At the beginning of the month wXw concluded their five month long ‘More Than Wrestling’ tour. They marked this by returning home to Oberhausen for their now annual Shortcut to the Top feature show, their last before taking a two month hiatus. Alongside the 30 man Shortcut to the Top match the show was originally supposed to be co-main evented by 16 Carat Gold winner Zack Sabre Jr’s challenge for the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship held by Jurn Simmons, but this fell through with Sabre’s injury. However the show was filled with announcements, returns and surprises in an attempt to make up for this lack of Zack.
Westside Xtreme Wrestling
Shortcut to the Top
June 4, 2016
Just shy of 600 fans were packed into the Turbinenhalle, a pretty good crowd by non-Carat wXw standards.
Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani def. Emil Sitoci & Marty Scurll
Al-Ani was replacing the injured Rotation in this match, and in general he did a good job. On or two of his strikes lacked the impact you’d hope for, but in general he brought good energy and intensity to this match. Sitoci also looked good here; he’s a really overlooked star on the world wrestling scene. Everything he does is just so clean and precise. The real star of this match though was Absolute Andy, who really power his way through his two opponents and looked like an absolute beast.
The one thing that brought this match down was the somewhat forced and cartoonish (a somewhat common description of Marty’s work when he’s not working the uppercard of a show) ‘bad guys not getting along’ sections of this match, that felt like they were getting in the way of the match rather than being placed into its natural flow. Still a solid opener though. Andy rolled up Sitoci for the win. ***
Melanie Gray def. Kay Lee Ray
This was a solid but largely forgettable encounter. It wasn’t helped by having a heavy reliance on interference from Marius Van Beethoven. Gray could do with laying in her strikes a bit more; she’s being presented as a power wrestler in the division but her clotheslines and forearms lack impact. Grey submitted Ray with the Cloverleaf for the victory. **1/4
wXw Shotgun Championship
Da Mack def. Sasa Keel
I’m not a big fan of recently announced WWE Cruiserweight Classic participant Da Mack. His strikes generally look awful, the dancing he tries to integrate into his matches is invariably awkward and it’s not abnormal for his positioning to feel off. In contrast, I really enjoyed seeing the big Croatian Keel hit his variety of great looking suplexes and throws here. The match was fun when Keel was dominating, but Mack’s periods of offense were far less so. Mack retained with a springboard cutter. **1/4
wXw World Tag Team Championship
Cerberus (Dragan, Dragunov & Nero) def. Legion (Whiplash, End & Dante)
Cerberus and the Sumerian Death Squad have been going back and forth since late last year, trading the tag straps between themselves over the period. At Superstars of Wrestling III, Mikey Whiplash was introduced into the feud to complete the Legion trio, leading to this six man encounter.
Dirty Dragan is not a good wrestler. Julian Nero isn’t particularly impressive either. I enjoy everybody else in the match to varying degrees, but there was just a bit too much to weight that needed carrying here. Whenever Dragunov was the focus of the Cerberus side this match was highly enjoyable. Thankfully this happened just enough for the match on the whole to be good. Finish felt a little unimpactful though, the crowd seemed to be expecting a kickout and this featured match going less than ten minutes probably played a part in that reaction. Ilja Dragunov won the belts for his team with the Torpedo Moskau flying headbutt. ***
After the match Tommy End got on the mic and announced that this was going to be his penultimate wXw show before moving onto the next chapter of his career.
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
No DQ, No Countout, Must be a Winner
Jurn Simmons def. John Klinger
This was originally supposed to be Jurn Simmons defending against 16 Carat Gold Tournament winner Zack Sabre Jr. until he was injured in a match the previous month against Big Daddy Walter.
There was a certain level of physicality to this one that meant I couldn’t completely completely hate it, but there was a lot of walk-and-brawl. Simmons just does very little for me; he’s the opposite of a dynamic wrestler. His matches are everything that makes people bored with mid-2000s WWE. Outside interference, heel tropes and long rest holds, all are to be expected when you’re watching a match featuring the massive one. There were one or two spots that were cool in isolation, but overall I was bored. Simmons defeated Bad Bones John Klinger with a piledriver onto a stack of chairs. **
Karsten Beck wins the 30 Man Shortcut to the Top
The Shortcut to the Top match is pretty much an exact carbon copy of the Royal Rumble, and this incarnation started off in an amazing way with a completely unannounced and unteased Chris Hero appearance starting things off with Big Daddy Walter.
The earlier portions of this match were dominated by Chris Hero and Big Daddy Walter trying to out-man eachother as well as the continuation of the war between Legion and Cerberus. Notable events in the middle portions included the teasing of a future PROGRESS title match between Hero and Scurll, the return to wXw of Tengkwa after an almost nine year absence, and Scurll eliminating Sitoci to mark the end of their time as a tag team.
They did the closing periods of this match really well. From about five guys to go everything felt really important and Karsten Beck’s return got a tremendous reaction. I had to go back and watch Axel Dieter Jr’s non-elimination about three times, but you can just about see him slide under the bottom rope then stand up on the apron in the side of the picture while the focus is elsewhere, so when Chris Hero elbowed him off the apron to the floor it didn’t count as an elimination and allowed him to return to the ring to eliminate Tommy End later.
Overall this was a good rumble. Things dragged a little in the middle with a lot of the filler participants being pretty sloppy, but it started well and ended very satisfyingly. Setting up Karsten Beck vs. Jurn Simmons may not be a match I’m at all excited about, but it’s the right move story wise and the live crowd lapped it up.
While the titular match of this show delivered the barren undercard means that this show isn’t really worth making time in your schedule for. Only seek this one out if you’re a wXw hardcore who really pays attention to their storyline progression or you really love rumble style matches.