ATTACK! returned for the first time since Eddie Dennis was revealed to be the leader of Nothing to Prove – on a show that started to sew some seeds for a potential new title challenger for Flash Morgan Webster.

We’re back at the Frog & Fiddle in Cheltenham, with Jim Lee and Eddie Dennis on commentary.

Mega Flowers (Chuck Mambo & Jack Sexsmith) & Adam Chase vs. Anti-Fun Police (Brothers of Obstruction (Leigh Obstruction & Jim Obstruction) & Los Federales Santos Jr.)
I have… several questions. What happened to A-Kid? Who do we boo here? I thought the Anti-Fun Police were good guys now?

This’ll either be a match you’ll love or hate – live, the comedy seemed like it played well with the crowd, but on VOD, we were treated to Eddie Dennis bemoaning pretty much everything from how “at least two of these people have been announced for Wembley Arena in September, and they’re in a pub in Cheltenham today” to how ATTACK! has turned guys into caricatures… and he’s not wrong!

Chuck’s “got a phone call” for Santos, and it’s Santos Sr… Santos doesn’t take kindly to Chuck hanging up the call, but Mambo quickly hits back, shoving him into the corner after a slip-up that’s highlighted. I think I’m going to like Misery Guts Eddie here. Tags take us to Adam Chase and Leigh Obstruction, with the latter running into a leg lariat, before James and Jack tag in… and yes, Jack Sexsmith’s all over the other Brother of Obstruction.

An elbow from one of the Brothers to Adam Chase draws a health and safety inspection/immigration check. For some reason Jack Sexsmith has a cucumber, and I don’t know what to make of this anymore. When Chase says he’s from Spain, Santos comes in all offended, which leads to a game of rock, paper, scissors… which Santos loses, so he pulls out his No Fun Gun, before all sorts of truths are spoken.

Finally the match resumes with some superkicks as the Mega Flowers laid into one of the Brothers in the corner, before a ‘rana gets Sexsmith a near-fall. We then get a serious health and safety moment when Mambo leapt off the top rope and smashed his head into one of the low beams… which seems to be the cue for Santos to come in and clear house, before Chase and Mambo tried to make the save.

Eventually Sexsmith helps as he shoved a cucumber into Santos’ mouth, but he bites it apart before dumping Jack with a Big Ending to start a Parade of Moves! The Brothers of Obstruction stop it as Santos heads up top as he tries to splash Sexsmith… and the big splash squashes him for the win. For my tastes, that was way too disjointed as a match – I’m sure live the comedy came across fantastically, but when you add commentary that’s talking over a lot of the comedy (for various purposes), it loses a lot of the shine. **

Millie McKenzie vs. Charli Evans
After having gone forever without having a single women’s match, we’re on a bit of a streak here as Charli Evans returned to a main show for the first time since last year’s SummerSlam tie-in show. Complete with a sped-up version of Tom’s Kitchen!

Without any comedy acts to moan about, Eddie’s moved to being a straight play-by-play guy here, as Evans took down Millie with a wristlock before responding to a escape with a forearm to the face. Millie teases a German suplex, but it’s shoved away as both women reached a stalemate.

A kick to the knee takes down Millie, who’s peppered with some boots before she’s tries to use her speed to get past Charli… only to run into a shoulder barge as the Australian picked up a near-fall. Some bodyscissors on the mat restrain Millie, as does a seated surfboard, before Charli just flat out began to stomp on Millie, which turned the crowd against her. Eventually Millie manages to rebound with a shotgun dropkick, sending Charli to the outside as a tope keeps the Aussie down, before a pumphandle German suplex dumped Charli on her head for a near-fall.

Millie throws in a spear… but another knee from Charli puts her back in it as a series of short-arm lariats and a Flatliner hurled Millie to the mat. Charli misses a crossbody as she dodged the low beams, and that just put her in place for a load of German suplexes from Millie, before a Million Dollar Dream forced a submission! Well, that’s a new wrinkle in Millie’s offence, and a hell of a match as ATTACK! seems to be specialising in hard-hitting womens’ matches these days. ***¼

Mike Bird & Nothing To Prove (Drew Parker & LK Mezinger) vs. Chief Deputy Dunne, Chris Brookes & Wild Boar
Another trios match now, as Mike Bird teamed up with Nothing to Prove against some of ATTACK!’s favourites.

But first, Eddie Dennis leaves commentary as he has something to say, whether the crowd wants to listen or not. He repeated his claim that ATTACK! started the British wrestling revolution, before taking aim at “cosplay wolves”, “cosplay boars” and “fake fucking policemen”. Eddie stuck around at ringside as the match gets going. Mike Bird’s found an old-school Eddie Dennis t-shirt as he started against Dunne, but some headscissors took him down… giving Dunne a chance to take off the shirt and throw it into the crowd. A False Alarm enziguiri rocks Bird, as Wild Boar came in to try and follow up… but Mezinger tagged himself in as we had to wait a little longer for the next round of Bird vs. Boar 2.

Boar’s easily able to throw Mezinger with a T-bone suplex as the good guys started to take over. Drew Parker’s brought in as is Chris Brookes, who works over his wrist before we get a spot of triple-teaming on Drew. Things settle down a bit as Mike Bird comes in – amid a sea of feedback – but he’s quickly dumped onto his back as Brookes looked for more submission, even getting a three-for-one as he caught Parker in a Gory special, while Mezinger and Bird were in deathlocks.

Parker tries to fight back with chops, as some cheap shots finally got the bad guys back in front, until Brookes nailed a brainbuster to give himself a break. Dunne’s brought back in as that hideous feedback pierced your ears, just as a Shining Wizard to the back of Parker’s head took him down. A tag finally gives us another taste of Bird vs. Boar, helped a little by some clumsiness from Mezinger, who got tripped into Bird in the corner.

Bird thought he’d turned it around when he took Boar outside, only for his dive to be swatted away as Dunne hit his anyway. Brookes throws in a dive too, as does Parker, although his was all-but-missed on the mobile camera, as we return to the ring for some head dropping goodness, with a Fire Thunder Driver from Boar almost winning things. In the end, the ring begins to fill up as bodies were strewn all over the place until we got back to Bird vs. Boar… with a little bit of help from a slingshot cutter from Brookes.

Death By Roll-up nearly wins it for Brookes as we’re long past the concept of the legal man, allowing Dunne to hit a spear before he becomes a makeshift Lykos for the elevated lungblower. A pair of back sentons only get a near-fall as two-thirds of the match now spilled outside. Since commentary’s live, that part of the match may as well be forgotten… unfortunately, the referee’s followed them out, allowing Eddie Dennis to come in with a chair… only for Flash Morgan Webster to make the save. All that’s left is for Drew Parker to take a Trapper Keeper… just as the referee returned to count the pin. Hey, another in-ring loss for Nothing to Prove, after a wild match that keeps things going in that feud. I don’t know – the promos (on the show and on Twitter) are doing it for me, but in-ring, Nothing to Prove are still not clicking. **¾

El Phantasmo vs. Splits McPins
Introduced as the “King of Slow Style”, I think you can guess what sort of match we’re getting. Well, once ELP gets out of his Lex Luger special t-shirt. You know, because it’s too tight?

El Phantasmo tries to help Splits get out of his shirt, while Eddie on commentary noted that if ELP tried to do the slow stuff against him, he’s just punch him in the face. I don’t dislike ELP, but I’m really digging grumpy Eddie here. Phantasmo and McPins get going at a pretty fast clip, with headscissors, evasions and duelling dropkicks, and now we get the slow motion stuff.

You can almost hear Eddie Dennis’ eyes rolling as we go through the usual routine: chops (Mongolian, Khali and normal), uppercuts, nipple twists and rope walking… although you could tell who was more used to doing this sort of match. McPins gets in a slow-mo baseball slide dropkick, as I’m left to figure how the hell do you do a slow-mo tope… and we find out, as they fall to the floor in almost an embrace.

Eventually they pick up the speed, as Phantasmo chains together a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada for a near-fall. McPins escapes a whirlibird neckbreaker as the crowd go a little too fast in their chants, but Phantasmo’s able to come back with a top rope ‘rana before a top rope splash picked up a near-fall. The whirlibird neckbreaker’s next for a near-fall, before ELP crashed and burned with a top rope moonsault, allowing Splits to capitalise with a spin-out Dominator for a near-fall, before a Finlay roll and a senton bomb – his half of More Bowl for Your Buck – gets the win. A decent enough match, but unfortunately for me, the drawling commentary – in slow motion – took away from the comedy. **¾

ATTACK! Championship: Flash Morgan Webster (c) vs. Travis Banks
It’d be fair to say that Flash’s 2018 as ATTACK! champion has been rather… non-existent? This was only his second defence of the year as ATTACK! shows clashed with things like PWG, which also meant that there was a distinct lack of any championship storyline.

Apparently Webster wasn’t allowed to put the title on the line… but he did offer an opportunity for a title shot, by way of a “sexy dance off” with Travis Banks. Yes, I was surprised too that Travis Banks had never had a shot… and yes, you can imagine how thrilled Eddie was on commentary at this. Banks won the dance-off, so we get our title match!

From the bell, Banks tried to win with some roll-ups and backslides, all while ring announcer Jim Lee hung around at ringside so Eddie could do commentary solo. A low headbutt from Banks takes Webster to the outside, where they traded chops in the crowd. Jim finally makes it back to commentary to defend Webster’s record of defending the title, as the match remained finely poised.

Chief Deputy Dunne appeared to “allow” Banks to drop a sexy knee, which riled up Eddie a little more, but Flash hits back with his Rude Boy moonsault press. Some running forearms trapped Banks in the corner, before Webster climbed around Banks to lock in the Strangler. Banks escaped and took Webster into the corner for a cannonball, following up with a superkick before they crashed into each other with crossbodies.

A shotgun dropkick takes Webster into the corner, with Banks following in with a springboard stomp for a near-fall. Flash countered a Slice of Heaven and catches Banks with a Brit Pop Drop for a two-count of his own, following in with an Eton Rifle attempt, before another Rude Boy wiped out the referee. Another Slice of Heaven makes matters worse as Banks hits the ref again, as commentary telegraphs a run in…

…and sure enough, here comes Drew Parker and LK Mezinger! Chief Deputy Dunne and Chris Brookes hit the ring to level it up, prompting Eddie Dennis to leave commentary. Wild Boar makes the save, but accidentally nails Webster with his own helmet… Banks gets rid of Eddie and hits a Kiwi Krusher on Webster for a near-fall. Straight from the kick-out, Webster rolled up the Kiwi for a near-fall, before the Eton Rifle got the win. A bit of an anticlimax, I felt, as that helmet shot seemed to have little effect, but a win is a win, I guess. ***

After the match, Wild Boar hung around in the ring and gave Flash his belt… but there was something about his mannerisms that suggested that he may be next in line for a shot… and after the start of the year Boar’s had, that could be a tasty match if it’s built up well!

We’ve hinted at this before, but look at how uneven this card was. With the Anti-Fun Police at best now “tweeners”, the only heels on the ATTACK! roster these days are Nothing to Prove and Mike Bird. That’s three people on this card, out of a roster of 18 on the show… that’s horribly lop-sided. It also gives way to shows like this, which for folks who are invested in the ATTACK! universe are fine… but for everyone else, it becomes a bit of a struggle. Wrestling shows can be fun, but they’re even better when you’ve got good guys to cheer, bad guys to boo, and stories to invest.

Without that, shows can feel rather throwaway and meaningless. Not to dismiss the effort on show here, but with my Eddie Dennis-like hat on, this felt like a throwaway show with little here that’ll linger in the memory. Next up for ATTACK! is their Press Start weekender, which promises to be a little different as Nothing to Prove loom on looking to squash whatever it is that’s planned… which’ll surely be different from last year’s glitched-out show.