It’s the final block match, as Marius al-Ani and Tristan Archer decide which of them will face Cara Noir in tomorrow’s final.
They’ve been building this match up since Archer’s upset loss in week one – but it’s simple: Archer needs to win to make the finals, with any other result not only extending al-Ani’s unbeaten run, but also puts him there instead.
Senza Volto again joins Dään Jokisch and Nico Schmidt on the preview panel. As usual, they run down the standings, before they reiterate what’s on the line today.
Backstage, Tristan’s told he has to win… he brings up Marius’ losing run before Carat, and promises to mock al-Ani should he lose tonight. But just for the rest of the year. It could be a long 19 days…
As for al-Ani, he puts pressure back on Archer by saying that he’s here to win – not to go for a draw. He’s more focused on a winning streak than an unbeaten run… and again points out how Archer lost to Vincent Heisenberg in week one.
Catch Grand Prix 2020 – Block B: Marius al-Ani vs. Tristan Archer
Round 1: We’ve got a scrappy start as both men were looking to land some blows before the first lock-up quickly ended in the corner. al-Ani goes for the leg, but Archer countered with a roll-up for just a one-count, before Marius looked to score a hiptoss. That’s blocked, as a waistlock from al-Ani’s countered out of with the two men reaching a stand-off. Archer grabs the arm, but again gets charged into the corner as al-Ani breaks, then looked to sting Archer with kicks. It drew a reply, but it’s caught as a leg sweep took the Frenchman down to the mat… only for the favour to be returned as the first round closes out.
Round 2: The two hook up again with al-Ani seemingly looking to throw Archer out of the ring, but a headbutt from Archer gives him time to toss out Marius instead… and earned him a €20 fine too. A kick from Archer keeps Marius on the floor ahead of a tope, before he used the ropes to stun al-Ani. An attempted springboard Codebreaker back in was caught, with al-Ani looking to roll Archer… but he’s pushed off as a step-up elbow drop off the ropes landed for just a one-count. A punch from al-Ani takes Archer into the corner, before some kicks took Archer down to a knee ahead of a pop-up Go 2 Sleep. I don’t think I’ve seen that before. It left both men laid out as the second round wound down… but they beat the standing ten count before trading blows as the round ended.
Round 3: Archer remained a little tentative to start the third round, still looking to test al-Ani with kicks before he blocked a step-up Superman punch off the ropes. Instead, he tried to hit a Falcon arrow, then sidestepped another Superman punch before scooping up al-Ani for the Falcon arrow for a near-fall. al-Ani lays in wait as he tries to catch Archer with an ankle lock, but Archer kicks the arm away as he looked to put Marius away with the tombstone gutbuster – but Marius rolls out of the Cipher UTAKI and grabs the ankle lock… only for Archer to roll free and apply one of his own! Marius pushes free, then kips up for an overhead kick as both men were left laid out. They get back up to trade more strikes, before Marius tried to end the round with a submission, grabbing a triangle armbar that served to draw Archer in as al-Ani segued into another ankle lock as time ran out.
Round 4: Marius looked a little annoyed at the clock beating him at the end of the prior round, and looked to charge at Archer at the bell, but instead we get some close-quarter strikes. Leaping knees stun Archer, who came back with a Pele kick, before a crucifix pin almost got the win for al-Ani. He followed that up with a headscissors/leg submission a la Zack Sabre Jr., throwing in some punches as well as referee Tassilo Jung was forced to stop the match. A pretty efficient performance from al-Ani, who never really looked in in doubt as Archer seemed to lack urgency.
Result: Marius al-Ani defeated Tristan Archer at 0:57 of Round 4 via referee stoppage (***¼)
Having gone out in the first round at 16 Carat Gold, al-Ani’s now in the Catch Grand Prix final, facing Cara Noir tomorrow. Andy Jackson pops up for the interview, noting that the final has al-Ani facing the last man to beat him… and there’s your long term storyline telling, folks! Andy was surprised that Marius wasn’t looking forward to it, since Marius called winning “his job,” and that’s a bit of a slippery slope!
Backstage, Nico Schmidt’s with Tristan Archer, who’s sore from having his tournament bookended by losses. He noted that this was “do or die”, but he didn’t “do” as he passed out in that hold… while Nico said he hoped to see Archer back in 2021.
Cara Noir (4-1-1; 9pts)
Metehan (4-1-1; 9pts)
Avalanche (3-1-2; 8pts)
Bobby Gunns (3-1-2; 8pts)
Fast Time Moodo (2-4; 4pts)
Hektor Invictus (1-4-1; 3pts)
Anil Marik (0-5-1; 1pt)
Marius al-Ani (6-0; 12pts)
Tristan Archer; Senza Volto (4-2; 8pts)
Emil Sitoci*; Prince Ahura; Norman Harras (2-4; 4pts)
Vincent Heisenberg (1-5; 2pts)
* Ender Kara wrestled in week seven for Emil Sitoci; his win gets credited to Sitoci’s points total.
Disciplinary: €4725 of fines; thirty-three yellow cards and one red card.
Sunday! It’s the wXw Catch Grand Prix final as Cara Noir faces Marius al-Ani – that’ll drop on wXw NOW at noon UK time – we’ll have our report up later on the afternoon!