Home Promotions Indies RevPro women's division 2019 report

RevPro women’s division 2019 report

Revolution Pro Wrestling (RevPro) is best known for high quality matches between men, with their biggest recent buzz generated by Zack Sabre Jr.’s Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship matches against PAC and Shigehiro Irie. But the RevPro women’s division has also included some cool developments and matches since 2019 began, with the RevPro Queen of the Ring tournament and exciting RPW British Women’s Championship match at New Year’s Resolution. Tomorrow’s Live in Bristol show will likely set up Sammii Jayne as champ Zoe Lucas’s next challenger, so let’s take a look at the events of this month that let us to this point.

All the shows discussed in this article can be watched on RPW On Demand. All pictures used in this article are from Beyond Gorilla, whose full albums of RPW action shots can be seen on the promotion’s Facebook page.

Source: Beyond Gorilla

The RevPro Queen of the Ring tournament at the Live at the Cockpit 36 & 37 shows in London featured a who’s who of the BritWres scene’s current female talent not recently snapped up by NXT UK. Along with Lucas, the third-ever holder of the British Women’s Championship created in January 2018, the competition had Sammii Jayne, Zan Phoenix, Kellyanne, Chardonnay, Laura Di Matteo, Yuu, and Debbie Keitel.

Going into opening match of the tournament’s opening/quarter final round at Live at the Cockpit 36, Keitel had to be very much a dark horse pick. Her opponent, Zan Phoenix, was preparing to wrestle Kay Lee Ray, but Ray was, according to commentary, replaced by Keitel, making her RevPro debut, “on twenty-four hours notice.” Debbie “No flips and all hips” Keitel’s sultry character (if you’ve seen Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof, you’ll immediately get why she uses “Down In Mexico” as her entrance theme) was a sharp contrast to Zan Phoenix’s more punky persona.

The match, which overall was not the strongest possible opener, saw Phoenix bend the rules more and more and consistently dominate her opponent. She shut down what looked like it might be a comeback for Keitel, but still couldn’t manage to put her away. After kicking out of a really nice Northern Lights Suplex and a knee to the head, Keitel finally managed to get the better of a strike exchange and pin Phoenix after an X Factor and a big facebuster. She moved onto the semi-finals, but her first round win was far from a dominant one, and left how she would do later in the tournament up in the air.

The RevPro crowd was much more invested in the tournament’s second match, Sammii Jayne vs. Kellyanne. After “the Scottish Sensation and the Main Event Empress” talked trash with the audience, a strong lockup got the match off to an aggressive start. The wrestlers looked evenly matched, and neither showed a shortage of attitude. The crowd was on Kellyanne’s side as both women managed to hit and kick out of high impact moves, but a strike and a knee from Jayne sent her to the second round looking like a contender.

After two men’s matches, RevPro returned to Queen of the Ring action with Chardonnay vs. Laura Di Matteo. Di Matteo looked very focused, with no frills and all business, and the visual contrast with the glamorous Chardonnay, representing Stardom’s Queen’s Quest, couldn’t have been more dramatic. In contrast to the Jayne vs. Kellyanne, both women here wrestled methodically, looking to take each other apart technically rather than put on a slobberknocker. Di Matteo hit most of the match’s flashier moves and overall gave a great performance, really earning the support of the crowd. But after managing to just about not lose for much of the match, much like Keitel in the tournament opener, Chardonnay ultimately picked up the W with a club to the chest and a powerbomb.

The show’s semi-main event pit the heel champ Zoe Lucas, an American former cheerleader, against beloved babyface guest star Yuu, a Japanese judoka and former Tokyo Joshi Pro wrestler who’s been working internationally as a freelancer. The audience expressed their disappointment at this being a non-title match, but, as commentary pointed out, Yuu could earn both a title shot and a spot in the semi-finals by defeating Lucas.

This was a pretty strong match in which the crowd was invested throughout. Yuu gained control early with a shoulder tackle, crowd-pleasing chop, sidewalk slam, and cannonball, but Lucas clawed her way back to the top with an eye rake and a high side kick. But after Yuu managed to escape a finisher from Lucas, a judo throw and a sick Last Ride got her the win. She seemed as likable outside the ring as she was powerful in it as she high-fived fans around the venue while making her exit… but not before pointing back at the angry Lucas, making her intentions clear. Lucas broke into a full screaming tantrum and stormed out.

Yuu had much worse luck the following night at Live At The Cockpit 37, where she was defeated by Sammii Jayne in the semi-finals. Jayne was accidentally announced as “Sami Zayn” and got some “Ole!” chants and looked decidedly pissed off at the match’s start. Jayne has a quality you don’t see as much in the current generation of wrestlers compared to previous ones, where she seems like she really would fight someone in real life, so what would harmfully distract others seems to just fire her up.

Both women were aggressive from the collar and elbow tie up, and, probably thinking of the final match to be wrestled later the same night, went for pins early. Jayne and Yuu battled it out, each getting more and more frustrated as their opponent continued to kick out. It looked like Yuu could have the answer to Jayne when she locked on a kata ja jime, but that was also when Zoe Lucas decided to make an entrance, tauntingly holding her belt high. Yuu released her hold and advanced on the champion, but Jayne recovered and shoved her from behind, knocking Lucas to the ground. Yuu was able to regain control of the match but was again distracted by Lucas, and when she hit the ropes after Jayne escaped a Last Ride, Lucas hit her in the back with the belt. This turned out to be the final straw in the match, and Jayne was able to capitalize, hit her finisher, and pin.

The vengeful Lucas had just cost Yuu the tournament, but with Yuu angry and still coming for her title, that might not have been the best idea. Jayne, having used a combination of fighting hard and opportunism to become a Queen of the Ring finalist, also looked, at this point, like someone for Lucas to watch out for in the future.

The next semi-final match, in which Debbie Keitel defeated Chardonnay, was weaker than the previous, but Keitel came out of it looking a lot stronger than her first. Chardonnay got meaner and meaner as the match went on and Keitel earned a solid amount of support from the crowd. She escaped some painful-looking leg work and managed to create some distance with a desperate dropkick. She was then finally able to answer Chardonnay’s kicks with a German suplex, and after kicking out a pin by her opponent, took home the win with a creative bridge. She still seemed like an underdog going into the final, but one more likely to surprise you.

Before the final and after two men’s matches, the show featured a tag team match with a fun level of urgency and lots of internal drama between the losers of the quarterfinals: Kellyanne and Zan Phoenix vs. Laura Di Matteo and Zoe Lucas. Kellyanne causing Di Matteo to accidentally strike Lucas was the final straw for their tense team, and an offended Lucas hit her finisher on Di Matteo and ditched her. But that didn’t mean their opponents were all sunshine and roses. Phoenix ended up getting the pinfall victory after throwing Kellyanne out of the ring. After this tag, Kellyanne and Di Matteo were more aligned with each other than their partners.

The tournament final for the right for a wrestler to both call herself Queen of the Ring and get a championship opportunity in the future saw Jayne as the RevPro crowd’s clear favorite.  The surprise return of referee Chris Roberts, apparently on the same flight back from Japan as ZSJ, gave the audience another little shot of energy.

Both women pulled out all the stops, resulting in exciting moments like Jayne blocking the X Factor that helped Keitel out the day before and Keitel blocking a suplex from Jayne on the apron to land her own. Keitel seemed to have the answer to Jayne for much of the match, blocking one powerbomb attempt and reversing another midair into the X Factor she had been denied earlier. Jayne responded to this by unleashing her inner killer, delivering a nasty neckbreaker and double knees while Keitel was trapped in the ropes. After a surprising transition to a superplex and a bridging submission similar to the pin that advanced her to the finals, it looked like Keitel might actually be able to take it home. However, Jayne was able to dodge Keitel’s next move in a way that perfectly set up her sliding German suplex and follow it up with that running knee to become the 2019 RevPro Queen of the Ring.

Snapping at her naysayers in the crowd as she received her sash, tiara, and bouquet of flowers, Jayne looked like a deserving winner and possibly a really fun future champion. It’s still unknown when Jayne will get her title match, but with she and Yuu tagging against Lucas and Chardonnay at tomorrow’s RevPro show, it seems like we should find out soon.

The epilogue, of sorts, to the 2019 Queen of the Ring tournament was the British Women’s Championship match between Lucas and Yuu at New Year’s Resolution at G Live in Guildford. This was the only women’s match on a card that also featured Will Ospreay vs. Chris Brookes, Jay White vs. Chris Ridgeway, and the previously mentioned ZSJ vs. Irie in the main event. The crowd sounded invested in this match from the entrances, with Yuu cheered and Lucas met with a rowdy mix of cheers and boos.

The match’s first five minutes were so eventful and substantial that they felt like they could have been ten. Yuu started strong with a judo throw and two cannonballs that caused Lucas to wait outside of the ropes to recover. Her scorpion kick from outside the ropes was met by Yuu scooping the champ up into a sidewalk slam once she was back inside. After a nearfall by her opponent and a weak dropkick, there was a lot of mean-spiritedness behind Lucas’s strikes, though there definitely could have been more force.

The crowd was invested as both women laid each other out and screamed as they rose to their feet for a chop battle. Backed by a wholesome “Yuu can do it” chant, the Japanese Judo Fighter tried for an armbar on Lucas, but the champ wouldn’t let it lock in and rolled it over into a nearfall. When Yuu later caught a high crossbody and set up for a Last Ride, it looked like she could leave the match with the gold. But Lucas was able to escape the powerbomb, push Yuu into the ropes, and pin her with both feet on the ropes.

The cheating was obvious to the audience, but the referee was somehow oblivious, and Lucas retained her title with an honesty shocking finish to an excellent, compact match. Yuu protested, Lucas mocked her, and the crowd booed. It was a controversial and frustrating win, exactly the kind that makes you hope for someone to take the title from an underhanded heel champion.

Though some of their women’s matches this year have been notably stronger than others, RevPro has started 2019 by setting up their women’s division as a compelling part of their shows and definitely one worth keeping up with. The impending Jayne vs. Lucas title match will definitely be one to watch.

Emily Pratt
Emily Pratt is a Los Angeles-based freelance writer. She currently writes about wrestling (mainly NJPW) for With Spandex on Uproxx and is a new addition to the Diva Dirt team. You can find her @emilyofpratt on Twitter.