Behind 16 Carat, Germany’s second biggest wrestling occassion is the World Tag Team League hosted by wXw. Eight teams, sorted into two blocks with the winners of each block meeting in a final with the tag belts on the line; it’s a simple but very successful formula especially when you’re bringing in the quality of teams that wXw is to supplement their own fantastically talented roster. Night one is main evented by somewhat of a tag team dream match that I had no idea I wanted until it was announced: Ringkampf vs. The Briscoes.
Westside Xtreme Wrestling
World Tag Team League
October 6, 2017
Watch: wXw Now
Scoring system is set at three points for a win and one for a half hour time limit draw.
World Tag Team League B Block
EYFBO (3) def. The Rottweilers (0)
This was a fantastic way to kick off the tournament. Making it over to Europe was a big deal for EYFBO and it showed here in their effort; they were going all out. Both teams brought a plethora of great double team moves and in general worked really well as units as opposed to two individuals. They did a great job of making everything in this match matter, only helped by them keeping sublime track of tag legalities, which always ups my investment in a match several fold. If I was forced to level a criticism it’d be that there were one or two sloppy sequences, it wasn’t the most crisp of match, but I’m more than happy to look past that with a match as well structured as this one. EYFBO picked up the three points with a double team blockbuster. ***1/2
World Tag Team League A Block
Young Lions (3) def. Spirit Squad (0)
Well after a good start the show took a bit of a nosedive here. I wasn’t optimistic going in. The Spirit Squad for better or for worse is a shtick team and their shtick only really works as heels. Well here they were going up against representatives of wXw’s heel unit which didn’t really give them any sort of dynamic to play off for Spirit Squad’s antics, and as such we got a mess of a match. It ended up being far too long, boring and very sloppy. Thankfully this was on paper the worst match of the tournament, so at least it’s out of the way now. The Young Lions cleared the first hurdle to hanging onto their tag titles here by picking up the win with a double team backbreaker. *3/4
Julian Nero def. Da Mack
This was mostly just a match that existed. It wasn’t offensive in any way, but very little about it stuck with me. The two highlights were a great looking running knee from Nero and one of my favourite things in wrestling: a tremendously executed “nope” spot where Da Mack dived off of the top and Nero just casually sidestepped allowing Da Mack to crash and burn. Unfortunately the match then ended up with what seemed to be a botched finish, where Nero seemed to miss a top rope move then cover and get the win anyway even though there was a half kickout? I don’t know, it was weird. **3/4
At this point we got the announcement that Zack Sabre Jr. would be making his wXw return later this year at the anniversary show.
World Tag Team League B Block
Massive Product (3) def. A4 (0)
This was my favourite match of the entire weekend, which is high praise as that’s beating out some very strong competition. Right from the entrances everything here was so special. It was everything I love about tag wrestling with all four guys putting in incredible performances. It was perhaps the best I’ve seen a match build all year. They started things off by spamming shoulder blocks, and from there they just ramped things up and up continuously until the matches climax where it ended at the exact right moment. Yet again their was perfect tag legalities, and they used the dynamic of legal and non-legal man wonderfully to give extra wrinkles to the tag team structure. The whole match just flowed together wonderfully to create an amazing total package; I could gush about this match for-near-ever. One last thing I will say though is that Marius Al-Ani is a star in the making and rapidly approaching elite tier worker status; get aboard the Al-Ani train now. Massive Product would pick up the victory with a spike piledriver on Al-Ani with Starr diving into Andy to prevent him from breaking up the fall. ****1/4
wXw Shotgun Championship
The Avalanche def. Ivan Kiev
I hadn’t made a full assessment of Kiev prior to this, but after seeing this I’ve come to the strong conclusion that he’s not a very good professional wrestler. Avalanche, the former Robert Dreissker, is though. Every good part of this match came from him, whether it be his great squashing offense or later in the match where Kiev went to pull him out of the ring from the floor by grabbing at his foot and Avalanche simply yanking Kiev into the ring instead with his foot (a spot that would end up paying off the next night). Other than that though, we got lots of uninspired Kiev offense and a bunch of lazy RISE interference. It wasn’t good. Avalanche won by DQ when Pete Bouncer broke up a pin. *3/4
After the match the majority of the RISE stable came out to lay a beating on Avalanche. This brought out Julian Nero, Avalanche’s old Cerberus partner, to try to make the save but he ended up unsuccessful due to the numbers game. This then brought out the third head of Cerberus, and the man who would be challenging the RISE leader the following night, Ilja Dragunov. He managed to clear house on RISE, leaving Cerberus alone standing strong in the ring. Avalanche would refuse Ilja’s handshake though, simply turning and walking back up the ramp.
The execution of this angle wasn’t brilliant. RISE one by one wandering up the ramp to get beaten up by Ilja instead of all attacking him at once felt very hokey, and there were a few instances where RISE guys just stood there and waited their turn to take a move. The overall story points got over really well though, the crowd was super into Ilja making the save and the potential reuniting of Cerberus.
World Tag Team League B Block
Ringkampf (Thatcher & WALTER) (3) def. The Briscoes (0)
This match was a strong way to close out the show. Both teams had a lot of support, and delivered to the level that we’ve come to expect from them. These are two of the tag teams in the world with the crispest offense and as such they meshed excellently together. I feel like a broken record praising the tag legalities in this match, but they nailed it yet again and I really appreciated that. Especially on the indie level they get screwed up so often, few things annoy me more in a tag match than an illegal man getting pinned or doing a pin as it invalidates the logic of any heat segment that previously took place, so when a company consistently gets it right I feel the need to heap on the praise.
Overall this match was all about showcasing WALTER. The other three guys all looked good, but Thatcher spent a lot of the match taking the heat which would lead to WALTER continuously coming in and clearing house in spectacular and glorious fashion. One spot in particular which I adored was Mark Briscoe going to leapfrog WALTER only to be lariated out of mid air by the big Austrian; it was so satisfying to watch. WALTER is so good at that sort of thing, looking at an established sequence in wrestling and changing it up by doing the logical thing. Why should he duck under your leapfrog when he can just destroy you? He doesn’t just do things because ‘that’s what you do in a wrestling match’, he clearly puts a tremendous amount of thought into the craft and it shines through in the quality of his matches. He would pick up the win when both members of Ringkampf caught the opposing team in sleeper holds. ***3/4
This was a good night of wrestling to kick off the World Tag Team League proper. A4 and Massive Product had one of the best tag matches you’ll see anywhere this year, and we also got two other quality tournament match-ups. Aside from that the show did a really good job of planting seeds that would come to fruition later on in the weekend. Overall this gets a solid thumbs up.