Making their maiden trip to Canada, wXw kicked off their festivities with a taste of Ambition!

Usually held over 16 Carat Gold weekend these, this was the first time wXw’d held an Ambition outside of Germany, as an appetizer for the following day’s wXw Toronto show. It’s a stacked field too, with former winner Timothy Thatcher in alongside wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion Bobby Gunns, and of course, WWE UK champ WALTER.

We’ve no commentary here as Thommi Giesen opens the show in German, welcoming us to Ambition 11 as he ribs everyone before speaking English. The look on some of those fan’s faces… Thommi tell us Marius al-Ani didn’t make the show (he had immigration problems), so there’s a replacement… to be announced.

It’s the usual Ambition rules – victory by KO, ref stoppage or submission. Like with regular Ambition shows, there’s no commentary, so you can stop looking for the English version on wXw Now!

AMBITION 11 – First Round: Timothy Thatcher vs. Alexander James
Remember, there’s no overdubbing anymore, and that includes in Canada!

It’s a rematch from the first round of last year’s Ambition tournament, and James’ new music is a pretty good soundalike for his old song.

We’ve not got the usual wXw camera crew here, so some of the stuff looks a little different to usual. Thatcher scrambles at the bell and takes James into the corner in his search for a takedown, eventually ending in the ropes again when Thatcher looked for a single leg crab.

Another takedown attempt ends in the ropes as Thatcher went for a toe hold, before he instead kicked away at James, who was taking his time to measure things up. Elbows and uppercuts between the two follow, with Thatcher again edging ahead, leading to some scrambles on the mat as James flipped off the pro-Thatcher crowd.

Some ground and pound has Thatcher rocked, but he slaps back before caught James with a RINGKAMPF belly-to-belly off the ropes. Another attempted single-leg crab’s kicked away as James looked for a crossface instead. Thatcher gets free, but his ground and pound ends in the ropes, as James looked to storm in with a triangle armbar, throwing some elbows to the head… only to have to break it up after he got kicked in the back. From there, Thatcher rolls him into the single leg crab, and there’s the submission. Some good sequences, as Thatcher breezed into the second round.

AMBITION 11 – First Round: Daniel Makabe vs. Bobby Gunns
Coming fresh off of winning the Scenic City Invitational a week earlier, Makabe’s back – with his ear, thank God – for a tournament that is right in his wheelhouse.

We start with a handshake as Gunns looked to scramble at Makabe, but it’s neutralised… so he goes for a drop toe hold, only for Makabe to get to the ropes when Gunns had a grapevine in effect. Just like that, Makabe’s in, rolling Gunns to the mat in a Keylock. But they’re right by the ropes for the quick break, with Gunns retaliating with a half crab, again by the ropes. A waistlock takedown from Makabe’s nullified as Gunns went for the leg… but Manakeb’s got a heel hook too as he slapped Gunns… which just had the champion kick away at him briefly.

The dualling heel hooks continue until Gunns rolled into the ropes, as things broke down into a battle of uppercuts. A ragdolling waistlock takedown has Makabe in the ropes, but he’s right in with a German suplex to start a standing ten count, which Gunns beat, only to get rolled to the mat as Makabe got in a rear naked choke for the shock submission! That’s a win over the champion as the way this show is formatted sets up for a tasty semi-final…

AMBITION 11 – First Round: Buck Gunderson vs. Daniel Garcia
Gunderson was a late replacement for Marius al-Ani, against “Red Death” Daniel Garcia, who’d shot onto the scene in the dying weeks of the first season of Uncharted Territory.

They both shoot for a takedown as the search for a chicken wing ended in the ropes – with Thommi Giesen admonishing them for staying there too. From the next tie-up, Garcis lands a knee lift, then a running knee, before he pulled Gunderson into a triangle armbar with some head chops for good measure.

Gunderson manages to get free into the ropes, from where he returned with a calf slicer on Garcia… who slaps his way free before he rolled into a heel hook. Some kicks get Gunderson free again, as he runs in with an enziguiri before he bust out a cross-legged suplex. Hmm. It’s back to the holds as Gunderson looks for a chicken wing, but Garcia spun out and threw some palm strikes before rolling back to the mat in a Death shooter for the quick submission. No nonsense at the end, and I wouldn’t be against Garcia making it to an Ambition in Germany sometime soon.

AMBITION 11 – First Round: Mike Bailey vs. WALTER
The new Mike Bailey theme isn’t too far removed from the song he uses in DDT and elsewhere in the copyright-abiding universe. It’s bloody weird seeing Bailey in trunks.

Curiously, WALTER doesn’t bring his WWE UK belt with him, nor is he referred to as champion. WALTER circles Bailey at the bell, prompting the Canadian to throw some kicks to the thigh before he got taken down… prompting Bailey to reach for the ropes. Another go around sees WALTER head to the ropes as Bailey went for a double-leg, before WALTER replied… by charging Bailey back into the ropes.

That prompted some kicks that saw Speedball take down WALTER… who needed a stretched-out foot to force a break. More kicks end in the corner as WALTER caught the boot, as we were getting a lot of exchanges ending before they could get going. Scrappy may be the word.

Again Bailey goes in with the kicks, but WALTER pulls him down and looked for the back, taking control before rolling him into a cross armbreaker attempt, but Bailey got to the ropes as soon as he lost grip of his own arm. Bailey’s response was a flurry of strikes, including a head kick that had WALTER down, answering a ten-count, only to get taken back into the corner. WALTER looks for a rear naked choke, but instead makes do with some forearms to the back before he folded Bailey into a raised Boston crab for the quick submission. Well, Speedball tried, but in the end the size difference was just too much.

AMBITION 11 – Semi-Final: Daniel Makabe vs. Timothy Thatcher
There’s history in this match, and Thatcher shows it with the wryest of smiles here…

Makabe’s changed into a Borussia Dortmund shirt here, perhaps hoping to dazzle Thatcher with the yellow and black. From the off, a lock-up didn’t yield a result as they instead went to the mat, with Thatcher and Makabe jockeying for position. A familiar slap to the back got Thatcher some time, as he proceeded to mount Makabe and grab his wrist, but a rope break stops things as Makabe recomposed himself.

Thatcher uses a Judo-style throw to take Makabe down for a cross armbreaker attempt, but the tables turn as Makabe grabbed a leglock, prompting Thatcher to roll to the ropes as he was looking for freedom. Uppercuts from Makabe just wind up Thatcher some more, as he got receipts ahead of another heel hook attempt, only for Makabe to fight his way up into a headbutt to force the break.

Thatcher’s back with a gutwrench suplex, before he rolled onto Makabe’s back with a rear naked choke… that got countered out into a cross armbreaker as the Shortcut to the Top winner likewise rolled into an ankle lock. Makabe countered the counter back into a cross armbreaker as the ropes saved Thatcher again, but he’s right back on the mat as a single leg crab from Makabe eventually got countered into a Fujiwara armbar. No submission though – Makabe got a foot on the rope, much to the shock of the crowd.

Makabe rushes in with a series of dropkicks, but goes to the well once too often as Thatcher’s enziguiri stops him. The ten-count’s beaten, but so is Makabe as he’s slapped by Thatcher – prompting the referee stoppage. You could tell there was history going by how they interacted with each other here, but in the end it’s the former winner who makes it to the final here.

AMBITION 11 – Semi-Final: Daniel Garcia vs. WALTER
As much as I’m a fan of Garcia’s lately… I don’t rate his chances here. He started out brightly, charging into WALTER and going for a cross armbreaker, but WALTER ends up in the ropes.

WALTER looked for a rear naked choke, but that ends in the ropes, where Garcia got caught with some kicks… and it’s not looking good for Red Death. He fought back with some paintbrushing strikes, but WALTER swiftly powerbombed him before rolling him into a Boston crab for the submission. Very short work as WALTER’s size advantage proved too much.

AMBITION Super Fight: Tyson Dux vs. Yuki Ishikawa
Ishikawa’s back for his second Ambition Super Fight, having beaten Timothy Thatcher earlier in the year. Tyson Dux got a good reaction in his “home” territory, and we’ve got half an hour left on this VOD… so something’s going long.

Ishikawa rolls on the mat to try and pin Dux into the corner, before the pair ended up on the mat, with Ishikawa looking for an armbar. Dux is smart to it, but ends up taking Ishikawa into the ropes for a slightly less-than-clean break, much to Ishikawa’s annoyance. He’s back in with a STF, but Dux counters with a Fujiwara armbar as the Battlarts legend was forced into a rope break.

More scrambling on the mat ended with Dux grabbing the ropes to pull himself outside… Ishikawa followed him as Thommi Giesen tried to get the wrestlers to follow instructions. Which they did, as Ishikawa went in with a headlock takedown, clinging on with an armbar as Dux threw some shots… before rolling into a triangle armbar while in the ropes. Dux rebounds with an armbar as Ishikawa was on the mat, before switching it into a side headlock, then a chinlock as things remained very much grounded.

Ishikawa sneaks in a guillotine choke, as Dux slips free… and into a cross armbar as Ishikawa finally got control of the arm, only for Dux to again free himself and use an armbar himself. There’s another rope break as the crowd applauded, just as Dux ran in with some forearms in an attempt to keep Ishikawa down.

The standing ten-count’s broken again as Dux rolls Ishikawa back to the mat in a cravat, then switches it up into a Dragon sleeper as Ishikawa managed to get control of the legs, rolling into a modified ankle lock, this time forcing Dux to dive to the bottom rope for a break. Things descend into a slugfest with Ishikawa switching up into a rolling leglock, but yet again, Dux got to the ropes to force a clean break.

More strikes await both men, until Ishikawa countered one and rolled in with a chicken wing attempt. Dux switches out, but can’t avoid being taken down in another Fujiwara armbar… and despite trying to roll free, he’s caught in a grounded chicken wing for the quick tap. This was scrappy but fun – with Dux having problems with Ishikawa’s armbars throughout the match.

AMBITION 11 – Final: WALTER vs. Timothy Thatcher
It’s a rematch from the ending of Shortcut to the Top, as former RINGKAMPF members collide.

In prior meetings (across all rules), Thatcher’s got a slight edge on WALTER – and is two-up in AMBITION rules matches in wXw. There’s a tentative start as WALTER takes Thatcher into the ropes, before they rolled to the mat, with WALTER looking for the back… only to spin away when nothing was coming.

Thatcher gets a side headlock, but they’re quickly in the ropes as WALTER resumes by throwing some shots… before Thatcher got an armbar, only for WALTER to be (yup) right by the ropes. A butterfly suplex from WALTER has Thatcher down again, as he tries to use a head and arm choke… but they roll through with Thatcher finding the mount from where he rained down shots on WALTER. The trusty single-leg crab’s next, but WALTER’s able to get to the rope, as Thatcher jumped on him… only for WALTER to crack him with a forearm.

A snapmare and a kick to the back rocks Thatcher, but he’s back from the standing ten-count to throw some uppercuts… then get smashed in the face with a big boot. Both these guys are very comfortable with laying it in – and it shows – as WALTER tosses Thatcher across the ring before finding himself on the deck courtesy of a German suplex.

The single leg crab’s back on, but WALTER rolls into the ropes, prompting Thatcher to hit a cheap shot at the break. A clubbering lariat from WALTER has Thatcher on the mat for that, but he’s back to his feet. Albeit not for long as WALTER was in Thatcher’s guard, throwing punches from above until Thatcher caught him in a triangle armbar. WALTER doesn’t give up, and instead powerbombed his way free.

Both men get back to their feet as it’s time to waffle each other with forearms again, until Thatcher went back to the Fujiwara armbar… but WALTER rolls free and kicks him in the head. One powerbomb later, and WALTER’s rolled Thatcher into a Boston crab, but it’s right by the ropes as Thommi had to tell WALTER to let go like he was scalding a naughty child.

More shots from WALTER end up weaking Thatcher for a second powerbomb, but rather than going for the Boston crab, WALTER backs into the corner… and shakes his head in disbelief as Thatcher got back to his feet. He’s met with a lariat, spinning Thatcher to the mat, and that’s enough for the ref stoppage. It’s a violent lariat that gets WALTER the win, albeit no trophy as I guess that’s back in Essen – but definitely a match worthy of the tournament, as you’d have expected from these two.

When it was announced that wXw were running two shows in Toronto over SummerSlam weekend, a few eyebrows were raised. Especially since one of those shows was an Ambition tournament – a niche of a niche. While the turnout on camera looked alright, you could tell that the crowd took their time to really get into it, reacting mostly at the start for the big names… but when it got going, the matches were real good. Especially the main event and the Makabe/Thatcher semi-final as both men were familiar with each other.

Daniel Makabe’s returning to wXw later in the year for Ambition: Wild Card Edition over World Tag Team Festival weekend, but I wouldn’t be too shocked if this was the last we saw of Daniel Garcia in this format either.