The 2019 Queen of the Ring was crowned as Rev Pro welcomed a bumper crowd to the Cockpit for that… and Sabre vs. PAC.

We’re back at the London Cockpit for the finals of the Queen of the Ring tournament. This one sold out in less than a minute of general sale, which is probably going to be the quickest sell-out the Cockpit’ll ever have. The two Andys are back on commentary, and for some reason we’re suddenly announcing time limits…

Sha Samuels vs. Dan Magee
These two leapt into each other as they had bad blood spilling over from the World of Pro Wrestling TV shows, and Magee brought his best shots here, especially when the mat settled down into a regular wrestling match.

A low dropkick and a sliding Flatliner keeps Sha on the mat, but Dan’s all about raining down punches rather than going for a pin – and he’s made to pay as Sha hit back with a spinebuster as he had some ground and pound of his own. On the outside, Sha charges Magee’s back into the ring post, before he went to the back… and came back with a chair. Callbacks! The referee, Tom Scarborough disarms Sha quickly though, and they’re back in the ring as Magee tries to fight back, before running into a Michinoku driver as Sha picked up a near-fall. Magee remains on the defensive as Sha takes him into the corner for a cricket chop, then an avalanche splash as Sha perhaps was getting a little too lackadaisical about things.

Samuels throws Magee to the outside as he tried to take a count-out victory, but Magee easily beats the count as Sha goes back in with the dirty tactics, raking Magee’s eyes. Magee avoids a splash in the corner as Sha hits the corner hard, before a Magee missile dropkick’s caught and turned into a Boston crab. Magee gets to the ropes to break it up, before he’s booted outside again as he again had to beat the count-out… he then low bridges Sha to the outside, right by where the chair was. Dan looks to follow up with a dive, but he stops himself as he sees Sha with a chair… and we get the comedy bump as Sha hits the rope with the chair, then himself!

A tope from Magee follows, as does a crossbody in the ring… and that’s enough for Magee to get the win! This was okay, but I do question where we’re going with Sha losing two in a row. Still, at least Dan’s ditched his awful ring jacket that he had made last year… **¾

Sha was beside himself, having lost… and demanded that Rev Pro play his music, insisting that he actually won because Magee “tapped” to the Boston crab.

Queen of the Ring – Semi-Final: Sammii Jayne vs. Yuu
Oh dear. You know how we say “Generic Number Three’s good for one flub a show?” Well, this one was a doozie. Step forward: Sami Zayn!

Yuu looked to take the match to the ground early, going for waistlock takedowns to bring the Scotswoman to her knees… but Sammii’s back up pretty quick, and into a side headlock as the feeling out process continued. A quick armbar from Yuu catches Sammii out, but she’s able to roll into the ropes for a break, only for Yuu to come right back with a back senton for a pinning attempt. Sammii hits back with a leg lariat for a two-count, before some clubbing blows left Yuu on the mat ahead of a snap suplex that gets Sammii a near-fall. There’s a diving headbutt and a knee drop as Sammii kept building momentum, following up with an inverted figure four that forces Yuu into the ropes for a break.

Forearms from Sammii were keenly returned in kind by Yuu, who finished off with a chop for just a one-count. Yuu tries to deadlift Sammii off the mat, eventually getting her up for a powerslam for a two-count as Zoe Lucas appeared at ringside to distract. It worked, as Yuu lets go of the katahajime to confront Lucas… which led to a dropkick from Sammii that sent Yuu into Zoe. Not to bother, Yuu hits a running uranage and a shotgun dropkick on Jayne for a delayed two-count as Lucas picked herself up off the floor. Zoe distracts again, this time pulling Yuu through the ropes and into place for the Shadowfax sliding German suplex… but it’s still not enough to put Yuu away… only for Sammii to come right back with an armbar that again ends in the ropes. The end was nigh though, despite the Judo throw through Yuu, as she can’t follow through, and ends up getting shoved into a beltshot from Lucas as a running knee gets Sammii the win. This was okay, but I wasn’t a fan of them having as much interference – even if it was to set up a singles match days later between Yuu and Lucas. **¾

Queen of the Ring – Semi-Final: Debbie Keitel vs. Chardonnay
There’s a musical flub that they try and style out, as Debbie Keitel looked to go from being a last minute replacement to the surprise of the whole tournament.

We start with some takedowns as Chardonnay and Keitel took things to the mat early on. A wristlock from Chardonnay looked to be flipped out of, but Chardonnay just breaks the bridge and grabs an armbar, only for Debbie to reverse the hold as Chardonnay ends up forearming her way free. Keitel absorbs another few forearms, then returned with one of her own that decked Chardonnay, before she misses a shoulder charge into the corner. That’s the turning point for Chardonnay, who hit back as the match became a little more even, with Keitel rolling Chardonnay into a pinning predicament after some strikes in the corner.

A snapmare and a punt to the back has Chardonnay back in it though, as she rolls Keitel to the mat for a neck crank. Chardonnay keeps up the pressure with a slam and an elbow drop, before a sliding clothesline nearly sent Keitel to the floor. Back in the ring, Keitel hits the ropes and lands a dropkick to get back on track, before she followed up with a release German suplex. Chardonnay backs into the corner to escape a full nelson, and comes back with a Codebreaker-like move to the head, then with a running knee for a near-fall… some trapped kicks and a butterfly kicks keep Chardonnay ahead, before a Tiger driver’s countered into a Rainmaker by Keital! One full nelson with a roll through later, and Keitel’s booked her place into the final having had to outlast a more experienced Chardonnay to snatch the upset. ***

El Phantasmo, Michael Oku, MK McKinnan & Shigehiro Irie vs. David Starr, Josh Bodom, Rob Lias & Great O-Kharn
This eight-man tag match was announced at short notice, and featured a lengthy segment where both men picked their teams. El Phantasmo seemed to focus more on giving folks opportunity, while Starr went for those whom were on form and/or had bones to pick with Rev Pro, such as a returning Rob Lias. Oh, and also had a pop at Chris Roberts for being “rewarded” with a spot at the Tokyo Dome after his screw up last month.

Oh, and El Phantasmo snuck in a casual mention of a challenge for a ladder match against Starr, which seemed to be forgotten by everyone pretty quick.

We started with ELP offering Starr his chin for a slap… which Starr took up the offer of before he scurried out to tag in Great O-Kharn. Michael Oku tags himself in too, seemingly having a death wish as everyone laughed at his prospects… which included going flying as he tried to run into O-Kharn. MK McKinnan tries his luck, and is a little more successful until he ran into the shoulder charge, before Irie tagged in to test his compatriot. They barge into each other with shoulders, before teeing off on each other with forearms as O-Kharn ends up raking the noise instead of continuing the strike exchange. Some rope running gave Irie enough momentum to blast through O-Kharn, who just responds with a Mongolian chop before taking Irie into the corner as Bodom tagged in to take advantage.

There’s a vicious side elbow from Irie to Bodom, who followed up with a bulldog and the rebound splash for a near-fall. Tags bring in Lias and ELP, whose brief exchange quickly gave way to David Starr tripping MK McKinnan as we were really cycling through tags. Michael Oku gets in the way of a cartwheel/back elbow from Starr, but he recovers to land a dropkick before Rob Lias takes a ‘rana and a dropkick for good measure. O-Kharn tries his luck too, and eventually flattens Oku with a flapjack that almost went into a Sabu lawn dart as the newest contender was made to work for everything. An attempt to leap over for a tag’s stopped as Starr turns it into a spinebuster and a Boston crab before Oku was left cornered and abused. An eventual jawbreaker from Oku leads to a Flair flop from Rob Lias, before ELP springboards in and clears house as he springs in with a crossbody and a Quebrada for a near-fall.

David Starr trips ELP as he was teeing up for a dive, so in comes MK McKinnan to wipe out Starr with a cannonball tope, as ELP hits the ropes for a Kota Ibushi-esque moonsault into the pile on the other side of the ring. MK’s back with kicks to wipe out Lias for a near-fall, sparking a Parade of Moves that led to Irie spearing Bodom, then piledriving him onto Rob Lias. Ow. The ring remains full as the match breaks down into brawling in every corner, which gave way to another Parade of Moves, ending with Josh Bodom landing on his neck from an Oku dropkick. Oku tries to follow up on Lias with some forearms, only for Rob to land a uranage/Flatliner combo without going for the cover. A knee from Oku gave him hope as he then rolled Lias into a single-leg crab… which Bodom breaks up with a heavy clothesline.

Irie’s back in to take a Destroyer as ELP had eyes for David Starr… they end up face-to-face and exchanging blows, with a Han Stansen being replied to with a pair of superkicks… only for Starr to finish off ELP with another lariat. They roll to the outside as MK kicks at O-Kharn, then counters a slam into a rear naked choke that almost forced O-Kharn to submit… but Gideon Grey breaks it up with a cane shot after the referee was distracted, and O-Kharn quickly finishes off MK with an Iron Finger Slam. This was all kinds of fun live – perhaps a little too wild in parts, but you can rarely go wrong with spotlit multi-man tags. ***¾

Post-match, ELP tries to attack David Starr, but he’s overwhelmed as O-Kharn wiped him out with an Iron Finger Slam for good measure.

Chris Ridgeway vs. Kurtis Chapman
How’s this for an awkward moment? The crowd chanting “soft as fuck” at Chapman, as everyone sensed danger for the former Cruiserweight champion, who barely got the polite response.

Ridgeway starts by wrestling Chapman to the mat as he instantly goes to the arm, before a front facelock ended in the ropes. Chapman tries to work over Ridgeway’s leg, grapevining it as he worked into an inverted figure four, only for Ridgeway to roll over and throw some forearms, only for Chapman to roll back as Ridgeway ended up being able to get to his feet and take Chapman down with another forearm. Ridgeway keeps it in the mat with a STF, before he countered out of a leg grapevine by grabbing hold of Chapman in a Dragon sleeper. A rope break saves Chapman, but only briefly as Ridgeway just reapplies the STF in the middle of the ring and throws in an armbar for good measure as he tried to pop both shoulders a la Zack Sabre Jr.

Chapman unwisely looks to throw a kick… and gets an instant receipt that sent him to the outside, returning to lose a forearm battle as Ridgeway goes back to the kicks. Chapman catches a kick and fights back, taking Ridgeway into the corner for some uppercuts and a gamengiri in the corner, before a lungblower and a double stomp got Kurtis a near-fall. Chapman keeps it on the ground as he looked for the CAPS Lock arm bar, but Ridgeway escapes and gets in an ankle lock, which he turned into a release German suplex before a head kick drew a near-fall. A Code Red out of nowhere gets Chapman a near-fall, but then he goes back to the kicks, which Ridgeway just rolls his eyes at.

A Dragon screw from Ridgeway takes Chapman into the ropes for some repeated kicks to the chest, before a small package nearly sees Chapman steal it. Back-and-forth kicks had Chapman the worse for wear, but duelling big boots leave everyone down. On the mat, Ridgeway edges ahead again until he was forced to kick out of a backslide at the last moment… and when Chapman’s arguing with the referee, he’s blind sided with a head kick as Ridgeway eventually worked into a Rings of Saturn as he tied up Chapman for the evental submission. Much like the WALTER/Josh Bodom match last year, doubtless a lot of people would have expected Ridgeway to kick Chapman to death… but this was much more entertaining to watch and gave Chapman some credit in some of his nay sayer’s eyes. ***½

Kellyanne & Zan Phoenix vs. Laura Di Matteo & Zoe Lucas
The sort-of obligatory tag team match of the folks eliminated in the first round gave us some dodgy face/heel alignments, but at least Kellyanne and Zan Phoenix played it up from the off, with Zan clearly thinking the spotlight ought to be on her.

We start with all four women in the ring as Zoe and Zan back into each other while playing to the crowd. Laura and Kellyanne eventually dropkick them to the outside as the match started… and almost ended with a di Matteo roll-up as the pair went at it at quite a pace. Zan Phoenix was quite reluctant to tag in, but not to kick Laura in the head before she missed with a flip neckbreaker early on.

Laura’s right back in with a suplex, before Zan turned the tables, suplexing Laura ahead of a sliding lariat that led to some idiocy… with Zan moaning at Kellyanne for “stealing the pin”. Well don’t tag her in then! Their uneasy alliance continued as Kellyanne powerbombed Lucas onto Laura, but Zan again wants the pin, so she pulls Kellyanne off the cover before the referee caused confusion by calling a tag and not enforcing it. Lucas is back in with a PK to Kellyanne for a two-count, following up with the Kevin Nash boot choke and some body blows before she forcibly tagged Laura back in. Another powerbomb from Kellyanne’s countered into a Victory Roll by di Matteo for a near-fall, who then lands a dropkick as she came a little closer.

Zoe’s back in with a SIM card slingshot splits legdrop for a two-count on Kellyanne, before a chinbreaker sent Lucas staggering in as di Matteo tags back in. A tornado DDT from Laura leaves Kellyanne down, and of course Lucas tags right back in to keep up the pressure on Kellyanne, landing a head kick to counter a DDT as both women crumbled to the mat. Phoenix tags back in, but she’s quickly peppered with clotheslines as di Matteo takes her down with headscissors, only to get wiped out with a standing spinebuster as Lucas had to save the match. Kellyanne dispatches Lucas with a running, before a cannonball wiped out di Matteo… she misses a second into Lucas, who then held the Australian for a shot. Of course Kellyanne moves away, so Lucas angrily nails di Matteo with a death valley driver and a PK before storming off with her title.

With Laura left on her own, Kellyanne tried to take the pin – but Zan’s the legal woman. Not to worry, Kellyanne drills Laura with a rude-looking brainbuster, as Zan comes in for the elementary pin. This was fun, if not awkward and annoyingly booked, but something tells me that none of these women’ll be in or around the title picture much (apart from Zoe, obviously) in 2019. **½

Queen of the Ring – Final: Sammii Jayne vs. Debbie Keitel
So, just after Sammii Jayne made her entrance, Chris Roberts appeared from the back – unannounced, but to a hero’s welcome. I’m hoping that was a case of bad timing rather than a case of stealing thunder intentionally…

Sammii started by taking Debbie down for a roll-up in the opening seconds, looking to make short work of the Irishwoman, before an attempt at an armbar almost saw Sammii get pinned as part of Keitel’s escape. A sunset flip-style pin nearly works, as Sammii’s forced to kick out of a cover before she looked to berate some of Keitel’s fans in the crowd. A shoulder charge comes through for Sammii as Andy Quildan just let the other Andy talk his way into trouble… piping up as Keitel lands a neck breaker. Forearms from Sammii find their mark, as Keitel’s left in the ropes for a sliding clothesline, but she turns it around on the apron, countering a suplex into a German suplex as Jayne took a hard landing onto the edge of the ring!

Back inside, Keitel’s pulled away from the middle turnbuckle as Jayne gets back on track, A snap suplex is good for another two-count as Sammii’s trying to shake off the cobwebs, which she does so ahead of a snapmare and a falling forearm that keeps Keitel down on the mat. Keitel hits back with a combo of strikes in the corner ahead of a Northern Lights suplex for a two-count, but an enziguiri gets a near-fall as Andy Q mentioned how the winner of this tournament’ll get a title shot. If only that was mentioned live…

After taking a double knee drop, Keitel fought back with a clothesline, then with some chops and a headbutt as she out-struck the former EVE champion, taking her down with a dropkick. Another German suplex, this time in the ring, folds Jayne in half for a near-fall, before Jayne broke free of a full nelson, tripping Keitel into almost a version of a Banana Splits leg submission. Somehow, Keitel’s able to drag herself towards the rope, as she fought out of a powerbomb attempt from Jayne, then countered a second attempt into a facebuster for a near-fall. Keitel tries to roll up Jayne, but it’s countered into a pinning attempt as Sammii keeps up the pressure with a running knee strike.

Keitel’s sent through the ropes, but she loses grip and ends up avoiding a Shadowfax, instead getting dropkicked off the apron… Jayne drags her back into the ropes for a neckbreaker, then a double knee drop for a near-fall. I like how they didn’t just go straight back to the Shadowfax, as Sammii then headed up top, only to get caught as Keitel tries to counter it, eventually landing a spider superplex after Sammii had crotched her in the middle ropes. The pair trade forearms until Keitel goes for a full nelson bomb… but rather than roll through into a pinning attempt, she rolls through for a Cattle Mutilation, which Sammii broke in the ropes. Keitel goes for a dropkick into the corner, but she misses and gets hung in the ropes as Sammii finally lands Shadowfax, before a couple of diving knees finally puts down Keitel for the pin. Sammii Jayne’s your 2019 Queen of the Ring – which earns her a title shot, oh, and a bunch of flowers. Hopefully not from the Tesco down the road! This was a solid main event, but yet again Keitel looked to be fighting from underneath for large portions – albeit performing well in the role. ***¼

RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Title Match: PAC vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
Originally advertised as non-title, Sabre offered PAC a title shot… because why not? That’s what everyone does hours after landing back from Tokyo with a belt, right? That and poke the proverbial muscly-bear that was PAC…

This one has a 30 minute time limit, and instantly people were thinking “time limit draw?” as a way out. Sabre starts the match by backing PAC into the corner, but the Geordie’s not fazed, as he matched Sabre move for move early on, trading wristlocks and escapes for fun. The pair shove each other into the corners as Sabre’s original plea for a test of strength saw PAC outdo Sabre with one hand, but only until Sabre rolled back and reversed a knuckle lock.

The knuckle lock continues, forcing Sabre to bridge up when he’s pinned to the mat… and he counters PAC’s attempt to break it by switching into an armbar as the crowd exploded for the instant threat that Sabre’d put PAC in. Back inside, Sabre roughs up PAC into the ropes, before pulling him down from a leapfrog… but PAC fires back with a dropkick before taking Sabre down with a headlock. Sabre tries to escape by kipping up, but eventually grabs some headscissors and goes for a modified single leg crab as PAC ended up in the ropes. Another uneasy stand-off led to both men testing their luck with kicks, before a couple of European uppercuts from Sabre found their mark, allowing him to choke on PAC in the corner with both feet. PAC manages to escape, backflipping over Sabre en route to a cartwheel dropkick before he heads up top… which prompts Sabre to powder to the outside, well out of PAC’s range.

A game of cat and mouse ensues, but PAC lands a rear spin kick and a snap suplex before Sabre’s caught in the corner for some meaty chops. Just like that though, Sabre pulls him into a submission, but they’re too close to the ropes so we get the obvious break, as Sabre just rushes in to stomp on PAC’s knee instead. PAC responds with a running uppercut into the corner for a near-fall, only for Sabre to go back for the submissions, twisting PAC’s leg between his own before grinding the point of his elbow into PAC’s back. The pair fight over a Japanese strangle hold, reversing it back and forth as PAC tried to out-so Sabre’s nous. An ankle lock sees PAC roll Sabre through to the outside, following up with a missile dropkick and a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall as the Open the Dream Gate champion almost came close to adding a second title to his haul.

Sabre comes back with a wheelbarrow roll-up into a heel hook as he had PAC on the mat, following up on him with more stomps and kicks. Another triangle armbar ends with PAC powerbombing free as he seemed to have found the way out of the armbar… and uses that to head up top for a shooting star press, which he has to roll out of, as Sabre comes right back with a cross armbar, only for PAC to counter back with a modified Anaconda Vise that has Zack on the verge of quitting… until he scooted over and got a toe onto the ropes. PAC’s back to his feet first, so he throws some more kicks to keep Sabre rocked… only for Zack to get back to his feet and catches PAC with an overhead kick to the arm. A German suplex attempt from PAC’s stuffed as Sabre pulls him down into an omoplata, which again ends with PAC getting to the ropes as they continued to jockey for position. Amid all this, the time limit kept counting away, as Sabre and PAC continue to trade uppercuts and kicks, with a missed swing from PAC allowed Sabre to catch him with a Euro clutch for a near-fall… then a PK, before PAC retaliated with a German suplex and another enziguiri, before he headed up top… but Sabre uses his feet to push referee Chris Roberts into the ropes for the cheap DQ. That was an awful finish to what was a good match that was largely fought on the mat, with both men showing they pretty much matched themselves throughout in a contest that likely would have gone to the draw had that not happened. The finish of a DQ for something that we see on pretty much every show souring a crowd that was already a little tetchy given the late running of the show. ****

Post-match, PAC gets the mic and asks Sabre if he was proud of what he’d done… which prompts Sabre to run back out with a chair and threaten to Pillman-ise the arm of PAC, only for Will Ospreay to run in and make the save. That got a good pop, as did the staredown with PAC, and if you had Rev Pro in “who’ll try and mimic the Ibushi/Ospreay camera work first?”, well, you win your bet!

Rev Pro’s 2019 got off to a thunderous start with these shows, that is, if you ignored the focal point of the entire weekend. The Queen of the Ring tournament, while lacking any out and out stinkers, didn’t steal the show – and with the live crowd only seeing the winner receive a tiara and a bunch of flowers, it was far too easy to write off the tournament as an effort to test out some new faces for the women’s division. Needless to say, the jury’s still out, but if the Rev Pro women’s division becomes more than the “one match a show” in 2019, then some people’s minds will be changed. Away from that, and it’s clear to see that the focus is remaining on Starr vs. El Phantasmo for the Cruiserweight title – with a ladder match mooted – but it’s perhaps too early to look at new challengers for the freshly-crowned Zack Sabre Jr.