wXw Fans Appreciation N2
September 1 2018
We’re in Oberhausen at the Turbinenhalle.
Millie McKenzie vs. Kris Wolf
Millie has come a long way over the past year but she’s not come up against someone as unusual as Kris Wolf. The antics involve biting, the wolf mask being used on both Millie and the referee and crotch assault.
— Arn – doing World Cup of Rock films (@ArnoldFurious) September 9, 2018
Angry suplex machine Millie is great to watch but she even goes after Wolf’s tail here. You shouldn’t provoke a violent individual. The match is tidy back and forth before Kris gets a roll up win and ekes out the victory. Like the women’s match last night this only went six minutes.
Final Rating: **1/2
World Tag Team League Qualifier:
RISE (Pete Bouncer & Ivan Kiev) vs. Jay-FK vs. Emil Sitoci & Dirty Dragan
I’m torn here because all three of these teams would be good in tag league but for entirely different reasons. The Dragan storyline would benefit from Sitoci literally mentoring him through matches as his tag partner.
Bouncer & Kiev have something to prove after the break ups in RISE while Jay-FK were divided as to whether they were ready for tag league in interviews last year. Now they’re on the same page and believe they are good enough. Jay-FK opt for cowardice here while Dragan brings antics. Bouncer & Kiev end up being the least interesting duo. If it was my choice I think I’d go with Dragan and Sitoci but then I also want Dragan in Carat next year so maybe I’m biased. Dragan trying to overcome the odds is the focal point of their storyline during this match. It occurs to me that they want to a Monster Consulting style tag sprint but only Sitoci is really capable of doing it. Dragan fighting the odds continues to the finish where he can’t hit the Snapmare Driver and ends up eating the kill shot superkick from Skillet and is pinned. Jay-FK is a good choice for the final team in tag league as they came up short by not being in it last year and have definitely progressed over the last 12 months.
Final Rating: **3/4
Doug Williams vs. Fred Yehi
wXw just seem to know who to program Doug in with. I’ve been watching his disappointing Progress run and it’s missing a Veit Muller match (against a similar but much younger opponent) a Fred Yehi (a more modern but differently sized version of the same style).
Yehi is having to build a reputation in Germany from scratch and it reminds me of Starr and Thatcher when they first hit the European scene. There’s a definite clash here but it’s not of styles, but of generations. The things Yehi does are pulled from different sources while Doug pulls his inspiration from the past of British wrestling. It’s a gentle battle. Chaos Theory puts Fred away. I didn’t like this as much as Yehi vs. Brookes or Doug vs. Veit yesterday but it was a pleasant way to spend ten minutes.
Final Rating: **3/4
Bobby Gunns & Lucky Kid vs. Marius Al-Ani & Tarkan Aslan
This is two storylines colliding. Marius taking Gunns’ Shotgun title and turning to the dark side and the Tarkan heel turn. It’s all basically part of one big plot, perpetrated by Aslan and Al-Ani. I certainly didn’t see that coming. Gunns & Kid make for unlikely bedfellows here. United by hatred for the heel duo.
This is potentially a great little match based on revenge and slick action. Al-Ani vs. Lucky Kid was a great singles match this year and there are the briefest of glimpses of it again here. Tarkan blasts Lucky with brass knuckles and Al-Ani takes it with a frogsplash in two minutes flat. This was more about the storyline than the wrestling, which is a pity because it could have been an absolute banger. Bobby’s post match rant is excellent anti-hero stuff. They’re basing him loosely on Steve Austin…only with more cigarettes and its working. The key thing is not having him behave any differently as a babyface.
Final Rating: NR
Last Man Standing
Jurn Simmons vs. David Starr
This was a brilliantly orchestrated story with both men having valuable points to make based on their loss in the final of tag league last year. Eventually leading to Jurn turning heel and his unfortunate broken ankle right before Carat this year. He came back at Shortcut to the Top so this aborted feud is back on!
I love that Tas just jumps out of the ring at the start. Just fucking kill each other lads. I’m only here to count to ten! A Last Man Standing match can go one of two ways. Either the people involved get creative and violent to compensation for a lack of near falls. Or the match type ruins the normal false finish rhythm of the match. I’ve seen it go both ways. In modern wrestling the aim is to, often, excite the crowd and false finishes tends to be the most effective way of doing so. As the heel Jurn is the aggressor; bringing various carnage to proceedings. Starr left to overcome adversity and survive. Sometimes this works to a tee but sometimes the set up is too slow and results in unnaturally long sequences of selling.
I can see why this was originally planned, at Carat 2018 N1, as a main event. As Jurn dismantles the ring in his attempts to destroy Starr. It has less effect here, seeing as the amount of times I’ve seen Ciampa take the ring apart over the past year. After all that time dismantling the ring Jurn is then piledriven on the exposed boards, which feels like a finish but it’s not. Starr tries to come off the top but they both topple onto the exposed boards and that’s the finish. Last Man Standing draws are the worst. I was hoping for some resolution here. What really made me sad was that they didn’t click like I thought they would and the match didn’t have a lot of urgency to it. Lots of effort but sometimes it happens. A better tag team than rivals it seems.
Final Rating: ***1/4
wXw Tag Team Championship
Monster Consulting (c) vs. Ringkampf vs. Aussie Open
wXw has a great tag team division at the moment. Having a yearly tag league seems to keep them focused in maintaining tag team wrestling. Although their current line-up seems stronger than any in recent memory. I’m thrilled for Aussie Open to be involved both here and during tag league. They’ve been sensational since moving to the UK. Kyle Fletcher, despite gaining a lot of weight this year, is the smallest man in this. It’s a three way, tag team hoss fight.
Fletcher vs. Thatcher is a battle I never knew I wanted. I kinda hope Aussie Open vs. Ringkampf happens at tag league. WALTER vs. Mark Davis has happened before, to solid success in Progress. A lot of the match is there to establish Aussie Open as a legitimate threat ahead of tag league but also to set a story that WALTER is still too much for them to deal with. They also do a good job of setting the table for Avalanche vs. Davis. I’ve been really into Monster Consulting’s reign and I’d actually love to see them defend against both Ringkampf and Aussie Open in straight up matches. This meshed three-way is good but denies me the focus that you’d get in a straight tag. Avalanche plants Fletcher with a lariat to retain. I had a nice time here. If you’ve slept on the Monster Consulting title run, you’ve missed some genuinely good stuff. I know they’ll show how good they are tag league too.
Final Rating: ***3/4
wXw Women’s Championship
Alpha Female vs. Killer Kelly vs. Melanie Gray
This was Jazzy vs. Kelly until Mella complained about it and got added. The title is vacant thanks to Toni Storm being out injured. wXw have not had good luck regarding women’s wrestlers and injuries but Toni seemed like a sure thing. I can only assume she was due to drop the strap here anyway, hence her being stripped when she’ll be back in action at the end of the month.
Jazzy has been out for so long it’s hard to recall how she was booked before but it was essentially from a position of dominance before wXw had a women’s division at all. Mella knows about this and basically bails at the start so Kelly can find out how strong Jazzy is first hand. Then she stays on the floor the whole time reacting to impacts and scurrying in to break pins.
Until this happens. Instead of Mella taking a shoeing it becomes a legitimate three-way match, although Gray is well rested. Jazzy is out of sorts after a year on the shelf and Kelly has been taking a beating. Jazzy plants Kelly with a slam but Mella pushes her out of the ring and steals the pin and the belt. I liked the set up of the match, which gave us the best of Jazzy, the monster, and Mella, the coward while Kelly filled in the gaps. Mella is now a heel champion who is imminently beatable. I can see her continuing to sneak victories for a while before losing a big match over Carat weekend. Or she’ll get beaten in her first defence! Who knows with wrestling.
Final Rating: **3/4
wXw Unified World Championship
Absolute Andy (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
There’s a great video package here detailing the abuse suffered by Dragunov in losing the belt. He generally wrestles that high impact style, which shortens careers and certainly shortens title reigns.
Andy goes to his cheating playbook immediately and manages to hit the F5 after shenanigans but Ilja is up at ONE. Dragunov is looking chiselled. He gained a lot of weight in 2016/2017 aiming to be bigger but misjudged his calorie intake. Now he’s lean, mean and looks like a superstar. He dominates Andy here. Puts a beating on him from the F5 kickout onwards.
Ilja’s F5 is amazing. The power. He’s almost a different wrestler. Pete Dunne beware! The good news is this match is significantly better paced and energetic than the title change (the temperature was a huge problem in that match). It proves they can have that big match and I’m glad they had the chance. It’s a great straight up match but Andy always has something up his sleeve. Here he takes advantage of Tas being distracted by Ilja getting all hot headed, and bashes his head in with a chair. For those concerned it wasn’t unprotected and Dragunov got both hands up before sneaky blading under the ring apron. Part of Dragunov’s appeal is his ability to destroy himself in the name of entertainment and his urge to bleed is reminiscent of old school NWA, rather than a blood crazy ECW style bout.
The match changes drastically during Ilja’s blood loss as Andy cuts a promo directly to Ilja’s son Konstantin, offering his paternal instincts as he’d make a better father than Dragunov. There’s a sharp inhalation of air in the building. Dragunov looks quite angry about it. I can’t get a still of it because it’s just a blur of fists. The anger overwhelms Ilja and he waffles Andy with a chair. Naturally that’s a disqualification.
I liked the story they told here. It was an excellent match before the storyline part kicked in. They didn’t overdo any part of the match and I loved Andy goading Ilja into getting disqualified. It almost counts as tactical perfection.
Final Rating: ****
Post Match: Ilja continues the abuse until Bobby Gunns, Shortcut to the Top winner, shows up, blows smoke in Dragunov’s face and kicks him in the nuts! But he’s not here to support Andy. He kicks him in the cobs too. Right in the happy sack. “When two people quarrel a third rejoices”. Bobby Gunns is taking his title shot at tag league.
This was a step down from Hamburg for in-ring but the direction this promotion is heading in never ceases to excite me. The interactions and reasoning up and down the card almost always makes sense. CMJ, and his cohorts, are on a booking tear. The past couple of years has been a snowballing of characters and interaction. I can’t wait to see what happens next and that’s what professional wrestling is all about.