It’s nothing new in wrestling to see teams break up. Usually, the end of a team spells the slow demise of a budding career for at least one member, and the beginning of something bigger for the other. The Hart Foundation, The Rockers, The British Bulldogs all ended, and one member became a superstar on their own while the other floundered. But then there are times when a team splits up and both former members successfully use the opportunity to forge their own path. That’s what this show is all about.
Fourteen events following their debut in SHIMMER, former Pink Ladies SHIMMER champion Madison Eagles and Jessie McKay stake their claim as two of the best in the company by grappling over SHIMMER’s top prize in the main event. Sadly, this isn’t a match about respect a la The American Wolves in ROH. For Jessie, her mentor has changed since her return following a knee injury that forced the team to break up. It’s McKay’s belief that defeating Madison for the SHIMMER title would be a two-fold victory - one that would make McKay’s career and cause Madison see the error of her ways. For Eagles, it’s maintaining her spot on the top of the mountain while proving to her protégé of the past that no matter what, Madison Eagles is still better than Jessie McKay.
Can Jessie McKay complete her Cinderella story by winning the SHIMMER title? Will Madison Eagles gain one of the biggest victories in her reign thus far by stopping the little engine that could? But most importantly, is SHIMMER Volume 35 Worth Your Money?
SHIMMER Volume 35
Melanie Cruise vs. Jessica James
James used her speed advantage early by hitting and running after tripping the much taller Cruise. Sadly for James, she allowed Cruise to get up during one of her runs, getting big booted as she bounced off the ropes. Once again, it was a simple trip that gave James a chance to rebound, but being crushed between Cruise and the turnbuckles ended James’ momentum. The action went from inside to outside and back again, with James being the one on the receiving end of the pain. Spinning sidewalk slam by Cruise only gained a two count.
Jessica recovered, literally biting Melanie’s leg to prevent a power bomb. When Melanie freed herself from the teeth of James, she threw another big boot. James moved out of the way just in time to cause Melanie to hang herself in the ropes by her legs. Startled, Melanie was wide open for a series of kicks that dropped her. Thankfully for Cruise, she landed close enough to the ropes to save herself from the pinning predicament. Rather than use the ropes again to block an arm bar, Cruise powered herself and James off the mat, hitting a modified Cruise Control to knock the James out for the three count.
Amber Gertner was in the back to interview Rachel Summerlyn about her upcoming match with Sara Del Rey. Rachel felt tonight was the night she’ll show the world that she can hang with the best by hanging with “Death Rey”.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Misaki Ohata
It didn’t take long before Ohata went for one of those patented arm bars. Martinez tried to turn this grappling match into a brawl, only to get caught with a series of attacks that saw Ohata down Martinez for a two count. Mercedes had to be on high alert as Misaki converted failed pin attempts into the cross arm bar. A barrage of dropkicks on the seated Mercedes allowed Misaki to connect with that cross body block against the turnbuckles. Mercedes recovered, avoiding the missile dropkick attempt before big booting Ohata for a two count.
Long delayed brain buster from Martinez, but no three count. Tying up Ohata in the ring’s middle, Mercedes couldn’t believe when Misaki not only didn’t submit, but also made it to the ropes to free herself from the Regal stretch. A combination of strikes rocked Ohata, but the follow up Irish whip actually helped Ohata as she leapt around the immobile Mercedes, locking in that cross arm bar. Mercedes found her feet close enough to the ropes to save herself. Missile dropkick from Ohata connected … for a two count!
Mercedes blocked the Fairy Lock, but not the German suplex that gained Ohata another two count. Mercedes caught Ohata running, flapjacking her into a neck breaker. Quickly hooking Ohata in the Fisherman Buster, Martinez dropped Misaki on her weakened neck, pinning her just seconds later. This gives Martinez her sixth win in a row in SHIMMER.
Mercedes asked for the microphone after congratulating Ohata on the hard-fought match. Mercedes and the fans felt it was time for Martinez to have her SHIMMER title shot following six straight wins over top competition. Martinez promised that when that match does happen, she would walk away with the gold.
In the back was Amber Gertner with Jessie McKay - the SHIMMER title challenger. McKay reflected on how much Madison Eagles did for her, and the promise they had to stay as Pink Ladies. According to Jessie, Eagles isn’t the person she trained under, and tonight she’ll make her career by beating that same mentor for the SHIMMER title.
Daizee Haze & Tomaka Nakagawa vs. Nikki Roxx & Ariel
During Haze’s entrance, some handed her a sandwich. Daizee took the food, promising to eat it as a celebratory meal.
Nakagawa and Roxx kicked this one off for their respective teams, with Roxx mocking Nakagawa’s short stature by faking a test of strength. Nakagawa made her pay by kicking and biting Roxx. Nikki paid her back by tripping her into a series of boot bites and tickling. I know some sick freak is really getting off from this. Thankfully, the wrestling took precedent as Nakagawa tried to break Nikki’s wrist to follow the order of her partner. Rolling Roxx over, Nakagawa had her in a single leg Boston crab. Nikki bit her way to Ariel. Nakagawa made Ariel pay for her partner’s action by clawing her face before tagging out. Haze feigned lunchtime before pitching the sandwich in Ariel’s face and trying to choke her with the sandwich bag. Ariel was furious, arm dragging Daizee over and over again. Ariel had a full head of steam until Nakagawa tripped her from the outside.
Team Green & Black were having a great time using the ref’s incompetence to choke and claw at Ariel’s neck and hair. Haze and Nakagawa were having fun taunting the downed Ariel and waiting Roxx respectively. Usually these taunts were used to get some illegal double team action going. Ariel fought her way to Roxx, finally tagging out.
Roxx was on fire, hitting a spine buster on Tomaka after Nikki chased Haze out of the ring. Nakagawa survived the Big Whoop, hitting two enzuguris on Roxx. Between the kicks, Ariel tagged herself in without Nakagawa’s knowledge. Ariel grabbed Tomaka, going for the Three Amigos. Following the second suplex, Haze ran in, misting Ariel’s face. Blinded by the disgusting attack, Ariel was cradled by Nakagawa, and couldn’t kick out in time to avoid being counted down.
Allison Danger vs. Veronika Vice
This is a rematch from Volume 34, where Vice stole a victory from the SHIMMER legend. Danger quickly took Vice off of her feet, trying to outmaneuver her like she did during their first battle. This time, Vice was ready, using Danger’s wrestling against her by sending Danger into the turnbuckles before unleashing a clothesline. Vice’s focus was on Allison’s back, slamming and forearming the lower part of Danger’s torso. Blocking a suplex, Danger yanked Vice into a small package that turned into a rolling cradle around the ring. Vice was out on her feet, allowing Danger to hit several attacks, including a flying knee off the middle rope. Neither the knee, nor the STO allowed Danger to pin Vice. Vice recovered, tripping Danger before hitting a missile dropkick. Vice’s suplex attempt cost her as Danger turned it into the Lovelace Choker. With Vice out on her knees, Danger hit the Shimmering Warlock to put Vice down, and avenge her loss from the previous Volume.
At Volume 34, the SHIMMER Tag Team champion Portia Perez interrupted Serena Deeb’s welcome back speech. Perez ran down the good name of Deeb before challenging her status as a real wrestler. Deeb threw out the challenge for a match at Vol. 35. Perez accepted.
SHIMMER Tag Team champion Portia Perez vs. Serena Deeb
The initial, stern collar & elbow tie ups and grappling ended in clean breaks whenever someone came in contact with the ropes. Those patented deep arm drags came into play not long after for Serena. When Perez found herself being outmaneuvered and outwrestled, the SHIMMER champ went with a good old-fashioned fist to the nose to drop Deeb before pitching Serena to the floor. Deeb tried to fight her way off the floor, but ended up getting shoved against the steel barricades.
Perez pushed a hurting Deeb back into the ring to a loud clap from the crowd in support of Serena. The crowd stayed with Deeb as Perez kicked, choked and stomped her. Serena used Portia’s hitting the ropes for momentum against her by catching Perez with a clothesline on the rebound. They were duking it out until we saw some Texas jabs from Deeb. Running knee lift-clothesline combination from Deeb didn’t put the champ away. Perez fired back with a series of attacks that ended with a dropkick that almost pinned Deeb. Stopping the super kick, Deeb was able to hit the GTS gut-buster … for a near fall!
Serena called for the Spear. Perez stopped the maneuver at the last second with a drop toe hold before yanking Serena into a modified crossface. As Serena crawled to the ropes, Perez’s fellow Canadian Ninja Nicole Matthews ran out to argue with the referee about something. In actually, it was just a distraction by Nicole so Perez could pull Serena away from the bottom rope she was now clutching behind the ref’s back. Perez dragged Serena back to the ring’s middle, choking Serena into unconsciousness with the crossface. The referee had no choice but to stop the match, and award the victory to Portia Perez.
SHIMMER champion Madison Eagles explained to Amber Gertner that Jessie McKay is another one of the many women who want to bring Eagles down. Eagles told Amber that since the champ was responsible for bringing McKay in, she’d be the one to take her out.
Kellie Skater came out to complain about her loss to Serena Deeb at Volume 33. That’s why she’s here to issue another challenge to anyone in the back. Some familiar music hit, bringing the arrival of the returning Amazing Kong!
Amazing Kong vs. Kellie Skater
Skater tried to big boy Kong, but was immediately shoved out of the ring. Kellie got a quick workout in before testing Kong again. This led to Skater being tossed around the ring by her hair, clotheslined, and slammed. Skater avoided the big splash, almost pinning Kong off a surprise small package. Kong made Kellie pay, crushing her with the avalanche in the corner. Skater somehow kicked out of Kong’s follow up pin attempt. Kellie learned how to avoid the avalanche on the second attempt, rolling Kong up for a failed pin. But Kong was stuck on the mat in position for a couple of kicks. Hitting the ropes for a cross body block proved dangerous for Skater after Kong caught her and slammed Kellie. Skater recovered in time to stop the Vader Bomb, actually confronting Kong when she got off the ropes. Spinning Back Fist dropped Kellie like a cut tree. Rather than end it there, Kong Amazing Bombed Kellie into oblivion.
Sara Del Rey vs. Rachel Summerlyn
Summerlyn tried to make it an early night, rolling Del Rey up several times until Sara got angry and kicked her in the chest. Rachel fired back, actually downing Del Rey with a forearm. Suddenly, Daffney came out, distracting Rachel. This allowed not only allowed Rachel to lose her focus, but also gave Sara a chance to recover. Before Rachel could turn her attention back to Sara, Del Rey unleashed the capo kick to the back of Summerlyn’s head. Sara decided to stomp Rachel’s left hand, beginning a series of sickening finger based submissions and strikes aimed at the appendage. Things like Del Rey using the ropes to stomp on Rachel’s pinky were the norm, but Rachel refused to give up.
Sara finally made a mistake by hitting the ropes for some momentum. Instead, Del Rey ran into a clothesline. Del Rey was rocked following the big boot-Russian leg sweep combination. Best of Both Worlds hit for Rachel, but Sara rolled to the floor to avoid being pinned. As Rachel came after her on the floor, Del Rey kicked the ring steps into Rachel’s knees before slamming Summerlyn’s hand on the steps. Sara threw Rachel back in, using the cross arm bar to bend Rachel’s fingers back in an ungodly way. Summerlyn, stuck in the middle of the ring, had no choice but to tap out.
Daffney immediately hit the ring, beating on a hurt Rachel. Thankfully for Summerlyn, her tag partner Jessica James made the save, chasing Daffney off.
SHIMMER Tag Team champion Nicole Matthews vs. Ayako Hamada
This first time match up started with Matthews slapping Hamada square in the face. This began a slap-hair mare exchange until Hamada used one of those mares to kick Nicole on the back of her head. A follow up series of kicks to the head of Matthews had her reeling early. Nicole blocked a head-butt after taking several topped off by knife-edge chops, kicking Hamada in the chest and head before snap marring her for a rear chin lock. Nicole enjoyed kicking and choking Hamada on the ropes, but the fans were determined to get Ayako back in this fight. Matthews mocked Hamada by field goal kicking Hamada in the stomach. Rather than go for the cover immediately, Matthews paraded around the ring.
This actually gave Hamada a chance to recover. Super kick-head scissors-leaping DDT combination by Hamada, but Nicole somehow kicked out of Ayako’s follow up pin attempt. Nicole blocked the moonsault, connecting with the Lariat … for a near fall!
Hamada stopped the Last Rites with a modified stunner, kicking Nicole in position for another moonsault attempt. Once again, Nicole avoided the moonsault, German suplexing Hamada as she stumbled to her feet for another two count. The crowd was behind Hamada even though she could barely stand. Ayako used the fans’ encouragement to rally back, super kicking Nicole for the Liger Bomb … and another near fall!
Matthews blocked the spin kick, but missed her buzz saw kick in retaliation. This miss by Nicole allowed Hamada to roll to her feet before unleashing an enzuguri. With Nicole out on her feet, Hamada grabbed her before hitting the AP Cross. Ayako quickly made the cover, pinning the SHIMMER Tag champ.
Outside, Portia Perez spoke for The Canadian Ninjas by saying it was a great night for the champs after Perez choked out Deeb, and how Nicole almost beat the great Hamada. Nicole spoke up, stating that she knows someone never hit Hamada like Nicole hit her tonight.
Cheerleader Melissa vs. Ayumi Kurihara
Intense collar & elbow tie ups set the pace quickly. Ayumi started firing off strikes including forearms and dropkicks following the stalemate off the lock ups, but Melissa’s strength and size advantage blocked moves like suplexes by Kurihara so Melissa could slam Kurihara instead. The grappling was just as intense as the strikes before it as Melissa grinded Ayumi’s arms and legs. Ayumi actually turned one of Melissa’s leg locks into a rear naked choke. Thankfully for Melissa, she was low enough to avoid being choked out. Melissa slipped free into Ayumi’s closed guard, using some ground and pound before shoving Kurihara into the corner to throw a barrage of punches at the stomach of Kurihara. Ayumi reversed Melissa’s follow up Irish whip, hitting a pair of double knees that had Melissa clutching her chest.
When Melissa got to her feet, she initiated a forearm exchange that ended with Ayumi getting dropped. As Melissa hit the ropes for something, Ayumi leapt up for a roll up attempt. Melissa blocked the pinning combination, wheelbarrow suplexing Ayumi for a two count. Melissa uncharacteristically scaled the ropes, only for Kurihara to shove and kick Melissa to the floor. Cheerleader Melissa was wide open for a Kurihara’s huge dive from the top rope.
Missile dropkick by Kurihara caught Melissa right on the chin when the action returned inside to gain another two count. Melissa elbowed her way out of the Uranage, and Ayumi stopped the Kudo Driver. Air Raid Crash by Melissa, but no three count. Furious, Melissa just started stomping and punching Kurihara’s face to set up the dreaded curb stomp. Somehow, Ayumi bridged off the mat to save herself from the pin fall. Kurihara still had the wits about her to block the Kudo Driver before yanking Melissa to the mat with a backslide. Stunned by the pinning combination, Melissa didn’t have the chance to kick out, giving Ayumi another win in a SHIMMER ring.
At Volume 21, Madison Eagles and Jessie McKay debuted in SHIMMER as the Pink Ladies in a losing effort against The Canadian Ninjas. Twelve Volumes later, Jessie McKay was doing everything to break out as a title contender while her mentor and former partner took over SHIMMER by becoming the SHIMMER champion. Jessie accomplished her goal of gaining a SHIMMER title shot after defeating Nicole Matthews, Sara Del Rey, and Ayako Hamada on back-to-back Volumes. Tonight, the Pink Ladies explode!
SHIMMER title: Madison Eagles (c) vs. Jessie McKay
After trying to get the crowd on her side, Madison shot for a takedown. Jessie did a great job countering Eagles’ grappling, but found herself stuck on the mat more often than not. It wasn’t until Eagles made the mistake of whipping McKay into the ropes did things turn around for the challenger. Following a head scissors and a couple of arm drags, McKay thought she had Eagles in trouble by twisting the champ’s left arm. Eagles countered McKay’s arm lock, whipping her into the ropes. McKay went to the well once too many times as Eagles countered her head scissors attempt with a power bomb. McKay rolled to the floor, looking to Irish whip McKay into the guardrails. Jessie reversed the whip at the last second, sending the champ back first against the steel. Jessie was fired up as she rushed the stunned champion. At the last second, Madison moved, causing McKay to double knee the guardrails.
The champion used the referee’s count to her advantage as she took her time between breaks to slam and whip Jessie’s now injured legs against the steel railings. Jessie was hobbling on her left leg following the assault on the floor, but valiantly kicked out of Eagles’ follow up pin attempt in the ring, and refused to tap in the stretch muffler. Surfboard stomp by Eagles didn’t get her the victory, but did bring a smile to her face. Countering a shin breaker, Jessie went for the Schoolgirl Crush. Madison caught the incoming foot, using it to swing Jessie forward, face first against the mat.
The fans were behind McKay as she saved herself by grabbing the bottom rope to stop a Texas cloverleaf. Once again, McKay turned a lifting maneuver by Madison into the Octopus stretch. In a great show of strength and ingenuity, Madison turned the submission against McKay by slipping McKay into the stretch muffler again. With McKay’s legs tied, Madison used her own leg to crossface McKay. Somehow, Jessie made it to the ropes before the pain became too much to bear. As Madison took her time in grabbing McKay, Jessie went for broke, unleashing the codebreaker out of nowhere to down the champ.
Jessie somehow made it to a knee, but got kicked in the ribs and legs for her trouble. Using the ropes, Madison was twisting McKay’s left leg in all sorts of wrong ways. With McKay holding onto the ropes to prevent Madison from taking her across the ring, Eagles leapt up, sunset flipping the challenger. McKay rolled through the pinning combination, connecting with double knees before Eagles could move from her seated position. Jessie was throwing elbows to set up a successful Schoolgirl Crush. The leg based attack knocked Eagles over the top rope. Jessie jumped off the apron, drilling Madison with a hurricarana on the floor!
Rolling Madison back in, Jessie gained a two count. Eagles stopped the Boyfriend Stealer, going for a brain buster. Jessie kneed her way to freedom, locking Eagles in a standing guillotine choke. Eagles stopped the submission by powering Jessie over her head with a northern lights suplex. Eagles kept a grip of Jessie’s head, brain busting her … for a two count!
Placing Jessie on the top rope, Madison couldn’t complete whatever she had in mind when McKay tornado DDT’ed her for another two count. The women were jockeying for a high impact maneuver, and Jessie hit one with Code Pink. Eagles kicked out right before the three count, ducking the Schoolgirl Crush seconds later to clothesline Jessie. Madison scaled the ropes for something when McKay powered off the mat, slamming the champ to the mat. McKay hobbled toward the corner Eagles was just in, climbing the turnbuckles. Jessie took a moment to look at her adorning fans. Before McKay’s focus could return to the ring, Madison kicked her upside the head. With Jessie stunned, Eagles dragged Jessie off the top rope before executing Hell Bound in one swift motion. Madison hastily made the cover, pinning her former protégé.
Is It Worth Your Money: Looking at the card from top to bottom, this appeared to be one of the most well rounded SHIMMER shows in history. Cruise and James had a fun little David vs. Goliath match that not only showcased how great a monster Cruise is, but also how James could become the spunky babyface that could if SHIMMER got behind her. Mercedes vs. Ohata was all about the heart and tenacity of Martinez while displaying how dangerous Ohata’s arm bars are. Right beside The Canadian Ninjas are Haze and Nakagawa as the most entertaining tandem in SHIMMER. Their antics turned an average, formulaic tag match into something you become emotionally invested. Mike Johns wasn’t lying when he said Daizee Haze is one of the best of her generation (http://www.worldwrestlinginsanity.com/am2/publish/mikejohns/haze.shtml).
One of the few down points of the show was the next match. Maybe it was the placement on the card, or the fact there are so many more interesting things happening on the show, but Danger-Vice has been a let down. It feels like it should be a big deal, but it doesn’t. They had another solid match that evened the score. Hopefully the next one will have that big fight feel it’s missing. What did have big time feel were the next several matches. Perez vs. Deeb had the crowd bumping, and for good reason. They told a great story, and produced a match just short of main event level; leaving room for something in the future. Kong’s return match, while short (her whole SHIMMER return was short due to being signed by WWE not long after this), gave the fans what they wanted (Kong killing people) while showing that Kellie could pull of victories against top flight talent if she wasn’t overtaken by her own wolveriness.
The next two matches wanted to showcase the abilities of two women who many didn’t give a chance in winning against two of wrestling’s best. Sadly, only one of those matches completed its task. Nicole Matthews walked away looking better than ever by taking the fight to Hamada, with her own cockiness getting the better of her during the middle portion of the match, inadvertently leading to Ayako’s winning comeback. Rachel, on the other hand, started off strong, but Daffney’s distraction and Sara’s decimation of her made Summerlyn come across as one step below the competition. That’s not a bad thing. With her feud still going on with Daffney, Rachel will learn to step up to the task thanks to this match to, hopefully, take down her former mentor. There’s not much to say about the semi-main event outside of it being an incredible battle of wills that started the 1-2 KO that was the end of the show.
If that wasn’t enough of a giveaway, then let me tell you that the main event was incredible. In the same vein as Austin Aries vs. Alex Shelley from ROH’s original “Manhattan Mayhem”, this event featured two women who were once friends break away from each other, with one becoming champion out of nowhere and the other working her way to a title shot. With the SHIMMER audience captivated in her story, everyone hoped to not only see Jessie McKay face her old partner for the gold, but also trump her. It was truly a coming of age tale before the first bell rang thanks to the pre-match promos and video package. And when that bell sounded, the story progressed even further with a story that showed the toughness of McKay, the calculating mind of the champ, and how they are two of the best in SHIMMER. On a card featuring Cheerleader Melissa, Sara Del Rey, Ayumi Kurihara, and others doing their best to steal the show, Eagles and McKay used a simple story to craft a masterpiece - just like Aries and Shelley did all those years ago.
From top to bottom, this is one of SHIMMER’s best events to date, and any fan of women’s wrestling, or someone interested in becoming a fan, needs to check this one out.
SHIMMER Volume 35 Is Worth Your Money.