What is wXw?: Westside Xtreme Wrestling is probably Germany’s most well-known wrestling company to non-Germans having been around since 2000. For the first half of it’s existence wXw was a hardcore-based company (as if you couldn’t tell by the ”extreme-spelled-with-an-x” name) but moved away from this when they switched owners in 2006. Deciding to focus on great wrestling instead, the new owners brought in numerous indie darlings over the years such as CM Punk, Chris Hero, Brian Danielson, Kevin Steen etc. Their trademark event representing the change is the 16 Carat three-day tournament, which is what I was invited to watch and enjoy.
In the interest of integrity: Yes, wXw were very nice and treated myself and the rest of the Euro Twitter like we were ESPN journalists. We received goodie bags and balcony seats so there’s no way this article is going to be unbiased. Joke’s on them though, the quality of wrestling was so high I’d have said complimentary things even if the promoter had spat in my face and called me ”pigdog Englander.”
Day 1: Flub & Loathing In Oberhausen
So whereas the other UK Twitter people (including Arnold Furious, Allan Blackstock, Working a Resthold, Brit Wres Roundtable) flew out from southern airports, I’m from the land of pasties and therefore I was always going to get in later than everyone else as there weren’t any morning flights via the North. I learned later that the airliner I selected (Eurowings) are known as ”the Ryanair of Germany” so when they announced the flight was delayed due to the pilots not showing up and the back-ups needed to be woke up and spoon-fed coffee instead, no-one batted an eye-lid. I’d fill up the rest of this page about the wonders of the German train system that managed to combo cancelled/changed trains on me like E.Honda’s hands were made of Fleischmanns, but the important bit to take from this is: I missed all of Day 1. By the time I got to the Turbinenhalle, I caught the arse-end of Walter vs. David Starr. Looked great, well worth the day’s travel. Then my AirBnB cancelled (NEVER AGAIN) so I roamed the streets of Oberhausen looking for a non-sold out hotel in the dark while hard-style techno Germans wandered around drinking Bitburgers. I’ve literally had nightmares about situations like this so after the second hotel told me there were no rooms I was 50% committed to going back to the airport and fucking the whole weekend off. Thankfully B & B Hotels (that’s the name) found a spare and I was able to sad-wank myself out of a panic attack.
Thankfully wXw (like a lot of indie companies) realise the importance of having a streaming service because wrestling fans want wrestling and they want it YESTERDAY, so I caught up on Day 1 back at home while drinking tea. And so can you by clicking here and giving them your Euros.
Da Mack vs. Cody Rhodes
Mack earned his shot by winning the Road To The 16 Carat Gold League and represented Germany in WWE’s Cruiswerweight Classic last year. You probably know who Cody Rhodes is, the Germans certainly do as he’s extremely over. There’s no weight divisions in wXw which makes for fun styles clashes/big man vs. little man encounters but Mack looks like a kid next to Cody, who is a fluid heavyweight and thus is able to overcome Mack’s cannonball sentons and flips to win with the Cross Rhodes. Some of the Twitter people were pissed that Mack earned his shot the hard way and lost to free-pass Cody, but how many Wrestlemanias has Mack competed in?
Marius Al-Ani vs. JT Dunn
Al-Ani is one half of the tag champions A4 (his partner is Absolute Andy, hence the name. They’re not paper champs) and JT Dunn is best known for being Chris Hero’s tag partner in Death By Elbow who impressed everywhere in 2016. The real challenge for Dunn is making it on his own now Hero’s gone back to NXT. He tries for the pin on Al-Ani straight away but like half the wXw roster Al-Ani is a big scary guy and isn’t falling for that. Both men have crowd support and go back-and-forth with Superplexes and German Suplexes (surprisingly called German Suplexes in Germany) until Al-Ani sends Dunn back down the ladder of respect after a Frog Splash.
Timothy Thatcher vs. Koji Kanemoto
Sadly all the entrances are overdubbed on wXw Now so we don’t get to hear New World Symphony for Ringkampfe. That’s a damn shame. Koji used to be Tiger Mask III for NJPW but went freelance a few years ago. He’s 50 but looks 30 because that’s what a healthy life-style does to you. Crowd’s respectful to Koji which is nice but Thatcher has to stop being an evil arsehole like he usually is for Koji’s offence to be believable. It was like watching Kurt Angle vs. Hulk Hogan compared to the rest of the match-ups on the show. After letting Koji get his trademark face-washes in, Thatcher locked him in an armbar then rolled him up for a pin out of nowhere. Post-match Bobby Gunns (the King of Smoke Style) wandered out to have a look at Koji. He looked as impressed as the rest of us.
Robert Dreissker vs. Ilja Dragunov
Rob’s nickname is The Avalanche and Ilja is Russian/very popular. Both men were part of the Cerebus group until recently and Ilja wastes no time using his body as a weapon to dive outside and to senton Avalanche on the front row chairs. Rob uses his weight (he’s got that Scott Norton chunky soup build) to flatten Ilja but nothing can put away the plucky Russian. Smart having the big guy wrestle Ilja on Day 1 as it means newbies like me get to see his Never Say Die attitude on display and what he’ll do to himself to get a win. And indeed, Ilja overcomes with the Torpedo Moskau (Flying Running Headbutt) for the win.
Matt Riddle vs. Donovan Dijak
Dijak’s 6 ft 7 and manages to pop up on my radar a lot despite being a ROH wrestler (edit: er not any more) due to being tall and good. Riddle is a freak of nature former UFC guy who should be on everybody’s radar by now. He’s also the bro-est guy you’ll ever meet that can kill you with his bare hands. Dijak isn’t concerned with Riddle’s ability as he’s able to throw him around like he’s Sky Low Low. It helps that Dijak is familiar with Riddle so he’s able to cut him off or grab the ropes before anything deadly can be applied. Dijak catches Riddle off the top rope and turns it into a Chokebreaker (”holy shit” chant the Germans). Dijak’s able to counter or stop Riddle but he can’t put him away as he’s Matt Fucking Riddle and he’s only vulnerable to piss-tests. Both men go through an impressive counter-fest with their finishers but Riddle gets the ropes, Dijak misses a moonsault and Riddle finishes with the Rings of Saturn. Great stuff here, with Riddle getting the chance to wrestle like a wrestler instead of a purely MMA Dude and doing a good job of it.
Bad Bones vs. Paul London
Bad Bones has been around for ages on the strength of being great and looking like a guy who would kill you out of boredom. His entrance with the giant video screen going dark is breath-taking live but the effect is nullified on wXw Now thanks to editing. Go see him live. He was also in Botchamania years ago when wXw ran Viking Hall in USA and started ranting at the fans in broken English for chanting ”Don’t come back’ at him until the promoter pulled him away.
Glad to see @Lost_Rebel_BB doing well in wXw.
For years, him vs. Shitty Philadelphia Fans was the only thing I knew about him. pic.twitter.com/m2xyXY0W15
— Maffew going to WM (@Maffewgregg) March 16, 2017
You’d think Bad Bones of Germany would get cheered but it turns out this country is as fickle as everywhere else, so because he’s from Bitburg the Oberhausen crowd aren’t happy to see him. He’s also against Paul London, a wrestler who’s happier than the fans who want to meet him. He’s Andrew WK in lycra and the crowd love him like he’s a new Rammstein album. London’s still adding things to his arsenal because knees are expensive to replace, including wrapping Bones in the ropes and Bones’ own trap muscles keeping him in place. Bones has no issues backdropping London out of the ring and following that with a Suicide Dive which is impressive considering his size and he’s wearing jeans. Bones appears to kill London with a Codebreaker but he kicks out and manages to connect with two Shooting Star Presses…for two. Bones rages and puts away London with a German Suplex and Wrecking Ball Kness in the corner.
Mike Bailey vs. ACH
Bailey was starting a mighty rise in popularity last year thanks to some amazing matches in PWG and Beyond Wrestling, but the Canadian got fucked travelling to USA without a work VISA and got banned from the country for five years. Their loss is Europe’s gain and the fans are happy to have Bailey punch their hands on the way to the ring.
ACH has also had a year taken off his crazy momentum. He wasn’t blocked from wrestling in USA, he was signed to ROH. ACH dances to start due to demand as he’s one of the most entertaining comedy-but-can-kick-your-arse wrestlers out there. Bailey doesn’t dance but instead demonstrates Tae Kwon-Do as the crowd chant ”Hey Bailey, I wanna knooooow if you’ll be my (mix of ”boy” and ”girl” depending on the fan).” For most of the match ACH seemed outclassed by Bailey’s kicks and aerial ability. Not a bad thing, as ACH’s facial expressions make you glad he’s getting hit. He turns the tide with the insane clothesline-into-the-worm and both men go flip-for-flip (commentators: ”Mein Gotte!”) but Bailey nails the Shooting Star Knee Drop to progress. No way I’m doing this justice by play-by-play but ”then he did a flip and then he did another flip” isn’t fun to read.
Walter vs. David Starr
I love Walter. He’s similar to Samoa Joe in that he’s a huge guy that’s also technically gifted. So if he can’t smash you with his girth, he’ll stretch you with his holds. David Starr is the current wXw Shotgun Champion and has made defences of the title in CZW, IWA-MS and C4. He’s a handsome chap and is bloody everywhere thanks to his strong-style by way of college wrestling style. Walter’s chops look and sound like they could break bricks, another reason to love him. He also wrestles like he’s constantly trying to win the match, which may sound like a strange compliment but he’s always going for his Gojira Clutch or trying to kill his opponent with an Earthquake Splash rather than dicking off with dives and stuff. Starr doesn’t try to wear him down though, instead preferring to go shot-for-shot with the Big Daddy and even managing to suplex Walter onto his head. After taking a brutal lariat, Walter heads outside for a breather but Starr follows with two Suicide Dives and a tope because IT’S 16 CARAT, BABY. Walter crawls in before he’s counted out to the dismay of Starr. Walter locks in the Ankle Lock and turns it into a German Suplex (!) but even that can’t stop the Jewish Cannon. Starr somehow manages to hit a Code Red on Walter but that only gets him two (the German fans still count in English, by the way) so Starr tries KO’ing him with Discuss Elbows instead. After several minutes of both men doing their best to decapitate one another, Walter locks in the Gojira Clutch with added torque and Starr passes out. Grand main event that lived up to the expectations of the last five minutes I saw in person.
The rest of Ringkampfe (Timothy Thatcher, Axel Dieter Jr. and Christian Jakobi) congratulate Walter on his victory but Jurn Simmons interrupts and reminds them about the title match he has with Axel tomorrow so YOU’D BETTER SHOW UP FANS (and they did, Day 2 was wXw’s biggest crowd ever).
Day 2: Das Big Boot
So after coming to Germany with the intention of giving a positive impression (hey if someone invites you to a show and gives you sparkling water, it’s polite to not miss Day 1) I got to the arena early to prove Mr. Shitty Video Man can arrive on time. Well I say ”arena”, here’s the Turbinenhalle in all it’s hey-is-that-a-screenshot-from-Robocop glory:
The area around the venue felt like Viking Hall in Philadelphia, with nothing of note apart from factories, kebab stands and a McDonalds (which the wrestlers frequented all weekend, one was heard shouting ”real life sucks!” as he waited for his coffee). Inside the hall, wXw turned half of the giant backstage area into a Media Centre and had scheduled interview time with the wrestlers. I’ve never been part of something like this before and don’t know if any non-WWE company have done this but I was very impressed with the set-up. More companies should do this, not just because it means people like me get their ego stroked. It allows the company to communicate things in a natural way without sounding like a hype machine and you get to ask the wrestlers things when you know they’re free and willing to answer rather than hang around them awkwardly. Here’s David Starr after being asked if he can list all of his nick-names (he could):
All of the interviews were recorded by Working A Resthold and Arnold Furious but here’s some selected quotes and bits:
Axel Dieter Jr.
He put over Bubblegum as a great example of a young veteran training others and listed him, Travis Banks, Mark Haskins, Pete Dunne, Martin Kirby as UK guys he wants to wrestle. I asked him if he wanted to do any acting due to his good looks (another fine idea by me) but he wasn’t interested. ”My seven days a week are all wrestling. My life is wrestling. If Matt Riddle wins 16 Carat I may be fucked.”
One of the owners/referees said the Oberhausen area is very important to wXw’s success. When I asked what was it about the Oberhausen people that made it work and he didn’t know. Huh. The wellness policy (in terms of injuries) is taken very seriously in wXw and explained Bad Bones was removed from a show last year as he was in not state to wrestle. Bones was pissed at the time but later realised it was for the best. Good for them for being honest about it, especially as Emil Sitoci was announced and un-announced due to concussion.
Explained how after Otto Wanz stopped promoting wrestling there was no veterans to show the next guys how to do it, which is why wXw and so many other companies were basically guessing in the beginning. It’s why he’s happy to be a locker room leader with the other young veterans so he can share his knowledge. When asked about the positive reception Ringkampfe received in PROGRESS Walter said German fans are more critical of new things, whereas British fans are happy to accept new things. ”They are party people.”
When asked about any advice he’d give people wanting to start wrestling promoting, he said ”be a professional. Lots of people are opening up restaraunts because they want to work, but just because you can cook an egg for your girlfriend doesn’t mean you’re a chef.” Booking wrestlers simply to drink with them after the show isn’t economically viable. Jakobi said a lot with a lot of passion, I wanted to hear him speak all day. Also respect to the guys with me who weren’t put off when Jakobi asked ”oh you guys weren’t a fan of Kanemoto vs. Thatcher?” and they flat-out went ”naaaah” and explained why. I’d have stuttered ”well er there were better matches” or something.
The Avalanche Robert Dreissker
He was asked about being trained by Michael Kovac which everyone laughed at, so I assume it didn’t go well. He answered ”he enjoyed being tested to his limits.” When asked about The Avalanche name: ”I got sick of seeing my name mis-spelled on posters.” He wrestled in Japan with only ten matches experience because NOAH loved the size of him. All he does is train to wrestle and watch FIFA. I asked about Bundesliga but he doesn’t watch it because it’s twenty Euros a month. Also Austrian football is ”shit”.
Diplomatic as hell, from responding to how he deals with rats (”I call myself the product because I’m worth something so I don’t get with everybody”) and questions about Shane Strickland. Strickland and Starr/wXw had some sort of falling out recently and Strickland had his tag titles (held with Starr) stripped and told he was never getting booked again. No-one knows what happened exactly and Starr…had nothing but compliments and did the political no-answer. Which is for the best career-wise but we want dirt, dammit. Screw your career.
My favourite person of the whole weekend. Entered the press conference by shouting ”SUP BITCHES” and insulting the sparkling water. ”This is horrible…they aren’t sponsors are they?” Before I said anything he said ”Maffew, you look like Steve Rogers before he takes the Super Solider Serum!” I managed to put on a straight face and ask him about what exactly he didn’t enjoy about ROH. He wasn’t motivated, wasn’t working out but still delivering in the ring but didn’t feel he was in control of his destiny so had to leave. He’s happy to travel to places like wXw as wrestling the same guys over and over is like playing the first Assassin’s Creed. ”Boring.” He’s pretty much obsessed with One Piece at this point, which is why he’s single. Women come over, see the amount of merchandise and go ”aaaaah.”
Every wrestler when asked about their ideal tag partner
Also on Day 2 was the shoot-style Affliction Tournament taking place at mid-day. Shoot-style wrestling matches aren’t usually my thing as they try to be wrestling-style too and end up as neither fish nor fowl. However with half the roster having a background in some form of martial arts, the wrestlers had apparently been stretching and grappling with one another for several days at the wXw Dojo to prepare for this (according to one guy this is how MMA guys say hello, by grappling) so this was 100% shoot-style. This meant that the matches were short (like you know, a real fight) and had the effect of having every move and strike in the matches being important. Suddenly a headlock isn’t only a headlock but potentially the finish of the match, with punches as deadly as piledrivers. And I enjoyed the fuck out of it, especially because they went all-out with the presentation and introduced each fighter beforehand dressed in their appropriate attire while listing their various disciplines/belts. When asked at the Media Centre about the lower turn-out to the Affliction Tournament compared to the rest of the shows, Jakobi explained he’d prefer to keep it as a sideshow so it can be kept the style they’ve chosen rather than make it more accessible. ”It’s a niche of a niche.” I’m happy with that, it definitely wasn’t for every wrestling fan, with some watchers absorbed into the human chess battles and others talking with their mates over beer but they accomplished a shoot-style tournament better than I’d seen anywhere because they could do it as quick and realistic (maybe the wrong word but eh, you know what I mean) while being able to promote it as an ”extra” event. Only the main event featuring Riddle triumphing over Thatcher felt a bit drawn out for the sake of it, but that’s incredible nit-picking. Riddle won because he’s God and was beaming as he won his trophy.
This is a good time to mention the quality of production, with excellent lighting showing every drip of sweat on the wrestlers. The giant TNA-style video wall was beautiful too, used for the entrances and promo packages. Here’s the view from the press balcony:
Donovan Dijak vs. Jeff Cobb
Back to Day 2 with non-tournament action. All the Germans loved Cobb like he was Hasselhoff, they couldn’t get over his ability to gutwrench anything with the greatest of ease. He even managed to overhead belly-to-belly Walter in the Affliction tournament. Unless something drastic happens, the freak has got to be winning next years’ tournament. Dijak really tried but Cobb span him around like Atlas juggling the Earth.
Matt Riddle vs. Mike Bailey
Their match in Beyond was my first exposure to Riddle so I was hyped for this. Thankfully Riddle did his ”goes to dive but slaps” bit which got another Holy Shit chant. Bailey was able to look like Riddle’s equal and blocked a back senton with his feet (not knees) which looked crazy. Despite the kicking ability and high-flying, Bailey’s feet were too short to Tae Kwon-Do with God and Riddle ended the match with the Rings of Saturn. Damn fine outing.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Timothy Thatcher
It’s worth noting Ilja’s entrance is the Soviet theme from Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 if you were looking for a reason to like him. He’s only 23 if you were looking for a reason to dislike him. Also: Thatcher. I don’t watch EVOLVE (not out of spite or anything, they asked for me not to use their footage and I respect that because here’s enough other indie wrestling for me to watch) but whenever I read a review about Thatcher it’s nearly always negative. I don’t know if it’s the sparkling water but I enjoy Thatcher in wXw. Maybe it’s because he’s part of the Ringkampfe group so he’s allowed to be a prick master grappler as he’s tremendous in the role and his matches are fun to watch too. In this match he clearly doesn’t rate Ilja as he stops mid-lift on a gutwrench to scowl. Ilja’s only able to stop the tide of holds and suplexes by throwing his own body into things and even blocks a clothesline with his head. Thatcher’s face shows how angry he is this leaping fool isn’t submitting to his holds so he meets him headbutt for headbutt…which has no effect on Ilja who finishes with the Torpedo Moskau. Ilja fans of the world, unite!
Marius Al-Ani vs. Walter
Al-Ani takes the fight to Walter’s reputation but Mr. No Bullshit doesn’t get far. Aside from being knocked off the middle rope, this was all Walter who murderized the sorry tag champ with a Rikishi Driver. Al-Ani had the strength to crawl outside to avoid losing which let him recover long enough to send Walter outside and dive over the top rope onto him. Al-Ani continued to try to put Walter away but the man mountain wasn’t having any of it. Crowd thought an upset was potentially coming but to hell with them, if Walter had lost I’d have booed Al-Ani. Walter bust out the insane ankle-lock-into-German-Suplex which sums him up in one move but that still wasn’t enough. Al-Ani even managed to lock Walter into a stretch hold but that only frustrated Walter enough to kill Al-Ani with more German Suplexes and end him with the Gojira Clutch. They really made Al-Ani look like a threat here.
Cody Rhodes vs. Bad Bones
If you wanted an example of how over Cody was, here’s his entrance.
Bones continued to be hated by the Oberhausen crowd who chanted ”John Klinger sucks” Cena-style at him, so he attacked Cody mid-entrance. The more Cody got beat, the louder the crowd cheered for him. Cody was fine aside from busting out the ”get whipped into the turnbuckle, turn around and collide” spot which I hate and stuck out like a sore thumb in this otherwise serious match. The ref got bumped (”was?”) and Cody spat water into Bones’ eyes (”was??”) but a Cross Rhodes only got a two-count. Rhodes kicked out of a Wrecking Ball Kness but after missing a second, took another and was eliminated. I wasn’t a fan of some of the kookiness but the crowd were so into it so I realise I’d be at Cornette levels of not-getting it if I bitched. So let’s spin this into…I enjoyed the variety. Oh and I’m glad Bones won.
Francis Kaspin vs. Koji Kanemoto
Kaspin’s a graduate of the Westside Dojo and everyone tells me he has future star written all over him. Kanemoto’s been wrestling longer than Kaspin’s been alive. I asked Jakobi if they brought in Kanemoto to get Japanese interest for wXw Now (like when WWE brought in Liger) and they replied no, they’ve always had Japanese wrestlers in 16 Carat. I didn’t have the nerve to say ”yeah, relevant ones” so instead I’ll type it here days later like a pansy. This was Kanemoto doing his thing with Kaspin politely following his lead. After some face washes, Kanemoto clinched in the Ankle Lock and Kaspin made it look like water torture before tapping. Decent exhibition match with Bobby Gunns showing up again for a match on Day 3.
David Starr vs. Absolute Andy vs. Paul London vs. ACH (wXw Shotgun Title)
David Starr issued an open challenge to any four wrestlers from the back because he’s a man. Match started with everyone fighting over ACH’s banana and the crowd chanted ”This is awesome” before the bell even rang. ACH danced the Carlton as fans threw in money. ACH halted an Absolute Andy dive to the outside by throwing the banana peel on the floor…which Andy managed to slip on and fall on his arse. The action turned serious as everyone started flying around, including ACH blocking a London Frankensteiner into a front flip. I’m not doing that bit justice, here’s a GIF
Andy managed to hit a Absolute Kneedrop on all three bent-over opponents (like a Fameasser with a knee). After more ballyhoo, Starr suicide dove onto all three wrestlers separately, London brought back the Dropsault for the first time in years before kicking out of a top rope F5. ACH succumbed to a Canadian Destroyer to end the match that was stupid, ridiculous and great. Often at the same time.
JT Dunn vs. The Avalanche
Yeah good luck following that lads. Avalanche was asked at the Media Centre if he’s spotted in public by fans, does he get into character. ”No, it’s 2017.” Avalanche dominated most of the match as Dunn tried to start something with kicks and clotheslines as the crowd chanted ”Death By Elbow.” Aye, there’s a clue. Avalanche appeared to murder poor Dunn with a throw/Samoan Drop but he somehow kicked out at two. After finally landing an elbow, Avalanche ignored it and pinned Dunn with a spinning powerbomb. They did their best in the death slot.
Jurn Simmons vs. Axel Dieter Jr. (wXw Unified World Wrestling Title)
Cool lengthy video package for their feud. Interestingly, Jurn speaks in English the whole time while Axel speaks German. I saw both of these guys at PROGRESS (a good gateway for wXw) and was impressed by how fucking good Axel was at everything and how long Jurn’s intro was (legit five minutes). Anyway, this had a big match feel to it which is a testament to both men considering Jurn lost nearly every match until he won the title. This is size vs. technique with Axel trying to wear down Jurn before he starts hurling him around. Jakobi tries to interfere but Jurn knackers him, so he’s taken out the arena. This distracts the ref which brings out Ringkampfe but A4 run out to even the odds. Axel dives outside onto Jurn but that’s a bad idea as he catches him and dunks him on the ring steps. Jurn keeps on slamming Axel but he won’t get pinned and Axel keeps on trying to make Jurn submit but he’s too manly. They ramp the kick-outs to maximum levels, with the crowd singing Cena’s song at some of the crazier kick-outs. Axel decides to rope-assisted DDT Jurn like Randy Orton on the entrance ramp but he’s able to roll in before the ten-count. Axel gets really angry and starts doing every move he can think of to Jurn, but he absorbs it like a giant masculine sponge until he gets his opening and delivers the piledriver to win the match and to blow the roof off the Turbinenhalle. One of those matches that made you happy to be there live.
Jakobi said he wanted to make 16 Carat like a festival, with more and more things across the weekend so the people who travel and stay in the area don’t get bored. This helped fill in a large gap in my time (and wallet) as the bar was opened up for the fans and wrestlers with karaoke on display. A lot of things that happened are hazy, but I remember seeing ACH sing YMCA, Paul London sing Thunderball and Riddle & Simmons duet Tribute by Tenacious D. I also may or may not have sang Bat Out Of Hell, which went down well. Donovan Dijak tweeted: ”I assume watching Maffew doing karaoke would be sweet revenge for any wrestler who’s ever been embarrassed by Botchamania.”
— Maffew going to WM (@Maffewgregg) March 15, 2017
I’ll let the rest of the night remember itself, it’s for the best.
Day 3: Aguirre, The Wrath of Good Wrestling
Thankfully there was no pre-show on Sunday or this would have been my War & Peace. So far it’s only longer than my autobiography.
Ilja Dragunov vs. Bad Bones
Crowd chanted ”Alle außer Bones” (anybody but Bones) seeing as he’s not from around here and he’s eliminated fan favourites. Ilja is getting the loudest cheers of the wrestlers still in the tournament, so he makes sure to pull out the nutty shit for this special occasion including a BJ Whitmer suplex to the outside and back senton onto Bad Bones caught in the ropes. Bones nearly got the win after blocking another dive with a Codebreaker and then took out some of the front row with a Suicide Dive. Ilja ignored a German Suplex because he enjoys landing on his head and takes out Bad Bones with Torpedo Moskau for another explosive crowd reaction. Bones got respectable applause live, but they cut it out for wXw Now because the editor was a Cody fan.
Matt Riddle vs. Walter
The other semi-finals and a match I was hyped to see. Two hard bastards who are versatile in striking and grappling. My favourite Walter move is him locking in the Gojira Clutch so his opponent grabs the ropes to force a break, causing him to chop his hands away so they’re wide open for a German Suplex. Riddle’s savvy to Walter’s offence but that doesn’t mean he can stop it, as he found out after getting powerbombed and pinned in a beautiful sprint. I’m not doing a lot of these matches justice but my fingers are sore from typing at this point. But I promise, Riddle vs. Walter was one of my favourite matches of the weekend.
Bobby Gunns vs. Koji Kanemoto
Kanemoto’s best match of the weekend, as Gunns had no issues being a dick and taking the time from kicking him in the face to swivel his hips. It helps that Gunns dominated the match as opposed to the other matches with Koji in control. Now when Koji gets his Ankle Lock in it’s half out of desperation to stop getting beat up and not ”hey it’s that move.” Plus half the crowd is happy to see Gunns get stretched because he’s a flexing prick. However, Koji isn’t prepared for a roll-up out of nowhere and gets pinned as a result. I don’t want to sound too negative on Koji, he wasn’t awful he was just put in positions that didn’t let him flourish. Thatcher didn’t want to be Thatcher to him and Kaspin let him do his thing. Gunns was a much better match for him.
Winner Stays On Tag Gauntlet:
Chris Colen & Francis Kaspin vs. Paul London & Da Mack
Colen is a Wolverine-looking guy and easily the biggest guy in the match. London and Mack went through the crowd for their entrance, left through the back and re-entered via the titantron. London and Mack bounced around for the buff guys but after getting pushed off the top rope into a RKO, London removed them with a SSP.
Paul London & Da Mack vs. The Avalanche & Julian Nero
I had to check to make sure I was following the storylines right, because I was sure Cerebus split up. A wXw wrestler said yes, they have but they’re still friends. So it’s one of those relationships, fair enough. Nero has the mowhawk/ponytail combo I gave all of my CAWs in WWF Wrestlemania 2000 for N64. He got stomped by London & Mack until Avalanche stepped in. London and Mack were able to double team Avalanche until he raged and pinned London with the Spinning Powerbomb.
The Avalanche & Julian Nero vs. A4
Tag champs here now. I enjoy Andy shouting ”ABSOLUTE” so the crowd can reply ”ANDY!” Not sure if this was for the tag titles but Al-Ani got dumped outside and appeared to be injured so was took to the back, leaving Andy to get pummeled. Avalanche got used like a projectile but Andy dodged it and pinned Nero after a superkick. Good on Andy for surviving by himself…oh wait what’s-
A4 vs. Axel Dieter Jr. & Timothy Thatcher
Oh Andy’s absolutely fucked. Ringkampfe stretching a guy when it’s 2-on-1 is the best use of Thatcher who couldn’t look happier. Andy’s abused like Chavo wrestling Hornswoggle for what feels like ages until Al-Ani returned with a wrapped-up head. Andy made the hot tag, Al-Ani clotheslined both guys and then…immediately tagged Andy back in. What the fuck? Al-Ani removed Axel from the ring and Andy reversed a small package to get the pin. That was an odd finish.
Post-match Jakobi tried to steal the tag titles which caused Ringkampfe to attack A4 some more, who came back and started kicking their arses until Walter made it an unfair fight. Then ring crew got beat up by Ringkampfe until Chris Colen & Francis Kaspin made the save…and got beat up by Ringkampfe. Then one of the promoters walked out and got beat up by Ringkampfe, what the hell is happening. Jakobi punchef the promoter as he was held down and Colen & Kaspin recovered to brawl some more. Jakobi got a chair but Kim Ray showed up, which the crowd loved. A wrestler explained he was one of the most disliked wrestlers in the history of wXw. As he was explaining this, he was shaking his head going ”They’re cheering him so loudly now, I’m so confused.” That’s finally the end of the gauntlet tag match and segment and…wow. The action was fine until it took a hard-left and had Ringkampfe lose the match THEN beat everyone up for way too long. This show was four hours long, I don’t need an extended nWo-ending-Nitro beatdown mid-way through.
David Starr vs. Jurn Simmons vs. Emil Sitoci vs. Cody Rhodes
Starr defending the Shotgun Title in another four-way because he’s a fighting champ. Emil was out of the tournament due to an injury so but er here he is, back to being a cock. He looks exactly the same as he did in 2003 wrestling for Chikara (edit: he didn’t appreciate that on Twitter, complaining he’s a lot more muscle-packed now. It was intended as a compliment, ya youthful cock) and the rest of the wrestlers take turns beating him (yayyy!) This is a more serious match than yesterday with three of the wrestlers being respectful to one another and Emil being a weasel. Highlights included Starr going punch-crazy to Jurn in the corner, Cody springboard dropkicking across the ring and Emil taking advantage of Starr hesitating to cheat with his title belt and pinning him after a Snapmare Driver. New champ, angry crowd but they showed respect to Starr afterwards because he’d done such a good job defending it across the USA and Canada.
Alpha Kevin vs. Marius Van Beethoven
Long video package to cover the big feud these two have been having, which explained why these two hate each other and why this match is…no ropes. The ring can’t contain this amount of feudage. A load of Beethoven dollars fell from the ceiling and I was lucky enough to grab one. Then I messed it up by nearly trying to pay for a coffee with it. This is all Kevin’s revenge for Marius’ violence against his woman, so he beat the piss out of him with giant clotheslines and a kendo stick. The lack of ring ropes meant everyone at ringside was stood up as they were afraid they’ll get a mouthful of wrestler. Alpha went for a big dive to the outside but Marius side-stepped and the front set of chairs got taken out. It only caused a brief respite for Marius who received an almighty shit-kicking for the majority of the match. Mercifully the slaughter and feud ended with a Package Piledriver off the apron through a table. I was in view of some of the wrestlers who were watching the show on the balcony and they freaked out with a mixture of amusement and shock after that move. Wrestlers are a funny bunch. Both men have only been doing this for two years which is impressive and also possibly explains why Marius was fine with getting destroyed.
JT Dunn & Donovan Dijak vs. ACH & Mike Bailey
Cody Rhodes is guest-starring as a bad guy manager for Dunn & Dijak, complete with shades and suit. The crowd wanted a dance-off again and throw money into the ring like yesterday, which Cody made a dive for. Dunn & Dijak interrupt the dancing and decide to cosplay as old school dicks the whole match, complete with ref distractions and manager interference. It’s a nice change of pace considering everything has happened these three days. Dijak’s probably a guy that beats up people who cut him off in traffic so it doesn’t take much for him to turn that into wrestling. Bailey got worked over until he ended Dunn’s life with a huge kick to the head as Dunn cart-wheeled. ACH made the hot tag and played D & D’s game by distracting the ref to cock-slap Dunn. Everything ACH did received a crazy response and Dunn & Dijak should team up more, they had great chemistry and even managed a 3D together. ACH recovered after a Tombstone on the ramp to dive over the ropes to RKO Dijak, and Bailey finished with the Shooting Star Knee Press. Fun tag match with hamming up and everyone getting ”it.”
Ilja Dragunov vs. Walter
I’m tired, I’ve watched a lot of wrestling and my fingers are bloody stubs at this point. But this match was amazing live and I’m happy to re-watch it. Final Boss Walter tried to put his hand through Ilja’s chest with some of the loudest chops I’ve ever heard. They sounded like shotgun blasts and bust open poor Ilja’s chest something fierce. But could Ilja the man-weapon be stopped by Walter’s offence? Not even with a blood-red chest. BUT! Could Ilja do enough to put down the huge Walter? This was as close to ”The Unstoppable Force meeting The Unmovable Object” as I’ve seen in wrestling in ages. The crowd was 90% behind Ilja, who was able to running powerbomb Walter (well, walking but let’s not quibble here) off the top rope for two. Walter was a bastard in response to that, kicking Ilja in mid-air as he came off the top and locked in the Clutch after a kick-out which was enough to end the previous matches but not Ilja. Walter responded by serving him Lariat pie and a huge powerbomb but neither of those couldn’t end Ilja. Walter went back to chopping the beetroot-stain of a pectoral muscle but Ilja refused so they went chop-for-chop for several minutes and it was like watching fucking Saw. I was shouting ”ahh!!!” so loud with the rest of the twitter people that I’m pretty sure it’s audible on commentary.
They upped the battle to running chops in the corner but Ilja saw an opening land Torpedo Moskau for…two. This only made him gurn harder, even after his second attempt got him Rikishi Driver’d. Walter went for yet another potential life-threatening chop but Ilja nailed Torpedo Moskau out of nowhere to end the match and win the tournament.
Fuck me ragged. Crowd erupted in cheers, glitter fell from the ceiling, Ilja held the trophy up and for a short time, all was well in the world.
So that was wXw. I loved the wrestling and the level of professionalism and presentation by the company as much as I hated the Oberhausen train system. It was cool eating schnitzel with people I usually only talk to on Twitter and also meeting various cool European wrestlers like Dirty Dragan and The Rotation I probably wouldn’t have had a chance to say hello to otherwise.
Anything with Matt Riddle, ACH, Walter or Ilja.
Edited entrances. Oh and missing Day 1 and being stressed as hell. Really sorry if you met me and thought ”huh, he’s weirder in person”, I was ready to give up wrestling and become a monk.
So see you in October for World Tag league with hopefully more Meatloaf.