Regular readers will know that this year, Royal Ramblings has gone on tour and is seeking to highlight some of the UK's top independent promotions and the events they hold. Our first stop was at IPW:UK who put on top quality events. Our next was Revolution Pro Wrestling.
RevPro as it is affectionately referred to by regulars, was founded by Andy Quildan in 2012 and runs a training school in Portsmouth. It also runs high profile events across the UK and we joined the crowd at one in York Hall, East London. We say crowd because on arrival it was clear the event was not going to be a small one. We queued with over 100 people to get into the venue and the excitement was palpable.
On entering, as is traditional for some of the independent shows, the international stars were selling their wares. So be it AJ Styles or Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian, fans were able to talk to and have pictures with some of their heroes all of which added to the excitement.
Eventually the hundreds of people filling York Hall were seated and the show began in earnest. Quildan, acting as announcer, introduced indy hero Colt Cabana. It was explained that he had lost a match about a year ago to 'Lord Gideon Grey' following which he promised to retire and never wrestle in a RevPro ring again. His punchy, comedic promo drew Grey out accompanied by his lawyer and hilarity ensued, the section ending with Cabana being escorted out by security.
Having been teased for long enough, the capacity crowd finally got action and in spades with international star Rocky Romero up against Josh Bodom of the 'Revolutionists' (the resident 'heel' faction). Romero was magnificent, his stiff kicks prompting full-throated 'Rocky' chants. An intelligent wrestler, he wove a good story with Bodom, including plenty of pops and notably Romero clinging spider like to the ropes to avoid offences from his opponent. Securing the match with an arm bar submission after an outstanding move out of the corner, Romero alone was worth the ticket price.
Adding to the value of the ticket though was the sensational Sha Samuels (enforcer for the Revolutionists) against high-flyer Jake McCluskey. Pitting flipper against grappler was a savvy move by bookers and the crowd was split. Samuels was hugely engaging and TNA should be kicking themselves for not giving him a contract. Following a series of devastating pile drivers, slams and more, fellow revolutionist James Castle interfered in the match to give Samuels the DQ win.
If the introductory promo with Colt Cabana had appeared misplaced for some, the next match was the moment it clicked. Accompanied by his aide Rishi Ghosh and his lawyer, Lord Gideon Grey returned to launch his open invitational and out came 'Matt Classic', the alter-ego of none other than one Colt Cabana. Grey and Cabana put together a great match with some wonderful comedy spots that even had the ref laughing. Following an impressive 'Airplane Spin', Classic won to put an end to Grey's winning streak.
To close the first half, up and comers '2 Unlimited' faced off against veterans Daniels and Kazarian AKA 'The Addiction'. This match just kept giving. There were DDT's and cutters from Kazarian, who choked his foe for a "stupid hardy boyz tattoo" and flips from Daniels, who showboated so well. Although it was fairly balanced, 2 Unlimited picked up the win.
If the first half was strong, the UK Hooligans were determined to ensure they would grasp the brass ring, pull it down and use it to beat their opponents to within an inch of their lives. Unbelievably good at drawing heat, they were defending their tag titles against Joel Redman (of NXT fame) and in the absence of his usual partner Martin Stone, former TNA star Mark Haskins. The action was taken outside the ring from the get go, setting a very high tempo and aggressive pace. There was a full brawl, with bins and walls involved. It was clear that quality runs through the Knight family and pitted against opponents who have eviidently competed at the highest levels, this match was a joy to watch. You name it, this match had it. From parallel slams to near falls, raw strength to ref bumps, outrageous top-rope manoeuvres to an awesome finish. Haskins and Redman became the new champs, with all four men drawing the first "this is awesome" chant of the night and a well-deserved standing ovation. It is matches like this that allow us to claim the UK has the best indy scene going. The Hooligans were great heels to the end and A-Class competitors.
Many would have thought it impossible for another match to compete with the previous bout but with King Ricochet and Marty Scurll the RevPro card was in safe hands. One can never bore of seeing Scurll, villain or hero, he has heart and is the most accomplished of wrestlers (as his rainmaker or tornado DDT through to chicken wing proved). Knowing how to work the crowd, Scurll even used his chewing gum to good effect, forcing it into Ricochet's mouth! It was always going to be difficult for Ricochet to pull off a win (and keeping Scurll strong as a retaining champ was good booking) but If you haven't seen the 'future of Flight' in action, you must. Incredibly dextrous, he manipulates his body in unthinkable ways. His 450 senton, though it was countered, was a joy to behold and we even got a cutter 'out of nowhere'. The crowd broke out into a 'this is wrestling' chant midway through the match and it certainly was. Wrestling at its finest.
The finest wrestling of the night though, was delivered by AJ Styles and Will Ospreay. Fast and agile as one would expect, it is difficult to say enough good things about this match up. There was superb offence from Styles, who at one point pulled off a baseball slide under the guard rail. Ospreay meanwhile, delivered an amazing twisting corkscrew move from the top rope. It was a brutal game of one-upmanship with each man seemingly pushing the other to do more. Although the crowd was split, Ospreay was drawing home support and AJ played the accompanying heel role well. Following some great near falls, it was Styles that took the match with an emphatic 'Styles Clash' from the middle rope. Totally worthy of headline bout, Ospreay and Styles can mark their match up as an all time classic.
If you missed the event, fear not. RevPro have an on-demand service available. Judging by what we saw, RevPro events are serious, well-booked and high quality affairs. There were arena quality matches and the crowd was hot. We'll be back for more. For further information about RevPro visit revolutionprowrestling.com and make sure to get yourself to their forthcoming events. Next stop on our tour, will be Southside in late February.