Heading the card is Emi Sakura defending the EVE title against former champ Nikki Storm, who won and lost the belt on the iPPV last November, defeating Alpha Female before losing an impromptu defence to Sakura. The Gatoh Move founder was meant to defend the belt against Carmel Jacob yesterday, but due to a schedule change in her flight, she didn’t make it to the Preston City Wrestling card in time. Instead, Jacob – who presumably will get a title shot in the future instead – defeated Kay Lee Ray, who limped away from the match with a broken toe.
Ray was meant to face Blue Nikita, but that match was scrapped after Nikita suffered head and neck trauma in a car accident earlier this week. As a result, she has been slotted into the match between Alpha and Shanna to make it a 3-way.
Also on the card are three quarter final matches in the EVE Tag Team Championship tournament, with The Lovely Peppers (Kirsty Love & Pollyanna Peppers) facing Kasey & Leah Owens, Ama-Reilly (Amazon Ayesha Ray & Rhia O’Reilly) against She-X (Bete Noire & Viper), and the Glamour Gym (Carmel Jacob & Sara-Marie Taylor) meeting April Davids and a mystery partner. The other contest will be the promotion’s second Three Minute Warning match featuring 15 wrestlers in a mix of a Gauntlet Match and a Royal Rumble.
Lee Burton is at the show in Preston, England, and will be updating the results as they happen, so click after the jump and keep hitting refresh for updates.
1. Alpha Female beat Shanna & Kay Lee Ray in a 3 way. Alpha pinned Shanna with a Dominator after the Glamour Gym took out KLR.
2. She-X v Ama-Reilly went to a no contest.
3. The Owens Twins defeated The Lovely Peppers. Kasey pinned Pollyanna Peppers with a German Suplex.
4. The Glamour Gym double pinned April Davids in a handicap match.
5. Nikki Storm beat Emi Sakura with a Perfect Storm with a bridge to regain the EVE Championship. Storm attacked Sakura after the bell with April Davids making the save, but got taken out too.
6. Sara-Marie Taylor won the Three Minute Warning match.
Order of entry:
1. Carmel Jacob
2. Kay Lee Ray
3. Pollyanna Peppers
4. Leah Owens
5. Kasey Owens
7. Bete Noire
8. Rhia O’Reilly
9. Kirsty Love
10. Amazon Ayesha Ray
12. Alpha Female
13. Sara-Marie Taylor
Order of elimination:
1. Peppers was pinned by Jacob with an Air Raid Crash
2. Leah Owens was pinned by Jacob following a clothesline
3. Kasey Owens was pinned following a KLR swanton bomb
4. Love was thrown over the top by O’Reilly & Shanna
5. Noire was thrown over the top by Amazon
6. Viper was thrown over the top by O’Reilly, Amazon & Shanna
7. O’Reilly was thrown over the top by Alpha
8. Amazon was thrown over the top by Alpha
9/10. Shanna and Alpha went over the top together
11. Jacob was thrown over the top by KLR
12. KLR was thrown over the top by Taylor
• First off, the venue in Preston is great. With a great sound system and lights, it’s a great venue for putting on a wrestling show.
• It’s a crushing pity about Blue Nikita’s injury, as it meant that Alpha Female and Shanna’s backstory from Wrestle Fever was massively diluted because of the addition of Kay Lee Ray to the mix. While the match itself was perfectly fine, it meant that the heel Shanna and babyface KLR teamed up on a couple of occasions in the match to try and deal with their larger opponent. However, the result was the right one, with Alpha getting a decisive pin on Portugal’s Perfect Athlete after the Glamour Gym interfered in the contest to keep Kay Lee Ray occupied.
• I don’t get why She-X went over The Owens Twins and April Davids & Kaori Yoneyama at Wrestle Fever to establish them as a tag team force only to have them eliminated at the first opportunity in the Tag Team Championship tournament. Similarly, Ama-Reilly bailed on the 3-way tag match last November because they said they were saving themselves for the tournament, and then ostensibly eliminating themselves for kicking too much arse. It just seems a waste.
• It’s impossible to dislike the Lovely Peppers. Coming out to PSY’s Gangnam Style, it set the mood very quickly, and repositioned the Owens as heels again, after some ambiguity at Wrestle Fever. As for the match, I enjoyed it, and while I appreciate that the Owens winning was the right result – especially considering their popularity among fans in EVE’s year-end poll – it’s a pity that Kirsty and Pollyanna were beaten at the first opportunity. Nature of the beast, I guess…
• Whoever April Davids’ partner was meant to be didn’t make it to the show, leading April – who was massively over considering she lives in the area – to cut the most profanity-laced promo in the promotion’s history saying she would go it alone against the Glamour Gym. There were so many shits and fucks that EVE promoter Dann Read personally apologised to the children in attendance and passed out a couple of free DVDs, which I thought was a really nice touch.
• The Glamour Gym got so much heat. Sara-Marie Taylor was given hell for her leopard-print gear which was likened to Bet Lynch – a character from soap opera Coronation Street – while Carmel Jacob’s furry boots and jacket made her look like Big Bird from Sesame Street. Some great chants here.
• The match itself became a handicap affair, and was the best match up to that point, as Davids handled the pair for the most part but then fell to the numbers game, losing after a double suplex and double pin.
• Nikki Storm wasn’t messing about, and her match with Emi Sakura was the match of the show. In what was a very joshi-style match, veteran Sakura controlled for a lot of the time with holds, but Storm retaliated – though as she did so, her cockiness and determination faded away, replaced with frustration and despair as she struggled to get the win, and was especially evident after the defending champion missed a moonsault, allowing Storm to hit a Perfect Storm for a close 2-count. However, Sakura threw everything she had at the plucky Scot, with a Liger Bomb gaining the closest near-fall I’ve seen in a long time.
• In the end, it was a second Perfect Storm with a bridge which saw Storm become EVE’s first two time champion, and in a lovely post-match moment, saw the pair come together as if they were going to shake hands, only for Nikki to attack the former titleholder. Davids came out to help her friend, but ended up being battered by the new champ too.
• Unfortunately, despite the booking of the Three Minute Warning Match – with She-X and Ama-Reilly picking up their first again, Shanna avoiding Alpha and Carmel and KLR fighting all over the building – the whole contest was a rushed mess. The problem was that the show was 35 minutes late in starting, and with a 20 minute interval after the title match, it meant that the main event started just 20 minutes before the fans for the evening PCW show were due to start filing in. As a result, the three minute intervals had to be shortened, and eliminations started coming thick and fast. Consequently, it was difficult to keep track of everything.
• In the end, it was the Glamour Gym and Kay Lee Ray left, with KLR throwing out Taylor – though the ref was pre-occupied with splitting up Shanna and Alpha Female, who were fighting on the other side of the ring. As with Steve Austin at the 1997 Royal Rumble, Sara-Marie snuck back in and dumped the redhead out moments after she had eliminated Jacob.
• The win gives her the Money in the Bank stipulation – that she can challenge for the EVE Championship at any time. That means both members of the Glamour Gym are due title shots at some point – though with a heel Storm as champion, they may be waiting a while to cash in.
• Taylor’s victory reminds me of when Velvet Sky won a Knockouts Battle Royal on TNA Impact in July 2008. It was a little out of left-field, and was almost presented as a bit of a fluke win. Still, that’s the nature of these types of matches and gives a new person a shot at the belt in the future, so I’m cool with that – and Taylor has now won three EVE matches in a row, which gives her some traction.
• Also, credit to Kay Lee Ray, who competed for approximately 40 minutes over the card with a broken toe and didn’t hold back for one moment, delivering big dropkicks in the 3-way, as well as jumping off the bar onto Carmel and fighting all over the building during the Three Minute Warning. A real trooper.
No Man’s Land 2 was a one-match show, but that match delivered in spades. Emi Sakura v Nikki Storm was a great contest which proves how great Sakura as well as the position that Storm is in now – the UK is almost too small to hold her. It’s a shame that Alpha Female v Shanna became a 3-way as the storyline had to be pushed to one side. With one quarter-final left to take place, we have two teams in the Tag Team Championship tournament semi-finals – both heels – and one team will presumably receive a bye to the final. Meanwhile, the Three Minute Warning was too hurried, but produced a surprise winner which shakes things up at the top of the card. Hopefully Taylor can amass some more wins before cashing in that shot to establish her as a dangerous threat to the championship.
While Amazon Ayesha Ray and Rhia O’Reilly had a spectacular start to their team back at Special Edition last summer, things haven’t progressed that far for them. They lasted for a while in the Three Minute Warning, but considering their focus was the Tag Team belts and they’re out of the tournament – where does that leave them now?
The Owens Twins are really coming together as a team, and their look is great. You can understand why they garner so much attention. Hopefully the Lovely Peppers can get some wins under their belt too – I think it would be a shame for them to be the happy-go-lucky team that constantly suffers disappointment.
The Glamour Gym are awesome heat-machines, and have got their baiting and taunting down to a fine art now.
I also enjoyed April Davids getting some promo time, though you may need to cover the children’s ears in the future. I’d love to see her get more chances to express herself using words as well as her wrestling – which is so neat these days, despite her toughing it out with a shoulder that has been injured for a while now.
For the immediate future, all roads lead back to Storm v Alpha with the giant German getting her revenge against Shanna and regaining some momentum, while Storm regained momentum AND the title. With the pair captaining opposing teams in a War Games match later this month at Special Edition II, it’s the most logical step forward, albeit with the diversion of Emi Sakura winning the EVE Championship.
But what of that diversion – was it worth it? Well as predicted, the change saw EVE gain column inches and coverage in Japan with the belt and title change being featured on JWP‘s year-end show as well as having one title defence on Japanese soil – although the match between Sakura and Hiroyo Matsumoto went to a time-limit draw – and Storm gained another big scalp to add to her list of victims. I still feel that the title change from Storm to Sakura was unnecessary as well as confusing – with the babyface taking advantage of a tired heel – and hurt Nikki’s momentum, which is important considering she’s part of the regular roster who is now carrying the ball. Again, that is not a knock on Sakura’s credentials, but I maintain that the logic of the title change was back-to-front. Still, what’s done is done, and let’s move on.
I’m hoping for a long reign – not because I’m a Storm fan, but because that belt could do with some stability. Since it was introduced in April 2010, there have been six reigns with only Jenny Sjodin establishing a real run of successful defences. In comparison, during that time Women Superstars Uncensored and NCW Femmes Fatales have had one title change each, and SHIMMER has had two. If Nikki sees out the year as champion – which would see her kept pretty busy considering EVE is planning to run more shows this year than in any year since its launch in 2009 – it would be a great springboard for whoever beats her for the belt.
Finally, we gave Nikki Storm a call this morning to get her thoughts on the match, what being champion means to her and what she has coming up in the month of February. Click here to listen!
– Lee Burton