ATTACK!’s end-of-year Mistletour double-header began with some inflatable fun… and more battles from the Anti-Fun Police as their number seemed to be up!

The first night of the tour kicked off in Cardiff, with the Cathays Community Centre’s not-so-secret Bingo Hall playing host to festive fun… and it’s back to the old-school layout after their last show was all flashy with an entrance way and video screens.

Ryan Smile vs. Mark Andrews
The battle of the flyers started with Smile trying to ground Andrews, taking him into the corner for a clean break… so far, so good, eh?

The chain wrestles continues as we get holds, reversals and counters, with neither man seemingly able to get an advantage, continuing when they eased their flippy stuff, ending with duelling dropkick that looked to knock out one of Ryan’s contact lenses. It seemed to work, as he hit a dropkick after that, before diving outside into an Andrews superkick as the flippy guys flew!

Back inside, Andrews gets off a nice wheelbarrow bulldog then a handspring moonsault off the ropes, but Smile’s back in with some forearms and an enziguiri in the ropes before flying across the ring with a missile dropkick. A Blue Thunder bomb nearly does it for Ryan, but the momentum slowly slips away as a top rope ‘rana just sees Andrews land on his feet for the ultimate panto moment.

A satellite DDT follows as Andrews went from “he’s behind you!” to a two-count, and then into a cutter as Smile capitalised on a flying Andrews, but the end quickly comes when Ryan tries to suplex him… Stundog millionaire! That left Smile on the mat as a picture-perfect shooting star press connects as Andrews gets the win! A little short, but perfectly fine stuff between the bells. ***

After the match, Smile and Andrews were attacked from behind by the trio of ELIJAH, Drew Parker and Bishop. ELIJAH seemed to be the ringleader, directing traffic before taking the microphone to berate the crowd for their chants. He dropped in their name – Nothing to Prove – before heading to the back.

Joel Allen’s in as a referee, with Chris Roberts having the night off. Shay, on the other hand, was still working…

Chris Brookes & “Kid Lykos” vs. Mark Davis & “Kyle Fletcher”
Brookes is now firmly “wholesome” in ATTACK!-land, but Kid Lykos is still having a little trouble understanding what the deal is. So Chris has an inflatable Lykos with him, who fits really well into the wolf’s gear…

Mark Davis has a beef with Chris Brookes… because of the “Britwres Twitter Hunger Games”. That’s a hell of a niche crowd to appeal to, but Brookes tries to win back Dunkzilla by saying that he really didn’t kill Kyle, and in fact he’s here… it’s a gift-wrapped, blow-up Kyle Fletcher! Someone got a good deal, me thinks…

Anyway, this turns into a tag match, with inflatable partners. What is this world?

So yeah, this was as ridiculous as you’d expect, especially when Mark Davies wrestled “Lykos”… and fell into a headlock. I wonder who’d win between inflatable Lykos and Pickle Bird?

Davis gets booed for a massive pop-up forearm to Lykos, but the wolf returned fire with an insane satellite headscissor takedown that led to a tag out… as we got Chris Brookes vs. “Kyle”. Oh God. “Kyle” flies into Brookes with some headscissors, and then gets tripped by “real” Lykos who KILLS KYLE FLETCHER?!

Who gave the wolf scissors?! The crowd screamed in horror at this real live murder taking place in front of them, and how is that not a DQ? Davis chases Lykos around the ring, then stops as our Benny Hill moment had Lykos run into David before the wolf whacked him with his baking tray.

Brookes then stopped being wholesome as he choked Davis with the remains of Kyle, before pulling a Jack Gallagher, tying up Davis in a ball for a wet willie. Well, you’ve got to admire the new set-up…

The crowd chanted “you’re not wholesome anymore” at Brookes, along with an impressive set of PG-friendly chants, just as Davis dumped him with an inverted Angle slam and a monster tope to the outside. An apron powerbomb keeps up the pain as Lykos plaintively asks Chris if he’s okay, before they headed back inside as Brookes is made to question his many life choices by way of ridiculously loud chops.

Davis keeps up as he dragged Brookes off the apron and into a German suplex, before a cutter out of nowhere left both men laying, More tit-for-tat leads to a reversed Roll the Dice by Dunkzilla, before he’s forced to kick out of a wheelbarrow roll-up as an Octopus hold almost forces a submission.

Instead though, Davis pops free and forearms Brookes, only to get knocked down with a clothesline and another Octopus hold, this time taking the Aussie down to a knee for the submission. Well, this was a match of two halves – some wacky shenanigans with the blow up dolls, and some really good graps with the humans. Gotta love that ATTACK! wackiness! ***½

El Phantasmo, Jack Sexsmith & Love Making Demon vs. Nothing to Prove (ELIJAH, Drew Parker & Bishop)
Well, isn’t this a wacky team? ELP, LMD and Jack! It’s good to see Jack and the Demon are still a thing with a shared love of Mariah Carey at Christmas!

We open with shenanigans as Jack leaps into Drew for a series of awkward moments, including one where – in an electric chair – Jack points out that his “testicles are on your neck”. Ahem! Next is ELIJAH and ELP, with Phantasmo getting an early cover from a moonsault, before more tags take us to Bishop and the Demon. That sounds like a metal duo…

Bishop’s in no mood for any of the Demon’s gyrations or passion, but the Demon completes the set as all three of the good guys made fools of ELIJAH’s band of not-so-merry men to get us going. That led to the Demon getting dragged into the corner as ELIJAH tried to play the numbers game, before taking the long way into a Texas cloverleaf… which he escaped into the corner as Jack pulled down his tights and enticed him using his backside.

I’m not making this up.

Jack fights back into a Pearl Neckbreaker and LGBDT combo on Parker and Bishop, but ELIJAH hits him with a crucifix bomb as things broke down somewhat. ELP continues the Parade of Moves with a pop-up cutter before going for a walk around the top rope with Bishop, again leaping over a passing-by ELIJAH, then ducking a flying Parker before completing the ‘rana.

My God, ELP is a bloody miracle worker with that top rope.

More dives follow from the Demon, before Jack just trust falls into the pile as ELP throws in an Asai moonsault for the hell of it. Back inside, Bishop and Parker looked to fall into place for some Stinkfaces, which ELIJAH just delayed as I saw way too much bare arse for one show… Eventually ELIJAH’s troops fire back with a uranage backbreaker to Sexsmith before ELP tried to out-chop all three of them in one go. It didn’t last, nor did the Demon’s fightback, as he took a stomp off the top rope and then ELIJAH’s fisherman’s powerbomb for the win. Far from emphatic, and I’m not too sure I’d have had Nothing To Prove look as goofy as this on their first night in. I’m not saying they should have had a squash win, but they were rarely on top apart from the final stretch… **½

JIM! STOP SAYING THE F-WORD! It never ever works out… and this time it cued the arrival of Chief Deputy… what? False alarm everyone, it’s just Stupid Sexy Travis Banks, who’s come armed with a string vest for the referee.

Ah Joel… there’s something new for your SPLX spring line-up!

Snow Holds Barred: Travis Banks vs. Chief Deputy Dunne
So yeah, that’s definitely too much fun, and out comes Chief Deputy Dunne and Santos Jr, who advises that Santos has confiscated all the weapons for the Snow Holds Barred match. Instead, he offers something of his own… spoilers for the new Star Wars movie. Travis clearly hadn’t seen it yet, as he dives into Dunne, and that seemed to do the trick!

Inside, Banks lights up Dunne with chops before heading out to see if Santos had done a good job of getting rid of the weapons. Of course he didn’t – there was a white Christmas tree under the ring!

Dunne tries to escape, but ends up fighting in the crowd as fans held him for more chops, before we get something else ridiculous – light sabre battles using branches of a Christmas tree! Santos gets involved as he’s had enough of Sexy Travis Banks, and mocks him with some dancing that shows Santos perhaps has a second secret career for him…

That distraction ended up being enough for Dunne to recover and hit him with what looked like a wooden “Santa Stop Here” sign, before Santos blinded Dunne accidentally with glitter. Yep, that shiny stuff is a pain…

After throwing Santos deep into the crowd, Banks is back to having no distractions, before Dunne makes full use of the “snow holds barred” stipulation by kicking him low as the fightback began in earnest, with Dunne raining punches down on Banks as he tried to force a pin. A diving clothesline from Banks starts the turnaround though, with Dunne getting tripped into the corner for a cannonball before a Slice of Heaven misses.

Dunne tries to hit Banks with some baubles, but that doesn’t work… and a double stomp just breaks open the box of baubles as the crowd got an easy punchline. It also gave Dunne a chance to go a little extreme as he threatened to throw Banks into the spherical ornaments… but instead Banks escapes and grabs that Christmas tree for a Coast to Coast dropkick. That’s got to be the first time we’ve had a tree-assisted Coast to Coast…

Another Dunne fightback leads to him dumping Banks in the baubles, before he connected with a spear to almost get the win… but those baubles come back to bite Dunne again as he’s powerbombed into them as a Kiwi Krusher gave Banks another near-fall. Dunne escapes another Slice of Heaven with the Santa sign, and follows it up with the Fun’s Over DDT as we’re still not done with the two-counts.

The springboard lungblower from Dunne’s good for another near-fall, but his bid to finish off with a superplex ends when Banks countered it with a Kiwi Krusher into the baubles… another two-count? No problem, Banks switches it into a Lion’s Clutch, and that’s the submission, despite the screeching protestations of Santos! It’s always weird seeing weapons matches in a “family friendly” group such as ATTACK!, but keeping it festive rather than plunder for the hell of it made this, even if this didn’t feel like a proper blow-off… ***

ATTACK! Championship: Eddie Dennis vs. Wild Boar vs. Mike Bird vs. Flash Morgan Webster
Apparently we “need” a championship match as Jim Lee says we’re reliving the four-way from the “Mandrews Goes To America” show. That was almost three years ago! Anyway, G Man goes a little ballistic with camera cuts for Eddie’s entrance, who’s here as his feared groin tear wasn’t as bad as first thought…

Bird and Boar started by trying to team up against Webster, then Eddie, who’s able to catch the pair of them for his fallaway slam/Samoan drop combo. The power of a fresh shave, eh? Webster tries to hiptoss Eddie, but he’s not lost enough weight yet, although an armdrag gets the job done as Flash followed up with a Rude Boy moonsault press.

The match largely stuck to the two-in, everyone else out formula early, which led to Mike Bird getting the moment he’d dreamed of for so long… the chance to beat up his tag partner. That wasn’t such a good idea as Boar threw him with an Exploder before Eddie Dennis took his shots.

Mike Bird stops a dive from Flash by pancaking him onto the apron, so he could dive instead, as the floor seats suddenly became a landing area as all four men fought around the ring. In the middle of this, Webster scurried away onto a ledge by the bingo signs, and dove into Bird, Boar and Eddie with a Pinball Wizard senton!

Eventually the ring fills as Bird and Boar started to work as a unit again, flattening Eddie and Webster with a senton before duelling reverse DDTs almost led to a double pin… with Bird and Boar deciding to team up some more for their usual tag finisher on Eddie. That pairing broke up again as the revolving door returned, leading us to a ‘rana out of a package piledriver as Webster instead hit the Angel’s Wings on Boar for a near-fall.

Eddie’s targeted next by Bird and Boar, but he counters that by dumping Bird in a German suplex, which, as predicted, sucked… Bird returns with a piledriver for a near-fall as everyone breaks up each other’s pins, until Webster returned to headbutt Bird and land the Eton Rifle. More revolving door action brought Boar back in for a Trapper Keeper to Webster, but Flash countered out into a Strangler, and Boar taps before anyone can make the save. Enjoyable enough, but this was a cluster of a match – in a good way – lots of moves, whilst keeping the criticism of Webster as champion ongoing… without any defined feud, there’s not much going on with this title reign. ***¼

Danny Jones vs. Kyle Fletcher
KYLE’S ALIVE!

They start with a basic style, with Fletcher thinking he’d outsmarted Jones during a Benny Hill run around the ring… only for the Welsh Dragon to stop him anyway and take the fight into the crowd. Back inside, Kyle fires up with a Michinoku driver and a lawndart into the turnbuckle, but Jones seems to be only too happy to absorb a torrent of forearms, as he came back with some of his own.

Jones looked to have caught a headkick, but instead he just batters Kyle with more knees to the head before an inside cradle nearly gets him the win, before he rewinds a sunset flip and piledrives Fletcher for the win. Really short, and as much as I hate the concept of “buffer matches”, this seemed to be there to cool the crowd down for the main event. **½

ATTACK! Tag Team Championship: Bowl-a-Rama (Splits McPins & Lloyd Katt) vs. Brothers of Obstruction (James Obstruction & Leigh Obstruction) (c)
This was Bowl-a-Rama’s chance at getting some redemption for their blown-up bowling alley… one of the wackier stories in ATTACK!’s current universe, it has to be said!

Look at those soul-less eyes. That’s what health and safety does to you…

There’s a suitable big-match feel to this main event, and we’ve got half an hour left here… so we are going LONG, even if the opening pace didn’t make you think that. The Brothers targeted Katt early, double-teaming and cornering the big man, but the many ebbs and flows saw neither team hold control for any period of time.

Splits hit a double armdrag to get out of a chokeslam attempt as Katt launched into a comeback, dropping the Brothers with back body drops and avalanches into the corner, before McPins was able to bowl through the Brothers with ease. Some dives get rudely interrupted when the brothers swatted Splits out of the sky with a wet floor sign, cracking it off of his head to seemingly break his nose. That’s the second time in the same venue in a year… Cathays obviously isn’t a lucky building for Splits’ nose!

With Splits out of commission, this became a two-on-one against Katt, who got turfed into the crowd (and into a fan) as Joel Allen channelled Chris Roberts’ uselessness everywhere else as he became oblivious. After a long shot of Lloyd Katt’s backside, he’s back in the ring as the double-team continued… and got worse as Chief Deputy Dunne hit the ring with a springboard lungblower just as Katt was getting back into it.

Dunne and Santos bring in some nice, festive, gift-wrapped tables, but they don’t instantly come into play as Joel remains useless and doesn’t see Katt getting hit with a hard hat before… slipping out of a powerbomb! The numbers game quickly returns though as another hat shot led to one of the Brothers tombstoning Katt off the apron through the tables.

Yep, he dead.

The Anti-Fun Police roll Katt back into the ring for what you’d think was the win… but he kicks out AND Hulks up! A slingshot slam seems to expend the last of his energy, just as Splits McPins returns to the ring… probably to mask the “Fat Katt” chants that sounded a lot like a swear!

Splits gets the tag back in to an almighty roar, but it’s not long before the Brothers go for the nose as they mug him, and even rip his mask! Perhaps a little too well… There’s more interference that Katt stuffs from Dunne and Santos, before the camera picks up McPins on a balcony, which he dives off of… because why not? A broken nose and a torn mask, what else is there to lose in pursuit of the title?

Back inside the ring, the Brothers continue to prove that Destroyers don’t win matches as the crowd find a way to repurpose Pigbag for Bowl-a-Rama. Look it up on Spotify… or any 3CW show! Again, the Brothers go back to Splits’ nose as Bowl-a-Rama continue to look to New Japan for inspiration as a Strong Zero would have won them the match… but Shay Purser comes out to pull out Joel and knock him out.

Can the odds be any more stacked against the challengers? The crowd chanted for Chris Roberts as the Brothers took their shots, only to be forced into an accidental powerbomb. More Bang For Your Buck would have succeeded had they not been switched around, and now the Brothers go for a double-team with an assisted DDT to Katt. They then spoof Bowl-a-Rama’s own finish, only to miss with yet another hard hat shot, as another More Bang For Your Buck follows with Shay refusing to count the pin. Of course he does.

All of a sudden, out comes Chris Roberts in street clothes as he goes for Shay… Pedigree?! Jesus Shay, that’s a faceplant! We go full circle as McPins superkicks the wet floor sign into one brother, as the other takes another More Bang For Your Buck, leaving Chris Roberts to use the comatose hand of Shay to count the pin! AND NEW… and that’s a hell of a full ring as Christmas music plays with the new champions being paraded with the traditional ATTACK! Christmas Conga! ***½

If the Splits injury wasn’t planned, they did a heck of a job reworking things on the fly… as for the match, it was as epic as it needed to be for the storyline. Perhaps a little overbooked with interferences, but who cares? It’s Christmas, and the crowd left Cardiff happy.

On a Scrooge note, all I want for Christmas… is some bad guys. The opening night of the Mistletour was a good show, but the glaring holes that are appearing over a lot of the independent scene were obvious here. Who do you boo in ATTACK? Judging by who wasn’t in the ring at the end of the show, Shay… and the Anti-Fun Police. Sure, you can add Nothing to Prove to the list after tonight, but they weren’t exactly introduced as much of a threat either.

Still, ATTACK! continues to put on some of the most entertaining and fun shows in the UK, with the storylines they do run being absorbing… as the end-of-show parade clearly demonstrated!