The Wrestling Revolver
REVOLVER And The Ring of Destiny
June 17, 2023
Calumet Center At Montgomery County Fairgrounds
Dayton, Ohio

Watch: FITE

Sami Callihan def. JT Dunn

Unfortunately, travel issues denied us the chance to see Takeshita on this card, so we got Sami instead who came to the ring fired up and throwing chairs. Decent enough opener **

The Unit (Allie Katch & Logan James) (w/Phil Stamper) def. Brat Pack (Billie Starkz & Brogan Finlay) 

There are two ways you can do intergender fighting. You can lean into the power differential and have the babyface women fighters cast in the weak but guileful role that is clearly overmatched but can eventually take advantage of typical male arrogance. The other way is to play it like Street Fighter or Mortal Kombat, where everyone is equal. Lucha Underground did this, and it kinda worked there because the show had cinematic sensibilities. The latter was what they tried to do here, but cinema this was not, especially if you’ve seen Billie Starkz wrestling in the women’s division in other promotions, and indeed in this very promotion. It works in multi-man scramble/clusterfuck matches, but this was a match played as a straightforward athletic contest, and it can be just plain uncomfortable to see male-on-female violence presented as pure combat rather than a morality play.

Actually, on the face of it, this was a good tag match with four decent enough wrestlers. It built nicely, and the final ending sequence was well-orchestrated and popped the crowd. It’s just there’s a sort of uncanniness that breaks the illusion when it comes to these types of matches. It’s similar to the Taya Valkyrie vs. John Morrison match from last year, which again was technically solid, but couldn’t escape the social norms that most of us are conditioned to react negatively to. Still, I’m willing to accept that I may be a minority shaking their fist at clouds on this, and as I said, this was a technically good bout. ***1/4

Angels def. Robert Martyr

Alex Shelley, representing Prestige, came down to the ring to inject a little juice into this inter-promotional match and act as Martyr’s hype man. It’s fun enough, and the local crowd is into it, but I’m still not convinced that when people start drawing up the Shelley WON HOF case, they’ll be including this. Angels came down and cut a pandering promo as “Ohio’s adopted son.” He also had Shelley corpsing for the second time this week, after Kenny King’s promo on Impact had similarly sent the champ into a fit of giggles.

This match was very good. I’ve never really watched much ’00s ROH, but the match these two wrestled is what I imagine it was like: clean technical wrestling with lots of vertical suplex variations punctuated (but not saturated) with some high-flying spots. Both of these men show a lot of promise, and Angels, in particular, impressed a lot here. I feel that something is missing from his overall presentation, but there was little to call fault here. ***1/2

Unlucky 13 Staple Gun Match
Alex Colon def. Crazy King

I feel like every year, I end up doing a review where I say, “I’m not a deathmatch fan but…” Well, here we go, because this was fantastic. Going in, the stipulation (you can only pin your opponent after the staple gun has been used 13 times) seemed a bit goofy, but it actually really helped with the structure of the match, as instead of early near falls that no one buys we got meaningful struggles over the staple gun. I’m not saying it was Akito vs. Asuka, but it helped give a structure to the first half of the match that kept people engaged. We even had some chain wrestling sequences in this, believe it or not.

When the staple gun section had finished, the usual deathmatch stunts with doors, ladders, and light tubes came one after the other with increasing brutality. They worked this match like a main event, and the crowd responded appropriately with loud fight forever chants near the ending stretch. ****

Golden Ticket Gauntlet
Damian Chambers def. Blair Onyx and Casey Jacobs and Crash Jaxon and Dan The Dad and Ganger and Jeffrey John and Jessicka and Jody Threat and Joe Demaro and Madman Fulton and Nevaeh and Shark Boy and Tre Lamar

This was pretty clunky. I’m certainly not against indie scrambles, rumbles, and clusterfucks, and actually look forward to them. They’re like finger buffets where you get a little taster of what’s out there. I like most of the wrestlers in this, but it just wasn’t that great. **

Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) def. The ABC (Chris Bey & Ace Austin)

In most of the advertising for this show, this was the top-billed match. Given the destructive nature of the final eight-man tag, you can see why logistically, this wasn’t going to headline, despite the fact that it’s not just a strong match for the indies, but a match featuring two of the best tag teams in the world right now.

Much is made of how ABC stylistically resemble the Guns in their technical grounding and bursts of high energy double-team attacks. Like a horse that trots, canters, and gallops but never stops, the bulk of this match demanded your attention, and was a joy to watch four pros at their best. Intricate and technical, if there’s one slight criticism to be made, the intensity could be turned up a little. Storyline-wise, though, the guns were working as their mirror universe alter egos from Impact and so the final stretch ended with some heel shenanigans involving belts, Gia Miller and a somewhat disappointing finish of a low blow from Sabin to Bey. I said in the preview that I’m not really feeling this Prestige vs. REVOLVER feud, although I can see that the crowd is into it to an extent but I wonder if we had just gone for the straight tag match with these two teams, the crowd would have been more into. As it was a ‘This is Awesome’ chant kicked off just as they were close to finishing.

To be clear, though, this criticism takes this down from a Match of the Year contender to simply a great match. This was very good, but it left me wanting more. ****

REVOLVER Title Match
Jake Crist def. Steve Maclin

Is there a word for the opposite of boo-boo face? Cause whatever it is, Jake Crist is wearing it tonight. A really great moment for one of Ohio’s finest winning the big one, and even Steve Maclin turns into a big softy as he hands over the belt with a hug following the pinfall. I’ve been championing Jake Crist for a while, and over the last year or so, he’s really put the work in to become one of the indie scenes most versatile players, and it’s nice to see it paying off.

Maclin served as the base here, with Jake working around him. What’s great about Maclin is that he does the basics perfectly. People should study his headlocks to get an idea of what they are supposed to look like, you know, holding someone’s head rather than just a transition. However, Maclin now does one thing now: rolling forearm smash onto a seated opponent. It looks great when he hits it hard but somewhat lame when he doesn’t. It reminds me of Bobby Lashley’s spear, where he does a forward flip as he hits it.

Crist is in great shape, and while occasionally he seemed mismatched here (he almost bounced off Maclin on his suicide dives, for instance), his technical toolbox is varied enough to make any match style work. At just over 13 minutes, this flew by and was well worth a watch. ****

Second Gear Crew (1 Called Manders, Mance Warner & Matthew Justice) & Jon Moxley defeats. The Rascalz (Myron Reed, Rey Miguel & Zachary Wentz) & Ricky Shane Page

In February, the SCG and the Rascalz quite literally tore the house down at REVOLVER Night at the Moxbury. One of the things that made that match so special was the atmosphere and the way the wrestlers played off the crowd, creating a feedback loop of hype that burned steady throughout the match. Unfortunately for the viewer at home, just after Jon Moxley entered the ring, the audio cut off, so we were deprived of what looked like one of those epic before-the-bell face-offs where the crowd noise is all part of the show.

It made the early part of the recording difficult to watch, but thankfully the sound came back after about five minutes, and there was still plenty of the match left to soak in. Funnily enough, during the section where the sound was off, Ricky Shane Page entered the ring and, given his “everyman” look, for a moment, I thought it was a fan. RSP did do a funny spot later in the match where the fans were chanting for him to use someone’s crutch, and he grabbed it and throw it back into the crowd.

So this was everything you might have expected.

Like AEW’s Anarchy in the Arena from Double or Nothing, it’s the sort of match that only really works with a hot crowd. There’s no psychology here, just spot after spot. But when it works, it works. SGC have built themselves up a reputation as the best plunder crew in the indies, and the Rascalz are the fast-paced daredevils whose skill is only matched by their arrogance. Moxley was good here, too, and I think being away from the BCC meant that he wasn’t tempted to do any Bryan Danielson-style strikes but instead just focused on the route one violence he’s best at.

I don’t think this quite matched the level of the earlier match, which is still in my top ten match of the year list, but it was still a fantastic hype match if you enjoy any of these performers. ****

Final Thoughts

The Wrestling Revolver’s REVOLVER And The Ring of Destiny was an excellent offering from REVOLVER, perhaps the best show from them I’ve ever seen. With four ****+ matches by my count and everything else ranging from good to average. Well worth dipping into if you have a FITE+ account.