Wrestling Review: RPW High Stakes (2017)

For their first show of the year, Revolution Pro Wrestling (RPW) presents High Stakes, which comes to you live from York Hall, in Bethnal Green, London, England. The main event will see NJPW heavy hitter, “The Wrestler”, and personal favourite of yours truly, Katsuyori Shibata defends the Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship against incredibly exciting “King of Bros” Matt Riddle. Will Shibata continue to carry the belt with pride, or will we soon be watching Revolution BRO Wrestling? Another match on the card will see the “Pioneer of Moustache Mountain”, recently seen in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, versus the current TNA X-Division Champion when Trent Seven takes on Trevor Lee, and it will be best friends turned bitter enemies as “The Villain” Marty Scurll looks to out-skill “The Technical Wizard”, Zack Sabre Jr.

+ Zack Sabre Jr. vs Marty Scurll: this match was fantastic, and really did feel like old friends wanting to prove something to each other. There was no real heel or babyface in this match, especially according to the crowd, and the fantastic commentary added to the already very personal story between these two competitors
+ Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs Matt Riddle (Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship): this was incredible. I didn’t it quite topped the Scurll/Sabre match from earlier, but damn this was just so good. Shibata going into rage mode and no-selling every chop and slap and kick always gets a rise out of me, especially from someone as quick and sharp as Matt Riddle
+ Charlie Sterling & Joel Redman (c) vs War Machine (Ray Rowe & Hanson) (Undisputed British Tag Team Championships): I’m a big fan of War Machine as a tandem (though, particularly Hanson), but the defending champs were very impressive. With surprisingly agile big men, and surprisingly strong smaller guys, this made for many impressive combinations and an overall pretty good match
+ Trevor Lee vs Trent Seven: Although I would have thought this match would have gone a little bit longer, this was a very solid matchup. Seven is perhaps on his way to a breakout year, and Trevor Lee is fantastic as always.
+ YOSHI-HASHI vs Pete Dunne: Dunne is fresh off a strong showing in the WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, and this was another slobber-knocker of a match. Though it did almost devolve into a standard ‘kick out of big moves’ slog near the end, the build up was great

– Josh Bodom vs Ryan Smile (Interim Cruiserweight Championship): Bodom has such undeniable charmisma, it was hard not to like him even though he was obviously playing the bad guy against Smile’s bland babyface. Bodom pulled out a few moves I don’t think I’ve ever seen before, which overall made for an interesting if not particuarly good matchup
– Martin Stone vs Jay White: Stone (aka NXTs Danny Burch) looked just as sharp as he did in the WWE UKC Tournament, and it is a shame he is not a bigger name. I’m not sure what to think of Jay White, but in his first outing to my eyes he didn’t show me much to keep an eye on

> I always enjoy watching indy wrestling with performers I am not overly familiar with, because I have to judge their good-guy/bad-guy alignment based on their work in the ring, which I feel is a facet of wrestling the bigger promotions don’t stick to often enough
> I love wrestling dance offs.

Should you watch this event: Go out of your way to watch the Shibata/Riddle fight as well as the Marty Scurll/Zack Sabre Jr match, and any other positives listed above, if you are a fan of the competitors. This was a well paced show from start to finish, with the less-good matches as above placed as breaks between the better ones, so I can guarantee you a solid three hours.

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