The future of Chris Brookes was thrust into the spotlight on Rev Pro’s latest trip to Southampton.

With Travis Banks having bade farewell to the company days earlier in Portsmouth, Rev Pro were openly teasing if the other half of the tag team would be walking away as well – with WALTER being a fitting farewell.

Legion of Lords (Lord Gideon Grey, No Fun Dunne, Rishi Ghosh & Los Federales Santos Jr.) vs. Kurtis Chapman, Psycho Phillips & Besties in the World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett)
This was originally meant to be the Lords vs. Dan Magee, Kurtis Chapman, Psycho Phillips and Chuck Mambo… but a broken down car meant that Mambo couldn’t make it to Portsmouth. We had another tweak to the advertised card, Dan Magee was beaten down by Josh Bodom in the aisle. Something tells me Southampton didn’t like Dan Magee, as they sang “thank you Bodom”…

Lord Gideon Grey bragged that the eight man tag was becoming four on two, until the Besties in the World – Davey Vega and Mat Fitchett – stepped in for an unadvertised debut. Even if their names drew the ire of Lord Gideon Grey, who thought he and No Fun Dunne were the only Besties.

Finally we get going as the Besties sidestep an attempted ambush from Dunne and Grey, but the first real confrontation was between Santos and Psycho Phillips, who tried to outdo each other in terms of craziness, before Santos realised he couldn’t really shove Phillips. So out comes the No Fun Gun! The “bullets” barely affect Psycho, so out comes, erm, the No Fun Rifle, which worked! Until Psycho gets up and brings a “knife” to the gun fight. Cue the musical stings from Psycho!

A punch sent Santos into his corner as Rishi Ghosh comes in, only to get suplexed, before Kurtis Chapman tagged himself in. The crowd were still fairly lukewarm to Chapman, who took down Ghosh with a low dropkick and a back senton, but Chapman’s quickly cornered as the Lords took their turns working over him in what felt like a throwback to Kurtis’ days as a Contender.

Ghosh’s Bombay Bicycle Kick in the corner almost won things in short order, but Chapman’s saved… but only in terms of the pinning attempt as he’s dragged back into the Lords’ corner. Santos teases a moonsault, but Chapman saved his life by getting up an… teasing an apron powerbomb, helped by some gamengiri from the Besties. Finally Chapman gets a tag out to Phillips who decked Dunne with a lariat before clearing house on the rest of the Lords. A lungblower from Dunne’s eventually countered into a powerbomb as Gideon and Ghosh’s attempt at double-teaming backfires… and in comes Mat Fitchett!

Overhead kicks for all from Mat, who brings in Davey Vega pretty quickly afterwards for some more successful double teams. A double-team assisted pop-up Flatliner took down Grey as Rishi’s Hard Man Haircut meant he could absorb superkicks for fun, before they helped Chapman into a Sega Mega Driver for a near-fall. Things build up into dives as Santos wipes out a pile in the aisle, before returning to the ring for a full nelson swinging slam on Vega. Problem is, Gideon Grey wanted to take the pin on that, so he argued with Rishi… who gets slammed onto Vega by Santos for the win! Cue an incensed Gideon, as everyone was called selfish but him! This was a fun opener, and it continued the fun and games within the Legion of Lords (although the graphic for their match showed a rather unfortunate acronym). Perhaps the changes in Rev Pro will mean this’ll continue on for a while, rather than rush to a conclusion… which is good since this is perhaps one of the best things in the promotion right now! **¾

Adam Brooks vs. TK Cooper
“Somebody’s 0 has gotta go” – it’s the battle of the undefeated streaks, which makes this an odd match to put on second.

We start with the yay/boo stuff as Brooks and Cooper play to the crowd, prompting the “Loose Ledge” to threaten a walkout… when he returned, they traded some holds as Brooks tried to keep TK on the mat, before they had the same idea and tried to kick each other, which led to the “you put my leg down, no you put my leg down” series. Which of course ended with a poke to the eye.

TK’s able to rebound with a ‘rana, but Brooks clings onto the ropes to avoid any follow-up as TK instead lifted him onto the apron and punched him out. An apron superkick’s next, as was a low dropkick, before Brooks pulled some shenanigans as he got a chair and sent TK into it throat first. We’re not talking a folding chair, either… an old-fashioned padded, wooden chair. That says a lot about the sort of venue we’re in here!

TK tries to escape a superkick out of the chair, but Brooks stays on him, before a springboard dropkick is shoved aside. Brooks tries to win with a roll-up, but TK hits back with elbows and boots before the cobra clutch slam picked up a two-count. Hey, it worked better for Jinder…

An enziguiri from Brooks sent TK flying to the outside, following up with a sudden tope, before they reverted to strikes back in the ring, finishing with a tornado DDT from Brooks… only for TK to headbutt away a springboard. TK looks for Rihanna, but Brooks escaped and kicked TK low, and there’s your obvious DQ. I guess someone wasn’t proud of his winning run… and this may well be the start of a run between these two as commentary pivoted talk to “Adam Brooks hasn’t been pinned”. The match was okay, but underwhelming. ***

Josh Bodom vs. Kip Sabian
This built off of the last Southampton show, where these two lost in a three-way that also featured Dan Magee… whom Bodom dispensed of earlier in the evening.

Bodom jumped Kip Sabian during his intro and took him out with a dive as we opened with some brawling around ringside. Chops for once don’t hit the ring post as Bodom took it into the ring in search of an early win… but instead he just opts to slam Sabian and not even given him a chance to take off his ring jacket.

Sabian fights back with some right hands, before eventually catching Bodom with a leg lariat, then a PK as “Superbad” earned a near-fall. Bodom returns with a Lo-Bodom-Knee variant, using the ring post, sending Sabian outside again for a tope con giro as Josh is all about the flips today! Also flipping today was Kip Sabian, who was hurled into the turnbuckles, but he’s able to come back pretty quickly, sending Bodom to the floor for a slingshot legdrop onto the apron!

Back in the ring, the two start teeing off on each other with elbows, before another Lo-Bodom-Knee was responded to with a German suplex and a running knee for another two-count for Sabian. In the end though, Bodom sandwiches Sabian with a pair of revolution kicks either side of a Bliss Buster, before finishing off Sabian with a tombstone for the win. This was good stuff – almost like a mirror match at the start before they tried to outdo each other, with Bodom coming close to a decisive loss, only to fight back for the win. ***½

Post-match, Dan Magee returned to throw Josh Bodom into some of the security barriers before dishing out a Bliss Buster of his own.

Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
It’s a Rev Pro return for the Arrows, against an Aussie Open team looking to build on their win over Jeff Cobb and Matt Riddle at Epic Encounter a few weeks earlier.

The two big lads start us off, with Dover and Davis exchanging shoulder tackles in the opening stretches, with Dunkzilla initially taking him down, but Dover was back on his feet quickly… to get knocked down with some elbows. A high five rocks Dover again ahead of a pancake, and in comes Kyle Fletcher to try and take advantage… but Dover shoved him away and brought in Icarus instead.

A running kick and a leaping Flatliner gets Icarus a near-fall as he opted to isolate Fletcher for a spell, cornering him for a chop before bringing Dover back into play briefly. The Aussie Arrow’s able to land a superkick, which gets him a chance to bring Dunkzilla back in… as a diving forearm clocked Icarus in the corner. More of the same follow as Davis was keeping Icarus down, much like how Fletcher had been treated earlier, as Icarus was finding himself kept as far away from Dover as possible.

Davis keeps it going with a slam and a back senton, before catching a floatover in the corner and handing off Icarus for a double-team Go To Sleep for a near-fall. Icarus managed a desperation attack as he finally made the hot tag to Dover, who laid into Aussie Open before dumping Fletcher with a German suplex. Dunkzilla gets one too, as Icarus is brought back in rather too quickly… although he’s used as a weapon as he’s back body dropped onto Davis for a near-fall.

The Hungarians keep up with a cannonball into Fletcher, then a suplex into a powerbomb/neckbreaker for a near-fall, before Davis mounted a comeback with the Alphamare Waterslide to Icarus. Dover escape something similar as he lifts up Davis into an Electric Chair, only for that to be countered into the double-team spinebuster for another near-fall for the Aussies. An assisted Ace Crusher’s next for Dover, but Icarus’ senton bomb off the top broke that cover up as a frenetic spell came to an end. Dover slows down the pace with some punches, only to run into a lariat from Davis as a Parade of Moves broke out, ending with a Fidget Spinner to Icarus for the win. This was wonderful stuff – a good win for the Aussies, who seem to be faring better here as a team than in singles. ***¾

Rev Pro British Women’s Championship: Jamie Hayter vs. Jinny (c)
Having snuck past Millie McKenzie in Portsmouth a few days earlier, Jamie Hayter had somehow gotten a title match against the undefeated Jinny.

We get going with an aggressive lock-up as Hayter took the champion into the corner, only for Jinny to take her down as she tried to work over the challenger’s arm. They’re too close to the (holy crap, how loose?!) ropes, as Hayter reached out to force a break. A side headlock followed as Jamie shoved her way free, only to get charged down with a shoulder tackle before finally taking down Jinny with a hiptoss and a series of kicks.

One missed kick nearly spelled the end as Jinny rolled up Hayter for a near-fall, before taking her into the corner for some more kicks. Things break down into a shoving match, as Jinny knocked Hayter into the ropes with a forearm before she looked to wear her down some more with a chinlock. Jinny keeps Hayter cornered with a knee, but a second one sees her hung up in the ropes, before she’s tripped onto the apron, where she avoided a running knee.

Back inside, Hayter tries to pepper Jinny with some elbows, but she’s trapped into the ropes as Jinny throws some more forearms. Those get returned, as the battle of forearms put Jinny back in front, following up with a wheelbarrow facebuster and a seated surfboard as Hayter looked to be down and out… but she manages to escape and drag herself to the ropes. One last resurgence from Hayter saw her take down Jinny with chops before suplexing her into the turnbuckles, following in with a running knee ahead of a running clothesline for a near-fall. Hayter tried to capitalise off the top, but a kick from Jinny puts the brakes on and uses a top rope ‘rana that almost ended badly for the challenger, as the Shibata-ish dropkick into the corner drew a two-count.

Jinny tries to finish off Hayter with a Rainmaker, but it’s ducked and countered with a spin-out reverse DDT that looked awkward. It’s still not enough though, as Jinny hits back with a Rainmaker for a two-count of her own, before Hayter hits back with a snap Falcon arrow, before dragging Jinny into a rear naked choke for the stoppage! A rather less “slip on a banana peel” finish here, but still far from decisive as Jamie Hayter snapped the streak and left Southampton with the belt. This match had its moments, but you sensed the crowd didn’t really believe, or expect, the title change to happen, particularly given how little Hayter had been used by the company. **¾

After the match, the camera stayed on Jinny, who was given the goodbye song by the Southampton crowd. Not exactly a fond farewell, but she grinned and kissed the Rev Pro logo before leaving.

Okay, it’s out in the open – Jinny’s on the list of those who’s signed to WWE, hence the title change. In a way, Rev Pro dodged a bullet here. Hayter’s original match in Portsmouth was against Brandi Rhodes – a bout I cannot have going any way other than a win for Brandi… so “what if” Brandi hadn’t been injured? What’d have been the back-up plan here? It’s not an issue now, but I just hope Rev Pro move away from their “one women’s match a show” mantra and actually build a division now they have no choice!

Chris Brookes vs. WALTER
They’ve still to update the CCK entrance video as Chris Brookes is going it alone… and judging by the teases on social media going into this show, this may well have been another farewell. Not because WALTER’s going to kill him… Yes, WALTER was back in Rev Pro for the first time since the promotion’s early days, where he’d beaten Stixx, El Generico and Michael Elgin, before falling to Big Damo in his final appearance nearly six years ago.

WALTER started out by working the arm of Brookes, whipping him to the mat by it before nonchalantly walking to the ropes to escape a sleeperhold attempt. It’s the kind of stuff Brookes is usually used to doing, except this time Brookes was on the receiving end. He’s able to take WALTER outside for a dive… but he’s caught and dropped down for CHOP! There you go!

Brookes had to avoid more of those chops, ducking one as WALTER hit the ring post before stomping onto the Austrian’s hand as his plan B looked to be a little more effective. It didn’t stop WALTER using his forearm though, as Brookes was trapped in the ropes for some crossface punches before dumping Brookes onto the ring apron as the former tag champion looked to be in real trouble.

A series of chops go exactly how you’d expect, as Brookes kept getting knocked back before he saw a missile dropkick attempt caught and turned into a Boston crab. Brookes is forced to fight his way out of a rear naked choke, but all he can do is make it to the ropes before catching WALTER with an overhead kick to the arm before low bridging him to the outside. We get a dive as a tope con giro takes out WALTER, only for the Austrian to instantly return with a shotgun dropkick that damn near killed Brookes!

Another chop battle is started, and lost, by Brookes. He does manage to trap WALTER in an Octopus hold, only for it to be countered with a hiptoss as WALTER goes back to the chops… and gets caught with a slingshot cutter! WALTER comes back though, catching Brookes with a Gojira clutch in the ropes, before going for it again as a counter to a slingshot cutter, then changing it into a German suplex as he was told to break the hold.

Things get a little more tit-for-tat as the match seemed to be entering it’s dying moments, and when WALTER waffled Brookes with a pair of lariats, that was all she wrote. A winning return for der Ringgeneral – and an emphatic one to boot after another cracking match… much like the one that commentary teased… WALTER vs. Ishii. Don’t. Tease. Us. Andy. ****

After the match, WALTER hauled up Brookes and offered a handshake, before Brookes stayed behind for what Andy Quildan teased on commentary was a moment that had “happened too much this week”…

Yeah, it’s a ruse – Chris Brookes went through the motions as if he were saying his goodbyes, telling us that he “got an email”… but he’s not acting on it as he’s staying on the independent scene!

David Starr vs. El Phantasmo
Yet again, “generic ring announcer number three” flubbed as he said that David Starr was defending his British Cruiserweight title here… something that Starr instantly reneged on after taking a shot at folks who call the company “RPW”. Starr also called Southampton a “dump”, then got frustrated because the crowd owned that chant. Yeah, the British like self-deprecating stuff!

Speaking of flubs, is British Vancouver a place?

When the bell goes, Starr instantly powdered to the outside to do some stretching, something that didn’t faze Phantasmo, who just decided to go to the outside to join in with the crowd. Once we started, Starr was all about the shortcuts – grabbing the rope to escape a simple hammerlock as he then looked on in disgust at Phantasmo flipping around. Southampton loved it, proclaiming Phantasmo as “one of our own”, as the match resumed with more of the same… headlock takedowns, escapes, and Starr begging off as Phantasmo looked to keep up. A dropkick from Phantasmo puts Starr down, before we go into rope-walking territory… something that’s rudely ended when Starr knocked him down onto the apron and then to the floor.

Starr’s right in with the Pretty Pumped as he snuffed out Phantasmo’s attempt to fight back, but he couldn’t block a springboard ‘rana off the top, as Starr was sent outside for a tope from the Canadian. Starr’s put in a chair by the merch table, and met with some running big boots, as Phantasmo slowly edged ahead, taking the match back inside so he could whip the Cruiserweight champion between the turnbuckles. Phantasmo went to the well once too often and gets back body dropped into the turnbuckles, as Starr took over, taking him outside and back into the crowd for some chops, but a jawbreaker from Phantasmo seemed to affect both men… although ELP’s able to keep going and land a reverse suplex to stay ahead. A springboard crossbody and a Quebrada’s enough for a near-fall, before a satellite DDT almost put Starr away.

Starr suckered Phantasmo towards him, allowing the champion to spring the rope into the Canadian’s eyes… only to get met with a flapjack cutter as Starr’s latest surge came to nought. ELP looked to head up top, but again Starr rolls to the outside, and suckers him in again, this time for a Cherry Mint DDT as we get the throwback to how Chuck Mambo was counted out a month ago. Instead of waiting for the count, Starr dives into Phantasmo as he took Phantasmo all the way to the bar… but still ELP gets back to the ring thanks to some fans helping him!

The crowd loved that, even though Starr didn’t… and after moaning at referee Shay Purser, Starr’s back in with some boo/yay punches. A superkick keeps Starr ahead, before he rudely dumped Phantasmo upside down with a Blackheart Buster… another crossface followed, but Phantasmo’s way too close to the ropes and quickly forces a break. Increasingly frustrated, Starr yells at Phantasmo as he tried to stand on his head… Phantasmo gets back up and fights out of the Trapped Arm Bob Fossil piledriver, finally decking Starr with a knee before an underhook was countered into a roll-up for a near-fall.

ELP reversed that for a near-fall, then went to the whirlibird neckbreaker, before the senton bomb/moonsault combo earned him the win! That’s two non-title wins for ELP (over Zack Sabre Jr. and now David Starr), and surely he’s due a title match, right, especially after an enjoyable main event that saw Phantasmo fight from behind to claim victory. ***½

Well, David Starr offered ELP his title shot… as long as it was right now, citing Phantasmo’s precedent with Sabre.

Rev Pro British Cruiserweight Championship: El Phantasmo vs. David Starr (c)
Of course, Phantasmo accepted the opportunity, and we got fresh introductions… but it’s a short match as Starr punted Phantasmo low after a second, so the Product retains by DQ! Ah man, that’s so cheap, but devilishly devious!

Commentary played up how El Phantasmo had beaten David Starr twice… Phantasmo noted that he’s lost a lot in his first year in the UK, against a lot of big names, but he’s also picked up a lot of knowledge. Reading between the lines, we’re going to get a rematch soon, and probably with a no DQ stipulation to boot!

Compared to the Portsmouth show, this was a much more enjoyable watch – and a lot of that I’d put down to the acoustics and the crowd in general. Sure, this was the more noteworthy show, thanks in part to the teased and real departure of talent, but bell-to-bell this was a more coherent show in my mind… save for that opener, which was the victim of circumstance. I’m not too crazy about two guys going for cheap losses on the same show (Brooks and Starr), but given that Rev Pro’s in a state of flux right now, these kind of slips might pop up until things settle down.