Rev Pro Live in Portsmouth 7
February 24 2017
Rev Pro have clearly decided they need to get all their shows out in timely fashion, which is quite the shock to the system after last year, and we have a Portsmouth show released mere hours after it took place. Considering there are other Portsmouth shows that still haven’t dropped from last year that shows how improved the turnaround is. RPW are getting serious about their streaming content.
We’re in Portsmouth at the Guild Hall. Hosts are Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmons, which is a relief after the last Cockpit show.
Marty Scurll vs. Ryan Smile
Scurll and Smile have been developing a tidy Indie rivalry. Andy Q talks about the LDRS feud and how little sense the booking made, which is funny because he’s the booker. Rev Pro have a few issues regarding the crowd at their shows. They tend to be quiet, seated and even if they draw 1000 fans it doesn’t feel like that. Whereas smaller shows in the UK have wonderful atmosphere. I worry that Rev Pro are stuck in their ways, in terms of venues and set-ups. It is a more family friendly atmosphere and their tactics seem to be an attemptto draw diverse crowds. More so than other promotions.
This match is relatively slow paced, especially for Smile who seems more low key in Rev Pro (apart from that manic trios match in the Cockpit). It also highlights Scurll’s reliance upon certain spot. He feels on autopilot here compared to his more dynamic performances against Smile in Ireland.
The match heats up a little down the stretch but feels second rate throughout compared to what they’re capable of. No mistakes are made and what they’re actually doing is fairly complex. Perhaps the effortless way they wrestle is a testament to their ability. Any way you slice it the match doesn’t feel particularly important. Smile doesn’t push Scurll like Trent Seven did when he was campaigning for a bigger spot in Rev Pro. The result is a flat but competent opener.
Final Rating: ***
Dave Mastiff vs. Trent Seven
Rev Pro have spent a few shows building up to this, including Mastiff’s return attack during Global Wars. It felt like this was building to a clash at a larger, more important venue than Portsmouth. Have Rev Pro lost interest in the angle? They spent two Cockpit shows building Mastiff up.
Plus Mastiff has spent three straight shows bitching about Trent and saying he’s going to fuck him up and this match starts off glacially slowly with Mastiff barely showing an interest in proceedings. It’s an issue that’s been billed as intense and yet the match is like a comedy bout at a Butlin’s. Trent at one point getting kids to attack Dave, which results in a crowd of pint sized toddlers getting all worked up. Yeah, it’s funny but that’s not really what I was hoping for. The build suggested Mastiff as a monster and instead he’s met by banter. Eventually the match does pick up, even if Trent is playing to his audience of children. There’s a bizarre spot where Trent slips during a sunset flip powerbomb and then they just re-do the powerbomb part. A total botch? It would be weird to deliberately plan that. I don’t know what’s most disappointing about this match. That Mastiff’s angle comes up short or that Seven loses a load of his momentum by indulging in it. Mastiff hooks a Boston crab and gets the submission. I know Trent is generally job-proof but this was a big disappointment.
Final Rating: **
The Legion of Lords vs. Colt Cabana & Swoggle
This is a better fit for this audience with two stereotypical heels versus two recognisable American talents. Swoggle was on TV enough for the kids to be into him right away and Colt can connect without much trouble. Gideon is one of the most interesting characters Rev Pro have at the moment, which is astonishing. He’s doing the ‘Perry Saturn gimmick’ where he’s been hit too hard in the head and he’s gone a bit weird. Andy calls it a “depressive state”. Gideon’s Twitter has gone a bit strange too. Transformations in wrestling are often brave. This one is no exception. It’s tough to throw away something that works and try something new. For all Gideon’s urges to be taken seriously as a wrestler it takes Swoggle a matter of seconds to bite him on the behind.
Chris Roberts has to stop the ridiculousness when hostages are taken. It’s a very, very silly match. The one positive is Gideon’s ludicrous facial expressions. They’re amplified by his lack of hair and shiny ring gear. His cosmetic changes have improved his comedic value. The match has some comedic value, especially with Swoggle doing the flip, flop and fly on Ghosh’s groin. Swoggle gets the win with the Tadpole Splash on the mentally broken Gideon.
Final Rating: *1/2
Dan Magee vs. Rob Lias
The Contender’s division has developed into a minor feud, which has slowly built over a number of shows. Lias is the only heel Contender. Andy Q tells an interesting story about how Lias has known Magee for ages and when Dan starting wrestling Lias figured he could do better at it because he’s always been better than Magee. If Rev Pro wanted to that could easily be a long-term concept. It’s the kind of story where the face has to lose repeatedly for years. See: Raven vs. Dreamer. This match works as a contrast to the others on show as both guys are determined to stand out. The crowd aren’t interested but give it time. Magee takes some horrible looking bumps to get the match over. This is probably not the crowd to work that hard in front of. The match is fine but it’s given too much time in front of a disinterested crowd. Maybe Andy thought that building a storyline entitled these two to have a longer match but the Contender’s have gotten over in opening match sprints. No need to change here. Instead they try to build and have an epic. In the Cockpit that might even work. Not in Portsmouth. An important aspect of the match is that Magee is a goody-two-shoes who refuses to cheat, even when faced with Lias’ rule-breaking. It’s insufferable. Lias wins by throwing a hoodie in Magee’s face, dropping him on the exposed buckle and hitting the Codebreaker. This match was really well structured but suffered due to a lack of crowd familiarity.
Final Rating: ***
Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey) vs. Joel Redman & Charlie Sterling
The Spirit Squad work heel, as they’ve always been heels on TV, and mock the British for being smelly and unclean. It’s the old Andy Kaufman in Memphis business.
This is not for the Rev Pro tag titles. Redman & Sterling seem to switch between face and heel depending on the crowd and opponents. Spirit Squad running all the heel shtick makes sure the crowd know what’s going on before we start. Spirit Squad have been around the big leagues so they know exactly how to work this kind of venue. This contest screams of WWE House Show loop. Mikey doesn’t surprise me at all but Kenny is the kind of guy who could use this kind of booking to re-launch his Indie career. He doesn’t. The work is mediocre, frankly. Redman & Sterling easily outshine both Yanks. Sterling hits his top rope flippydo for the pin.
Final Rating: *
Pete Dunne vs. Penta El Zero M
The former Pentagon Jr. has a very confusing new name. Dunne, courtesy of wrestling on the WWE Network, has gotten over with the south coast rubes. Which is funny to me because he’s the same wrestler they didn’t care about last year.
They get into some grand character work from the off with Penta doing his taunt and Pete chomping on his hand for it. Pete looks like a goddamn star. He’s one of the few wrestlers on the Indie scene who pauses for effect, who knows when and how to slow matches down to get his character over. When he needs to steal a show with technique he can do that too but so many wrestlers either over or under-egg the heat of crowd interaction and posing. Pete’s pacing is deliberate and he feels like a big deal for it. The way he neuters Penta and controls him, turning this into a Pete Dunne match is astonishing. Penta is one of the most charismatic men in Indie wrestling but Pete knows the value of channelling that into comebacks. And then cutting those comebacks off before the apex. It shows how good he is at being a heel that he turns the crowd’s positive reaction on it’s head without cutting a cheap heat promo. He’s just a big old bastard. The way he changes gears is a delight too. It creates a thrilling last five minutes. The shit they throw at the wall includes duelling Canadian Destroyers and a mass of head drops. Pentagon Driver puts Pete away but he controlled the entire match, feeding Penta with his hope spots before going all out at the finish. Masterful showing from Pete and as with OTT Dunne shows respect on his way from the ring. A curious development.
Final Rating: ****
The Portsmouth shows generally leave me cold but at least the main event delivered here and there is the added perk of it appearing on VOD after two days, which is extraordinary compared to some uploads. Main event if definitely worth a look if you’ve got Rev Pro’s streaming gimmick.