Following the rocky start to 2017, I was skeptical for the quality of the next WCPW show, “Lights Out.”  As soon as the first match of the night was announced, I heard the crowd being as active as they normally are, and my fears were dashed away instantly.  “Lights Out” was a wonderful show with many great matches and a strong showing of the WCPW regulars.  This is exactly what the promotion needed to start the new year, and it’s still welcome a week late.

A Strong Start

The first match of the night was a contest for the WCPW tag titles between Prospect and Moss & Slater.  My experience with tag team wrestling is nowhere near as large as my knowledge of singles competition, but for a tag match, this was everything that I expected and more.  The two teams worked well both with their partners and against the other team.  The first major thing to mention is that Prospect are good at looking simultaneously goofy and like serious threats to the belt.  For most of the match, Gracie and Archer were working Slater in their corner rather well, and when Moss finally came in, the momentum shifted, but not in the way that traditionally buries the other team.  Prospect looked good in defeat, and the finishing move of Moss & Slater, which I shall refer to as a “Crossbody Powerbomb” until told otherwise, is a fun team move that I haven’t seen done before.  The only major problem with the match was a standard belly to back suplex from Moss to Archer, which Archer took on his head on accident.  It’s a small thing, but it did make me wince in fear.  Hopefully Archer stays healthy following the bump.

Match Grade: B

Following the opening contest was a women’s triple threat between Bea Priestley, Ivelisse, and Tessa Blanchard, the daughter of Tully Blanchard.  It was good to see a strong women’s match between three ladies who had a legitimate contest for the most part.  Priestly looks like a strong female heel, and the other two women looked good as well.  The highlight of this match was a double submission onto Blanchard, with Priestly locking in a camel clutch, and Ivelisse applying a Boston crab at the same time.  The biggest problem with the match was the finish; it was a hard DDT by Priestley on Blanchard that came out of nowhere.  I like surprise finishes, but anymore, DDTs aren’t traditionally finishing moves.  It caught me off guard, and it seemed to end the match too soon.

Match grade: C-

The biggest highlight of KirbyMania was the match between Cody Rhodes and Zack Sabre Jr.  It should be no surprise, then, that the best match of the night was Sabre vs Travis Banks.  The mat wrestling between these two men was just fantastic, with Banks keeping up with Sabre for a majority of the contest.  Most of Sabre’s holds are brutal to watch, and it shows the toughness of Banks that he was able to go toe-to-toe with him.  This match had a lot of good back and forth, tremendous selling, and phenomenal storytelling.  Sabre can seemingly make anybody look good, but the chemistry these two had in the ring surpassed the match Sabre had at KirbyMania by far.  There were so many moments when the two would trade strikes, trade holds, and seemingly have contests of who could sell better.  The finish was exciting, with Banks jumping off the 2nd turnbuckle to land a jump kick to the back of Sabre’s head for the clean three count.  It was a spectacle to watch, and I make no exaggeration when I say it is a legitimate match of the year contender.

Match Grade: A

Following this was another good bout, which also was the best triple threat of the night.  This time, it was an elimination match to determine the number one contender for the Internet Championship between Marty Scurll, Gabriel Kidd, and El Ligero.  The three men gave one another a lot of time to shine in the ring, with fun pinfall exchanges, exciting spots from Ligero and Scurll, and some outstanding selling from all three men, especially Gabriel Kidd.  It is amazing to see just how far Kidd has grown in his time in WCPW.  Ultimately, Scurll double-eliminated the other two men, each with his trademark submission, the chicken wing.  Following the contest, he delivered a good promo saying how badly he wants to beat Rhodes for the internet title.  I, for one, am excited for their upcoming match, and am glad that this contest was as good as it was.

Match Grade: B+

A Rough Patch

After two great matches, whatever came next was bound to be lesser in quality, but not due to a lack of effort.  The Boiler Room Brawl between Primate and Rampage was a fine hardcore match, but there was something that seemed off about it.  First, the camera work was rough at times, and for a match like this to work, the camera work needs to be on point.  There was a scary moment when the two were on a balcony overlooking Newcastle, and you could see the real streets of the city below.  During the whole spot, I was crossing my fingers, hoping that neither man accidentally slipped and fell to their death.  After that, they travelled through the WhatCulture offices, where the two men had to sell magazines, cardboard, and coffee cups like chair shots.  It ended in the parking lot, where Primate choked Rampage out with a chain.  The selling was okay, but there wasn’t much of a match to get invested in, the finish came out of nowhere, and the absurdity of a coffee cup doing as much damage as a chair or ladder shot required too much suspension of disbelief for my tastes.  It was an okay contest, but both its position on the card and the lack of any real weapons besides a monkey wrench made it difficult to watch out of sheer boredom.

Match Grade: C-

Then came probably the weakest match of the night, Doug Williams vs Joe Coffey.  Coffey is a good big man, being able to perform a missile drop kick regularly, but there’s something about Williams that offsets this exponentially for me.  It isn’t that Williams is bad, it’s just that the two men had styles in the ring that should have meshed well, but didn’t.  Maybe the two don’t have good in-ring chemistry, maybe there’s some backstage political war going on, maybe it’s something else entirely, but the match suffered because of it.  It ended with Coffey’s finish, and I was glad when it was over.

Match Grade: D

In the second tag bout of the night, Martin Kirby and Joe Hendry faced off against the Swords of Essex.  As much as I like Kirby and Hendry, the match didn’t go on long enough to have any real impact.  Robinson’s persona comes off as a heel that should be effective, but something about it seems ineffective to me.  I can’t tell if I like him as a heel, or if I utterly despise him in the same way Adam Blampied despises R-Truth.  The finish was unexpected due to the short length of the match, but I was okay with the actual end result.  The Swords hit a Death Valley Driver on Kirby to pin him, protecting Hendry who needs it if he’s ever going to chase after the WCPW title, and giving the Swords a bit of strength going forward.  No matter how good the finish was, the rest of the match left too much to be desired.

Match Grade: C

The Rebound

The second best contest of the night, unsurprisingly, was Ricochet vs Cody Rhodes for the Internet Title.  The two men put on a fun match, full of good selling, fun back and forth action, and a lot of creative offense.  I especially like the shooting star press attempt that Cody dodged, but Ricochet landed on his feet and rolled through.  It was clear that the two men had a lot of respect for one another, and the finish made sense, with Rhodes landing a Cross Roads from out of nowhere, but with the way the move has been treated, I’m not surprised that it was the finish.  It was a good, entertaining match that set up Scurll vs Rhodes nicely.

Match Grade: B+

In the main event, we had Drew Galloway vs Bully Ray for the WCPW Championship in what was a scheduled standard one fall match that turned into the proper way to have a no DQ match.  Both men made good use of a steel chair, the bar in the corner of the venue, and an elderly woman’s walking stick.  Yes, that was a real thing that happened, and it was amazing.  When the two were in the ring, the action was solid, and when the two were having a good ‘ol bar fight, it was a ton of fun.  The interference from the Swords of Essex and Bea Priestley at the end was good, but the finish wasn’t.  I would have been okay with it if Galloway had landed his Future Shock DDT, but instead, he hit a clothesline.  This is especially frustrating when considering that there was a table set up literally three feet away from him.  Post-match, the table did get some love when Galloway was slammed through Ray’s favorite childhood toy, and the short brawl between the Swords and Hendry & Kirby, who rushed out to help out Galloway, was fun.  The shock of the night was when Ricochet came out, ready to land a top rope move on Bully, but was interrupted by the returning Ospreay, who landed a springboard RKO on his rival.  The match itself was fun, but the post-match was great.  It’ll be interesting to see where WCPW decides to book this story going forward.

Match Grade: B

The Verdict

The show was a lot better than KirbyMania, due in large part to the crowd deciding to actually react to more than just one match.  The fun matches were a joy, the serious matches were intense, most of the action was fantastic, and the rough spots were few.  It was exactly what the promotion needed going forward in 2017, and I hope they keep producing shows of equal or greater quality to this in the future.

Show Grade: B+

Until next time.