…or “episode 6”, since they’ve ditched the season numbering after one week! We’ve got two main events, both of which were thrown together on the show for that Attitude-era booking we all knew and loved.
#TLDR: Another episode of Loaded saw a *lot* of talking, a couple of decent matches, a title match, a farewell and some on-the-fly booking as WCPW looked to build towards their next big shows in October.
The Full Review: After I watched last week’s show live, this week we’re back to watching “on demand”, but this week seems to have been a similar length. So they’re positioning WCPW as “lead in” programming for Raw?!
We start with Jennifer Louise “last week, after the show”. She’s apparently trying to interview Noam Dar, who’s in a room with Doug Williams (who’s looking very unlike someone who nearly killed themselves in a match earlier… thankfully Doug’s okay after that scary bump from last week’s show). In leaving the room, Dar walks into Williams’ knee, and this gets blown up like that time Chris Jericho spilled coffee on Kane.
Williams is adamant that “Dar wants to take (his) position”, and says he can beat Dar with two arms tied behind his back. This turns into a challenge from Dar, and it’s accepted: if Dar beats Williams, he gets Doug’s match in October against Cody Rhodes… if Dar loses, he’s out of WCPW. The cynical side of me is thinking “has someone signed?”
We’re straight to the arena now and straight into action, and apparently Dar/Williams is our main event tonight. Wait, that happened “after the show” last week but they waited a week to even mention it?!
Joseph Conners vs. El Ligero
No sign of Joe Hendry here, and we start with Ligero reversing a waistlock, before Conners takes him down with an armdrag in a technical open. They then start doing forward rolls for the hell of it, and the referee joins in for the hell of it… the hell?! Well, Charles Robinson did it that one time in WWE…
They do a monkey flip from a knuckle-lock for a bunch of near-falls, before they bridge up and shake hands and get back to their feet. Conners grabs a headlock, then takes down Ligero with a shoulder tackle, before he catches a Ligero leapfrog and rolls him through into a pinning combination for a near-fall. Ligero reverses for a near-fall, then gets picked up in a powerbomb position and works free, then finally scores a sunset flip… but Conners rolls through and drops him with a stalling suplex. That was quite the exchange!
Ligero avoids an avalanche from Conners, before a C4L is countered into a series of sunset flip pinning attempts. Ligero then catches Conners with a kick and a spinning neckbreaker off as he was draped across the middle rope. That got the masked man a near-fall, before the pair traded chops in the corner back and forth and back again!
Ligero takes down Conners with a chinlock, before Conners fights out and gets tossed to the floor. Conners catches a dive from Ligero and switches it into a bodyslam onto the apron, as he then leaps back in and takes down Ligero with some clotheslines.
Another powerslam gets Conners a near-fall, before he takes Ligero into the corner with a series of elbow strikes, then an avalanche. Ligero then takes a crucifix buckle bomb, but springs back with a springboard kick. The pair clonk into each other with clotheslines, but neither man shifted, only eventually wearing themselves out and down onto their knees. A big boot rocked both men, before they tried for a series of small packages for near-falls.
Ligero dropped Conners with an Ace crusher for a near-fall, before countering a slingshot DDT into a small package. Conners then dropped Ligero with a modified Ace crusher for a near-fall of his own. Ligero went onto the apron and took some clubbing forearms as Conners tried to suplex him in, but again Ligero blocked it, before leaping to the top rope… and getting dropped on there with a right hand.
Conners climbs up with Ligero, who counters a superplex into a sunset flip powerbomb. A C4L missed, but Ligero quickly countered an attempted slam into a small package for the win. Good opening match, and a surprising finish too. I quite like matches that end with something other than a finisher… ***½
We’re back with Aron Stevens (formerly Damien Sandow, now TNA’s Aron Rex), and Alex Shane’s pulling a WCW “they’ve changed the format on me”. Instead, we get Adam Blampied in the Sandow robe, and he’s holding the microphone like Sandow used to. Well, I’ll give Blampied this, he sure does pull off the “unlikable, smug prick” gimmick well. Shame that’s the only note he can play.
Blampied says that “impersonating another wrestler requires absolutely no in-ring talent”. As does being on a show because you do a bunch of YouTube videos. He takes off the robe and reveals the WCPW title belt, which he’s presumably wearing because it’s way too small for Big Damo. We get the latest crappy catchphrase, “the Blamp is here”, and the crowd chant “delete” at him. How about “unsubscribe”?
Blampied brags about his GCSEs, and talks down to Rampage, who supposedly has a broken neck. Rampage is never going to have the title he reckons, and Blampied continues to mock Stevens by running through the old Sandow catchphrases. I yawn, and then the Aron Stevens music plays again, as the real deal makes his entrance. With a lot of feedback on his mic, and his old Twitter handle to boot.
Stevens dresses down Blampied “who are you, and why do you have my robe”. Blampied gives him the robe, but not before he wipes his feet over it… and at this point we see (kayfabe or otherwise) how painfully thin the skin of Alex Shane is, as he again mocks “that was a WTF moment” (referring to another video series that WhatCulture do after their shows).
Stevens threatens to punch Blampied, but he’s told that if he touches him, he’ll be fired. Cue the usual “former WWE guy talks about his firing” rant, which usually only happens in TNA. Except here they don’t even try to mask it. Blampied pulls the “you’ll never be champion” line again, which Stevens replies to by mocking Damo and Blampied. This came across like a bad attempt at harkening back to the Rock’s glory days.
Stevens mimics Blampied again as he talks up the Stevens/Damo match “in two weeks”, and I’m quickly getting bored. Well, until Stevens kicks Blampied low, that is. Big Damo comes out to rescue his manager, before Stevens talks up their match “next week”. Oh dear. For a segment labelled “Aron Stevens vs. Adam Blampied”, this was thirteen minutes of clickbait – borrowing from the website, clearly!
We’re backstage with Jennifer Louise and Joe Coffey now. Coffey says he feels good after his win over Primate at the Built to Destroy event, but he’s not so happy at being left out of last week’s number one contender’s match between Aron Stevens and Doug Williams. Coffey didn’t like how “the stars, the Americans and the ex-TNA guys” usurped him, so he goes and knocks on a door. He interrupts Martin Kirby chatting with Adam Pacitti, and demands a title shot at Big Damo. And he gets it…
They play a video announcing the arrival of Jim Ross. He’s coming in October for their “Refuse to Lose” iPPV, where he’ll be doing commentary with Jim Cornette and Alex Shane. Meh, two out of three ain’t bad.
Back to the action now after almost 20 minutes of talking…
Martin Kirby vs. Grado
Kirby’s not in a dress, and oh my word. It’s Grado. Can we have the talking back?! They had a one-week build for this in a “blink-and-miss-it” backstage segment. Welcome back to 2014! Grado’s got an even worse knock-off of “Like A Prayer” (even worse than what TNA gave him), and I’m going to try not to hate this…
Grado ducks a clothesline then slaps down Kirby, before grabbing a wristlock, only to be chopped to the floor. Kirby takes a back body drop, before the Dusty Rhodes punch, only to duck an elbow. Kirby tries in vain for a German suplex, but gets taken down for something… but Kirby pushes free, only for Grado to cartwheel over him.
Grado sidesteps a dive as Kirby goes to the outside, and Grado eventually follows him, and holds up Kirby so he can be chopped by a fan in the front row. That chop was weak, so Grado demands a second go, which wasn’t that much better. Another fan has a go, then another, before Kirby gets thrown back into the ring.
Kirby misses an elbow drop as Grado winds up for a punch, before Kirby blocks it and throws Grado into the turnbuckle. Grado’s choked in the corner with a boot, and then takes a battering ram-style shoulder into the corner. A slam sees Grado sent to the mat, and sets up Kirby for the Zoidberg elbow! Of course, Grado rolls away, and replies with the Dusty Rhodes punches, then the Bionic elbow.
Another leaping shoulder charge misses as Kirby hits the turnbuckles, before he takes a cannonball dive from Grado. A second Bionic elbow drops Kirby, but he replies with an enziguiri kick to send Grado to the mat. Kirby grabs Grado’s bum bag (fanny pack, for those in the States), and opens it up… to find a toothbrush? Kirby shoves the toothbrush between his arse cheeks, before he tries to force into Grado’s mouth. This becomes a test of strength, but they drop it before Kirby gets the toothbrush shoved into his mouth. Grado then hits the Wee Boot (big boot) for the win. As a match, this wasn’t great, but again, what’d you expect? Grado is a comedy guy who’s two years removed from being flavour of the month, and Martin Kirby in this act is really limited. ½*
Speaking of, as soon as Grado’s music played, chants of “Grado” could be heard, but you couldn’t see anyones mouths moving. Goldberg-esque! Did they pipe in the chants to the music, or was this all dubbed together to mask another song?
They take us to Kenny McIntosh on the entrance way with Martin Kirby. They build it up, and Kirby just blows him off, so this becomes a promo with Grado instead. McIntosh asks what his plans are in WCPW, and apparently Grado’s mum is in the building… Thankfully, Drake runs in to attack Grado from behind, as do the rest of Prospect, and Kenny McIntosh just slinks off to the back. He’s the biggest heel of the lot! Joseph Conners and Joe Hendry run out to make the save, and I have an awful feeling that they’re going to be lowering themselves to a six-man tag with Grado.
Sure enough, James R. Kennedy issues a challenge, to a 3-on-3 elimination match: Grado, Hendry and Conners vs. Drake, Archer and Gracie.
We’re backstage with Primate pounding on the wall. Suzie Kennedy tries to calm him down, and we’re interrupted by Gabriel Kidd piggy-backing Prince Ameen into the room. Ameen suggests a match, and we get Kidd vs. Primate later tonight.
Doug Williams vs. Noam Dar
Well, this was the main event at the start of the show, but it’s now been shoved down the card. The ring announcer dubs Williams “Mr. Brexit” in a reference that I’m sure isn’t going to be dated…
Since we only got one backstage segment to build this up, we had to have Alex Shane add some colour to this match, and this is apparently all based on Williams playing the “grumpy old man” character and feeling that the younger generation don’t respect their elders.
Dar gets a “happy birthday” chant, since I guess this was taped on his birthday (and was completely no-sold on commentary). We start with a tie-up, which Williams turns into a waistlock, before Dar reverses into a wristlock. That’s switched into a hammerlock by Williams, and then back into a Dar wristlock, before we get a rolling pinning attempt that gets Dar a near-fall.
Williams grabs Dar into a Japanese strangle hold, but Dar flips back to reverse the hold, which Williams rolls out of, and we get some rolling pins for both men. Williams bows as the crowd chants “Tory w***er” at him, and the action resumes as Dar gets taken down with a headlock. Dar turns it into headscissors, which Doug escapes and grabs a toe-hold, before catching Dar in a wheelbarrow. Dar turns that into an attempted Champagne Super-Knee-Bar, but Williams was too close to the ropes and easily made the break.
Williams gets pushed into the turnbuckle, but tries to block the move with his left knee, but that buckles as a callback to the incident last week that saw him land on his head. I’m not a fan of stuff like that being used so blatantly as a spot, particularly given how serious the injury could have been.
Dar tries for a leg grapevine, but got shoved to the outside, then knocked back to the floor from the apron. They try and play up on commentary that referee Steve Lynskey has known Doug Williams for a long time, and that he could screw Dar… because that’s something that’s never been done before, a dodgy referee! Dar grabs Williams and crotches him into the ringpost, then smashes Williams’ bad knee into the post.
Williams then shoved Dar into the barriers, before Dar’s thrown back into the ring and then into the turnbuckles. A snapmare from Williams leads to a neck crank, before he transitioned into a rear chinlock, then lands a baseball slide dropkick to send Dar out to the floor. Doug waits for the count-out, but Dar slides back in at nine (despite the fans doing the Tye Dillinger “ten” gimmick), and goes straight into a front facelock from Williams.
Dar fights back up to his feet, but Williams forces him back to the mat, before a series of uppercuts takes Williams into the corner. Dar fires back with more of the same, then a dropkick for a near-fall, before he runs into a big boot from Williams. A flying back elbow off the middle rope sends Dar to the mat, before Dar elbows out of an Exploder suplex attempt.
An overhead belly-to-belly suplex gets Williams a near-fall, but Dar elbows free from a German suplex and then drops Williams in the Champagne Super-Knee-Bar. But yet again, Williams easily makes the ropes, and they get back to their feet and trade forearms. Dar kicks Williams in the bad knee, which he sells like death, before he popped up for a schoolboy.
Dar kicked out at two, then swapped a backslide into a waistlock, then a roll-up, but Williams sat down on him, and took the quickly-counted pinfall for the win. That’s Noam Dar out of WCPW, and Doug Williams keeps his match against Cody Rhodes, and the stipulation of Dar being forced to leave WCPW gets some light boos. ***¾
Interestingly, the quick count wasn’t covered much in the post-match commentary, and we get Kenny McIntosh is back out to interview Dar. McIntosh again drills home the “you must leave WCPW forever” line, and asks Dar for a final message for the fans. The same fans who chant “NXT”, and we get a pretty throwaway farewell.
Backstage, Big Damo storms into Adam Pacitti’s locker room to complain about his title match tonight. Pacitti’s computer monitors seem to show the WCPW website and a still from Martin Kirby’s entrance video, which distracts me from Pacitti saying that this is Damo’s punishment for how he won the title. Pacitti threatens to fire Damo (and obviously, strip him of the title) if he no-shows the match, gets himself intentionally disqualified or attacks him.
We get a still image of an upcoming show in Newcastle, featuring the Kurt Angle Invitational. It’s going to be a 15-man Royal Rumble with the winner facing Angle at the WCPW Refuse to Lose iPPV in October.
The Primate vs. Gabriel Kidd
Kidd’s wearing a pair of trunks which has “servant” written across the front, which is a nice touch to the current storyline. Ameen sends Kidd to the wolves, and Primate jumps Kidd as he entered the ring.
Primate headbutts Kidd into the corner and unleashes on him with some stomps. Kidd elbows free of a German suplex, then throws Primate into the corner to return the favour with those stomps. Primate shoves away Kidd, but takes a big boot for a one-count, as Prince Ameen’s entrance video still plays in the background.
A dropkick from Kidd rocks Primate in the corner, and he does it again after an Irish whip into the opposite corner. Kidd drops Primate with an Olympic slam for a near-fall, but Primate drops Kidd with an overhead belly to belly superplex after catching him on the top rope.
Kidd takes some rolling German suplexes, as Primate releases after the fourth suplex, and sets up for a spear. Primate doesn’t make the cover immediately though, and instead picks up Kidd for some headscissors with repeated elbows into the head, forcing the referee stoppage. Eh, an extended squash, but whilst I like how WCPW don’t make these squashes one-sided, they really are counter-productive… you have a monster like Primate, but he originally struggles against a bottom tier guy like Kidd? *½
We go to another backstage segment where we see Bea Priestley attack Nixon Newell as she was talking to Jennifer Louise. Priestley grabs Louise and demands a rematch with Newell… so hopefully the backstage interviewer feeds that information back!
WCPW Championship: Joe Coffey vs. Big Damo (c)
This is our rushed title match, and there’s no Adam Blampied as he’s apparently gone to hospital after being kicked in the grapefruits. Primate comes back out during Coffey’s entrance, and grabs a steel chair from under the ring… and he goes for Coffey, and hits him in the midsection with it. More chairshots from Primate, and he chokes Coffey with it… and now, Big Damo makes his way out.
Damo goes after Coffey, who slides out of an Irish whip and lands an uppercut, only to get shoved back into the corner. Damo counters by kicking the legs of Coffey as he’d climbed the ropes, and the Northern Irishman continued the offence with a tease of a piledriver. Coffey squirmed free and rolled him up for a one-count, before taking a back elbow.
More forearms from Damo send Coffey into the corner, as his brief comebacks continue to get cut-off by Damo. An avalanche splash squashes Coffey, as does a second, before a big boot prevents a third splash. Coffey elbows Damo, then lands a springboard crossbody off the top turnbuckle to take the champion down.
Coffey continues the assault with some uppercuts, then a clothesline in the corner, but Damo runs out and squashes Coffey with a forearm. Coffey lands on the apron from a back body drop, but returns to the ring with a springboard dropkick that sent Damo to the outside. We then get a flying Iron Man, as Coffey lands a tope on Damo, who leaps into the crowd for safety.
Coffey lands another tope over the crowd barrier to take down Damo, then throws him back into the ringside area, before landing a suplex for a two-count back in the ring. Damo takes a forearm in the middle of the ring, but comes back with a Fireman’s carry slam and a back senton onto Coffey, as the Scotsman kicked out at two.
Coffey rolls out of another piledriver attempt, but a giant swing was blocked, with a spinebuster and a diving elbow from Damo getting another near-fall. A suplex nearly got Coffey the win, before he surprises Damo with a Finlay roll before climbing the top rope… but Damo gets up, so Coffey leaps over him to safety, only to get dropkicked into the bottom turnbuckle by the giant from Belfast.
Damo set up for the Ulster Plantation, but Coffey punched himself free, and this broke down into a striking battle – uppercuts vs. forearms. Coffey takes a big boot, but recovers to drop Damo with a clothesline, but only gets a two-count as he sets up for the Black Coffey discus lariat, but Damo ducks and flattens him with a crossbody.
From there, Damo picked up Coffey for the Ulster Plantation, and ended up getting the win. A pretty good main event, and the “out” they had with Primate beating down Coffey beforehand was enough to not bury him too deep. ***½
Post-match, Damo levelled Coffey with a pair of belt shots, as the commentators confirm that the Damo/Stevens match will be next week… and that’s our show!
Well, what can I say? It’s more of the same. It’s another two-hour show, which again dragged at times. The process of taping a live event and splitting it into TV shows works, but if the live events aren’t paced out as TV shows, you get this. Still, at least it’s not an hour-long show with one match and a load of talking heads, I suppose.
Hey, this is two weeks in a row that we’ve had no non-finishes on this show. Given how fiercely they defended non-finishes in their early days, I’d have to think that there’s been a clear change in creative. Especially since there’s a lot less of the WhatCulture crew on these shows, making this less of a vanity promotion and more like any other middle-of-the-road indy promotion.
Although I didn’t see the full show live, I did take a look at the live stream, and it seemed like the viewing figures have been on a bit of a slide. In week one, the live stream maxed out at around 25,000 viewers – for their sixth “weekly” show, they seemed to top out at the 8,000 mark. Although the on-demand numbers seem to be holding up, I would guess that a combination of the late start time and the format isn’t translating well into live views.
The continued production tweaks saw WCPW add in some extremely annoying sound effects whenever an on-screen graphic was shown, be it a name caption, the match graphic or the instant replay screen. I’m guessing it’s meant to sound like grinding metal, but it just sounded like distortion.
More concerningly though, this week we saw WCPW rush through several matches – with two in particular being announced and held on the same show. Granted, we had a tease between Kirby and Grado last week, but their match was announced literally moments before it aired, whilst Williams vs. Dar apparently happened “last week” but only had an hour’s build. An hour’s build for a career-ending match. Yep, that’s straight out of the Attitude era.
WhatCulture Pro Wrestling have announced future shows in Manchester and Newcastle, featuring the likes of Eric Bischoff, Jim Cornette, Jim Ross, Cody Rhodes, EC3, Jay Lethal and Kurt Angle. Add in the higher-profile British guys like Will Ospreay, El Ligero, Marty Scurll, Big Damo and the likes… that’s a mighty high wage bill, and I only hope for the wrestler’s sakes, WCPW has enough money to not only pay those guys, but to stick around for many more shows to come after those fly-ins have gone.