The Ninja We Love to Hate: Being a Fan of Portia Perez

A strong wrestling promotion thrives not only on great in-ring action, but just as much on story progression and compelling heroes (faces) and villains (heels). Shimmer has always excelled in all of these respects, and in particular has featured some amazing heels that rile the crowd up to perfection. Without question, the best heel in Shimmer history is… Sweet Saraya Knight. But right behind her is Portia Perez, an incredible Shimmer mainstay who unexpectedly announced her retirement due to injury during the October 2015 tapings.

Portia’s been an integral part of Shimmer since close to the beginning, making her main show debut on volume 7. She came in as a plucky underdog babyface and teamed with Serena Deeb. It didn’t take long to abandon that approach, as in her very next match (on volume 9 against Josie) she was showing flashes of the charisma she’d become known for, infuriating fans, and using a chain behind the ref’s back to win. Despite her small size, youthful appearance, and less than impressive win-loss record early on, Portia’s natural ability to turn the crowd against her always made a win over her mean something for her opponent.

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While Portia was an accomplished singles competitor, she will perhaps best be remembered for her partnership with Nicole Matthews. The Canadian Ninjas are the benchmark against which all other tag teams in Shimmer are measured. They complimented and played off each other perfectly, and are currently the only two time tag team champions (as a unit) in Shimmer history. The Ninja’s greatest rivals were likely 3G (Kellie Skater and Tomoka Nakagawa), and the wars between the four of them were a sight to behold. My personal favorite of the Ninjas’ matches was an amazing contest against Ray and Leon, which I was lucky enough to get to see live.

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Portia’s individual talent for getting under people’s skin of course extended to her opponents, and she had a number of heated feuds over the years. These included taking issue with Serena Deeb returning from her time in the WWE, and making the rather huge mistakes of angering, and then mocking, Jessica Havok. Both were intense stories with logical issues and Portia fanned the flames expertly until the fans were dying for her opponent to get their hands on her (which they eventually did of course).

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The remains of Portia are somewhere under that pile.

But the longest and perhaps most memorable of Portia’s feuds was against Allison Danger, “highlighted” by Portia repeated attacking Danger’s previously injured collarbone, a Last Woman Standing match, and Portia threatening a pregnant Danger during an in-ring interview. Tension was kept up during Danger’s retirement role as a Shimmer authority figure and the feud was revisited a bit for Portia’s farewell.

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Portia announced her retirement on Saturday of Shimmer’s 10th Anniversary weekend, staying full heel and blaming the fans. Danger came out, pointed out that she had the ability to decide what Portia’s last match would be, and set up an eight-woman tag for the main event of Sunday’s tapings. It was a fun affair, serving both as a farewell to Portia and a celebration of Shimmer’s anniversary, with surprise appearances by the retired participants of Shimmer’s first main event (Dazee Haze and Lacey), as well as the involvement of Ninja rivals 3G (with the retired Nakagawa returning to second her former teammate).

After a fitting end that saw Portia’s attempt at cheating backfire to cost her the match, she had an (intentionally) awkward exchange with Danger and then Portia gave a retirement speech consisting of “I hate you all. Now I’m leaving.” It was fitting, if a tad disappointing. I personally wish she had let the kayfabe up a little here for her goodbye, but I understand the desire to perform to the bitter end and it was of course her choice. She went out of Shimmer as she spent her career – the consummate agitator.

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“You know this is awkward, right?”

Portia’s contributions to Shimmer did not stop in the ring. Starting around volume 36 she joined Dave Prazak during matches to provide color commentary, and the two became my favorite pair in short order. Their chemistry and banter is pitch perfect, and Portia knows the exact amount to scale back her character so her jibes at the faces never take away from the match or angle she’s trying to get over. While she’ll be missed in the ring, it’s my hope that she’ll continue to be involved in commentary and lend her unique and wonderful skills to enhancing the Shimmer product for a long time to come.

But either way always remember: Portia Hates Us.

Arcade Block October 2015 Review

October 2015’s Arcade Block is here, as always in its awesome retro NES style box.

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The advertised exclusive for this month was a physical version of Retro City Rampage, complete with SNES style box. A code for the downloadable version is also included. Fun old-school style game and a great inclusion. Another nod to the retro crowd is a fantastic baseball cap with the Atari logo and a breakout background.

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The toys this month are a fun pair. Never played Fallout but it’s instantly identifiable an I like the mini-figure I pulled from the blind box. We also get a Titanfall K’Nex set, which is aweseme.

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The T-Shirt this month is a striking Call of Duty Black Ops III design from ShirtPunch.

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Conclusion

More great variety and value from Arcade Block. This is easily my favorite mystery box subscription of all I’ve seen/tried.

Impressive Heights Achieved

I recently attended the opening of a wonderful art exhibition called Figure in the Sky at Space 776 in Brooklyn. I found out about it via a friend of mine named Cora Kobischka who has some pieces showing, and I’m very happy she pointed it out.

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Postcard advertising the show.

Figure in the Sky features work from five artists and makes great use of the available space to highlight the works. The larger of the two rooms is somewhat bisected by a hanging cloth piece that breaks up the room, and the back wall is a window through which the other room (which is an exhibit in itself) can be seen. The setup makes the space seem bigger than it is and allows a lot of art to be shown without feeling cramped.

I enjoyed the entire exhibit a lot, particularly a couple of neat pieces by Takuya Hayaki that had fascinating use of color and texture. But I’ve always loved the use of shadow and monochrome in art, so the highlight for me were a series of pieces by Cora portraying various imagery in blacks and grays within the outline of egg shapes. They can be seen here, but are really best appreciated in person.

Near the entry is a captivating related exhibit in some sense created by visitors trying to toss monochrome painted eggshells (some filled with glitter) into a small opening in a clear wall mounted case. The remnants of the attempts, the debris that made it into the case, and the couple of shells simply pushed through the opening all combine to what I found to be an extremely intriguing illustration of the potential for beauty in chaos and destruction. Of course being at the premiere meant I was a witness to and participant in said chaos and destruction, which was fun too. 😉

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I adore art that gives as much to think about as it does to look at, and I found a lot of it at Figure in the Sky. The exhibit is open until November 9, 2015, and I highly suggest checking it out if you get a chance.

 

 

Nerd Block October 2015 Review

This month’s Nerd Block items were identified as “Tricks” and “Treats,” with three of each.

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The “Treats” consisted of a Bob’s Burgers Mad Libs, an exclusive Moe the Bartender coaster, and a Jem and the Holograms comic (Annual #1) with an exclusive Nerd Block cover. I live in a bubble so have never heard of Bob’s Burgers, but Mad Libs are always amusing. The Jem comic features a series of short stories with the cast interjected into various other famous properties, and was cute for what it was. The Moe coaster seems sturdy enough to actually use for its intended purpose (ie its not cardboard or paper) and I sure I know a Simpsons fan or a hundred who’ll love it.

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The “Tricks” featured monsters of all kinds. The exclusive Ripley and Big Chap Xenomorph Vinyl 2-pack seems of good quality and looks good (through the box, which I won’t be opening). Zombie Hunter Dog Tags are another decent inclusion and the type of collectible I expect from these kinds of boxes.  IMG_4164

Finally we have the monthly t-shirt, a Peltzer’s Pets design featuring Gizmo that changes to a Gremlin via glow in the dark. Cool idea.

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Conclusion

I have to admit Nerd Block’s been an odd experience for me. The variety of both properties and products is great, and the items all seem of good quality. But they just aren’t appealing to my particular tastes, and I will likely be giving everything here away. NB’s Arcade Block offering is FAR more suited to me. I’m not disappointed with having tried Nerd Block classic, but personally I can’t see anyway I’d renew my subscription after my next and last block.

Shimmer Weekend October 2015: Day 2 Live Thoughts

October 11, 2015 in Berwyn, IL

Day 2 of Shimmer’s 10th Anniversary weekend was Sunday October 11 and it continued right where Saturday left off, providing more surprises, fun, and great wrestling. Before any action the Canadian Ninjas came out and hilariously surveyed the crowd for potential partners for Portia’s last match. Later an amusing series of vignettes was played showing some of the efforts of both captains gathering members. The full teams were kept secret until the match though.

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Godzilla wins!

The compressed schedule on Sat forced one match to be skipped for time, so the tapings started with the delayed match being taped for volume 77. It was Thunderkitty vs Hiroyo Matsumoto. A lighter match with comedic overtones that still had solid action. Kitty tried to claim Hiroyo’s Godzilla mask, which didn’t end to well for Granite Cheesecake (ugh) as the Lady Destroyer (much better) lived up to her nickname and won with the backdrop driver.

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MATSUMOTO! HIROYO! DESTROY!

Volume 78 proper got underway with a spotlight on two newer talents in Solo Darling vs Amanda Rodriguez, followed by a couple of emphatic wins for mainstays Lufisto and Allysin Kay (over Veda Scott and Shazza McKenzie, respectively). The matches were fine and featured interesting style pairings.

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Leva Bates was back in full cosplay for her match with Rhia O’Reilly, portraying Batman’s most enigmatic foe. She posed several riddles throughout the match, including an amusing spot where Rhia was tied up in a submission hold and thought the answer to “What has hands but can’t clap?” was “me!” This was a bit long for what it was, and Leva needed to be louder on the riddles and answers to make it work to its full potential. Still, it was a cute idea for a comedic match and was fun overall.

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The finals of the tag tourney to name number one contenders was excellent, with Slap Happy (Evie and Heidi Lovelace) overcoming Vanessa Kraven and Tessa Blanchard to earn a shot at the Kimber Bombs once Cherry’s healthy. On top of the great in ring action, Kraven’s knowing indulgence of Tessa’s posturing and bossiness is pitch perfect and highly entertaining. The slowly building tension and eventual feud should be a joy to watch unfold. Slap Happy (how I love the team but hate the name) vs the Bombs will be great too.

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Speaking of the Bombs, Kimber Lee had the unenviable task of facing Jessica Havok. Another strong showing for Lee, and Havok is just perfect in her role. Hard hitting matched expected from these two, along with the also expected light comedy from both Kimber and Cherry (on the outside). Havok terrifies Cherry from ringside and, left without distractions, finishes Kimber with a chokeslam.

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Kimber’s quite happy… before her opponent is announced.

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Cherry’s making a poor decision.

Newcomers Liberty and Kellyanne English both looked great facing Courtney Rush and Kay Lee Ray, respectively. English in particular made quite an impression on the Shimmer faithful over the weekend. And allow me to once again profess my adoration for Rush’s new gimmick and the work she did with it. Fantastic reinvention of herself and there’s tons of potential there.

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Nicole Matthews and Mia Yim had a great contest that was matched in intensity by the crowd’s heckling of Matthews. She hit the roof over “Where’s your title?” and “Former champ” chants and Mia played along and egged her on exquisitely.

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Continuing the angle from 76-77 of Yumi Ohka’s heel turn and abuse of Makoto, Ohka came out with new ally Cheerleader Melissa to face Makoto and Hiroyo Matsumoto. Yumi was clearing having a blast with her new character: copious use of the whip she brought to the ring, taunting, booing the fans on her way out, etc. She and Melissa make a phenomenal team.

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The reffing was frustrating (do not STARE at the heels when they’re cheating, and give some sort or reason for not DQing them when/if they grab you!!!), but a very good match otherwise which firmly established Ohka and Melissa as a dominate, reviled tag team. Makoto took her second Kudo Driver of the weekend (!) to end this one, and again looked strong despite the losses given the level of her opponents and partner.

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In the semi-main spot Sonoko Kato faced Kellie Skater. This was as good as would be expected from two top tier athletes. Lots of back and forth momentum swings and Skater gets a huge win to keep her near the top of the contenders list.

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Madison Eagles’ first Shimmer title defense was the main event of volume 78. Nicole Savoy has been incredible in her Shimmer appearances, and her two big victories on Sat leading to a title shot here was a wonderful way to capitalize on her momentum.

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The match was fantastic, highlighting Savoy’s potential and ability to hang with the very best. Besides the expected brutal strike exchanges, the grappling was excellent, and really felt like both combatants were constantly trying to gain/press the advantage and win the match. I found parts extremely reminiscent of Timothy Thatcher vs Zach Sabre Jr from Evolve 47, another fantastic match. This was definitely one of the weekend’s highlights.

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After intermission volume 79 opened with Shimmer’s throwback wrestler facing another old style character in Charlie Chaplin. Leva’s costume and act were spot on and Thunderkitty’s swooning was highly amusing. This was kept short and sweet and started the volume off well.

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A couple of establishing victories followed, as Kraven continued to be built up as a singles threat with a win over Lufisto and Makoto got the first win of her debut weekend against Marti Belle. Marti’s temper tantrum over Makoto’s streamers was an added bonus.

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Chokebomb for the win.

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“I SAID NO STREAMERS!”

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Victory!

Some decent matches with foregone conclusions were next as new wrestlers and teams faced more established stars. Jessica Havok beat Sammi Baynz, Yumi Ohka and Cheerleader Melissa continued their partnership and defeated KC Spinelli and Xandra Bale, and Kay Lee Ray defeated Liberty. Good weekend for all of the newcomers overall.

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The next four-way match was kind of crazy. The crowd had been on Andy Long’s back all weekend as usual, and it was getting worse thanks to some particularly poor officiating in tag matches. Veda Scott had been riling people up by complaining that us booing her made her heart hurt. During the intros here Veda expertly exploited both things, giving Andy a hug during boos and generating an insane level of heat. The fired up crowd was now fully invested, and kept up the boos as Allysin Kay was introduced and managed to get even louder with cheers for Shazza McKenzie and Mia Yim. They made the most of the atmosphere and the match was a blast. The crowd remained super-hot for the rest of the day.

Kellyanne English continued her impressive debut weekend in a competitive loss to Heidi Lovelace. Then in a brutal match that ranged all over the arena (someone really has to come up with something better than “ref’s discretion” to explain why they start counting people out and then stop for 10 minutes before continuing to count whereever they left off), Crazy Mary Dobson scored the upset of the weekend over Saraya Knight. I predict severe fallout from that.

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Four matches and four international superstars as opponents for Nicole Savoy makes me VERY happy. For volume 79 she faced her second Joshi opponent for the weekend in Sonoko Kato. As with both athletes other matches this was excellent. I’m amazed at the skill and poise Savoy has at this early point in her career. Having Kato in Shimmer was a great treat and I really hope she returns.

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Rhia O’Reilly tried, but her semi-main appearance ended up as just another victim of Godzilla’s path of destruction.

Main event time and Shimmer’s last match for Portia Perez. Danger (as non-wrestling captain of the opposing team) brought out Madison Eagles and Lexie Fyfe to start her team. The first shock of the match was next as Kellie Skater came out… accompanied by recently retired 3G partner Tomoka Nakagawa !!! Nice! 🙂 Tomoka was in street clothes and serving as a second for the team. Another surprise as the final member of Danger’s team was Tomoka’s other tag team champion partner and one half of the very first Shimmer’s main event, Daizee Haze (who has been retired / on hiatus for quite a while)!

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The Ninjas had a counter surprise in the form of the other half of Shimmer’s first main event (and also long retired) Lacey! Tag champion Kimber Lee rounded out Portia’s team, with Cherry Bomb seconding them. This was a fun spectacle, focusing more on antics and personalities than all out action (and rightfully so given Portia’s condition and the number of regularly inactive wrestlers involved). Portia appeared to sneak a win with illegal leverage, but the refs restarted the match and Daizee rolled Portia up for the win in a fitting finale for one of Shimmer’s best heels.

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Portia and Danger exchanged awkward stares and words after the match, and then Portia gave a retirement speech consisting of “I hate you all. Now I’m leaving.” It was fitting, if disappointing. I understand the desire to kayfabe to the bitter end and it’s her choice, but I personally wish she had let it up a bit during the Q&A on sat and here for her goodbye.

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“You know this is awkward, right?”

As usual I had a wonderful time at Shimmer, and the weekend was a fantastic celebration of its 10th anniversary. Here’s to ten more years! 🙂

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Pic with (most of) the Joshi contingent for the weekend.

Shimmer Weekend October 2015: Day 1 Live Thoughts

October 10, 2015 in Berwyn, IL

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This October’s Shimmer weekend was an even bigger deal than usual, as it fell on Shimmer’s 10th Anniversary. It’s been a great ten years and volumes 76-79 were a wonderful celebration of that, presenting numerous surprises, special events, and of course phenomenal wrestling.

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Saturday started with volume 76 and a battle royal to determine the number one contender to Nicole Matthews’ Shimmer title. This is only the second battle royal in Shimmer and a nice treat to open the weekend. Top contender Madison Eagles had a strong showing, but was sabotaged by the champion and her partner Portia Perez (a lot more on her to come). Cheerleader Melissa looked to have won, but Candice LeRae returned from the outside (she had gone through the middle ropes, not over the top) for the surprise win. Great use of the format to tell several stories and vault someone new into title contention.

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Sonoko Kato had a great debut weekend and left a strong impression.

The Joshi contingent this time consisted of two returns and two debuts. Though new to Shimmer, Sonoko Kato is a twenty year veteran and it was wonderful to see her come to the US. For volume 76 she faced the always game Kimber Lee in a fun match that saw Kato jawing with Cherry Bomb on the outside in addition to the excellent in ring action. Was nice to see Cherry, who was recovering from surgery for a collarbone injury just two weeks prior. She was in good spirits and served as a manager for her tag team champion partner throughout the weekend.

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Glad to get to see Cherry Bomb and that her recovery is going well.

I adore Courtney Rush’s new look and gimmick. She never really connected for me previously, but her total commitment to the vicious, crazy edge of her new character is absolutely captivating. She had a good match with Shazza McKenzie to establish it.

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Welcome to crazytown.

Portia Perez came out for an interview and announced her retirement due to needing neck surgery. It was a bit odd as she never broke out of her heel character and at first I thought it was part angle. Danger came out and set up an eight-woman tag as Portia’s final match to main event volume 79.

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Kellyanne English had an impressive little match with Mia Yim in Kellyanne’s debut match. She looked great all weekend and would be a wonderful regular addition to the roster.

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Another debut saw Makoto facing a fellow Joshi talent in the returning Yumi Ohka. Makoto looked good in the somewhat overmatched underdog role before falling to the dominant Ohka, who was really going after the younger talent and showing a bit of a vicious streak.

Hiroyo Matsumoto returned to singles action in Shimmer after being out with injury to face up and comer Nicole Savoy in the first dream match for me of the weekend. Fantastic contest that skyrocketed Savoy up the card when she achieved a rare pinfall on the Lady Destroyer.

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The rest of the undercard was as impressive as the matches I’ve spotlighted, featuring great wrestlers and interesting matchups: Lufisto vs Taylor Made, Cheerleader Melissa vs Crazy Mary Dobson, and Kellie Skater vs Kay Lee Ray. A mini-tournament to determine number one contenders to the tag team titles (which weren’t being defended due to Cherry’s injury) was also started with Slap Happy (Heidi Lovelace and Evie) vs Saraya Knight and Rhia O-Reilly.

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LeRae made good use of the main event opportunity resulting from the earlier battle royal, looking great despite a losing effort against Matthews. A post match attack by the Ninjas lead to Eagles making the save and a big pull apart brawl. Matthews vs Eagles for the championship was set for volume 77’s main event.

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Due to scheduling issues saturday’s tapings began and ended early, so there was no intermission between volumes. Interesting start for volume 77, as wrestlers who didn’t appear outside of the battle royal on 76 made up 5 of the 6 competitors in the first three matches. Shows the depth of talent assembled for the weekend. Veda Scott vs KC Spinelli, Saraya Knight vs Xandra Bale, and Liberty vs Sami Baynz (both debuting) were all decent contests telling different stories, and built things up a bit for some mayhem in the way of a fun six-woman match with Kay Lee Ray, Allysin Kay, Candice LeRae, Kellie Skater, Marti Belle and Sonoko Kato.

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Courtney Rush continued her winning ways, but she didn’t intimidate Crazy Mary Dobson much. Kimber Lee snuck out a victory against one half of her potential future tag team challengers in Heidi Lovelace after Cherry faked aggravating her injury to distract the ref. Slap Happy’s opponents for the next day in the mini-tag tourney were set as Vanessa Kraven and Tessa Blanchard defeated the Lucha Sisters (Mia Yim and Leva Bates). Tessa’s posturing and Kraven’s reactions were great. It’s going to be glorious when Kraven eventually gets sick of Tessa and squashes her like a bug.

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In another dream match for me Jessica Havok faced Yumi Ohka. It was a great, hard-hitting affair. Ohka showed some edge again and frequently bent the rules trying to get an advantage over the larger Havok. Jessica eventually caught her in the chokeslam for a big victory.

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Makoto faced more tough competition in the form of Cheerleader Melissa. She had a good showing but again fell prey to the onslaught of a relentless, more experienced foe. Melissa broke out a rare Kudo Driver to get the victory though. Given the level of her opponents Makoto looked strong despite these defeats. Melissa attacks her after the match and Ohka comes out to “save,” but instead completes her heel turn and helps Melissa destroy Makoto. They leave together in an apparent new alliance.

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Kudo Driver. And that’s it.

In the semi-main spot Nicole Savoy picked up another huge win over Evie in a fantastic back and forth match. Savoy is so “on” right now it’s almost scary and displays instincts far beyond her experience. It was wonderful seeing what she could do over the course of the weekend against high level, veteran opponents. Evie herself is also incredible and I’d love to see these two wrestle again.

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The main event had been building for quite a while, as layers for the feud between Eagles and Matthews were being established even before Matthews threw a fireball into Eagles face to win the title. Given their history this Shimmer Title match was no-DQ. This was the appropriate war we all wanted, and they threw everything they could at each other (including Kay Lee Ray at one point). Eagles defeated Matthews with a Hellbound to a chair to become two-time Shimmer Champion and provide the perfect finish to the first day of tapings for 10th Anniversary weekend.

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After the tapings was a special Fanfest and Q&A held nearby the venue. It was quite nice as there was more time (and space) to meet the wrestlers and get merchandise and pictures. The Q&A would have been a bit smoother with some prepared questions, but it was fun and interesting overall.

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Was great to meet and get a chance to chat with Nicole Savoy. She just keeps getting better and better and is definitely one to watch going forward.

A suitable celebration of the 10th Anniversary of a phenomenal wrestling promotion. And that’s only day 1. 🙂

Day 2 thoughts to follow.

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Photo op with Lady Destroyer Hiroyo Matsumoto, while wearing a shirt of hers designed by a friend of mine.

Burnt to Perfection

This past Sunday I attended Food Network’s NYC Wine and Food Fest, an incredible celebration of delicious food and beverage featuring endless tasting booths of the highest quality ingredients (I’m still drooling over the lobster roll and kobe beef samples) and masterful live cooking demonstrations by professional and famous chefs.

It was during one of the latter that the unexpected highlight of the day happened for me. At the beginning of Andrew Zimmern’s demo (featuring an interesting fusion dish and a wonderful discussion of Mexican food), two seat numbers were chosen at random for a couple of amazing prizes. I sadly did not win the trip to Mexico, but tickets to the premiere of the new movie Burnt starring Bradley Cooper did just fine. 😉

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The screening was at MoMA, and was definitely a bit of a surreal experience. The theater was downstairs off of an entrance a couple doors down from the main museum one and looked to hold about 300 people. There were tons of photographers both at the door and inside around an area set up set up in a hallway for pictures/interviews as the stars entered. Ticket holders were directed behind it and downstairs to the theater. Most of the cast was in attendance and was introduced by the director before the show.

The movie itself was fantastic. I adore glimpses into the cooking world, and Burnt is a love letter to that world, celebrating the drive and skill that goes into the art at its highest level without shying away from the problems and pitfalls that come with wanting to be the very best. The story of Cooper as a disgraced chef making a comeback to earn his third Michelin Star unfolds wonderfully and is anchored by a myriad of amazing performances and cinematography that draws the viewer right into their world. The director stressed that they had researched and trained extensively with chefs of the highest caliber and that all the actors did their own cooking. It really shows, adding an impressive feeling of authenticity and making the movie even more compelling.

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A movie about the attempted comeback of a down and out chef won’t appeal to everyone, but I loved Burnt and highly recommend sharing Cooper’s journey when the movie comes out next week. Huge thanks to NYCWFF for the unique opportunity to attend the premiere.

Shimmer: Looking Back on 10 Years of Awesome – Part 3

 As 10th Anniversary weekend draws (very) near I’m finishing up my look back at great matches over the course of Shimmer’s history.

As a reminder, this is NOT a top 10 matches of Shimmer list, but rather a look at chosen matches I feel gives a good representation of both the quality and variety Shimmer has to offer.  Part 1 featured multi-woman matches, and Part 2 focused on Tag Team encounters.

Singles Matches

In this last part I’m looking at variations on perhaps the purest form of pro-wrestling: one wrestler against another to see who’s better.

Honorable Mention

It’s impossible to list everything, and there are plenty of worthy matches I’ve left out, but one in particular I wanted to spotlight is Tomoka Nakagawa vs Saraya Knight from Volume 63. The heat Saraya generated with her promo and disdain for Tomoka combined with the crowd’s love for the latter made this one of the hottest, most intense matches I’ve ever seen. It was absolutely electric live and that energy comes across nearly as well rewatching on DVD.

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Falls Count Anywhere: Cheerleader Melissa vs MsChif – Volume 4

Melissa and MsChif had a intense match on Shimmer’s first volume that saw MsChif victorious with the Desecrator. Melissa wasn’t satisfied and cost MsChif a match against Lexie Fyfe on volume 3. This rematch is under Falls Count Anywhere rules. MsChif puts the ref in his place before the bell: “This is no DQ, you got it?! You don’t need to check me for anything!” Great background context on commentary about how Melissa is the world traveled veteran with a reputation to protect and was embarrassed by the upset loss to MsChif on volume 1.

Heated exchange of strikes to start. The animosity is palpable, always nice to see for feuds like this. Both trying to be aggressive without allowing the other any openings. I really like the fact that this starts in the ring with Melissa and MsChif trying to outdo and wear down each other before escalating into the outside of the ring stuff. Back and forth submission holds, including the usual mind-boggling display of MsChif being bent in ways the body’s really not meant to go. More great, informative commentary as Dave explains the Falls Count Anywhere stipulation arose from so much of their original match taking place outside of the ring which really pushed Shimmer’s ten count.

Melissa begins to target the leg with holds and strikes, including a vicious looking surfboard variation in the turnbuckles. Nice spot to reenforce the stipulation and remind the audience that the ropes don’t preclude a submission/pin here. MsChif with a couple of quick roll-ups, but Melissa gets her down and fights her way into hitting the curbstomp. MsChif fights off the inverted cloverleaf for the fourth time this match and sends Melissa to the outside. She tries to shake off some of the damage done to her back and leg and follows, dispensing with any restraint and just biting Melissa on the forehead.

Melissa rolls into the front row and the crowd rightfully run for their lives as MsChif follows. She chokes Melissa over the back of a chair as the ref checks for a submission. Melissa grabs MsChif’s hair to break and starts slamming her with and into the surrounding chairs. They head towards the exit and the stip is coming into full play as Melissa bounces MsChif off the walls and covers for two. MsChif is busted open in one of the very few instances of blood in Shimmer. They proceed outside and a slam on the concrete gets two for Melissa. MsChif’s being established as one of the most resilient wrestlers alive here. MsChif gets some shots in as well as the crowd surrounds them outside then it’s back into the Eagles Club.

MsChif tosses Melissa down the entrance steps and covers for two. Prazak and Danger appropriately  treat MsChif’s bleeding like a big deal and wonder about the effect of the blood loss as time passes. Whip into the chairs and MsChif’s in full control as she goes for another chair assisted submission hold. She switched into multiple covers to make Melissa expend energy. Back and forth pinfall attempts throughout the crowd. Melissa goes under the stage and removes a wheeled platform. Hard slam onto it, then she slides it back under the stage and sits in front of the flap to trap MsChif. As Prazak points out she can’t beat MsChif this way, but Melissa is very pleased with herself regardless. The struggle stops and a confused Melissa crawls under the stage to investigate, only to have MsChif come out from another section drag the platform back out with Melissa on it.

Melissa escapes and grabs a chair. Swing and a miss and MsChif goes for the green mist, but Melissa blocks that with the chair (great spot). Melissa abandons the chair and they trade strikes. Melissa escapes a Desecrator attempt and retrieves the wheeled platform. She slams MsChif onto it and then send a seated MsChif rolling right into/under the ring apron. They’re making such great use of the stipulation’s potential and presenting an incredible amount of unique spots. MsChif rolls all the way under the ring to the other side and hits the guardrail. Melissa kicks away on her groggy opponent and takes things back into the ring. MsChif gets a choke and again reenforces the stip by yelling at the ref to count Melissa’s shoulders down. Gets a couple of two counts on that. Back outside and Melissa trying to crawl away, but MsChif slams her into the ringsteps.

Melissa sent into the guardrail as they head towards the back. Melissa veers of to the side, places MsChif on a stack of tables, and gets a chair. MsChif fighting back, but Melissa knocks her in the head with the chair to end the strike exchange. Inverted cloverleaf finally locked in. Melissa takes it up a notch by placing the chair over MsChif’s head then making her kick herself in the head (through the chair). MsChif forced to tap. Another innovating spot providing a fantastic finish to an equally impressive match. This set an extremely high bar going forward and remains one of Shimmer’s best matches to this day.

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Sara Stock vs Sara Del Rey 2 of 3 – Volume 16

Rematch of Del Rey’s victory in the Shimmer title tournament. Stock brings a unique style to Shimmer and is incredibly quick and fluid in the ring. Prazak sets the stage highlighting the history of these two, the tradition of the 2 out of 3 falls match in Mexico, and the time both wrestlers spent living and wrestling there. “Lets go Sara” chant from the clever crowd.

Mat wrestling to start and Prazak and Danger add more context reminding viewers that Del Rey was not able to hit the slam portion of the Royal Butterfly on Stock in their previous match and needed to pull out a new finisher the piledriver to defeat her, as well as that Stock has defeated top competition in Haze and MsChif with her Tiger Driver. The commentary is perfect throughout, talking about strategies for this match format, strengths of the individual wrestlers, and of course the action as it’s happening.

Stock and Del Rey are putting on an amazing display of technical grappling and counters to open, drawing applause from the crowd as they wrestle to numerous stalemates. The pace quickens and Stock pulls ahead a bit with a flying arm drag, headscissors, and a bulldog, but Del Rey surprises her with a wheelbarrow suplex to earn the first fall. In a great touch, Stock continues to sell having the wind knocked out of her after the fall and rolls to the outside to recover. Little things like that add a lot to the believability of the pinfall and the maneuver that caused it.

Del Rey comes out aggressively to start the second fall, having the comfort of being up one. She maintains the advantage and just beats on Stock for a while, cutting off Stock with vicious kicks any time the challenger tries to increase the pace. Stock’s timing on providing a bit of hope by trying some punches, hitting a takedown, etc is just perfect, as is Del Rey’s precision in cutting those attempts off. Effectively all Del Rey though in this second fall so far. Stock eventually avoids a charge and is able to start stringing offense together, using quick strikes to counter Del Rey’s size and power advantage. Del Rey takes back over with a body block though and resumes Stock’s beat down. Enzuigiri turns the tide again, then Stock hits a big cross body followed by a modified sunset flip pinning combination to score the second fall and even things up. This was only Del Rey’s second pinfall loss in Shimmer, and a great way to further build up Stock. Prazak and Danger appropriately emphasize this on commentary, stressing what a big deal it is and wondering how it might get into Del Rey’s head going into the third and deciding fall.

Del Rey upset and charges Stock with running boots, but the third is caught and Stock fires away with chops. They exchange rollup variations and then Del Rey attempts the Royal Butterfly, but Stock with a great reversal into a cross armbreaker. Del Rey shows incredible power and lifts Stock in what looks like a powerbomb counter attempt, but Stock goes up and over for another sunset flip for a nearfall. She follows with an inside cradle for another close count, then attempts the Tiger Driver. Del Rey counters with a back body drop attempt, which Stock tries to convert into another sunset flip, but Del Rey blocks this one by dropping down into a sitdown splash. After two Stock hits the pinning part of the sunset flip anyway for two, then Del Rey with a float over jackknife cradle for two. Fantastic exchange.

Dueling chants resume again, and Stock with a beautiful handstand into a headscissors takedown after Del Rey elevated her into the corner. However she charges and Del Rey grabs her in an innovative roll-up, gets her body weight over Stock’s shoulders, and retains her title. Phenomenal story told by two great wrestlers, as they had each other so well scouted it never came down to their preferred finishers, but rather innovative wrestling and surprising their opponent. Stock motions that she was “this close” after the bell, but shakes Del Rey’s hand and shows respect in defeat.

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Kana vs Ayako Hamada – Volume 50

In the co-main event of volume 50 two of my favorite wrestlers faced off in what’s still my favorite Shimmer match of all time. Nice touch on commentary – Portia usually “leaves” to get ready for her matches, but she mentions that even though she’s in main event number two she “wouldn’t miss this match for anything” and prepared with her teammates early so she could watch this. Handshake before the bell. Kana looking less aggressive than normal, almost in respectful awe of Hamada as they eye each other across the ring.

Lock up leads right into a sequence of counter mat wrestling to start, much to the crowd’s appreciation. Hamada establishes her strength advantage early, essentially deadlift German suplexing Kana out of a leg lock attempt. Back to the lock up and Kana single legs Hamada, leading to another outstanding sequence of holds and reversals. They’re fighting over every little thing and it’s a joy to watch. Good analysis on commentary explaining Kana’s experience with submission wrestling may give her an advantage on the mat and Hamada’s extensive training in Mexico gives her and flying advantage, both despite Hamada being the larger of the two. Both wrestlers known for their speed, Kana with regards to her strikes and Hamada again with her flying ability.

Hamada with a big headbutt and starts kicking away. Kana catches one and Hamada scrambles out of the attempted hold, but Kana hits a rolling takedown and gets the grapevine regardless. Hamada makes the ropes and lands some kicks to the same leg, but Hamada back to her feet and seems to be getting fired up by Kana’s forearm shots. One of her own downs Kana, then Hamada snapmares her and nails another big kick to the back of the head. Hamada adjusts her boot, giving Kana just enough time to shake off the kick, take Hamada down and nail one of her own.

Both holding the back of their heads and Kana’s up first. Ayako absorbs numerous kicks to the chest but then takes another to the side of the head and looks out in the corner. Hamada misses a leg lariat attempt off an Irish whip and Kana lays in with more kicks. Whip to the corner and Hamada barrels out with a running boot to turn the tide. Spin kick to the corner and up the turnbuckles for a top rope hurricanrana on Kana. Both up and they just destroy each other with alternating kicks and palmstrikes, then Hamada surprises Kana with a midair grapevine counter to one of Kana’s kicks. Just beautiful.

Kana selling incredible pain and DESPERATELY clawing for the ropes. She makes it and applies another rolling takedown into a grapevine of her own as Hamada tried to drag her to the center of the ring. Transitions into an ankle lock, then from that into a German suplex, but Hamada right back up. German of her own with a bridge for two, but Kana floats into a keylock. Hamada in trouble and trying to drag all of Kana’s bodyweight to the ropes. Ref doing a great job here checking both for the submission and whether Hamada’s shoulders are on the mat. Rope break and Kana immediately starts kicking the same arm. Hamada backdrops Kana to the apron to create some space, and lands a big kick to send Kana to the floor.

Hamada calls for the moonsault, but Kana intercepts. Strike exchange on the apron ends with Hamada DDTing Kana on the edge. Hamada goes up and hits the top rope moonsault to the floor. Both down for a moment, but Hamada reveals she’s in better shape of the two by clapping along to a “this is awesome” chant from the crowd. The perfect little touches of personality she displays during every stage of her matches is part of why she’s one of the best in the world. She sends Kana back inside the ring and goes up again. Missle dropkick hits, but Kana right back up with a shout and hits a spin kick, but Hamada cuts any potential momentum off with an enzuigiri. Hamada’s turn to just lay into Kana with kicks to the head as Kana defiantly keeps getting up. third one’s caught and Kana starts her strike combo. The backfist is ducked and Hamada with an openhanded strike, but Kana hits one of her own and then completes her combo, only to eat another huge spin kick and collapse to the mat. Both wiped out and selling exhaustion on the canvas. “Joshi” chant in appreciation from the crowd.

A couple of simultaneous dropkick attempts, then Kana with her own flying takedown variation into the cross armbreaker. Hamada rolls to fight, so Kana transitions into a different armbar. Hamada lifts Kana to counter, and hits the AP Cross Diamond. Kana looks absolutely spent, but blocks a kick and nails an overhand strike for one. Hamada spin kick and this time Kana kicks out at one. They simultaneously connect with kicks to the head, but in a fantastic touch Hamada’s has more momentum because of her size so Kana goes down while Hamada’s able to absorb Kana’s kick and remain on her feet. It’s the small details that elevate truly great matches.

Another openhanded strike exchange, Kana’s spin kick blocked, huge one from Hamada’s connects. AP Cross gets the victory for Hamada. Great show of respect and appreciation as they embrace afterwards. Kana looks legitimately choked up with emotion. Such a treat to watch such skill on display.

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And that’s it for my retrospective (for now). As I’ve mentioned there’s much more to love about Shimmer than I could hope to capture in these features, but I hope I’ve hit some appropriate highlights and helped get everyone excited for the 10th Anniversary shows. I personally am very much looking forward to them!

Japan Crate October 2015 Review

October’s here and my usual box of varied and unique snacks from Japan has arrived.

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As usual Japan Crate includes a mini-manga that explains what each item is, has instructions for the DIY kit, and various additional context, pictures and promotion. The bonus item for the Premium Crate this month isn’t food, but a Food Dog Gashapon. Yes, little keychain figures of puppies inside food items. So odd, but it’s a suitable inclusion that will amuse some.

Now let’s look at the 11 edibles.

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The Excellent

As I’ve mentioned before I adore soda flavored candy, and this month provided me with a lot of it to enjoy. Mysterious Soda Balls (gotta love that translation), one of the Premium exclusives, are like soft Skittles flavored like various Japanese sodas. Poifull Soda Beans are excellent soda flavored jelly beans.

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Another great Premium exclusive is Sour Fruit Gummies. There was just a hint of sour to these, and the flavor and texture was fantastic. Vitamin C Lemon Drops are exactly what they sound like – a lemon flavored hard candy loaded with Vit C. Interesting and cool  inclusion.

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Moving on to the savory side of things, Tohato Caramel Corn is what would happen if Cracker Jack replaced the popcorn with carmel flavored cheese puffs. Quite tasty. Chocolate Mini Pancakes is another snack exactly as advertised. Tastes just like two tiny pancakes with chocolate filling between them.

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The Decent

This month’s Premium Crate’s drink is Bireley’s Orange. The book explains it’s a drink that originated in California but was discontinued and is now only made in Japan. The origin makes sense, as this kind of tastes like a soda version of Sunny Delight. Rich Cheese Scones are exactly as described – essentially Cheetos with a more creamy and buttery cheese taste.

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I got Strawberry Soft Candy (Rum Raisin was the other possibility), a pleasant chewy candy in the described flavor. Grape Gummy Ribbon has a nice, slightly tart grape flavor and a very unique soft, almost dough-ish texture.

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The DIY kit this month was Chitto Soda DIY, which is intended to create mochi with a ramune flavored glaze. This was an intriguing one and I had fun attempting it. The texture was a bit odd, but that was likely due to me having some trouble mixing all the powders properly (my candy certainly didn’t turn out particularly pretty). It was a little bit bland, as the glaze needed a stronger flavor, but a neat experiment with a fine end product overall.

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The Meh

I give  Gyutan Umaino Stick points for trying, and letting us sample the cow tongue flavor is exactly the type of absurdity I want from Japan Crate. But while the airy corn stick did actually manage to capture the flavor of cow tongue, I found it an odd combo and these were also way too salty for me.

Conclusion

Still really enjoying my Japan Crate shipments. Even the snack I didn’t like was interesting to try, and there were a lot of great things in this month’s box. The Premium exclusives continue to provide some of my favorites, and the upgrade is easily worth the additional $5. I continue to be impressed with the variety of selections, not only within each box but across the shipments I’ve received. Highly recommended.

Shimmer: Looking Back on 10 Years of Awesome – Part 2

As 10th Anniversary weekend draws near I’m continuing to take a look back at great matches over the course of Shimmer’s history.

As a reminder, this is NOT a top 10 matches of Shimmer list, but rather a look at chosen matches I feel gives a good representation of both the quality and variety Shimmer has to offer. This time I’m looking at matches with teams of two or more wrestlers pitted against each other. Part 1 featured multi-woman matches, and part 3 will finish up with singles matches.

Tag Team Matches

Tag team wrestling is a particular art, and when done correctly can tell different stories than those available in singles matches. These selections were especially difficult to narrow down, as I ended up going with only one traditional 2 on 2 tag match, and Shimmer has had a number of excellent traditional teams over the years. There’s a lot more to look back on than what I’m able to present in this format.

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Shim-vivor Series:  Ayako Hamada, Ayumi Kurihara, Cheerleader Melissa and Serena Deeb vs Daziee Haze, Tomoka Nakagawa, Madison Eagles and Sara Del Rey – Volume 36

Shimmer capitalized on Serena Deeb’s return from her time in the WWE with a number of angles involving heels calling her out and complaining about her coming back to “their” promotion. Early on volume 36 Sara Del Rey comes out for a scathing promo claiming she a has a “big problem that is Serena Deeb.” Nice exchange when Deeb comes out to answer and Del Rey says “no one wants you here,” prompting a “yes we do” chant from the crowd. Shimmer Champion Madison Eagles comes out to agree with Del Rey, but it quickly draws Cheerleader Melissa and Ayako Hamada to reverse the odds. Out comes Daziee Haze and Tomoka Nakagawa to join Del Rey’s side, and finally Ayumi Kurihara evens things up at four apiece as several refs try to keep them apart. Head ref Bryce Remsburg plays the voice of reason, and sets up an elimination match for the main event. Deeb wants a preview brawl, but of course the heels decide to choose their own spot and bail for now.

The promo was a great way to set up the teams, allowing a central thread to align several wrestler who had differing issues with each other. It made the groupings seem somewhat less random, which is nice for this type of match. Both sides come out together as teams, which is another great touch. Hamada was her usual awesome self during the intros, leading chants for her teammates and acting like she had been punched in the face when grazed by a streamer one of the heels threw at her.

The combined talent level involved is amazing, and they really took advantage of the benefits of an elimination match. Things started out with fantastic exchanges between previously established rivalries, then transitioned into newer pairings and multi-women spots. Just great use of the format. Prazak and Perez were spot-on on commentary as well, stressing the uniqueness of this type of match in Shimmer and the significance of the history between the wresters. Early highlights included simultaneous dives to the floor from the top turnbuckles by Kurihara and Hamada on opposite sides of the ring and a seven woman headlock spot ending with Melissa attacking Eagles on the end and effectively DDTing the whole line (which did not please her teammates).

The eliminations were a very quick in the middle, going from eight wrestlers down to four in a couple of minutes, but it allowed for a lengthy opening portion with all eight involved so worked out nicely. The eliminations were also different, believable, and set up some future rivalries. Unusually the faces technically had all the numbers advantages once the eliminations started, but it was well done and never lasted long until the end. We come down to four of the best wrestlers on the planet at the time squaring of in Eagles and Del Rey vs Melissa and Hamada. As expected it was great while it lasted, until a surprise jackknife pin by Hamada eliminated Del Rey and left the Eagles all alone to face two of her toughest rivals. This allowed Melissa’s quest to win the Shimmer title to continue in a natural way and the Shimmer champion was able to show vulnerability without looking weak. Commentary again underscores the issues perfectly as Dave celebrates Melissa pinning Eagles while Perez points out it was two on one. Kurihara and Deeb come back out to celebrate with their teammates (and Hamada poses while standing on Eagles for fun). Strong end to a fantastic match.

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Shimmer Tag Team Title Match: Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara (c) vs Ray and Leon – Volume 47

After a lot of consideration I chose to feature this particular match not only because of its incredibly high quality and the wrestlers involved, but also because it really shows how effective it can be to deviate from the tried and true tag team formula when done right. All four wrestlers involved are veterans with incredible ability and awareness inside the ring. Hot, somewhat unusual start right away as Ray and Leon jump the champions during the handshake, which leads to a great sequence of both teams whipping each other into the corners and each other. Kurihara and Hamada get the better of it and drop rapid fire elbows on Ray, but Ray cartwheels through a double clothesline attempt and the challengers stereo dropkick the champs outside. First high flying of the match sees Ray do a slingshot dive out onto both Ayumi and Ayako.

Back in and Ray just wears Ayumi out with chops. Her chest is bright red already. Ayumi counters a corner charge with her hanging armbar, but Leon dropkicks her on the apron to break it. The challenger’s renewed advantage is short-lived though, as Ayumi whips them both into the corner, leading to Ayako nailing Ray with a leg lariat and Ayumi then charging in with the double knees (all with Leon sandwiched between Ray and the turnbuckles). The back and forth approach to the match is working wonderfully with these four. Ayumi holds her own for a while in a chop exchange with Ray, but the latter eventually prevails and hits a handspring elbow followed by a slingblade. Ray makes everything she does look smooth and effortless. Timekeeper announces five minutes have passed and it seems likes it’s been much longer given the action seen so far.

Ayako comes in and downs Ray with several running boots, but after some crisscrossing Ray hits a flying headscissors and goes up top. Ray  cartwheels along the rope (!!!) in a kick attempt, but Hamada rushes in to avoid it and nails Leon on the apron. Things keep going back and forth in wonderful sequences that look fluid and logical. The challengers start building momentum after Hamada misses a moonsault, and Ray transitions from being elevated onto Hamada’s shoulders into a hurricanrana for a close nearfall. Leon in and Hamada reverses her attempt at a powerbomb into a backdrop, but Leon right back up and springs off the ropes into a bulldog. A subtle but important point is on glorious display in throughout this match – the disadvantaged wrestler NEVER stops fighting back. Sometimes it’s just a punch or isn’t very effective and thus the other team stays on offense, but every second of this match genuinely feels like everyone involved desperately wants to win.

Leon spears Hamada against the ropes, and Ray hits here rope cartwheel dropkick. Not to be outdone Leon goes up, then walks the ropes into a dropkick of her own on Hamada. Leon continues the assault with a spear in the corner, then goes up top after a close pin attempt. She hits a missile dropkick, but Hamada kips up and takes over with Ayumi’s help. Ray gets by Ayumi to save Leon after a huge kick to the face by Hamada. Ayumi successfully holds Ray back as Hamada plants Leon with a sitout powerbomb, but Leon kicks out just before three. The energy is off the charts and I’m captivated watching even though I’ve seen this match several times. And somehow we’re still only at ten minutes passed. Picture perfect missile dropkick from Ayumi, but she gets caught in a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and the challengers apply stereo submission holds. Hamada frees them both, only for Ayumi to eat a 619 from Ray followed by another missile dropkick by Leon.

Leon hits a frog splash on Ayumi and Hamada just barely makes it past Ray to save the pin and the titles. Ray rewards her with a release German and the challengers go up top in opposite corners. The champs move and Ray misses a moonsault as Leon misses a somersault. Now the champs go up but they’re intercepted. Ayumi’s knocked down in the corner by Leon and Ray hits superplex on Hamada. Leon goes up to capitalize, but Ayako nails her with a dropkick on the way down. Ayumi with the uranagi, but Ray dives in to break up the pin. Cartwheel bomb counters another uranagi attempt on Leon, and then Leon wipes out Ayumi with the spear. Kurihara gets her shoulder up a fraction of a second before three. Ray holding Hamada in the corner as Leon scoops up Kurihara, but Ayumi breaks free and ducks a clothesline, Ayako hits Leon with a spinning kick then grabs back onto Ray, and Ayumi small packages Leon for the win. Just phenomenal from start to finish.

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3G and Mia Yim vs Tsukasa Fujimoto, Kaori Yoneyama and Akino – Volume 67

Faced with the debut of three incredible Joshi stars, Shimmer decided to go all out and put them in the ring with three of the most technically proficient (and most beloved) regulars and let them tear the house down. And of course they did. In anticipation of the insane pace to be set, Prazak and Perez give up on play by play commentary before the match even starts.

Crowd is on fire from the get go, with loud dueling “Yoneyama” “Mia Yim” chants. Prazak with more helpful context explaining how much experience Kellie and Mia have in Japan, and that all six wrestlers have familiarity with each other. I love it when matches like this open with rotating pairs of opponents, and it was very well done here. That section ends with the first of many triple-team attacks of the contest, as Fujimoto whips both her partners into Nakagawa in the corner, then Akino and Yoneyama form steps for Tsukasa to run up and dropkick Nakagawa. Great spot.

The Joshi trio with extended domination of Nakagawa, which establishes them as the threats they are for a crowd that is somewhat unfamiliar with them. They culminate with the pyramid picture pose on top with Tomoka tied up at the bottom. The Shimmer trio then gets control and takes turns showing their own skills against Fujimoto (including Mia and Kellie calling out Akino in the corner as she kicks Tuskasa as counter mindgames).  The requisite everybody involved submission hold was an amusing chain headscissors, and later on the Shimmer contingent hit all of their opponents at once with a triple suplex.

Things keep picking up, including some amazing back and forth multi-woman sequences and vicious exchanges of kicks between Akino and Mia. It’s a pleasure to watch masters of their craft build a technical core of the match and then appropriately work in double and triple team spots, high risk maneuvers, etc on top of it. The timing and execution of everything here is just fantastic. And as an aside, I immediately love anyone who uses Chaos Theory. Yoneyama picks up the win for her team after hitting a gorgeous top rope senton on Skater, which sets up her and Tsukasa for a future Shimmer Tag Team title shot.
Great action, booking, and use of the format. Amazing debut for three top stars. Words really can’t properly do this match justice. You have to watch it for yourself.
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Thanks for joining me for part 2  of my trip down memory lane. Part 3 to come.