The best thing with the inability to realise that something is happening on a weekly basis is the nice backlog of footage that accumulates when it finally does come time to watch. This is the case with Revolution Pro TV, and I’m already heading straight back in to watch Episode 2, as Will Ospreay defends the British Cruiserweight Championship against ‘Forever Hooligan’ Rocky Romero.
First off, we are shown a highlights package of the main event from Episode 1. Whilst I appreciate the need to spend time highlighting some of the main stars of the promotion (and what feels like potentially TV-centric booking plans/angles), it does highlight an area of this venture that has me a little worried. Due to the quick turn around of the weekly show, and the reduced turn around by Rev Pro in terms of their bigger arena shows, will there be more times where one match alone is all they can show due to a desire not to showcase too much of a viable commercial product? This wouldn’t be the end of the world, but I do feel that the potential to show two matches on a show would be a good way to try and proceed – one with some of the lesser known names, with a main event including some of the stars of the promotion. I don’t feel that is necessarily possible in the long-run, but I will have to see. The highlights package does give us a chance to see a perfectly acceptable match summarised into an engaging three minute package, which can never be too much of an issue.
This weeks promo (as it seems that they give one promo a show at the moment) comes from James Castle, who attacked Doug Williams at the end of the show, only to be ran off by Jake McCluskey. I have my reservations about any character whose gimmick is to be an ‘anarchist’, as it always comes off as a bit forced and contrived, depending on how the character is booked. Obviously, his ability in the ring will be the deciding factor in the long run, but with this being my first introduction to his character, I’m a little wary. Still, he’ll be able to prove me wrong in the main event next week as he faces off against McCluskey. This is why I’m suggesting that there might be angles designed to work within the TV set-up – the angle is booked plain and simple using the run-in at the end of Williams/Scurll as an easy way to get Castle and McCluskey involved. Simple, yet effective.
Rocky Romero vs Will Ospreay © (Match for the British Cruiserweight Championship)
If I ever suggested I was a Rocky Romero fan, I’d be lying. 2003-2004 was the one time I was really following ROH, and I just never enjoyed The Havana Pitbulls. Whilst it is harsh to hold something that happened over a decade ago against him, I’ve only ever seen him since in fun-yet-forgettable NJPW Junior Tag Matches. Ospreay, on the other hand, is a wrestler I’ve seen live a couple of times, and he has impressed me, not only with his ability, but with how much he has improved as a singles worker.
The two men shake hands before the bell, and the crowd gets quickly into the catchy chants of ‘Ospreay, Ospreay, Ospreay!’ Romero gets a cheap laugh out of me when, in response to the crowd, he shouts ‘wrestling’ after a headlock – he is always more likely to play the more heel-ish character, let alone in Ospreay’s home country.
I’m not going to try and go move for move with this match, as it’d be way too difficult and my fingers might be bleeding stumps by the end. A multitude of quick counters, ducks and jumps eventually see both men embroiled in a test of strength. Will surprisingly takes initial control, a suplex with a hip swivel back to standing before a back suplex gets him the first two count of the match, before locking Romero in a painful looking arm submission. No slouch himself, Romero manages to jump into an armbar of his own, Ospreay wisely heading to the floor to break the hold.
The first risk taken by Ospreay doesn’t pay off, as a dive through the middle ropes at the ringpost is caught by Romero, Ospreay’s arm smashed against the post. Romero begins to methodically attack the arm, working towards his own submission finisher – winding the crowd up with taunts as he goes. A springboard dropkick whilst Ospreay is trapped in the ropes is complimented by several big kicks straight to the arm, Romero getting increasingly vicious as the match progresses. Ospreay’s attempts to fight back are often cut short, although we do see a double countout tease as both men collide off of a cross body collision in the middle of the ring.
Ospreay is finally able to mount a comeback, several strike flurries ending in a standing moonsault for a two count. One of the big problems here is that, due to the flying nature of Ospreay’s offence, it is hard for him to really commit to the selling that he’d done a pretty good job of up until now. This is where suspension of disbelief as a wrestling fan is paramount. A Curtain Call-esque move almost gets him the three count (and had me sold on the finish), only for Romero to kick out at 2.9999.
Romero himself almost becomes champion after a trio of big clotheslines almost turn Ospreay inside out, a two count mirrored by a two count from a Romero Shiranui thirty seconds later. Sensing victory, Romero locks Ospreay twice in the armbar, but both times see Ospreay manage to fight out and finally land a standing shooting star press to put paid to Romero’s attempts at the submission.
The finishing stretch is pretty impressive, with both men trading strikes and particularly vicious running knees. Romero hangs in the ropes in an effort to lure Ospreay in (a move that worked earlier in the match), but eats a big superkick for his troubles. A springboard Diamond Cutter is the precursor to the shooting star press and Ospreay retaining.
A better main event than the previous week, truth be told, but it always had the possibility to be. Romero did his job well, and made up for those horrible Havana Pitbulls matches I had to watch ten years ago, whilst Ospreay continues to improve week in, week out (as you should when you have earnt the right to face some of the biggest independent wrestlers in the world on a semi-regular basis).
A one match show, but that one match was very good. Next week will see James Castle vs Jake McCluskey, whilst we also have the future match between Jimmy Havoc and Will Ospreay waiting in the wings. I look forward to both.