On the 14th of June last year, I took a slightly round-the-houses trip to a wrestling show in Bethnal Green solely to see Jushin 'Thunder' Liger work a match. It was a pretty special thing. This past Sunday, exactly a year later, I went back to Bethnal Green to see another of Revolution Pro's wrestling shows. While it's pretty common for UK wrestling promotions to bring in well known workers from the US and Japan, RevPro seem to bring in bigger names and more of them and bloody hell they stack a card.
The closing match of first half featured Kevin Steen. The "Internet dirtsheets" would call him an "indy wrestling darling", but they can take their smart-mark snark and shove it up their arses. Steen is possibly the most complete wrestler I've ever seen - he connects with the crowd, he's quick and funny, improvises in the ring, and he can "really go". He's off to the "big leagues" of the WWE and so is effectively on a farewell tour at the moment. Working with Marty Scurll, they really put on a show. It was a privilege to seem him wrestle.
I could left then and been pretty happy, but the match I'd made the trip to see was up next - Shinsuke Nakamura vs Zack Sabre Jr. It was just amazing. Zack isn't the biggest guy in the world but looked like he belonged in there - the match was terrifically stiff and energetic. But Nakamura, Nakamura, Nakamura. Nakamura is just electrifying. He just has something - you can't take your eyes of him.
When the MC asked York Hall? Are you ready for the next match? my honest response was no I'm done, just send me home so it's a credit to guys in the final two matches that they managed to not just engage, but reignite the crowd. In truth, the final match of Prince Devitt vs Adam Cole probably would have got people going even if they'd come out and just jabbed each other in the chest for a bit. Devitt, after many years at the working at top level in Japan, is also joining WWE shortly and so this was probably his final appearance at a RevPro show. Cole is the top star in Ring Of Honor, one of the largest of the American independents. Booking logic said Cole should win but emotion wanted Devitt to go out on a high and, in the end, he did.
I came out of York Hall so hopped up I eshewed the tube, with its standing and waiting and its heat and its shuffling crowds, instead walking, striding, loping even, from Bethnal Green along the length of the City Road back to Euston and the train home.
» ProWrestling Torch Glossary of Insider Terms - defines the term insider in a kind of meta-glossary ahead of the glossary itself
» Kevin Steen might be heading to WWE - includes the phrase "independent wrestling darling".