Rev Pro returned for a fifth Epic Encounters show, with Will Ospreay defending the British Heavyweight title against Ricky Knight Jr.
Mad Kurt submitted Robbie X in 11:07 (***)
Michael Oku & Connor Mills submitted JJ Gale & Callum Newman in 13:29 (***¾)
Brendan White defeated Kenneth Halfpenny by 2 falls to 1 in 12:42 (***)
Jamie Hayter & Bea Priestley pinned Bobbi Tyler & Zoe Lucas in 8:02 (**½)
Dan Moloney pinned Sha Samuels in 5:43 (**½)
Will Ospreay pinned Ricky Knight Jr. in 19:45 to retain the Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship (****¼)
Rev Pro returned to Twitch for their fifth Epic Encounters show – and I’m hoping the technical snafus have been remedied. Especially because they’re simulcasting on their YouTube and Facebook pages,
For those who’ve not been following along, Will Ospreay’s list of challengers for the British Heavyweight Championship quickly grew at the start of the Epic Encounters series, but with Kyle Fletcher having fallen short, and Dan Moloney otherwise engaged, Ospreay’s wish to have future challengers crowned through a “British G1” could be closer than you think.
We open with a promo from Sha Samuels (albeit on mute, with a dirty camera lens)… and then it’s inside the Portsmouth School of Wrestling. Andy Quildan and Rob Lias are on commentary, live on tape from the Portsmouth School of Wrestling… but first, they run down the card for tonight, with clips from prior shows.
Robbie X vs. Mad Kurt
“He’s a walking Twitter update” – Rob Lias, on Mad Kurt.
Of course, Mad Kurt’s crowing about beating Dan Moloney last time out, while commentary takes a dig at his old gear. A Test of Strength takes some engaging, as Mad Kurt keeps dabbing… Robbie X flips out and takes him down in a front facelock before he began to work on the arm. Kurt rolls back and forth to break a wristlock, then stomped on Robbie’s foot… leading to shoulder tackles before Robbie just pushed Kurt down. Another side headlock from Robbie X is pushed away, with Mad Kurt eating another shoulder tackle, as commentary took a dig at Tom Scarborough finishing up with Rev Pro here. A hiptoss and a cartwheel dropkick resumes the action as Robbie X gets a two-count, before he chopped Kurt into the ropes and to the outside.
Robbie X capitalises with a senton atomico as Mad Kurt was frustrating Robbie while also being on the defensive. A modified chinbar is next, before Robbie dumps Kurt in the ropes for a Coast to Coast dropkick, which gets a two-count. Elbows knock Kurt into the corner, with more chops almost knocking him down… Kurt shoves Robbie X down, but he can’t follow up before Robbie cartwheels in with an overhead kick.
A rolling death valley driver spikes Kurt for another near-fall, before Mad Kurt tried to chop his way back in from his knees. It didn’t work. Robbie X goes for an X-Clamation, but Mad Kurt rolls him up for a near-fall, before a rebound Destroyer and a Sega Mega Driver planted Robbie on his head for a near-fall, with Kurt’s lackadaisical pin costing him. Robbie X comes back with a superkick and a handspring kick to knock Kurt outside. Kurt gets back inside, but he’s trapped in the corner for a roundhouse enziguiri, before a running shooting star press almost got the win. Kurt goes for the palm strikes again, then the chops… one actually lands well, then another, before Mad Kurt got carried away… and destroyed with a dropkick.
An over-the-knee brainbuster gets a near-fall, as does a Jig ‘n’ Tonic that shortens Mad Kurt a little. Robbie X trash-talks Mad Kurt, using the wrong name… and that wakes up Mad Kurt. For a dab. One more boot looks to end Mad Kurt, but Robbie X goes for another handspring, which gets caught as a rear naked choke gets the flash submission… and somehow Mad Kurt squeaks one out! It was one-sided on paper, but pretty damn entertaining – even if the Mad Kurt character is divisive. ***
JJ Gale & Callum Newman vs. Michael Oku & Connor Mills
It’s the first time we’ve seen Oku in the ring since he unified the Rev Pro cruiserweight and Southside Speed King titles…
Mills and Gale start, scrambling on the mat looking for a hold, but it’s Mills who looked to get the first pin after a takedown. A snapmare from Mills and an uppercut to the back lands, but Gale escapes out of the corner and hits a dropkick… forcing Mills to scarper into the corner for a tag. In come Oku and Newman, but neither man can land a blow as they avoid each other with some neat lucha-inspired stuff before Oku found a way through with a ‘rana and a dropkick. Oku takes Newman into the corner, then brings Mills back in to land an uppercut. A chop follows as Newman was left on the defensive, eating a kick to the back before he was bounced into the corner with an Irish whip. Oku returns to get a two-count from that, then tried to ground Newman with a chin lock, but Callum elbows free… and gets thrown back down.
Mills and Newman exchange frequent tags as they keep Newman down… Newman leaps over Mills in the corner, but tweaks his knee on the landing ahead of an enziguiri. A tag brings Gale back in, with JJ lighting up Mills with a series of forearms, before a running uppercut caught Mills in the corner. Gale’s springboard uppercut catches Mills for a near-fall, before Mills nails a rebound lariat after countering a Gory stretch into a knee. Oku’s back to slam Gale ahead of an elbow drop for a two-count, and now the “Destination: Everywhere” lads continue to isolate Gale. A slam from Mills drops Gale for a two-count, following up with a chinlock before a back elbow off the ropes knocks JJ back down for a two-count.
WALTER-like clubbing forearms to the chest from Oku leads to an Eye of the Hurricane for a near-fall, with Newman breaking up the pin, before Gale found a way back into things. Gale’s able to tag out from there, with Newman charging into Oku with a roundhouse kick, before running knees into the corner drop Oku. A spinning heel kick drops Mills, but Oku catch Newman’s Sasuke special in the ropes with a superkick, leaving Newman hung up in the ropes. Gale saves Newman with a shotgun dropkick to Oku, before a step-up senton to the outside took care of Mills. A suplex from Newman and a roll-through Falcon arrow from Mills drops Mills, as a running shooting star press almost puts away Mills – who I guess tagged in in the melee? Gale and Oku spill to the outside as Newman tries to pick up the pieces, but he takes too long to climb the ropes with his bum knee, and ends up missing a shooting star press, landing in the path of a knee from Oku.
Oku tags back in to help with a double-team Millshot for a near-fall, before he went right back to the knee with a half crab. Gale breaks free and hits a springboard cutter to plant Oku… then tagged into the match as Gale looked to put Oku away with a moonsault. It’s ducked under, but Gale comes close with a roll-up. Another roll-up after Oku moonsaults into Gale’s knees nearly does it, before a rolling elbow lands… a backpack knee strike is caught and turned into a half crab, and there’s the submission. A hell of a scrap here, with Gale breaking out of the pack of Contenders. Yeah, this was rough around the edges, but it’s a winning return for Oku. ***¾
Post-match, Andy Quildan brings up the Rev Pro tag titles, as Mills and Oku’s promo fought a losing battle against Oku’s ring music.
At ringside, Stephanie Chase is with Aleah James… who’s interrupted by Zoe Lucas. Bobbi Tyler’s there to attack James, only for Jamie Hayter and Bea Priestley to make the save to build the tag team match for later tonight. Wait, does that turn the Oedo Tai group, or is that just a “convenient timing” thing?
Best Two out of Three Falls: Kenneth Halfpenny vs. Brendan White
If you’ve not been following along, White took a 2-0 lead with wins in the first two shows, before Halfpenny demanded that this become a best-of-five series. Of course, he won two in a row, and now we’ve got a best-of-three-falls to hopefully get a definitive winner.
White’s still got his arm covered up, as we start with Halfpenny sparking a battle of elbow strikes. Halfpenny misses a trip attempt as White stays on top of him, but a shoulder tackle has no effect as Halfpenny tries to trap White’s arm between his legs. White escapes and drops Halfpenny with a lariat, sending him outside… White follows him out, teasing a German suplex, but Halfpenny escapes and kicks White in the arm. A splash back inside gets a near-fall as I spit my coffee over the keyboard at the “half a star frog splash”… and an armbar puts Halfpenny 1-0 up at 1:53.
We resume after a 30-second break, with Halfpenny charging at White… but Brendan comes back with chops and clubbing forearms, before a Black Hole Slam was escaped. Halfpenny hits a T-bone suplex for a near-fall, but the search for an armbar ends with White rolling him up several times, with an inside cradle at 3:26 tying it up at 1-1 as Halfpenny cried about having his shoulder up.
The final fall starts after another 30-second break, with White leaping over a charging Halfpenny… a roll-up gets a near-fall, as does a backslide, before Halfpenny hits a Kamigoye to the arm. A second one’s blocked, with White muscling it into a Saito suplex as they head outside briefly. On the apron, White continues to throw elbows as they tease a double count-out… with an eye rake and a STO from Halfpenny dropping White onto the edge of the ring. Halfpenny tries to speed up the count-out, but White rolls in in the nick of time, only for Halfpenny to wear him down with more stomps. Elbows from Ken keep White on his knees, but Halfpenny runs in with a Blockbuster, then an Angle Slam for a near-fall, before a scissored armbar ended with White in the ropes.
Halfpenny holds onto the armbar for as long as he can, as both men fight back up from their knees. White edges ahead with some elbows, but he’s cut-off by Halfpenny in the ropes… a retaliation forearm follows, before two boots from Halfpenny looked to put him ahead… but a powerbomb and a German suplex from White follow for a near-fall. White heads up for a springboard moonsault, landing it for a near-fall, before a crossface grip was broken… White tries to do it one-armed, but Halfpenny breaks via the ropes. The referee separates the two in the ropes, but Halfpenny hits a sucker punch… a floatover from Halfpenny in the corner is blocked, only for him to turn it into a Destroyer for a near-fall, which brought Ken to tears.
What looked like a low blow follows as Halfpenny goes for a suplex, but instead he pushes White towards the referee. A switcheroo leads to a mule kick from Halfpenny, but it only gets a near-fall as White comes back in with a backbreaker and a big Black Hole Slam for the win! Take out the first two falls and this was a damn good scrap – tying up Halfpenny’s cheating ways in the earlier matches as White overcame them to walk away the victor. ***
Post-match, White declared he’s done knocking on doors for opportunities. He’s going to start kicking them down – and maybe this is a graduation for him?
Oedo Tai (Bea Priestley & Jamie Hayter) vs. Bobbi Tyler & Zoe Lucas
We got photos from STARDOM of Priestley and Hayter winning tag titles there before everything kicked off… Aleah James came out with Oedo Tai because of what happened earlier.
There’s a jump start as Lucas is sent outside, while Oedo Tai focused on Zoe Lucas with a PK and a back senton before the bell almost getting the win. Hayter puts the boots to Lucas, then tags out to Priestley, who nails a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall. Bobbi Tyler trips Priestley in the ropes with the golf club, but Jamie Hayter distracts the referee to prevent a pin. Tyler tags in next to wear down Priestley with forearms to the back, before wrapping her leg around the bottom rope. Lucas helps hook Bea upside down in the ropes as a dropkick caught Bea… a SIM card legdrop from Lucas lands as Tyler gets a near-fall, before Zoe tagged in to trap Priestley in a leg spreader.
Forearms from Bea lead to her getting knocked into the ropes for a big boot. A scorpion kick from Lucas lands, but Priestley trips her down ahead of a diving knee as a tag brings Hayter back in. Tyler’s back in too, but she eats a load of forearms before a DDT spikes her in the middle of the ring for a near-fall. From there, Hayter rolls Tyler into a crossface, which Lucas breaks up… Priestley threw Zoe into the corner before Bobbi’s thrown into her as well. A Codebreaker and a back senton combo splats Tyler for a near-fall, but Tyler’s back as my feed buffers. It’s all rather scrappy as Lucas hits a running facebuster to Hayer, then ran outside to grab the golf club. Aleah James tries to stop her, with Priestley knocking lUcas to the outside… while a Shotei from Tyler earns her a lariat from Hayter for a near-fall. From there, Bobbi’s sandwiched with a running knee and a diving forearm, before an over-the-knee brainbuster got the win. This was fine, but felt way too scrappy at times – and while they continued the Lucas/James feud, it’s all rather moot… **½
Post-match, Jamie Hayter fights with her own theme music to argue that her and Bea are the best tag team in the world…
Sha Samuels vs. Dan Moloney
In the pre-match promo, Sha Samuels was fuming about having to sit at home for ten months thanks to an injury just before the pandemic…
Moloney attacks Sha in the entrance way, and beats him up around ringside before he threw Sha into the ring steps. Sha returns the favour by posting Moloney, before they hit the ring to start the match. Samuels lays in some right hands from the mount before he threw Moloney into the turnbuckle for a delayed two-count. Elbows from Sha keep Moloney in the corner, with an Irish whip bouncing Dan out of the opposite corner… again for a near-fall. Moloney’s cut his arm amid all that, but he keeps going, elbowing Sha into the ropes before a back elbow knocked Dan back down for a rather picky one-count.
Then we get Sha stopping the match to do a Mug of the Week… of course, he calls out Dan for his fall from the top during lockdown. Dan gets back up and throttles Sha into the corner ahead of some chops, following up with a clothesline for a two-count. A spinebuster’s countered into a sunset flip for a two-count from Moloney, but he then caught a spinebuster as Sha turned it right back around. The referee grabs something from the ringside medics to clean up Moloney’s bloody arm, but the match doesn’t stop as Dan runs into a Michinoku driver for a near-fall. From there, Sha measures up Dan for the Butcher’s Hook, but Moloney throws his way free before floating over Sha, coming back with a spear out of nowhere for the win. Rather short, and somewhat punctuated with the stoppages for the cut, but I’d love to see what these two can do without those limits. **½
Post-match, Moloney drops the F-bomb and said “that’s what happens” when something like the Mad Kurt loss happens.
Rev Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Ricky Knight Jr. vs. Will Ospreay (c)
Ospreay’s out with Callum Newman, while RKJ came out solo for his big title fight…
We’ve a rather tentative start here, with the pair locking up in a knuckle lock for a Test of Strength… but Ospreay grabs a side headlock and clings on as he looked to keep RKJ at close quarters. Knight punches out of the hold, but shooting Ospreay into the ropes comes to nought as the champion does the Ric Flair Jr. strut before Knight slapped him down. A burst from Knight sees him take Ospreay to the ropes, leaping over him before landing a dropkick for a two-count, following up with elbows and double sledges to the back. Right hands take Ospreay down in the corner, but Ospreay’s back out and hits a handspring enziguiri to turn the tables, and almost put away his challenger.
On the mat, Ospreay attacks the legs and grapevines them ahead of a modified Cloverleaf attempt… then switched it almost into a Lasso from El Paso. A strike from Ospreay knocks Knight down, having weakened that left leg. Chops keep Knight by the ropes, as Ospreay was beginning to dominate. RKJ slumps to the mat as he was whipped across the ring, but he’s able to get back to his feet… only to get caught on the top rope as Ospreay attacked the knee en route to a superplex attempt. Except Knight slips out and walks Ospreay across the ring for a buckle bomb.
Knight keeps going with a dropkick into the corner, then another one, before he swept Ospreay’s leg ahead of a face-washing dropkick. He heads up top again, landing a diving European uppercut for a near-fall, before Knight looked to scoop up Ospreay for the Fire Thunder driver… but Ospreay elbows free, only for a reverse DDT attempt to be escaped before a handspring was caught and turned into a swinging side slam for a near-fall. Ospreay escapes another Fire Thunder Driver attempt, then finds a way back in with a springboard forearm. A lifting reverse DDT’s next for a near-fall, as Ospreay then began to stalk Knight on the mat, measuring him up for another punch to the knee. Ospreay looks for the leg, but Knight pulls himself back up to fight free… only to get met with a hard elbow strike.
Knight fights back, but Ospreay’s elbows ring his bell… Knight manages to take Ospreay to a knee, before they trade up for chops, with Ospreay trying to hit the knee, eventually doing so with a low dropkick. From there, Ospreay goes for a Figure Four, stopping first with a Dragon screw before applying the hold. Knight tries to slap Ospreay’s knee to get free, before he manages to drag himself to the ropes for a break. Regardless, Ospreay punches at Knight’s knee as he dragged himself onto the apron for respite. Knight’s caught with a suplex attempt back into the ring, but he pulls Ospreay out for a poke to the eye before a teased Fire Thunder Driver is countered with the pair flipping back into the ring ahead of what looked like an accidental tombstone from Knight. Knight heads up top… but he hesitates as his knee caused more problems, before eventually going for a 450 splash.
Knight lands on his feet, but manages to catch a diving Ospreay with his knee before an Angle slam dropped the champion for a two-count. A discus lariat from Knight misses, but the second one lands for another near-fall, before another Fire Thunder driver’s countered with a flip stunner. Ospreay goes right back in with an OsCutter, but Knight kicks out at one before he dragged the match into a fist fight, with Ospreay knocking Knight into the ropes, twice. A discus forearm KO’s Knight, who then eats a forearm to the back of the head… before ducking a Hidden Blade as a Magistral cradle nearly gives us the win. Ospreay slips out of a Fire Thunder driver to hit a Hidden Blade, before a swift Storm Breaker secured the win. My friends, that was an absolute banger, and a fitting end to perhaps the best Epic Encounters show yet. ****¼
Post-match, Ospreay puts over RKJ as a beacon for the future of British wrestling (while RKJ was being carried away by medics). Ospreay then announced that the Southside title – vacated earlier in the year – was being put up in a tournament, with the winner then facing Ospreay to unify the titles once and for all. So that’s what’s next… but first, Dan Moloney runs in to attack Ospreay from behind with a Drilla… and I guess we forgot about him, eh? Commentary suggests that’s Dan entering himself in that tournament, which will start on December 5’s Epic Encounters Six.
A massive improvement on Epic Encounters Four, in terms of technical issues and match quality. Starting out hot and largely maintaining it, this was the sort of show I’ve expected out of Rev Pro in the past – and I mean that in a good way. The (re)introduction of the Southside title will be seen by some as filler, but gives Rev Pro a new focus for the next series of shows – and remember, the original Epic Encounters (that got cancelled) was meant to be a unification match for that, so who knows… maybe we’ll get that in 2021. Just not with the original match, for the obvious reason!