The second episode of the re-relaunched Loaded was perhaps the strongest they’ve done for quite some time from an in-ring perspective – but it wasn’t without its flaws.

We open with a reminder of last week’s return episode, which saw Marty Scurll become the number one contender for Joe Hendry’s WCPW title… and his shot’s coming up tonight! Also last week, War Machine unseated Will Ospreay and Scotty Wainwright for the WCPW tag titles in a match that was Wainwright’s last match (for now, anyway) after illness and injury forced him out mid-match.

We’re in Manchester again, inbetween the USA qualifiers, for this latest episode. Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy are at ringside as is usual these days.

Drake vs. Angelico
Last time we saw Drake, he lost to Primate in a hardcore match… not much of a shock really, given Drake’s win-loss record in WCPW. With Angelico as his opponent here, I’m not expecting that record to improve!

Drake does start with a wristlock to Angelico, but the South African escapes and quickly trips Drake into a knee bar before using Drake as a surfboard. A fireman’s carry takedown lets Drake get in an armbar, but Angelico gets back quickly with some left hands, before Drake kicks the top rope as Angelico was mid-springboard. A diving dropkick knocks Angelico down as he was hung in the ropes, and Drake’s getting a lot more offence than I seriously expected. Angelico almost snuck in with a roll-up, but Drake boots him down before a half-nelson suplex looked to set up for something… only for Drake to leap into a dropkick.

Angelico comes straight back with a knee to the face, before a Capoeira kick took Drake down for a near-fall. An attempt at Fall of the Angels is avoided, but Drake quickly takes a double stomp to the back as Drake escapes another Fall of the Angels. Drake’s diving knee gets him a near-fall, as does a Regal-plex… but Angelico quickly comes back as Drake went for a discus something-or-other, only to get a high knee then a Fall of the Angels for the win. Really fun for an opener, and Drake lasted a lot longer than I thought he would… perhaps he’s not so much the rarely seen enhancement guy anymore? ***

We get footage of Jay Lethal challenging the GM Adam Blampied to book him vs. El Ligero in a ladder match… and that’s going to happen next week! They then replay Travis Banks’ beatdown of Gabriel Kidd from last week – when they’d already established Banks “wasn’t there”. Hmm…

WCPW Internet Championship: Travis Banks vs. Gabriel Kidd (c)
Travis Banks is just about the only Prestige member who hasn’t had new music since joining the group… Gabriel Kidd is still in the “building himself up” phase, after snapping his losing streak when he became champion, and Banks jumps him in the aisle as the match starts with chops around the ring.

Kidd lifts up Banks’ t-shirt and chops him by the crowd barriers, before a bicycle knee finally sees Kidd throw Banks into the ring… and the Kiwi throws himself to the outside with a tope as the bell rings to start the match proper. The favour’s returned as Kidd was thrown back in, but Banks starts to kick away at the Internet champion, laying in with some kicks before he’s dropped with a flapjack.

They go tit-for-tat for a while, with Banks pounding Kidd into the corner for some more chops, before he battered Kidd with a series of kicks. Eventually. Gabe lands a clothesline as he took down Banks with a Yakuza kick in the corner, then a diving knee strike off the top rope for a near-fall.

Banks runs into a Michinoku driver for a near-fall, but the Kiwi bounces back with a series of uppercuts in the corner, before tripping Kidd into the opposite corner for a cannonball. That gets Banks a solid two-count, but his onslaught of kicks just incites Kidd back to life, pulling off a front slam before a diving clothesline from Banks cuts that off.

A Fisherman’s driver gets Banks another two-count, which for some reason befuddled him into going for the belt. A teased belt shot is stopped by the ref (who probably should have let it go off for an easy DQ), allowing Kidd to come out of the corner with the diving knee, and that’s enough for the win! You got the sense there’s a bit of a backlash forming with Kidd here, but he held his own as his Internet title reign continues unabated. ***½

Commentary mentions the upcoming Stacked iPPV, before throwing to a video for the show on August 22 in Leeds. So far they’ve booked Ricochet vs. Rey Mysterio, KUSHIDA vs. Travis Banks, Mike Bailey vs. Hiromu Takahashi… plus the Briscoes get a WCPW tag title shot. But against whom?

Primate vs. BT Gunn (??)
First though, we’re taken backstage as Primate and BT Gunn are brawling in… a Lion’s Den? They’ve found a rather UFC-style Octagon to fight in, which is really bizarre to see the cage walls used like a steel cage… when you’re used to that not happening in MMA. Primate throws Gunn out through the door and into a heavy bag, before Gunn throws Primate into another room where he chokes him with a heavy-duty cable, only to get Irish whipped into some plasterboard.

It’s a weird brawl, if only for the wrestling x MMA start, and it looked to have ended when Primate throws away a cheese grater and instead slingshots Gunn under a table, sending it flying over onto the Scotsman. Instead, the swear Gunn hooks away at Primate with a coathanger, before jamming a chair into his ribs as the old staple of hardcore wrestling – a baking tray shot – is blocked. Gunn gets the tray wrapped around his head instead, and I’m wondering where security, or anybody is here.

Primate jabs something into Gunn’s head, as the fight moves into a stairwell, then into the darkness as they brawled into the other hall at the Bowler’s Green Exhibition Centre, fighting towards a boxing ring. Yeah, it’s gone on for way too long now, and now all of a sudden Gunn calls for a ref? Joel Allen must have just been right behind them the whole time… or just sitting in the boxing arena for shits and giggles. Anyway, Gunn rolls Primate into the ring, but as Gunn’s telling Allen to count, we get a spear as Primate gets the win. So… was that an impromptu Hardcore title match?

It sure would have been nice for that to have been mentioned that the Hardcore title was under 24/7 rules, rather than have it dropped in as a super-secret rule, eh? Or were we meant to have assumed that it’s a direct copy of what happened in the Attitude Era? Anyway, from there they replay clips from the Swords of Essex/War Machine match from last week, and that leads us to… oh God damnit, does “next” mean something different here? We’ve got…

Adam Blamped choosing between boxes of tea?! Gabriel Kidd interrupts as he’s got an offer for Adam… but it’s not for an Internet title challenger. Long story short, Kidd wants in on the ladder match with Jay Lethal and “El Lig-ear-oh”. So he wants a shot at the Magnificent 7 briefcase… and Adam agrees to it. Despite having to explain what he’s just done to Jay Lethal…

WCPW Tag Team Championships: Kings of the North (Bonesaw & Damien Corvin) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) (c)
Last time the Kings of the North were here, commentary forgot their names. This time, that thankfully wasn’t the case! Still, at least they went to decent lengths to give them a really close copy of their Prodigy theme…

We start with all four men teeing off on each other as Hanson was singled out early on… but the giant beardy-man is able to misdirect the Kings and slam Corvin… before Rowe slammed Hanson onto him for extra effect. Charges in the corner give way to running knees as it’s all War Machine here, furthered more when Bonesaw gets squashed by a diving crossbody from Hanson for a near-fall.

Things go from bad to worse when Hanson gets charged into a cornered Bonesaw, before Corvin’s knocked off the apron as he tried to interfere against Hanson. Eventually the Kings get something in when they pulled Hanson into the ringpost, and the Northern Irishmen took over from there, with Bonesaw landing a running knee to help Corvin get… a one-count. Regardless, Bonesaw and Corvin wear down Hanson in the corner, but the big lad powers back and boots his way free before tagging Rowe back in. Some clubbing blows from Bonesaw just delay the inevitable – a dropkick into the corner – before Corvin ate a forearm smash as Bonesaw ended up being dropped with a uranage onto his partner.

Another knee misses from Rowe as Corvin’s big boot and Bonesaw’s back senton gets a near-fall… Hanson gets tagged back in to wear down the Kings, trapping them in corners with the endless series of forearms in opposite corners. It’s like an old school bleep test, but with added squashing!

A stacked-up avalanche follows from Hanson, who then does a piled-up Bronco Buster in the corner, as War Machine continued their dominance… teasing dives before getting trapped in the ropes. The Kings rebound with a dropkick to Rowe for a near-fall after he’d been held in a fireman’s carry, before powerbombing Hanson out of the corner!

The Kings set up for a Doomsday Device, but Rowe slips out and shoves Bonesaw into Corvin, only for Bonesaw to land a Fisherman’s driver. Hanson sneaks in with a spinning bodyslam, before Corvin’s sit-out front suplex took the big man down as he went after Rowe with forearms. Bad move. Rowe headbutts those forearms away, then hits a knee to the head before a springboard clothesline-assisted German suplex picked up a near-fall.

From there though, Rowe picked up Corvin as they teased Fall Out, but Bonesaw comes in to stop it as the Kings instead set up for a wheelbarrow Codebreaker into a suplex that almost won them the belts. Hanson breaks up a double-team clothesline with a cartwheel before the Kings are dropped with the handspring back elbow, as a pop-up slam to Corvin drops Corvin for the win… as Hanson ensured Bonesaw couldn’t interfere by wiping him out with a tope! A really good tag match here, with the Kings getting plenty in – but since WCPW’s in the mindset of having a tag title match and no other division, then we’re going to get this conveyor belt of challengers. ***¾

They replay clips from last week’s number one contender’s match, which leads into the title match being “next”. I would have joked that they’re going to show us something totally different first, like perhaps the GM sneezing, but after the World Cup finals plug it’s instead a shot of the GM mock-typing out an email to “Vince McMahon” as he’s interrupted by Jay Lethal. Jay’s initially mad at it, but he then asks that someone else be added to the match as well.


Oh no.

Rampage comes in next, and the GM asks (out of fear) if he wants in the ladder match. Rampage nods, and we’ve gone from a one-on-one ladder match to a five-way ladder match. Alrighty then!

WCPW World Championship: Joe Hendry (c) vs. Marty Scurll
Hendry comes out first so he could cut what felt like the generic heel promo he’s done since he became champion. At least this time he’s brought a prop with him, but it’s barely mentioned… I guess he’s saving his umbrella for the match?

Scurll started by taking his shots at Hendry, throwing a kick to the legs before backing away. He trips Hendry and starts to work over with a side headlock as the feeling out process continued. A double knuckle-lock from Scurll took Hendry to his knees, ahead of a stomp to the hands as Hendry managed to fight back with some palm strikes to the chest.

Hendry mocks Scurll’s “shh”ing ahead of a chop, but Marty ducks out and delivers a chop of his own, before dropping Hendry to the mat with an arm whip. An apron superkick follows, as does Scurll mugging off the crowd, before charging at Hendry in the guard rails with such force that the guard rail lifted up into the air.

Mental note: if you’ve got to “overlap” barriers, try cable ties to significantly reduce the risk of those things flying up into the air wildly!

The tables turn though thanks to a thumb to the eye, as Hendry grabbed his title belt in a bid to force a DQ… but again Joel Allen resists as Hendry instead has to land a clothesline for a near-fall. After the kickout, Hendry lays into Scurll with uppercuts in the corner, before a standard suplex gets a two-count for the champion. There’s a spot of brawling around ringside as Hendry comes back into the ring for… a one count, as Scurll tries to mount a fightback.

An uppercut from the corner sees Scurll drop Hendry, and he roars into the champion with some mudhole stomping in the corners! Hendry falls for a “Just Kidding” superkick, then gets wrenched by his nostrils as Scurll started to work towards those fingers ahead of that sickening finger snap… but Hendry rakes the eyes!

A DDT from Hendry gets Scurll down for a two-count, before taking Marty up for a superplex… the Villain fights off and tries for a crossbody, but he’s caught (just about!) as Hendry looked for the Freak of Nature. Instead, Marty slips out and catches him in a chicken wing right by the ropes! As Scurll breaks the hold, there’s a ref bump, before he snaps Hendry’s fingers and goes straight to the Mouse Trap roll-up… but there’s no ref to make the count.

That’s one of my least favourite tropes – the babyface going for a pin when it’s obvious the ref’s down. Scurll releases the cover, but not before the crowd does those dreaded “ten” chants, and leaves himself open for a low blow as he checks on the ref. One Freak of Nature later, Scurll’s still able to kick-out as the ref’s still groggy, so Hendry goes to the ankle lock.

Marty rolls through the ankle lock into a small package for a near-fall, before a brainbuster does the same. Another chicken wing follows, but Hendry resists and backs Scurll into the referee in the corner. A high knee drops the challenger as Hendry heads outside to grab his title belt… but instead he remembers he brought that umbrella out. Marty had the same idea, and both men strike their umbrellas against the other, just as the ref stands up to see two fallen men and two fallen umbrellas… and he calls for the bell?! What the hell? They wrap up with no formal announcement of whether it was a draw, a no-contest or even a double DQ… but that finish just brought everything down big-time. A decent match until they figured to go overboard with ref bumps and gimmicks… but hey, at least we had no Prestige run-in! ***½

The show ends with a backstage segment, with the GM in his office bemoaning that “Twitter’s going to kill us”. If you’re going to mix reality and kayfabe, how about blaming “creative” for that finish instead? Anyway, Primate comes wandering into his office with the Hardcore title belt. Cue snarling, since he doesn’t speak English, as Primate points a finger up, then down. Adam takes that as him wanting to be in the ladder match… why don’t we just have everyone in that goddamn thing?! We’ve now gone from a one-on-one ladder match to a six-way. By the time that airs next week, I’m expecting it to be at least a 20-way match… and that’s our lot!

In-ring, this was one of the best episodes of Loaded that I can recall, as WCPW’s flagship show continues to build momentum following this latest restart. Their ninety-minute run-time is the perfect length for weekly TV, and I can only hope that when they move to solo Loaded tapings (rather than these shows which were taped in the middle of World Cup qualifiers), they don’t revert back to the monstrous two-hour-plus episodes of old.

In my mind, the only mis-step was the Hardcore title “match” that was thrown in without any context before, during or afterwards. At least we know going forward that as long as there happens to be a ref chilling nearby, that title’s up for grabs anywhere, anytime.