In November 2020, SHIMMER will celebrate its 15th anniversary. Founded by Dave Prazak and Allison Danger, SHIMMER has been the premier American promotion for women’s wrestling since its inception. With that in mind, I want to go back to where it began and look over SHIMMER’s catalog.
SHIMMER has been home to some absolutely amazing talent, and several of their matches are all-time classics. SHIMMER’s back catalog can be found at Streamshimmer.com. It’s time to look over SHIMMER Volume 1.
Before the show begins, we have a brief introduction followed by the whole roster coming out to the ring. There’s a brief promo by Allison Danger, who welcomes us to the first SHIMMER show and says that if we keep coming to see them, they’ll keep doing what they do best: women’s wrestling. Not featured on the stream is the dark match from Volume 1, the Come As You Are Rumble. You should watch that match anyway – commentary treats men’s wrestling much like how women’s wrestling was treated at the time.
One thing to be clear about with the early SHIMMER volumes is that they’re very much about establishing wrestlers. There aren’t a lot of them early on, and these early shows are meant to introduce us to wrestlers and their alignments. Stories do begin emerging early on, but for a while, matches are going to look almost random.
Match 1: Tiana Ringer vs. Shantelle Taylor
Neither of these women is really active anymore, but both can proudly claim to have helped SHIMMER make a big splash. The match has a lot of fun with reversals early on, including a spot where Ringer tries to cartwheel out of a waistlock, only for Taylor to cartwheel to hold it. Ringer shows that she’s the heel of the match when she pulls Taylor down by the hair.
The meat of the match has Ringer dominating, and she hits a nasty looking tilt-a-whirl backbreaker for a two count. The match has some good moments for hope spots, but they’re all thwarted pretty quickly until Taylor finally manages a solid comeback sequence. They trade slaps and chops until Ringer hits a vertical suplex for a two count. This leads to another cut off of on Taylor’s comeback with a big boot. There’s hesitation as Taylor climbs the ropes when Ringer stops her, but Taylor fights her off to hit a missile dropkick for the win at SHIMMER.
This was a solid introductory match that, while not great, still manages to put the majority of its contemporaries among WWE and TNA women’s matches to shame.
Match 2: Team Blondage (Krissy Vaine and Amber O’Neal) vs. Cindi Rogers and Nikki Roxx
Team Blondage cut a promo before their opponents come out at SHIMMER. They’re talking about how cute their outfits are and demanding that nobody take pictures. The match begins with a countout spot, as Team Blondage don’t want to enter the ring. They break the count and it begins again while they argue over who should start. They break the count again. Rogers and Roxx begin counting the third count along with the referee, and a chase in and out of the ring ensues.
O’Neal and Roxx begin the match. O’Neal gets the advantage until Rogers tags in. Rogers is dominant, forcing O’Neal to tag out, and she tags Roxx, who maintains the momentum while Vaine heels it up. Vaine winds up in control, delivering a straight choke to Roxx before tagging and double-teaming with a double Russian leg sweep. O’Neal maintains her team’s advantage, taunting Rogers by holding Roxx’s hand out for a tag and taking it away.
The match features Roxx fully in the face-in-peril role until she is finally able to get a tag. Despite the hot tag, Team Blondage win via shenanigans when O’Neal holds Vaine’s arms for leverage from outside the ring.
It’s a standard tag team match. The heels do a good job of getting heat and the faces make a good hot tag and partner in peril showing. The beginning drags a bit, though.
Match 3: Rain vs. Ariel
Rain takes time during the in-ring introductions to firmly establish herself as the heel at SHIMMER. Ariel, however, is no wilting flower of a babyface and shows a lot of fire. Ariel begins by slamming Rain’s face into the matt repeatedly. She continues to dominate once the action hits the ring until the first pinfall attempt. Rain begins to fire back, hammering Ariel until a pair of two counts. Ariel’s pretty solid when Rain is selling for her, but she’s definitely the less experienced worker.
Outside the initial period, Rain holds complete control. She kicks out of a victory roll at one and returns to beating down Ariel, who surprises her with a tornado DDT. Ariel comes back with the three amigos (good thing the word is the same in Portuguese) followed by a northern lights suplex. Ariel kicks out of the Raindrop, and Ariel hits a Diamond Cutter for the three.
Ariel builds sympathy throughout the match as she works from underneath, and Rain does a good job of making her even more sympathetic. Good match, but a bit too one-sided for its duration.
Match 4: Lexi Fyfe vs. Christie Ricci
Fyfe is the most experienced wrestler on the first show’s roster. It’s a very technical start with hammerlocks and facelocks. Ricci builds some offense with arm drags and goes for a cross arm breaker, and Fyfe rakes the eyes to escape. Then Fyfe gets Ricci into a camel clutch, and she heels it up real well before delivering her own two rolling vertical suplexes for a two count.
Fyfe slams Ricci and climbs to the top, only to be crotched and for Ricci to deliver a superplex. Ricci finally begins to build some shine with a series of strikes, but Fyfe is more experienced. She counters a splash with her knees before hitting a TKO for the victory.
Another solid match and Fyfe engages in classic heelwork to let the crowd know how they should react. It’s good, but it never quite ups its level.
Match 5: Cheerleader Melissa vs. MsChif
Looking at the two competitors here, you would expect MsChif to be the heel and Melissa to be the face. The match even lures you into believing as much with its opening. Melissa starts off with fire, while MsChif howls in response to her offense. Melissa delivers a back suplex to get the advantage after a relatively even beginning. It’s early, but Melissa is in firm control and hits a vertical suplex, followed by further stomps.
From here, Melissa shows signs that she’s really the heel in this match. In order to keep her advantage, she plays a little dirty. Melissa applies a Kondo Clutch and starts stomping MsChif’s head with her own foot. MsChif gets back into it with a bridging chinlock, and Melissa reaches the ropes. Melissa quickly gets back into control after that submission, and she continues to show her mean streak. Then Melissa keeps attacking, dragging MsChif out and breaking the count before slamming MsChif into the guardrail and the post.
Melissa keeps the action on the outside even longer, using a standing Boston crab in the guardrail. She rolls MsChif back into the ring, where she eats a springboard moonsault for a two, and it appears MsChif’s hope is lost. She’s living off counters, building offense where she can, but Melissa keeps brawling through and pulls a powerbomb out for two. Finally, MsChif counters a Kudo Driver attempt into a Desecrator for a win.
Everything until now has been fine, but this is the first match that will make the viewer straighten up and pay attention. Cheerleader vs. banshee should be easy for who is the face and who is the heel, but the script is flipped. At first, it seems Melissa is fighting a little dirty to keep up against a monster, but it becomes clear Melissa is not the innocent face in this match, but a full-blown sadistic heel. It’s a cool trick, and with more time this match could have gone from really good to great.
Match 6: Beth Phoenix vs. Allison Danger
Yes, that’s right, future WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix was part of SHIMMER’s very first show. Danger has been on commentary (added in post-production, I believe) for the show, and they take her off the desk for this match. Phoenix is very focused on her bowtie. The match starts with some comedy, as Beth runs the ropes endlessly until she tires out. Phoenix next fails to nip up, and it’s definitely not the kind of heel work I would have expected out of her playing the foolish heel. Danger taunts her a bit further and maintains dominance on the physical aspects of the match.
Corner chops are traded, and Phoenix eventually gets in control, kissing the referee like he’s the Great Khali to hold onto her advantage. Phoenix smartly distracts the ref with the removal of one wrist’s tape only to use the other to choke Danger briefly. Phoenix dominates the next few minutes until Danger finally buys herself some space. Danger’s comeback starts strong with a neckbreaker, but Phoenix is able to hit a northern lights suplex. Danger counters a schoolboy into her own roll-up for the victory.
This is a good match that showcases Beth Phoenix in a different light than one would expect based off her WWE career. The wrestling is solid and the comedy is enjoyable.
Match 7: Mercedes Martinez vs. Sara Del Rey
The match has a very even feeling-out period, and once it more properly transitions into a full grappling contest it remains even but quite entertaining. The five-minute call sounds and the match is still a total stalemate. Suddenly there’s a switch to chops, forearms, and finally, a headbutt that puts del Rey in control. She suplexes Martinez, who comes back but is cut off with Del Rey hitting a butterfly suplex. Del Rey makes a very arrogant cover at around 7 minutes, with the referee warning her for choking.
Martinez hits an ushigaroshi to swing the match into her favor, before hitting knee strikes and a brainbuster for two. At the ten-minute mark, Del Rey has re-established control. A big backdrop and spinebuster from Martinez keeps Del Rey from regaining the advantage. Martinez puts Del Rey in a hold before hitting her with forearms across the face. Del Rey fires back, hitting a series of kicks and finally hitting the powerbomb she’s struggled to hit all match, only getting a two count for her effort.
A release German suplex out of the corner from Martinez brings her back into the game. Martinez puts Del Rey in a ball and takes a breather in the corner. Danger compares this to BIG and Tupac as the match hits its final 5 minutes. Del Rey delivers a beautiful bridging German for two, and the crowd is cheering both women on strongly at this point. Martinez hits a leg-cradle suplex for two after a series of small package variations.
Next, she applies a camel clutch dragon sleeper, before rolling with a butterfly hold into a combination with a body scissors, but Del Rey gets to the ropes. Both women trade strikes and Martinez gets the better of the exchange with one minute left. Del Rey holds Mercedes in the Royal Butterfly Lock. Martinez escapes and hits the fisherman buster, but time runs out before she can get the three at SHIMMER.
This is the standout match of the show. It’s a strong style match pitting two wrestlers who have never faced each other against, an east coast vs. west coast battle that Alison Danger likens to the hip hop rivalry. The match is exciting and feels like an even contest. The finish leaves Martinez looking slightly stronger, but also leaves the question of if Del Rey would have kicked out if she had to rather than being saved by the buzzer.
Main event: Lacey vs. Daizee Haze
Lacey starts the match complaining that Haze’s flower is loaded at SHIMMER. The action is pretty fast, and Lacey and Haze separate a bit after the initial exchange. Haze has control to start with, and Lacey’s major heel tactic is to powder out, drink some water, and spit at a fan. She takes her time, using every second of the ten-count before hitting the apron. Their third encounter begins with a test of strength, which Haze turns onto a series of arm submissions.
Prazak and Danger talk about how Haze uses the Heart Punch as a setup for a variety of potential finishes, and it’s good to hear commentary talk about wrestler strategy. Lacey dodges in the corner and begins working over Haze, who begins a comeback with a big headscissor takedown. Lacey once again powders out of the ring, tossing Haze out to the mat when Haze goes up to fly. Haze kicks out of a sidewalk slam, but Lacey keeps on her.
There’s an interesting rolly thing leading to a series of strikes by Lacey, who continues to build her offense, putting Haze in a Boston crab. Haze makes a bit of a comeback, only to have Lacey Russian leg sweep her head into the turnbuckle for a two count at the rope break. Lacey puts Haze in a bow and arrow around the ring post, then brings her into the ring and continues softening her up. She hits a big spin kick for a very delayed cover for two.
Lacey puts Haze in a proper bow and arrow in the ring, and Haze counters into a pin for two before Lacey returns to beating her down. She then puts Haze in the tree of woe and gets some water, only for Haze to counter out and hit a stunner. Haze mounts her comeback, getting a 2.5 count off a yakuza kick. Leaping lariat off the top for two. Once more Haze goes high, but she gets crotched and Lacey hits her with a draping neckbreaker for two two-counts. Haze’s sunset flip is kicked out for two, and Lacey hits a TKO neckbreaker for two. She sets up for the implant DDT but is countered. Haze wins the match with a Heart Punch and a Mind Trip (snapmare driver).
A very good match that went perhaps a little long. Lacey does a fantastic job building heat and Haze is a natural underdog face, so the dynamic is pretty good and the commentary works to establish her kind of wiry strengths. It builds well, and the end sequences are strong.
The show ends with a backstage promo by Allison Danger, who says they’ve proven with this show that “American Joshi is possible.”
Volume 1 was, on the whole, a good show. There was not a single bad match on the card, and three of the final four matches are well worth watching. Martinez vs. Del Rey was the obvious standout match and really put SHIMMER on the map.