0. Pre-Show Match: Tommy End vs Josh Bodom
The star-studded 2015 edition of Summer Sizzler kicked off with a pre-show match recorded for this week’s episode of Revolution Pro TV on youtube, featuring Josh Bodom of The Revolutionists taking on Tommy End, who was making his RPW singles debut here. Bodom almost fell prey to Tommy’s top-rope doublestomp in the early going, but quickly manage to turn things to his advantage and take control of the match. The crowd really got behind End, who’s popularity has grown a lot in this past year, while Bodom continues to be one of the stand-out young performers in the UK. He’s got all the tools in the ring and a good character to boot, riling up the audience as he used the ref to knock Tommy off the top, allowing Boom to hit his devastating looking rope-assisted piledriver to score a big victory over one of Europe’s best. This was a nice opener, Tommy’s strikes are so on point and never fail to draw a big reaction from the audience.
1. RPW British Tag Team Titles: Joel Redman & Jake McClusky (c) vs The Revolutionists (Sha Samuels & James Castle)
It was announced before the match that one-half of The Thrillers, Mark Haskins, wasn’t in attendance due to personal reasons, but the RPW tag titles would still be on the line. Taking Haskins place as Redman’s partner for the evening was ‘Mr. Moonsault’ Jake McClusky, who’s had a few appearances in RPW in the past and did well stepping into Haskins shoes. As for their opponents, Sha Samuels has sneakily become one of the best bad guys on the British wrestling scene and in James Castle he’s found a tag partner who’s as loud-mouthed and abrasive as he is. The combination works well, Samuels serving as the voice of experience, while Castle’s something of a loose cannon. McClusky was pretty good here, hitting a nice standing moonsault off of Castle’s back at one point, but perhaps there’s such a thing as too many moonsaults. Redman would likely agree, as Jake missed a big moonsault and crashed hard to the mat, which proved to be the turning point. In spite of a spirited comeback from Redman, who suplexed the hell out of everyone he could get his hands on, luck was not on his side as Castle low-blowed McClusky and rolled him up to win the RPW tag titles for The Revolutionists.
2. International Challenge Match: Tomohiro Ishii vs Big Damo O’Connor
When it was announced that Tomohiro Ishii was heading to the UK for RPW there were a few names that immediately came to mind when thinking about his potential opponents: Mastiff, Rampage, O’Connor. All big, burly, hard-hitting wrestlers who would play perfectly to Ishii’s strengths and provide the sort of no-nonsense contest that fans have come to expect from Ishii’s matches in Japan. I was very pleased that Damo got the nod as, in the few times I’ve seen him live this year, I’ve been real impressed with the Beast of Belfast and this was probably the best singles match I’ve seen from him yet. Ishii’s a guy who laboured in the New Japan undercard for many years and has only relatively recently been getting his due, so it was real cool to see a foreign audience chanting his name with such fervour and even cooler to see him and Damo go all-out in their match. Ishii was obviously banking on the brainbuster putting Damo away, but perhaps it was an overly ambitious strategy, as the big man proved difficult to hoist up. He did manage to hit a huge superplex that made the whole ring bounce, but after O’Connor hit the Van Damonator coast-to-coast dropkick the outcome of this match was sealed. Damo stood on Ishii’s chest, before jumping up and falling back with a crushing senton to earn the three count. Ishii was rather angry at himself post-match, but got a big ovation from the crowd and chants of “please come back”.
Post-match it was announced that at RPW “Uprising” at York Hall on October 2nd, Kazuchika Okada & Gedo will be facing Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger & Hiroshi Tanahashi!
3. International Challenge Match: Shinsuke Nakamura vs Roderick Strong
The second International Challenge Match of the evening saw ‘The King of Strong Style’ Shinsuke Nakamura take on Roderick ‘Shitty Little Boots’ Strong, acting as a last-minute replacement for Ricochet, who had visa issues that prevented him from travelling to the UK. Great work on RPW’s part for arranging a worthy replacement with such short notice and, while Ricochet vs Nakamura was more of a dream match, Strong was likely a better opponent and more suited to Nakamura’s style. Big ovation for Nakamura as he made his entrance and, although Strong was warmly welcomed, it wasn’t long before the crowd were insulting his choice of footwear. Roddy got in a huff and made to leave, but was eventually convinced back to the ring and the match got under way. Shinsuke was tearing into Strong for much of the early going, but a missed kneedrop off the ring apron turned things in Roddy’s favour. He hit a big vertical-lift gutbuster for a near-fall, followed shortly after by the Gibson Driver, but it wasn’t enough to put Nakamura away. Shinsuke fired back with a beautiful reverse powerslam and hit the regular Boma Ye, but Strong kicked out at one! The advantage went back and forth for an exciting closing stretch, as Nakamura again went for the Boma Ye, only for Strong to catch him with a huge high knee. He hit the ropes, but Nakamura rocked him with a huge forearm to the face, before hitting the standing Boma Ye and rolling Strong up for the 3-count. This was a great match, Strong can be such an explosive competitor and it really showed in the second half here, as he and Nakamura put on a hell of a show.
Nakamura offered the handshake post-match and Roddy grudgingly accepted, but then Damo O’Connor’s music hit and the big man made his way down to ringside. He and Nakamura stared each other down, before Damo challenged him to a match at “Uprising”, which Nakamura accepted!
4. RPW Undisputed British Cruiserweight Title – 2/3 Falls: Will Ospreay (c) vs Matt Sydal
After a brief intermission the show resumed with a huge 2/3 falls match for the RPW Undisputed British Cruiserweight Title. Sydal defeated Ospreay at last year’s “Uprising” event, while Will scored a win over Sydal on RevPro TV this past May. On both occasions the belt wasn’t on the line, so for the rubber match the stakes have been raised and the title will be contested, two-falls to a finish. Sydal seemed a bit aggrieved at the fan’s unwavering support for the champion and grew further frustrated as Will got the better of him in their early exchanges, taking some of that frustration out on his opponent with some precision kicks and a beautiful scissor leg drop, followed by a standing shooting star press for a nearfall. Sydal sought to keep Ospreay grounded by controlling the arm and was doing a good job of it, until Will took his chances well and strung together some big offence. He went for a handspring, but somehow Sydal leaped up at the right moment hit Will with a reverse hurricanrana right out of the handspring! He headed up top and soared with the Sydal Star Press, rolling up Ospreay to win the first fall. Sydal gave Ospreay little time recover, pressing the advantage and trying to put Will away. Will spent much of this middle portion of the match trying to fight out from under Sydal, which he’s so good at, really getting the crowd behind him and waiting for his moment. That moment came as Sydal again went for the SSP, but this time Will got his knees up and rolled him into a pin for the three-count. One-fall apiece, they squared off again as the third fall began and the crowd were well into it. After some heated back-and-forth exchanges, the finish came as Ospreay ascended up top and hit a huge corkscrew shooting star press to retain the title. Fantastic match, the best of Sydal & Ospreay’s three encounters so far.
Post-match, RevPro match maker and ring announcer Andy Quildan led the crowd in a showing of appreciation for both men and noted that, like Ricochet, Sydal had also had some travel problems, but out of his own pocket he rearanged his flights so as to not disappoint the fans.
5. Colt Cabana & Matt Classic vs Lord Gideon Grey & Rishi Ghosh
A real change of pace here, as many were wondering exactly what Colt Cabana & Matt Classic tagging together would look like. Lord Gideon Grey, convinced that his opponents were in fact the same person, was crowing loudly as Matt Classic failed to appear when his theme music hit, but Lord Grey became apoplectic when Cabana went and retrieved Classic from the back! A slightly more portly Classic, perhaps. With some new tattoos. And wearing a bumbag. Gideon got on the microphone and argued that no one was falling for Cabana’s ruse, as Classic was clearly just Grado. Referee Chris Roberts went over to Classic and asked “are you Grado?” to which the veritable legend of professional wrestling replied, “no”. The match was ridiculous fun, Lord Grey & Rishi Ghosh are a great act and Cabana & Classic played off them really well. For some reason, the usually super-serious Matt Classic had to keep resisting the urge to strut and dance, further fuelling Gideon’s claims that he was in fact Grado. But his protests fell on deaf ears and the match decided, as Classic went up top and hit a gigantic diving headbutt off the bottom rope, before Cabana busted out the Bionic Elbow (eliciting huge “DUSTY!” chants from the assembled masses) and locked Lord Grey in the Billy Goat’s Curse, forcing him to tap.
6. RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title: Marty Scurll (c) vs AJ Styles
While it’s been great to see Marty Scurll’s evolution as a wrestler over the past few years which has led him to championship gold, The Villain’s title reign as British Heavyweight Champion has been marked by interference from his cohorts in The Revolutionists. This time however, much to the crowd’s delight, match maker Andy Quildan announced that they had been banned from ringside! It’s become something of a sure thing that one of them will manage to effect the outcome, so this was a great way to up the stakes. But, even with his propensity towards cheating, Scurll is still one of the best wrestlers Britain has to offer and was more than prepared to give a fight to the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, AJ Styles. However, it was nearly all over for him early on, as Styles smartly hooked him for the Styles clash, only for Marty to worm his way free. The match was one of multiple finisher attempts, as Scurll sought to lock in the chickenwing, while AJ looked for the Clash on numerous occasions. Marty looked to have things won when he reversed AJ’s moonsault DDT and finally locked his submission finisher in, but as he dropped down with the move AJ used the momentum to roll back and free himself. Styles changed tactics and, after countering a tornado DDT attempt from Scurll, knocked him loopy with the Bloody Sunday. AJ hoisted Scurll up, hooked his arms and hit the Styles Clash for the three-count to become the new RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight champion! Post-match he offered Scurll the handshake and Marty accepted, only to viciously kick the new champion low and start stomping him into the mat. Will Ospreay ran down to make the save and Marty retreated to the entranceway. Ospreay picked up AJ’s belts and eventually handed them over with a hungry look in his eyes. AJ said that if Ospreay wants the RPW belt then they’ll face off in October, but if he wants the IWGP belt he’s got to come to Japan. Quildan gets on the mic and adds Scurll into the mix, making it AJ Styles (c) vs Marty Scurll vs Will Ospreay at “Uprising” on October 2nd!
Overall this was a hell of a show, maybe the best York Hall show yet. While some of the other shows suffered a bit, pacing-wise, this was pretty much perfect and everything built nicely towards the main event. Getting the Nakamura & Ishii matches in the first-half of the show really emphasised how stacked the card was and Sydal & Ospreay did a great job bringing the crowd back from intermission, as well as following a match like Strong vs Nakamura. I’d say that Sydal vs Ospreay is one of the most enjoyable matches I’ve seen live, one that’s certainly worth going out of your way to see. Colt & Classic vs Lord Grey & Rishi was a ton of fun and served as the perfect palate cleanser after the 2/3 falls match, while the main event itself was an excellent way to close out the show. Both Styles and Scurll deserve a good deal of credit for that match, but Marty in particular put in a great performance and showed why he was champion in the first place. Great job all-round from the wrestlers and everyone involved, showing exactly why RPW’s trips to York Hall have become unmissable events. With that in mind, what an event “Uprising” should be! Three huge matches already signed and with more sure to come, October 2nd can’t come fast enough.
RPW “Summer Sizzler” will be available to stream & download on demand within the next week over at http://www.revolutionprowrestling.com/on-demand while you can check out Tommy End vs Josh Bodom on RevPro TV tomorrow at 7PM over at the RPW youtube channel.