The last of the preliminaries, finally. It’s the 22nd July 2017 and we’re in Domain in Newcastle, England, for the “Rest of the World” Qualifiers of the WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup! Your main event tonight: what will be the second preliminary final, as the only matches on the card are qualifiers. It’s a tight 90 minutes this show, which I like to see. Let’s get into it.
Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy on commentary, and we get sent quick into the Tale of the Tape. Travis Banks is here to put New Zealand wrestling on the map, Mark Davis is here to put Australia on the map. Banks has been here longer. Davis has a plan to use his kicks. All rather dull. Not one mention of the Prestige either.
Travis Banks vs Mark Davis (WCPW World Cup ROTW Preliminary Semi-Final #1)
Davis an Aussie journeyman I’m not super familiar with. I would assume he’s here to do the job for a WCPW regular. His entrance video is his name in all small caps. Banks with a tope before the bell, flooring Davis at ringside. Shots, chops and into the ring for the official start. Trading shots, Davis able to fight Banks off, lifting drop, sitting powerbomb, two. This one has a head of steam right from the off.
Banks with chops in the corner, but Davis has his rhythm now and pushes him off. Davis’ chops aren’t quite as impressive as Banks, so he decides to start throwing him around instead. Banks back with a kick to the chin, corner uppercuts, but caught on the third attempt with a big uranage for two. Banks trips Davis in a charge, hits a basement corner drop-kick where the camera is in the perfect position to catch it being whiffed, then a cannonball for two. Looking for the Slice of Heaven, but countered into an inverted fireman’s carry slam, looked cool, but only two. Corner forearm from Davis, who then deadlifts Banks into a piledriver position, hits it, but only two. This guy is impressing.
“One more time” says the crowd, but Banks skitters out of it, hits his kicks, Davis back with a rope-assisted enziguri, catches the Slice of Heaven attempt again, but the catch is countered into a Destroyer. Slice of Heaven connects on the third attempt, but they want to make Davis look strong I guess, because only two. Banks locks on the Lions Clutch and Davis submits in around six-and-a-half.
Winner: Kiwi Buzzsaw. The loser is women everywhere.
Verdict: Decent, could have stood to be a bit longer.
Crowd boos the result. Banks limps away. Back to the vignettes. Tom LaRuffa is here for France, Jurn Simmons for the Netherlands. Simmons stirs the pot by saying he isn’t much of a patriot. OK then. LaRuffa name drops his time in TNA under a different name, which is weird. Simmons says he’s bigger, LaRuffa says that just means he’ll fall harder. Milquetoast AF.
Tom LaRuffa vs Jurn Simmons (WCPW World Cup ROTW Preliminary Semi-Final #2)
LaRuffa will be better known as Sylvester LaFort on early NXT, a Lance Storm trainee. He comes out in Flair get-up, and his nationality gets him some mild boos. Simmons, the “Marquee Player”, is a primarily wXw guy. Comes out to very dramatic music and in a fur cape. OK then. Gets a good reaction it has to be said. LaRuffa greets the bell with a flip. “The crowd here not particularly impressed” offers Bradshaw. Simmons responds with a roll through. LaRuffa offers a hand, and a guy in the front row says “Don’t trust him, he’s French!”
Simmons takes LaRuffa down early, wrist-lock chains, LaRuffa scrambles away after a bit. LaRuffa then takes Simmons down, head-lock spot for a while. Simmons eventually up to flip LaRuffa down, arm-drags, but LaRuffa back with an awkward headlock. Honestly, these two don’t seem to have that good chemistry. Simmons counters with a reverse suplex for one. Simmons does some gyrating to try and get the crowd going, which works. Dueling strikes, Simmons with a suplex, then misses on an elbow drop. LaRuffa with a big clothesline for two, then a leg-drop for two. Basic stuff here.
Simmons with shoulder-blocks to the corner, powerslam for two. Going for a powerbomb maybe, but countered into a Russian Legsweep for two. LaRuffa goes for a clothesline, but countered into an uranage for two. Dodges a knee charge, back with kicks, then hits a big ass clothesline. LaRuffa to the top, hits a splash, but only two. Calling for a kick, Simmons catches it, but LaRuffa counters out of a piledriver. Simmons with a running knee, now hits the piledriver, and that’s it in just under nine.
Winner: Your token Dutch wrestler.
Verdict: These two just didn’t click at all I feel. Very meh.
Straight onto the next Tale of the Tape. Morgan Webster is representing Wales, RJ Singh is representing India, despite not being from there. “Grandfather rule is in effect Cole”. Webster says he’s excited to be representing the entirety of the UK. Singh is representing his heritage, oh, OK. Webster is going to do the same thing he always does. Singh has seen it all before. Even by WCPW standards these are dire interviews, there isn’t an ounce of heat in them at all.
“Flash” Morgan Webster vs RJ Singh (WCPW World Cup ROTW Preliminary Semi-Final #3)
Webster of course is much better known nowadays as an NXT UK mainstay, and I am a big fan, of his wrestling and his mod gimmick. Singh is a British journeyman, and I have a feeling he is not going to be progressing here. Webster ties his scarf onto the ref, and away we go.
Handshake, wrist-lock chains, back-and-forth and both guys equally matched. Brief dueling strikes, circling, and the crowd is into this one, with a “Fuck em up Webster, fuck em up” chant. Lot of Welsh in Newcastle I guess? Bow hold from Singh, into a necktie, some nice hip-toss chains from Webster to counter. To the outside, Singh with a whiffed kick from the apron, and then Webster sent into the barricade after a sleeper attempt. Webster back up quick enough, too quick really, and hits a rana from the apron. No ref count through all of this.
Back in, Webster with a second rope moonsault to a standing Singh, only two. Swinging neckbreaker for two. Locks in the standing sleeper again – dubbed “the Strangler” apparently – but Singh powers Webster off. Leapfrog chain, shotgun drop-kick to Webster, modified knee breaker, then a really ugly looking modified G2S to the back of Webster’s head. It gets two, but could have been a concussion.
Webster back with boots and strikes. Dueling strikes, Webster with a headbutt, and both men down. No count again, though commentary certainly acts like there should be one. Both up, Webster with a flying clothesline, corner forearm, corner knee, Singh set-up on top, but Webster can’t hit the superplex. Webster knocked off, Singh goes for a Swanton but the knees are up. Brit-Pop Drop, Webster locks on the Strangler again and Singh taps pretty much straight away, in around seven.
Winner: In Mod We Trust
Verdict: Was expecting more to be honest, these two didn’t have a great connection, and there was one scary spot.
Crowd happy about this one, as we go to our last Tale of the Tape, and I mean ever, thank God.
Icarus is here for Hungary. Angelico is here for South Africa. Icarus plays up Hungary’s wrestling pedigree, that was apparently stunted by communism? I’ll take his word for it. Angelico says much the same, minus the communism. Icarus plans to catch Angelico in the air. Angelico says you can’t out fly the high flyer.
Icarus vs Angelico (WCPW World Cup ROTW Preliminary Semi-Final #4)
Icarus a GWF/wXw guy I know little about. Angelico I am a big fan of, primarily from Lucha Underground: that crossbody spot is one of my favourite high-risk memories watching wrestling. I can’t imagine he’ll be going out early here.
Waist-lock, wrist-lock, head-lock chains. Striking chains with constant counters, ending with a duel drop-kick. Angelico is impressed, and he offers a hand, that quickly turns into a knee strike to the head. Angelico with kicks, Icarus able to come back with an elbow on a corner charge, hits a missile drop-kick from the second rope for two. Hard chops from Icarus in the corner, Angelico able to reverse it and deliver a big knee to the head. Not quite as zippy as I would have liked so far, but decent.
Dueling strikes, Angelico takes the advantage with more kicks and knees, floor-based enziguri for two. Some whip counters, Angelico to the top and hits a foot stomp to the back for two. Looking for the Fall Of The Angels, Icarus out, Angelica dropped to the apron and Icarus hits a sweet spinning forearm, and follows up with a top rope moonsault to the outside. Huge spot, best of the show. Back in, Icarus to the top again, hits a Swanton, but only two. Buzzsaw kicks, another discus forearm, a Scoop Slam, two. Maybe a bit too much kicking out now. Angelico set-up on the top, but able to fight back, looking for the Sunset Flip Bomb, but Icarus resists, Angelico looking for his finisher instead, but Icarus fights him off. Angelico relentless though, back up, but gets thrown off. Icarus looking for another Swanton, but knees up. Running knee to the back of the head, Fall Of The Angels for the 1, 2, 3 in just about ten minutes.
Winner: Angelico, but of course
Verdict: Had decent sections, but the opening and closing were a bit iffy.
The two share some respect in the aftermath. Your main event for the evening will thus be “Flash” Morgan Webster against Angelico.
An ad for the return of WCPW Loaded, and we’re back.
Travis Banks vs Jurn Simmons (WCPW World Cup ROTW Preliminary Final #1)
I’m assuming that Banks is going to the Last 16, he’d be a fair bit more notable than Simmons. Banks tries the ambush again, but Simmons wise to it: the ref rings the bell even though both men are outside, which is dumb. Simmons throws Banks into the front row, then does a bit of beatdowning, playing to the crowd rather well in-between. Big chop on the outside, and finally we head in.
Simmons maintaining the offence, standing suplex as the crowd counts along. He drops Banks at the end of it though, which looked a little dodgy. Banks able to come back with kicks and chops, but eventually walks into a big uranage for two. “Jurn is going to kill you” chants. Bank uses the ref as a shield to stop a boot, then jumps Simmons for mounted punches. More kicks and strikes, but Simmons not selling super well. Banks with a takedown, more mounted punches, and this one is getting a bit samey at this stage.
More strikes from Banks, walks into some big clotheslines for a change of pace. Banks back with a drop-kick, corner uppercuts, but on a third he is caught and powerslammed for two. Simmons going for another suplex but Bank out. Superkick, running knee, and a cannonball from Banks gets two, as we get honest-to-goodness dueling chants. Banks comes of the second rope but caught, and gets spun into a very hard-looking spinebuster for two. Simmons goes for an elbow drop but no one home, clothesline from Banks, Michinoku Driver, but only two. Better rhythm to this one now.
Banks with forearms, walks into another big clothesline, but one where he was clearly somersaulting before contact. Simmons with a sitting powerbomb for two. A very awkward finishing sequence see’s Simmons kick the air when Banks was practically behind him, which looked laughable, before Banks hits the Slice Of Heaven for the pin in just under nine minutes.
Winner (and progressing to the Finals): Travis Banks, so the Prestige get two.
Verdict: Good middle section let down by a boring opening and an iffy finale.
Banks celebrates, and will face “Speedball” Mike Bailey in the Last 16.
Adam Blampied tries to sell you WCPW tickets and then it is on to the main event.
“Flash” Morgan Webster vs Angelico (WCPW World Cup ROTW Preliminary Final #2)
The winner here gets Ricochet, so either way I’m going to be delighted. Only around ten minutes left in this show though, so this is going to wind up too short. Webster with a big knee from the start, then to the top but rolls through a 450 when Angelico dodges, but follows up with a somersault tope to the outside. Super fast start to this one. Chops on the outside, Angelico into the barricade, but then he plants Webster face-first into the apron off a charge. Angelico into the ring, and hits his own big corkscrew tope, but it looked way more whiffed than Webster’s.
Back in, Angelico to the top to hit the double foot stomp to the back, Angelico left leg with contact to the back of Webster’s head, which wasn’t so good. Looking for Fall Of The Angels a bit too early, Webster out, Angelico out of the Brit Pop Drop, Webster with the headbutt and now hits the Brit Pop Drop, but only two. Hits a neckbreaker, beating down on the back of Angelico’s head. Some quick leapfrog chains, and Angelico hits his mat enziguri for two. The South African on top now with kicks, looking for the Fall Of The Angels again, nothing doing on a few attempts, and Webster counters the last into a rana into the corner.
Angelico set-up, and Webster hits a rana off the top, then back up to hit a Swanton to the back, but only two. Locks in the Strangler straight away, but Angelico to the ropes quick enough. Chokes and kicks in the corner from Webster, but gets nailed on the head off a second rope moonsault. Angelico goes for his finisher again, countered into a pinning predicament, countered into the same for Angelico and that’s it in just under eight-and-a-half.
Winner (and progressing to the Finals): Angelico, and that match with Ricochet could be very special.
Verdict: Started hot then fell down a little. And, of course, too short.
Show of respect in the aftermath, and that will be all. The Last 16 is set. Let’s rate them on how high my expectations are:
Mike Bailey vs Travis Banks – I assume Bailey is a one and done, so not super into this one.
Bad Bones vs Penta El Zero M – Yes, this should be fun, potential to be a really good stiff-fest.
Lucky Kid vs Hiromu Takahashi – No way they are getting Takahashi this far and having him lose.
Ricochet vs Angelico – Yes please
Michael Elgin vs Joe Coffey – Battle of the assholes, but has hossfight potential.
KUSHIDA vs Kenny Williams – This should be fun, but again, KUSHIDA ain’t losing this early.
Jay Lethal vs Zack Sabre Jr – If anyone can carry Lethal to a good match, it’s ZSJ.
Rey Mystero vs Will Ospreay – Certainly the stand-out, and could be epic.
But surprise! One of the 16 men mentioned above will not be competing, and will be replaced late on with someone we haven’t seen yet. Who will it be? Find out in a few weeks (or look up the wiki).
As for tonight:
Best Match: Banks/Davis was the best of what I would call a very average lot.
Best Wrestler: Ohhhhh Flash Morgan Webster, ohhhhhhh
Worst Match: LaRuffa/Simmons had no chemistry at all.
Worst Wrestler: I’ll say Singh, because that head smash move to Webster looked dodgy AF.
Overall Verdict: It was only really OK, like a lot of the qualifiers have been. I appreciate the short show though. Onto the finals!
Quick Thoughts On Royal Rumble 2021
Womens Tag: Straightforward, and a bit too focused on Flair to the detriment of everyone else. This stuff with Ric is unappealing to me. Skippable.
McIntyre/Goldberg: Liked that it was short, and that Bill lost, which genuinely surprised me. He’s gone beyond embarrassing to actively irritating, with just two moves in his repertoire, and he can’t do either of them properly. Inessential.
Banks/Carmella: Not as good as their last encounter, not least because “Mella” nearly destroyed her face on a botched tope. It was just alright otherwise. Not required.
Womens Rumble: Not brilliant really. Too many slow sections, and you never thought it was going to end up as anything other than Flair/Ripley/Belair. Good choice for winner though. Average.
Reigns/Owens: Too long, and the handcuff spot getting botched sucked some life out of it, but other than that this was a great example of story-telling in wrestling, both with the feud and in-ring. It should end now though, as Owens isn’t getting much more in a rivalry where he loses every match. Give it a watch.
Mens Rumble: Enjoyed this a lot, lots of good spots, plenty of possible winners with a good few dark horses too. Edge impressed, and is becoming the posterboy for part-timing it. So glad of that last second fakeout, as Orton winning would have been heinous. Essential.
Overall: Royal Rumble is a hard show to mess up really. No bad matches here, and the mens Rumble is worth the price of admission alone. Here’s hoping for Edge/Reigns!
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