RevPro’s Cockpit shows have been the most consistently entertaining in BritWres in 2017, even if at times they feel unspectacular. The stories are understated and play out in the ring, which can be a good antidote to the sometimes overwrought storylines happening elsewhere. Acts like CCK’s Tag Team Championship run and Eddie Dennis’ losing streak have been the cornerstones of the last few months, and both stories continue here, but another interesting feature of these shows has been the spotlight for young wrestlers, both out of RevPro’s Portsmouth School of Wrestling and from further afield. Here, Australia’s Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis get their first matches in the promotion after tearing up the Midlands scene over the summer, while RevPro’s own Contenders continue their development.
Revolution Pro Wrestling
Live at the Cockpit 19
August 6, 2017
Cockpit Theatre, Marylebone, England
The CCK trio started the show with a promo to explain a card reshuffle due to a Kid Lykos injury. Lykos was due to make his in-ring RevPro debut against War Machine on this show, but a dislocated shoulder forced Chris Brookes to take his place. That left Eddie Dennis without an opponent for his match which he needed to win to earn a place in the Summer Sizzler British Heavyweight Championship match, so he came out fuming. Eddie’s always good for a bit of babyface fire and the losing streak storyline has slowly, naturally made him a more serious character who now really does care about succeeding. Brookes had a replacement in mind, asking Eddie “What’s 50+50?” leading to “Keep It 100” playing and TK Cooper arriving to make his RevPro debut. This leant on the CCK/SPPT relationship in PROGRESS which assumed a little too much outside knowledge for my liking, but since it was a last minute switch I’ll give RevPro the benefit of the doubt here.
TK Cooper def. Eddie Dennis
Cooper made his surprise return to the UK at PROGRESS the week before, and the week after this match broke his leg in New York, making this one of (as far as I’m aware) only two British TK Cooper matches since April. Cooper’s injury is a massive shame, but at least he squeezed in this match. This wasn’t a particularly memorable match, nor did it need to be as an introduction to Cooper in this new environment, but as the only match we’ll see from Cooper in a while, I wish it had been something more than that.
Cooper’s flashy offence here worked well with his cocky mugs to camera, establishing his character quickly and playing off the Cockpit crowd that is all in on Eddie at this point. There was a scary moment when Cooper nearly missed his twisting corkscrew dive onto Dennis, and in light of his injury coming off of that move, perhaps he should limit its use only to multi-mans when there are many more people to catch him. The match never really stepped up a gear and was nowhere near the most dramatic match Dennis has had on this losing run, but it was enjoyable as an opener and unfortunately had its role as a debut for Cooper undercut by his injury. **
Cara Noir def. RJ Singh
Tom Dawkins’ strange new Swan Lake gimmick has probably justified itself at this point, as I’ve heard many more people talking about him and more promotions booking him since the switch. I’d like to see it in the context of a proper feud somewhere, but it’s certainly eye-catching for now. He’s also subtly a very good wrestler if he gets enough time to build a match, so it’s not just all gimmick with him.
They did get more time than the opener here and used it well. Noir’s gimmick has the potential to overtake everything else in his matches but he works it into the actual wrestling well. Singh had a similar sort of ‘veteran underdog’ charisma as Eddie Dennis here, and has been much better than expected in his 2017 Cockpit run, easily the best ‘guy brought out of retirement’ in RevPro. He fought well from behind until Noir won by kissing Chris Roberts and low-blowing Singh while Roberts was recovering. Do your job man! The boundaries of athleticism were not exactly pushed here, but this was a fun and crisp undercard match where everything that mattered happened in-ring – a Cockpit staple by now. ***
I say that but post-match, the masked man who definitely isn’t James Castle beat up Singh and his protégé Dan Magee again. What are the odds of straight-laced Magee turning on Singh and joining Castle in a few months’ time?
Lord Gideon Grey def. Kurtis Chapman
A very long promo by Rishi Ghosh managed to snap Gideon out of his funk, so I guess the Legion of Lords are back now? As long as Gideon brings the ‘Working as a waitress’ song to RevPro because of this, I’m good with it.
This match was laden with interference from Ghosh, countered by Chapman’s fellow Contender Josh Wall, but still allowing Gideon to cheat constantly. Chapman is great in his ‘Young Lion’ role and displayed all the tenacity expected of him here. Even Gideon is noticeably bigger than Chapman so his enthusiasm and fire when kicking out of pins or fighting out of moves still works when not against proper heavyweights like the London Riots. A cane to the back of the head is the equaliser for Grey though, which he used to hit his finisher and score the tainted pin. This was a brisk match and that was probably for the best. Also, Gideon did not pelt Chapman with a sandwich as promised on Twitter. Unbelievable. *½
Mark Davis def. Kyle Fletcher
The Aussie Open pairing of Fletcher and Davis has had an excellent first couple of months in Britain since they flew themselves in, quickly establishing themselves as feature acts in ATTACK and Fight Club Pro. Now they look to conquer London too, with this being their first match for RevPro.
This match lacked the immediate explosiveness of their FCP singles match that introduced us to them, with a few awkward moments early on which possibly stemmed from Fletcher receiving a bloody nose and throwing their rhythm off.
They got there eventually though, showing off their incredible counter-for-counter offence and, in particular, Mark Davis’ power moves. These men have established themselves as two of the most dynamic wrestlers in the country, but its Davis’ slams and piledrivers that are eye-popping. Not to say Fletcher isn’t doing really well, but he’s still growing into his potential, which is fair enough as he’s been wrestling for a much shorter amount of time.
A very hot closing stretch saw Fletcher pushed to the brink, then work through his own sequence of nearfalls on Davis before getting clobbered by a couple of sliding forearms and the patented Davis piledrivers, where he throws the opponent up and in one move brings them down again in a piledriver position. It is for the lack of a better term, fucking awesome. This was a bit clunkier than the FCP bout, but as an introduction to the pair it more than served its purpose. Now they’ll move on to teaming together on future Cockpit shows. ***
Ryan Smile, Sha Samuels and Luke Phoenix def. Josh Bodom, Rob Lias and Zack Gibson
Ah, this is what the doctor ordered. After an excellent 6-man match on the first Cockpit of the year, I was thinking that RevPro would make these sorts of matches a regular part of the show, since multi-man tags are pretty rare in BritWres. On a personal level, I’d much rather see 6 guys in a tag than in a clusterfuck free-for-all, so it’s good to see a combination of matchups and feuds meet together in this fashion.
The early going saw Phoenix getting ground down, bog-standard for a tag match but it got effective heat, with Lias especially hearing it from the crowd. He has graduated out of the Contenders division very well through his feud with Samuels, which the Cockpit fans care about and has quietly become one of the better parts of each show. You can see why Bully Ray playing babyface against script versus Sha at Summer Sizzler got pulled from the VOD. Samuels was the man to receive the hot tag, and he and Smile injected some much needed pace into the match. Everyone got a dive in and Sha teased hitting his epic moonsault too, but Lias shoved him off the top rope. He did get to hit a Canadian Destroyer soon after though. Sha doing moves he has no right to pull off will never not be great.
Tag legalities went out of the window at this point, but things somehow ended up with Smile hitting a Liger Bomb on Bodom to potentially earn himself a Cruiserweight Championship shot, but also sow the seeds of doubt for Bodom/Liger at Sizzler, which Bodom did end up winning. A good all-action brawl that maximised each man’s character well. ***
Jinny def. Dahlia Black
While Eddie Dennis can’t get over the hump, Jinny can’t stop winning on these Cockpit shows. This month’s challenger is more interesting than the last few women Jinny’s gone through, as it’s Dahlia Black on her first weekend back in Britain. Dahlia’s always been a tad awkward in the ring, but has loads of charisma and always wrestles with an edge, so you never know when she’s gonna break out something crazy. These two have good chemistry together so any awkwardness is already reduced anyway.
This match hinged around the kicks both women were throwing, which pretty much always looked sharp and painful. Whoever got the better of the strikes got to land the next big move. Dahlia getting beaten down by Jinny garnered her plenty of sympathy which heated up the match late. They got a little over-ambitious towards the end but up to that point the animosity between the pair kept the match churning along. One of Jinny’s better Cockpit matches, but she’s still yet to have a definitively great match in her series, which is something Eddie Dennis has managed against Donovan Dijak. ***
Jay White def. El Phantasmo
It’s Kyle O’Reilly’s best friend! Phantasmo has been doing well in Britain so far, though he’s yet to ‘break out’ at a top level yet and really needs to work an FCP or a PROGRESS as well as the Cockpit shows to get properly recognised.
Phantasmo is a corny guy, which at first I thought would be a barrier to his progression in BritWres but in this match, he and White worked it in quite well, with White taking none of his shit early on and forcing him away from the fun and into a wrestling match. White wound Phantasmo into all sorts of holds, making this feel like one of his old Young Lion vs Third Generation matches with White in the ‘veteran’ role this time. That’s the kind of poise White carries in the ring now, even when in the ring with a veteran like Phantasmo. Phantasmo strung some offence together, battled out of a few more White holds and did eventually find himself ahead after landing an airplane spin from a Burning Hammer position. I couldn’t have come up with a move more suitable for Phantasmo than that.
Phantasmo was on the verge of victory, but a half roll from White let him avoid Phantasmo’s senton dive and drill him with several elbows before applying a Liontamer to win. This was a strong battle between silly and serious that was more compelling than anything on this show before it. Between this match and the Travis Banks match at Sizzler, Jay White has found his edge again. RevPro are selling his winning streak now, so it can only be a matter of time before they match him up against ZSJ for the title. ***½
British Tag Team Championship
CCK (c) def. War Machine
It feels like Cockpit tradition at this point to end with a wild CCK tag match. War Machine exclusively have wild matches, so they slide in as the challengers perfectly. They even apply ‘War Machine Rules’ to the match, just to make sure you know this will be a proper car crash match in the best way possible.
You know the score by now with War Machine. Big fuckers throwing their opponents and each other around, beaten by their own creativity as they invariably end up hurting each other. It’ll never get old even if we’ve seen it all before. They did brawl into the crowd and War Machine rather hilariously slammed Brookes and Banks onto the soft, cushioned seating of the Cockpit bleachers. Probably one of the nicest bumps they’ve ever taken! Lykos got involved too, dislocated shoulder and all, hitting a senton on War Machine, only to be caught, flipped onto his feet and told to jog on. He kept bothering Rowe, so received a forearm for his troubles. Poor Lykos.
You don’t fuck with Brookes’ pet though, so CCK took revenge for their fallen best boy and battled back. From here it was all-out action, with War Machine rules ensuring any tag legality moaning is left behind. Some of the moments were extremely creative, with Hanson lifting both CCK men onto Rowe for a double powerbomb probably being the highlight, and looking much cooler than how I just described it. The main event is the perfect place to go completely overboard with creative ideas and both teams are great at linking those ideas, so this match was a definite feast of imagination.
The main problem of War Machine matches I have is creating a believable way to win for their opponents, since Rowe and Hanson are so big and do so much damage. Here, it was Lykos who swung the balance, taking a belt shot for Brookes and allowing him to low blow Rowe and strike him with the belt for the desperation win. It’s fun to see CCK still act like heels, but just end up as de facto faces because the crowd love them too much. They really are the heart and soul of the CCKpit. ***½
It took a few matches for this show to really hit its stride, but the last two matches were a lot of fun, and several undercard acts are hitting their stride too. Samuels/Lias especially is a feud that’s been bubbling under for a while and now the imminent blowoff match is very intriguing. LatC remains a rewarding watch every time.