Walthamstow Assembly Hall hosted professional wrestling for the first time in almost twenty years when RevPro came to town for the second night of Global Wars UK 2016. The Walthamstow Assembly Hall is perhaps better suited to hosting Question Time over wrestling, appearing to hold slightly less than York Hall in terms of capacity. This show was a couple of hundred tickets away from selling out.
Joel Redman & Charlie Garrett vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & EVIL)
A couple of months ago, the RevPro tag team division was firmly in the mire due to an interminable Revolutionists run with the titles: show after show, they sucked the life out of crowds. Garrett and Redman, since dethroning The Revolutionists, have proven tangibly more exciting champions due to a combination of aerial offence and power moves delivered at a frenetic pace. Although this match ended in a DQ after BUSHI showered Garrett with his customary black mist, this was fun while it lasted, with both teams enjoying spurts of offence.
Drew Galloway, who was originally scheduled to be on the show, apologised profusely for his absence before proclaiming he will be returning better than ever. ***1/4
Tamoaki Honma vs Josh Bodom
Josh Bodom was originally omitted from the Global Wars UK cards as punishment for a backstage indiscretion a couple of months back. However, a number of injuries lead to his premature return. Bodom appeared in tremendous shape and was his typical insufferable-narcissistic-prick self. This match was founded on Bodom’s propensity for rule breaking to gain regular advantages and Honma’s underdog spirit. At times, Honma’s use of the Kokeshi is comparable to a Shakespearean flaw: although it has won him matches in the past, it proved his downfall here. After preventing Honma from delivering a top rope Kokeshi, Bodom delivered the Bliss Buster to secure the victory.***
Yugi Nagata vs Trent Seven
At 35, Trent Seven is in the midst of a career year. As a result, Seven was given the opportunity to face Japanese legend, Yugi Nagata, here. This match was structured in classic Japanese fashion: both men reached a stalemate on the mat, swapping strikes in and around the ring before trading suplexes. The match was paced perfectly, reaching a crescendo as Nagata caught a lariat before submitting Seven with the Shirome arm bar. Inevitably, people will compare matches from both evenings: Seven’s match with Nagata was superior to Dunne’s the previous evening. That is not an indictment on the Dunne match, rather a comment on how good Seven’s match was.***3/4
After the match, Dave Mastiff attacked Trent Seven before swiftly exciting.
Will Ospreay vs Jushin Thunder Liger
In a rematch from BoSJ 2016, the current BoSJ faced the man that conceived the tournament, Jushin Thunder Liger. Will Ospreay emerged adorning a black version of Liger’s costume, reminiscent of Liger’s CTU outfit. At times, this match verged on the absurd, with Liger and Ospreay mimicking each other’s spots before Liger stood inert ready for Ospreay to penetrate him with his thumb a la PWG day three BOLA routine. Ospreay secured the victory soon after, following an OsCutter with a Shooting Star Pres, an homage to the innovator of the move.**3/4
Tomohiro Ishii vs Pete Dunne
In one of the most anticipated matches on both shows, Pete Dunne received the opportunity to impress against another NJPW stalwart in Tomohiro Ishii. Again, this was a good match that failed to kick into the next gear. Still, Dunne was showcased better in this match than his match the previous evening with Nagata. The velocity and frequency of Dunne’s strikes encouraged Ishii to deliver countless vicious strikes of his own. Dunne retaliated by biting Ishii before delivering his pump handle facebuster. As Dunne appeared within touching distance of a victory, Will Ospreay arrived to provide the distraction. Ishii, rejuvenated, delivered a string of strikes followed by a brainbuster to secure a victory. The distraction finish left a sour taste and denied the match a finish that could have taken it to the next level. However, Ospreay’s distraction provides the latest chapter in his long standing rivalry with Pete Dunne.***1/2
LDRS (Marty Scurll & Zack Sabre Jr) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA)
The crowd’s hostility towards Zack Sabre Jr continued along with the crowd’s exaltion of Marty Scurll. This match ebbed and flowed, with Tetsuya Naito more active than the previous evening. LDRS utilised their long standing relationship and chemistry early on to land numerous double team moves to control the match. One of the recurring highlights of this match was the interactions between Sabre and Naito: although they have never previously wrestled, they had fantastic chemistry. As the match became increasingly frenetic and fractured, Naito secured the victory after following Gloria with Destino on Sabre.
After the match, Marty Scurll gave a heartfelt goodbye to RevPro and the LDRS, citing his impending ROH debut and Sabre moving to the US next year. As the crowd stood to their feet to applaud a demonstrably sincere goodbye, Scurll low–blowed Sabre before proclaiming that the LDRS are dead. Considering Sabre was, once more, eliciting antipathy from the crowd, it would have made more sense for him to turn on Marty Scurll. What is more, Sabre working the feud as a dickhead would provide a different dynamic to their previous matches in other promotions while providing the fans with permission to boo Sabre and cheer Scurll, something they were doing throughout this match. ***3/4
Katsuyori Shibata (C) vs Chris Hero
RevPro Heavyweight Championship
There aren’t enough superlatives to describe Chris Hero: this year, no one has delivered such high quality matches as consistently as he has. Shibata, although injuries have prevented him from performing to such high standards on a regular basis, is one of the best strikers in the world. Unsurprisingly, the crowd was hot for this, with chants for both men reverberating around Walthamstow Assembly Hall from the outset.
From the first bell to the last, this was a wince inducing affair in which both men tore into each other with thunderous strikes. Hero was in the ascendancy for large periods of this match, delivering strike after strike, arrogantly questioning Shibata’s suitability to continue. Hero landed consecutive piledrivers but-remarkably-Shibata managed to kick out of both. Incredulous, Hero continued to rain strikes on Shibata before Shibata dodged a cyclone kick to lock in a sleeper hold. Struggling for air and watching his hopes of winning the British Heavyweight Championship fade before him, Hero escaped only for the hold to be reapplied moments later. In a similar manner to the previous evening, Shibata followed a sleeper suplex with a PK to allow him to retain the British Heavyweight Championship.
Chris Hero and Katsuyori Shibata shook hands to punctuate two nights of wrestling.
At a little over thirteen minutes long, this was a little too short to be considered on the level of Hero’s match with Ishii the previous evening, but it was nonetheless a great match. If Hero doesn’t get a NJPW gig after this I’m not sure what he would have to do: this weekend will be remembered for two phenomenal Chris Hero matches. ****1/4
Final Word: As back to back shows, night two of Global Wars UK 2016 had more consistency up and down the card whereas night one had the best match of the weekend in Hero/Ishii. Admittedly, the shows didn’t reach the heights of Global Wars/Uprising 2015, but that was inevitable considering AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada, KUSHIDA and Hiroshi Tanahashi were absent this year for various reasons.
This year, the Global Wars shows appeared cursed due to several previously announced names pulling out because of injury and a NJPW show in New Zealand that prevented some of NJPW’s top stars from attending the UK shows. However, RevPro made the best of a bad situation to deliver two highly enjoyable back to back shows while advancing the Dunne/Ospreay and Sabre/Scurll feuds.
Heading forward, with Katsuyori Shibata as the British Heavyweight Champion, RevPro have the opportunity to run matches that aren’t possible elsewhere in the world: a point that will stand them in good stead heading into a huge 2017 for one of the leaders in the British wrestling renaissance.