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Stardom's mid 2018 FAQ - Now with Jungle Assault Nation!
What is Stardom?World Wonder Ring Stardom, or just Stardom for short, is a Joshi Puroresu(Japanese Women's Wrestling) company based in Tokyo. It was founded in 2011, and it's currently one of most successful Women's promotion in the world.
What is Stardom Wrestling like?Most Stardom Wrestlers wrestle a mix of traditional Japanese Strong Style, Lucha Libre, and American Wrestling. Most matches are 5-15 minutes long. Singles, tag team, and trios matches are common. Three way, and Fatal Fourway matches are also common on the under cards. Most shows feature 5 or 6 matches. There is also a little bit of comedy mixed into the product without taking away from the sportsmanship. Overall, it's a very fun brand of wrestling.
What are the rules for Stardom matches?
- For most matches, victories come via 3 count pinfalls or submissions. In the case of rope breaks for submissions, a wrestler must be in full possession of the rope before the rope break is activated. Only touching the ropes is not enough.
- There is a 20 count outside the ring. Although that the count starts at the referee's discretion. Usually wrestlers are allowed to brawl for minutes on the outside until one has incapacitate the other and then the count starts.
- There is a 5 count for rope breaks or general misbehavior inside the ring.
- Some matches have over the top rope eliminations. These are common as a part of the Cinderella Tournament.
- Some tag team matches have lucha rules, so there is no tag necessary. In general, the ref will allow some freedom for double teams in the ring.
- Weapon use is prohibited, although it's not an automatic DQ. The ref will usually do his best to stop it and let the match continue.
- Disqualifications are possible, but very rare. The ref will allow the action to go as long as he can. A wrestler has to be extremely out of control to earn a DQ.
How often do Stardom Shows run?Sometimes they run multiple shows a week, and sometimes there is a small hiatus due to scheduling. Overall, it averages out to about five to six shows a month. They regularly run shows in multiple locations in Tokyo, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, and a few other cities in Japan. Shows outside of Japan happen on rare occasions as well. Shinkiba 1st Ring in Tokyo is the venue that they run most often, and Korakuen Hall is where most of the big shows are held.
Who wrestles for Stardom?Stardom has a mix of Japanese and international talent. The international talent comes from the US, Mexico, and Europe. Big names such as Sara Stock(Dark Angel), Nicky Storm(WWE's Nicky Cross), Cheerleader Melissa, Christina Von Eerie, The Alpha Female, Taya Valkyrie, Chelsea Green(From WWE's Tough Enough, TNA's Laurel Van Ness) and more have wrestled in Stardom. A few male names such as Minoru Suzuki, Dr. Wagner Jr, Ultimo Dragon and Kenny Omega have also wrestled in the past on rare occasions.
A breakdown of Stardom's roster:
Queens Quest: The tweener faction in Stardom. They want to push Stardom to be the best.
- Io Shirai - "The Ace of Stardom", "The Genius of the Sky". Basically the White Queen of Stardom. An all-time great legend level wrestler. As of writing this FAQ, she is set to leave Stardom for WWE.
- Momo Watanabe - "Stardom's true heart". A fierce fighter with a bright future. She is the current Wonder Of Stardom Champion and leader of Queens Quest going forward.
- AZM - Pronounced "Azumi". A young & agile rebel that will stomp you to the ground. The Underboss of QQ and current "High School Fighter."
- Konami - A student of WWE's Asuka(Kana). A fierce shooter with amazing kicks and submissions.
- Viper - The Scottish giantess. She is a mighty powerhouse.
- Bea Priestley - An accomplished wrestler from the UK. She is one half of the 2017 Goddess Of Stardom tag team tournament winners, along Kelly Klein.
- Chardonnay - A well traveled UK wrestler with multiple Stardom tours under her belt.
- Kagetsu - The leader. A high flying, powerful rule breaking badass.
- Hana Kimura - A heart breaking trickster rogue with a violent side. She will go on a 3 month tour of Mexico later this year.
- Sumire Natsu - She is beautiful, cowardly, and vain. She loves to pick a fight....a fight that she knows she can win.
- Hazuki - Formerly known as HZK and Reo Hazuki. A young & badass rebel that will kick you in the face. Bombs Away!
- Nao Yamaguchi - She is an Axe-Bomber throwing Gravure idol.
- "Session Moth" Martina- The party don't start until Martina shows up.
- Brandi Rhodes - Cunning and beautiful. Married to wrestling royalty.
- Mayu Iwatani - "Sky-Blue Hyper Technician", "The Icon of Stardom", "The Gift". A fierce high flyer that will do anything(within the rules) to win. Master of the Dragon Suplex. The first and so far only World of Stardom and Wonder of Stardom duel champion.
- Tam Nakano - "The Violet Kung Fu Girl". She is a former member of Oedo Tai and a pop idol. Watch out for her head kicks.
- The Starlight Kid - "The Genius Girl". A high flying technician. The only masked wrestler currently in Stardom. Often teams with Shiki Shibusawa as the tag team Shikid. She is the Future Of Stardom champion.
- Shiki Shibusawa - She lacks experience, but she throws a great dropkick and tries really hard. Often teams with Starlight kid as the tag team Shikid.
- Saki Kashima - A creative and energetic fighter. She is returning to Stardom after a 5 year absence. She was 1/3 of the first Artists of Stardom champions.
- Natsumi Apache - She is the latest in the Apache Dynasty from Mexico. A fresh face with a lot of moves up her sleeve. She is the daughter of Mary Apache.
- Hanan - She's 13! She uses Judo to get an advantage her opponents.
- Candyfloss - A young UK wrestler known for her armbars.
- And others. Possibly everyone that isn't aligned with Queens Quest, Oedo Tai, or Jungle Assault Nation.
- Jungle Kyona - A high energy dynamo. She has Jungle Power and she will use it to clothesline people's heads off.
- Natsuko Tora - The Female Warrior. She is a tough enforcer who hates to lose.
- Kaori Yoneyama - A joshi legend. Former OZ Academy Tag Team Champion. Former Stardom Tag Team champion. Runs her own shows under the YMZ brand. Often teams with and against rookies. Loves Dragonball and cosplay.
- Ruaka - She's 13! But don't let that fool you. She's also powerful.
- Leo Onosaki - A firey babyface with a lot of energy. She loves hitting cutters.
- Toni Storm - The hard hitting rock-n-roll machine that represents Stardom all over the world. All she does is win.
- Kay Lee Ray - A high flying technician. Arguably the best female technical wrestler in the world.
- Mary Apache - She's a lucha libre legend out of Mexico. She comes from a legendary family, and she is the current High Speed Champion.
- Xia Brookside - A young wrestler out of the UK. She's the daughter of Robbie Brookside, and she has a bright future.
- Rachael Ellering - Second generation wrestler. An accomplished power lifter. She won a Bronze Medal in the 2014 World Powerlifting Federation championships. Trained by Lance Storm.
- Many more. Stardom usually has at least two or three gaijins around any point in time.
- Meiko Satomura - A joshi legend. The leader of the Sendai Girls company. Usually comes to Stardom to destroy Io, and Mayu.
- Chihiro Hashimoto - A highly accomplished amateur wrestler turned pro. In her young career she has managed to become two time Sendai Girls champion.
- Mika Iwata - A protege of Meiko. She is deadly with her kicks.
- Takumi Iroha - Former member of Stardom. Currently one of the bright stars of Marvelous.
- Rin Kadokura - Tag team partner of Takumi. Together they are New-Tra.
- La Rosa Negra - Former Stardom Gaijin, High Speed Champion, and Oedo Tai Member.
Miscellaneous: Other people that you are likely to see around Stardom:
- Rina & Hina - Hanan's younger twin sisters. Rina wears pink and looks up to Jungle Kyona. Hina wears blue and she is too cool for your nonsense. They have occasional exhibition matches.
- Rossy Ogawa - The President of Stardom.
- Fuka - One of the founders of Stardom and the former General Manager. She also trained rookie wrestlers, and was the ring announcer for many years. She recently retired.
- P(with his niece, Panko) - Tam's manager and right hand panda.
- Yurie Kozakai - Stardom's newest ring announcer and a voice actress.
- Yuzuki Aikawa - The first Wonder of Stardom champion. She retired years ago, but she pops up on occasion as a guest in various Stardom related events.
- Madusa - Stardom's commissioner. WWE Hall of Famer. She comes to Stardom about once a year to make sure things are operating properly and give some wisdom.
- Bull Nakano - A joshi legend. She does commentary for the Samurai TV broadcasts and serves as a mentor for the roster.
- Act Yasukawa - Creator of Oedo Tai. One of the most popular wrestlers in Stardom history. Currently works for GPS-Pro as a ring announcer.
- Michiko Ohmukai - A legend from Arsion(a late 90's-early 2000's company. A spiritual predecessor to Stardom). Last time we saw her, she was aligned with Oedo Tai.
- Hiromi Mimura - "The Indomitable Princess". Charisma personified. A short but fierce technician. Shout! She recently retired.
- Kris Wolf - An American Wolf in Japan. Founding member of Oedo Tai. Recently left Stardom due to visa issues. She is traveling the world and breaking boxes. She loves meat, and you are her prey.
- Hiroyo Matsumoto - Lady Godzilla. A joshi legend. She works with almost every Women's promotion in Japan and is highly successful.
What's the deal with the kids?This is something that western fans might find odd, but it's not that big a deal when you put it into it's proper context. There are no age limits to Wrestling in Japan. They train anyone that seeks training and is capable of doing the work. Which has lead to children as young as 9 or 10 years old to wrestle. It's no different than kids going to martial arts classes in America. Stardom has very experienced trainer who has trained the majority of Stardom's roster. The kids are trained to wrestle in a very safe and basic style. The super young kids only wrestle short exhibition matches until they reach a certain age(12 if I'm not mistaken). And wrestling doesn't interfere with their school.
Overall, it's a fun thing for these kids to do.
Who are the current Stardom Champions?
- World of Stardom Championship(“The Red Belt”, the main title) - Toni Storm
- Wonder of Stardom Championship(“The White Belt”, second most important title) - Momo Watanabe
- SWA World Championship(Inter-promotional Belt defended around the world) - Viper
- High Speed Championship(Formerly the NEO High Speed Championship) - Mary Apache
- Goddess of Stardom Championship(Tag Team Titles) - Oedo Tai(Kagetsu & Hana Kimura)
- Artist of Stardom Championship(Trios Titles) - Vacant due to draft. The last champions were Queens Quest(Io Shirai, HZK, and Viper)
- Future of Stardom Championship - Starlight Kid
Are there any annual tournaments or special events?Yes, a few:
- Cinderella Tournament - A one night, single elimination tournament held in the spring. The winner gets any match that they want. The last winner was Momo Watanabe.
- 5 Star Grand Prix - A two bracket, round robin tournament held at the end of Summer. The winner gets a shot the World of Stardom title. The last winner was Toni Storm.
- Tag Team League - A single bracket, round robin tournament held in the Fall. The winners get a shot at the Tag Team titles. The last winners were Kelly Klein & Bea Priestley.
- Rookie of Stardom Tournament - A one night tournament for the rookie class. The Winner is declared the Stardom Rookie of the Year. The last winner was Arisu Nanase.
- Janken Tournament - Rock, Paper, Scissors and cosplay. For Ogawa's money, or at least some of Ogawa's money. The last winner was Bea Priestley .
- Masked Fiesta - Every Halloween the Stardom roster are replaced by a strange band of masked wrestlers.
Are there Stardom power rankings?Not officially. If I had to do a power ranking based on my own personal opinion:
- S Level - Mayu Iwatani. Toni Storm. Momo Watanabe. Kagetsu. Jungle Kyona. The leaders of the four main stables, plus Toni who is current the top champion.
- A Level - Hana Kimura. Hazuki. Viper. Tam Nakano. Saki Kashima. Natsuko Tora. The top 1 or 2 people behind the leaders of each stable.
- B Level - Konami. Starlight Kid. Mary Apache. They win the majority of their matches.
- C Level - Sumire Natsu. AZM. Shiki Shibusawa. Most other foreign wrestlers that aren't regulars. Can hang with the names above. Maybe even win some of the time. The true Midcard.
- D Level - Ruaka. Hanan. The Rookies after they've been with the company for a while. May have a few wins under their belt.
- E Level - The Rookies that are just starting out. They don't have any wins yet.
How can I watch Stardom?There are two legal options outside of Japan:
First, Stardom has it's own online streaming service, Stardom World. It costs 750 yen per month(roughly $6.25 ~ $7.50 USD). It's available world wide. For that you get:
- 1-2 matches per day. The exact release schedule varies based on the actual show schedule. It takes time to edit and translate all the footage, and Stardom is a small company that can't afford a full media department to run the service. Normally everything is up with 5 to 6 days of a show happening.
- Interviews segments. Right now they have one with Medusa, Taya Valkyrie, Santana Garrett, Chelsea Green, Io Shirai, Kairi Hojo, Mayu Iwatani, and more. These are usually one 10 minute video per week.
- Back cataloged shows from the early days of Stardom. These are posted when there is a long break in the show schedule. Maybe once or twice a year.
If you pay for Stardom World on 28th of the month you will be charged again on 1st of the next month. It's not a lot of money, but you should know that ahead of time. This is just a quirk of the way Japanese streaming services work in general.
If you cancel your service will shut down and you won't be able to watch anymore. Make sure that you don't cancel before there is a show that you want to watch. Again, this is just a quirk of Japanese streaming services.
The second is NicoPro. The Nicopro streaming service. This is available in Japan. It focus on live streaming shows, interviews, and press conferences from various promotions. It costs 500 yen. Stardom wise you get a few small shows. NicoPro is not really a replacement for Stardom World. It's more of a compliment. The ability to watch some small Stardom shows in a complete form is nice, but the service's real value is the ability to watch other promotions like K-Dojo, Tokyo Joshi Pro, Ice Ribbon, etc. As far as I know you don't get any of Stardom's big shows on it.
If you live in Japan you also have the option to watch Stardom's major shows on Samurai TV. They usually air a short time after the shows have taken place. Often in an edited, shorten fashion. They also show a lot of replays of older Stardom shows. Check your local listings.
Can I watch Stardom World on (Insert Device name)?Stardom world works on Windows and Mac PC's, IOs devices, and Android devices. It's also been tested on Xbox One via the Edge browser. Stardom World now uses an HTML5 player, which is pretty nice if you have concerns about Flash. It works on Linux via the Chrome browser and the User-Agent Switcher plug in(set to Internet Explorer).
Other devices such as PS4, Roku, Chrome books, Chromecast, etc. may not work. If that's a deal breaker for you, buy at your own peril.
I'm new to Stardom, where should I start?Depends on how you want to watch. It's perfectly fine to jump in on the latest show. Stardom is pretty easy to follow, and it shouldn't take more than a show or two to be fully up to speed. If you prefer to start earlier and watch things in order, then I recommend the 2016 Cinderella tournament. You can basically watch everything in order from that point without skipping a beat.
The first ten things to watch on Stardom worldThese are not the best or more important matches and show in Stardom per say. These will just serve as a nice introduction to the roster. So you can get a feel for what people are about. In no particular order:
- Queens Quest Vs Oedo Tai - The loser of this team gauntlet losses a member.
- Oedo Tai Vs Stars - Oedo Tai are massive jerks, and Tam ain't nothing to mess with. The post match setups the main event of Dreamslam - Nagoya.
- Dreamslam 2018 - Nagoya Dreamslam was a series of three major shows(Korakuen Hall, Osaka, Nagoya) done back to back within the span of a few days. Nagoya was the most important of the three. This is pre-draft, so the Stable alignments don't match the current setup, but it's good jumping on point for the current roster.
- Stardom Vs Queens Quest - Stardom's specialty might be the six and eight man tags. This is a good example of that.
- Io Shirai Vs Sumire Natsu Vs AZM - This match gives a nice introduction into all three's personality.
- Io Shirai Vs Momo Watanabe - A good introduction into Momo Watanabe and a match that might be referenced again for years.
- Xia Brookside Vs Natsuko Tora - Arguably the most popular gaijin in Stardom Vs arguably the most underrated member of Stardom. For the IPW: UK's Women's title.
- 2018 Cinderella Tournament - This year's tournament featuring many of Stardom's best.
- Viper Vs Kay Lee Ray - Two of Stardom's best gaijins in one of the most beautiful venies aroind.
- Io Shirai Vs Toni Storm - Who is the strongest in Stardom?
How can I find out what's coming up?For the most part you don't need to know that much. Stardom keeps a schedule of up coming show dates. The cards for most small Stardom shows are thrown together like a real sports league. The promoter booked it, so they must fight. If you absolutely need to know every match that is coming up then keep an eye out for Stardom's English Twitter and Stardom's Japanese Twitter accounts. They announce upcoming matches a few days before the show happens. **Spoiler Warning.** Those accounts live tweet results so you may get spoiled before you get a chance to see the match on Stardom World.
For bigger shows and long term storylines, wrestlers challenge each other on camera. So, if you watch the show you know what are the big matches that are coming up regardless.
I'm a fan either in Japan or traveling to Japan. How do I find out the schedule and/or get tickets?Stardom keeps a schedule here. You can reserve tickets directly with Stardom at [[email protected]](/) or [[email protected]](/). You can email them in English. You can also contact any wrestler via email to reserve tickets.
I'm a wrestler and I'm interesting in traveling to Japan and working with Stardom. What do I do?Different avenues to land a spot with Stardom:
Stardom's schedule is already packed. So allow them time to consider you.
Going from experience of watching Stardom for a while I can tell you that you probably need to commit for at least a couple of months if you want a spot.
How can I contact Stardom if I have any questions or problems?Stardom's official email address is [[email protected]](/) and [[email protected]](/). Allow up to a day for a response due to time zones. If you don't hear back within a few days try again. Sometimes the staff is swamped with other work. For tickets you can email [[email protected]](/) or [[email protected]](/). For general information [[email protected]](/). And for the Japanese fanclub [[email protected]](/).
I'm just a fan, but I'm willing to answer questions whenever possible.
Visit stardomjoshi/ for more Stardom discussions
SHIMMER for Beginners (a primer ahead of the Nov. 2-3 tapings of volumes 114-117)
What is SHIMMER?SHIMMER Women Athletes is an all-female wrestling company based out of Chicago. Before WWE’s women’s revolution, before TNA’s Knockouts division, before Women of Honor, there was SHIMMER. SHIMMER was founded in 2005 by Dave Prazak and Allison Danger because, as a manager in ROH and on the indies, Prazak got to know a lot of women in wrestling who felt underutilized and marginalized to being managers or valets because quite often they were the only women on the card. With Danger and a group of other women, Prazak put on the first SHIMMER shows, and the project snowballed from there. As Allison Danger said in a promo after Volume 1, they proved that American joshi was possible.
What is SHIMMER Wrestling like?SHIMMER is stylistically diverse. They have WWE “main event” style matches, lucha, joshi, Britwres, ROH pure style, comedy, and more. Most matches are 8-20 minutes long. Singles, tag team, triple threat, and four-corner matches are their most common formats, and they rarely do stipulation matches. When they do, they build them as a big deal with storyline build. Most volumes tend to run 2-3 hours (more toward 3 hours on more recent volumes) and feature 10-12 matches. SHIMMER is fairly workrate focused, and very much in the vein of early ROH. There is comedy to be found, but it’s rare to have a comedy match as such, and even those are done with care for the match as a whole.
Because of SHIMMER’s taping schedule (four volumes over two days, twice annually, with a Wrestlemania weekend show as well), most stories tend to cluster around four-volume sets because of talent availability. This isn’t to say longer-form storytelling doesn’t happen in SHIMMER. The story of Trifecta (Mercedes Martinez, Nicole Savoy, and Shayna Baszler), for example, began at Volume 85 in June 2016, saw the trio break up over volumes 96-97 and Nicole Savoy win the SHIMMER Title from Mercedes on volume 99 in November 2017, and wasn’t put to rest until Volume 100 in April 2018 (Mercedes has continued to have a bone to pick with Savoy, but the breakup of Trifecta has given way to a broader “all the veterans against the young champion and the other new blood” kind of story since Volume 101).
One thing you’ll never see in SHIMMER is a vacant title. Dave Prazak has made it abundantly clear in interviews that SHIMMER will never vacate a title – they will always find a way to work around the circumstances of an injury or signing (One example: Sara Del Rey was SHIMMER Tag champion at the time she got signed to WWE, so SHIMMER authorized a title change at an NCW Femmes Fatales show to get the title off her. Nicole Savoy and Cherry Bomb have been injured as champions, and in both cases they were able to heal before dropping the titles). Currently the Heart of SHIMMER champion Samantha Heights is out with injury, and due to her surgery being pushed back, SHIMMER will crown its first interim champion during the tapings of volumes 114-117.
What are the rules for SHIMMER matches?
- For most matches, victories come via 3 count pinfalls or submissions. Submissions may be registered verbally, via tap-out, or via the arm dropping three times if the referee checks for that.
- There is a 10 count outside the ring
- There is a 5 count for rope breaks or general misbehavior inside the ring.
- Disqualifications are possible, but uncommon. SHIMMER is generally very honorable wrestling – fewer than thirty matches have ended in disqualification.
- Four-way matches, whether tag team or singles, are always contested under four-corners elimination rules, with only two legal participants at a time.
How often do SHIMMER shows run?SHIMMER runs two taping weekends, one in the spring and one in the fall, taping two shows a day over the weekend. On Wrestlemania weekend they tape another volume, and this year SHIMMER also cooperated with RISE, SMASH, and Femmes Fatales to put on The Summit the day before Summerslam.
Who wrestles for SHIMMER?SHIMMER features a mix of US and international talent. The international talent comes from the UK, Mexico, Japan, and Europe. Big non-US names such as Aja Kong, Kana, Nikki Storm, Brittani and Saraya Knight, Sexy Star (as Dulce Garcia), Wesna, Ayako Hamada, Kay Lee Ray, Viper, and more have appeared for SHIMMER. Several current WWE talents (Cesaro, Becky Lynch, Bayley, the IIconics, Nikki Cross, Asuka, Ember Moon, Ruby Riott, Sarah Logan, Mickie James, Natalya, Beth Phoenix, Shayna Baszler, Mia Yim, Candice LeRae, Chelsea Green, Dakota Kai, Deonna Purrazzo, Tegan Nox, Jinny, Toni Storm, Rachael Ellering, Piper Niven, and Kay Lee Ray) have worked for SHIMMER. Of the 32 women in each Mae Young Classic, 17 from 2017’s tournament and 12 from 2018’s tournament have been inside a SHIMMER ring.
A breakdown of the SHIMMER roster:
I’m basing this largely on the last tapings. SHIMMER roster turnover means there’s a bit of churn due to wrestler availability, but some names have become pretty constant. Due to some wrestlers being signed by WWE since the last tapings (like Kay Lee Ray, Viper, and Rachael Ellering) or injured (Vanessa Kraven), I may be speculating in some of the below because of the major holes put in the upper card and serious midcard
The Current Upper Card: These are the women currently hanging around the title picture/most likely to be matched up with visiting legends:
- Nicole Savoy Current SHIMMER Champion, queen of suplexes. The face of the new blood challenging the dominance of the veterans in SHIMMER, she has recently set the record for longest and most dominant reign of any champoion, surpassing MsChif’s legendary reign.
- Cheerleader Melissa and Mercedes Martinez – SHIMMER originals and current SHIMMER Tag Champions, both are perennial challengers for any damn title they want, and right now they want to show the younger talent what tag team wrestling is all about.
- LuFisto A perennial championship contender who has never quite gotten the job done, she is a vicious, embittered fighter who sees it as her due to be SHIMMER Champion. She hasn’t been in since last fall’s tapings, but she did just unannonce her retirement, so never say never
- Shazza MCkenzie She’s heartcore! She’s heartcore! An Aussie import, Shazza’s gentle appearance belies her tenacity in the ring. Really endearing babyface, hard to understate that.
- Kimber Lee She borders on upper card/serious midcard. A veteran and former SHIMMER Tag Champ, she’s surprisingly agile. A heel aligned with other veterans, but not especially part of the clique (last taping she, Mercedes, LuFisto, and Cheerleader Melissa were the team of the “SHIMMER Originals… and Kim”).
- Dust – Former Heart of SHIMMER Champion, managed by Rosemary. Very small, but very crafty heel with the support of the Shadow. She’s a lot tougher than she looks.
- Delilah Doom – The Queen of Aerobics Style, Doom is a former the SHIMMER Tag Team champion with Leva Bates. She’s always a threat, but doesn’t seem to have clear direction.
- Su Yung – The Bloody Undead Bride is always a threat. Don’t sleep on her, as she brings a supernatural element that is hard to tackle effectively.
- Shotzi Blackheart – The Ballsy Badass is a total dynamo. She’s able to compete on the level with legends like Cheerleader Melissa, despite not having the win-loss record you’d expect for someone doing so. This will be her final set of independent dates, as she just signed with WWE.
- The Killer Death Machines – An absolute tag team threat, Nevaeh and Havok are bastard heels doing bastard heel things and use Havok’s size to their advantage very well. Quite the team.
- Blue Nation – The Aussie duo of Charli Evans and Jessica Troy aren’t quite as set as the Killer Death Machines, but they compete well and have earned their way into serious contendership as a tag team.
- Thunderkitty – It’s uncertain if a time vortex opened up in the SHIMMER locker room one day or not, but she’s been wrestling since she turned 25 all the way back in 1946. You can tell by her style that she’s more Mildred Burke than Charlotte Flair, but she brings a good fight.
- Allie Kat – Literally a cat found in the alley, I’m pretty sure. She licks herself, chases cat toys and laser beams, and is at least as feline as Battle Kat was.
- Team Sea Stars – Delmi Exo and Ashley Vox are a new tag team to SHIMMER, but they’re a reel catch. They’ve already won over the audience, and there’s some clamoring from the SHIMMER faithful for them to rise up the ranks and knock off Melissa and Mercedes – expect them to get that chance.
- KC Spinelli – 2 Scoops! Two scoops of what? Nobody knows. Unless it’s muscle, she’s got a bit of that. Maybe tenacity, too.
- Steph De Lander – This really tall Australian used to go by FaceBrooke, but she’s developed a mean streak as wide as her wingspan.
- Kiera Hogan – The girl on fire might hasn’t accomplished much in SHIMMER, but she’s constantly improving and getting to wrestle bigger names, so it’s only a matter of time before she breaks through to the next level.
- Veda Scott – Veda’s become a bit odd lately, and wore that cat head thing to the ring last taping. She’s mostly here to help put over younger talent.
- Solo Darling – She’s leaner than a pint of ice cream, and her high fives sting. She’s gotten real good lately.
- Dynamite DiDi – Really solid heel who plays up both strength and beauty.
- The Twisted Sisterz – Holidead and Thunder Rosa – Recent additions to the SHIMMER roster, they had a really good attempt at winning the tag titles. Holidead brings the muscle, Rosa brings the shimmy.
- Madison Eagles – Australian wrestling legend, she’s big, strong, and super technically skilled. Trained nearly every Australian woman in wrestling who isn’t Tenille.
- Saraya Knight – Paige’s mother. She kicks you in the…yeah. If there’s a final boss type person in SHIMMER, she’s it. You won’t find anyone quite like her anywhere else, unless you find her. Doesn’t get beaten often, but when she does it’s usually someone they think highly of. She’s gonna be here at this one.
- Zoe Lucas – A UK import, Zoe Lucas is just all kinds of effective at making you hate her.
- Rhia O’Reilly – An Irish wrestler who occasionally shows up in SHIMMER, Rhia is quite accomplished and always a threat. Current Pro-Wrestling: EVE Champion.
- Hiroyo Matsumoto – The Lady Destroyer. She’s a former SHIMMER Tag champ and returned in the Spring tapings to try for the gold once again.
- Samantha Heights – The Lost Girl. Current Heart of SHIMMER champion. She’s a very trusting babyface, but she can turn it up in the ring a bit. Out with injury.
- Tessa Blanchard Undeniable, a third generation wrestler who occasionally makes it in for SHIMMER shows. Tessa fights hard and is a threat at any spot on the card, though she likes to team with Indi Hartwell lately.
- Vanessa Kraven The Mountain. She’s on the shelf with a broken leg, but she’s a constant upper midcard threat when healthy. 6’1” legit and her chops hurt like hell – I should know, I’ve taken one.
- Rosemary SHIMMERverse Rosemary. She’s not competed in SHIMMER for a while, but this might be the original incarnation? Part of her possession and control over former SHIMMER Tag Champ Courtney Rush happened in SHIMMER, so it makes some sense that she might be. Lately been managing Dust, but whispers say she’s ready to compete again in the SHIMMERverse.
- Dave Prazak Founder and owner of SHIMMER, former manager in ROH to guys like CM Punk, Chris Hero, and Steve Corino. He heads up commentary duties and is generally swell to talk to.
- Allison Danger Another founder of SHIMMER, Allison Danger is retired and hasn’t been around much of late, but she was once one of the central stars of the promotion, even winning the tag titles with Leva Bates as Regeneration-X. It’s her birthday this Berwyn weekend, so if you’re coming bring a brand new stuffed animal, because she’s doing a toy drive for the local children’s hospital.
- Portia Perez A former tag team champion who has since retired, Portia Perez is an occasional heel commentary voice, and she does an excellent job of pushing Dave’s buttons (except for in the bizarre Thunderkitty vs. Spider Lady match where their alignments stayed the same, but Perez seemed to be the voice of reason).
- Lexi Fyfe Retired SHIMMER alumna who serves as the on-screen commissioner of SHIMMER, also the founder of SHINE. She might make a match or two happen during a taping weekend.
- There are a bunch of other workers who’ve either made little impact or haven’t shown up in long enough that I didn’t cover them here. Apologies to that whole bunch, but this thing is gonna be long as it is.
Does NXT UK stuff apply here?While SHIMMER isn’t in the UK, they do like to bring over British talents, and so they have been hit a bit with the NXT UK contracts preventing wrestlers from doing appearances. This isn’t as big an issue to SHIMMER as it might be for us; Toni Storm, Viper, Kay Lee Ray, and Jinny are confirmed as no longer available to work SHIMMER because of this, but Prazak just sees this as opening up slots for hungry new talent to step in and prove themselves. Considering Dave Prazak was behind the curtain consulting during the first Mae Young Classic, there’s at least a friendly-ish relationship between WWE and SHIMMER, so who knows. Only WWE and SHIMMER know the score, so we just have to trust they know what they’re doing.
Who are the current SHIMMER Champions?
- SHIMMER Championship - Nicole Savoy
- Heart of SHIMMER Championship – Samantha Heights (injured)
- SHIMER Tag Team Championship - Cheerleader Melissa & Mercedes Martinez
Are there any annual tournaments or special events?Not annually, but SHIMMER occasionally puts together a special match such as their SHIMMvivor series match from Volume 50, the ChickFight Tournament from volume 71, and the the Rumble-style battle royal from volume 19. Their annual Wrestlemania weekend shows don’t always feature such matches, but Volume 53’s steel cage match was the first in SHIMMER history and only possible because they can’t fit a cage in the Eagles Club.
Are there SHIMMER power rankings?Not officially, but if you need some, these are based on my read of recent tapings plus Saraya:
- S Level – Saraya Knight
- A Level – Mercedes Martinez, Cheerleader Melissa, Nicole Savoy
- B Level – Jessicka Havok, Shazza McKenzie, Hiroyo Matsumoto, LuFisto, Shotzi Blackheart, Delilah Doom, Kimber Lee, Ashley Vox, Delmi Exo
- C Level – Dust, Zoe Lucas, Samantha Heights, Nevaeh, Charli Evans, Indi Hartwell, Steph De Lander, Jessica Troy
- D Level – Veda Scott, Dynamite DiDi, Kiera Hogan
- E Level –. Nobody, really, that I can think of
How can I watch SHIMMER?If you want select matches only, and the ability to download them, SHIMMER offers matches on Clickwrestle. They also have DVDs for the physical-media collectors, and their streaming site StreamShimmer. It costs $9.99 a month. For that you get every SHIMMER show from volume 1 to vol. 79 (they’re currently catching up to the physical releases).
There will be no streaming of 114-117, unfortunately.
I'm new to SHIMMER, where should I start?Option one is to start at the beginning. There’s a bit of a regrettable gap, currently, between where the DVDs/StreamSHIMMER are at, and current shows. Unfortunately, the company is dealing with the death of their physical media sales and attempting to adapt to building their business off their streaming site. In April they put up pre-orders for volumes 82-83, but there simply have not been enough pre-orders for physical releases to justify the cost of making the DVDs, and there’s no point sinking money into producing physical media if you won’t even profit off it, so there’s debate on just pushing through with the release or issuing refunds. Either way, it seems as if physical media may be dead for SHIMMER. It’s a tough period for SHIMMER as a business.
Also, because I’m mostly ripping of Xalazi’s format and they did this for Stardom:
10 SHIMMER matches(available on StreamSHIMMER or SHIMMER’s youtube, where they have a few matches up)These aren’t necessarily the best 10 matches, as I prioritized diversity of workers and styles over sheer snowflake count, but should give you a good idea of both the roster SHIMMER sports and the variety it offers. That said, some of these may spoil long-run storylines so if you’re planning to start at a point before any of them, use your own discretion when deciding what’s safe to skip to. In no particular order:
- Mercedes Martinez vs. Sara Del Rey, vol. 1 – This is the match that put SHIMMER on the map.
- Kana vs. Ayako Hamada, vol. 50 – This might be the greatest match in SHIMMER history
- Kana vs. Cheerleader Melissa, vol. 67 – What is it like when you take one of the very best of Japan and pit her against one of the best of the US? This match. Extremely physical as you would expect, and the finish is one of those where the loser looks absolutely monstrous in defeat.
- Ayumi Kurihara & Tomoka Nakagawa vs. Madison Eagles & Sara Del Rey for the SHIMMER Tag Team Championship, vol. 43 – Two of SHIMMER’s greatest singles champions try to wrest the tag titles away from the joshis. This is top tier work all around.
- Deonna Purrazzo vs. Madison Eagles, vol. 100 – This is a technical wrestling match par excellence. You want to see SHIMMER’s best match of 2018? This is the one.
- Nicole Matthews vs. Athena vs. Cheerleader Melissa vs. Madison Eagles for the SHIMMER Championship, vol. 68 – This match is fire, literally. Anything more would be spoilers.
- Lacey vs. Sara Del Rey, inaugural SHIMMER Championship tournament final, vol. 12 – SHIMMER wanted to wait until they had some shows under their belt and some recognizable, recurring names in the roster before crowning a champion.
- Thunderkitty vs. Spider Lady, vol. 65 – It’s not often SHIMMER does straight up comedy, but this example shows how they can do it very well by re-opening the issue of the Original Screwjob.
- MsChif vs. Amazing Kong, vol. 9 Everyone’s favorite heavy metal banshee MsChif tries to do the impossible and knock off the undefeated Amazing Kong.
- Allison Danger vs. Rebecca Knox, vol. 3 – This match is an early gem both in SHIMMER’s catalogue, as well as Becky Lynch’s career. You owe it to yourself to watch this match. I’m not spoilering any of what happens here.
How can I find out what's coming up?Following SHIMMER on Twitter or Facebook is your best bet.
I don’t want play catch-up, what are the big storylines right now?Heading into volumes 114-117, as usual I’d say the title pictures are the three most important things happening, and they’re all a bit open-ended:
- Nicole Savoy’s current run of dominance has had her beat all-comers, and she’s now the longest-reigning and most successful champion ever. She’s proven herself and her place in SHIMMER history, so now the hunt is on: who can knock her off?
- Cheerleader Melissa and Mercedes Martinez are huge targets in the tag division. As basically the last of the originals, they’re here for tradition and showing these young talent how it’s done. But the youths are hungry, so expect a young team to make a good run at the titles and quite possibly win. They will defend the titles against Nicole Savoy and Aerial Monroe in the main event of volume 114.
- Samantha Heights is sidelined with injury and now may not be able to make the Spring tapings either. SHIMMER will be crowning an interim Heart of SHIMMER champion. Once Heights is back in the ring, we can expect a unification match.
- Only one match has been announced as yet, but other names listed for the weekend include Rhia O'Reilly, Saraya Knight, Su Yung, Shotzi Blackheart (in her last indy appearances), Jessicka Havok, Allysin Kay, Kimber Lee, Dust, Delmi Exo, Ashley Vox, Marti Belle, Priscilla Kelly, Charli Evans, Kris Statlander, Willow Nightingale, Skylar, Davienne, Solo Darling, Nevaeh, Brittany Blake, and more.
I have other questions!Well I might have other answers. I’m not all-knowing, though, and with the gap in what’s available, I can’t answer anything that really covers between 82-99 in any kind of detail. You might try contacting SHIMMER directly if it’s a question they’re better suited to answering.
You got something wrong/left someone out!Ok, tell me about it. Happy to update/I could honestly use the help.
Bottom line me: Why should I watch SHIMMER?If you want to see the most consistently high quality and best women’s wrestling happening in the United States, SHIMMER’s the place to go. A lot of women in SHIMMER have gone on to work in WWE, Impact, ROH, or AEW, but their best work stateside has very often been in SHIMMER. There simply isn’t a better body of quality American women’s wrestling out there.
One of the best qualities of SHIMMER is its respect for its titles. The championships are the biggest thing in the promotion, and there has never been a vacancy for any of them. In an interview on Madusa’s podcast, Dave Prazak said SHIMMER will never vacate a title – he feels that it cheapens the championship to do that. They will always find a way to work around injury or a signing to avoid putting a vacancy in the title history (as they did when Sara Del Rey signed as a trainer with WWE and they scheduled a quick title drop in Canada on an NCW Femmes Fatales show), no matter the situation. The Samantha Heights situation is the first time SHIMMER will do an interim champion situation.
If you want 40+ minute epics, SHIMMER’s not really the place for you. Their sweet spot is 10-15 minutes of excellently paced, hard-hitting wrestling. That’s not to say they don’t have long matches, but they are comparatively fewer.
As for downsides, SHIMMER can be very slow to adapt. It took until 2018 for them to put together a streaming site, and while the site works well enough, it’s rather limited in its capabilities. It’s also still not caught up to physical media after a year, and didn’t have far to go when it debuted. If you attend SHIMMER in person, be prepared for a very long day. Two tapings in one day, with each being about 3-3.5 hours, is quite a bit to sit through. It’s absolutely worth it, but I don’t blame anyone who can’t do it.
Due to the way tapings are scheduled as a weekend marathon, SHIMMER rarely announces many matches ahead of time. They don’t need to – they pretty much sell out their venue on brand and talent announcements alone. As they approach the weekend, they'll generally announce a few of the matches for the first volume of the taping and the stories progress from there (as of this writing, the main event of volume 114 will see Nicole Savoy and Aerial Monroe vs. Cheerleader Melissa and Mercedes Martinez, and the rest of the card is speculative). It’s great for them, but it does mean that you have to trust the promotion as a fan. They tend to advertise matches for their Mania weekend card, as that is a standalone show.
The big issue SHIMMER faces is not a matter of content, wrestling style, or anything they have any real control over. Rather, it is their very small operating budget. Sure, the Eagle’s Club has a chandelier above the ring and that looks fancy, but SHIMMER operates on a shoestring. The small scale of the Eagle’s Club means that there’s no way to sell enough tickets to actually recoup the cost of the renting the venue from ticket sales alone (and that doesn’t count SHIMMER paying for travel expenses for international talent to come in, which they do). Essentially, SHIMMER lays out a lot of money and needs to sell the physical DVDs (and now subscriptions) to be able to cover the cost of the show. Except pressing the DVDs and having them made to a high standard also costs a lot of money, so SHIMMER pretty much lives off the sales of the DVDs and subscriptions. It’s led to them getting to the point of being a couple years behind on DVDs and being uncertain if they can even continue to offer physical media because they simply don’t have the money to keep up in real time. Until SHIMMER can get their financial status situated, it’s going to be hard to close that gap, but without closing that gap it makes audiences hesitant to invest in the product, forcing a catch-22 situation. I don’t foresee SHIMMER dying, but if it were to die it would be because it simply could not maintain enough profitability to be able to continue running shows as physical media dies and internet streaming takes over.
Overall, it’s an exceedingly well-booked promotion that puts on at least a couple great matches per show and a good atmosphere. If you’re into women’s wrestling, you should probably be into SHIMMER.
American joshi is possible