The Fight Forever tapings returned as AMBOSS looked to get back on track following their Drive of Champions loss, while Peter Tihanyi took on a debuting Leyton Buzzard.
Michael Knight pinned Karim Brigante in 6:45 (**¾)
Robert Dreissker pinned Danny Fray in 5:47 (**½)
Icarus submitted Elijah Blum in 6:59 (***)
Massimo Pesca pinned Kevin Martenson in 10:25 (***¼)
Aliss Ink pinned Ender Kara in 11:22 (***¼)
Peter Tihanyi pinned Leyton Buzzard in 11:48 (***½)
Unlike the first Fight Forever, wXw has chosen to release this as a-match-a-day, kind of like how the first Catch Grand Prix went. We’re coming from the wXw Wrestling Academy in Gelsenkirchen, with Dave Bradshaw providing English commentary for these matches that are up on YouTube…
Michael Knight vs. Karim Brigante
This was Brigante’s second match for wXw, having previously wrestled Mike Schwarz back in the late 2020 closed-set tapings…
Knight opens with a roll-up early on, before he worked over Brigante’s arm. The Italian reverses a wristlock, but gets tripped into a toe hold as Knight then floated over into a front facelock. Getting back up, Knight’s back with a side headlock that’s pushed off, with Brigante charging down Knight off the ropes, ahead of a sunset flip from Knight as the pair remained even.
Brigante’s caught with a wheelbarrow bulldog off the ropes, then knocked to the outside with a dropkick as Knight then added a tope into the crowd. Returning to the ring, Knight went for a springboard, but Brigante swatted it away for a two-count, before a discus elbow caught Knight again for another near-fall.
Knight’s taken into the corner, but resisted a whip across the ring as he tripped Brigante ahead of a Whisper in the Wind… a clothesline and an up-kick in the corner sets up for the springboard clothesline that almost won it for Knight. Brigante blocks a Shiranui attempt and countered it into a death valley driver for a near-fall, before Knight found his way back to the Shiranui… landing it this time for the win. Really solid stuff for the time they had – with Brigante not looking out of place at all. **¾
Robert Dreissker vs. Danny Fray
It’s a first-time meeting between these two, as Dreissker continues to teach his academy students a lesson…
A side headlock from Dreissker wrenches down on Fray in the early going, with Fray unable to break free at first before he got met with a shoulder block from Dreissker. That didn’t budge Fray, but a pair of clotheslines sure did, as Fray then reversed an Irish whip to send Dreissker into the corner. Dreissker gets a boot up to block a charge, but Fray’s able to take him down with some shoulder blocks and clotheslines in the corner.
Fray runs into a Dreissker elbow, then a crossbody out of the corner for a two-count, as Dreissker began to toy with his foe here. A ripcord lariat decks Fray for another two-count, who had to fight out of another chinlock… but got thrown back down as he went for a backbreaker.
A right hand keeps Fray down, but this time he resists ripcord clotheslines and began to fire back with forearms to knock Dreissker into the corner. Fray traps Dreissker with a splash in the corner, then scored his sidewalk slam after Dreissker missed a charge into the opposite corner. It’s good for a near-fall, but Dreissker’s able to hit back with a forearm to the lower back before he kicked the ropes into Fray’s throat.
Dreissker squashes Fray in the corner, and from there it’s elementary as a fallaway slam and a Dreissker bomb ended Fray’s slight chances. **½
Elijah Blum vs. Icarus
The AMBOSS vs. trainees theme continues…
Blum sidesteps a charge from Icarus, sending him to the corner for a clothesline, while a snapmare, a seated clothesline and a dropkick sent Icarus packing to the outside. Returning, Icarus is caught between the ropes with kicks before Icarus managed to connect with a boot… then throw Blum onto the apron.
A distraction to the referee allowed Robert Dreissker – who was at ringside after his match – to take a swing at Blum, but he stopped before getting caught in the act. Blum’s back inside and hits a neckbreaker for a two-count, before Icarus’ attempt at a wristlock ended with him getting swiped into the corner.
Unfortunately for him, Peter Tihanyi was ringside to cheer on Blum… and got slapped by Icarus for just standing there. That drew Tihanyi into the ring, but Dreissker again went for Blum – who avoided a trip as he instead went for a move… only for Icarus to break it up and throw him outside. Now Dreissker gets his shots in, throwing Blum’s hand into the ring post, before he was rolled back inside for a two-count.
Icarus stays on Blum, rolling him to the mat before some short-arm scissors allowed him to work over the wrist some more. Blum breaks free, but gets pulled back into the corner as Icarus wrapped the newcomer’s arm around the bottom rope… while Dreissker took another shot behind the ref’s back.
Icarus misses a legdrop off the middle rope, allowing Blum back in with some back elbow strikes and a shotgun dropkick. Blum heads onto the apron to stomp away Dreissker’s attempted interference, then went up top for a crossbody that crashed into Icarus for a near-fall. A roll-up from Icarus looked to end this in a hurry, but Blum kicks out as the pair proceeded to trade strikes.
An arm whip drops Blum ahead of a Fujiwara armbar… and with some more wrist manipulation, that’s enough to force the submission as Blum couldn’t hold on. ***
Post-match, Icarus refuses to let go, which brought in Peter Tihanyi to break it up. Robert Dreissker instantly comes in and throws Tihanyi out, before decrying the two “young pissants” and how they won at Drive of Champions… then challenged Tihanyi and Blum to a relaxed rules match at the 22nd Anniversary. Uh-oh. The Ten Ton Hammer – a pop-up spear – from AMBOSS leaves Blum laying… while Tihanyi’s chucked into the wall, as if they needed any more reason to accept the challenge…
Kevin Martenson vs. Massimo Pesca
Originally slated as Martenson vs. Bobby Gunns, but the Italian Pesca subbed here, who, judging by his gear, also works as “Max Peach” in Italy.
A handshake starts us off, as Martenson pulled down Pesca for an early pinning attempt… then went to the arm for a wristlock. Pesca gets to the ropes and armdrags his way free, then hits a ‘rana and some more springboard headscissors, before a dropkick knocked Martenson down.
A cravat snapmare keeps Martenson down as Pesca went for the arm, leading to an attempted O’Connor roll… but Martenson breaks out to hit a dropkick through the ropes, then a slingshot dropkick from the apron in. A dive followed as Martenson tope’d onto Pesca in the aisle… eventually picking him up as he rolled him back into the ring.
Pesca’s sent into the corner for a leaping forearm, then an overhead belly-to-belly out of the corner. A headbutt followed as Martenson took Pesca into the corners, but a leaping forearm misses as Pesca charged back in for a low diving cravat-turned-neckbreaker that took Martenson to the outside… with a tope knocking him on his rear.
Martenson’s rolled back inside as Pesca caught him up top… but a superplex is broken up with a headbutt before Pesca scored with a top rope ‘rana. Both men beat the standing ten-count, using the ropes to get up as Pesca launched in with another shotgun dropkick before he went back up for a missile dropkick.
A Northern Lights suplex nearly wins it for Pesca, but some follow-up rolling body scissors ended up rolling into a grounded Octopus as he tried to force a stoppage instead. Breaking free, Martenson ends up ragdolling Pesca with a pop-up German suplex into the corner, before a trip to the top rope led to an aborted frog splash… Martenson adjusts into a Sharpshooter, but Pesca cradles him for a near-fall instead. Pesca keeps swinging with clotheslines, but Martenson wheelbarrowed the Italian into an eventual Sharpshooter that ended in the ropes.
Pesca heads up the ropes again for a tornado DDT, planting Martenson ahead of a Snow Plow… and that’s enough to get the Italian the win. This was a pretty good match given both guys went in front of the audience cold – and hopefully that leads to some return bookings for Pesca in future. ***¼
Aliss Ink vs. Ender Kara
Ink and Kara have surprisingly only met once before, at least according to Cagematch, back for BODYSLAM back in 2021’s ScandiGraps Invitational…
Commentary tells us that Kara and Ink trained together, but Kara is a little dubious of Ink’s handshake, and walked back from it. A wristlock from Kara takes Ink down into an armbar… but they’re back to their feet as Ink returned the favour with the wristlock. Kara gets free and goes back to the armbar, taking Ink down as Ender’s game plan seemed to be to keep things on the mat.
A hammerlock from Kara keeps Ink down, as he then looked to tighten it up by bridging on it, before switching Ink into a front facelock as the pair got to the ropes. Finally, Ink gets some offence in with kicks and a tijeras, before a step-up knee into the corner set up for some more kicks that Kara looked to laugh off.
Kara stands up… but sits down again to invite more kicks to the back. Ink obliges, but her kicks are caught and turned into a Dragon screw. A snapmare and a kick to the back from Kara is only good for a cocky one-count, which pissed off Ink… who ended up having her leg swept ahead of a double stomp for another two-count.
Ink ducks a head kick as she came back in with a tiltawhirl DDT, which left both wrestlers down. A Tiger Feint kick meets Kara as he was in the ropes, while Ink went up top for a missile dropkick… that Ink couldn’t follow-up on. From the restart, Kara’s able to snap back with a brainbuster for a near-fall.
Kara misses as pinning kick, while Ink tries for the Dragon’s Tail… it leads to the pair trading blows, which looked to bloody the bridge of Kara’s nose. After licking his own blood, Kara misses another head kick, then got taken to the ropes for an O’Connor roll… he kicks out at two and trips Ink into a rear naked choke, which she rolled back on for another two-count. After getting back up, Ink swats Kara with the Dragon’s Tail kick… and that’s the end to a pretty good tactical match. ***¼
Peter Tihanyi vs. Leyton Buzzard
This was Buzzard’s wXw debut – he’s since won ICW’s world title up in Scotland… but in Germany he’s pretty unknown, as Gelsenkirchen were firmly behind Tihanyi.
A side headlock from Buzzard is pushed off, but he returns with a shoulder tackle… Tihanyi kips up, but gets pulled down as he went to hit the ropes for a shoulder tackle of his own. Tihanyi’s armdrags and chops have Buzzard on the back foot, as did a leaping back elbow, before a chinlock kept Leyton grounded.
Buzzard’s met with right hands as he’s taken into the ropes, then rolled down for an elbow drop that got Tihanyi a two-count. Tihanyi looks for a springboard from the apron in, but Buzzard distracts the referee and goes for the eyes to stop it… then slid outside to trip up Tihanyi against the apron.
Tihanyi’s charged against the edge of the ring from there, before a back suplex back inside earned a two-count. That’s followed up with a snap suplex as Buzzard stayed in control, if not within the rules… Tihanyi fought back with chops, but got taken into the corner ahead of a suplex out of the corner for another two-count.
A chinlock from Buzzard keeps Tihanyi down… Tihanyi got free, but jarred his back as he floated over Buzzard… only to recover to hit a suplex anyway. A swinging DDT off the ropes keeps Tihanyi ahead, as did a series of forearms as Buzzard was on the back foot. Tihanyi’s running Meteora gets him a two-count, but Buzzard’s able to make a dent as they traded strikes, particularly as he focused on Tihanyi’s back.
Buzzard goes for a uranage, but Tihanyi armdrags his way free, then hit a Meteora off the top for a near-fall, before Buzzard cut off another visit from Tihanyi to the top rope. A superplex from Buzzard was pushed away as Tihanyi instead went for another Meteora, which Buzzard avoided as he instead hit back with a backbreaker.
A knee to Tihanyi in the ropes leads to a missile dropkick off the top from Buzzard for a near-fall. Buzzard’s spun out of a Boston crab attempt as Tihanyi chopped away, only to get caught with a clothesline and a standing moonsault… but Tihanyi quickly cradles Buzzard for a near-fall. From the kick-it, Buzzard’s in with the Buzz Killer uranage, before he went up top for a moonsault… but Tihanyi moves away and came right back with a running knee, then a 450 splash for the win. A good debut for Buzzard, who didn’t look out of place at all – and with wXw already looking to the UK scene for names in 2023, I wouldn’t be too shocked if he’s back on their bills soon… ***½
A decent collection of matches made up the second round of Fight Forever tapings – with some new-ish names being spotlit while the promotion threw in a bone in terms of the 22nd Anniversary show build as well.