Better late than never, we’re headed over to Frankfurt, Germany for a look back at wXw’s Broken Rules XVI event.

Coming barely three weeks after JML – Shane Strickland and David Starr – won the World Tag Team League, and the wXw tag titles along with it, our main event here in Frankfurt is a TLC match for the vacated tag titles, after wXw and Strickland had a parting of the ways. Starr’ll be partnering with Lio Rush in the main event against A4 – Absolute Andy and Marius Al-Ani.

We open with a video package recapping some of the key storylines – Marty Scurll’s challenge to Jurn Simmons, the whole Alpha Kevin/Melanie Gray wedding that was ruined by the Alpha Female, and the return of Tische, Leiter and Stühlen. Or Tables, Ladders and Chairs for the non-German speakers.

The show starts with a to-camera piece that’s muffled in the English version, and then we’re into our first match, with some different stock music dubbing over the entrances.

Paul London vs. Emil Sitoci
That should read “Paul London in a onesie”, which is a very unusual look. London lit into Sitoci early on with a ‘rana before joining him outside, where he shoved off of Sitoci as London almost got sent into the ringpost.

A massive crossbody off the top got London a near-fall as he went to a front facelock on the Dutchman, before Sitoci turned the tables by landing a big boot and throwing the former WWE Cruiserweight champion into the ringpost a la a baseball slide. Sitoci tried to wear down London with a bow and arrow lock, before flipping over into a hammerlock briefly, as a pendulum backbreaker earned Emil a two-count.

After fighting out of some grounded bodyscissors, London was propelled into a gutbuster for a near-fall, before Sitoci thwarted a sunset flip. It’s been pretty much all Emil since that opening exchange, and that pattern continued when he dragged London out of the ring so he could repeatedly ram him into the apron. London rolled out of the ring as Sitoci came in, but that was a ruse as London suckered him with a barrage of superkicks, before slingshotting himself into the ring for an Oklahoma roll that picked up a near-fall. Sitoci replied with a lariat for a near-fall, then hit a split legged moonsault for another two-count after London shoved out of a headlock driver.

The hood on London’s onesie flew onto his head as he was thrown into the turnbuckles, and that seemed to prompt a comeback after London’s blocked monkey flip ended with him shoving down Emil… but the shooting star press got nothing but knees to an already worn-down midsection. Sitoci looked to go up top himself, but his top rope elbow drop missed, and kept him down for long enough for London to snatch the win with a shooting star press. As a match it was fine, but this felt like a banana peel finish to get London the win without having much of the match. **¾

After the match, London took the microphone and put over Sitoci, before announcing himself as an entrant for 2017’s 16 Carat Gold tournament.

Da Mack vs. WALTER
Before this match they played a video package – sadly without English subtitles – featuring a clip where WALTER promised that this would be a squash.

It certainly didn’t start at a squash match pace, with Mack scoring the first offence, in the form of a chop in the corner. WALTER replied with a waistlock takedown into a front facelock, before Mack worked free and hit a dropkick… but that advantage was brief as WALTER hit a chop and started to toy with his much smaller foe. More chops and an avalanche from WALTER followed as Mack struggled, but all of a sudden he landed a Slingblade off the ropes, then some Rolling Thunder for a near-fall. That ended the offence as Mack’s attempt at La Mistica was turned into a flapjack by WALTER, who then fell into a ‘rana and a cannonball off the top as the big guy went down.

After landing a pair of knees, Mack ran into a sleeperhold, which WALTER then turned into a massive release German suplex that flew Da Mack into da ropes. A butterfly suplex got WALTER a near-fall, before a lariat flattened Mack once more for another two-count. Mack hit back by turning a powerbomb into a DDT, then hit a springboard roundhouse kick off the top rope as a prelude to a plancha.

Back in the ring, they kept going back and forth as WALTER’s big boot was replied to with some Mack Magic (Ace crusher), but again WALTER went outside and was caught on the apron with a series of knees that knocked the Austrian to the floor. A step-up flip senton later, WALTER was knocked down once more. The referee started to count, and with Mack getting up in time to hit an enziguiri, he was able to make it back in as WALTER lost via count-out. That felt like another “slip on a banana peel” finish to me – but these two worked really well together in their ten minutes-or-so. ***

We got a replay of the break-up of the friendship between Alpha Kevin/Kevin Roadster and Marius van Beethoven, along with the “Alpha Lovers”’ gatecrashed wedding over the World Tag Team League weekend. This bled into van Beethoven talking down to Toni Storm as she challenged him on the wedding attack, and we’ve got ourselves quite the three way.

Alpha Female & Hakeem Waqur vs. Toni Storm & Tyler Bate vs. Melanie Gray & Alpha Kevin
Marius van Beethoven accompanied Alpha Female, and we started with the three women in the ring as Storm and Gray worked over the the Alpha Female. It was fast paced as they stuck to the “two in, one out” format, before Waqur and Alpha double-teamed Gray… until Alpha Kevin faked out a dive so Toni Storm could land a tope instead.

Storm landed a series of hip attacks to Alpha Female, before Melanie Gray threw one in herself. Gray took a spinebuster as she went for a Codebreaker, giving Alpha Female a chance to pound away and lock her in an Anaconda Vice… at least until Storm broke it up. Her reward for that was a reverse neckbreaker as Gray ate a regular DDT, leading to a pair of near-falls.

Gray tagged out to Alpha Kevin, which led to a triple-threat amongst the men. The pacing here was a little slower, and again they stuck to singles stuff as Bate and Waqur worked together. Well, by “work together” I mean “Bate hit a stalling suplex” before Kevin returned for more double teaming. Waqur backdropped Bate out of the ring, as Kevin ran into an elbow and a diving shoulder tackle

Bate came back and landed dropkicks to both opponents, before Waqur was felled by a missile dropkick and an Airplane Spin, before a blind tag saw the women return to the fray once more. Gray ate a German suplex as Storm landed a hip attack, only for Alpha Female to spear Storm out of her boots. Gray capitalised with some headscissors and a Meteora, before Alpha Female caught her on the top rope as we went to a Tower of Doom – powerbomb and superplex!

The men returned as Alpha Kevin laid into Bate and Waqur, before landing a John Cena-esque side slam for a near-fall on Waqur. Bate then threw Kevin onto the apron, and nearly paid for it with a sunset flip before coming back with a bridging German suplex for another near-fall. Waqur hit back with a Canadian backbreaker to Bate, before van Beethoven got involved as he teed up a crutch shot to Alpha Kevin… but Melanie Gray ran in and took him down with a spear through the ropes.

Gray rolled van Beethoven into the ring and demanded that Kevin take his shot, but Marius sold his knee and that caused Kevin to show some remorse, before turning around into a lariat from Waqur. From there, a cross-legged Falcon Arrow and an Arabian clutch forced Kevin to tap out, bringing a shockingly good triple-threat to an end. ***½

You know what was refreshing? Wrestling logic coming into play – the babyfaces worked together, disgusted by how Alpha Female ruined Melanie Gray’s wedding – and we had precious little of the typical “I want to win this, so I’ll attack anyone” mentality that pervades triple threats from the off these days.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Chris Colen
A fine outing from these two – and after our prior singles matches had been featured some “Banana Peel” finishes, it was a nice change to have something more conventional.

Both men started by taking each other into the ropes, before Dragunov landed a Saito suplex and a vertical suplex, but his offence was cut-off as he charged into a big boot from Colen. That started a long period on top for the Austrian, which included a spot where he lured in Dragunov for a back body drop, which Ilja stopped short of and looked to turn into a suplex, only to be suplexed himself. Colen persisted and fought off Dragunov three times to land a superplex, but the tables started to turn from there as he followed up with a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall.

Dragunov popped straight back up from a release German suplex into the corner, then had to kick out from a bridging German, before making his match-winning comeback that saw him drill Colen with a pair of Saito suplexes, before finally landing the Torpedo Moscow spinning uppercut for the win. Nothing flashy here, but perfectly good wrestling that didn’t drag at all. ***½

What followed next was a “Business Plan” presented by wXw’s Christian Michael Jakobi. Sadly, the whole segment didn’t have subtitles, which is odd given that this is the English version of the show. Commentator Sebastian Hollmichel got involved, and if Cagematch’s blurb is correct, I guess this is the segment where Karsten Beck (announced as Kartsten Beck on the graphic…) was confirmed as wXw’s new Sports/Athletic Director (depending on how literal you want to translate it!)

Julian Nero vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger
This was more of a storyline than a match – going in, the story was that Bad Bones was unhappy at how Cerberus was poisoning the mind of Dirty Dragan, so he was going to go through Cerberus to “save” Dragan.

It started out with Bad Bones rushing the ring, but he ran into a load of elbow strikes from Julian Nero, who threw in a spin-out back suplex, before Bones recovered with a dropkick and some chops. Adam Polak and Dirty Dragan were at ringside with Nero, and it wasn’t long before they got involved, as Polak provided a distraction to the referee, allowing Dragan to hit an implant DDT on Bad Bones. Nero didn’t go for the cover and instead kept on top of Bones with punches and stomps, before the next comeback saw Bad Bones hit a rolling forearm and a German suplex, only for Polak to hit the ring and attack Bones for a cheap disqualification finish. **

Julian Nero seemed unhappy with that result, and after Bad Bones knocked down Polak and Dragan, he took the microphone and demanded a no-DQ rematch right away.

No Disqualification: Julian Nero vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger
More of the same – but at least it started out different, as Bad Bones backdropped Nero to the outside as the bell, before landing a tope through the bottom ropes.

Back in the ring, Bad Bones countered a reverse DDT into a Rebel Lock (crossface) attempt, before scoring a near-fall with a slingshot spear from the apron. Again the rest of Cerberus (minus Ilja Dragunov) got involved; firstly, Dirty Dragan took a capture suplex as he tried to intervene, only for Adam Polak to blast Bad Bones with a metal spike, busting him open. From there, it was just a matter of waiting as Nero toyed with Bad Bones, before getting the win with a reverse DDT. More storyline stuff, but at least the action wasn’t horrendous. **¼

Marty Scurll vs. Jurn Simmons
This was non-title, with Simmons again declaring that this would be a “squash” in the pre-match promos.

Another fun, sub-ten minute match – Scurll started off quickly as he blasted Simmons with an umbrella before the bell, then followed up with a superkick off the apron and a DDT for an early two-count. Simmons recovered from there, using his power to wear down Marty in the corner, but his attempt at a superplex cost him as Scurll clapped the champions’ ears, before slipping out and kicking Jurn’s leg out of his leg.

Jurn fell for the “Just Kidding” superkick as Scurll enjoyed a resurgence as he continually went for the chicken wing, but Simmons kept avoiding it – first with a stiff elbow shot, before they went to the outside where an errant clothesline from Simmons saw him hit the ringpost. After shaking off a low blow, Scurll snapped Jurn’s fingers and went for a chicken wing, but ended up turning into a cradle for a near-fall before sidestepping a corner charge that saw Simmons hit the ring post. From there, it was elementary: another chicken wing attempt this time was successful as Simmons quickly tapped. A fun outing, and not much in the way of downtime as these two put on a match that was incredibly easy on the eyes. ***½

A backstage promo aired with wXw Hall-of-Famer Thumbtack Jack. In German. Without subtitles. Moving on… Next up was a promo with David Starr and Lio Rush hyping up the first ever tag team TLC match in wXw. Starr was annoyed that he’d lost his tag title without ever losing a match, as he should be. Another promo followed from A4 – again, in German, without subtitles.

Tables, Ladders & Chairs Match for wXw Tag Team Championship: A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani) vs. David Starr & Lio Rush
This wasn’t an all-out stunt show, but all four guys worked well with the TLC stipulations. They went back and forth early on, with Absolute Andy bringing back vivid memories of Shannon Moore bump as Andy dumped Lio Rush with an F5 in the opening exchanges.

Starr and Andy headed up to the stage for the ladders, but the American found himself chopped into, then booted out of a chair as Andy looked to set up four chairs as a makeshift crash pad. Andy didn’t succeed with an F5, but his partner Marius Al-Ani eventually succeeded with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex as Starr crashed through the chairs.

Lio Rush returned from that F5 to drop Al-Ani with a RVD-esque kick through a chair, before finally taking a ladder into the ring and made a first attempt to climb. That didn’t work well as Absolute Andy knocked him down, then planted Rush with a spinebuster, before using a chair to swat away an attempted handspring back elbow off the ropes. David Starr tasted the chair too, courtesy of a drop toe hold, before recovering as he and Rush climbed the ladder… only for Al-Ani’s missile dropkick to knock them off.

Later on, Rush tried the same trick to prevent Al-Ani from grabbing the titles, but his springboard missile dropkick led to Lio crashing and burning. Rush was again taken outside and wiped out with an over-the-turnbuckles dive from Al-Ani, before David Starr’s attempt to put Absolute Andy through a table predictably ended when Al-Ani pushed him off the top turnbuckle and through the table on the outside.

With the original ladder broken, Andy and Al-Ani looked to get a second one… except it came in two separate halves, and they struggled to piece it together. Lio Rush came in and took one of those pieces for the Terry Funk ladder spot, which succeeded in just tiring him out as A4 ducked the spinning metal, before Rush went to the back and grabbed an already-made ladder.

Lio’s night got worse as he took an electric chair gutbuster and a German suplex onto the ladder as the match headed to a crescendo – and yes, we had our final two big bumps. With a ladder in the middle of the ring, one of the ladder halves was acting as a bridge between the top rope and the ladder, whilst a table was placed on the other side: Rush took out Al-Ani with a Spanish Fly off the ladder and through the table, which ended their involvement for both of them.

That left Starr and Andy as the last men standing, so they rushed up the ladder and traded shots back and forth… and just as Starr had his hands on the tag title belts he was never beaten for, Andy grabbed his hand and pushed him back through the ladder bridge, leaving Andy clear to take the titles. A grand TLC main event without too much in the way of spectacular-but-career-shortening bumps ***¾

All-in, Broken Rules XVI was an easy show to watch. At just over two hours, the only throwaway stuff were the “matches” between Bad Bones and Julian Nero – but that was purely because of how short and interference-riddled the matches were. My only complaint is that there was too much content in here that wasn’t subtitled – yes, wXw are making great strides in having their product accessible to non-German speakers by having English commentary, but if subtitling German promos isn’t an option, either don’t include them or have Alan Counihan on commentary summarise them at the end.

That nitpick aside, I’m kicking myself for taking so long to watch this, especially since by the time this has gone up, they’ll have held their absolutely loaded 16th anniversary show.