Rev Pro’s first show of 2020 came with a surprise as the identity of Gideon Grey’s Legionnaire… was not all it seemed.
For the second year in a row, Rev Pro’s at G Live in Guildford… and dear God, Slick’s shaved. That’s so jarring… commentary comes from Andy Quildan, Andy Simmonz and Mark Davis, who I feel should change his name to Andy…
More Than Hype (Darren Kearney, LJ Cleary & Nathan Martin) vs. The Legion (Rampage Brown, Sha Samuels & Great O-Kharn)
It’s a Rev Pro debut for More Than Hype, but they’ve started out by being tossed into a frying pan. There’s no Gideon Grey here, as he’s busy getting the Legionnaire ready for the Southside title match later on…
O-Kharn’s evolving his character somewhat, ditching the maligned hat and tea cloth entrance gear. Sha had his sights set on LJ Cleary, and that’s what we start with as LJ’s instantly shoved away, as Darren Kearney came in and looked to get the better of Sha with armdrags, before a lucha roll drew a near-fall. Nathan Martin’s in next as the Irish lads tried to wear down Sha, who powders to the outside as they teased the Activate destroyer. Dives from More than Hype knock down the Legion on the outside, but the lighting means a lot of this is lost on the cameras…
Back in the ring, More Than Hype tease the Activate Destroyer on Rampage, who just goozles him as I cackle away. WAY TOO SOON. That begins a spell on top for the Legion, who used their size to their advantage, focusing on LJ Cleary, as a nice floatover suplex from Rampage led to a solid two-count. A Cobra twist from O-Kharn keeps LJ in trouble, as does some ground and pound from Rampage, before Sha lost LJ… who got past him and made the tag to Nathan Martin, who flew into Sha with flying forearms and enziguiris. Kearney’s in to help trap Sha for a dropkick in the corner, as the referee lost track of who was legal…
Double superkicks drop O-Kharn, as Cleary returned for a pop-up Codebreaker… Sha wasn’t legal. Rampage was, so the Irish lads go for an Activate destroyer, only for Rampage to put the blocks on as an Alabama slam and a short piledriver quickly snuffed out the hype. A solid trios match to get us going – More Than Hype had some bright spots, but the Legion dominated here. More More Than Hype in Rev Pro though, please! ***¼
Robbie X vs. Ricky Knight Jr.
This wasn’t for the Speed King title, as Robbie X would need to wait to get a chance to win that strap for the fourth time…
We start with a handshake, as Robbie X began by working the wrist. There’s reversals before Knight dropkicked Robbie to the outside, following up with a gamengiri on the apron as Robbie thought he’d be able to go back with a dive. That was wild. Robbie has more luck with a floatover and a cartwheel dropkick, but Knight twangs the ropes into Robbie’s eyes as the champion used the environment to his advantage.
Knight hauls up Robbie for a stalling suplex, before he cracked Robbie with a right hand… only to get caught with a dropkick. A handstand kick took Knight off the apron, before a leg sweep was styled out with Robbie taking the fight back into the ring for a nice missile dropkick, getting a near-fall from it. Knight hits a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall before some destroying dropkicks in the corner tickled Mark Davis… another face-washing dropkick looked to seal the deal, as a flying uppercut followed for a near-fall. Robbie finds a second wind though, throwing down Knight for a running shooting star press for a near-fall, before a deadlift German suplex planted Knight for a near-fall.
A knee strike has Ricky rocked, but a superkick cuts off a handspring as Knight chains together a buckle bomb and a Ligerbomb for a near-fall. They fight on the top rope, then drop down as a Destroyer from Knight earned an instant response… only for a head kick to follow as Ricky goes back up top. He rolls through a 450 and eventually falls to the X-Clamation, spiking Knight on his head for the win. A cracker of a match as this part of the Southside merger seems to be going beautifully – and Rev Pro’s already announced the rematch for High Stakes in February. I can’t wait! ***½
We get a video package next to sum up the lengthy feud between TK Cooper and Rob Lias. A feud that could, in part, be summed up by Father Jack Hackett shouting “I love my brick”.
No Disqualification: Rob Lias vs. TK Cooper
Lias jumps TK at the bell, and we start on the outside as Lias heads under the ring for a chair.
Except TK’s got one too, while Lias also found a Kendo stick, that TK swatted away easily with the chair. A running boot traps Lias in the corner, before he got suplexed onto chairs… but he’s able to get back up and trip TK into a chair, as I get worried about what else will be brought out. Lias jams TK’s head on a chair for a stomp, which gets a two-count, before Lias went to the back rakes. He’s watched his Bullet Club tapes… a clothesline’s next after TK’s lifted onto the apron, and it’s quickly becoming one-way traffic for Lias, but he’s dragged onto the apron, only to drop TK with a death valley driver on the edge of the ring.
Cue chairshots as Lias looked to get the win, and it’s back to a battle of strikes as we built up to a Samoan drop from TK, who then sent Lias into a chair in the buckles before a back suplex and a chair-assisted standing shooting star press drew a near-fall. I’m really digging Mark Davis on commentary – he screams the same way I do for half this stuff! Lias gets taken up top as he’s headbutted into a Tree of Woe… but he sits up for a spider belly-to-belly suplex before he needed the ref to help him free. It backfires though as Lias was caught with a Spanish Fly A chair gets Lias back in it as he wears the chair on TK’s back, then with a Conchairto… but somehow TK kicks out. So Lias goes to the back and comes back with his dearest brick, but TK ducks as the brick sails out of the ring, before an axe kick was countered with a low blow.
Lias busts out a new move – the Memories of Magaluf – which is kind of like a spin-out roll-up, before he went back outside to get a table. Uh. Oh. Paging Maffew. Especially when Andy Simmonz called the table “solid as a rock”. It’s set up, but TK rolls up Lias for a headbutt, before Lias went back for the brick… and gets stopped with a low blow. TK retrieves that brick, but throws it aside so he can hit the scissor kick, before Rihanna onto the table wins the match… even if it doesn’t break the table. Not to worry, TK finishes the job after the match, propping the table in the corner before spearing Lias through it. ***
Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Hikuleo) vs. Michael Oku & Shota Umino
We’ve got ELP vs. Oku for the Cruiserweight title at High Stakes, so here’s your warm up!
Phantasmo rails on Guildford, calling the crowd “bottom feeding thieves”, which is why he didn’t bring his cruiserweight title with him. SUUUUURE. He then calls a kid into the ring to give him his “WrestleKingdom glasses”, but instead he Ted DiBiase’s him and smashes the glasses right in front of the kid. I’m howling. Instantly tags out at the bell, so we start with Hikuleo and Oku… and Oku’s already having to start by kicking at Hikuleo’s leg before some mounted punches quickly ended with Oku getting charged into the corner. Tags bring us to Umino and ELP… but Shota quickly holds ELP so Oku can come back in to hit a double-sledge to Phantasmo’s arm.
Oku wasn’t legal though, and Shota’s quickly on the defensive as ELP stretched him, following up with some back rakes, including an impressively-dickish frog splash back rake. There’s chest rakes too, before ELP distracts the ref so Hikuleo could stretch Shota in a Tree of Woe, which was quickly followed up by the gas pedal. A chinlock keeps Shota down in the middle of the ring, where some fish-hooking only exacerbates things, but Umino gets free and brings in Oku, who sent Phantasmo flying with headscissors. Hikuleo’s quickly back in, but he’s taken to the ropes as a dropkick and a low bridge takes the Tongan outside, only for Hikuleo to catch a pescado as Umino hit a double sledge off the top to knock the pile down.
Back inside, a springboard moonsault gets Oku a two-count, before a half crab gets broken up as ELP wandered back in. Phantasmo tags in to pick up the pieces, hitting a boot-assisted whirlibird neckbreaker. A Samoan driver spikes Oku for a near-fall, as Umino broke up the pin, only for Phantasmo’s CR2 to get countered with a roll-up as Oku proceeded to dive onto Hikuleo outside the ring.
After the Fosbury flop, Oku heads back in for a frog splash to Phantasmo’s back, but Hikuleo pulls out the ref. With no ref, Oku sidesteps a dick punch before he went back to a half crab… which Hikuleo tries to break up only to get caught with a Death Rider from Umino as ELP ended up being forced to tap out. A really solid tag match, but that’s twice Oku’s beaten ELP… and typically in wrestling, those hattricks never get completed. We’ll see next month! ***¼
Carlos Romo vs. Dan Moloney
Carlos is still looking to snap his losing streak, as commentary is talking telephone numbers. For some reason, Dan Moloney got MK’s old music… just because.
The early going’s a little tentative before Romo sent Moloney into the ropes for a leg lariat, then followed him outside with a dropkick through the ropes. Back inside, Moloney puts on the brakes as he rammed Carlos with a knee to the gut, before a suplex drew a quick two-count. A chop sends Carlos sailing to the outside, as Mark Davis quickly shot down an argument over wrestlers starting young by deflecting to Rev Pro’s training school. Chops from Moloney eventually hit the ring post, but Carlos gets posted too before he made a comeback, battering Moloney with forearms and a Busaiku knee. It’s back to the chops as Moloney regained the edge, teasing a Drilla piledriver as another knee from Romo got him free, with a springboard moonsault leading to a near-fall.
Romo heads up top again, but he leaps into a spinebuster for another near-fall. Another Drilla’s flipped out of, as Romo hits a La Mistica and rolled Dan with a seatbelt pin for another two count, before landing a Code Red to keep the pressure up. The Spiral Tap lands next, but it’s not enough as Romo began to lose focus, and ends up running into a clothesline before a powerbomb and a Drilla put him away. A good effort again, but a depressingly-familiar result as Dan Moloney leaves with the win… and gets a high five from a kid as well. ***½
We’ve a pre-match promo as Zoe Lucas says she went abroad for competition, which is why she’s not been around to defend her “Bae”. She’s got two of them now, after Rev Pro brought out a new title belt in St. Neots a few weeks ago…
RevPro Undisputed British Women’s Championship: Gisele Shaw vs. Zoe Lucas (c)
Shaw’s got a win over Zoe from last June in Southampton… but she’d had to wait six months for the title shot thanks to Zoe’s exploits in Japan.
Lucas cowers into the corner at the bell, which turned into some mind games as some full nelsons from Shaw led to a quick roll-up, before an attempted early fightback was snuffed out as Lucas tried to go for a hiptoss… and ended up getting shot into the ropes for a clothesline. Cartwheels from Lucas helped her take down Shaw as the match spilled outside, with a legsweep sending Gisele onto the apron before a count-out tease… didn’t turn into much of a tease!
Back inside, Shaw took over as she threw some right hands, but Lucas took over again with boot chokes and some clubbering forearms. A suplex keeps Shaw in trouble, before she rolled through a schoolboy to nail Lucas with a short range knee strike, then a DDT to buy her time. Shaw ducks a big boot and drops Lucas for the Curt Hennig-ish neck flip for another near-fall, before she found her way through with a kick for a cover that Zoe barely kicked out of.
The levering armbar looked to follow, but Lucas grabbed hold of the rope instantly before she came back with a flying facebuster, then a scissor kick for a two-count, before she rolled outside and grabbed a chair. Almost begging to be DQ’d, Zoe swings the chair, but the ref disarms her, before Zoe went for a belt shot… it’s ducked as kicks from Shaw looked to finish off the challenger, only for the belt shot to land at the second attempt as Lucas stole the win. Well, Zoe being away for six months forced their hand, but it’s odd seeing Rev Pro build up a challenger for so long only to leave without the gold… ***¼
Southside World Heavyweight Championship: Sean Kustom (c) vs. The Legionnaire
Kustom beat Stixx and the then-champion Shigehiro Irie for the title back in August, and has already beaten Sha Samuels as the Legion set their sights on the belt.
The Legionnaire’s vowed to unmask at the end of the mask, but that hood looks very familiar. There’s a switcheroo on the stage too as a second masked man shook hands and replaced the original Legionnaire, leaving the guy with the sorta-Santos mask to go to the back. So we’re having two masked men?
Kustom shoots out of the gates with a shotgun dropkick to take the Legionnaire outside, but he’s quickly back in to crack Kustom with a knee, before the defending champion went upside down in the corner. The Legionnaire tries to talk him down, and that voice is familiar… An enziguiri traps the Legionnaire, as Gideon Grey gets up on the apron to provide a distraction. It works too, as the Legionnaire pulls Kustom into a backbreaker, then dropkicks him through the ropes to the floor. Back inside, the Legionnaire survives a roll-up as an exchange of forearms ended with Kustom dumping him with a uranage, then a Quebrada for a near-fall.
The Legionnaire’s back with a superkick and a lungblower, before a wacky roll-up gets a near-fall… and why is he winding up for a lariat like that? Not to worry, Kustom superkicks it away, before Gideon Grey dragged him outside as the Legion’s mugging ended with an accidental dive from the Legionnaire… then an intentional one from Kustom. Back in the ring, the Legionnaire keeps going for the lariat, but gets caught with a forearm, then an implant DDT, but it’s not enough as a frog splash follows for a near-fall. A clothesline drops Kustom, before a lariat spins him like he were… Stan Hansen? That’s enough for the win, as the Legionnaire wins the title in a decent match, even if it felt a little flat in the closing stretch. ***½
O-Kharn and Rampage come to ringside to celebrate as the Legion added fresh gold to their haul. Now, the unmasking… Gideon built it up as No Fun Dunne… except it wasn’t. He’s on the stage, unmasked… so who’s the guy in the mask? It’s David Starr! He’s swarmed as the crowd lit up, with Dunne helping him clean house… and it looks like Starr and Dunne may have an eye on the rest of the Legion’s gold too!
So, David Starr’s exile from Rev Pro ends with him conning Gideon Grey… and now we wait to see what the hell happens next.
Kyle Fletcher vs. Shingo Takagi
Kyle’s brought his new mask with him, as yet another name goes to the top of Kyle’s “toughest match to date”…
We start with a lock-up as Fletcher and Shingo headed into the ropes, before a knuckle lock opened up a Test of Strength as the pair swapped holds. Hammerlocks to headlocks, we go to Kyle hitting a springboard armdrag before he charged Shingo to the outside with a shoulder tackle. Shingo takes a breather on the floor, and he’s met by Kyle… which just starts a brawl around ringside, which quickly ended with Shingo taking an Asai moonsault into the front row!
Back inside, Fletcher grounds Shingo with a chinlock, but it’s broken in the ropes as shingo began to push on, hitting a knee to take Kyle to the apron where Fletcher ends up eating a DDT. That’s added to when Kyle’s thrown into the ring post, before a suplex had the Aussie on the ropes. A neck crank keeps Kyle down, but Shingo misses a sliding lariat as Fletcher tried to up the tempo, catching the Best of the Super Junior finalist with a dropkick moments later. Shingo’s caught with a clothesline in the corner, then a high crossbody off the top for a near-fall, before Shingo’s back elbow and clothesline combo snapped Kyle down as the tide turned once more.
Fletcher gets a two-count from a Michinoku driver before a double-jump facebuster and a frog splash adds to the momentum… but Shingo doesn’t stay down! The Aussie Arrow’s blocked as Shingo fought back with an apron death valley driver, before a noshigami in the middle of the ring caught Kyle as the Dragon began to inch closer to the win. Kicks from Shingo keep Kyle in the ropes, as does a barrage of forearms, which led to some back-and-forth as Kyle damn near decapitates Shingo with a thrust kick.
Kyle tries to get the upset with a brainbuster, before another Aussie Arrow’s escaped as Shingo instead countered back with Made in Japan for a near-fall as a hammerlock tombstone was teased. From the kick-out, Kyle’s dumped with a Pumping Bomber, before Last of the Dragon finally ended the resistance. Kyle brought his A-game here, but it wasn’t to be against Shingo, who eventually found a way through… and I’d hope at some point, Kyle’s able to get a marquee win somewhere, lest he build up a Romo-esque losing streak… ***¾
Bringing back David Starr for Rev Pro’s second Guildford show ever – a venue they’re looking to run annually, and perhaps should try to build more often – was a bit of a head scratcher, especially given the narrative some have built that Rev Pro “tanked” the second half of last year to get here. Sure, they built up a story and paid it off, but had there been inklings that it might have been Starr cycling back into the scene, perhaps there’d have been some buzz. You didn’t have to flat-out say it, but maybe… I dunno, tease someone winding up their arm? That being said, there was the faintest of a call-back in an old promo when Gideon Grey said he was scouting the world for new talent, and couldn’t find any in Mumbai. Which is a very tenuous link to the past Legion of Lords group with No Fun Dunne…
Watching this back-to-back from Season’s Beatings, this was like night and day in terms of crowd responses. That said, this was a stronger card than two weeks’ earlier, which kind of takes us back to the issues we covered before: take out the big New Japan names, and what’s underneath the surface is still a little lacking. Rev Pro increasing the number of shows may or may not be the cure, as they’re running five taped shows before their first York Hall show of the year… and given the crowd for Uprising, it may be an idea to try and run stories on the non-Cockpit shows to build towards this, especially now Rev Pro’s VOD is back to the quick-ish turnarounds.