Revolution Pro kicked off their first York Hall show of 2017 with a star-studded card that was held in front of a crowd that would get its fair share of critics by the end.
After it had disappeared for the Cockpit show, the old building site opening video returns as we go to our first match of the night:
Interim British Cruiserweight Championship: Josh Bodom vs. Ryan Smile
They edited out the pre-match announcement here, where Andy Quildan mentioned that they were creating the interim title to keep the Cruiserweight division going whilst Will Ospreay was otherwise kept busy. Rev Pro are using a second, shinier, Cruiserweight title belt here, since Ospreay’s “main” title was on show at Korakuen Hall for New Japan earlier in the day.
After a “you’re just a shit Slim Shady” chant, we get going as Bodom taks Smile down to the mat, then into the corner from a headlock. They exchange slaps, and that’s a cue for another takedown as they fight out of the ring and around the crowd, where Bodom gets posted, before he forces Smile to leap over the barricades as he was whipped into the railings.
Smile replies with a superkick to the guard railings as Bodom charged at him, then with a dive over the barriers! They exchange strikes in front of the crowd, before returning to the ring where Smile pulls off a double leapfrog, then a leg lariat to send the former Cruiserweight champion to the mat. Bodom replies with a tope, before Smile issues one in kind as they almost became part of the front row.
They head back to the ring where Smile’s cross body out of the corner is met with a dropkick for a near-fall, before a floatover suplex gets a similar result. It’s all Bodom for a while, but Smile finally gets back with a back elbow in the ropes, before a diving clothesline looks to continue the momentum. Smile lands a missile dropkick after he’d been sent onto the apron with a back body drop, before we go back outside for a cartwheel off the apron as Smile finally lands a running kick.
Eventually both men head back in as Ryan goes up top, but Bodom just flips him off and rolls to the outside… where he’s met with a tope con hilo! Second time was almost lucky as Smile went up top, but he missed his double stomp and ran into a hiptoss knee strike, then a standing shooting star press for a near-fall from Bodom.
Bodom goes for the roundhouse kick, but it’s caught as Smile tries for a Boston crab… then instead settles for some superkicks to the head. A springboard RKO is cut-off by a dropkick from Bodom, who eventually gets a near-fall, before he scores with a spinning Lumbar Check for another two-count. It’s elementary from there as the Bliss Buster gets Bodom the win and the temporary gold. A good opener – although with Bodom as champion, you’d have to question what the next steps are ahead of an expected eventual unification? ***¼
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Tag Team Championships: War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) vs.Charlie Sterling & Joel Redman (c)
It’s this match where the new, generic Rev Pro entrance videos become painfully apparent – similar templates, different fonts. We also see the hard camera moving as it tries to pick-up the wrestlers’ entrances… only for the lighting rig to get in the way. Oh well, at least if there’s someone behind it, it shouldn’t get blurry by the interval!
Sterling’s out with his OTT gimmick – beret and glasses – which doesn’t fit in with anything he’s done here. Of course, the bland, white-meat babyfaces get little reaction against War Machine, and indeed get a smattering of boos.
We start with all four men going at it, with the champions getting squashed early on with avalanches and running hip attacks in the corner. Sterling takes a slam, before Hanson’s slammed onto him… and Redman gets the same treatment, except he rolls away as Hanson went to powerbomb Rowe onto him. The champions take over with dropkicks in the corner for just a one-count on Rowe, who Sterling and Redman tried to isolate for a spell.
Redman launches into Rowe with an elbow in the corner, before Sterling’s attempt is caught as Rowe lands a uranage out of the corner. Hanson comes in and boots away on the champions, before he storms away on the pair of them with his version of the “Forever” clotheslines! A big splash from Hanson sends Sterling staggering to the other side of the ring, where he ends up taking some headbutts from Redman – albeit unwillingly so – before he dives away from a massive Bronco Buster!
Rowe comes in again to kick away at Redman, before he ducks a spinning heel kick from Sterling, who ate a German suplex. Redman’s kicked away as he’s upside down on the top turnbuckle, and yet again, War Machine are massively on top. Hanson rubs his beard into Redman on the mat, then scores a diving crossbody to a sitting Redman for another near-fall.
Sterling tries to gee up the crowd, but he just gets booed for it. A missed avalanche gives Redman an opening as he gets soundly booed as Sterling’s tagged in to dive in with a double dropkick to War Machine. The standing moonsault gets just a one-count on Hanson, as Rowe was the legal man… so he gets a springboard moonsault for some more boos. Charlie goes giving with a tope con hilo onto both members of War Machine, but he’s quickly cut-off as Rowe tries to give both of the champion’s a Fireman’s carry, but they work free and roll through Rowe into a superkick. The assisted slam gets Sterling a near-fall, as Hanson breaks it up en route to a cartwheel dropkick on Sterling. The springboard clothesline-assisted German suplex gets War Machine a near-fall, before Redman gives Hanson a gutwrench suplex. Rowe knees Redman’s head off, before Sterling avoids a double chokeslam… and tapes a pop-up slam! Rowe only gets a two-count out of that after Hanson had taken out Redman with a tope.
Back inside, Sterling avoids a Fall Out, and ends up winning the match with a Spiral Tap after Redman’s spinning tombstone – and that’s quite an unpopular result as the White Meat Duo retain in a decent outing. ***½
After the match, War Machine offer a handshake – and it’s accepted before they exit to the back. The champions stay behind to celebrate, but they’re quickly jumped as Travis Banks and Chris Brookes hop the rail and attack them from behind! Brookes cowers away from Redman, but Banks takes him down with a springboard roundhouse kick, before a Magic Killer puts paid to Sterling. Charlie’s finished off with an elevated lungblower, then a back senton. CCK are in Rev Pro – and it’s clear that a lot of the crowd knew who they were! Hallelujah for fresh faces!
Pete Dunne vs. YOSHI-HASHI
Dunne gets a loud reaction for his first appearance in Rev Pro since the WWE UK Tournament – something he tries to heel on by crotch-chopping the crowd. That’s where the crowd cheering should have stopped…
Unfortunately, there’s back and forth chants here, as we start with back and forth takedowns, with Dunne nonchalantly biting YOSHI-HASHI’s foot en-route to a reverse figure four. YOSHI-HASHI grabs a headlock that Dunne easily escapes from as he wrenches back on YOSHI-HASHI’s arm before folding him back into a near-fall.
A shoulder tackle keeps Dunne on top, but he quickly falls to an armdrag and a slam, before recovering with a big forearm to the CHAOS member. They head outside as Dunne’s whipped into the barricades, then rammed into the apron, before YOSHI-HASHI returns to the ring to keep kicking away at Dunne. Dunne tries to bite away, but he gets a forearm for his troubles, so he returns in kind as some back and forth ends with a nose grab. Dunne catches YOSHI-HASHI between the ring and the apron, before working over the “Headhunter” with a hammerlock and a knee stomp back in the ring.
Dunne grabs the stick that YOSHI-HASHI has with him, but referee Brandon Tolle stops him. The ref barely admonishes Dunne for another nose grab, which leaves him able to deck YOSHI-HASHI with a forearm for a near-fall. An attempt at the Bitter End is countered and turned into a DDT as the crowd briefly chanted for YOSHI-HASHI, who kept up with some chops and a flipping neckbreaker, before he dumped Dunne on the top rope for a dropkick.
A snap German suplex off the ropes sees Dunne turn the tables again, but YOSHI-HASHI’s reverse enziguiri sets him up for a folding powerbomb that almost wins the match. Dunne bites his way out of the Bunker Buster suplex/neckbreaker, before another enziguiri takes down YOSHI-HASHI for a release suplex for a two-count. Dunne misses a double stomp off the top, before he’s decked with a left-handed lariat from YOSHI-HASHI, whose senton bomb only gets the knees of the Bruiserweight. Another Bitter End attempt gets a near-fall, so Dunne goes to the Pedigree to get a reaction. The crowd boo, then cheer as YOSHI-HASHI gets a roll-up for a near-fall, before a back cracker and a senton bomb gets the CHAOS member another two-count.
From there, YOSHI-HASHI picked up Dunne with the Made in Japan (pumphandle driver), and that was enough to get the win. A decent match, somewhat marred by a crowd that were disconnected from the entire match. Had this match not taken place a week after the WWE UK show, this would have had a much better atmosphere. Instead, we had a crowd that sort-of wanted to welcome back Dunne, whilst also not really wanting to boo him against one of New Japan’s rising talents. Both guys deserved much better… ***
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Marty Scurll
Let’s get the elephant out of the room here – this was a LONG match. Over 40 minutes, to the point where some were comparing it to the WrestleKingdom 11 main event. The main issue here is that although it was Marty Scurll who turned, the fans were starting to turn on Zack before that… which meant that the “Technical Wizard” wasn’t having as many fans who were willing to get down with him, as his new theme music suggested. On the flip side, Marty Scurll, despite being a Villain, was sort-of a good guy throughout his recent matches, getting cheered by the crowd.
With that unusual background from the crowd, we had the match you’d expect from these guys – Sabre utilising a lot of technical holds, but Scurll finding himself able to work his way free in the early going. This led to the chain wrestling giving way to some striking, before they went back to more technical stuff, including Scurll trying to force a pinfall out of a knuckle-lock, before a monkey flip ends up with Sabre getting an armbar before they roll into the ropes.
Sabre invites some kicks from Scurll, who’s folded in half with a surfboard stretch, before the Villain keeps the double armbar applied as he transitions into a Japanese stranglehold. The hold is reversed – to a chorus of boos – before Scurll takes him to the corner for a back elbow. The tables turn there as Sabre works a toe hold, before it’s switched into an Indian deathlock that sees Sabre eke out an advantage. Scurll isn’t too far behind in the match though, as a backbreaker gets him back into it, as does a rolling Mexican surfboard… but Sabre gets free and rolls up Scurll with a Stretch Muffler for a spell. Marty catches Zack in a Gory stretch, before he’s sent into the turnbuckles for a superplex. They head outside where Scurll blasts Sabre with a superkick off the apron, before a powerbomb gives way to some superkicks and knees in the ring.
Sabre counters another backbreaker as he wraps around Marty into a guillotine choke, before going into some rolling German suplexes for a near-fall. A modified Dragon sleeper is briefly applied, but Sabre’s struggling to keep many holds on for long as he sells his neck, not helped by how Scurll’d targeted it. A Just Kidding superkick sends Sabre to the deck, and Marty stays on top even longer with some chops before Sabre rebounds out of the corner with a ‘rana into an armbar.
A brainbuster drops Scurll on his head, but the Villain rebounded from that with more chops, but Sabre was replying with uppercuts as both men finally sank to their knees. Some rapid-fire chops from Scurll took Sabre down, before a backslide is flipped out of and turned into a folding pin for a near-fall. Marty swats away a springboarding Sabre with an uppercut, then starts to wind up the crowd for a chicken wing… but Sabre just turns around and swipes Marty to a loud chorus of boos.
A PK is attempted, but Scurll blocks it with a Just Kidding… but again a reversal is reversed as Sabre goes into a rolling prawn hold for a near-fall. Sabre uses some big boots to keep Scurll down, but a Dragon suplex is caught and turned into a chicken wing, but Sabre’s able to roll into the ropes – for an even louder boo! Scurll comes back with a brainbuster, but a PK misses as Sabre swipes him again then grabs an armbar once more, but Marty gets the bottom rope with his legs to break the hold.
From here, it got a little silly: Scurll grabbed an armbar, before hushing the crowd to throw in a finger snap in the middle of it. Sabre rolls up Scurll as he was trying for an armbar, so Marty heads outside the ring, where he dismantles it by removing a bungee cord – which he then hooks it around Sabre’s finger and pulls back on it. That’s not a DQ apparently, since part of the ring was used, so Sabre rolls to the outside, where Marty follows him, just so he can jam his fingers in the turnbuckle steels and stamp on it.
Still, that’s not a DQ, and whilst Scurll and referee Chris Roberts argue, Sabre hunts for some athletic tape to strap his injured fingers together, but Scurll jumps on him in time to chop away by the crowd, as Sabre’s thrown back into the ring. More swiping slaps and chops from Scurll just seem to rile Sabre, who eventually crumpled to the mat. Eventually, Sabre comes back with an Octopus hold, but he can’t use his hand to add extra leverage, so Scurll scoops free and dumps him on his head with a tombstone for a near-fall.
So Marty goes what everyone else would – grab the taped-up fingers and snap them again!
Sabre throws down the referee as he was about to wave the match off, which leads to a low blow and a pair of piledrivers that’s good for a near-fall as Sabre just about kicked out in time. Some more slaps keep Scurll on top, as he goes up for what could have been a tombstone off the middle rope. Instead, Sabre slaps free as both men are draped on the top turnbuckle, before Sabre’s shoved into the referee. Yay, another ref bump!
With the ref down again, Scurll grabs an umbrella and whacks Sabre in the neck with it. An attempt at a leaping umbrella strike is turned into an armbar, but Marty uses the brolly to free himself… but Sabre re-applies the hold, only for the Villain to powerbomb free, then get caught in a roll-up for a near-fall. Uppercuts from Sabre give way to a chicken wing attempt, but Sabre pops up out of it and leans back into another prawn hold to score the win.!
This match was weird to watch live, and not that much different on tape. Technically the match was great, but the lack of a clear, defined – and most importantly, accepted – babyface and heel did not help. Add in some junk segments where the referee was flat out abused without any retribution, and we’ve got a match that, had it involved two people of a lower stature, might not be rated anywhere near as highly.
Whether this part of the story was planned is to be seen, but perhaps Sabre should not have started displaying heel tendencies in his summer matches against Jeff Cobb and Katsuyori Shibata ahead of the title loss… then again, given how much the crowd was turning on long-term babyfaces Joel Redman & Charlie Sterling, perhaps Rev Pro’s York Hall shows are entering an Attitude-esque period of rejection for white-meat, vanilla babyfaces, regardless of how good they are in the ring? ****¼
Trevor Lee vs. Trent Seven
Amid a cavalcade of generic music, it sure was weird as hell seeing Trevor Lee come out to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off”… even more so when he tried to get Chris Roberts and Andy Quildan dancing.
The match starts with Trevor asking for a dance-off, which is just a ruse for him to attack Trent from behind. I actually agreed with Andy Simmonz on commentary about getting rid of dance-offs… After all that, Trent starts with some chops, before an overhand cricket chop is blocked by a push-down stomp from the TNA star. Who apparently has the default TNA taunt of “delete”. They head outside, where Trent’s thrown into the lighting rig, then onto the apron with a backdrop suplex as Lee tries to keep the pace slow. There’s brief chants of “TNA wanker”, which is the closest Trevor gets to heat in this match, apart from those “delete” chants after a clothesline and a bulldog out of the corner got him a near-fall.
Trevor takes Trent back to the corner, and after an Irish whip Trent seems to snap out of it as he marches towards Lee and unleashes with some chops. That cricket chop comes next, but a second one gets blocked by a boot before Trent yanks Lee off the middle rope with a short-arm clothesline. They head outside again where Trent’s chopping spree leads to the inevitable chop-the-post spot, which Trent sells admirably well as always… wincing as he accidentally used the wounded hand to slap the turnbuckle to get the crowd going. Lee catches Trent on the top rope there, then brings him down with a superplex… but Trent pops back up and runs into a big boot. They go back and forth as a Seven Stars lariat (Rainmaker) is blocked with a big boot, and Lee continues to pepper Trent with superkicks, then a German suplex for just a near-fall.
Trent fires back with a Dragon suplex then a piledriver for a near-fall, but he takes too long winding up for a lariat, and he’s caught with the Collision Course (fallaway slam/moonsault) instead for a nice-looking near-fall. Lee tries to follow that up with a Twist of Fate and a senton bomb, but Trent gets the knees up, which just helps set up for the Seven Star and a piledriver that gets him the W. A fun match, but marred by a crowd that seemed to largely be disinterested. ***¼
Martin Stone vs. Jay White
Go on, guess what they did for Martin Stone’s entrance video. Yep, white block text, with a “stone” marble effect. Jay White was back for his first appearances here since August, where he went over Josh Bodom and Mark Haskins in the space of a fortnight.
They start with Stone working a wristlock over White, who rolls out to reverse it into a roll-up for just a one-count. Stone picks up again with that wristlock, but White gets out and tries for a Boston crab before he’s pushed back into the corner. Stone responds to a shoulder tackle with a simple headbutt for a near-fall, but White ends up going outside with a baseball slide dropkick as he opts to throw Stone into the crowd barriers. A tope from White is cut-off by an uppercut as Stone looks to issue some receipts in the form of chops by the barriers. Back inside, a slam gets Stone a near-fall as he looks to wear down the Kiwi, but White breaks out of a chinlock with a back suplex for a two-count, before White sinks in an abdominal stretch. White grounds Stone with a wristlock, before rolling up the British veteran for another two-count.
White gets caught with a drop toe hold into a crossface after he went for Stone, leading to a forearm to the back of the head that got Stone a near-fall as White grabbed the bottom rope. More back and forth ends with a DDT that left Stone checking the back of his head to see if that cut from Jordan Devlin’s kick a week earlier had re-opened, before some elbows and uppercuts kept Stone reeling.
Stone replies to a stalling suplex with a German suplex as White was celebrating, following that up with a missile dropkick off the middle rope. White lands some uppercuts before diving onto Stone with a tope, then again with a missile dropkick for another two-count. Jay goes back to the Boston crab, but Stone rolls out with ease as White throws another series of forearms, only to fall into an RKO from Stone for another near-fall.
Stone throws in another headbutt for a near-fall, quickly switching back to the crossface, but White again crawls to the bottom rope to force a break. White again fires back with forearms, switching things into a German suplex before he’s almost decapitated by a lariat from Stone. That gets Martin a near-fall, and they go back and forth yet again, with Stone grabbing Jay’s Whites for some reason, before a right hand shot knocks Jay down. Stone goes for a rope-hung DDT, but White slips out and catches Stone in a Lion Tamer-esque Boston Crab for the shock win. A decent match, but live this was ruined by the crowd simply wanting to get into it – with the atmosphere being likened to that of a bar… which makes sense since a decent number were apparently queuing for a drink before the main event. ***¼
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Matt Riddle vs. Katsuyori Shibata (c)
If you’re wondering how/if Rev Pro side-stepped Riddle’s recognisable music… they didn’t, but they used a slightly different version to what he’s used before. Curse the many versions of Regulator!
Of course, Riddle get’s his loud rendition of that chant inspired by Spandau Ballet… and this looks like it’s going to be a match that wakes up the crowd since both Riddle and Shibata get insanely loud reactions. Riddle and Shibata pace around the ring to start, as Shibata ignores the offer of a handshake, before he cuts off a double leg takedown, as he reverses an ankle lock to send Riddle into the bottom rope. That was the start of a glorious sequence of MMA-inspired grappling, as Riddle looked to grab an armbar, but Shibata seemed to be a step ahead of him as they went back and forth on holds.
A headlock sees Shibata get some control of the match, but the takedown sees Riddle slip out and apply some headscissors… which Shibata easily flip out of before swinging and missing for a PK. Shibata again goes back to an armbar, but he just stomps on Riddle’s forearm first as he looks to wear down the arm.
Riddle unloads with a series of strikes as he took Shibata into the corner – leaving the champion visibly rocked – before a leaping forearm and an Exploder suplex put “Bro” on the front foot. A huge leaping back senton connected, but Shibata rolled onto the apron to avoid a pinfall attempt… so Riddle just lands a springboard knee strike to make sure Shibata ends up on the floor.
After spotting Papa Hales’ t-shirt, Riddle goes to rock Shibata with more shots on the apron before bringing him back in with a Fisherman’s buster for a near-fall. More chops in the corner just seem to disappoint Shibata, who shakes his head and goes for a walk around the ring as if to tell Riddle to “bring it on”. So he does. And Shibata walks to the next corner! After taking four of them, Shibata walks out of the corner and goes head-to-head, before he invites a load of kicks… then catches one to just deck Riddle with a forearm smash.
From there, Shibata whips Riddle into the corner for a Yakuza kick, some forearms, then a diving dropkick to end that flurry. A butterfly suplex is only good for a near-fall, as Shibata stays on top of Riddle with an abdominal stretch that forces the challenger to stagger into the ropes. Shibata knocks down Riddle for a PK, but it’s blocked and met with an overhead kick as the pair exchange German suplexes before they end up laid out on the mat. They trade forearms from their knees, before they get back up and butt heads, as Riddle swipes away at Shibata, only to fall into a rear naked choke. Riddle slips out and applies one of his own, taking Shibata down for a PK… but that’s only good for a near-fall as the champion kicked out. So Riddle does what anyone would do – drop Shibata with a pair of rolling gutwrench suplexes!
Up next was the Bro to Sleep, which connects as Shibata crumpled to the mat for a near-fall, but the champion again got up and invited more kicks from Riddle, who was decked by a simple palm strike, before a sleeper suplex took the Bro down. One PK later, Shibata grabbed a rear naked choke, and Riddle was forced to tap. What a joy to behold – a match more than worth the ticket price! This match more than lived up to expectations. Riddle and Shibata meshed well together, but that can’t have been a shock to anyone. There is no hype behind Matt Riddle. He is the real deal. If you’re of the mindset that “going to WWE will mean you have to tone down your act”, then make the most of young Matthew now, because his best years are surely yet to come! ****½
After the match, Zack Sabre Jr. came out for an ultra-brief confrontation with Shibata, and that’s our show – with a promised rematch set-up for some point later this year.
What Worked: There wasn’t a bad match on this card, so based on the in-ring alone, you have to say “everything worked”. The absence of storylines on these shows has been addressed (sort-of) with the addition of CCK (no hashtag) into the tag title picture, whilst we’ve got that carrot of Sabre/Shibata III down the road too.
What Didn’t: We’ve already had a shot at the music, but those new entrance videos don’t help. I’m hoping through time we get more than plain text with varying effects, but don’t Rev Pro already have a lot of their own footage that they can use?! We held back a bit on commenting on the crowd here, but at times it was like this show was taking place in a library. So many people, but so little noise – these guys deserved better.
All of this was marred by the reports after the event that there had been unsavoury (our shorthand for racist/sexist/generally offensive) chants. Those sort of things have no place in society, let alone a wrestling show, and it is sad that this sort of thing somehow exists in 2017.
Thumbs: Up, veering into the middle if you’re bothered by crowd reactions.