A big ol’ reset button was pressed at the Cockpit, as Rev Pro started yet-another tournament to crown tag team champions.
Since the September Cockpit show, a lot had happened – not least the stripping of the tag titles. The two Andys are on commentary.
Rob Lias vs. JJ Gale
There’s a few empty seats around the place, but not as many as you’d have been led to believe as we start with a rematch from last month.
Lias starts out on top, connecting with some shoulder tackles before he blocked a hiptoss… only to get caught with a backslide as Gale looked for a flash pin. A springboard uppercut’s simply side-stepped away by Lias, as Gale found himself getting throttled on the mat, not helped by Lias landing a knee drop.
Gale tries another springboard uppercut, but he’s caught and thrown with a belly-to-belly as Lias remained on the offensive, landing a neckbreaker for an arrogant two-count. JJ finally mounts an effective comeback with a forearm and a clothesline, before he finally landing that diving uppercut out of the corner for a near-fall. A missile dropkick nearly gets Gale the win… and just when Lias looked to be getting the upper hand again, TK Cooper wanders out, distracting Lias as Gale nearly scored the win.
Lias kicks out, then heads out after TK again, challenging Cooper to hit him… but Lias loses sight of Gale, who hits a springboard cutter for the win. Well, they’re keeping TK vs. Lias going after their York Hall outing then… **¾
Senza Volto vs. Callum Newman
It’s a Rev Pro debut for Newman, while Senza’s back after “taking ELP to his limit”. Erm. That was a four minute match last month…
Newman shows some flips early, springboarding out of a wristlock in the opening exchanges, before Callum was forced to push up from a double knucklelock that almost led to him getting pinned. From the kick-out, Newman fought back with a monkey flip, but Volton rolls through into a corkscrew lucha armdrag… only for Newman to instantly get back to his feet.
A handshake led to both men looking to cheapshot each other at the same time, which led to the Mike Bailey negotiation… with Senza keeping hold before a flurry of activity ended with a springboard ‘rana and a faked out dive from Volto. Newman’s quickly back in with a corner clothesline and a slingshot senton a la Tyler Bate, before he sent himself outside for some acrobats ahead of a kick to Volto on the apron.
Back in the ring, Senza chops Newman as the momentum swung all over the place, with Volto’s handspring elbow putting Newman down. He adds to that with a series of running clotheslines, then a leaping enziguiri in the corner ahead of a Code Red that was blocked. Volto tries it again at the second attempt, scrappily landing it for a near-fall, as Newman proceeded to find a second wind, nailing a high springboard forearm and a standing shooting star press for a near-fall.
Newman keeps pushing on, as the pair end up exchanging chops, before an uppercut to the back weakened Newman… but somehow he flips out of a pumphandle driver, only to run into a standing Spanish fly for a near-fall. An axe kick nearly stops Senza, but he manages to counter Newman’s pumphandle driver… then was forced to kick out of a small package as Newman acrobatically avoided superkicks, only to get caught in a pumphandled version of the Angle Slam for the win. Some good stuff here from Newman, who looked good on his debut, but you feel there’s a lot left in the tank – which is good. You don’t want to hit all your highlights on day one! ***¼
Sha Samuels vs. Carlos Romo vs. Dan Moloney
This was tying up the loose ends from last month’s Cockpit show, with Andy Q flat out saying that all three of these men no longer had their tag team partners in Rev Pro. That explains MK McKinnan’s future then…
Romo’s attacked by Sha before the bell, as Dan Moloney weirdly stayed backstage rather than join the fray. A slam drops Romo, which was the cue for Moloney to head out as our match finally started. The two big lads lock horns, but it’s Moloney who lands a clothesline before Romo looked to work over Dan’s arm. Romo sticks on a headlock, then kicked away a back body drop as he looked to be winding up Moloney, who ended up outside for a dropkick through the ropes… only for Sha Samuels to run through and mug Romo on the apron. Back inside, a PK to the back stuns Romo, while Andy Q’s commentary stunned me for a second, about where Carlos may end up “if he doesn’t find his feet in Rev Pro’s singles division”…
A spinebuster from Sha drops Carlos for a near-fall, before a chinlock on the mat forced the Spaniard to fight free. Which he does. Romo looks for a cutter, but he’s caught in a Butcher’s Hook… only for Moloney to stare down Sha before it could be locked in fully, and now the two bulls go at it again, trading right hands then chops. You know what’s next. Birds get flipped as Moloney invited more chops, then fought back with a Bossman slam for a near-fall.
Romo’s back as he set up Moloney for an “accidental” DDT, following him outside with a tope before a diving knee almost put away Sha… Carlos jars his knee on a moonsault, and distracts the referee as Gideon Grey ran in to jab Moloney with his cane as he went to powerbomb Sha… which led to an easy win for Samuels. Some good stuff all around, with Romo working well against the big lads, but at the end of it all this was just a bridge into Gideon’s new group. ***
After the match, Sha “shoved” Gideon aside, but took the handshake as commentary surmised that Samuels was Gideon’s “pick” of tag team partner for later in the night.
RevPro Undisputed British Tag Team Championship Eliminator: Besties In The World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. Dan Magee & Kurtis Chapman
With the Rev Pro tag titles vacated, we’ve got a rushed tournament… but rather than a huge line-up, we’ve got two “eliminators”. Why not just call them semi-finals?
Fitchett and Chapman start us off with holds, although Fitchett easily slips out of a wristlock, leaving Chapman beside himself. Fitchett continued to annoy Chapman by trying to make him dance, before Davey Vega came in to wear down Chapman some more. That’s all stopped with an enziguiri before Magee tagged in and powerbombed Chapman onto Vega’s back for a near-fall. Vega’s back with a powerbomb of his own, but Chapman’s driven into the mat instead for a near-fall, before Vega proceeded to wrench back on an armbar. Fitchett’s back to stomp on Chapman in the corner, before a nice doe-see-doe kept Chapman at bay as the Besties continued to work wonderfully together.
Chops and forearms keep Chapman in the corner, before he was forced to fight out of a superplex attempt, knocking Fitchett down ahead of a cannonball off the top! Finally Chapman tags out Magee, who charged into the Besties, taking them outside ahead of a cannonball off the apron, but back inside Chapman ends up taking an accidental reverse DDT from Magee. The Besties come back with a Giant Swing/standing shooting star press for a near-fall, before more double-teaming almost put Chapman away. Chapman almost steals it with a small package countering a suplex, before he caught the Besties with a lungblower out of the corner… a Tuck Tuck McGee moonsault, and a big splash from Magee quickly follows for another two-count, before Magee’s Morning Glory and a Sega Magee Driver finally got the Rev Pro team the win. This was fine, but it wasn’t until that flurry of double-teams at the end that Chapman and Magee were able to push on. ***
The other eliminator was meant to have been Gideon Grey and X against Pretty Deadly… so first, out comes Gideon, fresh from a 246-day exile. Sha Samuels was introduced as his tag partner, but it seemed like Slick Lombardo jumped the gun, because Gideon told us he was searching the globe, “and even went to Mumbai, but couldn’t find anyone who was good enough to be in the Legion”. The shade at Rishi there!
Gideon issued a correct: Sha wasn’t his tag team partner… Sha “has a different destiny”, as instead Gideon announced his partner: Rampage Brown! It’s been way too long since I’ve heard Hatebreed… Rampage hasn’t been in Rev Pro for almost six years! One more thing: Pretty Deadly came out after they’d done NXT UK duty earlier in the weekend, then were met with one more surprise: Gideon wasn’t wrestling. He had a substitute, in the form of another returnee.
THE DOMINATOR GREAT O-KHARN IS BACK!
RevPro Undisputed British Tag Team Championship Eliminator: The Legion (Rampage Brown & Great O-Kharn) vs. Pretty Deadly (Lewis Howley & Sam Stoker)
It’s been way too long since Gideon’s popped a blood vessel at O-Kharn’s ring entrance.
O-Kharn’s not been in the Cockpit since January, having been MIA since he was roped in to New Japan’s ill-fated tour of the US in February. He’s still got the Mongolian-inspired ring gear, and looks like he’s not had a hair cut in that time away either. We’ve a jump start on Pretty Deadly, but Sam Stoker puts the brakes on with a missile dropkick to the Legion, who then got clotheslined to the outside. Howley tries to play with Rampage, but instead he gets rocked with forearms before Stoker and Howley double-teamed Rampage with a series of running clotheslines.
Sha trips up Howley in the ropes, and promptly got ejected for it, but the Legion were on top as a result, with Howley being trapped in the wrong corner. O-Kharn’s in, but gets met with a kick and a standing moonsault from Howley, as Pretty Deadly began to wear down the Dominator. A forearm got O-Kharn free, as Rampage tagged in… and was again shut down in the corner as Pretty Deadly tried to maintain the offence, only for Howley to get slammed down. Behind the ref’s back, O-Kharn rakes Howley’s eyes as Stoker had the ref distracted, following up with some good old fashioned “sitting on the turnbuckles”. Rampage returns for a suplex, getting a near-fall from it, before O-Kharn busted out some Mongolian chops, knocking Howley down for a two-count. Stomps keep O-Kharn ahead as Howley’s trapped in the ropes, not helped when his attempt at a sunset flip just ended in the ropes.
O-Kharn’s back for a splash, before a full nelson continued to wear down Howley… whose decision to back into the corner just brought in Rampage as the, ahem, domination continued. Finally Howley mounted a comeback, sidestepping a charge from Rampage, who hits the ring post before Stoker got the tag in. O-Kharn’s also back in, taking forearms from Stoker ahead of a back elbow before Pretty Deadly worked well with some double-teams, including a gutbuster that almost led to the upset. A powerbomb from Rampage is good for a near-fall, before a ref bump allowed Gideon to, ahem, aid the referee’s exit from the ring… masking Sha Samuels running in with a cane shot to Stoker before the Iron Finger Slam and a Rampage piledriver got the win. Pretty Deadly got some offence in, but they were massively overshadowed here. As they should have been as the Legion look to be taking control in Rev Pro. ***¼
Dani Luna vs. Charli Evans
It’s been THREE MONTHS since Rev Pro had a women’s match, so forgive me if I see through the fluff of how they “love having women’s matches” here. Charli Evans was a late replacement for Gisele Shaw, who injured her wrist…
Luna took Charli into the corner from the off, leading in a clean break, before a test of strength pushed Evans to the mat, turning into a monkey flip free before Evans charged in with a shoulder tackle. Second time wasn’t the charm either, before Charli finally took down Luna, following up with a kick and a diving crossbody for a near-fall. Dani retaliates with an Exploder into the corner for a near-fall, as she looked to push through, taking Evans down with a running uppercut for a near-fall.
Luna poked fun at Charli, saying she “wasn’t meant to be here”, which prompted a brief fightback that led to a bicycle knee from Evans. A fallaway slam’s next, but Charli doesn’t go for the cover, instead heading up again for a crossbody that almost won it, before Charli found her suplex got reversed. Another leap from Evans was caught and turned into a fallaway slam, but Charli’s back with a superkick and a Fisherman suplex for a near-fall, but Luna’s back with a clothesline and a deadlift suplex for a two-count of her own. Luna lands badly from a double-stomp, seemingly tweaking her knee… and begs off as Charli looked to follow up… but Dani was lying, and quickly rolls up Evans for the win. I’m not keen on fake injuries, but if this means Dani Luna’s going to be a regular and cheating to win, then I guess that’s a step up from no women’s matches at all. **¾
Commentary confirmed in the prior match that Southside’s Queen of the Ring champion, currently Kanji, will be unifying her title with Rev Pro’s women’s title at some point down the line following the merger with Southside.
Chris Brookes vs. PJ Black
There’s new music for Brookes, who finally got Andy to acquiesce and use BABYMETAL instead of the monster truck theme CCK’s had forever. There’s no Lykos here, as PJ Black was making his first appearance in Rev Pro in over three years, having last been seen at Uprising 2016.
You know, the Vader/Ospreay show?
PJ wants a “pure wrestling” match, because “these guys deserve it”. Both men shake hands, despite having their fingers crossed, which turned this into almost a Monty Python sketch ahead of the Mike Bailey double kick/catch spot, complete with a Brexit-like failed negotiation that needed referee Tom Scarborough to step in. Taking down Black, Brookes teases a low stomp, before PJ turned the tables, as the pair then proceeded to swap armdrags and takedowns.
Brookes is back with a poke to the eye, as Tom Scarborough was still moaning about it not being “pure wrestling”. PJ escapes a rope-hung neckbreaker as he proceeded to throw off his gloves to distract the referee from a low blow… and this is turning into a farce. In a good way. Black uses an abdominal stretch to try and convince us it’s still wrestling, before he rolled Brookes to the mat for a two-count, following up with a Gory stretch that he pancaked on, turning it into a backbreaker for another near-fall. Chops follow, before Brookes kicked away Black ahead of a back senton off the middle rope, but Brookes’ shenanigans see him cling onto the ring apron to distract the ref, again masking a low blow that only gets a one-count.
A grounded Octopus follows, before Brookes kept Black on the deck with a chinlock. Black gets free and heads up for axehandles and a crossbody… but Brookes rolls through and almost stole it with a handful of tights, before Black caught him off the middle rope with a Spanish Fly for another near-fall. Black keeps up with a leap off the top… but he just jumps into Brookes’ knee before a rope-hung neckbreaker dumped PJ for a near-fall. Things turn around again with Black going up top for a superplex, instead switching it for a top rope ‘rana and a moonsault that… yes, two-count, before Brookes caught Black with a crucifix that he modified into another Octopus stretch.
PJ pops his way free, but can’t avoid a boot from Brookes before he landed a superkick. More back-and-forth ends with a clothesline from Black, who then saw his moonsault attempt blocked as he was crotched up top. A handful of hair helps Black pull down Brookes as he repositioned himself for a moonsault… which is rolled through as Brookes returned with a cutter… Brookes manages to remove a turnbuckle pad, which led to Black teasing a lawn-dart in the exposed corner. Don’t worry, Chris removes the other one, as PJ ran into it before eating a Praying Mantis Bomb as Brookes left with the win. This was ridiculous, but in a good way – probably not everyone’s cup of tea, but I’ll take these sort of shenanigans over a flat match any day. ***¼
Hikuleo vs. Michael Oku
With El Phantasmo having left for Japan, Hikuleo’s left to carry the Bullet Club-shaped can in Rev Pro for the time being.
Oku shot out of the cannon against Hikuleo, but that just made the big man powder outside, and right into the path of a Fosbury flop as Oku was looking to end this one early. A frog splash gets him a near-fall before the pair ended up outside again, with Hikuleo attempting to powder to the back. Oku nearly got caught with a powerbomb in the entry way, but instead just got charged into the ring post as the big man took over. Clotheslines keep Oku in the corners, as did a chop, as Hikuleo threatened to squander his period of offense… before he obliterated Oku with a clothesline in the ropes. A dropkick from Oku puts Hikuleo down, but the big man’s right back with a sidewalk slam for a near-fall.
More dropkicks from Oku stun Hikuleo, including missile dropkicks, before a springboard moonsault almost led to the win. A POUNCE caught Oku off guard though, before a crucifix attempt was countered into a Samoan drop as Hikuleo found a second wind, looking for a uranage facebuster, but Oku wriggles out. A superkick stuns Hikuleo, but Oku just ran into a powerslam, before he got back up and tried to weaken Hikuleo’s leg for a half crab. A simple chop stops it, before Hikuleo crotched Oku in a springboard ahead of a uranage facebuster attempt… but it’s countered into a wheelbarrow roll-up for a near-fall.
More kicks stun Hikuleo, but he’s back up to stop Oku on the top rope and bring him down with a superplex. Oku tried to counter with a sunset bomb, eventually getting it after kicking away Hikuleo’s knees, before rolling into a half crab for the eventual submission! Oku slays the giant, as you have to imagine that any path to another cruiserweight title shot will need to go through winning the British J Cup next month. A solid big vs. little main event, as the Cockpit show ended on a high note. ***
The reformation of the Legion was perhaps the biggest story out of this show, as Rev Pro began a familiar rebuilding process – although the acquisition/merger of Southside should at least make things a little easier in terms of working with new talent, there are still many unanswered questions over if and how Rev Pro will consolidate Southside’s venues into their schedule.