With WWE holding their own women’s tournament in Florida, SHINE kicked off a rare double-header as they opened their Nova title tournament at SHINE 43.
We’re in the Orpheum in Ybor City again, as we’ve also got Trevin Adams doing the ring announcing in a tuxedo… sweating bullets too. The perils of shows in small buildings in the middle of summer, eh?
Kikyo vs. Lea Nox
As usual with SHINE shows, we start with a Sparkle Showcase, with Lea Nox looking to get a win over Kikyo – who seemed more than happy to chop her way to victory. She misses a charge into the corner as Nox comes back with a dropkick for a near-fall, but Kikyo was making her size advantage count, standing on Lea as “the Fallen Flower” bulldozed her way through her foe.
Nox makes a comeback with a back heel kick and a standing moonsault for a near-fall, but Kikyo came back with a Judo throw into a knee strike before forcing to block an O’Connor roll, as she then grabbed the win with a Samoan driver. Pretty much a squash, but this was impressive stuff – short and sweet, just like these should be! **½
We open the main show with a parade of entrants: Priscilla Kelly, Veda Scott, Leah Vaughan, ACR, Stormie Lee, Aja Perera, Kiera Hogan, Shotzi Blackheart, Dynamite DiDi, Aria Blake, Jordynne Grace, La Rosa Negra, Candy Cartwright, Robyn Reid, Holidead and Ivelisse.
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Veda Scott vs. Priscilla Kelly
Veda’s chip-tune entrance sounded like something that Zack Ryder would have used on his old YouTube show back in the day. You know it. She grabs the mic and interrupts Priscilla’s entrance – uninterrupted, it seems – to acknowledge how she opened SHINE 1 five years ago, and that she’s technically undefeated for that long.
Scott’s idea to start with an armbar back fires as Kelly pulls her down for one of her own before grazing Veda with a roundhouse kick for a near-fall. Veda comes back with what looked to be a springboard armdrag that goes wonky, before deciding to settle it on the mat by choking Kelly in the corner. Kelly tries to mount a comeback, but takes a kick to the chest for a two-count instead as Veda throws in a slap and an ol’ fashioned back rake.
A back rake gets Kelly back in as she tries to kick her way to victory, but one of them was caught and turned into a single leg crab that Kelly’s able to escape via a rope break. She’s then slingshotted against the bottom rope as Scott looks for the Billy Goat’s Curse (reverse crab), before having to let go as Kelly’d grabbed her hair.
Some Sheamus-esque clubbing forearms follow on the apron as the pair continued to battle, which led to Kelly spitting at Scott before clotheslining her off the apron. Back in the ring a clothesline nearly gets the win for Kelly, before she shrugs off a headlock driver and ends up getting snapmared for a near-fall instead. I think that might have meant to have been that ol’ snapmare driver instead.
Scott comes back with a step-up enziguiri for a two-count, before attempting for a side suplex that Priscilla counters… by licking her, before taking down Veda with a side Russian legsweep and locking in Trapped in Sin (grounded Octopus) for the win. This was a little rough at moments, but not too bad all things considered. **¼
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Leah Vaughan vs. ACR
Leah had been running a video series before the tournament, plugging her “Life Lessons”, and her “B-O-B-Gone” deodorant, especially for the fans in Florida. Unfortunately her music was the same plaintive tune from the video, so that rebadged Speed Stick didn’t help in getting her over as anything more than a comedy act.
Vaughan sells like ACR’s not washed during the opening lock-up, and that earns her a slap as Leah tried to shove the deodorant in her face. That leads to a faked out dive, before a plug led to ACR coming back with some armdrags as she’d clearly had enough of the product placement.
Commentary mentions how ACR left the La Sicarias stable a few months back, before trailing off from the clearly-dropped part of the storyline where she’d joined the defunct (?) C4 group. There’s nothing better than storylines dropped mid-flow!
ACR continued with a tope to shove Vaughan into a supporting wall, but a PK off the apron’s caught and turned into a leg sweep as the Canadian mounted a comeback, catching ACR in a cobra clutch into a backbreaker for a near-fall. She goes back to the cobra clutch, but ACR counters out, only to get caught again with a cobra clutch-assisted legsweep for another near-fall.
This descends into a shoving match that ends with the pair flying into each other, before they resume with chops. ACR mouthed off at Vaughan, who quickly tripped her into a STF right by the ropes, before throwing Vaughan’s head into the turnbuckles. The Speed Stick, I mean the B-O-B-Gone comes into play as ACR makes her eat it, before scoring with a kick for a near-fall as Vaughan grabbed the bottom rope to save herself.
From there, Leah comes back with a series of knees as ACR was caught in the corner, only to miss a Quebrada and get spiked with a DDT for another near-fall, before immediately bouncing back with a Dragon screw before applying a grounded cobra clutch for the submission. Aside from the goofiness, this was pretty good… although you’d think someone could have told ACR that her label was showing! **¾
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Stormie Lee vs. Aja Perera
Stormie powders to the outside almost immediately, fed up with the crowd clapping for Aja… alright then. Perera hits a Kotaro Krusher to Lee in the opening moments for a near-fall, before sweeping a leg and hitting a PK as Stormie finally showed some signs of life.
Lee stomps away on Aja in the corner, and this is already becoming ponderous. A back elbow in the corner flattens Aja, before a second one misses, allowing Aja to trap her head by the turnbuckle for a kick. Lee comes back with a reverse DDT for a two-count, but neither woman’s able to maintain much offence. Perera races out of the corner with a clothesline and a kick to the chest as she then dragged down Lee with some headscissors. Lee tries to come back, but she’s quickly elbowed away and met with an Air Raid Crash for the win. This never really got going for me, starting slow and staying there. One to forget. *
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Kiera Hogan vs. Shotzi Blackheart
Kiera had the “Cutie Pie Club” with her – Candy Cartwright and Aria Blake – and I’m half expecting those shirts to be churned out any day now. Her opponent here was Shotzi Blackheart, someone who broke out over WrestleMania weekend, and has since had some international dates.
Hogan and Blackheart start by trading holds, before Kiera tried a bridging hammerlock a la Axel Dieter Jr for a brief moment, only for Shotzi to come back with an armbar as they went tit-for-tat. Some grounded headscissors follow next from Shotzi as Hogan’s on the back foot, and it’s a flash of brightly-dyed hair as we get missed clotheslines and armdrags aplenty!
Shotzi unloads on Hogan with some right hands in the corner, before escaping to land a dropkick as the tide turned, with Hogan this time stomping Blackheart down into the corner. A whip in the corner looked to set up Hogan, but Shotzi gets her feet up before pulling Kiera down into the corner for a hanging triangle choke.
There’s some distraction on the outside that Kiera takes advantage of, landing a kick to the head for a near-fall before continuing to wear down Shotzi with a suplex for a near-fall. A series of hip attacks and baseball slides follow as Hogan tried to get the win, but again Shotzi’s able to come back, landing a back suplex to leave both women laying.
Blackheart continued the comeback with an enziguiri, before howling her way into a dropkick into the corner for another near-fall. A cloverleaf follows, as Hogan’s able to pull her way to safety after a helping hand from Candy Cartwright… and somehow she’s able to fight her way back with forearms, before Shotzi flew back in with a Silver Bullet (missile dropkick) for another near-fall.
In the end, Hogan wriggles out of a fireman’s carry and drops Blackheart with her Face The Music finisher – a swinging, bridging neckbreaker – for the win. Apparently Hogan’s only been wrestling for two years – yet showed so much poise as her and Shotzi had the best of the tournament matches thus far. ***
Number One Contender’s Match: Dementia D’Rose vs. Brandi Lauren vs. Daisy vs. Natalia Marcova vs. Maria Maria
The winner of this five-way takes on LuFisto at SHINE 44 for the title, and it’s quite the motley crew of challengers here. Marcova seems to have dropped in a Eurovision CD for her entrance, whilst it’s a welcome return for Maria Maria, after her win last time out against Dynamite DiDi (which somehow got DiDi into the Nova title tournament… but not Maria Maria).
Everyone targets Maria Maria early on, pounding her out of the ring before the remaining four paired off. Daisy drops Marcova with knees and elbows, whilst Brandi’s working over D’Rose in the corner – something which nearly backfired as Dementia landed a sit-out splash from the corner for a near-fall.
D’Rose then stacks up everyone but Maria in the corner for a hip attack, with Maria giving a hand before turning on her with a dropkick. Maria disappears again as the rest take turns throwing forearms and headbutts, before Marcova lands an X-Factor to Maria.
The parade of moves continues with a Codebreaker from Daisy to Marcova; a D’Rose Blue Thunder Bomb to Daisy, and finally an Ace crusher from Brandi. In the end, Maria comes charging at Lauren with a discus lariat to get the win! That surprises Maria Maria, who celebrates the biggest win of her career after a rather short five-way… **½
Trevin Adams came into the ring for a post-match promo. Except Trevin didn’t understand Spanish, so a fan came in to translate… and we could barely hear any of it. They’re quickly interrupted by LuFisto, who called her the “greatest puta ever”. Cue a load of offensive Spanish words, before Maria returned fire by calling her “perro”… and revealing that she’s not going to wrestle Maria Maria… as she unmasked as Allysin Kay!
That title shot must have been transferrable!
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Dynamite DiDi vs. Aria Blake
I hope you like the Cutie Pie Club, because they’re back out again, this time supporting Aria Blake. Interestingly there’s already subtle hints of dissension as Blake looked unhappy that Candy wanted to take centre stage… oh, she would do just that later on!
Blake tries to nick a win early with a variety of pinning attempts over DiDi, before the pair reversed a small package back and forth to make sure the official knew the numbers one and two. After mocking DiDi’s size, Blake decided to enter a test of strength, which she won out on, pushing DiDi back to the mat before pulling off a monkey flip to spark that particular series of pinning attempts.
From there, DiDi catches a kick and uses the boot to force Blake to kick herself in the back of the head, but Aria comes back, using DiDi’s hair to choke herself with. Blake busts out the Axel Dieter Jr. special – a name I didn’t expect to reference multiple times here – but DiDi manages to make the ropes despite the best efforts of Aria’s friends.
Another kick to the back of the head sent DiDi rolling to the floor, with Blake following her outside for a brief spot of brawling before returning to the ring as DiDi enjoyed a brief resurgence. A handspring into an Ace Crusher in the corner nearly gets DiDi the win, but Blake kicked out just in time, before coming back with a Codebreaker for a two-count of her own.
The pair trade strikes as they both land roundhouse kicks, before trading off German suplexes that led to a tease of a double-pin… with both women kicking out at the count of one. They rose up at the same time before crashing into each other with duelling crossbodies, but DiDi’s attempt to get the pin with a double-stomp is stopped as the Cutie Pie Club interfere… Hogan gets up on the apron to distract the ref, as Candy comes in to attack DiDi with hairspray as Blake gets the win with a double-arm DDT. This wasn’t too bad, but the prospect of all three members of the Cutie Pie Club in the next round does raise some intriguing prospects… **¾
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Jordynne Grace vs. La Rosa Negra
Grace came into this with a tonne of buzz… and plenty of Tweets asking her if she’d signed with WWE. The answer (at time of writing), is no, of course. This was La Rosa Negra’s first appearance back in SHINE after a tour with Stardom earlier in the year, and her first move was to crack a bad joke because Grace did a front roll.
Can’t win ‘em all!
Grace starts with a headlock takedown as she looked to assert her obvious strength advantage, before Negra trapped Grace with a modified chicken wing that allowed Grace to acrobatically reverse the hold and get a roll-up for a near-fall. The pair exchange wristlocks and headlocks as they more than match each other, ending with Negra tripping Grace so she could slap hear rear end.
In response, Jordynne charges back but quickly gets cornered with some elbows before Negra slips on a springboard in the corner. A trio of legdrops gets just a one-count for Rosa, but eventually Grace comes back after catching some kicks and throwing a knee. Grace keeps up with a pair of rolling vertical suplexes for a two-count, before switching from a bear hug into another suplex to collect another near-fall.
Negra comes back with a hip attack into the corner, before charging a shoulder into Grace, as Rosa then picked up Grace and finally drops her with a spinebuster. A flip legdrop keeps Negra ahead, but she makes a mistake by going up top as Grace press slams her to the mat, before she somehow countered a bear hug with a spiking DDT!
Another shoulder charge misses as Grace sidesteps, before charging into Rosa with running knees in the corner. Grace tries for a superplex, but she’s shoved down… and now ACR randomly appears at ringside to distract Rosa. It works as Grace capitalised with a folding powerbomb, and that’s Grace through! I wasn’t thrilled with the finish, but given how Rosa’s more of a regular here, I guess they needed to keep her strong? ***
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Candy Cartwright vs. Robyn Reid
I had been warned about this one… yeah, the Cutie Pie Club are out yet again, this time to back-up the self-obsessed Cartwright. The crowd were fairly lukewarm to Reid, who was trained by Booker T and has done most of her wrestling (it seems) in Texas.
Reid starts out on offence, slamming Candy to the mat before dumping her with a front suplex as Candy tried to steal the early win with a roll-up, before a crucifix pin was thwarted with a Samoan drop. Some chops to the cleavage from Reid left Candy on the back foot, but she quickly rebounds with a Northern Lights suplex before a crossbody out of the corner picked up a two-count.
Candy takes Reid back into the corner for some kicks and chops, but Reid returns the favour before falling into a sunset flip for a near-fall. Candy then comes in with a tiltawhirl to take Reid into the corner for an eventual bulldog… but Candy wouldn’t go for the cover, instead opting to go for “the greatest submission ever”… a loosely applied bow and arrow hold. When even commentary is calling this out, you know you’re a long way off from being a technical wizard!
After getting free, Reid connects with a couple of kicks to Cartwright, before booting her in the face as a clothesline took down Candy for a massively held-up two-count. Someone forgot to kick out, and the crowd immediately turns on this match… even more so when Candy slips in the ropes as a 619 went awry.
Reid comes back by forearming Candy on the top rope, before taking her down with a delayed Fisherman’s suplex. More clotheslines from Reid keep her on top, before a spinning neckbreaker collects a two-count. An attempt at the TKO is stopped when Hogan and Blake provide a distraction, and although Blake doesn’t quite get the aerosol spray off, Candy’s able to get Reid with the Candy Crush (Skull Crushing Finale/Stroke) for the win. This fell apart quite badly thanks to one person, and it’s plain to see that Candy’s the weakest of this group… getting the biggest push. I can only guess why… ¾*
SHINE Nova Championship Tournament – First Round: Holidead vs. Ivelisse
Ivelisse tries to boot away Holidead at the bell, but the painted-up debutant wasn’t fazed as she took Ivelisse into the corner… only to be taken down with some headscissors as the pair squared off again.
Ivelisse escapes a test of strength with a headbutt as the pair countered back and forth with armdrags taking Holidead to the floor for a baseball slide… which saw Holidead catch her in the ring apron before charging Ivelisse into the ring post. Holidead took it back to the ring, where she choked away on the tag team champion, before nailing a legdrop onto the apron to get an eventual two-count.
The pressure’s kept up with a Samoan drop, before Holidead threw some knees ahead of a backbreaker and a camel clutch that featured more than a little fish-hooking. Eventually Ivelisse powered up into a crucifix bomb, then mounted Holidead for a rear naked choke that’s quickly lost… so Ivelisse goes to kick away at her foe instead.
A DDT gets a near-fall as Ivelisse then trapped the arms for some Bryan Danielson elbows, before grabbing a guillotine choke that’s quickly broken when Holidead charges her into the corner. After some stomps, Holidead rolls around Ivelisse into a pendulum hold for a brief moment as she continued to rack up the near-falls.
A high-angle cloverleaf follows, but Ivelisse is able to make the ropes, only to get caught in a Gory special… but somehow she rolls out and gets a near-fall as Ivelisse found herself limited to picking her spots. That included a knee-bar, except Holidead was too close to the ropes, before Ivelisse rolled in and trapped Holidead in a rear naked choke as she went for another submission…
Again Holidead fights out, slipping free before clubbing Ivelisse with a forearm to the back as they continued to go hold-for-hold without any finish being teased. A short-arm clothesline drops Ivelisse as Holidead mouthed off to the crowd… but that just gave Ivelisse an opening to plaster her with kicks before landing a ‘rana out of the corner. Ivelisse gets closer with a roll-through into a kick, only to run into another spinebuster as Holidead racked up that two-count.
Out of nowhere, Holidead drops Ivelisse with an Unprettier for a two-count, before trying for a Tree Slam… which Ivelisse escapes and returns fire with a roundhouse for a near-fall! The two continue to go for pinning predicaments – small packages, schoolboys and O’Connor rolls – but that three count remained elusive as time ran out… yeah, this show ended in a time limit draw, without so much as cues to announce it. That was a bit lame, as I’d have at least liked to have seen a “five minutes remaining” call-out, especially since the time limits barely got acknowledged throughout the night. Still, this was easily the best match of the night, despite the result eliminating both women, and giving Candy Cartwright a bye into the semis. ***½
Speaking of, Candy Cartwright came out to celebrate that. God, that whole act is quickly becoming like Poochie, except Lenny Leonard is forgetting to ask “where’s Candy?” whenever she’s off-screen…
As an opening night, this was a fairly mixed bag of a show. Lee/Perera and Cartwright/Reid were the contenders for the worst of the night – with the latter perhaps taking that crown by just how much they messed up in short order. Still, given that some of their usual crew, and a lot of possible entrants were tied up with the other tournament in Florida (although you could argue that this was an attempt to fire a shot back at WWE… albeit not a very good one), this wasn’t too bad a show.
A good starting point, but a lot of work needs to be done in the finals at SHINE 44 to elevate the overall tournament!