It's lonely at the top. But when you're soaring above everyone like an eagle, I guess it's not too bad. That's the way Madison Eagles sees it after winning the SHIMMER title three Volumes earlier, and successfully defending it against one of women's wrestling's biggest stars in Cheerleader Melissa at the last SHIMMER event. But to stay atop her majestic perch, Eagles must defeat the only woman in SHIMMER who is unpinned - Ayumi Kurihara. Ayumi's been on a hot streak in SHIMMER by defeating such SHIMMER mainstays like Daizee Haze and Nikki Roxx, and hopes to take her winnings one step further by becoming the first Japanese SHIMMER champion in history.
But Ayumi isn't the only one with her sights set on SHIMMER's top prize. Former SHIMMER champion Sara Del Rey will face two women she's defeated on previous Volumes, Ayako Hamada and Jessie McKay in a triple threat match with SHIMMER title implications.
Can Madison Eagles do what no other woman in SHIMMER has done by pinning or making Ayumi Kurihara tap out, or will Ayumi make SHIMMER history by dethroning Eagles? Who will survive the triple threat war that could line up the SHIMMER champion's next and/or first challenger? And most importantly, is SHIMMER Volume 34 Worth Your Money.
SHIMMER Volume 34
Kellie Skater vs. Jamilia Craft
Skater tried to big boy Craft immediately, but ended up being taken down and outwrestled by the masked rookie. Surviving a Boston crab, Skater turned this wrestling match into a brawl by forearming and kicking Craft. With Craft's arms tied behind her with her legs, Skater got in a set of sit ups while trying to make her opponent tap. After taking a sip of her supplements and doing some push ups, Skater was able to snap suplex Craft. Several knee strikes to the side of Craft's head set up a northern lights suplex that almost gained Skater the win.
Craft fought through the series of attacks, elbowing her way out of Skater's clutches before hitting a neck breaker and a bulldog to gain a two count. Skater recovered kicking Craft in position for Skate or Die to pick up the victory.
Melanie Cruise vs. Leva Bates
As Bates posed on the ropes, Crusie decied to jumped her from behind. Bates avoided the incoming Cruise, going for an Irish whip into the corner in response. Cruise used her weight advantage to stop the whip, kicking and chopping Bates after Leva went for the shoulder ram from the apron following a back body drop. Big sidewalk slam by Cruise almost crushed Bates. Leva was doing everything in her power to take the big woman off her feet with a pinning combination, but the mix of inexperience and Cruise's size prevented most of those pins from doing anything but keep Cruise down for a second. The crowd was behind Bates as she bounced off the ropes. Ducking a couple of strikes, Bates leapt for a cross body. Cruise caught Bates, using a spinning sidewalk slam to drill Leva. Rather than take the pin, Cruise lifted Bates off the mat. Leva somehow fought back with palm strikes and kicks before kicking Melanie on the side of her head for the codebreaker … for a near fall!
Bates scaled the ropes, flying right into Cruise Control. Cruise made the cover, getting the three count.
At SHIMMER Volume 33, Nikki Roxx promised to attain the SHIMMER championship going forward in her career.
Nikki Roxx vs. Misaki Ohata
Ohata and Roxx were going hold for hold in the early moments, with Roxx almost pinning Misaki via a front chancery. Ohata turned the tables, making Roxx scurry to the floor following a counter that was the set up for the Fairy Lock. When Roxx reentered the ring, Ohata wrenched on Roxx's legs and face while putting all of her body weight on Nikki. Roxx worked her way off the mat, leading to a fake test of strength by Ohata that Misaki turned into a series of kicks and stomps that pinned Nikki against the turnbuckles. Roxx held on, looking for an arm bar out of Ohata's leg submission attempt. Ohata freed herself by rolling through, but almost got caught against the turnbuckles. Misaki shoved Roxx against the turnbuckles, kicking her in position for a cross body that crushed Roxx in the corner. A flurry of dropkicks put Roxx in position for a missile dropkick from Ohata. Roxx blocked the German suplex attempt, using a polish hammer that dropped Misaki. Roxx had Ohata in a bad way, but Misaki refused to give up. Ohata started going for pinning combinations, but only gained two counts. Ohata bounced off the ropes, only to run into the Cutie Special … for a near fall! One Barbie Crusher later, and Nikki had picked up the win.
Daffney vs. Nevaeh
Daffney enjoyed biting the fingers of Nevaeh, but not being snap marred and clotheslined. Daffney fought back, back elbowing Nevaeh in the face to stop her momentum. Several knees to the chest and face actually caused the fans to cheer for Daffney. Running knee lift by Daffney almost got her a two count. The crowd's support turned in favor of Nevaeh, but the Ohio Girl ended up being choked. Nevaeh fired back with kicks aimed at Daffney's head and chest. Front guillotine choke by Nevaeh. The only way Daffney could free herself from the hold was by yanking the referee into herself and Nevaeh. A stunned Nevaeh was open prey for Daffney's roll up and a handful of tights. Nevaeh couldn't kick out in time.
Tenille vs. Athena
Interesting fact: This was originally Tenille versus Daizee Haze, with Tenille winning. But reports say the match was so sloppy and the end so botched that they just took it off the DVD. Where one door closes, a window opens, and Athena's jumping through that window.
Both women were evenly matched in the power department, so it came down to whoever could turn the collar & elbow tie up into a hold that would take the other down. Athena accomplished this goal, but ended up being countered and head scissored. The women's grappling proficiency was also even, but when they tried to pick up the pace, things got sloppy, and Tenille ended up on top of Athena following a cross body block that saw Athena almost get her head crushed. Shortly after, Tenille ended up against the turnbuckles, looking to knock an incoming Athena backwards with her boots. Tenille got caught, having her head slammed against the mat. The mouthy Athena demanded Tenille to do something in response to this beating Athena had for her. Tenille did give Athena a response by slapping her off her feet. Athena didn't take too kindly to the slap, beating the life out of Tenille before hitting a unique backbreaker off a chokeslam toss … for a near fall!
With Tenille freeing herself from a modified surfboard, they were ducking it out in the ring's middle until Tenille exploded with a clothesline. Northern lariat by Tenille almost got her the pin. Athena fired back with an enzuguri, but couldn't get the three count. Countering a slam, Tenille unleashed a reverse DDT as this battle of the big maneuvers raged on. When that didn't work for Tenille, she hooked Athena in that reverse Indian deathlock that gave Athena no choice but to tap out.
At SHIMMER Vol. 33, Veronika Vice tried to get the jump on Alison Danger after Danger's win over Leva Bates, but Danger was one step ahead of her. The reason Vice was here was get a shot at the big dog, Danger. Alison offered Vice a chance to be made a star, and Vice accepted with a slap.
Allison Danger vs. Veronika Vice
Similar to what she did with Leva Bates at the previous Volume, Danger grounded Vice while showing off her expertise grappling. Unlike Bates, Vice had no problems kneeing Danger in the head when Alison tried to pick her up rather than going for another hold to counter whatever Danger had in mind. Danger fired herself up, but ended up getting elbowed in the eye. Vice was having a hard time keeping Danger down, losing her in the process. Reversing an Irish whip, Danger actually put herself in a seated full nelson. Flipping out of the hold, Danger was able to fire off some forearms before tying Veronika up into a pinning combination.
Lovelace Choker by Danger didn't get her the pin, just some knees to the abdomen when she pulled Vice off the mat. When Vice bounced off the ropes for some momentum for her swinging neck breaker, Danger shoved her into the turnbuckles. Vice avoided the incoming Danger, rolling her up. With the referee's eyes focused on Danger's shoulders, she never saw Vice grab a handful of tights, counting Danger down so Vice could get the upset victory.
SHIMMER Tag Team title: The Canadian Ninjas (Portia Perez & Nicole Matthews) (c) vs. RJETT (Rachel Summerlyn & Jessica James)
James and Perez, the two smallest women in this one, squared off, with Perez almost getting caught in several unsuccessful pinning combinations before tagging out. James did the same, causing Rachel to face off with Matthews. Nicole was caught off guard with Rachel's hit and pin approach. RJETT were on their game, even using their signature schoolyard trip on Nicole when it seemed like Nicole knew what was about to happen. Perez reentered as the legal woman, but didn't do much better against James than she did the last time, being dropkicked, hard. Perez seemed to have taken a bad bump, clutching her back in this her return to a SHIMMER ring since injuring her back. The match stopped as Nicole and the referee checked on the hurting champion. Perez struggled off the mat, luring a cautious James into an arm breaker before knocking Rachel off the mat.
Huge amount of boos for the deviousness of Perez as she beat down James to set up Nicole's working over James' arm. The champs were in complete control, wrenching at James' left arm while keeping Summerlyn at bay. It wasn't until Perez made a huge mistake by rushing James when Jessica broke free of the arm bar, getting an enzuguri for her trouble. James rolled to Rachel, tagging out.
Summerlyn was on fire, big booting both women before hitting the Gory bomb on the legal Matthews. Nicole blocked Best of Both Worlds from Rachel, but not the Texas Cloverleaf. Before Nicole could submit, Daffney ran out, distracting Summerlyn so she would break the hold. With Rachel arguing with Daffney, Summerlyn was wide open for a roll up that allowed Matthews to pin Rachel with a handful of tights to retain the title for her team.
Cheerleader Melissa vs. Tomoka Nakagawa
No honorable handshake from Nakagawa didn't anger Melissa immediately, but saw her force Nakagawa to the mat by controlling Tomoka's head. Tomoka worked her way to an advantage by camel clutching Cheerleader, but Melissa powered her was to her feet before crushing Nakagawa between Melissa and the turnbuckles behind them. When wrestling wasn't working for her, Nakagawa bit Melissa's arm to free herself from Melissa's grip. Nakagawa wanted to go shoulder block for shoulder block against Melissa, but got dropped by not only a shoulder block, but also several forearms. By trying to pretend to be nice, Nakagawa tricked Melissa into a drop toe hold against the turnbuckles. Water spit mist by Nakagawa sent Melissa to the floor, causing Perez to remark that she hopes that it's bleach, not water Nakagawa spits.
With her eyes cleansed, Melissa was able to reverse an Irish whip into the guardrails. Furious, Melissa grabbed Nakagawa's legs, using them to swing Tomoka head and shoulder first against the steel guardrails like a baseball bat. As Melissa soaked in the adulation from the crowd, Nakagawa grabbed some fan's water bottle before taking a swig from it. When Melissa rolled Nakagawa into the ring, Tomoka spewed the water in Melissa's eyes once again.
Melissa was reeling after taking a dropkick to the face following a snap mare. Nakagawa was having a blast pulling at Melissa's head and hair. Nakagawa bounced off the ropes for a cross body, but got caught with a big body slam. Running elbow by Melissa, but no three count. Using the Kondo Clutch, Melissa made Nakagawa crawl for the safety in the ropes even though Melissa kept yanking her back to the ring's middle. When Tomoka finally made it to the ropes and stumbled to her feet, Melissa went for a running forearm. Nakagawa countered, dropkicking the side of Melissa's head after back elbowing the SHIMMER veteran. Nakagawa missing the enzuguri almost proved deadly as Melissa ducked the kick, curb stomping Tomoka before she could move … for a near fall!
Melissa pulled Nakagawa off the mat for the Kudo Driver. Tomoka flipped out of the move, shoving the ref in the path of a running Melissa to stop her before connecting with that enzuguri on a stunned Cheerleader. Fisherman suplex by Nakagawa only gained her a two count! A shining enzuguri also earned a near fall for Tomoka. The fans were behind Melissa as she got up. Nakagawa's sliding clothesline was blocked and turned into the Kudo Driver. And as Gorilla Monsoon would say, the pin fall was elementary.
At SHIMMER Vol. 33, Serena Deeb made her SHIMMER return, defeating Kellie Skater.
Amber Gertner was in the ring to introduce the SHIMMER homegrown star back to the company, Serena Deeb. Deeb grabbed the microphone, putting over the locker room for having the best female wrestlers in the world. Before Deeb could continue the SHIMMER rally, Portia Perez came out. Perez noted that while they entered SHIMMER on the same Volume, worked with and against each other with the goal of pushing women's wrestling to a whole new level, it was Serena who lowered herself for a paycheck. Perez declared that all Serena is, “a diva freak show.” Perez said that Serena was no real wrestler. When Serena challenged her to a match right now, Perez left the ring. Since Perez didn't want to fight here, Deeb threw out the challenge for a match between the two at Volume 35. The SHIMMER Tag champ accepted.
At SHIMMER Volume 27, Jessie McKay did an admirable job against Sara Del Rey, but ultimately fell to the “Queen of Wrestling”. Ayako Hamada didn't do much better against Del Rey one Volume later in what was one of the most grueling matches in SHIMMER history.
Sara Del Rey vs. Ayako Hamada vs. Jessie McKay
The fan favorites decided to try to work together in attacking Del Rey, but ended up getting kicked down after Sara whipped each across the ring. Jessie was thrown into Hamada before Del Rey made her feel the big swing. Dropkick to the prone abdomen of Hamada. Ayako fired back with a DDT before paying Del Rey back with a dropkick of her own. Hamada turned her attention to McKay with some kicks prior to putting Del Rey in the tree of woe. Hamada also put McKay in the tree of woe on the other side of the ring so she could hit dropkicks on both women. The fans were behind Ayako until Jessie turned an Irish whip against Hamada by neck breaking her. Backbreaker by Del Rey on McKay after stopping Jessie's pin attempt on Hamada. Ayako used a head-butt-chop combination on both women to keep them reeling prior to using a double noggin' knocker.
Reversing an Irish whip, Del Rey side kicked Hamada off her feet. Del Rey whipped Hamada toward McKay in the corner, only for McKay to back drop Hamada to the top rope so she could hit the flying arm drag on Del Rey. Sara recovered, throwing a kick toward Hamada, but hit McKay in the chest. Hamada was on fire after double arm dragging her opponents, only to run into a pair of forearms from McKay and Del Rey that knocked Hamada to the floor. Jessie bounced off the ropes, only to run into Del Rey's capo kick … for a near fall!
Del Rey isolated Jessie while keeping an eye on Hamada. A pair of kicks to Hamada's thighs from Sara staggered Ayako, but couldn't stop her from unleashing a basement dropkick. Del Rey recovered, getting into a buzzsaw kick-big boot war with Ayako that actually put them in position for Jessie's double cross body block that saw McKay almost pin both women. Del Rey tossed Jessie into Hamada, actually helping McKay DDT Ayako. Octopus stretch on Del Rey by Jessie didn't end this one as Sara freed herself. Before Sara could get a hold of Jessie, McKay executed the School Girl Crush. Making the cover immediately, Jessie McKay pinned Sara Del Rey!
At SHIMMER Volume 29, Ayumi Kurihara won a war against Tomoka Nakagawa. Ayumi followed up by besting Nikki Roxx at Volume 30. Volume 30 saw Ayumi stop Del Rey with a simple roll up. After declaring at Volume 32 that she would attain SHIMMER gold, Ayumi paid Daizee Haze back for her count-out loss from the previous Volume by beating her to continue her unpinned streak.
SHIMMER title: Madison Eagles (c) vs. Ayumi Kurihara
The height difference immediately came into play when Eagles powered Ayumi backwards with the knuckle lock. Kurihara turned the tables by rolling through the knuckle lock, front face locking the champion. Eagles hoisted Kurihara off the mat, placing her on the top rope to break Kurihara's grip. The women were going hold for hold while standing and on the mat. Ayumi's focus was Madison's left arm, but the long legs of the champ allowed her to counter several arm attacks. The champ started using her legs to tie and twist Ayumi's lower limbs while pulling back on Kurihara's neck. With Ayumi stuck in the ring's middle, Madison had her challenger all twisted up, but couldn't make her submit.
The champ made a big mistake by letting Ayumi get up and whipping her into the ropes as the challenger caught Eagles with a clothesline on the rebound before dropkicking Eagles to the floor. Madison set up Ayumi by lying against the ring. When Kurihara reached for her, Madison dropped Kurihara throat first across the middle rope before dragging her onto the apron so she could kick Ayumi in the head. Eagles wore Ayumi out on the floor. When the action returned inside, Eagles used a few high impact moves, including a reverse suplex and a buzzsaw kick to wear out Kurihara for the champ's unique submissions.
Once again, Eagles whipping Ayumi into the ropes proved detrimental as Kurihara gained some steam to use a flurry of dropkicks. Eagles recovered, hitting a brain buster out of nowhere … for a two count!
Ayumi turned another Irish whip against the champ; palm striking Eagles in position for those double knees in the corner. Snap suplex by Kurihara gained her a near fall, and a set up for that flying arm bar in the corner when Madison got up. Octopus stretch by the challenger had the champ wiggling to freedom. Big lariat from Eagles gave Madison a two count. Ayumi fired back with the codebreaker that put Eagles in position for that running dropkick against the ropes. Missile dropkick by Kurihara connected … but only gave her a two count!
The fans were behind the challenger as she turned Hell Bound into a small package. Ayumi was trying to flash pin Madison like she did Del Rey, but ended up running into a kick to the chest. Somehow, Kurihara avoided a wild haymaker, hitting the Uranage. Both women were down after Kurihara's impressive show of strength. When they got up, Eagles and Ayumi were going forearm for forearm. Kurihara bounced off the ropes for some momentum for the final blow, only to run into Hell Bound. Eagles made the cover, successfully defending the SHIMMER championship.
In a shocking show of sportsmanship, Eagles actually shook Ayumi's hand afterwards.
Is It Worth Your Money?: I must say this Volume was off to a shaky start, but settled nicely thanks to the last three matches. After going through Skater and Craft's okay match (Skater wins!), a squash that did Leva not much good following such a great showing at the previous Volume, Roxx and Ohata's good match that deserved more time, Daffney squashing Nevaeh, an ultimately forgettable match involving Tenille and Athena, the show finally turned a corner.
While it wasn't a classic, or a star-making performance, Danger and Vice produced a match that, obviously, set up a good foundation for their rivalry. The Tag title match was formula Ninja's - which is always fun. Melissa and Nakagawa's battle was thoroughly enjoyable for so many obvious reasons, but the biggest one is the fact Nakagawa is so good at making you hate her. Tomoka played a perfect foil for Melissa here, and Cheerleader stepping up her anger is always a treat.
Then came the triple threat match. An argument can be easily made that this match stole the show. Seriously, you have three of the most entertaining women's wrestlers today going full blast against each other before capping off a great moment by having the woman everyone wanted to see win, but didn't believe it would happen actually win by pinning the biggest star in the company. The definition of a “Cinderella Story” indeed.
But the main event gave the prior match a run for its money for Match of the Night as Eagles and Kurihara put on a grappling clinic. In a lot of ways, Eagles is a throw back to the champions of old such as Harley Race and Greg Valentine as she likes to get into a groove that usually takes at least seven to twelve minutes before turning it up a notch. Ayumi held in there and brought the fight to the champ prior to literally running into her demise. Another great match from the champ and one of Joshi's fastest rising stars.
In a lot of ways, this show was a starting point for some interesting things for the next Volume (McKay and Eagles facing off, Deeb vs. Perez, a possible rematch for Danger and Vice). But as a standalone Volume, it's still an enjoyable show thanks to a good second half featuring three wonderful matches back to back to back.
SHIMMER Volume 34 Is Worth Your Money.