Following on from the night before’s solid start to the year, this card from RPW featured the semi-finals and final of the tournament to crown the promotion’s inaugural holder British Women’s championship, as well as a Undisputed British Heavyweight Title bout between Zack Sabre Jr and Martin Stone.
Revolution Pro Wrestling
Live at the Cockpit 25
January 7, 2018
Watch: RPW on Demand
We were treated to an appearance by Gideon Grey at the beginning of the evening, who promptly called out loveable loser Eddie Dennis. Grey rightly addressed Dennis’ long losing streak in RPW, a staggering 0-19 before this show, and offered him a place in the Legion of Lords. Eddie appeared set to accept his offer with the customary hug BUT it was a ruse – he launched Gideon over his head with a belly-to-belly suplex and that led us into our first match of the evening…
Gideon Grey def. Eddie Dennis
This match has the ignominy of featuring one of the worst strike barrages I’ve ever seen in a wrestling ring. A combination of Dennis’ shots looking weak and some atrocious selling from Grey. Honestly dreadful. Anyway, Dennis looked dominant here but he was to succumb to the old Eddie Guerrero belt shot technique (except this involved Grey’s cane) and lose via DQ, taking his streak to 0-20. *1/2
British Women’s Championship Tournament Semi-Final
Deonna Purrazzo def. Zoe Lucas
Purrazzo had been the most impressive competitor in the first round, but this match was particularly disappointing. Lucas has only been doing this wrestling gig for three-and-a-half years and she was much more exposed here than she was against Zan Phoenix. The lack of speed in her kicks makes her overall offence far less believable, and this match was unable to create any real drama. Deonna reversed Zoe’s attempt at a scissors kick into an armbar for the submission win and a place in the final. **
British Women’s Championship Tournament Semi-Final
Jinny def. Millie McKenzie
This is what I’m talking about! Two suicide dives opened a fantastic little six-minute sprint that really kicked the Cockpit crowd into life (and me to be perfectly honest). Jinny pulling Millie back to the ring by her ponytail was bitchery of the highest order and I absolutely loved it. She’s so good at the small character things, and those small things make me a happy boy. Millie was able to land a couple of her brilliant German suplexes but in the end they were to no avail, as Jinny nicked with a tights assisted roll-up. Great stuff from both women that left me wanting a lot more. **3/4
Kurtis Chapman, Travis Banks & Will Ospreay def. Rob Lias, Zack Gibson & Josh Bodom
Another fun match, although not remotely like what I was expecting. This was initially set to be Rob Lias against Kurtis Chapman for the Cruiserweight title, but Josh Bodom and Zack Gibson had other ideas. Will Ospreay, Bodom’s original opponent for the night, came out and initially evened the numbers and he was soon joined by Travis Banks, leaving us with a six-man tag. I totally understand Ospreay not working a full-on singles match so soon after coming back from Japan and the great four-way at Wrestle Kingdom, and it means my desire for a Bodom/Ospreay rematch is only sweetened.
Ospreay and Banks were the stars here, really giving the crowd something to invest in. A superkick, disaster kick and assisted Sega MegaDriver eventually did for Bodom, with Chapman able to cancel out his pinfall victory the night prior. This also furthered the build towards CCK vs Bodom & Gibson at High Stakes, and presumably leaves Chapman free to defend against Morgan Webster at the same event. ***1/4
Pete Dunne def. Chris Brookes
For the second night in a row, Pete Dunne was the star of the show. He wasted no time in this match, rushing straight to the ring and pummelling Brookes from the get-go. Repeated smashes of Brookes’ head/neck/shoulder area on the outside left the Tipton’s Best Boy with a lovely scarlet mask – and not even Lykos was safe from the Bruiserweight’s rampage!
The structure of this was very similar to Dunne’s clash with El Phantasmo the night before, but Brookes got a lot more potent offence in and was presented on a similar level to Dunne. That was a good move in my book, as although I think Brookes is better suited to tag competition, the continued absence of Lykos and Banks getting more exposure as a singles star means he has more of these opportunities. Dunne eventually won with a pump-handle tombstone, although the unnecessary ref bump towards the end prevents me from going the full four snowflakes. ***3/4
Charli Evans & Nina Samuels def. Sammi Jayne & Zan Phoenix
A tag team match featuring the four losing quarter-finalists from the women’s tournament. Simple and effective booking, just what I expect from Andy Q. A very traditional tag match, eventually building to the Charli Evans hot tag, although her and Zan Phoenix then ended up brawling to the back, leaving Nina and Sammii left in the ring in a de facto singles contest. Much to my amazement, Sammii landed a springboard top rope frankensteiner but it wasn’t enough, with Nina eventually picking up the victory. **3/4
Sammii laid Nina out post-match with a lovely snap dragon suplex, fulfilling my prediction/hope from Live at the Cockpit 24 that she’d become a regular with RPW.
RPW British Heavyweight Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Martin Stone
It’s quite sad to admit that at the ripe old age of 20 that my brain already feels like it’s not what it was, but I was firmly of the belief that I’d never seen these two British veterans square off. Surely I was mistaken or missing something? Well, a quick reccy on Cagematch told me that apart from two meetings in smaller American indies, this was the first meeting between these two on British soil since an IPW show in 2010.
In a follow-on from his match with Dan Magee at LATC 24, Stone began this one by engaging in a grappling battle with ZSJ where he was more or less able to hold his own. Sabre initiated the striking, yet this was a decoy, as he was then able to counter Stone into a variety of his vicious holds. Zack was particularly good here, working with real intent and purpose and Martin more or less matched him. I have tremendous respect for Stone for being one of the leading lights in the doldrums of British wrestling and he really did roll back the years here, but it never felt like he was going to win. That nagging feeling of the match being a formality was exemplified by ZSJ kicking out of two London Bridge DDTs, before eventually but Martin away with a triangle choke. I enjoyed this, I really did, but perhaps if there had been more of an emotional hook I would have enjoyed it even more. ***1/2
Post-match Zack gave Martin a bit of false praise and seemingly agreed to give him a rematch down the line, but he also then kicked him square in the bollocks, so who knows? I certainly wouldn’t object to another go.
British Women’s Championship Final
Jinny def. Deonna Purrazzo
Jinny wearing a different ring attire for every match is something I very much appreciate. As was the intensity with which this match started. From Jinny’s early application of the surfboard to Deonna’s vicious working of Jinny’s left arm, both women showed the intensity you’d expect in an occasion like this. The match had a nice ebb and flow and was ticking along nicely until we got a ref bump, our third of the evening. Deonna was able to get a visual pin whilst Chris Roberts was down, a lazy move ostensibly to set-up a rematch down the line, but she then soon became victim number 17 in singles competition for Jinny, unable to kick out of a rainmaker. The ref bump did hurt this, as I don’t think the match needed it, but the increased vulnerability they’ve shown in Jinny across these three matches does intrigue me for her defences down the line. ***
No sooner had Jinny had her hand held high and been presented with the belt, she was confronted by Bea Priestley, fresh off her recent run in Stardom. Bea was not the only new challenger though, as Millie McKenzie came in from behind to land a German suplex and hold the new belt high above her own head. Jinny escaped with the belt but now faces both women at High Stakes in her first title defence.
A good show from RPW. The three ref bumps annoyed me, and we quite easily could have ditched the Grey/Dennis segment to afford more time to the ladies (I mean, these shows were to crown a new women’s title and all), but overall it was a very easy to watch two hours. ZSJ/Stone and Dunne/Brookes are worth a watch if you’re interested but far from essential, as is the women’s final.
They did a good job with the tournament though, and the future looks bright for the women’s division with Jinny leading it. They also built up another couple of matches for High Stakes, headlined by Moustache Mountain against ZSJ and Minoru Suzuki, which is looking like a pretty stacked.