The wXw 16 Carat Gold 2016 reaches its conclusion with an extremely talented final five of Drew Galloway, Angelico, Sami Callihan, Axel Dieter Jr. and Zack Sabre Jr.
westside Xtreme wrestling
16 Carat Gold 2016
March 13, 2016
16 Carat Gold Quarter Final
Drew Galloway def. Angelico
Due to Galloway working in Scotland instead of night two of the tournament he’s a round behind the rest of the field going into this show. In theory Galloway could have wrestled the final three rounds of the tournament on this show.
Galloway is at his best when he’s in there with a smaller guy who he can throw around, with the prime example of that being his PWG match with Mike Bailey, and luckily enough this was set up to follow in the same vein. Galloway dominated the bulk of this match, with Angelico only managing a few offensive spurts primarily through his kicks. Unfortunately this didn’t nearly have the energy of the Bailey match, and while Galloway did throw Angelico around a fair amount a lot of it just felt like going through the motions. It just felt immediately forgettable without particularly doing too much obviously wrong. Galloway advanced after hitting a swinging variation of his Future Shock DDT at around the seven and a half minute mark. **1/2
After the match Galloway grabbed a microphone and said that he wanted his semi final immediately.
16 Carat Gold Semi Final
Axel Dieter Jr. def. Drew Galloway
Dieter Jr. is currently going through a very interesting period currently. Despite being yet to win the wXw Championship he is probably the hardest pushed native talent on the roster, and is very clearly being position to be ‘the guy’ for wXw. With this push, Dieter is currently receiving push back from the German fans, getting some very noticeably negative reactions from roughly half the crowd despite being presented as a face. Many of the German fans have made comparisons of him to John Cena (prior to his slip slightly down the card more recently), feeling that he has become over-pushed (him advancing here saw him reach his second consecutive 16 Carat Final) and also the he possesses a repetitive and boring Cena-esque match formula, that being sell for the majority of the match and then make a comeback right at the end of the match hitting only a handful of moves to pick up the win.
Well, if he intended to use this tournament to try to get the fans back on his side this match was definitely not the way to do it. After some early back and forth, Galloway dominated the bulk of this match with Dieter kicking out of a swathe of the big Scotsman’s offense. Then, without any real build towards it, Dieter hit a european uppercut followed by a bridging leg-trap back suplex which earnt him the victory. This match was exactly what those who don’t like Dieter complain about, and come the end of the match the boos were even louder than the start. **3/4
16 Carat Gold Semi Final
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Sami Callihan
Aside from the lack of self-control with regards to his saliva, I am an Sami Callihan fan (a man I know is very polarising) so I was really looking forward to this match going into it. Within its constraints, I think it delivered on those expectations.
Right from the opening bell this one was at a high pace and very intense, which are the conditions under which Callihan is at his best. Their brawling felt very purposeful, highlighted by Callihan’s great suicide dive that sent Sabre smashing through a chair, and then transitioned seamlessly into each man targeting a body part on their opponent. Sabre went after Callihan’s left arm, while Callihan lasered in on Sabre’s left leg. Multiple times it looked like Callihan was going to achieve victory via the stretch muffler, but the weakness in his arm meant he was never fully able to lock it in, and in the end it was Zack’s limb-work which lead him to victory. Callihan’s weakened arm allowed Sabre Jr. to more easily execute a pair of full nelson suplexes, which he followed with a right-legged penalty kick to achieve victory.
They managed to keep the pace high and the action engaging all while telling a nice story with their limb-work, something that’s far from easy to do. This was a highly enjoyable and cohesive match that made great use of the nine minutes. ***1/2
Silas Young & Die Shilds (Gunns & Vincent) def. Big Daddy Walter, Timothy Thatcher & Mike Schwarz
I’m not generally somebody who enjoys Thatcher, but to my surprise he looked good here. The tag environment meant he didn’t bring things to the mat and bore me, and it allowed him to instead emphasis the better elements of his game, those being his fire and intensity, and his strikes.
Everybody worked hard here, although there was quite a gulf in the crispness of offense between Die Shilds and everybody else in this match with them having one or two very sloppy moments. Walter was the standout here, with the energy being elevated every time he entered the ring and all of his offense landing very impactfully. Die Shilds picked up the win with a bridging german suplex just past the ten minute mark. ***
Aaron Insane & Toni Storm def. Kevin Roadster & Melanie Gray
Men went against men, women against women. No intergender here.
This was a comedy match, a genre of wrestling I’m incredibly picky on, so I was pleasantly suprised by how much I enjoyed this one. Roadster and Insane (and the ref for that matter) had a great back and forth, and Storm and Grey played great comedic straight-women. Technical wrestling comedy is something you don’t see a lot, but they really made it work here.
wXw World Tag Team Championship Match
Cerberus (Dragunov & Nero) def. David Starr & Shane Strickland
This one stuck pretty closely to the southern tag match formula, which in itself isn’t a negative but they never really gave the impression that the face in peril (Strickland) actually was in any peril and when the hot tag did come they hadn’t really made me care about it.
Not only did this match not emotionally hook me, mechanically it felt like these two teams weren’t quite in sync with each other. There were a couple of instances where the timing was half a step off and moves ended up looking sloppy.
This has all come off significantly harsher than intended; for the most part this match was pretty solid. It just didn’t wow me at all. **3/4
After the match the Sumerian Death Squad made their post-injury return to wXw, exchanging words with the champions before taking them out physically.
wXw Shotgun Championship #1 Contendership Match
Da Mack def. Emil Sitoci & Kim Ray
This was meant to be a four way match but Sitoci attacked The Rotation during his entrance and hit a tombstone on the ramp to take him out of the match before it had even started.
This match was fine and then it was done, which has become a theme for this night of wrestling. In the seven and a half minutes this went everything was clean and well executed but there was nothing to grab your attention and engage you. When Da Mack won with the Mack Magic (jumping cutter) my reaction was general apathy. **1/2
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship Match
Jurn Simmons def. Tyler Bate
Fresh off his surprise title win the night before, Simmons faced his first title challenge in the form of teenage wrestling prodigy Tyler Bate.
This was a very short match, which would have been fine had it been a dominant win for the new champion but it wasn’t. This was a four minute back and forth match, which just begged the question: ‘Why?’. If you want a back and forth match then give them time to perform. If you want a dominant victory then have the guy dominate. Neither happened here. The action in the match was fine but unspectacular, and honestly what can you really do in four minutes y’know? *3/4
Marty Scurll & Trevor Lee def. Mike Bailey & Will Ospreay
This was just four incredibly talented wrestlers having fun at the end of a weekend and in the process having one of the best matches of said weekend. If you’ve seen Ospreay and Scurll’s match from January in RPW then this has a very similar, if more lighthearted, feel and includes several callbacks to that match. Bailey and Lee hold up their end of the bargain too, with Bailey’s kicks looks as good as I’ve ever seen them here and Lee throwing both of his opponents around like a monster with some effortless looking deadlift german suplexes.
The match had a great flow to it and was engaging throughout. The big spots were spread throughout, always keeping the audience of their toes which boosted an already hot crowd up another notch. All four guys worked with each other so well, the tag structure really worked and all in all this was just a tremendous amount of fun. Ospreay’s performance here finished off a clean sweep of all three of his matches at this year’s Carat being top five matches from the weekend. Scurll tapped Bailey out with the crossface chickenwing. ***3/4
16 Carat Gold Final
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Axel Dieter Jr.
Well this was very disappointing. Going in I had high hopes for this one, but it never really kicked it up into high gear. While they started out straight away by hitting end-of-the-match level moves, I never got a feeling of real intensity that is required in a sprint style match. They went to trading submissions early, but aside from one or two nifty counters they never really conveyed the feel of a struggle that is required to make a technical match great.
In many ways this was very similar to Sabre’s RPW title win against AJ Styles, a match that also left me cold. Mechanically both were very good but neither one emotionally hooked me. This match, again much in the same way as Sabre’s Styles match, had a finish that I’m not sure one could properly describe as out of nowhere since he’d been working the arm but did leave me suprised and thinking “oh, that was it?” when Sabre locked in a variation of the Jim Breaks Special.
One thing that definitely elevated this match was the reaction to Sabre’s victory, which was a truly magnificent pop. In a way in lent further credence to my “oh, that was it?” feeling, as a large part of the reaction felt like it came from the audience being surprised as they weren’t expecting that to be the finish. Whatever the cause was though, the sheer levels of jubilation that erupted from the crowd as Sabre Jr. won the tournament was too great a moment not to enjoy and positively take into account, and like I said this was a mechanically well worked and genuinely good match. Had this been a quarter final match this would have been viewed very positively, but as the tournament final it unfortunately came off good but underwhelming. ***1/2
After the show Sabre got on the mic and spoke candidly about the european scene and the wXw crowd before announcing his intentions to challenge for the title next time he was in Oberhausen.
While there were parts of this show that were very enjoyable, overall I have to say I was a tad disappointed. A hot crowd definitely helped but there were just too many matches on the show getting too little time, and that meant the middle of the show really dragged. While the semi-main tag match was very good I wouldn’t classify anything on this show as much watch, and the show lacked the consistency needed for a strong recommendation as a total package. Similar to the main event, this was definitely not a bad show but it certainly underwhelmed me.