Rev Pro Live in New Orleans
April 6 2018
We’re in New Orleans, Louisiana at the Sugar Mill. This is Rev Pro’s contribution to Mania weekend. A 4pm afternoon show with the British title on the line as Zack Sabre Jr defends against Tomohiro Ishii. Also on tap a wacky trios match featuring Will Ospreay, a tag match with Tanahashi and Jeff Cobb vs. Minoru Suzuki.
All aboard Captain Quildan’s Floating Dream Factory!
David Starr vs. Martin Stone
Starr is a heel in Rev Pro and he’s not happy with Andy Quildan refusing to do his full introduction. “There is a conspiracy against Revolution Pro Wrestling”. Starr calls Andy a “bell end”. Heel Starr is actually fantastic. He’s such a detestable, egotistical, self-centred prick. Which is weird because he’s such a great babyface. If you’re good at wrestling, you’re good at wrestling I guess. He has big burly Martin Stone playing underdog here. Stone has lost so much weight that it’s a believable contest. It helps that Starr regularly battles big dudes like WALTER for a while and his chops have improved because of it.
Starr does a good job of staying in character throughout and sneaking out of various holds before pinning with both feet on the ropes. Bryce Remsberg hears, from the crowd, that his feet were on the ropes and a minor argument breaks out. “Your opinion doesn’t matter”. Great work from Starr.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Brian Cage vs. Adam Brooks
Big Bri Cage has a load of tape on his shoulders and lower back. Loose Ledge Brooks has a reputation as a star due to a series of matches with Will Ospreay. His normal work is nowhere near as kinetic. He’s a cheating son of a gun. Andy Q joins commentary while Brooks steals Ospreay’s playbook. That feud is a long-term build. His flippy offence is met by extreme power violence at times.
This match has some murderous spots. The reverse rana where Cage lands on his dome. The double stomp on the apron where Cage lands horribly. Cage killing himself to get the young Aussie over. It’s a very good match, which makes us 2/2 in the Sugar Mill. As with the opener with have a heel finish. This time with Brooks punting Cage in the balls before picking up the pinfall. Heels 2/2 and both with old school cheating.
Final Rating: ***1/2
CHAOS (Will Ospreay, Chuck Taylor & Rocky Romero) vs. Kota Ibushi, Shane Strickland & Flip Gordon
The pop for Ospreay! Everyone is very happy to see him. He’d end up wrestling 7 times despite being unsure of whether he’d even make it out to NOLA. He’s clearly in pain here. Due to my weird watch order, I’m not sure what order match this but he looks hurt. The other huge reaction is for Kota Ibushi. Flip Gordon is having a good weekend. He’s not over enough to be considered a star yet but he’s on the way. Hanging out with the Bucks won’t hurt.
The pop when these two tag in is intense. This is what people got excited about this match for. They tag in and the crowd gives them a standing ovation! Then CHAOS heel it up and don’t give the crowd the contest. Heel Ospreay is a bit weird. The crowd won’t boo him anyway. CHAOS triple teams are suitably daft with Romero and Taylor doing overblown silly versions of Ospreay’s flips. It’s a fun match. The other lads cover for Ospreay’s shortcomings by doing loads of fucking dives. The crowd are very harsh on Flip despite how excellent he is here. Will gets to do flips without landing directly on his neck, which is for the best. His 450 flip to avoid a super rana is a perfect use of his skill without having him die.
The match comes down to Will vs. Kota because they’re both too good for everyone else. Connecting on ridiculous flips and they go toe to toe and have themselves a fucking fight! It’s insane! The strikes are good enough on their own but the flips. THE FLIPZ! Oh my word, the flips. If the rest of the match was fun but not especially memorable this is on another fucking level. It’s a dream match pitting two of the absolute best, state-of-the-art wrestlers in the world against each other. Flip is left to take the fall but Ospreay-Ibushi was where it was at. Fucking incredible. You need to see this.
Final Rating: ****1/2
Jeff Cobb vs. Minoru Suzuki
Andy Q knows his way around a card huh? Fuck me. Joe Dombrowski talks over Kaze ne Nare. You’re on the fucking list for that Joe.
Cobb is a talented mat wrestler but so is Suzuki. They both have an amateur background. Cobb an Olympian, Suzuki has trained in just about every discipline. MiSu obviously thinks of Cobb as a rookie because he doesn’t sell a lot for him and laughs in his face when Cobb chops him. You have to earn Suzuki’s respect and it takes time. He bullies Cobb. He bullies Chris Roberts. When a fan dares to boo him it looks like he’ll come over the rail. This man is pushing 50 and is one of the best professional wrestlers in the world.
Him laughing at Cobb’s strikes is brilliant. Threatening to kill Chris Roberts. Great, great work. Suzuki brutalises Cobb and finishes with the choke because he’s not allowed to do the Gotch piledriver. Suzuki was incredible here. One hell of a performer.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Aussie Open vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson
Mark Davis takes it way easy on the American fans. He kills people with those high fives in the UK. Imagine being Kyle Fletcher. Teenager. Moves to England from Australia. Gets booked on Mania weekend the next year. Is wrestling hard? Nah, it’s fucking easy. Piece of piss. Just a reminder that Kyle Fletcher is 18 years old and here he is working over Tanahashi. Mark Davis must be upset about the piledriver ban. His best move is the pull-up piledriver he does. It’s stunning. After the last couple of matches this is actually a little flat. Luckily the crowd is hot (the Sugar Mill was the best venue all weekend for this). Tanahashi does not bust a gut in random tags and you’ll get the rub from being in there with him but he’s not going to be the best match you’ve ever had. Unless you’re wrestling him in singles in NJPW then you’re on for best ever.
Pulp Friction gets rid of Mark Davis and Tana floors Fletcher with the High Fly Flow. It looked very cool. This was a decent match although Aussie Open will probably come away disappointed that they couldn’t make more of an impact.
Final Rating: ***
RPW British Heavyweight Championship
Zack Sabre Jr (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Andy Q missed a trick with “undisputed British championship”. It felt like a big deal when it happened and now everyone has world titles because they’re defended everywhere. Rev Pro’s “British” title has been defended in Japan and the USA. It actually has claim to a ‘world’ title. Sabre comes out to his non-Mother music, which I’m not keen on. The crowd are very rowdy here. As for the in-ring Sabre has bossed Ishii on the mat several times in New Japan and is coming off a title shot at Okada and a New Japan Cup win. Ishii has been a Rev Pro regular, coming over more than just about anyone in New Japan.
Sabre pats Ishii on the head here, provoking the ire of the CHAOS member. Ishii looks pretty mad about it. Instead of focusing on his mat game Sabre foolishly rattles the hornet’s nest. He gets back in control because that’s the Sabre way. I appreciate Sabre taking a lighter Mania schedule this year so this is only the second match I’ve seen him in after his contest against Riddle for Evolve. Ishii is magnificent here in selling Sabre’s technique but refusing to budge on the strikes, daring Zack to hit him properly. Where Ishii gets into trouble is on the mat. He just can’t cope with Zack’s range of submissions. When they speed up it’s amazing. I keep forgetting how insanely good Zack is at this. Just because he usually works at a slower, more deliberate pace.
Ishii gets stuck in several desperation holds but somehow gets out by shifting his weight. He’s in holds that have beaten AJ Styles, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito! Sabre gets so frustrated that Ishii won’t quit that he changes tacks and tries to batter him with strikes, which is exactly the kind of match Ishii wants! With both guys coming closer and closer to winning the kick-outs and trips into the ropes get more dramatic. And then boom! Brainbuster! Ishii is the champ! Finally a promotion outside of WWN willing to do a big switch Mania weekend. Love it.
Final Rating: ****1/2
Only six matches here from Rev Pro but a perfect example of ‘less is more’. Everything was good, the show was trimmed down and it far exceeded the bloated American neighbours shows. Even something like Janela’s show, which was fun, was far too long. This was lean, mean and well executed plus two awesome matches from RPW’s very best (Sabre and Ospreay).