Welcome back, cats and kittens, to the third installment in our four part recap of the Spring Shimmer weekend! Thus far we’ve seen the triumphant push of LuFisto take a turn for the worse, as a controversial decision from Allison Danger resulted in Lufi turning to the dark side in a desperate bid to get the title off of Melissa. Now we’re on to Volume 65, where LuFisto and Yumi Ohka have vowed to tear each other apart due to the latter’s interference in Volume 64’s title match. With Cheerleader Melissa laughing in the background, and Saraya stirring the pot, will LuFisto be able to overcome her demons and start down the road to another championship match? Or will she continue her spiral into frustration and anger?
That’s the marquee match of this show, but that’s far from all that Volume 65 had in store for us. We’ll see no less than FIVE fantastic matches on the same show, along with an old school throw down, (and I do mean OLD school,) Jessicka Havok destroying the world, and the very first major main event match in Mia Yim’s young career. All that and more lies within. So let’s get to it!
Mrs. Cewsh: Unfortunately we were running late due to a ham sandwich, a dead goose, and some missing tickets, so we missed all but the finish to the last match and I can’t say how they compared to day one. Our dearest friend DDT did say that Kira/Layne was Kira’s best match in the company, so we’re going to call today an incline.
Mrs. Cewsh: This was the real debut of Veda’s heel character and as I said on 64, it’s glorious. She pinned a Green Arrow-bedecked Leva with a handful of tights in what was a surprisingly competitive match. And as I said on 64, I liked Leva a lot better without all the mutant powers and burritos. I want to know the wrestler behind the characters.
Cewsh: If you’ve never seen her before, Veda Scott is tall enough to fit in comfortable in Smurf Village and weighs less than this sentence. For people that small, the biggest obstacle is coming up with semi-credible offense, especially when you’re a heel who needs to seem like some semblance of a threat. So I am happy to report that not only is Veda Scott capable of doing this, she can do it while channeling the kind of dickishness that would make Skeletor tip his hood in respect.
In her first match as a heel in Shimmer she absolutely shines here, and winds up picking up the win in the first of what is sure to be a Goldbergian streak of victories. I couldn’t be happier.
Mrs. Cewsh: Oops, I also used “surprisingly competitive” in my notes for this match. It’s really not that surprising; Shimmer almost never does “squashes”. I think it’s just WWE conditioning that teaches me to view small midcarders as cannon-fodder. I’d still like to see Angie get a win on the main show.
Cewsh: I said on the last show that Angie Skye really needed somebody that she could get in the ring and brawl with. Well that’s exactly what she got here, and she responded by giving the best match of her Shimmer career in a blisteringly hard hitting match. Angie wound up on the losing end, but this was a breakthrough for her, and is a great sign of things to come.
Cewsh: Here’s what this match was. Thunderkitty, who does an “old school female wrestler” gimmick, complete with leopard print singlet and a flower in her hair, took on a phone call in a backstage segment, and agreed to face someone if the money was right. Then she comes out to the ring, and her opponent emerges, wearing a black mask and proceeds to do every imaginable “old school heel” stereotype, from the wobbly selling, to the Iron Claw.
Now, this is kind of a fun idea, that could have been played for a lot of laughs, but weirdly, Thunderkitty seems to play it 100% straightfaced, and this match actually goes on for a good chunk of time. I’m not sure how the other fans took it, but they weren’t as into the whole thing as they were for Kitty’s other matches of the weekend, and I think this mostly just confused people. It’s another example of Shimmer’s lone real weakness being it’s difficulty in explaining complicated concepts to the live crowd. But if you watch this one on DVD with the commentary, I have no doubt you’ll enjoy it more than we did.
Mrs. Cewsh: I am not the target audience for this.
Mrs. Cewsh: Best.
Havok RUINED Lovelace. Just destroyed her. It was amazingly fun to see her both interact with the Ninjas and massacre a small, flippy person who can sell her ass off. I came away thinking that Heidi has something special, which was surprising since I expected the star to be Rush.
Cewsh: Hands down the FUNNEST match of the night. Havok’s increasing aggravation with her partners was genuinely funny, and seeing her go all Death Machine on everyone was fabulous. I’m quickly becoming an enormous Jessicka Havok fan and performances like this are why.
Mrs. Cewsh: Another GREAT match. “Galaxy Famous” Nikki Storm versus the World Famous Kana. This let Nikki be intense and a great wrestler, reminding the crowd that she’s not just a comedy character.
Cewsh: I want t make sure that you guys fully understand what this match represents. This is perhaps the best current Joshi wrestler going up against perhaps the best current European wrestler, in an American promotion where they have both become utterly beloved. To put it frankly, this could have been promoted as a dream match in a different world, and nobody would have batted an eyelash. Instead, what we got is two characters who are exceptionally talented at both serious wrestling AND comedy, doing a little bit of both, and stealing out hearts in the process.
Kana won here, because Kana is the Andre the Giant of this promotion and appears as a special attraction who almost never loses, but Nikki looked truly fantastic.
For the record, it would not be an exaggeration to say that through 4 matches, this might be the best show in Shimmer history.
Mrs. Cewsh: I mentioned before that Saraya matches are somewhat formulaic. She’s going to cheat. She’s going to choke. She’s going to kick you in the vagina. At some point the tables will turn and she’ll be the one kicked in the vagina. Luckily, the addition of Rhia means Saraya can be used more sparingly and made this a match I liked a lot more than expected. While I don’t LOVE 3G currently, (I thought it was more fun when Kellie was face and Tomoka was heel, plus a general lack of competitors,) I think they’re still really fun to watch together.
Cewsh: This is the first match on the show that didn’t quite live up to the quality of the rest. Everyone in this match is very talented, but this didn’t feel like a real challenge to 3G’s titles, and the Shimmer crowd tends to check out of title matches that don’t have really credible challengers. This would be a good match on a worse show, but on this one, it just comes in slightly below the curve.
Cewsh: If one good thing has come from this LuFisto storyline, it’s the opportunity to see the really aggressive LuFisto come back, the one that made her a legend in Japan and gave her the crazy deathmatch reputation that she has. That’s the Lufi we got here, as she went wild on Yumi Ohka from start to finish in this match. And since this was a sort of heel turn, it was only natural for LuFisto to come to the ring without her usual manager, Pegaboo, (an adorable doll that she dresses up.) The moment where Kevin Harvey goes to introduce Pegaboo as her manager and stops, confused, while Lufi shakes her head at him was a fantastic touch to this new character. One that seemed to indicate that she no longer cared about that stuff, and was only out for revenge.
Which made it all the more confusing when Saraya, who had been successfully wooing LuFisto to the dark side, comes out at the end of the match and twists Pegaboo’s head off right in front of LuFisto, prompting Lufi to go nuts and start a gigantic brawl.
Whatever this storyline was or wasn’t, the second this brawl starts, the story is over. LuFisto returns to being a total babyface and is now going after Saraya. I have to wonder if Prazak saw the confused, negative reaction from the fans and cut this storyline short, because it seems incredibly abrupt to go right into the feud closing match with Saraya already. But that’s how it is.
Mrs. Cewsh: I still don’t get it, guys. They set up a perfect, classic babyface chase story a’la Melissa/Madison a few years ago, and then turned the face?
The match was good. Lufi was brutal. Yumi’s a fine talent, but I wish I could see more personality. Saraya got in Lufi’s head and then destroyed Pegaboo. I just feel kind of shruggy towards the whole thing.
Mrs. Cewsh: KimberBombs offered Ray and Leon Hello Kitty cookies and then yelled “psyche”. That’s the cruelest thing I’ve seen on a Shimmer show.
Mrs. Cewsh: Star making.
Athena has progressively become my favorite wrestler. She’s doing insane, innovative moves that make her a joy to watch. Likewise, KLR finally lived up to the “daredevil” portion of her nickname. I don’t know what else to tell you, except buy every show either of them ever performs on.
Cewsh: They say that you can tell just how over a match or wrestler is in Shimmer based on how long after the match is over the fans continue chanting for. From the moment this match ended, everything got chanted for, from the match, to both wrestlers, to a heartfelt plea for Kay Lee Ray to come back, (which was humorously shut down by a fan who pointed out that we still had another taping left to go.)
This is one of the best high flying women’s matches that I have seen outside of Japan or Mexico, and if Athena was already a star before this, she was a bigger one after it. She is building a head of steam that will result in her holding the Shimmer Championship or being signed by WWE. It’s just a matter or which comes first.
Mrs. Cewsh: Shida is seriously a revelation. I loved her last taping, but she’s having four star matches with everyone in the company. You’re probably tired of me gushing in this roundup, but after trying for awhile to build new babyfaces, (and have them sign to other promotions,) Shimmer finally has a future in Athena, Yim, and if they keep bringing her in, Shida.
Cewsh: I know I just keep banging on about how this joshi wrestler is good or that joshi wrestler is good, and most of you probably just roll you eyes and chalk it up to me being a mark for Japanese wrestling. It’s no use in pretending that i’m not exactly that, but do not let that lessen the praise that we are heaping on Shida here. On a show with the best women’s wrestlers on the planet having great matches constantly, Shida has stepped up and produced as the CLEAR standout wrestler of this weekend. So think of the praise i’ve given to Athena, Havok, Evie, Melissa, Yim and whoever else, and realize that Shida topped all of them by a clear margin on these four shows.
The only people previously able to say that are Sara Del Rey, Ayako Hamda and Ayumi Kurihara. It’s some pretty fucking great company. So don’t sleep on, Shida, people. Get on the bandwagon now.
Cewsh: This is arguably the biggest match in Mia Yim’s career up to this point. Unfortunately for her, she came into it with a busted up knee that she had to wrestle all weekend on, (oh, and Portia Perez tore her quad some time on night one and continued wrestling all weekend also, because these women are insanely tough.) Somehow, despite this, she and Melissa had a fantastic match here, that made the crowd genuinely believe that Yim might just pick up the crazy upset win and become the new champion.
Watching her here, I think that Yim looked the tiniest bit over her head, and like she still had a bit of growing to do before she can really stick at this level, but if this match did anything it was show that she will undoubtedly be a main eventer sooner than later.
Mrs. Cewsh: This is another match I need to see on DVD. For some reason my section was very into cheering Melissa, (see 63’s review,) and made it very hard for me to get into Yim’s plucky babyface storytelling. It was really good, don’t misunderstand, but sometimes that’s the issue with live crowds. They can enhance and they can distract.
Cewsh: What a fucking show. If the first night of tapings was a bit disappointing, this one showed why we have such high expectations to begin with. There were 11 matches on this show and I would give my seal of approval to 9 of them. 9 OF THEM. That’s an unheard of percentage of great matches. And while none of them are match of the year contenders, the end result is a show that is almost overwhelmingly great from start to finish. And that’s the Shimmer that makes me want to beat people over the head about. Shows like this are what sets this company apart. If you watch any show from this weekend, make this the one.
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