Subtitled “PAC IS BACK”, Rev Pro brought the former WWE Cruiserweight champion back for his first indy UK date in over six and a half years.
Last seen on the indy scene here for Southside in April 2012, losing to the late Kris Travis in the promotion’s Speed King tournament, Rev Pro wasn’t even a thing when Neville left these shores for the WWE. Fast-forward a lot, and… well, rather than save it for York Hall or even the London Cockpit, Pac was back in Portsmouth.
The two Andys are on commentary for this show, once again…
Darius Lockhart vs. David Starr
The current PWX ITV champion, Lockhart’s been building up a name for himself during a tour of the UK. Neither his, nor Starr’s title was on the line in this match, as Starr looked to bounce back from his loss to Tomohiro Ishii.
Starr, in his 700th match (I’ll believe him here) instantly turned on the Portsmouth crowd, who cheered him coming out, as commentary throws in some topical stuff that’ll not date at all in, ooh, six weeks’ time.
Lockhart punches out Starr at the bell, as he wasn’t in the mood for the champion’s pratting around… but Starr’s quickly back with a flurry of shots as this match started as a striking battle. After a leapover in the corner, Lockhart connects with a back elbow, following up with a second one from the apron before a crossbody flattened Starr.
Lockhart puts the boots to Starr, who’s forced to cower in the ropes, but it’s a ruse as a poke to the eye led to a lifting DDT over the knee for a near-fall. Andy Simmonz again brings up how Starr suddenly has no issue with Chris Roberts refereeing his matches, which almost distracts from Starr clobbering Lockhart with a sliding crossbody in the corner.
Chops from Starr keep Lockhart in the corner, before an elbow catches the champion again. Starr pulls Lockhart out of the corner, but Darius switches it into an enziguiri, following up with an upkick as he had Starr in trouble. Lockhart shoves away from a Cherry Mint DDT and catches Starr with a dropkick as he was hanging in the ropes, following him to the outside with a tope as we find out that Rev Pro REALLY need to learn how to set up crowd barriers.
Returning to the ring, Lockhart stays on top as the Portsmouth crowd warmed to him… and the match again descended into a strike battle as the pair traded elbows before Lockhart trapped Starr in the corner for a knee strike. Starr catches Lockhart on the top rope, but a superplex is fought off… before Darius is caught with a belly-to-belly superplex as he seemed to play to the crowd.
An attempted Han Stansen missed so much that Starr sent himself sailing to the outside, but he’s quickly back with a Cherry Mint DDT, then a shining wizard for a near-fall, before a Blackheart Buster almost put away Lockhart. From the kick-out, Darius is caught in a crossface, which he countered into a roll-up for a near-fall. Another Han Stansen hits, but not before Lockhart landed a leaping knee… and with a second lariat leaving Lockhart on the mat, Starr got the win with, of all things, a running big splash. An impressive showing in defeat for Lockhart, as Starr shrugged off that loss to Ishii a few weeks earlier. ***½
Lord Gideon Grey’s out next as he tried to cancel the next match, as Great O-Kharn was set to rematch against Shane Taylor. Yep, the second rematch for O-Kharn in a week as the list of opponents looks to be running dry.
Great O-Kharn vs. Shane Taylor
At the bell, Shane Taylor powdered to the outside as he chased Gideon Grey around the ring, before diverting his attention to O-Kharn with a series of body blows and a clothesline to the outside.
Taylor keeps up with chops and right hands as he sent O-Kharn around the ringside area, following up with a leg drop on the apron as the Dominator was in big trouble early on. O-Kharn gets thrown back in the ring and after he kicks the ropes into Taylor, he clotheslines him off the apron as we’ve more brawling around ringside.
There’s some underhanded tactics from Gideon Grey, who rakes Taylor’s eyes behind the ref’s back, as O-Kharn goes to his ear-based offence. Some boot chokes keep Taylor on the mat, as O-Kharn’s kicks to the chest don’t exactly look like they’d cause an issue… unlike a European uppercut that found its mark not long after.
O-Kharn nearly wins with a Skull Crushing Finale on Taylor… O-Kharn came up from that with blood trickling from his eye as he bust out some Mongolian chops for a near-fall. A claw-assisted sleeperhold follows, as does a chinbar, but Taylor gets a foot to the ropes as O-Kharn wiped the blood away as if it were sweat.
Chops from Taylor show there’s some fight left in him, before a discus lariat dumps O-Kharn with ease. O-Kharn responds with forearms before a headbutt, a chokeslam and a big splash drew a near-fall, before a pair of knee strikes looked to have O-Kharn in bigger trouble as Taylor climbed the ropes.
A big splash off the middle rope finds its mark, but O-Kharn’s out at two. Gideon Grey gets in the ring to attack Taylor from behind, but this time he doesn’t fall for the distraction as he manages to catch O-Kharn with a death valley driver for a near-fall. Gideon’s caught on the apron again, as Taylor drags him in by his cane… but as Shane looked to lay him out with a cane shot, Chris Roberts disarms him, and misses a low blow before a claw chokeslam picked up the win. A little better than their York Hall effort, with O-Kharn seemingly slipping into a higher gear after he saw red… but we’re dangerously close to this stage of the character outstaying its welcome. ***
Josh Bodom vs. Carlos Romo
Andy Simmonz is unhappy on commentary as Bodom’s in “against a cruiserweight”, but the “cruiserweight” starts by taking Bodom down as he worked on the wrist.
Some headscissors from Romo leads to a roll-up for a one-count, as the crowd seemed somewhat silent, waking up after a leg lariat dropped Bodom for a two-count. Bodom hits back with some forearms and chops, with Romo being battered into and out of the corner, as Bodom slowly began to slip into his usual groove.
Bodom takes his time before landing a standing moonsault for a near-fall, which promoted Romo to try and fire back with elbows… only for Bodom to catch him straight away with a suplex for another two count. Another fightback from Romo’s leads to a step-up ‘rana that takes Bodom into the ropes before he followed up with a dropkick that sends Bodom to the outside.
A tope finds its mark as Romo quickly throws Bodom back inside, returning with a crossbody for a near-fall. Bodom fought back, but he can’t get off a Bliss Buster as Romo shoves him off for a running kick, before a Roll the Dice finds its mark for another two-count. Romo goes back up top, but he misses a stomp as Bodom capitalises with a snap German suplex, then a powerbomb and a lariat as we get the Rikishi bump from Romo ahead of a two-count.
From there, a Bodom Breaker nearly gets the win as Bodom had to rough things up a little, peppering Romo with forearms before he gets caught with a superkick. A roundhouse from Bodom followed, but Romo’s able to respond with a springboard cutter before a top rope moonsault hits for a near-fall.
The pair roll onto the apron, where Bodom wrecks Romo with a series of clotheslines before an apron tombstone and a Bliss Buster got the win. A fairly dominant win for Bodom in what looked like a one-sided, almost an enhanced squash match here. ***¼
A-Kid vs. El Phantasmo
Well, if you were thinking “Rev Pro’s found their favourite member of Team Whitewolf because of Dave Meltzer and his five stars”, commentary certainly backed it up.
We start with some mat wrestling as A-Kid went for a cravat as he looked to keep Phantasmo grounded… but ELP has some grappling chops, as he used a knuckle lock to try and pin A-Kid, only for some neck bridges to defy him ahead of an impressive monkey flip-based sequence that almost came from the World of Sport days!
A-Kid gets booed for dabbing. Good. They then bully Chris Roberts into doing a cartwheel, before we broke into a lucha-inspired series of rolls, kip-ups and some tiltawhirl headscissors as both men struggled to hit the mark before the obligatory dropkick stand-off. Phantasmo takes Kid into the corner for some chops, before regaining his footing for a spot of rope-walking and an eventual ‘rana for a near-fall.
A backbreaker gets ELP a near-fall after Andy Simmonz made a boo-boo, saying this was A-Kid’s first singles match. Maybe in Rev Pro…
The hand-walk senton follows from ELP after he took his time playing to the crowd, before A-Kid began a comeback with an Arabian press that forced Phantasmo to reach for the ropes. We’re back to the ground work as Phantasmo’s arm is worked over, with a double armbar ending quickly in the ropes. Another series ends with ELP’s springboard crossbody and Quebrada combo for a near-fall, before an atomic drop and a series of chops led to A-Kid getting clotheslined to the outside as he had a taste of his own medicine, with an Arabian Press from Phantasmo!
Back in the ring, ELP’s knocked off the top and to the floor as A-Kid hits a step-up enziguiri, before a springboard crossbody sent the Spaniard back outside. He takes it quickly back inside as a frog splash found its mark for a near-fall, as did a superkick and a Northern Lights suplex combo as Phantasmo looked to be in trouble.
Just like that, Phantasmo hit back with a whirlibird neckbreaker, before he started to rough up A-Kid with some boots. That just prompts a chop battle, which ELP switched out of with an enziguiri before A-Kid responded with a standing Spanish Fly for a near-fall. A quick superkick and German suplex from the count-out looked to keep up the pressure, but a desperate clothesline stopped him in his tracks… but A-Kid’s back with chops before a superkick puts a stop to him again.
ELP goes for another rope-walk, but A-Kid joins up him up top for a Spanish Fly as we almost had the upset. Another step-up ‘rana up top keeps Phantasmo in it as he follows up with a top rope ‘rana, a senton bomb then a springboard moonsault as the Canadian picked up another W. An impressive outing in front of a crowd that perhaps took a little too long to warm up to… if A-Kid gets more established as a singles guy in the UK, then this could be a hell of a rematch in, say, six months time. ***½
Michael Oku vs. Chris Brookes
With Oku slated as a future Rev Pro contender, on paper this ought to be quite the breeze for Chris Brookes… even if his singles record in the promotion has been a little, erm, lacklustre.
Commentary notes that the Contenders division will be coming back in the new year, after the last class of Contenders moved on up the card. There’s a cheapshot from Brookes at the start, as he lights up Oku and took him into the corner for some boots while Andy Simmons flunked a spelling bee live on air. A springboard crossbody from Oku looked to provide a distraction, as did some forearms, before a tiltawhirl backbreaker brought Oku down to earth with a bump.
Brookes throws him outside for a back suplex on the apron, before he dismantled those useless guard rails and threw Oku through one. We’re back at ringside as Oku’s unsighted by the ring apron then stomped on, prompting a fight to beat the count as Oku just about beat it… and rolled into some boot chokes from Brookes.
A dropkick gets Brookes a near-fall, which he followed up on with an Indian deathlock, then a STF as Oku was forced to drag himself into the ropes for a break. From there, Oku had a brief fightback, featuring a pair of missile dropkicks, before a leaping knee took Brookes outside into those railings… which Oku aimed for with a tope con giro that took Brookes down.
Returning to the ring, Brookes takes a moonsault press for a near-fall, before a single leg crab was fought out of, so Oku hit back with a satellite DDT for another near-fall. There’s a corner dropkick too as Brookes looked to be struggling, before a running shooting star press found its mark for an ugly near-fall. A single leg crab follows, but Brookes gets to the ropes… and Oku goes for one flip too many as a moonsault’s met with a superkick before a rope-hung neckbreaker got Brookes right back in it.
Brookes feints a superkick and instead hits a knee before dishing out a brainbuster for a two-count, before another Oku fightback ends with a bicycle knee and a Praying Mantis Bomb as Brookes finally got the W. A competitive squash, with Oku showing plenty in defeat – and if he is to become a Contender next year, he’ll be very familiar with this role, I fear. ***
Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) vs. HxC (Dan Head & James Castle)
The thing with Rev Pro stacking up a lot of their minor shows with tag matches means we’re in for a tonne of rematches… and this was one of them.
HxC – supposedly the hometown heroes – jumped the Aussies at the bell, taking them outside for a beatdown. Fletcher’s dropped on the apron by Castle while Davis took a DDT there from Head… and when HxC decided to play to the crowd, they got caught as the Aussies responded by knocking them off the apron.
Davis feigns a dive and instead drops to the floor to chop HxC, before the match finally got going with a backbreaker from Fletcher and a back senton from Davis for a near-fall on Castle. Fletcher keeps up with a backbreaker as the Aussies took over, but Head cheapshots Davis as some double-teaming turned the match back around.
Head tags in and throws some headbutts before a slam left Fletcher on the deck. Castle antagonises Davis as we’ve more heel tactics, as Kyle was kept far away from a tag as possible. An elbow from Castle’s good for a near-fall, while Davis again ties up the referee protesting while Head smothered Fletcher on the apron. It’s the usual HxC playbook here, with combination strikes continuing to keep Fletcher at bay and in trouble.
Eventually, Fletcher pushes Head and Castle away, then lays them out with a Quebrada before finally getting the tag out to Mark Davis. You know the comeback – chops and clotheslines aplenty! There’s even a stacked up slam as HxC were slammed at the same time, before a sit-down splash out of the corner kept Castle on the defensive. Head takes an Alphamare Waterslide as his punch missed, before he’s taken into the corner for Davis’ chop/clothesline combos.
Davis keeps up the pressure with a flapjack before Fletcher came in for the assisted cutter for a near-fall, but HxC manage to come back with double-teaming, luring Fletcher into a dive that misses as they resume their focus on the Aussies. Castle’s double double stomps again wind Fletcher before a tag’s made as Head comes in for the double-team Tongan Twist for a near-fall – with Castle’s dive to Davis stopping any assistance from that particular end. Head’s made to pay for his offence with a double-team Go to Sleep on the outside, before Castle took a superkick and a sliding forearm from the Aussies, before he ate a pull-up piledriver and a Fidget Spinner for the win. Pretty dominant stuff here, even if the officiating at times was a little off – Aussie Open get back on the board after defeat in their title shot a few weeks earlier… and is this another build to a title shot for them? ***¼
Mike Bailey vs. Pac
Let’s be real, THIS was the match everyone’s cherrypicked.
The bell rings as we’ve got a rather standoff-ish start as the cut-from-granite Pac just took in the crowd. Pac refuses a handshake (because he’s a “nasty bastard”), and he instantly heads to the ropes when Bailey looked for a waistlock. Bailey looked to get restrained with a wristlock, but some kip-ups see him escape as Bailey gets taken into the ropes by the Geordie.
Pac follows up with a side headlock, but Bailey restrains him and scores with a shoulder tackle, then with a PK after a sunset flip was rolled out of. Pac demands another PK, but he jumps Bailey from behind as the Canadian measured up, only for Bailey to respond with the cavalcade of kicks, sending Pac outside for a tope con giro.
Back in the ring, Bailey keeps up with some kicks on Pac, then a hard whip into the corner as Pac powders to the outside, suckering in Bailey as he charged Speedball into the apron. Pac took over from there, with another hard Irish whip before some elbows and a chinlock looked to wear down his foe. Sending Bailey to the outside, Pac followed up with a Sasuke special, which he made look effortless. After getting a two-count, that’s followed up with a missile dropkick as Pac started to get agitated at the speed of the ref’s count.
They head back outside, as Pac throws Bailey head-first into the apron repeatedly, before using an Exploder to throw him into the side of the ring. Ow.
Somehow Bailey beats the count, but he’s right back outside as this time he suckered Pac to the outside with a baseball slide… and leaps onto him with a springboard moonsault to the floor! They trade rear spin kicks, with Pac getting taken down with a pop-up dropkick before a step-up knee in the corner and a running corkscrew press almost put the Geordie down.
On the outside, Bailey gets some payback for earlier as he traps Pac in the guard rails for some kicks, before eventually scoring with a buzzsaw kick for a near-fall. The shooting star knees don’t even start as Pac gets up and dumps Bailey with a German suplex, before a Blue Thunder bomb drew another near-fall for Pac. They continue to go back-and-forth with Pac crotching Bailey to avoid those shooting star knees, following up with a superplex attempt that he eventually gets off.
Pac’s back to his feet as he slows down the pace with some more chops… but Bailey fights back, only to get taken into the corner with an eye rake, from where he responds with a moonsault/fallaway slam that nearly shocks Pac. From there though, Pac catches Bailey in a crossface armbar, only for Bailey to roll back and nearly pin him… except Pac lifts up his shoulders and keeps the hold on as Speedball had to reach for the ropes instead.
Bailey ‘ranas out of a powerbomb for a near-fall, then hits the standing shooting star knees, before following Pac into the corner for the roundhouse kick. A Flamengo driver’s next for a near-fall, before shooting star knees off the top rope see Bailey crash and burn before a Liger bomb draws Pac a two-count! From the kick-out, Pac draws Bailey into the corner, then heads up top for a Black Arrow… and that’s enough for the win! This was a really good main event, but not helped by a crowd that wasn’t exactly hot for the match. ****
Rev Pro’s final Guildhall show of the year (at least, for VOD) was a solid affair that most people will probably only watch for the main event. If that’s you, then at least go back and scan through the undercard as there’s some really solid wrestling in there, including an impressive outing from Darius Lockhart, and the continued cementing of Team Whitewolf on the British scene. Oh, and that fella they used to call Neville on the telly was pretty good in his first match back in England too…