November 13, 2016 in Berwyn, IL
After a Friday night show featuring the debuts of Mickie James and Hudson Envy and a Saturday that saw a new Shimmer Champion as well as the debut of Dulce Garcia, Shimmer weekend wrapped up with the taping of Volumes 89 and 90 on Sunday.
I had seen Sonya Strong before at Marvelous USA in Queens, and it was nice to see her get a spot on the pre-show via Rise against Heather Monroe. This was a basic, by-the-numbers encounter with Monroe in the heel role and Strong as a face. Strong was slightly more impressive and I was happy to see here on the main card later.
In a second Rise pre-show match, Angie Skye faced Kate Carney. This was honestly a bit of a train wreck, with Skye looking a little rusty compared to the last time I saw here and Carney’s timing being extremely off.
The main shows started off with Solo Darling vs Cherry Bomb and the Thunderkitty vs Taeler Hendrix rematch stemming from events on Volumes 87 & 88. Cherry stealing Solo’s drink and have a hyper reaction to it (a la Veda Scott on Volume 88) was amusing.
Thunderkitty vs Taeler was similar to their first match, and Thunderkitty’s retribution victory for Taeler’s cheating fell flat due to TK applying her finisher while in the ropes and never breaking as Taeler stumbled out to the center of the ring. Considering, like Dulce and Mickie, Taeler only had two matches for her debut weekend I would have liked different opponents between the two shows.
Nixon Newell upset LuFisto in a well deserved victory for the youngster. Good dynamic, with LuFisto getting more and more aggressive as her march towards a heel turn continued.
Another Rise participant got a main card showing as Kennadi Brink faced Mia Yim in a good, back and forth encounter.
Kimber Lee defeated Samantha Heights in a solid match and a good return for Heights. She had appeared in Shimmer once before as Crazy Mary Dobson’s partner, and returned this time via the Rise seminar. Great to see her back and she was a big crowd favorite here and in her Volume 90 match, which will hopefully lead to her becoming a regular part of the roster.
BaleSpin (Xandra Bale & KC Spinelli) once again faced The Rejected (Christina Von Eerie & Hudson Envy). This was likely meant to be another chance for the faces to get their hands on the heels who had thus far always gotten the better of them, but as it started with none of the intensity of their first encounter it came off a little less meaningful than it could have been. The rapid fire nature of Rejected’s tag title match followed by this rematch heavily foreshadowed BaleSpin’s victory as well as the result of the tag title defense later on this volume and BaleSpin’s title shot on Volume 90. Another team used here against Rejected would have preserved a lot of unpredictability and made the tag division seem much less shallow.
Was happy to see Jessicka Havok and Allysin Kay matched up in a singles contest, as they have great chemistry and their styles are extremely complimentary.
I am totally in favor of Shimmer continuing to have 4-ways on (nearly) every show considering how good they always are. This one featuring Nicole Matthews, Kay Lee Ray, Candice LeRae, and Rhia O’Reilly was no exception, and after good period of back and forth between the four Matthews stole a victory at Rhia’s expense, leading to Saraya storming the ring again to continue her issue with Matthews.
Also building off of a weekend-long story, Shazza McKenzie and Shayna Baszler had a rematch under no DQ rules. In the early going more use of the stipulation would have been nice, but it picked up as it went along and ended with Shazza overcoming the odds due to mistimed interference by Baszler’s Trifecta teammate Nicole Savoy. As only Shayna’s second loss in Shimmer, this would seem to be aimed towards elevating Shazza in the direction of a Shimmer title shot. Shazza again no sold a lot of leg work done by her MMA star opponent, but while still frustrating it was slightly less noticeable in the context of this match.
This was heated and well worked overall by both competitors leading to a strong finish to their story for the weekend. Shazza also showed incredible heart finishing the match after smacking the back of her head in what looked like a powerbomb reversal gone wrong. Blood was visible in a line down the back of her hair. She required seven staples afterwards and obviously did not wrestle later in the day on Volume 90. Gusty performance and I’m very glad to have heard since that she’s ok.
Mount Tessa (Vanessa Kraven & Tessa Blanchard with significantly timed new team name) challenged Slap Happy (Evie & Heidi Lovelace) for the SHIMMER Tag Team Championships. I was honestly hoping for the implosion of Kraven and Tessa’s alliance and the beginning of the implied feud to come, but given the earlier signs I wasn’t shocked to see them unseat Slap Happy. I feel things have been drawn out with Tessa and Kraven perhaps a touch too long, but there are great comedic touches in pairing and Tessa doing the “I’M the tag team champions” shtick is pouring fuel on the fire for the crowd turning Kraven face. Good title match.
Dulce Garcia (Sexy Star) finished up her Shimmer debut weekend with a dream match of sorts against Mercedes Martinez. This was honestly a bit of a styles clash, but still extremely good. Early on Mercedes commented a bit about how fast Garcia was and made “slow down” comments that while in character might have been a legit request. It would have been nice to see Garcia against someone in a similar style that could match her speed (like Kay Lee Ray, etc), but no real complaints about the two opponents chosen for her and the matches produced. Dulce did not get a “please come back” chant, but that was likely due to the crowd not realizing she wouldn’t be wrestling on Volume 90.
Cat Power had her last match of a strong return weekend challenging Kellie Skater for the SHIMMER Championship in Volume 89’s main event. The pacing felt a little off early on, but it built nicely and ended up another good showing for Cat and solid defense for Kellie.
Sonya Strong, perhaps due to her performance during the pre-show, faced Marti Belle to open the second taping of the day.
In the second match Samantha Heights upset Nevaeh to a nice pop from the crowd. Nevaeh continued to perform in a face role here, but showed some touches of her heel persona. Nevaeh’s well established enough that the losses this weekend won’t hurt her, and in contrast the win was huge for Heights.
Melanie Cruise continued her seemingly designated role for the weekend of crushing Rise talent against Kiera Hogan. Pretty much a squash. “Hogan” is not a name that needs to be used by anyone in Shimmer.
Leva Bates came out for her match with Cherry Bomb with an E.T. doll and dressed as Eliot to most of the crowd’s delight. The humor and interactions were awkward at first, but smoothed out a lot once Cherry Bomb established control , spoke with the doll, and declared “E.T. wants me to kick his ass!” Her combination of goofiness with a dangerous edge elevated this considerably.
LuFisto defeated Solo Darling, showing reluctance the longer the match went as she had to get more and more vicious to keep Solo down. After she finally chose to hit the Burning Hammer and pinned Solo she snapped, and just decimated the Sugar Creature to a 50-50 reaction from the crowd. Big payoff to the slow building heel tendencies of Lufisto’s been showing / fighting.
In what very well might have been the best match of the weekend, Kay Lee Ray and Nixon Newell tore down the house in a FANTASTIC contest. Nixon has looked great in her Shimmer appearances, and KLR is always in the running for MVP of all the Shimmer weekends she’s been a part of. Great pairing and I’d love to see a rematch sometime.
Mount Tessa (Vanessa Kraven & Tessa Blanchard) defended their newly won SHIMMER Tag Team Championships against BaleSpin (Xandra Bale & KC Spinelli). Would have preferred a different team in the challenger role, as Rejected and BaleSpin trading wins over the course of the weekend being enough to propel each into title contention highlights the current lack of depth in tag division. Match was primarily a backdrop for Kraven & Tessa’s interactions and an establishment victory for the new champs.
The streak of great 4-ways continued as Mia Yim picked up a win against Allysin Kay, Kimber Lee, and Evie. Allysin and Kimber’s on and off alliance during the match was highly amusing, as was Kimber’s delight in the crowd cheering her by default when chanting “everyone but Allysin.” I personally did not partake – PINKIES UP!
Shayna Baszler bounced back emphatically from her no-DQ loss to Shazza by besting Heidi Lovelace in singles action. Heidi’s a high level competitor to keep Shayna’s continued threat clear, and she always looks strong in defeat. Very good match.
The weekend long issue between Saraya Knight and Nicole Matthews came to an appropriate climax in a Berwyn Bunkhouse Brawl. This was the expected crazy brawl all over the Eagles Club, which ended by TKO when Saraya was hanging Matthews over the ropes and the refs declared the latter couldn’t continue. Shimmer wisely doesn’t do matches like this too often, but they’re very effective when used sparingly. The feud between these two was very well done, with ups and downs over the course of the five shows and a satisfying ending.
Warning bells of a possible 3S style title reign for Kellie Skater started going off when it became clear Mercedes Martinez would be getting a rematch for the Shimmer Championship to finish Shimmer weekend. Trifecta played the crowd like a fiddle, executing traditional heel interference behind the ref’s back with flawless execution. Obviously Shazza wasn’t available to counter them, but having someone else take issue with Trifecta’s cheating and attempt to come to Kellie’s aid at some point would have been nice. Strong, appropriate main event regardless though, and indeed Mercedes eventually hit the Fisherman’s Buster and regained the title to a chorus of boos.
I’ve actually seen more criticism of Kellie losing the title “so quickly” than of Mercedes losing it in her first defense. Hazards of being a heel I guess. 😉 But after the match Kellie gave an usual speech that felt like a farewell, so I wouldn’t be surprised if this booking was a way to make sure Kellie received her well deserved reign with the Shimmer belt (as well as underscoring unpredictability in Shimmer and giving Trifecta nuclear heel heat). If this was Skater’s goodbye, it was a hell of a run.
Impressive finish to this Shimmer trip, with Volume 90 the best show of the weekend. Fun time as always.