The last EVE show before last year’s SHE-1 – we take a delayed look at the promotion’s debut in Manchester!

EVE hit the Fairfield Social Club in Manchester for this, and they’re running with an ad hoc camera crew after they’d been in a car accident on the way to the venue. With the tease of a future alternate commentary track to spill the beans on the background of this day, we go straight into action, with Sophia Lang on commentary.

Quick Results
Emi Sakura beat Sammii Jayne and Gisele Shaw in 12:30 (***)
Nina Samuels pinned Victoria Adams in 4:30 (**)
Nina Samuels pinned Natalie Sykes in 3:00 (**)
Nina Samuels pinned Lana Austin in 3:00 (**)
Laura Di Matteo pinned Killer Kelly in 14:30 (***½)
Kanji pinned Roxxy in 15:30 (***½)
Angel Hayze pinned Rosie Nyte in 8:00 (**¾)
EVE Tag Team Champions The Woke Queens (Debbie Keitel & Valkyrie) defended against Jetta & Viper in 12:00 (**)

Gisele Shaw vs. Sammii Jayne vs. Emi Sakura
Emi’s out in her Freddie Mercury gimmick, sans moustache, so we’ve got all the Queen puns in her introduction. The Ogdens are there to make noise too as we start with a three-way lock-up that led to nought, before Shaw threw a cheapshot and found her way through with armdrags to Sakura.

Some rope-walking takes us to another armdrag, taking Emi outside… but Sammii Jayne’s back with forearms and a sliding lariat that trapped Shaw in the ropes. A double-jump missile dropkick gets Sammii just a one-count as Sakura came in with chops, ahead of some dancing with referee Tom Scarborough. A Freddie Mercury-inspired Romero special followed on Sammii, before trapping the Scotswoman in a Figure Four. Gisele’s back to break it up with a leg drop, before she flattened Sakura with a forearm to the head. We’re back to chops as Shaw took Sakura to the corner, before dropping Jayne with a suplex for just a two-count.

Sammii gets thrown outside as Shaw decided to continue focusing on Emi, landing a clothesline in the corner for a near-fall, before some boot choking had Sakura in trouble. Emi fights back with some rights of her own, before they both got caught with a missile dropkick from the returning Sammii. Jayne builds momentum, elbowing Shaw out of the corner ahead of some headscissors, before a knee strike clocked Shaw for a near-fall as Sakura broke it up. Emi doe-see-does Shaw and Jayne into the corner ahead of a running crossbody to the pair of them, but the ref’s slow to the count and only gets a two-count in.

Emi keeps going with a Vader Bomb after putting Jayne and Shaw by each other, getting another near-fall, but she can’t keep the momentum as Sammii hit a clothesline, before setting up Shaw for the Shadowfax baseball slide German suplex. Sakura’s back to catch Sammii up top for a superplex, as all three women proceeded to trade forearms until Shaw found a way back with a spear. It’s enough for some two-counts, as Shaw kept focusing on Sammii, coming close with another DDT as Sakura returned to break up the count. That earned her a flurry of palm strikes, before a waistlock from Shaw was broken up via an enziguiri from Jayne… allowing Sakura to snatch the win with a La Magistral cradle to bring the opener to a close. A fun opener, but with all three being good guys, you didn’t really get much story in here, other than the usual “who’s the best”. ***

Nina Samuels is out for an open challenge, which of course means promo time. She’s drowned out, as the pantomime baddie came to town two months early. Anyway, Nina’s got a “local competitor,” ready for her, so she’s learned the lingo in NXT UK.

Nina Samuels vs. Victoria Adams
Of course, it’s an EVE debut for Adams, who was instantly taken into the corner by Nina.

Samuels keeps going with a wristlock, that gets reversed back-and-forth, until Nina took her to the mat and began to drop knees across the arm. Samuels works that up into a stranglehold, but it gets escaped as Nina needed the ropes to avoid an O’Connor roll attempt. There’s a cheapshot from Nina amid the break, as she took Adams into the corner, going back to the wrist, following up with a dropkick after Adams had been tied up in the ropes. That’s good for a near-fall, as Adams mounted a comeback with some right hands, but her neckbreaker’s pushed away. She’s able to chain together some German suplexes though, hitting a hattrick of them for a near-fall, before Nina took her into the corner and followed up with an Go To Sleep for the win. An effective squash, with Adams getting some offence in before getting swept aside. **

Nina’s not done yet though, as she gets drowned out cutting another promo, asking for “local competitor #2.”

Nina Samuels vs. Natalie Sykes
Another EVE debut, this time for Natalie Sykes, who’s worked regularly of the likes of Tidal in Leeds.

Sykes, whose nickname was the “21st Century Liability”, cartwheeled over Nina early, before she went into a splits as she had her leg swept away. She tries the same for Nina, who couldn’t pull off the splits and ended up getting rolled up for a near-fall. A springboard jawbreaker keeps Sykes ahead, but she just gets tripped into the buckles as Samuels hit a stomp to the back for a near-fall. Some hair-pulling from Samuels follows, as the former EVE champion pushed ahead, but Sykes hit back with forearms to take Samuels into the corner. More forearms keep Nina there, as does an uppercut, but doesn’t quite get all of a DDT as Samuels was able to kick out at two. Sykes heads back into the corner, but her crossbody’s caught and turned into another Go To Sleep for the win. Slightly shorter, but another textbook squash from Nina. **

Nina Samuels vs. Lana Austin
Third time’s the charm, right? We do indeed have a third local competitor, but it’s not a debutant…

Nina begs off, citing her previous two matches, but her attempt to catch out Austin backfired as Lana came in with forearms and uppercuts. A dropkick gets Austin a two-count, before she’s lifted onto the apron by Nina, who gets caught in the ropes with more kicks as a sliding Flatliner gets Austin a near-fall. Lana goes for a draping DDT, but she’s pushed off as Nina hits a slingshot corkscrew press to get herself back in it. A rolling elbow keeps Nina at bay though, as Lana went for a sunset flip… but Nina sits down on it for a near-fall before Lana stayed a step ahead, headbutting her to the outside. In the end though, another attempt at the draping DDT backfired as Nina switched around, rolling up Austin with a handful of tights for the win. A bit more energetic than the previous two, but such a short loss to a “tired” Samuels did Lana little favours, especially considering what was next in her EVE future. **

Afterwards, Lana challenged Nina to a lumberjack match in the future… no answer was given.

Killer Kelly vs. Laura Di Matteo
Not counting the shenanigans at Kris Wolf’s retirement show, this was Kelly’s first EVE appearance in over a year – and a rematch from Kelly’s star-making debut back in wXw two years ago.

We start with Kelly checking a takedown attempt, before Laura shrugged off a similar attempt. Eventually, di Matteo gets the arm, but she’s taken down as Kelly got free, before Kelly grabbed the wrists and pulled Laura into a headlock takedown. Those are countered with some headscissors, only for Kelly to bridge free and take Laura’s back with an armbar. That’s rolled into a Japanese stranglehold as Kelly had the back, but Laura rolls free… then returned to take Kelly’s arm for a Magistral cradle that gets a near-fall. Armdrags follow as Kelly’s aggression was used against her, before Laura used more headscissors to take Kelly out of the corner.

Kelly snaps back with a cross-chop to the throat, then with a running boot into the corner as a PK proceeded to deck the Italian for a near-fall. Kelly keeps going with forearms, clubbing Laura into the corner, then suplexing her out of it, before she followed up with a capture headbutt and a butterfly suplex that dumped Laura on her head for another two-count. Staying on top of Laura, Kelly went for an Octopus stretch, then an abdominal stretch, before a cravat and some knees allowed Kelly to roll her down into a knee bar. Laura gets to the rope to force a break, and after Kelly tried to reply with another side headlock, Laura sneaks out and lands a release Fisherman suplex for a near-fall. A sleeperhold from Kelly follows as she tried to drain what was left of di Matteo, but another rope break led to a German suplex as Kelly showed off more from the RINGKAMPF playbook, but still Laura kicked out.

Crossface punches continue to brutalise Laura, but eventually she fires back, trading right hands with Kelly until a clothesline took Laura right back down. It gets a delayed two-count for Kelly, who then spat at Laura… and got some instant receipts as the Italian fired back with clotheslines. More headscissors take Kelly into the ropes, ahead of a running gamengiri in the corner… an enziguiri follows, as did a missile dropkick, which gets di Matteo a near-fall. Staying on the mat with Kelly, Laura traps the Portuguese in a grounded Octopus, but Kelly squirms into the ropes before she went outside, dragging Laura with her to dump her on the apron. A PK off the apron follows, but Laura recovered back inside the ring, landing a superkick before a front kick from Kelly had her laying. They trade shots again, slapping each other silly until a shotgun dropkick took Laura back into the corner. The Shibata-ish dropkick keeps her there, before Vale da Morte was attempted… but Laura elbows free and came right back with a tombstone piledriver for the win. A cracker of a match as Laura picked up a hard fought win right before the SHE-1 – while Kelly’s more intense side almost got her the relative upset. ***½

Roxxy vs. Kanji
Having not qualified for the SHE-1, this’d be Roxxy’s last match in EVE before heading to Germany for a tour with wXw.

Like with the opener, both came in as crowd favourites, as we started with Roxxy working over Kanji’s wrist. Kanji heads to the rope to spin free, ahead of a takedown that saw her tie-up Roxxy’s legs for almost a Muta lock to the legs. Roxxy’s able to crawl under her to get to the ropes though, as that ended with a break. Kanji goes back to the arms, working over Roxxy, wrenching and yanking the limb before Roxxy used the splits to help reverse the hold. Kanji keeps working the arm and wrist of Roxxy though, before Roxxy took Kanji down, sitting on her, bridging back for extra torque… until Kanji was able to roll free.

An O’Connor roll from Roxxy gets a near-fall… Kanji keeps it going for a delayed two-count as they went back-and-forth… a Superman press from Kanji nearly nicks it too, as the two were getting rather stand-offish with each other. Roxxy’s handshake is used to whip Kanji into the ropes ahead of a dropkick, as she followed up with more kicks and a diving Meteora for a near-fall. A leg sweep from Kanji takes down Roxxy again, with forearms and kicks keeping the Geordie at bay… a low dropkick to the leg and a step-up legdrop follows as Kanji pushed on, but she took too long to follow up and got knocked off the top rope. Roxxy dumps Kanji on the apron with a clothesline, and followed her outside with stomps before she threw Kanji into the wall.

The pair brawl around ringside, with the match turning into almost a pitfight with the fans circling around them. Roxxy dumps the contents of Roxxy’s trick and treat bag over her, which gets the reaction you’d expect, as Roxxy proceeded to chuck Kanji into the sound desk. Some indoor benches follow, as I get a throwback to the Kay Lee Ray brawls they show on the intros… then they go into the toilets, and since the makeshift cameramen were both male, of course we’ve no footage! They quickly emerge and head back towards the ring, with Roxxy keeping the aggression, hitting a STO for a near-fall. Kanji rolls out of a second one, then came back in with a dropkick as the match descended into a hockey fight. All the forearms follow, with Kanji wheeling away on Roxxy, who replies with a headbutt. It doesn’t faze Kanji, who’s back with a Superman punch, before taking Roxxy into the corner for a 619.

From there, Kanji headed back up top for a missile dropkick, finding her mark for a near-fall before Roxxy fought back with a wheelbarrow stomp. A roll through gets Roxxy in place for an Octopus on the mat, but Kanji gets to the ropes for the break. Having caught Roxxy with the ropes, Kanji slingshots back into the ring with a spear for a near-fall, before she again got caught in the corner and found herself viciously pedigreed out of the middle ropes. That’s enough for a near-fall as Kanji kept fighting, trading forearms before Kanji headed back up top for a flying enziguiri which connected flush, and was finally enough to get the win. A fantastic little scrap here, with Roxxy ever so slightly showing enough aggression to put herself down as the baddie here. ***½

Rosie Nyte vs. Angel Hayze
Without wanting to use the “special bonus match” tag, this was added to the card at the last minute after both Hayze and Nyte’s bookings elsewhere had been cancelled. They sure love those Y’s in Scotland, eh? While this was Rosie’s debut for EVE, this was Hayze’s third match – and a late warm-up going into a SHE-1 campaign that ended up being curtailed through injury.

The pair open with a lock-up, as Hayze took Nyte into the corner for a clean break… Rosie’s back with some quick roll-ups on Angel for near-falls, but a Magistral roll-up keeps the pinning attempts going for the receptive crowd. A nice lucha-style armdrag/roll-up ends the back-and-forth with Nyte getting a two-count… and a handshake to boot. A side headlock from Hayze gets shoved off, as Nyte snapmares her out of the corner ahead of a back senton/legdrop combo that landed for a two-count. Hayze retaliates with a rolling elbow, then a rear spin kick before a boot to the head gets her a two-count. Nyte rolls back up for some swinging headscissors, but Rosie takes too long to follow up, and gets caught in the corner with some forearms before she began to wear down her foe with a chinlock.

Nyte fought her way free, using forearms to break the hold, but had to elbow out of a Fireman’s carry before the pair ran into each other as they went for facebusters at the same time. Swinging for the fences, they trade forearms as Nyte pulled ahead, leading to a tornado DDT out of the corner that almost won the match. Hayze replies with forearms as she rebuilt momentum, following in with a Slingblade for a near-fall, before a superkick and a Fisherman suplex gets a near-fall. Another superkick is caught as Nyte looked to counter with a rolling neckbreaker, but it’s still not enough as Hayze came right in with another forearm before Rosie went night-night with a leg lariat to the back of the head. A fun, brief match given how little notice they had – Hayze has looked good in her EVE outings to date. **¾

EVE Tag Team Championship: Jetta & Viper vs. The Woke Queens (Debbie Keitel & Valkyrie) (c)
This was the Woke Queens’ first defence of the EVE tag titles, having won them a fortnight earlier after Jetta and Erin Angel had to vacate the belts as Erin announced that she was pregnant… and this show was a one-off return for the brief EVE champion Viper, four months after her departure at WrestleQueendom 2.

The Woke Queens were ready for Hallowe’en, out with painted faces as spooky bellhops? There’s shenanigans as Viper gets “Derek”, her “emotional support dinosaur” out to scare the champions… Viper says he’s here to “help them win the match,” which she demonstrated, by belting Debbie Keitel in the head with him. Jetta joins in by egging on a dance-off, featuring, erm, an assisted Spinaroonie before a spot of Dirty Dancing. The match finally gets going when the Woke Queens attacked their challengers from behind, but they’re overwhelmed as Jetta then asked Viper to show off some moves for her, thinking her “lack of movez” was the reason why she wasn’t winning. How very mid 00s indie!

The bell’s not gone, but I guess this is all official, as Viper shows off a slam and a back senton on Valkyrie… but Jett needed help doing it to Keitel. A cannonball’s next, with Valkyrie eating one from Viper, who then proceeded to “show” Jetta one on Keitel too. I think this is what they call “learned helplessness”, as Jetta proceeded to hit something close to a cannonball. Things turn around as Keitel low bridges Viper to the outside, allowing the champions to double-team Jetta as they proceeded to set up Jetta for the Woke Elbow – a double-team elbow drop. It’s enough for a near-fall, but Jetta gets inspiration from there as she had Keitel on the mat for a People’s Princess Elbow, which lands.

That angers Valkyrie, who’s slung into the ring… before a fight back backfired as Valkyrie went up top and hit a crossbody into Keitel by mistake. Viper tags in to clear house, dropping Valkyrie with a clothesline, then Keitel with a slam as the champions got another taste of the back senton, with Viper following in with a diving crossbody for a near-fall. Another slam from Viper’s saved as Keitel pulls Valkyrie away, before the pair double-teamed the Scotswoman with kicks and a suplex. Viper crawls into the corner and tags “Derek”, who Valkyrie snatches away before she was “snapmared”. Nobody show this to Jim, okay? Keitel has the same treatment with a ‘rana, before Derek dove onto them on the outside.

Three more dives follow as this got beyond silly, before Viper hurled her emotional support animal one more time. That led to the referee “ejecting” the dinosaur, which made him the second heel on this show. Back in the ring, we’ve a Parade of Moves, ending with Viper dropping Keitel with a headbutt… but the Woke Queens recover as they hit the old Cryme Tyme fireman’s carry/neckbreaker combo for a near-fall. “Derek” is back and attacking the ref. In amid the confusion, the match continues, with Keitel hitting a backbreaker ot Jetta, while Valkyrie added a Woke Note flying legdrop for the pin. This got way too silly for its own good at times, but the Woke Queens got the expected title defence given Viper’d not been announced for any further dates beyond this. **

EVE’s debut in Manchester, all consider, was a fun show – but one that shone a light on some issues that the promotion (and to a wider extent, the entire indie scene) faces. On this entire card, there was only one out-and-out baddie, in the form of Nina Samuels – with the promotion’s main faction nowhere to be seen on this show, as good as the in-ring was, things seemed to be almost an exhibition without wider storylines having any obvious tie-ins. Something that at least would have been mitigated with the fun of booing the obvious bad guys…