wXw returned in front of a “proper” live crowd for the first time in over a year, as they celebrated their belated 20th anniversary in Oberhausen.

Quick Results
Axel Tischer pinned Fast Time Moodo in 15:26 (***½)
Senza Volto & Aigle Blanc pinned Michael Schenkenberg & Nikita Charisma in 16:47 (***)
Hektor Invictus defeats Prince Ahura by disqualification in 1:23 – Ahura retains the wXw Shotgun title (NR)
Norman Harras, Bobby Gunns & Prince Ahura pinned Hektor Invictus, Dennis Dullnig & Mike Schwarz in 14:58 (***)
Michael Knight pinned Tristan Archer in 16:27 (***½)
Levaniel & Delia pinned Baby Allison & Maggot in 7:39 (**½)
Dover & Icarus defeated Anil Marik & Robert Dreissker 2-1 in a Best-of-Three-Falls match in 19:08 to retain the wXw World Tag Team Championship (***½)
Marius al-Ani pinned Jurn Simmons in 13:06 to retain the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship in (***¼)

517 days. That’s how long it’s been since wXw’s been able to fully run in Oberhausen. It may not be the Turbinenhalle yet, but since we’ve got the belated 20th Anniversary, but the Congress Centrum in Oberhausen is where it all begins again.

We open with the Karsten Beck tribute video, as this was the first time wXw’d run with any kind of audience since his passing last October. That fades into a standing ovation and the traditional ten-bell salute. After that, we’ve a pre-recorded intro from Absolute Andy, who wanted to sing happy birthday to wXw… but you know what wrestling fans are like for singing in time…

Cue the hype video (with the one piece of footage wXw has of Benno that isn’t him asking about Lucky Kid…), and we’re back with Dave Bradshaw on commentary.

Promo video from Axel Tischer for his match tonight, with Fast Time Moodo saying he’s going to be more than just a participant in the match… and this is our opener.

Axel Tischer vs. Fast Time Moodo
Axel got a good reaction for his full-time return to wXw – and there’s no sight or sound of the RINGKAMPF music, as that group has been shuttered during the pandemic.

Opening with a handshake, and a hot crowd, Tischer’s tested with a kick early on as a side headlock’s then pushed off… only for a hiptoss from Moodo and a barrage of strikes to lead to a leg sweep for a one-count on Tischer. Responding, Tischer grabs a chinbar, before a stalling slam dumped Moodo for another one-count. Tischer grabs an armbar on the mat, before Moodo’s kick just riled up the former champion, who sparks some back-and-forth elbows. A roundhouse kick caught Tischer off-guard, before a leaping leg lariat out of the corner almost gave Moodo the relative upset. A Dragon screw out of the corner gets Tischer in it, as did some uppercuts and a knee drop, leading to a twisting suplex that almost got the win.

Moodo’s annoyed as Tischer hit a series of kicks. He catches one, but Tischer tries to get back up, only to get swept some to take some mid kicks, before a pumphandle driver attempt led to some more kicks from Moodo, who finally had Tischer down. A spinning heel kick decks Tischer ahead of a sliding punch, before a flying stomp and a pumphandle driver drew a near-fall. A spin-out slam from Tischer gets him back in it, as did elbows and an elevated slam, before a flying uppercut off the top cracks into Moodo for a near-fall. Moodo tries to stay in it with a Mountain Bomb, before a Black Belt Kick was countered into a German suplex as both men were getting frustrated with their lot.

Heading up top, Tischer looks for a superplex, but Moodo pushed him down for a leaping kick, then a butterfly suplex for a two-count… a Black Belt Kick misses as Tischer dropped down, having been winded by an earlier shot, as another sliding punch led to Moodo going up… but he leaps into an uppercut, before a powerbomb dumps Moodo for the win. A cracking opener, which was billed as the past and future generations of wXw… but neither looked out of place in the present. Moodo wasn’t at all overawed with the occasion, and that bodes really well for him. ***½

Post-match, Tischer’s got the mic and told the fans he was “in a dream that turned out to be a nightmare” while he was away. Ouch. Tischer thanks Moodo for the opportunity, as they bowed at each other… but we’re not done yet. Absolute Andy’s out with some news – we’ve two new additions to the Catch Grand Prix: Axel Tischer… and a returning Stephanie Maze. Moodo was thrilled to see her back, even though Steph said she’d do whatever it took to win the Catch Grand Prix after a year out.

Rott Und Flott (Michael Schenkenberg & Nikita Charisma) vs. Aigle Blanc & Senza Volto
We’ve a quartet that’s made names for themselves in the Steffy-era of wXw, and it’s the first time Aigle and Senza have teamed since that mask vs. hair match earlier in the summer.

Schenkenberg and Charisma jump their French opponents, and the match officially starts with a low dropkick, before Schenkenberg’s gutbuster left Senza laying. Charisma’s in, but loses track of Senza, who tagged out to Aigle Blanc, as the French lads isolate Charisma with quick tags. A seatbelt pin gets Aigle a two-count, before Schenkenberg came in and was caught in a sunset flip as Rott und Flott just couldn’t get going. Chops and elbows pin Schenkenberg in the wrong corner, leading to a senton atomico from Senza, before Schenkenberg muscled Aigle up for a powerslam, only for Aigle to wriggle on the apron… where he’s pulled to the floor by Charisma, who got his shots in. An overhead wristlock from Schenkenberg’s elbowed away by Blanc, before Charisma helped charge him into the buckles.

A back senton from Schenkenberg’s good for a two-count, as Charisma returned with almost a chicken wing that ends in the ropes. Of course, there’s copious cheating from Rott und Flot, as Schenkenberg’s backbreaker ends up getting spun out into a cutter for a two-count. As the referee was distracted by Schenkenberg, Charisma fakes an attack from Senza Volto, who pleads his innocence as Aigle was again choked and pulled into the ring post. Schenkenberg tries to repeat the trick as Charisma distracted the ref, but Tassilo Jung saw it all… then turned around as Senza really hit Schenk. Comedy! Schenkenberg swarms Aigle, and makes the tag out to Charisma, who first knocks Senza off the apron before he undoes the tag rope… so Senza Volto couldn’t legally tag in. Smart logic, just a shame he was caught red handed!

Charisma pokes Tass, who shoved right back for the easiest crowd reaction of the night, before a twisting suplex from Blanc bought him enough time to make the tag out. Senza runs wild, knocking Schenkenberg down before a handspring back elbow dumps Charisma. Aigle’s back in with an assisted standing moonsault for a two-count as Senza wiped out Schenk on the floor. From there, Aigle’s assisted into a lifting reverse DDT, but Schenkenberg pushes Senza into the pair as Charisma almost lucked out a win… a double airplane spin from Schenkenberg gives way to a TKO, and a frog splash for a two-count as we hit the home straight, culminating in a flurry of moves as Schenkenberg’s 619’d off the top rope, ahead of a Code Red and a Meteora that ends with Charisma pulling the ref out to stop the pin.

As Charisma argues with the ref, Senza undoes the Rott und Flott tag rope, chucking it into the crowd before Schenkenberg went for the tag. Except it’s not legal, because there’s no tag rope, and as they argue, Senza’s handspring cutter leaves Schenkenberg down… Charisma’s taken care of with almost an Indytaker on the floor, before a moonsault gets Senza the win. A fun, easy-to-watch tag match that had the crowd going throughout, building up some comedy spots from start to finish. ***

Post-match, Rott und Flott stared in shock as Tassilo Jung tied up the tag rope again… while Dan Mallmann came out for an interview. He’s stopped as Schenkenberg ripped on the crowd for applauding those shenanigans… before Charisma threatened a lawsuit over it all.

Absolute Andy’s backstage, having apparently kidnapped all the potential Shotgun lottery contenders in a locker room: Ender Kara, Dennis Dullnig, Bobby Gunns and Norman Harras. Dennis reckoned he’s gotten the shot, but Andy ends up locking him out on the balcony, before he pulled the blinds on him. Straight outta Shotgun!

wXw Shotgun Championship: Prince Ahura (c) vs. Hektor Invictus
The mystery of the opponent was answered by a returning Hektor, who of course didn’t have his jacket…

Hektor charges at the bell, flipping Ahura over him before a back elbow caught the challenger… ahead of an overhead kick that rocked Ahura. A tiltawhirl from Ahura and a spinning heel kick lands, before Hektor rolled Ahura into the corner, then kicked him in the thigh. Hektor pushes on with a running boot and a leaping knee to Ahura in the corner, before an over-excited Dennis Dullnig ran out and hugged Hektor. Of course, the ref saw that as an attack, and called the match off, giving Hektor the DQ win.

There’s boos as Dullnig protested, but Dullnig and Hektor beat down Ahura as Bobby Gunns and Norman Harras came out for the save. Mike Schwarz evens things up, and all that’s left is for Absolute Andy to do his best Teddy Long and make this a tag team match…

Bobby Gunns, Norman Harras & Prince Ahura vs. Dennis Dullnig, Hektor Invictus & Mike Schwarz
Harras hasn’t even gotten his ring jacket off as the brawl resumes in the ring.

Gunns and Schwarz square off in the middle of the ring, trading overhand chops as a hockey fight broke out. Kicks from Gunns wear down Schwarz, who returned with a clothesline as we looked to be under lucha rules as Harras and Dullnig came in. A missed uppercut has Norman in the corner, with a discus clothesline dumping Harras ahead of a slap. Dullnig avoids a back body drop, but not a diving uppercut as Hektor and Ahura came back in. There’s an elevated German suplex from Ahura, who get flipped back into a knee strike and a gourdbuster before Hektor’s powerbomb got countered. A delayed 619 meets Hektor in the ropes, but Ahura’s splash off the top lands in the knees, before Gunns came in to try and choke out Hektor.

Schwarz broke that up as “team Hektor” worked over Gunns briefly, but a turnaround sees Dullnig take a double-team suplex for a two-count. Harras returns for a Finlay roll on Dullnig, with Gunns’ PK getting a near-fall, only for Dullnig to hit a German suplex and a knee strike as he needed to drag his way over to the other corner. Hektor’s back with a gourdbuster and a deadlift German on Harras for a one-count as a Parade of Stuff broke out, leading to a Dullnig piledriver on Gunns, then a Black Hole Slam from Schwarz on Ahura, before a triple-team suplex attempt ended with all six men jockeying for position. The Gunns lads get suplexed, as Ahura became an inadvertent crash pad…

Hektor’s Orihara moonsault into the pile on the floor sets up for Ahura to do a Tornillo, before Schwarz’s attempt was cut-off. Instead, Schwarz just splashes Ahura in the corner, then got swarmed by Gunns ahead of dualling PKs for a near-fall. Ahura tries for another leap, but Schwarz countered it with a goozle… Ahura pokes the eyes before he was propelled into the pile with a back body drop, as Schwarz finally flew off the top rope. Back inside, Schwarz has Harras ready for a chokeslam, but Ahura distracts the ref with the Shotgun title belt. Dullnig grabs it and throws it towards Hektor, but the ref spots it and amid the distraction, Harras leaps in and hits Hektor with the Hostile Takeover for the win. A fun trios match, if not a little on the long side… but we do get the post-match gag of Norman thinking he’d won the Shotgun title (that Hektor “won” earlier). Whoops! ***

“Earlier today,” Marius al-Ani called the “dream match” tonight with Jurn Simmons a “bitch slap” as he’s going to extend his winning record.

Backstage, Tristan Archer and his snazzy new ring jacket are with Dan Mallmann… it’ll be Tristan’s first time in front of a wXw crowd since 2014. They bring up Archer’s leg injury that’s apparently not healed, but Archer is treating “cleared” as okay before he abandoned the interview.

Tristan Archer vs. Michael Knight
These two were 1-1 in recent matches, but there’s a big question over that leg…

Archer starts early with a Fireman’s carry takedown as the pair looked for a hold. Knight’s ahead early with a sleeperhold, but Archer rolls free and charges down Knight, before catching a leapfrog. Knight gets free and goes for a sunset flip, but Archer breaks that and hits a back senton instead. Knight refuses to work Archer’s leg, which upset the Frenchman who damn near offered him the body part before Archer grabbed a front facelock. A sunset flip from Knight lands for a one-count, before Archer’s back senton lands in knees, with Knight then going for a wheelbarrow bulldog before he again refused to for Archer’s leg.

Archer slaps Knight for that, then took him down with a short-arm clothesline for a two-count. Knight pushes back off the corner to counter a cobra clutch into a pinning attempt, but Archer kicks out and keeps the hold on, before a full nelson slam wrecked Knight for another near-fall. A TKO from Knight has Archer in the corner, before a Cactus clothesline took things outside ahead of a tope from Knight. Archer recovers, dropping Knight back-first on the edge of the ring, before his springboard Codebreaker was blocked. Knight doesn’t go for the leg yet again, before he finally countered a front facelock with a shinbreaker… and what do you know? The leg may not be fine. Knight stays on it, following up with a standing Figure Four toe hold that Archer instantly breaks in the ropes.

A dropkick to the knee in the ropes has Archer on the back foot, before a Codebreaker with the good knee bought Archer some time. An eye rake from Knight earns him headbutts in the ropes, but a high knee from Knight knocks the Frenchman down for a flying clothesline. The pair exchange forearms in the corners, but Knight’s caught and met with an Exploder, only to recover as he pulled Archer into the ropes for an attempted elbow drop on the apron. Archer’s right back with a Codebreaker through the ropes, then a deadlift superplex back into the ring… then a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. We’re in the home stretch as Knight tries a roll-up for a near-fall, then an enziguiri, only for Archer to hit La Terreur… but it’s on the bad knee, and in the time it took Archer to compose himself, Knight’s able to surprise him with a crucifix pin for the win! The crowd took that as an upset as Knight capitalised on Archer not being 100% – and snatch the win. I was surprised at the crowd being so split here, but it was what it was… ***½

Andy Jackson wanders to ring for an interview, but Tristan’s upset and walks off… so he interviews Michael Knight instead, who wanted to have another match, once Archer was at 100%.

Delia & Levaniel vs. Baby Allison & Maggot
Levaniel’s in love with the audience! Levaniel brings up his past record with French girls (name-checking Amale), as he looked to get on the same page as Delia for this match.

Levaniel clotheslines Allison and Maggot before the bell, before a clothesline took Maggot to the outside, where the pair fought briefly. Back inside, an enziguiri drops Levaniel as Allison’s in for a measured kick to Levaniel’s lower back for just a one-count. Delia’s in to hit a snapmare and a seated dropkick, then a springboard knee drop out of the corner for a two-count. A spear from Allison counters back as she clubs Delia from above for a two-count, before a chinlock was fought out of. Allison marches over to the corner to tag in Maggot, who then hit a front kick ahead of a superplex attempt… but Delia fought free to take Maggot down for a crossbody… that’s caught and turned into a slam.

Delia’s up at one though, before Maggot pulled Delia by the hair, prompting Levaniel to accidentally distract the referee as Delia was worked over. Delia counters a tiltawhirl into a Fisherman’s neckbreaker, before tags got us back to Maggot and Levaniel. They trade shots, with a spinning heel kick from Levaniel landing ahead of a stalling suplex. Allison’s in and gets one too, before a distraction led to a spear from Maggot for a near-fall. Delia low bridges Maggot to the outside as a double-team finish was called for, while Allison’s tiltawhirl inso some headscissors was curtailed as Levaniel slipped free ahead of an Intergalactic Facebuster for the win. **½

Jurn Simmons comments ahead of his title match, saying that streaks are made to be broken.

They then recap the Arrows of Hungary winning the tag titles at Shortcut to the Top, as we’ve got the title rematch… with Dreissker promising to regain the tag titles in what they’re calling the rubber match. Dreissker told the Arrows their Shortcut to the Top performance is the minimum they’ll need to put in as the Academy tandem plan on winning here.

Best Two Out Of Three Falls for wXw World Tag Team Championship: wXw Wrestling Academy (Anil Marik & Robert Dreissker) vs. Arrows Of Hungary (Dover & Icarus) (c)
There’s no gimmicks for each fall – it’s just a straight-forward, two-falls to a finish (without rounds!) stipulation.

Marik and Icarus start us off, with Icarus countering a hammerlock by stepping back through the ropes to wrap Anil’s arm in them. A wristlock from Marik is broken, but Anil’s hiptoss and dropkick has Icarus in the ropes, only for Icarus to come back with almost a tooth-loosening dropkick to Marik. Icarus gets charged into the corner as Dreissker tagged in, locking in a side headlock that restrained things. Marik’s back as he’s flipped onto Icarus for a two-count, before Dover came in… but he eats a bulldog and a splash for a two-count. A sunset flip gets Marik another two-count, but the Arrows combine to charge Marik into the corner, leading up to an Electric Chair and senton bomb as Icarus gets the first fall at 7:44…

Icarus stays on Marik after the brief rest period, tying him up in a Deathlock, before an attempt at the Heart of Europe submission led to Dover tagging in, as the champions were clearly focusing on the lesser-experienced Marik. A slam drops Marik for a two-count, who’s then taken into the Arrows’ corner… but Marik escapes with a DDT, only to get caught with a German suplex by Dover. A standing fallway slam from Dover keeps Marik down, but only gets a two-count as Marik’s latest comeback was ended with a uranage onto Icarus’ knees. Dreissker breaks up the count, but he gets thrown outside before Marik was put into another Electric Chair… but he Victory Rolls his way free to pin Dover and equalise at 12:55.

Marik’s charged into the Arrows’ corner for duelling kicks and a cannonball that nearly ended things, before Marik avoided a Crossfire and made the hot tag to Dreissker. Elbows and splashes lead to a fallaway slam and a Dreissker bomb on Dover… but Dover gets his knees up before a springboard enziguiri from Icarus has Dreissker down. An Air Raid Crash from Dover lands for a near-fall, before Dreissker slumped down to avoid a Crossfire. It’s a ploy though as Dreissker got up and lariat’d Icarus, then hit a death valley driver for a near-fall, only for Icarus to drag Dreissker into a Heart of Europe. Dreissker rolls free, then threw Icarus with a back body drop… Marik can’t tag in, so Dover’s in to trade strikes, then a double-team back body drop… but Dreissker’s right back up with a dualling lariat!

Out runs Maggot and Baby Allison for… reasons, Vincent Heisenberg’s also there to post Marik in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it series, leaving Dreissker alone to take the Crossfire as the Arrows retained the titles by two falls to one. I loved the psychology behind this – Anil Marik was in there for what felt like the lion’s share of the match, as this almost was his proving ground. While the result may not have gone his way, Marik certainly won over his fair share of fans during those empty arena shows – and has got the building blocks in place to hit the ground running with whatever lays ahead. ***½

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Jurn Simmons vs. Marius Al-Ani (c)
Jurn earned his title shot by winning Shortcut to the Top – having been away for almost a year. Oberhausen didn’t forget about him though…

al-Ani roughs up Jurn early on, having taken him to the mat… we wash, rinse, and repeat, with Marius grabbing a side headlock on the mat, before Jurn pushes off, and charges down the champion. Marius comes back by grabbing the arm, following up with an armbar as Jurn… just charges through him again. Marius regains his composure, but gets trapped in the corner before he caught the champion for a swinging slam. al-Ani bides his time in the ropes, then trips Simmons for an ankle lock… which ends in the ropes, before Jurn blasts Marius with clotheslines and elbows. An attempted DIamond Driver’s countered as Jurn pancakes the champion, then took him back into the corner for the suplex throw.

A Gorilla press slam from Jurn gives Marius a bad landing ahead of a standing moonsault, but Marius recovers with a dropkick. A flurry of strikes keeps Jurn in the corner, before Marius went to work on the arm, spinning over Jurn to grab a hammerlock that’s elbowed out of. Marius’ roll-up and kip-up spinning heel kick lands, but a Massive Boot from Jurn stopped the champion in his tracks. Jurn heads onto the apron, then backflipped in ahead of a spear that nearly puts al-Ani away. Marius boots Jurn out of the corner, then snapped in with a ‘rana that even caught him off guard, but Jurn just monsters back up out of the corner, only to get kicked back down. Jurn pulls himself up top, but can’t follow up as a kick from al-Ani rocked him ahead of a superplex attempt. Simmons shoves him down, only to take the belly-to-belly superplex anyway for a near-fall.

From the kick-out, Marius goes to the ankle lock, rolling with Jurn towards the ropes, only for Jurn to push his way free. Marius dives right back on him, only to get kicked away again as another Massive Boot dumped al-Ani. Simmons can’t follow up quickly though, and his back gives out when he went for a piledriver… allowing al-Ani to snap back with a Superman punch and Diamond Driver for the win to make it 29-0. Jurn had his moments, but Marius’ game plan worked as he added another name to that growing list as he looks unstoppable as champion. ***¼

Post-match, Marius asks for the mic and called out Cara Noir – who still has his title shot from 16 Carat Gold last year… Cara’s since been announced for the catch Grand Prix weekend, and you have to wonder, could that be the return of Championship Saturday?

It’s been a long time coming, but you could tell that the Oberhausen crowd had missed this. The anniversary show blended together a lot of storylines that were on those We Love Wrestling shows, tying some up and kicking off new ones – complete with some Shotgun-ish segments that made me long for the skits that that show yielded. Even if they air that Bielefeld show from one week after this, wXw’s back on pause until the Catch Grand Prix next month amid a general feeling of long-term uncertainty in Europe because of you-know-what.