It’s that time of month again, as Rev Pro returned to the Cockpit for another good show – with some impressive debuts to boot!
For once it’s an unchanged line-up as Andy Quildan is joined by Alex Cupid on commentary, ditching the “shoot” name of Sherlock – which I kinda dug, given how close the Cockpit is to Baker Street… Steve Lynskey is your MC, complete with cue-cards and that feel that just wasn’t quite there.
Cara Noir, Malik & Ash Draven vs. Ashley Dunn, Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman
This is a debut for four of these men (unless you want to be picky and say “Tom Dawkins wrestled for Rev Pro once in 2015”…). We’re also sticking with Rev Pro names here – so despite Josh Wall having tagged with Ashley Dunn elsewhere as Kelly Sixx, he’s sticking with his Contender’s name. I guess that’s somewhat similar to Hiromu Takahashi/Kamaitachi back before he turned into the Time Bomb… Malik’s someone who’s been trained by Will Ospreay and has just returned from a tour of Japan with Kaientai Dojo. Cara Noir is Tom Dawkin’s new gimmick, and it’s very much the figment of an amateur drama buff. The look works, with that mirror mask being quite the visual, but the long entrance theme could hamstring his progress.
Ashley Dunn shines early as he and Malik end up squaring off after they tried for a dropkick at the same time, before we swapped through to Josh Wall and Ash Draven. Wall hits a springboard ‘rana off the middle rope, then holds Draven in place for Chapman to land a double stomp to the arm of Draven… who then raked the eyes to get himself back into the match.
Chapman replies with a European uppercut to send Draven into the ropes, before Cara Noir gets involved… charging into Chapman in the corner before he licked the youngster. Kurtis replies with a double-leg takedown, but Noir stays on top as Chapman gets dragged into the wrong corner. A headbutt sees Chapman knock Draven off the top, before cannonballing into him and tagging out to Wall, who hits a double stomp off the top to Malik.
Dunn and Wall work well together, but that comes to a crashing halt when Malik landed a tiltawhirl backbreaker, allowing Noir to return to boot Dunn in the back. The bad guys continue to work over Dunn, with Draven hitting the Switchblade – a uranage into a facebuster for a near-fall. Dunn makes a comeback, taking off Noir’s head with a roundhouse kick, only for Malik to knee him to the mat as we had a parade of strikes, ending with Noir clotheslining Wall onto his head… before Cara Noir planted a kiss to Ashley Dunn. Whatever works!
Dunn replies with a tiltawhirl DDT, before some cannonballs leave us with Draven and Dunn in the middle of the ring, allowing Dunn to land a double-underhook destroyer for the win. That was a mental opener, and a great way for all six men to make a statement here. ***½
Zack Gibson vs. Ryan Smile
Ahead of the match, Gibson announced his intentions to send a message to Will Ospreay via Ryan Smile – continuing the story that began at Epic Encounters, which was painted as Gibson “inadvertently costing Will Ospreay a match”. I’d like whatever Andy Quildan was having… Gibson also took aim at the “new talent” that we just saw, in particular his idea that “we didn’t need to see more flippy boys doing cartwheels” – which led to Ryan Smile doing a cartwheel in response.
Gibson looks to wear down Smile from the off, grabbing his wrist… but we just get a 360 of see-saw kip-ups as Smile countered it and went for an armdrag, only for Zack to grab the arm and ground him with a hammerlock, then some legscissors, which Smile handwalks out of. A headscissor takedown off the top rope gets Smile back into it, as he followed up with a double leapfrog and a dropkick, only to get thrown into the ringpost as Gibson put the brakes on things.
Gibson shoves Smile onto the top rope as he went for a springboard, and it’s back to the arm work from Zack, who moves to a seated abdominal stretch as Smile was left to take a barrage of offence, including some whips into the corner from the Scouser. A tiltawhirl backbreaker gets another near-fall as Smile’s left to try and just survive.
Zack told Smile to “do a roly poly”, which sparked some offence from Ryan, who landed an enziguiri to send Gibson to the outside, but Smile struggled to rebound off the ropes for a dive – thanks to the earlier offence from Gibson… but a tope con hilo across the turnbuckles was no issue! Back inside, Smile lands a missile dropkick and kips up so he can unload some more on Gibson, who could only shove Ryan away.
Another tiltawhirl backbreaker attempt from Zack’s turned into a satellite DDT for a near-fall, as Ryan continues his comeback with a Blue Thunder Driver, before having to abort a leap off the top rope. Gibson capitalises with a lariat as Smile tried to change things up, before a running Codebreaker flipped Smile over 180 degrees. The Shankly Gates is fought out of as Smile rolled up Gibson for another near-fall, before countering a Helter Skelter as he landed a couple of superkicks that would have won him the match… had Gibson not been so close to the ropes.
Smile tries to set up for a frog splash, but Gibson clung onto the leg and stood up into a battle of forearms, ending with Smile catching Zack with a leaping ‘rana as he then went for the frog splash… but Gibson barges referee Chris Roberts into the ropes to crotch Ryan up top. A headbutt from Smile counters a superplex effort, and finally allows him to go for the frog splash… but he misses and that just leaves Gibson with the easy job of locking in the Shankly Gates for the tap-out. A solid outing as Zack gathered further momentum, although it felt to me as if a lot of the crowd just didn’t buy into Smile’s offence. Perhaps the booking of him over the past few months, rapidly heating him up for losses, are behind this? ***¼
Jinny vs. Alex Windsor
Add Rev Pro to the list along with OTT, in terms of promotions that have booked perennial villain Alex Windsor as a “goodie”. To be fair, the crowd did get behind Windsor in the end here, as Jinny continued to defend her unbeaten streak at the Cockpit. But first, Jinny put over Toni Storm, whom she beat here last month, before ordering her opponent to the ring.
Jinny opened things up with some mocking slaps, before working over the arm of Windsor, only for Alex to give a receipt for that earlier slap. She takes Jinny to the outside, where a cannonball senton off the apron kept Windsor on top for a near-fall, only for Jinny to snap back into the match by pulling her off the top rope. With Windsor down, Jinny’s able to choke away on her in the corner, then methodically pepper Windsor with charges and silent chops in the corner.
Windsor tries to escape, but she gets dragged into the middle turnbuckle face-first, as Jinny replies with a ‘rana and some ground and pound as the Fashionista regained her advantage. A running kick to the head of a sitting Windsor gets a near-fall, which is the cue for Jinny to head outside and get a lipstick from under the ring so she could draw on Windsor… which angered Alex into action. Some kicks and clotheslines see her wake the crowd up, as does a headbutt on the apron, and a clothesline off the top rope.
After pulling Jinny into a Blue Thunder Bomb, Windsor heads up top once again, only to get caught and dropped with a hotshot for a near-fall. They trade a bunch of forearms, before Jinny scores some kicks and a reverse legsweep into a knee-to-the-face for a near-fall. A defiant Windsor returns with a sit-out powerbomb and a Boston crab as she tried to snatch victory, but in the end Jinny capitalises on Chris Roberts’ attempt to separate the pair by throwing in an eye poke then a big boot for the win. Enjoyable work from Jinny once again, although my nit-picking self is wondering if the story will change from “a conveyor belt of challengers for Jinny” to “building someone up for Jinny”. ***
Josh Bodom vs. Donovan Dijak
Bodom’s Cruiserweight title isn’t on the line… because the Tall Don is well over the weight limit. That didn’t stop him from launching into the match like he were a cruiserweight, flying to the outside with a Space Flying Tiger Drop that somehow managed to bust himself open before a bell had even sounded!
A slingshot elbow drop follows as the Feast Your Eyes almost made this a squash, but Bodom kicked out and got sent to the outside as they brawled around the ring and into the crowd, where Bodom fights out of a chokeslam and throws him into the apron. The Bodom beatdown starts there, with Josh rubbing some of Dijak’s blood onto his own chest, before a roundhouse kick took the big guy down for a near-fall.
Regardless, Dijak fought back and rocks Bodom with a series of elbows and forearms in the corner, before superkicking him on the top rope. Somehow, Bodom escaped and tried for a reverse ‘rana, but it’s caught and turned into another Feast Your Eyes for a two-count. An attempt from Dijak to ape a Bliss Buster’s blocked, but Bodom ends up replying with a Bliss Buster onto the apron!
A series of cannonballs in the corner almost send Bodom flying out of the ring, before he somehow blocks a Feast Your Eyes and replies with one of his own, sending Dijak onto the apron. Josh follows with a Bliss Bister, but Dijak kicks out, which prompted Bodom to go for his Cruiserweight title belt. Out of nowhere, Ashley Dunn runs out to stop Josh from using his belt, which distracts the champion for long enough to be hit with another Feast Your Eyes as Dijak got the W. This was a fun outing, which started off fast and kept up a similar pace throughout. I really need to go back to see the first two to see how they compare! ***¾
Rev Pro British Tag Team Championship: London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) vs. CCK (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks) (c)
Oh Chris East, what have you done? As in the past tense of “what you doing?” – which inspired a few folks to try and recapture that lightning in a bottle moment from Fight Club: Pro earlier this year.
Rob Lynch withstands some shoulder tackles early as the Riots take an early upper hand, with Lynch showing his strength with a delayed vertical suplex… only for Travis Banks to slip out and poke him in the eye. Chris Brookes and James Davis do more of the same, before a water spit from Brookes just enrages Davis as the Riots took over… at least until Brookes managed to take down both of the Riots with a Dragon Screw.
Brookes moves from there into an Octopus hold on Lynch, but Davis just throws an elbow to break it up before Travis Banks sent the Riots into each other with an accidental cannonball as he finished off with one of his own in the corner. Things turned around as the Riots double-teamed Banks, leading to a rope-hung senton from Davis, before a Banks tope sends him into the crowd. Rob Lynch hits a tope con hilo too so he doesn’t feel left out, but he’s caught back inside with a dropkick and a top rope ‘rana from Brookes as the tempo suddenly cranked up.
A double superkick stunned Lynch briefly, before he replied with a spear to both champions as the Riots took down Brookes with a District Line powerbomb for another near-fall. James Davis blocks an elevated Codebreaker and eventually powerbombs Banks. The GBH (slingshot spear) would have won it, but Chris Brookes pulls out the referee and apologises to the ref, swearing that “it was an accident every time!”
With the referee unsighted, Brookes uses a cricket bat on Lynch, leaving James Davis alone two-on-one… and he did quite well, nearly winning it with a pop-up powerbomb on Brookes. A series of corner-to-corner uppercuts quickly ends as Banks manages to land a Slice of Heaven out of the corner, as the Codebreaker/senton bomb combo from separate corners (rather than the elevated Codebreaker…) ensures another successful defence for CCK. Another fun outing, but much like Jinny, the tag title scene here is a conveyor belt of challengers on these monthly shows rather than anyone being built up for a future shot. ***½
After the match, CCK offer the Riots into the ring for a handshake “in the name of sportsmanship”, but the Riots just unload on the champions – busting open Chris Brookes’ eye before charging him into the side of the seating area… and it looks like we’re going to get a rematch next month.
Lord Gideon Grey vs. Eddie Dennis
Gideon’s still coming out to a posh lullabye, and he’s still somewhat lost… broken, perhaps. During his entrance, Gideon throws a t-shirt to a fan who didn’t want it. After the show, it was still on his seat… so I opened it up and it just said “Consume”. Consistency!
Grey’s zoned out at the bell, so an opposite of Festus, and he just stares as Eddie dances towards him for a hug. Eddie gets the hug and kiss, which Grey doesn’t even acknowledge in his zombified state, but he does respond to a crucifix as Grey kicks out at two.
It’s all Eddie in the opening stages, as he goes in for another hug… and finally Grey starts to wake up, shoving him away, before struggling with an Irish whip and eventually taking a forearm smash. Loud chops ring around the venue, before Dennis whips Gideon… who slides to the outside where he stares at a fan. So Eddie breaks that stare up with another forearm.
Back inside, Grey edges into it with a neckbreaker, before chopping the knee as he tries to muscle Eddie into a single leg crab. Dennis escapes and returns fire with a clothesline, before turfing Grey to the outside for a tope con hilo as we got a glimpse of Eddie Mysterio! Back inside, Grey surprises the Welshman with a Saito suplex, before posing on the turnbuckles… leaving himself open for a crucifix bucklebomb that got Eddie a two-count.
A violence party of chops and forearms ensues in the corner, but Grey escapes and hits a Falcon arrow for just a one-count. See, that move never wins! They go back and forth with strikes, ending with a pop-up forearm as Eddie went to a Next Stop Driver. Grey escapes though, and ultimately snatches the win when he raked Eddie’s eyes on the top rope, before picking him off the top for the 50 Shades of Grey slam. I liked the way they’re slowly developing the Gideon act here – not as the typical savant of a guy being zombified until the bell goes. The random yells are also a nice touch, but this is something that, say, vignettes could help flesh out. ***¼
Sha Samuels & Rob Lias vs. RJ Singh & Dan Magee
A mash-up of some matches from the last Cockpit show sees Sha gain a new tag team partner from the Contenders’ division, in the form of “Ricky” Lias. Who was far from pleased at having an overbearing mentor being pushed onto him. Or indeed, having a false name that the crowd latched onto with glee.
What I didn’t get here is that the fans are still behind Sha, but he’s being treated as a bad guy. One day it’ll click…
RJ starts by schooling Lias with a couple of armdrags, before bringing Magee in to resume the feud that those two have had. Sha gets involved, holding onto Lias’ leg to prevent a suplex, and that helps Rob fire back with an elbow before bringing Sha in as the pair kept Magee isolated from his partner.
An Irish whip from Lias sent Magee into the middle turnbuckle, setting him up for a half-and-half suplex, then a diving knee for a near-fall, before Magee got himself an opening courtesy of a Slingblade. Finally he made the tag to Singh, who flew in with a springboard before running into a forearm.
A knee to the gut sends Lias head-first to the mat as RJ returned fire with a basement dropkick. Sha gets a blind tag in, but falls to a moonsault press from RJ for a near-fall, before the ring filled for a parade of moves, ending with a Michinoku driver by Sha onto Magee. Sha holds up Magee for a shot from Lias, but predictably Magee slips away as Lias’ knees take down Sha, allowing RJ to pick apart the pieces and win with a Singh-ton Bomb. Enjoyable fare, albeit a little on the short side, but I’m not too sure whether Sha should be turned given that just about every crowd he’s in front of are cheering him. **¾
After the match, Rob Lias and Sha Samuels argued over their defeat, with Lias talking down to Sha… which earned him a hefty slap, then a spinebuster as the Contender bit off a little more than he could chew.
Marty Scurll vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Going in, this was almost assuredly going to be a technical clinic – and they didn’t let us down! O’Reilly tried to go for an armbar in the opening minute, only for Marty to kneel down and get a two-count out of the situation.
Scurll styled out of a leapfrog by launching into his chicken taunt, but O’Reilly responded by blocking a sunset flip… by going all Val Venis with some hip swivels and switching it into an armbar, then finally into an ankle lock to force Scurll immediately into the ropes. O’Reilly starts to work over Scurll’s legs, slamming them into the apron, but the Villain comes back with a superkick off the apron before mugging off another fan who fell for his handshake ploy.
From there, Scurll works over Kyle’s arm, before unloading a barrage of punches to O’Reilly’s head as the Villain wound up for… Kyle to just drop to his back. Well, it’s one way to avoid a punch!
Out of nowhere, O’Reilly grabs an ankle and pulls Scurll to the mat, but Marty escapes and stomps on Kyle’s arm, before mocking the hip swivel as the fans dubbed him “Sleazy Marty”. Joseph would have a bone to pick with that… More arm work followed as O’Reilly tried to fight free, eventually scoring with a back suplex that segued into a heel hook after the landing.
The Just Kidding superkick sees Kyle crash face-first to the mat as Marty looked to build momentum, but O’Reilly stopped that with a rear naked choke before throwing in some more strikes before a knee strike left Marty flat on the mat. Scurll again gets back into it by grabbing the arm, but that just riles Kyle into launching some more kicks, before a brainbuster from Scurll almost won it.
Scurll teased a chicken wing after that kick-out, but O’Reilly rolled him up then went back to the ankle lock. Another roll-up gets Marty a two-count, before the pair’s duelling strikes leave them both laying on the mat. Marty tries for a pop-up superkick again, but it’s caught before we eventually see the finger snap, which never gets any easier to watch!
Despite having snapped fingers, O’Reilly leapt into the Villain with a guillotine choke… which another finger snap threatened to break. An eye rake prevents that as both men are left impaired, and somehow leads to Marty turning even more babyface as he “accidentally” snapped Chris Roberts’ fingers. With the referee down, there was nobody to count Kyle’s roll-up that would have won it for him, before Marty grabbed a chicken wing for the submission. A wonderful main event that is worth every second of your time – although if you’re not into your referee abuse, then the ending of this may dampen your enjoyment. ****
After the match, both men spoke as Marty offered a handshake and his respect to Kyle… who then announced his intention to enter Rev Pro’s British J Cup in July. Oh, and call-out KUSHIDA as his hand-picked opponent in the first round. If it’s anything like the match they had at the start of last year’s Best of Super Junior tournament, we’re going to be spoiled!
Once again, another solid show from Rev Pro at the Cockpit Theatre, and these are rapidly becoming must-attend shows. From the opening six-man tag – with impressive debuts and break-out performances from all involved – all the way to the main event, this was a show that you’d be kicking yourself for not going to. For whatever “cool factor” Rev Pro are lacking, they are more than making up for with the quality of matches and names on show. Although the venue’s a fraction of the size of places like York Hall, these shows are up there with Rev Pro’s “marquee” events, and I dare say are worth travelling to if you’re not a typical attendee of these cards.
Every Cockpit show this year has sold out, and whilst June’s show – headlining with CCK in tag team, non-title action against the “Juniors” of Zack Sabre Jr. and Davey Boy Smith Jr. – is also fully sold, there are tickets for July’s card, featuring a tease for a certain man who’d like you to Bask in His Glory.