Having threatened to stagnate at times during the tail end of 2018, the rehabilitation of Bobby Gunns has been one of the best pieces of booking wXw has done in the couple of years I have been following the promotion. This all came to a head at wXw 16 Carat Gold Night Two where, backed by a rabid fanbase of local, UK and Irish fans, Gunns lifted the wXw Unified World Heavyweight Title for the first time by defeating Absolute Andy.
Whether Andy was the official choice for taking 16 Carat last year (considering Jurn Simmons’ injury very late on in the planning process) or not, there is no arguing that he has taken the gold when it was given to him and run with it. The main event played out like a ‘greatest hits’ of most of Andy’s big title matches as he valiantly tried to bend every conceivable rule in order to retain the gold, including a wild swinging title shot that missed before the bell had even rung. Customary low blows and further attempts at title shots weren’t enough, though the involvement of Vinnie Vortex (Gunns’ brother) – initially to stop Andy walking out – almost cost Bobby as the two men collided and Andy hit the A-Klasse. Thankfully for the masses in the Turbinenhalle, Gunns kicked out and ended up tapping Andy out with the switch armbar. The mileage may vary on Tassilo Jung pretending to not see a Gunns’ low blow before the finish, yet it played nicely enough off of a year in which Andy has constantly manipulated the situation to keep his belt. The right booking decision was there for the making, and wXw got it right.
The other important business on Night Two was to settle the semi-finalists for the 16 Carat Gold Tournament. In the first tournament match of the night, Pentagon Jr. and Ilja Dragunov waged war in a way that made up for Jr.’s lackluster opening round match against Mark Davis. It helped that the crowd was equally behind both men, whilst Dragunov did his usual ‘Superman’ fighting from underneath that just works so well in this environment. Pentagon landed the Pentagon Driver and a cringe-inducing package piledriver on the ring apron, yet a Konstantin Special and Torpedo Moscow put Dragunov into the next round.
Two big men battled for a spot in the next round as Shigehiro Irie took on Avalanche, seemingly not hampered by what looked like a potential knee injury from Night One. Much of the match was designed to present each man as the equal of the other, though Avalanche did almost launch Irie halfway across the ring with a belly to belly partway through the contest. More big man offense was traded, yet Irie’s decision to go high risk cost him as he missed a top rope cannonball. Avalanche showed good instincts to capitalize with a corner splash, fallaway slam and Dreissker Bomb for the victory. A decent big match with a surprise victor considering how Irie has been pushed in wXw.
If the match against David Starr had laid the table, the WALTER versus Fenix contest felt like the official WALTER heel turn. A great big man/little man contest that centered around how long Fenix could remain away from his sizeable opponent, WALTER earned early boos by going for Fenix’s mask. Fenix’s high flying offense was sporadically offensive; occasionally being swatted out of thin air, though taking WALTER down upon occasion. WALTER was unrelenting throughout, turning a superrana into a super powerbomb in a great spot. Fenix actually had to replace his mask after losing it on a diving cutter into the ring; WALTER stole the second mask mid-choke to force a tapout moments later. WALTER’s air-violin post-match was more beautiful heel work as well.
The final spot was due to be taken by either Axel Dieter Jr. or Lucky Kid, and for the long stretches it looked like it was going to be Jr. The casual way in which he dealt with Kid’s unorthodox offense en route to landing a Super Landungsbrucken, the move he put Marius Al-Ani out with, showed a casual disregard for what Kid offered…until Kid kicked out at two. From there, Dieter Jr. felt overwhelmed by Kid who barely gave him room for maneuver. A sequence of pinfall attempts saw Kid come out on top in a similar fashion to what happened against Timothy Thatcher on Night One and cause another upset. It took a little while to get going, but the subtle narrative worked really well.
Things were busy outside of the tournament as well, including a wXw World Tag Team Championship match between RISE, JayFK and Aussie Open. JayFk were their usual beautifully cocky self, misguided in an initial attempt to jump both teams but able to divide and conquer as the match progressed. Ivan Kiev of RISE was the man who managed to break up the JayFK monopoly, though this primarily allowed Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher to go on a rampage that went a long way in getting Davis back onside with the fans after a poor opening night. Just as it looked like JayFK were going to win after a title shot and a low blow to the reigning champions, Chris Brookes interfered by pulling the referee out, directly setting up a fidget spinner on Jay Skillet and a title win for Aussie Open!
Things were not quite finished there as Brookes stepped into the ring to reveal the ‘Schadenfreude’ banner that has become a staple at Fight Club Pro as the premier heel faction in that promotion. RISE entered the ring to square off with the trio and it took Lucky Kid, a member of both stables, to come down and halt things from becoming physical once more. For the moment, Kid left with RISE, but it’ll be interesting to see how this might blossom either on Night Three or in the long run.
Another title match followed what I can assume was a Marius Al-Ani promo that championed himself as one of the best wrestlers in the promotion. This heralded the surprise return of Axel Tischer, otherwise known as Alexander Wolfe. The pop for his return to the promotion where he made his name was rapturous; the match didn’t really live up to the initial pop. Whilst not being bad, the heat just wasn’t in a match that felt like it had an obvious ending – Al-Ani retaining, which he did following an eye rake to escape a top rope move and an eventual frogsplash. Considering how good Al-Ani has been as a heel, it was a shame that it didn’t translate to enough heat in this match to make it better.
The tease for Night Three’s wXw Women’s Title Match was on in the first contest of the night as Killer Kelly teamed with Yuu to take on Toni Storm and Wesna. There was very little interaction between the newly heel Storm and Kelly, though I did like the idea of sending a monster of an opponent against your soon-to-be challenger. The two nemeses traded some slaps near the end, but an errant headbutt by Storm allowed Kelly to hit the Carnation Revolution on Wesna for the big win to give her momentum going into the title match.
Daisuke Sekimoto, Chris Brookes, Rey Horus and Julian Pace met in one of the obligatory ‘tournament losers’ matches, though this was one that played well off of Sekimoto’s size against the other three. Poor Pace in particular got the rough end of the stick in a sequence of trading chop as he took those hands from Sekimoto. A triple German superplex was also triggered by Sekimoto towards the end of the contest, but it was Pace of all people who picked up the win after reversing a Horus suplex into a small package. A huge win for the local, though his enjoyment was short-lived as Emil Sitoci returned, replete with a bad attitude, to attack Pace, nailing him with two spinning tombstones.
The beauty of the 16 Carat Weekend is that it is structured in such a fashion as to leave enough questions for Night Three to make it engaging even with the issues surrounding the main championship resolved. Who will win the 16 Carat Gold Tournament? Will Killer Kelly dethrone Toni Storm? Perhaps most importantly – having come out at the start at the show and promised revenge upon WALTER, what impact could David Starr have on Night Three? It is all set up to be an excellent finish to a great weekend of wrestling.
- Killer Kelly and Yuu defeated Toni Storm and Wesna
- Ilja Dragunov defeated Pentagon Jr.
- Avalanche defeated Shigehiro Irie
- Julian Pace beat Chris Brookes, Daisuke Sekimoto and Rey Horus
- Walter defeated Fenix
- Lucky Kid defeated Axel Dieter Jr.
- Aussie Open won the wXw World Tag Team Titles defeating RISE (c) and JayFK
- Marius Al-Ani (c) defended the wXw Shotgun Title by defeating Axel Tischer
- Bobby Gunns won the wXw Unified World Heavyweight Title by defeating Absolute Andy (c)