Days ahead of Uprising, Rev Pro returned to the Cockpit for another solid outing… and a fantastic main event featuring “Speedball” Mike Bailey and “Smash Mouth” Chris Ridgeway.

Perhaps concerning for some, just over half the card had been announced ahead of the show, which usually means one thing: tags to fill the gaps! The two Andys are on commentary as is the norm for the Cockpit. Turn the volume up, lads!

Chris Brookes vs. Kurtis Chapman vs. Josh Bodom vs. El Phantasmo
If you’re worried about this sort of thing, the crowds are sadly not seemingly following the TV universe… with Brookes getting cheered on his way to the ring. Still, at least Andy Simmonz was trying to play it up.

Everyone in this match, bar Chapman, have matches at Uprising on Friday (Brookes vs. Taichi, Bodom vs. Ridgeway and Phantasmo vs. El Desperado), so the cynical view is “Chapman’s winning”… except he’s been on a bit of a losing streak lately. We start with Brookes going after Bodom, only to get clocked with an enziguiri… while Chapman’s early attempts to get involved saw him just thrown outside with ease. The early exchanges seemed a little off, with Bodom kipping up for no reason before he got caught with an enziguiri from Phantasmo as the spell of swinging and missing came to an end.

Chapman again tries get involved, but Bodom pulls him off the apron as Brookes took over, tying up Phantasmo in an Indian deathlock. There’s one for Bodom too, while Chapman’s latest effort saw him caught in a Gory stretch as Brookes was all about the innovating submissions. After getting free, Phantasmo went after Bodom with his rope-walking, which he cuts off quickly to take down Brookes with headscissors as well, but there’s no dive as Brookes and Bodom pulled him outside… meaning that Kurtis Chapman was the one to dive as he hit a cannonball senton into the crowd.

Returning to the ring, Chapman finally strings together some offence, only to get caught by Bodom’s forearm. Chapman fights back with a lungblower out of the corner, counting Bodom’s offence, before a Destroyer’s rolled out of… and turned into an eventual double stomp. Chapman’s stuff looks sorta believable, but it doesn’t hit hard… which makes sense given his size. Bodom’s back with a wheelbarrow German suplex, sending Brookes into the corner, before he’s blasted with a Lumbar Check by Phantasmo.

A whirlibird neckbreaker’s next out of Phantasmo, catching Chapman for a near-fall, but he’s caught up top by Bodom, as the action continued, with Bodom hitting an avalanche flipping cutter. Holy crap, that looked crisp. He doesn’t cover ELP though, and instead focuses on Chapman… and ends up getting spiked with the Sega Mega Driver, before Brookes low blows Chapman ahead of a Praying Mantis Bomb for the win. All action here, despite a few rough moments… but a good way to get the show underway! ***¼

Zan Phoenix vs. Jamie Hayter
With no women’s match announced going in, it turned out that we had an angle alert… sort-of. Zan Phoenix, back at the Cockpit for the first time since January’s women’s championship tournament… and with the words “non title” uttered, it kinda tells you who Zan Phoenix’s opponent was!

Mixing lack of familiarity with a (bad guy?) as champion, the crowd were initially sure who to cheer for as Phoenix jumped Hayter at the bell… nor indeed, how to react when Phoenix played to the crowd. That quickly dissipated as the action ramped up, with Hayter scoring a front suplex, before Phoenix took her into the corner for a slingshot knee strike, then a diving clothesline through the ropes.

Returning to the ring, Phoenix hits a spin kick to the back of the head for a near-fall on Hayter, as commentary told us that this was originally meant to have been Zoe Lucas in the match… only for injury to rule her out. Phoenix traps Hayter in the ropes with a headscissor choke, before she ran into a spinebuster as Hayter looked to make a comeback. A flip facebuster from Phoenix, then a handstand knee drop gets her a near-fall, before the pair traded elbows as Phoenix looked in control. There’s a thrust kick to the back of the head that looked to catch Hayter off guard, as a suplex and a running knee puts the champion down for another near-fall, before she keeps Hayter grounded with some body scissors. Those morph into the old Axel Dieter special, but Hayter manages to slip out and roll up Phoenix for a near-fall.

Phoenix sends Hayter onto the apron, but the champion comes back with a stunner in the ropes before she scored a knee as Zan was trapped in the corner. There’s a running knee in the corner, then a suplex into the same one from Hayter. A uranage backbreaker seemed to bring Phoenix down awkwardly for another near-fall, but Zan’s back with a Samoan drop, only for Hayter to hit straight back with the Falcon arrow for the win. I do like how they’re making that move seem like a death blow out of nowhere – and while this did look a little rough, this was a good outing for Phoenix, who’s slowly but surely getting more reps for Rev Pro. ***

Post-match Hayter gets the mic and addresses how she was meant to have faced Zoe Lucas here today… except Zoe was ruled out with injury (apparently a broken wrist) so they couldn’t even advertise the match. It turned out that Zoe was there though… as she snuck in through the crowd and laid out Hayter with a beltshot. Not sure who was meant to be face/heel here, as commentary seemed to be teasing a double turn in this?

Sha Samuels vs. Gino Gambino
This marked Sha’s return to the Cockpit for the first time since August 2017 – last seen here in a trios match alongside Luke Phoenix, Rob Lias, Ryan Smile, Zack Gibson and Josh Bodom. For some reason Andy Quildan said that Sha hadn’t met “Generic Ring Announcer #3”, even though they were on TV just 48 hours earlier!

We had the debut of Gino Gambino here, whose UK tour was coming to a close… and if you thought his match at PROGRESS a week earlier with Trent Seven was comedy stuff, then… this passed it. Starting with Sha calling him fat, and a failed push-up, the match opened with Sha working over the Aussie, forcing him to (just about) kip-up out of a wristlock. Some forearms take Sha into the corner, where he’s met with a ring-moving splash… and now the straps come down… and the rest. Time for the bare cheek of Mr Juicy, which the camera catches IN FULL. So if you thought our censored pic was a bit much… sorry!

The crowd get an eyeful though, as Sha punches Gambino down to the mat, while Andy made what I guess was a reference to Danshoku Dieno getting DDT’s TV show cancelled. Chris Roberts gets a babyface pop for pulling up Gino’s trunks, then has to make a count as Sha’s attempt at a slam backfired, with Gambino falling on top of him for a near-fall. Undeterred, Sha’s back up and goes for a suplex, but it’s reversed for a near-fall, before Samuels opted to just club away on him, then keep the big guy down with a sleeperhold. Gino fights back up, as he stands up and back bumps to splat Sha, then flattens him further with a clothesline and a back senton. God, he found ALL of that one… but Sha’s able to kick out at two from that.

Gambino calls for a shooting star press. Yeah, right. Sha catches him up top with a superplex. Somehow, the Aussie’s back first with a piledriver for a near-fall, as Andy Q mentions how “all UK contracts have a four-month release clause”, so Sha has to perform. Oof. I get that. The pair slug it out, before Sha uses the referee as a human shield, ahead of a roll-up that just about earned Sha the win. A decent showing, but the big thing you’ll probably remember from this is Juicy’s arse. **¾

HxC (Dan Head & James Castle) vs. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis
Aussie Open have a shot at the Rev Pro tag titles at Uprising, so this ought to be a bit of a tune-up match for them… but it ended up being one that was far more competitive than expected.

We start with Kyle Fletcher being a little feisty against Dan Head early on as the Rev Pro on demand service is plugged heavily. Fletcher whips Head down to the mat from a waistlock, before James Castle came in… but there was no accompanying tag out from Kyle, who went to work on Castle’s arm, going for an early armbar with some small joint manipulation too as they showed signs of ruthlessness a la Suzuki-gun.

Things turn around though as HxC double-team Fletcher, who stops them in their tracks with a Quebrada, before Mark Davis came in. A brutal dropkick from Fletcher to Head gets Davis a near-fall, as did a standing slam and a back senton from Dunkzilla. The chop/clothesline combos follow next as Davis has Head cornered, with Fletcher returning to pick up a near-fall after Davis’ big boot. James Castle blind tags himself in, and now we get some double-teaming as Castle keeps drawing Mark Davis into the ring… which just gets Kyle in deeper trouble. A backbreaker/top rope elbow from HxC nearly puts Fletcher away surprisingly, as the home-grown tandem were looking to make their mark – while again trying to incite Dunkzilla during spells of two-on-one offence.

Another forearm from Fletcher bought him some time against Head, but he can’t get free as Castle’s back to choke him in the ropes. More double-teaming keeps Fletcher down… but eventually Kyle gets free and tags in Davis, who unloads with chops and clotheslines, before he slammed HxC at the same time. An Alphamare Waterslide drops Castle too for a near-fall, before Fletcher returned… only for the set-up for the double-team sit-out powerbomb to go awry. Castle instead hits a shotgun dropkick, sending Kyle into Mark… as Castle then followed up with his double-double stomp.

That second part of the stomp looked to wind Fletcher badly, which turned things around as HxC focused on Kyle with a curb stomp for a near-fall. Kyle’s back with a tiltawhirl backbreaker though, before both men tagged out as HxC again tried to double-team Davis. James Castle gets flung to the outside as a double-team Go To Sleep caught the mohawked one, before Head kicks out from an assisted cutter.

A Fidget Spinner’s attempted, but Castle breaks it up… and ends up countering a powerbomb into a DDT as HxC had one more fight left in them. Strikes from Fletcher are eventually overwhelmed as he’s caught with the double-team Cross Rhodes – the Blunt Force Trauma. Fletcher kicks out as another crack at the Means to an End is escaped, with Kyle hitting a springboard facebuster to both men. Davis tags back in as he’s a sliding forearm for Castle in the corner, before a Fidget Spinner picked up the win. This wasn’t your typical Aussie Open outing, and was a lot more competitive than you’d expect going into Friday’s Uprising. Could the Aussies be tag champions in two of the UK’s bigger promotions at the same time?? ***½

Legion of Lords (No Fun Dunne & Great O-Kharn) vs. Rishi Ghosh & TK Cooper
The second half started with Lord Gideon Grey and No Fun Dunne heading out for a tag team match. Gideon was perhaps a little too dressed for this… and when Rishi Ghosh came out all fired up, he looked for an instant way out. He dressed it up as him “not wanting to fight Rishi” because it hurt him… but since we’ve a tag team match… out goes Lord Gideon Grey, in comes Great O-Kharn!

Luckily, Gideon’s Managerial Jacket was handily left under the ring.

We’ve a jump start as O-Kharn – who was without his usual teatowel hat – and Dunne went after TK and Ghosh… quickly settling down on isolating Rishi. A kip-up from Rishi sees him capitalise on the crowd distracting Dunne, as he then made the tag out to TK, who quickly dropped Dunne with an axe kick, only for O-Kharn to come in to stop him from making a cover.

TK gets a near-fall out of what looked to be a suplex Lumbar Check, before hanging Dunne in the ropes… only for O-Kharn to catch TK in the ropes as the Legion of Lords team turned it around. Cooper’s cornered and met with some body blows as the isolation resumed, prompting Rishi to come in and distract the referee as his naivety came into play again.

A “False Alarm” enziguiri from Dunne keeps TK on the back foot, as O-Kharn returned to tug away on TK’s ear. O-Kharn keeps up the offence with a claw-assisted sleeperhold, before he tries to pin Cooper with it, only for TK to get free and land his version of a Kotaro Krusher. Tags out bring in Dunne and Ghosh, with Rishi targetting O-Kharn, only to get thrown aside. Rishi low-bridges O-Kharn to the outside, before a cutter catches Dunne for a near-fall, with “Oka” breaking it up.

Rishi lands a headbutt to O-Kharn, before TK helped out with a headbutt to Dunne as well… but Dunne hits back with a spar as all four men ended up in the ring. O-Kharn’s front suplex gets a near-fall, with TK breaking up the cover. TK and Dunne brawl to the back, except the cameraman barely catches that, as Ghosh spikes O-Kharn with a DDT.

Sadly, Chris Roberts had followed Dunne and Cooper to the back… which allowed Gideon to swing and miss with a cane shot. Ghosh hits a bicycle kick to Gideon, before he eyed up the cane… right as Roberts returned. Ghosh turns around into a punch, before the head claw chokeslam proved to be enough for the win. A bit of a damp squib finish, but I like how they’re continuing the Ghosh/Gideon storyline here – it’s at least giving O-Kharn something to do other than squashes. **¾

Shane Taylor vs. David Starr
There may be a more obvious reason why David Starr’s Cruiserweight title isn’t on the line here…

This was Taylor’s Rev Pro debut, following long after his former tag team partner Keith Lee. Starr tried to cut a promo before the match, calling himself “Ishii’s Daddy” ahead of his shot at the Stone Pitbull on Friday… but Taylor cuts him off before he said a word, as he vowed to knock out Starr and make sure he didn’t make it to Uprising.

Starr responds by slapping Taylor with his own hat… and so began his death sentence.

Taylor began by throwing Starr corner to corner with Beele throws, before a monster of a chop had Starr reeling. The Cruiserweight champion tries to fight back, but he’s instantly slapped down as the Shane Taylor Fan Club was heard briefly. Starr escapes a suplex and trips Taylor for just a one-count… with the kick-out sending him careering to the outside as Starr was forced to stick and run. Problem was, when Taylor was able to find his mark, Starr was in big trouble, having to rely on his Han Stansen lariats to make a dent. Two of those stunned Taylor, who replied with a short clothesline to put Starr back on the mat as we curiously get a plethora of British Wrestling Council plugs. That HAS to be an in-joke… or perhaps Andy came across some unused wristbands?

Starr tries to fight back with chops, before finally catching Taylor with a superkick as the big guy was brought to a knee. Then Starr tries for a slam. Silly David. He’s shoved away as Starr comes back with Han Stansens, chops and forearms as Taylor was momentarily taken into the corner, before a back elbow took him back down to a knee. A diving Han Stansen’s good for a near-fall, sending Taylor to the outside where a flying ‘rana nearly took him through the cameraman… but Taylor counters with an apron powerbomb instead. Taylor keeps up as he tries to choke Starr in the ropes, but it’s countered as Starr twists the ankle back on itself, as Andy Q throws a bit more shade. Man, their commentary gets more feisty the deeper we get into these shows.

Taylor absolutely rocks Starr with a knee, before a short shotgun dropkick takes him into the corner, before a chokebomb nearly put the Cruiserweight champion away. Starr’s sent outside, as Taylor looks for a dive?! He’s caught with a Cherry Mint DDT onto the apron, before a Macho Man-like top rope elbow connected… only for Starr to labour into the cover as he got a near-fall.

Taylor fights out of a Product Placement and comes in with a chokeslam, before a big splash off the ropes nearly put Starr away. An attempt to go up top backfires as Taylor’s powerbombed down, before Starr does the Andre slam and follows up with a Han Stansen to score the win! David (ahem) beats Goliath here… but can he make it 2-for-2 on Friday? Not if Ishii figures out a way past those lariats! ***½

Post-match, Starr cut a promo to build up to his match with Ishii – which Rev Pro posted on their YouTube, complete with cheapshots at “blood money” that really got the crowd on-side. Five stars!

Team Whitewolf (A-Kid & Carlos Romo) vs. Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter)
This is a second-time meeting between these teams, with ATTACK! having held the first match just a few weeks ago – but it’s yet another tag team match in a division that’s looking a little muddled if you count the TV tournament and the plethora of matches on the non-York Hall shows.

There’s more savagery in the commentary as they take a shot at #3s latest flub, and we start with A-Kid and Jim Hunter starting out… but Lee’s quickly in as the match ebbed and flowed. Carlos Romo’s in too, but he’s tripped by Lee, who tries for a Prawn hold, before the Hunters combine for a nice wheelbarrow into some boots for a near-fall. A dropkick from Romo catches Jim for a near-fall as commentary tells us that we’ll be full of tag matches on December’s Cockpit show, featuring Whitewolf, CCK, the Hunters, RINGKAMPF and a few others. Romo keeps up the offence with an elbow drop for a near-fall, before A-Kid grounds Jim with an armbar, as the Spaniards began to exchange some frequent tags.

A backbreaker from Romo and a diving dropkick gets Kid another near-fall, before Jim fought out of the wrong corner, shoving away Romo before dishing out a big back body drop. Both men tag out, with Lee clotheslining A-Kid before delivering a step-up knee to the back. There’s a lifting reverse DDT from Lee for a near-fall, but a superkick and a Northern Lights suplex, then a standing moonsault almost completed A-Kid’s comeback. Kid tries for a rolling armbar, and eventually pulls down Lee as Romo dispatches Jim’s attempted save, as Lee was forced to roll up A-Kid to break it up.

The armbar’s reapplied, but Lee rolls free again before an atomic drop-style backbreaker saw A-Kid bounce high! Romo tries for tiltawhirl headscissors, then loses another headscissors as he ends up with a Twist and Shout for a near-fall on Jim, as all four men ended up in the ring, trading ever stiffer superkicks. Everyone screws up, hitting their own partners before getting caught in superkicks… Jim tried to escape, but eats a Spanish Fly from A-Kid and a Romo moonsault for a near-fall.

More superkicks see the Hunters eat a pair of them, before a lungblower/German suplex combo and yet more superkicks leave Jim down for a near-fall. In the end though, Lee’s back as he moonsaults into both Kid and Romo, sending Romo all the way to the outside as the Hunters found one last flurry, scoring a double-team neckbreaker for a near-fall, then a Giant Swing/low dropkick combo to Kid, before a spike Tombstone proved to be enough to leave A-Kid down for the count. This was really good stuff, but the fact it was a “babyface” match kinda hurt the crowd. Lee was left with a bad arm after the match, as he instantly favoured it – hopefully it’s not too serious an injury. ***½

Chris Ridgeway vs. Mike Bailey
Technically this was the match that sold out the show, and with Chris Ridgeway coming in off the back of a win over Will Ospreay (asterisked or otherwise), a win here will give him yet more steam ahead of his match with Josh Bodom on Friday.

After the obligatory handshake, we start with the pair throwing kicks (I know, surprise, eh?) as they started at a fairly fast pace. There’s a lot of feinting as they test each other out, but Bailey grabs a front facelock… only to get taken onto the mat as Ridgeway scrambled, only to end in the ropes with a break.

Ridgeway cheapshots Bailey with a kick in the corner, then catches him in the hamstring with a kick as the pair trade off. Think of it as Roshambo, but a little lower down. After knocking Ridgeway down, Bailey misses with some standing shooting star knees, before putting Chris back on the mat with a flurry of kicks. A slap to the face is Ridgeway’s response, along with a Dragon screw, before Bailey grabs a rope to stop a single leg crab.

More kicks follow as Ridgeway maintains an advantage, before he wrestled his way into a STF on Bailey, as the current DDT tag team champion was left firmly on the defensive. Back-and-forth elbows follow, before Bailey whips Ridgeway into the ropes and meets him on the rebound with a kick, as an axe kick and another mid kick followed en route to a standing corkscrew press for a near-fall.

Bailey keeps up with some kicks in the ropes to Ridgeway… who gets an instant response, even throwing in an axe kick of his own for a two-count as those feet helped Ridgeway pull Bailey down to the mat in a sleeperhold. The arm drop gimmick gave Bailey a chance to fight back, as he fought back to his feet… and sent himself sailing through the ropes as Ridgeway took an awkward landing on the apron as that hold was broken up by hook or by crook. A Golden Triangle moonsault sees Ridgeway take another bump, this time falling over the steps in the crowd, before he followed Ridgeway into the crowd as the far side got a closer view of a kick exchange.

The pair find their way onto the apron, where the kicks continue to flow, going tit-for-tat, before a forearm from Ridgeway looked to set up for a German suplex. Bailey trips him, but a moonsault double kneedrop fails as Bailey crashed and burned into the apron. Ow. Ridgeway drags him back inside as another flurry of kicks looked to set up for the Kirifuda clutch, but again Bailey breaks free, cannonballing himself and Ridgeway into the corner to break free. Yet more kicks follow and get checked, before the tit-for-tat resumed and ended with a stand-off as reverse roundhouses found nothing but air. Bailey goes for an enziguiri, but Ridgeway catches it, then turned it into a trapped leg German suplex ahead of a PK for a two-count, before a brainbuster dumps Bailey for yet another near-fall! Bailey tries to go back to the arm, but yet another moonsault knees ends with Bailey landing in Ridgeway’s raised knees as perhaps that move needs to be put to bed!

Ridgeway’s back up as Bailey again misses those shooting star knees… a roundhouse into the corner hits though, before a backpack driver – dubbed the Flamengo Driver – almost gives the Canadian the win. Yet another shooting star knees misses, as Bailey lands in a triangle armbar… which he thought he’d escaped, only for a reverse roundhouse to take him back down as a rear naked choke gets Ridgeway the win. Fantastic stuff – if you’re a fan of the style. In the past I’ve found Bailey’s offence rather reliant on the kicks, but when you’re up against a likeminded opponent, it can be quite the match. Ridgeway goes into Uprising on the back of a big win – but surprisingly there’s no run-in or angle from Josh Bodom to keep us hot. ****¼

Since we had a similar rant… Rev Pro, sort out your master volumes! The commentary for this show, much like Brixton, was far too quiet – which isn’t a problem… unless you forget to turn your volume down after you’ve finished watching the show! It’s an easy fix, but irritating that it’s not looked at before the record button is pressed.

Away from the VOD production, for a small number of fans this is yet another Cockpit show that we went into without a full card. Granted, it didn’t matter in the end, but when the lack of a full card is becoming a habit, alongside “babyface” matches or bouts with no clear distinction, it ends up hurting the atmosphere. Good guys versus bad guys is always best – or at the very least, don’t switch people up so much!