We’re back to the sparsely-attended warehouse in Newcastle for the fourth episode of the WhatCulture wrestling show, as we entered the “go-home” show for next week’s first special event.
#TLDR: The go-home for “Built to Destroy” saw the addition of several new matches – all of which made sense storyline-wise – as we had another backstage segment-light, wrestling-heavy edition of the show. They even learned how to use the no-contest finish properly in the context of a storyline as well! Unfortunately, what good wrestling we had here was held in front of a low crowd, which meant little in the way of responses…
The Full Review: Much like last week’s episode, this was taped on a Thursday morning… so there’s hardly anybody in the arena. But first, our ironic WWE Network-esque warning card, telling us that nothing really exists. So I’ll just be reviewing a theory that took place over an hour on YouTube!
We’re straight into an entrance video, and it’s Adam Pacitti walking to the ring. I had to quickly check that I hadn’t clicked the first episode by mistake… but nevermind, it’s Adam Blampied on commentary again. He wasn’t too bad last week with “King” Ross, as long as they stay where they were last week with obnoxiousness and the sort.
Apparently next week is the WCPW “Built To Destroy” special. That’s also the title of an 1983 album from British rockers the Michael Schenker Group.
Yep, the annoying heel schtick returns, as Blampied seeks to add in vaguely-heelish but mostly-childish lines whenever Pacitti takes a breath. We have a main event: Big Damo and Joe Coffey vs. The Primate and Rampage. Or Rampage Brown, as they call him here. Consistency, folks?
They throw back to last week’s Coffey/Primate match which ended in a DQ (no-contest actually, but again, consistency, fellas). Someone from the crowd agrees with Pacitti when he asks if they want to see more, and we’re getting Coffey vs. Primate in a no-DQ match at Built to Destroy.
Pacitti gets interrupted by Prince Ameen and Gabriel Kidd, and they do the “boo/yay” posing alternating between Ameen and Kidd. Ameen orders Pacitti to leave, and the submissive General Manager obliges. Yep, that shows everyone else – the face of authority leaves because a midcard heel asked him to. Ameen’s got a match for Gabriel Kidd… and here we go:
Gabriel Kidd vs. Drake
Ameen is coaching Kidd from ringside, and orders him not to lock up… so Drake just kicks him instead.
Kidd hands a series of headbutts to the midsection and uppercuts, then an inverted atomic drop and a big boot, but he gets chided for playing to the crowd, and turns into a diving dropkick from Drake. A butterfly suplex gets Drake a two-count, before he takes a clothesline and a bodyslam from Kidd.
Kidd just about gets Drake up for a back body drop, and then goes to put Drake on the top rope. For some reason, Ameen climbs onto the apron to shout at his “partner” some more, but Kidd tells him that he doesn’t need help to win the match. Can you see what’s coming next, readers?
Ameen punches Kidd to the mat, and Kidd turns around into the diving lungblower as Drake picks up the win. Decent opener, in spite of the rotten storyline. **¼
Afterwards, Ameen chided Kidd for losing again, as the crowd chanted for Kidd to punch him back. For some reason, Adam Pacitti returned, and stumbled over his lines as he set-up Ameen vs. Kidd for next week, with the loser becoming the other’s servant. I could barely see Pacitti in the aisle here, and it looks like we have another match.
I’m not sure if they changed cameras for this taping, or whether I was blind to it last week, but it seems like the colour balance throughout this match was massively off. One set of cameras showed a vibrant picture, whilst the mobile cameras at ringside produced a faded, washed-out image. Really off-putting…
You know what I’ve just realised? We’re two segments into the show, and we’ve not once seen any backstage tripe, any commentary table segments or anything apart from in-ring stuff. Good work!
Prince Ameen vs. El Ligero vs. Martin Kirby
It’s a three-way elimination match, and we have the real Ligero here, as opposed to XL Ligero from last week. They start by circling the ring, and Kirby immediately takes Ligero into the corner, before Ameen cheapshots Kirby, and promptly gets dumped out of the ring.
Ligero takes down Kirby with a ‘rana, with Ameen running in to squash Kirby with an avalanche in the corner. Ligero follows that up with some headscissors that took down both Ameen and Kirby at the same time. A snapmare takes Ameen down, with Ligero landing a dropkick before going up to the top rope, but Ameen rolls away… before Kirby dragged Ligero to the outside and throws him into the ringpost.
We then get a dose of stupid heel logic, as Kirby breaks up Ameen’s cover of Ligero. Even though this is an elimination match, Kirby wanted to get the pin on Ligero… only for Ligero to kick out at two. Ameen and Kirby work over Ligero for a spell, with Ameen choking Ligero in the ropes, before Kirby does the same.
A backbreaker takes down Ligero for a two-count, and Ameen does the same, before drilling Ligero with a spinebuster. The heels go for a double-team suplex, but Ligero slips out and drills Ameen with an enziguiri, but quickly gets cornered with a shoulder to the midsection from Kirby.
Ligero fights off superplex attempts from Kirby and Ameen, and the pair argue… leading them to take a cross body from Ligero, and the comeback is on! A tiltawhirl lands Ligero in place for a stereo reverse DDT/STO combo on Ameen and Kirby for a near-fall, and he then backdrops Kirby out of the ring entirely.
Ameen swings Ligero’s legs into Kirby on the outside, before landing a neckbreaker for a near-fall. Ameen holds up Ligero and invites Gabriel Kidd – who’d been outside all along, like an obedient servant – into the ring to punch Ligero. Kidd refuses, and slaps Ameen, which leads to Kirby rolling up Ameen for the elimination.
As he celebrates, Ligero springboards off the ropes with the C4L tornado DDT, and there’s the match. The match was alright for a three-way, nothing earth-shatteringly good, but not awful either. ***
King Ross on commentary spent most of the match rambling on about how Ligero was a cheater… yeah. I’m not sure why either. Kirby grabbed the microphone to declare that he won, forgetting that this was an elimination match, and mocking the fans for the “one fall” crap. Hey, I agree with him there. Kirby challenges Ligero to one more match, but Ligero refuses.
Kirby instead offers a bunch of stipulations that I don’t think WCPW could afford… a ladder match? A cage match? A hair match? A hog pen match? Hell in a Cell? When Kirby offers a “loser wears a dress” match, and that is the cue for Adam Pacitti to return to the entrance way. Yep, it’s the dark mobile camera once more, and Pacitti books another match for next week: mask vs. pride… if Ligero loses, he unmasks; if Kirby loses, he wears a dress. What is it with this last minute booking? Isn’t this the same sort of thing that WhatCulture dogs WWE about? Anyway, Kirby kicks Ligero low and he makes his exit…
At the end of the second part of the show, we get our first commentary table spot, and they recap the two matches made for next week’s “Built to Destroy” special. This wouldn’t be so bad had these matches been announced any longer than, ooh, 15 minutes ago.
Speaking of, another video package for “Built to Destroy”, with all the quality control we’ve come to know and love from this group. Put this under “what happens when you watermark your videos slightly differently every week” and “what happens when you forget to turn off the watermarks”. What blurry hell was this guys?!
Back to the arena now, with the Jeff Jarrett-esque entrance video for Joseph Conners. On commentary, Adam Blampied calls out how Conners is the leader of a group called the Righteous Army, which is correct. However, this group – which also features Kay Lee Ray, Jimmy Havoc and “The Pledge” – have mostly appeared for Southside Wrestling, and have never appeared in WhatCulture. So why bring it up? Again, consistency, fellas… are we going to bring up El Ligero’s tag team in a certain different promotion? [Edit: thanks to the latest episode of the Indy Darlings podcast, it turns out that this faction no longer exists, courtesy of Conners losing a match that took place before this aired. So double points off for inconsistency AND out of date information!]
Joseph Conners vs. Noam Dar
Joe Hendry makes an appearance in the corner of Conners here, just because they wanted to play his entrance graphic and music once more. “People enjoy Joe Hendry”, says Blampied on commentary. Which would explain the deafening silence in the crowd.
They shake hands to get going, and they start with a lock-up, with Dar eventually being taken into the corner for a clean break. Wash, rinse, repeat, and Conners forces the break this time. We get some reversals from waistlocks, as Dar takes Conners down and into a wristlock as the crowd wake up and chant the Star Wars theme with Dar’s name in it.
Conners uses the ropes to reverse the wristlock, then takes down Dar for just a one-count. They move to a test of strength, which Conners wins out, switching things into a headlock takedown, but Dar gets some headscissors on the ground, before popping up and landing a headlock takedown of his own.
Dar sits back on Conner in a straight-jacket, but it gets reversed, and Conners sinches in the hold as we are shown Hendry talking to the crowd for some reason. Dar finally breaks the hold and reverses it once more, but Conners snapmares himself out and goes to a headlock on Dar.
Dar dropkicks Conners low after a failed leapfrog, before the two collide in the ring after Dar’d tried to climb the turnbuckles. Our friend “the count ahead of the referee” gimmick appears, and the two men get up to exchange punches, before Conners sits down on a sunset flip for a series of near-falls.
Dar gets a two-count from a roll-up, and they reverse waistlocks for a while, then some more pinfall attempts, and Dar locks in the Champagne Super-Knee-Bar – which Ross and Adam gleefully call in unison (they did the research… or perhaps listened to the criticism about the lack thereof on prior episodes!), and Conners taps. A nice little television match, and a fine showcase for Dar ahead of his ROH title shot next week. ***½
We jump to the white wall backstage to Drake and a microphone. I guess all of the other interviewers were away – certainly Kenny was tied up with doing the Paul Heyman speaking tour this week. Nothing much of note here, with Drake threatening Jamie Kennedy, and then dropping the mic. Without anyone else in the shot, this came across like just a guy practising a promo in front of a bathroom mirror. Except they put this on TV.
Back to Ross and Adam on commentary, and they recap the last match, teasing dissension between Conners and Hendry. Well, given that Hendry came out for no discernible reason for that match, I’d be annoyed too! Blampied builds up Dar’s ROH title shot next week, and then disappears “to go to ringside” for our main event. I’ve just noticed, we’ve not had a disqualification/no-contest on this show. Have they finally gotten over that?
The Primate & Rampage vs. Joe Coffey & Big Damo
Oh lord, this is a WhatCulture special, and I’m not talking about this being a beards-only match. Four wrestlers and three WhatCulture staffers by ringside, and guess what: the crowd react more to the WhatCulture guys than those actually performing.
Rampage loses his last name again here, well, until “King” Ross – flying solo on commentary – calls him Rampage Brown. Consistency again, guys?
Coffey and Rampage lock-up, with Rampage getting a headlock, before being shot into the ropes and we get a series of shoulder blocks that barely move both guys. Big guys wrestling! A dropkick from Coffey downs Rampage, who rolls to the corner and sees Primate tag himself in as he attacks Damo from behind. Damo quickly recovers and decks Primate with a clothesline, and a bodyslam, before dropping an elbow to the back of Primate’s neck.
Coffey comes back in and whips Damo into Primate, before landing a cross body off the middle rope for a near-fall. Rampage comes in to double-team Coffey as Damo gets a telling off from the referee, all whilst the “hard” camera goes walkabout.
Rampage lands a clothesline to Coffey, and drags him into the corner as there’s more double-teaming with the Primate putting Coffey in a chinlock whilst biting away at his forehead. Coffey fires back with some punches, but takes a back elbow as Coffey ignored Damo’s plea for a tag.
Coffey gets worn down with some crossface punches, and Damo enters the ring again for some reason. Ah yes, to lead to more heel double teaming. Blampied called for a piledriver, but Rampage teased doing it, before being backdropped out and caught in a giant swing from Coffey. Rampage takes a slingshot into the corner, and takes a lariat to the mat, before finally tagging in Big Damo.
Primate is taken to the corner by the Belfast giant, and is squashed with a series of avalanches, before landing the Fireman’s carry slam and a back senton. Rampage broke up the pin, and all four men end up in the ring. They all fight, and Rampage shoves down the referee, and all of the WhatCulture guys end up in the ring, leading to Suzie accidentally slapping Blampied as he’d apparently held up Jack The Jobber for the slap. I say “apparently”, we didn’t see any of the set-up, just the actual slap. I can’t help but feel that this was something thrown in for the WhatCulture guys’ own amusement, and that the people recording this didn’t know this was coming (otherwise they’d have made this a focal point)…
The ring emptied in time for Damo to drop Rampage with a pump kick, but Rampage and Coffey remain on the outside, and with security running out to try and separate the guys, I think this is being waved off as a no-contest. Yep, they couldn’t go a week without one of those… even though Rampage shoved the referee, it’s a no-result. A nothing match while it lasted, solely there to build up two matches from next week’s card. **
The entire roster comes out to fight each other, to shockingly little in the way of crowd response as they build up next week’s “Built to Destroy” pay-per-view.
Wait, what? They’re expecting us to pay to watch this next week, or was that a slip of the tongue from “King” Ross? Eventually the roster clears off into the aisle, and is in perfect position for Big Damo to powerbomb Alex Gracie into the pile on the outside. They show a replay of that, as “King” Ross signs off… and that’s our show for the week. Well, at least they saved the WhatCulture self-love for the main event.
The post-show video package builds up the card for next week: Big Damo vs. Rampage for that miniature WhatCulture title… Jay Lethal vs. Noam Dar for the ROH title… El Ligero vs. Martin Kirby in a mask vs. dress match… Joe Hendry & Joseph Conners vs. Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer)… Prince Ameen vs. Gabriel Kidd in a servitude match… Primate vs. Joe Coffey in a no-DQ match. That’s quite the card, if only they can keep the usual shenanigans in check.
In terms of a format, they seem to have finally sorted it. We seem to be done with the rotating cast of backstage interviewers, the roulette wheel of backdrops and the like. Those do have their place, and I feel they’ve gone too far in the other direction – there’s little wrong with wrestlers cutting promos themselves, but unless they are charismatic, a guy holding a mic by himself just looks like someone’s in promo class. Solve it: pick a backstage interviewer (whether it’s Stevie Aaron, Kenny McIntosh, Jennifer Louise or A.N. Other), stick to them, and don’t overuse them!
This week saw the noticeable difference in camera work – with the dark mobile cameras versus the standard of the “hard cameras”. Again, this was only the second set of tapings, so hopefully things like this will be ironed out in later episodes, but they are at least working through that long, long laundry list of issues that this group had on week one. Yes, the WhatCulture crew remain the stars, as the wrestlers they’re attached to are portrayed as bigger personalities than most others.
Needless to say, WCPW remains a work in progress. Quite what they were thinking in booking a taping during a weekday morning is something that only they can answer (and hopefully it doesn’t come down to “we needed this to produce more episodes of TV”). Like most other promotions, they also could do with a better commentary team, particularly one that doesn’t flip-flop between face and heel depending on the scenario. Consistency remains an issue in some points: the banned-piledriver angle seems to have been dropped, save for a few mentions on commentary.. is it Rampage or Rampage Brown? Do other promotions exist, or only some? That sort of thing.
Still, this is a million miles better than where WCPW were at for their debut last month. The show’s now up to being “bearable”, but let’s see what they do when they flick the switch from “TV show” to “supercard” next week…