A rather turbulent 2017 closed out for SHINE with another loaded card – featuring a rumble to create a new challenger for the sidelined LuFisto.

As usual, we’re screenshot-free since the Club WWN player really doesn’t like my set-up… We’re in the Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida, with Kid Cadet introducing Trevin Adams to open the show – which would be the final WWN show of 2017. Trevin announces that LuFisto and ACR were off the card with injury, so tonight would be about “survival” – with the winner of a 20-woman Rumble getting the next shot at LuFisto.

On top of that, whomever eliminates Priscilla Kelly in the Rumble will get a shot at her Nova title later on tonight. The remainder of the card’ll also be determined by the order of elimination. Yay for double duty!

SHINE Survival Rumble
The winner gets LuFisto on January 26 at SHINE’s next event… Ring Bell dot MP3 starts us off with Rain and her extra loud ring music! Number two is eventually revealed as Aria Blake, complete with a Santa hat and a custom name plate for the Cutie Pie Club.

The remainder of the field were (in order): Kikyo, Natalia Markova, Tesha Price, Ivelisse, Dynamite DiDi, Robyn Reid, Mercedes Martinez, Dementia D’Rose, Shotzi Blackheart, Brandi Lauren, Leva, Priscilla Kelly, Kiera Hogan, Aerial Monroe, Stormie Lee, Aja Perera, Candy Cartwright and Jessicka Havok.

It was your typical Rumble, to be fair, with the weirdness that double duty brings. Blake spent a lot of her time in the ring running away, while there was an awful lot of dead time early, even considering those 60 second entrances. The first ganging-up spot sees everyone work over Kikyo, who’s made to look like a bit of a monster until she went up against Ivelisse… Markova awkwardly spikes DiDi with a suplex that turned into a DDT…

We’re still waiting for an elimination after 11 entrants, with the neon-green haired Shotzi Blackheart perhaps being the most noticeable entant… just as Kikyo gets sent flying by Rain. Robyn Reid’s next out, as was DiDi, as Leva (no longer Bates, I guess) is out in yet another cosplay outfit. Gotta love how awkward that makes it to market you…

The camera barely catches Natalia Markova getting thrown out, before the entrance of Priscilla Kelly at number fourteen to give everyone a second target to aim for. Nobody goes for Kelly straight away, as Priscilla instead goes for Aria Blake, who’s saved by the entry of Kiera Hogan… as they then double-team Kelly.

Hogan gets eliminated just as Candy Cartwright’s out, which mean we don’t get that particular cerberus in the ring at once. The lights go out randomly, which leaves everyone confused… as an awkwardly-played video of Allysin Kay plays, setting up the return of Jessicka Havok to round out the field. Yeah, Havok clears house, and I’m thinking they missed the elimination of Priscilla Kelly somewhere in this, as she’s not in the ring…

Candy runs away as Havok continued her bulldozer-like trail through the roster, with Brandi Lauren’s elimination coming when she was punched off the top rope by Havok. Our final two are Havok and Rain… but Jessicka just eliminates herself to chase away Brandi Lauren some more. Well, that was a thing. They completely missed (or at best, failed to play up the Nova title thing), which was disappointing. This existed, and went almost half an hour, which stunned me… *½

Stormie Lee attacks Rain as she was about to speak, and after a pull-apart, Lee sounds off about how bitter she was at Rain “held the young ones down” in the past. Hey, they even threw in her real name to “make it real”, and I guess that’s our main event?

Natalia Markova vs. Aerial Monroe
We now start the “second match of the night” portion of the show, featuring two women who were eliminated pretty late on in the Rumble.

We find out here that Aja Perera gets the Nova title shot, so I guess she eliminated Priscilla Kelly without much fanfare. As for this match, there’s a pretty tentative opening spell as Monroe gets offended at Markova taking time to shake her hand… and that leads to Natalia hitting some headscissors and a massive boot to the face.

Another single-leg dropkick gets Monroe down for a two-count… but Aerial’s quickly back with a dropkick of her own as the pair exchanged near-falls. Monroe’s slowly getting the upper hand though, working over Markova’s arm… and eventually Natalia launches a comeback, getting off an awkward powerbomb, dumping Monroe onto her side. Things look better when she hits a leg lariat and a clothesline, and then they pause awkwardly for… reasons. Another wild clothesline follows as Markova seemed to want to ring Monroe’s bell, as a superkick to the head seemed to confirm that, before landing a running X-Factor for a solid two-count.

Out of nowhere, Monroe lands a wild spinning forearm that decked Natalia for a near-fall, before falling into a Futureshock DDT as Markova took the win. This was a little rough in the middle, especially with those lariats that had no middle ground between whiffing and walloping. **

Tesha Price vs. Kikyo vs. Robyn Reid vs. Dynamite DiDi
With none of these women really established in SHINE, everyone paired off as the good guys – Tesha and DiDi – dispatched Kikyo and Reid early to get us into that usual pattern of two in and two out.

The roles switch around as Reid and Kikyo pull them outside before the bad guys have a brief slugfest, ending when Price hits a crossbody off the top into them. Kikyo’s able to break it up as we go to NOT the obligatory fallaway slam/Samoan drop combo, as she ends up pulling off a Finlay roll instead as the four-way format led to a load of broken-up pins.

Of course, the two baddies can’t get along, as Reid and Kikyo keep taking shots at each other, aided by dropkicks from DiDi and Price… who then break up each others’ pins. Wash, rinse, repeat! That turns around when Kikyo throws them into a double clothesline from Reid, who then takes a Kikyo slam as the Fallen Flower looked to go up top… but nobody’s there, and she gets caught by DiDi, then Price, as Reid pulled the trigger on a Tower of Doom.

Reid hits DiDi with a TKO as a Parade of Moves broke out, featuring Kikyo’s Lunar Driver (Samoan driver), but of course we’re still breaking up covers… at least until DiDi hits an Alabama slam and a double stomp to the hip for the win. That felt a little abrupt, but that was fun while it lasted… **½

Dementia D’Rose vs. Leva
Leva’s still rocking what we’re told is Overwatch cosplay. Here’s me thinking it’s Jet Set Radio…

D’Rose tries to charge at Leva, who tries for an early drop toe hold… but instead she has to escape a legdrop as Dementia tries to squash her in the opening stages. It seems that D’Rose has a Samoan arse, but she’s able to take forearms anywhere else as Leva’s offence is hit and miss.

A slingshot lungblower gets her a one-count, before running into a powerslam for a near-fall. Leva eventually hits a rolling armdrag to trap D’Rose in a crossface, but after escaping D’Rose charges through her again as she takes Leva up top for… a handstand rana-ish! Out of nowhere, Leva tries some roll-ups for near-falls, but a wheelbarrow’s turned into an obliterating backbreaker for another two-count.

Somehow Leva’s able to fire back, kicking away at D’Rose, with a savate kick almost ending things, before Leva jumps into what looked like a short DDT to rack up another near-fall. Another awkward trip takes D’Rose into the corner, where Leva takes too long for a handstand Bronco Buster, and leaves herself prone for a hip attack.

D’Rose doesn’t drag Leva out of the corner though, and the referee refuses to make the cover because Leva’s in the ropes. That angers D’Rose, who just headbutts away on Leva, ignoring the ref’s five-count, and we have a DQ. Ugh. That match had its moments, but the “kicking too much ass” DQ seems like needless protection. Why book a match if you can’t have a decent finish? *¾

SHINE Nova Championship: Aja Perera vs. Priscilla Kelly (c)
So… the already quiet crowd stayed quiet for this babyface match, where Kelly started by taking down Aja in an armbar… but Perera responds with an arm snap as Kelly’s forced into the corner to pull herself together.

Priscilla’s response was to shove her hands down her trunks and offer a test of strength… but Perera’s not squeamish, and eventually she’s taken back down as the champion goes back to the arm, as the match remained fairly even.

Perera tries to mount a comeback with some forearms to the back, before kicking Priscilla down in the corner, but some chops quickly put a stop to that, before a simple hammerlock’s broken by a chinbreaker. Kelly tries to resume offence, but just gets trapped in the ropes for a slap as Aja… didn’t really make the most of that. Another Kelly comeback sees her floor Aja with a PK for a near-fall, before she traps Perera in the ropes for a surfboard there. A dropkick to the back follows, as does a clothesline, before Kelly stops Aja in her tracks with a German suplex… Aja tries yet another comeback, springboarding off the ropes for a Flatliner, but it’s not enough to put away Kelly.

Some headscissors almost planted Kelly awkwardly, as did a German suplex and another Flatliner, but Kelly’s back in swiftly, locking in the Trapped in Sin for the submission. That felt a little weird at the end, but I guess it gets the submission over as an “out of nowhere” finish. **½

After the match the Cutie Pie Club, dressed in Santa gear, because it’s close to Christmas, hit the ring and attack everyone. Aria Blake mocks Aja by wearing her cape, before the trio head to the back.

Yay, Club WWN edits out intermissions!

Kiera Hogan vs. Shotzi Blackheart
Hogan’s got the rest of the Cutie Pie Club with her, and we had a bad pun as the crowd chant “Ho-Ho-Hogan” at her. It gave Blackheart the chance to grab a headlock early as she took the early part of the match.

A distraction from Candy Cartwright helps Hogan get in it though, as she chokes Shotzi in the ropes ahead of some jumping knees and some helping hands from the outside. Eventually Shotzi’s able to slip aside, but she’s quickly sent back into the ropes as Hogan keeps up with some running elbows back into the corner.

Another glimmer of hope comes with a Tarantula by Shotzi, but as soon as she breaks it for the ref’s count she has to deal with interference from Aria on the outside, and we head to some wacky-looking strikes that eventually leave both women laying. More kicks and forearms from Shotzi lead to a running enziguiri, but the momentum continues to swing, with a Fisherman’s suplex almost getting Kiera a win.

An accidental trip from Candy takes out Hogan, and the Cutie Pie Club tries to make amends… they fail, as Shotzi is able to crush Kiera with a back senton off the top for the win. This was good in times, but regular readers of my SHINE reviews will know my feelings on the Cutie Pie Club. **¼

Candy Cartwright blamed everyone but herself for the trip, and she screeches at everyone as Aria and Kiera stayed behind.

Between matches, commentary announces that SHINE 49 will take place in Queens, NY in March – their New York debut after their prior 48 shows took place in Florida.

Brandi Lauren vs. Jessicka Havok
Brandi looked extraordinarily cheery for someone who was facing impending doom, especially if their interactions in the Rumble were anything to go by.

Havok tries to squash Lauren early, taking her into the corners as “Allysin Kay’s Christmas Gift” tried to flatten Brandi with a kick in the corner. Lauren escapes and manages to hit a neckbreaker in the ropes… but Havok’s back on top pretty swiftly, throwing Lauren around the ring with ease.

Brandi’s somehow able to get some sustained offence in, kicking away at Havok, following in with a baseball slide dropkick through the ropes… but a PK on the apron’s caught, as the back-and-forth continues on the outside. Lauren’s doing a half-decent job of stalling things, but Havok overwhelms her when she’s got the chance. Problem was, Havok didn’t have a good hit rate, but she eventually waffles her with some face-washing boots in the corner.

Lauren manages to slip in a reverse DDT, then locks in the Rings of Saturn as she looked for a shock win, but Havok is able to stand up out of it and break the hold with an Air Raid Crash before landing a tombstone for the win. Some nice plucky fight from Lauren, but in the end she had little answer for Havok. **½

After the match Havok announced she was back – and it looks like 2018 might be a year where she re-asserts herself in SHINE.

SHINE tag team championship: Cutie Pie Club (Candy Cartwright & Aria Blake) vs. Las Sicarias (Ivelisse & Mercedes Martinez) (c)
It’s never a good sign when your challenge is laughed at by the crowd. It’s even worse when your big entrance – a backflip in the ropes – goes wrong, arm cast or not!

So yeah, the deal here is that Candy was wrestling with her right arm in a cast… which makes her attempt to tie-up with Mercedes Martinez all the more comical. Candy begs off, but Mercedes just taps her wrist and Candy’s screaming in pain. Uh-huh.

Aria Blake tries her luck with forearms, and that goes pretty badly as she eats a chop before getting hauled up into a stalling suplex. Blake finds herself cornered by Las Sicarias, with Ivelisse tagging in for a double-team neckbreaker, and it remains really one-sided as Blake keeps kicking out… but also keeps on taking that beating.

A sidewalk slam/reverse DDT combo gets a near-fall as you’d be forgiven for thinking that they were trying to turn Blake into a plucky underdog. Except she goes for a rake to the eyes the second Candy has the referee distracted, following in with a Shining Wizard for a surprise two-count… and now Candy wants in. But, but… the arm?

Yeah, the same arm that she screamed in pain at when it was flicked was okay to be used as a way of choking Ivelisse, as there’s more interference from Kiera Hogan at ringside. Blake keeps hold of the advantage as they somehow keep Ivelisse isolated from a tag out, but you know we’re building up to that hot tag, with Ivelisse quicking out often before rolling through a kick attempt and finally making that tag out.

The crowd barely murmurs as Blake takes some double-team offence, but Kiera Hogan’s in for a distraction to tie-up the referee… Candy Cartwright comes in and eventually uses the cast as a weapon after seemingly forgetting why she wandered in, and we’re back to the double-teaming, this time on Martinez.

Blake tries for a monkey flip, but it’s blocked as Mercedes puts her on the top rope for an eventual Ace Crusher off the top. Another tag brings Ivelisse back in to clear house, booting Aria in the chest before a bridging butterfly suplex almost sealed things. Aria responds with a back cracker, before tying Ivelisse up in the Axel Dieter Special… and for some reason Kiera Hogan decides to interfere now?!

The referee’s distracted as Ivelisse stubbornly refuses to even quit behind the ref’s back, and Candy’s still… doing nothing. There’s an awful spot where Ivelisse pushes back to roll-up Aria, and even though the referee is RIGHT THERE LOOKING AT IT he refuses to count so Candy can remember to come in and break it up. Just awful. Blake reapplies the submission, which is quickly broken, so Aria decides to tag out…

…and Candy refuses. She drops off the apron, leaving Blake to take a release German as she just watches Aria take a Cross Rhodes, allowing the champions to retain. This had its moments, but good God, Candy is not improving. Blown spots, forgotten spots, and mind-blowingly obvious covers… at least the rest of WWN is just using her as a manager. *½

After the match, Candy gets the mic and blames Aria for being the reason she’s not a tag champion tonight. But… Candy was the one who refused to tag in? It’s more delusional stuff, as Aria’s kicked out of the club, replacing Blake with the newest member… Dementia D’Rose. That doesn’t really fit with the Mean Girls vibe, but whatever. D’Rose hits Aria with the Weapon of Ass Destruction hip attack, and they leave Aria flat on the mat.

Stormie Lee vs. Rain
Usually seen in the openers, this was Stormie’s first main event under the SHINE banner… and given how little time is left on the VOD, this might just be a squash to re-establish Rain… who was out with Tesha Price as commentary reminds us of the catalogue of injuries that put Rain on the shelf.

Rain flies out of the gate, taking Stormie down with forearms before unloading with some rights on the mat. There be some chops as Lee’s not able to get out of the blocks, with a running Ace crusher nearly putting her away. Lee returns with a fireman’s carry gutbuster as commentary notes that Stormie’s targeting the midsection of Rain – the same body part where she had a blood clot that almost killed her.

Stretches in the ropes and punches to the gut follow, which allow Stormie to catch her in a camel clutch briefly. Even more shots to the gut keep up the pressure there, as does a fireman’s carry which Lee loses her footing on, allowing Rain to hit a back cracker out of nowhere.

Rain makes a comeback with some running elbows in the corner, followed by a heel kick to the head… but Lee counters out of a suplex and nearly scores a wacky pin before spearing Rain right in the gut. There’s no pin as there’s more shots there instead, forcing the referee to pull Stormie off of her… but rather than having another “too much ass kicking” DQ, the ref awards Stormie the win. Huh. This was fine, but I have issues with that finish, if not least in terms of consistency given what we had with D’Rose earlier. **

My only guess is they’re looking to give Rain an obvious Achilles’ heel going into her title match in January… but it could backfire. After all, if Stormie Lee – whose only prior win before this was over (Lady) Chardonnay Darcy – can do it, then surely LuFisto should squash her?

SHINE’s year-end show was alright, but not very enticing to the neutral. Watching this one month removed, I’m not sure how much notice they had of card changes, etc, but the Rumble-plus-random match format hurt things – especially when they never really played up certain aspects of the “random match” making. Still, if you’re a fan of the comically bad, there’s that tag match, I guess!