When I arrived in Berwyn, IL for the latest tapings of SHIMMER Women Athletes, I had no idea what to expect. Yeah, I’ve been to wrestling shows before, but never something that I had such an investment in. SHIMMER had changed my perspective on women’s wrestling and I finally was getting my wish of seeing it live. Also, the four Joshi competitors were another unknown that had me buzzing with anticipation.
As soon as walked into the door, I was bombarded by tons of merchandise featuring some of my favorite wrestlers. Mentally, I spent almost all of my cash before I even got to my seat. However, my purchases would have to wait until intermission. The day started off with a mens tag team match, but I won’t bore you with the details. The REAL show started with SPARKLE. PJ Tyler from Femmes Fatales had a good match with another newcomer, Anna Minoushka. She Nay Nay also had a good showing with the spunky and vivacious Leva Bates. These were decent matches but they just teased me; I was ready for the main course.
The first taping (Vol. 29) had some great matches on the card including Kellie Skater vs Neveah, Cat Power vs Jessie McKay, and an awesome beatdown by The Canadian Ninjas, but business really picked up in the second half. One of my favorite matches of the night came from Australian grappler Tenille in a match against Sara Del Rey. I had never been too impressed with Tenille in the past; I always thought she had potential but was still quite green. Obviously, Tenille was out to send a message to all her naysayers, because she put on an awesome match. She didn’t come out on top put she definitely turned some heads. Later, she’d tell me that she’d been training very hard and she’s glad she’s improving.
The return of Madison Eagles was also a highlight of the night. The crowd was on fire for her and she got a huge “welcome back” chant after her match with Sassy Stephie. And then came the Joshi… Honestly, these women tore the house down all weekend, Ayumi Kurihara in particular. For all of us in attendance, the Japanese competitors were an absolute joy to watch and I wait for the DVDs to be released so I can relive these matches all over again.
Vol. 29 closed out with Cheerleader Melissa and MsChif facing the Tag Team Champions, The Canadians Ninjas, in a match for the titles. Being a huge fan of all the ladies involved, this match was a dream come true. Not to mention Melissa and MsChif were close enough to touch, sending me into full-on mark mode.
Although it paled in comparison to Vol. 29 in my opinion, Vol. 30 also had some great moments, including a great Last Woman Standing match between Allison Danger and Portia Perez, a short but sweet title match between MsChif and Sarah Stock (TNA’s Sarita) and an awesome #1 Contender’s match between Cheerleader Melissa and Madison Eagles.
After the first tapings, I went straight to the afterparty at 39Ten. Although it was fun, the first afterparty was pretty tame, as most of the girls had to work the next day and couldn’t party too hard. Kellie Skater, Rayna Von Tosh, Hamada and Allison Danger among others made appearances and chatted with the fans. Cheerleader Melissa also showed up and we partook in a delicious deep dish pizza. Best moment of my life.
After the party, I made my way back to my hotel room, not knowing that in the next 24 hours I would be part of SHIMMER history. Although there were lots of great matches on Vol. 31, the one everyone was buzzing about was Eagles vs MsChif. I don’t think anyone thought Eagles would actually pull out the win, so when she did you could literally feel the shock in the air. Being a fan of Madison, I had the misfortune of being the only idiot who stood up and clapped. Hope that doesn’t make the DVD.
The final taping consisted of the in-ring return of Jennifer Blake, an emotional promo and match between MsChif and Daffney which was said to left both woman in tears and a unbelievable bout between Hamada and Cheerleader Melissa. I won’t even disgrace this match by putting it words. It was honestly something you have to see to believe. After the final tapings, I made my way to the second night of the afterparty which was absolute mayhem… but in a good way. All the girls were letting loose and having fun with the fans without even the slightest bit of diva attitude. Some girls like Tenille and Melissa even asked for opinions on their matches. I also had the opportunity to have conversations with Daffney, Daizee Haze, Sarah Stock and LuFisto about everything from the state of the women divisions to Sarah’s killer heels. A night to remember for sure.
Ironically, my most memorable moment at SHIMMER had nothing to do with any of the matches. After doing an interview with Kellie Skater, I watched her walk up to Hamada, who was getting some air outside, and tell her how much she admires her and how she wants to go to Japan to improve her skills. It was absolutely fantastic to see a younger talent showing respect to someone
who paved the way for her. I was honestly touched.
In short, SHIMMER weekend was one of the best moment of my life. I really think that every women’s wrestling fan should go at least once in their life, if only for the afterparty. I’m already planning my next trip to Berwyn, IL. Hopefully I’ll see you guys there. Finally, I leave you with some exclusive pictures and videos from the afterparty:
Click the pictures to view in full size: