Loser Leaves Eve… But Not Quite Yet
Eve: Wrestle(Wo)mania
April 5 2024
The Big Penny
London

There were broken tables by the ringside. Thumbtacks, chairs, and a barbed wire-covered baseball bat littered a canvas that was so bloodstained and torn up that it would have to be retired after the show. Eighteen months after Charlie Morgan and Alex Windsor’s friendship had been shattered when Windsor challenged and beat Morgan’s wife Jetta for the Eve title, they spent 35 minutes committing unspeakable acts of violence against each other. Their relationship had become so fractured that they were attacking each other during shows – wreaking havoc. It was clear that they could no longer both be part of the promotion, so only one of them could stay and this match determined who that would be. Windsor emerged victorious and for the next minute, they lay huddled on the mat, crying.

Windsor’s music hit after she pinned Morgan and Lolo Brow, a ring announcer known for being raucous, sounded downbeat as she said the words that had, for so long, seemed unimaginable to the crowd: “Let’s hear it for your winner… Alex Windsor… meaning… Charlie Morgan leaves Eve.”

The crowd was on their feet for the incredible match they’d just seen, but the air in the room felt heavy. Everyone knew the loser had to go, but the possibility that it might not happen was still alive right up until the three count. Now the reality hit that Charlie Morgan, the person who’d come to embody Eve since 2017, was leaving.

Charlie grabbed the microphone and addressed the crowd, tears in her eyes and voice breaking with emotion, to let them know that she wasn’t just leaving Eve but wrestling entirely. And that her wife Jetta would be going with her. Before she left though, she had one request: one final match to act as a proper send off for the both of them.

Charlie Morgan tearfully embraces Alex Windsor after being beaten in a Loser Leaves Eve match.

Charlie Morgan Alex Windsor

First Impressions

To understand the end of this, I’ll take you back to the beginning, or at least my beginning with both of these wrestlers: the first time I saw them in person.

Jetta
March 3, 2007
The Olympia
Liverpool

It was the first show of Ring of Honor’s second UK tour, the second to last in their Fifth Year Festival series. On this occasion, ROH had brought along Sara Del Ray and Allison Danger for a match. This was the first women’s match I’d ever seen live and it was a great start. The crowd had loved every minute of it and it was clear that everyone was there to have a good time.

Midway through the show though, two British wrestlers, Eden Black and Jetta, came out to address the crowd, upset that these American wrestlers had come all the way over to the UK only to wrestle each other. Jetta somehow managed to take the crowd from their collective good mood and bring them to the point of a near riot, through, what on the face of it was a very fair request to face them in a tag team match. It was all about how she said it and the 19-year-old Jetta knew exactly how to pitch it. The next day, they got their wish as they faced the Dangerous Angels in a match that went so well that you can see Allison Danger say to Jetta “welcome to SHIMMER” afterwards.

Charlie Morgan
March 30, 2018
The Resistance Gallery
London

One street over and a world away from York Hall stood the Resistance Gallery, a dive bar built into a railway arch on a small brick-laid road that is most infamous for the time Kota Ibushi launched a bunch of fireworks at himself whilst standing on a car. It was also the regular venue for Eve, the UK’s most prominent all-women’s promotion. It was cramped, the lights in the toilets were often broken – it was a shithole. It was also the best wrestling venue I’ve ever been to with an atmosphere that couldn’t be matched. Standing room only with the ring pushed up against one of the walls, the wrestlers made their entrance through the crowd and sometimes, quite often, in fact, fought each other in the crowd. I went to  24 shows in the ResGal; this was the first. It was also the first time that I saw Charlie Morgan.

Entering to Jessie J’s “Do It Like a Dude,” she had a swagger about her that let you know you were watching someone special. Were her poise and confidence not enough, the moment where she jumped to the top rope and performed a wall-run armdrag certainly would. In five weeks’ time, she was going to headline the biggest all women’s wrestling show in European history, and you could see why.

Leaving Wrestling Behind, For The First Time

Like nearly every wrestler who’s retired this wouldn’t be the first time for either Morgan or Jetta. Both had previously left wrestling behind, though at different times for different reasons. In fact, Jetta had left for the first time before Morgan had even started.

Jetta

In 2010 Jetta was an eight-year veteran who’d been booked all over the world, spending most weekends travelling up and down the UK or flying to a different country entirely. She was the most prominent women’s wrestler on the British scene and one of the most respected wrestlers in the country.

She was 23.

She was burned out.

In an interview with Flash Morgan Webster in 2019, she talked about how wrestling had taken over her life at that point, how it made her become detached from her life, and how she’d grown to resent it. She decided to leave before she hurt herself or someone else. For the next six years, she cut herself almost entirely out of wrestling whilst building a career and a life. In 2016 she started slowly coming back into wrestling, starting a second career in it, but this time making it a part of her life instead of her whole life.

Charlie Morgan

For Charlie, the first retirement happened when she was on the run of her life. She’d won the Eve title at Wrestle Queendom, made appearances on the WWE UK shows, was being booked on more and bigger shows, and had finally been booked for SHIMMER. It felt like she was on the verge of truly breaking out into worldwide fame before a bad landing on a dive led to an ankle injury.

When she returned home, she went to a doctor to get it examined and got some incredibly bad news. The ankle injury was serious, so serious, in fact, that she needed immediate surgery to stop it from healing incorrectly and leaving her with a limp. If she carried on wrestling on it, she risked serious permanent damage. At 27 years old, at the second Wrestle Queendom, Charlie Morgan announced to a shocked crowd that she was going to retire. Tears were shed as everyone took in the fact that they’d already seen their final Charlie Morgan match without realizing it.

Time went on and Charlie went through physiotherapy for her ankle. At the final session, the physiotherapist had some good news for her, so good she couldn’t believe it.

“On that last session, my physio[therapist], I was doing my exercises, and he said, ‘Yeah, I’d pretty much say you’re good to go,’ and I was like, ‘Good to go where?’ He was like, ‘Back to wrestling’ and I was like, ‘What?’ I was like, ‘Are you serious’ and he was like, ‘Yeah.’ He was a physio[therapist] trained in like dealing with athletics, people who [are] athletes. He was like, ‘If you really want it, you can do it’”

This was March 2020, though, just as the world was shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic, meaning that although she wanted to go back to wrestling, it would be a long time before she could.

In August 2021, Eve had their return show after the world had opened up again: Wrestle Queendom 4. In the weeks leading up to the show, they’d been playing some videos about a surprise wrestler called the Gambler, involving poker chips and a mysterious message: “Less = more.” Whoever they were, they were booked in a match against Skye Smitson who stormed to the ring at the end of the show, angrily demanding that they show themselves so she could “kick [their] arse.”

The video played again, but with some extra details. The hand the Gambler held was revealed one card at a time: a 10 of spades, a Jack, a Queen, a King. Finally, an Ace of spades. A pair of  familiar-looking eyes appeared on the screen as “Less = more” morphed into “Fearless Morgan.”

Charlie Morgan was back and the crowd was on their feet before she’d even hit the ring. After the year and a half of darkness the world had lived through, this was a much-needed bright light. The world wasn’t fixed yet, but it had become a whole lot better.




The Final Match

It had been a long and eventful time. 22 years from the start of Jetta’s career and eight since the start of its second half – during which she’d met her better half. For Charlie, it had been 13 years and nearly 3 since her return. They knew when they wanted to finish and how, and that it should involve wrestlers who had been important for the both of them. So who were they and what did they mean to Charlie and Jetta?

OnceMoreWithFeeling

The All Star

Erin Angel started her career at about the same age and same time as Jetta. From the age of 15, she had worked up and down the country, often on camp shows and sometimes doing up to three shows a day, including setting up and taking down the ring at each show.

When she’d started, women on the show were treated as a novelty or curiosity at best. Often, they were the promoter’s girlfriend who had been pressured into giving it a go, and the women who had wanted to learn to wrestle were often given subpar training and subjected to horrible treatment. To keep going you had to truly, truly love it and be incredibly tough. Erin Angel was tough, but she was never callous and in an industry that can be filled with acrimony and bile, you’ll only ever hear good words about her. She was with Eve from their very first show, and, when Jetta returned in 2016, got involved in a story with her where Erin became Jetta’s protege for a year after losing a match to her. During that year Jetta kept trying to convince Erin to take shortcuts and become meaner, even enlisting her help to try to attack Kate Nash during her set at the Reading Festival in 2018.

By the end of the year, however, Erin had changed Jetta into a nicer person and a genuine friendship developed between the two when they finally formed a team known as WrestleFriends.

The Snakes

At the beginning of 2019, Charli Evans won the Eve Battlebowl and, with it, the right to challenge for any title she wanted, so she demanded a tag title shot. At the time, however, there were no tag titles in Eve – so she demanded that they be created  so that she and her best friend ,Millie McKenzie ,could win them. For the next five months, in the build to the match to crown the inaugural tag team champions at Wrestle Queendom II, the two became embroiled in a vicious feud with the WrestleFriends. The then 21-year-old Evans and 18-year-old McKenzie were young, hungry, violent and more than willing to demolish Angel and Jetta to get what they wanted, pushing the veterans to up their game and work outside of their comfort zone. By the time the final bell rang, Jetta and Erin Angel stood as the first tag team champions, something only made possible by the Medusa Complex pushing them to be better wrestlers and a better team.

The Star Of The Show

For the best stories, every hero needs a villain, someone who can truly challenge them to bring the best out of them. For Charlie Morgan, that villain was Nina Samuels. On July 15, 2017, at Eve’s Dangerous Women show, Nina Samuels, who was recovering from an ankle injury, had been providing commentary. Midway through the show, she tired of being out of the spotlight and took to the ring, demanding that the fans show her some appreciation. Charlie Morgan came down for her scheduled match and told Samuels to leave, Samuels refused and mocked Morgan

“I don’t know what you’re planning on doing about it, are you going to put your hands on me or something?”

Morgan looked a little taken aback, then pissed off, grabbed the microphone, and cut the defining promo of her career

“I see what you’re trying to do, I see where you’re trying to go with that snidey comment. What do you think, that I’m scared to fucking say it?! Do you think I’m going to shy away from the fact that I’m gay?!”

For a second, the crowd was stunned into silence before coming back with wild cheers. There had been wrestlers who were implied to be gay, often in cartoonishly evil ways, heels who tried to appeal to the homophobia of the crowds. In 2002, WWE had a tag team, Billy & Chuck, who eventually revealed that they were playing it up for a publicity stunt that had gone too far at their wedding on Smackdown, a move that thoroughly pissed off GLAAD.

Offscreen, there had been gay wrestlers in the industry before, wrestlers who had been out to their colleagues but not to the public. In 2013, Fred Rosser became the first wrestler signed to WWE to publicly come out; onscreen, however, he was still Darren Young, who acted no different than before he came out.

This was the first time someone had come out publicly on a wrestling show, saying that both they and the character they were portraying were gay. Eve had been promoting themselves as a queer-friendly space, and here they were putting their money where their mouth was by doing this, and then by booking Charlie to win a tournament for a championship match, headlining Wrestle Queendom and having her win the title there.

After this promo, more wrestlers, both within Eve and outside it, came out publicly, seeing the support that Charlie Morgan got from fans and feeling comfortable enough to live their lives more openly. It was not the biggest moment in Morgan’s career but it was the most important, and it wouldn’t have happened without Nina Samuels playing her antagonist role to perfection.

Once More, With Feeling
June 7, 2024
The Big Penny
London

It was time. Everything that went into the match had been chosen by Morgan and Jetta, from the participants, to referee Tom Scarbourough, to the ring announcer, co-founder of Eve, Emily Read.

For this evening, Eve decided that there would be no time limit to the match. Further, they decided to defy the copyright bots on YouTube and play the music most associated with all the wrestlers: Rob Zombie’s “Living Dead Girl” for the Medusa Complex, Alessia Cara’s “Here” for Nina Samuels, S-Club 7’s “Reach” for Erin Angel, Carly Simon’s “Nobody Does It Better” for Jetta and Jessie J’s “Do It Like A Dude” for Charlie Morgan. The ResGal might have shut down in 2020 but for one night its spirit would live again, with the crowd singing along.

The match started with the two teams facing off against each other, staring each other down, hugging each other and then launching into the fight. For the next 22 minutes, the match was everything that the Royal Aces were, with some hard hitting action interrupted by a ref bump leading to absolute chaos. The entire locker room spilled out to take lariats from Jetta. Alex Windsor emerged to give Charlie a big hug before being hit with a belt shot. Will Ospreay, who had been working as a producer on the show, came out to shout at the wrestlers for the pandemonium only to be on the receiving end of a lariat, an eye poke and a superkick which landed him upside down in the corner. Eve’s other cofounder, Dann Read, tried to calm it down – only to find himself the receiving end of a beating by all of the participants in the match,  as well as the referee.

Finally, the ring cleared, and the action got back to the six participants in the match. Jetta delivered a lariat to Charli Evans, then Charlie Morgan climbed to the top rope for the final time and soaked in the cheers of the crowd before delivering a Swanton Bomb. Erin Angel followed with a picture-perfect frog splash, and the trio all pinned Evans for the three count. With that, the wrestling careers of the Royal Aces were over.

Everyone who worked on the show that night joined them in the ring for farewell speeches and a tribute video filled with messages from wrestlers all over the world, moments mostly from Jetta’s career at Charlie’s request and footage from their wedding the previous summer, set to a mixture of Kiss and Yungblud’s versions of “I Was Made For Lovin’ You.” The show ended with a mix of emotions. Sadness that it was over. Gratitude for what they did. Joy for whatever was coming next for the pair.

Second Star To The Right, And Straight On ‘Til Morning

Faith: “Yeah, you’re not the one and only chosen anymore. Just gotta live like a person. How’s that feel?”

Dawn: “Yeah, Buffy. What are we gonna do now?”

[Buffy smiles]

-Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Chosen, Season 7 Episode 22

Wrestling retirements are generally seen as a joke. Mick Foley returned to the ring five weeks after his retirement, and Shawn Michaels returned for a blood money payday. Ric Flair has retired so many times that it nearly killed him, while Terry Funk had more retirement matches than most people have teeth. Both of these wrestlers have had their own retirements before, and both have come back, so why am I sure that this one is really the end for them?

At the show, you could hear it in their voices and see it in their eyes. No one had forced them into it, and they weren’t burned out by the business. They were leaving with their health intact. They’d done everything they could—even becoming the first same-sex married couple to win a set of tag titles.

They’re each leaving the wrestling business better than when they joined it, both individually and together. They’ve been through so many highs and lows, and they found each other in the middle of it. They can leave because there’s nothing left to give or to gain.

CharlieJettaWedding

Instagram post from Charlie and Jetta’s wedding for the above.

You can watch the Royal Aces’ final match on Eve’s Youtube Channel