No one expected that two Volumes following her SHIMMER return, Madison Eagles would find herself in a position twelve other people over the course of fourteen matches entered since SHIMMER Vol. 19 in 2007: a challenger to MsChif's SHIMMER title reign. Though Eagles cheated her way to the title shot by using the ropes to her advantage to pin Cheerleader Melissa, Madison showed she had the tools to hang with MsChif's greatest rival, and "beat" her. With growing confidence, Eagles has the chance to do what women like Sara Del Rey, Mercedes Martinez, and Serena Deeb couldn't by ending the near two-year reign.
Not only does Madison Eagles have a chance at gold, but also Nikki Roxx and Ariel when they take on The Canadian Ninjas for the SHIMMER Tag Team title. And don't forget about the Joshi dream matches including Ayako Hamada vs. Daizee Haze and Sara Del Rey taking on Ayumi Kurihara.
Can Madison Eagles do the near impossible and trump MsChif? Or will Eagles just be another victim of MsChif's "Reign of Torment"? Will The Ninjas find themselves title-less by the end of this Volume? Do the women of SHIMMER have what it takes to stop the Joshi invasion? While it's shaping up to be an incredible show, is SHIMMER Volume 31 Worth Your Money?
SHIMMER Volume 31
Kellie Skater vs. Jessica James
The impressive power of the "Rate Tank" Kellie Skater was on display early as she pushed James across the ring off the collar & elbow tie up. Unfortunately for Kellie, her confidence got the better of her as James tricked Kellie into several barrel rolls that dropped Skater face first against the mat. Like Skater, James' believed advantage - her agility - is what cost her when Skater avoided an attack in the corner, yanking James by the hair to bounce James' head off the mat. Skater had James staggering horribly as she pounded away on SHIMMER's smallest competitor. Using a clothesline attempt against Skater, James almost pinned Kellie off a crucifix.
When Skater kicked out, she unleashed a vicious clothesline. Taking a page out of Chris Jericho's book (take your pick; both are great), Skater's cocky pin didn't get her the three count. Firing back, James drilled Kellie by handstand kicking the confused Skater after James started getting some speed. Once again, it was James' speed that killed her when Kellie kicked a running Jessica in position for Skate or Die. Skater made the cover … for the three count! Skater wins! Skater wins! Skater wins!
Jessie McKay vs. Sassy Stephie
The early moments of this one saw McKay play Ricky Steamboat to Stephie's Ric Flair by putting on a headlock clinic that stunned Stephie. Sassy worked here way off the mat, but ended up taking those running knees to the chest and a fist drop. McKay made a huge mistake thinking that Stephie would follow her after a reversed Irish whip into the corner, leaving Jessie wide open for a clubbing forearm to her back. Stephie had McKay all tied up in the ropes before kicking Jessie square in the face. McKay made a roaring comeback after surviving the front guillotine choke, head scissoring Stephie. As quickly as McKay gained an advantage, Sassy dropped her. McKay and Stephie bounced off the ropes following an Irish whip, looking for hair mares. The debilitating move by both women stunned both enough for them to think one solid attack would end it. Sassy Stephie seemed to be en route to win via the Kiss My Sass when Jessie broke free of Stephie's grip. Before Stephie could react, Jessie connected with the School Girl Crush before putting Stephie's shoulders to the math thanks to the Boyfriend Stealer.
In the back, Amber Gertner stood with the self proclaimed future SHIMMER champion Madison Eagles to talk about Eagles' title match against MsChif tonight; a shot she gained after defeating Cheerleader Melissa at the last Volume. Eagles quickly dismissed Gertner because Eagles believed she has the SHIMMER title in the bag already.
Malia Hosaka vs. Rayna Von Tash
Tash did a great job grounding Hosaka in the early going, but the veteran/heel prowess of Hosaka turned the tides with a well placed poke in the eyes followed by the dreaded savate kick. The flying double chop from Hosaka almost gained her the three count, but no supporters by abusing the lovely Rayna. Tash found herself stuck in the ring's middle in a Boston crab. Showing great tenacity and a high threshold for pain, Tash not only reversed the crab, but also caught a fighting Hosaka with a side slam. Sexy elbow drop after a neck breaker didn't get Rayna the pin. Hosaka quickly countered Tash's loose waist lock with one of her own by elbowing her over and over again. Hoisting Tash off the mat, Malia executed a Glam Slam to drive Tash into the mat to end the rookie's night.
In the back, SHIMMER champion MsChif said that Madison Eagles is the next to fall during her world traveling title reign that has seen the champ defeat some of the best the planet has to offer.
Mercedes Martinez vs. Tomoka Nakagawa
A quick exchange on the mat saw Nakagawa get dirty early by breaking a side headlock from Mercedes by biting Martinez's hands. Mercedes quickly recovered, tripping and slamming Tomoka before locking her in another side headlock/the front face lock. Both women worked they way off the mat, getting into a shoulder block exchange. Using a well-timed poke to the eyes, Nakagawa shoulder tackled Mercedes. The action just angered Martinez as she started arm dragging the pleased Nakagawa; ending her series via a dropkick.
Going for the Fisherman Buster early cost Martinez when Nakagawa dropkicked her legs from underneath her before doing to the same to Martinez's face. Using the referee's shoes against him by untying them, Nakagawa used a tassel from her pants to choke Martinez. The referee figured out what was going on when Nakagawa grabbed the tassel rather than Mercedes hair when trying to pull back with the rear chin lock.
Nakagawa ordered Mercedes to quit while wrenching on the figure four headlock. Releasing the hold, Nakagawa went for her Fisherman Suplex. Mercedes fought through Tomoka's finisher, kicking Nakagawa in position for the brain buster … to gain a near fall! Even Mercedes believed she got the three count off the attack. This momentary argument between Martinez and the ref allowed Nakagawa to recover and counter the Fisherman Buster with a DDT. Last Chancery by Nakagawa didn't make Mercedes submit, but did where her out enough that Nakagawa could insulting slap Mercedes on the back of her head following an enzuguri. Nakagawa flipped Mercedes over with the Fisherman Suplex … for a near fall thanks to a hand on the bottom rope!
Nakagawa scaled the ropes for something, but Martinez met her on the top rope. Nakagawa fought back, but Martinez palm struck Nakagawa. With Tomoka stunned, Mercedes pulled Nakagawa off the top, executing the Fisherman Buster to get the victory in this battle of the Fisherman attacks.
At SHIMMER Volume 29, Annie Social and Melanie Cruise helped The Canadian Ninjas beat up Allison Danger, Ariel, Leva Bates, and Nevaeh.
Allison Danger vs. Melanie Cruise w/Annie Social
Allison did a great job disabling Cruise's height advantage by taking Cruise to the mat. Allowing Cruise to get up was a huge mistake for Danger when Melanie used the hot shot to drop Danger across the top rope throat first. Firing back with chops didn't help Danger much when Cruise clotheslined the running Allison. The fans were behind Danger as she tried to fight back. Using her knee on two occasions, Danger set up and executed the Lovelace Choker. At the last second, Social saved her girl from getting pinned by sliding into the ring. During the commotion, Cruise shoved the referee out of the way before doing the same to Danger. Landing on Social, Danger was stunned long enough for Cruise to cradle and pin Danger! Wow, that was sloppy ending.
Before the post match two on one beat down could continue, Jennifer Blake rushed the ring to save Allison. Danger grabbed the microphone to challenge Cruise and Social for a tag match at the next SHIMMER tapings.
At SHIMMER Vol. 27, Daffney left her partner Rachel Summerlyn high and dry to be beaten by the International Home Wrecking Crew. One Volume later, Daffney beat the crap out of Rachel.
No Disqualification match: Daffney vs. Rachel Summerlyn
During Rachel's intro, Daffney went for a cradle pin, only to begin a pinning combination exchange. When both women realized they weren't getting the win that easily, Daffney rushed Rachel to choke her to her heart's content. Garvin stomp by Daffney actually cost the veteran when Rachel tripped her for some mounted punches. Tossing Daffney to the floor actually proved bad for Summerlyn when Daffney slammed Rachel into the steel ring post. For some reason, Daffney assumed there were pins anywhere. Reversing an Irish whip, Rachel sent Daffney back first into the guardrails … hard! When Rachel reentered the ring, Daffney hooked her and hit the Lobotomy to end this one rather abruptly.
Hiroyo Matsumoto vs. Lufisto
When the bell rang, Lufisto immediately rushed her with a series of forearms. Hiroyo paid her back seconds later, leading to a smiling standoff. I'm serious; they actually seemed happy about it. Lufisto missing the shoulder block in the corner, Hiroyo started spanking Lufisto before biting Lufisto booty. Hiroyo followed up her antics of spanking and pulling Lufisto's pigtailed hair by side slamming Lufisto in position for that camel clutch that saw Matsumoto pull on Lufisto's nose.
Lufisto fought back, hitting a Death Valley driver that Lufisto used to put Hiroyo in position for a camel clutch of her own. Releasing the hold, Lufisto tied Hiroyo's legs in hopes of making her submit following a running senton splash. Hiroyo saved herself from the hold by the grabbing the ropes. Hiroyo turned the tables for a shot time by face raking Lufisto, but Lufisto avoided Hiroyo's running attack to put Mastumoto in position for that cannonball splash in the corner. Somehow, Hiroyo survived, firing back with forearms that set up a missile dropkick … for a near fall!
Ducking a wild right hand, Lufisto German suplexed Hiroyo for a two count of her own. Lufisto connected with the diving head-butt, but didn't get the pin off of it. Stopping the Burning Hammer, Matsumoto was able to hit the gut-buster … for another two count!
Calling for the end, Hiroyo couldn't complete the Backdrop Driver. Hitting the ropes, Lufisto exploded with a running boot to the head after forearming Matsumoto off her feet. Lufisto lost her chance at the Burning Hammer, but almost pinned Hiroyo with victory roll. Hiroyo jumped to her feet, clotheslining Lufisto. Stunned by the attack, Hiroyo, grabbed Lufisto, Backdrop Driving Lufisto for the three count.
Cheerleader Melissa vs. Misaki Ohata
Ohata made a huge mistake by trying to forearm Melissa off her feet immediately. Melissa absorbed all Misaki's strikes, shoving her away following each barrage. Ohata changed her game plan by trying to frustrate Ohata, but ended up in a bow & arrow. Prying Melissa's hands apart, Ohata found herself atop the SHIMMER star. Melissa stopped Ohata's pin attempt, halting every move Ohata had in mind afterwards thanks to Melissa's power and size advantage. After slamming and elbow dropping Ohata, Melissa took her time twisting and grinding Ohata's arms. Showing her knowledge about arm bars, Ohata countered Melissa's running attack by arm barring her. Somehow, Melissa powered herself and Ohata off the mat, using a modified power bomb to free herself!
Melissa condo clutch didn't make Ohata tap, but did force her to look for help via the ropes. Hooking Ohata for the Kudo Driver almost seemed to be a mistake, but Ohata ended up being slammed. Going for another body slam, Melissa swung Ohata into a DDT on her. Melissa was stunned, and open prey for another arm bar. This time, Melissa scurried to the ropes. Ohata picked up the pace, going for several pinning combinations. Melissa kicked out of every pin attempt, Samoan dropping Ohata … for a two count!
Once again, Ohata stopped the Kudo Driver, sunset flipping Melissa for another two count. Catching the running Ohata, Melissa placed Misaki on the top rope. Fighting her way through the maneuver, Ohata knocked Melissa to the mat in preparation for a missile dropkick. Melissa swatting Ohata out of midair knocked the wind out of Misaki. Hoisting Ohata's prone body off the mat, Melissa finally hit the Kudo Driver for the 1, 2, 3.
SHIMMER Tag Team title: The Canadian Ninjas (c) vs. Nikki Roxx & Ariel
Pitching their t-shirts at their challengers, The Ninjas thought they could get the jump on Roxx and Ariel. Unfortunately for the champions, the challengers scared them off with their ninja tactics before almost losing the shirts to the crowd. When everything finally settled, Nicole Matthews of the Ninjas and Roxx tied up. Roxx turned the quick collar & elbow into several failed pinning predicaments. Using a cartwheel to outdo Matthews' front flip, Roxx tagged out. Portia Perez felt the need to show her agility, but ended up being clotheslined by Ariel instead. Tagging out, Ariel held Perez for Roxx's double axe handle from the top. Ariel did the same seconds later before getting some help from Roxx to leg drop Perez.
Somewhat distracted by the fans' cheer, Ariel succumbed to School's Out from Perez to finally turn the tides in the champions' favor. Matthews became the legal woman, chopping and thumbing Ariel in the eyes. Ariel fired back, catching an incoming Matthews with a tornado DDT. Both women tagged out, bringing in Roxx and Perez.
Polish hammer-spine buster combination stunned Perez. Matthews ran in, only to be taking over by the Cutie Special. Ariel entered the ring, suplexing Perez across Matthews' face! Perez recovered, super kicking Ariel to the floor before helping Matthews complete the Funky Cold Medina for another successful SHIMMER Tag title defense.
Ayako Hamada vs. Daizee Haze
Hamada put the fear in Haze early by charging at Daizee before the bell. Both women were hesitant to lock, but when they did, Hamada grappled circles around the smaller Haze. What Haze lacked in strength over Hamada, she made up with evil craftiness by lying about a hair pull to set up a tights-clutching cradle. Hamada paid Haze back for her cheating ways by dropkicking Haze square on the jaw before yanking as hard as she could on Haze's hair to set up an arm bar. Big running boot leveled Haze; as did three body slams that gained Hamada a two count. Hamada's focus seemed to be on Haze's arms and nothing else. Going for the rope walking arm drag cost Hamada when Haze yanked Ayako off the top rope.
Hamada took Haze's assault, firing back with boots to the chest. Daizee quickly recovered, using the ropes to help slam the back of Hamada's head against the mat. Haze made a huge mistake for going for a body slam, causing Hamada to fall on top of her. When Haze kicked out of the pinning predicament she put herself in, Ayako head-butted, chopped, and enzuguri'ed Daizee … for a near fall!
Moonsault by Hamada also gained Ayako a two count. Blocking the Hamada Driver seemed to work for Daizee, but she couldn't counter Ayako's power bomb. Somehow, Haze kicked out right before the three count to the shock of everyone. Turning a waist lock into a German suplex, Haze had Ayako in position for the Heart Punch-Yakuza kick combo. Haze connected with the Punch, but Ayako countered the Yakuza kick with a spin kick. One Hamada Driver later, and Hamada had Daizee's shoulders to the mat for those precious three seconds.
Sara Del Rey vs. Ayumi Kurihara
Del Rey tried to corner Ayumi early, luring Kurihara into a Greco-roman knuckle lock. After feeling the power and technique of Del Rey, Ayumi worked her way to an advantage by turning this wrestling into a brawl after having her arm worked over for several minutes. Several forearms from Ayumi made her think she had Del Rey rocked, but ended up getting clotheslined. Sara's focus on the left arm of Ayumi slowed any quick pace Kurihara wanted to set, and forced some depressing screams from the Joshi star. The fans rallied behind Kurihara as she scooted to the ropes to stop an arm bar.
Whipping Kurihara into the ropes actually helped Ayumi as she sprung off with clothesline after clothesline until Sara was down for two seconds. "Death Rey" turned the tables quickly when Ayumi's body slam failed due to her weak left arm. Ayumi found herself on the mat again, with Del Rey pulling on Ayumi's arms while pushing against Kurihara's head with her cross legs.
Somehow, Kurihara held on, making it to the ropes. A big field goal kick between Ayumi's shoulder blades set up the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Ayumi kicked out of Sara's follow up pin, rolling onto the apron for a breather. Del Rey didn't give Kurihara any room to breath, kicking her in the back again as Kurihara dangled across the ring's edge. When the action returned inside, the crowd began clapping in support of Kurihara as Del Rey tried to make Ayumi humble in the camel clutch.
Once again, the Irish whip by Del Rey cost her as Ayumi reversed the whip into the corner, hitting a pair of knees topped off by that famous running dropkick in the corner. Ayumi started firing off forearms, but got suplexed for her trouble. For the third time, Del Rey's Irish whip worked against her as Kurihara spun into the whip, locking Del Rey in the octopus. Keeping her base while walking toward the corner, Del Rey dropped Ayumi on the top turnbuckle. Sara wound back for a right hand, only for Ayumi to catch the incoming fist, putting Del Rey in an arm bar while hanging from the top rope.
Ayumi released the hold before the ref's five count, going for a cross body block right after. Del Rey caught the flying Ayumi, fall away slamming Kurihara. Hoisting Ayumi across her shoulders after kicking Kurihara upside the head, Del Rey executed a torture rack backbreaker … for a near fall!
Blocking the Royal Butterfly, Kurihara was able to hit the codebreaker to set up a sliding dropkick that gained her another near fall. Missile dropkick hit Del Rey on the jaw, but didn't keep her down. Del Rey showed some incredible heart by kicking out of Ayumi's pin following the Uranage. Del Rey kicked her way off her back, looking for one buzz saw kick that would put Ayumi's lights out after failing to pin Del Rey after several pinning combinations. Avoiding the buzz saw kick at the last second, Kurihara cradled Del Rey. Using all of her strength, Kurihara held Del Rey down, giving her another SHIMMER victory.
Madison Eagles' road to this SHIMMER title match started during her SHIMMER return at Vol. 29. One Volume later, Eagles defeated Cheerleader Melissa - with her feet on the ropes - in a number one contender's match.
SHIMMER title: MsChif (c) vs. Madison Eagles
MsChif's trademark scream startled Eagles early to stop things like unclean breaks. MsChif used the Sarah Stock technique from the last Volume by trying to surprise Eagles with flash pins that would've ended this one quickly. Using the referee's kindness to her advantage, Eagles shoved him toward MsChif in hopes getting in a cheap shot. MsChif was ready, rolling Eagles up again. When the challenger kicked out, she clobbered MsChif's back. Running knee strike on the champ almost ended her ring. MsChif found herself twisted and tied by Eagles, struggling to the ropes. Eagles enjoyed her abuse on MsChif until the champ used a victory roll face buster to set up her Boston crab-camel clutch combo. Biting at MsChif's hands was the only thing that saved Madison.
Grabbing MsChif's legs, Madison had the champion locked in an Indian death lock she felt would make the champ submit. When MsChif made it to the ropes, Eagles side Russian leg swept MsChif into a unique abdominal stretch variation. Every time MsChif made it to the ropes to stop a submission, Eagles would contort or twist MsChif into another hold. Eagles took her attack one step further by turning those failed submissions into lateral presses. The challenger made a big mistake by going for a slam when MsChif slipped out of her grip, drilling Eagles with Gateway to Annihilation.
Eagles kicked out of MsChif's pin attempt following the attack, as well as a standing moonsault. The challenger exploded off the mat with a clothesline after taking those double stomps in the corner. Eagles effortlessly hoisted MsChif off the mat, executing Hell Bound. Madison Eagles covered MsChif … getting the three count! We have a new SHIMMER champion!
The fans were not pleased whatsoever as Eagles paraded around with her new championship.
Is It Worth Your Money: The SHIMMER formula returned after a one Vol. absence here. The first few matches were enjoyable for first time viewings, but didn't give me a feeling that I'll go back and rewatch them anytime soon. Martinez vs. Nakagawa got my hopes up that the show was heading for an upswing as they produced a very unique, story driven match revolving around their respective, yet similar finishers; and how they'd play into the match's finish. Then we had two matches that were incredibly short (even by SHIMMER standards) featuring sloppy/abrupt endings. In reality, both matches were about story progression rather than stealing the show. Can't hate on a story moving forward, but it felt like a waste of time.
Then the Joshi dream match showcase returned, and everything picked up. Matsumoto vs. Lufisto was incredibly fun for the simple fact it didn't take itself too seriously with the personalities involved. That doesn't mean the match wasn't serious. The story of Lufisto's obsession with the Burning Hammer costing her kept everyone on their toes because they didn't know if/when she'd hit her finisher; only for Matsumoto to finish Lufisto off first.
Melissa and Ohata had a wonderful David vs. Goliath style match that needs to be seen. Melissa just seemed so happy abusing the usually smiling Misaki. The Tag title match wasn't anything breathtaking, but an entertaining affair that further displayed how great The Ninjas are for the tag division. Challenging the past previous Joshi infused battles for Match of the Night, Haze and Hamada's fight showed that while she might be cheating a lot more since her heel turn, Haze is still a force to reckoned with.
Sadly for all the previous matches, and even the upcoming main event, Sara Del Rey and Ayumi Kurihara stole the show. The hard-hitting grappling war between these two was one of the best matches in recent SHIMMER history. The finish actually put the match over the top as no one expected Kurihara to win in such a simplistic nature when she couldn't topple her with her patented moves. A must see match for people who doubt women's wrestling.
Then came the main event. As I just wrote, this wasn't the best match of the Volume, but a very good way to end MsChif's reign for the simple fact Madison Eagles came in with a game plan that figured out the MsChif puzzle. There was a good chance Eagles couldn't fight fire with fire like Melissa did years ago to stop MsChif, so she took MsChif to the mat and wore her out expertly. Slowly but surely, everything Eagles worked towards during the match's progression weakened MsChif to the point she couldn't effectively unleash a flurry of offense, or quickly drop Eagles with the Desecrator. It was the perfect plan, and Eagles became the new SHIMMER champion.
With a strong second half featuring five memorable matches, a very good psychological battle two matches deep, and a historic moment, this is definitely a worthy purchase.
SHIMMER Volume 31 Is Worth Your Money.