One week out from Epic Encounter, Rev Pro returned to the Cockpit as Dan Magee looked to get his hands on Sha Samuels in a street fight.
With quite a few of the promotion’s regulars busy elsewhere (ELP having debut in Japan the prior day, David Starr being at PROGRESS’ Super Strong Style 16 in London that same weekend), this was a show that focused a lot more on Rev Pro’s home grown talent. We’ve got the two Andys “live” on commentary. Nudge nudge…
Gabriel Kidd vs. James Mason
So… the answer to “we got Kidd’s name wrong on the lower third” is seemingly to not throw up a name plate for him this time. Or indeed, anyone…
This was a bit of a proving ground for Kidd, who tried to keep the match technical from the off – but was finding himself outfoxed by Mason time and time again. Every time Kidd got a hold, Mason found a way out, whether it was tripping a leg away, or scooting on his rear towards the ropes to find a reversal.
Eventually, Kidd began to try and play Mason at his own game, but he got caught as the pair worked through a series of pinning attempts, straight out of the World of Sport days. A monkey flip finally gets Kidd ahead, before an armdrag has him down briefly. Mason’s back up as he traps Kidd in a cravat, before Kidd’s attempt at a toe hold is thwarted when Mason spread his legs out from under him.
Kidd’s able to back up out of Mason’s leg spreader on the mat, and even managed to reverse it, before rolling sunset flips led to more near-falls. A neck-trapping headscissors looked to force Kidd to submit, but again it’s countered before a roll-up off the ropes nearly ended things. An uppercut blocks a hiptoss, but in the end the win comes from a counter as a sunset flip is rolled out of and turned into a jack-knife pin as Mason took the win. A fun, technical outing here – and I’m really enjoying the way the Contenders are being drilled into a grappling style. ***
Rob Lias vs. Kip Sabian vs. TK Cooper
This was meant to be Sabian vs. Lias, but with nobody from Rev Pro management on site (cough), TK Cooper inserted himself into this and made it a three-way.
The early going sees TK and Kip take care of Lias, before they turned their aim on each other… but Rob Lias was more than sore over the change to the mat, as he hung up TK in the ropes briefly. A leg trip and an elbow drop has TK down, as does a back cracker, before there’s a switcharound as Kip Sabian dropkicks Lias to the outside.
Lias low bridges Kip to the outside, but he forgoes a dive… only to get caught with a knee strike as Kip hits a nice tope con giro to the floor. Back inside, a satellite DDT from Sabian dropped TK for a near-fall, but Lias isn’t too far behind as he caught a big boot from TK and turned it into a shinbreaker. A back suplex drops Sabian for a two-count, as neither man was able to maintain the upper hand. There’s a nice Kotaro Krusher from TK to Sabian, before Lias cuts him off again… TK responds with a knee in the ropes ahead of a springboard corkscrew legdrop. He can’t follow up on Lias, but does catch Kip with a Spanish fly for a near-fall as a three-way strike exchange broke out.
Eye pokes from Lias earn him superkicks, before he returned to try and steal the pin on Sabian following another springboard corkscrew legdrop from TK. A Sharpshooter followed, but Sabian breaks it up before he looked to drop TK with a sit-out torture rack bomb, but it’s escaped… only for TK’s knee to give out as he tried to land Rihanna.
A low dropkick to TK makes it worse, as Sabian manages to land that finish, the Deathly Hallows (Part One) for the win. A solid win for Sabian, but this was a bit of a struggle to get into given how these guys hadn’t been regulars as of late. ***
Post-match, Sabian gets the mic and said that this could be his last time in the Cockpit… but he wants to remain a part of the Rev Pro roster despite going to AEW. To come back though, he needs a title: and so he challenges Zack Sabre Jr. at the MAYhem show in Portsmouth. Shame that didn’t happen…
RevPro Undisputed British Women’s Championship: Jamie Hayter vs. Zoe Lucas (c)
There’s new music for Jamie, who’s getting a rematch after losing the women’s title back in December.
Meanwhile, Zoe Lucas was out with both her belts – the Rev Pro title and the RISE championship she’d won in April. She bailed outside at the bell, looking to stall things out before she was pulled off the top rope into some ground and pound from Hayter.
A spinebuster keeps that going before Lucas got hurled into the corner, but Zoe hangs Hayter’s legs in the ropes and began to work on the challenger’s right leg. Bobbi Tyler appears in the aisle, but there’s little reaction to her as she just watches on. Zoe pulls a page from the opener as she caught Hayter in a leg spreader on the mat, but the challenger was able to fight back, taking down Lucas with a clothesline before Zoe chop blocked the leg out from under her.
More kicks to Hayter’s right leg leave her in trouble, as her opportunities to fight back started to become more limited. A backbreaker proved rather unwise, as she dumped Zoe across her own injured knee, before Lucas catches her in the ropes with an axe kick… and this is looking rather much like a foregone conclusion.
Jamie again tries to fight back, catching Zoe up top as she was playing to the crowd, before landing a superplex. She tried to roll through into a Falcon arrow, but Zoe countered into a Final Cut legdrop for a near-fall. That was the cue for Zoe to go for her title belt, but the referee stops and hands the title away while Bobbi Tyler ran in and laid out Jamie with the other one, allowing Zoe to get the easy win. This was fine, but I’m curious as to why this was paid off here with minimal notice. **½
Post-match, Bobbi Tyler enters the ring and “gets into it” with Zoe, before they revealed they were in cahoots.
Shigehiro Irie vs. Michael Oku
Oh dear. This was Irie’s return to the Cockpit after a few shows away, and everyone expected him to bounce Oku around the ring for fun here.
Oku tried to keep the match close early on, but he’s quickly taken down with a waistlock from Irie. Instead, Oku used his speed to try and make a difference, but he’s caught with a bulldog ahead of a springboard splash, before Oku made a comeback with a ‘rana and a dropkick to take Irie into the corner.
Irie fights back with a huge pounce, taking Oku to the outside… but Oku beats the count and began to come back with forearms. Only for Irie to swat him down with a single one of his own, before a slam set him for the sit-down splash. Poor Oku. Poor, poor Michael.
He does manage to back body drop out of a piledriver attempt though, before a crossbody’s caught and turning into a swinging Bossman slam for a near-fall. Oku has to fight back once more, turning a fireman’s carry into a DDT, before a missile dropkick put Irie down for a near-fall. A single leg crab’s easily pushed out of by Irie though, who then pounces Oku back into the corner… but Irie misses a cannonball and gets caught with a springboard moonsault!
Another setup for a Pounce led to Oku getting caught in a katahajime in the middle of the ring, but Oku rolled back and nearly scored the upset, before he ran into a Beast Bomber. Oku tries again for the single leg crab, even dragging Irie away from the ropes, but Irie manages to roll free, using his legs to then pop up Oku neatly into another katahajime. Oku doesn’t tap… so Oku flips backwards in a katahajime-plex, keeping the hold on for the submission. Damn, that was murderous – and for the moments we thought Oku could win, that was a decisive a win as you’ll get. Oku will get his day, especially if he continues to bump like a champ… ***¼
Josh Bodom vs. Brian Pillman Jr.
This marked Pillman’s debut for Rev Pro in a match against someone he called a “British version of myself”.
We start out slowly, trading wristlocks, before Bodom slapped Pillman silly from a break. Pillman gets a quick receipt after faking out a Shibata-ish dropkick in the corner, before a crucifix-style pin got a quick two-count on Bodom. Another shot from Pillman sent Bodom to the outside, where a thru-the-ropes dropkick sent Josh into the steps ahead of a twisting crossbody to the outside.
Bodom chops away a springboard back in the ring, then lands his own Orihara moonsault that almost led to the count-out… but Pillman makes it back in and gets pounded on for it. Pillman fights back, but takes a dropkick to the mush, followed by a standing shooting star press for a two-count. Pillman elbows back up from a chinlock as he began to chop away on Bodom, following that up with a scoop slam for a near-fall. On the apron, Bodom fights back with a gamengiri, before a Diamond Dust left Pillman flat on his face. From there, things turn a little sour as Bodom began to play the “I bet your dad’s proud of you” card, prompting Pillman Jr. to respond with a monstrous chop, then a pump handle driver for a two-count.
The pair trade kicks, with Bodom’s superkick sending Pillman down ahead of a cutter for a near-fall – with commentary starting to call it a “Check Up From The Neck Up”. Just, no. Bodom manages to connect with a senton bomb for a near-fall as well, before he puts forward the dead dad card again… More knee strikes from Bodom take Pillman into the ropes for a Bliss Buster, and that’s it. This was more conclusive than I remember live, with Pillman having a few good shots, but in the end the experience difference more than told here. ***
No Disqualification: Dan Magee vs. Sha Samuels
This was a hell of a brawl from the off – with Dan Magee demanding the street fight after months of aggravation from Sha Samuels, dating back to the TV tapings last year.
Sha goes after Kurtis Chapman before the bell, cracking him into the side of the ring with a spinebuster, before he hurled a couple of the contenders. Dan Magee runs out to start the brawl, taking him into the entry way, only for Sha to bounce him between the seating decks. Magee switches it around, removing some cushions before he looked to drop Sha on the seating, but he instead got slammed into there as another Contender, Shaun Jackson, got thrown across the floor so hard the neck on his t-shirt was obliterated.
Sha goes looking around the ring for a chair, which was hidden really well as other plunder was thrown in… like window frames. Yes. Oh, and a broom, which Sha smashes on Magee’s back. A window frame gets smashed over Magee’s head, before a scarf tied him in the corner for a spot of suspender whipping. Going under the ring, Samuels finally finds the chair as Magee was left in pain in the ring, before he ripped off one of the turnbuckle pads. Magee’s able to recover a little while Sha was fiddling around, but the former Contender’s quickly put down again as Sha wedges a chair between the top ropes, only to get thrown into it himself.
Magee tries to follow that up, but he charges himself into the exposed corner before Sha throws him outside again… right into a chair that Magee used to swat away a tope. Yep, that was nasty! Dan keeps up as he slammed Sha in the entry way, before Josh Bodom made an appearance, scoring with a missile dropkick to the back of Magee. This became a handicap match for a while, with Bodom and Samuels working together to whip him some more as Kurtis Chapman finally appears to make a save with a flip senton. We’re back to Samuels vs. Magee, with Dan using a chair as he hits the Morning Glory – the reverse Pedigree – only for Bodom to pull out the ref to keep the match alive.
With the ref distracted, and Dan too, Sha uses a chairshot to knock Magee down, before Bodom returned to help with a dropkick for the Winning Combination… but Chapman breaks up the cover and throws out Bodom to boot. Kurtis throws in his two pennies’ worth with a lungblower to Sha, before he was lifted onto Sha for the Sega Magee Driver… but Bodom just German suplexes Chapman onto the pile to break it up.
Bodom and Chapman brawl to the outside again, then to the back, as Sha and Magee were left alone. A sliding Flatliner from Magee leaves Sha on all fours, before a Slingblade drops him for a near-fall. Sha finds the chair again though, and uses it twice to lay out Magee before locking him in the cobra clutch for the ref stoppage. This was a wild one to watch, particularly for the choice of plunder, and while I liked how it set up a match for York Hall, I have my doubts as to whether any of these four will be taking too much of a step up afterwards. ***½
Team WhiteWolf (A-Kid & Carlos Romo) vs. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
This main event was announced on the morning of the show – and needed Kyle Fletcher to hot-foot it to the Cockpit after a killer match with Jordan Devlin at PROGRESS hours earlier. It’s the fourth time in less than a year these teams have met in Rev Pro, and while all the matches have been good… WhiteWolf have yet to record a win. I doubt that’ll change today.
We start with Davis and A-Kid scrambling on the mat, only for Dunkzilla to power up and walk A-Kid to the ropes as it was far too soon to be going for any kind of submission. A-Kid, who had wrestled in Berlin the prior night, was coming in with a taped-up thigh which was an obvious target, but he was able to try and catch Davis with a triangle armbar. He escapes, but his charges for a chop ended up missing before he kicked A-Kid’s leg out of his leg ahead of a back senton. Yep, I’m still squeezing that Owen Hart reference in
A-Kid staggers into the corner as Carlos Romo tagged in, as did Kyle Fletcher… but Kyle found himself double-teamed as A-Kid quickly returned in. Double-teams from the Aussies led to them pancaking A-Kid for a near-fall, before Davis properly targeted the leg with a Dragon screw and a half crab. That ends quickly in the ropes though, but A-Kid remains isolated for a little while. A tag’s made to Carlos Romo, who crashes into Kyle awkwardly with a Shining Wizard for a near-fall (along with some comedic timing on commentary), before a Busaiku knee finds its mark more cleanly for a near-fall. That gave the Spaniards a window of opportunity, which A-Kid took advantage of as they double-teamed Kyle Fletcher… until they were caught with a double suplex from Fletcher.
Davis tags back in, where he cartwheels away from A-Kid and Romo to boot and clothesline them respectively for a near-fall. Chops keep Romo on the back foot, as do those chop/clothesline combos before a series of boots keep the Spaniards down for a near-fall. A-Kid blind tags in as some double-teaming and superkicks leave Dunkzilla down for a two-count, before Fletcher made a save from an impending double-team, with A-Kid scoring an armdrag/headscissor combo to neutralise it all. A series of topes keep Davis out on the outside, as A-Kid and Romo swap around… but Kyle’s superkicks stop that as a double-team GTS on the outside leaves A-Kid down. Back inside, Romo eats an Aussie Arrow for a two-count, before A-Kid returned to drop Davis with a Spanish Fly. He can’t make a cover from it though, as the Aussies come back with a series of strikes that rendered Andy Q unable to say anything other than “big kick!”
Dualling powerbombs and Boston crabs follow, but rope breaks save Team Whitewolf as A-Kid manages to dropkick Fletcher into the ropes for a 619. A Blockbuster from Romo keeps Fletcher down for an A-Kid frog splash, but it’s not enough as Davis makes a save. Romo’s slingshot cutter takes Davis back outside while A-Kid took Kyle up for a Spanish fly before a moonsault from Romo led to… yep, another near-fall.
Aussie Open seemed to be invincible here, kicking out of everything, before an accidental missile dropkick from A-Kid took out Romo… and left him on his own as the Aussies double-teamed A-Kid into oblivion, finishing him off with a Fidget Spinner for the win. A fun main event, but given that Aussie Open had their tag title shot less than a week later, there was no way in hell they were losing here. ***½
The show closes with an in-ring promo as a fired up Aussie Open vowed that they were no longer scared of Suzuki-gun, and talked people into York Hall on Friday as they promised to leave with the belts.
As a go-home show for Epic Encounter, this was perfectly serviceable, with a hell of a brawl between Sha Samuels and Dan Magee standing out.. but without many of the top stars, and up against a flagship weekender elsewhere in London, this was a card that had some good moments, but ultimately is likely to be a show that people pass over in favour of the big York Hall card.