We had debuts, returns and a new contender as another loaded line-up hit the Resistance Gallery as EVE presented Global Women Strike 2.

The follow-up to last September’s Global Women Strike, the show was headlined with Emi Sakura cashing in her shot at Nina Samuels’ title. Hey, they re-edited the opening video! We’re straight into introductions, as Emily Read tells us there’s a number one contender’s tournament for the EVE title… Dann Read and Rhia O’Reilly are on commentary.

Semi-Final: Jetta vs. Kay Lee Ray
I don’t think they announced this before the show, so it’d have been nice to have something to have mentioned live… Jetta has a pre-show promo telling us her tournament record isn’t great, but the law of averages mean that tonight is her night. Jetta then talks about what happened with Millie McKenzie and Charli Evans last month, and it looks like Jetta and Erin Angel are on a collision course with them. Complete with double entendres!

It’s a comedy outing as we start with Jetta trying to figure out how to do a Gory Bomb, before she tried to remember how Nina Samuels beat Kay Lee Ray. After racking her memory, Jetta goes under the ring for a chair, but she gives her own game away as this was more sitcom material than “serious wrestling.” More memories took us to Jetta trying to play Connect Four, since “that’s how Viper won”, before Jetta called up to the “wrestling Gods” and received… a deck of cards. Oh God, we’re getting live cardio! Nope, Jetta just plays 52 Card Pick-Up, throwing the cards at Kay Lee Ray as she got a two-count out of it.

Kay Lee Ray’s right back with a superkick, before a Gory Bomb’s countered with a roll-up for another two-count. Hey, actual wrestling! The comedy continues as Jetta goes running, only to get stopped as Kay Lee Ray just forearms away some World of Sport stuff. A stomp to the foot works for Jetta, following up with a Stranglehold neckbreaker into a Jetta lock, but they were in the ropes from the off, so we get a quick break.

Jetta unwisely starts a chopping battle, and quickly learns the error of her ways, which led to her declaring it was her final match. Yeah, it’s a ruse, but again Kay Lee Ray kicks out and lands a Gory Bomb for a near-fall. A Northern Lights suplex keeps Kay Lee Ray ahead after she’d had to absorb a kick to the head, before another Gory Bomb proved to be enough. Well, this started out with a healthy dose of comedy, but when we got the wrestling it was fine, albeit short. **¼

We’ve a post-match promo as Emily interviewed Kay Lee Ray about “who you’d want to face for the title?” Steady on, Kay Lee Ray’s only in the final! Kay She’s got no preference since there’s beef with Nina, and a monkey on the back as Kay Lee’s not beaten Emi Sakura… but that just prompts Charlie Morgan to the ring for… reasons. Which was Charlie challenging Kay Lee Ray, seemingly fed up of the comparisons, and because she needs Kay Lee Ray to win the title so she can get another shot. Except Kay Lee Ray just blows off Charlie’s challenge, so I guess she really is bottom of the list!

Semi-Final: Laura di Matteo vs. Mercedes Martinez
Laura was originally due to be facing Jordynne Grace here, but “plans change” and so she’s in the tournament, against the debuting-in-EVE Mercedes Martinez.

Martinez takes the match to the mat from the off, but Laura’s able to go move-for-move, reversing a wristlock before catching Martinez in some body scissors. Except Mercedes easily slips free… More back-and-forth led to Laura catching Martinez in a front facelock, then in a hammerlock, then finally headscissors that Mercedes rolled free of as she slapped di Matteo. Taking Laura into the ropes, Martinez blasts her with forearms before a series of arm drags led to a bodyscissor roll-up as Laura managed to get back in. A springboard from Laura’s cut-off in mid-air as Mercedes knocked her to the apron as commentary made me wonder… is consenting to murder the same as assisted suicide?

Mercedes continues to rough up di Matteo in the ropes, blocking an attempted fight back with a stalling suplex, dropping di Matteo to the mat for a near-fall. Second time was the charm as Laura hit back with some clotheslines and headscissors, then with an enziguiri before she got caught on the top rope with a swinging neckbreaker for another near-fall. A Fisherman Buster attempt from Martinez gets countered into a small package as a tornado DDT nearly nicks the win for Laura, before a grounded Octopus was escaped from as Martinez wrenches away on Laura’s legs with a modified leg lock… Laura rolls free again, wrenching away on Martinez’s wrist, before Mercedes got free and cracked Laura in the head with a knee.

A knee so hard that Dann glitched out on commentary, no less.

From there, a choke bomb dumped Laura for a near-fall, before she slipped out of another Fisherman Buster and DDT’s Martinez instead. A missile dropkick followed as Laura almost took the win, before another grounded Octopus nearly forced a submission… except Martinez slips out herself and traps di Matteo in a Romero special/Dragon sleeper for the submission. This was a fun ground-based match, as Martinez gave Laura her first submission loss in EVE… now where do you go from there? ***½

So it’s Kay Lee Ray vs. Mercedes Martinez in the final. Emily asks her the same question about who she’d want to face for the title… which gets a derisive “who?” as she vowed to win the title.

Yuu vs. Viper
This was Viper’s first appearance in EVE since she dropped the International Championship to Utami Hayashishita in STARDOM. That news drew some groans…

We’ve a bit of a measured start, as Viper backed Yuu into the corner before a headlock takedown was countered as Yuu switched into a cross armbreaker, only for that to be countered as Viper rolled into a leg grapevine and back to her feet as… Yuu goes back to the headlock. A shoulder tackle from Yuu doesn’t budge Viper, who also resists the Judo throw as instead Yuu took her down with a cross armbreaker that ended when Viper rolled into the ropes.

Yuu stays on top of Viper with a chinbar, but the Scotswoman escapes with a snapmare and flattened her with a crossbody splash for a near-fall. A Cobra clutch is next from Viper, who swung Yuu around into a lariat for another two-count, only for Yuu to mount a comeback, spinning Viper into a sidewalk slam. Her back senton misses though, unlike Viper’s as the former Princess Of Princess champion was back in trouble.

Some shots dropped Yuu to the mat, but Viper’s not looking for a cannonball… instead, she drags Yuu away for a Vader bomb, but Yuu rolls away! Yuu instantly retaliated with a shotgun dropkick, but she couldn’t capitalise, as both women got back to their feet and slugged away with forearm sand chops. Oof. Double oof. Triple oof. I’m done. In the end, Viper just headbutts Yuu to change the pace, sending her into the corner… but a cannonball misses. Unlike Yuu’s. Viper kicks out from it though, only to run into the Judo throw as Yuu makes me wish I’d learned how to spell the katahajime without going to Google. Viper gets her feet to the ropes to save herself, before she fights out of a powerbomb, returning with a headbutt and a Saito suplex, taking Yuu into the corner for the cannonball as the Vader/Viper bomb proved to be enough… except Yuu got her hand to the rope!

From the kick-out, Yuu slips out of a Viper Driver and puts the katahajime back on, but after Viper took her back into the corner, she’s met with another cannonball before the Viper Driver gets the win. An enjoyable slugfest which showed another side of Yuu – especially compared to the rest of her tour of Europe so far. If you’ve not been sold on her, watch this! ***½

Erin Angel’s introduced for the next match, but she’s beaten down by Millie McKenzie and Charli Evans in the ring. Jetta chases them away as Rhia O’Reilly left commentary to tend to Erin, who was due to have wrestled Mary Apache. Dann maybe over-eggs the concern on commentary before leaving as Charlie Morgan also came downstairs to help.

Out of nowhere, Jinny’s music plays… and she makes her way down the stairs. She’d lost a Loser Leaves Town match to Shotzi Blackheart in December, but there’s an out… after some verbal barbs to Rhia, Jinny had some footage be played, showing that her foot was on the rope when she was pinned. So apparently, the referee’s decision wasn’t final, and Jinny challenges Rhia to a singles match when she’s fit. Rhia’s response? To welcome back Jinny and give her the match Erin should have had…

Jinny vs. Mary Apache
I’m so used to watching lucha with over-dubbed music, I was caught completely off guard hearing “We Will Rock You”.

There’s little respect shown from Jinny as she boots away an offer of a handshake before a tentative lock-up saw Apache work a wristlock, taking Jinny to the mat for an inverted bow-and-arrow hold. Rhia returns to commentary as they hand-wave her return, instead watching on as Jinny’s caught in a STF. After getting free, Jinny’s taken into the corner for a series of chops, before she superkicked Jinny away in the corner. A Romero special’s next, with Jinny being rocked all over the place before Apache let Jinny go and rolled her into a deathlock STF. Ow. Jinny’s forced to drag herself to the rope, but Apache keeps putting the boots to her before she ran into a forearm.

More forearms followed from Jinny, who then tripped Apache into a seated surfboard, before she let go, repositioned Apache and rolled into a camel clutch. Jinny keeps up with forearms and a back rake, only for Apache to rebound with a superkick, then a hook kick as Jinny had to get to the ropes to save herself, before a rolling Kimura trapped Jinny upside down… but yet again, she rolled into the rope to free herself.

Another forearm from Jinny’s replied to in kind as Jinny eventually knocked Apache down for a two-count, before she trapped her in a leg grapevine. Apache makes the ropes to get free, before a camera zoom masks another shot as a powerbomb from Apache almost got her the win. From there, Jinny comes back by driving Apache into the turnbuckles, before an axe kick led to yet another near-fall. A spinning heel kick just about catches Jinny, who then eats a Michinoku Driver… and that’s enough for Apache to get the win. This was fine, but I think the surprise return of Jinny kinda had the crowd more split than they should have been. ***

The Medusa Complex (Charli Evans & Millie McKenzie) vs. Heidi Katrina & Martina
Evans and McKenzie, who were a thrown-together team last month, have been branded as the Medusa Complex. One of the definitions on Wikipedia tells me that a Medusa Complex is the by-product of a conflict between an idealised, perfect state and the actual reality of one’s feelings and emotion… which may sum this up perfectly.

Jetta joins commentary here, and the match starts with Millie McKenzie getting a ticking off from her “mum”. Millie sold the threat of getting grounded, before she was bent over Martina’s knee for some RSPCC-inducing spanking. I’m not sure your fresh new villains should be thrown into comedy this early (if ever), but what do I know? Millie refuses to stay in “time out” and instead charges at Martina with forearms, before Charli tagged in and worked over Martina’s arm. Well, it is a solid tactic – keeping Heidi Katrina on the apron. A trapped-arm armbar from Evans led to a pinning predicament, with Martina kicking out at two before she found her way back in with forearms and chops.

There’s a headbutt too as the parental abuse continued, with a clothesline leaving both women on the mat. Tags bring in Evans and Katrina, with the latter landing a fallaway slam before she dropkicked Millie to the outside. A Giant swing is next for Millie, then a Boston crab as Katrina looked to get the submission, but instead the hold’s broken as all four women hit the ring. Martina has trouble lifting up Charli Evans… and when she does, the Australian slips out as we looked to get some Bronco busters. Nah, that backfires as Katrina’s thrown outside, so the bad guys can focus on Martina once more… at least until some headbutts stop all that. A blind tag’s made to Katrina, who dumps Millie with a butterfly suplex for a two-count, before a missed double-springboard Seshbreaker accidentally took out Katrina.

From there, some short-clotheslines from Charli weaken Katrina before Millie’s cutter ends up being enough for the win. I was fully expecting Martina to take the loss here, but this was a good outing for the defacto number one contenders to the yet-to-exist EVE tag team championships. ***¼

After the match, Martina disowned Millie before she had some news for March’s show… she’s got a friend coming with her. It’s her fellow Oedo Tai member… Jamie Hayter. Hmm, something tells me those two may not get along in the EVE universe. Martina celebrates, but there’s another interruption: spooky music, as the name SU YUNG flashes up on the video screen.

It’s not a tease for later – Su Yung’s here! Su stares down Martina in the ring before she’s saved by Charlie Morgan. Not sure why… because, fearless?

Su Yung vs. Charlie Morgan
Dann Read on commentary speaks like this was the booked match, but Su was meant to be a surprise?

Su chops Charlie in the head from the off, as she was all over the former EVE champion, at least until Charlie hit back, taking her outside before a tope took Su off the apron and into the crowd. Again, because fearless. They brawl for a while on the floor as we go “to the bar!” while commentary filled the dead air, with them describing a door closing as “not a nice sounding thud at all”. Hey, complain to the Resistance if the door’s too loud!

Charlie’s got some chairs, which she throws at Su, before placing Su in a seat ahead of… her throwing beer cans at Su. Slaps are next as commentary are definitely picturing a different match. Fortunately they get back towards the ring as Su hits a cannonball off the apron and into Charlie in a chair. Finally back in the ring, Su gets a two-count from Charlie, so she takes Morgan into a Tree of Woe for some kicks to the back then a hanging neckbreaker. That also gets a two-count, before a back elbow and a sunset flip got Morgan back into it. Briefly at least, as she has to shrug off some stomps before she superkicked Yung for a two-count, with Su getting a hand to the rope.

Kicks from Su, and a headscissors takedown into the corner follow, as Yung continued to pull away on Morgan… then signalled for… the crowd to clear? Yup, she throws Charlie onto the apron, then brought her back in with a rope-hung Pedigree for a near-fall. Frustrated, Su goes for her Kendo stick, swatting Morgan in the ribs with it… only for Charlie to kick it away at the second attempt as she tried to force her way back in.

Morgan looks to springboard back, but she has to go for another superkick before the Ace’s Over DDT left Su laying. Rather than go for a cover, Charlie has a brighter idea, calling for Kay Lee Ray’s Gory Bomb… but Su kicks away the referee and sprays Charlie with mist, before a Samoan driver put away Charlie for the win. An emphatic win, but they painted this as Charlie costing herself the win rather than Su being dominant, but I guess the longer-term storyline is “Charlie’s overthinking”? As for the match… I’m not a fan of brawls in the Resistance Gallery because the room’s too small, and since a lot of this match was brawl-y… **½

Final – Kay Lee Ray vs. Mercedes Martinez
Our impromptu(ish), one-night tournament wraps up here, with Kay Lee Ray initially looking for the arm and wrist of Martinez, who instead retaliated by taking the Scotswoman down to the mat.

The pair go tit-for-tat, looking to find any significant opening, until Martinez caught Kay Lee Ray with some headscissors on the mat… only for Kay Lee Ray to escape and grapevine Martinez’s legs. A rolling cravat took Martinez down for a kick and a two-count, before a Northern lights suplex earned a similar result. From a waistlock, Martinez rolls Ray around the mat before a gutwrench suplex is flipped free from, only for Martinez to take Ray into the corner for a low dropkick that got a near-fall. A butterfly lock is next, as Martinez forces Kay Lee Ray into the ropes, which were then used to choke the Scotswoman as the crowd slowly got on Mercedes’ back.

There’s chops too, but Ray’s back with a tornado DDT, only to get caught on the top rope and brought down with a deadlift stalling suplex. Complete with a roll-through into a second stalling suplex… and a third! Except Kay Lee Ray slips into a guillotine, then a small package, before the pair crash into each other with crossbody blocks. From their knees, Kay Lee and Mercedes trade forearms… then chops, before a springboard spinning heel kick from Ray drew a near-fall. Martinez nearly nicks the win with a wheelbarrow driver, before she followed in with a series of Saito suplexes, then only for Ray to slip out of a Fisherman buster. Instead, Kay Lee switches it into a Gory bomb, but she can’t make the cover quick enough, as Martinez is able to get a foot on the rope once the cover was made.

Kay Lee heads up top after that and lands a senton bomb for a near-fall, with Martinez countering with a crucifix for a near-fall, only for Kay Lee to come right back with a Gory Bomb for the win. Huh. For the “this is awesome” chants this got towards the end, this felt decidedly flat… then again, I’m not a fan of one-night tournaments so maybe that’s my bias souring this. **¾

Martinez got “please come back” chants as it seems we’re not having any post-match promo…

Pro Wrestling EVE Championship: Emi Sakura vs. Nina Samuels (c)
Emi won her title shot at the end of 2018, beating Kay Lee Ray (who ended up getting her title shot first in the 3-way finale at SHE-1). Viper joins Rhia O’Reilly on commentary for this, as Dann’s seemingly disappeared for the second half. By the way, if anyone knows how I can get hold of Emi Sakura’s theme, please reach out!

Before the match, Nina tried to cut a promo… but she was drowned out (and not helped by a mic that wasn’t switched on). Still, she powered on through like a pro…

Emi slaps away a handshake, but gets pulled into a Go To Sleep attempt early on, before the pair traded boots back and forth, only for Sakura to realise that despite catching a boot… she couldn’t exactly hit back with a kick of her own. Short. Nina mocks Emi’s vocal nature as she throws her into the turnbuckles, following through with some headscissors before she missed a knee charge. That opened things up as Emi uses a hair-mare on Samuels, before she dead weighted Nina’s attempt at a German suplex. Emi grabs some more hair before she do-see-do’s the referee into a charging Samuels, as Sakura then worked her way into a knee stomp to Nina.

Samuels hits back by trapping Sakura in the ropes for a dropkick to the back, as we continue to go old-school as Nina raked Emi’s eyes in the rope. Emi tries to fight back, but she’s tripped into the corner as knees to the back get a near-fall… so Nina pulls away on Sakura’s face and neck instead. Another snapmare leads to a Curt Hennig neck-flip for a near-fall, before she shoved Emi into the ropes, hanging her upside down as the knees became a target. Samuels goes for the dropkick again, but this time she misses, as Emi comes back in with a backbreaker and a springboard splash as the tables turned, with Emi paying homage to Mary Apache with a spot of Queen as she charged at Samuels in the corner.

Samuels tries to back body drop Emi away, but she rolls through and hits a Roll the Dice before a low dropkick sent Samuels rolling to the outside. It’s a ruse though, as Samuels is right back in with a slingshot tornillo for a near-fall, before a tiltawhirl backbreaker landed for another two-count. Sakura fights back with palm strikes, only to get caught with a forearm and a big boot as Samuels goes up top, and comes back down with a missile dropkick. Luckily, Emi’s able to get a foot to the rope to keep herself in the match, only for Samuels to come right back with a delayed butterflied slam as we crossed the ten minute mark in the match.

Another trip up top’s stopped by Emi, who went for – and got – a superplex, before she trapped Nina between the ropes and the wall with a crossbody. A Tiger bomb followed for a near-fall, before Sakura crashed and burned on a moonsault, which just inspired Samuels to focus on the knee again, ramming it into the mat as Rhia glitched out on commentary. From there, another Go To Sleep is escaped, but Sakura hits a tiltawhirl backbreaker onto her bad knee, and yet again, Nina begins to target the knee. Samuels takes Sakura into the ropes, ripping down a banner from the wall as she then began to tie the leg to the ropes… Rhia abandons commentary as Nina continued to kick away at Sakura’s leg, all while the referee did nothing to help things. A running boot sends Emi down, as a low dropkick to the knee makes matters worse.

Rhia’s made it to ringside and appears on the apron as Nina complained about how Rhia “stole” her title to so she could have it on a BBC TV appearance. More stomping to the knee then draws Rhia into the ring as she demanded the match be thrown out… and just like that, the match is stopped. I have… several issues with that. As a match, this was fine, but listening on commentary, you got the over-riding feeling that they were building to a Samuels/O’Reilly match once Rhia’s back… something that should keep Nina in her role as a good heel, despite the fact that a minority of contrarians is starting to grow… ***

So, what was my issue with the main event? At the risk of being seen as cynical, I really didn’t like the “Rhia makes the same for Emi Sakura” part of the match, particularly watching on the VOD with commentary that perhaps went a little too over the top with the “subtlety hammer” with Emi’s knee injury in the match? I get that they want to keep O’Reilly in and around the scene while she recovers from her own knee injury, but (for my money) it seems to be serving to only portray Rhia as more of a busybody than anything else. I’m not saying Rhia should disappear completely – if EVE don’t want to go back to having her as a match maker at ringside for every show, then putting her on commentary is a perfect substitute… but keeping Rhia constantly around, making saves just feels odd. Remember the pops babyfaces have gotten in the past upon their return from injury? Those pops and surprises wouldn’t have been as huge had they been all over the show during their time off…

Aside from that, Global Women Strike 2 was a solid show from EVE as they continue their path to WrestleQueendom 2 at York Hall this summer. As it stands, all we have booked is Jamie Hayter challenging for an EVE championship, and the Medusa Complex team of Charli Evans and Millie McKenzie challenging to become the first EVE tag team champions, along with a still to-be-detailed involvement with STARDOM, which I’d wager will feature the return of their International championship!