Hot on the heels of Epic Encounter, Rev Pro made their regular return to Portsmouth with Sha Samuels and Minoru Suzuki taking their spots at the top of the card.
It feels like forever since this show – almost a month passed since Rev Pro’s return to Portsmouth before it dropped on VOD. Considering we poke fun at “5-7 days”, this was positively glacial, especially considering how Rev Pro were promoting on social media that it’d be up “within 48 hours”. And the rest. Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmons are on commentary – Dan Barnsdall is back on ring announcing duties for this show from Portsmouth’s Guildhall.
Dan Magee vs. James Mason
Coming in off the back of a beating at Epic Encounter, Magee’s got a rather more sedate contest here.
They start by working over each other’s wrists, with Mason forcing Magee into the ropes for a break. Magee’s back with an armbar, only to get caught with a strait-jacket submission hold. He reverses it, as Magee looked to be not too far behind. There’s an attempt to break Mason’s neck bridge, but we’re back in with counters on the mat before a sunset flip took Magee into the corner for a break.
Magee mounts a comeback with a sliding Flatliner for a near-fall, but some headscissors send him back to the mat as Mason still seemed to be a step ahead. A leg lace from Magee traps Mason on the mat, but a trailing leg gave the veteran a way out, before he sat down on a body press and traded some two-counts as the pair rolled around the ring. Magee’s inverted Pedigree – the Morning Glory – gets a near-fall, before we’re left at another stalemate. After sending Magee into the corner, Mason tries his luck with shoulder tackles, but a crossbody catches him for a near-fall before Mason won with a roll-up out of nowhere. A perfectly decent match, but one that seemed to lack any kind of spark. **¾
Kenneth Halfpenny & Shaun Jackson vs. Team WhiteWolf (A-Kid & Carlos Romo)
We’ve got some Contenders action here, as we start with A-Kid easily rolling Halfpenny to the mat… but it’s right by the ropes so Halfpenny easily gets a leg on to break the armbar.
A-Kid’s quickly back with a dropkick before both men tagged out. Shaun Jackson eats a leg lariat as the Spaniards seemed to be sharing the same gameplan, which was kick the taste out of the Contenders. There’s a blind tag from Halfpenny, who comes in with an elbow drop on top of a sidewalk slam for barely a two-count, before a simple slam from Jackson drew a more convincing two-count as A-Kid found himself cornered.
He tries to slap his way free, only for Halfpenny to respond with forearms before dual shoulder tackles from the Contenders had A-Kid into the corner for another near-fall. Apparently Halfpenny and Jackson have a rugby background… from the name alone, I’m not surprised with one of those. There’s a weird trip from Halfpenny that took A-Kid down, as Jackson rolls in with a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall. A regular suplex from Halfpenny lands for a two-count, before A-Kid dropkicked Jackson off the apron then rolled out for a tag… allowing Carlos Romo to chop his way into things.
Romo’s headscissors sets up for a neckbreaker/accidental DDT combo, before he caught Halfpenny with uppercuts in the corner. A Shining Wizard caps it off for another near-fall, before another blind tag brings in Jackson for a side Russian legsweep/STO combo for a near-fall on Romo. The Contenders have nicked Bodom and Samuels’ Winning Combination, but A-Kid breaks up the cover. A-Kid tags in for a German suplex as a flurry of offence almost puts Halfpenny away, before a second Winning Combination was countered as A-Kid rolls Halfpenny into a cross armbar… which Jackson broke up by suplexing Romo onto A-Kid. Undeterred, a springboard headscissor/armdrag combo takes down the Contenders as topes keep them on jelly legs on the outside… until an Orihara moonsault from A-Kid puts them down.
Back in the ring, a shock Angle slam from Halfpenny took down Romo, before a missile dropkick from A-Kid was clumsily caught and turned into an inverted Cloverleaf. Halfpenny throws in a nice Giant Swing before he scissors the legs, only for Romo to break it up with a dropkick. That opens it up for A-Kid again, who cleared house by himself before a Blockbuster from Romo and a High/Low led to the win. Again, this was pretty solid – although the Portsmouth chapter of the Contenders division again do seem to be running before they can walk, not looking as crisp as the rest of the new intake. ***
Zack Sabre Jr. heads to the ring next, in a “not that’s on my running order” moment. He’s just got the British Heavyweight Championship belt, having lost the tag titles 48 hours earlier. Sabre was meant to have been wrestling Kip Sabian for the title here, but instead he tells us that Kip isn’t here. He’d been “injured” at York Hall on Friday, but that part of the story’s dropped as Kip’s instead gone off to AEW.
Sabre threatens to get the train and “sod off”, before he has to deal with a heckler or three. Out of nowhere, Brendan White enters the ring, but Sabre just piefaces him, saying he “doesn’t deserve to be a rookie”. White responds with a forearm, and gets told that his “career ends tonight” as it looks like Brendan’s forced himself into a match later on.
Nicole Matthews vs. Zoe Lucas
This is a non-title affair (in spite of whatever Andy Q said on commentary), and a debut for Matthews, who was in the UK for EVE the day before.
We start on the mat with the pair exchanging headlocks and escapes, before we got a black screen right as Matthews started a series of roll-ups for near-falls. Lucas gets a little too arrogant as she’s dragged into a test of strength, before a springboard crossbody off the ropes dropped Zoe for a near-fall.
Lucas responds with a chop block, as she began to go to work on Matthews’ legs with a leg spreader. The focus on the left leg continued as Lucas wrapped Matthews’ leg around the rope in the corner, before a running boot dropped the Canadian for another two-count. A legdrop to the worn-down knee keeps Matthews in trouble, as does a knee bar, but Matthews was able to get to the rope to force a break.
Matthews manages to make a brief comeback with a Northern Lights suplex, before she suckered Lucas into the corner for some more kicks, only for Matthews to get carried away and press slammed off the top. An axe kick followed for a near-fall, before Lucas followed back in with a Scorpion kick and a rolling death valley driver. Matthews manages to duck a PK, before a reverse DDT’s reversed out of, with Lucas taking it back into the corner for a roll-up with her feet on the ropes for the win. This was fine, but the combination of the crowd audio and the commentary made this seem really, really flat. **½
Josh Bodom vs. Matt Sydal
After a surprising win over A-Kid at Epic Encounter, Matt Sydal’s stuck around for an outing with a man whose momentum in Rev Pro has been stop-start for what feels like years.
As ever, Bodom comes into this with a degree of aggression, which just led to the usually sedate Sydal starting out with some kicks. Some armdrags frustrate Bodom, keeping him on the mat as a crucifix roll-up led to a near-fall, before a single leg crab had Bodom reaching for the ropes. Some headscissors flip Bodom to the mat as Sydal looked to chip away with more kicks, following in with a sunset flip for a near-fall before pulling Bodom into what looked like a modified Anaconda Vise. Bodom clubs his way free of the hold, but it’s back to the legs as Sydal locks in a cobra clutch for a side Russian legsweep… keeping the hold on as he looked for a submission.
Bodom heads through the ropes to hand Sydal up in the ropes, and now he’s found himself an opening as he took Sydal into the corners for blistering chops. Sydal swaps places and gets his own back, before more kicks to the legs put the brakes on Bodom… who gets back in with a running boot in the corner for a near-fall. Antagonising Sydal, forearms deck the former WWE and Impact man, who countered out of a back suplex with a crossbody for a near-fall.
Sydal succeeds with a headkick after blocking Bodom’s, before a top rope ‘rana takes Bodom back down for a near-fall. That’s followed up with a snap sidewalk slam, before Bodom got back to his feet to avoid Sydal’s leap off the top. A running shooting star press from Bodom misses, before he tried for a Bliss Buster… Sydal avoids it and looks for a roll-up, getting a near-fall before more kicks and a swinging neckbreaker leave Bodom back on the mat… and with Sydal landing his shooting star press off the top, that was enough to put away the former cruiserweight champion. Two rather surprising wins for Sydal this weekend then, as Josh Bodom again goes back to the drawing board. ***
Artemis Spencer vs. Shigehiro Irie
Spencer spends the early going trying to keep Irie at close quarters, working the arm… but Irie quickly gets free to whip the Canadian into the turnbuckles before swinging him down to the mat by the arm.
A scoop slam and a back senton sees Irie turn up the tempo, but Spencer switches tactics, going into the corner for a springboard lucha armdrag ahead of a dropkick for a two-count. Chops from Spencer take Irie into the corner, before he trapped Irie on the mat with an Indian deathlock and a double armbar stretch, rolling him back over for a near-fall. Irie makes a comeback with a suplex, but kicks to the leg from Spencer allow him to come back with a diving dropkick for a two-count. Spencer tries to follow it up with a deadlift German suplex, only for Irie to reply with a huge POUNCE! There’s another turnaround as Irie’s taken outside for a tope, before he replied in kind after Spencer threw him back into the ring. Whoops.
Back inside, a big splash off the top pancakes Spencer for a near-fall, before he went for a piledriver… only for Spencer to charge Irie into the corner as he looked to score with a flying stomp and some kicks. Those bring Irie down to the mat, with a dropkick through the ropes catching Irie as Spencer again delayed before he made a cover.
Spencer tries for a top rope ‘rana, but Irie held on and slammed him into the corner, following in with a cannonball for a near-fall. An enziguiri from Spencer lands as we keep going back and forth, before a Tiger suplex-like throw took Irie down, before a Spiral Tap landed perfectly. Again though, Artie delays on his cover as Irie kicks out at two, then quickly replied with a running Fire Thunder Driver for a near-fall, before a Beast Bomber dropped Spencer for the win. Pretty solid action, with Irie picking up another win as he remains somewhat of a regular here – even if there’s no obvious storyline. ***¼
Brendan White vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Set up earlier tonight, on paper this looks like it could be a star making performance for White – much in the same vein as Sabre’s outing with Shota Umino in New Japan earlier this year.
Commentary plays up the Kip Sabian injury (that nobody mentioned earlier), as we start with White showing little fear, taking Sabre into the ropes before he looked to ground him with a front facelock. Of course, Zack’s able to get free, countering a counter to a counter, as he sent White into the ropes with an armbar. Sabre keeps up as he grapevines White’s legs, forcing him into the ropes, before a headlock ended with White charging Zack down with a shoulder tackle. A slam follows, as does a Beele throw out of the corner, barely getting a one-count though, as White tried to force his way in.
Except he just runs into a Cobra Twist, as Sabre then rolled him down for an eventual leglock as Brendan again goes for the ropes. Sabre begins to kick White’s leg out of his leg, then switched up with uppercuts before he tied up White in knots. Another rope break means Sabre’s back to strikes as White seemed to be outclassed, as he had no answer to a cravat, until he finally slammed his way free to escape.
White began a comeback there with some slams, following up with an Irish whip into the corner and a suplex out of it, before a shotgun dropkick careers Sabre into the corner for a near-fall. A backbreaker’s next for a near-fall as White kept pushing ahead, before we went all New Japan with a Boston crab attempt, only for Sabre to roll out into a leg lock, albeit right by the ropes as White easily forces a break. Sabre continues his assault with some kicks, then upgrades to a guillotine as White charges into the corner to force a break. Zack reapplies the guillotine, but gets suplexed instead. A German suplex is next as Sabre got flung across the ring, before a crossface looked to force a submission… but Zack gets to the rope to get free.
We’ve more submission attempts from Zack, albeit by the ropes, before he ran into a T-bone suplex from White… but a springboard moonsault comes up short as ZSJ rebounds with a PK to keep the Welshman down. A second PK follows for a near-fall, before Sabre rolled White into a single leg crab… grabbing the free arm before Zack managed to roll them into the ropes. Brendan still wants a fight though, and gets it with more uppercuts before he nearly shocked Sabre with a backslide… but from the kick-out Sabre quickly mounts White and slips into a triangle armbar, which White tries to powerbomb out of, only for Sabre to force him back down before the eventual submission. This wasn’t quite in the same realm as that Umino/Sabre match, mostly due to the pacing, but this was a hard fought outing that showed that White is some way off of Sabre’s level. ***½
Sha Samuels vs. Minoru Suzuki
File this in the “weird main events that I was really looking forward to” pile… particularly with both men having a penchant for beating up Young Lions and Contenders…
Sha gets in Suzuki’s face during the introductions, as both men took turns shoving away Chris Roberts. The jump start comes from Sha, who took Suzuki into the corner, then outside as the East End Butcher looked to put a beating to the former tag team champ… but Sha took too long playing to the crowd, and gets hauled back into the ring by Suzuki. Forearms and knees from Suzuki leave Sha on all fours as the crowd chanted Sha’s fate. A spinebuster catches Suzuki off the ropes for a two-count, as Sha began to throw elbows and choke away on Suzuki in the ropes. More elbows keep Suzuki down for a two-count, but in bullying him around, Sha was really poking the pear.
Up rises Suzuki, who chopped Sha in the chest before taking him into the corner for a running boot. A snapmare and a PK levels Sha again for a near-fall, before Suzuki went back to work on the arm and wrist in search of a submission. Sha gets to the ropes as another strike battle breaks out, with the pair exchanging elbows.. but Suzuki laughs them off and calls for more before he had his eyes raked.
SWEET MOTHER OF GOD. That elbow shot rang around the Guildhall as Sha’s sent into the ropes. A clothesline off the ropes sees Sha give a quick response, ahead of a Michinoku driver for a near-fall, before the Butcher’s Hook cobra clutch had Suzuki backing into the corner for a break.
Suzuki tries to come back with a sleeper, but Sha gets free, only to get caught in the ropes with a hanging armbar. That leaves Sha down, but he’s back with a knee before Suzuki slips out of a suplex – using Sha’s braces to help – before he got Sha’s back with a rear naked choke. You know what’s next. This time, a delayed Gotch Style Piledriver… and that’s enough to plant Sha for the win. Fun for what it was, but had the result been any different there’d have been a LOT of eyebrows raised. ***
…and commentary closes out with the quizzical note of “for one last time, let’s leave you with the King.” As entertaining as it was, this’d better not be Suzuki’s last UK outing.
While a solid show, this felt like a distant, distant second to the Epic Encounter show from 48 hours earlier. The reasoning behind it makes sense, as the imports who were in town for the York Hall show were still around, but with El Phantasmo en route to Japan, TK Cooper and Aussie Open working for Breed in Sheffield and David Starr in the States, this didn’t quite have the important feeling that 2018’s MAYhem card did.