Rev Pro: New Orleans
Date: April 6, 2018
Location: Sugar Mill, New Orleans, Louisiana
Commentators: Andy Quildan, Joe Dombrowski
This is another show I got to attend during Wrestlemania weekend after doing the same the previous year. Rev Pro is a British organization which brings in a lot of foreigners for their shows and puts on a heck of a product from what I’ve seen. The show was a lot of fun in person and it should be interesting to see how it holds up. Let’s get to it.
David Starr vs. Martin Stone
Starr is the guy with the 15 or so nicknames and he’s not happy with Quildan not listing more than one of them (Starr: “WHAT THE F*** WAS THAT?”). He claims a conspiracy against him in RPW but it doesn’t matter because he’s really good at pro wrestling. Tonight he’s facing Danny Bur….oh sorry he can’t say that name. Stone only changed his name because he’s a little corporate b****, and you know that gets a rise out of the crowd. After Starr lists off all of his nicknames (and yes he has a shirt with all of them for sale), we’re ready to go (Starr: “HI DANNY!”).
Feeling out process to start as Andy joins commentary and talks about the conspiracy allegations against him. Apparently he wasn’t happy with having his Cruiserweight Title shot coming in a five way match and something about a fast count so he’s getting another title shot in May. A Thesz press gives Starr two as they’re certainly in the technical phase to start.
Stone goes after the leg so Starr bails to the floor, earning a forearm to the face. Something like a belly to back toss onto the apron cuts Stone off though and Starr dives in at eight. Back in and an uppercut in the corner gives Starr two but Stone headbutts the arm (ala Tomohiro Ishii). They exchange headbutts to put both guys down but it’s Stone up and easily winning a slugout. Do you really want to trade shots with a guy named Stone?
A modified triangle choke has Starr in trouble but he gets up and sends Starr to the apron for a springboard clothesline. Back in and Stone looks a bit dead but is still able to enziguri his way out of trouble. Neither guy can follow up so they call some rather loud spots and slug it out from their knees. Does that really need a spot call?
They chop it out and Stone actually asks for a second after a particularly hard shot from Starr. One heck of a rebound lariat drops Stone for two but he’s right back with a Crossface. Starr’s roll doesn’t work so he lifts Stone up for a backbreaker in a surprising power display. Back up and Stone tries a monkey flip but slips off the ropes, allowing Starr to throw his feet on the ropes for the pin at 10:38.
Rating: C. I was thinking having commentary would help this show and that’s exactly the case. All I knew was that Starr was claiming a conspiracy and was acting like a standard heel. Now though we know some details and I have more of a reason to care about the story. That’s what good commentary can do and it helped a lot here. I’ve always liked Stone and Starr is growing on me so there was something to be seen with this match.
Post match Quildan is coming to the ring for the next match and gets hugged by Starr, who flips him off for good measure.
Adam Brooks vs. Brian Cage
It’s rare to see a small heel vs. a monster face. Brooks dropkicks him during the weapons check in one of the only ways he’s getting much of a physical advantage here. A hurricanrana puts Cage o the floor and there’s a running kick to the chest for good measure. Back in and Brooks takes the knee out before kicking the ropes into Cage’s….uh….inner thigh. Yeah we’ll go with that.
Cage finally launches him with an overhead German suplex (Andy: “As if WrestleCon was being held on the moon!”) and there’s the delayed vertical suplex. A standing moonsault gets two on Brooks but he avoids a 619 and pokes Cage in the eyes to slow things down again. One heck of a running flip dive to the floor drops Cage again with a little nod to Will Ospreay, who Brooks hasn’t been happy with lately.
Back in and Cage scores with a jumping knee but takes too long telling Brooks “YOU’RE DEAD”, allowing him to duck the discus lariat. Brooks grabs a reverse hurricanrana so Cage pops to his feet and blasts him with a clothesline for a double knockdown. They head to the apron again (because that’s become an obsession since the HARDEST PART OF THE RING deal started) and two knees drive Cage’s head into the apron, followed by a slingshot DDT for two back inside.
Cage is back up with a powerbomb into a buckle bomb into an apron superplex for two more. In a scary sight, Cage goes up top but Brooks, fearing a bad case of death, crotches him again and hurricanranas him down. Cage is right back up with an F5 attempt but Brooks’ feet hit the referee. That means a low blow and a rollup pin (with trunks) on Cage at 10:08.
Rating: C-. I wasn’t feeling this one much either as Brooks seems like someone who would benefit from a lot of promo time. Cage is a monster and a half and I’m not surprised that he’s getting a strong push in Impact. This wasn’t a great match or really anything close to one but Cage wrecking stuff is always fun.
Chuck Taylor/Rocky Romero/Will Ospreay vs. Flip Gordon/Kota Ibushi/Shane Strickland
Taylor/Romero/Ospreay are part of the New Japan Chaos stable. Hopefully Ospreay can hold up a bit more here and the tag format should help him survive. He’s crazy over to start….and then Ibushi’s music hits because the fans know they’re in for a dream match showdown at some point. Gordon and Strickland bow to Ibushi during his entrance but Ospreay doesn’t seem too impressed.
Strickland and Romero start things up as Taylor won’t stand in his designated corner. That’s not very gentlemanly behavior. Romero works the arm to start as the fans don’t seem thrilled by Rocky’s presence. It’s off to a headlock as we hear about Romero’s long list of tag team successes. Strickland fights up and grabs Rocky’s face for a rather cruel escape. A dropkick sends Romero crawling on his knees to the corner so he can grab Taylor’s legs. Gordon and Taylor come in with Chuck’s forearms to the back taking over as the announcers offer a nice comparison between the two of them.
Flip dropkicks him to the floor and thankfully Taylor is smart enough to move before a dive can launch. It’s off to Ospreay vs. Ibushi and NOW things pick up with the fans actually giving it a standing ovation. They circle each other for a good while as the fans aren’t sure who to cheer for but Chaos comes in and jumps Ibushi to steal the moment. Triple teaming ensues until Romero comes in, earning himself a hard chop. Strickland is back in with a right hand of his own and a running kick to the head rocks Rocky.
Another triple dropkick cuts Strickland off and it’s Chaos cleaning house again. It kind of helps when you’re an actual team instead of three guys thrown together. Ospreay even chokes Strickland with his shirt in the corner and a rollup gets two. Romero dances along the apron before jumping in and raking his boot over Shane’s face. That means Taylor’s slow motion slingshot senton and the fans are far too thrilled. The easily impressed fans appreciate a fan from Taylor but a second attempt is countered into a small package for two. The second successful slam draws a TEN MORE TIMES chant but settle for a missed moonsault instead.
That’s enough for the hot tag to Ibushi as things speed WAY up (which you might have expected). Ibushi drops Taylor and hits a BIG flip dive onto Ospreay and Romero. Back in and Ibushi strikes the heck out of Taylor, leaving Gordon to hit his own flip dive onto Ospreay and Romero. Back in and Shane’s 450 gets two on Taylor with Ospreay diving in for a save. Romero is back up for the forever clotheslines on Ibushi and Gordon is right back up with a super hurricanrana on Ospreay…..who lands on his feet. Andy: “He’s not defying gravity. He’s disrespecting it!”
Ospreay kicks Gordon in the head but the Oscutter is blocked. It’s time for the parade of strikes until Ospreay and Ibushi hit moonsault double kicks to the back of the head. That leaves them nose to nose and you can feel this one. They slug it out with Ospreay telling him to bring it. Ibushi hits the rapid fire strikes but misses the standing moonsault. Ospreay kicks him in the head again but Ibushi does the same.
A huge clothesline turns Ospreay inside out and they’re both down to another standing ovation. Ibushi goes up but takes the Cheeky Nandos Kick, leaving Gordon to hit the spinning springboard Stunner for two on Ospreay. That earns Gordon back to back kicks to the head, followed by the Revolution Kick. The Oscutter is enough to put Gordon away at 22:14.
Rating: B. This was all about setting up the Ospreay vs. Ibushi showdown and that’s what we got here. The buildup was fine and action was solid throughout. They were going for the big blowaway six man here and while they didn’t do that, the showdown felt special and that was the most important part. Good match, and one of the better ones of the weekend so far.
There was a fifteen minute intermission (edited out of course) where I got to meet Ospreay in a nice moment.
Jeff Cobb vs. Minoru Suzuki
Non-title and it’s hoss fight time. As he was last night, Suzuki knows how to fire up a crowd, which you wouldn’t guess from his normal New Japan matches. Suzuki won’t stand for a weapons check as you can feel the announcers wanting to see this one. Feeling out process to start with neither being able to grapple their way to an advantage. Back up and Suzuki chops him in the chest so Cobb chops him as well.
That makes Suzuki smile and he takes down Cobb’s straps for some REAL chops. Cobb finally gets smart by shouldering Suzuki to the apron, earning himself a legbar in the ropes as he goes after Suzuki. The leg is wrapped around the post but the referee won’t allow the chair usage. Suzuki will not be denied the chance of violence and shoves the referee down, allowing the chair to hit the knee.
Back in and it’s more leg work, including a bit on the referee for trying to make the break. That’s the kind of crazy man Suzuki can be. Suzuki tries another chop exchange and sticks his chest out….so Cobb dropkicks him in the face. A Samoan drop gives Cobb two, only to have Suzuki kick him in the face for two. It’s off to another leglock before Suzuki goes simple by kicking the heck out of the leg. Cobb muscles him up for a belly to belly for two but the knee slows him down again. A powerbomb attempt is countered into Suzuki’s sleeper and Cobb taps at 10:23 without even going to the mat.
Rating: C. This was a glorified squash and after last night’s Cobb vs. Ishii match, that’s rather disappointing. That being said, the fans got exactly what they wanted from Suzuki here as he was all evil and crazy while ripping the leg apart. Sometimes it’s better to go with something like this and that’s all the fans wanted to see. Not bad, but disappointing.
Post match, Cobb is helped to the back and Suzuki soaks in some cheers.
Aussie Open vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Juice Robinson
Aussie Open is Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis, which is made more impressive when you consider that Fletcher is just 18/19 (online says the former, commentary the latter) years old. Fletcher grabs a headlock to start but Robinson shoulders him down without much effort. A dropkick to the knee cuts Fletcher off and it’s off to Davis for some chops.
The Aussies take over with Davis holding Robinson up for a dropkick to the side of the head. Robinson comes back with a leg lariat and NOW it’s time for Tanahashi. Double dropkicks abound but Tanahashi misses a middle rope swanton to let the Aussies take over again. The TANA chants get him out of a chinlock but he misses a dropkick. This jumping on his own thing isn’t going well for him so far.
Tanahashi finally drops Davis and the hot tag brings in Robinson for the snap jabs all over the place. Robinson’s high crossbody gets two but Davis superkicks him onto Fletcher’s shoulder. A middle rope cutter, with Fletcher throwing him into the air, gets no cover as Davis can’t follow up (looked great though).
The REAL hot tag brings in Tanahashi and things speed up again, this time with a forearm to Fletcher. Davis cuts him off again but something like an Alabama Slam into a spinebuster is somewhat botched and only gets two. Tanahashi is right back with a Sling Blade on Davis, followed by a Hart Attack with another Sling Blade for two on Fletcher as Davis makes a save. Robinson takes Davis out and it’s the High Fly Flow to put Fletcher away at 12:19.
Rating: B-. Aussie Open looked VERY good here and with more time could become a heck of an indy team. That being said, this was all about Tanahashi and that’s what is should have been on a stage like this. I liked this more than I was expecting to as everyone, especially Aussie Open, was working hard out there. Tanahashi is a legend though and in an intimate atmosphere like this, that’s going to shine more than anything else.
Tanahashi poses for a long time and even does the Elvis thing of wiping his sweat on a towel and throwing it back to a fan. That’s star power.
British Heavyweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Sabre Jr., a technical master with the most insane submissions I’ve ever seen, is defending in a reign that has lasted over a year. I ever saw him defend the title last year in Orlando so he’s held the thing for a long time. Feeling out process to start with Sabre going for the legs and being cut off in short order. Sabre takes him to the mat but the armbar attempt is pretty easily blocked.
Ishii is right back up and in the corner for a staredown and a standoff. Sabre gets all rude by shoving Ishii in the face and even patting him on the head so one shot to the face drops him with ease in a good visual. That means it’s time for the hard chops in the corner with Sabre in trouble as the announcers talk about his bravado getting him in trouble. Something like an Octopus Hold gets Sabre out of trouble but he switches to a straitjacket hold with a bodyscissors (now he’s warming up).
Sabre lets go of the hold and steps on Ishii’s head as we hear about Sabre making AJ Styles tap clean well over a year ago. Ishii gets caught in something like the Rings of Saturn but with Sabre pulling back using his leg instead of arm (think about how much more cranking that allows). A rope is finally grabbed and the fans think Sabre sucks. To be fair he does have quite the punchable face. Sabre stomps on the arm ala Shayna Baszler before picking it up and making Ishii do You Can’t See Me for him in a funny bit.
Ishii fights up with a near brainbuster for a break and puts Sabre on top, only to get caught in another armbar. This one can’t last as long so Sabre goes back to slapping a guy called THE STONE PITBULL in the face. That earns him a delayed superplex as Quildan is losing his mind on commentary. A powerbomb is countered into an abdominal stretch/Octopus Hold hybrid. Ishii fights out and goes for the cross armbreaker but Ishii channels his inner Stephanie McMahon and blocks it a few times.
Sabre switches into a triangle choke and of course Ishii muscles him up for a powerbomb. Is there really any other counter for that? They slug it out again with the much smaller (at least lankier) Sabre knocking him back and kicking the bad arm. Ishii rolls out of a Fujiwara armbar but gets caught in another near Rings of Saturn. With the legs tied almost in an upside down full nelson (again, these things are hard to describe), Ishii DIVES for the ropes and gets another break.
You can see the shock on Sabre’s face and it’s a forearm into a Saito suplex to give Ishii another breather. A powerbomb gets two but the sliding lariat (come on man, don’t be stupid) is countered into a headscissors with the arm being pulled back again. That’s not enough twisting so Sabre pulls back on the leg for a bit before cranking on the arm even more. Ishii makes the ropes AGAIN but is just done. Sabre casually kicks away….and it’s time to get fired up again.
Now the kicks get a little harder and the sneer gets even worse. Ishii tells him to kick harder until some headbutts take Sabre down again. Now the sliding lariat connects for two but Sabre reverses the brainbuster into a Kimura with a bodyscissors. It’s not on full though and Ishii gets up, only to be cradled for two in a near fall I completely bought. Ishii’s enziguri puts both guys down again and the fans (myself included) are WAY into this. Sabre is rocked and Ishii clotheslines the heck out of him for two. The brainbuster out of nowhere gives Ishii the pin and the title at 20:05.
Rating: A. I LOVED this and was completely into every near fall. The last ten minutes had some of the best drama I’ve ever seen in person with those rope breaks being a rollercoaster. Sabre has held the title for the better part of ever at this point and it’s cool to see him finally lose, especially in a great match. There’s something so cool about seeing him wrenching and twisting the arm in such tormenting ways but it’s even better to see someone FINALLY knock the smug look off his face. Outstanding match and some of the most fun I’ve ever had watching a match live.
Ishii celebrates to end the show. Quildan thanked us for coming and being a great crowd to end the show.
Overall Rating: B+. I was expecting a few more matches on the show but what we got was more than enough. This was a two match show for the most part with an awesome main event and a heck of a six man. When that’s a third of the show and nothing is really bad throughout the night, there isn’t much to complain about. Just like last year, Rev Pro was a lot of fun for a cheap price, meaning it’s something I’d gladly check out again given the chance. Find the main event though and have fun watching a great ride.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his Amazon author page with 26 wrestling books. His latest book is the WWE Grab Bag.
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