On Sunday 12th June 2016 I journeyed to the York Hall in Bethnal Green with my dad and brother. It was my first outing to a Revolution Pro wrestling event. The main event was Kurt Angle vs Zach Sabre Jr, the atmosphere was electric from the start of the show until the end. I loved every minute and vowed that I would return. To fuel my Rev Pro obsession I even managed to interview the commentator of the event I went to, Olly Hogben for the Creativity Talks Podcast. If you want to hear the interview with Olly, it is Episode 39.
It took me a while but this past Saturday, 21st January 2017 I returned to the York Hall. This time with avid wrestling fan and buddy Bobby. On this occasion I was the one telling Bobby what to expect, he was seeing this company with fresh eyes. In fact he was seeing a UK promotion for the first time. We grabbed a pint before the show in The Dundee Arms along with the majority of the people attending.
Interim Cruiserweight Championship - Ryan Smile Vs Josh Bodom
The opening contest was for the Interim Cruiserweight Championship. From what was said by promoter Andy Quildan before the match, due to Will Ospreay being heavily in demand with Japan and Ring of Honour and unable to attend certain Rev Pro shows. Instead of stripping Ospreay of the title, they have decided to create an interim one. This decision has divided opinion. Some fans around me felt, if he's not there to defend the title then it should be given to someone else. I get that point, I also understand that Will Ospreay is one of the most talked about performers in the world today and that you'd still want him associated with the company. I'm fine with it, it reminds me of Shawn and Razor with the Intercontinental title from the 90's. The winner of tonights match will hopefully be in line for a main match with Ospreay down the line. The match itself was a solid opener, Bodom was getting a lot of stick from the loud crowd. The chants included (Fill in the blanks) 'You're a **** Slim Shady' and 'You're a **** Brock Lesnar'. Bodom defeated Smile by pinfall to become the new Interim Cruiserweight Champion.
- RPW Undisputed British Tag Team Championship - War Machine Vs Charlie Sterling & Joel Redman
Watching Charlie Sterling wrestle is a little odd to me because he looks so much like one of my cousins. It's like some sort of alternative reality. However this was a great tag team match. The former ROH World Tag Team Champions War Machine were the crowd favourites in this one, Charlie Sterling attempted to get the audience cheering but he was instead greeted with loud boo's and 'You're generic' chants. Hanson from War Machine showed his speed and stamina when he ran from corner to corner body splashing Sterling and Redman for what seemed like two minutes straight. Sterling and Redman fought back, delivering a Tombstone followed by Spinal Tap on one half of War Machine for the win. Celebrating their win with the titles, they were attacked by CCS (Chris Brookes and Travis Banks).
Yoshi Hashi Vs Pete Dunne
Pete Dunne came out first for this contest. He received a standing ovation from the sold out crowd, it was well deserved after his outstanding showing in the WWE UK Championship Tournament. However there were still some fans who wanted to attack him with 'You Sold Out' chants. His reactions were priceless, giving them a crotch chop and the evil eyes throughout the match. One fantastic heel moment that generated heat with some fans was Pete Dunne getting ready to deliver Triple H's Pedigree on Hashi. Dunne dominated the match to start with, attempting numerous times to bite Hashi's fingers. Hashi managed to kick out of The Bitter End from Dunne. Hashi got the win with Karma (Pump-handle half nelson driver). Dunne exited rather quickly, stopping for a moment on the ramp to say thank you to the crowd. This prompted us to pose the question 'Will we see Pete Dunne at the York Hall again?'.
Marty Scurll Vs Zach Sabre Jr
I don't know what to say or where to start with this one. I went into this event thinking this match would be brilliant but it exceeded my expectations. I thought we would get a solid twenty five minute match. Instead we were treated to a forty plus minute classic. The story of this match was former best friends, now bitter enemies. What I loved was that it told a great story. It started off slow and methodical. Sabre and Scurll trading submissions but when Scurll realised it wasn't getting him anywhere he resorted to his villainous tactics. The fans were invested in this match from the start and stayed with it until the end. I had so much respect for both of the performers that I didn't know who to chant for. My chants for Zach Sabre Jr were directly followed by chants for Marty Scurll. We were witnessing a special moment. This is a bold statement but it is the best match I have ever seen live. There were numerous near falls, Bobby and I kept turning to each other in joyous disbelief, asking 'When will this end?' There were chops galore from Scurll, Sabre's chest was battered red but don't worry he was returning the favour with stiff forearms to Scurll. The ending eventually came when Sabre attempted a third running uppercut, Scurll jumped and caught Sabre in the 'Chicken Wing'. Sabre then rolled through the 'Chicken Wing', locked the legs of Scurll down and bridged a pin for the three count.
Trent Seven Vs Trevor Lee
I was excited to see Trent Seven, I hadn't seen him before the WWE UK Tournament. I love the whole Moustache Mountain gimmick. I was disappointed that my view was obstructed for Trent's slow roll into the ring. I haven't kept up with TNA in recent years, I lost interest quite some time ago and so I was surprised to hear that Trevor Lee is the current X Division Champion. This match started with a dance off which led to a Trevor Lee ambush on Seven. The audience were exhausted from the Scurll Vs Zabre match and I think this contest suffered because of it. I did laugh when Lee kept shouting 'I'm a top TNA star!' It was a decent match, Seven got the win with a Piledriver.
Martin Stone Vs Jay White
Martin Stone had a nasty scar of the back of his head due to the kick from Devlin in the WWE UK Tournament. Stone always delivers a hard hitting contest. I think he is great at making his opponents shine. Jay White picked up a victory using a submission hold, the Boston Crab.
Katsuyoui Shibata Vs Matt Riddle
The atmosphere in the York Hall was fantastic for this contest. It was as if the audience had been recharging their batteries since Scurll Vs Sabre. Former UFC fighter Matt Riddle entered first. He was greeted with 'Bro' chants including a rendition of 'Gold' by Spandau Ballet that now featured the lines "Bro, always believe in your soul..." and "...Always believe in, because you are Bro!". Shibata entered next as champion. He was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. This was a strong style battle.
Riddle was throwing forearms and slaps Shibatas way. My highlight was when Shibata was walking from corner to corner, taking slaps to the chest from Riddle and not showing any signs of weakness. The moment Shibata stepped out of the final corner and went head to head with Riddle gave me goosebumps. The crowd were stamping their feet, clapping and cheering which really added to the match. Riddle delivered a 'Penalty Kick' to Shibata followed by the 'Go To Sleep' and a 'Fisherman Buster'. This wasn't enough to win the title. Shibata won the match by hitting a 'Sleeper Suplex', then scoring with his own 'Penalty Kick' and locking in the 'Rear Naked Choke'.
This event was phenomenal. The next show from York Hall is 'Epic Encounter' on the 13th April. 'The Young Bucks' have been announced as well as a match between Zack Sabre Jr and Kushida. I'm making a note in my diary as we speak.
If you've been to an RPW event before, let me know your favourite match.