Rev Pro returned to Bristol for their second show of the year as we go the chance to see if Carlos Romo could match his tag team partner’s performances against Zack Sabre Jr.
Andy Quildan and Slick Lombardo are on commentary for this one. The Motion in Bristol wasn’t exactly full, based on live reports…
Rob Lias vs. Gabriel Kidd
Lias has a pre-match promo, but the venue’s so echoey that we can’t make out what he says. He’s annoyed that he’s back facing Contenders, as I presume that Gabriel Kidd has to escape the division to get his second D back in his name.
Kidd looked quite efficient early on as he used a snapmare and a kick to the back to quell Lias in the opening stages, taking him down the mat for an armbar. Lias escapes and took him down with a big boot, then with a step-up elbow drop for a near-fall. Lias raked Kidd’s eye on the top rope as he continued to work over him, but some palm strikes shock Lias, who returned by jamming Kidd’s leg with a stunner-like takedown.
Lias stomps on Kidd’s leg in the ropes, then keeps him down with a leg lock that forced Kidd to drag his way to the rope for safety. Kidd makes a comeback with some clubbering shots, then with a missile dropkick out of the corner… but he jars his knees on the landing. That gives Lias another opening as he wrapped Kidd’s legs around the ring post, before taking Kidd back in for a Sharpshooter for the quick submission. This was fine for what it was, although some will suggest Lias perhaps shouldn’t need shortcuts against a Contender. ***
Kenneth Halfpenny & Shaun Jackson vs. Dan Magee & Kurtis Chapman
We’ve another Contenders vs. Graduate tag here, and for some reason the mobile camera doesn’t track Chapman as Magee, as we first see them walking across the bottom of the hard cam…
After everyone applauds handshakes, we get going with Shaun Jackson pushing away Magee, before they exchanged strangleholds and reversals. A dropkick from Jackson sends Magee scurrying, as both men then tagged out, with Halfpenny and Chapman coming in, again exchanging holds as Halfpenny used a Fireman’s carry to escape a wristlock. Commentary pushes the “Chapman is like a younger ZSJ” line again, as he sent Halfpenny into the ropes with a Trailer Hitch. Halfpenny comes back with a full nelson, which Chapman tried to break out of… only to get put right back in it time and time again. Chapman sidesteps a dropkick attempt after he was sent into the ropes, before he decided to go rope walking on the way to a cannonball. That looked a little odd, but whatever works.
Halfpenny’s right back, tripping Chapman into the ropes ahead of a clothesline for a near-fall, as the contenders looked to take over. Frequent tags keep them fresh, as Jackson charges into Chapman for a near-fall… his attempt to stay on top fails when Chapman pulled him into a Codebreaker out of the corner, before he managed to tag in Magee, who lit up Jackson with uppercuts. An Irish whip shook Jackson into the turnbuckle, as Magee tried to slow the pace down, hauling Jackson into a Side Effect for a near-fall. Jackson fought back with a deadlift suplex, before tagging Halfpenny back in, and after avoiding a Slingblade, Halfpenny was able to catch Magee with a dropkick to the gut.
A spinebuster-like takedown takes Magee into the corner as Halfpenny followed back with an Angle Slam for a near-fall. There’s a lot to be said for Contenders having basic finishers… they follow it up with a sidewalk slam/elbow drop combo as a barrage of moves led to another near-fall on Magee. Chapman tags back in as he worked with Magee to get powerbombed onto a prone Jackson, but it’s still not enough… nor was Magee’s inverted Pedigree finish. Halfpenny’s back for a boot-assisted F5 – dubbed the Winning Combination – only for Chapman to cannonball into the pile to break up the cover.
Another cannonball from Magee wipes out the Contenders on the outside, before Chapman followed suit after getting the tag in. A Codebreaker’s next, as was a crossbody from Magee, who then lifted Chapman into a Sega Magee Driver on Jackson for the win. I loved the snap on that finish, but given the disparity in opponents, should Magee and Chapman have needed to have thrown the kitchen sink to get a win? **¾
RevPro Undisputed British Women’s Championship: Charli Evans vs. Zoe Lucas (c)
Charli’s been on a bit of a winning run, albeit a slow one since her appearances in Rev Pro are sadly few and far between. Last time in Bristol she was on the winning side of a tag match, so here we are…
Zoe tries to stall things early on, but Charli manages to get in with an armbar that turned into a pinning attempt. A hammerlock from Lucas gets countered eventually into a crucifix for a near-fall, before Zoe uses a knuckle lock to force Charli to the mat, tripping her legs out to get some pinning attempts going. A crossbody from Lucas gets turned into a fallaway slam from Evans for a near-fall, only for Zoe take her back down for a leg spreader. Charli gets to the ropes, but Zoe’s now aiming for the leg, driving the knee into the mat repeatedly. The onslaught to the knee didn’t stop Charli from landing some Saito suplexes, before she went up for a crossbody and connected for a near-fall.
Zoe misses a charge into the corner and gets rolled into a running knee for a near-fall, before a Northern Lights suplex saw Zoe fight back for a near-fall. A Scorpion kick followed, but Charli shrugs it off with a clothesline. She looked to keep up with a modified Widow’s Peak, but Lucas kicked out at two, before some head kicks get her back in the game. A rolling death valley driver and a PK takes Charli down for another near-fall, then again with a leaping scissor kick, only for Charli to take her down for a modified/torqued ankle lock that looked to force a submission, only for Zoe to grab a handful of hair to force a release. Charli gets it back on though, but this time Lucas gets to the ropes to force the break.
Lucas nearly steals it with a small package, then again with a flying X-Factor, before a tight roll-up with a handful of tights gets the win. A keenly-fought match, and far from a decisive win for Lucas… but I’d not be shocked if we’re waiting a while for Charli Evans to return. **¾
David Starr vs. A-Kid
Starr’s title wasn’t on the line here… and this would be the final time we’d see the old Cruiserweight title belt ahead of the new one’s introduction at Epic Encounter.
There’s no promo before the match, as instead we start with Starr and A-Kid going to ground, with the pair trying to eke out an advantage on the mat, going from headlock to headscissor escapes almost for fun. A big shoulder tackle from Starr charges down A-Kid, only for the Spaniard to return with an armbar attempt that quickly ended in the ropes.
Starr powders outside as he slowed down the pace of the match, returning to take down A-Kid with a double leg, working his way into a wristlock before using A-Kid’s arm against him as he built up into a stranglehold. The hold takes them both into the corner, where Starr tried to sneak in a chop after a break, but A-Kid ducks and goes back for a front facelock as the pair continued to grapple.
A-Kid almost snuck in a win with the Euro clutch, as the pair keep it on the mat, with Starr looking to force a pin with a knuckle lock, before A-Kid wheelbarrowed into an armdrag, before a lucha-style armdrag and dropkick had Starr staggering into the corner. He switches up into a sleeperhold, then into a Dragon sleeper as he looked to make the most of every slip. Starr rolled back into a pinning attempt, but of course A-Kid releases the hold as the pair exchange chops. A clothesline sends A-Kid onto the apron, before he’s hurled outside by Starr as the chops continue, with Starr provoking the referee into starting a count-out… helping things out when he threw A-Kid hard into the ring post.
Nevertheless, A-Kid rolls back in and continued to take chops, before he ducked a spinning back elbow and found a way into a waistlock… Starr avoids a German suplex, but ended up taking a Northern Lights as he pace quickened. On the outside, A-Kid moonsaults off the apron into Starr, then followed up with a moonsault off the top for good measure. A missile dropkick from A-Kid followed for another two-count before things got a little tetchy, with A-Kid throwing kicks, only to get caught with a superkick and a rope-free Product Recall from Starr. We’re back to chops as Starr patronised A-Kid, like he was (ahem) a kid, before another barrage of strikes led to a leaping thrust kick from A-Kid… and a cartwheel kick from Starr.
A standing Spanish Fly nearly led to the upset as the back and forth nature continued. Starr seemed to bite away from a superplex, but A-Kid goes back up top for a Spanish fly, which lands for a near-fall, as A-Kid then rolled Starr up into a trapped-arm armbar, then into a crossface, then a triangle as Starr tried to escape. In the end though, Starr hauls his way out of the triangle armbar, powerbombing A-Kid onto the knee with the Kaepernick, before a Han Stansen lariat folded him up for the win. This was a hell of a back-and-forth contest, with Starr taking the expected win as he goes into his ladder match. ***½
I have no idea what was up with the filming here, but the last match was filmed noticeably badly – like there were moments where camera crew just dumped the camera on the side of the ring at times and pivoted it around to get stuff in shot. Some of the action outside of the ring in particular was badly shot – such as A-Kid’s moonsault off the top, while there were moments where the angle was so low that the ring rope was more in focus than the wrestlers. The epitome of my loathed “just point a camera at the ring” style of filming. Still, at least the cameras weren’t blurry…
We get the post-match promo from Starr. Except it’s way too echoey. He says he made the Cruiserweight title in Rev Pro prestigious, and after getting a lone heckler, he branded himself the best independent wrestler. Watch that buzzword. Oh, and he vows to bring a different David Starr to York Hall for the ladder match…
Sha Samuels vs. Brad Slayer
Slayer’s switched up his gear since he wrestled Josh Bodom in Northampton – he’s now got tights rather than way-too-small trunks.
Sha starts us off by backing Slayer into the corner before slapping the taste out of his mouth. The mind games repeat as Sha ends up charging a knee into Slayer, before an enziguiri and a Samoan drop attempt sent Sha packing to the outside. That just suckered Slayer to the outside too though, as Sha ended up shooing the paramedics out of their seats, only for Brad to reverse an Irish whip into a wall.
Back by the ring, Sha pops up Slayer into the ring apron… then threw the Portsmouth native hard into the turnbuckles as things were beginning to look depressing for Slayer. A back elbow keeps Slayer on the mat for a near-fall, as does a double sledge off the top, before a brief comeback ended up getting snuffed out with a spinebuster. A Blue Thunder Bomb from Slayer gave him hope, but he couldn’t capitalise as both men had to answer the standing ten count. From there, they trade forearms back and forth, before a headbutt from Slayer led to a big X-plex on Samuels for a near-fall.
After escaping a cobra clutch, Slayer catches Sha with an awkward back cracker out of the corner, with a kick-out sending Slayer into the ref… and all that’s left is for Sha to hit a low blow behind the ref’s back before the cobra clutch got the submission. This wasn’t the revelatory performance we saw from Slayer against Josh Bodom earlier in the year, as he was more of a warm body for Sha than anything else here. **½
Michael Oku vs. Kip Sabian
This was the start of a mini tour for Sabian before he left for All Elite Wrestling, and we start with a handshake as Sabian was playing the proverbial blue-eye.
He starts by going for a wristlock, which Oku countered out of… only to get pulled to the mat as he eventually looked for a half crab. Some wild swings miss as Oku looked for a clothesline, instead running into a leg lariat as Sabian thought he’d edged ahead… only for Oku to retaliate with a running ‘rana to take Kip to the outside. Sabian rushes back inside, but ends up taking a springboard crossbody for a near-fall, before Oku gets lifted onto the apron… then sent to the floor from a springboard enziguiri from Sabian. Oku ducks a second one, but gets met with a running knee as Sabian takes him outside for a tope, as things started to go to form.
A Northern Lights suplex gets Sabian a near-fall, before a Dragon screw took Oku down for a Trailer Hitch, dragging Oku into the middle of the ring before we got the rope break. Knees to the back and a surfboard stretch keep Oku in trouble… which led to Oku just rolling back as he tried to force a pin out of Sabian. Kip keeps up on Oku, but a big diving clothesline off the ropes finally gives Oku some breathing space. A satellite DDT keeps him in it, as the comeback looked to be on… but it was way too soon to go for a single leg crab as Sabian pushed away before ending an exchange of forearms in the ropes with a pop-up knee strike.
Oku returned fire with a dropkick in the ropes, then with a discus clothesline, before a barrage of forearms looked to weaken Sabian… only for him to pop up Oku into more forearms. A powerbomb followed as Sabian kept the offence slow and deliberate, but Oku manages to sneak in a running knee for a near-fall, then a modified back cracker before he headed up top for a big splash that almost ended it.
Oku keeps up with a springboard moonsault off the top rope, again for a two-count, before Sabian struck back with a double jump tornado DDT for a near-fall – having almost sent Oku flying out of the ring! Sabian tries to finish off Oku with a Burning Hammer, but Oku counters with a half crab, only for Sabian to escape, send him into the corner, and finish him off with a sit-out Burning Hammer for the win. Pretty one-sided, but Oku showed plenty of heart – even if he is still looking for his first win in Rev Pro… ***¼
Carlos Romo vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
After seeing his tag team partner have two much-vaunted matches with ZSJ in the past year, it’s Carlos Romo’s turn. Billed as the biggest match of his career, it’s certainly a bigger test than his outing against Pimp Ross. Yes, I looked at Cagematch.
Commentary made a point of how Romo was out on his own here, and he started out on the defensive as Sabre took him into the ropes, forcing the referee to separate them. Romo manages to get in a brief toe hold on Sabre, which the Rev Pro double champion escaped, as the feeling-out process continued in earnest. Romo took Sabre down and looked to work on the wrist, but Zack stands up into a hammerlock, eventually countering with one of his own before he got subdued with a cravat. Zack counters that one back, only to get rolled down as the pair continued to match each other hold-for-hold. Carlos tried to edge ahead with an arm whip, taking Sabre to the mat as the tide continued to ebb and flow, except this time Romo managed to sustain things, using Sabre’s arm against him for an assisted chinlock, only for Sabre to get free and begin torturing the Spaniard with submissions.
A head and arm choke on the mat began another series of tests from Sabre, including a European uppercut that brought Romo to his knees. Another choke from Sabre ended quickly in the corner, as Zack used all of that five count in the ropes, but Romo’s quickly back with a Shining Wizard as he managed to buy himself some time. Some more strikes from Romo culminated in a Miz-like clothesline in the corner, before a Blockbuster off the top led to a solid near-fall. Romo looked for a neckbreaker, but Sabre counters with an overhead kick to the arm before pulling him down into a STF – which he easily segued into an attempted at Orienteering with Napalm Death that quickly ended in the ropes.
A Code Red from Romo gets a near-fall, as does a wheelbarrow roll-up, which triggered Sabre into action… only to see his Guillotine countered with a Twist and Shout neckbreaker. Romo gets close again with a backslide, but his attempt at a lucha armdrag’s countered with a roll-up before a cutter stopped Sabre for a near-fall. Romo’s attempt to underscore his dominance with a moonsault ended when Sabre got his knees up, but Romo manages to escape a submission attempt and land another diving knee, before that moonsault connected for a near-fall. Sabre hits back with a hanging choke on the top rope as he defended a superplex, before he cracked into Romo with a hattrick of PKs.
A fourth one led to a near-fall, prompting Romo to fire back with some chops. Sabre just retaliates with a half-nelson suplex, bridging for a near-fall… from the kick-out, Romo baits Sabre in and rolls him up for a near-fall, before Zack kicked out and put him to sleep with a Dragon sleeper for the eventual stoppage. Hey SANADA, THAT’S how you do it! Well, Romo put up a brave fight, but this was always going to be a mountain for him to climb – and while he didn’t come close to conquering it, he certainly came a lot closer than most expected. ****
Post-match, we get an echoey promo from Sabre where he tossed down the tag team title belt again and complained about how Rev Pro had no challengers for his main championship. He’s not wrong…
From top to bottom, Rev Pro’s return to Bristol was a solid show, but one that felt massively underwhelming on VOD. It’s been a long while since camera work on Rev Pro shows grated on us, but that was the case here, with a lot of it feeling like the dreaded “eh, point the camera towards the ring and hope for the best” approach. Commentary from Slick Lombardo and Andy Quildan was fine, but it often came across like two people providing separate audio tracks, rather than a team. It’s not the worst you’ll hear, but it just came across as odd.
If you’re cherry picking, then the two Whitewolf matches are worth your time – otherwise, this may be one to pass over for the time being.