Rev Pro wrapped up their build for High Stakes in front of a packed Cockpit.

With no January show (seemingly to hedge bets over something happening at New Japan’s WrestleKingdom on the weekend that’s reserved for Cockpit shows), this was Rev Pro’s first outing in Marylebone in the new decade. So let’s get to it! Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmons are on commentary.

Carlos Romo vs. Senza Volto
We open with shoulder tackles and armdrags from Romo, who’s looking to end his long losing run here. They perhaps started a little too quickly, as they looked to climb the ropes in the corner… but Senza slips, and they have a staredown instead.

Until Romo suckered Senza in with an armdrag… and the tempo increased from there as Andy Simmons seemed to be commentating on his own for a bit. Chops from Romo had Volto on the back foot, as did some boot choking, but Senza pushed back, hitting a handspring back elbow to knock down the Spaniard.

A double-jump moonsault helps Senza to a near-fall, but Romo’s back in with a diving knee, before a strike battle led to Romo being back in a heap. Romo’s caught in the top rope with a 619 before he sat down on a Code Red and nearly stole the match. Senza counters back with a backslide and a Code Red for more two-counts, although Romo was left flat on the mat as Carlos feigned injury… looking to snatch a win from nothing.

Volto kicks out from a nice Spiral Tap, then had to grab the rope to save himself from an ankle lock. A Stretch Muffler’s next from Carlos as he rolled Volto down into a modified Octopus stretch, but he couldn’t quite keep it on… and Volto’s able to respond with a barrage of knees and a Stundog Millionaire… enough to get the win. A nice competitive opener, as Romo is still looking for a win… despite changing it up here. ***

Hikuleo vs. Dan Moloney
These two have been going at it for a while – and had a spill-over the prior night in Stevenage. That I think maybe one or two people were in the crowd for on both nights.

There’s a hot start as Moloney jumped Hikuleo, but was quickly caught with a suplex… he’s back up, and back down with a back elbow. Short-arm clotheslines keep Moloney down, before a fightback just led to him getting choked on in the corner, before Hikuleo went outside for a chair.

The ref disarms Hikuleo, who gets booted by Moloney ahead of a TKO as Dan tried to force an opening… but Hikuleo bails outside. Brawling around ringside led to a tease of a piledriver on the outside, with Hikuleo instead getting posted, before he used a chair to swat away a spear from Moloney… and there’s your DQ. This was fun while it lasted, but this feud shall continue! **¼

Before the next match, Zoe Lucas came out for a promo. She’s not booked, and takes the piss out of the crowd for moaning about her not defending her title. I mean, she’s not wrestled at the Cockpit since last June…

Dan Magee vs. Eddie Kingston
Back to the scheduled card, and it’s a Rev Pro debut for Kingston, who was looking to be in his element against Dan Magee. Except Mad Kurt was proving to be a bit of an annoyance before a bell even rang.

Kingston chases Kurt away though, and gets caught with an enziguiri from Magee who took advantage with a heck of a cannonball off the apron. Kurt’s back to distract, but it seemed that it was Magee who was the most distracted as he took some hard shots from Kingston before finding luck with a crossbody back inside. A splash in the corner, then a Slingblade finds its mark for a near-fall for Magee, as we learned that Dan Magee’s name is a fun one to chant to Mad Kurt’s theme. Sorry, not sorry. Kingston struck back as Magee was pelting him with forearms, before the Morning Glory inverted Pedigree drew a two-count. Kurt pops up on the apron to try and coach Magee, calling for the pumphandle knee… but it gives Kingsotn time to get back up as he tosses Magee outside with an overhead belly-to-belly.

The pair brawl around ringside, with Kingston seemingly laying into Magee “as if he were Kurt”, which was just bad luck for Dan. Back in the ring, a pumphandle suplex drops Magee for another two-count – and this was looking pretty easy as Kingston was able to take physical shots at Magee… and verbals at Mad Kurt. To his credit, Magee was hitting back, but he was just getting overwhelmed as rapid-fire chops in the corner and face-washing boots drew just a one-count.

More distraction from Mad Kurt gave Magee a chance to recover as he laid into Kingston with a flurry… but gets dropped with Backfist to the Future that knocked Dan all the way to the outside. Somehow, Magee beats the 10-count and makes it back in, but Kingston wasn’t done, and after kicking out of a roll-up, he obliterates Magee with a powerbomb and two more Backfists to the Future. Cue some more colourful language at Kurt, before one more backfist had Magee down for the three-count. A heck of a story here, and Magee got a lot more from surviving than he would have done winning here. Keep your eye on him this year… ***½

Afterwards, Kingston told Magee to stand out and do things on his own, only to get caught with a low blow from Mad Kurt. Kingston gets up though, but Magee tosses Kurt out of the ring to save his life.

Southside World Heavyweight Championship: Rampage Brown vs. David Starr (c)
Gideon Grey’s got a cuppa tea with him. There’s a whole new level of confidence in your charge…

Starr got a hero’s welcome on his return to the Cockpit. Starr started out mocking a “big strong” Rampage, before he low bridged the challenger outside. Aborting a dive, Starr’s quickly caught with a back suplex as Rampage took control, following in with a back elbow.

Rampage dominates, wrenching away on Starr with a camel clutch, then a rear naked choke that Starr had to break with a jawbreaker, but a suplex quickly restored order. On the outside, a front suplex drops Starr on the apron, while Starr had to knee his way out of repeated suplex attempts… only to get belted with a forearm.

Starr recovers, trapping Rampage in the corner with forearms and chops before wrenching away on Rampage with a bully choke, following in with an elbow drop for a near-fall. From there, Starr wallops Rampage with short-range clotheslines before he had to roll out of a piledriver attempt. A superkick’s next, but Rampage spun Starr with a clothesline before a gutwrench powerbomb almost led to the title change. More chops wear down Starr, but some desperation superkicks on the apron force an opening before Starr’s caught on the top rope… only to come down to deliver a Kaepernick to Rampage. Another superkick, another near-fall, and now Gideon’s back, having finished his cuppa… but he’s more a hindrance than a help as he distracts the ref, who missed a belt shot as a Han Stansen gets Starr the win. A solid title defence that brought back memories of Starr/Ishii to some level… ***½

Post-match, Starr cut a promo – and got a new t-shirt idea to boot… he put over Southside for giving him a way to annoy Andy Q again, before talking his way into a tag title match for High Stakes. I know Damian Dunne was elsewhere for PROGRESS, but it’d have been nice to have had some reference as to why they’re teaming – not everyone watches every Rev Pro show!

Great O-Kharn vs. Kenneth Halfpenny
Oh dear. An unadvertised outing, it opened with Gideon Grey stalking Slick Lombardo from behind, like a slightly weird twist on the Shining. On paper, O-Kharn vs. Contender Ken should have been, erm, a domination. It was not.

Halfpenny stopped to stare at Brendan White on his way to the ring, but when the match got going, Halfpenny shot out of the gates, looking to upset O-Kharn with a running Head Hunter neckbreaker. Shoulder tackles follow, but O-Kharn edged ahead, only to get caught with an atomic drop and a sliding clothesline for a two-count. A T-bone suplex from Halfpenny’s good for another two-count, before O-Kharn fought back with a gutwrench slam. Mongolian chops follow, then a claw-assisted abdominal stretch ahead of a skull crushing finale… for a near-fall. Halfpenny’s able to capitalise with a Blockbuster before a flurry of strikes and a big boot led to almost an Angle slam. Hanging up Halfpenny in a Tree of Woe, O-Kharn distracts the ref so Gideon Grey can interfere, and it’s one-way traffic from there as the crowd exclaimed in shock that this had gone ten minutes.

One last bit of defiance from Halfpenny thankfully wraps it up though, as he ends up getting caught with a head claw slam… and that’s it. The problem with O-Kharn is that there’s a lot of the hadcore fan base at the Cockpit turned on him a while back, feeling that rather than evolve, he’s found an act and stayed in his proverbial lane for a bit too long. In turn, that means what he’s doing just doesn’t click with those fans. Most undefeated runs tend to lead somewhere, but in his latest run here it’s just a part of the back story that’s been filed away. O-Kharn’s not actively bad – just in need of a refresh. **

Post-match, Rampage Brown comes out to double-team Halfpenny… Brendan White took a kicking on the way in as Shaun Jackson and JJ Gale needed to make a save. Eventually Brendan White cleared house, but Halfpenny wasn’t happy White was only there for the end… unaware he’d been laid out.

Chakara vs. Taya Valkyrie
Having lost to Gisele Shaw 24 hours earlier, Taya Valkyrie’s looking to wrap up her weekend in Rev Pro with a win.

Chakara jumped Taya at the bell, throwing her into the corner ahead of a knee strike that just got a one-count. Valkyrie hit back with some knees, but was taken outside as Chakara kept up the beating, before some boot chokes in the corner led to a hanging neckbreaker in the ropes. Escaping from a camel clutch, Valkyrie tries to fight back, but Chakara keeps clubbing away, following up with suplexes as the Cockpit crowd were giving her new nicknames. Valkyrie managed to force another way in, catching Chakara with a curb stomp for a near-fall, before a forearm smash and the Road to Valhalla got her the win. A decent enough match, but it didn’t seem to really click with the crowd. **½

Kyle Fletcher vs. Mark Haskins
With Mark Davis on the shelf for the forseeable, Kyle Fletcher’s still looking to make headway as a singles wrestler – but has been trading wins and losses as of late here.

Neither man looked to be able to make the most of the early exchanges, which saw Haskins grab a side headlock before he got thrown aside by Fletcher. It remained similarly tit-for-tat for a while, with the pair blocking armdrags before Fletcher got taken into the corner… where he tried to outsmart Haskins, only to get pulled outside for a massive apron PK. A tope followed, then a second – albeit with some misdirection – as Fletcher took some bad landings on steps.

Back in the ring, Haskins continued to wear down Fletcher with some chops, before a high-speed running knee spun Kyle inside out for a near-fall. A low dropkick gets a similar result as Haskins suddenly changed the pace… then dialled it back down as he looked for a cross armbar. When that didn’t come off, Haskins decided to go back to the strikes, chopping a defiant Fletcher, before the pair crashed into each other with a double clothesline.

Fletcher’s back up first, and hit back first with a brainbuster before heading up for a crossbody that caught Haskins hard for a near-fall. Some knees and a short-range clothesline gets Haskins back in it though, as did a PK, before Haskins rolled through Fletcher… before he hit a stomp to counter a counter. The roll-through death valley driver’s next for a near-fall, before Fletcher caught Haskins on the top rope… only to get chopped down as Haskins missed another stomp. A big boot doesn’t miss though, nor did Fletcher’s superkick and brainbuster combo, before both men ended up on the apron trading strikes.

The turnaround comes when Vicki gets on the apron… and had Mark bump into her from a superkick. That brought a hush on the crowd as she looked to have hurt her leg, but it’s a ruse as Mark shook Kyle’s hand… then punted him in the balls before Made in Japan got the win. A decent little match, even if I loathed the finish… Kyle’s almost in the same bucket as Carlos Romo when it comes to being slightly aimless in Rev Pro without his tag partner, and that’s a little worrisome. ***½

Ricky Knight Jr. & Robbie X vs. Michael Oku & Shota Umino
Without El Phantasmo around to play off of… and because they’ve already done him vs. Hikuleo to death, Michael Oku’s getting in on the build to the Southside Speed King match at York Hall.

Oku and Knight start us off, going at a decent clip as we had leapfrogs, takedowns and armdrags between the pair, leading the double-dropkick stand-off. Tags bring in Robbie X and Shota Umino, as they worked over each other’s wrists while commentary was being very non-committal as to whether Shota was a cruiserweight or not. Shoulder tackles distract as Shota charged through Robbie X… who kips up before a series of headlock takedowns led to another stand-off.

RKJ tags back in, but there’s no handshake as he boots Umino, but Shota recovers and took Knight into his corner as Oku returned. A low dropkick from Knight caught Oku off balance as a side suplex took him down, ahead of a slingshot senton from Robbie X. Oku’s back with a ‘rana, but Robbie X cartwheels out before landing a hiptoss/low dropkick combo for a near-fall. Knight tags back in to hit a stalling suplex, but Robbie X can only get a one-count from it before he opted to wear down Oku. The “Southside team” corner Oku, who’s left almost standing on his head following an uppercut from RKJ, who continued the one-way traffic… and we’ve got some quick tags from those two.

Eventually Oku got himself free with a ‘rana and a dropkick, before bringing Shota in to try and force a way back in with forearms and elbows. Umino looked for a Death Rider, but Knight countered with a death valley driver for a near-fall, while Robbie X came back with a missile dropkick as they looked to restore order. Oku found another way through, lifting Knight and Robbie to the outside for a big Fosbury flop… which he landed on his feet from! Rushing back in, a dropkick cracks Robbie X for a near-fall. Robbie X uses a backslide to roll Oku in for a knee as the ring began to fill up. RKJ has to break a pin as a reverse DDT and springboard moonsault looked to have Robbie X done for.

Oku and Robbie X exchange right hands as they fought back to their feet, before Umino wa sneeded to make the save as you sensed things were approaching their end… especially when Oku was getting peppered with kicks. Umino tries to help but just gets caught in a stacked up Samoan drop from Knight, before a Spiral Tap from Robbie X almost got the win.

Back inside, things continue to stay wild as Oku and Umino hit dropkicks to change up the momentum, before Oku looked to help with a stuff Death Rider on Knight. That goes nowhere as Knight fought free and hit a top rope ‘rana to Oku, before Robbie X came in to accidentally lay out his own man with an X-Clamation. From there, an Umino dropkick then a Death Rider and an Oku frog splash sealed the win. A wild main event – one that perhaps got a little too frayed towards the end, but all four men looked good here as they built towards their respective matches for York Hall. ***½

Rev Pro’s first Cockpit show of the year was a solid, if unspectacular build for High Stakes – or at least, as much as they could with the talent on hand. As we’ve said almost ad nauseum, Rev Pro’s acquisition/merger with Southside has given them some new blood – but as we’re already seeing this dial down, it’ll be interesting to see what the lay of the land is after High Stakes.

At time of writing, High Stakes is in the books – and with that new increased schedule, Rev Pro have ten shows in the next two months… now is absolutely not the time to start running in place.