RevPro High Stakes 2018 (1/20/2018)- Bethnal Green, Greater London, UK
RPW BRITISH CRUISERWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Kurtis Chapman(c) vs. Rob Lias- 4.25/10
Rob Lias is such an effective scumbag that I wasn’t at all fooled by his fake injury because I inherently distrust him no matter what he does. Once Lias took over things got pretty dull. He seemed to have the match well in hand with a nice Last Chancery-type submission locked on, but Eddie Dennis came out to distract him so he broke the hold. Dennis then interfered on Chapman’s behalf, which led to a false finish, but Chapman hit his finish immediately afterwards to get the win (except that Lias’ shoulder seemed pretty clearly like it was off the mat for a good chunk of the count). The completely baffling booking of Chapman as a fluke champion in 2018 after making his win seem like such a big moment at December’s Uprising 2017 continues.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Josh Bodom, who is in the next match, got in Chapman’s face on the stage. Eddie Dennis also got involved in their shoving match.
CCK (w/Kid Lykos) vs. JOSH BODOM & ZACK GIBSON- 6.5/10
Lykos responded to Banks getting kicked in the nuts by one of the heels with some cheating of his own in the form of a weapons shot, so Lykos’ willingness to take justice into his own hands continues. I would have liked for this to be the finish and for them to build a story off of that into the future, but instead they went another few minutes with CCK getting a “cleaner” pin.
ADAM BROOKS vs. RYAN SMILE- 6/10
MOVEZZZZZZZZZZZZ. Even the small semblance of a story they had about guys getting their heads worked over seemed like a totally incidental result of the fact that many MOVEZ are head-drops rather than a conscious decision on their part to tell the story of both guys working the head.
AUSSIE OPEN vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanada & EVIL)- 6.75/10
Sanada just needs to stop doing the Nuto because there is no explanation for why he doesn’t just stomp on then helpless opponent’s head until he gets the win via ref stoppage. It’s so annoying. Does anyone really like seeing him kae these other guys look like idiots just so he can do a dropkick to the butt?
Other than that the match was fine, but I just couldn’t bring myself to care because I haven’t been given a reason to care about either team and the outcome was never in doubt.
RPW BRITISH WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Jinny(c) vs. Millie McKenzie vs. Bea Priestley- 6/10
This was a fine three-way. McKenzie had Bea pinned but Jinny stole the pin.
WILL OSPREAY vs. MARK ANDREWS- 8/10
This was Andrews’ first match in RevPro in almost four years, and it was quite the return. This was the Smile vs. Brooks match done right. It’s not just doing dives or getting dropped on your head, it’s a display of crazy athleticism and using that athleticism not just to hit moves but also to reverse them so that you’re not just stuck in the pattern of “someone hits a move, then we kick out.” It’s knowing when to take that moment or two to stop to let the insanity of what we just saw sink in, and to allow things to feel like they are actually picking up when you start to speed up once again. That was a spotfest; this was a spectacle.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good.
Adam Brooks attacked Ospreay after the match. Andrews tried to make the save but got taken out as well. Brooks, who is Australian, then grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the Australian flag badge off of Ospreay’s tights.
RPW BRITISH TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Mustache Mountain(c) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.)- 8.25/10
Zack is now doing the “disrespect your belt” angle, but unlike Naito going over the top and throwing it up in the air, Zack is just kicking it around, which is guaranteed to never get cheered, which is the point. This was an exciting tag match pitting two tough and lovable babyfaces against two of the meanest men on the planet. The big news here is Suzuki-Gun winning the belts, so it seems that Zack’s threat of Suzuki-Gun taking over might actually come true.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Suzuki-Gun couldn’t resist getting a few extra shots in after the match. CCK came out onto the ramp to indicate that they want a title match. Suzuki said something very rude to them. CCK left, and then a fan made the mistake of shouting “CCK IS ICHI-BAN!” as Suzuki was about to talk, and this fan was lucky that Zack Sabre Jr. was there to prevent Suzuki from jumping into the crowd, ripping his arms off, and then inserting one arm in each of his ends until he was shaking his own hand in his stomach.
This was a very good show from RevPro, but it was really saved by the top of the card delivering. High Stakes has usually been RevPro’s biggest show of the year, but this one felt rather small, especially when compared to last month’s Uprising or even the two Global Wars shows the month before. Maybe they are restructuring their year for a December “WrestleMania” so as not to have their biggest show of the year caught between the Tokyo Dome and the Royal Rumbel? Seems like a good move to me. I also think that “Uprising” is a great name for the biggest show of the year for a promotion called Revolution Pro Wrestling, especially when compared to the generic “High Stakes.”
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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