ATTACK! returned to Bristol for a show that was heavy-on surprised, but ended on a dark, dark note…

Sadly, not all of those moments were captured on the Vimeo release. An advertised tag match pitting #CCK – Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos – against FTW (Nixon Newell and Kay Lee Ray) was turned into a six-man tag when evil referee Shay joined in. The numbers were evened up with the arrival of the banished Pete Dunne… and since this was being sold as a standalone show on Vimeo, that match either had to go, or we didn’t get this show on-demand at all.

I blame Shay.

So, we’ll be reviewing the 90-minute long show that did get released… impressively, LESS THAN 24 HOURS after the show. That was a nice surprise to read after leaving PROGRESS on Sunday. Massive credit to G-Man and the guys at ATTACK! for the insanely quick turnaround. Next stop… live streams?

Mike Bird vs. Ryan Smile
Smile eschews the entrance ramp and just hops off the stage before making his way to the ring. Shay’s so hurt by the crowd shouting “we hate Shay” instead of their bell noise, he walks into the corner to get away from it all… before Smile takes heed at the crowd’s chant and makes him sit on the naughty step.

Bird takes down Smile pretty easily in the opening exchanges, before finally taking down the Ginger (Evil) Jesus with a dropkick as he then sets up for his traditional across-the-turnbuckles tope con hilo. That’s Ryan Smile, a wrestler with no gears and always with a throttle jammed open.

Back inside, Bird lands a superplex, then folds Smile inside-out with a lariat for a near-fall, before some clubbing, crossface-style punches get a similar result. Smile just invites some more strikes, which seem to fire him up as he blasts Bird with some kicks, then some charges in the corner, before an apron enziguiri led to a massive diving dropkick.

Smile misses a Stinger splash, before Bird rocked the ring… and slapped Smile in the mush. The favour’s returned, as Smile follows up with a cartwheel off the apron that eventually results in a PK to Bird, then a ‘rana off the apron as both men clattered into the floor. Bird gets up first, then decides to throw himself back into the aisle with a pair of tope suicidas. A third one doesn’t work as Smile swats him out of the air, then hits the ring so he can come back with topes. Throttle, still jammed wide open.

Finally, a tope con hilo finishes that insane set, before Smile risks the high ceiling by going for a double stomp. It misses, but he comes back with a flying seated senton for a near-fall, before he calls for something Out of Nowhere. Of course, the Springboard Ace Crusher is blocked and turned into a Blue Thunder Bomb, before Bird hits a massive sit-out powerbomb that almost won it.

Bird again rocks the ring running the ropes, but this time follows up with an uppercut and a lariat in the corner, before a diving clothesline damn near kills Smile. Well, maybe not, as Ryan flies back in as a double clothesline sends both men down, which leads to the count-ahead-of-the-ref gimmick. Complete with SMile crying in pain at how bad that thing is. They then – honest to God – engage in a thumb war, which quickly descends into a contest between two punch-drunk men slapping each other, ending with Smile finally connecting with a springboard Cutter… for just a one count!

Smile followed up with some superkicks to the head of a kneeling Bird, before he absolutely drilled him with another springboard Cutter for the win. My God. Ryan Smile was a pleasure to watch here as he flung himself around the building with little care for himself – it helps that he’s quite good at this too! ***¾

After everyone left to the back, referee Shay Purser got the microphone and could barely be heard. Apparently he’s got a problem with the company: Warren! Yep, he’s got a beef with the 24/7 champion, and he’s doing Donald Trump – by issuing an executive order to strip him of the title. Shay wrestles the title away from Warren, then declares himself the new champion.

The crowd chant for Warren to get his revenge, but out comes Chris Roberts – to a cheer for possibly the first time in his life – as the babyface referee. Roberts dresses him down like the child that he is, then grabs him by the ear and asks him if he thinks he’s a “cool little bastard”. This was glorious… and it was the cue for another little bastard to come out: the former Hornswoggle!

ATTACK! 24/7 Championship: Shay Purser (c) vs. Warren
Swoggle asks Shay if he’s 15, then he slaps him… and drops Shay with a German suplex! Air Raid Crash! Tadpole Splash! Swoggle orders Warren into the ring, he gladly comes in and makes the cover to regain his title. Beautiful nonsense!

Swoggle takes the microphone and tells us that he asked Mark Andrews if he could be part of ATTACK! – of course, Mark said yes, and we get the usual respectful “thanks for having me” promo. This was much unexpected, and you know what, it actually fit in ATTACK!’s universe too.

Chief Deputy Dunne vs. Drew Meanie (Drew Parker)
So, Chris Roberts is taking over as referee here… Chief Deputy Dunne’s opponent here came out to a familiar theme: Drew Parker as the Drew Meanie!

Dunne attacks him before he can say much, under his “No Fun” rule, and at this point that I notice that the sunglass motif on Dunne’s trunks look like there’s two pasty arse cheeks are hanging out of the back of them. Meanie comes back by throwing Dunne to the outside, before following with a flip senton that took down Dunne on the floor. Back inside, Dunne came back with a spear, before drilling Meanie with axehandles to the tune of the Imperial March (with “fun” instead of “dun”, of course).

Dunne lands a big boot, but Meanie gets out of a rope-hung DDT and lands with a Northern Lands suplex, rolling back into a PK as Dunne rolls to the outside, where he takes a massive tope con hilo from the Drew Meanie! A double knee/stomp gets Drew a two, as he comes back with a tiltawhirl into a knee strike, only for Dunne to get that rope-hung DDT anyway for a two-count.

A fireman’s carry into a forearm wears down Dunne, but he’s quickly distracted by Elijah who’s got the dead head of Old Poppa Sunflower with him. That distraction ends with Drew turning around into a springboard codebreaker, and that’s your lot. A surprisingly quick match for Dunne, who was flying solo in the Anti Fun Police tonight… ***

Elijah vs. Danny Jones
Moments after his run-in (not really, this is where the six-man tag was edited off the show), Elijah (nolastname) is out with that deadhead for his match.

Danny tries to blow his whistle at Elijah… but the bearded evilton rips it off and throws it down, which angers the raver, who bursts into life with a series of knees before eventually decking Elijah with a discus clothesline. Jones boots away a leapfrog attempt from Elijah, before landing a superkick off the apron.

Elijah tries to outsmart Danny by lifting him onto the apron, but he just rebounds off and knocks him down again, before taking a crucifix bomb back in the ring. A charge in the corner is missed by Elijah, who gets knocked down for a slingshot senton, then a Go to Sleep… but Elijah pops back up to take some forearms and a backpack stunner!

Out of nowhere, Dahl (sorry, nolastname!) comes back with a Slingblade for a two-count, but Danny retaliates with a brainbuster for a two-count as both men sense that the end is near. A German suplex from Danny is rolled through and turned into an inverted sit-out slam to claim another near-fall.

Jones goes for the Go To Sleep Again, but Elijah pops up and catches a reverse ‘rana instead… and of course, that move never wins a match. After the kick-out, Jones hits the Go To Sleep again before collapsing to the mat. We then get Chris Roberts back to his incompetent best, as he restrains Jones from going after Elijah in the ropes… that just lets the bearded baddie kick Danny low, then hit an implant DDT for the win. Pretty decent stuff, nothing too flashy, but that’s all Elijah – a guy who strikes me a being influenced by “Bad Bones”, at least in his look. ***¼

ATTACK! Championship: Jimmy Havoc vs. Eddie Dennis (c)
Well, isn’t this the weirdest of bookings? Whilst not a “kiddie’s promotion”, the booking of Jimmy Havoc is certainly one out of left-field. Eddie’s ATTACK! title belt looks , erm, different to last time, as he seems to have plastered it in stickers. It’s definitely different.

Havoc brings a chair into play before the opening announcements, but they start by throwing forearms at each other, with Dennis getting the early upper hand. Havoc’s armdrags and a “lucha!” ‘rana take down the champion, before a springboard forearm knocks Eddie to the outside for a tope that’s caught and turned into a swinging side slam on the apron. More thunderous forearms follow as Dennis then chops Havoc in a chair… who then returns the favour with an eye poke as the pair head towards the bar at the back of the venue.

The mobile camera struggles to keep up with them, so we just see them at a distance until they return to the ringside area, where Havoc quite rightly admonishes the crowd for swearing because “there’s kids here, you know?”

That doesn’t mean the violence is turned down, as Dennis is thrown into the ring post, before the champion takes his challenger onto the stage, where Havoc counters a crucifix powerbomb by backdropping Dennis onto the catwalk with a loud thud. Havoc rushes to the ring to try and take the count-out, which was weird since this was a title match…

After realising, Havoc rolls Eddie back inside for a near-fall, before heeling up a kick to the spine as he decides to sink in a chinlock instead. Dennis fights out and replies with a diving clothesline, before catching a crossbody from Havoc, turning it into another swinging side slam. A Rainmaker misses, but Havoc rushes into the referee to unsight him as a mule kick knocks down Dennis for another near-fall. Dennis counters another Rainmaker, only to get kicked low once again, and referee Chris Roberts tries to wave it off… that ends up as a DQ it seems, and Havoc just storms to the back to boos. Well, that was a weird main event, but there’s still time… **¾

As the crowd chant for Shay (ofallpeople) Dennis gets the microphone and notes that he can’t make the ATTACK! title prestigious if he beats people via DQ. He then demands Havoc returns, and this is now going to be no-DQ.

No Disqualification for the ATTACK! Championship: Jimmy Havoc vs. Eddie Dennis (c)
Havoc instantly comes out with a pair of chairs, calling Dennis stupid, and we get the ridiculously wacky “I swing a chair at you, you duck and the chair hits the ropes before rebounding in my face” spot. That gets Eddie a two-count, so he heads outside and finds a metal bin under the ring… then a turnbuckle hook?!

Eddie sodomises Havoc with the turnbuckle hook, then hooks him in the mouth with it. Outside, Havoc finds a baking tray and hits Eddie with it… but that’s just child’s play to him, and Dennis comes back with a frying pan to the head. Dennis goes to the merch stand and comes back with an 8×10 of Havoc… and a staple gun. Yeah, this is quickly becoming not ATTACK!-like…

Dennis staples Havoc’s chest, before trying to put the photo onto his head with the staple gun. It falls off, but not on the second go. Eddie then wanders out for a ladder, which he props up in the corner, before he takes a drop toe hold into the bin. Havoc suplexes him onto it for a near-fall – with the bin not giving – then Havoc heads to the bar. His natural habitat.

Jimmy returns with a bottle of alcohol, before giving Eddie some paper cuts with that 8×10. I’m wincing, even more so as he poured the booze over the cuts, then used that turnbuckle hook to fish-hook away at the champion’s mouth. Eddie stands up then backs Havoc into the propped up ladder, but he’s knocked back down with the hook for another two-count. Havoc sets up a chair between the turnbuckles, but he’s caught in a Next Stop Driver for a near-fall – the impact of which dislodges that chair – before Eddie goes for a Rainmaker. It’s blocked and turned into a wheelbarrow roll-up for a near-fall, before the pair trade superkicks, then forearms, and finally German suplexes.

Eddie finally gets the Rainmaker for a near-fall, but Havoc comes back with a chairshot as he almost gets the win instead. Havoc goes under the ring for a bag, and we know what that means in wrestling – drawing pins! The camera doesn’t get a good shot of it, but Havoc shoves some in Eddie’s mouth, then punches him to pick up another two-count.

Havoc then empties out the rest of the drawing pins onto two chairs that were set up as a bridge, before he’s hiptossed into the turnbuckles as Dennis mounts a comeback… dropping him with a crucifix powerbomb into the ladder, then finally blasting Havoc through the pin-laden chairs for the win. Well, it was a spectacle alright, and for the genre, it was fun… but very jarring with the overall vibe that ATTACK! has – particularly when you have the same match go from “don’t swear, there’s kids here” to papercuts and alcohol. ***¼

After the match, Havoc shakes Dennis’ hand and heads off to the back as Eddie celebrates with his sticker-laden belt. But not for long, as Chief Deputy Dunne comes out and attacks Eddie from behind, only to get thrown to the outside.

Dennis then offers Dunne a title match, and I guess he’s on triple duty tonight!

ATTACK! Championship: Eddie Dennis (c) vs. Chief Deputy Dunne
Forearms a-plenty by Dennis, who then falls for the “freeze!” enziguiri… and then decks Dunne with the Next Stop Driver… but Shay makes a return to attack Chris Roberts before the count. Shay turns around into an angry Eddie Dennis, and gets a massive forearm for his troubles. #CCK head out to keep the numbers game badly balanced, with Kid Lykos sporting a rather natty tracksuit. He’s spent some money on his gear, has this Kid.

Out next are the Brothers of Construction – the returning Hunter Brothers – to make the save. Dennis then seems to hint at a six-man tag instead, before one of the Brothers of Construction say that they’re here to “right the wrongs in ATTACK”. Heel turn! The other Brother smashes his safety hat on Eddie, before a wet-floor sign completes the destruction.

The Brothers give Chief Deputy Dunne the thumbs up, before the locker room empties out – but they’re massively out-numbered as Drew Parker, Danny Jones, Nixon Newell and Kay Lee Ray brawl around the ring. That leaves Dunne in the ring to blast Eddie with his own title belt, before the springboard codebreaker gets just a one-count! Despite Shay’s best efforts!

A Sister Abigail DDT gets the win though, as you could feel the air escape from the crowd. Fun… is over, and Chief Deputy Dunne now rules the roost at ATTACK! These are darker times in the world of ATTACK!, and if you didn’t believe it already, Chris Brookes and the Brothers of Construction just proved: you can never trust anyone from Tipton.

As a show, this was really good, with no bad matches on the card, and a lot of fun had. Despite what Chief Deputy Dunne would want. That being said, whilst I enjoyed watching the Havoc/Dennis match, the second half (the “death match”) was really jarring and felt completely incongruous to the overall ethos of ATTACK! On a Fight Club: Pro or even a WrestleHouse cross-over, this would have worked, but ATTACK! has tended to be a family-friendly product without being too kiddified. Hopefully this is just a one-off and not a hint of things to come.

As someone watching on-demand, this  was certainly hurt by the advertised tag match having to be edited off the show. Understandable, but also annoying, especially when they could have perhaps had the tag match end as a no-contest then resume “dark” for the live crowd. Having ruled out going to this card, it’s certainly made me kick myself as a fan, but I sincerely hope we do get that promised #CCK vs. Nixon/Kay Lee match before Newell leaves for her NeXT abode…