July in RevPro was highlighted by the British J Cup, but we can’t forget about the continuing best series of shows in BritWres, so we’re back in what looks like an incredibly sweaty Cockpit for another voyage aboard the Floating Dream Factory.
This show features a salivating clash of two of the most exciting wrestlers on the indies today in Matt Riddle and Keith Lee, but the main event belongs to the RevPro’s own Contender young boys, as Kurtis Chapman and Josh Wall challenge CCK for the Tag Titles after they fluked their way into contention.
Can they pull off the miracle upset?
Revolution Pro Wrestling
Live at the Cockpit 18
July 2, 2017
Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, England
Zack Gibson def. Max Voltage and Angelico
New wrestler alert for Max Voltage. He’s not actually new at all, but another 00s BritWres guy getting a fresh crack at things on these Cockpit shows, much like Luke Phoenix. He had a spring in his step for this one and showed off some good skills, but he came dressed more for a boxing match than a wrestle and he’ll have to wear some proper attire to be taken seriously if he wants to make a full comeback.
Ryan Smile was supposed to be in this match with Max and Angelico, but for whatever reason was taken out and Gibson took in his place after a couple of minutes of a Max/Angelico singles match. Gibson and Angelico went straight back at each other after their match at the last Cockpit show, but with Angelico having a buddy to back him up this time round. Max and Angelico effectively took out Gibson together, but Voltage got greedy and tried to roll up Angelico. After that point, this was the Gibson show, as he was able to leverage himself into dominating the match and catching the flyers out, eventually with a Shankly Gates on Max after he hit a splash on Angelico, which earned him the submission win.
Decent opener that keeps Gibson strong, though I’m a little disappointed he won’t be getting his built-up Will Ospreay match at Summer Sizzler, and instead gets Dalton Castle. It’s still a good matchup but with far less intrigue as to who gets the win. **
British Cruiserweight Championship
Josh Bodom (c) def. David Starr
Commentator Andy Boy Simmonz really doesn’t like David Starr. He is supposed to be a ‘heel ccommentator’ (urgh) but he went into overdrive on Starr during the intros here. This one is a rematch from RevPro’s WrestleMania weekend show, after Starr worked his way back into Championship contention with a few Cockpit wins since then.
Much of this match revolved around Bodom attacking Starr’s leg, at first subtly, but after a few attacks the damage started to ramp up in a way that felt very natural. The match really heated up after a couple of Bodom signature moves including his awesome cannonball dive to the outside, which was soon responded to with a DDT onto the apron by Starr. At the last Cockpit show, the crowd never really got fired up and the show suffered for it, but this match warmed them up very well. Bodom is really coming into his own as a performer near the top of the BritWres tree, while this was yet another sneaky great performance by Starr. He has one of the highest floors for match quality in the world. Ultimately Bodom attacked the leg a couple more times to free up a decisive Bliss Buster, moving onto Jushin Thunder Liger at the British J Cup, and now Summer Sizzler for the title too. ***½
London Riots def. Dan Magee & RJ Singh
By their own admission, the Riots “got drunk in Germany” the day before this show (they were there for PROGRESS/wXw) and lost their signature cricket bats, but rather brilliantly came out with brooms instead. Simmonz outed himself for not even watching RevPro’s shows by saying Singh and Magee were a thrown together team, despite them having teamed up two Cockpits ago for a good, storyline-important match. Come on Simmonz, it’s one thing to not watch any other BritWres but at the very least keep up with your employer’s product.
The Magee/Singh team got crushed whenever the Contender was in the ring, only ever gaining momentum with Singh on offence, which is exactly how it should be. The Riots thrive when squashing Young Boys. I don’t know what retirement phase Singh considers himself in but he’s wrestled a fair few matches this year and he’s looked good enough to be full-time again if he wants to. He was flying around the ring in this one, likely buoyed by having such a good relationship with the Riots and being very comfortable trading spots with them.
I really liked that Magee never got going, even in the later stretch of the match when everyone usually gets their shit in. The Riots disposed of Singh and then simply ended Magee with their slingshot spear. This was a very well put together match and we’re now 2/2 on good matches for the Singh/Magee team, so make sure not to overlook them. ***
Post-match, a mystery man attacked Singh and spray-painted Singh’s hair green. The “Are you [James] Castle in disguise?” chants probably solved that mystery already.
Matt Riddle def. Keith Lee
Pretty much the most exciting match you could make on the indies today. These two are on another level right now in terms of making physicality matter; for instance, Keith Lee can project his size to make it seem like he’s engulfing the ring, while Riddle’s striking precision adds a layer of authenticity to his matches. Some guys are big, some guys have martial arts cred, but these two project those aspects to really make the physical side of their fights matter to a level most wrestlers can’t.
Lee’s size immediately neutralised Riddle’s skill advantage, and every time Riddle engaged in striking with Lee, he received some monstrous double chops. This was about attrition and Riddle outlasting Lee so that he could find some openings. Riddle’s selling on Lee’s power moves was ridiculous, especially his flip over onto his chest after a massive Lee powerbomb, which got me out of my seat.
After those crazy sells, the ending of Riddle simply rolling Lee up was actually for the best, since it would have been a little unbelievable for Riddle to suddenly take command of the match. I liked the story of a Riddle fluke win, even if it was anticlimactic, because it meant Lee’s crazy power moves left their mark, even if they didn’t get him the win. ***½
Rob Lias def. Sha Samuels by DQ
Lias was so deprived of colour as a Contender, he’s gone and put every single colour he could think of onto his new attire. Samuels entered to his ICW ‘Sha Life’ theme, putting the very final nail in the coffin of the Revolutionists stable. It’s good that Sha’s finally gone face in RevPro because the crowd have treated him like one for a fair few months now, and his oddball, vaguely Eastenders-inspired feud with Lias is a very good position for him right now.
This match felt like a bit of a fever dream in comparison to the rest of the show. The actual wrestling wasn’t particularly comedic but the feud leading up to it and the crowd interaction made this a very light-hearted interlude after the very serious Riddle/Lee match. The match had barely gotten going before Samuels low-blowed Lias after Lias threatened him with his own braces. Post-match, Lias slammed Samuels with a chair a few times, leading to Samuels asking for another match and calling “Ricky” a plonker. This was an odd one, and really just a feud-builder in the end. *
Sami Callihan def. Eddie Dennis
This was Dennis’ first match in RevPro after his emotional announcement that he was leaving teaching to become a full time wrestler and chase the dream. He’s been having some very good singles matches lately, especially on these Cockpit shows, and is full of enthusiasm coming off the announcement, so it’s an excellent time to hop aboard the Dennis hype train. His RevPro storyline has been simmering nicely and works very well alongside his announcement, so it’s just a matter of time until they pull the trigger on him and give him his huge win.
Eddie started the match lying down to allow Callihan to pin him; only a ruse of course, but plays well into his ‘he’s not taking it seriously enough’ story. This also gave Sami justification for being the grumpy heel, since these two had no prior history until Dennis pissed him off in-ring. There were plenty more hijinks in the opening minutes, with each man splashing water in the other’s faces and Callihan slipping on the mess, and I probably would have preferred a more intense opening after the Ricky Lias stuff in the previous match.
They upped the effort in the second half, with Dennis’ real life story and his natural likeability really adding weight to his struggles as he went blow-for-blow with Callihan. He managed to hit a Next Stop Driver, but hadn’t weakened Callihan up beforehand and so only got a two. I really liked the imagery of the finish, with Dennis kicking out of a Callihan pin at one and remaining defiant, but Callihan then synched in a Stretch Muffler, which always looks vicious when applied by him, to make Dennis tap. RevPro have gone all in on the losing streak and it’s almost heartbreaking at this point, but Dennis’ win is tantalisingly close now. ***
Dave Mastiff def. Donovan Dijak
Mastiff hasn’t been on a Cockpit show since March, but the apparent end of World of Sport means that he’s open for business on the indies again and is coming back to his regular stomping grounds. Dijak beat Mastiff in Portsmouth the month before, and ran straight out in his entrance to start from where he left off in this match. Mastiff worked over Dijak’s arm early, but didn’t throw his weight into his attacks the way I’d like to see from such a big man. He picked up that physicality later, but Dijak’s good selling of the arm would have meant more if it really seemed like Mastiff had crushed it.
Dijak has been a joy to watch on these Cockpit shows, and in Europe in general. He’s been super motivated and has shown his improvement even just over the first half of this year. He works really well against other big men and that was no different here, showing the strain of lifting Mastiff well and always, always selling his arse off. Mastiff has lost a bit of stock in his absence, but I did like his presentation here, living up to his ‘bastard’ moniker by continuing to beat on Dijak after he’d already hit a Cannonball. Dijak looked great with a fired up comeback, but was eventually put away with another Cannonball while he raised his middle fingers at Mastiff. Dijak went all out in this match and it felt like, even though he wasn’t bad here, Mastiff was a clear step behind him performance-wise. You can see that Dijak’s truly earned his place in NXT. ***
Post-match, Mastiff had a staredown with Keith Lee. Expect that on the next Cockpit show.
British Tag Team Championship
CCK (c) def. Kurtis Chapman and Josh Wall
Big spot for the Contenders Chapman and Wall, earning a main event title shot after CCK helped them defeat the Riots at the last Cockpit. The Contender team is at their best when they’re getting the shit kicked out of them, and that’s exactly how this match started, with Chapman running into Chris Brookes’ boot and getting further served from there. Chapman sold every shot from Brookes and Travis Banks like death and got stretched out every which way for some very strong visuals, showing why he’s the Contender earmarked to really break out, as soon as he eats a sandwich. Chapman spent a good 8 minutes getting stretched before finally being able to tag in Wall, which I liked to see. Too often, ‘control periods’ only go a couple of minutes, but this felt like genuine dominance by CCK.
The Contenders got a couple of minutes of plucky underdog offence, but then it was right back to Wall getting beaten up by Banks. The Contenders showed a more rough side in their comeback, with Chapman even flipping off CCK during a run of offence. The boy has become a man. In retaliation, CCK crushed him with some of their signature ‘sick fucking tag moves’, and despite many kickouts from Chapman, were finally able to extinguish his spirit with an Octopus Stretch and added kicks to the head. A really well put together extended squash that gave Chapman and Wall some big match experience. ***½
This more complete show than last month’s Cockpit and although there was no single standout match, there’s plenty of stuff here that’s worth your time.
The Eddie Dennis story has been heated up really well and is set to pay off soon, while Dijak’s match may well have been his last on the UK indies. Riddle, Lee and Starr all put in good shifts at the super-import office too.