Revolution Pro returned to Portsmouth Guildhall on Friday 26th August for Live in Portsmouth 5. I’m always interested to see the make-up of the crowds at these shows. Rev Pro tend to draw a higher percentage of families when they venture outside of London, which makes for a different atmosphere than the hardcore fan base that typically packs out York Hall. The last time I saw them on the south coast was their show at Southampton Guildhall last year. A lot of the crowd were attending to see the ex WWE stars, but were left wowed by the performances the roster regulars put on. Notably Will Ospreay and Ricochet tore the house down in a preview of the NJPW match which would inadvertently lead to the main event of this show.
Will Ospreay defeated Pete Dunne at Summer Sizzler in July to regain his Undisputed Cruiserweight Championship. The match was the exciting thrill-ride that you’d expect from two of Britain’s brightest young stars. The rematch comes with much higher stakes as it is now a personal affair, after Pete Dunne interfered in the Ospreay vs Vader headliner at Uprising and aligned himself with the ageing American star.
The bout followed on from their last encounter; both men now knowing each other a bit better and having counters for each other’s moves. A particularly nice series saw a sequence of reversals centred around the Cheeky Nandos Kick. While this rematch may not have had the same atmosphere as their first (few venues can match York Hall in that regard) the crowd was firmly behind Ospreay; his high flying moves never fail to impress. Pete Dunne may have been even more vicious than usual here, and his superman punch counter remains one of my favourite moves in wrestling. The match was a notch below the first one, but the pair have such great chemistry and are so well matched that I would happily see them face off on every show I go to. The finish of the match suggests that their rivalry is far from over, as I’m sure Dunne will be none too happy that the referee missed his foot on the rope in the deciding pinfall.
Post match Dunne attacked Ospreay, leading to Moose making the save. The two crowd favourites laid in some punches to the Bruiserweight, to alternating chants of ‘Moose!’ and ‘Will!’. After sending Dunne packing Will got on the mic and suggested that a tag team may be in the future for himself and the big American.
The show opened with a fun tag match between the British Youngbloods and the Contenders team of Dan Magee and Rob Lias. This match was better received here than it probably would be at York Hall, as the crowd really bought into the face/heel dynamic, which isn’t always the case with the York Hall faithful. The Young Bloods are great at riling up a crowd, and their opponents were two of the better trainees I’ve seen on the Rev Pro shows. Incidentally I like the NJPW influenced approach RPW take with their rookies; clad all in black gear and working matches that are heavy on fundamentals. Thumbs up on that. The story of the match was fairly straightforward, with the Young Bloods in control until their goofing around backfired allowing for the hot tag. (I’m being intentionally vague as I don’t know which of the rookies is which!) The Young Bloods regained control and hit a discus lariat/German suplex combo which looked absolutely devastating and got them the win in a hot opener.
The highlight of the undercard, and my match of the night, was Mark Haskins vs Jay White. These two really clicked and had a match that shifted from grappling to striking to high impact moves with ease. Haskins continues to impress each time I see him, and he’s adding even more variety to his move set, as he used his rolling fireman’s carry set-up to hit a Doi 555 face buster (I’ve never seen him do that before). While Haskins may have shared the same fate as David Finlay and found himself on the business end of Jay White’s Boston crab, he added another great match to his resume and continues to quietly state his case as the best in Britain. White is clearly ready for the main roster in NJPW, and seeing him live just reaffirms that. I’m looking forward to seeing where he fits into that roster when he returns from his excursion. Hopefully this won’t be the last time the pair meet.
Next up Andy Quildan started to make some announcements, but was interrupted by the Legion of Lords who demanded to know why they weren’t book on the show. After several interruptions Andy told them they would be booked on the next show and threw to a well produced video package introducing the debuting Ryback. This got a huge reaction, and I imagine the Portsmouth Guildhall will be packed on October 30th when The Big Guy makes his debut.
The first half closed out with a meeting between Moose and Marty Scurll. The crowd was split for this match with a contingent firmly in support of the Villain despite his nefarious tactics. As the match went on Moose won over the crowd and his chants continued to take on a life of their own, as they have at other venues across the country. It was a fun match, with Marty realising he was foolish to try and match strength with his opponent, although he did manage a very impressive suplex. Moose struggled at one point with the loose ropes, but eventually launched himself across the ring with an impressive crossbody, only to have Scurll neatly sidestep it. I’m always a fan of potentially blown spots being worked into the story of the match like this. Marty won the match with a roll up with a handful of tights, but he put Moose over on the mic afterwards, so it seems we’ll be seeing a lot more of him in the Rev Pro ring.
Post interval we had Big Damo’s farewell match, as he faced off against Psycho Phillips who was cornered by Andy Simmonz. It took a while for the crowd to get into the match, but the guys were helped by Simmonz riling the audience up. His interference backfired and led to Damo hoisting Phillips up for the Ulster Plantion and the victory. It was a solid match and afterwards Damo got on the mic and told Phillips to keep working hard and he’d be a star. He also thanked the Rev Pro staff and fans for everything during his time there. I was glad I got to be there for his farewell match as I’ve seen him have some great matches over the last year and a half, and the ‘Thank you Damo!’ chants that rang out after the match were truly heartfelt.
The last match before the main event saw the debuting Bea Priestly take on Zoe Lucas. This was my first time seeing either woman live, and after a slightly shaky start they put on a good match. Priestly was particularly impressive, as she exudes charisma and has a lot of great heel mannerisms. Lucas eventually made her comeback with some picture perfect fisherman suplexes and picked up the win following the Matt Sydal leg slice/reverse DDT move. It was a short match but both women got to put their mark on it and position themselves as names to watch in the flourishing UK women’s scene.
Overall, the show was really entertaining, with every match ranging from solid to great and it was fun to see Rev Pro in a different venue. Ospreay vs Dunne and Haskins vs White in particular are worth checking out when the show hits rpwondemand.com, and I’m looking forward to watching the whole the show back. Revolution Pro return to the Portsmouth Guildhall on Sunday October 30th, featuring the debut of Ryback.