Rev Pro’s loaded August kicked off the Road to Royal Quest, as eight teams looked to claim their spot at York Hall.
Let’s get the elephant out of the room again. Like last month, this show took a little longer than usual to get released, as Rev Pro built up a four-show backlog (this Cockpit show, two Southampton shows and their 7th anniversary show). Considering there was a spell where these shows were out within 24 hours… that’s not good.
We open with announcements from Andy Quildan, who revealed that this’d be Chris Roberts’ final appearance at the Cockpit, as he’d be leaving Rev Pro at the 7th Anniversary Show later in the month. Something about “leaving for the enemy”… He then brought up the man he’d selected to face David Starr at York Hall in that match where Starr’s put his Rev Pro career on the line in a bid to wrest control of Rev Pro: it’ll be Starr against a man who “s all about Rev Pro”… it’s Will Ospreay! The two Andys are on commentary, once Andy Q’s made it up the stairs…
Chris Brookes vs. Rickey Shane Page
This match was the last one in RSP’s latest UK tour, and we start with Lykos loosening turnbuckles… throwing it back in place to save Brookes when he got shoved into the corner. That’s a nice save…
Unlike the spill Brookes took outside, as he got caught in the ring apron… acting as a cover for him to crawl underneath the ring. Except Page was wise to it, and met him on the other side with chops. Lykos tries to throw in a cheapshot, but it has no effect as Chris Brookes ended up chopping RSP at ringside… almost making poor George’s life flash before his eyes. If you know, you know. They head into the crowd again, as Brookes uses the entry way for a figure four on the handrails, with Lykos using the seat pad for Brookes to have an easier go of it. Back inside, Brookes wears down Page with a toe hold, which Page tried to break by pulling at Brookes’ ear. That just earned him a wet willie… but RSP enjoyed that, as he bit away on the finger before tossing Brookes down with a slam.
A no-bump suplex is next too, then a senton bomb as Page picked up a near-fall. A back body drop with a kick to the back’s next, followed by a cutter as Brookes remained on the defensive, at least for a little while longer as he tries to chop his way back in. Page returns those, before connecting with a leaping enziguiri… then a frog splash, confounding Brookes, who’d thought he’d outsmarted Page by rolling away.
Page looks to up the ante with an elevated electric chair drop off the top, but Brookes spun around for a ‘rana instead before scoring a satellite DDT for a near-fall. Brookes tries to play around with the turnbuckles again, but Chris Roberts throws it right back in his face before Brookes got tossed into the exposed corner for a near-fall… thanks to Lykos pulling out the ref. Somewhere in that, Page got busted open, and with the referee re-attaching the turnbuckles, Roberts misses a pair of low blows as a small package… doesn’t put Page away! Instead, Brookes pulls RSP down with an Octopus stretch and there’s the tag as Brookes picks up another W without really having anything else going on here. Apart from taking a lap of the ring to flip off George on his way out… ***
Road To Royal Quest Tag Team Tournament Quarter-Final: Brendan White & Kenneth Halfpenny vs. Gabriel Kidd & Shaun Jackson
The winner of the Road to Royal Quest tournament gets an IWGP tag title shot against the Guerrillas of Destiny… and there’s already dissension between Halfpenny and White. To be fair, Halfpenny was a little sour with Gabriel Kidd last month. The proverbial “little man syndrome”, perhaps?
There’s aggression from the off as Kidd rolls White to the mat in some headscissors, but White escapes into a headlock, only for Kidd to tweak the wrist to get himself free in the ropes. Where he also threw a series of slaps as Kidd seemed to be on a mission here. It’s distinctly Shibata-like, as he laid into White… but Brendan wasn’t a slouch here, as he stopped Kidd with a slam, only to run into a dropkick for a quick two-count.
Tags bring us to Halfpenny and Jackson, who scrambled on the mat before Halfpenny hung onto a wristlock and an arm wringer like a dog with a bone. Jackson uses an inverted fireman’s carry to get himself free, before a shoulder tackle took down Halfpenny… but Kidd blind tags himself in. Except nothing happens as Halfpenny and Jackson keep on trading forearms before Jackson tries the SANADA double leapfrog/dropkick… which eventually lands.
Now we get the tag out, with Kidd lighting up Halfpenny with more chops, before Jackson returned to try and capitalise with a suplex. Kidd and Jackson exchange frequent tags as Halfpenny’s worn down… but there’s a trip from Halfpenny who managed to give himself an opening as a Headhunter neckbreaker got him a tag out. Oh man, don’t take moves from YOSHI-HASHI…
Brendan White tags in and drops Jackson with a Twist and Shout-ish neckbreaker for a near-fall, before a backbreaker from White somehow dumped Jackson on his head. Another Headhunter drops Jackson for a near-fall, as Halfpenny was finally getting some offence in. White’s back to go for a ripcord Black Hole Slam, but instead he’s met with a spinebuster as Kidd and Halfpenny return again. Kidd’s a proverbial house afire as Andy Q dredged up 1PW on commentary… in the end, White charges into his own man before a brainbuster spiked Halfpenny for a near-fall. Jackson’s back in as they looked to finish, as he helps with a double-suplex… but White makes a save as he and Halfpenny hit a Magic Killer for a near-fall. A second Magic Killer’s blocked, as Jackson fought away, hitting a double dropkick instead.
We’re back to Kidd, who damn near boots the head off of White before Jackson blind tags in and lands a rolling thunder Fisherman’s suplex for the win. This picked up towards the end, and if you can’t see the spotlight they’re putting on Kidd, then you probably need to open your eyes. **¾
Just as a side note here… part of the charm of the New Japan young lions is that they do a lot with a relatively small “move set”. I’m not sure what’s to be gained from having the Rev Pro equivalent sprinkling in “tribute spots”…
TK Cooper came out for his match… but got jumped by Rob Lias, who laid him out his torn-up jacket. Which happened to be hiding a brick. That gave Lias time to talk down to TK, bringing up how he has a wife… while “everyone in your life… when they find something better, they leave you for it”. Yep, they went THERE, talking about TK’s ex. Anyway, TK had a match, which proved to be a non-event…
TK Cooper vs. Hikuleo
The bell rings, and Hikuleo puts his foot on TK for the win. Easy.
Andy Q tries to get the paramedics to check on a bricked TK, as Hikuleo complained about not having competition. Much like Shaun Jackson nearly got it last month against Jaxon Stone, we’ve got another contender stepping up. This time, for the opportunity to swap his Rev Pro ringer for a Bullet Club shirt.
Hikuleo vs. JJ Gale
Sadly, they never officially announce who the contender is, so the crowd call Gale “white shoes” throughout.
Hikuleo swings and misses at Gale early on, before he stuffs a takedown attempt. A waistlock takedown’s easily stopped as Hikuleo elbows free, before he took control of Gale by the wrist, utilising some short-arm clotheslines as he perhaps took the new contender a little too lightly… before he threw Gale through the turnbuckle pad, destroying it in the process. That gave JJ a bum shoulder, but he still fought back, elbowing away Hikuleo as he sidestepped the giant Tongan, following in with forearms and an enziguiri in the corner… before he ran into a pancake facebuster for a near-fall. A pounce sent JJ through the exposed corner and to the outside… but the beating only just began there.
Chops on the floor left Gale in a heap, but there’s still heart in the lad, as he boots away Hikuleo in the corner, before his crossbody was caught. Gale tries again, and has better luck with a springboard uppercut, then with a missile dropkick, before another dive off the top was turned into a spinebuster before a twister dropped Gale (appropriately) for a near-fall. Tornado.
From the kick-out, Hikuleo picks up Gale for a uranage facebuster… and that’s it. An extended squash, but a decent first showing for JJ in the Cockpit. **¾
Road To Royal Quest Tag Team Tournament Quarter-Final: The Rascalz (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) vs. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
Let’s just say that the font that Rev Pro use for their lower third had a bad time with all the Zs in the names here.
Comedy starts the match as Mark Davis and Zachary Wentz began with a knuckle lock and some arm lifts as Wentz was in trouble early. Some headscissors from Wentz are countered with a cartwheel as the American had better luck with a springboard tornillo… only to get picked up and taken into the Aussie Open corner. Dezmond Xavier had a little more luck, until he ran into Kyle Fletcher… who more than easily walked through some double-team attempts. Davis comes in as the Rascalz double-teaming proved more effective, with Wentz’s Bronco buster to Davis and running shooting star press helping him to a two-count on Fletcher. Some kicks and jabs keep Fletcher in the corner for a spell, before Kyle fought back with a double-team suplex to the Rascalz.
A tag brings Davis in for his chop/clothesline comeback, before he hit a stacked-up slam to complete the turnaround. More chops almost send Xavier crashing to the floor, which began a fightback as Dezmond hit back with a cutter. Tags take us to Fletcher and Wentz again, with Kyle coming close from a Ligerbomb, before Wentz’s superkick led to a springboard cutter for a two-count of his own as Davis broke up the cover. A discus boot from Davis misses as the Rascalz looked to take over again, with Fletcher getting slingshotted into a superkick, before a double stomp nearly got the upset. Davis quickly returns for a double-team Go To Sleep before the inverted crucifix bomb and tope combo led to another two-count as Aussie Open looked to finish it.
Wentz ‘ranas out of a Fidget Spinner as all four men stayed in the ring, allowing the Rascalz another crack at it, with a Parade of Strikes ending with a backflip kick from Xavier. We’re back to Fletcher and Xavier, with the latter landing a ‘rana as Xavier’s pace meant sure that the Aussies were unable to provide much of an answer… even if it meant that there was simply too much stuff going on for the crowd to digest.
A whoopee cushion from Davis finally ends that surge, as Aussie Open look to respond with an assisted Aussie Arrow… but Xavier’s reverse ‘rana stops it before he worked up into a corkscrew elbow drop off the top to Fletcher for a near-fall. Wentz comes as his standing shooting star press lands in Fletcher’s knees, creating one more opening as a flurry from the Aussies led to a superkick and a pull-up piledriver to Davis… then a Fidget Spinner as the former champions had to dig deep to get into the semis. They packed a lot into the 15-minutes or so they had here – and that’s not necessarily a good thing. Towards the end the crowd seemed to drift out of it, as you can only have so many fireworks in one go. ***¼
Road To Royal Quest Tag Team Tournament Quarter-Final: Team WhiteWolf (A-Kid & Carlos Romo) vs. Dan Moloney & MK McKinnan
There was little sign of dissension from the off here, despite the falling out between the Spaniards last time at the Cockpit.
A-Kid and MK start us off with some grappling on the mat, but MK busts out the Daniel Makabe “roll through and kick out the legs”, without the same success that Makabe had when his spot went viral about 48 hours earlier. GIFs! The pair reach a stalemate, but rather than tag out, we had a blind tag in from Romo as a spell of double-teaming got Romo a near-fall with a sunset flip on MK.
Romo’s leaping leg lariat gets another near-fall, as Whitewolf looked comfortable working over McKinnan. Forearms from MK took him into a flapjack on A-Kid, before a step-up back senton lands for a near-fall as Moloney got the tag in. There’s a chop as the “Drilla” went through A-Kid, with MK following suit as quick tags had A-Kid in trouble, furthered when MK bust out some ground and pound to force A-Kid outside for cover.
A-Kid tries to fight back, but his chops just make Dan defiant as he issued his response – leaving him laying in the corner as Romo looked on with concern. Still, A-Kid tries again, this time connecting with a superkick as Romo finally got the tag in, charging into MK in the corner with uppercuts and a clothesline. A Blockbuster off the top’s good for a near-fall, as Whitewolf worked well with another flurry of offence, ending with an A-Kid German suplex for a near-fall on MK. Another tag brings Romo back in, but he just gets thrown into A-Kid on the top rope as MK and Dan hit the ring, hanging Romo in the ropes for a double stomp that almost got the win. A-Kid tries to make the save, but just gets clotheslined to the floor as Romo was left in there with MK, whose hook kicks were returned with a Destroyer that almost saw Romo lose despite landing the final blow.
Romo tries to kick his way back in, but MK strikes back, landing a corner dropkick before Moloney returns to put in his part of a Dominator/neckbreaker combo. That’s good for a near-fall before a double cutter got Romo an opening… an opening that they almost capitalised with using a high/low. MK kicks out from that though, sending A-Kid outside – with a blind-tag from Romo somehow taking place in the meantime.
On his own, Romo tries to fire back, but Dan’s again defiant, swatting Carlos away before a palm strike took him down to his knee. MK’s back to make a save with a katahajime, letting go to throw Romo into the path of a Drilla for the win. This was a pretty good tag match, which didn’t go too heavy on the “dissension within Whitewolf” tropes… that was saved for later. ***½
A-Kid looked beside himself with the loss, and climbed the ropes to get the crowd to applaud for Romo. Oh, and so he could get a better spot to stab his partner in the back, as he waited for Carlos to turn around before landing a missile dropkick to the back. Team Whitewolf is no more it seems, as A-Kid finally snapped on a run that featured more losses than wins. Even if it earned him the unfortunate nickname of “A-Hole”…
David Starr vs. Senza Volto
It was a Rev Pro debut for Volto, who’s been tearing it up around Europe with promotions like Southside and the GWF. This could potentially be Starr’s last appearance in the Cockpit, depending on the outcome of that match at York Hall at the end of the month…
Starr works over Volto’s legs with a deathlock early on, before things got switched up into a wristlock, as Starr instead moved the focus onto the arm. Volto gets to the ropes, before he mocked a certain part of Starr… making him walk away and return with something stuffed down there. It’s a towel… which he threw at Volto… which in turn led to some comedy as Chris Roberts was a little hesitant to throw it away.
Armdrags from Volto catch out Starr, before some rope-walking ended with Starr threatening to shake the ropes… instead earning himself a ‘rana as Starr was sent packing to the outside. Senza then mocked Starr some more, stuffing the towel in his trunks before he donned the Independent cap, then threw the towel at Starr to wind him up some more. Starr fought back with the Pretty Pumped inverted gutwrench for a near-fall, before he began to towel whip Volto. Chris Roberts watches on as Starr took Volto back into the corner, using a sliding splash as he went back to the wrists, as he seemed to be making light work of the Will Ospreay proxy here. There’s more penile offence as he makes Senza “look at it”, and there’s the expected response too as Senza hit back with a myriad of chops.
The handspring back elbow connects as Volto keeps up his momentum, faking out a superkick before a running knee has Starr loopy. Another knee led to a suplex, but Starr escapes and gets caught in the turnbuckles with a 619-like kick. A Code Red’s next for Volto, but Starr’s back with a cartwheel kick, only to get met with a Stundog Millionaire before a Han Stansen-like lariat left both men down. Senza’s put the cap back on as he went for a springboard dropkick to knock Starr to the floor for a dive… but instead he’s caught in a Cherry Mint DDT before a standing Spanish Fly proved to be more than an able response. Another handspring from Volto’s caught and turned into a bridging German suplex though, as Starr follows in with a crossface that ends in the ropes as Senza squirmed his way there.
Lifting Senza up top, Starr looks for a superplex, but he’s shoved down ahead of a shooting star press for a near-fall. A Blackheart Buster’s next from Starr, before a clubbering Han Stansen drops Senza for the win. It wasn’t easy going for Starr, but much like last year when he had to go through Shane Taylor as a warm-up for Tomohiro Ishii, it’s another proxy win going into York Hall for the Product. ***¼
Starr got the mic after the match, talking about a pro-labour promotion (not with a capital L, despite one fan’s take) as he rallied the crowd behind him to fight for worker benefits… and then set out his manifesto for Rev Pro, while taking a few (perceived) covert digs at other promotions on what might have been his final appearance in the Cockpit Theatre.
Road To Royal Quest Tag Team Tournament Quarter-Final: Josh Bodom & Sha Samuels vs. Dan Magee & Kurtis Chapman
The tag titles aren’t on the line here, as we’ve got a rematch from January’s New Year’s Resolution show. Magee and Chapman jump start the match, but are quickly on the defensive as Bodom wore down Chapman with chops. Magee uses the seating decks to drop Samuels on, before he turned his focus onto Bodom.
That was a bad move, as Sha resurfaces with a chair… which got kicked into his face as Andy Q bemoaned the director’s decision to cut away right on cue. The bell hadn’t rung, so when Magee rolled Sha into the ring, he went straight for a pin, getting a two-count… then again after powerbombing Chapman onto Samuels. A springboard out of the corner was turned into an awkward spinebuster on Magee, before Bodom tagged in and put the boots to Dan, setting up for a missile dropkick. The old “Fat Cantona” chants were dug up for Sha, as the champions looked to make light work of things, sending Magee flying outside while a forearm knocked Chapman off the apron. Bodom keeps up the pressure with a moonsault to Magee, which looked to draw blood as Magee’s eye was cut open.
Sha doesn’t help matters as he chokes away on Magee, before a desperation Slingblade got him an opening… which he utilised as a tag brought in Chapman to leap into Bodom with an uppercut and a cannonball in the corner for a near-fall. A lungblower from Chapman flips Bodom to the mat for a near-fall, before he went up for a moonsault that almost won the match. A blind tag brings Samuels, as he blocks a satellite DDT and caught Chapman in a Butcher’s Hook out of nowhere… only for a bloodied Magee to return and boot Sha in the head to stop it. Magee stays in, holding Sha for a stomp-assisted elevated DDT for a near-fall, but Chapman comes back in and ran into a Michinoku driver.
Another lungblower out of the corner follows on Bodom for a near-fall, before the former contenders looked for an elevated powerbomb onto Bodom… Josh just turned it into a Bodom breaker on the way down, before a second one completed the hammering. Good God, Kurtis Chapman was looking for death with that top rope powerbomb, and it was a risk that didn’t pay off either as the champions sailed into the semis. ***½
After the match, Sha Samuels bullies Ken Halfpenny into filming a live Mug of the Week segment, taking aim at management for them having earn a spot on the New Japan show, rather than get it for being the champions. If they’re not careful, these Mug of the Week promos are going to make Sha even more of a cult favourite…
Michael Oku vs. El Phantasmo
One month on from taking PAC to the limit, Michael Oku’s back in the main event with a non-title match against El Phantasmo. He’s still not won his first match in Rev Pro, mind you…
Yet again, Oku almost went to the time limit as Phantasmo looked to take him way too lightly. Hikuleo’s sent to the back to get the beers ready. Hopefully they’re more than room temperature, like in New Japan. Phantasmo mocks the Jushin Thunder Liger pose early, foreshadowing something that ultimately wouldn’t happen later in the month. Oku throws a slap before he bust out the Liger pose. A second slap has ELP over-sell to levels that Shawn Michaels would have been proud of against the Hulkster, which just made Oku lash out some more.
Phantasmo finally begins to take Oku seriously as they do a wrestle, swapping cartwheels out of ‘ranas before they reached a stalemate. Another slap sends ELP into the corner, only for the cruiserweight champion to respond with a series of chops ahead of a nipple twister. Some rope walking follows, but Oku just pulls him off into a backslide for a near-fall, as Oku found some momentum, landing a ‘rana before his tope was swatted away. A back suplex on the apron, along with a fan’s bag, were thrown Oku’s way next , as ELP looked to go into the seating decks again, this time removing the pad so he could dump Oku into the front row. Oku beats the count as Andy Simmonz lost his mind as the “E L Penis” chants, but Oku just ends up in a Tree of Woe as ELP went in with the gas pedal stomp instead.
Eventually hitting back, Oku finds his mark with a missile dropkick, following in with some more before ELP scurried outside to avoid a springboard moonsault… only to get caught with a tope. They’re back in the crowd as ELP ended up on that front row, as Oku leapt from the back row onto him with a stomp. That’s mighty impressive for so many reasons, least of all… the head room! Back in the ring, Oku’s frog splash connects for a two-count, as does a springboard moonsault, only for ELP to rebound with a springboard crossbody and a delayed Quebrada for a near-fall of his own. A clothesline from ELP drops Oku for a near-fall, as the pair reverted to back-and-forth strikes, with Phantasmo edging ahead with an enziguiri before he teased the CR2.
Oku rolls through, but ELP rolled on into a Styles Clash for a near-fall as both men looked to be getting desperate. Phantasmo digs into the Bullet Club finisher book some more for the One Winged Angel… but Oku still kicks out. A senton bomb connects, but Phantasmo misses a moonsault as Oku comes in with a Destroyer off the middle rope for a two-count. From there, a tornado DDT has ELP in trouble ahead of a half crab, only for Phantasmo to push out as Chris Roberts had a farewell ref bump.
A dick punch from Phantasmo looks to turn it around again as Oku’s dumped with a whirlibird neckbreaker… but still Oku kicks out! Phantasmo heads up for a big splash, but there’s still life in Oku… life that ELP tries to snuff out with kicks and stomps as time continued to tick away. Once again, ELP goes for the CR2, only for Oku to spin around into a small package to score the upset! Just like how Phantasmo shocked Zack Sabre Jr. some eighteen months earlier in the same venue, Michael Oku’s upset the cruiserweight champion to pick up his first win! As we’ve said in previous Oku/OJMO matches, the formula of “gets his arse handed to him, but ultimately puts in a game fight and sometimes wins” is a winning formula – one that Rev Pro and PROGRESS look to be making the most of. ***¾
After the match, Hikuleo ran out to beat down Oku, holding him up for a Phantasmo belt shot… and you’d have to think with that, those two are going for the title at York Hall.
Live, this was a fun show… the problem is, when your VOD turnaround suddenly goes to hell like it has for Rev Pro, most fans are left in a quandary. Not everyone’s going to watch everything you put out… and when you drop three shows in as many days, invariably something is going to be missed out. In spite of the quality on show here, I fear this’ll get handwaved as Rev Pro’s finding out what WWE has learned – when you have too much content out in one go, you’re risking diluting your audience, especially in the build up to such a big show.