One from our backlog here, as we take a look at GWF’s Legacy from last year – a show that shone a light on all facets of the promotion.
Touting 23 years of wrestling history in Berlin, this was almost the big end-of-year show, at least it was if you were watching this along with the Three Count series. Ring announcer Jürgen Kerbel is so hyped he drops a MF bomb in his opening spiel, as we get live English commentary from Dave Bradshaw and James O’Leary.
GWF Berlin Championship: El Phantasmo vs. Michael Kovac vs. Mike Bailey vs. Cem Kaplan (c)
We open with a crazy four-way, and Mike Bailey’s got a wacky sound-alike theme. Think the horns from “Brass Monkey” and no lyrics… it works, but it also sounds weird. Cem Kaplan came into this as champion, as part of Grup Anarşi – a group of wrestlers that are mostly of Turkish descent. You’ll see a lot of those here, where the wrestler’s country is their gimmick…
Before the bell, Ali Aslan slapped Michael Kovac before we’re taken down commentary row. The bell rings and Kovac instantly powders to the outside as we begin this as a three-way. Kaplan went for Bailey and Phantasmo early, while the camera cut away from his manager Ali Aslan trying to throw in a cheap shot. Not that it matters, as Kaplan’s sent outside as ELP and Bailey cartwheel out of ‘ranas before we reached the kip-up/stand-off, and an eventual dropkick from Phantasmo for the early one-count.
Bailey looked to dive on ELP, but Kovac trips him and enters the match so he can put the brakes on, slowing down the pace so he can give Speedball a wet willie or two. ELP gets inspired and does the same to Kovac, before Kaplan comes in with shoulder blocks to take Phantasmo down for a two-count. Bailey comes back with some kicks and a running corkscrew press for a near-fall, with Kovac coming right back in with a wheelbarrow that saw the pin broken up before it could even get going.
Ali Aslan gets involved, choking Bailey in the ropes – something that’s legal in these four-ways. Kaplan and Kovac seemed to work together for a spell, choking their Canadian opponents in the ropes as Ali Aslan smashed them in the head with cans of Red Bull. I don’t get why you need to distract the referee for that, but o-kay? Kaplan and Kovac work together to suplex Phantasmo, but then we get the pair arguing over who should get the pin… prompting Aslan to get up on the apron to yell orders at his man, only for Phantasmo and Bailey to get up and lands ome missile dropkicks.
Phantasmo turns his sights back to Bailey, turning a handspring into a whirlibird neckbreaker, before a fallaway slam/standing moonsault combo drew a near-fall for Speedball. A Golden Triangle moonsault from Bailey gets rid of Kaplan on the outside, as Kovac and ELP stayed in the ring… at least until ELP clotheslines Kovac to the floor after he’d faked out a dive. ELP finishes the dives with a big tope as it seems the GWF dive catchers are now in suits rather than hi-vis tabards this time!
ELP flies again with a rope walk moonsault to the floor as Berlin became unglued. Back in the ring, ELP and Bailey lock horns, with Phantasmo hitting a springboard crossbody, then a Quebrada for a near-fall, dealing with Kaplan’s interference as a senton off the top onto the pair of them drew a near-fall with Kovac breaking up the cover. A leg grapevine from Kovac grounds Phantasmo, as Kovac chains in a Dragon sleeper before Bailey broke it up with a vicious axe kick to Kaplan’s chest!
Kovac still has Phantasmo tied up as he grabs an ankle lock on Bailey… something that Kaplan broke up, but he’s quickly sent outside as Kovac nails a Gory Bomb on Bailey. Phantasmo can’t quite get back to his feet without help, and he’s Gory Bombed onto ELP, before Kaplan returned to boot Kovac to the outside as he tried to steal the pin on Bailey. An X-Plex onto Phantasmo’s good for a near-fall too, before an Exploder on Speedball took him into ELP on the floor… back in the ring, Kovac walks into a Sultan Smash (an Air Raid Crash) for a near-fall, with Bailey breaking it up to keep the match alive.
Kaplan hits the Sultan Smash on Kovac for a second time, but Ali Aslan was more focused on gloating than watching for interference, as Bailey breaks up the cover again. Bailey get in some moonsault double-knees to Kaplan, following up with a discus roundhouse kick into the corner, before a step-up enziguiri from ELP derailed him on the top rope. Kovac tries to interfere, but ELP kicks him to the outside as Bailey fought back with the Ultimate Weapon (shooting star knees) to ELP!
Ali Aslan has the referee distracted as Bailey had the match won… that leads to ELP rolling outside, as Cem Kaplan slides in and wins with a schoolboy. A very cheap finish to an action-packed four-way – although I’m not quite sure it needed to be a four-way given what Michael Kovac added to the match. ***½
GWF Women’s Championship: Jamie Hayter vs. Ayesha Raymond (c)
A storyline on Three Count meant that every GWF show had to have at least one women’s match, so here’s what some may count as a “token” effort. This was Ayesha Raymond’s second defence of the title she beat Katey Harvey for two months for prior as the GWF.
There’s another GWF trope you’ll quickly spot: almost everyone gets party cannons and waves their flags around during their entrance. That’s a few fans who must be carrying a big bag o’ flags!
Hayter’s playing the babyface here, with the crowd on her side as Raymond seemed annoyed at the crowd’s lack of respect. We start with some simple shoves into the corner from Raymond, who then landed a back elbow before she got taken into the corner herself. Hayter quickly hits out with a stunner through the ropes, only for Raymond to come back by low-bridging Hayter to the outside.
Ayesha goes for a tope, but Hayter forearms it away as the challenger tries to mount some offence, only for her crossbody to get caught and turned into a fallaway slam. A chicken wing keeps Hayter down briefly, as Raymond started to assert some dominance here, slamming Hayter then using a strait-jacket choke.
Hayter gets free eventually and throws Raymond into the corner for some boots, then a suplex into the turnbuckles as a running double knee strike drew a near-fall. Another crossbody’s caught, but this time Hayter slips free as she mounted a comeback with some forearms, only for Raymond to hit back with a stalling suplex for a near-fall.
Another suplex from Raymond’s countered into a swinging DDT by Hayter, who followed up with some kicks and a low dropkick for a near-fall. Hayter keeps up by throwing Raymond’s head into the turnbuckles, but a step-up knee into the corner’s caught and turned into a sit-out powerbomb as Raymond got the win out of nowhere. I liked how Raymond’s able to pull a win out of the bag, but this felt like it didn’t quite click, with the crowd not really having a favourite to cheer between the two. **½
They play a video package from Oriental Wrestling Entertainment – they’re the group that’s working with All Elite Wrestling, and have quickly built up a reputation for their high flying style. They call it a “collaboration for the future”, and we’ve got a showcase match next as OWE try to spread the word.
CIMA vs. T-Hawk
The ring announcer calls both of these guys former Dragon Gate stars, which is true, and Berlin was very appreciative for both men here.
CIMA starts by taking T-Hawk down in an armbar that rolled through into a pinning attempt for an early two-count, before they traded some shoulder tackles as the Strong Hearts continued to battle. CIMA’s hiptoss and a dropkick puts T-Hawk outside for a dropkick-through-the-ropes, before CIMA kept up on his stablemate by charging him into the ring apron.
A slingshot senton back into the ring sees CIMA land on T-Hawk ahead of a modified knee bar. Some rope running ends with T-Hawk hitting a sit-out powerbomb as he caught CIMA off guard, following up with a slam as he took CIMA into the corner for some chops. There’s a spiking DDT and a similar rolling submission attempt, rolling into a STF that almost forces the tap-out.
More chops have CIMA in the ropes, but he’s able to block a sunset flip by kicking T-Hawk in the head, then by stomping him in the face. Ow. A springboard double knee drop only gets CIMA a near-fall, before T-Hawk’s caught with a rolling palm strike in the corner as we’re back to the submissions, as CIMA rolls T-Hawk into a modified Anaconda Vise.
T-Hawk gets to the ropes and manages to snuff out CIMA’s offence with more chops, instead taking him up top for a deadlift superplex. After losing a lawn dart, CIMA lands a superkick before running into a hiptoss/knee as T-Hawk just pancakes CIMA for a near-fall. Some headscissors from CIMA take T-Hawk into the corner, where he’s met with a Meteora off the top for a near-fall as we’re still going! A second Meteora misses, but T-Hawk misses a Shining Wizard before running in with a knee to the back of the head, as a Splash Mountain again draws a near-fall! From there, he hits a Night Ride – an inverted Dominator – and that’s enough for T-Hawk to get the win with CIMA kicking out just after three. Some exquisite stuff here, but presented in a bubble really made this a sideshow and nothing more. ****
“Bad Bones” John Klinger vs. Pascal Spalter
This feud was built up a little on Three Count, and if you’re wondering “who’s the babyface?”, well, Bad Bones gets the good guy party cannon from the fans.
Ah nevermind. Spalter got one too… so I don’t know!
There’s a lot of playing to the crowd before we start, before Bones throws the first punch as we began with the pair slugging it out. A back body drop from Spalter left Bones down, but a dropkick and a back body drop of his own turned the tables. Spalter goes to the middle rope for a crossbody as he digs out the big guns, but the crowd aren’t appreciative of him, judging by their chanting…
Spalter just sits on Bones – a move he called the Toilet Seat – to try and force a submission, before a diving clothesline to the back of Bones gets a near-fall. In the corner, a boot choke keeps Bones at bay, as does an avalanche splash into the corner… but Bones heads up top as Spalter plays to the crowd, and comes down with an axehandle. Ooh yeah. A slam’s next from Klinger, but he’s quickly caught with a German suplex and a Butterfly suplex to snuff that all out.
A very lax pin from Spalter gets a two-count, so he rears down on Bones with a chinlock that Bones fought free from, responding with a German suplex for a two-count. Klinger heads up top for the flying lungblower – but the Self Justice is caught and turned into an overhead belly-to-belly instead.
There’s a crossbody from Bones as he counters a superplex… following up with another move off the top rope as he nails a Macho Man elbow drop for a near-fall. A lungblower’s blocked as Spalter instead nails a shotgun dropkick, then That’s A Wrap (a fallaway Angle slam) for a near-fall. Spalter’s shocked at that, so he heads back up top but again gets stopped as he back drops Klinger to the outside.
A chop block from Bones brings Spalter to the floor too for a superkick, as we find that German fans – at least in the GWF – count two throughout a count-out. It’s not as annoying as other crowd tropes… Bones follows up with a superkick for a near-fall as Spalter returned to the ring, then heads outside for a slingshot spear as Bones tried to finish off with a Self Justice, only for Spalter to catch him in mid-air with a clothesline, before That’s A Wrap gets the win. A solid match between two big lads, and one that appeared to be the end of Bad Bones in GWF. ***¼
We’ve a video package of Benji perhaps being a little unaware of what the GWF Loserweight title is. He thinks he’s there to make others look good… well, not in the way he thinks. There’s clips from Three Count of how Arash hasn’t yet made it to the ring for a match yet as he’s had a rather slapstick career so far.
GWF Loserweight Championship: Benji (c) vs. Arash
The gimmick of the Loserweight title is that you become the champion if you lose a championship match. Or as Jürgen Kerbel puts it, you’re found to be the worst wrestler in the GWF! The comedy continued as Kerbel mocked Benji’s entrance as his “best move ever”. The shade!
Arash took some special measures to help him get to the ring: he hired an entire security crew that cleared the way for him a la Goldberg… and for some reason there’s so many people who want to stop Arash. For his own good? The crowd popping massively for Arash GETTING INTO THE RING shows you how wrestling doesn’t need to be over-thought out to get a reaction.
From the bell, Benji tries to roll up Arash, before he gets lifted up top with ease. Arash is a bit bigger than Benji, so the Hungarian has trouble moving him, but he doesn’t have any problems using headscissors to ram Arash into his backside. Arash powders outside but Benji’s dive ends up being an axehandle off the apron as he went to pose in the crowd.
Benji goes under the ring for a ladder, but it’s more of a stepping stool. Arash cuts him off as commentary mocks it. The “ladder” is set up in the ring, which Benji climbs (something that commentary says is barely the height of the bottom turnbuckle), only for him to take a not-quite-superplex off of it. We can hear German commentary calling it a megaplex, which somehow Dave completely mishears.
Arash heads to somewhere higher risk, but he’s crotched in the ropes as Benji’s attempt at a forearm whiffs badly. A hotshot from Benji buys him time, as he heads up from the apron with a springboard diving headbutt – think Ilja Dragunov’s finish, or E Honda in Street Fighter… and Benji wins! He’s no longer the Loserweight champion, so Arash’s in-ring debut ends with him leaving with the gold after a comedy match that hit the right spots, but outside of that showed a lot of work needs to be done. **
They bring out Ali Chaer ahead of the next match – a tag team match that features his son in a “fight for the future of the GWF”. It was added very late on via Three Count, and is an angle right out of the Attitude Era as the GWF President Ahmed Chaer couldn’t get on with his brother Crazy Sexy Mike, who was the match maker for the company.
Dark Society Vol 2.0 (Crazy Sexy Mike & Rambo) vs. International Impact (Ahmed Chaer & Orlando Silver)
If Mike’s team loses he’s going to be forced to take a break for “at least six months”.
Orlando Silver was caught with a tope from Rambo before the bell as Chaer sent Mike outside with a Kendo stick. Rambo finds a second one as the pair duel for a while, with Rambo edging ahead until Orlando Silver came in and took him down with a side Russian leg sweep. They’re rushing through this so quickly I can barely keep up, and while the crowd’s making noise, it just seems to be a general cacophony rather than much reaction for individual spots.
A Blockbuster from Mike nearly puts Silver away as Mike then squared off with his brother. Cue slaps, forearms and uppercuts, before duelling forearms sent both men into kicks from the other guy’s partners. Silver and Rambo move into a chopping battle that doesn’t seem to budge the golden ticker tape that was stuck to the back of Rambo’s head as the match spilled outside.
Chaer and Rambo fight up towards the stage, while Silver’s slammed on the floor. On the stage, Chaer sweeps the leg and splats into Rambo with a back senton as he then prepared to throw Rambo off the stage. Instead, Rambo hit back with a cutter, then returned to the ring as he hit a frog splash on Orlando Silver for a near-fall after a uranage from Mike left the luchador down.
A double-team neckbreaker-assisted slam gets a near-fall on Silver as Chaer made it back to the ring. They keep up the double-teaming but Silver escapes and backdrops Mike onto Rambo as Chaer returned for a step-up forearm off the back of Orlando, before a lungblower, then a back cracked left Mike down for a senton that almost ended the match.
Rambo heads under the ring for a few chairs, and a bit of plywood too as we’re getting a makeshift table… Instead, Rambo props it up in the corner as he’s’ clocked with an enziguiri, before he responded with a powerbomb to Silver. Chaer’s looking for plunder too, and comes back in with a Kendo stick that he whacks Rambo with. That’s quickly shrugged off as Rambo goes for a powerbomb through the table, but Chaer escaped and hits a German suplex for a near-fall.
Mike’s back, but throws Chaer outside as Silver hits him with a spinebuster for a two-count. There’s a swinging backbreaker into a Flatliner from Mike as he nearly put Chaer away, following up with a Praying Mantis Bomb attempt that Chaer escaped, countering with a death valley driver before a second one was stopped via a Rambo chairshot. Rambo’s made to pay for that as Silver spears him through the board, and that’s enough to get the win. The crowd were definitely into this, but the match started out way too fast and couldn’t maintain the pace. That’s the end of Crazy Sexy Mike for a while anyway, which pays off that Three Count storyline… **
Post-match, Crazy Sexy Mike hung around in the ring as Ahmed Chaer offered a handshake – something the ring announcer tried to explain away by saying “they’re brothers”. Ali Chaer comes in to help the family reunion, and we get it.
Tarkan Aslan vs. Icarus
During Three Count, which was airing alongside this, we found out that Tarkan Aslan had voices in his head, believing he was speaking to his dead brother. Tarkan’s got his own ring announcer: James O’Leary, who pulled double duty in this very odd role. One that’s even weirder given that O’Leary hadn’t shown any inkling of being heel while commentating.
O’Leary looks to be going full Michael Cole during this match, with biased commentary… let’s see if it’s more subtle though.
The standing fans at the back of the room seem to be making a lot of noise against Aslan, but we start with Icarus taking Tarkan into the ropes before he was met with a sucker punch as Aslan… posed a la Bobby Roode? Icarus responds by drawing his metaphorical bow before blocking a second sucker punch as the Hungarian hits a suplex to take Aslan into the corner. A charge is blocked, as Icarus instead has his legs swept… but he’s able to use them in defence for a gamengiri on the apron to stop a Tarkan dive.
A Drive-By dropkick followed as Aslan’s on the apron, before duelling forearms and clotheslines left both men down. Aslan pulls up Icarus by his beard, then chops him in the corner before a snapmare and a sleeperhold looked to force a submission. Icarus fought back to his feet, before he’s met with a headbutt, only to reply with a pump kick as the pair went back-and-forth with strikes.
A springboard enziguiri from Icarus finds its mark, as does a forearm and a brainbuster, before Icarus crashed and burned with a senton bomb. Aslan fought back from there, quickly hitting Icarus with the Alpha Driver (rolling death valley driver) for the win. That was very much an out-of-nowhere match that was technically fine, but this match did nothing for me. **¼
GWF World Championship: Cash Money Erkan vs. Chris Colen (c)
On Three Count this was built up as Cash Money Erkan wanting to dethrone the “old” Colen. That’s a bad path to go down, especially if Erkan loses – that’d just prove “he can’t beat an old guy”.
Colen won the GWF title at last year’s Legacy event, and was fast approaching on a year as champion. Meanwhile, Erkan comes to the ring covered in that bloody golden tickertape because everyone gets party cannons. EVERYONE.
The Berlin crowd seemed to be pretty much on Erkan’s side, and he starts by running into a knee as the lights almost went out on us! The lights recover as Colen looked for an Angels’ Wings early, but Erkan pushes away as the pair then move into back-and-forth forearms as commentary brought up the episode of Three Count where Tarkan Aslan drugged Erkan.
Colen clotheslines Erkan to the outside, then heads up top for a body press that just about caught Erkan on the floor. Erkan falls into the shiny paper before he’s rolled back in… where Colen chops the tickertape off of him ahead of a suplex out of the corner. An uppercut from Erkan takes Colen down for a series of stalling knee drops, before he lived up to his name by pulling some notes out of his knee pad and sprinkled them onto Colen ahead of another knee drop. The Kosovan Erkan whips Colen from corner to corner, mixing in some uppercuts as he showed the crowd why he’s got the nickname he does. Colen rolls to the floor, which is almost as litter-strewn as the ring at this point, which means that the suplex back into the ring sends the tickertape flying off of Colen’s sweaty back.
More uppercuts greet Colen back in the ring as he was dominating the long-term champion, almost getting the victory from a diving uppercut. He’s got more than uppercuts though, as a fallaway slam gets him a near-fall, prompting Colen to fight back with a series of chops before he ran into a big dropkick. A suplex is next as Colen was being outclassed in almost every area, but you almost begin to sense that Erkan’s getting frustrated, as he pulled out a pumphandle slam… but Colen slips out and chops away again.
Chops and whips have Erkan on the back foot again, before the Kosovan came back with, yup, more uppercuts. We’re going back and forth with running chops and uppercuts, before Colen lands the Austrian Pancake (uranage), heading up top for an elbow drop to finish off things… and lands it despite taking an age. Colen gets a delayed two-count from that, before he caught Erkan in the corner for a Victory Roll… which nearly wins the match for the champion!
A crucifix is next as Colen’s going back to basics, following up with a La Magistral for more two-counts until Erkan hits another uppercut, then a Cash Money Slam (pumphandle slam) for a near-fall as Colen barely lifts a shoulder up. More chops from Colen get him back in it, as he again took Erkan into the corner for Machine Gun chops, then up top for a superplex!
Colen only gets a two-count from that, then goes for the Austrian Pancake again… but Erkan can only delay it as Colen nails the Austrian Pancake, then the Wolverine’s End (Angel Wings) for a near-fall! Colen too is looking frustrated, as Erkan was clinging onto the match, but after composing himself Colen looks for another Wolverine’s End, only for Erkan to slip out and land a superkick! And another!
Colen’s down to his knees, but he’s begging for more… so Erkan gives him it, then slumps onto Colen for a near-fall! I fear this crowd will riot if Colen retains. A backslide gets Colen a near-fall, before he lands a superkick of his own and hits the Wolverine’s End for the win! That got a bit of a mixed response and a LOT of middle fingers as Colen managed to drag a really good match out of Erkan, even if it was very choppy from Colen’s end. ***¾
The lights go out afterwards though, as we get a recap from Battlefield’s interactions between Tarkan Aslan and Chris Colen. Tarkan’s back out – and here’s here to cash in a title shot he’d won back in the summer!
GWF World Championship: Tarkan Aslan vs. Chris Colen (c)
There’s confusion on commentary as it turned out Aslan’s title shot was a Money in the Bank-style deal. The bell rings as Colen and Aslan trade forearms with each other, before Colen’s knee is kicked away as Aslan went into a curb stomp.
He plays to the crowd a little, then pulls him up… only to get caught in a small package for a near-fall as Colen goes back with chops. Aslan looks spent, which is odd as Colen’s literally just wrestled, and when Aslan slumps to the mat to escape a Wolverine’s End, it’s the beginning of the end as Aslan gets back to his feet and nails an Alpha Driver for the win. That match was literally just Dave Bradshaw commentating, because James O’Leary does the celebratory announcement as Aslan left Berlin as GWF champion.
Our usual ring announcer has to fill in the blanks as the middle fingers seem to intensify… and we’ve got a shower of streamers, because the ring wasn’t full enough of that stuff already!
Having mostly seen GWF via Three Count, it’s pleasing to see that their “full shows” aren’t just the storyline-heavy matches we saw there – however, the events of this show do kinda leave a bit of a sour taste. Cash Money Erkan losing to Chris Colen crossed that line that longer term fans hate – losing to a guy you’ve derided as old. Add in Colen’s retirement at the end of 2018, and that match was perhaps a last hurrah for this era of GWF as we’re well into the reign of Tarkan Aslan here.
It’d be unfair to wave this off as a “mixed bag” – although it’d be true to say that the brightest spots on this show mostly came from folks who aren’t regulars with the promotion in the form of Mike Bailey and the OWE guys.
On another note, to continue the trend of “2019 is a year of change”, this was also the penultimate GWF show from Huxleys Neues Welt, with the promotion moving their shows to the Festsaal Kreuzberg in Berlin for 2019 onwards.
- Watch GWF Legacy via their VOD platform at wearegwf.com