Upsets were the order of the day as Rev Pro made their first visit of the year to Southampton.
Andy Quildan is on commentary, alongside Gideon Grey, as we’re from the 1865…
Brendan White vs. Danny Jones
They’re tag partners elsewhere, but today the Greedy Souls were going for one another.
Gideon’s gloriously needling Andy Q’s positivity in the intros, as we started with the pair staying at close quarters. Jones’ waistlock takedown set the tone as he proceeded to stomp White into the ropes. White reverses a suplex and mounted a comeback as he began to throw Jones around… but a missed moonsault opens the door for Jones again, as he began to build fresh momentum.
White edges it again when it became a striking battle, but Jones took it back down to the mat as a grounded sleeperhold almost spelled curtains for Brendan. He’s able to throw himself free as a Cactus clothesline took both men to the outside as I cackled over the concept of VAR in Rev Pro.
White looked to roll a superplex into a vertical suplex, but Jones countered with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall before another grounded sleeper almost backfired on Jones. After nearly putting Brendan’s lights out with a bicycle knee, Jones gets caught with a powerbomb then a springboard moonsault, before Jones caught Brendan with a katahajime for the quick submission. A finish that caught everyone off guard, but a cracking opener – and one that makes me hope that Danny gets a lot more dates here. ***¼
Zoe Lucas vs. Aleah James
We had a slight tease of this in Portsmouth, as Zoe Lucas looks to mount a new bid for the title.
James impresses early by Matrix’ing into a ‘rana but Zoe’s able to overwhelm James, only for Aleah to roll free and catch Zoe with a shotgun dropkick. Aleah gets caught though as a forearm knocked away her springboard, before a bow and arrow stretch by the ring post was barely visible in the darkness. Back in the ring, a SIM card and a facebuster gets Zoe back on top, but Aleah properly spikes Zoe with a ‘rana… and that’s the win! A little on the short side, but pretty solid as Zoe is teetering on the edge of a losing streak here. **
The Legion (Rampage Brown & Great O-Kharn) vs. Escaping The Midcard (Chuck Mambo & TK Cooper)
Gideon left commentary to do the intros here, as we’ve a non-title match for ETM’s tag team debut here.
ETM start off brightly, taking the champions outside for topes early on while Gideon was losing his mind at the referee not enforcing “one in, one out”. A springboard moonsault gets a near-fall before TK’s low bridged to the outside. Some beating from Rampage on the outside weakened TK ahead of a flying Mongolian chop from O-Kharn. An enziguiri from TK gets rid of Rampage, but Rampage pulls Mambo off the apron before he came in and tried to choke out TK with a front facelock. O-Kharn’s in to keep wearing down the Kiwi, but TK gets free and makes a tag out as Mambo flies in with a missile dropkick to the champions.
Chops follow, before a springboard Meteora crashed into O-Kharn… a Blockbuster awaits for Rampage as Mambo ran wild… a double-team suplex leave the champions down, before a Gory bomb/cutter combo keeps the debuting tandem ahead. A flying headbutt from TK stops a piledriver from Rampage on Mambo as things began to get a little wild, which worked in the champion’s favour as an Iron Finger Slam looked to get the win… but TK flies in to break up the pin.
Another Reef Break from Mambo has O-Kharn down ahead of a springboard splash… but it doesn’t get the job done, before the champions double-teamed as Deep Wounds on TK got the win. A cracking outing for TK and Mambo, but while they narrowly fell short, Rev Pro really could do with a threatening team rising up as eventual challengers. ***½
Shota Umino vs. Robbie X
Thanks to Gideon, I now want to see a grounded, bad guy Robbie X as “Robert X”.
They keep it simple early, as the early stand-off seemed to spur Shota, but his pot shots at Robbie needed upgrading as the Lincoln native demanded harder strikes. He got them before he fought back in kind, landing a dropkick to catch out Umino. Trapping Shota in the corner leads to a missile dropkick for a near-fall, before Umino started landing some reverse DDTs to get himself back in it.
An enziguiri takes Shota down though, as he’s then taken outside for an apron PK that gets Robbie a near-fall after a standing shooting star press. A rolling death valley driver gets a similar result, but Shota’s back to land a Death Rider for the win. A cracking sprint, but I’m hoping this loss for Robbie X doesn’t signify anything… ***½
Kenneth Halfpenny vs. Mad Kurt
Remember for Uprising, when Kurtis Chapman said he wasn’t going to come and have a match with Kenneth Halfpenny? How times change…
Kurt tells us about that promo where he dogged Halfpenny, and then sets a little bet for himself: can Ken really last six minutes? The Mad Kurt comedy hour finally ends, and we get going with Halfpenny taking Screaming Kurt into the corner. A Corning hold led to a takedown as Halfpenny was wrestling around Kurt…until he fell for some World of Sport style stuff tha tled to a monkey flip.
Kurt keeps looking for a lungblower as they reached a stand-off… but cooler heads didn’t prevail as Halfpenny kicked Kurt to the outside. They brawl in the dark of the 1865, which led to Halfpenny getting thrown down some stairs as Kurt was halfway through his six minute limit. Making it back into the ring, Kurt’s got two minutes left as the pair trade boots, before a knee from Kurt led to a running Blockbuster from Halfpenny for a near-fall.
A whip punch from Kurt did nothing but earn him an Olympic slam as Halfpenny hits a ½* Frog Splash for another near-fall. Kurt picks up the pace as they approached the six minute mark, trapping Halfpenny in an Octopus hold before rolling him up for a near-fall as Halfpenny passed six minutes. Halfpenny celebrates, forgetting the match was still going on, and got kicked in the knee as a Chapman clutch gets the win. Serves him right. **½
Afterwards, Kurt tells the crowd they had more time… so he winds up Halfpenny some more, and got laid out. Serves him right. Brendan White tries to break it up, but Halfpenny went for him as TK and Mambo came out to break it up, all while Mad Kurt walked away…
Shaun Jackson vs. Carlos Romo vs. Ricky Knight Jr. vs. El Phantasmo
It’s another new use of the Contenders, as Shaun Jackson gets to mix it up with the big boys. Will he be eating the pin here though?
Southampton fell for the “Phantasmo goes to give away a shirt, but ended up selling it” thing. That actually happened. We start with ELP dick punching Jackson as he didn’t want to deal with contenders… before ELP got dropkicked to the outside. Romo and RKJ start us off, trading holds as Romo worked into a cradle roll-up for a near-fall. Flying armdrags follow, as Romo crashes into RKJ with a leg lariat… but ELP rushes in to charge down the Spaniard with shoulder tackles.
An exchange ends with ELP dropkicking Romo out before he and RKJ see-sawed on sunset flips to troll referee Rich Swift. A springboard boot takes Phantasmo into the corner for a dropkick, with RKJ following through with a tope into the dark. A pescado follows from Romo as I wonder if the south coast intentionally don’t light their venues well, before Shaun Jackson’s dive… gets cut off with an ELP clothesline.
Phantasmo targets Jackson with back and chest rakes, but the Contender is able to reply as he took ELP into the corner for mounted punches… which get countered with an atomic drop. ELP suckers in Knight with a handshake, pulling him into the ropes as more back rakes followed, before he went after Romo’s nipples. The Gas Pedal followed for Romo and RKJ, but that just makes Romo mad as he responded with chops until his eyes got raked.
A Busaiku knee from Romo drops Phantasmo ahead of a flip into Jackson and Knight on the outside. Back inside, a moonsault almost got Romo the upset, as Knight returned to stack up Romo and ELP in a Samoan drop. Things go a little weird as RKJ and ELP went Gazza on each other, but it’s ELP who regained the upper hand, almost putting away Romo with a frog splash.
Shaun Jackson broke it up, then had a flurry on Phantasmo before almost snatching the win with a small package. A clothesline has ELP down, before Jackson’s swinging Twister suplex nearly put Knight away, before Jackson’s roll-through Fisherman suplex continued to make Gideon Grey go apoplectic on commentary. Jackson continues with a dive to the outside, but we’re still not done as everyone was breaking up everyone’s pins… as ELP in the end stole the win after Romo had hit Cutter without the E on Jackson. A thrilling finale, as ELP got back on the board after losing his title last week. ***½
Dan Moloney vs. Hikuleo
After they’d gotten in each other’s business in the past few weeks, this looked to be the big blow-off…
Moloney set a trap for Hikuleo, attacking him as he came out. Of course we see almost none of it because the 1865 is averse to lighting… Moloney’s back with chops as the match hadn’t officially started, before he booted Hikuleo out of a chair. When we get going, Hikuleo chokes Moloney with a t-shirt, before a suplex earned a two-count for Hikuleo.
They head back into the crowd, going towards the bar with more chops as looking through the screens of fans recording things was proving more fruitful here. Back in the ring, Moloney baits Hikuleo into throwing forearms, and came back in with swinging clotheslines that eventually took the big man down. Moloney tries for a TKO, but Hikuleo slips onto the apron as… we can’t bloody see again. Hikuleo took control in the darkness there, before he took Moloney back inside with a chair. The referee tries to disarm him, but Moloney boots the chair away before a TKO and a Gore had the big man down. Dan gets the chair and lays out Hikuleo with it… and there’s your DQ. I guess we’re not done after all. Maybe the real blow-off will actually have more than one light on it? **
Connor Mills vs. Michael Oku
Connor Mills is debuting in the main event here, as I’m sure Gideon Grey was praising Connor’s music with his tongue firmly planted into his cheek. The story here is that Oku asked for Mills here, hence the Knucklelocks special.
Wait, the bell goes and we’ve got half an hour left on the VOD.
Oku works the arm early, but a see-saw series of pinning attempts saw both men pick up near-falls ahead of a double dropkick and an eventual standoff. An elbow breaks up a waistlock from Mills, which put the brakes on things for a bit… until Mills cracked Oku with an uppercut. That got some boos as Southampton weren’t pleased with the debutant’s aggression.
Mills keeps up the aggression, dumping Oku with a slam before he folded him on the mat for an overhead wristlock. An Irish whip takes Oku nastily into the corner for a near-fall, before he tripped Oku for an elbow drop. A grounded cobra clutch followed, before Oku fought back, I assume, as those dark corners made it impossible to see. We did manage to see Oku chopping Mills in the corner, before a dropkick caught Connor in the ropes ahead of an eventual satellite DDT for a near-fall.
Mills rolls out of a half crab and found a way through with a small package, before a reverse ‘rana from Oku spiked his friend. A running knee’s next for a near-fall, but Mills finds a second wind, cracking Oku with a Millshot for a near-fall, before a Burning Cutter was flipped out of as Oku dropkicked Mills out of the ring.
A Dragon screw in the ropes caught Mills as he was getting back in, before a Quebrada caught Mills while he was still trapped. The Fosbury flop’s caught and turned into a tombstone on the outside, but Mills couldn’t win by count-out as Oku dove in just in time. With both men on their knees, the pair exchange jabs before the tempo raised up with Mills taking a superkick before a rolling forearm caught Oku. A Millshot’s blocked, but the clothesline certainly wasn’t… but Mills couldn’t follow up as his knee gave out in him. Oku capitalises with a leaping knee, before running into a stomp as Mills kept swinging with a head kick and a cutter out of the corner that Oku faceplanted on… but still was able to kick out. Mills thought he’d won with a Burning Cutter, but Oku gets a foot to the rope.
Mills keeps going, lifting Oku to the top rope, but he struggled to join him there because of his knee… Oku elbows away from a second Burning Cutter, before he killed Mills with a superkick as he went in for a cutter. One frog splash later, and it’s Mills who’s clinging on, before a half crab forced the submission. A fantastic match – but one that was badly hurt on the VOD by lighting issues. Now… Oku went to the limit with Connor Mills, so this has to be a permanent in for Connor, right? It’d be foolish of Rev Pro not to… ****
Post-match, a teary-eyed Oku put over Mills, before telling the crowd to make sure that management knows that the fans want Connor back. Well, in terms of taking his chances, Connor took it with both hands – and hopefully that performance will not be a one-and-done… especially because Connor knocked out Oku at the end of the speech, seemingly fed up of being placed in his shadow. Yep. This isn’t over. Gideon’s still howling with laughter because of it…
On paper, Rev Pro’s return to Southampton looked like a cracking show – it’s just a shame that on VOD, the quality control seems to be slipping again. Much like the Portsmouth show, depending on what camera was being chosen, parts of the ring were in the dark… and forget about going outside if you wanted to see anything. As much as Rev Pro had made steps forward with their new cameras, it’s all fruitless if the venues aren’t set up right.
Still, if you can forgive those issues, you’ve got a good show – and the appearance of Gideon Grey on commentary helped to raise things up, providing a different feeling than most other shows.