Bobby Gunns and Michael Knight end their feud in a cracking first half of Back to the Roots.
Michael Schenkenberg pinned Gulyas Junior in 9:34 (***)
Tristan Archer pinned Carlos Romo in 14:48 (***¾)
Jurn Simmons pinned Oskar in 5:25 (***)
Absolute Andy pinned Dennis Dullnig to retain the wXw Shotgun Championship in 11:38 (**¾)
Bobby Gunns pinned Michael Knight in 18:14 (***¾)
We’re back at the Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen for the first part of Back to the Roots – a show that had some late matches added to it because of Dead End being postponed next month. So this is part one as it was on wXw Now – I assume when this hits Peacock/WWE Network they’ll just present it on one go…
The first part opens in warm-up (or the pre-show/kickoff, whatever you want to call it) with Andy Jackson and Dan Mallmann warming up the crowd. Dan brings up how Back to the Roots six years ago was his first wXw show… they run through the card, and then we’ve got a pre-show match.
Gulyas Junior vs. Michael Schenkenberg
It’s been a while since I’ve heard the Rott und Flott theme… unfortunately for Schenkenberg, he took offence to Gulyas’ body odour, and powdered at the bell.
It led to referee Tassilo speeding up the count-out, fed up with the shenanigans as we eventually got some action, by way of chops from Gulyas. We get Machine Gun chops from Gulyas in the corner, then a forearm, which again sent Schenkenberg to the outside. Gulyas followed with his armpit of doom, but Nikita Charisma at ringside has some deodorant, and sprayed a line on the floor with it. It gave Schenkenberg enough time to lap the ring and attack Gulyas, as things changed back inside, with Gulyas getting thrown down and clotheslines for just a one-count. Clubbing forearms knock Gulyas down again as Schenkenberg went for an armbar, before Gulyas blocked another tease by… punching the armpit.
A bicycle kick lands for another one count as Schenkenberg needed to be fumigated with deodorant. He returned with shoulders and clotheslines into the corner ahead of a slam on Gulyas, this time getting barely a two-count, before he took Gulyas up top for a superplex… except Gulyas fought free, headbutting Schenkenberg down ahead of a froggy cross body! Gulyas keeps the momentum going with body attacks, then with a Michinoku driver and a cannonball… a spinning side suplex followed, but Schenkenberg’s up at two and locks in a full nelson on Gulyas… but the attempted deodorant spraying from Charisma is stopped as Gulyas pushed free.
Charisma tries to get involved again, but just gets up close and personal with Gulyas’ armpit as Schenkenberg rolled up the Hungarian for a near-fall… before a Snow Plow got Schenkenberg the win. A good outing despite the defeat for Gulyas, who’s one to keep an eye on… but a singles win for Schenkenberg should improve his mood a little. ***
After the match, Charisma points out some “coincidences” that they’ve noticed as we’re back to the conspiracy theory stuff again – suggesting preferential treatment towards Absolute Andy who went from wXw’s sporting director to Shotgun title… after appointing an old friend as his replacement. Nikita seemed to suggest that €50 would be enough to buy both he and Schenkenberg into Carat, before he then mocked the crowd for liking newcomer Oskar because he’d trained in New Zealand and Japan. Schenkenberg then took issue with the fact he was on the pre-show, and promised there’d be consequences…
We get a video package on the history of Bobby Gunns and Michael Knight – as their rivalry comes to a head tonight. I’m watching the German feed here and my German’s failing me… so we’ll cut to the main show intro. Andy Jackson and Sebastian Hollmichel are looking mighty cold at ringside for the to-camera stuff, mind you…
Tristan Archer vs. Carlos Romo
Carlos was making his main show debut for wXw (he’d worked a pre-show match on one of those wXw shows in London back in 2018) – and was replacing the injured Francesco Akira.
Archer kicks away the offer of a handshake to start, as we started with some tit-for-tat in the form of takedowns. Romo grabbed a toe hold, but that’s instantly ended in the ropes, with Archer returning the favour… as Romo stuck a finger out to force the rope break. Snarky! Romo’s made to back off as Archer went through the ropes for the hell of it, before we returned with headlock takedowns and counters, leading to a bow and arrow submission from Romo that was flipped out of… for a quick pin attempt. Romo’s back with a wheelbarrow roll through into a deathlock, which had a butterfly hold added to it for extra aggravation, only for Archer to break free.
A back senton from Archer lands in Romo’s knees, before we headed outside, with Archer sweeping Romo onto the apron ahead of a back suplex. Romo’s thrown into the side of the ring with a side Russian legsweep, but recovered to hit some chops before Archer just punched him out. Archer clears the front row to troll the crowd, as he instead whipped Romo into the side of the ring, following with a 619 on the apron as the Frenchman looked to be getting a wee bit carried away with himself here. Back inside, we’ve a neckbreaker for a two-count, then a cobra clutch that Romo fought towards the ropes… so he could push back a la Bret Hart to nearly nick the win via pin.
A back suplex from Archer stops that comeback for a near-fall, but Romo again tries to respond with chops and forearms, then with a leg lariat, before Archer sent himself outside as Romo’s tope found its mark. After that, Romo blocks a La Terreur and hits a Twist and Shout neckbreaker instead for a near-fall, before a misses moonsault opened things up for Archer once more. Archer’s Exploder and an Olympic slam landed for a near-fall, before a back elbow and a rolling elbow flattened Carlos for another two-count… a sleeperhold from Romo offered fresh hope, until Archer tried to unsight the ref to hide a low blow. It doesn’t work as Romo blocked, then cradles Archer for a near-fall, then hit a stomp through the ropes as a piledriver looked to get the win…
Except Romo could only get a near-fall from that. A knee strike followed, as does a moonsault off the top, but Archer kicks out… then blocked the Cutter without the E, and waffled Romo with a discus lariat that produced a vile landing. The Coup d’etat (Cipher UTAKI) followed from Archer, and that was enough for the win as Archer had more than a scare here against the debuting Spaniard. ***¾
Post-match, Archer demands a post-match interview – since he “usually gets one when he loses.” Dan finally appears and gets patronised for his efforts, before Archer passed on being a part of 16 Carat Gold, as he was bitter about losing the title shot contract to Levaniel last month. Archer tells Oberhausen he “liebe nicht” all of us, and I’m really digging the sarcastic/bitter Archer these days.
Archer calls for a shot at the wXw Unified World Wrestling title, which draws out Jurn Simmons – who’s clearly fed up of waiting for his match… Jurn rips into Archer’s jealousy, and told him to quit taking up his time. Archer took the hint… and now, our scheduled match.
Jurn Simmons vs. Oskar
A battle of the big lads, with Oskar charging at Simmons to start with.
It’s the Young Lion fire that we see here, but not in the “crap, this is my only shot” style… although Jurn quickly gets in it with a shoulder charge and a knee strike, before Oskar reversed a suplex for an early near-fall. Oskar’s fightback ends with a pumphandle slam from Jurn, but it barely gets a two-count, before Jurn decked him with a forearm. Jurn pulls up Oskar for a piledriver, but it’s countered with a back body drop as shoulder blocks and clotheslines lead to a sidewalk slam from Oskar. It’s not enough though, but Jurn ducks a big boot and hit one of his own, as a clothesline leads to a reverse bodyslam from the former two-time champion.
Oskar hits a big boot in return, but his follow up slam is pushed away as a push-down stomp and a Massive boot has Jurn back in control. A spear’s next, and that’s your lot as Jurn had a scare but won a fantastic sprint of a match. That ends Oskar’s 100% start, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of here with that showing. ***
Jurn exits stage left as Oskar stayed in the ring for an applause… but then Nikita Charisma apes Chavo Guerrero’s old music. Yeah, that “oooh Oskar” is going to be an earworm. Charisma and Schenkenberg are up on the balcony and mocking Oskar, saying he needs 3-5 years longer in Japan and maybe he can compete with them… of course, all that annoys Oskar, who sprints up the stairway and chased Rott und Flott around the balcony and eventually to the back. That’s quite the sprint!
Thommy Giesen pitches to Andy Jackson “earlier today”, who recaps the history of the Gunns vs. Knight feud… then had both Knight and “Bobby Grapples” for a face-to-face interview. Knight’s prepared for a long match, but Gunns reckons he’ll be done in under 15 minutes, and even teased making Knight tap to a wristlock.
wXw Shotgun Championship: Absolute Andy (c) vs. Dennis Dullnig
The randomiser pulled out Dullnig for a fourth crack at the Shotgun title here, as Absolute Andy made his first defence. Before the match, Dullnig tries to trash-talk Andy…
…and runs into Andy’s fist before the bell could go. Right hands keep Dullnig loopy, as we have a scrap from both men here. Finally, Tassilo Jung starts the match as Dullnig just eats an F5 for a very early near-fall. Dullnig plays keepaway as he’s Benny Hill chased back into the ring. Right hands from Andy keep the challenger at bay, as did chops and a release suplex. An uppercut from Andy stops Dullnig’s attempted comeback, as running backbreakers follow…
The one-way traffic continued as Andy nails a spinebuster at the five-minute mark for a near-fall, but a superplex from Andy’s fought out of, with Dullnig trying for a frog splash… Andy gets the knees up, then looked to finish him off with a superkick, and an Absolute Knee. Dullnig rolls out of an A-Klasse as he found a second wind, landing some dropkicks, but a missile dropkick’s stopped as Andy caught him and went for a Sharpshooter. It’s rolled through as Dullnig locked in one of his own, then switched it into a STF, but Andy’s easily able to grab the ropes.
Andy rolled outside and ate a corkscrew senton off the buckles, but popped back up, teasing another F5, only to get posted. Twice. A running knee back inside has Andy down as Dullnig goes back up top again to finally land the frog splash, but Andy kicks out at two, only to get caught in the STF once more. The ropes save Andy again, but he’s able to pop back with another F5… and that’s a wrap. This threatened to feel long and one-sided, but Dullnig’s comeback at least spiced it up as Andy left Oberhausen with the title. **¾
Michael Knight vs. Bobby Gunns
No count-outs, no time limits – there must be a winner, after these two have shared a win and two draws between them.
Both men were rating to go, and shoot out of the blocks with boots and forearms before an early ushigoroshi from Knight was returned with an over-the-knee brainbuster from Gunns. A brief hockey fight ends with a leg lariat from Knight, then a springboard dropkick to take Gunns outside ahead of a tope as Gunns’ eye looked to have been cut up by either the leg lariat or the tope. So with juice, the pair fight around ringside as they made use of the no-count-out rule. Knight’s thrown into the ring post as Gunns tried to clear his vision, which led to Gunns putting Knight in a chair… only for a kick to get caught as Knight dropped the former champion knee-first over the timekeeper’s table.
The pair brawl up onto the stage, trading uppercuts, before Knight teased a death valley driver off the stage. Gunns escapes, only for Knight to leap off the stage… and into Gunns’ boot on the walkway. A suplex followed on the raised ramp, which created a satisfying thud as the pair ended up back inside. Knight’s gotten cut up a little as Gunns torques away on the wrist, but the stomp is shrugged off as Knight bounced back with a clothesline. Gunns gets thrown into the ropes ahead of a side Russian legsweep, but the pair keep hold of the other’s wrists for a while, before Knight sent Gunns into the corner. An attempted step-up knee’s caught in the ropes as Gunns applied an ankle lock in the ropes, which is broken as we only have no count-outs… not no DQ.
Gunns looks for a side suplex, but Knight escaped and hit a ‘rana… only to run into some wild boots from Gunns before finally hitting the clothesline in the ropes. A springboard clothesline followed back into the ring for a near-fall, before it’s back to forearms and uppercuts from the two. A Fireman’s carry gutbuster pushes Knight ahead, as did some Sliced Bread, but Gunns is able to kick out in time to keep the match alive. Gunns retaliates with more kicks, but Knight still has plenty left in him, landing a rolling elbow before a Pele kick’s caught and turned into a half crab. That ends in the ropes, but Gunns reapplies the toe hold, only for Knight to return with a Dragon screw and a Trailer Hitch, but Gunns was able to claw his way to the ropes to force the break. Both men pull themselves up to their feet, but it’s still even as they trade German suplexes, then clotheslines, before a headbutt from Gunns downed Knight.
A PK from Gunns only gets him a one-count, while a Saito suplex bounced Knight… leading to a second PK… and that’s enough to finally settle the score. The best match between these two for sure, with the backstory helping things – and if I’m being honest, the peril of the early blood didn’t harm things either. ***¾
Post-match, Dan’s waiting for Bobby, as they talk about Gunns’ first-ever entry into 16 Carat Gold later this year. Gunns says he’s in it to win it, and on this form, you’d have to consider him one of the favourites…
We get recaps of that match, as we’re then shown Gunns and Knight getting their wounds tended to… and that’s it! Part two of Back to the Roots drops on wXw NOW on Friday January 21st, featuring the Käfigschacht (Robert Dreissker & Anil Marik vs. Vincent Heisenberg, Maggot & Baby Allison), Levaniel challenging Axel Tischer for the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship, Peter Tihanyi vs. Fast Time Moodo, plus the Arrows of Hungary defending the wXw tag titles against Senza Volto and Aigle Blanc.
A video package for the Käfigschacht closes us out… and we’ll be back on Friday! Some may say this is cheating because wXw is releasing this show in two parts, but I can only comment on what I see… and so far, this is my show of the year based on the limited wrestling I’ve written up. From a fun pre-show match, to an absolute cracker of an opener, a helluva sprint… and a “first half main event” that delivered, wXw’s period of rebuilding is starting to bear fruit!