wXw Fan Appreciation Night
September 1 2017
We’re in Hamburg, Germany at the Markthalle. Tonight sees Jurn Simmons attempt to reclaim his wXw Unified title from scumbag Bad Bones, head of RISE. Also RISE look to add the Shotgun title, as Ivan Kiev chases that belt. If he wins RISE have all the titles in wXw. Jurn Simmons has other ideas and has formed a babyface mafia with Kim Ray and A4. They’re not level on numbers but they are getting there. Commentary comes from Rico Bushido and Christian Michael Jakobi. The boss on commentary! He’s a man of many hats. It seems with the Ringkampf angle having run out of steam CMJ is back to being an authority figure.
Francis Kaspin vs. Dirty Dragan
Kaspin is the future of wXw. Dragan is a dispensable comedy heel. It should be a no-brainer. Dragan isn’t a total mess and can wrestle to a decent standard. His job is almost universally to make someone else look good though. Kaspin is able to throw out his range of moves, including a sneaky theft of Koji Kanemoto’s boot scrapes. Commentary discuss whether Kaspin has enough fire, which is probably his biggest issue. I don’t feel his matches yet. They exist and they’re fine but there’s no emotional attachment yet. Dragan tries for the Snapmare Driver as tribute to Emil Sitoci but Kaspin counters him and gets the win. Dragan, perhaps predictably, the cause of his own demise.
Final Rating: **1/2
RISE (Lucky Kid & Pete Bouncer) vs. A4
A variation on the usual RISE duo of LK and Tarkan Aslan; the tag champs. A4 try to be smart and bring Kim Ray with them but the numbers game overwhelms them from the off with Bad Bones leading the entire of RISE out here to beat them down. Because there are six guys in RISE and Jurn’s babyface mafia only has four guys and Jurn isn’t even out here. Kiev chair shotting Kim Ray in the leg is the best part. It’s heels being smarter than dummy babyfaces. The match is a complete mess with no referee and everyone brawling around ringside ad nauseum. This does have a certain karmic effect with Andy beating the shit out of RISE members. They brawl around for about ten minutes and the match finally gets underway!
Lucky Kid is one of my favourite things about RISE. His facial reactions are stunning. CMJ’s reasoning for RISE getting away with everything is that “everything was getting cosy in wXw”. Too many top guys liked each other so a strong heel element has been injected. A4 stand up to it better here than the last couple of shows with Andy taking no shit and Al-Ani having far superior athleticism to the RISE boys. As soon as all the nonsense is done it becomes a very solid tag team match, whether it’s RISE running formula or A4 showing fire. A4 look every bit as good as the team that carried the tag division earlier in the year. Aslan gets caught interfering and he’s booted by Tassilo Jung. A4 drop Bouncer to score the big babyface win but it’s over a pair of RISE wrestlers, not over the tag champs.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Bobby Gunns vs. Timothy Thatcher
Bobby comes out here with a Werder Bremen scarf for instant heat. Timmy Thatcher is going to fuck him up. My favourite Thatcher matches usually involve him abusing some unpleasant young dickhead. Gunns certainly fits that bill. My favourite Bobby Gunns match is when Matt Riddle creamed him in about a minute. Sadly this is a showcase for Bobby Gunns’ improvement as a professional wrestler. Yes, he is getting better and his matwork here is really solid, but I hate his face and want to see him smashed up. If you like your grappling technical this will be on your watchlist though. Thatcher is all about the technical stuff and Gunns makes a point of hanging with him. They counter back and forth on the mat for the entire match and Gunns pulls out a huge win with a cross armbreaker. Credit to Thatcher for coming in and putting over the young talent. He’s here to teach and help people improve. When it comes to the technical side of things there are a few wrestlers who need help. Gunns looked great here. Better than I’m used to seeing him for sure.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Ilja Dragunov vs. The Avalanche
This is a number one contender’s match, brought about by Avalanche ruining Ilja’s title match; earned by winning 16 Carat. While wXw is facing a threat from the outside the former Cerberus members are still bickering and in-fighting. Basically Dreissker can’t get past the popularity of Dragunov. The match can’t be contained by the ring and big man Dreissker takes a tasty backdrop on the stage. This leads to Dragunov grabbing a table and Dreissker putting him through it. These are two guys hell bent on destroying each other. They may never be friends again, or even civil. This rapidly descends into chaos and violence. Dragunov feels he must beat Dreissker here to deserve a title match. Dreissker thinks he was cheated by Dragunov at 16 Carat and thinks that was his tournament. It’s a brutal, hard-hitting match. Some of the impacts make me gasp. It’s mostly because of Dreissker’s sheer size. He smashes into people at terrifying speed for a man his size.
That and his love of cowbells. There’s no impact in wrestling better than the solid clunk of a good cowbell. The only thing the match is lacking is bloodshed. With both guys being clocked in the noggin with metal objects you’d think bleeding would be inevitable. They bring in a second table and Ilja takes a suplex on it and it becomes very apparent it’s not even remotely gimmicked as he bounces off. It’s a horrific bump. I doubt all of Dragunov’s vertebrae are intact. Torpedo Moscow and Dreissker survives and there’s the blood! A powerbomb onto chairs sets up another Torpedo Moscow and Dragunov reclaims his #1 contender’s spot, crawling through Dreissker’s blood, sweat and tears to take it. Dragunov is really good at the carnage match.
Final Rating: ****
wXw Shotgun Championship
David Starr (c) vs. Ivan Kiev vs. Flip Gordon
What is it with wXw and triple threat matches? There seems to be one on every show and almost all Shotgun title matches are multi-man. Gordon, from ROH, is making his wXw debut. He’s been getting a few European bookings of late. Starr is the self-proclaimed “greatest ever” Shotgun champion. He has the most reigns (three) but he’s only fifth on the list of time spent as champion (behind Axel Tischer, Ilja Dragunov, Da Mack and Kim Ray). Flip Gordon enjoys a good flip. CMJ refers to him as being “not my style” but he booked him for the fans, hence “Fan Appreciation Night”. The match works best when Kiev is thrown out to the floor and left there. Get in the bin! When Ivan is in the match it’s very clunky. It’s frustrating because Gordon vs. Starr is an exciting dodges/counters kinda match. I’ve never seen Flip Gordon before and he impresses on his wXw debut. His timing is decent, his moves are spectacular and he offers a high-flying style that no one else on this roster is capable of. The match is going beyond expectations until the arrival of Bad Bones. The distraction proves enough and Kiev downs Flip while Starr is on the floor. RISE now have every single belt in wXw.
Final Rating: ***1/2
wXw Unified World Championship
Bad Bones (c) vs. Jurn Simmons
It’s weird seeing Jurn as challenger after his dominance over the past year and a half. Bones is already disinteresting to me as a heel champion and this feels like an reign establishing defence for Klinger, not a legitimate challenge. Even though Jurn has been such a big player in wXw and Klinger lost the belt quickly in his first reign. Hamburg used to be Bad Bones’ main city for support and since he turned heel the response was considerably more mixed. It’s weird that whoever gets booed the most at Carat usually finds themselves on the end of the heel turn shortly afterward. The match is fine until the usual RISE bullshit, which is already becoming a cancer upon wXw’s main events. Ivan Kiev literally gets into the ring and hits a DVD before Jurn’s Babyface Mafia shows up for support. The reverse interference from Andy is actually well done and shows what a difference timing and subtlety makes. You can run the bullshit as long as it’s done properly; something most heel stables have no understanding of. The match then deteriorates as Tass gets bumped and the RISE bullshit leads to Jurn losing. Some people walk out immediately, not bothering to witness the inevitable ‘pointing in the air’ nonsense from this pack of assholes. Apart from one fat guy in the front row.
Final Rating: **3/4
When wXw is good, it’s tough to argue with the booking. They have storylines for everyone and that culminates in angles that grow and flourish and they blow-off with stuff like Dragunov vs. Dreissker, years in the making. Then when it doesn’t work you get something like RISE. There’s a tonne of investment, like there was with Ringkampf, and the company goes all-in on it. The trouble is; the big generic heel stable angle has been done elsewhere, been done better and been executed more sensibly elsewhere. RISE doesn’t do it for me, at all. Watch Dragunov vs. Dreissker from this show, skip all the RISE crap.