65 matches in, three to go: we’re finally at the end of this tournament. It’s the 26th August 2017 and we’re in Sport Central of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne for the Finals of the WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup! Your main event tonight: the final match of the World Cup tournament, to feature two of KUSHIDA, Joseph Connors, Will Ospreay or Ricochet!
Opening titles and a loud crowd is behind Dave Bradshaw and James R. Kennedy. Bradshaw is so excited he stumbles over Will Ospreay’s name, but he’s been a decent accompaniment to this tournament so I will forgive him.
Video package for the first semi-final follows. We get a recap of Joseph Connors’ re-emergence, his victory over Joe Coffey, and then beating Hiromu Takahashi at the Quarter-Final stage. KUSHIDA had a longer road of course, last beating ZSJ.
KUSHIDA vs Joseph Connors (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Semi-Final #1)
Big reception for KUSHIDA, not as much for Connors. Dueling chants all the same. Handshake to start, circling, as the chants get louder. Lock-up, KUSHIDA pushed back, break. Lock-up, as Bradshaw thanks WWE again for Connors involvement. Easy now. Elbow-lock on KUSHIDA, KUSHIDA back with his own, longer, version, transitions to a hammerlock, Connors back with a drop toe-hold then a prone headlock, KUSHIDA back with a standing version and eventually we get a break. Patient stuff so far, and as expected.
Test of strength, the two evenly matched, for a bit but Connors forces KUSHIDA down eventually. Back to the headlocks, dueling takedowns, Connors misses an enziguri, then KUSHIDA missed a Buzzsaw, to the crowds delight, and the dueling chants as loud as they have ever been. Lock-up, Connors with the elbow lock, KUSHIDA out with a drop toe-hold, Greco-Roman style, KUSHIDA goes for a few prone spins, to Connors’ general unhappiness. KUSHIDA hits a few hip-tosses, Connors drawbridged out, and KUSHIDA follows up with an apron senton. Back in, running chain, and Connors able to hit a falling forward slam for two. Shots in the corner, big clothesline, two. Rest-hold, KUSHIDA up after a minute, but then takes a backbreaker for two.Connors using the ringpost to stretch KUSHIDA out, then adds a baseball slide, playing heel a little bit.
KUSHIDA able to get some space for shots, leapfrog chain, KUSHIDA hip toss then the handstand drop-kick, nice. Connors to the apron, looking for some kind of springboard but just jumps into a cross armbreaker, transitioned into the Hoverboard, but Connors to the ropes. Running drop-kick, looking for a Tornado DDT but Connors shrugs him off, Connors back to the apron and this time he does hit a springboard DDT. KUSHIDA to the outside, and Connors able to hit a tope. Back in, Connors to the top, KUSHIDA dodges but then walks into a backbreaker, hard slam, two. Nice sequence where KUSHIDA 360’s a clothesline attempt into the Hoverboard, then transitions into a roll-up for two, but the ref slapped the mat too early, then slapped it two more times for the two-count, but it looks like three and the crowd starts booing. Stupid blunder. KUSHIDA tries to play into it in fairness to him.
Another roll-up gets two, some dueling predicaments from both men, and Connors eventually out to hit a big clothesline. Connors looking for the Don’t Look Down, but countered into a standing Hoverboard, then countered back into a Falcon Arrow for two. Connors back to the top, looking for a splash but KUSHIDA able to hit a drop-kick. Both men on their knees, dueling forearms, both to their feet, KUSHIDA with kicks, Connors with chops, KUSHIDA with a roll-through into a standing headlock, Connors counters into the Don’t Look Down, but only two, to a big crowd reaction. Connors putting on strikes, but hit with a handstand kick off a charge. Connors back to the top again, intercepted with another handstand kick, KUSHIDA clambering up himself, puts in the Hoverboard Lock. Transitions into a Spanish Fly, back to the Hoverboard, KUSHIDA rolls Connors away from the ropes twice, Connors collapses and the ref calls it in just under 18.
Winner (and progressing to the Final): KUSHIDA, in one of his better tournament matches.
Verdict: Better than I thought, was given adequate time and both guys showed that they have more in their arsenal than the one style. Finish was quite good. Ref botch was a distraction, but these two rose above it.
KUSHIDA takes his leave, and will face the winner of the next match in the main event. Connors gets applause when he comes to, as we get thrown to a package for the second semi.
Ricochet beat Penta most recently with that dumb double-pin ending, while Ospreay overcame Mike Bailey in an instant classic. This one, with two guys who have faced each repeatedly elsewhere, could be epic.
Ricochet vs Will Ospreay (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Semi-Final #2)
Plenty of love for both men, with Ospreay out in English colours. The second he is in the ring Ospreay goes for a sudden Oscutter, countered into an attempted Benadrilla, crazy jumping chain follows that is too hard to describe, and it ends with both men facing each other to a standing ovation. Off to a flyer this one.
Dueling strikes, more leapfrog chains, and Ricochet able to catch Ospreay and hit a sit-out powerbomb for two. Ospreay out and Ricochet hits a tope with some distance, very impressive. Fighting up the ramp, Ricochet hits a brainbuster on the stage. He saunters back to the ring as the ref counts. Gets to nine before Ospreay starts running back to the ring, only to walk into a tope spear. Nice. Ospreay rolled back in, Ricochet to the top, 450, but only two. High intensity here.
Uppercut to Ospreay, chops in the corner with some Flair impressions, then Ricochet locks on a modified Torture Rack, into a facebuster. Some more leaping chains, until Ospreay caught with a hard clothesline. Stomps, but Ospreay back with strikes. On a charge into the corner Ricochet able to kip up and hit a loud sounding heel kick, then follows up with a Shotgun Drop-Kick. Forearms, chops, discus forearm, Ospreay looking for a handspring elbow but caught with a drop-kick in the process. Stomps as we get loud dueling chants, but Ospreay coming back again with forearms. Charge into the corner, Ricochet dodges and nails a 619. Springboard but Ospreay dodges, and now hits a handstand Pele Kick, a thing of beauty but perhaps a bit whiffed in this instance.
Jawbreaker from Ospreay, kicks, uppercut in the corner, but caught on the second attempt. Perhaps looking for the Benadrilla, Ospreay out and nails a Poisonrana. “This is awesome”. Unphenomenal Forearm from the Aerial Assassin, looking for a Rainmaker but Ricochet with a counter forearm, then sends Ospreay spinning with another hard clothesline. Dueling chants, Ospreay set-up on the top, but Ospreay out, to his feet, but misses the Cheeky Nandos Kick. Ricochet back with kicks, hits a rope-assisted Lungblower, but only two. Looking for an uranage, Ospreay resists, but then Ricochet with knees to the gut. Ospreay hits an enziguri off a charge, then a Spanish Fly then a 360 spin into a DDT, but despite how pretty it looks it is only worth two.
“This is wrestling” chant, Ospreay calling for the Oscutter, but intercepted before he can try with a German. Ricochet holds on to hit another, and then a third, even bigger, release version. Looking for the Benadrilla, but Ospreay collapses when he’s set-up, avoiding it. Omega should sue. A series of counters, and Ricochet able to hit an elevated reverse DDT for two. Kick to the head from Ricochet, then a roundhouse, then a heel, but when he goes to add an uranage Ospreay counters into a roll-up, and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in just under 17.
Winner (and progressing to the Final): Will Ospreay, by the skin of his teeth.
Verdict: These two have had much better encounters really, but this was fine. The super-fast beginning helped, but Ricochet got in too much offence, and the finish seemed a little cheap. Had a greatest hits feel.
It’s KUSHIDA and Ospreay in the World Cup Final then, which will be our main event later tonight. Ospreay soaks in the cheers and heads to the back.
Four matches between now and the end of the tournament mind, so the dramatics will have to wait. Straight into the first of those.
“Speedball” Mike Bailey vs Penta El Zero M
After this tournament I am always going to happy to see more Speedball, who is giving it the full karate master routine here. Have a feeling Penta will metaphorically kill him though. “Speedball” chants, and it looks like Penta is waiting for his version, but the crowd ain’t biting, yet. “Ciero Miedo” and Kennedy helpfully tells us this means “Zero Fear” like anyone in the wrestling watching world doesn’t know that. Bailey misses a roundhouse, Penta misses a clothesline, Bailey gets a kick and then gets open-hand chopped into oblivion. Bailey back with a drop-kick, makes a show of a bow, then when Penta goes to attack he’s back with what must be 50 kicks to the chest against the ropes, which is impressive from a physical standpoint but which presumably is going to wreck him.
Penta to the outside, Bailey looking for a rana, but caught and powerbombed onto the apron, and the crowd is aghast at that impact. More chops, then Bailey shoved into the ringpost. “Lets go Speedball”. Back in, and a vicious kick to the leg sends Bailey sprawling. Snapmare, kick to the back of the head, chops, corner clothesline, but then Bailey back with a one-legged drop-kick. High knee in the corner, another, but nobody home on a third attempt. Bailey still able to hit a roundhouse, then able to hit a twisting moonsault for two. Seriously impressive this guy.
Looking for a handspring elbow, but intercepted with a drop-kick by Penta, gets a near-fall. He’s impressive too. Kicks to the side, looking for the Fear Factor, but Bailey out of it. Both men to the apron, Bailey looking for a German, Penta out of it, elbows to Bailey’s head, but then Bailey takes the legs out. Nobody home on the moonsault with double knees, then Penta hits a knee to the head. Looking for the Fear Factor again, Bailey out and sends Penta out with a drop-kick. To the top, and a corkscrew moonsault to the floor, which gets “Holy Shit” chants, but was a bit too slow in execution really.
Bailey back in and to the top, Penta back in after and awkward moment where Penta just gets in position, bit of a botched spot. Nobody home for the Shooting Star Knees but Bailey lands on his feet, eats a superkick, a second, then Penta to the top for a Destroyer attempt, but Bailey out of it and now hits that standing moonsault double knee drop. Only two, and we get a breather. Kicks from Bailey when both men are back on their feet, Penta back with forearms, big open hand chop, rapid kicks from Bailey ending with an enziguri, another superkick from Penta, roundhouse from Bailey, great back-and-forth. A little ruined when Bailey goes back to the top and tries the Shooting Star Knees again, even though Penta is clearly standing and can’t take the move, hitting back with a superkick instead. Silly spot.
Bailey with a kick to the head, caught on a springboard and hit with the Penta Driver for two. “This is wrestling”. Penta looking for the Fear Factor again, Bailey out of it again, counters into a pinning predicament for two. Both roll back to the apron, where Penta hits a standing Destroyer, to “Holy Shit” chants. Bailey rolled back in, Penta to the top, nobody home on a stomp attempt, Bailey tries a moonsault from the top but caught and given the Snake Eyes into the corner. Penta to the top, takes Bailey with him, but Bailey out and hits a kick to the head. Back up, and hits a standing rana from the top. Bailey back to the top, tries the Shooting Star Knees again, nobody home again, Penta back with a kick, now hits the Fear Factor and that’s enough in just under 15.
Winner: Limited Apprehension.
Verdict: It had those few iffy spots where, honestly, the two guys were just trying too hard, going up top so much, but other than that this was great. They both complimented each other well, there were some amazing sequences and while spot-heavy and lacking a narrative, it was a great example of what the indie style can show.
Penta takes the crowds appreciation and says his farewells. A brief ad for the upcoming Refuse To Lose PPV, and onto the next match.
El Ligero (h) vs Rampage (Magnificent 7 Briefcase)
At time of writing Rampage has just debuted on NXT UK, where I imagine he’ll be heading pretty quickly to the top of the card. Chance at WCPW’s version of Money In The Bank here, held by, if you have forgotten, the recently heel-turned Ligero. A reminder that the briefcase in question is a small pink one that has no markings, not even a WCPW logo, and appears to have caved in on one side.
Ligero attacks from behind to start, but of course Rampage shrugs it off. Kicks are similarly ineffectual, but a forearm gets some distance. Ligero able to hit a rana, but Rampage back with a shoulder block. To the outside, Rampage chasing Ligero down, back in, and Ligero floored when he tries to shoulder block Rampage. Ligero with an elbow, to the second rope, but caught when he tries another rana. Out of a powerbomb attempt, squirms away from a stomp, and Rampage gets on his knees and invites Ligero to take a shot. Ligero goes for a crossbody, caught, out of it and onto his feet and perhaps going for the C4L, but he just bounces off Rampage.
Rampage looking for a piledriver maybe, Ligero out, and to the outside. Another chase, Rampage decides to just stay where he is, and Ligero runs into a boot, funny spot. Back in, Scoop Slam, elbow drop, suplex slam. Looking for the piledriver again, Ligero out again, to the second rope, tries an elevated Sunset Flip, resisted, Ligero dragged up and clotheslined down. Huge uranage leaves the luchador dazed. Out of another Piledriver attempt with a kick to the head, grabs the briefcase, but thinks better of using it as a weapon. As the ref takes it away Ligero kicks Rampage in the balls, small package and that’s the 1, 2, 3 in just over five.
Winner (and still holder of the Magnificent 7 Briefcase): El Ligero, channeling some heel Nakamura.
Verdict: Was a brief, but workable encounter. “Bullshit” chants from the audience sum up my feeling of the ending though.
Out comes Adam Blampied, because I couldn’t get away without seeing him one more time. He plugs Refuse To Lose, and announces the first match for that show: War Machine defending the WCPW Tag Titles against the Young Bucks, and that gets a reaction, let me tell you.
Alex Gracie vs Zack Sabre Jr (WCPW Internet Championship #1 Contendership)
Gracie takes his time coming out, but eventually makes his appearance in a Nottingham Forest shirt (“It takes a brave man to wear that and walk with a swagger” is Bradshaw’s call of the night). ZSJ predictably loved. Circling, Sabre with a wrist-lock takedown, but Gracie to the ropes. Lock-up, to the mat, trading head scissors, going through holds and eventually compelled to break. Jawing with each other, lock-up, headlock from ZSJ, then the other way around, takedown but Sabre counters into a head scissors again, going for a sort-of modified Boston Crab but Gracie out for the break. As you would expect from a Sabre match.
Brief test of strength before Sabre transitions into some kind of nerve pinch on the neck. Shoving back-and-forth, Gracie with a headlock, countered into a wrist-lock takedown, Sabre follows up with a stomp to the head. Takedown via the left leg from Sabre, more joint manipulation, and Sabre adds a flourish with a kick. Gracie back with a hard strike that floors ZSJ, so the Greco-Roman portions of events is coming to an end. Shots in the corner, knee to the throat and the crowd has gotten pretty dead at this point (Kennedy tries to cover: “they are stunned at how ZSJ is being dominated”). Suplex from Gracie gets two, Sabre trying to get some space but walks into what I can only describe as a snap Sidewalk Slam which also gets two. This one has lost a good bit of momentum now.
Gracie with more shots in the corner, hard whip into the opposite corner, but now Sabre able to come back with big uppercuts. Gracie back with a second rope high leg that gets two. This middle section is killing the match. Sabre back again with kicks and sweeps the leg to send Gracie down. Headlock suplex, Gracie dodges the PK, then Sabre rolls through into the Article 50, but Gracie to the ropes. Wristlock, Gracie out of it, awkward roll-through into a predicament gets ZSJ two. Gracie back with a Full Nelson Slam for two, and very few in Newcastle are biting. Gracie looking for a PK, ZSJ catches him, takedown, and now Sabre hits two PK’s of his own. Sabre looking for another headlock suplex, Gracie fighting out, Sabre able to hit a running uppercut into the corner. Looking for another suplex, but countered into a hard looking sleeper hold, then countered into a modified STF by Sabre. Gracie to the ropes, and this could do with heading towards a finish now.
Sabre with uppercuts, Gracie with kicks, dueling strikes for a bit, then Gracie able to hit a running knee. Looking for the Fall From Gracie, countered into an Octopus Hold, then that is countered into a sick-looking reverse piledriver, but good for only two. Gracie grabs his nun-chucks, but thinks better of it and throws them away. Looking for the Fall From Gracie again, countered again, this time into a modified Dragon-Lock and Gracie taps out to mild applause in just under 16.
Winner (and new #1 Contender for the WCPW Internet Championship): The best in the business at joint manipulation, who I believe had already filmed the championship match a few days before this live event (he won).
Verdict: The middle section killed it, Gracie just couldn’t keep up with Sabre, and from there you were just waiting for the finish. Pretty much a time filler on a card with more interesting matches.
An honest-to-goodness video package outlines Joe Hendry’s title reign, and he expresses unhappiness with his list of challengers. He issues an open challenge, and none other than Jack Swagger answers, recording a grainy promo via video conferencing with terrible audio. They apparently had some confrontation early in Hendry’s career or something? Not the best build for a World Title match. This is billed as the “All American Hero vs Local Hero” which seems to ignore Hendry’s heel status, and “Ankle-Lock Vs Ankle-Lock”.
Joe Hendry (c) vs Jack Swagger (WCPW World Championship)
Swagger had been gone from the Fed for around four months at this point, and was touring around the indies ahead of his Bellator work later in 2017. Kennedy working more heel than he has with other shows recently, praising the Prestige to the annoyance of Bradshaw, and I could do with less of it to be honest. No Hendry promo before the bell thank God, just the crowd chanting “Joe’s A Wanker”. 40 minutes left in the show and a World Cup Final to come, so I imagine this one will be short enough.
Hendry out of the ring to start, berating the crowd who are abusing him, and then back in. Lock-up, Hendry thrown back. And again. Hendry trying a takedown, Swagger counters into a Greco-Roman style one of his own, then again. Hendry out of a third attempt, trying for the Freak of Nature early, Swagger out and able to put on a brief Ankle Lock before Hendry scrambles to the ropes. Swagger takes to the rope to lead the crowd in chants, which seems like a weird thing to do this early. “We The People” chants, remember that? Hendry now able to get some traction with strikes, and uppercuts. Swagger back with a shoulder block, leapfrog chain but Hendry caught on the jump and put into the Ankle Lock for another few seconds. Swagger with a Cactus Clothesline sends both men to the outside. Crowd into this one so far, and it’s been decent.
Ringside brawling, with Hendry on top. Swagger sent into the barricade a few times, and Hendry gets two once he’s rolled back in. A few hard Irish Whips into the corners, as Kennedy and Bradshaw get into arguments, it’s like the crap with Alex Shane all over again. Rest-hold time in the ring, Swagger eventually out with strikes, then takes an elbow off a charge for two. Back to the rest-holds. Hendry maintaining control, but then misses on a corner charge, and Swagger back with six of his own, then a fireman’s carry slam. Off the ropes a few times, Hendry dodges a clothesline attempt, but Hendry can’t take Swagger down with his own. Comes off the ropes, then nearly decapitated by a Swagger lariat, but only two.
“We, The People” from Swagger, rope-assisted stomp, then into the Ankle Lock, which only now Bradshaw decides to tell us is called the “Patriot Lock” by Swagger. Hendry counters out, take-down, Hendry looking for the Ankle Lock himself, another counter, and now Swagger has the Patriot Lock in hard. After a few seconds Hendry counters and puts it in himself, then another counter and we have a sort-of duel Ankle Lock from both men. Rope break ends it. A little awkward.
Double clothesline sends both men down. Back up, trading blows and chops, Swagger looking for the Gutwrench Powerbomb, but Hendry counters with a DDT, then the Freak Of Nature, but only gets 2 and 9/10ths. Well, they had to give Swagger a reason to turn up. Hendry with slaps, Swagger back with a takedown, and we get the Ankle Lock again, for a bit longer this time, but Hendry to the ropes. Ref distracted after some jawing from Swagger, Hendry able to get a thumb to Swagger’s eye, and then locks in a double Ankle Lock, which is really just a Boston Crab with some slight tweaking of the ankles, and after a bit Swagger taps out in just under 14.
Winner (and still WCPW World Champion): Joe Hendry, to crickets.
Verdict: Nothing to really write home about. Swagger very much in journeyman mode, and Hendry has never impressed me with what I have seen of him here. Crowd could care less about the ending.
Swagger gets some applause as Hendry stalks off, and all that is left of this show, this tournament and this run through WCPW is the World Cup Final. Kennedy calls this “the biggest match in WCPW history”. Looking forward to it.
KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay (WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Final)
Bradshaw lets us know that KUSHIDA beat Ospreay in the Final of the Super Juniors in NJPW earlier this year, and you’d think they would make more of that tonight. Staredown before the bell, and then in-ring introductions which helps with the big fight feel. Tense handshake and away we go.
Ospreay charges in with a Shotgun Dropkick, KUSHIDA to the outside and Ospreay with a spectacular handstand over-the-top-rope tope. KUSHIDA rolled back in, Ospreay to the top, but gets the boots off a top-rope Shooting Star nothing. Ospreay to the outside, KUSHIDA to the top, and hits a big senton. These guys exploding out of the gate anyway. Back in, KUSHIDA with an elbow stomp, chops, then a hip toss transitioned into a modified armbar, very nice. Transitions into a delay handstand, then a butterfly lock, gorgeous. Transitions into a pin, but only two. Dueling chants, and well deserved.
Standing drop-kick keeps KUSHIDA in charge, and he keeps working over the arm with a cool-looking leglock, mocking the mostly pro-Ospreay home crowd. Kicks to the head, but Ospreay coming back, dodging a handspring elbow then hitting a handspring Pele Kick. Jawbreaker, strikes, KUSHIDA prone into the corner and takes a flying drop-kick that sends him out. Dodges a senton attempt from the apron, but not a Scissors Kick. KUSHIDA able to gain some space by sending a charging Ospreay into the barricade. Kicks to the side, but on his own charge Ospreay dodges and KUSHIDA ends up in the crowd. Ospreay into the ring, thinks about it, and then delivers an enormous springboard crossbody into KUSHIDA, huge air, and a very deserved “Holy Shit” chant.
Back in, Ospreay hits a 360 DDT, but only two. Cool move, could be a finisher. KUSHIDA prone, Ospreay to the top, but nobody home on the 450 attempt. Ospreay lands on his feet, eats a boot from a corner charge, then takes a Money Shot DDT. KUSHIDA with the Hoverboard Lock, some “Tap!” chants countered with “No!”, and Ospreay battles out. KUSHIDA with a Northern Lights Suplex with a bridge, two. Exchanging kicks, uppercut and forearms, Ospreay sent down was a hard slap, then counters a charge into a Spanish Fly. Proper back-and-forth indie style now.
Calling for the Oscutter, but countered into a cross armbreaker. Ospreay battling out, taking elbows to the head as KUSHIDA transitions into a triangle choke. “Let’s Go Ospreay!” as the ref starts dropping the arm, once, twice, and then Ospreay keeps it up. Lifting KUSHIDA, and he delivers a Buckle Bomb that also takes out the ref. Suddenly Bea Priestley is here, for the first time since the English Qualifiers. Looking for a belt shot, but Ospreay intercepts her, to a big pop. She encourages him to take the belt and use it, to the crowds general dismay, but he instead escorts her out of the ring. KUSHIDA uses the distraction to hit a kick to the head, Hoverboard Lock, big torque on the arm, but Ospreay somehow makes it to the rope, getting a roar from the crowd in the process. “This Is Awesome”. KUSHIDA looks dumbfounded. Very good energy to this one.
Kicks from KUSHIDA to the arm, Ospreay calling them on, back with a forearm then some head kicks of his own. KUSHIDA hits his own kicks, dueling strikes in the middle of the ring, headbutt from Ospreay, blocks a forearm, then hits the Rainmaker. Ospreay dragging KUSHIDA up for stomps to the head, KUSHIDA rallying back with kicks to the midsection, then the head, calling for the Hoverboard one more time and locks it in. Ospreay trying to get to the ropes, KUSHIDA transitions into a Back To The Future attempt, but then that’s countered into a Stunner! Wonderful sequence. “Fight Forever!”
Both men back up, KUSHIDA set up on top, Ospreay looking for the Cheeky Nandos Kick and nails it, for once. KUSHIDA set back up on the top, Ospreay goes with him, looking for an Avalanche Oscutter maybe, but KUSHIDA fights out of it, gets Ospreay up for a Back To The Future, but Ospreay out onto the apron. Hops back up, hits his Avalanche Oscutter, but astonishingly only two. Ospreay follows up with a corkscrew kick, looking for the Oscutter but KUSHIDA counters into a roll-through, then the Back To The Future, and that is the 1, 2, 3 in just over 18.
Winner (and the WCPW Pro-Wrestling World Cup Champion): KUSHIDA
Verdict: Great encounter, one of the best of the tournament. Both guys well used to each other and able to pull off some breathtaking spots, matched with good ringwork. Priestley’s involvement was a bit much, but apart from that this was top notch.
KUSHIDA takes a while to get to his feet, but is applauded by the crowd when he does. The actual World Cup Trophy, and a big one it is, comes out as KUSHIDA bows to Ospreay. Ospreay, for his part, hands the trophy to KUSHIDA, who raises it high as we go off air mid-sentence. Oops. Of course he would turn out to be the only champion of this competition, which was not repeated.
Best Match: The main event was a suitable conclusion to the tournament, a proper indie epic.
Best Wrestler: Let’s give Speedball some love once again, as he really impressed in his match with Penta.
Worst Match: Gracie/Sabre was underwhelming to a large degree.
Worst Wrestler: Joe Hendry wins it again. He’s just not that good.
Overall Verdict: Decent show to finish off what was a decent tournament. The big names mostly delivered, the filler stuff was passable enough, and it had a great atmosphere. Kudos to WCPW for what was an entertaining jaunt, only a short time before they became Defiant.
NFB Watches Wrestling is going to have a bit of a change in format starting with the next entry, which I will go over then. Thanks for all viewers still following along with my inane babble about wrestling!
Quick Thoughts On Wrestlemania Backlash
Sheamus/Ricochet – I’d watch more of these two, and nice to see the One And Only on PPV again, even if it was just the Kick-Off. Match was basic, and not a huge fan of Sheamus’ running knee finisher, but that’s all it needs to be. Inessential.
Womens Triple Threat – I got bored of Charlotte Flair a while ago, and even as awesome as Asuka is she could use some re-invention, so made sense to keep the strap on Ripley. Some good three person action here all the same. Watchable.
Dirty Dawgs/Los Mysterios – This one dragged, with an overly-long first section where we were just waiting for Dominic to come out, but then got a good bit better. Still, felt like too much filler. Not required.
Miz/Priest – I had time for this to a certain extent, but the match itself had a very odd energy, and went on too long given the ridiculous nature of the stipulation. I suppose it’s a must watch just for how crazy it was. Give it a look.
Belair/Bayley – Thought this one dragged, they were going for epic but it was more dull for me. Didn’t like the ending either, didn’t think it did much for Belair and just sets this up to continue. Skippable.
Mens Triple Threat – Good hossfight that managed to stay exciting thanks to the third man factor. But suffered from a predictable ending. Lashley needs new challengers. Worth watching.
Reigns/Cesaro – This was an awesome match really, that told a good in-ring story, but you never really thought Cesaro had a shot and you were waiting for the Uso’s to show up. So, the near falls lacked punch, and it’s hard to see Cesaro staying at this level after losing clean (though Owens and Reigns went for months in similar circumstances). Watchable, but that’s all.
Overall – Bit of a let down, wouldn’t say any of the show was really that stand out. The fact that there was only one title change, and it was the most predictable of the lot, indicates this was a real throwaway show to keep the wheels spinning.
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