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The Week In British Wrestling: RevPro come out swinging; WWE UK

Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:

1) RevPro made their 2017 intentions very clear

Revolution Pro-Wrestling opened their 2017 season with a return to the Cockpit Theatre in London’s Marylebone last Sunday, and started with a bang. The pre-High Stakes­ show had advertised a main event of Marty Scurll & Pete Dunne taking on the team of Will Ospreay & Ryan Smile, known in some corners as the Uptown Funkers.

However, due to Ospreay’s Japan commitments, this was switched to Smile & Shane Strickland. When the four were in the ring, Travis Banks appeared to attack Ryan Smile, which brought out...Will Ospreay! Returning from Japan early, Ospreay and Banks joined their respective sides and made a huge six-man main event.

Scurll kicks Smile in the throat! -- photo by Shoot Wrestle's JD Howells

The semi-main saw Zack Sabre Jr. beat a returning RJ Singh, and Sabre Jr. returned after the heels had won the six-man to deliver a low blow to Scurll ahead of their High Stakes blow-off, which co-headlines with the RevPro Championship match between Katsuyori Shibata and Matt Riddle.

The RevPro tag titles were also defended at the Cockpit, with Joel Redman & Charlie Sterling (the new name for Charlie Garrett) beating The London Riots, another act freshening up the RevPro roster.

Scurll & Dunne shill merch mid-match -- photo by Shoot Wrestle's JD Howells

That can also be said of Dave Mastiff, who ran in on the second night of Global Wars to attack Trent Seven. He beat Seven’s Moustache Mountain tag partner Tyler Bate, while Seven dispatched Zack Gibson (making his debut) to build momentum ahead of their inevitable clash.

Two more established members of the RevPro roster -- The Revolutionists’ Sha Samuels & James Castle -- sailed into troubled waters as they lost quickly to the young lion team of Josh Wall & Kurtis Chapman.

Dave Mastiff takes a ride from Tyler Bate -- photo by Shoot Wrestle's JD Howells

Two more young lions opened the show, with Rob Lias tricking Dan Magee into restarting their match after Magee had won -- Lias won the do-over -- and the card was completed by a Josh Bodom win over Eddie Dennis.

RevPro are hoping for a quicker turnaround on these shows for their On Demand service this year, and they return to the York Hall with the huge High Stakes show on January 21st.

2) The brackets were announced for the WWE UK Championship tournament

With the shows taking place over two nights at Blackpool’s Empress Ballroom this weekend, the WWE released the brackets for their 16-man WWE United Kingdom Championship tournament. It revealed that Martin Stone -- under his WWE name of Danny Burch -- will be a part of the occasion, joining Mark Andrews (who was announced last week). Andrews was under contract to TNA but the expiry of that deal allowed WWE to thrust him into a competition he has every right to be in.

The brackets -- who's your pick?

That means that four of the original 18 -- as opposed to two -- will stand down and become alternates, ready to fill in for injury or other catastrophe. For Tiger Ali, Ringo Ryan, Jack Starz, and Chris Tyler, there will hopefully be other chances, especially as WWE are intending -- if the initial show is a success -- to start a weekly TV show featuring the best of our guys.

The other 14 -- with Burch and Andrews added in -- were split into two brackets, which set BritWres Twitter alight with speculation.

The big money is on two semi-finals of Trent Seven vs. Tyler Bate and Mark Andrews vs. Pete Dunne -- which would be match-ups between tag team partners (Moustache Mountain and Flips & Forearms, respectively) -- but you can’t discount the strong claims made on the final four by Jordan Devlin, Danny Burch, Wolfgang, T-Bone, James Drake, Sam Gradwell, and others.

The action is live on the WWE Network this Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. GMT, and is one of those rare times the British independent scene is totally wired about a WWE event.

3) ATTACK! Club: PRO opened the doors to WrestleHouse

Two of the UK’s most talked about promotions, ATTACK! Pro-Wrestling and Fight Club: PRO, teamed up last Saturday to present WrestleHouse at FCP’s Fixxion Warehouse home in Wolverhampton.

The show was a curious mix of both promotions, but leaned heavily towards ATTACK!’s trademark fun, which did not sit well with the Anti-Fun Police. The main event of the show appeared to be a Fight Club: PRO affair, featuring four of the competitors from this weekend’s WWE UK tournament, in tag team action.

However, the referee for the match -- FCP Champion Pete Dunne & Dan Moloney vs. Moustache Mountain -- was Shay Purser, who regularly referees at FCP but recently turned heel with ATTACK! and it was in that guise he appeared.

A fan wins the title! -- photo by Turning Face's Jim Maitland

All was going well until Purser -- who had earlier in the night pinned ATTACK! 24/7 Champion Clint Margera (of which more later) -- refused to count the winning pinfall for the good guys, which brought out FCP’s other referee, Joel Allen.

In the confusion, Dunne & Moloney secured the victory, and escaped, but #CCK returned to the ring to beat down Moustache Mountain and Allen with Purser. This turned into an impromptu six-man but needed a referee, with both licensed officials in the match. Warren Owen, a regular fan at both ATTACK! and FCP shows, was pressed into service, and counted the pin as Allen pinned Purser, which also granted Allen the 24/7 title!

The night wasn’t over, though, as Owen -- at the urging of Seven -- rolled up Allen, and everyone celebrated in the ring to end a most bizarre show.

#CCK take control -- photo by Turning Face's Jim Maitland

Earlier in the show, “Extremely Confused” Drew Parker continued his odyssey through 1990s ECW when he came out as Drew-ven and issued an open challenge, answered by Raven’s eternal nemesis Tommy Dreamer, in the guise of Clint Margera. Unusually, Dreamer pinned Raven, and Margera claimed the 24/7 title from Parker, until Purser struck.

The show -- which is already available on demand from Fight Club: PRO’s Vimeo service -- also featured FCP rookie Omari pinning Chief Deputy Dunne of the Anti-Fun Police, Splits McPins beating debutante Killian Jacobs, and a win for #CCK over Mark Andrews & Ryan Smile. Exhausting fun.

4) Here’s three names to look for in 2017

The paucity of shows at this time of the year occasionally allows me to focus on some of the UK scene’s unsung talent, and with the World of Sport revival, the WWE UK Championship, and What Culture Pro-Wrestling putting British names on with the world’s best, there’s probably no better time. The talent featured on those shows will become increasingly familiar to the casual fan of the UK scene but there are dozens more who can make that breakout in 2017 on their own terms.

Brookes, pro-dab -- photo by Robyn G Media

Although he’s by no means a new talent, Chris Brookes is making increasing strides towards becoming everyone’s favourite wrestler -- quite a thing considering he’s so very hateable in the ring. With a wXw Shotgun title reign behind him, he’s become a regular for that promotion, as well as being high up the cards in ATTACK!, Fight Club: PRO, Southside, and others, and is making increasing in-roads into IPW:UK.

He does most of his work as half of a tag team -- either with Kid Lykos in #CCK or Travis Banks as the InterCoastal Violence Factory -- but he is one name that always comes up when PROGRESS fans are asked for suggestions for new talent. Keep an eye on the Calamari Catch King.

From the same FutureShock Wrestling school that produced talents like Jack Gallagher, James Drake, and Sam Bailey, Soner Dursun is turning heads with a series of strong displays for his home promotion -- where he holds the Adrenaline title -- and as one half of the tag team champions at Grand Pro-Wrestling.

2017 will be his third serious year of competing (he made his debut in 2012) and you’d expect him to be in demand beyond his usual haunts -- he also works for Britannia Wrestling Promotions, where he beat Drew Parker to win their Young Dragon tournament last year -- and build on a 2016 which saw him debut for PROGRESS.

Maxted, money body -- photo by John Morrissey

Appearing on a reality TV show can be a poisoned chalice, but Adam Maxted went into ITV’s Love Island (a show which throws singletons together in paradise and hopes for action they can’t broadcast) with his eyes open and his intentions clear: he wanted to use it to boost his wrestling career.

Trained at Pro-Wrestling Ulster, Maxted is picking up bookings on the mainland, turning heads for Southside, the XWA, and Fight!Nation, amongst others, with solid fundamentals, a money body, and a down-to-earth approach to his chosen career. It won’t be long before the bigger UK promotions take notice, and with that WWE UK carrot dangling, it could be a big year for Maxted.

5) Leeds’ other wrestling promotion kicked off 2017 in the city

Although Tidal Championship Wrestling quite rightly get most of the plaudits when it comes to wrestling in Leeds, there is another promotion in the city very quietly going about their business. RISE -- which at one point awkwardly stood for Radical Innovations in Sports Entertainment -- ran last Friday at the Brudenall Social Club in the city, scene of many early gigs by your favourite indie bands, with a show headlined by a RISE Championship match between champion Saxon Huxley -- who is part of the WWE UK tournament this weekend -- and Liam Slater.

Fans queue outside the venue

Huxley won to keep his title, but then faced the challenge of Pastor William Eaver, who had won the show’s opening number one contenders’ battle royal and immediately cashed in his opportunity. Huxley won that match, too, and it sits well with RISE to have their champion in such a prominent position on the WWE Network.

Your Uncle Bobby and Pastor William Eaver

As well as Eaver, the show also featured a couple of other southern imports, with Nina Samuels losing to Little Miss Roxxy (both women will have big years in 2017), and “The Whizz Kid” Lance Lawrence going down to Your Uncle Bobby (The Buffet Club’s Rob Cage), as well as two locals -- Joe Vega and Kid Lux -- doing battle.

RISE return to the Brudenall in March but have a date in Middlesbrough on February 18th.