I would be lying if I said this was a timely review as the show was nearly a month ago. A combination of the New Japan Cup, 16 Carat and everything else that has been going down means I’m only just getting to it. I always enjoy Cockpit shows, so hopefully, it will prove itself to be timeless. Let’s dish out some stars.
The Legion of Lords (Rishi Ghosh and Los Federales Santos Jr) defeated Never Say Die (Dillon D’Angelo and Alex Cupid)
Gideon Grey introduced Los Federales Santos Jr as the newest member of the Legion of Lords because he was too busy to wrestle.
Santos then caught Never Say Die off-guard by charging across the ring with a surprising burst of pace. He and Ghosh isolated Dillon D’Angelo who did a reasonable job of selling their offence. It was when he got his turn that he faltered. His strikes looked weak with everything else being a bit sloppy. It might have been nerves, but he could benefit from slowing down.
Alex Cupid was better and came in with a 6 on the hot tag scale. It was an improvement although nothing to blow your mind. That wasn’t aided by the fact it didn’t last long as ultimately this was about putting over the new Legion of Lords’ combo. They’re both enjoyable big men and Santos finished this off with a colossal Splash from the top rope before rolling Ghosh over to make the cover.
Nothing to get excited about here.
Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars
Adam Brooks defeated Dan Magee
Sadly, I thought this was a bit dull. It was meant to be a showcase victory for Adam Brooks, but he and Dan Magee never clicked. It became a slog which isn’t what we’ve come to expect from Brooks.
I don’t think it was either man’s fault. Some people just don’t have chemistry. The explosive Brooks vs the more restrained Magee was one of those pairings. It was supposed to be Brooks vs Flash Morgan Webster before Flash picked up an injury, and on paper, that makes a lot more sense.
The finish saw Sean Kustom come out to provide a distraction for Brooks just as it looked like Magee was going to win. Both of these men will have better showings in the future.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Eddie Dennis cut a promo speaking about his injury and having to go away for a while. This brought out Bodom who called him a loser leading to a wee tussle which had Josh come out on top.
This was well done. Dennis felt sincere as he praised the Rev Pro fans and promised to return. Bodom, meanwhile, got a bit of heat and they can go straight into that program when Eddie returns.
Josh Bodom and Zack Gibson defeated Team White Wolf (A-Kid and Adam Chase)
A-Kid and Adam Chase are from Spain where apparently the scene is starting to come alive.
And where Never Say Die faltered Team White Wolf shined. It was a big performance from these two. They not only sold well for Bodom and Gibson but got some fun flurries of offence themselves. It was the kind of frantic attack that quickly gets fans onside.
While it feels harsh to compare the two young tag teams competing on this show, you can bet RevPro were doing it, and White Wolf won that fight. They outshone Bodom and Gibson which, as they’re turning into a delightful heel team, is saying something.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Kurtis Chapman defeated No Fun Dunne to retain the British Cruiserweight Title
This was a different type of defence for Chapman. Previously, he’s been up against the odds in a physical sense. Dominated by David Starr or competing in multi-mans. In against No Fun Dunne, it was established early on that in a straight fight, Chapman was perfectly capable of getting the win. With Lord Gideon Grey on the outside, this wasn’t going to be a straight fight.
And The Legion of Lords are adept at this cheating malarky. Grey was an insidious presence, sneakily alternating the momentum of the match whenever he could. Dunne, meanwhile, is the perfect man to take advantage of it. There’s nothing complicated about his offence, and yet it works.
Chapman is a lad who loves overcoming the odds. You could argue the very fact he has that belt is proof of it. Legion of Lords tried everything, including knocking the ref out and bringing Ghosh and Santos down. Still, Chapman came back. He beat them all back and snuck away with a victory thanks to the Chapman Clutch.
This is becoming the Kurtis Chapman classic, which RevPro has to be careful about. People love an underdog, but an underdog who always wins can quickly get dull. So far he’s got away with it because he’s a likeable chap and has been up against some hateable heels. It will be interesting to see if they can keep that going.
That’s speculation for the future, though, and this was good. The show is slowly turning around.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
CCK (Chris Brookes and Travis Banks) defeated Aussie Open (Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher)
It’s probably a safe bet that CCK and Aussie Open won’t be the teams to halt that momentum.
The early goings saw Dunkzilla’s chops control the action, as Brookes decided he wanted none of that and passed the responsibility to Banks. It proved to be the right decision as he took control of Fletcher shortly after and they went to work. Including a double Wet Willy (where Travis used Brookes’ saliva for added grossness) on the poor Aussie.
Fletcher is perfect for working from underneath, taking his beating fantastically and then firing up with passion. Despite being the smallest man in the ring (he’s taller than Banks, but Banks is a lot broader), his strikes have some real snap to them and are an excellent set-up for Davis coming in and wrecking the place.
What’s great about these teams is that the first hot tag is never the finish. They allow their matches to breathe and for the action to flow from team to team. It keeps the fans engaged as they’re able to mix the formula up and you never know where the finish is coming from.
It led to a mad closing stretch as they swapped big moves. People were sliding in and out of the ring left, right and centre while I didn’t have a clue who the legal men were. While it seemed likely that CCK (the number one contenders) would get the win, there was more than one moment where it felt like Aussie Open were set to steal it.
Of course, that’s not how you book a wrestling show. In the end, Fletcher made the mistake of perching Banks up on the second rope. Rather than whatever he had planned, he ended up coming down with a Kiwi Crusher. That was that.
Fantastic tag team wrestling. They were given more than enough time to hit top gear and put on a show. I’d watch them do this another fifty times and never get bored.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
David Starr defeated Jody Fleisch
David Starr got on the mic pre-match and was his usual fire as he continued to rant about conspiracies.
Here’s a conspiracy for you. Jody Fleisch doesn’t age. He bounces around the ring like a man half his age and quickly had Starr unsettled. Starr tried to fall back on his tricks, yet Jody apparently had them scouted, as he ignored David’s promise to do things cleanly. The problem with tricks is that the likes of Starr have a lot of them and one is eventually bound to work.
Starr’s a fantastic heel in these situations. He not only grinds you down but he mouths off at you while he’s doing it. It’s reminiscent of Jericho at his best. He’s telling you that he’s beating you and how he’s going to do it. It made the crowd all the more receptive to Jody’s bursts of offence. Fleisch is an exciting wrestler to watch at the best of times, he’s even better when you’re willing him on.
Sadly, cheers don’t always equal success. David Starr is a star (see what I did there) in the making who can take a beating. Fleisch hit that 720 DDT and it looked like that was that, however, Davey Wrestling had a bit left in the tank and kicked out. A few minutes later he hit The Product Deadlift German and put down the British icon. A nice warm-up for his Cruiserweight Title shot.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Afterwards, Brooks and his new pal Kustom came down and attacked Jody from behind. Brooks explained that while he likes Fleisch, he can’t forgive him for influencing the likes of Will Ospreay. Seems a bit harsh Brooksy.
Zack Sabre Jr defeated El Phantasmo
El Phantasmo has done a fantastic job in RevPro. He’s slowly got over building up a tremendous catalogue of matches which has rightly brought him to this big spot. A win here would presumably lead to a future title shot.
Which is why you groaned when he kicked things off by trying to wrestle with Zack, a mistake so many people make. It’s like they can’t help it. They want to prove they can compete with the best and they often do alright. Right up until the moment where Zack decides he’s had enough of their shit and takes control.
Here it was when El Phantasmo decided to do his rope walking spot, a move that regularly comes back to bite him. It pissed off Sabre, who quipped ‘are you the Undertaker, mate’ while standing on Phantasmo’s face having dragged him off the ropes.
From there, ZSJ did what ZSJ does. Phantasmo would have his moments, as he was able to create a bit of distance and build momentum. We’ve seen this story before, though. Before he could get going, Zack was always there. Cutting him off and wrenching on a limb. No-one does that better than Zack, and while this was pre-New Japan Cup run, it was very much the tactic we saw him deploy there.
The real beauty of it is that it also makes people look great. Everyone knows Sabre is a machine and just surviving with him adds to your credibility. Coming back and having your moments like Phantasmo did here, that’s a huge deal. You might not win, but you put up a fight and sometimes that’s enough.
Except, Phantasmo did win. He managed to lure Sabre off the mat, taking him into a striking battle and while Zack hits hard, in that world, you have a chance. A flurry of blows did enough to weaken the champ, and when he went for an ankle lock, Phatasmo rolled him up for the three.
This was a shocker. Even with it being non-title, I assumed Zack was going to win. Phantasmo just doesn’t feel like he’s at that level, however – as Zack has proven in New Japan – the way to get people to that level is to have them beat the people already there. So, if Phantasmo is to step into that world, this is the right start.
Verdict: Four Stars
Afterwards, Zack got on the mic and called this a joke, declaring that Phantasmo was alright at best and that if he wanted a title shot they had to do it straight away. Suddenly, we’re off again.
Zack Sabre Jr defeated El Phantasmo to retain the British Heavyweight Title
Sabre came charging in and quickly took control. While Phantasmo had won, they were selling the idea that he’d basically fluked it and Sabre was in the better shape.
Despite that, he got a few reactions from the crowd with close two counts. He used the same roll-up as just minutes before, and ZSJ kicked out at the last possible millisecond.
He also showed a hell of a lot of fight, kicking out of two Penalty Kicks before taking a series of stiff forearms to the face. Sabre had switched into full vicious dickhead mode as he looked to gained revenge for his defeat.
Phantasmo had one last burst, powering out of an armbar into a powerbomb before following up with a superkick and a Swanton Moonsault combo which Zack somehow still kicked out. Phantasmo tried to follow up with a Burning Hammer and Sabre slipped into a European Clutch and with it the three.
This was an interesting booking decision. You give Phantasmo the win and then take it away from him almost minutes later. It kind of suggests that he stole the first pin and when Zack was giving a second go around we reverted to the norm. On the other hand, the fans were chanting Phantasmo’s name afterwards so I might be talking bollocks. I guess we’ll see.
Verdict: It can piggyback off the last four stars since it was a continuation.
A show that started poorly and then got better as it went on. By the end, I was having a nice time. People talked about Sabre being on a roll in the NJ Cup, but he’s been on one for months with this being a perfect example of that. He doesn’t have bad matches. Throw in some CCK/Aussie Open goodness, and you’ve got a show worth catching up on.