The Bullet Club were in town for WhatCulture’s latest live special, emanating from Manchester – a show that was spectacular in parts.

The live show was delayed due to technical issues within the Bowlers Exhibition Centre in Manchester – which helped this writer miss nowhere near as much of the show as he expected!

After a lot of buffering, the show started with clips of the Bullet Club members on the show… plus Cody Rhodes who had to withdraw. Matt Striker has replaced Alex Shane on commentary alongside Dave Bradshaw, and we’ve got a heavy black-and-white motif to this show.

Texas Tornado for WCPW Tag Team Championships: Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer) vs. Matt Riddle & Liam Slater vs. Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. Swords of Essex (Will Ospreay & Scott Wainwright) (c)
They certainly picked a hell of a match to open with, and they make it a “Texas Tornado Spotfest”… Matt Riddle gets the first moves in with German suplexes, taking out Prospect with a double Suplex, before taking a pop-up superkick from the Bucks. Another superkick follows to the bare-footed Riddle, before Will Ospreay hits a rebound armdrag… but the Bucks flip over and connect with a double dropkick before a lift-up ’rana takes Ospreay to the outside.

The Bucks tell Prospect to suck it… so they dab back. Back and forth. Then they try to too sweet the Bucks… but it’s a cheap shot and the Bucks end up getting a faceful of Gracie’s JR tights. A bunch of missed spots follow – intentional misses to back sentons, shooting star presses and the like – before an eight-way dropkick spot draws cheers. We get superkicks next, before Slater locks one and gives out some Gutbusters and Gutwrenches with him and Riddle working well together.

Slater picks up Prospect in a double fireman’s carry, but the Bucks come back with superkicks… because Bucks. Nobody’s tried for a pin yet, but it seems everyone’s in the mood to miss as Riddle misses a leaping forearm to Archer, before Ospreay rolls up a lot and misses an uppercut to Ospreay. Will leaps off the top rope, but eats a seven-way superkick – including from Scott Wainwright, after Will’d kicked him earlier… then Scotty runs into a six-way superkick. Because LOL superkicks.

The Bucks hit some topes as the match heads to the floor, before referee Joel Allen stops a dive from the Bucks… but it just leads to a Space Flying Tiger drop from Nick Jackson as that ring lays there sullen and undervalued.

Wainwright takes a double stomp as the camera misses what happens to Ospreay, before a standing moonsault and a top rope 450 gets a near-fall for the Bucks. Alex Gracie tries to strike away at Riddle, which is surprisingly effective until that Pele kick and the Bro to Sleep lands, as Gracie kicks out of a German suplex at two. Archer’s missile dropkick takes down Riddle… he goes for the worm, but that doesn’t work out too well as Scott Wainwright makes a comeback… and now we get some more superkicks.

Alex Gracie shrieks at a superkick… Nick Jackson pulls down the trunks and superkick’s JR’s face as we go back to Ospreay and Riddle… Will flips out of a German suplex and kills Riddle with a corkscrew diving kick, then flies to the floor with a shooting star press on the pile. A crossbody’s caught by the Bucks, who go for the Meltzer Driver, but Ospreay counters it, only to take a superkick. Of course.

Wainwright takes a rope-hung senton from the Bucks, before Ospreay counters a Meltzer Driver meant for Slater with a leaping OsCutter. Liam comes back with a Jim Breaks special to Matt Jackson… my feed stutters and comes back as James Kennedy I guess broke up a pinfall by Prospect because that’s gotta keep going. Wainwright takes them out with a tope, leaving Ospreay to go after Slater with a superplex… he’s pushed down, but Slater leaps into Wainwright, allowing Ospreay to hit the stuff death valley driver to retain. A really fun, entertaining spotfest, but very much (to borrow a phrase) not my graps! Sorry, but this was more entertainment than a logical match here… ***

Drake vs. Rampage
The lack of any video screens in the entrance way is really jarring – it harkens back to an Attitude-era WWE house show. Irony. Speaking of, WCPW jobber du jour Drake versus number one contender Rampage screams “house show”… although Drake does leap into Rampage at the bell, but a uranage backbreaker really turns it back in Rampage’s way. Drake eats a superplex from Rampage, who then rolls him back up into a snap piledriver… and that’s the match. SPLAT. Exactly how it should have been. (Not Rating)

After the match, James R. Kennedy blames the Manchester crowd for Drake losing. Kennedy reiterates that he and Drake are going to Orlando, but Prospect won’t be. Same thing we’ve heard before… I’d kill for some progression in that storyline.

Holy crap we have a backstage promo that isn’t quiet! It’s Bea Priestley refusing to defend the WCPW Women’s title against Lana Austin, because Lana’s not beaten Viper. I’m not sure if the jumpiness here is the video feed or bad editing, I’ll go for the former… we’ve got Viper in a Southside shirt, Bea in a Lucha Forever cap and a Nixon Newell tee. Ah, merchandising!

Viper vs. Lana Austin
Ah, I wish they’d quit with the “backstage segment” immediately leading to the same person in a match stuff. Unless they add “earlier today” labels or something… Lana’s got new music from her last appearance here, and gets the hometown pop too.

Viper avalanches Lana at the bell as she had Steve Lynskey check her… a second avalanche misses and Lana tries to kick away at the Scotswoman, only to try for a leaping ‘rana… which gets her powerbombed into the turnbuckle, where Bea leaps in to choke away on her.

Ah, just like that stuff that made last week’s match with Kay Lee Ray great!

Viper stands on Lana, and somehow Viper’s busted her mouth… and of course, a kick won’t help things. Nor would a headbutt. A load more headbutts follow on Lana, but she manages to slip out of the ring and give Viper a knee to the head, then a crossbody for another two-count. Lana lands a tornado DDT out of the corner for another near-fall, before Viper came back with a Michinoku Driver for the win. I kinda enjoyed this – they thankfully toned down the interference stuff, which made for a better match. **¾

The lights went out… and that’s the cue for WCPW’s GM Adam Blampied to hit the ring. Blampied books a women’s title match for later on, and it’s a delayed match from True Destiny – against Tessa Blanchard.

WCPW Women’s Championship: Bea Priestley (c) vs. Tessa Blanchard
This was cancelled from the Milton Keynes show because Tessa was filming scenes as a stunt double for the new Paige movie. I’m not touching that one with a barge pole. We start with the two women exchanging slaps, before a bulldog takes Bea down. Blanchard hits a Codebreaker out of the corner, but Priestley rolls to the outside and hits a dive onto Viper – hitting the commentary table on the way down. A PK from Bea follows off the apron, as does a cannonball senton, before Tessa went for a step-up plancha over the crowd barriers… and she clatters into it before making it to the other side.

They fight their way back into the ring as Bea unloads on Tessa some more, before Tessa headed to the apron and confused Bea with some running en-route to a slingshot German suplex in the ring. Tessa goes up top and gets caught by Viper, somehow not for a DQ, which allows Bea to go up for a superplex, but Tessa gets up first to get some more boots from Bea.

Another Codebreaker follows from Blanchard for a near-fall, before she goes for some mounted punches in the corner… but Bea slips out for a Cheeky Nando’s, then kicks Tessa into an Alberto del Rio-esque double stomp. That’s good for another two-count, but Bea goes straight for a Kimura, taking Tessa to the mat with some body scissors too, but Blanchard powers up and slips out!

Tessa hits back with a hammerlock DDT for – surprisingly – a one count?! Bea stands up and holds her face like she’s bust her nose… Viper slips in and hits a clothesline, but that’s only good for a one-count too. Another kick to the head from Bea gets a two-count, and she goes back to the scissored Kimura, which eventually leads to a submission after some interference. Ah, this was going well, but seemed to fall apart in the middle with those random one-count kick-outs after those slipped-up dives from Blanchard. **½

Travis Banks vs. BT Gunn vs. El Ligero vs. Ricochet vs. Marty Scurll vs. Doug Williams vs. Martin Kirby
This seven-way elimination match is for a shot at the WCPW title “at some point in the future”… Ricochet gets fire pyro, which explains the lack of video screens, I guess.

After some messing around, it’s Kirby and Banks who start, but the Prestige pair of Banks and Gunn quickly double-team Kirby in the opening minutes. That gives way to a rematch from last week as Williams and Banks renew rivalries, with a Gory Special that sent Banks into the corner, upside down.

Gunn hits an enziguiri to Williams, who comes back with a diving uppercut off the top rope, as Ligero rushes in with a springboard armdrag as tags apparently aren’t a thing? Marty Scurll comes in and chops Ligero, then hits a knee stomp, only to turn around to face a Ricochet who mocks the Scurll chicken mannerisms. The Prestige hit the ring to double-team Ricochet, then save each-other before we move into a chained suplex spot as Ligero, Ricochet, Williams and Kirby suplex the other three in one fell swoop. A kick from Gunn sends Ricochet sailing into the turnbuckles, as Banks then accidentally kicked his partner to spark a parade of strikes from all seven men.

Ricochet and Scurll lead duelling yes/no chants… for a handshake! Instead, we get an eye poke as Ricochet eventually gets dropped with a forearm before Scurll lands a hattrick of apron superkicks, only to get dropkicked by Ligero to the floor. Banks teases a dive, then aborts it, only for Ligero to force him back up with a superplex into the pile below!

A handspring kick from Ricochet leads to another dive to the floor – this time a shooting star press – before catching Scurll with an uppercut in the corner as we ended up building to a tower of doom. In the end, Doug Williams powerbombs Kirby and Ricochet as they gave Scurll a superplex. Prestige break up a pin as Ligero takes the Chaos Theory – which is bloody stupid in an ELIMINATION MATCH… seconds later, Banks levels Doug with the springboard roundhouse kick, as Prestige pile up on Doug for our first elimination.

Prestige go after Ligero as Marty Scurll dives on commentary to put over Prestige randomly, but a blocked C4L leads to another Banks roundhouse, then a BT Gunn brainbuster for our next elimination. They turn around to see Martin Kirby take them down with a missile dropkick, but Scurll rolls back in to hit Kirby with a Just Kidding superkick. Ricochet takes a brainbuster, then a finger snap, but he recovers to hit once of those contrived neckbreakers that ends up as a DDT.

A shooting star press sees Ricochet flatten Kirby… but Scurll throws him to the outside so he can gee up the crowd for a chicken wing on Kirby, but it’s turned into a backslide as Kirby scores the unpopular elimination! Prestige double-team Kirby in the corner after that elimination, landing forearms and running uppercuts before Ricochet returned to the ring to make a save.

It seems some lights have blown here as part of the ring darkens, which is ironic given this venue hosted Lights Out earlier this year, and in the quasi-darkness Ricochet eliminates Gunn, before Banks rolled him up for the next pinfall, as we’re down to Kirby and Banks as the final two. Travis takes an enziguiri from Kirby, who then calls for the Zoidberg Elbow… and of course the Gran Naniwa-inspired elbow misses.

Hey, in the midst of the power-cut, the video screen finally comes on! But now we have buffering again, returning as Banks tried for a Sable Bomb, only for Kirby to avoid it and hit one of his own for the win! A pretty good match, but this felt insanely patterned in places, much like the opener. Fun, but not my graps territory. ***¼

They plug their Orlando shows, which now feature appearances from Bobby Fish, who’s facing David Starr. Michael Elgin’s been added too, but I’m guessing this isn’t being shown to the live crowd, who are quiet as a mouse for all of this.

We get a pre-taped promo from Cody Rhodes, who is either recording this and not waking someone up, or has a cold. He’s not here tonight because he’s double-booked himself with tapings for the TV show Arrow. As such, we’ve now got this match for a shot at Cody’s Internet title…

Something goes wacky with the cameras during Joe Hendry’s promo as they massively zoom in on him and go off frame for some reason… my feed buffered again, but apparently Hendry went off at Cody for double-booking himself.

Joe Hendry vs. Gabriel Kidd
So, Kidd’ll have to break his losing streak to get a title shot here, and he launches into Hendry at the bell… and I buffer.

After hitting F5, I get back to the match as Kidd’s dragged into the turnbuckles by Hendry, who then followed up with a suplex for a two-count. Hendry grounds Kidd with a camel clutch, but Kidd works free and gets a near-fall from an O’Connor roll, only to take a clothesline for another two-count. Kidd slaps Hendry on the apron, but gets caught as he climbs to the top rope as Hendry clubs away on Gabe and brings him back in with a superplex. Despite taking that, Kidd kicked out of the cove and mounted a comeback, drilling Hendry with a Yakuza kick, then a short-arm clothesline, before a back suplex spun out into a facebuster earned Kidd another two-count.

Kidd keeps racking up near-falls, this time out of a death valley driver, before his crossbody is caught… and despite countering out of the Freak of Nature fallaway slam, Kidd gets caught in an ankle lock, eventually grabbing the bottom rope after an eternity in the hold. Some more buffering leads to almost a shock as a Finlay roll and a moonsault gets Kidd a near-fall, before Hendry scores with a wheelbarrow roll-up with a handful of tights to score a win – to little reaction. ***

The crowd here were starting to wane on Kidd – like I feared, the losing streak gimmick is losing its steam with no obvious end in sight. Problem is, if they snap this now, it may backfire – they need to build Kidd to a meaningful win, but I can’t see how they’d fit that in right now.

They play a Bullet Club video, featuring Cody and Adam Cole, leading up to a low-res graphic promoting Prestige vs. Bullet Club on the Nottingham show tomorrow. But Cody’s not in the country…

The appearance of Adam Cole here was a surprise given that he was supposedly out of action for ten days after having surgery to remove a cyst on his forehead. Yep, Cole missed PWG but was fine for this… or was he? He threatened to walk out because of his surgery, but Adam Blampied emerges with a surprise… CHRISTOPHER DANIELS AND HIS ROH TITLE!

ROH World Championship: Christopher Daniels (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Adam Cole
All of a sudden, Adam Cole’s fine to wrestle! Sabre and Daniels target Cole in the early going, taking Cole out with double back elbows as we’re left with Sabre and Daniels.

A cravat from Sabre’s wriggled out of as Daniels scores with a takedown, before they both pop up to knock Cole off the apron again. Sabre scores a near-fall out of a roll-up after some back and forth, then goes to the cravat… but now Cole comes in and dumps Daniels with a backbreaker.

Daniels goes on a bodyslamming spree, taking down his two challengers, then gives Sabre a legdrop – using Cole’s leg from an atomic drop to do the hard work. Sabre then ties up Cole and Daniels at the same time with an abdominal stretch and a toehold, but Cole fights out, only to take a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall.

Sabre scores with a slingshot sunset flip, getting a near-fall on Cole, which leads to another roll-up from Daniels as Cole sparks a mini-superkick party. Daniels superkicks Cole on the top rope, then joins him up there for an abdominal stretch on the top turnbuckle, only for Sabre to break it up. Daniels fires back again with double chops, before hitting a running STO to Cole and a Blue Thunder Bomb on Sabre… but again, there’s no cover attempt.

Daniels uses Cole to knock down Sabre, then hits a death valley driver for a two-count, before Sabre hits away from an Angels Wings attempt. An Octopus from Sabre’s quickly broken up, as Cole clotheslines Daniels to the outside, then hits Zack with a diving knee for a near-fall. Another diving knee gets another two-count, but Sabre comes back with a knee bar to Cole… which Daniels breaks up using a springboard moonsault.

Sabre counters out of another Angels Wings and slaps in the Octopus, but Daniels reaches the ropes to free himself… a uranage from Daniels takes down Sabre for the Best Moonsault Ever… but he lands into a triangle armbar and a spot of buffering to boot. The feed resumes as Cole takes a PK from Sabre, who’s then dumped onto Cole with Angel’s Wings as Daniels takes the pinfall to retain. A fun match, although the crowd were a lot colder for this than I expected after the surprise appearance. ***½

Another video package follows, as we build up to the main event for the WCPW title…

WCPW Championship: Joe Coffey vs. Drew Galloway (c)
Galloway was back to using his old TNA theme for some reason… *shrugs* nevermind, we start with the giant Galloway dwarfing Coffey as the two went into the corner, before breaking cleanly.

Coffey starts a chop battle, which he loses as Galloway takes him off-camera to the corner for some rapid chops as Coffey rolled to the floor to avoid him. When Coffey returned to the ring, he took a shoulder tackle and some chops, before a big bodyslam and a suplex takes down Galloway for a near-fall.

Some more buffering follows as Coffey crotches Galloway in the ringpost, but the crowd seems to die as Coffey brawls with Galloway around the ringside area, then throws him back in for some Garvin-esque stomps. Just as I type that, Matt Striker throws in the reference too. Coffey rolls down his boot for something, and he pulls out a Travelodge room card – and this time Dave Bradshaw remembers the storyline as Coffey shoves the card in Galloway’s mouth.

I’m pretty sure that card’ll not be usable now. Hell, when I put mine near my Oyster card it wipes itself…

Galloway tries to attack Coffey from above, but he’s caught and tripped for a Giant Swing attempt, only for Galloway to switch it into the Gargano Escape, which Joe rolls out of into a single-leg crab. They go back to chops and forearms, which give way to German suplexes which are popped up out of as a Black Coffey is ducked and replied to with a snap powerslam from the champion.

More chops in the corner follow from Drew, who shoves the referee aside as he went up top again for a Tomahawk chop! A Futureshock DDT is pushed out of, as Coffey hits a pop-up powerbomb then a Giant Swing, before slingshotting Galloway into the corner, as a crossbody off the top gets Coffey another two-count.

Coffey keeps up the pressure, only to get caught on the top rope with some chops as Drew looked to go for a top rope Air Raid Crash… and was successful as well! Joe kicked out at two from that, before he pulled the referee into the path of a big boot from Galloway, who then gave Coffey one… but of course, that’s the cue for some runs-ins.

Joe Hendry runs in and attacks Galloway from behind, but his Freak of Nature is blocked and met with a diving knee. Coffey gets the title belt and hits Drew with it, but by the time the referee comes around, Drew kicks out just before the three-count. Despite blocking a Black Coffey, Galloway falls to a lariat for another near-fall, but another Black Coffey is blocked and countered with a Futureshock DDT as Drew gets the near-fall.

Coffey clips off Galloway again, and quickly rolls him up for another Boston crab, which somehow draws chants of “Y2J”, “stupid idiot” and the like. In 2017. Sigh. The referee does the arm-drop gimmick as Galloway apparently passes out, but the third arm drop sees Galloway hit the ropes for a break, which angers Coffey some more. Galloway finally drags himself to his feet, then drills Coffey with a headbutt, a short DDT, then a Futureshock DDT, and that’s the win! A really solid main event, perhaps a touch too slow-paced for this crowd that preferred to chant for Chris Jericho at the end, but a good end to the show. ***½

After the match, Joe Hendry slid back into the ring to attack Galloway, as Prestige launched a two-on-one beatdown until Rampage headed out to make the save. The rest of Prestige make things uneven again until the Young Bucks and Adam Cole come out with a superkick party to Prestige. Well, that makes sense in the vein of their match tomorrow, but ordinarily I’d be raging over this… Gunn and Banks take a double Meltzer Driver, before the Bucks kiss Adam Cole and Too Sweet Galloway to end the show. Let’s ignore what was apparently taped for ROH, eh?

Well, not quite – Rampage has the WCPW title, and we a stare-off between him and Galloway as the show goes off-air…

What Worked: Kudos to WCPW for saving what could have been some awkward moments caused by injuries and double-bookings. The Christopher Daniels match was a nice surprise, and one that was used in a perfect spot on the card.

What Didn’t: For a large part of the show, the lighting and video screen! It’s down to taste, but the multi-team and multi-man matches were fun, but not my style of wrestling.

The stories around Gabriel Kidd and Prospect NEED to evolve; particularly the Prospect storyline as that is rapidly becoming stale with the same chapter being told several weeks in a row. We get it, James R. Kennedy thinks he’s killed Prospect… but they’re still wrestling under that name, so… he hasn’t!

Oh, and add Matt Striker for reverting to form in his commentary tonight. Took him long enough to take shots at fans…

Thumbs: Middle, leaning up – plenty of spectacular stuff that’ll get your attention alright, but perhaps the same kind of stuff that could equally turn you off. Your milage may vary!