WCPW recently aired their penultimate World Cup qualifier which featured a field field from the United States. There’s an unique mix of TNA, ROH, Lucha Underground and indie talent, so it should be a lot of fun.

What Culture Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling World Cup
July 21, 2017
Bowlers Exhibition Centre
Manchester, England

Watch: YouTube

Happily we’ve got the better combination of WCPW commentators here, with Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy at the booth.

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
David Starr def. Bobby Fish

This match was technically sound but for the vast majority of its duration it was lacking in energy. You kinda got the impression these two were going through the motions, and while these two are both so good that they’re not going to have a bad match together, I did expect more going in. Starr advanced with the Product Placement Straightjacket German. ***1/4

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
Jay Lethal def. Moose

This encounter started strongly with both guys seeming motivated, then devolved into a bear hug special. It was far too long, and it felt like they ran out of ideas of what to fill up the match with but had already committed to going a certain length. While it did pick up somewhat towards the end, it also got pretty sloppy at the same time. It all amounted to a disappointing match in which Jay Lethal advanced forward in the World Cup. **3/4

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
Keith Lee def. James Storm

I am an unabashed super-fan of Keith Lee. I can wear the badge of pride in that I was on the Keith Lee train early, as I was singing his praises to anybody who would listen back in mid 2016 when the Pretty Boy Killers were first breaking onto the main cards for ROH. I was there live for his breakout performance on the first show of WrestleMania week against Ricochet, and I have loved every moment of his rapid ascension to the top of the indie pecking order.

That said, this wasn’t particularly good. It may have been my least favourite Keith Lee match. These two didn’t mesh well at all; they had zero chemistry. Everything was sloppy, there seemed to be a bunch of miscommunication, and I was just glad it was over when Keith advanced with his fireman’s carry jackhammer. **1/4

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
Ricochet def. Matt Sydal

You get the feeling that these two could have a very good match together in their sleep with their level of talent and familiarity with each other. They didn’t sleep through this by any means, but they definitely didn’t go all out. Without ever hitting top gear, they had a very good flowing match filled with counters and high flying offense and it was comfortably the best thing of the show to this point. After a few failed attempts, Ricochet put his former tag partner away with Benadryller to progress to the World Cup second round. ***3/4

Pro Wrestling World Cup Second Round
Jay Lethal def. David Starr

A pattern that has developed throughout this show has been that almost every match has had a slower pace than you’d expect from knowing the combatants. This was no different, but in this case it at least had a storyline justification. Starr came into this match with a knee injury from his first match, and that became the story of the match. They didn’t kill each other by any means, but they worked a really intelligent match that told a focused story throughout; I enjoyed it a lot. Starr sold his knee really well, and Lethal did a good job working over it in a compelling way and always going back to it when he was in trouble.

The finish paid it all off wonderfully too, as Lethal managed to lock on the figure four and just when it looked like Starr was going to be able to fight out Lethal began raining down punches onto Starr’s knee while still in the hold earning him the tap out victory. I love it when a move that isn’t regularly a wrestlers finisher ends up being the finish due to it specifically targeting the body part that the match has been about. ***3/4

Pro Wrestling World Cup Second Round
Ricochet def. Keith Lee

This was the sort of Keith Lee match that I’ve fallen in love with him for. Lee dominated the early stages, combining power and athleticism like only he can to overwhelm Ricochet. The future of flight only managed to turn things around with an amazing display of power of his own, when he caught Keith in mid air then threw him in a fallaway slam-esque fashion. From there we got a wonderful extended finishing stretch that capped off the match wonderfully.

This wasn’t quite on the level of their EVOLVE match, but it wasn’t a million miles away either. It would have broken the four snowflake barrier were it not for one small spot that I wasn’t a big fan of where Keith essentially ignored the affects of a shooting star press (a move Ricochet has used as a finish in the promotion at times), so it is instead falling just below. Ricochet ended up being the fourteenth man to advance to the third round of the World Cup when he reversed Keith’s fireman’s carry jackhammer into a small package. ***3/4

Final Thoughts:

The American leg of WCPW’s World Cup ended up being a good show with a really strong second half. While it was perhaps lacking that one great match to put it over the top there were three that got close, and it has the facts that it is available for free on YouTube and that it clocked in at just over two hours on its side too. For my money the best World Cup offering yet.