In the lead up to this year’s 16 Carat Gold Tournament we decided to take a look back at last year's tournament. With a wealth of talent from around the world and history of turning out great matches this is sure to be one hell of a ride.
Match # 1
Da Mack vs Cody Rhodes
So, we kick the tournament off with two men who have plied their trade in the WWE and their statuses there would show a clear favourite for this match but anything can happen once you step inside the squared circle.
Not a bad opening match for the show, the crowd was super jazzed to see Cody and the bullet club chants and hand gestures were super over. Da Mack showed off some impressive high-flying one move of note from the match would be his double corner springboard cannonball senton which looks spectacular. Cody worked as the bigger man wearing Da Mack down with powerful strikes, a big powerslam and a disaster kick which got a near fall. Da Mack fought back and was close twice to pulling of his finisher but Cody managed to slip out of it the second time and straight into the Cross-Rhodes which spiked Da Mack right on his head and got the W for Cody.
Match # 2
JT Dunn vs Marius Al-Ani
Our next match pits one half of the tag team champions in Al-Ani against the protege of Chris Hero, being the smaller man does JT Dunn have the power behind his strikes to put Al-Ani away?
JT Dunn nearly pulls off an upset by hitting a roaring elbow in the opening seconds for a near fall. Dunn truly started this match off as a house of fire not letting Al-Ani clear the cobwebs from that early knockdown, hitting delicious chops and hard strikes but when Al-Ani turned it around he took firm control of the match. Al-Ani stands at 5’9 but looks a lot taller and his dropkick is a thing of beauty very similar to that of Kazuchika Okada and he used it to good effect multiple times in this match. In the end Al-Ani countered Dunn’s third attempt at a rolling cutter and then came off the top with a huge frog splash to get the win and advance in the tournament.
Rating - 5.5/10
Match # 3
Koji Kanemoto vs Timothy Thatcher
One half of Ringkampf takes on the third incarnation of Tiger Mask and the innovator of the Koji clutch a legendary Jr heavyweight in Koji Kanemoto, what will win out here Koji’s vast experience advantage or Thatcher’s unrelenting will to win?
A slower more shoot style kind of match, with Kanemoto focusing his attacks on Thatcher’s legs and Thatcher focusing his assault on Kanemoto’s arms. Kanemoto threw some really quick strike combos and even got Thatcher in the corner for his patented face washes, Thatcher came up after that bleeding from the nose. Kanemoto locked in two ankle locks and it looked for all the world that Thatcher was done but he managed to transition out into an inverted armbar then transitioned to the other arm before clutching both and rolling Kanemoto onto his shoulders for the 3. Slower match and less hard hitting but a very respectable display from Kanemoto who at the time had just recently hit 50 years of age.
Rating - 5/10
Match # 4
Ilja Dragunov vs Robert Dreissker
After Ilja’s ousting from Cerberus he gets his hands-on Robert Dreissker his former tag partner in what is certain to be a hotly contested contest.
Ilja is super over with the crowd thoroughly behind him and this is by far the match of the first round so far. Ilja comes out like a man possessed and hits the torpedo Moscow as the first move of the match. As this is former tag partners duking it out it's a hard-hitting match with both Ilja and Dreissker taking control on the outside for a time. Back inside Dreissker goes to the middle rope but Ilja cuts him off and carries the much larger man to the middle of the ring before hitting a Saito suplex. As Ilja goes to the top rope to finish Dreissker Adam Polak gets involved on the apron spitting pills into his face which allows Dreissker to cut him off and hit a cannonball in the corner but Ilja wills his way out of the pin fall and eventually hits a huge tornado lariat followed by the torpedo Moscow for the win. I love Ilja’s style of pro wrestling he oozes his character and without listening to a single promo you can see exactly who he is and why he does what he does.
Rating - 6.5/10
Match # 5
Donovan Dijak vs Matt Riddle
An all American affair here as the man currently signed to NXT takes on one of the hottest names on the independent circuit today former UFC fighter Matt Riddle.
Dijak impressed a lot in this match for a man of his size his high flying is all the more impressive, Riddle looked strong hurling Dijak into lifts with ease despite giving away height and weight to his opponent. This match built to the two reversing out of the others finisher into their own Riddle flipped out of Dijak’s Feast your eyes and into position for a Bro to Sleep but Dijak flipped out of that and hurled Riddle up to hit Feast your eyes and the only thing that saved Riddle was his position in the ring allowing him to get a foot on the rope as the ref was about to count 3. Dijak spent some time lamenting his lack of ring awareness before deciding to go for a top rope moonsault to finish Riddle but Riddle moved out of the way and with Dijak on the ground Riddle was in his element and able to lock in the Rings of Saturn for the submission victory.
Rating - 5.5/10
Match # 6
Bad Bones vs Paul London
Up next a personal favourite of mine takes on a man I’ve seen very little of, back in the day Paul London was my favourite wrestler in the WWE cruiserweight division and was also the marquee star on the first independent show I went to but can he overcome the larger more physically imposing Bad Bones John Klinger?
London gets the better of the opening of this match including hitting a brutal looking baseball slide as Bad Bones was hung upside down in the ropes, so he took a boot right to the kisser. London also uses a cool over the top rope cradle combo to a prone Bad Bones that I honestly can’t recall seeing before, it’s always a cool thing when you see a variation of a move for the first time. Around the mid-point of this match these two turned it on, I was beginning to wonder if maybe they just weren’t going to stylistically click but boy the finishing sequence elevated this match. It all started after Bad Bones murdered London with a suicide dive, he threw him back in the ring and London super kicked him as he went to the top rope and dragged him down into a Death Valley Driver and from there it was big move after big move. Bad Bones hit a 2nd rope code breaker that made London do a full rotation in the air and London hit a 2nd rope shooting star followed by a top rope shooting star that the whole crowd was sure would finish Bad Bones but alas he kicked out at the last nanosecond. In the end Bad Bones hit a lovely super kick and then drove London into the turnbuckles with the shotgun knees and dragged his carcass to the middle of the ring for the pin fall victory. Took a while to get going but these guys delivered a better match than I was expecting.
Rating - 6.5/10
Match # 7
‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey vs ACH
A renowned Taekwondo practitioner pitted against a speedy highflyer this match may well come down to who can get around the other’s strengths. If Bailey can get in some leg kicks early it could slow his opponent and take away some his high-flying arsenal but to do so he will most likely have to get ACH in a corner and not let him escape.
The match started out with ACH bowing to the will of the crowd and dancing to their chants, Bailey also attempted to dance for the crowd and it seemed the two of them weren’t taking this first round match particularly seriously. We then got some nice chain wrestling and a couple of traded near falls as the feeling out process began. Bailey took control with his flurry of kicks followed by an enziguri and a beautiful inside out moonsault. ACH answer back in the ring with a big chop and a huge lariat which turned Bailey inside out. Bailey tried to recover on the outside but ACH followed him out and nearly took his head off with a PK from the apron. He slung Speedball back inside but had to expend extra time moving him away from the ropes and it only garnered a two count. Momentum shifted back and forth a few times and ACH hit a sick brainbuster that looked to drop Bailey right on the top of his head but he wouldn’t be kept down. Eventually after missing an attempt from one side of the ring Bailey wore his opponent down to his knees and delivered a stiff Shooting Star Knee drop to the small of the back and crushed ACH for the 3 count. I’ve seen both have better matches but you felt that perhaps as this is the first round of a tournament they were weary of going 100% and tiring themselves out for later in the tournament.
Rating - 6/10
Match # 8
Shotgun Champion David Starr vs WALTER
The current Shotgun champion appears next to take on the man mountain from Austria WALTER, for my money one of the most charismatic and crisp wrestlers on the circuit today takes on the man whose hands should be legally classified as weapons, if WALTER gets ahold of you there's a good chance you’re going to get your chest caved in. However, David Starr didn’t win the title on charisma points and this is sure to be a fascinating contest.
Every time WALTER takes hold of David Starr in this match you honestly believe he could snap him in two with little effort. It's like a scene in a movie where a character goes to prison and decides to prove himself he needs to go after the biggest, baddest man in there, that man is WALTER. David Starr put up a really valiant fight and at times his sheer refusal to give up seemed to rock WALTER but he took all that David could throw at him and just kept coming. There were some really impressive feats of strength from Starr like getting WALTER up for a brain buster on the knee and his two suicide dives to the outside followed by a top rope plancha that had WALTER floored on the outside. Out of desperation Starr begged the ref to count but at a count of 9 WALTER rose like a great beast from the floor and threw himself through the ropes. The finish came when WALTER German’d Starr on his head, then took his head off with a lariat and locked on the sleeper hold. Starr looked like he was going to get to a corner to possibly get a rope break but WALTER simply shifted slightly and hit a sick half and half suplex again dropping Starr on his head and then locked on the sleeper hold again this time taking it to the floor, the ref raised Starr’s hand once, twice and for a moment as his hand dropped the third time it seemed like a twitch of fight was still left in him but ultimately his hand hit the canvas and the ref had to call a stop to it and declare WALTER the winner and the final man to advance to the next round. Really solid match that made WALTER look like an unstoppable monster while Starr also looked good for lasting as long as he did. The match of the first round and with that night one came to a close.
Rating - 7/10
So that was night one of wXw 16 Carat Gold 2017 and it is well worth a watch; especially to get yourself in the mood for this year’s tournament which is coming up on the 9th of March. You can find the show on wXw now as well as all the other marque events from 2017 and the weekly Shotgun broadcast (wxwnow.de)
Written by Josh Lyons (@Juliejwl777)
We open the show with another video package profiling the huge wXw Unified World Title match. It's then to the arena in Oberhausen and Alan F4L and Rico welcome us to the show and its right into the action.
WTTL Group B Match: EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik) vs The Briscoes (Mark & Jay)
This was a very good opener both teams brought there best for this one and didn't phone it. It was currently nowhere as good as Ringkampf vs the Briscoes from the previous evening but then that was in a league of its own. After lots of decent action with lots of false finishes, the Briscoes finished off EYFBO with the devastation device to pick up there first win and three points in WTTL.
Winners: The Briscoes (Mark &Jay)
WXW Shotgun Title Four Way Match: Ivan Kiev (Champion) vs Alexander James vs Bobby Gunns vs Avalanche
This was another passable match which was solid but nothing really stood out as being anything more than just passable. Kiev was better here than last night when he was blowing spots like they were going out of fashion. Avalanche shouldn't have been put in here as he spent far too much time selling on the floor for my liking, so he was sort of protected. Gunns was super over here and probably should have been in this spot going one-on-one with Kiev but then maybe they are saving that for down the line. As for James, I like his gimmick of Poundland William Regal but he ain't going too far pretending to be the Real Man's Man. The finish saw Kiev nail James with his Death Valley Driver to pick up the win and retain the title.
Winner: Ivan Kiev (And still wXw Shotgun TV Champion)
Women's Match: Jinny vs Killer Kelly
Jinny cut a promo beforehand mentioning Melanie Gray's injury in the show that was held earlier on that afternoon called Femme Fatale and says she's the premier women's wrestler until Killer Kelly comes out and we have a match.
This was your typical Jinny match it was good and everything both ladies did to one another looked good but nothing stood out as special. Jinny will do just fine in wXw and will become a decent heel for the company like she has in Rev Pro if she's protected. After several minutes of solid action, Jinny picked up the win with the Acid Rainmaker.
WTTL Group A wXw Tag Team Title Match: The Young Lions (Lucky Kidd & Tarkan Aslan) (Champions) vs A4 (Marius Al-Ani & Absolute Andy)
This match has been building for months ever since the Young Lions screwed A4 out of the belts earlier this year. So it had some history to it and really was the only match A4 wanted in this years WTTL. Early on, A4 jumped the Young Lions and all four men brawled with one another. The crazy Lucky Kidd and Tarkan Aslan cornered Andy and beat him down as Marius desperately wanted to tag in. Andy eventually made the tag to Marius and he came in like a house of fire like he had the previous evening. Marius then got over excited and hit his knee on the outside but this went nowhere as he returned after less than a minute of selling on the floor. Marius was now singled out and worked over by both Kidd and Aslan. The Young Lions took every shortcut they could but didn't get much heat for doing so.
Eventually, the crowd got behind Marius who battled back and out of dodge of the Young Lion's corner and made the hot tag to super over absolute andy. Andy came in and drilled Kidd with a vertical suplex. Andy dropped Kidd with a knee smash and then nailed Aslan with a superkick and covered Aslan but Kidd cut him off. Andy decked Kidd and then dropped him with a sharpshooter. Marius was back in and took down Aslan with a Boston Crab. Somehow the Young Lion's reached the ropes. A4 went for the magic killer on Aslan but Kidd interrupted it and tossed Andy to the outside. The Young Lions dropped Marius with a combo strike and a German for a near fall. Andy was back and A4 went for the magic killer first then the F5 but were interrupted twice by Aslan.
Lots of more back and forth action as the official had lost control by now. Andy eventually nailed Kidd with F5 for a near fall and Andy looked pissed but the crowd was desperately behind andy. Marius returned and drilled Kidd with a DVD while Andy came off the top with a big Frog Splash for a near fall well sort of as Aslan broke up the fall far too early for my liking. Wait for 2.9 damn it! Anyway, the young lions battled back with another strike\german combo to andy. Marius missed a Frog Splash from the top and Aslan followed it up with a DVD into the corner. Andy no sold a big Dragon Suplex from Kidd and took out both Lion's with lariats. Andy hoisted up Kidd and gave him the F5 as Marius came off the top with a Frog Splash and landed on the downed Kidd. Marius covered Kidd and got the one, two and three and we have new WXW tag team champions, also A4 have their first three points. Or do we because the Young Lions just leave the ringside with the belts!
This match would have been so much better without the bait and switch finish but for them to never explain it when the announcers harped on about this being a title match when it wasn't just confused me. Great match with a shitty bait and switch finish but then the story of the weekend isn't over yet.
Winners: A4 (Marius Al-Ani & Absolute Andy) But no title change
WTTL Group B Match: Ringkampf (Walter & Timothy Thatcher) vs The Rottweilers (Low Ki & Homicide)
I was salivating at the fact Walter and Ki would actually be in the same ring at the same time and when both men eventually hooked it, it bloody delivered. Walter's exchange with Homicide was also very good as the big Austrian took it to homicide by brawling with him on the outside. Eventually, all four men begin brawling on the outside as Homicide went wild and beat Walter down with a chair. Thatcher worked over ki with a number of stiff uppercuts. The walking brawl continues as both teams brawl all over the arena. Homicide tried his tope con helo but Walter cut him off with a fierce uppercut. Then Walter drilled Ki with a powerbomb onto the side of the ring. The Rottweilers were having their own game turned on them as Thatcher put homicides hand in between the ring steps and kicked the steps sending them into Homicide's hand and crushing it.
Back in the ring, Walter applied a sleeper but Ki battled out and walked into a shotgun lariat from Walter. Ki came back with the black magic to Walter and then applied an Octopus Stretch to Thatcher. Thatcher then nailed homicide with a Saito suplex and then Walter drilled Homicide with a powerbomb for a near fall. Ki did a tidal kick to Thatcher and Walter the followed it up with a double stomp from the top rope to Walter as he lay on the ring apron. Back in ring Homicide went for a Cop Killer, but Thatcher battles out and walked into a lariat from Homicide instead for a near fall. Ki then hoisted Thatcher up onto his shoulders as Homicide went up top and gave Thatcher an Ace Crusher (Strong Style Bullet) to pick up the win and three points.
This was a tremendous match, it seemed as if they laid out a match fitting of all four men. Again I said it after night one: Go out of your way to see this match it was really, really good!
Winners: The Rottweilers (Homicide & Low Ki)
Up next they announced the shows running up to next years 16-Carat tournament as well as the first three competitors for 16-Carat that included Travis Banks, Fenix and Jeff Cobb.
WTTL Group A Match: The Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey) vs Massive Product (Jurn Simmons & David Starr)
Beforehand Mikey and Kenny cut a stupid Americans promo on Germany by calling this worst country they have ever been too and mentioned how they beat them in the war after that I zoned out, it was awful. Thankfully the Spirit Squad has gone heel after being inexplicably booked as faces the previous night.
Another stinker from the WWE castoffs and Kenny used to be so good as well. In my opinion, this was a waste of Starr and Simmons and even a spot, but then you need a team to eat some falls right? Anyway, This match had some good comedy as the match stopped midway through so Jurn and Mikey could have an arm wrestle. After nonsense was over Jurn spiked Mikey for the one, two and three and massive product now have six points while the Spirit Squad remains on zero.
Winners: Massive Product (Jurn Simmons & David Starr)
WXW Unified World Title Match: Bad Bones John Klinger (Champion) w/ RISE Vs Ilya Dragunov
Early on Ilya attacked RISE with ease then it was announced that if RISE did not leave ringside then Bad Bones would be stripped of the title and also if this match ended in DQ the title would change hands. Then the match was on. Both men went at it back and forth early on with Klinger giving Dragunov a backdrop on the ring apron. Ilya came back with some clotheslines and knee strikes. Klinger then gave Ilya a German into the corner and Ilya took a nasty bump off of that. Ilya battled back with some stiff forearms and chops. Dragunov got a two count with a northern lights suplex and then applied a Crossface but Klinger made the ropes. Bouncer ran out and stood at ringside and the announcers brought up the stip from earlier.
Both men took a nasty bump to the outside. Ilya got up and dived out onto Bouncer and security at ringside. Klinger overpowered Dragunov and Suplexed Ilya into the eight row. Klinger told the ref to count but Ilya rolled back into the ring at nine. Klinger gave Ilya a superkick for a near fall then missed an elbow drop from the top rope. Dragunov went up top and came off with a Moscow Missile for a near fall. Ilya went for a coast to coast but Klinger caught him and drilled him with a Codebreaker but Ilya no sold the move. Klinger cut off Ilya with a big boot and a Dragon Suplex but Ilya no sold it nailed Klinger with a Moscow missile. The RISE members hit the ring but got cut off by David Starr, Marius Al-Ani, Jurn Simmons and Absolute Andy. All eight men brawled and then Ilya dived out onto all of RISE. Starr and Marius then dived out onto RISE. Back in the ring, Klinger distracted Ilya and Bouncer slid in the title belt. Ilya the grabbed Bouncer as Klinger grabbed the belt. Klinger got ready to nail Dragunov when out came Da Mack. Da Mack nailed Klinger and Ilya grabbed the belt. The referee saw this and wanted to call for the bell. The referee asked Da Mack if he had used the belt and he nodded yes and the bell was rung to the referee's dismay.
Winner: Bad Bones John Klinger (By DQ and still wXw Unified Champion)
Afterward, Julian Nero hit the ring but RISE attacked him and Ilya. Then Da Mack showed his true colours as Klinger gave him the belt and Da Mack turned on Dragunov as boos rained down on the ring. Then RISE and Da Mack celebrated over the fallen body of Ilya Draganov. As they posed Avalanche hit the ring sending Da Mack and Klinger to the back. Avalanche manhandled the tag team champions, Bouncer and Kiev. Nero, avalanche and Dragunov were reunited but were Cerberus really back as the crowd chanted Cerberus and we want Polark (Adam Polark the manager of the group). To end the show Dragunov cut a promo on RISE and challenged them to a match the following night.
As for the match itself, the silly stipulation was only added in a way to give us a cheap finish and to protect Ilya going forward. I'm sure he'll beat Klinger but this finish kind of devalued their title and only time will tell if it's done the same thing to Dragunov and Klinger. Yes Klinger has weaseled his way out another high profile match and that only adds to his weasel heel gimmick as leader of RISE, but surely there was another way to do this. For me, it made no sense. Did Klinger know the ref would add this silly stip and tell Da Mack beforehand this is how we're going to screw Ilya? It was so stupid and convoluted. If TNA or WWE had done this they'd be crucified for booking such nonsense. If you can tell this finish left a bad taste in my mouth. The match was building nicely and both men had put in a tremendous effort here but that finish soured me on it.
Overall night two hosted some damn fine outings with EYFBO vs The Briscoes, Ringkampf vs The Rottweilers and A4 vs The Young Lions being the stand out matches on this show.
To open the show is a video package reviewing the history of WXW WTTL and its competitors. Then it's into the arena in Oberhausen. Christian Michael Jakobi is introduced and then to the announcers as Alan 4FL and Rico who do more of a hype job.
All the teams are then introduced and brought out to ringside for the pre-tournament in-ring photo.
WTTL Group B Match: The Rottweilers (Homicide & Low Ki) vs EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik)
This was a fairly decent opener and both teams were out to impress. Homicide and Low Ki seemed motivated to give their LAX teammates a good match to kick off this tournament proper. Ki hasn't lost a step this year proving he's still one of the best indy wrestlers around. Homicide and Ki singled out Ortiz early on and isolated him in their corner. Ortiz battled back with a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count. Ortiz tagged out and Draztik came in and got a two count on homicide with a backbreaker. EYFBO then did a sweet looking moonsault leg drop combo for a two count. Homicide battled back and tagged in Ki. Low Ki came in like a house of fire with a tidal kick and double foot stomp. It was the first time in the evening this match suffered that legal syndrome as all four men brawled. Homicide nailed Draztik with an Ace Crusher but EYFBO battled back and throw Ki to the outside and nailed homicide with the blockbuster to pick up the win and three points.
Winners : EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik)
WTTL Group A WXW Tag Team Title Match: The Young Lions (Lucky Kidd & Tarkan Aslan) Vs The Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey)
Up next was RISE team The Young Lions who are the current WXW World Tag Team champions and would from now on out be defending their titles from here on out. They were facing former WWE World Tag Team Champions, the Spirit Squad. This was a rather dull and weird match. I didn't feel either team clicked but then maybe it was the heel vs heel dynamic that just made this match feel like it was missing something. I've heard from people that wXw wanted to portray the ex-WWE guys as baby faces but this crowd certainly didn't treat them like that as they were booed the second the horribly dubbed music stopped playing while Kidd and Tarkan Aslan just got very little heat indeed. Anyway, like I said, this was rather dull. The finish saw the action pick up and of course, not surprisingly Kidd and Aslan beat Mikey with a back cracker double foot stomp combo to pick up the win and retain the titles and pick up three points.
Winners: The Young Lions (Lucky Kidd & Tarkan Aslan)
Non-Tournament Singles Match: Da Mack vs Julian Nero
Can't really offer too much on this one both are by far from favourite wrestlers in wXw. Nero annoys me and has a different but terrible look. Da Mack is someone I'm not too hot on either. Da mack has had one good match this year in my opinion against Bobby Gunns where the loser was banned from wrestling in Hamburg which Da Mack lost to the King of Smoke Style. Da mack turned to Nero for help but Nero betrayed him, obviously, leading to Da Mack losing Avalanche in a number one contender's match. The action was fine until a botched (or was it? More on that later) finish as Nero dropped a top rope knee and the ref counted 1, 2 and was it 3 or not? You tell me but the bell rang and Nero was declared the winner.
Winner: Julian Nero
Backstage A4 cut a bizarre promo dressed as Batman and Robin or Batmandy and Robinani should I say. This was weird but then a4 are the jokers of wXw.
WTTL Group A Match: Massive Product ('Massive' Jurn Simmons & 'The Product' David Starr) vs A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani)
Before the bell Batmandy and Robinani unmasked and to the horror of the crowd, it was A4. Thankfully both teams left comedy after the bell and went all out with one another to try to have the match of the night and so far they had achieved that goal. Andy was on fire in this match and seemed to go out of his way to impress here but it was all apart of the story which would play out this weekend but more on that later. Andy had a neat exchange with both Starr and Simmons early on then the match suffered from legal man syndrome (I promise I won't harp on about it too much). Massive Product nailed Marius with a number of big strikes then got a near fall off of a magic killer. Some miscommunication between Massive Product lead to there downfall as andy trapped Starr in a scorpion death lock but Starr just made the ropes. Starr battled back with a big knee strike and jurn spiked andy with a piledriver. Jurn was then given a big top rope splash by Marius. Both teams continued the quick pace after selling that last sequence of spots. Marius got a near fall with a belly-to-belly and a spin kick. A4 took out Starr with a lariat german combo then Marius dived out onto Starr. Andy went for an F5 but Jurn battled out and dropped Andy with a spike piledriver with assistance from Starr who had taken out Marius on the outside. Jurn pinned Andy for the three count and three points.
Winners: Massive Product (Massive Jurn Simmons & 'The Product' David Starr)
WXW Shotgun (TV) Title Match: Ivan Kiev (Champion) vs Avalanche
Kiev is another man aligned with RISE but faced his toughest challenge to date against the almighty Avalanche. early on the man mountain and one of my favourite big men in the business avalanche overpowered and beat down Kiev with ease. Kiev made a sloppy comeback and looked awkward throughout the match actually. Avalanche brushed off kiev lame offensive and began to make a comeback but then kiev stablemates in RISE began to hit the ring to help Kiev overcome the almighty Avalanche. Avalanche eventually fought off Kiev and his stablemate Bouncer and gave both men a big cannonball splash in the corner. Avalanche continued to work over Kiev with a German then Bouncer recovered and threw in the shotgun title. The referee had seen enough and ejected Bouncer from ringside. Back in the ring, Avalanche nailed Kiev with a big swinging tilt-a-whirl sit down powerbomb and covered for the 1, 2...no as Bouncer returned and broke up the pinfall. This was a pretty dreadful but only really existed to continue to tell a bigger story which would continue the rest of this weekend.
Winner: Avalanche (via DQ) but still wXw Shotgun Champion Ivan Kiev.
Afterwards, The Young Lions hit the ring along with the President of RISE Bad Bones John Klinger. All five beat down avalanche ending with Klinger nailing avalanche with his wXw unified world championship. Avalanche's Former Cerberus teammate Julian Nero hit the ring but he was also outnumbered with a 5 on 1 beat down. It brought out another former Cerberus colleague in Ilya Draganov who took out Kiev, Bouncer, Aslan and Kidd. The number one contender to Klinger's wXw Unified World Title went face-to-face with Klinger and downed him with a big Moscow tope to send the champ fleeing to the back with the rest of RISE. Nero, Avalanche and Draganov stood tall and all shook hands. Some people seemed to be missing but yet again more on that later.
WTTL Group B Match: The Briscoes (Mark & Jay) vs Ringkampf (Walter&Timothy Thatcher)
This was another really good match as both teams like in the A4/Massive Product match went all out early on to steal the show. Walter and Thatcher who had a very good outing with one another 24 hours earlier were yet again great here against independent legends the Briscoes and obviously more than held their own against Mark and Jay. Thatcher's exchange with Jay stood out and seemed to get a little stiff at points. Walter and Thatcher did a nice tribute to the rock n roll nailing mark with a big double dropkick. It was time for the Briscoes to dive with a pair of double suicidas. Back in the ring, Mark and Jay worked over Thatcher while exchanging some quick tags with one another. Thatcher made the hot tag to Walter and he came in and cleared house with a shotgun lariat and a pair of German suplexes. Mark tried to trade chops with Walter who lit up his chest up with some punishing chops. Jay came in and took control over Walter and got a two count with a swinging neck breaker. Walter battled back with a massive lariat and a German for a two count. Walter tagged in Thatcher who applied a beautiful butterfly lock but Jay reversed and the brothers nailed Thatcher with a big powerbomb neck breaker combo for a near fall. Walter came in and destroyed mark with a lariat and then Jay with a powerbomb for a count of one. I was in as much shock as Walter. Thatcher came in and nailed Jay with a stiff uppercut and applied the Fujiwara armbar but Mark broke it up with Froggy-Bow. Thatcher and Walter applied a pair of rear naked choke holds and both jay and mark were forced to tap out. Ringkampf were now on the board with three points. Afterwards, Mark and Jay shook hands with Walter and Thatcher to end the show.
That was one hell of a main event and was by far my favourite match on the card. It was packed with drama and some awesome wrestling it will certainly make my top 20 matches list to end the year. Honestly, if you're on the fence about watching this show, just seek this match out it comes highly recommended.
Winners: Ringkampf (Walter & Timothy Thatcher)
Overall a decent show that had a great match on it and a very good match on it but not a lot else. The other matches were probably disappointing due to story advancement rather than blow away wrestling, apart from those two tag bouts obviously but still worth your time if you haven't checked it out yet on wXw now on Vimeo or on the Highspots Network!
So how do you start a new review of a company most people who are new to BritWres probably haven't heard of? Well, let's start at the beginning, shall we? wXw (Westside Xtreme Wrestling) was founded in 2000 and primarily gained a reputation as a deathmatch company (similar to CZW and IWA Mid-South). Yes, like those companies mentioned they had some damn fine straight wrestling matches with the likes of Ares (Claudio Castagnoli/Cesaro's tag team partner in Swiss Money Holding), Bryan Danielson, Chris Hero, Zack Sabre, Mike Quackenbush, El Generico, Robbie Brookside plus many more world-renowned grapplers. But in those early days, the star of wXw was deathmatch wrestler Thumbtack Jack who won CZW Tournament of death in 2008 as well as having multiple reigns with the now-defunct wXw Light Heavyweight Title. The company moved away from the blood and guts and went in the direction the company is going today with the emphasis being on world-class wrestling and less about deathmatch wrestling. During the early days, wXw did produce stellar 3-day events when it invented the 16 Carat Gold tourney. Thanks to Alan (wXw's English announcer) on the F4W podcast the Dr. Kieth Lepinski show I found out about the tourney in 2007/08. I can't remember the year exactly but during those days even with the advent of YouTube, these shows were hard to track down unless you paid to import DVD directly from Germany. So it wasn't until the Highspots Network launched that I got my first taste of wXw 16 Carat Gold. The World Tag Team League was formed in a similar vein with the shows being a 3-day event. Later on, they would add a fourth show (with Inner Circle taking place the day before WTTL and Ambition taking place on the afternoon of day 2 of 16 Carat) and after party events to well and truly make it a wrestling festival. This year they also added a Female Fatales (which was an all-female show) show to take place on the second day of the festivities.
So for those unfamiliar with this, here is how the World Tag Team League works. There are eight teams in the tourney. Of the eight teams, they are split into two blocks with 4 teams in each block. Every team will wrestle at least once in their block. Also as a little added twist, the current WXW World Tag Team Champions enter the tourney with their belts on the line. Last years winners where JML (David Starr & Shane Strickland) who beat the LDRS (Zack Sabre Jr & Marty Scurll). This year's teams entered were current wXw World Tag Team champions The Young Lions (Lucky Kidd & Tarkan Aslan) who are in the top heel stable RISE. The Briscoe Brothers (Mark & Jay), The Rottweilers (Homicide & Low-Ki), EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik) aka the newer version of LAX from TNA fame, The Spirit Squad (Kenny & Mikey) aka the male cheerleaders of WWE Fame, RingKampf (Timothy Thatcher & Walter), A4 (Absolute Andy&Marius Al-Al-Ani) and Massive Product (Jurn Simmons & David Starr). I think you'd agree that was one hell of a lineup. Also, this years 16 Carat Gold winner, Ilja Draganov, faced RISE Leader and wXw Unified World Champion Bad Bones John Klinger. So I've hyped it up, let's get into the action and kick off a huge review of this massive wrestling festival with Inner Circle.
WXW Inner Circle 5/10/17 WXW Academy Oberhausen Germany
Rather than giving a full review of this show which featured a mixed bag ill just review the two big matches from this show as Walter took on Ringkampf teammate Timothy Thatcher and the main event as Homicide taking on David Starr as well as adding results of the other matches on the show.
Singles Match: Alexander James vs. Julian Pace
James is a former CZW Junior Heavyweight Champion and made the wXw Academy or top of the class wrestler tap out to a London Dungeon clean.
Winner: Alexander James
Singles Match: Kim Ray vs. Rafa
Kim Ray beat Rafa with a spin kick.
Winner: Kim Ray
Ambition Rules Match: Walter Vs Timothy Thatcher
Before we start I would assume you're wondering what an Ambition Rules match is. Well, dear reader, ambition is a hybrid of wrestling and MMA - like UWFI in Japan used to be. Ambition (similar to the old UFC Tournament style back in the day) is normally a show held during the 16 Carat Gold weekend but as this was Ringkampf colliding it needed this stipulation and considering both men excel in this style of match, it made sense to me.
Early on both men grappled with one another. Walter eventually took Thatcher back and tried to sink the hooks in but Thatcher got out somehow. Both men reverted to grappling with one another until Thatcher got ahold of Walter's arm and tried an armbar but he made the ropes. Both men then began slapping the shit out of one another. Walter and Thatcher grappled some more then Thatcher applied a Fujiwara armbar and the big man was forced to tap out.
This may not be everyone's cup of tea and was a little short but remember this is supposed to be an actual fight so made sense that it ended so suddenly. I love this old UWFI style of match not regularly but if Walter and Timothy Thatcher are involved its bound to be good and this was!
Winner: Timothy Thatcher
Tag Team Match: Jay-FK (Jay Skilet & Francis Kaspen) Vs EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik)
Yep, that is NWA/TNA/TNA/Impact/GFW/Fuck That Owl Wrestling Tag Team Champions taking on the youngsters but ever developing team of Jay-FK and as wXw had flown LAX in then they should have been used here to give Jay-FK the rub. Anyway, EYFBO went over clean in a fun match with a blockbuster powerbomb.
Winners: EYFBO (Angel Ortiz & Mike Draztik)
Singles Match: Massive Jurn Simmons Vs Jaxon Stone
Jurn picks up the win with a massive piledriver.
Winner: Jurn Simmons
Singles Match: David Starr Vs Homicide
When this match got announced I hoped and prayed homicide would turn back the hands of time to 2003/2006 period when he was one of the best performers in ROH and thankfully Homicide did just that in this match. Well sort of. Early on, Starr worked over Homicide's arm with variations of armbar's and grounded the Notorious 187 Lucha Thug. Both men went back and forth in a lock spot and then the action spilled to the outside. It wouldn't be a homicide match without some walking brawls. Tope Con Hilo by Homicide who then continued to pummel Starr on the outside. Back in the ring Homicide nailed Starr with a big Taz like exploding suplex. Homicide dropped onto Starr with a Double Axe Handle for a near fall. Starr battled back with some chops but then got cut off with a big side backbreaker. Homicide and Starr traded strikes then homicide followed it up with the three amigos spot for a near fall. Starr battled back and gave Homicide a draping DDT, a lariat and a blockbuster for a near fall. Starr went for the Chaos Theory but Homicide countered it into an STF but Starr just reached the ropes.
Homicide teased the Cop Killer (Gringo Killer) but Starr battled out. Starr nailed homicide with a big running kick for a two count. Starr went for the Product Placement but Homicide battled out and rolled up Starr for a two count. Homicide nailed Starr with an Ace Crusher and lariat for another near fall. Starr eventually battled back and out of nowhere nailed Homicide with the Product Placement to pick up the win.
This was one hell of a match and it was great to see the Homicide of old show up for this match with Starr. Afterwards, Starr put over Homicide and ended with enjoy your WTTL and come and buy a shirt.
Winner: David Starr
Overall this was a fun little show and gave us a genuinely great main event. A perfect way to kick off the massive WTTL weekender. Go and check it out now on wXw Now or Highspots Network. It's well worth a watch and breezes by in an hour and 40 minutes.
The review of night one of WTTL will be here soon enough so make sure you keep an eye out for it!