The Pretty Bastards returned to their hometown of Frankfurt – and were rewarded by having to defend their tag team titles in a TLC match.

We’re at a sold-out Batschkapp in Frankfurt – a venue that sold out without a single match being announced, for the promotion’s first show here since March’s 16 Carat Gold Revenge. Rico Bushido’s flying solo on commentary for a show that was beset with technical problems (which in turn caused a delayed start).

Julian Pace vs. Mike Bailey
wXw using real music still catches me out… I think this is the first time Julian’s had his full entrance since the changes, including the mic knock. Once you hear it, you can’t unhear it!

Julian’s at least putting on a brave face ahead of the endless kicks he’ll likely take. Well, after the initial handshake anyway, as they start working on each other’s arms… and both men are living up to the speedy part of their names. Eventually there’s a stand-off as Pace hung onto the rope to avoid being kicked, but Bailey comes out of the corner with kicks before Pace decided to employ some trickery off the ropes ahead of a dropkick. That took Bailey outside, but he cuts off a dive with a kick that stung Pace back inside. And calm. Oh, and more kicks, too. A leaping double knee drops helps Bailey on the way to another near-fall, before the Canadian missed the Vader bomb knees… which looked to open the door for Pace somewhat.

Pace rebounds with a roll-through neckbreaker, then with a kick from the apron… but he slips on a springboard, before recovering with a tope con giro to Bailey on the outside. Bailey’s back in the ring first though, kicking Pace back outside for a Golden Triangle moonsault, before more kicks waited for Julian back inside. Bailey’s all about the WHOOs as he ends up getting pelted with forearms from Pace, eventually cutting him off with a boot to the head as Bailey looked to push ahead. A Flamingo Driver out of the corner’s countered, as Pace looked for roll-ups… before a superkick dropped Speedball. An overhead kick in the ropes is next, only for Bailey to hit back with the standing moonsault knees. More knee drops miss, as Bailey ran into a standing Spanish fly, then a reverse ‘rana ahead of a springboard moonsault…

…but Pace lands in Bailey’s knees, and quickly got taken into the corner for a Flamingo Driver, and that’s all folks. This could have gone south in a hurry when Pace slipped, but he quickly recovered, and this turned into a heck of an opener. ***¼

We get a Takeover-like call-out as former wXw stars Sasa Keel and Aaron Insane were watching from the crowd. Hmm.

Jay-AA (Absolute Andy & Jay Skillet) vs. The Rotation & Avalanche
I like how Francis Kaspin’s being kept a part of the group despite his injury. This match spun-out from the Road to Broken Rules where Absolute Andy was gunning for a Shotgun title match… but was told he was at the back of the line.

There’s a lot of fuss before the match as Andy wanted to pick the perfect corner, and we start with Jay Skillet bouncing across the ring as he tried – and failed – to outmuscle Avalanche. He responds by tagging in Andy, but he wants to face the Whippersnapper instead of Avalanche, so in comes Rotation too. Rotation cartwheels past Andy, then countered a hiptoss as his lucha stylings confused yer da… who just punches him out. I can’t argue with that. Skillet’s back in, but he’s in for more of the same as the Rotation just showed off. This time though, he clocks Skillet, who threw a temper tantrum before Avalanche came in… and it’s still one-way traffic as Avalanche squashed Skillet with a bodysplash for a two-count.

The Rotation’s back with a springboard armdrag, then a dropkick to Skillet as Jay-AA were struggling. That’s sorted when Andy low bridged the Rotation to the outside, so Francis Kaspin could whack him with his bum bag as the numbers game – and Avalanche’s temper – came into play. An elbow drop to the back keeps Rotation down as Absolute Andy slowed down the pace, before he booted Rotation off the apron as again, Avalanche was his team’s own worst enemy. Chops sting the Rotation, who tries to fly back in… but his springboard’s caught as the A-5 was attempted. It’s avoided, thankfully, as Rotation finally got free to a tag as Andy suddenly crossed himself. Andy’s tossed outside, before Jay Skillet just annoyed Avalanche with a forearm to the back… and you can guess what happened to Jay next. Clotheslines and a snap belly-to-belly dump Jay into the corner, before an attempted crossbody saw Jay just bounce off the big man.

A fallaway slam’s next as Skillet lands in the corner for a Dreissker bomb, but Andy breaks up the cover. The Rotation’s in and is quickly dropped with an A-5, before Avalanche ran into a spinebuster. A superkick from Andy drops Avalanche, but the ref enforces the legal man, and tells Andy to tag in. So he does, after dragging Jay Skillet into the corner for the tag… but Andy just runs into a back body drop! A Samoan drop from Avalanche left Andy down for the Rotation, but his crossbody takes out Jay Skillet as all four men were in the ring. Avalanche flies with a crossbody of his own off the middle rope, but Francis Kaspin low bridges Rotation outside as Jay-AA again played the numbers game. The double-teams end when Avalanche monsters up, going wild with clotheslines, before he’s tripped in the ropes by Kaspin as a superkick sent him outside.

Hey, the Rotation’s legal… and he’s quickly killed with a stomp, a superkick, and an A-5… and that’s all folks. Decent stuff here as shenanigans on the outside proved too much for Rotation and Avalanche to overcome… and I think Andy may be forcing his way up that list of contenders in the near future. **¾

We’ve a video package recapping the demise of the Crown at World Tag Team Festival, and a sit-down promo from Alexander James where he dismissed Jurn as a “shell” of his former self. Yes, they replay THAT tooth-loosening slap from Jurn. It’s still glorious.

No Disqualification: Alexander James vs. Jurn Simmons
My God, Jurn’s looking like an absolute beast here. Whatever he’s been doing… he needs to keep doing! Simmons stares a hole through James, and we get going with Jurn just bulldozing through his former tag partner.

James tries to respond, throwing some clotheslines before he got decked with one from the Dutchman, before the pair spilled outside. A spinebuster against the apron greets James, as does a Gorilla press slam back inside as the “dumb muscle” was proving too much early on. Back outside, Jurn bounces James off the ramp with a slam, before they headed to the stage… where a powerbomb’s halted by an eye rake. Mocking Jurn’s love of Batista, Alexander James does the thumbs up/thumbs down stuff, but a powerbomb’s countered with a back body drop as Simmons proceeded to march James back to the ring. A spear drops James, as Jurn went outside for a Kendo stick… and of course James begs off before he caught Jurn with a low blow.

James commandeers the Kendo stick and began to torque away on Jurn, using the Kendo stick to held with a camel clutch, before he sung back into a “one Jurn Simmons” rope hanging DDT. James pulls up Jurn with the Kendo stick, before he checked a clothesline with it. Somehow, Jurn’s able to power back in, using a suplex throw on James, who replied with a back elbow and a double clothesline as both men were left laying. The pair began to fight over the Kendo stick, eventually dropping it as James kicks it outside… only to get met by another barrage of lariats from Jurn. Another spinebuster waits for James, as a fan gave Jurn the Kendo stick back… but Jurn took too long and got rolled up for a near-fall.

James is right back with the Coronation – a Cobra clutch – but that ends in the ropes. Of course, there’s no rope breaks, so Jurn uses the Kendo stick to pry it apart before he used it to assist a Rings of Saturn. Christ, they’re getting brutal here… James got to the ropes, but Jurn lets go so he could hit a powerbomb. Jurn tries to follow up with a Kendo stick shot, but a big guy hits the ring… it’s Tyler Colton – last seen around these parts in February 2018 on the Road to 16 Carat Gold show. He snaps the Kendo stick across his knee, then drops Jurn with a swinging facebuster. The “Canadian Hercules” followed that up with a deadlift powerbomb a la early day Brock Lesnar, and holy hell, that’s power. Colton holds up Jurn for the curb stomp, and that’s all folks, as the Blood Eagle put Jurn away. An extremely solid first shot in the feud between Jurn and James, and with Tyler Colton back on the scene as AJ’s hired help, could this be the “new and improved” Crown? ***½

Backstage, David Starr’s warming up… but Ilja Dragunov interrupts as we get a fairly long backstage bit with the pair of them and Karsten Beck. Karsten tries to calm them down, while Ilja pondered why Starr was getting a title shot…

David Starr vs. Ilja Dragunov
A rematch from the final night of World Tag Team Festival, we’ve a nice touch from Ilja in his intro, refusing to do his usual “pound the floor” entrance. Saving that for the big pay-offs, I see…

We’ve a fast start as Ilja took Starr into the corner for a cheapshot… only to repeat it after Starr tried to return the favour. Third time wasn’t the charm as Starr got him some, before a log roll tripped Dragunov ahead of the cartwheel kick for a near-fall. Ilja powders outside, but Starr joins him as they brawled around ringside, stopping so Ilja could go for a dive before he had to counter out of a Cherry Mint DDT. A Pretty Pumped keeps Starr ahead as he looked to be a step in front of Dragunov, trapping him in the corner with chops… but Ilja takes a shortcut, trapping Starr’s hand through a turnbuckle as he kept the American pinned in the corner ahead of a dropkick. Tassilo Jung had a game on freeing Starr’s arm, as he instead decided to just loosen the turnbuckle cover… right as Starr got kicked in the head.

Dragunov barely gets a one-count from a suplex, so he drops Starr with a forearm to the back of the head… but Starr’s back up, blocking a throw into the exposed corner before a clothesline took him right back down. A swivelling lariat from Dragunov helps keep him ahead, before a double clothesline put both men on the mat. They resume with chops, only for Starr to get caught out with a knee lift… before he countered a Konstanzin-Spezial with a clothesline of his own! Ilja’s taken outside for a tope, before he avoided a second as Starr switched around and took him down with a Product Recall back inside for a near-fall. A Macho Man elbow off the top gets Starr a near-fall, only for Ilja to rebound instantly with a spinning back chop as the pair remained insanely even. A Gotch-powerbomb and a sit-out powerbomb sees Ilja edge slightly ahead, following up with a knee trembler for another near-fall, as you sensed the self-proclaimed “superstar” was beginning to get annoyed with things.

Dragunov heads up… but misses on a back senton off the top rope, allowing Starr to come back in with chops and forearms that required the ref to physically break them up. Undeterred, Starr resumes, and gets pulled away again before Dragunov nonchalantly booted him in the head… before he begged off from a Starr superkick. Starr didn’t care for his family though, landing that superkick for a near-fall as he saw through the guilt trip. A Product Placement’s slipped out of as Dragunov finally rebounds with the Konstantin-Spezial, following in with a kneedrop off the top and a bridging teardrop suplex that almost ended things. Dragunov removes another turnbuckle pad from the corner, but Starr clings onto the ropes to avoid being whipped into the buckles. Some elbows break the resistance, before Starr leapt over the corner and suckered Ilja in for the Cherry Mint DDT.

Starr can’t build on that though, as he ran back into a death valley driver in the corner, before he countered Torpedo Moscau with a Destroyer! The exposed buckles follow for Ilja, then a Han Stansen… and that’s all! Starr wins – and seals his title shot later in November after a hell of a match that was at least on par with their Oberhausen effort. I wasn’t crazy with the “out” in the form of the exposed turnbuckles, but at least it was Ilja’s cheating backfiring that led to the result. Watch. This. Match. ****

We’ve a video package recapping the end of RISE and the formation of the Purge Club… which leads to a match a lot of people thought was a homage to Vince Russo’s favourite.

Baseball Bat On A Pole: Pete Bouncer vs. Lucky Kid
Fair play to Rico for trying to put over the match as dangerous… and we start with Lucky Kid sliding in from behind to attack Pete Bouncer before the bell.

Ivan Kiev’s still there, and I guess the stipulation is also no-DQ, as Bouncer used a nightstick to club down Lucky. It’s two-on-one, as Bouncer threatened the ref with the stick. There’s really no need for the baseball bat, is there? Especially as Bouncer goes outside for a chair, which Kiev uses to choke Lucky with as Aaron Insane rushed the ring and swatted away the Purge Club with the nightstick. Except it’s a swerve, as he helped Lucky to his feet as Karsten Beck came out, having added his famous gold cummerbund to his outfit. Beck turns this into a tag team match… and we resume.

Baseball Bat On A Pole: Purge Club (Pete Bouncer & Ivan Kiev) vs. Lucky Kid & Aaron Insane
Insane’s bounced off the ring apron by Kiev as the match started as a brawl. In the ring, Lucky climbs for the baseball bat, only for Bouncer to pull him down… and he gets a low dropkick for the hell of it.

Kiev stops Lucky next time around, then hits a modified facebuster before he went up for the mat… but Insane stops him as he followed up with a scoop slam. Bouncer’s back with a reverse DDT, as another chase for the baseball bat was stopped with Lucky and Bouncer pulling each other back. Lucky’s shoulder stops him amid some back and forth, while Kiev roughed up Insane on the floor… and now it’s time for another rush for the bat. Ivan Kiev goes up, but he’s stopped again as he continued to keep Insane out on the floor, before Lucky began to make a comeback… albeit a brief one, as a scissor kick-assisted sidewalk slam had Lucky down once again. We almost see the bat getting retrieved, but Insane stops Kiev as Lucky Kid followed him outside with a pescado… and it’s Aaron Insane going for the bat?

Nah, Bouncer stops him before Insane got free with a clothesline… there’s a slam for Kiev, but it’s escaped and turned into a death valley driver instead. A handspring back elbow from Lucky began another comeback, but he leaps into a full nelson before Lucky and Aaron hit tandem suplexes to stop the Purge Club in their tracks. Another rush for the bat is ended when Bouncer’s knocked down by Insane, while Ivan Kiev gets stopped by Lucky on the top rope, and finally, Lucky Kid… hits a cutter off the top rope! He goes back and grabs the bat! Pete Bouncer hits a low blow and retrieves the bat, only for Aaron Insane to make a save as Bouncer took a powerslam for a near-fall. Bouncer swipes Insane with the baseball bat for a near-fall, with Lucky making the save, only for the Purge Club to sweep out his legs with the bat. A baseball bat-assisted side Russian legsweep gets a near-fall, ahead of a full nelson slam… but Lucky still kicks out.

He gets a stroke of, erm, good fortune moments later when Ivan Kiev accidentally lays out Bouncer with the bat, before he used it for a Lucky Lock crossface… and there’s the submission. I’m not sure if the crowd cheered for Lucky or because it ended… this was just weird. I genuinely thought Aaron Insane’s addition was going to be the out for Lucky losing, but no… and this will confuse newer fans who perhaps only knew Insane from the earlier intro as “a promoter”. This could have done with being shorter too… *¾

Skye Smitson vs. Little Miss Roxxy
This was Smitson’s first match on wXw NOW (at least, in a wXw ring), and she wasn’t in any hurry to make friends in Frankfurt. Unlike Little Miss Roxxy, who did laps around the Batschkapp on her way to the ring.

Smitson began by working on Roxxy’s arm, but the Geordie countered with an armdrag before Skye took her into the corner. Some headscissors take Smitson down as Roxxy tried to push on, clobbering her with a leg lariat in the corner then a Combinacion Cabron-like slingshot knees into the corner. Smitson puts herself between the ropes for a breather, but she’s back with a Finlay roll for a quick one-count. Roxxy’s flung across the ring with a fallaway slam for another one-count as a grounded cobra clutch looked to have Roxxy in trouble. It’s fought out of though, as Roxxy rebounds with a STO-like takedown and some clotheslines, following in with a wheelbarrow stomp for a near-fall.

Skye catches Roxxy on the top rope with a single-handed stalling suplex, getting a near-fall, before Roxxy hit a stomp onto the apron… then a sunset bomb into the corner. Another “Geordie Style” stomp misses though, allowing Skye back in with a dropkick and a Cross Rhodes – which Rico called the Smitson Effect – for the win. This was decent, considering the crowd barely knew who either woman was… but the fact they got their characters over, and elicited the appropriate responses, has to be a huge positive. Skye’s gunning for Killer Kelly, and I can only imagine by elimination, that’ll leave Roxxy for Amale? By the way, I can hear Shauna’s high-pitched boo burning into my consciousness… **¾

Cue the roll call of past champions, which is LONG for the tag titles… and then a recap of the World Tag Team Festivals final, which saw the Arrows of Hungary get eliminated first out after Icarus’ planned dive backfired. I still pop for the Arrows throwing in the Ogdens’ “whatever will be, will be” line into their promo, as Dover told us that TLC is pretty much going to be a walk in the park compared to what they’ve done in the past.

TLC for wXw World Tag Team Championship: Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. Pretty Bastards (Maggot & Prince Ahura) (c)
Three years ago, this very show had a TLC match as A4 took on David Starr and Lio Rush for the then-vacated tag titles. So Broken Rules has some form with TLC… and European wrestling isn’t exactly fond of tables.

The Pretty Bastards, as expected, got the hometown pop, and we start with anarchy as all four men spilled outside, as the Arrows looked for an early advantage. It’s Prince Ahura who headed towards the ladders first, but Icarus stops him… and gets beaten with a sandal as all four men brawled around the hardware on the stage. The Bastards pull a ladder into the ring, but the Arrows stop them even setting it up, as Dover instead opted to pull a table out from under the ring. Icarus one too, and I’m already worried. Especially as Rico talked about the “tough German wood”…

The Arrows go for a third table, bringing one down from the stage as the Bastards respond by using some chairs. Icarus has a chair broken over him, as Ahura did his best EVIL impression, throwing Icarus chair-first into the post before he proceeded to fill the ring with more chairs. Those chairs got set up as Icarus took a DDT into them, before an electric chair splash from Maggot saw him squash Icarus through another chair. Dover’s back to his feet, as he stops a ladder from being picked up… and he’s having to go it alone for now, only to get whipped into a chair that he’d wedged into the corner. Whoops. Now the ladder’s set up, only for Icarus to pop up and use a bit of a ladder to send the Bastards crashing into the ropes. The arrows hit back as Maggot’s slammed onto a ladder – after Icarus broke a chair across his back – before Ahura took a double-team hiptoss into another ladder in the corner. Ow.

Maggot tries to climb the ladder, but he’s stopped by Dover… who earned himself a cutter for that as Icarus decided to scale the rungs. He gets to the top, and brushes the belts, before Ahura grabbed Icarus by the ear and kicked him down, but he took too long to recover as Icarus got up and hit a missile dropkick to knock down the ladder. Dover’s next, grabbing Maggot on the apron for an Air Raid Crash through a table on the floor… I’d totally forgotten that’d been set up! Back in the ring, Icarus grabs his half-ladder as Ahura tried to Kofi Kingston it, but he ends up getting caught in the ring as Icarus threw him down. The ante’s upped next as Icarus sets up a table, but again he took too long as Ahura took Icarus up top and teased a superplex… he’s shoved off, as a head kick awaited Icarus on the mat. Instead, Ahura set up a second table as the crowd chanted “069”… and oh God, Ahura’s stacking those tables up.

Icarus tries to fight back with a chair, but Ahura hits back, grabbing the ladder before he started to climb… but Icarus stops him with a chairshot to the arse. With Ahura down, Icarus climbs, but Maggot stops Icarus, only for the pair to crash through the table.

Astute readers will know that wasn’t a typo… and with Dover still out, Ahura has the easy job of climbing the ladder to retrieve the belts. In terms of the layout, this was fine – climaxing with the high risk bump at the end (even if it didn’t come off as desired). That being said, a lot of the set-up to get there felt a little on the plodding side… and I wasn’t exactly enamoured with the Bastards popping up and celebrating with their fans afterwards, especially given Maggot had been down for so long during the match. I’ll quit being JR now… ***¼

Rico Bushido wraps up the show, with some matches for the Road to 19th Anniversary show in Dresden on November 23, including:

Ilja Dragunov vs. Alexander Wolfe
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Bobby Gunns vs. Timothy Thatcher (c)

From there, we’re taken backstage as Karsten Beck congratulated Lucky Kid… phrasing it like that was the blow-off of the Purge Club feud, but Lucky knew better. Lucky’s frustrated because things haven’t exactly gone well for him in wXw since he won 16 Carat Gold. He’s dreaming about beating Kassius Ohno at the 19th Anniversary show… but feels that’s all it’ll ever be while the Purge Club are around. Lucky wants to face Ivan Kiev in Dresden, and Pete Bouncer in Hamburg on the Road to 19th Anniversary shows, and Beck grants the matches – with the other guy banned on those dates.

We flash to Julian Pace having to deal with some bragging Bastards backstage. The Bastards admit to hiring someone to injuring Pace so they could take his World Tag Team Festival spot, something that annoyed Julian even more… so he gets another shot at the titles. Except Julian will need to find a new partner for Dresden, as Leon van Gasteren won’t be around. The show ends with Julian on the phone to “Carter”…

Broken Rules was a good show – even if, for some, it felt like a bit of a reality check after the rowdy crowds we got in Oberhausen. Save for the baseball bat on a pole match, which some already expected to be a bit of a washout, I’d class Broken Rules as a success – with David Starr continuing his challenge for the title with a stellar win over Ilja Dragunov, while the fallout from the Crown continued to simmer away. We’ve got a pair of Road to shows for December’s 19th anniversary, and it looks like wXw is on track to close out 2019 strong!