To many wrestling fans who regularly inhabit the internet, the name “WhatCulture” may seem familiar. For the uninitiated, WhatCulture is a media website that reports on many things, including gaming, film, television, music, and, pro wrestling. The lovely folks over at WhatCulture have made a name for themselves as being a top source for not only interviews with talent from across the globe, but for making top notch fantasy booking videos and top ten lists that have solid reasoning and defense of opinions behind them. With all of these ingredients, it was only a matter of time before they would become involved in the independent British pro wrestling scene. In 2016, they decided to make their own promotion, under the name “WhatCulture Pro Wrestling,” abbreviated as just “WCPW.”
As a fan of both pro wrestling and WhatCulture WWE, I was carefully optimistic for the product that would be produced. After the full release of seasons one and two, episodes one through eighteen and all the iPPV shows in between, the product seems incredibly legitimate. Adam Pacitti has stated on Reddit that “We want to show off the best of independent wrestling talent and create compelling storylines.” Well, they’ve certainly accomplished that.
Each episode consists of its share of backstage interviews, actual matches, some amazing promos, and some hit-or-miss commentary. The promotion has regular appearances from many talented workers, including Kurt Angle, Alberto El Patron, Cody Rhodes, Joe Hendry, Joseph Connors, Drew Galloway, Big Damo, and Martin Kirby. They also have a tag division and women’s division worth mentioning, but as I’m not especially familiar with tag team or indie women’s wrestling, I don’t feel that I’m the most qualified person to discuss the quality of these divisions relative to the mainstream WWE, TNA, or ROH divisions.
There are several continuing storylines in the booking, including the ongoing feud between Adam Pacitti, the authority figure, and Martin Kirby, the self-professed dick head, the rivalry between Joe Hendry and his former tag-team partner Joseph Connors, Rampage and Primate’s current best of seven series, Gabriel Kidd’s current path to glory by wrestling as Prince Ameen’s loyal subject, and Drew Galloway and Cody Rhodes’ current title reigns. The matches and backstage segments are held on their taped show, “WCPW Loaded,” with a sister series meant to recap recent events and occasionally play exclusive matches known as “WCPW Reloaded.”
Ha! It’s funny! Because it’s like… if something is loaded…. But if you want to do it again, you need to… reload it… and…. Yeah. It’s clever, dang it!
WCPW storylines seem to focus on the long-term, telling their stories piece by piece after months of buildup. The Hendry vs Connors story, for example, has been going for five months. It’s on-and-off feuding that reached a peak when the two competed for the WCPW title. The story has gone through many twists, including a part at a recent steel cage match where Drew Galloway was entered in the match and won the belt when all the signs were pointing towards Hendry winning the title. Now, Hendry seems to be in the steps of starting a heel turn if they want to go that direction, or he could stay face. It’s really interesting storytelling, and not just from a wrestling perspective.
Many of these stories, however, must come to a close without a proper conclusion. Due to the advent of the WWE UK Championship, regular workers for the promotion Joseph Connors, Tyler Bate, Trent Seven, and Pete Dunn are unfortunately going to be unable to compete in WCPW. This leaves the Connors vs Hendry feud left at a cliffhanger, the tag title chase of Mustache Mountain (Tyler Bate and Trent Seven’s tag team name) left at a standstill, and whatever Pete Dunn was doing now stopped. This may be a permanent thing, or this could be temporary. The only thing we do know is that this leaves a smaller talent pool who will have to work that much harder to keep providing excellent quality matches.
Speaking of wrestling matches, many of the contests that have been held so far have been top notch. Martin Kirby vs Will Ospreay from Loaded #7 is legitimately one of the finest matches I’ve seen all year, the Kurt Angle invitational rumble match, where the winner would face Kurt Angle at WCPW True Legacy, was an astounding rumble match with a twist (you could be eliminated via pinfall, submission, or by being thrown over the top rope), and Cody Rhodes vs Joseph Connors from Loaded #14 was pretty good. The best part is, these are all just from Loaded. I haven’t seen every match from their iPPVs, but from what I have seen, they seem to be of equal or greater quality to their Loaded and Reloaded counterparts.
Overall, WCPW has done nothing but impress over the course of its first eighteen weeks of competition. The storylines and booking are logical and coherent, and the in-ring action is above average to great across the board. Thus far, there have been three WCPW champions, two Internet champions, and one pair of tag team champions. The content is wonderful, the personalities are big, and everything is fun. That’s the best word to describe WCPW; fun. The matches are fun. The majority of the storylines are fun. When it needs to be serious, it is, but whenever it can enjoy itself, it does so fully. It’s a wonderful program the WhatCulture team has been running, and I can only hope them the best going forward.