The Bullet Club were back in town for an early Christmas present – if that’s your kind of thing – as Rev Pro wrapped up 2017 with Uprising.

We’ve got Steve Lynskey on ring announcing once again, and since Andy Simmonz was struggling with a cold (at least on his podcast this week), we’ve got Sid Scala filling in alongside Andy Quildan on commentary. Hope you like Del Boy!

Revolution Pro Wrestling British Cruiserweight Championship: David Starr vs. El Phantasmo vs. Kurtis Chapman vs. Ryan Smile vs. Flash Morgan Webster (c)
Along with having his one-on-one title shot robbed, David Starr wasn’t best pleased at Lynskey dropping all of his nicknames, so of course, he has to do it himself.

This was a hot match to open with, even if a couple of the names weren’t exactly established among the York Hall mob, whom’d been more used to seeing Kurtis Chapman as ring crew rather than a wrestler. Chapman was one of those who’d talked himself into a shot, but hey, at least Rev Pro’s giving their trainees big shots like this.

Poor Chapman was left on his lonesome was everyone else paired off, but he burst into life pretty quickly, turfing Ryan Smile to the outside, prompting some wacky bumps that the cameraman missed. In the meantime, David Starr went after Ryan Smile, and came off poorly, as Smile’s bid to regain his title ended up with him eating several armdrags from Flash.

El Phantasmo proved that his around-the-ring rope walk, with a leap to avoid David Starr (and stay on the rope) wasn’t a one-off, as he hits a ‘rana to Smile and got York Hall on-side… before eating the Cherry Mint DDT from Starr. Everyone ends up outside as Chapman hits a cannonball off the top rope, but David Starr rolls all the way across the ring and to the floor as Chapman tried to make it count.

We get some comedy as grumpy David Starr breaks up a Tower of Doom spot, only to get a couple of superkicks as he became the target of another Tower of Doom… with Chapman of all people sparking that. After that, the tempo rocketed as we had our favourite Parade of Moves, with David Starr thinking he’d outsmarted Webster’s hands-up headbutt, before Chapman planted ELP with the Sega Mega Driver.

Ryan Smile charged into a Strangler guillotine from Webster as the series concluded with a double stomp from ELP, as Kurtis Chapman’s brief flurry earned him a whirlibird neckbreaker. Starr tries to steal a pin after ELP’d thrown in a senton bomb and a moonsault… and in the end he’s shocked as Chapman countered a Blackheart Buster into a small package… and KURTIS CHAPMAN WINS! Well then, from whipping boy to Cruiserweight champion in less than a year, that’s a hell of a present for the “Super Contender”. Plenty of action, which you can’t complain about, and they left a little something in there for David Starr, despite him being the one pinned too. ***¼

Jinny vs. Martina
The first Rev Pro women’s match at York Hall came via Jinny’s open challenge, which had plenty of folks racking their mind for potential opponents. Brandi Rhodes? Rhia O’Reilly? Nope, it was a familiar foe… Martina!

This was their 12th meeting against each other this year, so it’d be fair to say that Jinny’s shock was only at the fact that Martina’d made her way to another promotion. That shock continued when Martina nearly beat her from the off with a Stunner, before sending Jinny flying to the outside for… a long run-up that made her too tired to dive!

It’s your classic Martina match, establishing her with a new audience, whilst keeping Jinny strong as she took the upper hand on the outside, keeping up on Martina back inside with the diving dropkick into the corner for a near-fall. With the help of a can, Martina gets back into it with some forearms in the corner, before hoisting up Jinny for a stalling suplex. A Bronco buster adds more humiliation to Jinny, but a dive’s cut-off when Jinny uses Martina’s own can against her, only for awkward DDT on the apron to keep things in flux. Jinny keeps it up with a huge tope that had me thinking back to *that* Jody Fleisch dive, before she almost wins with a Rainmaker.

In retaliation, Martina countered another Rainmaker into a uranage, but she’s made to pay as Jinny catches her in the corner, spiking her out of it with the Makeover for another near-fall. Martina comes back though, threatening to end Jinny’s winning streak with an F5? That seemed to be the last straw though as Jinny kicks out, and after poking Martina in the eye, a seated surfboard stretch left her foe with nowhere to go as a submission was the only way out. Jinny remains undefeated, and there’s another bit of Rev Pro history ticked off. Next month: first women’s champion? **¾

Revolution Pro Wrestling British Tag Team Championship: Josh Bodom & Zack Gibson vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c)
Bodom and Gibson earned this shot by beating Aussie Open at the Cockpit the prior week, and it’s the first defence of the titles that Trent and Tyler won in Portsmouth back in October. Commentary neatly tied this into Zack Gibson’s Rev Pro debut earlier this year, when he lost to Trent Seven, and it looked like Zack’d be struggling here too, as he was bemused by Tyler Bate’s escape from a wristlock.

An airplane spin followed, with Trent Seven helping to keep it going, and Josh Bodom doesn’t really fare that much better against Trent Seven, running into an elbow before some distraction from Gibson helped turn things around. Things broke down into a bit of a scrap when we got back to Bodom and Seven, as Josh tried to antagonise Tyler Bate into becoming a distraction, but instead Tyler just gets the tag back in and wiped out the challengers with rolling kicks.

Gibson even takes an Exploder as the champions hit a powerbomb/neckbreaker to Zack for a near-fall, but Gibson manages to catch Tyler with a Ticket to Ride out of the corner before Bodom flew in with a cannonball into the corner for good measure. A double-team, then a regular Bodom Breaker nearly does it as the crowd started to buy Gibson and Bodom as a threat, especially when Gibson holds Trent in the ropes for a Bliss Buster. Gibson tries to follow up with the Helter Skelter, but Bate stomps in off the top rope to break it up.

All four men ended up in the ring as Trent holds Gibson in place for a rebound lariat, before a burning hammer left Bodom flat out for the win. Bell-to-bell, this was solid, but to keep up the theme of the whole show, the crowd felt rather muted… and I’ve a feeling this is a repeat of what happened at Epic Encounter when everyone was just waiting for the Bullet Club… ***½

Tyler Bate seemed to have injured a rib in this, which forced him out of the OTT show the next day in Ireland…

Andy Quildan takes over ring announcing for the next match, as he explains that if Cody loses the ROH title in the next match, the main event of ROH’s Final Battle PPV will be changed, as Jay Lethal would defend against Marty Scurll, Cody and Dalton Castle in a four-way. I know ROH filled York Hall earlier this year, but I wonder how many there watch ROH regularly enough to know what the plans were? Hand-on-heart, I forgot this match was even on the bill!

ROH World Championship: Jay Lethal vs. Cody (c)
Last time Lethal was at York Hall for a ROH title match, he was defending it against Mark Haskins… this time, he’s up against someone whose pop for being part of a YouTube show should have set alarm bells ringing.

Yep, if you weren’t sure, it’s one of those crowds.

They start with some grappling as Jay and Cody try to grab a hold, but it seems like they’re looking to work a main event-style, drawn-out match in the middle of the show. Or “the first half main event”, if you subscribe to that theory. A cartwheel into a dropkick from Lethal barely gets a one-count for him, so he starts moving to strikes, with a European uppercut getting a similar result.

Cody turns things around, but the pace remains almost torturously slow compared to what’s been shown earlier. Heck, Cody seems to mock it with some push-ups, before flipping off Josh Bodom Guy™. Kissing the ring only gets you so far, especially when Cody’s flustered…

Cody pulls a Larry Zbyszko, leaving the ring to get the fans on his back by stalling… but that kinda doesn’t work in 2017. What DID work, was Cody throwing a chair into the ring, which bounced into Chris Roberts’ groin. Just like Hans Moleman!

Back in the ring, Cody fires up again, but he’s knocked to the outside with a springboard dropkick, before a second one on the outside looked to affect Lethal more as his knee crashed down on the floor. Of course, Cody takes full advantage of that, hitting a chop block as Lethal struggled with even a basic slam.

With one leg, Lethal’s forced to rely on roll-ups for pinning attempts, but Cody’s able to take out the good leg and follow up with a Disaster Kick for a couple of two-counts. Cody teases wrapping Lethal’s legs around the ring post, but Jay avoids it, and instead sneaks in another inside cradle before busting out a Lethal Combination.

Lethal’s bad wheel means he can’t follow-up though, as Cody chops back into it, before another Disaster Kick attempt is caught and turned into a torture rack and a reverse Finlay roll! That looked nasty (in a good way), but still only drew a two-count for Jay, whose attempt to follow with an elbow drop is cut-off as Cody brings him down with a superplex… but Jay still hangs in there!

Cody doesn’t take kindly to the fact his Cross Rhodes drew a near-fall, and he got into a shoving fight with Chris Roberts… then went towards the commentary table to grab his title belt. Which was at ringside. Oops. An attempted belt shot is stopped, which allowed Lethal to hit a low blow (behind the ref’s back) and a diving elbow… and then we’re into ref bump territory!

With Roberts down, Lethal hits a Lethal Injection for a visual pinfall, and it’s not long before there’s more shenanigans as Marty Scurll heads down. He teased whacking Cody with his umbrella – to earn himself a title shot – but in the end he accidentally hits Cody as Jay could only get a two-count! The next shot hit its target as Lethal’s knocked out from a Lethal Injection, before Cross Rhodes sealed the win! This match started way too slowly, but when it kicked into gear, it got real good… the only thing is, fans are conditioned to not expect outsider’s big titles to change hands on a show, and a lot of this felt like a foregone conclusion from the off. ***¼

Eddie Dennis vs. Pete Dunne
Borne out of frustration at the Cockpit last week, Eddie Dennis’ latest shot in Rev Pro earned him a shot against a man whom he debuted in Rev Pro with back in the day. It’s fair to say their careers have embarked on rather different trajectories since…

Eddie enjoys a slight upperhand early, taking Dunne down with a ‘rana, but Peter’s quick to throw forearms as the back-and-forth led to a flipping plancha as Eddie headed outside to keep up on the Bruiserweight… only for Dunne to DDT him the instant he got back inside.

There’s biting from Dunne as he takes Eddie into a Trailer Hitch, but after a rope break, Eddie’s right back with a crucifix bomb as he looked to take what would have been an unlikely win. After initially seeing it countered, Eddie succeeds with a swinging side slam, before another crucifix bomb came up short as Dunne slipped out.

A stalling superplex keeps Eddie in front, but Dunne snapped in with an X-plex and a double stomp off the top as a brief flurry swung things around. Dunne’s sit-out powerbomb nearly brought the match to a close, before he absorbed more forearms ahead of his gunshot-like smash that took Eddie into the corner.

It’s replied to in kind though, as Dunne eventually won out with a lariat, before taking the match up onto the stage for… reasons. Dunne avoids a German suplex there, but ends up taking a reversed tombstone as the Eddie-taker had his heart set on winning the right way. Back inside, Eddie takes a tombstone as his Next Stop Driver was countered… but he’s quickly back with that move for a near-fall as the pace quickened.

Eddie does manage to kick out of a Bitter End though, and fires back some more with chops and forearms, before teasing beating Dunne with his own move. Of course, Peter’s had it reversed so many times on him, he knows how to do counter it… and a small package out of the Bitter End gets Dunne a win! Another loss for Eddie Dennis, and we’re back to the question we seem to keep asking: how does he continue in Rev Pro? ***

After the match, Rob Lias jumps the barriers and lays out Eddie Dennis with a back cracker. His music hit pretty much as soon as the move hit, which makes me think they were short on time… and they weren’t wrong!

Martin Stone vs. Dave Mastiff
A battle of the Rev Pro originals here, but it’d be fair to say that this match just didn’t click with the York Hall crowd.

Mastiff charged out of the gates with a dropkick and a powerbomb, but Stone wasn’t laying down in seconds as both men threw bombs at each other in the early going. The barrage of forearms barely got a reaction from the crowd though, and after an exchange of German suplexes, the pair shook hands, only to start throwing rights once again.

Things veered off course when Mastiff teased a German suplex off the apron… only to slip to the floor as Stone clung on. That slip lost a good chunk of the crowd, but it was nearly the end as Stone dragged Mastiff back in with a London Bridge DDT for a near-fall before forcing the submission with the crossface. This was better on the re-watch than it was live… but then again it was obvious that the crowd were just waiting for the main event. **½

After the match, Martin Stone mimed the universal “I want the belt” sign, which is convenient given what’s next…

Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Matt Riddle vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
It’s not as vicious as last year, but Sabre’s still getting booed here as he’s been rather unstoppable (again) since taking his title back from Katsuyori Shibata.

These two have had pretty good singles meetings before in EVOLVE, and they went straight for holds, with Riddle looking to end this one early. Sabre’s content to keep him waiting, but if he can throw in some of his wackier stuff, he will, like the headscissors and an early cross armbreaker attempt as the feeling-out process began.

Riddle tries to respond with some rolling gutwrench suplexes, but Sabre quickly goes back to submissions as the pair fight out over a heel hook, eventually ending when both men rolled onto the apron as they instead unleashed with a flurry of chops to break the hold.

Back in the ring, Riddle edges ahead with a series of leaping forearms into the corner, then a back suplex… but it’s barely enough for a one-count, and it’s not long before Sabre’s back on the ascendancy, kicking away at Riddle on the mat. The pair continue to flow seamlessly as Sabre’s submission attempt is almost reversed until Riddle eventually grabs an ankle lock, then a Fisherman’s buster… which he tried to chain together!

In retaliation, Sabre counters with a mounted Kimura, but Riddle gets off that second Fisherman’s buster regardless as the back-and-forth barely seemed to muster more than a polite applause. Riddle keeps up with a quartet of back sentons, but Sabre gets up at one and swiftly moves into an armbar triangle… trapping Riddle’s head between his legs until he powerbombed himself free… and into an Octopus stretch.

Sabre always seemed one step ahead, and even when he absorbs a tombstone slam, he’s gotten himself to the ropes to try and avoid some elbows from Riddle… and after yanking Riddle to the mat for a PK, Sabre almost snatched the win with a Euro clutch! We’re back to the strikes, with a ripcord high knee almost taking us into a Bromission from Riddle… but Sabre counters it into a simple lateral press… and that’s a win! This was solid from bell-to-bell, but I’d guess this would have fared better on a different card as a lot of the crowd were simply not receptive at this point. ***¾

As an aside, this was the point where I had to make my exit live, as the show sailed past 10.30pm on a Friday night. Sure, I had other commitments, but the overall show didn’t end for another 50 minutes, which caused a lot of transportation problems. Simple answers: start earlier, or be more restrictive in time. Like in the main event…

After the match, Sabre got the microphone and declared that he’d beaten everyone, so he threatened to retire the title. After throwing down the belt, he’s interrupted by Trent Seven, but Zack won’t give him a singles title shot… instead Sabre wants more gold: and a crack at the tag titles, teaming with Minoru Suzuki! So, January 20 we’re getting Moustache Mountain against Suzuki-gun! Trent answers, I guess, positively, laying out Sabre with a piledriver before eying up the Rev Pro title once again.

Cynics, feel free to figure out how that plays politically!

Flip Gordon & CCK (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks) vs. Bullet Club (Marty Scurll & Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson))
This wasn’t exactly a match I was looking forward to, knowing full well we’d be getting the “Elite” shenanigans, especially since this match was more than likely going to be a Being The Elite skit that happened to feature a wrestling match. Hell, commentary even called the crowd “extras in an episode” of the show.

If you aren’t a fan of the Bullet Club, or their web series, call it a night and skip this one, because you’ll end up loathing this – along with the commentary that you’d be forgiven for thinking was practised so it’d be a part of that show.

The early stages see Travis Banks mock Marty, but from the off it’s like the Bullet Club were at least a step ahead. Get used to it in this match. Travis gets double-teamed by the Young Bucks, who then tease the same to Chris Brookes, but he at least slips in a double Dragon screw before Flip Gordon comes in and you instantly know who watches the series by people’s reactions. Me? I’m just fixing to put my fist through the screen when Gordon responded to a handshake by offering a too sweet – prompting this inanity on commentary: “someone’s allowed to do something in this contest, that someone else isn’t allowed to do.” And I thought I was wordy…

The Bullet Club do the boots-in-the-corner spot, building up to four boots, and of course the crowd awakens because this is crowd participation!

Nick Jackson dropkicks away Flip’s dancing handstand, but Gordon’s still living up to his name, before Matt hits the ring with a microphone as he forces a handshake. Yep, it’s live-action commentary from the Bullet Club trio, which I know irked some, particularly the “he’s going to knock this guy off the apron” stuff. There’s nothing like making your own stars look good!

Everyone brawls around the ring as Matt commentates his way down the aisle into a cannonball into the pile, and now we’ve got the “Bullet Club Train”. Well, we mocked folks for going choo choo a few weeks ago, so why not? At least Chris Brookes blocks it all with his feet as the Bullet Club played the Three Stooges before dropping in a triple superkick. We’ve still got 25 minutes on this, and I’m already mentally checked out. Why? Because there’s no way in hell the Bullet Club are losing to what’s essentially a makeshift trio. There’s no competition, just a spectacle.

CCK eventually make a comeback with Flip getting off a springboard slingblade before dropping Marty with a standing shooting star press, but it’s quickly back to the norm as a brainbuster to the knee from Marty leads to CCK versus the Bucks,as four men can apparently be legal. Shenanigans! Even more shenanigans! We’re well into “people are missing their last train home” territory here, and folks keep going as CCK again rush back with the elevated lungblower and a back senton, before Gordon’s 450 splash onto the pile gets broken up by a senton bomb. All the moves!

Triple Sharpshooters follow, before Flip puts his boot up to avoid some charging Bucks, only for him to ‘rana out of a Meltzer Driver and come back with a springboard Stunner. More Movez led to Matt Jackson taking a powerbomb with a kick on the way down, and it’s more Sharpshooters as Travis Banks somehow takes an Indytaker from the Sharpshooter, which led to a Cease and Desist crossface/Sharpshooter combo as Chris Roberts was ineffective as usual… and thankfully there’s not much left as a duelling Meltzer Driver takes out CCK for the win.

There’s still ten minutes left on the video though, and it’s promo time from Marty and the Bucks… oh, and Cody too, who’s invited out for more material for their web show… and this is where I check out for real.

I’m just one guy with one opinion, but having seen this twice this year (and seen others’ opinions elsewhere), it’s safe to say that the Bullet Club are a bit of a double-edged sword. Sure, they are a cash cow when it comes to merch and ticket sales, but their appearances on Rev Pro shows have been at the detriment of crowd reactions for the remainder of the card. It’s a shame, because if you can separate crowd reactions from it, there was some decent stuff at Uprising… but everyone seemed to be saving themselves for the Bullet Club, which dragged everything down big time. Ah well.