Eight preliminary events done and dusted, and we are finally into the business end of this tournament. It’s the 23rd August 2017 and we’re in Planet Ice Arena of Milton Keynes, UK, for the Round Of 16 in the WCPW World Cup! Your main event tonight: the pick of the Last 16 matches as Will Ospreay takes on Rey Mysterio! This is the longest show of the World Cup series at nearly three-and-a-half hours, so let’s get right to it.
Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy welcome us to Planet Ice with what I think is them practising their intro as the splash screen plays. WCPW off to a great start. After the actual main titles we get welcomed again. Loud crowd in Milton Keynes, which stands to reason given some of the indie luminaries and legit legends on this card.
We get a brief video package reminder that Travis Banks beat Mark Davis and Jurn Simmons to get here, and Mike Bailey beat Brent Banks and Kyle O’Reilly, while the actual arena is kept waiting, which is weird. No more preamble, here we go.
Travis Banks vs “Speedball” Mike Bailey (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #1)
Banks out as Bradshaw tells us he lost to KUSHIDA the night previously at another WCPW show. He’s now beardless, which isn’t a good look for him really. Bailey, out in a karate outfit to a mild response, lost to Hiromu Takahashi, so I guess the Japanese guys are getting pushed right now. Banks does his usual thing by attacking before the bell on the outside, but Bailey wise to it and counters with a stuff kick. Bailey makes some room, and lands a shotgun drop-kick after a big run-up. Bailey is too distracted taking off his outer layers to ward against a tope from Banks though, that sends Speedball clattering into the barricade.
We head into the ring for the start of the match proper, with Banks laying on a headlock. Dueling shoulder blocks, then dueling kicks, and Bailey with the advantage. Leapfrog chain, Bailey lays in a flurry of kicks and gets two. Banks back with a sweeping kick to the legs, and follows up with a cannonball into the corner for two. Mounted punches from Banks get boos. Good start to this one.
Banks with a snapmare and a kick to the back for two. Corner chops, Bailey comes back at Banks, then walks into a stuff-looking forearm. Bailey with a kick to the head, and following up with another, of the scissors variety. Jumping knee into the corner, Banks back with a Sunset Flip attempt in response, Bailey resists and lands a sweet reverse somersault into double knees for two. Wow, that looked cool. Banks dodges a corner kick, hits a drop-kick that leaves Bailey prone, and follows up with a stomp for two. Commentary reminds us both men have won tournaments for other companies recently, and I’ll admit they are doing a good job of making Bailey a contender here.
Some counter-chains, exchanges of kicks, and Bailey gets two with a small package off a suplex attempt. To the apron, Bailey tries a suplex which is nearly a bad botch when Banks slips, and they segway into karate kicks to the chest. Bailey knocked off first, and then eats a PK. Banks follows up with a big tope that got a lot of air. Bailey dodges a subsequent Baseball Slide, and then hits an Asai Moonsault perfectly. Really good match so far, but the crowd not as into it as you would think.
Both men back in after a count for six, Bailey to the second rope, but Banks out of the way of a Shooting Star, then Bailey out of the way of the Slice of Heaven, then Bailey hits a sweet standing Corkscrew Moonsault, but only two. Banks dodges a few roundhouses, then hits a big jumping clothesline, Driver, but only two. Going for the Slice of Heaven again, Bailey counters with a kick to the head, then another. Banks waits a bit too patiently in a prone position for Bailey to hit a shooting star double knee stomp to the back, and to my my very great surprise that is enough in just over nine.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): Speedball! That is a shock.
Verdict: Really good opener, had a great pace to it and work was put in to make Bailey look like the real deal. One of the best matches of the tournament so far. Plus, one less sexual predator in the field.
The crowd gives Speedball some love, and he gives some back. Bailey will face the winner of the main event tonight, so I’m afraid he really only has one more match left.
Penta El Zero M beat Fenix and El Ligero, Bad Bones beat Pascal Spaltar and Cash Money Erkan, aka Mr Uppercut to get this far. This is one of the matches that could steal the show potentially.
Bad Bones vs Penta El Zero M (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #2)
Bones out with a cool looking black skull mask and a baseball bat. Penta out with his usual catchphrase that gets a reaction. Bones goes for a swing with the baseball right from the off, eats a superkick instead, and the bat goes flying, hits the ropes and ends up careening to ringside. Five seconds in and this one is delivering on the scary action anyway, only it’s the crowd in danger. Bradshaw says what we’re all thinking, and wonders what Bones approach was, since a connection would only have gotten him disqualified.
Penta with armdrags, a rana and Bones rolls out. Penta queues up a tope but intercepted with a spinning slam, rolls out and then Bones hits his own tope, where Penta backs the barricade up a few feet. The audience are part of this one anyway. Back in, swinging neckbreaker gets two for Bones. Penta whipped hard into the corner, forearm charge but Penta back with a clothesline variety. Kick to the side of Bones’ head, then a headstand on the turnbuckle that transitions into two feet into the chest. Very nice. Bones to the outside, and now Penta able to hit a somersault tope.
Chops on the outside from Penta that the mikes could do a better job of picking up. Bones sent into a ring post, big kick to the leg, another chop. This one has lost a bit of momentum now. Back in, Penta to the top, Zero Miedo, but nobody home on a foot stomp attempt. Dueling pins, Bones sent to the apron, enziguri, but Bones back with a rope-assisted spear when Penta comes at him with a charge. Penta catches a kick attempt, nails a couple of slingblades for two, then nails a big open-palm slap to the chest. Now that one sounded good. The ref objects, which gets the crowd chanting “Chop the ref”.
Instead, Penta looks for the Package Piledriver, Bones out of it looking for a crossface, but transitions into a head kick for two. Penta dodges a corner charge, to the top, Bones ducks and nails three successive German’s, despite some elbows to the head. Only two though. Bones back to the crossface, but Penta able to get a foot to the tropes. He didn’t sell it very well unfortunately. Bones calling for something big, but eats a superkick, and then Penta nails a Destroyer OUTTANOWHERE, then a standing version, but only gets two. The crowd popped big, and that should have been it. Top rope double stomp, then the Package Piledriver, and that will do it just under ten minutes.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): The man of a thousand finishers, Penta El Zero M
Verdict: Enjoyed most of this, but it lost me a bit with the finisher spam from one guy right at the end.
Crowd happy with this one, Penta will face the winner of Angelico and Ricochet tomorrow, and either way I will be happy.
A plug for an upcoming WCPW show called Refuse To Lose, and then we’re back with the sole non-tournament match of the night, and boy does this look a bit thrown together.
Marty Scurll & War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) vs the Prestige (Joe Hendry, El Ligero & B.T. Gunn)
Presumably in-between harassing women, Ligero has been a busy guy, having turned heel, joined the Prestige and won the Magnificent 7 briefcase since the last time we saw him. Gunn has just won the Hardcore Title too, and Hendry is still top-dog. War Machine are the WCPW Tag Champs, as well as the IWGP Tag Champs, so they are at the height of their indie darling status here. Belts for everyone! No pre-match Hendry promo thank God, instead we get Scurll giving the finger to the crowd and a Too Sweet to Hanson. Coolio. Think the story of this one is that Scurll has been a recent challenger for Hendry and they are teasing a continuation.
Ligero and Hanson to start, as the crowd starts with a “Ligero’s a wanker” chant. Ligero trying to be the tough guy, shoving a bit, then thinks better of it and tags in Hendry. “Stupid wanker” says the crowd, then “Joe Hendry’s a wanker”. They’ve got heat I’ll give them that. Scurll call for a tag, Hanson obliges, and Hendry tags in Ligero. Two minutes since the bell, and now we finally get some wrestling. Ligero kicks the mid-section during a test of strength, then hits a rana. Scurll back with knees to the stomach, chops in the corner, uppercuts. A bit of a dumb chain as Scurll and Ligero leap around and taunt, and in comes Gunn. He wants Rowe, and Scurll obliges.
Gunn hits a chop, to no reaction. Rowe hits a chop, and Gunn is doubled over. Scoop Slam, Ligero in, Scooped Slam on top of Gunn, and Hanson in to get Scoop Slammed onto the other two. Hendry in, but only so Rowe can throw Hanson into him. Crowd into this as the Prestige attempt to recover on the outside. Teasing a walkout, and we get some ramp brawling, with Scurll taking the time to shout something unintelligible into a commentary desk mike. Fighting around the ring, with the faces on top. Back in with Rowe and Hendry, but Scurll the legal man shortly after, only for Gunn to attack from behind. Ligero in, talks Hanson off the apron for a ref distraction spot, and Scurll beaten down. Prestige taking turns as we enter the “in-peril” portion of proceedings.
Ligero tossing Scurll into the barricade, and man that thing looks rickety, a lawsuit waiting to happen. Back in, the beatdown continues, until Scurll gets Ligero to floor Gunn during an attempted double team. Rowe in with the hot-tag, Buzzsaw Knee to Hendry, Ligero’s forearm only pisses Rowe off, and there is no-one to tag in. Rowe hits a suplex to Ligero and Gunn together, amazing strength, then an uranage to Ligero onto Hendry. Could watch War Machine do their thing all day. Eventually the Prestige get back on top, and now Rowe is in-peril.
Prestige taking turns with the beatdown again, Ligero quick with the taunts, and gets his clock cleaned with a big forearm. Hanson in, strikes to all of the Prestige, Ligero trying a sleeper to no avail, and Hanson lays on some repeated corner splashes to Hendry and Gunn. Things breaking down a bit as the Prestige try to fight back, until Hanson hits his springboard handstand double elbow, which gets a big pop. Scurll in, calling for the Chickenwing on Hendry, but Ligero with the save. Scurll dumps Ligero out, Shining Wizard to Gunn, but then he takes a DDT from Hendry. Rowe in to hit a big knee to the face, then Gunn with kicks to take Rowe out before getting practically decapitated by a clothesline from Hanson. Ligero tries a low-blow on Scurll but stopped and gets his fingers broken instead.
Scurll trying for an inverted crucifix bomb, but Gunn stops it with a kick. Hendry hits his Fallaway Slam for two – the first pin attempt in a while – then War Machine in to clear the ring. Ligero pulls a Hurricane and tries to chokeslam Hanson and Rowe, and gets a double chokeslam instead. Scurll into hit a spinning cutter, but Hendry with the save. War Machine with an assisted springboard clothesline to Hendry, then follow up with the assisted powerslam. Going a bit long this one know. Scurll able to hit the inverted crucifix bomb on Ligero, and I’m not even sure if Ligero was the legal man but that will be the 1, 2, 3 in just about 18 minutes.
Winners: The Villain Machine
Verdict: Enjoyable enough I suppose, but maybe a few minutes too long and a bit too messy for its own good. Didn’t really tell much of a story, in or out of the ring. I suppose this was meant to be an advertisement for the larger WCPW, but only half the guys in the match are regulars there.
After War Machine vacate the ring Hendry hits Scurll with a low blow, and another beatdown commences. I guess Hanson and Rowe don’t really care after the bell huh? Scurll gets his right leg worked over for a bit, then his left leg, which is dumb. Crowd dead for this, and I don’t really see the point myself. At least I don’t have much more of the Prestige to put up with.
An ad for the Quarter-Final and Semi-Final/Final shows, and then onto our next match. Lucky Kid beat Juvenile X and Da Mack to get here, Hiromu Takahashi beat YOH and Ryusuke Taguchi. We get a brief glimpse of Scurll getting helped out randomly, and then back to the tournament.
Lucky Kid w/Tarkan Aslan vs Hiromu Takahashi (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #3)
Aslan is Kid’s tag partner/mentor, hence his presence. The Time Bomb has his own stuffed companion, Daryl, recently reformed after getting ripped up in NJPW’s G1, leading Bradshaw to describe it as the “Jon Snow of stuffed animals”, way to date the show. Dueling chants to start, to the credit of these two and their entrances. Kid decides to consult with Takahashi’s toy too, but his gimmick is that he’s a bit crazy, so Takahashi doesn’t mind.
Lock-up, rope-break, and an exaggerated break from Kid. Chops in the corner from the Time Bomb, but then walks into a rana and sent outside. Calmly walks out of the way of an aborted tope, and Kid decides to sit down in the ring and wait for him. Literal face-off as they go nose to nose while on all fours in the ring, and to say this one has a bizarre but fascinating energy would be an understatement,. Dueling open-hand chops for a bit, and eventually Kid just puts one on the face. Kid onto the apron, Takahashi forces him off and into the barricade. Ringside brawling, Takahashi suddenly attacks Aslan, and he gets sent into the barricade too. This is supposed to be a heel move I assume, but the crowd doesn’t bite, they seem a tad unsure how to approach this one.
Back-in, corner clothesline and knee to the head from Takahashi, two. Necktie resthold, more chops, Lucky Kid coming back with his own. Takahashi cuts off the comeback with a forearm, then bounces Kid off the ropes and nails a superkick for two. Head scissors, crowd getting a bit more into it now, but the restholds might be lasting a bit too long when they get put in.
Takhashi grabs Daryl, and nails Kid with him. The ref doesn’t call for the DQ of course, but Kid sells this like he’s been hit with a chair. Metal plate in the teddy bear! Or maybe not. Kid able to take the offence, jumping knee, shotgun drop-kick into the corner, running elbows, then a very nice Tornado DDT for two. This guy can go, they should let him more. Looking for the Dragon Suplex, Takahashi out of it, dodging in the corner, Kid on the Apron, kick to the head, and Takahashi going for the tope Sunset Flip. When Kid resist it turns into a powerbomb on the apron, which might be worse. Kid able to answer a count of nine, then out of the Time Bomb. Dumped to the apron again, Takahashi follows. Forearm duel, the crowd has gotten dead, and Kid hits his own superkick. Takahashi to the outside, and Kid nails a somersault tope to get the crowd going again.
Takahashi answers a count of eight, Kid lands an elevated reverse DDT, but only two. Looking for the Dragon Suplex again, but Takhashi out. Rope-assisted enziguri sends Takahashi down, Kid to the top, but eats a drop-kick off a top-rope nothing. Setting up the Time Bomb, countered into a roll-up for two. Springboard handstand elbow from Kid countered into a German, both men down. Face-to-face again as they rise, back to the dueling chops, then dueling forearms, off a charge Takahashi hits a sit-out powerbomb for two. Time Bomb hit but Kid kicks out, which is a shock. NJPW won’t like that. Takahashi struggling to get Kid up for another, Kid out, hits a big high clothesline, looked stiff as hell, and follows up with a Sliced Bread for two.
Kid calling for the Dragon Suplex again, Takahashi fighting, and Kid settles for a German that Takahashi basically no-sells. Takahshi hits a swinging Time Bomb, and that will be it in just under 18 minutes.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): Takahashi and Daryl, the ultimate team.
Verdict: Had some lows, but mostly a very fun encounter. Kid’s been great to watch in his matches and got a good chance to show what he can do here, even if Bailey is the only real surprise they are going to allow. Takahashi is too much of a big deal for them to snub NJPW by jobbing him this early.
Commentary notes that Takahashi will face the winner of Joe Coffey and TBA. More on that later.
Onto the next match. Angelico beat Icarus and Flash Morgan Webster to get here, Ricochet beat Matt Sydal and Keith Lee. This one has the potential to be an enormously fun in-ring spot-fest.
Angelico vs Ricochet (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #4)
Announcer proclaims “This is Anhelooo” for Angelico’s entrance. It’s noted that Ricochet has won a few tournaments in his time, as the crowd gives him some love. Very much face-vs-face here. Lock-up, wristlock chains, as Bradshaw opines that Angelico, a white South African, is carrying the hopes of all of the African continent on his shoulders. Hmm. Counters and counter-counters as we hit stalemate early. Ricochet lands on his feet off a few snapmares, to Angelico’s general frustration. A shoulder charge sends him down, but he kips right back up. Leapfrog chain ends with a nice drop-kick connection from Ricochet, to a big pop. More chains, Ricochet lands on his feet from a rana, but then drop-kicked out before taking a somersault rana. Just as I’d hoped so far.
Angelico in firm control now, hard whip into the corner gets two, following up with shots as he plays a bit of a heel. Suplex, two, and Ricochet resists another hard whip. Hard uppercut, then Angelico set up in the ropes and yanked so his throat goes into them, looked nasty. Ricochet playing a bit of a heel now with a rope-assisted choke, follows up with a head scissors. From the hectic start we’ve now settled into something more traditional, but I’ll give it some time. Stomps, Ricochet out of an attempted comeback and hits a sweet jumping neckbreaker for two. Some more chains, and we get a spot where the two hit concurrent running knees, leaving them both laying.
Strike exchange, Angelico with rapid kicks and knees, nice sequence that ends with a one-hand supported kick to the side of the head, but only two. Looking for the Fall of the Angels, Ricochet out of it, and hits a 619 after Angelico misses a charge. Angelico back with his own kicks, to the top, double foot stomp to the back, two. Both back-up, Ricochet with a knee to the head to avoid the Fall of the Angels again, then a roll-through into a swinging neckbreaker into a running Shooting Star, but only two. Ricochet looking for the Benadrilla, Angelico out of it, Ricochet looking for a Flatliner, Angelico lands on his hands and hits a double-stomp for two. Great back-and-forth now.
Again looking for the Fall of the Angels, again Ricochet out, this time onto the top rope. Angelico follows, elbowed off, but back with an enziguri that leaves Ricochet on the apron. Angelico pulled hard into the ropes, Ricochet looking for another neckbreaker, Angelico out of it, dueling strikes, kicks, chops, and then Ricochet hits the neckbreaker on the apron, where it looks like Angelico hit one of the ropes on the way down, nasty. Both men back in, Ricochet off the ropes to hit a 450, but Angelico kicks out at 2 and 3/4s. Looking for an uranage, countered into a roll-up for two, then Ricochet back with kicks to the head. Benadrilla but as Ricochet connects, Angelico back with a jumping knee, and both men down. Great spot.
Fall of the Angels once more, but Ricochet waits a bit too long to counter into a roll-up, and Angelico has to come to a dead stop beforehand, that’s a botch. Two, both men back up for Angelico to hit a cutter for two. “This is awesome” from the crowd and while it might not be quite that level it is pretty good. One more try for the Fall of the Angels, but they basically repeat the previous botch, which is inexcusable. Angelico landing onto the second rope, takes a loose Poisonrana where he lands very hard on what looks like his upper-neck/back of the head. This could do with a finish now. Ricochet lands a Tilt-A-Whirl front slam, locks on a modified armbar that commentary can’t think of a name for, and Angelico submits in just over 19-and-a-half.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): The King
Verdict: Great encounter, but the ending let it down a fair bit. Can’t help but think Angelico injured himself off that last rana and they ad-libbed a quick submission finish. Up to then it was pretty much what I was hoping for.
Angelico not too happy, but a show of respect as they both head out. Ricochet faces Penta in a Lucha Underground/AAA match tomorrow.
The Prestige’s music hits, and out comes Joe Coffey. So, he’s supposed to be facing Michael Elgin, but Elgin isn’t able to participate tonight, for reasons that have not been elaborated upon. WCPW announced his absence a week before the show, and they haven’t had the time/means/opportunity to put together a match similar to the Kenny Williams/B.T. Gunn affair that was used to replace Drew Galloway. So, Coffey is supposed to be getting a bye tonight, but here is in the ring. Oh, I wonder what’s going to happen?
Coffey on the mike to say he has the night off because Michael Elgin was too scared to face him. He’s going to go on to win the World Cup, but wants his advancement officially noted tonight, and demands a ref come out to raise his hand. Before a ref can do so, out comes Blampied, to a big reaction. Jeez, everyone involved here so far is a predator, huh? Blampied says there are no excuses, shortcuts or nights off, and if he wants to advance, he’ll have to fight. He’s called in a big favour, and has a competitor lined up: Joseph Connors!
Joe Coffey vs Joseph Connors (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #5)
Huge pop for Connors, who is a former WCPW Champ, back from injury. I’m only familiar with Connors through his NXT UK work which has been OK, he’s saddled with a poor gimmick there but can bring it in the ring. Over as hell with this crowd, usually I’d imagine Coffey would win this but changing my mind quick. Lock-up, Coffey with punches, leapfrog chains, and Connors floors Coffey with a clothesline. Shots in the corner, and a big standing suplex for a few seconds worth. To the outside, awkward moment where Connors is looking for a chop but Coffey turns his back, and you can see Connors call the spot. Things back on track shortly after with a Connors tope.
They note that Connors was part of the WWE UK Championship tournament recently, and I hope WCPW is happy with that promotion because half their roster is going that way soon. Back in the ring, Coffey with a sidewalk slam for two. Hard whip into the corner, shots, and a forearm to the back. Looking for a German, Connors resisting, and Coffey settles for a front slam. Another leapfrog chain, Connors back with an inverted Atomic Drop, then a running powerslam, two. Elbow to the corner, sit-out spinebuster, two. Crowd rallying behind Connors, the Righteous One to the top but knocked off, then shotgun drop-kicked into the corner. Avoiding charges, but not a springboard crossbody for two.
Looking for that front slam again and it turns into dueling pinning predicaments for various one’s, then a backslide from Connors gets two. Double stomp from the corner for two, as Bradshaw openly thanks WWE for allowing Connors to be here. Kennedy adds that Connors “is skyrocketing to the top of this industry”, and I don’t have the heart to tell him. More chains in the ring, Coffey with a rising uppercut and then hits a weak-looking German for two.
Coffey looking for the Black Coffey a few times, Connors dodges, but not the third. Only two though, Blampied really trying to appease Triple H. Rope-assisted DDT from Connors, hits the Don’t Look Down and OUTTANOWHERE that is it in just over nine-and a-half.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): Joseph Connors, whom I am now assuming is getting a Fed-mandated push.
Verdict: Basic enough, and short compared to others on the card. Ending came very quickly, so not terribly satisfying. I’m sure Coffey was delighted at being asked to do a job to a WWE guy, but then again he was off in the same direction soon enough.
Big reaction from the crowd it has to be said, now serenading Connors with a big “Welcome back” chant. Connors face Takahashi in the next round.
Next match time. KUSHIDA beat SHO and BUSHI to get here, Kenny Williams beat Joe Hendry, lost to Joe Coffey and then beat B.T. Gunn in an play-off.
Kenny Williams vs KUSHIDA (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #6)
A fair bit of time left in this show for only three matches, so they have the potential to go quite long. Contrasting styles here in a way, so looking forward to this one. “Who will Marty McFly their way into the Quarter-Finals?” asks Kennedy, oh dear. Lock-up, wrist-lock chains back-and-forth, break. Test of strength, Williams taken down, but to the ropes when a leg-lock is put on. Headlock chain, both legs caught spot, both put down gently, stereo drop-kick. Stalemate, as expected.
Leg-sweep takes KUSHIDA down, leapfrog chain, spinning elbow from Williams gets two. Williams dodges a handspring elbow, but when he tries he gets caught and put into an armbar in a silky-smooth counter. Williams out of it quickly enough, tries for a Sunset Flip but only gets some gyrating hips for his trouble. Kimura Lock, but Williams scampers to the ropes. KUSHIDA starts working on the elbow, transitioning into a Cattle Mutilator, which looks awesome. Elbows to the head, more attention on the left-elbow, then a reverse flip drop-kick for two. Williams starting to come back, but cut off by a big kick to the back that sends him out. Williams keeps dodging KUSHIDA by rolling from one side of the ring to the other, then finally nails him with a rope-assisted enziguri and a spear. KUSHIDA out, and Williams hits a rubbish tope where KUSHIDA sells badly. Crowd farts over it.
Williams to th top, intercepted, dueling strikes from the second rope, then KUSHIDA puts in a Kimura for a bit before being knocked off. Williams hits a flying elbow off the top, but only two. Williams looking for a Tilt-A-Whirl of some kind but gets dropped, and they cover it by transitioning into a bear hug, then a Hoverboard Lock, but Williams gets to the rope. Crowd has been quiet for a while, but start busting out some dueling chants. KUSHIDA with strikes, Williams with a knee, KUSHIDA with a Pele Kick, Williams with a clothesline that didn’t really justify the big sell with the impact. These two just don’t seem on the same wavelength. KUSHIDA catches Williams on a charge and flatlines him into a turnbuckle. Trying for the Back To The Future, Williams resisting, and KUSHIDA settles for a DDT. Williams back with a roll-up for two, hits his own DDT then a running knee, but only two. This one has some spirit back in it now.
They repeat the Tilt-A-Whirl spot and it only looks mildly better, with KUSHIDA then able to hit the Back To The Future for the 1, 2, 3 in just over 11 minutes.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): KUSHIDA and his hoverboard
Verdict: These two just didn’t really click at all, and the ending came fast and sudden, like they just wanted it over with. Messing up the same spot twice was a good indicator that it wasn’t working, and after a decent opening few minutes. Disappointing.
Crowd applauds KUSHIDA, he faces the winner of ZSJ and Lethal (if Lethal wins I riot). Show of respect for Williams, and he gives Williams his Marty McFly jacket as a token of appreciation. Williams responds with some BTTF-esque Nikes. Big cheers all round. Moving along.
Penultimate contest time. Jay Lethal beat Moose and David Starr, shockingly, to get here, while Zack Sabre Jr beat Marty Scurll and Jimmy Havoc so long ago that Matt Striker was commentating. ZSJ has a hell of a task on his hands here, and I don’t mean in terms of challenge.
Zack Sabre Jr vs Jay Lethal (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #7)
The announcer says ZSJ is representing the UK, to Bradshaw’s unhappiness as he is really repping England. Huge welcome for him all the same. Lethal’s comparatively muted. Handshake, lock-up, waistlock chains, break. Sabre starts with the amazing leglocks, Lethal with not so awesome counters, break. Crowd into this so far, but much more for ZSJ than Lethal.
Test of strength, ZSJ with the advantage and puts in a modified abdominal stretch, rapid counters, Lethal with a head scissors, but Sabre out of it. Lock-up, headlocks for a bit, leapfrog chain but Sabre grabs a leg on his way under to take Lethal down, and that might be the spot of the night. Modified Bow and Arrow hold, countered into a pin for two, then a half-Boston Crab from ZSJ. Transitions into a modified STF, something like a Regal Stretch, but Lethal to the ropes. Dueling uppercuts, Sabre with the advantage until Lethal lands a handstand drop-kick. Dueling chants get going, so Lethal is getting over at least.
Slower methodical pace now as Lethal puts in some shots, chops, Scoop Slam. Hard whip to the corner, big backbreaker, and ZSJ to the apron. Dodges a spear, puts in an Octopus Lock through the ropes, so has to break. Looked a bit weak, or maybe Lethal wasn’t selling enough. Sabre knocked to the outside, drop-kicked when he gets back on the apron, and when he tries to intercept a tope he eats a superkick. Lethal looking for the Lethal Injection, and eats a big drop-kick himself, very nice sequence.
Back in, ZSJ putting in more joint manipulation, taunting the crowd a bit too: is he playing heel here? I mean, I know he is in NJPW, but he was face back in the English Qualifiers. Lethal dumped to the outside as Sabre takes a breather. Armbreaker from ZSJ, looking for the Octopus again but Lethal out of it. Big chops from Lethal, but ZSJ with an armbreaker again. Nerve pinch, wristlock chains from Sabre, he holds on despite Lethal gut punches. Lethal tries some forearms instead, finally gets free, and hits a springboard drop-kick to ZSJ on the apron, and follows up with a big tope where, again, that barricade bounces back to a dangerous level.
Back in, Lethal with a few stiff looking clotheslines, then a Lethal Combination but it’s not a finisher anymore so only two. “This is awesome” chants and while I wouldn’t put it that high, it is pretty good. Lethal with a couple of knee drops, then a sit-out powerbomb transition, very nice. Lethal calling for a Figure 4, but ZSJ counters into an Article 50 with a headstand, but Lethal able to get a rope break. Both men take a breather as the crowd gives its appreciation.
ZSJ with kicks to the left arm of Lethal, some rapid counters as both go for Dragon Suplexes, sweep kick from Sabre, PK, but only two. Dueling chants as the crowd senses a finish. Kicks from Sabre to the left arm again, eventually countered into a takedown. Looking for the Figure 4 again, roll-up counter for two. Uppercut, Lethal dodges a charge, and then puts in a Torture Rack into a rolling front slam. Lethal to the top, looking for the elbow, but countered into the Article 50. Lethal out quick and puts in the Figure 4 at the third attempt. Sabre selling well, and eventually able to roll to the ropes. More “This is awesome” chants.
Lethal with kicks of his own, Sabre fires back and it’s kick-a-mania suddenly. Lethal with a Scissors Kick, enziguri, but Lethal reverses a fireman’s carry into a sleeper attempt, countered into a cutter. Looking for a Lethal Injection again, Sabre counters into an armbreaker, transitions into a sort of modified hammerlock, and Lethal submits in just over 21 minutes.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): ZSJ, who can carry anyone.
Verdict: Better than I thought it would be, and didn’t feel its length strangely enough. ZSJ remains the king of this style, and Lethal wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Crowd was into it, which helped.
Sabre will face KUSHIDA at the next stage, and that is a mouthwatering prospect. Onto the main event.
Will Ospreay beat Martin Kirby and Rampage with sneaky tactics to get here and Rey Mysterio beat Alberto El Patron and Juvie with less sneaky tactics. Winner faces Mike Bailey. There’s a delay to entrances as the ring is checked by officials, which Bradshaw excuses as saying that the two men will be using the whole thing.
Will Ospreay vs Rey Mysterio (WCPW World Cup Round Of 16 #8)
Ospreay seems to be playing face when he comes out, and the crowd is chanting his name. Has there been a turn? Bea Priestley not here for this one. “619” chants thundering around Planet Ice. Lock-up, wrist-lock chains, Mysterio counters a choke with an armdrag. Smooth stuff from both guys. “Let’s go Ospreay” chants piping up now. Headlock chains, Test of Strength chains, an amazing looking reverse back body-drop with Mysterio landing on his feet, takedown chains, reverse somersaults in unison, and the crowd goes nuts. “This is awesome”. And it is, for once.
Rey with a kick to the head, and Ospreay dumped out when he charges back. Baseball Slide splash gets a big reaction. Back in, springboard leg-drop gets two. Ospreay set-up in the corner for a Baseball Slide kick to the “leg” – just about – then into a head scissors. Ospreay able to stand-up, but then gets rolled-up for two. Drop-kick from Mysterio, shots, forearms from the apron, but Ospreay able to hit a drop-kick from a springboard nothing. Drop-slam from Ospreay, springboard senton, two. Looking for a Bow and Arrow variation, locked-in briefly, then some kind of modified cloverleaf. Mysterio to the ropes quick enough, not sure this kind of contest needs that spot.
Drop-kick to the left knee of Mysterio, Rey to the outside limping, Ospreay follows for some ringside brawling. Mysterio into the barricade, dueling shots, Mysterio dropped onto the apron leg first. Rest-hold, back up eventually, and off a second rope standing moonsault attempt, Mysterio transitions into a Tornado DDT. That gets the crowd going again. Seated senton from the top, springboard crossbody, kick to the head off a Sunset Flip attempt, but only gets two. Ospreay with an Unphenomonal Forearm in response, calling for a Rainmaker, but countered into a modified Destroyer where it looks like Ospreay lands right on the back of his neck, only two. Some very good back-and-forth.
Ospreay set-up for a 619, but hits a big uppercut when Rey tries it. Big drop-kick in the corner, standing corkscrew gets two. Looking for an Alabama Slam, countered into a rana onto the ropes, this time he gets caught trying the 619, thrown to the top, and gets the Nando Kick for two. Kick to the head, Mysterio lands on the ropes, and at the crowds insistence Ospreay tries the 619 but no-one home. On the other side Mysterio hits a 619 OUTTANOWHERE, but then eats a springboard handstand Pele Kick. Both men down, as the crowd goes bananas. Great sequence.
Ospreay up first, to the second rope, intercepted with shots, Mysterio joins him on the top, Electric Chair position but Mysterio counters into…a botched rana it looks like, where Ospreay wasn’t on the same wavelength at all and didn’t move. The crowd is in a forgiving mood: “One more time”. They both go back to the top, where Mysterio hits an Avalanche Bulldog for two. Better that time. “619” chants, Mysterio thinking about it, but on a charge gets hit with a Spanish Fly for two. “This is awesome”. Ospreay setting Mysterio up on the top, looking for a Razors Edge it looks like, Mysterio counters with a rana, but Ospreay lands on his, well, knee, then his feet, to Bradshaw’s astonishment. Looking for a powerbomb, Mysterio counters into a rana where Ospreay leaps across the ring to get set-up on the ropes, and this time the 619 connects. Springboard splash gets knees, and only two on a subsequent pin. Spinning kick from Ospreay. Oscutter ends it, despite what looks like a kick-out, in 21-and-a-half minutes.
Winner (and progressing to the Quarter-Finals): Will Ospreay, whom I presume is getting to the final at least.
Verdict: Bradshaw overeggs it as one of the greatest matches ever, but it was pretty good. Despite some botched spots, they were able to put on one of the best matches of the tournament, with some well coordinated sequences. Finish was a little rough, but it’s forgivable.
Ospreay gets on the mike and asks people to forgive him if there are tears. He recalls going to see Mysterio on Smackdown as a kid, and says he is one of the reasons that he is here today. He’s honoured to stand in the ring with his hero. Nothing but respect, and Ospreay thanks him. Handshakes, cheers, and Mysterio on the mike too. He’s honoured to be witnessing a new generation of wrestlers, summed up by Ospreay. He gifts Ospreay a part of his mask, thanks the crowd and that will be all. Ospreay faces Mike Bailey in the next round.
Our Quarter-Finals are:
Richochet vs Penta El Zero M – This one ought to be fun. You’d imagine Ricochet will be advancing.
Joseph Connors vs Hiromu Takahashi – Not so sure about this one, it doesn’t strike me a good mesh of styles. Presuambly Connors will get the nod.
Mike Bailey vs Will Ospreay – Should be good, high-paced affair. Bailey is the surprise guy to get this far, but this is as far as he is going to get.
Zack Sabre Jr vs KUSHIDA – Another New Japan match, but these two have the potential to really make magic happen. For the sake of keeping the world in the World Cup, I’ll go for KUSHIDA.
Best Match: I suppose it has to be the main event, which delivered on nearly every expectation.
Best Wrestler: Gotta go with ZSJ, and probably not for the last time. He can do things other wrestlers just can’t.
Worst Match: KUSHIDA/Williams was a bit of a let down, neither man seemed to be up for to the degree that you want.
Worst Wrestler: Why exactly is Joe Hendry in the position that he is in?
Overall Verdict: Hard to be bad show when the card is as stacked as this one was. The big matches mostly delivered, and even the worse examples were far from train wrecks. Some of the qualifiers shows were humdrum, but it seems like the finals are set-up nicely. Two shows left!
To view more entries in this series, click here to go to the index.