If you are like me and believe that great wrestling knows no gender, then you are most likely dissatisfied with the female divisions in both WWE and TNA. Fortunately there are alternatives that may be a bit harder to come by given that they are not on television but, trust me, they are worth your money and time. I want to highlight one promotion (out of many) that is putting on only it’s third show this coming Friday, September 21st, on internet Pay Per View. It’s called SHINE Wrestling and it is the latest all-female wrestling promotion.
SHINE is the sister promotion to the established SHIMMER in Berwyn, Illinois. Based in Florida, the promotion is not run by SHIMMER’s owner, Dave Prazak, but instead former FIP promoter Sal Hamaoui. He also has help from veterans Lexie Fyfe and the “Scream Queen” Daffney (who is the guest hostess and announcer for the shows). Lenny Leonard (from DragonGate USA and EVOLVE) does the commentary. The promotion has a roster that keeps at least 10-11 women from show to show and rotates in others, mostly talent from the East Coast. The website’s roster has international names such as Kellie Skater (Australia), Hailey Hatred (Japan), She Nay Nay (Canada) and Saraya Knight (United Kingdom; also current SHIMMER Champion), so it is likely that SHINE will feature those around when SHIMMER has it’s weekend DVD tapings. However, based on the first and second shows, it’s main goal is to give more exposure to wrestlers who may not be as well known as others. The show is a monthly iPPV that has three ways of ordering through WWN Live: the live showing is $9.99; live showing and unlimited onDemand access is $14.99; and for $24.99 you get both those options plus the DVD when it is released. Not bad, compared to the price of WWE PPVs nowadays.
SHINE 1 kicked things off by offering a huge main event: the “Queen of Wrestling” Sara Del Rey taking on thirteen year veteran and former WWE Women’s Champion, Jazz. It also offered a good technical match up between two veterans, Rain (formerly Peyton Banks in TNA) vs. Nikki Roxx (Roxxi in TNA) that ended when Rain got a win by cheating; a new tag team forming between Allysin Kay and Taylor Made “Made in Sin” who have begun an undefeated streak in SHINE; a solid mid-card with a mix of veterans and up and comers; Mercedes Martinez’s mean streak emerging; and Jazz establishing herself as the top wrestler by defeating Del Rey in a hard fought match. Having been disrespected earlier in the show by Martinez, Jazz issued a challenge shortly after SHINE 1 ended and we had our main event for the second show.
SHINE 2 kept the momentum going with another solid card featuring a mix of new and familiar faces; and more story line development with Rain continuing to cheat for wins, Made in Sin racking up a win over MSEERIE (Christina von Eerie and MsChif) by means of an insurance policy in the form of April Hunter, Leva Bates issuing a challenge on behalf of her and Allison Danger (ReGeneration X) for a shot at the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship after defeating one half of the Canadian Ninjas, Portia Perez, who currently hold the belts, and a full blown feud erupting between Jazz and Martinez after their match went to a no contest. The two chose to beat each other senseless around the venue until the entire locker room emptied out to separate them. Most importantly the wrestling was top notch, with all the new faces (particularly Jessicka Havok and Mia Yim) making distinct impacts.
This leads us to the third show that is on September 21st. The card has been outlined as follows:
Taylor Made (with Allysin Kay and April Hunter) vs. Greek Barbie
Santana vs. Sienna DuVall
Leva Bates vs. Kimberly
The West Coast Connection (Su Yung and Tracy Taylor) vs. Rainbow Bright (Luscious Latasha and Gabby Gilbert)
Mercedes Martinez vs. Jayme Jameson
Jessicka Havok vs. Mia Yim
Allysin Kay (with Taylor Made and April Hunter) vs. Christina von Eerie
Jazz vs. Rain
The reason for Jazz and Mercedes not facing each other immediately is because SHINE sent out a news report stating the two were being given time to “cool down” since their first encounter was so brutal. They are under strict orders to have no interaction with each other, otherwise they will be suspended for 90 days. The potential for trouble makes for great tension and furthers the story. Other matches have significance behind them as well: Eerie faces Kay in a bid for revenge for April taking out MsChif’s knee. With the latter woman out with her injury, Taylor Made faces a newcomer in Greek Barbie, who has mostly competed in the northeast in promotions such as Women Superstars Uncensored. Jazz faces a woman who has cheated to win both of her matches so far in the promotion – with her temper running high, if Rain tries to pull anything she may find herself on the receiving end of a beat down.
One match that has the potential to steal the show is Havok vs. Yim. Both women are two of the best athletes in the business today. Mia recently signed a contract to compete exclusively for REINA x WORLD in Japan and will be leaving soon to take up residence there. Jessicka is the current WSU Champion and made her Texas debut for Anarchy Championship Wrestling in June. She also made her Canadian debut for Femmes Fatales in July. It’s been a busy year for both women but there is something else behind the match – the fact that Mia has beaten the other two women in Havok’s stable, the Midwest Militia: Sassy Stephanie (at SHINE 2) and Allysin Kay (in Absolute Intense Wrestling, at Girls Night Out 5 where she broke Kay’s nose). It would be impressive for Yim to leave America after defeating a formidable woman such as Havok, but it won’t be easy. At the last SHINE show, Jessicka not only beat Reby Sky, she took out her arm after the match, locking in a cross armbreaker using a chair for extra torture. Havok has a sadistic streak in her that Mia lacks, but given Yim’s training in Japan and her almost-lethal strikes, it’s an almost even match.
Elsewhere, aside from Barbie making her debut, other newcomers are the new tag team of Latasha (who was the first WSU Spirit Champ and a WSU Tag Team Champion alongside Jana) and Gilbert (aka the artist formerly known as Roxie Cotton who is also a former WSU Tag Team Champion with Annie Social, just one of many titles she has held). This will be the first time they have competed as a tag team, but based on their interactions with each other on social media they are ready to go. Sienna DuVall is the other fresh face, having been wrestling for only a few years but already showing great potential. She has been known under other names such as Lady D and Simply Dvyne working in the northeast and East Coast.
One of the goals for SHINE is to create opportunities for women athletes to gain more experience and exposure. So far it’s done a great job, but this upcoming show is only the third. However, it has a varied roster, a few story lines that are gaining traction, and most importantly offers an alternative for female wrestling at a low cost. The iPPV format has it’s good points and it’s bad, but the previous two shows have only had minor problems. If you get the option that offers VOD and experience any problems, you can always re-watch the show error free. Production quality is top notch, the video is clear and well lit, and the audio makes it easy to hear both commentary by Lenny and also the trash talk going on in the ring.
For anyone tired of watching the Divas and/or the Knockouts, I suggest giving SHINE a chance. You can order it by creating an account at WWN Live and purchasing one of the three options. Plus, on twitter the promotion announced today that they would be honoring the legends of women’s wrestling on the show Friday. No names have been announced as of yet, so it will be interesting to see who appears. If you do order it, let me know what you think! Remember: if dissatisfied with what you see on television, there are promotions out there that will remind you why you are a wrestling fan. Seek them out and give them a try.
Follow SHINE on Twitter: @SHINEWrestling
Website: SHINE Wrestling
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