vox spun them all away. From there, we got a dive as Tito dove head-first onto Evans on the floor, before an assisted flip senton back in the ring nearly got Team Sea Stars the win here. Things broke down again as Kris Wolf ate a wheelbarrow facebuster and a Meteora for a near-fall, broken up as a Parade of Kicks took place… ending with an axe kick to Wolf for a near-fall.
Evans takes Wolf into the corner for a superplex, but they’re shoved down as Kris ended up crashing into Charli with a Meteora for the win as everyone else was being restrained. Kris Wolf leaves SHIMMER with a win then after an entertaining 8-woman tag which saw everyone get plenty of time. ***¼
After the match, Kris Wolf was paraded around the ring as she bade farewell.
Heart Of SHIMMER Championship: Samantha Heights vs. Dust (c)
Dust came into this having held the title for almost a year, and some perhaps expecting a change here since SHIMMER seem to like title changes on ‘Mania weekends.
Both women come swinging out of the gate as Heights ended up being pulled down to the mat with Dust picking up an early one-count. There’s some brawling on the outside as Dust trapped Heights in the ring apron… but the challenger struck back, whipping Dust into the guard rails before kicking her into the crowd. Dust uses the guard rail to get her balance for a falling seated senton to the floor, before she returned to the ring to continue the beatdown. A drop toe hold from Heights took her seamlessly into a Muta lock, but it’s quickly broken in the ropes as there looked to be some uncertainty before Dust punched away an attempt at Sole Food.
An Arabian clutch followed as Dust looked to force a submission, before Heights’ attempt at a comeback ended with a missed crossbody. She’s quickly back as an enziguiri knocked Dust off the ropes and down to the floor, before Heights followed up with a trio of lowpes into the guard rails. Another leap off the top’s aborted by Heights, who headbutts her way back in ahead of a standing Sliced Bread for a near-fall. It may not look crisp, but the offence looks effective to say the least. A running knee in the corner catches Dust ahead of another one from the apron, as Heights was almost scared of winning by count-out since she had to haul Dust onto the apron. The pair slug it out as the referee stopped his count, and that gave Dust plenty of time to get back into the ring, where she ended up dragging Heights across the corner for a DDT on the apron.
Heights tries to fight back with a rear spin kick, but Dust ducked it and hit a kick of her own for a near-fall. Dust gets caught with a kick out of the corner, as Heights followed up with a Banarang – a blockbuster – for a very close near-fall… and that seemed to be what made the crowd believe. Heights heads up again, but gets crotched on the turnbuckle as Dust pulled her into a Tree of Woe for a Del Rio double stomp…
The stomp connects for a near-fall after Heights was pulled out of the corner. Another lungblower from Dust gets blocked as Heights went for a rope walk into what looked like a facebuster on the way down… and it’s enough to get the win as we have a new champion! For a main event this was a little rough around the edges, but the crowd were into it throughout as the afternoon ended with a celebration. ***¼
I did find it weird how Stardom and SHIMMER ended up running on the same day over the weekend, and it’d be curious to see how many people ended up going to both. Certainly, the crossover of wrestlers doing double duty wasn’t high – and thanks in part to having a working ring and their full complement of time, I’d say SHIMMER came out as the better show of the two, albeit without the must-see match. My only issue with SHIMMER is that while they have a higher quality roster than (say) Shine, their distribution channels kill any interest people may get from dipping into their shows once a year. It’s improving, but until that’s completely fixed, these shows may as well be annual exhibitions.