You didn’t think I was gone forever, did you? After being retired from the Monday Night Raw gig for a little over a week and a half, I’m back on the review beat. And if HHH somehow shows up on this show, I’m taking up writing about cricket.

I have watched SHINE sporadically through the years, but never had the time or drive to make it a regular thing. So it might take me a show or two to get into the groove with everything going on. And no better time to start than the present.

Welcome to SHINE 33. The video on-demand for the event is now available at WWNLive for those interested. 

Kennadi Brink vs. Maria Maria

The announcers call this a Sparkle match, which confuses me since the whole point of Sparkle matches is the match is for the live audience only.

Lenny Leonard and Rob Naylor are making use of the time to goof around on commentary. I did pop a little for the mention of the totally fictional town of Tocula, Mexico.

For the most part this match was a simple affair, no one really trying anything they couldn’t do. Cute little match, and a nice Sky High from Brink was the highlight. Winner: Maria Maria Rating: *½

Barbi Hayden vs. Leah Vaughan

Barbi Hayden is best known recently for working all the marks into a shoot by getting work by trying to get money from them. Leah Vaughan was known as Leah Von Dutch until recently. Also, Leah’s light up jacket is both cooler and more consistently operational than the Y2J jacket.

Hayden keeping control of the match with aggressive striking and a willingness to bend the rules to their breaking point. Vaughan is able to counter using her greater raw athleticism and strength, but keeps being cut off by Hayden’s straightforward attack.

Vaughan is able to turn the tide with a Bossman Slam followed by a nifty Exploder. An attempt at one big move too many ends up leading to the finish with Vaughan going for an over the ropes suplex to the floor on Hayden. Hayden counters with a neck snap, a running spear on the apron, and a rope-assisted rollup gives Hayden the win. The match started out somewhat sloppy, with a rather egregious looking Dragon Screw legwhip by Vaughan taking me out of the flow early on. But the last few minutes were solid and had some nice back and forth. Winner: Barbi Hayden Rating: **

Andrea vs. Tracy Taylor

Andrea is something of a giant, accompanied by April Hunter (another powerful woman herself) as part of Valkyrie. Tracy Taylor is a happy hula dancer.

The match opens with Andrea tossing Taylor down with a one-armed bodyslam. Outside of a quick desperation rollup early, Andrea controls the opening part of the match, with any attempts at offense by Taylor being snuffed out almost immediately.

Andrea has the look of a monster heel, and seems to understand what a monster heel should be doing in the ring. The problem is her work is mostly very light. I’m not asking for her to go full-on Ishii but someone with her size and strength needs to make her strikes look and sound more painful.Even at half her size Taylor’s strikes sound and appear more impactful.

Speaking of Taylor, she is able to mount some offense by countering a camel clutch into a jawjacker, allowing her to hit some of the aforementioned strikes, and finally her finisher Sole Food but her cover attempt is thwarted by Andrea being under the rope. Some well-timed April Hunter interference leads to Andrea hitting a running DVD for the win. Nicely constructed big heel vs. small face match. Could have been much improved by Andrea executing her role with more vigor and anger, but still a solid match. Winner: Andrea Rating: **

Mia Yim vs. Luscious Latasha

Mia comes out wearing the blue pants of her former partner Leva Bates. Luscious Latasha has the gimmick of being undefeated but always winning through flukes or interference by others. The crowd is mostly pro-Yim even though she’s doing Heel 101 tactics. Just how these things happen sometimes.

Yim takes control early with some nasty kicks and chops. The difference in impact between Yim and Latasha’s strikes is…striking. A very delayed vertical suplex gives Yim a chance to show off her impressive strength. Yim is dominant, using every opportunity to mock the absent Bates, including grabbing Latasha’s hand while holding her in a camel clutch and pulling her hand into Leva’s thumbs up gesture.

I loved the spot with Latasha getting a rollup for a near fall as it played perfectly into the story of both wrestlers. Yim was dominant and arrogant, Latasha kept finding wins despite being consistently outclassed by her opponents, and Yim was so busy taunting Bates that it was almost like Bates was there to distract her. The crowd totally bit on the move, and I did too.

Finish comes when Leva summons the ghosts of Ages of the Fall and a bunch of masked people appear to distract and terrify Yim into leaving the ring, giving Latasha the count out victory. At this point a desire to see what happens if they were to luck Latasha all the way into the title. Let someone be the Warrior to her Honky Tonk Man. Yim plays a nasty asshole so well that this was a fun squash match to watch. Winner: Luscious Latasha Rating: **½

Thunderkitty vs. Amber Gallows (NWA Women’s Champion)

Thunderkitty is a face after being turned on by the other members of Legendary. I’m happy about this, as watching a heel Thunderkitty caused my heart sadness. Amber Gallows has certainly made the most of her association with the Bullet Club. Also, Amber’s sparkly top looks like it would be painful to run into.

I’ve tried to not mention the commentary as it has been, while overbearing at times, not actively detrimental to the show. However, when talking about Thunderkitty it finally crosses the line into hurting the product. The joke with TK is that she is delusional and old school. Some sort of anomaly lost out of time. To joke about her ending up celebrating at the nursing home and making Geritol jokes totally misses the point and doesn’t make sense if you’re pushing her in a face role.

The match itself was slow moving and kind of janky. It’s always tough when you put together two wrestlers who get by on character and charisma. They both work better when they have someone else to be the solid working base to play off of. Sadly in this case they never meshed very well. The match ended with TK’s former Legendary partner, Malia Hosaka, sneaking into the ring and blasting TK in the back (and the back of her head) with a chair. Gallows pulled TK into a backslide with a rolling bridge for the win. Hosaka ignored Gallows thanks and jumped in to continue working TK over as soon as the match ended. A short match, there to drive a storyline. Winner: Amber Gallows Rating: *

Su Yung vs. Crazy Mary Dobson

I reviewed SHINE 30, and saw Su Yung in a four ¼ star match. I was as surprised as anyone else was. Sadly without the best female wrestler in the world, Madison Eagles, as her opponent, I am not expecting another one. Crazy Mary Dobson is a real rising talent, capable of solid matches and concession stand management.

After a brief back and forth Yung takes advantage with an assist from April Hunter, diving off the apron into a headfirst senton onto Dobson, being held in place seated with her back to Yung. Dobson grabbed control back with a chokeslam on the apron followed by a Yakuza kick knocking Yung to the floor. After a fight at the bar ending with Yung hitting Dobson with the rarely seen Grey Goose Mist, the match ended abruptly when Allysin Kay snuck into the building and yoinked a kendo stick away from Yung. The distraction allowed Dobson to hit Yung with a Northern Lights superplex for the win. The match seemed to be going somewhere kind of fun and full of plunder, but the ending was too quick to allow for the match to become anything notable. Winner: Crazy Mary Dobson Rating: *½

Ivelisse/Amanda Carolina Rodriguez vs. Marti Belle/Jayme Jameson (Shine Tag Team Champions)

Both teams have ringside seconds with them. La Rosa Negra accompanies The Contingent (ACR/Ivelisse) and April Hunter accompanies BTY (Belle/Jamieson).

Contingent takes control early with quick tags to keep Marti Belle in their corner. Jayme Jameson gets a tag and uses her power to turn the tide. ACR attempts to take Jameson down with a double leg, but damn near piledrives herself landing square on the top of her head.

The Contingent is an interesting dynamic, which the announcers do a good job of pointing out. ACR is the acknowledged weak link of the team. Usually that sort of dynamic happens in big man/small man teams where the obvious goal is to keep the giant on the apron. Here that desire is based on the talent disparity between the partners. This has long-term story potential.

This gets a chance to play out as Ivelisse finally gets the hot tag and takes control. An ill-advised tag out to ACR, and some interference from April Hunter allows BTY to get the pin. There were some ugly spots in this match. But Ivelisse looked much better than the last time I saw her at least. Winners: Marti Belle/Jayme Jameson Rating: *½

Vanessa Kraven vs. Jessicka Havok

Vaneesa Kraven has really improved in the last 18 or so months. Jessicka Havok knows how to work a hoss fight.

The first control of the match is taken by Havok with a series of running boots to the seated Kraven. This doesn’t last long as Kraven takes over on the floor, whipping Havok into the steps and standing with her boot in Havok’s throat.

The refs are falling everywhere due to inadvertent shots from the wrestlers. Except the last ref. Havok and Kraven just kicked him to an early grave. With all the refs incapacitated the bell rings to call the match as a no-contest. The fight continues as a pull-apart brawl on the floor. As a match nothing of note really had a chance to occur. One thing I think I notice, but I’d have to go back and look at some video from a few years back, Havok seems larger than she was before and her movements seems a little slower and less aggressive. However Havok still plays the force of nature better than pretty much anyone this side of Asuka. Winner: No Contest Rating: *¼

Kimber Lee vs. Taylor Made (SHINE Champion)

Kimber Lee is becoming one of the aces of the American indie women’s scene. Taylor Made…honest talk here, I’m really surprised that she is holding the belt. Maybe she steps up her game down in FL.

Early on Kimber Lee uses her speed and striking to take control, but Taylor Made grounds her with a seated stepover toehold and some ground and pound. After a tilt-a-whirl suplex by Lee shifts momentum she is able to take back the momentum and put Made in a series of submission holds and follow up with some skin-stripping chops. A highlight of Lee’s attack was a modified rope-assisted triangle choke out of a Tarantula setup.

Back and forth leg kicks and chops bring the match back to the center of the ring, A German suplex with a bridge gets a two count for Lee, but a pop-up powerbomb attempt by Lee is turned into a rana by Made for a near fall.

Finish comes with a shot to the throat by Made giving her the momentary advantage needed to hit the Ace Crusher for the finish. An essentially clean finish to the match. This is something the company could use some more of. After the match an attack by Andrea and Jayme Jameson continue the attack afterwards. Just as it appears the show is going to end with the usual heel beatdown The Contingent makes an appearance to save Kimber Lee and announce that at Mercury Rising Ivelisse will be getting a chance to regain the SHINE title from Taylor Made. In a fitting tribute to Oscar weekend, Ivelisse’s speech gets cut off by the music. Winner: Taylor Made Rating: **¾

Final Thoughts: The card was inoffensive and moved things along. Nothing stood out as excellent but a few decent matches highlighted the show. Not a must-see show unless you are a hardcore SHINE fan but the Mia Yim/Latasha match and the main event were worth the watch.