Rev Pro returned on Saturday, July the 8th with its sort of brand new tournament called the British J Cup. I mean new, well, sort of due to the fact in 1994 Jushin 'Thunder' Liger devised the original J Cup tournament. It would host a number of dream matches showcasing a number of different talents from all over the world and many different promotions including NJPW, WAR, FMW, Michinoku Pro and CMLL (known as EMLL at the time) to compete in the one-night tournament.
The tournament hosted a number of dream matches at the time for long time fans and the tape trading community including Hayabusa facing Liger, Black Tiger (Eddie Guerrero, the second Black Tiger as the first was renowned British grappler Mark Rollerball Rocco) taking on Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit) in a thriller and Super Delfin taking on Shinjiro Otani. The Great Sasuke performances were the highlight of the tournament as he worked a number of outstanding matches including masterpiece with Liger and a gripping final with Chris Benoit which was eventually won by the Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit). The J Cup was promoted by WAR in 1995 which was won by Liger, Michinoku Pro in 2000 and again liger won the cup.
2004 was hosted by Osaka Pro which was won by Pro Wrestling NOAH stand out Naomichi Marufuji. In 2009 NJPW hosted the tournament again and Prince Devitt (Finn Balor) ended up winning the whole thing, last beating the 2004 winner Marufuji and then NJPW hosted it yet again this time in 2016 which was won by KUSHIDA. The J cup has quite a history and its creator, Liger, would be competing in the British version of the J cup.
OK, OK, before you tweet angry things at me I know this isn't the actual J Cup, and it's only a British version, but still, I thought I would give you, the dear reader who perhaps isn't in the know, a little history lesson before I delved into the show.
Eight cruiserweights had been chosen to take part, which included RPW Undisputed British Cruiserweight Champion Josh Bodom, Mr J Cup himself Jushin 'Thunder' Liger and record holder for most IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title reigns, a former multi time IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion and IWGP Jnr Tag Team Champion (with Prince Devitt/Finn Balor) Rysuke Taguchi, former NJPW BOTSJ winner and former two time RPW British Cruiserweight champion Will Ospreay, the triple crown RPW Champion 'The Villain' Marty Scurll, the Ace of NJPW Junior division, KUSHIDA, former multi time IWGP Jnr Heavyweight tag team champion, multi time ROH World Tag Team Champion and World Champion Kyle O'Reilly and Tiger Mask IV a former 6 time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion and 2 time BOTSJ winner.
So it was quite a stacked line up for a first British J Cup Tournament, but could it be as history making as the 94/95 versions? Well, obviously not but for this show promoter and booker Andy Quildan also announced two other big contests as King of Bros and then Progress Atlas champion Matt Riddle faced Tomohiro Ishii in a dream match (well it was for me damn it) and #CCK (Chris Brookes and Travis Banks) took on LIJ (Los Ingobernables de Japon) duo of Hiromu Takahashi and BUSHI.
This was a show I wish I had seen live but, alas, work commitments got in the way and I had to miss this show. Anyway, I think I've hyped this enough so let's get into the action.
It's your usual open to open the show with Andy Quildan in mid ring introducing the competitors for the first match of the evening.
British J Cup 1st Round Match: 'The Villain' Marty Scurll vs. Tiger Mask
Marty Scurll is the go to go last year to open up Rev pro shows and here he was chosen to face the incredibly grumpy Tiger Mask in the opener. It wasn't on par with Scurll's previous good opening matches, but the crowd more than made up for it and grumpy Tiger Mask seemed to be motivated to have a good match as well, something you could say he isn't when wrestling multi man openers in NJPW. Anyway, both men had some solid action but it didn't really pick up until the closing stages of the matches but then you could argue why would these guys go out there and work a five star classic (not that Tiger could anymore) when they would have to work the main event later on in the night. When it was time to go home both men stepped it up a gear as Tiger got a near fall with a double underhook sit down powerbomb. Tiger and then followed it up with a double underhook suplex from the top rope for another near fall. Marty battled back and did the finger snapping spot then went for the chicken wing but Tiger countered out of the hold then Marty rolled up tiger for the three count.
Winner: 'The Villain' Marty Scurll
British J Cup 1st Round Match: Josh Bodom vs. Jushin 'Thunder' Liger
This was the match I was most excited for in the tournament as I really wanted to see Josh test his skills against Someone of Ligers calibre to see how far he had come since putting in a number of great performances of late in Rev pro. Before the bell, Bodom jumped Liger and nailed him with a big superkick for a near fall. Bodom disrespected the legend by slapping him then gave a double stomp to the back of the head. Bodom got caught out going up top and liger battled back with a super plex. It seemed as if Bodom had awakened a legend and Liger nailed Bodom with a palm strike and a Liger Bomb for a near fall. Liger then picked up Bodom and drilled him with a brainbuster for a three count.
Bodom was irate and sold it perfectly. Bodom pushed around Quildan, Roberts and some poor unsuspecting security guard. The crowd mocked Bodom for losing so quickly as he walked off to the back.
This was a short but sweet match with a surprising finish. It protected liger from wrestling a long match because he wasn't doing two long matches now was he as its something can't really do at his age. Bodom played up the lose perfectly and has a ready made rematch set up as well due too it.
Winner: Jushin 'Thunder' Liger
British J Cup 1st Round Match: KUSHIDA Vs Kyle O'Reilly
This was another match I was really looking forward to going in after they stole the show at NJPW Best of the Super Juniors final in 2015 and again at Rev Pro Uprising later on in the year. Unfortunately, this did not live up to the hype due to it being overhyped in my mind. We, as wrestling fans, expect so much even if the performers put on a great match we feel as if they have short changed us. Maybe I had built their previous matches up in my head as being better than they were when I saw them in 2015, but whatever it was this felt like it under delivered and should have been far better. It was the weakest of their series is what I'm trying to say.
Early on both man exchanged some chain Wrestling holds on the mat. Sleazy Kyle and sleazy KUSHIDA wiggled their hips to the delight of this crowd and reviewer. Kyle does what he does best, and worked over KUSHIDA's knee at a slower and more deliberate pace than normal while KUSHIDA did what he did best and sold the beating perfectly. Kyle sat KUSHIDA on a punters chair at ringside but it backfired as KUSHIDA gave him the drop toe hold onto the chair. KUSHIDA then put Kyle on the chair and set up in front of it and took a run up and launched himself off the empty chair and came down onto Kyle's chest with an almighty dropkick. KUSHIDA began to target Kyle's arm before attempting a moonsault but Kyle caught him in a Hells Gate. Kyle transitioned from the hold into the ankle lock but somehow KUSHIDA made it to the ropes.
Both men exchanged strikes and Kyle nearly K.O'd KUSHIDA with a running knee smash. Kyle sold his knee and shoulder just as well as KUSHIDA when he couldn't drill him with a brainbuster. Kyle countered the back to the future into a guillotine choke hold but KUSHIDA battled out applied the hover board lock. Kyle countered that with a sleeper then picked up KUSHIDA and drove him into the mat with a suplex while still holding onto the sleeper.
Both men squared up to one another and exchanged strikes again. Kyle swung with all his might with a big round house kick for a near fall. KUSHIDA nailed Kyle with a sloppy looking sliced bread number two for a near fall. They were really stepping it up a gear now and beginning to go home. KUSHIDA applied the hover board lock on the top rope Kyle tried to counter it and both came off the top rope slamming to the mat below. Again somehow Kyle battled out even though KUSHIDA had the hover board lock locked in very tight indeed. Kyle got back up to his feet but KUSHIDA caught him in the back to the future to pick up the win.
Afterwards, both men bowed to one another and shook hands as the crowd cheered.
This was a really good match but kind of fell short of my expectations for it. Maybe it was the crowd or it was just me who knows but by far the match of the British J Cup so far.
British J Cup 1st Round Match: Rysuke Taguchi Vs Will Ospreay
Now, this really was nothing like their outstanding match they had last year in the best of the Super Junior finals. Both men seemed to rely on comedy which may not have worked in front of this crowd. But then I guess they were assuming there would be no chance either would be able to follow KUSHIDA and Kyle O'Reilly, so both men relied on comedy heavily.
There were some fun spots involving Ospreay having Taguchi run the ropes over and over again until he passed out. Ospreay facial expression made this funny as he pondered what to do with an exhausted Taguchi. Ospreay went under the ring and pulled out a can of red bull and poured it down Taguchi's throat. Taguchi fired up after feeling the effects of the red bull and run the ropes over and over again until he passed out again. Then they did lots of ass based offence as Taguchi's 'Funky Weapon' fell out of his tights! This lead to Taguchi sitting on Ospreay's face (Yep I just wrote that). Afterwards, Ospreay sold it like he pulled a hair out of his mouth, which is sickening.
They stepped it up a gear towards the end but all of the comedy had taken it out of the crowd. Taguchi came close with a tilt-a-whirl DDT and spring board hip attack, getting a near fall both times. Ospreay came close with hurricanrana and a Revolution DDT and then finished off Taguchi with an Os-Cutter for the win.
Winner: Will Ospreay
Tag Team Match: Tempura Boys (Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu) vs. The Contenders (Kurtis Chapman & Josh Wall)
It was good to see the Sho and Yohei back on the tv screen after being in Mexico for most of 2016 and 17 on a learning excursion. Both have transformed their looks and developed their characters, obviously like most young boys do during their learning excursion. Both look like CIMA (Komatsu) and Masato Yoshino (Tanaka) and could go far in new Japan's Junior division.
As for Wall and Chapman (Rev Pro's young boys), they didn't look out of place here and didn't look out place on this big show. This match was actually quite decent and was a good way to bring the crowd back up after a break and before we moved into the serious end of things on this card.
The finish saw Chapman get drilled with a 3D but Wall just broke up the pinfall at two. Chapman continued to fight, living up to his underdog "never give up" attitude by kicking out of a Magic Killer. Chapman was eventually finished off with a cross arm package piledriver.
Winners: The Tempura Boys (Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu)
RPW British Tag Team Title Match: #CCK (Travis Banks & Chris Brookes) vs. LIJ (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi)/With Darryl
This wasn't my favourite match on the card and I was expecting to really like this one. The action was overshadowed by the angle at the end. Both teams didn't exactly go through the motions but something seemed to be lacking. Maybe it was the same problem that happened with KUSHIDA vs. Kyle O'Reilly where I expected so much from both teams that my expectations were going to be dashed if they didn't go out there and give us 4 to 5 star level of match.
After plenty of sick double team moves and this match suffering from the legal man syndrome. Takahashi low blowed Travis Banks right in front of referee Chris Roberts. Roberts wasn't happy but allowed the match to continue as BUSHI sprayed Brookes with the evil green mist and referee Chris Roberts had seen enough and called for the bell and Los Ingobernables de Japon had been disqualified. Afterwards, Kid Lykos hit the ring and took out Hiromu with a springboard knee smash and took BUSHI to the outside.
So Kid Lykos has arrived in Revolution Pro Wrestling and now I'm starting to believe and hope that #CCK will now do the Freebird gimmick where any three of the members can defend the titles at any time in Rev Pro.
Winners: #CCK (Travis Banks & Chris Brookes) Via DQ (And Still RPW British Tag Team Champions)
Singles Match: Matt Riddle vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Early on both men traded chops with one another then out of nowhere both men drilled one another with a pair of German suplexes. Both men got up and exchange strikes. Riddle struck Ishii with a knee strike then a dead lift suplex for a two count (I would have really popped if it was a one count). Both men exchanged strikes again and this time Riddle nailed Ishii with a powerslam for another two count. Ishii worked over Riddle in the corner with chops then gave Riddle two headbutts. Ishii pulled up and Riddle and the two traded chops again. Ishii continued to headbutt Riddle over and over again but Riddle fired up and nailed Ishii with a Bro-to-Sleep and another dead lift for a two count. The crowd was hot for this one and so was this reviewer!
Again both men traded stiff and hard-hitting strikes. Ishii nailed Riddle again with a brainbuster for a near fall and followed it up with a Saito suplex and then both men went up top. They traded strikes on the top rope and Ishii fell to the mat below but wasn't out as he got back up and head butted Riddle in the chest over and over again. Ishii went back up top and this time drilled Riddle with a big superplex for a near fall.
Riddle fired up and both men exchanged hard hitting strikes again. Riddle caught Ishii with a clothesline and now both men were down. Riddle again nails Ishii with a big knee strike but Ishii no sells it and takes Riddle's head off with a big lariat. Both men are down and struggle to get to their feet but pull themselves up and again trade strikes. Both men square up to one another and Riddle nails Ishii with a number of big kicks. Riddle nails Ishii with a tombstone and a penalty kick for a near fall. Both men get up and battle over brainbusters before Ishii hoists up Riddle and drops him with the brainbuster to pick up the win.
Well that was bloody good, wasn't it? It was very similar to the match Riddle had with Kieth Lee. This was a proper strong style battle with both men beating the holy hell out of one another. Seriously this lived up to the hype and like the Kieth Lee match has made it onto my MOTY shortlist. If you haven't seen this match go out of your way now and go and watch it already.
Winner: Tomohiro Ishii
Before the main event, Andy Q introduces the guest of honour for the night the one and only WOS legend Marty Jones. Marty comes out and soaks up the applause then cuts a promo talking about his battles with fit finally he puts over today's British talent, Rev Pro and the British J Cup.
British J Cup Final Four Man Elimination Match: The Villain Marty Scurll Vs Jushin 'Thunder' Liger Vs KUSHIDA Vs Will Ospreay
It's a hot start as Marty gets in the grills of all three babyfaces then poses. Will sends Marty to the outside and gives him a baseball slide sending Marty into the front row. Back in the ring, Liger gives KUSHIDA a tilt-a-whirl slam and Ospreay then rolls up Liger for a two count. Liger kicks out with such force he sends Ospreay into referee Chris Roberts (a ref bump this early into the match). Marty introduces his umbrella and hits Liger with it in the gut. Marty then throws the umbrella at Ospreay who catches it. KUSHIDA comes in and starts to get angry at Ospreay and accuses him of hitting Liger.
Marty comes in and he and KUSHIDA double team Will. KUSHIDA does his best Chicken Wing pose then both men apply the hover board lock to Will who battles out but they take him down and stomp on him. Will battles back with a jaw breaker to Marty and then a handspring moonsault to KUSHIDA and Marty. Will works over both men as both Andys argue on commentary. Will gives KUSHIDA a standing shooting star then goes for an Os-Cutter but KUSHIDA catches him in an armbar.
Will fights out of the hold but gets dropped with a big elbow smash. Marty is back and he attacks KUSHIDA from behind (obviously). KUSHIDA rolls up Marty then gets ahold of Will and German suplexes him. KUSHIDA has both men covered for a near fall. Marty goes up top but KUSHIDA cuts him off. Will then sunset flip powerbombs KUSHIDA while he's holding onto Marty and KUSHIDA sends Marty flying at the same time with a superplex. Liger meanwhile is still selling on the outside. Ospreay nails KUSHIDA with an Os-Cutter and Marty is back. Marty then tosses Will to the outside and rolls up KUSHIDA for the three count.
KUSHIDA is Eliminated
Marty mocks KUSHIDA then Ospreay slowly comes into the ring. Meanwhile, liger slowly pulls himself to his feet on the outside and Marty spots this so hoops over the top rope and lands on the ring apron. Marty then nails liger with a superkick. Ospreay is back in the ring now and dives out into Marty. Back in the ring, Ospreay nails Marty with a phenomenal forearm and a hesitation dropkick. Will heads up top but Marty cuts him off by grabbing his nose and racking his eyes. Marty heads up top but Will slips out and nails
Marty with the cheeky Nandos kick for a two count. Marty nails Ospreay with an inverted DDT for a near fall then notices liger is getting back up on the outside so hoops over the ropes and nails liger with another superkick. Marty clears his nosal passage onto Liger then hits the ropes but gets cut off with a big bicycle kick by will. Will counters the superkick just kidding spot with a flip and nails Marty with the dropsault (dropkick moonsault). Both men hit the ropes and Marty nails will with a big clothes line. Marty goes for the chicken wing but will counters that with a stunner. That was one hell of an incredible sequence. Meanwhile, Liger continues to sell on the outside and Andy Q mentions how these two remind him of Jody Fleisch and Jonny Storm.
Liger somehow pulls himself to his feet again, however, Marty is wise to this and hoops the top rope and does his ring apron superkick. Back in the ring will and Marty trade strikes then marty grabs the fingers but will counters with a big spin kick. Will goes for a rainmaker but marty counters that into a cross rhodes for a nearfall. Marty copies will next by giving will a essex destroyer then nails will with a os cutter for a nearfall. Meanwhile the crowd rally behind liger who makes it to the ring apron this time before marty kicks him off the ring apron. The crowd are really getting into this story with liger now and boo the villain for his dirty tactics. Marty signals for the chicken wing but will cuts him off with a pele kick and a rainmaker. Will covers marty for the 1,2 no as somehow marty kicks out. Will goes for the os cutter but marty catches him and pushes will off into referee Chris Roberts for another referee bump. Marty grans his umbrella but will cuts him off with a enzigiri. Will stalks marty who backs up as liger pulls himself up onto the ring apron (yay he's finally made it) but marty sends will into liger and liger is back on the floor again (that was a tremendous spot and deserved a better reaction). The villian rolls up will and gets the one, two and three.
Will Ospreay is Eliminated
Will gets on the outside and urges live to get up as marty flips off the crowd. Marty rolls liger into the ring then pulls liger into the middle of the ring. Marty applies ligers own surfboard against him. Marty stomps on liger Over and over again. Marty senses victory but liger fires up and nails Marty with two Palm strikes then a top rope hauncanrana for a nearfall. The crowd is right behind liger now as he puts marty up top and drills marty with a top rope super plex for another nearfall. Liger stalks marty and goes for a palm strike but Marty cuts him off and breaks liger fingers. Marty rolls up liger with the same roll up he had beaten Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA and Will Ospreay with for a 1, 2 but no somehow Liger kicks out at two. Marty now stalks liger and signals for the chicken wing and he successfully applies it to liger but liger battles out. Marty nails with a brainbuster and covers him but liger kicks out at one. Liger palm strikes and gives him a liger Bomb and a brainbuster for the three count. Jushin 'Thunder' Liger wins, liger wins oh my days im marking out big time for that.
Afterwards Marty Jones hands Liger the trophy as this crowd give him a standing ovation but then Josh Bodom hits the ring and attacks liger from behind. The crowd is enraged as Bodom throws down the trophy and decks liger. This doesn't sit well with Marty Jones either who stands up to Josh but Josh kicks marty in the chest. It brings out the entire lockeroom who chase off that disrespectful punk Josh Bodom. Josh walks off laughing to himself. Then liger celebrates with his trophy and bow to the lockeroom but I bow to you sir that was incredible. We cut to black as liger and the rest of lockeroom pose for final photo opportunity of the night.
Well what don't say about that. That was by far one of the best story driven matches I've seen in BritWres this year it may very well be better than Chris Brooke's Vs Nixon Newell. It really was that good. If you've seen that match and don't fill the urge to cheer for liger then you have no emotions whatsoever. Seriously I've said this before but go out of your way to watch this match it made me make noises out of my body that I've never made before. It really was that good and yes dear reader it's making my MOTY shortlist.
Winner: Jushin 'Thunder' Liger
Well what do you say about a show like that well there is only one word incredible. Yeah I may still be feeling the hype from Liger's emotional win but that show really did deliver from top to bottom. Some of the matches in the first round lacked something special but it was all paid off in a special way in the end. This show took me on a emotional roller coaster throughout and peaked with a satisfying pay off with the last two matches. I can't say I've seen too many people rave about this main event and they really should be as well as the semi main event. Seriously head on over to RPW on demand now through pivot share and check it out you won't regret it. How Rev pro tip that at the next cockpit show is yet to be seen but I now cannot wait to boo Josh Bodom at summer sizzler and call him some names that aren't PG at summer sizzler when he faces liger with the let on the line. I'll sign off with as always with thanking you the dear reader and adding my Bill Apter ripped off line with "I'll see you at the matches".