Westside Xtreme Wrestling
World Tag Team League Night 2
October 6, 2018
Watch: wXw Now
wXw Shotgun Championship
Marius Al-Ani def. Julian Pace
This was a great way to open the show and way over-delivered on my expectations going in; Julian Pace took this chance to be spotlighted and made the absolute most of it. They worked this whole match at a great pace, the two men proved to have really good chemistry together, and by the end of the match there wasn’t a single person in the building who wasn’t rooting for Pace to pull off the upset. It wasn’t to be however, as Al-Ani retained with his grapevined ankle lock. This had the feel of a breakthrough performance. ***1/2
World Tag Team League A Block
Okami (3) def. Calamari Catch Kings (3)
A theme of these reviews will be that every single A block match delivered big time and this was no different. Unlike Okami’s night one match, that began with one of the most incredible opening minutes to a contest you’ll find anywhere, this encounter had more of a build to it starting slow and building to a fabulous crescendo. While all four guys delivered to a wonderful standard, the true star here was Jonathan Gresham (a man who I would rank as MVP of the weekend); there isn’t a single thing he did that wasn’t exquisite. His selling in particular was a high point, with his bump for a Kamitani lariat being something that really stuck in my memory. All together though this was an extremely enjoyable tag match, which culminated with Okami picking up the win with an implant DDT. ***3/4
World Tag Team League B Block
Jay-FK (3) def. Team SPLX (Angelico & Cobb) (0)
This was one of the more disappointing tournament matches of the weekend. Jay-FK’s somewhat generic heel shtick just didn’t connect with me, it didn’t make me hate them it just bored me, and Angelico had a bit of an off match here. The effort certainly was there but the end result was ultimately forgettable. Jay-FK picked up the three points with an underhanded double team roll up on Cobb. **3/4
We next got a very impactful segment centred around Dirty Dragan which ultimately lead to him challenging a newly bald Jurn Simmons in a match where if he lost he’d leave wXw, only for a returning Alexander James to lay a beat down on Sitoci and Dragan setting up a tag match.
I had mixed feelings on the segment as a whole. The initial promo portion was extremely effective in creating an emotional investment for the match that would take place the following night, and Alexander James’ return was well done. However, the beat down lasted an excruciatingly long amount of time and in the end just left people feeling a bit uncomfortable but in a way where some of the initial effectiveness had worn off. I always feel with in-ring heel beatdowns you should keep them compact, otherwise it just makes all the other good guys in the back look like assholes for never coming out to break things up.
World Tag Team League A Block
Ringkampf (Thatcher & WALTER) (3) def. Lucha Brothers (3)
This was a wonderful clash of styles that just worked. Lucha Bros. are obviously the embodiment of what you think of when you hear the phrase “an indie workrate team” whereas you get more of a minimalist, brass-tacks and maximising every movement style from the Ringkampf boys. While on paper that sounds like it could lead to disaster, it the exact opposite. These two teams meshed wonderfully together and put on one hell of a tag match.
Pentagon is a guy probably best thought of for his sheer in-ring presence, but here he managed to be one of the few people in the wrestling world who can go toe-to-toe with WALTER in the chopping department. Probably helped that he was wearing his padded chest deal though. These guys just beat each other to a pulp, and it was incredibly enjoyable viewing. Thatcher rolled up Pentagon for the three count. ***3/4
Toni Storm def. Wesna
This was a good match but could never have lived up to how high the bar was already set in my mind after I was blown away by this same match last year. Both women still put in battling performances, but I didn’t quite get the same energy and intensity that was oh so present in their encounter last year. They kinda shot for epic here instead, with multiple piledriver variation kickouts on both sides, but I don’t think it quite worked as well as they were hoping. Toni picked up the win with her Strong Zero piledriver. ***1/4
World Tag Team League B Block
Aussie Open (3) def. Monster Consulting (3)
The house style of wXw varies somewhat from that of BritWres, leaning slightly more towards the slower paced more story-focused style than the all-action frenetic action tag matches commonly seen in the UK. It is to their credit then that Monster Consulting stepped out of their comfort zone somewhat in this match by working a very Aussie Open tag and didn’t look out of place whatsoever. It was easy to forget just how big the guys in this match were when in the midst of it, even Kyle who is noticeably bulking, because of just how high a pace they worked and how athletically the movement was. I sound like a broken record, but this was the B block delivering yet again. The Aussies picked up the three with a double team powerbomb. ***3/4
Interim wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
Ilja Dragunov def. Bobby Gunns
This is a very hard match to review, so on the distinct possibility I don’t do it justice I implore you to give it a watch yourself. wXw have made this incredibly easy to do so by releasing it for free on YouTube:
So… where to begin? I guess the only real option there is with the chant. THE chant. A duelling chant that started at the opening bell and lasted well past fifteen minutes and in doing so created one of the most electric atmospheres I have ever had the privilege to be a part of. It wasn’t just the duration of the chant, it was the volume, it was the ebbs and flows and most importantly it was the sheer level of passion. It’s something that I don’t think can ever truly translate to tape, but you can get a taste of what it was like to be in the arena by giving it a watch. It was special. It was magical.
Oh and there was a match that happened too by the way. Unfortunately that set up isn’t just for effect, as the match ended up feeling very secondary to the experience. It wasn’t a bad match by any means, even in a vacuum, but it felt like the performers were as wrapped up in the whole occassion just as much as the crowd, and I can’t really blame them. A lot of this match felt like going through the motions, but with such an incredible atmosphere it didn’t really matter. I don’t even think these two guys meshed that well together stylistically. But again it didn’t matter. It was all still magical.
It’s incredibly difficult to separate the magical live experience I had from my feelings watching it back now for the purposes of this review. In a way I don’t really even want to do so. It’s an incredibly hard match to rate. As an experience, as a way to end a show and as a moment in time it was all the stars. But putting my reviewer’s hat on and rating the bell-to-bell I can’t say it was really anything special. The occassion transcended the match itself, and in a way set up the match to fail simply because it could never live up to the feeling in the arena that night. But at the same time this main event can never be viewed as anything other than a complete success. I’ll throw ***1/2 at it, but if ever there was a time when star ratings don’t fit a match it’s this. I’m not sure wXw could create a better advert for making the trip over to one of their wrestling festivals than this if they were running a simulation.
Night two of wXw World Tag Team League will be remembered for the show with THE chant, but it was backed up with a very consistent undercard of great wrestling to lead into the magic that was created in the main event.