Piledrive a fascist. The words hang proudly on the walls above the ring at every Pro Wrestling: EVE show these days. It’s emblazoned on t-shirts. It’s a battle cry for a league of women who set their own rules and molded wrestling into a punk rock art form that could only happen in their own promotion.
But it’s one thing to make a statement with edgy slogans, profanity and boat loads of attitude. It’s another to have top-tier talent to back it up. Physically gifted women and talented storytellers who can truly elevate a match. Pro Wrestling: EVE has a rich history of fostering outstanding athletes within their promotion. Not just “we had them before they were stars” kind of luck, but true peak performance displays from masters in the craft. The likes of Paige, Nikki Cross, Alpha Female, Meiko Satomura and Emi Sakura have all performed with the have hallowed ropes of an EVE ring.
Now in the wake of the WWE’s second annual Mae Young Classic and the advent of NXT UK, EVE is stocked with talent fully exposed to American eyes. Stars like Toni Storm, Jinny, Charlie Morgan, Nina Samuel, Millie McKenzie and more.
The WWE very smartly chose to snag these women when building their UK promotion, but recent developments could put pressure on what Pro Wrestling: EVE and these stars have already built together. According to wrestletalk.com, new contracts for NXT UK talent now may forbid said talent from working with promotions outside the WWE and its select partners. While it is not specified which stars this would affect, it is speculated that it is most of the roster.
With sports entertainers like Storm, who is this year’s WWE Mae Young Classic winner as well as an Eve SHE-1 competitor, there could be hot dispute over the rights to these stars. Especially, if it’s true that this all was not part of the initial agreement.
It’s hard enough to create a successful indie promotion. To create an all-women’s with equal parts edge, heart and audacity is almost impossible today, if you do not have the right mix. One of EVE’s greatest assets is its unbelievable roster of talent and its ability to let those women gain experience and exposure and bring it back home to make their product stronger. To tighten the reigns on that or to rob them of some of their biggest draws completely does the promotion a huge disservice.
Every revolution needs a driving force. A vehicle that the people can rally behind. When I first learned that there was a riot grrrl wrestling promotion out there in the world, I was beyond ecstatic. When I watched a show, and learned that it was a top-tier wrestling program, complete with dynamic action, fleshed out storytelling, engaging comedy, loveable characters, even a burlesque intermission and not just some sloppy angry “stick it to the man” shtick, I fell in love.
Don’t get me wrong. There’s an agenda here. We’re piledriving fascists. We’re supporting our local girl gangs. We’re building a revolution on the backs of talented women ready to forge something entirely new instead of rehashing what the boys were doing.
Which is why it’s scary to think that might be in jeopardy. That this titanic tour de force built up in a bar basement can come crashing down because of legal trickery. That boardroom handshakes can prioritize one person’s revolution over another’s.
EVE has built an amazing vehicle for women’s wrestling in the UK. And I’m not trying to say I’m against those women getting opportunities in NXT UK. It would just be a shame if the deals hatched in NXT UK ultimately hurts what EVE has invested and created.
EVE has been recruiting and developing top-tier talent for years and years now. Should something catastrophic happen, surely there will be more bold upstarts to be molded and perhaps someone new to piledrive.