Going in to ‘She Who Dares, Wins’, Pro Wrestling EVE quite commendably managed to sell out the entire venue (and amass a waiting list of 200+ people) without having announced a single match.
This should tell you something about the kind of promotion EVE has developed into over the past year. Their Resistance Gallery home, while a perfectly punk-rock venue, is rapidly becoming too small for EVE’s growing legion of fans, veterans and newcomers alike, and EVE remains admirably true to their ethos, even as their popularity increases from show to show.
So, to the show. Do you remember WCW’s BattleBowl? I remember BattleBowl, because I’m old. The rules of the EVE BattleBowl are relatively simple:
1. From the pool of participants, names are drawn randomly to form tag teams.
2. These tag teams battle it out in a qualifying match to decide who will go on to compete in the BattleBowl battle royal.
3. The winners of these tag qualifiers then duke it out in an over-the-top rope battle royal. At this point, it’s every woman for herself.
4. When there are only two participants left in the ring, the rules revert back to traditional pinfall/submission.
The BattleBowl victor does not just win prestige, though. A rather snazzy ring grants the winner the opportunity for a match of their choice, against anyone they want, at any EVE event they desire. It’s a gold ticket, and every woman wants a shot at it.
The action kicked off with the first of five qualifiers:
Zoe Lucas and Raven Creed vs. Erin Angel and Charlie Morgan
The ‘randomly selected’ element favours some teams more than others. Charlie Morgan and Erin Angel made for a cohesive, cooperative team, while Zoe Lucas looked as though she’d rather team with a plank of wood than Raven Creed (billed from St. Anne’s Insane Asylum, Cork City).
This one was all about Charlie Morgan, though. EVE fan favourite Morgan was on fire, wearing Creed down with flurries of superkicks and her trademark tornado DDT. Creed fired back with a beautiful bridging German suplex, but Morgan kicked out. In came Zoe Lucas, who managed to match Morgan’s fire with her own brand of energetic athleticism (and plenty of trash talking).
A tense moment towards the end of the match where both Lucas and Morgan, exhausted and bruised, were down in the ring right up ‘til the 8-count. Tagging in Erin Angel proved the key to victory, though: a bit of nifty teamwork saw Angel hit a frog splash for the win. Charlie Morgan and Erin Angel move on to BattleBowl.
On to Qualifier 2:
Charli Evans and Millie McKenzie vs. Yuu and Laura DiMatteo
Millie McKenzie looked confident and strong as hell in this hard-hitting bout, which saw powerhouse Yuu delivering a series of sickening chops to the new Sendai Girls Junior Champion. Former Tokyo Joshi Pro star Yuu has been making a name for herself on the British wrestling scene – with a strong showing at Revolution Pro Wrestling’s Queen of the Ring tournament, and a shot at Zoe Lucas’s Rev Pro Women’s Title just the night before, she’s impressive to watch, and compliments the smaller, quicker Laura DiMatteo perfectly.
Wearing down Laura DiMatteo seemed to be the key tactic, and it was very successful. Multiple submission attempts saw McKenzie tie DiMatteo up in the ring ropes, wrenching her neck. In the end the combined efforts of Evans and McKenzie were too much for rising star DiMatteo, and the heels took the win. Charli Evans and Millie McKenzie move on to BattleBowl.
Qualifier 3 next:
Chardonnay and Lana Austin vs Session Moth Martina and Heidi Katrina
Sendai Girls regular Heidi Katrina made her EVE debut in an unlikely alliance with the brilliant Session Moth Martina, who is always an absolute joy to watch. Lana Austin impressed – I’m not surprised to hear she’s made an NXT UK appearance as she’s shown a great deal of improvement recently. Fresh from a recent Stardom tour, Chardonnay teamed up with Austin to dominate Martina for most of the match – that is, until Heidi Katrina tagged in. Heidi, by the way, is really, really strong.
Heidi cleaned the floor with Austin, catching her in a giant swing which Martina emulated, with limited success. Heidi’s powerful offense turned the tide, and a thunderous leg drop to Chardonnay followed by a double pin from both Heidi and Martina saw the odd couple through to BattleBowl.
Qualifier 4 swiftly followed:
Ashley Vega and Little Miss Roxxy vs. Jetta and Sammii Jayne
There were fireworks from the start (and I’m not talking about ring announcer Emily’s shocking failure to declare Jetta ‘The Princess Diana of Professional Wrestling’). Jetta was clearly not interested in working with former EVE champ Sammii Jayne, who offered a conciliatory handshake and was emphatically rebuffed. The two squabbled throughout, exchanging reluctant tags and frequently tagging themselves in when they felt like it. Roxxy and Vega took full advantage of their lack of communication, at one point locking their opponents in stereo submission holds. But in the end Jetta and Sammii Jayne were able to look past their differences – very briefly, anyway – to secure the victory. Jetta and Sammii Jayne go on to BattleBowl.
After the match, Jetta refused to shake Sammii’s hand and took to the mic, telling Sammii she did not believe she’d changed, and that she would not forget or forgive the things Sammii had done to claw her way to the top. Sammii was uncharacteristically contrite and replied that she’d had a lot of time to think when she was out injured, and it had occurred to her that if she had been nicer to everyone, then perhaps she might have had people asking after her while she was out.
A quick interval, then on to Qualifier 5:
Mischa East and El Macarena vs. Baynz and Nightshade
Shenanigans were called when the team of Baynz and Nightshade were ‘randomly’ thrown together. They towered over Mischa East – who received a rapturous reception from fans – and the mysterious El Macarena, who had ring announcer Emily and referee Tom enthusiastically Macarena-ing. El Macarena, I suspect, may be one of El Generico’s legendary orphans, as her cheerful silent pantomiming was wonderfully reminiscent of that masked wrestling genius (may he rest in peace). El Macarena and Mischa did their best, and fought valiantly, but as my notes for this match read:
BAYNZ & NIGHTSHADE DOMINATE
BAYNZ & NIGHTSHADE WIN
Nightshade looked especially impressive in this match, pulling off a beautiful One-Winged Angel on poor El Macarena.
The match started with Baynz and Erin Angel. Baynz entered fresh off her win against Mischa East and El Macarena, and clearly there was plenty of fuel left in the engine as she terrorised Erin Angel. Entrances from Millie McKenzie, Sammii Jayne and Heidi Katrina followed, with Heidi standing tall against Baynz. Nightshade. Jetta and Martina followed, and Martina just as swiftly exited of her own volition when she realised she’d have to take on Heidi Katrina.
But Martina stayed at ringside as Charlie Morgan joined the BattleBowl in true Charlie Morgan style: a swanton bomb off the balcony, and on to a crowd of opponents. Charli Evans was the last to enter, albeit in slightly more traditional fashion.
Chaos ensued. Nightshade eliminated Heidi. Erin Angel threw out Sammii Jayne, who appeared to be struggling with a tweaked knee throughout. Charlie Morgan succeeded in eliminating Baynz, which inspired the remaining group to band together and eliminate Nightshade. With participants dropping like flies, all notions of loyalty and friendship went out of the window. Jetta facilitated Charlie Morgan’s exit (though she did apologise) followed, after a brief, fierce brawl, by Millie McKenzie. Not to be outdone, Millie pulled Erin Angel to the ground before departing, leaving us down to the final two: Jetta and Charli Evans.
The top rope was no longer the route to victory. One would have to pin or submit the other in traditional style. By this point, both Charli and Jetta were looking worse for wear: Charli caught Jetta in a vicious submission, but Jetta fought free and caught Charli in the Jetta Lock. Before she could secure the win, though, Millie McKenzie ran in and helped Charli secure the win.
It wasn’t over there, though. Millie and Charli beat Jetta down until Erin Angel came to Jetta’s aid – which didn’t help much, as the two of them fell victim to Millie and Charli’s aggression. Finally, Sammii Jayne ran down, wielding a steel chair, which she did not use, but was sufficient deterrence to allow Jetta, Erin and Sammii to retreat to safety. Perhaps a leopard does change its spots after all…
CHARLI EVANS WINS THE FIRST EVER PRO WRESTLING EVE BATTLEBOWL
As BattleBowl victor, Charli gets to claim a match of her choice, against anyone she chooses, at any event she chooses. But Charli’s not satisfied with a simple one-on-one. Charli wants to be the first EVE Tag Champions with her new BFF Millie McKenzie. It’s going down at Wrestle Queendom 2, so the EVE team better get on with making some brand new belts…
But wait! Charli calls for the mic back. She’s not done yet. She doesn’t care if we’re late for our trains. She’s got something else to say:
“You know, there been a lot of talk this week about the pro wrestling world, about how there’s a lot more opportunities to go a lot more places. And you know what? We don’t need those opportunities. Because me and Millie, we f***in’ travel the world. We’re elite athletes, and we’re f***in’ changing the world ourselves.”
Charli goes on to mention one particular woman who has been talked about a lot this past week: Britt Baker. But she hasn’t proven herself in the EVE ring, Charli says, and tells Britt to come and show everyone how ‘elite’ she really is. Mic drop.
Good news, Charli. You got Britt’s attention:
Stay tuned to Diva Dirt for more Pro Wrestling EVE exclusives in the future.