Saturday, 9 July 2016

Live Event Review: RevPro Live at the Cockpit 10 - The LDRS vs. British Youngbloods (James Marston)

I've been meaning to make it down to a Revolution Pro Wrestling show for quite sometime now and despite having earmarked a couple of shows to travel to over the last few years, the combined effects of timing and location have usually stood in the way. However the stars aligned on 3rd July 2016 and I made my first trek down south for a RevPro show, Live at the Cockpit 10. With familiar names from previously attended shows, like "The Villain" Marty Scurll, Zack Sabre Jr. and Jonny Storm, as well as guys I've been wanting to see more of like Josh Bodom and Jake McCluskey, could RevPro live up to their stellar reputation?

In an intriguingly chosen main event, RevPro British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. and "The Villain" Marty Scurll, collectively known as The Leaders of the New School, scored a victory over The British Youngbloods, "The Moonsault King" Jake McCluskey and "The Bruce" Kieran Bruce. I say "intriguingly chosen" because British Youngbloods had lost all three of their previous matches in RevPro, none of which have main evented the shows they were placed on. On the other side of the match, you've got a current and a former RevPro British Heavyweight Champion and two guys who have graced RevPro's main event on numerous occasions. Any match ZSJ and Scurll are both in these days is probably going to main event, but McCluskey and Bruce's previous outings for the company meant that pushing them into a main event slot, opposite two world traveled opponents, gave the bout a bit of a lop-sided feel. That isn't to knock either McCluskey or Bruce's abilities, but just that they haven't been booked like a team deserving a main event slot, let alone a slot against the current champion of the promotion. 

Once you'd got past the rather strange atmosphere of the entire room (except for one guy) just wanting to see Scurll and ZSJ batter the shit out of two people, without it really not mattering who those two people were, this was a fun, entertaining main event. There was a complex story that weaved it's way throughout the contest, that may have not been for the more casual of fans, but for someone like me it was captivating stuff, as ZSJ became frustrated with Scurll's villainous ways at many points within the bout, allowing for Bruce and McCluskey to capitalise. The crowd didn't seem to want to have anything to do with The British Youngbloods, which may have something to do with them coming across as fodder for the LDRS's on-going storyline, although both men looked more than competent in the ring. 

The closing stages of the bout saw some brilliant back and forth between the two teams, with all four men getting involved in the action that seemed like it would never stop with both sides gaining strong near falls and a ridiculous amounts of superkicks being hit. The finish was timed perfectly and played right into hot crowd who had been demanding "Arm Bars & Chicken Wings" all match long, so when both holds where locked on at the same time the roof almost came off the Cock Pit. A great way to end the show giving the fans exactly what they wanted. ZSJ would end the show with a short promo, staking a claim to a British Tag Team title shot down the line, as he heads into a big title defense against Katsuyori Shibata on 10th July. I've a feeling there's more than one twist left in the tale of the LDRS over the next few months with the slow build meaning that any potential pay-off will be even sweeter. 

The match of the night would be a superb contest that saw Trent Seven defeat Mark Haskins after hitting a one-armed piledriver. The match was announced as a British Strong-Style Challenge and boy did it live up to that moniker as the pair beat seven shades of shit into each other. As fun as it is to see two guys batter each other, the story of the match was the thing that drew me in and kept satisfied throughout. After hitting his arm against the ring post early on, the limb would become a constant problem for Seven throughout the match, as he winced with every move he hit. It was played perfectly by "The Super Don" at every turn, as he attempted to swap arms when hitting uppercuts and struggled to hit a piledriver because of the arm. The fact that Haskins uses a Bridging Fujiwara Armbar as a finish bought even more drama to the contest. 

A big part of this contest for me was the crowd. There was a clear divide between those rooting for Haskins and those rooting for Seven and this create a superb atmosphere within the Cockpit and seemed to bring the best out of each competitor. Both seemed to hit a little harder and to move a step faster. I think by the end of the match the duo had earned the respect of the others supporters, with Seven especially seemingly having won over a lot of fans during the match for his gutsy, character-driven performance. It may have been almost three years since these two have faced off, here's hoping we don't have to wait that long for the next one!

Tasked with opening the second half, Pete Dunne would pick up a victory over Noam Dar, after nailing the WWE Cruiserweight Classic competitor with his British Cruiserweight Championship belt. This wasn't your typical cruiserweight type bout though with the action remaining very grounded and technical as both men looked to employ signature holds. Dunne would focus on Dar's arm, whilst Dar would mainly go after Dunne's knee, however unlike the previous Haskins v Seven bout it didn't feel like either of these injuries every fully became the entire story or the driving force of the contest, which was mainly the fast paced exchange of holds and submissions. 

The bout really picked up in the closing stages with a number of quality transitions from hold to hold. A brilliant false finish came when Dar slipped out of a Tombstone Piledriver attempt by Dunne and managed to lock in the Champagne Super Knee Bar with Dunne scrambling to make it to the ropes. Obviously the previous work on the knee from Dar made the moment even more dramatic, with the crowd clearly behind Dar, with their support growing the longer Dunne was in the hold. This lead nicely into the finish as the villainous Dunne once again cheated his way to victory, managing to keep Dar out of the title picture for now. It will be interesting to see if the attack goes anywhere over the next few months and if Dar is granted a title shot. A rematch between the two would definitely be welcomed.

The only title match of the night would see Charlie Garrett & Joel Redman manage to retain their belts against The Legion of Lord's Gideon Grey & Rishi Ghosh, after some shenanigans. This was an entertaining tag bout, that pretty much stuck to the regular format, with just enough to hold the attention and warm the crowd up, whilst still being a paint by numbers affair. This being my first trip to RevPro, I'm not sure how much the dusty finish was needed, as we initially saw The L.o.L. get the victory after Grey had used his cane, only for the referee to see the cane, re-start the match before Garrett & Redman picked up a quick victory with a roll-up. The fact that we'd see Pete Dunne use a similar tactic later in the show muddies the water further. The situation wasn't helped by a bit of awkwardness following the re-start. It was weird that Garrett & Redman seemed to leave their most exciting offence for their post-match attack on Grey's ring jacket. 

Josh Bodom would pick up his third RevPro victory in a row, defeating Jody Fleisch in a decent match, following interference from The Revolutionists stable match, James Castle. This was another straight-forward bout, that although enjoyable throughout, never seemed to kick into the next gear. The crowd was interestingly split between the two men, despite Bodom's attempt to heel it up with a couple of vocal insults towards Fleisch and I think this effected a lot of the work that was on display. It's telling that despite writing my notes directly after the match had finished I couldn't think of much to note down. Not a bad match, but nothing memorable.

Linked with the Bodom v Fliesch match was Jonny Storm's victory over James Castle, as he gained a pinfall win following The WonderWhirl. This match was following directly on from the Bodom/Fliesch encounter with both men ending up ejected from ringside after trying to get involved in the early stages. Similar to the match before, at times it felt like both men were going through the motions as they waited for the next part of the angle to happen. However, Castle's act seems much more over as a heel and therefore I think this match was the more satisfying watch. Both Bodom and Fleisch would be back before the matches end, with Fleisch nailing Bodom with a lovely moonsault off the apron that would lead into the finish.

In Pro Wrestling: EVE action, Jinny would pin the debuting Zoe Lucas after nailing a Face Lift (Middle Rope X-Factor) in a solid women's match. This was the first time I'd seen Lucas in action since I worked on a Southcoast Wrestling show last year and I have to say that she's come on leaps and bounds, both in terms of interacting with the crowd and in developing an exciting and different moveset. Her ability to draw sympathy from the audience was aided by the fact that Jinny is a heat magnet literally everywhere she goes and manages to rile up a crowd simply by looking at them. Despite one nasty slip on a Japanese Arm Drag, both women managed to fit a lot into their allotted time, showcasing themselves and their opponents well. The double strike sequence was particular highlight. 

Josh Walls and Kurtis Chapman had a bit of an exhibition match, as they were working as part of the ring crew. Unfortunately this bout was wrapping up just as we finally entered the building, but both guys looked to progressing nicely in their development. 


ATPW Scale Rating - 6.30/10

This was a strong show of British wrestling with a lot of different styles on show throughout the card. The top end of the card really shone though, with Mark Haskins and Trent Seven throwing out the Match of the Night with a brilliant example of British Strong-Style that would hold up against pretty much anything anyone else is doing around the world right now. Pete Dunne and Noam Dar put on a great technical bout, whilst the main event tried to do something different with it's storytelling that just about paid off with a good match, despite the choice of opponent being questionable for a main event (again, not a dig at McCluskey or Bruce, just that their previous booking for the company didn't make them look main event calibre)

The undercard suffered a little because of it's screwy booking and having the Bodom v Fleisch followed straight away by Castle v Storm meant that the card ended up dragging just a little at this point in the evening. The stand-out bout from the lower half of the card for me was actually Jinny and Zoe Lucas' bout as the crowd was into the action and characters, whilst one performer continued to develop into a true star of the Brit-Wres scene, whilst another showed promise for the future.

I'm looking forward to catching more RevPro in the future, as I feel like I've only just scratched the surface of what the company has to offer with this Cockpit show. I traveled down to London from the Midlands, so if you're in London and aren't attending these shows then you really are missing out on a great evening of entertainment. Sort yourselves out. You can even check out their shows on demand, RPW on Demand including Kurt Angle vs. Zack Sabre Jr.! 

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