With the World Cup qualifiers on the horizon, WhatCulture headed back to London for another iPPV-like show, called Chain Reaction.

Drew Galloway was forced to drop off the show due to family issues, which led to a rejigged card that ended up being headlined by Cody Rhodes vs. an unknown opponent for the WCPW Internet title. Bro.

Oh God, Alex Shane is back on commentary… yay?

El Ligero vs. Penta el Zero M
It’s a little odd that we’re getting a preview of a potential second-round tie from the Mexican World Cup qualifiers here, but let’s go with it. This was the WCPW debut of the former Pentagon Jr (and his glittery-gold t-shirt), after he was forced to miss February’s True Destiny due to a family emergency. They flip each other off at the bell as we start with armdrags galore, before a Penta superkick sends Ligero to the outside… but Ligero lands a superkick of his own and hits a flip dive, landing on his feet on the aisle stairs!

Someone in the crowd shrieks as Ligero gets chopped against the ring post, before a second one sees him hit the steel as Ligero followed up with a tornado DDT off the apron. Ligero gets a near-fall back inside with a slingshot Cutter, before he took Penta into the ropes for an aborted 619 that ended up turning the match around.

A pumphandle from Penta gets turned somehow into a reverse ‘rana… of course for a near-fall as that move never ever wins a match! Penta comes back with a Destroyer, before Ligero rebounds off the ropes with a Destroyer of his own, and yep, this is the apron bump spot of 2017! Speaking of, they roll onto the apron as Ligero teased a death valley driver, before Penta countered into the Fear Factor (package piledriver) on the apron. This is nuts!

Penta takes his time in doing a dive to the outside, and he gets caught as Ligero returned to the ring to hit a springboard Crusher, before the C4L secured the win. A decent match between two guys who you’d have expected to clash a little, but this was fine as an opener. ***

We immediately crash to an old announcement of the Mexican leg of the WCPW World Cup. Moving on…

Backstage now with James R. Kennedy and Drake. The usual horrible audio pervades here, but apparently Drake’s facing Prospect again, this time with a different partner. They can’t afford Bad Bones again, and all of a sudden we get Little Miss Roxxy heading down the stairs. Apparently she’s now a part of Kennedy’s stable after hemming and hawing over his offer several weeks back. That segues to Prospect in another room, and Lucas Archer apparently has a sore leg. Alex Gracie says that he’s got a surprise as they continue their march to Orlando… their Indie GoGo is still nowhere near that £2,000 target, which surprises me.

The surprise is WhatCulture’s Adam Clery dressed as Mickey Mouse! Disney’s a-calling!

“The Product” David Starr has hot footed it from Oberhausen to London just in time for Stevie Aaron to finish running through his list of nicknames! His scheduled opponent, BT Gunn, comes out in not-exactly-ring-gear, to run down pretty much everything he sees. Gunn’s giving himself the night off, a move that leads Starr to call him a wanker, then issue an open challenge… which means we get: Liam Slater!

David Starr vs. Liam Slater
They start out with an entertaining headlock takedown series, but Slater worked free before Starr took him down for a modified heel hook.

Slater slipped out and hit a cross body for a near-fall, before lifting up Starr in a Jim Breaks Special as he went after the Product’s left arm, which led to a slap exchange and a rather nonchalant knee to the face that just riled up Slater. Starr hits his gutwrench facebuster off the ropes, before dropping Liam through the ropes with a DDT onto the apron, then finished off with a brutal lariat for a near-fall.

Slater made a comeback with a powerbomb that almost won it, as he went straight to the top from the kick-out, missing a swandive headbutt as Starr followed up with a rolling forearm before deadlifting Slater into the Product Placement straitjacket German suplex for the win. Pretty decent, but on commentary this felt very flat… it’d be alright if Starr lost, but on commentary his key spots were called as if they were run-of-the-mill. ***

We’re taken backstage now as Alex Gracie has his Mickey Mouse mascot, but he’s interrupted by Little Miss Roxxy. She fawns over him, but Gracie tries to shrug her off… she supposedly flashes him, before dragging Gracie into a room where he’s beaten down by Drake.

Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer) vs. Drake & James R. Kennedy
So with Alex Gracie beaten down before the match, this tag match turned into a singles match, with Archer taking the fight to Drake, despite only having one leg.

We’re told that if Prospect make it to Orlando, they’ll be facing Drake and James R. Kennedy in a bizarre tag match. A missile dropkick off the middle turnbuckle takes down Drake as Archer remembers his knee’s been beaten on, which doesn’t really matter as Drake dropkicks him there anyway.

Drake drives Archer’s knee into the mat, and all of a sudden, Alex Gracie heads out with the Mickey Mouse mascot. He immediately tags in and drops Drake with a clothesline, before a caught kick is almost turned into a back suplex, but Gracie switches it into a full nelson slam. Mickey gets invited into the ring, but he doesn’t help out… instead he flips off Gracie, and unmasks himself to be James R. Kennedy.

So now, Kennedy’s legally in the match, and he tags in to drop Gracie with Prospect’s own finisher – the Flatliner/Stroke combo – and Kennedy scores the win. Well, you know the deal with these matches, all storyline heavy, not much substance to them. I look forward to the day when this storyline is over and these guys are actually allowed to wrestle. *½

By the way, Dave Bradshaw calls back to the Prospect Orlando fund storyline here, saying £100’s been taken off their total… I thought that was dropped? Nevertheless, we now get a gameshow-esque graphic showing their match winnings are £0. Alrighty then!

Now we get a backstage promo with Drew Galloway, who calls out Joe Hendry and Joe Coffey for being jealous of not being the best Scotsman in wrestling or something. Apparently all either of the Joes had to do was ask for a title shot and they’d have gotten it.

Viper vs. Kay Lee Ray
Viper’s out with Bea Priestley here, and the gimmick here is that any challenger has to beat Viper before they get a title match…

Kay Lee kicks away at Viper before hitting a tope to Bea on the outside to prevent any interference. Unfortunately, Viper’s size just overwhelms Kay Lee as she takes her into the corner and stomps away on Ray, before Priestley rushes in with a kick – IN FULL VIEW OF THE REFEREE. Steve Lynskey again catches Bea beating on Kay Lee, but for some reason that’s not a DQ as Viper slams Kay Lee and rushes in with a back senton.

A running big splash gets a near-fall, but Kay Lee lands a few kicks before a short DDT leads to a Koji clutch that’s quickly broken when Bea shoves the ropes towards Viper. After that rope break, Viper gets a Sky High powerbomb before she rolls Kay Lee to the apron, where Bea grabs her for a suplex on the floor. She popped back up then tosses Priestley into the crowd barriers, before hitting a flying ‘rana off the top, then scored a forearm out of the corner for another near-fall.

Bea gets involved again as she tried to stop Kay Lee climbing the turnbuckles… but she’s shoved down and takes a spill to the floor, only for Viper to catch her in a superplex attempt. Kay Lee slips down and delivers a Cheeky Nando’s kick, which draws Bea into the ring again… Kay Lee gets rid of her with a kick then covers Viper again for a near-fall.

Viper hits back with a short-am clothesline, before she spikes Kay Lee with a sit-out tombstone, and that’s a win for Bea’s bodyguard. Way too over-booked with the Bea Priestley stuff, which just hurt the match for me right from the get go. **

Backstage again now, with Gabriel Kidd lacing up his boots. Prince Ameen wanders in and reminds Kidd that his winless streak is now 22-0 ahead of his match… which is next!

Joe Hendry vs. Gabriel Kidd
Hendry’s new nickname needs a lot of work. The leader of the Prestige is now known as the “Prestigious One”. Yeah…

Before the match, Hendry calls out Matt Striker for “being an Edward”. The crowd falls silent, and I’d guess traffic to Urban Dictionary rocketed as everyone figured out what that insult meant. Not everyone reads Twilight… Eventually Kidd comes out with a microphone and mocks Joe Hendry’s promo style – and he’s actually pretty spot on with that too.

Fed up of Kidd’s swearing, Hendry clotheslines him and starts putting the boots to the winless-one, but Kidd fired back with chops in the corner and a release Northern Lights suplex to take them to the outside. A running Yakuza kick takes Hendry down, but the former Local Hero decides to launch into Kidd with uppercuts as the pair headed towards the aisle.

Kidd tries to hit a PK off the apron, but it just leads to him getting a reverse leg sweep onto the apron as Hendry started to take over. A leaping knee gets a near-fall, but Kidd managed to come back with a clothesline to counter a DDT. More clotheslines take Hendry to the corner, where he eats a big boot, before a flip-out belly-to-back suplex gets Kidd another two-count. Out of nowhere though, Hendry catches Kidd in an ankle lock, but Gabe gets out and lands a death valley driver for another two-count.

We see Kidd go for a Finlay roll, but he misses the moonsault and gets caught in an ankle lock, eventually grabbing the rope to break free. In response, Hendry goes outside for a steel chair, but referee Joel Allen takes it away from him… with the referee otherwise engaged, Hendry gives Kidd a low blow, then the Freak of Nature fallaway slam for the win. That was pretty good, if not pretty predictable since there was no way Kidd was getting the win over a resurging Hendry. ***¼

They show a recap of the Rampage/Primate series – which Rampage won last week in match six, a rareity in a best-of-seven run in wrestling!

Street Fight: Bad Bones vs. Rampage
Add Bad Bones to the list of guys running from Oberhausen to this show… he comes out with a baseball bat, but Rampage makes a beeline for him at the bell, only to get caught with an Exploder early on.

A dive from Bad Bones follows, but he’s swatted down with a chair shot from Rampage, who then whipped him into the crowd barriers. Rampage brings a chair into the ring, leaving it folded open… Bones shoves Rampage off the top rope, but he lands in the chair, only to get dropkicked out of it. Bones heads outside for some more chairs, and my God he sets two folded chairs on top of each other, then pushes it onto its side… wrestling logic immediately intervenes as Bones takes a uranage onto the side of those chairs. Because he hates his back.

Rampage wedges one of those chairs between the turnbuckles, and of course, it’s him who gets whipped into that chair, sending him outside for some more Bad Bones chairshots. An attempt to use the baseball bat is blocked as Rampage has his way with it, only to get caught with a bat-assisted crossface. After being rolled up for a near-fall, Bones rushes back in with a Codebreaker for a near-fall.

For some reason there’s an entire row’s worth of chairs under the ring, and Bad Bones throws them in… of course, one of them gets used as Rampage hits a chairshot with Bones on the top rope, before a superplex throws Bones into the chairs. Because Rampage hates Bad Bones’ back too! Somehow, that’s only good for a near-fall.

Another chairshot takes Bones down, before Rampage winds up for another chairshot to a bloodied Bones, but again Bones kicked out after a big clothesline. Defiantly, Bones spat at Rampage – and as the spittle dribbled down the t-shirt, Rampage snapped into him with a piledriver which finally ended it. A tremendously brutal street fight, at times uncomfortable to watch, but I’m damn sure more uncomfortable to be involved in… ***

We awkwardly cut to a backstage promo with Kenny McIntosh with Doug Williams, building up his match with Travis Banks. Doug’s not happy that the Prestige are unprofessional, and he promises to show Travis how professional wrestlers should act. That’s up next… can’t we have some of these promos earlier in the show, or at the very least add “earlier today” to them?

Travis Banks vs. Doug Williams
This one was based off of Banks’ shoot-style promo last week where he mentioned that WCPW wanted these two to partner up… because he apparently looked like Doug. Yeah…

Banks launches into Doug with a plancha as he headed to the ring, so we start with Banks beating up Williams around ringside. The bell finally rings when Doug entered the ring, and that’s where the comeback of sorts started with an uppercut, a back body drop and a stalling brainbuster, before he sidesteps a charging Banks.

Williams traps Banks on the mat with a trapped arm-armbar, then rolled him down for a two-count. They head outside where Williams whips Travis’ arm into the ring post, before he responded to a baseball slide from Banks with… a forearm. The tables do turn though, as Banks throws Williams into the ring post as he looked for a count-out win, but of course Doug managed to break the count and catch Travis in a Gory special.

The crowd piped up with a chant of “which one’s Travis, which one’s Doug?” (hint, one doesn’t have a goatee…) as Banks cranked away on Williams’ neck, before an overhead belly-to-belly takes Travis down. Williams keeps on top of him with a diving uppercut, then an Exploder, before giving the Kiwi a pop-up uppercut for a two-count.

Banks turned things around again with a diving clothesline and a brainbuster, before eventually schoolboying Doug into a superkick. After Travis berates the crowd for calling Doug his dad, he gets a clothesline, then has to elbow out of a Chaos Theory attempt, eventually taking Doug into the corner for some uppercuts and a cannonball for a near-fall. That cannonball gets chants of “don’t hurt Daddy”, before Banks’ springboard roundhouse out of the corner is caught and turned into a bridging hammerlock.

Somewhere in there, Banks picked up a cut above his right eyebrow. He takes an old-school shoulder breaker as Williams went for and missed a Bomb Scare kneedrop. The springboard roundhouse follows, and the bloodies Banks – who seemed to have another cut in his scalp – scored the win. A fun outing, but it’s a shame the crowd were more interested in the “who’s your daddy” jokes than anything else. ***½

We cut away from that mid-sentence (seriously guys, on a taped show?!), to go to a backstage skit with Will Ospreay and Jack the Jobber. Will feigns superkicking Jack again, but instead he gets news of his match for next week. This seems to be a little out of place because Will’s talking about “what we’ve just done”… but he’s not wrestled yet? Anyway, the announcement is that the Swords of Essex will defend the tag titles against Prospect, the pairing of Liam Slater and Matt Riddle (whose appearance sent Ospreay into a screaming fit), and… the Young Bucks. That last one got an audible “ooh” from the crowd, and another beating for Jack.

WCPW Tag Team Championship: Swords of Essex (Will Ospreay & Scott Wainwright) (c) vs. South Coast Connection (Ashley Dunn & Kelly Sixx)
The Swords are now dressed up like Agent 47, so they’re now the Hitmen of Essex? Ospreay gets wound up at the fans chanting at him, interrupting his promo. Anyway, they’re defending tonight against a debuting team… Ashley Dunn (a trainee out of HOPE Wrestling) and Kelly Sixx – whom you may know better as one of the Contenders in Rev Pro as Josh Wall.

They’ve got matching gear, which is amusing since Cagematch reckons these guys haven’t teamed before this!

Ospreay gives them a minute to get their stuff in so “Senior Lariato can do a couple of GIFs”, before “you guys do the J-O-B”. Gotta love insider references in promos, even more so when it’s not-so-subtly rammed home on commentary.. Kelly Sixx slapped Ospreay as he kept up the promo, and from there the Connection hit a pair of dropkicks to take the Swords to the outside.

Ashley Dunn starts with an armdrag, then a leg lariat to Ospreay. They get in their flippy-do as a back body drop into a ‘rana gets the rookies a near-fall, as does a running Dunn neckbreaker. Dunn kicks Wainwright out of the ring as he got the tag in, before kicking Bea Priestley off the apron as he tried to hit a Blockbuster to Wainwright… who caught him and went to town on the youngster as Bea was ejected from ringside.

Wainwright lays waste to Dunne in the corner as the crowd noticed the lack of Paul Robinson… an elevated back senton from Ospreay off of Wainwright’s shoulders gets a near-fall, before he takes Dunn down with a chinlock to slow the pace down further. Dunne rebound with a diving clothesline before bringing in Sixx, who tripped Wainwright before landing a Pele to Will.

A roundhouse kick and a Michinoku driver almost wins it for Sixx, but Wainwright broke up the count as the Swords’ attempt at a double-team led to the Connection doubling up on Ospreay with a double stomp out of the corner, then with an Asai moonsault to Wainwright on the floor. Dunn comes back with a running shooting star press before a Sixx frog splash almost produced a shock.

Ospreay goes in search of GIFs himself with a shooting star press to Sixx on the outside, before Dunn takes a cross-legged Falcon arrow for a near-fall. Dunn tries for a superplex, but he’s caught as he then slipped out of a Cheeky Nandos as the ring filled up… everyone gets reverse ‘ranas, before Ospreay took a double underhook Destroyer from Dunn.

Wainwright slaps the taste out of Dunn’s mouth, but he runs into a push-down stomp before Sixx lands a stomp off the top for another near-fall. Sixx gets shoved into the corner, knocking Dunn to the floor, then gets caught in a Ricola Bomb that saw Sixx land on his rear end for another near-fall. A double Pele kick from Dunn takes down the Swords, but he’s quickly thrown to the outside as Sixx almost stole the win with a Victory roll as the Swords went for a stuff death valley driver.

Sixx went for a springboard off the corner again, but this time he was caught as the Swords hit the stuff death valley driver to retain. This was insane, and I loved this. Sure, it was verging on silliness at points with the abundance of reverse ‘ranas, but this is proof that you can take guys nobody’s heard of and make them stars in one night… now, WCPW, the ball is in your court. Capitalise on this, and run with what Messrs Ospreay and Wainwright gave you here. ****¼

Joe Coffey vs. Martin Kirby
There’s a jump start here, but Kirby turns things around with a headscissor takedown and a leaping back elbow out of the corner as they looked to finish things early.

A Sable Bomb’s pushed out of as Coffey lands a pop-up uppercut, before he caught Kirby out of the corner and swung him around in a wheelbarrow position, following up with a facebuster for a near-fall.

They do a callback to a line in Coffey’s promo last week about how the stars of the company were made to stay in Travelodges… by shoving his hotel room card into Kirby’s mouth. Sadly, that’s not pointed out on commentary, as they think it’s a credit card that Kirby eventually spits out as he tried to mount a comeback, only to get caught in some single leg crabs as Coffey cut him off.

Coffey misses a Stinger splash in the corner, but he quickly dumps Kirby to the outside as the Scotsman audible was looking to score a count-out win. Kirby drags Coffey to the outside and chops him into the crowd barriers, but back inside Coffey again took over with an elbow drop before falling for a “stop!” and an enziguiri.

Kirby impresses with a big suplex, then a Slingblade as he continued his comeback with the Zoidberg Elbow. Of course he didn’t hit it, as Coffey caught him and turned it into a slam for a near-fall. Another headscissor takedown takes Coffey into the corner, but he came back with a pop-up powerbomb and a Giant Swing into a Boston Crab, but Kirby again was able to make the ropes.

Some mounted punches in the corner lead to Kirby countering into a Sable Bomb… but BT Gunn runs down and pulls out the referee just in time. The camera cuts away from another Coffey uppercut, as we get a flash submission when he turned a powerbomb into a raised Boston Crab for the win. A decent match, but it was hurt badly by the lack of crowd reactions in my mind. ***

Our main event is next – an open challenge for Cody Rhodes’ Internet title… which was answered by someone whose song sounded like Warren G had gone through a mangle: Matt Riddle!

WCPW Internet Championship: Cody Rhodes (c) vs. Matt Riddle
Riddle of course had his PROGRESS title with him – which was acknowledged – and for once, the crowd woke up before a match started!

Riddle starts with a waistlock takedown on Cody, but they quickly stand back up as Cody tried to target Riddle’s arm. They worked a knuckle lock into a series of monkey flips, before Riddle tripped Cody to escape the hold. We get a weird spot as Riddle dared Cody to do a knuckle lock… to his bare feet. Which we get, as Riddle ends up spinning Cody to the mat, before he takes the Internet champion into the corner for a leaping forearm, then a T-bone suplex.

That back senton gets Riddle a two-count, which he followed up with some rolling gutwrench suplexes, then some kicks to the chest of a kneeling Cody, who finally ducks a PK and rolled up Riddle for a near-fall. Another roll-up is followed through into a Fly Swatter as Cody took over, hitting a front suplex only to miss a moonsault as Riddle rolled away.

Riddle unloads on Cody with a flurry of shots, but Cody ducks one and connects with a reverse DDT as he went outside to Too Sweet a bunch of fans. As you do. Cody goes under the ring for a table, then props it between the ring and the crowd barrier… and you know what Wrestling Logic dictates! Cody gets placed on the table and eats a back senton through it to the floor.

Back inside, Cody drops Riddle with a Cross Rhodes… but he popped up. Same again after some German suplexes, as a Fisherman buster followed as Riddle gets a near-fall! The Bro To Sleep gets blocked, with Cody taking him down for a Figure Four, but it’s fought out of as the pair blast each other with forearms. Another flying forearm leads to a ref bump, and that’s the cue for the Prestige to hit the ring… but Riddle dumps Coffey with a German suplex, and the same to Travis!

With the Prestige gone, a Disaster Kick and a Cross Rhodes gets a near-fall, but a Pele from Riddle leads to a Bro To Sleep and a bridging German for another two-count. They exchange more forearms, but then they hit the ropes and get tripped by Prestige, and this is going to be a no-contest. Yay for horrid finishes in the main event! That ruined a match that was pretty good, but really didn’t click into higher gear before the shenanigans ensued. ***¼

Cody escapes with his title as Prestige celebrate in the ring… but Cody does the gun motion towards the ring as the show goes off the air… because that’s going to build to something. Which brings me to my usual point about these shows.

Despite this airing on tape delay, they still left us without anything close to the full card for Monday’s Bulletproof special – which will air live on the WhatCulture Extra service, or as a YouTube purchase afterwards. They did release the card separately after the show, but why should I (or any other fan) have to hunt this down after devoting three hours to their product? Could this not have been tacked onto the end of the show?

So, Monday’s show – which we’ll cover later in the week – will feature Rampage vs. Drake; Adam Cole vs. Zack Sabre Jr.; The Magnificent Seven – a seven-way match to get a WCPW title shot – featuring Doug Williams, Travis Banks, Ricochet, Marty Scurll, El Ligero, Martin Kirby and BT Gunn; The Swords of Essex defending their WCPW tag titles over Prospect, Liam Slater & Matt Riddle and the Young Bucks; and the main event of Drew Galloway defending the WCPW title against Joe Coffey.

As for Chain Reaction itself…

What Worked: Kelly Sixx and Ashley Dunn. For a team that were introduced as a throwaway “jobber team”, they took their chance with both hands and delivered big time. Of course, the problem now is that if this was intended as a “one and done” booking, then this was pretty dumb to deliver the fans something that isn’t going to be followed up on. Let’s see, eh?

Elsewhere, the surprise debut of Matt Riddle was a nice one, but with that finish… it probably shouldn’t have been in the main event. But with Drew Galloway off the show, it’s hard to pick a match that should have main evented.

What Didn’t: I wasn’t a big fan of the Viper/Kay Lee Ray match, particularly with all the interference that just made the referee look incompetent. They can do better, but if the story is “Bea Priestley’s got a bodyguard”, why is she interfering for her bodyguard? I’ll also add in “Alex Shane” again; his commentary is atrocious as ever, and whilst I’m not a fan of the revolving door of commentators, they ought to have someone else better. Especially someone who can’t keep his gimmick straight of “I don’t know what happened, I’ve been on holiday and have a very selective memory”…

Thumbs: Middle, Wavering up – that first half had its rough moments, but if you skip past those two matches, you’ve got a pretty good show here.