Marina Shafir comes out with Nyla Rose who she tagged with on the most recent Dark Elevation, which aired this past Monday. Nyla, who always maximizes her minutes, comes out playing air
guitar violin. Bless her.
Shafir opens the match by faking squaring up with Toni Storm before hitting her with a strong front kick, knocking Toni to the ground. Toni gets herself back up with the help of the ropes and returns a kick which doesn’t really phase Marina, as she gives that knowing self-assured smile that I think only non-American athletes can pull off for some reason.
JR acknowledges that some fans may not like Shafir’s style, which is okay to say since she’s a heel so it’s not a burial. But I get the sense that some fans may find Shafir’s style off-putting or maybe even “boring”. But I fucking love her style so much. The closer I watch what she’s doing in the ring the more I appreciate her. I think her style can feel jarring because she rarely does things with the same cadence and fluidity as a typical pro wrestler BUT if you can put that out aside for the moment, you start to see that a lot of her offence – and selling – is more realistic.
Back to the match.
We get some mat work from Shafir. Okay, one more thing about Marina Shafir: One of her most underrated skills is to go for a complex submission but if it doesn’t quite fall into place, rather than just going thru the motions and pretend she got it locked in, she’ll either power through and get it in even though it wasn’t smooth, which makes it look like her opponent struggled to prevent it but Shafir over powered them, or she’ll adjust on the fly and turn it into a slightly different submission. She’s awesome.
Sorry, back to the match.
Toni gets to the rope. Rather than just give Toni time and space to get up, Marina stands just far away enough that she can kick Toni back to the ground if she tries to get up. This forces Toni up against the ropes so that when she starts to get back up, she can’t move backwards to evade Shafir. And that’s exactly what happens. Before Storm can get fully upright, Shafir rushes in, grabs a hold and sets up Storm for a mean looking judo throw. Storm, not to be out done beautifully escape out of a submission attempt.
Following this, Storm does her spot where she gets whipped in the rope and as her opponent drops for the trip, she changes course and comes back with a low drop kick. This move always is good but given the limited time and space Shafir keeps giving her, this trickery has never felt more earned.
I’m gonna stop recapping every single thing or this review is going to be an essay. Storm gets dumped to the outside and while Marina has the ref distracted, Nyla Rose hits a running Senton on Toni on the floor. I audibly laughed when Nyla just struts away like nothing happened.
Shafir in pursuit
Storm gets worked over in the ring which includes a vicious looking back heel trip and a brutal German suplex. There’s too many good things to mention, this was an awesome showcase for Marina Shafir. And credit Toni Storm for selling it all like a pro.
Toni gets back in control pretty much immediately after we come back from PIP. Storm lands a big head butt to gain some separation but Shafir manages to dump her onto the floor again and pursues her with strikes and trips. Toni turns the tide with a tornado DDT off the apron. They get back in the ring and Storm hits a Release German Suplex followed by her always brutal Hip Attack!
But Toni can’t take advantage because when she goes to drag Shafir out of the corner to pin her, Nyla has grabbed onto Marina’s wrist, keeping her in the corner. Lovely little eloquent cheat there. Shafir uses this moment to try and pull of a pump handle slam on Toni but she reverses it and rolls Shafir into a DEEP schoolboy pin.
Post match, Nyla and Shafir jump Toni. Thunder Rosa makes the save. Toni hits Nyla with Thunder Rosa’s belt. Uh oh, that was awkward. Just a little visual to setup the #ThunderStorm match at Forbidden Door.
Needless to say, I loved this match. Both of these women are so technically sound. Toni has that more classic smooth wrestling style. Marina is just like a spider. As soon as you get one of your limbs out of the grip of one of her’s, she’s got ahold of you some other way and if you’re both standing, watch out because you’re probably about to get dumped to the mat very hard. And I should also say, Toni Storm is an incredible talent. I had never really seen much of her pre-AEW but she is just so good at every single thing there is to be good at it seems.
I’m swooning over this match and these competitors.
Toni Storm wins via pinfallToni Storm wins via pinfall
- Amazing technical action
- Nyla's accompaniment is a welcome addition