RevPro High Stakes 2019





RevPro High Stakes 2019

By Big Red Machine
From February 15, 2019

RevPro High Stakes 2019

ANGELICO vs. JOSH BODOM (w/Sha Samuels) - 5.5/10


There was some decent wrestling here, but I can't excuse Samuel jumping up on the apron and grabbing Angelico and holding him still for Bodom to try to attack right in front of the referee without there being a DQ. Angelico managed to move out of the way so Bodom hit Samuels. Angelico then dived onto Samuels to take him out, but got caught by Bodom's finisher when he got back into the ring. If you've got a new heel pairing, why would you have the first thing they do result in a screw-up? Just have Samuels' interference lead right to the finish!

BESTIES IN THE WORLD vs. TEAM WHITE WOLF - 8/10


Take two up-and-coming teams and tell them "you've got fifteen minutes. Show me what you can do." An awesome match.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. Josh Bodom & Sha Samuel ran out and assaulted the winners. Samuels once again cut a promo saying that "everything is about to change."

ZOE LUCAS VIDEO PACKAGE - Awesome! I love the way this took a standard babyface video package idea and made it heel by changing just a few words. Props to Zoe for her delivery and to whoever picked the music for this, which were key components of it.

RPW UNDISPUTED BRITISH WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Zoe Lucas(c) vs. Bea Priestley - 6.75/10


Just in case you couldn't figure out from the video package that Zoe is a heel, one of the commentators mentioned that Jinny told him she was very impressed by Zoe, and as anyone who has watched British wrestling in the past few years knows, if Jinny likes you then you must be a despicable person.
The match was very good for the time it got and did a great job of making you feel like Zoe escaped with her title by the skin of her teeth,. This was hurt a little bit by the execution of the finish (Zoe only barely got one foot on the ropes and the count was already well past two when she got it there so it really didn't look like it added any sort of extra leverage so it didn't really feel like she was cheating), but that's more because it doesn't really feel like she cheated, as opposed to it actually taking away from the feeling that Zoe got lucky here and that Bea would almost certainly win if given another title shot.

AUSSIE OPEN vs. CCK (Chris Brookes & Jonathan Gresham) - 1.5/10


After having an awesome match at Summer Sizzler 2018, these two teams have their highly-anticipated rematch at the biggest show of the year and get nearly half an hour... and decide to do 90% comedy. Maybe this would have been okay on some other show, but on a show that is already supposedly the biggest show of the year but has very little in the way of matches that had any storyline relevance or actual stakes, taking a highly-anticipated rematch between two of the tops teams running around Europe today and doing comedy with it just made matters worse.

MJF PROMO - He cut a decent heel promo on El Phantasmo.

EL PHANTASMO vs. MAXWELL JACOB FRIEDMAN - 3/10


Grabbing the rope for illegal leverage on a f*cking abdominal stretch doesn't make sense! MJF was a total cartoon who didn't come off as dangerous at all, and that loogie spot was completely disgusting. No one should be doing this.

KIP SABIAN vs. MK MCKINNAN - 7.5/10


A great "future of the company" match, but I wish it would have gone a little longer than fifteen minutes, and neither of these guys had quite had that real breakout performance yet.

WILL OSPREAY vs. PAC - 8/10... but


Will Ospreay is a New Japan star, so apparently this means we had to get my least favorite New Japan spot, which is the "we'll fight on the outside forever without getting counted out until the heel hits a big move and gets back into the ring, at which point the referee will begin to count the babyface out so that we can tease a count-out even though no one ever bites on that as a false finish because the babyface never actually gets counted out with this spot and it happens in almost every match.

Other than that, this was a very exciting match full of sort of clever and extremely athletic spots that are exactly what you picture in your mind when you hear "Will Ospreay vs. PAC." I was even fine with the ref bump and interference because they served a purpose.

Said interference saw CCK run in when Ospreay had a clear advantage (Ospreay and Chris Brookes are feuding) and start to beat him up. Gresham then held him up while Brookes ran over to the timekeeper's table and grabbed a championship belt to hit Ospreay with... but it just so happened that the belt he grabbed was not Ospreay's NEVER Openweight Title but rather PAC's Dragon Gate Open The Dream Gate Title, and he happened to slide into the ring right next to PAC, who saw this and became very angry. Brookes tried to apologize and give the belt to PAC but PAC attacked him, and PAC and Ospreay worked together to ward off the interlopers, with Aussie Open eventually coming out to remove CCK from ringside and thus prevent any more interference.
The match continued on with the expected athletic excellent, but the important part is that groundwork has now been laid for PAC to become a babyface. That being said, while the interference didn't detract from this match, it did feel like it tainted the idea of the "dream match" this was supposed to be, and thus no matter who wins it should necessitate a rematch so we can get the unblemished version.

Those were my thoughts on this match up until the final forty-five seconds, which unfolded as follows: PAC slipped out of an attempted Stormbreaker and hit Ospreay in the nuts. He dared the referee to disqualify him but the referee wouldn't. PAC then went up to the top rope for the Black Arrow, but then rather than hit the move, he just stood there and flipped off the fans until time expired, taking the draw rather than getting the victory.

I HATED THIS SO MUCH! First of all, it took the interference from before and turned it into something that felt less like part of the Brookes vs. Ospreay feud and more like something intended as a swerve to fool us into thinking PAC was turning babyface just so he could be a heel later. PAC turning babyface works perfectly into the Brookes vs. Ospreay feud because Ospreay needs a partner to counter Gresham, it gives the fans big news coming out of this match (which is especially important if politics prevents you from booking an actual winner in your dream match), and it turns PAC babyface, which is what he should be.

Then there is the actual finish itself. There is less than minute left but PAC goes for a low blow instead of trying to stall out? And when this doesn't get him DQed and he has an easy chance to hit his own finisher and win he climbs to the top just to tease the fans, then lets time expire and takes the draw rather than going for the win? Even if he missed the move, Ospreay wouldn't have had time to pin him, so there wasn't even that much risk in tying it (other than the pain of missing the move, of course, but if that's his philosophy then he shouldn't be doing any top rope moves at all).

The goal of this finish seemed to be to make as many fans angry as possible with the total bullsh*terry of the heel cheating and then purposely taking the draw after teasing his big, cool top rope flippy move so we don't even get any that looks like a semi-decisive finish one way or the other, even through cheating. That was logic behind booking this finish the way they did... but the real problem here is that this also seems to be the goal of PAC's character as well.

The goal of a heel (with perhaps the exception of more out of the box characters who have some alternate motive like a Bray Wyatt or an Age of the Fall-era Jimmy Jacobs) should be to maximize his/her earnings (cheating to get the winner's share of the purse, or perhaps trying to stall out the time limit in a match where he/she thinks he/she is likely to lose), maximize his/her prestige (cheating to win titles, or purposely taking cheap count-out or DQ losses in a title match to ensure that he/she keeps his/her title even if it means forfeiting the winner's share of the purse), or, occasionally, to avoid the physical pain that is sure to be involved in the revenge that a wronged babyface has vowed to bring upon him/her (running away and taking a count-out loss to someone else when the aforementioned babyface shows up, even though fighting said babyface would result in a DQ victory for the heel).

It is important note that while the alternate motive of a Bray Wyatt or AOTF Jimmy Jacobs type of character might temporarily override one, two, or all three of these primary heel motives, in order for that character to make sense within the world of professional wrestling, his/her motives must ultimately either come back to these three ideas (and specifically the first two) as a sort of long-game plan, such as Bray Wyatt trying to do things to drive a babyface into a mental space where he is ultimately able to control the babyface to aid in his own victories- or must in some way rely on one of the above motives (and, again, specifically the first two), such as the Age of the Fall needing to win matches so that they can earn and win a title match so that they can thus use the titles as leverage to force ROH to give them promo time which they will then use to spread their message of social change.

PAC vs. Ospreay was neither a title match nor a "babyface looking for revenge" scenario, so PAC's goal here should just be to maximize his own earnings, which makes this finish make no sense. If his primary goal was to piss off the fans then why didn't he just kick Ospreay in the nuts right after the bell rang, or run over and punch the referee or just walk out of the match? That would at least fulfill motive #3 and theoretically he would be able to earn money for no pain by constantly getting himself DQed like he has done in RevPro before and tried to do tonight, but eventually promotions would just stop booking him because fans would learn that his matches will never have satisfying conclusions and stop wanting to see him.

So yeah. Basically this was an awesome match ruined by an idiotic finish. If PAC is insistent on being this heel "bastard" character then he should be cheating in an attempt to try to win, not trying to get DQed or letting time limits expire to rob the fans of a satisfying finish. After the match Ospreay and the fans wanted five more minutes but PAC refused.

Final Thoughts
A frustrating and disappointing show from RevPro. As I said several times, this has traditionally been one of RevPro's biggest shows of the year, but this year's show felt several orders of magnitude smaller than every other installment of the show I've seen. It felt like a run of the mill Live at the Cockpit show with one title match on the undercard and a big main event, but that's pretty much it. Cruiserweight champion David Starr was wrestling in wXw, but neither Zack Sabre Jr. not Minoru Suzuki were wrestling anywhere so why weren't the tag or heavyweight titles defended? Instead our main event was an awesome match brought down by a terrible finish which they knew would be terrible from the get-go due to the politics involved, but didn't care and f*cked the fans with it anyway. This show was the epitome of how far RevPro has fallen.

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