Another month, another Cockpit show, as Rev Pro put on another good evening’s wrestling in the intimate London venue.
Going in, a Rev Pro tag title match saw the increasingly-maligned champions of Charlie Sterling and Joel Redman go up against the debuting tandem of CCK – Travis Banks and Chris Brookes, in what was the latter’s in-ring debut here.
As mentioned in our live thoughts piece, we had a slight change to the “voices of Rev Pro” line-up, with Steve Lynskey acting as the MC, whilst Andy Quildan was on commentary with Danny Garnell – along with some weird audio switches, which seemed to be due to the live mixing. Right out of the gate, we had a blurry hard cam. Some things will never change!
Kurtis Chapman vs. Rob Lias
Rob Lias debuted some new gear that was a marked change from the usual Contenders’ black trunks. He started by offering a handshake to Chapman, but it was just a sucker for a boot and an implant DDT… and that’s enough for the rapid win. (Not Rating)
Andy Quildan complained on commentary that this 39-second match wasn’t what the Contender’s division was about. Flash wins happen sometimes in combat sports, so… I don’t get the complaint? After the match, Lias kicked Chapman below the belt, before he went for a second DDT, only for Dan Magee to hit the ring and land a Slingblade to sent Lias packing.
Zack Gibson vs. Eddie Dennis
You know the drill with Zack – mega heat when he tried to run through his pre-match promo, specifically addressing his match with Hirooki Goto next month. Eddie Dennis cut him off with a promo of his own, impressively squeezing the word “Principality” into a comparison between Wales and Liverpool, before bragging about his expertise in small joint manipulation – including the Sausage Strangler!
Gibson jumped Dennis from behind, but the Welshman countered by “accidentally” crotching Gibson on the top rope as the “small package manipulation” jokes continued. An accidental inverted atomic drop from a leapfrog keeps that up, then a regular atomic drop and a leg splitter set up for a grounded leg splitter as Eddie busted out some stuff he usually doesn’t.
Gibson shoved Dennis into the ringpost after hanging his arm on the top rope, before a basement dropkick forced a near-fall as the Scouser took control. A battle of forearm shots was quickly culled when Gibson grabbed a single-leg takedown for a near-fall, before working into a chinlock. The back and forth continues as Gibson continued to target Dennis’ shoulder, which Eddie aggravated further with a clothesline, then again as he tried to slam his way out of a hammerlock. A superplex from Dennis sends Gibson crashing to the mat, before a counter to the Next Stop Driver led to some back and forth pinning attempts. Eddie low-bridges Zack to the outside, but Gibson returns to avoid a dive, before he’s clotheslined into the ropes a la Andre the Giant.
Eddie threatens to run up and punt Gibson low… he’s stopped by the referee, so we go to back-and-forth forearms once more, with one more knocking down Dennis and inadvertently kicking Gibson low in the process. After getting back to his feet, Dennis went for a crucifix bucklebomb, only for Gibson to work free and rush in with a Ticket to Ride, then the Helter Skelter, before the Shankly Gates eventually forced the submission. A fun match, although it must be said that Zack Gibson’s heat here is a lot more muted than in other groups… ***¼
David Starr vs. Bubblegum
Steve Lynskey rattled off all of Starr’s nicknames – all that was missing was an absurdly-long cue-card to ram the joke home. Bubblegum came out with a Kris Travis t-shirt – quite apt given the events that had been taking place in the past few weeks – before kneeling down in front of it in the ring.
We start fairly evenly, with Starr forcing Bubblegum to the mat from a test of strength that gave way to a series of pinning attempts and impressive neck bridges before Bubblegum briefly had a hammerlock. Starr trips Bubblegum off the ropes and dives in for a series of near-falls, then teased a hip attack before just going for a deep rear chinlock instead.
Bubblegum escapes again and lands a ‘rana to take Starr into the ropes, before switching into a dropkick as Starr’d gone onto the apron to avoid a 619. A big cross body back in the ring takes down Starr again, this time getting a near-fall, before Bubblegum took over with a low dropkick for another pinning attempt. Just after the kick-out, Bubblegum doubled over – with a legit calf tear starting to affect him – before he was sent onto the apron and clotheslined to the floor.
Starr went flying afterwards, landing a tope that knocked down Bubblegum before landing in the front row. A cannonball-like bump followed for Bubblegum when he was whipped into the corner, who then took a death valley driver into the corners, before snapping out in a ‘rana as he mounted a comeback of sorts, ending with a handspring enziguiri. Bubblegum lands a springboard X-Factor for a two-count, then followed up with a corner enziguiri, only for Starr to push out of a bulldog and land a series of forearms.
More back-and-forth ended with a tiltawhirl facebuster by Starr for a two-count, as he then struggled with a suplex, so decided to hit a forearm instead. Bubblegum gets a Pele kick in, then a high knee and a bulldog for a near-fall, but Starr came back with the Tomorrow Driver (over-the-knee brainbuster) as the momentum just would not settle.
Starr blasted into Bubblegum with a series of chops and forearms to continue the back-and-forth, as a huge lariat folded Bubblegum inside out. Another gutwrench facebuster was turned into a tornado DDT, but Starr resisted the pressure and finished Bubblegum with a strait-jacket German suplex for the win. An absolutely sublime wrestling match, and one that deserves to be seen by as many eyeballs as possible. Including yours. ****
The Revolutionists (Sha Samuels & James Castle) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
They did a pre-match angle where Sha Samuels came out first and mocked James Castle for trying to impress him by trying to “mug off” the Contenders. Instead, Castle came out with the Contenders’ theme music, but without the nondescript ring gear, and was bullied by Samuels some more.
Moustache Mountain were jumped at the bell, with Trent Seven spilling to the outside in the process, but they came back with some headbutts to the Revolutionists before Trent took them out with a tope. A tope con hilo followed from Tyler, and then we saw something insane: Sha Samuels doing a freaking moonsault to the floor! Trent and Sha chop the ringposts in a “now you know how it feels” spot, whilst Tyler boxed away on Castle on the outside.
Trent takes a double stomp from Castle, who seemed to working well with Sha, although that was limited to “doing what Sha tells him”. Sha takes a Seven Star lariat after spending too much time mocking Bate, before Tyler came in and rocked Castle with a dropkick and a deadlift German suplex for a near-fall.
Castle takes some expended double-teaming, including clotheslines and a brainbuster as Sha dove in to break up the pin, which transitioned into Tyler getting double-teamed. A butterfly suplex into the corner gets a two-count as Trent broke up the pin. That earned Seven a Destroyer from Castle for a near-fall, but his good spell ended when he ran into his partner, and it was just a matter of time before a Trent piledriver and the Tyler Driver earned the WWE duo the win. A fun outing that had Trent and Tyler as foils for the ongoing story with the Revolutionists. ***¼
After the match, Sha again pie-faced Castle… and that finally saw James slap Sha, then lay into him with a bicycle knee. That’s the Revolutionists done with!
Dave Mastiff vs. Jeff Cobb
The last time Cobb was at the Cockpit, he flung around Big Damo with ease, and there were quite a few half-expecting something similar here. Cobb gets confused by the chant of “massive lads” as he starts by sending Mastiff into the ropes with a tie-up – getting a clean break out of it.
They move to some shoulder tackles, which seem to be impactful, yet slow-speed, as Mastiff got frustrated as he struggled to budge Cobb, who decided to stop playing around and just slam Mastiff instead. Mastiff rolled to the outside, and was joined by Cobb for some brawling around the ring, before Jeff hit a huge dropkick back inside.
Mastiff powers back up after some headbutts, then lands a sit-down splash after shoving Cobb out of the corner. Some forearms follow as Mastiff took over, landing a bodyslam before he just stood on Cobb’s chest. A camel clutch comes next, with Mastiff grinding his forearm into Cobb’s face, before a suplex is countered and met with more forearms, this time from Cobb.
Ohmygod Cobb pulled off a pumphandle fallaway slam on Big Dave! But he kicked out at one, and just laid there for a standing moonsault and a standing shooting star press as Cobb displayed his massive agility. Mastiff comes back with a DDT, before Cobb clung onto the ropes to avoid a German suplex, then a DDT, before a small package countered the Tour of the Islands for a near-fall.
Cobb kept up the offence with a stalling suplex, but Mastiff wriggled out before dropkicking Jeff into the corner, finishing off with a cannonball for the win. A rather out-of-nowhere win to a match that started slowly but clicked into gear by the end. Mastiff’s clearly being built as a monster heel, with wins over Trent Seven and now Cobb, but the act feels like it’s missing a certain something here. **¾
After intermission, out comes Jinny for the first time since beating Xia Brookside here last August. Danny Garnell on commentary doesn’t seem to know who she is, but since she’s not dressed to compete, it’s promo time! Cue plenty of Jinny volleying insults back at the fans, particularly when chants didn’t catch on.
This looks to be an attempt at Rev Pro rebuilding their women’s division, which Jinny says needs to include the best – i.e. her – if they’re going to do it. The fans call for Zoe Lucas, who was over in Stardom in Japan when this was going on. Jinny’s insult to the fans almost becomes massively offensive, so they reply with some political stuff. Yeah, that seems to be the go-to stuff these days. Jinny reckons that she should be wrestling at York Hall, before declaring herself “the best”. That brings out Rhia O’Reilly, who Jinny puts down as being a part of the “forgotten era” of women’s wrestling, before they get into a pull apart, ending with a fallaway slam from Rhia. Interestingly, they referred to Rhia as a champion, but in her challenge for the next Cockpit show, there was no reference made to that being for Rhia’s EVE title.
Pete Dunne vs. Ryan Smile
The weird receptions for Peter continued here, as he received a pro-babyface reaction upon his entrance. This was another fun outing that saw these guys trying to match the heights of their outing at OTT last month – and it started with a German suplex at the bell, then a Pedigree, as Dunne used Smile’s own cape to unsight him.
An X-plex onto the apron follows to a weirdly positive reaction, as Smile finally crawled back into the ring and saw his arm get stomped on. Smile’s flying ‘rana off the top helped him get back into it briefly, before he pulled out an armdrag and a cartwheel dropkick to send the Bruiserweight outside, where he eventually ate a PK off the apron. A low-pe follows from Smile, who then dragged Dunne into a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall, only to get caught on the top rope as Dunne started to snack away on Smile’s digits.
A superplex follows, but Dunne holds on and followed up with an X-plex for a near-fall, before he hooked away on Smile’s face and back. Smile’s arm gets wrenched on against the ringpost by a mockingly-apologetic Dunne who just kept up the offence, laying in with forearms and kicks to a downed Smile, who eventually Matrix’d out of a clothesline and kicked Dunne to the outside.
You know what that means… across the corner tope con hilo from Smile!
Back inside, a tornado DDT spikes Dunne for a two-count, before an apron enziguiri and a missile dropkick sent Dunne into the corner. A superkick, then a brainbuster gets Smile another two-count, so Smile just goes back to the forearms, which barely affect Dunne… whose single forearm sent Ryan flying.
A German suplex from Dunne’s no-sold, and Smile pops back with a Destroyer… which gets a similar treatment, as he followed up with a leap out of the corner that’s simply swatted away with a forearm from the Bruiserweight. Some facewashing boots from Dunne lead to a battle of superkicks and enziguiris, before a Bitter End is turned into a DDT by Smile! A springboard cutter followed, but Dunne easily kicked out at one!
Smile tries his luck with a big splash off the top, which gets a two-count, before he counters some more finger biting by Dunne with some of his own. Dunne’s knocked to the mat, as Smile followed in with a 450 Splash that missed big time! Another Bitter End gets countered into a small package… and that’s enough for Ryan to pick up the surprise win! Well, a surprise in Rev Pro land, that is! A really good back-and-forth contest, and I’d guess that after losing to Marty Scurll in Portsmouth, this may be the start of a build for Smile in Rev Pro… ***¾
Interim British Cruiserweight Championship: RJ Singh vs. Josh Bodom (c)
In his third match back in Rev Pro, Singh’s got a title shot, which does feel a little given that Singh had lost to Zack Sabre Jr and beat James Castle in that time.
This felt suitably short, considering that the ongoing narrative seemed to be “full-timers aren’t happy that Singh’s making a comeback”. There was a little bit of stalling before Bodom landed a waistlock takedown that he seemed to impress himself with, before RJ tripped Bodom to the mat before the champion scrambled to the ropes to avoid an ankle lock.
Singh kept on top of things, leaping over Bodom in the corner before landing a dropkick to a leapfrogging Bodom. RJ escaped an early Bliss Buster attempt and dragged Bodom out with him, only to get thrown into the ringpost as Josh followed up with a cannonball sentoin off of the ringpost.
Singh escapes a Bodom Breaker (lumbar check) and comes back with a superkick, before he side-steps a charging Bodom and lands a side Russian legsweep and a diving dropkick into the corner. That’s good for a near-fall, but Bodom came back with an enziguiri and a standing shooting star press for another two-count as he set-up Singh for another Bliss Buster attempt. Again, RJ shoves away, then slingshots himself into the ring for a superkick and a short-DDT for another near-fall.
Singh heads up top to try and finish off the match, but Bodom rolls to the outside. A superkick on the floor takes Singh to a knee on the apron as we finally get a Bliss Buster, then the Bodom Breaker as Josh successfully retained. A perfectly fine match, nothing too spectacular as we head towards what you’d think is a Bodom/Ospreay unification match at some point – although the few Freudian slips where the word “interim” is dropped could suggest that this may not be the case. ***
After the match, Bodom called out match-maker Andy Quildan for putting RJ Singh in front of him. Bodom calls RJ a “washed-up has-been”, before calling Will Ospreay a fraud that doesn’t defend his title. Josh is apparently going to Florida, and that’s the end of the segment… or so we thought, as David Starr headed out to challenge Bodom. That challenge looks to be accepted for Orlando, as Starr puts down Bodom’s ring gear and bleached hair job.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Matt Riddle
Blurry hard-cam returns for this match… I don’t think Rev Pro will ever get that sorted, it feels.
They played into a typical Thatcher match, without it going too long. Riddle mounted Thatcher in search of a rear naked choke early on, but Thatcher escaped and turned it into a bow-and-arrow lock, only for Riddle to flip free and try for an armbar, only to be too close to the ropes.
Thatcher tries for a heel hook, but again Riddle breaks free as this engrossing mat war continued, with rope breaks saving both men’s bacon. The camera decides not to follow a Stinger splash from Riddle, who we just about see connects with the hold, before an Exploder suplex and a back senton leads to a near-fall – and Timmy Thatcher’s exasperated face!
Some kicks to a kneeling Thatcher follow, but he comes back by forcing his way into Riddle’s guard, then rolling Riddle into an ankle lock. Riddle rolls out into one of his own, forcing Thatcher into the ropes, before dragging him out into a kick. There’s some more attacks to Thatcher’s legs, as they each go down into a duelling battle of leg locks, eventually ending with Thatcher kicking his way free.
A butterfly suplex follows from Thatcher for a near-fall, who then drilled some knees into a cornered Riddle. Thatcher escaped a Fisherman’s buster before clinging onto a rear naked choke that he cinched in… but Riddle escaped and tried for a Bromission. Instead, he grabbed Thatcher’s heel, pulling back in it, and forced the tap-out with a heel hook. This match won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but when you’re watching a grappling war with Timothy Thatcher, it helps when there’s someone good and charismatic in the match too! ***¾
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Tag Team Championships: CCK (Travis Banks & Chris Brookes) vs. Charlie Sterling & Joel Redman (c)
Well, this was a weird one – live, there were a lot of CCK t-shirts (including mine), as the face/heel divide was flipped on its head. The Cockpit crowd had seemingly had enough of the “cookie cutter”, vanilla champions, and they made sure to point it out.
The champions jumped CCK at the bell, immediately taking the match to them, before spilling to the outside as this was just chaos – supposedly in retribution for CCK’s attack on them back at January’s High Stakes. Charlie Sterling mocked the crowd’s liking of CCK, which just got him a choking into some of the guard railings from Brookes, before he threw himself into both members of CCK from the apron.
The brawling continues as the ring stood there empty and unloved, as Banks finally threw Sterling inside. There’s more clubbing blows from the Kiwi before Banks choked on Charlie in the corner, before Sterling evaded both members of CCK and tagged in Joel Redman, who went to town with overhead belly-to-belly suplexes – eventually hitting a suplex to both members of CCK at the same time.
Brookes recovers to trip Redman, as Banks takes over again with some mounted punches. We get a wet willie to Redman as Banks and Brookes double-team him, all whilst continually goading Sterling into the ring. Yep, the babyfaces played dumb as the supposed bad guys double-teamed Redman in their corner, but Joel’s strength helped him pick up Banks out of a front facelock and walk with him into a tag…
but referee Chris Roberts waved it off as Chris Brookes had distracted him, meaning that he didn’t see the tag. Redman rebounds with a double overhead suplex before a legitimate tag brings in Sterling for a double dropkick as he laid into the cornered CCK, giving Banks a German suplex, then Brookes an Exploder. A tope con hilo follows from Sterling, who was still getting booed, before a cutter got him a two-count with Brookes diving in at the last minute.
Redman and Sterling take out Brookes with a slam/neckbreaker combo, before a Travis Banks springboard roundhouse is met with a spinebuster, then a slingshot slam for a near-fall. The champions go for their tombstone/Spiral tap combo finisher, but Banks works free and low bridges Redman to the outside as CCK went after Sterling, eventually landing a double superplex whilst Redman completed the Tower of Doom.
Redman keeps up the pressure with a tombstone, then a spinning tombstone to Banks for a near-fall as Chris Brookes pulled out the referee. His apologies just distracted Chris Roberts, allowing Banks to hit Redman with a belt shot, before Roberts counted the pin! The crowd roared… but slowly the realisation dawned on Roberts that something was amiss.
Yep, despite not having seen the incident, Roberts called for a restart, which further underscored his status as a useless ref, particularly among the crowd who feared the worst.
From the restart, the champions landed a pair of superkicks, before Brookes ate a spinning tombstone and a spiral tap from Redman and Sterling… but Brookes kicked out! They go for a top rope tombstone, but Banks saves Brookes and lays into the champs with some kicks, before walking into a Sterling superkick and a piledriver… which he just stands up from! A diving clothesline levels Sterling, before Banks’ topes takes out Sterling and Redman separately.
A springboard enziguiri and a Michinoku driver from Banks and Brookes respectively get another two-count, before a big boot from Brookes and the Magic Killer get another near-fall as the crowd started to think… is it going to be? CCK go for the Codebreaker/back senton as Sterling tried to use the belt… but he couldn’t make use of it, and that combo was enough for Chris Brookes to get the pin! The Dusty Finish was not to be, and we leave with new champions!
From bell to bell, this was a great story – the champions taking the fight to their challengers as payback for what happened in January, but CCK used shortcuts sparingly as they fought their way to the titles in their debut in the company. A marvelous main event, ending with CCK celebrating among their people! ****
What Worked: It would have been easy to have CCK go the route of “shut up, we don’t need your support” when it came to the crowd reactions here, but having them acknowledge without playing it up was a refreshing change in a world where some promotions seem to force “their choices” on the fans. Elsewhere, the James Castle turn finally happened that should spark a brief feud – whether that’s on Cockpit shows or on the York Hall level of shows remains to be seen.
What Didn’t: I’m not going to lie; the Cobb/Mastiff match disappointed me – and whilst I’ve been a fan of Mastiff’s work in PROGRESS as of late, I’ve not been sold by his work in Rev Pro since he came back.