WhatCulture made their debut outside the United Kingdom over WrestleMania weekend – with a curious special labelled “State of Emergency”; a show that didn’t pick up at all until the final three matches.

Let’s get the elephant out of the room – at least visually, this was NOT a WCPW show. State of Emergency just felt like another promotion’s show that happened to have WCPW talent on it. At least in the building, there were no WCPW logos, no video screens, and nothing that’d tell you what this was. Pulling a complete 180 on their most recent shows, everything is well lit!

For whatever reason, WCPW’s gone with a “holiday video” motif for their opening video, which went against the entire theme that they’d used to build up the show. I hope it was meant to be a “we present our holiday video on VHS” deal and not a rip-off of the style from Joey Janela’s Spring Break, because to an untrained eye it certainly looks, at the very least, “inspired by”! Jim Cornette is with Matt Striker on commentary – Striker is wearing a cut-off Lucha Underground tee, because he’s wrestling later tonight…

BT Gunn vs. Martin Kirby
There’s a fairly prominent sign on display, “Fat King Ross Likes Big Sweaty Ham”. That’s what happens when you hammer a catchphrase into the ground, I guess…

Kirby clotheslines Gunn to the outside early on, before we get some chops around an incredibly cramped ringside area. Despite some flurries, Kirby’s got the early part of the match, playing up to the “too sweet” cries from the crowd after a near-fall, before a Slingblade took Gunn down. A roll-up into a neckbreaker gets another near-fall, but he goes for the Zoidberg Elbow and of course, he misses it. Gunn comes back with a Codebreaker off the middle rope, then a brainbuster, before the Sister Abigail DDT’s blocked and met with a series of back-and-forth boots. Kirby tricks Gunn into an enziguiri as a Sable Bomb gets the win. Perfectly acceptable wrestling. **¾

By the way, after every two count, the crowd shouted “sweet” here. Never EVER let that be a thing outside of America… Some clips from the English World Cup Qualifiers were shown here, “rewatch… free on WhatCulture Wrestling”. I’m guessing the word “YouTube” may be more useful for directions…

Next up is WCPW GM Adam Blampied, who is SUBTITLED. I guess because of the sound quality, but that’s hardly stopped them before. Adam’s interrupted by Drake, who’s joined by James R. Kennedy in a Mickey Mouse-esque body suit. The subtitled promo leads to the crowd decrying Kennedy as an “orgy butler”, and then out comes Prospect. You know, that team who’d been running a crowdfunding campaign? A video came up on YouTube before the show that Jim Cornette had sorted out the difference to pay for their trip.

Drake & James R. Kennedy vs. Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer)
Kenny McIntosh is our ring announcer, without subtitles, and we start with Kennedy refusing to tag in as Drake’s taken a few moves. Prospect corner Kennedy and that just leads to a brief cat and mouse as Drake takes over… and now Kennedy finally tags in as Archer’s on the mat.

Of course, Kennedy does the bare minimum when he tags in, missing an elbow drop… tag out so Drake can do a back suplex. Which has Jim Cornette comparing him to Lou Thesz. Drake misses a slingshot senton into the ring, but of course Kennedy’s chickened out, so it’s Gracie vs. Drake, and Alex Gracie’s going all Mike Bailey with some kicks. A big boot grazes Drake as he ducks, and now Gracie forcibly tags in Kennedy with a limp Drake’s hand.

Kennedy tries to back out, but he gets whacked in the back by Jim Cornette’s tennis racket, which somehow isn’t a DQ. Back inside, Gracie takes a Codebreaker from Drake, before the two of them team up for a really clunky Headlock driver for a near-fall. Again, Kennedy backs away as he’s cornered for a Bronco Buster from Archer, before Gracie’s face-on-arse trunks return for a Stinkface. Drake returns and gets that Stinkface too, before Kennedy takes the Stroke/Flatliner combo for a near-fall… because Prospect pull him up so they can do their pose while pinning him. That’s all folks. NOW CAN THIS STORYLINE DIE?! They tried their best, but this rating is simply a sign of my dislike of how this story plodded on for too long. DUD

After the match, Prospect stripped Kennedy of bodysuit, then turfed him out of the ring.

Clips from the Scottish World Cup qualifiers follow. More emphasis is put on highlights from the non-tournament matches, which says it all.

DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship: Primate vs. Joey Ryan (c)
So, this is a thing. Primate’s without James R. Kennedy after what we just saw, whilst Joey Ryan’s not got any music. He DOES have the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight title belt, which is that 24/7 title from the Japanese group that’s passed well over 1,000 champions. Jim Cornette doing commentary here is odd, given that Ryan’s been part of his long list of guys he dislikes, especially once a fan takes Joey’s lollipop. Primate doesn’t know what to make of this all as the crowd chants “touch his penis”. It’s stuff like him taking his time to tease it that really hurts his act as a killer in this group.

Ryan dropkicks Primate to the outside early, as a tope takes the monster into the guard rails. A back suplex takes Ryan onto the apron and now he’s beating down the sleazeball, scoring with a clothesline for a near-fall. Joey slips out of a slam, before he bonks into Primate, who Flair flops off the ropes into Ryan’s groin. Sigh.

Out of nowhere, some randomer comes from the back and pins Ryan to win the Ironman Heavymetalweight title. The camera moves so quick, it’s not until after the pin that you see it’s WhatCulture’s “Jack The Jobber”, and yes, that’s treated with the reverence it deserves on commentary.

Ryan makes a comeback with a spinebuster for a near-fall, but Primate replies with a trio of German suplexes for a two-count, which got Cornette to make a slight dig over the quality of those moves. Another lollipop comes from Ryan’s crotch, which Primate’s forced to eat… he replies with a spear for the win. Cornette begged before that “please let this be it”, which tells you all you need to know. What they did was fine, but this was a waste. *

For some reason they don’t exit out the mobile camera wandering, so I get motion sickness as Kenny McIntosh returns to the ring, as Joey Ryan drags Jack The Jobber back out. Jack lays down for Joey, not like that, and so Joey pins him to regain the title. Out next is Joe Hendry, who comes through the crowd as Ryan’s distracted by the Prestige’s air raid siren. One Freak of Nature fallaway slam later, and Hendry wins that DDT title.

Hendry treats the belt like it’s trash. So why did he head out and win it?! Promo time now, and yes, the audio’s so bad, they have to subtitle him. Hendry heads to the back for a bin, and he Madusa’s the Ironman Heavymetalweight title. This leads to the next match with Matt Striker, who shouts out his promo because he knows the audio quality sucks. There’s a replacement on commentary… King Ross. Ye Gods. There’s a fair few people booing him, which means Orlando has some taste.

Joe Hendry vs. Matt Striker
Striker suckers Hendry into a bunch of roll-ups early, before a Kiwi roll dazes Hendry on the way to a series of one-counts.

They reverse a small package around for one-counts, which even exhausts the ref. Hendry comes back with a chop, then the Freak of Nature fallaway slam, and that’s the win. Well, I get that Striker’s experience came into play here with him going for early pins, but being pinned with two moves I guess kills that credibility. Like the Prospect match earlier, this is a rating for the feud and the match. DUD.

We’re taken backstage where Jack the Jobber finds the rubbish bin with the DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship in it. WhatCulture’s press guy Adam Clery just happens to be walking by with a referee’s shirt, which he puts on as Jack PINS THE BIN to win the belt as the crowd chanted “thank you Striker” in the background. Jack turns around into Joey Ryan, and of course, Jack lays down again… so Joey pins him and leaves with the title.

Another backstage segment follows with Adam Blampied and Rampage. Adam wishes him luck for his title match tonight, after acknowledging their history together.

Oh sweet Jesus, King Ross is commentating for the next match as well. With some good wrestlers on it. Who did I upset for this? At least Ross is pretending to be a novice at this, rather than play up the whole shtick of “commentator of the year” after he won a popularity contest for that.

David Starr vs. Michael Elgin vs. Bobby Fish
We start with some ha-ha as all three guys target referee Chris Sharpe at the bell, before we have a series of roll-ups ending with the ref getting a two-count on Starr, before Sharpe shoves down Starr and Elgin. Sigh.

Big Mike does the Worm and now we move into typical triple-threat fare, with some highlights like Starr almost breaking the turnbuckle when Elgin whipped him into the corner. I’m not going to lie, if this were show in the UK, it’d be weird seeing Big Mike on WCPW, but this isn’t a WCPW. This really is a generic Florida indy with some WCPW guys on it. Bobby Fish took a breather in the crowd, only to return to kick Starr and Elgin in the chest, before he gives an Exploder on Elgin into Starr for a near-fall. Elgin wipes out Fish with corner lariats before we get some rolling Germans, ending with a German suplex to Starr and Fish at the same time. Starr punches free of a buckle bomb, then rushes in with a gutwrench facebuster for a near-fall, before he DDT’s Elgin onto the apron.

Starr keeps up with topes to Starr and Elgin, before a series of Elgin clotheslines left everyone laying. Another Exploder, this time from Fish sees Starr get caught by Elgin, who comes back with a bucklebomb into Fish, then a spinning powerbomb for another two (sweet! Can that part go away already?). A Blackheart Buster (over-the-knee brainbuster) gets Starr a near-fall on Fish, but the former reDRagon member quickly catches Starr in a knee-bar, and that’s the submission. Well, this started out weird, but it rapidly grew into a decent three-way with some bright spots. Best watched on mute though. ***¼

Oh thank God, Matt Striker’s back on commentary. He’s apparently lost a tooth, or at the very least is talking like he has. For all of a minute, as he’s speaking normally during the entrances of the next match…

El Ligero vs. Ricochet
Ligero heads to the back because he wanted his cape – but someone’d already taken it away. He now wants Ricochet’s gear back for a fashion show, and finally we’re underway. With rolls. The ref does a cartwheel, and now we’re wrestling, right?

Ligero plays his part in the usual Ricochet open, with headscissors, flips and a faked-out dive, before he grabs Ricochet’s leg and gives it to the ref en route to a schoolboy roll-up. Ricochet comes back with a standing bow-and-arrow-like hold, whipping Ligero into the middle turnbuckle before dropping him on the mat. Of course, he did ten of those, so Ricochet does a Dillinger en route to getting a near-fall.

Ricochet keeps coming with a spinebuster and the People’s Moonsault, but Ligero uses his feet to push Ricochet to the outside for a tope con hilo! An Ace crusher follows inside, before a wacky sequence leads to a Code Red for another near-fall. Ricochet fires back with a German suplex and an Ace crusher of his own, before a standing shooting star press almost gets him the win. Ligero replies to a German suplex with a reverse ‘rana as both men crumple to the mat. After a bell clapper, Ligero catches a Benadryller then rushes in with a pumphandle facebuster, before a springboard Crusher sets up for a Mexican Wave… but Ricochet kicks out at two! An axe kick to the head of Ligero softens him up for a uranage facebuster as a hanging shooting star press gets the win. This was really good, once we got past the gaga at the start – probably the best thing on this card so far. ***¾

A music video follows for the main event, featuring clips of Drew Galloway and Rampage’s route to Drew’s latest title defence…a video which would have been better with, say, promo clips sprinkled throughout?

WCPW Championship: Rampage vs. Drew Galloway (c)
Only hours after this, Galloway popped up on NXT… Rampage started by bulling down Galloway with some shoulder tackles, before a snap slam got the challenger an early one-count.

Some back and forth chops ended when Rampage headbutted Drew, who comes back with a belly-to-belly suplex off the ropes to claim a near-fall. They head outside as Drew clotheslines Rampage to the floor, and we get some brawling around the ring to show off Rampage’s fancy shiny blue-and-gold trunks, which take an awkward slam onto the apron as Drew’s forced to work around a cramped ringside.

Rampage replies by whipping Drew into the ringpost, and they head up onto the entrance ramp, where Drew’s suplexed onto the stage, and that leads to the tempo slowing with Rampage grabbing a rear chinlock in the middle of the ring. An attempt to capitalise with a leap is countered as Galloway turns it into a slam, before he repeatedly chops Rampage into the corner, then flies in with a forearm and an axehandle off the top rope.

A Futureshock DDT attempt is blocked, but Rampage quickly runs into a Sky High powerbomb for a near-fall, before he headbutts Rampage hard into the corner. Some chops in the corner leads to a superplex attempt, but Rampage crotched Drew, only to be thrown down with a spider suplex! Rampage counters a Claymore kick into a spinebuster, then tussled over a spinebuster, but Galloway climbs up the corner and flips over into a Futureshock DDT for the win. Another solid match, with Galloway in the midst of a really busy weekend… and one that’d end with a bit of a question mark: how do you get the belt off of Drew now he’s signed for WWE, given the promotion’s past track record with departures to WWE? ***½

Let’s be honest here, this wasn’t as much a WCPW show, rather a generic indy show that happened to feature some names “made” in WCPW. Fortunately, we didn’t have to endure the pointless dark match between CJ O’Doyle and Chasyn Rance – a booking that got WhatCulture a little bit of heat, given Rance’s past – but with an American ref, a bunch of names that you’ll be waiting a while to see on a WCPW show again, and nary a WCPW logo in sight, this is a show that perhaps ought to have been bigger than it was.

If I were to be cruel, I’d say that this was a total rush job, an attempt to join the bandwagon of UK promotions heading to Florida for WrestleMania weekend, like PROGRESS and Rev Pro. Whilst this show certainly did draw a sizable, lively crowd, that’s where the correlation ends. Save for the culmination (please?) of the Prospect feud, this was just another show, featuring guys who were in the midst of a slew of bookings, resulting in a show that in all honesty, is not a must-see event.

WCPW returns to the airwaves on April 29 for their No Regrets show in Newcastle, with the World Cup Qualifiers the next day in Coventry… where the Mexican leg will be contested.