The tournament to crown a new Southside Heavyweight Champion kicked off on Rev Pro’s latest Epic Encounters.
Connor Mills & Michael Oku pinned Shaun Jackson & Kenneth Halfpenny in 10:33 (***)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Joel Redman pinned Screwface Ahmed in 11:00 (***)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Rob Lias pinned Brendan White in 11:58 (**¾)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Charlie Sterling submitted Chuck Mambo in 13:30 (***)
Gisele Shaw submitted Bobbi Tyler in 10:54 to retain the Rev Pro Undisputed British Women’s Championship (***)
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Dan Moloney pinned Ricky Knight Jr. in 14:37 (***¾)
After Epic Encounters 5 ended with Will Ospreay clearing the field of challengers (save for Dan Moloney), Ospreay announced that he’d face the eventual winner of a tournament to crown a new Southside Wrestling Champion.
To give a bit of backstory, Rev Pro purchased Southside Wrestling a little over a year ago, with Southside (the promotion) closing down in October 2019 after their sixth anniversary show. Rev Pro made a point of introducing and unifying their titles, with the Southside tag team titles being rolled into the Rev Pro tag titles last November… while the Southside Speed King title was unified with the Rev Pro cruiserweight title back at Epic Encounters 2. While the Queen of Southside and Southside European championships have yet to be seen under the Rev Pro banner (nor, it must be said, their last holders in Kanji and Brady Phillips respectively), the promotion did pull the trigger on a unification match for the Rev Pro British Heavyweight title and the Southside heavyweight title… and then the pandemic happened… then allegations during the Speaking Out movement led to Rev Pro stripping David Starr of the Southside title.
Which brings us to today, where Rev Pro have decided to restart the unification process, with a double-elimination tournament. Eight names were announced, but the match graphics also called out “bracket A” as “bracket B” is for the redemption path, as they put it.
At the top of the show, Gideon Grey revealed that he’d “sold the contracts” of Sha Samuels and Rampage Brown to some other lords, while Great-O-Khan was only out “on loan”. There’s some other news too, with a transfer day signing: Gideon’s signed Skye Smitson to the Legion, as a threat for the women’s title. Cue titles, and James Castle is joining Andy Quildan on commentary. It’s absolutely fantastic to see him back after his health issues, which they mention here, before running through the card for tonight.
Kenneth Halfpenny & Shaun Jackson vs. Michael Oku & Connor Mills
We open with the Contenders, like in olden days…
Mills and Halfpenny start off, scrambling to the mat as they looked to wrestle early on. Mills grabs a side headlock on the mat, but Halfpenny grabs Mills’ braided hair to get free as commentary took aim at Ken’s new hairdo. A diving European uppercut to the back from Mills keeps Halfpenny down, but Ken trips Mills ahead of a running Blockbuster as he then tagged out to Jackson… only for Mills to tag out before any double-teaming could be done.
Jackson goes for the double leapfrog dropkick, but misses the dropkick as he eventually came back from some rope running and ended up taking a ‘rana. Oku’s dropkick keeps him down, but a trip from Halfpenny buys some time as Jackson hits a sidewalk slam for a near-fall. Jackson’s back in to land a slam for a two-count, before a front chancery kept Oku down. Halfpenny tags in and throws Oku to the outside, then distracted the ref so Jackson could attack Oku on the floor… but back inside, Oku comes back with some right hands, only for the Contenders to double team with clotheslines and a back senton for a near-fall. Shoulder charges from Jackson trap Oku briefly, before an overhead kick from Oku in the ropes was followed up with a crossbody… but it’s countered into a spin-out suplex for a near-fall.
Mills eventually lends a hand, low bridging Jackson to the outside as Oku’s misdirection knee takes down Halfpenny. Eventually Mills tags in and runs wild, pulling the Contenders into each other before a Quebrada took them down. Diving boots and clotheslines in the corner eventually catch out the Contenders before another uppercut takes down Halfpenny. From there, the Millshot lands perfectly, before Oku came in for a springboard moonsault that almost wins it.
Mills tags back in as Oku places Halfpenny, but a 450 splash is rolled out of… Oku then hangs himself in the corner after a missed dropkick as the Contenders hit a pop-up slam, with Jackson almost getting the win there. Oku takes Halfpenny outside, as Jackson’s left on his own… Jackson goes for a pumphandle slam, but Oku slips out, hook kicking Shaun as a Mills lariat lands. A Fosbury flop from Oku wipes out Halfpenny on the floor, while Mills gets the win with a Burning Cutter – a decent opener, with Oku and Mills looking decent as a team – while also keeping that cruiserweight title on ice. ***
Post-match, Oku’s happy to be united with his “best friend in the entire world”, which seems like a red flag. Oku revels in how Mills was the reason for him being the Cruiserweight champion, and seemed to issue an open challenge…
Then suddenly… Kid Lykos?! He mocks the “paperweight” champion, then reminded us that Mills turned on Oku earlier in the year as the needling continued. Lykos baits Mills, as a second Kid Lykos runs out to waffle Mills with a baking tray – that’s Kid Lykos 2, formerly Joe Nelson. Hey, I’m all for new blood – and this seems to indicate Lykos 2 vs. Oku down the line…
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Screwface Ahmed vs. Joel Redman
This was Ahmed’s debut for Rev Pro, with the 17-year veteran (per Cagematch, but 18 per Ahmed) getting the call. The pre-match promos for this were excellent with Ahmed looking to take his chance here.
We’ve a tentative start here, with Redman taking Ahmed to the mat from a drop toe hold, before an escape was quickly neutralised as Redman tripped Ahmed once more. Elbows to the leg see Redman target Ahmed’s left knee, as he then rolled into a STF while commentary talked up Redman’s past in NXT. Ahmed gets free and traps Redman in a hammerlock, but Redman counters with a toe hold that’s kicked away. They stay on the mat as headscissors from Redman forced Ahmed to pull his way free, diving in for a side headlock that’s quickly countered as Redman stayed a step ahead. A Dragon screw yanks Ahmed down as he uses the ropes to force a break, but Redman takes him back into the ropes as that left leg was targeted again.
A DDT to the leg is followed up with a modified half crab, but Ahmed eventually fought back with an uppercut and a neckbreaker for a two-count. Redman quickly recovers as he positioned himself into a half crab, but Ahmed countered with a roll-up for a two-count as things broke down into some striking. A jab knocks Redman loopy ahead of a side suplex, with Ahmed picking his spots for a two-count, before Redman rolled outside. Then Redman twangs the ropes into Ahmed’s midsection… that’s a pretty unique use of the loose ropes. Back inside, Redman traps Ahmed in a deathlock, but Ahmed gets free and eventually wallops Redman with a murderous lariat. Some boxing traps Redman in the corner, before Redman countered another lariat with a spinebuster for a near-fall. Redman charges Ahmed into the corner, before catching him with a Dragon screw in the ropes… but Ahmed lands a superplex that almost became a double-pin on the impact.
Ahmed keeps going, but yet another Dragon screw takes him down with a half crab, that Ahmed broke with a finger in the ropes. Redman tries again, eventually scooping up Ahmed for the tombstone, and lands it for the win. This was a decent match, with Ahmed taking the “top seed” in block B after this loss as Redman moves into the next round in block A. ***
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Brendan White vs. Rob Lias
This was Lias’ first match back since lockdown – having not wrestled since appearing for Riptide just before everything kicked off. White wants to win this for the obvious reasons – and not just because the GOOD Grand Prize is off limits for now. That’ll be “gotten” by a handful of people, I reckon…
Apparently Lias’ nickname is “the Substance.” Insert jokes here based on his entrance gear…
We start with White taking Lias into the ropes, before an abdominal stretch ended with Lias hopping into the ropes. Lias returns with a side headlock, but White pulls him down for a crossface… by the ropes. He tries shoulder tackles after that, only to get shoved down as White switched places. A running elbow meets Lias in the corner ahead of a Beele throw for a two-count, before a German suplex tosses Lias across the ring. Another German suplex followed, forcing the referee to check on Lias who looked to be out… but they don’t stop the match, which is a tell… and sure enough Lias kicks the rope into White as they were trying to shepherd him out. A missile dropkick from Lias followed up for a two-count, as he took full advantage of the situation. Commentary bemoans the referee as Lias builds up momentum, getting a one-count from a suplex before he choked White with the belt from his ring gear.
A diving kick from Lias keeps White down for a two-count, before a back cracker gets another two-count. Some shots in the corner keeps White worn down, but Brendan eventually hit back with an overhead belly-to-belly. Elbows from White back Lias into the corner, before an Irish whip into the corner and a slam out of it dropped Lias, but a backbreaker’s escaped… before White hits a pop-up powerbomb out of the corner. White’s latest German suplex nearly wins it, but an inside cradle from Lias nearly wins after White missed a moonsault. He’s better luck with a backbreaker for another near-fall, before Lias lifts White onto the apron… with Brendan then teasing a suplex to the floor? Lias escapes and boots White, then hits a neckbreaker over the turnbuckle irons,
White barely beats the count-out, but can’t avoid a top rope elbow drop that almost gets the win… before a diving elbow to the back of the head then a Fisherman suplex got the win. Solid enough, but that whole faux injury thing is always a sequence that turns me off. **¾
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Chuck Mambo vs. Charlie Sterling
Sterling’s back after a long hiatus from Rev Pro – he was last here as one half of the tag team champions with Joel Redman, but disappeared from the promotion after losing those tag titles in March 2017 to CCK. Sterling was understandably miffed at that. As for Mambo, he’s been in Rev Pro somewhat sparingly, last seen in February teaming up with TK Cooper in a non-title loss to Rampage Brown and Great-O-Khan.
We start with a waistlock from Mambo being countered as Sterling just threw him to the mat before he looked to work over a wristlock. Mambo’s taken down as Sterling worked an armbar, but Mambo escaped… and drew Sterling into the corner, knocking him outside ahead of a double sledge to the floor. Sterling’s rolled back inside, and he catches Mambo with a palm strike as the former tag champion looked to build again. There’s a nice dropkick from Sterling to knock Mambo into the corner, before a crossbody gets Sterling a two-count. He follows up with a chinlock to keep Mambo down, but Mambo comes back with what’s best described as an “unorthodox” double knee takedown.
A second double knees off the top misses as Sterling came back with a tiltawhirl backbreaker… following up with a springboard moonsault for a two-count. That opens the door for Sterling to start focusing on the lower back, with another backbreaker giving Mambo a nasty landing. Mambo tries to fight back, but a bicycle knee stops him as almost an Arabian clutch from Sterling stretches Mambo by the corner. Mambo escapes a back suplex, rolling up Sterling for a two-count before he took Sterling into the corner for some double knees that almost win it.
Mambo looks for the Chuck You – Air Raid crash – but his back gave out, so Sterling adds to it with a backbreaker then a heavy sit-out powerbomb for another two-count. We’re back to the chinlock as Sterling stretches again, while commentary gives away edits as they tell us Screwface Ahmed vs. Joel Redman is “coming later.” Chops from Mambo finally offer some resistance, but Sterling’s back up to trap Mambo in the corner… Mambo fights back with a springboard back elbow off the top. Sterling goes back to the back, but Mambo slips out, then heads up top for a Blockbuster for a near-fall. Chuck keeps going as he went up for the Reef Break double knees, but Sterling kicks out at two, and responds with another backbreaker… before a Cloverleaf ended in the ropes as Mambo easily made the break.
Sterling gets up again, bemoaning his past treatment here… and eats a superkick from Mambo, before a superkick and a cutter laid out Mambo, with the Cloverleaf forcing the submission. Solid stuff, but this was hurt by not having a crowd as Mambo usually plays off/feeds off the crowd well. Sterling looked good in his return – and this sets a battle of former tag champions with Sterling vs. Redman in the next round in bracket A. ***
Rev Pro Undisputed British Women’s Championship: Bobbi Tyler vs. Gisele Shaw (c)
Tyler’s win over Jamie Hayter a few shows back was credited with getting her the shot here…
We start with Shaw working a wristlock, but they head to ground with Tyler trying to use some body scissors, only for Shaw to roll out and grapevine the legs. Tyler kicks her way free, but Shaw kips out of a wristlock and reapplied hers, taking Tyler down for a legdrop to the arm.
Shaw looks for an armbar, but Tyler escapes and gets in with a headlock takedown as she looked to wear down the champion in the middle of the ring. A shoulder tackle from Shaw takes down Tyler, before she avoided a trip from Lucas in the ropes. A leg sweep takes Tyler down as Shaw pushes on, taking Tyler to the corner for some chops… but Bobbi escapes as Shaw gets tripped into the corner. Tyler stomps on Shaw’s knee as she tried to wear down the champion, hitting an elbow to the lower back for just a one-count. Another trip sends Shaw sailing to the mat, with a diving kick connecting for a near-fall. Shaw fought out of an armbar, trying to strike her way back into things, only to get caught with a neckbreaker as Tyler continued to look for the win.
Back-and-forth forearms in the ropes keep it even, but Shaw nicks in with Eat Defeat and a spinebuster for a two-count. From the kick-out, Shaw measures up for a superkick, but Tyler ducks it, only to get clobbered with a head kick for another near-fall. More chops from Shaw are countered as Tyler hits a rebound Flatliner in the ropes, then a back suplex. Zoe Lucas distracts the referee as Bobbi Tyler went for her golf club… Aleah James tries to make a save but she and Lucas brawl to the back, before Shaw hits a bicycle knee and a levering armbar for the submission. This was fine, but the short turnaround from challenger to title match had me struggling to believe in a title change here. ***
Post-match, Gisele Shaw issued another open challenge – weirdly there was no mention of Skye Smitson during or after the match, given the opening promo.
Southside Championship Tournament – Bracket A: Ricky Knight Jr. vs. Dan Moloney
The top two seeds in the first round? Who bracketed this?! RKJ’s got Mad Kurt out with him wearing a… crop top? Mad Kurt’s cheerleading Knight, and I guess is more out to annoy Dan Moloney some more.
Moloney offers a handshake, but RKJ doesn’t want that, as they lock-up and try to bull each other into the corner. Knight manages to get Moloney’s back, then slaps him on the head, which gets the expected result of pissing off Moloney, as Knight clung onto a side headlock, with some face-raking thrown in too. Knight keeps Moloney on the mat, gripping onto the headlock despite Moloney’s attempt to suplex free. In the end, Moloney lifts him up and drops Knight on the suplex… but RKJ twangs the rope into Dan’s Moloneys and began to hit back… only to get caught with a dropkick for a two-count. A clubbing forearm keeps RKJ down, before Knight tried to shrug off a chop… only to be taken down with one to the back.
A suplex gets Moloney a two-count, as does a back elbow in the ropes… but Knight wasn’t too far behind as he gets back up to trade strikes, only for Moloney to elbow him back down. Knight pushes Dan into the ropes, but is taken down quickly with a shoulder tackle before a leapfrog/dropkick combo caught out Dan. Another dropkick traps Moloney in the corner, with a Shibata-ish stalling dropkick following ahead of a diving uppercut off the top. A Sidewinder from RKJ nearly puts Moloney away, but Knight gets distracted at Mad Kurt cheering him on…
Moloney starts a new exchange of strikes, trading European uppercuts back-and-forth before Knight’s chop stopped Moloney briefly. A poke to the eye surprises Dan, who then came back with a tijeras. What the hell? A scoop slam’s next for a near-fall, as they go back to the strikes with Moloney just getting laughed at, before RKJ unloaded ahead of a backfist. Moloney looks for a ripcord lariat, but RKJ counters with a sit-out powerbomb for a two-count. A Fire Thunder Driver from RKJ is escaped as Moloney kicked back… but his spear’s leapt over as a rear spin kick knocked Dan down. Mad Kurt leaps up to the apron cheerlead some more, but Knight just shoves him down… and turned around into a spear as Knight barely escaped. Dan goes back up top and lands a frog splash… and that’s the win for Dan. RKJ’ll need to win block B to get to the title match, and hopefully not have to be saddled with Mad Kurt’s “cheerleading”, which seemed to be the difference here. ***¾
Post-match, Dan Moloney said no words, and instead left an armband bearing the letters ADS in the ring as a tribute to Ryan Smile.
We get the usual recaps, with the announcement of Epic Encounters 7 (duh) on December 27, with JJ Gale vs. Gideon Grey, plus Skye Smitson & Zan Phoenix vs. Gisele Shaw & Jamie Hayter alongside some more to-be-announced tournament actions.
This was a perfectly fine wrestling show – much like what Rev Pro used to put on monthly at the Cockpit before the lockdown. For neutrals, this series of shows may be tough to get into – particularly given the turnover in roster compared to the last shows, but the line-ups on hand promise some gems in the shows to come, as Rev Pro continues to churn out some well-booked Epic Encounters.