After last week’s solid debut, World of Pro Wrestling returned with Chris Brookes and El Phantasmo in the main event.
Our big criticism last week was that nothing was used on last week’s show to draw people into this week’s episode – and with FreeSports having their own issues with the replays during the week, it’d be nice to know if this is ever going to be up on demand under the auspices of RevPro.
Anyway… we’re still in York Hall, with Kevin Kelly and Andy Simmonz on commentary. We open with Kevin recapping last week, featuring Chris Brookes’ turn to the dark side, before they pitch to the rules of wrestling as Andy Quildan’s love of UFC seems to mean this is going to be a fixture.
Greg Burridge vs. Colt Cabana
Long time Britwres fans will recognise this… TEAM SHAG EXPLODES. We even get Steve Lynskey suffering the furry dice…
The bell goes with Greg still having those dice out, but he’s taken upside down with a hammerlock from Colt as we start with some old-school British-style wrestling. Colt works up into a double arm stretch on Burridge, but Greg gets an arm out and works into a headlock as the pair continue to trade some of the basics. It’s straightforward but really enjoyable to watch.
Colt takes out Burridge’s knee and manages to get free, before Cabana’s forced to roll out of a wristlock… then grabs hold of Greg’s. Colt’s all about the happy graps here, but he’s caught in some headscissors amid a series of roll-ups that ended with a stand-off. A body scissor takedown nearly gets Colt the win, but does get him cheers from the crowd, as we get a picture-in-picture view of Sha Samuels watching on backstage.
Meanwhile, Burridge grounds Cabana with an attempted Octopus hold, before he gets up and uppercuts Cabana in the back of the neck. Colt uses a series of double-handed chops to get back into it, before we go to the Dusty punches and a Bionic elbow. Colt misses a leap off the top, but quickly flops onto Burridge with a splash for a near-fall.
Burridge slingshots in for an armdrag off the apron, but the pace is gradually slowing down, as a slingshot senton gets him a near-fall. The pair exchange strikes, until Colt trips him up and scores with a Superman body press for the win. An enjoyable spell of old-school British wrestling with a modern twist to get us underway. ***¼
There’s an in-ring promo – which we see the second take of – as Colt talks up the crowd’s reaction to him. He calls the UK a second home, and vows to reclaim the British heavyweight title again while doing it in the British style on British TV. Kevin Kelly, on the overdub, points towards a feud with Sha Samuels though, so don’t expect to see Colt vs. Tomohiro Ishii anytime soon!
After commercial, Kevin Kelly pitched to an interview with “Andy Quidlan” as they announce a tournament to get a shot at the tag team titles… but they’re interrupted by David Starr, who’s annoyed that the company doesn’t talk him up. David Starr is really good at promos, but perhaps that’s exacerbated by the dearth of good British talkers?
Anyway, they put up brackets for the tag title shot tournament – with a caveat that if anyone in the tournament gets a shot and wins the belts, then they’ll be defending the titles in the tournament. That’s a nice way to future-proof this…
Your first-round matches are: Roppongi 3K vs. HxC; Aussie Open vs. Team WhiteWolf; Arrows of Hungary vs. Hunter Brothers; Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm vs. Gnarly Neon Explosion.
Tag Team Contenders Tournament – First Round: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. HxC (Dan Head & James Castle)
HxC have a new intro with an anarchy flag, crowbar and balaclava masks.
We open with SHO and Head, but there’s jump starts as HxC double-team SHO as Kevin Kelly makes a big head joke. Guess who at. Roppongi 3K overcome HxC, with Head getting taken into the corner before he comes out and rakes YOH’s eyes, before dropkicking him in the corner as YOH had been held in a Tree of Woe.
James Castle is in to fish-hook away at YOH’s mouth, but Head can only claim a near-fall from that rough-housing. YOH’s kept isolated as HxC enjoyed frequent tags, and double-teaming as well, as the Rev Pro “home team” seemed fairly comfortable here. Head chokes YOH in the corner as SHO inadvertently had the referee distracted. There’s more fish-hooking from Castle as he cranked YOH’s neck… but YOH finally gets free and tags in SHO, who unleashed on Dan Head.
Castle sneaks in to double-team without a tag, but SHO lifts him out of the ring before a Shibata-ish dropkick knocked Castle off the apron. There’s a spear to Head too, who then takes a barrage of kicks to the head for a near-fall, before an elbow from Castle on the apron helped HxC get back into it. More double-teaming traps SHO in the corner, before YOH got involved… and took his part as Head pulled off a nice flowing pair of double stomps off the top rope.
HxC hit the Blunt Force Trauma – an assisted Tongan Twist – but it’s not enough as YOH breaks up the cover. SHO fights out of the Means to an End, but we don’t see what it is as Castle’s taken into the corner and double-teamed by Roppongi 3K, until Head trips YOH amid a Dominator/neckbreaker combo.
A double stomp/backbreaker combo from HxC nearly get them the win as everyone’s showing off their double-team stuff, before a Means to an End is countered with a tornado DDT! Dualling leaping knees from Roppongi 3K keep them ahead, as James Castle’s left waiting as he turned around into the 3K… and SHO and YOH are in the semis! A fun little tag match, but hurt somewhat by the crowd not seeing HxC as any kind of viable threat, in spite of their offence. ***¼
They announced during the last match that we’re getting Chris Ridgeway vs. Rocky Romero next week.
After commercial, they recap the ZSJ/KUSHIDA match from last week, and Chris Ridgeway’s watching… then they remind us of Ridgeway’s match next week as it’s now main event time!
Chris Brookes vs. El Phantasmo
Kevin Kelly rightfully bemoans the “one fall” bollocks… they replay Brookes’ turn from last week during his entrance, just to remind us all what happened.
Phantasmo moonsaults into the ring and gets dropkicked by Brookes before the bell, as we start on the outside with some brawling around ringside, featuring plenty of chops. There’s a backdrop suplex onto the apron from Brookes, who breaks the referee’s count… and that almost backfires as Phantasmo fires up with chops of his own before he’s charged into the apron, where Brookes unsights him with the ring apron ahead of a stomp.
They also trail here – Aussie Open vs. Team Whitewolf and Sha Samuels vs. Dan Magee. We’re also getting Starr vs. Chapman, so we’ve a four-match show next week… if this was done in response to the criticism from last week, then I heartily approve of this “listening to feedback” malarkey!
Back in the ring, Brookes rolls ELP over into a single leg crab, but there’s a quick rope break, so Brookes targets Phantasmo’s leg some more, digging an elbow into the knee as we’ve another rope break. ELP fires up with elbows, but gets taken out with a low dropkick from Brookes, who went back after the leg as he wraps it in the ropes.
Brookes continues on ELP in the corner, chopping and wringing the arm… but Phantasmo backflips over Brookes in the corner ahead of a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada for a near-fall – something that got York Hall on-side. ELP follows Brookes outside for a pair of topes, before a moonsault saw ELP land on his feet, and almost in the guard railings. Brookes quickly kicks ELP on the outside… and throws ELP into the crowd, but the Canadian quickly leaps back in from the crowd and into Brookes!
Rolling Brookes back in, Phantasmo balances himself well on the top rope ahead of a body splash, but Brookes responds with a slingshot cutter for a near-fall. The Praying Mantis Bomb is teased next, but ELP escapes and lifts him up into the Whirlibird neckbreaker, picking up another two-count as the match remained delicately poised.
ELP goes rope-walking, but he’s stopped by Jonathan Gresham who appears on the apron to distract Phantasmo. It works as Brookes kicks Phantasmo onto the ropes, crotching him before a Praying Mantis Bomb spiked ELP for the win. A good way to “debut” Gresham for this product, as the heel turn was complete – bringing a solid match (and show) to an end with teases of a third match… with Phantasmo perhaps getting a partner for it. ***½
Week two of World of Pro Wrestling is in the books, and it’s another show that refused to compromise – and was all the better for it. Sure, it’s a little rough around the edges and lacks the full-on, well-practised glitz and glamour of the WWE alternative, but this is a show that’s welcoming to new fans without insulting the existing fan base. All we can hope for is the audience figures grow – and that it parlays into increased business for Rev Pro, because based on this product, they absolutely deserve it.