wXw wrapped up their 2019 in front of a packed crowd in Oberhausen as their 19th anniversary saw another changing of the guard.

We were there live for this – but our takes are coming from the VOD, which had Thommi Giesen’s sparkly bow tie, as well as English commentary from the pairing of Rico Bushido and Andy Jackson. Well, the English version will – I’m watching the German audio, which dropped first…

wXw Shotgun Championship: Absolute Andy vs. Jay Skillet vs. Veit Müller vs. Avalanche (c)
I tell you what, the bass in Andy’s new theme is camera shaking…

Veit’s rocking the Cactus Jack-ish red and black fleece, and we get going with Avalanche and Müller sandwiching Andy and Skillet to begin an interesting way to clear the ring. Andy’s ganged up on, but left the ring… right as Jay Skillet tried to sneak his way back in. Oh Jay. A swift pull from Avalanche took him back in, as the big lads tried to double-team Skillet… only for Müller to change tactic briefly.

Skillet seemed to slip, but he hit a step-up swandive headbutt onto Müller as Andy returned to trade shots, steaming through Veit with clotheslines for the hell of it. Andy manages to lift up Veit for a suplex, before a superkick left us with Andy and Skillet… who quickly had to realign as Avalanche was back on the scene. Back in the ring, Avalanche caught a crossbody and hurled Skillet with a fallaway slam, before landing a Samoan drop for a near-fall. A Dreissker bomb misses out of the corner as Skillet started to sneak back in, hitting a cutter for a near-fall, before Jay called Andy in to hit their tag team finish. Which they do, as Skillet flew in with a stop off the top rope before an F5 laid out Avalanche… but Jay steals the pin and almost the belt, as Müller ran in to clothesline the pair of them as he tried to nick the title.

Veit hits back with double axehandles, before Skillet ate a cravat suplex. Andy’s scooped for a slam too, only for Andy to retaliate with a spinebuster and a Sharpshooter… Andy lets go to superkick Avalanche away, but Jay Skillet pops right up and rolls up Andy – and shows off way too much arse crack with a handful of tights – for the win! We’ve a new Shotgun champion, and the student outfoxed the teacher in a fun opener. ***½

Pretty Bastards (Maggot & Prince Ahura) vs. Leon van Gasteren & WALTER
Live, they’d played the video for the advertised tag title match… but a neck injury to Julian Pace meant he was sidelined. So Leon van Gasteren needed a new partner. Step forward WALTER: minus the arrogance he had last time out here. From the sound of the Turbinenhalle crowd, they didn’t seem to mind…

We start with WALTER tagging himself in, but to be fair, Prince Ahura didn’t run away. He feinted some kicks and got thrown into the corner from a headlock before the inevitable… faked-out chop! I think he shat himself there. Still, Ahura went for a chop, but WALTER held his nerve, before uppercutting Ahura into the corner. In comes Maggot, who’s lifted up in a one-arm powerbomb as van Gasteren tagged in to throw some uppercuts, then a clothesline/STO before Ahura came in and hit a shotgun dropkick. You’re tempting fate there… van Gasteren tries to fight back, but Maggot keeps control with a chinlock, before Leon got the knees up to block an elevator splash.

A tiltawhirl backbreaker and spear keeps van Gasteren down, but he’s back with a bulldog/clothesline combo before he made the tag out to WALTER. Here comes the doom. A CHOP knocks Ahura off the ropes, while Maggot took a massive shotgun dropkick into the corner. Double-teaming gave the Bastards a shot, but Ahura decides to pull down his trousers and do the RINGKAMPF pose… only to get chopped as WALTER German suplexed both of the champions. At the same time.

Van Gasteren distracts the ref for some reason as Ahura hits WALTER in the back with a title belt, allowing Maggot to try and snatch a win with a guillotine choke… but WALTER just counters into a butterfly suplex before another flurry from van Gasteren led to a nice back body drop! Ahura blocks a stunner, but when his foot’s stomped on he wasn’t able to deny Leon. Maggot uses the belt on van Gasteren as the ref checked on Ahura’s foot, which allowed Maggot to hit a cutter of his own for a near-fall. WALTER’s back to boot Ahura, then chop him in the back as van Gasteren went stunner crazy, before a WALTER powerbomb and a Leon frog splash got the makeshift pair the win. This was a fun tag, but for those wondering “why did the champions lose?”, well, look at the experience they were up against. ***

They announce that Alex Shelley will be appearing on “mittel-Samstag” of 16 Carat Gold in 2020. He’s not taking part in the tournament, and will just be involved on the Saturday.

Little Miss Roxxy vs. Baby Allison vs. Skye Smitson vs. Killer Kelly
The main feud here was Smitson vs. Kelly, although the Turbinenhalle’s bass versus the hard camera came a very close second!

We start with a dropkick from Skye on Kelly, which was bad news for Roxxy as Skye and Allison quickly formed an alliance to team up on her. Oh, and to throw away her Santa’s had. Roxxy’s in with headscissors, then with a high leg lariat in the corner before Allison came in with almost a Jackhammer to get rid of Roxxy. Kelly’s back in to take a licking, before she went for a quick Vale da Morte… but Allison counters with an armbar. Skye Smitson got involved as Kelly got free… and spent so long taunting the crowd she turned around into a kick and the Ronaldo PK off the apron. Roxxy’s in to help, but ends up leaping on Skye on the floor, while Allison rolled up Kelly THROUGH the ropes for a near-fall.

Back inside, Roxxy’s wheelbarrow stomp has Allison down, before Kelly blocked a second attempt and turned it into a wheelbarrow German suplex for a near-fall. Skye’s back in to eyeball Kelly, which led to a quick flurry of shots that ended with a Cross Rhodes on Kelly for a near-fall, with Allison barely breaking it up in time. Allison’s back to hit a missile dropkick on a Smitson suplex, which led to a nasty landing for Roxxy, before Kelly returned to throw some capture headbutts on Allison. Skye tries to break it up, but eats clotheslines and a German suplex, before the Shibata-ish dropkick and Vale da Morte got the win. This was perhaps a touch on the short side, but this was as definitive a win for Kelly as you’d get here. **¼

Robbie Brookside got inducted into the wXw Hall of Fame next – this’ll be a nightmare for whoever subtitles the show, because Robbie had a knack of sliding in and out of German. Kinda reminds me of my trips to Oberhausen – where I try and speak the language, but end up finishing in English because the locals figure out I’m a foreigner…

Singapore Cane Match: Jurn Simmons vs. Alexander James
The rules for this were simple – it starts as a no-DQ match, with the winner getting to lash their opponent with a Singapore cane ten times. I mean, there’s technically nothing stopping them from using it during the match…

Anyway, Jurn charges at James on the stage as we have a brawl before the bell… with Jurn hurling James off the stage, before the crowd brawl ended up finally getting back to the ring, revealing a fresh canvas. James gets a chair, but Jurn quickly disarms him and hits a suplex throw, before a chair shot sent the pad flying… and ended with James coming up red.

Back inside, James manages to hit a Blood Eagle stomp for a two-count as Tassilo Jung had to reach for the rubber gloves… and my God, the mixture of blood and sweat made it look like Alexander James was making an entry onto the famed Muta scale. A Massive Boot from Jurn turns it back around as James reached for the ring bell… dropped it, then got it back, only to get speared for another near-fall. Jurn keeps going with a spinebuster and a Batista Bomb, but James wasn’t laying down quite yet, as he came back biting at Jurn’s nose.

A Cobra clutch has Jurn down to a knee, before they spilled out onto the ramp as they brawled back towards the stage. Jurn manages to edge ahead with a piledriver on the stage. Back in the ring, James tries to counter a powerbomb with a sunset flip, but Jurn just rolls through and hits the powerbomb anyway… then another… before a Blood Eagle gave Jurn time to head outside for his Kendo sword. Simmons measured up for the shot, but Killer Kelly hit the ring to try and plead for mercy for James. That white top was instantly ruined with blood, before James shoved Kelly into Jurn… and quickly used the Kendo stick on Jurn’s back for the win. That felt like a truncated finish, and I wasn’t a fan of Kelly being used in the finish… even if it did play off of James’ promo about being jealous of “not being the success in the household”. Finish aside, that was a good brawl, and for selfish reasons, I’m glad it didn’t have the feel of the “final chapter”. ***¼

After the match, two ring crew members held up Jurn for the lashings… but he shoved them aside, wanting to take the beating himself. Jurn didn’t blink at the first shot, which perturbed Tassilo Jung. He winced at the next few, with James hitting him a little higher up… Killer Kelly tries to stop James, but instead he swung at her, which drew instant revulsion from the crowd as Kelly ran to the back, as James finished the rest of the shots. We’re taken backstage as Roxxy tries to calm down Kelly, who walks out of the building saying she needs to take a few months away to let things get better.

Back at ringside, Alexander James told the crowd that he was going to continue to make his name off of Jurn’s shoulders, before he tried to get Jurn to admit he was the better man. Of course Simmons refused, and ended up getting the Kendo stick broken on his back… but Jurn refused to stay down, and left under his own steam. Don’t piss him off…

We’re taken backstage as Karsten Beck checks on Jurn Simmons. He’s sore, but he’s smiling… and has an idea of his own, since Karsten’s plans haven’t worked. Jurn wants James. In a cage. With barbed wire. Christ.

wXw Women’s Championship: Meiko Satomura vs. Amale (c)
Live, we got a little bit of “Rock Your Life Away” as there was a delay to Meiko’s entrance… but on the VOD you’ll just have to imagine that, as Meiko got a huge roar to start the second half of the show.

Meiko earned this title shot over a year ago by winning 2018’s Femmes Fatales tournament, but we had a measured start to proceedings, as Meiko took her time ahead of a headlock takedown on Amale, which ended in the ropes. Satomura’s quickly back on top with a handstand knee drop for a two-count, before a grounded abdominal stretch kept the champion in trouble.

Forearms from Satomura take Amale into the corner, but Amale’s able to get back in with a shotgun dropkick and a boot into the corner for a two-count. Clotheslines follow as Amale built up momentum, changing a Champion’s Maker into an Exploder for another near-fall. A head kick from Satomura sent Amale down, with more kicks awaiting Amale in the corner before Meiko went up top and hit a frog splash for a near-fall.

A forearm from Amale turns the tables again, before a snap Fisherman suplex led to a near-fall… the crowd try to get behind Meiko again, but Amale charges her into the ropes with more forearms before a spinning heel kick caught out the champion. Meiko adds in a DDT and the cartwheel knees that absolutely rocked Amale, before a cross armbar almost forced the stoppage, only for Amale to get a foot to the rope. From the restart, Meiko continues to pepper Amale with kicks, before Amale finally ducked one and hit a Champion’s Maker for a near-fall. Amale instantly picks up Meiko and hits a second… and that’s the win. An unpopular result, but that’s perhaps Amale’s biggest win of her career as she continues to grow into the role of champion. **½

Post-match, Karsten Beck comes out… with a bunch of flowers? Uh oh. He gives them to Amale, as this time Amale doesn’t instantly smash them. The crowd boos as Karsten raises her hand, then hugs her as Amale visibly gagged. Where’s wXw’s human resources department? They may have an interest in this, especially when Beck congratulated Amale on her belt, her flowers… and “her beauty”. Beck exists stage left as he got “sugar daddy” chants, while Amale stayed back to crow about her successful defences… and call out Melanie Gray of all people. Hey, Melzi’s in the crowd, along with Alpha Kevin who just happened to be watching. Amale ran her mouth so much that Kevin hit the ring to defend his girlfriend’s name… and ended up getting smacked with the flowers, then the title belt… before he marched out of the arena with Melanie in tow. Hi there.

So, I’m guessing we’ll need some storyline developments from here. After all, Melanie lost a loser leaves town match last January to Toni Storm, and hasn’t appeared for wXw since. Do they go down the Da Mack route to tackle the “loser must leave Oberhausen” stipulation, or do they do something to revoke the whole thing?

Kassius Ohno vs. Lucky Kid
Since winning 16 Carat Gold, Lucky Kid’s form has been really shaky – thanks in part to his flirting with Schadenfreude and the demise of RISE.

Ohno gets the fans to shush when they chanted for Lucky, and we get going with the pair switching holds, but Ohno goes for Lucky’s arm in the early going, using his extra size to keep Lucky at bay. A chop stings Lucky, who tries to fire back in kind, only to get caught with an elbow as Rico Bushido waited for that trademark on the phrase “advanced body weight”.

Lucky’s taken into the ropes as clubbing blows had him back on the deck, as knee drops saw Ohno try and cave in Lucky’s cheek bone. All while some of the more vocal members of the crowd mocked Lucky with “Ohno’s gonna kill you” chants. A sucker punch takes Lucky out of the corner for a two-count, but Lucky’s able to rebound with a Dragon screw, then a handspring back elbow for a two-count. A Lucky Lock’s caught as Ohno caught him in a cravat, then sat down on it as Ohno again refused to rush in, and kept his measured approach. The big boot of Ohno takes Lucky outside, but Lucky skinned the cat and came right back with an Asai DDT… only for another boot to knock Lucky off the apron.

“Kassius Ohno is an honourable man” – just as he began to lay into Lucky in the crowd with forearms. Lucky hits a Flatliner into a crowd barrier to buy him time, but Ohno’s right back as he popped Lucky into the timekeeper’s table, before Lucky found his mark with a missile dropkick. Could Lucky continue to build momentum? He followed Ohno outside with a flip senton, but back inside Ohno again dictated the pace, dragging Lucky into the corner before he corrected the local’s tense: he’s not gonna kill Lucky, he actually is.

Problem was, Ohno took so long doing that, he was caught going for a moonsault, with Lucky managing to pull him out of the corner with a powerbomb for a near-fall, before rolling Ohno into the Lucky Lock, only for Ohno to get to the bottom rope as he looked set to tap. As Lucky tried to figure out his next move, he was caught with another forearm as Ohno got a near-fall… before a neckbreaker was countered into a backslide as Lucky went for flash pins… only to get caught with a snap piledriver that looked more like a snap Pedigree. Either way, it worked.

A powerbomb’s next, but Lucky still kicks out, before a big boot looked to force a stoppage… but there’s still gas in the tank, even after a knockout elbow, as another fightback led to a springboard cutter from Lucky, before a 450 knee drop to Ohno, then another Lucky Lock led to the submission. Live, this one felt a little too slow for my taste (although my vantage point didn’t help). On tape, I appreciated it a little more, but I’d hope that as we enter 2020, we move beyond Lucky getting beaten up and squeaking out wins. ***¾

After the match, Ohno grabbed some flowers from ringside and handed them to Lucky. He took them, and thankfully Kassius left before congratulating him on his beauty…

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Bobby Gunns vs. David Starr vs. Timothy Thatcher (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
So, this was meant to be a three-way, but Ilja was added to the match at the last moment. Karsten Beck was notably not out for the pre-match introductions, as we instead saw footage of him being held against his will by a mysterious individual, who’d “negotiated” his way into the match.

Basically, Beck had been strong armed by a “well known and financially strong business partner”, and for things to pay off in 2020, Ilja got added to the match. Cue speculation!

We’ve a jump start as the action immediately spilled outside with Starr leaping into Ilja, while Gunns and Thatcher remained inside. Thatcher, by the way, was wrestling in MMA shorts and not-his-usual boots, thanks to him having his ring gear stolen in Chicago the prior week. An enziguiri from Thatcher drops Starr, as we continued the revolving door mechanic, with Gunns coming in to try and work over Thatcher’s arm, eventually working his way into an Octopus stretch.

Gunns mocks the RINGKAMPF pose, but lost sight of Ilja coming in as the former champion took him down with a swivelling lariat. Starr’s in to hiptoss Gunns into Ilja in the corner, before Thatcher blocked a similar attempt, eventually suplexing and strangling Starr in the process. Gunns adds to the stacked-up sleepers, which Ilja broke up with a back senton as he tried to clear house all by himself.

Gunns tries to charge at Starr and Thatcher, and eventually powered through Starr with a clothesline before finding his way to Ilja, countering a back senton into a cross armbar… but Ilja powers up and threw him into Starr, who countered THAT with a German suplex. Starr and Dragunov slug it out from there, leading to a lariat from Starr, who went on to catch Thatcher in the ropes with a superkick. A Han Stansen’s teased, but Thatcher counters with a rebound belly-to-belly suplex, and dished some out to Gunns and Dragunov for good measure. Dragunov blocked a Fujiwara arm bar, then chopped his way free only for Thatcher to toss him outside… and get dragged out too as Starr proceeded to take advantage… but Gunns caught him and got taken outside with a forearm too.

Gunns’ hanging armbar in the ropes got broken up as Thatcher hit a forearm from the floor, but Starr capitalises with a Product Recall as Thatcher got back in the ring, only for Ilja to hit a Coast to Coast as the action remained breathless. Eventually we got down to Starr and Ilja slugging it out again, but Thatcher breaks it up with a German suplex… assisted by Bobby Gunns too. They work up to a Tower of Doom, with Gunns getting superplexed into a powerbomb by Starr… but Starr doesn’t make a cover and got caught in a triangle armbar while Thatcher tried to choke out Ilja. After those submissions were broken up, Starr tried to lariat his way past Ilja… who had a similar idea, and it was Dragunov who edged ahead, following up with a back senton off the top for good measure. A Torpedo Moscau’s countered, but Starr couldn’t hit a Destroyer until he’s been lifted into a death valley driver position… Thatcher breaks up the pin and tries to club Starr down, before he slapped everyone away.

A big ol’ Parade of Moves broke out as Starr looked to edge ahead, landing a Trapped Arm Bob Fossil on Gunns… only for Norman Harras to come out and distract Tassilo Jung. While that was going on, Oliver Carter and the Pretty Bastards came out… and got dived on. Harras rushes the ring, only to take a Cherry Mint DDT from Starr, as Bobby’s goons managed to avoid getting him DQ’d, as another dive from Starr wiped them all out.

Back in the ring, Thatcher traps Gunns in a rear naked choke, but Bobby rolls free and kicks his way back in before he spiked Thatcher with an Emerald Fusion for the sudden win. That drop looked nasty, and felt like it came a touch too soon… as the reign of Timothy Thatcher ended after barely two months. David Starr was beside himself, having fallen short once again in his bid to win wXw gold…

As a match, this was perhaps a little too frenetic at times, with a lot of the action being too quick-fire for commentary to call. The addition of Ilja at bell time threw off a lot of people’s predictions, but in the end it didn’t play into the finish as 2019 ended with Bobby and his Bastards holding almost all of the gold. ***½

Backstage, Jay Skillet’s bragging to someone on the phone about how he rolled up Andy and exposed his arse crack. Andy walks in and denies it all, while wanting to know who he was speaking to… apparently it was Francis Kaspin, and Andy’s a little sour over how he was beaten. It seems the pair want to become super duper quadruple mega hyper champions or something, and Andy wants a singles match for the belt at Back to the Roots. The pair psyche each other out on their way to Karsten Beck… before we flash backstage as Sebastian Hollmichel is with a still-bloodied Alexander James.

James shares his blood with Sebastian, before telling us he gave up Killer Kelly so he could be a success. Hmm… He’s mad that Jurn didn’t stay down to give him his moment, and still he has nothing. So we’re going to the barbed wire cage next month, as Alexander James continues to look for his big moment.

Elsewhere, Bobby and his Bastards are celebrating their new title win… but they’re interrupted by Avalanche, David Starr and VollGasteren. Avalanche has an idea: he wants to be in the Käfigschlacht. Starr’s unnervingly calm here, because he knows he’ll be able to do what he wants in the cage. Including drink Norman Harras’ blood?! It looks like it’ll be Gunns, Harras and the Pretty Bastards against Avalanche, Starr, van Gasteren and Julian Pace… if he’s fit.

Live, the way the 19th Anniversary show ended felt undeniably flat – after all, nobody expected Timothy Thatcher losing the title so soon, especially given how he’d already beaten Gunns decisively in Dresden. On VOD, that feeling thankfully didn’t come across as much, as wXw closed out 2019 with a solid show that pushed stories along, even if some of those felt a little accelerated, particularly with regards to the women’s division, which is in sore need of a new babyface figure. I remain selfishly glad that the Simmons/James feud is still active, not only because I want to see the real blow off at Carat, but also because this feud has really been able to shine a light on Jurn’s new look, which may be the best version of him to date. Elsewhere, things like Killer Kelly taking time out, along with WALTER returning and seemingly retconning the “diva” character he and Ilja had taken on may well be a sign that wXw is moving away from featuring as many NXT UK guys as before. Granted, a lot of wXw’s upcoming schedule clashes with NXT UK dates, so that could be seen as some as “jumping before you’re pushed”.

We’re firmly on the road to 16 Carat Gold, and plans are being set into place for the coming months. Given that Starr’s back for Back to the Roots, it’s clear that the line about him “leaving wXw” if he didn’t win the title’s been walked back – as that wasn’t pushed hard in the final days. Perhaps Starr vs. Gunns is the direction for that middle-Saturday of Carat weekend – and after Back to the Roots, we’ll have a better idea of the landscape going into Europe’s biggest tournament weekender.