The Catch Grand Prix winner Marius al-Ani looks to claim his biggest scalp yet at Dead End, as he finally challenges Bobby Gunns for the big one.
The Rotation pinned Aytac in 6:48 (**¼)
Levaniel pinned Michael Knight in 9:36 (**¾)
Emil Sitoci pinned Tristan Archer in 9:35 (***¼)
Robert Dreissker & Anil Marik pinned Maggot & Prince Ahura in 5:36 to win the wXw World Tag Team Championships (**)
Norman Harras pinned Vincent Heisenberg in 7:41 to retain the wXw Shotgun Championship (**¾)
Marius al-Ani pinned Bobby Gunns in 13:39 to win the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship (***¾)
We’re back at the Steffy in Oberhausen as wXw change up the titles a little. Last year’s Dead End was the final big wXw show before 16 Carat Gold and the ensuing shutdown… and to give you an idea of just how much things have changed since then, only five of the 20 names on the show that night in Hamburg are on the card today.
Dave Bradshaw runs down the card for tonight… and then pitches to Andy Jackson backstage. Andy tells us Abdul’s out with injury, but Abdul tries to deny it… only to tell us he’s not cleared. Aytac’s the only one left who can put food on the table, and he promises to do just that tonight.
The Rotation vs. Aytac
Aytac has moved to the singles ranks for the time being after Abdul injured his trapezius on the last show…
We start with Rotation working Aytac’s wrist but Aytac bites free and reverses the hold before Rotation rolled free. A half crab taps Aytac briefly, but it’s pushed away as Rotation then tied up Aytac ahead of a side Russian legsweep. An armbar follows, but Aytac escapes and sweeps Rotation’s leg, only for Rotation to return with an armdrag and a dropkick for a two-count. Rotation puts on the brakes as he expected a trip-up from Abdul… but gets dropkicked to the outside as Aytac posts him. Back inside, a kitchen sink drops Rotation for a two-count, but Rotation’s back with some roll-ups for two-counts, before a PK nearly gets Aytac the win.
Aytac roughs up Rotation in the ropes before Rotation struck back with an enziguiri, following up with a corner dropkick and a tiltawhirl DDT for a near-fall. Heading outside, Aytac pulls down the ropes as Rotation crashes and burns, before a gutwrench powerbomb almost gets the win… Rotation’s roll-up gets him back in it, as did a single-leg dropkick, before the Victory Over Gravity 450 splash earned the victory. A decent match, but Ezel come up short yet again. **¼
Backstage, Andy Jackson interviews Aytac, who said that the loss means nothing as he’ll not let setbacks dictate his life.
Levaniel vs. Michael Knight
Michael Knight answered Levaniel’s open challenge last week, promising to elevate the “Prinz der Sterne.” Before the match, Levaniel tells us he may be alone here, but his “children of the stars” at home are with him in spirit, and will help him build a new winning streak.
From the opening lock-up, Knight grabs a side headlock and takes Levaniel to the mat, resisting some pinning attempts as Levaniel instead uses headscissors. Knight escapes with another headlock, then took down Levaniel with a shoulder tackle and another headlock takedown as we’re back to the mat. Wash, rinse, repeat as Knight keeps Levaniel down, before Levaniel’s push into the ropes led to him missing a spinning heel kick. Knight gets annoyed at Levaniel for seemingly taking him lightly, so Levaniel comes in with a side headlock before he caught Knight with the heel of his boot.
An armdrag into an armbar has Knight down, before a double underhook suplex gets Levaniel a two-count on the veteran. Levaniel misses a splash into the corner as Knight pulls himself up top for a crossbody that gets a near-fall, before uppercuts leave Levaniel down ahead of a knee drop for a one-count. A grounded abdominal stretch keeps Levaniel on the deck, as did a clubbing forearm to the back of the neck. Chops take Levaniel to the ropes ahead of a Fisherman suplex attempt… but instead Knight knees him in the ribs before tying him up in a Tequila Sunrise. With one arm, Levaniels’ able to claw his way towards the ropes, before rolling into them to force a break.
Shoulder charges keep Levaniel in the corner, but a floatover offers some hope as Levaniel gets a two-count with a roll-up… only to get hit with a springboard flying clothesline from Knight. That nearly ends it, but Levaniel has one last surge, as he pulls up Knight for a Fisherman suplex for a near-fall. Knight returns with an elbow, but his crossbody’s caught out of the corner and turned into a stalling suplex for a near-fall. In the end, a discus lariat from Levaniel drops knight, before the Galactic Facecrusher gets Levaniel the win. A good match to get under his belt, and to restart that winning streak as Levaniel edges a keenly-fought contest. **¾
Post-match, Levaniel’s interviewed as he apologised for leaving Andy high and dry last time. He tells us he wants to be as active as he can be here, without needing anyone’s help to win matches. Levaniel wants to reach the stars, and called himself the “new” Prince of the Stars.
Before the next match, Tristan Archer’s interviewed… he tells us he won’t target Emil Sitoci’s bad knee as he wants to get a win without any asterisk over the Dutchman. Emil’s response was that he knew his worth, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get a win tonight, regardless of whatever agreement Archer had made with himself.
Tristan Archer vs. Emil Sitoci
Will third time be the charm for Sitoci?
Sitoci trips Archer for a one-count to start, before he locked up with Archer into the corner for a clean break. A side headlock from Sitoci leads to a push-off and shoulder tackles, before Sitoci ducked a clothesline and fired back with tiltawhirl headscissors and a pair of armdrags. Archer tries for a back suplex, but has more luck charging Sitoci into the corner for some repeated shoulder tackles… but Sitoci caught him in a front facelock that Archer needs to escape with a Northern lights for a two-count. Sitoci rolls to the outside to slow things down… and instantly returned into the middle of an elbow exchange.
Leaping onto the apron allows Sitoci to hang up Archer’s arm in the rope, following up with a Codebreaker to the arm and a grounded armbar. Sitoci drops an elbow to the arm too, then snapmared Archer through for another armbar variation, but that was more designed to exacerbate than force a submission. A back cracker to the arm is next, with Sitoci taking Archer to the ropes for some elbows. Archer tries to fight back with some right hands, before a one-armed suplex threw down Sitoci. A slingshot back in from Sitoci’s countered into a lungblower in the ropes for a two-count, before he sidestepped a charge in the corner and came back with a crossbody off the top for a near-fall.
Archer tries to fight back again, leading to a Falcon arrow for a two-count, before a Go 2 Sleep dropped Sitoci for another near-fall. Sitoci tries to slip out of another slam, eventually doing so as a side-Russian legsweep leaves Acher down for a split-legged moonsault for a near-fall… with Sitoci then grabbing his left knee, having apparently tweaked it on the landing. Except it’s a ruse as Archer stopped to check on Sitoci… who then snuck in with a Snapmare Driver for the win. They shake hands afterwards anyway, as Sitoci finally gets on the board in 2021. ***¼
Archer’s interviewed after the match – he acknowledged that the moment of weakness cost him, and said that Sitoci had changed in his search for a win.
Backstage, Robert Dreissker and Anil Marik are interviewed ahead of the tag title tournament final. It’s the first “really big match” for Marik, who’s motivated to win with a tag team specialist. Andy Jackson tells us the Bastards refused an interview, apparently because of some in-fighting, but Dreissker called it out as potential mind games.
Ah boo, they’ve removed the Champions out of the Parade of Champions video…
wXw World Tag Team Championship Tournament Final: wXw Wrestling Academy (Robert Dreissker & Anil Marik) vs. Pretty Bastards (Prince Ahura & Maggot)
The Bastards ambush Dreissker and Marik at ringside with chairs and Ahura’s shoe.
Marik’s posted as the Bastards then try to take out Dreissker at ringside, before Marik was taken inside. The bell rings, so we’re officially underway with Maggot landing a suplex while Ahura was beating on Dreissker on the outside. Maggot gets fed up with Ahura’s one-track mind, and that leads to Dreissker pulling Ahura into the rails, with a satisfying CLONK. Marik’s back with a Slingblade to Maggot for a two-count, before Maggot took Marik into the corner for an Irish whip. A running forearm’s next, then a shoulder charge, before an enziguiri took Marik down for a two-count. Maggot trash-talks Marik, who slaps back… only to get taken into the corner for some chops.
A superplex is pushed away as Marik comes back with a Codebreaker… just as Dreissker manages to pull himself up onto the apron. Maggot dropkicks him off, then lands a spear for a two-count, before an Alley Oop chucked Marik into the corner. Another spear gets a two-count, before Dreissker again was kicked away by Maggot. Another spear’s leapt over by Marik as Dreissker tagged in to lay into Maggot with a series of rights. A Beele throw chucks Maggot into the corner for a slash… and there’s the back body drop! Maggot keeps spamming the spear, but it’s caught… although he’s able to surprise Dreissker with a cutter before he was caught with Boulder Dash for the win. Very short, but the story of Prince Ahura being KO’d as he was too focused on a job is likely to see the Bastards fight some more. **
Just 22 matches into his career, Anil Marik’s won tag team gold. That’s quite the rise for a guy who I saw get virtually mauled by Dreissker on his debut.
After the match, Maggot went to check on Prince Ahura, who was still laid out by the railings… out comes Norman Harras, but Maggot just leaves them both behind as Norman had to carry Ahura away.
Backstage, Andy’s with the new tag champions… Marik’s speechless, while Dreissker seemed to not remember much because of the early attack. He’s proud of Marik for finally getting a reward for his efforts, before throwing in a hope for Vincent Heisenberg to bring more gold to the academy next.
Speaking of Heisenberg, he’s in a mood because of Norman Harras’ general demeanour. He just wants to “hurt this kid” tonight, and that Shotgun title would be a nice bonus.
wXw Shotgun Championship: Vincent Heisenberg vs. Norman Harras (c)
Norman got the win in their only prior singles match – but there’s history here as Heisenberg was offered up last year when Norman was whinging about not having “big opponents”…
Heisenberg jumps Harras to start things off, taking him to the corners for chops and elbows before Norman fired back with body blows. A Beele throws Harras across the ring, as Norman looked to grab his title belt for an early cheapshot… but instead he ends up clipping Heisenberg’s knee ahead of a push-down stomp onto the belt. Referee Tassilo Jung refuses to count the pin on that, so Harras pushes on, hitting a cross chop to the throat before Heisenberg hit a shoulder tackle to knock him outside. Elbows and chops keep Harras on the outside, including a double chop that forced the champion back inside, where he hits back with a dropkick to knock Heisenberg down to the floor.
Harras rolls the challenger back inside for a two-count, but he’s quickly overwhelmed by Heisenberg, who lifts him to the top rope. Boots keep Heisenberg away, but he catches a crossbody and turned it into a fallaway slam, taking Harras into the corner. A low dropkick from Harras takes out the knee, but the big boot misses as Heisenberg rises with a clothesline for a two-count. Chops from Heisenberg keep Harras on the back foot as they head up top… but Norman hooks away on Heisenberg, buying time as he slips out to hit a powerbomb out of the corner for a near-fall. Harras tries to keep Heisenberg down with strikes, but couldn’t avoid the powerslam… although the ropes save Norman’s title as he managed to get a foot to the bottom strand.
Heisenberg brings in Norman’s title belt, forcing Harras to beg off… Heisenberg just spits at him, then teased a belt shot. As the ref removes the belt, Harras hits a pair of low blows before a diving boot gets the win. Once again, a tainted win for Norman, who’s getting quite good at maneuvering his way into these kind of situations… **¾
After the match, Andy Jackson’s forced to congratulate Harras, as he admits that this perhaps isn’t “just luck.” Norman’s then told his next challenger: Dennis Zinner. Norman laughs him off.
Backstage, Heisenberg is furious at his loss… and he’s asked about his Academy colleagues’ win earlier. He’s a little, I guess you could say, butt-hurt over that as Dreissker and Marik come in. Heisenberg’s annoyed they didn’t help him, and tells Dreissker he wants nothing more to do with the Academy. Dreissker noted that Marik probably didn’t help things by wearing his title, rubbing it in Heisenberg’s face…
The camera pans to Heisenberg, who’s keeping his distance from Baby Allison, who’s updated her look for the new year, as Heisenberg then chases the camera crew away.
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Marius al-Ani vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
al-Ani’s not lost a match since he went out in the first round of last year’s 16 Carat Gold to eventual winner Cara Noir… with his winning run taking him through the Catch Grand Prix to his eventual status as contender today.
We start off hot with the pair feinting kicks… they start connecting as Gunns kicks al-Ani into the corner, before back-and-forth charges had the challenger ahead before they traded strikes. Right hands lead to Gunns getting sent into the ropes for a dropkick, before a step-up knee strike had Gunns down in the corner. A snap suplex gets al-Ani a two-count, before he rolled Gunns into an armbar attempt, but instead it turns into a chinbar of sorts as a dropkick to the back of the head leaves Gunns laying. Gunns kicks out of an armbar, then fired back with a PK to al-Ani, before he tied up al-Ani in a modified standing Figure Four.
Gunns transitions the hold into a STF, but al-Ani gets to the ropes before he suckered Gunns into a grounded ankle lock. Standing up, Gunns tries to get free, but he’s dumped with a snap Saito suplex before the pair traded clotheslines, clattering into each other almost for fun. Eventually, Gunns won out and followed up with a PK… but he can’t keep al-Ani down, as he popped up at one for a Superman punch, that gets another defiant one-count. Things get a little scrappy as al-Ani goes for the ankle again, but Gunns’ attempt to block earned him a spinning heel kick before Gunns had to slip out of a Diamond Driver. A rear naked choke from Gunns follows, but al-Ani makes it to the ropes. He catches a kick from Gunns and swats him away before a leg sweep and a German suplex from Gunns put the champion ahead.
Gunns’ lariat drops al-Ani for a near-fall at the nine-minute mark, before al-Ani threw himself out of a Kimura attempt. His ankle lock ends with Gunns rolling him to the outside, as al-Ani took his time to get back inside… when he did, we get the sunset flip, kick up and Exploder sequence, before a powerbomb folded Gunns for a near-fall. al-Ani begins to slap Gunns around, but the champion fights back… leaping in for a Kimura that drags al-Ani down. Instead of keeping the Kimura, Gunns looks to move for a Swish armbar, but instead hooks the arm and leg of the challenger ahead of a half crab… but al-Ani gets to the ropes and forces a break. Gunns ducks a clothesline and hits a German suplex to al-Ani, but the challenger’s back with a roll-up into a kip up kick… before a Superman punch and the Diamond Driver proved to be too much of a one-two punch as Bobby Gunns was left down for the count… AND NEW! ***¾
Part of me wishes the al-Ani story was able to play out in view of crowds – especially this part of the story – but its a crowning achievement for perhaps THE guy on the European scene who’s been able to build momentum in the last year-or-so. A landscape-changing show for wXw, as Bobby Gunns (and two of his Bastards) leave without any gold… and seemingly in a state of disarray. On paper, ending Bobby Gunns’ 482-day reign as champion is a big story – but one that I fear is going to be lost among the other stuff happening this weekend. Considering Marius al-Ani was perhaps closer to the exit of wXw at the end of 2019 after disciplinary issues, this caps an almighty turnaround for a guy who at one point was seeming to be the Marty to Absolute Andy’s Shawn. Thankfully, the days of the Ninja Warrior and that head gear are a distant memory…