During the worst weather possible, rain, hail, lightning and flooding, Shine 28 delivered an array of surprises, smack downs and celebrations in YBor City, Florida at the Orpheum Theater.  Three and a half hours later I was left tired and grateful to be witness to some of the oddest and most creative wrestling I’ve seen to date. Here’s the run down:

Singles Match
Malia Hosaka (w/Leilani Kai) defeated La Rosa Negra.  Malaia Hosaka, or one half of Legendary is a great wrestler who combines her significant strength with a highly crafty repertoire of moves. Of course La Rosa Negra, the well deserved fan favorite, gave it her all showing off her gymnastic like flexibility but was ultimately done in by the devious Leilani Kai.  This match was a ton of fun with with these two athletes bouncing off of each other nicely and selling each other’s moves.  I was genuinely worried about La Rosa Negra’s windpipe!  Overall, fantastic start to Shine. After getting her illegal pin, to referee indifference, Hosaka reminded that access to the famous Leilani Kai is earned not given, and that means you Dino Hunter!

Singles Match
Amanda Rodriguez defeated Renee Michelle.  My first time seeing either of these two wrestlers perform and I was not disappointed.  This was an interesting mix up of styles with the technical Renee Michelle hitting snap suplexes and the surprisingly strong Rodriguez pounding her opponent into the ropes and turnbuckles.  Ultimately, Rodriguez heeled her way beautifully to a win using a little extra rope pressure. I’m excited to see more from these women in the future.

Singles Match
Tracy Taylor defeated Su Yung (w/April Hunter) via count out. Wow, what a match!  I’m not sure where to begin on writing up this one.  Zombie Su Yung, the unstable and actively bleeding undead wrestler, versus the beautiful but brutal island girl. I’m convinced that Su Yung is one of the best actresses in wrestling with perfect comedic timing.  Of course April Hunter’s reaction to Su hiding under the ring was also priceless.  And at times it appeared as if both wrestlers, were actually continuing their match under the ring rather than just chasing each other. I’ve honestly never seen anything like this.  Su Yung finally loses consciousness to some mysterious black spray giving the wonderfully confused Tracy Taylor the win.

Singles Match
Leva Bates defeated Amber Gallows.  Leva Bates has definitely turned the ring entrance into an art form, this time emerging with an entourage that looked like a cross between 50’s beat nicks and the insane clown posse.  Even the Bullet Babe seemed impressed as Bates finally emerged from under her clown mask to wild applause.  Bates’ ring work continues to improve and pairing her up with ring general Gallows was a great match up.  Gallows had an amazing crucifix driver and Bates had some great spinning high kicks.  The super-suplex didn’t quite work on the first try but second time was the charm.  Mia Yim came in for a quick distraction helping her friend and sometimes tag team partner to a win.

Singles Match
Vanessa Kraven defeated Jessicka Havok.  This was an awesome match up of power versus power with Kraven countering Havok move for move.  Rarely do you see someone actually look like they can pummel the Havok death machine, but Vanessa Kraven is that someone.  Despite the frantic shouts of “Havok’s gonna kill you!” by the crowd, Kraven ultimately came out the victor with a beautiful sunset bomb. While most are aware of the skill of Jessica Havok, Vanessa Kraven is likely lesser known and this is a shame.  She has some tremendous talent and it was on full display.  My favorite moment by far, was Kraven’s perfectly executed cannonball to the cornered Havok. Outstanding work by both women, Shine please give us more of this!

Singles Match
Allysin Kay defeated Mia Yim. In my opinion this was the match of the night and of course no surprise it involves the tremendous Allysin Kay and probably one of the best wrestlers in the world today, Mia Yim. This was as close to a perfect feud as one can get, while Kay hit Yim with her devastating siato suplex, Yim came back with the Northern Lights.  Many beautiful counter moves later and I was left wishing this match could have gone on for another hour or two.  Ultimately Yim fell victim to Kay’s discus lariat and some poorly timed interference by Leva Bates. Yim took her rage out on Bates afterwords, hopefully setting us up for a grudge match in the future.

SHINE Tag Team Championships Match
The Kimber Bombs (Cherry Bomb & Kimber Lee) (c) vs. Valifornia (Marti Belle & Andrea) was declared a no contest. The  skill and strength of Valifornia versus the technical combo of the Kimber Bombs proved to be a wonderful match-up.  Marti Belle flew all over the place beheading poor Kimber Lee with her head-scissors and running bull dog, while Andrea scoop slammed Cherry Bomb to oblivion.  The Kimber Bombs of course fought back using some great team combo moves including a beautiful tilt a whirl head-scissors to some neck crushing leg drops. Ultimately the match ended with a surprise attack by Daffney’s new tag team, the highly intimidating looking Iron Maiden.  Here’s hoping they lead to us to the Dance of Death!

SHINE Championship Match
Santana Garrett (c) defeated Ivelisse (w/Amanda Rodriguez) via referee decision.  Great match up between super talented wrestlers with a wonderfully clear heel versus face alignment. Despite her heel status, Ivelisse was still showered in cheers, as you can’t help but love this tiny powerhouse.  For me this match was Ivelisse’s Muay Thai versus Santana’s jujitsu and it was hard to tell who was going to triumph.  Ivelisse’s scorpion kick is a thing of beauty but not when Santana’s leg sweep gets you in her crossface chickenwing.  Ultimately this match ended in disappointment for me, as Ivelisse was declared unfit to continue due to a knee injury likely from Santana’s handspring.  To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this was kayfabe or real, and I just hope it wasn’t the latter. Ivelisse in full on heel mode refused Santana’s handshake and I’m guessing that means; re-match in the making.  Here’s hoping!

The night ended with a birthday shout out by all of the wrestlers in the ring to Shine booker, Sal Hamaoui, who looked genuinely touched by the gesture.  Overall a great night full of surprises, oddity and not so clean finishes.  Shine 28 left me wanting more, bring on the re-matches!

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