Thursday, October 15, 2015

Rev Pro UK/NJPW: Uprising 2015 Review

Revolution Pro / New Japan Pro Wrestling: Uprising 2015

October 2nd, 2015

York Hall, London England

Rev Pro British Heavyweight Champion: AJ Styles

Rev Pro British Cruserweight Champion: Josh Bodom

Rev Pro Tag Team Champions: The Revolutionists (Sha Samuels & James Castle)

The tag team champions, The Revolutionists, open the show with an open challenge. Ahem, NON TITLE Open Challenge. Who accepts it? None other than TENCOZY themselves, Satoshi Kojima & Hiryoshi Tenzan! What a way to kick things off!

1) The Revolutionists (Sha Samuels & James Castle) vs. Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima & Hiryoshi Tenzan)
Samuels & Castle jump Kojima & Tenzan almost immediately. This leads to them taking control of the match despite a flurry from Tencozy. The crowd starts chanting "You look stupid!" at James Castle who has a Sheamus-esque Mohawk going on. You asked for that one, my friend. The chant makes for a distraction and allows Kojima to nail Castle with a DDT. The crowd loves Tencozy so there's a good pop for the hot tag to Tenzan. The final few moments sees miscommunication between Tenzan & Kojima allow Samuels to hit a low blow whilst Castle nails Tenzan with their title belt. A cheap, but crafty way for Samuels & Castle to pick up the victory. Those Revolutionists are real dick heads, aren't they?! A nice victory for them, regardless. A win is a win!

Match rating - **1/4

2) ACH vs. Martin Kirby

ACH was originally supposed to face Kris Travis here in his RPW debut, but he is getting Travis' former tag partner instead since he was sadly forced to retire. ACH is hyped as he bounces to the ring and has some fun before calling for SPORTSMANSHIIIIP! Chain wrestling to start out with ACH getting the advantage which he holds for several minutes. In this time he wears down Kirby with a headlock and gets in several of his signature moves including the running kick on the apron along with one of his signature dives. Kirby mounts his comeback and begins firing on all cylinders. They trade a crazy amount of nearfalls when both men are caught in a cradle position. Both men up to their feet, SUPERKICK FROM ACH! Kirby is down and ACH takes the opportunity to ascend to the top rope. He goes for the 450 splash and...MISSES! This allows Kirby to nail him with a fameasser for the win. Pretty hot match here between these two.

Match rating - ***

3) Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Big Damo
It's my first time seeing Big Damo and this is the perfect debut viewing for me, I'd say. Nakamura has an ability to bring out the best in people plus beyond that, I'm sure a rising star like Damo is not going to take a huge match like this lightly. With that said, one thing is for sure - he didn't. Damo threw every single thing he had at the King of Strong Style and then some. On top of that, he took everything Nakamura had to offer yet kept fighting. The final stretch is nothing short of awesome with Damo displaying how much this match meant to him by hitting a COAST TO COAST dropkick from one side of the ring to the other on Nakamura. This determination to win is further shown when he kicks out of a Boma Ye at 1 and powers up to battle Shinsuke once again. All this happens after a series of EXTREMELY close near falls. One of which I even thought was three. Damo had Nakamura on the edge for a while here. Following the kick out at one, Nakamura resorted to dropping Damo right on his head before nailing two more Boma Ye's to finally finish off the big man, what a match! A star making performance for Damo for new fans and a whole new audience.

Match rating - ****

4) Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jushin Liger vs. Kazuchika Okada & Gedo
A full on NJPW showcase here with two current stars and two veterans. Huge pop for all four men as it's always special seeing these guys compete, especially outside of NJPW, since it's such a rarity. Gedo & Okada play the heels which makes for a nice dynamic. The match was laid out quite well with Liger & Gedo starting before Tanahashi & Okada are tagged in. All the sequences they had in this match were great because the chemistry and special feel is always there. Okada & Gedo isolate Liger which builds to the hot tag for Tana. This is where the second and best Okada/Tanahashi exchange of the match goes down as they bust out the goods for several minutes. It comes to a stalemate and Liger gets tagged in. He gets his moment to clean house and springboards out onto Okada which leaves Tanahashi to finish off Gedo. Solid, basic tag team match that I'd say was a satisfactory showcase for all four competitors in front of the RevPro crowd.

Match rating - ***1/4

5) Kyle O'Reilly vs. KUSHIDA - BOSJ Rematch
This is the match that I was personally looking forward to the most and boy, did it ever deliver. I have been a huge Kyle O'Reilly fan since I saw him in PWG in 2011 teaming with Adam Cole. From that point forward, I knew there was something special about him. The unique hybrid style he had was different than even the man who has been a mentor to him, Davey Richards. No one wrestled like O'Reilly and no one does today. That leads us here, four years later where O'Reilly made it to the finals of New Japan's Best of the Super Juniors tournament. He would fall to KUSHIDA, but here in this match, he got his chance at redemption. This match was everything you could ask for out of a sequel to one of the best matches of this year. The wrestling was just as smooth, the exchanges were just as fantastic, and the counters, well, I'd say the counters were even better. With them knowing each other better since their first singles meeting in the BOSJ finals, there were a number of amazing counter maneuvers here including O'Reilly catching KUSHIDA in a cross arm breaker in mid air out of a back hand spring into the ropes and KUSHIDA taking a page out of Kyle's playbook and going for the jawbreaker lariat in the midst of a heated strike exchange. In one word, we witnessed a clinic here. An awesome match filled with art, drama, and pro wres at it's finest.

Match rating - ****1/2

6) Tetsuya Naito vs. Mark Haskins
If any match on this card surprised me, it would have to be this one. I had no clue what to expect due to not being familiar with Haskins and not *huge* on Naito however they really strew together a super fun match. The more I went on, the more I got into it. Naito has become a completely different person as of late which HAS added some more interest to him, for me. This was put on display here as he spat on the referee at one point and was just an asshole the entire match. He even went to the eyes a midst an exchanging of blows in the center of the ring. Haskins, on the other hand, was a very crisp, fast paced guy to watch. He rarely slowed down and hit almost everything with precision. In a match where Naito looked to be the favorite, Haskins took him to his limit. There were several close falls here which is also something I didn't expect. In the end, Haskins went up to the top rope only to get caught and receive a DDT on the ring apron. This was the catalyst for Naito finishing off Haskins with two huge moves to get the win.

Match rating - ***1/2

7) Josh Bodom (c) vs. Jimmy Havoc - No DQ Match for the RPW Undisputed British Cruserweight Championship
It's time for a war. These men have a long standing history which I admittedly need to go back and watch. Despite not having watched this entire story unfold, the hatred between Bodom & Havoc was undeniable. They brawled through the crowd early on before settling back into the ring where the weapons came into play. Unbridled chair shots, frying pans to the head, a staple gun, and torturous uses of thumbtacks are some of the things the two rivals dished out to each other in this rage filled contest. The Revolutionists would get involved near the end and allow Josh Bodom to pick up the win thus retaining his championship. The finish made sense in some ways, but confused me in others because it would appear that a rematch will happen down the line. That leaves you with the question of what more can these men do to each other? I'm afraid AND interested to find out at the same time.

Match rating - ***3/4

8) AJ Styles (c) vs. Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll - Triple Threat Match for the RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship
What a match. That's all I can say right now. Styles is defending against Marty Scurll who had a year long reign as champion and William Ospreay who defeated Styles in a memorable performance earlier this year. With that in mind, it truly felt like anyone could win here. Especially since Styles isn't necessarily a regular in England. This made for a number of epic false finishes and near falls. It wasn't overkill though because everything was well paced, delivered perfectly, and it actually felt like the match was going to be over in most of those moments. I also have to mention Scurll catching Ospreay off a backhand spring into the ropes WITH A FUCKING CHICKEN WING. Scurll is really become a groundbreaker on the Indies. His gimmick & charisma plus how he's bringing the chicken wing back and making it important has made him one of my favorites to watch. The aforementioned moment is only one of many jaw dropping spots & exchanges that we saw in this match. Just a complete barnburner of a main event to top off this fantastic show.

Match rating - ****1/2

Overall thoughts: This is undoubtedly a show of the year candidate. Three matches worth going out of your way to see, all of which are different. You have the stiff slugfest with head drops between Damo & Nakamura, the technically sound submission filled piece of art between O'Reilly & KUSHIDA, and the high flying, action packed main event. On top of that, you've got the brawl between Bodom & Havoc for the hardcore fans. An excellent variety and a card that delivered on just about every level. Definitely check this out via RevPro's VOD service!

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