He’s heading to the Battle of Los Angeles this year, and has gotten into the discussion for one of the best wrestlers in Europe… perhaps the world. As the chant goes, “he comes from Austria, he’s going to murder ya” – here’s a look at some of WALTER’s back catalogue!

With thanks in part to Allan Cheapshot’s YouTube playlist – https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLoeBY9gVL9d3p3jjplqcUnIvPcl5MQOI1

Big Daddy Walter vs. Bobby Gunns
We’re going to wXw’s True Colors 2015, and yes, Bobby Gunns was lighting up back then too. WALTER was still a Big Daddy here, and starts by slapping the cigarette out of Gunns’ mouth.

Gunns tries to chop the big guy, but it doesn’t faze Walter, who hits back with overhanded chops before a dropkick takes him to the floor. Bobby lights up another cigarette, but it’s slapped out of him again as Gunns resorts to a poke to the eye to get some kind of advantage. A series of big boots rocks Walter, who’s eventually sent outside with a dropkick… but he returns to sidestep another dropkick from Gunns, who’s lit up once more with chops.

Walter’s big boot leads to the sit-out splash for a two-count, before Gunns tries to deflect some chops by turning one into a rope-hung armbar – a la Minoru Suzuki. Of course, it’s broken before Walter catches a leap off the top and turns it into a death valley driver with the greatest of ease!

Gunn tries to work over the arm again, but it just leads to more German suplexes as he got cocky, before a Walter lariat damn-near decapitated him. As did a shotgun dropkick before a nonchalant powerbomb earned him the win. A virtual squash, but a lot of fun nevertheless – and this is just the tip of the iceberg! ***

We’re going to Shotgun episode 123, back in 2011 for this next one. It opens with Christian Michael Jakobi, who looks a lot younger (as he should given it’s from six years ago!) as they built up to the World Triangle League that was going on.

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Big Van Walter (c) vs. Daisuke Sekimoto
We’re at the Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen for this, and you can tell it’s old wXw by their shiny ring canvas! We’ve only got German commentary here, as Walter was defending the wXw title that he’d won from the inaugural champion, Zack Sabre Jr, several months prior.

It’s quite jarring to see Walter in a singlet, but the pair worked well as Sekimoto tried to work the arm, only for Walter to take him down and grab a toe-hold. From there, a test of strength gives way to an overhead suplex from Walter, who then took down Sekimoto with a charging shoulder block off the ropes.

They trade slams, so they get the Andre spot out of the way early and show off their size and strength, before Walter’s trademark chops get met in kind by Sekimoto. It’s like to behemoths laying into each other, and as a precursor to what we call “big lads wrestling” in 2017, it’s quite the thing to see these lads moving around with the speed they were.

Sekimoto has Walter on the back foot with some chops before snapmaring him into a rear chinlock, as he then tried to suplex the big Austrian… with little success, as the move was swiftly reversed. A big boot gets Walter a near-fall as he continued to batter Sekimoto with chops en route to draping him on the top rope for a boot to the floor.

Once Daisuke’d returned to the ring, Walter effortlessly held him up in a double underhook release suplex for a near-fall, but Sekimoto mounted a comeback out of nowhere, flipping out of the ring then landing a crossbody for a near-fall… and then hauled up the Austrian into a torture rack! Walter didn’t tap, instead grabbing a sleeper hold to force a break as Sekimoto’s attempt to back drop out of the sleeper just earned him a suplex after Walter popped back up.

We’re back to the overhanded chops as they blister each other’s chests, moving up to clotheslines before a discus lariat earned Walter another near-fall. Ditto from a Jackhammer, but Sekimoto blasts back with a German suplex for a near-fall, before launching into a sunset flip off the middle rope… then pulls Walter up into a powerbomb for another two-count! Sekimoto is impressively strong to be able to do something like that!

A frog splash attempt is rudely ended when Walter got his knees up as he then hit his own big splash off the top for a near-fall. Another powerbomb, this time from Walter, comes even closer, before Sekimoto landed a Pele kick to put Walter into the ropes for another lariat. Despite kicking out, Walter had no answer for a deadlift German that earned Sekimoto another two-count… at least until he dumped his challenger with another pair of powerbombs for yet another near-fall.

Referee Tassilo Jung, who’s been remarkably ageless in the last few years, leaps onto Walter to try and stop him from stomping on Sekimoto… that works somewhat, as Walter just smashes him with another powerbomb, then a shotgun dropkick and one more powerbomb for yet another two-count! Sekimoto ain’t staying down! Walter tries again, but Sekimoto back body drops free, before a quick exchange of lariats led to some rolling Germans… and Daisuke wins the title! Just under 24 minutes long, and whilst parts of this didn’t age well, this was quite the hard-hitting encounter… exactly what you’d expect from Walter, who’s only gotten better in the years that’s followed! ****

We’re going into our back catalogue for the rest of this…

Big Daddy Walter vs. Rampage Brown
From PROGRESS Chapter 23: What A Time To Be Alive, and this is the battle of the big men here, with Vienna’s Walter taking on Leeds’ Rampage Brown… and perhaps the match that led to the creation of PROGRESS’ Atlas championship.

They start with some ground wrestling – nothing like Kane and Big Show’s alternate-universe of grappling, thankfully – before trading stiff chops that barely faze the other. Rampage shows off the first flash of agility with a nice dropkick, and it’s worth calling out that the first two times Brown was whipped into the turnbuckles, the corners didn’t exactly sound healthy, compared to how they’d usually sound.

Walter grabs Rampage in the corner and whips him into the opposite turnbuckles… and boom goes the dynamite! The top two turnbuckles collapse, and the big men have broken the ring! Walter scores a near fall from a backbreaker as the Camden crowd chant “Save The Ring”, and we’re now in an unusual predicament, where we have a match with barely a ring. It’s almost like sumo…

Walter and Rampage end up on the floor to continue the match, with Walter getting back body dropped onto the floor (which thankfully held up!). After some more improvising in the ring, including an Arn Anderson-like spinebuster by Brown, Walter then missed a body splash off the bottom rope, before falling to a Rampage piledriver for the win. Rampage Brown wins the match with no ring! An awesome spectacle, and by rights, there’s only one rating I can give this ******

Finally, a pair of matches from this year’s 16 Carat Gold…

16 Carat Gold 2017 – Semi-Final: WALTER vs. Matt Riddle
This was Riddle’s SEVENTH match in four days, and my word, it’s quite the intriguing semi-final pitting two of the best in the world.

The Ambition winner rolled WALTER around the ropes and into the corner from the off, before the Austrian scored with a headlock takedown as he looked to keep Riddle at bay. A chop in the corner helped to do that, before Riddle went for an O’Connor roll… only to get met with a big boot instead. This went back to a striking battle as WALTER egged on Riddle, getting himself a Pele kick to the arm before he took a back senton for only a one-count. A leg trip from WALTER saw him follow up with a knee drop to Riddle’s foot as he started to target the boot-less Bro, switching between toe holds and kneedrops.

Riddle rolls away from a seated splash, before instinctively kicking WALTER with the bad leg – which just gives the Austrian a way to get back on top as he pulled Riddle onto the apron to work over the ankle some more, including with a massive stamp to the foot as it was laid on the ring steps. The proverbial one-footed man in the arse kicking contest fought back with some right hands, but quickly fell into a sleeperhold that WALTER turned into a German suplex after slapping away a rope break. Riddle powered immediately back up though, before flipping out of another German and ran in with a knee.

The Fisherman’s buster only gets a two-count though as Riddle rushed in with a diving knee before going up top for a senton bomb. What the hell did I just see?! Matt Riddle going all Jeff Hardy (and the many more since then). That gets him a near-fall, and in the aftermath of that he’s rolled to the mat by WALTER who grabs an ankle lock, before turning it into a German suplex.

Riddle kicked out at two from a lariat as WALTER was running roughshod over him, but Riddle countered a powerbomb into a guillotine choke, only to get charged into the corner. A missed roundhouse leads to another sleeperhold from WALTER, but that’s fought out of before Riddle gets that guillotine in again, turning it into a triangle choke with some elbow strikes thrown in. Yet again, WALTER powerbombs free, then delivers a second powerbomb as he made the final. Holy crap. How on earth do you follow that? Engrossing and hard-hitting throughout, although I would quibble Matt Riddle’s amazingly quick healing foot… you know what I’m going to say about WALTER, so I’ll leave the gushing until the end! ****¼

16 Carat Gold 2017 – Final: WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov
This is what the whole three-day tournament comes down to – WALTER gegen Ilja Dragunov – and they started with WALTER being taken into the ropes as the plucky Ilja refused to back down.

Dragunov used his speed to back away from chops from WALTER early on, but he couldn’t avoid a dropkick as WALTER took the upper hand for a brief moment, grabbing a sleeperhold then turning it into a German suplex after a rope break was ignored. He took Ilja up top, but got shoved down as the Russian came crashing onto him with a back senton, only for a springboard dropkick to get swatted away by the massive arm of WALTER.

WALTER kept on top of Ilja with a keylock, before releasing it to chop away some more, only to get sent onto the apron then to the floor as Ilja hit the Torpedo Moscau, then a suicide dive to the outside! The advantage was quickly snuffed out though, as WALTER connected with an apron powerbomb before rolling Ilja in for a near-fall. So he just chopped away at Ilja some more, but the Russian refused to back down, no matter how much WALTER’s shovel-hands were tearing apart his chest!

A sleeperhold attempt from WALTER is fought out of, as Ilja comes back with a clothesline and a side suplex that got Ilja and his bloodied chest a two-count. WALTER came back to boot Ilja onto the top rope for a butterfly superplex, before Ilja used a Fireman’s carry on WALTER to escape a powerbomb… then followed up with a powerbomb out of the corner for another near-fall!

Another springboard out of the corner from Ilja’s swatted away by WALTER’s boot, and the giant Austrian goes to the sleeperhold, but this time Ilja reverses the German suplex after making the ropes, only for his O’Connor roll to end up being turned into a grounded rear naked choke. No rope breaks for you this time! Unlike everyone else so far, Ilja didn’t pass out, but that just earned him a big lariat and a folding powerbomb as Ilja just would not quit!

Frustrated, WALTER went back to chopping away on Ilja, bloodying up his chest some more, and it’s fair to say that Ilja’s chops didn’t leave anywhere near as much as a mark as those he received. Just looking at his chest was enough to make referee Tassilo Jung cringe, and the shots just kept coming!

A Yakuza kick from WALTER stunned Dragunov, but he immediately came back with a clothesline before firing out of the corner with the Torpedo Moscau… but WALTER kicked out just before three! After kicking out, WALTER went for the sleeper again, then drilled Dragunov with a sit-out tombstone… but again, Ilja would not die! More swiping shots from WALTER looked to be borne out of frustration than anything else, but that just spurred Ilja into one more Torpedo Moscau… and that was it! Ilja scores the pin, and celebrates winning this year’s 16 Carat Gold tournament!

My word, that was a hell of a final – intense from the start as WALTER expected to win the entire tournament, having had to campaign his way into it to begin with, whilst Ilja just refused to back down, fighting through the pain and obvious wounds inflicted on him by his monstrous opponent. This was a work of art, and one that both men – and everyone else involved – ought to be proud of. ****½

If you’ve not seen WALTER before… first of all, where have you been? There’s plenty of footage out there of WALTER doing what he does best, so if you’re the sort of fan who shies away from “smaller indies”, do yourself a favour and check him out before the rest of the world does in Reseda later this year!