In the world of corporate professional women’s wrestling there are two extremes: those signed to wrestle, and those signed to play wrestle. The sad fact about corporate women’s wrestling is that the women who are signed to wrestle are usually paid a fraction of the money as those signed to play wrestle.
After growing weary of seeing one company blatantly hiring women based on appearance, regardless of wrestling ability, and the other under-utilizing and under-paying their talented women wrestlers, an alternative was needed for this wrestling fan. SHIMMER Women Athletes is a female independent professional wrestling promotion established by Dave Prazak (Ring of Honor), and it is run by both him and Allison Danger. SHIMMER was created with a mission to give both North American and International female wrestling talents a serious platform on which to display their skills.
On June 1, 2007, SHIMMER started a Title Tournament to crown its first women’s champion. Sara Del Rey advanced to the semi-finals by eliminating first Cindy Rogers and then Alicia. As part of Volume 12, she then defeated Sarah Stock (Sarita) in roughly 20 minutes, and in the finals she defeated Lacey to become the first-ever SHIMMER Champion.
On Volume 18, MsChif ended Sara Del Rey’s SHIMMER Championship run. MsChif had rightfully earned a title shot after clearly having Del Rey pinned for more than a three-count during a tag team main-event on Volume 17. After reviewing the tape, Sara Del Rey granted MsChif the opportunity while claiming that she was a fighting champion and knew when somebody deserved a shot at the Shimmer title. Sara Del Rey, trained by Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), implemented stiff kicks to the chest, and a devastating surfboard that transitioned into a Dragon sleeper. MsChif, one of the top female wrestlers who has yet to compete on a national stage, took to the air with a plancha to the outside. And once back inside the ring, MsChif continued to torment Del Rey by smashing her face against the bottom turnbuckle with Double foot stomps across the back. MsChif then forced Del Rey into an innovative Double leg Muta lock. But after Sara Del Rey broke the hold, victory was only a Royal Butterfly away. Yet, MsChif reversed the hold and struck with the Desecrator (Scissored DDT), earning herself the Shimmer Championship.
The match between Cheerleader Melissa (Alissa Flash, Raisha Saeed) and “Dark Angel” Sarah Stock was a rematch from Volume 11. Sarah Stock, who was listed as an “International Wildcard” entry, bumped off Cheerleader Melissa in the first round of the SHIMMER title tournament. Sarah Stock, much like her Sarita character in TNA, is a very arrogant wrestler who has managed to top even the most experienced wrestlers. On this Volume, Cheerleader Melissa, a favorite in the independent circuit, avenged her loss with a victory over Sarah Stock with the Kudo Driver (Back to back double underhook piledriver).
Another match on the Volume was a bout between Amazing Kong (Awesome Kong) and Wesna Busic. On April 11, 2010, Busic announced her retirement from professional wrestling due to an injury. Unaware of the wrestling talent of Wesna, the match was a chance to see the real character of “The Croatian Panther.” She debuted on Volume 17 in a loss to Mercedes Martinez, and would again lose in 18 to Amazing Kong. Yet, instead of losing to Kong in a 10-second squash match, Busic held her own against Kong for 10-minutes. Wesna shocked the SHIMMER audience by picking up Kong for a German Suplex and a Samoan Drop. She lost to Kong after going for her High-angle senton bomb, which Kong caught and dropped her down with a power bomb for the 3-count.
Volume 18 also included the following matches: Shark Girl (Daffney) against Amber O’Neal; Nicole Matthews versus Lorelei Lee; Daizee Haze against Jetta; The Experience (Lexie Fyfe and Malia Hosaka) against Danyah and Jennifer Blake; “The Portuguese Princess” Ariel versus Cat Power; “The Latina Sensation” Mercedes Martinez against Cindy Rogers; and Nevaeh and Ashley Lane (Madison Rayne) against The International Home Wrecking Crew (Lacey and Rain w/Jetta).
Final Thoughts: The womens division in WWE, including those on NXT, are entertainingly beautiful women, but would seriously have their taints handed to them in the Shimmer ring. The only, currently signed, Diva that could rack up some victories is Melina Perez. Beth Phoenix and Natalya Neidhart (Nattie Neidhart) have competed in the SHIMMER ring before signing with WWE.
Watching SHIMMER Volume 18 was a great opportunity to watch an array of intense female wrestlers from around the globe compete on a serious stage putting on some great matches. Unlike the hair pulling, slaps, and endless hurricanranas of WWE Divas, or the senseless violence, and cursing of the TNA Knockouts, the SHIMMER Women Athletes focus on grappling and submission tactics to win matches.
For those interested in watching a real alternative to women’s wrestling, SHIMMER DVDs can be purchased at ROHWrestling.com.