SHINE 7 in Review: Kong Grounded as Valkyrie Ascend

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After their shock formation last month, SHINE’s powerful new force Valkyrie entered SHINE 7 ready to make a serious statement. And boy, did they do just that!

The main event saw the leader of the group Rain take on an Amazing Kong looking for retribution following her vicious attack at the hands of Valkyrie at SHINE 6. The match was a fierce but calculated affair, with Rain taking advantage of the size and agility difference early on, maintaining her distance and waiting patiently for the right moment to strike, before Kong’s sheer strength became too much to handle. After an accidental forearm to the back of the referee’s head, Rain’s Valkyrie team-mates made the most of the lawlessness in the ring, swooping to her aid and pouncing on Kong. When the dust cleared, Rain pulled one of the oldest tricks in the book, throwing a steel chair into Kong’s arms then falling to the floor. Hey, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Sure enough it worked, as the ref, upon coming to, saw the scene before his eyes and had no choice but to ring the bell and disqualify Kong.

While a slightly longer match with a tidier finish may have been more desirable to a lot of people, it served its purpose well, and provides plenty of options for the future. Valkyrie’s destructiveness will not have gone unbeknownst to the likes of Kong’s friend Jazz, and I expect her to be added to the feud soon enough. ┬áBut for now, it is imperative that the group remain strong.

They did that here in magnificent style, coming out victorious in all three of the matches their members featured in. Made in Sin (Allysin Kay, Taylor Made and April Hunter) defeated Su Yung, Tracy Taylor and Mia Yim in a chaotic but fun six-woman tag match, but not before Valkyrie’s trump card Ivelisse went up against the Canadian veteran and women’s wrestling pioneer LuFisto, who was making her SHINE debut in what would be the surefire match of the night. For sixteen minutes they went back-and-forth, putting on a clinic of holds, strikes and power moves, and with more counters and near-falls than you could shake a stick at. In the end, a distraction from Ivelisse’s accomplices outside the ring and a Disdain out of nowhere to LuFisto was the only thing that separated the two, in what was probably the best women’s match I’ve seen in 2013 so far. Ivelisse has impressed greatly since debuting at SHINE 5, and a victory over someone of LuFisto’s calibre is a major scalp that can only signal better things to come from her in the future.

On the rest of the card, there were plenty of other scores to be settled. The long-running feud between Leva Bates and Kimberly looks set to continue, as they faced off in an entertaining but messy and somewhat rushed Last Woman Standing match. Leva got the win to level the score following her defeat at SHINE 6, only for Kimberly to attack her from behind post-match. This rivalry continues to impress me, with both wrestler’s creative and larger-than-life personalities shining through in both their promo and ring work. If they can continue to keep it interesting, I look forward to seeing how they take it further.

Nikki Roxx and Mercedes Martinez also faced each other in a clash of the veterans, with Roxx getting the victory in a great, engaging contest that included a fun little trade-off of big boots to the face, while Brittney Savage showed us just how lethal she can be with her feet, unleashing a devastating array of kicks on her way to comprehensively beating Heidi Lovelace. Elsewhere, Santana continues to build up her win tally, taking down Jessie Belle in a solid match, while Puerto Rican sensation La Rosa Negra made her SHINE debut, coming up short against Tina San Antonio in a three-way-dance which also featured Luscious Latasha. The newest big-name signing for SHINE was also revealed, as Angelina Love made an appearance, announcing that she will have her debut match for the promotion at next month’s show. A talented and well-travelled wrestler with national television exposure, she should undoubtedly bring a wealth of experience and relative star power that can only be good for the promotion’s future.

Seven shows in, SHINE is now firmly established as a major player in women’s wrestling. The roster is growing nicely, both in size, depth and character, and we are seeing some excellent and entertaining feuds and storylines emerge. Every wrestler is getting the time to show the audience what they’re capable of, the matches are well-timed, well-booked and go down a treat without being too saccharine, and the commentary (thank you Lenny and Daffney!) and production are leagues above most independent promotions. With WWE’s Divas division in tatters and TNA’s a shadow of its former self, each new SHINE event has become something I do not want to miss (even if it means a bedtime of 4:30 in the morning!), and I’m already eagerly awaiting the next one with baited breath. Time to smile everybody, women’s wrestling is fun again!