NJPW help Rev Pro to 11 years as Zack confronts Ospreay

Challenge issued for Royal Quest III?

Royal Quest III October 14 Copper Box Arena TICKETS 

Photography Sarah Hatch/BritWres Pics & Scott Lesh

The main event of Rev Pro’s XI Anniversary card saw one classic rivalry continued between Shingo Takagi and Will Ospreay; and a match that ended with hints of another rivalry to continue at Royal Quest in October. A loud crowd at the Copper Box home of Royal Quest III chanted loud and long for the IWGP UK Champion, who started with a high speed series with Takagi, Shingo easily matching pace with his foe. Ospreay would finally get the edge with a plancha, but the Dragon responded soon after with a Ryukon Lariat and a DDT on the floor. Takagi held a brief advantage, stalled by a handspring overhead from the Aerial Assassin, but knowing his opponent well, Takagi hit a Ryukon DDT and stayed on the neck. A German suplex into the corner was followed by a superplex from the top for two.

Reeling, and with a pained neck, Ospreay desperately avoided Made In Japan and landed Slumdog Millionaire before stopping a lariat attempt with a huge powerbomb. Shingo would almost fall victim to an OsCutter and then the Leap of Faith, each move getting two. Takagi forced out of his comfort zone landed a poison rana in response to one from Ospreay, and with necessity the mother of invention, caught a Hidden Blade into Made In Japan. After Takagi went for Last of the Dragon, an escape from Ospreay led to Strombreaker, but Shingo kicked out to a roar from the crowd. After Last of the Dragon scored for Takagi, Ospreay had a surge of adrenaline that led to a Hidden Blade, and both men down. As both eventually made their feet, Ospreay struck first with a Hidden Blade, and a second Stormbreaker for three. 

Ospreay didn’t have time to celebrate after the main event, confronted on the microphone by Zack Sabre Jr. ZSJ expressed his love for RevPro before turning his attention to Royal Quest October 14. ‘You have a belt that I believe says IWGP United Kingdom Champion,’ he remarked. ‘If you keep hold of that championship, then you’ve got yourself your next challenger.’ Was this an appeal to face Ospreay or his opponent Yota Tsuji depending on their result in Kobe September 24? Or an appeal to face the Aerial Assassin whether or not the title is on the line October 14? Time will tell.

Tomohiro Ishii engaged in a memorable encounter with Luke Jacobs on the night. The promising young heavyweight Jacobs wanted to meet the Stone Pitbull blow for blow, and there were plenty of them as a chop exchange rang through the Copper Box. Despite Jacobs’ best efforts, Ishii had the distinct advantage in the standup, one shot from Ishii equivalent to a handful from his opposition. The young man did have success with a suplex then a powerbomb however, and a Saito suplex got a near two. 

The match growing more violent, chop exchanges grew to German suplexes being traded to the delight of the crowd. Jacobs showed incredible toughness in staying with the cement headed Ishii, but his signature offense of the Hypersonic Missile lariat and powerbomb were not enough to put the CHAOS member away. A second Missile led to a one count to a thunderous reception; moments later, Jacobs kicked out at one to a lariat from Ishii for an even louder reaction. The Briton continued to push Ishii to the limit, but just as he hooked Ishii for the killing Blue Moon Driver, Ishii instead landed a Vertical Drop Brainbuster for three. 

Before Zack Sabre Jr. issued his Royal Quest challenge to Will Ospreay, he pit himself against Ricky Knight Jr. Though the match would start in a classical grappling style fitting for a modern British icon taking on the youngest member of the British wrestling dynasty, the fighting Knight was always going to have a bigger edge when things got rough. In the face of Sabre’s limb work, RKJ got the advantage on the floor, and when Sabre launched strikes to bait the young man into an exchange, RKJ shut down ZSJ with a stunning headbutt. Sabre withstood Knight’s hardest shots, kicking out of a 450 Splash to boot, before hooking in a tenacious rear naked choke that led to the stoppage. 

Tag team action saw El Phantasmo up against the BULLET CLUB War Dogs tandem of Gabe Kidd and David Finlay, bringing in a huge ringer in the form of Katsuyori Shibata. The crowd was all behind ELP in the face of the War Dogs, and erupted when Phantasmo tagged in Shibata; the BULLET CLUB side was able to jump the Wrestler from behind, but Shibata and Phantasmo both turned the tide. Shibata buried brutal kicks to former student Kidd, before stopping Finlay getting involved in a spike piledriver attempt, Phantasmo countering into a cradle for the pinfall. 

Kosei Fujita had the first UK match of his graduation ‘world tour’ at XI Anniversary, taking on JJ Gale. A contest of the Portsmouth School of Wrestling against the Noge Dojo, the match started with a tense exchange of holds before Gale got quick and landed a tope con giro to the outside. Back in, Fujita struck back hard, reddening the chest with hard chops, and met a quebrada and a swanton with a Boston Crab that nearly forced a submission. After a backpack knee from Gale though, it was a British version of the Boston that won the match for the young prospect, and earned Gale a future bout against Zack Sabre Jr in a RevPro event to come.

The card started with a grudge match for Leon Slater against former ally turned BULLET CLUB War Dog Drilla Moloney. A wild open saw Slater dive over the top to Moloney before a brawl erupted at ringside. With spectacular athleticism and anger for his one time best friend, Slater was the aggressor for a lot of the match, but after being sent sternum first into the guardrail, was caught with a huge Gore from Moloney. Still the young Slater was unbowed, and after using his version of the Drilla Killa, hit a 450 to the back to pick up the victory.