Photo Credit: @SidelineSP
Hot on the heels of what was probably Revolution Pro Wrestling’s biggest show ever in “Uprising 2015”, Saturday 3rd October saw “Global Wars UK” take place at the Rivermead Leisure Complex in Reading. While not quite a sell-out, the show was packed with fans ready for the latest in the antics between Rev Pro and New Japan Pro Wrestling. Securing a good 4th row seat, I saw the packed crowd mainly decked out in Bullet Club merch, with members AJ, Anderson and Gallows prominent in providing their wares to those without said merch. Andy Quildan opened up the show with the same mic feedback issues he’d had the night before, which thankfully were sorted out by the third match. The feel of the building wasn’t quite the same as before. With York Hall, you have that big show feel, plus the sound reverberates around the room making a lot of noise. The noise didn’t quite reach those levels, but the crowd were still enthusiastic.
The opener was a triple threat between Tetsuya Naito, Kushida and Martin Kirby. Naito was as heelish as the night before, though not taking nearly as much time getting to the ring, nor wearing his suit and mask. He stayed outside the ring while Kushida and Kirby had some nice technical exchanges. Naito got involved by interrupting his NJPW brethren on an attempted dive and controlled a long portion over both men. Taking things to the outside, the three had an extended exchange on the stage area, including a figure-four and basement dropkick. Kushida managed to hit both men with his straight right hand that got such a pop in the match with O’Reilly the night before, and got good reactions here for both shots. An entertaining opener saw Naito hit the Destino (which is a pretty awesome finisher to see live) on Kushida to win. Post-match, Kirby mistook Naito’s offer of a handshake as genuine and succumbed to a T-shirt choke and dropkick for his troubles. You’d think Kirby would know better, eh?
Next up was the only match I correctly guessed as happening when the show was announced – Gedo vs Lord Gideon Grey. Of course this was a pure comedy match, with Grey and his cohort Rishi Ghosh not taking the chants of “Princess Unicorn” very well. A chant that travelled to Reading as well as a good portion of the crowd was “Super Nice Guy”, after Gedo’s insistence on this fact during the tag match at “Uprising.” He played up to this very well. With both men being heels by nature, they both tried to cheat shot each other at the same time by feigning a handshake and catching each other’s kick attempts. After Gedo channelled the Nature Boy with a Figure 4, Ghosh caused a number of distractions at ringside, before Grey finally got Gedo in a Camel Clutch variation by hooking the arms for a surprising submission. Total pantomime, but very entertaining.
Tag team action for next as the Thrillers (Joel Redman & Mark Haskins) took on the legend team of Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Haskins’ stature compared to larger opponents did not hold him back as he managed to outwrestle Tenzan before being tackled to the mat. Redman and Kojima had a friendly exchange where neither could knock the other down. Just when you thought this would be a friendly match, Kojima attacked Redman from behind as he was going to tag out and gestured at the crowd angrily. This would have been fine in any other show, but Kojima probably didn’t realise the UK crowds are not usually too bothered by being yelled at. When one man accosted Kojima, he responded in perfect English “I don’t understand you!” With that, the crowd was right back on TenCozy’s side. Laughter always wins. This was a good match, with Haskins able to demonstrate his striking skills with stiff shots to Tenzan. However the veteran experience won out, TenCozy hit the Super Koji Cutter (not the 3D, as most of the crowd yelled out) followed by the Lariat to Redman for the win. Kojima is one of my all-time favourites, so to see him in action this weekend was very exciting for me. Tenzan was slow, but everyone interacting with the SSSSHHHH chants for his Mongolian chops was fun.
Before the interval was one of the big ones, Marty Scurll taking on IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura. This was as good as expected, if not better. Scurll worked over the arm for most of the match, trying to soften him up for the Chicken Wing, which for a while was countered into Nakamura’s Cross Arm Breaker. Both men had crowd support about 60/40 in Nakamura’s favour. Scurll showed major fighting spirit, kicking out from not one, but two Boma-Ye knee strikes, popping up from the second one right away, only to get struck by a third, standing variation for the final three count. I haven’t been as overly descriptive with this one not because there wasn’t much to it, but quite the opposite. It’s a match that was overly fantastic and is well worth seeing. Even in defeat after such a great performance, Scurll was back out selling merch almost right away. What a trooper.
After the interval, it was the first of two Bullet Club appearances, as the IWGP Tag Team Champions of Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson took on the RPW Tag Team Champions Sha Samuels and James Castle. As mentioned earlier, the Bullet Club was definitely the biggest attraction in terms of shirts and the team received a nice pop. Suffice to say though that this match absolutely sucked. Anderson was ok, but I expect so much more from him. Gallows and Castle were Gallows and Castle, i.e. not very good. And Samuels tried hard, bless him, but nothing clicked for me in this match. The shortest match of the weekend also had the most disappointing ending. At “Uprising”, the Revolutionists managed to squeak out a win over TenCozy with a low blow and belt shot. Castle broke up the Magic Killer using the same method, except this time right in front of the referee, earning Bullet Club a win via disqualification. Absolute garbage. Samuels deserves so much better than to be weighed down by the anchor that is James Castle. As for Bullet Club, I won’t be particularly hyped to see them tag up again.
Next up was a dream match – IWGP Champion Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay. I was initially worried that Okada wasn’t going to put much effort in against an unfamiliar opponent, but I needn’t have worried – this match was incredible. A great opening technical exchange, with Ospreay using his aerial ability to come up with some innovative counters to basic manoeuvres. Okada attempted to keep Ospreay grounded, but kept falling foul of Will’s incredible manoeuvres, including a wonderful springboard Ace Crusher. So many counters to each other’s established moveset, with Okada flipping Ospreay out of the Essex Destroyer but failing to connect with the Tombstone. Will finally went to the well too often, as he went for another springboard Crusher but got caught and manoeuvred into the Tombstone, followed immediately by the Rainmaker for the three. A well-deserved standing ovation from the crowd and a pleasure to watch live, this brought the back up to the level Marty and Shinsuke left it and added to it by quite a margin. Only the three way main event and maybe O’Reilly/Kushida from “Uprising” would stop this from being match of the weekend, but that is an arguable point.
Next up was another big one from one of the stars of the weekend, as Big Damo O’Connor took Hiroshi Tanahashi. It must be said, it’s quite incredible that New Japan allowed their champions to bring over their title belts for these shows and Tanahashi even brought his briefcase for the Wrestle Kingdom title shot. Most companies wouldn’t have bothered. Damo had quite the spectacle against Nakamura last night, so to follow on to a match with New Japan ace is quite something. Win, lose or draw, the future of Big Damo in Rev Pro is bright. He started the match must like the previous evening, dominating Tanahashi with his size advantage .That didn’t stop Tanahashi trying his hand at some power moves himself, trying and failing to slam the huge Irishman. Eventually Tanahashi got his mojo back and a great back and forth contest took place. Tana managed to pull off the slam he was looking for earlier and used his superior speed to avoid both the chest-stand senton and the Van-Damo-nator. The High Fly Flow crossbody variation was rolled through and muscled up into Damo’s Electric Chair drop, but he couldn’t get the decisive pinfall. A rally from Tanahashi saw him hit the Slingblade and the HFF splash for the win. Respect shown by Damo after the match and the crowd once again took to their feet for this display.
As if the night couldn’t have another top quality match, but oh yes, it surely did! The main event saw a dream match between AJ Styles and Jushin “Thunder” Liger. AJ elected to make the match more special by putting the RPW Championship on the line, recognising Liger as a legend. It’s hard to believe Liger is 50 years old. Of course he’s not as quick as he used to be, but he wrestles very smartly and only goes for high risk moves when it really counts. Hitting a top rope Frankensteiner was an incredible sight, as was his second attempt that was nearly countered into a second rope Styles Clash. However, what wasn’t welcome was some in the crowd eliciting a chant of “You still got it” at Liger. Have these people not been aware that Liger has been wrestling non-stop for the last however many years?! Aside from his battle with cancer in the 90’s, he hasn’t stopped. Stupid chant to start up. Anyway, AJ grounded Liger with several Calf Killer submission attempts, but each time the challenger made it to the ropes. A really well wrestled contest that, had it not followed the previous two matches, would have been match of the night quite easily. As much as I dislike AJ for various reasons, there’s no denying his ability in the ring. He retained the title with a Styles Clash kind of out of nowhere, not that it was too short a match (it wasn’t, it went at least 15 minutes) but more that the match could have gone a few minutes longer and not felt like it.
So a very good show that only suffered due to the natural comparisons made to “Uprising” by most of those that attended both shows. We got four matches that the crowd responded to with standing ovations, so that can’t be bad. This show will be released on RPWondemand.com, hopefully by the end of the week but, as Andy Quildan put it, “I’m not making any promises”. This was a nice accompany piece to “Uprising”, with four main singles matches worth seeking out and only the Bullet Club vs Revolutionists I would advise to skip altogether. Congratulations go to the Revolution Pro team for a great pair of shows and for bringing us British fans, especially those that enjoy Japanese wrestling, such great entertainment.