WCPW Pro Wrestling World Cup: English Qualifier
Location: Harvey Hadden Sports Village in Nottingham, England
Date: taped March 21, 2017, aired March 25, 2017 on YouTube
Announcers: Matt Striker and Dave Bradshaw
WCPW, the upstart promotion based in the UK, are embarking on an ambitious journey. 64 wrestlers in a World Cup style tournament in several different countries, culminating in a three-night final in August. To my knowledge, no pro wrestling company has ever run a tournament this large in scale. The road to crowning a Pro Wrestling World Cup Champion begins here in Nottingham with the 8-man English qualifier. The Bullet Club is in the house as well, so let’s get started!
The winners of the semi-final matches will earn spots in the Pro Wrestling World Cup final.
We start with a singing of God Save Our Queen before Dave Bradshaw and Matt Striker welcome us. I will try not to let Matt Striker’s melodramatic nonsense affect my enjoyment of the show. We get a video package for our first qualifier. Ospreay sees no one else as a threat, while Kirby doesn’t want any of those other “dickheads” representing the UK. We also see a tale of the tape that displays height, weight, and their one-on-one record against each other. I really like the sports-type presentation of this so far.
Opening Round: Martin Kirby vs. Will Ospreay
Kirby is the former General Manager of WCPW, having recently left the position to pursue the WCPW World Title. Ospreay is one-half of the WCPW Tag Team Champions, with his Swords of Essex partner Scott Wainwright.
The match starts fast when Ospreay drops Kirby with a dropkick, but Kirby comes back with a leg lariat. Ospreay does a cartwheel out of a rana and gets proud of himself, so Kirby drops him with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Drink every time Matt Striker says “tournament wrestling”. Kirby goes for his stalling eyepoke, but Ospreay ducks it. I love that they’ve learned from previous matches. Ospreay takes control and keeps Kirby down with restholds. Ospreay goes to the top, but Kirby takes him down with the Trish Stratus-style rana.
Kirby fires up and eventually hits an Edge-cuter for 2. Kirby tries a dropkick through the post on the outside, but Ospreay stops him and lands a big kick to his back. Ospreay comes back in with a springboard forearm and a Cradle Shock for 2. Big kicks from Ospreay land, but Kirby catches one and hits an enzuigiri. MOVES APLENTY! Kirby hits a dive on Ospreay and a Cradle Shock of his own for 2. Ospreay reverses the Zoidberg Elbow into a Cheeky Nandos kick in the ropes for 2. Kirby goes for a hurricanrana off the top rope, but Ospreay lands on his feet and hits an OsCutter for the win. I lowered my bar for these guys since one of them will be having more than one match, and I really shouldn’t have. Quite a good match. One thumb up.
Winner: Will Ospreay
Opening Round: Rampage vs. Nick Aldis
This is Aldis’s WCPW debut. According to the tale of the tape, Aldis is the current Global Force Wrestling Heavyweight Champion. I think a replica TNA World Title may be worth more than the actual GFW Title.
Rampage overpowers Aldis, but Aldis strings together some moves and lands a Michinoku Driver for 2. He goes for another one, but Rampage slips out and clotheslines him in the corner. Samoan drop from Rampage gets 2. Rampage goes for the 10 punches in the corner, but Aldis powerbombs him for 2. Aldis locks in a seated Cloverleaf, but Rampage gets a rope break. They fight on the top rope before Aldis knocks down Rampage and hits an elbow for 2. A Rampage clothesline takes both men to the outside. Aldis rolls up Rampage, but Rampage reverses it and gets the win. Completely unmemorable. Thumbs in the middle.
We see the brackets for the Mexican leg of the Pro Wrestling World Cup. First round matches include Juventud Guerrera vs. El Hijo De Dos Caras, Rey Mysterio vs. Alberto El Patron, Penta El Zero M (Pentagon Jr.) vs. Fenix, and funnily enough, El Ligero vs. Drago.
Non-Tournament Match: Prospect (Lucas Archer and Alex Gracie) vs. Liam Slater and Matt Riddle
Prospect weren’t invited by WCPW to their Wrestlemania weekend show, so they are earning money to get there themselves. It hasn’t been going well, thanks to consistent interference from their former manager James R. Kennedy. Slater’s usual partner Johnny Moss has been injured, so Slater picked up Progress Atlas Champion Matt Riddle as a partner.
Speaking of Kennedy, he takes Bradshaw’s place on commentary here. Riddle’s music sounds like background music from a GTA game. Slater gets the better of Archer before tagging in Riddle. Gracie tags in, and decides to challenge Riddle to a fight with Steve Blackman brand kendo sticks. Gracie ends up with both sticks, but Riddle hits an enzuigiri to restart the wrestling portion of this match. Northern lights suplex and a Riddle senton gets 2. Archer gets worked over by Riddle and Slater. Riddle goes for another senton, but catches Gracie’s knees.
Slater tags in and he’s a house of fire! An Eat Defeat/legsweep combo gets 2. Archer goes for a Worm, but it misses. Gracie hits a reverse Tombstone, but no cover. Scissor kick from Archer, and he goes for something, but Riddle catches him with a knee. Riddle hits a tombstone on Archer and Slater hits a diving headbutt for the win. A fine little prelim match. Thumbs in the middle.
Winners: Liam Slater and Matt Riddle
Opening Round: Marty Scurll vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Scurll keeps control of Sabre as Sabre tries to escape several full nelsons. They break, and Sabre takes control of Scurll’s arm. Scurll escapes Sabre and tries to show off with a kip-up, but he falls flat on his back. A second attempt works out better for Scurll. Grappling leads to a pinning predicament that ends with Sabre getting 2. More grappling. More grappling. Scurll snaps Sabre’s finger and goes for the chickenwing, but Sabre stacks him up and gets the win. If you like Sabre’s style, you’ll get more out of this than I did. I still liked it, though. One thumb up.
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr.
Opening Round: Jimmy Havoc vs. Zack Gibson
This is Jimmy Havoc’s WCPW debut.
Gibson takes control in the ring, telling Havoc that he’s out of his depth in a wrestling match. Havoc gets dumped to the outside, but he dares Gibson to follow him to the floor. Gibson obliges, and that allows Havoc to sweep Gibson’s legs out from under him and take control. They brawl to the stage, and Gibson fires Havoc off the stage into the crowd. Both men brawl through the crowd. Havoc lays Gibson down on some chairs, and does a double stomp from the apron to Gibson over the barricade. A double stomp from Havoc in the ring gets 2. Gibson crotches Havoc on the ropes, sets him up in the corner, and hits a Ticket To Ride codebreaker for 2.
FOREARM EXCHANGE, and Havoc almost hits the Acid Rainmaker but Gibson slaps him down. Gibson goes for the Helter Skelter, but Havoc gets out of it. Tornado DDT followed by a curb stomp on the bottom rope from Havoc. Acid Rainmaker lands and gets Havoc the win. My favorite match of the first round. One thumb up.
Winner: Jimmy Havoc
The semi-final matches are Will Ospreay vs. Rampage, and Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jimmy Havoc.
WCPW General Manager Plumpy (AKA Adam Blampied) comes out. He announces that WCPW Internet Champion Cody R(edacted) will defend his title against both Joe Hendry and Gabriel Kidd at their No Regrets show on April 29th. He also adds Kidd to the 8-man main event tonight with the Bullet Club against Hendry’s group, The Prestige.
ROH World Championship: El Ligero vs. ROH World Champion Christopher Daniels
This goes all the way back to the beginning of WCPW as a company. Jay Lethal defended his title against Ligero in a match that ended in interference. Lethal promised Ligero another shot at the title, but he lost the title before that could happen. Ligero gets his long-awaited title shot tonight against the recently-crowned champion Daniels.
Daniels takes advantage early, but allows Ligero to get up multiple times. Ligero refuses a handshake, and that gets him some boos. Ligero sends Daniels to the outside and hits a big tope. He keeps control and mockingly shakes Daniels’s hand, but Daniels comes back with a Death Valley Driver. Daniels hits an Blue Thunder Bomb (which Striker calls a ‘Jun Akiyama’) for 2. Angel’s Wings gets reversed, and Ligero hits a Code Red for 2. Ligero goes for the C4L, but Daniels moves and they take each other out with clotheslines.
They get locked up in the ropes, and Ligero accidentally hits the ref with an elbow. Daniels goes for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Ligero gets his feet up. Springboard Cutter hits, but the ref is down. Ligero goes to ringside and grabs the title belt. He thinks about hitting Daniels with it, but decides against it. Daniels rolls up Ligero in the mean time, but that only gets 2. (STRIKER: “Look, I admire the sportsmanship. But at the end of the day, if a tree falls in the forest and no one’s there to…see it? hear it? if it falls? Something like that.”) Ligero goes for a big splash, but Daniels moves. Uranage and a BME follow, and Daniels retains the title. One thumb up.
Winner: STILL ROH World Champion, Christopher Daniels
Non-Tournament, Non-Title Match: King Ricochet vs. WCPW Champion Drew Galloway
I cannot explain in words how much I hate Ricochet’s music. There’s a weird remix of Galloway’s music too. It’s just all bad here. Galloway flings Ricochet around like a ragdoll to start. Ricochet tries to kick Galloway’s legs out from under him, but Galloway just keeps tossing him around. Galloway pulls out A GARVIN STOMP! SEVEN STARS! He flips off the ref, so Galloway will be the bad guy tonight. Ricochet starts to rock Galloway with chops, but Galloway headbutts him (HEADBUTT COUNT: 1) for 2. Galloway tosses Ricochet on the top turnbuckle, but Ricochet ranas Galloway down. Ricochet hits a 619 and an Asai moonsault on the outside.
Back in the ring, Ricochet goes for a reverse rana, but Galloway hangs onto the ropes and hits a reverse Alabama Slam for 2. Future Shock DDT attempted, but Ricochet slips out. Galloway hits a big boot and knocks Ricochet down. Galloway hits the ropes, but Ricochet catches Galloway with a cutter and follows it up with a shooting star press for 2. Ricochet hits three big kicks to Galloway’s head and goes for the Bena-driller, but Galloway blocks the kick. Ricochet goes for the suplex combo, but Galloway reverses the vertical suplex into one of his own for 2. Galloway brings Ricochet up top, but Ricochet hits him with a pele kick. He tries to bring Galloway down with a Frankensteiner, but Galloway blocks it. Galloway carries him to the other corner and hits a Celtic Cross off the top, but Ricochet kicks out at 2.
Galloway drags Ricochet up, but Ricochet hits a couple big kicks. Ricochet almost gets caught in a Future Shock, but he reverses into the suplex combo for 2. Phoenix splash attempt misses, and Galloway hits a Claymore kick and a snap piledriver, but Ricochet kicks out. Galloway decides that he’s done screwing around, and he hits Ricochet with THREE Future Shock DDTs in a row to get the win. Great match with a real hot last two minutes. TWO THUMBS UP, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Winner: Drew Galloway
Backstage, Plumpy is walking when Joe Hendry shoves him against the wall, clearly unhappy that he’s added Gabriel Kidd to the Internet Title match at the No Regrets show. Hendry considers beating up Plumpy, but decides to take his anger out on the rest of the roster and leaves. Plumpy then finds that Hendry has already taken out Kidd’s tag team partner Prince Ameen.
Semi-Finals: Will Ospreay vs. Rampage
The winner of this match earns a spot in the Pro Wrestling World Cup Finals in August.
Ospreay tries to start fast with a dropkick, but Rampage pops back up and violently throws around Ospreay. Ospreay sends Rampage into the post, so Rampage responds by picking him up in a powerbomb position and flinging him against the guardrail. (STRIKER: “I bet he wishes he was back up in his mother’s womb right now…Sorry, Mrs. Ospreay.”) Rampage goes for a boot on the outside, but Ospreay moves and gets Rampage stuck on the barrier. A dropkick sends Rampage into the crowd. Ospreay goes to the top rope and dives over the barricade onto Rampage!
Rampage makes it back in before the countout, but Ospreay keeps control with a dropkick. Rampage hits a big back body drop and destroys Ospreay with a lariat, but he’s slow to the cover and only gets 2. Piledriver attempt, but Ospreay slips out and spits in his face. Rampage slaps him in the face and pummels him in the corner, but he knocks the ref down. This allows the WCPW Women’s Champion (and Ospreay’s girlfriend) Bea Priestley to come in. She tries to hit Rampage with her title belt, but Rampage stops her. He goes for a piledriver, but Ospreay hits him with the belt from behind. OsCutter gets Ospreay the win. Really fun match there. One thumb up.
Winner: Will Ospreay (advances to World Cup Final in August)
A promo for the Scottish leg of the Pro Wrestling World Cup airs. The brackets in the tournament include WCPW Champion Drew Galloway vs. Mark Coffey, BT Gunn vs. Lewis Girvan, Joe Coffey vs. Liam Thomson, and Joe Hendry vs. Kenny Williams.
Semi-Finals: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Jimmy Havoc
The winner of this match will earn a spot in the Pro Wrestling World Cup Finals in August.
They shake hands to start, but Havoc small packages Sabre for 2. Havoc sends Sabre to the outside and hits a dive. A face wash in the corner, followed by a double stomp get Havoc a 2 count. Sabre gets control when he switches a fireman’s carry into a triangle choke. Havoc reaches the ropes, so Sabre brings him to the middle of the ring and cranks his neck. Big kick to the arm from Sabre, and Sabre follows up by working on Havoc’s leg. Sabre lets Havoc up and Havoc slaps him, so Sabre slaps him harder and sends him to the mat. Havoc tries to bait Sabre to the outside, but Sabre punts him in the chest.
Back in the ring, Havoc cuts off Sabre and hits a rolling DVD for 2. Another double stomp from Havoc misses. Acid Rainmaker attempt, but Sabre ducks and hits a Dragon Suplex. Havoc gets back up and hits Sabre with a forearm. Another Acid Rainmaker attempt gets reversed into a cross armbar. Sabre then grabs Havoc’s other arm and one of his legs, and just pulls on them until Havoc taps out. Another fun match. One thumb up.
Winner: Zack Sabre Jr. (advances to World Cup Final in August)
Eight Man Tag Team Match: The Prestige (Joe Hendry, BT Gunn, Travis Banks and Joe Coffey) vs. Bullet Club (Adam Cole and the Young Bucks) and Gabriel Kidd
WCPW General Manager Plumpy made this match after The Prestige attacked him. Gabriel Kidd is a replacement for Cody R(edacted), who is filming an episode of Arrow.
This match quickly breaks down into an eight-man schmoz. Kidd keeps trying to get Cole and the Bucks to Too Sweet him, but they decide against it. The Prestige work over Kidd. This seems like a real house show main event so far. Kidd gets the hot tag to Cole, and Cole lands a shining wizard for 2. The Bucks tag in, and they hit some double teams on Gunn and Coffey. Coffey cuts off superkicks and gets both Bucks in giant swings. Step up crossbody gets reversed into superkicks. The superkick count at this point is around 15.
Kidd finally gets the Too Sweet, then hits an Asai Moonsault onto 3 of the Prestige. Superkick-assisted Last Shot gets 2, but the cover gets broken up. MOVES APLENTY! Kidd goes for a superkick, but Coffey pulls the ref in the way. Low blow from Hendry, superkicks from Banks and Gunn, and a spinning lariat from Coffey get the Prestige the win. A fun match, but the crowd notably didn’t care when the Prestige was involved. This was more to build to the Internet Title match on the 29th. One thumb up.
Winners: The Prestige
FINAL THOUGHTS: A fine start to this tournament. Other than Galloway/Ricochet, nothing was particularly worth seeking out. But if you have an afternoon with nothing to do, I would check this show out. The English Qualifiers of the Pro Wrestling World Cup get ONE THUMB UP.
Match of the Night: Ricochet vs. Drew Galloway
Every show of the Pro Wrestling World Cup will be available for free through the WhatCulture Wrestling YouTube page. You can follow me on Twitter, @SuitWilliams.