After 2017 ended with Shay Purser being run-off, ATTACK! opened 2018 with a trip to Cheltenham for “Featuring Some of Your Favourite Wrestlers”. Which the show probably did…

There’s a Star Wars-style crawler to bring everyone up to speed on what the storylines are, and with Shay Purser gone, we’ve got Joel Allen as referee.

Ryan Smile vs. Flash Morgan Webster
This wasn’t a title match, as the story was that Ryan would have to get a win to earn himself a shot… which seems a little off considering Flash has been giving title shots for little to no reason!

ATTACK! no longer hates Shay, so the ring i snow just the crowd saying “Ding! Ding! Ding!”, like in the olden days, and it’s really quite fluid stuff here. A bit like the Flash/Smile match they had at Rev Pro a month earlier, just without the unfortunately-timed injury… which may explain some of the uncertainty in Smile’s first dive of the night, a step-up flip plancha.

Back inside, Flash is firmly in control, going through his signature stuff until Ryan finds a way into the turnbuckles as he’s able to leap over the champion and into a dropkick… only for Flash to waffle him with a clothesline and a Rude Boy moonsault press for a near-fall. Smile tries to fight back, as duelling big kicks on the apron sent both men back outside, before Smile again negotiated the low ceiling of the Frog & Fiddle to go airborne once more.

Webster comes back with the Eton Rifles for a near-fall, only for Smile to retaliate with a sheer-drop brainbuster as he then knocked Flash off the top for a double stomp… which misses as Ryan’s caught in the Strangler guillotine for an instant tap! A really fun match, although we still have the problems with Webster as champion without any obvious challengers in the wings, so I hope they don’t do these “win to get a title match” deals too much, or there’ll be no bugger left. ***½

Chris Brookes vs. Millie McKenzie
Hey, Brookes is using his royalty-safe music here… bye bye, The Cramps? Flash did the same earlier, so maybe ATTACK! are joining the club and not holding onto the past? So yeah, this is quite the match, isn’t it?

A debut for Millie McKenzie, whose 2018 is almost surely going to be the year where her breakout completes. Wholesome Brookes offers a handshake from the off, and, yeah, there’s a real height difference here.

Offering to wrestle on his knees, then doing a test of strength beyond her reach, Brookes’ trolling just looks to anger Millie. Whatever happened to him being good and wholesome? Still, at least his trolling gets some laughs, such as when he just stands up and lifts Millie off the ground to escape a side headlock. Then, after some cheek pinching, stuff got real… and Angry Millie came to life. Would the height difference stop Suplex Millie? Yeah… it did at first, as she had to swap from a German to a Northern Lights, before Brookes gave her the Lykos Special. First time as well! Brookes went for a wet willie, but Wholesome Chris don’t do that, so he just wiped his finger on the ref’s shirt before doing the ol’ Chris Jericho pin.

A battle of forearms fires up Angry Millie some more, and she’s able to use Brooks against himself as she lands a wheelbarrow facebuster before a bunch of dives. Brookes tries to fire back with a German suplex, but that’s no-sold as Millie bursts into some of her own for a near-fall, and she largely kept the upper hand too, even kicking out of a Death By Roll-Up… But in the end, a tornado DDT’s blocked as Brookes nails her with a Jay driller (insert branded name here!) for the win. Really solid stuff here, although since ATTACK! is pretty much Brooke’s house, it was always going to be tricky to see Millie win on her debut. As to whether she’ll be the second coming of Nixon here, time will tell. ***½

ATTACK! Tag Team Championship: Bird & Boar (Mike Bird & Wild Boar) vs. Bowl-a-Rama (Splits McPins & Lloyd Katt) (c)
More new music here as I’m guessing Hot Tag are representing tonight… oh, and there’s music from the “Fat Kat” too, as Lloyd leads the crowd in a singalone of “We Are The Champions”. Yeah, Bird and Boar have no time for that…

Katt sings “Old Man River” to confuse Mike Bird in a piledriver, and my God, Lloyd’s got a hell of a voice. Splits, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to have one, so he’s got to rely on his wrestling against Bird and Boar, and it doesn’t go well for him as the more experienced challengers were comfortable in this one.

Eventually Splits got away with a roll-up clothesline before tagging Katt back in, who quickly became a one-man wrecking crew with cannonballs into the challengers. Things broke down again when Splits got involved, as an attempt at the Bowl-a-Rama finish gets stopped, before Boar spikes Splits with a sit-out tombstone. A cannon-boar follows as the challengers land an assisted powerbomb for a near-fall… but it’s not long before they imploded on themselves, with Boar hitting his own man, and that’s the prelude for More Bang For Your Buck. This was more of a match to establish the new wrinkle in Lloyd Katt’s act, but the bell-to-bell was alright. **¾

Bird and Boar seemed to have a falling out afterwards… and wouldn’t you if your partner punched you? Although perhaps it wasn’t such a wise idea to invite the guy you just beat into another round of “We Are The Champions”, especially as Boar seemed to enjoy it a little too much…
…as did Katt, who got to bust out another round of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

ELIJAH vs. Eddie Dennis
We had two-thirds of Nothing To Prove here, with Bishop accompanying ELIJAH… and ELIJAH, predictably soul-less and lacking in any kind of enjoyment skills, attacks Eddie during his entrance, throwing him to Bishop for a rolling death valley driver before the bell.

For some reason the match is allowed to start with ELIJAH trying to steal the pin, but the match quickly spills outside as Eddie gets some retribution, courtesy of some chops in the crowd. Back inside, it’s a different story again as ELIJAH took over, with a little help of some cheapshots from Bishop on the outside. Eddie’s able to fire back, dropping ELIJAH right on his… you know where, before diving out to Bishop on the outside. ELIJAH tries to follow suit, but he’s awkwardly caught and dumped on the apron, before taking a huge crucifix bomb in the ring for a near-fall. Another one almost follows as ELIJAH almost became reunited with his brethren, but it’s countered into a crucifix bomb for a near-fall.

Eddie tries for a Next Stop Driver, only to be distracted by Bishop, whom ELIJAH eventually knocks off the apron because Nothing To Prove are generic dopes it seems… and ELIJAH’s able to get the win after that with a roll-up with a handful of tights. So THAT’S why Brookes didn’t win by roll-up! Nothing To Prove are doing less than nada for me, and it’s outings like this that make it that way. I like my bad guys to be killers, or at least vaguely that way… not angry buffoons. **¼

El Phantasmo vs. Chuck Mambo
I’m writing this the day after seeing ELP have an absolute banger (head banger?) against Pete Dunne at Rev Pro, so it’s fair to say he’s a bit of a favourite. Chuck Mambo’s back in ATTACK! for the first time since he was briefly their 24/7 champion in 2016… and I can’t stop coughing, or nudging, or winking right now.

Chuck and ELP want to play volleyball, but Joel doesn’t know the rules. You had ONE JOB, Joel… Once they show us show bad they are at volleyball, they decide to team up against a fan and Alex Cupid… where we quickly find out why Canadians aren’t in any danger of winning Olympic medals in volleyball! Eventually the bell rings and this turns into comedy, as a shoving match turned into a slow-mo chop exchange. Time goes to a crawl for everyone but Joel, who counts normally from a roll-up. ONE JOB! ELP goes all 80s on us with axehandle smashes off the top, before they head outside as ELP walks along the brick ledge to hit… another axehandle!

Back in the ring, Mambo gets all serious with a Gory bomb, but ELP’s quickly chopping him. At full speed. Ouch. ELP does his rope walk thing, having but he hasn’t learned the GOOD lesson, as he back sinto a wooden beam and falls into a gutbuster as Chuck almost took the W. ELP’s back up for a whirlibird neckbreaker, before negotiating the low roof again for his senton, moonsault combo, absolutely crushing Chuck on the second part of that as that duo… gets the win! Perfectly fine graps, and I’m getting the sense that 2018 may be a year where ELP gets a little steam under him? **¾

Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne & Brothers of Obstruction (James Obstruction & Leigh Obstruction) vs. Travis Banks, Tyler Bate & Pete Dunne
Yes, we’ve another round of the Anti-Anti-Fun Police as Stupid Sexy Trav remains to be massively over. Who’d have thought a Rab C. Nesbitt string vest would be the gimmick of the year?

The Anti-Fun Police vow to put a stop to any kind of sexy fun here, and fail miserably from the off as Banks does his sorta-striptease routine. Eventually they get the idea as the Brothers of Obstruction start off, quickly getting unnerved by “stupid, sexy” Travis, before Tyler Bate came in to have a go… wearing his new trunks that look like an unnerving thong.

You know who wasn’t so enamoured with the “stupid, sexy”-ness of it all? Pete Dunne… then again, Chief Deputy Dunne was inconsolable as the string-vesters worked their way into a knee drop. Finally, we got tags to No Fun vs. “stupid sexy” Dunne, as the character comedy continues, somehow leading up to the good guys getting sandwiched against Santos on the apron. That segues into Chief Deputy Dunne arguing with the crowd over a fun tope, before he’s accidentally kicked by his own health and safety guys. Tyler Bate tries for a dive, but he’s stopped by the “gun” of Santos, who’s quickly disarmed… because someone’s watched Dick Justice! Bop and bang knock Santos down off the apron, as the match changes into a spell of brawling in an already-cramped ringside area.

There’s some wackiness as Peter uses a tie to choke Chief Deputy Dunne with – while holding back one of the Brothers as well – and this is getting to sub-Fight Club Pro levels in terms of being able to follow things. Just as I say that, things return to the ring where Banks finds out that hard hats help protect against DDTs, as the Brothers take over for a brief moment in the latest revolving door of stuff.

Pete Dunne comes back to absorb forearms and take everyone down with one of his own, before helping out with a clothesline sandwich as Chief Deputy Dunne takes so much of a beating he’s taken outside again. Hey, there’s more Santos, as he shows us exactly what kind of “stupid, sexy fun” he doesn’t like. He’ll learn one day…

Another “gun” spot ends with Santos getting punched out again, before Tyler’s airplane spin makes Santos display some more “stupid, sexy dancing”, just in time for the Anti-Fun Police to put a stop to things… with a springboard lungblower to Banks almost getting the win. Instead, the Anti Fun Police fell for their own “freeze” deal before a trio of finishers – Tyler Driver, Bitter End and Kiwi Krusher – gets the win… with Dunne throwing in a tombstone on his “brother” for good measure afterwards. Typical ATTACK! nonsense, but in a good way! ***¼

Well, it took a while to review thanks to the VOD issues (the show was posted, yanked, then took a week to re-appear) – but this was worth it. I’m not quite sure how long they can string out (pun intended) the stupid, sexy thing, but at least it’s something that helped differentiate the shows, as I’m starting to fear that ATTACK! are throwing up so many matches that blend into the background as the character-work seems to overtake any perceived sense of direction. Still, if you’re into the characters, this’ll be your bag – as no ATTACK! shows ever tend to be anything below good.