Rev Pro headed to Manchester for the return of Aussie Open as the promotion celebrated their ninth anniversary.
Michael Oku submitted Robbie X in 18:00 to retain the Rev Pro Undisputed British Cruiserweight Title Championship (***)
Dan Moloney pinned Adam Maxted in 11:18 (**)
Hyan pinned Skye Smitson in 11:11 (**½)
Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher pinned Ethan Allen & Luke Jacobs in 19:43 (****¼)
Gisele Shaw pinned Mariah May in 11:45 to retain the Rev Pro Undisputed British Women’s Championship (**)
Great British Tag League Final – Michael Oku & Connor Mills pinned Lucian Phillips & Screwface Ahmed in 14:30 to win the Rev Pro Undisputed British Tag Team Championship (**¾)
Will Ospreay pinned Doug Williams in 16:58 to retain the Rev Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship (***¾)
Ricky Knight Jr. pinned Shota Umino in 20:38 to retain the Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship (***½)
Rev Pro headed up to Manchester for the first time since June 2019, for a stacked card to celebrate their ninth anniversary. As seems to be the way these days, we had some late card changes too – Zoe Lucas misses out as she wasn’t cleared to compete, so Mariah May challenges Gisele Shaw instead, while a personal emergency sees Chris Ridgeway out of the three-way for the cruiserweight title, with that now becoming a singles match.
Gideon Grey’s joining Andy Quildan on commentary, but he interrupts the introductions as Chris Ridgeway had to drop out of the show. Gideon wants the match to be thrown out because it’s not happening as advertised,
Rev Pro Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship: Robbie X vs. Michael Oku (c)
The way things worked out, Robbie X’s win over Chris Ridgeway at the first show back ended up being the top contender’s match. Oku sends Connors Mills to the back as commentary muses over just how thin Oku was stretching himself in his quest for glory.
Without Ridgeway in the match, there was a somewhat reduced threat – as you’d get when a match is lacking someone whose MO is throwing kicks. A side headlock from Oku’s clung onto, before Robbie X cartwheels out of headscissors and eventually caught Oku with a standing moonsault for a two-count. Chops wear down Oku in the corners, before a hiptoss and a cartwheel dropkick leads to a two-count for the challenger. A dropkick from Oku spins Robbie down for a two-count, as did a floatover suplex, before some kicks got caught, with Robbie X replying with a chop.
A barrage from Robbie X leads to a standing shooting star press for a two-count, but Oku returns with a knee strike and a dropkick ahead of a springboard moonsault that nearly ends it. From there, Oku’s attempt at a half crab is countered into an inside cradle, before a handspring kick knocked Oku to the outside for a tope – which puts Oku in the front row for good measure.
Back in the ring, Robbie X heads up top and measures up a missile dropkick for a near-fall. A follow up moonsault’s aborted as Oku rolled away, returning with a satellite DDT to take Robbie X outside for a Fosbury flop, while a frog splash back inside gets Oku closer… but Robbie X retaliates, coming close with the X-Clamation handspring cutter, before a moonsault out of the corner’s countered with a superkick, as a half crab forces the stoppage. This was a decent opener, but way different to the match we’d have had as a three-way, no doubt. ***
After the match, Gideon Grey abandons commentary and jabs Oku in the leg with his cane. Robbie X was nonchalantly walking to the back, as it was left for Connor Mills to run out and make the save as Oku was trapped in a Figure Four.
Dan Moloney vs. Adam Maxted
Moloney had been starting to work as a bad guy in recent weeks, but you’d perhaps not know it here going by some of the crowd’s reactions.
“Call what you see.” “I see a thick-set man with a terrible beard, and a thick-set man with terrible tights.” Never change, fellas…
Moloney’s backing into the corner to start, but grounds Maxted with a waistlock, before he switched into a side headlock. Maxted pushes off and took down Moloney with a shoulder block, before leapfrogs lead to dropkicks as Moloney was taken down. A stalling suplex from Maxted lands for a two-count, before he stomped on Moloney’s hands as we get a jump cut to Maxted going outside…
Moloney threatens to walk away and take the count-out loss, but Maxted joins him on the walkway, jockeying over a suplex before Maxted was sent back to the floor. Returning to the ringside area, Maxted’s arm is pulled into the ringpost, before a back senton in the middle of the ring drew a two-count.
Maxted’s able to recover to hit a Blockbuster for a two-count, but he gets crotched as he went up for a springboard dropkick. Moloney capitalises with a superplex, despite having been headbutted down, getting a two-count in the process. An Angle Slam follows for another two-count, but Maxted returns with a facebuster and a moonsault for a two-count. Maxted heads outside for a springboard missile dropkick that took Moloney outside, but a second one’s caught and turned into a cutter for a near-fall before a spear and an awkward Drilla piledriver gets the win. This one just didn’t click with the live crowd, and had the responses you’d expect because of it. **
Skye Smitson vs. Hyan
This was set up a week earlier at the Pop-Up show, as we’re getting serenaded by other ways to shoehorn Hyan’s name into songs. Including, I swear, Creed…
Smitson boxes Hyan into the corner to start, but Hyan gets free… only to get pulled into the ropes as Smitson went outside. A low-pe meets Skye on the floor though, before Hyan stopped herself from chopping the ring post, diverting her chop to Smitson’s back before a knee strike landed for an early two-count.
Smitson turns it around, boxing Hyan back into the corner as I genuinely needed to pause the show to wipe tears away thanks to some commentary. There’s nothing wrong with being a postman… When I’m back, a crossbody from Hyan leads to an uppercut from Smitson for a two-count, as Smitson then began to work over the previously-injured ankle of Hyan.
Hyan tries to respond, but misses a legdrop as Smitson picks up a two-count, before some short-arm clotheslines led to Hyan returning with a back suplex. Forearms from Hyan leave Smitson on the back foot ahead of a clothesline… a Wasteland’s next, then the legdrop, before Hyan caught a floatover and went for an Alabama Slam… opting to instead just drop Smitson down.
A knee in the corner’s next for a two-count, with a Falcon arrow yielding a similar result for a near-fall. Smitson tries to pull the ref in front of a knee strike, then caught Hyan out with a dropkick and a spinebuster… before an Air Raid Crash landed for a near-fall. From there, Smitson looks to Roll the Dice, but Hyan rolls out for a two-count, before Hyan pulled her into a Glam Slam for the win. A perfectly fine match – perhaps a touch too long for what the crowd wanted – but the win puts Hyan back towards title contention. **½
Young Guns (Ethan Allen & Luke Jacobs) vs.Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
The ticket-selling match, you could argue, as Aussie Open returned to the UK for their first match as a team in almost two years. Dualling chants preceded the match, even if they were more slanted towards the Aussies.
Davis and Jacobs charge at each other with a lock-up to start, before Jacobs grabbed the rope as Davis looked to take an early initiative. Shoulder blocks follow from there, but neither man budges at first before Jacobs got slammed… the pair slap each other, but Davis refuses a handshake as he preferred to tag out to Ethan Allen. Kyle Fletcher tags in too, but neither man could find an advantage with headlock takedowns as we reset.
A leaping spin kick sends Fletcher to the ropes, but Kyle’s back with a slam as the ring filled, with Aussie Open clearing house as the Young Guns were sent packing to the outside. Back inside, Allen tries to make a comeback, but gets met with a pair of big boots that earned Fletcher a two-count. Davis knocks Allen into the corner as chops took him down… while Davis stared a hole through Jacobs in the corner.
Davis chucks Allen into the corner with a slam as the Aussies controlled proceedings, but Allen SLAPS back, only to get smashed with a slam and a back senton for a rather cocky two-count. Fletcher’s back in to try and calm things down, as Allen fought out of the wrong corner… booting Davis down before kicking Kyle away ahead of that tag into Jacobs.
A snap German suplex hauls down Fletcher, before Davis just walked in and felled Jacobs with a pair of chops. Mounted forearms wear down Jacobs, before he and Fletcher wrestled over a suplex, which Jacobs won out on. Tags bring us back to Allen and Davis, trading shots but Davis gets caught in the corner with kicks and clotheslines breaking his grip on the ropes.
Davis chops Allen, then fell into a tag on Fletcher… who’s met with a suplex as Allen picked up a two-count. A swinging Michinoku driver nearly fuses Allen into the mat as Kyle spiked him for another near-fall, before more forearms had Allen in the ropes. Kicks form Allen sink Fletcher, but Davis is in quickly for the assisted GTS and assisted cutter that almost got the win out of nowhere.
A diving kick in the ropes from Fletcher looked to lead to a tombstone, but Allen switches out with a rear naked choke as Jacobs ran in to charge Davis out of the ring. Allen changes it into a mounted Young Boy Killer, but Fletcher falls into the ropes to break it up. Tags bring in a weary Davis and Jacobs, but Luke’s booted and chopped into the ropes as Davis wanted to draw blood from those chops.
Jacobs manages to nail a spinebuster to take Davis down, but Dunkzilla has more chops as he went for the Alphamare Waterslide. It’s escaped, but Jacobs runs into a Whoopee Cushion out of the corner as a big ol’ Parade of Moves is sparked. That leads to an attempted double-team Go 2 Sleep on the floor, but Jacobs redirects the kick as an Orihara moonsault from Allen took out the Aussies.
Back inside, the Young Guns batter Davis again, leading to a kick-assisted brainbuster by Jacobs, but again Fletcher makes the save. A tope from Allen wipes out Fletcher on the outside as Davis eats a running lariat… but it’s not enough as the Guns go for a kick-assisted piledriver. Fletcher breaks it up as the Aussies’ double team leads to a sliding punch on Allen, before the Fidget Spinner gets the win after a breathless encounter. Thrilling stuff as the Young Guns come close, but in the end fall just short as the Aussies homecoming was a successful one. For my money, this was a step behind that not-the-Cockpit tag the Young Guns had, but they’re quickly amassing an insane body of work. ****¼
Post-match the Young Guns flip off Aussie Open’s offer of a handshake… as the Aussies then took the mic and proclaimed that they were representing Australia with their PWA tag titles, and wanted to represent their “other” home wherever they go… so called out the winners of the Great British Tag League for a shot.
Rev Pro Undisputed British Women’s Championship: Mariah May vs. Gisele Shaw (c)
May was subbing for Zoe Lucas, who wasn’t cleared for the show… but she was still accompanied by Zoe’s “court”, as Shaun Jackson and Kenneth Halfpenny didn’t exactly get the reactions they desired.
Shaw charges down May early on, before chops took the challenger into the corner. Running uppercuts get Shaw a two-count as commentary clued themselves in on Urban Dictionary. Shaw looked for her armbar early, but Halfpenny and Jackson drag Mariah May to the outside, prompting Shaw to do her Air Canada dive into the trio.
May slaps back, only to get taken into the corner as Kenneth Halfpenny distracts the ref… allowing Jackson to lift Shaw into the air for a big backbreaker that nearly got the win. Stomps keep Shaw in the corner, then in the ropes as Halfpenny and Jackson got involved behind the ref’s back.
A handful of hair keeps Shaw down ahead of a seated dropkick from May for a two-count, before kicks lead to mounted punched on the mat from May. Chops put Shaw back in the corner, before a triple-jump springboard dropkick kept Mariah ahead. A chinlock followed, which Shaw fought out of before May tried a ‘rana out of the corner. Shaun Jackson gets involved as he pushes Shaw into May’s knee as the ref was distracted… but May still can’t get the win with a German suplex. A roundhouse enziguiri drops May as Shaw found a way back in, throwing elbows and uppercuts before a neckbreaker and spinebuster nearly put May away.
May jumps out of a piledriver before a missile dropkick was turned into a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall… from there, Shaw tries to go back to the armbar, but it’s broken in the ropes. Shaw’s pulled into the ropes for some double knees to the back, before a springboard monkey flip adds another two-count…
May grabs the Women’s title belt, and gets caught with it when Shaun Jackson mistimed his distraction.. Except Jackson and Halfpenny come in to interfere. That backfires too, as May then takes a spear for the three-count… except everyone seemed to count it as a near-fall, only for the bell to go anyway as the ref’s three-count took precedence. A deflating finish for a bloodied Mariah May, as Gisele Shaw records another title defence. **
Post-match, Stephanie Chase interviews Gisele, who was interrupted by Hyan and her Marvelous tracksuit jacket. Steph notes they’ve had a win over the other, and we’ll be getting the proverbial rubber match at York Hall for the title.
Great British Tag League Final for Rev Pro Undisputed British Tag Team Championship: The Legion (Lucian Phillips & Screwface Ahmed) vs. Destination Everywhere (Connor Mills & Michael Oku)
The latest tournament to crown tag team champions comes down to this, as the Legion looked to leave Manchester with the titles the unit had held until lockdown started.
Oku’s hobbling on his way to the ring, feeling the effects of Gideon Grey’s earlier attack, while part of the crowd near me unfortunately dubbed the Legion combo as “B-Train” and “Screwfix.”
Mills starts with Screwface as they lock up into the ropes, before a snapmare and an uppercut to the back has Mills ahead. He thinks twice about tagging out to Oku… who just tagged himself in anyway. Oku’s instantly swarmed into the Legion corner, but low bridges Screwface to the outside before getting out of a suplex as Mills thought about tagging in.
A tope wipes out Screwface… but Phillips just chucks Mills into the railings. Oku’s surrounded by the Legion and again gets smothered with double-team offence. In the corner, Screwface hits Oku with a kneebreaker onto the top turnbuckle, which led to an ugly spill to the floor.
Phillips stomps on Oku’s hand, then DDT’d Oku’s leg for a near-fall, before Oku somehow found a way free and got the tag out to Mills. A Quebrada from Mills took out the Legion, before he met them with head kicks… only for a back elbow from Screwface to lead to a rebound lariat. The Millshot’s next for a near-fall, but Screwface hits a rebound lariat of his own moments later as Mills nearly got put away.
Mills escapes the Deep Wounds as Oku got the tag in, clearing house with a leaping knee to Screwface, before a half crab on Phillips was broken. Phillips applies a half crab of his own, which Mills eventually broke as he back body dropped Screwface away. Gideon Grey departs commentary as Mills and Oku apply dualling half crabs, but Gideon pulls out the referee as the Legion tapped.
With no ref, Oku grabs the tag belt and goes to clock Phillips with it… but the Legion man ducked as Connor Mills ate the hardware instead. Oku’s thrown outside as the Legion look to finish off Mills with a double-team powerbomb, but the ref’s in late to count a near-fall. From there, the Legion go for Deep Wounds, but Oku breaks it up with dropkicks and superkicks, before Mills pushed away Oku following that belt shot.
Screwface tries a belt shot of his own, but Mills kicks it away, then took out Screwface with a tope con giro before Oku DDT’d his way out of a F5. A frog splash flattens Phillips next, before Oku tagged in to hit one of his own for the win. A somewhat satisfying end to the story, but the crowd really struggled to buy into the Legion as winners, which hurt in terms of crowd reactions – but at least they kept the Oku/Mills story going. **¾
Rev Pro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Doug Williams vs. Will Ospreay (c)
A first-time ever match, as they build this match around who had represented the British scene better around the world. Ospreay got a somewhat muted reaction, with a few scattered cheers audible. The polar neutral to the hero’s welcome he got after winning Best of the Super Juniors…
Ospreay tries to squash Williams with a slam at the bell, but Doug rolls outside… only to take a baseball slide into the rails as Ospreay faked out a dive and flipped off the crowd. Williams responds with uppercuts on the outside, before he flung Ospreay into the rails… only for Ospreay to reverse an Irish whip and break the rails.
Ospreay’s lifted into the crowd, but Williams pushes Ospreay into the rails as he went for a springboard back in, before some Figure Four headscissors left Ospreay needing the ropes for an escape. Williams tries to use the ropes, but gets caught with a chop in the buckles, before he rolled back outside as Ospreay threw some more chops.
Back inside, Williams gets chopped, but sidesteps a charge in the corner as Ospreay mocked the crowd. An overhead belly-to-belly from Williams drops Ospreay for a two-count, as the pair traded strikes until an Ospreay backbreaker drew a two-count. Elbows to the top of the head leads to Williams getting grounded, only for him to get free with a back body drop.
An uppercut off the middle rope from Williams has Ospreay flipping inside out, before a release Fisherman suplex drew a two-count for the challenger. Another suplex drops Ospreay as Williams went up for a Bomb Scare knee, but Ospreay gets up to stop him and bring him to the mat.
A handspring enziguiri from Ospreay caught Williams for a two-count, before a demand for a handshake was ignored… so Ospreay unloads with Kawada kicks and some choking in the corner. Williams has one more comeback, swinging with forearms and elbows as he clubbed Ospreay into the corner, only for Ospreay to counter with a head kick.
Williams crotches Ospreay in the turnbuckles, then brought him down with an avalanche Exploder, but Williams couldn’t get across to make a cover quickly enough as Ospreay was able to kick out at two. On the edge of the ring, Williams is caught with a DDT, then again with a dropkick as he was trying to get back in the ring, as Ospreay looked to be on the home stretch…
An OsCutter out of the corner’s blocked and turned into a powerbomb by Williams, whose piledriver followed through as a clothesline folded Ospreay in half again for a near-fall. Williams signals for the Chaos Theory, but Ospreay clings onto the corner and hit a series of kicks, before an OsCutter was turned into the Chaos Theory for a near-fall. The crowd really bit on that near-fall, then again on a bridging German suplex gets a near-fall… but Ospreay’s back with a Spanish fly and a powerbomb, before an OsCutter almost shut the door. The writing was on the wall though as Ospreay nails an Essex Grin before a Hidden Blade dropped Williams for the win. A really good outing, but the curse of overthinking – that Williams wasn’t going to be winning on a week’s build – seemed to be present in the crowd as Ospreay had more of a struggle than you’d have thought in what was his first Rev Pro title defence in front of a crowd. ***¾
On his way to the back, Ospreay’s given his fancy pink bath robe, as he’s interrupted by Shota Umino, whose music hit before Ospreay got to the curtain. They have a staredown, as Umino eyeballed both of Ospreay’s belts…
Rev Pro British Heavyweight Championship: Shota Umino vs. Ricky Knight Jr. (c)
These two had some brawls before this show, with 229 The Venue in London being the site of those blow-ups…
Gideon Grey tries to stir the pot on commentary as he keeps asking who gave Ricky Knight Jr. the old title belt… when we get going, we had a very even crowd as RKJ’s wristlock was countered out of by Umino, before the pair traded shoulder tackles. Leapfrogs and roll throughs lead to RKJ missing a dropkick, but so does Umino as the pair trade armdrags en route to their finishers as we reach a stand-off.
We get a handshake, but we’re still even as Umino hits a forearm out of the corner, then took Knight back into the corner with more forearms. The pair jockey over a suplex, with Knight winning out, before a Quebrada landed for a two-count. Knight tries a charge into the corner, but Umino rolls free and hits an uppercut, before a seated dropkick left RKJ laying.
Uppercuts keep Knight on the back foot, while a Fisherman suplex drew a two-count, before Umino’s crossbody was caught and turned into a suplex. A big dropkick clatters into Umino in the corner, then another one through the ropes, before a London Bridge draping DDT nearly ended the contest. RKJ goes up top but has to roll through a 450 splash as Umino ends up getting booted and thrown with a German suplex for a two-count in the ropes.
Stomps from RKJ leave Umino down as Knight goes back up for a senton… but it lands in Umino’s knees, as Shota then fired back with a shotgun dropkick and a tornado DDT in short order. He tries to suplex RKJ back in from the apron, but ends up getting lifted onto the edge of the ring as the pair trade forearms before Knight dropped Umino with a piledriver on the edge of the ring.
Umino’s thrown into the crowd as Knight moves the railings ahead of a body press into the front row. Back inside, RKJ heads up top again for a 450 splash, which lands this time for a near-fall. Knight doesn’t know what to do next as the crowd roared behind Shota, who manages to return with an elevated reverse DDT for a near-fall. Shota keeps going, heading up top for a missile dropkick to the back, then a pumphandle slam that also got a two-count for the challenger.
From there, Shota measures up Knight for the Death Rider, but a back body drop frees RKJ ahead of a double stomp as Umino was thrown into the ropes. That’s followed up with a nasty landing as Umino seemed to take RKJ’s knees to the face from a moonsault press on the floor. Returning to the ring, RKJ gets caught with a dropkick as the pair then began to trade elbows as they fought back to their feet.
Knight ups the ante with headbutts, before he punched out Umino… more forearms keep Umino rocked, but Shota strikes back before a front kick lands. Knight springboards but gets backslide into a Death Rider… he escapes and hits the OsCutter eventually, before a rear hook kick and a Fire Thunder Driver finally puts Shota away as those chants of “You’re Not Ospreay” died off. A hard-fought main event, with some ring rust still showing on Umino, as Ricky Knight Jr. managed to put away a spirited Shooter. ***½
Post-match, Knight got the mic and put over Umino, before calling out Will Ospreay for a title unification match at High Stakes at York Hall on September 19. He then called Ospreay to the ring for a scrap, but Ospreay’s still in his pink dressing gown as he tried to heel on the crowd. Some still cheered him… Knight accused Ospreay of ducking him as the segment kind of meanders towards Twitter, the Attitude Era, CM Punk and Shingo. Yeah. This could have been done with being a little tighter, but at least they stoked the embers of the fire for that title unification match.
In terms of line-ups, this was perhaps the biggest card Rev Pro can put on in the current climate, with “one shot” imports and perhaps arrivals from New Japan off the table. We had some big time matches that delivered to the level you’d expect, and some stuff that didn’t click as much as you’d hope. Britwres isn’t dead, but those expectations need to be adjusted for the time being.