We’re in Oberhausen, Germany at the Turbinenhalle for night two of the World Tag Team League.

Westside Xtreme Wrestling
World Tag Team League
October 7, 2017
Oberhausen, Germany

Watch: wXw Now

Hosts in the English language version are Alan Counihan and Rico Bushido.

World Tag Team League Block B
The Briscoes (3) def. EYFBO (3)

EYFBO have arrived in Europe and are having a lovely time. They’ve established a few of their spots and the Briscoes step up to the lucha plate. This is a fast-paced opener with both teams bringing quality double teams. The Briscoes like to test any team they’re in there with. It’s not stiff so much as snug. EYFBO don’t seem to mind and go about their business. The Briscoes are one of the most realistic teams on display this weekend, with the exception of Ringkampf; they keep all those strikes nice and tight. There’s no air in between. EYFBO refuse to stay down though, for them it’s about stepping up and taking on the more experienced team. It’s a slick sprint with EYFBO upping their game, a good opener. Jay hates Draztik’s neck and murders him with a lariat. Doomsday Device clears Draztik out and the Briscoes pick up a big win in a hot opener. ***1/2

wXw Shotgun Championship
Ivan Kiev def. Alexander James, Bobby Gunns & Avalanche

Kiev retained against Avalanche last night thanks to RISE causing a DQ. This means we have him defending again in worse circumstances for Kiev. The problem with Kiev holding the Shotgun title is he only has it to fit into the storyline where RISE have all the belts. Shotgun title is usually a fun title where fun wrestlers have it. It being another prop in the RISE program it loses that fun undercard vibe. Plus wXw still can’t get on the same page to fight RISE. Look at these three: James is a dick, Gunns is a dick and Avalanche doesn’t care about wXw or RISE. All they need to do is club together to get rid of Kiev and that’s one belt back in wXw’s fold and a nail in RISE’s coffin. But they don’t work like that. They see Avalanche as the biggest star and threat so they aim to take him out. Ivan has a much better showing here, taking a beating from multiple opponents. The best spot is Avalanche being tripped by Kiev, as he was the night before, but this time James helps him and they actually topple the giant. This is much appreciated by the Brit Wres Roundtable team in Germany.

James has a philosophical approach to wrestling and how elements of modern wrestling don’t work and yet he’s out there slapping his thigh like a Bavarian in lederhosen. It’s very strange to preach one thing about do another. Despite his thigh slaps James does well in this match, although everyone plays second fiddle to Avalanche who’s the real star. The little sequences in this make me hope for James vs. Gunns in singles. It’s all technically sound. While the others battle among themselves Kiev picks off James with the Falcon Arrow. This was a better match than last night’s Avalanche-Kiev one on one. Kiev was less exposed in this role. Multi-man matches are hard to put together but the other three did the hard work and Kiev picked up the win. Exactly how you’d want it. ***

Jinny was meant to wrestle Melanie Gray but she got injured taking Viper’s Cannonball in the corner during Femmes Fatales. Jinny cuts a quasi-babyface promo saying Melanie Gray the “diva of wXw” doesn’t belong in the same ring as “women’s wrestlers”. Jinny calling Mella “just shit” pops me and the crowd come around to Jinny’s way of thinking on most things. Maybe they’re tired of Melanie Gray in general. I blame Alpha Kevin. Anyway, Mel is replaced by Killer Kelly.

Jinny def. Killer Kelly

Kelly recently got exposure in Der Bild, Germany’s most popular newspaper and wXw would be foolish to not give her a few matches based on this. Kelly isn’t quite ready for the spot but she’s put a lot of thought into her entrance and look, which puts her above the standard rookie level. She has an MMA look and great presence. However she’s very green and Jinny has to walk her through a lot of the early sequences. Whenever Kelly is in charge there are awkward pauses where she’s not sure if Jinny is in position and the façade of wrestling is broken. Jinny is left standing there several times, waiting to get hit. There’s one spot that’s especially bad where she stops running across the ring, walks into the corner to hit her a few times and then goes back to running across the ring for the original spot. It’s very awkward, although it comes across better on tape than it did live. Jinny’s technique is far advanced in every way and those pauses keep happening, leaving Jinny looking foolish. It happens too often and Kelly needs to work on these gaps in kayfabe. Jinny finishes with the Rainmaker. Kelly needs polishing. It’ll come in time but she was barely show ready. *1/4

World Tag Team League A Block
A4 (3) def. Young Lions (3)

Back to the tournament and the incumbent tag champs: the Young Lions. Lucky Kid, total goofball, is the star of RISE (apart from Bad Bones) and he stands out here by doing lots of silly facials and stuff. Tarkan Aslan is less useful. He constantly does shit that makes no sense. Like bouncing off the ropes, for no reason, to do a stomp. What the fuck is that Tarkan? The idea of hitting the ropes is to gain momentum. Why would you need momentum for a stomp? It’s the opposite direction. He doesn’t even charge the ropes, he backs into them. It’s bullshit work. It’s a pity because Lucky Kid is terrific here and A4 was one of my favourite tag teams in pro wrestling at this point. Marius Al-Ani is spectacular and Andy is a fine powerhouse. If Tarkan just carried his end the match would be terrific. It goes to show how much one poor worker can effect a match. The referee, Rainer, doesn’t help, completely losing track of who’s legal and counting pins when people aren’t in the match. It’s a shambles, which is a shame for A4. They should know better on the false finishes though. At one point doing the reversal on the F5/frogsplash with Andy coming off the top. That’s a finish lads, unless you’ve got something better planned. They don’t. The actual finish is just them doing the normal finish. This was a real disappointment. A mess, sadly. I enjoyed it live but the more you pick at it, the more the match unravels. **1/4

World Tag Team League B Block
The Rottweilers (3) def. Ringkampf (Thatcher & WALTER) (3)

My notes on this match, from watching it live, are barely comprehendible but in the top right hand corner it says “real good”. That about sums it up. Homicide has his best showing of the weekend here (and he was no slouch the rest of the time) and WALTER is at his best in this match. I deliberately watched a lot of the shows from the press gantry so I could see the action if it ever spilled all over the building. Boy did it ever here. Homicide steals the show in the early going by hurling insults at WALTER in Spanish but then immediately apologising when he realised how big WALTER is. The Rottweilers quickly realise they can’t beat Ringkampf by having a technical match so force them into a Rotties match. Both Homicide and Ki are into the carnage style, which includes chairs, low blows and craziness. Ringkampf hang with them for a while and Thatcher even uses a cravat in a walk and brawl. WALTER also manhandles Ki, at one point throwing him over the top rope and into the ring off the floor. As it switches gears it feels like it’s going broadway. There had been no draws to this point and it’d be logical for this to finish even. There’s a great spot where Ki thinks about a Ki Krusher on the ramp, WALTER throws him into the ring but Ki jumps back at him with a Shotgun Dropkick. Ki hits the double stomp off the top to the ramp. It’s an unfortunate move for Ki because he blows out his ACL. It removes WALTER from the match but it removes the Rottweilers from the tournament. Despite the busted knee Ki manages to boost Thatcher up for the Doomsday Cutter from Homicide and this wild brawl ends with a Rottweilers victory. This was a corker, especially from Low Ki and Homicide who turned back the clock. ****

Video Control takes us to Tommy Giessen who runs through the forthcoming shows. This includes announcements of the first three competitors for 16 Carat Gold: Jeff Cobb, Travis Banks and Pentagon Jr. The last one gets gasps from ringside because Lucha Underground is on TV in Germany.

World Tag Team League A Block
Massive Product (6) def. Spirit Squad (0)

Spirit Squad had issues regarding their heel/face alignment on night one, wrestling against a firm heel team and yet somehow getting the same amount of heat as them. Here they’re billed as the heels from the get-go, which immediately makes it better. The night one match was bad, this is much better. Kenny’s “we beat you in the war” goes down like a lead balloon. Massive Product’s entrance here is great. Starr couldn’t sort out his guitar playing on night one so he plays air drums here, drawing confused looks from Jurn Simmons. When asked about whether they could cope with Spirit Squad’s banter David Starr responded with “ppppppffffffffffttt”; incredulous.

The match is heavy on antics with the Spirit Squad boys falling over themselves. They are de-pantsed. Jurn Simmons is finally gotten to here, angered by Mikey’s antics and an arm wrestling contest breaks out. They even have introductions. Someone’s been watching Over The Top. Although I don’t remember Sly’s opponent getting help from his buddy during the final. Anyway, Jurn wins at arm wrestling…and life. Basically this match is all about the banter. It’s never serious. There’s never any hope of Spirit Squad taking the win. Massive Product finish with their double team. Oddly enough A4 would do better comedy with Spirit Squad in their match. This was fine though. Jurn & David hammering home their double teams and confirming their finish is doom. **3/4

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
Bad Bones John Klinger def. Ilja Dragunov

Pre-match it looks bad for Dragunov because Bones brings the entire of RISE out here with him. It looks as if it’ll be five on one. However RISE get booted out by Tas and if Bones gets disqualified he loses the title! These two have a history, with Klinger taking exception to Dragunov being in Cerberus and beating him up until he left it. Which is rich seeing as Bones then joined RISE. Hang on…did Bones break up Cerberus on purpose to create a vacuum for RISE to slide into? Holy shit. That might be a coincidence but seeing as wXw are quite good at long term run-on booking I wouldn’t be surprised if that was deliberate. Dragunov loves to take a beating. If he doesn’t get fucked up in a match he isn’t satisfied. I saw him after this show in the backstage area and he was a mess. This drains him; he leaves everything in the ring. Bones beats the crap out of him here, with another series of chops, reminiscent of the beating he took at Carat from WALTER. The match is heavily booked, rather than overbooked, with Pete Bouncer reappearing despite Tas banning them all. Tassilo should have just disqualified them and handed the title to Ilja. Sure it would have been a truncated match but fuck RISE! Instead the bout continues with the suplex over the ropes to the floor and Ilja killing two security guys with a tope. This leads to Ilja taking a biel halfway through the seating area. My word. Ilja is nuts for taking that. At least one chair dies in that spot. They do a wonderful sequence where they both no sell stuff ending with the Torpedo Moscow and it’s a double down.

This goes into the booking where RISE run into the ring. Surely that’s a DQ. Anyway; A4 and Massive Product run in for the save and I have a horrible feeling that someone is about to turn. No one does and the faces clear RISE out to prevent the DQ. Bouncer plays a critical role here, sliding the title belt across the ring. Da Mack runs in, hits Bones with the title belt and Tas turns around to see Bones knocked out and Ilja holding the strap. Mack tells Tas; “I did it” and Tas (“FUCK”) has to call for the DQ. Mack did it on purpose to make sure Dragunov didn’t win. Why? Because he’s joined RISE! What a total bastard. This suffered because of the booking, in terms of snowflakes, and yet it makes great sense from a storyline perspective. It piles heat onto the existing storyline and now I’ve had time to digest it, it’s definitely the right decision. Julian Nero runs in for the save but gets beaten down so Avalanche runs in for the real save. This leaves Ilja shaking hands with Avalanche, something that didn’t happen on night one, and Cerberus has reunited! ***3/4

Final Thoughts:

All of these World Tag Team League shows were good, especially as part of the bigger picture. wXw is great at run-on booking. I’m so invested in Ilja Dragunov. His journey, breaking free of Cerberus, winning Carat, only to be stymied by RISE and realising he needed Cerberus all along is truly beautiful. I hope they can hold off on the title switch for so long that I’ll be there to see it. There were a few disappointments on this show, Tarkan Aslan and Mel Gray’s injury specifically, but they’re nothing compared to the overall success of the show. Sure it doesn’t look like much if you’re just skimming through the star ratings but that’s not what this company is about, at all. The weekend built towards the final and that delivered in spades. My honest take on wXw is that you should watch the promotion week by week and watch them build storylines. There are very few promotions who are capable of doing this like wXw do. They’re essential viewing for storylines and character building right now.

Arn went into detail on his live experience in Germany over at his own blog: Read View Reviews