ATTACK!’s first “proper” show of 2017 saw the promotion return to the Frog & Fiddle in Cheltenham for their latest round of Club One Hundred.

A new year also saw some new improvements, as Kyle Jones and G-Man – a former wrestler who’s now better known for video production these days – provided commentary for the show. It opened with new 24/7 champion Warren Owen coming to the ring – to the strains of John Cena’s ring music. Ring announcer Jim Lee interviews him, but Warren still doesn’t know if it’s real. Before he can say much more though… we have an impromptu match!

ATTACK! 24/7 Championship: Warren Owen (c) vs. Kid Lykos
Lykos grabs Warren in a rear naked choke and drags him to the mat… Warren clings on for as long as he can, but he taps out, much to the disappointment of the crowd. Your new 24/7 champion… Kid Lykos!

As soon as Lykos celebrates, Ryan Smile’s music hits, and we have another match!

ATTACK! 24/7 Championship: Kid Lykos (c) vs. Ryan Smile
They note on commentary how Smile was a previous 24/7 champion, but he never defended the belt as injury forced him to vacate it ahead of Seriously? Another PPV Tie-In Event.

The crowd seems to have softened on Shay as a heel ref, so Lykos rips into someone in the crowd, which gets chants of “Fifty Shades of Lykos” because of his new-ish ring gear. Smile takes Lykos into the corner from the start, before the favour returns, and on commentary they hammer home Shay’s new thing of fast-counting the babyfaces on breaks and slow-counting the heels.

A wristlock from Lykos is escaped by way of see-saw kip ups, before some cartwheels from Smile leads to a square-off. Lykos tries to boot Smile, but the kick’s caught and held onto before Ryan finally puts it down… Lykos tries a cheapshot, but Smile’s smart to it as he clocks Lykos and sends him to the outside.

The Dirty Wolf blocks a dive at the first attempt, before a knee strike on the second gets Lykos a near-fall. Smile’s booted at in the corner, before a dropkick knocks Smile to the mat for a two-count as Lykos pretty much stood on Smile’s throat… and Lykos just shakes Shay’s hand afterwards. Still, Smile comes back with a headbutt, before a back elbow in the corner gives way to Lykos landing a low dropkick for a near-fall. Lykos again chokes Smile – to the cue of a slow count and another hug – before some swiping slaps just serve to rile Smile. Ryan comes back with a flurry of strikes before landing some running strikes into the corner as he then turfed Lykos to the floor for a springboard moonsault into the crowd!

Randomly, we hear someone shout “don’t bang or you’ll shake the camera”, just as Smile went back into the ring so he could take out Lykos with a tope con hilo. Lykos gets rolled back inside so Smile can go up top, but the ceiling in the Frog & Fiddle is way too low to do any such dives, so Smile shimmies along a support beam and dives down… but he misses and eventually eats a tornado DDT for a near-fall from Lykos. A moonsault almost gets Lykos a win, before he calls for a brainbuster… someone’s been watching his OTT!

Smile escapes the brainbuster’s first two attempts, before blocking a satellite DDT and then countering another brainbuster attempt. So Lykos just shrieks out “brainbuster”, but Smile gets out and hits a springboard OsCutter to the wolf. Ryan goes up top to deal with the low ceiling again, but Lykos pops up to stop him… and when Smile shoves him down, Lykos grabs his knee.

Referee Shay Purser jumps over Lykos to tend to the injury, but Smile just swipes away the referee and slaps him in the face. Lykos pops up, and then gets a schoolboy for the fastest three-count I’ve ever seen. You know how I feel about this gimmick, but it’s got to be building to something, right? A decent match until the BS ending, anyway, despite the venue’s limitations! **¾

ATTACK! 24/7 Championship: Kid Lykos (c) vs. Warren Owen
After the match, Smile drops Lykos with a superkick, and then calls in Warren from the crowd. Yep, he’s recovered from the superkick, and he crawls back into the ring to make the cover. Smile makes the count, and Warren’s a two-time champ! (Not Rating)

Old Poppa Sunflower vs. Drew Parker
Sunflower was making his return after having last appeared in April’s How Do You Learn To Fall Off A 20ft Ladder? – a show we really need to get to since we have it on DVD and on-demand! Parker came out to “Man In The Box”, which confused me since we already had Tommy Dreamer… but today Parker’s going to one-up Clint Margera as he plays Tommy Drew-mer.

Sunflower runs at Parker from the start, but he misses before Drew lands a ‘rana to send the flower into the corner. Old Poppa sends himself to the outside as Drew grabs a drink and sprays it at Sunflower. That must have woken up the plant, as he dropped Parker with a clothesline before the pair returned to the ring.

A suplex from Old Poppa takes Drew down, as does an avalanche in the corner, but Sunflower collapses and drapes an arm over Drew for a two count. There’s no slow/fast counts here as there’s no clear heel – thus neutralising the Shay gimmick for one match. An Irish whip into the corner gets Sunflower another near-fall, before Drew shoves him into the corner and pulls the Sunflower into a Tree of Woe.

A diving dropkick rocks Sunflower, before Drew hits a Dreamer DDT for a near-fall. Sunflower pops back with a chokeslam before he collapses to the mat, finally rolling over for another two-count. Another chokeslam is blocked, and we get the Drew-mer Driver which proves to be enough for the win. A fun, by-the-numbers match that keeps the EC-Drew gimmick going. **¾

Drew’s congratulated by a mystery man with a microphone, who tells him that “he allowed himself to be exploited”. The mystery man puts over Drew as someone who’s talented, but tells Parker that the crowd are laughing at him. This is the ATTACK! newcomer Elijah Dahl, and he asks Drew if he’s ready to be a professional wrestler.

Parker gets a chance to reply and tells Elijah that he seems like “a moody little shit”, before some sterner words sees Elijah drop Drew with a headbutt. Old Poppa Sunflower returns to make the save, but Elijah clocks him and hits an implant DDT before unmasking Old Poppa Sunflower. In true lucha tradition, Sunflower covers his face and heads to the back as Drew and Elijah go at it until Dahl takes his belt off and whips Drew with it.

ATTACK! staff come in to make the save, but they take a whipping too, before Dahl takes the dead-headed Sunflower and exits the ring.

We fade out to a video package that revealed the shock news that Bowl-a-Rama had been blown up – presumably by #CCK. The news was even more heart rendering given how Bowl-a-Rama was thought to have been saved when Splits McPins and Lloyd Katt won the tag titles during last year’s MistleTour.

ATTACK! Tag Team Championship: Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne & Sergeant Banks) vs. Bowl-a-Rama (Splits McPins & Lloyd Katt) (c)
I love the small details – like Bowl-a-Rama’s muted entrance, and Sergeant Banks eschewing his usual ring gear for black knee-pads and white boots since he’s against fun… and wearing the silver fern of New Zealand must be fun.

There’s a ten-strike salute before the match in memory of Bowl-a-Rama, but the crowd can’t help but crack up as audio plays of a strike being made. Ten times. The Anti-Fun Police have their head in their hands before Dunne jumps the champions, and I guess the match is under-way. Well, it is once Dunne tells Sergeant Banks to stop paying his respects!

Dunne starts by whipping McPins into the ropes, but a low dropkick takes down the Chief Deputy in the early going. Katt picks up Dunne in a Fireman’s carry, which turns into a Samoan drop after Splits sweeps the leg. A double hiptoss takes down Banks, before a double noggin-knocker is blocked as the tables turn somewhat.

McPins avoids a charge in the corner as Banks puts the brakes on to avoid running into Dunne, but he’s then dropkicked into Dunne in the corner for an accidental embrace. Man, Travis Banks sure is showing his ass a lot with that spot, eh? The Anti-Fun Police are left sitting in the corner, and Banks takes a strike with a bowling ball to the groin, before Dunne sits there helpless as Katt rolls McPins for a second strike.

McPins gets pulled off the top rope after a distraction from Banks, and the Anti-Fun Police are taking over again. Dunne lands a snapmare on Splits, before dropping a knee for a near-fall, as Banks comes in and repeats the spot, but with some theatrical knee-pad pulling. I guess he really does like fun! Banks seeks for – and gets – permission to drop a knee, but McPins moves away before making the tag out to Katt. Lloyd is a house of fire with clotheslines and a splash to Banks, before slingshotting Dunne into the ring for another slam. An overhead belly-to-belly takes down Sergeant Banks, but he quickly turns around into a spear from Dunne – which somehow gets chants of “Fat Cat is on Tinder”? Your guess is as good as mine…

Katt pops up and shoves Dunne down from a chokeslam position, before picking up a bowling pin as if it were a gun. And you know what, Dunne cowers away… as does Splits, then Banks, before Dunne “says hello to his little friend”. In almost any other setting, this would be weird, but here… It. Just. Works. Katt “shoots” Dunne with a bowling pin, and Banks runs in to save his stricken friend, screaming “Officer down!”

The crowd chant for “mouth to mouth”, but instead Banks tries to arrest Katt… and now we get a full on Benny Hill chase, complete with Yakety Sax. Okay, this match officially rules! They head up towards the balcony where the commentators were, but we don’t see much of it on camera, until Katt runs back into the ring, where Dunne’s magically recovered to drop him with a clothesline. Yep, Dunne was wearing a “fun proof vest”. Awesome!

Splits tries to take down Dunne and eventually does with a leaping headbutt, but Banks lands a diving clothesline before Katt gets a shoulder tackle in. The Anti-Fun Police stop McPins with a double enziguiri, but a double clothesline from Katt take down the challengers, before Splits’ low-pe knocks out the Police on the outside.

Dunne cuts off a dive from Katt with an enziguiri, before he climbs up top so he can launch into something that’s vaguely fun – a pose on the top rope before saluting Banks on the floor. Katt gets back up and shoved the saluting Dunne into his Sergeant, and then we get the huge tope from Katt! Back in the ring, a double-team DDT and a wheelbarrow suplex from the champions lay out Banks, but Dunne returns to make the save at the count of two.

The Anti-Fun Police then drill Katt with a German suplex assisted by a Banks corner roundhouse kick, but McPins made the save at the count of two, before a double rope-hung DDT collected another near-fall over “Fat Cat”. McPins crawls back in to fight off the Police, before he blocks a rope-hung DDT and superkicks Dunne. Banks misses a roundhouse out of the corner, before he’s speared by his own man, which left it open for Bowl-a-Rama to hit the Pin Racker (a spike belly-to-back piledriver) to retain the titles. So much fun, I don’t know how to handle it! ***½

The Frog & Riddle turns into a rave next as Ravin’ Danny Jones enters for our next contest… but not before something bleeds into commentary which I guess was something from the director?

Danny Jones & Beano vs. Mike Bird & Wild Boar
Beano’s another local wrestler from the Bristol area, and this was technically his ATTACK! debut after appearing on a joint ATTACK!/Dragon Pro show last year. Think of his gimmick as “Roy Johnson with break-dancing”, and you’re quite close…

Beano was quite popular for someone making his debut, and he starts up against the Wild Boar… and the Boar immediately takes him down with some headscissors before wrenching Beano around into a submission attempt. An arm-wringer keeps Beano at bay, before he’s flipped to the mat… but Beano somehow gets up with a headlock as Boar takes him into the corner.

Boar slaps Beano in the corner, and that just prompts Beano to leave the ring and go into the crowd. He finally returns to the ring to fire himself up, before he just flips off the Boar and then pratfall him into a schoolboy for a near-fall. A rope assisted armdrag helps Beano take down Bar into a stump puller, before Danny Jones tagged in to work away on the Boar’s elbow.

The pair exchange frequent tags as they took down Boar with a back elbow, before eventually taking so long to set up a double elbow drop… they had to knock Boar down again twice! They landed the elbows anyway, before Boar charged out to tag in Bird as we got a “just kidding” whistle blow… and unlike the other “just kidding” move in wrestling, Bird blocked it. Because he watched his opponent for weaknesses. That’s sound logic there!

Jones manages to come back with a series of whistle blows to his opponents, but he winds himself as Boar and the Bird pounded away on him. Bird and Boar get sent outside, which would usually be the set-up for a dive, but instead it was the set-up for a whistle blow that they sold for big-time. They drag the Boar back in from next to Warren – who was proudly wearing his 24/7 title belt – but Boar hits back with a powerbomb out of the corner onto Jones.

Bird and Boar take over here, as Shay used an ultra-slow count as Bird choked on Jones in the ropes. Yep, we have clear heels, so that gimmick returns. Boar struggles to get his foot up to the top rope for a spot… because he’s short. Bird just lifts it up anyway as he ends up getting thrown into his partner’s boot. Boar runs in to stop Jones from making a tag out, before slamming Danny hard in the middle of the ring.

An uppercut from the Boar takes down Jones as Bird comes in to land some clubbing blows, before Boar returned to hit a back senton for a near-fall. The heels continued to work over Jones, as Bird hits a back suplex for a two-count, before Boar grabs Danny’s whistle and tries to force it down Jones’ mouth. Twice we see Bird running the ropes just to slap Jones, but that second time prompts an enziguiri… but Danny can’t quite tag out.

Bird grabs that whistle… but when he blows it, nothing happens! Boar tries, and the same thing happens. They get annoyed by it, and in the meantime Beano comes in… and gets ordered straight back out. Finally, Bird blows the whistle, but it just knocks the heels down, but Boar manages to stop Danny from tagging out… with Mike Bird pulling Beano down just in case. Jones finally fires back with some Dusty punches, but he’s charged into the corner before fighting off the Bird and the Boar as he tags back out to Beano!

Beano unloads on Bird with punches to the midsection before a kick drops Bird. Boar takes a spinebuster, before Beano hits a rope-hung spinning uranage for a near-fall. A superkick-assisted German suplex from Jones gets a near-fall, before Jones and Beano combine for a suplex into a powerbomb, but Boar makes the save as the babyfaces collide with each other. That leaves Beano open for a wheelbarrow from Bird into a Boar bulldog, but Jones makes the latest save. Jones peppers away with more Dusty punches to the heels, but they make a comeback with a Bird Yakuza kick and a shoulder tackle off the middle ropes.

Beano wriggles out of a fireman’s carry from Bird as they end up switching waistlocks whilst Boar was on the top rope. Instead, Wild Boar jumps down to punch Beano, after Bird warned him “don’t punch me, for Christ’s sake!”… and after all those switcheroos, Boar drops Bird with a lariat before a full nelson slam from Beano doesn’t even get a count.

A stiff lariat from Bird knocks down Beano, before Jones comes in with a pumphandle facebuster onto Bird… Boar slams into Jones with a spear, before the Trapper Keeper package piledriver laid out the Raving one. Beano takes another spear in the corner, then a cannonball senton from the Boar, before that gutbuster/frog splash combo gets the win. A solid outing from Bird and Boar as they continue to rack up Ws on the way to a certain title shot. ***¼

ATTACK! Championship: Chris Brookes vs. Eddie Dennis (c)
Kid Lykos was out with Brookes for his title shot… and of course, Chris Brookes gave a few fans a free shower. Brookes hugs referee Shay, and I’m hoping you-know-what is toned down. Lykos tries to start a “Chris fucking Brookes” chant in response to the crowd’s approval for Eddie Dennis. Needless to say, it didn’t work. We finally get going on the “ATTACK! Club Pro, One Hundred Three” main event. Wasn’t that the prior weekend’s mash-up? I digress…

We get going with Brookes and Dennis exchanging holds, with an early headlock takedown seeing Brookes easily reaching the ropes – much to Eddie’s astonishment – as Shay makes another quick count to force a break. A knuckle lock gives away to Brookes taking down Dennis in a wristlock, but Eddie works free into a waistlock takedown, and Brookes again gets the ropes.

Tall lads wrestling!

On commentary, they suggest that Shay would screw Eddie out of the title with a quick count or a false submission, and we see Eddie push away from a submission attempt a the pair squared off again. Another wristlock sees Dennis roll through, but Brookes keeps hold of it and work up into an armbar before Dennis forces him into the corner for another rope break.

Another tie-up goes into the corner, but Brookes gets a slow five count to free himself. Brookes grab a wristlock, but Dennis frees himself with a slam, or so he thought, as Brookes retained the hold. Eddie finally freed himself, and scored with a shoulder tackle off the ropes, before beating a leapfrog and hitting a headscissor takedown, then a couple of armdrags! “Eddie Mysterio” manages to keep Brookes away from the ropes with an armbar, but Brookes forces him back into the corner for another slowly-counted break.

Brookes takes over with chops, before Dennis sent him to the outside with a big boot, where Brookes ended up taking a flip senton that also wiped out Lykos on the floor. A forearm knocks Brookes deep into the crowd, as Dennis tells Shay to follow them through the building, else he’ll just have to count them out. They fight by the merch tables, where Brookes grabs a plastic bag to try and suffocate Eddie with… but a forearm puts paid to that.

Brookes gets whipped through some fire doors and into the rest of the bar, as they fight near a pool table. The tables turn as Brookes unloads with some chops before he gets some back in kind, as an attempted dive to the outside is caught, ending with Dennis dumping Brookes onto the apron with a swinging side slam. Shay counts slowly as Brookes takes forever to get up – and of course, being a heel, he stretches it out an impromptu 20-count. When he reaches 19, Shay drops to the outside to help Brookes, and that’s just a ruse as Lykos tries to interfere… and he gets a straight forearm smash off the top rope.

Dennis uses the Dirty Wolf as a weapon, but an attempted crucifix powerbomb is blocked as #CCK hit the lungblower out of an electric chair, before Brookes’ back senton gets a near-fall – all in full view of a lenient referee. Brookes takes over with a suplex for a surprisingly normal two-count, before he gives Eddie a wet willie.

Lykos picks apart Dennis outside with some stomps, all whilst the referee “tends to Brookes”. Back inside, Dennis is caught in a double leg nelson, before he finally rolls Brookes up into a cover, but that only gets a slow two-count. Brookes takes Eddie to the ropes and traps his leg in the ropes – again, to slow counts. Eddie tries for a superplex, but initially gets shoved down, before returning for a fallaway slam off the middle rope.

Both men get back to their feet, but Eddie leads in with forearm smashes, but Brookes rakes the eyes, only to take an atomic drop (“right on your dick, son”), before a diving clothesline knocks Brookes down. Eddie follows up with a European uppercut in the corner, before another swinging side slam gets Dennis a two-count.

Another superplex attempt from Brookes is blocked as Dennis slips out and hits a crucifix buckle bomb, before some back and forth ends with a clothesline from Dennis to leave both men laying. Dennis recovers first and calls for the Next Stop Driver, but Brookes rolls free and gets caught in an O’Connor roll… only for Lykos to smash Dennis in the head with the baking tray after a kick-out. Of course, it doesn’t count as Brookes hits a rope-hung swinging suplex for a near-fall as Dennis kicked out despite a fast-ish count. In response, Brookes tries for a Next Stop Driver of his own, but has to settle for a roll-up for another near-fall. Dennis replies with a superkick, before another Next Stop Driver is reversed… and Brookes actually hits it for a two-count.

Dennis comes back by back dropping Brookes onto the apron, before catching a slingshot back in and landing Brookes’ own finisher (the rope hung swinging suplex), before the Next Stop Driver leads to my favourite spot of all time – Shay Purser’s held-up count! Surely that kid needs an MRI with all the times his shoulder freezes up? Eddie grabs Shay and lifts him up for a crucifix buckle bomb, but Lykos makes the save as Brookes uses that baking sheet again… and Eddie manages to kick out at one – in spite of a fast count!

This now turns into a handicap match as Dennis has to fight off Lykos and Brookes with chops and forearms, but he’s taken down with double superkicks… before blocking the electric chair lungblower and dumping both of #CCK with a double German suplex! Shay then tries to whack Eddie with that sheet, but it’s no sold, and Eddie returns the favour. Timberrr!

Dennis stalks Brookes and hoists him up for the Next Stop Driver… but there’s no ref! The crowd shout for Warren, and sure-enough, the 24/7 champion slides in and counts a near-fall! Brookes is dead weight, but Eddie picks him up again for another Next Stop Driver, and that’s enough for the win! A great match even with the shenanigans, and my word, Eddie’s really coming into his own in the spotlight in ATTACK! ***¾

After the match, the Anti-Fun police run in to beat down Dennis, before booting Warren out of the ring. Banks and Dunne stomp away on Eddie, before holding him up for an assisted springboard lungblower from Dunne… who holds the belt aloft, and I guess that’s our next title match?

What Worked: ATTACK! continued their usual brand of tongue-in-cheek wrestling, but the stand-out to me here was Elijah Dahl – the very antithesis of ATTACK! It’s rare for the company to bring out a non-cartoony character, but having a serious-as-all-hell non-gimmick like Dahl stands out massively here. Elijah made a statement on his first appearance, dead-heading Old Poppa Sunflower, and it’ll be interesting to see where this goes next.

Keeping the 24/7 title on “the fan” Warren Owen was also a cool move, although I’ll not lie – in any other fed, a fan wearing a title belt and an all-white suit would usually mean that he’d be going home with a bloodied outfit.

What Didn’t: It was always going to be polarising, but I wasn’t too keen on the commentary. It’s half-of-the team that does the Southside commentary, and whilst it wasn’t awful, it didn’t really capture the “ATTACK! vibe”. We had a few instances where instructions clearly-not-meant-to-be-heard were audible for some reason. G-Man also suffered at times from “Alex Shane Syndrome”, in that silence and nuance seemed to be the enemy – particularly in the main event. They did do a decent job of introducing characters to a newer audience, which can be a barrier to entry, but a lot of it did feel like it was scripted, rather than organic.

Thumbs: Up – ATTACK! shows are always a blast to watch, and they’re really one of the hotter indy groups in the UK that you probably aren’t watching… and if you’re not, why not?