Preview: SHIMMER 100 (4/7/2018)

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There’s been plenty of debate in the past year about when and where the current Women’s Revolution in pro wrestling truly occurred – some argue it was in TNA during the mid 2000s when the Knockouts were redefining women’s wrestling on television, others claim that without the WWE pushing it into the mainstream, it would never have gotten farther into the zeitgeist of pro wrestling. And while both arguments have their merits, one company deserves more credit than both of them – and that’s SHIMMER Women Athletes. Former in 2005 (two years before TNA’s Knockouts Division was established), SHIMMER was the brainchild of former IWA Mid South personality Dave Prazak and launched by himself and former Ring of Honor women’s wrestler Allison Danger. It gave women’s wrestling it’s own platform where it could be showcased away from the fans who simply wanted more of the watered down version that was consuming the WWE and devoid of such useless gimmickry like bra and panties matches. These were women inspired more from All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling (AJW) than from watching Sable Bombs, and it showed. For nearly 15 years now, SHIMMER has been the driving force in creating or promoting women’s wrestling stars, launching them on to bigger careers around the world, from the WWE on down. Tomorrow as part of WrestleMania Weekend, SHIMMER is hosting their 100th event, SHIMMER 100and it features an all-star cast of women’s wrestling stars, past, present and future, as SHIMMER prepares to kick off it’s next 100 shows. Here’s a look at the card.

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Fire & Nice (Chelsea Green & Britt Baker) vs. Team Blue Nation (Charli Evans & Jessica Troy)

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A relative newcomer, Britt Baker has been wrestling since 2015, making her SHIMMER debut in 2017 at SHIMMER 91. The 2x International Wrestling Cartel (IWC) Women’s Champion has made huge strides in a short time and is one of the emerging stars of the next wave of women’s wrestling. Around the same time as her SHIMMER debut, she formed a new team in RISE with Chelsea Green called Fire & Nice, debuting at SHIMMER 92. Green has become one of the top indie women’s wrestlers in the world, having just had a run as Impact Knockouts Champion under her alter ego, Laurel Van Ness. They’re facing Australian duo Team Blue Nation, featuring Charli Evans and Jessica Troy, who have been teaming together since 2015 with Pro Wrestling Australia (PWA), when they were called The Floozies. They jointly held the PWWA Championship (PWA’s Women’s title) for a whopping 644 days, making their SHIMMER debut at SHIMMER 93 last summer.

Cheerleader Melissa vs. Shotzi Blackheart

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A SHIMMER Original, Cheerleader Melissa has been a part of SHIMMER since its inaugural year, appearing on the very first SHIMMER event against MsChif, and is a former 2x SHIMMER Champion. The 19-year veteran of the ring has worked all over the world, including ROH, AAA, Impact Wrestling (as Alissa Flash), Stardom and Smash Wrestling. She’s also currently on Lucha Underground as Mariposa. Her opponent is one of the fastest rising stars in women’s (and indie) wrestling, in the wild Shotzi Blackheart. A Hoodslam Wrestling regular since her debut in 2015, she made her SHIMMER debut in 2016 at SHIMMER 86. A former Phoenix of RISE Champion, Blackheart has exploded in the past year, working the UK circuit as well as SHINE, IWA Mid South and more.

Kimber Lee vs. Samantha Heights

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Trained by Drew Gulak and a product of CZW and CHIKARA, Kimber Lee has been one of the most dominant and popular women in indie wrestling for nearly the past decade. She made her SHIMMER debut in 2013 at SHIMMER 53 as part of the tag team The Kimber Bombs (with current Impact Knockout Allie, when she went by Cherry Bomb). A former SHIMMER Tag Team Champion, she’s also broken ground as a singler wrestler – in 2016, she became the first woman to win a major indie promotion’s top singles title (usually won by men), when she won the CHIKARA Grand Championship. She had a brief run in NXT as Abbey Laith (appearing in last summer’s Mae Young Classic) but recently returned to the indies. Her opponent is Ohio born and raised (and trained by Dave Crist of OvE) Samantha Heights, who made her start in wrestling in 2013. She made her SHIMMER debut in 2016 at SHIMMER 82, in a tag team with Crazy Mary Dobson (now Sarah Logan in the WWE). She continues to work the indies, including Smash Wrestling, WSU, Queens of Combat and more.

SHIMMER Tag Team Championship: Totally Tubular Tag Team (Leva Bates & Delilah Doom) (c) vs. LuFisto & Hudson Envy

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The current SHIMMER Tag Team Champions are a case of a veteran star working with an emerging one. Leva Bates (aka Blue Pants in NXT) is an 11-year veteran who has worked everywhere from SHINE to WrestleCircus to PROGRESS to everywhere in between. She made her SHIMMER debut at SHIMMER 27 in 2009 in a dark match, before finally making her main card debut at at SHIMMER 30 in 2010. Her tag team partner, Delilah Doom, has only been wrestling for four years, but she’s making up for lost time. The former student of Funaki, Doom really took off in 2017, working for WrestleCircus, AAW and more, before making her SHIMMER debut at SHIMMER 92 last year. They face a similarly matched team in LuFisto & Hudson Envy. LuFisto is an absolute indie legend, let alone a women’s wrestling icon. She started in 1999 in the Quebec indies, before becoming infamous for her brutality in the ring – she defeated Kevin Owens for the CZW Iron Man Championship back in 2006. At 448 days, she’s the longest reigning SHINE Champion in history, and she made her SHIMMER debut back in 2006 at SHIMMER 8. But yet she’s never held gold in SHIMMER. She’s hoping to win Tag Team gold alongside Hudson Envy, a 6-year veteran whose seen her stock rise exponentially in the past year. She made her SHIMMER debut at SHIMMER 86 in 2016, and has also worked for Stardom in Japan.

Mia Yim, Kay Lee Ray & Rhia O’Reilly vs. Kellyanne, Veda Scott & Zoe Lucas

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Mia Yim returned to the ring for the first time since her leg injury sidelined her at the start of the year at Beyond/WWR Lit Up on Thursday night, but she’s leading a trios team that are no slouches either. Mia Yim is a former Impact Knockouts Champion (as Jade), who made her SHIMMER debut back at SHIMMER 33 in 2010. She also took part in last summer’s Mae Young Classic in the WWE. She’s paired with two formidable scrappers from the British Isles, in Scotland’s Kay Lee Ray, a 2x ICW Women’s Champion and Defiant Women’s Champion (who debuted at SHIMMER 62 in 2014 and also competed in last year’s Mae Young Classic), and Ireland’s Rhia O’Reilly, a 2x Pro Wrestling EVE Champion and the current XWA British Heavyweight Champion, who debuted at SHIMMER 37 in 2011. Much like Yim, she’s also recently returned from a lengthy injury. The other trios team features former Ring of Honor star Veda Scott, who has been spending a lot of time working in Europe of late, but the former AIW Women’s Champion has been working for SHIMMER since 2011’s SHIMMER 41. She’s teamed with two imports of her own, in Australian star Kellyanne and UK’s Zoe Lucas. Kellyanne has been wrestling the Aussie circuit since 2009 and made her SHIMMER debut with SHIMMER 76 in 2015. Youngster Zoe Lucas has only been wrestling since 2015, but she’s worked for RevPro, PROGRESS and Stardom in that short span, and made her own SHIMMER debut last year at SHIMMER 97 last fall.

Deonna Purrazzo vs. Madison Eagles

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A 12-year veteran of the international women’s wrestling circuit, Madison Eagles is a pioneer and legend who first joined SHIMMER at SHIMMER 21 in 2008. A 2x SHIMMER Champion and PWWA Champion in Australia, Eagles is a force to be reckoned with. She’s facing one of the undisputed leaders of the next wave of women’s wrestling stars in Deonna Purrazzo, who at 23-years old has already been wrestling for five years. She’s appeared for WWE (main roster and NXT), Impact Wrestling, RevPro, PROGRESS, Stardom, WrestleCircus, and is a focal point of Ring of Honor’s revamped Women of Honor division. She made her own SHIMMER debut at SHIMMER 93 last year. This match will be an absolute classic.

Nicole Matthews vs. Toni Storm

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Toni Storm is arguably the hottest women’s wrestler on the planet right now, dominating Europe and Asia for most of the past year: she’s won the World of Stardom Championship, PROGRESS Women’s Championship and wXw Women’s Championship in the past 365 days and shows no sign of slowing down. The 22 year old is already an 8-year veteran, having moved to the UK from her native New Zealand to pursue her wrestling dream. She’s making her SHIMMER debut at SHIMMER 100 and facing another SHIMMER veteran in Canadian Nicole Matthews. Matthews has been a part of SHIMMER since SHIMMER 16 in 2007 and is a former SHIMMER Champion and 2x SHIMMER Tag Team Champion as part of the Canadian Ninjas with Portia Perez. She still wrestles with her hometown indie promotion ECCW in Vancouver where she’s a 4x ECCW Women’s Champion. After her fourth reign, she moved on to the men’s title, and is a 3x ECCW Champion as well.

Heart of SHIMMER Championship Match: Shazza McKenzie (c) vs. Tessa Blanchard

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Australia’s Shazza McKenzie has been a SHIMMER regular since 2012’s SHIMMER 45 and continues to work the Australian indie circuit as well. She’s the current (and 2x) PWWA Champion as well as the reigning Heart of SHIMMER Champion, which she defeated current SHIMMER Champion Nicole Savoy for 270+ days ago. She’s facing perhaps her toughest challenge to date, as Tessa Blanchard has been unstoppable of late. She went toe to toe with Brian Cage at WrestleCircus earlier this year and was a competitor in last year’s Mae Young Classic. The 4-year pro and daughter of WWE Hall of Famer and Four Horseman Tully Blanchard has risen to the top of the ranks for indie superstars, male or female. She debuted at SHIMMER 73 in 2015 (in a match against current NXT Women’s Champion Ember Moon) and recently lost the SHIMMER Tag Team titles, so she’ll be hungry to add more gold to her collection.

SHIMMER Championship Match: Nicole Savoy (c) vs. Mercedes Martinez

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A battle of two of the top women’s wrestlers today in a rematch of the Championship match from SHIMMER 99 last year that saw Nicole Savoy end Mercedes Martinez‘ year long reign as SHIMMER Champ. Nicole Savoy has been wrestling since 2011, making her debut at SHIMMER 67 in 2015 in a loss to WWE’s Ruby Riott (then Heidi Lovelace). Since then, she’s blossomed into a tough competitor, taking part in last year’s Mae Young Classic in the WWE and making her Stardom debut earlier this year. Her opponent is one of the greatest women’s wrestlers of the 2000s, a 17-year veteran who has worked for everyone from Ring of Honor to CHIKARA to NXT, as well as other women’s promotions like SHINE and WSU. Martinez was on SHIMMER’s very first event, a time limit draw with indie legend Sara Del Rey (who is currently assistant head trainer at the WWE Performance Center).

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