After a good first night highlighted by a great match between Chris Hero and Tomohiro Ishii, hopes for night two of Global Wars UK were sky high. Rightly so too, as the main event featured Katsuyori Shibata making his first defense of his British Heavyweight title against none other than Chris Hero. A dream match if ever there was one.
Revolution Pro Wrestling & New Japan Pro Wrestling
Global Wars UK – Night 2
November 11, 2016
Walthamstow Assembly Hall
This was RevPro’s debut in a new building, and after some poor trials in secondary buildings I think they’ve found a good #2 venue here. Whereas previously the medium sized buildings they’d tried when running a double-shot alongside a York Hall show had really lacked in atmosphere, if anything this venue had a better atmosphere to the night prior and it really playe a part in what turned out to be a great show.
British Tag Team Championships
Charlie Garrett & Joel Redman def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & EVIL)
This was a solid, if somewhat slow building, opener that was going on quite nicely until the ungovernable pair decided to get themselves disqualified with a blatant misting of Garrett in front of the ref. A disappointing conclusion as it felt like the match was really just starting to hit its stride. **3/4
Josh Bodom def. Tomoaki Honma
Bodom was replacing Drew Galloway here, who had to pull out due to injury, and really put forth a good showing. The young Brit really went toe-to-toe with Honma, very much playing his part in the typical hard hitting, fighting from underneath, underdog Honma match. By the end of the match the crowd was all in on the Kokeshi, and when it finally got hit it garnered a tremendous reaction. A clear sign of how hard Bodom was wrestling here came immediately after he picked up the victory with the Bliss Buster, as during his an expedited trip to the back he began to throw up. Pretty impressive he managed to hold it all in until after the conclusion of the match really. ***1/2
Yuji Nagata def. Trent Seven
After a fairly universally disappointing first showing against Pete Dunne the night prior, this match here was what every Nagata fan wanted from him on this UK tour. I mentioned in the night one review that Seven seemed so comfortable in being in there with the New Japan stars, and that was even more prevalent here. The opening exchanges were very playful in tone, before picking up drastically after the most painful sounding ringpost chop that I’ve ever heard. Nagata then put a lot of focus into working over Trent’s hand and arm, to which Trent fought back with fighting spirit. These two just clicked wonderfully right from the off, and you could visibly see that Nagata was loving working with Seven. The finish ended up occurring when Nagata earned a rare submission victory with his Shirome seated armbar, which I enjoyed seeing as it made perfect sense given all the work put into the arm throughout the course of the match. ***3/4
Dark Liger def. Jushin Liger
Dark Liger here was, of course, Will Ospreay in a black palette swapped version of Jushin Liger’s iconic costume. This match saw a lot of move mirroring, with Will often throwing in an extra flip or two to Liger’s moveset allowing him to get the better of the original. It’d also be remiss of me not to mention the butt-play that occurred here, something anybody that has viewed this year’s BOLA will be all too familiar with, with referee Chris Roberts even getting involved. Overall the match was fun if not anything amazing, and ended when Ospreay followed up his regular finisher the OsCutter with a shooting star press. A nice touch. ***1/4
Tomohiro Ishii def. Pete Dunne
Pete Dunne needed to deliver big here after a disappointing match the night prior with Nagata. Thankfully he was in there against Ishii, perhaps the most consistently great singles match worker in the world today. Things started off a little shaky, with the work not being as snug as what we have come to expect from matches involving Ishii, but roughly midway through something seemed to click and they began leathering each-other in the fashion everybody desired from this match. From that point the match was developing really well, and looked like it could be about to develop into an amazing match that would cement Dunne in the top tier of elite British talent. Then, in reply to Dunne going low on Ishii, Ishii’s CHAOS stablemate Ospreay made an appearance to distract Dunne and allow Ishii to pick up the win. This was a shame to see, as it felt like the match was just starting to get to the level where it might have been able to be something special. Still a very enjoyable match though. ***1/2
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Naito & SANADA) def. LDRS
Zack Sabre Jr. has been undergoing what felt like a soft heel turn with a section of the crowd in RPW. Aside from maybe the Jeff Cobb title defense, this is the match it has felt most apparent in, with a vocal portion of those in attendance actively supporting Scurll but not Sabre. This lead to a really fun dynamic in this match, with both Scurll and Naito (on opposite sides) being really popular. The two teams worked really well together, and they seemingly strolled to a really enjoyable match. It flowed wonderfully, and always felt purposeful despite going nearly twenty minutes. They worked the match with all four guys being presented at an equal level, with the Los Ingobernables duo only being able to achieve the decisive advantage by ending up in a two-on-one situation with SANADA setting up Sabre to fall to Naito’s Destino. ***3/4
Post match Sabre Jr. and Scurll were left in the ring and handed mics. Scurll informed the crowd that he’d signed a contract with ROH, and that Sabre would be moving to the US in January so this would be the last time you’d see the LDRS in RPW. The speech all felt very heartfelt and they got a great standing ovation from the audience, only for Scurll to turn on Sabre Jr. by attacking him from behind as he was leaving the ring. While to many of the more clued in members of the crowd this turn seemed obvious, from being there live I have to say it was well done as many of the people around me seemed to buy into the speech. I’ll be interested to see how they follow up with the logic behind the turn, hopefully it’s more than just that he got pinned in this tag match. The RevPro crowd seemed to naturally gravitating more towards Marty than Zack, which I thought would be an interesting way to see the feud go with ‘the Villain’ as the face but it looks like they’re going down the more obvious route.
Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship
Katsuyori Shibata def. Chris Hero
This was, put simply, the best two strikers in the wrestling world today in a war of attrition.
Where the Ishii match the night prior was a great example of ‘the Ishii match’, this encounter felt like it was more finely crafted to accommodate both wrestlers strengths into the story. Shibata is used to being able to bowl through his opponents, through a combination of being an elite striker and being able to shrug off the offense of his opponents. Here he ran into Chris Hero, and nobody shrugs off Chris Hero’s strikes. The opening exchanges of this one saw Shibata try to go blow for blow and get dominate by, as he announced mid-match, the ‘Greatest of All Time’. Every time it looked like Shibata was getting somewhere with a flurry of strikes Hero would hit one more elbow and just prove to be too big and too damn good.
The only thing Shibata had any success with was the Sleeper Hold. It was far from an instant-death option for Shibata, but after locking it on almost by accident after a reversal left him on Hero’s back and seeing it was one of the few things that actually seemed to affect the monstrous Hero he made it his focus and goal. Several times Hero would prove just too big and just too strong to be able to subdue with it, but each time Shibata had a little more success, and it took a little more out of Hero to get to the ropes. In the end it almost became a race: would Hero be able to knock out Shibata before the cumulative affect of sleepers became too much? The answer, at the end of this absolute epic, turned out to be no. Hero got caught in it one too many times, leaving him open to an earth-shattering PK and Shibata’s retention of his British Championship.
This match was exhausting to watch, so when I saw that it had only gone a shade over thirteen minutes I was astounded. Very few people on earth can make a match feel epic with such an economic usage of time, but these two did it perfectly. They didn’t waste a single second, every movement in this match felt purposeful and I wouldn’t have wanted it to go a second either longer or shorter; it ended at the perfect time for the story that it was telling.
Watching this live I genuinely thought this was one of the greatest matches of all time. Watching back on tape it’s not quite at that level, but it’s still an absolute masterclass in professional wrestling and one of the greatest matches to ever take place on UK soil. The perfect way to end this year’s incarnation of Global Wars UK. 100% must watch. ****1/4
While the previous night in York Hall was a good show, this show was a step above. Everybody just seemed to click a little better with their opponents, and this show had a far better feel of culmination to it whereas night one peaked mid-way through the show. This show gets the must-watch stamp of approval from me, it’s both an easy watch top to bottom and features one of the best matches to happen anywhere this year as its main event. Stellar stuff RevPro, hats off.