The new year opened with a rare double-header from Rev Pro, as they began a tournament to crown their inaugural British Women’s Champion.
Dan Magee vs. Martin Stone
Apparently the “Twitter police are on standby” for Andy Simmonz on commentary. I thought he’d calmed down lately?
We open with Dan Magee taking on Martin Stone, in a warm-up ahead of Stone’s British title match against Zack Sabre Jr. the next night. So, given the disparity between the two in terms of experience, you’d expect at least an emphatic win, if not a squash… but that’s not how Rev Pro do things. Stone does start by grounding Magee in a headlock as commentary tried to make a football analogy here, calling Dan the “Burnley” of Rev Pro. Does that make Eddie Dennis the Sunderland of Rev Pro in 2017? Except Sunderland did manage to win (rarely)…
Anyway, the one-sided stuff continues as Stone works over Magee’s leg, but this was a match that was more built around a methodical pace rather than any blow-away attempts, and it led to Magee actually getting some offence as he grabbed a hold and wore down the title challenger as commentary suggested that Magee was perhaps already out of ideas, as he kept going for holds rather than trying out any other offence.
Stone manages to get free of a Kimura attempt, and that’s the cue for the comeback as he unloads with some forearms on Magee, who shocks him with a Slingblade and a sliding DDT for a near-fall. Finally, some offence! But then Stone fires back in kind with a Capture suplex as he struggles to chain together offence, eventually throwing in a missile dropkick and a shotgun dropkick for a two-count of his own.
From the kick-out, he rolled Magee into a crossface, only for Dan to roll him up for a near-fall and follow up with a ‘rana. You can paint this as a gutsy performance, but Stone taking this much offence was not a good look considering the next night, especially as he was clinging on at the end, with Magee hitting a Whisper in the Wind of all things for a near-fall. Stone hits back with the Vinnie Jones nut grab and a headbutt, before finishing off Magee with the London Bridge elevated DDT. Well, when Stone was in control, it was emphatic, but for my liking, Magee had way too much offence in the middle… and not of the kind that I’d see “elevating” Magee in the crowd’s eyes. Maybe I’ll be proven wrong… ***¼
Rev Pro British Women’s Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Zan Phoenix vs. Zoe Lucas
Phoenix is a Rev Pro trainee, but hasn’t made it beyond the company’s Portsmouth swings. There’s a no-nonsense attitude as Phoenix seems to be in a rush, while Zoe Lucas’ first appearance in the Cockpit since July 2016 had her look somewhat nervous compared to her recent outings elsewhere – perhaps it’s the lack of cupcakes?
Phoenix went straight for Lucas at the bell, hitting a thrust kick to the shoulder, before Lucas rebounds with a leg lariat and some kicks of her own. An eventual PK knocked Phoenix into the corner, but a follow-up leg lariat misses as Zan issues some receipts, before crushing Lucas with her take on a handspring knee drop. No, I didn’t think I’d be referencing one of Meiko Satomura’s big spots here either.
Zan keeps going for kicks, and nearly pays for it with a roll-up, as this was more of a fight than a match. A hanging headscissors in the ropes nearly edges Phoenix towards the win, but she’s quickly back towards ground and pound, then another PK… but it’s still not enough, so Phoenix goes to an eye rake before Zoe suddenly pulls her up into a flapjack. The end’s not too far on from there, as Lucas whacks Phoenix with a scissor kick, and that’s all folks. Zan exited pretty quickly from there, and while it’s probably not too harsh to say that this wasn’t a show-stealer, this match that was mostly a series of kicks did have intensity going for it. As to whether the Cockpit sees Phoenix again after this weekend, well, I wouldn’t hold my breath, but that’s in no way down to her performance here. **½
Rev Pro British Women’s Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Deonna Purrazzo vs. Sammii Jayne
The winner of this faces Zoe Lucas in the semis, and it’s a debut for Sammii Jayne, who was a late replacement for Britt Baker, who was stuck in the States due to bad weather. Jayne, announced as simply from “Scotland”, is the current Pro Wrestling EVE champion, and has a pretty bad draw against one of the tournament favourites… whose name commentary mangles from the off.
Jayne tries to work over the arm of Purrazzo early, as she looked to keep the match on the ground, but Deonna’s more than capable of going hold-for-hold as this match was the polar opposite of the first tournament match – something that the Cockpit crowd were appreciative of. A series of pinning attempts got the crowd going some more, but the most we got was a two-count as Deonna decided to stand back up after a roll-up couldn’t get the job done.
Jayne returns fire with a dropkick before wrenching away with a chinlock, but Deonna’s able to escape and launch into a comeback, blasting Sammii with forearms and knees as she strung together a nice series of offensive moves. Just like that though, Sammii forces her way back with a baseball slide German suplex, but it’s only enough for a near-fall, only for Deonna to swiftly take her down with a Fujiwara armbar as she looked for the kill.
Another roll-up forces a break, before Deonna’s crossbody is caught and turned into a slam, as the pair upped the ante in search of a win… but Jayne’s attempt at a rare springboard goes wrong as she crashes and burns into a Fujiwara armbar as Purrazzo took home the win. Fantastic stuff here, and I for one would love to see a rematch down the line. ***½
Josh Bodom & Zack Gibson vs. Ryan Smile & Kurtis Chapman
Some weird booking here – Josh Bodom lost the title to Ryan Smile back in November, and was seemingly being prepped for a move to the heavyweight division… so why is he back in the mix, bullying Kurtis Chapman here?
That’s not an exaggeration mind, as Bodom went straight for him before Zack’s usual promo… which I couldn’t decide was being drowned out, or they just forgot to turn on Zack’s microphone. This time, Zack’s got a new line, decrying that Chapman weighed as much as “his left nut”, before highlighting the ominous threat of Josh Bodom. Bodom started out rough, dumping Chapman on his head almost with a release German suplex, before punting him in the ribs. Yep, it’s gonna be one of those nights for Chapman, who eats a lungblower from Gibson as he blocked a Sega Mega Driver. Ryan Smile gets in on it too, taking a back suplex on the apron as Chapman was on the receiving end of what may as well have been a schoolyard bully.
Chapman eventually gets in some hope as he low-bridges Bodom to the outside, but Gibson swiftly comes back as he attempts a Helter Skelter before Ryan Smile finally gets a tag in. Bodom tries to return, but he only takes a face-plant as he’s tripped into the turnbuckles before Gibson “accidentally” DDTs him. Bodom then “trips” Gibson as he tries to save him from a double-team move, but instead he’s pulled his partner into the path of a tope con giro from Ryan Smile… who then countered another Helter Skelter into a Stundog Millionaire as Chapman returns… and predictably gets laid out. At least Chapman recovers to block a Coast to Coast from Bodom, but that too is stopped as a wacky series almost sees Chapman win with a Victory roll!
A reverse ‘rana from Bodom gets him back in the game though, as does a pair of Bodom Breakers to Ryan Smile… but Chapman’s still in it with a missile dropkick, but that’s the beginning of the end as a Ticket to Ride from Gibson gives way to the Bliss Buster as this fell right into that “statement squash” that we should have seen right at the start of the show. Largely one-sided and pretty violent… as to whether it was for real or not, well, the bruises on Chapman might be a bit of a give away! ***
El Phantasmo vs. Pete Dunne
Phantasmo’s early offence left a lot to be desired… throwing light-up rings to Dunne perhaps wasn’t the smartest move!
This match, truth be told, was Phantasmo’s coming out party in the UK, despite the early stages being something of a battle for survival as he had to hold on through various submissions from Dunne in the opening stages, before getting wiped out with a lariat from the WWE UK champion. Phantasmo manages to get back into it with some headscissors and a dive into a part of the crowd that really didn’t want to move, but Dunne starts to go for the small joint manipulation… right in front of the on-hand paramedics. Hey, at least they were easily on-hand if things took a turn for the worse!
Some overhand chops from ELP gave him hope as he went for some of his rope walking, but Dunne’s wise to it as he bites the Canadian down before landing another lariat. Dunne throws in some new stuff too, forcing ELP into a handstand before kicking away the arm as Peter was becoming quite vicious, clearing the front row so he could dump ELP there with a back suplex. That’s the hardest part of the seat!
A double stomp from the apron to the seating follows as Dunne tests the strength of the seating decks, and the punishment continues back in the ring as powerbombs kept Pete on top. Finally ELP gets in some offence, but after landing a forearm, Dunne traps him in a triangle choke which gets broken with a bucklebomb… only for Dunne to cling on! Finally, ELP’s springy offence starts to work as a crossbody and a quebrada gets him a near-fall, before eventually pulling Dunne up into the whirlibird neckbreaker. The ropes nearly make ELP pay as he slips, then leaps into a forearm as Dunne hits back with an X-plex powerbomb… for just a one-count. You what?!
That’s a final straw though as Dunne goes for a Bitter End… but it’s countered into a DDT before ELP pops him up into a cutter as he came within a split-second of an unlikely win. A top rope ‘rana and a frog splash gets him even closer, but you sensed that when those didn’t work, it was only a matter of time as the Bruiserweight rared back into life, blasting Phantasmo with a forearm before shocking him with a Bitter End into a tombstone. Somehow, ELP gets a shoulder up, according to referee Chris Roberts, and manages to get one last comeback with a brainbuster… but Dunne’s able to withstand that as a regular Bitter End proves to be enough for the win. Another superb showing here, and my God, if you didn’t think ELP could hang, well, watch this match and find out otherwise! ****
Rev Pro British Women’s Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Jinny vs. Nina Samuels
This was always going to happen, given how long the Jinny streak has been – her first round opponent here was a prior victim, with Nina Samuels having gone down to her in June of 2017.
Jinny has a brief promo before the match, once she’s wiped the microphone clean, as she tries to get Nina to just lay down for her. That doesn’t quite work as Samuels starts off with a headbutt, before taking her into the turnbuckles with a drop toe hold… it’s not quite going to be the easy ride that Jinny expected!
Samuels avoids a charging Jinny in the corner as the Fashionista struggled to get going, with a slingshot tornillo into the ring nearly getting the win. Finally, Jinny hits back with forearms, before she pulls Nina into an over-the-knee backbreaker, but a head kick from Nina is replied to in kind before Jinny takes a tiltawhirl backbreaker for a solid two-count. Jinny tries to catch Nina in the corner, but Samuels slips out and looked for a Cheeky Nando’s… instead switching it up for a running big boot that went straight through the undefeated one. A Japanese armdrag from Jinny puts the brakes on Nina’s offence, as does a series of slaps and a spinning backfist, before a teased Style Clash is countered with a release butterfly suplex!
Just like that though, Jinny looked to end things with the Makeover (X-factor out of the corner), but it’s only a one-count, and Jinny almost gets caught in her own Style Clash… before she escapes and pulls Nina into a seated surfboard as the tribute to Liger forces the submission. A really solid match, and one that I’d argue showed Nina in a new light with the Rev Pro crowd after her prior almost-squash loss. Another W for Jinny though, and that’s one step closer to what she feels is her destiny… ***¼
Rev Pro British Women’s Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Charli Evans vs. Millie McKenzie
Our final quarter-final saw a Rev Pro for Millie McKenzie – one of the favourites for the title, who found herself in the same half of the draw as Jinny.
It’s a first-time singles match here though, and a slightly different look for Charli Evans, who took Millie down early in an armbar as the Aussie tried to stop any hint of Millie’s suplexes. That technical stuff quickly gives way to forearms and kicks as the back-and-forth continued on, with Evans slowly edging ahead as she landed some face-washing boots to Millie in the corner. The clubbering continues as a sliding lariat to the back of McKenzie gets a near-fall, before Charli followed up with some Cattle Mutilation. Is that vegan? Either way, it led to a rope break as the crowd continued to get behind Millie… and were almost rewarded when she countered a suplex into a small package as the comeback began in earnest.
McKenzie hits a swinging neckbreaker to awkwardly plant Evans for a near-fall, and the favour’s returned with a Saito suplex as we keep up the head drops. It’s quickly time to go to Suplex Millie as a series of release Germans follow, ending when Evans chains together a trapped-arm lariat and a Flatliner for a near-fall, before Charli attempts to fly… and just dives into a cutter as Millie gets the win! Suitably hard-hitting, but the good guy versus good guy format made it a little awkward as the crowd seemingly only wanted to back Millie. ***
So the semi-finals are Jinny vs. Millie McKenzie, and Deonna Purrazzo vs. Zoe Lucas…
Rev Pro British Tag Team Championship: CCK (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c)
CCK finally get their rematch, and we’ve got full-on CCK… with Lykos present, despite having his shoulder in a sling.
There’s quite a bit of stalling as Brookes jaws with someone in the crowd, before finding himself perplexed by Tyler Bate’s wristlock reversals, as tags out take us to the inevitable chop battle between Travis and Trent, which quickly breaks down into Travis just kicking away at the elder statesman of Moustache Mountain. The tables turn as Chris Brookes comes in, but gets trapped in the wrong corner as Moustache Mountain work over some double-team moves, including a slingshot into a punch, but we’re into a period where neither team can maintain any sort of advantage, as CCK get in some not-quite-sick (maybe just nauseous?) tag moves of their own.
Trent and Tyler get to play pass-the-suplex with Banks, before an attempt at the same thing from CCK ends up going awry as Tyler switches the handover into a reversed suplex, sending the challengers outside for a dive that goes wrong… as Tyler lands into a pair of big boots. All four men fight in and around the crowd as the Cockpit gets even closer to the action, with the stairs being used as Chris Brookes catches Bate in a Figure Four!
We get the traditional chops against the ring post as Trent and Travis become acquainted with the steel, before Chris Brookes followed in with a stomp off the apron to the back of Trent Seven, as he then took notice of Chris Roberts for once, and took the match back into the ring. Just like that, Moustache Mountain looked to get back on top, with a Bate dropkick leading to… a whiffed crossbody from Trent. Oh Trent, when will you learn? Brookes tries to steal it with Death By Roll-Up, but Bate kicks out and followed up with an Exploder out of the corner as the champions started to look in control once more, at least until Banks started to throw his kicks again as he worked up into that springboard stomp to Trent.
We’re back to dives as Travis’s low-pe took the champions into the front row… and that gave Brookes an idea as he followed up with a tope con giro into the pair of them. Well, those wooden seats are certainly getting tested in this show! A double team back suplex/powerbomb should have ended the match, but Brookes barely breaks it up in time, before he almost gets rolled up with a Bate small package.
Trent fires back once more, powerbombing Brookes after he’d sent Banks out to the floor with a back body drop… but a Minoru Suzuki-esque Gotch piledriver attempt is broken up as all four men in the match were left laying. Brookes and Bate are back up first as we enter a Parade of Strikes, ending with a Travis Banks powerbomb to Trent for another near-fall, before the match ends up getting rudely interrupted. Yep, after over 25 minutes, with Chris Brookes having trapped Tyler Bate in an Octopus hold, Zack Gibson and Josh Bodom hit the ring and cause a double-disqualification. Cue the disappointed boos, as the main event is ruled a draw.
In hindsight, it should have been somewhat obvious – the promotional push was always on for Moustache Mountain versus Suzuki-gun at York Hall a few weeks later, and the match, while entertaining, never really got into a higher gear. Still, it did mean we were saved from the awkwardness of champions being awarded just the one title belt… ***¾
The show ends in a bit of a hurry once Gibson and Bodom left, with the camera quickly fading to black as Chris Brookes was left hurt on the floor. Fortunately he was back on his feet, but that was a scary ending live as the Cockpit fell silent. For the start of the Women’s Championship Tournament, Rev Pro’s latest Cockpit show was quite entertaining – as usual, there was nothing bad on the show, with the Phoenix/Lucas tournament match perhaps being the “worst” by virtue of their lack of experience. Regardless of that, this is a show you really need to see, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the names in the tournament, as you’ll be in for plenty of pleasant surprises!