Another month, another RevPro visit to the Cockpit. February provided us with a packed show featuring seven matches, including an exciting main event between Zack Sabre Jr and Travis Banks. Time to see how they all got on. Let’s dish out some stars.
Kurtis Chapman defeated Chris Brookes and Flash Morgan Webster to retain the British Cruiserweight Championship
Kurtis Chapman and the Cruiserweight Title are beginning to make the opening spot on their own. While I understand why they do it – these matches tend to be a lot of fun, which was the case here – I also think Chapman’s done enough to earn a place higher up the card. If you put the belt on a younger wrestler and then bump the belt down, you are in danger of devaluing the title rather than raising up the wrestler.
Sadly, this review will be all about the booking. Halfway through, we had an enjoyable and frantic match on our hands. Last month I thought RevPro hurt Chapman by having Eddie Dennis fight all his battles for him. Here, he was holding his own against two established stars. Sure, he spent a lot of time selling, but he was presented as being on their level.
Then, the finish came. Chapman’s win came through a distraction from David Starr rather than because of his own talent. With it being the second defence in a row to end like that, it’s starting to become a worry. I get that they’ve got a story going here and sometimes you have to make sacrifices for that. However, Chapman was establishing himself as the plucky underdog who could get it done in the ring. They are in danger of destroying that.
Verdict: Three Stars
Adam Brooks defeated El Phantasmo
After his debut against Ryan Smile last month, this was another outing designed to establish Adam Brooks in RevPro. He’s the guy who will come up with ten inventive ways to cheat when he could have outwrestled the guy in the first place. He got the win here by taking off the turnbuckle pad, handing it to the ref and then hitting a low blow while the ref fixed it. It was an impressive tweak to a set-up that most people will have assumed was going to lead to Phantasmo’s head meeting that turnbuckle.
Alongside all that, it was a great match. Phantasmo is someone you can rely on to go out there and have a good outing no matter who he’s against. In there with someone like Brooks, it was only going to impress. They managed to integrate the story with the action, making both men look strong in the ring and allowing Brooks’ character to flourish.
Which in many ways meant it did everything the opener did wrong, right. The storyline didn’t hurt the characters of Brooks or Phantasmo. Instead, it enhanced them. Brooks is a cheating prick, and Phantasmo is someone who is so close to getting there, but can’t quite get over the line. Lovely stuff.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Josh Bodom defeated Dan Magee
Another match with a nicely constructed story. This one was simple, Dan Magee gave Josh Bodom everything he had, and it wasn’t enough.
Being simple doesn’t prevent it being an effective way to get a young wrestler over. Magee was all heart here, going up against a bully like Bodom and giving as good as he got. He came within inches of getting that win and proving himself. Yet couldn’t get it done. Even in failing to win, however, he made himself look better. While he might not be on Bodom’s level yet, he’s getting ever closer.
Credit has to go to Bodom too. He’s an unlikable bellend. You want to hate him, and it’s easy to do so. Magee could have done this with another heel, and it wouldn’t have worked half as well. By being a prick, Bodom added fuel to Magee’s fire.
Verdict: Three Stars
David Starr defeated Speedball Mike Bailey
Fantastic match. They started a bit slow with Starr trying to coax Bailey into tests of strength in the hope that it would prevent him kicking him. It didn’t work, and a few seconds later Speedball was caving in his chest.
From there, we took off. It was Speedball’s speed against Starr’s hard-hitting. They worked at a hundred miles per an hour, and Bailey sold his ass off for Starr. In return, he was given a hell of a lot to kick out off. He looked like a warrior here as he refused to stay down. Responding to Starr’s taunting with more of those vicious kicks.
In the end, Bailey should have got the win. He rolled up Starr for three and yet for some inexplicable reason Flash Morgan Webster had chosen that moment to come and get his helmet (which Starr had stolen earlier), distracting the ref. When Bailey went to complain, Starr responded with a roll-up of his own, held the ropes and got the win.
Well-worked pro-wrestling which leaves the door open for a rematch somewhere down the line. Both of these men are exceptional talents, and it’s a pleasure to watch them work.
Verdict: Four Stars
Afterwards, Flash tried to apologise to Mike. Speedball was having none of it and responded by shoving him away.
Sammi Jayne defeated Nina Samuels
My love of Sammi Jayne isn’t a secret so it should be no surprise to hear I’m glad to see her getting a shot in RevPro. I can only imagine she’ll smash it.
She got off to a decent start too. Nina Samuels came out bursting with babyface gusto and went straight after Jayne looking to catch her off-guard. Over the course of the match, however, Jayne’s willingness to bend the rules combined with her big impact offence was enough to get the win. There was a slight assist from Jinny – who continued tonight’s theme of wandering to ringside – but it wasn’t enough to lessen Jayne’s impressive showing.
It wasn’t only the Jayne show, though. Samuels looked good too. She’s still a touch green, and every now and then her offence seems light, but she makes up for that by having a likability that you can’t teach. You want to root for her. It’s a skill that goes a long way. Plus, I was a big fan of that Yakuza Kick to Jayne while she was in the Cheeky Nando’s position. It looked awesome.
We were left with a lovely example of how to highlight both wrestlers. Jayne looked strong in victory, while Samuels showed passion and can point to Jinny playing a part in her defeat. Everyone comes out the better for it.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Afterwards, Jinny got in the ring with Jayne and ended up hitting her with her shoe. I’m sure that would hurt, but it wasn’t a great visual. She then ran down Jayne and everyone else too. A way to keep her relevant while she recovers from her injury.
Aussie Open (Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher) defeated Legion of Lords (Lord Gideon Grey and No Fun Dunne)
Despite being a pretty formulaic tag-team match, this was a lot of fun.
After some Legion of Lords antics to start, they eventually managed to survive Davis’s chops and isolate Fletcher. Kyle is perfect in that role. He flops around the ring making everything look good. Of course, it also leads to a Davis hot tag and all the pain that comes with that.
From there on everything broke down, with Legion of Lords at one point hitting Fletcher with Grey’s staff and nearly getting the three. Aussie Open don’t go down easily though. They survived those antics and Davis went onto hit that incredible pop-up piledriver which they followed up with the Fidget Spinner for the win.
This was decent although there was nothing spectacular about it. If nothing else you can go back and remember a time when Davis’s chest was in one piece.
Verdict: Three Stars
Zack Sabre Jr defeated Travis Banks
The commentary team bickering at the start of this one was really pissing me off. If you have to do that, save it for the undercard, get serious when your main event is on.
That crap aside, this was a fascinating contest. Travis Banks was presented as being on the same level as Zack Sabre Jr. Those kicks meant that when they were on their feet, he was able to control the action, dishing out strike after strike.
Unfortunately, Sabre can strike too, and he had the added benefit of being able to take things to the mat when the heat got too much. A common story in Sabre matches is that while you might be able to stronger than him, you won’t be able to outwrestle him. Over the course of ten to twenty minutes, it’s that which will wear you down. Banks might have had the more high impact offence, but Sabre was slowly causing damage.
Which played into the finish. Banks had the Lion Clutch locked on and seemed to be seconds from getting the win. Sadly, he just couldn’t keep Sabre down. Zack escaped, slipped into the Octopus Stretch before transitioning into the European Clutch for the three.
Despite Sabre getting the win, it felt like an elevation for Travis Banks. He’s primarily a tag wrestler in RevPro, and yet he went in there with the company’s dominant champion and held his own. Not a bad day’s work.
Verdict: Four Stars
Another impressive Cockpit show from RevPro. The commentary continues to be awful, but that’s a small price to pay for some fantastic wrestling. There were one too many distraction finishes, but in the end it didn’t matter too much. All things seem to be handing in the right direction for a great 2018.