Chris Hero vs Marty Scurll
Over the past eighteen months, Chris Hero has assembled a compelling case to be considered as one of, if not the, best wrestler in the world. Meanwhile, Marty Scurll has become one of the hottest commodities on the independents in both the US and the UK. In RevPro, however, Scurll has been in a holding pattern: Scurll has featured in marquee matches but is yet to claim his number one contendership, with developments between him and Zack Sabre Jr seemingly on hold. The Villain and Hero have previous: at PROGRESS Chapter 31, Hero and Scurll delivered a 30 minute epic in what must be considered a British MOTYC in Manchester earlier in the year.
This was arguably even better than their first match, featuring numerous call backs to their previous match in PROGRESS. Moreover, the match sits with Scurll/Ospreay from High Stakes in January as the best match to ever occur at RevPro.
Early on, Scurll attempted to impress his style of wrestling on the match, but Hero went hold for hold and forced Scurll to reconsider tact. Subsequently, Scurll resorted to nefarious means to gain an advantage and attempted to prevent Hero from unleashing his incomparable strikes by working Hero’s left arm. When Hero began to strike Scurll with a series of elbows and forearms, the crowd were silent in anticipation of what was to come before wincing in collective astonishment at what they had just heard and seen. Three consecutive rolling elbows only produced a one count before Scurll kicked out, which sent the crowd into a frenzy. Scurll landed a Gotch Style piledriver following a brain buster but it wasn’t enough to defeat Hero. After emerging victorious from a striking battle, Hero delivered an avalanche piledriver to secure the victory as everyone in York Hall rose to their feet to applaud. As a stand alone match with no back story, there wont be many better than this match in 2016.
Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
The two biggest stars of NJPW came into day 17 tied at 10 points each looking to earn a spot in the finals. However, a time limit draw would result in Goto earning a spot in the finals. Not only were the stakes high but this is a continuation of one of the biggest rivalries in pro wrestling. Austin and Rock, Flair and Rhodes are two that come to mind, but Okada Tanahashi has moved up into the conversation. Following a five star match at WK10, I was concerned that these two would fail to live up to their previous classic. To no surprise, at all, they proved me wrong, unlike Orton and Cena their matches seem to get better. I do not want to dive too deep into the action because I feel that you should watch it for yourself. They battled back and forth leaving it all on the line, each throwing their best at the other looking for that knockout blow. The final five minutes was a perfect mixture of near falls, which left me in awe at the two future hall of famers. Okada missed the drop kick, Tanahashi ran the ropes, hit a reverse sling blade. Tanahashi went up to the top rope hitting one high flow but missed on the second try. Okada recovered looked to hit Tanahashi with a tombstone, but Tanahashi reversed it into a tombstone of his own. Tanahashi went up for another high fly flow but got caught with a patented dropkick from Okada. Okada hit a German suplex setting up for the rainmaker; Tanahashi broke free to hit a German into the high fly flow yet again. Tanahashi hit a second consecutive high fly flow but the time ran out before the three count, giving Goto a spot in the G1 final. Tanahashi came into this tournament injured, and turned around and gave to five-star performance it just shows how great he is. No disrespect to Okada but Tanahashi is still the ace of New Japan; he proved it each time he came out to perform.
Kenny Omega v Tetsuya Naito
I’ve genuinely been waiting for this main event since the fixtures were announced. Both competitors looked and were treated like stars, showing the elevation of serious Omega. After their altercation last night, this had all the makings of a damn good match and my god it was.
Following a tense stare off, Omega wasn’t going to have Naito’s false lock ups, attacking him once he turned his back. A solid heel vs heel contest that was fast paced from the start. Naito took charge, targeting the knee once the pace slowed down. Tranquilo really used his calm and collected character to intelligently change the place until Omega got a hand in the offence, body slamming Naito against the ring apron. Omega assaulted the neck and upper back, both men with some good limb targeting wrestling early on. The crowd were cheering for Naito throughout as he struggled to really slow down Omega for periods of time until he targeted the left knee once again, locking in a smartly applied FFLL, Omega just reaching the ropes.
The Bullet Club leader suddenly changed the game, throwing Naito to the outside before slamming him through the table and then following it up with an insane top rope 450 splash to Naito in the crowd.The crowd were right on the edge of their seat, gasping after every spot and providing a wall of noise really justified how epic this encounter was between the two faction leaders.
The match showed no signs of slowing down after a huge V-Trigger from Omega was followed up with a spinning DDT from Naito. The left knee seemed to bother Omega in spots but it was usually just Omega feigning the injury so Naito dropped his guard. Naito managed to reverse a One Winged Angel into a Destino which he followed up with a ridiculous back super poison hurricanrana before Omega reversed a Destino into a piledriver. As both men staggered around the ring, Kenny Omega delivered two V-triggers before a huge one winged Angel to secure an incredible victory and secure the B block crown. A match well worth the wait.
Cedric Alexander vs Kota Ibushi
Big crowd pop for the ”golden star” and who some are calling the star of this tournament right out of the gates, Kota Ibushi. Both men had great matches in the first round, so no doubt this will be a round two classic if it doesn’t steal the spotlight of the entire tournament. Also, the winner will face Gran Metalik in the semi-finals which means we are in for a great match no matter who won this one.
Smooth, athletic back and forth between these two early with the crowd getting hyped up and split between both men. As you might guess, the action didn’t stay slow for long, and once these two got goings at a fast pace, there was no looking back. The crowd went crazy when Ibushi missed a dive to the outside, and then Alexander capitalized within seconds with a dive of his own. Later in the match, as both men were wearing down, Ibushi hit what Ranallo called “one of the most vicious dropkicks you will ever see” and wow was it. Ibushi also hit a great looking standing corkscrew for a near fall. If it wasn’t enough already, Ibushi flies through the air with a springboard moonsault off the top and to the floor. With the crowd already standing, Ibushi sits Alexander on the top turnbuckle and attempts a hurricanrana, but Alexander flips over, lands on his feet and clocks Ibushi with a huge punch. Ibushi immediately responds with a Pele kick. Alexander gets two very close near falls after and brainbuster and then a big kick to the head. Alexander put on a great in disbelief “how did he kick out” face. In the end, Alexander attempts a double foot stomp off the top, but Ibushi moves and hits a German suplex dropping Alexander on his head. With a big roundhouse kick and a Golden Star Piledriver, Ibushi is moving on to the next round.
When it was all said and done, these two did not disappoint the slightest. Two young and very athletic superstars who are no doubt more than ready for the WWE spotlight and I myself hope that happens for both of them sooner than later. Ibushi and Alexander headlining RAW’s new Cruiserweight Division is fine with me. Plus if you put this side by side with Gargano vs. Ciampa last week, this tournament could be over right now, and I would be perfectly satisfied.
Zack Sabre Jr (C) vs Trent Seven
RevPro Live at the Cockpit 11
For all Zack Sabre Jr’s brilliance, a criticism frequently leveled at the British Heavyweight Champion is that he is seldom aggressive enough: rather, a lot of the weapons in his submission arsenal are for aesthetic purposes instead of an attempt to actively win a match. Against Trent Seven, Sabre was palpably more aggressive and direct with his offence.
Trent Seven, who has appeared on a handful of occasions for RevPro, was more than a worthy adversary, matching Sabre’s aggression throughout. This was an incredible match that was significantly better than both the Sabre vs Angle and Sabre vs Shibata matches and probably the best match to take place at The Cockpit. A theme for the match was vicious striking contests: Sabre and Seven tore into each other on numerous occasions following a methodical-predominantly mat based- start. As the match reached a crescendo, consecutive Penalty Kicks from Sabre inspired gasps of astonishment as Seven kicked out at one. Both men traded further offence, with Seven appearing to have the match won with a piledriver before Sabre kicked out. After a third penalty kick, Sabre secured the victory by submitting Seven with the omoplata.
Strewn across the mat with exhaustion, Sabre demanded that Jeff Cobb made his way out. Sabre stated that he would defend his championship against Cobb before Cobb, animated by opportunity, delivered the Wrath of the Gods to close the show holding the British Heavyweight Championship to set up the York Hall match.