The long, but fun, 16 Carat Gold weekend rolls on – here’s our look back on night two, headlined with Jurn Simmons’ chase for the wXw title!
It’s tradition that on the Saturday of 16 Carat Gold weekend, the promotion’s most important prize is put on the line – and this was shown in the opening video package, which featured Karsten Beck’s penultimate match (so far; his loss of the wXw title was one of his last matches before he begun a fight against a brain tumour); while prior “middle night” main events have featured the likes of Tommy End, Axel Tischer (now NXT’s Alexander Wolfe), Daisuke Sekimoto and Bryan Danielson.
Donovan Dijak vs. Jeff Cobb
We start with non-tournament action here, as the eliminated Dijak takes on Jeff Cobb who impressed in that afternoon’s Ambition tournament. In the opening seconds, I find that the phrase “absolute cracker” is the same in German as it is in English – and it relates to this match perfectly!
A big boot from Dijak early stopped Cobb’s attempts at grappling, but instead led to some shots from the Hawaiian and a pumphandle fallaway slam. Never boot Jeff Cobb in the head. It never ends well. They headed outside, where Dijak blasted Cobb with a superkick, before returning to the ring with a suplex for a near-fall. Dijak keeps on tip when he slingshots his knees into Cobb in the corner, and again from a spinning pendulum backbreaker. Cobb retaliates with a dropkick, then his pair of standing moonsaults and standing shooting star presses. Those always look good, especially when done by a man of Cobb’s size.
Undeterred, Dijak hit a uranage backbreaker, then a springboard elbow drop – but Cobb picked up Dijak as he went for the pin, only to get caught in a torture rack as Dijak went for the Feast Your Eyes (torture rack into a Go to Sleep). Cobb wriggled free though and deadlifted Dijak into a German suplex, before a back suplex saw Dijak just pop straight back to his feet. Not a problem that a Tour of the Islands can’t solve, and that got Jeff the win. A fun slice of “big lads wrestling” to get us going – perfect! ***½
16 Carat Gold 2017 – Quarter-Final: Matt Riddle vs. Mike Bailey
The second meeting between these guys in a matter of, ooh, hours after Riddle took the W in their clash in the Ambition tournament; where Bailey almost caused a shock knock-out win there.
Much like in Ambition, Bailey started going for his kicks at the bell, before Riddle shot in with a takedown and some knees to the ribs, as he learned where he went wrong earlier in the day. Some rolling gutwrench suplexes saw Bailey fly around the ring – but not in the way he’d have wanted!
We got an exchange of kicks and forearms, the latter seeing Riddle blast Bailey as he ran out of the corner during some back-and-forth. Bailey manages to kick away a back senton from Riddle, as his comeback led to a roundhouse kick and a running corkscrew shooting star press that got the black-belt a near-fall. They spill to the outside after a springboard kick from Riddle, who rushed to the outside with a baseball slide and a big slap that took Bailey down… but Riddle threw him back in and received a pump kick on the apron and a Golden Triangle moonsault for his troubles.
Bailey reverses a tombstone piledriver and nearly wins it with one of Riddle’s move, before he’s forced to roll up out of an armbar as Riddle looked to end this. A Bro To Sleep after catching Bailey off the top nearly did it, as did a German suplex, but Bailey held firm and eventually came back with some kicks to the head of Riddle that so nearly booked his semi-final spot.
Capitalising on Bailey’s confidence, Riddle rolls away from a shooting star knee strike, then feints away from more kicks, before shooting in for the kicker with the Bromission for the instant submission. A perfect end to a really good match – even better if you’d seen their Ambition outing! ***¾
16 Carat Gold 2017 – Quarter-Final: Timothy Thatcher vs. Ilja Dragunov
You can probably guess who the crowd favourite was here… especially when the opening lock-up led to him being taken to the ropes and slapped by Thatcher. That led to a reversal when Thatcher was taken to the ropes, where he nonchalantly got his hands up to block a chop from Dragunov – a spot that was picture perfect.
This quickly descended into Thatcher’s wheelhouse as he took down Ilja and went for an armbar, before switching it into a Kimura, rolling him to the mat for a near-fall as Thatcher tried to sink the hold in. Chants of “unbesiegbar” (invincible) rang around the Turbinenhalle… just as Dragunov dove off the middle rope into an uppercut as the brutal Thatcher looked to grind down his opponent.
Ilja spun out of a butterfly suplex, taking down Thatcher for a back senton, before rushing into the corner with another chop as he looked to maintain some offence on the former EVOLVE champ.Thatcher came back with a gutwrench suplex as neither man found themselves able to keep control, before a grounded Octopus hold almost forced a submission, only for Dragunov to roll his way into the ropes.
The pair battled with clotheslines for a spell, before Ilja headbutted one away and took down Thatcher with a back suplex for a near-fall. Another series of lariats take down Thatcher, but Dragunov missed another back senton and fell into a butterfly suplex for a near-fall. Thatcher jumps on him with an armbar after the kick-out, but again Ilja fights free and hits another German suplex.
More chops rock Thatcher, who replied with a headbutt, but that only knocked Dragunov into the ropes… he rebounded with the Torpedo Moscau diving uppercut, and that’s enough to book his place in the semis! This was amazing, even before you consider that this was Thatcher’s fourth match of the day. Dragunov’s build as a sympathetic babyface may have gotten off to a rocky start as he was forced to take some time out, but so far in 16 Carat weekend it’s been building perfectly. ****
16 Carat Gold 2017 – Quarter-Final: WALTER vs. Marius al-Ani
With this pairing, you’d probably expect only one result, but my word, al-Ani gave it his all to make sure that he pushed through any labels he may have had of being “just a tag team guy”.
WALTER started out with a thunderous shoulder tackle to al-Ani, who replied with a ‘rana only to be caught with a sleeperhold that he quickly escaped out of. This descended into a series of attempts and blocks, with WALTER always going back to the sleeperhold whenever he could, before booting Marius in the face when a German suplex attempt was fought out of.
Hey, boots to the face always seem to get the message across, no?
To his credit, al-Ani tried to make the most of his speed advantage, and managed to take down the big Austrian with a DDT for a near-fall, before finally picking him up in a Fireman’s carry… but WALTER was able to make his way into the corner to free himself. A crossbody from Marius is caught and turned into a sit-out tombstone, sending the tag team champion rolling to the outside.
Al-Ani recovered and hit a body press from the ring, over the turnbuckles, to the floor, before rolling WALTER in for a missile dropkick for a near-fall. The cat and mouse continued as al-Ani sidestepped the big guy and rushed in with a T-bone suplex, only to run into a forearm battle that somehow ended with an anklelock from WALTER.
WALTER gave up the hold and pulled up Marius into a German suplex, then a butterfly suplex for a two-count, as he then went back to the sleeperhold. Marius broke that up by charging WALTER into the corner, but he just ended up taking a lariat before countering a powerbomb with a spinning heel kick. Somehow, Marius gets the big guy up for a death valley driver, then rolled him up into an armbar variation, with WALTER managing to get to the bottom rope in time.
Unfortunately, al-Ani went for a frog splash and got nothing but WALTER’s knees… something he’d feel seconds later with a fireman’s carry gutbuster before he was thrown around like a ragdoll before WALTER sunk in the sleeper once again, with referee Tassilo Jung eventually waving the match off. Much more even than I was expecting, and yes, WALTER is still the best wrestler that a lot of people haven’t seen. They need to, and quickly! ***¾
16 Carat Gold 2017 – Quarter-Final: “Bad Bones” John Klinger vs. Cody Rhodes
Our last quarter-final sees Cody Rhodes getting a hero’s welcome once again, as he crowdsurfs during his entrance! He didn’t even get this at PWG for crying out loud!
Bad Bones launches into Cody with a spear almost as soon as he hit the ring, which would have been a real surprise… but this was all Bad Bones from the start, as he looked to finish Cody early with the Rebel Lock (crossface). Cody, who was looking to prove himself in a new promotion, freed himself and caught Klinger in a figure four, before a crossbody was ducked, sending Cody sailing to the outside.
Klinger followed up with a low-pe to a rather disapproving reaction from the Oberhausen crowd, then a sliding lariat back in the ring as it became clear that this crowd wanted a Cody win, especially when Klinger raked at Cody’s eyes to cut-off a comeback. Cody started to fight his way into it, trading running knees with Bones, before elbowing out of a half-nelson suplex and finally coming back with a scoop slam.
A Disaster kick from Cody was countered into a Codebreaker as Bones picked up a near-fall, before Cody escaped a powerbomb and launched into some pinning attempts. The basement uppercut rocks Bad Bones, who then takes some Dusty punches and a Bionic Elbow that popped an already hot crowd, as did the Disaster Kick… but Bones kicked out!
We get a ref bump as Cody accidentally took down Rainer Ringer after Bones had already knocked him with a flailing arm, and of course, he followed up with Cross Rhodes for a visual pin. Cody checks on the downed ref, but that just lets Bad Bones get back to his feet, and land a superkick. Ringer comes to his senses in time to count a near-fall, before Cody taks a crucifix buckle bomb.
Cody rolled to the outside to avoid Bad Bones’ Wrecking Ball knees, but returns to spray a mouthful of water at him en route to a Cross Rhodes for a near-fall. That gets chants of “John Klinger Sucks” as Oberhausen compared him to John Cena, but that only spurred Bones to land those Wrecking Ball knees for a near-fall. A spear from Bones is countered by a knee from Cody, who then heads up for a moonsault that misses… allowing a second set of Wrecking Ball knees to connect as Bad Bones picked up the really unpopular win. And I do mean that – loud boos rang out and middle fingers went up, as this crowd were far from happy. Hey, they did get to see a pretty good match as Cody took another step out of his comfort zone, inspired by one of the hottest crowds he’s been in front of since his WWE exit. Heck, they even sang his name long after his match ended, which is a good sign. Cody, looks like you’ve got a new home in Germany! ***½
After the match, Cody and Klinger “too sweeted” each other, which prompted even more boos. What, did they want Bad Bones dead?!
Francis Kaspin vs. Koji Kanemoto
Well, wXw aren’t messing around here with non-tournament action, as they’re giving the hot prospect Kaspin the test of his career to date against Kanemoto.
Kanemoto takes down Kaspin by the legs early on as he looked for a heel hook in the opening minutes, before they fought back to their feet for a battle of forearm smashes, with the veteran Koji just about edging that. After starting like a usual New Japan Young Lions’ match, Kaspin made a comeback with a dropkick, before actually mounting Kanemoto for some punches!
They rolled around exchanging more mounted punches, before Kanemoto avoided a Fisherman’s suplex and hit a Dragon screw instead, as he started to target Kaspin’s knee. When he got back to his feet, Francis was just punched and kicked back into the corner, where he took a combination of strikes ending with a high knee… and we’re back into Young Lion match territory.
Koji set up Kaspin for some face-washing with his boot, before rushing in with a couple of running boots. Kaspin cuts off some more running boots with a drop toe hold and ties him up with a Muta Lock, but Koji was too close to the ropes, so Kaspin followed up with a dropkick for another near-fall. That seems to incentivise Kaspin to go to the corner with some forearms, but Kanemoto just powered through those, only to take a spinning heel kick in the midsection.
A Falcon arrow from Kanemoto forced another near-fall, before a missed PK led to a roll-up and a backslide as Kaspin smelled blood. After those near-falls though, Kanemoto came back with some kicks to the chest, before catching one from Kaspin, rolling him up into an ankle lock. Kanemoto ducked an attempted enziguiri, then reapplied the ankle lock, and that forced the submission. Perfectly good graps here, with Kanemoto expected to win, but he gave Kaspin a lot more than I think anyone expected. All Kaspin needs now is to be given consistent exposure in order to keep up his development – something that’s easier said than done, I fear… ***¼
After the match, Bobby Gunns made an appearance, much like he did after Kanemoto was eliminated from the tournament on night one. Cigarette in hand, Gunns headed to the ring with a microphone for what I guess was a live version of his “Smoking Break” segment. Kanemoto just stared at him as if he didn’t understand anything he was saying. Until he heard “Bobby Gunns, ichiban motherfucker”. That riled up Kanemoto, but Gunns walked away saying something about “bis morgen” – so these two are facing off on night three.
David Starr comes out next with a camera, before sitting cross-legged in the middle of the ring as if he were about to drop a pipe bomb. Starr was disappointed at being knocked out of 16 Carat Gold, but at least he still had the Shotgun title… a title he was eagerly looking to defend in a four-way dance, which featured Absolute Andy’s entrance video of him repeatedly pointing to a ladies’ toilet sign. Explanations are still welcome on that one…
wXw Shotgun Championship: David Starr (c) vs. Absolute Andy vs. Paul London vs. ACH
Ask for competition, and you get this Shotgun Championship Invitational… and ACH eating a banana. Maybe Lenny Leonard can throw that in his commentary next time – “ACH loves anime… and bananas!”
ACH offers his banana around, which isn’t as lewd as it sounds, and it’s clear that this is going to be high on comedy when he forces Starr to eat his banana. Again, not lewd. This is eating! (clap clap, clap-clap-clap) This is eating! (clap clap, clap-clap-clap)
The crowd chant for some music to be played as they seemingly want a dance-off, but ACH won’t do it until the crowd pay him. So, because this is wrestling, some fans throw some Euros – notes and coins – into the ring, and so the sold-out ACH does the Carlton. Worth, every cent. Or Pfennig, if you somehow had any of those…
Referee Tassilo Jung abandoned ship because of the ridiculousness of it all, before returning to see the four-way start with Absolute Andy locking-up with London, just like at the Inner Circle! Andy shoved London into the ropes, then Starr, before those two combined to chop Andy, as they then fell to a double clothesline. Andy then went for a dive, but he was halted when ACH threw in his banana skin… and yes, Andy took a bump for a banana skin. Oh my word, this is fantastic! The German commentary team of Christian Bischof and Sebastian Hollmichel were on the verge of wetting themselves during this part of the match, and I nearly joined them!
ACH low bridged Andy to the outside, where he repeatedly knocked him off the apron, ending with a PK off the apron, before returning to the ring as he flipped out of a Paul London ‘rana. A roll-up from Starr gets him a two-count on London, as did the gutwrench facebuster, before Andy returned to the ring to lay waste to everyone with clotheslines.
ACH returns to mock the “Absolute Andy” chants – which the crowd played along to – but he missed an Absolute Kneedrop as Andy did his chants and a three-way kneedrop. He gets a triple superkick for his troubles, before some more kicks left everyone else laying. Andy pops up for more shoulder tackles, as he eases ahead in a chop battle with ACH, eventually putting down the plucky anime-lover with a shoulder tackle.
We get another chop to the balls as ACH distracts the referee, before Paul London blocks another chop to the groin. David Starr pops back and throws London outside, then lands a series of topes to ACH and London, only to get dropped with a superkick from Absolute ANdy. An F5 from Andy sends Starr flying, but he’s got to deal with Paul London before he can make a cover – and a dropsault from London might have gotten rid of Andy, but it put him into position for a roll-up from Starr for a near-fall.
A top rope F5 from Andy sees him get another two-count on London, but he can’t do much with ACH as he takes a running dive from the catwalk into the ring after a spinebuster, but Starr ends up with the win after catching ACH with a delayed Destroyer for the win. That was quite the match – they gave you your comedy, and plenty of good wrestling underneath without this becoming a cliched four-way. I’m starting to think we’re going to have a LOT of competition for match of the night here… ***½
JT Dunn vs. “Avalanche” Robert Dreissker
If I were a wrestler, and followed kayfabe, this would be the last match I’d want. Yeah, I’ll take a match against the big guy who’s just destroyed his manager and was generally a scary bloke to begin with. Speaking of, it seems like they’re slowly rebranding Dreissker to be just known as “Avalanche”.
Avalanche blocks an elbow from Dunn, then counters a sunset flip by lifting him up off the mat, only to fall to an enziguiri. It’s a lot of trying to stave off the much bigger Avalanche early on, but Dunn takes a flapjack and a big splash as that came to an end, before just hurling Dunn across the ring.
Avalanche followed up with a huge elbow drop for a two-count, then another bodyslam and a Hulk Hogan-esque legdrop. Dunn tried to fight back, but he was kicked away before he finds more success with chops and elbows. Stupidly he tried an Irish whip, but Avalanche just resisted, before he takes a series of bicycle kicks in the corner, then a clothesline off the ropes as Dunn nearly pulled off a massive upset.
A rolling elbow follows, but Avalanche ducks and turned it into a Samoan drop for a two-count. Dunn succeeds with the rolling elbow, but it barely moved Avalanche, who caught him with a Blue Thunder Bomb out of nowhere for the win. A perfect “buffer” for the main event, as a glorified squash keeps Avalanche in the picture after his tournament exit. **¼
We get a video package ahead of the main event, showing Axel Dieter Jr. coming up short in last year’s 16 Carat Gold tournament, losing to Zack Sabre Jr. in the finals. They flash to the same weekend, where Jurn Simmons beat Karsten Beck for the wXw title, with just a hint of Melanie Gray and Marius van Beethoven during happier times. That feud plays out tomorrow…
There’s clips of Jurn’s title reign, including a defence against Bullet Club Jeff Jarrett. Yes, that was a thing. They go up to the 16th Anniversary show where Marty Scurll won the title over Adam Cole in a three way, then the quick title change after when Axel Dieter Jr. tapped Scurll with his own chicken wing for the belt.
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Jurn Simmons vs. Axel Dieter Jr (c)
Whilst we get virtually a Jurn Simmons entrance, we’re still without music, so that’s a reason to see wXw live! Christian Michael Jakobi does the ring entrance for the champion, before Thomas Giesen does the formal introductions as well.
A rather tense opening sees Jurn take Dieter into the corner repeatedly, before a simple arm whip put the challenger down as Dieter looked to go to work on the challenger left arm, utilising a bridging hammerlock in the early going. Jakobi looked to try and low-bridge Simmons to the outside, but Jurn put the brakes on before booting him… which led to a roll-up for a near-fall as Dieter tried – and eventually failed – to capitalise.
Tassilo Jung headed outside to tend to Jakobi as WALTER and Timothy Thatcher – clad in Axel Dieter Jr shirts – came out to try and interfere, only for A4 to rush in through the crowd to neutralise that. Hey, that’s much better than teasing a run in at the end and killing whatever flow had been built up!
Once they’d disappeared, Axel and Jurn traded blows, ending with Jurn hitting an Oklahoma stampede, before he headed up top for a moonsault… but Axel shoved him onto the apron, then down to the outside for a tope… which Jurn caught! Some back and forth ended with Axel taking a spill into the metal ring steps, but the champion came back to try for a suplex, only to take the bump himself on the floor. An overhead belly-to-belly suplex kept Axel on the back foot when they made it back into the ring, before he was taken back into the corner for some more shoulder charges.
Axel came back by dropping Jurn across the middle rope for a dropkick, but Jurn quickly retaliated with a gutwrench powerbomb for a two-count. A torture rack briefly follows, but Simmons rakes the eyes and drags Jurn into a grounded Octopus hold of sorts, forcing the challenger to make the ropes rather than submit. Dieter stays on top though, and hits a bridging double-underhook suplex for a near-fall.
From the kick-out, Dieter kept Jurn grounded with some figure-four headscissors, throwing in some elbows for extra effect, before Jurn countered a Landungsbrücke attempt. Simmons ducks an enziguiri, only to get back body dropped out of a piledriver attempt, as he ended up diving Axel a wedgie from a uranage! A top rope moonsault followed as Jurn came oh-so-close to regaining, before a Massive Boot and a piledriver produced another oh-so-near-fall for the Dutchman.
Jurn tried again for the piledriver, but Axel squirmed free and headed onto the catwalk, as he then countered a suplex into the ring into a DDT on the catwalk. Eventually both men returned to the ring, where Jurn was taken onto the top rope, before teasing a piledriver off the middle rope. Instead, Jurn came back with an Air Raid Crash, then an Landungsbrücke for a near-fall as neither man was seemingly ready to quit just yet.
The match kicked up another gear as Axel exploded into Jurn with a clothesline before trying for the Landungsbrücke again… that’s countered into a piledriver, which too was countered into a small package for a near-fall, before Jurn turned things around with another Massive Boot, then a piledriver to regain the title! Cue a monster pop from those inside the Turbinenhalle, and now starts “Massive” Jurn’s second reign with the title.
A truly remarkable main event, they started slowly and got rid of the threat of interference really early on, before living up to their hype and then some. I would hope that this isn’t the end of the Dieter/Simmons feud, but if it is, then at least they put on a masterpiece on the biggest stage available. ****½
With one show left to go, 16 Carat Gold weekend – at least the on-demand portion – has been a massive success. Every single match, from the opener at Inner Circle 3, through to Ambition, and both nights of the 16 Carat Gold tournament has exceeded expectations. That’s no small feat, especially when you consider that the likes of Matt Riddle and Timothy Thatcher had wrestled six times up until the end of night two.
We’ll have our full analysis after night three’s show, but there is no way that either night one or night two cannot finish highly in people’s card of the year ballots… and on this form, night three will give it a run for its money too! Night three will feature the finals of 16 Carat Gold, as Bad Bones, WALTER, Ilja Dragunov and Matt Riddle compete in the semi-finals and the final itself, whilst we also have the No Ropes Match as the war between Alpha Kevin and Marius van Beethoven comes to a climax!