Rev Pro kicked off 2017 in style with an explosive show at the Cockpit Theatre in London.

The promotion showed a commitment to running regularly at the Cockpit by announcing monthly dates for 2017, and also sold season tickets for those dates. In addition, the group looked to be improving the turnaround on getting these shows online as their shows, save for their major cards (such as York Hall), were taking weeks to get online.

With that in mind, Live at the Cockpit 12 appeared online a little over 48 hours later, with Andy Quildan and Gideon Grey on commentary. Sadly, the show opened with a staple of Rev Pro: the blurry hard camera! At least we got new graphics, minus the weird construction-themed opener as part of the promotion’s evolution: except those first graphics were a little out…

Dan Magee vs. Rob Lias
Magee got Rob Lias’ nameplate briefly before it was corrected… and it was the undefeated Lias who got going with an opening takedown that Magee quickly escaped from.

Lias works over the arm of Magee, before its reversed back and forth, until Magee scores a headlock takedown. Magee grabs a toe-hold, but Lias headstands out of it, only to be taken down by a crossbody from Magee out of the corner. Lias hits back with a dropkick to Magee’s knee, as a previous injury was targeted with kicks and elbow drops. A toe hold from Lias sees him try to force a submission, but Magee catches him in an inside cradle for a near-fall as neither man seemed to be able to hold onto any momentum.

A knee to the head of Magee leads to Lias landing a uranage as he looked to force a submission from a single-leg Boston crab – but Magee grabs the ropes to force a break. Magee misses a low dropkick to Lias, but comes back with a Slingblade, before an attempted uranage is blocked. Magee shrugs off a back cracker, then lands a running Flatliner for the pin!

Magee gets a graphic for his win, but Lias complains to the referee that his foot was on the rope (it wasn’t). Chris Roberts falls for it, and Magee sportingly agrees to restart the match… so the bell goes again, to the groans of some of the crowd… and of course, this instantly ends by way of a roll-up from Lias as his unbeaten run remains intact. For their level, this was a decent match, but I can’t help but feel that the original ending wasn’t meant to have gone the way it did… **½

Josh Bodom vs. Eddie Dennis
Bodom was the first man to get new music here, featuring lyrics such as “Josh Bodom has stolen the show”, and he’s sporting a bleached crew-cut. I guess he’s evolved too? Eddie Dennis had his typical “Party Hard” theme, and almost slipped on the ropes during his entrance.

The Bodom burials continued here as Gideon Grey bemoaned having to watch “a Welshman versus an idiot”, and it was Bodom who leapt into Dennis from the bell, taking him to the outside for a tope, before landing a diving dropkick for an early near-fall. After withstanding some chops from Bodom, Dennis turns the table with a barrage of forearms, before throwing Bodom across the ring with a biel. They head outside, where Dennis keeps up on top of Bodom, whose small number of fans got an up-close-and-personal view of him courtesy of a Dennis forearm… before he flew over them with a cannonball off the crowd seating.

Back in the ring, Bodom gets a near-fall as he looks to have loosened a tooth with a dropkick to the mouth of Dennis. A forearm from Dennis knocks Bodom on the top rope, leading to a fallaway slam off the middle rope! More forearms followed as Bodom rakes the eyes to free himself… only to get caught with an atomic drop “right on your dick, son” by the Welshman.

Dennis follows up with a swinging side slam for a near-fall, before Bodom blocks a powerbomb… only to get levelled with another forearm. Bodom hits back with a hiptoss into a knee strike and then hits a standing shooting star press for a two-count. A Bliss Buster attempt is blocked with another forearm, but Bodom leaps up to hit an enziguiri as Dennis went up top… only for Dennis to come back with a crucifix buckle bomb anyway!

Another Bodom dropkick is replied to immediately with a clothesline, leading to both men going down and our first attempted Moose-count of the night. The pair continue trading forearm smashes, with Bodom getting rocked time and again, before missing a roundhouse enziguiri as he’s caught by the referee holding the ropes during a schoolboy roll-up. Dennis pulls himself back up to his feet, and after stopping short of superkicking the ref, the Welshman turns around into another roundhouse enziguiri before a Bliss Buster gets the win. A fine match – Eddie Dennis is always a tonne of fun to watch live, and Bodom plays the part of a hateable prick really well. ***¼

It is “playing” right? They did edit out the heated confrontation he had with a fan after the match, so… cue speculation!

The Revolutionists (Sha Samuels & James Castle) vs. Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman
This was short and sweet – before the match, James Castle was aghast at the opposition’s lack of quality (in his mind), and the Revolutionists start by jumping their rookie opponents.

Wall and Chapman whip the Revolutionists into each other, before Wall dropkicks Samuels, then hits an enziguiri on Castle who powders to the outside. Samuels almost breaks Chapman in two with a spinebuster, before Castle tags himself in to finish things off. After a double stomp to Chapman, Castle calls for a brainbuster, but as Sha Samuels gets distracted looking at the crowd, Chapman catches Castle in an inside cradle for the shock win! (Not Rating)

Samuels chews out Castle after the match, ending with Castle taking a stiff slap from the “East End Butcher”. The slow burn continues to the explosion of the Revolutionists, but I have a weird feeling Sha’s going to end up being cheered for it.

Dave Mastiff vs. Tyler Bate
More new music for Mastiff, but Tyler Bate manages to keep “Sledgehammer” as his ring music. For now…

The story going in was that Mastiff wanted Trent Seven – after attacking Trent following his match with Yuji Nagata at the Global Wars show last year – and this point was rammed home to Bate in the early going. Mastiff used his size to ground Bate, wearing down the 19 year old’s wrist, before inviting Bate to charge at him with shoulder tackles.

Needless to say, they barely made a dent!

Bate switched his game to pepper away with some jabs to Mastiff’s midsection, before sending him outside for a tope which saw Bate crash into Mastiff, then the steps of the seating area. Thankfully Bate got up in one piece, but when he got back into the ring he tried to suplex Mastiff, which didn’t go well, as the big man shrugged him off then propelled him up for a flapjack. More forearms from Bate see him fire up, but a suplex from Mastiff gets a near-fall, before he traps Bate’s neck between his legs and twists them for a gruesome snap. Bate tries to catch Mastiff with a crossbody, but he’s caught and end up getting pulled into a knee to the gut… but Mastiff misses a back senton that would have flattened Tyler!

After trying a German suplex, Bate backflips out of a German from Mastiff… but he lands hard on his leg, causing a weakness for the remainder of the match. Some lariats from Bate barely move Mastiff, but a diving uppercut finally knocks the big man down… and then Bate tries for a fireman’s carry, eventually hoisting up the big man for a brief airplane spin! With Mastiff dazed, Bate hoists up Mastiff for a deadlift bridging German suplex for a near-fall – Tyler’s raw strength never fails to impress! Mastiff rolls away from Bate’s attempt at a move off the top, but Tyler rushes in with a lariat, only to get clocked with a Mastiff forearm. A clothesline takes the youngster down, but Bate blocks a back senton… with his knees. Noticing the weakened knees, Mastiff capitalises and turned over Bate into a Boston crab for the submission win. This was really enjoyable – and for more than the obvious shows of strength from Tyler Bate, but it’s the big man who rolls onto an eventual showdown with Trent Seven. ***½

Next up was the advertised main event of Pete Dunne & Marty Scurll vs. Shane Strickland and Ryan Smile. But first, a promo with Marty Scurll who called Zack Sabre Jr his best friend, but promised to beat him and continue his run of successes – then face Katsuyori Shibata for the title.

We had individual entrances, which left Smile out by himself against Dunne and Scurll, things heated up big time. Travis Banks ran out for his debut, attacking Smile as the heels went to triple-team him. Out came Shane Strickland for the save and then… Will Ospreay?! The crowd erupted, especially as Ospreay had originally been pulled from the show “due to Japanese commitments”. Perhaps some eyebrows were raised when Will tweeted an appearance for WhatCulture Pro Wrestling, so in hindsight this shouldn’t have been a surprise. But it was, and the crowd ate it up… as they did for the replacement main event: a six man tag!

Zack Gibson vs. Trent Seven
Well, the Zack Gibson act translated extremely well to the smaller settings of the Cockpit Theatre, along with his erm, different ring music. It wasn’t until Trent Seven came out (again, to new music that vaguely sounded like Seven Nation Army at the start) that Gibson started his usual promo. With exactly the same results, along with added taunts after Liverpool had struggled to draw with lowly Plymouth Argyle in a FA Cup game earlier that day.

Gibson proclaimed he’d be bringing his own brand of wrestling – Scouse Style – to the table. Sadly, it wasn’t him stealing other people’s moves… but it did get him serenaded with a chant of “he’s got the whole ‘werld’ in his hands”, which creased Trent to no end! We eventually get going as Trent takes Gibson into the corner with the opening tie-up, as they start with some good ol’ fashioned wrestling, as Seven escapes a headscissor on the mat. Trent tries to calm Zack’s “Scouse aggression” by grabbing Gibson’s finger and making him pick his own nose… then forces him to eat it. Yeah, that wasn’t one for the weak-stomached!

Some chops follow from Trent, whose chops are up there with the loudest in the game, but Gibson replies with thudding forearms and one chop that was… pretty silent. A back suplex from Trent takes Gibson to the floor, but the Scouser hits back with an uppercut as Trent looked to fly. The pair shoo away some fans and sit in the front row, like they were on a park bench, trading chops… until Trent hit the back of the seating deck with one hand, then the ring post with the other.

He’ll learn eventually!

Finally Trent lands his tope, but he takes too long getting back into the ring as Gibson catches him with a superplex. Trent pops back up anyway, only to be knocked down with a discus lariat for a two-count, before Gibson’s suplex is countered and turned into a Dragon suplex. A piledriver is avoided as a Rainmaker (?!) from Seven is turned into a Codebreaker. They continue to trade shots, with another clothesline taking down Trent en route to a twisting suplex for another two-count. Gibson finally locks in the Shankly Gates, but after Trent gets the rope, Gibson goes back in with some Bryan Danielson-esque elbows to the head… only for Seven to sit up and do a Shibata as he asks for some more.

Seven fires back with a single-leg Boston crab with some stamping to the back of the head for extra pain, but Gibson kicks away eventually to free himself. A poke to the eye stops Trent in his tracks, but Gibson slips on the turnbuckle as he tried to mount an offence… and that was the end as he was caught in a Dragon suplex, then a piledriver as Trent snatched the win. Fun stuff – with Gibson throwing in that Liverpool slip at the end to give the look that he’d have won otherwise… ***½

For this next match, we really don’t recommend playing drinking games. Especially if you have to neck any measure of alcohol every time Charlie Sterling’s old name gets mentioned.

Revolution Pro Wrestling British Tag Team Championship: London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) vs. Joel Redman & Charlie Sterling (c)
That’s Charlie Sterling, no matter what you hear… that flub at the start led to a brief chant of “are you Garrett or Sterling?” after the champions’ new ring music died down.

This match had a weird feel to it, as the London Riots were overwhelming favourites going in, which meant that the babyface champions became the defacto heels. Sterling lands a dropkick early on to Davis, who replies by catching a crossbody to land a slam and a back senton. Sterling hit back with a spinning heel kick for a two-count, before shoving Rob Lynch out of the corner and doing a Jack Gallagher by pulling off a headstand on the top turnbuckle.

Sterling landed an elbow drop for a near-fall as the champions exchanged frequent tags, before a drop toe hold got Sterling a two-count over James Davis. The match started to descend into chaos as the champions somehow forgot what constituted a tag, to the point where Sterling was intentionally swinging and missing for the hand of Redman.

Eventually, a proper tag got a loud pop… and once the crowd grew bore of the tag related chants, the Riots came in and started wearing over Sterling, who tried to sit up out of a back senton from Davis. Rob Lynch looked to be going for a swinging back suplex, but instea dhe draped Sterling across the middle rope for an elevated senton from Davis… but Sterling was actually in the ropes so no pin could be attempted. The Riots kept Sterling in the ring for a long period of time, with Davis’ cravat helping to wear him down, but Redman finally tagged in and ran away with the Riots with a variety of suplexes, before clotheslining them both to the floor. Sterling hits a somersault plancha, only for Redman to eat a forearm from Lynch as he went to dive, which gave the Riots a way to resume their advantage.

Lynch ties up Redman with an STF, before a pop-up spear ended up being countered into a sunset flip for a near-fall. Redman couldn’t tag out, so he was left in the ring – at least until Davis hit his own man by mistake, giving Redman the chance to tag out to Sterling, who landed a standing moonsault for a near-fall. Lynch counters back with chops to Sterling, but a springboard moonsault off the middle turnbuckle to Lynch is followed up with a tope to Davis – who then takes an implant DDT for a near-fall. A pop-up European uppercut rocks Sterling, as does a German suplex as the Riots throw him up for the District Line powerbomb for a near-fall.

Joel Redman staggers in but he flips out of the same move, before the champions hit their neckbreaker/powerslam combo on Lynch, who rolls ot the floor. James Davis takes a spinebuster off the top rope before he’s slingshotted into a powerslam for a two-count. Sterling looks to finish things off, but he struggles in lifting up Davis for a suplex onto the shoulders of Redman on the top rope, and in the end Davis goes to the apron before setting up Sterling for another pop-up spear.

That gets a near-fall as Redman makes the save, only to be drilled with a forearm down to the floor. Another pop-up spear is countered by Redman who decks Davis with a spear of his own, before a spinning tombstone piledriver from Redman and a Spiral tap from Sterling gets the win. A fun match, albeit a little rough at times in my eyes; but a perfectly acceptable spot of tag team action. ***

RJ Singh vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre’s new music gets a confused “what?” reaction from the crowd, who weren’t expecting a rap-based song.

Sabre leapt into Singh straight away with an armbar takedown – and this was the theme for a large chunk of the match, as Sabre held the upper hand over the un-retiring Singh. A guillotine creates another submission attempt, before Sabre releases the hold and looks to tie up Singh until he reached the bottom rope. A headscissor submission sees Sabre switch things around into a modified grounded Octopus that saw both men eventually roll into the ropes, but Singh continually had no answer as this match seemed to enter extended squash territory, especially when he slingshotted himself into the ring, only to take a kick to the chest.

In the middle of all this, a lone fan from the crowd asked Sabre where all his anger was coming from. His response? “Brexit”. Huge cheer. Then he added “neoliberalism”, which was the alternative, less-well-received punchline…

Sabre keeps the pressure up with a Dragon sleeper, but Singh made the ropes before surprising Sabre with a dropkick off the ropes… but again, Singh’s taken down with an ankle lock that’s wrenched on until he reaches the ropes. Singh again fires back with shots, but despite looking spent, they traded uppercuts until a knee to the midsection knocked Sabre to the mat. Singh launches into the corner with a back elbow, then a diving dropkick a la Shibata, before a crossbody and an enziguiri gets Singh his first near-fall of the match. Sabre counters out of a fireman’s carry and grabs a triangle armbar, but Singh jack-knifes through for another two-count, only to be caught in another guillotine. The hold’s released, then reapplied, but Singh counters into a suplex that he rolls through into a Falcon arrow, but Sabre yet again kicks out.

RJ hits the Descent from Heaven (Angel’s Wings) for a near-fall, but his follow-up senton bomb is blocked by Sabre’s knees, who rushes in with a PK for another two-count. Sabre pushes away Singh with kicks, before telling RJ to “bring it”… so Singh offers his chin and returns in kind, before catching Sabre in a backslide for a two-count against the run of play. Sabre ducks an enziguiri then grabs a one-armed choke, before transitioning into the Octopus hold (“Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than the Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness”), pulling Singh down to the mat for the eventual submission. Well, it was a result that Sabre needed to keep himself strong, but if the story was Sabre outclassing a returning hero in RJ Singh, this went way too one-sided for too long. ***¼

After the match, Sabre cuts a post-match promo with “Mean Gene” Andy Quildan causing some consternation by labelling Singh as having looked “quite ordinary”. Sabre’s asked what’s going through his head… so we get a promo that at times meanders as he goes from saying he has respect “for Ross” (kayfabe, brother), but also he felt disrespected by Singh coming out of retirement. Sabre tells us he only wants to be the best in the world, before ripping into young wrestlers for selling t-shirts rather than focusing on their craft. I must say, I agree with the point he was making behind all of this.

Marty Scurll, Pete Dunne & Travis Banks vs. Will Ospreay, Shane Strickland & Ryan Smile
Well, this was bedlam! The pre-match shenanigans focused on Ospreay claiming New Japan picked him over Scurll… but Marty told him to save his money “for when he retires in two years’ time”. Given Ospreay is now a heel pretty much everywhere but Rev Pro, it’s easy to see why the crowd were behind the designated heels of Dunne, Banks and Scurll!

Pete Dunne removed his singlet to remove a Vader-inspired “Bruiserweight” singlet to continue and rile Ospreay, who responded with a straight right-hand punch. Travis Banks comes in as he and Ospreay trade shoulder tackles, before a trip-up sends Will down for an early two-count. Banks tries to kick Ospreay’s head off as he did his Assassin pose, as we started seeing tags through both teams – Pete Dunne worked over the hand and arm of Ryan Smile, who utilised see-saw kip ups to work free… but he just gets his nose grabbed by the Bruiserweight. Eventually Smile lands a dropkick to Dunne, before all three of the babyfaces take their turn in landing on Dunne with slingshot sentons from the apron.

Dunne recovers by using the ring apron to trap Shane Strickland with, as we get our first insane spot of the match – triple release suplexes onto the apron from the bad guys. Some finger biting from Dunne keeps Strickland down, as Banks comes back into the match – before telling his partners to take a break because he wanted to impress and earn more bookings. Instead, Banks suggests that Scurll and Dunne “sell some merch”… so they head under the ring and pull out a backpack, and yes, they sell t-shirts from the side of the ring as if this were PWG in Reseda!

That particular exchange is sold as a dig at Zack Sabre Jr’s earlier comments, but Banks is left without any partners as Strickland mounts a brief comeback… until the Kiwi takes him into the ropes for some paid “mark” photos with a genuine member of the crowd. Yep, Nic Lempriere (hope I spelled that right!) gets a shot with Marty, Pete and Travis… and an agonised Strickland! This was insane to see live, but precious little of it made it onto tape.

Strickland counters a Drop Dead and lands an enziguiri to take down Dunne, before Ryan Smile comes into continue the offence against the Bruiserweight. A Blue Thunder Bomb gets Smile a near-fall before Dunne tags out to Marty Scurll, who made a point of lighting up Smile with repeated chops in the ropes. Smile falls for the “Just Kidding” superkick, but Smile replies with a full-on superkick moments later. Travis Banks comes in and takes a 619 swivel-kick through the ropes from Strickland, before an attempted comeback saw Banks get clocked by Strickland en route to a corkscrew standing shooting star press from Ospreay. More forearms from Ospreay were responded to with a roundhouse out of the corner from Banks as the heels came back with a massive Scurll brainbuster, a Drop Dead from Dunne, and a Fisherman’s buster onto Ospreay from Banks… just for a near-fall as Strickland and Smile made the save.

Everyone tees off on each other with yay/boo forearm shots, before the heels ended the charge with a trio of Just Kidding’s, then a trio of clotheslines as they replied to a trio of normal superkicks. More triple-teaming saw Dunne drop Ospreay with a pair of superkick-assisted tombstones for another two-count, and my God Andy Quildan acknowledged the “Team Oreo” nickname that I ignored.

Scurll loses his mind in preparation for a chicken wing, but Ospreay hits him with an overhead kick as the ring filled up once more for another series of “blink and you’ll miss a tonne of stuff”, ending with a corkscrew diving kick from Will to Banks. Strickland and Scurll trade eye rakes as the crowd chant “seven stars” in a clear response to Dave Meltzer, as Strickland, Ospreay and Smile land their own versions of Ace crushers before heading to the outside.

The heels bite along at the same time, with Scurll opting to snap Strickland’s digits instead. A pause leads to the babyfaces landing a trio of Cheeky Nando’s kicks, followed by a pair of over-the-turnbuckle tope con hilos. Scurll’s left in the ring to take a stomp from Strickland for a near-fall as Dunne and Ospreay brawl to the back. Smile and Strickland set up Scurll for a double suplex, but Banks makes the save and dispatches Smile as they go to the apron, ending with Banks taking a death valley driver on the apron – just as Scurll catches Smile in a chicken wing.

Smile makes the ropes, and somewhere in here Banks and Strickland disappear leaving Scurll alone with Smile as the Villain tried to end things. He’s flipped off, so he just peppers the kneeling “All Day Star” with a litany of superkicks to the head, ending with a kick-out at one! Ryan Smile fires back as the two trade open hand slaps, before a brainbuster drops Scurll for a near-fall. A crossface follows to Marty, but Scurll rolls back for a near-fall before taking a superkick.

Smile looks to end things with a handspring back elbow, but he’s caught in a chicken wing… and despite fighting off and trying for a reverse DDT, Scurll just gets the hold back on as the “All Day Star” finally taps out.

This was all sorts of fun to watch live – and it translated extremely well onto tape. Perhaps a touch on the long side, and a bit too silly in places, but this will be right up there with the better matches of the year. ****¼

After the match, Scurll waits for Ryan Smile to get back to his feet as he teases a handshake – but Zack Sabre Jr comes out before any such thing can happen… and the former champion just boots Scurll low before exiting. Sabre stands tall as Rev Pro complete their preparations for High Stakes… where the Leaders of the New School will explode!

What Worked: Gideon Grey as a commentator – he’s done the job before, but out of the regular colour commentators, he’s hands-down the best of what Rev Pro has “among their own”. Grey kept mixing in his own character whilst throwing in lines designed to ease in newcomers to new characters, such as Banks. That main event as well… woah!

What Didn’t: The opening contender’s match was decent enough, but it felt a bit flat with the (presumably) messed up finish.

Thumbs: Up – live, this was a hoot… on tape, it doesn’t fully translate, but the main event is more than worth your month’s subscription to RPW on Demand!