The first of two trips to the Cockpit in March saw Rev Pro wrestle with the ring as we waited for the worthy follow-up to last year’s A-Kid/Zack Sabre Jr. classic.
A sold out crowd was on hand for this one – so let’s get to it! As ever, Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmonz are on commentary…
Chris Brookes vs. Darius Lockhart
This was Lockhart’s return to Rev Pro, having last been over in December for a tour of the UK. Problem is with these tours, unless there’s returns in the pipeline, it kinda makes these matches little more than exhibitions…
Lockhart tries to work the arm early on, leaning back on an armbar that nearly pinned Brookes in the opening moments. Brookes tries to return the favour, but he’s outwrestled on the mat, and quickly put into a Paradise Lock, leaving Brookes flopping on the mat like a fish out of water. Brookes has to bite the ropes to get himself free, but he finds himself in the corner as Lockhart stomped a mudhole in him, prompting Brookes to wander to the back… and return into the path of a chop as his wandering antics didn’t work out for him. Neither did using fans as human shields… but what did work was Brookes throwing a kick as he caught himself in a handrail in the stands, and was left hanging as Brookes ran in with a boot as Lockhart was left on the floor.
Back in the ring, Brookes keeps working over Lockhart, helped a little with Kid Lykos throwing some boots on the outside while Brookes had the ref tied up. Not literally. Lockhart was kept on the defensive when he got back to the ring, as Brookes rolled him into a single leg crab, before a rope break saw Lockhart gets pulled up… which he turned into an enziguiri as the American tried to find a way back.
The pair trade knee strikes before Lockhart hoiked up Brookes for a suplex, but it’s not long before Brookes hung Lockhart across the top rope, before a slingshot spear and a brainbuster dumped Lockhart for a near-fall. A clothesline from Lockhart helps turn it around, before a DDT on the apron looked to have him back in control, only for Brookes to pull him down off the top rope. As the turnbuckle comes loose, the referee misses a low blow and a shot from Lykos’ baking tray, as Brookes picked up the straightforward win. ***
Kurtis Chapman vs. James Mason
This was an absolute joy to watch live, as Kurtis Chapman took on someone who’s probably been wrestling longer than he’s been alive.
Chapman tries to work the arm early, but Mason manages to get free and go for a pinning attempt. Mason uses the referee to help kip up off the mat as he then lifted up Chapman by the arm, renewing the focus on the former cruiserweight champion’s limb, stopping only to shrug off Chapman’s attempt at a leg spreader and reverse the stretch. Shoulder tackles follow when Chapman manages to get free, putting him back in the corner, before he looked for an arm stretcher on Mason on the mat… only for James to bicycle kick his way free. Everything Chapman does, Mason seems to have multiple answers for.
A knuckle lock from Chapman took Mason down into a neck bridge… one Chapman couldn’t break as they end up back-and-forth on the mat again, as Chapman yet again seemed to struggle against Mason’s old-school stylings. Chapman tries his luck with a headlock, but Mason just scoots his way free, then trips up Chapman with some simple leg scissors to the ankles. A simple handshake from Mason sees Chapman get free… but Kurtis perhaps tried to get his own back way too quickly, as Mason just stopped him in his tracks. The pair trade rolls-ups for a ref-trolling series of two-counts, before going back into the ropes as a monkey flip sends Mason down as Chapman finally managed to get in some sustained offence.
Mason bridges out of a La Magistral cradle to avoid being pinned, but he couldn’t avoid being caught with a Codebreaker-like move when Mason pulled Chapman out of the corner. A gamengiri in the corner catches Mason as Chapman tried his luck again, flying into the veteran with a cannonball… but Mason grabs the ropes to stop even a one-count from being made. A double-leg stump puller into a clutch pin nearly puts Chapman away as the momentum swung back, before he just sat down on Chapman’s takedown attempt at got the pin. This was an excellent slice of “old school” wrestling, which went down exceedingly well with the crowd – who knew that something different would work? Make some time and watch this one! ***¾
Post-match, Zack Sabre Jr. comes out and mocks Kurtis Chapman after some had been comparing the two. Problem was, the cameras barely picked up any of the audio, as Sabre tried to bully Chapman, only to bail when Mason came back to make the save.
Josh Bodom & Sha Samuels vs. The NIC (Charlie Carter & Oisin Delaney)
It was a Rev Pro debut for the NIC, who’ve been in and around a bunch of shows in the South for the last little while.
They get jumped before the bell as Bodom and Samuels focused on Delaney in the early going, only for Delaney to low bridge Bodom, to the outside as he proceeded to slingshot Samuels into the boots of Carter in the corner. There’s some nice sequences from the NIC here, only for Josh Bodom to come in and boot Delaney as the more experienced duo began to edge back in. A kitchen sink knee to the gut drops Carter, as does a chop, before a back suplex dropped Carter for a near-fall. Sha’s in next to catch Carter with a double axehandle off the top for a two-count, before Delaney manages to get a tag in as he fired into Samuels with chops and uppercuts.
Delaney’s offence quickly ends when his springboard crossbody’s turned into a Michinoku driver by Sha for a near-fall, before a standing moonsault from Bodom gets a similar result. Carter’s back in to toss Bodom across the ring with a belly-to-belly before sending Sha sailing with a back body drop as the NIC almost snatched the win with a boot-assisted slam. In the end, Sha pulls Delaney to the outside as Carter found himself in trouble, taking a superplex. Another error sees Samuels and Bodom crash into each other as the NIC tried to take advantage, nailing a suplex/powerbomb combo that would have won the match, had Sha not rolled into the referee to stop the count.
Once Sha’d gotten his two-penny worth in, it wasn’t long before Delaney ate a Bodom Breaker as the former Revolutionists took the win. A good showing from the NIC, but in the end their inexperience on this level proved to be their undoing. ***
Post-match, Samuels said that “everything was about to change”… he wanted to hire a new member, stealing him from another team, before addressing Carlos Romo by name. He called Romo the “star of that team” before heading to the back to celebrate his own team’s victory… then reappeared to second Romo for the next match.
Carlos Romo vs. David Starr
Of course this was non-title, as Romo seemed to be perturbed by Samuels and Bodom’s offer. Starr’s uncharacteristically not got much to say before the bell, as he saved his words for winding up Romo throughout the match, poking fun at how he was seen as the “lesser light” of team Whitewolf.
Romo’s temper looked to get the better of him in the early stages as he got caught in some headscissors, but Starr quickly felt the effects of a leg lariat as Romo took him outside – sending Starr scurrying away to avoid a dive. Back in the ring, Starr had more luck as he grounded Romo with an Indian deathlock, despite the Spaniard’s attempt to roll him onto the mat for a pin, as he instead had to reach to try and grab the ropes… but when Romo did get free, he quickly got clocked with a cartwheel kick. Chops from both men brighten things up as a roll-through into a knee strike from Romo finally got him the upper hand, as he followed those up with a series of kicks to Starr’s chest.
Romo heads up top for a Blockbuster neckbreaker that nearly wins him the match, but Starr’s right back in with a Blackheart Buster for a near-fall. A series of swinging punches from Starr misses as Romo comes back in, only to run into the path of the Cherry Mint DDT. Not to be outdone, Romo superkicks away a Han Stansen and lands a Code Red for another near-fall, before he’s pulled off the top rope as Starr again swings and misses a lot before he got caught in a bunch of pinning attempts. A cutter out of nowhere drops Starr, allowing Romo to head up top for a moonsault… which actually lands for a two-count, before an eye rake and a Han Stansen turned it right back around, as a powerbomb over-the-knee gets Starr the win. A hell of a scare for the champion, but by hook or by crook he escaped with the win as Romo came up short. ***½
El Phantasmo vs. MK McKinnan
So, how the hell do we talk about this one?
Well, it started out promisingly enough, with Phantasmo flipping around, dropkicking MK into the corner, before MK pulled down a flapjack effort, leading to a rather metallic clang. The pair play to the crowd for a test of strength, before ELP went on a spot of rope walking, only to get pulled down to the mat. A suplex from McKinnan led to another worrying twang, with ELP kicking out at two as a noticeable saggy patch developed in the ring. Ring crew rush down to try and pop the boards back into place underneath as we had a brief stoppage… they resumed, trading chops before ELP landed a suplex for a near-fall – keeping the ring in one piece!
An ELP backflip and a springboard crossbody finds its mar, before a Quebrada landed for a near-fall – ring still intact, as the pair seemed to develop more confidence for the ring… before another suplex from ELP led to the metallic clang, and we’re back to square one. Despite that, ELP lands a slingshot senton for a near-fall as commentary was struggling to decode just what was going on. In the end, a superkick from ELP and a whirlibird Burning Hammer got the win in a match that had it’s own issues!
Post-match, David Starr came out and claimed Phantasmo cheated… when Chris Roberts refused to overturn the decision, Starr pitched a fit and demanded that Andy Quildan come down. Cue Starr’s impersonation of Andy, a whinge about Rev Pro “not caring about safety” as Starr once again wheeled out the conspiracy theory stuff.
Starr points out how the Cruiserweight title isn’t as shiny as other belts in the promotion, as shoddy microphones came into play… but hey, Starr was on top form here as he ended up pushing one too many buttons, claiming that Andy bent over backwards to please New Japan. That lit a fire under the promoter Quildan, who ripped into Starr’s “conspiracy” as him being little more than ungrateful for the opportunities he’d been given.before creating a conspiracy… one to stop El Phantasmo from getting to the to.
So the answer? To remove all of the elements that have helped Starr’s conspiracy. No count-outs. No DQs. No refs. No title belts… instead, we’re getting ELP vs. David Starr for the newly-designed Cruiserweight title in a ladder match. It seems El Phantasmo’s foreshadowing paid off!
Now… we fix the ring during an impromptu interval.
Bobbi Tyler vs. Jamie Hayter
Zoe Lucas joined commentary for this one, as we had a rematch from Cockpit 31 – back when Jamie was the champion.
We’ve a measured start as the pair locked up, eventually going into the ropes, before Hayter pulled Tyler down with almost a guillotine choke as the match eventually broke down into a series of snapmares that Hayter stopped with some knees to the face. Chops from Hayter leave Tyler on the back foot, but a reverse Irish whip allowed Tyler in with a clothesline into the corner… then a Downward Spiral out of it. Hayter tries to fight back but she’s caught in a Dragon sleeper variation… albeit one that ended when Hayter rolled back to force a pinning attempt.
The former champion continues the offence with a suplex before some knees in the corner and a uranage backbreaker earned a near-fall. From there, the pair trade strikes, with Hayter landing some head kicks and uppercuts before another clothesline into the ropes and another Downward Spiral almost ended things. Tyler looks to head up top, but she’s caught and brought crashing down with a superplex, before Hayter followed that up with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall, before another running knee got Hayter the win. This was decent, but the crowd not knowing who to cheer and who to boo didn’t help things. **¾
After the match, Hayter took the mic and was about to challenge Zoe Lucas for the title… only for Bobbi Tyler to lay her out. So I guess she’s there to be booed now?
A-Kid vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
A rematch from their much-vaunted contest in Spain last year, but we start with A-Kid sending Carlos Romo to the back.
They start off scrambling on the mat, with the ropes coming into play early as Sabre was more or less forced to use them, as the Spaniard seemed to have been more than a match for the Rev Pro champion. At least until Sabre fought fire with fire, cracking into him with an uppercut as the A-Kid momentum came grinding to a halt. A triangle armbar from Sabre sent A-Kid into the corner for respite, before Zack started to do some stretching, pulling A-Kid over with a single leg crab, and clinging on with a leg grapevine as he stretched the Spaniard in the ropes. A-Kid tries to strike back, before he floated a Northern Lights suplex over into a cross armbar that Sabre instantly put the blocks on as he rolled into the ropes.
More kicks from A-Kid trap Sabre by the ropes, but Zack caught one and went for a knee bar, only for the ropes to force an early break. A-Kid tries a response, but a standing moonsault briefly has him in a triangle armbar, which he escaped and looked to respond with in kind as the pair then reached a stalemate with duelling heel hooks. Zack slaps his way free, before a Dragon suplex was flipped out of as A-Kid lands a standing Spanish fly for a near-fall. A Dragon screw and a PK from Sabre’s enough to leave A-Kid down… but he can’t capitalise, and so he has to wait to get back to his feet before he leathered A-Kid with a series of palm strikes, only to get caught with a superkick for a near-fall. An aborted leap off the top allowed A-Kid to try and catch Sabre with a backslide, before he rolled into a crossface, only for the pair to roll back into the ropes as Sabre found his second wind, dumping A-Kid with a Dragon suplex as both men were left down on the mat again.
Another PK’s blocked as A-Kid came back with a backflip kick to take Sabre down. There’s a Spanish fly off the top, but it’s still not enough as Sabre’s able to come back with a Euro clutch, then a PK for a near-fall as the pack quickened… a swinging Code Red nearly upsets Sabre, before Zack took A-Kid Orienteering with Napalm Death for the submission. A fantastic back-and-forth contest, but one that perhaps lost a little bit with the knowledge that few truly saw an upset on the cards here. ****½
After the match, Sabre pulled A-Kid into a guillotine until Kurtis Chapman came out in his pyjamas… and got taken out with a one-arm choke. James Mason has to make the save for his little ‘un again, sending Sabre packing – demanding a title shot in the process.
All in all, Cockpit 39 was an eventful show with two matches that are worth going out of your way to see and some decent action on the rest of the line-up. It’s just a shame that once again, the promotion’s lack of direction away from the top of the card seems to be making a lot of these shows a little tricky to invest in. It’s becoming a familiar issue on the UK scene…