WCPW are here to celebrate their first birthday, with a huge card stuffed with 10 matches. Will it be a party to remember or will it all end with joke candles and stale cake?
The opening video package caught us up with recent events; Rampage winning the Number 1 contender's match, the events leading Prospect's emotional journey coming to an end tonight and El Ligero's dastardly heel turn and joining the Prestige.
On commentary, Dave Bradshaw & James R Kennedy were calling the action, as seems to be becoming the norm outside of Pro Wrestling World Cup Qualifiers.
WCPW Internet Title Match - Sha Samuels vs. Gabriel Kidd (c) (6:01)
We opened the show with a decidedly average Internet Title match. This match had some decent exchanges and good character moments (Sha playing a great bully to Kidd's underdog) but was over before it really got going. Sha getting pinned in a clean and decisive manner after Kidd's other fluke roll-up victories seemed odd and might not help Sha rise up the card as a WCPW newcomer. The match seemed to (disappointingly) draw a line under a feud that had an interesting Twitter build. The Ameen promo after the match was a nice touch (sound levels aside) but I'm hoping we are given something more to build Kidd as a slightly credible champion.
Backstage and around the arena we saw clips of Primate grunting and collecting weapons for his Hardcore Title match later tonight, including a barbed wire 2x4 outside in a wheelie bin. A nice bit of hype and spot teasing for the hardcore match, but I personally dislike Primate's monkey persona and for me, the segment only served as a reminder that he's not intimidating in this monster roll.
Scottish World Cup Qualifying Match - BT Gunn vs. Kenny Williams (9:01)
I'm really glad we finally got this match to fix the brackets that Drew Galloway-Mcintyre so handily ruined!
Although this match was also on the short side, it was much more enjoyable than the opening contest, in part due to the hard hitting fast paced offence (especially BT's kicks, Damn!). My only real complaint is, despite the high stakes, Kenny didn't seem to be taking the match that seriously (highlighted by his "Noogie" to Gunn mid-match) which left me even more surprised when he won! Neither man really has an obvious feud going forward, and they had great chemistry. I hope we see this again, preferably with a more personal twist and longer matches.
Polo Promotions vs. Moss & Slater (11:13)
This match served as a great introduction for Polo Promotion's heel work, as Mark and Jackie made their way to the ring the crowd's reaction was quiet and mixed. As they scurried away after the post match beat down on Liam Slater they were drenched in boos.
This match was a little slow paced for my taste at times, but had some great moments - both in terms of sequences, working Jackie Polo's arm, and character work for Polo Promotions. If this feud is allowed to continue long term I honestly think the Polos could gather the most heat on the WCPW roster. And with a Polos victory and the post match potential "injury" of Liam Slater, it looks like we could be in for a hell of a ride, with this match as a perfectly good first step.
WCPW Women's Championship Match - Kay Lee Ray vs. Viper w/ Bea Priestley (c) (4:17)
I have a lot to say about this match/angle, so grab some popcorn and enjoy my pain as I hammer on the keyboard in a blind fury.
The idea of having a title defended by a champion's heavy in their stead is perfectly fine, but a title change in that match makes me feel sympathetic for poor Bea! The storytelling in the WCPW Women's division has been incredibly stilted thanks to the World Cup Qualifiers ignoring the division entirely. The fact that this title change came out of nowhere, to a WCPW newcomer, in a 4 minutes match is baffling.
The match itself was too short to write home about. Although Kay Lee Ray looked decent in her handicapped babyface role, she already did it better at Chain Reaction 4 months ago in the same match! The confusion between the heels and a crutch shot from Priestley causing Viper to lose already makes KLR feel like an undeserving champion.
I really want to love Women's wrestling in WCPW...but we've either had bad booking or no women's matches at all since Nixon lost the title and left in February! At least if given any time Kay Lee Ray vs Bea Priestley should be a good match.
Joe Coffey vs. Moose (17:53)
Despite this match having no stakes (besides kind of being a rubber match) and being booked entirely as a showcase of Moose before the US qualifiers, this match was great. This was the first match on the card given enough time to truly shine and Coffey and Moose really delivered with an incredibly fast paced heavyweight contest. Before this match, I had no idea Joe Coffey could hit a perfectly decent Hurricanrana and paired with the incredible agility of moose the two put on a match not out of place on 205 live (without the negative connotations!).
If I had 1 complaint with this contest, it was that they fell into the stereotypical Indy trap of almost no selling combinations of huge signature moves. It may be more of a personal preference, but both men kicking out at 1 in the closing minutes of a match goes against most wrestling logic. Regardless, after a strong Moose showing and a big victory, I am really excited for the US qualifiers with the talent selection coming over in a couple of weeks.
Jay Lethal vs. Davey Richards (10:28)
If you thought the last match had no stakes, you ain't seen nothing yet. The trend of showcasing competitors in the World Cup on "Main roster shows" continues, and on a card with so many short matches I can't help but feel the time could be better spent elsewhere.
The match itself was entirely unremarkable. Both men are fantastic wrestlers...but without any reason to fight, in the middle of the card, with only 10 minutes to work with, we were never going to see a classic. More time was spent with Jay & Davey arguing overthrowing a T-Shirt into the crowd than building an enjoyable match.
After Jay scored the win with a Lethal Injection, we had another run in from Drake. I don't understand where we are going with Drake's new gimmick of attacking babyfaces after matches...and his continued failure at this is just making look pathetic.
WCPW Tag Team Championship Match - Prospect vs. The Swords of Essex (c) (20.00)
This match probably has the most intriguing build of any match on the card, Prospect's last match before Lucas Archer leaves, coupled with the long-awaited return of Will Ospreay, meant these 4 guys had a lot to live up to...and I think they did.
I firmly believe that The Swords of Essex cannot have a bad match, and I am yet to be proven wrong. Will Ospreay plays the role of "the cocky prick that is annoyingly talented" perfectly. Scotty Wainwright is every loud obnoxious bloke that you've silently hated when you're trying to have a quiet drink at the pub.
The match centred around the Swords isolating Lucas Archer, and viciously focusing on his injured knee. Alongside this we had a cavalcade of incredible double team moves, including my personal favourite: the Double Stomp Death Valley Driver. Prospect held their own and Lucas Archer specifically looked so determined to survive - unfortunately, this was not to be after 4 or 5 knee-focused submissions. This was easily my match of the night.
Once the match was over we had the moment that all Prospect fans are ready to forget, the surprising heel turn of Alex Gracie. I actually thought they did a great job of concealing that this was coming post match. Both men embracing in the ring and then Gracie teasing an attack at the top of the ramp left me certain that once he left for the back, Lucas Archer and the fans were safe. I was a little disappointed at how tame the attack was when it came though, especially with the fantastic brutal split of NXT's DIY in recent memory.
WCPW Hardcore Championship Match - Primate vs. Jimmy Havoc (14:16)
The much anticipated first ever Hardcore Title match was up next and had a lot to live up to after the tag match. We had a lot of brutal bloody spots in this match, my personal most cringe-inducing moment was the cheese grater busting open Primate (gross). After taking an understandably ridiculous amount of punishment (2 tables and a chair) Havoc was finished off with a weirdly creative spot, getting spiked through a barbed wire ironing board.
I really enjoyed this match, Jimmy and Primate were a great choice to kick off this division. The only booking decision I have to question is, in the middle of this awful war, Primate shoving James R Kennedy's face into the WCPW birthday cake (a little more circus clown than monster). Havoc losing was made much more understandable by commentary selling how recently he put his life on the line (and won!) in the CZW Tournament of Death, which also gives Jimmy a good reason to challenge again in the future. Long live hardcore wrestling.
Before the next match, we had a brief backstage segment where Plumpy had to quickly and awkwardly mention that Martin Kirby still has his Magnificent 7 Title shot (which now has it's very own knock-off Money in the Bank briefcase) for the sole purpose of putting it on the line in our next match.
Martin Kirby vs. El Ligero (10:21)
Starting off we had Joe Hendry (after embarrassingly shushing an already quiet crowd) challenge Kirby to put his briefcase on the line or disappoint the fans as Ligero would not compete. If the Title shot hadn't been forgotten by WCPW until now, this would have been a clever angle! With his new theme and all black Prestige gear, El Ligero feels fresh. To be frank this is the first time I've been at all interested in the Mexican Sensation.
This match was used mainly as a showcase of Heel Ligero, which I enjoyed. His offence was much more striking based, and the use of heel spots (especially pulling Kirby up from a pinning attempt to inflict more punishment) only served to add to his character.
The match ending with the "photographer" distracting Kirby and being revealed as announcer Stevie Aaron felt like a let down on the show, but I think the angle could be worth it. I've always enjoyed non-wrestlers joining factions and the Prestige having their own personal ring announcer fits them perfectly.
WCPW World Championship Match - Rampage vs. Joe Hendry (c) (10:03)
Onto our main event; a match that, to me, doesn't feel either exciting or a fresh. Despite being banned from ringside, the entire Prestige interfering was incredibly predictable and only serves to make a once exciting faction feel tired and unoriginal.
The match was (as you may have guessed already) half-baked. From Rampage entirely no selling the initial attack from three guys, to the Prestige leaving the ring once the match had started (as they were banned) just to come out again when Hendry floundered...what a load of rubbish. Hendry getting an undeserved victory wouldn't be an issue (as the heel champion), but the way this played out was dire. This was my worst match of the night.
This may be a little harsh, but this show serves as a perfect anniversary of WCPW. An entirely hit and miss show with moments of greatness, glimmers of hope for the future, questionable booking and matches showcasing wrestlers not on the roster.
With a variety of World Cup shows coming up next for WCPW, I am more than a little worried with how many divisions will be ignored for the coming weeks-months. The World Cup itself, however, is full of potential and I'm interested to see who's going to make it to the stacked semi-finals.
Lyle 'Chips' Carr
Graps fan for 18 years