Fresh off the second exceptional World Tag Team League weekender in October, wXw has kept up their momentum into this very well built Broken Rules card. Obviously not everyone follows the Shotgun weekly show on a regular basis and it’s by no means required, but the show’s run since WTTL has been strong and it’s recapped well at the start of the Broken Rules VOD. RISE has turned against one of its former cornerstones in Chris Colen, as Bad Bones has replaced him as right hand man with Da Mack. Colen and Bones go against each other in tonight’s main event.
Meanwhile, Alexander James has received a bigger spotlight, beating David Starr and Jurn Simmons in a great three-way and causing the two friends plenty of grief. Simmons challenges James tonight. And finally, Bobby Gunns and his new best friend Jaxon Stone must answer for their (quite literal) crimes against Ringkampf when they challenge the new Tag Team Champions.
Westside Xtreme Wrestling
November 19th 2017
Ilja Dragunov def. Da Mack
A pretty big matchup starts things off here. Dragunov is one of the clear focal points of wXw now and is likely heading towards another World Title encounter at the Anniversary show.
Da Mack, as the new right-hand man in RISE to champion Bad Bones, stands in Ilja’s way today. It’s sort of poor timing for Mack though, because this is the major show debut of his new-look RISE persona, and he needed to have a match that was all about exploring the dimensions of his character. It’s difficult to have a Dragunov match, especially one where Dragunov wins, where he’s not the centre of attention though. Dragunov commanded this match, hitting all his signature moves with gusto and getting the crowd involved when Mack was in control. There was nothing that we haven’t seen before here, particularly in regard to more RISE interference, so for a match between two interesting acts that could have felt more important, this was a little lacklustre despite all the Dragunov fun.
If this match had happened next month with a bit of build, perhaps it would have felt more even, but Dragunov kind of swallowed up Mack’s new look and made it feel a little irrelevant once the bell rang. Still, Mack’s RISE gimmicks look amazing, he’s got a killer new theme, and will surely be much better featured once the Bones/Ilja story is over. He finally looks like he’s ready to claim a top spot in wXw after floundering for so long. **½
Alexander James def. Jurn Simmons
James has quietly bolstered his standing in wXw both on the shows and in the Academy on his second tour with the promotion this autumn. wXw is a promotion that favours technical wrestling more than most so it’s a strong place for him to thrive.
For much of the match though, his technical approach was overpowered by Simmons’ all-out strength game. At times, Simmons was simply chucking James around the ring, but the American stayed in the match and caught Jurn in several arm wrenching holds to equalise James’ power disadvantage. Simmons made clear the effects of the arm attacks and had to change up his offence to avoid using it too much. This is when the match structure really held up well, because Simmons didn’t sell the arm like it was shot off and unusable, but it bothered him enough for the sneaky James to play himself into a winning position. Considering James isn’t a ‘main eventer’ and Simmons is, this is how it should have appeared.
James hooked Simmons into the same roll-up that he used to win their triple threat with Starr, but Simmons recognised and made sure to roll away from it. This left James looking vulnerable, but he countered Simmons running through his finishing sequence to hit his own Prince’s Throne for the win.
I was a bit disappointed that James just hit one move to win, unrelated to his attack on Jurn’s arm, but the shock factor of James pinning a top guy in wXw evens it out a little. It’s a huge, 100% clean win for James and a sign that wXw has much more in store for him. Simmons and James will rematch in an I Quit match to kick off December. ***½
wXw Shotgun Championship
Ivan Kiev (c) def. Laurance Roman
Roman is a fringe wXw wrestler and when he’s in there, he usually loses. He won the pre-show battle royal to earn this title shot, so wXw clearly see something in him to get on the main show. Roman did get the crowd behind him well and his small stature compared to gangly Kiev painted him as a good underdog. Roman jumped all over the place and put in plenty of effort to make this easily overlooked match into something worth paying attention to. He got a little over excited though and got caught by Kiev on the top rope with a great looking Frankensteiner.
The big criticism of Kiev is the execution of his moves, but in general he didn’t suffer with it in this match. After catching Roman, Kiev puts him away with relative ease. A solid defence for Kiev, who looked better in control of this match than he did during his multi-mans at WTTL. **½
Tornado Tag No DQ wXw Tag Team Championship
Ringkampf (c) def. Bobby Gunns and Jaxon Stone
Gunns has been a thorn in Ringkampf’s side all Autumn, but he took things too far when he enlisted Jaxon Stone to help him put a cigarette out in Timothy Thatcher’s eye. That enraged WALTER and Thatcher, making this one very much a personal contest. The story has played out well over the last few weeks on Shotgun, so Ringkampf’s charge to the ring to start battering Gunns and Stone to start the match was very satisfying. Things evened out as the match continued, as they had to, with Gunns and Stone isolating WALTER, bearing the brunt of his offence but always managing to bring him down again as a tandem. After taking WALTER down, they went for Thatcher and the eye they assaulted previously, but Thatcher responded with the necessary and brilliant visual of ripping off the eye patch and kicking their arses.
While Ringkampf got the badass visuals, Gunns and Stone dominated much of the match after the opening couple of minutes, properly mugging the Ringkampf lads by taking advantage of the tornado No DQ rules. Gunns even had Thatcher in the armbar that started the feud many months ago, but WALTER saved him. There was lots of callback moments like that throughout the show – if nothing else Broken Rules was the show that really rewarded the weekly Shotgun viewers.
Jaxon Stone was eliminated first with a signature Ringkampf powerbomb through chairs, leaving Mr. Gunns to the fate he had put upon himself by inciting the wrath of Ringkampf. The crowd knew it and were lapping up the idea of Gunns receiving some proper comeuppance. He’s won every feud he’s had in 2017 and been a right arsehole throughout, so a Ringkampf beatdown was more than earned and had a lot of catharsis behind it. He kept fighting through a violent clobbering and actually seized the advantage with a double low-blow before sending WALTER through a table and Thatcher’s face into thumbtacks, leaving one lodged right in his nose for a disgusting visual. It was a short-lived comeback though, as Bobby went neck-first through another table and got pinned by Thatcher placing a single boot on top of him for some ultimate revenge. Gunns looked in Ringkampf’s league here but had to take the humbling after his behaviour all year long. Very rewarding and violent stuff. ***½
wXw Tag Team Championship #1 Contendership
Monster Consulting def. Jay FK and Dirty Dragan & Emil Sitoci
Monster Consulting are the team of former Cerberus buddies Julian Nero and the Avalanche, teaming up after a successful one-night return for the faction at WTTL. They are a team genetically engineered to appeal to BritWres Twitter. Jay FK and Dragan are very popular but up against The Lads they have no chance.
The match started to pop when Avalanche entered – he’s clearly the biggest star here and must be in the main event picture next year. Jakobi fawned over him on commentary, getting in the laughs by saying Avalanche “squashed” Michael Dante in London. Things quickly broke down with every guy getting a couple of moments to shine, with the main spots focussing on Dragan and Sitoci making mistakes that hurt each other as their friendship continues to fall apart. MC crushed Dragan with a double team version of a GTS to set up a mouth-watering collision between the old AUTsiders and their new pals. **½
wXw Women’s Championship Tournament
Session Moth Martina def. Jinny
The round-robin Women’s Championship Tournament has been churning along on Shotgun, giving more meaning to matches that would otherwise feel skippable, giving lots of ring time to interesting prospect Killer Kelly and letting Martina and Jinny grow and develop in front of a brand new crowd. We’re down to the final few matches with the Championship match at the Anniversary show in December and the winner of this match guarantees their place in that Final.
WALTER joined commentary with Jakobi and they had a rather amusing conversation about how and why Martina’s schtick works in kayfabe. She and Jinny have very good chemistry and their characters play off each other naturally, so they get some good stuff going here, even if none of it hasn’t been seen before from them. The wXw crowd completely get Martina, handing over their drinks to her at a moment’s notice and fully supporting her antics. She wasn’t really on my radar to make the final, but her unique performances warrant her place. She beat Jinny with a fairly anticlimactic dropkick from the top rope, but I suspect Jinny will still find her way to the final too. **½
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
Bad Bones (c) def. Chris Colen
This match was all about in-fighting within RISE and so promised copious interference, but since the whole build was based off of that fact and the story to get here has been intriguing, I had no worries about it and was able to kick back and relax into a bunch of run-ins and crazy shit going down. When Jakobi says “the belt is hung high above the ring”, he isn’t lying. A lot of indies have ladder matches where it looks like the wrestlers could jump up and grab the belt, but here it’s miles away. A real RISE to the top then.
The match is barely three minutes old before Tarkan Aslan is already in the ring propping up a shitty little ladder for Bad Bones. wXw fully embracing the interference for this match was a smart move, turning something usually grating into the entire match itself. It won’t appeal to everyone but it’s better to lean into it than let it happen without meaning. After getting battered for a few minutes, Colen made an accent with a big boy ladder, only to get knocked off by an Ivan Kiev leg lariat. Shades of Benson Richards with that one. Both men then reached the top of the ladder, confirming just how high up the title was, before Colen knocked Bones off, who then fell into the ladder and knocked Colen off. The frustration for Colen was building and commentary drove home the story of the ageing, injured veteran trying to take his biggest ever opportunity. All the viewer’s frustrations at RISE were being driven into a positive direction.
Colen was again blindsided by Kiev and Aslan, only for Ilja Dragunov to show up and clear house. This let Colen take advantage, thwacking Bones with a chair and giving him a chance to take the title. He let emotion get the better of him though and tried to set up a killing blow on Bones. He did punch Bones in the dick and send him down onto a horizontal ladder below, but the time that took allowed Da Mack on the balcony to pull the title up and out of Colen’s reach. The other RISE boys then helped Bones to take the title for himself. This was very sports-entertainment-y and trope-y but it was always going to be and it was well-executed, so I’m not exactly disappointed. The RISE train may well be about to be derailed by Ilja Dragunov and if it is, that is going to be a spectacular moment. **
Broken Rules was a story-heavy show that felt very rewarding after several weeks of Shotgun build. WTTL was the place for classic matches and this was not, though the Tag Team Championship match was brutal and rounded off an excellent year for Bobby Gunns, and Alexander James continued to climb the card with another strong performance. The main event was silly stuff but still fun and set up Bones/Dragunov II very nicely.