Now up a trio of wrestling reviews from two promotions that are staples of the indy wrestling scene. One is a womens promotion and the other is California’s premiere promotion.
Shimmer Womens Athletes Vol. 53
A womens wrestling promotion founded by manager/commentator Dave Prazak and run by him and retired female wrestler Allison Danger, Shimmer started in late 2005 and has become a premiere womens wrestling company-one which has also become an American home for a number of international talents from Canada, UK, Australia, Japan and more.
1. Mia Yim vs. Amazing Kong-Kong is a world traveled wrestler who you might know from TNA as Awesome Kong of briefly as Kharma in WWE (personal issues sidelined her before they released her prematurely). This was her return taking on the talented Mia Yim who also returning having spent time training in Japan. This was a brief match between Kong and the smaller Yim. Yim almost matched height but the weight behind Kong makes her hard to fight. A breezy, simple, opening match that was too short to do much but solid enough to open the show.
2. Veda Scott & Shazza McKenzie vs. Cherry Bomb & Kimber Lee-Veda Scott and Shazzie Mckenzie had just recently formed their tag team (in the Shimmer-verse at least) on the previous round of tapings. They were taking on Cherry Bomb teaming with the debuting Kimber Lee (both ladies work for CZW, a popular and long running indy promotion). An okay but forgettable quickie of a match. Not enough time to get anything going.
3. Kalamity vs. Rhia O’Reilly vs. Evie vs. Christina Von Eerie vs. Yuu Yamagata-6 minutes was not enough for this 5 person match up which included the debuting Evie from New Zealand and Yuu Yamagata from Japan. Especially as Evie as a lot of buzz about her. Despite the time constraints the little the ladies had time to do looked good. Everyone worked hard and I think that another four minutes would have made a world of difference. An okay little match.
4. Ayumi Kurihara vs. Mercedes Martinez-The first match given any decent time was also Japanese wrestler Ayumi Kurihara’s last match in the US as she was set to retire soon after (which technically means shes been retired for a few months now.) Mercedes Martinez has been a fixture on the indy scene for about a decade and is a very talented wrestler. This was a very good match. Both hit hard, are good on the mat and did some head dropping throws along the way. One of the strongest matches on the show.
5. Serena Deeb & Allison Danger & Leva Bates with Daffney vs. Jessika Havok & Sassy Stephie & Nevaeh with Mademoiselle Rachelle-Serena Deeb of WWE’s Straight Edge Society fame made her in ring return after taking over a year off from injury. She teams here with now retired Allison Danger and her partner Leva Bates (they have geek woman gimmick, this time dressing as Jay and Silent Bob) and being accompanied by former WCW Cruiserweight champ Daffney. Facing off against Sassy Stephie, and the debuting Nevaeh and Jessika Havok. Havok is one of the top lady wrestlers in the US. This was a pretty basic tag match and didn’t really pick up until the end. Overall it was alright but I want to see more with Havok.
6. Jessie McKay vs. Madison Eagles-A lot of returns as former Shimmer champ Madison Eagles returned to take on rival/protege Jessie McKay in what was probably the best match on the show. I’m not a huge fan of McKay but she’s good and Madison-standing over 6 feet tall, is one of the best female wrestlers right now. When two wrestlers have chemistry its a thing of beauty and these two have. The opening handshake to the double kicks caught then released on the count of 3 was amusing. The sequence where McCay escapes a hold through a cartwheel and then Madison would try the same escape while fitted with a waistlock only for McKay to hold on for the ride was a beauty. This was all around an excellent match that I would use to exemplify what Shimmer is at its best.
7. SHIMMER Tag Team Title Match: Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews vs. Kana & LuFisto vs. Taylor Made & Allysin Kay vs. Kellie Skater & Tomoka Nakagawa-A four corners tag match was an interesting beast. Perez and Matthews (Canadian Ninjas) are good heels and have a lot of personality. Kana and Lufisto were definitely the best wrestlers in the mix. Lufisto a veteran and one of the toughest women alive while Kana from Japan is just a star from the moment you see her. Made and Kay (Made In Sin) are fine and I’m not entirely sold on Skater and Nakagawa (Global Green gangstas/3G). This match had its high points and its low points. Lufisto was injured in this match (she’s since made a recovery) but still finished out her part. Whenever Lufisto is in the ring its like she’s trying to drag her opponents into 90s era Joshi wrestling which I love. This was a mixed bag but Kana and Lufisto were the bright spots for me. I hope Lufisto makes the next set of tapings (happening soon) to team more with Kana. or singles matches. Whichever.
8. Athena vs. Ayako Hamada-The second best match on the show, the world traveled veteran Ayako Hamada who hails from a wrestling family took on one of the buzzed about indy darling Athena in a rematch from volume 52. Hamada is one of my all time faves. She is good. She is excellent. Great on the mat, killer kicks, high flying, and some sweet powermoves. Athena is no slouch-a very athletic lady who runs and hops around with crazy moves. This was an excellent encounter that displayed exactly what each lady is about. I can not speak high enough of Hamada-she is the reason i started buying Shimmer again after quitting with volume 4 (or 5). Athena was injured earlier this year and her recent recovery fund drive was a success (I donated) and I hope to see more of her next year (though with Shimmer DVD release I’ll see some of her with the upcoming DVDs).
9. Steel Cage/SHIMMER Title Match: Saraya Knight vs. Cheerleader Melissa-Sweet Saraya is a veteran of the ring and matriarch of the Knight Dynasty which includes WWE NXT womens champ Paige (expect her to be called up to main roster in the near future). Cheerleader Melissa is a veteran too but has not been in the wrestling world nearly as long as Saraya. This was Shimmers first cage match and the opponents were the right people. The story behind this feud goes back years when Saraya was badly injured in a match with Melisaa in her home country. The injury was so bad Saraya was thought to need a leg amputation. Saraya arrived in Shimmer with her daughter two years ago and has went on to be one of their most valuable and volatile heels. Once she came in she sought to take revenge on Melissa and ended up taking the strap off of her, also trying to injure her and put her out. The match itself is fueled by these two anger and hatred. Saraya is obviously not in her prime but she does her job well. What she lacks in mobility and clean execution she makes up in pure character and viciousness. Melissa is extremely good and polished. There was very little fancy in this match but it got the job done and was a nice cap off to their feud.
Observations: Shimmer holds their events at a club in Illinois but for volume 53 they were invited to WretsleCon back in April. So a larger setting and about triple their audience. So a strong crowd and a brilliant setting gave a very top of the line look that would rival TNA. This show has been available VOD since April, being their first and only iPPV, but Shimmer is incredibly slow with DVDs so this DVD was just released. They have 4 more DVDs set to come out and I doubt they’ll be available before the last set of tapings for 2013. Due to WrestleCons schedule with various shows happening on the same day I believe it effected the time allotted for various matches on the show.
Summery: A good show, not their best but seemed to be designed to be an introduction to new fans as it was held outside their home at a large convention and also their first iPPV. I believe with more time for certain matches the whole would have improved but I believe they were one of at least 4 shows for the day and some stuff was running late. Still, good Shimmer show.
Match of the Night: Madison Eagles vs. Jessie McKay
Pro Wrestling Guerrilla: Battle of Los Angeles 2013 Nights 1 and 2
PWG is the premiere California indy company and has featured numerous talent who have gone on to work WWE and TNA. One of the more highly praised companies for its hard hitting action and rowdy atmosphere. Battle of Los Angeles, aka BOLA, has been around since 2005 and off the all winners the best known would be Low Ki (aka Senshi or Kaval depending on where you are), Joey Ryan (co-founder of PWG and recently worked TNA) and the up and coming WWE star Sami Zayn (currently in their NXT system) under his El Generico persona.
Due to the fact its 2 DVDs, a total of 18 matches, and my attempts to avoid as many spoilers as possible I will highlight certain matches.
My Highlights from Night 1
Kevin Steen vs. Chuck Taylor-The opening match of the night and first match of the tournament had a good mix. Both indy darlings they did a little comedy and a lot of good wrestling. my favorite spot is when they both took the commentary headsets arguing who was better at commentary and telling play-by-play man Excalibur to pick, only for him to give them both the eye poke.
Brian Cage vs. Tomasso Ciampa-The second match started hot and then got way scary when the debuting Ciampas attempt for a powerbomb on two chairs on the outside floor dropped Cage in a bad way. It was worrying but Cage got in and went at it hard. Made it even more nerve wracking. This was a mean match with you pulling for Cage to get back at Ciampa.
AR Fox vs. Roderick Strong-I think AR Fox’s style is way over the top but his matches are exciting. His expressions are gold. Roderick Strong is a work horse. These two delivered a hard hitting match with craziness and lots of crazy false finishes. AR Fox is wowing me pretty much every time out.
Joey Ryan vs. Drake Younger-Joey Ryans second match back from his brief stay in TNA. He won the tournament in 2010. Drake Younger is one of the new stars in PWG but has been wrestling for years and was best known for his death match wrestling which he has put behind him. Thats why I enjoyed the spot where Younger gets a bag from udner the ring-sign of thumbtacks, only to reveal jolly ranchers (or some sort of hard candy) that he wished to throw Ryan on. Ryan responded shortly later with his own bag of goodies-lego pieces. Just a fun overall match.
Michael Elgin vs. Rich Swann-The last of the opening round matches (and the one before that nights non tournament main event) was an excellent showcase of the power and force of Elgin as well as the speed, high flying and charisma of Rich Swan. I have been digging Elgin all this year and Swann is impresseses.
Highlights from Night 2
Johnny Gargano vs. Kevin Steen-Probably my favorite match of both shows. Both guys are so good and have great chemistry-the build to the finale is excellent. There is not a major spot or moment for me to pick out but when I think of the construction and execution between the two wrestlers this one stands out. A cut above.
Roderick Strong vs. Michael Elgin-Two guys beating the crap out of each other. Good stuff.
Kyle O’Reilly vs. ACH-A damn fine encounter but not as good as their AAW match earlier this year. O’Reilly has been tearing it up in PWG recently while ACH made his debut the night before and got over real good with the audience.
Chuck Taylor, Joey Ryan, and Trent? (formerly Trent Barretta of WWE) vs. Tomasso Ciampa, Willie Mack, and B-Boy-A fun six man tag match with some cool comedy bits including Taylor breaking out his grenade and destroying everyone in the ring leading to wrestler Anthony Nese, who was doing commentary, to take over the ref work. The best spot is when Ciampa teased the move he did to Cage the night before only for everyone to tell him no. Brian Cage himself came out to tell him not to do it and Ciampa got in position to allow for Cage to do the move he had just planed.
Tag Champions of Young Bucks & World Champion Adam Cole vs. Rich Swann, AR Fox and Candace LeRae-Another six person tag with mroe seriousness, crazier high flying, and lady wrestler LaRae. It was a strong match and one of the best 6 person matches I’ve seen this year. Swann will be teaming with Fox for an upcoming PWG show rather than his usual partner (who is probably in Japan) and I am cool with this.
Finals-Brief and to the point, this was a good match. Not my favorite and I noticed a spot that seemed ripped from the recent FIVE STAR rated (Wrestling Observer) Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii. No knocks, both men did a damn good job but I’d say their best matches were earlier in the show. Big victory and then some heel stuff and storyline twists to close the show.
Observations: Same venue, same crazy excited fans who were lining up the walls to check out the show. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Summery: PWG has delivered on every DVD I have purchased. BOLA was two discs worth of purchasing. If you think the action in WWE is rather boring maybe PWG is for you. Harder strikers, crazier dives, and more dangerous power moves.
Match of the Night: Kevin Steen vs. Johnny Gargano from Night 2
Grade for The Events: A