After “giving away” an iPPV for free with last week’s Kirbymania special, WCPW came back with another iPPV this week with Lights Out.

Okay, strictly speaking it’s not iPPV since this was only on the WhatCulture Extra service, as opposed to Fite TV – but hopefully second time around they’re able to fix the litany of issues that plagued Kirbymania.

Speaking of… starting this Monday, WCPW’s weekly show “Loaded” seems to be ditching their usual “live stream plus on-demand” format. Instead, they’ll be going “live” every Monday at 8pm UK time, with replays at 8pm Eastern Time on Wednesdays for folks in the States, then again again at 8pm on Saturday night for those in the UK. The quote marks around live can then be removed from March 6, as Loaded is going to be truly live from there on… which sorta fills me with dread, after how Kirbymania went down.

If you want to watch this on-demand… you’ll need to cough up for the Extra service, which was a nice surprise for the many fans who were used to watching on-demand for free, and only paying for the iPPVs. I could theorise behind the reason for this change, but at the end of the day, having a show go live every week costs money, so that – and monetizing their on-demand – is a more likely reason than any of the other conspiracies that have been doing the rounds.

So, for those who’ve signed up for WhatCulture Extra, this event was your first exclusive – and came via a seven-day tape delay from Manchester… and we open with something that hammers it home: a video package containing highlights from the event you’re about to see!

WCPW Tag Team Championship: Prospect (Lucas Archer & Alex Gracie) vs. Johnny Moss & Liam Slater (c)
We already have audio problems out of the gate as ring announcer Stevie Aaron originally starts out as being inaudible.

Prospect jump the champions at the bell, but Moss makes easy work of them with a double suplex before the challengers are sent to the outside. Lucas Archer tries to sneak behind Moss, but the big guy doesn’t fall for it and manages to get a hiptoss for a near-fall, before an overhead belly-to-belly forces Archer to tag out. Moss takes down Gracie with a ripcord shoulder charge, before he uses his own partner for a front suplex onto Gracie.

Slater and Moss keep Gracie cornered, before Slater gives an atomic drop as Archer’s sent onto Gracie, as Gracie’s sent out with an accidental ‘rana from his own man. James Kennedy gets on the ring apron to provide a distraction, and it works as Slater’s whipped into the path of a snap sidewalk slam by Gracie… for just a one count.

Prospect land the Eat Defeat/Russian legsweep combo for another one-count on Slater, who then has his turn of being isolated as Archer gets a two-count from a diving dropkick. Gracie avoids a sunset flip from meaning anything as he tagged out to Archer as the challengers kept the upper hand, sending Slater into the corner with a double clothesline.

Archer misses an elbow drop, and after Prospect twice fail to cut-off Slater, Archer goes out to pull Moss off the apron to prevent a tag. They’ve actually turned on the crowd mics here as we can hear the crowd chant for Moss… and finally Moss gets tagged in after Slater landed a back suplex.

Moss clears house with shoulder tackles and overhead belly-to-belly suplexes, along with a half-nelson overhead suplex for Archer. Gracie gets thrown into Archer, who then gets picked up in a Fireman’s carry as Slater goes for the nose buster – but he rolls through the swandive headbutt attempt. Gracie scores a two-count despite having his feet on the ropes, but the champions end up snatching the win with a new double-team move – a Moss powerbomb combined with a Slater crossbody. A good opening match, but I still can’t get my head around Prospect flipping from opening match geeks to “let’s be serious because we have a tag title match” ***

It’s a shame that WCPW didn’t maintain the pink logo whilst Martin Kirby was GM, but it’s nice of them to play up the “Lights Out” motif with varying lighting levels! After the match, James R. Kennedy gets on the apron as Prospect console themselves. Kennedy seems angry with his charges, as they apparently cost him money. Did he bet on them?! Unfortunately the lack of a mic means that we can’t hear much else, and they end up going to the back for more to be continued.

Bea Priestley’s entrance video plays as the Swords of Essex (sans Will Ospreay) make their way to the ring. Priestley still has Nixon Newell’s women’s title belt, whilst Scott Wainwright has the Essex flag with him. They try and play this as “Bea’s the champion because she has the belt” for easy heat, but we now have a match…

Bea Priestley vs. Ivelisse vs. Tessa Blanchard
This was Blanchard’s debut… let’s see how many more appearances are made by Tess, and Ivelisse for that matter, after this round of tapings, eh?

Priestley kicks Blanchard early, only to be shoved to the outside by Ivelisse, as our two imports start out… and Ivelisse gets an early two-count from a cross body. Priestley comes back with a running PK to a sitting-down Blanchard, who then swaps forearms and slaps in the corner, before Priestley traps her in a camel clutch. Ivelisse comes in to add a Boston crab to Blanchard, but the two of them break the hold so they can launch into slaps and forearms… until Blanchard takes them both down with clotheslines.

Tess suplexes Priestley to the outside, before Ivelisse takes another one… just in time for Priestley to take a German suplex. Ivelisse returns to get an Exploder on Tess for two… and the match doesn’t go much longer until Bea knees Tess below the belt and hits a DDT for the win. This wasn’t bad, but it felt way too short and disjointed. **¼

The Swords of Essex surround Blanchard in the ring afterwards, and to her credit Tess puts up a fight, knocking Priestley out of the ring, then has a go with Robinson and Wainwright… until Ricochet comes out and makes the save for his girlfriend. To a very confused reaction from Alex Shane on commentary. This is taped, folks!

Speaking of taped, there’s absolutely nothing between the matches – they didn’t have any backstage segments or to-camera pieces to buffer the bouts. All we got to mark a new match was the opening frames of someone’s entrance video.

Travis Banks vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Banks tried to rile up Sabre at the start, but he’s immediately taken down as Sabre tried to grapple him down… but to his credit, the Kiwi fought free as they stood back up and squared off.

Sabre grabs a knee bar on Banks, moving into a headlock, before Banks switched into an armbar that’s easily reversed as Sabre tries for a cross armbreaker. A hammerlock variant takes Banks down and into the ropes, before Banks surprises Sabre with a Dragon screw as he tried to get that armbreaker on for himself. It’s easily countered though as Sabre stands up into a heel hook, but eventually Banks counters as both men once again end up in the ropes.

The match continues with the grappling style as Sabre held in a cravat, before Banks worked out and eventually tripped Sabre en route to a La Magistral cradle for a near-fall. Banks returns the favour with a cravat as both men flip the other down until Sabre scores with a neck twist. Travis gets back up as he and Zack trade off on chops in the ring… but Sabre hardly registers them and again takes down Banks for another neck twist that turns into a submission.

More chops and uppercuts give way to a single-leg takedown as Sabre pivots Banks in a single-leg Lion Tamer, and finally those Banks chops start to register. Sabre snaps and takes down Banks in a double armbreaker, before rolling him over to get a two-count… so Banks invites Sabre to waffle him with some PKs. Eventually he catches one and takes down Sabre for a diving knee, before taking Sabre into the corner for some charges and a cannonball.

Zack gets out of a suplex and scores a two-count out of a rolling prawn hold, but Banks comes back with a superkick… only for Sabre’s attempted counter with a guillotine to only delay a brainbuster from the Kiwi. Sabre ducks the corner roundhouse and catches Banks in a cross armbreaker, but Banks quickly gets his feet to the ropes to break the hold.

Next up for Banks was the Octopus, but it’s countered into back-and-forth sunset flips for a load of two-counts as they went back to trading strikes. Finally Banks knocks Sabre to the outside with a knee strike, before throwing a tope to send Sabre into the crowd barriers. Back inside, another attempt at the roundhouse out of the corner from Banks is caught and turned into another armbar… but this time Banks powerbombs himself free!

They again trade vicious slaps and forearms from their knees, but Banks survives and lands a roundhouse, then a German suplex, before finally connecting with the springboard roundhouse for the win! Despite the pin, Sabre immediately goes for an armbar as there’s a little bit of afters – but it’s official… Travis Banks gets the W! This was right up their with their match at Fight Club: PRO last year – really enjoyable and worth rewatching. ****

Doug Williams comes out at ringside and applauds Banks in the middle of this…

Marty Scurll vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. El Ligero
This is to crown a number one contender for Cody’s WCPW Internet title… Scurll and Kidd wrestled the prior night in Liverpool, and this time they’re joined by the first Internet champion in an elimination three-way.

We start with a lot of stalling as Marty Scurll took his time getting into the ring, and Gabriel Kidd almost snatches a pin on Ligero as the masked man was distracted by Scurll flicking the V’s outside. The referee helps as Ligero trips Scurll for a near-fall, but the Villain comes back by hanging Ligero’s arm on the top rope, before Kidd came back and landed a big boot. Kidd and Ligero ran the ropes for a spell, before the youngster kicked away a leapfrog from Ligero as the pair went back and forth with sunset flips… in successive matches!

The roll-ups for near-falls was a pattern that continued for a spell, before Ligero dropkicked Scurll off the apron as a set-up for a teased dive… but it was a fake out as the camera went blurry for a teased dive to Kidd, only for Scurll to come back with superkicks to the other two as everyone ended up outside. Kidd took several chops from Scurll in the corner, before he finally rolled to the outside as Scurll posed to the crowd.

Kidd trips Scurll into the ring apron as the pair went towards the aisle… where Ligero was waiting for them with a somersault dive off the top of the stage! They return to the ring where Ligero falls for the “Just Kidding” superkick, but the masked man recovers with a Sliced Bread for a near-fall out of the corner. Kidd comes in and drops Ligero with a death valley driver for a near-fall, which was sold as Kidd “almost getting the first three-count of his career”.

You sure?

Scurll returns and chops away at his two foes, but this descends into a round-table of superkicks, ending with Scurll taking an Ace crusher from Ligero as all three men were left laying. Kidd comes back with a Finlay roll, but he misses a moonsault off the middle rope, as Ligero gets a C4L… but in an elimination match, Scurll breaks up the cover so he can get the chicken wing on Ligero, and Ligero taps out!

Marty insists on being named the winner, but it’s elimination rules… and Kidd comes back with a near-fall from a roll-up, before blocking a Just Kidding superkick. He hits a “Just Kidding” of his own, this time in the form of a DDT for a two-count, before a lifting reverse DDT (or the Next Stop Driver, if you prefer) gets another near-fall.

Scurll snaps away the fingers of Kidd, which almost makes Marty hurl, but he turns around into a small package for a near-fall before a high angle brainbuster gets the Villain another two-count. More superkicks to the head send Kidd crumpling to the mat, before a pumphandle suplex into a neckbreaker gets another near-fall. I like how they’re showing Kidd as someone who’s capable of fighting back from a whole load of punishment, but that first win needs to come soon… and it almost came here when he blocked a chicken wing and rolled up Scurll. In the end though, Scurll kicks Kidd low with the referee distracted, then gets the win via chicken wing as Kidd’s losing streak continued. A good triple-threat all told – actually having some structure rather than just a barrage of spots with no story. ***½

The manner of Scurll’s win turned the crowd against him… but at least Marty had an answer for those annoying “What?” chants. Scurll turns his focus to Cody, and he’s mad that his name wasn’t on the list that Cody made after he left “that big company”. Marty tells Cody he took away “that thing from the top of his list” (I’m guessing he meant BOLA, since Scurll eliminated him from last year’s tournament) and he’ll do it again by taking his Internet title.

We finally get a backstage segment as Martin Kirby’s setting up his own merch table. Kirby’s mad that the GM role “pays next to nothing” as Joe Hendry approaches him. Hendry’s annoyed that the number one contendership spot was picked via a lottery, and he asks for another shot… Kirby will give it to him if he gets a favour, and we fade to black.

Boiler Room Brawl: Primate vs. Rampage
We’re in the WhatCulture office building in Newcastle for this pre-taped segment. Okay, the offices are in Gateshead, but what’s the other side of the river between friends?

Primate’s oozing something from his mouth, but he sneaks in and attacks Rampage from behind as this “match” gets going. Rampage is thrown into an electrical box, then into a set of doors.

Rampage grabs a screwdriver and jabs away at Primate’s eyebrows with it, before Primate’s thrown onto a balcony through some “caution” tape. Primate’s choked on a guard rail, but he doesn’t submit… and I just realised, nobody’s told us how this match can be won. Didn’t WWE’s Boiler Room Brawls end when someone left the boiler room?

They continue to brawl around the walkway, as Rampage uses Primate’s own shirt to try and choke him into submission. Primate’s thrown into a vent, before Rampage slams a door on him as they both return to the boiler room for more forearms. Rampage drills something into Primate, but the cameraman doesn’t capture what it is, and they’re now fighting into a stairwell where the Primate’s choked some more.

Rampage kicks Primate down a flight of stairs, before he wedges Primate into another set of doors, and now they’re in the main WhatCulture offices as Primate’s thrown into an Ikea sofa. Some popcorn is sent flying as Rampage throws Primate into a table… and Primate now gets force-fed a banana. A briefcase is used to get a near-fall – yeah, they had a fake Money in the Bank case too – before Primate reverses an Irish whip and sends Rampage across a pool table.

A pool cue comes into play as Primate uses it to choke away on Rampage, before he force-feeds Rampage a pint of milk. I’m shocked Alex Shane didn’t make a lactose intolerant joke there… as they now brawl towards some desks where Primate dumps a box of t-shirts onto Rampage. The WhatCulture magazine gets used as a weapon, before Primate stomps on someone’s cape and crown. Imagine that being a YouTube gimmick…

Rampage comes back with some more shots, but Primate keeps the upper hand as he tosses Rampage through a handily-placed pile of magazines. A cup of water’s thrown on Primate as Rampage makes another comeback, and they head back into the office, where a travel coffee mug ended up being smashed.

Some handily-placed suitcases prove to be a landing pad for Rampage, as Primate sniffs bites off the head of a cardboard cut-out Eva Marie, and Primate’s found a lift… but he can’t work the buttons. We pick him up again in the car park, where he’s waits for Rampage, who finds a wrench as he took the stairs… and that wrench is used on the gut of Primate. They brawl some more, as Primate spears Rampage into a meshed-off area, before a chain’s used to choke out Rampage, and this is waved off as Primate takes the win. A fun brawl, but don’t think about the lay-out as the best answer to questions like “how did the cameraman and Rampage know where Primate took the lift to?” is “wrestling!” **¾

Doug Williams vs. Joe Coffey
Back to the arena now, and this one starts with a tie-up as Williams takes Coffey into the corner. They’re playing up the gimmick with Williams that he’s mad over the number of imports that WCPW’s using… so this is a crowdsourced act?

Shoulder blocks off the rope don’t affect Williams, at least until Coffey misdirects Doug and sends him flying outside with one. The pair end up trading forearms on the apron, and Williams finally knocks him to the floor before Doug dives off the apron with a leaping knee to the Scotsman. Back inside, Williams whips Coffey hard into the turnbuckle as a prelude for more strikes, until Coffey went for – and missed – a springboard cross body off the middle rope.

Williams continues with a shoulder barge in the corner before a suplex attempt eventually gives way to a superplex attempt, but Doug’s shoved down as Coffey flies in with a missile dropkick for a two-count. Coffey comes back with uppercuts and an avalanche in the corner, before he misses a second… but Doug tries and fails on the Chaos Theory. A springboard crossbody gets Coffey a near-fall, as does a suplex, but Williams rebounds with an uppercut out of the corner then an Exploder!

Coffey comes back with a Boston crab, but Doug gets to the ropes with ease, and then heads up top again for another diving uppercut, this time off the top rope! Doug gets a two from that, before he tries for the Chaos Theory once more… but Coffey fights out and gets a pop-up uppercut. The Black Coffey misses at the first time, before he bounded off the ropes and connected with the Black Coffey discus lariat at the second attempt… and that’s enough for the win! Decent enough match, with a lot of this being spent on teases for the Chaos Theory until Coffey hit the Black Coffey. ***¼

We’ve got a backstage promo with Cody (Redacted), who’s pulling a Dean Douglas as he tells us about the definition of Ricochet. His wrestling career’s rebounded since August 2016, and that leads us to the first-time-ever match with Ricochet. Cody tells us that the Internet title is bullet-proof, so that means he’s gonna be Bullet Club heel here, right?

Swords of Essex (Paul Robinson & Scott Wainwright) vs. Joe Hendry & Martin Kirby
There’s a really unwise fan who gets into it with Paul Robinson on his way in… and then he gets the Gillberg chants. Their opponents are Joe Hendry – who seems to have lost his ever-customized themes – and GM Martin Kirby. Speaking of Hendry, his arm-waving stuff seems to be extra aggressive here, which is making me think that someone’s going to be snapping soon.

The Swords eventually jump their opponents, with Kirby being sent to the outside. That left Hendry to take a load of two-on-ones, but things turned around when the pink-tie wearing Kirby tagged in and dropkicked Robinson for a near-fall, then did a crane kick to Robinson after Hendry had a brief spell in.

Unfortunately, Kirby was quickly taken to the corner for some double teaming… but Joe Hendry’s referee distractions worked well as he inadvertently held the referee from counting from a suplex to Kirby. Wainwright gets a two-count from a dropkick, before Paul Robinson comes in and hooks away at Kirby’s nose. I hope it was snotty.

Wainwright gets a knee drop after he spun around in the ring for some reason, and then comes an abdominal stretch – a really under-utilised hold in wrestling these days. Kirby finally comes back with an enziguiri after one of wresting’s most effective moves: putting your hand up and yelling “stop!”. Joe Hendry tags in and clears house on the Swords, dumping Wainwright with a neckbreaker, then Robinson with a DDT for a two-count.

Kirby comes in to try the Zoidberg elbow yet again, but Wainwright cuts him off and hits a Spanish Fly. I was NOT expecting a guy as big as Wainwright to try that, let alone pull it off. Hendry comes in to take Scotty down with a knee, before Robinson went stratospheric with a back body drop. Regardless, after Kirby accidentally knocked Hendry off the apron, Robinson comes back and goes up top to help with Scott Wainwright’s death valley driver with a foot stomp as the Swords take the win. Decent tag match, and we’re getting ever closer to Hendry’s jump… ***¼

Dave Bradshaw on commentary plays up how Martin Kirby’s cost his team in successive matches – which makes me wonder if they’ll end up this “season” by bringing back a non-wrestling GM?

A backstage promo with Ricochet comes next. He puts himself over as an Internet sensation, before promising to take the title hold.

WCPW Internet Championship: Ricochet vs. Cody Rhodes (c)
This should be appearing on the WCPW YouTube channel soon, given their policy of putting the Internet title matches online for free… Ricochet’s got a crown, so I sense someone crying gimmick infringement.

Cody again gets the Bullet Club sting for his ring music, and my word he’s got some flame pyro too! Oh, he starts by Too Sweeting everyone because Bullet Club.

We start with cartwheels from each guy, before Cody takes Ricochet into the corner with a tie-up. Ricochet tries for – and misses – some signature stuff early on, before Cody snaps back with a Goldust-esque uppercut and a kick to the midsection, ending up with Ricochet dropkicking him to the outside. A Space Flying Tiger Drop sees Ricochet drop Cody in the aisle, and they head up the stage where Cody tries for a suplex. Ricochet knees his way out and slams Cody onto the stage as the pair head back to the ring.

Ricochet breaks the count as he ends up whipping Cody into the crowd barriers. A kick to the chest gets Ricochet a two-count, before he comes back with a Bow and Arrow crossed with a Vertebreaker as Ricochet batted Cody’s head into the turnbuckles. Another near-fall follows from a roll-through into a dropkick, as Ricochet heads up top – only for Cody to cut him off and bring him down with a stalling superplex!

Some back-and-forth punches follow, but Cody takes the upper hand with some clotheslines before attempting a Cross Rhodes, ending with a sunset flip out of the corner for a two-count. Another two comes from a Goldust-esque scoop slam, before Ricochet snaps back with a Regalplex for a near-fall himself.

Cody goes to the outside for a drink of water, and of course he sprays it in Ricochet’s face. Ricochet comes back with a knee strike, but Rhodes fires with a Disaster Kick to leave both men laying… and that infernal “ten” count manages to ruin another part of wrestling. Blurry cam shows Ricochet landing a shoulder charge in the corner before Cody blocks a 450 Splash with his knees, turning it into a small package for a near-fall after the landing.

Another knee strike from Ricochet knocks Cody down, as does the 619, before he climbs the ropes again for a shooting star press – but he rolls through as Cody rolled away. Cody turns a wheelbarrow attempt into the Cross Rhodes, and that’s all folks! A solid match, but you know the motif here – perfectly acceptable wrestling, but from the crowd reaction, it’s clear the Cody bandwagon is slowing down. ***½

We get a backstage promo with Bully Ray, and he promises to win the WCPW title here. Short and sweet.

No Disqualification, WCPW Championship: Bully Ray vs. Drew Galloway (c)
Bully is out with Adam Pacitti… oh, and a Liverpool FC scarf for extra heat. Before the match can start, “Jack The Jobber” comes out with a note, which reveals that Martin Kirby’s banned Adam Pacitti from ringside, and I’m hoping that note also comes with an addendum like “please don’t stretch this out”.

Nope, Bully grabs the microphone and calls the crowd some “bloody wankers”. If they are, they’re doing it wrong. Bully says he wishes he was back in “God’s country” of Liverpool, before demanding that this match gets another stipulation: no DQ! There’s an offer of a handshake from Bully, but it gives way to a low blow as we get underway.

Bully uses his Liverpool scarf to choke Galloway in the ropes, before grabbing a chair from a security guard as the champion gets jabbed with it in the ribs. That chair’s wedged in between the top two turnbuckles, and Galloway’s thrown head-first into the chair as Bully is looking to punish Drew… who then gets some receipts in with a low blow and a Liverpool scarf choke for good measure.

Galloway uses the chair on Bully’s back as he goes to the outside, where Drew grabs a crutch from a fan, and thankfully it’s not badly bent over Bully. We then get my favourite thing – badly lit crowd brawling! The camera picks them up by the bar, where Drew sprays a few mouthfuls of beer onto his opponent. Finally the lights go on as Bully rakes the eyes of Galloway, before Drew’s whipped hard into a fire exit. Apparently this is now falls count anywhere as Bully gets a near-fall, and the pair finally head back to the ring.

Bully grabs a chair but hits the ringpost with it as Drew ducked in time… but he’s crotched on the top rope as Bully shoves the referee as Drew looked to go flying. Bully Ray grabs a camera and drops an elbow onto Drew for a near-fall – which gave WCPW a few seconds of iconic footage to reuse if Bully returns for another tour down the line. Drew eventually fires back after taking kicks and chops, and Drew fires back with chops of his own before he lands a clothesline off the top rope.

An attempt at the Futureshock DDT is blocked, so Drew gets a neckbreaker for a near-fall instead, before he accidentally clotheslines the referee in the corner as Bully pulled the referee into harm’s way. Bea Priestley comes down for some reason, and Bully ends up clocking Galloway with the women’s title – to a valid point from Dave Bradshaw on commentary: why was this done with a ref bump in a no DQ match?!

The referee makes a two-count after Bully awoke him… and now Bully goes outside to get some wood. Out comes a table! Drew hits back with a big boot for a two-count, but down comes Scott Wainwright with a chain to the head of Bully – but despite hitting him of the top rope with it, Bully can only get another two-count. Is Paul Robinson next? Of course he will be… but not yet as Galloway and Bully landed duelling clotheslines, and now here comes Robinson, but Bully shoves Drew as Robinson ends up taking Bully down with a crossbody!

Galloway rushes in from the corner with a clothesline, and that’s enough for the win! A somewhat out-of-nowhere finish – almost anticlimactic – and overbooked to boot with three run-ins… ***

After the match, Robinson launches into Galloway, and with Scott Wainwright coming in, Drew’s quickly overwhelmed, which leads to Bully Ray chokeslamming him through the table. Out comes Martin Kirby and Joe Hendry – way too late – before Ricochet comes out to really even things up, as he comes face-to-face with Bully Ray. They trade shots, and Ricochet hits a superkick to take Bully down… but a hooded man comes in to stop Ricochet from hitting a shooting star press, and… it’s Will Ospreay! Bleach-blonde Ospreay makes the save as the Swords of Essex are fully reunited once again… and Ospreay leaves with Galloway’s title belt as he repeats his girlfriend’s gimmick to close us out.

What Worked: They actually had sound tonight, which is a major improvement on parts of Kirbymania. There was plenty of good wrestling here, with Sabre/Banks stealing the show in my eyes.

What Didn’t: The women’s three way – far too short to be of any significance, and it just felt like all three were thrown out there to give us a women’s match. That main event was getting too patterned by the end, as seen when the crowd were mockingly calling for Paul Robinson minutes before he came out.

Thumbs: Up. So much for “hating the product”, eh?