After almost a year away, Rev Pro returned to Leamington for the start of a hectic week of shows for the company – complete with a main event that could have sold out any building Rev Pro regularly runs!
Starting with this brisk show in Leamington, they’d travel to the London Cockpit, two TV tapings, Portsmouth and the British J Cup, the company would hold seven shows in nine days… a period dubbed “Rev Pro Week”. Kevin Kelly and Andy Boy Simmonz are on commentary – as they would be all week!
Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. 2 Unlimited (Jay Sammon & Patrick Sammon)
Kevin throws in some good character work as he explains the Arrows’ masks – it’s the first time I’ve heard anyone talk about those, and it’s another example of how Kevin Kelly’s a cut above pretty much everyone else on the scene right now.
According to Cagematch, this was 2 Unlimited’s first match in almost a year, having disappeared from the scene not long after they’d been damn-near squashed by the Kings of the North at OTT’s WrasslePops show following a brief comeback. It’d been over three years since they were last in Rev Pro as well…
Jay and Icarus start us off, with the Irishman scoring with a dropkick before bringing in Patrick for some nice double-teaming, including a Muta lock and a low dropkick as they had the Hungarians on the back foot from the get go. Jay returns with a moonsault for a near-fall, but Patrick quickly falls to a springboard enziguiri as Icarus tagged out to Dover… who helped propel Jay with a flapjack.
Jay’s left in as Dover dumps him with a backbreaker for a near-fall, before he grounded the high flier with a chinlock as the Arrows looked to take control. A lariat keeps Jay at bay as he tried to fight back, which led to him taking some chops from Icarus and a forearm to the head for a near-fall. Dover keeps up the pressure with some Irish whips that propelled Jay into the corners, at least until Jay fought back, backflipping over Icarus as Patrick got the tag in. The younger of the two, Patrick, clocks Icarus with a gamengiri before dumping Dover onto the apron with a Sliced Bread. He followed that up with a step-up senton to the Arrows, while Jay went airborne as well with a springboard moonsault off the top rope to the outside. Back inside, 2 Unlimited isolated Icarus, landing a wheelbarrow lungblower and a wheelbarrow suplex for a near-fall, but Dover makes a blind tag in as the Irish pair went for their finish.
Instead, Dover catches a crossbody from Jay and then picks up Patrick for a double slam, before charging Patrick into a gamengiri in the corner as the Arrows built up steam. There’s an Alabama Slam into a bicycle knee as Andy Boy dry heaved on commentary at the impact, before Patrick took the Crossfire knees for win. A rather decisive victory for the Arrows, who are quickly becoming top contenders in Rev Pro. ***½
Dan Magee vs. Great O-Kharn
This is perhaps the first “established” opponent for O-Kharn in his excursion with Rev Pro – and it’s the former singer who perhaps needs a flashing cowboy hat to complete his mid 90s Jeff Jarrett tribute attire.
O-Kharn jumps Magee at the bell, putting the boots to the “Firebird”, before embarking on his usual offence. There’s a dropkick from Magee that derails O-Kharn briefly, but he’s quickly pulled outside as Dan looked for a springboard… and now the Dominator takes over again with some Mongolian chops on the outside. Magee’s thrown into the ringpost for good measure, before he’s Snake Eyes’d onto the apron.
Magee barely beats the count-out, much to O-Kharn’s chagrin, so he resumes putting the boots to the former Contender. Dan tries to fight back, but Mongolian chops cut him off for a near-fall, before he resumed whipping Magee into the corners. A claw to the head looked to force a submission, but O-Kharn just continued the, ahem, dominance with more boots into the corner. Magee finally mounts another comeback with a low dropkick and a sliding Flatliner, before a legdrop earned him a near-fall, before he escaped the claw/back stretcher and gets another two-count with a Slingblade. O-Kharn rolls away as Magee climbed the ropes… but he ends up connecting with a crossbody before Magee’s pumphandle Go to Sleep – branded here as the Morning Glory – almost puts away O-Kharn.
That Morning Glory looked to have bloodied up O-Kharn, who quickly responds by using the referee as a human shield when Magee charged into him… a low blow behind the referee’s back puts Magee back on the mat, before the head claw chokeslam gets countered into a wheelbarrow roll-up for another near-fall. From there though, a hooked clothesline from O-Kharn’s followed up with a sleeperhold, before a reverse suplex nearly puts Magee away, only for the head claw chokeslam to do the deal. Another solid outing for Magee, but it’s another loss as O-Kharn remained undefeated. ***
Chris Ridgeway vs. MK McKinnan
This was meant to be Ridgeway vs. Will Ospreay, but injury forced Ospreay out of these shows… meaning that MK McKinnan made his Rev Pro return after over five years away.
The opening tie-up sees McKinnan take Ridgeway into the ropes before swinging and missing with a kick. Ridgeway returns the favour, with similar results as commentary was largely Andy Simmonz teaching Kevin how to say “Bodom”. There’s a lot of swinging and missing as the pair squared-off, taking the match to the mat as Ridgeway started to isolate MK’s leg. Ridgeway works into a STF on McKinnan, before the call to go for a knee bar just ended with the pair of them trading on the same hold. Forearms from the pair broke the hold up, but Ridgeway’s right back on it as he swivels into a Fujiwara armbar, which MK escaped and ends up landing a monkey flip to free himself.
That sends Ridgeway to the outside, where a tope con giro came his way as MK switched things up, before a series of kicks traps Ridgeway across the ropes for a senton bomb that nearly puts him away. Ridgeway begins to return the favour with a series of kicks in the ropes, then an enziguiri and another kick to the chest as he started to get visibly annoyed by MK, pulling him down in a bid for a rear naked choke as the pair end up in the ropes… rolling all the way to the floor.
There’s more back-and-forth strikes as MK catches Ridgeway unawares with a submission attempt… but Ridgeway gets a foot to the rope just in time. McKinnan keeps up, rolling Ridgeway into a thrust kick before a brainbuster and a Fisherman’s buster earned a near-fall. He lifts up Ridgeway’s jaw using his boot as MK looked for the finish, but instead he’s met with some rolling snap German suplexes before another knee bar almost brought the contest to an end.
Another German suplex is elbowed away as McKinnan goes for a prawn hold on Ridgeway for a near-fall, before he ran into a head kick, a Dragon suplex, and an axe kick for another near-fall as somehow MK kicked out. A PK’s good for another one, before MK surprised Ridgeway with a pumphandle into a death valley driver – almost getting the upset there. They trade more boots, then brainbusters, but in the end it’s the Kirifuda clutch that gets Ridgeway the win out of nowhere. This was a pretty even outing, with McKinnan putting up a good effort as he continues to establish himself back on the scene. ***¼
El Phantasmo vs. Kurtis Chapman
A cruiserweight contest opened up the second half of the show, as did Kevin Kelly’s threat of a Will Ospreay swear jar for Andy Simmonz…
We start with both men rolling around as they goofed off, trying to out-do the other, before they started with the wrestling. That remained largely on the mat, with the pair looking to grab hold of something, but it’s ELP who wrenched on both of Chapman’s arms before throwing a single chop to the chest. It stung. He tries to return the favour, but instead opts for an inverted figure four as Phantasmo quickly dragged himself to the ropes. Chapman goes after Phantasmo’s arm and wrist, but that quickly ends with some headscissors as the pair went tit-for-tat, as Chapman ends up grapevining Phantasmo’s legs and going right back to the arm.
From there, Phantasmo sparks a chop battle as Andy Simmonz mocked Chapman, predicting he’d turn into Macaulay Culkin… just as he ran into a dropkick as Phantasmo started to edge ahead. There’s an old school backbreaker for a near-fall, before ELP hand-walks into a senton for a near-fall… only for Chapman to crucifix him for an instant two-count of his own. Chapman keeps up with an uppercut to the back before a ‘rana’s countered into a powerbomb for a delayed two-count, then a Boston crab to force Chapman to drag himself into the ropes for freedom. Instead, he just ends up outside for some more chops, as it turned out that 20 year old former Cruiserweight champions make a good sound, as does the ring post as Chapman ducked one.
Canadians make a decent noise as well, as Chapman found out, before he returned to the ring and stacked up ELP with a satellite DDT. Some running uppercuts keep ELP towards the corner for a near-fall, as did a Code Red as he countered a clothesline… and with ELP rolling to the outside, he ends up in the path of a series of topes as Chapman built up momentum. Phantasmo tried to head back to the ring to avoid another tope, but he’s caught in the ropes as Chapman DDTs him again, following up with a nasty Sega Mega Driver headscissors driver… only for Phantasmo to get a foot on the rope to save himself. ELP recovers as Chapman took his time up top, landing an enziguiri before a superplex was rolled through into the whirlibird Burning Hammer… and that’s all folks! A competitive outing, but in the end it’s El Phantasmo who’d start Rev Pro week with a win – while Chapman’s shaky recent form continued. ***½
Zan Phoenix vs. Zoe Lucas
We’ve a rematch from the first round of this past January’s Rev Pro British Women’s championship tournament – and a match between two products of the Rev Pro training school.
Phoenix starts by throwing some knees to Lucas’ midsection, only to get tripped and cartwheeled on as Zoe hit back with a leg spreader. Zan escapes and manages to catch Lucas in the corner with a dropkick, taking herself to the outside as the crowd showed their disdain… and had her distracted as Lucas fought back. They go back and forth as Phoenix kicked Lucas back to the floor, seemingly in search of a count-out, but Zoe beats the count and slingshots back into the ring with a splits-legdrop. Another charge into the corner comes up short though, as Phoenix snapmares and kicks Lucas en route to a rolling pinning attempt before we have a rather different take on a double armbar stretch. Christ, Phoenix is bringing out some rather gymnastic stretches as she tries to edge past Lucas, but Zoe holds on and fought back too.
A hotshot from Lucas turns it around, but she’s met with a spinebuster for a near-fall, before a flip facebuster sees Phoenix follow-up with a Satomura-like cartwheel kneedrop for another two-count. Lucas manages to catch Phoenix unawares with a scorpion kick for a near-fall as the pair went back-and-forth in search of the win. A knee to the side of the head nearly does it for Zan, while a legdrop-assisted reverse DDT gets Zoe slightly nearer, but in the end a spinning heel kick and an axe kick gets the win for Lucas in a match that the crowd eventually warmed to – but started to fray a little towards the end. Phoenix has come on in leaps and bounds since her January appearance – hopefully she’s back on the cards sooner rather than later. **¾
Josh Bodom vs. Juice Robinson
This one’s non-title… because of course it is. Bodom’s out with his All Japan hoody, which I guess makes this an inter-promotional match, if you count Bodom’s seven matches as making him “an All Japan guy.” On paper, this could have main evented pretty much anywhere in the UK: the dictionary definition of a bad guy against one of the best good guys in wrestling.
Juice stopped for some beer and selfies with the crowd on the way to the ring, which might well give Bodom a brief advantage. Due to the beer, not the photos…
Of course, Bodom kicks away a handshake at the bell, as a rather tentative opening spell saw Juice go for a headlock as the pair scrambled on the mat. There’s a chop from Bodom that made Juice reconsider things, before he ended up taking the former cruiserweight champ into the ropes for a receipt. We’ve more chops as the pair were giving each other no quarter… until a clothesline from Juice sent Bodom flying to the outside.
A plancha sent Juice out there after him, but Bodom returned to the ring first and tried to catch Juice with a Bliss Buster. That’s cut off, so Bodom goes back outside to trip Juice on the apron, as the pair fought around ringside, with some stiff kicks from Bodom stinging Juice. Back inside, a snap suplex gets Bodom a one-count as he continued to wear down the IWGP US champion, whipping him into the turnbuckles before a standing moonsault got him a two-count. Juice finally starts to fight back with a spinebuster, then a series of lariats to knock Bodom off his feet. The Dusty punches follow, as does a full nelson bomb for a near-fall, before Bodom slipped out of a Juice Box, retaliating with a big boot and a roundhouse enziguiri. Bodom looks to lift Juice up top for a superplex… but Juice holds firm and headbutts him down to the mat… only for bodom to backflip into a crossbody as the match almost came to an abrupt end.
Another crack at the Juice Box is escaped as Bodom kicks his way back into it, but that just angers Juice who blocks a Lo-Bodom-knee and hits a leg lariat instead. Bodom avoids a cannonball in the corner and takes Juice outside for a tope con giro, before returning to the ring as a rebound German suplex off the ropes nearly got the relative upset. Bodom’s latest try at the Bliss Buster is shoved away, but he’s able to catch Juice with Lo-Bodom-Knee and finally a Bliss Buster for a near-fall. A roll-up nearly nicks the win for Juice as the match entered its final moments, before a Pulp Friction spiked Bodom for the win. A fine main event that lived up to expectations – and I can only dream of how much hotter this would have been in front of a regular Rev Pro crowd at, say, York Hall… ***¾
Rev Pro don’t like to delineate their cards as “A shows” or “B shows” or the like, but let’s get this straight: in a week where the company held their inaugural TV tapings, and their British J Cup weekender, their return to Leamington was hardly priority number one. That being said, what we got here was an extremely serviceable and snappy card that clocked in at under two hours long, with nothing close to a bad match on here. A must-see, no, but much like all of Rev Pro’s non-big show content, it’s a card that offers something for everyone and doesn’t flatter to deceive.