Time to pluck out a random SHINE show… well, okay, we’re going back to December as we look at the last SHINE of 2016.

Lenny Leonard is solo on commentary again and we’re starting with a match billed as a “Shine Sparkle Showcase”.

Lindsay Snow vs. Kiera Hogan
We’re starting out hot with tattoos on this show, as Lindsay Snow comes out wearing a Tiger Mask-esque hood… Disappointingly, Kiera Hogan isn’t an 80s-style Hulk Hogan rip-off jobber, and is the polar opposite of the Hulkster: dark-haired and 4’ 11. Maybe that means she can wrestle??

We’ve got a lot of corruption and skipping in the on-demand video here – as opposed to plain buffering – and we start with a common-or-garden tie-up as Snow takes a shoulder table before dragging Hogan into the ropes with a drop toe hold from the bottom. Hogan recovers to take Snow into the corner for some chops, before she boots Hogan after a failed leapover.

A suplex gets Snow barely a count of one, as Hogan cowers into the ropes for cover. Snow falls for the ruse as she’s pulled into the bottom rope, before taking a double knee strike to the back. Snow takes a diving dropkick after a snapmare, and my feed pauses again! When it recovers, Snow’s worked free of a chinlock, before scoring a dropkick to send Hogan back into the corner, with a bulldog bringing her back out. Snow’s shining wizard gets a near-fall, but from the kick-out Hogan scores a roll-up for the win. Well, that was over before it got going… **

Brandi Lauren vs. Jessie Belle Smothers
Chain wrestling gets us going before Smothers sends Lauren into the corner… but Brandi leaps over and scores a couple of armdrags before kicking Smothers to the mat for a near-fall.

After pulling the hair, Smothers takes down Lauren for some ground and pound, before pulling Lauren up into a camel clutch. Smothers briefly mugs and hooks away at Lauren’s mouth before releasing the hold and rolling up Brandi for a near-fall.

Smothers gets a suplex, before rolling up for a second… but Brandi cradles her for a near-fall before she’s taken into the corner with a boot choke. Lauren’s taken down into a double leg nelson submission, but Brandi gets out and we eventually get up into an indyriffic sunset-flip reversal sequence for a pile of near-falls.

Smothers kicks Lauren and lays back for a near-fall, but Brandi rolls back to get a two-count herself, only before a ‘rana out of the corner sends Jessie Belle flying. Another big boot cuts off Jessie, who then takes a series of clotheslines and an Ace Crusher (out of nowhere!) for a near-fall. In the end though, Smothers comes back with a Gory Bomb for the win. Another short match – nothing wrong with the match, but it barely got going. **¼

Stormie Lee vs. Leva Bates
Leva’s cosplaying again, and this time she’s inspired by the Walking Dead. A barbed wire baseball bat’s part of her entrance, as she forces some plants to kneel down. Well, I guess they were plants, some of them just looked completely confused as to what was going on, especially when she did nothing with them.

No, I take that back. She waits until after the ring announcements, before she threatens to drop the bat on one of them, but that’s just giving Stormie a chance to attack her from behind. Early on, Leva smashes her barbed wire bat against the ring post, breaking it, before she throws Lee into the ringpost then into the ring.

Stormie takes a spear off the ropes, before she scurries into the ropes, and yes, that bottom rope is still really loose. Lee hits a neckbreaker as Leva drops off the middle rope, and then she follows up with some stomps and a camel clutch. Leva elbows out of a chinlock, but she’s swung back in a Russian legsweep for a near-fall, before she rolls through Stormie into a crossface.

Stormie makes the ropes with ease, before some corruption edits out some time as she misses a charge in the corner and ends up taking a Stunner from Leva. Bates hits some double axehandle smashes and a knee-lift, before scoring a two-count from a Northern Lights suplex. A chop in the corner follows, as do some stomps, and finally a double-stomp off the top rope. That gets Bates a two-count, before she runs into a Samoan drop as Lee picks up a two-count.

Lee goes after Bates in the corner with forearms, before a superplex attempt is blocked and turned into the Pepsi Plunge for the win – with Lee kicking out just too late. Eh, short matches seem to be the motif here. Just like buffering… I’d have been happier had Leva’s Walking Dead actually translated into anything in the match, rather than just “I wrestle in a leather jacket”, but it is what it is… **¼

Apparently our main event is an eight-woman tag, with the SHINE title sort-of on the line if Ivelisse gets pinned… anyone else getting pinned has to leave the company.

Priscilla Kelly vs. Malia Hosaka
Poor Priscilla… She’s here representing “The Carnies” since this is before the whole Uncle John debacle in FIP, and to be fair, she does get a reaction with chants of “6”…

Kelly starts off with a wristlock, but Hosaka counters, only to be taken down again for yet more buffering and pixellation. Yay FloSlam! I reboot and finally get back to where I was, and Kelly’s got an armbar, before we pause again. Finally, Hosaka pulls Kelly’s hair to get free, before finding herself dragged down courtesy of a springboard armdrag from Kelly.

It’s all armdrags from Priscilla here, but again a hair pull gets Hosaka free, and this time Hosaka takes over with a snapmare out of the corner. Several strikes to the throat and another hair-assisted snapmare keeps Kelly away, before Malia chokes away at Kelly on the mat. Another eye rake from Hosaka somehow leads to a Boston crab on Kelly, but she’s too close to that bottom rope and easily snatches it to free herself.

Hosaka catches a boot from Kelly, but it’s just a way to set-up for an enziguiri before Priscilla lands a pair of dropkicks for a two-count. A kick to the chest knocks Hosaka back down, with a roundhouse getting another two-count, before Hosaka gets the win out of nowhere with the Diva Slayer (a chicken wing facebuster; Ryusuke Taguchi’s Dodon). That end felt felt a little disjointed to the rest of the match, but Kelly more than held her own. **¾

After the match, Hosaka slaps away Kelly’s hand, then grabs the microphone and tells her to go back to wrestling school.

Candy Cartwright vs. Aerial Monroe
I’m watching these shows out-of-order, so I guess this might help show whether Cartwright’s match against Leva at SHINE 40 was a one-off or not. She looks strikingly similar to how Natalya did in the early part of the career, but with some additions. I’m not going to make boob references every time she wrestles, okay?

For some reason Monroe twerks next to ring announcer Kid Cadet, but there’s no love for the referee. Cartwright starts with a headlock, but pixellation leads to Monroe turning it into a wristlock back and forth as Candy forces her to bridge all the way back. A fireman’s carry gets Monroe down into an armbar, but she comes back into a wristlock as the chain wrestling gives way to some rope running, as Cartwright awkwardly takes a dropkick from Monroe.

Candy returns to the ring and takes Monroe into the middle rope with a drop toe-hold, but she crotches herself with a 619 attempt. Monroe stays on top with some strikes, but Candy ducks one and hits a Northern Lights suplex that almost wins her the match. We get some weird-looking forearms in the corner to Monroe, before Candy lands a neckbreaker after draping Aerial in the ropes.

Candy rolls Aerial into the middle of the ring for a two-count, then she follows up with a cartwheel into an elbow drop for another near-fall. Monroe tries to fire back, but she’s taken to the corner for a Stacy Keibler-esque big boot choke, before another corner charge leads to a clothesline a la the Miz. Cartwright lands a diving clothesline off the top for a near-fall, before Monroe rolls her up into the ropes for a two-count.

Aerial blasts Candy with an uppercut, but ends up taking a knee to the gut before a series of forearms and uppercuts gets her back into things. Monroe keeps up with running forearms, before catching an attempted kick to drop Candy with a back elbow and a palm strike for a two-count. Another sunset flip sees them end up in the ropes, and this time Candy hits that 619 without issue.

Cartwright looks to end things by going up top, and she gets a two count from a cross body, but she makes the fatal mistake of ruffling Aerial’s hair, so Monroe drops her with a ripcord forearm smash. They head outside, but Candy returns to the ring and uses the referee for a distraction… leading to a low blow (???) and the Candy Crush neckbreaker for the win. This was much better than the Leva match, largely because Candy kept the strikes to a minimum, but that heel character needs a lot more work. **¾

SHINE Tag Team Championship: Raquel & Santana vs. Better Than You (Marti Belle & Jayme Jameson) (c)
This was before Raquel left TNA, so we didn’t get the weird Raquel/Gabi cross-over stuff. BTY jump their challengers during the introductions, throwing Raquel and Santana onto the apron right as the ring announcer was exiting.

Marti and Jayme’s plan fails, so they go outside and play rock, paper, scissors to determine who should start… so we end with Jayme and Santana. Jameson’s brought down with a drop toe hold as Santana tries an early submission with a Muta Lock… but Marti breaks it up as Raquel comes in and eventually lands a hip attack after originally going the wrong way. Some roll-ups and small packages get Raquel some one-counts before tagging Santana back in to land a handspring elbow into Jameson in the corner. Raquel takes a drop toe hold into an accidentally exposed bottom turnbuckle, which starts a period of offence from the champions against the inexperienced Raquel.

Belle lands a hip attack in the corner, getting a two-count out of it, before the champions land a double-team shoulder tackle for another two-count. A camel clutch follows on Raquel, who’s then thrown into the turnbuckle for some more stomps. Jaymie chokes away at Raquel with her boot, which prompts Santana to come in and break things up, as a fake tag sees Belle return.

Marti knocks Santana off the apron before she takes a drop toe hold into the middle rope for another hip attack, with Raquel getting another near-fall. Belle mounts Raquel for some more punches, before a clothesline from Jameson knocks the inexperienced Raquel back down. After a slam, Jameson tags in Belle who hits a splash for a two-count, and all of that taunting almost costs her as Raquel gets a schoolboy for a two-count.

Another slam takes down Raquel as Jameson gets a two-count, before a pumphandle slam gets a similar result. Eventually, Raquel dives away and makes a tag out to Santana, who waits until Raquel hits Marti with a Flatliner before coming in for the Shining Star Press – and that’s the win. Huh. That finish was something… Raquel taking a beating, tagging out, hitting a move and then Santana gets the win with her move. BTY had held the belts for a year at this point, and that finish (to me, anyway) rendered them a joke with the ultimate slip on a banana peel finish. Aside from that, this was a pretty decent, albeit one-sided match, but that finish didn’t help one bit. **½

Tessa Blanchard vs. Allysin Kay
Blanchard tried to beg out of the match by evoking memories of Valkyrie – a stable both women were one part of – and we start with… a pinkie breaker?

Fair enough! Kay charges into Blanchard in the corner early on as she tried to end things early, but Tessa wrenches on Kay’s fingers before stomping on her hand. An elbow drop misses as Kay just backdrops Blanchard out of the ring hard, before following her out there to throw some chops in.

Blanchard returns the favour, before she grabs the feather dress that formed part of Kay’s ring gear and brushed them aside with her heel. That sparks a fight as they brawl towards the bar, then onto the stage, where Kay throws the second-generation star off towards the ring. Allysin throws Blanchard into the ring apron, but Tessa fights back with a chop to the back as they return to the bar… where Kay dumps Tessa into a rubbish bin. After she escapes, they trade forearms back and forth, which somehow gives way to Tessa putting Kay in a camel clutch near the bar. Ah, God bless FloSlam’s horrible web player – putting gaps in the space and time continuum by way of buffering!

My picture picks up again with Kay sitting on the ring steps before Blanchard bicycle kicks her off of it. Tessa tries to get someone in the crowd to hold Kay, but nobody’s willing, so Kay gets a chance to fight back. When they return, Kay lands a forearm, before a stunner is blocked as Blanchard eventually hits a ‘cutter for a near-fall.

Kay comes back with a big boot for a near-fall, before a crucifix bomb is avoided by Blanchard, who hits a hammerlock DDT for another near-fall. Shortly after, Kay hits back with a discus lariat, and that’s enough for the win. A wild brawl with a pretty solid wrestling match underneath all that. ***¼

After the match, Kay offers a handshake to Blanchard… but it’s a ruse as Tess gets stunned. Nevermind AK-47 – how about AK 3:16?

Monsters’ Ball/Falls Count Anywhere: Vanessa Kraven vs. Su Yung
Vanessa Kraven looks more confused at than concerned with Yung at the bell… and after taking a kick, Su goes to her bag of tricks, which seems to include a title belt, but twice Su misses with belt shots.

Kraven gets something else out of the bag… it’s a pickle, and she eats it. Innuendo, folks! Yung takes a tiltawhirl slam for a near-fall after Kraven spat some pickle at her, and they end up outside where Yung uses a baking tray on Kraven’s head. Kraven gives a receipt, and my feed goes weird again for another shot which gets Vanessa a near-fall.

Yung takes some chops to the chest as she’s held against the ring apron, but Su hits back with a broom, as she pushes Vanessa back into some seating. Lenny Leonard can’t see anything as Kraven drills her into the wall, before Yung goes under the ring in search of goodies – and she comes back with some metal guttering. Kraven finds a ladder, but that’s of no use as Yung goes the Terry Funk helicopter spot to send Kraven into the corner.

The guttering’s propped between the ring and stage for later use… in the meantime, Yung’s swept face-first onto the apron before she’s suplexed through the gutter and onto the floor in a spot that looked nasty for both women. They pick up with Su going under the ring once more, and this time she comes back with just a baking sheet that’s sent towards the head of Kraven, before a wooden board comes into play.

Kraven takes a bulldog into that board, but it doesn’t break… so Su gets a sledgehammer! Yung runs at Kraven, who thankfully moves away as the hammer smashes the board into pieces, before Yung decides to turf Vanessa into rows of seating. A whip comes out next as Yung lashes Kraven, before Vanessa grabs Su’s baby doll and forces her to dive for it. Another trip to the bar follows, but Yung hits back with an uppercut before she throws a chair, then a kick to send Kraven onto the bar. Su goes under the ring again for another board… but this one breaks in two as she pulls it out of the ring. The board bounces off of Kraven as Su goes for more plunder, and yes, it’s more plywood.

FloSlam picks another fine time to crap out, and the picture resumes as the two fight on the bar, throwing beer cans at each other, before Kraven grabs that last bit of plywood – and a Chris Jericho cardboard cut-out. Some thumbtacks come into play as Yung empties a bag of them onto the bar, but Wrestling Logic dictates that she takes the bump… but it’s through the plywood bridge on the floor. That’s only good enough for a one-count though?!

Kraven returns to the ring and grabs that ladder to jab into Yung’s midsection, before it’s propped between the ring apron and a chair somehow. That bridge barely lasts as Yung knocks it away when she climbs to her feet, where she makes a beeline for that bag of tricks… where we have a foam finger?!

They fight backstage now, and we get a black screen for a while before they seem to re-emerge on the stage. Su’s got another bag, and this time she empties a bag of crickets onto Kraven, with some of them going down her top. Yeah, that’ll freak a person out. Kraven grabs a bag of powder and throws it at Yung as she was going for a Kendo stick shot… and as she’s blinded, she sprays the referee with mist.

Kraven tries to capitalise, but Yung uses the stick to choke down Kraven, before she wrenches back on a downed Vanessa to force a submission. Well, that was a suitably violent end to a plunderiffic match! ***

SHINE Championship x Loser Leaves Town: Las Sicarias (Ivelisse (c), ACR, Mercedes Martines & Thea Trinidad) vs. C4 (Amber O’Neal, Andrea, Kennadi Brink & LuFisto)
The stipulations here were somewhat confusing: whomever took the fall in this match would be forced to leave SHINE… unless it was Ivelisse, who’d just lose her title. Amanda Carolina Rodriguez is ACR, for those who wondered why I used her full name when SHINE only use her initials (blame Cagematch!). LuFisto’s the only one who’s made an effort, as she’s got her M. Bison-inspired entrance gear, and the camera spends a lot of time focusing on Andrea during the entrances…

By the time the bell rings, we’ve got less than quarter of an hour to go, so this epic war isn’t going to last too long!

It starts with an eight-way melee with everyone going to the floor, and these are my favourite kind of matches to follow! Ivelisse and LuFisto pair off to continue their tussles, and the cameras show pretty much everyone but Andrea. Just as I say that, they pan to her and Thea Trinidad – going to both ends of the spectrum in terms of height! – with Trinidad being thrown into the apron.

Andrea swings and misses a baseball bat that was aimed for Thea, and this is still bedlam all over the Orpheum! C4 are placed into seats in the front row, and we get a huge body press off the top from Thea to wipe them all out. Glitches happen, and we’ve got ACR chopping away at LuFisto in the corner, before a charge is turned into a drop toe-hold by the C4 leader.

This now seems to have calmed down into a normal tag team match, and we get a suplex from Brink to ACR for a near-fall. ACR manages to tag out to Trinidad, who scores a forearm for a near-fall as LuFisto breaks up that pin – and I think this is going to be the pattern. Trinidad fights out of the wrong corner, but she’s quickly restrained as Amber O’Neal comes in and pounds away on the smallest woman in the match.

LuFisto comes in to keep up that motif, as a butterfly suplex gets a pair of near-falls before the C4 leader stretches Thea in an STF before a curb stomp is only good enough for a two-count. A fake tag brings in Andrea, who happily chops and stomps away on Thea, before some hip attacks – combined with Las Sicarias’ stereotypically hot tempers – hinder Trinidad.

Finally Trinidad makes a comeback with a tornado DDT onto O’Neal out of the corner, and then we buffer as my feed freezes on Amber O’Neal’s upper body. Seriously FloSlam, this is enough to end my subscription. The buffering, that is…

Thea makes a tag out to Martinez, as Amber brings in Brink, and Mercedes clears the C4 apron. A spinebuster from Mercedes doesn’t even get a count as Andrea breaks things up, resulting in the “Amazon” mounting Martinez with punches on the mat. So much buffering this is beyond unwatchable, as ACR and Trinidad double-team Andrea and chop her to the mat, before a kick rocks Andrea.

Thea’s lifted up by ACR into an assisted headscissor takedown that’s sort-of blocked, before LuFisto charges in and takes Thea into the corner. Cannonballs from LuFisto to Thea and ACR! Ivelisse drops LuFisto with a Roll the Dice, but Amber hits an X-Factor ont he champion… but doesn’t make the cover?! Instead, Amber directs LuFisto for a Tiger Bomb on Ivelisse, before she takes an accidental superkick from O’Neal.

Martinez dumps Amber with a Fisherman Buster, then hands out a draping neckbreaker to LuFisto. Brink and Mercedes trade blows, ending with a sky-high powerbomb for a near-fall as Kennadi looks to send the veteran packing. More buffering follows, and we return to see Andrea being sent shoulder-first into the ringpost as her shoulder charge misses. Martinez almost gets the win with a roll-up after that, but Andreas’s targeted as Thea hits a Saito suplex then a top rope moonsault, before a roundhouse kick from Ivelisse gets the win! That’s it… Andrea is gone from SHINE… and it’s mighty convenient that she’d signed with WWE, eh? A decent match, but my enjoyment was ruined by the web player. ***

So, that brings 2016 to an end for SHINE – Las Sicarias end on top, and C4’s sort-of now C3?

What Worked: Monsters Ball matches are usually fun, and this one was no exception – plenty of plunder and gimmicks, with a relatively decent match underneath it all.

What Didn’t: Leva. I get that coming out as different characters is her gimmick, but if the basic underneath that don’t change, you’re just adding an extra, unnecessary limitation.

Also, the obligatory mention for the FloSlam website player. I had to watch this show in parts over three different machines over three different connections to piece together a watchable show. It seems that the only reliable way to watch FloSlam is on Roku – which is simply not acceptable, especially at $20/month! Laptops and tablets are somewhat portable – Rokus are not, especially if you’re not able to connect up a TV to it!

Thumbs: I’ll give two thumbs here… Middle for the show – that’s two SHINE cards now where we’ve had a weak-to-non-existent undercard, saved by the final few matches. Hopefully this isn’t like mid-90s WWE!

Down – for the FloSlam player. The last thing you need when you’ve got the big guys gunning for you is a player that is unreliable and buggy as hell. I had to re-watch the endings of two matches because the player – on its own volition – skipped randomly during playback. If my player is pixellating, buffering or just plain crapping out every 5-10 minutes on a 40Mb broadband connection, then you’ve got major issues guys. Issues that don’t even appear to be addressed in your own FAQs…