Commentary on the in-ring or mike prowess of those named in the #SpeakingOut story should not be taken as support for them in general. I believe her.
The tournament rolls on, and now it goes international. It’s the 26th May 2017 (filmed on the 14th) and we’re in the Phoenix Concert Theatre of Toronto, Canada, for the Canadian Qualifiers of the WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup! The main event tonight: El Ligero vs WCPW Champion Joe Hendry…in a non-title match. Get excited?
After the opening titles it’s straight to the first tale of the tape. Michael Elgin says “the entire country is hoping I come through” and steady on mate. Rene Dupree (remember him?) mutters that it’s an honour to be representing his country. I’m guessing he’s one and done then. Michael Elgin says he is in the top hundred wrestlers in the world, which really isn’t that great is it? Rene Dupree is “just that good” and just that not interested.
Matt Striker isn’t here, so that’s a star off the rating right from the off. Alex Shane and Dave Bradshaw instead. We have a small arena, a shortage of lights and a very tiny ring in what is essentially a Smash Wrestling event. Loud crowd though.
Rene Dupree vs Michael Elgin (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Canadian Preliminary Semi-Final #1)
Slight boos for Dupree, maybe because he has the temerity to be French-Canadian, and Bradshaw makes sure to note that it’s been a decade since the Fed sacked him, before noting that the ref, Jim Korderas, was also a former employee of Vince McMahon. No need to act so small-time guys. Dupree actually has made a bit of a splash on the indies, and it is easy to forget that, at the time, he was the youngest person to hold a title in WWE when he was a Tag Champ with La Resistance. Elgin I know mostly by reputation, both as a wrestler and as a potential sexual predator.
Don’t even think there was a ring bell, but away we go. “Big Mike’s gonna kill you”. Tie-ups, Dupree trying to take the advantage but Elgin with a shoulder block sends him down. Scoop slam, Elgin to the apron for a springboard splash for a near fall. Stall suplex for a count of over twenty, but only two. Dupree gets a bit back with some knee strikes, then an enziguri. Exchanging chops for a bit, then Dupree locks on a seated abdominal stretch for a bit.
Elgin up and hits a hip toss, then catches Dupree on a corner charge for a belly-to-belly. Repeated corner charges, then a short-arm clothesline. Bridging German Suplex almost has Dupree out of the ring because of the small space, good for two. Dueling chants for both men now. Dupree hits another knee to the head, side suplex, then a running drop-kick for two. Dupree a bit frustrated, grabs a chair from ringside, tussling with the ref, who gets shoved into the corner. Elgin hits Dupree with a scissors kick through the chair, but the ref has seen enough and the bell (so there is one) rings in just over six.
Winner (by DQ): Michael Elgin
Verdict: Was all going well and good up to the stupid non-finish. Why not just let Elgin pin Dupree?
Elgin walks off raising the Canadian flag. Dupree is off to his next indie date presumably, this ended so quick.
Straight into the Tale of the Tape for the next two. I know nothing about him, but if you were expecting a mafia gimmick for “Franky the Mobster”, a Canadian journeyman, you might be surprised to see him wearing barbarian gear. Harry Smith is Davey Boy Smith Jr, on loan from NJPW. He even calls himself Davey Boy in his intro, so not sure what’s going on there. “FTM” says his nationality means nothing, and he just wants to fill the world with misery. Smith is in it to win it, and to honour his father. Namedrop! Franky wants to win to make sure no-one else gets the joy of winning the World Cup, and I have to appreciate his commitment to character: Smith is super-bland in response, and sounds like he’s reading off a cue card when he says “I’m the baddest motherfucker on the planet”.
Franky the Mobster vs Harry Smith (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Canadian Preliminary Semi-Final #2)
FTM out wearing huge devil horns to a big reaction, and later dripping, as WWE would put it, “a red viscous liquid” out of his mouth. Smith, with the Hart Family guitar riff, gets a bigger reception. Offers a hand, Franky takes it mockingly, but then in a nice twist Smith attacks him.
Smith dumps FTM out early and hits a drop kick. Scoop slam on the outside, where they have to be careful without any barricade. Working the Mobster over on the outside for a but, shoving him into the apron. Camel Clutch when back in, then working the calves. Snap suplex for two, then a headlock for a bit. Neckbreaker, all Smith so far. Another headlock. On commentary, they posit the “FTM” acronym is so Franky avoids any trouble for his usual name.
Smith setting FTM up for a powerbomb, waits for an age for the reversal into a back body-drop. FTM finally on offence with a belly-to-belly, then a missile drop-kick off the second rope for two. Going for a German but Smith out. Smith with a few clotheslines but Franky stays standing. A third one finally floors him for a near fall. Ring mat noticeably wobbling now, especially after Smith hits a reverse suplex. You can also see black tape patches, yeesh. Smith setting Franky on the top, but gets knocked off after a bite to the head. Blockbuster from the Mobster for two, don’t see that move much anymore.
FTM stalking Smith, looking for his finisher that commentary says is a chokebomb, but Smith pulls the ref into him when he grabs the throat. Low blow from Smith with the ref in dreamland, hits a piledriver, and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in just under eight.
Winner: “Harry” Smith
Verdict: Was almost an extended squash with the disparity in offence. Could have used a bit more from FTM.
Smith celebrates in the aftermath while the announcers decry him shaming his legacy. Honestly, DBS Jr could probably use with less association with the Dynasty if he ever wants to be his own thing.
Tale of the Tape for the next contest. Brent Banks is here to prove why he “is money”. Bailey is a cocky type and calls the tournament the “Canada Cup”. Banks is going to break Bailey apart. Bailey isn’t sure he’s going to win, but he’ll prove himself one match at time. Footage of the two in Smash Wrestling plays through this, with matches in front of handfuls of people. Not the best advertisement.
Brent “Money” Banks vs “Speedball” Mike Bailey (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Canadian Preliminary Semi-Final #3)
Reading around, Bailey is a bit of a marmite wrestler, with some who love his martial arts style and others who think he is over-rated. His career has probably been handicapped very significantly by being banned from entering the US for five years after trying to get in without a work permit in 2016. Banks getting a big reception from the crowd, despite being the nominal heel.
Canadian crowd big into this one, and there’s a delay while the two guys milk the reaction. I can’t even make out what the crowd are saying, but I presume it’s pro-Canadian chanting. More than two minutes after the bell we finally start with a lock-up. Wrist-lock chains. Bailey offers a hand and we have another delay as Banks thinks about it. It would be nice if these two could actually wrestle for a bit.
Dueling waist-lock takedowns, another handshake offer, another delay, and for someone watching at home this is torturous. Dueling up-and-overs, then leapfrogs, and no one can get a hit in. Another pause, another handshake spot and I’m officially bored now. Match finally gets going with a spinning backbreaker from Banks, then an Irish Whip into a knee. Mugging to the crowd for a bit, then chops in the corner. Bailey rallying back with his own chops, dueling chops now, then duel eyepokes. Banks maintains the advantage with a drop-kick, more mugging to the crowd. These guys seem to think they’re Hogan/Andre.
Dueling strikes, Banks with stomps against the ropes. Eventually Bailey gets back into it with his own strikes and drop-kicks, and those ring ropes are wobbling to an abnormal degree. Bailey with a few running kicks in the corner, Banks rallies back with his own kicks, modified facebuster from Bailey. Speedball misses a few roundhouse kicks, then hits a third, but only two. “This is awesome”. I disagree, it’s too haphazard and frantic.
Bailey nails another kick that’s obviously whiffed, but Banks sells anyway. Bailey to the top, Banks dodges, Bailey with a springboard handstand but Banks catches him into a spinning/sitting powerbomb for two, spot of the match. Bailey to the apron, springboard back in but caught, counters into a sunset flip for two, more leapfrog chains, which ends with Bailey nailing a PK. “Fight forever”. No thanks.
Bailey with a moonsault plancha to Banks on the outside. A few beats as the two take a pause. Bailey to the apron, looking for a springboard move but trips awkwardly. Crowd too into it for a “You fucked up”, but it was embarrassing. Comes back with a spinning heel kick, back to the top but intercepted with a slap. Banks grabs him, and hits a running spinebuster into the corner. Holds on, Bailey reverses into a victory roll, but awkward pause as he tries to get the shoulders down, so only one. Whiffs a standing moonsault/knee strike, for two.
As Shane rants about it being the “Independent wrestling era”, Bailey turns a Banks charge into a Spanish Fly (or a “moonsault bodyslam” as they call it at the desk) for two. Bailey misses a standing corkscrew, Banks hits a second rope cutter, follows up with Sliced Bread, only two. Super-kick, kneeling STO, only two. This is the epitome of big move spam. Banks going for that running spinebuster again, reversed into a Destroyer. Enziguri in the corner from Bailey, then a Shooting Star knee drop for the 1, 2, 3 in just over 16 and a half.
Winner: Mike Bailey, and the crowd I suppose.
Verdict: Man, I hated this. If you’ve ever heard about bland indie matches that are nothing but big moves, kick-outs and no story, then this is exhibit A. Way too much faffing about at the start, too many whiffed or botched moves, and no sense that the match deserved the kind of kick-out/back to your feet immediately spam it devolved into. The locals loved it though
The announcers fawn over what we’ve just seen before we go to the next Tale of the Tape. Tyson Dux has been in this business for 20 years. Kyle O’Reilly is a mad genius. Dux has dropped the ball many times, but this time he’s totally focused and will need an armbreak/knock-out to lose. O’Reilly says he had to make his name outside of Canada, but is delighted to return to his native soil to prove he is the best. Dux is eyeing redemption. O’Reilly is determined to represent his country proudly.
Tyson Dux vs Kyle O’Reilly (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Canadian Preliminary Semi-Final #4)
Dux is a Canadian journeyman I know little about, other than his appearance, losing to ZSJ, in the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. He’s the Smash Champion right now. The brilliant O’Reilly is a month and a half away from turning up in NXT, but would still think he’ll get through this. If I don’t get one amazing ragdoll bump tonight I’ll be dissapointed though. O’Reilly certainly the more popular here.
Shane compares O’Reilly’s limbs to haribo, but Bradshaw is confused: “You can’t get a submission out of them because they’re candy!” What a weird bit of “banter”. The two wrestlers go through the lock chains you’d expect, a good bit of mat wrestling. “From the opening bell, O’Reilly has not lost physical contact with his opponent” Shane says as O’Reilly does just that, with Dux scoring on a shoulder knock-down.
O’Reilly fights back with a vicious uppercut, more lock chains, then O’Reilly can’t knock Dux down with a few charges of his own, but eventually gets him down with a kick. Straight back to mat wrestling holds, then more chains, then back to headlocks. “Headlock City” chants, and after another brief standing exchange of jumps and reversals that is what we go back to.
O’Reilly dodges a charge and sends Dux out, then grabs him in another headlock when he gets back in. Dux turns it into a reverse suplex, but O’Reilly holds on. Crowd not frothing at the mouth for this like they were for the last match, but applauding frequently. To the outside, and O’Reilly starts leading Dux around in a headlock. Dux eventually out, gets in a savage leg kick. Back inside, O’Reilly puts in another headlock, and as much as I like O’Reilly this is getting a little silly. Dux gets a takedown and starts working the left leg with kicks and slams. Puts in a calf crusher, but O’Reilly to the ropes. More working over of the leg, but then O’Reilly reverses an elbow drop into a cross armbreaker/Armageddon. Dux to the ropes though. Good rhythm to this one now.
Some dueling strikes and both men down, with O’Reilly unable to put too much weight on his damaged leg. Back up, and KOR trying to lay in the strikes, and floors Dux with a spinning kick. Running forearm, armbreaker across the shoulder, side suplex, then a leg-lock, great sequence from O’Reilly. Dux counters to apply a leg-lock of his own, and both men to the ropes. O’Reilly repeating the sequence with another armbreaker, then head kicks. Dueling kicks, a beat, and Dux hits a cutter. Slowly back to their feet for both men, Dux hits a DDT, rolls through, and goes for the Figure 4, no easy thing in a ring this small. After a moment Dux is able to lock it in. Some “Tap” chants in fairness to Dux. O’Reilly flat, Dux gets a two count. O’Reilly able to roll to the ropes.
Dux going for the Figure 4 again, O’Reilly out of it, then both men down after a double clothesline. Back up at a count of six, but O’Reilly’s leg gives out again. Back up, laying in the strikes, and floors Dux with a big knee. Now this match deserves a “This is awesome”. O’Reilly going for a suplex, Dux resisting, O’Reilly putting in a headlock, ref lets his hand drop once, but then O’Reilly lets him go for some reason. O’Reilly with an axe kick, swinging forearm, then a sleeper. Dux counters, both men rolling around and O’Reilly gets in a modified Kimura Lock. Brainbuster from KOR, for two, O’Reilly transitions into the Armageddon in just about 19 minutes.
Winner: Kyle O’Reilly and me, who got to watch it.
Verdict: Now this was a match. It had some repetitive spots but told a great in-ring story, and both guys showed off a good, solid technical style. Banks and Bailey should take note.
The two men share a handshake in the aftermath, and O’Reilly hobbles off.
An ad for What Culture Extra, and then onto what will be our only title match of the night.
Gabriel Kidd (c) vs Zack Sabre Jr (WCPW Internet Championship)
This is WCPW’s secondary belt if you’re not aware. Normally you’d consider ZSJ to be a heavy favourite, but I can see Kidd getting a quick roll-up or something. This match is a perfect opportunity to “make” him as a champion I suppose.
Lock-up as they say this is Kidd’s first overseas match, and looking at Cagematch that might actually be true. Anyway, the typical joint manipulation chains from Sabre to start, smooth as milk. When Kidd does it it’s nowhere near as good, and ZSJ counters him so quickly and so easily. Eventually Kidd shoves Sabre off, and Kidd is the hometown’s favourite whatever else. Nice spot where Kidd stops a drop-toehold in its tracks, then mocks ZSJ’s efforts by easily stepping out of it, to Sabre’s fury.
Kidd trying to play Sabre at his own game with some lock-chains, and is getting the upper-hand. Dueling snapmares in a nice sequence, and this time it’s Kidd who comes out of it worse. Sabre stands on Kidd’s head to the horror of the crowd, and puts in a vicious wrist-lock, though the effect is a little ruined with Kidd right next to the ropes but not going for them. Dueling uppercuts, then Sabre with a modified half-Boston Crab, then an STF, but, again, probably because the ring is so small, the effect is a little ruined with Kidd right next to the ropes.
ZSJ with a series of uppercuts to Kidd, who keeps calling them on. Sabre going for a brutal looking Rings of Saturn variation, but Kidd to the ropes. Sabre follows up with an octopus through the ropes, running elbow, but then gets caught with an uppercut when he comes off the ropes. Big throw/facebuster from Kidd to get a bit of breathing room. Both men back up at five, Kidd laying on strikes, an enziguri in the corner, then a missile drop-kick for two. ZSJ going for a full nelson, Kidd out both times, then hits a Death Valley Driver for a near fall. Really hotting up now.
Sabre reverses a suplex into a Pele Kick to the arm, then a big tornado DDT, then a modified Dragon Sleeper, but Kidd gets a foot on the rope just in time. A beat, crowd clapping both men to their feet, dueling forearms/uppercuts. “Fight Kidd Fight” as they get frantic in the ring. Sudden pinning predicament chain with a few near falls. ZSJ with a big slap, then gets one himself. Slightly awkward slam from Kidd, going for a moonsault but reversed into an modified armbar, absolutely beautiful. They make sure to let you know that Kidd was beaten this way before, but this time Kidd is able to lift Sabre into a powerbomb. “This is awesome”.
Both men slowly back up at a count of seven. ZSJ locks in an octopus, but Kidd out of it, and hits a fireman’s carry roll, then straight up for a second rope moonsault, but only two. Commentators going full JR now, but it fits. Kidd trying to soften Sabre up, but surprises him with a German Suplex, then another. PK for two. Sabre lining him up for something else, Kidd with the small package and that’s in in just over 16 and a half.
Winner (and still WCPW Internet Champion): Gabriel Kidd, consider him “made”.
Verdict: Another great contest, and another for Banks/Bailey to look at. There was both a great in-ring story here (Kidd going lock-for-lock with the master) and an overarching plot (Kidd trying to prove himself not a fluke/get one back on ZSJ), and the two guys knocked it out of the park. The roll-up finisher is over-used, but this one worked really well.
Sabre, livid, throws a bit of a tantrum at ringside: remember he’s newly heeled in New Japan. Eventually he and Kidd get back in the ring, and Kidd offers him another match to break the tie. The crowd likes that.
Adam Blampied complains about Youtube’s new money rules and my heart bleeds for the abuser. He rabbits on about some upcoming shows and then we’re back.
Michael Elgin vs Harry Smith (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Canadian Preliminary Final #1)
We still have nearly 80 minutes for three scheduled matches, so these must be going long. Elgin more popular with the crowd than Smith, and Smith attacks before the bell. Beatdown and we go to the outside for some crowd brawling in the dark. We almost end up in a back corridor, before both competitors smack each other around a bar area. I assume the ref isn’t counting, as the crowd chants “Street Fight”. Smith grabs a chair and gets in a big back shot, but the effect is a little diluted with the bad lighting. Elgin grabs the chair now and gets in his own shots, as commentary tell us that the ref’s have been told off for the DQ finish earlier. So I guess these are all no-DQ now?
Back to the ring, and Elgin drops Smith on the apron. Mugs to the crowd, but gets hit by a dragonscrew leg whip “of sorts” when he tries to get back in, which consists of Smith trying that move and Elgin no-selling. Smith ramming the leg off the ring post a few times, then puts on a Figure 4 through the ring post. “Shades of his uncle Bret Hart” followed by “You know who he learned this from”. Commentary in rare form today. They point out that Hart has a 5 count to break the hold, but what about the apparent no DQ directive?
Back in the ring proper, Smith works over the right ankle for a bit. A long bit actually. Eventually Elgin gets in a few forearms, but soon enough Hart has him down for a leg-lock. Elgin tries to reverse it into a sharpshooter, but Hart just steps out, weird spot. Hart does a strut, and slaps on a loose looking Figure 4 in the ring, and the crowd is starting to wain a little bit. Smith uses the ropes for leverage, and after an age the ref spots him and breaks it up.
More leg-locks, some rope-assisted. Finally a change up as Elgin dodges a corner charge, then hits a discus forearm. Goes for a suplex, but the leg gives out, and Smith obliges his opponent by picking up a leg and letting Elgin hit an enziguri. Then a big German from the big man. Corner clothesline, but gets a drop-kick to the leg when he goes for another. Smith going for a suplex, countered into a Falcon Arrow for two, and this one is picking up now. Elgin going for a piledriver, Smith reverses it but can’t get the sharpshooter locked in. Another German Suplex from Elgin, but another clothesline is blocked, then Smith gets two off a big boot.
Now Smith gets the sharpshooter in but Elgin gets to the ropes, not too hard when the ring is this small. Both men onto the apron, Smith going for a piledriver, but can’t get the lift. Elgin fights back with a few boots to the head, and Smith falls to the floor. Elgin follows up with a cannonball. Back in for two. Elgin goes for a few clotheslines, Smith dodges and the ref is nearly bowled over. Smith takes advantage of the distraction with another low-blow, hits the piledriver, but only two this time. Smith is amazingly aghast.
Smith going for the sharpshooter again, Elgin counters into a small package for two. Smith misses a corner knee strike, Elgin able to grab him and hit a sit-down powerbomb – a move too common for me to use the term “Elgin Bomb” – and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in just under 16 and a half.
Winner (and progressing to the finals): Michael Elgin, if his ankle can recover from that lengthy working over.
Verdict: A bit too slow and steady, especially the middle section. The last five minutes redeemed it a bit.
Elgin celebrates with the Canadian flag and “Big Mike” chants. As it happens he won’t be going to the Finals, but we’ll get to that in time.
Adam Blampied is back in my face to plug WCPW’s anniversary show, Built To Destroy. As it happens we’ll be looking at a match from that event in a bit of a post-script to this show. Stay tuned.
“Speedball” Mike Bailey vs Kyle O’Reilly (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Canadian Preliminary Final #2)
Usually you’d say this is a lock for O’Reilly, but with his upcoming NXT debut I’m not sure. O’Reilly hobbling a big after his match earlier, so I’m guessing this is going to be another “targeting the injured limb” extravaganza. Fist bump and away we go.
Bailey going for some roundhouses right from the off, O’Reilly backing off. Nice kind of kickboxing feel in the early stages. Lock chains for a bit, mat wrestling, submission attempts. Takedown from Bailey, O’Reilly counters into an armbar attempt, break. Ref checking on O’Reilly’s leg for a bit, then back to it. O’Reilly gets a takedown, and then some ground-and-pound follows. Another break, so these two are resetting often. Bailey with a headlock for a bit. O’Reilly out, leapfrog chain, Bailey gets in a dragonscrew, then a few big kicks.
Bailey in charge now, putting in the leglocks. I’d have more patience for this if we hadn’t just watched a lot of it in the last two matches. Bailey with a tonne of chest kicks against the ropes, until O’Reilly comes back with a sudden Exploder. KOR now in charge with a series of knee-strikes, then a body scissors that Bailey eventually wriggles out of. Shin breaker, another, then a reverse suplex, lovely sequence. Leg-lock, but Bailey kicks out of it. O’Reilly with a series of arm wrenches, Bailey with forearms, before he gets smashed into the mat.
Bailey trying to get back into it, tries a sunset flip, but O’Reilly reverses it into an armbar, Bailey out, and hits a standing moonsault knee drop. Dueling corner charges, Bailey trying numerous roundhouse kicks and hits a third, but only two. The commentators have really started on strong with the manufactured bickering in this match by the way, it’s needlessly distracting. Both men exchanging kicks and knee strikes, O’Reilly hits an armbreaker but it’s then reversed into a sleeper, which is reversed into a reverse suplex. Some great counter wrestling on display now.
O’Reilly going for another Exploder, Bailey out of it, dueling chest kicks, and eventually O’Reilly sweeps the leg to take Bailey down. Axe kick/spinning forearm combo, more dueling kicks, and Bailey is able to hit a Buzzsaw. Both men down for a count of nine. Bailey with a big double-spin roundhouse, going for a standing corkscrew splash but O’Reilly reverses it into a sort-of Kimura Lock, but Bailey able to get out. KOR with a brainbuster for two, transitions into the Armageddon, adds a leg-lock, then transitions into an Ankle-Lock. Just pick a submission and stick with it! Bailey in this for a long time but does get to the rope, to the crowd’s delight.
O’Reilly trying to put it back on but gets twisted to the outside. Bailey with a springboard moonsault plancha to the outside, for “Holy Shit” chants. Both men back in at a count of seven, Bailey to the second rope, nobody home for the shooting star knee strike. KOR with the knee strike to the head. Setting Bailey onto the top, forearms, Bailey out and hits the rope-assisted enziguri. Bailey to the top, but crotched before he can do anything. O’Reilly goes for the suplerplex, countered into a facebuster. Shooting star knee strike, and that’ll be all in just over 22 minutes.
Winner (and progressing to the Finals): “Speedball” Mike Bailey, and let’s hope he gets those visa issues sorted
Verdict: Had plenty of slow sections and at times was a bit overbooked – that endless submission transition for example, and the finish was a bit clumsy – but enjoyable for the most part.
Handshake in the aftermath, and O’Reilly raises Bailey’s hand. The ringside fans slam the mat, is this some kind of tradition? Anyway, see you in Full Sail Kyle!
An ad for “Hendrymania”, which is the upcoming Prestige-heavy WCPW show. I’m guessing Souled Out was the inspiration. Joe Hendry defends the title against Martin Kirby there, which might be the kayfabe reason he isn’t defending the title tonight? Still seems silly not to have the strap on the line. Speaking of…
El Ligero vs Joe Hendry (non-title)
Ligero always popular with the crowds, but perhaps won’t be as much going forward from time of writing. Some mild boos for Hendry. “This guy reminds me a lot of The Rock” says Shane, and are you kidding me? Hendry on the mike for his usual shush. He’s been “having a think” about his previous time in Canada, and in honour of the fans decides to tease a title match. But of course, the punchline is that he will never defend the title in Canada, and that gets some heat. Runs down smarks with their “Ten” and “Too sweet” chants, and warns Ligero not to risk his health against him. Reminds us all of the terrible finish to the last show where he concussed Kirby, shushes the crowd some more, and that gets a thunderous “Shut the fuck up” response. Wavering on the line between heat and X-Pac heat there.
He gives Ligero the chance to walk away, Ligero gives him a middle finger, and Hendry nails him with the title belt. Shane on the desk is now doing the shush thing, and it’s so aggressively annoying, and not in the way you want. Ligero slowly back up and now the bell rings, seems like we’ve been killing time for a bit. Actually this has been a super-lengthy show, even watching it in stages like I have been.
Hendry chucking Ligero around to start. Nice that we’ve skipped the traditional first act. Ligero out of the Freak of Nature attempt, then laying in some weak chops, out of the Freak of Nature again and hits an enziguri. To the outside, more chops to Hendry, and we go crowd brawling for a while as Bradshaw takes the time in the main event to run down the Hendrymania card. Ligero hits Hendry with a Hendry sign, so irony. Brawling around the bar as the crowd calls for tables. Nothing doing as we head back in the direction of the ring.
Ligero with a crossbody to Hendry seated at ringside. The crowd brawling continues, and that crowd is starting to die a little bit. Going all the way around the ring, and Ligero with a somersault off a production platform. Finally back inside the ring, and a half-hearted “This is awesome” chant dies quickly. Hendry accidentally nails the ref on a dodged charge, and then eats an Ace Crusher. Mexican Wave off the top, but no ref to count the pin. Hendry with a low-blow to a distracted Ligero, grabs a chair and wedges it in a corner. Ligero reverses an Irish Whip into it, hits his own low-blow and then whips Hendry into the chair instead. Another Mexican Wave, a second ref emerges late, and it’s only a two count.
Ligero going for a chair shot, the ref grabs the chair, and then Hendry shoves Ligero into the ref, because this match needed a second ref bump section. Hendry nails Ligero with the title belt again, grabs the first ref and sends him back in, but only gets two on the cover. Hendry drags Ligero to the outside, and whips him into a bunch of unoccupied chairs for a very undeserved “Holy shit” chant. Hendry back in as the ref starts counting. Ligero makes it back in at a count of nine and flips Hendry the bird because that hasn’t gotten tired. Ligero counters the Freak of Nature again, into a roll-up for a near-fall. Going for the C4L, Hendry counters it into an Ankle Lock (it’s not a “Hendry Lock” ffs). Ligero brushes the ropes, gets dragged back to the centre of the ring, and taps out in around 14 minutes.
Winner: Joe Hendry and fans of meaningless house show-esque main events. Did you know he was a Rosebud once?
Verdict: Way too much stuff on the outside, then what was left was overbooked. Disappointing.
Hendry looking to inflict more punishment, but Martin Kirby appears to make the save. Hendry takes a powder, Kirby stands tall, and that’s it.
Best Match: Gotta give that to Dux/O’Reilly, which was the complete package in terms of what good story-driven wrestling should be.
Best Wrestler: While I may not have liked his first match, Bailey was impressive physically in his two contests, and I can’t give KOR every accolade.
Worst Match: The main event was an obvious afterthought to everything else, and didn’t belong on this card.
Worst Wrestler: Hendry continues to not impress me much, and wasn’t up to a whole lot here.
Overall Verdict: The show was probably too long, with the lengthy match times for the second half of the card only paying off for two contests really. Thankfully those were top-rate, and make up for some average stuff elsewhere, the bad show on commentary, and the generally mediocre production values (sort out your rings indie shows, you’re on TV!). Still, I can’t fault this qualifier too much.
But wait, there’s more! As mentioned in my write-up of the Scottish Qualifiers, Drew Galloway went back to the McIntyre name and moved to Florida, so his spot in the World Cup Finals needed replacing. At the Built To Destroy show that took place in the 02 Academy in Newcastle on the 16th June, the two losing finalists from the Scottish show were put together to determine that replacement. So…
Kenny Williams vs B.T. Gunn (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Scottish Preliminary Final #3)
James R. Kennedy and Bradshaw on commentary. The ring announcer says this is qualifier for “the World Cup Scottish Finals in August”. OK then. Gunn mugging to the crowd at the start, who are far more into Williams. Waist/elbow-lock chains to start. Williams can’t send Gunn down with a shoulder charge, but does with a leg kick. More dodging chains, before Gunn sends Williams to the floor with a big right hand.
Williams sends Gunn out with a springboard back elbow. Gunn avoids a tope, and gives a big chop to Williams instead. Williams responds with an elbow, but gets shoved into the crowd when he tries to spring off the barricade. Kicks to the chest back on the apron, and back inside Gunn gets a two count. Gunn with a sitting abdominal stretch for a bit, and cuts William’s rally off with another big chop. Gunn looking for a suplex, gets countered into a small package for two. Williams taking a few powders on the outside, refusing to engage, and eventually hides under the ring. Gets to hit a wrecking ball drop-kick, then a tope as a result of this subterfuge, and follows up with a top rope back elbow for two.
Crowd rallying behind Kenny, but Gunn laying in the kicks and knee strikes. Eventually Williams explodes with a clothesline that floors Gunn, but only two. Williams kicks out of a roll-up with the tights, then eats a big kick to the head. Brainbuster from Gunn for a near fall. Gunn with a few running knee strikes, going for a Lung Blower off the second rope, countered into a pin but only two. Williams jumps up, Tornado DDT, and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in around eight and a half.
Winner (and progressing to the Finals): Kenny Williams
Verdict: Maybe a bit too Gunn-centric in terms of offence, but otherwise fine.
When we’re back with this we will be off to Germany. Until then.
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