Another Sunday, another new town as Rev Pro headed up the M40 to Leamington Spa for their latest show in a rather busy month.
Despite the initial poster, Jeff Cobb wasn’t on the show, as other matters kept him in the States. The camera set-up doesn’t show much of the crowd, but the mobile cameras show that this is better attended than last week’s Cardiff outing. Andy Simmonz and Andy Quildan are on commentary this week… back to familiar ground then!
Chris Brookes vs. Kurtis Chapman
Curiously, Brookes was out with only Kid Lykos this time, despite Travis Banks being later on the card. Oh my God, Kurtis Chapman has his own entrance video and music. Has he graduated from the black trunked Contenders?
Chapman charged into Brookes before the bell as the relative rookie tried to catch the tag team champion on the hop. Some dives certainly did that, but a big boot wrecked Chapman as Brookes decided to try and come good on his promise of “murdering” Chapman by throwing him into the guard railings. Back in the ring, Brookes forced Chapman into a camel clutch for a wet willie, before beginning to work over the leg as a brief fightback was swatted away. Eventually Chapman gets another shot in, turning a backbreaker into a tiltawhirl DDT as the 19 year old started to dive again, following up with a double stomp as Brookes was getting back into the ring.
Again though, Brookes powered out and kicked away at Chapman, but Kurtis manages to land his Sega Mega Driver (headscissor Destroyer) for a near-fall. I still sense a call from the lawyers over that name! Brookes fights free of a package piledriver attempt as he hit back with a Michinoku Driver for a two-count, then again with a slingshot cutter, before a Whiplash nearly cost him as Chapman rolled him up for a near-fall.
Enraged, Chapman slapped away on Brookes’ back, but that quickly came to nought as Brookes dumped him on his head with a Jay Driller – and that’s that! Thoroughly entertaining, and it seems that Rev Pro’s finally starting to push Chapman as something of a threat. Coming away with a loss in a competitive match here’s done more for him than the awkward tag title shot he had a few months ago did. ***
Jinny & Rob Lias vs. Veda Scott & Dan Magee
We’ve another round of Jinny vs. Veda Scott, after their singles match at the Cockpit earlier in the month, and their triple-threat in Cardiff the prior week. A pre-match promo sees Jinny put down some kid in the crowd for messing up a chant, as she then introduces her partner – the “fashionable” Rob Lias. Yeah… he’s still got that Skittles “taste the rainbow” furry jacket.
We’re under intergender rules it seems, so we really start with Lias and Scott, as Veda opens up with some kicks. Meanwhile, Andy Simmonz openly questioned whether this match was actually happening. Dan Magee gets the tag in to bring it back to man vs. man, sparking an indy’riffic pinning exchange until Lias landed a uranage slam for a near-fall. Jinny gets involved to hold Magee on the ropes, allowing Lias to hit back with a shotgun dropkick. Somewhere in here commentary wanders off into a plug for a refereeing course, returning as Jinny chokes away on Magee in the corner as Andy Quildan was getting more concerned over a turnbuckle pad than what was going on in the ring!
Finally Veda gets the tag in as she kicks away on Jinny, following up with a running Snapmare Driver for a near-fall as Lias makes the save. He’s double-teamed for a spell, before running into a boot from Veda as Magee barely rotated enough to cannonball into him. Jinny returns to shove Magee down to the floor as they went for a double-team, and we get an awkward spot where Jinny tried to pull Chris Roberts into the path of a kick.
Except Chris didn’t move, and Veda held up her kick. It looked bad. All of that provided a distraction for a big boot from Lias, who followed up with a spin-out DDT, allowing Jinny to steal the win. This was all over the place – and that finishing sequence didn’t help things either. **
Dave Mastiff vs. El Phantasmo
The Midlands crowd liked the arrival of Dave Mastiff – whose Rev Pro year has been a little stuttery. Last time we saw him, he was teasing a feud with Keith Lee, before disappearing from the Cockpit. Here he’s got El Phantasmo, who’s likely going to be a crash test dummy.
One of the best things about the Simmons/Quildan commentary pairing is that they don’t stick to a script. So we had the early reveal of Mastiff and Phantasmo being booked for the November Cockpit card, which sounded like Andy Q was having it dragged out of him. All that was missing was the sandwich talk turning into a shot at another promoter…
Mastiff easily takes Phantasmo into the corner – making a kid laugh in doing so. It’s an easy crowd. ELP goes for a test of strength, but instead he decides for a waistlock, which ends badly as Mastiff easily escapes and eventually scores a headlock takedown with ease. They do a wrestle, but the crowd didn’t seem to be interested in headlocks, and instead wanted to see something flashier. Like a rope-walk into a ‘rana, that Mastiff shrugged away from before some headscissors finally took him down.
ELP goes for the rope walk again, again getting the ‘rana for a near-fall… but it wasn’t until Phantasmo’s springboard crossbody just bounced off Mastiff that the tide turned. A deadlift stalling suplex keeps ELP on the back foot, but it seemed that this crowd just did not care one jot about this match. Mastiff spits at Phantasmo, who reacted in kind, and earned himself a headbutt for it. An avalanche in the corner flattens Phantasmo, who founds himself getting fish-hooked by the Bastard. A nipple twister sort-of works, but Mastiff headbutts again and charges him down for a near-fall instead. Phantasmo fights out after a Tiger Driver, reversing into a ‘rana before a Quebrada earned him a near-fall.
Phantasmo counters a flapjack into a cutter as he seemed intent on finishing off the top rope… but although his senton bomb hit, the double-jump moonsault missed, and it was just a matter of time before he was squashed, with a Finlay roll and a back senton being enough for just a two-count. Somehow, ELP manages to shove away a superplex and hit a frog splash for a near-fall… and that quickly led to his downfall. Buoyed by confidence, ELP threw some forearms, but played to the crowd… and ended up getting a German suplex into the buckles, before a cannonball put him away. This was a weird one, the crowd were not into this at all at the start, but they were won over – and having the local (ish) lad win wa sa smart move. ***
Commentary really put over the “big end of the year” that Mastiff has ahead of him. I guess someone’s got some bookings?
Ryan Smile vs. Mike Bailey
Early on Bailey’s feinting with kicks, as you’d expect, forcing Smile to leave the ring for cover. At the second go around, Bailey tried for a headlock, but Smile headstands free, before he escaped a wristlock by way of kip-ups.
A nearly-missed leapfrog gives way to some kicks, and finally Bailey takes down Smile with a roundhouse as Speedball started to go to his usual playbook, kicking Smile back to the outside, where Ryan manages to get a shot in courtesy of a running knee on the apron. Smile keeps up with a lap of honour into a dropkick for a near-fall, before he just dumped Bailey with a slam. Smile takes too long to climb the ropes, and that allows Bailey to hit back with a running knee in the corner, then a corkscrew splash as the Canadian got back into it… but Smile demanded that Bailey threw more at him. So Smile gets kicked in the chest. He replies in kind though, booting Bailey into the corner, following up with a missile dropkick… but he took to long to get to his feet and couldn’t capitalise.
Ryan looks for a powerbomb, but Bailey backdrops free and hits those moonsault knees. Back-and-forth forearms see both men levelling the other, but Bailey comes back with the left-right kicks and an enziguiri, only to get dropped with a leg lariat to end the latest flurry of strikes. Back-and-forth kicks and forearms follow in the corners, with Speedball chasing Smile in with a corkscrew roundhouse, only to get met with a shotgun dropkick as neither man seemed to be able to keep hold of an advantage. A frog splash is good for a near-fall for Ryan, before they traded boots and somehow ended up with the pair fighting a back-and-forth suplex so much they spilled to the outside.
Both were able to continue, with Smile picking himself up for a barricade-destroying low-pe, but once again he took way too long to follow up, and Bailey joins him on the top rope, eventually landing a super reverse ‘rana! A brainbuster nearly murders Bailey, but it’s still not enough, and it leads to Smile calling for a springboard cutter… which Bailey countered with a roll-up for the win! After all of the kicks and flips, it’s a schoolboy that does the job! This was a pretty good match, but it centred way too much on back-and-forth flurries for my liking. ***¼
Timothy Thatcher vs. Travis Banks
Banks was out on his lonesome here, as the other half of the tag team champions had a rather sterner test on his hands. Grappling’s the name of the game here, with Banks and Thatcher largely staying within reach of each other as they looked for a body part to go after.
The crowd were rather more receptive to this match, especially when strikes came in, as Banks and Thatcher swapped uppercuts and chops between themselves. The shots look like they connect with force, which added an extra layer of believability to the contest – heightened when Thatcher dragged Banks down to the mat from a Russian legsweep position.
Eventually Thatcher rolled Banks into a single-leg crab, before hoisting up the Kiwi into a gutwrench suplex. Banks snapped back into life with some kicks, eventually sending Thatcher crashing down to the mat as Banks set up for a cannonball into the corner, earning himself a near-fall. Timmy’s able to rebound with a belly-to-belly off the ropes, only to fall into a discus clothesline as the content remained oh-so-keenly fought, with Banks’ Slice of Heaven getting caught and turned into an ankle lock. Thatcher doesn’t end there though, pulling Banks into a German suplex for a two-count, before grabbing a sleeperhold.
Banks gets the ropes, but Thatcher slaps it away and hits a butterfly suplex a la WALTER to keep those two counts going, Those sleeperholds eventually get countered as Banks freed himself and hit a shotgun dropkick, followed by a stomp out of the corner as the Slice of Heaven finally connects for a near-fall.
More kicks lead to a Kiwi Crusher from Banks, but in the end it’s the Lion’s Clutch that forces an instant tap-out – and the tag champions are 2-for-2 tonight! Really good mat-wrestling, if this is your kind of thing. Luckily for me, it is! ***¾
Moose vs. Eddie Dennis
My biggest problem with Moose isn’t as his in-ring work… it’s the trail of Moose chants that wreck (at minimum) the remainder of the shows he’s on. Andy Simmonz is still ragging on Eddie Dennis for his losing record, and to be fair, Eddie’s not exactly raging here to try and change things.
Shoulder blocks give way to some headscissors from Eddie, but Moose rebounds with a dropkick to knock Eddie off the top rope instead as the match heads to the outside for some obligatory ringside brawling, featuring a powerbomb onto the ring apron as Eddie tried to fight back. A flip plancha sees Eddie mount a comeback, as he continued by whipping Moose hard into the corners, before measuring the former Impact Grand Champion for a series of forearms, wearing Moose down to the mat. Problem was, a follow-up superkick’s caught and met with a bicycle kick, and Eddie’s spell on ended up coming to a shuddering halt, courtesy of the Go To Hell chokebomb.
Eddie tries to retaliate with a superplex, but Moose gets up pretty quickly from it, and we’re back to the hard strikes, as a swinging side slam almost got Eddie his big win. The pace slows down as the strikes increase, with Moose throwing stiffer and stiffer chops, only for Eddie to hit back unexpectedly with a Canadian Destroyer?!
Another barrage of strikes led to Moose surprising Eddie with a spear for a near-fall, only for him to get caught climbing the ropes as Eddie pulled him out for a deliberate buckle bomb. The back-and-forth continues as a second spear gets a near-fall, before Moose’s Game Breaker discus lariat earned the win. Suitably hard-hitting, but unlike some of Eddie’s prior matches, I never really got the feeling that he was ever in danger of getting that sought-after W. ***¼
Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
A suitably Midlands main event rounds us off today, and it’s a return for both of these teams, with the Hunters having not been around since June last year, whilst Moustache Mountain had been away from Rev Pro (as a pair) since March. As Andy Q put it, “they’ve been very busy men”…
Meanwhile, I’m wondering whatever happened to the old entrance video Trent and Tyler briefly had at the start of the year, and why Rev Pro’s had to borrow the WCPW video that they briefly had. Everyone gets checked before the match, including referee Chris Roberts, and we finally get going with Tyler and Jim starting the feeling-out process, grabbing and reversing wristlocks as the pair kept things on the mat. Meanwhile commentary’s going on about Jinder Mahal action figures as they threatened to veer off course.
Tags get us to Lee Hunter and Trent Seven, with the former shooting in for a tie-up after getting fed up of Trent’s moustache twirling before eventually taking Trent down with some headscissors. A swift Koppo kick from Tyler Bate knocks Lee down as Moustache Mountain roared into life… just as commentary dropped in a note that if Moustache Mountain got the win here, their match against CCK in Portsmouth the next night would be for the Rev Pro tag titles.
The commentator’s curse almost kicked in as the Hunters took over from there, at least until Trent trick chopped Jim into a DDT, and that led to Jim getting isolated away from his corner… at least until the tables turn as Lee came in and looked to keep Tyler away from a tag. A backbreaker/elbow drop combo sees the Hunters come close, but Bate suplexed his way free and into a tag. Which Trent instantly flopped on as his crossbody was simply ducked under.
Lee and Trent trade some shots until a uranage put Trent down… the Hunters work their way into a double team neckbreaker on Seven, who manages to come back with a backhanded slap, before pulling the Hunters into a pair of Seven Star Lariats! In comes Tyler to boot his way ahead, before rebounding off the top rope into a lariat on Lee for another near-fall. Moustache Mountain nearly win with a combination powerbomb/neckbreaker as Andy Q seems to rattle off our name several times (yeah, it’s why we called this site back body drop – there’s usually one in every match). A tornado DDT from Jim puts things back in the Hunter’s direction as Lee gives Tyler Bate a taste of his own medicine with a Giant Swing!
Trent tries to mount a fightback against the odds, but the Hunter redirect a back-handed slap into Tyler Bate as a Parade of Moves started to break out. Lee’s moonsault to break up a bridging deadlift German suplex saw him land funny on his own man, but the Hunters again come back into it, setting up Tyler for a big splash/legdrop combo off the top rope as they came ever closer. Somehow another comeback sees Tyler ‘rana free of a superplex, and seconds later Moustache Mountain snatched the win courtesy of a Trent piledriver and a Tyler Driver. So they get a title shot the next night in Portsmouth, in what’ll be their third ever tag team match in Rev Pro. Hmm. Still, this was a heck of a performance, and a suitably good main event to wrap up Rev Pro’s Leamington debut. ***¾
Before we went off air though, we had the obligatory staredown… once the camera stopped pointing at people’s thighs. CCK and Moustache Mountain squared off, leading to the crowd chanting “do it now”. Of course, that was never going to happen, as CCK ended up backing away and heading to the back as the show wrapped up.
Not unlike their debut in Cardiff the prior week, Rev Pro in Leamington was a solid first show – and as much as I’m not a fan of Mike Bailey, his work at Rev Pro this month has been pretty special, especially on these touring cards. Whether these shows were successes – you’d have to ask Andy Q: these should would have been budgeted for a certain gate, and at the end of the day, return dates will be entirely down to the turnout. Critically, these shows may not have gotten much attention, but these weren’t busts. Problem is, with Rev Pro largely being synonymous with the “dream card” shows, these lineups weren’t exactly what some would have expected. Hopefully though, Rev Pro can continue to expand to new locations with the Cockpit-level of shows – and somehow build an identity off of it.