Monday, November 13, 2017

SHIMMER Gotta Get Streaming

Martinez has been raking in SHIMMER lately. Shame no one can see it after the fact.
Photo Credit: Scott Finkelstein
This past weekend at the Berwyn Eagles Club in suburban Chicago, SHIMMER Women Athletes and its loyal and rabid fanbase got together for another two days and four shows of the best in North American women's wrestling. Not only were the finest female grapplers from the continent there for this frame, name talent from across the ocean on either side came over, including bona fide legend Aja Kong. Fans in attendance were treated to title changes, angles, possible farewells, and one final passing of the torch from Mercedes Martinez to her heiress apparent and Mini-Me, Nicole Savoy. However, for fans not lucky enough to get to Berwyn this weekend, I'm not sure when they're going to be able to see the action.

SHIMMER does sell DVDs. Hell, I have 14 of them; the only promotion of which I own more DVDs is Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. However, if you check back to the DVD section of the SHIMMER website, the most recent volume it has for sale is 81. It was taped in June of 2016. Six competitors on that card have already signed with WWE. Basically, if you want to follow the most popular and established women's wrestling promotion in America, and you cannot make it to Illinois for the live shows, then you're limited to old material or one show a year during WrestleMania weekend where it streams on WWN Live. If that doesn't seem like a huge problem to you, then you're probably one of the diehards who gets to go to the Eagles Club twice a year.

Women's wrestling is blowing up in America thanks to WWE finally paying attention to it. SHIMMER is a huge piece of the bedrock upon which the corporate talent agglomerator built its foundation, but right now, it's in a stagnant position. Thankfully, the aforementioned fanbase is so rabid and SHIMMER weekends are such a hoot that it remains a stalwart in the wrestling scene. However, falling so behind on the aftermarket viewing is going to bite it in the ass. Maybe the mythmaking perpetrated by the live crowd and WWE using SHIMMER as the top line credential for future women entering NXT could add a bit of mystery and aura to the roster, but nothing is like actually seeing them wrestle.

Right now, the number of people able to see current SHIMMER wrestling is small. For a company that is at the forefront of a revolution in its field, to have so few eyes on the actual product is sad. If DVD production is too much of a hassle, then SHIMMER needs to get into the streaming game. Scratch that, DVD production is an outmoded model, and thus SHIMMER really has no excuse as to why it's not offering streaming. At this point, only SHIMMER and Ring of Honor are the only ones not offering regular streaming, and PWG offers it but only several months after the fact. ROH is owned by a multibillion dollar conglomerate that doesn't care about it, and PWG has buzz and timely DVDs. SHIMMER has neither.

Thankfully, streaming has become almost a turnkey operation, whether it be with the number of local promotions using sites like Pivotshare, or the size and availability of larger networks like Powerbomb TV and Highspots Network. The latter two even have people on staff who could do things like editing if actually doing the work to get the product ready for viewing is a problem. The options are available, and it's up to the people behind the promotion to reach out. I'm sure those outlets and maybe even FloSlam (remember them?) have made overtures. Why refuse?

Perhaps the rumors are true, and SHIMMER Vol. 100 WrestleMania weekend in New Orleans will be the promotion's finale. It would be a bittersweet ending, especially because really, what American or Canadian promotion is ready to fill the void of a non-WWE place for women to work with high profiles? It's still barren. ROH has no Women's Championship or hasn't even bothered to give any of its female competitors contracts. Impact Wrestling is huffing fumes. WWN Live doesn't give a shit about SHINE. Women's Wrestling Revolution, ROAR, and other localized women's promotions or promotional arms are still too localized and don't have the cache. Who knows what's going on with Women's Superstars Uncensored. Still, SHIMMER has an amazing archive full of influential and iconic wrestlers who define the current scene. Having those shows on demand would not only sell subscriptions, but it would be a great repository to see where so many of the current women of note got started before WWE started giving a shit about them.

SHIMMER has been home to a number of current heavy hitters in WWE and elsewhere, and the roster right now contains many wrestlers with bright futures. The fact that its home viewing production has fallen so by the wayside is not only a disservice to the fans, but it's a poor reflection on what the promotion's real impact on wrestling is and has been. It needs to get streaming as soon as possible so it can go back to showing its true power to as wide an audience as it deserves.