It’s job versus career as Norman Harras’ tenure in charge is up against Bobby Gunns’ wrestling career.
B3CCA pinned Amale in 6:18 (**½)
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Shigehiro Irie pinned Tristan Archer in 11:45 (***¼)
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Ahura pinned Komander in 11:42 (***)
Gauntlet: Michael Schenkenberg & Nikita Charisma defeated Zafar Ameen & Rambo, Maggot & Psycho Mike, Arez & Trey Miguel and Elijah Blum & Nick Schreier in 20:52 (***¼)
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Axel Tischer defeats Masha Slamovich by referee’s decision in 10:16 (***¼)
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Peter Tihanyi pinned Francesco Akira in 14:48 (***¾)
Laurance Roman defeats Davey Richards in 10:25 to retain the wXw Shotgun Championship (**¾)
Baby Allison submitted Iva Kolasky, Aliss Ink & Ava Everett in 8:10 to win the wXw Women’s Championship (**½)
Dover & Icarus pinned Senza Volto & Aigle Blanc in 11:23 to win the wXw World Tag Team Championship (***½)
No Disqualification: Bobby Gunns pinned Norman Harras in 18:16 (**½)
— If you want to catch this before it’s uploaded to Peacock/WWE Network, head over to wXwNOW.de – it’s now been moved over to YouTube after wXw left Vimeo’s platform, so you’ll need to sign-up…
— I don’t usually put content warnings in these reviews, but given the allegations and news that broke earlier today, I want to say the obvious – there is mention of Davey Richards’ match in this review, but no comment other than what happened in the match.
We’re back at the Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen for the second night of the 16 Carat Gold tournament. There’s a packed crowd of 1100 on hand for this, the largest wXw crowd since the pandemic, as we’ve got Dave Bradshaw and Mett Dimassi are on commentary… and we’ve got a pre-show match to get us going…
B3CCA vs. Amale
They’re slowly building up the story that Amale’s not won since her return to wXw…
Amale scores with a slam early on, but an elbow drop just gets a one-count as she proceeded to boot B3CCA outside for a swift dive. Back inside, B3CCA misses an elbow drop, allowing Amale to pick up with forearms in the corner before forearms knocked the former champion down. B3CCA takes to the skies with a crossbody, then hits a German suplex into the corner as kicks knock Amale out of the buckles. A Quebrada’s next for a near-fall, but Amale’s able to evade and return with a shotgun dropkick that turned the match around. Amale adds a back suplex that folded B3CCA into the corner, ahead of a running boot before the pair jockeyed over a suplex.
B3CCA countered into a small package, but there’s no pinning attempt as the pair instead resume with forearms… until a Samoan drop from B3CCA and (finally) the 450 splash got her the win. **½
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Tristan Archer vs. Shigehiro Irie
A big test for both men – with Archer looking to regain the title for a third time by the end of the weekend…
Opening with a lock-up into the ropes, Archer and Irie traded holds in the early going, at least until a back elbow helped Irie knock down Archer for a slingshot splash. Archer recovers, clotheslining Irie into the corner before a Coup d’Etat attempt was slipped out of… leading to Irie hitting the Teddy Bear sit-out splash for a one-count. Irie’s sent outside… but Archer fakes out a dive before he brought Irie back in and grounded him with a chinlock. A back elbow drops Irie for a two-count, as things again spilled to the outside, with Irie getting thrown into a seat before he clubbed Archer in the back.
Archer looked for a submission hold through the ropes, but Irie’s able to break it apart as he proceeded to knock Archer onto the apron… then hit a back splash to knock him to the floor. A cannonball followed back inside for a two-count, as Archer managed to sneak back in with a half crab, forcing Irie to drag himself to the ropes for a break.
Irie blocks an attempt at La Terreur, then tied up Archer… who punched his way out of a headbutt attempt. Instead, Irie fires a forearm at the Frenchman, then received one in return, before a thunderous strike knocked Archer down for a two-count. A cannonball squashes Archer in the ropes, but the follow-up Beast Bomber’s stopped with a uranage… only for Irie to get the knees up to block a back senton. A swinging Fisherman’s suplex from Archer looked to set up for a Coup d’Etat… but Irie just blocks it and lands on Archer for the two-count. A Beast Bomber followed off the ropes, spinning Archer to the mat, and that’s enough to get Irie to the semis! ***¼
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Komander vs. Ahura
After Ahura ripped out Maggot’s nose piercing in the first round, I’d wager Komander may need to have another mask handy…
Komander perched himself on the top rope to start the match, opting to rope-walk away from Ahura as his early flashiness didn’t exactly impress Ahura… who kicked away a handspring attempt seconds later. A tijeras from Komander takes Ahura outside, with Ahura baiting Komander into the stage as the pair brawled… until Komander was sent onto the apron, where his follow-up ‘rana’s caught and turned into a powerbomb on the side of the ring.
Back inside, Ahura works over Komander’s toe and ankle, but an inside cradle from Komander nearly nicks the win before Ahura began to work over Komander’s mask. Kicks and slaps rile up Komander, who fired back with elbows and a handspring into some headscissors. Those take Ahura to the outside, where Komander looked to follow courtesy of a ropewalk… but Ahura tries to shake the ropes before going up top… and walking into a cutter. Ahura rolls outside from that and into the path of a wacky Sasuke special, before a suplex back inside drew a two-count. Ahura pulls Komander out of a rope-walk, as a twisting brainbuster picked up a two-count, before things headed outside for a springboard corkscrew plancha from Ahura.
A piledriver followed back inside for a two-count, as Komander’s attempt to respond saw him trip Ahura to the ropes for a Tiger Feint kick. The rope walk shooting star press is next from Komander for a near-fall, before he rolled up Ahura for another two-count… the pair trade blows ahead of Ahura ripping off Komander’s mask… and with Komander covering his face, the Paradise Waterfall proved to be an elementary finish as Ahura steals one. ***
Gauntlet Match: Arez & Trey Miguel vs. Elijah Blum & Nick Schreier vs. Maggot & Psycho Mike vs. Rambo & Zafar Ameen vs. Rott Und Flott (Michael Schenkenberg & Nikita Charisma)
It’s the traditional “random tag team gauntlet” that’s now a part of Carat weekend, with a future tag title shot on the line here.
The tandems of Blum & Schreier and Arez & Miguel got the bum draws to start, with Schreier and Arez starting the match with side headlocks and armdrags. Arez takes a lucha armdrag from Schreier, returning with an up-kick as tags bring in Blum and Miguel. Blum’s neck is worked on to start with, before a crossbody and neckbreaker had Miguel on the back foot. Arez tags back in, but couldn’t avoid a double dropkick before he cornered Nick Schreier, who got peppered with a flying stomp and a shotgun dropkick, before a Lightning Spiral from Miguel got the pin at 3:16. Next out was the ungodly-over Psycho Mike and Maggot (although I’d have loved Jacob Crane as a throwaway wacky tag partner.)
Mike wants to do a bodyslam, but instead had to make do with a Test of Strength on Arez, who escaped and began to gnaw on Mike in a wristlock. The hold’s reversed, with Mike maintaining eye contact with the hard camera throughout, before Arez broke free and tied up Mike in the ropes. Arez sends Mike into the ropes, only to get charged down… he pops up to freak out Mike, whose attempt at a bodyslam was escaped as tags bring us to Miguel and Maggot. A Thesz press from Maggot has Miguel down, as did a pump kick to the side of the head, before a flurry of kicks from Miguel led to a stomp on the former Shotgun champion.
Maggot’s enziguiri led to tags, with Psycho Mike finally hitting some bodyslams on everyone… finishing with Maggot onto the pile for a near-fall. Miguel’s chucked outside, but Arez is able to hit a tiltawhirl backbreaker as Maggot tagged in… Maggot’s met with a series of kicks in the corner ahead of a wall-flip moonsault for a near-fall, before an assisted brainbuster almost eliminated Maggot. A bodyslam drops Maggot as Psycho Mike ran in to avoid a follow-up… instead rocket launching Arez into a cutter from Maggot, as a Fisherman buster from Mike puts away Arez at 10:23. Metehan’s current associates, Rambo and Zafar Ameen are out next, going after Maggot first as Ameen attacked Mike from behind to resume the match.
Mike’s sandwiched between the buckles, then charged at with Ameen’s knees ahead of a suplex for a two-count, before a spinebuster allowed Mike to tag out. Maggot corners Ameen, following with a crossbody as an enziguiri and a spear should have gotten the win… but Rambo’s in to distract the referee and prevent a count. Ameen tags out twice – once in view of the ref – as Rambo hits a back suplex for a two-count. A regular suplex gets Rambo another two-count, before Maggot hits a DDT and tagged in Mike, who ran wild on Rambo ahead of a teased bodyslam… but Rambo elbows it away. Instead, Rambo goes for a bodyslam of his own, only for Mike to escape and land his.
Metehan grabs onto Psycho Mike’s foot at ringside, and with Rambo having knocked Maggot off the apron, he goes for a suplex. Mike counters with a cradle, only for Metehan to just about nudge the cradle apart, before Rambo wins with a roll-up at 15:42. Last out were the returning Rott und Flott, and my word, the reaction for the former champions!
Ameen and Rambo attacked Rott und Flott outside before they could hit the ring, with Ameen rushing Nikita Charisma to the ring for a Mirage kick… while Rambo’s frog splash forced Schenkenberg in to break the pin. Charisma’s kept in the corner, but gets shut down by Ameen as he tried to fight free, with Rambo coming in to try and choke Charisma in the ropes. Metehan takes his cheapshots too as the referee was distracted by Michael Schenkenberg, before Metehan’s lads went for a double-team superplex… only for Charisma to dump Rambo to the floor, then score a sunset bomb out of the corner.
Charisma’s able to make the tag out to Schenkenberg, who ran wild with shoulder blocks before a spinning back suplex dropped Rambo. Ameen sends Schenkenberg into Charisma, but didn’t knock him down as Charisma’s able to fight back… Ameen’s legal too as Metehan distracts the referee from a pinning attempt, before Rambo threw Charisma into Schenkenberg. Schenkenberg overcomes the double-teaming with a nice Samoan drop/fallaway slam combo on Metehan’s lads, and with Rambo having rolled outside, Ameen’s left prone as the Snapchat DDT gets the popular win in a decent gauntlet match – even if things felt a little rough with the unfamiliar partners. ***¼
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Axel Tischer vs. Masha Slamovich
We’re back with another tournament match, with the crowd audibly gasping for Masha’s introduction.
Tischer looked to take Slamovich lightly, dismissing her on a lock-up before he pulled himself out of a headlock takedown. A kick from Tischer drops Slamovich, as did a nonchalant bodyslam, before some shift elbow strikes took Slamovich to the ropes. Masha’s wrist gets driven into the mat, as a headbutt followed amid Tischer’s systematic work over every part of the Russian. An attempt to dislocate Slamovich’s shoulder was next, while a backbreaker kept Tischer comfortably ahead. Masha’s hauled up for a stalling suplex, with Tischer dancing her around the ring… and that cockiness nearly backfired as Masha slipped out, only for her attempt at a German suplex to get laughed off. She slaps Tischer in the back instead, then hit the German suplex seconds later, taking Tischer into the corner.
Slamovich follows with a step-up knee and running boot into the corner, then a spin kick and a slam for a two-count, before Tischer brushed off a sunset flip… only to get met with a buzzsaw kick for a two-count. Tischer evades a Shining Wizard, then booted Slamovich into a German suplex… as a knee trembler followed. There’s no pin as Tischer instead goes for a Ligerbomb, but Masha escaped… then scored with a Destroyer off the middle rope. That almost gets the upset, before Masha’s attempt at a Molly Go Round eventually turned into a ‘rana… but Tischer rolls through and hits a Ligerbomb for a near-fall anyway. A spit from Slamovich riles up Tischer, who returned with a rear naked choke… and that’s enough to put her out and force the stoppage. Tischer’d threatened to let this one slip by taking Masha too lightly, only to be forced into taking her seriously in the nick of time. ***¼
16 Carat Gold 2023 Quarter-Final: Peter Tihanyi vs. Francesco Akira
Our last quarter-final of the day – and a chance for Peter Tihanyi to move a step further than last year… and hopefully that Ferencváros scarf is a good luck charm!
Opening with a handshake, we quickly burst in with headlock takedowns and escapes ahead of a stand-off, before a Tihanyi dropkick landed for just a one-count. A suplex gets Tihanyi barely a two-count, before a leap off the top was cut off with an Akira dropkick as the Italian looked to get a foothold in the match. A snapmare and a kick to the back of Tihanyi leaves him laying, as did a floatover suplex, before a neckbreaker added another two-count for Akira. Tihanyi’s overhand chop blisters Akira’s chest, as did some more, before a suplex planted Akira by the ropes. Akira blocks a swinging DDT, but gets caught with a flip senton on the outside as he tried to seek respite.
Back inside, Tihanyi lands that swinging DDT for a near-fall, before some misdirection from Akira built up to the elevated German suplex for a two-count of his own. Akira tries for a Cheeky Nando’s, but they don’t have those in Germany, so Tihanyi’s able to cancel that plan as the pair end up hitting head kicks at the same time. On the apron, the pair trade elbows as a superkick from Tihanyi led to an Asai DDT onto the edge of the ring. Ow. Back inside, Akira spits his gum at Tihanyi, then got slapped for it as the pair’s back-and-forth looked to lead to a Nova Fireball… but Tihanyi ducks and instead found a way in with a springboard moonsault.
A knee strike rails Akira next to nearly win the match… before another leap off the top was blocked. Akira tries to bring Tihanyi down, landing an avalanche ‘rana, before the Speedfire almost took him to the semis. Tihanyi slumps out of the way of a Nova Fireball, prompting Akira to shove away the referee so he could land a few more kicks, before Tihanyi clotheslined away a Fireball attempt. Tihanyi lands a Dragon suplex for a near-fall… then went up top, only for his 450 splash to land in the knees. It’s not enough though, so Akira goes for an OsCutter, only to leap into a rear naked choke. He rolled back to try and force the pin, but Tihanyi kicks out, then lands a slingshot cutter before the 450 splash put Akira down – my pick of the quarter-finals by a country mile, with Tihanyi living up to the Oberhausen crowd’s hopes thus far! ***¾
wXw Shotgun Championship: Laurance Roman (c) vs. Davey Richards
Earlier in the day, Roman took a loss as part of the Ambition tournament, but that’s not mentioned as part of the setup.
Roman jumped his opponent from behind before the bell, but got caught with kicks in the corner once the bell sounded. Roman’s taken outside for an apron PK, then some more shots as they went around ringside, with Roman getting kicked from the first row and into the second. Back inside, Roman pulls referee Yuki Lee into harm’s way – then jumped his opponent from behind as he proceeded to stomp a mudhole in him. A snap suplex gets Roman a two-count, as he continued keep the upper hand, bouncing hun out of the turnbuckles with an Irish whip.
The pair trade forearms from there, but Roman again maintains the upper hand, at least until his back suplex was kneed away. More strikes looked to put Roman on the defensive, as he’s then dragged into the ropes for a Dragon screw. A trip up top ends with Roman rolling away from a leap, only to get rolled into a Trailer Hitch in the middle of the ring. After breaking in the ropes, Roman runs into a head kick, then took a German suplex and an Exploder, but but Roman’s up at two to keep the match going. A knee to the midsection leads to an axe kick, before Roman’s enziguiri and discus elbow got him back in… with a swinging hammerlock DDT almost winning things. An ankle lock has Roman in trouble, as did a PK and a brainbuster… but again the champion kicks out at two… and has to instantly deal with an ankle lock. Roman’s able to roll through though, and snatches a handful of tight on the way to get the three-count. **¾
wXw Women’s Title Championship: Baby Allison vs. Ava Everett vs. Iva Kolasky vs. Aliss Ink (c)
Ink’s got wins over Amale and Baby Allison since she won the title back in October – but this third defence is perhaps the biggest ask yet.
Kolasky opted to leave her ring jacket on for… reasons, which included her sliding outside as Baby Allison looked to go after Ava Everett. Ava backs into Aliss Ink, and ended up getting double-teamed for a spell before Allison scored with a Northern Lights suplex out of the corner. Ink heads up top for a missile dropkick to Iva Kolasky, who’d broken up that pin, before Alisson and Iva did splits to avoid head kicks. Ava doesn’t want any of the Dragon’s Tail, so backs away… and ran in after Ink had been tripped, before Alisson and Kolasky traded slaps, while still in the splits.
Another splits from Alisson trips Everett into Kolasky’s knee, as we get a whole bunch of accidental offence, before Everett began to choke away on Alisson. Ava stands on Alisson in the ropes, following it up with a snap suplex, only for Kolasky to slide in and try and steal the pin. An inside cradle from Alisson looks to end things, but Kolasky kicks out and scored with moonsault knees for a two-count, as Everett and Kolasky ate a double German suplex from Alisson. Charges from corner-to-corner have Alisson and Ink on the front foot, but their duelling submissions were stopped as Kolasky and Everett held onto each other to prevent them from tapping.
Ink and Alisson let go and focus on each other, with Alisson landing a fallaway slam before she ducked the Dragon’s Tail. Ink blocks an axe kick, but scores with a dropkick… Kolasky heads up top but misses a crossbody, then ate a Dragon’s Tail from Ink. Alisson capitalises with a spear that just about lands, before submitting Kolasky with the Baby Exorcism – the Muta Lock – to regain the title. This had some good moments, but the relative silence this was played to wasn’t good, as wXw perhaps needs to establish a more settled and local division? **½
wXw World Tag Team Championship: Arrows Of Hungary (Dover & Icarus) vs. Frenchadors (Aigle Blanc & Senza Volto) (c)
We’ve new entrance gear for the Arrows, who came out in butcher’s aprons – although some joked that they were perhaps more suitable for a dark version of Masterchef. Still, it’s doing less harm than the French Kiss, and the clattering to those belts…
Robert Dreissker and Laurance Roman headed to the back to keep things fair, as we started with Dover and Blanc. Kicks from Dover have Aigle on the deck, but a head kick from Aigle has Dover down as AMBOSS quickly returned to create a distraction. It worked too, as Dover picked up Aigle and charged him into an Icarus gamengiri, before Icarus was hurled into Aigle with a cannonball for a two-count. More distraction allowed Dover to choke on Aigle in the corner before a springboard crossbody from Aigle took down Icarus. Senza Volto gets the tag in, running wild with clotheslines and a handspring back elbow to Icarus, before things spilled outside… but Senza’s springboard is pulled down as the Arrows just POUNCE him deep into the crowd. Period.
Aigle Blanc looks to make the save, diving onto the Arrows before helping out his partner, as things returned to the ring with Aigle heading up top for a Coast to Coast on Dover. Forearms from Aigle led to a caught springboard, with Dover depositing him on the top rope, only for Aigle to fight back… and leap into a wild knee to the ribs from Icarus. The Arrows catch Senza on the top rope and rocket launch him into a Code Red on Aigle Blanc, who eats a Crossfire seconds later… but somehow Aigle kicks out at two?! In disbelief, the Arrows tee up Aigle, but he floats out of a double back suplex and tagged out to Senza Volto, whose double handspring cutter drew a two-count – in spite of Laurance Roman popping up onto the apron for a distraction.
The Frenchadors continued their turnaround, with a ‘rana driver to Icarus from Aigle Blanc, before an attempted apron tombstone was fought out of. Senza’s handspring kick softens up Icarus for the tombstone seconds later though, while a BME from Senza almost got the win… but Icarus pie-faces Senza to break up the cover. All four men are in the ring, trading clotheslines as the Arrows’ title claims looked to be slipping… but Dover escapes a tombstone piledriver before Senza was thrown into a Crossfire. There’s no pin attempt as Dover rolled away to allow Aigle to accidentally 450 his own man… before Aigle’s pounced to the outside. Laurance Roman looms over Aigle and gets ejected from ringside for his mere presence, but Robert Dreissker hands Icarus his face mask in the melee, which is used to crack Senza Volto behind the ref’s back as a Crossfire led to the eventual win. They crammed a lot into their time here, but the Arrows regaining the tag titles adds more menace to AMBOSS – with every active member holding a wXw title by the end of the evening. ***½
No Holds Barred: Bobby Gunns vs. Norman Harras
The stakes going in was Norman Harras’ role as Sporting Director up on the line against Bobby Gunns’ wrestling career – but Norman upped the ante some more before the bell. Pulling into Carat from five years ago, Norman said that he “owed someone a favour” – but unlike 2018 when we had the return of Ilja Dragunov blowing the roof off the place, this time around Harras said that he “owed himself” and instead turned this into a no holds barred match.
Gunns charges as Harras to get us going, and to shut him up, clotheslining Harras to the outside for an apron PK. Harras returns to the ring with a toolbox, which he threw into Gunns, before he pickled up – and dropped – a spike as he proceeded to choke Gunns. A jumping high kick from Gunns after he got himself free led to a back suplex from Harras for a two-count, before an O’Connor roll from Gunns picked up a rapid two-count from referee Tassilo Jung. Harras spotted that and quickly punted Tassilo low, before he pulled some steel wire from that toolbox and began to choke out Gunns with it. A front kick takes Gunns outside as the pair continued to fight… this time with Gunns grabbing the spike from earlier, only to get stopped by Harras, who then blocked a suplex in the aisle… and suplexed Gunns onto the walkway and into an empty chair. OW.
Up on the stage area, Harras tries to throw Gunns off of the raised balcony, only to get met with a kick as Gunns sent him rollin’ rollin’ rollin’ back towards ringside. Quite apt, given Norman was dressed like a boardroom biker ‘Taker…
A running PK down the aisle sends the cameraman – and Harras – flying, while another one connected by ringside as Rainer Ringer found his way to ringside to control things. Back inside, Harras eats a shotgun dropkick, then an Ehrenmann Driver… but Metehan sprints out to pull the referee out of the ring, as Rambo then held the official as we’re now down two refs. Harras hits a low blow, then went into the tool box for some zip ties to fashion some handcuffs out of as Gunns was tied to the bottom rope… and this was about the point in the match where things threatened to boil over in the arena. Alex Schneider and additional crew members come out, but Schneider’s wiped out, as were the rest of the staff, before our lone remaining referee, Felix Schulz, was thrown deep into the crowd. Bloody hell, lads…
Jurn Simmons – who had been forced to withdraw from Carat due to appendicitis – is out to try and make a save, but Zafar Ameen attacks him from behind as the crowd began to chant “liebe.” Cue soliloquy time from Harras, who directed traffic for a spell, before he demanded Gunns “swallow his pride” and quit. Instead, we got a German swear from Bobby, who continued to take a beating, this time at the hands of belt shots from Harras. Harras said he “could just end” Gunns, which begs the question, why didn’t he just wave the match off himself… before he threatened to end Jurn Simmons’ career, brandishing a pair of bolt cutters and seemingly threatening to cut off Jurn’s nipples? Before we can find out though, Levaniel runs out through the crowd to send everyone packing, then punched out Harras… only to get smothered by Metehan’s scarf.
Belt shots put paid to Levaniel for a spell, as did a charging knee to the ribs from Harras, as Norman took the mic once more and declared himself the King of European Wrestling. Cue another run-in, this time with music as Michael Knight made his return to wXw, wiping out everyone as he went, spearing Harras before he freed Gunns from those zip tie handcuffs. Cue the OnlyFriends hug, before the pair took care of Zafar Ameen and Rambo. Metehan slides into the ring with some metal, but Jurn stops him in his tracks before Harras took an ushigoroshi from Knight, then a PK from Gunns.
Levaniel’s back to hit the Galactic Facecrusher, before he went out in search of a referee. Problem was, they’re all as good as dead, so he takes the shirt off of the nearest one – Felix Schulz – and put it on. On the balcony, Felix Kohlenberg – the CEO of wXw – gives the thumbs up for Levaniel to take over as a referee, and it’s elementary from there as everyone piled on Harras for the three-count to end this emotional overbooked mess. It garnered reactions throughout, so I can’t dismiss this out of hand, but you’re going to be looking more at the moments than the match itself in years to come. **½
Another strong showing from wXw continued Carat weekend – with the main event being perhaps the most chaotic and wild spectacle I’ve seen live since Vader/Will Ospreay. Take that as you wish! As for the tournament matches, it’s notable that the final four were guys who have some degree of history with wXw – with even the outsider Irie having had several runs in the promotion – as we built towards a tantalising final night.