RevPro Present’s Global Wars UK, Night 1 The Review

By Nathan Bones @Fretlessnathan

York Hall, Bethnal Green 9/11

Revolution Pro Wrestling welcomed the denizens of New Japan Pro Wrestling to York Hall for night one of a two night series, as part of the working relationship between the two companies. The show was smartly and even-handedly booked, acting as a tremendous platform for veteran and emerging talent alike.

Unlike companies like Progress and Insane Championship Wrestling, RPW tends to use a lot of imports and book their cards more like spot shows, rather than advancing a lot of stories per se. This was in evidence here, as the York Hall crowd were treated of three hours of stellar, world class action with a card that could best be described as stacked. The stars were certainly out on this night.

The rundown of the card was as follows:

Josh Bodom (c) vs Bushi vs Ryan Smile (Triple Threat Match for RPW British Cruiserweight Championship)

The Legion of Lords (No-Fun Dunne & Lord Gideon Grey) vs CHAOS (Toru Yano & Gedo)

El Desperado vs Matt Riddle

Tatsuya Naito vs “The Villain” Marty Scurll

Zack Gibson vs Yuji Nagata

CCK (Travis Banks & Chris Brookes) vs Yoshi Hashi & Rocky Romero

Keith Lee vs Tomohiro Ishii

Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki) vs CHAOS (Will Ospreay & Hirooki Goto)

It’s worth noting that although I was live in attendance on the night, I haven’t seen the show on the On Demand stream, so this review is based on my live reactions. As always, I welcome your thoughts, feedback and praise.

Let’s get down to business!

The Review

Triple Threat Match for RPW British Cruiserweight Championship

Josh Bodom (c) vs Bushi vs Ryan Smile

Recap & Analysis: All three men were evenly matched and the pacing of the bout was logical and coherent. Bodom had plenty of heel heat, leading to an awful lot of crowd interaction. He played up to the fans to an almost-pantomime degree. At times this threatened to distract from the intensity of the match; creating too much comedy for my taste in the early going.

Nevertheless, the real story of the match was between Smile and Bodom though, who punished each other with an innovative series of strikes and aerial attacks. Smile connected with textbook a tope con hilo to Bodom on the outside, with Bodom hitting a top rope moonsault by way of reply. Bushi was also in on the action; instigating a tremendous tower of doom spot, which incorporated a sunset flip and a German suplex. Great stuff to start the stacked card.

The Finish: Bushi catches Josh Bodom with green mist to the eyes. Smile capitalises, hitting a springboard stunner and a frogsplash combination on Josh for the pinfall.

Winner: Ryan Smile by pinfall – new British Cruiserweight Champion

Match Length: 15 minutes


The Legion of Lords (No-Fun Dunne & Lord Gideon Grey) vs CHAOS (Toru Yano & Gedo)

Recap & Analysis: Largely a throwaway comedy match, there was very little workrate involved. That said, CHAOS were very over to the live crowd and the comedic Legion of Lords played their part well as game-yet-dumb heels.

This was pure ‘gaga’ entertainment from start to finish, with CHAOS playing wily, slapstick babyfaces to a tee. For the heels, Grey in particular was good value. He had a powder-filled balloon popped in his face and hilariously sold it as though he’s been shot.

Yano shrugged and gurned his way through the match, to giggles of approval from the London crowd. Unquestionably, this was broad, silly fun.

The Finish: With the Lords setting up Gedo up for a double suplex, Tano hits a between-the-legs low blow on Grey, pinning him for the victory.

Winners: CHAOS (Toru Yano & Gedo) by pinfall

Match Length: 10 minutes


El Desperado vs Matt Riddle

Recap & Analysis: Riddle emerged to a thunderous ovation and as soon as the bell rang, he was all over his opponent with crisp chain submission grappling. Considering the limitations of his mask, Desperado amply compensated for it by displaying a mastery of body language. He expertly sold his frustration, pain and satisfaction at various points of the match and was a delight to watch as a result.

The workrate in the match was simply top notch, with Riddle in particular putting on an absolute clinic. One particular highlight was him launching the luchador with two gutwrench throwaway suplexes; transitioning into a jumping arm bar. The crowd lost its mind at this juncture, and rightly so.

There was one lull in the match when Desperado worked a nerve hold for a while, but this only served to build the atmosphere in the venue to a thunderous crescendo. Riddle sold convincingly and played his part as the babyface-in-peril very well. This made it all the more satisfying when he mounted his comeback.

Were it not for Keith Lee later in the card, Riddle would be the undisputed highlight of the night. Arguably the most consistent performer on the independent scene anywhere, the last thing you could ever accuse Riddle of would be sleeping on the job. The same is true here. Part Kerry Von Erich, part Kurt Angle; the man is a bona fide star. Given his reaction from the Bethnal Green faithful, they are clearly of the same opinion.

The Finish: The preternaturally talented Riddle comes back from underneath with a thunderous tombstone on Desperado, followed by elbows on the floor. The Kind of Bros swiftly shifts into a triangle choke for the tap from his opponent.

Winner: Matt Riddle by submission

Match Length: 17 minutes

Tatsuya Naito vs “The Villain” Marty Scurll

Recap & Analysis: Fan support was evenly split between these two antiheroes; neither of whom was overly courting it. Both men were up to their usual character work and shenanigans, trading plenty of offense in the early going.

Scurll in particular was having an ‘on-night’. The newly-minted IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion whiffed on a chicken wing attempt and in the spot of the match (certainly for old school Japanese wrestling fans in attendance), hit a modified emerald flowsion, of all things… So far: so Misawa.

It wasn’t all high spots either; in true heel form, he also worked the arm and spat in Naito’s face. He’s certainly a versatile performer.

Naito responded in kind with a textbook-looking top rope hurricanrana for a near fall. Business picked up in the latter stages: Naito hit a sweet dragon suplex after a ref bump to no reply, with Scurll following up with a horrendous-looking umbrella shot to his foe’s neck. Nasty stuff.

The Finish: After interference by way of a weak distraction from Bushi, Naito outsmarts The Villain with a low blow and a fierce-looking destino and the pin.

Winner: Tetsuya Naito by pinfall

Match Length: 15 minutes


Zack Gibson vs Yuji Nagata

Recap & Analysis: Nagata was greeted to a rapturous reception, with many leaving their seats to rush to ringside for a closer glimpse and a picture of the veteran. By marked contrast, in another time and place, one could easily imagine the same vacant seats being tossed in the direction of despised Liverpudlian Gibson, who cut a heel promo-by-numbers to Reigns-esque heat. This created an old fashioned heel-face dynamic the audience could sink their teeth into.

Significant grappling and resetting beset the bout’s early stages, with a pace best described as “listless”. This was coupled by a large amount of audience participation and crowd chat from Gibson. A great use of smoke and mirrors to pad out the match, if nothing else.

Nonetheless, after selling to significant heat spots, Nagata swiftly rallied; engaging on a forearm striking series with Gibson. This culminated with the Japanese hitting a stiff exploder suplex for a two count, quickly followed by an armbar for a rope break.

Gibson played his heel role very well; garnering significant heat. If anything, his effective promos mask a fundamentally sound performer with plenty of athleticism. Evergreen Nagata on the other hand made up for a lack of youth and suppleness with a veteran’s instincts and ring awareness. It was a joy to watch.

The Finish: After trading near falls, a well-worn-yet-effective striking series has the two combatants unloading stiff forearms on each other like it’s going out of fashion. Ultimately, ring general Nagata gets the better of the Scouser; a go-behind into a German suplex is sufficient for the cover and victory.

Winner: Yuji Nagata by pinfall

Match Length: 15 mins


CCK (Travis Banks & Chris Brookes) vs Yoshi Hashi & Rocky Romero

Recap & Analysis: It was very clear in this fun tag match that CCK are sure for big things on the British tag team scene. With the full support of the fans in attendance, they display a clear understanding of the fundamentals of tag team wrestling; double-teaming and getting significant heat on Hashi to the exclusion of Romero from proceedings.

Not to be outdone: in display reminiscent of Mighty Mouse, Romero connected with a stiff clothesline to Banks and when the Kiwi was draped over the ropes, hit a beautiful missile dropkick from the high rent district.

The standouts of the match were Banks and Romero. Banks in particular was impressive; displaying some sound grappling fundamentals and powerhouse offense. Romero has similar qualities to a Colt Cabana; his excellent facials and presence of character mask a strong worker.

The Finish: After significant offense from CCK on their opponents, Brookes connects with a springboard stunner to a groggy Romero. After the Cuban reaches his feet, he’s met by a Kiwi crusher (Fisherman’s Driver) from Banks for the pin and the win. A stellar show of teamwork and a very strong finish for the young tag team.

Winner: CCK by pinfall

Match Length: 14 mins


Keith Lee vs Tomohiro Ishii

Recap & Analysis: Without question, this was the match of the night. If you watch any match from this event, ensure it’s this one. From a spectacle standpoint (and the effect it had on the crowd as a result), this may be one of the most electrifying bouts I’ve ever been in attendance for. It was truly special.

A ‘big match feel’ was very much in evidence on this night and the crowd were completely immersed. The two beefy powerhouses began with a succession forearms and uppercuts, culminating in an Irish whip to Ishii, allowing the 300 pounder Lee to display a leapfrog and dropkick in swift succession. Simply unbelievable athleticism from the Texan. In an incredible spot, Lee followed this with a forearm strike to Ishii which floored the immediately Japanese as if he’d been shot by a cannon at close range.

As well as a series of evenly-matched power move counters, an ongoing narrative of the match was the 5’7” Tomohiro’s repeated attempts to lift the 6’2” Lee into a hanging vertical brainbuster. On the third attempt, it finally paid off to considerable ”holy shit” chants from the East London crowd.

Further power moves only upped the ante and heaped further glory onto the match. As such: Lee tossed his foe with a unique-looking snap gorilla press for a two count. In response, Ishii ably dumped Lee with a release German suplex, which served to bring the house down.

The final stages brought York Hall to a sustained, deafening roar. After recovering from the German suplex, Lee his his trademark powerslam, which Ishii no-sold with a one count and a show of fierce determination. Following this it was all Lee; an enormous sit-out powerbomb only got two and he followed this with a missed moonsault. It was at this point that the two men engaged in a striking series so hard hitting that it will rattle their ancestors. This segued directly into the finish. For a sixteen minute match, this was ‘all killer-no filler’ and the molten crowd certainly concurred.

Tomohiro Ishii showed his nerve as a never-say-die badass who embodies true Japanese fighting spirit. His resilience and booming war cries felt genuine and were an effective accompaniment to his stiff, hard-hitting work.

Significant praise goes to Keith Lee, who showed all in attendance why the best-kept secret in Indy wrestling is now beginning to catch fire in a major way. He is without hesitation the best working big man in the business today and the complete package. Although Keith came up short, it was a privilege to bask in his glory on this night.

Believe the hype – Keith Lee is the real deal.

The Finish: After a hard-hitting striking series, a very game Ishii gets Lee up into a very high, delayed hanging vertical brainbuster and both men hit the mat with a deafening thud. The result was academic – Keith Lee is pinned.

Winner: Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall

Match Length: 16 mins



Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki) vs CHAOS (Will Ospreay & Hirooki Goto)

Recap & Analysis: One of the most over men on the entire show, NEVER Openweight champion Suzuki arrived ringside to deafening adulation. His partner Sabre on the other hand had terrific heel heat from the East London fans. The spectacle of the four men in the ring felt truly like a big-time main event and the four men largely delivered in a solid bout.

The match itself didn’t so much follow a linear narrative, as it was a trading of hard-hitting and innovative offense. All four men showing off their ‘greatest hits’, which is a record I could listen to all day, as it were. Indeed, it felt very much like the main event of a Japanese spot show; to be viewed in isolation, yet building story intrigue to be paid off at a later date.

As is his trademark, Suzuki toyed with his opponent and the audience whilst he and Sabre cut off the ring in textbook tag team fashion; pummelling Ospreay and Goto in succession with chops and strikes. Such was their show of unity that Suzuki-gun had their two opponents in submission moves simultaneously at one point: ZSJ with an octopus stretch on Goto and Suzuki with an armbar from the apron on Ospreay to an enormous crowd pop. Still: this was punishing stuff to say the very least.

Not to be outdone, crowd favourite Ospreay was on fine form, giving the Bethnal Green faithful a somewhat-muted diplay of his unique aerial arsenal. Goto had an incredible shine spot of his own, countering a sleeper from Sabre into an absolutely devastating ushiguroshi. This brought the fans to their feet in short order.

As the action between the two teams reached fever pitch Ospreay and Sabre had a stellar showdown in the ring as Goto and Suzuki were otherwise occupied on the outside. The two rivals traded strikes, holds, counters (and in Ospreay’s case) flips, to a terrific crowd reaction.

Arguably, the main event seemed somewhat overbooked and was definitely overshadowed by the absolute barnburner that came before it. The result of this match served to send the crowd home happy, yet insulated Sabre from a straight one on one loss; thereby preserving his champion’s aura and preserving the intrigue for his title showdown with the Aerial Assassin the next night.

The Finish: In a stellar spot, Sabre countered a springboard stunner into a cross arm-breaker. Recovering, Ospreay hit a standing Spanish fly, then finally connected with a second springboard stunner attempt on ZSJ for the pin.

Winner: CHAOS by pinfall

Match Length: 27 mins


Another tremendous show from Rev Pro, with excellent and valuable use of the stellar New Japan talent. The card was stacked and delivered in spades. For my money, York Hall continues to be the premier venue in London for independent wrestling.

I’ll be at their Uprising show 8th December, so expect another review then. That’s all for now!

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