Willkommen, it's time for another Pro Wrestling World Cup qualifier. This time we are off to Berlin for the German leg. The only aspect of German culture I am familiar with is the beer, so let's all cut this writer some slack with his wrestling knowledge okay!
Joining us on commentary we have Dave Bradshaw and the glorious return of Alex Shane. I'm so happy Shane is back, he may go off topic a lot and generally act like a massive goofball, but I love him!
German World Cup 1st Round Match - Cash Money Erkan vs. Rambo Brawn (8:45)
Before I start on the match - the pre match talking head promos are all done in German. This unfortunately means I cannot cover them; German lessons were a long time ago and I was hardly fluent even back then.
The show opener was unfortunately rather unexciting. The coupling of slow action with the completely alien concept of a German president of Lucha Libre did very little for me. I guess some wrestler's characters just can't be introduced well in a tournament setting. I did like Cash Money though - he showed some decent offense (especially the uppercuts) and has an interesting tall & slender build not often seen in wrestling. Erkan getting the win with a disappointingly glancing kick didn't help matters however, and this opening contest just wasn't great.
German World Cup 1st Round Match - Pascal Spalter vs. Bad Bones (13:46)
This was by far my favourite 1st round contest, and I was not expecting to feel this way going in. They told such a great story despite the tournament setting, and it's pretty rare that two Heavyweight style wrestlers put on a match this good regardless.
I loved how in the early match Spalter was just too big for Bad Bones to handle, and his offense was entirely weight based (maybe the only time I've enjoyed shoulder blocks in wrestling!). Sprinkle on some chop contests, power moves and Alex Shane piling on the Reality TV show puns and I'm yours! The finish of the wily Bad Bones refusing to get up until he was energised enough to counter an Angle Slam into a rollup was the perfect way to show Bones isn't just a dumb hardcore wrestler - and justify his advancement in the Tournament. This was my match of the night.
German World Cup 1st Round Match - Da Mack vs. Cem Kaplan (6:08)
I was so excited to see Da Mack in action for the first time (for me) since the CWC, but I unfortunately only got 6 minutes of him!
Kaplan's striking style seemed a perfect match to Da Mack's nimble, high flying antics...but we just didn't get enough time for the action to truly pick up. Don't get me wrong, I loved getting to see Da Mack escape a submission with a headstand, I just wanted more minutes! I firmly believe these two could have put on a good match, but after the Ace Crusher finish I was left with an overwhelming feeling of "that's all?!"
German World Cup 1st Round Match - Lucky Kid vs. Juvenile X (9:01)
I'm going to take a moment here to talk about how much better named German wrestlers are than anywhere else in the world; Juvenile X, Pascal Spalter, Bad Bones, Cash Money Erkan! Need I say more?
This match up was essentially the same setup as the last match (a high flyer and a vicious thug), but better executed. Lucky Kid's character is the perfect tournament underdog, with some great high flying antics (including a beaut of a Standing Hurricanrana) to get the crowd behind him. Juvenile X just did what Kaplan did in the last match, but better, with more time to look dominant, take control and generally look nasty. An overall good match, and a lovely Dragon Suplex from Kid to finish off the Juvenile and set up a high octane 2nd round.
The Hunter Brothers vs. Toni Harding & Ronaldo Shaqiri (6:47)
If this match signifies The Hunter Brothers becoming tag division mainstays here at WCPW I will not be complaining! As an exhibition match however, it made little sense to put the Germans against a team yet to debut outside of a dark match.
In ring however this match really delivered. The Hunter Brothers showed why they are one of the best teams in the UK with some cracking double team offense and quick tags. Harding and Shaqiri certainly held their own with some fun high flying spots, but bent the rules a little too much to be babyfaces by sometimes entirely ignoring tags! A deserved victory for The Hunters (with a great sequence of top rope Hurricanrana, a splash, and a double pin) hopefully means more of them soon to come. A fantastic, fast paced match that truly maximized it's minutes!
WCPW Internet Title Match - Joe Coffey vs. Gabriel Kidd (c) (13:51)
Another WCPW show, another lackluster Internet Title match with little to no build. I loved Gabe as the losing underdog, but his title run is doing nothing for me. I just don't ever buy him beating his challengers (especially the Iron King!) and he's yet to have an actual feud.
Thanks in part to a particularly loud Scottish stag party, the crowd were firmly behind Coffey, and largely indifferent to Kidd. In ring we basically just watched 2 men chop and strike each other for longer than it was interesting. Gabriel seems to have dropped his "old finisher", the cheeky rollup, and has taken to winning with a Drew Galloway running dropkick (which is a little underwhelming). I lack emotion for this match, I'm just glad I don't have to watch it again. This was my worst match of the night.
WCPW World Championship Match - Primate vs. Joe Hendry (c) (4:10)
Two Champions collide up next. Unfortunately (for the second time tonight & one of my biggest problems with the World Cup shows) a title match with no build! Champion versus Champion is tough to construct an interesting story around at the best of times, so let's just not bother and just throw them in the ring together.
Prior to the match we got a Joe Hendry promo (shush...) that the German crowd seemed distinctly unimpressed by. The term "go away heat" comes to mind, at least for the foreign audience.
I am at least glad that before the match we got a long brawl all over the arena so Primate could bring the hardcore a little. Nothing especially extreme or exciting happened, but compared to a match between these two in the ring I think we got a more entertaining contest.
If not for the finish this would have been a decent match. Hendry dodged a spear and BARELY touched the ref to put him in the path of Primate. I had to rewatch to see if he even moved the ref it was so pathetic. Then Primate got the better of the exchange and Hendry tapped to a rear choke as the ref came to. The ref then called for the bell and stated that Primate won by DQ...urgh! Why would a ref annoyed at Hendry (for basically nothing) not call the match so he lost the belt. Awful booking that won't lead to these two having another match, as World Cup title matches tend to be a one off.
Alex Gracie vs. Kenny Williams (6:54)
I went on record, in my last review, as enjoying the Alex Gracie heel turn and wanting to see what comes next. I should have known better! Without the pathetic but entertaining edge that Prospect always had, Gracie is now just an incredibly generic heel.
The match was just boring. Kenny hit some of his lovely trademark offense (his through the ropes kick before skinning the cat, one of my favourites), but Gracie was just bland. Obviously the newly turned heel got the win with a "Fall from Gracie"/Unprettier. It seems if you qualify for the World Cup you stop winning, especially if you're Scottish! Not a fun time, would not recommend!
German World Cup 2nd Round Match - Lucky Kid vs. Da Mack (9:25)
This was almost certainly the match up with the most promise for a ridiculous high flying affair. Lucky Kid's gimmick is not one I'll pretend to understand, somewhat based on the Lion King and pulling odd faces, but I kind of like it.
The opening few sequences lived up to expectation with flips and knees galore. Then however the match was taken in a different direction with the story of Lucky Kid being outmatched by the older performer. I expected more of a flippy shit showcase but this was much better storytelling! Lucky Kid eventually scoring a "Lucky" win (with his fantastic Dragon suplex out of nowhere) sets him up perfectly as a tournament underdog.
German World Cup 2nd Round Match - Cash Money Erkan vs. Bad Bones (9:25)
You will get used to my reviews including regular gushing over Bad Bones, which will probably give you a good indication of how I felt about this match. Cash Money held his own too though, and his height really gave Bones a long way to fall (especially from an incredible Superplex).
This was such a big fight, so many power moves from both men. Bad Bones in particular threw the 6' 7" Erkan around like a child! In the end, my boy BB finished the job with a brutal middle rope Codebreaker and made me a very happy man.
The World Cup matches on this card were some of the better we've had in the tournament so far, and Lucky Kid and Bad Bones are great choices to continue further. Unfortunately the main roster matches were poorly booked, with entirely no build, and it really brought the show down. Oh, and we had no women's match, thus continuing the worrying trend of overlooking the best division on the roster. Another show, another mixed bag.
As far as the main roster storytelling is concerned, the sooner the World Cup is over the better. If the aim of the qualifiers was to take all the wind out of sails of WCPW's regular talent, then congratulations!
The Tournament is, however, shaping up to be a fun few days of finals, with some of my personal favourites qualifying already. Next stop, Japan!
Lyle 'Chips' Carr
Graps fan for 18 years