We’ve a casual crowd on hand as Rev Pro went “home” to Portsmouth for some midweek wrestling…
Rev Pro have ditched the event names for these irregular Portsmouth shows – but we’ve now moved to the generic “Live in blah” format. We’re going to keep this short, in the interests of not losing my mind covering Rev Pro’s expanded schedule… Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmons are on commentary.
Carlos Romo & Shaun Jackson vs. JJ Gale & Ricky Knight Jr.
We’ve a New Japan-ish “contender and pro” tag, as Carlos Romo continues to look for his first win in forever. The Contenders start against each other, exchanging back and forth before RKJ and Romo had a go, but it was only when Gale came in that Romo managed to find some headway. Problem was, when RKJ returned to the fray the match turned on its head as Knight proceeded to hit a stacked up Samoan drop on both opponents.
We get flips from Gale and Knight as the match built to its crescendo, but Romo’s able to come close with a springboard moonsault before a Finlay roll/senton/moonsault double-team combo almost got Gale the win over Romo. Carlos responded with a shining wizard to help Jackson’s side Russian legsweep, before a 450 splash from RKJ got the win. A fun opener, with the Contenders looking decent in a different role. ***
Great O-Kharn vs. Brad Slayer
When did Gideon lose his title?! He interrupts to heel on the Portsmouth crowd… although if you ask people from Southampton, they’ll likely agree with him. Rampage Brown’s got the night off to save him from Portsmouth, but there’s no such like for O-Kharn.
This was Slayer’s return to Rev Pro after about ten months away – he was last squashed by Sha Samuels in Bristol. I’m expecting the same result here., but at least his gear finally doesn’t look ultra-tight on him! Slayer held his own early on, not budging with shoulder tackles, but O-Kharn found his way through with his usual stuff, taking Slayer into the corner so he could sit on him. A Blue Thunder Bomb from Slayer gets him hope, but an Iron Finger slam gets O-Kharn the win. Pretty straightforward stuff, but not something that’ll be changing minds on O-Kharn. **½
Aleah James vs. Gisele Shaw
This was James’ 30th match apparently… and either Rev Pro’s editing, or whomever posted results on Cagematch got the order out of whack. It’s trial by fire for James’ Rev Pro debut too, going up against the newly-crowned Women’s champion.
There’s some awkwardness as nobody rung the damn bell at the start, but we opened with the usual stuff with James looking to work Shaw’s wrist. Back-and-forth pinning attempts earn us a slew of near-falls before ducked head kicks led to a stand-off, with Aleah looking almost surprised at herself. Shaw began to take over though, laying into James with chops, before she folded James in on herself with a Lion tamer. Somehow, Aleah got free to hit a satellite DDT and a springboard crossbody off the apron, but a missed moonsault stomp left her prone for a snap DDT from Shaw, who quickly finished her off with a levering armbat. A heck of a debut for James, who looked way more polished than her 30 matches suggest. Keep that name in your minds for the future as she continues to evolve. ***
Post-match, Zoe Lucas attacks James and Shaw so she could hug her bae again. Aleah James made a save and laid out Zoe with a belt shot, to build up their match in Southampton a few days later.
El Phantasmo vs. TK Cooper
A first time meeting here, and it’s ELP’s first outing in Rev Pro since he dropped the cruiserweight title at High Stakes. Before the match, ELP brought a kid into the ring under the premise he was going to give him his glasses… but went to charge him £30. The kid grabbed the mic and shouted back…
There’s some current affairs as ELP mocks the crowd because “he lives in Canada with Prince Harry”, before unsuccessfully trying to get the crowd to turn on TK. Even the ref and camera man get cheered… but it’s a ruse for ELP to attack TK from behind as we got going. We start with brawling in the dark, because who needs lights outside the ring, right? Things pick up when the match officially starts, with ELP trying more underhanded tactics before he got thrown outside into the darkness of the Guildhall. Weirdly there’s more light as they fought through the crowd, as Phantasmo played a Benny Hill chase as the kid-heavy crowd got a closer experience than they expected.
ELP keeps up on TK, trying to boot him out of the ring before a double clothesline left both men laying. Phantasmo pushes ahead though, with a springboard crossbody/Quebrada combo for a near-fall before TK mounted a comeback of his own, cracking into the Canadian with a headbutt. A Spanish Fly off the top nearly gets the upset win, before ELP used the referee as a shield to block a scissor kick… allowing him to punch TK low as a CR2 got the win. A solid outing here, with Phantasmo not exactly having it all his own way… but a pretty straightforward win nonetheless. ***¼
Hikuleo & Kenneth Halfpenny vs. Brendan White & Dan Moloney
Hey, they’re smooshing up feuds! Halfpenny and Hikuleo are a real Fire Pro random team, and it’s the contenders who start.
Moloney comes in to chop through Halfpenny as he found himself isolated early on, but when Hikuleo came in he was having issues as Moloney also came in to charge him down. When Brendan White found himself on the defensive, Kenneth Halfpenny suddenly wanted in as the Welsh contender renewed his rivalries… while stopping to stare down the distractions from Hikuleo. Problem was, that meant White was on the back foot as Hikuleo did the hard work while Halfpenny picked his spots, at least until White hit a back body drop before making it through to Moloney for a tag. Halfpenny tries to chop Moloney, who laughs it off and hits a Bossman slam for a near-fall.
In the end, Halfpenny tries to steal the win over White with a Destroyer… but Hikuleo chews him out as Moloney returned to drop the Tongan with a TKO before a spear put away Halfpenny. I’m liking how Halfpenny’s fixation with Brendan White is costing him repeatedly – and that’ll be hitting a boiling point soon enough. ***¼
Kyle Fletcher vs. Michael Oku
Oku’s newly-won title isn’t on the line here, although that could well be because Kyle’s not really a cruiserweight these days.
The early going saw Fletcher overpower Oku as shoulder tackles really weren’t working. There’s brawling around ringside in the darkness of the Guildhall once again, which isn’t the first time we’ve had this issue with shows from this venue. Back in the ring though, Fletcher was beginning to boss things, only for Oku to force his way back in. A half crab’s pushed away as Oku ends up getting caught with a Michinoku driver for a near-fall, before he had to float out of a powerbomb… then again from a Grimstone, which he countered into a reverse ‘rana. A DDT follows, then a leaping knee, before Oku found his way back in with a half crab that forced Fletcher to the ropes.
Fletcher found a way in with a superplex, then a lawn dart and a Grimstone… but Oku rolls through and snatched the win. This was a curious match on paper, as you’d not want your new champion to lose in match number one, but a high profile loss for Kyle Fletcher perhaps keeps him in the same bucket as Carlos Romo as he remains somewhat lost without his tag team partner. ***½
Dan Magee & Mad Kurt vs. The NIC (Charlie Carter & Oisin Delaney)
That. Cursed. Ring. Music.
The NIC’s back having come close to winning the tag titles on their last match here, and they started off on top, before Mad Kurt tried to batter Charlie Carter… and got chopped for his troubles. Delaney returns, but we end up with more action on the shadowy outside, which got Kurt and Magee back in it, with Kurt pulling something out of the Chris Brookes playbook as he tried to feed Carter his gumshield. Mad Kurt finds his cape so he can fly, but Carter rolls away as there’s no water in the pool from Kurt’s belly flop… and that’s an opening for the NIC to fight back, with Carter and Delaney finding form at the right time. Carter in particular was handy with the belly-to-belly suplexes as the Portsmouth crowd got behind the NIC, who built up to a Doomsday Hart Attack for a near-fall…
…because Delaney broke the cover as Mad Kurt leapt onto his own man with a stomp off the top! The NIC followed that up the Roppongi 3K neckbreaker/Dominator combo for a near-fall, before an errant head kick from Delaney laid out Carter, as Magee sorta landed the pumphandle knee before Mad Kurt tagged in to snatch the glory with a Chapman clutch. This felt a little flat given there was no clear team to boo, but the work here was solid… they’re clearly building up to Dan Magee losing his rag on Kurt though, aren’t they? ***
Mark Haskins vs. Shota Umino
Haskins has Crobot back again as Rev Pro seem to be unsure what to use for him. It’s a rare main event for Shota Umino too, who still seems averse to the Christmas present he got from Jon Moxley.
They keep it straightforward early on with headlocks and takedowns, as Haskins seemed to underestimate his foe. Haskins brought in some chairs, but Shota just took a seat before he threatened to swing for Haskins. Elbows to the neck led to a cravat from Umino, who got distracted as Vicky Haskins grabbed the leg… and there’s your turnaround, as a tope took Umino into the guard rails. Back in the ring, Haskins worked over Umino’s arm, but a neckbreaker bought Umino time… only for Haskins to power back with a death valley driver for a near-fall. A Falcon arrow keeps Haskins ahead, but a missed stomp gives Shota an opening, which he took advantage of, almost pinning Haskins with a reverse DDT out of the ropes.
Haskins manages to survive a roll-up to come back with a Sharpshooter, which almost forced Shota to tap, but he got to the ropes, much to Vicki’s displeasure. Shota’s able to respond with a ripcord enziguiri before a hooked-leg reverse DDT and a Death Rider eventually took down Haskins… only for Vicki to pull out the ref. Gideon Grey runs out with Great O-Kharn, as I’d worried they’d forgotten the Legion stuff, as Shota’s cracked with a cane and an Iron Finger slam before a stomp off the top gets Haskins the win. This was getting good until the finishing stretch, but you’ve got to establish Haskins and the new-look Legion I guess. ***¼
Post-match, the Legion threaten to beat down Shota… O-Kharn lands another Iron Finger Slam, before Kyle Fletcher and Michael Oku ran out to make a save as Gideon Grey and his swanky new waistcoast was superkicked away to send the crowd home happy.a
With the show coming towards the end of the half term school holidays, the crowd for Live in Portsmouth was very kid-heavy – which gave this a rather different feel. Less smarky, more casual – and while the card (and to be fair, the roster too) lacked a lot of heels to boo, this was a nice easy watch.