Arnold Furious: May 7, 2017. We’re in the Cockpit Theatre for another thrilling instalment of RPW’s run of Cockpit shows. 2017 has seen a definitive uptick in quality on these shows, here’s hoping it continues here. It should. The main event is Marty Scurll vs. Kyle O’Reilly. Also we have another Bodom vs. Dijak match and CCK vs. London Riots. Host in the ring is Steve Lynskey, which is still weird to me. On commentary are Andy Quildan and Alex Cupid.
Malik, Ash Draven & Cara Noir vs. Josh Wall, Ashley Dunn & Kurtis Chapman
Cara Noir used to be Tom Dawkins and now he’s Dalton Castle minus the Boys. The entrance is so flamboyant that the crowd get into him. Be different. Try weird shit. It’ll probably get you over. Speaking of getting over; Kurtis Chapman, tiny skinny fella that he is, has developed a tidy ability to throw stiff kicks. He’s also great at sympathy selling because he’s so small and all the other guys hit him so hard. Cara Noir’s weirdness is interesting to watch. He’s working on a gimmick and I’m intrigued as to where its going. Too many wrestlers are currently working the exact same style. While I like the style it can get samey. Dawkins is at least standing out. All these lads try hard to impress and the effort level is high. Aside from wacky Dawkins nobody stands out but that’s a good thing because no one is bad either. Ashley Dunn picks up the win with a Pedigree Destroyer. That’s a move for British Strong Style to start spamming when they get bored of the Pedigree! This was a hot opener with good performances all round. I’m not sure it qualifies as “awesome”, which the crowd tried to get going with but it was certainly solid. I’m sold on the Contenders in general. It’s a strong division filled with potential.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Zack Gibson vs. Ryan Smile
Gibson gets the standard treatment from the crowd, although it’s not as deafening as usual. He calls Smile a “skinny, flippy boy” and the crowd “braindead punters”. Well, shit, he fucking nailed it there. Ryan Smile has struggled a little recently. Especially when facing far superior opponents. While his Midlands brethren have stepped up their game, he’s not on a par with the better fliers in the business. He’s still perfectly fine but Gibson looks a class apart. He dismantles Ryan and does sensible things throughout. Ryan is at his best when he’s running his mouth and he’s at his most entertaining before the match starts. Gibson’s pre-match attitude is reflected in his treatment of flippy Smile, as he gives him a verbal and physical thrashing. Ryan’s respond is a nutty dive, as you’d expect. It’s as if he ignored the pre-match abuse and tried to write it off as Gibson being a character. If Smile was wanting to show up Zack, he’d have tried to outwrestle him. To make matters worse Ryan’s timing is off in his comeback and Gibson’s tactic of yelling about Will Ospreay is far more entertaining than Smile’s work. It’s very strange. Hopefully it’s building to Gibson vs. Ospreay because that would be great. Ryan gets trapped in the Shankly Gates for the submission and Zack moves on to bigger and better things.
Final Rating: **3/4
Jinny vs. Alex Windsor
Jinny’s ability to own a room just by walking into it is matched by her tremendous mannerisms. Like laughing at fans dress sense, wiping down the microphone after it’s passed to her or bashing a child in the audience for starting a chant. “He’ll probably grow up to be nothing, just like his parents”. Rev Pro are having a crack at babyface Alex Windsor. Not convinced. Rev Pro’s problem stems from having a thin division where Jinny is the dominant heel. She’s the boss of this match, and every match, and while Alex is fairly cocky she’s not on Jinny’s level. Jinny’s bitchiness is sensational. She threatens to punch one fans face in before grabbing some lipstick to give Alex a “makeover”. Windsor is showing steady improvement. It’s easy to forget she came from the Saraya Knight school of training and started when she was a literal child. They have a few issues with Jinny’s strikes not connecting, with visible air showing, but I’d rather they did strikes safely than dish out concussions with knees into jaws. The finish is a strike too with Jinny kicking Alex in the head, after raking the eyes and referee shenanigans. Sensational character work although the wrestling was a bit patchy.
Final Rating: **1/2
Josh Bodom vs. Donovan Dijak
Big Donny is too big to be a cruiserweight so this is non-title. Bodom is coming off the best match of his career versus Will Ospreay. Now he has a mini-feud blow-off against Dijak. They wrestled twice in early 2016 with Bodom winning both times. Dijak manages to bust himself open in the first ten seconds of the match attempting a wacky dive.
Dijak’s freaky power is a major highlight here as he jacks Bodom up into spots and throws him out like a sack of spuds. I’m also permanently impressed by Dijak’s intensity. That combination of strength and passion puts Dijak in the elite level that the likes of Goldberg occupy. Only Dijak has that athletic ability too. He’s a complete package. Given the sheer number of signings WWE have snatched up from the Indies I’m pretty shocked Dijak hasn’t gone to Florida. Bodom steals Dijak’s finisher and then hits his own and that’s still not the finish because Dijak doesn’t want to get swept 3-0 in their series. Blissbuster be damned! Ashley Dunn appears to save Dijak from a belt shot and Donny scores the win with his big knee strike. This was tremendous but the interference is setting up something else and that detracts from Dijak finally getting a win over Bodom.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Rev Pro Tag Team Championship
#CCK (c) vs. The London Riots
The Riots have been great this year but they’ve lost consistently in pretty much every promotion. Meanwhile #CCK, in both incarnations, have become flavour of the month in the UK Indies. They’re suddenly everywhere and winning everything.
Travis Banks hasn’t had a long time to wait for this break but Brookes feels like he’s been around forever waiting to get picked up in big companies. Building that underground river of support until it burst its banks. The crowd chant “CCK pit” and the champs look confused until someone yells “not Cockpit, CCK Pit” and both of them visibly break. Adjusting to CCK being babyfaces as a team is tough but they are both capable comedians and are likeable. It’s just the CCK brand is a heel one and it’s tricky to change that mentality.
They keep me amused by being protective of their dicks, and the punching thereof. The comedy is good but the wrestling is even better as everyone is great. Travis is able to take a few bits and bobs from their recent Riots vs. SPPT match in Progress but they step it up above that too with Banks throwing himself into everything. He’s so good at what he does and he dictates the pace here, allowing everyone around him to look good. Holding it together like some kind of Kiwi wrestling glue. It’s a fun, fun match. My only beef is that I can’t tell if CCK are supposed to be heels or faces that enjoy cheating (like Los Guerreros). The crowd happily cheer them on so I’ll go with faces that cheat. It’s not like Brookes can not cheat and retain his character. CCK retain with double teams, and perhaps a bit of cricket bat. Post match the Riots turn heel by refusing Brookes’ cheeky offer of a handshake and there is a promise of a rematch.
Final Rating: ****
Lord Gideon Grey vs. Eddie Dennis
The crowd amuse me by chanting “broken Princess” at the former Princess Unicorn. Poor Gideon has gone off his character rails. Eddie decides to have a bit of a laugh because, let’s face it, Gideon is a goof. I love that he’s trying something different with his character but I’m not sure where it’s going. He strolls to the ring looking vacant and unresponsive and then after a while he just behaves like a heel. As if it comes spilling out uncontrollably. And when he slides back into the coma Eddie comes across as a bastard for beating him up. I’m really not sure what to make of it all. The crowd are equally confused, although they start chanting all manner of weird shit like “we want tables” and “where is Rishi”. Nothing seems to catch on and it appears that the crowd is at odds with itself. As if there are pockets of people with the same opinion and everyone else hates them. Gideon pulls a win out with the Fifty Shades of Grey, a side slam variant, and that’s probably fair. He’s trying something new. Eddie is loss-proof. Apparently he’s on a losing streak.
Final Rating: **
Sha Samuels & Rob Lias vs. RJ Singh & Dan Magee
Sha & Rob come out the Revolutionists music. Is the stable being rebuilt? I’m surprised James Castle isn’t opposing Sha here. For some reason people are actually cheering for Sha, who Rob appears to hate. It doesn’t help that Sha calls him “Ricky”. Lias is wearing colourful gear, perhaps suggesting he’s graduated from the Contenders division. Which must upset Magee, who’s still sporting black trunks. Lias and Magee make a point of working hard, as they’re the kids, while Singh and Sha can coast by on personality. Singhton Bomb puts Sha down for three after Rob Lias miscues on his new mate. For fuck’s sake, Ricky, you had one job. Post match this short lived team falls apart with Rob giving his senior partner a dressing down and eating a spinebuster for it.
Final Rating: **
Marty Scurll vs. Kyle O’Reilly
Scurll is the local favourite, growing the fan support in RPW for years. Kyle has a few Rev Pro matches under his belt. I saw him at Uprising 2015 against KUSHIDA in a belter. Kyle is an exceptional pro wrestler but like Roderick Strong I’ve always felt there was something missing from his game. Strong has found that in NXT; allowing cameras into his home and exposing the wrestling machine as a real person with a rough past. He’s certainly trying a few things here. He banters a bit, he tries to get a headlock over and he dances a bit. You need that extra dimension because brilliant pure wrestlers are everywhere. Scurll understands this and that’s why he’s developed The Villain. The match occasionally has weird stuff going on, beyond Kyle’s experiments, and at one point he back bumps to avoid a wind up punch. Why? There’s no logical reason for doing it. The match is at its best when it plays off Marty’s tropes (superkick, just kidding, chickenwing etc) and when Kyle abandons any pretence of sportz entertainment and straight up attacks Scurll with strikes. They step it up down the stretch with strike duels, lovely counters and Scurll’s finger snap preventing Kyle from submitting him. A blinded Scurll accidentally finger snapping Chris Roberts is great and it leads directly into Kyle getting a visual victory before Marty rolls through and gets the Chickenwing for the win. Once they moved on from the earlier experiments and went at it this match really delivered.
Final Rating: ****
Summary: Rev Pro has an interesting mixture of talent at the moment, ranging from rookies to guys who’ve been there for years to national newcomers and top tier imports. As a result they’re creating interesting shows, especially at the Cockpit. It’s a pity the atmosphere wasn’t as good here as it has been. The crowd was certainly treated to some good matches, especially the tag titles and Kyle O’Reilly vs. Marty Scurll. It’s pleasing to notice where the success is coming from. Either home grown UK talent or more specifically home grown Rev Pro talent like Josh Bodom or the Contenders.