wXw kicks off 2023 with the return of a full-strength AMBOSS, while Levaniel looked to retain the Unified World Wrestling title against former champ Tristan Archer.
Rambo & Aytac pinned Anil Marik & Nick Schreier in 6:44 (**¾)
Axel Tischer pinned Laurance Roman in 17:19 (****)
Robert Dreissker & Icarus pinned Elijah Blum & Aigle Blanc in 11:04 (***¼)
Dover pinned Peter Tihanyi in 13:11 (***¼)
Metehan pinned Bobby Gunns in 22:33 (***¾)
Levaniel pinned Tristan Archer in 10:55 to retain the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship (***)
Unsanctioned: Jurn Simmons pinned Heisenberg in 16:50 (***¼)
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2023’s not even a week old and wXw’s hitting the road – heading to a sold-out Markthalle in Hamburg. Dave Bradshaw’s on hand for English commentary…
Aytac Bahar & Rambo vs. Anil Marik & Nick Schreier
Aytac was originally slated to take on Maggot for the Shotgun title… but illness meant that Maggot was off the card, and so Aytac is added to this pre-show tag alongside Rambo as they reunited from their EZEL days.
Marik and Rambo start us off as Dave tells us he didn’t watch the anniversary pre-show without saying it. Waistlock takedowns have Marik on the back foot, while a suplex took him into the corner… Marik sidesteps a charge, but couldn’t bulldog Rambo out of the corner as he instead landed a dropkick. Aytac tags in, as did Nick Schreier, with Nick finally scoring some armdrags for just a one-count. Schreier heads up for a lucha springboard armdrag, before Ramdo distracted Schreier on the apron, buying Aytac enough time to interrupt a springboard back in as Nick got hung up in the ropes.
Rambo’s back in as Schreier’s on the defensive with chops, then a bodyslam as he came off the ropes. Nick tries to leap over Rambo for a tag, but gets taken down anyway as Aytac returned to hit a double-team hiptoss powerbomb for a two-count. Schreier tries to fight back, but bounces off of Aytac before taking a back senton as Aytac nearly won it. A tag brings Rambo back in for a stalling suplex, as he and Aytac exchanged frequent tags to keep Schreier isolated. Eventually Schreier broke free of Aytac and made a hot tag out to Marik, who ran wild with dropkicks and forearms, while a back suplex left Aytac laying. Aytac blocks a Codebreaker, and made a blind tag out as Rambo capitalised, landing a brutal powerbomb onto the knee before a package powerbomb earned Rambo the win – and let them close out the pre-show with his Donkey Kong Country-sounding theme… **¾
Laurance Roman vs. Axel Tischer
We’ve got a lot of AMBOSS In the first half, as they prepare for their Käfigschlacht later in the month… and we’ve got the return of Dover, who’ll be having a match later too.
Roman wastes no time in going for a lock-up, as the pair scrambled for a hold… eventually swapping headlock takedowns and escapes before we reached a stand-off. Forearms back-and-forth break that stand-off, with a discus forearm knocking Tischer down to his knees… only for Tischer to strike right back with a boot. Mounted punches follow in the corner from Tischer, but Roman escaped… and eventually chop blocked Tischer’s knee out. An uppercut from Tischer bought him time, but Roman goes back to the knee with a low dropkick for a two-count, as he then went after Tischer’s left leg with a toe hold.
Tischer fights out, but couldn’t avoid a kick to the back, nor a DDT to the leg or a Dragon screw as Roman kept a laser-like focus on that body part. Another leg lock ends with Tischer kicking his way free, only for Roman to hit a shinbreaker, then a slam that saw Tischer clip the ropes on the way down. Roman goes back to the knee as Tischer tried to strike his way back in, as a knee trembler almost put away the former champion. Kicks from Tischer got Roman away briefly, before Tischer cradled out of a bodyslam for a two-count… then hit an enziguiri as a counter away from another Dragon screw. Boo/yay punches follow, before a back senton from Tischer allowed him to capitalise on a missed low dropkick.
Tischer pings Roman around the ring with some forearms, then with a leaping leg lariat before a half-hatch suplex bounced Roman off the mat. Roman looked to carve an opening, but just leaps into an uppercut, before Tischer’s flying clothesline off the top rope led to a near-fall. We’re back to elbows and forearms between the two, before Tischer got suplexed into the turnbuckles. Roman pounces with a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall, before Tischer fired back with an X-Plex. A Ligerbomb attempt’s blocked, so Tischer Alley-Oops Roman into the buckles ahead of a German suplex, before a Bomaye knee almost led to the win. The SummerSlam 92 finish nearly nicks it for Roman, who runs into another knee and a Gotch-style powerbomb before the Ligerbomb added a near-fall for Tischer.
Stomps from Tischer see him pull ahead, before Roman slipped out of a Horrible Slam… then fire in with a knee strike. There’s almost an attempt at Levaniel’s Sternschnuppe by Roman, but it’s turned into a DDT version of it for a near-fall, as a half crab took Roman back to Tischer’s bad leg in the search for a stoppage. Roman switches the hold into a STF, but Tischer’s able to make it to the ropes. They get back to their feet, but a lariat from Roman takes Tischer back down, before a lariat from Tischer returned the favour, en route to the Horrible Slam for the win. My word, I watched this the day after seeing Tischer vs. Vaughn Vertigo in Canada, and the Axeman is on a hell of a run right now. Roman’s aggression played well here, but in the end it was Tischer who got the big win en-route to his title shot at the end of the month. ****
They show footage from Shortcut to the Top of Senza Volto Pillman-izing Dover’s arm – which led to Dover being on the shelf for several months… especially after Peter Tihanyi’s Kendo stick-aided Fujiwara armbar later in the evening.
That led to a backstage interview with Dan Mallmann and Dover… Dover said he wouldn’t be here if he weren’t ready, while Robert Dreissker said that the young ‘uns needed to be put in their place, and he and Icarus would do so tonight. He brushed off the trios loss in Oberhausen as a “preview of what they’d do in the Käfigschlacht.”
AMBOSS (Icarus & Robert Dreissker) vs. Aigle Blanc & Elijah Blum
AMBOSS pounced on Blum and Aigle as they hit the ring, but Blum’s able to clear house as we started with him going after Dreissker in the corner.
A side headlock from Dreissker’s pushed off, but he charges down Blum ahead of a hiptoss, but Blum’s able to cut him off with a dropkick and an armdrag. Blum’s shotgun dropkick sent Dreissker sailing, as Aigle Blanc’s blind tag was quickly for nought as Dreissker waffled him with a forearm on the apron. Blum kept hold of Dreissker as he allowed Blanc to hit the back senton before a follow-up springboard crossbody just bounced off of Dreissker. Icarus tags in to hit a back suplex/neckbreaker combo for a two-count. A springboard crossbody from Aigle finds Icarus, who’s taken into the corner as Aigle and Blum threw chops ahead of a double-team suplex for a two-count. Blum’s double-underhook is fought out of as Icarus tagged out as AMBOSS threatened to isolate the newcomer, with Dreissker’s chinbar doing the job here.
Chops from Icarus knock Blum back into the corner, as did a throat thrust that allowed Dreissker in to follow-up with choking, a slam and a splash for a two-count. Blum reversed a whip, sending Dreissker into the ropes ahead of a back body drop… but Icarus is able to tag in, as was Aigle Blanc, as AMBOSS looked to be on the back foot. A springboard Meteora to the back of Icarus lands, as did an Exploder that sent Icarus into Dreissker in the corner… before Aigle went Coast-to-Coast on the AMBOSS lads. Dreissker saved Icarus from a tombstone, before kicking out the knee as Aigle impressively had the Austrian up for one…
Icarus rakes the eyes while working Aigle’s arm before Dreissker came back in to Biel Aigle out of the corner. AMBOSS remain in control, but Aigle knees his way out of a Ten Ton Hammer, then tagged out to Blum, who managed to land a series of clotheslines on Dreissker, ahead of a suplex out of the corner. Blum tries for the Parting Gift, but Icarus interrupts before he had to block the same move. Dreissker charges Blum off the apron, then charged at Blum with a Ten Ton Hammer… and that’s your lot as AMBOSS picked up their first win of the night. ***¼
Dover and Laurance Roman hit the ring almost instantly, surrounding Elijah Blum as Norman Harras of all people came out to lay down the law. Everyone but Dover was ordered to Norman’s office, as Dover’s match was right up as we did the old Gabe Sapolsky segue between matches…
Dover vs. Peter Tihanyi
Tihanyi’s still putting on his elbow pad as he headed to the ring, while this was Dover’s first match for wXw since August’s Shortcut to the Top.
We got going with Tihanyi laying into Dover with right hands, before he had to float over the former tag champion… who ended up charging him down. A kip-up and an armdrag has Tihanyi ahead, as did some armdrags and chops, before a dropkick took Dover to the outside for some respite. Dover tries to get back in, and beats Tihanyi with a chop as he went for a dive. Stomps keep Tihanyi in the corner, but Tihanyi’s able to respond with chops of his own before Dover cut him off with a German suplex out of the corner. A backbreaker followed on Tihanyi, who’s then grounded with a chinlock as Dover looked for a stoppage.
A clothesline from Dover ends a fightback, getting him a two-count as well, as it was back to the chinlock as he continued to wear down and ground Tihanyi. A back suplex attempt is countered out of by Tihanyi, who’s then lifted onto the apron as his slingshot cutter back in gets blocked… allowing Dover to crotch him in the ropes, then clothesline him down for a two-count. Dover chucks Tihanyi outside after that as he tried to get a count-out win… then again after Tihanyi beat the count. Third time wasn’t the charm as Tihanyi countered, throwing Dover onto the tiled floor… but again, the count’s beaten as TIhanyi had to follow-up, landing an enziguiri and a running Meteora for a near-fall.
Tihanyi looked to have a problem with his knee after that, but tried to shake it off, only to get thrown into the corner with an overhead suplex. It’s good for a two-count for Dover, who followed up with a Stretch Muffler by the ropes as Tihanyi’s bad knee was leapt on. Kicking his way free, Tihanyi’s forced to shrug off some kicks before he clotheslined Dover… before a springboard was booted away with ease. Dover’s caught with an Asai DDT by Tihanyi for a two-count… another knee strike from TIhanyi led to a slingshot cutter from the outside in, before a 450 splash missed. Tihanyi has his leg kicked out of his leg after that, while a pump kick aimed for the head as an Air Raid Crash – dubbed the Hungarian Wanderer – got the win for the returning Arrow of Hungary. ***¼
Backstage, Dan Mallmann’s with Norman Harras, who addressed AMBOSS’ attacks earlier… only to tell us he couldn’t say what they’d discussed. I smell a rat. Dan then talks about Norman’s trip to the production desk at the 22nd Anniversary show, but Norman blames it all on technology failing, rather than anything he did. Harras vowed that there’d be no outside interference this time, as he’s staking his name and reputation to make sure the match would be a clean one. Wonder if he had his fingers crossed while he said that…
16 Carat Gold Qualifier: Metehan vs. Bobby Gunns
Metehan beat Gunns at the 22nd Anniversary show in a match that was for a spot in Carat… but the nature of that match becoming a Carat qualifier (and Norman Harras’ intervention in the finish) led to wXw match-makers throwing that out and ordering a do-over. In Hamburg. Where Bobby Gunns hadn’t lost a singles match in nearly SIX years… starting when he banished Da Mack from Hamburg.
We get going with Gunns and Metehan trading blows, before an arm whip took Metehan down briefly. He’s right back up to get in Gunns’ face, but a front kicks knocks Metehan aside before Gunns’ apron PK caught Metehan on the outside. Gunns stays on Metehan in the ropes, before Metehan caught him between the ropes with a neckbreaker as he looked to turn the tide. Metehan goes to the corner to remove a corner pad, before he tried to throw Gunns into the exposed corner… but Bobby blocks it and ends up scoring with a kick to the chest instead. Gunns tries to reattach the corner pad, but Metehan keeps cutting him off, with Gunns perhaps a little lacking in ring crew experience.
Finally having sorted it out, Gunns charges into Metehan with running uppercuts in the opposite corner, only for Metehan to roll outside to get out of harm’s way. Metehan hung up Gunns in the ropes from the floor, then dove back in to put a beating on the former champion, adding a neckbreaker for a two-count, before a shot to the gut had Gunns down. Gunns manages to land a kick to get back in it, but Metehan’s right back with a missile dropkick to the back for a near-fall, before the pair traded snapmares and kicks to the back. Metehan looked for a submission, but Gunns fights free and tries for a rebound German suplex… Metehan flips out, but couldn’t avoid a belly-to-back suplex as both men were left laying.
Running uppercuts from Gunns trap Metehan in the corner, while an Exploder suplex added a two-count as the Markthalle rose to their feet… well, save for those four in the front row. More kicks from Gunns targeted the restrained Metehan, before a discus elbow out of nowhere nearly stole the win for Metehan. A sliding punch from Metehan’s countered into a crucifix as Gunns pulled ahead, leading to a German suplex, before a lariat took Metehan down for a near-fall. Gunns heads up top, but Hamburg’s still waiting for that shooting star press as Metehan cuts off Gunns twice, only to get headbutted down to the mat. Gunns misses a flying clothesline, then almost fell to a cradle… then a sliding punch as Metehan looked to be on course once more.
Gunns counters Nazar into a suplex, as a standing ten-count almost led to a draw… but both men beat it, and resume trading forearms. Metehan’s palm strike gets laughed off as they trade again, taking us past the 20-minute mark before Metehan pulled Gunns into a crossface. It’s blocked, so Gunns gets stomped on before he caught Metehan’s dropkick and countered it into a Boston crab. Metehan makes the ropes, but couldn’t avoid a shotgun dropkick that took him into the buckles, nor a leaping enziguiri, before Aytac Bahar headed onto the stage. Norman Harras stopped him… but in among the confusion, Rambo came through the other side of the crowd to attack Gunn. A headbutt put Rambo on his arse, while a PK took care of him… but Metehan’s taken off another turnbuckle pad, this time in the opposite corner, which Gunns kicked as he swung for a PK.
With a bad foot, Gunns hobbles into Nazar… and just like that, the Evil Eye ends Bobby Gunns’ LONG unbeaten run in Hamburg. The air sure went out of the Markthalle there, as it looks like EZEL’s surely coming back together – and just in time for Metehan to stake a claim to be a two-time 16 Carat Gold winner. ***¾
After the match, Thommy Giesen rubbed it in, over how long that unbeaten run of Gunns was that just ended, before the Hamburg crowd rose to applaud him. Considering how much Gunns was booed here for a long while because of the Hamburg/Bremen football rivalry, that’s quite the turnaround…
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Tristan Archer vs. Levaniel (c)
It’s an instant rematch for Archer, following his title loss just before Christmas… and I’m sure he wanted that title back more than the hug that guy seemed to be offering at ringside. Levaniel, on the other hand, was more than thrilled to have returned home as champion…
Levaniel gives Archer a heavenly slap early on, as this match started more like a fight than a wrestling match. Archer takes Levaniel into the corner for some shoulder charges, then a clothesline before an Exploder suplex was elbowed away. A spinning heel kick from Levaniel takes Archer down, only for a series of forearms from Archer to return the favour as he kept Levaniel by the wrist. A diving boot from Archer’s good for a one-count, before Levaniel slipped out of a Coup d’Etat and began to trade waistlocks. Instead, Archer’s uranage took down Levaniel ahead of a crushing back senton for a two-count… only for Levaniel to strike back with a discus lariat, then a stalling suplex for a near-fall.
Archer charges Levaniel into the turnbuckles for a hanging neckbreaker, before that guy tried to offer Tristan a hug again. With staff taking care of him, Archer went back to Levaniel’s neck, pulling it around the ring post, before a camel clutch stretched Levaniel some more. A cheeky elbow to the top of Levaniel’s head followed, then a right hand as Archer picked up just a one-count. Levaniel snuck back in with a roll-up, then a bodyslam, before a low dropkick missed, with Archer’s slicing legdrop nearly winning the title back for him. A face-washing knee in the corner leaves Levaniel prone for another pair of them, but it’s not enough for the win as Levaniel had to slip out of the corner before he hauled up Archer for… something.
Archer counters out with an Impaler DDT for another one-count, before he landed La Terreur seconds later. Rather than go for the pin, Archer went for a Decapite lariat, only to get surprised with the Sternschnuppe for the win. This was a perfectly fine first defence, but a little on the short side as Levaniel caught the former champion by surprise. ***
Commentary treated this like it was one-and-done for Archer, which I don’t mind as we’ve had a lot of rematches culminating in a “last chance” outing… and with Archer in 16 Carat Gold, he’s got a clear path to another shot.
Unsanctioned: Heisenberg vs. Jurn Simmons
After a last man standing match in June, a street fight in October, and a falls count anywhere match in November, we’ve got an unsanctioned fight to close out the feud between these two big lads… complete with a non-wXw referee, and they’ve even removed the wXw NOW canvas and associated ring aprons since the promotion wanted no part of this. Nice touch.
This one can only end by pinfall or submission, as we start with a Massive boot from Jurn, then a suplex throw… but Heisenberg spills outside and lawn darts Jurn into the ring post as he began to untie the canvas. Off comes some of the padding as we get to see how the sausage is made there… but before he went much further he opted to choke Jurn with a rope. Jurn breaks free and brawled onto the stage with Heisenberg… picking up a wooden step as he bounced it off of Heisenberg’s head. A low blow from Heisenberg stops that as he threw aside one of the wXw pull-up banners, and grabbed a chair… which he swung at Jurn and missed, causing the LED board to freak out in the process.
Jurn takes control of the chair and breaks the seat out of it on Heisenberg as they fought back towards ringside… but Heisenberg punched Jurn through the chair before he got hung up in the ropes. Simmons’ slingshot clothesline back in takes Heisenberg down, before Heisenberg was sent into the ropes and rebounded into the path of a swinging side slam from Jurn. A spear followed for a two-count from Simmons, who then went outside for another chair, but he’s thrown away as a piledriver was being lined up. Heisenberg squashes Jurn in the corner, then threw him aside with a fallaway slam as a sit-out splash a la Earthquake splatted Jurn for a two-count. Heisenberg heads under the ring and pulls out a toolbox, as well as a baseball bat… the pair of which were used as Jurn was placed onto the toolbox… only to avoid a shot with the baseball bat.
Another bat shot’s ducked a Heisenberg ate it instead, before Jurn began to choke him out with the bat… only for Heisenberg to break free and crack Jurn in the head with the toolbox. Heisenberg rips off the turnbuckle pad, throwing Jurn into the exposed corner before he accidentally charged into the same turnbuckle corner as Jurn dropped down to the mat. Heisenberg’s then met with a big splash off the top after Jurn pulled himself to the top rope, but it’s only good for a near-fall, before Jurn ran into a snap chokeslam as Heisenberg almost won it. Going back outside, Heisenberg removed more of the padding under the canvas, before a teased powerslam onto the less-padded corner was escaped.
Heisenberg crotches Simmons on the top rope… then joined him and brought him down for an avalanche powerslam onto the exposed corner for a near-fall. Time for more plunder then, with Heisenberg grabbing more chairs as he created a chair bridge by the corner. Those never end well… especially as Jurn’s taken into the corner and measured up for a superplex through the chairs, only for Jurn to throw Heisenberg into the exposed corner, before he powerbombed him through the chairs instead. It’s almost enough to win the match, but Heisenberg kicked out… so Jurn crawls underneath for some more goodies. A Kendo stick. Heisenberg avoids a shot with it, before he stacked up some chairs and dumped Jurn onto them with a Fire Thunder driver… but it’s still not enough. Off comes some more padding as Heisenberg’s exposed the boards in the corner… but he’s met with a low blow, then a chairshot as Jurn popped out another seat.
Jurn calls for the end, heading to the corner for a piledriver on the boards… but Heisenberg kicks out once more. The bloodied Heisenberg’s sent into the ropes from a chairshot, and this time he’s tied up like he’s about to be the Macho Man bitten by a snake. Except this time, he’s getting waylaid with endless Kendo stick shots to the midsection, then the back, which proved to be enough to get the win and finally put and end to this months-long feud. ***¼
A full Hamburg crowd helped buoy a pretty good show from wXw, with the main show opener being match of the night amid several outings designed to build up the Käfigschlacht later in the month.