A go-home of sorts for Epic Encounters, Rev Pro returned to the Cockpit for another stacked card featuring CCK’s first defence of their tag team titles, against the soon-to-be-christened All Day Swerve pairing of Ryan Smile and Shane Strickland.
The Rev Pro Revolving Door of Voices continues again, as Andy Quildan’s back to MC’ing the Cockpit shows. We’ve also got our old favourite of differing sound volumes between cameras, and another new voice on the mic in the form of Alex Sherlock (aka PROGRESS trainee Alex Cupid) alongside Andy who was back to doing double duty. Nothing against anyone doing commentary, but it’s the same issue I have with WhatCulture – if you have a revolving cast of voices, who’s the guy we’re meant to take as “the voice” of the company? The person whose word we take as gospel in stories and suchlike?
Rob Lias vs. Eddie Dennis
Eddie’s out without his jacket because it was stupidly hot in the Cockpit. They note on commentary that Eddie’s win-loss record in Rev Pro isn’t great… heck, he’s not won a match in his entire time in the promotion.
Dennis grabs onto a wristlock and keeps hold of it as he plays up to the crowd. The ha-ha continues as Dennis resists an Irish whip and drills Lias with a forearm, before a slow-mo back body drop takes him down. More forearms follow as Dennis uses some fans to hold Lias in place for some chops, but back inside Lias mounts a comeback with a neckbreaker and stomps.
A superplex takes Lias down hard, as does a diving clothesline and a swinging side slam, before he leaps into another forearm. Dennis comes close to the win with a fisherman’s suplex, before he ducks a Rainmaker and ends up taking a backcracker. Lias tries a trapped-arm crossface, but nearly gets pinned as Dennis rolled through before a superkick knocked Lias into the corner.
A violence party of forearms and chops follows from the Welshman, before Lias leaps off the top rope and tweaked his knee. He’s pulled this stunt before, and Dennis has to be pulled back as he tries to capitalise, eventually shoving the referee aside as he walked into a low blow as Lias took the win. **¾
One of the criticisms of the Rev Pro Contenders is that, much like their New Japan counterparts, their basics are usually sound, but the characters behind them aren’t fleshed out. Lias is a defacto heel here, but other than being arrogant and sometimes cheaty, there’s not much of a reason to get into him without someone polarising on the other side of the equation.
Lord Gideon Grey vs. Dan Magee
The ring goes green for Gideon’s lullaby-esque entrance theme, and he’s still lost as he stares around, and sits in the crowd before entering the ring.
Grey’s still zoned out like he was against Swoggle in Orlando, ignoring the offer of a handshake, before being caught in a series of holds that nearly ended the match, as a roll-through from a hammerlock almost ended in a pin. Magee racks up a couple of near-falls, with a backslide leading to a blank stare out of Grey, who replied by rolling Magee down into an armbar as the youngster was forced to reach the ropes.
Grey snaps into Magee with some boots, but Dan rolls back into a single-leg crab… which Gideon bites his way out of. A Falcon arrow nearly does it for Grey, but Magee then comes back with a uranage backbreaker and a side Russian legsweep to keep things even, just as Rob LIas makes an appearance at ringside for the hell of it.
Thankfully Magee doesn’t immediately fall for the distraction, and he’s able to take down Grey with a Slingblade before staring holes at Lias. Yeah, he’s falling for it… but he does at least spot a charging Grey, before hitting a moonsault for a near-fall. A spinning back elbow dazes Magee as he tried to showboat for Lias, which led to Grey hitting… the Styles Clash?!
Magee kicked out at two, but all that was left was for the 50 Shades of Grey side slam as Gideon takes the win. A solid match, but the commentary really hurts the act. They’re really playing Gideon Grey’s change in behaviour as a “mental breakdown”, which isn’t exactly the most sensitive way to tackle the subject… **¾
After the match, Lias continues to stare at Magee in the ring, before he laughs and heads to the back as Magee punched the mat in anger.
Jinny vs. Toni Storm
In just over a week, this’ll be the fourth time these two have met – once for PROGRESS in Orlando, and twice at the WWE WrestleMania Axxess shows. Storm won both of the WWE matches, but Jinny’s undefeated in Rev Pro, which may tip off where this will head, especially after Jinny shuts down her usual detractors.
At the start of the match, referee Chris Roberts forces Jinny to take off a couple of bracelets, and ironically it’s her wrist that’s targeted first by the Storm (whose appearance on “Flash” Morgan Webster’s podcast revealed that she’s really a New Zealander, but we’ll keep in with the Australian character for the sake of it!). A surprise hurricanrana from Jinny takes Storm down, but Toni comes back with a series of double-handed chops to a cornered Jinny, who replied with a paintbrush-like slap.
Toni uses her rear for some hip attacks, but she’s instantly caught with a Japanese armdrag that sends her into the corner as Jinny takes over for a spell, including a moment where she slides under Toni and trips her for a seated surfboard that forces the Aussie to headbutt the bottom rope to force a break. From there, Jinny grabs that bracelets and grinds it into Toni’s face, before continuing her beatdown of Toni.
Jinny then heads under the ring for a bin bag, which she puts onto Toni in an effort to “make her over”, before painting her face with some lipstick. This really wakes the crowd up as they roared behind the bullied Storm as a sympathetic babyface, once she Hulked up and ripped off the bin bag, brother. A bridging muscle buster gets Storm a near-fall, but Jinny comes back after sweeping Storm’s face into her knee, only to get a headbutt from a Rainmaker attempt.
Storm keeps up with a neckbreaker slam as Jinny’s left laying… or so we thought as she grabs both of those bracelets and ends up punching Storm with one of them as she came off the top rope, and that was enough to get the win. Exactly what you’d expect from these two, really good stuff, and with Jinny wrestling somewhat more frequently in Rev Pro, she’s getting more of a chance to develop her act further… even if the Roman Reigns-esque “cocking the forearm” motion perhaps isn’t a good look! ***¼
Zack Gibson & Josh Bodom vs. Bubblegum & Will Ospreay
Gibson’s act in Rev Pro isn’t quite as heated as it is in PROGRESS, and somehow meshing his pre-match promo with Josh Bodom didn’t amplify it. But hey, at least Josh Bodom remembered to bring his title belt today!
This match was nuts – especially by the end! We started with Gibson working over Ospreay, before Will managed to distract Gibson using someone in the crowd to apply a headlock, before he explodes into some headscissors for an early near-fall. We get a pair of tags as Bodom tries to give Ospreay a German suplex into the crowd, before Bubblegum ends up dropkicking him off the apron.
A pair of standing moonsaults gets a one-count for Bubblegum, who replies by pratfalling and dropkicking Bodom for another one-count. Bodom’s plight sees Gibson over-reach as he tried to tag in, before he fell into the ring, giving Bodom an opportunity to rake Ospreay’s eyes as the referee was unsighted.
Bodom enjoys a spell on top, as he bites Ospreay during a chinlock, but Will finally makes the hot tag to Bubblegum, who manages to hit a springboard X-Factor on Gibson for a near-fall before punching free of a Bodom Breaker. An inverted Exploder gets rid of Bodom, as a Ticket to Ride attempt from Gibson’s turned into a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall. Things swing the other way when Bubblegum’s tornado DDT is turned into a suplex by Gibson, and we’re back to Ospreay and Bodom, with the latter coming close to a win with a shooting star press.
Ospreay blocks a Bodom Breaker attempt and comes in with a Shibata-esque corner dropkick, then a modified Falcon arrow for another near-fall. Bodom’s in position for another aerial assault, but he lands onto Bodom’s knees and is rolled up for a two-count. Ospreay fires up again as he uses Bodom to give Gibson a Shiranui, sparking a sequence that ended with a Ticket to Ride from Gibson to Bubblegum, only for Will to hit the corkscrew diving kick onto Gibson to leave all four men laying.
Another frantic sequence sees Bodom take a step-up ‘rana as Ospreay used Bubblegum for a platform to get to Bodom on the top rope. Ospreay takes a crazy head-first bump to a Ticket to Ride, but recovers to use Bubblegum as a platform again… with different results. An attempted moonsault off of Bubblegum on the apron sees Will badly crash and burn, slipping and hitting the apron en route to a nasty spill to the floor.
A hush quickly descends on the crowd, but Ospreay gets back into the ring and drops Bodom with an OsCutter out of the corner, before a shooting star press sees Bubblegum almost clip the ropes before taking the win. That was nuts, plenty of action, and yes, there were some scary moments. But in spite of the slips at the end, that was a fantastic tag team outing, with Bubblegum seemingly becoming the next contender to whomever becomes the undisputed cruiserweight champ after Thursday’s Epic Encounters. ***¾
Martin Stone vs. Luke Phoenix
This is the first time these two have met one-on-one in over a decade… although Phoenix having been retired for eight years kinda helped there. It is also the first time they’ve wrestled in a place that’s not called Pinner (their prior singles outings were for the now-defunct SAS promotion, which bizarrely split most of their shows between the Birmingham and Harrow areas).
After some early holds, the match comes to a screeching halt so Phoenix can lead the crowd in a singalong of “Happy Birthday” to a couple of fans. Phoenix follows that up with an enziguiri before Stone avoids a dive, then pulls down a leapfrog from Luke as he takes over with a snapping suplex. An attempt at the London Bridge top rope DDT’s avoided, and Phoenix comes back with some shots to the arm of Stone, looking to perhaps neutralise that finisher.
An armbar forces Stone to reach for the ropes, but the well-travelled one fires back with a missile dropkick and a lariat for a near-fall, using the right arm as Phoenix had worn the other one down. From there Stone slows the pace with a chinlock, before he replies to a German suplex with an RKO as both men were left flat out on the mat.
After another flurry from Stone, Phoenix grabs the armbar again, before running into a right hand from Stone as they continued to go back and forth. Phoenix misses a big splash off the top, before an RKO and a front suplex into a knee strike gets another near-fall for the Guv’nor. From there, it’s only a matter of time before Stone shrugs off some small packages and blasts Phoenix with the London Bridge for the win. A solid match, one that took the crowd a while to get into, but well worth the watch. ***½
Stone takes the microphone after the match to put over Phoenix, and then challenge Sami Callihan to a match at Epic Encounters on Thursday. CCK came out to tell Stone that they hadn’t a match either, and they took priority… which then saw the match morph into CCK vs. Callihan and Stone!
Sha Samuels vs. RJ Singh
Like Eddie Dennis earlier, Sha came out without his jacket because you’d be mad to in that sweatbox… I mean Cockpit. To his credit, Samuels took a crowd cheering him and turned on them by threatening to beat up MC Andy Quildan before sparing him.
Sha jumps RJ as he made his entrance, and because of his flip last time at the Cockpit, the crowd are on Sha’s back for him to “do a moonsault”. RJ comes back with a knee strike and a tornillo that he took a bad spill on, before a somersault into a ‘rana sees Singh take down Sha in the ring. A big spinebuster gets Sha back into it as he feels the knee that RJ clattered into earlier. There’s a funny spot as Sha chokes RJ with his braces, before getting annoyed that his scarf had been taken away by one of the ring crew. Perhaps the ring crew finally got smart to his antics?
Sha misses a forearm in the corner, and that allows Singh back into it with some clotheslines, before a Shotei rocks Samuels. RJ goes up top, only to get crotched as Sha shoves the referee into the ropes, before Chris Roberts got headbutted (!) to the floor. We then get a moonsault attempt, but James Castle and his massive neon green mohawk hit the ring, shoving Sha to the mat. A diving knee takes Sha down, allowing RJ to finish off with a Singh-ton Bomb for the win. Pretty basic, but it set up for the eventual Castle/Samuels match… which we’d get to hear about sooner rather than later. ***
After the match, Sha took the microphone and berated Andy Quildan for not booking him at Bethal Green’s York Hall – a show that’s “just ten minutes away” from him. Sha dropped an F-bomb, then demanded a match against James Castle… threatening to beat him up at the show whether he was booked in a match or not. Interestingly, they edit out the part where Quildan confirmed the match, before he was bullied by the crowd into making it a no-DQ outing.
Aah, peer pressure!
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Tag Team Championships: Shane Strickland & Ryan Smile vs. CCK (Travis Banks & Chris Brookes) (c)
Could you guess that CCK were cult heroes in the CoCKpit? It seemed that a lot of the crowd hadn’t seen Strickland and Smile’s win over the the pairing of Michael Elgin and Brian Cage in Orlando a week earlier… or perhaps they were just more into CCK here?
Some back and forth early saw Smile duck a series of shots from Brookes, before rolling him down into a swing-and-a-missed kick as we had both teams tried to get ahead. Of course, an offer of a handshake leads to a cheapshot as both teams end up outside the ring and for some reason outside of the arena, as they brawled through the entry ways… where the camera couldn’t follow them.
Unfortunately, the Rev Pro cameras are now tethered for the sake of being able to do live edits, but Brookes and Smile returned quickly, just so Brookes could hit a big boot to send a running Smile folding in half. Somehow, Smile popped back up and went for a superplex quickly after, only for Brookes to get taken down with a top rope ’rana as Banks quickly followed in with a Coast to Coast dropkick.
This kept up the predictably hard hitting style, with Banks giving and receiving thunderous forearms, before leaping into both challengers with a cannonball. A Magic Killer gets them a near-fall on Strickland after Smile literally staggered into the cover attempt. The CCK elevated Codebreaker is blocked as Smile tries a comeback on Banks, but Travis hits first with a lariat to turn the “All Day Star” inside out!
We’re back to the forearms between Banks and Strickland, with the latter edging ahead with some head kicks, only for Banks to come back with a cross-legged Falcon arrow. Smile ducks some more kicks, then goes for what looked like a cross between a back cracker and a reverse ‘rana. In response, Brookes dumps him with a trapped-leg German suplex, but Smile managed to come back with his trademark across-the-turnbuckles tope con hilo to the champs!
Back inside, Banks eats some more kicks as the challengers followed up with the Altitude Adjustment (powerbomb crossed with a double stomp), but Brookes dives onto the referee to prevent a three-count from being made. Somehow that’s not a DQ as Banks throws Smile into the ringpost, before the springboard enziguri from Banks and a Michinoku driver from Brookes gets another near-fall. All that’s left to do is the elevated Codebreaker from banks, and a back senton from Brookes onto Strickland, and CCK retain! A fine, rapid-fire tag team main event – one that had plenty of CCK’s typical strikes and the challenger’s dives – although I’d have liked this to have gone a little longer… and not be held in such a stiflingly hot venue! ***¾
Another month, another fine Cockpit show from Rev Pro – and with the card coming in at a little over two hours, this was a really easy watch. Some, including myself, feared that this’d be a show lost in the shuffle between the company’s Orlando debut and Epic Encounters which (at time of posting) is less than 24 hours away. That was not the case, and whilst there was no stand-out match, it’s definitely worth your time.