Rev Pro returned to the Cockpit Theatre in west London this past Sunday for their eleventh “Live at the Cockpit” event.

The show will (eventually) appear on RPW’s on-demand service, and at that point we’ll have a full report. Our live thoughts from the show:

In a contender’s match – a bit like the young lion’s matches that started the New Japan shows before Jay White left for his excursion of Ring of Honor and… oh, here! Rob Lias has built up an undefeated streak in these matches, and his latest victim was Josh Wall. For a “trainee” match, this was quite good, and ended with Lias getting the submission over Wall with the Last Chancery. At this point, I would have to ask when Lias will end up on the main shows.

Jake McCluskey & Kieran “The Bruce” Bruce (how’s that for a bad nickname!) overcame a contender’s team of Dan Magee and Kurtis Chapman. We’ve covered Magee and Chapman when they were involved in a three-way match, losing out to Lias on a prior show, and they looked impressive in defeat here. Like on the last show, Chapman needs to fill out badly as a wrestler. When you look rail-thin on a British indie show, there’s a big problem. McCluskey and Bruce impressed again, and McCluskey stayed well away from his “one move”, instead winning with a forearm smash into a German suplex.

Jinny and Xia Brookside. I’ll be kind about this one – this match wasn’t rotten, but when you consider that Jinny has only been wrestling for eighteen months, she really wasn’t in the position to lead a match against Xia, whose in-ring debut was seemingly only a year ago. They tried, but at times it looked fairly sloppy, and Xia lost a couple of moves, including a SANADA-like double leapfrog, and a satellite headscissors. I’d only seen Xia on tape twice before (on an Empress Pro show), and she had the same issue – decent basics, but at this point, not quite there in terms of the slightly more advanced stuff. At 17, she’d be best off perfecting a good basic match whilst trying those things behind the scenes. Jinny won with her X-Factor out of the corner, and led to a rematch with Zoe Lucas… which is interesting because their first match hasn’t made on-demand yet!

Jeff Cobb and Big Damo almost stole the show for me. Since Lucha Underground doesn’t air in the UK, and I don’t pirate content, so the man who may or may not be Matanza was completely new to me. This was the epitome of big guys’s wrestling in the modern era, in that they had a bruising encounter without resorting to the Big Daddy/Giant Haystacks belly bouncing. This is a match that is going to be well worth the watch when it hits on demand. Cobb slipped out of the Ulster Plantation (aka One Winged Angel when Kenny Omega does it), then dropped Damo with the Wrath of the Gods swinging powerslam for the impressive win.

Josh Bodom and Ryan Smile were decent in what was Smile’s first big chance with a “major” promotion in England. This started off at quite the fast pace, with chops and strikes, and even an errant tope con hilo over the turnbuckles onto Bodom couldn’t slow down Smile. Well, I tell a lie, it did, particularly when he crashed and burned, smashing the back of his shins on the the railings in the Cockpit. Much like how the barriers in York Hall are really close to the ring, the Cockpit isn’t built for dives, and whilst I applaud Smile for finding the better place to try such a tope, it was always going to be a bit like threating the needle. A frantic final sprint saw Bodom land a back cracker then a powerbomb-back cracker for the win. This isn’t going to be a one-and-done for Smile, and if bookings align, don’t be surprised to see him challenging Will Ospreay for the company’s cruiserweight title in the not too distant future.

Since I started watching New Japan this year, Jay White has impressed me, and his outing against Marty Scurll here was no different. A lot of the crowd expected this to be short and sweet it seems, but White gave it his all, including dumping Scurll with a brainbuster on the apron. This is another one I’d put in with Cobb/Damo in the “worth a watch” category, as this was quite the sleeper hit in my eyes. Despite White’s efforts, the chicken wing won the day after a thrilling back and forth contest.

The main event between Zack Sabre Jr. and Trent Seven started off real slow, but ended really hot. A lot of this contest was focussed on striking and Sabre’s “escapology” style of wrestling. Sabre busted out the double arm crank that played a mighty big part in injuring Morgan Webster earlier in the year, whilst the finish here saw Sabre hit a pair of Penalty Kicks, with Seven eventually kicking out at ONE from those. Instead, Sabre went down the more painful route and locking in an omoplata for the win.

Seven did briefly have a confused following from the handful of fans who’d been at PROGRESS a week earlier and had seen his heel turn… those same fans also were shouted down throughout when PROGRESS-like chants were attempted, but thankfully were also on hand to quash the annoying “count ahead of the ref + MOOSE!” garbage that threatened to bubble up. Now all we need to do is eliminate the “one fall” balls.

The live experience of this was well worth the £15 ticket price, with the intimate nature of the venue meaning that you could actually overhear the commentary as it was being recorded live – giving me flashbacks to the old WWA tours of the UK. Only without Jeremy Borash on commentary. Rev Pro should be back in the Cockpit later this year, and if you can make it… you should. Whilst the venue may suggest that these are “B shows”, they certainly do not deserve that moniker.

From top to bottom, this was a fine show, and a good way to spend a couple of hours on a warm Sunday evening!