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Jack Reviews RevPro Live at the Cockpit 12

April 22, 2017 | Posted by Jack Stevenson
Marty Scurll
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Jack Reviews RevPro Live at the Cockpit 12  

RevPro Wrestling are among the U.K’s biggest promotions, and regular garner decent international attention for their partnership with New Japan and much hyped dream matches (Katsuyori Shibata vs. Matt Riddle probably being the most significant this year). As well as the star studded supershows like High Stakes, Summer Sizzler and Uprising, RevPro also put on semi regular events in Portsmouth aimed more at families, and these Live at the Cockpit events. Emanating from the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone every month, these bridge the gap between the supershows, advance storylines, and give opportunities for their training school guys to appear in the same stratosphere as some of the world’s top talent. There’s also usually at least one headline grabbing match with international influence, and January’s LatC 12 had a particularly appealing one- Shane Strickland and Ryan Smile vs. Marty Scurll and Pete Dunne. Although, something tells me there’ll be a modification or two to that one…

1- Dan Magee vs. Rob Lias
Magee and Lias are both part of the Contenders Division, who are basically RevPro’s Young Lions, dressed in identikit black boots and trunks. I don’t understand why you’d intentionally make your rookies as bland and colourless as possible when it’s not rooted in the culture as it is for New Japan. It means they’ve got an uphill struggle to get themselves over before they’ve even had their first match. Predictably, this was technically astute but personality free, outside of the finish. Magee dropped Lias with an STO to secure the win, although Lias insisted his foot was underneath the bottom rope. And, eventually, Magee agrees to restart the match, at which point Lias immediately rolled him up for the three count, ending the match for good at 7:03. Not particularly good personality, but personality nonetheless. * 3/4.

2- Eddie Dennis vs. Josh Bodom
The Cockpit is a very intimate venue, and basically just consists of a few tiered rows of seating pressed right up against the ring. This allows Bodom to tope from the second row onto Eddie Dennis at ringside, which looks amazing! It’s the highlight of a really fun match which turned into a terrific slugfest by the end. Dennis really looked like he was swinging for the fences with his strikes, using his height to good effect. He didn’t pick up the win this time though, Bodom putting him away with the Bliss Bluster at 10:45. A very welcome addition to the undercard, this. *** 1/2.

3- The Contenders (Kurtis Chapman/Josh Wall) vs. The Revolutionists (Sha Samuels/James Castle)
This only lasted a couple of minutes, and served to further a dissolution angle between The Revolutionists. The skinny youngsters caught Samuels and Castle off guard at first, but a big spinebuster from Samuels allowed them to take control. James Castle tagged in, but got caught in an inside cradle by Chapman, and that was enough for a three count at just 1:43! **. Post match, a livid Samuels slapped Castle in the face. Castle considered retaliating, but decided against it.

4- Tyler Bate vs. Dave Mastiff
It’s strange watching this match back now. It took place early in January, one week before Tyler Bate won the WWE U.K Championship, and here he was treated very much as Trent Seven’s little brother. Mastiff made reference a couple of times in the match to wanting Trent, not Tyler, and while Tyler gave a strong accounting of himself, he still took a beating and lost the match cleanly by submission. Maybe it’s just because I watch Tyler a lot in Fight Club: PRO, his home promotion, but it’s hard to imagine him in this role now, as a youthful underdog. This all has the welcome side effect of making this match seem really fresh and distinctive, enhancing what was already a great little match. It’s interesting to watch Bate try and knock the gigantic Mastiff off his feet, whittling away at him with short strikes to the abdomen, and Andy Quildan does a fine job of commentary of selling it as a huge moment when he finally floors Dave with a plancha. Down the finishing stretch there were more examples of Bate just matching Mastiff with freakish strength, including with an Airplane Spin and German Suplex, but he tweaked his knee while landing on his feet from a Mastiff attempt at a German, and that came back to haunt him as Dave chipped away at it, and ultimately tapped him out with the Boston Crab at 13:27. A unique and hugely satisfying little match. *** 3/4.

Andy Quildan interviews Marty Scurll in the ring, during which Scurll insists that Zack Sabre Jr. is his best friend, but how could he notkick him below the belt at Global Wars? He’s the Villain, after all. Attempts to get the Marty Scurll/Pete Dunne-Shane Strickland/Ryan Smile tag match underway are derailed when Travis Banks attacks Smile during his entrance. Strickland attempts to make the save, but falls to the numbers game. Will Ospreay helps even things up, and a six man tag bout is made for the main event!

5- Trent Seven vs. Zack Gibson
This is one of the weaker matches of the night. It’s a decent slugfest, but it lacks a certain oomph. Matches like that need real intensity to them, else it just comes off a bit like you’re not interested in doing anything too complicated, but Seven and Gibson both played to the more comedic aspects of Gibson’s ‘frustrated Scouser’ gimmick, and as such all the chopping and forearming felt a bit hollow. I did really like the finish, in which Gibson slipped as he tried to climb the turnbuckles, and Seven pounced with a Dragon Suplex and Short Piledriver for the victory at 11:46. I can’t figure out where Gibson slipping was a genuine error or was planned all along; if it was the former, it’s impressive how convincing it looked, and if it’s the latter, it’s neat that they moved into the finish so smoothly. ** 3/4.

6- RevPro British Tag Team Championships- Charlie Sterling & Joel Redman vs. The London Riots
I thought Redman and Sterling looked really impressive in this. They controlled the early stages of the match at such speed, utilising quick tags to keep the pace up, and yet always looked properly crisp as well. You’d expect Redman to be so smooth with his WWE experience as Oliver Grey, but you don’t hear much about Charlie Sterling and it was nice to be pleasantly surprised. The London Riots took over for the control segment and just kind of existed in doing so. That would have been fine if it was short, but alas they dominated for a fair while and it was hard to stay invested. The finishing stretch recovered things quite well, the Riots looked much better in that sort of sprint environment when they could just bust out big power move double teams, and Redman and Sterling continued to impress. They retained the titles in memorable fashion, Redman hitting a Tombstone, Sterling following up with a Corkscrew Senton at 16:32! A hit and miss match, but all of it was at least competently wrestled and I think the finishing sequence was strong enough to make it worth sitting through the flat middle. ***.

7- RJ Singh vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
I’m in two minds about this one. I love the story they’re trying to tell. RJ Singh is a veteran of the mid to late 2000s UK scene, a time when, as far as I’m aware, there wasn’t much going on that was worth writing home about. Singh retired from the ring in 2014, took a year out, then unretired in 2016. This bout with Zack was comfortably his most high profile one since his return. So Singh gets in the ring and, basically, gets absolutely slaughtered, the implication clearly being that RJ, representing UK indy wrestling from 2007, is simply not in the same league as ZSJ, representing UK indy wrestling from 2017. It takes a commendable lack of ego on Singh’s part to go along with this, and it makes for a really compelling and different story. You feel real sympathy for Singh as Sabre effortlessly drifts through his arsenal of submission holds, especially since Zack was in the midst of a heel turn at the time and was displaying some seriously cocky behaviour. The big flaw in the match comes in the finishing stretch, which is more or less 50/50, a jarring contrast with what we’d just seen. Singh, it has to be said, is genuinely not in Sabre’s league, and while he’s a very competent wrestler, he’s not really got the depth in his arsenal to go toe to toe with ZSJ in terms of near falls. If this had continued as the extended, spirited squash that it initially seemed to be, I think it would have cracked four stars, but the final minutes are from another, much less interesting match, and drag it down considerably. Sabre taps Singh out at 14:54 with Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last. The Inexorable March Of Progress Will Lead Us All To Happiness. *** 1/4.

In a post match interview with Andy Quildan, Sabre admits he’s frustrated that RJ Singh thought he could challenge him in the ring on the back of a year out, and chastises these kids who brag about merch sales rather than dedicating themselves to their craft…

8- Will Ospreay, Shane Strickland & Ryan Smile vs. Marty Scurll, Pete Dunne & Travis Banks
This was the match I watched the show for, believing it would feature the combination of mental high flying and zany antics that essentially represents my ideal wrestling formula. And that’s by and large what I got, although the early stages of the bout were too slow for it to be a genuine match of the year candidate, nor did the finishing stretch reach that utterly transcendent level of flippy insanity where you can’t quite believe what you’re seeing. Still, there was so much to enjoy in this match. Early highlights included Marty Scurll and Pete Dunne setting up a pop up merchandise shop on the ring apron and selling T-shirts to fans while Travis Banks took care of Shane Strickland in the ring. If spots like that leave you repulsed, then of course this match won’t be for you, but I like them and I really liked this. The finishing stretch was fought at a tremendous pace, everyone got a chance to shine, and Ospreay and Smile busted out a pair of those outrageous over the ring post tope con hilos, which are always absolutely breathtaking. They came up with excuses for Ospreay, Dunne, Banks and Strickland all to disappear to the back, allowing Scurll and Smile to contest the final moments unmolested. RevPro have worked really hard to get Ryan Smile over as a new top guy this year, and while it’s been a hit and miss push on the whole, here he was presented perfectly, battling valiantly against the superior Scurll in a thrilling conclusion, dodging the Chicken Wing, getting caught in it but refusing to tap, eating a bundle of superkicks and popping to his feet with fighting spirit, before finally being subdued for good with the Chicken Wing to conclude a blazing main event at 25:27. **** 1/4. Not absolutely must see levels of greatness, but certainly at ‘your life will be greatly improved by watching’ levels.

Sabre Jr. comes out to confront Scurll post match, and kicks him in the groin, reciprocating what Scurll did to him at Global Wars…

The final score: review Good
The 411
I love the atmosphere of RevPro's Cockpit outings. The intimacy of the venue and the presentation of the show reminds me in a way of the old NWA World Championship Wrestling episodes in the eighties, albeit a very weird episode in which the boundaries of kayfabe are stretched on several occasions and moves that wouldn't be invented for another 20 years are kicked out of at barely two. It's just got a really nice, relaxed vibe to it on the whole, but none of the wrestlers take that as a cue to put their feet up, and as such we get a strong selection of very good-great matches, plus a couple that are a little more forgettable. This is a very fun watch, and if I get the chance I'll definitely be adding the Cockpit series to my viewing rotation.