A shorter than usual “live thoughts” rundown, given that Rev Pro’s High Stakes show should be up on-demand (and reviewed) in the coming days…
Yesterday, we took in two shows – the anticipated High Stakes card from Revolution Pro Wrestling, and a largely unheard of show from Triple L – the London Lucha League – that took place at the Resistance Gallery over the road from York Hall.
For £5, the Triple L show was advertised as a trainee show, and you had to go into it as such, with only Nina Samuels being the only name wrestler on there. There was also an appearance from the mysterious, deep voiced Falcon who may-or-may-not have been the former Paul Ryner/Synnot from the early days of PROGRESS. We had a quick battle royal featuring the bizarre Zos, the maybe-Rockstar-Spud-influenced Westgate, and the curiously-rum-inspired Kraken… and a fabulous match between The Mime and Road Fam.
It may be a little harsh comparing Road Fam to anyone, but the act really played up off of stereotypes and was fun to watch. The Mime, apparently legitimately deaf, worked really well with his character too, at one point “gutting” Road Fam with a mimed samurai sword and then “choking” him with his own innards was a joy to behold.
Whilst the day’s villain came in the form of Mauro Chaves – the Portuguese Vegan Activist whom everyone loved to hate – the real star of the day was a hero nobody knew we wanted… “Super” Bacon Jr. Not quite Super Porky, Bacon Jr.’s character left a lasting memory, and is someone I would pay to see again. Especially in a hardcore death match with a bag of those bacon bits you get in salad (instead of thumbtacks… keep with the gimmick!)
Overall, for a trainee show, there were the expected drawbacks – the simple stuff was good, and the more complicated stuff was as hit and miss as you’d expect. Only the Falcon/Jack Union match threatened to fall apart because of the over-complicated stuff, but they managed to get it back in the end. If you can get to these shows, or even any trainee show, get along – not all wrestling has to be the top-end stuff.
Speaking of… after the final bell at Triple L, we high-tailed it over the road to join the queue at York Hall for a not-as-delayed-as-usual start. Personally speaking, if anyone can tell me how a cereal bar and a box of Smints can be turned into a devastating weapon, I’d love to know, since those were confiscated from my person… whilst other removed items included chewing gum and a tuna sandwich. Heavy-handed, much?
As for the wrestling, we’ll save our report for the on-demand review, but this was a hell of a weird show. It’s not even been 24 hours since the show, and already things have gotten a little territorial, with arguments amongst fans at the show accusing the other side of ruining things with their atmosphere/lack of it.
The show started with an interim Cruiserweight title match – and with Pete Dunne on his way out, and with Will Ospreay otherwise kept busy by ROH and New Japan commitments, the group have decided not to strip him of the title, but instead create an interim belt. I’m not too keen on those things, but at least with Josh Bodom holding the strap, it should set-up some interesting matches, and keep Josh Bodom Fan happy.
Our tag team title match was the first of several with weird chemistry, as we had another face vs. face match. After defeating the London Riots at the Cockpit a fortnight earlier, the team of Charlie Sterling and Joel Redman defended against War Machine in a fun match… but again, who do you cheer for? Redman and Sterling were babyfaces, but were almost like the white meat, vanilla babyfaces that fans turned on violently back in the mid 90s. The same happened here, particularly after their victory, when Travis Banks and a debuting Chris Brookes ran in. Guess there’s our next proper feud…
Speaking of “vanilla”, we’ve already commented on Rev Pro’s replacement of music with generic songs… they’ve now done the same with their entrance videos. That in itself wouldn’t be a bad thing, but everyone had the same template, save for different fonts and backgrounds. By the end of the night, it just felt weird, and somewhat out of step with the rest of the product.
Match number three: Pete Dunne vs. YOSHI-HASHI is where the crowd started to go off the rails. Dunne received a hero’s welcome/return after his WWE UK tournament exploits, but seemingly his heel act went ignored against the New Japan star.
Then we get into the first half’s main event. A 40-minute outing between Zack Sabre Jr. and Marty Scurll that seems to be Britwres’ answer to Okada vs. Omega. By the time the match ended, it was really hot, but the first half of it felt similar to that Tokyo Dome main event… only with the addition of several spots that really weakened the referee’s standing in my eyes. Yes, it’s “only” Chris Roberts, but when you have a weak official in a match, it really hurts… another one to re-watch to get a proper handle on things.
After the restart, we had a pair of matches which – not for their own fault – felt disposable as the crowd seemed to be only interested in the main event. Trent Seven went over Trevor Lee, whose main hook was that he danced and shouted “I’m a TNA star”. After that was Martin Stone against the returning Jay White, which was the weirdest match as it felt to me that very little of the crowd were invested in this at all. A good outing that White won, but again, I’ll need to see it on-demand to see how it came out.
The main event… yeah, it was a match. It was nowhere near as fast-paced (at the start) as Ospreay vs. Riddle, but this was a match that stole the show… and it sort of needed to, thanks to the apathetic crowd. This is one I’ll need to watch again, but only because of how good it was. Whatever (positive) you preconceived ideas you had about these two were fulfilled, and then some, which left the crowd on a good note, despite the result.
Afterwards, we got a tease of a Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Katsuyori Shibata re-match (their third), which at least fits in with the story they kicked off last summer.
All-in, a good show in-the-ring, but a weird as all hell show to watch live. The biggest knock on Rev Pro for some time is that they’re a weird amalgamation of promotions; you’ve got the Cockpit shows which are small and intimate, with the addition of bigger names this year… then York Hall are almost like the attempt to be like PWG with dream matches and scant storylines… then you’ve got their dates in Portsmouth which try to bridge the two.
Wrestling may have been territorial back in the day, but never like this. We’re all wrestling fans – and now it seems some quarters are turning on themselves for enjoying shows, well… we’re on a hiding to nothing, it seems.