We’ll cover the rest of Homecoming 2 separately, but since this was the opener (yes…), we thought we’d also drop our review while it’s hot…
Jordan Devlin vs. David Starr
The first thing you hear when Devlin’s name appeared on the screen was someone scream “fuck off”. A similar utterance likely followed when David Starr appeared, coming out to the Pat Benatar song that he and Devlin used when they teamed up. Such visceral hatred led to a reaction that gave me goosebumps on the VOD.
To say this was a partisan crowd, would be putting it mildly, especially when Starr came out wearing the “friends” shirt of he and Devlin… and some trunks in the colours of the Irish flag, bearing the word “dílseacht”. Or “loyalty”… that led to Jordan storming Starr in the aisle as we got ourselves a nice bit of Frye/Takayama before they teased a piledriver on the stage… with Starr instead getting hurled into the crowd.
There’s a brawl as Devlin and Starr traded shots before Starr landed a suplex… then headed into the crowd as he tried to suplex Devlin off the stands. Instead, he’s just clotheslined over some railings then was followed down on with a moonsault as the rabid crowd roared on. Finally they get in the ring, where Devlin rips off Starr’s shirt, only to get lifted back outside as a package piledriver was attempted. Starr followed with a plancha that may not have looked pretty… but it did the job, as Starr keeps up on Devlin, throwing him into the ring post before he continued to rough up his former friend, landing a knee drop on the apron to keep Devlin on the floor.
Devlin keeps rolling back inside though, roared on by the crowd as he comes back with a uranage… only for Starr to push away a standing moonsault in mid-air as his cartwheel kick clobbered Jordan for a two-count. A chinlock keeps Starr ahead briefly, along with some body blows before he caught a slingshot cutter… only to fall at the second time as Devlin had Starr scouted.
A tope con giro followed from Devlin, before he rolled out of a moonsault as an attempt at the Irish Call gave way to a roll-up and a stomp as Devlin kept the upper hand, with Starr trying to scurry away before he almost nicked the win with a roll-up – complete with feet on the ropes and a big ol’ handful of tights. The Violence Party’s next as chops and forearms trap Devlin in the corner, following in with a superkick and a powerbomb onto a knee. SWEET BABY JESUS THAT LOOKED NASTY.
Somehow Devlin kicks out, but a second superkick gets another two-count as the volume of the crowd increased. Starr again antagonised Devlin, so he responds with a goddamn headbutt. That thud made me a little sick, as the increasingly-deluded Starr looked to tweak away on Devlin’s fingers while threatening to take everything away from him. A Devlin headbutt stopped that, as Jordan then pulled up Starr into the Saito suplex before a stomp led to another crack at the moonsault…
…which Starr yet again blocked by crotching Devlin. An attempted package piledriver off the top rope’s countered with a superplex, which Devlin rolled through into Starr’s own Blackheart Buster! A Han Stansen followed as Devlin continued to steal finishers, before a dive got caught and turned into a Cherry Mint DDT by Starr. The tit-for-tat continued as a Devlin Destroyer sends Starr into the ropes, with a Han Stansen in response leading to the pair trading more near-falls as the crowd finally cooled down a little.
Lariats follow as Starr and Devlin tried to knock each other’s blocks off, before it broke down into Frye/Takayama again. Devlin avoids a cartwheel kick and boots Starr, before he dropped him with a package piledriver… except Devlin refused to cover Starr, instead, picking him up for a second package piledriver… and that was enough to get the win. Decisive. Dominant. Heartfelt. This match was a bleeding home run. All of the details here, from the start to the finish made this contest a spine-chilling match that you’ll remember long after the result was counted.
From David Starr trolling Devlin with their old music, the old t-shirt, and the trunks that mockingly declared his loyalty – even a blind man could tell you who was there to be booed… and it worked. There was no contrarian cheers for Starr, just a pro-Devlin crowd that lived for every second of the ride, living through their Irish Ace on his way to victory. ****¾
- The remainder of our Homecoming 2 review will be posted soon!