Howdy to my loyal readers out there. Once again I’m branching out from the normal realms of WWE and TNA to bring you all into the world of independent women’s wrestling. Now I’ve heard a lot about SHIMMER’s sister promotion SHINE in Florida. More specifically, everything I’ve heard is very good. Just from reading the live coverage on other websites whenever there’s an iPPV on gives the indication of quality entertainment. So I vowed to myself that I would order one of their shows eventually to see if it lived up to the hype. Not to spoil the end of the review but it totally did. I’d been up since 8 am for a filming day that didn’t happen and I stayed up until well past 4 am just to watch the show. Bobby doesn’t do that for just anyone.
As when I reviewed BLOW back in December, I’m going to get some pros and cons out of the way.
*We got a few preliminary promos to open the show up. It was mostly just individual snippets from the women who would be on the show hyping up their matches. Some were good, some weren’t. I feel they ran on for too long and would have been best spread out before each match. There was a problem with one of the turnbuckles so the show started 15 minutes late while they fixed it. And these promos all got replayed a second time. I understand they served to introduce new viewers to what’s been going on in SHINE but I wasn’t crazy about them.
*A video package showing the rise of the stable Valkyrie was shown after the promos. It was well made but could have used a little more work on the editing. It was essentially replaying the last few moments of the previous SHINE. And I’m saying it included plenty of filler of the women climbing out of the ring, waiting for the rest of the roster to attack and walking back to the curtain. Maybe it’s just the editor in me nitpicking but it just screams padding. Perhaps they themselves knew this and just wanted to fill time while they fixed the ring. But just a heads-up if they’re editing video packages in the future
*Excellent production values. The quality of all the footage, the name bar graphics, everything just looked very professional. The stream itself was great quality too. I had a few problems with it freezing during the Martinez/Roxx match but nobody in the live chat mentioned anything so I assume it must be my internet connection.
*The venue looked great. They have it designed very nicely in there with their own banners and logos on display. It makes it look that more professional and gives the show more of an identity. It says this is a SHINE show rather than just some wrestling out of a high school gym or a club somewhere.
*Great job to whoever was on the live camera switching. I’ve seen some truly cringeworthy attempts at it with other promotions that shall remain unnamed. But here the switching was on point with no bad shots or mistakes. Again it all serves to make the show look that bit more professional.
As I said earlier we got the video package to bring us up to speed on the Valkyrie storyline and some individual promos to hype up specific matches. Special mention goes to Leva Bates and her unique promo where she channelled her inner Scarecrow from DC Comics. Daffney is there to open the show, looking very nice and doing a good job as MC.
Brittney Savage vs Heidi Lovelace:
Brittney Savage is making her debut for the promotion and this is the second time I’ve seen her work heel. I think it’s a better fit for her. She has a nice bitchy attitude reminiscent of Team Blondage, LayCool and my beloved Jenny Cash (#ThankYouVeryLittle). Heidi Lovelace meanwhile…first time seeing her and she comes across as a little bland. She’s a face but what’s her character? Is she a Genki Girl, Girl Next Door, Cool Outsider or what? I get the feeling she doesn’t know what her character is. I’m not sure how much experience she has but if she’s new then this kind of thing develops in time. Ring wise, she was quite good. The match opened nice and quickly paced. I always like seeing matches open with arm drags, especially when they are sold well. Heidi Lovelace showed a special flair with her bumps and selling. She bumped and sold nicely for Brittney. Even for a simple neckbreaker, she sold it excellently. She showed off an impressive submission hold called the Love Lock – a standing body scissors/cross arm breaker combination. I think she may have been biting Brittney’s arm as well. She also pulls off a very impressive move where she went for a headscissors from the corner and rolled through which sent Brittney face first onto the middle turnbuckle. Brittney meanwhile resorted to a lot of stiff kicks to try and keep Heidi down. Heidi nearly had the match won with a nice hurricanrana driver but Brittney got her feet on the ropes. She then toe-kicked Heidi on the chin to get the 1-2-3 for a rather anti-climactic ending.
Very solid opening match. Not too long, not too short. Fast paced at the start and slower paced in the middle before picking up towards the end. Standard opening match stuff here but no less entertaining. Brittney Savage has slowly been catching my eye. I never thought she was much to write home about in WSU but I guess I may come to eat my words. Heidi Lovelace is good in terms of ring skills but she just needs to find her own identity and channel it up to eleven. I’m not normally one to harp on about characters and gimmicks but this just seemed to bug me for some reason.
Winner: Brittney Savage via kick to the jaw. 7/10
Tina San Antonio vs Luscious Latasha vs La Rosa Negra:
We have a three-way dance now and Tina’s outfit reminds me of a dress my mother used to wear that we nicknamed “fruit salad”. Make of that what you will. I’ve seen her and Latasha compete before but this is my first introduction to La Rosa Negra (or Black Rose – Nikki Adams is feeling jilted somewhere). I’m already a fan. She’s from Puerto Rico and salsas her way to the ring with plenty of attitude. She then does the splits on the apron…repeatedly. The girl knows how to make an entrance anyway. Tina was feeling a bit bitchy and spanked both the other girls’ asses to start off. Poor girl didn’t realise that’s wrestling code for “double team the crap out of me for the first 75 seconds”. And that’s exactly what happened – La Rosa and Latasha took turns beating up Tina at first. La Rosa quickly turned on Latasha and slapped on a sleeper hold. Tina took advantage and put on a sleeper hold of her own – yep, a three way sleeper hold. There was another creative moment where Latasha went for a backslide on La Rosa but Tina grabbed her arms and turned it almost into a submission. I also noticed a good display of psychology from Tina as she used moves that targeted Latasha’s neck and head which she kept up throughout the whole match. There was one rather bad moment where La Rosa hit a clothesline and Tina didn’t bump off it, resulting in a few awkward seconds before the pace resumed. Latasha caught Tina with a Trouble In Paradise for two but was powerslammed by La Rosa. She missed a frog splash however and was taken out of the running. This allowed Tina to hit her finisher on Latasha for the win.
Another good one; three-way matches can be difficult to get right but the girls here all did a very good job. Tina and Latasha were their usual selves but I was very happy with La Rosa Negra. She’s a girl that knows her own identity and what to bring to the table in the ring. She was probably the stand-out girl of the match. I’m not wild about three-ways with two faces and one heel but this one managed to be better than those ones normally are. The girls got very creative with some nice three-way spots. Tina showed some ring savvy and even the finish tied into her working Latasha’s neck during the match. There was that one bad moment but not enough to detract from my enjoyment.
Winner: Tina San Antonio via inverted Twist of Fate. 7/10
Jessie Belle vs Santana:
Jessie Belle is someone I’ve seen work in OVW before as a face who is reminiscent of Wrestlicious’s Cousin Cassie. Here she is playing a heel and her entrance…wow. It’s practically a production in its own right. Daffney takes off her shoes and expresses her own shock at it. Santana is a name I’ve seen before but this was my first time seeing her actually work. She is a very pretty girl that appears to be very over with the SHINE crowd. The girls started off with what I love to see – chain wrestling. It was slowly paced but in a good way and it was very technical. Santana showed off a nice bridging hammerlock. She kept control for a long time but her offence was nice to see so this didn’t really bother me. Jessie Belle countered a handspring elbow and put Santana in the Tree of Woe…only for Santana to come back with a headscissors. Very impressive work from Santana. Jessie Belle showed some cunning and waited outside for Santana to go for a baseball slide – when she did, Jessie Belle trapped her between the ring and the apron. Jessie Belle properly took control from here on and worked hard to keep Santana grounded. She charged her in the corner but Santana dodged it and Jessie Belle went sailing into the ring post. Santana jumped into a guillotine hammerlock but Jessie Belle slammed her to escape it. She then went for a Bronco Buster but Santana moved out of the way. Jessie Belle really taking some punishment in this match. Santana got a sunset flip off the top but Jessie blocked and grabbed onto the ropes for leverage. The ref caught her and kicked her hands away to let the match continue. Santana ended up getting the win with the Shining Star Press.
Loved this match. Match of the night really. Santana was extremely impressive. She’s got this great likability and energy that makes her the perfect face to root for. She had the crowd in the palm of her hand and they were hot for her. She’s on my list of ones to watch for sure. I was happy with what I saw from Jessie Belle too. I’ve never seen a heel farm girl before but Jessie had some nice attitude and was very solid with her moves. This turned into quite the sleeper match of the evening for sure.
Winner: Santana via Shining Star Press. 8/10
Lenny Leonard got into the ring for a special announcement; SHIMMER will be making its iPPV debut on WrestleMania weekend. I guess the people at SHIMMER saw the quality of SHINE’s iPPVs and changed their minds on the matter. In addition to this, we will also get a match between Reby Sky and Jessicka Havok at the next SHINE. This time it’s billed as Respect vs Career.
Daffney then got on the microphone again to announce the newest member of the SHINE roster – Angelina Love! She made her way to the ring blowing kisses to fans and told Daffney how much respect she has for her (she can’t do the splits after all). Angelina will be making her debut at the next SHINE. Before she could say any more, Valkyrie interrupted her. After a robotic promo from Rain, Angelina went to the back politely. The rest of Valkyrie headed backstage as well while Ivelisse remained in the ring. Her match is next.
Ivelisse vs LuFisto:
This is quite the personality clash – Ivelisse is known for being no-nonsense and deathly serious. LuFisto on the other hand…well it’s LuFisto. The Super Hardcore Anime was on fire early on with arm drags and a flipping senton on the Anti-Diva. She torqued Ivelisse’s leg for a bit as well and Ivelisse sold it hilariously. The spicy Latina however took control of the match with a nifty DDT after jumping through the middle rope. She reminded us all of her MMA side career with some really hard looking kicks and punches. Stiffest match of the night really. LuFisto countered with a sort of sit-down gutbuster and then a dragon sleeper. Ivelisse ended up tied up in the ropes which was the cue for LuFisto to kick her in the head…repeatedly. You’ll almost feel guilty for laughing at Ivelisse’s pain because she sells it so hilariously. She got her own back with another nifty move – a flapjack into a single leg Boston Crab. She properly went after her opponents leg and we saw another nifty combination – a Russian leg sweep into a leg grapevine. More great work came from Ivelisse as she trapped the SHA in an inverted Figure 4 Leglock. She went for a hurricanrana but LuFisto dropped her with a powerbomb. LuFisto mounted a comeback with her trademark cannonball press/running facewash combo in the corner, followed by a double stomp to Ivelisse’s chest. But the Puerto Rican kicked out to the shock of everyone. LuFisto set her up for the Burning Hammer but Ivelisse escaped and superkicked her for two. She connected with a modified Royal Butterfly for two again and LuFisto attempted a second Burning Hammer. Ivelisse rolled free but LuFisto trapped her in the Sharpshooter. Suddenly members of Valkyrie appeared at ringside, distracting the referee. Ivelisse took advantage and got the win with her Disdain finisher.
This was a match I was really looking forward to seeing. Now that Ivelisse is a bigger name on the indies we can see her in a lot more matches we wouldn’t normally have seen before she joined WWE. This one was very good and nearly stole the show. I preferred the Jessie Belle/Santana match but this was a close second. LuFisto…well is it even humanly possible for her to have a bad match? The near-falls towards the end were particularly exciting. The only real problem was how the match looked. With Ivelisse being rather petite and LuFisto being much more solidly built, the face/heel dynamic didn’t quite work. I’m never a big fan of small heels dominating big faces and especially when I don’t like Ivelisse as a heel anyway. She is very good in that role but she is much better suited to being a face. It almost feels like a waste at times. But a fine match nonetheless and I look forward to seeing Ivelisse work with even more top indie talents in America.
Winner: Ivelisse via Disdain. 8/10
Made In Sin & April Hunter vs Mia Yim, Su Yung & Traci Taylor:
Daffney appeared to forget to announce that April Hunter was in this match too. There was a lot of teasing at the start on who would actually start the match but eventually they settled on Su Yung and April Hunter. This would be the first time I see Ms Hunter properly working, aside from her brief appearances in WSU and TNA. She was quite brutal with her strikes and Su Yung was quickly triple teamed by the heels. This quickly led to an all-out brawl in the ring. The heels ran for cover outside but Mia Yim did a suicide dive onto all three of them. The crowd really came alive for that. Once the chaos died down, Traci Taylor represented her team against Taylor Made and had her in the corner for a good old 10-punch combo. Hunter quickly interfered which allowed Made to get the upper hand. Traci was isolated by the heels and the next few minutes were quick tags and stiff forearms. Hunter locked in a nice headscissors/arm breaker submission. My stream froze and somehow Mia Yim made a blind tag and led the faces to triple team Hunter. Taylor Made somehow ended up alone in the ring and got a German Suplex from Yim, followed by a leg lariat from Traci. Yim nearly had the win with a lionsault but the heels broke it up. The match broke down and – in the confusion – Mia Yim was caught off guard with a 3-D from Kay and Made (called the Eighth Deadly Sin) to give the heels a victory.
This match was quite sloppy in places. Allysin Kay and Taylor Made have worked as a team for a while now with April Hunter only just joining the stable. If all of Valkyrie are going to be a proper dominant team then they need to work as one more. I didn’t see much chemistry between all three members in this match. Just quick tags and breaking up pins really. More double-team moves and working as a unit would really help them come across as a formidable team. The action was still quite good and I liked what I saw from April Hunter. The other two sort of just got lost in the shuffle, as did Su Yung who only had about a minute of ring time I believe. The match was good but a little too cluttered to really take form.
Winners: Made In Sin & April Hunter via Eighth Deadly Sin on Mia Yim. 6/10
Mercedes Martinez vs Nikki Roxx:
Mercedes Martinez has taken a pair of scissors to her hair but this is no place for me to give my views about short hair on women. Nikki Roxx jokingly attempts to do the splits on the apron as a nod to Daffney who looks very pleased. My stream kept freezing during this match so I missed much of the early part of it. When things sorted themselves out, Martinez was in control. She makes a better heel than a face and it showed here as she just brutalised Roxx, making this feel like a shoot at times. She mocked her opponent but knee-dropping the face and doing push ups over Roxx. How rude. Martinez then attempted the Three Amigas but Roxx blocked the third one and delivered a big boot. This kicked off an extended sequence of big boots from both women. This was a really nice touch and they ended up knocking each other down with a double big boot. Martinez was first knocked to the outside and then dragged back in for a few punches in the corner. Martinez was able to kick out of the Bimbo Plant and locked her opponent in an ankle lock. Roxx got to the ropes to escape and Martinez went for the Fisherman Buster. Roxx countered this with a small package for two and then hit a stunner, also getting two. The stream froze again but when it came back, Roxx hit the Barbie Crusher to get the win.
From what I saw, this was a very good match. It’s a testament to Mercedes Martinez’s workmanship that I can still thoroughly enjoy one of her matches when I’ve only seen bits and pieces of it. I’m in a so-so attitude towards Nikki Roxx but this was one of her better matches and I saw a nice fire and aggression coming from her. The Voodoo Drop/Barbie Crusher remains one of my favourite wrestling finishers. This looked like one of the stiffer matches of the night too. I was happy to see Roxx go over since Martinez seems to get booked as an undefeatable juggernaut wherever she goes, so it was nice to get a change. These two worked quite well together anyway and I’m sure I would have enjoyed the match even more had I seen the full thing.
Winner: Nikki Roxx via the Barbie Crusher. 7/10
Leva Bates vs Kimberly (Last Woman Standing):
This is the match I was looking forward to seeing, especially after the eerie promo Leva Bates recorded before the show to promote it. As expected, her costume of choice this evening was The Scarecrow complete with a noose. They didn’t waste time getting things going as Leva Bates threw some dust in Kimberly’s face before going for a fire extinguisher. I would have marked out if Kimberly was dressed as the Human Torch. Kimberly stayed down for a few seconds after getting clocked with a pumpkin and Leva introduced a steel chair to the proceedings. Kimberly got a hold of the fire extinguisher and put it to good use on Ms Bates. The first wrestling move of the match was a Samoan Drop from Kimberly who was sporting a bloody mouth at this point. She uses Leva’s own noose to choke her out and hit a Gory Bomb onto the steel chair. Leva stayed down for a while but got up and the match continued. Leva got her noose back and her own back on Kimberly. Yeesh what a match so far. Leva hurled Kimberly into the wall and spat someone’s drink in her face. Kimberly ducked a big boot and bulldogged Leva into the ring steps. She found the pumpkin again and smashed it over Leva’s head. Back in the ring she positioned her opponent on the top rope and delivered a military press from there. Leva would not stay down however and superkicked the steel chair into Kimberly’s face. She went down herself with the exhaustion and both women were left motionless on the canvas. Leva managed to get up at the count of nine while Kimberly stayed down for ten.
Wow, that was unexpected. Leva Bates is mostly known for her charming comedy but this was a side to her I hadn’t seen before. It was a little hard to take in places but I liked the aggression. We saw shades of this at SHIMMER Volume 40 against the Knights but here it was on full display. Kimberly is just a little psycho and reminds me of the early days of Victoria and Luna Vachon. I’m not the biggest fan of Last Man Standing matches but I’ve found yet another that has surpassed my expectations. This one was a little shorter than those matches usually are so maybe that’s why.
Winner: Leva Bates via ten count. 8/10
Kimberly wasn’t happy with the result and attacked Leva from behind. She locked in a Texas Cloverleaf and referees had prise the two women apart. Kimberly headed to the back with the mask Leva was wearing down to the ring. Okay….
Rain vs Amazing Kong:
Rain brought the other members of Valkyrie to the ring with her, making this a sort of Lumberjill match. But thankfully she didn’t cut another promo. Kong/Kharma as a babyface…it’s not right. The story early on was Rain continuously ducking outside of the ring to get moral support from the rest of Valkyrie because Kong kept overpowering her. Rain was able to bring Kong to her knees with some well-placed dropkicks and a DDT. Kong refused to stay down for too long however and charged Rain in the corner. Rain stuck to more dropkicks and some forearms to block Kong’s spinning back fist. Scoop slam and a splash from Kong for a two count. Kong attempted her Implant Buster early on but Rain avoided it and ended up knocking the referee out. Kong connected with the spinning back fist this time. However the members of Valkyrie entered the ring to attack Kong. As the ref was coming to, Rain grabbed a steel chair and threw it at Kong. She then lay on the ground, pretending she had been hit. The referee caught Kong seemingly after using the chair and called for the bell to disqualify her.
Pretty short for a main event really. I think it was only about ten or twelve minutes. The size difference worked much better than the Ivelisse/LuFisto match since Rain relied almost completely on hit-and-run tactics, keeping things looking a little more believable. It was quite a good match but I suppose it was more about the story continuation. Valkyrie need to assert their dominance by taking out the baddest woman in American wrestling in Amazing Kong. This match accomplished what it was meant to and managed to be quite entertaining in the process.
Winner: Rain via DQ. 7/10
After the match Valkyrie stormed the ring and ganged up on an enraged Kong. The rest of the roster hurries down to the ring and chases them away. The show ends with Valkyrie looking very pleased with themselves.
Well SHINE definitely lived up to the hype I’d been hearing from all around the internet. Not a bad match on the card at all. In fact, some were pretty great. I mentioned the production values helped make the show look more professional and they combined with the great wrestling to give me a lot to enjoy about the show. I’ve found some new talent to keep an eye on like La Rosa Negra, Santana and Kimberly as well as getting what I expect from the old faithful workers like Mercedes Martinez, Rain and LuFisto. It’s a promotion I can really get behind and I look forward to seeing more shows in the future. This Valkyrie storyline seems to be pretty well thought out.
Final Rating: 8/10