The last main stop before 16 Carat saw wXw rock up in front of Hamburg’s Power Crowd as John Klinger’s title – and leadership of RISE – were on the line!

On the last Shotgun going into Dead End, a meeting of RISE ended with Ivan Kiev threatening to hold a vote to replace John Klinger if he lost his title against Speedball Mike Bailey in the main event. We open with a tease for 16 Carat Gold, running through the names already announced, as a build to the qualifier match tonight between RISE members Lucky Kid and Ivan Kiev. The Markthalle in Hamburg is the venue, and we’ve got Christian Jakobi and Rico Bushido on the English commentary…

wXw World Tag Team Championship: Jay FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) (c)
The build-up to this has entirely been through segments… segments that almost saw Jay Skillet get killed when he ran his mouth at WALTER on Shotgun. Skillet was still going for WALTER during the introductions… and this probably isn’t going to end well for young Herr Skillet.

With WALTER knocked off the apron, Jay FK knocked Thatcher down… but WALTER’s quickly back in to make Jay pay. Yep. Told you it wasn’t a good idea! Jay FK manage to take down WALTER with a double-team back suplex and some dropkicks, before a double-team flapjack left Thatcher down. Jay FK went a little CCK too, with a lungblower/double stomp for a near-fall on Thatcher as the challengers almost caused the upset… but Hamburg was solidly behind RINGKAMPF, and they were rewarded with WALTER getting his hands on Skillet. Yeah Jay… don’t get into a chopping battle. Ask Mark Davis how that goes. Hell, ask Timothy Thatcher how that goes!

Thatcher’s in to wear down Skillet with a wristlock after some shots from WALTER, but Jay’s made to pay for his mouthiness, as WALTER’s back in to chop him down. More submissions from Thatcher keep Skillet worn down, but WALTER tags back in and puts the boots to Jay as he’s held prone in a bow-and-arrow hold.

Francis Kaspin finally tries to rush the ring… and gets some chops before WALTER turfed him outside for a big boot… but that opened the door for more chops for Skillet. Another battle lost? Not really, a lariat decks Skillet, as do some Thatcher forearms, but somehow Jay’s able to sneak in a brainbuster as he got the tag out to Kaspin!

Fire from Kaspin has him charge into Thatcher with a crossbody and some forearms, before a Fisherman’s suplex nearly caused an upset, but WALTER’s back in to blister through Francis with more chops. A missile dropkick almost gets Kaspin back in, but he plays to the ground and gets met with a rear naked choke, a RINGKAMPF German suplex and a butterfly suplex as WALTER made him pay…

More chops led to a big boot from WALTER, but Kaspin’s able to slip out of a back suplex and tag out… Skillet takes his time climbing the ropes, but he flies in with a big splash to aid the neckbreaker to Thatcher! WALTER’s back to stop more double-teaming as the challengers get caught in rear naked chokes, and as soon as Thatcher dragged Skillet to the mat, Jay tapped out to complete the rather one-sided showing. Really fun stuff, as Jay was made to pay for his brash behaviour… and a sign that there’s a lot more work for Jay FK to do before they’re anywhere close to title contention. ***½

After the match, handshakes were on offer… but Skillet chose to slap WALTER first before accepting it. That could have gone so badly wrong for him!

Hardcore Match: Jurn Simmons vs. Mike Schwarz
Jurn’s path of destruction continued here as he “warmed up” for his last man standing match with David Starr in the first round of 16 Carat Gold with a hardcore match… against a Mike Schwarz who was making his first wXw feature event appearance since 2016’s Shortcut to the Top!

Thommy Giesen reminds the crowd that hardcore rules mean no DQ or count-outs… and it almost ended in seconds when Schwarz decks Jurn with a pump kick at the bell for a near-fall! They’re quickly outside as Schwarz brawled with Jurn around ringside, even going into the crowd as Schwarz had some fans hold him for some chops.

Schwarz goes for the plunder first, breaking out some chairshots onto Jurn’s back as commentary revelled in Jurn finally coming up against a man of his own size. The crowd call for tables, and Mikey duly delivers, but the Ende der Schicht (End of the Shift) chokeslam is blocked as Jurn heads outside for his trusty weapon… the Singapore cane!

Or the “wooden sword” that commentary likened it to… and yes, Jurn uses it instantly in Schwarz’s midsection and back. Mikey eventually blocks a shot and breaks the cane over his knee… then delivers der Ende der Schicht through a table for a close two-count! Mikey brings out another weapon, another cane with a beer keg taped to the end of it… and it’s whacked against Jurn’s head for another two-count.

Okay Mikey, that beer keg on a pole got me!

Another table comes into play, but Jurn avoids it and returns with a Massive Boot, before throwing Schwarz through the second table. A chairshot pops out the seat on Schwarz’s back, but Jurn’s happy to just use the frame again before both men collided into each other with duelling big boots.

Schwarz is back up first to pepper Jurn with body shots, before he catches Simmons with a Bossman slam for a near-fall, and that’s the cue for Mikey to bring out some more chairs. Another chokeslam’s attempted, but Jurn kicks low and hits a piledriver onto those stacked up chairs… but he doesn’t go for the cover as he’s got a second Singapore cane under the ring, as another “beheading” to Schwarz on a chair, followed by a cane-assisted Tentacles of Terror (Rings of Saturn) submission force the submission. Well, I do love a plunder match that isn’t just folks smashing baking trays on each others’ heads, and this kept up the story with Jurn… and it makes me wonder just how far he’s going to have to go with David Starr at Carat next month! ***

Speaking of Carat, this next match is a qualifier – with two members of RISE being forced to fight for a spot…

wXw 16 Carat Gold Qualifier: Ivan Kiev vs. Lucky Kid
Lucky Kid seemed to be the favourite in Hamburg, quickly followed by “Keine” (nobody), then “Tass”. Fair enough! It was always going to be tough to get buy-in on a heel match…

Ivan Kiev and Lucky Kid seemed reluctant at first to lock horns, before they broke into some pinning attempts as we got some nice chain wrestling in the early moments. A baseball slide trips Kiev as Lucky Kid follows him… with some mind games rather than a dive, before Kiev responds by grabbing a handful of hair as he starts throwing rights.

Still, at least they had time to declare their loyalties…

Kiev rolls into some headscissors, but they just propel Lucky into the ropes for a handspring back elbow… before we go into missed dives that ended with an Arabian press to the floor from Lucky! He rolls Kiev back in, but a top rope ‘rana was rather unlucky as Ivan took the upper hand, following up with a half nelson into a facebuster for a near-fall.

Kiev tries to force a submission with a Cobra clutch, which prompts Tarkan Aslan into the ring… but Pete Bouncer talks Tarkan down as Lucky made it to the ropes. Ivan tries for a superplex, but Lucky slips out and nails a sit-out powerbomb instead, before catching a Pele kick and turning it into an ankle lock.

Pete Bouncer pops up on the apron next, but thinks better of interfering, as Ivan’s able to drag himself to the ropes. They descended into back-and-forth strikes, with Kiev finally landing the Pele kick, before nailing the death valley driver for a near-fall. A flying leg lariat off the top connects as Ivan was busting out everything, along with another top rope ‘rana as Lucky Kid hesitated on the top rope again.

A wheelbarrow roll-up almost nicks it for Kiev, but Lucky Kid kicks out and sneaks in a Dragon suplex… and just like that, Lucky Kid books his spot in 16 Carat! This was a tough one for the crowd, but bell-to-bell this was pretty fun to watch. Afterwards everyone kissed and made up… for now. ***¼

Lucky Kid’s shown with the German commentary pair of Dan Jokisch and Sebastian Hollmichel… his comments go over my head because my German is… nicht so gut.

wXw Women’s Championship: Martina vs. Veda Scott vs. Killer Kelly vs. Toni Storm (c)
What was originally meant to be a rematch for Killer Kelly quickly became a four-way with the additions of Martina and Veda Scott in the weeks before the show.

The match opened with the question… “is it bantz to grind on Toni Storm?” as Martina took the “four way dance” part of the match a little too literally. That led to Veda trying to steal the win with a roll-up at the bell, before she slid outside.

Martina’s a house on fire early, taking out Toni and Kelly with a crossbody off the top before stacking them up in a corner for a Bronco Buster… something that Veda stopped by pulling out Martina as Kelly’s forced to escape a Strong Zero. Veda and Martina brawl in the crowd as Kelly and Toni continue to fight, but Storm’s also sent outside as Killer Kelly tried to go airborne… only for spoilsport Veda to stop that, and instead use the referee for some rope-walking ahead of a dive to the floor.

The Hamburg crowd weren’t too impressed with Veda, but they had a tope from Toni to cheer after, along with Kelly’s eventual dive as she finally hit her crossbody into the pile! Martina tries to complete the set, but she needs a beer break as referee Rainer Ringer again got involved! One beer later and Martina gets off her tope, all while Rico Bushido questioned the helping hand Rainer’d been giving during the match.

All four women end up back in the ring for forearms and German suplexes, with Toni and Kelly edging ahead… only to miss their charges into the corner as the tables turned. Veda tries to steal it with a head kick to Martina, before going for a submission… and landing a German suplex to Kelly as well as the duel pin/submission attempt almost paid off.

We head to the four-way forearm battle, before quadruple head kicks left everyone laying. Martina’s back up to take down Kelly with a clothesline, but her German suplex is elbowed out of as Kelly replied with a ripcord high kick, only to get caught with a running neckbreaker slam as Toni sparked a Parade of Moves. Veda nearly nicks it again, but Martina beers up again…

Veda gets taken into the crowd by Kelly as those two went their own way, leaving Martina to eat a German suplex then a Strong Zero as Toni Storm retained, despite a despairing dive from Kelly. This was really bloody enjoyable – none of the usual shenanigans of a multi-way match, and the pace was kept steady throughout. More please! ***¼

wXw Shotgun Championship: Absolute Andy vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
This was the longest match of the night – and a rematch from Back to the Roots, where Absolute Andy bulled through Bobby in a non-title effort.

Andy’s got his cigar with him to keep up the “rookie/veteran” stuff from last month, but the crowd reaction is a lot more pro-Bobby here, despite him trolling the Hamburg crowd with a Werder Bremen flag. When the bell finally goes, the pair go toe-to-toe, but it’s Gunns who slaps away Andy before taking him into the corner for some uppercuts. Andy gives as good as he got with his receipts, but Bobby scores with a takedown and some brief ground and pound., before an early armbar had Andy scurrying to the outside.

Commentary notes that Vince – Bobby’s brother – is there providing moral support… but for the early going, Bobby doesn’t quite need it. Just like that though, Andy takes him down for a figure four, with some added cheating as Andy grabbed the ropes. It looked like the ref had caught Andy, but it’s ignored as the veteran again blamed the fans, before Rainer Ringer finally caught Andy in the act, just as Bobby reversed the hold.

There’s a brief shoving match with the ref, almost costing Andy the match, but he quickly boots Bobby down and takes him into the ropes. A one-handed backbreaker follows, but Bobby avoids a superkick and starts thwacking away on Bobby’s arm, prepping him for an eventual armbar.

Andy begs off some finger snapping, but to no avail, as Bobby continued to stomp away on the arm, before Andy countered back with a back cracker. Bobby crotches Andy as he was going for a moonsault (I guess) and looked for a back superplex… only to have to make do with a regular superplex after Andy’d fought away. An eye rake gets Andy back in it, before he backdropped Gunns onto the apron… only to get caught with an armbar in the ropes!

Gunns returns fire with an uppercut and a low dropkick for a near-fall, but Andy pulls a Bobby with a cross armbreaker! It’s escaped as Gunns keeps in control with a Saito suplex, before Bobby gets in another cross armbreaker of his own, which Andy stands up out of… only for Bobby to go back to chops to the arm, before Andy pulls him into the same hold. A battle of armbars, eh? Bobby retaliates with a Sharpshooter as we’re firmly into “steal the other guy’s moves” territory, before he throws in a superkick for a near-fall after Andy had broken via the ropes. Someone’s been storing finishers!

Andy tries to hit back with an F5, but Bobby ends up slipping free… and ducks a superkick as Rainer Ringer takes the kick instead. With the referee down, Andy decks Bobby with a clothesline before he chokes him, using his towel for extra leverage. That eventually prompts Bobby’s brother Vinny to get out of his seat, and hobble towards the ring on crutches… there’s no security or ring crew to step in, so Andy just kicks away his leg and crutches, before superkicking Vinny on the apron.

Insult is added to injury as Vinny’s locked in a Sharpshooter as the Hamburg crowd boos. Bobby finally gets up and breaks it apart, before tending to his brother… and waving the X-sign. I’m surprised they’ve not brought out a second ref, given how long Rainer’s been asleep for…

Andy throws in another superkick, but Bobby’s able to fight back with a jawbreaker, only to get caught with an F5 as Andy heads outside for the wrench. Before Andy can use it, he’s interrupted by a video message from a rather stern Marius al-Ani… and him just saying “Andy” distracts him for long enough for the ref to disarm Andy. A belt shot from Bobby follows, as does a cross armbreaker, and Andy taps! A little underwhelming with all of the shenanigans at the end, but this was a fun back-and-forth outing until that point, and it continues to set us up for an eventual clash between Andy and al-Ani… ***½

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Mike Bailey vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger (c)
Going into this, John Klinger had been warned by Ivan Kiev that if he lost the title, RISE would be forced to elect a new leader to replace him… so, no pressure there!

Bones was out with the only guy seemingly supporting him in the form of Da Mack – who still can’t wrestle in Hamburg, remember – as the crowd pelted the champion with chants of “Sad Bones”, while they gave Bailey… the Bailey song. Ooh, aah…

Klinger tries to get under Bailey’s skin by keeping the pace slow… but as soon as he headed outside, Speedball met him there with a Golden Triangle moonsault to the floor to keep the Hamburg crowd electric. Mack instantly pops up for a distraction, and it works as Bailey turned around into a slingshot spear, before Bones ordered Mack to the back. Either that or he was just really mad that Mack dared try to go into a ring he’s banned from?

With Mack gone, Klinger kept up the offence with chops, before whipping him hard into the corner as chops sent the challenger tumbling to the floor. The crowd stay on Klinger’s back with chants of “Worst in Europe” (a spoof of his old nickname), before a Road Warrior-esque snapping slam gets Klinger a near-fall.

Bailey tries to fight back, landing a Spanish fly after missing a corkscrew kick, but Bones kicks out at two, before ducking some kicks… only for one to actually connect for a near-fall. More kicks force Bones to powder outside… but Bailey’s waiting with more kicks before another Golden Triangle’s stuffed as Klinger drags him outside and into a Rebel lock in the crowd! Back inside, Klinger nails a missile dropkick and a sliding lariat for a near-fall, but Bailey fires back and demands that Klinger chops him… and the champ obliges. A kitchen sink knee to the gut and a Falcon arrow follows for a near-fall, followed by a half-nelson suplex as Klinger started to look comfortable here.

A superkick to a kneeling Bailey just angered the Canadian, as he got back to his feet and stared down the RISE leader, who was confounded by it all! Their staredown allowed the crowd to chant a little, as they burst into back-and-forth chops, with Bailey throwing in some kicks for good measure. Another barrage of blows from Bailey led to a head kick, then a moonsault double knee to the back of a bent-over Klinger for a near-fall.

The shooting star knees off the middle rope miss as Klinger catches Bailey with a springboard lungblower instead for a near-fall. Another one off the middle rope followed, but it still wasn’t enough to put away Speedball, so Klinger immediately traps him in a Rebel lock crossface until there’s another rope break called. Another headkick from Bailey rocks Klinger, as does a front suplex as the champion barely held on.

Bailey tried to head up top, but Klinger catches him with a crucifix bomb… countering the counter into a sunset flip, before avoiding the shooting star knees and landing a double underhook DDT as those near-falls kept coming! Another thrust kick and a walloping clothesline sent Bailey crashing to the mat.

Bailey dragged himself into the corner, but although he can’t avoid the Wrecking Ball Knees, he does return with a diving boot… only to whiff on the shooting star knees as more Wrecking Ball Knees gave Bones another two-count! A Shadow Driver follows, but Bones goes straight to the RISE/Rebel Lock, and Bailey taps. Bloody hell, that was a breathless finish, and a hell of a main event – although Bailey never really had Bones in too much danger, this was a stellar showing from both men as Bad Bones showed he could do it on his own. ****

After the match, the rest of RISE make their way down to the ring, with Pete Bouncer staring a hole in Bones, eventually doing the RISE pose. Heck, most of the group look reluctant, almost sad as if their plan to overthrow Klinger failed… which led to this closing shot…

Oh man, just imagine if Pete Bouncer, one of the most dismissed members of RISE, ends up being the one to bring the whole group down? Perhaps with some outside help? Maybe not from RINGKAMPF though, but they do come to the ring to spoil the parade as WALTER went nose-to-nose with Bad Bones, teasing their main event at 16 Carat Gold.

Dead End could easy have been a throwaway show, much like the Fast Lane/Elimination Chamber to WWE’s WrestleMania. Instead, Hamburg played witness to one of the better wXw shows in recent times, with everything on the card being good, and at the very least, advancing storylines. You might not have been crazy over the finish to the Shotgun title match, but it seems like they’re perhaps getting a little closer to the Andy/al-Ani confrontation… maybe even in 16 Carat, if Marius wins the Road to 16 Carat tournament in Bielefeld later this month.

Don’t skip on this show – it’s a good two hours of wrestling that you’ll really get a kick out of!