PROGRESS Chapter 21 – You Know We Don’t Like To Use The Sit Down Gun

Arnold Furious: 6 September, 2015. I’m new to PROGRESS but I’ve been hearing about their rowdy crowds and adult storylines for some time. It’s an intriguing promotion that easily sells 700 tickets to their shows in London in a matter of minutes and has built a hardcore ECW-esque fanbase in three short years. They’ve gone from running every three months, to every two months, to putting on secondary ENDVR shows to running two-night tournaments to putting on shows at the Download festival. In the previously barren three months leading into this show ran seven shows. They’re still sensibly spaced out though and the promotion is growing steadily.

PROGRESS was the brainchild of three men; Glen Joseph, Jim Smallman and Jon Briley. Their gimmick was simple. They wanted punk rock wrestling. It caught on so fast and so hard that just three years down the road they’re selling out shows without naming any matches on them. They’re selling the brand. It’s been some time since anyone could do that, especially in the UK. I’m not sure it’s ever been done in the UK. Even when I was a die-hard 3CW fan, I pretty much checked out the line-up before deciding to go to a show.

Title reference: Danger 5. Favourite Danger 5 moment; when someone gets shot down a phone.

We’re in London, England at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. Hosts are Glen Joseph and RJ Singh. Love the geezer stormtroopers!

 

Promo Time: GZRS
They’re here to answer the open challenge for the tag straps later. Immediate “please don’t die” chant. Sebastian does the Worm. Fun times. Jim Smallman takes over. He points out the show sold out in 18 minutes. “That’s pretty quick”. The one rule of PROGRESS; “don’t be a dick”. PROGRESS has the kind of cult following that is hard to describe. I don’t think there’s ever been a UK promotion quite like it.

 

The Origin vs. The London Riots
The Origin are El Ligero and Nathan Cruz. Ligero has been a UK Indy darling for years and years. Both men are former PROGRESS champions. The Riots are James Davis and Rob Lynch. They’ve become one of the foremost UK tag teams and have the tag titles from most of the more popular promotions. The Riots are the faces in a big way. The fans are less keen on the Origin chanting “you’re a wankstain” at Cruz. The atmosphere is tremendous and it’s an adults only show. It’s like an 18-30’s holiday! Ligero as a heel is bizarre. I’ve never seen him work heel before and he’s great at it. Imagine Rey Mysterio Jr. if he was a complete shithead.

The heels do a lot of stalling, drawing an astonishingly disgusting “wankstain city” chant. You can’t beat a hot crowd. The match isn’t much to write home about but a lively crowd can improve even a lacklustre contest. The whole “shitty little horns” series of chants was just magnificent. The wrestlers don’t have to do anything! When they head into the bigger spots nothing seems to click. Cruz takes an awkward bump off an Exploder where he flips and lands on his face. Credit to the Riots though, they’re not put off and the slingshot into a spear is great. Someone in the big leagues will steal that. They start to click on the counters and things really pick up down the stretch. Ligero takes a monster District Line Powerbomb into the seats. Zack Gibson swings by the ring to hand a foreign object to Nathan. It’s a fork and Cruz stabs both faces with it for the pin. Rob Lynch, of the Riots, took a nasty bump off a German suplex before the finale and hurt his neck pretty badly. Kudos to him for carrying on to the finish. He looked hurt when it happened.
Final Rating: **1/4

 

Jack Gallagher vs. Pastor William Eaver
Eaver has a religious gimmick. It has limitless potential, as he looks a bit like Jesus, BUT he needs to study up on the words he can use during a match and especially his promos. Gallagher has an old-timey circus strongman gimmick, which has less mileage. I love the t-shirt from Eaver; it’s the CM Punk one but it’s been altered so it says “Blessed in the World”. Limitless, I tells ya. “He’s working on the Sabbath” chant the crowd, winning me over by themselves. Gallagher is a solid British style technician with good power. Eaver has a few tricks up his sleeve too, busting out lucha stuff. As much as I like Eaver’s gimmick, it’s Gallagher that excels. Plus he looks like David Thewlis on steroids. That’s a look I can get behind. Gallagher catches Eaver in the King Crab, which is the Maple Leaf only with both legs. Eaver has a long way to go but has incredible potential. Gallagher isn’t far off being really good. Watch out for him.
Final Rating: **3/4

 

Eddie Dennis vs. Zack Gibson
Gibson is a scouser who has a Liverpool football club gimmick so naturally I despise him. Who comes out to “You’ll Never Walk Alone”? What an absolute wanker. Eddie Dennis is a 6’ 6” Welsh monster babyface who happens to do judo on the side and he’s got a fun loving personality. Plus he comes out to “Party Hard” by Andrew WK. He’s got star written all over him. Gibson is slow and overly mechanical. He looks green. His movements are deliberate and he stands out as the worst wrestler on the show so far. Like most guys who struggle with basics, Gibson has a few showy spots otherwise he wouldn’t be on a PROGRESS show. He’s also not a bad technical wrestler and spends most of the match working the arm. Dennis is culpable for some spots, including the safest looking Bucklebomb, ever. It barely qualifies. Gibson brings a bit of pantomime with the fork before kicking Dennis in the balls for the win. This was rough.
Final Rating: ½*

 

Promo Time: Jimmy Havoc
Havoc just lost his title to Will Ospreay so he’s a little salty. PROGRESS don’t have a re-match clause so Havoc wants to face anybody in a number one contender’s match…right now. Smallman promptly books Havoc against bald-headed servant Paul Robinson. “All the best!”

 

#1 Contender’s Match
Jimmy Havoc vs. Paul Robinson
Both these guys are in Regression, which is Havoc’s stable. Robinson initially looks as if he’ll lie down but Smallman tells them if they rig the outcome, they’re both fired. They don’t build up to a big spot, they hit a table piledriver off the apron as the first major move. I’m not keen on throwing a spot that big into the first sequence but it gets us into the near falls from the go, so in a way it’s good. Havoc, who has a history with hardcore, busts out a lot of weaponry. Havoc blades off a frying pan shot and the match starts to get sick. From there Havoc takes a staple gun “straight to the bollocks”. All the abuse seems to come Jimmy’s way as his light tubes spot backfires. Robinson gets tubed in the head for a double gusher. I’m impressed with how Robinson collapses into the ropes, showing his head wound off to the fans. That’s a veteran move. You have to sell blood. SUPER RANA into thumbtacks! I take back what I said about the early table spot, they were building towards something completely over the top. Thumbtack senton! That was brutal. That must have sucked for both men to take. This match is absolute carnage. It’s reminiscent of CZW. Robinson makes an absolute hash out of the finish and has to re-do it. A Curb Stomp through light tubes. This was a little bit sloppy but suitably brutal. They built the storyline well and the conclusion, minor botch aside, worked. There’s a lovely little moment of redemption too as Jim Smallman offers a handshake and Havoc leaves to a round of applause for his hard work.
Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Marty Scurll vs. Kris Travis
Trav is a huge babyface after missing time with cancer and beating it. He gets a HUGE standing ovation. This is his first PROGRESS match since May 2014. They play up the psychology of Scurll being a villain and yet Travis’ cancer issues being so extreme that not even Marty can bring himself to take a cheap shot into the effected area. Not that Trav has any compunctions about hitting suicide dives. The landing seems to kick-start the match as Scurll feels slightly less guilty about laying a beating on Travis and Kris himself looks more confident. Scurll seems more aggressive, on the whole, showing superior speed and a wider range of skills. Travis is more on hand to capitalise on Scurll’s overconfidence. The match definitely improves when they hit the exchanges, based on pre-arranged sequences. The striking and suplexes are tidy. However there’s a feeling, especially on the near falls, that there’s no actual attempt to win the match. Scurll at one point pushing Travis into his own kickout. Little things like that can just take the edge off a match for me. The finish has a similar set up where they awkwardly move away from the ropes before hitting a suplex counter spot. If Marty was just going to hit a suplex, why move away from the ropes in front of him? Unless he’s about to get countered? Anyway, despite holes in the work this was solid enough. Good effort and nice pre-planned bits and pieces. Sadly Travis would be forced into retirement shortly afterwards so this was it for him. Scurll, in a magnificent display of villainy, takes Travis out with the Chickenwing after the match.
Final Rating: ***

 

PROGRESS Tag Team Championship
The Sumerian Death Squad (c) vs. Adam Cole & Roderick Strong
This was an open challenge and PROGRESS went and brought this team in to face SDS, which you can do as a surprise if a) you’re hotter than hell and sell out in a matter of seconds and b) you want to stay that way. Bringing in two top Indie talents, and ROH mainstays, in Cole & Strong showed how ambitious PROGRESS are when it comes to keeping the fanbase happy. The Yanks try to play heel, drawing a chant of “you’re gonna get your fucking heads kicked in”, before the crowd round on Roddy Strong’s shitty little boots again. The singing of “Shit Boots” to the tune of “Hey Jude” is nothing short of amazing. The match can’t quite live up to the crowd but the work is tight. End vs. Strong in strikes is a beautiful thing. Michael Dante gets a bit overlooked as a worker because he teams with someone as good as Tommy End but Dante is a solid technician for someone of his size. Some of the counter work with Cole shows that. He might not be in the best physical condition but he can move. Tommy End is the man who wants to take this to another level with flying kicks and double stomps off the ropes. Adam Cole acquits himself well in the situation, taking a beating and dishing out kicks of his own. The crowd appreciate the all-round effort and start to chant “all these guys” in support. A big question; how are Strong and Cole not a team somewhere? They clearly click well together and yet they missed, like ships in the night, with Mount Rushmore and they’re apart in ROH too. Cole eventually falls to the Anti-Hero in a hard-worked contest. Everything clicked nicely in this. Good match.
Final Rating: ***3/4

 

PROGRESS Championship
Will Ospreay (c) vs. Mark Haskins
This is Ospreay’s first title defence since becoming the champion at Chapter 20, beating Jimmy Havoc and ending his ridiculous 609 day run. Haskins, on the same show, won the Thunderbastard to get a title shot. Seeing as I live just down the road from Haskins (he’s in Malvern, I’m in Bromsgrove), I feel a certain degree of fandom for him but it’s virtually impossible to root against Ospreay because he’s so goddamn entertaining. Haskins has a terrific range of skills, from aerial to striking to countering to mat technique. He’s perhaps a little too lightweight to overcome a top guy but he’s got enough about him to wear down Ospreay. Will is a big underdog performer so he fights from the bottom, getting dissected by Haskins. Ospreay’s improvement has been fairly meteoric. If you look at his career on paper he’s hardly wrestled anywhere at all but has such a range of skills, which he excels at, that he’s on top of the British tree at the tender age of 22. His only downfall, for me at least, is that he gets a bit too pleased with himself but even that is somewhat endearing. As if he’s not quite aware that he’s a superb wrestler, working a level above his contemporaries, until he nails a really difficult spot.

Haskins destruction of Ospreay’s arm is joyous. At one point Ospreay tries to flip around him and Haskins just kicks the arm out. Haskins knows the flipping playbook and has a counter for everything. As the match progresses it becomes apparent this will not be a routine defence for Will. It’s an intense fight and Haskins baits Ospreay in with almost every move. At one point provoking Will into slapping him only to turn it into a flying armbar. The match gives Ospreay not only a genuine challenge but makes him look better for overcoming Haskins, when he’s so routinely outwrestled. Haskins gets to show some guts down the stretch as Ospreay unleashes a series of hyper violent spots. MADE IN JAPAN! Haskins hits it to counter Ospreay coming off the top again but Will kicks out. “Nobody has ever kicked out of that” yells announcer RJ Singh. Ospreay fires back with a load more heavy rope assisted moves and takes it with the 630 Splash. This match was insanely good until they started into a few silly kick-out spots, designed to make the match feel more epic than it actually was. A pity as the lead in was sensational. Haskins told a great story.
Final Rating: ****1/4

 

Summary: This was my first PROGRESS show and it certainly landed. The main event alone is worth the price of checking PROGRESS out on demand. You can ‘demand PROGRESS’ at demandprogress.pivotshare.com. I’d advise that you do as British Wrestling is going through a renaissance at the moment with Rev Pro, ICW, Preston City and the British guys wrestling at BOLA all delivered. PROGRESS is the raw, visceral centrepiece of this British wrestling revolution. It’s not like anything else that’s out there. The Electric Ballroom is a small venue with a great atmosphere. It’s up there with the Hammerstein Ballroom, Viking Hall or Korakuen Hall for having that small venue atmosphere where the crowd are on top of the action. It’s not anywhere near the size of any of those places, which makes it all the more cosy.
Verdict: 74

PROGRESS Chapter 28 – Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want

Arnold Furious: April 10, 2016. PROGRESS: Chapter 28 was presented in loving memory of  Kris Travis, a 32 year old pro wrestler who tragically passed away recently from stomach cancer. Tragedies happen so often in wrestling that it’s easy to start taking them lightly, but 32 is no age to die. Kris faced his problems head on and put a brave face on his fight, raising money for charity and being a genuinely wonderful human being. He will be missed. We’re in Manchester, England at the Ritz Hotel. Glen Joseph takes over MC duties as Jim Smallman is elsewhere. He’s not as entertaining as Jim and there are definite audio problems with the microphone as I find him quite hard to understand. This is not normally an issue with PROGRESS shows. Commentary comes from RJ Singh and Callum Leslie.

 

The Dunne Brothers (Pete Dunne & Damien Dunne) vs. Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven)
The Midlands duo of Bate & Seven are immediately over courtesy of an ingenious tag team name and the bags of talent they possess. The Brothers Dunne are both from the Midlands too. It’s a Midlands exhibition! They know each other and Moustache Mountain are allowed to do fun spots. They’re already very popular with the crowd. The Dunne brothers are less fun but as heels they take their licks and have tandem offence. It’s a rollicking good time and once again PROGRESS opt to have someone beat Tyler because he’s already over. This time it’s Pete Dunne with a Flatliner. At least Trent eats the pinfall. Entertaining match up though and pleasing to see upcoming prospects looking this strong. I see big things for these guys.
Final Rating: ***

 

Natural Progression Series III Semi Final
Damon Moser vs. Ashton Smith

Moser’s beard rivals Trent Seven’s beard. Screw the Atlas Division, where’s the Beards division? The championship belt could be really tiny and act as a snood. Ashton Smith is more experienced but is just now reaching the level where he can have this kind of exposure. Ashton is 27 and has been wrestling for almost a decade. Moser is a comparative noob. It’s almost unfair of PROGRESS to put this on after the opener, where four guys got over on cool moves and being new faces. That’s pretty much the expectation for this one too. The execution is a little shaky but without any serious botches. Seeing as the reward for the Natural Progression Series is a title match, I can’t see either of these guys doing that. Moser at one point attempts a Van Terminator and lands it in Ashton’s bollocks. Ashton hits a superkick in response, which doesn’t finish because Moser’s beard cushions the blow. Moser finishes with the Knee Trembler. This was a bit of a mess in truth. Both guys tried hard but the selling was all over the place and the execution wasn’t great.
Final Rating: **

 

Post Match: Pastor William Eaver shows up for a showdown and the difference in character in incredible. Eaver is the finished article now. Moser is not. Should still be a decent match up but I fully expect Eaver to win. Anything else is just wrong.

 

Jinny vs. Toni Storm
On a list of potential riot starting heels in the UK scene, you’d probably be surprised that Jinny is heading to the top of that list. It helps that she’s wrestling a happy-go-lucky babyface in Toni, who everyone loves. Jinny seems obsessed with getting heat and arguing with the fans. Either she’s good at being a heel or she really hates wrestling fans. Either is possible. The work isn’t terribly clean with a few awkward looking spots. As a match it’s not up to much but the crowd destroy Jinny with the abuse. The “Primark Princess” chant is pure gold. Getting that level of heat is almost essential for the women’s division. It puts it on a par with the men. Jinny uses foreign objects like bin bags and lipstick. It’s creative. Toni’s Hulkamania comeback where she tears the plastic bag off is amazing. It’s so much fun. Elizabeth distracts to allow the Facelift to finish. Jinny’s angle with Elizabeth is guaranteed to go somewhere interesting. No downtrodden assistant has ever remained downtrodden in wrestling. The pop when Elizabeth fights back here is formidable. Jinny’s rampage around ringside reminds me of Tiger Jeet Singh in Japan. Chairs flying everywhere and people scurrying to get out of her way. If she’s smart she plants someone at one of these shows and belts them to get people genuinely scared of what she might do.
Final Rating: **1/4

 

Flash Morgan Webster vs. Mark Haskins
This is a total babyface match up, which in itself is a rarity in modern wrestling as, more often than not, one of the faces will be despised by the crowd. Despite being a face, Haskins works as the heel, controlling the pace of the match. The structure allows Webster to fight from underneath. Meaty chops in this one. Echoing around the Ritz. It adds a bit of substance to an already solid contest. Haskins is technically brilliant. The way he rolls into the Sharpshooter is incredible. The way he plans the move is great and then when it’s on he cranks it, like nobody cranks submissions. There used to be a lot more cranking of submissions, making them go from effective to absolutely devastating. Haskins leans way, way back on his Sharpshooter and it looks fantastic. Flash is fast enough to keep up on exchanges but is a step down in technical terms. The dives and on the high spots they exist on an equal footing. Haskins is so smooth and fluid. His transitions into submissions are flawless. They do some awesome mat counters near the finish, from one attempted finish to another until Haskins reverses a pin for the win. Great stuff from these guys. Haskins is at a point where every match he has is good. Like Ospreay only technically sound instead of jaw-droppingly crazy.
Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Progress Atlas Tournament (Block A)
Big Daddy Walter vs. T-Bone

This is the first match in the #BigLadsDivision. T-Bone is representing my county of Worcestershire. Him and Haskins could start a Malvern Mafia! I do love the big lads, Stronkstyle etc. I love the crowd reacting to slams and stuff like we’re in the 80s. As if lifting one of the other big lads is a titanic struggle with shocking results. The ring survives this match but one ringside chair gets annihilated by Walter. He is a furniture wrecker. Good job he wasn’t in the TLC match at Chapter 27. The Big Lads can’t quite emulate the Big Japan style but they have a go. T-Bone has a crack at no selling where he pops up off a German suplex only to get floored by a lariat immediately afterwards. If you like big guys clubbing each other with every big bump greeted by rapturous applause, you should dig this and the Atlas division in general. T-Bone gets terrific reactions for throwing Walter with a fallaway slam, which is sick considering Walter’s size, and a frogsplash finishes for T-Bone. Two big boys smashing each other about. Can’t complain and Worcestershire wins out.
Final Rating: ***

 

Marty Scurll’s Non-Title Open Challenge
Ideally Jimmy Havoc would answer this but seeing as he’s got a debilitating knee injury that won’t happen. Scurll runs a load of cheap heat, including calling the fans “virgins”. “It’s not raining” chant the fans at Marty’s umbrella wielding heeldom. Anyway, Scurll issues an open challenge and Tommy End strolls out nonchalant as you like. The crowd comes unglued.

 

Marty Scurll vs. Tommy End
We speculated, on the BritWres Roundtable podcast, that the Sumerian Death Squad was likely split up because they wanted to push Tommy in singles. Here’s the proof that we were right. End kicks the every loving shit out of Scurll and the chemistry is intensely pleasing. Scurll has some fun counters, going after the shoulder and looking to set up the Chickenwing. The whole superkick/just kidding thing is countered into multiple strikes of death and then Scurll grabs the arm again to stop it. It’s really great work and the idea of a title match is already enticing. It is brutally stiff too. A delight. The sheer number of counters that are brutal strikes, usually kicks or knees, is incredible. “Chicken Wing”…End catches Scurll with a KO roundhouse to the face and just ends him! End draping the belt across Scurll’s face and leaving the champion absolutely dead in the ring is a fantastic visual. I loved this and desperately want a title match.
Final Rating: ****

 

No Disqualification Match
Progress Tag Team Championship
The Origin (El Ligero & Nathan Cruz) (c) vs. FSU (Mark Andrews & Eddie Dennis)
This has to deliver going on after that last match and headlining the show. Ligero’s shield bashing mockery of Mark Andrews is quite sensational. As it’s no DQ they brawl all over the bloody place and don’t do anything stupid like running heat. Origin, as heels, have become quite adept at these wild brawls. They go all over the building in this one, making sure all the fans get a close up look at the match. I’m not sure it would have worked for everyone in the building but everyone does get a moment to admire the grapplers. On video it comes across really well. I love that Origin producing a ladder draws heat due to the crowd hating ladders after the ladder failure at Chapter 27. Mark Andrews taking a swig of a fans beer, and toasting the crowd, is a lovely touch as it shows the connection between the audience and the wrestlers. It’s been a while since a promotion existed that felt like a great big family and that would have been ECW. It’s genuinely touching to see that here. These two teams revel in the thirty minutes they’re given, which is part of what makes PROGRESS special. They allow tag teams to shine and the main event spot has been earned by these four men. They certainly bust a gut to make sure it’s a tonne of fun. The violence handily escalates when they get into the ring and into the bigger spots. Like El Ligero taking a super rana into a pile of thumbtacks. Cruz does the smart thing and tries to clear the tacks away, which involves him kicking them recklessly into the crowd. Lawsuits? What lawsuits? It’ll never happen. The thumbtacks do make a lot of the spots near the end look extremely tentative. There’s just no safe place to land. The Origin manage to knock out both referees to prevent losing. The table makes an appearance at the end of the match, which pretty much makes this a TLC match. Which is, oddly enough, better than the actual TLC at Chapter 27. Eddie Dennis eats a brutally sloppy powerbomb off the apron through a table and two chairs and Andrews gets killed with the Conchairto. That doesn’t finish but a Tombstone on a chair does. This match was utter carnage. Most of it was clean as a whistle too. You couldn’t put something on after this. Cleaning up the ring would take too long. At least there were no light tubes.
Final Rating: ****1/4

Summary: A fine show from PROGRESS, a step up from the somewhat disappointing Chapter 27 show. That show was hampered by the failings of the furniture in the TLC match. This show was less ambitious on paper and yet delivered strongly. The last two matches and Haskins-Webster are well worth going out of your way for. Even the matches on this show that I didn’t rate all that highly they all had heat and there was nothing bad. Not even the Natural Progression match. Despite there being no Ospreay or Sabre Jr. on this show the BritWres train keeps a rolling.
Verdict: 85

PROGRESS Chapter 40 – Intercepted Angel

 

Arnold Furious: December 11, 2016. We’re in Sheffield for Progress’ first show in that city. The switch from Manchester coming because of the Manchester venue double booking them. The band booked at the O2 Ritz? Ash. The title reference on this show is to their song “Angel Interceptor”. The venue is interesting to look at and they’ve lit it just like the Ballroom. I like different venues. Host in the ring is Jim Smallman who blames Ash for ruining the show in Manchester. There’s a small child on the balcony, this will not go well. Also not going well is the hard-cam, which moves around during the playing of music. Perhaps not the sturdiest of locations to mount the camera! RJ Singh and Callum Leslie are on commentary.

 

London Riots vs. The New Nation
New Nation made a splash in losing on their debut. Both looked really solid, especially Primate who I’ve been bigging up all year. The Riots are in a different class after some major title matches during 2016 and they start this fast and hard with flipz. It’s not a totally reinvented Riots though and they head into the lumber before Chris Roberts gets insane heat for being a shit ref and not being able to control anything. The crowd bite on Alex Henry cheering his heel team on and chant “evil Sami Zayn” at him. That’s a form of racism, lads. “You have no soul” yells another fan. More racism. Shocking. The match is four big lads putting a beating on each other. There’s not a lot of selling. It’s meaty. Rob Lynch gets all fired up and pulls off the mask protecting his broken face. That’s a fantastic visual but Rob’s face is suffering. The Big Lads stuff is decent apart from the finish where Rob slightly mistimes the Slingshot Spear. That gets it done and the Riots pick up a rehab win.
Final Rating: ***

 

Natural Progression Series IV
Bea Priestley vs. Toni Storm
Toni would be a firm favourite for this tournament if she wasn’t wrestling so regularly in Japan with Stardom. I really miss having Toni on UK shows regularly. She’s so wonderful. Bea is naturally heel here. She’s Will Ospreay’s girlfriend don’t you know? This is her first match on a Chapter show. She has worked on an ENDVR show before. Toni does a bunch of ass offence so Bea goes after her arm to force Storm to take it more seriously. Bea’s technical work is impressive here. She’s certainly improved over the past year, getting exposure and experience. She’s yet another wrestling teenager. She’s only 19. It’s scary how many teens are in the BritWres system at the moment. Bea’s technical skill allows her to boss big chunks of a match that Toni should dominate based on experience levels. Bea stealing the Cheeky Nando’s gets predictable heat. Bea shows her inexperience when taking Toni’s bigger spots. Her bumps and sells are a bit rough. Toni finishes relatively quickly with the Australian Jam. This was fine. Excited to see the semi-final’s and final of this tournament when we get into the business end of things. The three semi-finallists thus far are Toni, Nixon Newell and Jinny. That should be good.
Final Rating: **1/4

 

Atlas Championship Open Challenge
Rampage Brown (c) is out first. His opponent is Dave Mastiff…dressed as “Banter Claus”. He’s accompanied to the ring by Elf Ligero. This is not well received by Christmas hating heel Nathan Cruz. They come out to Wizzard’s “I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day” for fuck’s sake. Dave Mastiff dressed as Santa is my new favourite wrestler. I’ve never seen so many people smiling. Even Rampage has a massive grin across his face. It’s beautiful. “Fuck him up, Santa, fuck him up!” Dave wrestles the match with the white in his beard. It’s not just banter and beatings, there’s actual psychology in this as Rampage works over Dave’s hand to limit his offence. There’s one person singing Christmas songs during this match. It’s not catching on at all. I don’t care. It’s everything that’s wonderful about the season: drunkenness. When the banter starts to dry up they beat the shit out of each other. Mastiff might be the most underrated wrestler in the country. He’s been doing the Big Lad style for years at a high standard. He’s an innovator! Dave misses the Cannonball and gets planted with the piledriver in a satisfying piece of Santacide. No news on whether the child on the upper deck got Izzy levels of upset at this outcome.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

No Disqualification
Marty Scurll vs. Jimmy Havoc
Marty brings a brolly. Havoc brings a fucking axe! Now that’s the correct level of preparation for a no DQ match. Havoc’s first move of the match, after getting his axe taken away by the crew, is to dive over the first two rows! This is a crazy brawl where they wipe out entire sections of chairs. Marty goes for conventional WWE-esque weapons but Jimmy has other ideas. He’s hardcore so he brings a staple gun. The brawl heads too far away from the ring and camera bums out. Most of the chairs end up in the ring, thanks to Jimmy asking for help. It stops short of Terry Funk stupidly asking for chairs in the ECW Arena, thankfully. Mainly because people want to keep their chairs. What chairs do make it into the ring get decimated by chair stacking spots. Both guys bring a tonne of personality to the dance to the point where people can’t help but cheer for Marty, a rarity in Progress. Or perhaps a concern regarding Havoc as a face. One of the biggest spots in the match is a table spot off the stage. They tease it a lot before Havoc, aiming for a spear, flies through the table solo. That gets a one count. The contest has that big match vibe and Havoc ups the ante by chucking drawing pins all over the ring. Scurll takes a sickening back suplex into those. Followed by a DVD. Holy shit. He’s like a pincushion. Acid Rainmaker finishes and Marty can hobble to the locker room and have those fucking thumbtacks taken out. Jesus.
Final Rating: ****

 

Jim Smallman gets a quick read on the makeup of the Northernness of the room. A “chips and gravy” chant breaks out. That’s how you know you’re Oop North, lads.

 

The Origin (Nathan Cruz & El Ligero) vs. FSU
Crowd hate Cruz but are in favour of Ligero seeing as he’s into Christmas. Nathan does not like banter because he’s a total prick. It’s ok though because it’s time to Party Hard! FSU are the high bar firing up a crowd. FSU have a jolly good time beating up Nathan. Ligero immediately turns the match into a delicious farce by getting on Roberts’ shoulders for a chicken fight! FSU respond in turn and Nathan Cruz is not best pleased. When Cruz refuses to help Mastiff jumps in there! Eddie manages to whip Mastiff off the ropes, with Ligero on his shoulders. My God. “Tall lads wrestling”. When the heels attempt a leapfrog it all goes wrong and Ligero rolls up Mastiff for the three count.

Hang on, what?

“Match of the year”. Things speed up slightly after that with Cruz looking to institute some actual wrestling, rather than the spectacularly goofy work beforehand. The Origin continue to miscue, clearly struggling to get on the same page. The Origin vs. FSU was a great main event earlier in the year when the tag belts were involved. Here it’s very different. Example? Ligero pulls out a bag of Celebrations and scatters them across the ring. The crowd launch into a spectacular rendition of “Celebration” by Kool & The Gang and Ligero gets rolled up for the pin. I have no idea how to rate this but I had a wonderful time watching. Nathan rejects the offers of post match sweets, which enrages The Bastard! Finally a special Christmas miracle; the Prime Banter Squad make friends with Joe (@oldathers). Tis the season to end all this fussin’ and feudin’!
Final Rating: Banter

 

Adam Cole vs. Will Ospreay
The opening moments involve a lot of posing, BAY BAY. This doesn’t last long as Cole turns himself heel by shoving Ospreay off the top rope. There’s an argument that in Indie wrestling the lack of heel/face structure hurts things. Which is arguably demonstrated here with Cole being heel and then doing a crowd-friendly mockery spot right afterwards. Then immediately doing the ‘move the crowd and do no move’ bullshit. Only at least he switches that up by throwing Will into the crowd after they’ve moved back. The crowd, cheering on the heel, proceed to do the “Moose” thing in the counts. Sheffield, you’re ruining it for the world. I have a further issue with the match, which is Cole’s mediocre work being contrasted by Ospreay’s world-beating innovation. They’re not close enough together, in terms of skill, to make it a believable match. I thought the exact same thing of Cole-Ospreay for the ROH title in New Japan. Adam Cole is a perfectly fine wrestler but he’s not in Will’s league. And it’s not like Taguchi, who could raise his game. Cole is just Cole.

They go into a few striking sequences to make things more interesting but that just shows up the astonishing inconsistencies in selling. It’s mainly from Cole. Will’s selling generally makes sense. He stays down when he should. The inconsistencies are such that Jim Ross would *hate* this. The antics are entertaining, once selling has been largely abandoned, and we get cool spots like Will getting superkicked out of the air going for the Oscutter. I get wound up by Cole not grabbing the ropes when they’re in reach during the pin on an Imploding 450. That makes no sense. It’s actively bad psychology. The match continues to escalate as they trade big spots in an attempt to finish things. Will’s selling gets genuinely good as he takes the superkicks down the stretch. The pop up at one after the ‘execution’ superkick is incredible far contrast of this, but it still makes sense. He’s found that one last reserve of energy. Another Oscutter attempt meets with the superkick and Cole finishes with the brainbuster over the knee. The athleticism in this was impressive and Ospreay brought the kind of fight that defies his 0-8 record in Progress since losing the title. I didn’t like a lot of Cole’s work in the match though, despite his hand in making the match epic. It leaves me torn over the rating. I liked a lot of things about the match but they were almost all from Will.
Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Video Control gives us clips from the outstanding British Strong Style interview. I love that Trent Seven and Peter are wearing the same gear here, where they talk about using the titles to sign contracts on, as they were during the WWE UK Championship tournament reveal. That’s some deep psychology. They must have known.

 

Progress World Championship
Pete Dunne (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Peter gets a touch upset at the crowd reaction to him as champion. Luckily Tyler Bate is out here to watch his back. The crowd seem quite drunk at this point and you can hear people screaming “Peter!” Tyler gets a little bit worked up and runs into the ring, resulting in Roberts actually doing something for once in his life and ejecting young Master Bate! This allows ZSJ to take over and control the match with his technical excellence. This is a brand new challenge for Dunne. Being the Progress champion and having to fend off challengers of this quality. He’s done it elsewhere, and beat Zack in OTT earlier in the year, but this is a major test of his resolve. Pete responds by sticking to his strengths. He bites Zack and gouges the face. The Sheffield fans continue to not cover themselves in glory as I hear a “shit Jack Swagger” attempt from one guy. On your own pal. You may be at the wrong show. Dunne’s aggression here is a joy to behold. If he left the contest as a straight up technical match it wouldn’t be realistic for him to hang with Zack. So he approaches it with a range of heelish tactics.

Zack is equally aggressive in response, at one point standing and stamping on Dunne’s head. Peter’s insistence at turning this into a fight gives him a narrow advantage as Zack tends to temper his aggression to be within the wrestling environment. Whenever Zack tries to slip back into wrestling Pete brings him back into a fight. That doesn’t always work in his favour though, because ZSJ is tough, and at one point Pete gets knocked silly by a slap. It’s a good match, largely because Sabre controls the pace and makes sure Dunne doesn’t look lost or out of his depth in his first title defence. In a way Pete justifies being given this spot but it helps he’s working Sabre, massively. Dunne impresses with his power and he’s been gaining weight constantly for years. The mixture of technical skill, striking and power puts him in Sabre’s league. The double Tombstone spot is very impressive. The way he jacks Sabre back up shows that core strength. The match is long, over thirty minutes, and incredibly intense for a match of that length. It ends when Pete manages to score the Drop Dead. Sabre does a magnificent job of selling the fatigue on the cover by flailing his legs around but lacking the strength to actually kick out. Excellent match. Kudos to Progress for letting it go that long and let them develop a layered story.
Final Rating: ****1/2

 

Summary: I wasn’t that excited to watch Chapter 40 but when will I learn that there’s no such thing as a skippable Progress show. They’re all great. If it wasn’t for Fight Club Pro being even more consistent during 2016 they’d be my promotion of year. Another very good show here. Dunne-Sabre and Havoc-Scurll were both excellent in different ways. I hear the live crowd had mixed feelings about Havoc-Scurll due to them brawling all over the place. It might not have come across as well live as it does on tape. I get the feeling people will like Ospreay-Cole more than me too. I feel like I artificially increased my rating on that to match to convey how excited the crowd were. Everything was solid on this show. Nothing bad. Some very good wrestling and some great comedy stuff from the Origin’s banter squad. I’m tempted to call Mastiff and Ligero joint MVP’s for this show based on their fine comedic talents. This is also a great show for Pete Dunne. He came here and proved he deserved that title belt. If he won the title in slightly dubious fashion he certainly retained it in convincing style.
Verdict: 91

PROGRESS Chapter 41 – Unboxing Live

Arnold Furious: December 30, 2016. We’re in Camden at the Electric Ballroom. I was at this show and it was one of the rowdiest, drunken shows I’ve ever attended in my entire life. The lads, of which I’m included, got tipsy in the Ice Wharf before the show and had been drinking for three hours by the time Jim Smallman stepped into the ring to address the crowd. We all piled into the same area of the Ballroom and I couldn’t see as well as I usually can. This meant I was very close to the bar…and this was very dangerous as I continued to drink for the entire show. To the point where the bar staff, all of them, knew what I was drinking. I get the feeling I wasn’t alone in my lack of sobriety. You can tell as the crowd agree to recreate the Lion King and fail horribly at singing in unison. Commentary comes from RJ Singh and Glen Joseph. The latter looks like Buddy Holly.

 

South Pacific Power Trip vs. FSU & Nixon Newell
Crowd react huge for everyone. That’s always a good sign and Party Hard is such a brilliant song to kick a show off. The faces are all Welsh, which gets a brief “Wales” chant before the crowd turn on the idea. It’s testament to Nixon and Travis that they wrestle an entirely convincing sequence to open the match. Nothing is made of the gender. The concept behind this match is to get the crowd going with a fiery hot opener. It works. They have a kiss-off spot that is amazing. Eddie threatens to kiss Dahlia so TK threatens to kiss Nixon and Andrews and Travis find themselves facing off. That’s a bit weird. They have an awkward stand off afterwards before a handshake while the crowd chant “we don’t judge”. Only in this company could you get the awkward kissing spot and pay it off like that. The Power Trip do oblige with awkward sex positions selling. Travis, mate, your mouth is getting everywhere on this show. When the match is more serious it still takes place at a blinding pace and in front of appreciative audience. Dahlia’s series of crotch kicks is great, because it leads to Nixon doing a series of headbutts, including one straight to TK’s fist. Shiniest Wizard pins Dahlia. I make no apologies for adoring this match.
Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Post Match: the Welsh trio dance to B*Witched. It’s every bit as great as that sounds. Love the graps. Smallman’s “Weekend At Bernie’s” reference is equally brilliant. One match in and this is a late candidate for ‘most fun show of 2016’.

 

Toni Storm vs. Kay Lee Ray
This is a match I’ve been screaming out for so kudos to Progress for actually putting it on. They’re probably the two best women talents available to UK promotions. KLR takes a few shortcuts despite being cheered. She’s only wrestled once for Progress and she was a heel then. Toni, when quizzed about topics for discussion on commentary offered: “well, I use my arse a lot”. Aussies. They do some mat grappling and, shock of shocks, it’s really good. I think I’d prefer a straight up match but KLR deliberately leans heel to give it a specific structure. They have some nifty ideas including suplexes and strikes. Toni uses her posterior throughout. Sometimes it’s goofy and ineffective but when she gets up a head of steam it’s brutal. KLR tries a few different tactics; Gorybomb, senton and a front choke. Toni finds a way out of all of it and finishes with a piledriver. These two are as close to the finished article in women’s BritWres so this was always going to be good. I’m looking forward to seeing how good Toni will be in a few years time. She’s oozing with potential.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Wasteman Challenge
Bodyguy has a new Twitter handle (@RoyJohnsonYeah). Get on it. He’s a good follow. Roy calls himself the “one and only Bodyguy” because his old Twitter handle got snapped up by Ellis. This provokes a chant of “fuck you Daniel”…who’s in the building. Awkward. The surprise opponent for the Wasteman Challenge is Mad Man Manson! He’s retired and hasn’t wrestled for two years. His last Progress date was in 2014 against Michael Gilbert (better known as Mikey Whiplash). Manson greets Johnson with “thank you black man”. “This is a race war”. “I’m like a really shit version of Grado”. “Everyone else has been signed so they had to get me”. He’s been retired for two years learning to rap. Crowd chant “drop some bars”. “I have none on me”. “Is there a hard cam in here?” “This is why William Regal wouldn’t sign me. He signed every other fucker”. Roy spends the promo chuckling uncontrollably. “I was not in prison, that’s fucking bullshit”. Johnson’s rhymes include mentioning Manson’s reversal issues (press R2) and singing “My Heart Will Go On”. Like, actually, for real. “Let me lip sync the song of my people”. Yes, Manson lip syncs to Wham instead of actually responding via the medium of rap. My favourite in-ring segment of 2016.

 

Progress Tag Team Championship
British Strong Style (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. The London Riots vs. The Leaders of the New School
LDRS are a big surprise third team with Marty coming out first before unveiling Sabre from a box. The belts are vacant after Pete Dunne tried to give his title to Tyler. Scurll, usually a bad guy, is instantly turned face by teaming with Sabre and he’s more playful than usual. There’s something about the LDRS being paired up that makes both men more entertaining and they’re already two of the best in the world! Marty taking so long to the run the ropes that Davis escapes a Sabre hold into the ropes is peak silly Scurll. The match gets really good when they hit the faked dives spot leading to James Davis doing an insane tope that wipes out three other guys. Davis also stars in a submission chain. He yells “I don’t know any submissions” before applying a headlock. Trent chops the whole thing apart after being unable to figure out how to add his own submission. Trent is too funny to be a heel. He walks a fine line on all of these Progress shows. It’s one that Peter kept him firmly on the heel side of. Once we get super serious the match becomes a spree of near falls and teams being unable to get one man isolated for the pin. Scurll is so over in this match that the build to him declaring a “Chickenwing” is deafening. Moustache Mountain manage to pick off Sabre for successive piledrivers and Tyler gets the pin to claim his tag shield.
Final Rating: ****

 

Post Match: Trent and Tyler pantomime signing WWE contracts on the tag shields and in a stupendously dickish move Seven gets Bate to give him a Too Sweet sign afterwards. After that Jim Smallman gives a shout out to Sophie Owen (@legallyblonde22) for attending fifty Indie shows this year. Well played.

 

Progress World Championship
Pete Dunne (c) vs. Fabian Aichner
Pete promises in 2017 he’s “leaving for good” and taking the belt with him. Peter draws a lot of heat and Aichner doesn’t have to work hard to get love from the audience. What he does do is budget Cesaro antics. He’s very good at it. Dunne’s response is largely vicious. Going after the nose, or biting the fingers. It’s a level of savagery that sets him apart. Aichner, content to operate within the rules, is at a disadvantage. He tries to compensate by delivering a huge array of stuff from his incredible leaping springboard to the floor to his stern lariat. He has an impressive range of skills. Until Pete forearms him out of the air. I love that spot. It reminds me of Samoa Joe stepping out of the way of fliers big spots. Only there’s no disdain here, only aggression. Aichner misses his double springboard and Drop Dead finishes. This was a rock solid title defence.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Post Match: Pete nails his heel persona by saying he’ll “see you on the Network” before basking in the heat from the one standing section. What a fucking year this man had.

 

Sebastian & William Eaver vs. Sex on the Beach (Jack Sexsmith & Chuck Mambo)
I headed to the bar as soon as Seb came out here and I was not alone. I vaguely remember apologising to Jack in the World’s End (unless I dreamt that). These are all the lads from the Progress training school and while Seb’s mate, Tom Irvin, isn’t around anymore Eaver and Mambo are pals. So they don’t want to fight. At least among other inexperienced wrestlers Seb doesn’t look out of his depth but the other three are here to entertain. Seb is just the heel. His presence is important for the dynamic of the match but his work doesn’t do anything for me. It kills the momentum. He does take better bumps here than in bigger matches but his selling is all over the place. Some people just aren’t cut out for wrestling. The gimmick of the match is that Sexsmith gives Seb a stinkface and he ends up with poop on his nose, so he vomits on the floor and then slips on it. You’ve taken this too far lads. Seb forces Eaver to lariat Mambo, which is mean. They lost me at the nose business.
Final Rating: ¼*

 

Jimmy Havoc vs. Will Ospreay
This angle has come back full circle. Jimmy is now the beloved babyface and Ospreay is the heel (although he enters as a face). Although Havoc has done little to be a face, other than returning from injury at Brixton. Will is fully aware that Havoc has never apologised for all the dick things he’s done. Ospreay’s attitude is in evidence immediately as he volleys one streamer out of the ring and catches another without looking. Will brings incredible aggression, spearing Havoc into the fourth row. Havoc’s response is to start flipping around like a maniac. Jimmy does a great job of selling his knee, which is what he was out injured with for so long and Ospreay goes after the knee like a son of a bitch. The great thing about Ospreay is we know what a phenomenal flippity dude he is but we’ve barely scraped the surface of his personality. He is a cocky little shit. There’s an awesome spot in this where Havoc no sells the Canadian Destroyer, by grabbing his neck and cracking it back into place, before flooring Ospreay with the Rainmaker. Will doing the Cheeky Nando’s kick to the knee is just perfect. What a prick. His speed allows him to do incredible things. Everything seems so purposeful and direct. Even a toned down Ospreay is remarkable. Perhaps even more remarkable because he does basics incredibly well. The match is all about Ospreay but Havoc comes firing back with an array of Japanese favourites including the GTS and the Burning Hammer. The selling goes completely out the window down the stretch, which hurts the match a touch. Jimmy pulls out the win with an Acid Rainmaker, although if Ospreay had not fired up in between the two big Japanese spots this would have worked better. Still an outstanding performance from Ospreay. World beating stuff throughout. Excellent execution.
Final Rating: ****1/4

 

Post Match: Jimmy Havoc points out he deserves a broken rib for “trying to murder you and shit”. “Me and you, we built this company”. Jimmy asks for Will’s help in fighting British Strong Style. He even apologises. Will shakes hands and then kicks Havoc in the nuts just as he’s mouthing “thank you”. What a prick. As he’s continuing the assault out comes Paul Robinson with a barbwire baseball bat and he gives it to Ospreay! They were a tag team before Robbo was in Regression, listening to Havoc’s anti-Progress rhetoric. I love Will symbolically putting on black gloves to beat Jimmy down.

 

Summary: A hugely enjoyable show. I regret getting a bit too tipsy during the second half and blame…people who bought me drinks? Nah, I blame myself. Importantly I had a good time though and was able to watch the main event back at my leisure thanks to Demand Progress. Excellent show and a strong way to finish a great year in BritWres.
Verdict: 93

RevPro Live At The Cockpit 13

Arnold Furious: February 5, 2017. We’re in London at the Cockpit. Rev Pro have a new ring announcer and a new commentary team. The lack of Quildan is weird. After five minutes of it I miss both Quildan and even Simmonz. Hosts are Luke Bond and Danny Darnell. Both sound bored. The latter is an absolute grind and some of his analysis was akin to listening to paint dry. Sorry lads.

 

Dan Magee vs. Zack Gibson
Rather predictably Zack gets heavily booed for doing his “Liverpool’s number one” promo. It’s not as heated as it is in Progress, sadly. Rev Pro fans hate loud noises. I love that Magee is being given the chance to work his way up the card. He’s looked solid in the ‘Contenders’ matches. This match is rock solid although it has a weird spot where Rob Lias puts Magee’s foot on the ropes after the Ticket to Ride lands. Clearly they’re working a slow burning feud with Magee and Lias, similar to the Sabre-Scurll one. Gibson takes advantage of this to roll Magee up into the Shankly Gates. Obviously this was very storyline heavy. Magee and Lias actually having a story is encouraging though.
Final Rating: **3/4

 

Post-match: Magee tells Lias he doesn’t need him so Rob bashes him in the jaw. That ungrateful swine Magee deserved it.

 

Lord Gideon Grey vs. Timothy Thatcher
Thatcher comes out wearing his Ringkampf gear. I like how wXw’s angles are bleeding into BritWres. Thatcher is widely disliked for his deliberate wrestling style. I’m fine with it but I can understand why people don’t care for it. Gideon actually decides to go one on one with the technical grappling. It’s quite fun. Thatcher runs through an assortment of torturous holds and Gideon responds with a healthy mixture of cheating and technical prowess. I’m shocked at how much I enjoy the match. Has Gideon turned into a technician? Thatcher blocks a low blow and goes right into the Fujiwara armbar for the submission. This was one of the best singles matches I’ve ever seen from Gideon. Has he switches gears somewhat? The new look and especially his new gear would suggest a change of tack.
Final Rating: ***

 

The London Riots vs. Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman
This is a big challenge for the young lads from the Contender’s division. They’re both heavily out of their depth, in terms of experience and size. Chapman tries but the Riots just murder this poor kid. It’s a torturous outing for the Contender’s. Recently WALTER destroyed Travis Banks & TK Cooper at a Progress show. This is a bit like that, only more pronounced. Kurtis takes a thrashing here. The match is exceptionally lopsided with Davis pulling Kurtis up from a pin at one point. They finish when it suits them and the Riots get the easy win. The Contender’s took a shellacking. It was enjoyable. Total squash though.
Final Rating: **1/2

 

Post-match: James Castle, upset that the Contender’s pinned him last time, runs in to beat them down and get his heat back.

 

Marty Scurll vs. Luke Phoenix
I honestly thought Phoenix retired. I last saw him a decade ago in 1PW. He’s announced as making his return after eight years away from the ring. That’s how you know a scene is buzzing, you get long-retired guys reappearing. RJ Singh had this spot recently, against Sabre. Now it’s Phoenix returning. Phoenix looks in reasonable condition, especially on the mat, and he’s not as rusty as expected. Rev Pro are clearly happy to have him back as they’ve put him in this marquee match up. Considering he’s been gone for a decade, it’s quite the surprise to see him look this effective. Unfortunately he’s not familiar with his surroundings and takes a back bump on the steps. It takes a while for the crowd to buy into Phoenix but when he gets all fired up the match is pretty good. Phoenix doesn’t operate on Marty’s level but then Scurll is a world-beater at the moment. Phoenix looks off Marty’s pace and can’t nail enough effective moves to convince me he can compete. It leaves Scurll looking dumb at times for lying in position for something before it happens. There’s the ring rust. I don’t know if it’s intentional but Phoenix does throw in the same hold that Axel Dieter Jr. used to beat Scurll in wXw. If that was intentional that’s solid psychology. Marty ends up killing Phoenix with piledrivers to soften up the neck and the Chickenwing finishes. This got really good as it progressed. Phoenix has a degree of rust but they put together a good story of Marty getting frustrated and having to pull out all the stops to beat a guy he thought he could steamroller.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Travis Banks vs. Ryan Smile
The crowd is irritatingly quiet for what should be a banger of a contest. Travis is extremely underrated when it comes to selling and comedy. His comedy selling in this match is grand. For the most part Travis dictates the pace, being the heel, and he puts a prolonged beating on Smile. Ryan, naturally, responds with a wacky dive. Travis kicks him in the face repeatedly in response. It’s a really solid match with snug work and Ryan hitting a few big spots down the stretch, including lifting the Oscutter. Frog Splash finishes and Smile picks up the big win. Before he has time to celebrate in comes Chris Brookes. The beatdown is really entertaining. I want to see CCK vs. Uptown Funkers at some point. Make it happen Rev Pro.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Dave Mastiff vs. Eddie Dennis
This is a healthy slice of Big Lads wrestling. Eddie gives as good as he gets and lots of heavy lumber is brought to the party. Big Dave throwing his weight around is pretty terrifying. Especially his double stomp. Dave wrestling as a generic heel around the UK is odd to me, considering how over he’s gotten as a face in Progress with the banter. There’s no banter here, just lumber. I had the chance to listen to Eddie do a few podcasts recently and his personality is excellent. He has that larger than life vibe. I wish there was a way for both men to get their personalities across more here. Instead the match is more of a grind. Eddie does impress every time he lifts Big Dave off the mat. The silent crowd is perhaps a telling measure as to how well the match works. It has peaks where something crazy happens but it’s not a consistently good contest. Dave hooks the “Bostin” crab and gets the submission. This was sporadically impressive but hurt by a quiet crowd. An issue for the majority of the night. Ed, who was in attendance, blames “Rumble flu” for it.
Final Rating: ***

 

RPW Interim Cruiserweight Championship
Josh Bodom (c) vs. Oliver Carter
Carter is an Alex Wright trainee from Austria. He made his Rev Pro debut toward the end of last year defeating James Castle in Portsmouth. At least that means he’s unbeaten in RPW and therefore a reasonable challenger for this Interim title. Bodom is starting to gain support from the crowd and perhaps it’s his more exciting move set that has encouraged that. He hits another flip off the apron here, landing squarely on Carter’s head and jamming his neck up. Carter doesn’t help himself by hitting some reckless dives. You cannot beat a crazy outta control dive. At least one of his dives results in a horrible sounding thud noise. Carter wins me over effortlessly and Bodom steps up to his level. It’s another excellent showing from him in a streak of them. I’m not sure his heel persona is quite right for the style he’s wrestling but he’s proving himself worthy of the push he’s getting from Andy Q. The timing on the strikes is excellent and it’s technically solid too. I’m totally sold on Carter. Bodom shows moments of experience here that impress me. His ring positioning to get his foot on the rope after the springboard cutter is perfect. Bodom takes it, although Carter survives the Blissbuster first to add to his CV. Carter needs to be used everywhere immediately.
Final Rating: ****

 

Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Mike Bailey
This is a game of chess. Well, it’s not, it’s a wrestling match but it’s a wrestling match that’s heavily reliant on tactics and in that respect it’s a bit like a game of chess. They feel each other out with Sabre looking for openings and Bailey looking to land a kick. This being Sabre it’s a technically sound match with a lot of very good mat work. You’d expect nothing less from Zack. Bailey’s response is the Karate Kid crane kick after his leg has been worked over. That’s just a desperation move in the midst of a sea of limb abuse though. In the sea there’s a shark and that shark is Zack Sabre Jr. He chomps away on that leg, switching holds and varying his attacks. Normally limb work can be a chore to sit through but Sabre has such a massive arsenal that he can keep things interesting. Bailey puts in an excellent turn wrestling defensively too. Mainly through kicks but also with grappling. There’s a slight issue where Bailey starts using his bad leg like nothing happened but it’s quickly forgotten because they start beating the shit out of each other. It is a bit weird to have so much leg focus throughout the match only to completely abandon it at the end but this is modern wrestling. Bailey’s offence, when he can’t be fucked to sell his leg, is mightily impressive. Sabre ties Bailey in knots and invents a new submission finisher to put him away. He does that a lot. This would have been far superior if they’d done the incredible stuff in the first half and then Sabre wore him down with leg holds to get the submission in the second half. That said both halves of the match were excellent but they didn’t click together.
Final Rating: ***3/4

 

Post-match: Sabre puts Ospreay or Shibata on notice and suggests he’ll go to Japan to get his belt back if he has to.

 

Summary: Rev Pro has started the year strongly but despite this show looking good on paper there were a lot of disappointing elements to it. Firstly the decision to switch commentary and ring announcer. None of the new guys did anything for me. I really missed the dulcet tones of Andy Quildan and the announce team sounded bored. This show also had a streak of matches where one guy was far superior to the other in one respect or another. Whether it be Scurll wrestling inactive Phoenix or the Riots squashing the Contender’s. The theme was present throughout the show. The only match that took a 50-50 approach was Smile vs. Banks and Ryan was strangely subdued in that contest. That said the standard of wrestling was high and the show was mostly enjoyable. Special praise for Bodom and Carter, putting on an excellent semi-main event. Probably the best singles match I’ve seen from Bodom and a great introduction to Eurograps star Carter for me. Another thumbs up show from Rev Pro but the concern lingers that the presentation was weaker here than on recent shows.
Verdict: 81

RevPro Live At The Cockpit 16

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.
Verdict: 76

RevPro Live at the Cockpit 17

 

Arnold Furious: June 4, 2017. We’re in the Cockpit Theatre, swiftly becoming a hot venue for Rev Pro to run. The shows that emanate from there tend to be consistently good. This was the day after the London terror attack and Andy Q thanks everyone for coming out and supporting professional wrestling. Hosts on commentary are Andy Quildan and Andy Boy Simmonz.

 

El Phantasmo vs. David Starr
This is El Phantasmo’s UK debut. He’s a Canadian grappler. Considering his outlandish name he looks remarkably normal. He does have a cool entrance though, coming out in the dark wearing neon gear. His entrance music has the lyrics “I’m a f*ck*ng headbanger” and Andy Q is beside himself. “I didn’t realise there would be quite so much swearing in that song”. Andy Q is so pure. El Phantasmo was recommended by Kyle O’Reilly apparently. Phantasmo is heavy on the mockery so Starr loses his patience. It’s interesting to see Starr get rattled and the chops he delivers are tremendous. Phantasmo gets over on personality before popping off spots, which is a decent approach for a newcomer. Commentary discuss Phantasmo and how he’s decided to come to the UK for a year to see how he fares. He certainly impresses with a few moves off the top rope. Especially when Starr rolls across the ring to avoid one and still gets caught with a ridiculous missile dropkick. Phantasmo comes unstuck ‘going to the well’ of high flying and Starr beats him with the JML Driver. This was a really solid opening match. Phantasmo got his character across and I’m sure has secured himself a future booking.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

The London Riots vs. Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman
Josh Wall is also known as Kelly Six. Wall is his trimmed down, no gimmick approach. Just black trunks and all business, as is the Contenders way. The Riots try for the Authors of Pain Super Collider spot but it’s horribly and obviously botched. The crowd, already quiet, completely no sell it. You could hear a pin drop. The lads get the crowd back by doing basics; brawling and dives. Commentary decide to razz on the youngsters; calling Chapman skinny and Wall chubby within moments of each other. Not that Wall is fat or anything, he just needs to tone up that belly. Or wrestle in a t-shirt like the Riots. The match is littered with untidy moments and hurried recovery spots. Both youngsters have wobbles but recover from them admirably. The match is at its best when the Riots bowl the kids over with power. There are not enough moments like that, as the match is structured to make the Contenders look good. Chris Brookes shows up and steals JD’s cricket bat allowing Travis Banks to blindside Davis and Kurtis gets the pin! If this match hadn’t suffered from so many unfortunate miscommunications it would have been really good.
Final Rating: **3/4

 

RPW Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship
Josh Bodom (c) vs. Ashley Dunn
No offence to Ashley Dunn but this screams ‘routine defence’. Dunn has only been in the business for 18 months and everything about him reflects that. From his movement to his crowd interaction to his appearance. He’s a work in progress. Bodom on the other hand has had a breakout year. His title victory over Will Ospreay is hands-down the best match I’ve ever seen him have. Here Bodom bullies the smaller Dunn, rightly so. It’s an uphill struggle to convince the fans that Dunn is a genuine contender. Ashley gets murdered with the Blissbuster very early but kicks out. I’m not sure I agree with that line of thinking. “You’re the third best Dunn in Britain” says Bodom. He’s not lying! I don’t think that’s even an insult. Ashley botches a crescent kick so they repeat the spot. Josh looks slightly annoyed at this turn of events. Generally the match isn’t going as he’d hoped and he finds himself waiting for Dunn more often than is ideal. Bodom tries to compensate by hitting bigger spots but the longer the match continues the less likely it is that Dunn isn’t beaten. Bodom’s stuff is so much crisper and the delivery is so superior that my initial feeling, that this is a mismatch, continues to be proven. Dunn takes some serious abuse, including the finish, which is a dropkick to the back of the head that looks like death. Bodom should have won much quicker than he did and Dunn took his abuse like a man but he didn’t belong in this match. Perhaps a better choice of offence from Dunn would have helped matters. He needed to be quick, sneaky and try roll ups and dives. As soon as that Blissbuster hit, the match should have been over.
Final Rating: **1/4

 

Eddie Dennis vs. Donovan Dijak
Dijak had a great run of matches against Josh Bodom for Rev Pro. Dennis is a lot closer in terms of size but maybe not in intensity. Andy Q brings the factoids; Eddie Dennis has never won a match in Rev Pro. That feels like a long-term booking concept. The match is two big lads bouncing off each other. “Come on Donovan Dijak, if that is your real name” makes Dijak break. Eddie Dennis is a funny f*ck*r. Dijak has done his homework and recognises Eddie’s “Next Stop Driver”, busting out a counter. Commentary is fairly critical of Eddie Dennis “pandering” to the crowd. The match dies on its arse as the pace slows and the intensity fades. I have a hard time with Eddie Dennis. I love him and his character but his matches don’t do a lot for me. He’s far better off in tags. Dijak makes amends by throwing Dennis around but it doesn’t bring the crowd back. They get into some beefy big spots down the stretch to get them back with Eddie surviving a string of big spots. Eddie is a guy who can kick out of big spots because he’s got that size to make it realistic. It feels like the finish but they go on to brawl some more before more big spots and dives. Dijak is getting good at match structure. Making me feel like the match is finished but then realistically carrying on is good for business. A common theme is that Dijak is much stronger than Dennis and frequently Eddie struggles to carry Dijak’s massive frame. I really like how the match becomes a struggle at the finish. Both guys looking tired and struggling to get their opponent up into moves. Eventually Dijak has too much for Eddie and downs him with the Feast Your Eyes knee strike. I didn’t enjoy the first half of this but it kept getting better and better. Dijak is on his way to superstardom.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

Promo Time: Rob Lias
He’s out here to chat with Andy Q. The fans are still calling him Ricky. Rob, trying to escape the Contender’s division, bitches about his music and his “stupid black trunks”. Have you looked in the mirror mate? It looks like you murdered the cast of the Muppets and made a patchwork jacket of their pelts.

 

Zack Gibson vs. Angelico
Gibson doing his promo gets a load of heat, as per usual, and talks smack about Will Ospreay. Andy Simmonz has no idea who Angelico is and struggles with his birthplace. South…..Engl…Africa. Gibson hating the flippy wrestlers is a good storyline. Gibson technically grounding fliers and then selling for their wacky offence is a solid contest every time. Andy Q shoots from the hip in this one calling World of Sport “pish”. Angelico looks a little uncomfortable and moves glacially slowly when running the ropes. It’s the second time this year that Gibson has turned up ready for a midcard masterpiece and has been met with a poor performance from his opponent; after Hirooki Goto. Maybe Angelico is just worried about hurting someone he’s not worked with before but all his strikes look soft. The actual structure of the match is fine, as they tell a basic heel vs. face routine with Gibson targeting the arm to set up the Shankly Gates. It’s all a bit lifeless and Angelico doesn’t bring much in the way of fire. As the match progresses and they become more familiar with each other it improves. Especially Gibson coming off the top and getting caught with a flying knee. Like with Dennis-Dijak it improves as the match progresses and the finish is neat. Gibson blocks the Bucklebomb and hits Helter Skelter to set up the Shankly Gates. It wouldn’t be the worst idea to put the belt on Gibson because he gets lots of heat and he’s not had a big main event run outside of Futureshock. There are unique main events to be had.
Final Rating: ***

 

Jinny vs. Nina Samuels
Nina is La Diablesa Rosa in Lucha Britannia. This is her Rev Pro debut. They set out to showcase some technical stuff by doing the Guerrero-Malenko near falls. It’s on the bigger spots where the wheels come off. Jinny bumping a couple of times off minimal contact where she was expecting to get her clock cleaned. Nina’s gear puts me off slightly too. It looks like beach attire from the 1970s. The match is far better with Jinny on offence as Nina seems happy selling and Jinny has gotten confident enough to work snug and make her spots look realistic. After Nina has taken a kicking she gets her shit together. They put together a streak of moves that look good, including a backbreaker that leaving Jinny holding her spine for the rest of the match. Makeover, which Nina somehow manages to flip bump on, finishes. I liked this but it was too sloppy to begin with. Jinny continues to improve in leaps and bounds.
Final Rating: **1/2

 

Zack Sabre Jr & Davey Boy Smith Jr vs. #CCK (Chris Brookes & Travis Banks)
The two juniors are not merely thrown together as a team. They both represent Suzuki-gun, even though Davey Jr hasn’t been over to New Japan recently. #CCK are not defending the belts here. Presumably because the Juniors have no history as a team. Davey has not been part of the UK Revival and has spent most of his career overseas. He’s ok as a talent but I feel like his development was arrested during his WWE stint and although he’s only 30 years old it feels like he’s run out of things to do with his career. Sabre vs. Banks is great, as per usual, but whenever Davey is in there the match is less interesting. He does a decent number on Brookes’ leg to try and chop the tallest man in the match down to size. It’s very strange to see Brookes work babyface in Rev Pro (and Progress). He made a name for himself being a dick heel across the country and now he’s made it to the big leagues he’s switched face. The most intriguing section of the match is Brookes, babyface, defending himself against the assaults of Zack Sabre Jr, heel. Rev Pro have capitalised on this largely undone match by booking it for York Hall and Summer Sizzler. Andy Q starts screaming about CCK retaining the tag titles in a match that he himself billed as non-title. Sabre bullying Brookes with slaps and such is beautiful. Dick heel Sabre is my favourite Sabre. When he’s cocky and horrible he’s at his best. Brookes manages to get Zack to submit, otherwise Rev Pro would have no justification for booking Sabre vs. Brookes. This mostly worked although Davey seemed a bit distant and him and Travis brawling to the back didn’t make a lot of sense. Nice to see Brookes getting a big win though. It sets him up big time for York Hall.
Final Rating: ***1/4

 

Summary: This was a solid show from Rev Pro, although the lack of atmosphere didn’t help and there was nothing great. Most Cockpit shows have been overdelivering this year so it had to happen sooner or later that one of them would just be ok. The match-making disappointed, although Andy Q is deliberately trying to put on matches that haven’t been done to death elsewhere. The downside to this is workers unfamiliar with each other taking half the match to get adjusted to their opponent and getting the timing right. This was evident throughout this card. Every match suffered from timing issues of some sort. Best match was probably Starr-Phantasmo and they deliberately started slow to get used to each other before building to a crescendo. The Cockpit shows exist to help Rev Pro build to bigger shows (like Summer Sizzler) so it’s hard to complain about match quality on them but the bar had been set a bit higher than this. Rev Pro victims of their own drive and success.
Verdict: 69