Rev Pro started their 2017 with a bang as a potentially low-key show at the Cockpit Theatre proved to be anything but.

The full show should be up on RPW’s on-demand service on January 10 – our full review will be a little more delayed than that – but some quick notes from the show…

As usual, we opened with a Contender’s Division match as the undefeated Rob Lias took on Dan Magee. Some decent stuff, pretty much what you’d expect from this level in terms of action and crowd response. The ending looked a little wonky as Magee beat Lias with a Flatliner… but Lias managed to convince referee Chris Roberts that his leg was under the ropes, so the pin shouldn’t have counted. Lyin’ Lias got the match restarted, then won in 14 seconds with a schoolboy, so he technically keeps his unbeaten streak alive.

Josh Bodom came out with some new music (instead of Kanye West’s “Amazing”) for the second match – and this was the start of a trend that saw several guys debut new music… and not for the better! Thankfully Eddie Dennis came out to his signature “Party Hard”, and the man who labelled himself a “svelte Braun Strowman” had a good showing in defeat. Eddie’s forearm strikes always look and sound great, and my God, Bodom brought it as well, even if his notoriously short-fuse was on display. A Bliss Buster got Josh the win, before getting really heated with a fan on the way out, to the point where blows almost exchanged.

Whether that is edited out or not may determine whether it was for real or whether it was something to play up his character. Still, at least he didn’t throw up after this match…

James Castle and Sha Samuels had an oddly-placed tag match against the Contenders Division duo Kurtis Chapman and Josh Wall – and the only currently-recognised members of the Revolutionists had a shock defeat here. A lot of this played off of dissension between Castle and Samuels after the former’s botched interference during Global Wars, which led to Samuels’ loss to Tomoaki Honma. After a game of one-upmanship, Castle channelled some OTT tapes and called for a brainbuster… which was turned into a inside cradle as the rookies took the win in under two minutes.

Match number four was an enjoyable outing between Dave Mastiff and Tyler Bate – the former having his first match in the promotion for over two years here. Bate looked to have injured his knee early on, but was still able to unleash some freaky strength with an Airplane spin and a deadlift German to the 300+lber. In the end, it was a Boston crab from Mastiff that forced Tyler to tap out – as the former Bastard had his eyes fully set on Tyler’s tag team partner instead.

Going into the interval, we had our main event… eh? Originally advertised as Pete Dunne & Marty Scurll vs. Ryan Smile and Will Ospreay, the match was changed as Ospreay apparently pulled out. Shane Strickland took his spot… but as the babyfaces were being introduced one-by-one, the debuting Travis Banks rushed out to join in a three-on-one beatdown on Ryan Smile.

That led to Shane Strickland coming out… and Will Ospreay?! Yep, we now had a six-man… and that’d replace the advertised tag team main event.

After intermission, more new music saw the debuting Zack Gibson take on Trent Seven. Gibson did his full shtick, and my word, in a smaller building, the anti-Liverpool crowd really got loud. Gibson promised to display “Scouse Style”, which disappointingly wasn’t stealing all of Trent’s moves… plenty of comedy at the start, ending with Trent snapping back and dropping Gibson with a piledriver for the win.

A very-weird tag title match came next as Charlie Garrett/Sterling (it’s Sterling) and Joel Redman successfully defended against the London Riots, who were making their first Rev Pro date in over two and a half years. Both teams added new music to their CVs here… The weirdness largely came from the champions being heel by default, since the crowd at the Cockpit were staunchly behind the challengers… of course, it didn’t help that Redman and Sterling seemed to struggle with some of the basics. Like making a tag! This is one I’ll have to rewatch to get a proper handle on, but the champions retained after Sterling hit a spiral tap off the top rope.

Our semi-final between the returning RJ Singh (second Rev Pro match in almost four years – although over a year of that, RJ was retired) and Zack Sabre Jr. Add some new music for Sabre, which drew some heckling that Zack shot down instantly… and this was looking like a drawn-out squash match as Sabre schooled RJ for a lot of the match. Singh managed some comebacks, but after spending a lot of the match being tied up in knots by an aggressive Sabre, Singh was forced to tap at the end.

Post-match, Sabre had a promo which didn’t really establish him as the good guy or the bad guy in his feud with Marty Scurll – save for a one-liner where he called RJ Singh disrespectful for thinking he could un-retire and compete at the top level. Add in Sabre’s heelish tendencies towards the end of his run as champion, and you’d be forgiven for cheering the Villain in this feud!

Speaking of, Marty Scurll was on fire in the main event – as the trio of Marty, Pete Dunne and the debut Travis Banks overcame a combination that Will Ospreay referred to as “Oreo”. Going 25 minutes long, this match was what I can only describe as being the closest the UK will get to a Pro Wrestling Guerrilla-style main event – a small-ish crowd, a surprise main event, and a seemingly hellbent desire to troll Dave Meltzer for a seventh star.

Plenty of action here – and comedy too – with stuff like Travis Banks ordering his partners to stay out of the match “because I want to impress – I need the bookings”. So instead… Banks suggested that his partners sell some merch. And wouldn’t you know it, they had some shirts under the ring… and they sold! Dunne started with a new, black singlet – with PxD on (your guess is as good as mine, Peter X Dunne?) – before removing it to reveal a new design, inspired by his “dad” Vader: a red-and-black number with “BRUISERWEIGHT” across the middle.

This is one you’ll want to see when it drops on RPW On Demand, largely for the insanity. Scurll took the win for his team with a chicken wing on Ryan Smile, after Dunne and Ospreay had fought to the back, whilst Banks and Strickland also disappeared by the end.

All in, a very fun show – some weird spots, and the overhaul of music doesn’t seem to have done too much damage… yet. That being said, I’d imagine there’s a reason behind moving to the TNA-esque knock-offs of Seven Nation Army, Song Two and the new compositions too, but it sure did give this a feel of “not quite the real thing” when it came to entrances.

Yup.