We’re in Dresden, Germany for wXw’s follow up show to 16 Carat: True Colors. There is Carat fall-out here with Dieter getting his contractual title rematch, albeit alongside two other challengers, and Dragunov tries to finish his feud with Dreissker before moving on up to his title shot.
Westside Xtreme Wrestling
April 8, 2017
Watch: wXw Now
Host for the English language speaking world is Alan Counihan.
Bobby Gunns def. Da Mack
The King of Smoke Style clearly doesn’t care about Germany’s anti-public smoking regulations. I hope he’s prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law! The match hits house show standards quickly and remains there. It’s a fairly typical heel/face contest with the added wrinkle of Mack being ‘supported’ by a female fan. The work is pedestrian with Bobby getting more fire out of the female companion than Mack himself. When she attacks Gunns it becomes a genuine issue. Companies should never encourage fans to attack wrestlers by having fan angles where a fan attacks a wrestler. Even if they’re blatantly a plant it’s sewing seeds of thought in the minds of the drunks and can only cause problems. The match doesn’t need any more issues with the lethargic work already failing to get the crowd energised. Structurally the match improves a great deal with them trading on big spots and popping the crowd with kick-outs. I’m particularly impressed with Gunns going after the armbar that beat David Starr. However they then switch and Mack submits Gunns with the Fujiwara armbar. Tas decides to reverse the decision after Mack fails to let go of the hold. *
What the hell was going on here? The storyline of the match was all over the place with Bobby working the arm and tapping out to an armbar while Mack, the babyface, got help from outside and got disqualified for being a dick. Presumably they’re trying to give Mack a little extra edge but don’t do that when the opponent is a defined heel who’s working a program where he’s stalking one of the companies biggest babyfaces in Melanie Gray. Bizarre booking.
Bad Bones def. Alpha Kevin
Kevin has refocused on his relationship with Mella after beating Marius Van Beethoven and it’s angered Bones, who thinks Kevin has lost focus on the graps. Again there are storytelling issues here. Bones is presumably the heel, in a manner of speaking, but his complaints about Kevin’s complacency ring true. As we get underway it becomes apparent that Kevin is working full-blown heel. This is a switch in character after dispatching Marius and finally becoming ‘content’ in his relationship with Melanie. As we all know there’s no such thing as contentment in wrestling. That doesn’t create matches. So Kevin runs through some comedy bits and bobs, a huge contrast to his Van Beethoven super-serious feud, and Klinger beats the crap out of him. When they settle into something more meaningful; Kevin trying to trade with Bones and him getting beaten up again, the match becomes more substantial. Kevin has to prove he belongs on the card, Bones is eager to beat some respect into him. Bones finishes with the diving Codebreaker. Kevin looks terrified of another beating but Klinger offers him a handshake. Kevin has apparently earned his respect in defeat. Be interesting to see where they go with Kevin. Bones is obviously the gatekeeper for wXw. You want into that upper card he’s the measuring stick. **1/4
Kim Ray def. Jaxon Stone
Kim Ray has only just come back after months away. Jaxon is new on me. He’s a definitive heel. I know where I stand with him. Jaxon aka “Lights. Camera. Jaxon” is an American mid-west performer with a few years under his belt and a reputation to build. Europe has become a place where Americans can escape a crowded market and make a name for themselves. His character is fairly raw and his work is basic but there is potential there. The trouble with having a new, unestablished guy against someone who’s not been around for half a year is that they need to establish themselves with the crowd. They don’t do that. Jaxon is a little green and this shows in his bumps especially. Kim isn’t exactly a ring general so the match is ok but nothing more. One optimistic fan tries to start a “this is awesome” chant. Steady on, fella. Kim kicks Jaxon in the head for the pin. This was fine but definitely not awesome.**1/2
wXw World Tag Team Championship Street Fight
A4 def. London Riots
The Riots are working heel, hence the street fight stipulation. They’re bringing that carnage, tornado style, to Germany. Some serious big lads wrestling will be on display. Al-Ani is the smallest man in the match but he’s building a big reputation and treats this as a chance for some giant-killing. Absolute Andy, and his “heavy hands”, would be a good fit for Progress’ Atlas division if they wanted a change in pace. He does decent comedy and has great big man power moves. His spinebuster almost goes wrong here, as his leg gives out. Luckily no one is injured. The lack of tags allow a crazy match that takes place at breakneck pace. It’s just what the sluggish show needed. As the contest progresses it slows down to allow bigger spots. Various weapons are brought into play.
Also Andy does a Sharpshooter on the stage for no apparent reason. He is deservedly put through a table for that. The problem with switching to a big spot match is it slows the pace and takes what had been a riveting contest into one that is only sporadically interesting. Andy does great character work in strolling back to the ring after the table spot though and Davis does magical work in selling his arrival “like a demon from the sea” (Alan). The upside of doing a ‘big spots’ match is that it makes it feel more important than a straight up sprint. Both teams seem like they’re victorious at various moments only for something wacky to occur and the match to carry on. Al-Ani manages to steal the show with his insane corner dive, which is cool because that’s one of his normal moves but he timed it so well it still popped the crowd hard. The match continues to escalate with an F5 through a table and Al-Ani hitting a frogsplash off a ladder for the win. This was carnage although there were notable dead spots that stopped it from being a MOTYC or anything of that nature. ****
Francis Kaspin def. Laurance Roman, Marius van Beethoven & Scotty Saxon
This is an intriguing match for me because it features two guys I’ve never even heard of. Saxon is a seven year pro who has worked extensively for wXw before. I’ve never seen him for some reason. Roman is completely new on me but apparently he’s from Dresden and has been wrestling for about five years. Van Beethoven brings the heat while Kaspin brings the shine. Saxon is the beefiest competitor while Roman is the smallest. Saxon’s power moves are terrifying and he manhandles Roman like he’s nothing. Saxon is a bit of a cocky weirdo, preferring to pose than follow up on his dominance. He scares me a bit. Because he spends too long posing Kaspin takes him out with a flying bulldog. A curious character is young Scotty Saxon. I’m not entirely sure what to make of him. **1/2
Ilja Dragunov vs. Robert Dreissker
The Avalanche was the first huddle that Dragunov cleared in 16 Carat, thus putting punctuation on their Cerberus imploding feud. But it turns out that punctuation was a comma, not a full stop. Ilja’s 16 Carat tournament remains marked upon his flesh, three weeks after the devastation of WALTER’s chops. While Dragunov overcame Dreissker at Carat the giant Avalanche clearly feels this business has not been concluded. He wants to prove Ilja’s win wasn’t conclusive. Dreissker pounds on Ilja throughout but the Russian won’t stay down, causing the crowd to chant “unbesiegbar”, which means “invincible”. You cannot beat Ilja Dragunov. His comeback includes lifting and holding Dreissker in a Saito suplex position. It’s insane, scary levels of strength. The Dresden crowd don’t give the spot the respect it deserves. They continue to wail on each other until Ilja bumps the ref and the match gets thrown out. That’s a little disappointing, especially considering the huge push Dragunov is in the midst of. It doesn’t make sense for him to not beat Dreissker, unless they’re intending on having them do a blow-off match. The post match antics, where they have a pull-apart brawl gets us back on track. ***
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
Jakobi comes out with WALTER, not Dieter. With Axel ready to head off to Florida there’s a possible storyline there. As Jurn arrives there are twenty minutes left on the show, so this isn’t one of those epic wXw main events that go on for ages. CMJ himself has had plenty to say on the matter; suggesting that matches don’t need to go long for the sake of it. Ringkampf make it pretty clear they’re going to work together, which puts Speedball in an awkward spot. Does he side with Simmons or go after the title? After all it was Jurn who wanted him in this match after enjoying their title match last year. To begin with their relationship is cordial, as they need an alliance to stand a chance against Ringkampf. There ends up being more going on across the ring where WALTER insists that Axel take the pins and go for the strap, which leaves Dieter looking surprised due to WALTER’s ambitions pre-Carat. The lads keep the action fresh by switching the participants. Usually either Axel or WALTER is involved, establishing the importance of Ringkampf as a unit here. It takes Bailey and Jurn working together, almost unintentionally at times, to overcome this threat. They work the match at a cracking pace utilising the strengths of all four men; from WALTER’s power to Axel’s mat game to Speedball’s flips and Jurn’s liquid charisma. The Ringkampf issue comes to a head when Simmons pushes WALTER onto Axel while he’s pinning Speedball. Dieter loses his rag and suspects WALTER of conspiring to take the title. This sets WALTER off and Ringkampf are broken! Dieter gets so focused on WALTER that Jurn catches him with the Simmonssault for the pin. Dieter eating the pinfall was to be expected here. The former champion is on the outs and his own attitude, not trusting WALTER despite his larger partner purposely backing him throughout, cost him the match and the title. ***3/4
There were four matches on this show that took on a very defined ‘undercard’ vibe. They didn’t capture the imagination but merely existed. The highs, by comparison, were a lot higher. In particular the street fight for the tag titles and the main event. Both of which featured unrestrained entertainment. Dragunov-Dreissker having no finish and some undercard booking issues left a slight sour taste in the mouth but the big matches delivered here. The biggest issue wXw have going forward is losing a key player like Axel Dieter Jr. It’ll be tough to replace someone of his talents. He’s not just a capable wrestler but his presence holds together many of the companies top angles. Naturally Dragunov is stepping up into that main event breach and wXw are hoping Dreissker will follow through association. We’ll have to see how that plays out.