School’s out for half-term, so it must be time for another loaded show at Portsmouth’s Guildhall as Rev Pro returned to their home base!
For once, Steve Lynskey isn’t ring announcing… that’s because he was doing 5* Wrestling instead. It’s Andy Quildan doing double duty, with him being joined on commentary by Lord Gideon Grey. Why? Well… it might be something to do with Andy Simmonz taking a clashing booking, as he admitted to on his podcast last week. Whoops!
El Phantasmo vs. Tyler Bate
There’s a lot of playing to the crowd early as Bate and ELP popped the crowd early by having Chris Roberts do a forward roll. Yep, it’s an easy crowd here!
There’s another cheer for duelling headstands in the corners after the early skirmishes, which of course led to Portsmouth wanting the referee to join in. Cue the deadpan Gideon, remarking “he’ll break his neck if he tries”… and cue a big smile on my face as Grey berates the crowd for effectively wanting to kill the ref.
Once everyone was done handstanding, we’re in with some chain wrestling that kept the crowd invested through a test of strength, a monkey flip and the neck bridges, before ELP chopped his way into some rope walking, only for Bate to break free and start wearing him over with a knee.
After that spell of rope walking, Bate keeps the match grounded as he worked over Phantasmo’s wrist, sending the Canadian to the outside for a breather, before flipping onto him with a snap senton for a near-fall. That was the cue for ELP to take to the skies, relatively speaking, landing a Quebrada for a near-fall as he turned up the pace, only for his whirlibird neckbreaker to get countered into an airplane spin as both guys showed they can spin.
ELP gets the whirlibird back on, eventually nailing the neckbreaker for a near-fall, but he’s forced to escape a Tyler Driver before trying his own move… and watching Bate counter into headscissors. Tyler’s back in with an Exploder and a standing shooting star press for a two-count, before both men went back at it with strikes. Despite falling for Bop and Bang, ELP’s able to nick in with a pop-up cutter, before his effort to chain a senton bomb with a frog splash ended up missing, as Tyler took advantage with a Tyler Driver for the win. Fun stuff, although a weirdly quiet crowd, as Bate won out in a match that he pretty much controlled from the off. ***¼
Kyle Fletcher vs. Mike Bailey
Unless Rev Pro’s edited for the sake of it, I’ve a feeling the Cagematch running order may be a little out of whack!
Handshakes are still the order of the day, but we’re quickly snapping into action… with Speedball of course going to the kicks, much to the delight of Gideon. Bailey’s Golden Triangle moonsault comes off early, as Speedball took control for a spell, until Fletcher started to play the Canadian at his own game, nailing a low dropkick before going after the shoulder.
The Portsmouth crowd chant “Rusev Day” because Fletcher’s going for a camel clutch, and of course Kyle plays up to it. Kyle Machka? Bailey’s back in with a pump kick though, taking Kyle into the corner, but the Aussie’s able to throw kicks too, only to get caught with what Gideon called the Green Tea Plunge – a moonsault fallaway slam – for a near-fall. The standing shooting star knees miss as Bailey went back in with kicks… quickly missing a kick into the corner as Fletcher tried to capitalise, but Speedball’s quickly in with more kicks.
We almost get the famous Chris Hamrick bump as Fletcher sidesteps a dropkick, sending Bailey flying through the ropes, and Fletcher swiftly capitalises with a cannonball off the top rope! Bailey loses a kicking battle on the apron and is quickly rolled in for a top rope splash, before Fletcher lawn-darted him into the turnbuckles for another near-fall. More back-and-forth kicks follow, before they trade off with German suplexes and clotheslines, prompting Bailey to edge ahead with more kicks… only to get spiked with a Michinoku driver for a near-fall!
Fletcher replies with a moonsault that misses… Bailey’s corkscrew press doesn’t… before he whiffs with moonsault knees. A gourdbuster front suplex keeps Bailey back in it, but those knees miss again, as Fletcher locks in a Dragon sleeper to almost get the submission, before releasing it to throw in a diving kick for a near-fall. Bailey’s back in with a corkscrew kick into the corner, but more shooting star knees miss, before he shoves away a springboard Destroyer and finally lands those knees to pick up the win! If you’re one of those who, like me, can’t stand Bailey’s over-reliance on kicks, this match may turn you off, but this was fine – although if this doesn’t lead to a title shot for Bailey, I question the wisdom of having the “home” guy lose. ***½
Rev Pro British Cruiserweight Championship: David Starr vs. Kurtis Chapman (c)
This was the shot David Starr had been angling for for months, and in response to Andy Q blowing off his nicknames, we get this.
God, I love wrestlers who go the extra mile to troll locals about their sports teams.
Starr’s in full-blown conspiracy mode since Rev Pro aren’t giving him his nicknames or releasing his promos. So he’s threatening child abuse on Kurtis Chapman here… and Chapman charges to the ring, instantly taking down Starr with a facelock suplex as he stripped Starr of his Southampton shirt. They’re outside, where Chapman clotheslines Starr into the guard rails, but a lap around the ring sees Starr catch him with a swinging back suplex onto the apron. Finally in the ring, Starr tries to choke Chapman with a t-shirt while goading the ref with it like a matador, before knocking Chapman to the outside again with a dropkick.
Starr keeps up on Kurtis, throwing his arm and leg into the guard rails, much to Gideon’s delight on commentary, but Chapman’s somehow able to muster up some fight back in the ring… swiftly moving into the cannonball off the top! Chapman escapes a Cherry Mint DDT and pulls Starr across the ropes for a flying stomp to knock him back inside… only to take too long in rolling Starr over for a cover.
Chapman’s back in with pinning efforts, but runs into the Pretty Pumped (inverted slam) for a near-fall as Starr’s back to running his mouth. It eventually angers Chapman into some slaps as the comeback led to a springboarded tornado DDT and a Yoshitonic – labelled the Konami Code Red – for a near-fall. Another Pretty Pumped from Starr gets countered into the Sega Mega Driver, but Starr rolls to the outside to save the match.
Chapman waits in the ring to try and claim the count-out, but instead he breaks the count so he could pin Starr instead… it’s a ruse, and Starr quickly nicks in with a Product Recall for a near-fall, angering Starr even more… but his attempt at a Blackheart Buster’s countered into a small package, and with a perhaps dubious count, Chapman gets the win! Again, not a dominating win, but Chapman retains the title… and sends Starr further off the deep end as the Product gets mocked by Portsmouth for his efforts. Really good as a match, and the evolution of Kurtis Chapman is quite the rare thing to see on the British scene. Slow burning for the win! ***½
After the match, Starr screams into Andy Quildan’s microphone, but they killed it, so he walks away in disgust.
Mark Davis vs. Pete Dunne
Four days earlier, Mark Davis went to war with WALTER… and it’s safe to say he was still bearing those scars. Pete Dunne got a loud cheer when his name flashed up on the screen, as Rev Pro are still using their song for him (and finally, they have an entrance video that’s more than three frames long, keeping that old joke going!)
Davis ignores a handshake as he tried to snarl down Dunne early on, only for Peter to go straight to the arm and wrist of Dunkzilla. Some chops are attempted, but a high five ends all that as Davis starts to use his power, deadlifting Dunne off the mat into a slam, before he’s taken outside for a PK off the apron. Back inside, Dunne keeps ahead, tweaking a nipple for the hell of it, before he wedges Davis’ arm in the turnbuckles to stomp on. More chops from Davis looked to have him ahead, but Dunne pulls him into a triangle armbar with some forearms for the heck of it, only for the Australian to powerbomb himself free!
Dunne’s straight back to the wristlock, mounting Davis to keep the hold on, but it’s turned out into a suplex instead, before he charges into Dunne with forearms in the corner and an inverted Angle slam for a near-fall. Some biting gets Dunne back in though, only for Davis to punch him square in the face ahead of a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall. A German suplex attempt’s flipped out of by Dunne, whose X-plex put him right back in it, as did a single forearm to the jaw…
Davis’ attempts to fight back are shrugged off, at least until his lariat flips Dunne around. An attempt at the pull-up piledriver’s blocked when Dunne grabbed hold of the referee, before a low blow and a Pedigree sees the WWE UK champ collect a near-fall. A sunset bomb out of the corner follows as Davis went for a superplex, and it’s just the matter of a Bitter End as Peter picked up the win. Enjoyable fare again, and Davis did look threatening for a spell… but it’s pretty clear that in Rev Pro that Aussie Open are “just tag team guys”. ***½
Veda Scott vs. Charli Evans
It’s a Rev Pro return for Veda, whose last appearance here was a loss to Zoe Lucas at their last Portsmouth show.
Veda tries to take the match to the ground early, but she’s made to pay as Evans rolled her up for a two-count, before taking shots at the crowd for singing Charli’s song. In response, Charli kicks at Veda, knocking her down before following in with forearms as Scott tried to get some cover in the corner. A nice diving kick knocked Evans down as Scott took a shot, then snapmared her down to the mat for a diving shoulder tackle for another near-fall. Cattle Mutilation follows from Veda, who looked to keep on top of Evans with backhanded chops… one of which eventually misses as Evans ends up running into a boot as her retaliation ended abruptly.
Evans’ missed boot into the corner earns her a back suplex from Scott for a near-fall, before a shotgun dropkick just about took Veda into the corner. Eventually Charli’s back in with forearms before a crossbody off the top saw Scott crumble to the mat for a near-fall. More chops from Veda follow, who nails a Mike Bailey-like axe-kick and roundhouse for a near-fall, before Charli countered a snapmare driver into a spinebuster.
An Ace crusher out of nowhere saw Veda pick up a near-fall, but from the kick-out she goes into a crossface. Evans makes the ropes and quickly gets back in with a swinging Flatliner, and that’s enough for the win. This was okay – the problem with a division that has very few regulars means that when the champion is out of action, the rest of it suffers as folks try to establish themselves… which was the case here. **¼
Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship: Trent Seven vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
More cheers for the WWE’s Trent Seven, who’s getting his title shot after he held up his end of the bargain… in spite of losing the tag titles to Sabre and Minoru Suzuki at York Hall a month earlier. Still, at least he’s the “second best smelling man in British wrestling, behind Chris Brookes”.
I think someone may want a re-count!
There’s a bit of aggro at the bell as Sabre’s his usual self, but Trent’s more than happy to match that style, taking the champion outside for some chops, knocking Zack down with a rather stiff one. Eventually Trent nails the ring post, and that allows Zack to go to work on the arm, with referee Chris Roberts choosing to not start a count-out for… reasons. Back in the ring, Sabre tries for his submissions, but Trent instantly goes for the ropes, angering Zack in the process. More kicks take Trent down for a rather nonchalant cover, and the challenger’s back up with chops, including a few that made Sabre recoil to the mat!
Trent suckers Sabre into a DDT for a near-fall, before teasing a Gotch piledriver… only to switch into a powerbomb that lets Sabre counter into a triangle armbar instead. It’s broken out of with a powerbomb, but Sabre’s back in with kicks, like he were toying with Seven, and that led to more chops ahead of a Dragon suplex and a snapping piledriver that collects a near-fall.
Out of nowhere, Sabre gets a near-fall with a Euro clutch, before Trent hit back with a clothesline. A second one’s kicked away before Sabre sweeps the leg and nails a PK, but Trent’s still not too far behind, and manages to surprise Zack with a backslide and a spin-out piledriver! Sabre rolls to the outside to avoid being pinned… but when he rolled back in, he had to fight out of a Burning Hammer, grabbing a chinlock before flipping out of the move.
They’re still throwing bombs at each other, with a lariat from Seven getting a two-count, before Sabre ducks a Seven Stars lariat and trips him in an Octopus hold, eventually forcing the submission. A really good main event, albeit one with a finish that seemed to come out of nowhere – in line with the rest of the night! ***¾
Rev Pro’s “At Our Best” certainly wasn’t a misnomer, but this show felt rather flat compared to prior Portsmouth cards. It’s become a bit of a bugbear among certain fans that the Portsmouth crowds are more casual than the rest of Rev Pro’s audiences, which lead to weird crowd reactions. This wasn’t a throwaway show, but it certainly was one that will need to be seen in hindsight to see where things build to – with Kyle Fletcher’s loss to Mike Bailey being one of those results that make sense in the scheme of things, but really ought to build to something for Bailey unless it was a match meant to reinforce the pecking order rather than build to anything.