A mystery show greeted regulars as Rev Pro Week continued with their latest trip to the Cockpit.
Only two things were known: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Chris Ridgeway was on the card, and Juice Robinson was making an appearance. Since he was in the country, Kevin Kelly’s on commentary alongside Andy Simmons… and we’re going to try and keep this brief since this is probably the most hand-waved show on “Rev Pro Week”.
HxC (Dan Head & James Castle) vs. Arrows Of Hungary (Dover & Icarus)
A rematch from Rev Pro’s Chelmsford show a few months earlier, this was a chance for the Arrows to make it 2-0 on what was becoming a very happy hunting ground for them.
A jump start put them on shaky ground though, as Head and Castle put the boots to Icarus in the opening stages, with the newly-form anarchic duo indulging in some old school teamwork that kept Icarus isolated. At least until he caused them to run into each other as he set up an “accidental” DDT and ahead of a tag to a fired-up Dover. There’s a German suplex for Head, who tries to mount a comeback… only to get caught with a share of a double slam. A cannonball flattened Castle for a near-fall, and he was able to rebound with a quick-fire pair of stomps to wipe out the Arrows. An attempted dive on Dover just earns Castle a punch to the head as Head stutters, before he recovers with a Widow’s Peak neckbreaker that would have won the match, only for Icarus to break it up with a senton bomb.
In the end though, Chris Roberts lost control and after the Arrows get shoved into each other, James Castle snatches the win with a roll-up. A solid match, but one that felt like it lacked urgency by the end. ***
Great O-Kharn vs. Kurtis Chapman
It’s a familiar spot in the Cockpit – second on the card for the Dominator… and it’s another high profile opponent here as he took on former Cruiserweight champion Kurtis Chapman.
Chapman perhaps sensed the crowd’s lack of faith in him early on, in spite of Chapman’s bid to force an early submission with the Caps Lock armbar. We need the Keyboard Warrior character here, stat! In the interim, Chapman really struggled to get anything going against O-Kharn, save for a flurry after O-Kharn missed a charge into the corner… but the travelling Young Lion was very quickly back on with the stomps.
Another comeback from Chapman sees him score a chinbreaker, but his crossbody is caught and turned into a Hot Shot on the rope. Yep, surprisingly one-way traffic here from O-Kharn, who had to kick out of some roll-up and backslides as Chapman finally strung some offence together, hitting a gamengiri on the apron before a flip cannonball finally takes O-Kharn off his feet. The Caps Lock’s reapplied, but O-Kharn gets to the ropes and hits back with a reverse STO, the claw-assisted stretch and then the claw chokeslam for a near-fall as Chapman kicked out. A reverse suplex quickly follows… and was enough to get the W. Pretty much a squash, as Kurtis Chapman offered precious little threat. **½
Legion Of Lords (Gideon Grey & Rishi Ghosh) vs. 2 Unlimited (Jay Sammon & Patrick Sammon)
This was 2 Unlimited’s first outing in the Cockpit for over three years… and featured Gideon Grey berating the crowd for cheering him. Hoisting us by our own petards by demanding silence and getting the exact opposite. While Gideon was “relentlessly British” as a fellow reviewer called him, Rishi was the equivalent of Harry Enfield’s “Tim Nice But Dim”, which led to this lovely head-pat.
This was the first time I’d seen 2 Unlimited live in over a year, having seen them for BEW on one of their final shows before they took a sabbatical. Perhaps diving into a bar was the final straw for them? That and a rather comprehensive squash in OTT…
Gideon starts by showing his technical chops, but 2 Unlimited Jay flips all over the place and catches Gideon off guard. Patrick tags in to “properly wrestle”, but he too uses the ropes for some flippy goodness before Gideon reversed a wristlock. You could sense a little bit of ring rust from the Sammons, but they were able to get around as needed,with a Sharpshooter from Patrick forcing Gideon to scramble for the ropes.
Rishi returns, but his brief comeback ends as he’s thrown into Gideon’s boot before 2 Unlimited exchanged some quick tags and quick flips in the corner. Some double-teaming from the Lords led to Jay taking a hot shot into the corner for a near-fall, as the Lords looked to be comfortable… perhaps a little too comfortable as they took their time wearing down Jay without dealing a killer blow. That just opened things up as Jay hit back, and allows Patrick to get the hot tag… there’s a Sliced Bread onto the apron for Rishi, and a missile dropkick for Gideon, before they go in for a Hart Attack Blockbuster for Rishi.
Gideon’s caught with a lungblower and a wheelbarrow German for a near-fall, but the Lords turn it around with a torture rack drop for another two-count. There’s a Destino from Gideon to Jay, but Patrick’s back with a cutter out of the corner as all four men are down. The Lords get back to their feet, only for 2 Unlimited to land duelling superkicks, which promoted Rishi to spear his way back.
An attempted Rocket Launcher goes awry as Rishi just hits the mat, and it’s just a matter of time before he takes the L, courtesy of a 450 splash off of Patrick’s shoulders off the top rope, then a moonsault. This was okay, but the whole look of 2 Unlimited feels like they’re stuck in the past. Evolution, not revolution, I guess… ***
David Starr vs. Juice Robinson
The mystery card continued, with David Starr again venting his frustration as management hadn’t deigned to tell him who he was facing in this non-title match. Especially given that he’d globetrotted from America to Germany to England for this. Complete with a voice that perhaps wasn’t at its best thanks to being choked by a ring rope in Oberhausen 24 hours earlier…
Turned out that the “non-title” aspect applied to his opponent too, as he was facing New Japan’s Juice Robinson, who was over like Rover in the Cockpit. Juice was jumped before he could even take his ring jacket off, but that was no matter as he poked fun at Starr, putting his hat on him before clotheslining the Cruiserweight champion to the outside.
Starr ends up using referee Shay Purser as a human shield to try and get himself back on track – and it worked as a poke to the eye helped turn things around. He focused on Juice’s arms, in a bid to stop him from throwing punches, but Juice was able to withstand some Han Stansen lariats and eventually take down Starr with one of his own. A cannonball squashes Starr, as does a crossbody, before the Product nicked Juice’s light up glasses to stop him from being punched. The leg lariat sends them flying into the crowd instead, but Starr’s able to fight back with a Blackheart Buster, before a Han Stansen almost earned the relative upset. Juice rares back as he avoids a Cherry Mint DDT and hits a falling powerbomb instead, only to get the rope twanged into his neck as Starr gets that DDT off anyway.
Starr tries to throw Juice to the back to get the count-out win, but Juice manages to beat the count, only to take another Han Stansen as the flurry from Starr continues… finishing with the Product Placement German suplex… but Juice kicks out at two! Starr threatens to get himself DQ’d by using his title belt… then has second thoughts as he looked to use Juice’s title belt instead. El Phantasmo rushes out to disarm Starr, and provide the distraction as Robinson nails the Left Hand of God and the Pulp Friction for the win. An entertaining outing – a result that did no harm for either man, and gave us a crowd-pleasing win. ***½
Josh Bodom vs. Psycho Phillips
Making his Cockpit return for the first time in over three years, Psycho Phillips received a rather muted response from the crowd.
Phillips tried to establish himself early by powering Bodom into the corner… but Josh was more than happy to “bang him out” as Psycho asked for. A scoop slam off the ropes sends Bodom to the outside, only for Josh to return with a German suplex for an early near-fall. There more “banging out” as Bodom just boots Phillips in the head, then crushes him with a standing moonsault for an eventual two-count as things took a rather more methodical pace.
Like the lariat from Phillips that flipped Bodom around… and there’s more of the same as Psycho gave what he received earlier, en route to an X-Plex for a near-fall. Bodom flips out of a chokeslam and returns with a superkick… only to run into a Tree Slam as Psycho almost took the win. Bodom returns with a Lo-Bodom-Knee and some kicks before a running shooting star press draws a two-count… only for Bodom to leap into a Fireman’s carry pancake and a spear. With a new sense of urgency, Bodom looks to take out Phillips with a Bliss Buster, but a counter just sees Psycho slingshot himself into a knee strike, before Josh nails the Bliss Buster for the win. As a match to re-establish himself, this was alright… but is it wrong that I found his match with O-Kharn in Southampton more competitive? Another win for Bodom keeps him on whatever he’s doing… presumably that long-fabled move to the heavyweights? **¾
Zoe Lucas vs. Bea Priestley
With Jamie Hayter away in Japan, Zoe Lucas is getting a (relative) run in Rev Pro, but this was her second match in as many days having beaten Zan Phoenix in Leamington 24 hours earlier.
Her opponent here was Bea Priestley, who was wrestling in the Cockpit for the first time in a year (having been involved in Jinny’s first defence of the women’s title at York Hall back in January). She wasn’t exactly the crowd favourite, despite her early offence that saw her take Lucas onto the apron… then dropkick her to the floor.
Zoe tries to get back into the ring, but she catches a charge from Bea and throws some kicks before scoring a split-legged legdrop from the outside, in. Bea retaliates with a shotgun dropkick and a running knee for a near-fall, before both women looked to trade strikes. A missed enziguiri just leaves Zoe prone for a modified surfboard stretch that gave way to a curb stomp, before a Rings of Saturn-like submission forced Lucas to stretch for the ropes with the only limb that Bea couldn’t trap. Bea riles up Lucas with some slaps, and it works as Zoe hits a back fist and some kicks to take Priestley into the corner… only to get suckered in for a Cheeky Nando’s. Priestley tries to set up for a Del Rio stomp out of the corner, but Lucas counters out with a superplex, then an axe kick… only for Priestley to hit back with a Saito suplex for another near-fall.
Bea goes one more time for a leap out of the corner, but she gets caught with a Scorpion kick from Lucas, before the Final Cut legdrop/reverse DDT gets the win. Lucas is on a winning streak, and you’d have to think she’s being prepped for a title shot when Jamie Hayter returns. ***
Dan Magee & El Phantasmo vs. Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm
Another tag team contest, and we’ve got something of a bucket list item for Phantasmo and Magee as they take on two of the bigger names from Britwres of yore.
Phantasmo wanted to start against Jody Fleisch, but instead he has to make do with Jonny Storm, who’s not got any qualms about pulling the hair as he took ELP down with a wristlock. Dan Magee’s quickly tagged in to try his luck, and he was able to smother Storm for a while, only to get caught off guard with a roll-up as Magee had to kick out at two.
Fleisch comes in… but ELP still wants in, and much like an over enthusiastic Young Lion gets his wish, Phantasmo got the tag. The pair nullify each other with their first exchanges, but Fleisch disappoints Phantasmo by tagging out, as we quickly went back to Storm and Magee. A quick double-team nearly put the Wonderkid down, and we’re quickly back to Phantasmo and Fleisch… where a reverse ‘rana sends Phantasmo to the outside as the veterans looked to take over. A version of Total Elimination catches out Magee, who found himself isolated against his much more experienced opponents, at least until he caught Jonny with a Side Effect. Tags bring Phantasmo and ELP back in, with Phantasmo scoring with a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada for a near-fall. Fleisch slipped as he went for the 720 DDT and ends up taking Phantasmo’s whirlibird neckbreaker for a two-count, before some more double-teaming from Phantasmo and Magee almost brought things to an end.
ELP and Magee looked to strike of the top, but Fleisch lands a top rope ‘rana to Dan before the Wonderwhirl from Storm brings Phantasmo down. An assisted German suplex-come-moonsault onto Magee gets another near-fall, before Phantasmo and Storm returned… with ELP nicking the 720 DDT out of Jody Fleisch’s playbook. Jody gives him a taste of his own medicine as the Parade of Moves continues… until Dan Magee whiffed on a top rope splash. Storm and Fleisch looked to take out Magee with the “British Airways” – a flying back senton with a powerbomb on top onto Magee – but Phantasmo is legal, and he ends up scoring with a roll-up for the win. An enjoyable tag team contest, and it sets up for ELP vs. Fleisch on the next Cockpit show… which ought to be good. ***½
Chris Ridgeway vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
On paper, this main event could either be a technical/striking masterclass – or a drawn-out mess. Thankfully, it was the former.
The feeling-out stages were more of a scramble at first as Sabre was taken into the ropes, where he was forced to duck as Ridgeway swung and missed with a head kick. There’s one guy in the crowd who’s really on Sabre’s back, but that didn’t matter much as Ridgeway played into Zack’s game, looking for submissions early, with a crucifix pin attempt being thwarted as Zack bridges up to avoid it and instead wangles his way into a series of submission attempts.
We’re back to the more tentative stuff as Sabre’s attempts to grab a body part are fought off with stinging kicks from Ridgeway… only for Sabre to grab one of those and turn Ridgeway into a toe-hold, sending the pair rolling into the ropes. Zack keeps up with a single leg crab and a STF, but Ridgeway’s right in the ropes again as Zack looked to keep his foe on his back. Another knee bar attempt ends up in the ropes… so Sabre tries to aggravate things again as Ridgeway’s rolled onto the apron for respite. When Ridgeway got back to his feet, the pair exchanged strikes before a Dragon screw forces Sabre into the ropes, where he’s pinned with some kicks that have Sabre reeling. There’s more kicks as Sabre pulled himself into a PK, but an overhead kick quickly puts him back on an even keel before a leg sweep has both men back on the deck.
More kicks have Sabre pinned into the corner, with the Shibata-ish dropkick following… but it takes a release Fisherman suplex before Ridgeway goes for a cover, getting a solid two-count out of it. A pair of deadlift Germans gets another two for Ridgeway, who then goes for a leg lock… only for Sabre to grab the ropes after his bid to go for a similar hold didn’t quite go to plan. Some more kicks to the chest just see Sabre return fire with a PK as the pair looked to be worn out, but not too much for Sabre to trap Ridgeway in an inverted figure four. Again, we’ve a rope break as the smaller Cockpit ring saved Ridgeway’s skin, but he couldn’t get back to his feet as Sabre peppers him with boots to the head. When he did get back to his feet, Ridgeway trades more strikes, with big boots rocking Sabre, who blocks a roundhouse kick before he ran into a mid-kick as as reverse spin kick left Sabre flat on the mat. Rather uncharacteristically, Ridgeway goes up top for a stomp, but misses… and jarms his knee in the process as a PK from Sabre almost made him pay instantly.
Another spin kick looked to set up Ridgeway for the Kirifuda clutch, but he can’t quite get it in… although he goes back to it after kicking out of a Euro clutch, Sabre has a loose limb and manages to pull his way out… only to run into another palm strike! They’re back on their feet for more strikes, with Ridgeway bursting into another flurry of kicks ending with an axe kick and another crack at the Kirifuda, only for Sabre to slip out and trap him in Orienteering with Napalm Death for the quick tap. Absolutely exquisite stuff here. A battle of technical vs. striking nous, between a pair of wrestlers who are at the top of their relative games right now. Go out of your way to watch this one – and get yourself along to the Cockpit, which is quickly becoming the home of some hidden gems! ****¼
For a mystery show, Rev Pro’s September trip to the Cockpit was a show that was there or thereabouts until the fantastic main event. Nothing on here was anything close to awful, but in the sea of shows (and matches) that Rev Pro held that week, fans would almost surely cherry pick… but the main event from the Cockpit was more than worth your month’s subscription to RPW on Demand!