EVE’s first show after WrestleQueendom came with some teases – and a brief return as a champion came back with their gold!

We open with a video package on WrestleQueendom 3, then our usual intro package before finding our first match is going to be the open challenge for the EVE tag titles. Some had been speculating that Jamie Hayter and Bea Priestley – who’d just won the Goddesses of Stardom tag titles – were going to be answering the call… but that was not to be. Commentary comes from Sophia Lang and Bea Priestley. The revolving door continues to spin!

EVE Tag Team Championship: Medusa Complex (Charli Evans & Millie McKenzie) (c) vs. Aleah James & Clementine
It’s a rookie team here, and you can tell the characters aren’t quite as fleshed out as you may like, as we’ve got the default “they like to dance” gimmick that’s seemingly given to every rookie babyface…

We start with Millie and Aleah battling over a side headlock before Charlie Evans’ submission attempt also ended with her nearly getting pinned. The champions share arm wringers before a nonchalant half crab from Charli saw her almost ZSJ herself into the ropes as she was just torturing the “super rookie”.

Finally Aleah gets back with some headscissors before tagging in Clementine… who wanted to dance. Millie encourages her, before Charli snapped her out of it. Clementine pushes on with a crossbody, forcing tags as Charli and Aleah came back in, but again it’s one-way traffic for the most part, at least until Aleah Matrix’s past a clothesline ahead of a ‘rana. Evans shrugs it off though and clears house, before Millie tags in to wear down Aleah once more. Charli’s back to keep up the beating with chops and an eventual STF, which only served to get Aleah acquainted with the ropes yet again. A cravat from Millie takes James to the mat, but again Aleah gets free as Clementine gets the hot tag in.

She nearly slips on the way to a dropkick into the corner, following up with a double bulldog before James was brought back in. That was a little too soon, you’d have to think, but James is able to spike Millie with a satellite DDT for a near-fall. Millie tries to respond with a German suplex, but Aleah rolls her up for a near-fall, then came close again with a crucifix bomb. James looked to have tweaked her leg on the landing, and after Millie tagged out to Charli, the end looked to be nigh as a German suplex from McKenzie proved to be enough for the win. This was harder fought than you’d have expected, but this was also one-sided for the most part. Solid stuff from the newcomers. **¾

Dann Read’s out to explain some card changes… Chakara and Zoe Lucas pulled out with illness, while Gisele Shaw’s not here because she’s blaming their title loss on Sammii Jayne. Instead, EVE give her a title match later tonight, but Dann can’t get the main event out before Laura di Matteo interrupted. She wants to fight Skye Smitson – and after the evening’s first airing of the Uprising’s music, we get the newly-christened quartet down to the ring.

Skye winds up di Matteo and tells her she’ll only fight Laura if her spot in the main event’s put on the line. Laura didn’t need asking twice, so we have a match…

Laura Di Matteo vs. Skye Smitson
Di Matteo fires out of the gates to start us off, tripping up Skye for some ground and pound that forced Smitson to the outside… where Laura’s dive was stopped by Livvii Grace and Nightshade’s appearance on the apron.

That distraction allows Smitson to attack from behind, but Laura’s able to fight back with a crossbody for a near-fall. A Fisherman suplex is blocked as Skye hits a European uppercut, then a suplex of her own before di Matteo trips Skye into the ropes. A dropkick and a release Fisherman suplex is next for a two-count, but Skye cuts it all off with a stomp to the gut. Skye stays on top with a sleeper, only for Laura to get free with clotheslines and headscissors. A tornado DDT’s next for a near-fall, before Livvii and Nightshade get on the apron to distract Laura during a grounded Octopus.

They drag Skye free, which isn’t a DQ because… it’s somehow sporting? It leads to the finish too as Laura goes to knock them off the apron, before she gets rolled up as Skye has her feet on the ropes for the pin. I think that’s Skye’s first win in EVE… and it’s fitting it’s done with a lot of cheating. **½

Mercedez Blaze vs. Nor Diana
Diana was meant to have faced Zoe Lucas in a WrestleQueendom rematch, but illness forced a change.

Blaze has a size advantage on Diana here, which she shows off by taking her into the corner before mockingly patting Nor on the head. Diana returns the favour, then took down Blaze with headscissors and a dropkick, getting just a one-count before she unloaded with chops. A splash in the corner’s avoided, but Blaze couldn’t avoid a neckbreaker as Diana picked up a two-count… only for Mercedez to strike back with a suplex into the corner.

Splashes in the corner from Blaze are next, but Diana gets her feet up… only to get caught on the top rope as a press slam and some running double knees almost ended things. Diana responds with a discus clothesline after rolling through Blaze, then with a crossbody off the top, but a backbreaker from Blaze and a Ligerbomb turns it back around. Blaze pulled up Diana at two, and nearly paid for it as a roll-up from Nor came in return… before a kick wham Stunner got the win. A nice little back-and-forth match, but I do wonder what the original plan was had Zoe Lucas been around… **¼

Rhia O’Reilly vs. Jinny
Rhia’s title wasn’t on the line here, and we got our second airing of the No Mercy-like video for the Uprising.

For some reason this match has a 30 minute time limit, but the clock started with only 20 as Jinny started with armdrags on Rhia, but they’re unable to find an advantage early on. An armbar from Jinny is escaped as Rhia countered back with a Finlay roll, but Jinny’s able to shrug it off as she mounted an assualt of her own.

A leaping knee to Rhia in the corner looked to soften the champion, as did some headscissors and a backslide… but Rhia rolled free, only to get caught with a La Magistral for a near-fall. O’Reilly stretches Jinny to get back into the match, then choked her in the ropes as the champion looked to get a submission. Jinny hits back with an Octopus stretch, before a sunset flip ended in the ropes. Stomps from Jinny follow, before another knee misses… Jinny ended up on the apron, but comes back in with a Tyler Bate-ish flip senton that doesn’t find its mark, as Rhia rolls away, following in with a back senton of her own before getting caught with a spin kick from Jinny.

Jinny tries to follow up with an Acid Rainmaker, but it’s countered as the pair looked to hit a definitive blow… but in the end it’s Rhia who lands it with a Tiger suplex, before the Petrol Bomb – formerly the Rhiadjustment – gets the clean-as-a-sheet win. A nice competitive match, even if it’s still sub-ten minutes. Hey, someone doesn’t need the hangers on, eh? ***

Katey Harvey vs. Valkyrie
It’s an EVE debut for Katey Harvey, which is straight out of the “eh? I thought she’d appeared for them before” folder, and she’s renewing acquaintances with a fellow former OTT Women’s champion.

Valkyrie’s a little lost without Debbie Keitel being around… and apparently Debbie’s not here because she can’t stand Katey. That seemed to be news to someone, and we get going with Valkyrie avoiding Katey early on… only to trip her up. Of course Katey’s annoyed, as a bow-and-arrow hold followed, with Valkyrie rolling into a pinning attempt.

Valkyrie offers Katey her leg, but it leads to some pinning attempts before Harvey went in for a headlock. A monkey flip from Harvey’s styled out as neither woman can find an advantage, at least until Katey rolled her over for a Billy Goat’s Curse… which then moved into a pendulum swing that Valkyrie kicked her way out of. Then she kicked Katey in the arse. Straight out of Father Ted!

Valkyrie tries to follow up with a crossbody, but it’s turned into a fallaway slam before a stranglehold from Harvey had Valkyrie on the back foot, no matter how hard she tried to fight out of it. It’s mixed up with a back cracker and a stretch, that forces Harvey to let go as she almost pins herself, but it doesn’t signal a change in fortunes as Harvey maintained the upperhand. A spinning sidewalk slam’s good for a near-fall for Harvey, but Valkyrie’s right back in with a neckbreaker and a standing moonsault for a near-fall. Valkryie’s hesitation costs her again though as Katey superplexes her off the top rope for a near-fall, before a sliding DDT led to Harvey going up top…

…except Valkyrie caught her with an overhead kick, then an enziguiri, before the Death Note gets the win. Largely a comedy match, which mostly focused on Valkryie supposedly lacking confidence on her own. Hopefully Katey’ll be back and able to make some sort of an impact here. **¾

Promo time with Jetta – she mentioned how she was meant to face Skye Smitson, but plans changed. It’s EVE’s 10th anniversary in May… and after having come up short in a title match at the end of last year, Jetta wants to turn her WrestleQueendom Rumble win into another crack at Rhia O’Reilly… even if it means she’s got to go on a winning streak to get there. Cue Poochie… I mean the Uprising’s music again. They’ve got to be fed up of those stairs by now, right?

Rhia calls out Jetta for her previous retirement… and unless something unforeseen happens, that rematch has to be a lock for May, right? The rest of the Uprising rush Jetta, only to be saved by Laura di Matteo and Rebel Kinney… and that means we have a match!

Nightshade vs. Rebel Kinney
This one started out fast as Kinney took down Nightshade… but the more experienced Nightshade fought back with forearms before taking Rebel into the corner.

Kinney goes for an irish whip, but has to make do with a headbutt. You know the line that follows. Nightshade escapes a DDT and hits a Samoan drop instead, before a back senton squished Kinney for a near-fall. It’s back into the corner for a boot choke from Nightshade, then some Beele throws, before Kinney fired back with shoulder charges into the corner. Stomps follow, before a running forearm took Kinney onto the apron. A grounded armbar’s next, then a clothesline, before Kinney lands a crossbody as her latest comeback… ends with her getting caught in a fallaway slam. She returns the favour though as a death valley driver almost gets the upset… but Nightshade’s out at two.

Another throw into the corner from Nightshade leads to a cannonball, which almost ends things… Kinney tries to one-up Nightshade with a chokebomb, but it’s pushed away as Nightshade hit her own… and that’s the win. Pretty squashy, as Kinney continues to grow – now with an obvious storyline to work through too! **¼

Ahead of the main event, they openly questioned which title this would be for… but was Rhia working double duty?

EVE International Championship: Skye Smitson vs. Sammii Jayne vs. Nina Samuels vs. Jamie Hayter (c)
Of course not: it was the openly-teased return of Jamie Hayter, bringing the International title out of mothballs! Commentary mentions how Jamie’s a triple-champ, having recently won two titles “in Japan” but they don’t mention Stardom by name, nor the titles…

We’ve a jump start as Nina attacks Jamie Hayter before the bell, taking her outside as Skye and Sammii went at it in the ring. A pin from Sammii’s broken up by Nina, who looked to take the upper hand with double knees to the back of Skye, who then got tripped up by Hayter as Jamie returned to lay into Samuels.

Jamie’s taken out again as Nina continued to focus on Sammii, but Jayne surprises everyone with a dive to Smitson on the floor, while Nina uses a boot to choke Hayter in the corner. A chinlock’s escaped as Nina lands a dropkick for a near-fall on the champion, only for Skye Smitson to return as she looked to pick apart the bones. An uppercut an a chinlock has Hayter on a knee, but the champion gets to the rope. Problem is, Hayter couldn’t fight back and gets met with a knee in the corner for a near-fall, before Nina and Sammii locked horns again. A ‘rana from Sammii has Nina down, with running knees in the corner almost leading to a title change. Hayter finds a second wind, charging into Skye with a running knee before an attempted Falcon arrow was escaped… so Hayter lands a neckbreaker instead.

A spinebuster’s next as Hayter rolls Smitson into a Boston crab… but Nina picks up Jayne in a Gory special as it looked like we’d have to see who’d blink first. Well, until the Uprising pulled Skye to the outside, allowing Hayter to go after Samuels with back-and-forth forearms. Things escalate, literally, as Hayter tried to push Samuels off the top rope, only for Nina to come back with a sunset bomb as we had a flurry of quick pinning attempts…

Smitson’s back to try and scoop up a pin, only to get met with a tiltawhirl backbreaker from Samuels… who eats a uranage backbreaker from Hayter… who in turn got downed by a running knee. All four women fight back with forearms as they climbed back to their feet, and the pace quickens again from there as Hayter looked to secure her first title defence…

In the end though, Hayter’s caught on the top rope with a powerbomb, before she pushed away a Destroyer from Samuels to charge in with a clothesline for a near-fall. Skye breaks it up again, only to get taken into the rows for Shadowfax by Jayne for another two-count. Smitson’s quickly back as she removes a turnbuckle pad, before we got a ref bump as she backed into the corner to avoid a German suplex. Cue Poochie. I mean the Uprising, as we have another mugging on Sammii, before Jamie Hayter tried to send them packing.

Except she’s sandwiched between the Uprising and Nina Samuels… but Nina took Jamie’s side briefly, before throwing the champion into the Uprising on the outside. A handspring kick keeps Jamie down, as did a corkscrew plancha, while Skye Smitson looked to revive the ref. Laura di Matteo flies in from the balcony it seemed with a missile dropkick to Smitson, then ran out as Jane got the win with a Falcon Arrow! That finish was insanely rushed, especially since most of the crowd would have blinked and missed di Matteo… but otherwise that was a cracking main event that made sure that Sammii Jayne became the first triple-crown winner in EVE. ***½

My takeaway from this show? Too. Much. Uprising. I mean, having their music played seven times in one night kinda tells you there’s virtually no subtlety in this heel group at the moment. On top of that, we barely got anything of a story as to why Skye Smitson joined the group. Apart from “I want to be with winners”, which feels… incomplete.

Aside from that though, it’s nice to see EVE already starting to build to something for their 10th anniversary show in May, but now the International title is active (unless Sammii Jayne disappears to Japan…), the complexion of EVE shows should change a little, with two singles straps to compete for – rather than everyone queuing up to take on the “big evil” that is Rhia O’Reilly and co.