RevPro High Stakes 2018 Review

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All the wrestlers. Credit: RevPro

After crowning their inaugural women’s champion, RevPro is back with their first big show of the year. High Stakes had a few friends popping over from Japan alongside an Aussie newcomer. All of which is pretty exciting. Let’s dish out some stars.

Kurtis Chapman defeated Rob Lias to retain the British Undisputed Cruiserweight Title

I’m about to question the integrity of referee Chris Roberts. Why is he helping the ‘injured’ Rob Lias to the back before calling the match off? If he can’t wrestle, shouldn’t it be ruled a no contest? UNLESS Roberts was in on the whole thing, the devious bastard.

I don’t get Rob Lias. I keep waiting for it to click, but so far it hasn’t. I see what he’s trying to do. That brash, over the top character who is delusional about how good he is. The problem is in the ring. When he was in control, I was bored. All the character work in the world doesn’t make up for that.

When I wasn’t bored was during those fiery Chapman comebacks. I’ve said it before and I’m going to repeat it. He is a pure babyface with the same talent Kawato has. People will pay to see him getting beat up in the hope that he withstands the pain to fire up and get the win.

Which made it a shame that Eddie Dennis got involved here. Chapman has been presented as an underdog who can get it done, he shouldn’t be winning because of help from his pals.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Before the next match could get started, Bodom got in the face of Chapman which pissed Dennis off to the extent he got into a fight with Josh. Is this what Chapman does now? Get Eddie Daddis (yea, I know) to fight his battles for him?

CCK (Chris Brookes and Travis Banks) defeated Zack Gibson and Josh Bodom

We also got a Zack Gibson promo. I’ve got used to not understanding promos watching Dragon Gate recently, but I’m pretty sure I would have got this one, even with the accent. I just couldn’t hear it. A  combination of RevPro’s poor sound mixing and a lot of booing robbed me of that pleasure.

Thankfully, I still got to watch the match because it was a good one. It was chaos from beginning to end and I’ve no idea who the legal man was for most of it.

Interestingly, Gibson and Bodom were the ones dishing out the cool tag moves early doors. They’ve forged a good team. It was almost a shame to see them bickering after the defeat as it suggests it’s not the long-term plan.

Banks and Brookes were not to be outdone, though. They survived the tag moves, they survived the attempts at shenanigans and they came out the other end with some Sick Fucking Tag Moves. It boiled down to a well-executed extended sprint where everyone got a chance to shine.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Adam Brooks defeated Ryan Smile

This has been slightly ruined by Ryan Smile talking afterwards about the abuse he received during it. I’ve seen a few people online who have issues with Smile, and I don’t know the genesis of that (although I’m always willing to find out if it’s anything more than just not liking him). Whatever those issues may be, there are ways to deal with them and telling a guy who has been open about struggling recently to jump off a bridge is very rarely the right one.

Anyway, let’s move away from the unpleasantness and onto the action. Brooks impressed me in PWG and I was surprised to see him play landing pad for Smile at the start. Don’t get me wrong, Smile was doing some cool shit, it just seemed an unusual way to introduce him to fans who probably aren’t too familiar with him.

Thankfully, it didn’t take too long for his turn to come around and ‘The Loose Ledge’ got going. He was working to get his character over. The calculating prick who spotted Smile selling his back and was more than happy to take advantage of it. He was all lounging arrogance and explosive wrestling. A nice foil to Smile’s controlled insanity.

In fact, as time went on it turned into a great match. Smile was battling through the injury, but Brooks had the edge over him. Every time Ryan looked to gain a head of steam he was cut off before he could hit full speed, which would ultimately be his downfall. When Smile went for the 450 Brooks was already gone. Before Smile could recover he got murdered by a combination of moves and this was over.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and Sanada) defeated Aussie Open (Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher)

This was one of my favourite showings from Evil and Sanada since they transitioned into being a full-time tag team. A combination of LIJ’s success in Japan and being placed with people like Killer Elite Squad has seen them pushed into the babyface role. Here, against Aussie Open (who while not locals, are treated like it) they were allowed to go full heel, and they relished it.

There are few things LIJ do better than isolate a man and do evil shit to him. In Kyle Fletcher, they had someone who was perfect for that role. He takes his beatings well and has the fiery comebacks to get out of them too. Davis often stands out for Aussie Open because of that incredible power game, but this was Fletcher’s match, and he looked fantastic.

Which isn’t to say that Davis looked terrible, he didn’t. I could watch that one-armed powerbomb all day. In fact, everyone in this one excelled. Aussie Open continue to build their impressive resume and LIJ are LIJ. Does any more need to be said?

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Jinny defeated Millie McKenzie and Bea Priestley to retain the British Undisputed Women’s Title

Bea Priestley went all Finn Balor for her entrance. Apparently, it was inspired by Annabelle. That’s the kind of generic horror pish I tend to avoid, but it probably meant something to someone. Honestly, I thought it was a bit silly.

With the booking of this match, I questioned the decision to go straight to a three-way. I thought RevPro could play out two separate feuds for a few shows before getting to here. However, with the way it was built, it became clear Bea was involved so that Millie didn’t have to take the pin. Millie is fantastic, and she and Jinny is a money program so I can get that.

Sadly, the action wasn’t as intriguing as the booking. Which wasn’t all down to the wrestlers. Jinny picked up an injury, and it was clear she wasn’t with it for a sizable amount of the action. These things happen and as far as I could tell it wasn’t anyone’s fault.

From what we did get, Millie continues to impress. Someone her size should not be able to go all Brock Lesnar, yet it works. I don’t know why it just does. Bea was a bit less impressive. As far as I can remember this was my first time watching her and you could tell she wasn’t on the level of the other two women. In saying that, from what I’ve heard she’s come a long way recently, so she could still get there. It’s not like she was terrible, just a bit outclassed.

The ending saw Millie hit a Canadian Destroyer on Priestley at which point Jinny hit the ring, threw McKenzie out and stole the pin. This wasn’t great, but I have full faith that Millie and Jinny will go on to do much better things.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Will Ospreay defeated Mark Andrews

According to Cagematch, this was the tenth singles match between Ospreay and Andrews. They’ve also been in numerous multi-mans, many tags and probably a few encounters that aren’t on Cagematch. It wasn’t likely to disappoint.

It also wasn’t likely to spend much time on the mat. You had two of the UK’s best flyers in the ring. Right from the start, they took to the air. For ten minutes they did more than some do in half an hour. The way they usually move is superhuman. In a ring together it makes Superman look like a bellend. He couldn’t pull off most of those counters.

Trying to capture this in words is folly. If you are into high-flying wrestling, you just need to see it.

Verdict: Four Stars

After a lovely handshake between Andrews and Ospreay, Adam Brooks came in to ruin the good vibes. He attacked Ospreay from behind, beat up Andrews when he tried to stop him and cut the Australian flag off Ospreay’s tights. That’s a big spot for RevPro to push Brooks into straight off the bat.

Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr and Minoru Suzuki) defeated Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven and Tyler Bate) to win the Undisputed British Tag Team Titles

Trent Seven selling a Suzuki job by falling backwards like a downed tree was nearly enough to make this a five-star match.

While it didn’t quite live up to those high standards, it was still a fantastic main event. The key to tag wrestling is the ebbs and flows. Having that instinct to know when it’s time to change the momentum is an art. These two teams have that art down to a tee.

After the initial moments, Suzuki-gun were able to isolate Bate, delivering their unique brand of torture. In a nice touch, you could see the anger building in Trent Seven as he watched his friend get abused. It was the anger which fuelled his hot tag as he unleashed a barrage of chops on everyone in his way.

From there this swung wildly from side to side. Bate and Seven always fighting from underneath but occasionally able to wrench control away. At one point Bate hit the Tyler Driver, and it looked like it was over.

Minoru Suzuki is a tough old bastard, though and he kicked out. Then a few minutes later Moustache Mountain was caught. A sleeper for Bate and an octopus for Seven. One Gotch Piledriver later and we had new champions.

Verdict: Four Stars

After the match, Suzuki-gun kicked Seven and Bate out of the ring. CCK then turned up on the ramp to set out that they were next in line. Although according to Suzuki he didn’t know who they were so he might not have got the message; he did take a second to remind everyone that Suzuki-gun Ichiban.

Overall Show

This was a fantastic show with the final two matches really delivering. RevPro continues to do good stuff. Long may it continue.

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