With a format similar to PWG's Battle of Los Angeles where the opening rounds narrowed the field to a multi-person final, Revolution Pro Wrestling's British J-Cup continued in Manchester, England yesterday.
In this case, the field of 16 was reduced to a four-way final. Day one saw the opening round matches, and yesterday's event began with the first match of the second round.
- El Phantasmo defeated Jushin Thunder Liger in a British J-Cup second round match
Liger is the defending tournament champion, while El Phantasmo recently had an excellent match for the Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship.
They began with comedy, as Liger borrowed Phantasmo’s sunglasses to mimic his pose, and then made Phantasmo promise not to double-cross him before shaking his hand. There was then an extended sequence of the larger Liger using mat-wrestling to wear down Phantasmo, with Liger busting out the Gory Special, Camel Clutch, and abdominal stretch.
They exchanged high spots, with Liger doing a nice cannonball off the ring apron onto Phantasmo. The finish came with Liger struggling to get ELP back to his feet after hitting him with the brainbuster. A frustrated Liger asked to be declared the victor by knockout, only for Phantasmo to roll him up for the win.
A slightly silly finish but this was a fun opener. And as somebody who has bought tickets to see Liger in Revolution Pro Wrestling three times only for real life to intervene each time, it was cool to finally see him.
- KUSHIDA defeated David Starr in a British J-Cup second round match
Starr is the Undisputed British Cruiserweight Champion, and unlike elsewhere, works as a heel in RevPro. Before the match, Starr cut his standard heel promo, complaining about how the promotion’s management is conspiring against him. As ever, he was joined by his preferred official Shay Purser.
This was a really good match as the two combined technical wrestling with stiff striking exchanges. The finish centered on Purser. Starr used him as a human shield, forcing KUSHIDA to move the referee out of the way. This created the distraction for Starr to land a low blow. However, the following pinfall only got a two. Starr went for his championship belt, only for Purser to argue with him, ultimately grabbing the belt from him. This allowed KUSHIDA to hit the small package driver for the victory.
Nice touch in the post-match, with Starr staring at the British J-Cup before going to the back.
- CCK (Chris Brookes & Jonathan Gresham) & Chris Ridgeway defeated Tiger Mask IV, Ryusuke Taguchi & Dean Allmark
This was the first of many consolation matches for defeated British J-Cup participants. They began with an awesome chain wrestling sequence between Gresham and Allmark. Eventually, they tagged out to Brookes and Tiger Mask. Ridgeway and then Taguchi tagged in, with Taguchi hitting all three men with the hip attack. Indeed he ran wild, hitting it on them multiple times. He went for one off the top rope, but Ridgeway countered into a dragon screw.
Brookes tagged back in, with the heels rotating the tag as they worked over Taguchi, with a particular emphasis on his hip and backside. Taguchi’s selling of this destruction was something to behold. At the third attempt, he hit the hip attack on Ridgeway and tagged in Tiger Mask. The heels rallied and almost secured the pin on Tiger Mask, but he managed to kick out and then tag in Allmark.
Allmark teared into the opposition by hitting several big high-flying moves, including a moonsault from the top rope to the outside. However, Ridgeway was able to trap him in the rear naked choke. With some added manipulation of the fingers, Ridgeway secured the submission victory.
- Rich Swann defeated Yoh in a British J-Cup second round match
Yoh's full entrance routine is really something to see in person. They had a great match, which had plenty of action and shifts in momentum.
Swann dominated the early stages, landing some hard chops to the chest of Yoh. The Chaos member made a comeback, working the leg of Swann for an extended period of time. They traded big moves until Swann re-injured his leg. Yoh trapped him in a figure four, managing to move Swann into the center of the ring. Swann was able to escape after reversing the hold. The finish came when Swann hit the 450 splash for the victory.
- Rocky Romero defeated Sho in a British J-Cup second round match
What began as a good-natured babyface match between the two Roppongi 3K members gained some extra spice added to it when Sho accused Rocky Romero of poking him in the eye. He proceeded to lay in heavy strikes, demanding his trainer do the same. Romero regained the advantage after stretching Sho with an abdominal stretch. Sho made a comeback, getting a two count following a flurry of kicks.
A fun sequence left both men on the floor after they both kept trying to go for clotheslines and V-Triggers. Romero escaped and secured a bridging pin on Sho for the victory after evading a slam. They embraced afterwards.
- Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) defeated Flamita & Bandido
They opened with some comedy about the size difference between Davis and the other competitors. Not only did we have the usual big man vs. little man spots (i.e. test of strength and shoulder charges), but we had fun moments like where the other three kipped up while Davis needed time to psych himself to jump to his feet. At one point, he even used the second rope to do a lucha escape.
The match was more than comedy with there being some spectacular moments as all four let loose in an all-action match. Aussie Open secured the win with the fidget spinner. I hope that we get to see these two teams face each other again when they have more time and a livelier crowd.
- Ringkampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) defeated LAX (Santana & Ortiz)
This was a fairly basic big-man match, although both sides worked well together. LAX spent much of the match trying to isolate Thatcher from WALTER, in particular winding up the big Austrian so that he would make mistakes to the detriment of his tag team partner.
Ringkampf would however rally, ultimately securing the double submission victory.
- El Phantasmo defeated Rich Swann, Rocky Romero, and KUSHIDA in a four-way elimination match to win the British J-Cup
They had a really fun match that was only slightly marred by the odd brainfart of having several pinfalls interrupted by other wrestlers in what was an elimination match.
This was a showcase for the eventual winner El Phantasmo, who started the match by doing his always impressive trademark spots of evading opponents attacks while walking the ropes. KUSHIDA and Romero were eliminated in quick succession, with Romero pinning KUSHIDA after he was hit by David Starr with the British Cruiserweight title belt, only to then fall victim to a superkick from El Phantasmo.
There was then a prolonged battle between Phantasmo and Swann, with the crowd firmly behind Phantasmo. Phantasmo secured the victory by following up a super hurricanrana with a frog splash and then a moonsault from opposite corners of the ring.
The show ended with El Phantasmo being presented the British J-Cup and being congratulated by the other babyfaces.
Final thoughts --
A fun show, and the eclectic mix of performers led to a variety of matches throughout. The big story was El Phantasmo’s victory, which surely will set up a rematch with Starr for the British Cruiserweight title. There is also the question of whether KUSHIDA’s interactions with the champion will lead to him challenging Starr sometime soon.
Both nights of the British Super J Cup 2018 will soon be available on Revolution Pro Wrestling’s Video On Demand Service, which you can subscribe to at https://rpwondemand.pivotshare.com for $8.49 per month.