BG Says Special Edition: SHIMMER Women Athletes and the ROH Argument
Posted by Brad Garoon on 09.02.2007
An old question gets revisited.
In an edition of 411ís Buy or Sell I was asked if I thought SHIMMER matches belonged on Ring of Honor shows because of the crowdís lack of familiarity towards them. This was my response:
"The supposedly enlightened ROH fans have been completely unreceptive to the SHIMMER showcases and in many cases offensive to the wrestlers in the ring. This is a problem that could go away. A problem that won't go away is the fact that while these women put on quality matches in SHIMMER, they have yet to deliver a standout match on the ROH stage. This makes SHIMMER look below the ROH standard. While I have yet to see a truly classic match in SHIMMER, I have seen some very good matches. However, when compared to some of the stuff ROH churns out the ladies look lost. Their style looks weak compared to the hard-hitting, high-flying style ROH puts out match after match. In their own environment these matches can be impressive, but in trotting them out in front of fans that could care less between matches they want to see more they're being given a death sentence. Before shows is one thing, give the fans who are there live a chance to see them when the cameras aren't rolling for the DVD product. SHIMMER DVDs are sold at ROH shows, so those fans might pick up a SHIMMER show after seeing a match. But these SHIMMER showcase matches come off so poorly on DVD that they'd be better off on the cutting room floor.Ē
With that in mind Iíve decided to test my theory. In ROH reviews for the first half of 2007 I gave main show SHIMMER showcase matches an average *¾ rating. Thatís after rounding up. Like I stated above, I believe a mix of stage fright, unresponsive fans and a comparison to a more believable product is to blame for the low quality of the matches. I have no doubt that these ladies are talented. Iíve seen everything SHIMMER has put out and have no trouble continuing to review their DVDs because I believe in the product. As far as the fairer sex is concerned there is no better place to watch wrestling than SHIMMER. That being said I now want to take a look at the other part of my statement.
I think that the best place for SHIMMER matches are in SHIMMER. To show that these women can thrive in their own environment I think the best place to advertise SHIMMER is before main ROH shows begin. Iím going to review five pre-show matches to see what kind of quality these women can bring when the pressure is lower and the preceding and proceeding matches donít blow them out of the water. Iím going to look at four matches that were given time to develop as well as two squashes, to get a feel for the different kinds of matches these women can participate in when put in the right environment.
Lacey VS. Sumie Sakai [Do or Die V]
As far as I know this is the only match from this pre-show that has been released to date, which is strange given the decent sized names in the tournament that took place on that show and the fact that an IWC Super Indy title match took place. Maybe the brainfart that was Sal Rinauroís win over Claudio Castagnoli in the future bookings tournament finals is the reason we havenít seen this show released in any form. Lacey gets a roll up to start. Sakai misses a kick and Lacey gets another roll up for 2. Sakai hits a knee to the face for 2. Lacey puts on a headlock but Sakai escapes and hits a dropkick. Lacey hits a neckbreaker for 2. She hits an elbowdrop and chokes away. Sakai catapults Lacey and holds on with a half crab. Lacey goes to the hair to escape so Sakai puts on a camel clutch. Sakai gets the crowd behind her but Lacey comes back by blocking a blind charge and hitting a knee to the back. She hits a neckbreaker for 2. She chokes Sakai on the second rope. She hits a Bubba Bomb and rolls into a camel clutch. Sakai gets a very ugly takedown and then chokes Lacey on the second rope before hitting a 619 knee. She climbs the ropes and comes down with a dropkick for 2. She climbs back up but misses a moonsault. They both look for a roll up and Sakai comes out on top for 2. She gets a backslide for 2. She goes for another but Lacey rolls through and hits a neckbreaker and the implant DDT for the win at 6:27. Minus the one ugly spot this was a very entertaining little match.
Lacey & Tiana Ringer VS. Allison Danger & Shantelle Taylor [Dragon Gate Challenge]
Lacey and Taylor start. Lacey hits a cheap shot on Danger on the apron and then kicks Taylorís back. Taylor comes back with armdrags and a dropkick. Ringer tags in and runs into a series of armdrags. Taylor comes off the top rope to hit an armdrag for 2. Danger tags in and hey, thereís me in the crowd! Danger hits a back elbow and puts on a deathlock. Lacey rushes in to save and gets slapped. She punts Dangerís back to break the hold and then drags Ringer to the corner for the tag. Taylor tags in and hits a leg lariat for 2. Lacey hits a stun gun for 2. She drops an elbow on Taylorís arm and puts on a hammerlock. Ringer tags in and stays on the arm. She slams Taylor to the mat and then swings her around by her arm for 2. Lacey tags in and hits a knee to the back while Ringer holds Taylor in a hammerlock. It gets 2. Ringer tags in and dominates until she and Taylor both go for hair slams and hit the mat simultaneously. Danger and Lacey tag in and Danger cleans house with clotheslines. Danger makes the heels look foolish as she hits a neckbreaker on Lacey and the Curb Kick on Ringer. To be fair Ringer made herself look foolish there by just standing around. Ringer pulls Danger to the floor and rams her into the barricade. Back in the ring Lacey gets 2. Danger comes back with the STO for 2 when Ringer saves. Taylor tags in and comes off the top with a crossbody on Lacey for 2 when Ringer saves. Danger spears Ringer to the floor but Lacey catches Taylor with a neckbreaker and the implant DDT for the win at 9:36. This was an uncharacteristically fast-paced match. There was some great teamwork from Ringer and Lacey, which leaves me very impressed, something I donít remember being after watching this match live.
Allison Danger, Daizee Haze & MsChif VS. Lacey, Rain & Cheerleader Melissa [Better than our Best]
Rain and MsChif start. Melissa tags Rain out because sheís in the middle of a feud with MsChif. Danger tags MsChif out because she doesnít want this match to be about them. Danger gets a wristlock but Melissa counters the hold. Danger puts on a hammerlock but Melissa dodges the Curb Kick. Lacey and MsChif tag in and the crowd HUSSes to get on Laceyís nerves. MsChif puts on a headlock but Lacey counters to the body scissors. MsChif screams her way out of the hold and hits a clothesline. Haze and Rain tag in and Haze gets a roll up for 2. Rain gets a crucifix pin for 2. Haze gets a sunset flip for 2. They continue trading roll ups for 2. Haze hits the slowed head scissors takedown ever and tags to Danger. Melissa tags in and dropkicks the knee. She puts on the inverted cloverleaf but MsChif runs in and breaks the hold. The babyfaces do a KDX pose on Melissa until the Minnesota Home-Wrecking Crew breaks it up. Lacey tags in and chokes Haze in the ropes for 2. Haze blocks a blind charge but Rain crotches her on the top rope. Lacey hits a hanging neckbreaker for 2. Melissa tags in and hits a bodyslam. She hits an elbowdrop and tags to Rain. Haze counters a bodyslam to a DDT and tags to MsChif. Melissa tags in and they trade strikes. Neither of these women really knows how to convey anger unfortunately so the hatred is lost on the unfamiliar crowd. Melissa dodges a standing moonsault and feeds MsChif to Lacey and Rain. The Crew hangs MsChif in the Tree of Woe and Melissa powerbombs Haze onto her. Melissa ties MsChif in a knot in the corner until Haze breaks it up. Lacey tags in and boots MsChif down for 2. She chokes her in the ropes for 2. She hits a neckbreaker for 2. Rain tags in and they hit a legsweep/clothesline combo for 2. Rain hits a swinging lung blower for 2. Melissa tags in and hits a Bubba Bomb before stretching MsChif in ways Iíd rather not see. Danger and Haze make the save. Lacey tags in and hits the TKO for 2. The heels take turns chopping MsChif until she rolls away and tags to Danger. Danger cleans house with forearms and hits a running knee on Lacey for 2. Rain hits the Raindrop on Danger but Haze makes the save. Haze hits the heart punch and a Yakuza kick on Rain. Everyone brawls on the floor while Danger puts the Stretch Plum on Lacey in the ring for the win at 17:19. This was good whenever Haze and Rain were on the apron. It dragged a lot during the head segment on MsChift but drawback was overshadowed by the great dynamic between the Crew and Melissa. All things together this was a solid outing that was given a little too much time.
Allison Danger VS. Lacey [Destiny]
Lacey gets distracted by fans at the bell but Danger doesnít take advantage. They lock up and Lacey grabs a hammerlock. Danger reverses to a headlock and then floats into a modified STF. Lacey gets to the ropes. She blocks a blind charge and then boots Danger down for 2. She puts on a surfboard stretch and hits a stiff kick to the back. She rubs Dangerís face into the mat and hits a pair of elbowdrops. Danger blocks a third but Lacey catches her with a neckbreaker. She hits a Bubba bomb and locks in the leggy nelson. Danger rolls back and gets 2. She blocks the DDT and unloads with forearms. She hits a clothesline and a neckbreaker for 2. She hits a facebuster and a knee to the side of the head for 2. She ducks a roundhouse kick and takes out Laceyís knee. Lacey ducks an enziguiri and hits a backbreaker and a DDT for the win. This wasnít quite as good as the matches that preceded it.
Sara Del Rey VS. Josie [Fifth Year Festival: Dayton]
They trade strikes to start in an exchange that goes bad for Josie. Del Rey keeps booting Josie down and gets 2 off of a vertical suplex. She tosses Josie across the ring by her hair and hits a forearm in the corner. She sets Josie up top but Josie fights her off and hits the Blockbuster for 2. Del Rey quickly comes back with the Royal Butterfly for the win at 2:44. Not much more than a squash, but the crowd was really hot for Sara.
Lacey VS. Laura Mattano [Good Times, Great Memories]
SHIMMER fans know Laura Mattano as a referee. Lacey dominates with mares and kicks to start. Mattano comes back with a backslide for 2. She hits a pair of armdrags and a bodyslam for 2. Lacey hits a knee to the back and keeps the pressure up with kicks. She hits a backbreaker for 2. Mattano gets a quick roll up for 2. Lacey counters a clothesline to a neckbreaker and a scary looking implant DDT for the win at 2:15. Mattano looked like she was grabbed out of the crowd at the last second. She almost had her leg snapped off on that DDT because she didnít go down right. Laceyís style in this match was more entertaining than usual actually. Her kicks looked great. She should probably use them more often.
What we learn from all of this is that, aside from Laura Mattano these ladies bring their A-game when theyíre under the house lights rather than the pressure inducing spotlights of ROH main shows. The average rating from the first three matches (which can be found on Straight Shootin' with The Women Of Honor) is a full star higher than the average rating of womenís matches from ROH main shows. Even Danger vs. Lacey and the squashes (which can be watched through ROHVideos.com) are better served here than on the main shows, as they gave the fans who have nothing better to do than wait for the main show to start and watch the pre-show a look at SHIMMER players Sara Del Rey, Danger and Lacey, and could possibly have given them a jump to buy a DVD featuring one of those women. Iíd say check out the ROHVideos matches now and pick up the Women of Honor DVD if youíre a SHIMMER fan, or if youíre looking for a primer to SHIMMER. You also get to listen to Allison Danger put herself over for over an hour, which is always a treat.