See what we did there? We’re wrapping up our reviews for this year on New Year’s Eve with a look at a monumental card from Pro Wrestling EVE earlier this year.
March 20th saw the promotion run for the first time in London – and indeed, become the first all-women’s show in the English capital – headlining with a best-of-3-falls, no DQ match for the EVE championship between Nikki Storm (now NXT’s Nikki Cross) and Rhia O’Reilly. We’ve actually got commentary for this show, which is a nice surprise after watching a load of shows without it recently!
Dragonita vs. Psycho Lolita
An even start here as both women tried going for pinfalls early on with backslides and roll-ups, as the commentator filled us in on Psycho Lolita’s background under previous gimmicks as Janey B and Janey Brittanico…
After taking a breather outside, Lolita punches on the downed Dragonita, then chokes her in the ropes, using a t-shirt for extra effect. Dragonita tries to push away from a front chancery, but gets taken down again and eventually into the corner for a chop – a chop that briefly fires up Dragonita into a series of lariats.
Dragonita’s falling slam gets her a near-fall, but her attempt at a powerbomb is thwarted as Lolita adjusts her mask, unsighting the Spaniard as she then fell into a tiltawhirl crossface for the submission. A decent, by-the-numbers opener – a good, old-school way to get things going! **½
Dahlia Black vs. Tennessee Honey
Dahlia was out with her boyfriend TK Cooper, in full on South Pacific Power Couple mode. Tennessee Honey is pretty much a mainstay in IPW:UK, and is a two-time women’s champion there.
Tennessee worked around Dahlia with a hammerlock early on, grounding her as she tried to ride the Kiwi like a bucking Bronco, before Black hit back with a kick to the back. A second kick’s ducked as Honey gets a roll-up for a near-fall, then sends Dahlia out of the corner with a monkey flip.
TK Cooper gets involved as he tripped Honey as she went for a springboard off the middle rope, and Dahlia took over from there, with extra added help from TK. That helped Dahlia hit a running double knee strike for a near-fall, which somehow prompted chants of “where’s my marsupial?”
Honey hit back with a bulldog for a two-count, but Black took her back into the corner for some leaping knee strikes. A third one misses as Tennessee Honey catches and drills her with a powerbomb, then a neckbreaker for another near-fall. Black blocks a discus lariat and takes down the Peckham cowgirl for a moonsault… but Dahlia misses and takes the vicious lariat as the Tennessee Honey picks up the win. **½
Addy Starr vs. Pollyanna
Addy swerves Pollyanna at the start with a roll-up instead of an offered hug – before Polly issued a receipt, then Matrix’d out of a clothesline attempt in the opening moments.
They both went for some “haha” stuff as the two friends seemed shocked at the tricks the other were pulling, including a series of kneedrops from Polly onto Addy for just a one count. A release Northern Lights suplex gets Addy a near-fall as she took over, fighting to take up Pollyanna in an STF position that ended with a nasty curb stomp for a two-count.
Pollyanna makes a comeback from a butterfly lock, and dumps Starr on her head with an Exploder, getting a near-fall as Addy grabbed the bottom rope. Starr replied with some chops, then a Stretch Muffler that almost forced a submission, but Polly switched it into a roll-up for another near-fall.
Addy flattens Pollyanna with a double kneedrop as Polly was draped across the middle turnbuckle – but Starr pulls her up at two so she could do the same again, off the top rope. Pollyanna gets out though and returns the favour with a double stomp through the corner for a near-fall for herself.
Pollyanna goes for some kicks, but one’s caught as Addy lifted her up into a powerbomb for another two. The end came when a Samoan driver from Pollyanna gets a two, before Polly finally got the win with a belly-to-back piledriver. More good stuff here, although my word that Exploder hurt my head just watching it! **¾
After the match, Pollyanna and Addy hugged it out – for real this time – as it was announced that this would probably be the last time the two would wrestle each other…
Courtney vs. April Davids
Both women check kicks early on, before they finally tied up, as Courtney took the advantage with a Fisherman’s suplex out of the corner for an early near-fall. Davids countered with a series of Judo-like throws, as the story seemed to be that Davids was able to grapple with Courtney, but had little response to Courtney’s striking game – as evidenced by a headkick! Courtney went for a cross body, but it was caught and turned into a fallaway slam for a near-fall.
The pair traded forearms out of the corner, before Courtney caught a clothesline and dropped Davids with a roundhouse kick for another two-count. A backdrop driver turned the tables, but a cross armbreaker was thwarted as Courtney was too close to the ropes – and that set off an attempt at a comeback as Courtney went for a half nelson suplex, only for Davids to work free and get the cross armbreaker again for the tap-out. A fine outing, with a solid story behind it – and who doesn’t love striking vs. grappling? **¾
The Owens Twins (Kasey Owens & Leah Owens) vs. Zoe Lucas & Jetta
The Owens had mystery opponents here, and in Zoe Lucas, the crowd had someone who I don’t think they recognised… her partner was certainly recognised, or at least the replacement, as Jetta’s appearance seemed to shock the Owens Twins. Jetta was making a return to in-ring competition after over four years away, and she started by grabbing Kasey in a headlock, before a sunset flip gets a near-fall for the Coventry native.
Some rolling suplexes from Jetta ends with a Fisherman’s suplex before Leah broke the cover at the count of two. That gets both Owens a slap, and a noggin knocker before Zoe Lucas came in for her first action in an EVE ring… which was an armbar takedown on Kasey. A cartwheel into a forearm sees Lucas keep Kasey in the corner, before Leah trips her as the Owens look to cheat their way back into the match.
A double hiptoss knocked Lucas down for a near-fall, as Leah stood on her hair to add extra pain for an arm stretch. The Owens made sure to keep the inexperienced Lucas in the ring, and a German suplex made sure that she was more likely to get pinned than tag out. Kasey gets a one-count from a legdrop, before Lucas knocked her down with a spinning back kick.
More tags brings in Jetta and Leah, with the latter being set up in a Tree of Woe, before Kasey was kicked to the mat… and placed in another Tree of Woe too. They both get dropkicked, before Jetta lands a back cracker and a camel clutch X katahajime to force the submission. Very good stuff when Jetta was in the ring, showing her in-ring experience – as she tried to coax Zoe Lucas away from the cheerleading shtick. **½
Nixon Newell vs. Kay Lee Ray
They started off on fire as they looked for early pins and dropkicks, as we ended with a stand-off! Newell nicely reversed a wristlock as they kept it slow and deliberate.
More back-and-forth pins saw them trade near-falls, before Newell countered the KLR Gory Bomb with a sunset flip to spark another series of reversing pins. Not to be undone, they blasted into each other with kicks, before tying each other up with a duelling superkick that required some negotiation so they could stand on their own two feet again.
Newell surprised Kay Lee with an enziguiri, then a Welsh Destroyer, but Kay Lee quickly rolled to the floor to prevent a pinfall. Nixon tried to follow her out there, but ate a kick to the head as she went for a dive, then returned the favour with a forearm smash as Kay Lee tried to go for a tope. Both women ended up outside, where Kay Lee used the lighting rig for a 619-like kick to Newell, before Newell threw her opponent into the wall… then used a fan to act as a chair for Kay Lee… who was then kicked off of him. Yep, that wasn’t something I was expecting!
A ‘rana on the floor takes down Newell, who then replies by throwing Kay Lee into the wall – something which really left a mark and forced Newell to go and hide behind a curtain! She then leaps off a window ledge with a Thesz press, before going back to the ring to finally land that tope. Kay Lee returns the tope, before taking the match back into the ring where she ends up taking a superplex.
Another Welsh Destroyer followed from Newell, except time it was blocked as Kay Lee went for – and overshot – a moonsault, before springboarding over Newell into the path of a superkick and a German suplex for a two-count. A Codebreaker gets Newell another two-count, before the end came when a Welsh Destroyer was backdropped out of, with Kay Lee hitting a Gory bomb and a top rope senton bomb for the win. This was something special – Newell and Ray never seem to disappoint when they’re paired off with each other. ***½
Blue Nikita vs. Shanna
Like most of the roster here, both of these women have wrestled extensively throughout Europe, and have since had runs with STARDOM in Japan… Shanna’s even had a cup of coffee with TNA, courtesy of a try-out on their UK tour in 2014.
We had an even start here as Shanna tried to take down Nikita with a shoulder tackle, but came up short as she finally scored a takedown with some flying headscissors. Nikita kicks down Shanna, then blasted her with a back senton for an early two-count, then followed up with an over-the-knee backbreaker submission. Blue Nikita keeps on top of Shanna with a legdrop for another near-fall, before the two went back and forth with chops and forearms. Increasingly-loud chops, too.
Nikita backed Shanna into a corner to block a Dragon suplex, then looked to chain together a knee lift into a backslide, before opting for a backslide to get a near-fall. Shanna finally hits back with a rolling elbow off the ropes, but again she was cut-off as Nikita caught her on the top rope, only for “Portugal’s Perfect Athlete” to knock her back and then drill her to the mat with a double stomp for another near-fall.
Again Nikita tries for a finish, but an Alabama Slam’s switched into a Code Red as Shanna gets a near-fall, before Nikita’s Samoan drop gets her a near-fall too. Another Samoan drop is countered with a DDT, then a Dragon suplex from Shanna, but Nikita pops up and hits the Sunset Driver (belly-to-back piledriver) for the win. That was pretty amazing stuff – and so it should for the semi-main! ***½
Shanna stayed down after the match – with Nikita fake apologising and taking extra swipes at her with her foot as she finally rolled out the outside. Nikita then took the microphone and issued a challenge to Manami Toyota – a challenge that took the Hackney crowd by surprise (and a match that eventually happened in EVE in November 2016…). There was also a challenge to someone “like Shanna, who wears blue, and uses my finishing move” – it was a challenge to Pollyanna, who came out and was browbeaten.
Nikita accused Pollyanna of stealing her colours and her finisher, but Addy Starr rushed out to make the save before things got too violent. In the end, Addy just seemed to wind up Nikita even more – before Nikita left as Pollyanna got put over some more to end what I think would have built up a future match?
Best-two-of-three-falls, no-disqualification for the Pro Wrestling EVE Championship: Rhia O’Reilly vs. Nikki Storm (c)
Jenny Sjödin was wheeled out as the special enforcer for this one, billed as her final-ever appearance at a wrestling show.
Storm posed with the belt extensively before the match to wind up O’Reilly, and they start with plenty of forearms in a more violent version of the old ECW catfight. They quickly end up on the apron, trading strikes as Storm drops O’Reilly onto the apron with a neckbreaker, before hitting a swinging Fisherman’s neckbreaker to get a flash pin.
With Storm 1-0 ahead, she kept on top of O’Reilly – no break periods here then – taking her into the corner for some more strikes. O’Reilly powerbombed her out of the corner for a near-fall, then picked her up for a Finlay roll and a back senton to pick up another two-count. Storm took a curb stomp then went to the outside in a bad move, as Rhia dived off the apron, before a suplex attempt was blocked with Storm dropping her Irish foe on the wooden floor instead.
O’Reilly fired back by shoving Storm into the ring post, but the Scotswoman used Jenny Sjödin as a human shield to get a breather as the pair eventually fought up towards the bar, forcing the publicans to clear the bar of anything breakable. They continued to fight around the crowd, including among the few chairs at ringside, before they returned to the ring as O’Reilly used a rope-hung DDT on the champion. Storm again came back and tried to snatch the win with a roll-up with some feet on the ropes, before Rhia scored the equalising fall after the Rhia-djustment DDT.
Storm started the third fall by raking Rhia’s eyes, then hit another Fisherman’s neckbreaker… but this time O’Reilly was able to kick out. She followed that up with a super Cyclone (swinging neckbreaker with O’Reilly’s feet off the top rope) for another near-fall, which further angered Storm, who then rolled outside to grab her belt. With no DQs, the belt shot was legal, but Rhia again kicked out… so Nikki blasted the referee with the belt in response.
Jenny Sjödin stared on from ringside as Storm looked to make the most of the downed referee (in a no-DQ match!), but O’Reilly used the belt on Storm before getting a visual pinfall from a DDT. Sjödin rolled in to replace the referee, just as O’Reilly placed the champion in a crossface, then the Irish Storm (Rings of Saturn) to force the submission – Rhia wins the title, and sends Nikki Storm off to America without a title. Pretty good stuff, even if the finish looked to confuse some of the crowd, but a fine way to cap off a historic show. ***½
After the match, Nikki Storm took the microphone and said that after the end of this war, she had no idea what’d happen next. What did happen was simple: they went to the bar for some celebratory drinks!
As the first EVE show I’ve ever seen, this was pretty good – sure, some of the early stuff was basic, but that’s one of the basics of wrestling: start slow, and build to a crescendo. Not just in matches, but in your card too. Great stuff – and if you can get hold of this on DVD (Pro Wrestling EVE have very limited copies left), then its worth your cash!