2017’s Global Wars UK tour finished off in style, as Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr. completed their epic trilogy!
Rev Pro’s gone back to Walthamstow for this second leg, and with the two Andys again on commentary, we’re underway with the former tag team champions!
CCK (Chris Brookes, Kid Lykos & Travis Banks) vs. Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Gedo
Commentary notes that this is the in-ring debut of Lykos – in Rev Pro at least, after injury curtailed his two prior attempts at Cockpit shows. Lykos’ first exchanges saw him struggle to get going after Travis Banks similarly stuttered, with YOSHI-HASHI trapping the wolf in the ropes for a dropkick for an early two-count.
CCK’s trio tag moves get them back into it as YOSHI-HASHI’s isolated in the corner for a spell… at least until the threat of a wet willie from Brookes sparked a fightback, with a running Blockbuster taking the big lad down. Travis Banks tries to interfere, but gets himself a Bunker Buster as Goto gets the tag back in, only to get instantly double-teamed by Brookes and Lykos.
Goto shrugs it off and suplexes the wolf onto Brookes as the momentum swung wildly, until Gedo came in and took control briefly. A baking tray shot from Lykos put the brakes on that, but the New Japan trio again take over as the ring filled… then emptied so Lykos could run into the pile outside with a step-up tornillo, allowing Travis Banks to capitalise with a Kiwi Krusher to Gedo for the win. This was fine for what it was, but it looked (and felt) like a lot of the crowd struggled to engage with this. It’s a generic moan, but good guy vs. good guy matches always have this issue… **¾
Zack Gibson vs. Toru Yano
After the comedy tag match on the first night, we’ve got a singles match as Yano looks to rib the guy who’s sick of “smart marks”. Before the match, Zack again ripped on the crowd for “signing up to Dave Meltzer’s nonsense”, and the whole “one, two… sweet!” bollocks. Hey, I agree with half of Gibson, as usual…
Once the bell went, it’s the usual Yano match – he goes for the turnbuckle pads, whilst Gibson just goes for the arm. Yano tricks Gibson into thinking that Chris Roberts hit him, but that’s where the shenanigans ended as the Scouser freely laid into the Sublime Master Thief.
Yano finally manages to undo some turnbuckle pads as his usual stuff is back on… at least until Roberts stopped a low blow. Gibson can’t quite capitalise with a lungblower, nor with the Shankly Gates as Yano eventually slingshotted him into the exposed corner. There’s more shenanigans as Yano heads under the ring and finds a car stereo?!
He parades it like a trophy, but he’s stripped of the potential weapon before a mule kick and a low blow took us to a roll-up… and Yano wins! Exactly what you’d have expected here. Toru Yano’s greatest hits, and it played well in Walthamstow. **¼
Rocky Romero vs. Josh Bodom
This was going to be a Cruiserweight title defence… except Bodom lost it 24 hours earlier. Commentary notes how at this show last year, Bodom took a chop to the throat that was so hard, he threw up. True story.
We started with some grappling on the mat as Romero worked over Bodom’s arm, before coaxing him into a dive to the outside as the pace quickly ramped up. A big running dropkick keeps Bodom down on the floor, before the former champ worked up into a neckbreaker on the apron to start a period on top… but a ‘rana from Rocky swiftly ends that. Romero keeps up on Bodom with a Coast-to-Coast-ish dropkick as Bodom was draped on the ropes, but it’s only enough for a near-fall… and Rocky gets a little too cocky, as his attempt to coax out another dive is stopped, with Bodom just kicking him out of the ropes and back to the outside.
Somehow though, Rocky rebounds into some Forever lariats, before a running Sliced Bread almost finished a rotten weekender for Bodom… but he gets up at two as we then get a clear audio edit to mask something Bodom said. A back-and-forth strike exchange quickly ends when Romero goes for another ‘rana, but that’s stuffed and turned into a Bodom Breaker, before a Bliss Buster connects… sending Romero to the outside for cover.
Bodom throws Romero back in for a near-fall as a foot gets on the ropes at two, so a bloody-chested Bodom looks to make it final… with an avalanche Bodom Breaker. Rocky resists though, and pulls Bodom down into a cross armbreaker off the top… but Bodom rolls out and grabs some tights to snatch the win out of nowhere! Pretty fun stuff here, but commentary laying some seeds for Bodom perhaps going to heavyweight was the more interesting thing to come out of this. ***
For some reason we get the match graphic for Bodom/Romero again… but like Andy said last time out, “that is not the match”…
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Dave Mastiff
After an epic outing against Keith Lee at York Hall 24 hours earlier, the Stone Pitbull’s got Rev Pro’s more local big lad now. With any luck, this’ll be more palatable than Big Dave’s last outing, which was fine but weirdly anachronistic.
They throw at each other early, with Mastiff landing a dropkick in the opening stages for a near-fall, before choosing to wear down the pitbull with a chinlock. It’s still a methodical outing, but we’re at least keeping to something resembling “modern” big lads wrestling, with Mastiff deadlifting Ishii into a German suplex attempt, before just throwing some more forearms.
Eventually Ishii roars back, but comes to a shuddering halt as he tried a suplex, with Mastiff instead backing him into a corner. Ishii hits back again with a corner clothesline before opening up those chops, only to get barged down with another shoulder tackle as the tide shifted. Even more so when Mastiff popped straight back up from a German suplex!
Thing was, Ishii did the same as they traded suplexes as Ishii built up to the brainbuster… but Mastiff’s back to his feet first and lands a powerbomb and a crushing Finlay roll en route to a back senton. Yet Ishii gets up at one from that. Yup.
Still, Mastiff keeps up, hitting a German suplex for a near-fall, then another into the turnbuckles as a prelude to the cannonball… but Ishii moves away just in time! He tries for the sliding lariat, which Mastiff tries to block with some back-and-forth headbutts, but Ishii’s able to get out and back into those sliding lariats before ultimately getting Big Dave up for a brainbuster for the win. Enjoyable, but this was a totally different universe to Ishii’s match the previous night. I guess it shows versatility in how Ishii can have similar matches against two different styles of “big men” – whilst looking impressive in the process. ***¼
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Cruiserweight Championship: El Desperado vs. Ryan Smile (c)
This became a title match after Ryan Smile won the belt at York Hall – but it seems that Despy wasn’t aware of it… at least if you believe his Twitter.
Smile tries to burst out of the gates here, using his speed to annoy Despy in the early going, only to get taken down with a ‘rana as the challenger showed he was able to match him. Mind games ensue when Despy grabs a can from the crowd as he went in search of a weapon, before Smile charged at him outside, throwing his masked challenger into the ring post.
Despy turns things back around when he throws Smile deep into the crowd, before working over the leg in the ropes as he tried to stop the champion from even standing up. It didn’t quite work as Smile dropkicked Despy to the outside, before out-doing Lykos with a step-up tope con hilo.
Back inside, a flying crossbody nearly gets the win, before Smile runs into a spinebuster that Despy then turned into a Stretch Muffler. Or Brock Lock, if your frame of reference is the early 2000s. Eventually, Smile dragged himself towards the bottom rope for freedom as Desperado bust out a series of roll-ups to get himself closer to victory… only to get caught with a brainbuster as Smile nearly eked it out.
In the end though, Smile gets the win with the Smile High frog splash, and that’s his first successful defence out of the way. Another enjoyable outing for Smile, and yet more ammunition for those who think that Desperado isn’t worth much as a singles guy. More please! ***
Keith Lee & Yuji Nagata vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI)
If you thought this match was weird on paper… try watching Yuji Nagata come out to Keith Lee’s music! A pure Fire Pro Wrestling random team!
We started with BUSHI responding to Keith Lee’s size by… doing push ups. It’ll take him a while, but at least Naito came in to help attack Keith from behind. Except Keith’s size quickly neutered whatever they had planned, and things quickly settled down to BUSHI getting isolated.
BUSHI tried to hit a German suplex to Lee. Bless him for trying, eh? The Ingobernables were able to take down Lee with a trip, as the big guy’s subjected to a lot of double-teaming… but BUSHI’s attempt to get a pin out of it ends when he’s sent into the sky from a huge kickout.
They try a lot of the “smaller guys against a big lad” stuff, with Lee dropping LIJ with a double chokeslam, before bringing in the fresher Nagata to kick his way ahead, eventually dropping Naito into the Shirome armbar. Naito escaped it though, and LIJ head back into it as Nagata trades blows with BUSHI… and then brings Keith Lee back in.
You know the drill – BUSHI bounces for Lee, but he manages to evade a charge into the corner and hits a lungblower to have the big guy rocking, allowing Naito to sweep him down for that corner dropkick. Keith leaves his feet again, planting Naito with a slingshot crossbody as the mish-mashed team almost won it.
Naito escapes a Spirit Bomb… and once BUSHI sprayed Lee with some deadly black Mist, all that it takes is a pair of Destinos for the G1 winner to get the win. Another decent match, but this is supercard booking at its finest: nobody to boo made for a strange outing. ***½
Minoru Suzuki vs. Matt Riddle
If you felt that the undercard was lacking, then these last two matches should give you hope. Two matches that’d main event anywhere in the world, starting with a first-time-ever meeting between Matt Riddle and the sadistic Minoru Suzuki.
They keep things on the mat early as Suzuki forces the first rope break as he went for a rear naked choke on Riddle before both men unleashed a barrage of strikes, with Riddle actually sending Suzuki out onto the apron for cover… and by cover, I mean “sucker him in for an armbar”. Of course, Desperado gets in a few cheap shots outside as Chris Roberts becomes useless, so Suzuki’s easily able to take Riddle into the crowd and use a fan’s bag to choke Riddle with. That’s, erm, unique!
Back inside, Suzuki gets booed – and that seemingly distracts him for long enough for Riddle to throw a chop. Not that it mattered, as Suzuki shrugged it off, before running into an Exploder suplex out of the corner as Riddle looked to scrape ahead, throwing in some back sentons and gutwrenches that had Suzuki flailing away.
Eventually, Suzuki punches his way back in before drilling Riddle with a PK for a near-fall. Yes, Riddle tries to fight back, and yes, Suzuki absorbs it like it’s nothing, laughing it off as they swap overhand chops. Out of nowhere, Riddle escapes a Gotch piledriver and gets him up for a Bro to Sleep, before trying for the BroMission… he has to make do with an armbar though as the crowd roared behind Suzuki.
Suzuki then pulls the ref into the path of a running chop from Riddle, leaving the path clear for some double-teaming as Chris Roberts was left down and out. A rear naked choke’s released as Desperado waffles Riddle with a chair, before a Gotch piledriver finishes off Riddle – to a chorus of boos, no less. Another really good outing here, but without the threat of Suzuki-gun shenanigans, this could have been so much better. ***¾
Revolution Pro Wrestling British Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (c)
Ospreay earned himself the title shot by beating Sabre in Portsmouth back in August… commentary tried to sell that he wasn’t quite 100% after the beating he took in the tag match at York Hall the prior night, but Ospreay’s always banged up these days.
Before we can get going, a fire alarm rings out inside the Walthamstow Assembly Hall, but everyone ignores it – and cheers loudly when it stops. Just in time for the ring bell!
Sabre’s smart to Ospreay’s intent to burst out of the gates, and quickly grounds him with a headlock before nonchalantly backing away as Will tries the same. There’s so much fluid stuff here as they counter each other’s counters, before Sabre just pulls away Ospreay’s hands as he tried for a handspring. Nope, not today!
Ospreay changes his game up and looks to out-strike Sabre, with some success, before snapping back into his flying game with a ‘rana as those silky-smooth exchanges continued… until Ospreay’s backflip off the ropes ended with him posing… and getting PK’d by Sabre. The crowd liked that one, I see!
We’re back to endless counters as snapmares ended with Sabre snapping Ospreay’s neck between his legs, and now Zack’s got a clear body part to go for… and go for it he did, trapping it in the ropes before kicking at the neck, sending Will to the outside for some more strikes. Look, you know how good these two can be in the ring, and this was exactly what you’d expect – seamlessly switching from strikes, to holds, to the aerial stuff… but for a large part of the match, Sabre never seemed to be in any real danger of losing.
A springboard forearm only gets Ospreay a one-count as Sabre popped out almost instantly from the roll-up, and quickly drags Ospreay back to the mat for a wacky Dragon sleeper variation that forced Will to reach for the ropes. Another submission attempt follows with a front guillotine, but Ospreay powered Zack into the ropes and followed up with an attempted shooting star press… which misses, allowing Zack to go back to the submissions as the match turned into more of a fight.
A swift back heel kick and a lifting reverse DDT nearly does it for Will, who came ever closer to victory, at least until Sabre stuffed a Spanish fly and lands a powerbomb of his own. Ospreay absorbs it though and looked to hit back with an OsCutter, before more counters to counters take us to the Euro Clutch as they move so swiftly I can barely keep up!
Ospreay fires back once more, blasting Sabre with a Yakuza kick in the corner as he set up for a Cheeky Nando’s, then an imploding 450 splash that almost gets the win. An OsCutter should have done it, but Sabre rolls to the outside to avoid a cover!
Throwing Sabre back inside, Ospreay looked to finish the job… but his corkscrew shooting star press lands him into a triangle armbar, then an Octopus hold as Zack flicked through some more of his submissions, finally kicking out of a roll-up before trapping Ospreay in the Young Boy Killer (double armbar – or “the hold what put Flash Morgan on the shelf for a year) for the submission.
This was excellent stuff. Perhaps a touch on the long side (and definitely not to Sabre/Scurll levels), but Sabre’s title matches in Rev Pro do have a tendency to be like that. With tons of callbacks to their prior matches, Sabre/Ospreay 3 was a classic story of two guys with a will to win – and more than an eye on each other’s arsenals. So many counters, so many evasions… this was a masterpiece, and one that you really ought to check out for yourself before you get in any “match of the year” debates. ****½
Afterwards, Matt Riddle wandered out and after laying out El Desperado, he made a beeline for the ring… chasing away the remains of Suzuki-gun. It seems Riddle wants a title shot… and at Uprising next month in York Hall, he’s getting it!
Not being there live, I can only believe that the crowd were making more noise than it seemed on the VOD. Rev Pro’s overall production has been a bit of an issue lately, and it’s more than the camera work. The lack of any kind of crowd mic’ing hurts these shows when you’re watching them in a bubble – and in-ring work can only take you so far. Overall though, night two of Global Wars felt distinctly “there” as opposed to the York Hall show – a card which didn’t have a singular main event and so brought everything up, against Walthamstow which built to the main event and left everything else a little lacking in retrospect.