I can’t say this enough. If you haven’t discovered WCPW (WhatCulture Pro Wrestling) yet, you should. A young in the game start-up promotion created and booked by the writing and editorial staff from pop culture online site WhatCulture‘s wrestling department, brings one of the sleekest produced indie shows ever. Stocked with the best of the UK Indie circuit, such as Scotland’s ICW and England’s Revolution Pro and Progress, other European stars, and healthily sprinkled with major international stars who may be touring through the area, WCPW’s weekly program Loaded is freely available to watch live (or catch up on older episodes) on their YouTube channel.
Tonight, WCPW holds it’s very first iPPV, Refuse to Lose, live from Newcastle, England, and the card is stacked, featuring six absolute wrestling legends in Kurt Angle, Jim Ross, Bret “Hitman” Hart (in an as-yet-revealed role), Jim Cornette, Alberto Del Rio and Cody Rhodes, not to mention UK legend (and former TNA star) Doug Williams (who’s a WCPW Loaded regular). Here’s a quick rundown of tonight’s card.
THE COMMENTARY TEAM
WCPW went all out with their three man broadcast team for their inaugural pay-per-view event. Odd that regular Loaded lead commentator Simon Miller was dropped for the PPV, but he was replaced by pretty legendary names. Regular colour man Alex Shane, a UK wrestling star for the past decade, will return with his usual heel announcer antics, and he’s joined by two of the best. Covering for Miller in the lead position is WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, announcing only his second PPV since leaving the WWE (his first was NJPW‘s Wrestle Kingdom 9 in 2015). And joining the duo as a secondary colour is the always controversial Jim Cornette. His comments alone should be worth the watch, as Cornette is openly against much of the indie style of wrestling that is likely to be on display here.
WCPW Women’s Championship Match:
NIXON NEWELL (c) vs. KIMBER LEE
Nixon Newell has been impressive so far in her early WCPW career, with a series of top notch matches against rival Bea Priestley. But this 21-year old Welsh lass has been making waves in SHIMMER, CHIKARA and Progress, amongst other promotions. Her opponent will definitely be the best challenger she’s faced in her 44-day reign as WCPW Women’s Champion. She’s facing former CHIKARA Grand Champion Kimber Lee. Kimber Lee (or Princess KimberLee in CHIKARA) will be coming in from a WWE tryout last week. She was trained by Drew Gulak in CZW and spends the bulk of her time in CHIKARA, but she’s also a regular in SHIMMER and Shine – she even still makes the odd return to her old CZW stomping grounds from time to time. She may look like a Princess, but she’s an ass kicker. Her shirts don’t say Suplex Kingdom because she plays nice.
Prediction: Kimber Lee will get in some offence, including a round or two of German Suplexes, but Newell will retain the title.
WCPW Internet Championship Match Three-Way to Determine the 1st Champion:
EL LIGERO vs. ALBERTO EL PATRON vs. TRAVIS BANKS
A few weeks back, Eric Bischoff was the guest GM for an episode of Loaded, and suggested to full time WCPW General Manager Adam Pacitti that the company should have an Internet Champion. Sure, Zack Ryder called himself that a few years back, but in this case it’s not as cheesy or ridiculous as that sounds. WCPW is broadcast exclusively on YouTube, therefore it’s viewed on the Internet. It’s essentially their TV Title for the modern age. El Ligero is an English luchadore legend (think about that for a second) who’s been a legend in UK wrestling for the past 15 years. He’s won championships in nearly every British promotion there’s been. He’s facing off against Alberto El Patron (the non-WWE name of Alberto Del Rio), in his first match since his WWE release. The third man in the championship three way is New Zealand’s Travis Banks. A world traveller, in the past he’s competed in ICW, CHIKARA, Progress, Ring of Honor and many other of the world’s top indies.
Prediction: El Ligero has been a fan favourite and mainstay since WCPW debuted. This should be his night to become the first WCPW Internet Champion.
DOUG WILLIAMS vs. CODY RHODES
A 23-year ring veteran, Doug Williams is a wrestling Legend. Many will remember his time in TNA, or early run with Ring of Honor, but he’s been wrestling everywhere for decades. He’s a former ROH Pure Champion, TNA Television Champion, 2-time X-Division Champion, and along with countryman Magnus, he won TNA World Tag Team and IWGP Tag Team gold. But his opponent is no slouch. The Grandson of a Plumber, Cody Rhodes, will be making his WCPW debut in what should prove to be a solid but rough technical thrill fest. Interesting note: Cody Rhodes is on pace to set a record of most main PPVs events appeared at (with different promotions) in a year. Since March, he’s appeared at Wrestlemania (WWE), Battle of Los Angeles (PWG), and Bound For Glory (TNA), and by year’s end he’ll add Refuse to Lose (WCPW) and Final Battle (ROH). If his rumoured NJPW match-up with Katsuyori Shibata ends up being at Wrestle Kingdom 11 in early 2017, he’ll have hit six of them within a 365-day span.
Prediction: Cody Rhodes wins a entertaining and physical match-up. Rhodes is sticking around for the next episode of Loaded as well, so expect some sort of retribution possibly from a disgruntled “Mr. Brexit”.
JOE COFFEY vs. MINORU SUZUKI
This is going to be the most brutal match of the night. Brutal as in violent. Both men are straight up brawlers. One, Joe Coffey, hails from Glasgow, Scotland’s rough and tumble ICW, where he’s been a World Champion. During his time in Japan with ZERO-1, he became the first ever Scottish wrestler to perform at Japan’s hallowed Korakuen Hall. He’s facing a 48-year Japanese fighting legend, NJPW, AJPW and NOAH tough guy Minoru Suzuki. Japanese wrestlers have a reputation for being stiff as it is, but this man is a wrecking machine. He is a legitimate MMA fighter as well – he founded one of the world’s first MMA promotions, Pancrase, in the early 90’s. This match may not be lengthy and it may not be pretty, but it’ll probably incite the most flinches from the viewing audience.
Prediction: Suzuki will tear a strip off Coffey for sure, but I expect Coffey to take the win. Coffey is a WCPW regular and a big win over someone of Suzuki’s reputation will only enhance his character.
RAMPAGE vs. ADAM BLAMPIED
Rampage is a British UK veteran that combines toughness with technical ability to dismantle people. He’s like if Taz was taller and leaner. Adam Blampeid is like if you combined nWo Eric Bischoff with Richard E. Grant‘s villain from Hudson Hawk. A deviously cowardly authority figure who is about to get beaten down.
Prediction: Blampied should by all rights get the tar beat out of him, but he heads a faction called B-Generation X that features former WCPW World Champion Big Damo, Lucas Archer, James R. Kennedy, Alex Gracie and Drake. Chances are one (or all) of them comes out to save their leader and the feud continues.
WCPW Championship Match:
JOSEPH CONNORS (c) vs. MARTIN KIRBY
If you’ve followed WCPW since it started, surely you’ve noticed the irony of this match. At the show’s beginning, both of these guys were comedic foils to other people. Martin Kirby lost a string of matches and seemed to be the Zack Ryder of WCPW and Joseph Connors was the silent straight man to “Local Hero” Joe Hendry. My, how tides have turned. After an incredulous victory of Will Ospreay a few weeks ago on Loaded, Kirby has become a machine and a star. That uses the Sable Bomb as one of his signature moves. Joseph Connors has been solid in the ring, but he seemed to have the charisma of Dean Malenko on anesthesia. But paired with the uber-charisma of Joe Hendry, Connors emerged as a fan favourite – well, until he turned on Hendry anyway. Despite it being for the company’s top title, at this stage (at least internationally), these two may be two of the lesser name men on the card. But chances are, it just may steal the show.
Prediction: Connors retains after a stunner of a match and heads towards the inevitable collision with his former partner Hendry.
KURT ANGLE vs. JOE HENDRY
Though not with as much press as Cody Rhodes’ indie tour seems to get, Kurt Angle is doing a fairly solid run himself. He’s headlining Refuse to Lose in a match against one of WCPW’s most popular wrestlers, “Local Hero” Joe Hendry. Hendry, another Scottish wrestler from ICW’s ranks, has charmed Europe by storm of late with his amazing musical entrances (he comes out to different parody songs revolving around his own name) and solid combination of the UK comedic/carnival style with North American mainstream. He won a battle royale a few weeks back to earn this spot vs. Angle and it should prove to be a real opportunity for Hendry. Working with someone like Angle will bring out the best he has to offer and show that he’s got more to show than just his songs and comedy. Hendry is starting to hit North America, so watch out. If this match lives up to the hype, Hendry may be a lot more well known come this time next year.
Prediction: Local Hero vs. American Hero. Hendry will put up a good fight, dazzle the crowd with his normal charm, but Kurt Angle will stand victorious after this one. But most likely ending with Angle raising Hendry’s arm in respect.
NOTE: Due to time difference, it’ll be starting at 2pm EST.
Main Photo: twitter.com/WhatCulturePW