The final four in the Catch Grand Prix reconvene as wXw’s one-night tournament came to a head in Oberhausen.
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 Semi-Final: Bobby Gunns submitted Maggot in 9:07 (***)
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 Semi-Final: Axel Tischer submitted Fast Time Moodo in 9:47 (***¼)
Vincent Heisenberg pinned Norman Harras in 10:54 to win the wXw Shotgun Championship (**¾)
Marius al-Ani submitted Cara Noir in 23:08 to retain the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship (****)
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 Final: Axel Tischer pinned Bobby Gunns at 2:30 of Round 5 (***½)
We’re back at the Congress Centrum in Oberhausen for the second half of the Blitztournier… they show highlights from the first round, as Dave Bradshaw provides English commentary.
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 Semi-Final – Relaxed Rules: Maggot vs. Bobby Gunns
Relaxed Rules basically means no-DQ, and I’ve only just noticed that the lower thirds are inspired by the 80s WWF.
Maggot fakes out a strike early on, but Gunns went for his wrist in return, as cooler heads then prevailed. Things are pretty even in the initial stages, with Gunns charging down Maggot and his Anarchy bandage, only for Maggot to hit back with a spear for an early two-count.
Heading outside, Maggot grabs some chairs, edging ahead on a duel as Maggot then whacked Gunns with the seat of a chair for a two-count. More plunder from the outside sees Maggot choke out Gunns some bungee cord, but Gunns gets free and returned with a back suplex, then a PK as a half crab from the former champion ended with Maggot pulling himself to the floor, since rope breaks don’t count in these matches.
On the outside, Gunns teases a gutwrench powerbomb through the ring announcer’s table, but Gunns gets thrown onto the table instead, which didn’t bend or break. Maggot leaps off a chair to hit a big splash, but again, the table doesn’t break, so we head back inside while Maggot crawls under the ring and grabs a toolbox.
Maggot grabs a chisel from the toolbox and went to spike Gunns with it… but Gunns manages to grab an armbar and turns it around as he pushed the chisel towards Maggot’s eye for the entirely-understandable submission. That escalated bloody quickly, huh? ***
At ringside, Bobby Gunns seemed stunned at the attempted murder he just had to defend himself from.
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 Semi-Final – Ambition Rules: Fast Time Moodo vs. Axel Tischer
Ambition rules are basically knock-out, ref stoppage or submission… and it’s a quick turnaround as Moodo faced Tischer at the 20th Anniversary show a month earlier, losing in the opener there.
Tischer takes it to the mat early on, where Moodo looked for a hold… eventually doing so as he got Tischer’s back, only for Tischer to grab the arm instead. An attempted Kimura’s resisted by Moodo, who came back with kicks as Tischer was in the ropes for a brief spell.
A butterfly suplex from Moodo leaves Tischer down as we get a standing ten count, before Judo-style throw had Tischer back down. He gets back up, and took down Moodo with a Dragon screw as both men then worked simultaneous leglocks. Those don’t have much effect, so they look for something else, only for Tischer to get caught in a triangle choke.
Moodo can’t get a stoppage from that, as Tischer tries to powerbomb his way free… only for Moodo to block it with elbows to the head. Tischer finally escapes and grabbed a cross armbar, but it ends in the ropes before Moodo hit back with a head kick, almost getting the victory via TKO there.
Tischer gets back up and lands some uppercuts, but an axe kick dropped Tischer as we almost had another TKO. Getting back up, Tischer’s back with elbows, but Moodo’s kicks wear him down again, only for Tischer to daze Moodo with palm strikes, before he rolled Moodo down for a Bully choke for the submission. Second time unlucky for Moodo, as Tischer makes it to the final… but when Moodo figures out the Axeman, that’ll be a hell of an accomplishment. ***¼
Dan Mallmann’s on hand to quiz Tischer, whose response was: “everything hurts.”
Thommy Giesen’s in the ring to announce that Absolute Andy has stepped down as the promotion’s Sporting Director (authority figure)… and we’re going to find out who his replacement is…
Kaspin had retired from in-ring action, having last wrestled in August 2019, after a back injury had initially put his career on hold. Francis was one of the big up and coming stars that wXw were starting to push back when they had Shotgun. He says straight up that he’ll not be wrestling anymore, but he’s going to go back to his original goal to take wrestling to new heights.
There’s one heckler in the crowd (who’s translated) that Kaspin shoots down, before he talked up Stephanie Maze… and how the women of wXw have nothing to work towards. In one fell swoop, Kaspin stripped Amale of the women’s title (which got a hell of a reaction), before he announced wXw’s 21st anniversary show on December 18, at the big Turbinenhalle. Hope it’s ready then, as I’ll see you there! Mask or no mask!
Talk then turned to the vacant Shotgun title… so why not do the lottery draw to determine who’ll fight for the belt?
wXw Shotgun Championship: Norman Harras vs. Vincent Heisenberg
Some of the crowd didn’t seem thrilled that Norman’s name came up first, while Heisenberg’s name put the fear of God into Norman.
“Norbert” tries to play keepaway in the opening stages, but grabbed a side headlock before Heisenberg just shoulder blocked him to the outside. Back in the ring, Norman swarms Heisenberg, then low bridged him to the outside… but Norman’s attempt to follow was stopped by Baby Allison, whose distraction allowed Heisenberg back in it.
Chops wear down Harras, who’s then slammed to the mat, then slapped back down as Harras’ offence just wasn’t getting him any headway. A mounted sleeperhold took Heisenberg down to a knee, but after getting free Heisenberg just charges Harras down for a two-count.
A sleeperhold keeps Harras down, but Norman swings his way free, then escaped a slam before he manages to take the big man down with a back suplex. Harras’ uppercut follows, but a back body drop keeps Heisenberg in it only for him to get hung up in the ropes. A running boot takes Heisenberg to the outside, but Heisenberg’s able to come right back with a powerslam that would have won it, had Norman not put his feet under the ropes to break the pin.
Heisenberg splashes Harras in the corner, then hits a clothesline to keep the two-counts coming, before Harras hit the ropes and lands an uppercut off the middle rope. Baby Allison distracts again, but hits a splits to avoid a strike from Harras, who then turned around into a sit-out tombstone to get the win. A dominant showing from Heisenberg, as poor Norman’s run for the title ends up falling short. **¾
Post-match, Anil Marik ran out to make the save as Heisenberg went to attack Harras some more… only for Heisenberg to boot the chair away. Robert Dreissker’s in next and has more luck, throwing the chair at Heisenberg before he clotheslined him to the outside. Getting back to his feet, Harras shoves Dreissker away as it seems he’s perhaps hankering for the taste of dog food again?
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Cara Noir vs. Marius Al-Ani (c)
al-Ani lost to Cara Noir in the first round of 16 Carat Gold last year – in what was incidentally his last loss, as Marius has since gone on to establish a 29-0 winning run that also included beating Cara in the finals of last year’s Catch Grand Prix.
We’ve dualling chants to start, but Cara Noir looked to start on offence with a key lock that al-Ani kicked away from. A shoulder charge pins Cara into the ropes, while Marius followed up with an overhead wristlock as the tit-for-tat exchange of holds looked to establish any kind of advantage.
A series overhead belly-to-belly suplexes from al-Ani has Cara Noir on the mat, while an ankle lock quickly ended in the ropes as Cara Noir sought respite. al-Ani stays on Cara with a snapmare and a low dropkick for a two-count, before another overhead suplex had Cara back in the corner.
A fourth almost spiked Cara on his head as Marius was dictating the pace of proceedings, but Cara Noir manages to hit back, stomping Marius in mid-kip-up as the champion looked for an Exploder. Kicks and knees weakened al-Ani for a German suplex, as Cara Noir’s brief flurry ended with a spinning heel kick that took the pair into the corner. Recovering, Cara nails some forearms before a sliding elbow in the ropes left Marius on the deck.
Cara Noir sneaks in a Rude Awakening neckbreaker for a two-count, before he deadlifted him up… but al-Ani drops onto the apron and finally came back in with a slingshot sunset-flip, a kip-up and an Exploder as the match swung back in his favour. An ankle lock has Cara Noir scrambling for the ropes, but his dives fall short as Cara needed to roll al-Ani to the outside to break up the hold.
Cara’s hobbling, but still manages to dive onto Marius’ back, grabbing in the renamed Black Swan choke on the floor. He lets go and rolls back into the ring, breaking the count as Marius was still down and out. Back in the ring, Marius finds a new head of steam, throwing forearms before an up-kick from Cara Noir cut him off ahead of the Madame Guillotine over-the-knee brainbuster that nearly won it.
Marius blocks a package piledriver by stamping on Cara’s feet, which is making the best of the environment around… but Cara shrugs it off and climbed the ropes for another Black Swan sleeper. Marius gets free though then joined Cara up top for a superplex, which nearly leads to the win… but Cara kicks out at two and stays in the game.
A Diamond Driver’s blocked by Cara Noir, who leaps back in with a Black Swan sleeper… it looks to have al-Ani on his knees, only for Marius to charge both men to the outside to save his title. al-Ani slides back in as he was looking for the count-out win… but Cara Noir flips him off… and Marius slides back out to put a beating to him again.
Of course, that resets the countout, and keeps Cara in it, as the challenger finds a second wind with a series of kicks, only for a Superman punch to KO Cara for another near-fall. It’s back to the ankle lock, before Marius’ attempt to switch up into a Diamond Driver led him into a Black Swan… but an eye rake breaks it up, with a blinded Cara looking for a Swan Woo… only for a Diamond Driver to land for another near-fall!
That had the crowd on their feet… and enraged al-Ani some more, as an ankle lock ends up forcing Cara Noir to tap. Typically, I’d have bemoaned how Cara Noir hadn’t come into this feeling like much of a threat, but his resilience throughout the match seemed to win him fans, even if Marius held on a little longer to stretch his run to 30-0. ****
wXw Catch Grand Prix 2021 Final: Bobby Gunns vs. Axel Tischer
We’re under Catch Grand Prix rules here – so it’ll be an endless series three-minute rounds to a single fall finish… and we’ve prior form, with Gunns beating Tischer in November 2019 as part of Bobby’s ever-lengthening unbeaten run in Hamburg.
Round 1: We go to ground early, as Tischer looked for a double chicken wing, only for Gunns to scurry free and into the corner. Another lockup and a roll down gives Tischer a one-count, before Gunns grabbed a wristlock, but Tischer pushes free to hit a leg lariat, before a suplex and a chinlock rode out the round.
Round 2: Gunns is the aggressor to start, sweeping Tischer’s leg as he went for the Swish armbar early, but Tischer escapes only to get rolled back to the mat, The Axeman’s back with slams, but Gunns trapped the leg and worked his way back to the arm, looking for the armbar before he maneuvered the arm and stomped on Tischer’s elbow. It’s back to Tischer’s arm and wrist next, but the time runs out as we unofficially are level at a round apiece.
Round 3: Gunns charges at Tischer with a German suplex and a clothesline at the bell, but after getting a two-count, Gunns drops onto a Fujiwara armbar as he looked to shut things out quickly. When that didn’t work, Gunns’ kicks earned him a Dragon screw from Tischer, who tried to block a snapmare, only to get his elbow stomped on again after Gunns had rolled him down. Another stomp to the elbow, this time off the top, was too measured, as Tischer gets up and caught Gunns with a belly-to-belly superplex as the third round closed out.
I miss the alternative “between rounds” music they had last year…
Round 4: Both men were still down as the round started, so we start with the pair fighting from their knees. Tischer pulls ahead with an uppercut and a bicycle kick, before an elevated Flatliner, a flying clothesline and a German suplex almost saw Tischer win out with that flurry. Gunns tries to close the space, but Tischer’s able to get even closer with a rear naked choke… which Gunns broke after he went for the arm. An Octopus stretch has Tischer in trouble, with Gunns pulling him down to the mat before going for the arm, eventually getting an armbar in as time ran out.
Round 5: Tischer teases a German suplex at the start, but Gunns escapes with an O’Connor roll… from the kick-out, Tischer reapplies the rear naked choke, but Gunns rolls free and stomps on the elbow again. An enziguiri from Tischer earns him a bicycle kick as the pair go back-and-forth, leading to a Gunns headbutt and clothesline that only got a one-count. A PK from Gunns is next for a two-count, before it’s back to the Swish armbar, following up with a mounted Kimura, only for Tischer to try and suplex free. It backfires as Gunns applies a sleeperhold, which Tischer escaped, then retaliated back with knees and a sit-out powerbomb for the win the tournament.
A good back-and-forth match, with Gunns looking to have been ahead as far as the state of play went, but Tischer’s flurries were too much for Gunns to deal with, with the final shots being more than enough to win the trophy. ***½
After the match, Tischer marvelled at the trophy and used it as a inspirational tool – saying that if you work towards something and work hard, you’ll reach your goal, no matter what. Speaking of goals, Tischer looks to have his eyes on the Unified World Wrestling title, but didn’t explicitly say that, only saying that step two of his plan, “the time will come” before he celebrated with the trophy…
“The business end” of the Catch Grand Prix was an enjoyable watch – with everything here offering something different – be it the unexpected violence of the relaxed rules match, the ground game in the Ambition rules match, or Vincent Heisenberg’s ascent to his first piece of gold in wXw… while a familiar face may have won the Catch Grand Prix, wXw’s putting more weight behind their developing home-grown talent. Where they – and wXw – go as the German scene slowly opens up again will be very intriguing.