Pro Wrestling EVE’s first show of 2019 was a bit of a throwback… all the way back to classic WCW as we had a one-night Battle Bowl tournament!

A packed Resistance Gallery was on hand for this show, which opened with everyone involved cutting a promo for the tournament, with the winner getting a match of their choosing. Little Miss Roxxy wants to win this for Greggs and the North East, which is as good a reason as any. Millie McKenzie vowed that she wasn’t going to lose, while Martina had to be coaxed out of her hangover into doing her promo, which at least gave Dann Read a chance to tell us what the rules were.

Oh, and a quizzical look at someone in a kimono dancing the Macarena before we cut to the EVE intro video that featured… a bunch of folks who have signed or retired. Don’t worry, I know I’ve been shown up by this being the last time this intro was used! Dann Read’s flying solo on commentary for this one.

Zoe Lucas & Raven Creed vs. Erin Angel & Charlie Morgan
The random drawings meant that we’re in for some wacky, mis-matched teams – including the preppy Zoe Lucas and the debuting Raven Creed as we the Rev Pro and OTT Women’s champions pairing up.

Lucas and Angel start us off as Zoe grabs a headlock, only for Erin to counter with one of her own as the pair fought on the mat, with Lucas grabbing a headlock to stop a leg spreader from Lucas as the grounded offence continued. Zoe elbows free, but can’t avoid some Japanese armdrags as she instead takes some headscissors.

Angel throws Zoe into the corner and comes back with a standing crossbody for a near-fall. Raven Creed comes in and gets thrown into Angel for a two-count, before Charlie Morgan came in and went in for a wall-running lucha armdrag/crossbody onto both her opponents. Uppercuts follow to Creed in the corner, before a superkick gets her a near-fall on the Cork native.

Chops follow, before Creed took Morgan into the ropes for some choking and stretching, with Zoe Lucas helping out in the middle of that. Lucas is back in, clubbing away on Charlie before she incited Angel into the ring by clocking her with a forearm. Creed doesn’t protest too much at Lucas’ tactics, and she’s back in to nearly pin Morgan with a Fisherman suplex. Some boat rowing from Lucas helps stretch Morgan some more on the mat, but Charlie manages to break the grip, only to get kept in the corner as Lucas kept up her beatdown.

Eventually Charlie fought back with some misdirection into a headbutt, as both women managed to make a tag out, with Angel coming in the hottest, slamming Creed ahead of an axehandle smash off the middle rope for a near-fall. An attempt at the Killswitch is shoved away as Creed fought back with a forearm smash, as she took Angel back up top… but it backfires as a crossbody from Angel forces Lucas in to break up the cover.

Creed’s back with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two-count, but a second one’s countered with a headlock takedown before an X-Factor’s broken up by Lucas. Some double-teaming led to a scissor-kick-assisted sidewalk slam as referee Tom Scarborough lost all control… so Charlie Morgan comes in to help make the save with superkicks, before an implant DDT (Aces Over) set up Creed for a frog splash from Angel for the win. A fun tag to start us off, with Creed and Lucas working well as the mis-matched team – hopefully the start of something big in EVE for Raven. ***

Charli Evans & Millie McKenzie vs. Yuu & Laura Di Matteo
Millie came out with the Sendai Girls junior championship that she won on her recent tour there, and she’s back with a new playful attitude, as she aped Laura’s poses.

Charli tried to jump Laura from behind, but her partner stopped her as we started with Laura leaping into Charli with a series of clotheslines before Yuu tagged in and chopped through Charli… who scurried out to tag in Millie. That was a quick 40 seconds. Millie runs into a spinning sidewalk slam ahead of a back senton from Yuu, who followed up with some wrist-capture chops to keep Millie on the mat.

A third chop’s ducked as Millie looked for a German suplex, but it’s avoided as a double-handed chop found its mark for a near-fall. Di Matteo’s back in, but she too resists a German suplex before a blind tag from Charli Evans led her to just boot di Matteo for a near-fall. Millie and Charli exchange rapid tags as they use Laura as a human punching bag, taking a bunch of kicks for just a one-count.

Millie refused to cheat, opting to tag in than have her foot up for di Matteo to be thrown into, before the pair traded some forearms. Charli’s back in as she pulled on Laura’s arm, rolling it back into an armbar before she knocked Yuu off the apron as the focus remained on di Matteo.

Millie’s back with a chinlock, grounding Laura, before a lariat gets her a near-fall. Eventually, Laura hit back with a double missile dropkick before she tagged Yuu back in, with Yuu landing some Judo throws to take Millie and Charli the corner for a dropkick/back senton combo. That’s good for a two-count, before Yuu deadlifted Millie off the mat, only for McKenzie to slip free and spark a forearm exchange.

Out of nowhere, Yuu’s met with a spear for a two-count, but she then ducks a head kick from Evans, who laid out Millie before Charli’s caught in a katahajime. Millie quickly broke up Yuu’s hold before trapping Laura di Matteo in the ropes with an Octopus stretch, meaning there was no save coming when Evans caught Yuu in the same hold. Not to worry, Yuu slips out and back into a katahajime again, but Millie’s back to break it up, before a German suplex dropped Yuu.

Evans batters Yuu with some short-arm lariats before a running cutter from Millie got the win. Huh, they worked pretty well together for a tandem that supposedly couldn’t get on – and given the limitations of Yuu, who was working having been out with food poisoning in the days prior, this was a quite tidy match. **¾

Rhia O’Reilly heads to the ring as she told the crowd about Addy Starr, who was back in Canada following the passing of her mum. They filmed a video for Addy, featuring the crowd, and then it’s back to the wrestling as Rhia was passing around a card for the crowd to sign.

Chardonnay & Lana Austin vs. Martina & Heidi Katrina
This was an EVE debut for Heidi Katrina, who’s spent the last two and a half years of her career in Japan for Sendai Girls… and she had a bit of a fan base here, judging by the crowd’s screaming for her.

Chardonnay, not wanting to start off, used Lana Austin as a human shield as we got some slapstick comedy to start us off with. When the bell goes, it’s Martina and Austin squaring off with some… wobbly crane poses? Lana uses her rear for a hip attack on Martina, and of course she loves it… but it’s used to sucker Austin in for a roll up before Martina delivered a more stink face-y hip attack.

Lana’s caught in, erm, the flap trap next, before Heidi Katrina came in for a Giant Swing. Heidi’s quickly back out, as Martina comes in to try a Giant Swing of her own on Chardonnay, but it’s pushed away as Katrina just comes in for a slam. Seems like Martina’s trying to copy Heidi, but she’s struggling… as Katrina literally did the heavy lifting for their team, helping out with a double-team suplex on Chardonnay.

Sensing an opportunity, Austin knocks Martina into Katrina as she continued to antagonise Martina… and finally, Chardonnay tags in to try and keep Martina cornered. There’s a diving clothesline as Martina was on the bottom rope, but it’s only enough for a two-count, with Martina then getting sent back into the corner by Austin ahead of a low dropkick for another near-fall.

Chardonnay’s back to snapmare and crank on the neck of Martina, as Chardonnay and Austin had clearly tagged her as the weaker part of the team. Of course, that’s the cue for Martina to fire back with forearms, chops, headbutts and a neckbreaker for a near-fall, before Lana and Martina catch each other with duelling clotheslines. Both women tag out, with Katrina clearing house, catching Austin with a fallaway slam into the corner.

A butterfly suplex from Katrina drops Chardonnay, but the ring stays full with Katrina and Martina clocking Chardonnay with uppercuts. Martina’s somehow legal and comes in flying with a clothesline to Chardonnay for a near-fall, before a Parade of Moves broke out, with Martina landing a DDT and a brainbuster for a near-fall on Austin. Chardonnay’s Triple H-like leaping knee clocks Martina as we’re still not bothering with tags, but that allowed Martina to hit a double-jump Seshbreaker before Katrina headed up top for a legdrop… and that’s enough for the win! I wasn’t thrilled with the way the tags were a novelty, but having seen precious little of her work in Japan, I was blown away by Heidi Katrina’s presence here. Whether this is a one-off or whether Heidi’s going to be an EVE regular remains to be seen… ***

Ashley Vega & Little Miss Roxxy vs. Jetta & Sammii Jayne
Another debut here, and it’s in the form of Ashley Vega, who apparently was a late replacement for Kasey who was otherwise engaged in Blackpool this weekend. The Source Wrestling Academy trainee had a rather loud section of fans, while we had a rather awkward pairing facing them, with Jetta and Sammii Jayne having had their on-off issues in 2018.

Jetta’s a fully fledged good guy now, so she’s allowed the mic to sing.

We start with Sammii and Ashley, with the latter looking for quick roll-ups as he tried to end this one early. A side Russian legsweep rolls into another cradle for a near-fall, as Sammii then reluctantly tagged out to Jetta. Roxxy’s also in, but gets tripped into the corner as Jetta faked out some World of Sport-style stuff, only to take Roxxy down with a neckbreaker for a two-count.

Jetta keeps going with a Fisherman suplex for a two-count, before she stretched and flattened Roxxy at the same time, forcing the Geordie to shuffle into the ropes for a break. Roxxy hits back with a dropkick before some headscissors led to a mounted armbar… but Jetta tagged out in the hold as Sammii Jayne dismantled the move for her. That then led to an argument as Sammii wanted to shake Jetta’s hand, but that just opened the door for Vega to tag in… and get rocked with an enziguiri from Sammii.

Sammii uses a snap suplex to drop Vega for a two-count, before a harsh tag brought Jetta back in, with a front facelock keeping Vega on the mat. The strained relationship between Sammii and Jetta led to a lot of tags, and a lot of pain for Vega… but a hangman’s neckbreaker from Ashley finally got her an opening, which she made the most of as Roxxy’s brought back into play.

Forearms take Jetta down into the ropes, ahead of a STO and an avalanche in the corner, but Jetta avoids a double stomp and comes back with a lungblower, then a back cracker. A tag’s made to Sammii Jayne, while Vega’s also back in, with the relative rookie landing uppercuts and a diving forearm for a near-fall. Vega avoids a running knee before a half-nelson sent Jayne flying, as a swinging neckbreaker almost ends the match.

Jetta’s in to make the save before she lands a neckbreaker… a chin bar’s broken up by Roxxy as things looked to fall apart, but Roxxy then catches Sammii with a Code Red for a near-fall as the ref proved he forgot about tags… because he was counting a pin on the two women who weren’t legal!

Meanwhile, Vega looks for a Axel Dieter Special on Jayne while Roxxy’s got an Octopus on Jetta, but Jetta breaks up her hold by turning it into a sidewalk slam on Vega. The Parade of Moves continues with Sammii Jayne setting up Vega for a neckbreaker that turned into an accidental DDT on Roxxy, before a running knee to Vega gets the win. This got a little scrappy at the end, but was a pretty good outing despite the disparity in experience. **¾

Post-match, Jetta refused to “fall” for Sammii Jayne’s attempts at making things better, even when Sammii apologised. So… she’s a good guy now?

We’re taken to “earlier tonight” where Nightshade and Baynz are caught talking about wanting to be partnered up… and they threaten a tech guy if they get other partners. Apparently, the tech guy did the random draw?

Mischa East & La Macarena vs. Baynz & Nightshade
Whaddya know? Threatening the techie worked as our final Battlebowl qualifier saw Baynz and Nightshade paired up! We also saw the return of Mischa East, whose lack of music or video is apparently her gimmick. Maybe she’ll hit anything vaguely resembling an attack this time?

La Macarena is a masked luchadora who seems to be permanently stuck on doing the dance. You know which one. Baynz just slaps her down then snapmares her into the corner as Nightshade tagged in. Cue chants of “Lampshade”, as Baynz comes in with a clothesline to assist Nightshade’s German suplex.

Mischa East tags in… and yeah, she gets kicked and smashed into the corner. We’re still waiting. An avalanche squashes her in the corner as Baynz returned to put the boots to her. Yeah, this is a mugging, as Nightshade dishes out hip attacks before a double-team STO leads to… a kick-out from Mischa! Her very first kick-out in EVE!

A slam from Nightshade has East tagging out, with La Macarena leaping into the clutches of Baynz, who hits a slam for another near-fall. Macarena’s taken up top as Nightshade goes for a One Winged Angel… but Nightshade pulls her up at two as Baynz tagged back in so she could force Mischa East back into it. There’s a Fireman’s carry slam (Darkness Falls) from Baynz, and a Nightshade back senton… and that’s the end to this very squashy match.

So, the Battle Bowl’ll be contested between Baynz, Charlie Morgan, Charli Evans, Erin Angel, Heidi Katrina, Jetta, Martina, Millie McKenzie, Nightshade and Sammii Jayne.

Battle Bowl Final
We’re under Royal Rumble rules here, and we open with Baynz and Erin Angel as the first two entrants.

Baynz tries to eliminate Angel early, but Erin just slips back in under the middle rope before Millie McKenzie entered, just as Baynz stopped choking Erin in the ropes. The crowd booed Millie for stomping on Angel in the corner, but quickly got back onside as Baynz turned her sights onto the teenager. Millie and Erin try and back flip Baynz over the top rope for an elimination, but Baynz hung on as Sammii Jayne entered the fray.

Sammii and Baynz light each other up as I guess Sammii’s still looking to prove she’s a good guy? Baynz turns the tables, and was left standing tall as Heidi Katrina entered to provide some stern opposition to Baynz’s dominance. Katrina resists some shoulder tackles from Baynz, and just tosses Erin Angel aside when she was used as a human battering ram, before a series of forearms had Baynz looking wobbly.

Baynz and Katrina hang out in the corner as the next countdown brings in Nightshade… and the mood changes again as Katrina’s just leapt into with a forearm from Nightshade. Katrina barely registers it and gives them a meeting of the minds… only for Nightshade to take the match back into a striking battle. Baynz and Nightshade try to eliminate Heidi, but she resists again as we again count down, this time for Martina, who’s reunited with her tag team partner from earlier.

The match just stops as Martina wanted to dance, but everyone just stares at her… and Martina climbs over the top and eliminates herself. Well, it was for the best. Heidi’s out next as Baynz and Nightshade jump her, before they turned their attention to Sammii Jayne in the corner. Despite a scare, Nightshade and Baynz hold on as another countdown brings out Charlie Morgan, as we get a dose of storyline as Baynz was originally brought back to EVE by Sammii Jayne to take out Charlie.

So, nobody lets Charlie in the ring for… reasons. Instead, she heads back up the stairs and leaps in from the balcony, because “fearless”. Charlie makes a beeline for Sammii Jayne, trying to eliminate her, but instead the tables turn as Sammii tries to lift Charlie out, but she’s able to slip in under the middle rope as we’re entering the tail end of entrants, with Charli Evans coming out.

The ring’s perhaps a little too full now as there’s not much going on, save for token elimination efforts, as Jetta finally comes out to round up the entries. Sammii Jayne’s lifted over the top and onto the apron, as Charli, Charlie and Millie try with all their might to push her to the floor, but to no avail as Erin Angel lands the death blow to eliminate the former champion.

Charlie Morgan gets rid of Baynz with the Big Show/Benoit finish, pulling her over the top with some headscissors, while Nightshade then gets ganged up on. She’s quickly tossed by everyone, as the tempo’s upped. Millie McKenzie saves Charli Evans from being eliminated, before Jetta took advantage of some earlier hard work as she dropkicked Morgan off the apron to the floor.

Our final four’s Charli, Jetta, Millie and Angel, with those last two ending up on the apron, only for Jetta to knock Millie off. McKenzie pulls Erin off the apron, which is somehow legal… and since we’re down to the final two, we’re in a regular match: Charli Evans vs. Jetta!

Jetta tries to win with flash roll-ups, before Evans used a modified single-leg crab, bending Jetta in half before we got a rope break. Charli keeps putting the boots to Jetta, but the favours are returned as Jetta came close to a win, with a Jetta lock (back cracker into a strait-jacket choke) looking to get the win… but Millie McKenzie runs in to break it up. I guess the final of the Battle Bowl is no-DQ, and as soon as Charli hits a mounted DDT to Jetta, it’s elementary. Charli Evans wins Battle Bowl, and gets a match of her choice down the road! ***½

Charli gets the Battle Bowl ring, but Millie McKenzie’s back in to beat up Jetta, despite Erin Angel’s attempt to make a save. Sammii Jayne comes out with a chair, threatening Charli and Millie… but they just flip her off as the Scotswoman managed to shepherd away the WrestleFriends. More proof that Sammii’s good?

We close out with Charli Evans trying to address the crowd, but she powers through their catcalls. Charli’s got a decision to make: she’s taking the match of her choice at WrestleQueendom 2, but she’s not going to risk being overshadowed by Jamie Hayter. Instead, she’s calling for a title shot… with Millie McKenzie, for the Pro Wrestling EVE tag team champions. I sure hope Dann and Emily has the title belts from that never-finished tournament still in storage!

So the show closes with Millie and Charli solidifying their tag team status, calling themselves “Elite Athletes” who are “changing the world” (I see what you did there…) and after Charli challenged Britt Baker to a match, we’re left to wonder who’ll be the other half of that tag title match at York Hall.

I hate to keep harping on about the contracts scene, but EVE was one of the promotions who was perhaps going to be the most affected, particularly after they lost Toni Storm and (to a lesser extent) Jinny at the end of 2018. Add in NXT UK taking a lot of folks for random dark matches and try-outs, and you’ve got a roster that’s very susceptible to those external forces.

To their credit, EVE are trying out a host of new faces, with their post-SHE 1 shows featuring over a dozen faces whom you’d perhaps not list as regulars with the promotion. Baynz and Nightshade looked like a force to be reckoned with, while debutants like Heidi Katrina and Raven Creed showed varying degrees of promise. Of course, not everyone will click, but this doesn’t smack of any kind of panicked effort, with the roster turnover feeling incredibly natural as EVE plot a course for WrestleQueendom 2 at York Hall later this summer.