Over 400 raucous fans packed into the Dome in Tufnell Park, London for wXw’s debut in the city this past weekend… here’s our review now the show is up on-demand!
The show’ll be up on FloSlam from Thursday evening (February 2nd, UK time), so we’re watching the wXw NOW version, which opens with a (German) recap of the events from the 16th Anniversary Show where Marty Scurll won the wXw championship… then lost it to Axel Dieter Jr. We get a clip of Marty Scurll’s distraction at Back To The Roots XVI a few weeks ago, and then clips from a face-to-face interview covering their prior interactions.
After some footage from around London, and an intro piece from Sebastian Hollmichel, we’re straight into the action – and it kicks off with a tag title match! We’ve got Jeremy Graves and Alan Counihan on commentary, which gives us a more sedate, measured take than the excitable Rico Bushido.
wXw Tag Team Championship: London Riots (James Davis & Rob Lynch) vs. A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani)
The Riots were replacing Moustache Mountain, who were forced to drop off the show because this is going on FloSlam (and also because Tyler Bate was over in Texas when this was happening). Al-Ani starts by trying to ground Davis, but it doesn’t last as Davis lands a slam and a back senton before Lynch comes in and tries to isolate “Mr No Bullshit”.
God, I love nicknames like that.
Al-Ani comes back with a dropkick before tagging in Andy, who had little success with shoulder tackles as Lynch invited them on. Finally a leaping shoulder tackle did it, as did a missile dropkick from Marius. A4 double-team Lynch for a spot, before Andy chops away at Rob in the corner, leading to another double-team suplex.
Marius eats a forearm as Lynch finally tags out, but Al-Ani comes back with a running clothesline on the apron before Andy comes in to assist so Davis can take the leapfrog/seated senton on the ropes spot… but Lynch comes in and just wallops Al-Ani with a clothesline. Andy gets thrown into the crowd for our first taste of “the crowd really are in the danger zone”.
Lynch ducks a leg lariat before Davis comes in for a rope-hung back senton onto Al-Ani for a near-fall. The Riots take over for a spell, with a combination of strikes ending with a back senton for a near-fall, as Al-Ani hits back with an overhead suplex before bringing Andy back in. Andy peppers both Riots with right hands, before he windmills on Davis in the corner, which sparked chants of “Absolutely Not”. Hey, he’s sort-of a defacto heel in the UK…
Andy comes back with a curb stomp knee to Davis, as a superkick’s avoided, only for Andy to follow up anyway with a spinebuster for a two-count. A4 finally hits the leapfrog/seated senton to the back of Davis for a two-count, before Rob Lynch gets knocked off the apron as Andy gets a near-fall from a superkick. Cheers for knocking Rob into me, Andy…
The Riots come back when Davis backdrops Al-Ani to the outside, as Andy takes the Finlay Roll, leading to some forearms from Lynch, then a lariat and a Yakuza kick as the har dhitting continues. Lynch then dumps Andy with an overhead belly-to-belly, as the Riots looked to hit Al-Ani with the District Line powerbomb, before instead setting up for the GBH (slingshot spear)… but Marius counters it into a DDT!
Absolute Andy comes in and tries for a powerbomb on Lynch, who just backdrops his way out of it. Andy comes back with a double clothesline to the Riots, before an F5 to Davis and a Frog Splash only gets a near-fall. Undeterred, A4 kept on as a death valley driver from Al-Ani was followed by Andy dropping a top rope elbow, and that’s it! A fun outing with a crowd that’d be hot all night long! Hard-hitting, and exactly what you want from an opener. ***½
Travis Banks vs. Jody Fleisch
Originally a 16 Carat Gold qualifier, this was turned into a normal match after Pete Dunne was swapped out for Travis Banks… because FloSlam.
Banks starts by rolling Fleisch as we get a somewhat unorthodox stand-off. From there, Fleisch cartwheels away from a back body drop attempt from Banks, and then sends the Kiwi flying with an armdrag as we had a brisk pace to begin with. Travis cartwheels himself, before tripping Fleisch en route to a La Magistral for just a one count.
Fleisch blats the Kiwi with a dropkick into the corner, and that sends Banks scurrying to the outside to compose himself. And do some squats on the apron. When he returns, Banks blasts Fleisch and pounds on him on the mat as the crowd regaled him with a chant of “we all hate Travis”. Travis continues with some forearm shots as he held Fleisch at close-quarters, but the veteran came back briefly with a spinning heel kick!
Banks again goes to the outside, but Fleisch’s attempt at a dive was cut off when Banks jumped onto the apron… which was no matter for Jody, who hit a moonsault to the floor after knocking the New Zealander back to the floor. Back inside, they swapped near-falls before Fleisch flipped out of a German suplex to start another series of indyriffic near-falls, as rolling pins ended with a bunch of one-counts.
They reverse small packages back and forth as Tassilo Jung forced a rope break when Travis and Jody rolled into the bottom strand, as a double clothesline knocked both men to the mat. More elbow shots from Banks keep Fleisch at bay, as does a reverse leg sweep and a diving knee! Banks’ springboard roundhouse of the corner gets him a near-fall, before he tries it again and gets a superkick for his troubles.
Jody goes up top to capitalise, but he lands on his feet from a shooting star press, before landing a standing shooting star press for a near-fall. Fleisch continues with a jumping ‘rana as Banks was on the top rope, then a poison rana that dumped Banks on his head to almost win the match. After the kick-out, Jody goes onto the apron in search of the 720 DDT, but Banks avoids it and rolls him up with a big handful of tights for the win! Travis Banks is becoming one of my favourites to watch in the ring, almost like the second coming of a guy we can’t really talk about these days… ***½
Robert Dreissker vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger
The first – and only – match of the night to perhaps not feature anyone overly familiar to the UK scene (save for Bones’ PROGRESS match and his few appearances in TNA), we begin with a jump start as Dreissker attacked Bones from behind as he entered the ring.
Bones kicks back, but he gets floored with a shoulder tackle, only to throw Dreissker to the outside as the pair fight in the crowd. Bones posts Dreissker as they forcibly make the crowd move away from ringside to give them room, before returning to the ring as Dreissker ran into a dropkick from Bones. Some mounted punches follow, but Dreissker shoved him away before resisting an Irish whip.
Bones tries to slam Dreissker, but he buckles under the weight of the big man, and “Avalanche” Dreissker takes over from here. Clubbing shots keep Bones on his knees for a bit, but the crowd singing “Bad Bones” to the tune of “Bad Boys” seemed to keep to only fuel Dreissker’s rage. An elbow drop follows, before Bones kicks back with a pump kick and a superkick… but a massive avalanche almost gets the win as Dreissker charged at his foe.
Dreissker hoists up Bones on the top turnbuckle in search of a superplex, but Bones headbutts free and lands a missile dropkick to knock the big man down. Running elbows in the corner give way to a slingshot spear as Bones was thrown onto the apron. A suplex into the corner damn near kills the turnbuckles as Bones gets a two-count, before a Codebreaker is caught and turned into a Samoan drop for another near-fall.
Bones blocks a Vader bomb with the knees, then lands a superkick for a near-fall, but a spinning Blue Thunder Bomb takes down Bones out of nowhere, as Dreissker gets the win with the Vader bomb. Not a bad showing for Dreissker in his first singles match in wXw in over a year (his last one before injury was a win over Big Daddy Walter – now just WALTER – in a bullrope match in November 2015). Three good matches so far on this show! ***¼
Before the next match, they play a segment from wXw’s Shotgun show, where WALTER and Jurn Simmons face-off. Well, Jurn only wants to speak to Christian Michael Jakobi, and demands that he gets a shot at Axel Dieter Jr’s title. Instead, Jakobi decides that Jurn’s match with WALTER will be for a title shot at 16 Carat Gold… and that is next!
WALTER vs. Jurn Simmons
Before Jurn can make his entrance, we get a taste of WALTER’s promo… which gets soundly booed because it’s in German. Sadly, Jurn’s entrance is clipped, but at least PROGRESS had it in full on their Facebook page the next night.
Jurn’s over like rover here, and he starts by taking WALTER into the corner with a tie-up, before the favour’s returned. A headlock takedown sparks a brief chant of “big lads wrestling”, which this certainly is, as evidenced by shoulder tackles that barely moved either guy. Nor did a knuckle-lock, as WALTER took down Jurn with a massive dropkick (pun intended). WALTER blocks an O’Connor roll, but receives a slap for his troubles before he misses another dropkick as Jurn gives a receipt. After a brief game of cat and mouse, WALTER stands on Simmons before he starts to wear down the Dutchman with uppercuts, but Jurn comes back by whipping WALTER into the corners in a single-handed effort to relocate the ring.
A chop from WALTER, then a slam takes down Jurn, who then rolls away from a sit-down splash as Simmons tries for a fisherman’s suplex… but WALTER fights free and takes him into the ropes. Simmons fires back with clotheslines, but ends up running into a sleeperhold, before a German and a butterfly suplex gets WALTER a near-fall.
A massive back body drop sees WALTER follow-up with the sit-down splash for a two-count, then he grabs a rear chinlock to try and keep Simmons down… and replies to the hold being broken by booting Jurn square in the face. Simmons backdrops out of a powerbomb attempt, then dumps WALTER with a lariat, before he hoists up WALTER in an impressive torture rack.
WALTER slips out and grabs the Gojira clutch briefly, before Simmons hits a diving boot. The favour’s returned as a lariat gets WALTER a near-fall, as some clubbing blows set up for a powerbomb which is blocked and countered with a fisherman’s buster! Jurn throws WALTER off the top rope as he follows with a sit-out gutwrench powerbomb for a near-fall, before Jurn heads up top… but he’s crotched as WALTER avoided a moonsault. From there, Jurn’s forced to elbow out of a back superplex, and then he resumes his aerial attack with that massive moonsault… and Jurn gets the win! London’s new hero books his title shot, and a special place in around 400 hearts! A fantastic “big lads wrestling” match, hard-hitting and swiftly-paced to boot. ****
Chris Brookes vs. Da Mack
Chris was very happy with his water spraying here, which led to a chant of “stand up, if you hate Chris Brookes”. In an all-standing crowd. Of course, Brookes laid down, then had a go at the referee for not going along.
The match started with Brookes taking down Da Mack, who manages to work back into a headlock… but Brookes’ gangly legs forced an easy rope break. Brookes rolled up Mack for a near-fall, before Da Mack cartwheeled free of a wristlock attempt.
Back inside, Brookes grounds Mack with a headlock, but the “Urban German” walks on his hands to free himself, and leave the “Calamari Catch King” confused. Brookes then offers a handshake, to chants of “nein” from the crowd, who then watched as Brookes tried to cheapshot Mack… to no success. Mack leaps over Brookes in the corner, before laying into him with some chops as he then moonwalked into some chops from Brookes.
Brookes scores a headlock takedown, but Mack comes back with a dropkick and some charging elbows in the corner, before Brookes dumps him to the mat from an electric chair position. From there, Brookes grabs a camel clutch and gives Da Mack a wet willie, then dropkicks the knees out from under Mack as he tries to climb the turnbuckles. A tequila sunrise keeps Mack grounded, before he’s just dumped into the crowd. Mack hits back with a springboard forearm and a series of knife-edge chops, before a Slingblade collects a near-fall. The hits keep coming as an enziguiri and a knee gets a near-fall for Mack, but Brookes comes back with a big boot and a Michinoku driver, before Mack nearly shocked him with a small cradle.
Mack springs back with the Mack Magic senton off the rop for a near-fall, but he’s dumped with a leg-capture German suplex then a Magic Killer off the ropes for a near-fall from Brookes. From the kick-out, Brookes grabs an ankle lock, but Mack rolls free of it before a dive attempt is cut-off by another big boot. Brookes tries to come back in off the top rope, but he leaps into the path of some Mack Magic (RKO) and that’s all she wrote! A fun match to start the second half of the show – shame that the low ceiling curtailed a lot of flying, but good to watch nevertheless! ***¼
Jinny & Alpha Female vs. Melanie Gray & Toni Storm
The faces are jumped at the bell as Jinny goes for Toni, whilst Gray’s turfed outside as the Australian’s left to take some double-teaming early on.
Jinny flies into the corner with a leaping knee, but Storm comes back with a crossbody block to Alpha Female for a near-fall. Storm keeps on top of Jinny with some hip attacks, before a running hip attack to the corner misses as both women tag out. Melanie Gray gets an early near-fall from a back senton to Alpha Female… but Alpha continues where she left off at Back To The Roots with some big shots to Gray that gets hear a near-fall.
Gray’s sent into the corner as Jinny tags in to keep up the pressure, landing a floatover suplex for a near-fall. The crowd labelled Jinny a “drain on society” as she laid into Gray with a leaping kick, then a leaping knee strike as a snapmare gave way to a rear chinlock. Jinny folds Gray in half as she looks for a tag, but instead Gray’s given a running kick to the head as Gray tried to make a comeback… with Jinny rolling through a jack-knife pin instead.
Melanie tries to fight back from the mat, but she’s taken back into the corner as Alpha Female comes in and drops her with a pair of spinning backfists for a near-fall. A powerbomb attempt sees Gray work her way free before giving some forearms as a double clothesline leaves both women laying. Finally Storm tags in and dumps Jinny on her head with a German suplex, before Alpha gets a German too.
The Berliner then takes some hip attacks in the corner, as does Jinny, before Alpha breaks a Fisherman’s suplex cover at the last second – even though Alpha was the legal woman! Melanie Gray comes back in with a spear to Alpha, then with a bodyslam to Jinny, as Storm comes in for a wheelbarrow splash onto Jinny for a near-fall. Alpha Female ends Storm with a slam before they go after Gray again with a double curb stomp.
Alpha Female goes for a Canadian backbreaker on Storm, who works her way free and takes Alpha to the outside with an enziguiri, before a tope suicida takes her out of the match. That leaves Melanie and Jinny in the ring, and after Jinny absorbs some big boots, she pushes out of a powerbomb and gives Jinny one of her own before a Texas cloverleaf forces a submission! A heck of a tag match, buoyed by a crowd that remained hot! ***½
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Marty Scurll vs. Axel Dieter Jr. (c)
Needless to say, Dieter was hated here, as the London crowd were solidly behind “their Villain” Scurll.
A tie-up at the start sees Scurll take Dieter in the corner for an elongated clean break that ends with him mocking the Ringkampf pose. When he returns to the ring, Dieter is caught in a wristlock, which he works out of and counters as they go through some nice chain wrestling. Dieter’s headlock gets countered with headscissors, before he goes back to the headlock for a brief moment.
A strait-jacket sees Scurll wrench back on Dieter, but the hold’s reversed as Axel works back into a hammerlock… which Scurll tries to free himself from via an eye rake. It doesn’t work though, and Dieter floats over Scurll as he maintained the hammerlock, before Scurll stands on his head and flipped back to reverse the hold. After breaking free, Dieter just shoves down Scurll as he tries to maintain his advantage, but Scurll comes back with an arm whip as Dieter rolled to the outside, where he took a superkick from the apron. A series of chops rocked Axel, as Dieter took a snapmare and a dropkick as Scurll took control with the Breaks Special.
Dieter chops his way free though, before sending Marty onto the apron, where an uppercut and a tope took him down with ease. Scurll’s big boots from the corner only earn him an enziguiri and a half-and-half suplex as the champion looked to end things with a diving uppercut. Some headscissors immediately send Scurll into the ropes, before Dieter jammed Scurll’s hand into the ropes. Dieter targeted Scurll’s hand, but it didn’t have much effect as Marty could still use it for a short-arm lariat before a European uppercut to a crotched Scurll got a near-fall.
The Axel Dieter Jr special – the full nelson… using legs instead of arms for the hold – forced Scurll to the ropes as the champion returned to target that hand. Still, Scurll came back with chops and elbows to take Dieter into the corner for some Steve Austin-esque stomps, before a Just Kidding superkick knocked Axel down. A Dragon screw takes down Axel for some knee stomps, after he’d hooked Axel’s nose to try for a surfboard.
More kicks to the head get Scurll a near-fall, as Marty amped up the crowd for a chicken wing, but Axel was playing possum and booted him before trying for an Air Raid Crash… but Marty gets out and hits another superkick. Another Just Kidding is caught as Axel ends up taking a brainbuster, then a Graduation (swinging double underhook suplex) as Scurll edged closer to regaining the title.
Scurll heads to the corner for his umbrella, but Tassilo Jung waggles his finger and takes it away… and that distraction allows Axel to hit the Air Raid Crash for a near-fall. From there, Dieter set up for the Landungsbrücke (bridging Regalplex), but Scurll’s got the fingers and snaps them! Dieter hits back with an enziguiri before he leaps into an uppercut as Scurll kicks out of an O’Connor roll and grabs the chicken wing!
Dieter almost taps, but he manages to drags himself to the ropes as the crowd boos. Scurll gets pulled into the turnbuckles as Dieter followed up with a dropkick, before another Langungsbrücke is blocked, and eventually sees Scurll dragged to the mat for the Axel Dieter Jr. special, as the Villain eventually gives up to bring a thrilling contest to an end. Absolutely enthralling stuff as Dieter outwrestled Scurll to retain the title ****¼
After the main event, Jurn Simmons (to some dubbed music that I couldn’t help but laugh at for his entrance) came out for a staredown with the champion, who was ready to fight… but the show faded to black as the pull-apart that ensured was just for the benefit of the live crowd.
What Worked: Everything in-ring. wXw brought across their best guys, and it helped as the crowd ate up everything bell to bell, reciprocating with a raucous atmosphere from start to finish. Alan Counihan and Jeremy Graves on commentary did their job admirably, conveying the action, storylines and the atmosphere to fans – which will be a benefit considering that this’ll be up on FloSlam soon!
What Didn’t: The return date. Selfishly… I wish they’d be back sooner than 9 months time! I know, it’s a fine line between returning and killing the novelty value, but on this form, I can see wXw forging a foothold in the UK if they do it right!
Thumbs: Up. Massively, massively up. On-demand, this runs well under two-hours long, and even if you don’t know or care for ongoing storylines, it’s an incredibly easy watch. In amid all of the talk of the British scene’s surge in popularity, wXw is criminally being overlooked. If you only have FloSlam, make sure you watch this – it may just convert you into a full-on wXw fan!