Roxxy got her reward for winning the number one contender’s tournament – but Rhia O’Reilly was breaking out the shenanigans to make sure she could hold onto the gold.

The opening intro’s got a new watermark as the new branding of “EVE: Riot Grrrls of Wrestling” is really being pushed. Commentary is provided by Dann Read and the returning Leah Owens, and yeah, that new tag line is a mouthful.

Holidead vs. Jetta vs. Trish Adora vs. Charli Evans
Jetta wasn’t out of her tag team championship, with the belts “with Erin Angel, in prison”. That whole division has been weirdly on ice since WrestleQueendom, it feels.

So, this four-way competition (part of me really wants to see that catch on as EVE-speak) featured an EVE debut for Trish Adora. It’s Adora and Evans who start us off, with Trish scoring a nice rear spin kick before Adora and Jetta landed charges into the corner. It feels kinda slow-mo in the opening stages, but things picked up when Adora lands a Black Hole Slam on Evans for a near-fall.

Holidead breaks it up with some venom, following up with a lariat that scared Charli Evans away. An airplane spin/Samoan drop puts Adora down and out as Jetta tries to fire back with chops, before a springboard bulldog out of the corner had Holidead on jelly legs. Jetta keeps up with a neckbreaker, before she floats Holidead into a Muta lock, but this time Evans breaks it up.

Chops ensue, as do forearms, before Holidead interjected herself and took a kicking. She’s back with a double chokeslam, but Adora’s in with a crossbody off the top to stop anyone from taking advantage. Four-way strikes start off a Parade of Moves, which Holidead’s headbutt puts an end to… the Parade resumes, complete with Adora ducking a Jetta Lock before she trapped her with a sit-out double chicken wing… but Evans kicks it apart before a piledriver to Adora left the door open for Holidead to land Darkness Falls (the Angel’s Wings) for the win. This was perfectly fine for the opener, but it felt a little on the slow side, with my usual complete about four-ways these days… aside from Evans, this was very babyface-heavy. **¾

Jinny vs. Mercedes Martinez
It’s an EVE return for Martinez, who was last here beating Nightshade back in April.

Jinny takes Martinez down to work the arm early on, but Mercedes switches out and rolled into a toe hold, with Jinny turning it into body scissors to get herself free. Mercedes tries to bridge back to force a pin, but instead rolls through into an Arabian clutch that ended with Jinny in the ropes. A noogie followed as Mercedes took down Jinny with a headlock takedown, as we wash, rinse and repeat. Jinny escapes with headscissors, only for Mercedes to flip up and slap Jinny as the aggression suddenly turned up. Martinez charges through Jinny, before getting slapped back… and there’s a poke in the eye a la Jimmy Havoc for good measure too.

Jinny pulls Martinez to the mat and rolls her up for a near-fall, before another headlock from Jinny got broken up with a backbreaker. A tree slam’s next from Martinez for a near-fall, but Jinny’s back with some kicks to put Mercedes in the corner, snapmaring her out before an Exploder suplex from Martinez got her back in it. A snap roll-up almost sees Jinny snatch the win, before a mounted Octopus hold had Mercedes in trouble, before Jinny rolled her back to the mat for a chinbar. Mercedes escapes and comes back in with the Three Amigas, holding that last suplex for effect, but Jinny’s barely able to kick out in time.

Jinny fights back with a head kick and a running forearm, but she was on fumes and unable to capitalise on things. A running knee traps Martinez in the corner, but Jinny misses a second, and gets taken up top as Martinez crushed her with a spider German suplex. Mercedes took a while to get back down though, giving Jinny enough time to kick out, and come right back with an Acid Rainmaker for a near-fall. Another forearm from Jinny set her up for the seated surfboard stretch, but Jinny lets go and instead heads for a camel clutch… but Mercedes bites her way free, then rolls Jinny into a grounded Dragon sleeper for the submission. Some real good back-and-forth here, as Martinez picks up another win – while Jinny only has one singles win since her brief farewell last year. ***½

Livvii Grace & Nightshade vs. Jayla Dark & Laura Di Matteo
This was Livvii’s first match in over a year (according to Cagematch), having been away from EVE since after last year’s WrestleQueendom. It’s also part of Jayla Dark’s retirement tour, as she’s looking to ruin Rhia O’Reilly’s reign as champion before she leaves.

The match instantly spills outside as all four women brawled into the crowd – prompting Dann to jump off commentary to keep a closer eye on things. They’re barely outside for long as Jayla’s double-teamed by Nightshade and Grace, before Livvii went outside for a staple gun. What the bloody hell is that doing at ringside? Nightshade’s kept one of her 8x10s at ringside too as the bad guys proceeded to staple it into Jayla’s back, but at least she autographs it. Blood’s coming from Jayla’s back as the staples come out, before Laura comes back to make the save. Out comes a Kendo stick for good measure as I guess they’re getting all the lee-way, but hey, at least Dann can mention how referee Tom Scarborough can’t keep control!

Jayla’s outside for more plunder, eventually having enough as she just throws a chair into the ring… before Nightshade took her and suplexed her onto a pair of chairs that had been set up. It’s enough for a near-fall, before Laura responded by DDTing Nightshade onto a chair as a back senton from Jayla drew a near-fall. Livvii’s back with some chairshots, whacking Jayla more than Laura, while Nightshade went out for a table. Uh oh. Jayla’s placed onto the table by Nightshade as Grace set up for a superplex… but Laura fought out as Dark moved off the table… and when Laura dives onto Nightshade, Jayla opts to powerbomb Grace through the wood for the win. As a wild brawl, this was okay, but in hindsight it was just a step in the overall story than any kind of competitive match. **½

After the match, Nightshade continues to attack di Matteo with a chair… Jayla tries to make a save, but she’s swarmed and met with a chairshot to the ankle as Roxxy hit the ring to chase everyone off. Roxxy stayed behind to check on Laura and Jayla as things got a little awkward… she breaks the silence by calling out Rhia to cash in her title match now. She asks, and she receives…

EVE Championship: Roxxy vs. Rhia O’Reilly (c)
This was Rhia’s first proper match in EVE after injury – her last outing here being in the SHE-1 last year in a loss to finalist Kris Wolf.

Rhia’s all over Roxxy early on, taking her down for a neck flip and a back senton for a quick two-count. Roxxy was heavily portrayed as the underdog on commentary as Rhia drove her knee (brace and all) into Roxxy’s midsection, before some misdirection helped Roxxy get back in with a dropkick. Kicks from Roxxy trap Rhia in the corner, while a low dropkick and a Goomba stomp has Rhia down… which was the cue for Nightshade and Livvii Grace to appear. We’re not even three minutes in, guys.

The brawl spills into the crowd as Jayla Dark comes out and hits Rhia with a death valley driver… before she nudges everyone back into the ring, where Roxxy followed up with another Goomba stomp to win the title after 3 minutes and 39 seconds. The crowd pops, but it’s a little bit tempered, perhaps because of how quick it all was. **½

Rhia’s fuming, as Roxxy parades with the belt in the crowd. The odour of rodents is still fairly strong, as she demands that Emily Read get into the ring. So we can actually hear her protests on the mic? Instead, we go to interval, which gets interrupted by Rhea who finally has the mic. Apparently the interval is over and this is no fun-ahh.

Once the music’s cut, Rhia calls referee Lauren down to the ring, and that rat I smelled earlier is being replaced by nostalgia for Chris Jericho’s ultra-brief title run in 2000 WWF. So it comes to pass, as Rhia called out Lauren for a past mistake, then accused her of messing up by not calling Jayla Dark’s interference. How do you call what you don’t see? They show Lauren a replay of it a camera, and so EVE in canon now has VAR, and amid some bullying, Lauren’s forced to void the match. I mean… it’s clunky, why not call a DQ or a no-contest? I fully expect VAR to be used thoroughly going forward, as I take my tongue out of my cheek.

Roxxy’s called down to hand the belt over, but she notes that if that match is void… she’s still got a title match in the books. Which she wants to use tonight in the main event.

Angel Hayze vs. Sammii Jayne
It’s an EVE debut for Hayze, up against one of her trainers so who knows what we’re in for?

Hayze scores a headlock takedown early, before she escaped some headscissors as the pair went back-and forth. A dropkick to the side of Jayne’s head gets Hayze a near-fall, but Sammii’s back in with some forearms that knocked the 18-year old down for a similar near-fall. Angel comes back with some kicks, but missed an enziguiri as the pair trade some pinning attempts, including a struggling backslide as Sammii just takes her trainee down with an armbar instead.

Sammii holds on despite Hayze trying to roll free. When Angel got free, it was because of a fallaway slam as Sammii went right back to the arm, using a Corning hold that Hayze finally escaped with a ‘rana. More forearms from Hayze get her back in, ahead of a Slingblade for a near-fall, but Sammii’s straight back in with an enziguiri before she’s caught with a wheelbarrow facebuster for a two-count. A big PK from Hayze gets a near-fall, but Sammii’s back with a German into the corner, following up with some knees before a DDT rolled Sammii through into a guillotine as Hayze almost snatched the debut win. Jayne suplexes her way free, before more back and forth forearms led to Angel landing a pair of superkicks to deck Sammii. Rather than go for the cover, Hayze picks her up, only to get caught with a teardrop suplex.

The Shadowfax baseball slide German is next as Hayze looked like she was starting to fall behind, but a superkick cuts off a springboard DDT. “I don’t know what that was” from a tilt-a-whirl gets Hayze a near-fall, as does a snap ‘rana, but Sammii rolls out and scored a sit-out powerbomb that almost won it. Hayze keeps up, knocking Sammii on the top rope, but Sammii tries to counter with a sunset bomb, but Hayze ends up taking a second Shadowfax, this time with Sammii diving above the middle rope. Hayze refuses to kick out, but a cross-legged Falcon Arrow finally puts her away. A defeat, but good God, Angel Hayze looked to be tougher than girders on her debut here. Hopefully this is more than a one-and-done for her. **¾

SHE-1 2019 Qualifier: Millie McKenzie vs. Solo Darling
Sadly, Officer Magnum didn’t make the trip over…

We’ve a 30-minute window for this, as we start with a lock-up as the pair looked for an advantage early on. Millie tries to pull down Solo by the hair, but it’s shrugged off as Darling kept up with a leg grapevine, switching into a grounded surfboard as Solo was just having her way with Millie. Millie tries to get back in, but Solo just rolls her down as she followed her on the mat back to another leg grapevine and an inverted Texas cloverleaf… but Millie got free by grinding her elbow into Solo’s knee. After faking begging off, Millie’s caught with a low dropkick to the knee, before Solo began to pepper her with kicks.

After pushing Millie down, Solo goes for a big ol’ curb stomp as commentary’s cackling over Mortal Kombat. Millie responds by throwing Solo into the corner, but Solo fights back, sending Millie scurrying into the arms of Emily at ringside. Solo breaks it up, dragging Millie back into the ring as the “child’s tantrums” continued to play out. It’s back to the ankle of Millie as Solo just keeps pulling her off the ropes, before she managed to sooth Millie. Briefly.

The inverted Cloverleaf’s reapplied as Millie finally was able to get to and hold onto the ropes. Not to worry, Solo follows her into the corner with a Sharp Stinger around the ring post, before releasing the hold as Millie fell to the floor. I’d say “it’s all one-way traffic, but that’s usually the cue for the fight back… and it was here as well as Millie dumped her onto the apron with a back suplex. Millie’s tantrums resume as she wheels away on Darling, following in with clubbing shots to the back as she left Solo laying. A chinlock keeps Solo down as Millie wrenches away, before a dropkick ended a brief resistance, with Millie picking up another near-fall before another fightback led to Solo eating a cutter for a near-fall.

Solo shoved Millie down over her knees as the Sharp Stinger looked to follow… but Millie grabs the ropes, only to get pulled away as again referees don’t enforce rules. The Sharp Stinger’s back on as Leah’s done her research (but Dann isn’t listening…), but Millie’s back in the ropes as she pulls herself outside. Again, Solo follows her out as they head into the crowd again, where referee Tom admonishes Solo for having a drink… but she isn’t listening, as Solo keeps up with a nice bulldog off the wall.

Back in the ring, Solo rolls up Millie for a near-fall, then turns her into the Sharp Stinger after the kick-out, but to no avail. A slap in the corner decks Millie for a near-fall, ahead of a tornado DDT before Millie hit back with a desperation superkick. Solo blocks a spear with a simple headlock, before the Honey Steamer (tornado DDT into suplex) followed… and it’s back to business. A Sambo suplex drops Millie for another two-count, before another Sharp Stinger was countered into a small package for a near-fall. Millie keeps kicking out though, doing so after a pumphandle slam, before that reliance on the Sharp Stinger came back into focus, with Millie clubbing away another attempt before she busted out some German suplexes, then a spear… and that’s all folks! They perhaps went a little overboard with the underdog/”Scrappy Doo” side of things with Millie, but this was a really great match as Millie books her place in the second successive SHE-1. ***½

Charli Evans hit the ring afterwards, bragging that both halves of the Medusa Complex were in SHE-1, and promises that one of them will leave as the new Ace of Eve. Charli then complains about how her single match was turned into a four-way… and she still wants a singles match tonight. Hopefully for double pay.

After trading barbs with the commentary team, Charli offers up her SHE-1 spot and finally gets her opponent… it’s someone else pulling double duty.

SHE-1 2019 Qualifier: Charli Evans vs. Mercedes Martinez
I think Charli may have soiled herself when Mercedes hit the ring… and Evans charges after her as we got going.
Mercedes switches places and chops the hell out of Evans as stomps trap her in the corner ahead of a diving dropkick. That’s good for a near-fall, as Evans was suddenly less confident over her SHE-1 spot. A running boot from Evans turned it back around for another two-count, before Martinez sweeps the leg to block a suplex, only to get rolled up into a knee strike for another near-fall.

A spinebuster decks Evans for a near-fall as Martinez begins to wear Evans down some more, trapping her in a Regal Stretch in the middle of the ring. Evans escapes but can’t avoid the Three Amigas, before Mercedes ends up running into a T-Bone suplex. Using a Fujiwara armbar, Evans rolled Martinez into a pinning attempt, following up with a kick to the arm… but Mercedes is quickly back in with a curb stomp for another near-fall.

The momentum continues to swing as a Flatliner gets Evans a two-count, before she got caught on the top rope… Evans shoves down Martinez, fighting out of a spider German suplex only for Martinez to get back up with a Samoan driver off the top rope instead. They trade armbars, with Evans torquing the fingers for good measure, but Martinez gets to the ropes to save herself. Evans keeps up with some Kamigoye-like knees, before diving in with a guillotine choke… but Martinez manages to power out with a Twister suplex… and that’s enough for the win! I guess that’s what happens when you run your mouth, as now only one half of the Medusa Complex are in the SHE-1 again. Albeit a different half. ***½

EVE Championship: Roxxy vs. Rhia O’Reilly (c)
After the earlier match was “voided”, we’ve got the same referee as we’re just replaying everything. They’ve now formally dropped “Little Miss” from Roxxy’s name.

We get going with Roxxy’s shotgun dropkick, then some slingshot knees and a quick stomp to the lower back as Roxxy looked to finish off Rhia in short order… but a STO gets just a one-count before O’Reilly sent the Geordie into the turnbuckles with an Exploder. The champion takes Roxxy into the ropes for some choking as she began to take control, pulling up Roxxy for a kick to the arm. She tries again and has more luck with the curb stomp, before wrenching away with another chinlock.

Forearms trap Roxxy in the corner, but she’s quickly back with a headbutt and a Scorpion kick before she just pelted Rhia in the mouth. O’Reilly looks for an ankle lock, but Roxxy hops to the ropes… where she’s met with more choking before she was thrown onto the apron. Roxxy kicks the leg of Rhia and lands a sunset bomb onto the edge of the ring, before Roxxy head up top as she leapt into Livvii Grace and Nightshade at ringside – Rhia moved away from that and quickly came back in with more strikes. A draping DDT brings Roxxy back inside, before a trio of Exploder suplexes led to awkward landings asRoxxy was getting ragdolled all over the place.

A Rhia-justment DDT’s blocked as Roxxy tried to fight back, but she’s met with a clothesline before fighting back with another sunset bomb, taking O’Reilly into the corner. Roxxy’s resurgence led to her going back up for a double stomp, but Rhia crotches her in the corner and clubs away some more ahead of a muscle buster. Somehow Roxxy kicks out, before she got met with a knee to the head – with the knee brace apparently giving the brunt of the contact, as the referee waves off the match. The crowd booed that, but I do like how Rhia’s knee brace is akin to the modern day Lex Luger loaded forearm… it’ll just take time to establish it. ***

After the match, a bloodied Roxxy’s pulled up so Rhia can hit her Rhia-justment DDT before Jayla Dark ran out to make a belated save. She’s beaten down too as Rhia calls the shots and lands a second DDT. Rhia eventually pulls out some barbed wire (seriously, even in kayfabe land, what the bloody hell is that doing under the ring?), and runs some across Jayla’s mouth as the soon-to-be retiring Scotswoman was left laid out.

So, a longer EVE show than usual, with eight matches (opposed to the usual six), and it feels like they crammed a LOT into here. Yeah, giving Roxxy the Chris Jericho 2000 “title run” may be a very “story-telling” way to dismiss her as a challenger for now, while long-term fans maybe cynical over just how much Jayla Dark’s been thrust into the limelight for her retirement tour.

After a couple of shows that looked a little light, EVE were back in with a sell-out crowd here – and the one thing the few crowd brawls here showed was just how much the EVE crowds have changed. It also needs to be said that the return of Leah Owens on commentary was a pleasant one – excellently covering the previously-awkward silences when Dann had stuff to take care of, while also coming across like an expert. Who knew that doing research helped?!

EVE’s got a pair of shows later this week: “Friday Night Riot” at the Resistance Gallery on September 27, and “She Regrets Nothing” – which’ll be Jayla Dark’s retirement show the next night as EVE debut in Stratford, London. The stacked-up shows continue into October, with the regular ResGal show on October 12, followed by “Absolute Scenes” – their debut in Manchester – before we hit the third-annual SHE-1. Yep, it’s all piling up!