Will Ospreay traded the Tokyo Dome and Korakuen Hall for a packed 229 in London, as he took on Eddie Dennis in the main event of Rev Pro’s first show of the year.
Connor Mills pinned David Francisco in 9:07 (***)
Danny Jones & Brendan White pinned Kid Lykos II & Kid Lykos in 13:15 (***¼)
Gabriel Kidd pinned JJ Gale in 12:41 (***½)
Robbie X pinned Luke Jacobs in 13:43 to retain the Rev Pro Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship (***½)
Zak Knight pinned Gideon Grey in 12:24 (***¼)
TK Cooper & Chuck Mambo pinned Shaun Jackson & Charlie Sterling in 16:30 (***¼)
Will Ospreay pinned Eddie Dennis in 21:48 (****)
— To watch this show, head over to RevProOnDemand.com – they’re currently running a two-week free trial…
We’ve a quick turnaround on the VOD as a jam-packed 229 in London was on hand for this one. My rough calculations pegged this as a crowd north of 200 in that room, which was later billed as the biggest crowd in the 229. As usual these days, commentary comes from Andy Quildan and Kelly Marshall.
David Francisco vs. Connor Mills
Coming off the back of the loss to Michael Oku at Uprising, Connor Mills had a potential banana skin on his hands here against a David Francisco who was looking for new opportunities.
Mills jumped Francisco before the bell, eventually cracking him with a kick to the chest before he hung up Francisco in the ropes… then booted him outside for a rapid-fire tope into the second row. Move means move!
The aggressive Mills stays on Francisco with kicks and chops on the outside, then rolled Francisco back inside for a missile dropkick that garnered a two-count. A corner clothesline keeps Francisco on the back foot, as did a seated dropkick, before Francisco fired back with forearms in the ropes… only to get kicked in the back. Francisco blocked a Burning Cutter and flapjacked Mills instead, before a clothesline spun Mills to the mat. Mills rolls away from a crossface, but couldn’t avoid a roll-up, not an enziguiri… before a half-and-half suplex proved an effective counter to that rebound lariat. A dropkick-through-the-ropes follows Mills to the outside, while an elbow drop off the middle rope keeps Francisco in control.
A standing death valley cutter gets a near-fall for Francisco, who rolls Mills into a crossface… but Mills escapes and hits the rebound lariat to turn the match back around. The Millshot followed for a near-fall, then some ground and pound from Mills, before a head kick wiped out Francisco for the three-count. Mills exited stage left after that, after the win that was not quite straightforward… ***
Lykos Gym (Kid Lykos & Kid Lykos II) vs. Greedy Souls (Brendan White & Danny Jones)
The wolves are apparently on their best behaviour in Rev Pro, as they returned for the first time since July’s Summer Sizzler last year.
The Lykii were caught with a baking tray before the match, but they apologised to the ref before the bell as Lykos II started… by getting chucked across the ring by Brendan White. An attempted tijeras by Lykos II is blocked, but he’s able to hit a dropkick before White shoved him out of the corner, only to take the ‘rana out of the corner. Another tijeras took White down, as Lykos II distracted Danny Jones (and the ref) as Lykos used some baking trays on White. White’s then sent into Jones as Lykos II ended up leaping into a powerslam, with the champions finally taking over. Lykos II tries to trade chops with White, which proves to be a bad idea, as the champions continued to wear down the young wolf.
Kid Lykos runs in to break up a pin, but couldn’t stop White slam-throwing Lykos II into the corner, while Danny Jones launched Lykos II upside down into the buckles. A hopeful crossbody from Lykos II gets him a two-count… and a clothesline, before a pair of back sentons from the Greedy Souls squished Lykos II for another two-count. Eventually Lykos II scores with a DDT out of the corner, buying him enough time to tag in Lykos… Danny Jones is in too as Lykos ran wild, stomping a mudhole in the corner before a DDT added a two-count. Lykos II’s tagged back in, but quickly got caught with a pop-up uppercut before a slingshot Bossman slam was countered into a Code Red by Lykos II.
Danny Jones tries to push on, but he ate a Mistica as Lykos tagged back in to double-team White with kicks, before the Lykii headed off the top rope for a legdrop/splash combo for a near-fall. Lykos II’s moonsault out of the corner misses Danny Jones, who pounces with a STF as Lykos was being restrained by White… but an eye rake from Lykos allowed him to misdirect the referee… and twang a resistance band in Danny Jones’ face to break up that STF.
An enraged Jones goes after Lykos, who’s taken outside for a slingshot Bossman slam onto the side of the ring… Lykos II’s left alone and takes another slingshot Bossman slam for a near-fall. Lykos II escapes a Soul Destroyer and caught White with a brainbuster, but it’s not to be as a spinning piledriver from Jones set up for the Soul Destroyer, this time landing as the game Lykii ended up being swept aside at the end. ***¼
JJ Gale vs. Gabriel Kidd
We’ve got unexpected new music for JJ Gale, who was raring up for Gabriel Kidd… who had declared his return at the end of last year.
It’s a spirited start with Kidd spinning down Gale by the arm early on, before Gale’s superkick knocked Kidd loopy into the corner for a series of rapid-fire elbows. A missed charge into the corner allows Gale to add in a rewind leapfrog, a triple-jump ‘rana then a dropkick for good measure, taking Kidd outside ahead of a Whisper in the Wind into the crowd. Staying on the outside, Kidd began to light up Gale with chops to the back, only for Gale to try and catch him with a baseball slide… he’s caught in the apron, and left helpless as chops lit up Gale’s chest. Back in the ring, Kidd sat down and called out Katsuyori Shibata, before more chops began to bruise up Gale.
A dropkick from Kidd caught Gale clean, as Kidd went back to the chops and headbutts in the corner, while a brainbuster left Gale down for the count, with Kidd demanding the standing ten-count from the ref. Gale beat the count, but remained on the defensive… until he found an opening with an enziguiri and an uppercut into the corner. Gale adds a springboard uppercut out of the corner for a two-count, before a springboard cutter was countered into a brutal Saito suplex. A strike exchange from Gale saw him come off worse on, as Kidd then decided paintbrush him with palm strikes as a knock-out was threatened.
Kidd’s almost upset with a rolling elbow, before a Bull lariat was ducked as Gale came closer to the win with a Destroyer. Gale blocks a suplex, countering Kidd into an inside cradle, before a delayed Bull lariat waffled Gale… who then ate a brainbuster and a spinning tombstone as Gale’s resistance finally fell. A hell of a showing in defeat for Gale, but Gabriel Kidd was just too much for him on this night. ***½
Post-match, Kidd took the mic and declared that 2023 would be his year – and he’s spoiling for a fight… and to be undisputed British heavyweight champion by the end of the year. He again called out Shibata, because “he had time to piss around in AEW,” and that feels like something that might well go somewhere.
Rev Pro Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship: Luke Jacobs vs. Robbie X (c)
Surely this is the last of the “old guard” of the Cruiserweight title feuds, with Robbie X having dispatched of Will Kaven at the end of last year… and Dan Moloney not really having any beef with him in the title picture.
Jacobs bullies Robbie X out of the ring early on, but found himself outpaced by the champion who hit a ‘rana, a dropkick then a tope into the second row as that part of ringside clearly had a target on them tonight. Back inside, a missile dropkick takes down Jacobs for a two-count, before Luke caught a crossbody and turned the match around in a heartbeat with a slam and a back senton. Kicks from Jacobs fired up Robbie X, but a leaping enziguiri took the champion back down for a two-count, before an Irish whip sent Robbie X to the outside. Back inside, Robbie X finds a way through with the hiptoss, cartwheel dropkick and a Quebrada for a two-count, following up with a stomp and another dropkick as Robbie X looked to finally have some control.
Robbie X adds a bodyslam, but he’s caught on the top rope by Jacobs… who then got bell clapped as Robbie finally went for a Spiral Tap. It’s abandoned though as Jacobs was able to hit back with a lariat, then a brainbuster for a near-fall, before Robbie got himself pulled into a crossface… which was broken up via the ropes. Ground and pound snuffs out Robbie X’s comeback, but a superkick and reverse ‘rana got the champion… ah nevermind, he ate another lariat as Jacobs couldn’t follow-up with a cover. A shooting star out of the corner from Robbie X got him back in it, before a second one landed in Jacobs’ knees. An X-Clamation’s caught and turned into a rear naked choke, but Jacobs almost got pinned after Robbie rolled back in the hold, before a trip up top from the champion saw him take almost a Muscle Buster from Jacobs for a near-fall.
Jacobs got caught with a cradle as the pace remained high, then an X-Clamation… but after Luke kicked out at one, a Koppo kick and a second X-Clamation ends up being enough as Robbie X completed his second defence – which was a lot tricker than his first! ***½
Gideon Grey vs. Zak Knight
Hey, that’s Gideon’s New Japan music… and I think it’s fair to say he’s not as loved in London as he is in Korakuen Hall…
We’ve shenanigans as Gideon threw powder in Zak’s eyes before the bell, yet the referee called for the bell as Zak was staggering around. He kept that under his hat… Literally. Gideon pounced on Knight with clubbing forearms, that steadily lost their effectiveness as Zak got his visibility back. So Gideon rakes the eyes instead, before Zak began to up the tempo with some World of Sport-like exchanges, which Gideon fell for hook, line, and sinker before he got chucked outside.
A slingshot plancha took Gideon into the second row, before chops, punches and headbutts from Zak led to Gideon being thrown back in… but he log rolled back and forth to roll up Zak, almost getting the win via count-out. Zak rolls back in and takes Gideon back outside for a beating, before Zak unsighted Gideon with his own t-shirt for some chops. Sadly, Gideon didn’t finish the match like that as he took more chops and an elbow drop for a two-count before he regained his sight. An attempted comeback saw Gideon’s leap into Zak get caught and countered into a stalling suplex, before a sunset flip was blocked with a sit-down splash from Knight.
Zak tries to lay out Gideon, who rolled outside to grab a chair… so Zak does the same. Gideon begged off, prompting the ref to disarm Zak… which allowed Gideon to jab Zak with his chair as he then began to target Zak’s ribs and kidneys with a diving knee and some strikes. Mouthing off to Zak proved to be a bad idea in the end, particularly when he said that Zak was “nothing more than Saraya’s brother.” Another eye rake stopped Zak as he tried to fire back, with Gideon going all O-Khan on him in the corner. Dusty punches countered Zak’s wild haymakers, before Zak struck back with a sitout powerbomb for a near-fall. A running kick’s next, before Zak went for Gideon’s ear… a Razor’s Edge looked to follow, but Gideon rolls him up for a near-fall, before another crack was countered with an armdrag.
Gideon’s able to block a Snake Eyes with a Cobra Twist, but a switch to an armbar… then a mock of Zak’s “it’s time” call ended up backfiring as he ate a right hand. The Razor’s Edge into the corner followed, before a spear finally put Gideon away. A pretty straightforward win for Zak, but if you’d only known Gideon as a commentator or through his run in New Japan, you’d have had your eyes opened a little here. ***¼
Post-match, Gideon kicked Zak in the Knights as he was being mouthed off to… another low blow followed, before Gideon’s attempt to drill Zak with a cane was stopped by Gabriel Kidd of all people. Gideon scarpers, then “kidnapped” David Francisco and took aim at Gabe’s dye job. Long story short, Kidd’s search for a fight got him one. Against a returning Yota Tsuji at the 229 next month… while Zak took exception to Kidd “saving” him. That’ll be a bit wild, if those two meet.
Charlie Sterling & Shaun Jackson vs. Sunshine Machine (TK Cooper & Chuck Mambo)
Shaun Jackson was subbing for Nick Riley, as Rev Pro’s understudy of sorts continued to make ring announcer Francesca uncomfortable.
Jackson and Mambo started us off, with Mambo heading to the corner early on for a flying knee to Jackson’s arm, before TK Cooper came in and spun Charlie Sterling to the mat with a shoulder tackle. Jackson’s back to take down Mambo, putting the boots to him in the process as the former tag champions looked to be in a spot of trouble… at least until Mambo’s dropkick and TK’s dive left Jackson open for an action-filled double sledge from Mambo. Back inside, Mambo tagged in… but Charlie Sterling pulled Jackson out of harm’s way in the corner, then held the ropes apart as Mambo crashed and burned to the outside. A slam from Jackson got a two-count on Mambo, who was getting isolated, with Sterling and Jackson working well in tandem.
A side Russian legsweep/STO combo helps Sterling get some two-counts on Mambo, before a slap to the back and some more chops continued to leave Mambo on the defensive. Sterling blind-tags in as Mambo rolled up Jackson, then planted Chuck with a powerbomb for a delayed two-count too, before a cheating abdominal stretch continued to wind up the former champions. Mambo had a long visual pin on Sterling with an inside cradle, but Jackson’s arguing with the referee meant it counted for nought. Eventually Mambo began to fight back with a springboard back elbow off the top rope into Sterling, but still had work to do, dropkicking Jackson through the ropes to the floor before he leapt over Sterling to tag in TK Cooper.
Cooper runs wild with Dusty punches and a leg lariat, while Jackson ran in to an eventual Exploder suplex. We’ve a big boot to Sterling to ahead of the Omelette du Fromage springboard legdrop for a two-count, before a reverse DDT/elbow drop combo almost got the win for Mambo. TK takes a spill to the outside courtesy of Jackson, as Mambo again was isolated. Jackson stays on Mambo as they trade palm strikes, before a Jackson Falls was ‘rana’d out of. Mambo keeps going as folks checked on TK on the floor, making this virtually a handicap match as Sterling rakes Mambo’s eyes, ahead of a pumphandle power slam from Jackson for a near-fall. A crossface from Jackson looked to get a submission, but he demanded TK Cooper come in to “hold Mambo’s hand” – a reference to how Sunshine Machine were when the referee stopped the match at York Hall.
TK snapped with headbutts for Sterling and Jackson as the former champions found a second wind, leading to a Designated Driver double-team… before Captain Midnight’s Revenge ended up being enough for the win. A tough win for the former champions, who were made to work for it as they got back in the winning column after their big loss at the end of last year. ***¼
Eddie Dennis vs. Will Ospreay
Gideon Grey made a welcome return to commentary for this one – with Eddie Dennis looking rather pensive at first.
Ospreay had no interest in a pre-match handshake, as we started with Dennis locking up into the ropes before Ospreay’s shoulder tackle and kick to the back riled up the Welshman. Eddie puts on the brakes as Ospreay went for an Irish whip, instead charging Ospreay down ahead of an elbow drop for a one-count. Another front kick from Ospreay knocks Eddie outside ahead of a plancha as the crowd remained a little split. Chops take Eddie into the corner, as did an Irish whip, while a spinning backbreaker planted Eddie as a chinlock keeps things on the deck. Eddie tries a hiptoss, but Ospreay cut him off with a Cobra twist… only for a hiptoss to break things three as Eddie began to push ahead with forearms.
A Manhattan drop from Eddie stuns Ospreay, as did a diving clothesline, before a swinging side slam planted Ospreay for a two-count. Ospreay’s able to escape a Severn Bridge, as he hit back quickly with a handspring enziguiri, following up with a big boot and a flying forearm a la AJ Styles for a two-count. The pair go back to trading strikes, with Ospreay’s forearms and chops having a little more mustard in them, as it led to a run-up enziguiri… before Eddie’s snap attempt at a Next Stop Driver was cradled out of.
A right hand from Eddie led to a Severn Bridge… which was more like a Border Toss variant for a near-fall. Ospreay ‘rana’s out of a Severn Bridge into the corner, then chased Eddie with a gamengiri and a flying forearm to the back of the head. Dennis blocks an OsCutter, but couldn’t avoid a hook kick as the OsCutter connected on the second try for a near-fall. Some Kawada kicks break Eddie’s resistance as he blocked a Storm Breaker, but Eddie cornered Ospreay once more, forcing the former US champion to elbow his way past the Welshman… dropping him with a gutshot.
Eddie quickly boots back, then added some cravat knees to the equation as Ospreay tried to land another OsCutter… but Eddie caught him and countered with a buckle bomb. Seconds later, a sit-out powerbomb puts the match back in Ospreay’s court asd both men were now looking for the final shot. A Hidden Blade’s blocked as Eddie finagles his way into his own sit-out powerbomb, before the Next Stop Driver was eventually countered into a Stundog Millionaire. A reverse ‘rana from Ospreay, then a Hidden Blade wiped out Eddie for a near-fall as we keep pushing on… but the Storm Breaker still can’t land as Eddie finally hit the Next Stop Driver for a near-fall. More forearms from Eddie looked to chip away at Ospreay some more, but Ospreay digs a little deeper with a Suzuki-esque clonker of an elbow. Another one winds up Eddie, as he lariats Ospreay again ahead of another Next Stop Driver… but Ospreay maneuvers out into a Code Red that nearly won it.
From there, more hook kicks from Ospreay leave Eddie on his knees… but he clotheslines away another Hidden Blade before a leaping Hidden Blade drew a near-fall. A regular Hidden Blade’s next, and that’s enough for put Eddie Dennis away – a match that few gave him a chance in, but he pushed way harder than you’d have expected given his prior Rev Pro record. ****
We’ve got some post-match stuff too, with Ospreay taking the microphone as he wanted the crowd to choose who he should be. Not shown on screen – grimacing from someone nameless as Mike Kilby suggested “you should be yourself, Will.” Ospreay revealed that he asked for this match after Eddie Dennis had retweeted someone sharing his 2022 WWE record – which was 0 wins and 2 losses… Ospreay then slid into those DMs to tell Eddie off for making the audience think he was worthless. That then morphed into a history lesson and a pep talk, noting that when Eddie could have waited out his 90 days after his WWE release, he binned that and turned up at York Hall (this time in the ring!)
Long story short, Ospreay tells Eddie Dennis to stop promoting himself as a loser in the past, and instead get pissed off and find the Eddie Dennis that can rise above this and take over. The scene of Ospreay rallying a distraught Eddie got the crowd on their feet, with the emotions rising to the point where the crowd continued to rally Eddie as he held back in the ring afterwards… at least until Connor Mills came out and approached Eddie… offering him a hand up as the student and teacher went to the back together.
Well then! A strong start to the year for Rev Pro at the 229, even if we’re mostly dealing with the same chess pieces in similar positions. Rev Pro have done these “reset” shows pretty strongly in the past, and with the key threads this year seemingly involving Gabriel Kidd, (likely) Ricky Knight Jr., Michael Oku as well as the whole “how Eddie Dennis gets his groove back” story… it looks like things are in place for an interesting 2023 for Rev Pro’s storylines.