Over the weekend, an announcement from WCPW was made to confirm that the company would be rebranding in the coming months. Cue the backlash.
After a teaser on Loaded a few weeks back for an announcement of something on September 22 came to nought, the promotion decided not to wait until tonight’s Refuse to Lose iPPV, and just make the reveal anyway.
Initially, the plan was (and, according to their site this morning) was to unveil the new WCPW General Manager at the iPPV. Of course, that reveal was needed because Adam Blampied had left WhatCulture last month as part of the bigger exodus. His replacement would be Stu Bennett – best known as Wade/Bad News Barrett. Now, Bennett’s not exactly a stranger to WCPW, having done commentary for them during April’s No Regrets iPPV… and being a standout as well there. So it’s not that much of a shock, compared to some other names that were being bandied about. But wait, there’s more…
Along with the new GM, a bigger bombshell was dropped. Tonight’s Refuse To Lose iPPV would be WCPW’s last. Presumably the Loaded tapings will tie up a few loose ends as the company wraps up on the weekend of October 20, before the relaunches on December 4, as Defiant Wrestling.
Two things: the video for this relaunch (voiced by those still working for WhatCulture, as opposed to recycling clips from the departed) had some curious choices of language. “Wrestling is on the decline”. Really?
From their video:
“18 months ago, we launched a wrestling promotion in a warehouse with a leaky roof. It was cold, it was rainy, we didn’t know if anybody would come. Since then, we’ve taken that same promotion all over the world.
Worked with some of the greatest names in the business’s history, as well as its future. Packed out concert halls, exhibition centres, sports arenas, and WrestleMania weekend.
We’ve defied skepticism, we’ve defied criticism, we’ve defied expectations, misconceptions, preconceptions. We’ve defied the belief that wrestling is on the decline. We’ve defied the conventions of what some people think wrestling should be.
We’ve defied everyone who said that this wouldn’t work.
British wrestling is booming, and we believe that fans deserve a promotion that brings together incredible in-ring work and compelling drama, and puts it all in front of passionate audiences.
We believe in taking these shows to venues across the entire country and we believe it should be available and accessible to everyone. We defy those who don’t.
From December 4th, WCPW is relaunching.
From December 4th we are Defiant Wrestling.
A promotion that will help showcase Britain as pro wrestling’s hottest territory. A promotion that will help put the very best talent in front of the world’s greatest fans. We can do this because we have the support, we have the skills, we have the belief and the passion.
And we have the General Manager.
We Are Defiant.”
What they don’t have yet… was a logo, or the ability to check if they were treading on other’s toes. They are. Okay, Connecticut’s Defiant Pro Wrestling has been out of business for nearly a decade now (much like Chicago’s Windy City Pro Wrestling was when WCPW originally launched), but what about those who are around today? Such as Seattle’s DEFY Wrestling. Granted, not the same name, but way too close for comfort, and with all due respect, DEFY is hardly a local group like Tulalip Championship Wrestling. Five points to anyone who has ever seen a match from there… that doesn’t involve Bryan Alvarez!
Granted, it’s not an exhaustive list, but thirty seconds on Cagematch.de would tell you if a company name is already taken… and perhaps just going for an adjective instead of a taken verb wasn’t such a good idea? Much like how wrestlers aren’t so keen on someone else using their name (especially when they’re still trying to make a living on the same name/gimmick), a promotion leaning onto something similar was never going to go down well.
Predictably, DEFY have poked fun at the renamed promotion – and while DEFY’s fanbase aren’t likely to let the matter drop, it’ll be interesting to see if this is where things stay. Still, we’ve got two months before yet-another-reboot occurs, with whatever that entails. We already know they’ll be on a new VOD platform (or perhaps just a rebadged version of WhatCulture Extra)… but as for the rest? New titles? New feuds? New show names? Or just the same stuff with a new logo plastered over a brand that has become quite tarnished in recent weeks?
WCPW has had a rather mixed run – with the Pro Wrestling World Cup being a good idea that ultimately overshadowed the main product for far too long. Against a backdrop of the YouTube “ad-pocalypse” and noticeably smaller crowds at shows (with their Milton Keynes dates in February and August, whilst not an apples-to-apples comparison, perhaps being the starkest), this is perhaps a change that is needed… but as to whether it can ever recapture the buzz that WCPW had in June 2016 remains to be seen.