Westside Xtreme Wrestling
16 Carat Gold 2018: Night 1
March 9, 2018
Turbinenhalle, Oberhausen, Germany

Watch: wXwNOW

Alternate Four-Way Match
Emil Sitoci def. Ivan Kiev, Julian Nero, & Julian Pace

This took place on the special “warm up” event just before Night 1 officially kicked off (On wXwNOW, it’s a separate video from Night 1). While it’s normally used to determine an alternate for the 16 Carat Gold Tournament, it turned into an actual qualifying match to fill the spot that was left vacant by the injured Jurn Simmons. The bout only went about five or six minutes, but it was a ton of fun while it lasted. There was solid action throughout, and all four guys got a chance to shine. Ultimately, Emil Sitoci emerged victorious after pinning Julian Pace, thus earning a spot in the 16 Carat Gold Tournament. He would go on to face David Starr later in the night. This was pretty short, but it was entertaining to watch. ***

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
Keith Lee def. Avalanche

Night 1 kicked off in a big way (no pun intended) as two behemoths collided in the first bout of the opening round. This was an enjoyable match to watch, but it was also very simplistic (and I mean that in a good way). It never felt too flashy, yet the action throughout was solid. In many ways, it was exactly the kind of bout you would want, in this position on the card. Avalanche got to show off some of his power, including an impressive bodyslam on Keith Lee. Ultimately, however, the current WWN Champion proved to be too much for Avalanche, as he scored the victory with a Spirit Bomb, followed by Ground Zero, to advance to the next round. While this didn’t set the world on fire, it was good showcase for Keith Lee (who gave the fans in the Turbinhalle just a taste of what he’s capable of, athletically speaking), and as a whole, it was a perfect way to start off the show. ***1/4

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
Chris Brookes def. Alexander James

This was about on par with the opener, but it was a completely different kind of match, stylistically speaking. Avalanche vs. Keith Lee featured two powerhouses going at it, while these two had a more technical affair. There was some fine action from start to finish, with a number of really solid back and forth exchanges, though much like the opener, it didn’t really jump of the page too much. While I was familiar with Chris Brookes coming in, this was my first time seeing Alexander James (at least this version of him). He looked good here, though I’m sure this was far from his best outing in wXw. At number of different points, James targeted the shoulder of Brookes, but in the end, the CCK member was able to put away the “Prince Of Pro” after hitting a Praying Mantis Bomb, thus punching his ticket to the second round. Again, this was a pretty solid match. ***1/4

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
Lucky Kid def. Matt Sydal

Lucky Kid came out with Tarkan Aslan, and was sporting some body paint, which is a new look for him. Meanwhile, Matt Sydal came out with his IMPACT X-Division Title. This was another very solid matchup on this card, but it seemed to be hindered a little bit by the crowd response. While Sydal seemed to be presented as the babyface against a representative from the big heel faction in wXw, the fans in attendance were firmly behind Lucky Kid. With that being said, the actual wrestling here was still pretty good from start to finish. Sydal had a fine outing here, as he busted out some of his usual slick offense. As for Lucky Kid, my thoughts on his performance in this bout are very similar to what I said about Alexander James in the previous match. He was solid, but I’m sure he’s had better outings in his young wXw career (just based on all of the good things I’ve heard about him). It looked like Sydal was on his was to a victory, but Lucky Kid avoided his Shooting Star Press attempt, and caught him in a small package to advance to the next round. Lucky Kid was certainly looking to make make an impact (no pun intended) during his first appearance in the 16 Carat Gold Tournament, and he did just that with a win over Matt Sydal. ***1/4

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
David Starr def. Emil Sitoci

This was originally scheduled to be a Last Man Standing Match with David Starr taking on Jurn Simmons. Unfortunately, those plans changed after Simmons was forced to pull out due to an injury. Emil Sitoci won a Four-Way Dark Match earlier in the night to earn the spot that was left vacant by Simmons. In a number of ways, this continued some trends that were established in the three previous tournament bouts. Not only was it another really solid contest on this card (all of the matches up to this point have been good), but it also continued the theme of being different than what came before it. This was a sprint that was packed with entertaining action throughout. The match clocked in at just under eight minutes, and these two did not waste any time. Both guys worked pretty hard, and you can tell that they’ve faced off before (and that was pointed out in the commentary). The only critique I have about this one is that it could’ve been even better if it went two or three more minutes. Alas, what we got was still pretty good, and to be honest, it might’ve been my favorite bout out of the first four opening round matches on this show, even if David Starr getting the win to advance was pretty obvious, given the last minute change. ***1/4

“Speedball” Mike Bailey & WALTER def. Bobby Gunns & John “Bad Bones” Klinger

This was billed as being a “Champions vs. Challengers” match, with the wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion (Bad Bones) and the wXw Shotgun Champions (Gunns) teaming up to take on their respective challengers. Of course, this served as a preview for two of the title bouts that would take place on Night 2 (Bad Bones vs. WALTER and Gunns vs. Speedball). When the dust settled, this ended up being a fantastic tag team encounter that was easily the best match of the night, up to this point. The match went just over sixteen minutes, and it featured non-stop action from start to finish. There were a ton of great exchanges throughout, and served its purpose (getting the fans excited for the two title bouts the next night) to perfection. Everyone involved looked really good, but Bobby Gunns did a fine job in particular. I wasn’t sure what to expect from him, as (out of the four participants) he was the one I was the least familiar with, but he came off well here. He showed off some solid fighting spirit as he stood up to Bailey and WALTER at various points, refusing to back down even after taking a fair amount of punishment (especially from Bailey). Unfortunately for Gunns, he best efforts in this one weren’t enough, as he ultimately got pinned by Bailey. The challengers then celebrated with the respective titles they’re going after as the momentum appeared to be on their side heading into Night 2. Once again, this was an awesome tag team encounter that did an excellent job in setting up the title matches on Night 2. It really felt like something you might see out of New Japan, even right down to the finish, as Bad Bones and WALTER battled on the outside and held each other back with Bailey and Gunns battled in the ring. More promotions should really use this kind of bout more often. It’s simple, but as I already mentioned, it’s a great tool for building big singles matches. ****1/4

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
Matt Riddle def. Da Mack

Matt Riddle certainly doesn’t get paid by the hour. He hit a running knee on Da Mack right out of the gate and, just like that, the second representative in the tournament from Rise was quickly eliminated. The match only lasted about eight seconds. Riddle did something similar last year in PROGRESS when he defeated Trent Seven in the first round of the Super Strong Style 16. I’m sure most had Riddle winning this one anyway, but I don’t think anyone imagined he would win as quickly and emphatically as he did. With regards to Da Mack, there is a bit of irony to this loss, as apparently Bad Bones (the leader of Rise) had commented prior to the tournament that Da Mack (his right hand man in the group) was someone he could always count on. Well, I guess the “Urban German” had some explaining to do after this one. N/R

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
Travis Banks def. Mark Haskins

From an in-ring standpoint, this was the best tournament match thus far. Much like the David Starr/Emil Sitoci bout from earlier in the night, it didn’t get a ton of time (clocking in at just over nine minutes), but they managed to pack a lot of really good back and forth action into that small time frame. At the same time, however, the crowd didn’t seem as invested, when you compare it to some of the earlier bouts. That’s not to say they were dead, (because they certainly weren’t), but there were points in the match when they weren’t as responsive as you might’ve expected. While that did take away from this one a little bit, the effort that these two put forth couldn’t be ignored. It was a very enjoyable bout to watch. Banks would emerge victorious after nailing Haskins with an awesome Kiwi Crusher from the middle rope. ***1/2

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
Timothy Thatcher def. Jonah Rock

Before the match began, we were treated to an AWESOME video package featuring Timothy Thatcher. It wasn’t that long, but it did a fantastic job in presenting Thatcher’s mindset heading into the tournament (he came off as an incredibly likeable guy in general). That video package, combined with the reactions he got from the crowd, is just further proof that wXw is truly where Timothy Thatcher belongs. It still amazes me to see the contrast between how he comes off when he wrestles in Europe (particularly wXw) compared to when he’s in the United States. It wasn’t that long ago that people had grown so tired of him during his run as EVOLVE Champion, with his bigger matches happening in silence as dead crowds watched on. In wXw, however, he’s treated like a god at times by the fans. They absolutely adore him, and they kept cheering him on in this one as he went up against Jonah Rock. The match itself was relatively solid (about on par with most of the opening round bouts on this card), but the crowd being firmly behind Thatcher definitely added some energy. Rock got to show off some of his power, but Thatcher used his technical skill to turn the tide whenever the opportunity came up. At one point, Rock went for a big splash off the top rope, but that proved to be his undoing. Thatcher got his knees up, and then locked in a Fujiwara Armbar for the submission victory. ***1/4

16 Carat Gold 2018 – First Round
Absolute Andy def. Marius Al-Ani

With the David Starr/Jurn Simmons Last Man Standing Match falling through due to the injury that Simmons suffered shortly before the tournament, this bout felt like the perfect option for the new main event, as it also featured a major personal issue between the participants. These two were once part of a popular tag team known as A4, but that partnership came to an abrupt and shocking end during last year’s World Tag Team League, when Absolute Andy turned on Marius Al-Ani without warning.

Another awesome video package was shown prior to the bout, this time featuring Al-Ani, who talked about his career, his relationship with Andy, and how he felt after a man who he saw as his mentor turned on him. He wanted to get his hands on Andy in the worse way, and he didn’t even wait for the opening bell to go after his former partner. Al-Ani hit a big dive to the floor, and the two brawled on the outside for a few minutes. Once they got back in the ring (and the match officially began), it ended up being a fantastic main event! These two went back and forth for just over fourteen minutes, and it truly felt like a major grudge match. Al-Ani really took the fight to Andy throughout this one. Not only did he hit Andy with some big offensive maneuvers, but he even used his own finishers (the Sharpshooter and the F5) against his former partner. Andy, to his credit, busted out some strong offense of his own, but he also used a number of dirty tricks throughout in an attempt to steal the victory. Most of those attempts were unsuccessful, but eventually, he finally got one of his tricks to work. After kicking Al-Ani low behind the referee’s back, Andy hit a superkick and got the pin. Al-Ani’s foot was clearly on the bottom rope, but the referee was out of position when he counted the pin, and Andy pushed that foot off the rope before the referee had the chance to see it. That was a very fascinating finish, to say the least, but it does allow for the story between these two to continue. Overall, this was a great main event to close out the show. ****1/4

Final Thoughts

Night 1 of the 16 Carat Gold Tournament was a very enjoyable show to watch from start to finish. While none of the bouts on the card stood out as being “out of this world” incredible, there wasn’t anything bad to speak of. The Champions vs. Challengers tag team match and the main event were easily the standouts on Night 1. Both were pretty great, and are well worth checking out. As for the rest of the card, nothing else really jumped off the page in a major way (aside from Matt Riddle vs. Da Mack, which was noteworthy because it was so short), but there weren’t any matches that I would say were less than “good”.

Everything bout on this show was entertaining (at the very least), as to be honest, that’s a cool thing to see. You’re not going to get these super spectacular shows every single time, but you have to appreciate the shows where all of the matches are good to great (some on this site refer to these types of shows as the “Rich Kraetsch Special”). Plus, the fact that this show was only two hours and an eight minutes, minus the Alternate Four-Way, meant that it was a super easy show to sit through. When you combine that with a card that is filled with really solid wrestling throughout, and some excellent english commentary, you have the makings of a very entertaining show, and that’s exactly what Night 1 of 16 Carat Gold 2018 was.