By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
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West Coast Pro Wrestling “Whiplash”
Replay available via YouTube.com
November 17, 2023 in San Francisco, California at United Irish Cultural Center
The building looks packed with maybe 300 fans and it has a high celing so no issues for high-flyers. James Kincaid and Sam Laterna and Brian Zane provided commentary. This show is built around the return of Chris Hero to in-ring action, after 3 1/2 years off, as he will take on Timothy Thatcher. Last month, Thatcher beat up on JT Thorne, a young trainee, which led to this match.
1. Jiah Jewell defeated Kevin Blackwood at 10:08. Jiah is Lash LeRoux-meets-Skinner; he’s scrawny and a rookie. Blackwood stood across the ring and just laughed at him. Blackwood dropped him with a chop and was in charge early. He hit a stiff kick to the spine at 3:00, and a doublestomp to the chest, then an Exploder Suplex. Jiah hit a crossbody block, then a tornado DDT for a nearfall at 6:00. Jiah did a Gator Roll on the mat. Blackwood hit a pumphandle back suplex for a nearfall.
Blackwood draped him over the top rope and hit a doublestomp on the back, then a Death Valley Driver into the corner for a nearfall at 9:00, and he yelled at the referee. Blackwood repeatedly stomped on Jiah. Jiah placed Blackwood’s feet on the top rope, hit a twisting neckbreaker, and scored the pin! The announcers talked about how huge of an upset this was. Blackwood kept attacking Jiah after the bell, hitting a pair of brainbusters.
2. Sandra Moone defeated Rachael Ellering at 9:23. Moone has spent a lot of time this summer in Japan competing for Marvelous. Ellering, of course, has the overall size and strength advantage. They shook hands at the bell and had an intense lockup and traded mat reversals. They shook hands a second time. Ellering hit an STO uranage at 3:00 and a senton, and she took control of the offense. She hit a gutwrench suplex for a nearfall. Ellering hit a fisherman’s brainbuster for a nearfall at 7:30. Moone hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall. She hit a German Suplex. Ellering hit a Boss Woman Slam for a nearfall, but Moone rolled her over and pinned her! Two matches, two upsets. Laterna wondered where is Rachael’s head at, as she is still winless in West Coast Pro.
3. Calvin Tankman and “BEEF” Gnarls Barkley defeated “The Prisoners of Society” Steve Maclin and Westin Blake at 8:54. POS are making their WCPW debut. Laterna acknowledged they were “The Forgotten Sons” in NXT/WWE. BEEF and Tankman fought each other here just a few months ago but have agreed to now team up. The POS quickly tagged in and out while working Calvin’s arm. Tankman hit a Pounce at 1:30. BEEF entered and hit a second-rope twisting crossbody block. Calvin hit a running splash, then a splash to the mat. BEEF and Maclin brawled on the floor. In the ring, the POS worked BEEF over. They hit a team backbreaker over their knees at 5:00.
Tankman finally made the hot tag and he hit a series of clotheslines, then a brainbuster for a nearfall at 6:30. Calvin hit a spinning back fist. POS hit a pair of running knees on Calvin. Maclin dove through the ropes onto everyone. Maclin hit a spear as BEEF was tied in the Tree of Woe. Calvin hit his pop-up spinning back fist. Tankman nailed a second-rope superplex on Blake, and BEEF immediately hit a frogsplash; they both piled onto Blake for the pin. Good brawl.
4. Adrian Quest and “Los Suavicitos” Danny Rose and Ricky Gee defeated “The South Pacific Savages” Jacob Fatu, Journey Fatu, and Juicy Finau at 14:20. Rose and Gee just had a very short match on AEW TV; they are from L.A. and they ‘hate San Francisco.’ Journey Fatu is bald; I’ve only seen him a few times. Juicy is so large he looks rather unhealthy. The heels attacked from behind and dove onto them. I can’t stress enough how much smaller the heel trio are. They all brawled on the floor, They finally got in the ring and the bell rang at 2:00. Sam pointed out the size difference of Rose vs. Juicy.
Gee hit a chop on Journey to no effect. Gee hit a huracanrana at 4:00. Journey splashed Gee in a corner. Jacob entered and hit a moonsault on Gee. The heels began working over Jacob and made quick tags, keeping him in their corner. Jacob finally hit a senton and tagged in Juicy at 9:30. The heels just bounced off his 400+ pound frame. All three charged Juicy in the corner, but he slammed all three to the mat. Nice spot. Juicy accidentally struck Journey in the groin! Two of the heels hit a superplex on Juicy! Jacob hit a splash and suddenly everyone was down at 11:30.
Journey dove between the ropes. In the ring, Juicy picked up the tiny Rose and tossed him over the top rope onto everyone else on the floor. Juicy dove between the ropes onto everyone; it looked like a bowling ball hitting pins. Journey hit a Rikishi Driver. A heel stopped the ref from making a pinfall count. Gee hit a low blow and pinned Jacob out of nowhere. Again, official time is closer to 12:30.
5. Alpha Zo defeated Bryan Keith in a No. 1 contender’s match at 14:17. I wrote it a few months ago when Zo fought Jeff Cobb, but they are roughy the same height and body size. They shook hands at the bell. Keith tried to hit a Tiger Driver just seconds in but Zo blocked it. They traded forearm strikes and this was a heated exchange. They brawled to the floor at 3:00, where the lighting isn’t nearly as good. Zo tossed Keith into a row of hard seats (these aren’t light, metal folding chairs!) In the ring, Keith applied a Figure Four at 6:00. Keith focused on the damaged left knee. Keith charged at him, but Zo hit an STO uranage. Zo hit a backbreaker over his knee, then an Exploder at 8:30.
Zo’s knee buckled, and Keith immediately hit an Exploder Suplex into the corner. Zo hit a hard clothesline and they were both down. They traded headbutts at 11:00 and were both down. Keith hit a Diamond Dust stunner and a running knee to the jaw but only got a one-count, and Keith was in disbelief. Keith nailed the Emerald Tiger Driver for a nearfall at 13:00 and Keith was now livid. Zo hit some open-hand slaps and a clothesline for a nearfall. Zo nailed a Sidewinder spinning slam for the pin. Good match. Keith tipped his hat at Zo as he left the ring.
* Intermission. They showed footage from several of the Chris Hero-Timothy Thatcher matches over the years. Looks like they have quite a history. The next match is the thick Derek Dillinger against a mystery opponent!
6. Alex Hammerstone defeated Derek Dillinger at 13:02. A nice pop for Hammerstone, who is a former champion here. Hammerstone hit a spinebuster at 3:00 and a big backbody drop. Alex set up for a dive but he stopped and posed instead. However, he hit a plancha onto Dillinger. Sam talked about how this was home for Hammerstone for many years. Dillinger (think Hugh Morrus) hit a Bubba Bomb at 6:30. (Hey, Bully Ray is a decent comparison too.) Hammerstone hit a flying elbow and he was fired up.
Hammerstone hit a Stinger Splash, then a belly-to-belly overhead suplex for a nearfall at 9:00. Derek hit a sunset flip powerbomb into the corner, then a running double knees to the face in the corner for a nearfall. Dillinger went for a moonsault but Alex got his knees up to block it. Hammerstone hit a release German Suplex at 11:30 but Dillinger popped to his feet. Alex hit a T-Bone Suplex, then a pendulum sideslam for the pin. Okay match; it didn’t get much crowd reaction.
* Hammerstone got on the mic and said things have been tough for him lately, but he was happy to return to West Coast Pro.
* Jorel Nelson and Royce Isaacs got in the ring, wearing street clothes. Isaacs spokes about how they’ve been teaming for five years and have seen the world. Nelson said they take pride in being the best tag team in WCPW, and that is why they are so embarassed at losing last month to BEEF and Tankman. “We thought we were going to be on a plane tonight for World Tag League,” Jorel said. (I saw them post similar comments on Twitter/X.) He said they want to become WCPW tag champs (there aren’t tag belts here for some reason.) Los Suavicitos hit the ring and attacked them. The South Pacific Savages hit the ring to beat them up for revenge for the cheap loss earlier. All three teams began brawling. Now Tankman and BEEF hit the ring to brawl with everyone. Sure seems like they are setting up to have a tag title tournament.
7. Johnnie Robbie defeated Masha Slamovich at 12:22. Slamovich has the wXw Women’s title. Robbie just had a tag match on ROH TV against Athena and Billie Starkz. They opened in a knucklelock, but Masha hit some quick suplexes, then a hard clothesline. Los Suavicitos ran to ringside to check on Robbie and they were booed. The ref quickly ejected them. Masha dove to the floor onto everyone at 2:30. In the ring, Johnnie took control of the offense. She hit a running double knees to the back of the head for a nearfall at 4:30. They got up and traded punches.
Masha hit a second-rope missile dropkick and they were both down at 7:00. Masha nailed her spinning heel kick for a nearfall and the crowd began rallying for her. Robbie hit a springboard DDT for a nearfall. Johnnie hit a pumphandle swinging slam for a nearfall at 10:00. Johnnie grabbed the titel belt but the ref confiscated it. Masha accidentally kicked the ref. Masha nailed her Air Raid Crash into the corner, then the White Knight snap piledriver for a visual pin at 11:30 but we had no referee! Masha woke up the ref. Robbie hit a slam; she tossed the title belt to Masha, then hit a running knee onto the title belt against Masha’s head and scored the pin. Okay match; Robbie is not on Masha’s level, but then again, few are.
8. Starboy Charlie defeated Chris Bey to retain the WCPW Heavyweight Title at 12:32. Bey had his Impact Tag Team title belt. Sam said this is Bey’s first match here in two years. Sam said these two had wrestled a few years ago, but she noted Charlie has just turned 20 and has learned a lot since then. Charlie grounded him and focused on the left arm. Charlie hit a running Shooting Star Press for a nearfall at 4:30. Bey hit a neckbreaker for a nearfall and he focused on Charlie’s damaged neck. Bey hit a clothesline to the back of the head at 7:00. Charlie hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread and a corkscrew splash for a nearfall.
Charlie hit a huracanrana at 9:00, then an Asai Moonsault to the floor. Bey nailed a Cop Killah backslide driver out of nowhere for a nearfall at 10:30, and the crowd rallied for Charlie. Charlie fired back with a Poison Rana. He hit a Tombstone Piledriver and peeled down his straps. He nailed a Gotch-style piledriver for the clean pin. A really good match. They shook hands.
9. Chris Hero defeated Timothy Thatcher at 21:17. Thatcher came out first, wearing his Hugh Hefner-style robe. A nice pop for Hero. Laterna praised Hero as a trailblazer of the “super-indy era.” Kincaid said Thatcher has a 4-3 record advantage all time over more than decade but this is their first meeting since 2015. Thatcher glared at Hero. The announcer said Hero hasn’t wrestled in 1,350 days. Standing reversals to open. Hero wore SF Giants colors on his trunks and shirt. Hero began working over the left arm on the mat. Thatcher hit some European Uppercuts at 8:00. He kicked at Hero’s leg and took control of the offense.
Thatcher applied a cross-armbreaker but Hero immediately reached the ropes at 11:30. Hero hit some punches and kicks. They brawled to the floor; Thatcher barely got back into the ring before being counted out. Hero immediately hit a senton for a nearfall at 14:30. Hero hit a punch that dropped Thatcher; Kincaid said Hero has long wanted a knockout win over Thatcher. Hero nailed a rolling elbow for a nearfall at 16:00. Hero hit a piledriver for a nearfall. Thatcher snapped on a Fujiwara Armbar at 18:00 but Hero reached the ropes.
Thatcher jawed at the ref; Hero hit another rolling elbow for a believable nearfall. Thatcher hit a Saito Suplex for a nearfall at 20:00. He hit a second one for a nearfall, then a third, but Hero popped up at the one-count. Thatcher hit a piledriver for a nearfall. Hero applied his own Fujiwara Armbar, and Thatcher tapped out! Good match; you wouldn’t know that Hero hadn’t been in the ring for years.
* Hero got on the mic and said “I’m tired as f—.” He got a kid to say that too, drawing a pop. Hero said there are 800 people from across the world watching this show on youtube. He put over WCPW, saying this is the 11th show he’s been in the building. “It’s been a hard three-and-a-half years. It’s been tough,” he said. The three and a half years before that were tough too, he added. “Today just felt right and I thank you all for that,” and that got a pop. “This feels like a fitting end to a story,” he said. “I can’t think of a better way to end my story than here in West Coast Pro Wrestling.
The crowd chanted, “Thank you Hero.” He dropped down to the mat and untied his boots and placed them in the center of the ring. His boots read “West” and “Coast.” He paused and said, “I’m just f—ing with y’all” and that got a huge applause. He said Kevin Blackwood is “just an asshole.” On Dec. 3, it will be Kevin Blackwood and Titus Alexander vs. Kenta and Chris Hero!!!
Final Thoughts: A good show. The absence of Titus Alexander (who is touring Japan!) was really felt as he’s been such a fixture at the top of the card for the past year. Likewise, WCPW has lost another top star in Nick Wayne, so you can see how this promotion is in transition. Worth pointing out that nearly every local wrestler beat the better-known talent flown into the show.
I’ll go with Charlie-Bey for best match, Zo-Keith for second, and the main event earns third. Some people will love the main event but Hero’s style has always been an acquired taste. Between Hammerstone, Tankman, and the Samoans, this felt like an MLW show from a year ago.
This show aired live on YouTube, but then it gets pulled down after the show concludes. It will get re-posted on IWTV in a day or two.