Monday, November 30, 2015

SHIMMER 71: The ChickFight Tournament Review

Who will earn a shot at the SHIMMER Title?

So this is my first time watching a show from SHIMMER. Obviously, I’ve heard a lot about them, I’ve just never got the chance to actually take a serious look (WAY too much wrestling to watch in 2015). With this being part of the WWNLive Experience during WrestleMania Weekend, I decided to give a shot. What was also enticing was the fact that this was a tournament. I felt that a tournament show is always a good way to introduce someone to a promotion. Let’s see how this show turned out.

The ChickFight Tournament features twelve competitors, and works out similar to Night 3 of PWG’s BOLA in recent years (when they use twenty-four competitors). There will be six first round matches, three second round matches, and a Three-Way Elimination Match in the Finals. The winner will get a future shot at the SHIMMER Title.

SHIMMER 71: The ChickFight Tournament
San Jose, California 3/28/15

1.) ChickFight Tournament - First Round - Portia Perez vs. Evie: **3/4

I feel like that, throughout this review, there will be a ton of matches that feature someone who I’m familiar with, and someone who I’m totally unfamiliar with. This is just the first example. I’ve very familiar with Portia Perez, a longtime SHIMMER regular who is one half of the Canadian Ninjas with the current SHIMMER Champion Nicole Matthews. Here, she’s taking on Evie, an Australian competitor who I knew nothing about coming in. As far as the match goes, it was fine for an opening match. Perez always plays a good heel, and Evie looked good here as well. Simple stuff, but solid. Perez tries to coordinate interference with help from her partner Nicole Matthews, but it backfires, allowing Evie to pick up the win. She advances to the next round.

2.) ChickFight Tournament - First Round - Nicole Savoy vs. Candice LeRae: ***1/4

I’m sure EVERYONE knows who Candice LeRae is at this point, but much like Evie in the opener, I have no idea who Nicole Savoy is. What’s interesting is that both are relatively new to SHIMMER (if I recall correctly). This was a pretty good match. You can always count on Candice to put on solid performance, but Nicole Savoy looked good in here as well. Much like Evie, she was pretty impressive. A really fun match to watch. At one point, towards the end of the match, Candice looked to have broken her nose, as she finished the match with a bloody face. Savoy would pick up the upset victory to advance to the next round.

3.) ChickFight Tournament - First Round - Nikki Storm vs. Cherry Bomb: ***

Again, another match that features one person who I’m familiar with and another who I really hadn’t seen. I’m sure most people know who Cherry Bomb is. Nikki Storm is someone who I’ve heard about, but I’ve never seen. She’s from Scotland, and is probably best known for her appearance on TNA’s British Boot Camp 2. She likes to refer to herself as “The Best in the Galaxy”, and has a really entertaining character to say the least. She cuts this hilarious promo before the match that needs to be heard (I’ve haven’t even seen her wrestle yet, and she’s already a great character). The match itself starts with Nikki Storm & Cherry Bomb just screaming at each other. Aside from the comedy, the action here was pretty solid. Another fun tournament match. Nikki Storm (who has AMAZING charisma) picks up the win to advance to the next round.

4.) ChickFight Tournament - First Round - Kimber Lee vs. Kay Lee Ray: ***1/4

The trend continues! I (obviously) know a lot about Kimber Lee, but I am relatively unfamiliar with Kay Lee Ray. Much like Nikki Storm, she’s from Scotland, and I believe she also had a stint on TNA’s British Boot Camp 2. She has bright red hair, and she’s a good high-flyer! A pretty solid match between these two. I can always expect a good match out of Kimber Lee, and Kay Lee Ray showed a lot here as well. In the end, Kay Lee Ray would get the win over Kimber Lee via a crucifix pin to advance to the next round.

5.) ChickFight Tournament - First Round - Athena vs. Mia Yim: ****

Here we have arguably the best looking first round match, in terms of potential match quality, and unlike the previous matches, I’m very familiar with both competitors. Athena & Mia Yim are, without question, two of the best women’s wrestlers in the world right now, so it should come as no surprise that this match was pretty great. Easily the best match on the show. Both put forth valiant efforts, and there was a lot of cool stuff in this match. Eventually, Mia Yim would pick up the win via 450 Splash to advance to the next round.

6.) ChickFight Tournament - First Round - Cheerleader Melissa vs. Jessicka Havok: **

We now have the final match of the first round, and it features two women who are probably the most well known competitors in the tournament. Cheerleader Melissa has been a mainstay in SHIMMER for a very long time, while Jessicka Havok has also garnered a lot of attention for her time on the indie scene and, most recently, in TNA. Apparently this is the first time these two have ever met in a one-on-one match. Unfortunately, this wasn’t very good. I’m not sure what it was (probably a combination of things), but this match just didn’t work. Cheerleader Melissa would get the win via a rollup with her feet on the ropes to advance to the next round. A disappointing match.

Afterwords, Havok is pretty pissed, and vows to kill Cheerleader Melissa at the SHIMMER Tapings a few weeks later.

7.) ChickFight Tournament - Second Round - Evie vs. Nicole Savoy: ***1/2

Time to start the second round! Both Evie & Nicole Savoy had impressive showings in their first round matches, and they put together a really good second round match here. I really enjoyed this. The match was a lot of fun to watch, and there was entertaining action throughout. These two have really grown on me, just based on what I’ve seen on this show. In the end, Evie would pick up to the victory to advance to the Finals!

8.) ChickFight Tournament - Second Round - Nikki Storm vs. Kay Lee Ray: ***1/4

Scotland explodes! It’s pretty cool that these two are facing off. I believe Storm cut another entertaining promo before the match, putting down Kay Lee Ray as being from a lesser part of Scotland. While this match wasn’t quite as good as the match that preceded it, these two managed to put on a pretty entertaining match (which I’m not totally surprised at, since I imagine they’ve wrestled each other before). Both Nikki Storm & Kay Lee Ray are so much fun to watch, but in different ways (Storm’s charisma and Kay Lee Ray’s athletic ability). After some really solid action, Kay Lee Ray would get the win, punching her ticket to the Finals!

9.) ChickFight Tournament - Second Round - Mia Yim vs. Cheerleader Melissa: **

This match is fascinating in that we have one competitor who was in the best match of the show so far, and another competitor who was part of the worst match on the show. I was hoping that Cheerleader Melissa’s match with Havok earlier was just an “off-match”, so to speak, and that this match would be better. Unfortunately, this was not the case. The match was doing fine for a bit, but then there was a ref bump, which led to Havok coming out. She attacks Melissa, and when the referee eventually recovers and sees this, he disqualifies Mia Yim, giving the win to Cheerleader Melissa. Like I said, the match was going fine, but the finish ruined it. Sucks that Mia Yim, after having such a great performance earlier, got eliminated in this fashion.

10.) SHIMMER Title - Nicole Matthews vs. SHIMMER Tag Team Champion Tomoka Nakagawa: **3/4

Here we have the only non-tournament match of the show, as Nicole Matthews defends her SHIMMER Title against one-half of the SHIMMER Tag Team Champions in Tomoka Nakagawa, who recently retired from wrestling in Japan, and is finishing up her career in the United States with this show and the upcoming SHIMMER Tapings a few weeks later. The match was fine, but I don’t think it was as good as it could have been, especially for a SHIMMER Title Match. Portia Perez interferes, and introduces a chair, which Matthews uses on Nakagawa (with the referee distracted, obviously), to get the win and retain her SHIMMER Title. Again, this was a fine match, but I was expecting more.

11.) ChickFight Tournament - Finals - Three-Way Elimination Match - Evie vs. Kay Lee Ray vs. Cheerleader Melissa: ***

It’s finally time for the Finals of the ChickFight Tournament! Evie & Kay Lee Ray would team up on Cheerleader Melissa, but Melissa would fight them off. Then a major screw-up occurs, as Havok’s music plays, but nothing happens. They play her music again, and after about a good minute, Havok finally comes out. This distraction allows Evie & Kay Lee Ray to team up on and eliminate Melissa. The first half was just ok, but the botched interference made it worse. Fortunately, the second half with Evie vs. Kay Lee Ray totally made up for it. Really good stuff from these two in this part of the match. After some very solid action, Kay Lee Ray would eventually put Evie away to win the ChickFight Tournament and a future SHIMMER Title shot!! Again, the first part with Melissa wasn’t good, but the second half of the match was much better. Evie & Kay Lee Ray were very impressive throughout the tournament, and it was really cool to see them in the final two. Kay Lee Ray celebrates her victory to close the show.

Overall: 7.5/10

As I said towards the beginning of the review, this was my first time watching SHIMMER. For the most part, this show was very solid. Athena vs. Mia Yim was the Match of the Night, which should surprise nobody. Anything that involved Evie, Kay Lee Ray, Nicole Savoy & Nikki Storm was (for the most part) pretty good. All four of them were very impressive, and I can’t wait to see more of their work. On the flip side, anything that involved Cheerleader Melissa & Jessicka Havok, which included bad finishes & interference, was pretty bad. It's a shame because, outside of her one or two matches in Quintessential Pro Wrestling, I've only really known Cheerleader Melissa as Raisha Saeed/Alissa Flash in TNA, and I've heard great things about her work in SHIMMER. Unfortunately, she just didn’t perform well on this show, for whatever reason. There were a number of bad finishes & interference spots in this show that brought things down. If you want to do it once, ok, that’s fine, I can live with that, but having it happen multiple times (including in the final three matches) was not a good decision. Still, there is enough good stuff on here that I'd say makes this show worth checking out.

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