wXw Back to the Roots XVII
January 20 2018
We’re in Oberhausen, Germany at the Turbinenhalle for wXw’s first big show of 2018. Headlined by the Käfigschlacht eight man cage match. This year it’s RISE vs. wXw, headed up by Ringkampf and WALTER. Can WALTER stop the tide of Klinger’s RISE unit or will they take over wXw for good? Hosts for the English language feed are Christian Michael Jakobi and Emil Sitoci. Because it’s “Back to the Roots” we’re going hardcore in Westside Xtreme Wrestling!
Melanie Gray vs. Martina the Session Moth
Martina was due to make the final of the women’s title tournament but Mella took her out and then managed to lose to Killer Kelly in the final anyway. An angry Moth is back for revenge and we’re doing it under hardcore rules. If you think it won’t get extreme remember Mella was in one of the most violent matches of 2017 at this event, getting destroyed by Jazzy. Now Mel is evil the dynamic is reversed.
Her “I got screwed” t-shirt is a weird ‘lost in translation’ thing where I’m laughing at it and I bet Martina is chuckling too. Martina is better known for her character than her in-ring talent. Martina doesn’t grasp the concept of a blood feud and instead indulges in beer-based antics.
Emil: who would you rather take in a fight?
CMJ: Martina, because she’s drunk.
We get thumbtacks in the opening match! Putting the “Xtreme” back in wXw. It’s a reversal of last year’s Back to the Roots with Melanie this time dishing out the abuse. It’s bizarre to see a women’s match where there’s a superplex through a table and it’s not the goddamn finish. Martina ends up winning with a Codebreaker with the chair. This was weird. The violence was so strange. It was like a video game. I’m just not accustomed to seeing Martina do stuff like this.
Final Rating: **3/4
Bobby Gunns pops out here to have a smoke break. He’s somehow managed to slide over to the babyface side in recent weeks as the crowd have gotten used to him being a prick and almost agree with it. Absolute Andy interrupts to call Bobby a rookie who hasn’t graduated from cigarettes to cigars, like the real men.
The war of words causing ripples of amusements among the crowd. Bobby calls Andy fat and Andy responds by saying Gunns would have to live a hundred years to fuck as many women as he has.
Jurn Simmons vs. Dirty Dragan
This is completely one-sided. Dragan knew this coming in though. Here’s the tweet:
Small. But I have to do this, Arnold. Sometimes you have to face your issues head-on. Even if it hurts.
— Dirty Dragan (@DirtyDragan) January 18, 2018
Jurn has made little alterations to his gear here. His hair is tied up and he’s got gloves on. It’s subtle but it makes him look that little bit tougher. Like he didn’t want to get blood on his hands. Jurn and Dragan are good buddies away from wrestling and regularly do video game stuff together online. Jurn spends most of the match throwing Dragan around and Dragan brings heart with the desperation kick-outs. Jurn then gets annoyed with Dragan kicking out and pulls him up after a piledriver so he can inflict further abuse. Dragan perhaps plays this a little too light-hearted but this is his nature. Jurn slaps on the Rings of Saturn, although Dragan is already out and it’s over.
I wouldn’t call this a bad match. It was what it needed to be. Jurn is a killer and he needed a big decisive victory over a comedy wrestler and that’s what happened. Dragan has terrific sympathy so the match worked fine. Dragan tries to laugh off Jurn’s post match assault and gets a heavy kendo stick beating for his troubles.
Final Rating: **
Da Mack vs. Chris Colen
Colen has always felt like a heel in disguise so this match has wonky alignment. The crowd is very quiet at the start of the match and Mack has to develop an evil strategy; going after Colen’s historically damaged shoulder, to get an advantage. And the crowd politely applaud him doing dropkicks and stuff. Stop being so nice, Germans! The size difference plays into the psychology somewhat, a wXw trait, and Colen is dominant. This makes for a fairly dull contest and a disinterested crowd. Colen slowly runs through his assault, at times stalling needlessly and then getting predictably countered. Mack Magic finishes outta nowhere. For whatever reason I wasn’t feeling this at all.
There are certain matches on wXw’s undercards that just seem to ‘exist’ and not do anything for me. This was one of them. No offence to either wrestler. I’ve enjoyed Mack’s heel run and the Colen storyline has been a good logical progression but this was flat.
Final Rating: **
Bobby Gunns vs. Absolute Andy
This is technically heel-heel and the crowd side with whoever they want. Andy receives literal crowd support; the one guy grabs his hand to help on an abdominal stretch!
Gunns finds himself at a disadvantage when wrestling a bigger man with more experience so he takes the arm and abuses the old timer. Andy, in response, smashes him. It’s an interesting match with the contrasting strengths of the two wrestlers. Bobby is definitely a wrestler on the rise and his improvement has been quite staggering. Andy hitting power moves and Bobby countering into submissions off the pins is great stuff and the fans totally buy into it. It’s a raucous atmosphere and a really good match. I turned the corner on Gunns during 2017 and it’s clear his 2018 is going to be solid.
Andy clearly cheats, using a wrench and punches while plucky Bob resorts to technical wrestling to disarm him. Andy downs Bobby with the superkick after failing with the F5. I like him using the superkick as a more devastating move after it was responsible for flooring Al-Ani when he turned heel. This was really good. The show needed a good match and this was it.
Final Rating: ***3/4
wXw Women’s Championship
Killer Kelly (c) vs. Toni Storm
Toni had to win the entire Femmes Fatales tournament to get this shot, during which Kelly lost. Meanwhile Kelly managed to ‘fluke’ the title win to become wXw’s first women’s champ. Now comes the real challenge; trying to hold onto it! Toni is the premier women’s wrestler in Europe, although she’s Australian. It’s a tough contest for Kelly and she starts hard and fast to counterbalance expectations. It doesn’t take Toni long to turn the tide but it’s interesting to note Kelly is super aggressive here. Toni doesn’t have to deal with that too often (Wesna aside). Kelly’s aggression is for naught though and she falls at her first defence to Strong Zero. Toni Storm: Belt Collector.
Final Rating: ***
Video Control takes us up to the commentary station where Toni Storm talks to CMJ about capturing another title. She puts over Kelly and is buzzing.
Käfigschlacht Eight Man Tag Team Match
RISE vs. Ringkampf & Monster Consulting
It starts out as Bad Bones vs. WALTER, which is the core of this thing. With Ilja having failed to wrest the wXw belt from John Klinger it now falls to WALTER to represent wXw. Bones is a tough bastard so WALTER can beat on him for a full five minutes and he’ll take it. RISE, as heels, naturally get the man advantage. It’s astonishing how often heels win coin tosses. Maybe they cheat. So Ivan Kiev comes out next, followed by Julian Nero. Lucky Kid gives the advantage back to RISE and in moments gets his character across and kills it. He’s been the big winner of the RISE angle. Timothy Thatcher swings the momentum back to the faces as the crowd sing the Ringkampf music (also the BritWres Roundtable music. What a coincidence). Tarkan Aslan is the last man for RISE. He’s also the worst wrestler in RISE. He does some weird kicks right at the start of his involvement where he scurries across the ring to gain momentum and then stops before delivering a kick anyway. I don’t get anything he does. None of it makes any sense. Last man in is the Avalanche. He’s been the decisive factor in the last two kafigschlacht matches. He’s the big monster in this match and he decimates all of RISE. When he gets going there’s no stopping him. Pete Bouncer is the first to take advantage of the lack of rules by passing a chair to Bad Bones, who takes Avalanche out of the running with it.
It doesn’t work, despite bloodying the monster, and Avalanche has the champ in trouble with the camel clutch. The same move that he tapped out to last year. Comedy failure Pete Bouncer is again key in RISE not losing, causing interference and distraction. He even intimidates the official into giving him the key to the cage. Bouncer’s help backfires and Klinger gets trapped in the cage on his own. Poor Pete, he can’t do anything right. There’s a telling moment once RISE get back in charge where Thatcher refuses to submit despite being choked with a chair. Hell, he might even pass out if Bones doesn’t get so pissed off with Bouncer that he attacks him. I like that RISE regard Avalanche as the biggest threat and go out of their way to ensure he can’t be effective. Eventually putting him through a table on the stage. I also like how WALTER marshals the wXw forces. He’s a leader. Bones is an agitator. This is why RISE can only win by using a numbers game. The match suffers slightly from the slow build. Spacing out the big spots once they get into the exciting section is also a detriment. The focus is heavily on the booking and the storytelling. It’s not the kind of blowaway main event with lots of wacky high spots but rather a slower paced throwback. The idea is that it makes the match more memorable and I get that wXw like to deliver something different but too often in this match there are just a bunch of guys lying around waiting for something to happen. Plus I have to put up with Ivan Kiev and his fucking awful kendo stick shots. It’s not Triple H’s sledgehammer pal, just swing the bastard thing. I do dig Thatcher choking Kiev out on the ropes and falling through a table, thus eliminating them both. Avalanche stops Bouncer from interfering at the finish and Klinger gets choked out by WALTER. This was on the long side with too much dead time but I enjoyed the majority of the booking as it made sense. I’m not sure Klinger should have been the man to take the fall but he can now blame Bouncer for it.
Final Rating: ***1/2
I considered going to this show and I’m kinda glad I ended up at High Stakes instead. The highs were higher and the atmosphere was superb. Not that this show was a disaster or anything but High Stakes was definitely the better show. The bulk of this card was dedicated to the main event and it didn’t blow me away. The second half of the show was all at least good though so it’s a minor thumbs up.