Welcome back to another retro review of SHIMMER with Volume 4. Volume 4 is a significant volume in the early catalog of SHIMMER shows. It’s known particularly for the falls count anywhere match between Cheerleader Melissa and MsChif. It’s one of two clear matches of the night, the other being Daizee Haze vs. Rebecca Knox in an absolute banger of a match. Without further ado, on to the review:
Match 1: Nikki Roxx vs. Amber O’Neal
Prazak notes this match is about moving up the rankings. Lockups and standing switches to start with, with Roxx and O’Neal trading control to start. Commentary turns to O’Neal likening to herself as a diva. O’Neal plays a solid heel here, building on that diva persona. While O’Neal stalls outside, Prazak notes that MsChif and Cheerleader Melissa will have SHIMMER’s first falls count anywhere match and that Daizee Haze is challenging Rebecca Knox in the main event. Roxx starts firing up against O’Neal, doing a big delayed sidewalk slam and O’Neal powders again.
Roxx gives chase but gets caught upon re-entry and O’Neal takes control, using her leg to choke Roxx in the corner before delivering a snap mare and clubbing blow for two. O’Neal loves grabbing the hair for takedowns and doles out more blows for two. Roxx fights free of the Japanese stranglehold and pulls off an inside cradle for two. O’Neil pokes Roxx in the eye and pushes her face into the canvas. Some hard chops and a charging clothesline in the corner, and O’Neal keeps the pressure on. Roxx begins a new comeback and hits a big spinebuster for two. O’Neal reverses and hits an inverted DDT for two, then a swinging neckbreaker for two only to be reversed into a crucifix for two. Roxx finally hits the Cruncher to score the victory.
A perfectly adequate opening match. Nothing spectacular, but nothing bad either, and it picks up well in the final moments.
Match 2: Shantelle Taylor vs. Ann Brookstone
The crowd takes sides for Taylor right away. The beginning sets up Davida vs. Goliath, as Brookstone dwarfs Taylor and throws her down from the initial lockups. Taylor has good speed and kicks the legs. After an Oklahoma roll for two from Taylor, Brookstone re-establishes control with a backbreaker and a rope choke. Brookstone does a pendulum to Taylor and starts swinging Taylor into the lower turnbuckle. It’s a cool spot that earns a near fall.
Taylor reverses a suplex into an inside cradle for two, then gets another roll-up for two again. These bits are a bit clunky, and Brookstone locks in a camel clutch before bringing Taylor into the corner. Chop and snap mare into a neck snap for two. Taylor keeps fighting back, getting a running dropkick for two and she signals for a top rope move. Brookstone catches Taylor’s crossbody and slams her for two. Danger points out Brookstone should be using her weight in her covers, but it’s too late. Taylor does a fancy roll-up with a bridge for three.
The match is a bit clunky at points, but the pendulum spot keeps it solid overall.
Before the next match, we look back to Hosaka vs. Lee on Vol. 3
Match 3: The Experience (Lexie Fyfe & Malia Hosaka) vs. Cindy Rogers & Lorelei Lee
The match starts with the heels jumping the faces, only to eat dropkicks before the faces row the boat with the heels’ legs. Rogers and Hosaka are the initial legal women, and Rogers does a couple jumping monkey flips before slapping on an arm lock. Rogers tags Lee in, and Lee continues working the arm, before tagging Rogers back in. After a double clothesline for two, Rogers goes back to the arm and tags out again (smart tag work from the faces in this match). Lee re-enters with another ax handle (same as she did after the first tag), showing her inexperience perhaps. Lee hits a hip toss and arm drag followed by a dropkick for two. Prazak notes that the Experience is so-named for their 31 years of combined experience.
Hosaka is able to get a tag and Fyfe turns things around on Lee. Lee catches a headlock and tags out and Rogers returns to the arm work against Fyfe. Rogers with a really cool arm hold, but Fyfe leans back for two to break free. Fyfe throws Rogers into the corner and tags Hosaka in, who puts Rogers in a body scissors. Rogers turns over and stands, driving Hosaka into the corner then putting Hosaka in a Boston Crab. Fyfe tries to get the crowd on Hosaka’s side. Hosaka rolls through and gets two before hitting Rogers with a strike to the throat.
She slams Rogers face-first into the mat, then chokes her. Rogers ducks a clothesline and hits a crossbody for two, but Hosaka tags out and Fyfe maintains control. Rogers gets Fyfe in a head scissors and Fyfe comes over for two, then brings Rogers to the corner to beat her down and hit kidney kicks before grinding her knee into Roger’s back. Fyfe and Hosaka switch and Fyfe fakes a tag behind the referee’s back, with Hosaka continuing the hold. They switch again back into the hold for Fyfe.
Rogers fights her way to her feet, but Fyfe holds control, tags Hosaka in, and Hosaka continues working over Rogers while Lee is helpless. It’s an extended torture sequence for Rogers, as Hosaka and Fyfe are working well at using Lee to distract the ref. Fyfe with a camel clutch and kicks Rogers down before tagging out. Hosaka keeps up the offense with a headbutt and tags out. Rogers blocks Fyfe and hits a suplex for the hot tag at the same time as Hosaka tags in. Lee puts on a big comeback of dropkicks and slams, getting a two-count on Fyfe. Double sunset flips by Lee and Rogers for near-falls, and Lee hits some snapmares on Hosaka, only for Hosaka to grab her with a suplex as she tags Fyfe in. Fyfe whips Lee into a spin kick from Hosaka and they hit a double-team gourdbuster with the ref distracted for Hosaka to cover Lee for the pin.
This is a really good tag match. Lee is clearly inexperienced, but they cover that up fairly well.
Match 4: Tiana Ringer vs. Allison Danger
The crowd is not in favor of Ringer, and the two circle for a good minute before they begin. There’s a waistlock and standing switch, but Danger holds her base and takes down Ringer and ties her up at the legs. Ringer grabs the ropes to escape, and it’s mostly Danger attempting holds and Ringer keeping out of them this far. Danger gets a full nelson, hammerlock, headlock, but Ringer counters to a head scissors and is brought back into a headlock. It’s a very grapply match thus far. Eventually, Ringer powders out, hanging up Danger when she tries to bring Ringer back in the ring.
Danger regains control quickly with shoulder thrusts in the corner, but posts herself and begins taking Ringer’s kicks to the back. Ringer lands a snap mare and dropkicks for two. Ringer really has control at this point, hitting a suplex for another two count. Danger gets a sunset flip for two, but Ringer regains control with a leg drop to the back of the neck for her own near fall. Ringer stretches Danger with a bow and arrow type hold twice, then begins berating Danger for refusing to submit. Danger catches her with a facebuster over the knee and a running knee strike, but can’t cover. Ringer gets up first, but Danger pulls her into an inside cradle for three.
This is a very solid match. There’s nothing really to complain about, as everything was very well worked.
We get a Rebecca Knox promo from Michael Anthony’s pizzeria. She says she’s proven everywhere she’s the best and Danger found out real quick that it was true on Volume 3. She doesn’t know what Haze is thinking or smoking but says Haze is cruising for a bruising.
Match 5: Rain vs. Sara Del Rey
Del Rey’s height is super obvious here against Rain. Lacey was unable to make it tonight due to weather canceling her flight. Allison Danger rejoins us on commentary, as she and Prazak wonder at Knox’s attitude and how she hasn’t made it to the building yet. Del Rey holds onto the arm for most of the early going, even doing some finger manipulation. Rain gains some control, but that doesn’t last long as Del Rey reestablished arm control.
Rain gets to the ropes, which Prazak plays off as a heel tactic (how delightfully old school), and the two continue to grapple. This is very similar to the previous match in its grappling, but more arms than legs. Del Rey shines with her very fun holds here, including a headscissor/armbar takedown for two that eventually Rain escapes from.
They trade forearms until Del Rey headbutts Rain down. Rain pulls Del Rey down from the second rope and gets a near fall before dropkicking Del Rey in the ropes for two again. Rain presses her advantage, and Del Rey gets a false hope spot before getting tossed from the top like Ric Flair. Another near fall follows Rain’s dropkick. Rain keeps pressing, getting two twice after running knees in the corner. Del Rey counters a tornado DDT from the corner into a northern lights suplex for two and Rain slaps on a sleeper into a backbreaker for two.
Del Rey with fighting spirit no-sells two clotheslines and then they hit double clotheslines for a double down. Hard slaps to the face and Del Rey delivers some vicious boots before a gut-wrench suplex for two. Big forearm from Del Rey and Rain hit a spinning backstabber out of the corner for two. Rain goes for the Raindrop, but Del Rey counters into a bridging German suplex for one as her back gives out. She’s able to cinch in the Royal Butterfly lock and turn it into a suplex for the victory.
In many ways, this is a very similar match to the Danger/Ringer match, just a good bit better all around.
We cut to some clips from Vol. 1’s Cheerleader Melissa vs. MsChif match to set up our no disqualification contest.
Match 6: Cheerleader Melissa vs. MsChif – Falls Count Anywhere Match
MsChif yells at the ref to back the hell off because he doesn’t need to check her for anything. She takes it to Melissa right away and the two exchange hard chops and strikes. Low dragon sleeper from MsChif, but she lets it go to continue beating Melissa. Melissa gains control in the corner and chops high and fast before slamming MsChif a few times before getting a near fall with an elbow drop. MsChif’s bendiness comes into play as Melissa almost bends her arms behind her back until they touch. MsChif reverses into a Japanese stranglehold. Prazak says he’s heard that MsChif’s spine is made of lime jello. Modified dragon sleeper, but Melissa holds the ropes (odd that it breaks the hold, I thought this was falls count anywhere?).
Melissa with a Bubba Bomb type move and a creative leggy-head submission bending MsChif’s right leg behind her head (almost a behind-the-head triangle using one of Chief’s legs). She goes for the inverted cloverleaf, but MsChif rolls her up for two. Melissa continues pursuing the leg. Tree of woe and Melissa does something like a bridled rocking horse in the corner. Whatever it is, it’s a fantastic move! Melissa double stomps MsChif in the back and keeps working her over. MsChif reverses a suplex into an inside cradle for two, schoolgirl for two, and Melissa goes for the cloverleaf only to eat a curb stomp for two twice.
MsChif rolls out of the cloverleaf attempt, only for Melissa to try again and get kicked out to the floor. She follows and bites Melissa’s forehead until Melissa rolls under the rail to the crowd. MsChif pursues and chokes Melissa on the back of a chair (“there’s nothing illegal in this match” – MsChif). A fan offers his chair to MsChif, and the ref raises Melissa’s arm to see if she’s done. Melissa gets out and starts hitting MsChif with the chairs, then slams MsChif’s face into the wall for two. MsChif is busted open.
Melissa grabs MsChif and leads her outside and slams her onto the sidewalk for two. Fans gather outside and MsChif throws Melissa into the pole at the entrance of the Berwyn Eagles Club. MsChif brings Melissa back inside and throws her down the stairs into the Eagles Club lobby for two. She tosses Melissa into more chairs and uses one for something like a Gory Especial for a pair of near falls. Melissa begins to fight back against MsChif at the guardrail, getting her own near fall. MsChif with a sunset flip for two, Melissa with another pin attempt. Melissa attempts to entangle MsChif in the guardrail, but MsChif shoves her off and gets a two. Melissa slams MsChif into a table and pulls something like a dolly board out from under the stage. She slams MsChif onto it and slides MsChif under the stage and traps her inside.
MsChif stops fighting and Melissa looks proud of herself, but MsChif reappears from another spot and pulls Melissa out. Melissa misses with a chair but blocks mist with the chair. MsChif with a back fist for two. MsChif goes for the Desecrator but Melissa rolls her up for two. Melissa brings MsChif back to the wheel board and rolls her into the ring, and MsChif rolled right through to hit the rail for two. Melissa throws MsChif back into the ring. MsChif chokes her for another pair of near falls. Baseball slide dropkick to knock Melissa out of the ring and MsChif clubs Melissa in the back and throws her into the ring steps.
MsChif throws Melissa into the rail more, only to be thrown into the ring steps. Melissa grabs the chair and throws MsChif onto a stack of tables. Forearms back and forth just as 5 minutes are announced remaining. Melissa thrusts the chair into MsChif’s face and cinches in the inverted cloverleaf before stomping the chair into MsChif’s head with her own foot and MsChif taps.
This is a wild ass brawl that’s creative about using the space, creative with the finish, and still holds up really well. It’s certainly one of the two standout matches on this show, and for early SHIMMER it shows that the wrestlers can do hardcore with the best of them.
We are next treated to a look back to Knox’s dirty tactics in Vol. 3
Match 7: Rebecca Knox vs. Daizee Haze
Some guys in the crowd start chanting “slut” at Knox before the match begins and she responds “YOU WISH!” Fortunately, commentary drowns out what appear to be chants of “You suck dick” and worse to Knox. You would expect early SHIMMER audiences to be a bit less brazenly sexist, but Knox is the top heel so I guess they must have expected a certain degree of vitriol. Haze and Knox start very technically, with Knox doing a British escape from the head scissors to begin working Haze into an arm lock, transitioned to a wristlock.
Haze gains control and bends Knox into a neck bridge, and Knox brings Haze down for two before rolling into a dragon sleeper. Suddenly, Haze rolls her up into a cover for two, then turns Knox around and floats into a front face lock. Knox works the hamstrings and puts Haze into a leg submission, breaking the hold at three. Knox ties up Haze’s legs in another leglock and grabs the rope for leverage, before transitioning into an STC type deal. Haze fights her legs free and rolls Knox for two, but Knox holds the headlock. Knox with a near-fall, snap mare and drives her knee into the arm. She puts Haze into a key lock and almost pins her, but Haze bridges out and rolls Knox for her own near fall. It’s a very grapply, scrappy match, with a very appealing style.
Knox bridges a hammerlock on Haze before rolling her up for two. Front chancery by Haze, rolling into a guillotine, rolled up for two twice by Knox. Knox ties up Haze’s legs and Haze turns it into a roll-up for two. Big snap mare into a pin for two, then Haze gains some advantage with an arm drag, elbow, clothesline, and Knox powders to the outside and does some stretches. Knox breaks the count twice, and Haze climbs up to dive at her but misses. Knox begins beating her down and slams her face into the apron before getting back in the ring.
Snapmare and kicks to the back, elbow drop for two from Knox. Knox does a bridging arm submission and does pushups in the bridge before rolling Haze up. Haze kicks out, so she hits Haze with a pump handle suplex and a boot across the throat, leg drop, and cover for two again. Knox argues with the ref while choking Haze with her knee, then kicks to the hamstring and ties Haze up in a leg submission.
Haze reaches the ropes and Knox resumes the stomps before Haze rolls her out of a slam for two. She attacks Knox with chops, but Knox hits a backbreaker for two. Haze blocks the cross arm breaker, and Knox adjusts. Shoulder thrust and forearms in the corner before a back suplex for two. A big forearm knocks Haze down, and Knox throws an uppercut to knock her down again. Knox goes for a lazy pin off a fisherman’s neckbreaker, then she kicks Haze in the kidneys and does a senton.
Haze avoids the T-Bone suplex and hits a leg drop across the back of the neck, then head scissors with her own pushups. Knox ducks the Heart Punch and hits a bridging German for two that Haze just falls out of. Haze avoids the Falcon Arrow and rolls through for two twice. Knox hits the T-Bone suplex and goes for a double-springboard leg drop but misses. Haze hits a missile dropkick followed by the Heart Punch and Mind Trip for the win.
This is really good, especially the final third of the match. So many counters and such good wrestling. It’s the stylistic opposite of Melissa vs. MsChif, but both matches blow the rest of the card away.
Allison Danger promo about how she’s got her groove back after Vol. 3. She’s interested in a match against Cheerleader Melissa, as she’s never had one before. On Volume 5, if Melissa’s game, Danger’s game. Also for Vol. 5, Mercedes Martinez vs. Sara Del Rey is announced, and there will be a winner.
Final Thoughts –
Volume 4 is a show that gets better as it goes on. The first couple of matches are perfectly adequate, but they aren’t special and they don’t stick in the memory long. The mid-card matches are all good, but they lack that something special that pushes them into greatness. They’re worth watching, but none of them are going to be all-time favorites.
The final two matches, however, provide two examples of truly great wrestling. MsChif and Melissa turn out an fantastic brawl that sprawls outside the building. Haze and Knox, on the other hand, put together a very technical showcase. Either match could be called the match of the volume, but I’m going to go with the main event by a hair.