Joe Babinsack looks at Shimmer 44

SHIMMER Volume 44
Shimmer Women’s Athletes
Reviewed by Joe Babinsack 
Kellie Skater vs Davina Rose
I gave up on figuring out what “Rate Tank” means long ago. But by any name, Kellie Skater is a solid worker. I guess her ‘work rate’ can be compared to an engine of war. Either that, or there’s some sort of Australian idiom I’m woefully ignorant of.
Davina Rose has that girl-next-door look, and there’s no surprise she got signed up to a developmental deal with the WWE based on looks and ability, selling and action, and especially that red velour outfit, even from seeing her in one match.
Skater tries to escape the opening match slot with an enzui-giri and an off-the-ropes version of an ace-crusher variant called the Skate or Die.
Brief interview segment with Sassy Stephie and a dark haired Neveah. I’d comment that the announcer looks like one of my in-laws, but I’d probably get in trouble.
Taylor Made vs Veda Scott
Veda has a very cool look but Taylor Made has a more mainstream appeal, evern with the multicolored  and crimped hairdo. Wow, I’m asking for trouble talking about hairstyles.
There are more than a few slow-motion spots and a few interesting spots, but a straight-forward match with no gimmicks or back-and-forth and wow, I do sometimes like a match that just presents itself as a match.
Kalamity vs Tomoka Nakagawa
I’ve heard of Kalamity and she’s like a combination LuFisto and Wesna Busic – a gothic fireplug, if you will. Tomoka has that solid yet athletic Joshi look.
There’s something about Kalamity’s nonchalant adjusting of her big leather wristbands and annoyance at the streamers that screams Awesome Kong and the underlying, ensuing violence.
Nakagawa tries to throw Kalamity around, which is … interesting. She does sell her back, and then demonstrates how to arm-drag a bigger opponent.
There’s no culture clash here, and its power vs technician in a very solid match.  Yeah, that powerbomb slam looked like Kalamity killed Tomoka … which is why it was a great finisher and why it should have been the ending.
Ok, I can do without the Daleks and the former partners battling each other, but MsChif’s amusement at the Dr. Who toy was a backstage reality show moment of geekdom coolness and an abruptly impromptu multiple women match setup, but I’m into it.
Sassy Stephie & Neveah vs Ashley Lane & Mia Yim
I’m surprised to be saying this, but Neveah was better as a blonde… but Ashley Lane pulls off the darker hair. Maybe I’m misremembering something. The Sassy one is great as ever.
Mia Yim is Mia Yim.
Another match where SHIMMER brings that episodic nature like few other promotions, as the battling of the former partners becomes a backdrop for this match, and a tease of a bigger feud exploding on the scene.
Serena Deeb pinned Yumi Ohka with a Spear.
I’m more than tempted to call this a struggle, and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. Serena and Yumi put on a display that is a little more All Japan than All Japan Women, and neither of these ladies are holding back.
Yumi Ohka is no Manami Toyota as a high-flyer jumping around, but she’s more than just solid, and those leatherette leggings are an interesting look. There are no pulled punches here.
Nice setup and false finish with the spear, before the inevitable ending.
The only thing slow-motion here is the replay of that finish, and this was altogether All Japan-like.
What I also loved was the reaction after the finish, and the respect shown all-around by the fans.
Getting back to “struggle” and I’m still wondering why a talented lady that shaved her head couldn’t be kept on the roster, why a talented lady who changed her look can’t get hired to do what she’s best at, and there’s another gal on the card who’s also deserving of mainstream recognition.
But that’s a struggle true wrestling fans have these days.
ReGeneration X (Allison Danger & Leva Bates) & Christina Von Eerie & MsChif vs Mena Libra, Melanie Cruise, She Nay Nay & Bonesaw
Cruise looks like an Amazon, and Mena Libra (whom I recognize from AAW) is slightly shorter but powerfully built. (By the way, don’t confuse Cruise with Christopher Cruise or Amazon with the shopping website). Bonesaw now sports dreadlocks, and has that Homicide vibe.
The babyface quartet has the always fashionable Danger, the even more outrageously fashionable Bates, Von Eerie with a warhawk and MsChif as herself.
Oh yeah, She Nay Nay seems out of place with a weirder name and a less than powerful physique, but that catsuit (and no, I don’t mean to reference Cat Power) is quite the attraction.
This is a fun multiple wrestler match with solid heel/face overtones.
Hiroyo Matsumoto vs Jessie McKay
Jessie outdoes Davina Rose as the girl next door looker. Hiroyo has that prototypical Joshi athletic but solidly built frame.
These two go at it pretty well, but I’m not sure if that Superplex spot was meant to be an arm sell or was botched.
McKay sells at a world class level, and has long legs for some impressive kicks.
Loved watching this match, and I like the storyline simplicity of Matsumoto going for the side-suplex until it finished McKay. They then keep up with the replays and the more Japan-like sportsmanship.
Canadian Ninjas on the promo. They weirdly do not have matching outfits, and Nicole Mathews has this purple tint to her hair that reminds me of someone I’m related to by marriage.
Sara Del Rey vs Courtney Rush
Del Rey is royalty, that’s for sure. I’ve hear of Rush – no not that one, that one, nor the other – and was looking forward to this match. Rush is a little manic (this one, not the others all that much, although most Luchadores are).
Yeah, Courtney Rush is a bit wacky.
Then again, there’s an obvious sense of respect despite the nigh comedic aspects that turn into an overwhelming display of appreciation.
Then again, is Courtney channeling Larry Z or what? But Larry Z never danced like that or pointed at his opponent quite like that, or looked like that.
Ok, Del Rey is going for the Gran Akuma approach to a dance-off.
But then she kicks Courtney’s head off.
And then mops the floor with her, tries to break her arm, and then ties her up like a pretzel.     
Recap of SHIMMER 43 with Athena and Mercedes Martinez delivering a big kick outside the ring and a double-count out finish. I like a lot of things about this, not the least of which is the veteran against the up-and-comer and the dynamics of the younger wrestler showing a lot of fire and ability and withstanding the best from one of the best.
Sometimes it’s all in the setup, even though most don’t seem to care.
Athena vs Mercedes Martinez
So this match, like so much of SHIMMER’s best, gets a build up, a lead-in and a surprising angle. But the main point here is that this isn’t the same match, setup, buildup, lead-in or story done for the third time on the card.
Funny how so many promotions are looking for Hispanic stars, and here’s Mercedes Martina, a Latina superstar forged on the indy scene, who isn’t getting a look.
Early on this is all hard-hitting kicks and a raw emotion by both veteran and spitfire.
This is a match that needs to be watched, not described. From start to finish it told a story, set up that story and delivered on that story.
(Plus delivered quite a few brutal kicks along the way to that chair shot).
Did I sell “brutal” enough?
I don’t think so.
What’s awesome is that this isn’t two wrestlers going through the motions, this is two very talented wrestlers performing in the ring (and out of it) and eliciting a response from the fans based on their efforts, because of their efforts, delivering a great performance.
This, my friends, is how to do a heel turn, and how to put over new talent and how to do it with emotion.

Kana vs LuFisto
How do you follow up the emotion of that last match?
How about some LuFisto?
That doll is a little scary creepy, but LuFisto’s a talent that gets the audience into it.
Kana has the Akira Hokuto style mask and robe. This is going to be good, just based on the entrances and expectations. This is Aja Kong vs Bull Nakano with shorter, squatter body types. But no diminishment of stiffness.
Yeah, I’m getting dangerously clichéd.
These two are more versatile in many ways.
Let’s just say this, we’re not even into the top of the card, and there’s two matches in a row that just cannot physically happen on Cable TV. Just can’t happen.
And not just because they can get the audience’s attention back…. but that’s definitely part of it.
Britani Knight vs Saraya Knight
Wow, mother/daughter No DQ match?
How does that happen here and not elsewhere?
I’ve missed too much of the Saraya Knight matches, but this is one intense woman, making MsChif look like a puppy. The angle from Volume 43 was just awesome, setting this up.
A couple of pull-aparts on this card and wow, do they blow away the lame, tame ones we see anymore.
And then they’re back at each other’s throats.
Talk about raising the bar of expectations.
I thought Saray working the crowd ahead of the match was problematic, but she has a presence that overwhelmed most of the hecklers and the ring crew hand their hands full of keeping her out of trouble.
Or was that the fans?
This was one fight of all fights from second Britani hesitated on getting in the ring.
(I see why the WWE signed her up, that’s for sure).
No DQ here means out of the ring action, and thankfully it didn’t go garbage or worse, a wrestling match. But the did work some chairs and … well, there’s the garbage can.
But they bring it back into the ring, and boy do they bring it. Even when they slow it down, it’s all about Saraya trying to rip off Britani’s arm.
Very intense.
Ayako Hamada & Ayumi Kurihara (Tag Team Champions) vsThe Canadian Ninjas
Just when you think there’s nothing new to see, along comes a high caliber tag team match. Perez & Matthews are great, but they aren’t the Champions.
But they want to be.
But Ayako & Ayumi are giving and taking and not letting go, even if they’re not dominating the match.
Great setup for the hot tag, and while it wasn’t as hot as expected, there’s a chair –held shooting star press to make me forget the potential.
Not sure why Portia Perez sports that black cobra thingie on her left arm ,but she eats a few hard shots from the Champions to the finish

Madison Eagles (Champion) vs Cheerleader Melissa
What would you expect of a Championship match after the previous four matches?
Not a let-down.
Video recaps show the history of these two combatants, from Volume 30 and Volume 32 and Volume 37 and Volume 38 and Volume 42 and Volume 43.
Eagles is very tall. Melissa was very badly used in TNA.
I look forward to a more detailed look at this match, but like my word count, SHIMMER tends to creep up beyond acceptable length. There’s too much text to do this justice here, but it’s a match well worth watching and well worth revisiting.
SHIMMER once again restores my faith in professional wrestling.
And other stuff.