SHINE made it to their half-century, returning to the Orpheum for a monstrous 11-match show.

We’re back in Ybor City, Florida after SHINE’s recent jaunt to New York – with Trevin Adams and Lenny Leonard present to start us off in front of the usual jaded crowd, with some of the match announcements drawing crickets.

Chelsea Durden vs. Kaci Lennox
Those with a lengthy memory will recall Lennox as being one of the co-hosts when FIP rebooted last year.

Durden almost lost right out of the gate as Lennox went at her with roll-ups, before Durden returned fire with a backbreaker. Snap legdrops followed from Durden, but she’s only able to get a near-fall, so she comes in with a back senton as Lennox was starting to struggle here… and on cue, she comes back with shoulder blocks and elbows, bringing Durden out of the corner with a bulldog. Crickets.

A fisherman’s suplex is avoided as Lennox worked into a Rocker Dropper, and that’s all. Short and pretty basic – about what you’d expect for the experience levels on show, but this barely drew even polite applause, to the point where I wondered if the crowd were alive. *½

Tesha Price vs. Dynamite DiDi vs. Luscious Latasha vs. Leva
You’ll be shocked to learn that Leva’s cosplaying again… I don’t know. Fortnite? Overwatch? I’m old… get off my lawn!

Latasha’s back for her second SHINE card in a row, presumably off the back of her being used in NXT for a one-shot earlier this year. We start with a four-way tie-up that DiDi broke up before breaking into some dancing. Is this wrestling or GLOW? It at least established Tesha and Latasha as the bad guys here, as we broke into the endless chain of roll-ups, which I guess counts as either creative or hackneyed, depending on your mindset.

Price flips off the ropes to avoid a backslide, and lands a neckbreaker on DiDi that Leva broke up… by sliding in. More pinning attempts and break-ups follow, before Leva freezes everyone and sets up for a clothesline? I don’t get it? That’s the problem when you turn wrestling into a meme – it’s playing to an even more limited audience than you have to start with. They ham it up with a stacked-up series of rear chinlocks that Leva breaks up with a jawbreaker, before DiDi scores a leg drop off the middle rope… only for Leva to roll to the floor. She returns to dropkick Price into the other two in the corner, before DiDi landed a TKO… and again Leva rolls to the outside, returning to stomp onto Price, who’d doubled-over for reasons, before a teased Pepsi Plunge was blocked.

Leva goes nuts with Codebreakers, hitting all three women with the move, before the Pedigree puts away Price. This match would have landed in the GLOW-era of wrestling, where Leva probably would have connected more… perhaps this SHINE crowd just wasn’t into their video games? They tried, but this didn’t land with me at all. DUD

Jayme Jameson vs. Amber Nova
This was Jameson’s first appearance in SHINE for over a year, having stepped away for a spell.

Jameson starts with a waistlock, but Nova manages to escape it with headscissors, which Jayme breaks by marching into the corner as her strength advantage was becoming apparent from the off. A crossbody from Nova’s turned into a fallaway slam for a near-fall, before following up with a bear hug and some forearms as the relative rookie Nova was trapped in the corner. Jameson keeps up with a backbreaker, stretching Nova across her knee for good measure, before stuffing an escape attempt as Nova’s ‘rana saw her violently swung into the turnbuckles. The crowd comes to life as they try to back Nova, but Jameson throws her down from a chinlock, before a suplex as countered as Nova slipped behind and locked in a sleeperhold.

Another ‘rana succeeds from Nova, who continued her comeback with dropkicks and a wacky 619 that turned into a submission in the ropes, before Jameson eventually caught a crossbody ahead of a Samoan drop. That wasn’t enough though, as Nova gets up and snatched the win with a small package… well, this was better than the four-way, but again we’re dealing with experience. Some of the power spots from Jameson worked well, but the post-match where she dumped Nova with a swinging Flatliner perhaps indicates that this isn’t a one-and-done match. **

Renee Michelle vs. Jessie Belle Smothers
Jessie had a surprise with her today as Tracy Smothers accompanied her to ringside for her first appearance in SHINE in over a year – with OVW having been her regular home in the meantime.

Tracy gets a bigger introduction than Jessie Belle did, but to be fair I’d have done the same were there any chance of being threatened with that stick… Michelle started out on offence getting some pinning attempts out of a headlock takedown, as the pair kept it basic, before Michelle utilised a lucha-like armdrag before being tripped in the ropes by Tracy Smothers. After that, Jessie charges in with shoulder tackles as she pulled Renee into the Axel Dieter Special… man, that’s a move I’m seeing a lot of these days.

Jessie Belle puts the boots to Michelle, who nearly snatches the win with a roll-up, only for Smothers to put her in the chest as there’s a spot of choking going on – all while Tracy Smothers takes the attention of the Easily Distracted Referee. Some indy’riffic pinning attempts follow back-and-forth out of a sunset flip, before Smothers booted Renee again, taking her into the corner for a hip attack ahead of a couple more near-falls. Michelle tries to mount a comeback, whipping Smothers into the corner for a couple of forearms, ahead of a facebuster and a kick to the head… but it’s nowhere near enough as Smothers comes right back in with a Gory Special… only for Renee to counter with a sunset flip, right as the referee’s distracted again. Michelle spots it and confronts Tracy, but that just gets her attacked from behind as Tracy rolled her up with her feet on the ropes for the win. Eh, basic and exactly what you would have expected – but the crowd largely didn’t care because Jessie Belle isn’t a regular here. **

Dementia D’Rose vs. Jordynne Grace
Billed on commentary as a meeting between two powerful women, we started with D’Rose bulling Gracing into the corner with a tie-up as the pair kept things straightforward early on.

We quickly go into the back-and-forth shoulder tackles, before a Pounce from Grace finally took Dementia off her feet. Grace tried to get D’Rose up for a German suplex, but a butt bump broke that up before a shoulder tackle from Grace gets another one-count. Things turn around when D’Rose uses a leaping hip attack to knock down Jordynne, following up with some leg work, stomping on the thighs of the powerlifter as Grace rolled into the ropes for safety.

A single leg crab followed as D’Rose wore Grace down, but Jordynne’s able to get off a series of suplex, albeit to her detriment as D’Rose popped right back up and laughed it off. Grace tries to charge D’Rose into the corner, before lifting her up for a superplex, instead opting for something more devastating… a muscle buster, and then finally, a press slam! The match ground to a halt as the referee checked on Grace’s knee, but she’s able to continue, throwing D’Rose into the ring post for good measure. Grace manages to get enough steam going to throw herself into D’Rose on the outside with a tope, but a Vader bomb back in the ring comes up short, and we’re back to square one as the two women exchange rights.

An attempt at a running lariat saw Grace run into a uranage backbreaker for a near-fall, before returning fire with a spinebuster as the two were bringing their big hitters. D’Rose rolled to the floor, where the referee joined her… just as Kiera Hogan came out with a chair, and used it right on Grace’s worn-down knee. Somehow Grace was able to get back to her feet, but the knee buckles as she tried lifting D’Rose to the top rope, leaving her prey for a sit-down splash out of the corner and a hip attack for the win. This was fine – D’Rose working over Grace’s knee quickly became the main selling point, but there was something that held this match back. **¾

Grace got back to her feet after the bell and brawled with D’Rose to the back. Meanwhile, Kiera Hogan remained in the ring, and I guess we have the Gabe Sapolsky special…

Kiera Hogan vs. Santana
Run-on match time!

The pair start it off with the basics – with Santana reversing wristlocks and arm wringers, before they stepped up into shoulder tackles, with Santana attempting a roll-up, only for it to be reversed as they exchanged a bunch of early near-falls. Santana gets in the first big strike with Eat Defeat, before rolling into a Muta Lock in a bid to force a submission, but Hogan makes it to the ropes before using a drop toe hold to awkwardly send Santana into the strands.

Hogan keeps up on Santana from there with a boot choke, then a camel clutch-like choke in the ropes, as she followed up with some grounded bodyscissors. A sleeper hold’s thrown in for good measure, but Santana fights back up and scores with a neckbreaker before we went back to the hard right hands, with a cheeky headbutt thrown in for good measure from the former SHINE champ Santana.

Santana keeps up with for forearms, before a boot to Hogan led to a crossbody… but it’s not enough as she’s able to kick out. The handspring back elbow in the corner and a superkick keeps Hogan at bay, but she’s still kicking out, and throwing kicks as a superkick left Santana down for a near-fall. Hogan looked to go for a brainbuster, but that’s countered out of… Kiera’s able to recover with a hair-assisted facebuster, before shoving away a top rope headscissor attempt. Santaga tries again, and nails it, before the Shining Star Press connects for the win. Weirdly one-sided at points… and I say weirdly because commentary put over how Santana has done it all in SHINE – putting her in the awkward role of being there to make up the numbers at times. A pretty good, basic match, but it’ll not lead to much… **¾

Intermission time – Club WWN is doing the old FloSlam thing of not editing out the breaks. So instead, we get… adverts for the service we’re watching this on!

Brandi Lauren vs. Aerial Monroe
I’m not sure why SHINE are hell-bent on using her old name when Brandi’s going by her Impact name Ava Storie just about everywhere else. It sure makes her gear look odd…

Lenny Leonard seemingly choked on himself after calling Aerial Monroe “swoll”, as Leva Bates “hacked the stream” and took over commentary. This is… as bad as you’d think, although I can’t really hate on it too much as Leva put over some fundraising. She quickly lets Lenny back on do his job, as Lauren hotshotted Monroe in the ropes, allowing her to take over with some stomps in the corner.

Lauren ends up taking Monroe outside for a through-the-ropes dropkick, before avoiding a charge as Aerial flew into the ring post. Back inside, Lauren worked over Monroe’s arm in the ropes, before sending her down to the mat with some arm wringers as Lauren seemed to have Monroe’s number. Leva wanders back onto commentary, sounding either tired or bored, as Lauren again snuffs out Aerial’s attempted comeback.

With her good arm, Monroe tries to elbow her way back in, trapping Lauren for some knees and kicks, ahead of a diving forearm that almost got the win. Brandi tries to return fire with a head kick, before having to make do with a cutter that nearly gets the win, before a series of kicks just awakened Monroe, who hits back with a knee trembler for a solid two-count. A spear followed, but Monroe lands awkwardly on her shoulder, and can’t make the cover… allowing Lauren to hit straight back with a Divorce Court to the arm, then some Rings of Saturn, holding on despite Monroe rolling through before eventually submitting. Another decent match, with Lauren’s arm work eventually paying off – she’s racking up those wins as she waits for Allysin Kay to return from injury to continue their little feud. **¾

SHINE Nova Championship: Priscilla Kelly vs. Candy Cartwright (c)
After some time touring in Japan for DDT and Tokyo Joshi Pro, Kelly’s back in SHINE to claim her rematch.

Candy’s got new music, and is flying solo (at least for now as they were banned from ringside), as Kelly seemed to be itching to get the match going. When the bell rang, Kelly laid waste to Cartwright, taking her outside for a nasty dropkick on the floor ahead of some brawling… but things go awry when Kelly charges at Candy in a chair, which was countered with a back body drop that turned into a spinebuster of sorts in the chair.

There’s more brawling around ringside as Candy gets stretched around a supporting column, before a nasty chop from Kelly sparked more brawling… some of which perhaps seemed a little too improvised, as a return to the ring was short-lived, with Cartwright charging Kelly into a ring post, then that supporting column for good measure. More shots follow as that ring was just left unused and unloved, as the pair pilled each other’s hair as they continued their brawl around the venue. Hey, at least we get to see a little more of the Orpheum here!

The crowd counted along as Candy punched Kelly on a sofa, before throwing her off it… so Candy could leap off of a bar with a crossbody to the floor. Of course, it’s not falls count anywhere, so they head into the ring as Candy gets a near-fall. Candy tries to go up top, but she’s press slammed to the mat by Kelly, whose missile dropkick wipes out the referee as Candy had pulled him into harm’s way.

A belt shot follows, but with no referee she orders Dementia D’Rose and Kiera Hogan to ringside. So much for the “any interference equals indefinite suspension” stipulation… but Santana and Jordynne Grace stop them from getting to the ring. So Candy goes for Santana by the hair; Santana replies with a forearm… the referee saw that, and that’s the DQ. Utter, utter garbage. I guess from that they’re going to Santana vs. Candy for the only belt Santana’s not won in SHINE, but man, this match was an unedifying mess. *

SHINE Tag Team Championship: Ruthless Ambition (Maria Manic & Penelope Ford) vs. Las Sicarias (Ivelisse & Mercedes Martinez) (c)
A title match on your second night in, eh? A win here for the champions would mean they’d sail past the one-year mark as champions, since the next SHINE show wouldn’t be until June.

The champions jump their opponents, with Las Sicarias going after Maria Manic in the corner… but Maria shoves away Ivelisse as Mercedes Martinez wrapped Penelope Ford’s legs around that supporting column on the outside. Manic’s able to overcome the pair of them though, hitting slams before Mercedes escaped a slam and shoved Maria into a kick from Ivelisse.

Some ground and pound followed as Martinez kept up on Maria with chops and forearms, before Ivelisse came in with some axe-like kicks to keep Manic on the mat. Ivelisse tries a triangle armbar, but Manic pulls her up… only to be taken down with a ‘rana as a DDT followed for a near-fall. Ivelisse keeps up with a snapmare and a kick to the back before clutching Manic in a rear naked choke, as this was insanely one-sided, even for the “dominant start to a match” trope.

Another snapmare and kick from Martinez keeps Manic on the mat, where some cheeky elbows were thrown in as a submission attempt ends in the ropes. Martinez keeps knocking Penelope Ford off the apron, but finally Manic musters some comeback with elbows in the corner, before a Dragon screw-like takedown out of the corner led to a curb stomp from Martinez. Ivelisse gets the tag in for a delayed springboard clothesline after an Exploder from Martinez… but Penelope breaks it up and gets kicked to the outside again.

Despite that, Manic keeps fighting on, countering a Fisherman’s suplex and catching Martinez in a fireman’s carry, before Ivelisse ran in and was met with a simultaneous fallaway slam… but Manic was in the wrong corner. She manages to get the tag to the heavily-compromised Ford, who cleared house a little before Manic chokeslammed Ivelisse… Manic stays in the ring to dump Martinez with a F5, but it’s barely enough as Ivelisse dove to break up a held-up pin.

Ivelisse follows up with a Downward Spiral on Manic, before exchanging forearms with Ford, ahead of a head kick as Martina pulled her into a surfboard Dragon sleeper in the middle of the ring for a submission. Huh. That was a major, major squash… it certainly looked like a fight, and not one that was necessarily full of co-operation too! Whether this is it for Ford and Manic remains to be seen, but it sure seems odd to bring them in purely to obliterate them in this manner. **½

Street Fight: Stormie Lee vs. Rain
Well, I’m already sold on this, as Stormie Lee came out in “streetfight Ligero” jeans rather than her usual ring gear, as was Rain… who came out with Tesha Price for the hell of it.

We start with ground and pound from both women, before Stormie just headed outside for… reasons. It sure wasn’t to be an aggressor as Rain took the initiative and threw her into the apron, ahead of some chops, before throwing her into the stage… which would have been more effective had we not had a long brawl in the Nova title match!

Rain drags Stormie towards the bar and throws her head-first into a chair – which some fan tried to move – but Stormie aims for Rain’s midsection, and that gets her in control as we continued to brawl around the merch tables. Rain manages to counter with a DDT onto the merch table, but the referee seemingly refused to count as a street fight needs the pin to happen in the ring. Still, the no-DQ nature of the street fight meant that Rain could attack Lee with some DVDs. The discs, not the move.

They headed up onto the bar again, with Rain decking Lee with a neckbreaker onto the bar, and now it’s falls count anywhere as the referee makes a two-count. Okay then! Rain drags Stormie out towards the exit, as they fought on the streets of Ybor City, as Lee drills Rain with right hands on a park bench, all in front of some bemused onlookers. Rain’s whipped into a window – which thankfully didn’t break – before they headed back into the building.

Rain whips Lee with a belt, only to get punched in the gut again as Lee throws Rain into the bar, getting a two-count out of it. They’re back up on the bar as Lee looked to get some payback for earlier, using a chain on Rain’s throat in a camel clutch, but Rain refuses to quit, so Lee grabs a chair and takes the match back to the ring, where some brass knuckles to the gut, then a chair to the midsection left Rain reeling.

More chairshots to the midsection was the tipping point though, as Tesha Price throws in the towel – and that’s the win for Stormie Lee. Well then… entertaining enough as a brawl, but those have a ceiling that is hard to get past. That’s two Stormie Lee matches which have shown that Rain has some proverbial – and much talked about – kryptonite… something that will hamper her long term. **½

SHINE Championship: Kimber Lee vs. LuFisto (c)
Having issued the challenge over WrestleMania weekend, Kimber Lee’s back in SHINE for the first time in two years, having last appeared at SHINE 34, on the winning side of a trios match.

From the opening handshake, LuFisto took Kimber Lee down with a waistlock, as the match began on the ground, with Kimber looking for an armbar… only for the champion to counter out with a leg grapevine and some hair-pulling for the hell of it. More waistlock exchanges followed as the pair jockeyed for position – at which point I screamed at the two guys in the front row who just got up and left during the main event. Were ten more minutes going to kill you?!

Lee mounts a comeback with armdrags, but LuFisto’s even to them as we burst in with pinning attempts as they reached stalemate. The referee’s forced to separate the pair in the corner, as Kimber Lee came out hot with a dropkick before being pulled into a splits… and hitting it again for a jawbreaker as Kimber Lee kept her on the mat for… an Axel Dieter Special. I’m not going to say it. Kimber keeps up with a snap suplex for a near-fall, before LuFisto capitalised on a missed charge in the corner to pull down the challenger by her hair, ahead of some dropkicks in the ropes. It’s all LuFisto from here on as she grounds Kimber Lee, working into a camel clutch (two matches in a row, who’s co-ordinating these things?!), before letting go so she could inflict more damage.

Some chops from Kimber Lee offered some hope, but LuFisto rakes the eyes ahead of some running knees… only for Kimber to fight back some more, as the pair ran into each other with forearms at the same time, leading to the pair falling to the mat. They both get back to their feet as Kimber Lee is resurgent with kicks and a big boot for a near-fall, as the challenger really had the champion on the back foot.

Just as I say that, LuFisto pulled up Lee into a package DDT for a near-fall, before Kimber’s kicks earned her a near-fall as LuFisto was barely hanging onto her title… Kimber took too long in following up off the top rope as she’s awkwardly dragged down to the mat, before rebounding with a German suplex! Another German suplex follows, prompting LuFisto to crawl into the corner, where she grabs her title belt… a Burning Hammer is teased, but Kimber Lee slips out and tries to win with the Alligator clutch, only for LuFisto to kick out, then hit Kimber with the belt for the obvious DQ. That’s both singles title matches ending in unedifying DQs, but at least this was at least a good match before the cheap finish. **¾

The lights go out pretty much instantly after LuFisto got to her feet as creepy music plays… they come back up and Su Yung is on the apron! Hey, just over a year ago we were meant to have Yung/LuFisto in a “red wedding” match over WrestleMania weekend, but that got cancelled for reasons that never came to light. It looks like things have been ironed out and we’re back to that match – although I’d sincerely hope they don’t just rush to that match at SHINE 51 and at least give us something to bridge the year-long gap!

For a monumental, half-century show, SHINE 50 was a massive disappointment. We’ve said it before, but there is simply not the depth among the folks that SHINE use to have a quality show. An eleven-match card today was just too long, and in spite of it leading to some shorter matches, SHINE would perhaps be best served partnering up with other promotions to develop talent. That being said – a lot of SHINE’s issues could be masked if they had clear, longer-term storylines. Right now the only one that’s being built to is Allysin Kay/Brandi Lauren, while the rest of the storylines seem to be show-to-show deals – something that could well have been caused by events in the past where wrestlers (such as Su Yung) have been unbooked at the drop of a hat.