November 12, 2016 in Chicago, IL
Coming off a Friday night show featuring the debuts of Mickie James and Hudson Envy as well as Kellie Skater gaining a pinfall over reigning Shimmer Champion Mercedes Martinez in tag team competition, Shimmer weekend continued with the taping of Volumes 87 and 88 on Saturday.
Before the main shows began there was a dark match involving participants of the previous Thursday’s Rise seminar. Kikyo Nakamura & Roni Nicole defeated Arianna & Savannah Evans in a fine match. Kikyo & Roni showed good chemistry as a team and could help flesh out Shimmer’s currently shallow tag division.
Veda Scott‘s first match of the weekend opened Volume 87 as she faced one half of the Shimmer Tag Team Champions in Evie. Amusing pre-match moment saw Veda taking one look at returning referee Bryce Remsburg and asking “where’s Andy?” Good opener with Evie firing up the crowd in a win over Veda. I feel Veda’s improved a lot in the ring over the last couple of years and she held her own with Evie nicely here.
Jessica Havok came out to talk about her tainted loss to Tessa Blanchard on Shimmer 86. Tessa once again over-exaggerated her lack of need of Vanessa Kraven’s help and agreed to a rematch with Kraven banned from ringside for Volume 88.
Taeler Hendrix made her Shimmer debut against Thunderkitty, defeating the wrestler with “over 50 years experience” through nefarious methods. Taeler has a striking look and gear and carries herself such that she was immediately established as a heel. I honestly didn’t think this match came together particularly well, but they told the story they needed to and set up for a rematch with Taeler’s cheating.
Leva Bates‘ match with Candice LeRae suffered a bit from a large portion of the crowd (including me) not getting the reference to Stranger Things of the character Leva was cosplaying. The telekinesis jokes were understandable regardless though, and with both wrestlers being fan favorites this was fairly well received.
The Rejected (Christina Von Eerie & Hudson Envy) faced BaleSpin (KC Spinelli & Xandra Bale) as a result of the post-match events following Envy vs Bale from Volume 86. As appropriate for the issues between the two teams BaleSpin forwent their usual entrance to rush the ring and start brawling. Rejected look good as a team and got a definitive victory here to seemingly start to establish them in Shimmer’s tag ranks.
Rhia O’Reilly continued her momentum from Volume 87 by defeating Cherry Bomb. Rhia and Cherry are two of the most consistent, and perhaps underrated, members of the Shimmer roster. They played off each other well for a solid match.
Cat Power also built off of her victory the previous night with a hard fought win over Mia Yim. This was one of the best of the day. Mia was impressive as always and Cat really knows how to work against quicker opponents.
Another big debut for the weekend saw Dulce Garcia (Sexy Star) wrestle in a Shimmer ring for the first time against mainstay LuFisto. Dulce was welcomed by the crowd and an increasingly aggressive Lufisto was a good choice for her initial opponent.
Shimmer has been doing a good job of putting fun mixes of wrestlers together into 4-way matches, and the first of the weekend saw Shayna Baszler (w/ Nicole Savoy) vs Vanessa Kraven (w/ Tessa Blanchard) vs Kay Lee Ray vs Heidi Lovelace. Amusing prematch moment saw one of MMA’s “Four Horsewomen” Baszler eyeball Tessa over her “Four Horsemen” association via her father. Tessa shied away from Baszler a bit and hid behind Kraven.
Good action all around here, with KLR and Heidi working together at times to counter their larger opponents and Kraven and Baszler showing having a fun “anything you can do…” competition in the middle of the match. In the end Tessa helped Kraven to victory to both continue to highlight the various elements of their ongoing alliance and also to set up Kraven as a title challenger.
The crowd was chomping at the bit for unlikely face Saraya Knight to get her hands on Nicole Matthews, and their match here was simply and effectively set up to increase that emotion and build anticipation. This was short and the audience was given just a couple of moments to cheer before the Kimber Bombs interfered to hand Matthews an opening and the victory. An effective tease of what was to come.
Matthews and the Bombs continue the assault after the match, which prompts Rhia to try the save. Numbers are still against them until Mickie James runs out. While Mickie, Saraya, and Rhia are perhaps the most unlikely alliance in Shimmer history, it’s a nice play off of her match the previous night with Matthews and sets up a big six-woman match for the next volume.
In the main event of Volume 87, Mercedes Martinez defended her Shimmer Championship against Kellie Skater. Kellie earned this shot by pinning the champ in tag action at Shimmer 87. As expected from two athletes of their caliber, this was a solid match, but to be honest the crowd was a bit tepid since this really seemed like a foregone conclusion match to establish Mercedes reign. NO ONE expected her to lose the belt in her first defense, regardless of the opponent.
Things did pick up near the end as Shazza McKenzie came out to counter Trifecta’s interference and chased Baszler off with a pipe (swinging it in Baszler’s direction would have been better, but it played well enough). Left alone, Mercedes and Kellie traded finisher attempts until they became intertwined in a small package and rolled around for a LONG time as the crowd waited to see who would get control. Fantastic spot. It ended and a three count was made with some teasing of a double pin, but from my angle Kellie’s shoulders were clearly up and sure enough a NEW Shimmer Champion is announced!
The Shimmer faithful ADORE Kellie Skater and combined with the shock of ending Mercedes’ reign in her first defense the crowd explodes. Huge moment.
During intermission the roster photo was taken for the weekend, then the wrestler’s all went out to the merchandise tables as usual to meet the fans and sell t-shirts and photos. Always a great atmosphere.
Marti Belle returned to Shimmer after missing the June tapings and defeated KC Spinelli in the opening match of Volume 88.
Jessicka Havok’s rematch with Tessa Blanchard was next, and as expected it came down to the “banned from ringside” Kraven sneaking out anyway to give Tessa the victory (in this case by hitting Havok with a spare turnbuckle part). I like the dynamic between Tessa and Kraven, but that particular part of it is honestly getting old. Match was fine though and got the point across.
The middle of the show featured Mia Yim vs a returning Nevaeh, Allysin Kay vs Candice LeRae, and Veda Scott vs Solo Darling. All were fine for what they were, with reasonable action and obvious outcomes. Nevaeh got an unusual face reaction for her return, and credit to both her and Mia for going with it and doing a mutual respect handshake after the match. Allysin Kay has become so crisp and smooth in the ring and is fully in command of her character, so it’s great to see her remaining a regular participant in Shimmer. Solo Darling’s act isn’t exactly my cup of tea, but it amuses most of the audience and her hiding from Veda in the front row here got a good reaction.
Mercedes Martinez snapped back after her title loss to Skater by defeating Nixon Newell in an excellent match. Mercedes did a good job playing off the crowd’s taunting chants of “where’s your title?” “Kellie’s got it.” Great showing for Newell, who plays the underdog role wonderfully. This may have been my favorite of the day.
The Rejected’s (Christina Von Eerie & Hudson Envy) victory over BaleSpin was apparently enough to earn them a shot at Slap Happy (Evie & Heidi Lovelace) for the SHIMMER Tag Team Championships. Really wish they had at least one more victory first. Just seemed way too soon for this as one win (over a team with only one win in Shimmer none-the-less) shouldn’t earn a title match.
That said, either way I was happy to see these teams face off, and this was a very good match with the Rejected given the champs a lot of trouble before Slap Happy persevered and retained.
Building off of Shazza McKenzie chasing Shayna Baszler away during Mercedes’ title defense on Volume 87, the two faced off in a grudge match of sorts. Baszler is amazing for her level of experience. Shazza looked good against her until the end, which I’ll have to talk about in some detail.
Baszler lost her temper while battling Shazza on the outside, wrapped the latter’s leg around the guardrail, and refused to let go until the ref was forced to disqualify her.
I was fine with this finish to continue their issue and set up a future match. The problem was as soon as the ref DQ’d Baszler and a bevy of officials pulled her off, Shazza sat up from her position on the rail and perched herself on the rail making “come and get me” hand motions at Baszler. Again – she BALANCED herself on the GUARDRAIL on her bad knee SECONDS after Baszler got DQ’d in uncontrolled rage showing a preference to do DAMAGE to Shazza’s knee rather than win.
They then did an admittedly intense pull apart brawl, but again Shazza ignored the leg. No limping, nothing. Look, credit where credit is due – Shazza’s good, showed appropriate intensity, and rose to the level the match needed (and just wait until we get to her gutsy performance on Volume 89). But to properly sell the story she shouldn’t have been standing/walking on the leg (at least not without showing difficulty), let alone perching on the guardrail. It made MMA trained Baszler’s offense look ineffective, and honestly made her look a bit stupid for getting DQ’d to do exactly ZERO damage.
Hot and well done angle otherwise, but if Shimmer’s going to continue to push Shazza at the upper-card level she really needs to pay better attention to her selling.
Next Cat Power continued her clear march to a Shimmer title shot by defeating Kay Lee Ray, and having Cat face another established, high energy opponent was a fantastic choice and led to another great match. Getting to see her face Nixon on Volume 87, Mia on Volume 88 and Kay Lee Ray here was a treat. Kay Lee Ray continues to be a workhorse for Shimmer, with this match being among the day’s best as well as being involved in the best from Friday and Sunday.
Mickie James had her second and final match of the weekend as she teamed with Saraya Knight & Rhia O’Reilly against The Kimber Bombs (Cherry Bomb & Kimber Lee) & Nicole Matthews. Saraya started off with some great comedy moments involving her scaring the daylights out of the Bombs.
Once the match settled down Rhia worked the majority for the “faces” and later Mickie ended up picking up the win for a crowd pleasing moment to see see her off with. Mickie’s two matches formed a decent little story and, while not being a weekend of dream matches per se, were a fine use of her in her Shimmer debut.
Also, things were set up well to again give a little taste of the Saraya / Matthews conflict without blowing it off yet.
In the main event Vanessa Kraven (w/Tessa Blanchard) challenged Kellie Skater for the SHIMMER Championship in a good first defense for Kellie. Kraven is of course physically imposing as well as a dominating wrestler which allowed Kellie to play a slight underdog role even as champion. Tessa eventually gets caught trying to interfere and ejected, and Kellie defeats Kraven to retain.
Decent shows overall from Shimmer on day 2 including a big, surprising development.
Day 3 thoughts to follow. 🙂
Always great to see Heart of Shimmer Champion Nicole Savoy and nice to meet the Queen of Spades Shayna Baszler.