RevPro Epic Encounter
The RevPro ‘Epic Encounter’ show at York Hall tonight was fucking crazy! I’ve seen so much good wrestling this week it’s nuts.
Most of the card was fine to good, a lot of the RevPro regulars were there and put on good matches. Chris Brookes got some good heel heat that to Kid Lycos being at ringside for him, Matt Sydal was over from Impact and it was awesome to see my friend Dan continue to progress up the card.
The story of the night though and really what the whole event was build around was the final two matches, dubbed co-main events.
British tag team champions and two of New Japan Pro Wrestling’s top stars, Zack Sabre Jr and Minuro Suzuki were defending against Aussie Open who have fought there way up over the last two years in the tag team divisions of a lot of smaller companies to the point were they are one of the top independent duos in the world.
The match itself was a hard hitting affair, as it always is with Suzuki involved and RevPro senior referee Chris Roberts struggled to maintain control of the heels as they continued to punish Aussie Open’s Kyle Fletcher.
Eventuallly Mark Davis was able to get the hot tag from his partner and a prolonged battle of strength and wills with the Japanese veteran had everyone in the building feeling the pain of repeated chest chops.
Despite the best efforts of the members of Suzuki-gun Aussie Open secured the with with Mark Davis pinning current the UK Heavyweight Champ, ZSJ, cleanly in the middle of the ring. Not only does that now mean Aussie Open are the tag team champions in both Progress Wrestling and RevPro, but with the way the finish went down it sets Davis up with a good case for a title shot against Sabre sometime in the near future.
Then on to the final match of the night. The true main event. This match even had a video package before it, something rarely seen at RevPro events but they’ve told a good story over a couple of years between two guys who are very savvy when it comes to self promotion.
I’ve strangely and completely unplanned, been at every match the two have had against each other in RevPro and their feud started right here in Southampton. David Starr has been naturally transitioning from a heel character to a face not through any particular story but because of the crowds growing appreciation for his talents both in the ring and on the mic. He has also become the champion of the independent wrestler, spurring opportunities to sign exclusive deals with the bigger promotions in lieu of working for himself in a variety of places. This has gone over very well with the ‘smarky’ audiences and has led to Starr getting a big push in various promotions. Last weekend he ended up winning Progress’ Super Strong Style 16 tournament by beating a number of guys signed to WWE contracts.
On the flip side of this is Canadian born El Phantasmo has been living in the UK and a RevPro regular now for a few years and has lost by nefarious means on multiple occasions. He’s popular with the crowds and has proven he’s more than just a high flyer. Earlier this year Bullet Club, one of the most well known factions in professional wrestling and NJPW’s lead heels released a teaser video indicating that ELP was soon to be revealed as their newest member but since then he’s kept quiet about it and continued to play the happy face at every event, with the occasional hints and teases of a turn to darker means. Last weekend he was in Japan and made is official debut for the Bullet Club in a tag match where he got the pin fall victory over British high flying sensation Will Osprey.
For the first time in RevPro a ladder match was happening and it was for the British Cruiserweight Title. A newly minted belt had been hanging ominously above the ring all night long.
El Phantasmo came out first with his music starting as usual before transitioning into a new, Bullet Club version of the theme. Current Champion David Starr followed and the two were poised for battle atop ladders.
I’m not going to recap the entire match as quite frankly so much crazy shit happened I can’t remember it all! The two competitors have great in ring chemistry and had worked out some insane spots.
At one point ELP had pinned Starr to the turnbuckle with a table and chair before climbing a ladder in the opposite corner and dropkicking his construction into the champions face. It was after that move, because Pete had bought us amazing seats, that we were able to clock Starr ‘blade.’ Something I’ve never witnessed in person before. For those unaware, blading is when a wrestler pulls out a concealed razorblades and intentionally cuts himself to make it look like his has been wounded by the previous move. In this instance David Starr gouged a big’ll cut into his head and proceeded to piss blood all over himself for the next couple of minutes. It is not pleasant to see and definitely not something you get on TV any more but in the moment it added a level of intensity to an already insane match.
El Phantasmo took his share of big bumps also and was busted open, I think that one was legitimate although almost certainly intentional after taking a top-rope draping DDT onto one of the ladders.
The nastiest bump of the night for me though was a pile driver from the ring apron through a table. Too many people have suffered too serious a neck injury with moves like that for it to ever be easy to see.
After a lot of back and fourth brutality; tables, chairs, ladders, thumb tacks and belt shots, it was the new darker ELP who was able to get the victory closing out a two year effort. What he had to give up in the process, what he had to become in order to achieve that victory, will be a story going forward I have no doubt.