It wasn’t just PROGRESS who had a big show in Orlando during WrestleMania week – Rev Pro made the trip as well for a show that wouldn’t have looked out of place at York Hall.
Rev Pro took a spot at this year’s WrestleCon event, holding a full show on the Friday afternoon. They even brought along their usual trope of sticking with the mobile camera as it panned around the ring, as Andy Quildan and Chris Roberts made their way to the ring. The pre-show amble featured a dedication to Kris Travis on the first anniversary of his passing. Another Rev Pro trope returns in the form of the revolving door of voices, with Gilligan Gordon on commentary alongside Andy Quildan. I’ve lost count of the number of commentators Rev Pro’s used in 2017 alone…
Sami Callihan vs. Jay White
This was actually Sami’s debut for Rev Pro – marking a bit of a trend of matches featuring names that “happened to be in town”. They start out fast-paced, with a Callihan tope knocking White into the guard railings, only for the Kiwi to fly back out with rushing uppercuts in those railings.
A spit-laden chop sends White reeling, before Sami goes on a lap of honour before charging into White once more. That ring’s looking mighty lonely right now…
White suplexes Callihan onto the side of the apron as he went for a count-out win, but Callihan just about beat the count, only to take another European uppercut for a near-fall. Sami takes over with some running boots in the corner, then a death valley driver into the turnbuckles, only for White to come back with some rolling suplexes, finishing with one into the corner for another two-count. After the kick-out, White switches into a crossface, before it was countered into a Callihan Stretch Muffler, then back into the crossface as Sami reaches the ropes.
A discus lariat and a German suplex keeps White on top, but he runs into a lariat and a sit-out powerbomb from Callihan, who went back to the Stretch Muffler after the kick-out, before White rolls through a third one, turning it into a Boston crab for the submission. Ah, the typical Young Lion finisher! A really good opener, but I’d have to say, White hasn’t seemed to have developed where he needs to in ROH – he’s always been good bell-to-bell, it’s the rest that needs work. ***¼
Martin Stone vs. Jeff Cobb
We started with some mat-based grappling, before Stone tried his luck with some shoulder tackles. Instead, Stone pulls down a leapfrog from Cobb, only to get thrown up into a one-handed suplex!
Cobb continues with a standing moonsault and shooting star press, just for the fun of it, before Stone comes back with a lariat for a near-fall. Stone snaps the fingers of Cobb to keep the big man down, but some chops in the corner just rile Cobb, who fights back with his Athletic-plex (spinning belly-to-back suplex) to get a two-count of his own. Out of nowhere, Stone lands an RKO for a two-count, before a forearm cut-off the London Bridge DDT.
Stone just about lifted up Cobb after catching him off the top for an Exploder, before a crossface sees Cobb roll back into a pinning predicament. Another Athletic-plex follows, but Cobb gets hit with a forearm as he tried to springboard in, as Stone managed to get the London Bridge DDT for the win! Another good outing here, perhaps a little lacking in terms of showmanship for some, but two good guys “doing a good wrestle”. Can’t ask for more than that, can you? ***½
After Stone and Cobb had left for the back, we segued into our next segment without any match graphics… and somehow it’s Lord Gideon Grey? Or at least, a video of him in a vegetative state.
Grey’s acted like he’s all zoned out since taking a beaten from Ryback, bouncing off of guardrails as he stares at everything he sees. He’s not a regular on Rev Pro’s main shows, so a large chunk of this crowd don’t seem to have a clue who he is until Andy Quildan fills them in. Grey tells the crowd that his life’s gone wrong since Swoggle brought Colt Cabana back into his life after a feud several years ago led to him expelling Colt from Rev Pro. Of course, Colt’s back and just over a month ago, he returned to team with Swoggle to beat Gideon and Rishi Ghosh. So… that leads Gideon to declare that he’s midget hunting… and that brings out Swoggle, and his Comic Sans entrance video!
Lord Gideon Grey vs. Swoggle
Swoggle gives Grey a Stunner at the bell, and that nearly ends it. As does a bite to the arse, which referee Chris Roberts replicates. What the heck am I watching?
Grey shoves down Swoggle, which is always impactful due to his size, but Swoggle comes back with a dose of German suplexes, before the Fifty Shades of Grey sit-out side slam got the win. Well, this was all one-way until the finish, but pure storyline. I like how Gideon’s spaced out until he realises what he’s doing, but I’m curious as to where this will go.
Marty Scurll vs. Ricochet
To quote Gorilla Monsoon, this could be a main event in any arena in the country. Hell, I’m surprised this is where it is on the card, but you know, WrestleMania weekend and everyone going from show-to-show…
Of course this was good, and we started with the usual array of takedowns, before Marty got so impressed at a kip-up from a shoulder tackle, that he tried one of his own. Well, we did get a head flip and we’re into the comedy stuff as Marty’s gone overboard on his caffeine. There’s a healthy smattering of Ricochet’s flips as both guys work the crowd just so, with a bow-and-arrow hold leading to Scurll’s head getting battered into the turnbuckles… and of course, that leads to a Tye Dillinger cartwheel. Cheap pops!
Ricochet lands a People’s Moonsault, before falling for the usual indie banana skin of calling for a brainbuster and missing it. Speaking of missing things, Ricochet crashes into the barriers from a moonsault off the apron, which sparks the comeback from Scurll, featuring some dastardly rakes. A 619 in the corner gets Ricochet back into it, as a Space Flying Tiger Drop wipes out Scurll on the floor, before a leaping cutter and a standing shooting star press nearly marked the end of a sudden change of pace with a victory. After a missed Benadryller, Scurll comes back with a Just Kidding superkick and a wild brainbuster for a near-fall.
Ricochet chops away from a chickenwing, then flipped out of another Just Kidding, before a rapid-fire series ended with a pop-up German suplex out of nowhere. Just when Scurll looked to be fading, he went for a finger snap, but Ricochet kneed his way free, before missing a shooting star press. From there, we get a delayed piledriver from Scurll for a near-fall, as he went back to the finger snap before suplexing him into a chicken wing. Ricochet powered to his feet and caught Marty with the Benadryller, only to follow it up with a handspring something or other that Scurll caught and turned into a chicken wing for the submission. Wonderful stuff! As good as the first two matches were, this was worked in a style that was more befitting of the big leagues. Scurll’s in ROH – and yes, your feelings regarding that place may vary – but how Ricochet’s “only” working the indies and isn’t on a bigger platform, I’ll never know. Oh. Lucha Underground. Nevermind. ****¼
David Starr vs. Josh Bodom
This was originally billed as for Bodom’s interim title, but because “Will Ospreay’s not defending his later tonight, I’m not either”. Great cover for forgetting your title belt!
I loved the throat-clearing from Andy Quildan just before he rattled through David Starr’s ever-growing list of nicknames. It certainly says something that in the space of six months, a guy’s gone from being exiled due to supposed behavioural issues, to being an interim champion and on this company’s debut show in Florida.
David Starr starts out on the upper hand, taking the match to Bodom with punches and chops, but an eye rake leads to Bodom going on the offence, which seems to coincide with the crowd going dead. Starr’s Violence party of chops and forearms gets him back into it, before a gutwrench facebuster forces Bodom to roll to the outside, where he takes a couple of topes, then a plancha into the guard railings.
Bodom comes back with a flip senton to the floor, before Starr blocks a Bodom Breaker and ends up taking a superkick, then a standing shooting star press instead. Starr rebounds by tripping Bodom, working over his legs to try and prevent him from going airborne, which leads to some good back and forth as a thwarted Bliss Buster ended up in a series that ended with a Bodom Breaker for a near-fall.
Some sweat-removing chops follow from both men, before Starr lifted Bodom into a fireman’s carry. Cue a ref bump and Bodom low blows Starr before grabbing a part of the ring support from under the ring. The referee recovers to stop Bodom, who then takes the Blackheart Buster and a superkick for a near-fall. A Product Placement follows, but Bodom flips out and gets clotheslined to the outside… but that just leads to the Bliss Buster as Josh retained the title he refused to defend. Pretty good once it got going, just like the house mic! ***¾
I’ve largely tuned out the commentary thus far, but did Gilligan Gordon get a memo during interval to become a cliched heel commentator for this match? Good Lord, it was insufferable…
Rey Fenix vs. Will Ospreay
Ospreay’s ROH deal – much like Marty Scurll’s – led to him appear on seemingly fewer shows over WrestleMania weekend. In fact, it was just one less, but swapping out the WWN shows for ROH and Rev Pro certainly made him look look a lot less busy this year. Will does get his WhatCulture entrance video, which is odd given how much of a kick Rev Pro went on at the start of the year to use their own material.
In a nice touch, Will’s wearing the pink tights he’d had rushed for his New Japan debut last year, again paying his own tribute to Kris Travis. They start with the usual high-flying series of flips and armdrags, ending with Fenix posing whilst Ospreay hit a dropkick into thin air – something he signals was perhaps a bit of a miscue.
A dropkick moments later flattens Fenix, and they head to the outside for some heavy chops and kicks, before returning to the ring to slow things down as Ospreay rolls up Fenix into a double armbar. Fenix turns up the pace with a headscissor takedown, then a tope con hilo to the outside before a senton bomb back inside gets a near-fall. After the kick-out, Fenix rolls up into a cutter for another two-count, before he’s caught in the corner for a Cheeky Nando’s as Ospreay gets back into it.
Ospreay comes back with a Shibata-style corner dropkick, before taking a couple of Pele kicks as the match threatened to fall apart when a reverse ‘rana went awry, turning into an electric chair drop. Well, I say “looked”, I can guess which of those two moves they meant to do, given their usual arsenal… Fenix grabs an arm before they exchanged reverse ‘ranas, then simultaneous kicks before Fenix was knee’d to the outside. A Space Flying Tiger Drop from Ospreay knocks Fenix down, as does a springboard forearm, but a leaping uppercut in the corner sets up Fenix for a Spanish fly that’s blocked, as Will leaps down for an Essex Destroyer for a near-fall. From there, Will looks for a Phoenix Splash, but he’s crotched on the top rope… he recovers and finally lands the Phoenix Splash for another near-fall.
Fenix blocks an OsCutter before yanking Will into the middle turnbuckle, before a single stomp off the top rope gives him a near-fall. A Destroyer gives Fenix a near-fall, and yes, that move’s done to death by now. Ospreay blocks a second Destroyer, before flipping Fenix down for the corkscrew kick as a prelude to a match-winning OsCutter. A good, action-packed match-up, but this is the sort of match that critics of this style would flag up as an example of what happens when over-choreographed matches fall go wrong. ***½
Unbreakable F’N Machines (Michael Elgin & Brian Cage) vs. Shane Strickland & Ryan Smile
Well, isn’t this a David vs. Goliath contest? It’s Cage’s Rev Pro debut and Elgin’s first outing for the group in almost a year. Both of those guys were in the middle of a crazy weekend, with Elgin wrestling no less than 11 times, whilst Cage was settling for “just” the eight shows in Orlando that weekend.
Ryan Smile starts by using his speed to get away from the proverbial bull that was Brian Cage, before a reverse leapfrog is saved and turned into a headscissors takedown that leads to Smile getting turned inside out by a Cage lariat. A monstrous 619 from Cage sends Smile across the ring as the pair trade dropkicks before a fluffed kip up gets Cage ribbed by his opponents. Big Mike does a worm for the fun of it, but then things get serious as he and Strickland trade shoulder tackles… you can guess who’s was more effective.
Strickland and Smile work together to knock down Elgin, then drill Cage with a pair of dropkicks on the apron, before Strickland countered a powerbomb off the apron by Elgin, and instead used Big Mike as a springboard to take down Cage with a moonsault! Innovative!
Elgin comes back with a pop-up cutter for a near-fall on Smile, then with a stalling “pass the parcel” suplex, which isn’t quite as impressive with Cage and Elgin as when Moustache Mountain used to do it. A biel throw sends Smile corner-to-corner, but Smile manages to come back with an apron enziguiri, then a missile dropkick as both men are left laying.
Shane Strickland comes back with a slingshot Flatliner on Cage, before a tope presumably takes out Elgin (we don’t see it), as the High Fly Flow gets Shane a near-fall. Cage catches a roll-up cutter from Strickland, then tries for an F5, but Shane avoids it and replies with an enziguiri. A leg sweep turns a caught monkey flip into a Codebreaker for Smile as Elgin wanders in to stop the double-teaming, and that just leaves Smile open to an assault as he’s powerbombed onto Cage’s knees for another near-fall.
Double clotheslines, then a double-team sit-out suplex also gets a two-count, before Strickland eats a German suplex and a wheelbarrow neckbreaker as the Machines get increasingly comfortable. A top rope powerbomb from Elgin and a F5 from Cage gets a near-fall… and the crowd boos Smile’s kick-out. Yeah, that probably should have been a pull-out not a kick-out…
Strickland slides back in to give Cage a reverse ‘rana, but again the size difference kept the Machines on top. Ryan Smile’s shrieks give the crowd something else to catcall about as he and Strickland try to combine for a powerbomb out of the corner, and in the end it needs a push-down stomp off the top rope from Strickland to take Big Mike down. Eventually, Smile follows up with a Smile High frog splash, and that’s the somewhat unpopular win. At times this match felt like a highlight music video, but I’d question the booking of this match in the first place – with Strickland and Smile in line for a title shot at the Cockpit show a week-or-so later, they needed this win… but perhaps they should have faced a different tandem? ***¾
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Penta el Zero M vs. Zack Sabre Jr (c)
Oh hello, this should be a hell of a main event, particularly given both men’s penchant for arm-based destruction. This was Sabre’s first defence after unseating Katsuyori Shibata a few weeks earlier on the New Japan 45th Anniversary Show, and it’s actually the second time these two have faced, after going head-to-head in 2015’s BOLA tournament.
Sabre came out as Zacky Three Belts, proudly displaying all of his gold, and he immediately starts working on Penta’s wrist after the masked one declared “zero miedo”. There’s an early armbar from Penta as he showed his intentions to Sabre, as the pair went hold for hold, move for move during the opening skirmishes.
Penta edges ahead with some armdrags before kicking Sabre in the quad on the outside as he found himself thrown into the ringpost. Some chops follow, and of course Penta hits the ring post as Sabre immediately pounces on that hand, kicking it into the guard railings repeatedly. Back inside, Sabre again takes his time to beat down Penta, whose defiant manner sees him flip off Zack and get some more punishment for his trouble.
Out of nowhere, Sabre locks in an Octopus for a moment, then a Dragon suplex, before Penta returns fire with some Slingblades for a near-fall. Sabre comes back with a package piledriver as he immediately segued into an armbar on Penta, who’s able to roll into the ropes, and sucker Zack out with him for the Fear Factor package piledriver onto the edge of the apron. Good grief, that looked brutal as Zack’s head bounced off of it!
Back in the ring, we all get a lesson in Spanish as the crowd count along to a ten-count punch routine, and then we get… a Destroyer from Zack Sabre Jr? Okay, wrestling’s done now… he goes straight to an armbar because he knows Destroyers don’t win matches, then switches into the Ode to Breaks as Penta’s forced to give up. This was amazing – perhaps a little on the short side, as I’d have liked to have seen Zack take a little longer to rebound from the apron piledriver, but this was fantastic stuff. ****
Well, Rev Pro’s debut in Orlando may have been lauded as “watered down”, but it was the promotion’s “home” stars who went over at the expense of the more available indy guys who were in town. This isn’t a show to sleep on, and if you haven’t already, sign up to the Rev Pro service just to see the main event, and the Marty/Ricochet outing (if you’re a fan of their shticks).