It might not be the expected format, but wXw got the Catch Grand Prix underway in Oberhausen with the first part of the show giving us all of the first round matches.
Goldenboy Santos pinned The Rotation in 7:22 (***)
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round: Axel Tischer defeats Tristan Archer, Akira Francesco & Dennis Dullnig in 11:56 (***)
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round First Blood: Maggot defeats Robert Dreissker in 8:47 (**½)
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round: Bobby Gunns & Levaniel pinned Leon van Gasteren & Michael Knight in 12:08 (***½)
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round Best Two Out Of Three Falls: Fast Time Moodo defeats Stephanie Maze by 2 falls to 1 in 16:01 (***½)
We’re back at the Congress Centrum in Oberhausen… and we’re thrown straight into the warm-up match! Dave Bradshaw’s on English commentary.
The Rotation vs. Goldenboy Santos
This was Santos’ first big show back – having won on his return against a debuting Tibo Hendrik.
Opening with a fist-bump, we’re quickly in with pinning attempts as Santos tries to muscle down Rotation, but lucha armdrags got Rotation free en route to a stand-off… only for Santos to leap in with an uppercut. A spinning gutwrench suplex keeps Rotation down for a two-count, but Rotation’s back with a Victory Roll and some headscissors, before a dropkick nearly put Santos away.
A brainbuster from Santos lands for a near-fall, before he caught a springboard from Rotation, turning it into a death valley driver for a near-fall. Rotation’s back with a superkick, before he cartwheeled off the top en route to a satellite DDT. Santos rolls away from the Victory Over Gravity, but Rotation followed him outside with a tope, then rolled him back in for another crack at the 450 splash… only for Santos to get his knees up, as a Midas Touch lariat put Rotation away to keep the Portuguese native’s winning return going. ***
Cue titles as we get the proper introduction to the show, with ring announcer Thommy Giesen leading the parade of entrants.
Then we get a promo video, with all of the entrants doing the “I’m going to win the Royal Rumble” talk, while throwing in the brackets…
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round: Tristan Archer vs. Akira Francesco vs. Dennis Dullnig vs. Axel Tischer
The opening stipulation is a four-way… while Dennis Dullnig was just applauding everyone for some reason.
Only the winner goes through to the next round, and we start with Dullnig getting dumped to the outside as things quickly boiled down to everyone going for Tischer as Francesco, Archer and Tischer reached a quick stalemate. Archer tries to stall Francesco with bodyslams, before Dullnig’s interference led to Archer coming in to hit a slam of his own. Dullnig finally mounts some offence, hanging Archer in the ropes for a baseball slide German suplex, only for Akira to dive in with a low-pe to the outside. Headscissors back inside and a leg lariat take Dullnig down, before uppercuts from Tischer cleared house. Recovering, Dullnig drops Tischer with a forearm for a near-fall, but a dropkick from Tischer ends up turning it back around.
Archer’s back with a slam, but his back senton’s blocked by Dullnig’s knees, as the ensuring melee leads to a big boot from Dullnig for a near-fall. Dullnig keeps control though, booting Archer away, only for Tischer to come back with a German suplex to start a big ol’ Parade of Moves. A double clothesline takes care of Archer and Dullnig, as Tischer returned… only for Akira to walk over Dullnig and Archer like stepping stones en-route to a ‘rana on Tischer for a near-fall. That was glorious! All four men slug it out for a while, but we go back to Dullnig getting triple-teamed, before we got stacked-up submission attempts. A backpack stunner from Archer cleared the way, but Dullnig broke up the pin on Francesco, as we break down some more, with Akira diving onto Dullnig on the outside.
Archer rolls through a crossbody from Francesco, turning it into the Coup d’etat for a near-fall, as Tischer broke it up… he eats La Terreur, but counters a clothesline into a death valley driver, before a sit-out powerbomb put Archer away, as Tischer booked his spot in an Ambition-rules semi. ***
Post-match, Andy Jackson catches Tischer for an interview – Tischer said that this was just the first step, before he refused to pick a preferred opponent for his Ambition-rules semi.
Backstage, Dan Mallmann asks Robert Dreissker how he felt about being sent to the back by Anil Marik at Inner Circle. Dreissker saw no issue with that because it made it a fairer fight,
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round – First Blood Match: Maggot vs. Robert Dreissker
…brought to you by Maggot’s Country and Dance theme!
Anil Marik’s out with Dreissker, while Maggot’s got an ask to wear amateur boxing headgear, so he’s got less body area to bleed from. Tassilo Jung had no issue with it, and we get going with Maggot playing keepaway as he kicked Dreissker in the early moments. Dreissker rips off the head gear after a minute, so Maggot’s got to play smart here, but his fists to the head are pushed away as Dreissker looked to wear him down. A dropkick took Maggot into the corner, but on the outside Maggot tries to draw blood with some biting, before Dreissker retaliated by trying to post him. Instead, Maggot blocks, but so does Dreissker as he went to pull out Maggot’s nose ring. Hey, if it works, it works.
Some right hands from both men follow as Dreissker again blocks a trip to the ring post, before the pair returned to the ring, where Dreissker just splashed Maggot. Off comes a turnbuckle pad as Dreissker went to the dark side, but a low blow stops him as some boots looked to bloody up the Academy head coach. Maggot wriggles out of a Snake Eyes in the corner, returning with a cutter instead as some ground and pound looked to open up Dreissker. A back body drop flings Maggot across the ring, before a fallaway slam looked to lead to a Dreissker Bomb… but Dreissker stomps himself and opted for punches that were more likely to draw blood.
More biting stops it, while a cutter countered Dreissker’s death valley driver, as Maggot proceeded to bite the nose. Another cutter’s blocked as Maggot’s thrown into the referee… cue a death valley driver, before Dreissker threw some more right hands. Out comes Vincent Heisenberg to interfere as Maggot’s been busted open. Baby Allison’s got a towel and some Vaseline to mop up the blood, while Dreissker’s posted by Heisenberg, and since Dreissker’s the first thing that Tassilo Jung sees after getting back to his feet, that’s the call we get as the crowd booed. An unpopular result, but a good way to keep the feud going as Maggot and Allison found a heck of a way to skirt by the rules. **½
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round: Bobby Gunns & Levaniel vs. Leon van Gasteren & Michael Knight
Winner of the fall moves on to face Maggot in a relaxed rules match. Levaniel’s loved in Oberhausen, and it’s reciprocated too… unlike the attempt to try and shoehorn the old “Gunns, Bobby Gunns” chant into his current theme.
Gunns and Knight start, rekindling their mini-feud going into Shortcut to the Top, but instantly we had van Gasteren trying to break up the pin as Gunns went for early roll-ups. Knight and Gunns trade uppercuts to try and wear each other down, then forearms, before an overhead kick from Knight sent Gunns back into the corner… Levaniel tags in, but had his pin broken up by his partner as we already had dissension. All four men end up in the ring, but the referee clears them out as Gunns seemed rather annoyed he’d been tagged out in the first place. Van Gasteren is in to hit some headscissors, but Knight blind-tagged in and had his own pin broken up as a side-Russian legsweep from Knight led to a Tequila Sunrise on Levaniel.
Gunns boots Knight to break up the hold, before Levaniel returned with a spinning heel kick. Again, the cover’s broken as Gunns blind-tagged himself in, then went for a submission attempt before he focused on Knight’s arm. Levaniel blind-tags in as this started to become a game of “avoid the corners”. Elbow drops from Levaniel get just a one-count as Gunns kicked the pin apart, but curiously didn’t break it up instantly when Knight had a Trailer Hitch on. When Gunns came in though, van Gasteren does the same as we get a Human Centipede of submissions, which get broken up as Levaniel proceeds to catch Knight’s crossbody, as we somehow wound up with Gunns and Levaniel working together, only for Knight to break free with a double Sliced Bread.
Van Gasteren tagged in and ran wild with Exploders, before his attempt to overcome the 2-on-1 ended with an accidental DDT from Levaniel to Gunns. Knight tags back in and throws van Gasteren to the outside, before he had to block a finisher from Levaniel… a springboard corkscrew senton to Gunns and van Gasteren on the outside looked to keep Knight on the home straight, but Levaniel hits the Intergalactic Facebuster for a near-fall as Gunns broke up the pin.
A brief argument ends with Gunns hitting Levaniel with an Ehrenmann Driver, before he tagged himself in… a Saito suplex took care of Knight, while a stunner from the legal van Gasteren nearly ends things. Van Gasteren goes all Stone Cold on Knight, only for Gunns to return with an O’Connor roll for the win. Look, usually I’d be mad about the “break up the pin stuff”, but this a) wasn’t an elimination match and b) had stakes where the winner of the fall mattered, as we ended up with a wacky game of cat and mouse. Now, if this had been a Battle Bowl style match where both sets of partners were curiously also in feuds against each other, this’d have been glorious. ***½
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 First Round – Best Two Out Of Three Falls: Fast Time Moodo vs. Stephanie Maze
The winner of this gets Axel Tischer in the Ambition-rules semi-final… and given these two had a double KO in their first singles match in wXw, we may well need the decider!
We start with a lot of kicks being checked, before Moodo took Maze to the mat… then offered her a hand up. Another exchange sees Moodo go for a side headlock, but Maze shoves him into the ropes, before the pair broke out into pinning attempts. More checked kicks end with Moodo bowing, before the kicks resumed. Maze looked to get a dead leg first, so she chopped Moodo back, following up with a nice spinning heel kick and a suplex, before a diving kick drew a two-count. Moodo returns with a suplex of his own, before chops took Maze into the corner. An Irish whip bounced her across the ring, while a half crab ended with Maze getting to the ropes.
Moodo and Maze trade snapmares and kicks to the back, before exchanges of elbows led to the Sky Fall – almost like a Black Belt Kick – as Maze took the first fall at 10:27. From the restart, Maze tries to nick the win with a back suplex, before she proceeded to kick Moodo’s leg out of his leg. Another back suplex followed for a near-fall, as Moodo remained on the defensive, getting boxed into the corner as the ref forced a separation. Moodo’s elbow blocks Maze, as did a boot, before Maze caught him on the top rope with a press slam. That’s good for a two-count, before Moodo blocked another kick, as the pair traded pump kicks, leading to a Black Belt Kick out of nowhere to tie it up at 14:28.
It’s down to sudden death then, but Maze crumbles as Moodo tried another Black Belt Kick out of the gate. Maze has a brief hope with a German suplex, but she’s still on jelly legs, and Moodo quickly finished her off with another Black Belt Kick to win the match. An enjoyable contest between tag partners, who’ll hopefully not have too much to patch up after the fact. ***½
Post-match, Dan Mallmann interviews Maze and Moodo at ringside. Moodo put over Maze for the performance on her return match, before noting that he’s facing Axel Tischer for the second time in as many months… and that he’ll bring plenty to the table against the Ambition-expert Tischer.
Coming up in part two – which drops on wXw NOW on Sunday – is the relaxed rules semi-final between Bobby Gunns and Maggot, the Ambition-rules semi-final between Axel Tischer and Fast Time Moodo, plus the Catch Grand Prix final… in addition to the Shotgun title match and Cara Noir challenging for the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship held by Marius al-Ani. With the first half over and done in two hours, this was an enjoyable set of matches that breezed by to set up for the “money” finale in the second half. The selection of stipulations may be a bit weird, but all of them worked in their own way – and helped continue longer-term storylines outside of the tournament as well.