wXw stepped up in their war against RISE, with an elimination tag team main event in Frankfurt giving the home team a chance to hit back!

Hope you like White Comic, because that song’s gonna be stuck in your head all night! You know the one…

Jay Skillet vs. Emil Sitoci
Built up from the Tour Opener in August, Emil Sitoci’s mad at Jay Skillet stealing his finisher… so I can guess that a snapmare driver’s gonna finish this? The Batschkapp crowd have signs for Emil again, which he’s not impressed with. At least they kept it clean!

Sitoci jumped Skillet at the bell, and within a minute of this match starting, the English commentary has made me reach for the German feed. No offence, I can’t stand bickering commentary teams… meanwhile, Sitoci is absolutely unloading on Skillet, who manages to respond with clotheslines and a backbreaker, only to get dumped with a gutbuster.

Dirty Dragan gets involved, but he accidentally hit Sitoci as a brainbuster from Skillet sent Emil to the outside. Dragan and Kaspin have a brief shoving match, before Francis slapped the taste out of him, as Sitoci’s thrown back in to take a double stomp for a near-fall. Once a Fisherman’s suplex didn’t get the job done, Sitoci goes back to the backdrop suplexes and his usual grimey tactics.

Skillet nearly snatches a win with a roll-up out of a Snapmare Driver attempt, following up with a Michinoku Driver for a near-fall… but Sitoci drops him neck-first across the top rope and gets in a springboard elbow to turn the tide back in his direction briefly. Dirty Dragan tries to stop Skillet from going airborne, but only succeeds into shoving him into a crossbody on Sitoci.

A Snapmare Driver gets rid of Dragan, before Emil lands one of his own on Jay for a near-fall. Some more back-and-forth ends brutally as Sitoci dropkicked Skillet onto the top turnbuckle, then brought him down with a bump courtesy of a Spanish Fly for win. Really good stuff to get us going – helped by a crowd that was really into this. ***½

God, I love the bumbling sidekick that Dragan’s become, especially since Emil’s reluctantly going along with him.

Alexander James vs. Timothy Thatcher
The Prince of Pro is back in Germany for the rest of the year, whilst Timothy Thatcher’s doing the same thing, living out of that wXw dojo. On paper, this ought to be an intriguing match-up…

Thatcher started by backing James into a corner, but the match quickly ended up on the mat as James snapped back on Timmy’s arm. The favour’s returned, with Thatcher’s search for a submission seeing them end up in the ropes as James rolled to the floor for safety… and he probably wished he stayed out there as Thatcher went straight back to him once James returned to the ring.

It’s very effective but not-so-flashy offence out of both wrestlers, befitting their no-nonsense styles. Thatcher’s single-leg crab ends with a rope break, so it’s off to the suplex attempts, only for an arm whip to take Thatcher down as James begins to target that left arm. Those submission attempts continue, with Thatcher throwing in some forearms as a form of misdirection as a leg grapevine forced James into yet another rope break.

James tries an armbar, rolling it into a wacky pinning attempt… but that was perhaps the worst thing he could have done as Thatcher slid out and threw in some knees for good measure. A deadlift gutwrench suplex puts Thatcher back in control momentarily, but he’s quickly caught with a Tower of London out of the corner for a near-fall.

Timmy hulks up and unloads on James with some palm strikes, but a Dragon screw takes him down, as does a punt kick to the arm. An enziguiri caught everyone off guard, and Thatcher’s back into it, landing a butterfly suplex that turned into a submission on impact, forcing a tap-out from James. If Timmy’s style of matches are your cup of tea, you’ll love this match – very technical, ground-based stuff – with James more than holding his own here. ***½

Avalanche vs. Da Mack
The winner of this gets a shot at Ivan Kiev’s Shotgun title – and given how Da Mack’s year has been, this’ll either be a triumphant win, or another disappointment.

Mack starts out hot, trying to knock Avalanche down with dropkicks, and succeeds in taking him outside… where he avoids being thrown into the ringpost as he shoved the “Monster of a Man” instead. Mack rolled Avalanche back in, but took so long to congratulate himself he nearly got counted out… then shoved back to the floor as Avalanche roared back.

A Samoan drop squashes Mack for a near-fall, then again with a big splash off the ropes as Avalanche took firm control. It’s almost men against boys as Mack gets thrown across the ring with ease, before an attempted comeback with a bicycle knee gets blocked and turned into a pumphandle slam for a near-fall from Avalanche.

Back to the Beell throws it is then, before Mack sneaks in a Slingblade as his fightback was launched, culminating in a springboard forearm. The cannonball senton off the top finally puts Avalanche down for a near-fall, as does the Mack Magic cutter… but Avalanche is able to kick out with ease. Just when you thought Mack was in control, the match ends as Avalanche catches him with a spinning Blue Thunder driver, and Boulder Dash books him a shot against Ivan Kiev. I loved this match – Mack’s bad luck story continues, and Avalanche regains some steam after falling to Ilja Dragunov last time out. Everything pays off in the end, remember! ***¾

Bobby Gunns vs. WALTER
Having beaten Timothy Thatcher at FAN, Gunns was really cocksure about going two-for-two against RINGKAMPF. This should be a really good mixture of technical and hard-hitting action – the latter forcing Gunns to dive to the outside as he really didn’t want to take a chop so early on.

He had no issue swiping WALTER in the face, before fleeing outside. That just delayed the retribution as WALTER lands a European uppercut, before a missed back senton gave Gunns the chance to lock in an armbar… before he fled outside again. Frankfurt are not liking Gunns’ stalling tactics, that’s for sure! Finally WALTER lays in some chops before hiptossing Gunns… who went outside for cover, and was this time joined outside by the Austrian. Sadly, WALTER swung and missed with a chop, connecting with the ring post as the pair exchanged shots at ringside. The crowd liked that back-and-forth, along with a back suplex onto the apron from WALTER. Gunns tries to trap WALTER in an armbar in the ropes, but a simple chop breaks that up before we got a spell of Benny Hill chasing.

Gunns uses the ring post again, throwing WALTER’s arm into it, before trapping his hand in the turnbuckle, twisting the steel in a bid to break a finger or four. That gave Gunns a clear target, which he gleefully went after, both inside and out of the ring, stamping on WALTER’s hand on the steps. That last bit earned Gunns a €20 fine, but kept the pressure up on der Ringgeneral’s arm. WALTER manages to make a comeback with the Gojira clutch and German suplex, but that arm remains a weakness… although WALTER does eventually start to wear down Gunns’ knee. Bobby makes a fatal error, leaping off the middle rope and into another Gojira clutch, but he manages to free himself and get in a guillotine choke instead, which WALTER powers out of.

Gunns flips out of a Butterfly suplex and gives WALTER a German… but WALTER got straight back up and booted his head off. Bobby tries another fightback, but a shotgun dropkick takes him back into the corner for more of those blistering chops. A butterfly superplex sent Gunns rolling to the outside yet again.

This time, the rope-hung armbar is effective, as is a diving European uppercut from Gunns, who switches into another cross armbreaker on the mat, only for WALTER to make the ropes. They descend into back-and-forth chops and uppercuts, with Gunns going back to that arm yet again before mocking the RINGKAMPF pose… and that was his downfall. Big boot, German suplex, and a murderous clothesline lead to a near-fall, but he manages to switch out of a Gojira clutch and into another armbar.

It switches into a triangle choke, then a guillotine, before WALTER powers up into a butterfly suplex… only for Gunns to go back to the guillotine. That was a bridge too far though, as WALTER reverses out into a sit-out tombstone, and WALTER’s new finish earned him the win over a game Bobby Guns. Absolutely thrilling stuff here – Gunns has been built as a killer so effectively, this was never a foregone conclusion – and a loss probably does more for him in the long run than a win could have. ****

wXw Women’s Championship Tournament: Melanie Gray vs. Martina
Mella goes into this with a win in the tournament’s first match, so she tops the table on 3 points. Martina’s entrance really loses a lot when it’s set to White Comic, but at least Mella’s up for some dancing. Hey, the Worm!

This all breaks down as Martina gets winded, then reaches for a cigarette, right in front of a giant no smoking sign. Martina’s not happy with that, so we get a shove-off, before Martina sits down on a sunset flip… which the ref doesn’t count for whatever reason. Mella sidesteps a charge as she shoves Martina onto the apron, but a spear misses as Gray sent herself to the outside… only for Martina’s attempt to dive to end early as she tired herself out running.

You get the feeling Mella’s not happy with her antics, especially as she got winded time and again preparing for a dive. Martina opens one of her cans and sprays some beer at Gray, before a missed Bronco buster saw her come too close to that bottom turnbuckle for comfort. A running knee from Gray rocks the Dubliner for a near-fall, as she worked towards a Finlay roll out of the corner.

Gray’s back senton followed for another near-fall, as the crowd chanted (and offered) beer to help another comeback. Except Gray intercepts the can and decides to chug it all by herself. She can’t do it, and that massively offends Martina into connecting with a series of clotheslines.

A German suplex leaves Melanie in the corner for a Bronco buster, but she spent too long going for a drink she was powerbombed out of the corner as Gray looked to end things with a Cloverleaf. Martina gets the ropes and then flies off the top with her Seshbreaker for the win! That wasn’t as clean as you’d like, but this was a fun match – one that introduced Martina to the wXw faithful with some success. Plenty of comedy, but Martina proved she can break out the big guns when she has to! **¾

That means she ties with Melanie Gray at the top of the leader board:
1. Martina (1-0; 3pts)
2. Melanie Gray (1-1; 3pts)
3. Jinny (0-0; 0pts)
4. Pauline (0-1; 0pts)

Next up in the tournament is Melanie Gray vs. Jinny, which takes place on the “middle Saturday” of World Tag Team League weekend…

Elimination Match: RISE (“Bad Bones” John Klinger, Ivan Kiev, Pete Bouncer & Young Lions (Lucky Kid & Tarkan Aslan) vs. Jurn Simmons, David Starr, A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius al-Ani) & Ilja Dragunov
After four months of RISE running roughshod over wXw, this is where the “home team” gets to make a mark of their own, in this Survivor Series-style elimination match against RISE – sans Chris Colen. Pete Bouncer had a lot to prove here, with Bad Bones thinking he’s the weakest link. Meanwhile, the home team eschewed any kind of flamboyant entrances – no dancing Jurn, it’s all business tonight!

Poor Tassilo Jung didn’t have a chance in the early stages as everyone paired off until the RISE team were thrown outside… leaving Bad Bones in there against A4 and the Massive Product for a spell. Out of nowhere we hear a yell as David Starr ran along the bottom of the screen with (presumably) Ivan Kiev – a moment that made me giggle like an idiot for the sheer absurdity in that context.

If Tassilo wanted to cause a riot, he could probably have thrown this one out as a five-way count-out. Instead, we saw Andy and Bones fighting on the stage, with a back body drop to the A4 member being the end result of that. Our first elimination almost came via Ilja Dragunov’s pumphandle powerbomb, but Pete Bouncer breaks that up to keep Kiev in it.

Andy worked himself into a slingshot spear from Bones as those first elimination teases continued, even more so when Bones countered an F5 into a crossface, before the Young Lions took over on Andy. Marius al-Ani makes a save, but gets double-teamed too by Aslan and Lucky. The action swung around as the Lions nearly took the leapfrog splash from A4, only for Bad Bones to interject himself again. After a brief foray between the Lions and Massive Product, Andy returned to catch Bones in a Sharpshooter, which he then switched into a crossface of his own. With the rest of RISE MIA, Bones gets superplexed by Andy into a Massive Powerbomb, before RISE returned to break up a dogpile’d pinning attempt.

Just when things looked to be going in the home team’s way, Lucky Kid blasts Marius al-Ani with his tag title belt. Absolute Andy’s response? To blast Kid with a wrench. Hey, who wouldn’t? Tarkan Aslan uses a belt on him… Marius uses a chair, and that’s what leads to our first set of eliminations: four disqualifications for A4 and the Lions! This Frankfurt crowd did not like Andy’s disqualification… but what the hell do you expect when he hits a man with a wrench?!

Once the ring’s cleared of plunder, we’re left with a trios match: Ilja, Starr and Jurn against Bones, Kiev and Bouncer. Dragunov’s isolated for a spell as Bones looked to wear him down ahead of his title shot this coming weekend. David Starr gets the hot tag and clears away the RISE trio with forearms, and this is back to anarchy as all six men wound up in the ring! Ilja and Bones get suplexed from the ring to the floor as both men seemed hell bent on destruction.

The table that Absolute Andy had sneakily dragged out earlier comes into play as Pete Bouncer gets dropkicked off the apron by David Starr and crashes through the table… but that allowed Kiev to catch Starr from behind, landing the sit-out death valley driver and that’s half of Massive Product gone! Jurn Simmons makes instant amends with a Massive Boot and a piledriver to get rid of the Shotgun champion, before Bad Bones kicked Jurn low – whilst the ref was distracted – and hits a double-arm DDT… and we’re left with Ilja on his own!

Ilja spent too long worrying about Bones that he missed Pete Bouncer, who attacked him from behind as the destruction of Dragunov continued. Bouncer tries to get involved again, but he’s quickly rolled up and we’re down to the final two! Oh Pete… at least he tied up the referee so Bones could kick Ilja low and hit a lungblower… but it’s not enough!

A bucklebomb from Bones nearly decapitated his challenger, but still… you know the score. Unbesiegbar means you can’t kill Ilja! The Greetings from Moscow discus lariat puts Bones down for a two-count as Ilja tried to hit back, but his back senton off the top rope misses, and both men are left laying.

Hey, here’s the eliminated members of RISE trying to interfere again! The Young Lions slipped their title belt to Bones, but A4 hit the ring to stop anything, and although Ilja hit the Torpedo Moscau, Ivan Kiev pulls out the ref just as the mat was about to be struck for a third time to keep things alive! Massive Product return to try and complete the clear-up, but the end seemed to be nigh as Ilja took the Wrecking Ball knees… for another near-fall!

Somewhere in here Tassilo Jung was knocked down and needed to be carried to the back, but thankfully we had a back-up ref to count another near-fall as another Greetings from Moscow connected. A top rope back senton crushes Bad Bones, who snuck in another superkick as RISE tried to cheat again… but Absolute Andy dove into the ring to intercept a flying belt, allowing Ilja to fly himself, landing a Torpedo Moscau for the win! wXw has drawn blood against RISE, and this was epic, epic stuff.

“Between the notes”, there was some good storytelling here. Of course, going into the World Tag Team League, you had three teams here: A4, Massive Product and the Young Lions, producing the expected interplay that’ll come to the fore in Oberhausen… but we also had Pete Bouncer not being as bad as perhaps Bad Bones expected. Until he fell for a small package. This was just the first step in the ongoing war, and whilst I certainly did not have “Absolute Andy intercepting a title belt like he was an NFL cornerback”, this was memorable stuff. ****

wXw’s stop-off in Frankfurt was more than “just a show” – the big takeaway from here was wXw standing tall over RISE… but it was just one battle in a long war. The next big event, of course, is in Oberhausen this weekend, as RISE face more potential downfall as they’re defending the gold… with the Young Lions at risk the most, as they have to win the whole tournament to retain their titles.