RevPro’s last event of the year sees them back at York Hall for a packed card. All the titles are on the line and the famous venus is hosting women’s wrestling for the first time. Let’s dish out some stars.
Kurtis Chapman defeated Flash Morgan Webster, Ryan Smile, El Phantasmo and David Starr to win the Undisputed British Cruiserweight Title
There can’t be many people who have challenged for both the Atlas Title and the British Cruiserweight Title. David Starr can now claim that honour.
No matter what weight division he’s wrestling in, Starr remains, well, a star. The guy has it all and his heel character is a lot of fun. At the risk of sounding like I’m spouting one of his many nicknames, he was the glue that kept this match together. His ability to slow the action down and work a more grounded style prevented this from becoming a complete clusterfuck.
Which isn’t to say that this wasn’t a clusterfuck because it most definitely was. However, it was an enjoyable one. All five of these men can go and they bounced around the ring. It was the eventual winner that stood out, though. Chapman started this match with everyone ignoring him, but as time went on, he came more and more into it. This kid (and he is a kid) was out to prove himself and did precisely that. Whether he was flying from the top or trading blows with Starr it was an outstanding performance.
Now and then wrestling throws up one of those special moments that would make the most miserable bastard smile. Chapman winning was one of those. Since I started watching RevPro, he’s been a standout, and if he is this good at the age of nineteen, I can’t imagine where he’ll be in five years.
Verdict: Four Stars
Jinny defeated Session Moth Martina
I’m glad to see women wrestling in York Hall, but the fact it’s taken this long is a bit of a disgrace. If British wrestling really wants to move forward in the future, the way the big companies treat women is the next step. A women’s match shouldn’t be a box you have to tick when creating your card. There are more than enough talented wrestlers to make them a central part of your company.
Anyway, soap-box aside this was a good match. Jinny and Martina have wrestled plenty of times before and they are a natural fit as their characters would despise each other. You’ve got the snooty one vs the party animal. That played into the match as Martina managed to catch Jinny off-guard with her unorthodox style. In fact, it was one of the rare examples of someone looking like they might pick up the victory over RevPro’s Queen.
Of course, it isn’t yet time for that defeat. Still, this felt like an important chapter in the story of Jinny. She showed some cracks and was caught off-guard by the always entertaining Session Moth. Maybe the next person can go a step further and get the win.
Verdict: Three Stars
Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) defeated Zack Gibson and Josh Bodom
This match was built around the idea of two singles wrestlers going up against a tag-team. For a long time, Gibson and Bodom did themselves proud. They put in a hell of a shift and their willingness to bend the rules gave them the edge over Moustache Mountain. However, when push came to shove that tag-team chemistry came to the fore, and the British Champs were able to get the win.
The journey that took us there was great, though. Bate and Seven rarely put on poor matches, and this was no exception. They kicked off by messing around a bit, but when Bodom and Gibson took advantage of that and isolated Seven, it forced them to get serious. Bodom’s mocking pissed Bate off and when he got into the ring, he was ready to rumble.
The final stretch of this match was fast and stiff. It led nicely to a hot close as Seven got the win with a Burning Hammer. This was beautiful tag-team wrestling and there are very few things in life better than that.
Verdict: Four Stars
Cody Rhodes defeated Jay Lethal to retain the ROH World Title
On Friday I was complimentary of Cody Rhodes. I’d seen him play the cocky star being caught off-guard by a local guy and resorting to dirty tactics to win against BT Gunn in Discovery. He judged the crowd perfectly and made me wonder whether I’d been harsh on him all this time.
Well, I wasn’t. This was back to boring old two and a half star Cody. It was a match of stalling and old-school heel tactics and, minutes after Gibson and Bodom were horrible wee cunts, it didn’t cut it. Worst of all, all that build-up didn’t produce some hot, exciting finish. Instead, we got a smorgasbord of ref bumps and shenanigans. It was cheap as hell.
Cody can’t take all the blame, though. Jay Lethal is a man who has lost his sparkle. It wasn’t that long ago he was a four-star wrestler. ROH trusted him to hold both of their titles, and while he wasn’t the best in the world, he was damn good. I don’t know whether it’s age or a lack of motivation, but this Jay Lethal? It doesn’t look like the same guy. He was going through the motions here.
This match was presented like it was a big deal. Andy Quilgan even stepped into the ring to introduce it. However, it did nothing for me. The very pro-Bullet Club crowd seemed to have fun, and I’m pleased for them, I just wish I had.
Verdict: Two Stars
Pete Dunne defeated Eddie Dennis
Eddie Dennis is a master at taking a loss. Every time he loses in RevPro, he seems to get over that little bit more. In this match, Eddie went out there with one of the best and stood his own. In fact, he probably should have won. His decision to do it in right way and pin Dunne in the ring led to his downfall.
Because the story here was that while Dennis had all that fire and passion, Dunne was that little bit smarter. Not only could he go toe to toe with Eddie, he could slip past him. He knew how to take advantage of his weaknesses and when Dennis went for the grand slam finish by hitting a Bitter End of his own, Dunne used that to get the win.
It’s a story that requires Dunne to get credit right alongside the Pride of Wales. He is a master of what he does. From the way he wrestled this match to the aftermath (where he showed Dennis respect only to then leave him to Lias’s mercy) was 100% in character. He might have a tiny bit of respect for Dennis, but he knows he’s better and he isn’t going out of his way to stick up for him.
2017 has been Eddie Dennis’s year. I’m still slowly working my way through PROGRESS from the beginning so I’ve only got glimpses of his heel character and yet I’ve seen the stellar reviews. While in RevPro his battling babyface is consistently the highlight of the card. It takes a lot to overshadow Dunne, in this match Eddie may well have done it.
Verdict: Four Stars
Martin Stone defeated Dave Mastiff
My favourite moment in this came mid-match when having already beaten the crap out of each other these two men stopped to shake hands, two seconds later they were back to elbowing each other in the head. This was as close to a friendly war as you’ll get, and if you want an example of how to maximise your time – this can’t have gone much more than five minutes – give this a watch.
For this was two tough bastards hitting each other with everything they had. It was a combination of massive strikes, powerbombs and good old-fashioned barroom brawling. It wasn’t pretty but damn was it fun.
It was also a big win for Martin Stone who is being heated up at the moment. It doesn’t matter what Mastiff has been up to, beating him is always going to be a credibility booster. Beating him in a match where you’ve attempted to kill each other is the cherry on the cake.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Zack Sabre Jr defeated Matt Riddle to retain the Undisputed British Heavyweight Title
On paper, this looks like a classic Sabre match-up. Technical ability vs power. Unfortunately for him, Matt Riddle is no slouch on the matt. Suddenly Sabre is in there with someone who can both beat the shit out of him and out-wrestle him.
It was a combination which led to a great contest. They started slow, feeling each other out and looking for a moment to strike. Then, when they did strike, it got fast and heavy pretty quick. The blows were stiff and the suplexes were quick. Perhaps more impressively, though, they were intermingled with incredible technical wrestling. The two men slipped and slid around each other and it was beautiful to watch.
As they approached the third act, it looked like Riddle might have it in the bag. While Zack’s strikes were hard, Riddles were worse and that power was beginning to tell. However, Zack isn’t thick, and he was biding his time. When the opportunity came, he slipped out of a hold and stole the pin. Riddle still looks like a star, but Sabre is the champ.
This was beautiful pro-wrestling. These two men are at the top of their games right now and I only hope we get to see this again someday.
Verdict: Four Stars
Post-match Sabre ran down RevPro and declared the title trash because there was no-one else worthy of competing for it. That brought out Trent Seven and a deal was struck. Put up the tag titles against Suzuki-gun and he gets a World Title shot. Trent answered with a piledriver.
The Bullet Club (Marty Scurll, Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson) defeated CCK (Chris Brookes and Travis Banks) and Flip Gordon
I am team Young Bucks/Elite/Bullet Club to a higher degree than most. However, this being the main event was stupid. Don’t put a meaningless six-man tag over your own belt. Even if it does include the flippy boy teaming with the best boys, which was lovely stuff.
The problem is that it doesn’t matter who is on that side of the ring. Because even with Marty Scurll instead of Kenny Omega, this was another Elite six-man tag. All the shtick was there; The boots, the doing their own commentary and the Bullet Club Train. CCK and Flip were there to feed their antics and any moments they got to shine were purely incidental.
And look, in some ways that’s fine. It’s damn entertaining. Even as I moan, I still enjoy it. Plus, there’s no denying that it sells tickets. The crowd were louder for this match than they were any of the fantastic wrestling that came before. Everytime you watch it, though, it loses a bit more shine.
Which is sad, because these guys could be putting on incredible matches. We’ve seen The Bucks and Marty do that in New Japan this year. These tours could see them go out and make stars out of local wrestlers who would benefit from the rub. Instead, it serves to push them that little bit further. I’m still at the point where I enjoy it, but I worry that in the future these matches will attract the Bullet Club faithful and no-one else.
Verdict: Three Stars
Despite my issues with The Bullet Club’s shenanigans, this was a fantastic show. All the title matches delivered and there were a couple of others gems in there too. It’s a nice way to see out the year for RevPro. Let’s hope they take that momentum into 2018.