wXw bid farewell to Axel Dieter Jr with a special show in Oberhausen – featuring some surprises for the out-going star.

We’re watching the original, German-language version, so our take on promos are probably not going to be accurate! The show opened with a video package covering the highlights of Axel’s time in wXw, along with that shot of his dad that was used in the Shotgun promo package. We’re in the Steffy nightclub in Oberhausen – a new venue for wXw – and it looks rather grand and befitting of the outgoing RINGKAMPF member. Verena Fischer is our host for the night, who announces that Axel’ll be wrestling twice tonight: once against Francis Kaspin, and later on in tag team action with WALTER against Jurn Simmons and Axel’s original tag partner, Da Mack.

Axel Dieter Jr. vs. Francis Kaspin
Yep, Axel’s choked up as he makes his way to the ring, going through the crowd as Thomas Giesen does the proper ring announcements. There’s no referee in the ring, and for good reason: senior referee Tassilo Jung comes out and springs a surprise – Axel’s brother (who wasn’t named) is going to referee this contest!

We start with a handshake, before Axel tries to surprise Kaspin with a gator roll before grabbing the arm as he tried to keep the relatively inexperienced Kaspin down. Axel goes to the bridging hammerlock, but not before he pulls off a headstand and gets the crowd to clap in time to his legs. Axel’s having fun out there, taking down Kaspin with a diving uppercut before some grounded legscissors try to force a submission. Or a knock-out with some heels to the face… whichever worked best!

A step-up kick in the corner leads to another uppercut as Axel racked up those near-falls, hitting a Hamburgerkreuz (Air Raid Crash) and the Axel Dieter Senior Special… but Kaspin breaks it by rolling back for a pin, then hitting a basement dropkick to get another as Axel nonchalantly lands a cross-chop. Kaspin nearly snatches it as he counters a Landungsbrücke attempt with a wheelbarrow roll-up… but Axel just kicks out and slaps the taste out of his mouth instead.

They slap each other silly, before Kaspin goes for an O’Connor roll that’s turned into another Axel Dieter Senior Special after the kick-out… then a rear naked choke that’s rolled back on for another two-count for Kaspin. More back and forth follows as they tease the indy pinning sequence, until Kaspin jack-knives Dieter for the win – and if you’re keeping score, Kaspin’s beaten both halves of Hot and Spicy in the same weekend! A really good match given the circumstances – one that did feel like they were sleepwalking through, but at the same time, not one that looked like either man was taking the night off. ***½

After the match, Axel made a beeline for the front row to hug members of his family.

The over-dub music for this show is rather morose… I know it’s a memorial show, but Axel hasn’t died!

Dirty Dragan & Young Money Chong vs. Avalanche
Well, it looks like the partnership between Dragan and Marius van Beethoven’s on ice for the time being, as Dragan’s tagging with fellow Dutchman Young Money Chong… but not until a kid at ringside schooled Dragan during his promo, where he said “there wasn’t a single man in the world who can beat us at the same time”. Oh dear… his former Cerberus running buddy Avalanche has something to say about that!

Dragan and Chong try and walk out, but the pair end up psyching each other up and return to the ring. It goes as well as you’d expect… Chong takes a slam, then an elbow drop as Dragan breaks up the pin, before he’s turfed to the outside. Chong gets a Samoan drop, before Dragan returns and gets thrown out again. That allows Chong to try and grab a sleeperhold, which leads to a chop block as the Dutch duo try to fight back.

Avalanche roars up and shoves the pair away, then butt bumps Chong as Dragon was preparing for a double axehandle smash. A press slam takes Dragan into his partner, before they ate a pair of avalanches and cannonballs as the path of destruction tore on. Fortunately, it didn’t last much longer, as Avalanche stacked up his opponents for a Dreissker Bomb for the win. A glorious squash match!

Jaxon Stone vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger
Stone does the coat trick he did in Frankfurt, forcing a disgusted Tassilo Jung to help him disrobe, and it’s Stone who gets the first advantage, slapping the gum out of Bones’ mouth… only for the favour to be returned pretty soon afterwards.

A back body drop from Bones forces Stone to roll to the outside… where he’s chased by Bones, only to quickly regain order with a clothesline to the back of Bones. A crossbody and a swinging neckbreaker turns things around, before Stone leaps over a charging Klinger before an uppercut knocks him to the outside.

Stone hits a PK off the apron then hurriedly rolls Klinger back in for a near-fall as some mounted punches on the mat soften up Klinger, but he rebounds as the pair trade right hands, until Stone tried to springboard into the ring… and got chopped to the floor. That puts him in position for a lowpe from Bad Bones, who then followed up with a slingshot spear back in the ring.

A superkick to the head gets Bones a near-fall, before Stone nearly wins it after blocking the Wrecking Ball knees with a knee strike of his own. The Cutaway (over-the-knee brainbuster) gets Stone a two-count as he was convinced it’d gotten him the win, but in the end, Bones came back with a Codebreaker off the middle rope to get the win in a match that was decent, but nothing that’d leave a lasting memory. **¾

Throughout the show they played clips from the Best of Axel Dieter Jr. documentary that’s out on DVD (and will also pop up on wXw NOW later in May). My God, Christian Michael Jakobi looked weird with a mullet!

wXw Tag Team Championship: Scotty Saxon & Veit Müller vs. A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius al-Ani) (c)
Another day, another makeshift set of challengers for A4, who this time faced the Hamburg pairing of Veit Müller and Scotty Saxon – whose entrance video included an old caption from when someone called him Scotty Saxxon. Ah, confused names!

We’ve got a very slow start, with Saxon taking down al-Ani with a shoulder tackle before crossing his arms. Marius kips up out of annoyance, only to get tackled again, before Absolute Andy has a go… and succeeds with a diving shoulder block. Marius returns to suplex Saxon for a near-fall, as the champs looked to isolate Saxon away from his partner. A foot-tag brings Andy back in as A4 swapped double axehandles to Saxon’s arm, before Saxon manages to make a comeback by charging al-Ani into the corner.

Marius quickly recovers, but his attempt at a springboard into the ring ends when Veit Müller pulls him down… and earns himself a few shots from Absolute Andy. Veit tags in and drills Marius with an uppercut to the back of the head for a two-count, allowing Saxon to return to give Marius a biel throw as the challengers enjoy a period of offence.

Andy returns to slug it out with Müller, which led to a stalling suplex and an Absolute Knee Drop, before he started to tune the band for a superkick, but Veit catches it and instead takes a back cracker for a near-fall. We see a top rope ‘rana attempted by Andy, but Veit blocks it and comes back with a gutwrench suplex for a near-fall.

One more flourish from A4 sees Andy hit a spinebuster and a superkick, before al-Ani tagged in to go back to work on Saxon, culminating with a leaping DDT… but Müller was the legal man. So why wasn’t the referee counting Saxon out? Anyway, Saxon slams Müller onto al-Ani for a near-fall, before Andy’s dropkick catches him on the top rope. A ‘rana from Andy out of the corner follows, before Müller rolls up Andy as A4 went for an assisted Stunner.

In the end, al-Ani shoves Saxon into Andy for an F5 – that’s aborted, so Marius just hits some more suplexes before A4 finally polish off Saxon with an F5 and a frog splash… but Saxon’s still not legal! Instead, we get Müller taking the leaping seated senton before the assisted Stunner sees the champions retain. Decent action, but just like the Frankfurt show, I’d like to see other teams built up as challengers. ***

Michael Dante vs. Bobby Gunns
Lots of stalling here as Gunns tries to avoid any contact from Michael Dante, but that just leads to him taking a series of clotheslines from the raging Dutchman, who rushed in with a slam for a near-fall. Gunns switches on top with an armbreaker in the ropes, then a diving back elbow as he went to work on Dante’s left arm and wrist, tweaking the wrist before stomping on the forearm. Dante tries to fight back, but he’s kicked back to the mat for a groin thrust by the “King of Smoke Style”… which just makes him mad, as Dante tried to hit a half-and-half suplex, before instead replying with a side suplex.

An over-the-knee brainbuster gets Dante a near-fall, but Gunns comes back when his leap over Dante in the corner turns into an elbow-drop assisted DDT and a diving dropkick for a near-fall. Dante hits back with a shoulder block to knock Gunns out of the air, then with a half-and-half suplex, before a spear attempt is caught as Gunns rolls into an armbar.

Dante tries to powerbomb himself free, but in the end he drops to the mat as he couldn’t force a break, and eventually taps as Gunns’ neverending armbar gets him the win. Basic and short, but decent for what it was. **½

Alexander James vs. Kim Ray
This is where my lack of German lets me down badly – the fans chant something at Kim at the start of the match, and then we finally get underway with James working over Ray’s arm.

Kim uses an armdrag to finally get himself free, before he starts up his kicking game, forcing James to roll to the outside, where “American Royalty” James throws an elbow, only to receive a PK off the apron as a receipt. A slingshot neckbreaker gets James another near-fall, but then Ray goes into a series of kicks, only to get hotshotted onto the top rope.

James’ offence continues as he grabs a chinlock and throws in some elbows, before tossing Ray with an Exploder. An uppercut leads to a ripcord attempt, which James turns into a back suplex, dumping Ray on his head for a two-count. Finally, Ray makes a comeback of sorts, only for an arm whip to take him down, which starts up that Kim Ray chant once again.

It’s actually Alexander who throws some kicks at Kim, who finally responds with a clothesline before going back to the kicks, kicking away James’ leg, before landing a PK attempt. Ray follows up with a diving dropkick in the corner for a near-fall, as a Falcon arrow and a spinning roundhouse kick gets Ray the win. This was short but decent for what time they had – Kim Ray’s not too bad when he’s not always spamming kicks! **¾

Ahead of the main event, we had a clip of Axel Dieter Jr. talking about his wXw title win over Marty Scurll at the 16th Anniversary Show last year – where he beat Marty with his own move. I always forget how great the exasperated look of referee Tassilo Jung was after that screw job!

Da Mack & Jurn Simmons vs. RINGKAMPF (Axel Dieter Jr. & WALTER)
Well, this had to be the send-off match, didn’t it? Axel and current mentor WALTER against former Hot & Spicy partner Da Mack and the current wXw champion. There’s a LOT of RINGKAMPF signs in the crowd, and they aren’t playing up any of the dissension within the group that was the story for the past few weeks.

Axel mouthed along to WALTER’s customary pre-match promo, which also saw Jurn Simmons gyrate when the Austrian called him a “showman”.

We started off with WALTER grounding Jurn with a headlock, before the pair went back and forth with shoulder blocks, as the Austrian gained the upper hand. Jurn throws in a few dropkicks to WALTER, who then tagged in Axel to a loud reaction as we got a Hot and Spicy reunion!

Axel takes Mack into the corner, then lands a cross chop after a clean(ish) break, before WALTER to counter a cannonball off the top rope by Mack into a slam, as some chops easily keep Da Mack at bay. With Mack firmly on the back foot, Axel tags back in, but runs into a boot in the corner as Mack brings Jurn in to charge Axel into the corner.

Despite taking an enziguiri, Jurn rebounds with slams to both members of RINGKAMPF, before Mack returns to dropkick his former partner for a near-fall. Mack and Jurn work together over Axel, with Dieter’s left arm taking the brunt of their offence as the crowd – for one night only – backed their departing hero.

Axel returns with another corner enziguiri to Mack, then goes airborne with a diving uppercut for a near-fall, before WALTER came back to throw Jurn around like he was a cruiserweight. A single underhook suplex from Axel sets up for a sit-down splash by WALTER on Jurn for a two-count, but Simmons escaped an uppercut/powerbomb combo as we moved to an Axel Dieter Senior special from Axel on Mack whilst Jurn had WALTER in a torture rack.

They both relinquished their holds to stare each other down, which quickly led to windmilling punches and a series of slaps. Jurn gets a sit-out gutwrench powerbomb for a two-count, but Axel replies with a double underhook draping DDT as a parade of strikes left everyone reeling… especially Da Mack, who took a release German suplex from WALTER, flipping onto his front in the process!

The big lads lay into each other for a bit, then we go back to the Hot and Spicy pair as Mack lands a Slingblade and a series of chops, before running into a Hamburgerkreuz attempt, only to escape and land a ‘rana and a cannonball instead! Axel gets the Hamburgerkreuz at the second attempt, before WALTER flies in with a shotgun dropkick to get rid of Jurn, leaving Mack open for the powerbomb/European uppercut combo as RINGKAMPF took the win. A pretty good main event, basic, but it hit all the right notes as we saw RINGKAMPF working well as a unit for the last time (for now…) ***¾

After the match, everyone hugged it out as we had a curtain call… but then Dirty Dragan and Young Money Chong come in and ruin it by knocking down WALTER and Jurn. That left Hot and Spicy together again to get rid of the nuisances from the Netherlands with their trademark offence, including a Total Elimination and a tiltawhirl onto Chong as the “eins, zwei, drei” enziguiris ensured that Hot and Spicy buried their hatched before Axel’s departure.

Oh God, we get DANCING WALTER. Briefly, before the locker room emptied to throw Axel high in the air for a final hurrah which went on for half an hour, which (unfortunately) was all in German, with Christian Michael Jakobi leading the tributes, talking about how Axel’s continuing the legacy of his father. As you can imagine, Axel was visibly choked up by all of this… especially when the crowd busted out the “you deserve it” chant. In English.

We then had a long speech from Axel, individually addressing what felt like everyone who was sat in the ring – and yes, there were tears all around. No, there wasn’t any Kleenex…

As a show, you weren’t going to see any standout matches here – the spotlight throughout was on Axel Dieter Jr throughout. He was the man the fans came to see, and they got to see plenty of him: going out on top and by “passing the torch” to an up and comer in Francis Kaspin. This show is worth your time if only to see the farewell ceremonies. You don’t need to know the language – even if the English language version takes a while to appear on wXw Now, as the emotion was clear for all to see.