wXw Inner Circle 3
March 9, 2017
Essen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Deutschland
wXw Wrestling Academy

Watch: wXw Now

We’re in Essen, Germany at the wXw Academy. It’s the home of wXw’s noted training centre where all week the top shooters in the 16 Carat Gold tournament have been rolling around on the mat and learning from each other. The likes of Riddle, Thatcher, Starr and WALTER have been tearing it up all week long. The result is going to be a competitive 16 Carat tournament, starting tomorrow, and the shoot-style tournament they run called AMBITION, which is entering it’s eighth year.

Paul London def. Absolute Andy

This is a very intimate venue, with limited space available. Watching this show was my first time checking out wrestling in Germany and it’s a bizarre yet fantastic experience. One of my favourite moments in this match is when a fan suggests to London that he “go for his knees” and Andy stares the fan out for ages, pointing at him in the process. The actual match is shockingly hard-hitting, considering it takes place on the eve of a major wrestling tournament. Can you imagine two BOLA participants beating the shit out of each other the night before Night One? It’s sets the tone of the weekend beautifully, as right from the first match the work is relentlessly hard. London is an inspiration, never ceasing to take abuse for his art despite his advancing years. The front turnbuckle bumps he takes are sickening and both men unleash meaty chops. Andy, mad old bastard that he is, decides to do a super rana! If you’ve never seen Andy that might seem like a rational thing to do but he’s 33 years old, 275lbs and has two bad knees. What on earth is he thinking? I’ll tell you what he’s thinking: I’m going to entertain these 100 fans and set the damn tone for the entire weekend. London promptly rolls him up to block the F5 and gets the first win of the weekend. ***1/2


Speaking of setting the tone, here are two more gentlemen intending to do the same. ACH aiming to be the most fun performer of the entire Carat weekend and WALTER looking to set down a marker in what he hopes will be a glorious weekend for Ringkampf and professional wrestling. ACH tries to fight WALTER at his own game, the Chop Game, and that doesn’t go well for him. It doesn’t go well for anyone this weekend. However it does allow ACH to debut his cock-punching gimmick. WALTER also makes a point of crushing ACH with the sleeper, a hold that would be devastatingly effective over the weekend. Having ACH immediately give up merely intensifies WALTER’s claims to be a tournament favourite. ***

Marius Al-Ani def. Jeff Cobb

Cobb is in town for Inner Circle and AMBITION. He would have been in 16 Carat had Lucha Underground got all their ducks in a row and figured out when they were recording TV earlier. It does make Cobb a special attraction on these two shows. Based on the attendance a lot of Carat fans must have missed him altogether. Their loss. Cobb is freakishly strong. At one point he hurls Al-Ani over his head and the height Marius gets is quite incredible. The other massive power spot is Cobb simply catching Al-Ani and throwing him. Al-Ani is not a small man. Seeing as Marius is tournament bound he overcomes Cobb and beats him with the frogsplash. Al-Ani is definitely someone who can advance to the upper echelons of European wrestling. At the moment he’s not quite there but it’s only a matter of time. **3/4

Timothy Thatcher def. Francis Kaspin

Speaking of prospects; Kaspin is one of the guys wXw have huge long term plans for. He was the stand-out at their Academy and has found his way onto cards very quickly, with good reason. He’s only been wrestling for just over a year and his progress is impressive. This match is another bump in Kaspin’s learning curve. He lets Tim control the pace and picks his moments. It’s all about learning how to structure a match and Tim is a solid teacher. The match never quite fires on all cylinders, compared to the opener, but Thatcher has a tonne of matches this weekend and can be forgiven for taking it a little easy on Inner Circle. This match contains another little preview for Ringkampf’s weekend with Thatcher using the sleeper to set up a butterfly suplex for the pin. **1/2

David Starr def. Matt Riddle

King of Taunts vs. King of Bros. These two are good friends in real life and that’s reflected in the work. Riddle is a prodigy but let’s not overlook Starr who has come on leaps and bounds over the last two years. To the point where he doesn’t look out of place taking it to Riddle, one of the world’s most accomplished independent stars. Riddle makes one small mistake, failing to connect on a kick and being really obvious about it but it’s one mistake in a sea of excellence. Some of the sequences are delightful, probably from a week of rolling around in the Academy. This is their only chance to interact all weekend so they make the most of it. The dodging strikes sequence is fantastic and Riddle makes sure Starr looks like a main event talent coming out of this match. In general the way you treat someone, over a period of time, defines how important they are to a promotion and Starr has spent the last year getting more and more popular in Germany. Considering these two have a lot of hard work ahead of them, they certainly don’t consider this an ‘off night’. It’s full-bore, no-bullshit action worthy of a main event slot in this or any other building. To start a weekend of shows with an intimate show is a calculated risk but it’s one that pays off with ease. The intensity is wonderful, especially when Starr tells Riddle that he “hits like a little bitch”. This leads to Riddle getting actually angry, a rarity, and taken out of his coolness zone. Starr promptly catches him with a series of moves including a Canadian Destroyer and two Product Placements for the win. ****

Final Thoughts:

This show is an hour long and a little teaser for the wonders that lie ahead in 16 Carat. Starr-Riddle is well worth going out of your way for. It helped to establish exactly what to expect from Carat weekend. Star making turns, bags of effort and strong entertainment value.