This week on World of Pro Wrestling – ELP vs. The Octopus, tag team action, and a new Contender arrives!

We’re up to the final matches from the first night of the TV tapings – so expect some darkened crowd to cover for the late running time as folks left for trains! Kevin Kelly and Andy Simmonz are hosting again as they run down some of the prior week’s action, and our favourite – the rules!

Tag Team Contenders Tournament – First Round: Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter)
In terms of “where the match is”, I’ve a weird feeling this may be the highest profile outing for both teams here – that is, on sort-of mainstream TV in the UK.

Jim and Dover start us off with some power, as Dover just runs through the Hunter brother with a shoulder charge. A tag to Dover’s bald head brings in Icarus, who takes a diving uppercut as Lee comes in – giving Kevin Kelly a real quandary as he struggled to tell the Hunters apart. Icarus didn’t mind as he chopped Lee, before Jim slipped off the top rope as the Arrows continued their offence. A big back body drop saw Icarus get thrown onto Jim for a near-fall. Dover’s back in with a backbreaker on Jim for another two-count, as the Hungarians were in complete control over the Arrows.

Jim finally gets free and tags in his brother, who hits a springboard moonsault to the Arrows, then a satellite DDT on Dover for a near-fall. The Hunters try to combine for the neckbreaker, but Dover escapes and just stacks them up for a pair of slams in the middle of the ring. The show of strength continues with an overhead suplex to Jim, before Dover whips Icarus in for a cannonball that almost gets the win… but they get distracted as they went for Crossfire, and that allows the Hunters back in it… instantly snatching the win with the blockbuster to put Dover onto Jim’s knee – labelled the Tipton Delivery. That felt like a MASSIVELY rushed finish, but live it kinda made sense when you knew of the time pressures. ***

They labelled this as an upset – the Hunters face Chuck Mambo & Cassius or Jody Fleisch and Jonny Storm in the next round.

After commercial, Sha Samuels joins commentary… handily cutting out the arrival of our latest contender…

Michael Oku vs. Dan Magee
Hey, it’s the OJMO! Now you know why Sha’s out on commentary. Magee’s jumped by Sha before the bell, and that match is off. Not to worry, we have a replacement, as Lord Gideon Grey runs to ringside to offer the new match.

Michael Oku vs. Great O-Kharn
Oku leaps into O-Kharn with dropkicks at the bell, as we got chants of OJMO… but clotheslines only serve to rile up O-Kharn, who quickly grabs his ear and chops it away. There’s a clothesline/neckbreaker, then a right handed punch, before a front suplex and a reverse suplex proved to be more than enough for Oku. SQUASH.

MK McKinnan vs. Josh Bodom
There’s no commercial as we’re straight into another match – and the darkened area by the aisle is meaning that the crane camera’s struggling to focus. Ah, the genuine Rev Pro experience! (I kid, I kid)

Bodom’s out in his All Japan hoody, from his brief sojourn there, and we start with swinging and missing as both men feinted kicks… but MK hit first, before a leg sweep trips Bodom into a superkick, as Josh is forced to roll to the outside, where a tope con giro sent Bodom into the guard rails. After trapping Bodom in the ropes, MK throws some more kicks before a senton bomb almost gave us the upset.

Bodom starts to fight back with kicks and chops of his own, but MK’s got plenty more in him, including a stop to a wheelbarrow and stomp as he pulled Bodom into a choke. After using the referee as a human shield, Bodom hits a roundhouse kick and German suplexes MK into the corner as the former cruiserweight champion looked to assert himself. It’s back to the kicks from Bodom, but MK has more, including a roundhouse and a superkick, before he runs into a Lo-Bodom-Knee and a shotgun dropkick. MK’s taken outside for a flip plancha, before a snap German suplex back inside almost gave us another rushed finish.

A flip back suplex dumps Bodom on his front for a near-fall as MK came close again. He rolls Bodom through into a superkick, before a brainbuster and a Fisherman buster drew another two-count, but MK couldn’t keep up the momentum, despite countering a roll through into a rear naked choke, as Bodom rolls back and almost stole the pin. From there, some pump kicks rock MK, before a Bodom Breaker gives us one more two-count, as the match swung back and forth… a pumphandle driver gets MK a near-fall, but he followed Bodom onto the apron and gets caught with a head kick before an apron tombstone and a Bliss Buster got the win. An entertaining, back-and-forth contest, but coming so late in the night the crowd didn’t get into it as much as they perhaps would have done. Where this takes Bodom in Rev Pro TV land… remains to be seen. ***¼

James Mason vs. Darrell Allen
This was the last advertised match for this show, but it wasn’t our main event as we got a taste of some old school British wrestling here.

Mason and Allen tie up into the ropes as they already seemed to be sprinting, going from wristlock to headlock and takedown as we seemed to be working a more “modern” pace than the old World of Sport. Allen’s side headlock’s easily scooted out of by Mason, who wrings the arm and takes the Dazzler down… but Allen scores with a trip as he picked up some one-counts.

A neck bridge from Mason can’t be broken, so they go into the ropes where we switch into some indy’riffic pinning predicaments, as we’re going full Holiday Camp with this stuff – and not in a bad way either! Allen’s rushing in with monkey flips, armdrags and dropkicks, but Mason kips up out of a wristlock and after he pulls Allen into a stump puller, Mason rolls through for a near-fall, before an armbar turned into a crucifix for another near-fall by the veteran Mason.

In the end though, after scoring a cheap shot or two in the corner, Mason ends up taking a Razzle Dazzle kick for a near-fall, before Mason sat down on a monkey flip… and there’s the anticlimactic win. This was such a weird place on the card – had this been earlier on, in say week two or three, the crowd would have been so much more invested… but at this point the crowd just wanted the show to end. Good match, just rushed and badly positioned. **¼

We eschew another ad break, and we’re into the main event…

Jonathan Gresham vs. El Phantasmo
The bell goes as Phantasmo plays to the crowd, before he and Gresham headed straight to the mat. A whip into the ropes leads to leapfrogs and flip overs as Gresham worked into a springboard ‘rana… but Phantasmo handstands out!

There’s a dropkick from Phantasmo that scores a near-fall over Gresham, who responds by tripping ELP and going for the arm, first with a kick then an armdrag as the Octopus tried to pin ELP to the mat by force. When that didn’t work, a crucifix gets Gresham a near-fall, as the crowd finally mustered up some energy to chant. Gresham looks to tweak the arm, and clings onto his wristlock despite ELP’s slam. An uppercut from Gresham misses, and it’s not long before he’s clocked with a step-up enziguiri, as Phantasmo continued with a springboard crossbody and a Quebrada for a near-fall.

A whirlibird neckbreaker’s countered out of by Gresham, who catches ELP with a stunner, an enziguiri and a German suplex in rapid succession, as the CCK member keeps up on the arm, scoring a La Mistica into a La Magistral for another near-fall. Gresham heads up top, but gets caught with another enziguiri as ELP brings him down with a top rope ‘rana… then heads up again for a senton bomb. A top rope moonsault’s next, but Chris Brookes pulls out the referee to keep the match alive… but not for much longer as Chris Roberts sees a blatant low blow from Gresham as we end in a DQ. This was fine for what it was, but the cheap finish (and the late finish too) didn’t sit well with the crowd live. ***¼

Post-match, Gresham’s beatdown is saved by Jushin Thunder Liger, who chases away CCK as the show came to an end.

From the first night’s taping, this was the episode I was scared about the most, if only for the lack of crowd reactions from the over-running taping. It wasn’t as bad as I thought, but five matches made this an extremely packed show, and one that very little threatened to break out of the proverbial pack. While we’re hinting at a CCK vs. Phantasmo/Liger tag match, going by the old school booking this show’s following, we’ve no clue of when that can happen… unless you read the synopsis and find out that it’ll be this week (on a show that’ll air at 11pm on Friday night as the show’s been pre-empted for live pool).