Wrestling Gold: The History of the Shimmer Women Athletes Championships
Throughout the history of professional wrestling, the business has awarded championship belts in many divisions. While some have been forgotten over the years, some titles have stood the test of time.
The WWE has seen almost 30 titles defended, but today only six remain.
TNA Wrestling began with three titles—the NWA World and Tag Team Championships, as well its own X-Division title, but today it owns its own belts and fans see six titles defended between its ropes.
Ring of Honor Wrestling began with just two, but it has since added another title to its ranks.
While Shimmer has only been around for a few years, the most well-known all-women’s wrestling promotion currently holds two titles.
Wrestling Gold will concentrate on the active titles of the companies listed, as well as the NWA World and Tag Team Championships, and any other active title the readers would like to see!
That’s right, if there’s a championship you’d like to see included, it will be added to the series.
For this edition of Wrestling Gold, I present the two championships from the Shimmer Women Athletes promotion.
Shimmer was founded in 2005 by wrestler Dave Prazak after he won the lottery. He runs the all-women promotion along with Allison Danger in order to give female wrestlers a place to go in an industry that’s not too kind to women’s wrestling.
Unlike other promotions that run events every week, Shimmer has one event about every three months. They typically tape enough material to release up to two DVDs and then let the women wrestle wherever they please until the next show.
The promotion sometimes works with Ring of Honor Wrestling, as the wrestlers have shown up at ROH events and ROH recognizes both of Shimmer’s titles.
Shimmer also has an agreement with TNA Wrestling, as TNA Knockouts will sometimes appear at their events.
The promotion didn’t have a title at first, but they created the Shimmer Championship in 2007.
And that’s where we begin.
Before the creation of the title, the women of Shimmer just simply wrestled for competition.
While it featured scripted rivalries like any other wrestling promotion, the ending of storylines was to settle scores instead of trying to win a title.
In June 2007, Shimmer made the announcement that they had finally created their first championship.
A 16-woman tournament was set up featuring the top women’s wrestlers on the independent circuit and it was held over a two-day period.
Throughout the title's short five-year history, it has seen five champions.
Sara Del Rey
Where: Berwyn, Ill.
When: June 2, 2007
Event: Volume 12
Title Reign: 329 days
Sara Del Rey made her professional debut in 2001. She wrestled throughout the independent circuits of the United States, Japan and Mexico before appearing for Shimmer in 2005.
She appeared at the promotion’s first-ever show wrestling Mercedes Martinez to a 20-minute draw. She wrestled multiple opponents throughout the next two years and would eventually become the inaugural champion after defeating Lacey in a tournament final.
Del Rey has remained with Shimmer to this day.
Due to the company only taping every three months, you can also see her throughout the independent circuit. Del Rey has appeared multiple times for Ring of Honor and also regularly appears for the Chikara promotion.
You can also see her wrestling for Jersey All Pro Wrestling when she’s not competing for Shimmer.
Defeated: Sara Del Rey
When: April 26, 2008
Event: Volume 18
Title Reign: 715 days
MsChif made her professional wrestling debut in July 2001 in Gateway Championship Wrestling. She regularly appeared for the company until 2006.
During her time with GCW, though, she wrestled for the National Wrestling Alliance as well. She appeared throughout the Mid-South territories of the NWA for the next few years and still appears for them to this day.
Thanks to her appearances for the NWA, MsChif has held the NWA World Women’s Championship on two occasions.
While appearing for GCW and the NWA, MsChif made her debut for Shimmer in 2005 and also made appearances for Ring of Honor. She formed a team with Cheerleader Melissa, known as MelisChif, but they would break up after MsChif won the Shimmer Championship.
MsChif remains with Shimmer but can also be seen in the territories of the NWA and the independent circuit during the promotion’s off-time.
When: April 11, 2010
Event: Volume 31
Title Reign: 539 days
Madison Eagles made her professional wrestling debut in November 2001 in the International Wrestling Australia promotion.
In 2003, she made the trek to the United States and received more training at Ohio Valley Wrestling and appeared for independent promotions in the area. She remains with IWA as well as her all-women’s promotion, Pro Wrestling Women’s Alliance, to this day.
During her time with IWA, though, she began to appear for Shimmer in 2008. She was a part of the tag-team the Pink Ladies with Jessie McKay at first.
The team didn’t get too far, so Madison began to wrestle singles matches in 2009 and won the title the following year.
Madison Eagles still makes appearances for Shimmer.
Defeated: Madison Eagles
When: Oct. 2, 2011
Event: Volume 44
Title Reign: 168 days
Cheerleader Melissa made her professional wrestling debut in August 1999. She appeared mostly on the West Coast and soon went to Japan for some more training in 2002.
Upon returning in 2004, she was a hot commodity on the independent circuit due to her time in Japan. She appeared for promotions such as ChickFight, Pro Wrestling Revolution, Shimmer and Ring of Honor.
Despite her popularity in the independents, she is probably best known for her time in TNA Wrestling.
She made her debut in January 2008 as Raisha Saeed, the manager of Awesome Kong. While acting as Kong’s manager, Melissa also wrestled under the character as well as the Alissa Flash character.
She left TNA in 2009 and returned to the independents.
Cheerleader Melissa can still be seen in Shimmer as well as multiple independent promotions throughout the United States, Japan and Mexico.
Defeated: Cheerleader Melissa
When: March 18, 2012
Event: Volume 48
Title Reign: 87 days and counting
Saraya Knight got into the business after meeting a wrestler while she was working at a restaurant. She began to make costumes as well as help set up the ring.
She made her official debut in 1992 as a manager and by the following year, she became a wrestler.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t find much about her early career other than she wrestled throughout the independents of Canada and the United States.
She made her Shimmer debut in 2011 in a tag team with her real-life daughter. By the end of the year, she turned on her daughter and entered into singles competition, eventually winning this title.
Saraya Knight obviously remains with Shimmer and can also be seen on the independent circuit.
Shimmer Tag Team Championship
Much like the Shimmer Championship, the Shimmer Tag Team Championship was not created right away.
The promotion’s shows regularly put on tag-team matches and Shimmer soon had a number of teams competing between their ropes.
A little over a year after the creation of their main title, Shimmer created the Tag Team Championship in August 2008, with the first champions being determined in a six-team Gauntlet match.
Since then, the promotion has had a thriving tag division, with many teams vying for the titles.
Throughout the belt’s four-year history, it has seen six champions.
Ashley Lane and Nevaeh
Defeated: The Experience (Lexie Fyfe and Malia Hosaka)
Where: Berwyn, Ill.
When: Oct. 19, 2008
Event: Volume 21
Title Reign: 196 days
Ashley Lane and Nevaeh last eliminated the Experience in a six-team Gauntlet Match to become the first-ever Shimmer tag team champions. The match also featured the teams of the International Home Wrecking Crew, the Suicide Blondes, the Canadian NINJAs and the Pink Ladies.
On May 2, 2009, the International Home Wrecking Crew would win the titles in a two-out-of-three falls match, using a chain to gain victory. As they celebrated their win, though, a Shimmer official stripped them of the titles and restarted the match.
Ashley Lane and Nevaeh began teaming in Shimmer in 2007, losing to the Experience. They spent the next year trading victories with various teams before winning these titles in the fall of 2008.
They began feuding with the Canadian NINJAs after that and it was a long feud due to the off-time between Shimmer events.
The NINJAs would take the titles off of Ashley and Nevaeh in May 2009, and the team would break up afterwards.
Ashley Lane now goes by the name of Madison Rayne in TNA Wrestling, where she is a former two-time Knockouts tag team champion and a three-time Knockouts champion.
Nevaeh can still be seen competing for Shimmer as well as other independent promotions.
The Canadian NINJAs (Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez)
Defeated: Ashley Lane and Nevaeh
When: May 3, 2009
Event: Volume 26
Title Reign: 692 days
The Canadian NINJAs, or National International Nation of Jalapeño Awesomeness, began teaming in October 2007.
After Ashley Lane and Nevaeh won the tag titles, the NINJAs entered into a feud with them. They initially lost to the champions in the same taping Ashley and Nevaeh won them, but the NINJAs would capture the gold seven months later.
Matthews and Perez would compete in singles matches after that, but they did successfully defend their titles on multiple occasions. After losing them to the Seven Star Sisters in March, they received their rematch in October, but against newer champions.
They failed to win the titles that night and have yet to recapture them.
Both Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez still appear for Shimmer in singles competition as well as tag-team matches. You can also see them both on the independent circuit.
Seven Star Sisters (Hiroyo Matsumoto and Misaki Ohata)
Defeated: The Canadian NINJAs
When: March 26, 2011
Event: Volume 37
Title Reign: one day
Hiroyo Matsumoto and Misaki Ohata formed the Seven Star Sisters in 2007 while wrestling for the Ibuki promotion in Japan. Despite being a team, they mostly feuded over singles titles.
They wouldn't win tag-team gold until coming to the United States. They both debuted with Shimmer in April 2010, though they were singles competitors.
Shimmer didn’t pair them up as a team until they gave them a shot at the titles in March 2011. They would win the titles, and successfully defend the titles two times, once later on in the taping and another time the next day.
They would lose them, though, later in the second taping.
Hiroyo Matsumoto last appeared for Shimmer in October 2011 while Misaki Ohata was last seen the night they lost the titles. Both can now be seen in Japan.
Daizee Haze and Tomoka Nakagawa
Defeated: Seven Star Sisters
When: March 27, 2011
Event: Volume 40
Title Reign: 188 days
Daizee Haze and Tomoka Nakagawa formed their team in April 2010 but only had that one match. Afterwards, Daizee and Nakagawa competed in singles matches in Shimmer.
In September 2010, though, they reformed their team and began bragging that they were undefeated as a unit. They soon received a shot at the titles, winning them from the Seven Star Sisters.
They would defeat all comers until finally being defeated by Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara. The team would disband afterwards.
Daizee Haze left Shimmer after the loss and can now be seen on the independent circuit. Tomoka Nakagawa stills appears for Shimmer while also wrestling for independent promotions in the United States and Japan.
Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara
Defeated: Daizee Haze and Tomoka Nakagawa
When: Oct. 1, 2011
Event: Volume 41
Title Reign: 169 days
Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara both debuted with Shimmer in 2010, but they only crossed paths a few times, both as partners and opponents. It wouldn’t be until the fall of 2011 that they began to team.
They would win the titles on their first night as a tag team and then went onto successfully defend the titles for the next five months against all comers and even defended the belts at an event in Japan.
Hamada and Kurihara would lose the titles at Shimmer’s last event, so I assume both wrestlers are still with the promotion.
You can also see them on the independent circuit in the United States, Japan and Mexico.
The Queens of Winning (Sara Del Rey and Courtney Rush)
Defeated: Ayako Hamada and Ayumi Kurihara, the Canadian NINJAs, Regeneration X (Allison Danger and Leva Bates)
When: March 18, 2012
Event: Volume 48
Title Reign: 87 days and counting
Sara Del Rey and Courtney Rush literally just formed their team prior to winning the titles.
They competed against Regeneration X in a winning effort before being placed in the Fatal Four-Way match for the titles.
Upon winning the belts, Del Rey became the first woman in Shimmer to hold both championships.
Statistics and Final Thoughts
Most Shimmer Reigns: All with one reign
Longest Shimmer Reign: MsChif (715 days)
Shortest Shimmer Reign: Cheerleader Melissa (168 days)
Most Shimmer Tag Reigns: All with one reign
Longest Shimmer Tag Reign: The Canadian NINJAs (692 days)
Shortest Shimmer Tag Reign: The Seven Star Sisters (one day)
I’ve only seen matches from Shimmer a few times on YouTube. What I have seen of their product I have really enjoyed, though!
Whether they’re well known like Hamada or someone I’ve never heard of before, the women of Shimmer are extremely talented.
In a male-dominated profession, women just sometimes don’t fit or they’re used as eye candy. That’s a shame because some women on the independent circuit are more talented than the men.
A lot of them will never get a shot at a place like WWE, though, because they’re not super models, but thankfully, TNA hires athletes. They can’t handle the number of women on the roster now, so Shimmer is the perfect place for a female wrestler to go and get noticed.
I wish that they travelled outside of Illinois once in a while, as I would love to go to one of their shows.
Thanks for reading! Come back next Wednesday as I begin the midcard titles with the WWE United States Championship. The title will have to be split into two articles, though, due to the amount of title holders.
The title “Wrestling Gold” thought up by editor Jeff D. Gorman.