So this is my first time blogging about wrestling! Thought I’d go with my live from Revolution Pro’s British J-Cup that took place in the glorious Walthamstow Assembly Hall in front of a packed house of 895. It really is an amazing venue with great sight lines that should be used more often. Imagine if you held a wrestling show at a wedding reception.
So tonight’s packed card looks like this
The British J-Cup First Round Matches:
The winners of those matches went on to a Final 4-way Elimination Match to crown the inaugural British J-Cup qualifier.
Marty Scurll vs Tiger Mask
A good lively crowd at start with the aim being to warm thecrowd up with Marty against an opponent who is the fifth out of 5 in a “who’s the best Tiger Mask” debate. Marty got to show off his new (for the night at least) cradle finisher to win this perfectly fine wrestling match. Decent warm up match with nothing too much of note. The sweltering heat combined with a refusal to put the air con on did fry my brain for at least the first half of the show.
Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger vs Josh Bodom
This was a real shock to me and the audience but clearly Andy Q has watched the Jr title match at Sakura Genesis and seen the benefits of a very short sprint with a somewhat shocking finish given the roll Bodom has been on in Rev-Pro.
Basically Bodom beats up Liger until Liger gets the Brainbuster for the win in just over 2 mins. The crowd loved it and I have to admit as someone who first saw him at Superbrawl 2, I always was a fan. In the end, given that he’s 52, he needed to keep something for the 4 way and who could begrudge him that?
Kushida vs Kyle O’Reilly
Now before this show, this might have been the match I was least looking forward to. Which makes me an idiot. However, I really didn’t enjoy Kushida’s last match in Rev-Pro vs ZSJ, as I felt it was overlong and rather dull whilst waiting for the Elite antics in the match after. O’Reilly had never stood out enough for me live and the memory of their Jr series was fading in the memory.
However, here it all clicked. For 21 mins, we had two guys working a well-paced, intense hard-hitting match to put a cap on a feud that I really need to revisit in the aftermath. Lots of counters to their signature moves with Kushida pinning O’Reilly after a Back to the Future cradle suplex (a new addition to his move set). This match showed itself to be a wonderful climax to a feud that will be remembered more fondly given that further matches between the two may never happen again.
Will Ospreay vs Rysuke Taguichi
This wasn’t the barnstormer that is normally booked before an intermission but, possibly due to the heat, this was fine for the live audience who were into both men and were up for some arse-based offence. Given the last time I saw these two match up (2015 BOSJ Final), it was a great hard-hitting and emotional battle, I wondered what they would deliver. And it was a pleasant comedy surprise! Given how much we’ve seen Ospreay kill himself, it was good to see him tone it down, work some comedy spots (rope running, arse shenanigans etc.) and save himself for the final. The final Oscutter was a bit awkward but another different type of match in the first round and this led to the intermission.
Intermission – Two things happened:
When we returned, we were given a bonus match. For being good boys and girls I assume.
The Tempura Boyz vs Kurtis Chapman & Josh Wall
Now I love a Young Lions match. Loads. I look at the Oka/Kitamura matches at the start of NJPW as the hipster version of Omega/Okada. But in all seriousness, there is something more interesting in seeing wrestlers develop and improve rather than focusing on bloody character work. Here the Rev-Pro Young Lions got a chance on one of the big cards which they had earned with some good showings on the smaller cards (watch the Steiner-esque treatment they are given by the London Riots at Live at the Cockpit 13). Here they had a solid albeit unspectacular match with two of the NJPW Young Lions who are tagging whilst on excursion. It’s difficult to see how they have really changed bar some flashier clothes and moves but Chapman continues to sell to the point of abuse and Wall impresses every time he’s in the ring (look out for his Kelly Sixx alter-ego). However, the Younger Lions fell in the end to a double team neckbreakermove. This won’t be the last time we see them on a major Rev Pro show.
CCK vs LIJ (Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi) by DQ
To be frank, this was the most disappointing match on the show. This was the point in the show when the sound went and the room was treated to a horrible tinnitus inducing buzz. That didn’t help. I felt for Andy Q here as he had invested in a new sound system but it had gone kaput classic BritWres-style. So the start was overlooked by that and we then had an OK but under-heated tag battle with an awful DQ finish that made you wonder why LIJ didn’t take on the RevPro Young Lions and CCK take on the Tempura Boyz if this is what they had to come up with.
It did however lead to the introduction of Kid Lykos in Rev-Pro when he ran in to save CCK from an LIJ beatdown. The crowd however didn’t seem to react as much as I expected as if they weren’t fully familiar with him. Which was odd. Hopefully we will see him in some Jr matches as well as tagging with both Brookes and Banks. Lykos – Bodom at the a Cockpit show could be fun…
Tomohiro Ishii vs Matt Riddle
God this was great. I’ve been a Riddle fanboy ever since seeing his match with Ospreay in PROGRESS at Ch.39 and since then he hasn’t disappointed. He’s going to be a big star and this felt like his final audition for New Japan. And then he had to face Walter in PROGRESS the next day…
This was 12 mins and it would have been nice if it had been a bit longer. However, these two are human beings so that would have been cruel. The chop exchange, no sell suplex and general shit-kicking action that you would want was here. Ishii won with a brainbuster but Riddle lost nothing in this. If there is any justice we would see a rematch of this in the 2018 G1. Given that he is no longer Atlas champion, it will be interesting to see if the NJPW link goes anywhere and hopefully will lead to more Strongbro-style matches in Rev-Pro
During this, some twazzock tried to jump the bar queue (same fan that ripped up a CCK sign at a Cockpit show and is banned from PROGRESS) and was turfed out. Good.
4-way Elimination For The British J-Cup
I was able to get a pint during this as this was the ONLY time the bar queue was gone. However, there were great sightlines in the building so I had no complaints. However, when Marty Jones was introduced before the final, I couldn’t hear a word given the mic problems. I was surprised initially they were going to do an elimination final but given that it was a one day tournament (for now), it made sense.
The bulk of this felt like Marty/Ospreay/Kushida working with each other whilst Liger laid down on the outside after being hit with Marty’s umbrella who then played Eddie Guerrero by throwing it to Ospreay. These three have an interesting dynamic given the previous singles feuds and this played in here well with an array of reversals and counters to the others’ move sets. It was obviously great stuff and led to the elimination of Kushida to Marty’s cradle finisher. This keeps the 3 promotion spanning feud hot and the ramifications will be felt in ROH and NJPW as well as Rev-Pro.
We then had a Marty/Ospreay sequence which incorporated the finger spot, Stundog, Essex Destroyer and a Chris Roberts ref bump before Marty used the cradle to finish Ospreay off. God I hope they get to re-matched in Rev-Pro soon as, while they meet up occasionally, it feels like there is a lot of life left in the battle between these two career rivals. We were then left with Jushin Liger and Marty Scurll to decide the winner. Whilst it seems like criticism to say Liger spent most of the match on the outside, the key was how he finished the match. He was beaten down by Marty at first but Big Match Liger was on that day and he managed to win this epic finale after a Shotei/Ligerbomb/Brainbuster to become the inaugural British J Cup champion to a massive pop from the crowd! A really good main event to cement this tournament in the BritWres calendar.
Marty Jones was then handing out the trophy when we saw Josh Bodom return to beat down Liger before kicking Marty Jones leading to a locker room run-in to chase him off (like the Pitbull 1/Shane Douglas angle in ECW). All of which leads to Bodom/Liger at Summer Sizzler in August at the York Hall which is the biggest match of Bodom’s career.
Really good show up and down the card with the CCK/LIJ match being the only disappointment. The main negatives were related the venue as much as anything with the heat, bar and sound all causing issues. In the ring though they are the best in the UK for a reason: offering dream matches that any UK wrestling fan could have dreamed of. It feels like NJPW UK at points but I am absolutely fine with that. It feels refreshing to watch a show that built to future matches without having to cut a promo. A definite watch and the VOD is available at http://www.revolutionprowrestling.com/on-demand