The day after a great Valentine’s Day I made my way over to the historic York Hall in Bethnal Green for my first RPW show of the year and even though it’s only February this show provided a match that could become Match of the Year in my opinion. If you haven’t attended a show in York Hall before it really is a unique venue for wrestling with distinctly old school wrestling feel to it with big metal gates, a lobby to pass through and a wide open hall with balconies overlooking the ring. After a small delay leading into the show all the seats were filled for a sold out show and we began.
Colt Cabana was welcomed out who was retired from RPW after losing to Lord Gideon Grey almost a year ago. Colt joked about how he never would have put his career on the line if he thought Gideon Grey could beat him and that forever in professional wrestling means about a year tops. Cabana was interrupted by Lord Gideon Grey who was the only person in the venue not happy to see him there. He reminded Cabana that he had lost and was in a legally binding contract that meant he could not compete for RPW and he would take everything Cabana has including his fine quality merchandise and studio…flat, as Grey put it and demanded that Security removed Cabana who left without any struggle much to the misery of the RPW fans. Lord Gideon Grey announced he was holding an open challenge later in the show and looking to go 13-0 for RPW.
Josh Bodom vs Rocky Romero
This was my first time seeing either competitor live but I have been a fan of Romero NJPW work and as a part of Forever Hooligans, he was very well received by the RPW crowd as well and would be throughout the match. The two went at each other very stiff in very much of the early going exchanging vicious kicks with the contest going back and forth with Josh Bodom more than holding his own against a much more experienced Romero. Bodom could have put the match away following a stiff super kick to Romero who did the spider catch in the ropes but Bodom was insistent on going to the top rope which gave Romero the time to jump up and shake the top rope Ultimate Warrior style causing Bodom to straddle the top turnbuckle. Romero jumped up and it looked like he was going for a superplex but instead locked in an arm bar and threw Bodom off the top into the submission to which he would tap out from. This was a great opening contest and I believe Josh Bodom has a bright future ahead of him and Rocky Romero is a much underrated talent and two really had chemistry together in the ring.
Sha Samuels vs Jake McCluskey
Sha Samuels has always been a favourite of mine as I do like a wrestler who really becomes their character and leaves it all out there for the crowd to see. He’s always interacting with the fans, always drawing heat and is technically sound in the ring who really is a big part of RPW history as the longest reigning Heavyweight Champion a fact the fans love reminding Samuels of with ‘Former’ chants throughout the match. McCluskey relied on his aerial offence to much in the match and this lead to a close fall as Samuels easily read the moonsault getting his knees up then delivering a massive piledriver to McCluskey who luckily managed to roll out of the ring as it surely would have been over there and then. McCluskey rolled back in the ring on the referee’s 9 count but instead of finishing off McCluskey, Samuels took the time to taunt, slap and spit and him which allowed McCluskey to hit a big super kick followed by a double moonsault off the top. Samuels was saved from what would have been an upset by fellow Revolutionist member James Castle who attacked McCluskey with a steel chair leading to a DQ. Sha Samuels said he was mugged off tonight in his own ends by RPW management and said how The Revolutionists are ready to take over.
Lord Gideon Grey’s Open Challenge
‘The most legitimate streak in all of sports and entertainment’ as Lord Gideon Grey put it was on the line and he would face ‘anyone not named Colt Cabana!’ Our challenger to the streak would be non-other than Matt Classic. Gideon Grey said he knew and we all knew that it’s Colt Cabana under the mask so referee Chris Roberts asked Matt Classic if he was Colt Cabana to which the answer was an empathic ‘No!’ The match was really dominated by Matt Classic who if you don’t know is a throwback to old wrestlers with a really simple but effective move set. Sensing their bosses streak was in danger both Rishi and Goldstein tried to intervene but couldn’t help even after Rishi slid in the top of a silver cane which Gideon used to blindside Matt Classic this only led to a two count and soon after Matt Classic had the Camel Clutch locked in which cost Lord Gideon Grey his streak.
The Addiction vs 2 Unlimited
Before the match got underway there was a show of respect from both teams with Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian shaking their opponent’s hands. The experience of both members of The Addiction showed throughout the early going of the match with Patrick from 2Unlimted being isolated for much of the match and hit with such effective double team moves. I found myself comparing 2Unlimted to the early Hardy Boyz which was backed up by Kazarian who taunted Jay for his ‘stupid Hardy Boyz tattoo’ a statement Kazarian would go on to regret as once the hot tag was made there was no stopping 2Unlimited who picked up a massive victory following a unique double team aerial move from one turnbuckle, I literally have no idea how else to describe it. Following the match Daniels and Kazarian congratulated Jay and Patrick on their win and said they would be welcome to facing off with them again.
RPW Tag Team Title Match: The UK Hooligans vs Joel Redman & ??? (c)
The Hooligans would come to the ring with the RPW titles but it is in fact Joel Redman and his partner who are the tag team champions but as The Hooligans put it ‘possession is nine tenths of the law’. Joel Redman came out to a big ovation and the crowd awaited who he had chosen as his tag team partner it was ‘The Star Attraction’ Mark Haskins. Haskins and Redman hit the ring with great intensity and it wasn’t long until this match was being fought all over the venue. I’ll have to apologise but from where I was sat it was impossible to see all the action but from what I could hear and from the crowd reaction it sounded physical and hardcore to say the least. When the action returned to the ring Haskins looked worse for wear and he would be isolated by The Hooligans who at one point delivered a nasty looking suplex onto the apron and The Doomsday Device. The crowd were dying for the hot tag and when it came Redman exploded into the ring taking out both members with a spear but somehow The Hooligans stayed in control of the match this was until they went to the well too many times in setting up Mark Haskins for another Doomsday Device he broke free, hit a super kick which led into a devastating spinning Tombstone Piledriver from Joel Redman to get the three count and retain the RPW Tag Team Titles. The crowd immediately gave a standing ovation to the two teams it was well deserved this really was a great match up. Haskins and Redman offered the handshake to The Hooligans but they wouldn’t accept and left the venue.
RPW Heavyweight Title Match: Marty Scurll (c) vs Ricochet
Marty Scurll wouldn’t enter the match alone being followed by The Revolutionists and after what was possibly the longest introduction in professional wrestling history we were underway. It wouldn’t be too long into the contest for the numbers game of The Revolutionists to play into the match when Sha Samuels grabbed Ricochet’s leg but referee Chris Roberts was on top of this and ejected them from ringside this early on into the match. They should have left immediately but Ricochet helped them along with a massive corkscrew cross body to the outside wiping out The Revolutionists he followed this by immediately getting back into the ring and vaulting over onto Scurll at the other side of the ring. As I am sure you know Ricochet is one hell of an impressive high flyer but there really is something about seeing this live you just cannot capture in words and if you are lucky to have Ricochet booked on a show near you then take advantage! Scurll did his best to keep Ricochet grounded and hit with much of a physical style and had much more of a game plan then Ricochet appeared to have and this would be the difference maker between the two. Each time Ricochet tried to take the match up a notch Scurll answered even if Ricochet rolled through the Chicken Wing the first time into a Shooting Star Press it was just a matter of time before Scurll had it locked in again after a massive aerial move from Ricochet missed the mark allowing Marty Scurll to retain through submission.
AJ Styles vs Will Ospreay
This match was billed as an International Dream Match and I’m happy to say this match not only lived up to that title but exceeded it. Both wrestlers were greeted with big reactions and started duelling chants even before the match got under way. There was a great show of respect at the start of the match with a handshake and Will Ospreay even bowed to AJ Styles who I think must have been wrestling one of his idols in this match up. What was surprising from the start Ospreay really had the upper hand over AJ who had a counter for everything he could throw at him, maybe AJ Styles under estimated Will Ospreay. This however wouldn’t last for much longer as when Ospreay attempted to throw AJ into the guardrail outside, Styles simply vaulted it and put Ospreay in a backbreaker onto the guardrail not once but twice and a loud scream of pain from Ospreay could be heard around the venue! Back in the ring the action was back and forth with both men being able to counter each other and whenever AJ went for The Styles Clash it was well scouted by Ospreay. AJ could have been put away but Ospreay took too long going to the top rope which allowed AJ to jump up and push the top rope causing Ospreay to fall into the tree of woe positon on the turnbuckle leading into the set up for The Styles Clash but once again Ospreay had an answer for it. After a series of close two falls for each man Ospreay had the upper hand and once again went to the top but AJ caught him with the Pele kick and he put Ospreay into The Styles Clash from the second rope which just looked brutal live and really had the crowd on the edge of their seats after the recent history of problems with the move AJ Styles has had. The second the referee had hit the mat for the three count the crowd were on their feet for what was a solid 5-10 minutes of applause for what was a great contest and one I already can’t wait to watch back. It really demonstrated to me what it is I love about professional wrestling when you forget all about the ‘business’ and just enjoy two competitors on the top of their game have a great back and forth match with some big spots and really allowed the whole audience to suspense their disbelief and just enjoy the moment!
I had a great time at RPW High Stakes 2015 and I believe this show will be looked at as Will Ospreay’s coming out match as the superstar we all know he is. He’s been on the edge of greatness for some time now with so many promotions getting behind his talent, this is his year and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here.