wXw’s Fight Forever tour kicked off in style – with plenty of things set up for the coming months and yet more progress for RISE.
We’re in Oberhausen for the first show of a new tour, with the Turbinenhalle once again the venue for a loaded card, and this tour is brought to you by the colour… red! Oh, and you’ll more than have the chorus to White Comic’s “This Ain’t The End of Me” embedded into your consciousness by the end of this show.
WALTER vs. Chris Colen
WALTER came out proudly sporting the PROGRESS Atlas title he’d won a few weeks earlier, whilst Chris Colen came out with the rest of RISE… sans Bad Bones. I’m not sure if having a two-tier RISE is a good message to be sending so early on?
The two Austrians shove at each other to begin with, with WALTER drawing first blood with a shoulder tackle, before Colen low bridges him to the outside for a plancha! WALTER rebounds with a back suplex onto the apron as der Ringgeneral went on to squash Colen with a sit-down splash for a near-fall.
Colen manages to get back in, and hits a slingshot into a double stomp for a near-fall, before a double axehandle off the top kept WALTER at bay… for a good few seconds as he was able to reverse a suplex with ease. The smaller Colen was able to use his speed advantage to fly… but he only leaps into a rear naked choke as WALTER’s Gojira clutch leads to a rope break, and some back elbows from Colen, who’s able to German suplex WALTER instead.
Some knees in the corner rocked WALTER, but he’s able to chop his way back in, before catching Colen in another Gojira clutch which gets broken up when Colen used a judo-style throw… only to walk into a big boot from WALTER! More chops almost knock Colen to the floor, before Colen shoves WALTER to the mat for a flying clothesline.
Another lariat takes down WALTER, but he recovers to boot Colen in the corner, before Colen flips out of a butterfly suplex ahead of a uranage for a near-fall. WALTER snaps back in with a German suplex and a butterfly suplex for another two-count, and you sense the end is nigh as a series of lariats drop Colen – and that’s enough for the win! A fun opener with Colen showing he was a match for WALTER, but tellingly, without the RISE back-up, he again wasn’t able to get the job done. ***¼
Bobby Gunns vs. Alpha Kevin
During the entrances, Kevin refused to acknowledge Melanie Gray before asking her to go to the back so there’d be no distractions. I say “ask”, he pretty much yelled at her, such were the tensions between the two of them.
Kevin charges Gunns into the corner from the off and hits the Cena-esque back suplex for an early near-fall. Gunns comes back with an attempt at a rope hung armbar, but Kevin fought free and takes him outside for a cannonball that led to some spilt pints! We almost get a move stolen from David Starr as Gunns went to thrust his crotch at Kevin… who then decided to just do it.
Regardless, Gunns kicks his way back in, sending Kevin onto the apron, but Kevin tries to come back in with a sunset flip… which is stuffed and turned into a cross armbreaker. Gunns switches it into a triangle armbar, forcing Kevin to bridge on his neck, and the focus stayed on that arm, at least until Kevin shoves him off and gets a near-fall.
It’s not long before Gunns went back to the arm though, this time with Kevin breaking via the ropes… but Kevin tries to fight back with chops using the wounded arm, which is just a dumb move as Gunns catches a chop and turns it into an armbreaker. Gunns keeps up the pressure with a mounted guillotine, but Kevin fights out and turns it into a brainbuster to free himself!
Kevin throws in a suplex next, then a bulldog, before a clothesline dumped Gunns on the mat for a near-fall. Just like that though, Bobby rebounds with a German suplex out of the corner, then a backdrop suplex for a near-fall, as Gunns then switched into an armbar… but again Kevin’s able to reach the ropes. A discus lariat from Kevin out of nowhere gets a near-fall, before he followed up a deadlift Fisherman’s suplex with a springboard back elbow out of the corner that missed… as Gunns was back to his feet before Kevin even left his… and that whiffed back elbow left Gunns with nothing more to do than go for the armbar again for the win. A little spammy at times, but the match was logical (and infuriating, as Kevin kept using his wounded arm for moves)… perfectly fine wrestling as this in no way felt like a blow-off match. **¾
Ivan Kiev vs. Kim Ray
Kiev came out with RISE – minus Bad Bones once again – and he went straight for Kim Ray at the bell, but Kim’s able to resist the early onslaught as he, of course, went after Kiev with a series of kicks early on.
A single-leg dropkick took Kiev into the corner for a Shibata-esque diving dropkick for a near-fall, but Kiev comes back as the video glitches out badly. Yeah, these first few matches were tricky to watch thanks to the random blockiness glitch that somehow came in during rendering.
Kiev and Ray exchange blows before a running knee blasts Ray in the chin… but he comes back and hits the Cena-esque side slam before Kiev rolls away from a PK. Ray keeps up, but he’s dropped throat-first on the top rope before dropkicking Kiev into the crowd… but Kiev avoids another PK and sweeps the leg before flying in with a top rope leg lariat for a near-fall.
Ray gets back up and connects with some kicks, but Kiev cuts him off and whips him back into the corner… then knocks Ray down again with a diving boot as he looked to follow up with a pumphandle slam! That succeeds, but Ray again kicks out, before exchanging a high kick with a high knee as both men crashed to the mat.
Ray tries – and fails – with a Falcon arrow, before Kiev goes for the death valley driver… only for Ray to escape, land a kick, then that Falcon arrow, but it’s only good for a two-count. Kiev slumps to the mat to avoid another head kick, and that has the ref checking on him… but it’s a ruse as he gets up to surprise Ray with a Pele kick, then a death valley driver for the win. Another good win for Kiev, and given he’s going to be in Shotgun title contention next month, that’s not a surprise. ***¼
wXw World Tag Team Championships: A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius al-Ani) vs. Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid) (c)
We’re switching to the English feed on my Roku for this one… so yeah, we’ve lost sync. Cheers Roku and Vimeo! Where’s my Chromecast and Vimeo app… After losing their titles to the Young Lions at Superstars of Wrestling (thanks to the interference of RISE), A4 finally get their rematch, and you know the drill with the RISE stable by now.
Lucky Kid went after Sebastian Hollmichel on commentary, kicking away at him… which drew A4 after them as this match started out on fire! We finally have a bell as Andy clotheslines Lucky Kid, then sends him flying with a back body drop! It’s all A4 early on, especially when Kid took a double team suplex before dropping Kid with an F5. From there, things break down as Lucky Kid’s taken onto the stage by Andy… but RISE come out and drop Andy with a suplex all whilst al-Ani’s oblivious to it.
Marius still seems to not care less as his partner’s down on the stage, as he tries to get into it with the RISE guys who head into the crowd. Meanwhile, Andy crawls back into the ring just in time, but he’s immediately double-teamed again by the Lions, as the isolation game continues. Lucky Kid chokes on him outside whilst Aslan has the ref distracted, before a straight right hand to the head would have won it… but al-Ani had his turn to distract the ref, so there was no cover.
Still, the Lions regained their advantage, largely by underhanded means, inciting al-Ani into the ring so they had even more time to work over Andy. In the end though, Andy’s able to monster up for a bit, hanging onto both Lions as they mounted him, before they went after the same knee that RISE took out several weeks earlier.
Finally Andy gets in a Rainmaker before al-Ani gets the tag to clean house, dumping the Lions with spin kicks before stringing together the sunset flip, kip-up and exploder trio. A death valley driver follows as Aslan’s forced to break up the cover, but A4 threaten a resurgence as Andy drops Aslan with a spinebuster, then an F5 before al-Ani hits the frog splash!
Ivan Kiev clumsily breaks up the pin by pulling Aslan’s foot onto the apron, in full view of the ref… so we carry on, with Andy getting low bridged to the outside as he went for the Absolute Knee drop, leaving Marius in the ring on his lonesome once more. A handspring back elbow from Lucky Kid knocks Marius down again, but he comes back and hits a massive plancha over the turnbuckles to keep Aslan down!
Meanwhile, Andy’s back in the ring and plants Kid with another F5, but he kicks out at two! A superkick should have won it, but Pete Bouncer’s on the apron to cause another distraction – which Andy falls for as he chases him around the ringside area… before charging back into the ring into a small package for a near-fall. Andy again kicks out from a chop-assisted German suplex, as does al-Ani as I think I glitched past a tag.
Pete Bouncer gets involved again as he gives a belt to Lucky Kid – who is caught by the ref… Tarkan Aslan gets a second one and hits al-Ani with it, and that makes Andy snap, grabbing the free belt from the ref to hit Aslan with. Right in full view of the ref, so that’s a DQ. A little cheap, but this was a decent enough match before the RISE interference – and sure enough afterwards, RISE get involved to beat down Andy as he threatened to hit the Lions with a wrench! Al-Ani gets it and chases them away, and RISE live to fight another day. **¾
Thomas Giesen rattles through the bare bones of the Fight Forever tour, including October’s World Tag Team League, where they announced the Briscoes for the weekender.
Alex Windsor vs. Melanie Gray
This was Windsor’s wXw debut, going up against one of the favourites for the upcoming wXw women’s title… of course, Melanie Gray ordered Alpha Kevin to the back after he’d done the same with her earlier. Trouble in paradise!
The two start with tie-ups into the corner as Adam Polak on commentary tells us that Melanie has completed the transformation into Snow White. Windsor cartwheels past a Gray drop down, only to turn around into a neckbreaker, before rolling away from a back senton as Gray found herself firmly on the back foot.
An atomic drop puts Windsor on the back foot though, as Gray hits a swinging side slam, only to get sent to the outside by an upkick. Windsor tries to follow up with a PK, but she’s pulled down to the floor as both women found it hard to keep much of an advantage.
A single-leg surfboard turns into a curbstomp as commentary threw shade at that upcoming tournament, before Gray manages to get off a Finlay roll, then the back senton for a near-fall. Windsor drags Gray back off the ropes by her gear into a Blue Thunder Bomb, before missing a shoulder charge into the corner as she connects with the ringpost instead. That gave Gray the opening to spear her through the ropes all the way to the floor, before Windsor hit back with a headbutt and a tornado DDT onto the floor.
Back inside, Gray catches Windsor up top and nearly lands on her own head with a Finlay roll off the turnbuckles, but it’s only good for a two-count as I’d hoped the sound of microphones moving meant that hey’d taken Adam Polak off commentary. Sadly, that wasn’t the case as Windsor pulls Gray out of the corner and hits a PK for another near-fall.
Gray avoids a Sharpshooter, before catching Windsor in a pop-up powerbomb for a near-fall as she ends up rolling Windsor into a Texas Cloverleaf for the submission. Another decent outing, but my God the commentary for this was bad – someone was channelling The King here, and in the worst way possible. **¾
That’s followed up with the advert for the round robin tournament for the new wXw women’s championship – it’s a bit of a missed opportunity to have any of those matches on wXw’s London show, but it is what it is.
Dirty Dragan & Emil Sitoci vs. Jay FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin)
Dragan had a few fans in the crowd for this, but he was instantly taken down with a pair of dropkicks as the Jay FK tandem opted to start together. Once Kaspin’s sent to the apron, Dragan manages to kick down Skillet, before he misses an elbow drop.
Skillet gets a near-fall with a back elbow out of the corner, before Kaspin connects with a forearm in the corner, then a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall. Kaspin tries for a Doomsday Device-ish move, but Emil Sitoci dropkicks him off the top rope before tagging in properly as he started to dismantle Skillet.
An atomic drop and a clothesline put down Skillet as Sitoci felt like taking on both of his foes at once… and was quite successful too, wrenching back on Jay with a chinlock before Dragan came in and humiliated Jay with a Bronco Buster. Skillet tries to fight back, but Dragan holds him down and brings Sitoci back in to lay him out with another gutbuster.
A second gutbuster is blocked as Skillet shocks Sitoci with his own Snapmare Driver, but it doesn’t lead to a cover as both men tag out. Kaspin’s flying clothesline knocks down Dragan as a snapmare and a low dropkick gets a near-fall. Skillet returns with a double stomp to Dragan, but Sitoci makes a save and takes him down with some headscissors before Skillet breaks up another cover.
Skillet thinks he’s made the save with a wheelbarrow, but Sitoci turns it into a stunner-like move as Emil’s running the show by himself here. However, he bumps into Dragan and is quickly taken down by Kaspin in a Muta lock, with Skillet guarding Dragan from interfering… before eventually dropping him with a Michinoku driver after Dragan’d snuck into the ring.
Jay FK again teases a Doomsday Device, but Sitoci makes the save… and earns an errant mule kick from Dragan who then eats the Steiner-esque Doomsday Bulldog for the win! Kaspin and Skillet worked pretty well together as a team, but Sitoci came out as the real star here. What they do with him next will be interesting, given that the wXw title scene is pretty much booked up. ***½
In the build up to the main event, they play a video highlighting Bad Bones’ journey to become leader of RISE – stitching together him promising Absolute Andy and Alpha Kevin that they’re like family to him… before cutting to those two getting jumped.
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: “Bad Bones” John Klinger vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. Jurn Simmons (c)
Bad Bones has a new helmet/mask gimmick, heavily inspired by Bane. He’s joined by RISE, but they head to the back before things get going, which is a good sign. The crowd chant (what I think was) “anyone but Bones” before the match, but Klinger had a decent-sized following behind him as we got going.
We open with a three-way strike-off, before Jurn just launched Klinger across the ring with a release suplex. That left us with Ilja and Jurn for a bit, and they traded chops before Jurn switched it up into a slam ahead of a missed elbow drop. Dragunov retaliates with a clothesline that took them both to the floor, in prime position for a tope… but Bones gets cut-off as Ilja and Jurn decide to focus on him instead.
Adam Polak manages to squeeze in an Evanescence gag (in 2017!) as Bad Bones’ latest attempt at a low-pe is blocked… when Simmons threw Dragunov in his way. That was certainly unique! Back in the ring, Klinger takes an Oklahoma Stampede from Simmons, before we head back outside for some more topes as Dragunov tries to start another chop war with Klinger.
He gets his wish, but Bones seems to be hitting harder than expected, including with a sunset bomb that drilled Dragunov into the middle turnbuckle for a near-fall. Simmons comes back, but eats a spinning neckbreaker as Bones is quickly dumped with a Torpedo Moscau, before Simmons takes one too as all three men were left down. When they get back up, they’re back down pretty quickly as Bones completed a Tower of Doom, but Dragunov pops up to headbutt away a clothesline… and then take a half-and-half suplex that dumped him on his neck for another near-fall.
Another Tower of Doom follows when Jurn rakes Klinger’s back before we get a belly-to-back superplex Tower of Doom – a rare outing for that particular spot! Simmons tries to follow up with the moonsault, but Ilja blocks it and tries for a back superplex, before being elbowed down and into a crossface… which is broken up by Jurn’s moonsault.
Simmons fires up again with a Torture Rack to Bones, but he rakes the eyes again and drags the champ into a Crossface, only for Jurn to power back into the Torture Rack.. which is broken up by way of a Dragunov German suplex! Ilja replies with a brief Torture Rack that ended almost like a Burning Hammer, which just pisses off Jurn to try again as they go back and forth with Torture Racks until Klinger superkicked them both to the mat.
Another crossface follows from Klinger on Ilja, but Jurn breaks it up and tries for a powerbomb, only to take a side suplex instead. Ilja throws himself into harms way as he dove into the path of an aerial Klinger, before taking a gutwrench powerbomb and a spinning spinebuster! The ref checks on Ilja for some reason, allowing Bones to low blow Simmons and hit a Codebreaker for a near-fall as commentary surmises on the rules of a three-way.
Bones heads outside for a table, but he returns into another striking battle with the champ before Ilja chops away a spear that was fixing to put Simmons through that table. A full nelson backbreaker sends Bones to the outside, as we get another tope, this time from Ilja, putting his opponents into the front row for a leaping senton into the pair of them. Things change when Avalanche heads out and clobbers Ilja, dropping him with a Blue Thunder Bomb that almost spiked Ilja, ahead of a cannonball… before kidnapping the 16 Carat winner and taking him to the back. Well, that’s one guy who can’t win a title!
As we’re down to two men, Simmons drops Klinger with a piledriver… but stops himself mid-cover as he’s distracted by that table, which gets dragged away from the corner. The table bows as Klinger’s put on it, ahead of an attempted moonsault… but the rest of RISE hit the ring as Simmons takes a Kendo stick to the back and then a powerbomb through the wood.
The Young Lions grab a chair for Chris Colen to beat down Simmons – to the point where the chair seat’s blasted off in the process – allowing Bones to score the win with a single finger on Simmons’ chest. RISE hold the tag titles and the Unified World Wrestling titles, and this group have gone from debuting to full-on dominance in less than three months. Heck, they even get nWo-style empty cups being thrown in the ring.
As a match, I feared this was going to be massively overbooked based on what wXw tweeted out during the show, but this three-way was fine as those matches go. Very hard hitting, and it still keeps Ilja open for a title shot down the line – but it’ll have to be earned again I guess, as this was his 16 Carat title shot. A worthy main event, with a good match adding to the ongoing RISE stories. ***¾
The Fight Forever Tour Opening may have lacked a strong match to put it “over the top” for those who judge shows solely by star ratings, but the advanced storylines in this more than made up for it. The evolution of RISE, the continued tensions between Alpha Kevin and Melanie Gray (who, remember, less than a year ago were meant to have gotten married… and look where that ended up), and the continuation of the Cerberus-but-not-really story… wXw has plenty on the table as the Fight Forever tour is only just getting started!
- Fight Forever: Das Grosse Tour Opening is currently up on wXwNOW.de (Vimeo permitting, as they had been experiencing playback issues on the original upload) in German and English. It’ll also appear on the HighSpots Network in English… just don’t use Vimeo on Roku, especially if you like audio to be in sync!