Tuesday, June 28, 2016
I have seen a handful of RPW matches but have never had the privilege of seeing an entire show until now. This one sounded special for the main event, pitting RPW Champion and technical wizard, Zack Sabre Jr. against the legendary Kurt Angle. Yes, Angle is past his prime, but this is still a dream match.
These two guys have been making waves lately. Scurll has been all over the world with his “villain” gimmick and holds the PROGRESS Championship, while Dar will be in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic. Scurll attacked Dar after Dar qualified for the Cruiserweight Classic, setting this up. They began with mat work, which favored Scurll but Dar actually held some advantages there. They had some good back and forth, but things never quite got into the next gear. Scurll nailed a weak looking suicide dive shortly before Dar kicked his legs on the apron, sending him face first into it. Back inside, Scurll was all about the heel tactics, which fits his character perfectly. The final few minutes are probably the best part and it saw both men dig deep in battle. Dar fought hard, but had to tap to the Chicken Wing. Good stuff but they kept hyping it as a grudge match, which is didn’t feel like for the most part.
You’ve most likely seen Martin Stone on NXT also under the name Danny Burch. Dunn is the RPW Cruiserweight Champion (a belt previous held by Scurll, Will Ospreay and Prince Devitt) and calls himself the “Bruiserweight”, which is awesome. Stone was introduced as a returning former two time British Heavyweight Champion, but the crowd didn’t really react to him. It kind of hurt the match too as the crowd was nowhere near as interested in this as they were for the previous match. This played into both guys being bruisers as they hit each other hard throughout. Dunn was never intimidated, even slapping Stone across the face at times. Dunn pulled off the smart move of teasing using his title, which was taken by the referee and opened the door for him to hit a low blow. A pumphandle facebuster followed and it was over. Decent match, nothing more though.
I believe the WWE recently signed Big Damo. Considering the size of the men involved, I wanted a big time hoss battle but I never quite got that feel from this. The previous match had smaller guys and it felt harder hitting than this one. It wasn’t really bad, it just never clicked the way I had hoped. There was a great superplex spot from Big Damo, which was probably his highlight. Damo came close a few times before delivering a series of elbows and a Rings of Saturn variation to win. It was my first look at both guys and I came away more impressed with Big Daddy Walter. Damo just didn’t seem to bring the fight as much.
I’ve seen Mike Bailey in PWG and he gets loads of hype that I don’t really get. He was making waves before he had a visa issue and now he can’t work the US for years. Will Ospreay has been one of the best in 2016, having awesome matches in RPW, PROGRESS and NJPW to name a few. Ospreay entered just days removed from winning NJPW’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. He gets a massive ovation. When the match began, Bailey laid in with his rapid fire kicks. Ospreay does the Vader Bomb as a shot after Vader’s comments about his match with Ricochet. That whole thing is dumb, from both guys. These guys were sure to get their signature stuff in and we even saw Ospreay hit AJ Styles’ phenomenal forearm. Some of the exchanges here were top notch, with Ospreay having the more impressive offensive showing. Bailey did get a dope rana counter but ran right into a C4. Bailey went off on a flurry of kicks but missed a high risk move. He survived Ospreay’s imploding 450 but fell to the Oscutter. The best Bailey match I’ve ever seen but nowhere near as good as Dave Meltzer hyped it to be. A fast paced showcase.
Bodom is a former RPW Cruiserweight Champion, while most everyone knows who Chris Hero is. Crowd was firmly behind Hero. Despite being at a considerable size disadvantage, Bodom was not intimidated and acted like a dick to Hero. Hero got in his head as Bodom tried, and failed, to overpower him, while Hero was always one step ahead. Kudos to Bodom, who was striking and kicking nearly as hard as Hero, which is impressive. Both guys capitalized on mistakes. Hero missed a dive outside, so Bodom hit him with one. He went for a second but Hero caught him and leveled him. It was a nice look at how this was played to be mostly even at times. Bodom came close to victory a few times but he never could quite keep the veteran down. That was until he delivered a low blow and an elbow of his own. The finish made sense but the elbow looked weak compared to a lot of what we saw throughout the contest. Oher than that, this was solid.
This was my first time seeing all four men in action. Instantly, we had action as Garrett dove out onto the champions during their entrance. The challengers pulled off cool stalling suplexes, one after the other with the champions landing on each other. Redman was doing his best Jason Jordan by busting out all sorts of suplex variations. Though the Revolutionists entered as champions for 364 days, this honestly felt one-sided in favor of the challengers. They got in most of the offense. A tombstone followed by a corkscrew senton gave us new tag team champions. I found this to be a short, fun sprint.
The atmosphere for this was off the charts. Angle gets a pop that is deafening and the fans even do the “you suck” out of respect and continue to sing along to the beat of his theme (he came out to his WWE “Medal” song). They traded some early wristlocks as they attempted to feel one another out. As the match progressed, Sabre found himself in trouble because of Angle’s size and experience edge. Sabre does surprisingly well in trading uppercuts and strikes however. Angle’s first German got an absurd pop from the crowd and the same went for the Angle Slam. Sabre kicked out and wrapped Angle in an armbar that was countered into the ankle lock. Though Sabre countered that, he ate three Germans and THE STRAPS WERE DOWN! Sabre did apply his big armbar but Angle was incredibly enough to counter into the ankle lock and win via submission. Look, this wasn’t a MOTY candidate or even a great match. It was a neat, compact performance with an incredible atmosphere. It’s something that you really should see because it felt special. Even if you only enjoy the crowd and submission counters, it’s certainly worth a look.
Overall: A solid show all around. Nothing on the card is what I would consider great, but there’s nothing bad either. What you get here is a solid two and a half hours of wrestling featuring a lot of top notch talent. The main event should certainly be watched, if only for the fact that it is a dream match. A relatively easy watch for the most part featuring a lot of really talented performers.