Another month, another Cockpit show as Travis Banks tried to warm up early for CCK’s tag title shot, with a main event against Zack Sabre Jr.
We had a late change to the line-up as Ryan Smile pulled out on show-day… which meant that the scheduled cruiserweight title match for Kurtis Chapman was altered, with him being added to the already-booked Chris Brookes vs. Flash Morgan Webster match… which opened the show. As ever these days, Steve Lynskey is your MC, while the two Andys are on commentary inside the London Cockpit… which came with extra mood lighting before the show, and a different way of lighting the ring. Hope you like shadows!
Rev Pro British Cruiserweight Championship: Chris Brookes vs. Flash Morgan Webster vs. Kurtis Chapman (c)
Out of a frying pan and into a fire for Chapman here, as he had two challengers at the same time for his title… the early stages saw lots of armdrags from all three, before we settled down into the usual two-in, one-out formula.
Brookes’ chops and back sentons looked to give him an edge, but Webster pulls out Brookes so he could have a go, nearly getting a win with a bicycle knee. A Special Brew Flip’s good for another two-count, but Brookes returns the favour from earlier as those two fought outside over who should have a crack at Chapman.
A hand’s up headbutt from Webster leaves Brookes down, but a second one ends up with Flash headbutting the ringpost, before Chapman tried to hit a sunset bomb to Brookes… only to get caught in the ring apron and stomped on. One of these days, eh? Brookes keeps up on Chapman back inside with some stomps to the leg, weakening it further with kicks as Brookes tried to make sure the “Super Contender” couldn’t stand.
Webster comes back to stop Brookes, catching him in a Strangler, but it’s escaped just in time for Chapman to collide into the pair of them with a cannonball off the top. Corner-to-corner shots continue to weaken the pair, as does a suplex, before Chapman turns some headscissors into an attempted Sega Mega Driver on Flash, only for Brookes to catch him and turn it into a swinging neckbreaker off the ropes.
More attempted finishers come and get broken up as all three men are again left laying, but it’s Flash who’s back to drill Chapman with the Angel’s Wings. A senton bomb connects to Chapman, but Brookes tries to steal the pin and only gets a near-fall, before he’s caught with the Sega Mega Driver! Webster returns with the Eton Rifles, with Chapman almost collapsing under it, as that seemed to be the cue for David Starr to wander out.
Starr’s presence distracts Webster, but he comes back with another senton bomb before Starr tried to nail Flash with his own helmet. Webster gets rid of him with a knee, but the distraction pays off in the end as the Chapman Clutch tied up Flash for the win. Pretty good fare to get us underway – and let’s be realistic, there’s no way Brookes was taking the fall given the plans they had for him in the tag title scene. Chapman’s racking up those wins, but he’s still sort-of-a-contender, not exactly dominating in matches, but if he gets past David Starr in Portsmouth later this month, this may well be a long, if not convincing reign for him. ***
Adam Brooks vs. El Phantasmo
It’s a Cockpit debut for the Aussie Brooks, who put away Ryan Smile at High Stakes a few weeks earlier. Andy Simmonz was insufferable on commentary here, even more so than usual, as the “Brooks is my best mate” act wore thin.
Brooks jumped ELP at the bell, shoving him off the top rope as he prepared to backflip into the ring, and the Aussie was all over Phantasmo from the off, wearing his coat to mock the Canadian… at least until Phantasmo started throwing dropkicks and chops his way. ELP keeps up with the aerial stuff, landing a springboard crossbody as he tried to out-do Brooks, but the ropewalk saw him come up a little short, as Brooks shoved him off onto the apron before flying with a DDT onto the side of the apron.
Back inside, ELP nearly catches out Brooks with a crucifix, before he began to slap the taste out of the Aussie’s mouth, but Brookes starts to ground ELP with a head-and-arm submission. A double clothesline leaves both men laying, but Phantasmo’s back on offence quicker, lifting him up into a whirlibird neckbreaker, following back in with a superkick to come within a hair’s breadth of the win.
Brooks nearly steals the win with a Cheeky… poke to the eye, in a bid to antagonise Will Ospreay, before Chris Roberts catches Brooks’ attempt to pin ELP with his feet on the ropes. Despite that though, Brooks is able to continue with a backpack stunner out of the corner… before he’s caught with a gamengiri as he went up top.
ELP capitalises with a top rope ‘rana, then a frog splash, but it’s still not enough, as Brooks has enough left in his tank to hit the Loose Ledge driver (a Destroyer out of the corner). For some reason Brooks undoes a turnbuckle pad, but he’s almost made to pay with a pop-up cutter as the referee hadn’t noticed the missing furniture. It takes Brooks to throw the turnbuckle pad to him to cause the distraction, as a ripcord into a low blow and a Lumbar Check ends up getting Brooks the win. A fun match, but after an earth-shattering performance against Will Ospreay for PROGRESS at the start of the year, Brooks hasn’t quite been able to scale those heights in successive matches. ***¼
Josh Bodom vs. Dan Magee
Magee was a replacement for Eddie Dennis, whose torn pectoral keeps him away from the show. In his stead though, Magee put on a career performance… despite taking a nasty bump to the floor as Josh Bodom shoved him down.
Dan rebounds pretty quickly though, taking the fight to Bodom as the contender was blinded by his own red mist. It’s hard hitting stuff too, with Bodom threatening to superplex Magee to the floor, only for Dan to… hit him with his own move?! The actual hell?! Bodom saves himself with a rope break as Magee went back to giving as good as he got against Rev Pro’s marmite figure.
A Slingblade from Magee gets a near-fall as the crowd were slowly working through “songs they can chant Dan to”… with “Match of the Day” being the choice as Bodom gets spiked on a top rope ‘rana as Magee continued to dominate. Magee keeps going, with a pumphandle version of Go To Sleep leaving Josh laying once more, but a flying enziguiri knocks Dan onto the top rope as he took too long to climb those ropes.
Somehow, Magee nails a Destroyer out of the corner, but it’s still not enough, as Bodom’s able to hit back with a buckle bomb and a coast-to-coast cannonball, before giving a receipt for that earlier Bliss Buster to get the win. A nice effort from Magee, who looked much better here than last month… and you have to wonder, is this Bodom showing weakness in the singles game, as he had no Zack Gibson here today. ***½
After the match, Magee offered a handshake to Bodom, but of course it was kicked away as Josh reignited the brawl. That was a dumb move.
David Starr vs. Mike Bailey
With Starr having a Cruiserweight title shot at Kurtis Chapman in a week or so, this match may be a foregone conclusion. Starr came out wearing Flash Morgan’s helmet, and began by taking his chance to address the crowd… and shut down those odd loud ones as he told us why he interfered in the opener. Spoiler: he wanted to preserve his title match.
Starr’s restless from the off as he’s annoyed with Bailey taking so long to fold his gear, but when we get going, Starr’s on the back foot as Bailey went for him with kicks… to the point where David wanted a good old-fashioned test of strength… which Bailey just ignored so he could kick him anyways.
More kicks and knees from Bailey have Starr reeling ahead of a running corkscrew press that took Starr to the outside… but the Product drags him out and dumps him on the side of the apron. If that’s the hardest part of the ring, is the centre of the ring by its very nature the softest part?
Back inside, Bailey’s quickly squashed in the corner with a sliding crossbody, before pinning Speedball to the point where some neck bridges were needed to keep the Canadian in it. Just like that, Bailey’s moonsault slam nearly puts Starr away as we’re back to the kicks that chopped Starr down to the mat again. Some missed shooting star knees nearly give Starr a way back in, as does a low kick… only for Bailey to hit back with a Golden Triangle moonsault!
Starr’s able to rebound quickly with a Product Recall for a near-fall, only for Bailey to finally land those moonsault knees, before the pair traded off with German suplexes. A thumb to the eye from Starr leads to a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron for Bailey, before the Han Stansen lariat drew another near-fall, as did a death valley driver into the corner. Bailey knees away from a Blackheart Driver, then connects with another series of kicks ahead of a moonsault slam off the middle rope… but it’s still not enough! More moonsault knees leave Starr down for a two-count… and despite throwing in a Dragon suplex and a corkscrew kick into the corner, Speedball misses with the shooting star knees, allowing Starr to come back with the Blackheart Buster for another near-fall. The trash talking returns… and earns Starr a head kick, but he’s back in with a satellite headscissors into a Destroyer.
Flash Morgan Webster wanders out to get his helmet… and Roberts, like the idiot he is, is distracted as Bailey had a long visual pin… before Starr snatched the win with a roll-up. Stellar stuff from both guys, and David Starr in this form is massively entertaining – as is a lot of the current breed of bad guys who are talking so much sense it’s hard to boo them beyond how whiny their character comes over as. ***¾
Sammii Jayne vs. Nina Samuels
From the fall-out of last month’s tournament, we had Sammii Jayne back to make a statement against Nina Samuels – as the promotion’s women’s division looked to be in a holding pattern while Jinny’s broken hand heals up.
Sammii tries to charge Nina at the bell, but Samuels sidesteps and boots her outside as we started out hot here… a back suplex onto the apron quickly followed for Jayne (yeah, hardest part of the ring, blah blah) as Nina gets an early near-fall. It’s all Samuels too, but that initial flurry can’t quite put Sammii away, and the Scotswoman hits back with a ‘rana out of the corner before running into a big boot.
Jayne takes over with more forearms before a snapping suplex almost puts Nina away. An enziguiri misses from Nina, as Sammii wrenches away in a version of the STF, following up with a little bit of rope choking and an enziguiri as the EVE champion looked to be in control. Sammii keeps up on Nina with a Trailer Hitch, but Nina’s not got far to drag herself into the ropes… Sammii’s back with a version of the abdominal stretch, but Nina escapes and springs off the middle rope with one foot for a crossbody to get herself some distance. The Samuels comeback sees her pull off the Mr. Perfect neck flip and an enziguiri… but another springboard’s stopped in the ropes as Sammii hits a sliding German suplex for good measure.
A Meteora off the top connects as Sammii nearly picked up the win, but another charge into the corner misses as Nina traps her head for… a cheeky Helluva kick! Samuels followed up with a powerbomb out of the corner for a two-count, before a Go To Sleep is caught and turned into a Regalplex for a near-fall.
Samuels tries to get the win with a release butterfly suplex, but this time it doesn’t get the win over Sammii, and instead she tries to capitalise off the top rope. It doesn’t work as Sammii lands a top rope ‘rana instead, and we’re back to duelling shots… just as Jinny appears at ringside. Her appearance distracts Nina, who’s made to pay with a Dragon suplex and a death valley driver as Sammii picks up the win. A really solid match between two of the newer faces in the division… and Nina losing doesn’t exactly push her away from that Jinny match, all told. ***
There’s a confrontation after the match between Jinny and Sammii, with the latter offering a handshake… to Jinny’s broken hand. That disrespect led to Jinny using her footwear as a weapon, swiping Sammii with her heeled shoe as the Scotswoman was sent packing. The sound guy messes up by playing Jinny’s music during her speech towards the rest of the division, which didn’t have any of the sympathy-gaining stuff that we heard at PROGRESS, as Jinny promised to return and stay on top.
Legion of Lords (Lord Gideon Grey & No Fun Dunne) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
The story going into the match was that Rev Pro were forcing Gideon Grey to choose between his two friends… but we still had some favouritism shown by the Lord, as he “paid” for his “very good friend” Rishi Ghosh to go to New York while he tagged with “best friend” No Fun Dunne instead.
In their first match since coming up short against Los Ingobernables de Japon at High Stakes… this should be a pretty straightforward one, especially since Mark Davis was making a habit of punching out Gideon every time he tried to get involved. That left Gideon’s “best friend” Dunne to fend for himself for an awfully long time… and not very well against Davis’ power game.
A cheapshot from Dunne turned things around though, with Fletcher becoming the proverbial whipping boy… at least until he got the hot tag back to Davis, who was more than eager to chop his way through the Legion. An errant strike from Dunne takes Gideon down again, and it’s back to square one. Even back to the punch too, especially when Gideon tried to stop a pull-up piledriver!
Gideon gets some stuff too, in the form of a pop-up cutter from the Aussies as the match became a lot more evenly balanced… even more so when Grey uses his cane on Fletcher while the ref was distracted… but he’s still able to kick out at two! A lawn-dart throw takes Gideon into the turnbuckles, but Dunne’s back in to continue the Parade of Moves, which ends when he’s superkicked into a pull-up piledriver, followed up by a Fidget Spinner as the Aussies comfortably put away the Legion. Enjoyable stuff for the semi-main event – but with the tag titles effectively on ice until May, it’s going to be a weird few months for any team here not named CCK. ***¼
Travis Banks vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
With May’s Epic Encounters headlining with CCK challenging Suzuki-gun for the tag titles, this is a bit of a warm-up… and since Banks and Sabre have had plenty of cracking matches between the pair of them (Fight Club Pro, WCPW and even the prior night in Ireland for OTT), this was going to be pretty good.
There’s a lot of ground-based stuff, as you’d expect out of Sabre, but Banks starts to find some success with strikes, as he chops Sabre down with relative ease… and manages to get back in with a simple thrust kick as soon as Sabre threatened to tie him in knots again. Like the previous encounters, it was a very satisfying technical vs. strike-based match, albeit one that the crowd largely watched with a respectful silence, as opposed to any kind of strong reaction or duelling chants even.
Sabre eventually outsmarts Banks’ kicking game by leaping away from kicks and leg sweeps before tying him in an ankle lock, only for Travis to roll free and chain together a shotgun dropkick and a springboard stomp to collect a near-fall. Zack’s back in with a triangle armbar, but Banks is able to make it to the ropes, as another comeback sees his strike game get matches by the dual champion.
A PK from Sabre’s quickly replied to with a diving clothesline, but Zack’s back with another PK for a near-fall, before he traps Banks in the Euro clutch for a near-fall… which Banks turns into a German suplex from the kick-out. The Slice of Heaven knocks Sabre down from his knees, before a second one’s caught and turned into a triangle armbar, but this time Travis is able to powerbomb his way free.
Banks tries to end things with a Kiwi Krusher, but Sabre’s able to float over into a guillotine… only for the Kiwi Krusher to get hit anyway for a near-fall… from the kick-out, Travis traps Sabre in the Lion’s Clutch, but that too is countered around until Sabre ducks a roundhouse from Banks and catches a second Euro Clutch for the win. A pretty solid match between the bells, but the lack of crowd reactions suggests that CCK vs. Suzuki-gun perhaps isn’t as profoundly good guy/bad guy oriented as you’d think. ***½
February’s trip to the Cockpit was business as usual for Rev Pro – good wrestling, with a few matches threatening to stick out from the pack. Dan Magee continues to shine at the Cockpit, with his performance stealing the show somewhat, but with storylines shuffling forward at best here, it’ll be interesting to see what’s on-tap in March.