Less than a month after their last visit to York Hall, Revolution Pro returned with the much anticipated “Summer Sizzler”. Surprisingly, there were still a handful of balcony tickets unsold on the day, but if the crowd wasn’t as packed in as they were for “Angle vs Sabre” last month, they were just as loud and enthusiastic for the wrestling action on display. Not least for the international debut of NJPW star ‘The Wrestler’ Katsuyori Shibata, who faced off against Zack Sabre Jr. for the Undisputed British Heavyweight Title in the main event.
01. RevPro Undisputed British Tag Titles: Charlie Garrett & Joel Redman (c) vs Jody Fleisch & Jonny Storm vs Bruce Sterling & Jake McClusky vs Gideon Grey & Rishi Ghosh
Kicking things off was a four-way tag match for the Undisputed British Tag Titles, which Charlie Garrett & Joel Redman won from The Revolutionists at ‘Angle vs Sabre’ last month. The three teams opposing the new champions brought cunning, agility and experience to the ring (in varying degrees) and, as this was a one fall to a finish bout, Garrett & Redman had a tough challenge on their hands. As it was, however, the champions retained after a chaotic ten minutes of action that saw bodies flying all over and outside of the ring, Garrett hitting an over-the-shoulder tombstone on Ghosh before Redman finished him off with a Spiral Tap for the win.
02. Tomohiro Ishii vs Josh Bodom
Next up we saw the RevPro return of ‘Stone Pitbull’ Tomohiro Ishii, as he took on the young Josh Bodom who had been raising the fan’s ire with some cheap victories as of late, but victories nonetheless that saw Bodom amass some impressive scalps this year. Namely, Donovan Dijak, Mike Bailey, Jody Fleisch and Chris Hero. Tomohiro Ishii is not a man to be trifled with, however, and the former NEVER Openweight Champion presented a particularly tough obstacle to overcome. As evidenced by his 2.9 kick-out from Bodom’s vicious rope-hung piledriver, a move that’s almost exclusively secured victory every time Bodom hits it. Bodom did a good job of trading strikes with Ishii (even though he was ultimately out-gunned), and this was one of his best performances yet in a RevPro ring. But in spite of his cheating ways, the shenanigans didn’t quite pay off for him this time around and Ishii put him away with a brainbuster in what was a surprisingly competitive match.
03. Moose vs Sha Samuels
The second international challenge match of the afternoon saw Sha Samuels of ‘The Revolutionists’ taking on former NFL player and current ROH star Moose, who was making his RevPro debut here and won the crowd over early on with his “Moose!” chant and amazing athletic ability. There was no better demonstration of this than with his standing dropkick, a beautiful leaping double-boot to the face that ranks up there with Kazuchika Okada’s as one of the best dropkicks in the business. He then caught Samuels in mid-air, placed him on the top-rope and dropkicked him again, causing Samuels to crash hard to the floor. Samuels, a former RevPro heavyweight champion, demonstrated what a crafty competitor he can be and was constantly trying various nefarious means to gain an advantage. It didn’t look like things were going his way, however, as Moose retained control for much of the bout, only to be rolled up by Samuels with a handful of tights for the three count. A solid debut for Moose and a good return to singles action for ‘The East End Butcher’ Sha Samuels.
04. RevPro British Undisputed Cruiserweight Title: Pete Dunne (c) vs Will Ospreay
For the past year or so Pete Dunne has been one name touted by many fans as the next break-out star of British wrestling and, with his inclusion in the 24-strong field of this year’s Battle of Los Angeles tournament for PWG, now it seems that Dunne’s going to have the chance to show the world what he can do. His time in Revolution Pro has proven what a competent in-ring performer he is at such a young age, so it was fitting here that ‘The Bruiserweight’ took on another young star of the British (and now international) wrestling scene: ‘The Aerial Assassin’ Will Ospreay. Winner of the 2016 Best of the Super Jr. tournament, former PROGRESS Champion and the man who takes on none other than Vader at RevPro’s ‘Uprising’ next month. On his way to the ring, Ospreay sported a Vader mask that he then ripped in two.
The match itself was a fantastic contest and one of Dunne’s best yet in RevPro, which is saying something considering the matches he’s had this year in RevPro against a who’s who of cruiserweight wrestling talent. While Ospreay is undoubtedly one of the world’s premier high flyers, Dunne did an excellent job of exerting control over the proceedings and had Will in a bad way after he caught him with a tombstone on the floor and his pumphandle facebuster for a close near-fall. ‘The Aerial Assassin’ rallied, however, and managed to build up a good head of steam, digging deep into his war crate to hit some impressive moves, such as a coast-to-coast forearm smash, or flipping out of a lariat and then catching Dunne in a standing Spanish fly. The finish eventually came when Ospreay reversed a second facebuster attempt from Dunne, before hitting the OsCutter to call it a day. Post-match, Will had some impassioned words for Vader, further hyping up their much talked about encounter at York Hall next month.
05. Marty Scurll vs Mike Bailey
‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey made a welcome return to RevPro to take on ‘The Villain’ Marty Scurll in a match that turned out to be quite a clash of styles, as the nefarious former RevPro heavyweight champion did everything he could to avoid the young Canadian’s precision kicks and devastating knees, including snapping toes and bending poor Bailey’s fingers all the way back! So gross. ‘Speeball’ did his best to bring the fight to Scurll, but the tide turned against him after he missed a kick on the floor and his un-booted foot collided with the ring post! He did briefly seem to be on a roll after catching Scurll with a moonsault double knee strike for a close near-fall, but after Scurll floated over a suplex attempt and caught Bailey in the cross-face chickenwing the match was all over. This was a very fun match from two guys who obviously have a lot of chemistry in the ring, I’d definitely like to see a rematch somewhere down the line.
06. Big Damo vs Matt Sydal
Returning to York Hall for the first time since last year’s Summer Sizzler (and the site of his excellent 2/3 falls match vs Will Ospreay), ‘Reborn’ Matt Sydal made a big statement with an impressive victory over one of RevPro’s biggest competitors. For his part, Big Damo provided a stern test for the world travelled high flyer and almost looked to have things won when he hit the Ulster Plantation for a two count. Sydal showed off his always-impressive agility as he rallied and kept the big man off balance with some graceful high-flying, including a standing leap into a Frankensteiner on the big man. After hitting his signature Shooting Star Press (not many can claim to do it as well as Sydal does, I’d say) it was all over and the big man was down for the three count. Post-match, Damo thanked the RevPro crowd in what seemed like a farewell of sorts, only to be waylaid by Sha Samuels looking to make a statement at Damo’s expense. Don’t be surprised to see these two square off in the near future.
07. British Undisputed Heavyweight Title: Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Katsuyori Shibata
To say this was a dream match was something of an understatement. The first time ‘The Wrestler’ Katsuyori Shibata has wrestled outside of Japan since a brief stint in CMLL years ago, facing off against one of the top talents in the world today: ‘The Technical Wizard’ Zack Sabre Jr. and current Revolution Pro British Undisputed Heavyweight Champion. A huge ovation from the crowd greeted both men and they wasted no time in getting down to business, staring each other down before the match exploded in a flurry of strikes. Shibata rocked Sabre with his no-nonsense brutality, but Sabre quickly turned the tide and gave Shibata a taste of his own medicine, hitting a corner dropkick and a penalty kick for just a one-count. Shibata wasn’t going to go down without a fight, but as it turned out Sabre was more than willing to bring the fight to him.
Sabre managed to trap Shibata in the double-wrist lever that he’s tapped out so many competitors with, but Shibata struggled to the ropes to force the break. A few minutes later and Shibata had Sabre locked in the Palo Special, Sabre only managing to break the hold by biting the middle rope! Shibata brutalised Sabre with some vicious elbow strikes and hit his own corner dropkick, but when he grabbed Sabre in a sleeper to set up for the penalty kick, Sabre dropped down and rolled Shibata into a European clutch hold for the three count! Shibata, disappointed with the outcome and angry at himself, was still fired up and ready to go, demanding one more match with Zack in the future. This was such a great match to see in person, a really well worked, back-and-forth match that felt like just the beginning between these two.
Overall this was another great York Hall outing for Revolution Pro. The main event (and main draw of the show) delivered in a big way, but was only joint best match of the day thanks to the fantastic Pete Dunne vs Will Ospreay match. Elsewhere, Marty Scurll and Mike Bailey gave us a very entertaining contest, while Big Damo and Matt Sydal both put in excellent performances in their exciting bout. The crowd was loud and vocal throughout and the show was well paced, without a single contest on the card falling flat.
Be sure to check out ‘Summer Sizzler 2016’, set to hit Revolution Pro On Demand soon; http://rpwondemand.com also, RPW returns to York Hall on August 12th for ‘Vader vs Ospreay’ – tickets available now from http://revolutionprowrestling.com