The British J Cup returned to Stevenage for a second year – while Minoru Suzuki took on Dan Moloney in a superfight.
British J Cup 2022 – First Round – Robbie X pinned Connor Mills in 12:24 (***½)
British J Cup 2022 – First Round – Lee Hunter pinned Michael Oku in 4:42 (**½)
British J Cup 2022 – First Round – Will Kaven pinned Luke Jacobs in 14:01 (***¼)
British J Cup 2022 – First Round – Leon Slater pinned Lio Rush in 15:29 (***½)
Yota Tsuji, Nathan Cruz & Lucian Phillips pinned Eddie Dennis, Mad Kurt & Ricky Knight Jr. in 19:10 (***)
Minoru Suzuki pinned Dan Moloney in 15:14 (***¼)
British J Cup 2022 Final: Robbie X defeats Will Kaven, Lee Hunter & Leon Slater in 19:29 (***½)
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We’re at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage as the British J Cup returned for its fifth iteration. The show opens with a video package of past finalists and winners, and then it’s off to the matches, with commentary from Andy Quildan and Chris… whose surname I didn’t catch.
British J Cup 2022 – First Round: Connor Mills vs. Robbie X
We’ve got a lot of new entrance videos… and some new trunks for Connor Mills, who’s shed the old Destination Everywhere gear tonight.
We’ve a straightforward start with wristlocks as both men looked to set the pace. Mills thought he’d gone ahead with a shoulder tackle, but Robbie X kipped up and hit the ropes for a tijeras, while a dropkick took Mills down for an early two-count. Mills mocks the crowd as the pair went back-and-forth on chops, until a Kitchen Sink knee from Mills and a kick to the back put the brakes on Robbie X.
The hiptoss and cartwheel dropkick had the former Southside Speed King champion back in it… until Robbie got suplexed onto the ropes and booted to the floor ahead of our first dive of the evening. We’ve chops around ringside from there, with Mills faking out a chop as he proceeded to rough up Robbie back inside. Robbie X caught some kicks as began a fight back, slingshotting over Mills ahead of a suplex attempt… eventually getting it too before a corkscrew twisting senton nearly won it. A missed moonsault from Robbie X opened the door for a running kick in the corner that almost gave Mills the win, but a Molly Go Round sees the pendulum swing back the other way.
A rebound lariat from Mills cuts off an X-Clamation, while a Millshot ended with Robbie X kicking out just in time… before Mills’ fascination with Michael Oku led to him going for a half crab, only for Robbie X to cradle him for the win. A good opener, with Robbie X making the finals for the first time. ***½
We had a pre-match attack as Connor Mills jumped Oku on the stage during the latter’s entrance. There’s a beatdown as Mills chokes Oku with his own ring jacket, before a Burning Cutter laid out Oku, just in time for people to come to Oku’s aid.
British J Cup 2022 – First Round: Michael Oku vs. Lee Hunter
Connor Mills dragged Oku towards ringside, then rolled him into the ring… and it looks like this’ll be easy pickings for Lee Hunter. Especially after a running front kick in the corner left Oku laying once more.
Of course, the match gets going as Oku refused to forfeit, but it wasn’t quite the super-quick win you’d have expected. Hunter tees up for a superkick, which sent spittle flying from Oku before a Pedigree got Hunter… a near-fall. Oku kicks away a half crab attempt, then dropkicked Hunter to the outside for a wild tope DDT, before a frog splash back inside was blocked by Hunter’s knees. A gourdbuster follows for a two-count, before Hunter telegraphed a knee strike and got caught with a half crab. It ends in the ropes, as Oku added a corner dropkick, then went for a half crab… but it’s blocked in the ropes as Hunter then stole the win with a roll-up, having his feet on the ropes for good measure. A bit of an upset, as Oku was drawn a pretty crappy hand for this match. **½
British J Cup 2022 – First Round: Will Kaven vs. Luke Jacobs
This was a big test for Kaven, who was yet to lose a singles match in Rev Pro… and with Jacobs coming in with an arm injury, an upset may well be on the cards.
Kaven rolls outside at the bell, looking to take the sting out of the match, before he pounced on Jacobs’ taped-up elbow with an armbar. That ends in the ropes, as Jacobs threw a chop then took Kaven to the corner for some mounted punches… enough to leave Kaven slumped in the ropes. A big boot drops Kaven, as did a bodyslam, while a back senton and a chop in the corner led to a stalling suplex for a near-fall. Heading outside, Jacobs chops away on Kaven, who snapped back at a fan who asked if that hurt… Kaven found a way back in as he dropped Jacobs’ taped-up elbow over the turnbuckles, as he proceeded to be like a dog with a bone with that body part. Things spill outside again as Kaven cleared the first two rows for a suplex, but it’s Kaven who’s sent to the floor. He recovered to wrap Jacobs’ arm around a chair so he could punt it.
Back inside, Kaven avoids a suplex, only to get hoisted into the corner with a bucklebomb moments afterwards. Corner splashes from Jacobs, then a back elbow puts him further ahead, while a brainbuster almost got the win for Jacobs. A follow-up lariat’s caught and pulled into an armbar as Kaven went back to the arm, but that ends in the ropes as Kaven then followed up with a curb stomp knee for another two-count. The pair trade strikes, with Jacobs looking to pull ahead, landing a lariat with the bad arm for a two-count. A second one followed, but Kaven shrugged it off and capitalised with the Regalplex cradle backbreaker… and there’s your big upset as Kaven scored a clean-as-a-sheet win over the current Cruiserweight champion. ***¼
British J Cup 2022 First Round: Leon Slater vs. Lio Rush
Another big challenge for Leon Slater… and we start with rock, paper, scissors?! Somewhere in this, something went awry with the picture as we’ve now got a layered Rev Pro logo in the bottom left…
Rush caught out Slater with a roll-up early on, with Slater trying one of his own… which just upset Lio. The pace increases with leapfrogs and dropkicks, before Rush got dropkicked to the outside. There’s no dives as Rush composed himself, then slapped Slater back inside, only to get caught in the corner with a leaping forearm… but Rush manages to take things back outside with a handspring kick. Rush pounces on Slater, knocking him into the front row for a lap of honour kick, stopping to break the count, before Slater leapt from his seat to kick down Lio. Chops from Slater keep Lio in the front row ahead of his own lap of honour, but Rush escaped this one, then hit the ring for a low-pe that cleared a bit of the front row.
Slater’s on the defensive back inside, taking a diving uppercut to the back before he had to fight out of a chinlock. A ducked clothesline and a kick shut down Slater though, as Lio took the back for a sleeperhold to try and force a stoppage. Slater’s able to fight out though, backing Rush into the corner… but Lio just leaps right back onto him. Fighting out again, Slater’s able to follow up with a dropkick, then a leaping crossbody for a two-count, before Rush rolled up out of a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall. A roundhouse kick from Rush looked to put Slater’s lights out for a near-fall. Slater again fought back into it, trading right hands as he got back to his feet, but Lio just knocks him back down with a forearm. Endless reversals led to Slater countering a handspring into a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall, before Slater went up top to try a swanton 450… but Rush rolled away.
Lio charges back in with a spear, then went up for a frog splash… but a delayed cover allowed Slater to surprise Rush with a crucifix pin to snatch the final spot in the finals. ***½
The Legion (Lucian Phillips, Nathan Cruz & Yota Tsuji) vs. Eddie Dennis, Mad Kurt & Ricky Knight Jr.
The Legion’s got a new addition these days, in the form of Nathan Cruz… while Mad Kurt seems to think that he’s a part of the Knight family, got pyro and added, err, karaoke to RKJ’s ring entrance.
Cruz bullied Kurt early on, taking him down to the mat for a wristlock before slapping the back of Kurt’s head. Kurt’s sent into the corner from a side headlock, then mounted a response straight out of World of Sport before he slapped Cruz back. Tags bring us to Eddie Dennis and Lucian Phillips, with those two trading shoulder tackles, with Phillips taking down Eddie ahead of a hiptoss from the Welshman. RKJ’s in as we began a merry go round of double sledges to Phillips’ arm. Mad Kurt’s back to chop Phillips in the ropes, for comedy, before RKJ came in for a bigger chop… a dropkick… then a bodyslam as he dropped Mad Kurt onto Phillips. Eddie Dennis does the same, prompting Yota Tsuji to wander in and break up the pin as Phillips remained cornered.
A poke to the eye from Phillips took Mad Kurt down as Nathan Cruz tagged in and choked Kurt through the ropes. Yota Tsuji blind tags in, so Mad Kurt’s O’Connor roll wasn’t valid… Kurt hits one on Tsuji, but this time Phillips distracts the referee so Cruz could break it up. It gives Tsuji time to take Mad Kurt (and his furry boots) to the ropes for a chop, while some old school eye raking in the ropes kept Kurt on the back foot. Cruz’s knee drop and leg drop adds a two-count, before Kurt tried to dive past Cruz… and managed to make a tag out. RKJ unloads on Cruz with right hands and chops, following up with a springboard crossbody for a near-fall, while a stalling suplex led to Cruz getting dumped in the opposite corner.
RKJ rolls through a 450 splash and ends up getting the front of his knee chop blocked by a resurgent Cruz, who overcame a struggle to lock in a Figure Four. Cruz drags RKJ to the corner for Tsuji to tag in and stomp away on, following up with a shinbreaker and a Boston crab. Phillips is back to wrap RKJ’s leg around the ropes, then distract the ref as Tsuji and Cruz attacked RKJ in the corner. A DDT to the leg from Phillips is next, then a leg lock, before he cornered RKJ with clotheslines. An Irish whip sent Knight back to the corner, but RKJ’s dropkick off the middle rope gets him free as Eddie Dennis tagged in to hit a fallaway slam/Samoan drop to Tsuji and Cruz at the same time.
Tsuji sends Dennis face-first to the mat while an Alabama Slam’s avoided by the Welshman… who booted Tsuji away before sending him outside. The Legion’s all on the floor, and were joined by Mad Kurt, who got Severn Bridge’d into the pile for his troubles. Mad Kurt’s used as a projectile again as he’s whipped into Tsuji in the corner, before a spike Next Stop Driver forced Cruz in to break up the pin. Mad Kurt wants back in, but got thrown into RKJ on the outside as Edie Dennis was left on his own for a double Alabama Slam, before a swandive headbutt from Cruz proved to be enough for Tsuji to get the pin in a trios outing that was starting to outlive its welcome. ***
Dan Moloney vs. Minoru Suzuki
Moloney asked for this match back in St. Neots… and got the marquee moment here.
Moloney tried to shut down the crowd early on, claiming they’d come to see him, rather than Suzuki, which led to some holiday camp-ish boo/yay cheers. Backing away from Suzuki into the ropes didn’t work, as Moloney got caught in a wristlock early on, then a side headlock, before his counters led to Suzuki sending him into the ropes… only for Moloney to charge Suzuki down in return. Suzuki suckers Moloney into the ropes for a hanging armbar, then took him outside and into the crowd for some knees. A half crab in the crowd forces Moloney to tap, but despite Suzuki’s protestations it doesn’t count… which led to Suzuki going after referee Oscar. Moloney saves the referee, but the chops just wound up Suzuki, who sank Moloney to the ground with a single chop in return.
More of those follow around ringside, along with a slap to the face as Suzuki was just controlling the match. Heading up to the stage, Suzuki teases a piledriver in front of the British J Cup, but Moloney slips out, only to get kneed in the midsection ahead of a PK. Suzuki goes back after the referee, giving Moloney time to recover and get back to the ring as we eventually went back to the chops. Once again, Moloney’s sank with a chop as Suzuki switches into a STF, which ended after Moloney backed into the ropes. Moloney’s able to sneak back in with a gamengiri in the corner, then a diving kick for a two-count, before a teased Drilla was blocked as Suzuki took him back to the corner. A snapmare and a PK gets Suzuki a two-count, before Moloney looked to make inroads on a chop battle, then on a battle of forearms, only for Suzuki to deck Moloney with a CLONKING elbow.
Moloney back body drops free of a Gotch piledriver, then added a double stomp for a two-count, while a Drilla’s escaped by Suzuki. An attempted clothesline’s ducked, allowing Suzuki back in with a rear naked choke, an elbow, and finally a Gotch-style piledriver to close out this one. A decent outing, but very much akin to that “travelling Suzuki match” that’s been doing the rounds. ***¼
Elimination Rules – British J Cup 2022 – Final: Robbie X vs. Lee Hunter vs. Will Kaven vs. Leon Slater
We’re under elimination rules here, and with Luke Jacobs having fallen to Will Kaven, you’d have to assume the winner will be joining Kaven in line for a title shot…
Things spilled outside almost right at the bell, as we had a fast-paced start to proceedings. Hunter takes a beating early, eating a hiptoss and a cartwheel dropkick from Robbie X, before Kaven chucked Robbie X to the outside. Leon Slater’s in to hit a dropkick to Kaven, then a dropsault to Hunter, before he went corner-to-corner with splashes on those two. Robbie X’s return gave Hunter and Kaven a chance to attack from behind, but the bad guys get low bridged to the outside… the front row scatters, but to no avail as Slater and Robbie X go at it, at least until Kaven got back in the match.
Slater flips out of a cradle backbreaker, now dubbed the Ruthless Driver… but couldn’t avoid Lee Hunter’s headbutt… as the cradle backbreaker landed, only for Slater to roll outside. Robbie X is up on the top rope for a double missile dropkick, but his latest push was cut-off as Kaven and Hunter doubled up on him. A double superplex on Robbie X is adapted into a Tower of Doom by Slater, who then took to the skies with an over-the-turnbuckle tope con giro into the rest. Back inside, Slater hits his swanton 450 to Robbie X, but couldn’t make the cover… Will Kaven sneaks in to hit a piledriver to Slater, and that’s enough for the first elimination at 6:39. Kaven tries to make a second elimination, but Robbie X kicks out of the cover, only to quickly find Lee Hunter catching a handspring as we were back on “the numbers game.” The pair put the boots to Robbie for a while, but Kaven’s sent to the outside for a handspring kick, before Robbie X slipped outside and caught Hunter with a Molly Go Round.
Robbie X goes back outside for a tope to Kaven, then came back for a roundhouse kick to Hunter, as a trip up top led to an avalanche reverse ‘rana. The X-Clamation’s next, and that’s Lee Hunter eliminated at 10:18. It’s down to Robbie X and Will Kaven – with Kaven having had a win over Robbie just a matter of weeks ago in St. Neots… The pair clatter each other with clotheslines and forearms to start, but a Gory bomb, then a backflip into a sitout powerbomb almost wins the cup for Robbie. A shooting star press out of the corner sees Kaven get the knees up as he almost rolled up Robbie… who then headed to the apron and ended up getting taken to the corner for the over-the-turnbuckles neckbreaker.
Robbie X ends up on the apron for a Dragon suplex onto the side of the ring, as Kaven then added a second one back inside for a near-fall. Kaven goes for a piledriver, but a roll-up counters it before a double clothesline left both men laying. They fight back to their feet, trading forearms and elbows until a misdirection X-Clamation took Kaven down for a near-fall. Measuring up Kaven, Robbie X charges for a gamengiri into the corner, only to miss a Spiral Tap off the top as Kaven clotheslines him to the outside. Heading up to the stage, Kaven dumps Robbie X with a brainbuster before heading back into the ring to try and claim a count-out… but Robbie X manages to head back down and dive in at nine. A clothesline to the back of the head, then a second sheer-drop brainbuster gets Kaven another near-fall, as he then added a piledriver… but it’s still not enough as Kaven was having to dig deep.
Heading up top, Kaven leaps… but got caught with a kinda cutter, before the X-Clamation and a package tombstone piledriver finally got the win for Robbie X. The finishing stretch had me biting on the near falls live, especially given how much they’d put into Will Kaven in his first two months in… but it’s a big win for Robbie X here to close out the show. ***½
Some of the locker room empties out to congratulate Robbie X – including Luke Jacobs, who hit the ring for the obligatory title vs. trophy staredown, as thoughts turned to their likely match in December at Undisputed.
2022’s iteration of the British J Cup wasn’t a bad show – but one that seemed to lack a killer match, as more focus was put on Robbie X taking the crown after what’s felt like a year of going back-and-forth in Rev Pro.