What Culture went up to Newcastle for their last World Cup qualifier, which will see the fifteenth and sixteenth wrestlers advance to the third round of the tournament. Unlike the other seven qualifier shows, the Rest of the World edition saw wrestlers from eight different countries not yet represented compete.

What Culture Pro Wrestling
Pro Wrestling World Cup
July 22, 2017
Northumbria Students’ Union
Newcastle, England

Watch: YouTube

Bradshaw and Kennedy on commentary again.

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
Travis Banks (NZL) def. Mark Davis (AUS)

Mark Davis has been making a lot of waves recently on the UK scene since moving over to the UK from Oceania, which is becoming a path somewhat well trodden. He was up against one of the guys who had gone before him here in Travis Banks, and they had a hell of an opener together.

Banks hit a dive to start the match as Davis was making his entrance, and from there they did a great job of keeping a high intensity throughout the match. Both guys hit each other with bombs, and I was loving every moment until the finish ended up being a Canadian Destroyer (my least favourite move due to a combination of overuse and general dumbness) followed with Banks’ Lion Clutch. ***1/2

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
Jurn Simmons (NLD) def. Tom LaRuffa (FRA)

Remember when Tom LaRuffa (then Sylvester LeFort) was released from WWE and there was outrage over it. Then he went to TNA and people thought they’d got a coup? Yeah, that worked out…

LaRuffa showed exactly why WWE didn’t make a mistake here. He was incredibly awkward, and seemed incapable of smooth movement as soon as he stepped into the ring. Jurn over the last year has developed into a good wrestler, but he’s not yet at the point where he can carry somebody who quite frankly appeared incompetent. This wasn’t good, but at least Jurn advanced after a running boot and a piledriver. *3/4

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
Flash Morgan Webster (WAL) def. RJ Singh (IND)

I’ve never liked Flash as a wrestler. In almost all his high profile spots he’s booked as a face, but for whatever reason his charisma has always come across to me as incredibly unlikable; I’ve never been able to root for him. In general I find most of his work sloppy and unimpactful too, and this was no different. In particular, his strikes looked really bad here, and multiple times he turned the wrong way for the bump he was taking making everything look very awkward. Unfortunately he would advance after hitting a jumping DDT followed by his Strangler finish. **

Pro Wrestling World Cup First Round
Angelico (ZAF) def. Icarus (HUN)

I’d never seen Icarus before (not the CHIKARA guy btw), so I didn’t know what to expect going in. I came away mildly impressed. He wasn’t polished by any stretch of the imagination, but he brought high levels of both effort and athleticism and worked well with Angelico to put on a good match. Angelico would end up being the one to move on though, after hitting a bicycle knee to the back of the head followed by a Fall of the Angels crucifix powerbomb. ***1/4

Pro Wrestling World Cup Second Round
Travis Banks (NZL) def. Jurn Simmons (NLD)

In the space of one show Jurn managed to go from a “Who?” reaction from the live crowd to very much being over. That’s a star for you folks. Banks tried the same quick start he used against Davis, but Jurn was having none of it. The massive Dutch man caught him and then proceeded to physically dominate Banks and throw him all around the ringside area for an extended period. It was great stuff.

My one complaint about this match was that the ending felt very abrupt, with Banks winning with an out of nowhere Slice of Heaven kick. I was enjoying the story they were telling, but after Banks was just starting to fight back they skipped to the ending. ***1/2

Pro Wrestling World Cup Second Round
Angelico (ZAF) def. Flash Morgan Webster (WAL)

While Flash continued to annoy me with his mannerisms in this match, I have to admit that his performance was better. As a main event it was disappointing, but viewed in isolation this was a solid little match. The two guys flowed pretty well together, and thankfully the right guy advanced when Angelico picked up the pinfall victory by countering into a flash pin at the end of an extended sequence of attempted signature spots from both men. ***

Final Thoughts:

Overall this qualifier was pretty much a nothing show. The two Travis Banks matches were good stuff, but nothing much watch, but other than that the standard wasn’t particularly high. The best thing that this show had going for it was that, due to clocking in at just under an hour and a half, it was an easy watch.