EVE began their WrestleQueendom weekend with a trip to the south coast, for the first of two warm-up shows.
It’s a Brighton debut for EVE, who are running at the Brighthelm Centre – that’s Riptide’s usual haunt. Late arrivals delay the start of the show. Still, unlike the EVE title and the ring bell, at least everyone made it here… Stardom head honcho Rossy Ogawa is at ringside with a handicam. For his own collection. For those wondering, we’re watching the live stream, so any buffering, etc. will be reflected in our thoughts.
Diamond Vogue Collective (Jinny & Mercedes Blaze) vs. Disnae Give a Fuck Princesses (Kay Lee Ray & Viper)
Eventually, Ding ding ding!
With the EVE champion and title challenger on one team, you’d not be shocked to hear they dominated the early going, working over Blaze’s arm as tech issues perhaps revealed why Britwres rarely streams live often. Things turned around a little when Jinny came in, but perhaps there was a degree of self interest in Viper distracting the ref as Kay Lee Ray took some double-teaming? Away from the sight of the camera, Jinny pulled Viper off the apron as Kay Lee was about to make a tag, but eventually the champion made the hot tag as Viper slammed her team back into it. Cannonballs flatten Jinny and Mercedez for barely a two-count.
The referee loses control for a spell as a Parade of Moves broke out, leading to Kay Lee Ray accidentally clocking Viper with a superkick, before Jinny stole the win with a roll-up. That felt flat, but it’s building dissension ahead of Sunday I guess. **¾
Ah nevermind, they hugged it out afterwards before they high fived the crowd on their way out. We buffer amid fundraising, and we move on with the graps.
Su Yung vs. Erin Angel
A sort-of warm up for her tag title match on Sunday, Angel schooled Yung early on with some British-style wrestling. The match quickly descended into brawling as the pair wound up on the stage, where Angel scored with a Northern Lights suplex before she took too long back in the ring… and got pulled off the top rope. A seated surfboard stretch restrains Angel, as does a grounded Octopus as the feed takes a bath. By the time the feed’s restored, the match is over, with Su Yung having won… and she’s left holding a can of Carlsberg Export in her hand as Martina’s playing mind games.
Jordynne Grace & Nina Samuels vs. Rebel Kinney & Laura di Matteo
We’ve more stream issues here in the entrances. Speaking of issues, Jordynne Grace refused to lock up with di Matteo, so Nina tagged herself in to get wrecked with a dropkick early on.
Jordynne had no issue coming in when Kinney got the tag, if only because she was able to use her power and experience to ragdoll Kinney with a spinebuster. After some buffering, Samuels kicked Kinney in the ropes as Grace started to get a little frustrated at the resistance that was being offered. Jordynne found the time to trash talk di Matteo, who was nowhere near getting a tag in as the two relative veterans dismantled Kinney. A Curt Hennig neck flip got Nina a near-fall, but eventually Rebel made that tag out as Laura flew in, taking Samuels down with a tornado DDT for a near-fall.
A grounded Octopus looked to follow, but the hold tagged elsewhere as the Veni Vidi Vici’s countered out of as Nina hits an Air Raid Crash… but Rebel had blind tagged in. And didn’t save her partner in the process. Still, she’s able to come back with a slam to Nina for a near-fall, only for Grace to turn it back around, coming close with a Vader bomb. Laura broke up the pin, but gets bundled outside by Nina as we’re left with Jordynne Grace quickly putting Rebel away with a pumphandle driver. This worked well to keep Grace and di Matteo apart until Sunday, but otherwise this was just keeping the build up going amid the buffering. **¾
Nightshade vs. Martina
From the look of her entrance video, Nightshade’s going solo, having briefly been paired with Baynz as a tag team earlier in the year. There’s a nice surprise for on-stage medic, who found out whether it was bantz to be ground on…
Nightshade jumped Martina during the intros, but Martina found a footing in, catching Nightshade with a head kick and a missile dropkick as the crowd finally found their voice. A suplex from Martina’s reversed though, as Nightshade almost snatched victory with a Northern lights suplex as Dann piped up on commentary. Martina responded with a double handed chop and an enziguiri, before the Seshbreaker dropped Nightshade for a near-fall. From there, Martina looked to get the win with a Magistral driver, but Su Yung appeared to distract her, allowing Nightshade to get the win with a roll-up. That felt super, super quick, but at least the crowd were on Nightshade’s back for how she won. **½
Stardom Rules: Oedo Tai (Jamie Hayter & Kagetsu) vs. STARS (Mayu Iwatani & Arisa Hoshiki)
Martina’s back out in her Oedo Tai camoflague as we’ve got a tease for the Stardom attraction match at Queendom between Kagetsu and Iwatani.
We opened with Hayter and Hoshiki starting the feeling out process, before tags got us to Kagetsu and Iwatani. Kagetsu’s shoulder tackles led to the pair trading armdrags ahead of the standard stand-off sequence. Things quickly get turned up a little as Jamie Hayter took Hoshiki by the commentary desk as all four women brawled around the Brighthelm, before things settled down as the Oedo Tai duo worked over Iwatani.
Mayu’s kept cornered by Hayter and Kagetsu as the buffering monster returned. Finally, Iwatani made a comeback with a low dropkick before Hoshiki came in to score with Vader bomb knees to Kagetsu… and a diving double knee drop to the stacked up Oedo Tai pair. A single leg crab from Hoshiki forces Kagetsu into the ropes. Iwatani’s back to trade boo/yay strikes with Kagetsu, who just goes to the eyes before she was caught with a rear spin kick. Double-teaming trapped Iwatani for a spell, before a Samoan driver forces Hoshiki in to break up the count at two. A Slingblade gets Mayu back in it, before a superkick out of nowhere should have gotten Iwatani the win… but she couldn’t roll over to make the cover.
Tags followed as Hayter quickly got back on top, suplexing Hoshiki into the corner ahead of a uranage backbreaker. Another Samoan driver from Kagetsu, coupled with Hayter’s Falcon arrow got Oedo Tai another near-fall, but Iwatani broke up the cover before she went up for a crossbody and came down with snow! A flying head kick from Hoshiki followed that up for a near-fall, as Oedo Tai prepared to cheat. Except Martina accidentally sprayed the ref with water as the trio beat down Hoshiki with the Oedo Tai sign… and we finally find out what counted as a DQ in Stardom rules. Pretty much the same as in normal wrestling, really. Well, this established Oedo Tai as bad guys for those who weren’t aware, and this was quite a good tag match until the finish. ***¼
In lieu of a burlesque act, we get the live raffle drawing.
Yuu vs. Utami Hayashishita
Signed to EVE, Yuu’s back in the UK with an EVE-branded gi as this match isn’t for Utami’s EVE International title.
Yuu started out by taking Utami into the ropes for a clean break, as we opened with some near-silent grappling. They switch it up as Yuu nails a shoulder tackle, charging Utami to the mat, before catching her off the ropes with a spinning sidewalk slam. There’s a back senton too as Yuu kept up the momentum, stinging Utami with a series of chops, as the match descended into some back and forth strikes. Utami tried to catch Yuu in the corner, but her leap was caught and turned into a slam before a shotgun dropkick trapped Utami in the opposite corner. You know what’s next… cannonball! A snap Judo takedown snuffed out Utami’s attempt at a fightback, but the International champion’s right back in with a rear naked choke, taking Yuu down to the mat. When that didn’t work out, Utami got up and dropped Yuu with a torture rack bomb, and that’s all folks. A little flat for a main event – the action we got was good, but this felt really truncated. ***
The VOD closes with the video package to build up WrestleQueendom… and that’s that! Nice and compact at two and a half hours (after delays and intervals), this was the proverbial show of two halves. Not helped by buffering and technical issues, the first half of this card didn’t really do it for me – but things after the break managed to get me in the spirit of things for Sunday’s big show. While not sold out, or particularly loud at times, this seemed to be a crowd that was familiar with the EVE product, and they were on board for the Stardom stuff too, which always helps.
EVE’s got another warm-up show on Saturday with a 2.30pm BST start time, before WrestleQueendom 2 on Sunday with a 4pm BST start time. Both those shows will be streaming live on EVE on Demand. If you’re going to the Resistance Gallery tomorrow, for the love of God, shorts, deodorant and water!
Your current line-up for WrestleQueendom 2:
Death Match: Session Goth vs. Su Yung
Arisa Hoshiki vs. Little Miss Roxxy
Jordynne Grace vs. Laura Di Matteo
Kagetsu vs. Mayu Iwatani
EVE Tag Team Championship: Erin Angel & Jetta vs. Medusa Complex (Charli Evans & Millie McKenzie)
EVE International Championship: Utami Hayashishita (c) vs. Jamie Hayter vs. Nina Samuels
EVE Championship: Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Viper
Tellingly, the EVE Twitter account has a graphic to promote the event t-shirt. Which doesn’t list that tag match, and there are two other tag teams on the event poster. You have to wonder…