GWF Legacy 2018
23 Jahre Berlin Wrestling
November 3 2018
We’re in Berlin, Germany at Huxley’s Neue Welt. This aired on WeAreGWF.com and is available through their VOD service. “Berlin, motherfuckers, this is our Legacy!” British commentary comes from Dave Bradshaw and James O’Leary. They’re broadcasting live here, as are the Germans on the next desk over.
GWF Berlin Championship
Cem Kaplan (c) vs. El Phantasmo vs. Michael Kovac vs. Mike Bailey
ELP is more over in Germany than in the UK, which shows the depth of the UK scene that he doesn’t particularly stand out in the UK. ELP has been working flippy matches with Senza Volto for the last six months. Kovac isn’t a regular but is well known in German wrestling. Micky Speedbollocks is making his GWF debut.
Kaplan, the champ, is in a group called Grup Anarsi, which is a Turkish based heel faction. Speedball vs. ELP is lovely. I’m quite happy for them to go 100mph against each other while the other two just watch. The lightning fast pace allows Mike Bailey to show off and he’s the clear cut star of the contest. Kaplan is in this heel faction but he’s not the leader. The leader is Ali Aslan, who interferes on his behalf from the floor. The pacing of the match is great. Driven by Bailey and ELP but supported by the other two. Kovac plays into the spirit of the thing by going to do something spectacular and not, because it’s Michael Kovac and he’s not doing flips. Kaplan is an obvious weak link but he’s not obviously bad here, which is a bonus. Another bonus is an animated, excitable crowd that love what they’re being presented. That is until the finish where Ali Aslan distracts the ref to stop Bailey winning and Kaplan takes it with a roll up. Very entertaining match and GWF brought in talent to try and make Kaplan look good but instead they made each other look good!
Final Rating: ***3/4
GWF Women’s Championship
Ayesha Raymond (c) vs. Jamie Hayter
Hayter has been working in GWF, on and off, for a few years but Raymond is the newly found GWF women’s ace.
GWF clearly see her as an individual who they can build around. Hayter is traditionally a heel and I’m so used to her working heel that her babyface fire catches me off guard. The crowd don’t support her strongly and the traditional heel/face alignments don’t necessarily drive the match. Hayter finds herself overwhelmed by the power of Raymond and having the larger Ayesha largely dominate is for the best. They club each other quite a lot and the crowd are appreciative. Raymond drills Hayter with the sitout powerbomb to retain. This was rock solid. I’ve not seen a lot of Ayesha Raymond but last year WWE were looking at her and you can see why.
Final Rating: ***
CIMA vs. T-Hawk
This feels a little weird but OWE are on a world tour trying to gain friends in every corner of the world. They flew over specifically for this sandwiched in between Japanese dates. Normally Japanese guys come over and work multiple different promotions. T-Hawk is the younger and stronger wrestler. CIMA at one point was one of the best wrestlers in the world. Now he’s very much an inspiration for younger, up and coming talent.
They do a good job of working each other over on the mat and teasing submissions rather than go nuts. Then they step it up and start stomping the shit out of each other. I’m a little disappointed in Dave Bradshaw, calling CIMA’s presence an honour at the start, not recognising his spots. T-Hawk puts CIMA way with the Knight Ride in a very strong exhibition match. The crowd, as they’ve been all show so far, were very into the action. Obviously it’s two very high quality wrestlers so they weren’t going to disappoint. A good advert for what they’re doing in OWE.
Final Rating: ****
Bad Bones vs. Pascal Spalter
Bones ended up in GWF more regularly after leaving wXw earlier in the year. Since then he’s been involved in a feud with Spalter. Big Pascal is the heel, which is weird to me but he is a bit of an asshole. Bones does all babyface stuff but I’m struggling to look past his RISE run, which was so defining to him as a character.
Instead I find myself enjoying Spalter, as it’s his character that drives the match. The Toilet Seat is a wonderful piece of heel business. Babyface Bones actually works his socks off, flying around the ring and coming off the top with a picture perfect Savage Elbow. The match develops into a cracking back and forth match with great false finishes. I’m shocked, honestly, I thought they’d do something more storyline based. Anyway, Bones jumps into Spalter’s finish and Pascal picks up the win to the disgust of the crowd.
Final Rating: ***1/2
GWF Loserweight Championship
Benji (c) vs. Arash
This title is similar to DDT’s King of Dark. If you win, you lose the title. Benji is the current champion. If he wins then Arash is the new champion. Benji is quite the character. Arash gets the Goldberg in WCW entrance.
Arash, who’s failed to make it to the ring this year, makes it to the ring thanks to his security detail and gets a huge pop! This is wrestling. Benji, the Debrecen Sausage Boy, is a wonderful character. He does silly little flips but does them into really low impact moves. A prime example of him bringing that low impact style into the extreme, he pulls out a ladder with ONE rung. Benji hits a springboard Torpedo Moscow, stealing Ilja Dragunov’s mega-finish before he’s even thought of it, and loses the Loserweight strap! This was absolutely wonderful on every level.
Final Rating: All the Stars.
Ahmed Chaer & Orlando Silver vs. Crazy Sexy Mike & Rambo
This is one of those storyline bouts. Control of the company is on the line. Chaer is the owner. Mike, his estranged brother, the booker. I don’t think anyone involved realises how ridiculously stupid sounding the heels names are. Crazy Sexy Mike is a comedy wrestlers name. They sound like 12 year old backyarders. Silver is a masked luchadore.
Comms do a decent job of explaining why I should care about this match but having parachuted in I have no frame of reference for any of it. The principle leaders of each team having duelling do-rags, heel Mike with black and Chaer wearing babyface white, is a little on the nose. They work hard and the match is just packed full of stuff but it all comes across poorly. The crowd are into it so maybe I’m completely misreading it. Orlando Silver spears Rambo through a table and it’s over. The crowd pop huge. I don’t. ‘Control of the company’ storylines never do anything for me. It’s a very late 90s Attitude Era kind of thing. I’m just not buying into the future of the company being on the line.
Final Rating: *1/2
Post Match: The Chaer family make up as their dad gets in there and forces them to hug. Thus ending the family feud forever. Probably should have had him do that before they beat each other up really.
Tarkan Aslan vs. Icarus
Aslan is a big star around these parts. Or at the very least carries him like one. Even though he has terrible ring gear. I really like Icarus and he had a breakout year across Europe in 2018. Tarkan has never impressed me and he continues that run here. His selling doesn’t convince me at all. You can see his thought process. He’s not in the moment, he’s thinking about the next spot. I also find his offence patchy at best and anyone who does chinlocks sucks. Icarus is pretty much wasted here and Tarkan wins fairly quickly with the Alpha Driver. In an attempt to be positive about Tarkan Aslan; he knows where cameras are, he knows when to linger and pose and he does all the stuff that most indie wrestlers cannot begin to fathom. And yet a lot of his basics aren’t very good. He’s an infuriating guy to watch.
Final Rating: *1/2
GWF World Championship
Chris Colen (c) vs. Cash Money Erkan
Colen is a solid, reliable old pro. Erkan is a giant of a man and has been booked strong here. Colen has held the belt for almost a year and has beaten everyone. Nothing is more disappointing than the sentence “Bram is waiting for the winner of this one”. If you want to book Bram then fine, go nuts but don’t put him anywhere near the main event. He’s a bad wrestler. This match is actually fine because Colen wrestles it like it’s WWF and he must sell heavily for a larger opponent. They’re not trading back and forth. Colen has to pick his spots and he spends most of the match making Erkan look like a million bucks. What a pro Colen is. I’ve seen Erkan wrestle before described him as looking like a giraffe, both in terms of appearance and movement. He’s much better here, as if being in GWF gives him more confidence. Or Colen’s planning has created an environment where he can succeed. Colen’s babyface fire comeback where he’s getting a load of roll ups and flash pins and such to get near falls is lovely. I’m also a big fan of his last gasp kick outs from Erkan’s power offence. They have incredible near falls where I’m convinced the match is over.
This is where Colen is once again outstanding. His disbelief at Erkan kicking out of the Wolverine’s End is amazing. Often I think wrestlers look dumb for not following up after a near fall but Colen looks so shocked at the kick-out that I understand it here. Erkan rushes his last comeback a touch but the crowd are on fire so what do I know? A second Wolverine’s End puts Erkan down in a surprisingly great match. Incredible work from Colen in this one. I don’t really rate Erkan but he looked incredible in defeat here.
Final Rating: ****
GWF World Championship
Chris Colen (c) vs. Tarkan Aslan
Apparently Aslan has some sort of title shot in the bank so he turns up and they have an impromptu match. Aslan, after one chop, decides he’s going to fatigue sell when wrestling someone who just had a 20-minute match. What is he thinking? Anyway Tarkan hits the Alpha Driver and wins the title, which I’m sure doesn’t come across as hollow after Colen just wrestled a legitimately great match with someone I didn’t think had a great match in them. This was only a few minutes long and came across as a complete bummer.
Final Rating: NR
This was a wild ride from GWF. Some of the matches overdelivered beyond my wildest imagination. The Colen/Erkan match was frankly unbelievably good. I clearly don’t enjoy Tarkan Aslan as much as GWF do but I understand why they like him. He has the look and feel of a star, even if that’s not backed up by how he wrestles. Likewise I didn’t enjoy the ownership angle and that tag match at all but it’s not the kind of thing I enjoy to begin with so there’s no surprise there. The show was consistently strong outside of those two instances though and I was genuinely impressed with everything from the production to the effort in the ring to the crowd responses. It felt like an important night of wrestling and GWF are certainly making the most of what is available to them. The OWE link is quite exciting and I can see why they want more eyes on this show. It’s a winner.