It doesn’t really feel that way back since I used to be proclaiming that RevPro were back. Their Excessive Stakes present was an enthralling new starting, giving us three new champions and a renewed hope that British wrestling wouldn’t be outlined by a bunch of scabs in an Enfield warehouse.
Then the world shut down, and wrestling with it.
As unbiased wrestling slowly comes again to life, RevPro may have fairly simply been in a troublesome place. This present may have been a misfired engine, nevertheless it wasn’t. Whereas the star rankings may not bounce off the web page, there was one thing intangible about this present. It’s nearly the apex of a crescendo that Andy Quildan has been constructing in direction of all through the lockdown with the Epic Encounters sequence. The roster was small, and the tales had been easy, however RevPro began reserving once more. Quildan took what little he had, and began to mildew it.
RevPro’s return to their house base of The Cockpit is the proper place to look at how that reserving is growing. There are a number of completely different plates spinning, with one or two smashed on the ground. The successes, nevertheless, have the potential to be stellar.
The Contenders’ Division
Doug Williams, Kenneth Halfpenny and Shaun Jackson def. Callum Newman, JJ Gale and Brendan White
The opening match was a whirlwind of tales all combined collectively, united by the frequent objective of growth. By analyzing every of the person contributors, it’s clear that RevPro is prioritizing the following crop of British wrestlers, and it’s as laudable as it’s vital. Andy Quildan has spoken of the frustrations bred from growing expertise solely to have them whisked away to a WWE warehouse by no means to be seen by a star ranking once more. Together with his relationship with New Japan intact however unable to operate, RevPro used the pandemic to reexamine and rebuild.
It might be naive and counterproductive to fake that the younger expertise on this match is prepared for something apart from this type of opening match, however there are many optimistic indicators that they’re rising steadily with applicable experience and steering.
The clear favorites are Callum Newman and JJ Gale and it’s straightforward to see why. Newman is a protege of Will Ospreay, and the similarities are stark. Newman is agile past perception, and it’s a disgrace that he wasn’t actually in a position to reveal that on this match. His bout with Will Ospreay from Epic Encounters 2 is a a lot better introduction to the exceptional tempo that he posseses. He’s the epitome of that outdated cliche – nice wrestlers transfer in another way. Through the Ospreay match, he was in a position to supply unimaginable counters that urged a uncommon, artistic thoughts. He isn’t content material to wrestle just like the individuals who got here earlier than him, and even his mentor (and clear idol). There’s a little bit of a charisma problem, however he has made huge enhancements and was clearly motivated by wrestling in entrance of actual people.
JJ Gale was additionally spectacular right here, however once more, a dive into the Epic Encounters sequence would function a greater introduction. Gale wrestled a sequence of singles matches towards the most effective stars Quildan may get his fingers on. The reserving in itself is a large indication of Quildan’s religion in Gale, however the matches themselves had been fascinating too. Gale by no means embarrassed himself, and infrequently wrestled far past his expertise. The matches – particularly towards Robbie X and Will Ospreay – had been clearly positioned as studying experiences. Gale is extremely athletic, and is an excellent mixture of each power and pace. Quildan appears to have acknowledged that it’s now solely observe that can enhance his technical means, so he’s educating him work. His loss to Robbie X got here as a result of he arrogantly tried to match his pace. He misplaced to Will Ospreay as a result of he hadn’t fairly constructed the resilience he wanted to compete on the prime degree. He was in a position to inform these easy, efficient tales and is constructing a unbelievable basis for the longer term. He was clearly led by the extra skilled wrestlers, however RevPro has been sensible in how they’re presenting Gale. He’s a wild expertise – his offense is clumsy and he’s susceptible to creating errors – however he’s brimming with pure means. Gale even managed to make Mark Haskins appear powerful, though his pretend swagger is about as intimidating as my mum (who’s useless).
The second pairing of Brendan White and Kenneth Halfpenny can also be fascinating, if not on the identical degree as Gale and Newman. What began off as a primary singles match at Epic Encounters One quickly developed right into a better of 5 sequence, which allowed Halfpenny to develop a personality that would match his uncommon look. Halfpenny steadily realized that he wanted to cheat to win, which is a story as outdated as time, nevertheless it was his wonderful promos that actually offered the story. He threw a strop when he misplaced and was smug in victory. His victories had been low cost, but bookended by his warped classes in success like “it takes greater than energy to reach this enterprise.” He’s grown into the heel who’s a bit garbage however is satisfied he’s sensible, and it’s a personality he performs fantastically.
White is a brute. He’s an enormous man who does a superb Boss Man Slam and isn’t afraid to throw different wrestlers round. He’s working with Progress in addition to RevPro, so will probably be fascinating to see which path he finally chooses. He’s gifted sufficient to have that alternative, however I can’t assist however assume RevPro can be higher for him. Quildan is clearly having fun with having the pencil once more, and has been revitalized by this crop of recent expertise. White can be higher served by that vitality, quite than the soulless contractual obligations of a useless Progress.
Whereas this match may not have been anyone’s greatest work, it was essential as an announcement and as a option to introduce the returning Doug Williams because the mentor for the Contenders division. A instantly unretired Williams isn’t probably the most thrilling factor on this planet, however they arrange a pleasant framework for future tales. Williams respects White as a result of he performs by the principles and is aggravated with Halfpenny as a result of he cheats. Within the phrases of Gordon Ramsey: rustic, easy, efficient.
We had been handled to a teaser of the upcoming tag match, with Gale and Newman providing an incredible Gory Particular with a double stomp. Gale had aggravated his fellow contenders by carrying his personal customized gear which, regardless of the gear itself being a default alternative from a long-forgotten online game, was a pleasant antagonistic wrinkle and a transparent indication of his new place.
I’m not recommending you watch this match and I’m not saying it was nice. I simply assume there’s a star on this bunch someplace.
The Girls’s Division
Chakara def. Chantal Jordan
RevPro Undisputed British Championship
Gisele Shaw def. Zoe Lucas
For all of the success in constructing a fascinating future for the boys’s division, the identical couldn’t be mentioned for the ladies. It’s no person’s fault, except you need to scream on the imaginary darkish shadow that’s the WWE. RevPro spent their Epic Encounters sequence constructing the ladies’s division with the identical ethos as the boys – logical reserving and respectable work – with wrestlers being paired collectively for a mixture of tag and singles matches and ready-made feuds. There was the thrilling positivity of Gisele Shaw and Aleah James, the damaging darkness of Bea Priestley and Jamie Hayter, and no matter Zoe Lucas and Bobbi Tyler had been purported to be. Later, the inimitable Lord Gideon Gray introduced in Sky Smitson to enliven the championship scene.
Whereas it wasn’t good, the ladies’s division was stable and was growing a great basis for the longer term. Shaw and Hayter had been the clear stars, with Aleah James being Quildan’s subsequent step. Bobbi Tyler was nice, nevertheless it was Priestley and Lucas that stopped the division being nice. Priestley was respectable sufficient, however she had the aura of a wrestler who had been over-praised and began to imagine it. She was by no means as convincingly brutal as Hayter or Shaw, however by no means appeared to understand. Lucas has go-away warmth at this level, together with her shrieking tantrums being a cliche too far.
Whereas there have been issues, the matches had been good. They had been brutal, and the wrestlers dedicated to each transfer. The needle settled on Hayter as champion, and she or he commenced a blood feud with Smitson which was purported to culminate in an enormous title match at Cockpit 51… besides the WWE signed Hayter, Priestley and Smitson.
RevPro wished them the most effective of luck, vacated Hayter’s title and rebooked this as Shaw vs Lucas for the title. Simply when the division had momentum, it was dropped at a screeching halt. Three pushed ladies have disappeared right into a warehouse in Enfield for a measly contract and a false promise, and RevPro is again to sq. one.
We had two ladies’s matches right here. The primary, as necessitated by the scenario, was to construct a brand new star. Chakara defeated Chantal Jordan in a match that was completely nice. Each ladies had been violent, and Chakara has an unimaginable submission recreation. Nevertheless, neither are able to take a convincing spot on the prime of a division and the reserving woes invaded any ideas I may need had. Chakara acquired the rub, however she struggled to stroll the road between gradual and methodical. She needed to present an air of relentless violence, however her actions had been simply too plodding.
The second ladies’s match, and probably the most prestigious, was between Zoe Lucas and Gisele Shaw for the vacated title. The final main RevPro present, Excessive Stakes 2020, featured this precise match. Shaw stood within the ring on the finish, alongside Ospreay and Oku, heralding a brand new begin for the division. There’s a deep sense of repetition, however there wasn’t a lot of another.
The match itself began with a dominant and violent Gisele Shaw, clearly motivated by the boldness a victory would deliver. Sadly, Zoe Lucas will not be a critical championship contender. The gimmick of the “magnificence wrestler” full with shrieks when promoting, is off placing at greatest. What’s extra egregious, nevertheless, is the mushy means that she hits the ropes. There’s no dedication to something she does, and a wrestler like Gisele Shaw deserved higher.
This was not at all a squash, however Gisele Shaw was definitely dominant. A brutal, prolonged submission was an incredible shut and gave her a violent begin to her new reign.
Lee Hunter def. Massive Weapons Joe
Michael Oku and Connor Mills def. Lykos Health club
Massive Weapons Joe has develop into extra outstanding in latest months, and is now dancing on a really skinny line between comedy and critical wrestling. In some ways, this defeats the entire level of Massive Weapons Joe. Probably the most profitable Joe I’ve seen is in promotions like Hindley’s Grand Professional, which attracts households. There, the scrumptious irony of a diminutive man satisfied he’s an enormous works brilliantly. Right here, it typically appears foolish. In an setting just like the Cockpit, the size-defying power spots he does can be spectacular, however soaking them in irony takes away quite than provides.
Hunter is being constructed as a challenger for Oku’s Cruiserweight title, and he’s a stable, reliable hand that can little question have a great match. His reverse DTT was unimaginable, and he gave Joe a pep speak on the finish about being taken extra significantly. A transition into a brand new character can be welcomed, because the cruiserweight division wants an injection of expertise.
Oku is the present cruiserweight champion, and he has been distracted by tag crew gold. In a means, it’s comprehensible reserving as a result of he’s a lot better on the chase than he’s the catch. It’s not simply his measurement however his aura that makes him the perpetual underdog, so shifting him right into a tag crew together with his greatest buddy, Connor Mills is a option to preserve that vitality going. Sadly, they’ve been locked in a perpetual feud with the Lykos Health club, which, like a lot of the Schadenfreude adjoining acts, has a ceiling except you’re immediately invested within the wrestlers themselves.
This was the opening match within the Nice British Tag League and it had a critical tempo downside. When it was good, it was good. There have been, nevertheless, too many stretches of plodding submissions that the Lykos crew couldn’t fairly handle. I want the Lykos that really wrestles in comparison with the Lykos that hides beneath the ring, but when I’m in management I’m holding Joe Nelson properly away from that masks.
This match was a relentless stream of close to misses. Everybody wrestled past their means and nothing had a passable touchdown. Everybody labored arduous, however Mills can’t play the powerful man and Lykos can’t play the pack of wolves they actually attempt to be. The ending had some juice, however I’m hoping for higher because the Tag League progresses.
The Misplaced Toys
Robbie X def. Chris Ridgeway (w/Gideon Gray)
The very best metaphor I ever heard for ECW was from Joe Lanza; he mentioned that ECW was the promotion of the misplaced toys. It was a bunch of wrestlers who didn’t slot in any main firm, however with some love and alternative may do one thing particular.
The three males concerned listed here are the misplaced toys of British wrestling. It seems like they’ve all been missed, which is an actual disgrace. What this does, nevertheless, is give RevPro some much-needed veteran expertise amidst a really younger scene.
I’m nearly bored with praising Gideon Gray, however he is without doubt one of the greatest managers of all time. It shouldn’t work – he’s a throwback to the period of larger-than-life characterization that always appears passe – however he fills the position so utterly. He’s nearly comforting now, a relentless that has been with us for years and can at all times be with us, yelling till his eyeballs bulge as he stands on the RevPro ring mat. Whether or not it’s Rishi Ghosh, the Nice-O-Kharn or Chris Ridgeway, he can pinpoint eyes wherever he needs them, and reminds us why the wrestling supervisor is such an essential misplaced artwork.
I don’t know why Ridgeway and Robbie X have been left behind. Perhaps it’s the look – Ridgeway may be very small and Robbie X appears like a builder who has borrowed a smaller man’s gear – however they’ve each constructed up a physique of labor that ought to cement them within the RevPro lineup for some time. Robbie X, whereas subdued barely right here, is dangerously fast. I’ve typically questioned if he’s really harmful, as a result of his dropkicks hardly ever appear pulled. Ridgeway is a violent striker who isn’t afraid to grapple and his menacing aura quickly mitigates any measurement points.
Sadly, this was neither man’s greatest outing. Ridgeway wrestled sensible, slowing the sooner man down and intelligently piling counters upon counters, however there was a contact of overselling at occasions. A 3rd-act forearm trade felt barely unearned. Nevertheless, with Quildan’s renewed want to e-book, he’s acquired two very fascinating wrestlers to work with.
A Primary Occasion Developed
Iron Fist Match for Southside Heavyweight Championship
Ricky Knight Jr. def. Dan Moloney
I may speak concerning the latest careers of each of those males, however it will be unfair. Each Moloney and Ricky Knight Jr are on the cusp of some unbelievable work. They’ve each been promising greatness for some time, however because the tough edges are sanded away that last potential is beginning to develop into clearer.
Moloney has been a really violent particular person in all of his work in RevPro. The issue, as with many wrestling powerful guys, is that it was very straightforward for him to slide into cliche. He would scream and gurn his means by matches like a glitching Zangief, every muscle spasm stealing just a little credibility. Over the Epic Encounters sequence, he slowly misplaced that and developed right into a genuinely intimidating man. He exudes managed violence, and wrestles a grounded terrifying model.
Pretty much as good as Moloney was right here, it actually seems like RKJ’s time. He spent the Epic Encounters sequence working with the likes of Ospreay (even pinning him in a tag match) and Kyle Fletcher. He slowly developed a personality steeped in criminality. Notice I didn’t say heel. It’s dishonest, in a means so apparent and historic that it feels recent. He positions his physique to cover eye gouges and clandestine punches, and he bends fingers to begging cries from Moloney. It’s oxymoronically refined but apparent on the identical time, and for the primary time we now have a match that tonally suits the miserable Cockpit.
There have been big strikes from each males, maybe fed by stipulation. An Iron Fist match is basically an Iron Man match however a knockout makes the scores irrelevant. That knockout was at all times a objective for each males, with stable punches bookended with MMA-style floor management.
The opening of the match, with its honest violence was good, however when Maloney acquired the pin and went two forward (he began at 1-0 due to a win within the match correct), the change in RKJ was hypnotizing.
Realizing that three pinfalls was unlikely, he went after the knockout like a person possessed. There have been horrendous dropkicks and a focused sequence of strikes on Moloney’s leg that spoke immediately and deeply to the criminality that the announcers tried so desperately to recover from. This was one of many uncommon moments in wrestling when all of the performers – the referee and announcers alike – work in tandem to create one thing particular. As RKJ danced across the referee to harm Moloney much more than he already had, I actually believed that he would kill to win the match.
He received with an Oscutter into the Hidden Blade, which was a beautiful insult to the person he known as an absent champion in his post-match promo.
Actually, the promo was nearly nearly as good because the match itself. He congratulated Dan Moloney in such a nonchalant means that it stood out as a horrendous line subsequent to the beating he simply gave him. It was really psychotic habits – practically homicide somebody and the delivers a babyface promo. This seems like a up to date wrestling character and it was sensible.
Shota Umino got here out to problem, and also you can read my extensive thoughts on Shota here.
Exterior of the primary occasion, this isn’t a present I’d advocate primarily based on star rankings. Actually, loads of it was pretty common and uneventful. Nevertheless, this seems like a recent begin for RevPro. There are numerous shifting items, and never all of them have fallen into place but. However, with Quildan revitalized in his reserving, there isn’t a motive to doubt the longer term for RevPro is brilliant with such nice younger wrestlers at his disposal.