The 2021 British J-Cup was on the line as Rev Pro brought back the one-night tournament on their road to Uprising.
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Michael Oku submitted LJ Cleary in 13:12 (***¼)
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Connor Mills pinned JJ Gale in 9:10 (***)
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Luke Jacobs pinned Robbie X in 12:01 (***½)
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Mike Bailey pinned Kid Lykos in 12:02 (***¾)
Yota Tsuji pinned Big Damo in 10:36 (***¼)
Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis & Will Ospreay pinned Chuck Mambo, Ricky Knight Jr. & TK Cooper in 18:13 (***¾)
British J-Cup 2021 Final: Mike Bailey defeats Luke Jacobs, Michael Oku & Connor Mills in 32:28 (****)
We’re coming from the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage for this one – a show that had some unfortunate late changes. Francesco Akira had to drop out of the show due to injury, while Chris Ridgeway also dropped out on show day – Luke Jacobs and Kid Lykos ended up being the substituted, with Jacobs having been taken out of the six-man tag due to a long-term knee injury suffered by Ethan Allen earlier in the month.
Commentary comes from Andy Quildan and Gideon Grey.
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Michael Oku vs. LJ Cleary
Oku’s looking to be the first person to win this tournament twice (and back-to-back), but first he’s got to get past LJ Cleary. And a ring bell that doesn’t ring…
Oku backs LJ into the corner to start, but gets taken down as Cleary grabbed a hammerlock, with the pair going back-and-forth on the mat before a shoulder tackle took Oku down. A tijeras from Oku, then a dropkick has LJ stumbling, before LJ grabbed the ropes to prevent a half crab. Cleary’s quickly back with forearms before he got clotheslined to the outside, where Oku followed with a PK attempt… only to get pulled onto the apron as LJ stayed a step ahead. Back inside, Oku’s dumped with a Kitchen Sink knee for a two-count as LJ retained control, catching Oku with a gamengiri in the corner… but Oku fought free again, and flew in with a missile dropkick that aimed right at LJ’s head.
A DDT from Oku lands for a near-fall, before LJ rolled outside to avoid a moonsault… only to eat a Fosbury flop that put both men in the front row. Cleary quickly returns with an apron PK, before a sit-out double underhook slam nearly gets the Irishman the win. Oku’s springboard knee resets things, with a springboard moonsault good for a near-fall, before another half crab was pushed away. LJ cradles Oku for a two-count, as the pair trade pins… leading to another leaping knee and a springboard boot as Cleary then hit the buckles for a Panama Sunrise-ish destroyer for a near-fall. Ow. From there, LJ prepared to mock Oku with a half crab of his own, but Oku rolled through and eventually applied the hold himself, leading to the submission. A good opener, if not hurt a little by the crowd taking a while to “get” LJ, but the Irishman did offer a threat of ruining Oku’s tournament at the first hurdle. ***¼
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Connor Mills vs. JJ Gale
I say this every time, but I genuinely forget what Connor Mills’ music sounds like…
Mills charges out at the bell, but his shotgun dropkick misses as the pair looked for early pins before a lock-up ended with a stand-off. They head to the mat with Gale and Mills going for double legs, before Mills tried to take a shot in the corner… Gale escapes and returned with a ‘rana, then a dropkick as he just about scraped a two-count. Mills takes things outside for a plancha, but returned Gale back inside for a springboard uppercut. A low dropkick to Gale’s back gets another two-count, as Mills picks up with some loud chops and slams. Gale returns with leaping forearms and uppercuts, including one that spun Mills to the mat, before a double jump springboard moonsault almost put Mills away.
Gale looks to push on with a Gory bomb knee, but Mills counters out with a sunset flip, only to see his springboard uppercut met with the Gory knee for a near-fall. The pair struggle over a suplex, then switch waistlocks until Mills was sent into the ropes for a rebound lariat… the Millshot’s next, but Gale kicks out at two. Gale escapes a Burning Cutter, but Mills bridges out of a cover before getting caught with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. Mills rolls outside, only for Gale to pounce with a tope con giro… he misses a 450 splash coming back in, as Mills then planted him with a Burning Cutter for the win. That makes the finals very interesting – although Mills looked to have picked up a knock getting there… ***
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Luke Jacobs vs. Robbie X
With Ethan Allen on the sidelines, Jacobs’ll be working singles for the best part of the next year… and he’s been thrown into a frying pan with this one.
Jacobs backed off from a handshake to start as he muscled Robbie X to the mat, but a side headlock had him in trouble as the pair looked for the early advantage. A side headlock’s pushed off by Jacobs, who resists shoulder tackles… then waffled Robbie X with a forearm. The aggression ratchets up as Robbie X returned with a hiptoss and a cartwheel dropkick, taking things outside for chops, leading to Jacobs accidentally chopping the ring post. Back inside, a slingshot senton’s good for a two-count, before Jacobs took it back outside for a chokeslam onto the apron. Jacobs stays on Robbie X with a Bulldog choke, before a slam kept things moving along. As did some chops.
Robbie X misses a charge into the corner, but manages to recover with a roundhouse enziguiri in the corner, then a shooting star out of it for a two-count. A backflip kick from Robbie X eventually lands, but he’s met with a German suplex, a superkick, then a brainbuster as Jacobs tried to put him through the mat en route to the final… but Robbie X gets up at two. A big cartwheel kick knocks Jacobs off the apron as there’s another turnaround, leading to a 619 and a Spiral Tap that nearly gets the win. Jacobs eats a diving knee for another near-fall, before Jacobs blocked an X-Clamation, booted away a moonsault, then powerbombed Robbie X for another near-fall. A wild lariat’s next, as Jacobs then measured up Robbie X for one more, flipping him inside out for the unpopular upset – with former Southside favourite Robbie X being eliminated early in the old Southside stronghold. A good clash of styles here, with Luke Jacobs being a tantalising prospect if he gets a decent look in in the singles ranks. ***½
British J-Cup 2021 First Round: Kid Lykos vs. Mike Bailey
Lykos was the late replacement for Chris Ridgeway, as Mike Bailey finally got to show off his lockdown mullet to the British crowd.
We’ve dualling chants to start, along with rapid fire headlock takedowns and escapes, before leapfrogs, roll throughs and the like led to Lykos powdering outside. Lykos caught Bailey in the ropes, then dragged him back into the ring ahead of a senton bomb off the middle rope for an early two-count. Kicks from Bailey take Lykos outside for some chops, before Lykos pulled a Gideon Grey in trying to use a cane. Bailey disarms him as kicks took the wolf into the front row, before the pair traded forearms as Bailey looked to shut down Lykos. More chops have Lykos on his knees, before he fought free with a knee to the face and a snap DDT to turn the tide.
A big boot drops Bailey ahead of a Casanova as Lykos’ flurry nearly booked him the last spot in the final… Bailey’s kicks and a running corkscrew press turns it back in his favour, before another series of mid kicks decked Lykos. The wolf’s back with another flurry, but he’s booted down as Bailey eventually kicks his legs out and landed a delayed roundhouse, only for Lykos to join him up top for a superplex. An overhead kick from Lykos took Bailey outside for a body press, but Bailey’s Golden Triangle moonsault returned the favour as Lykos just couldn’t build up any sustained momentum. Back inside, Lykos nearly nicked it with a roll-up, before a package facebuster and a Shining Wizard looked to shut the door… but he telegraphs a brainbuster and gets another kicking.
Bailey lifts Lykos up for a Flamingo Driver, but took too long and got rolled up… recovering with moonsault knees and a buzzsaw kick for a near-fall. From there, Bailey heads up again, but gets pulled down as Lykos hits a stomp to the shoulder, only for Bailey to strike back with the Ultima Weapon shooting star knees for the win. This was a wild back-and-forth outing as Lykos more than hung with Bailey, but in the end it was the new Impact signee who breezed into the elimination finale. ***¾
Big Damo vs. Yota Tsuji
Tsuji’s continued refusals to join the Legion led to Gideon Grey bringing Big Damo back to Rev Pro as a punishment. It was Damo’s first match in Rev Pro since August 2016…
Tsuji took Damo into the corner early on, but found that shoulder tackles wouldn’t do the job… and tired himself out in trying. Damo had no such trouble in reply, as Tsuji tries with a series of forearms… only to see his suplex get easily reversed by Damo. A grounded abdominal stretch has Tsuji in trouble, even more so as he gets thrown to the mat by his hair. Tsuji tries to fire back though, walking through forearms before he caught Damo with a dropkick… but it barely fazed the Northern Irishman, nor did a second, as Tsuji ended up needing more shoulder tackles before he finally hoisted up Damo to land a suplex… and blow out my speakers. Cheers Gideon.
Damo’s on the back foot as forearms and a tijeras took him down, but Gideon Grey abandons commentary to shove Tsuji off the top rope. Damo’s pissed at that, eventually returning with a chokebomb and an elbow drop to nearly put away Tsuji. A Wasteland and a back senton from Damo turned it around in a hurry, but it can’t put Tsuji away, and Tsuji’s able to return with clotheslines. Yet still Damo stays upright, knocking Tsuji down with his half of a double lariat, before Tsuji finally took him down with a spear. Tsuji goes up top… WHAT THE HELL SHOOTING STAR PRESS?! It lands, despite visions of Brock Lesnar doing it, and that’s enough to get the win as everyone was left gobsmacked by Tsuji’s latest addition to his arsenal. A good David vs. Goliath-ish outing, with Tsuji frustrating Gideon Grey once again… and getting fistbumps from the kids in the crowd afterwards too. ***¼
Post-match, Damo looked to knock Tsuji out again, but instead shook hands as Gideon sprinted to the ring and attacked Tsuji again. Damo stops Gideon from using the cane, then laid him out with it for good measure as Tsuji was left behind… only for Lucian Phillips to run out and save Gideon to set up the Phillips/Tsuji match the next night.
United Empire (Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis & Will Ospreay) vs. Ricky Knight Jr. & Sunshine Machine (Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper)
Sunshine Machine replaced the Young Guns in the original line-up due to Ethan Allen’s injury… while RKJ got a good reaction in one of his old strongholds.
We’ve a jump start as Ospreay and RKJ hit the ropes, with RKJ cracking Ospreay with a dropkick at the end of that sequence, leading to him going for a dive on the United Empire trio… but Aussie Open slide in as the frantic start continue in earnest. TK and Mambo knock the Aussies to the outside, before Mambo leapt off of TK’s shoulders into the Empire on the floor. Ospreay and RKJ resume in the ring as this settled down (sort of!) into a tag, with mounted punches in the corner leaving Ospreay to flop out of the corner. I see where those “holiday camp” comparisons came in here, and in a good way! Ospreay’s head gets run into the buckles next, with him bouncing out of the corner like Scott Hall selling a Stunner.
Tags bring us to Mambo and Fletcher, with the latter taking the Macho Man stun gun as TK proceeds to pick up a couple of two-counts, while Mambo’s drop toe hold had Fletcher down for a surfboard. Crikey. Mambo lets him go into a facebuster as Fletcher’s just worn down, leading to Mark Davis pulling Mambo to the outside, draping him as Ospreay stomped off the top rope. Things spill outside as Mambo’s left laying, as Ospreay choked out RKJ with a chair in the crowd, returning as Fletcher puts the boots to Mambo in the corner. Ospreay’s in to choke Mambo in the ropes, while Davis tagged in to swat away Mambo’s comeback as a slam and a back senton squished him effortlessly as the Empire trio just wore down Mambo – whose partners were more of a hindrance than a help.
Mambo reverses a suplex, but couldn’t make the tag as Ospreay came in to clear the decks, only to get dumped with a back body drop as RKJ returned to take his shots. Ospreay leaps into a corner death valley driver, then ate some dropkicks as RKJ looked to stake his claim for a future title shot, leading to a draping DDT for a near-fall. Back and forth forearms led to Ospreay escaping a Fire Thunder driver, returning with the handspring enziguiri as Davis tagged in to smother RKJ… who surprised him with an Angle Slam instead. TK Cooper’s in to get past Aussie Open with an Exploder to Fletcher, then a leg lariat to Davis, before a blind tag has Mambo in to set up Davis for the B-Roll.
Fletcher makes the save, but takes a propelled wheelbarrow German suplex instead as the B-Roll nearly put Davis away. The Empire swarm the ring to take out TK Cooper, who took the inverted Razor’s Edge, but RKJ stops a pin… then got thrown outside as Cooper countered Coriolis, then walked into a superkick as a big ol’ Parade of Moves broke out, ending with RKJ and Davis laying each other out after a series of strikes. A sunset bomb off the top from TK laid out Fletcher, while a Mambo splash off the top drew a near-fall… the Designated Driver on Fletcher drew in the Empire to break things up, as they cleared ranks one more time. Mambo again goes on TK’s shoulders, but Ospreay just turns it into a Doomsday Device as one final flurry took care of the Sunshine Machine, with a 450 splash from Ospreay nearly winning it.
RKJ breaks up the pin and gets sandwiched in forearms, before Mambo ate a Coriolis OsCutter gets the win. An absolute blast of a match that played really well to the crowd they had on hand – with barely a minute’s rest as the United Empire somehow got the win, yet re-established RKJ as a viable challenger for Ospreay in the same match. ***¾
After the match, RKJ tries to cheapshot Ospreay, but had to fight off Aussie Open before he got laid out with the Rev Pro title belt.
Elimination – British J-Cup 2021 Final: Michael Oku vs. Connor Mills vs. Luke Jacobs vs. Mike Bailey
It’s not one-fall to a finish, as someone’s got to win the British J-Cup – and theoretically become the next contender for Michael Oku. Unless he wins it…
Understandably, it’s a tentative start as Bailey offered handshakes to start, but Jacobs cheapshots him as we start with Mills and Jacobs… but Michael Oku comes in to dropkick Jacobs to the outside before Mills turned his sights on Oku. A tijeras from Oku, then a dropkick had Mills down, as things spilled outside with Bailey hitting the triangle moonsault before he took over on Mills with a double kneedrop for a near-fall.
Mills and Bailey swing with forearms back inside, before Bailey focused on Jacobs, throwing him inside… only for Jacobs to dump Mills and Bailey with a double back suplex. A big boot drops Oku from there, with another back suplex getting a two-count. Slams keep Oku down, before Oku fought back with elbows to the head and a snap DDT. A springboard moonsault gets Oku a near-fall, before a turnaround has Bailey and Mills swinging at each other… leading to a rebound lariat from Mills for a near-fall. A frustrated Bailey hit back with a cavalcade of kicks to Mills, but Jacobs’ shotgun dropkick stopped Speedball in his tracks, before we reset with Oku and Mills going at it again.
Mills’ up-kick saw Oku rebound with a lariat to his tag partner, as the pair then fought into the corner, only for Jacobs and Bailey to knock them off as Oku hesitated… then joined Speedball to help set up the Tower of Doom, completed by Jacobs’ powerbomb. Luke keeps going with a German suplex to Bailey, then to Oku, folding him in half, then finally Mills, who gets rolled… while Bailey’s attempt to break it up earned him a Northern Lights as Luke nearly eliminated two men in one go. Oku forces his way back in, but can’t get a half crab off as Bailey ends up stacking up Jacobs and Mills for the moonsault knees. Jacobs ends up avoiding an Ultima Weapon as Mills took over, knocking Oku off the top before a double springboard uppercut sets up for a Burning Cutter on Bailey. Oku’s back with a frog splash to stop Mills getting the pin… getting a two-count on Bailey before an automatic pin on Mills eliminated him at 11:17 into the match. That’ll play into the future…
Jacobs swarms Oku before he could compute what he’d done, leading to a Figure Four that nearly forces a submission… but Oku dragged himself to the ropes to force the break. A big boot from Jacobs keeps Oku on the back foot, while Bailey’s also knocked down before a big ol’ Cactus Clothesline took all three to the outside! Staying outside, Jacobs swings at Oku, only for Bailey to join in the chop-fest. They fight up onto the stage, where Jacobs is forced to block a double suplex as he instead reversed it as Bailey and Oku took the hard landing. Stomps from Jacobs spark a fight with Bailey at ringside as Bailey crawled around the velvet rope while Oku sprinted off the stage with a body press into the pair in the crowd. Jeeez…
Rushing back inside, Oku rolls Jacobs into a half crab, but Speedball’s back to break it up with an Ultima Weapon… that misses. Oku capitalises with a stacked-up half crab, but that ends with Bailey and Jacobs in the ropes. Oku stays on Jacobs and reapplies the half crab, leaning back on it as Bailey stared down Oku… who lets go to try and go after Speedball. Bailey absorbs Oku’s shots and went after him in the corner, lifting him up for a superplex, only to get shoved back into Jacobs as an Oku frog splash caught both men, and led to a near-fall on Luke. Unfortunately for him, it’s right back to the half crab, but again Bailey breaks it up with kicks, before a moonsault/fallaway slam from Bailey pinned Oku at 21:40.
We’re down to Jacobs and Bailey for the cup then! Luke’s able to get up and hit Bailey with a German suplex as the worn-down Northerner tried to find a second wind, hitting a half-and-half suplex to drop Speedball. Bailey hits back with a mid kick that Jacobs ran into, before it’s back to the pair swinging for the fences – Jacobs’ chops versus Bailey’s kicks. Speedball’s kicks seem to have Jacobs running on fumes again, but he’s able to clothesline Bailey back to the outside… but an Asai from Bailey caught out Jacobs after a switcheroo. On the apron, Bailey pulls down Jacobs ahead of the moonsault double knees as the Canadian looked to pull ahead once more, only to get CLOTHESLINED as he went for the Ultima Weapon. A Jacobs powerbomb nearly gets the unlikeliest of wins, as did two more lariats, but Bailey’s able to grab the rope in the nick of time!
Jacobs can’t believe his misfortune as Bailey rolled outside… Luke lands an apron powerbomb as he tried to push this one over the line, but Bailey rolled across the ring to keep some distance. Instead of following up though, Jacobs lets Bailey get himself back into the ring, following up with a Hidden Blade-like lariat for a near-fall as Speedball barely peeled a shoulder off the mat in time. Luke heads up top, but gets caught by Bailey… who’s knocked into the ropes and stomped on… Bailey pulls himself up and responds with forearms, only to get knocked down with a rude landing. Jacobs misses an elbow drop though, as Bailey pulled ahead with a hattrick of PKs, then a running roundhouse enziguiri, before the Ultima Weapon cracked Jacobs… one Flamingo Driver later, and Speedball’s put his name on the British J-Cup! A hell of a tournament final as Jacobs came agonisingly close to winning the tournament he’d only entered at the last moment… but in the end, it’s Mike Bailey who leaves the adoring crowd with the trophy. On this evidence, there should be no problems with Luke Jacobs as a singles act in Rev Pro – it’s just a case of what they choose to do with him after rejigging their plans. ****
Bailey’s trophy parade sees the rest of the British J-Cup entrants applaud him. Luke Jacobs bowed to Bailey, while Michael Oku returned for the obligatory trophy vs. title staredown as those two will now meet for the title at Uprising this weekend in York Hall. This was a largely stand-alone show, the 2021 British J-Cup more than delivered in the tournament format – while the pair of non-tournament matches on show provided plenty of spectacle as well. If you’re picking and choosing your shows, head over to the rpwondemand.com site and cash in that free trial to get this one seen!