“Don’t watch this!” is a peculiar way to advertise a vintage show release… but it worked here!
A little bit of context: Back to the Roots was (and still is) wXw’s first big show of the year. The first five had all been held in Essen – be it the Roxy, the Musikpalette or the Turock – but just days before the show, wXw had to move the show from its planned venue, the Sonic in Soest. Why? Just the small matter of the venue having to close down days before the show, with wXw, in roundabout terms, being a victim of its own success. So, on a few days notice, and towards the end of an icy January, wXw went 100km west, through Dortmund, and into Oberhausen, to a complex that would go on to define the company: the Turbinenhalle. I’ll let these few tweets give you a flavour:
Still, at least things get better for wXw at the Turbinenhalle afterwards. This show is apparently the stuff of legend, and not for the right reasons. Still, someone’s monkey paw clenched a finger, and the show made it to VOD. You know it’s going to live up to the fables when the first thing you hear is insane feedback from Thommy Giesen’s microphone.
We’re inside the Turbinenhalle, or to be more specific, the T-Club. Which isn’t the same T-Club as today, which is “where the merch was sold during 16 Carat Gold,” but rather the room that’s now known as the Steffy.
Swiss Money Holding (Ares & Marc Roudin) defeat 2Violent (2Face & Violent Tom) to retain the IPW UK tag team titles in 10:30 (**½)
Assassin A & Assassin B beat Murat Bosporus & Wesley Croton to win the wXw tag team titles in 0:25 (NR) (the Assassins revealed themselves to be Absolute Andy & Josh Abercrombie)
Adam Polak pinned Andrew Patterson in 6:30 (**)
wXw World Heavyweight Championship Contender’s Tournament Semi-Final: James Mason pinned Adam Polak in 6:30 (**¾)
wXw World Heavyweight Championship Contender’s Tournament Semi-Final: Bad Bones & Emil Sitoci went to a double knock-out in 13:00 (***)
SUWA & Vries Kastelein defeat Tengkwa & Tommy End in 14:30 (***)
Pac defeated X-Dream to retain the wXw World Lightweight title in 11:30 (***½)
Ares defeated James Mason to retain the wXw World Heavyweight Title in 14:00 (***½)
Murat Bosporus & Wesley Croton defeated Absolute Andy & Josh Abercrombie to win the wXw tag team titles in 13:50 (*¾)
IPW:UK Tag Team Championship: Swiss Money Holding (Ares & Marc Roudin) (c) vs. 2 Violent (2Face & Violent Tom)
2006/2007 was a weird time in European wrestling, particularly with Anglo-German relations. A quick look at Cagematch shows that weeks before this wXw held the European King of the Death Matches tournament in Colchester (of all places), with a promotion called X-S:W. A promotion that loved it’s non-alphanumeric characters, that’s for sure. It was short-lived, and run by Dann Read – who’d later go on to found Pro Wrestling EVE.
We’ve a jump start from the champions, but the challengers quickly hit back with a pair of clotheslines as they proceeded to follow-up with double-team hiptosses. Tom and ROudin stay in the ring, with Roudin getting slammed and decked with elbows before he hit back with some of his own, before Roudin just… ran into Tom? Roudin recovers as he looks for a suplex, but Violent Tom reverses it for an early two-count, before Roudin kicked his leg out of his leg. That had the champions back on top as they isolated Tom in their corner, trading tags as they wheeled out the standard bad guys cheating tactics. A double-team suplex gets Ares a two-count, as Tom ends up getting cornered with shoulder charges and stomps.
Roudin dances after a springboard stomp in the corner, while Ares returned to stop Tom making the tag out to 2Face, before more double-teaming saw Ares throw Roudin into the cornered Tom. Chinlocks follow from Ares, but Tom finally fights out and hits a sidewalk slam to buy him some time… but he can’t get the tag out before Roudin comes in with an elbow drop. A suplex keeps Tom down, before Roudin started to get a little arrogant. Yet again, the champions bait 2Face into the ring to cover for some double-teaming, but this time Tom fights free and finally makes the tag! In comes 2Face, clearing house with hiptosses and back body drops, before he went a little froggy with a crossbody to the champs on the floor!
The champions recover, suplexing 2Face onto the ropes before a stomp-assisted draping DDT had the challengers in trouble once again. Ares looks to go for a Pedigree, but it’s countered out by a returning Violent Tom, but Ares strikes back with a swinging Fisherman suplex before he powerbombed Roudin onto Tom… then used Roudin for a Styles Clash for extra insult as they took their time deciding who was legal, with Ares making the mighty-delayed cover for the win. Decent, but man, this was very one-sided. **½
Before the next match, we’re introduced to Don Jakobi. He looks familiar… he’s tagged as “the most fashionable manager in the world” here. That’s very close to Freddie Blassie’s “fashion plate” tag from back in the day. Jakobi’s excited to be in his home town for the first time, and he calls out Murat Bosporus and Wesley Croton, the current wXw tag team champs ahead of their next match… as out come two masked men.
Jakobi claimed that the masked men “weren’t what he wanted,” but wanted the match to go ahead. I’m skeptical.
wXw Tag Team Championship: Murat Bosporus & Wesley Croton (c) vs. Assassin A & Assassin B
Lord help me here. We don’t get lower thirds for anyone, so I’m having to Google Image this. We start with one of the masked men spearing Murat, while the other punched out Croton. Apparently the punch was loaded with a roll of coins, but from the hard camera shot it looks like any common or garden punch. It’s enough for the pin, and we have new champions! Who unmask as… Josh Abercrombie and Absolute Andy! I’ll never get used to old wXw footage of him with hair.
Post-match, Bosporus spots the coins used in the punch, as Croton staggered back to his feet.
Adam Polak vs. Andrew Patterson
Polak got “welcome back” chants, for his first wXw outing in almost six months, after the end of the High Class Catch Club.
We get going with the usual lock-up as Polak took Patterson into the corner for a chop. Wash, rinse, repeat, except this time with a forearm, before a test of strength saw Polak tie up Patterson in the corner for more chops. Picking up Patterson, Polak throws a knee to the midsection before the Dutchman fought back… only to get knocked down.
Chops and a step-up knee trap Patterson in the corner, but Patterson refuses to go down… so Polak chops him again. Irish whips and running knees finally take him down in the corner, as Polak followed in with some face-washing knees that almost ended the match. Draping Patterson over the top rope, Polak uses knees to knock him to the floor (accompanied with some swears), which prompted the fans in Oberhausen to chant for a shooting star press. That tradition still lives today.
A switcharound takes Polak outside, but he catches a baseball slide dropkick as the pair fought in front of the Nacho Libre ring apron. Polak dumps Patterson with a suplex, then rolled him back inside for a two-count. From there, Polak catches Patterson with a Saito suplex, and that’s it. Very one-sided, very squashy. **
After the match, and a remark that wouldn’t stand up well in 2020, Polak took the mic and complained about not getting a title shot. He inserts himself into the wXw title contendership tournament, seemingly taking Josh Abercrombie’s spot (since Josh just became an Assassin for a few minutes), and demanded to face James Mason in the tournament.
wXw World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contendership Tournament Semi-Final: Adam Polak vs. James Mason
I do believe Mason has kept the same sparkly Union Jack jacket for the majority of his career. Either that or he’s had a wardrobe full of them. Polak’s all full of bravado before the bell, but he’s instantly taken into the ropes by Mason.
Mason works the wrist, tripping Polak to the ground before Polak rolled to the ropes. Wash, rinse, repeat as Mason whipped Polak to the mat from a wristlock, as it again get broken in the ropes. Polak comes back with some chops, but Mason quickly switches around and comes in with a knee lift, before a clothesline dropped the future Cerberus junkie. European uppercuts keep Polak down as Mason tried to gee up the crowds like they were a holiday camp. A snapmare and a trapped armbar has Polak in trouble, as does a crucifix pin. There’s a brief spell of hope for Polak, but he’s; cut off as he needed to elbow out of a cravat before he whipped Mason’s arm to the mat.
Polak tries to pin Mason, but he only focuses on one arm as he put his weight down… and ends up getting caught with headscissor. He gets free, but couldn’t follow up on Mason, who snapmared him down into a Stump puller, rolling back for a near-fall, before a back elbow dropped back to the mat. Mason snaps the leg back after he’d grapevined it, but Polak gets free and dislodges a some turnbuckle pads. He throws Mason into an exposed corner, shoulder-first, but Mason quickly trips him and rolled him across as it was back to the mat work. Polak tries his luck with an armbar, but Mason again blocks as a knee lift took Polak into the corner, before Mason out Polak away with a double leg nelson. This was solid mat-work, but a lot of this just didn’t seem to click with the crowd. **¾
We’re told by Thommy Giesen that wXw CEO Felix Kohlenberg has booked a rematch for the tag titles after the earlier shenanigans. It’ll be our main event tonight.
wXw World Heavyweight Championship #1 Contendership Tournament Semi-Final: Emil Sitoci vs. Bad Bones
The winner of this takes on James Mason for a shot at Ares’ World title later… Emil’s big into body glitter and we start with the crowd on Bad Bones’ side.
Sitoci lays in with forearms early, along with a back elbow before he rolled Bones into some armdrags. A floatover allows Sitoci to hit an atomic drop on Bones, who quickly shrugs it off and ran in with a clothesline before Emil returned with a whip into the corner and a back body drop out of it. Sitoci follows up with mounted punches, with Bones dropping him on the turnbuckle as the German began to fight back. A running shoulder charge keeps Sitoci in the corner, before a punt kick drew a two-count. So did a standing frog splash. Bones throws some right hands in the corner before chaining together a backbreaker and a sidewalk slam for another two-count.
Bones telegraphs a shoulder charge in the corner, allowing Sitoci to side-step it as he comes in with plenty of double sledges off the ropes, leading to a Flatliner that finally took Bones off his feet. A chinbar from Sitoci keeps Bones down, as did a single-arm DDT before Emil worked Bones’ back. Sitoci gets a roll-up, but it’s in the ropes, so he has to change tactics as he went for a springboard crossbody out of the corner instead. That gets him a near-fall, as Sitoci proceeded to tie up Bones in the ropes. Bones returns fire with a spinebuster, before a running knee knocked Emil down for a nonchalant two-count. Bones stretches the rules – and Emil’s face – with some hooking, prompting Bones to try and intimidate the referee into not disqualifying him. It sort of works as the match continues, with Bones coming close on a Fisherman suplex, before Sitoci’s tornado DDT left both men laying.
Bones pulls himself back to his feet, as the pair proceeded to trade elbows until Bones rolled the dice on Sitoci. Emil retaliates with a Rocker Dropper, before he got flipped over with a release German suplex. Sitoci counters a powerbomb with a jawbreaker, but couldn’t avoid a spear from Bones. He was able to come back with headscissors, before Bones blocked a Stunner… and came back with a high angle Saito suplex. That looked rough. Staying on top of Sitoci, Bones waffles him with a clothesline, only for a running front kick from Sitoci to leave both men down… and that’s it as neither beat the ten-count. An iffy finish to a decent enough match, which left Oberhausen shouting “bullshit.” Especially as Sitoci walked out on his offer of a handshake… so Bad Bones chases the ref to the back. ***
Felix Kohlenberg comes to the ring to fill in Thommy Giesen on what’ll happen to the tournament. It turned out that they put Emil Sitoci and Bad Bones into 16 Carat Gold, while James Mason was declared the default winner. Cue more “bullshit” chants… which Tassilo Jung’s marvelous moustache tried to save.
SUWA & Vries Kastelein vs. Tengkwa & Tommy End
This was Kastelein’s last match, as two thirds of the High Class Catch Club disbanded on successive wXw shows (with Baron van Hagen having to retire at the 6th Anniversary Show). This show is so old (how old?)… Tommy End doesn’t have a single tattoo on display. Yikes.
We’ve a slow start as Vries flips off End, who responds by grabbing awristlock. Kastelein escapes and counters with one of his own, before SUWA came in and yanked away on End’s arm. They back into the corner, forcing the break, before SUWA came back with a chop in the ropes… then aimed one at Tengkwa on the apron. A switcharound brought Tengkwa in, but his eyes are quickly raked as SUWA was taking none of this nonsense, taking Tengkwa into the corner with some right hands. Kastelein tags in and uppercuts Tengkwa, taking him to the ground as he proceeded to stretch the masked Dutchman. From there, the pair went back and forth, with Tengkwa almost getting the win with a crucifix pin, while End tagged in to target Kastelein with kicks.
Tengkwa’s back with an elbow drop off the middle rope for a near-fall, while End returned to help with a double-team back suplex for another two-count, with SUWA breaking it up. A right hand from SUWA on the apron fells End, and it only gets worse for Tommy as SUWA tagged in to slam him and increase the pain, all while the cameraman kept a laser focus on End. We switch to the hard camera as SUWA kicks the ropes into Tengkwa, before he turned his attention back to End with a low knee and a Boston crab. More low-ish blows keep End at bay, as SUWA brings Kastelein back in to aim a little higher, throwing elbows to End’s head in the corner. A camel clutch follows as Tengkwa gets himself all wound up… while SUWA returned to drop Tengkwa across the top rope for the fun of it.
Chops from Vries keep End in the corner… as he proceeded to blister the future WWE star. SUWA’s back as the T-Club rang with the sound of skin on skin, before SUWA set up End for some Shattered Dreams in the corner. Elbows from Kastelein keep End in trouble, especially as SUWA set him up for an elbow drop to the balls, similar to the Dudleyz old “whazzap” headbutt. Didn’t expect to be making that comparison today. Kastelein slows things back down with a front facelock, but End powers back with a suplex as tags bring us back to SUWA and Tengkwa. It’s Tengkwa who manages to chain together some offence, heading up top for a missile dropkick that finds its mark for a near-fall, before he looked to go for an Unprettier, but instead drove SUWA’s head into a knee.
Tengkwa keeps up with a back elbow before he hit a standing moonsault for a near-fall, but SUWA turned it back around and brought Kastelein back in to try his luck with a Side Effect. It almost gets the win, before SUWA had to dive in to break up a pin after a kick-assisted Burning Hammer on Kastelein. End gets himself distracted by that, and quickly ends up eating a brainbuster…
…from which he popped up from instantly as he booted Kastelein back to the mat. Tags get us back to SUWA and Tengkwa, as a drop toe hold took Tengkwa into a roll-up for a near-fall. SUWA can’t quite turn it back around as he runs into a knee lift, before a back suplex looked to have Tengkwa on course for victory. In the end, a missed moonsault leaves Tengkwa open for a shotgun dropkick, before some Angel’s Wings got SUWA the win. A perfectly fine tag match, but the pieces with SUWA in were a noticeable step above the rest at this time. ***
After the match, Thommy Giesen announced that this was Vries’ final match…
wXw World Lightweight Championship: Pac (c) vs. X-Dream
X-Dream was looking to regain the title he’d held a few years earlier, in what was Pac’s first defence of the belt he’d won from Tommy End at the end of 2006.
Pac started by taking X-Dream down in a front facelock, before he outwitted a reversal on the way to another takedown and another front facelock. X-Dream tries to suplex his way free, but Pac just takes him down at will again, before a Scorpion kick got the challenger free. Hitting the ropes, X-Dream returns with a shoulder tackle as the pace quickens with lucha roll throughs before Dream flipped into the splits.
Pac kicks Dream’s leg out of his leg, before a standing moonsault went south so badly it almost looked like Pac came within inches of landing on his head. He sought solace in the corner as Dream put the boots to him, before chops and a suplex barely drew the challenger a two-count. A chinlock from X-Dream ends in the ropes, as he proceeds to stay on Pac with elbows, but Pac comes right back in with a Paul London-esque dropsault that only drew a one-count.
Recovering with chops, Pac caught X-Dream by the ropes, before landing that standing moonsault for a two-count. X-Dream quickly replies by kicking away a back body drop before a Tiger Wall kick knocked Pac to the outside, where he was quickly jumped onto with a corkscrew moonsault. Complete with what looked like a knee to the head of Pac on the way down! The pair brawl into the crowd, with X-Dream being taken towards the raised seats… as Pac then climbed up to the balcony and hit a sweet shooting star press off of it. Back in the ring, Pac only gets a two-count, before he ran into a Pele kick that almost led to the title change. Pac recovers as he went for some satellite headscissors out of the corner, but he’s caught as X-Dream countered with a spin-out F5 for a near-fall.
From there, X-Dream goes up top, but misses his leap as Pac comes in with an enziguiri and a Northern Lights for a near-fall. X-Dream’s back with some satellite headscissors that planted Pac on his head – almost like Kurtis Chapman’s Sega Mega Driver – but it’s still not enough! Another corkscrew moonsault lands from X-Dream for a near-fall, as Pac proceeded to come back with his version of a 720 DDT… following up with a Red Arrow for the win. For its time, this was pretty damn good – although Pac looked a little off his game at times. Very flippy, very fun, and very different from what we’d seen so far. ***½
wXw World Heavyweight Championship: Ares (c) vs. James Mason
In the words of Felix Kohlenberg in 2020, “did anybody believe James Mason would win the title on his debut?” This was both men’s second match of the night, with Ares having successfully defended the IPW UK tag titles in the opener, while Mason beat Adam Polak and ended up getting a bye in the weird title contenders’ tournament earlier in the show.
Mason offered a handshake at the bell, but Ares isn’t biting as Mason tried to get the crowd on side. It didn’t work. When they lock up, Mason and Ares end up heading into the corner for a rather testy break, before Mason looked to work over the arm. Like Adam Polak earlier, Ares is taken to the mat, and into the ropes as Mason gives him space.
Ares tries to respond in kind, but Mason countered with a headlock before he was shoved off, returning with a shoulder tackle. That doesn’t budge Ares, but a second one does, sending the Swiss native packing to the outside. Returning after a breather on the floor, Ares can’t avoid a nerve hold from Mason, who proceeded to tie him up in a Japanese strangle hold, before countering Ares’ counter with a dropkick. Again, Ares looks to keep his distance, and this time it works out as hes returns to snapmare Mason before trolling him with a chinlock. Mason escapes by scuttling free, leaving Ares confused and enraged, as Mason returned with an inverted knuckle lock that he tried to force a submission with. When that didn’t work, Mason put the boots to Ares, before he turned up the tempo… and continued to outfox Ares by sitting down on a sunset flip before they swapped pinning attempts.
From the restart. Mason’s forced to the mat in a knuckle lock, but Ares tries to force a pin from there. I mean, sure, why not? Mason kips up, but gets kicked in the back for good measure as Ares began to get a little dirty with his tactics. A sit-out death valley driver gets Ares a near-fall, as Mason again began to annoy him with the way he was kicking out. Mason resumes with a snapmare and a flip senton for a near-fall, before Ares caught him with a swinging Fisherman suplex for a two-count of his own.
Some choking from Ares forces the referee to intervene… so Ares distracts the official so he can choke Mason with his tie. That upsets Mason, taking him off his game plan for a spell before he returned with a knee lift, following through with a baseball slide pinning attempt that almost got the job done. More choking keeps Mason on the mat, and despite him rebounding with a Superman bodypress as he began to rack up the near-falls, a clash of heads out of the corner quickly curtailed any momentum.
Mason tries to push ahead with a backslide, but Ares kicks out and rolls in with a Tiger Driver… and that’s enough to snatch the win. An excellent British/European-style match, with Mason really being one of the more underrated wrestlers of this generation… but the match really suffered with nobody truly believing Mason could win the title on his first (and only) night in wXw. ***½
wXw Tag Team Championship: Absolute Andy & Josh Abercrombie (c) vs. Murat Bosporus & Wesley Croton
A rematch from earlier in the night, but at least this time Absolute Andy and Josh Abercrombie aren’t hiding under masks. Editing out entrances means we’re right into the action as Bosporus and Croton jumped their opponents, quickly catching them with a pair of suplexes.
Abercrombie tries to bail, but their challengers face follow them as they brawl in the darkened crowd. Bosporus grabbed Andy in a headlock as they went back to the ring, with Croton’s armdrags and Judo throws dumping Abercrombie in the ring. Abercrombie hits back after a hiptoss, catching Croton with a low dropkick before a running knee properly clocked Croton. Croton’s out on his feet, and the neckbreaker that follows doesn’t go to plan, as Abercrombie ends up giving him an inadvertent cutter. Abercrombie heads up top from there, but Croton’s back to his feet as he tries to Ric Flair press slam him off the top instead, only for Andy to poke him in the eyes Abercrombie flew in with a back cracker off the top. It’s enough for a near-fall, as the champions proceeded to drag Croton into their corner and isolate him.
Andy’s brought in as Don Jakobi trash talked Bosporus from the floor. A sidewalk slam drops Croton for a near-fall, as Murat continued to antagonise the ref. That just kept Croton in trouble as the crowd mocked with chants of “over-rated”, while Abercrombie returned club away on the out-of-sorts Croton. Andy’s back as he hits a dropkick to send Croton sailing into the corner, before Abercrombie and Andy double-teamed Croton in the ropes.
A chop from Andy is followed up with a stalling suplex to Croton, which gets a near-fall, while Andy went old school, sneakily choking Croton with his boot while arguing with the ref. Eventually Croton fought back with a sunset flip for a two-count, but he couldn’t capitalise as Abercrombie’s brought back to rake the eyes before Croton’s nid to take down Abercrombie just led to him getting tied in knots. Croton’s taken into the corner again, but he gets his feet up to stop Abercrombie running in… but yet again Croton can’t capitalise, especially as Andy had distracted Murat off the apron for a bit. A move we don’t see gets a near-fall, but we sure do see a Michinoku driver that gets a delayed two-count.
FINALLY Croton gets through to Bosporus, who tags in and cleared house, whipping Andy into Abercrombie before dishing out some clotheslines. A double clothesline somehow nearly wins it, before Murat blocked a baseball slide from Abercrombie, deadlifting him into a German suplex for another near-fall.
Andy’s back with a trademark spinebuster, with a Quebrada from Abercrombie adding to it for a near-fall. Another back cracker out of the corner from Abercrombie nearly wins it, before Murat fought back with an overhead belly-to-belly before he made the tag back out to Croton, who’d spent all of the intervening time laying in the corner. Still, Croton hits back with a German suplex, folding up Abercrombie before he crawled over to make a cover. It got a one-count.
A barrage of kicks and a clothesline led to Croton spinning Abercrombie on his head for a one-count, with Andy breaking it up. That led to the champions eating a pair of German suplexes, before a trio of kicks left Abercrombie laying before he got tied up in a grounded, cross-legged abdominal stretch for the submission. To say “this had issues” is putting it mildly – and I feel that this match, were it to happen in 2020, would have gone much differently. Croton going down hurt so early on wasn’t good, but him continuing for as long as he did would have generated an outcry in the current era, especially with a tag partner on the apron who ended up in for only the closing stretches. *¾
While the circumstances around this show have led to the event going down in wXw lore as one of their worst, I do have to say… it’s not that bad. Sure, the lighting wasn’t great, nor the crowd numbers, but given the short notice wXw had, it was the best of a bad situation. Certainly, I’ve seen worse production values from indie promotions in 2020!
As for the booking, watching this show in a bubble does raise some questions. Having James Mason and Josh Abercrombie in title matches on their only nights in is a move that is right out of the mid-00s playbook… even if putting fly-ins in title matches usually yielded in reduced crowd reactions, since “nobody could believe the import was winning the title.” That aside, the way we got to the title matches was a little weird, even if the draw between Bad Bones and Emil Sitoci was done to build something up in the future. While this absolutely isn’t the all-out stinker it’s been built up to be, Back to the Roots 6 was definitely a show that wXw learned a LOT from.