Ilja Dragunov’s return to Dresden saw him have a big test in his hometown – as he defended his interim wXw title against PCO in a streetfight!
This was the first “big” event on the wXw calendar since the demise of Shotgun – and while we had some Shotgun-like segments on the “Road to Broken Rules” feature event, it has been a little weird not having the weekly reminders, but I digress. wXw were hitting a new venue in Dresden with a stacked card, as we built up to the unification of the Unified World Wrestling Championships in Hamburg later this week. We’re coming from the Kraftwerk Mitte in Dresden – we’re listening to the German commentary as that was posted first.
Bobby Gunns vs. Absolute Andy
This was an eliminator match for Friday’s title unifier in Hamburg – with Absolute Andy technically the wXw champion, but minus the belt. He still has the custom adidas top and towel… and nothing’s going to take that away from him!
Before the match, Andy orders a trainee into the ring. Hey, it’s Baris! He’s made to disrobe Andy, which is still better than being stretched… although Tassilo Jung ticks off Baris for trying to plug Andy’s merch. I love those little touches. Eventually the bell goes, and we start with Bobby laying into Andy with kicks… at least until he’s pulled into the corner as Andy took him down with an uppercut. Bobby’s thrown to the outside, but he takes his time to regroup, and suckers Andy into a game of cat and mouse, as the Benny Hill chase helps Bobby go back to the kicks as he (ahem) “kicked Andy’s leg out of his leg.” (copyright Owen Hart)
Gunns looks to go for what’s apparently the Swift armbar, but Andy escapes and applies his own version of it?! It’s escaped, but a double clothesline leaves both men down briefly, as Gunns goes right back to the arm, this time focusing on Andy’s wrist and elbow, stomping it into the mat. The offence continues with a low dropkick from Gunns, who then made a rare trip up top for a diving uppercut that just about found its mark for a near-fall.
Andy’s back up with a clothesline as he turned the match around, going back to the armbar as Gunns took a kick to the side of the head as Andy tried to keep the hold on… before we ended up in the ropes. An old school backbreaker follows as Andy relished the crowd’s jeers, but he’s quickly caught with some finger snapping as Gunns looked for a way back in… only to run into a powerslam for a near-fall!
The Eagle flies, but Andy leaps into another Swift armbar as Bobby tried to force a submission… but Andy goes back to his old ways and gets a foot on the rope. He’s quickly back with a superplex as Gunns went up top again, only for Gunns to hit back with a Saito suplex for a near-fall of his own. The back-and-forth continues, as Andy tries to roll Gunns for a Sharpshooter, but Bobby rolls through into a single leg crab instead, which Andy again broke via the ropes. Andy lifts Bobby onto the apron, but the Shortcut to the Top winner heads up top and blocks another superplex, this time pushing Andy down… only for Andy to push Tassilo Jung into the ropes, crotching Gunns in the process. Now we get… a top rope ‘rana!? Bobby holds on and instead leaps off the top, but it’s into another armbar as the pair switch between their armbars. There’s another rope break from Andy, who shoots back instantly with a spinebuster as Bobby was busy arguing with the ref, and then sets up for a superkick…
The kick connects, but Bobby manages to kick out at two!
An O’Connor roll’s next from Gunns, but it’s not enough to put Andy away, nor were the litany of clotheslines that eventually took Andy off his feet, as Gunns instead went for a German suplex, bridging it for a solid two-count. Gunns calls for a superkick, tuning up the band in time to his chant, but he’s forced to pull the kick as Andy pulls Tass into harm’s way. With the referee composing himself, Andy’s able to score with a low blow, before the A-Klasse got the win. A gutting loss for Gunns, who still has his Shortcut to the Cut title shot… but on this form, has some way to go to be in title winning contention. ***½
Kris Wolf vs. Audrey Bride vs. Killer Kelly
Being a photographer in her past life, Kris Wolf has a thing for borrowing fan’s cameras. There’s a mental note for Friday!
We start with Kris Wolf sniffing her prey, but she has to be reminded of what happened in Cologne… which gives Audrey a chance for a cheapshot. It backfires as Kelly and Kris double-team the Hungarian, before Kelly picked up where she left off, putting a boot through Wolf for an early near-fall. Audrey pulls Kelly outside and tries to pick up where she left off on Kris, throwing some forearms to take Wolf into the corner, before scoring with a springboard back elbow. It’s only enough for a near-fall as Kelly composed herself on the outside as Wolf tries to reverse a suplex… eventually getting it up as it turned into a nasty-looking boot-assisted brainbuster. Kelly comes back with a German suplex to Wolf, before an attempt at the Shibata dropkick’s cut-off with a cutter as Bride tries to steal the win.
Wolf broke up the pin, but gets thrown onto the apron, where she catches Bride with a neckbreaker in the ropes as the action remained frantic. A forearm from Kelly catches Wolf out, as did the Al Snow-like trapped-arm headbutts ahead of a release Fisherman’s suplex… which sets up for the Shibata-ish dropkick. Bride’s back with a Downward Spiral which took Kelly outside, but Wolf’s back in play and quickly catches a kick, turning it into a bridging German suplex for the win! This was a hell of a sprint, and while it started out a little shaky, this was good for the time they had – a solid match without much character work. ***
They announce that some new promotions are coming to wXw NOW in December: IWS and Rising Sun from Italy, plus Riptide from England. There’s another German promotion who’s being kept secret…
Avalanche was in the market for a new tag team partner since Julian Nero’s out with a neck injury. Hey, wir wollen das Waschbären seh’n!
The Crown (Alexander James & Jurn Simmons) vs. Avalanche & Laurance Roman
Yes, the mystery partner was Laurance Roman, who had been on the pre-show in an unrelated battle royal. It’s a same Frank Fehmrann didn’t sing his entrance here, but would the raccoon be more than a temporary worker for Monster Consulting?
So the team dubbed “Monster Waschbär” (sounds like an experiment gone wrong) started with Jurn and Avalanche, with a big monster tie-up as the pair went back and forth early. Alexander James tries to grab a handful of hair, but Avalanche switches around so he can grab at Jurn’s… no hair. Jurn has more luck with a test of strength, as he kicks Avalanche down to his knees, but again the Austrian comes back and has Jurn scurrying into the corner.
James tags in, but he’s taken down with an arm whip as he tries to slow down the pace, but to no avail as he gets bulldozed down by a shoulder tackle. A cheapshot brings in Roman, who distracts the referee as Jurn tries to come in… but he’s bounced by Avalanche before the Crown tried to get something going… only to get flattened by a double clothesline off the middle rope. Roman gets involved too, scoring with a crossbody to the floor which made his fans – dubbed Raccoon Security – a little too happy! Avalanche still stayed a step ahead of the Crown, as did Roman, who scored with a ‘rana to the outside on James, before we got a twist on the rope spot, as Jurn posts Avalanche which in turn crotches Roman as the bad guys finally got a foothold in the match. Jurn roughs up Roman, grinding his face into the mat, while James drapes Laurance across the top rope then uppercuts him to the floor.
Some body scissors back in the ring keep Roman grounded, but he rolls back and almost pinned James, only to get flattened with a clothesline as James was back in control. Roman tries to fight back, scoring a lungblower before… Jurn tagged in, stormed the ring and dropped an elbow to stop Roman from getting any further. Roman tries to fight back 1-on-2, but James stops his despairing dive… only for Laurance to escape the pair of them and make the hot tag out!
There’s trouble in paradise as Jurn and James argued… only to turn around into an Avalanche who dishes out…
— Avalanche (@AvalancheDRSKR) November 20, 2018
BIG BACK BODY DROP!
A Bossman Slam follows as Roman tags back in, and there’s some nice double-teaming between the pair that almost wins the match, only for Jurn to break up the cover late on. Simmons runs into a Samoan drop as Avalanche keeps up the fire, but a ripcord back elbow and a Massive boot from James and Jurn respectively leave the big man down. Roman’s back in, but he’s caught with a double-team chokeslam. A double-team curb stomp follows – the nearest legal thing to the wooden sword – and that’ enough for the Crown to get the win. I loved this match – Roman really stepped it up in this match, with him and Avalanche working well together, while the Crown looked comfortable. ***½
They replay the segment from after Road to Broken Rules, which saw an argument between WALTER and Timothy Thatcher. RINGKAMPF explodes… next!
Timothy Thatcher vs. WALTER
There’s gentlemanly thumbs up from Thatcher to the crowd who held the RINGKAMPF scarves to show his name… while WALTER, true to Thatcher’s moans, came out in his Ring General trunks and jacket.
The rough housing starts early as WALTER took Thatcher into the corner as they scrapped for a tie-up, as we had a scrappy but competitive opening spell. WALTER swings for a chop early, but Thatcher’s more than wise to it as he ends up on the mat, trying to take down WALTER. More scrambling sees Thatcher try to work over WALTER’s leg, only for the pair to end up in the ropes.
Headlock takedowns are quickly escaped as WALTER rushes in with a boot to the gut, grounding Thatcher in a side headlock as he looked to switch the hold… but instead Thatcher tries to push away, only for WALTER to stubbornly keep hold, before Thatcher tried to roll back into a pinning predicament. Eventually he pushes WALTER into the ropes, but is quickly met with a shoulder tackle… only to recover as he trips up the Austrian en route to a single leg crab.
After making the ropes, WALTER thought he’d gotten back into it, but he’s taken down into a Fujiwara armbar as Thatcher forces him to reach for the strands again, with WALTER this time rolling outside for safety. He pulls Thatcher to the outside with him, catching him with a chop, then a side suplex to the apron and a big boot for good measure. Of course we get chops around ringside, as the front row got a closer view of the brawl, which led to Thatcher having to reverse a suplex as WALTER got closer to the Kraftwerk’s floor than he perhaps wanted to.
They return to the ring, where Thatcher gets caught with a release German suplex, before WALTER again gets a little rough, grinding his forearm into the neck as he tried to wear Thatcher down again. A punt kick as Thatcher was down left him grimacing in pain, as the crowd seemingly started to boo the former champion. The crossface punches in the ropes follow, but Thatcher catches one and begins his fight back, only to get booted back through the ropes and onto the apron.
Graciously, WALTER lets Thatcher roll back into the ring so he can kick him some more, before he counters Thatcher’s back suplex into a crossbody as the Ring general began to edge further ahead. More chops follow as WALTER keeps a hold of Thatcher’s wrist, surviving an enziguiri attempt to roll his tag partner into a Boston crab, which ends in the ropes as WALTER looked to get a little frustrated. We descended into strikes as WALTER swiped away on Thatcher, who quickly figured out that body blows were the more effective way to go. Except WALTER still had that big boot in him, which just fires up Thatcher for a RINGKAMPF belly-to-belly. The butterfly suplex is teased, but WALTER slips out for a lariat before a powerbomb folds up Thatcher for a near-fall, as those condescending boots… lead to more chops.
Thatcher again brings the fire as WALTER throws the proverbial bombs, trading uppercuts and chops, then palm strikes, until WALTER brought Thatcher to his knees ahead of another attempt to kick his head off. Again, Thatcher stands up… then gets lariated back down to earth, as WALTER tried to put Thatcher in his place. It didn’t go well… More palm strikes are eventually cleared away as Thatcher drags WALTER down for a Fujiwara armbar, then counters the escape with a side Suplex for a near-fall. It’s back to the Fujiwara, but WALTER can’t quite get to the ropes, and Thatcher rolls him up for the win! It’s the first time Thatcher’s beaten WALTER in singles action (outside of Ambition matches), and the emotion was obvious – even for someone as reserved as Thatcher. Is RINGKAMPF any closer to healing, or has this competitive exhibition pushed the group further apart? Either way, you need to see this match – it’s exactly the contest you expected it to be. ****¼
wXw World Tag Team Championship: Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. Coast 2 Coast (Leon St. Giovanni & Shaheem Ali) vs. Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) (c)
This was Jay-FK’s first major defence since they won the titles at World Tag Team League, and having thought they’d screwed with things at Road to Broken Rules, they just ended up getting themselves this three-way instead.
Yeah, Skillet gets the Schurlle chants from the off, as it was quite clear that the crowd wanted anyone but Jay-FK to win. The champions try to run, but they’re immediately thwarted as the Arrows back them up into each other as the champs were put between a rock and a hard place. The Arrows took Skillet, while Kaspin had to deal with Coast 2 Coast, who quickly planted him with a double-team hiptoss facebuster. Skillet struggles with a Dover bearhug, then an Icarus cannonball as the champions were sent packing… meaning that the challengers turned their sights on each other.
LSG catches Icarus with a springboard forearm, while Ali ended up getting tripped as Jay-FK returned to the ring, with the champions trying to gang up on Icarus. A superkick-assisted death valley driver has Icarus down on the mat, as some double-teaming from the champions kept him at bay.
A knee from Kaspin and a swinging neckbreaker sends Icarus to the outside… but LSG was back to clock Kaspin with a gamengiri before a butterfly suplex looked to turn the match around. Skillet cuts him off with a neckbreaker, but Ali’s in with a sitout powerbomb as the Parade of Moves was in full effect! Dover throws Skillet into Kaspin before he slammed the champions at the same time, only for Coast 2 Coast to take everyone outside as Ali connected with a flip plancha!
LSG takes to the skies too, with a corkscrew body press off the top rope as all six men brawled around ringside and throughout the venue as Jay-FK got hold of some chairs… only to get pushed into each other. Icarus gets thrown over a barrier fence as they brawled around a standing deck… but Icarus returns pretty quickly afterwards, living up to his name as he hit a senton off the stairwells! Good lord almighty!
The Arrows return to the ring as they prepped Skillet for the Crossfire knees, but Kaspin makes the save as the Hungarians hit each others’ knees, effectively wiping them out. Coast 2 Coast try to capitalise with a swinging side slam from Ali and a 450 splash from LSG, but Kaspin again makes the save, pulling out Skillet… and after some misdirection, Jay-FK hit back with an awkward looking uranage/back cracker to Ali for the win. A bit of a sudden victory, but this was a pretty good triple-threat match that barely broke down into the “two in, one out” trope. Not a dominant win, but we’re not expecting Jay-FK to be anything other than chickenshit heel champions at this stage. ***½
They show a video package that recaps Toni Storm having to vacate her title through injury… through to Melanie Gray talking her way into the match for the vacant belt, which she ended up winning.
wXw Women’s Championship: Toni Storm vs. Melanie Gray (c)
Before the match started, Melanie took the mic and called herself the best women’s champion wXw’s ever had. Well, it’s a short list. She then starts to sing “Let It Go” from Frozen, which gets roundly booed. Well, that’s THAT movie ruined.
The response to that, and her claim that her talent is wrestling? A boot to the gut, a Strong Zero piledriver… and Toni Storm is a two-time women’s champion!
You can look at it one of two ways: either the cynical “oh God, the WWE claws are in” or the more kayfabe-friendly “Toni Storm won the Mae Young Classic, of course she’s going to blow out someone who wasn’t anywhere near the tournament”. If you’re going to think the former, at least give it a few more shows so your cynicisms aren’t based off of one booking decision. Personally, I liked the flash win – although if Toni Storm ends up moving to “full fat” NXT as some suspect, then this may not be a long title reign.
Streetfight for interim wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: PCO vs. Ilja Dragunov (c)
Since I don’t want to be killed by PCO, we’ll not make a fuss of his promo where he challenged Ilja “Druganov”…
Uh oh. Felix Schulz is your referee. I sense a ref bump, unless Tass’ ears are bleeding from Melanie’s singing.
We start with PCO shoving away Ilja from the opening tie-up, prompting the interim champion to throw (and take) some chops, before some shoulder charges saw PCO take the upper hand. That frustrated Ilja, who didn’t like being shown up in his home town, and my God his chest’s already marked up! Ilja heads under the ring for a pair of chairs, which get used for a duel before Ilja clotheslines PCO to the outside… following after him with a tope! PCO returns the favour, as Ilja crashed awkwardly into the front row, then even deeper as PCO hiptossed him into the crowd. Rinse, wash, repeat, and it’s another bad landing for Dragunov.
Things turn up a little when PCO pulls out a ladder from under the ring, then throws Ilja into it after he’d propped it against the ring post. The violence continued as PCO runs the ladder into Ilja, then propped the ladder against the ring apron… and if you know how things work in wrestling, you probably guessed… a back body drop sees PCO bounce off the ladder! They do it again, this time with the ladder bending as PCO let out a shriek… I guess he is human after all?
Ilja keeps up the tempo as he puts PCO in a chair, then back sentons him out of it, before they headed up onto the stage as a snap suplex provided a satisfying thud. A piece of wood comes out next, a more forgiving proxy for a table given their recent history in European wrestling, as Dragunov clears the crowd so he could prop it across two chairs, and guess what? Ilja gets chokeslammed off the stage through the wood. My God, he took that elbow first, as he eventually landed on what looked like the tiled floor of the Kraftwerk. OW.
A relatively sedate side suplex onto the apron’s next from PCO, as the crowd began to find their seats again. Ilja’s whipped from corner to corner, squashed, and left on all fours as PCO discovers the chairs from earlier… Ilja swats it away with his arm and tries for a clothesline, only for PCO to shake it off and hit one of his own. The Constantin-spezial 619-into-a-lariat follows from Ilja, who then heads up top for a back senton… which connects, but PCO’s right back in with a chair.
Ilja comes back up with blood trickling from his forehead, not helped when PCO cracks him in the head with a second chairshot, nor when the Canadian began to throw punches at the wound. A powerbomb dumps Ilja in the middle of the ring, leaving him bloody as PCO went back outside for more chairs. Dragunov throws a chop, then collapses through exhaustion as PCO set up some chairs as Ilja was finding his way up that Muta Scale. Four chairs are set up, one of them without a seat, but PCO ends up chokeslamming Ilja through them – with that pad-less seat taking a lot of the force as Ilja somehow kicked out at two. More chairs come into play as PCO got that demented look in his eye, bringing in a remnant of that wood from earlier as we looked to get two “tables” for the price of one, with Ilja taking a tombstone off the top rope through the wood. Jeeez….
Again, Ilja kicks out at two as it seemed like PCO wasn’t the only one who wasn’t human.
PCO drags Ilja onto some flattened chairs, but he just gets one thrown at him as he’s on the top rope… but Ilja’s shoved down as PCO repositioned himself and found his mark with a moonsault for a near-fall – complete with some impressive clouds of wood fragments as Felix made the count!
PCO looks to follow up with a senton onto the apron, but Ilja rolls away as PCO clips the edge of the apron… Ilja rushes after him with a tope, then takes him back into the ring for a Coast to Coast dropkick as commentary could only laugh in disbelief at the kickouts. “But wait, there’s more!” Like all good informercials, we had an extra as Ilja found another sheet of wood, propping it against the turnbuckles as he used a death valley driver to put PCO through the wood for another two-count.
Piling up the chairs on the canvas, Ilja lifts PCO up top once again, and eventually brings him down onto the hardware with a suplex… but PCO kicks out at ONE! The pair sit up in disbelief, so Ilja whacks a chair over PCO, who refuses to go down… until a Torpedo Moscau proved to be the death blow as Dragunov retained his interim title, and now heads to a sold-out Hamburg on Friday to try and overcome Absolute Andy to reunify the belts. As for this match, well, your mileage will vary depending on how much you like these violent streetfights. I quite enjoyed it, even managing to shut up that part of my brain that nags during these matches, not even thinking “hey, PCO doesn’t have a chance of winning the title” until later on, when the near-falls were starting to pile up. Considering how in some promotions in the US, PCO’s aura looked to be wearing off, this European trip is almost rejuvenating him – just like how it used to work in the territory days! All in, this was a wonderfully violent main event, as Ilja continued to establish himself as truly unbesiegbar. ***¾
With that rejigged schedule, wXw has found themselves holding three feature events in two weeks (Broken Rules, a Shotgun Livetour taping in Hamburg, then Road to 18th Anniversary), so it’d have been easy to have spread out some big matches – and performances – across all of those cards.
Dresden was not one of those “phoned in” shows that you tend to get in such runs. Buoyed by a hot crowd from start to finish, Broken Rules was a memorable event – from the RINGKAMPF explosion, to the violence of the main event. Make no mistake, this is a show you ought to make time for, as every match delivered – and has plenty to offer even the most casual of fans. Next up is a pair of feature events: Hamburg and Cologne… and we’ll see you in Hamburg on Friday!