RevPro Epic Encounter on April 13, 2017
York Hall – London, England
Watch: RPW on Demand
Revolution Pro Wrestling returned to York Hall for another star-studded event for the year, featuring The ELITE, other New Japan talent, and a few big title matches.
To kick things off, #CCK of Chris Brookes and Travis Banks defended their newly won RevPro Tag Titles against an unlikely duo of Sami Callihan and Martin Stone. The match was worked well at an ‘opener’ pace, picking up when the need is, as well as highlighting the skills of all involved. #CCK are a license to print money as upon first sight, you’ll likely fall in love with them (and their merch, *coughs*, Ay Que Horror). #CCK snuck out with a win after the nasty assisted codebreaker finish on Stone. Post-match, Stone gave a great speech on being a forefather of IPW: UK/the British scene’s growth, only to be hit with a piledriver as Callihan was already done with him as a partner. I hope they have a feud within RPW.
In another test for Jay White, he had to face a unique opponent in Angelico. This was a weird match on paper; also weird to look at — but delivered in a fun light way. What wasn’t light were the knees constantly dished out by Angelico, including a beautiful one that stopped White in his tracks in mid-air. I look at all these different matchups for White and think how cool it must be to travel portions of the world and getting plenty different opponents. In a trend that’s been set on his excursion buffet, White is a winner. He tapped out Angelico to a Lion Tamer, further cementing himself in a position of wanting gold in RevPro with wins to back it up.
Up next came one of the most intriguing matches of the night between Zack Gibson and Hirooki Goto. Gibson, a personal favorite of mine from the U.K. scene, was making his York Hall debut. It wouldn’t have been a Gibson match without crowd slander from every direction — creating an amazing environment to soak in. Goto gave Gibson a lot of offense, as it naturally progressed into Goto becoming agitated with Gibson’s attitude and work over. When it picked up we had two great close calls with an Ushigoroshi and Shankly Gates. When all was said and done, Will Ospreay who was at ringside had a tug-of-war with Gibson over a car stereo (nearly used as a weapon) as Goto was able to take advantage, putting Gibson to sleep, winning with a GTR. A very fun encounter.
Marty Scurll faced Hiromu Takahashi in what may take the cake for most extravagant match of the year. Not only are the two laden with accolades and two popular belts, but they have their signature taunts and way of thinking in-ring that created an exciting clash. The match had one of the most shocking starts to a match this year when Hiromu stole Marty’s umbrella, licking it, only for Marty to crack Hiromu’s skull with his umbrella for a near fall. Hiromu played face in peril tremendously, as Marty had to resort to tricks up his sleeve to keep Hiromu grounded — though that didn’t always work as we got some nutty Hiromu spots in the process of the comeback. Scurll managed to kick out of the first Timebomb, but would eventually fall to a second in a fantastic finish.
The Undisputed RevPro British Cruiserweight Championship was on the line as interim champion Josh Bodom faced a 2010s British wrestling icon in Will Ospreay. I haven’t had the opportunity to watch many Bodom matches, but he was the most impressive wrestler on the show through my eyes. The opportunity to forge a game plan was easy for Bodom, as Ospreay’s back was taped, but the punishment and tape removal wouldn’t have to be waited on. The story of the match saw Bodom crush Ospreay’s back, with a highlight of the match being when Bodom dropped Ospreay on his back on the ropes. Ospreay bumped around like a lunatic, but also provided natural surges of offense with multiple comebacks. It wasn’t Ospreay’s night though, as karma would bite him back in the form of Zack Gibson distracting him, allowing for Bodom to hit the Bliss Buster for the win. This was the best match of the night, with a great finish filled with continuity.
In a brief, yet effective No Disqualification match, Sha Samuels and James Castle provided a cool-down that still remained exciting. The two are former tag partners apart of the Revolutionists group and were former RPW Tag Champions. Sha was able to get over as a good face in peril, as Castle seemed to have a lot of the momentum on his side. It went by in the blink of an eye, but a highlight of the match saw Samuels powering out of whatever Castle gave to him. What Samuels wouldn’t kick out of, though, was a running knee to the chair that was held by Sha in front of his face for “protection”. Post-match came revenge with Sha cutting Castle’s mohawk off. This differed itself from the rest of the card easily and was a nice watch sandwiched between everything else.
In another RevPro British Heavyweight Title defense against one of NJPW’s finest, Zack Sabre Jr. faced KUSHIDA in an obvious technical masterclass match. It didn’t hit the high notes Ospreay and Bodom did, but to me, it’s undoubtedly so that you could tune into this one and enjoy it for the grappling and enjoyable dynamic the two have. ZSJ ain’t no O’Reilly when it comes to chemistry with KUSHIDA, but we still got all the high points and catching spots you could ever want. Some may argue they went a little too overboard with them, but they served as transitional periods between ZSJ being an arrogant prick during slow exchanges; which created a nice balance. The finishing stretch was out of this world with technical, desperate bombs being thrown both ways, culminating in a bridge for bridge counter with ZSJ coming out on top. He stayed on the bridge as KUSHIDA was trapped after the pinfall to assert Zacky Three Belt dominance.
We all know what the draw was on the show. The ELITE…the the ELITE. The main event was all Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, and Kenny Omega as they faced an awesome high-flying foil in Lio Rush, Shane Strickland, and Ryan Smile. It wasn’t any type of Reseda madness, nor on the level of other ELITE matches, but it was a grand time had in the main event of a ruckus York Hall. It took an “extra fun” approach as the ELITE got to do a lot of comedy. Whether it was a Buck tripping, or them having disagreements in the form of slaps and low blows, or general shenanigans, everyone was out there having fun and that’s always awesome to see. Smile didn’t do much to impress but Rush and Strickland killed it. Rush was always amazing, and Strickland had the defining spot of the match, leaping off Matt’s chest to hit a moonsault on Nick and Kenny. The ELITE won after a double Meltzer Driver on Rush and Smile. We got a long diatribe of a post-match promo with a mound of subjects touch, but the most important takeaway is the fact that The ELITE will return to the country at some point. Yay!
REVPRO EPIC ENCOUNTER ON APRIL 13, 2017
Strong Effort - 7/10
I'm feeling a strong effort on RevPro's Epic Encounter 2017. The best match on the show far and away was Bodom vs. Ospreay, but we had complimentary awesomeness in the forms of Scurll vs. Takahashi, #CCK, ZSJ vs. KUSHIDA and generally enjoyable storytelling from the show. Of course, the main event too. I'm going to end off by saying that RevPro commentary are huge DUMB DUMBS for calling the main event the best match in the history of York Hall. You're in time out until the next review.