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June 2, 2007 / Bill Thompson

Lacey vs. Sara Del Rey from SHIMMER Women Athletes 2007

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Thoughts from Bill Thompson:

This is the finals of the tournament to crown the inaugural SHIMMER Women Athletes Heavyweight Champion.

I wanted to like this match more than I did. I greatly enjoyed the middle portion of the match, but an awkward beginning and an overbooked ending dragged it down. I did like the match, I want to make that clear. But, this is a classic example of a match that should have been great but is merely good instead. There’s really nothing wrong with a good match, but it’s disappointing when you know that what could have been would have been great.

The opening stretch is both women moving a hair too fast for their own good. Lacey is the main offender here, as she is consistently setting up moves well before Sara Del Rey is in position to take them. There’s a sequence where Del Rey is running the ropes and Lacey drops down into a split-legged stretch. It’s a fine idea, but Lacey drops down way too early and Del Rey looks like an idiot for seeing the position Lacey is in and still stepping over her. This happens a few times with a few different sequences. I’m willing to chalk it down to nerves, because for the rest of the match Lacey had great timing. The first five or so minutes, not so much.

The middle portion is where the match really shines. Lacey is on offense, and she keeps it grounded. She really goes after Del Rey, employing more of a whole body attack. She catches Del Rey in submission after submission. It’s a very smart strategy as it slows the match down and plays into the working strengths of both women as well as the storyline strengths. Del Rey is the super worker, if she’s allowed to fly free she will be too much for Lacey to handle. Keeping Del Rey grounded creates drama as to the result of the match and gives Del Rey a chance to sell the danger she is in and make Lacey look very legit.

However, all of the work of the middle section is just about rendered moot by a terribly booked ending. This is the final to crown the first SHIMMER champion, there shouldn’t be interference taking place. Context is king here, and it was important for Lacey or Del Rey to win on their own. In the case of Lacey the announcers really played up her shocking run to the finals and how she had proven herself to belong in the ring with a Del Rey. So what does the booking do; it uses a ref bump to have someone interfere on Lacey’s behalf. How hard she worked to get to the final didn’t matter, her proving herself was tossed out the window; instead the audience was given an overbooked finish. An overbooked finish that hurt the match, Del Rey, Lacey, and what should have been a great moment for the promotion.

I know that last paragraph makes it sound like I am very down on this match. I am, somewhat, but not completely. The ending did tick me off, but that’s what happens when a bad ending affects an otherwise good match. At the end of the day Lacey and Del Rey deliver a good match, but it’s not the match they could have delivered. They overcame some early hiccups and were in the middle of bringing about something great. Then the booking got in the way and I was left with a sour taste in my mouth.

Cheers,
Bill Thompson

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