Friday, November 17, 2017

RevPro/NJPW Global Wars UK Night One Review

RevPro Wrestling/NJPW Global Wars UK Night One
November 9th, 2017 | York Hall in Bethnal Green, Greater London

Ah, the now annual RPW/NJPW joint shows. Last year’s shows were very fun and I expect more of the same here, even if I haven’t been able to follow RevPro as much as I wanted to.

RevPro British Cruiserweight Championship: Josh Bodom [c] vs. BUSHI vs. Ryan Smile
BUSHI is a NEVER Openweight Six Man Champion, while Smile impressed me in the handful of matches I’ve seen him in. From what I’ve seen, Bodom has been a good heel in RevPro. BUSHI stayed back early, allowing the others to wear themselves out. He and Bodom eventually formed a small alliance that didn’t last long. They moved to high risk stuff, with Smile showcasing his awesome dive ability. He got hit a wild flurry of Bodom offense, but BUSHI made the save. The trio took part in a sunset flip/German suplex combination for one of the cooler spots of the match. In the end, BUSHI went to mist Smile, but caught Bodom instead. Smile added a springboard cutter and frog splash to win the title at 10:09. Good way to start the show. It was fast paced, they didn’t stick to any kind of formula and it was flat out fun. [***¼]

Gedo and Toru Yano vs. Legion of Lords
The Legion of Lords are lord Gideon Grey and No Fun Dunne. Looking at the guys in this match, you expect comedy and that’s what they gave us. Yano tricked his opponents before the match, using his DVD to throw powder in their eyes. Along with the DVD, there was use of a megaphone and a blast of spray by Gideon. Yano got to do his “BREAK” and turnbuckle spots, which the crowd loved. He and Gedo used duel low blows and rollups to win in 6:39. It was short, inoffensive and exactly what it needed to be. [**]

El Desperado vs. Matt Riddle
This is one of those matches I never knew I wanted, until it was announced. It was an overlooked match because Riddle faces Minoru Suzuki on night two. Riddle was in control for most of the match. He’d take Desperado down, hit his senton and deliver a variety of kicks and strikes. Desperado caught a strike and flipped Sabre off, only to get pulled into an armbar. Desperado went to work on Riddle’s leg, banging it off the ring post a bunch of times. There was a great spot where Desperado avoided one of Riddle’s signature kicks and locked him in the Stretch Muffler. Riddle made it to the ropes, but ate a big spear. Riddle came back with a brutal ripcord knee, Gotch Tombstone and the Bromission to pick up the win in 10:48. I enjoyed that a lot. Desperado did his job to soften Riddle up with a good game plan to take out his legs. Riddle was his awesome self and continues to shine in short matches. [***¼]

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Marty Scurll vs. Tetsuya Naito
The G1 Climax winner was wildly over. To be fair, so was Scurll. They were part of an awesome tag match at last year’s Global Wars UK. Naito mocked Marty early, as they both tried getting under the skin of the other. Scurll targeted Naito’s wrist. He had Naito’s number throughout, even countering Destino. Naito played the babyface here, even getting in some fire that reminded me of his pre-LIDJ days. Scurll started bringing out new offense to combat Naito’s rallies. Naito avoided the finger snap spot with an eye rake. We got a ref bump, giving Naito the visual win via dragon suplex. Marty attacked with the umbrella and used the Mouse Trap for a great near fall. BUSHI came out to distract Marty from using the Chicken Wing. He got taken out, but then the referee caught Marty’s feet on the ropes for a pin. Naito blocked an umbrella shot, hit a low blow and won with Destino in 15:22. I liked the battle of two rule breakers going at it. Naito played the early face, but went to what works late. Scurll had him well scouted, but couldn’t beat the master. [***½]

Yuji Nagata vs. Zack Gibson
Last year, BLUE JUSTICE wrestled Pete Dunne in a solid match. Gibson got to do one of his heat filled pre-match promos. Similar to the last match, we got arm work here. Gibson focused on Nagata’s arm, while Yuji responded by kicking at Zack’s taped shoulder. Gibson kept looking for the Shankly Gates at every turn. Nagata got to pop the crowd with an Exploder near fall and then his signature armbar, complete with eye roll. Gibson came close with the Helter Skelter. They traded strikes and Gibson finally got Shankly Gates, only for Nagata to slip out and win with the Backdrop Driver in 13:21. The fans added a lot here, as they loved Nagata. I liked both guys having similar plans of attack. Gibson’s obsession with the Shankly Gates ended up costing him, as the legend took advantage of his mistake to win. [***]

#CCK w/ Kid Lykos vs. Rocky Romero and YOSHI-HASHI
Romero and Tacos are an odd CHAOS pairing. They didn’t even come out together, as Rocky arrived to the Roppongi 3K theme. CCK against SHO and YOH sounds great. They had fun early, with Rocky trying to take on the much taller Chris Brookes. He used an eye poke to cut him down to size a bit. We got a lot of basic tag stuff to start, with everyone getting some shine. They all got to hit their usual stuff, like Brookes’ wet willy and Romero’s FOREVER clotheslines. Banks and Romero going at it was probably the best exchange of the match. Rocky got in trouble late, eating a flurry of offense for the finish. He took a Slice of Heaven, slingshot cutter and Kiwi Krusher at 11:27. This was solid, but nothing special. Romero was out there having fun, and I always enjoy some Travis Banks. [**¾]

Keith Lee vs. Tomohiro Ishii
From the moment I saw Keith Lee, this is the match I wanted most. The size difference was a sight to behold, but Ishii brought the fight to him with a slew of chops. It took just one from Lee to knock Ishii down. Lee would beat on Ishii, only for the “Stone Pitbull” to fire up. It clearly bewildered Lee that Ishii was this tough. Lee threw Ishii around like he weighed nothing. Things got wild from there, with Ishii countering a Spirit Bomb into a guillotine choke, then into a DDT and then eventually hitting the Brainbuster. It was an incredible thing to witness. Some of Lee’s offense was absolutely monstrous. He nearly threw Ishii through the roof on a chokeslam and Spirit Bomb. The near fall on the latter was nuts. Lee made the mistake of trying a moonsault and missed. He and Ishii both got big kickouts at one to huge reactions. Ishii picked up the win with a second Brainbuster after a hard fought 15:43. What a match. Dream matches don’t always live up to the hype, but this one did. It was hard hitting from start to finish and exactly the kind of match I want from these two. Ishii is one of the best underdogs in wrestling, while Lee is one of the best dominant bigs and it made for brilliance.[****½]

Hirooki Goto and Will Ospreay vs. Minoru Suzuki and RPW British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. w/ El Desperado
I love that Sabre brought his best friend, El Desperado, with him. The Suzuki/Goto battles early were about as effective as their dull feud in NJPW this year. Ospreay and Sabre had better exchanges, though not at the level of their best work. Ospreay played the face in peril and got beaten badly. It was so one-sided that Desperado had time to give Suzuki a shoulder rub at ringside. Suzuki laughed as Ospreay responded with strikes, before hitting a flurry of his own. Goto got the hot tag, but is so lame, he and Ospreay ended up in stereo sleeper holds. It eventually came down to Sabre and Ospreay, who had counter after counter ready for one another. Sabre got the obligatory Oscutter into a submission counter. On Ospreay’s next attempt, he successfully hit it for the win in 22:20. This was a good main event, but it never sniffed greatness. It felt long and the Goto/Suzuki stuff never quite worked for me. Suzuki kicking Ospreay’s ass was great and Sabre/Ospreay was fun. [***]

Overall: 7.5/10. Night one of Global Wars was a very fun show. Nothing on the card is bad, with the worse thing being a short comedy match. The three tag matches were the weakest parts of the show, yet they’re all solid. You get very different and fun outings in Naito/Scurll, Nagata/Gibson and Riddle/Desperado, while the opening three-way was enjoyable. Lee/Ishii is where this show is made and is an absolute must-see match. It’s one of my favorite matches all year.