On the eve of the Pro Wrestling World Cup Quarterfinals, WCPW offered a stacked card (pardon the pun) with preview matches featuring wrestlers from the tournament. With matches like Penta El 0 M vs. Rampage Brown, Rey Mysterio vs. Ricochet, and the main event of Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll, this was a damn good card on paper.
WHAT CULTURE PRO WRESTLING
AUGUST 22, 2017
O2 ACADEMY LEEDS
There was a preshow where Gabriel Kidd successfully defended the Internet Championship against Lucky Kid. I’m a bit disappointed Gabriel didn’t make the main show, as he’s usually in one of the best matches on the show. Also on that preshow, Will Ospreay was offered a spot in top heel unit The Prestige, which is led by WCPW Champion Joe Hendry. Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy are on commentary.
HIROMU TAKAHASHI DEF. SPEEDBALL MIKE BAILEY
For anyone wondering, Takahashi had Daryl with him. This was a fun exhibition match. Bailey bumped around like a ragdoll for Takahashi, taking a few nasty bumps into the barricade. Daryl got involved too, hitting an assisted forearm on Bailey. Takahashi would get the win with a variant of the Time Bomb. It looked like Bailey kicked out, but the ref counted three and they just went with it. ***1/4
JAY LETHAL DEF. ANGELICO, DRAKE
I was going into this wary of Drake’s presence, but he was able to hang with both of these guys well enough. There were some fun 3-person spots, and this ended up being a neat little match. Lethal eliminated Angelico when Drake held down Angelico’s feet. Drake taunted Angelico, so Angelico threw him back into the ring to get hit with a Lethal Injection. After the match, Lethal told Drake that he would kick his ass if he tried to jump him again. Drake then jumped Lethal from behind again. There really wasn’t a point for this to be elimination since Lethal just beat both guys, but that’s just a nitpick. Fine match. ***
RAMPAGE DEF. PENTA EL ZERO M
I hope AAA doesn’t sue me if I just call him Pentagon. This one wasn’t what I thought it could be. I know both guys had matches later in the week for WCPW, and I know this is smack dab in the middle of the card. But these are two personal favorites of mine, and I really wanted to see them go all out. The hometown boy Rampage got the win with a piledriver. **1/2
WCPW HARDCORE CHAMPIONSHIP
BT GUNN DEF. PRIMATE
This was really boring. The crowd was just waiting for the weapons to come out, and it took a while for the weapons to come out. A table came out, and after a minute, Primate put Gunn through the table for 2. Primate went for his spear, but Gunn kicked him in the head, then stomped on his neck to knock him out. Gunn then locked on a crossface to officially get the win and the Hardcore Title. Gunn kept stomping on Primate’s head after the match before eventually leaving. **
KUSHIDA DEF. TRAVIS BANKS
This was another match that really had my interest when I saw it on the card, and this did not disappoint. There was some awkwardness at the start, like these two were about a half-step off. But they cleared that up quickly, and were able to have a real fun and fast-paced match. There was a cool spot where Banks went for the Slice of Heaven kick, but Kushida caught him in an armbar. Kushida got the win by rolling Banks off the top rope and locking on the Hoverboard Lock. ***1/2
MARTIN KIRBY DEF. LUCAS ARCHER BY DQ
Archer stole Kirby’s place in the Magnificent 7 ladder match on Loaded TV, which is what brought this match about. Another boring match. When the crowd wasn’t calling Archer an assface, you could hear a rat piss on cotton when he was on offense. They went back and forth, with Kirby focusing his offense on Archer’s ass. Bad Bones beat up Kirby for the DQ and shook Archer’s hand, signifying a payoff of some sort. Archer hit Kirby with an Unprettier to stand tall. **
WCPW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP – TORNADO TAG RULES
WAR MACHINE DEF. MARK BRISCOE AND JAY LETHAL
The Briscoes were meant to challenge here, but Jay Briscoe announced that he couldn’t wrestle tonight due to a back injury. He had Lethal take his place. Ray Rowe then said that if the Briscoes could change the match, then War Machine could too. They made it “War Machine rules”, which usually means a tornado tag match.
War Machine may be the best tag team in the world. They have solidified the all-action, heavy impact tag team match. They have a fantastic look and they are great in the ring. It’s a close race with teams like the Young Bucks and the Usos having years like they are, but War Machine deserves to be in that mix as well. The makeshift team of Lethal and Briscoe worked out well, as they gave the champs a good fight. But it wasn’t good enough, as War Machine land the pop-up powerslam on Briscoe for the win. ***1/2
REY MYSTERIO DEF. RICOCHET
The match of the night.
This was a bit different than one would imagine Mysterio/Ricochet to be, as there weren’t any dives to the floor. The start of this match was slower than you would imagine, due to Ricochet trying to wear down Mysterio rather than match him in speed. Mysterio kept finding ways to quicken the pace through reversals and counters. Rey even pulled the legendary moonsault DDT that he hit on Eddie Guerrero at Halloween Havoc 1997. Ricochet avoided the 619 four times during this match, but the fifth time was the charm as that and a frog splash got Rey the win. ***3/4
MARTY SCURLL DEF. WILL OSPREAY
WCPW Champion Joe Hendry came out to watch this match. He’s had issues with Scurll recently over the WCPW Title. That, combined with his offer to Ospreay from earlier in the night, gives him a vested interest in this match. One of the best traveling feuds in wrestling today, Ospreay and Scurll battled again here in WCPW, where Ospreay has never lost to Scurll.
Unfortunately, this match had a couple things going against it. One issue was the crowd. They made noise, but they never really seemed to get into the match. The second issue was the commentary. Dave Bradshaw and James Kennedy called it. But every couple minutes, Joe Hendry took Bradshaw’s mic to say the word “Prestige” 4 or 5 times and add nothing to the match. It really took me out a match that looked pretty good. Scurll got the win with a reverse powerslam.
After the match, Hendry and his stablemates Travis Banks and BT Gunn attacked Scurll. They offered Ospreay a spot in the group, but Ospreay hit Banks and Gunn with a double OsCutter. Hendry headed for higher ground as we fade to black. ***1/4
This was a fine show, which is where WCPW seems to top out these days. For the Banks/Kushida and Mysterio/Ricochet matches, there was a Kirby/Archer or a Gunn/Primate match to bring it back down. The main event would’ve been fine if Hendry weren’t out there, but it still wasn’t Ospreay and Scurll’s best. There were some fine matches were on this card, but if I were you, I’d just save my money and watch the free Pro Wrestling World Cup shows instead.