The Catch Grand Prix kicks off in style as the last two winners of 16 Carat Gold met in the tournament’s opening contest!

So, the Catch Grand Prix tournament is something new that wXw is trying. They first started dropping hints of it at their 19th Anniversary show last December (which sure does feel like a lot longer than ten months ago!), before it was confirmed as a throwback to the European catch wrestling tournaments of old.

Unfortunately, the plans to have this as a five-day festival event went out the window because of the current pandemic, as did the announced participation of JD Drake and Laredo Kid. Undeterred, wXw kept the format on the books though, and taped the entirety of the tournament in September, with the matches being released daily. The rules for this are pretty similar to what NXT UK are doing for the Heritage Cup, except it’s one fall wins across 5 x 3-minute rounds. A win gets you two points, a draw gets one, while there’s fines and public warnings, with €100 fines for each yellow card, before a red card (from three yellows or a heavy foul) leads to a disqualification and a €250 fine. Since this is the format for the whole tournament (rather than the mix of formats on NXT UK), it’s not going to be as jarring.

We open with Nico Schmidt and Dään Jokisch joined at ringside by Bobby Gunns, who’s letting the side down by not wearing a bow tie. Nico presents a rundown of the rules of the tournament – revealing that the Catch Grand Prix is for a cash prize, with everyone involved paying €500 to get in. The overall winner gets 60% of the pool, the runner up gets 20%, while the block runner ups get 10% each – all declared to the taxman, I’m sure!

Bobby is asked about his history with both of tonight’s competitors – as Dään brings up how Cara Noir still has his title shot to cash in from 16 Carat Gold. Bobby just calls Cara a moron for competing in another tournament rather than cashing in his shot, before he stonewalled the lads on any questions on Metehan. Backstage, Andy Jackson interviews Metehan, who shot down Cara Noir’s credential as being a 16 Carat Gold winner, noting that he’s won it too. Metehan’s confident of winning the whole tournament because he’s doing it for his family… especially because his sick mum needs medicine. Andy gets a bit more of an answer out of Metehan about Bobby Gunns, but they’re playing that all is not well.

Sebastian Hollmichel is on commentary for the whole tournament.

Catch Grand Prix 2020 – Block A: Cara Noir vs. Metehan
Given how little Cara’s done in wXw, they absolutely nailed his entrance. I feel that’ll be happening a lot in the next seven weeks…

Round 1: We get going with Metehan beckoning Cara Noir his way, before a lock-up took Cara into the corner. They go to ground, with Metehan having to push Noir away as Sebastian steered away from Metehan’s motives. Going back to the ground, Noir ties up Metehan’s legs, then kneeled on his back as hs proceeded to stretch him with a grounded bow-and-arrow that ended in the ropes. The pair do their poses, ending with Metehan slapping Noir… who chops back as he built up a head of steam, charging Metehan into the buckles repeatedly before a snapmare and a kick to the back from Noir ended the first round.

Round 2: Noir tries to charge at Metehan with a corner dropkick at the bell, but it misses as the Shotgun champion took over. A back elbow drops Noir to the mat as Metehan proceeded to stomp on the wing, right as the crowd chanted “honourless” at Metehan. Noir takes a turnbuckle a la Bret Hart, before more elbows from Metehan ended with Cara pushing him away ahead of a shotgun dropkick. A second dropkick’s caught as Metehan hung up Noir in the corner… following up with some stomps that forced referee Tassilo Jung to give out a yellow card and a €100 fine. Another €50 fine followed as he wouldn’t let Noir get free, before another yellow card made the total €250. All those clothes Metehan can’t buy now… by the way, unlike football, it’s three yellows for a red card (unless you’re Graham Poll). Eventually Noir got back to his feet, but time runs out on the round.

Round 3: Metehan grabs Noir at the bell, pulling him down into the BABO lock, stopping to rake Noir’s face before the quick rope break. Noir avoids a punt to the arm, but not the stomps as Metehan proceeded to keep him on the mat with a clothesline. Back on his feet, Cara tries to fight back, but he’s caught with a dropkick to the back before Metehan put him in the BABO lock… again ending in the ropes. This time he kicks the arm away, but a springboard DDT’s rolled through as Noir hits an up kick before he struggled Metehan up for the over-the-knee brainbuster… but the Shotgun champion blocks it and whipped the arm down to the mat. We hit the final thirty seconds of the ring with the pair trading elbows, with Noir landing a flurry of strikes as the clock saves Metehan.

Round 4: Metehan barely gets to his feet in time for the start of the round, as the pair swing fists at each other. A forearm from Metehan has Noir down, but Metehan misses a charge and takes a rebound German suplex. A superkick and a Rude Awakening neckbreaker from Noir lands, but he can’t make the cover, and ends up getting thrown outside as he went for the over-the-knee brainbuster. Noir rolls back in, but gets caught with a springboard dropkick before a springboard DDT back into the ring gets barely a one-count. Metehan pulls Noir up for the Evil Eye, but Noir counters back with that Madame Guillotine over-the-knee brainbuster. We hit the final 30 seconds of the round, but Metehan swipes Cara Noir before the clock wound down.

Round 5: It’s win or bust here, as Cara Noir’s still on his knees as the bell rang to start the final round. Noir does the old Lucky Kid pose – with the finger and the tongue sticking out – which enrages Metehan… who ran into Noir, who caught him in the Blackout sleeper for the quick submission.

Result: Cara Noir submitted Metehan in 0:38 of round 5 (***½)

They nearly went the distance, with Cara Noir playing mind games to get him the win. They used the various rules well here, with Metehan putting himself at a financial and positional disadvantage after one match.

We get the standings after one match…

Block A
Cara Noir (1-0; 2pts)
Hektor Invictus, Anil Marik, Avalanche, Fast Time Moodo, Bobby Gunns (0-0; 0pts)
Metehan (0-1; 0pts)

Block B
Senza Volto, Emil Sitoci, Prince Ahura, Vincent Heisenberg, Norman Harras, Marius al-Ani, Tristan Archer (0-0; 0pts)

Then it’s backstage as Dään interviews Metehan, who’s aggrieved with the loss. He acknowledged that the “Lucky Kid thing gets to me,” then got wound up that he might not be able to honour his promise to his mum.

Tomorrow, Hektor Invictus takes on Anil Marik in a block A match… and that’s it for tonight! It’s not something I’m going to labour throughout, but if you’re going to do a “break from the norm,” I’d much rather it be the entire show (like what ROH is doing with the Pure tournament, or what wXw tends to do with Ambition tournaments) rather than throwing the format in for a match randomly on a show.

The fact that the next seven weeks of wXw’s output is going to be like this is a positive – with the pseudo “real sport” presentation with punditry and interviews helping add an air of legitimacy to the event as well. With wXw having shared the fixtures for the remainder of the tournament, I’m sure there’ll be some dropping in for specific matches and watching the omnibus edition, but so far the early signs on the Catch Grand Prix vision are extremely promising.