Zack Gibson was made out to be the April Fool as Rev Pro’s trip to the London Cockpit produced a big upset.
After reverting to double duty last month, Andy Quildan was back to just doing commentary alongside “other Andy” Simmonz… Steve Lynskey returned as ring announcer, presumably costing him less than the flight he bought for the now-defunct 5*…
Zack Gibson vs. Dan Magee
Ahead of the match, Gibson laid into Andy Q for making this match, given that he already held a win over Magee in singles and tag team action (Cockpits 13 and 22 for those wondering)… and especially so when he considered the talk of the wrestling world “because Big Dave can’t shut up about me.”
So perhaps it was no surprise that this wasn’t a one-sided squash, with Magee continuing his good form in the ring, proving to be more than a match for Gibson, holding on as the Scouser tried to make an example out of him. Despite the crowd making fun of him for being “predictable”, Gibson kept trying to make Magee tap to the Shankly Gates, working on the arm before building up to that… Problem was, Magee was able to survive, and he ended up shocking Gibson with a spider superplex, before he pulled himself up for a top rope moonsault to win the match. A huge, huge upset win for the Contender, and a result that massively disrupts whatever designs Zack had of singles gold. Seeing how Josh Bodom’s off in Japan for a while, Zack may have to start all over again… ***
Legion of Lords (Rishi Ghosh & Los Federales Santos Jr.) vs. Chuck Mambo & Jack Sexsmith
Some debuts here, with Mambo and Sexsmith making their first appearances for Rev Pro – against the “new” Legion of Lords that was finding success in spite of being clearly marked as the group’s B-team.
Santos brought out his “No Fun Gun” before the match, threatening Mambo and Sexsmith for having way too much fun with their balls. Beachballs, that is! Mambo called his bluff on the “it’s not a real gun” thing, only to see that Santos’ gun was more than capable of bursting his beach ball. I really like the way the Legion of Lords have been expanded in Rev Pro – with Gideon Grey introducing No Fun Dunne as his “new best friend”, but despite being an evil genius, they don’t seem to be able to get things going… while Rishi and Santos, despite being portrayed as rather dim-witted in comparison, can’t help but win.
It was the same here – Mambo and Sexsmith had a few chances, but on the whole they were easily kept at bay here, with Sexsmith having enjoyed the early upper hand, but the Lords found themselves more than able to isolate and double-team. In the end, Sexsmith wasn’t able to hold on, and was left prone in the ring as he was squashed with a middle rope splash, before Santos tagged in Rishi and dragged him to make the winning cover. **¾
Killer Kelly vs. Bobbi Tyler
Another pair of debuts here, and you can probably guess which way our support went. Tyler started her career with HOPE Wrestling in and around Milton Keynes, and has slowly been appearing elsewhere with groups like BEW, Southside and Pro Wrestling Pride (holding their women’s title before they closed their doors).
As such, it’s hard to criticise too much, even if there were parts of the match that looked a little less than polished, as that’s only to be expected. Kelly enjoyed large periods on offence, at times blasting through Tyler with some ground and pound – featuring one shot to the head that snuck through Tyler’s defence! Kelly had looked to have the match sewn up, almost forcing a submission with a wild surfboard into a Dragon sleeper, but she played with her prey for too long, prompting Tyler to start a fightback, scoring with a victory roll, before ultimately snatching the win with a roll-up. Not a popular result here, but the match was quickly forgotten moments later… **¼
…when Tyler was attacked by the returning Jinny on her way to the back. Jinny cut a short promo, berating the “girls” who had been trying to impress in her absence, before declaring that the queen was back. Kelly had hung around, and tried to deck the Rev Pro women’s champion with a head kick, only for Jinny to duck and knock her down with a forearm. Next time, Kelly vowed, she’ll not miss…
Adam Brooks & Sean Kustom vs. Team WhiteWolf (A-Kid & Adam Chase)
With Brooks on a collision course for another match against Will Ospreay, we had this tag team match against the impressive Team WhiteWolf, who were back after a loss to Bodom and Gibson last time out.
This match looked to be pretty even, but the Aussies were more than happy to capitalise on referee Chris Roberts’ ineptitude, double-teaming Chase at will as A-Kid watched on in frustration from the apron, helpless at some of the Aussies’ tactics… like pinging the ropes into Chase’s crotch!
Eventually, Kid was able to get the hot tag in and helped to turn things around, but in the end it was a couple of inopportune slips as he went to go off the top rope that led to the finish, with Chase connecting with a moonsault… only for Kustom to pull out the referee. That led to A-Kid trying to take him out with a plancha, but it’s caught and turned into a slam onto the apron as Kustom decked Chase with a forearm, before a facelock DDT and a pumphandle lumbar check got the win. A better showing for the Aussies, with Team WhiteWolf looking solid in defeat – although they’ll need to start turning that form around if they’re to stick around, you feel… ***
TK Cooper vs. Flash Morgan Webster
This match started off the second half, but had very little buzz going into it. Returning to the Cockpit after eight months (his debut came in August, just days before the leg injury in New York for PROGRESS), Cooper had one particularly vocal heckler going against him, while Webster’s response matched his rather patchy results since his five day Cruiserweight title reign at the end of last year.
Unlike the prior week, we weren’t going to be playing with any kind of weapons – and unless Flash went rogue, TK’s teeth were sacred tonight.
A fair part of the match was kept on the mat, but TK’s forearms kept knocking Webster down as Cooper seemed to have Flash’s number. Problem was, TK kept taking his attention off Webster, and it looked like it was going to cost him as Flash came back with a series of forearms into the corner, then a Brit Pop Drop. There’s a nice tip of the hat to another storyline as TK drilled Webster with a Roman Reigns-like spear, before nailing an axe kick that Andy Q almost confused for a very-British “Fame Arser”.
Flash hit back with a ‘rana as he went for some Angel’s Wings, only for TK to escape and trade headbutts as his Samoan head looked to be ever so slightly more effective. Webster’s able to land a reverse ‘rana though, but his leap off the top’s got to be aborted as Cooper’s right back in with a neckbreaker slam and the Rihanna (Snow Plow) for the win! An impressive return for TK, and it’ll be interesting to see where exactly he’ll be slotted in Rev Pro – will a win over a former Cruiserweight champion lead to a showdown with Kurtis Chapman, if he indeed qualifies for that division? ***½
Legion of Lords (Lord Gideon Grey & No Fun Dunne) vs. Kurtis Chapman & Wild Boar
Ahead of the match, Grey announced that he and Dunne were the “A-team” of the Legion of Lords… prompting the crowd to sing the A-Team theme song. Or in his words, make noises that he didn’t understand.
Last time at the Cockpit, the Lords’ evil plan didn’t quite work as Kurtis Chapman snuck out with the Cruiserweight title in a defence against Dunne – despite Santos and Rishi helping out. This time it was firmly two-on-two, with Gideon being decidedly less-than-subtle when it came to not tagging in.
Despite that, No Fun Dunne’s able to distract Chapman periodically, freezing a springboard out of the corner so Gideon could pull him down with a One Winged Stunner, all while the Legion of Lords wore down the Cruiserweight champion – inadvertently geeing up Wild Boar on the apron. Of course, the hot tag eventually came, with Boar clearing house on Grey and Dunne with clotheslines, before setting them both up for a back senton!
Gideon’s back with a shotgun dropkick, sending the Boar into a slingshot back cracker from Dunne, leaving Chapman on his lonesome as Grey teased a belt shot… of course it’s a distraction as Dunne’s loudhailer was used instead for a near-fall. Another springboard lungblower almost got the win, but Gideon demanded to be tagged in so he could score the “unselfish” win, almost like he was trying to one-up Rishi Ghosh… but it was his downfall as he instantly fell to a Chapman Clutch. D’oh!
This was a great old-school tag match, with the Legion of Lords – in spite of their inability to win – perfectly playing their antagonist roles. Heck, this match drew perhaps the hottest reaction from the crowd, which had rather more kids than usual owing to the Easter break. Perhaps it’s because they can relate to Kurtis and an angry boar? It also goes without saying that Boar is massively underrated and should be appearing in more places than he is! ***¼
Joey Janela vs. El Phantasmo
Days ahead of his second Spring Break, Joey Janela was back at the London Cockpit preparing to show off a lot of the moves he probably won’t be able to get away with in New Orleans.
Six months ago, he was at the Cockpit and came up short against Ryan Smile – this time, he was up against El Phantasmo – a man who is on a collision course with one of Smile’s former tag team partners, Will Ospreay. In line with the “good guy versus bad boy” tag line, this was a fun main event that allowed Janela to show that he was more than “just a guy who falls off things”, working over Phantasmo on the ground in the early stages.
We got the Phantasmo rope walk, but Janela pulled away a leg to crotch him, as the pair brawled around the ring, leading to Janela threatening a “Cornette Driver” – but the apron death valley driver was avoided, with Phantasmo wriggling free and landing a DDT onto the apron instead. Back inside, a double-jump splash nearly gets Phantasmo the win, before Janela landed a nice German suplex, following up with a Destroyer… except ELP hit straight back with a piledriver as we got the “can’t do that in NOLA!” specials. The pace again quickened as Janela, then ELP miss moonsaults, before they trade off superkicks, and eventually end with a tombstone from Janela for a near-fall.
Phantasmo cuts off a powerbomb off the top and lands a superplex… rolling through after landing into a Burning Hammer?! Okay, this really is checking off the NOLA list, as he finishes with the top rope senton and moonsault combo for the win! A wild match to end the latest show at the Cockpit, and with a win over one of the hotter names on the indy scene, Phantasmo’s got a lot more steam under him ahead of his clash with Will Ospreay at York Hall next month. ***½
Rev Pro’s April show at the Cockpit was a nice change of pace – with a large section of their roster otherwise engaged at Fight Club: Pro’s Dream Tag Team Invitational, Rev Pro were forced to call in the proverbial reinforcements. Debuts for Jack Sexsmith, Chuck Mambo, Bobbi Tyler and Killer Kelly were more than welcome, while a plethora of tag team matches helped to string along existing storylines without necessarily making that division needlessly bloated.
Even with reinforcements, I did like how the promotion set the table for matches down the line – with a clear collision between the Legion of Lords almost certainly in the stars, while the prospect of Jinny taking on Killer Kelly may be some ways off – particularly given the result on the show – but it’ll be nice to see how far Kelly has progressed since some of her earlier, short matches against Jinny in wXw barely six months ago.
Bizarrely, as a go home show for Rev Pro’s next York Hall show, this did precious little in terms of direct build, thanks in large part to the aforementioned DTTI. Still, the York Hall shows have tended to be largely “dream match” based, and since we already had clashes with Travis Banks and Zack Sabre Jr., it wasn’t exactly going to be easy for the promotion to do anything to directly build up the tag team main event, even if all participants were in Marylebone rather than Birmingham and Tokyo respectively!