We’re in Oberhausen, Germany. This is the final night of the 2016 World Tag Team League and it’ll be extremely tough to better Night Two’s show, which was utterly fantastic. The third and final night features the final group stage matches plus the final to crown new tag team champions.
Group A Standings
- Los Gueros del Cielo – Jack Evans & Angelico (3 points)
- Team Ringkampf – Timothy Thatcher & WALTER (3 points)
- JML – Shane Strickland & David Starr (3 points)
- Moustache Mountain – Trent Seven & Tyler Bate (3 points)
Group B Standings
- LDRS – Zack Sabre Jr. & Marty Scurll (4 points)
- Death By Elbow – Chris Hero & JT Dunn (4 points)
- Cerberus – Ilja Dragunov & Julian Nero (3 points)
- A4 – Marius Al-Ani & Absolute Andy (0 points)
Westside Xtreme Wrestling
World Tag Team League – Night 3
October 2, 2016
Watch: wXw Now
Rob went into details on the scoring system in the Night 1 review, but it’s three points for a win and one for a draw.
WTTL Group B Match
A4 (3) def. Death By Elbow (4)
Death By Elbow come in on four points, which means a win virtually guarantees them top spot. A4 have lost both their matches and poor Absolute Andy looks a bit depressed in their pre-match interview, although he’s cheered up a bit by the time the match starts because he gets to have a chop duel with Chris Hero. I’ll be damned if he doesn’t look really good in the process; it’s been a weekend of dudes looking good wrestling Hero. Al-Ani has been a stand-out over the weekend for me and I’m not alone in that opinion; he’s looked like a remarkable talent. JT Dunn is the final piece in the puzzle and he does fine work in getting bullied by Andy as everyone knows he’s the weak link in Death By Elbow. LDRS probably went wrong in their match by proving they could deal with Hero instead of isolating Dunn and just beating him. Here Andy figures he can subdue Hero enough that Al-Ani just needs to be better than JT Dunn. Andy impresses with his power, at one point hitting a stalling suplex on Hero. His choices of moves are a little curious sometimes though, at one point hitting a knee drop after a suplex and then warming up the band. Stick to your strengths mate, Shawn Michaels you are not.
This is a match with excellent sequences and high spots. Al-Ani might not have the form of Angelico when he flies but the enthusiasm is boundless. The best part of this match is that everyone works up to Hero’s level, instead of him overshadowing everyone. Al-Ani almost gets elbowed into oblivion but Andy saves, hits an F-5 that Brock Lesnar would think was excessive, and Al-Ani picks up the win with the frogsplash. A result that ensures A4 don’t get blanked and should block Death By Elbow’s title chances. Match was really good. ****
WTTL Group A Match
Ringkampf (6) def. Los Gueros del Cielo (3)
Both these teams have one win so far. Jack Evans tries to get a dance-off going with the super serious Ringkampf. They’re called Ringkampf not Tanzen lads! I love the little tease of some choreographed Daft Punk style from Ringkampf but sadly it doesn’t last. Walter savages poor Jack Evans. Have you seen the Revenant? Where that bear is all over Leonardo DiCaprio? It’s a bit like that only Jack doesn’t have a gun. Although he does have back flip kicks. If Leo had back flip kicked that bear he’d have been fine.
Angelico vs. Thatcher is a better pairing with Angelico’s mix of lucha and strikes confusing the big lad. The match isn’t the cleanest and there are stumbles and miscommunications at inopportune times. It’s a pity because it takes away from the main dynamic, which is Walter’s obsession with murdering Jack Evans with power moves. Thatcher ends up being the one to finish poor Jack off with a choke. This was good storytelling centered on how Jack was the weak link. Ringkampf look dominant and are in pole position in their block with six points. ***1/2
The wXw owner/booker turned himself fully heel by shooting on Karsten Beck yesterday. He doubles down on that here by rounding on other German promotions for being amateurish. Apparently wXw are looking at giving other promotions exposure on wXw Now so this might tie into that. Jakobi yacking on a bit brings out Da Mack, who rejects an opportunity to join Ringkampf and will be standing up for the boys in the back who think Jakobi is a bit of an ass.
WTTL Group A Match
JML (6) def. Moustache Mountain (3)
Ringkampf’s win means that JML can top the group because they beat Ringkampf. Moustache Mountain can, sadly, only play spoiler. Moustache Mountain have a new pose; a joint heart symbol combined with moustache twirling: it’s spectacular. Strickland is better at the flips though and Trent admits as much by bowing down to him. Just when it appears the hijinks are over JML decide to work over the facial hair but the moustaches are too mighty! Essentially this match is all about off-the-wall comedy so JML aren’t too tired for their main event, which I’m fine with. If you can get a match over with comedy to save energy then do it. It’s not all comedy though and we get flips, including Tyler doing the fosbury flop and plenty of strong style striking. Tyler also does an airplane spin and a giant swing simultaneously. If he wasn’t already one of my favourite wrestlers that would do it. Product Placement (Straitjacket German/Double Stomp) ends up putting Tyler away and JML advance to the finals. I really enjoyed this but your enjoyment will probably be limited to whether you dig the comedy. Iain Seaton thought it was the best match of the tournament. In terms of pure joy, he’s probably right. ***3/4
Next up we have an actual love angle and a live marriage, with Melanie Gray due to marry Kevin Roadster. However, because this is wrestling, Mel gets jumped on her way to the ring by Alpha Female. You know you’re a heel if you’re ambushing a bride on her way to the altar.
WTTL Group B Match
LDRS (7) def. Cerberus (3)
Cerberus winning sends them through to the final to defend their tag titles, while any other result will see the LDRS advance. Further friction between the LDRS here with Marty continually forgetting that Sabre isn’t a fan of the “villain” or Marty being a complete jerk. It’s perhaps less of an issue where Cerberus are concerned as they’re both heel and Sabre has no problem with doing dodgy double teams. Circumstance is everything.
Here Marty’s heel work is perceived as comedic and that winds up Nero, a full-blown heel who doesn’t do the funnies. Like with the Moustache Mountain-JML match there’s a feeling they’re taking it easy in this match to allow the winners recovery time. Scurll’s finger-breaking spot is particularly savage in this match and it freaks the referee out, although not anywhere near as bad as the one on Mike Bailey from Rev Pro.
Like every tournament match the ‘breaking down’ sequence is strong with everyone having fun. Nero is undoubtedly the weak link in the match from a in-ring quality standpoint. He’s way below the others and it shows. His spots are inconsistent and the match is far superior when Dragunov is involved. Nero ends up taking the PK for the loss and setting up a good final. Cerberus officially are no longer tag team champions due to this loss. ***1/4
Da Mack def. Mike Bailey
Both these guys have looked good this weekend. Although Da Mack has had the misfortune of losing his title he’s now involved a very big angle with the owner. Meanwhile Bailey killed it with Jurn Simmons for the Unified Championship. Both guys have seen their stock rise.
Despite praise for them in other matches this weekend I’m not overly keen on this one. Da Mack looks a wee bit shaky on the ropes and Bailey doesn’t bring the same fire he did against Simmons, although in his defence that was a main event. They have some reasonably fun pre-planned sequences that keep the match ticking over and it’s by no means a bad match, it’s just not as good as their previous big match efforts this weekend. Mack is more to blame than Bailey as his strikes are so consistently off target and he’s far better when flipping around. It’s weird to me that Bailey took as long as he did to break out from Canada because he has the range of skills that indie wrestling fans love and yet he also has an individual look and style all of his own. He tries shooting star double knees to finish here but gets caught with Mack Magic, which with an Ace Crusher, in mid-air for the loss. Great finish and a pretty strong outing, especially from Bailey who’s been great all weekend. ***1/4
Ringkampf come out here looking for retribution for Da Mack spurning their group earlier. Axel Dieter Jr. is getting some serious heat for turning on Da Mack and ending Hot & Spicy. The heels have a three on two advantage and beat down Da Mack and Bailey until a bunch of babyfaces run out for the save. I see Absolute Andy, Marius Al-Ani and The Rotation. Ringkampf look to be the big heel focus going forward, which should make some interesting business at the top of the card as the champ is also heel but was leaning face at the end of the yesterday’s show.
World Tag Team League Final
wXw Tag Team Championship
JML def. LDRS
If there were issues earlier tonight about saving energy then all is forgiven here where Starr and Sabre open up with counters on the mat at breakneck pace. The energy was saved for this match and it’s going to be great. Marty decides to run his mouth during this match, reminding Zack he’s the best technician in the world and how he needs to “suplex this little bitch” (Starr). Scurll is in full-on entertainer mode, as is evidenced by him using a child’s chanting as a distraction to jump Shane Strickland from behind and he shakes the child’s hand! He never shakes hands! He’s so all over the place that I figure Marty has been on the Red Bull before the match. He’s so entertaining that you should go and buy wXw Now so you can see how goddamn entertaining he is. Everyone in this seems to have instant chemistry. Strickland is a born showman, Starr is one of the most underrated guys on the indies and both Brits are outstanding. Strickland looks to be having the time of life, finally unleashed upon a match with genuine substance that he can insert his flippity things into. He’s not alone in wanting to go crazy as Starr hits a bunch of nutty topes, with apparently zero concern for his own wellbeing. These are full-on Arena Mexico style dives. The kind where you can’t do them in venues with guardrails because you’d destroy them with your torpedo head.
The match is really long but it doesn’t suffer from pacing issues at all. For pacing it might be even better than the LDRS-Death By Elbow match (which I loved but our reviewer for that show Rob didn’t). Especially Strickland vs. Scurll, which is a singles match I need in the UK. Strickland has already wrestled for Progress, I’m sure they could make it happen.
The LDRS storyline continues with Scurll provoking Sabre into poking Starr in the eyes. Will Zack turn to the semi-dark side? I like how finishes in earlier matches don’t get it done here. Strickland kicks out of the PK and Scurll kicks out of the Product Placement. The feeling is that to win the big one, something special will be required. Armbar and chickenwing are both applied at the same time and it feels like the finish due to the devastating nature of the way these holds have been built up. It’s really what the finishing stretch is all about; teasing the possibility of a finish and then taking it away. When a match does this effectively it’s the best. There’s a very clinical ref bump and Scurll goes after a belt shot but that’s where Zack draws the line…only he doesn’t! He waffles Shane with the strap, like a complete dick, and Strickland kicks out at two and a half. Sabre is fantastic as the asshole heel in the final sequences, showing incredible viciousness as Scurll cheers him on. However Starr gets all fired up and Strickland puts Sabre away with the JML Driver.
This was top grappling action from beginning to end and one of the best matches of the weekend. One of the most intriguing aspects of the whole thing is Scurll being the hand-shaking babyface at the end and Sabre walking away in disgust. He knows he sold his soul and he got nothing for it. ****1/4
It was another excellent weekend of wrestling from wXw. The second night was probably the best top to bottom card of the three but the final was definitely up there for the best match of the weekend. wXw are a promotion on the rise and they’ve put a lot of resources into place to ensure that continues.