Fresh from Wrestlemania, HRH Mag’s Chief Reporter Andy Spoors delivers his verdict on the UK’s thriving wrestling scene with a visit to the latest WCPW No Regrets show.
The independent wrestling circuit in the UK has arguably never been stronger or more popular. Social clubs, caravan parks and gyms up and down the country have long been used to showcasing part time grapplers on a Friday night but the British scene has been earning a fresh reputation for delivering some of the best upcoming talent in the world.
One such promotion is What Culture Pro Wrestling. Starting out as a Top 10 page simply covering movies, wrestling or sport, a brave move into putting on high rate productions around the UK has established the company as one to watch. Using an online platform for their work and PPVs, as well as offering some of the hottest free agents around, WCPW No Regrets promised a solid card.
A crowd in excess of 1,000 flocked to Northumbria University’s impressive Sport Central arena to see ex WWE stars Rey Mysterio, Cody, Wade Barrett and Alberto Del Rio as well as current WCPW champ Drew Galloway/McIntyre (freshly re-signed to WWE’s development show NXT).
Ably supported by a number of Luchas and British talent, it was great to see the card host a mix of tag team action, title matches, as well as the night’s main event – a 30-man rumble for the WCPW Championship. The execution on the night, however, fell a little flat barring a couple of exceptions.
A match based on a Twitter war of words between North East vet Prince Ameen and Cody’s wife Brandi Rhodes was, in all likelihood, earmarked as the comedy spot of the night. Getting stuck between a serious fight and full slapstick seriously hindered the flow of the match. The idea of male vs female in the ring gives an alternative to WWE’s PG13 stance but a slight adjustment on the delivery would push it to a different level.
WWE legend and future Hall of Famer Rey Mysterio was equally as awkward in his match with El Ligero – taking a fall out of the ring during his 619 finisher capping off a shaky display. It wasn’t the worst match of the night but it was in stark contrast to the fluid matches of Mysterio’s acclaimed past.
One extremely sour taste was left by Alberto Del Rio/El Patron – seemingly intent on making headlines since his departure from WWE through a number of vicious and veiled vocal attacks on the company’s hierarchy. Midway through the show WCPW were forced to announce his absence and cancellation of his match with Joe Coffey through social media, claiming sickness. Del Rio’s own Twitter page suggestied the Mexican hadn’t been so ill the night before as he enjoyed a few drinks…
There were a couple of bright points of the night though. Both championship matches were solid. A triple threat for the WCPW Internet Championship saw underdog Gabriel Kidd overcoming the odds to beat Cody and Joe Hendry in a back and forth match. To have a big name like Cody put over a British talent after the match was fantastic for the brand and showcased his class.
The main event put a spin on the over-the-top rope rumble with pinfalls and submissions also counting. It was a fresh twist that added a different dimension for a title match. The whole match was designed for Galloway to drop the belt both in storyline and before his full time contract with WWE kicks in.
With weapons, surprise entrants and a few laughs, the main event certainly stole the show. The eventual winner, Martin Kirby, sealed the victory with a Zoidberg Elbow after overcoming the Prestige stable. There were a couple of debuts for wrestlers attached to ITV’s World Of Sport – Dave Mastiff looked particularly strong.
The finish was symptomatic of the rest of the night. Homegrown talent was pushed by overseas stars and for that reason any misgivings the night threw up, it’s hard to argue with that mindset.
WCPW currently stand at a crossroads: they have established themselves in the industry but now must make a decision on the direction they want to take the company. Wrestlemania weekend in Orlando saw a huge amount of British promotions on offer with far superior matches to those on offer on Tyneside.
However much pulling power the company possess (and it does), substance needs to be added to their matches in order to truly crown themselves king of the UK ring.
Juventud Guerrera & Rey Fenix defeated El Hijo de Dos Caras & Drago.
Travis Banks defeated Pental El 0M.
Brandi Rhodes defeated Prince Ameen.
Gabriel Kidd defeated Joe Hendry and Cody Rhodes to become the new WCPW Internet Champion.
Rey Mysterio defeated El Ligero.
30 Man Rumble For The WCPW World Championship
Martin Kirby defeated Adam Pacitti, Alex Gracie, Bad Bones, BT Gunn, Cody Rhodes, Dave Mastiff, Doug Williams, Drake, Drew Galloway, El Ligero, Fat Ligero, Joe Coffey, Joe Hendry, Johnny Moss, Juventud Guerrera, Kid Fite, Lucas Archer, Matt Striker, Primate, Prince Ameen, Rampage, Rey Fenix, Rey Mysterio, Rockstar Spud, Scott Wainwright, Sha Samuels, Travis Banks, Viper and Zack Gibson.
*Exclusive images by Stephen Batey