SHIMMER: The true embodiment of competitive women’s wrestling
Everyone has been talking about the new “Women’s Revolution” in WWE. When Becky Lynch, Sasha Banks and Charlotte arrived from NXT and stole the show at WrestleMania 32, it was a game-changer. NXT has changed the way fans of WWE perceive women’s wresting. That doesn’t mean that WWE can take all of the credit for a revolution in women’s wrestling. There are various promotions around the world that have been a part of the process for years.
One company in particular goes above and beyond to make women the forefront of professional wrestling. I’m talking about SHIMMER. Founded in 2005 and based in Illinois, SHIMMER Women Athletes pride themselves on emphasizing competitive matches for women in the wrestling industry. The company was founded by Dave Prazak and Allison Danger, who both knew how valuable women’s wrestling was. Originally in Ring of Honor, Prazak had a plan that wouldn’t necessarily work with the promotion at the time. In an interview discussing the transition from ROH to SHIMMER with SLAM Sports in 2006, Prazak stated:
“In my mind, the one thing that has been lacking is a good opportunity for the top female wrestlers to show what they are capable of doing. I wanted to give them a platform to do that. I knew that ROH was never going to do a full-fledged women’s division because their fan base probably wouldn’t react well to women’s matches on a regular basis on their shows. You don’t want to force feed fans matches they don’t necessarily want to see.”
Prazak’s gamble paid off, as SHIMMER has become the hot spot for top talent. Notable alumni who have been a part of SHIMMER are a who’s who of women. There’s Rebecca Knox, known by WWE fans as Becky Lynch. There is also Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Amber O’Neal and Kana (Asuka). Wrestlers with roles in the promotion to this day (while in other companies) are also valuable, like Cheerleader Melissa and Cherry Bomb. Paige is also well known there, as her mother Saraya Knight is a prominent figure in the promotion.
Someone who was a household name with the company was Amazing (Awesome) Kong. She was noticed while in Japan, joined SHIMMER and became a fantastic wrestler for the company. One could say it was because of SHIMMER that Kong had a lengthy run in TNA. She was doing powerful moves that women were not known to do. She performed classics, like this match against MsChif.
There’s also Sara Del Rey, who was with the company from 2005-2012. Del Rey was the inaugural SHIMMER Champion, and is known as one of the great women wrestlers of a generation. Now retired, Del Rey is currently a coach in NXT. Fans have been clamoring for her to return to the ring. There is hope that she would still be able to produce classic matches like this one from 2007: the finals of the SHIMMER Title Tournament against Lacey.
SHIMMER continues to have great talent in their promotion. Candice LeRae, Nicole Matthews and Kimber Lee are just a few of the names that help the company succeed. Let’s not forget about the current SHIMMER Champion Madison Eagles. The Australian was ranked the number one female wrestler in the Pro Wrestling Illustrated Female 50 in 2011. She became the first woman not a apart of WWE and TNA to win the award since its inception in 2008.
Continuing to work with Ring of Honor, SHIMMER has various opportunities to shine. In 2008, the company announced it would start its own wrestling school for female athletes. While not gaining WrestleMania-sized crowds, SHIMMER has a passionate following, and that’s a result of the great wrestling that is involved. There are no shenanigans, just great talent. If you give the company a chance, I can guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Thanks to SHIMMER, women’s wrestling has been thriving for years. As the company continues to grow, they continue to amaze with the quality of matches that take place. Here’s to a long, successful future for SHIMMER. In the world of glamour and theatrics, it’s nice to see a company passionate enough to give women a fair shot. Viva SHIMMER!
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