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By Stuart Carapola on 9/16/2009 4:33 PM

The show opens with the ring announcer welcoming everyone to the debut of SHIMMER, and bringing all of the wrestlers on tonight's event to the ring to pose for a group photo op before the event starts. Allison Danger takes the mic and welcomes everyone to SHIMMER, and says that they've come here to make a mark on the North American women's wrestling scene. She asks that everyone keep coming to support them and they'll keep doing what they do best: women's wrestling. They all then mug for the camera, and it's really bizarre seeing Cheerleader Melissa and Lexie Fyfe try and flash friendly smiles. Not that they're ugly girls, but I get the impression it's not something either of them are used to doing.

Your hosts are Dave Prazak and Allison Danger.

Tiana Ringer vs Shantelle Taylor

You may be more familiar with Shantelle as former TNA Knockouts Champion Taylor Wilde. Both girls make their entrances, and then are introduced by the ring announcer once they've made their way to the ring, which becomes the standard for all SHIMMER matches. I prefer them to be introduced on their way to the ring because it makes the shows drag less that way, but it's not a huge deal. Bell rings and the girls tie up and trade wristlocks. Tiana tries to cartwheel out of a wristlock, but Shantelle cartwheels through with her, which looked cool. Tiana takes Shantelle down with a waistlock, but Shantelle makes it to her feet and cartwheels out and reverses to a waistlock of her own. Tiana tries cartwheeling out, but Shantelle follows through with her again. Tiana takes Shantelle to the corner and rams a shoulder into the midsection, then gets a side suplex for 2. Tiana gets a nasty looking curb stomp, but only gets 2. Shantelle fires back and takes Tiana down with a dropkick to the knee, then gets a rolling cradle for 2. Shantelle goes to pick Tiana up, but Tiana kicks backward over her own head and catches Shantelle with the boot. It looked as cool as it sounds. Tiana with a backbreaker and stretches Shantelle over the knee. Shantelle fights her way out and comes off the ropes, but again gets caught in a backbreaker, this time of the windmill variety. Tiana makes a cover for 2, Shantelle lays in some stiff chops, but Tiana maintains control with a snapmare and the indy kick to the back, then catches Shantelle in a camel clutch. Shantelle escapes and makes a comeback with a series of clotheslines and a flying headscissors for 2. Exchange of chops with Tiana coming out on top, then Tiana gets an ugly vertical suplex that looked like she had trouble getting her over. Shantelle fires back, but runs right into a boot from Tiana for 2. Tiana puts Shantelle on top, but Shantelle knocks Tiana off and scores with a missile dropkick for the win.

Winner: Shantelle Taylor

Team Blondage vs Cindy Rogers & Nikki Roxx

Team Blondage was supposed to be the Diva-esque, anti-women's wrestling team. They were a couple of blond, Barbie doll looking girls who come out in short shorts and little tiny t-shirts and act like the snotty, stuck up cheerleaders from high school. Just to drive the point home, they cut a promo before the match talking about how cute their outfits look and telling all the gross guys in the audience not to take pictures. The thing is that both girls are actually pretty good wrestlers, so even though they were portrayed perfectly to be heels to the anti-Sports Entertainment crowd, they could actually hang in the ring, too. Nikki would later go on to semi-infamy in TNA as Roxxi Laveaux, and was last seen losing a three minute squash to Sara Del Rey at the ROH TV tapings. Team Blondage stalls before the match, but finally Amber O'Neal gets in the ring to start the match with Nikki. Several quick takedowns and near falls to start. Nikki takes Amber down to the mat and starts spanking her, then they exchange hammerlocks until Amber comes out on top with a side headlock. Nikki escapes and tags out to Cindy, who comes in and wrestles circles around Amber. Finally Amber has enough and scurries to her corner and tags in Krissy Vaine, but she doesn't fare any better. Double hiptoss on Vaine by the babyfaces, then Nikki gets a clothesline for 2. A hair grab by Amber from the outside allows Krissy to nail Nikki and take the advantage. Krissy rams Nikki into Amber's boot, then a double Russian legsweep on Nikki for 2. Amber with a blatant choke right in front of the referee, then whips Nikki into the ropes and clotheslines her for 2. Krissy goes after Cindy to draw her in and distract the referee, and then Team Blondage does a double team choke on the ropes on Nikki. These girls have their psychology down. Amber with a lax cover only gets 2, and we hit the chinlock! Krissy tags in and gets a very delayed side suplex for 2. Amber locks Nikki in a sleeper, but Nikki escapes with a chinbreaker and then both girls collide head to head and both are down. Nikki makes the hot tag and Cidy comes in and cleans house. Cindy with a bulldog on Krissy for 2, but Amber breaks it up and all four girls are in. Amber tosses Nikki to the floor and rams her into the post, and when Cindy tries a sunset flip into the ring, Krissy drops down and grabs Amber's hands from the outside for leverage and gets the win. Team Blondage, apparently very pleased with themselves, go scampering off to the back. What a great gimmick.

Winners: Team Blondage

Rain vs Ariel

For those unfamiliar with Rain, she spent a long time as Lacey's regular tag team partner in the Midwest, with the two of them forming the Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew, a clever play on the Anderson brothers calling themselves the Minnesota Wrecking Crew back in the 70s and 80s. Lacey was really the leader of the team and Rain often came off as Lacey's mini-me, often mimicking Lacey's mannerisms almost exactly during their matches. Not that Rain's a bad wrestler or lost without Lacey or anything, but it was pretty clear who the star of that team was. Ariel is from New England, but she did have a brief run as the valet of the Christopher Street Connection in ROH. She's got that "I'm a cheery babyface who rarely wins" charisma, which I guess isn't entirely a bad thing. Heel shenanigans piss of Ariel early, and Ariel smacks Rain in the mouth. Rain tries to bail to the floor, but Ariel follows her out and beats her up all around ringside. After Ariel rams Rain face first into the apron about half a dozen times, she tosses Rain back in the ring, but gets caught with a kick and a bodyslam coming in. Ariel fires back, but Rain tosses her to the floor and returns the favor from earlier by roughing her up on the floor before tossing her back in the ring and covering for a pair of two counts. Ariel turns the tide back in her favor with a snapmare and a dropkick for 2, but Rain turns the tide yet again with a clothesline. Rain stands on Ariel's back and yanks the hair, which even with Ariel holding Rain's hands, looks really painful. Rain works Ariel over in the corner and gets a trio of running knees in the corner. Ariel slumps down in the corner, so Rain gets a diving dropkick for 2. Rain goes for Acid Rain, but Ariel gets a victory roll for 2, ironically not getting a victory out of the move. Rain eats boot on a corner charge and Ariel with a tornado DDT and both girls are down. They both come up at the same time and go toe to toe. Ariel gets the upper hand and gets a trio of vertical suplexes for 2, and then a Northern Lights Suplex for 2. Rain counters a backslide into the Raindrop for 2 and goes for Acid Rain again, but Ariel kicks her way out and hits the Dariel (I'm probably spelling that wrong) for the win.

Winner: Ariel

Lexie Fyfe vs Christie Ricci

Lexie is the most experienced member of the roster on this first show, with some 10-12 years behind her at this point. She also has the worst entrance music out of anyone on the SHIMMER roster, ever. I don't know much about Christie Ricci, except that she's from Mississippi, and she didn't last long in SHIMMER. That should pretty much tell you all you need to know about what happens in this match, but if you're still interested in the recap, read on. Wristlock exchange to start, then Ricci takes Lexie to the mat and gets her in a front facelock, then changes it up to a chinlock. Lexie escapes with a chinbreaker and slaps a headlock on Ricci, but Ricci counters into a top wristlock and then changes that into a headlock. Lexie fires her off into the ropes and Ricci with a leapfrog and a pair of armdrags, then one of those lucha armdrags off the ropes. Ricci goes for a cross armbreaker, but Lexie locks the hands and rolls Ricci to her back, but instead of going for a pinfall she goes to Ricci's eyes. Lexie sends Ricci to the corner and unloads with a series of chops, Ricci tries to fire back with chops of her own, but Lexie goes to the eyes and then puts her in a surfboard. She changes it up to a camel clutch and gouges at Ricci's face just for laughs. Pair of vertical suplexes gets 2, then Lexie chokes Ricci on the ropes. Lexie goes up top, but takes too much time and Ricci catches her and gets a superplex, and both women are down. Ricci with the standard smiling babyface comeback stuff, but when she gets Lexie down she goes for a splash and Lexie gets the knees up and hits a TKO for the win.

Winner: Lexie Fyfe

Cheerleader Melissa vs MsChif

Melissa goes after MsChif right at the bell and pounds away, but MsChif no-sells and screams at her. Melissa is not intimidated, and fires more shots into MsChif, but another scream. MsChif off the ropes with a shoulderbreaker and a clothesline, then gets on top of Melissa and pounds her in the face. MsChif works on the arm and gets Melissa in this interesting stretch where she puts her in a hammerlock, then pulls Melissa's other arm backward over her own head. Some indy moves are just really hard to describe, you know what I mean? Melissa comes back with a belly to back suplex and then puts the boots to MsChif. Melissa starts smacking MsChif around, then picks her up and chokes her over the second rope. Melissa in firm control as she casually goes to work on MsChif, kicking her around and then using the ropes to stand on her throat. Melissa is like a female Low Ki in that she's just an intense, no BS competitor who clearly doesn't suffer fools lightly. Melissa then performs one of the all-time classic SHIMMER moments by putting MsChif in an inverted Texas Cloverleaf, but bends MsChif so far backward that she uses MsChif's own foot to kick her in the back of the head. Terrific visual. MsChif comes back with a flying bodyscissors and then gets a variation of the Muta Lock, but Melissa makes the ropes. Melissa starts going after the knee with kicks and ties the leg around the ropes. Melissa literally fires MsChif out to the floor and follows her out, ramming her into the guardrail several times, then she goes to toss MsChif back in...but thinks better of it and pulls her back out to the floor, lays her backwards across the guardrail, and bends her backward over the rail almost into a Boston Crab. What a sadist. I love it. Back in the ring, Melissa goes for the Kudoh Driver, but MsChif escapes and hits a slightly botched quebrada for 2. MsChif fires away at Melissa in the corner with clotheslines, but Melissa reverses a cross corner whip and hits two very nasty dropkicks in the corner, but MsChif catches her coming in the third time with a drop toehold into the turnbuckle. MsChif stomps on Melissa's back in the corner several times and then drags her out to the middle of the ring and gets a 2 count. MsChif goes for a Frankensteiner, but Melissa counters into a sitout powerbomb for 2. Melissa again goes for the Kudoh Driver, but MsChif rolls through and hits the Desecrator for the win. This was a really fun match that would signal the start of a pretty violent feud between the two.

Winner: MsChif

Beth Phoenix vs Allison Danger

Of course we're all familiar with the exploits of Ms. Phoenix in WWE, and longtime ROH fans know Allison Danger as the sister of Steve Corino and valet of Christopher Daniels. Phoenix definitely looks thicker here than she has during her WWE stint. They do a silly spot right at the start where they go into a criss-cross and Allison stops, but Beth keeps running and running until she collapses from exhaustion. Danger takes advantage and takes Phoenix down with a wristlock and Phoenix tries to kip up, but can't quite manage it. Phoenix is starting to get mad and takes a charge at Danger, but Danger takes her down with a drop toehold, and then somehow takes Phoenix down with a shoulderblock. I know wrestling is escapism, but you're really going to try and convince me that skinny little Allison Danger can bowl over big, strong Beth Phoenix? Beth reasserts her power by taking Danger to the corner and working her over with a series of chops. Danger blocks the last one and comes back with some chops of her own, but Phoenix goes to the eyes. Like Jesse Ventura used to say, you can train every other part of your body, but you can't train your eyes to absorb punishment. Beth gets a vertical suplex for 2, then uses the shin across the throat to choke Danger. Beth hits the chinlock! Danger counters with a double leg takedown into a rolling cradle, but only gets 2 and Phoenix is back on top raining punches down on her. Beth pulls a nice heel move by taking off her wrist tape to choke Danger, then when the referee stops her and takes the tape, Beth goes behind his back and takes the tape off the other wrist and uses that to choke Danger. Danger tries to shock Phoenix with an inside cradle, but only gets 2, and then Phoenix starts choking her on the second rope. Allison tries to escape to the floor, but Phoenix follows her out and drives her backfirst into the ring apron not once, but twice. They go back into the ring where Phoenix continues to dominate her, kicking away before applying a half nelson/crossface. Danger fights her way out and stuns Phoenix with a facebuster over the knee and a clothesline. Danger gets to her feet first and starts her comeback, hitting the Lovelace Choker for 2. Beth comes back with a nice Northern Lights Suplex for 2, but when she rolls Danger up with a schoolboy (or I guess schoolgirl), Danger reverses it to a cradle of her own for the win. That was out of nowhere.

Winner: Allison Danger

Mercedes Martinez vs Sara Del Rey

They shake in a nice show of sportsmanship to start, then lock up. Sara takes Mercedes to the corner, but breaks clean. Now Mercedes backs Sara to the ropes, and now she breaks clean. They exchange waistlocks next and then Sara goes to the arm, but Mercedes reverses with a fireman's carry and goes to an armbar of her own. Mat wrestling sequence follows with each woman reversing on one another until Sara comes out on top with a short armscissors. Mercedes rolls through and puts Sara to her back for a 2 count, but Sara rolls right back and regains the hold. Sara sends Mercedes off the ropes but Mercedes comes back with a shoulderblock that takes Sara off her feet. They go to a Greco-Roman knuckle lock next, and one would think Sara would have the advantage here due to the size advantage, but Mercedes ends up taking her down. Finally the tempers flare and they just start going toe to toe out of nowhere. Sara with a headbutt, snapmare, and a stomp to the back followed with a vertical suplex, but Mercedes does the fighting spirit thing and comes back with the exact same sequence. Sara with a savate kick and a double underhook suplex gets 2. Now it's going to get good. Sara hangs Mercedes on the second rope and drives both knees into the midsection, then fires Mercedes off into the ropes and catches her with an elbow for 2. Mercedes reverses an Irish whip attempt into a fireman's carry, then dumps Sara but drops the back of her head over Mercedes' knee. You know the move if you've seen a Matt Cross match. Mercedes works her over with a series of knees in the corner and then gets a low vertical suplex for 2. Mercedes sends Sara into the ropes but sets her head for a backdrop too early, allowing Sara to catch her with a knee to the face. Sara goes for a powerbomb, Mercedes uses the momentum to come out behind Sara, but Sara turns around and takes her head off with a lariat for 2. Sara locks Mercedes in a version of the Royal Octopus, then rolls that into a crucifix for 1. Sara goes for another powerbomb and Mercedes escapes again, backdropping Sara and hitting a spinebuster for 2. Mercedes gets Sara in a surfboard, but Sara breaks out, so Mercedes just sits on her back and fires crossfaces across the bridge of Sara's nose. Mercedes ducks a Yakuza Kick from Sara, but Sara catches her with a double axhandle for 2. Now Sara comes off the ropes with a series of big boots to the chest, but that only gets 2 as well. Finally Sara gets the powerbomb and damn if it didn't look nasty, but even that is only good enough for 2. Sara's starting to look a little frustrated as she pulls MErcedes back to her feet and fires a headbutt at her, but Mercedes moves out of the way of a corner charge and gets a nasty German Suplex on Sara that drops her awkwardly on her shoulder. Mercedes pulls out the old Doug Williams spot where she ties Sara up into a package so Sara is unable to escape being tied up by herself. Mercedes uses the chance to catch a short break, then nails a diving dropkick. Sara reverses the fisherman's buster to a small package for 2, then gets a bridging O'Connor roll for 2, and a German Suplex for another 2. Sara is visibly frustrated now as she lays in some forearms on Mercedes, but Mercedes gets a backslide out of nowhere for 2, followed by a small package for 2 and then a cradle suplex for 2. Mercedes locks Sara in a Dragon Clutch, then lets go of the Dragon Sleeper part and instead fishhooks both sides of Sara's mouth. Ew, that looked painful, but thankfully the ref called for the break. Mercedes catches Sara in a hold that looks like Jimmy Jacobs' End Time, except with a double underhook instead of the front facelock. Sara makes the ropes in any event, and both girls start going to to toe on their knees as the phone at the venue starts ringing in the background. Now they're to their feet and going toe to toe again with Mercedes coming out ahead. Mercedes whips Sara into the ropes for a big boot, but Sara ducks and punches her right in the face and then locks her in the Royal Butterfly. Sara releases the hold and Mercedes hits the fisherman's buster and goes for the cover, but the bell rings at 2, and we have a time limit draw. This was a great match between two girls who were booked to look totally even with one another, and it made for a great, dramatic match. Sara and Mercedes embrace after the match, and the referee raises both girls' hands for some reason.

Time Limit Draw

Main Event: Lacey vs Daizee Haze

Before we start this match, I'd just like to say that while I don't hate Daizee Haze or anything like that, I've never been a huge fan of hers. I think she's an OKAY wrestler (though she does blow enough moves that I can't really call her good), but I think she's way overpushed and I tend to resent wrestlers like that. I think of her as being like the Rey Mysterio or Jack Evans of SHIMMER, she's a great athlete but way too small to take seriously against most of the other girls she ends up in the ring with. In ROH, she tends to get stuck at ringside as a valet for much cooler wrestlers so I think she's gotten some kind of cool rub with the fans by proxy, but I don't buy into it. I think she'd be a fine fit as a midcarder at best, but I don't think she belongs in some of the prominent positions she's been in over the years. So if you come to believe that I hate Daizee throughout the course of reading my DVD reviews, know that I don't, I just don't think she's all she's cracked up to be.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's get to the match. Lacey outwrestles Daizee to start, taking a side headlock and them coming off the ropes with a shoulderblock and an armdrag. Another tieup and this time Daizee takes Lacey down with an armdrag and turns it into a hammerlock. They exchange wristlocks next with Daizee going for a cross armbreaker and Lacey tries to block it by locking the hands, but Daizee breaks her grip and gets the hold. As Lacey squirms to escape, Daizee turns it into a short armscissors and then changes that up to a top wristlock and really cranks on it. Lacey uses the hair to reverse the hold, but the ref saw it and made her break the hold. Lacey throws a little fit over the forced break, and decides to take a walk on the floor to clear her mind. Lacey takes her time but finally, slowly re-enters the ring. More stalling by Lacey as she goes for a Greco-Roman knucklelock but keeps backing off. She finally gets into the hold and Daizee uses it to take her down right into a really nasty looking hammerlock. Lacey fights her way out with a series of forearms and then drives Daizee face first into the middle turnbuckle to take the advantage. She stands Daizee up in the corner and fires off several kicks to the back of Daizee before choking her out with her boot. Lacey whips Daizee into the opposite corner and follows her it with a clothesline. Another whip into the ropes by Lacey, but Daizee comes off with a flying headscissors and then hits a series of clotheslines to send Lacey to the floor. Daizee goes up top to dive on Lacey, but suddenly Lacey pops up from the floor and shoves her off the top rope and she hits hard in the middle of the ring. Lacey quickly goes for a cover but only gets 2. Lacey with a pair of slams on Daizee, but Daizee rolls her up on the third one and gets a 2 count. Lacey quickly regains control and gets a side suplex for 2. Lacey with a surfboard on Daizee, then releases the hold and whips Daizee in the corner, but Daizee gets the boot up when Lacey charges in, and then they have an awkward series of rollups that somebody obviously screwed up somewhere, ending up with Lacey on top for 2 before getting a Boston Crab on Daizee. Daizee escapes, but Lacey keeps up the assult with the boots. Lacey gets the running double knees in the corner and goes for it again, but Daizee moves and Lacey hits the turnbuckles. Daizee takes a charge into the corner, but Lacey gets her boot up and then hits a Russian Legsweep into the corner (which looked cool), but only gets 2. Lacey goes to the floor and bends Daizee backward around the ringpost, then gets back in the ring and goes for the cover, but only gets 2. Lacey fires more forearms into the back and hits a really sweet, Sean Waltman-style spinkick for 2. Lacey with a bow and arrow, but Daizee rolls through and turns it into a pinning combination for 2. Lacey picks Daizee up like she's going for a shoulderbreaker, but instead powerslams her into the corner, then hangs her in the Tree of Woe, goes to the floor, and bends Daizee backwards in the corner again. Lacey stops for a water break (which will surely prove her undoing), and sure enough Lacey goes back to Daizee's corner and Daizee sits up and nails Daizee with a swinging chinbreaker. They go toe to toe in the middle of the ring, then Daizee gets a big clothesline, a series of knees, and the Yakuza kick for a close 2. Daizee goes up to the second rope and comes off with a clothesline for 2. Daizee goes up top but Lacey crotches her and pulls her out like she's going for a Tower Of London, but instead spins it into a neckbreaker for 2. Daizee with a rollup for 2 and goes for a heart punch, but Lacey counters into a TKO neckbreaker and gets 2. Daizee with another rollup out of nowhere for 2, then hits the heart punch and Mindtrip for the win.

Winner: Daizee Haze

Allison Danger cuts a promo to close the show saying that history had been made with the first SHIMMER taping and proved that women's wrestling was possible in the USA.

The Bottom Line

Though there weren't any blowaway matches on this show (though Melissa-MsChif and Del Rey-Martinez were pretty good), this DVD did a number of good things. For one, it showed a North American audience that had been conditioned to think of female wrestlers as T&A that there are quality female wrestlers out there and though there are some very good looking women on the SHIMMER roster, they can put on a solid WRESTLING show. For two, it introduced us to the SHIMMER product and many of the girls who would go on to have some really good matches and become mainstays over the entire course of the DVD series. Like I said, they have much better shows later on, but this was solid top to bottom and a good introduction to the SHIMMER product.

Stu Carapola can be reached at