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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: RPW Uprising 2016

August 17, 2016 | Posted by TJ Hawke
Will Ospreay PROGRESS NJPW
5
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: RPW Uprising 2016  

Bethnal Green, Greater London, England
August 12, 2016

Jay White vs. Josh Bodom
This was a pretty standard indie match. White got some shine. Bodom cut him off and worked a generic heat segment. They then went too long with the back-and-forth sequence. There was no real substance to any of it, but they managed to keep the crowd engaged throughout so kudos to them. White eventually put Bodom away cleanly. The match felt generic. However, it was also never boring and was executed well enough. (**¾)

Big Damo vs. Sha Samuels
This was a thoroughly unsatisfying affair. The main reason was that Sha Samuels appears to be largely useless as a pro wrestler while doing remotely serious matches. He’s a heel who contributes basically nothing to the match, and he won this one after a ref bump/scarf choking combo. Just brutal stuff. Damo is a fine performer, but he’s not good enough to compensate for any of that. (½*)

PJ Black & Ryan Smile vs. The British Young Bloods (Jake McCluskey & The Bruce)
This was pretty dire stuff with The British Young Bloods bringing virtually nothing to the contest. (They reminded me a lot of Sha Samuels in that way.) The idea of them being an undercard team that does not work terribly seriously is fine maybe. It just went too long, and they’re not nearly entertaining enough to make it seem like time well spent for an indie company that does not run all that much in the grand scheme of things.

Black and Smile did not do much to stand out here either. Smile has got a lot of hype at the moment, and he seems to be someone worth exploring. Black does a 450. Not here but in general. (TBYB won with a rolling elbow/German combo.) (*)

Let’s hope the show improves dramatically from here.

Chris Hero vs. Marty Scurll
This was fine. Hero was acting confident early on, but that allowed Scurll to find an opening to cut him off. Scurll worked him over for a bit, and then they did an extended back-and-forth sequence. It felt gratuitous and unearned for the most part unfortunately. While Scurll playing babyface would not really work for his character, this match still would have been way more interesting if Hero dominated him all the way through. It’s just not that hard to book Chris Hero in the Year of Paul, 2016. Hero won after a super piledriver which looked quite spectacular.) (**¾)

Pete Dunne vs. Ricochet
Pete Dunne’s gimmick of being the bruiserweight in a cruiserweight division is quite brilliant. However, he’s missing a key component: he needs to beat these tiny fuckers up instead of doing chinlocks when he is on top. That makes the comeback from the babyfaces so much less satisfying which in turn makes it harder to get invested in the inevitable back-and-forth sequence that will go too long after that. That all happened here, and there was predictably nothing here to really care about despite it not being a bad match. It was just dry and felt like it was appealing to the lowest common denominator of indie fans. Ricochet won cleanly with a 630. (**¾)

Zack Sabre Jr.(c) vs. Jeff Cobb [Revolution Pro British Heavyweight Championship
This was so well done and lightyears ahead of everything else on the show. It was designed exactly how it needed to be to make Zack look like a deserving champion while also giving the challenger plenty of credibility so that he can easily return to the company and still seem like a big deal. Cobb used his size and strength advantage to dominate the match. Zack fought back with submission attempts and plenty of strikes. Zack was eventually able to weaken him enough to finish him after two PKs. This was good wrestling! Cobb is a future star. (***½)

Vader vs. Will Ospreay
Vader started a Twitter feud in 2016 with flippy wrestlers and got himself a paid vacation to Europe out of it. If he was not already in Melty’s hall of fame, he certainly deserves it this year after proving yet again to be an all-time great worker.

The match itself was a hilarious clusterfuck. It started out well for a couple of minutes (even had an appropriate ref bump) with Vader mostly mauling Ospreay, and Ospreay throwing in a desperation dive from the stage. The match proceeded to get exceptionally goofy after Ospreay basically had to chokeslam himself through a table.

From there, we got a stretcher tease, comically over-the-top facials from Ospreay, Pete Dunne running in, Ricochet running in, a second ref bump, and Vader going over in the end. The idea being that Pete Dunne wanted a title shot, and he decided to send Ospreay a message by helping Vader beat him.

It was not the worst idea to get out of making Vader winning somewhat useful, but you have to question any booking that results in 2016 Vader going over the hottest act in the company. Overall, this Vader/Ospreay feud has been one for the record books in regards to everyone involved looking bad as a result. The match was at least far from the complete disaster it could have been though. (**1/2)

 

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5.0
The final score: review Not So Good
The 411
RevPro has a fantastic thing going, and their shows seem to truly have a great energy about them right now. Between the NJPW relationship and the slight connection to WWE thanks to the CWC, they really are in the middle of a moment right now to make a splash. This show even captured their strong instincts for the variety of talent they can bring in. Hero, Cobb, and White are the kind of outside wrestlers that get the right kind of attention. Zack, Ospreay, Dunne, Scurll, Smile, and Bodom all have varying degrees of hype at the moment. Vader brought the freakshow element. Why didn't the show turn out to be all that memorable then? Well, mostly it was because a lot of talented wrestlers did not get truly creative with their matches. They relied on outdated notions of what makes a good match (lots of kickouts seemed like it was an aspect of every match) and are not pushing themselves mentally to be more innovating and interesting. It was especially a shame here since the physical effort was clearly there.
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