Oh boy. In this peculiar era of the internet, where people seem more willing to express their love of the wrestling, combined with certain YouTube channels getting really popular, it seemed inevitable that one of these channels would attempt their own promotion. And so we have What Culture Pro Wrestling, a UK independent promotion featuring the stars of the British independents and some guys off the internet. They just started an online TV show so I had to watch it. What I found horrified and disturbed me.
My first impression of this show was one that I couldn’t get away from for the entirety of the episode: the commentary was something else. Miller, who I’ve seen for years on Videogamer, was okay, especially considering this isn’t really what he does and it may have been his first attempt at it. I’ve never been big on his “in character” stuff for The Miller Report and all those other projects and even though he was the straight man of the duo here you still have to adopt a character to a point and I’m not sure if I liked it. He was miles better than the dude he was commentating with, an utter shambles of a man named King Ross who, as the name was suggests, was a fat man dressed as a king. He also had a tendency to annoyingly shriek during certain moves (not even really cool ones, he went mental for a back body drop), bringing back memories of XPW legend Kriss Kloss albeit with a hint of Byker Grove about him. The thing is, “King Ross” is no Kriss Kloss, and Simon Miller sure as fuck wasn’t Larry Rivera. It is nice to know that, in the realm of pro wrestling vanity promotions, non-wrestlers cosplaying as the stars of the Attitude Era are indeed still the king.
A man named Adam Pacitti came to the ring dressed like a graduate on his first job interview, complete with a cardboard title belt and introduced himself as the general manager of WCPW, because of course they’d have a general manager. Not since Bob Backlund has a man seemed so proud of such a naff belt.
Backstage in front of a green screen of a brick wall (yes) some more What Culture people, included a small man named Jack the Jobber, did some things and none of it was good.
1. Alex Gracie vs. Gabriel Kidd vs. Joseph Conners
Turns out when I recently bemoaned the very existence of the import culture in British wrestling and thought we’d moved past that, that may not be the case, as the commentators’ attempts to get us hyped for Gracie and Kidd involved informing us that these men had interacted with such stars as Gangrel and Hardcore Holly. You know, from the World Wrestling Federation. Conners apparently lacked this precious interaction with Titan Sports so you may be surprised to find out he was the favourite in this one. This was a three way dance, meaning elimination rules, and it was totally okay. Conners was clearly the star and looked really good throughout, the others didn’t do anything wrong though and it was entertaining enough. The finish, however, utterly sucked. Connors pinned Kidd with his Righteous Kill DDT and went to finish Gracie, only for Gracie’s tag partner to stroll into the ring and hit Conners in the cock for a DQ. There wasn’t really any drama to this, he just kinda did it and the ref rang for the bell because that seemed like a logical thing to do given the circumstances. The fans chanted “You are fuck boys” at the heels while they laid Conners out with possibly the least intense group beatdown I’ve ever seen. James R. Kennedy, last seen getting thrown out of ICW, cut a promo after and Miller speculated that this may be a new team, despite them all walking out together in matching gear fifteen minutes earlier.
Some more What Culture nerds did some pro wrestling acting in front of a green screen of a gigantic grey brick wall as if the entire skit was taking place in a gigantic castle. Apparently “What Culture in the Bank” is a thing because of course it is.
King Ross ironed a table cloth and Miller said “will you stop”. Ross asked “Is this Gorilla Monsoon and Bobby The Brain Heenan”. The death of banter itself.
2. El Ligero vs. Martin Kirby
You can tell the commentary was taped at some other time because Ross refused to tell us who Ligero was wrestling, despite Miller introducing the match and Ross seeming quite okay with it moments before. Ross set music back decades by singing Kirby’s theme music. I’m gonna shock you: this match was fun. These guys have been around for long enough that they could basically have an entertaining match with their eyes closed. Fortunately their eyes were well and truly open so this was even better! This was all a bit holiday camp comedy but it was executed well by a couple of lads who know how to be entertaining without killing themselves. Ligero constantly one-upped Kirby with his wiley ways (you know what masked wrestlers are like, shady as shit) while Kirby looked like a prat by trying to beat him at his own game. I think Miller pronounced Ligero’s name a different way every time he said it. And he said it a lot. They should probably have rerecorded some of this because Ross kept taking the piss and, in addition to that being really annoying, it made your other commentator look really daft. The match went a bit Osaka06 as Kirby drank a bottle of water, intending to dribble it all over Ligero (wrestling’s an odd thing), only for Ligero to Venus Punch him and cause him to spit the water all over a camera. Ligero picked up the pace a bit with some flying, avoiding the Sable Bomb (!) and connecting with the C4L tornado DDT for the win. This was pretty entertaining, especially since they only really broke out into a conventional match for the last minute of the thing.
Joe Hendry gave Jack the Jobber a jacket to wear over his Bullet Club parody shirt. Bit like when a policeman uses his coat and, if required, his hat to cover up a naked pitch invader on the football. To hide the shame.
3. Prince Ameen vs. Joe Coffey
On a production note, they decided on this show that they’d begin everyone’s entrances by showing a few seconds of everyone’s videos on the screen, bringing back welcome memories of Jeff Jarrett’s TNA entrance video where he walked along a railway line or something. It was his world and he wanted you to know it. Ameen stated before the match that he was here to see the craziest fans in the world but instead he saw keyboard warriors who’d never slept with a woman, an absolutely outrageous claim for a wrestling villain to make. Alarmingly, this wasn’t a 30 second match with Joe running through the antiquated cliche he was put up against. Coffey took most of the match, Ameen just prolonged things by acting like a chickenshit heel, eventually just walking backstage and getting counted out. God awful finish and a nothing match. At least Joe got to do some cool moves and everyone had fun singing his theme music. I certainly did.
Back in the castle, Prince Ameen said he was the richest man in wrestling who didn’t wrestle poor people and said he was looking for a servant. Coffey also cut a promo in front of brickwall.jpeg. Then a woman showed up and said she didn’t want a man, she wanted an animal. She wants a prison sentence. Then another man with a beard appeared and Joe Coffey was startled. This segment featured a truly stunning edit as the woman walked into the camera shot, began talking, then appeared in a completely different position, and they left this in.
Jack the Jobber was saying nothing of importance until Joe Hendry and Big Damo got in a bloody good shouting match in front of him. This genuinely looked like they photoshopped this Jack individual into the background. He was one with the wall.
4. Big Damo vs. Joe Hendry
The build for this match looked awesome with Damo and Joe brawling around an office. Wrestlers fighting in the real world in their full gear is never not incredible. A third What Culture man joined commentary and this aspect of the show did not improve. Jack the Jobber came to ringside wearing a robe except instead of sensational feathers from now-extincy fancy birds he had some tin foil. The idea that this man was playing a poverty version of a well established wrestling character would have been better if every What Culture staff member didn’t seem to be doing the same. Joe debuted a wonderful cover of an Adele music video beforehand so Damo ran backstage and battered him. Apparently these two were battling to represent Jack in a title match with Rampage Brown, who would be representing Adam Blampied, whose name I only know because they put it in the YouTube description. It’s like Team Teddy vs. Team Johnny but with neither Teddy nor Johnny so why bother. The ref got bumped leading to Jack taking control. Damo grabbed a chair (a regular chair with fire elemental damage) but Hendry avoided a swing and connected with a dropkick. Joe went for a chairshot of his own but Jack took the chair away from him, allowing Damo to get the advantage and connect with the Ulster Plantation for the win. Match was alright but it focused on an angle I couldn’t have cared less about.
After more Ross and Miller shite they unveiled the new WCPW title to replace the cardboard version. Blampied and Rampage Brown came out to mock him, a completely nonsensical pairing since a cool dude like Rampage Brown would not sanction this YouTube man’s buffoonery. Rampage ended up piledriving a security guard (leading to indy wrestlers dressed as paramedics coming out) and ripping up the cardboard title in an unnecessarily violent scene.
This was not a good show. Bizarrely, the matches themselves were generally okay, but the wrapper around them was horrendous. A pro tip, if you’re building your little promotion around a group of YouTube people, make sure those YouTube people have some charisma. Almost everyone from What Culture on this show may as well have been a random member of the public, if I hadn’t have known what this group was I’d have believed they’d won a competition of some sort. The PAX Rumble is a better attempt at capitalising on YouTubers with a love of the graps and that’s not even a wrestling show. The commentary was terrible throughout and actively made things worse, going from being entertaining in a “I can’t believe they thought this was okay” kinda way to just plain annoying by the end. The booking was similarly dreadful, with weird finishes that these same people would probably eviscerate WWE for if they did the same throughout the show. This all felt like something some students knocked up for a laugh during university. The camera work, production, promos, it all felt very low rent. The fact that the vast majority of the wrestlers involved are really good made it all the more bizarre. I’m genuinely interested to see Will Ospreay and especially Jay Lethal in this environment, it’ll look like they’ve fallen into a parallel dimension in which they both still work for TNA.