Indie Spotlight Watch: Shotzi Blackheart

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Shotzi Blackheart
Photo / Scott Lesh Photography

Of all the rising talent on the independent scene, one of the biggest up-and-coming names is Shotzi Blackheart. She made her debut in 2015, and her career really began to take off after she took a chance on a seminar with RISE. She appeared on RISE 1, defeating Savannah Evans and catching the attention of SHIMMER. From there, her career has gone international, including tours in Europe. More recently she made her debut on Impact in 2017 and was part of EVOLVE 131 which aired on the WWE Network.

For a woman, so early in her career, she is already quite accomplished. She made the PWI top 50 women in 2017 and the top 100 women in 2018. She was the second Phoenix of RISE champion. When IWA Mid-South revived their Women’s Championship in 2017, Shotzi won the tournament to become the new champion. She’s a former AWS Women’s champion and Sabotage War of the Genders champion. Currently, she is the SHINE Nova champion, which she defends at SHINE 60 against Natalia Markova on Saturday, August 24th.

While Shotzi is a very good young wrestler, she is still young and constantly improving. And while her ring work is very good, it’s definitely her character and raw charisma that has propelled her career. I can think of no better way to shine a spotlight on the career of Shotzi Blackheart than to focus on the biggest storyline of her career: her friendship and rivalry with Delilah Doom in RISE.

Shotzi’s Doom

It all began at RISE 4/Bellatrix 26 when Shotzi successfully defended the Phoenix of RISE against Delilah Doom. The match itself was an innocuous affair, certainly not something that looked to be the start of a great story. The story of Shotzi and Delilah is inextricably linked to the story of Rosemary and Dust. Dust had aligned with Rosemary at RISE 2, and Shotzi went on to take the Phoenix of RISE from her. At RISE 5 Shotzi defended the title in a six-woman gauntlet style match, where she was eliminated following interference from Dust. Delilah Doom, the final entrant in the match, won the title without pinning Shotzi to win it.

On RISE’s weekly tv series, Shotzi and Delilah’s respect for one another was not clouded by Shotzi’s desire to regain her championship. They worked as a team, defeating the Killer Death Machines in the lead-up to their title match at RISE 8. Despite their success as a team, tension grew between them as Jessicka Havok and Nevaeh questioned the strength of their friendship.

At RISE 8, Shotzi and Delilah had an absolutely fantastic match. It went to a time-limit draw and was restarted when the crowd begged for more time. Seventeen seconds into the restarted match, Paradise Lost attacked Delilah and Shotzi. Delilah doom was injured, breaking her ankle. As a result, she was forced to vacate the Phoenix of RISE less than ten days before the scheduled 30-minute Iron Woman match between her and Shotzi at RISE 9.

Mercedes Martinez was slotted into the match, and RISE even recorded a promo for the new match.

Unfortunately, Shotzi broke her ankle the night before RISE 9, which changed the course of RISE forever. Tessa Blanchard would take her place, and as a result RISE, 10 was restructured. Shotzi and Delilah would return in time, but they would not be in the title picture for the Phoenix of RISE.

Return from Injury, Return to Form

Instead, the two friends went after Paradise Lost to try and gain the Guardians of RISE tag team championship. Both had a long history with Rosemary, and the match went by Rosemary’s Rules. Both teams pummeled each other, and Paradise Lost retained in the end. After the match, Rosemary ordered Shotzi Blackheart ended, and Doom gave herself up to Paradise Lost in exchange for Shotzi’s health.

When Doom returned, she was fully in Rosemary’s thrall and Shotzi tried to reason with her. No luck – Shotzi had lost her friend, as Doom was completely given over to hate. At RISE 12, Doom and Blackheart faced Rachael Ellering in a triple threat match that Ellering won because of the focus the two had on their own rivalry.

At RISE 13 the two were set to come to a head, and Doom sported new gear reflecting her darker turn. Nothing was resolved, however, as Doom injured her ankle early in the match and the finish went to a disqualification. Doom won as a result of Shotzi attacking her with a chair, finally snapping just as Doom had snapped after being taken in by Rosemary.

Two weeks ago at The Summit, Doom and Blackheart had another match, with the winner receiving a shot at the Phoenix of RISE. It was always about that title in the end. The match reflects the length of their feud, as both are intimately familiar with the other’s style. It’s when Doom busts out cattle mutilation, taking things to a level heretofore unseen, that she wins the match. Shotzi, although she snapped at RISE 13, shows she’s still trying to find the good in Doom when she offers her hand after the match. Doom slaps her hand away and spits in Shotzi’s face. The feud continues.

Over the course of this rivalry, Shotzi Blackheart has developed her character, improved in the ring, and become a cornerstone of RISE. This story is what has helped propel her to greater prominence, getting her on Impact tv and the WWE Network. Whatever comes next, one thing is certain. The Ballsy Badass’s star is still on the rise.