Time for a spot of cherry picking as Michael Oku’s tour of the US wrapped up with a West Coast Pro debut.
We’re at the State Room in San Francisco, California as Michael Oku stayed in the US a little longer than WrestleMania weekend… commentary comes from James Kincaid and Veda Scott.
Michael Oku vs. Mike Bailey
It’s not the first time these have met one-on-one – with Oku beating Speedball in November 2021 at Rev Pro’s Uprising event as part of Oku’s lengthy reign as British Cruiserweight champion…
Bailey tried to make this a short one, jumping Oku with a running kick and a brainbuster for a two-count, before Oku managed to evade a gut shot, returning with a tijeras and a dropkick as he shut down Speedball’s early offence.
Speedball monkey flips Oku away from a half crab, then took him outside for the Golden Triangle moonsault from the inside out. They’re not exactly starting this one slow, eh? Oku’s chopped into the front row from there, as Speedball then did some construction work, using the chairs to slam Oku into ahead of a missed double kneedrop off of the stage. At least the chairs were padded! Oku capitalises with a half crab on those chairs, but of course it’s for nought. Back inside, Oku misses a dropkick by the ropes as Bailey sidesteps, returning with a kick to the chest as Oku’s offence got shut down in a hurry. Speedball hits that double kneedrop, then a handspring back elbow for a two-count before he blocked an attempted ‘rana off the top from Oku, turning it into an over-the-knee powerbomb that almost won it.
Kicks from Bailey keep Oku down, but the running shooting star press misses as Oku replies with a springboard missile dropkick. Oku keeps going, blocking strikes and getting his through before a crossbody and a DDT had Bailey on the ropes, allowing Oku to go for the half crab. It’s telegraphed, but Oku’s able to PK Bailey ahead of a springboard moonsault… which Bailey evades as Oku’s bid to baseball slide Bailey off the apron just earned him a springboard moonsault from the Canadian. Et tu?
Oku beats the count-out from that, but gets swept off the apron with an ugly landing as Bailey ends up missing the moonsault double knees. A running dropkick knocks Bailey off the apron as Oku got the crowd going for the Fosbury flop. Good to see the crowd actually “getting” the timing of those claps… Back inside, Oku hits a flying sunset flip, but Bailey rolled through and hit a kick… then BOUNCED off of Oku’s knees as the moonsault knees came up short. Bailey responds with the knees to block a frog splash, as both men were paying for the other wrecking their knees. Speedball adds chops, as did Oku, who blocked a fake-out before hitting a misdirection knee. The springboard moonsault nearly wins it for Oku, with Bailey rolling outside for cover… but he couldn’t avoid a tope as Oku looked to stay on him.
Speedball escapes to the other side of the room, but still in range for a second Oku tope, while a running dropkick clattered into Bailey in the corner. Oku races up top, but gets caught with a gamengiri as Bailey tries to bring him down with a Flamingo Drive, before he blocked a sunset flip and hit the moonsault double knees instead. A wild head kick drops Oku for a near-fall, but Oku’s somehow able to roll away from an Ultima Weapon as he rolled back for a half crab, leaning all the way back as Speedball teased a tap… but Bailey’s able to crawl to the ropes to force the break.
Another dropkick from Oku keeps him ahead, but Bailey again stops him on the top rope, joining him… only for Oku to sweep the leg and dump Bailey to the mat as the frog splash landed on Speedball for a near-fall. Oku heads back up from the kick-out, but his froggy crossbody’s cut off with a knee strike as a series of kicks took Oku back to the corner for a corkscrew roundhouse. That leads to an Ultima Weapon shooting star knee drop, but Oku kicks out at two, then rolled Bailey back into a half crab, only to get cradled for another near-fall. Oku looks to push ahead, but he runs into a Green Tea Plunge – moonsault slam – and that’s your lot!
Result: Mike Bailey pinned Michael Oku in 19:28 (****)
Up against a familiar(ish) opponent, Oku made a hell of an impression in San Francisco, with the crowd latching onto him throughout the match – and earning a standing ovation at the bell. Even if you thought the result was expected given Bailey being more established in the promotion, Oku pushed him to the limit. They’re 1-1 in singles matches, with both of them being crackers… so, about the rubber match?