Revolution Pro Wrestling and New Japan Pro Wrestling came together for another pair of shows in mid-November – their annual Global Wars UK events – starting with a decent night’s action in York Hall.
We’ve got Oliver Bennett back on commentary, alongside Andy Quildan – probably the promotion’s best regular pairing – as we head to our first match:
Marty Scurll vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Scurll came out wearing a mock Liger mask, which led to our opening spot where Marty demanded that Liger show his face. They start with a tie-up as Scurll does the mockingly-clean break, something that Liger returned the favour, then worked into a seated surfboard.
Scurll reverses a wristlock before they squared off once more, leading to Liger taking down Scurll and tying him up in a grounded Octopus hold. After reaching the ropes, Scurll lands gets sent to the outside as Liger faked out of a dive, before launching himself off the apron into a cannonball dive on the Villain. Liger takes an arm whip to the mat as he tried for a brainbuster, before his attempt to roll outside saw him take a superkick to the head as Scurll made his way to the apron. The blurry hard camera made an appearance even in this first match as the pair traded chops around ringside, and we returned to the ring as Scurll worked over the arm and wrist of Liger. A snapmare and a dropkick to the head earned Scurll an arrogant two-count, but Liger finally fought back, catching Scurll of the ropes into a tiltawhirl backbreaker.
Liger connected with a Shotei in the corner, before setting Marty on the top rope, rolling back the years to get a ‘rana out of the corner for a near-fall. Scurll came back with a backslide attempt, then switched it into a reverse Argentine backbreaker and into a facebuster before getting a near-fall. An attempted chicken wing saw Liger roll up Scurll for a near-fall, but Marty came back straight away with a brainbuster, only for another superplex to make sure that Liger still had a chance in the match. Scurll popped up into a superkick on Liger, and then dropped the veteran with a “Just Kidding” superkick.
A cartwheel kick from Liger kept the match even, but he took a poke to the eye as Scurll displayed some good accuracy, only to take a taste of his own medicine with a “Just Kidding” superkick back from Liger. The Ligerbomb gets a near-fall, but it went downhill quickly from there as another Shotei was caught and turned into a finger snap… before Scurll kicked out of an O’Connor roll and trapped the veteran in the chicken wing for a submission. A perfectly fine, fun opening match – doing just enough to get by and save themselves for bigger matches the next night. ***
Sha Samuels vs. Tomoaki Honma
Going in, this was a real head scratcher of a match – a guy who I’d say is part of the furniture in Rev Pro, having been the promotion’s champion a few years back, and most recently had been in a feud with Big Damo before the latter headed off to NXT. Honma took Samuels into the corner at the bell, breaking cleanly, before Samuels didn’t exactly return the favour. We got the Newton’s cradle shoulder tackles, before Honma went for an early Kokeshi, and missed out of the gate. Samuels threw Honma to the outside as he got thrown into the guard railings, before Samuels grabbed a rear chinlock in the ring.
Another Kokeshi failed as Honma tried for a comeback, but he managed to reverse a suplex and launch into Samuels with a forearm in the corner, before getting a bulldog… and finally! The Kokeshi at the third time of asking! A clothesline in the corner was followed by a missile dropkick for a near-fall from Honma. We get a ref bump as Samuels wriggled out of the Kokeshi Otoshi and shoved Honma into Chris Roberts, and despite Honma getting a brainbuster, he couldn’t get a pin.
That led to the interference of James Castle, who added to a low blow from Samuels with a busaiku knee, but Honma was able to kick out despite that! With Roberts still down, Castle came in for a more blatant run-in, but his diving knee hit Samuels, before Honma no-sold a headbutt and dropped Castle with one of his own. A leaping Kokeshi to Samuels followed, before a swandive Kokeshi was enough to get the win. Perfectly acceptable wrestling, exactly the kind of match you’d expect from these guys. ***
Credit to Rev Pro, on a show full of largely exhibition matches, they used the botched interference from James Castle to plant a seed of dissension between Castle and Samuels.
Pete Dunne vs. Yuji Nagata
Hey, Pete’s entrance video has more than one frame in it this time! It still froze up though, which begs the question – will we ever see it in full?
This was the match I anticipated the most going in, as this was (surprisingly) Nagata’s first match in the UK, along with a trio of matches in 2005 in Italy to his handful of European matches. They started with wristlocks, before Nagata landed a headlock takedown which Dunne flipped out of with ease. Dunne goes back to a wristlock, and takes down Nagata with the aim of some finger biting, but it gets reversed as Nagata reaches out for – and gets – a headlock.
Dunne rolls back and gets a near-fall on Nagata, then goes back to the wristlock and gets another cover for a one-count. They end up going back and forth with shoves and kicks, as Nagata dropped Dunne… who replied by simply biting away at Nagata’s fingers. A big boot from Nagata knocked Pete back down, prompting Dunne to slide outside, and then trap Nagata in the ring apron – a move that seemingly perplexed the veteran. After rolling back inside, Dunne dropped Nagata with another forearm, then stomped on the left arm of the veteran. Nagata fought back with some back-and-forth forearms, with a pump kick getting the 23-year-old Dunne another near-fall. Dunne quickly went to stomp the knees of Nagata, then fish-hooked at his nose, before Nagata launched another comeback, eventually knocking down Dunne with a knee to the midsection. A series of kicks to the chest rocked Dunne, but he was able to prevent an Exploder suplex by elbowing out and raking the eyes.
After a low kick knocked down Dunne, Nagata succeeded with an Exploder for a near-fall, before Dunne shoved him into the corner for an enziguiri, as a fireman’s carry into a gutbuster afterwards looked to go a little awry. Dunne went up top and landed a double stomp for a near-fall, before going for the Drop Dead, but Nagata worked out into his trademark armbar.
Dunne was able to wriggle to the rope to force a break, and returned back with a series of forearms to Nagata, before a Backdrop Hold was blocked as Dunne raked the eyes once more. More biting took place next, but Nagata pushed out, then landed the Backdrop Hold for the win. Throughout the match, Nagata did look a little off the pace, with that fireman’s carry gutbuster being the most obvious slip. A good match, with the crowd eating up everything from Nagata. ***
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Chris Hero
Going in, this match was pegged by many as a show-stealer. It delivered, and then some.
Hero towered over Ishii, which led to a comedy opening… that Ishii replied to by laying in some forearms, only for a single, swift forearm from Hero to knock down his opponent. Wash, rinse and repeat, as Ishii tried for shoulder tackles, only to be easily knocked down by one from Hero. A suplex is blocked from Hero, who replied by easily slamming Ishii, then landing a back senton for an eventual two-count.
After taking some chops in the corner, Ishii fired back, only to be thrown to the outside by Hero, who dropped Ishii with a forearm, before wandering up the aisle, where they exchanged yet more chops, only for a pump kick from Hero to knock the “Stone Pitbull” onto his back. Back in the ring, Hero played to the crowd with a series of kip-ups, before another back senton got him a two-count when Ishii dragged himself back to the ring. Hero swatted away at Ishii, before moving onto clubbing forearms and then straight right hands to Ishii’s head… the latter of which seemed to cause Hero more pain than Ishii. The fightback continued as Ishii landed some chops, but Hero chopped out of a brainbuster, only to take it at the third time of asking.
Hero only is able to delay a back suplex from Ishii, who got a near-fall, but the American comes back with a series of bicycle kicks for a near-fall, before dropping Ishii with a piledriver. Well, I say “drop”. Ishii just popped straight back up. Then clocked Hero with a headbutt as Ishii managed to get a breather.
A series of lariats from Ishii rocked Hero, but a rolling forearm stopped Ishii, until a headbutt and another lariat got him a two-count. With Hero sat up, Ishii scored with a diving lariat for another near-fall. Ishii’s latest comeback ended as some forearms were met with a big boot from Hero as they continued to hit harder with each passing shot. Ishii unwisely went for a German suplex, and that just allowed Hero to elbow his way free… but he took a German at the second attempt, before an enziguiri barely grazed Hero.
Another forearm from Hero rocked Ishii, before Hero took a chop to the throat, and replied with a rolling forearm for the closest near-fall yet! Hero tried to follow with a second piledrive, but Ishii again popped to his feet, and straight into another forearm. Yet another piledriver followed, this time a Gotch piledriver, and that was enough. This was the closest you’ll get to a war in a ring without bleeding – and this was brutal. Hard hitting, enthralling, and as back-and-forth as you can get. Was it better than Scurll vs. Hero at Uprising? Probably not, but it was a typical show-stealing performance from Chris Hero ****½
After the match, Ishii refused the offer of help from Hero in getting to his feet, but instead he got a respect-laden promo from the victor, hyping up Ishii’s history and getting an ovation for him at the end of it.
BUSHI vs. Will Ospreay
Originally billed as a champion vs. champion outing, BUSHI kinda let the side down earlier in the week when he lost his IWGP Junior heavyweight title at Power Struggle. Ospreay’s British Cruiserweight title wasn’t on the line here, which ordinarily would have been a giveaway to the result. The match started with Ospreay taking BUSHI into the ropes, before his attempt an an Okada-like clean break saw BUSHI switch around and roll into the mocking pose. They went back and forth with Ospreay eventually cartwheeling out of a ‘rana, then dropkicking BUSHI to the outside as he ended up repeating BUSHI’s pose to good effect.
BUSHI turned the tables with a rope-hung DDT onto the apron after dragging Ospreay out of the ring – almost like Josh Bodom’s Bliss Buster finisher – before using his boot to choke away at Ospreay in the corner. An STF is used by BUSHI to ground Ospreay further, but Will was able to drag his way to the ropes before BUSHI used his t-shirt to briefly choke his opponent. Ospreay countered a throw into the ropes by handspringing back into an overhead kick, before landing his springboard forearm and then wiping out BUSHI on the outside with a Space Flying Tiger Drop. More kicks from Ospreay followed in the ring, as an early OsCutter attempt was blocked, with BUSHI getting a rewind enziguiri… only to fall into the corner for a Cheeky Nandos.
Ospreay aborts a shooting star press, but BUSHI comes back with a dropkick as he turned the tables once more, before getting a near-fall after a double knee-strike in the corner. An MX attempt misses as Ospreay takes down the former IWGP Junior heavyweight champion with a roundhouse kick, before an OsCutter attempt was countered with a backcracker by BUSHI.
They trade more shots, before an enziguiri dropped Ospreay, but a running Code Breaker is blocked by Ospreay, who caught BUSHI in a Fireman’s carry that led to our second ref bump of the night, caused by BUSHI’s errant legs. Some black mist followed, as did a low blow and a backslide for a near-fall, with a Destroyer getting him another two-count, despite referee Chris Roberts clearly seeing Ospreay’s misted-face. BUSHI went up for another crack at the MX, but he ate a corkscrew kick from Ospreay.
The pair traded more forearms, then slaps, until Ospreay hit a dropkick, then the Rainham Maker for a near-fall. Another diving corkscrew kick set up BUSHI for the OsCutter, and that was enough for Will to get the win. A fun match, perhaps not at the heights you may have expected, but given that there was little on the line, this was perfectly fine. By the way, both men here were announced as being representatives of their stable – which works since they tend to be at odds in New Japan… ***½
A massive thumbs up to Arn for leading the “f*** Moose!” shouts against the crowd in this match…
Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) & David Starr vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)
Moustache Mountain’s pre-match shtick saw them come out with David Starr… then send him backstage so Trent could draw a moustache on him. EVIL was relegated to a Prince of Darkness tonight, in one of his few outings with the NEVER Openweight title that he won at New Japan’s Power Struggle.
The debuting Tyler Bate got a really good reaction – showing that reputation really does precede some people! Tetsuya Naito started with him, and did his best Big Papa T impression by side-stepping lock-ups with Bate… and I feel dirty for just making that comparison. Eventually, Naito tagged in SANADA, as we got Starr and SANADA, with a prawn hold getting Starr a one-count. Starr lands a hiptoss before hip-thrusting into SANADA with a move that perhaps riled the former TNA X Division champion. Indeed it did, as SANADA returned with knees to the midsection, before a tiltawhirl pancaked SANADA onto the mat. Trent Seven tagged in, prompting SANADA to scurry to tag in EVIL, whose first move was to grab hold of Trent’s beard.
A shoulder block from Seven knocks down EVIL, before an overhand cricket chop and a slam took down EVIL. SANADA rushed in and got slammed next to EVIL, with Naito being slammed onto the pile, followed by Bate, then Starr… but referee Chris Roberts missed out on the bodyslam party as Los Ingobernables recovered and hit a trio of bodyslams themselves. Naito started to work over Seven in the corner, but Trent took Naito’s eye-opening pose and used it to tweak his moustache… earning him a beatdown. There’s more beard-related offence as he found himself cornered, then somewhat strangled as he pleaded with hos partners to help make a tag out. Seven avoided tagging out as he tried to slap SANADA, but instead managed to pull him off the top rope – giving Trent a better chance at a tag out.
In came Tyler Bate, who dropkicked EVIL and Naito, before a diving European uppercut knocked down SANADA. Another dropkick from Bate knocked SANADA back down, with a deadlift, bridging German suplex earning him another near-fall, before SANADA won a striking battle, and took down Bate with a TKO. EVIL tagged back in from there as he went face-to-face with Starr once more, but “The Product” laid into EVIL with forearms and chops, sending the “King of Darkness” down… only to fall into a backbreaker with ease. Starr hangs onto the ropes before sending Naito out of the ring, then landing a springboard lariat… SANADA’s dropkicked off the apron, as Starr looks for a dive, only to fall to a superkick and a Fisherman’s buster for a near-fall.
Bate and Seven looked to double-team EVIL, with a double headbutt rocking the NEVER champion. More double teaming followed as a tope and a plancha left Starr in the ring alone with EVIL. The Tomorrow Driver (over-the-knee neckbreaker followed for a near-fall from Starr, as Moustache Mountain looked to triple-team EVIL, but he overcame the three of them. Naito rushed in with the outside-in dropkick to Tyler Bate, before Starr took a trio of avalanche clotheslines, and a lariat from EVIL for another two-count. The end was nigh though, as EVIL laid out Starr with the EVIL (STO) and that was it – Los Ingobernables picked up the win in a typical New Japan undercard six man, in formula as well as name. ***¼
Naito attacked referee Chris Roberts after the match, not exactly underlining a heel character there!
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
The crowd took to booing Sabre’s entrance as they remembered the way he won against Shibata in July, then Jeff Cobb in August, as his usual style seemed to be ditched in favour of spamming PKs.
They started with ground-based offence, echoing their match from July, as a hushed crowd watched on as Shibata spun around the back of Sabre, forcing him into the corner. Another tie-up saw the pair go to the mat, with Shibata working for a waistlock, before Sabre again rolled into the ropes for a clean break. Shinata resumed with a headlock, and clung onto it as Sabre tried to shoot him into the ropes.
Sabre ducked an early PK attempt as the pair squared off, before Sabre’s attempt at a leglock came to nought with Shibata simply standing up out of it. What did work for Sabre though, was a double armbar, before Shibata flipped out of an arm stretch as the two men exchanged attempts at abdominal stretches. An armbar immediately saw Sabre reach for the ropes, but Shibata again stayed on top of things, and went back to that armbar attempt, but another rope break saw Sabre escape the hold before it was fully applied.
An overhead kick from Sabre saw him target Shibata’s taped-up shoulder, before going to a to a wristlock as he then trapped the arm between his legs. That eventually forced Shibata to roll to the outside to try and get some relief, but when he returned his wrist was targeted yet again as Sabre stamped on it. The boos return as Sabre ripped off Shibata’s kinesio tape, then caught his challenger in a triangle armbar, before working it into another variant, forcing Shibata into the ropes.
A running boot from Sabre knocked Shibata down again, allowing the champion to target the injured arm once more, as a nonchalant PK followed. Shibata simply sat up and invited more PKs, demanding that Sabre go for that shoulder once more. Eventually, Shibata Hulked up from the PKs and knocked down Sabre, before rattling him with a pair of running Yakuza kicks in the corners. Shibata drilled Sabre with a diving dropkick in the corner, then scored a near-fall from a butterfly suplex, and again went for an armbar. After Sabre reached for a rope break, Shibata simple kicked him again, then drilled him with a back suplex… which was no-sold as Sabre returned the favour, only to eat a PK.
The pair traded more shots from their knees, teeing off on each other with forearms, before Sabre headbutted Shibata’s shoulder to force his challenger down briefly. More back and forth led to Shibata kicking Sabre repeatedly in the chest, and getting a near-fall out of it, before they traded big boots. More kicks from Shibata rock Sabre, until one’s caught and Zack goes for the rolling prawn hold that won him the match back in July.
Shibata again kicked out though, and took a kick to the head, before a half-and-half suplex led to a PK… but Shibata kicked out once more! Sabre kicks away at Shibata yet again, before running into a massive slap, as the challenger looked to lock in a sleeperhold… which was then turned into a sleeperhold suplex. The sleeper was re-applied, sending Sabre to the mat, before a PK earned Shibata a win that shocked York Hall… and by shock, I mean “nobody expected him to take the title.”
Well, this was a sight to behold. Having held the title for ten months, very few expected Sabre to drop the title here, and although this was a shade below their July match, this was a fantastic, technical main event with a much more appreciated finish! ****¼
After the match, Marty Scurll rushed out to escort Sabre to the back, preventing any show of respect between the new champion and the dethroned. Instead, we got an appearance from Chris Hero, as they underlined that night two’s match between the pair would indeed now be for the British Heavyweight title.
As a show, this worked well as a proverbial curtain-raiser. If you’d only been to one of the two shows (like myself), then this apparently was the weaker of the two, but at least the wrestling was good. Lasting at under two-and-a-half-hours, this is a really easy show to watch, and you’ll be rewarded with two outstanding matches… so what are you waiting for?? This show is available to watch now via rpwondemand.com – and can be purchased/rented individually, or as a part of a wider subscription to the Rev Pro on-demand service.