Rev Pro returned to York Hall for their latest Summer Sizzler – headlined by a Villain against a lucha legend!

Bethnal Green’s York Hall is packed… and slightly sweaty for this show. Andy Quildan’s doing his usual double duty on ring announcing and commentary, whilst Andy Simmonz is also there at the table.

Martin Stone vs. Eddie Dennis
Eddie was a late replacement for the injured Sami Callihan – so the Stone/Sami feud’s gone from being turned into a tag title match at Epic Encounters, to delayed at the Summer Sizzler… with any luck we’ll get this at Uprising later in the year!

The story they played with Eddie Dennis on the Cockpit shows is that he’s yet to get a win in Rev Pro, and his first match at York Hall threatened to have been a bridge too far. Sadly, it was a familiar story for the Welshman, who was being ridden on commentary by Andy Simmonz, whilst matching Stone move-for-move in the early going. Problem was, the more-experienced Stone always seemed to have an extra gear to slip into – dragging down Dennis as he tried for a leapfrog, for instance.

Eddie replies by going all lucha with armdrags and headscissors, but he plays to the crowd and that opens things up for the Guv’nor. Eventually some uppercuts wake up Dennis, who decides to mock Stone and fire back in kind. Stone escaped a swinging side slam and took Eddie to the outside… where he finally takes the side slam onto the apron for a near-fall.

Stone rebounds with an RKO for a near-fall, before Eddie went to work with his trademark forearms. An Exploder gets Stone in for a near-fall as the pair tee off on each other, until Eddie popped up from a German suplex to land a lariat. Eddie tries a Next Stop Driver, but it’s telegraphed as Stone manages to escape and take him down into a crossface.

Eddie escapes, but it stays even for a little while longer until Stone does a Vinnie Jones, grabbing Dennis by the balls before finishing him off with the Tower of London DDT. Live, there were a few unhappy that the ball grab wasn’t called, but it’s Stone’s usual stuff, so it is what it is. This was a decent, even opener that showed that Eddie could hang… but isn’t quite there yet in terms of getting his Rev Pro win. ***

Stone got the microphone after the match to call out Sami Callihan some more, before he put over Eddie for the risk he’d taken.

Nope, that’s not me forgetting to edit out a placeholder. Sha Samuels’ loss to Bully Ray was taken out of the VOD, with cryptic Tweets suggesting that the promotion wasn’t happy with how it panned out, with Sha flipping sides and being a bad guy – which was totally out of Rev Pro canon. Still, it meant that we didn’t see Bully’s Sandman entrance, nor the brief brawl in the crowd… which works exceedingly well with tethered cameras! Or indeed, a table spot that wasn’t properly cleared away, which left a noticeable amount of the splinters in the ring for the rest of the show.

Zack Gibson vs. Dalton Castle
Gibson came out with a “choir” of Scousers singing “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. Singing is perhaps a touch too generous. Caterwauling may have been closer! They got drowned out pretty quickly, although the sound system probably had a hand in that too.

Zack’s pre-match promo was barely audible, but at least the pop for Dalton Castle could be heard. Those weren’t his usual boys, and I swear one of them is a familiar contender…

There’s a fairly slow open here, as Castle takes a powder after Gibson took him into the corner, before things settled into a rather fractious yet technical affair. Castle takes Gibson outside, but fakes out a dive as a kid in the crowd – who’d been given a bit of the broken table in the match we didn’t see – became an almost unofficial third man in the match, openly mocking Gibson from behind the safety of the rails.

Back in the ring, it was a different story as Gibson knocked Castle down with forearms and uppercuts, before targeting that arm as a prelude to the Shankly Gates. Castle kept in it though, nailing a series of gutwrench suplexes, before hanging Gibson over the ropes for a big boot from the apron. Just like that, Gibson goes back to the arm, and dives in with a Ticket To Ride, but he can only get a near-fall. A Helter Skelter attempt is avoided by Castle, who takes down Zack for a deadlift German… but that too only gets a near-fall… so they tease it again on the apron. That doesn’t work, so Castle tries a knee off the apron… which misses and puts Gibson back in control, especially when he rolled out of a Bangarang and into the Shankly Gates. Despite escaping, it’s not long before Castle’s put back in the hold again, and this time he can’t tap quickly enough. A fun match, but this felt a little flat as everyone’s seemingly waiting for Gibson/Ospreay instead. ***¼

Ryan Smile & Shane Strickland vs. The Briscoe Brothers (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe)
Smile gets a rather muted reaction – and that’s not down to the audio issues. Commentary seems to be laying seeds for a match between Smile/Strickland and the Young Bucks later this year… and we have some flips early on from Stickland before the Briscoes took him down and started to isolate the “King of Swerve”.

Smile gets a blind tag in, but Mark Briscoe misses it… so he’s wide open for a low dropkick as the tables turned, with Mark being kept in the wrong corner for a spell. The Briscoes rebound, double-teaming Smile into one of his shocked/zombie sells, but for some reason the York Hall crowd really doesn’t seem to care.

An Ace crusher from Strickland gets Smile a near-fall, before Mark Briscoe makes a save during a submission attempt. Yet still, the pairing of “All Day Swerve” kept a hold of the contest, at least until Smile’s tripped into the ropes ahead of a sit-out front suplex as Jay helped his brother get a near-fall. Some dropkicks from Jay kept the former ROH tag champs in the driver’s seat, despite Strickland’s attempt to fire up with a series of right hands.

A leaping kick from Strickland puts Mark down, before a springboard Flatliner keeps him down. Strickland keeps up with a DDT out of the corner before Smile snuck in a brainbuster, but Shane’s 450 splash is only good for a two-count . The Briscoes come back yet again, with a Jay Driller attempt turning into a clothesline instead, as Smile’s attempt at a run-in gets him a lariat too.

Jay gets a superplex, as Mark followed up with a Froggy Elbow… but again Smile makes the save, before he ‘ranas out of a crucifix powerbomb. Smile and Strickland tease a doomsday device, but instead turn it into a Doomsday Stomp for a two-count, before Smile’s attempt at a moonsault is stuffed.

Jay gets rid of Strickland with a death valley driver onto the apron, leaving Smile open for a stomp-assisted Burning Hammer for the win. This was a keenly-fought, relatively even match… but for various reasons, the crowd just couldn’t/wouldn’t connect. ***½

Jay White vs. Travis Banks
Clean-shaven Travis Banks is such a weird look. Not in a bad sense, but it’s unusual to see… apparently saying “Kiwis” is something that may upset folks, or maybe they just used that as a gag on commentary.

Banks was the clear favourite going in, but commentary’s keen to remind us that Jay White’s only loss here was to Marty Scurll last year… so you can see the seeds. White goes for the Boston crab early, but Banks makes the ropes before offering a handshake. Disingenuous? You bet!

White overcomes the cheapshot and knocks Banks down with a dropkick, only to get taken down for a series of kicks… which White just seems to invite on, as Banks upgrades to chops. Jay tried to shrug off some more kicks to the chest, and ends up getting the upper hand with forearm shots of his own, throwing in a body shot or two to confuse the Kiwi Buzzsaw as well.

A series of headlock suplexes keep White in it, as does a high-angle back suplex as Banks is forced to kick out, as those chops from White looked to have busted his chest open. So in retaliation, Banks kicks White into the corner for a cannonball, but his choice to go for more kicks is a bad one, as he gets caught and thrown into the corner for another near-fall.

Banks rebounds with a double stomp into the corner ahead of his Coast to Coast dropkick, but that doesn’t put White away, so they go back to the forearms, before they take it in turns to fight back from German suplexes. A pump kick knocks White to the outside for a tope, before the Ki Krusher gets a near-fall as Banks looked to push for the win.

Out of nowhere, White traps Banks in a crucifix with some Danielson elbows, before a double underhook facebuster gets a near-fall! From the kick-out, the Boston crab follows, but just as Banks had the rope, Jay drags him into the middle of the ring and cinches it in some more for the submission. Perhaps a surprise result outside of the Rev Pro world, but this was a heck of a match – and it seems that he’s being groomed for a world title shot down the line… ****

Rev Pro British Cruiserweight Championship: Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Josh Bodom (c)
This title shot was Liger’s reward for winning the British J Cup last month, and perhaps his last hurrah at York Hall. Bodom jumps Liger at the bell, hitting an enziguiri and the hiptoss into a knee, before a running shooting star press gets an early near-fall.

Apparently that hiptoss/knee is called the Lobotom-knee. Insert joke here!

Bodom misses a big boot into the corner as Liger hits a Shotei and a Liger bomb, before a brainbuster gets a near-fall… and that is about where Liger’s hopes ended. Chris Roberts is used as a shield/crutch as Bodom sneaks in a mule kick to Liger, who rolls outside and takes a tope as the champ followed up with a flip senton off of the entrance ramp.

Another moonsault from Bodom keeps Liger down – and came awfully close to him clattering into the guard rails – but Liger manages to beat the count. More stomps from Bodom keep the veteran down, as does an enziguiri off the apron, but Liger manages to surprise the champ with a superplex!

Liger calls for another Shotei, and connects on the second swing for a near-fall, before a top rope ‘rana gets a similar result. Bodom hits back and tries a Bliss Buster, but instead gets taken to the outside for a cannonball off the apron… but on his way back in Bodom just kicks the ropes into Liger’s groin. That leaves him open for the Bliss Buster, and that’s all folks. Decent enough, but this is about as good as you’ll get at this stage of the game with Liger. ***½

During that match, Simmons trolling on commentary suggested that Bodom should adopt the “Thunder” nickname. Perhaps there’s a similar, rhyming nickname that he could pick given what happened against another Japanese opponent?

Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Chris Brookes vs. Zack Sabre Jr (c)
Well, it was a bit of a weird choice when it was originally announced… but this was Brookes’ coming out party as a singles wrestler, at least, on this big a stage.

Sabre was in full on arsehold mode here, and he was jumped by Brookes as the challenger took the initiative, taking him outside before throwing him into the ringpost. A dive from Brookes takes Sabre into the crowd, before he rolled Sabre into an ankle lock that was pretty much instantly broken via the ropes.

Things descend into a striking battle as they slap the taste out of each other’s mouths before Sabre tripped Brookes to briefly apply a submission as the crowd roared back. Sabre again tries for a submission, but Brookes’ size helped him grab the ropes again, before he fired back from Sabre’s attempts at intimidation, throwing a series of chops… only for the pair to go back and forth with various submission teases.

A guillotine choke in the corner gets Sabre an advantage, before he gets dumped to the mat with a superplex. Brookes continues with a diving kick that looked a little snug, but Sabre’s able to kick out, and then avoid a whiplash neckbreaker as he started to bend his challenger like a human pretzel. In response, Sabre’s decked with a forearm, then a knee lift, before he countered out of a fireman’s carry by monkeying around Brookes into a guillotine… but Brookes takes him to the ropes and snaps him down with a Whiplash!

Brookes goes for a double armbar – the move that forced Sabre to submit in that tag match at the Cockpit in June, but Sabre falls into the ropes to force the break. A slingshot cutter’s attempted, but Brookes falls into an armbar, which he rolls up from to score a near-fall, before Sabre tied him up some more… and that forces a rope break.

On the ascendency, Sabre punts Brookes a few times… before one’s caught and met with another knee. Regardless, Sabre hits another PK, but he runs into a Michinoku driver as a slingshot cutter gets a near-fall – as perhaps Brookes’ chances of victory started to snuff out. A PK looked to be a step too far, as Sabre avoids it and ties him in an Octopus hold… and despite Brookes escaping it, he falls into the double armbar for the submission. A hell of a showing from both men – and as I said at the time, anyone who’s still pigeonholing Brookes as a tag team wrestler at this stage of the game needs looking at. ****¼

Marty Scurll vs. Rey Mysterio
Whomever decided to do the Rainmaker zoom-out for the “one fall” stuff… please stop.

Mysterio got a huge reaction, but it was a while before we got to see him thanks to an overdose of the fog machine. When we got going, both men started to play mind games, with Scurll lifting out of some headscissors early, as commentary teased the Bird of Prey as a potential finisher… a move we’ve not seen.

Scurll goes over Rey’s wrist next, before they work over some monkey flips as Rey turns it into a sunset flip for a near-fall. They go back and forth as Scurll tries for a chicken wing, only to get taken into the ropes as he thwarts a 619 – and this is really good stuff, particularly if you were expecting Rey to take this match lightly!

A poke to the eye keeps Marty ahead, as does an arm whip, but Rey rolls to the outside to avoid a chicken wing. That’s a ruse though as Rey just gets ahead with a dropkick to take Scurll down, before he slides under the bottom rope into a dive onto the Villain! Back inside, a springboard legdrop gets a near-fall, before Marty tried for the Bird of Prey – something starting with an inverted crucifix – but Mysterio slips to the outside, where he eats a superkick off the apron.

The pain follows as Rey’s whipped into the guard rails, before Marty tries to rearrange some furniture, and instead opts to take it back inside for some more stomps to the arm. Scurll then goes to unmask Rey, with some success, before Rey recovers… and gets dropkicked into a Tree of Woe. A backcracker out of a stranglehold gets another two-count for Marty, but Mysterio’s able to boot his way back into things, before springboarding off the ropes into a wheelbarrow stunner!

Some headscissors keep the pressure up for Rey, along with an enziguiri and a West Coast Pop… ending the flurry with a thrust kick for a near-fall. A tiltawhirl into a DDT gets Rey another two-count, but he’s eventually caught up top for a superplex, but Scurll takes too long for a chicken wing and almost falls in for a 619. They reverse each others reversals, with a bridging pin getting Rey a two-count, before Marty pulls off the mark and traps Rey in the Mouse Trap for a near-fall.

Rey puts the mask back on, but gets pulled into an Electric Chair position, but he escapes that… and runs into a brutal clothesline! A diving knee follows, as the Bird of Prey – an inverted crucifix into a sit-out side slam – gets another two-count. Duelling chants ensue, before Mysterio’s quebrada attempt almost lands him in a Bird of Prey… but he ‘ranas Scurll into the ropes for a 619, then a springboard splash… but Marty grabs the rope to keep himself in it!

Mysterio sidesteps a charge into the corner, allowing Marty to hit the post and get a 619… but Scurll gets the knees up to block a frog splash as a reverse Bird of Prey – like a sit-out Dominator this time – gets the win! This was much, much better than I ever gave this credit for going in – and a really worthy main event! ****

After the match we get Marty and Rey glad-hand each other for a spell – which some felt ruined the point of the match they just had – but let’s be realistic. Everyone knows what wrestling is in 2017, so something like the best of their generations praising each other after a “dream match” shouldn’t be too problematic.

The Summer Sizzler ended up being a pretty good show – in what was a busy weekend of wrestling around the world. Although for some it was the first half of a double-header with ROH, you’d be best served avoiding any comparisons with the American product, even if several familiar names appeared on both. Going purely by snowflakes, this was a strong show, although I wish they’d not had to edit stuff off the show… still, for those watching purely on demand, you’re getting a good two-and-a-half hours of wrestling – which is all you can ask for with your wrestling in 2017!