As a British Wrestling fan, these last three day have been an exciting bunch in terms of increasing accessibility. The two highest profile native promotions in the UK (debatable with ICW in the mix, but let’s roll with it), Revolution Pro Wrestling and PROGRESS, both added a new method of taking in their content for the masses, making it easier than ever for both Brits and the rest of the world to see the best of British do their thing.
On the Sunday of the weekend, PROGRESS announced at their Chapter 18 show that they are going to be launching their own On Demand subscription service. Demand Progress, as it is called, is available anywhere in the world for the low price of £4.99/month, and will feature all the wrestling content that they put out. The service is already live, although it currently only has about half the archive up there with the rest to go up within the next fortnight. I personally would have wanted to launch with everything already up there, but that’s a minor gripe. It’s a great service, and I really hope wrestling fans from around the world use this to experience the great product that is PROGRESS, even if you’re not a consistent subscriber I can guarantee that signing up for a month every now and again to watch everything you haven’t seen in the archive will be well worth your time.
But anyways, onto the actual subject of this piece, the following day (being today if you’re reading this on the Monday this goes up) RPW have debuted their free weekly youtube show to go alongside their Vimeo on Demand service. They quietly announced it about a month ago, and really should have made a bit more noise about it, but now it’s here I can hopefully bring it to your attention.
From my understanding RPW are going to continue to put out their big York Hall seasonally supershows, which are the highlights of the British wrestling calendar, out exclusively on their VOD service as well as on DVD. The rest of their smaller shows, of which there are usually one or two of a month, will be chopped up and released on for free through youtube on this Youtube show.
So enough introduction, let’s get into the meat of the review.
RPW TV #1
The London Cockpit
The show kicks off with interviewer Zoe Lucas introducing everyone the show, before going to a very professional looking opening package. We come back to see RPW matchmaker, ring announcer and shoot owner Andy Quildan, hyping up the show and announcing the main event for the RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship between champion Marty Scurll and Doug Williams, as well as a six man scramble opener to determine the number one contender to the RPW British Cruiserweight Championship. Zoe came off very awkward here, while Andy was a bit more natural although still pretty wooden. They got the point across though, and people aren’t going to be watching this show for world class hosting skills.
On commentary is Oliver Bennett and former wrestler Andy Boy Simmonz. They’re not my favorite commentary team, but Bennett is a fine generic indy play-by-player, and when Andy isn’t overly hamming it up he’s decent enough.
6 Way Scramble Cruiserweight Number One Contendership Match – Jimmy Havoc vs. Josh Bodom vs. Tiger Ali vs. Owen Phoenix vs. Wild Boar vs. Flyin’ Ryan: This was a fun and fast paced showcase of five young British talents as well as a good spotlight for Jimmy Havoc’s, a major player on the British scene, arrival onto the regular roster of RPW. This match used the scramble rules effectively, allowing the action to flow well and everybody to get their spots in, including the two “dives onto everybody” you expect to see in any match like this. Out of the young guys, the Wild Boar was the one who stood out to me the most, differentiating himself well as a solid power junior in the same vein as a Big R Shimizu. The story of the match was Havoc, the only veteran in the match, being the one to pick his spots while keeping out of the real action for the most part. This eventually allowed him to steal the pin from Josh Bodom after he’d hit a powerbomb onto his knees, making him the number one contender to Will Ospreay’s Cruiserweight championship. ***
As a bit of background, Jimmy Havoc is a former death match wrestler who has made the transition into the more traditional variation of the art-form, and is really thriving right now. The figurehead of PROGRESS, he’s been embroiled in a great feud with Ospreay among others over there, and now it seems that rivalry is going to be spilling over into Rev Pro, and I couldn’t be more delighted.
After the match, Andy Quildan got in the ring with Jimmy and announced he would face the winner of the match between Romero and Ospreay for the title at Broxbourne in April. Jimmy then got in the mic, and worked the crowd brilliantly, and hyped up the match. Jimmy’s one of the best talkers on the British scene, and while he didn’t say too much here, his delivery was very good and his interplay with the crowd was excellent.
After a short commercial from Rocky Romero for his new shirt, we went back to the studio where Andy and Zoe broke down the previous match before announcing that the aforementioned Ospreay vs. Romero for the Cruiserweight title would be the following week of TV’s main event. Following this, a hype video was shown from their last York Hall show, High Stakes, which can be purchased from their VOD service and my review can be found here (http://www.voicesofwrestling.com/2015/02/18/revolution-pro-wrestling-high-stakes-2015-review/).
Next we went to a promo from Lord Gideon Grey, complaining about the end of his streak at the hands of Matt Classic, because he knows it’s Colt Cabana who is meant to be banned from RPW. His delivery was fine, and he plays the character well, but it’s a Colt Cabana program with the local comedy over the top heel character, something I have no interest in. If that’s your cup of tea though, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it *shrug*.
Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship Match – Doug Williams vs. Marty Scurll (c)
Marty is fresh off a fantastic match and successful defense of his title against Ricochet at High Stakes. This one started off with some wonderful British style chain wrestling, of which Williams is as good as anybody worldwide at, with Marty just not being able to get the sustained upper hand try as he might. As a result, he upped the pace, in an effort to out wind his 42 year old challenger, but Doug managed to keep up and go toe to toe with the champion 16 years his younger. They showcased some lovely counter wrestling, and built really well to the finish. Unlike most of Marty’s championship matches, he wasn’t on top enough to really work the arm, and as a result he was never able to lock in his signature Crossface Chickenwing, which I thought was a really nice touch. Marty instead retained the title after a series of counters in and out of the aforementioned submission and Doug’s Chaos Theory suplex, when Marty managed to stop Doug just as he was about to pull him over after the roll, rolling forward himself into a stacked pin and just earning himself the pinfall.
This really was a very enjoyable back and forth main event, and a very easy match to sit through. Doug may well be a little past his prime at this point, but he’s still a great wrestler who can still put on a great match if it’s of the right style, and that’s exactly what this was. A very good TV main event, or Youtube main event, whatever you want to call it. ***1/2
Post match, Marty reluctantly accepted a handshake from Doug, only for his stablemate James Castle to hit the ring and attack Williams. Jake McCluskey then made the save with a chair, running off the Revolutionists. I imagine this’ll lead to a match on a later episode.
Final Thoughts: Overall this was a good, if not totally blow away, debut episode, which is about the level I expect the show will hold going forward. Both matches were enjoyable enough, if not really being anything must see. The stuff in between the matches was largely skippable though, and that’s probably what I’d advise doing, unless you’re a big fan of Colt Cabana and want to follow along with his storyline.
The thing that really surprised me, in a positive manor, was how great the graphics and video packages looked; they were fantastic! This is obviously a big plus, and went a long way to making the show look professional, although the studio segments with Zoe could do with improvement from a delivery standpoint, which I hope will come with time. Overall a solid outing, I’ll certainly be checking the show out again next week, and you’ll be able to find my review here again this time next week. You can check out this week’s offering for free below: