The Southside Championship Tournament continues as bracket B debuted in a late Christmas present from Rev Pro.
JJ Gale pinned Gideon Grey in 5:39 (**¼)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Dan Moloney pinned Rob Lias in 8:08 (**¾)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket B: Ricky Knight Jr. pinned Brendan White in 9:38 (***)
Gisele Shaw & Jamie Hayter submitted Zan Phoenix & Skye Smitson in 6:10 (**½)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket B: Screwface Ahmed pinned Chuck Mambo in 9:09 (**¼)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Charlie Sterling submitted Joel Redman in 14:25 (***½)
We’re joined at the Portsmouth School of Wrestling by Andy Quildan, who presents this as a “Christmas gift.” He’s joined by James Castle as they run down the card tonight, which features the debut of Skye Smitson in the “co-main event.” Your main event today seems to be the battle of former tag team champions as Charlie Sterling takes on Joel Redman in bracket A.
JJ Gale vs. Gideon Grey
We start with some non-tournament action as JJ Gale looks to build on his “proving ground” match against Will Ospreay a few shows ago. Gideon nicks the microphone from Stephanie Chase in his introduction as he says we’ll see the rebuilding of the Legion here.
Grey goes right in for a waistlock takedown on Gale, before a lock-up saw the pair roll around the ropes, with Gale breaking cleanly. Wash, rinse, repeat, before a side headlock from Grey’s pushed away… but Gideon’s back with a shoulder tackle before he got rolled through into a seated surfboard a la Liger. Gale lets go, but walks into a cross chop to the throat… he’s back with a triple jump springboard armdrag and a dropkick for a two-count. Grey reverses a whip into the corner, then measured up for a forearm to the back as he suplexes Gale for a two-count of his own, before a back suplex left the Contender laying.
A clubbing forearm knocks Gale down, as does a clothesline that folded Gale back on himself, with a suplex almost into a DDT keeping the pressure up. Gale tries to fight back with boots out of the corner, pushing Grey down ahead of a series of forearms… culminating in a springboard European uppercut for a near-fall. Grey’s boot puts him back in it, but a jack-knife roll-up from Gale sees him try to steal a win. A front suplex and a superkick has Grey down ahead of a springboard cutter… and that’s the win! That’s Gale’s first win over a “non-Contender” here, and it’s in pretty short order as Rev Pro look to be giving him a bit of a nudge. **¼
Post-match, Gale cuts a promo only to be interrupted by Grey who accused him of taking the piss. It’s a “huge fucking mistake,” as he’s attacked from behind by a returning Chris Ridgeway – who’s the new addition to the Legion.
Promo time with Rob Lias, who doesn’t believe he’s the underdog here. He reckons Dan Moloney might not be mentally on his game, and keeps poking in how he lost to Mad Kurt. They edit out Dan Moloney’s swears, which is funny given we just had Gideon Grey swearing like a relative sailor earlier.
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Rob Lias vs. Dan Moloney
Mad Kurt’s out with Zoe Lucas’ crop top to cheer on Lias at ringside. That may not go well… especially as he teased attacking Moloney in the entranceway.
We open with a lock-up as Lias is taken into the corner for an eventual clean break as Lias tried to put some distance between he and Moloney. Wash, rinse, repeat, as Moloney takes Lias to the corner, then faked out a chop before he caught a boot from Lias. There’s a poke to the eye, but Dan’s back with a belly-to-belly as Lias then scarpered into the ropes for cover. Lias claims he’s hurt his neck, but again it’s a ruse as he kicks Moloney in the corner. A diving kick knocks Dan down for a one-count, with a back suplex next for a two-count, before some choking in the ropes gave Mad Kurt a chance to leap up for a selfie. Moloney pushes him away, but can’t get going again as Lias drops some elbows as he tried to push ahead.
A back elbow from Lias drops Moloney off the ropes for a two-count, following up with a side headlock as Moloney needed the ropes for a break. Moloney retaliates with strikes, then a scoop slam off the ropes before he booted Lias in the corner… a second one’s blocked, only for Dan to return with a spinebuster for a two-count. Moloney chops Lias on the mat, before he did the throat slit deal… but a Drilla’s countered out of as Lias pushed him into the corner. Running elbows keep Moloney there ahead of a clothesline/chop for a two-count… another clothesline/chop gets a similar result, before Lias went up for an elbow drop, which lands flush for a near-fall.
Lias goes for another clothesline, but just knocked Mad Kurt off the apron before Moloney finished off Lias with a Gore and a nasty Drilla piledriver for the win. Moloney progresses to the bracket A final, while Lias drops into bracket B after a solid match. **¾
Bobbi Tyler vs. Aleah James
This one didn’t happen as Zoe Lucas attacked Aleah James before the match… and dragged her to the back.
Andy Quildan hits the ring to interview Bobbi… she says she’s much more interesting than Aleah, but then gets interrupted by music. It signals the Rev Pro debut of Kanji, who’s the Southside Women’s Champion – or Queen of the Ring as Southside called it when they were around. The two square off, as Tyler then scarpered…
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket B: Brendan White vs. Ricky Knight Jr.
It’s “loser go home” in bracket B, something that both men are keenly aware of here. The winner of this match takes on Rob Lias in the next round.
We open with a lock-up that went nowhere, before a second lock-up took White into the corner for a clean break. White grabs a side headlock, but it’s countered out of by RKJ as they then trade shoulder tackles, before leapfrogs and roll throughs led to White running into a dropkick. White rolls outside, with RKJ following through with a dropkick through the ropes, before a missile dropkick back inside left White down. Boots keep White in the corner, but Brendan looks to fight back, only to get caught in the ropes as RKJ hit a double stomp off the top for a near-fall.
After throwing White outside, RKJ stays on top of him… but Brendan fought back with some back elbows and a back suplex. An Irish whip from White’s reversed… he puts on the brakes and gets dropkicked in the back as RKJ came back with a low dropkick before a diving uppercut off the top led to another two-count. An exchange of forearms looked to lead to RKJ going for a ripcord lariat, but instead he’s caught with a Bossman slam for a two-count. White tries to follow up with a springboard moonsault, but that misses, and White’s attempt to recover sees him getting pulled off the top rope into a Fire Thunder driver for the win. Not as one-sided as you’d expect given their placements in the roster, but Knight gets back on track with a win in a decent, but brief match. ***
Post-match, RKJ tells us he’s not won anything because he’s “in the loser’s block” – and nothing counts until he’s won the Southside title.
Skye Smitson & Zan Phoenix vs. Gisele Shaw & Jamie Hayter
This was Smitson’s debut for Rev Pro, as she looks to be heading straight for Gisele Shaw’s title. Skye gets the big time introduction from Gideon Grey, while Phoenix… did not.
We get some shoving before the bell, which gives way to a jump start as Phoenix and Hayter looked for quick pins early on. Phoenix stems the tide with a side headlock on the mat, but Hayter stands up and pushes Zan away, before a shoulder tackle took her into the corner. In comes Smitson, who wants to square off with Shaw instead, so we get that tag as Shaw charges down Smitson. Shaw floats over Smitson then sweeps the leg ahead of a flipping legdrop for a two-count. Chops keep Skye on the back foot, before Jamie Hayter tagged in… she’s tripped by Phoenix in the ropes before she came in to pound away on Hayter in the corner. Commentary likens the Legion to Fulham Football Club investing on new talent only for it to blow up in their face… wait, does that mean Gideon Grey’s going to form a promotion soon?
Phoenix drops Hayter with a Northern Lights suplex before a stranglehold kept the former champion on the rocks, before a flapjack left Hayter down for a two-count. Hayter responds with a suplex after she charged into Phoenix, but again she doesn’t tag out, and opts for a sliding lariat that gets a near-fall as Gisele Shaw was virtually a spectator. A back senton gets Hayter a delayed two-count, but Phoenix gets left on her own as Gideon Grey and Skye Smitson walk out on her for… reasons. Hayter drops Phoenix with a spinebuster, then staggered into the corner as Shaw tagged herself in, quickly putting Phoenix away with a spear and an armbar. Decent enough for the time, but the result likely means we’re getting Phoenix vs. Smitson as a diversion? **½
Post-match, Shaw joked about joining Oedo Tai as Andy Quildan noted that the “prize fighter” Smitson didn’t look like much of a prize fighter. Gisele Shaw then talked her way into an open challenge… which Jamie Hayter looked to accept as we’re getting a rematch from the first Epic Encounters show from August.
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket B: Chuck Mambo vs. Screwface Ahmed
It’s another loser-goes-home match, and we start with Ahmed swinging for Mambo at the bell, as Chuck was playing cat and mouse with him.
Mambo’s crucifix pin eventually gets a two-count as Mambo looked to out-pace Ahmed… a side headlock from Ahmed is pushed away, but Screwface is back with a shoulder tackle before he threw Mambo onto the apron. A forearm drops Mambo before he’s hauled back into the ring for a sit-down splash that gets a two-count. Screwface’s uppercut is countered into a backslide for a two-count, but he then punches out Mambo as he then went to work on Mambo’s left arm. Mambo’s taken into the corner with an Irish whip, but Mambo blocks Ahmed ahead of a springboard back elbow… but Screwface kicks Mambo in the shin to stop all that momentum.
Mambo hits back with a jawbreaker, but he’s decked with another back elbow for a two-count. A buckle bomb followed, but Mambo ducks a clothesline before he came in for a tiltawhirl reverse DDT. Mambo’s ankle causes problems as he leaps over a leg sweep, before a lariat almost got Screwface the win… but his attempt to push the match over the line ended when he’s knocked off the top rope, with Mambo hitting a Reef Break for a near-fall. A big splash off the top followed for another two-count as Gideon Grey’s shown at ringside… a cravat from Mambo’s pushed away by Screwface, with Gideon clocking Mambo in the throat with his cane before a Roll the Dice gets Screwface the win. This seemed to be missing something in the chemistry between the two, but at least there’s some direction with Ahmed now. **¼
Post-match, Chris Ridgeway and Skye Smitson come in to beat down Mambo, but Screwface stands up to them… and then punched Mambo in the gut. A metaphor for 2020 if there ever was one. Screwface is officially part of the Legion as Gideon Grey’s spent this show wheeling and dealing like Harry Redknapp on transfer deadline day.
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Joel Redman vs. Charlie Sterling
Both men got the same music here, since they used to be a tag team… Sterling seemed a little sore over how Redman didn’t seem to care about them being exiled from the promotion after losing the tag titles back in the day.
We open with a handshake and a lock-up as these two actually looked to want to win this one early. They scramble into the corner before Redman took down Sterling for a wristlock. Sterling counters with one of his own, only for Redman to work on the leg with a modified half crab before Sterling fought his way free of the stretch. A version of the DOUKI Choki has Sterling down as commentary painted this as the teacher outwitting the student, but Sterling rolled up Redman for a one-count before he again had his leg worked on. Sterling neatly countered out into a side headlock on the mat, but he’s pushed off into the ropes before Redman found a way in with a crucifix pin for a two-count.
Redman goes back to the wrist of Sterling, torquing the arm before some headscissors ended with both men in the ropes. Sterling comes back with a front facelock, but Redman escapes and hammerlocks the arm, throwing in some knees to the back. An escape from Sterling came to nought as Redman neutralises him in a front facelock again, before Sterling took him down for a wristlock of his own. A sucker punch from Sterling has Redman on the back foot, as does an uppercut in the corner, before a shoulder tackle from Sterling led to him getting monkey flipped by his old tag partner. Sterling tries to low bridge Redman to the outside, but has to cut off an attempt at cat skinning before he charges Redman into the apron.
Sterling’s backbreaker dumps Redman back inside for a two-count as he found a new point of attack. Another backbreaker keeps Redman in trouble, ahead of a sliding kick to the ribs, before a knee to the back and a standing moonsault kept the momentum going. Sterling stretches Redman across the ring post from the floor, before seated splashes to the back kept Redman very much on the defensive. Yet another backbreaker’s countered as Redman floats out, before he caught Sterling off the top with a spinebuster for a two-count. Redman tries a “Hail Mary” as he pulled Sterling into a Rings of Saturn, but Sterling rolls through for a pin before he broke the hold in the ropes.
Redman hauls up Sterling, but his back gives out – aided with some more punches there from Sterling – but Sterling then grabs the referee to use as a human shield. From there, he rolls Redman into a Cloverleaf, and there’s the stoppage. This was a methodical match, but the story they told was perfectly fine – with Charlie Sterling perhaps showing an unhinged side as he continues to get some measure of revenge for his past treatment here. ***½
It’ll be Redman vs. Moloney in the bracket A finals, but even the loser of that one will get a second chance.
They wrap up the show with highlights of the night, then announce Shaw vs. Hayter for the Rev Pro Women’s title for Epic Encounters 8 on January 17, plus Kid Lykos 2 vs. Connor Mills, the bracket A final (Moloney vs. Sterling), along with the bracket B matches with Screwface Ahmed vs. Joel Redman and RKJ vs. Rob Lias. The loser from the bracket A finals goes straight into the bracket B final – with the overall title tournament finals being a 30-minute “iron fist match.” Whatever one of those is.
This was a very “meat and potatoes” show out of Rev Pro – with the tournament action perhaps not being enticing on paper, but at least they threw in plenty of angles to reward those who did tune in, with the Empire being given a lot of the spotlight here. The next Epic Encounters show features the bracket A final as one half of the title tournament final is set – but with the roster on hand, it does beg the same old question over if/how they’ll be able to expand their audience.