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The Week In British Wrestling: WCPW crowns its first World Cup winner

Here are five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:

1) PROGRESS took the final steps on their road to Alexandra Palace

With the big show under two weeks away, PROGRESS Wrestling wrapped up their pre-Alexandra Palace business at last Sunday’s Chapter 54: Go To Your God Like A Soldier, at a sold out Electric Ballroom, in Camden.

The Chapter 55 main event has been set since SSS16 in May, as PROGRESS Heavyweight Champion Pete Dunne will face tournament winner Travis Banks, and the two were forced into an unhappy alliance on Sunday as their opponent-picking gimmick turned sour.

Kid Lykos and Tyler Bate prepare to face off -- photo by Rob Brazier

After a lengthy talking segment with Flash Morgan Webster, Jimmy Havoc, and Mark Haskins, the two contenders appeared and each chose a three-way against both Havoc and Haskins for the other. Co-owner Jim Smallman instead decided that Banks & Dunne would team against Havoc & Haskins, and the main event was on.

The majority of that match was fought by Banks alone, as Dunne attacked a commentator and replaced him at the announce desk, but the champion did return to make the pin. Afterwards, the two fought, and the usual cast of characters got involved to end the show.

Other matches for Alexandra Palace were also fixed, with Dahlia Black beating Jinny to earn a shot at PROGRESS Women’s Champion Toni Storm, and #CCK took on British Strong Style in a pair of singles matches to decide the stipulations for their PROGRESS Tag Team title match. Tyler Bate beat Kid Lykos -- making the match a “normal” encounter -- before Chris Brookes defeated Trent Seven and turned the affair into a ladder match, much to BSS’ disgust.

Strangler Davis gets a different reception to his usual one

The show also featured wins for Strangler Davis, Timothy Thatcher, and the team of Zack Gibson & James Drake, and the hot turn of the moment, Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis, made their PROGRESS debuts in a pre-show match.

The show should be up soon on Demand PROGRESS and next up is that huge Alexandra Palace show on September 10th.

2) A big week for WCPW ended with a World Cup winner

Rounding off five nights of shows all over the UK, What Culture Pro Wrestling’s Pro Wrestling World Cup 2017 Final in Newcastle-upon-Tyne last Saturday ended with KUSHIDA winning the inaugural staging of the tournament.

He beat Will Ospreay in a thrilling final, which saw Ospreay reject the interference of Bea Priestley, after Joseph Conners and Ricochet were defeated in the semifinals.

The week started with Stacked 2017 in Leeds (covered in last week’s column), before the first round of the World Cup finals were held at Planet Ice in Milton Keynes on Wednesday. Conners was announced as a late replacement for a double-booked Michael Elgin, and defeated Scotland’s Joe Coffey, and there were also wins for “Speedball” Mike Bailey, Penta El 0M, Hiromu Takahashi, and Zack Sabre Jr., as well as KUSHIDA, Ospreay, and Ricochet.

Champion KUSHIDA is given respect by Ospreay and his cohorts

The next night, the circus moved onto the Bowler’s Exhibition Centre in Manchester, where Ricochet beat Penta El 0M (ironically in a rematch of their pre-taped Lucha Underground bout, which aired that morning), Conners defeated Takahashi, Ospreay pinned Bailey, and KUSHIDA submitted Sabre Jr., to advance to the final night in Newcastle where, as previously stated, KUSHIDA carried off the trophy.

Outside the tournament, there was plenty of other action, with Friday’s show at The Plug in Sheffield being given over to a taping for the promotion’s weekly Loaded show, and there was also much of interest at Sports Central on Saturday.

WCPW Heavyweight Champion Joe Hendry defended his title both nights, beating Conners by DQ in Sheffield before outlasting Jake Hager (the former Jack Swagger), live on YouTube on Saturday, and WCPW Tag Team Champions War Machine were successful in their title defense in Sheffield, downing the impromptu team of Ricochet & Angelico.

WCPW Internet Champion Gabriel Kidd was less fortunate, losing his title to Zack Sabre Jr. in the main event of the Sheffield show, and then ZSJ went one further by becoming the number one contender to Hendry’s title, beating Alex Gracie in Newcastle.

The tour also saw appearances by Travis Banks, Bad Bones, El Ligero, Martin Kirby, and Rampage Brown, and the events are available on WCPW’s YouTube page. The matches taped for Loaded will air soon, and WCPW return on October 2nd with The Young Bucks in tow.

3) Ashton Smith knocked Zack Gibson off his perch in Prestwich

FutureShock Wrestling’s 13th Anniversary Supershow, at the Longfield Suite in Prestwich last Friday, was extremely noteworthy (and probably deserving of more space than this busy week affords it!) as Ashton Smith beat Zack Gibson to win the FutureShock Championship. It’s Smith’s first time at the top of the tree, and Gibson had been there for over 500 days, so this is very much a new era for the company.

Ashton Smith pins Zack Gibson to win the FutureShock title -- photo by Tony Knox

The FutureShock Tag Team titles also changed hands, as the Sexy Gents beat Wonderland to end their year-long reign, despite interference from the erstwhile champions’ wrangler Melanie Price.

Women’s Champion April Davids and Adrenaline title holder Soner Dursun were successful in their title defenses, however, with Davids submitting a returning Lana Austin, and Dursun seeing off James Drake’s cash-in attempt to continue his impressive run of form.

In other news from the show, Tyson T-Bone beat Rampage Brown in a wild street fight, Xander Cooper became number one contender to Dursun’s title, and Chris Egan was forced to leave the company when his team lost an eight-man to Jenson Blake’s, the culmination of a long-building feud between the two.

All this is available on FutureShock’s On Demand service, and they return on September 17th with WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne in town to take on Dursun for the Adrenaline title.

4) Fight Club: PRO hit Wolverhampton and London

After the massive first night of International Tekkers 2017 at the Starworks in Wolverhampton last month, Fight Club: PRO followed up with a part two, also at the Starworks last Friday, before hitting London for the superbly-named Capital C*ckKnockers 2 on Saturday.

Plans for the weekend were hit by flight trouble for Jeff Cobb (which meant he missed Friday’s scheduled match with Travis Banks) and by Rey Fenix missing the whole thing without explanation.

Pete Dunne arrives for the eight-man in London

Fenix was supposed to face FCP Champion Chris Brookes on Friday, but Banks stepped in to try and reclaim the title he lost in July, with Brookes narrowly escaping intact after a superb main event.

The rest of the Wolverhampton show was just as noteworthy, with the Fight Club: PRO Dojo’s entry into Chikara’s King of Trios winning a warm-up match over impressive opposition, Dan Moloney running through Martina the Session Moth (leading to her paramour Shay Purser challenging him to a match at October’s Project Mayhem), and the Callous Hearts issuing an open challenge, and beating the three teams that answered it.

At Bush Hall on Saturday, Cobb stepped right into the main event, going down to Tyler Bate in a battle of the strongmen. Bate’s fellow WWE UK star Pete Dunne also returned to FCP action (the two and Trent Seven having appeared at the NXT tapings in midweek and thus unable to make Wolverhampton), winning an eight-man opener, which also featured Eddie Dennis, Lee Hunter, Millie McKenzie, Charli Evans, Jordan Devlin, Martina the Session Moth, and the debuting Jack Sexsmith.

There were also wins for Elijah, Travis Banks, Callous Hearts, and for #CCK over the Gentlemen’s Club of Chuck Taylor & Orange Cassidy, and Shane Strickland defended his CZW Heavyweight title against Mark Haskins.

Both events will soon be available on Fight Club: PRO’s Vimeo page, and Project Mayhem VI is a two-night affair on September 22nd and 23rd.

5) Lucy Cole had the most Girl Power in PCW (and other stuff)

After a successful first all-female event earlier in the year (well, almost -- there was a token men’s match for a refreshing change), PCW held Girl Power 2 at the PCW Academy in Preston last Saturday.

Twelve women entered a tournament for the vacant PCW Women’s title, and at the end of the six-man main event it was Lucy Cole who was left standing, holding the championship belt.

Lucy Cole raises a triumphant fist as PCW Women's Champion

She beat Sierra Loxton, Rhio, Lauren, Nightshade, and Sammi Jayne in the final, after the eliminated Nightshade helped her defeat Lauren. GM for the night Greg Lambert announced that Cole and Nightshade would face Lauren and Veda Scott on September 23rd, and that Girl Power 3 would happen on October 28th.

The massive weekend for men’s wrestling continued, too, with shows from Revolution Pro Wrestling, Insane Championship Wrestling, and Lucha Forever.

RevPro hit Portsmouth’s Guildhall for a Sunday afternoon affair, topped by Will Ospreay defeating Undisputed British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr. in a non-title match which should earn him a shot at the belt down the line.

That show also featured wins for Jake Hager, Shane Strickland, Jeff Cobb, and Rob Lias, as well as Undisputed British Cruiserweight Champion Josh Bodom, who beat Bubblegum and David Starr in a three-way. The show is already up on RevPro On Demand and they’re back at the Cockpit in Marylebone this Sunday.

ICW held another Friday Night Fight Club taping at the Garage in Glasgow last Sunday -- this time given a show name, We’re Calling It Rodney After Dave -- and it saw an escalation in the war between Mikey Whiplash’s Legion and the Filthy Generation. After the Kings of Catch joined the Filthy ones, attacking Whiplash and Jokey, Michael Dante returned after a long absence to stand with his Legion brothers.

There were also successful title defenses for ICW Heavyweight Champion Joe Coffey (over Colt Cabana), and ICW Zero-G Champion BT Gunn (who beat Jody Fleisch in the main event), and Joe Hendry announced that the “Local Hero” was dead, and that he was now the “Prestigious One.” You can see all this in upcoming weeks on ICW On Demand and on Fite TV.

Lastly, but not leastly, Lucha Forever pitched up at the Frog & Bucket in Manchester for their monthly Tuesday night graps, this time entitled Raffle Is The New Main. The raffle wasn’t the main, that honor instead going to a four-way for the Lucha Forever Championship, which saw champion Mark Haskins win over Travis Banks, Joseph Conners, and David Starr.

Charli Evans makes an impression on Bea Priestley -- photo by Tony Knox

There were also wins for Bea Priestley, Chris Ridgeway, Omari, Alex Windsor, and the team of Bubblegum & Lana Austin, and Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis had their open challenge answered by #CCK, with WWE UK Champion Pete Dunne playing the part of Kid Lykos!

Lucha Forever has an On Demand service, and they’re next in action tonight in Birmingham.