No Alternative? The SHIMMER Interview

No Alternative? is an annoyingly titled series of interviews that will hopefully introduce you to some of the independent wrestling promotions that we have come to love here at the blog. Rather than forcing yourself to sit through a dreary episode of Raw or a frankly embarrassing episode of IMPACT Wrestling (or whatever it’s called now) we want to show you that there is an alternative out there.

The latest interview in the series is with Dave Prazak, founder of SHIMMER Women Athletes – the pre-eminent women’s wrestling promotion in the US.

Thanks for agreeing to this interview. For some of our readers that might not be familiar with you could you give us a brief introduction to SHIMMER
Our goal with SHIMMER when it was formed in 2005 was to provide the most skilled American female wrestlers with a forum to display what they are really capable of as wrestlers, where they were the stars of the show. With rare exceptions, women’s wrestling in the United States was presented as either a short special attraction match on a predominantly male card, or as simply a T&A sideshow. As we developed a following, both for our live events in the Chicago area and for our DVD series around the world, SHIMMER has slowly begun to also feature talent from other parts of the world, from across Europe to Australia to Japan. The truly worldwide flavor of our talent roster makes SHIMMER shows completely different from what you can see anywhere else

What would you say sets SHIMMER apart as an alternative from the mainstream promotions such as WWE and TNA?
In WWE and TNA, the women are only a small part of their overall product. They will rarely feature more than one women’s match on any given show. SHIMMER is an all female professional wrestling company, so 100% of the spotlight is on the women. I think I can count on one hand the number of times a women’s match has main evented a WWE or TNA show over the past 15 years.

Do you think WWE and TNA present a reasonable view of professional wrestling to the mass market? Do you feel they do anything right or are you not a fan at all?
WWE and TNA promote the format of a wrestling show which they feel is appropriate for the audience they are targeting. SHIMMER does the same thing, but clearly we have different goals in mind. We aren’t trying to appeal to everyone. Our target audience is the pro wrestling fan who is looking for high quality wrestling out of female competitors. Admittedly, that is a small fraction of the overall pro wrestling fan base, but there are enough fans out there who seek that sort of product to sustain a business of our small size. I personally watch very little mainstream wrestling nowadays, but like any fan, there are aspects of what they do that I like and aspects that I dislike. Most recently, the WWE’s CM Punk storyline is something that I feel they have done brilliantly.

One side of the 2 main promotions which gets heavy criticism (and that we on the site have been more and more interested in) is the womens’ divisions. As a female wrestling promotion, what are your thoughts on the Divas and Knockouts divisions?
Neither of them are what I personally like to see in ideal women’s division. I guess that’s part of why SHIMMER exists, to present women’s wrestling in the manner which I feel is best. Between those two companies, what came the closest to how I feel women’s wrestling should be promoted is the Knockouts division of about three years ago, when it was being largely handled by Scott D’Amore and Dutch Mantell. They gathered a very skilled group of women who could deliver in the ring, and put together matches which brought out the strengths in many of their wrestlers. Since both D’Amore and Mantell have left TNA, the direction of the division has changed considerably from what it once was. That is not to say WWE and TNA don’t have some very talented women available to them, because they certainly do. They just aren’t doing anything meaningful with them. WWE had 14 women on RAW this past Monday and the match was literally less than a minute

Are there any WWE/TNA wrestlers you would like to bring into SHIMMER? Conversely, are there any of your roster that you feel would fit in well in one of the mainstream companies? And would you want them to?
We’ve dealt with TNA for several years now in terms of using some of their contracted talent on SHIMMER events, but with the exception of Ayako Hamada when she still worked there, we never chose to book anyone for our events who wasn’t already a part of SHIMMER prior to joining TNA. We’re just happy with the women we’ve got now, and would prefer to showcase our own women who can use the exposure of SHIMMER a lot more than someone who is already on television for TNA. The times we have booked wrestlers through TNA, it was more a case of us wanting to continue featuring women we’ve had on our shows in the past, who are established as SHIMMER wrestlers. On the WWE side, I’d love to have Beth Phoenix or Nattie Neidhart back if they ever become available to us again. They are both extremely talented women who deserve to be featured in a way that displays their abilities.

We would love to see any of the SHIMMER wrestlers eventually make it to national television for either WWE or TNA. We are an independent wrestling company. Like virtually all independent wrestlers, the women in SHIMMER would like to one day move on in their careers and make a better living doing what they love. Any of our top women on the SHIMMER roster I feel could excel in a WWE or TNA environment if given the chance. Any time a SHIMMER wrestler gets a job somewhere else to move on in their career, it only opens the door for another young wrestler to work their way onto the SHIMMER roster to take that spot.

Where can people find out more about SHIMMER online?
The SHIMMER web site is www.shimmerwrestling.com
SHIMMER’s Twitter is @shimmerwomen
SHIMMER is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/shimmerwomen

What do you have coming up?
Our next live events are the weekend of October 1st & 2nd at the Berwyn Eagles Club, 6309 26th Street, in Berwyn, IL, just outside Chicago. We will film Volumes 41-44 of our DVD series during the course of the weekend. Currently there are fewer than 100 seats left for each day. We will be releasing four DVDs during the next two months, from Vols. 37-40. Volume 37 will begin shipping in a week and a half. 38 should be out during mid-August. They will be available exclusively at www.shimmerwrestling.com

Do you have a match/trailer online that would give people an idea of what to expect at an SHIMMER show?
There are several fan created videos of SHIMMER on YouTube which everyone can check out. A few of the best are…

Any last words for the readers?
Support your local independent wrestling promotions no matter where you are.

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