Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Lucha Underground 6/29/16 Review

If my math is right, this is our final week before the three part Ultima Lucha finale begins. Melissa Santos looks fantastic tonight.

King Cuerno def. Mil Muertes w/ Catrina in 4:28
I was surprised to see this match here because I felt like it would be an Ultima Lucha battle. The crowd was split between the two. They went right after each other and it felt like they hated each other. Cuerno got to do his awesome bow and arrow suicide dive spot. The referee got taken out during the dive, so Cuerno grabbed a steel chair and hit Mil, who no sold it. Mil stopped a second shot with a right hand. Mil whacks him in the back with it and wedges it in the corner but gets sent into it. Cuerno pins him and uses the ropes for leverage to steal it. Fine, short match that might set up a rematch at Ultima Lucha. **1/2

In Dario's office, Taya and Ivelisse are seated. Dario put over Ivelisse as a great Trios Champion, but Taya says it was because she had two men doing the heavy lifting. Dario wants to see who the real "baddest bitch" is and they will fight at Ultima Lucha. Dario's charisma is phenomenal. Catrina walks in as Ivelisse leaves and Ivelisse says she hasn't forgotten about her. Catrina is there to ask for a rematch with Cuerno, but Dario just laughs in her face. He doesn't want to give them anything but Catrina wants a death match. Dario says he hates her but she knows just what to say to get him excited. Hilariously, Catrina looks a this crotch as he says that.

Prince Puma def. Dragon Azteca Jr. w/ Rey Mysterio in 8:39
The former Trios Champions members collide here. Their start is incredibly fast paced and they do a good job of playing then as relatively equal. Puma did a great job of catching a diving Dragon and tossing him into the ring post. They've done well with showing a more confident and aggressive Puma. Both guys strutted their athleticism stuff, which is great considering it is their strong suits. Dragon busted out a sweet wheelbarrow driver off the second rope when Puma took too long for the 630, getting a near fall. Puma got as aggressive as ever, suplexing Dragon into the corner and hitting the spinning Michinoku Driver for two. Puma hit a big shotgun dropkick and won with the 630. An awesome match as they fit a lot into the short time, while also telling the story of Puma's growing confidence. His looks over to Rey as if to say "I'm better than you" were top notch. ***3/4

Prince Puma got in Rey Mysterio's face and they had a stare down.

Dario Cueto is out to hype Ultima Lucha. In the ring with him is the Mack, Cage, Son of Havoc and Texano. To kickoff Ultima Lucha Dos, he has plans for them. They will be entered into the first "Unique Opportunity" Tournament, which is called "4 a Unique Opportunity".He promises the winner will get the greatest unique opportunity he's ever given out. Dario then gets all four men to attack each other.

They run down the Ultma Lucha card. It looks like this.

- 4 A Unique Opportunity: Cage vs. The Mack vs. Son of Havoc vs. Texano
- Death Match: King Cuerno vs. Mil Muertes
- Dream Match: Prince Puma vs. Rey Mysterio Jr.
- Black Lotus vs. Dragon Azteca Jr.
- Ivelisse vs. Taya
- Gift of the Gods Championship: Daga vs. Killshot vs. Marty the Moth vs. Mariposa vs. Night Claw vs. Sexy Star vs. Siniestro de la Muerta
- Trios Championship: Jack Evans, Johny Mundo and PJ Black (c) vs. Aerostar, Drago and Fenix
- Lucha Underground Championship: Matanza Cueto (c) vs. Pentagon Jr.

Johnny Mundo w/ Taya def. Fenix in 7:53
As expected from these two, we get a fast paced match. Not quite on the level of Azteca/Puma, but still quick. Fenix is so impressive, especially on a fancy springboard spin kick which was instantly followed by a sunset flip bomb. The Mundo/Taya pairing has grown on me and was good here. She had good timing with her heel tactics. She made sure to move Mundo's Trios Title to the apron, setting it up for the finish. Fenix hits the top rope Spanish Fly but Taya distracts the referee. Mundo takes the title and whacks Fenix to steal the victory. Good match, though I would have preferred Puma/Azteca to main event. ***1/4

After the match, Jack Evans and PJ Black come out. They all, with Taya, celebrate and put the boots to Fenix. Aerostar, Drago and Ivelisse show up to even things out. They all brawl until Ivelisse tosses Taya outside and the heels are sent packing.

Overall: 7/10. Lucha Underground had a really good go-home show tonight. They set up some new matches for Ultima Lucha Dos, while building up most of them. They set up Cuerno/Muertes well and the last two matches were good, especially Puma/Azteca. I'll have to watch it a second time to get a better feel for it though.

If you do want to check out Lucha Underground, which you absolutely should, and don't get El Rey Network (like me), you can sign up for the streaming service Fubo.TV. It's a great way to support the company and channel while streaming the show online. You can sign up and get Lucha Underground right here with!

Shine 35 Review

Shine 35
June 17th, 2016 | The Orpheum in Ybor City, Florida

Though I haven’t been able to watch it in a while, I am a huge fan of SHIMMER. With my love for SHIMMER, I have always wanted to check out SHINE but haven’t done so yet. Finally, I have access to one and will be reviewing their most recent event, SHINE 35. It takes place at the Orpheum, a venue I’m familiar with due to Evolve running there often.

The show opened with a video package showcasing the roster. In the ring, the announcer introduced Vice President of Shine, Lexi Fyfe. I remember watching her in SHIMMER. She has a briefcase, which will be the prize for the opening contest. It’s a Money in the Bank briefcase.

Money in the Bank Elimination Match: Ivelisse w/ Amanda Carolina Rodriguez def. Kellie Skater, Mia Yim, Nicole Matthews and Santana in 13:01
This works like WWE’s Money in the Bank, except no ladders are involved. It is the first Shine show for Matthews, though she had a Shine Title shot at Mercury Rising earlier in the year. Mia came out with a Blue Pants shirt and crutches to make fun of her rival Leva Bates, who was on commentary. It was scheduled to a four way but Lexi announced a surprise in the form of returning Ivelisse, a former Shine Champion. Ivelisse = 10/10. Only two women were allowed in the ring at once, with Skater and Santana starting. Those two and Ivelisse had a lot of action early since Mia was feigning the injury and Nicole wanted no part of it. Of course, that led to both of them getting tagged. Thanks to Leva coming down from commentary, Mia was counted out at 8:39. The remaining women went at it, including a superplex from Skater on Matthews. Santana and Ivelisse went at it with strikes and it was great. This led to a flurry of offense from everyone. Santana eliminated Skater with a moonsault, Matthews instantly rolled her up to eliminate her and then we got Ivelisse and Matthews. Unfortunately, it didn’t last very long and Ivelisse put Matthews down with a DDT. An enjoyable start to the show with a match featuring some of the best women wrestlers in the world. Nothing too special though. ***¼

Luscious Latasha and Maria Maria def. Rhia O’Reilly and Viper in 10:22
Now we reach the portion showcasing girls that I’ve never seen compete. Maria not coming out to Carlos Santana is a massive missed opportunity, even if her actual theme is pretty fun. It was instantly clear which team were the faces and which were the heels, which is appreciated when you’re new to the talent. This was the US debut of Viper, who the crowd wanted to see. She played the monster heel role well thanks to her size, quickly flattening Latasha with a cross body. This was all about classic tag formula. The heels annihilated Latasha and Viper was especially impressive. The crowd was chanting for her just before O’Reilly destroyed Latasha with a release tiger suplex. Maria got the hot tag and performed an ugly arm drag. Latasha got back the tag and was again destroyed by Viper. Maria hit a cross body on Viper and Latasha fell on her to keep their streaks alive. Fine little match here. The heels were far and away the better performers. The fans were highly upset at Viper losing. **½

Kelly Anne def. Chelsea Green in 10:30
Chelsea Green was trained by Lance Storm and appeared on Tough Enough last year. Actually both girls were trained by Storm. Kelly looked ready to try and toy with Chelsea, who is very new to the business. Chelsea did a good job in holding her own though. She did make her mistakes, like attempting a high risk move only for Kelly to trip her up and chop her on the outside a few times. She also delivered a sweet liger bomb for a near fall. Chelsea came back with the babyface fire. Kelly hit an interesting fireman’s carry drop onto the top turnbuckle before ending Chelsea with a backpack stunner. A solid match that showed Chelsea has improved rather well. Kelly Anne looked good as well and the story of Chelsea being good but not quite good enough was fine. **¾

Shine Tag Team Championship: Better Than You (c) def. #Sparkle in 12:54
Better Than You consists of Marti Belle and Jayme Jameson, while #Sparkle is the lovely Evie and Shazza McKenzie. I love Evie. The champions knew their roles, talking lots of smack throughout this one. Shazza took the heat as Marti and Jayme showed off some solid chemistry. Evie got the hot tag and it worked well since she’s not only so good, but also very likable. Just when it looked like Evie may get the win for her team, Marti Bella got involved, allowing Jayme to beat her with a tilt-a-whirl slam. Decent match but it seemed like the fans didn’t buy into the thought of a title change since the challengers don’t compete in Shine often. I’d say that Evie and Marti Belle looked the best of everyone involved. **½

Rachel Ellering def. Tessa Blanchard in 9:42
Tessa’s four horsemen remixed theme is all kinds of rad. Apparently, this a rematch from Shine 34 featuring two ladies with very famous fathers. Due to some comments made by Tessa about Rachel’s dad, Rachel came out aggressively. It led to a mistake when Rachel took a nasty spill outside and hurt her leg. The audience got behind Rachel after Tessa pulled out some heel tactics she may have learned from her dad. Both women portrayed rage and aggression throughout and it made for the hardest hitting match of the evening. Tessa came close with a hammerlock DDT but took too long to cover. You could tell that Tessa had more experience, but from out of nowhere, Rachel scored on a spear. The TKO connected and she evened the score between them. A grueling match between two young girls with a lot of talent. I have to make sure I see their rubber match. Bright futures for both indeed. ***½

Su Yung showed up to attack Rachel Ellering. She and Tessa double teamed her until Kay Lee Ray appeared and dove on them. She chased Blanchard to the ring but Su Yung attacked from behind, leading to the next match.

Su Yung def. Kay Lee Ray in 12:37
By virtue of the pre-match attack, this one started as a brawl. Like the last match, this was a physical encounter, but in a different way. It wasn’t just two women hitting each other hard. They used the environment around them, including a suplex outside and Kay Lee Ray using the ring post for a 619 variation. She pulled it off again on a pole atop the bar. Su fired back with gutsy front flip senton off of the bar. They made it back to the ring where Su busted out some unorthodox offense. She did an arachnarana (unsure if I spelled it right) that is rather hard to describe. They traded submissions until Ray nailed a curb stomp. Su came close with a rope hung pedigree but Ray was resilient. Ray tried a Gory Bomb, only to have it countered into the Panic Switch that ended it. About tied for match of the night with the previous one. They went all out to have a damn good match. I loved their use of the environment and Su Yung’s character work is fun. ***½

The main event was scheduled to be Shine Champion Taylor Made, SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles and TNA Knockouts Champion Allysin Kay in a match where whoever got pinned would lost their respective title to the winner. However, Ivelisse showed up and cashed in her briefcase, making it a four way for the Shine Title.

Shine Championship: Ivelisse w/ Amanda Carolina Rodriguez def. Allysin Kay, Madison Eagles and Taylor Made (c) in 12:33
I miss Madison Eagles coming out to AFI. It was good that Ivelisse cashed in too because just as the other three got ready to fight there was a “we want Viper” chant. Within seconds, Ivelisse had already jumped off the top to the outside. The fans went back to chanting for Viper anyway while Kay and Eagles fought over trying to do Stunners in the middle of the ring. They even audibly argued over who got to be “Stone Cold.” Taylor Made surprised me by going toe to toe with Ivelisse in strikes. We got an awesome triple German spot involving all four ladies that left Leva Bates a bit speechless in the booth. There was a flurry of offense from everyone until Taylor Made was left standing. She talked smack so Ivelisse planted her with an exploder. She then slapped on a cloverleaf/tequila sunrise like submission. Eagles and Kay kept each other out of the ring and Taylor tapped out making Ivelisse the first two time champion in Shine history. Not a great main event but another strong outing on this card. It gets the added bonus of being a historic bout featuring champions of three companies and the first Shine MITB cash in. Energetic main event featuring three of the best and the crowd liked it. ***¼

Overall: 6.5/10. As a whole, I found this to be a very enjoyable show that flew by. I know some matches weren’t really up to par but there was a lot of good here. The opener was solid and the last three matches were the best of the evening. Ivelisse was pretty much the MVP of the show putting on two strong matches and walking out as champion. I’ll be sure to check out more Shine and get back into SHIMMER if I get the opportunity.