It’s that time of year again – Rev Pro and New Japan joined forces for their regular Global Wars shows, featuring one match that you must go out of your way to watch.
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Cruiserweight Championship: BUSHI vs. Ryan Smile vs. Josh Bodom (c)
Bethnal Green opened up with the only title match on the card, with Josh Bodom having to defend his title against Ryan Smile and BUSHI. Live, it seemed that Smile’s detractors were back, but you couldn’t tell on the VOD…
The two Andys on commentary bring up the ongoing feud between Bodom and Flash Morgan Webster, who is conspicuous by not being in this match, but it seems Bodom wants to prove something against Ryan Smile. Of course, Bodom beat Smile at York Hall earlier this year at High Stakes to become the interim champion – and since then Bodom has been on a tear in Rev Pro, beating Will Ospreay to unify the belts… but plenty say it’s odd that Bodom’s still pretty much a “Rev Pro Exclusive”, especially in this age of everyone working everywhere.
Bodom and BUSHI form a brief alliance against Smile, but that goes as well as you can imagine as we quickly move into dive territory, featuring the return of Ryan Smile’s across-the-corner dive, which took out Bodom without sending himself careering into the guard railings.
Bodom keeps the dives up with a top rope moonsault to BUSHI on the outside, before running through his greatest hits on Smile… but the Bodom Breaker gets a near-fall as BUSHI dove in to make the save. That sparked a series of broken pins, before Bodom and Smile took it upon themselves to leather each other… at least until BUSHI took advantage with a double sunset-flip German suplex to the pair.
The end came when BUSHI misted Josh Bodom “by mistake”, with Chris Roberts out of position. Yep, it’s the first of many Roberts Crutches tonight, as Ryan Smile followed up with a springboard cutter and a frog splash as the first match left us with a new champion! Pretty enjoyable stuff to get us going, and they didn’t stick too much to the typical triple-threat formula. As to where Rev Pro heads with Ryan Smile as cruiserweight champion is interesting, especially since they’d been teasing Bodom/Webster 3… ***½
Legion of Lords (No Fun Dunne & Lord Gideon Grey) vs. Toru Yano & Gedo
Gideon had Rishi on a stick with him… if you saw the Cockpit show the prior week, you’ll “get that”.
This match was exactly what you’d expect – comedy wrestling. Sadly, Toru Yano didn’t have any of his DVDs to sell, but he did have one for the Legion of Lords… full of powder, of course! The cheating quickly went the other way as Dunne used his megaphone on Gedo, before Yano was subjected to a blast of Gideon’s “Pet Corrector” spray. Yes, I had to look that one up on Amazon. It’s apparently compressed air you spray at a dog to try and teach them behaviour? Andy Simmonz seemingly wanted to spray that at the crowd when they chanted “he’s got no fun on his dick” at Dunne, but he had no issue with another sonic attack from Dunne’s megaphone.
Gideon decided to go up top, which is a rarity for him… and yes, it didn’t work as he leapt into an eye poke, before Yano tagged in and went straight to work on removing some turnbuckle pads. That got him a big roar from the crowd – and as someone who used to loathe Yano, it just goes to show that stuff like this works… in the right place!
Grey quickly runs into the exposed turnbuckles as Yano rattled through what everyone wanted to see. Break! Once he was done confusing Gideon, he was offered balloon Rishi, who was again burst to spread powder into his face. In the end, the Lords fell foul of more bad Roberts officiating, as Yano hits a double low blow as they went for a double suplex. A cheeky roll-up later, and Yano gets the win! Even if this wasn’t much of a match, the crowd ate up everything that the CHAOS pair put out… and yet again, Gideon Grey showed how under-rated he is as a character. It’s more than just the moves, people! **½
El Desperado vs. Matt Riddle
This was a match that some were pegging as being a flash win for Riddle, who’s facing Minoru Suzuki in Walthamstow tonight (as this goes up). After being put out by how popular Matt Riddle was, Desperado quickly found himself getting put down with ease from a waistlock. He responded by trapping Riddle in the ropes from a wristlock, before telling Chris Roberts where to do. El Desperado, instant good guy!
At times, this was a clinic for Riddle, who nearly took the early win with a crushing back senton, before countering a caught kick by dragging Despy into a cross armbreaker. Despy sidesteps a charging Riddle, and they head outside, where Riddle’s posted, all whilst Chris Roberts is helpless as Riddle gets his legs wrapped around the post several times.
Despy goes for the legs when they got back inside, with a standing frog splash to the leg getting a two-count… but after absorbing some chops, Riddle burst back with a Bro To Sleep, before Despy caught an overhead kick from Riddle and turned it into a Stretch Muffler. It almost looked like that’d be the end, but Riddle gets the ropes, before fighting out of Pinche Loco, only to run into a huge spear.
Out of nowhere though, Riddle hits back with a ripcord knee and a Gotch tombstone, before pulling Despy into the Bromission for the win. Well, those of you who only saw Desperado as a lackey… he held his own here, but the right man won given the line-up on the second night. Really enjoyable stuff as Riddle was set-up for his massive Friday night. ***¼
Tetsuya Naito vs. Marty Scurll
Big shock: the G1 winner was massively popular in London. Who’d have guessed? On the flip side, Marty Scurll had a few more vocal fans against him. I guess the Villain wasn’t going to get an unanimously triumphant return with his newly-won IWGP Junior Heavyweight title…
We opened with plenty of mind games as Scurll quickly took Naito outside for a superkick from the apron as he enjoyed a rather deliberate period offence, working over Naito’s wrist and arm. An attempt to play to the crowd cost Marty, as Naito broke free from an arm lift and went after the Villain, cornering him for the outside-in dropkick… but the Just Kidding superkick quickly restores equilibrium as the back-and-forth continued.
Naito teases Destino, but Scurll catches him and turns it into the Bird of Prey for a near-fall, as the junior champion seemed to have Naito’s number… but a reverse rope-hung DDT from Naito quickly turns things back around, as a top rope ‘rana nearly gets the Ingobernable the win. A tease at a finger snap draws boos, but Naito fights back, only to meet a big lariat as Scurll busted out some new stuff.
Another finger snap tease is broken up by an eye rake, and we get another ref bump as Scurll punches out Chris Roberts. That’s the third time in four matches Roberts has been involved in some way… a Dragon suplex gets a big visual pin, but of course there’s no ref as Scurll hits Naito with his umbrella before getting a near-fall from the Mouse Trap roll-up.
The crowd booed as the chicken wing was called for, but BUSHI appears to cause a distraction. That doesn’t work as Scurll nearly stole the win with a roll-up with his feet on the ropes… but Roberts spots it. Scurll gets into it with Roberts, but sidesteps as Naito almost charges into the ref. Roberts cowers away, and misses a low blow from Naito, who followed up with Destino for the win!
Hey, when you’ve got one of New Japan’s champions against the G1 winner in the same match… you’re not getting a clean finish. Perhaps the Roberts Crutch was used way too much here, but this was enjoyable nevertheless as Naito gets the popular win. As he should. ***¾
After the match, Naito abuses ring announcer Steve Lynskey, hitting him with a dropkick to close out the first half. The Andys enjoyed that a little too much…
Zack Gibson vs. Yuji Nagata
Last year saw Nagata make his UK debut, wrestling in York Hall against Pete Dunne. Tonight he had Zack Gibson, and perhaps the good luck would rub off on the Scouser? Gibson’s pre-match promo saw him tore into several of the “punters” and their “Smart Mark Starter Kits… reviewing matches” (HEY!) and among other things, thinking that “WrestleKingdom is a Super Mario spin-off”. I’m sure someone somewhere’s already made a ROM hack of that…
Gibson made a point of working the arm early, keeping “old man” Nagata down with knuckle locks, before slapping him into the corner. Not a good move – Nagata retaliates by stomping him into the corner, before aiming some kicks at Gibson’s taped-up shoulder.
Eventually Zack gets free and goes back to the arm of Nagata as they went tit-for-tat, with the Scouser trying his utmost to punch the veteran down. It didn’t work, so he drags him down himself as the search for the Shankly Gates continued – a pattern of offence that commentary labelled, albeit with a qualifier, as “one dimensional”.
Nagata’s running knee to the gut curtailed Gibson for a spell, as some boots in the corner looked to set up for an Exploder, but instead we had to make do with the hesitating dropkick. Then we got the Exploder, as Nagata nearly scored the win, before escaping the Helter Skelter and pulling Gibson into the shirome eye-rolling armbar!
Gibson got his foot to the rope to force a break, then ended up outside as Nagata tried to superplex him back in. He tries to punch free, but Nagata keeps rising back up, only to get shoved down and into a Helter Skelter for a near-fall. They go back to strikes, before Gibson finally tried for the Shankly Gates… which Nagata stands up from and countered into the Backdrop Hold for the win! Commentary painted this as an upset, but Nagata remains undefeated in Rev Pro – which is a surprising stat in some ways. Decent stuff as York Hall got a second bite at the “once in a lifetime” outing for Nagata. ***¼
CCK (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks) vs. Rocky Romero & YOSHI-HASHI
Rocky Romero was out to the Roppongi 3K music… sadly, without his wacky fire extinguisher. Also as sad, was the camera crew not showing Rocky air-guitaring his way through YOSHI-HASHI’s music.
We started with the comedic big guy vs. little guy visual, as Rocky wanted to take on Brookes… despite barely reaching his navel. An eye poke cut Brookes down to size, as we did the usual “cycle through” tags thing, with YOSHI-HASHI coming in against Travis Banks for a spot of two-on-one offence. YOSHI-HASHI falls to the CCK sick tag move – despite being way too close for the elevated lungblower part of it – before Brookes decided to give him a drippy wet willie. A flipping neckbreaker keeps up the brisk pace as YOSHI-HASHI tried to make the tag out, and succeeded as Rocky Romero came in for some Forever lariats!
A dive takes out Chris Brookes on the outside after he’d charged himself to the floor, before hitting a Nakamura-esque knee to Travis Banks in the corner as the ring slowly filled. Banks fought back with a series of kicks to Romero and YOSHI-HASHI, before tripping YOSHI up into the corner for a cannonball. Poor Rocky takes a powerbomb into a kick by Brookes, before we get a Parade of Moves, ending with Romero taking a Slice of Heaven before a Kiwi Krusher earned the win. Brisk and fun – considering that CCK are looking to get their tag titles back, this was about the only result you could have had. ***½
Keith Lee vs. Tomohiro Ishii
This was obscene. Honestly, this is a match that you need to see. As much as we hated Lee’s match on Sunday against Dave Mastiff, this was the polar opposite – and back to form for the Limitless one.
Going just over 15 minutes, these two laid into each other with fierce shots. Ishii, recognising the mammoth task he had in front of him, went straight for the chops… but a single one from Lee knocked down the Stone Pitbull with ease. It was one of those “you hit hard, I’ll hit harder” kind of matches, and York Hall loved every freaking second of it.
Ishii tried early for a brainbuster, but Lee easily thwarted it… before finding out that Ishii has a really hard head. One that was easily put down with a hefty forearm smash. And a massive Beel throw, throwing Ishii across the ring like he was nothing.
After that feat of strength, double-handed chops have everyone sympathetic chest pains for Ishii, who finally got Lee down to a knee after some chops of his own. Aiming for the throat will do that! Again, the brainbuster’s stuffed though, and Lee busts out a big dropkick to almost get the win.
Ishii fights to avoid a Spirit Bomb, and gets in a guillotine choke that looked to weaken Lee, before countering a counter to finally take the big guy down with a DDT! It’s back to the strikes as Ishii tried a third time for the brainbuster… and oh my God he got it off! He didn’t go for a cover though, and Lee came back up for a huge POUNCE! Period!
A monstrous chokeslam gets a two-count, prompting Ishii to keep clubbing away… and they’re both firing up on each other. German suplex from Ishii! How is this ring still standing?! More thunderous shots prompt more fighting spirit, as Ishii popped up at one from a swinging slam… then at two from a Spirit Bomb! Lee thinks about going airborne, but his moonsault from the top crashes and burns, before Ishii finally clotheslines Lee down, hitting the sliding lariat for a near-fall!
Sensing the end, Ishii goes back for the brainbuster, and gets it off with ease to pick up the extremely hard-fought win. My God. Well, make no bones about it – these two are right up there as the best in the world on their day… and this was their night. You owe it to yourself to watch this match and, as Keith would say, bask in its glory. ****¾
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki) vs. Will Ospreay & Hirooki Goto
A little over a year ago, Minoru Suzuki appeared for WCPW in Manchester… where they stopped his music before the iconic moment. This time, all of York Hall it seemed joined in the chorus. Kaze ni nare!
This match did feel a little long, going over 20 minutes, but it was nowhere near the levels we saw earlier in the year. I think that Sabre/Scurll match from January might still be happening in an alternate universe… During the Road to Power Struggle shows, Toru Yano found out how useless Hirooki Goto was as a partner, and in the exchanges here, Will Ospreay got a similar taste. To be fair, after taking some of those slaps and kicks from Suzuki, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere near the sadistic Suzuki either.
So much hard hitting, just like you’d expect from Suzuki, but this almost became comedic once Ospreay was in, such was the level of abuse that Suzuki-gun were dishing out to the recently-unseated IWGP junior champion. A rope-hung armbar from Minoru traps Ospreay, all whilst Chris Roberts was his usual ineffective self, ignoring a chop from El Desperado right in front of him.
There was even time for Despy to give his boss a relaxing shoulder massage. Bless.
Commentary throws a lot of shade at a “certain YouTube promotion” (so I guess that’s two affiliations buried this week?), just before Ospreay’s tied in double-team submissions to weaken him ahead of the Rev Pro title match on Friday as Despy tied up Goto on the outside. It’s Suzuki-gun shenanigans, but shenanigans that York Hall hadn’t seen live before, and so were not sick of. Had we had the goons of Suzuki-gun (yes, I mean Taichi), then it’d have been different.
It’s almost like Suzuki’s outclassing Ospreay and Goto, and you can probably guess just how much Suzuki loved it when Will tried to fight back. It just meant he could hit back harder. Eventually Ospreay broke free and brought Goto in for more of the same, with Suzuki trapping Goto in a rear naked choke.
Goto’s forced to block the Gotch piledriver as Sabre had Ospreay tied up on the outside, and we’re back to those two throwing bombs at each other after they tagged back in. Sabre countered Cheeky Nandos into a guillotine somehow, but a lifting reverse DDT almost does it as Sabre needed Suzuki to break up the cover. As Suzuki wore Goto down some more, we get even more two-on-one on Ospreay, but he outlasts it… only for an OsCutter to get caught and turned into a cross armbreaker by Zack!
More wacky submissions force Ospreay to hold on again, but he powerbombs free out of a triangle armbar, before a standing Spanish Fly gets him a near-fall, followed up by an OsCutter for the win! That’s two wins in a row over Sabre… can he make it three later tonight? ****
After the match, Suzuki grabbed a chair… and I thought we were in for some more Kurtis Chapman abuse. Fortunately for him, it was not to be as Suzuki made a beeline to the lobby for some photo opportunities – some selfies that he looked to earn a fair amount from!
For a show that was perceived as the weaker of the two, the York Hall leg of Global Wars was just short of a home run of a show. After a few iffy live shows, from a production standpoint at least, it seems we’re done with the era of spotty radio microphones and invisible screens, so kudos need to go to Rev Pro for improvements in that area of the product.
Delivering everything that you’d expect and then some more (I knew Lee/Ishii was going to be good, but they blew my expectations out of the water), this was a show with no filler and almost all killer. If you’ve got the rpwondemand.com service, this one show alone is more than your money’s worth this month! I just wish they didn’t go so overboard with the Roberts Crutch in the first half…