Rev Pro Live at the Cockpit 37 (1.6.19) review

Rev Pro Live at the Cockpit 37 (1.6.19) review

Rev Pro Live at the Cockpit 37

 

January 6 2019

 

We’re in London at the Cockpit Theatre. Hosts are Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmonz. Cockpit 36 turned up the morning after the show but this one came along a lot later. I don’t know there’s a specific reason for this but this particular show featured a much hyped bout between Zack Sabre Jr and PAC for the Rev Pro title.

 

Sha Samuels vs. Dan Magee

There’s an ongoing feud here with Magee looking to prove himself against an established talent. He previously feuded with Josh Bodom, which was good stuff but they shit the bed at York Hall. Sha is a gatekeeper for Rev Pro now. A dastardly, capable midcard villain that the likes of Magee have to best before moving on to greater things. They have a call back to Sha hitting Magee with a chair on a tope by having Magee stop and Sha hit the ropes and then himself. Dan hits a high crossbody for the win. This was rock solid pro wrestling. Very little flash about it but a lesson in doing basics well and getting the pops for it.

RPSha

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Queen of the Ring Semi-Final

Sammii Jayne vs Yuu

Ring announcer Dan calls Sammii Jayne “Sami Zayn” and she’s hot about it.

RPSsammii

Sammii is a weird experience. She’s clearly quite good at wrestling but she also leans on the kind of indie crutches you usually see at camp shows with kids. Yuu is so capable that they could have a barnburner but Sammii doesn’t seem interested in doing that. They work the mat a lot before switching to power moves from Yuu.

RPZoe

Yuu has it won with the Tazmission but Zoe Lucas, incumbent Rev Pro women’s champ, comes out here to ruin it. It should lead directly to finish but instead leads to more sloppy countering. Zoe comes back, hits Zoe with the belt and Sammii gets the pin. The Lucas run in was way too early and wrecked the build of the match. Ideally they shouldn’t have run three spots where Zoe interfered as it made Sammii look weak for not being able to win despite a clear advantage.

Final Rating: **3/4

 

Queen of the Ring Semi-Final

Chardonnay vs. Debbie Keitel

Keitel was a last minute replacement and she’s done well, making a name for herself. Chardonnay is an established star, introduced as representing “Queens Quest” in Stardom. The match is technically sound but lacking in thrills and spills.

RPChardonnay

RPDebbieKeitel

Props to Chardonnay for looking like a star here and dominating the match with basic control periods. It gives Debbie a hill to climb as she fights from underneath. It’s a bit unambitious but well executed. If there’s any criticism of Chardonnay is that perhaps she’s a little sluggish and could adopt a less deliberate pace in her matches but I find her believable. I certainly find her offence more capable than Keitel’s and I like Debbie. Chardonnay brings that touch of class that you get from a Charlotte Flair. Good presence and I rate her. Keitel picks up the win with a cheeky pin. This was very solid. Keitel looked way better here than last night and Chardonnay is really good.

Final Rating: ***

 

Team Starr vs. Team ELP

David Starr and El Phantasmo have been at each other’s throats for months. ELP has yet to pick up a win but he’s got a shot here in an eight man tag.

RPStarr

Starr cuts a lovely pre-match promo on Chris Roberts pointing out that fans hated him and booed him until he went to the Tokyo Dome and now somehow he’s beloved? Starr is apoplectic! Wonderful. His dripping with sarcasm “I am so thrilled”, with regards to this match, and other cutting remarks have him as a frontrunner for best on interviews for 2019. ELP responds to him by saying their next match will be a ladder match.

 

They do a little build on the teams. ELP names MK McKinnan. Starr names Rob Lias. ELP names Michael Oku (the OJMO). Starr names Josh Bodom, although he doesn’t like him. ELP names Shigehiro Irie. Starr concludes the picks with the Great O-Kharn.

RPELP

There are a lot of talented guys in this and they are able to tell stories by switching characters around. The OJMO going after O-Kharn, failing horribly and then being succeeded by MK and Irie in order is good stuff. I like how OJMO gets confidence from hitting a few spots and comes after O-Kharn a second time.

MK McKinnan is great in this match. He’s been establishing himself in Rev Pro and he’s constantly shining in these matches. It speaks volumes when he’s surrounded by all this talent and still stands out. His efforts are clear to see. They do a great job of working everyone into the breaking down sequences. The Irie piledriver on top of Rob Lias is particularly terrific. The match should really be the chance for ELP to beat Starr without the title being involved or even MK to get a win over O-Kharn without ruining his undefeated singles streak. Instead Gideon Grey sneaks in, attacks MK and O-Kharn beats him yet again.

RPOkharn

I’d probably consider this a missed opportunity but it was also a great match, just with a somewhat unsatisfactory finish.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Chris Ridgeway vs. Kurtis Chapman

Kurtis is trying to rebuild himself after a disappointing Rev Pro cruiser title run and this is a fine opportunity to demonstrate his mat skills against Ridgeway. Kurtis is still struggling to gain weight and that’s readily apparent opposite Ridgeway and makes the mat sequences need good technique, which luckily Kurtis is strong at. Chapman tries to enter a kicking competition, as he’s quite good at that too, and gets owned. Again, the size difference is what hurts Kurtis as Ridgeway looks, well, hard as fuck. The result is a somewhat lopsided contest with Kurtis showing a lot of heart and holding on to not lose quickly. The implication is that he’s trying to win, and I guess he is, but from an outside perspective he’s lasting longer than he logically should and that’s the real win.

RPKurtis

Kurtis survives a beating but he tapped out to a gruesome looking submission hold after being stomped in the back of the head. Valiant showing from Kurtis but the right man won. Chapman’s loss of popularity coincided with his title run. He’s a far better underdog.

Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Kellyanne & Zan Phoenix vs. Zoe Lucas & Laura Di Matteo

This is an odd set up because both teams have a heel and a face. Kellyanne and Di Matteo the respective blue-eyes.

RPZoeLucas

They’re both really good and have a technically sound clash. I kinda wish it was singles after the opening exchange. The match is noticeably worse when they’re not wrestling each other. In fact Kellyanne is the driving force behind everything that’s good, especially in terms of complex moves. Zoe, who looked terrific against Yuu yesterday, doesn’t have a good match at all. She can’t keep up with Kellyanne and the Australian has to slow down and simplify her work to allow it. Zan looks even worse with her telegraphing and her trainee bumps. I’ve seen her look worse though and there are times when she does ok here. Zoe gets mad at Laura for a miscue, lays her out and leaves. Then Zan steals the pin. This wasn’t particularly good. Kellyanne stood out but the combination of booking and poor work hampered her. Laura came out of this looking ok.

Final Rating: **1/2

 

Queen of the Ring Final

Sammii Jayne vs. Debbie Keitel

Chris Roberts is the referee and he gets a huge ovation just for entering the ring. The chemistry isn’t apparent in the early going and they probably feel pressured to have a good match because it’s the final. The mood changes when Debbie hits a German suplex on the apron, which is a terrific bump from Sammii. It looked safe as houses. Sammii looks considerably more comfortable here than during the match with Yuu, which didn’t click for whatever reason. One thing that definitely works is Sammii taking German suplex bumps. The one on the apron is great but the one in the ring is perhaps even better. When they attempt some nifty mat reversals it doesn’t happen for them and they seem far more comfortable battering each other.

As impactful as their big spots are it’s the mat work that lets them down. Especially when teasing false finishes off submissions. Debbie eats a couple of the knees to the face and Sammii wins the Queen of the Ring tournament. This was good but the issues on the mat dragged it down.

Final Rating: ***

 

RPmain

 

Rev Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship

Zack Sabre Jr (c) vs. PAC

RPPac

Sabre just won the title at the Tokyo Dome two days beforehand. This was not advertised as a title match but Zack puts the belt up anyway. PAC brings a new muscular base, which makes it harder for Sabre. PAC is, of course, very technically gifted himself so that’s another issue for Zack to deal with. This is a long match so they settle into a slow rhythm that occasionally explodes into life. Example; a series of bridges drifts into a cross armbreaker when PAC gives Zack too much space to work in. PAC’s scramble into the ropes sells the danger of the move. It’s a shame the match is scheduled to go so long because when the pace increases it’s explosive! Sabre grinding away at holds is a nice counterpoint to PAC’s sudden bursts of offence though.

RPZack

Sabre controls the pace and most of the match is on him. Which I’m usually fine with but over nearly 30 minutes it’s a bit of a chore. It doesn’t help that PAC has clearly modified his style, aiming to add muscle so he doesn’t need to do crazy shit all the time.

Where the match is successful is in establishing PAC as a threat on the mat, thus giving Zack something to think about there as well as during stand up. PAC has a rounded skill set, which creates problems for Sabre that he’s not used to facing. Not all at once anyway. The ending is so flat with PAC heading up top for the Red Arrow by Sabre kicks Chris Roberts into the ropes and that’s a DQ. Boo! Maybe it was a touch hopeful to expect a MOTYC here with PAC still a little rusty and Sabre having flown in from Japan for the match. This was certainly good, especially on the mat.

Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Post Match: PAC bad mouths Sabre provoking him into attacking with a chair but Will Ospreay saves!

RPOspreay

Does this mean Ospreay finally has a shot at beating Sabre? The man he’s never been able to overcome in Rev Pro despite multiple attempts? He has upgraded to NEVER champ this week. Ospreay and PAC have an uneasy face off after that; a reminder that those gentlemen are headlining a sold out York Hall in February.

 

Summary:

A very solid Cockpit show. The main event and the Starr/ELP tag were both excellent. There’s always a feeling that the performances in the Cockpit are slightly underwhelming because it’s such a small venue and that was an issue here. This show was sold to me on PAC and I’m not convinced by him since his return to the Indies. Playing this weird angry heel character when everyone is thrilled to see him isn’t working for me but obviously he’s committed to it so hopefully he knows what he’s doing. Definite recommendation to check out the eight man tag here if you do nothing else. It was a lot of fun.

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