After watching WWE DVDs on a near-constant basis, I thought I’d give myself a break and take in some viewing of indie releases. Fortunately, FIP (Full Impact Pro) and Shimmer, two leagues closely associated with Ring of Honor, had offerings to sample, courtesy of Big Vision Entertainment.

Because of the association with RoH, I went in with pretty high expectations for the two crews. Shimmer has arguably become the top women’s promotion in the U.S., while FIP has been able to bring in a number of big names. Between the two though, one was a clear winner when it came to holding my interest. Let’s take a closer look at the elements of each, and see who comes out on top.

The Competitors: Shimmer Women Athletes Volume 6; FIP X-Factor/Fallout

The Look

FIP’s packaging definitely looks sleeker than Shimmer’s. The photography looks professional, the graphic layout looks big league and the promotion of the top wrestlers appearing, including Sean Waltman, Austin Aries and Colt Cabana among others is a great tool. Shimmer, on the other hand, pictures the women on the front of the case with no names, rather prmoting the matches contained. This would be good for WWE or TNA, but not for a league that should be trying to market its stars. The photography also is less than sharp, looking like it was done with a low-pixel digicam.

Advantage: FIP

The Rosters:
Admittedly, both rosters are pretty damn impressive when you consider the amount of talent that is now big name in the top two. Shimmer boasts Cheerleader Melissa (aka Raisha Saeed), Nattie Neidhart and Amazing (Awesome) Kong, while FIP responds with Homicide, Jimmy Rave and Cabana. Waltman (who is noticeably chubbier here than when he was last seen in the Fed) is a nice retro kick for those that liked him in WWE or WCW, but with vintage stuff readily available, he wasn’t a draw to me.

Advantage: Draw

The matches:
FIP boasts 10 matches on their card, five per “show”. I don’t know if this ever aired on television anywhere, but some of the matches are short enough to have been on Impact or Raw. They’re good quality, but as you’ll see in my comments in the production section, there is a major drawback here. Shimmer, meanwhile, shows one event with nine matches. Again, we get good quality action here with some great variety as well with a pure wrestling match and a six-woman tag. I liked the women’s action a bit more, to be honest, because rightly or wrongly, the females seem like they have a better shot at making it to the big leagues than the men do.

Advantage: Shimmer

This is where Shimmer really pulls it out. The matches take place at what looks like a bar or small arena, while FIP is in what looks like a high school gym in the first show and a community centre in the second. Shimmer pulls a page out of RoH’s playbook by darkening the crowd lighting so that the focus is on the wrestlers. FIP doesn’t do this, and the atmosphere suffers when you look at all the empty seats. Shimmer also has backstage interviews, while FIP promos take place in the arena, giving Shimmer a bit more of a credible feeling.

Advantage: Shimmer

Overall winner: Shimmer

Yep, the girls took this battle of the indie leagues; but by no means should the FIP DVD be ignored. Both DVDs give you a good look at potential up-and-comers, and some who have already made it to WWE or TNA. Several of these stars also appear on RoH DVDs, so this is a good way to get familiarized with these names and get a bit of a back story on how they came to their current positions.

Shimmer Women Athletes Volume 6
Daizee Haze vs Nikita
Rebecca Knox vs Allison Danger
Lacey & Rain vs Sara Del Rey & Mercedes Martinez
Cheerleader Melissa vs MsChif
Also Amazing Kong, Nikki Roxx, Serena Deeb, Nattie Neidhart

FIP X-Factor/Fallout
Jerrelle Clark & Jay Fury vs Steve Madison & Erick Stevens vs. Dunn & Marcos
Roderick Strong & Milano Collection AT vs Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro
Homicide vs Austin Aries
Sean Waltman vs Jimmy Rave

Altar Boy Luke vs Marcos
Roderick Strong vs Milano Collection AT
The Heartbreak Express vs Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro
Sean Waltman & Azrieal vs. Austin Aries & Jimmy Rave
Homicide vs Rainman