wXw Fans Appreciation Night N1
August 31 2018
We’re in Hamburg, Germany at the Markthalle. Hosts are Rico Bushido, Andy Jackson and Alan Counihan.
wXw Tag Team Championship
Monster Consulting (c) vs. JayFK
Two very good tag teams here. The powerhouse Monster Consulting against the ‘fresh’ JayFK. Two cocky, brash young heels determined to win by any means. We spent a chunk of the last two podcasts on VOW talking about how improved Julian Nero has been over the past year. Being part of Monster Consulting has done wonders for him. He’s a huge guy but here he plays Monster In Peril. This runs to formula but in doing so draws solid crowd response. Skillet does a fine job of baiting Avalanche and the crowd.
Then in turn showing incredible cowardice when Avalanche gets the hot tag.
— Arn – doing World Cup of Rock films (@ArnoldFurious) September 5, 2018
JayFK are very creative in keeping Nero controlled and Avalanche out of the ring. Which in turn allows Avalanche to look so explosive every time he comes in. While Avalanche looks incredible everyone plays their part to make that happen. In my opinion Skillet is the star of this match. He helps to set everything up. He brings the heat and then gets his comeuppance. Monster Consulting get the clean win with Skillet eating the pin. This was very straightforward formula until the stretch where it got a little more exciting. The formula stuff really worked though.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Fred Yehi vs. Chris Brookes
Yehi is making his wXw debut and he’s touring Europe. If he’s a European regular that could be very exciting. He’s technically excellent and demonstrates that here. The crowd have a little trouble pronouncing Yehi’s name and Tommy announces him as “JAY-HIGH”. Brookes is a selfless wrestler and regularly styles his matches to make a new guy look good. Yehi gets a lot of this, despite being significantly shorter. Brookes isn’t just a punching bag here and brings a degree of technical skill of his own. The Kondo Clutch comes out of the sleeve.
Plus a nice little variation on the Abdominal Stretch. The near falls right before the finish are a little wacky because of the height difference and I’m fairly sure the one pin on Brookes is on the top of his head.
This was a tidy little wrestling match. I’m looking forward to Yehi’s run in Europe.
Final Rating: ***1/4
wXw Shotgun Championship
Marius Al-Ani (c) vs. Bobby Gunns
It’s a little strange to see Gunns walk into Hamburg as a) a babyface and b) not the Shotgun champion. If there’s one building where he’s maintained nothing but fan contempt it would be Hamburg but there’s no Werder Bremen scarf here.
Gunns is a terrific technician, one who’s grown on my an enormous amount of the past year, while Al-Ani has the kind of speed and state of the art offence that clicks well with it. Having switched the heel/face alignment does wonders for the match. I persist that Al-Ani was a useless babyface outside of A4 and that’s been justified by his recent heel turn. The guys turn this into a mini-classic. Two guys going back and forth, wailing on each other. The crowd buy into it 100% and it’s a pretty great little match. They duel on technique, on submissions and on stand up. The match has a strong backbone too with Gunns going after the arm all match and Al-Ani going after the leg in response. They stick to this throughout, drifting in and out of that psychological core when it suits.
But they don’t get tied down by it, instead keeping the match exciting and varied. It’s two very good wrestlers putting out there what they’re capable of. Which is what the Shotgun title is all about. Building new stars. Marius gets counted out to retain the title but up to that point the match was all kinds of great.
Final Rating: ****
Doug Williams vs. Veit Muller
Doug is on a farewell tour of sorts. Here he runs headlong into Veit Muller, who is starting to make a name for himself, almost out of nowhere. Where wXw succeed in booking Doug is by booking him against someone who can wrestle at a slower pace and make it exciting. Progress keeps booking Doug against younger guys who want to work faster but can’t. Veit can wrestle Doug’s style and do all the classic European mat spots and it’s beautiful. The double pin stuff is sheer gold. As I’ve said before though it’s very much ‘horses for courses’ and this crowd is right for this match. These two are right for each other.
Doug Williams looks like he’s having the time of his life, which is a huge contrast to the Progress run where he looks borderline unhappy with how the matches come across. Not only that, the match is almost 15 minutes long and Doug never looks like he’s struggling in any way. It’s a huge contrast to the Progress stuff. It almost beggars belief. It also takes me back to watching Doug wrestle on the UK Indies some ten years (and longer) ago. Where he’d have fun matches with the likes of Johnny Moss. Veit Muller is that kind of wrestler. The match won’t connect with everyone due to the old fashioned nature but it’s a pleasant 15 minutes for me. Chaos Theory finishes. Doug’s post match promo is lovely. “I don’t know if this will be the last match here in Hamburg…”
Final Rating: ***1/4
Video Control tells us wXw gets another eight promotions on wXwnow starting on October 1st including CZW, White Wolf from Spain and Wrestling Kult. I am excited for variety.
wXw Women’s Championship #1 Contender’s Match
Melanie Gray vs. Kris Wolf vs. Killer Kelly
The winner of this match gets to wrestle Alpha Female for the vacant wXw Women’s title, caused by an injury to Toni Storm.
Mella is the only heel so she sits out while Wolf and Kelly do some fun stuff. I’m glad Wolf has the chance to do some work around Europe but I’m equally sad she can’t wrestle in Japan where she feels so at home. Multiple person matches are very hard to construct and this has issues but Gray is the heel focal point. She switches opponents and acts of evil. The spot where she kicks Kris’ tail off is inspired. The match feels somewhat truncated and Kelly pins Wolf with a fisherman suplex while Mella is sat in the corner. This felt a little rushed and they only got six minutes. The real story is that Melanie Gray didn’t get pinned. Also now Kelly has to go through Alpha Female if she wants the strap again.
Final Rating: **1/2
Ringkampf vs. David Starr & Ilja Dragunov
This was supposed to be Ringkampf vs. Sexy Starr but Jack Sexsmith had a family issue he needed to attend to at the last minute.
In all honesty; this is a massive upgrade. No offence to Jack. The fact the crowd chant “this is awesome” before it even starts should be an indicator that you’ve got your finger on the pulse of your fanbase.
There are so many micro stories within this. Starr being unable to beat WALTER. Starr having tapped to Thatcher at Tag League last year. WALTER losing several times to Ilja this year in big matches. Starr shows a lot of creativity in working around WALTER’s big spots. Looking like he’s prepared himself for this and then WALTER grabs him by the throat and slaps him across the face. Starr is probably hoping for underdog love from the crowd but instead, trapped in submissions, is serenaded by Tim Thatcher chants. It’s worth it for the big smile across Thatcher’s face. He’s home. The Thatcher/Dragunov exchanges in this are really good and they’re the two guys with no real backstory. I’m hoping Thatcher gets to have some big money singles matches on this run. This match is very much My Graps. Maintaining a largely traditional structure with Ringkampf having more success due to their experiences together. WALTER murders Starr with John Woo and they do a great double team powerbomb only for Dragunov to come flying over the top of WALTER to break up the pin off the top rope. The timing and flow is so perfect. I love the double sleeper and the double counter and the four way strike battle. Everything is so fiery good. Thatcher outsmarts Starr again for the pin. This was top wrestling. Structured like a traditional match but culminating in a super hot finale. Oh, it was so great.
Final Rating: ****1/4
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
Absolute Andy (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr
Andy, incredible dickhead, superkicks Zack while he’s being introduced. I didn’t really expect this to start with a brawl around ringside but that’s Andy being Andy. What surprises people is Sabre winning that fight on the floor. The standard for Andy is trying an array of different approaches, usually all illegal. When outside the ring doesn’t work he switches into bully mode and stomps Zack in the corner. It doesn’t take Zack long to turn that around and start torturing Andy’s arm. Andy’s next attempt is the Sharpshooter and Zack wrestles his way out of that repeatedly. The way he slips his leg out is incredible.
Andy tries another bullying technique by grabbing a hold and trying to stop Sabre from tearing him apart and he’s countered repeatedly. With Andy he’s got so many big matches he’s never had the chance to do as he’s never been given the ball to run with. Now he’s here, wXw’s main star, he’s having a great time. Maybe his matches aren’t technically as strong as other wrestlers but they’re consistently intriguing. When you think you’ve seen Andy do everything you know he can do he busts out something ridiculous like a super rana (no, really). He’s saved all his best shit for when he was the champ and now we’re seeing it. Sabre is a great guy to have a big match with because he’s so smooth. He finds counters for everything Andy has including the low blow, right into a submission. Andy is effectively beaten but he kicks Tas in the bollocks. Rainer Ringer is about to call a DQ but Zack talks him out of it and walks right into the F5. Andy retains! What a prick.
Final Rating: ****
wXw used to be a company you could get away with skimming through and only watching two weekends a year seriously. Now every major or semi-major event they have is absolutely killer. I watched this on the back of All In and this is the better show for me. It was consistently good. The variety was nice and we were done in 2h30m. You should definitely watch the Ringkampf tag. It’s part of a bigger picture and interwoven storylines. Everything seems to be coming good for wXw on a regular basis. Nothing on this card was bad, only the women’s match came in under 3.25 and that’s because it was 5 minutes long rather than any issue with the match. Strong recommendation to get wXw now ASAP as they’re about to add even more content and it’s already one of the best streaming services out there. Plus they schedule their releases so you know exactly when they’re coming.