Rev Pro: New York
Date: April 5, 2019
Location: New York Hilton Midtown, New York City, New York
Commentators: Andy Boy Simmonz, Kevin Kelly
I’ve seen these guys twice live and had a good time with each of the shows so this was a must for the list. I don’t really follow their stories all that closely but I know enough of the names to keep up. This show will have a mixture of British wrestling and New Japan so it’s going to be quite the combination. Let’s get to it.
Kelly welcomes us to the show and says we’ll be ready to go in just a bit. Fifteen minutes later we’re ready to go.
Owner Andy Quildan welcomes us to the show and says part of the delay was wrestlers at the merch tables (fair enough). We get the traditional requests for the cheering but no “London says they’re louder than you”.
Karl Fredericks/Clark Conners vs. CCK
That would two Young Lions from the New Japan Los Angeles dojo vs. Jonathan Gresham/Chris Brookes. Clark and Gresham go straight to the mat and it’s actually a standoff, which you wouldn’t expect against Gresham. A chop off goes to Conners and the bigger Fredericks comes in to shove Gresham into the corner. Brookes comes in and gets taken down by the smaller Fredericks, as the Young Lions are certainly good on the mat.
Fredericks powers him into the corner and it’s a double leglock from the Lions, drawing Gresham in for a save. Speaking of Gresham, he comes in off a blind tag and catches Conners in a German suplex. Brookes comes back in and slaps on a leglock with Fredericks picking Gresham up and throwing him away to make a save. A dropkick to Gresham’s leg gives us a double knockdown and everything breaks down. Stereo Boston crabs from the Lions are broken up with some kicks from Brookes and we hit the ten minute mark.
Fredericks throws Conners into Brookes and it’s another chop off to put Brookes in trouble. A Jay Driller with Gresham adding a kick to the head gets….two with Conners shoving Clark into the cover for the save. I thought that was it. Clark and Gresham forearm it out until an enziguri into a standing Lionsault has Clark rocked. The ankle lock goes on with Gresham pulling him up into a bridging German suplex for two more. Gresham has had it and it’s a discus forearm….for two more with Gresham being shocked. A spinning kick to the head knocks Conners silly for the pin at 13:35.
Rating: B. Considering that the Lions are trainees, this was a heck of a fight with the rookies more than holding their own here. I had a good time watching it and that’s more than you expect when one of the teams is told to use a limited moveset. Very good opener and far better than I was expecting.
Carlos Romo vs. A-Kid vs. Kid Lykos vs. Flamita
I’m only familiar with Flamita so this is going to be all over the place. Kid and Romo are a regular team called Team Whitewolf. Flamita and Lykos chop away in the corner with Lykos missing a 619 in the corner but snapping off a headscissors. They switch out with the other two but Kid is thrown outside onto Romo, meaning it’s a flip dive from Lykos.
Another one from Flamita takes everyone down but Flamita stops for some posing. Back in and Kid fisherman suplexes Flamita for two, leaving himself open for a kick to the face from Lykos. A split legged moonsault gives Lykos two of his own and a 619 takes Kid to the floor. Romo adds a moonsault but gets caught with a 619 and Backstabber from Flamita. Kid is right back up with a Canadian Destroyer to Lykos but Romo slides in and steals the pin at 7:04.
Rating: B-. This was about as long as they could go at this pace before it stops meaning as much. I do like the fact that they advance storylines on this show instead of just having one off matches as it adds a nice change of pace. Flamita was the most impressive of course but the other three got to showcase themselves as well, which is one of the hardest parts in a match like this.
Michael Oku vs. Brian Cage
Oku is a contender and Cage is a surprise opponent. He starts kicking at the legs and has a tornado DDT easily countered with raw power. A release powerbomb sets up a hard toss across the ring as Oku is already in big trouble. Cage throws him again and makes it even worse with a monkey flip. A little too much posing lets Oku get in a basement dropkick to the back of the head but doesn’t know what to do next, allowing Cage to throw him down again.
The F5 is countered and Oku goes up….for a moonsault that Cage can’t catch. Cage gets sent outside for the flip dive to the floor but it’s too early for a countout. The powerbomb counter into a sunset flip is botched so Oku reverses an F5 into the Canadian Destroyer (WAY too popular a move this weekend) for a delayed two. Well done on not doing the same spot and mixing it up a bit there. Cage’s helicopter bomb gets a rather surprising two and Oku reverses another powerbomb into a hurricanrana for two more. That’s it for Cage as the Drill Claw finishes Oku at 9:39.
Rating: C+. Well that was way better than it had any right to be as Oku is basically trying to get his first big win and has to fight Cage. I’ll give Cage some major points for that much selling as it made Oku look far better than he would have otherwise. Cage is one of those imports who can make for a good guest star and if he can help out the full time people, good for him.
Hiroshi Tanahashi/Will Ospreay vs. Minoru Suzuki/Zack Sabre Jr.
Suzuki/Sabre’s British Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line. Tanahashi and Sabre start things off with Sabre taking him up against the rope with ease. That’s broken up and Sabre skips around the ring and Tanahashi can’t do anything with him. Ospreay comes in and knocks Sabre to the floor but Suzuki grabs an armbar over the ropes to cut off a dive. They head outside with Suzuki forearming the heck out of him, sending Ospreay down in a heap.
Back in and Ospreay lets Suzuki chop him and is stupid enough to let him do it a few more times. Everything breaks down and the villains slap on stereo holds. With those broken, Suzuki goes after the referee because he has to hurt someone. Ospreay’s nose is busted (looks broken) so Suzuki elbows him in the face. I love that kind of meanness. The half crab goes on as the announcers explain that this isn’t about a submission but just about pain.
Ospreay somehow springboards into a kick to the head and the hot tag brings in Tanahashi. They trade abdominal stretches but you know that’s not good enough for Sabre, who slaps on an armbar at the same time. Sabre stomps on the arm and it’s back to Suzuki for the exchange of forearms. Tanahashi knocks him backwards (shocking) and extends his jaw to give Suzuki a free shot.
Suzuki takes him down by the leg but Ospreay makes a save, allowing Tanahashi to get back up for a forearm. Ospreay fires in a long stretch of forearms to knock Suzuki down in the corner for a basement dropkick…..and Suzuki stands up. More forearms give Suzuki that “boy you done messed up look” so Ospreay says bring it. A forearm from Suzuki gives Ospreay that “my goodness that was incredibly painful look” but a spinwheel kick drops Suzuki.
The sleeper has Ospreay in more trouble and Sabre comes in for the Penalty Kicks. Tanahashi makes a save and the villains slap on stereo abdominal stretches. That’s broken up and a dragon screw legwhip sends Suzuki outside. The Sling Blade sets up the picture perfect shooting star press for two on Sabre. Back up and Ospreay tries Stormbreaker but gets reversed into the European Clutch for the pin at 21:17.
Rating: A-. Suzuki is still the scariest human in wrestling history and this was a good example of why you don’t try to hit him in the face. These guys beat each other up quite well and it even helps set up Tanahashi vs. Sabre tomorrow night at Madison Square Garden. This is the best match I’ve seen this weekend so far and that covers some ground, so Rev Pro comes through again.
Rocky Romero vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
I believe Swoggle is in the crowd along the aisle. Taguchi is in his rugby gear to celebrate the upcoming Rugby World Cup. Romero bails from the threat of a hip attack before going with an armbar to take Taguchi down. Back up and Romero offers a handshake, even shaking the referee’s hand to show that it’s legitimate. Taguchi does take the handshake but gets kicked in the ribs, allowing Romero to hit the Eddie Guerrero dance.
A handstand from Taguchi lets him offer a quick dropkick but he’s out of the way so Romero misses for a crash. The hip attack knocks Romero outside but Taguchi spends WAY too much time getting ready, allowing Romero to knock him outside. The suicide dive connects and it’s Romero hitting his own hip attack. That’s not cool with the fans and it’s an exchange of atomic drops….for stereo Flair Flops. A series of hip attacks have Romero in more trouble as this needs to end.
Taguchi rolls some vertical suplexes but Romero is right back with a springboard dropkick to the back. The Forever Lariats don’t last forever and it’s some Forever Hip Attacks until a tornado DDT plants Taguchi. Sliced Bread is countered into a series of rollups for two each because THIS WON’T JUST END. Romero hits some Kawada Kicks to the face and, you guessed it, Taguchi does the same things with hip attacks. Taguchi hits an enziguri and a running hip attack gets two. A double chickenwing faceplant finishes Romero at 15:22.
Rating: D-. WOW this was bad as it felt like it was going on for about three times what we got. It just kept going with about 80% of Taguchi’s offense being that stupid hip attack. This felt like a performance instead of two guys trying to win a match and that made it feel so much longer than anything else. I know Romero is a rather polarizing wrestler and I can easily see how that’s the case. Worst match I’ve seen all weekend and it was nearing torture.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. David Starr
Starr’s Cruiserweight Title isn’t on the line. Starr is always claiming that Rev Pro is against him (that was the case two years ago) so Ishii is pretty much here to kill him. Feeling out process to start and Starr decides it’s a good idea to chop someone called the Stone Pitbull. About five chops have no effect and one Ishii chop takes Starr down. It also fires Starr up as he’s right back on his feet for a hard running shoulder.
Starr stomps him down in the corner and hits a running clothesline for two. Ishii gets annoyed at the chops and forearms and it’s time for Starr’s pain to really begin. A rolling kick to the head drops Ishii to the floor and it’s a suicide dive to give Starr his best chance so far. Back in and a top rope elbow gives Starr two but his German suplex is no sold. A superkick works a bit better but Ishii is right back up with a delayed superplex for two more.
The sliding lariat is countered into a rollup for two and Starr fires off two straight lariats for his own near fall. Another superkick sets up the Tomorrow Driver (the brainbuster onto the knee) for two more as they’re trading covers here. Ishii has finally had it and nails the sliding lariat into the brainbuster for the pin at 13:08.
Rating: C+. They were beating on each other as hard as they could (well maybe not as hard as Ishii could) and that made for a good but not great match. There wasn’t exactly a story to the match and most of it was spent trading forearms and clotheslines until the end. There wasn’t a ton of drama because Starr never tried anything big and you knew that brainbuster was waiting at the end. It was good, but it never got that far out of high gear.
Aussie Open vs. Roppongi 3K
3K’s IWGP Junior Tag Team Titles aren’t on the line. Davis and Yoh start things off with a test of strength taking Yoh down without much effort. Sho comes in to face Fletcher but everything breaks down with Roppongi dropkicking them to the floor for stereo flip dives. Back in and Fletcher gets dragged into the wrong corner but he’s right back with a double toss into the air for two on Sho. A hard clothesline connects for the same and it’s off to Davis to chop and elbow at Sho’s chest.
We hit the reverse chinlock with Yoh making a save as the slow beatdown continues. Fletcher kicks Sho down but can’t get a suplex as we hit the ten minute mark. Sho slips out of a suplex and hits a spear (you don’t see that one very often in Japan). That’s enough to bring Yoh back in for a backbreaker/neckbreaker combination on Fletcher. The Figure Four goes on until Davis comes over for a save.
Everything breaks down and Sho gets kicked on the floor, leaving Yoh to take an assisted cutter for two with Sho diving back in for the save. Fletcher and Yoh trade kicks to the head and back to the to the other two with Sho’s running clotheslines having no effect. A dropkick to the knee into a German suplex works a bit better and it’s Sho coming back in for double jumping knees to the face.
3K is broken up with Fletcher’s high crossbody but the Fidget Spinner is broken up. Yoh comes back in and 3K grabs stereo submissions, broken up by stereo reaching the ropes. Fletcher kicks Davis’ arm by mistake and gets rolled up for two but Sho is sent outside. A stuff piledriver into the Fidget Spinner is good for the pin on Yoh at 20:28.
Rating: C. This was WAY too long again and it hurt the match a lot. Aussie Open is good but it felt like they were extending the match for the sake of extending the match. That’s almost never a good idea and it really hurt things here. I was waiting on the match to end instead of wanting to see the finish and that’s not a good sign. It certainly wasn’t bad, but it was a long match at the end of a long show.
The shake hands to end the show.
Overall Rating: C+. This was a great example of a show being cut in half by intermission and the quality dropping off a cliff in the second half. The first half of this show was one of the better ones I’ve seen in a long time but the second was one long match after another and I was checking the clock a lot. There’s more good than bad, but it needed to have about twenty minutes cut to really make it great. Of just don’t do Taguchi vs. Romero at all. Check out that first half but move on to something else after intermission.
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