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WCPW Loaded Episode 4: A Build to Destroy

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by Frank Lucci

WCPW returns with their fourth episode, the go-home show before their big “Built to Destroy” event next week; which seeks to  to crown the first WCPW Heavyweight Champion and the debut of former WWE Superstar Damien Sandow.

How will this installment fare with all the focus on next week? Let’s find out.

Episode four is the shortest yet, clocking in at a few minutes shy of 70. The show consists of only four segments; and as last week Adam Blampied is on commentary again with King Ross and the production continues to get better. They even have clips from the previous installment (it’s like I’m watching Raw from 1995!). All they need to do is speed up the entrances and they’ll have it all down.

Segment I: Gabriel Kidd vs. Drake

Adam Pacitti is out to make a few announcements, one of which is making a Primate vs. “Iron Man” Joe Coffey No Disqualification match for Built to Destroy.

Prince Ameen’s music plays for Gabriel Kidd’s entrance which is the most interesting thing he’s done so far. Drake is labeled as a “Gimmick Killer” who is here simply just to wrestle. Ameen begins the match by constantly shouting advice to Kidd, who eventually gets peeved at the Prince. Drake takes advantage of Kidd yelling at Ameen to win the short match that’s more about furthering the Ameen/Kidd storyline. Pacitti then comes out to declare a Built to Destroy match between the two where the loser becomes the winner’s slave. A decent way to kick things off.

Segment II: Prince Ameen vs. El Ligero vs. Martin Kirby

Pacitti makes this match at the end of the previous video. True story: El Ligero is billed from Los Santos, Mexico; which a) does not exist and b) is, in fact, the city from Grand Theft Auto 5. Kirby attacks his rival before Ameen tries to charge, being tossed outside for his efforts. Ligero’s in charge until Kirby trips him up and the heels team on up the babyface. Ligero botches a double-team suplex reversal, but recovers quickly – hitting a great enziguri. The masked luchador (whose name means “light” as in lightweight)  takes advantage of the heels bickering to regain control.

The finish comes when Ameen tries convincing Kidd to hit Ligero, only for Kidd to slap him (poorly) and Kirby to get a rollup pin. Kirby celebrates, but Ligero hits the tornado DDT and pins his rival to get the win. I’m guessing all Triple Threat matches in WCPW are elimination style, but the announcers forgot to mention that.

Kirby is once again upset with El Ligero and challenges him to a rematch with increasingly crazy stipulations. Examples include a Mask vs. Hair match (although Kirby looks like he has zero hair anywhere on his body), a Hog Pen match, and a pillow fight. Commissioner Pacitti (who really earns his paycheck this episode) makes the rematch official – with the loser either having to wear a dress (Kirby) or unmasking (El Ligero).

The first announcer segment of the night has King Ross and Adam Blampied do some decent albeit unmemorable banter to sell the recently made Built to Destroy matches.

Segment III: Noam Dar vs. Joseph Conners

Conners is out first and I really appreciate how snappy this episode is in terms of getting to the action. Gone are the dumb backstage segments with poor audio to slow things down. Everything takes place in the ring to Loaded’s benefit. Connors’ theme song is by Shattered Skies, an awesome Irish band (now based in London), which gets big points with the Spaceman. “Local Hero” Joe Hendry comes out to support his buddy and commentary play up how Hendry is stealing the spotlight from his tag team partner (I like the announcers being aware of wrestling tropes whereas the WWE announcers have to play dumb to stuff like this). Dar comes out to his Star Wars inspired entrance (I really hope he gets to show this much personality in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic, but I feel like they will just boil his personality down to “Israeli Badass”).

Technical wrestling begins the match, which the crowd appreciates and Blampied calls King Ross a troll (which I love). Dar is crisp as usual and Conners is… less so. Eventually the two men trade pin attempts before Dar gets his Kneebar in. Conners taps in a short match that nevertheless is a good change of pace from the usual style of wrestling we see in WCPW. Video ends with Drake promising to get vicious for manager James R. Kennedy.

Segment IV: Big Damo & “Iron Man” Joe Coffey vs. Rampage Brown & The Primate

Stealing a page out of WWE’s booking style has two impromptu tag teams formed from separate rivalries coming together. More hype from Blampied and Ross for the Built to Destroy special before Blampied leaves his co-commentator to be with his client Rampage. Each wrestler gets an entrance, which eats up a solid chunk of time in this 20-minute video.

This is one of my big pet peeves, I really wish they’d edit down the entrances and allowed for more wrestling, or just have shorter videos in general. Ross claims that Rampage “Just likes to eat people for a living” (never change, King). The big hoss fight starts between Coffey and Rampage, which ends from a surprisingly nimble dropkick from Coffey. Coffey later hits a triangle crossbody from the second turnbuckle, which surprised the hell out me (almost spilled rum and coke on my computer).

The heels take control of Coffey and Primate bites his rival while having him in a headlock (brilliant). The heels seem to be more on the same page than the faces as both Coffey and Damo want to attack their respective opponents for Built to Destroy rather than win the match. Blampied calls for a Piledriver, but since Rampage doesn’t want to get banned from WCPW he is slow to do so. This gives Coffey the chance to put Rampage in a big swing/catapult to the corner spot to get some breathing room. Each man tag in their partners but Damo is the one who gets control of the match.

All four men begin brawling and knock out the referee, which can only mean one thing: it’s time for a Dusty Finish. This leads to Blampied and Primate’s manager Suzie to team up on Jack the Jobber for the dreaded “big slap,” but Jack avoids it and Suzie accidentally hits Blampied – who goes flying. A squad of refs try to separate the wrestlers with no success. Prospect and Kirby come out, but instead of restoring order they attack Big Damo. This brings out more faces and in another charge of Grand Theft Booking we have a big old fracas around the ring. Damo powerbombs Gracie onto some of the wrestlers by the ramp to close out the show, while overall solid is an obvious go-home show to set up Built to Destroy.

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Manopera! Episode 21: Balor, Nakamura and the Wyatt Family Deletion

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Chris and Spaceman Frank analyze the infamous “Final Deletion,” The Wyatt Family vs. The New Day, Nakamura and Finn Balor’s epic encounter and way more in a heavy-hitting podcast.

 

WCPW Loaded Episode 3: Once, Twice, Three Times a Rampage

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by Frank Lucci

The third episode of WCPW Loaded is easily the strongest so far in terms of presentation.

The audio problems that plagued the first two episodes are finally gone and there are less backstage interviews slowing things down and more action in the ring. Unfortunately, the matches this week were not as strong; meaning that although WCPW is still on the rise, there are still a few kinks that need to be worked out.

Episode Three is a tighter episode. Clocking in at around 70 minutes,compared to the 90 minutes episode two ran. This is a good length for the show, and they save time by having less backstage interviews, commentary team segments and cutting some entrances down. I only wish they would further cut down some wrestlers entrances, as by the time matches get going sometimes you can be through a third of the video.

Also, Simon Miller is not on commentary this time around due to his real-life training to become a pro wrestler (I’m sure he’s a nice guy, but he can’t compare to King Ross and his replacement for most of this episode Adam Blampied).

Segment I: Joe Hendry Calls Out Rampage Brown

“Local Hero” Joe Hendry is furious that he’s not in the WCPW Heavyweight Championship match after losing to Big Damo and brings up the good point that Brown didn’t have to beat anyone to get into the match. Therefore, Hendry wants to face Rampage for the number one contendership. This obviously brings out Brown and his manager Blampied, who accept and declare that Hendry will go from “Local Hero “to Rampage’s “Local Bitch” in a main event booking 101 segment that does exactly what it’s supposed to do.

Segment II: Primate vs. “Iron Man” Joe Coffey

Immediately we go to the entrances and The Primate (with his manager Suzie) comes out to his cool entrance music. Less cool is his cheap looking mask and Gene Simmons fake blood spitting spot. According to Blampied, Primate has a beard you could “set your watch to” (a mandatory Simpsons reference). Coffey comes out to his painfully obvious knockoff of Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” (which is still cool as the crowd lovingly sings the riff during his entrance).

As for the actual wrestling, this is a big hoss fight that ends when they brawl to the outside, tossing each other through the metal barricades. Primate then hits the Iron Man with a wrench for the DQ. Pretty generic stuff where part of the problem is that many of the WCPW wrestlers fit the same basic look. Both Primate and Coffey are big dudes with big beards and plain tights. Throw in Drake and Big Damo and you got four guys that are pretty interchangeable besides weight and haircut. Get some variety, fellas.

Segment III: Big Damo vs. Drake

Before the match Big Damo and his manager Jack the Jobber have a “shill the merch” spot, which is saved by Jack’s fear of Damo and the crowd being able to respond to the promo instead of just seeing these two talk in front of a green screen. Drake makes his way out and gets squashed by the big Irishman, who looks good heading into his championship match in a few weeks. Not much else to say here.

Segment IV: Prospect (Gracie and Archer) vs. Myers and Mercer

Another squash match shows Prospect (accompanied by manager James R. Kennedy) beating up two skinny guys. The crowd chants, “You are Butt Boys” at Prospect who manhandle the other tag team. Prospect are similar to NXT’s Blake and Murphy in that they are a respectable team with little personality, which is fine for now seeing as there are no other tag teams in WCPW to worry about (I imagine they will be drifting along for awhile).

Segment V: Martin Kirby vs. El Ligero

The third consecutive squash match has Kirby bring in an out of shape, fake El Ligero instead of the real one. King Ross attempts his best Jerry Lawler impression trying to sell everyone that this is the real Ligero with mixed results. Kirby beats up the imposter for a time – taunting him on the mic in the process. While this is a good heel tactic, the crowd quickly loses interest aside from starting up a “Fat Ligero” chant.

Eventually the real El Ligero sneaks into the match and rolls up Kirby for the win. When Kirby realizes what happened (far later than he should have since the true El Ligero is much smaller and was wearing both different colored trunks and mask – was the ref even paying attention?) he is upset and complains to no avail. An alright match but not much to get excited about here.

Segment VI: Rampage Brown vs. “Local Hero” Joe Hendry

King Ross is alone on commentary a la Joey Styles, as Blampied is with his main man Brown during the match. Hendry’s theme song (sung by the Local Hero himself, one of Spaceman Frank’s favorite gimmicks) is great, but hearing it in full twice during one show is too much. Ross puts over both men’s accomplishments, including Rampage’s brief stints in both WWE and TNA.

Hendry plays the plucky babyface here, which is odd considering he seems destined to be a cocky heel. Brown bludgeons his way through the match, until Hendry storms back. Despite his efforts, Hendry can’t get the three and a Blampied trip-up turns into a massive Rampage Samoan Drop for the win. Hendry looks sad in the ring as the show closes.

While the production of this episode was much better, having a match end in a DQ followed by three squash matches was a little tiring and the main event (while good) was nowhere near as exciting as Jay Lethal vs. El Ligero or Noam Dar vs. Rampage Brown from episode two. Episode three feels like filler as we wait for the big July 25 episode with the first-ever WCPW Championship match and EL Ligero eventually challenging for Lethal’s Ring of Honor World Title.

 

WCPW Loaded Episode 2: The Rampage Continues

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by Frank Lucci

After a somewhat uneven debut episode, WCPW is back with their second edition of Loaded – featuring Ring of Honor Champion Jay Lethal.

Will the second episode top the first? Spaceman Frank is here with the answers.

Segment I: Intro/Adam Pacitti In-Ring Promo

Sadly, the previous episode’s audio problems still persist as the intro music is way too loud, commentators King Ross and Simon Miller are nearly perfect (albeit a little quiet) and backstage segments are…bad. It’s not the segments themselves, it’s the audio quality that make what could be great promos suffer.

Thankfully, WCPW keep to the Ross and Miller segment/match/backstage formula they used before so it is easy to skip ahead. In addition, some of the wrestler’s entrances can drag, especially when they take up precious minutes in these 15-30 minute videos.

Anyway, Pacitti informs everyone that due to the security guard’s neck being broken (receiving immediate smarky, “Bullshit” chants) by Rampage Brown last week that the piledriver is banned from WCPW. Pacitti hilariously adds that this is “just like other, less successful promotions,” drawing heavy cheers from the fans for the thinly veiled WWE reference. Backstage we get an Adam Blampied and Brown interview that does its job, but is forgettable.

Segment II: The Primate vs. Drake

King Ross has a piledriver protection helmet made of plastic (God, I love him).

Our first match features Drake (a generic looking wrestler with no hair and a beard) battling against The Primate (a larger generic looking wrestler with no hair and a larger beard). The Primate also has a female manager who is so forgettable I won’t mention her again. What we have here is a basic squash match that has The Primate throw Drake around until Drake gets a nasty cut behind the ear that bleeds quite a lot. One spear later and The Primate wins.

Afterwards we get multiple backstage interviews informing us that Prince Ameen will team with Gabriel Kidd tonight. Drake is enraged and encouraged to call out Big Damo by heel manager James R. Kennedy. In other seemingly unrelated news, both “Local Hero” Joe Hendry and Joseph Connors are also mad over their last week losses as well.

Segment III: Joe Hendry and Joseph Conners vs. Prince Ameen and Gabriel Kidd

Ross and Miller’s segment is cut short by another Conners/Hendry backstage segment where they talk about sticking together (which immediately makes me think one is turning on the other). If you watch this continuing from the previous video, that’s four interviews (including two in a row) from the same two people.

Going back to commentary, Ross accuses Miller of being a Trump supporter and a racist for not standing when Prince Ameen enters (which is way more entertaining than the previous four interviews). Hendry sings his own theme song and calls himself a “Global Hero.” Five stars.

We finally get this highly built tag team encounter nine minutes into the video. The faces work the crowd (making a big deal of tagging each other in and out when the crowd chants for it) and in general have a lot of spots concerning high-fives. This is fairly weird considering we got all those interviews about how serious each competitor was for this match. Conners gets worked over until Hendry gets the hot tag. The finish comes after the faces do a double backbreaker spot into Conners “Righteous Kill” DDT, but Hendry blind tags himself in to show dissension. While overall a nice match, this one gets bogged down by all the earlier interviews and it’s many comedy spots.

Segment IV: Ring Of Honor Champion Jay Lethal vs. El Ligero

Unlike the last video, Ross and Miller’s segment is mercifully short and we get to the match quickly – with the added intrigue of El Ligero receiving a future ROH title shot if victorious. El Ligero gets a good pop as does Lethal, who also gets “You are wrestling” chants from the crowd.

Opening with lots of fast-paced back and forth/feeling each other out spots that are pretty excellent, Lethal eventually takes over and mixes headlocks into some nice combination sequences; including a headlock takedown into a dropkick spot. It’s nice to see a champ enjoy himself and interact with the crowd, as Lethal gives several Macho Man “Oh yeahs” to the delight of the crowd.

El Ligero wrestles back control of the match with a quick reversal of a delayed vertical suplex into a hip-toss and cannonball spot on the apron to the floor. “Lucha Dragon” chants from some crass members of the crowd get boos from the respectful remainder. Several quick near-falls show how athletic both men are. The duty finish sees Martin Kirby attack both men, causing the match to end in no-contest.

Lethal puts over El Ligero and promises that regardless of the outcome, he will get a title shot at some point in the future. A great match with a disappointing finish that makes sense given Lethal’s status as a traveling champion from another promotion. This should have been the main event but there’s still the matter of crowning WCPW’s first world champion.

Another backstage interviews sees The Primate getting taunted by “Iron Man” Joe Coffey followed by more Rampage and Blampied bromance.

 

Segment V: Noam Dar vs. Rampage Brown

The main event sees the potential WCPW Champion versus the man who will be competing in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic (which is airing a “Bracketology” special tonight on the WWE Network).

The early portion of the match sees Brown imposing his will on Dar as he uses his speed to get out of potentially sticky situations, prompting the crowd to respond with several Star Wars inspired chants for the Israeli Icon. Brown gets firmer control of the match after pushing Dar off the apron into the security barrier. The crowd fires off some more creative chants before they get lazy and simply scream, “Fuck you, Rampage.”

Dar focuses on kicks to Rampage’s legs to try and take the big man down, but Brown manages to rally each time and beat the piss out of Dar. Dar begins laying into Brown pretty heavily and gets a kneebar/ankle lock style submission in, but Blampied causes a distraction so his man can break free. Blampied starts telling Rampage to hit the now-banned piledriver, but Dar turns it into a rollup for a near-fall. Rampage then powerbombs him into oblivion for the win. A solid match with good psychology and storytelling, but the Lethal/El Ligero match was more fun to watch. Big Damo and Jack the Jobber come out for a big brawl to end the episode.

This was an up and down episode of WCPW Loaded. The two big matches delivered, but the first few segments dragged with all the interviews and so-so matches. Hopefully in the future they balance out the segments better and fix those pesky audio problems.

WCPW Loaded Episode 1: A Rampage Begins

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by Frank Lucci

WhatCulture Wrestling has quickly become one of the premiere pro wrestling channels on YouTube and from humble beginnings in late 2014, the channel has managed to eclipse the subscriber count of TNA.

An extension of the WhatCulture.com, the British brand has become so successful that they recently started their own wrestling federation, WCPW (What Culture Pro Wrestling) and have filmed several episodes for online release.

The first episode is broken down into six separate uploads which can be viewed in about an hour and a half. Production wise, the set looks amazing and the video production is top notch. Special mention goes the comic book style drawings of the wrestlers that begin each match. However, the audio is hit or miss. The announcers (King Ross, who is great and Simon Miller, who is…there) come out clear, while everything else from the crowd (interviewers, etc) is muted. This is especially bad during backstage interviews where whoever holds the microphone is the only person who can usually be heard.

Segment I: WCPW Introduction

WCPW General Manager Adam Pacitti starts the show off. He thanks the crowd for supporting the channel and announces he will reveal the WCPW Heavyweight Championship at the end of the show. We also get a backstage segment where Adam Blampied makes fun of Jack the Jobber. Nothing much here unless you’re new to the channel.

Segment II: Alex Gracie vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. Joseph Conners (Triple Threat Elimination match)

This video sets up the formula for each segment after this (logo intro, King Ross and Simon banter, match, backstage interview). The Ross and Simon sections are decent but nothing special and the backstage interviews suffer from the aforementioned audio problems.

As for this match itself, this was a good opener. Each man worked hard, but this was set up to establish Connors as an up and coming babyface and Gracie as the opportunist heel with partner Lucas Archer and manager James R. Kennedy. Conners has a great DDT finisher that he uses to beat Kidd, but Gracie gets DQ’ed when his gang attacks Connors. A good start to the program but pretty forgettable in the long haul. Highlights include the crowd calling Gracie and Archer “bum boys” for having their names on the back of their tights and some good three man spots.

Segment III: El Ligero vs. Martin Kirby

Perhaps the most entertaining match on this episode, as this is all comedy. Both men represent different Nintendo franchises on their gear, as Ligero has different Mario icons on his gear and mask and Kirby has, well, Kirbys. The story of the match is Martin being a ridiculous Bo Dallas type who tries to copy Ligero’s poses. When the two actually wrestle the action is crisp and El Ligero wins with an epic tornado DDT.

Segment IV: Prince Ameen vs. “Iron Man” Joe Coffey

Ameen has a so-so in ring interview before the match, which is helped by King Ross’ commentary. Ross, being King, refuses to sit during Ameen’s speech and hypes his fellow royalty (I like how the announcers and wrestlers actually acknowledge the crowd’s chants, unlike the WWE where most people just steamroll through interviews). When “Iron Man” Joe Coffey comes out, the crowd sings Black Sabbath’s legendary “Iron Man”riff (which I love). Wrestling wise however, this is pretty so-so with an abrupt finish when Ameen walks away from the match and gets counted out. An unfortunate low point in the show.

Segment V: “Local Hero” Joe Hendry vs. Big Damo (Winner faces Rampage Brown for the WCPW Heavyweight Championship)

The main event of the show sees Local Hero Hendry (literally referred to as such) and Big Damo fighting to be Jack the Jobber’s representative. Hendry makes an Adele parody video (which is gold), causing Damo to snap and attack Hendry before the bell.

This match is one big brawl, with both men pulling off some power moves – including Hendry hitting a big fallaway slam on the massive Damo. A ref bump causes Jack to become involved as he tries to stop the modern day gladiators from using a steel chair. Both attempts fail, but it is Damo’s use of the chair that helps him defeat the Local Hero. A decent showing that sets up a big hoss match between Damo and Rampage.

Segment VI: WCPW Title Reveal

Pacitti comes back out to reveal the new title, which looks pretty good. However, this brings out Brown and Blampied. They poke fun at Pacitti and hype Brown up as a future champ before Rampage goes on a tear and chokes Pacitti. This brings out a random security guard who gets a piledriver for his efforts. The episode ends with Brown ripping up the cardboard WhatCulture belt.

Overall, this was a good showcase of what we can expect from WCPW. There definitely needs to be some work, but the skeleton of a quality wrestling show is here.