TORNADO FOUR-WAY MATCH FOR THE WCPW TAG TEAM TITLES:
The Swords of Essex (Will Ospreay & Scott Wainwright)(c) vs. Liam Slater & Matt Riddle vs. The Young Bucks vs. Prospect (Alex Gracie & Lucas Archer) - 3/10
This wasn't supposed to be a Tornado match but one of the Bucks cut a promo before the match suggesting that they forgo the usual tagging and instead make this a "Texas Tornado Spotfest." This sort of sh*t annoys the hell of me. Why do you have to go and say the word "spotfest?" It's a four-way for the tag titles. No one is expecting anything different, but I don't think anyone would particularly mind if they actually threw some story and psychology in, too. By saying "this is going to be a spotfest" you're just confirming what everyone assumed going in, and actively annoying people who would either 1) would have been happier with some actual story or psychology, and who 2) don't like for guys to throw shoot terms around on the show because it makes it harder for them to suspend their disbelief. It gains you nothing (other than sticking a metaphorical middle finger up at Jim Cornette, who will never watch this, anyway), and could hurt the enjoyment of the match for a portion of the audience, so why would you do it?
Meanwhile, it seems like no one had to approve this change, as the consent of the other teams in the match was not sought. This would include the champions, who Matt Striker had just told us were upset about having to defend the belts in a four-way where they could lose the belts without being pinned, so I'd imagine they'd have even more of an objection to changing the match to a type of match that increases the chances of that happening.
On commentary, Striker first called Matt Riddle "the Kevin Von Erich of 2017," because they both have long hair and wrestle barefoot, I guess. What's next? Are you going to call Martin Kirby "the Steve Austin of 2017" because they're both bald and both wear boots? He would later compare Riddle to "Shawn or Steve Simpson," also from World Class. I have never seen either of those men, but I highly doubt they have much in common with Matt Riddle.
Striker would go on to explain to us that "the Young Bucks are the voice of a new generation of wrestling fans" and talk about how the Bucks "want to make things fun again," before chuckling and saying "I love the Young Bucks." Then, about two sentences later, he makes a point of calling Will Ospreay "the most talented fighter in this match." You know, because now it's a f*cking shoot, even though five seconds ago it was all about having fun.
This wasn't a wrestling match; it was these guys saying "everyone look at these cool ideas we had for spots we could do in a wrestling match."
I just don't get the appeal. Once the first three guys miss a running senton/splash/flip/whatever, it doesn't make it any cooler to me that the next five guys miss theirs, too. And that f*cking eight-way dropkick spot is so dumb. In order for everyone to not get in each other's ways, it looks like their dropkicks had no chance of hitting in the first place because they were going to come up way too short. So you can do some goofy comedy and you can show us that you can do these athletic spots or spots where everyone does the same thing. So what? It's just a bunch of sh*t I've seen a million times before. That's why having a story to your match is so important. It makes any move- no matter how many times we've seen it before from headlock to Diamond Head- mean something by giving it context.
James R. Kennedy came out and cost Prospect the titles. The Swords of Essex retained.
RAMPAGE vs. DRAKE (w/James R. Kennedy) - 0.75/10
JAMES R. KENNEDY PROMO - Snore
BEA PRIESTLEY & VIPER INTERVIEW - Good. They explain the relationship between them, which is simply that Viper is being paid to be Bea's gatekeeper. Viper then explained to us how things will work from now on: "nobody gets to Miss Preistley until they go through me."
LANA AUSTIN vs. VIPER (w/Bea Priestley) - 1.25/10
When the referee went to check Lana Austin for weapons, she responded by turning around and attempting to grind her butt on his crotch. The referee, knowing this was highly inappropriate behavior in general, and doubly so for an official to be seen engaging in with one of the competitors in the match he is about to officiate, immediately moves out of the way of Lana's... fine ass.
Lana, of course, didn't realize this, and so she just stayed in that position, wiggling her butt at the referee... and thus was completely oblivious to Viper charging across the ring at her to start off the match with the big squish in the corner. I'm not saying that Viper jumping the bell on her opponent and jumping her opponent from behind aren't heelish things to do... but I will say that I really don't feel bad for Lana because 1) she put herself in this vulnerable position because 2) she was in the middle of attempting to seduce a referee, which is also a very heelish thing to do. Lana got a brief bit of offense in but Viper dominated her for most of this short match.
ADAM BLAMPIED MAKES AN ANNOUNCEMENT - In an almost Steph-like fashion, he scolds the women's champion by saying "Beatrice, stop misbehaving," as if she is schoolchild being given a warning by the teacher. He says that because he makes the matches and not her, and because the fans want to see a title match, Bea must now defend her title against the surprising return of Tessa Blanchard.
WCPW WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Bea Priestley(c) (w/Viper) vs. Tessa Blanchard - 4.75/10
Tessa controlled things early on, to the point where Viper had to pull Bea out of the ring to save her from Tessa's beating. Tessa then went to the top and did a big dive that was supposed to be onto Viper, and while she definitely made some contact, a good portion of Tessa's body (including her face) crashed onto the hard announcers' table instead onto the more cushioned body of Viper. This seemed to send Tessa into full-on Randy Orton mode, as she got up, bent over Viper, and loudly screamed "YOU IDIOT!" at her for not catching her well (at least that's what it sounded like). This was not Tessa's only trouble with dives, as she later tried to do a Sabu-esque just off of a chair to her herself dive over the guardrail (from the floor) but only barely managed to get most of her body over the guardrail. If she had been one inch lower, she would landed embarrassingly and painfully on her stomach on the guardrail.
While all of this stuff on the outside was going on, the referee just decided not to count for the count-out, which upset the crowd because they all wanted to chant "TEN!" on behalf of a jobber who works for a company halfway around the world, and now they apparently can't do that. Then he started again and the crowd was happy because they got to chant "TEN!" And of course the referee's count started right when the women finished doing their big spot in the crowd so that Bea could make it back to the ring while Tessa would have to struggle to beat the count. The crowd barely made any noise other than a smattering of polite clapping when she got back into the ring. Compare that to how loudly they all chanted "TEN!" during the count-out, and it's embarrassing. And I don't mean for the wrestlers; I mean these so-called "fans" could be embarrassed.
Viper grabbed Tessa's leg right in front of the referee but this wasn't a DQ. More stuff happened, and Bea went to work on Tessa's arm with a Kimura. Viper interfered again, but behind the referee's back this time. Bea went back to the Kimura and Tessa tried to fight out of it again but Viper interfered one final time to prevent this from happening. The finish was very well done, and saved this from being bad.
MAGNIFICENT SEVEN ELIMINATION MATCH FOR A TITLE SHOT AT THE TIME OF YOUR CHOOSING:
Doug Williams vs. El Ligero vs. Martin Kirby vs. BT Gunn vs. Ricochet vs. Marty Scurll vs. Travis Banks - 6.5/10
You were supposed to make tags in this match, but that rule was quickly forgotten about once they started doing their spotty spots, and by the time we had our first elimination, the referee had no issue with their being four guys in the ring, and counting the pin when two guys were pinning a third, even though the third had been pinning the fourth about a minute ago and no tag had ever been made. In fact, there were points during this match where the entire story revolved around The Prestige ignoring the rule that you need to make tags.
Marty got pinned by because he was an idiot and took forever with his chicken wing dance. Remember last year when he wasn't a total cartoon character? Those were the good old days.
If the Zoidberg Elbow never works, why does Kirby always try it? It just makes him look like an idiot. And yet, he still managed to win here, overcoming the odds to get his hands on the MITB-esque briefcase. Good for him, I guess.
CODY PRE-TAPED PROMO - He says that he can't make it to tonight and tomorrow night's shows because of a scheduling conflict due to filming a movie. He is very apologetic and says that he will be back on April 29th.
JOE HENDRY PROMO - Good heel promo.
WCPW INTERNET TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH:
Joe Hendry vs. Gabriel Kidd (w/Prince Ameen) - 6.75/10
An exciting match that was very good for the time it got. Hendry got the big win, but Kidd definitely looked strong in defeat.
ADAM COLE PROMO - Adam Cole cut a promo noting that he just had some surgery and had to cancel on PWG a few days ago "and if anyone thinks I'm going to cancel on PWG but not cancel on What Culture Pro Wrestling, you're an idiot," so he was just going to come out here, show his face and get his paycheck. General Manager Adam Blampied came out and (after repeating his Steph-like "stop misbehaving" line now adjusted to Adam Cole) said that while he couldn't force Col to wrestle injured, he could incentivize him to do so. For these purposes, plus some other changes that had to be made to the card (including Cody Rhodes not being able to make it), he had arranged a surprise appearance for tonight, which would be of interest to Cole: ROH World Champion Christopher Daniels, who had won that belt from Cole earlier in the month. Thus, in the interests of incentivizing Cole wrestle, this match was now a...
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Christopher Daniels(c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Adam Cole - 8/10
Shouldn't they need to ask ROH management to sanction this match first? Also, the fans in Manchester were expecting Cody but got Daniels instead? That's like being told that the test at the lab screwed up and instead of a random one-night stand giving you and STD, instead it was a sexually transmittable version of the Super Soldier Serum.
During this WCPW show, Matt Striker felt the need to throw in a plug for the Jay White vs. Jay Briscoe match on a recent episode of ROH TV, despite none that being relevant to the promotion he is currently doing live commentary for. What an asshole. He also claimed Mark Briscoe was his good friend and used atrocious "chicken" nickname that some morons in ROH thought it was a good idea to give to Mark simply because Mark's older brother uses it sometimes. I so badly hope Mark Briscoe hears this and beats Striker up the next time he sees him.
And if you want to know why people hate Matt Striker so much, here is a wonderful example from the beginning of this match: As the wrestlers traded hard strikes, Matt Striker decided to make the point that sometimes it is okay for an announcer to lay out for a while and just let the action speak for itself. He did this by starting off speaking quietly, saying "I can speak really softly," then raising his voice to say "OR I CAN SHOUT AT YOU," and finally returning to a normal volume to conclude by telling us, "but sometimes the pictures tell all the stories."
As I'm sure you noticed, while Striker is telling us that this is a time when an announcer should not speak and instead let the goings-on in the ring speak for themselves, the fact that he is telling us this means that he is not actually doing what he says the right thing to do in this situation would be. In fact, he even talks for a lot longer than would be necessary to make the point because he's got to use his artsy-fartsy language and speaks in a way designed to draw attention to his own voices via the changes in volume because what Matt Striker is doing with this comment is not actually putting over the action, but trying to put himself over by telling us that he knows how to be a good announcer. After all, if his true goal was to let the action speak for itself then he would have jut practiced what he preached and just laid out and not said anything at all, wouldn't he?
He also made a comment deriding fans who think they can predict things and who "like to write and share their opinions." Well if you don't like us sharing our opinions, Matt, then let me share a fact with you instead: YOU ARE A HORRENDOUS ANNOUNCER.
At one point Striker heavily criticized Cole for not immediately following up on a move and instead doing his "ADAM COLE BAY-BAY!" pose. Naturally, when Daniels did his bit where he called for the Angel's Wings in a similar situation, Striker praised Daniels for "staying close to his opponent," which is worse than simply being hypocritical because staying close to your opponent while doing your taunt is actually dumber than what Cole did because at least Cole's distance from his opponent gives him time to get ready to defend himself if his opponent recovers quicker than expected.
Anyway, despite Matt Striker's best efforts, this was an extremely enjoyable professional wrestling match. The story of the match was that when Zack and Daniels were in there against each other- Ring of Honor World Champion vs. Evolve World Champion (and PWG and RPW, too)- it was a polite, sporting professional wrestling contest, with its own mini-story of Zack working over Daniels' knee... but when Adam Cole would run in, it would devolve into a brawl between Cole and whichever of the two (and sometimes both) happened to be standing at the time. Throw in an exciting last few minutes building to a great finish and you've got yourself an awesome professional wrestling match.
WCPW WORLD TITLE MATCH:
Drew Galloway(c) vs. Joe Coffey - 8.25/10
This is one of those matches that makes you think "this is what a world title match should be!" Galloway was an excellent babyface, as tough and intense as he was determined, no matter how much damage Coffey did to his legs, while Coffey was the consummate heel, rough, threatening, and dangerous... and, of course, not above using illegal tactics if he felt he had to do so in order to win. Throw in a great story and some big false finishes, and you've got yourself an awesome and worthy world title match.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Joe Hendry, who had attacked Drew after a ref bump during the title match, came back to attack him again. He, together with Coffey, beat Drew down until the #1 contender, Rampage, came out to save Drew because unlike the members of the Prestige currently attacking Drew, Rampage is a man of honor. Speaking of The Prestige, the other two members of the group, BT Gunn and Travis Banks, ran in to make it four-on-two, but Bullet Club came out to make the save for the babyfaces and to beat The Prestige down in preparation for their big tag team main event against them tomorrow night. Once they left, we got a closing shot of Galloway and Rampage having a stare-down to build up their WCPW World Title match in two weeks at State of Emergency. This was a perfectly good segment that hit all of the necessary notes, though I think it might have been a bit better if they had given each little segment of it an additional ten to fifteen seconds or so, just to help it all sink in.
Despite a pretty wretched undercard (which took up a bit more than that first third of the run-time), this show managed to save itself with a very enjoyable seconds half, and even got downright great by the end. But even as good as this show got during the main and semi-main events, it had one thing that made it very hard to enjoy, and, of course, was the moronic babblings of Matt Striker. I am completely baffled as to how Matt Striker keeps getting announcing gigs. The only explanation I can think of is that he is somehow blackmailing promoters, and to those promoters I say that you should really stop giving in to his blackmail because I will honestly have more respect for you if I see pictures of you masturbating to a kangaroo or whatever it is that Striker has footage of you doing than I would if I heard you booked Matt Striker to announce another one of your shows.
STUPID ANNOUNER QUOTES
1. Before the elimination match, Matt Striker asked for a complete run-down of the rules, saying that he is under the impression that the rules were that the competitors need to make tags, there are no count-outs or DQs, and that the match is "one fall to a finish," to which Dave Bradshaw responded by saying (paraphrasing) "yes, that's right. We'll keep going until six of these men have been eliminated by pinfall or submission," so we know that Striker doesn't know what "one fall to a finish" means and that Bradshaw either misheard him or also doesn't know.
2. Matt Striker lamented the fact that he thinks there is "so much predictability in our sport."
This would make professional wrestling no different from any other sport, so I'm not really sure why he thinks this is an issue. Saying there is "too much predictability" is thus hard to read any other way than as a kayfabe-breaking tacit acknowledgement that wrestling is a work, which is not something an announcer should be doing! (Well... I guess you could also just read it as Striker being an idiot... which, ironically, is the most predictable thing about any show he is on).
(For bonus idiot points, the reason Striker even said this in the first place was to put over WCPW for bringing Daniels in as a surprise and booking this impromptu title match, and saying that despite what "fans who like to write and share their opinions and figure things out" like to think, "you never really know" what's going to happen. He went on this whole bit praising the unpredictability of things in the middle of a completely impromptu ROH World Title match on a non-ROH show, in which one of the competitors is under contract to and the world champion of the group seen as ROH's main rival on the indies. I think pretty much every single one of us "fans who like to figure things out" had zero doubt that the outcome of this match was going to be Daniels pinning Cole to retain because we know Daniels isn't losing the belt right away and we know Gabe wouldn't want Zack doing a job.
And despite being one of those fans who likes to "figure things out," I loved the fact that this was an ROH World Title match because even though it did make the outcome slightly more predictable [even non-title, neither ROH nor EVOLVE would let their champion do a job if it doesn't lead to something and Zack being under WWN contract while the other two were under ROH contract meant that Zack wasn't going to be getting beaten anyway because nothing could ever come of it if he was and ROH wasn't going to let Zack pin their champ for the same reason so even if it was non-title, Zack over Cole, Cole over Daniels, and Daniels over Cole were the only real possibilities]. The reasons I liked it were because it justified Cole wrestling in the match despite his pre-match promo, and because the idea of Zack Sabre Jr. going for a fourth major singles title- and what would be his third major singles title win in barely over a month- is a cool story, regardless of whether or not the outcome is predictable.)
3. Matt Striker compared the role of Adam Cole in Bullet Club to that of Virgil in the n.W.o.
On its own this should be a firing offense, but it is made even worse by the fact that it came mere minutes after Striker talked about how he has been watching ROH recently, and any reasonable definition of "recently" will put you in a time period where Cole is the top heel in the company.
4. Striker compliments Daniels on his execution of an STO, which Striker tried to show us all how smart he is by calling the move the "Space Takedown Ogawa."
Unfortunately for Striker (and for everyone else who had to hear him), STO stands for "Space Tornado Ogawa."