wXw Superstars of Wrestling III Day 1
April 22 2016
Hamburg, Deutschland

Watch: wXw-wrestling.com

We’re in Hamburg, Deutschland for a star-studded event from German based promotion wXw. Imports for this show include the BritWres trio of Zack Sabre Jr., Marty Scurll and Will Ospreay plus American stars Sonjay Dutt, Gangrel and Jeff Jarrett as well as Black Fire from DTU in Mexico who’s been in Germany for a while now.

wXw World Tag Team Championship
Sumerian Death Squad def. Cerberus (c)

This feud has been rumbling on for a while and is getting really hot thanks to Tommy End’s knee injury angle at Sixteen Carat. It was a “I’m not really left handed” Princess Bride style reveal that the crowd enjoyed immensely. Julian Nero actually missed Sixteen Carat with his own injury, with Ilja Dragunov taking his spot. This is a big old brawl until Cerberus settle into heat on Dante. The hot tag leads directly to the Anti Hero on Dragunov but Dirty Dragan (Dutch wrestler Dragan Spazic) pulls the ref out and it looks like Adam Polak has masterminded a screwjob only for Road Warrior Animal to run in for the save. This allows End to submit Nero for the belts. This was more storyline than anything else and was sub-ten minutes but achieved what it set out to do, which is switch the belts and have a big moment for SDS. **3/4

GFW NEXGEN Championship
Sonjay Dutt (c) def. Black Fire

I’m not sure what GFW are calling this the “NEXGEN” title for, as Dutt is well into his 30s. Basically it’s Global Force’s cruiserweight/X-Division title. Dutt is well travelled, his Cagematch career page looks like a who’s who of global promotions weaved into a tapestry. I’ve not seen anything of Black Fire in Mexico, as I don’t get to see much lucha, but DTU have a solid reputation for producing talent in recent years (Drastik Boy and Flamita immediately spring to mind). Black Fire has been hanging around Europe in 2016 to try and expand his skill set. Dutt handily outshines him with solid cruiserweight work. Apart from the usual irritating lucha ticks Fire does ok, especially hitting an intense senton onto Sonjay’s shoulder, an area he’d been targeting. Fire has some intriguing offence including a double underhook where he drops Dutt into a double knees. It’s always nice to be introduced to a new move. They have a terrific sequence going to the finish where both guys counter big moves for around 30-40 seconds until Dutt finally counters into a DDT and finishes with a splash off the top. This was not without issues, mainly surrounding the slight clash of styles, but it was a fine athletic contest. ***

Zack Sabre Jr. def. Bobby Gunns

Sabre won Sixteen Carat and is in line for a title shot. Gunns is a wXw guy who scored a win over Sabre at wXw’s AMBITION 7 tournament. He probably regrets that victory here as Zack ties him in knots demonstrating outstanding technical mastery of grappling holds. Poor Bobby can’t even escape a cravat, which Sabre holds for as long as he wants to before getting bored and doing something else. Gunns is completely out of his depth but does good work on the arm, including slipping Zack’s forearm through the turnbuckle pad before kicking it. It shows that Gunns is more than just attitude. Such examples of attitude are Bobby smoking as part of his pre-match ritual and grabbing his cock during the contest. Like a German Michael Jackson. He’s clearly nowhere near Sabre in technical terms and he looks borderline clumsy at times but his control periods are passable. Sabre does good work in selling the arm to make the assaults worthwhile but he’s also capable of working around it. A marked contrast to some modern grapplers who simply stop selling when it suits them. Eventually Bobby gets caught in the Young Boy Killer and Sabre gets the submission win. A valiant showing from Gunns, who looked good in defeat and worked the arm consistently well but Sabre just had too much for him. ***1/2

Axel Dieter Jr. def. Sasa Keel

Axel is from Hamburg and his crowd support is better than it was at Sixteen Carat. At one point the entire crowd stand up and chant Axel’s name in support of him. Axel is playful in his work, picking the arm and doing headstands while working it. Keel is far more aggressive and that, in turn, brings out Dieter’s passion to get the win. It gets more intense as the match progresses and Axel gets pissed off to the point where he knocks Keel out with a headbutt. This was unexpected and the building of intensity as the match progressed was nicely done. ***1/4

Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay

This is their fourth big meeting in 2016 already (Rev Pro, PROGRESS, Wrestlecon) and the crowd chant “this is awesome” before it even starts. The Germans were treated to a tag match featuring the BritWres duo during Sixteen Carat weekend and it stole the show. The baseline for these two is around **** because they have so many fun spots that are extremely hard to execute. They’ve managed to develop a near falls sequence where both guys show familiarity during it so it’s not a two count by Scurll then a two count by Ospreay, there are counters in between to show Marty as the superior mat technician. It’s good storytelling within an exciting back and forth contest. It’s testament to both guys that they don’t just do a ‘greatest hits’ match here and find new counters and fresh ideas. When they do hit the rapid fire sequences that they’ve become famous for it’s switched up again with different moves but the same difficulty. I’m slightly taken out of the match by Marty getting spittle all over his beard. But then you’ve got Ospreay using his CHAOS links to have a Rainmaker set up to a one man Spanish Fly. The layering of the New Japan storytelling and his spot heavy style is perfect. The match gets a wee bit spotty towards the finish but the crowd go absolutely mental watching it happen so it’s tough to criticise. When a crowd is booing the impending time limit you know you’ve got them wanting more. Ospreay gets picked off before the time runs out though, again attempting a Fade Cutter and getting trapped in the Chickenwing. You’d think he’d have learned to stop doing that by now. This was awesome, as all their matches have been this year. The switching out of moves and subtle changes didn’t go unnoticed. ****1/2

Post Match: “Will Ospreay, I may not like you but fuck me, I’m proud of you” says Scurll, regarding Ospreay’s fight here and New Japan contract.

Big Daddy Walter def. Gangrel

This is certainly a change of pace. It’s tough to follow the previous match so wXw opted for star power instead of trying to have a better contest. Gangrel is in his late 40s now but his effort levels don’t reflect that. He’s not content to just kick back and get a nostalgia pop, which is refreshing. Gangrel has never had much of a move set and Walter likes to have big old brawls so that’s what they do. After a while Gangrel looks tired and they unapologetically collapse into a rest hold chinlock. To be fair to the duo they work hard after that too, with Walter beating the crap out of the aging vampire. It’s not unlike PROGRESS’ #BigLads division. Eventually Walter just has too much and floors Gangrel with a powerbomb. This was just under eight minutes long so it was short enough that Gangrel didn’t get exposed. The result was a hard-hitting contest, which was surprisingly enjoyable. **1/2

wXw Shotgun Championship
Da Mack (c) def. Kim Ray

The special enforcer for this match is Indie legend Nigel McGuinness, which immediately makes this bout seem more important. The idea being that wXw can’t stop Kim’s bodyguard, the enormous Russian Ivanov, from interfering and need a presence at ringside to stop it. When Mack sticks to his strengths, which is strikes and big spots, he’s fine. My dislike of him stems from some of his sillier softer looking spots, which if he could phase out could make him into a genuine top tier guy. I get frustrated by people who are close to being good and can’t make that final step. The work in this one is passable but a step below the rest of the work on this card, which is a touch disappointing for a semi-main event. Some of the countering is downright clumsy and there’s no snap to certain moves, like Mack hitting a rana out of the corner. Everything should look like a struggle in an ideal wrestling world. Scurll and Ospreay have been criticised for this but if you look at their countering it looks legitimate and comes down to how realistic you think their selling is. This one suffers from a lack of struggle at times. Ivanov gets taken out by Nigel and Da Mack finishes with an armbar. The crowd were way more into this than I was and the champion gets a standing ovation from the audience for his efforts. **1/4

Jeff Jarrett & John Klinger vs. Jurn Simmons & Emil Sitoci

Simmons won the wXw title from Karsten Beck at Sixteen Carat and this match is here to set up a Simmons vs. Jarrett match on this tour. The crowd chant abuse at the champ in German and there’s a cute bit where Klinger is translating it for Jarrett. The King of the Mountain is out here in his Bullet Club gear. I imagine they cost a couple of quid to get made, so he might as well get some usage out of them. Simmons and Jarrett both bring the Memphis stalling psychology to this, which involves posing and promos. The heels actually draw heat by copying the Fargo Strut. That’s the kind of match this is. Seriously old school. Simmons is that kind of wrestler. He’s more interested in the sportz entertainment aspects of the profession and Jarrett is an ideal man to do that with. If we’re talking about suspending disbelief there are some business exposing spots in this match. Jarrett at one point yelling time out and Sitoci just stops and lets Jarrett punch him in the face. Also the referee counts the pin on Sitoci, after Simmons has been taken out by the Acoustic Equaliser, without being able to see either of his shoulders. If stalling and old school is your thing you might like this but honestly, I’ve never liked the stalling for heat gimmicks. That said Jurn is particularly good at what he does, which is why he’s the champion. This match simply wasn’t for me. *1/2

Final Thoughts:

The first half of the show and everything up to the show stealing Scurll vs. Ospreay match was tremendous. That first half had the feeling of a very strong show. The second half, despite crowd responses being really positive, didn’t resonate with me so strongly. The Jurn Simmons main event may be something I never fully get into but I understand why he’s a popular heel champion. That said, the first five matches are all good and I’ll take 5/8 from almost any wrestling show. Plus Da Mack vs. Kim Ray I’m being very critical of and the Gangrel match was as good as could be expected. Call it a thumbs up. Especially if you’ve not managed to catch any of the first three Scurll vs. Ospreay matches.