It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and put fingertips to keyboard over where things lie in wrestling these days – or at least, in the wrestling I watch.
So, in what’s likely to be a piece that’ll age horribly after the weekend, I want to take a step back from the macro, match-by-match way I look at Rev Pro, and where things look to be headed.
Since Epic Encounter is virtually upon us, let’s start with the obvious – the massive 11th Anniversary show at the Copperbox Arena in London. Easily the biggest moonshot of a show in Rev Pro’s history, with the venue set up for around 5,000 seats (and just about half of them sold out seven weeks before show time.
At time of writing, just one match has been announced, with Will Ospreay vs. Shingo Takagi, coupled with it taking place one day before AEW’s All In at Wembley Stadium means that’s there’s a lot more wrestling fans in and around London, if not a little dilated by Defy, PROGRESS and EVE putting on shows on the day prior.
Of course, by the time the Copperbox show was announced, Rev Pro had already set their course for this weekend’s Epic Encounter – including the Great O-Khan title defence against Michael Oku which, in hindsight (and not knowing what’s planned for Oku and/or the title), may have been a better bet saving for the anniversary show that’ll likely need at least one other headline-level match, particularly if Rev Pro retains their six-or-seven match format that’s become their calling card as of late.
Speaking of – if you can’t go to shows live (or even live stream, which is something Rev Pro are increasingly getting comfortable with – internet quality notwithstanding), Rev Pro’s shows falling around the two-and-a-half hour mark make them stand out for all the right reasons. If you’re playing catch-up, they’re just about the right length to be able to watch in an evening without having to clock-watch ahead of work the next day – something that some other promotions really seem to fight with with their (by comparison) bloated runtimes.
While the Copperbox show has provided Rev Pro with a massive tentpole event, it has caused some issues in terms of planning. In terms of roster changes, the rapid ascent of Dan Moloney and Gabe Kidd in the New Japan roster has at best, delayed the end of a rivalry. Up until a few weeks back, you’d have also seen Rev Pro preparing things in place for the annual Great British Tag League – at least with the way the Greedy Souls and the Contenders were constantly in each other’s faces. Schedule changes have led to that being pushed back to (presumably) later in the year, while the assumed Manchester show probably won’t be taking the Summer Sizzler branding. You know, unless global warming goes into overdrive, which isn’t too long a shot!
And to a similar end, there’s another, somewhat lesser-spoken threat that’s facing the British independent scene for at least the remainder of the year – and that’s the presence of the bigger boys on the scene in 2023. WWE’s Money in the Bank and the aforementioned All In is likely to have taken a bite out of fans’ collective wallets, since the ticket prices for those events are considerably higher than your regular independent show. Coupled with the increasing challenges of the economic climate in the UK (and even further afield in Europe), fans may be forced to sit out shows… which could well have a knock-on effect for the indies, be it Rev Pro or further afield.