The first steps of Rev Pro’s merger with Southside were shown, as November’s Cockpit show was headlined with a Southside title defence.

We’re playing catch-up with Rev Pro’s VOD for what was the first of four shows in November – culminating in the British J Cup. That might explain why the attendance was decidedly on the low side, with plenty of empty seats. Commentary comes from Andy Boy Simmonz and Mark Davis.

Kenneth Halfpenny vs. Brendan White
The story here was that Halfpenny was a little embittered over Brendan’s opportunity to face Ren Narita at York Hall, and was looking to prove a point.

A chop and a T-bone suplex had Halfpenny ahead, but Brendan fought back with a wacky backbreaker, before an “ankle tickle” took White into the ropes as Halfpenny tried to snatch a win. An Anaconda Vise nearly forced the stoppage, but White fought back in with a superplex and a Black Hole slam for the quick win. A decent exhibition, but ultimately way too brief. **

Rob Lias vs. Michael Oku
Oku was perhaps using this match as a warm-up for the British J Cup, while Lias was perhaps tuning himself for a future match with JJ Gale.

Some early framerate issues end with a boot from Lias, before he got distracted by TK Cooper appearing at ringside. Oku’s right in with a misdirection knee, before Lias rolled away from a frog splash and hit a dropkick of his own. More TK distractions led to Lias getting caught in a half crab, while TK mocked as Lias just tapped out. A Travis Banks level of squash for Lias here. **

After the match, Oku took the mick out of Lias (aaaah), before Lias offered to make amends with TK. Commentary talks all over it though, as JJ Gale snuck into the ring and pounced on Lias, dishing out a beating that culminated with a springboard uppercut.

Kyle Fletcher vs. Carlos Romo
Carlos has some new noise, and started out on the offensive as commentary was all about reminiscing over old video games.

Romo takes Fletcher outside for a chop, but a swift turnaround has Kyle on top courtesy of another dropkick. Framerates return as they fight into the seating, before returning to the ring as Fletcher put his boot through the spine of Romo. Another turnaround sees Romo surprise with a tope, then rush back in with a Busaiku knee for a near-fall as the match descended into strikes. Chops from Kyle led to a Michinoku driver for a near-fall, which looked to bust open Romo, but he’s back with a Shining Wizard and a moonsault for another near-fall. A superkick damn near kills Romo, who manages to counter a tombstone by slipping out into a big back cracker, before he eventually found his way in with a Butterfly hold on Fletcher.

A Twist and Shout neckbreaker adds to Kyle’s woes, before a Cutter Without the E was blocked, as Kyle dragged him onto the apron and spiked Carlos with a tombstone on the edge of the ring as we entered the final 5 minutes in the time limit. Romo barely beats the 10 count, but rolls into the path of a big splash from Fletcher… and just like that, Davis screams after Romo hit his cutter, before a Spiral Tap made enough of a mark to get a near-fall. Romo’s stopped on the top rope with a superplex, as Kyle pushed back with a Ligerbomb for another two-count, before Kyle spiked him with a hammerlock tombstone to make sure we didn’t get the time limit draw. I like how they’re making Carlos go the distance here, albeit in defeat. This was pretty decent, as the trend in Rev Pro of “former tag guys having to go single” continued yet again. ***½

The Legion (Gideon Grey, Rampage Brown, Sha Samuels & Great O-Kharn) vs. Dan Magee, Darius Lockhart, Kurtis Chapman & TK Cooper
Davis’ heart sank when he realised we were going to get up to eight separate entrances… but at least he took the mick out of what to expect here. Red faces, pulsing veins… and an impending coronary.

Here though, we got the debut of Mad Kurt, who was jazzed to be finally getting his “proper” music. So jazzed, in fact, he was ready to face an impending doom at the hands of Rampage Brown… who just bulldozed him down despite an early flurry from the former Super Contender. TK Cooper’s in and comes close with a leaping leg lariat on Sha, before Lockhart joined the fray to keep the cycling of tags going. A knee in the former from Lockhart knocked Sha down for a near-fall, before the Legion started to double, triple and quadruple-team him… not helped by Chapman distracting the ref in a failed bid to alert him. The Legion keep cycling through tags as Lockhart took a beating, with Chapman again distracting the ref as O-Kharn sat on Lockhart in the corner.

Eventually Lockhart got himself free, and dove in to tag TK, who combined a Kotaro Krusher and a dropkick together as he single-handledly cleared house. A headbutt drops Rampage for a near-fall, before a Parade of Moves saw Lockhart get obliterated by a Rampage lariat… and led to O-Kharn brushing aside Chapman, only to fall into a lungblower out of the corner. Things settled as Grey and Lockhart came in, but Darius’ punch seemingly laid out the ref too before the masked Legionnaire ran in and dropped Lockhart with a flapjack and a lariat, giving Rampage plenty to get the win. They’re establishing the Legion, so there was bound to be a long period on offence to get the crowd used to everyone’s strengths as a part of the new unit. ***½

Post-match, Gideon addresses the Legionnaire… but trolls us by saying he’ll not be unmasked until January 10 in Guildford. He’ll be facing the Southside champion (currently Sean Kustom), and Grey reckons he’ll win that title, then unify it with the Rev Pro belt. Remember when Sha had designs on the big belt?

Dani Luna vs. Gisele Shaw
Rev Pro’s renewed focus on the women’s division thankfully picks up the thread that was left dangling in the summer, as Gisele Shaw’s back. This was meant to have been the match in October, but an injury to Shaw forced a change…

We start with Shaw taking down Luna, with the pair trading holds as Shaw looked for an early opening. Luna surprises with a front facelock, but Shaw’s straight out of it, and taking Dani down with armdrags to boot. Chops follow as Luna couldn’t really get going, and of course, that’s the cue for Dani to rebound. Forearms beat Gisele around the ropes, but Shaw’s responding in kind before she got dumped with a suplex for a near-fall. A small package is good for a two-count for Shaw, but a lariat got Luna back on track, as a kid in the crowd cackles at the chops that were on display. That kid certainly wasn’t cooling off… and nor were the forearms as Shaw built up momentum, tripping Luna ahead of a neck flip.

A superkick’s good for a near-fall, as was a spear, before a knee strike and a DDT kept Shaw firmly ahead. Again, right on cue, Luna’s back with a suplex, before a superplex attempt was stopped via a headbutt, with Shaw landing the Air Canada tornillo onto Dani for the win. A keenly-contested outing, as that tornillo is quickly becoming deadly around Europe… ***

Post-match, Gisele cut a promo announcing she’d replace the injured Kanji against Tessa Blanchard at York Hall.

Senza Volto vs. Robbie X
Another by-product of the Southside deal, this was Robbie’s first outing in Rev Pro in over six years – and he was something of a revelation here.

They start by trading shoulder tackles, then chops, before a monkey flip from Robbie was escaped as Senza landed out of it. Robbie returns the favour as he stuck his landing, before a cartwheel dropkick had Senza rocked. The pace slows down a little as Robbie throws a couple of chops, before a slingshot elbow in off the apron led to just a one-count. Senza’s back with a handspring back elbow, then some running uppercuts and a Tyler Bate-ish flip senton for a near-fall. Robbie elbows out of a uranage attempt, before a handspring kick took Senza off the apron as a massive PK followed. A springboard missile dropkick followed, as Robbie continued to blast the Frenchman… but the X-Clamation’s blocked as Robbie instead came in with a standing shooting star press for another near-fall.

Robbie looked to be going for a Spiral Tap, but has to abort it as Senza struck back with a Code Red for a near-fall, only to get caught with a Pele kick then return with a Spanish fly as the action remained breathless. A pumphandle driver? No! Robbie’s got a German suplex before his X-Clamation was countered into a spin-out death valley driver for the win. THIS is what we want – a lovely sprint of a match that highlighted Robbie even in defeat. ***¼

Dan Moloney vs. Omari
This was a Rev Pro debut for Omari, as the Cockpit got a little more like a fight club…

The opening lock-up sees Moloney head into the corner as we got a clean break, but Omari’s able to hit back, outpacing Moloney with floatovers on the way to a crossbody for a quick two-count. Moloney escapes a suplex and quickly hit back with a knee and a kick to the back, before he began to throw some chops. A headlock takedown has Omari on the mat, but he’s back with a reversed suplex before more chops just had Moloney flipping him off. Dan drops Omari with a single chop… before Omari tried to repeat the trick. He flips out of a ripcord and hit a Doctor bomb for a near-fall though as the back and forth continued, with Omari knocking Maloney in the corner with a leg lariat.

Omari’s springboard double stomp crushed Moloney for a enar-fall before the O-Zone was countered, with Dan throwing more chops before a swift Drilla piledriver put him away. A little shorter than I would have liked, but I’m never going to complain too much about a sprint that has two lads walloping each other. ***

Southside Tag Team Championship: Moonlight Express (MAO & Mike Bailey) vs. Deadly Sins (JK Moody & Kane Khan) (c)
While it’s fair to say that Southside wasn’t exactly enjoying a big profile in its final months, this wasn’t a good first step in the merger as their final tag team champions were thrown out here for a random title defence… much like how the WCW belts were defended in WWF after they closed.

To be fair, Southside’s tag team division in 2019 has been a little rocky – the last show of theirs we went to saw Chris Brookes and Sean Kustom (in for Kid Lykos) drop the titles to Stixx and Chris Tyler… who would then swap out for Jack Sexsmith before the Kiwis would close out Southside’s 9 year run as champions. The defending champions jump their opponents, focusing on Bailey to begin with, but Speedball forearms his way back against Moody, then cartwheeled past him before MAO came in for a high-low and a pair of standing moonsaults. MAO tags in and absorbs some punches from JK, before he had his fingers snapped as JK tried to block an eye poke. Shame MAO has two hands…

Khan tags in and hits Bailey with a Samoan drop before assisting JK’s standing moonsault for a near-fall. Moody’s camel clutch looked to (ha) humble Bailey before Khan intervened and found himself met with a diving boot for good measure. MAO’s back and giving Khan a diving boot too, only for JK to punch him out ahead as some double-teaming proceeded to backfire, as Moody hits a standing frog splash onto his own man. MAO adds a split-legged moonsault to the mix for a near-fall, before an exchange of forearms led to Khan just biting away on MAO’s forearm. Bailey makes the save, as a turnaround sees Moody eat a running corkscrew splash for a near-fall, before a Parade of Moves put the champs back ahead, with Moody’s back senton almost leading to the win.

MAO and Bailey return with dualling head kicks before their version of the Fidget Spinner was broken up by Khan. Moody goes for a sunset flip, which is blocked by Bailey’s moonsault knees, before an Ultima Weapon out of the corner missed. Deadly Sins hit back with a wheelbarrow cutter, but the double-team doesn’t get it done, as Bailey hit back with a tornado DDT as the Moonlight Express pair proceeded to go flying, with Bailey’s triangle moonsault wiping out the champs.

Dualling frog splashes follow, with MAO and Bailey criss-crossing each other (delayed, naturally) for a near-fall. A superkick from MAO and a Michinoku driver spikes Moody… Khan got involved, but gets taken onto the apron by Bailey as he misses the moonsault knees, leaving MAO up top for a superplex. MAO counters back with a roll-up for a near-fall, before he had to slip out of a Psycho Driver, as Bailey made another save, only for Speedball to take the Dominator-like move. A spinning tombstone from Moody dumps MAO for a near-fall, as Bailey again needed to dive in to break up more pins as the match descended into another slugfest. MAO’s crucifix driver nearly gets the win, before MAO Matrix’d past a clothesline as Bailey returned to hit a Michinoku Tornado Driver for the win. Around these parts we call it a Fidget Spinner! We’ve got new Southside tag champions, and considering ¾s of this match were unknown to the Cockpit, they did quite well winning over the crowd. ***½

Straight away, Rampage and Great O-Kharn hit the ring with their Rev Pro tag titles, as the two champions had a staredown ahead of their match at York Hall later that month.

While “Cockers” 47 was perhaps marked for it’s lower turnout, you’d not have known it from the VOD, as the darkened crowd masked that. Beneath all that, and once you take out the opening two short matches, this was perhaps one of the better Cockpit shows in recent memory, as Rev Pro continues to reinvent themselves towards the end of the year. As mentioned, I’m not thrilled at how the Southside integration so far has amounted to guys appearing on shows and introduced as champions (rather than any kind of background history being fed to us), but if they’re aiming to merge the titles sooner rather than later, you’d imagine they’d give prominence to those names who are actually sticking around.