The final show before SHE-1 saw EVE crown their first ever International champion as the Resistance Gallery played host to a one-night tournament.
Originally scheduled to be held over the Strong Women Style shows in late September, EVE made the call to push the tournament back due to logistical issues. Although only one semi-final had been announced for September, none of the originally announced entrants were in the rescheduled tournament, with Charlie Morgan, Toni Storm and Killer Kelly otherwise engaged at a NXT UK taping, while Kay Lee Ray was placed into a non-tournament match with Emi Sakura.
Add in that announced import Command Bolshoi was a late drop-out, while Rhia O’Reilly and Millie McKenzie (or should that be MILLIE) were on tour in Japan, and this was a very changed roster. For those wondering, we’re watching the initial upload of the show that came without commentary, in case they add another version with Dann saying something silly…
Pro Wrestling EVE International Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Kasey vs. Addy Starr
Kasey’s gotten another new nickname this month: the Truth Teller.
Kasey jumps Starr at the bell and throws her down to the mat in a bid to end the match early, before a snapmare led to some stomps that targeted the Canadian’s shoulder. Starr mounted a fightback, eventually getting herself in with a cravat and some knees that rocked Kasey… with some forearms by the ropes not helping her either! A running knee to the midsection cuts off Addy briefly, but she’s quickly back with a capture suplex that took Kasey into the corner. Starr keeps up on her with a running forearm, but Kasey’s quickly back with a clothesline for a near-fall, before she went back to work on the shoulder, using a cross armbar that forces an eventual rope break.
More pressure’s put on the arm and shoulder, but Addy gets free… only to run into another boot as the match went back-and-forth for a spell, leading to Kasey taking a Diamond Dust out of the corner. Very Masato Tanaka-y. A cannonball followed, but Addy can’t take advantage quickly enough, and after kicking out Kasey unleashes with another flurry of strikes for a near-fall.
Kasey misses a double knee into the corner… but Addy doesn’t, and she’s able to follow up with a chop block to the knee, before a sliding lariat’s countered into a crucifix pin… and Kasey’s stolen her way to the final! A pretty solid opener, with some good back-and-forth, but it’s Kasey who makes gets the shot at gold later tonight. ***
Pro Wrestling EVE International Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Jetta vs. Viper
A curious pairing here, as we’ve got two crowd favourites going up against each other. Jetta still loses her battle to sing mind you…
First, we’ve got a recap of “previously on EVE”, when Erin Angel helped Jetta beat Nina Samuels at Strong Women Style a few weeks ago… and they replay Jetta and Sammii Jayne “reuniting”, complete with Sad Dann on commentary. Jetta addresses that, calling Sammii her “best friend” and promises to accompany her later in the evening. Jetta shushes Viper to start us off, as she wants to eschew the classic Britwres stuff in favour of her “indy” stuff. So we get flippy stuff that surprises Viper, who takes it to a whole different level with a snapmare and a kick to the back. Indy shit! Jetta tries to return the favour, but Viper rolls through the snapmares before eventually falling back to avoid a kick, before she’s caught in a cross armbar.
Jetta’s gone very indy, with small joint manipulation. Someone watched her Pete Dunne tapes! That just angers Viper, who gets chopped, and replies with some double axes and a big back senton. Ow. A diving splash flattens Jetta for a near-fall, but she’s back with a Codebreaker and an old school bulldog out of the corner that barely got a one-count.
Looking to go super indy, Jetta gets a back senton in… but she still can’t get past the one count, before a Sliced Bread finally gets a two-count… which she celebrates way too early as she stands up from the pin! Viper sarcastically cheers her, then headbutted Jetta into the corner before a cannonball and a Vader bomb got a two-count, with Jetta getting a hand to the rope. We’re still mega indy as Jetta goes for a chicken wing, then a poke to the eye before she’s met with another Viper crossbody. One Viper Driver later, and we’ve got our second finalist. A decent match under the comedy stuff, but there’ll be plenty of people eye-rolling this current form of the Jetta act. I’m not one of them. **¾
Pro Wrestling EVE International Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Zoe Lucas vs. Laura di Matteo
Despite moving on from that character, Zoe Lucas was out in her cheerleader gear, clutching a bottle of orange juice and some tissue paper. No, she’s not got a bloody nose… it’s the dreaded graps flu!
It gets her the nickname “Zoe Mucus”. Who started the match with tissue paper jammed up her nose. Oh God.
Zoe wants it to be over quickly, so she lies down for Laura… but quickly has a coughing fit. Then, for some reason, Laura offers to lay down and give Zoe an easy night, but of course it’s a ruse as the match gets going, with armdrags and body scissors giving Laura a bunch of near-falls. There’s a big dropkick that sent Zoe into the crowd, who scattered, lest they catch her cold. Instead of catching the dive, Zoe just sneezed at Laura and took her back inside for a germ-riddled two-count as things turned around, with Zoe barely getting a two-count out of a running knee.
A boot choke in the corner keeps Laura on the back foot, but she comes back with a Blockbuster after she’d leapt to the top rope. There’s another spinning heel kick from Zoe that knocks di Matteo down for a two-count, as we’re back in the corner for some more conventional choking. Zoe keeps up with forearms in the corner before she’s forced to duck a sneeze as she mounted another comeback, with clotheslines and an enziguiri cutting short the “bless you” chants. Some headscissors take Zoe back into the corner, where before a missile dropkick from Laura finds its mark for a near-fall. After surviving a small package and a Scorpion kick, di Matteo’s caught with a rolling death valley driver, before she shocked Lucas with a grounded Octopus for the instant tap. Decent enough, but I wasn’t thrilled with the back-to-back comedy matches (whether intended as such or not!). As ever, the main issue with these one-night tournaments is that folks usually have to hold something back in at least one of the matches. **½
Pro Wrestling EVE International Championship Tournament – Semi-Final: Sammii Jayne vs. Jordynne Grace
Jetta was out to introduce Sammii – a dynamic that would have gone down well if this wasn’t the first time she was doing it since Sammii’s return from injury.
Grace instantly overpowers Sammii, taking her into the corner kicking and screaming, before the Scotswoman’s bid to play Jordynne at her own game went a little wrong. Jetta’s thrilled at the wrestling on show as Sammii tried to keep hold of a wristlock, only for Grace to flip free of it, before she barges Sammii back down to the mat with a shoulder charge.
Another shoulder tackle connects for a near-fall, but Jetta helps to distract Jordynne as Sammi got a foothold in the match. Sammii puts the boots to Grace, forcing her into the ropes, with the former EVE champion looking pretty comfortable – if not slowly rattled as Grace was kicking out with much authority, to borrow a Gorilla Monsoon-ism. An armbar on the mat gets countered when Grace hiptossed free, as she then followed through with a pair of slams before catching a clothesline and turned it into an attempted pumphandle driver. Sammii stops that, and instead gets clobbered with clotheslines to the front and back, before the pumphandle driver almost got Jordynne the win. The bearhug’s next, but Sammii fights out before she slowly set up Jordynne into the ropes for the Shadowfax baseball slide German suplex.
A slingshot neckbreaker from the apron in gets Sammii a near-fall, before a spinebuster turned it back around as Jordynne collected some two-counts. Some elbowdrops to the lower back keep Grace on track, before it’s back to that bearhug… which Jayne fights out of. She’s taken up top by Grace, who looked for a Muscle Buster before she instead settled for the Ric Flair press slam to bring down Sammii. Erin Angel appears and accidentally distracts the referee as Jetta clocked Jordynne with a chain. So Erin takes matters into her own hands, hitting Sammii with a frog splash before draping Jordynne onto her – almost getting caught by the referee – for the win. Sorta-wonky finish aside (just don’t look, Tom!), this was a pretty solid match, perhaps the best of the semis? ***
Post-match, Sammii Jayne beat down Erin Angel, before Jetta pulled her away. Sammii’s irate, and shoves down Jetta too, before those two got into a shoving battle. Erin got back to her feet and went after Sammii, as did Jetta, and it seems that the warring friends finally have a common enemy! The Wrestle Friends are back together!
SHE-1 Qualifier: Jamie Hayter vs. Little Miss Roxxy
It’s an EVE debut for Roxxy, who’s been working fairly regularly across the UK, even if Defiant barely use her these days.
Once we get going, Hayter looked to get the upper hand with a wristlock, but Roxxy’s able to roll out as the pair go back and forth with some grounded action. A drop toe hold and a front headlock looked to have Roxxy free, but she’s quickly caught in another wristlock, before she burst into life with some armdrags.
Hayter trips Roxxy, but she bridges out of the cover as the back-and-forth continued until a dropkick sends Hayter to the outside. Jamie tries to drag Roxxy into a splits, but much like Zoe Lucas before, it doesn’t hurt because she’s able to do that normally! They brawl through the crowd as we got a guided tour of where the toilets are in the Resistance… but the cameraman doesn’t follow them as Dann just waits outside like he’s in desperate need of a pee.
The two emerge from the loos with Hayter having a mouthful of toilet paper… but Jamie hits back using a bottle of water as a weapon, only to get whipped into the toilet walls again. There’s a double stomp off the bar from Roxxy as the back and forth continues some more, which led to Jamie getting enough distance to head under the bar for some plunder. Out comes the EVE chair, which Roxxy’s thrown into as Jamie returned to the ring… but only so she could try a dive. Roxxy just throws the chair at her face, which will teach her!
They brawl up onto the stairs, where Roxxy stretches Hayter through the hand rails, and finally they’re back in the ring as referee Tom Scarborough had long eschewed any semblance of rules. Especially when Jamie found a Singapore cane from somewhere and battered Roxxy with it… before Roxxy came back with a bigger Singapore cane. I’m having flashbacks to the Simpsons with the aliens, boards and nails…
In the end, Jamie smashes her Singapore cane over Roxxy, as both women crumbled into the corners, before charging at each other once again. Roxxy scores with a modified headscissor takedown before charging at Hayter in the corner, ahead of a dropkick through a chair as Roxxy went all RVD on us. It’s only enough for a near-fall though, before Roxxy went for a ‘rana… and got powerbombed sort of onto a chair for another two-count as Hayter found her stride. Roxxy tries to hit back with a Scorpion kick and Code Red, but Hayter kicks out at two, before Roxxy heads up top in a bid to finish it… but she’s caught with a superplex, which Hayter rolled through into a Falcon arrow that turned into a Steiner Screwdriver. Holy christ… One curb stomp on a chair later, and Jamie Hayter qualified for SHE-1. I may not be a fan of wild brawls in the Resistance, but this was a hell of a spirited showing for Roxxy – who better not be one and done here, because this was probably the best I’ve seen her. ***¼
Jamie Hayter cut a promo after the match, saying that she still had some beef to settle with Kris Wolf. Well, I made the meat pun, not her. She hoped that they end up in the same block, and what do you know… they’re in separate blocks. I’m guessing that is a tease for the finals, or at least a match for later down the road.
Kay Lee Ray vs. Emi Sakura
The stipulation here was that if Emi Sakura beat Kay Lee Ray, then Sakura would get a shot at the EVE title at February’s Global Women Strike 2 show.
This was Emi’s first time back at EVE since WrestleQueendom earlier in the year – but given that she won 3CW’s vacated women’s title earlier this weekend, you’d have to think she’ll be hopping back on a flight to the UK in a little less time this go around. After slapping away the offer of a handshake, we start with Emi having her wrist worked over, but they go back and forth on each other’s arm, before swapping full nelsons… which Emi danced her way out of… ending up with a doe see doe with referee Tom Scarborough, that turned into a convenient clothesline on Kay Lee Ray!
Sakura follows up with some Mongolian chops and a hair ‘mare, sending the Scotswoman across the ring, before a quick turnaround saw Ray bring the match down into a striking battle. There’s hard forearms to the chest from Sakura, who’s caught with a swinging Flatliner for a near-fall as Kay Lee tried to end things pretty quickly with a Koji clutch… which ends in the ropes. Ray keeps up as she snapmares Sakura out of the corner and into a kick for a near-fall, before Emi was tied up in a bow-and-arrow stretch. There’s a quick flip out for a near-fall, as Sakura found a second wind, pulling Kay Lee into a Romero special, rolling her around the ring before letting go of the stretch.
Emi tries to troll Kay Lee with her own Koji clutch finish, before another submission attempt ended with a rope break. A cross armbar is Emi’s latest attempt, but that too ends in a rope break, so Sakura charges at Kay Lee in the corner with a crossbody… before a second’s countered into a tornado DDT! Kay Lee goes for a guillotine, again ending quickly in the ropes, so she slaps Sakura hard before rolling together a Northern Lights and a front suplex for another two-count.
Kay Lee heads up top… but gets caught and brought down with a superplex before we’re back to the strikes as both women chopped each other. Like a last resort. Out of nowhere, Sakura catches Kay Lee with Cross Rhodes, sending her onto the apron where a crossbody through the ropes almost puts her through the wall… before a Tiger Driver saw Sakura drop Kay Lee in another cross armbar… which ends in the ropes once more.
An instant response comes in the form of a Gory Bomb as Kay Lee catches a kick… but Sakura gets a hand to the ropes for the save, as Kay Lee looked to head for a senton bomb for the finish… only to land in another cross armbar. Kay Lee tries to roll out of it for the pin, only for Emi to return fire with a Tiger Driver and a senton of her own for the win! When this hit its groove, this got real good – although with EVE’s “tiering” of the roster, I’m not sure if you can label this as an upset. It certainly makes the title picture a lot more interesting, with her back in the hunt for the EVE title she held so briefly back in 2012/2013. ***½
Pro Wrestling EVE International Championship Tournament – Final: Jordynne Grace vs. Laura di Matteo vs. Kasey vs. Viper
The finals, to crown the inaugural International champion, is under elimination rules here, and from the entrances it’s pretty clear that the “money” is in the Viper/Grace pairing – even if they’d already squared off some six months earlier!
We’ve got about 11 minutes left when we start with Kasey jumping Grace… and getting hiptossed for her troubles as we broke into one big Parade of Moves. There’s a diving crossbody from Viper to Kasey, as we’re left with Grace and Viper face-to-face… but di Matteo stops them with some forearms, before she too is taken care of, with Kasey pulling the Italian to the outside.
Staying in the ring, Viper and Jordynne trade forearms, chops and clotheslines before they fell to a missile dropkick from di Matteo. Kasey’s back too, as she again runs into armdrags and a bodyscissors for a near-fall, with Laura looking to get rid of someone quickly… but a Fisherman’s suplex sent Kasey to the outside, allowing Grace to catch Laura with an O’Connor roll, then a sliding lariat for a pair of one-counts.
Di Matteo hits back with an enziguiri, but then chooses to dive into Kasey back on the outside as the conspicuous catchers were back in action. Laura returned to hit Jordynne with a back cracker, before pulling her down into a grounded Octopus stretch… and it’s a surprising submission as Jordynne Grace tapped! To me, that’s Laura’s biggest win since her undefeated streak was snapped at last year’s SHE-1… but it’s only the first elimination. Our second one quickly follows when Laura reverses a small package and pins Kasey… so we’re down two in a matter of seconds, leaving us with Laura vs. Viper for the big gold belt! Enraged, Kasey tries to suckerpunch Laura, but runs into a forearm from Viper, before she’s yet again turfed to the outside. Thanks for coming!
So, our final two resume with a staredown and a fairly split crowd, before Laura took Viper into the ropes with a dropkick. Di Matteo had to hit and run, scoring with a side Russian legsweep, then a tornado DDT for a near-fall. A missed enziguri left Laura prone for a back senton and a body splash as Viper looked to take over, following up with a lariat that Laura ducks… only to get crashed into with a shotgun dropkick. Oof. A cannonball in the corner misses, allowing Laura to try and capitalise with that grounded Octopus stretch… but she manages to counter out of it and turn it into an Air Raid Crash that plants Laura on the mat. Another back senton misses as Laura goes back to the cross armbar… but Viper powerbombs her way free with ease.
Laura kicks out at two from that, but quickly gets scooped up for a Viper Driver… for another near-fall! From there, Viper decides to head up top as Laura was not moving on the mat… but a big splash off the top misses as Laura heads up herself, only for Kasey to return and shove her down to the mat. It seemed like Kasey was trying to offer help… but she’s just punched out by Viper once more, giving Laura enough time to hit back with a roll-up, two thrust kicks and a DDT as she’s still no nearer the win.
Viper quickly responds with a Saito suplex to put Laura in the corner, before a cannonball and a Viper driver proved to be too much as Di Matteo was left down for the count. A fun sprint of a main event, although I wasn’t too thrilled on Kasey being in the comic relief role given how her entire run as a heel has been thus far. ***¼
Considering the number of roster members who were otherwise unavailable for this show – be it because of commitments with NXT UK, or international bookings, this was a solid show that was a breeze to watch. With SHE-1 around the corner, the result of the International tournament perhaps tips off who isn’t winning (unless EVE are going to load up Viper with the International title and a world title shot… which could be intriguing if Kay Lee Ray beats Charlie Morgan for the belt over SHE-1 weekend!). In spite of the loss of the wrestler the show was named for, Command Attention is worth your time, even if you only go out of your way to see the Hayter/Roxxy outing.