shine8The Swiss philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau once famously said “Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet”. However, in the short-fused, attention-bereft world of professional wrestling, that’s a mantra that we often find ourselves questioning. So how refreshing it was at SHINE 8 to see the patience of so many people (including ourselves) pay off in so many ways!

Having been on the receiving end of Valkyrie’s wrath multiple times since the stable’s formation in January, Amazing Kong has had plenty of time to ponder just how to get her revenge. Fortunately for Kong, she was not the only one who had a bone to pick with Rain and her cohorts, and with Mia Yim, Christina Von Eerie and the debuting Angelina Love on her side, it looked like Valkyrie had finally met their match.

What happened was a crazy, frenzied melee that spent more time outside the ring than it did inside. Every woman had her moment, Angelina Love showing exactly why she’s a 5-time TNA Knockouts Champion with a fine performance on her SHINE debut, while Ivelisse continued the momentum from her ‘match of the year’ candidate against LuFisto at SHINE 7 with an excellent showing here. The wildcards of the babyface team Mia Yim and Christina Von Eerie also impressed, showing no sign of nerves whatsoever in their first main event appearances in SHINE. The match ended with Made in Sin breaking Von Eerie in half with a vicious Eighth Deadly for the three-count, but that wasn’t the end of it. While Valkyrie were celebrating in the ring, the remaining faces rushed to Von Eerie’s aid. Three of the Valkyrie members managed to escape, but Ivelisse was left at the mercy of her opponents, who gave her each a taste of sweet revenge. Whether this has to do with Ivelisse’s recent involvement in TNA and is SHINE’s way of writing her out of the story or not is anybody’s guess, and it’ll be interesting to see how things fall into place for in this angle come SHINE 9. Regardless, seeing the show end on a high note for the faces is a welcome change to proceedings, while keeping Valkyrie strong in victory.

Another person who’s had to remain patient in the past few months is Reby Sky, who had been the victim of both a physical and emotional assault by Jessicka Havok as of late. After two comprehensive beatings at the hands of Havok – one caused by Sky’s boyfriend Matt Hardy throwing in the towel on her behalf – Reby had a point to prove, so threw out a challenge. If Jessicka Havok won, Sky’s career would be over. If Reby won, Havok would have to stand in the middle of the ring and declare that she does indeed respect Reby as a competitor.

Havok dominated the match from the start, manhandling Reby, who simply could not compete with Havok’s sheer strength. However, Sky stayed resilient, and somehow it paid off, as in one whirlwind moment of insanity she managed to land a huge Twist of Fate on Havok onto a steel chair while the referee was incapacitated, and pick up the shock victory. Havok, although clearly beside herself with rage, took the defeat on the chin and admitted that although she still doesn’t like Reby, she has no choice but to respect her in the ring. A huge rub for the vastly-improved Reby Sky, while Jessicka Havok loses no momentum (and in fact, almost comes out of the defeat looking better).

Another violent feud reached breaking point last night as Leva Bates and Kimberly did battle yet again, continuing their epic, enthralling rivalry this time in a Fans Bring Weapons/I Quit Match. For over fifteen minutes they pummelled each other with everything they could find, using chairs, a baking tray, a dustbin, a baseball bat and even the ring bell, before Kimberly got the final laugh, tying a helpless Leva to the ropes and unleashing a flurry of far more baking tray shots to the head than I felt comfortable watching. But it’s a testament to the intensity of the feud that I kept watching anyway, and as Kimberly celebrated over an unconscious Leva to level the score at 2-2 between them, I’m left just as excited as ever for what’s to come next in what could well become a historic rivalry in women’s wrestling.

But the match of the night from a purely wrestling standpoint has got to go to the veterans Mercedes Martinez and Nikki Roxx. Their first outing last month at SHINE 7 was impressive enough, with Roxx picking up the win with her trademark Barbie Crusher, but they took their game to another level this time, starting off with some slick, seamless chain wrestling that soon snowballed into a hard-hitting, back and forth wrestling clinic that saw Mercedes Martinez redeem herself for her previous loss, pinning Roxx with the Fisherman Buster. With the scores tied once more, expect to see this feud continue on to the next show.

The second half of the show was a magnificent hour and half of action, with pretty much no negatives to comment on. Unfortunately, the first half couldn’t quite live up to that standard. It wasn’t without its moments though – Santana and Sojo Bolt had the standout match of the half, with a tremendous, athletic effort from both competitors. I could watch Santana’s Shining Star Press for hours and hours on end and not get bored!

Elsewhere, Nikki St. John turned plenty of heads by wrestling – and winning – her match against Luscious Latasha without even taking her glasses off! Although the match itself wasn’t quite the same spectacle – sorry, I’ll get my coat – the quality of the in-ring action was above average, even if the contest itself was far too short. Meanwhile, Su Yung picked up an impressive submission victory over Brittney Savage, making her tap to Yellow Fever in what was otherwise a decent but forgettable bout, while Brandi Wine was unsuccessful in a solid effort against Jayme Jameson, despite having Malia Hosaka in her corner to distract the referee and get some sneaky offense.

Make no mistake about it, this was the best SHINE show to date. The undercard, though unspectacular, fulfilled its purpose well, while the final five matches could all be legitimate match of the night contenders. It’s the perfect reward for our patience, for as some of the promotion’s first real feuds begin to reach their climax and the characters are solidifed as mainstay fixtures on the card, we as viewers are able to put serious emotional investment in what we’re watching. With Angelina Love as the sole debutante this time, the roster looks pretty much complete, and with such diversity in experience, style, personality and strength there are sure to be plenty of avenues yet to explore. SHINE 8 for the most part is a must-watch for all independent women’s wrestling fans, and if you’ve never got round to checking out an independent show before, this is a great place to start!