DAN MAGEE vs. SHA SAMUELS - 5/10
These two are feuding, so they just charged at each other the moment Magee got into the ring, not waiting for the bell. This was your standard underdog babyface storyline with Samuels working over Magee's back a bit. The finish saw Samuels, who had previously tried to hit Magee with a chair but was stopped by the referee, attempt to do so again when but instead the chair it the ropes, bounced back, and hit him in the head, which set up the finish.
SHA SAMUELS PROMO - This was delusional heel stuff, which I rarely like. He claimed that Magee hit him with the chair and claimed that Magee tapped out to his Sharpshooter earlier in the match (which did technically happen, but Magee was already in the ropes, which Samuels had been informed pf but refused to break the hold). Then he demanded that he be declared the winner and his music played, which thankfully didn't happen.
2019 QUEEN OF THE RING TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Samii Jayne vs. Yuu - 5.75/10
The work on the bodyparts here was good, and I particularly enjoyed Yuu's selling. She actually made me feel like she was having real trouble lifting Samii up due to her injured arm. RPW Undisputed British Women's Champion Zoe Lucas came out to distract Yuu and got involved several times. One of them was definitely right in front of the referee, but I'll be a little lenient here because her actually putting her hands on Yuu that the referee saw was pretty clearly done in self-defense (although she could have just as easily backed away from the ring instead of grabbing and holding Yuu's legs when Yuu tried to kick her. Zoe did eventually cost Yuu the match via title belt shot to the arm while the referee was distracted with Samii, setting up the finish.
2019 QUEEN OF THE RING TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL MATCH:
Debbie Keitel vs. Chardonnay - 6.25/10
A very solid babyface vs. babyface WRESTLING match.
DAVID STARR & EL PHANTASMO TALK AT EACH OTHER - Fine. Starr cut an excellent promo calling the fans hypocrites who hated referee Chris Roberts and used to boo him... until he went to the Tokyo Dome and now everyone takes his side all of a sudden. El Phantasmo told Starr that their next match would be a Ladder Match, but they didn't say when the match would be (though my guess would be High Stakes 2019 on February 15th). Then they took turns revealing who they have chosen to be on their team tonight. This was... fine, I guess. I'm sorry, but all segments like this have been ruined for me by the segment where Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness picked their partners at ROH Race to the Top Tournament: Night 2, which was utterly fantastic.
TEAM ELP (El Phantasmo, Michael Oku, Shigehiro Irie, & MK McKinnon) vs. TEAM STARR (David Starr, Josh Bodom, Rob Lias, & The Great O-Kharn) (w/Lord Gideon Grey) - 6.25/10
Early on this match two of the babyfaces refuse to tag in because they didn't want to face the big mean scary heel O-Kharn. Making this even worse was the fact that the babyfaces in question were Irie- who is at least as large as O-Kharn- and El Phantasmo, who the company has spent the past year building up to be a top babyface.
The match was okay for a while. We eventually got a spot that was WAY too choreographed before going back to some decent action until Starr and El Phantasmo finally came face to face. They had their big strike exchange which ended in a double-down, setting the stage for the real news here, which was that MK McKinnon managed to lock The Great O-Kharn in a sleeper hold and was about to put him to sleep when one of the heels managed to distract the referee so he never got a chance to check for the third hand-drop, and so that he also didn't see Lord Gideon hit McKinnon in the head with his cane. One Iron Fingers Slam later and the match was over... but G-d dammit I now firmly believe that if you take Lord Gideon out of the equation then MK McKinnon will be the first man to defeat The Great O-Kharn here in RevPro!
CHRIS RIDGEWAY vs. KURTIS CHAPMAN - 8/10
Holy sh*t this was AWESOME! This was a nice, clean babyface WRESTLING match. They just did nice, clean wrestling with a lot REALLY close nearfalls, and a little bit of a story about Ridgeway working over Chapman's knee. Ridgeway once again delivers, but even more excitingly, Kurtis Chapman actually feels like a really person again like he did when he won the Cruiserweight Title in December 2017... before they spent most of 2018 killing him and making him feel like a mere student again.
LAURA DIMATTEO & ZOE LUCAS vs. ZAN PHOENIX & KELLYANNE - 7/10
They immediately established the dynamics of this match with first their entrances and then the handshake spot. Said spot saw Laura and Kellyanne shake hands, only for the handshake to be broken up by Zoe and Zan, who each dragged her respective partner back to their corner and began to scold her for this. They then transitioned that into a hot start in a way I didn't see coming and thought was rather clever, so I'm not going to spoil it.
What followed was these four women taking a story so cliché in pro wrestling that it's painful and telling in an absolutely wonderful- if not outright revolutionary- manner. This was a double "partners who don't get along" match, and they made absolutely certain that you NEVER forgot that fact. There was no traditional tag match structure that is designed to make you have sympathy for one side over the other, no doing cool spots just because someone had to get her sh*t in, and not even any arguing over what seemed like small, stupid things. Every moment of this match was them not getting along out of Zoe and Zan's pure selfishness of wanting to be the one to get the pin and Kellyanne and Laura not wanting to put up with that crap, and the frustration just escalated and escalated to the point where it felt like each of them was taking out her frustration with her partner on her opponents. This is one of those matches like Jimmy Jacobs vs. Christopher Daniels vs. Colt Cabana from Glory By Honor V: Night 2 that if I was grading purely off of storytelling alone (as opposed to the combination of action, excitement, and storytelling) would be a 10/10. WATCH THIS MATCH!
2019 QUEEN OF THE RING TOURNAMENT FINALS:
Samii Jayne vs. Debbie Keitel - 7.25/10
Where did this Debbie Keitel come form and why had I never heard of her before this show?! She's GREAT! Is it too much for one country to have both a Suplex Millie and a Suplex Debbie? OMFG can those two team together and win the tag titles in some Joshi promotion? Please? Pretty Please? I absolutely love Keitel's arsenal, which consists of lots of mat-work and submission, punctuated by huge suplexes. In this particular match that included a German Suplex on the apron and German Suplex off the top. Also, she did some sort of crazy full nelson version of Cattle Mutilation (which I do realize would make it a different move because the submission being employed in the Cattle Mutilation is a double chickenwing, and not a full nelson, but I thought it would be easier to describe the move like that instead of calling it a bridging full nelson because if I did people might confuse it for a Bridging Dragon Suplex).
Sammi Jayne is, of course, no slouch either, and her striking and power-heavy arsenal made for a great clash of styles. Throw in some good false finishes and you've got yourself a great tournament finals.
RPW UNDISPUTED BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Zack Sabre Jr.(c) vs. PAC - 8/10
This was the typical kind of stuff you'd expect from these two and it was pretty awesome... until that f*cking DQ finish when Zack kicked the referee into the ropes when PAC went up for the Red Arrow.
NJPW/Dragon Gate politics and/or neither Dragon Gate nor RevPro wanting their champion to do a job for the other means we weren't getting any sort of title change or even pin/submission finish here. Fine. So why can't we have a good, old-fashioned time-limit draw? You don't want to go sixty minutes? Well this didn't have to be a title match. It would have drawn fine on its own just due to the match-up involved. You need the DQ finish to do your post-match segment? Bullsh*t. No you don't. You can create the same situation by having PAC ask for five more minutes and ZSJ decline and walk out, prompting PAC's promo. But if, for some reason, you absolutely MUST do a f*cking DQ finish in this match then why not let the tournament finals have the main event spot?
Anyway, we did get a...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Awesome! After Zack headed to the back, PAC cut a promo on him telling him he should be ashamed of himself and saying some mean things about Zack's mother. Zack came back with a chair and attacked PAC from behind. He was about break PAC's arm with the chair when Will Ospreay (who will face PAC at High Stakes 2019 made a big surprise appearance to chase Zack off. Ospreay turned to PAC and offered him a hand up, but PAC pointedly got up himself and got in Ospreay's face, then walked off.
This was pretty strong show from RevPro, although the main event DQ was quote frustrating. Many of my qualms about their creative direction from last year remain, but between Debbie Keitel, Chris Ridgeway, Shigehiro Irie, and a return to allowing Kurtis Chapman to show his true skill, RevPro is definitely a promotion that has a good eye for scouting talent, and that alone makes them at least worth checking in on every few weeks.