WCPW’s final iPPV – under this name, at least – saw a change at the top as transition “defiantly” started.

We’re in Newcastle for the big event, with Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy on commentary for the monstrous show. But first, the YouTube pre-show… because why not? Speaking of “why not?” Stevie Aaron is the ring announcer, despite that storyline where he’d been suspended because he was part of the Prestige.

Drake & Little Miss Roxxy vs. Jay Lethal & Ava Storie
Polite applause greeted Jay Lethal here, as they tried to make us all think there was an issue between Roxxy and Storie. Given that Ava’s name hadn’t even been part of WCPW until the dying moments of last week’s Loaded… good luck with that.

They were given plenty of time early, but under mixed-tag rules, we were allowed intergender stuff, with Storie hitting a spinning heel kick as Roxxy leapt on Lethal’s back. Storie then had to fight out of the wrong corner, before the American pair hit a pair of dives to take us into a non-existant break.

Recovering from those dives, Drake and Roxxy start to double-team Lethal, before he finally escaped a double-team suplex and tagged in Storie, who drops Drake with an Ace crusher for a near-fall. Ava struggled more against Roxxy though as the match started to become chaotic with tags becoming novelty items.

A lungblower and a back cracker counters a Lethal Injection, before Storie’s float-over reverse DDT just about came off. Lethal had second thoughts about giving Roxxy a Lethal Injection, and that almost cost him… before Drake ate it for the win. A pretty solid pre-show tag, as the Drake/Lethal storyline continues to amble on. **½

The main show opened with the new WCPW GM Stu Bennett coming out. He got a good reaction as they don’t tell us why they needed a new GM… and the first thing he did was forget to turn on his microphone. Whoops! He’s got some bad news, all based on Cease and Desist letters. Ah… I see what they did there. Talk then turned to the farewell to WCPW, which got a muted applause, before unveiling the rebranding of Defiant Wrestling. Still no logo, still with angry people in Seattle.

David Starr vs. Mike Bailey
Winner gets the next shot at Zack Sabre Jr’s Internet title at some point down the line – whilst the former champion Gabriel Kidd was stuck in a pre-preshow match against “Pastor” William Eaver.

Some good stuff early as Starr tries to stop Bailey from getting his kicking game going… but sadly for Davey Wrestling, those kicks did start. He stops those quickly, and teases throwing Bailey into the crowd… but it’s a con, and if commentary’s bad jokes on his nicknames are anything to go by, Starr’s slowly cutting corners, to borrow his phrase from Rev Pro.

The third of three roundhouse kicks get Bailey back into it, with a running corkscrew splash getting Speedball a two-count, before he ran into an inverted slam. A Product Recall follows after Bailey was caught in the ropes, and some back and forth just angered Starr into spitting at Bailey… who replies with the cavalcade of kicks.

Out of nowhere, Bailey’s moonsault crossbody earned him a Blackheart Buster from Starr as the pair continued to go tit-for-tat, avoiding each other’s waistlocks until a kick sent Starr outside. Commentary mentions that “this isn’t guaranteed to be for a shot at the Internet title”, before correcting themselves. Consistency!

Starr kept going, flipping into a tilt-a-whirl Destroyer for a near-fall, before he toyed with Bailey some more, throwing him into the corner with a death valley driver. At the second attempt, Bailey hits back with the shooting star knees, and just like that, he’s booked himself a title shot! Pretty fun stuff, and for once Speedball didn’t just spam with kicks! ***½

Starr was left frustrated by the loss, with commentary suggesting that could affect his future in WCPW/Defiant… but a blown-off handshake kinda tells you where he’s going with that!

WCPW Hardcore Championship: Bad Bones vs. BT Gunn vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Primate (c)
Remember how I said that after his death matches elsewhere this year, “Hardcore matches” are now quite quaint for Jimmy Havoc? Well, they found ways to make this agonising.

All of the challengers came out with a weapon: Bones, a baseball bat. Gunn, a chair. Havoc, a staple gun. Primate had nothing, before missing a charge as things spilled to the outside instantly where Havoc did the dastardly thing and poked Primate in the eye before the champion disappeared under the ring.

Baking trays and chairs came into play from there, as the camera cut away from Bones landing a German suplex as a counter to the Rainmaker from Havoc. While Guinn used the plastic back of a chair on Primate, Bad Bones put two metal chairs on their side… before Havoc stapled his balls and dropped him onto the side of those chairs with a pumphandle slam. No way in hell could that have not sucked.

Gunn tries to steal the pin on that, before Havoc brings a ladder into the ring. Once Primate charges himself into it, he takes a staple gun to the head before that ladder’s used as an uncomfortable landing area. Another staple from Havoc saves him from a powerbomb from Bones, and things go from weapons to dives, with Primate leaping off the top rope to take out Gunn, Havoc and Bones at the same time.

Primate brings out a table, before he and Gunn adds some open chairs onto the table as they tease superplexing Havoc through it. It’s only Bones who pulls it off though, but the table doesn’t break as the legs dug into the ring canvas! Bad Bones… what are you doing to your back?!

Gabriel Kidd runs out in a Dave Mastiff t-shirt to chase Bones through the crowd, and as the crowd’s dying down from that, Primate spears BT Gunn away from a sure-fire pin on Havoc to get the win. Insane stunts here, and I’d dread to think what all of these guys were feeling in the morning after. **¾

Havoc and Primate bumped fists after the match, which could be a sign of something… as may Primate forgetting to pick up his own title afterwards!

Liam Slater vs. Johnny Moss
Student vs. Teacher here, as Liam Slater got his wish – a match against his tag tag team partner. Or is that “former”? This felt like a farewell of sorts for Moss, given the news of his moving to Florida to be a part of the WWE Performance Centre was made public this past week.

Moss has his elbow taped up, and they started out going through the basics – snapmares, wristlocks and the like… which somehow gto Slater bleeding from the nose. Given how often that’s happening, I’d be worried. Slater’s kept grounded, with a straitjacket hold, but he flips out of it as the crowd barely made a peep.

After escaping, Moss threw Slater around for a bit, prompting Slater to drop Moss with an arm whip, targeting the injured elbow. Moss takes his time to get up, then chops and elbows Slater, who quickly takes him down with a hammerlock before torquing away on the injured arm. Somehow, Moss deadlifts Slater up into a powerbomb before going back to some throws, only for Slater to catch Moss with a Fujiwara armbar for the quick tap. This was alright… the crowd barely seemed into it, but the story was there, as some seemed to see this as a slight turn by Slater. **¼

The crowd stood and applauded Moss after the match, as the Cumbrian giant bade his farewells.

A spooky video plays next, featuring crosses and crucifixes… Pastor William Eaver’s coming to WCPW?

The Prestige (Joe Coffey & Travis Banks) vs. South Coast Connection (Kelly Sixx & Ashley Dunn)
Sixx and Dunn start off on fire, charging Banks and Coffey into the guard rails with topes, before the SCC targeted Banks with a back body drop into a ‘rana.

That momentum was stuffed when Coffey slammed Dunn, as the Scotsman slowed down the pace with a series of uppercuts. Dunn’s attempt at a wheelbarrow’s caught and turned into a Giant Swing that ends with a lungblower with some help from Banks, who then kicks away at Dunn to get himself a pinning attempt.

Kelly Sixx gets a hot tag and sweeps Coffey’s leg, but again his inexperience leads to him getting double-teamed by the Prestige duo, who nearly get the win after a springboard crossbody. The SCC get in some double-teaming of their own, with Sixx cannonballing onto Banks outside, before a frog splash gets him a two-count. Coffey snaps back with a German suplex that woke the crowd up, before he ran into Banks in the corner to spark some disagreement between the two. Things break down a little as Banks comes in and dumps Dunn onto his head with a clothesline, then a Kiwi Crusher… before the Lion’s Clutch forces a submission. This was… a match, I guess. The main story of the Prestige using their experience to out-do the SCC’s speed was fine, but don’t get the sudden dissension between Banks and Coffey. I mean, I do – it looks like they’re planning on wrapping up the Prestige when WCPW closes, but that set-up? Really? **½

Coffey storms away on his own, which some in Newcastle took as a cue to start cheering for Banks. That wasn’t the plan, I guess!

We rewind to three months ago – the last time WCPW had a women’s match, or even acknowledged having a division. They show Kay Lee Ray beating Viper to win the WCPW Women’s title from Bea Priestley. Yeah, surrogacy and all that. For some reason they show Priestley getting beaten down by the Prestige at the World Cup Finals, which did happen, but I don’t get how that ties into this?

WCPW Women’s Championship: Bea Priestley vs. Kay Lee Ray (c)
Priestley wants her title back, and unsurprisingly there’s no Viper here, although commentary teases that she’ll be on Loaded to wrap that storyline up.

Kay Lee and Bea work over each others’ wrists early, before a La Magistral gave way to a series of pinning attempts. A Gory Bomb’s escaped and turned into a crucifix for a near-fall as Bea tried to stay alive in this match, following up with a ‘rana before getting an instant receipt.

The crowd seem to be completely split on whom to cheer, which is nicer than absolute silence… but this match nearly ends from there as Bea rolled up a Koji Clutch attempt into a near-fall. A ducked Gory Bomb leads to a back suplex from Bea, but Kay Lee quickly gets a Koji Clutch locked back in before we got a rope break.

Bea comes back with a Cheeky Nando’s in the corner, but Ray spiders her way up into an overhead belly-to-belly suplex, only to get caught herself by a resurging Bea. A Rings of Saturn looked to force a submission from Bea, especially when she turned it into a Tequila Sunrise-ish move… only for Kay Lee’s only free leg to get to those ropes… and from there she’s easily able to pull off a Gory Bomb for an almost out-of-nowhere win. Pretty decent stuff here, but the abrupt ending felt a little weird. ***

Instantly after the match, Veda Scott hit the ring to silence, then chants of “who are ya?”. Whoops. She went after Ray with a snapmare driver onto the belt, before cutting a promo, telling the crowd who she was. Apparently beating up the champion and challenger on her own qualifies her for a title shot…

We get a video package out of nowhere, which I figure out late on that it was a recap of the life of the Magnificent 7 briefcase. Ligero’s got a mystery opponent tonight…

Magnificent 7 Briefcase: El Ligero vs. Marty Scurll
Hey, Marty’s getting form in these mystery matches. He instantly drags Ligero into a chicken wing, but Ligero gets to the ropes, before having his hand stomped on as he’d ducked an attempted apron superkick.

For some reason the hardcore title belt is at ringside, as Scurll takes Ligero back in to keep control of the match, wristing Ligero’s mask for… reasons. A DDT from the ropes nearly gets Ligero a win, but we’re still a long way from the finish, and in here Ligero walks around offering some *redacted* hand gestures. Hey, we don’t want a Cease and Desist either…

Back in the ring, Ligero traps Scurll in a straitjacket hold, which gets reversed eventually as Scurll takes the masked one outside for the apron superkick, before a tease at the Bird of Prey finisher ends with Ligero pulling the referee to free himself. Joel Allen shoves back the next time Ligero tried it, but the roll-up didn’t get the job done for Marty, who’s forced to kick out of a Stunner.

Scurll tried a roll-up with his feet on the ropes, but he’s caught by the ref, and Ligero takes advantage, working his way up to a Mexican Wave… but Marty gets the knees up and rolls up Ligero for a two-count! Things get as little weird as everyone gets distracted by Ligero sliding the briefcase out of the ring – with the ref crucially falling for the Shiny Red Ball as Ligero gets in a low blow… but it’s caught and turned into the finger snap. Which is also countered into an inside cradle for a near-fall.

Scurll gets back up for a chicken wing, but Travis Banks comes out and interferes… his attempt at holding Scurll in the ropes backfires, and eventually he gets in the Bird of Prey as Ligero takes the fall and loses that battered briefcase! A fun match, which you usually get from surprises such as this, but commentary on this was damn near insufferable at times. ***½

Kiss My Arse Match: Alex Gracie vs. Martin Kirby
Things nearly ended early as Kirby rolled up out of a Fall From Gracie, before trying up Alex in knots in the ropes, landing a diving dropkick to free him.

Gracie hits a leaping knee to cut-off the charge of Kirby, before a leg lariat out of the corner gets him a near-fall… but like quite a few matches here, this crowd is not looking interested. Kirby cuts off the Zoidberg Elbow and gets in a backbreaker instead, before he pushes away from a Fall From Gracie and gets in a Slingblade instead.

Headscissors out of the corner and a spinebuster put Gracie down, and now Kirby wants to do his Zoidberg Elbow. Yeah, it misses. Instead, he holds up Gracie in a stalling suplex for “15 dickheads” before a poke to the eye, as an enziguiri accidentally catches the ref.

Gracie capitalises with Eat Defeat, but nobody’s there to make the call… so he heads outside for a chair, and pulls an Eddie Guerrero. Kirby’s flustered and doesn’t let go of the chair, instead opting to put it on his head as the referee stands up to see Kirby down, wearing a chair… and then awards the match as a DQ. Well then, that was a lot of nothing, I guess? It was a match all about the pay-off… **

Martin Kirby rushes to the back before any backsides could be kissed. Instead, he comes back with Fat Ligero, whose rear end is willingly kissed by Gracie. No struggle, no fight, just a reluctant peck on the wrong kind of cheek.

WCPW Tag Team Championship: Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) (c)
Hey, the Bucks came out expecting War Machine rules, as they’re dressed for a fight. They also came to pimp their YouTube show, with Matt Jackson claiming the same person who took their catchphrase and their hand gestures also robbed them of their luggage.

Yeah, if Bullet Club’s involved, this crowd’ll chant for anything. Like “Dad Jeans”.

The Bucks jump War Machine as they went for the redacted hand gesture, and this was as chaotic as you’d expect the Bucks and War Machine to be. Bodies flying everywhere, along with superkicks, before the Bucks finally got off a pair of topes that put War Machine into the crowd.

Everyone else heads towards the stage, where the Bucks get lawn darted into each other, before Matt Jackson bounced between War Machine punches. Nick makes a save with a flip dive off the stage, before everyone headed back to the ring for more chaos. Rowe headbutts away some forearms from Matt, only to run into an Ace crusher from Nick, as Hanson’s handspring back elbow put down the bucks.

A streak of missed moonsaults from both sides left everyone on the mat, before the Bucks snuck in some superkicks and Sharpshooters. After a rope break, they unwisely tried for More Bang For Your Buck, which ended up with them getting a pop-up slam instead. Payback comes in the form of an accidental sit-out tombstone as the Bucks made Hanson tombstone Rowe, getting a near-fall out of that.

War Machine reverse a Meltzer Drive and instead hit an Indytaker, which Matt breaks up with a senton off the top. There’s counters all over the place as Nick escapes a clothesline-assisted German and instead takes out War Machine by himself, but in the end, Nick takes Fallout as the camera shows Hanson’s dive instead of the pin… and War Machine retain! Or is that “Wor Machine”, given it’s Newcastle? A fun match – and this is coming from someone who isn’t a fan of the Bucks – but I couldn’t help but feel a little letdown given the hype… then again, this crowd has hardly lifted anything all night, apart from some chants… ***¾

“Who’s next for War Machine?” scream commentary. We find out… Hanson grabs the Hardcore title that was conveniently left on the announce table, and now Primate came out for it. Jimmy Havoc comes out with a beer to help him, and I guess that’s going to be the next tag title feud. Dear Lord, under War Machine rules, that’s going to tear down whatever building they do it in.

Stu Bennett heads out to do commentary for the main event. Storyline incoming! Especially when Bennett orders Dave Bradshaw to “stand up for the champion”. Hmm… I’m hoping this doesn’t mean we’re leaning towards a “bad guy as GM”.

WCPW Championship: Will Ospreay vs. Joe Hendry (c)
Ospreay’s got some snazzy new Spiderman-themed boots, perhaps as a reward for turning down the invitation of the Prestige a few weeks back.

Will teases a dive early, but the mind games quickly give way to submissions as Ospreay pulled Hendry into an Octopus hold. Ospreay’s aerial moves led to the first chink of armour, as a missed 450 splash looked to tweak Will’s ankle, and Hendry instantly went for it, to the point where Ospreay ended up crumpling as he was thrown into the corner.

Hendry takes over, dropping Ospreay with a suplex before grounding him with a Cobra clutch of all things. After freeing himself, Ospreay was able to gut through the pain to roll up into a ‘rana as the champion flew off the top rope, before landing a series of kicks which connected… but did more and more damage to the ankle.

A running dropkick into the corner gets a two-count, before Hendry catches a kick and started to target the leg even more, avoiding a Rainham Maker and going for an ankle lock. Hendry reapplies it despite Ospreay being in the ropes, but Will gets off an enziguiri to free himself, only to run into a clothesline that dumped him high on his neck.

Hendry’s DDT only exacerbated the neck problem, as did a clothesline that knocked Ospreay off the apron… and that follow-up tope as Hendry broke new ground. Ospreay replied with a baseball slide dropkick that just about got Hendry into the crowd, and you know what that means… a moonsault into the crowd that wiped out Hendry and the ref. Why in God’s name was the ref there to try and make a catch!?

Back inside, a corkscrew shooting star press gets the knees of Hendry, who then seemed to forget about working over Ospreay’s knee, instead throwing some shots. Ospreay tried to fight back, but Hendry just dumps him to the floor, forcing Will to land on his worn down knee and ankle…

The motif keeps up as Hendry charges Will into the guard railings, knee first, and then gets caught in an ankle lock in the middle of the ring. Once we get a rope break, out of nowhere Ospreay gets in the Cheeky Nando’s, before an OsCutter’s caught and turned into another ankle lock. Again, Ospreay escapes, but Hendry keeps coming back… and Ospreay keeps kicking out!

After escaping another Hendry lock, Ospreay hits a standing Spanish Fly, but it’s still not enough. An OsCutter left both men down, and then the lights go out?!

Marty Scurll’s music hits, and we have a cash in! Marty’s adding himself to the match, and although he can’t get the cover on Hendry, he uppercuts a diving Ospreay before trapping him in the chicken wing… with Hendry grabbing his arm at the last moment to prevent a tap-out. So Marty throws Will into the crowd and goes for Hendry now, and they go between chicken wings and ankle locks. Ospreay breaks that up as he and Scurll trade blows, leading to Scurll kicking away a Cheeky Nando’s. A clothesline dumps Ospreay, but Hendry runs in with the briefcase – and since it’s a 3-way, this is now a no-DQ affair.

Scurll kicks out of that, and Hendry decides to mock the Villain, hitting a low blow. Except Marty was wearing a cup. Hendry was not, and after a finger snap, he’s caught in a chicken wing… and with a mixture of searing ball pain and the chicken wing, Hendry taps! We have a new (last?) WCPW champion: Marty Scurll!

As a main event, it was pretty good – the surprise addition of Marty Scurll was certainly different, and the preceding match with Hendry and Ospreay was alright. Taking the belt off of Hendry was the right move – as much as his work was improving, the Prestige faction was one of many things that just didn’t seem to be clicking as good as it could. ***½

After the match, Stu Bennett shook Scurll’s hand, and the show fades to black. The final WhatCulture Pro Wrestling iPPV ending… much like the rest. No fanfare, just a fade to black.

Refuse To Lose was a pretty decent show, but badly hurt by the lack of crowd reactions. It’s been a motif throughout the latter part of WCPW’s run – and while that may just be bad crowd micing, that’s something that affects the broadcast product (and as such, the product as a whole). As a farewell, this… didn’t really feel like one. I’m assuming that Loaded will be the real “goodbye”, and that something epic is planned for the transition period, as opposed to a Sopranos-esque black screen, but we shall see.

For whatever reason, WCPW has become a shadow of its former self, at least if you go by the buzz these shows are getting. Is it the novelty wearing off? Is it the big personalities leaving? Or is it the stop-start nature of the product? It’s mind-boggling how a company with the talent they have gets so little play. Either way, the end of WCPW is nigh, with the promotion wrapping up TV by the end of the month before returning in December under the new name.

Will that fix it? It depends. The relaunch needs to be so much more than “this is the new boss, same as the old boss”. To borrow a line from the Who, will we get fooled again?

I’d hope not – but they need to find a way to generate buzz without relying on an import. That well’s almost dry, and has proven to generate diminishing returns in the last few months. There needs to be a mixture of familiar and new faces, with commitment to those new faces – for too long we’ve seen stop-start pushes for the sake of a PPV (Alex Gracie, anyone?), which perhaps could have been the turn-off after all?