After a several week wait, Rev Pro’s July trip to the Cockpit made it’s VOD appearance – so, how was it?
Well, the show was filmed without any live commentary, hence the delay, and was the first real Rev Pro show since the promotion was forced to shed WWE-contracted talent. So, was this a new Rev Pro or a promotion in an awkward transition period? The two Andys are live-on-tape…
Arrows Of Hungary (Dover & Icarus) vs. Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter)
In recent years the Hunters have barely been used by Rev Pro, last appearing in October in a tag title eliminator against Moustache Mountain. Before then, you’d have to go back to June 2016 where they lost to Joel Redman and Charlie Sterling…
In a move that the Hunters would do well to borrow, the Arrows have their names on their trunks, although unless Icarus lets himself go, you can tell them apart. The Hunters exchange frequent tags in a bid to isolate Icarus, but the Hungarians instantly took over as Dover tags in and grounds Jim Hunter with a headlock, then a scoop slam. The Hunters’ experience quickly shows though as they double-team Icarus, but it’s short lived as the Arrows go back to the double-teaming as the crowd slowly warmed to them… which was apt since the Cockpit was ludicrously warm. A nice snapping suplex from Icarus is good for a near-fall, before Jim’s bid to make the tag out ended when Icarus yanked Lee off the apron at the last second. Classic tag work.
Jim’s kept in there as he eats a cannonball and a suplex/powerbomb combo for a near-fall, before he finally got free and tagged in Lee, who was a proverbial house on fire, clashing into Dover with a forearm. There’s a version of Destino to Jim to Dover… but Icarus cuts it all off before he eats a cutter from Lee, who wouldn’t stay down. Dover takes a neckbreaker into Jim’s knees, as the Hunters peppered the Hungarians with double-teams… but it wasn’t to be as Jim’s caught in the corner and met with an Alabama Slam with a kick on the way down.
Lee’s thrown into a Khali chop from Icarus, and it’s not long before the Arrows strike with duelling knees for the win. A decent tag team opener, but the Arrows are still in the process of establishing themselves in Rev Pro – as the promotion looks for their next viable challenger for Suzuki-gun’s titles. ***
Martin Kirby vs. Great O-Kharn
Where the bloody hell is “Frisk” in North Yorkshire?! It’s been over two and a half years since Martin Kirby had been in Rev Pro, and nearly three since he’d picked up a win… but with his opponent today, you’d expect that run may go on a little longer.
Commentary tells us that O-Kharn’ll be in England for up to two years (and thankfully, he’s got booking away from Rev Pro, so it’ll not just be their monthly shows he’ll be on… although I don’t know if he’s doing Rev Pro’s camps this summer). O-Kharn’s all over Kirby’s ear and nose in the early going as he all about those shortcuts. Kirby scores with headscissors before he rolled O-Kharn into a leg grapevine to force him into the ropes… but here come the Mongolian chops! We’re outside as Kirby’s Snake Eye’d onto the ring apron… but back inside Kirby turns it around with a Slingblade for a near-fall. An enziguiri keeps Kirby on-track, only for him to get caught with O-Kharn’s bow-and-arrow torture rack-like hold.
After letting go, O-Kharn declared “goodbye face” ahead of a face-first suplex, but it’s still not enough, as he scaled the ropes for one more Mongolian chop… and that’s your lot. By-the-numbers stuff, but a decent showing for O-Kharn in his Cockpit debut. There’s still plenty of work to be done on fine-tuning the character and his act for the UK audience… but this was a lot more palatable than his debut. **¾
Legion of Lords (Lord Gideon Grey, Rishi Ghosh, No Fun Dunne & Los Federales Santos Jr.) vs. Colt Cabana, Sugar Dunkerton, Chuck Mambo & Kurtis Chapman
We’ve a comedy eight-man tag here as the Legion of Lords story continued to evolve… with a nice little throwback to the feud between Colt Cabana and Gideon Grey several years ago.
All of the good guys coming out at once rather diluted the crowd reactions to them, and we started with Dunne and Mambo… and hey, that’s a REAL ring bell! The good guys danced along to the chants (or at least they tried to) as this match was all about trying to make the Anti-Fun Police have fun… and after a dizzying series of wristlocks, Mambo managed to… get taken down! A drop toe hold returns the favour as Dunne’s surfboarded into the corner, but the in-ring action’s completely no-sold as the Andys discuss the card. In the meantime, Santos comes in and tries to scream while losing his voice… before he pulled out his No Fun Gun on Colt. Who just slaps him. At least commentary laid out for the in-ring comedy here!
Colt takes a break from slaps to try and shoulder barge Santos, but it’s a bigger ask than he expected… so he slaps him again. Nice and easy! Gideon tags in and gets caught out straight away, before Kurtis Chapman comes in for a “smuttering of boos”… I don’t think that’s the word! Gideon tried to take over, but he’s caught in the ropes for some headscissors, then a knee as Chapman scored with a stomp to a doubled-over Grey for a near-fall.
Sugar Dunkerton’s in to dance with the referee, raising questions over his impartiality, before some hip gyrations forced Rishi to break a waistlock. There’s front and back rakes from Sugar, forcing Rishi to beg for mercy before he ends up eating one off the middle rope. The ring fills up as we break down into the obligatory dance-off, building up to the sprinkler from Santos and some stunned disbelief from Dunne.
After it breaks down, the Legion isolated Chapman until he mounts a comeback with a cannonball, before bringing Cabana back in to bust out Bionic elbows and Dusty punches. Some headscissors take down Rishi, before a flying asshole and a Bushwhacker-like battering ram almost puts away Rishi. Dunne’s back in with a spear as a Parade of Moves broke out, finishing with Santos hitting… Darkness Falls to Chapman?! A Gory Special/Flatliner combo between Rishi and Gideon leaves Dunkerton down… and now Gideon wants Rishi to fly?! He takes too long and Dunkerton ends up hits him with a head kick… only for Santos to come in and help out with a Rocket Launcher into Sugar, and that’s the out-of-nowhere win! This was alright, but the comedy match fell flat at points, I thought. Perhaps it was the heat? **
Post-match, Gideon was all mad that Rishi got the pin and not him… and so the Legion were once again fighting among themselves.
Mike Bailey & Lucky Kid vs. CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos)
Originally a singles match between Bailey and Brookes, this became a tag match with the debuting Lucky Kid! Well, fortunately a few of us knew the music!
If you’ve seen Lucky anywhere before, you know what we’re in for. An overly-attached friendship with Mike Bailey… and some sheer awe of being in the same ring with “Brookesy”. Lykos and Bailey start us off as commentary lose track of the number of “Kid”s in wrestling, and we’re quickly squaring off and into the tags out as Lucky Kid just couldn’t get over his, erm… luck? Brookes isn’t exactly unnerved, but he watches on in disbelief as Lucky Kid plays around on the mat, grabbing Brookes by the leg before tripping him to the mat. A slap shows that Brookes isn’t in the mood for playing around, but Lucky’s able to get back in, sending Brookes to the outside before showing that even in the Cockpit, we blaaah!
Lykos comes in to cheapshot Lucky… and all of a sudden Speedball learns how to BLAAH, much to the delight of his partner. Problem was, Lykos quickly came back and caught him in the ropes with a flip senton for a near-fall, allowing Brookes to come in and chop the living daylights out of Lucky. A back senton keeps Lucky on the mat, as Lykos comes back in to keep up the offence… but brainbusters don’t work and Lucky’s able to get the tag out. Bailey misses the standing moonsault knees as CCK stay in the game, bringing Brookes in for the rope-hung neckbreaker for a two-count… then a pump kick as Bailey had tried to stem the tide. Finally Bailey connects with a kick, before the two Kids came in to have it out… Lykos blocks a Dragon suplex but ends up taking a lifting reverse DDT as Brookes made a timely save.
Another run-in from Bailey sees him sent splatting to the outside as Lucky’s double-teamed once more… more CCK double-teams are saved by Bailey, who starts bust out some kicks, feeding Lykos into an Asai DDT by Lucky, before those shooting star knees finally connect… but only for a near-fall. An exchange of kicks left Bailey standing tall, as Brookes ends up taking the inside-out moonsault to the floor… as picked up by the returning Rev Pro Blurry Cam!
Lykos catches Lucky up top as he tries for a brainbuster… but it’s countered into a Ligerbomb with a high and awkward landing for a near-fall. We’re still breaking up pins as the match stays alive, with another Parade of Moves breaking out, ending with the CCK lungblower/back senton on Lucky for a near-fall, before a Lykos brainbuster finally connects for the win. A pretty good showing for Lucky Kid, but the established team winning was the right move as the log jammed division continued to shake themselves down. ***¼
Post-match, all four men celebrated in the ring as Lucky Kid got his RISE finger touches… much to his delight.
Aussie Bad Boys (Adam Brooks & Sean Kustom) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
One of those team names is painfully bad.
There’s a jump start before the bell as Kustom and Brooks looked to isolate Dunkzilla from the off, aided by referee Chris Roberts not giving a damn about the whole concept of the “legal man”. Apparently it’s a tornado match as Kyle Fletcher returns to try his luck, but he too is overwhelmed as a slingshot DDT from Brooks picks up a near-fall. Fletcher ends up getting isolated as Brooks and Kustom coaxed Davis into the ring repeatedly to give them windows for double-teams as the evil Aussies indulged in some old-school tag team work to ensure the larger Davis couldn’t get in. Problem was, a lot of the crowd were too hot and too tired to care about Brooks or Kustom, while Andy Simmons tried to throw in a World Cup reference on commentary.
Brooks continues to pound on Fletcher in the corner as the crowd got behind him, but there’s a cheapshot from Kustom as the referee was again out of position. Eventually Fletcher manages to break free, dropping Brooks with a Michinoku driver before finally escaping to make the tag… and here’s an angry Mark Davis with chops and clotheslines! There’s a whoopee cushion for Brooks, then a diving punch into the corner, before he stopped a DDT from Kustom as again, the two-on-one went unchallenged.
Nevermind, Aussie Open played that game well, with an assisted Go To Sleep and the assisted cutter spiking Brooks for a near-fall, sparking off a Parade of Moves as again… tags? What are those? There’s a sheer drop brainbuster from Kustom to Fletcher, but he’s quickly taken down as the moves keep going until Fletcher’s again isolated, with a Kustom frog splash and a senton bomb from Brooks flattening him for a near-fall.
The two-on-one from the villains continued, but Davis manages to overcome it until Kustom laid him out with a DDT. Kustom keeps up on Fletcher, escaping a lawn dart before a forearm takes Kyle back into the corner. Fletcher again slips as he tried to fight back out of the corner, but he’s able to get the springboard X-Factor for the win. On the rewatch, I couldn’t get into this one bit. This was the most egregious example of “Chris Roberts officiating” that I can recall in some time – what was the point of this being a tag team match when there were large parts of the match being uncontested two-on-ones? It totally took me out of the contest – even if I were in the minority. ***
Veda Scott vs. Jamie Hayter
This was Hayter’s debut at the Cockpit – and her first appearance since beating Jinny for the women’s title a few weeks earlier.
Hayter had to punch out of some headscissors early on, before she took Scott down to the mat… then into the corner as Veda came back with a shotgun dropkick and a sliding splash. That’s enough for a just a one-count as Veda looked to mount a comeback… with a back rake! She manages to throw in an axe kick to the head, then a swinging neckbreaker for a near-fall, before trapping Hayter in a crossface.
Eventually Hayter began to fire back with forearms in the corner, before she suplexes Scott into those buckles. Another suplex dumped Veda in the middle of the ring, but the American’s able to kick her way back into the match, before a clothesline off the middle rope and a cutter leaves Jamie down. A sorta-Shining Wizard’s good for a near-fall, as Veda tries again to kick her way to victory… then she splashes Hayter in the corner as she tried to climb the ropes.
It’s very much a one sided contest against Hayter… but just as I say that she begins a fightback with knees and forearms, before a curb stomp dropped Veda for a two-count, as a Falcon arrow quickly followed to get the champion the win. This was alright, but it showed the problem Rev Pro’s going to have to overcome in the next little while. After having built their entire division around Jinny, they’re having to restart from the ground up… with virtually nobody established in the division. It doesn’t help that Hayter is much more effective as a bad guy… but let’s see where this goes. Surely it can’t be another year of the same patterned “champion versus contender of the month” stuff, can it? **¾
Josh Bodom vs. WALTER
You know what we were all here for.
Bodom was unfazed, trying to antagonise WALTER before the bell, and the early stages see WALTER just toying with him. The tactic of Bodom was one we’re seeing fairly frequently against WALTER – target his leg with kicks, in a bid to keep him on the mat… but first, there’s crossface forearms to Bodom’s chest, one of them ending producing such a glorious shot for a t-shirt.
Bodom’s kicks start to have an effect, forcing WALTER to grab a cravat to restrict things, then try his best to throw his forearm through the former cruiserweight champion. Still, Bodom keeps trying with his kicks, but the size difference just ends with WALTER trying to stomp through him as he rolled to the outside. WALTER follows him, but it turns into a game of cat and mouse that ended with Bodom using a Dragon screw between the ropes as he resumed his game plan. Bodom deviates a little for a springboard missile dropkick, but he’s caught as WALTER turns him into a STF… forcing him into the ropes as Bodom again found himself on the wrong end of a giant Austrian.
Somehow, Bodom’s able to get in a German suplex, but WALTER instantly replies with a shotgun dropkick that landed Bodom upside down in the corner. Like he’d been shot out of a cannon. He’s able to get back to his feet to catch WALTER with elbows, but those are returned before Bodom blocks a chop and throws some more kicks… but that just pissed off WALTER. There’s more elbows from Bodom, who’s rocked in return, and then… CHOP! The crowd popped for it, as WALTER jumped on him… only to almost get pinned as Bodom rolled out of the Gojira clutch. WALTER’s quickly back in though with a neckbreaker slam and a lariat for a near-fall, before he started to tear into Bodom… big boot and a folding powerbomb, and that’s your lot. While not the one-sided domination many expected, this was a hell of a slugfest, which gave the crowd the one thing they wanted. Bodom did well in the role, even if he is in a bit of a weird position in Rev Pro right now. ***¾
Post-match, Bodom does a Suzuki and lays out two trainees, one of whom may have been JonTron, who randomly came into the ring. Dan Magee comes out to make the save, laying out Bodom with a uranage to send him packing.
El Phantasmo vs. Naoki Tanizaki
This was Tanizaki’s final match of his UK tour, but with El Phantasmo heading into a cruiserweight title match with David Starr later in August… you can perhaps guess the outcome.
There’s Dad jokes ahoy as Andy Simmonz jokes about Tanizaki’s “Dove Soap” title, and we finally get going once Roberts remembers to get the bell rung. Tanizaki and Phantasmo go for each other’s wrists early on as they kept the match grounded… but the pace quickly increases as the pair tore through into the duelling dropkicks and the obligatory stand-off. Knuckle locks from Tanizaki forced Phantasmo to bridge up off the mat, before he countered it into a spot of rope-walking, en route to a ‘rana as Tanizaki flew across the ring.
Phantasmo keeps up as he ties up Tanizaki for a surfboard stretch, but they’re too close to the corner as Tanizaki’s able to lean his head into the rope to break it. The pair exchange forearms as Phantasmo ends up running into some boots in the corner, before he’s slammed in the middle of the ring. An octopus stretch followed as Phantasmo found himself on the defensive, before he avoids the Casanova running knee… and ends up making a comeback with some springboards, nearly ending things with a Lionsault. Some more knees from Tanizaki rock Phantasmo, as he ends up getting caught in the ropes ahead of a diving knee off the top. A tombstone from Tanizaki nearly ends it there, as Phantasmo’s able to eke his way back in, only for the whirlibird neckbreaker to get flipped out of as the match descended into a slugfest with back-and-forth elbows. Eventually Tanizaki lands a headbutt and the Casanova knees as he picked up a near-fall… only for Phantasmo to come right back with a whirlibird neckbreaker.
Phantasmo surges ahead from there, collecting a near-fall before going up top for a senton bomb, then a springboard moonsault off the top… and that’s your lot! ELP gets the win after a fun back-and-forth main event – giving him plenty of momentum going into the match with David Starr at York Hall. ***¾
Post-match, Phantasmo put over Tanizaki – and his UK tour – as some of the crowd were starting to leave…then cut a promo on how he’s fought his way from the bottom of the British scene a year ago, all the way to his title match against David Starr at the Summer Sizzler, vowing to leave Bethnal Green with the title.
Rev Pro’s July trip to the Cockpit was alright – but suffered a similar fate of a crowd that was heavily muted because of the suffocating heat inside the venue. But the in-ring was perfectly fine as the promotion continues to rebuild its roster ahead of their next big York Hall show…