1. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger vs ‘The Villain’ Marty Scurll
Kicking off Night One of the huge Global Wars UK double shot was an interesting match that pitted the living Jr. Heavyweight legend Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger against former RPW Champion ‘The Villain’ Marty Scurll, who (living up to his nickname) wasn’t about to show Liger any respect in spite of his legendary status. Wearing a Liger-like mask during his entrance, Marty continued to taunt Liger throughout the match and seemed to be taking him a bit too lightly. Liger caught him with the tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and shotei in the corner, but couldn’t land the all-important brainbuster. Scurll, meanwhile, was up to his usual finger snapping tricks, but struggled to find a way into the chickenwing. The finish was very well executed, Liger catching Scurll into the Japanese leg-clutch roll, only for Marty to transition into the chickenwing and force Liger to tap! A good opening match here, obviously Liger’s getting on a bit, but it was great seeing him in person and he put on a good show with Scurll, who gave an uncharacteristic show of respect to Liger post-match.
2. Tomoaki Honma vs Sha Samuels
The next match saw the RPW debut of Tomoaki Honma! This was Honma’s first match outside of Japan since 2003, when he faced CM Punk & Colt Cabana in ROH. The man he was facing here, ‘The East End Butcher’ Sha Samuels, did everything in his power to mug off ‘Minna no Kokeshi’, including getting his lackey James Castle involved. Honma put up a good fight though, sending Castle flying out of the ring with a headbutt to the chest before flooring Samuels with a Kokeshi Rocket and heading up top to hit the top-rope Kokeshi for the win! This was a fun little match, Samuels is a great bad guy and was in his element against the ‘ultimate underdog’ of New Japan, while it was great to see Honma in person. Not an amazing match by any stretch of the imagination, but a fun one all the same.
3. Yuji Nagata vs ‘The Bruiserweight’ Pete Dunne
The second debut of the evening here, as we got a rare international appearance from the legendary Yuji Nagata! This was Nagata’s first time outside of Japan since 2005 (when NJPW toured Italy) and before that, 1998 when he finished up with WCW. As such, there was a lot of excitement surrounding Nagata’s matches here, especially given the talent lined up against him. Namely, one Pete Dunne, or ‘The Bruiserweight’ as he’s fond of calling himself. This was an enjoyable enough match, but didn’t really escalate to the heights I was hoping for. Dunne did a good job controlling Nagata early on, but it was pretty short-lived as Yuji trapped him in the Shirome armbar before finishing things off with the backdrop hold.
4. Chris Hero vs Tomohiro Ishii
Closing out the first half of the show was one of the most anticipated matches on the card, ‘The Stone Pitbull’ Tomohiro Ishii taking on ‘The Knock-Out Artist’ Chris Hero, a man who is in an exceptional run of form and is an easy contender for wrestler of the year. But Ishii is no slouch either. While his 2016 wasn’t as filled with glory as the previous year, Ishii has staked his claim as one of the top talents in New Japan and proven himself more than capable of backing it up. Suffice to say, this was a hugely memorable first-time encounter and just as hard-hitting as you’d expect. After trading countless strikes and chops and boots at ringside, on the entranceway and indeed in the ring, the match turned in Hero’s favour when he spiked Ishii with a snap piledriver. However, Ishii got right back up again and Hero practically demolished him with elbows before trying for the snap piledriver once more. But again Ishii wasn’t phased and screamed his defiance towards Hero, only to finally be put away with the Gotch-style piledriver. What a fantastic, hard-hitting match this was. Afterwards Hero attempted to put over Ishii, although the man was too stubborn to take any pride in defeat, but Chris got on the mic and praised the 20 year veteran who has worked his way from the very bottom to the upper echelons of Japanese wrestling, becoming hugely respected along the way.
5. Will Ospreay vs BUSHI
A first time singles match here, as the recently deposed former-IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion BUSHI took on the winner of the 2016 Best of the Super Jr. and current RPW Undisputed British Cruiserweight Champion, Will Ospreay. This was an exciting encounter that proceeded at a fast pace, both guys going back and forth until BUSHI turned the tide with a huge through-the-ropes piledriver on the ring apron. The masked man of Los Ingobernables de Japon went to work, hitting a high speed tope suicida that sent Will crashing hard into the barricades. Ospreay managed a comeback, hitting the Rainham Maker for a big near-fall, but referee Chris Roberts being innadvetendly knocked down gave BUSHI all the opportunity he needed to spray Will in the face with the black mist. Hitting a huge flipping piledriver the match appeared to be over as the ref made the count, but Ospreay somehow kicked out and then avoided BUSHI’s MX lungblower before scoring with the OsCutter for the win.
6. Trent Seven, Tyler Bate & David Starr vs Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & EVIL
The penultimate match of the evening saw David Starr join forces with Moustache Mountain to take on the most exciting faction in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Los Ingobernables de Japon. The crowd was hyped up for this one and it was a very entertaining contest that had a little bit of everything. Trent Seven got into it with LIJ’s heavy hitter EVIL, trading some big chops and elbows, while his Moustache Mountain team-mate Tyler Bate tried to bodyslam everyone (the referee included). SANADA turned things in Los Ingobernable’s favour after catching Starr with his amazing springboard dropkick, which was soon followed by EVIL hitting the EVIL STO to win the match. This was good fun, Moustache Mountain are always entertaining and I enjoyed Starr’s inclusion (and his drawn on moustache), while on the other side of the ring Naito seemed to leave a lot of the focus to his parejas EVIL & SANADA who both impressed.
7. Zack Sabre Jr. (c) vs Katsuyori Shibata – RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title
Main event time and a huge rematch from Summer Sizzler 2016, as RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. looked to defend his title once more against ‘The Wrestler’ Katsuyori Shibata, who’s last championship match ended in defeat after losing the NEVER Opneweight Title to EVIL last week at Power Struggle. Shibata also has accumulated a litany of injuries, which played a big factor into this match as ‘The Technical Wizard’ Zack Sabre Jr. sought to tear apart Shibata’s heavily taped shoulder. At Uprising 2016 the crowd somewhat turned on Zack as he got a little mean and nasty with Jeff Cobb, and it was the same here as he attempted to aggravate Shibata’s injuries. But this was a very confident performance from Zack Sabre Jr, he wasn’t toying with Shibata in any way, he was focused and had a plan and almost seemed to be trying to beat Shibata at his own game. Ultimately, that didn’t work out so well, as Shibata absorbed the full force of Sabre’s devastating kicks before fighting back in a big way. A huge slap signalled the end for Sabre, as Shibata then locked in a sleeper hold. Zack tried to fight free, twisting on Shibata’s injured arm, but Shibata tightened the hold and hit a brutal sleeper suplex, before stunning the crowd by defeating the champion with a huge PK kick! Post-match, Shibata demanded Zack shake his hand, but Scurll ran down and took his LDRS team mate to the back. Then out came Chris Hero, who faces Shibata tonight at Global Wars UK Night 2 in a match for the RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title!
Overall this was a good show that lived up to its promise, the highlights being the exceptional Chris Hero vs Tomohiro Ishii slugfest and a main event between Katsuyori Shibata and Zack Sabre Jr. that topped their encounter at Summer Sizzler. Will Ospreay and BUSHI put on the sort of match they could’ve had at the Best of the Super Jr. tournament, had they been in the same blocks, while Marty Scurll and Jushin Liger had a really enjoyable opening match that kicked off the show in good style. There were some issues with the venue, heightened security checks causing a bit of delay in getting everyone into the building and starting the show, but it didn’t really hamper the show much other than cutting down the intermission. RevPro said that Night 1 of Global Wars UK will be up on RPW On Demand this Monday, earlier if they can manage it, while tonight they present Global Wars UK Night 2 at Walthamstow Assembly Hall, featuring Hero vs Shibata for the RPW title, Liger vs Ospreay, Naito & EVIL vs Sabre & Scurll, Ishii vs Dunne and more with the last remaining tickets avaialble at http://www.revolutionprowrestling.com/events/2016/11/11/global-wars-uk-night-2
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