Laura di Matteo and the SHE-1 winner Millie McKenzie had their shots at gold as EVE held their biggest show of the year.
A change in venue means we’re at 229 in Great Portland Street, London – and it’s sold out. Contractual obligations mean that we don’t get to see Nina Samuels vs. Jinny or Roxxy vs. Killer Kelly on FITE, so we dive straight in with the (second) show opening and the Rumble! Leah Owens and Sierra Loxton are on commentary…
Mercedez Blaze and Skye Smitson start us off, and there’s a shotgun dropkick from Blaze to start, then a ‘rana as she looked to catch Skye off guard.
Skye’s back with a dropkick, because, you know, before we had some teases of elimination. Blaze hauls Skye to the top rope as the countdown gets going… as third out was Nightshade. She clears house with clotheslines and Exploders, before she lifted Smitson over the top rope. Blaze stops the elimination for reasons, so she gets suplexed as the fourth person came in: Chakara. Blaze attacked Nightshade from behind as Chakara and her looked to work together. Mercedez lifts Skye over the top, but she rolls back in as commentary pondered Chakara and Blaze as a team. Rebel Kinney’s in to give Skye a partner, but Rebel’s all crossbodies to start with as they started to gang up on everyone else. Rebel misses a crossbody and flew out through the middle rope, returning to lift Blaze over the top rope with Skye’s help as Livvii Grace enters. It’s happenstance!
Grace goes clothesline-wild as we have sort-of four tag teams in… Skye again avoids elimination, and we have another ticker. Mischa East?! She was a perennial jobber in EVE a while back, having last been on EVE a year ago, and has never had an offensive move. She’s clotheslined immediately by Grace, then double-suplexed before everyone tried to gang on her. Mischa clings to the rope and gets back in, as Violet O’Hara came for her debut. O’Hara drops into Skye with a missile dropkick, then went back up top for a crossbody into Kinney and Blaze. She has a death wish going up top this often in a rumble, and does another crossbody into a quartet. Fourth time up, she hits a Molly Go Round into a convenient pile, as next out was Duchess Louise Jane. She was on the first SHEVOLUTION show back in 2018… and never back since.
The ring’s getting full as Louise Jane got double-teamed by Grace and Nightshade… add another body to the ring as Kira Chimera joined. We’ve not had any eliminations yet, and Chimera’s right in with a stunner before she got bum rushed. Kira hits a tornado suplex on Kinney then lifts her up onto the ropes, and I’m beginning to wonder when Dominita’s gonna come out to clear the ring. At number 11 is Kara, which made Sierra Loxton explode for her fellow Dragon Pro trainee. Kara’s all clotheslines, but there’s not too much you can do with a ring this full now. Another countdown brings out Hollie Barlow as we keep rattling off the debuts here. Hollie’s almost our first elimination, but Mercedez Blaze doesn’t get the job done as it’s painfully clear what they’re aiming for here.
Out at thirteen is Jetta, but she’s attacked by Livvii and Nightshade from behind – they left the ring through the ropes, so they’re not eliminated. Jetta’s posted, but they don’t throw her inside for the easy elimination. Number fourteen (is Dominita, and I expect the ring will clear now. Dominita clears house with splashes before she dumped East with a Samoan drop. Blaze tries to stop her with a mounted sleeper, but she’s flipped away as Barlow gets slammed over the top rope. O’Hara tries to throw forearms, but just gets powerbombed into some helpers on the floor. A forearm drops Blaze as Dominita went in with hip attacks, just in time for the last entrant to appear: Saraya Knight. Expect kicks to the coochie.
Saraya had lost a loser leaves town match in 2019, and is right in with kicks to the nether regions as she scored two quick eliminations… then faced up to Dominita. Except they paired up… or so it seemed, as Saraya just watches on as everyone lifts out Dominita, and eliminates her. Well, the domination wasn’t quite what I expected. Dominita swings for Saraya and tries to pull her out a la Sid/Hogan… but Mercedez Blaze plays Ric Flair and lifts her out as Dominita and Saraya fought to the back. Jetta finally crawls into the ring as Chakara was superkicked out of the match… Rebel Kinney throws out the Duchess, before Skye turned on her partner and tosses Rebel out. Smitson keeps up, low bridging Grace out of the match, before she bumped into Jetta. Blaze and Nightshade capitalise on that, but Blaze and Smitson’s tossed out over what looked to be loosening ropes… and our final two are Jetta and Nightshade. A running boot from Hetta looked to have Nightshade rocked, but they turn the tables before Jetta kicks Nightshade low.
Nightshade’s back with a clothesline, before Nightshade tried for “the move that broke Sierra Loxton’s back…” (which only those who were there on that night know), but it backfires as Jetta rolled forward and sent Nightshade flying to the outside. Jetta wins, and that’s our first feel good moment of the evening. Decent enough for a rumble, but if Dominita wasn’t going to do the monster heel-clear the ring thing, they left the eliminations way too late. ***
They introduce Loxton and Owens to the live crowd as they tighten up those ropes.
Lana Austin vs. Yuka Sakazaki
Austin was granted this match on the last EVE show, with Sakazaki being one of a few international names here – and perhaps one of the more wider known from her AEW run earlier this year.
Sakazaki’s here with her Tokyo Joshi Pro Princess of Princess championship, and we start with a handshake, then a lock-up as Austin rolled Sakazaki across the ring. Another tie-up ends in the corner, before Sakazaki took Austin down by the arm, only for Lana to reply with a wristlock. Yuka grabs a toe hold, but that ends in the ropes before they eventually engaged again, as Austin spread the legs to trip Yuka to escape a wristlock. Some headscissors end in the ropes as Yuka was having a habit of this, and we’re crossing five minutes with little traction in the match.
Back inside, a dropkick drops Austin, but she’s back with forearms before a low dropkick had Sakazaki down for a near-fall. A Boston crab follows, with Austin trapping Sakazaki in the middle of the ring, but Yuka gets free and dumps Austin with a Rocker Dropper/DDT combo that looked nasty… before she tried to roll Austin into a pin. Austin kicks out and comes back with a headbutt, before a roll-up took Yuka into the corner… where the Tokyo Joshi Pro star came back with hanging headscissors across the ropes, which the ref started doing the five-count for before she’d gotten the hold on. A flying seated senton is next, then a ‘rana, before a sliding lariat took Austin all the way to the floor.
Entering the final five, Sakazaki hits an apron 619 on the floor, then took Austin onto the stage… then climbed onto the video screen herself. Lana pulls her down as our prematurely-counting ref wasn’t going for a count-out here. So they wander into the crowd, where Yuka’s lifted up onto a ledge where she jumped off with double knees. Back in the ring, Austin sidesteps Yuka in the corner, then caught her in the ropes with an axe kick before a rolling elbow almost got Lana her first EVE win. A massive powerbomb out of the corner follows for another near-fall, before Yuka fought back, landing a Falcon arrow for a two-count before a Downward Spiral spiked Austin in the middle of the ring. It’s almost elementary from there, but Austin got back to her feet and got caught with a spin-out slam, landing awkwardly on her shoulder.
She kicks out, but Sakazaki heads up top and misses on a splash, before time ran out as Austin was going for a draping DDT. This got good towards the end, and earned a standing ovation from the crowd. They avoided “the thing” of slow pacing that usually gives away a draw too, which was great. ***¼
Martina vs. Maki Itoh
Martina’s barely back in Europe after her latest tour of Japan, so maybe the tiredness is for reals?
Of course, this was Itoh’s EVE debut, and she’s here days after losing her International Princess title to Thunder Rosa. We get authentic Maki here, as she sings her way to the ring… and gets PYRO too. We got going with Martina grinding on Itoh, who looked repulsed, before she tried to attack Martina with forearms. Martina just Terminators her way through it on the way to a forearm as too much tiredness makes you impervious to anything I guess. Itoh tries to mount her in the corner, but Martina slips out for a beer, and sprays it in her eyes… which makes Maki cry.
An apology earns Martina a stamped foot before Maki proves Kokeshi has the same failure rate regardless of who goes for it. Martina’s back with a Bronco buster, only for Maki to come back with a headbutt as a tug of war for Martina’s beer led to Maki having a drink… which hits her hard. She’s gonna puke, but it’s a fake out as she DDT’s Martina, before some windmilling punches caught Martina in the corner. The falling headbutt works the second time as Kokeshi made her happy for a near-fall, only for Martina to come back with a twisting suplex as she looked to force a win. A head kick doesn’t work on Itoh, but a poke to the eye does before Itoh came back with another DDT. Itoh heads up top and hits a swandive headbutt for another two-count, before a Lion Tamer-ish cloverleaf forced the quick submission. If you’re into the characters of Itoh and Martina, you’ll love this – and the match behind this wasn’t too bad, if not short. **¾
After the match, Itoh took the mic and plugged her merch so she can get rich. Gotta respect the honesty!
Zoe Lucas vs. Nor “Phoenix” Diana
There’s a great reaction for Diana, but Zoe attacks her from behind as the match started with her trying to choke Diana out of the ring.
Diana’s thrown across the ring by her hijab, as Zoe’s back in with boot chokes, only to get caught with a roll-up as “Phoenix” snatched some near-falls. A forearm from Lucas knocks her back down, as another head toss had Diana in the corner. Every time Nor looked for a move, Lucas hit back hard, this time following in with a leg spreader on the mat, before a spinning heel kick and a low dropkick earned Zoe a near-fall. More boot chokes wind up Phoenix, who hits back with headscissors to take Zoe outside, eventually following up with a nice tope, and followed up with running back elbows back inside. A clothesline folds Zoe in half for a near-fall, as did a Northern lights suplex, but Zoe’s back with a head kick and a cartwheel death valley driver, before a PK led to another near-fall.
Diana’s back with a tiltawhirl DDT for yet another two-count, before Lucas rakes the eyes to catch Nor on the top rope. Some kicks and a powerbomb looked to bring her down, but Diana turns it into a ‘rana… and that’s enough for the win! They kept the pace slow, but the story they told was solid – Lucas losing her focus when she couldn’t get the win, and that lack of focus cost her in the end. **¾
A video package follows to recap Laura di Matteo and Rhia O’Reilly’s feud. Except they can’t quite patch it into the live feed…
EVE Championship: Laura di Matteo vs. Rhia O’Reilly (c)
There’s PYRO for Laura, while Rhia had her crew out with her. Whatever happened to Heidi Katrina? Ah, social media tells us during the match Heidi was attacked before the match…
Laura jumps the trio before the bell, with Livvii and Nightshade going into each other, but Rhia capitalises by throwing Laura into the front row as the brawl continued. Livvii and Nightshade put the boots to Laura, which I guess is legal as the bell hasn’t rung, before Laura whipped Rhia into the wall ahead of a double noggin knocker to Livvii and Nightshade. Laura heads up to the stage for a dive, and hits a Molly Go Round to Livvii and Nightshade again. A dive from Laura lands as I guess the bell’s gone in silent, as the 30-minute ticker’s clearly gone on the board. Actually, it hasn’t, as the bell rings with the timer being a minute old. That may be problematic…
More brawling outside the ring looked to have di Matteo give Rhia a Brookesing… and it worked as Rhia went a few rows deep. The numbers game continue as Laura has to use headscissors and a headlock takedown to keep Livvii and Nightshade at bay, before she walked into a chairshot from O’Reilly, who then took Laura backstage. We don’t see video as they brawl onto the commentary table, then appear on the stage as they “break the video screen”. They make it to the stage for a curb stomp while commentary apologises for the non-technical issues… Rhia drags Laura back towards the ring, but there’s no pin as Laura kicked out and began to fight back with forearms. A lungblower staggers Rhia ahead of the Veni Vidi Vici… but she can’t lock it in as Rhia elbows free.
A knee from Rhia earns her a running enziguiri from di Matteo… but a quick Rhiadjustment gets a near-fall as the champion began to show frustration. Laura’s whipped into the corner, then gets pulled down from the top rope as she tried to throw some kicks off the top turnbuckle. Somehow Laura’s back with dropkicks and some head kicks before a DDT led to the submission attempt… and here come Nightshade and Livvii to distract the ref. The referee ejects Nightshade and Livvii, as a hooded woman comes in and dropkicks Laura… allowing Rhia to hit the Rhiadjustment for another near-fall. The crowd pops BIG on that kick-out, before an Implant Rhiadjustment gets the win, with the referee waving off the match rather than counting the pin. A bit of a wonky finish, and not a popular one either as they were way too heavy on the interference. Your mileage may vary… **½
That masked woman comes into the ring afterwards, and reveals herself as Skye Smitson. She’d only just turned on Rebel Kinney earlier in the night… I blame the folks at wXw for poisoning her mind!
EVE Tag Team Championship: Woke Queens (Valkyrie & Debbie Keitel) vs. Medusa Complex (Millie McKenzie & Charli Evans) vs. Gisele Shaw & Sammii Jayne (c)
Part of me wants to be annoyed that the SHE-1 winner’s in a three-way match yet again… but at least it’s in the main event! Will the Medusa Complex make it second-time lucky when it comes to winning the tag titles at WrestleQueendom?
This is apparently an elimination three-way, and we start with the champions focusing on the Woke Queens, as a leg lariat from Sammii Jayne took out Debbie Keitel. I guess it’s lucha rules too, as Charli Evans is in to go for a PK on Sammii, eventually hitting some punts to the back before a boot to the side of the head had the Scotswoman down. Charli catches Sammii with a fallaway slam, but Valkyrie rolls in and comes in with a running Blockbuster, following up with a standing moonsault for a near-fall. Out goes Charli, in comes Gisele… but Valkyrie rolls out too as Millie McKenzie stormed the wanna-be Ace of EVE. So Gisele grabs a chair from under the ring, and doesn’t get to use it as Millie stands on it… and after my feed buffers, the Medusa Complex stood tall, only to get taken down with clotheslines.
Sammii and Gisele are back, with Gisele chopping Valkyrie in the corner as they built up to a double knee-drop from Sammii as the champions began to dominate. Shaw chokes Keitel in the ropes on the way to a near-fall, and we’ve a long spell of Keitel in the corner as Shaw and Sammii worked exceedingly well as a team. Keitel hits back with a knee to the face, but Shaw’s right back on her, throwing chops until Keitel ducks and hit back with some Machine Gun chops of her own… until she got poked in the eye. Rolling suplexes see Shaw go for the Three Amigas, only for Keitel to slip out of the third and make the hot tag to Valkyrie, who cleared house en route to a crossbody on Sammii.
Charli’s in, but redirects an enziguiri towards McKenzie as the Woke Queens took control… while Debbie went under the ring for some “big weapons”. All she gets is a roasting dish, which didn’t impress Valkyrie. Even more so when she swings and hits the ropes, bonking herself in the head, before Keitel had the baking tray superkicked into her. More plunder comes out as Shaw and Sammii grab… A BARBED WIRE TABLE?! That’s pushing EVE’s famed leniency a little far.
The table’s set up outside, but Keitel slides underneath the bottom rope to try and powerbomb Sammii into it. Shaw’s back with the roasting dish, and finds more plunder in the form of four chairs. A chairshot from Keitel stops a Shaw suplex as the Woke Queens instead go for a fireman’s carry/twisting neckbreaker combo to dump Gisele on the chair pile. Hey, the ol’ Cryme Tyme finisher!
Evans and McKenzie try to capitalise on the beaten down challengers, but Sammii Jayne stops Millie with a knee, before hanging up Charli in the ropes for a back cracker. The Shadowfax follows, before Sammii got speared off the apron by Millie, going through the table, and continued, hitting the bottom step. That looked nasty, and they roll Sammii into the ring… obviously, she gets pinned for the first elimination, as that means we’ll end with new champions. All four women set up chairs for a bar fight in the ring, before the chairs get used as weapons rather than as furniture. Some hooking from Keitel and a suplex has Evans down as I begin to wonder “what if we get a time limit draw here?”… the Woke Queens double-team Evans for a spell, as my feed drops again. Yay for reboots!
We’re back as Evans and Keitel tag out, and it’s Millie who is a house afire with German suplexes and diving uppercuts. A turnaround led to Valkyrie hitting a moonsault as those ropes are looking horribly loose again. Millie escapes a double-team suplex and tags in Charli, who’s… GOT SKEWERS?! They’re not needed at first, but then Charli gets the bloodlust look in her eye, only to get taken into the ropes for a dropkick. She’s held there as Keitel hammers the skewers into Charli’s head, which is enough to smark a fightback as Charli tied up Keitel for a cutter… before an armbar from Evans led to the finish, as Charli threatened using a staple gun, which is enough to make any right minded person tap out. We end the night with new tag team champions after a wild three-way main event – and we finally get a happy ending… and a quick fade to black, too. ***½
Hey, I am so not used to EVE shows finishing this side of 10pm! For EVE’s biggest show of the year… this felt a little muted, at least in terms of how it came across on the VOD. What some had looked at as the blow-off for Laura di Matteo vs. Rhia O’Reilly ended up being a new chapter as Rhia and her minions look to continue to dominate EVE. There’s clearly stories to be told with Skye Smitson, as it felt like we jumped a little from her facing Rhia on the last show to being with her here. Still, for the six-match card on Fite, this was a good couple of hours’ of wrestling – and I’ll be keen to see how many of those EVE debutants actually make it back in the company with any kind of regularity!
Maybe it was having this show barely two months after SHE-1, but it’s a little hard to have a show that is promoted as big and ultimately feels big so soon afterwards. EVE’s back at the 229 later in the year for their tenth anniversary show – and as it doesn’t look like Stratford’s on the books, I’m totally on board with EVE using the Great Portland Street venue for their bigger shows, as it stands out nicely compared to their usual home at the ResGal.