Making its wXw NOW debut is the Mitteldeutschland Cup, as this year’s tournament headed to Leipzig to see if Marius al-Ani could become the first ever back-to-back cup winner.

We’re coming from the Hellraiser Club in Leipzig, but first there’s clips from True Colors and the finish to Bobby Gunns snatching a win over Marius al-Ani in the three-way main event. We’ve got Alan Counihan back on commentary in what feels like the first time in forever…

The Mitteldeutschland Cup has largely been a live event only, but this year it’s made tape as a sort-of Road to show for next month’s Superstars of Wrestling event. We’ll have four first round matches, including a clash between the former A4, and a four-way finale. Before we get to the action, Bobby Gunns is backstage for a Smoking Break, building up to his match with the “wannabe bad boy” Joey Janela. He promises to break Joey’s arm, and apparently Bobby only respects Joey’s twerking. Not a euphemism.

Mitteldeutschland Cup 2019 – First Round: Oliver Carter vs. Lucky Kid
It’s a yet-to-debut NXT UK star against this year’s’ 16 Carat Gold winner… and all I can say is thank God they used yellow on the video wall because the other lighting inside Hellraiser is very befitting a dark rock club!

Carter had Lucky scurrying into a corner early, but Lucky’s quickly on the offensive, cranking at Carter’s neck, before he lands a knee drop for a solid two-count. Lucky works over Carter’s arm, before some headscissors and a dropkick turned the match on its head. A chop drops Lucky in the corners as the match broke down into a bit of a slugfest. Carter stops it with a low dropkick and a double stomp, before he countered Lucky’s handspring into a German suplex for a near-fall. Lucky rebounds by landing that handspring back elbow, then a Michinoku driver for a near-fall. An attempted comeback from Carter led to Lucky being sent out, but he skins the cat and goes for a Liger bomb, before running into a standing moonsault slam that almost got the Ghanaian the win.

A Shining Wizard from Carter takes Lucky outside before a Fosbury flop dive almost went awry. He manages to catch Lucky with it though, but back inside Carter misses an Asai moonsault, and gets caught with a La Mistica into a crossface for the submission. This was fine, save for the few rough moments towards the end. You all know my feelings on one night tournaments – those first matches almost always are solid at best. ***

A True Colors replay shows The Crown beating Wheeler Yuta… that segues to Alexander James bullying Julian Pace some more. Jurn Simmons comes in too, looking like he’s been shot up off of Aleister Black’s entrance gimmick. The Crown’s got Ilja Dragunov and Bobby Gunns tonight, but Julian’s saved by Leon van Gasteren, so they can prepare for Jay-FK.

Mitteldeutschland Cup 2019 – First Round: Veit Müller vs. Wheeler Yuta
Yuta’s got abit of a track record for his technical ability in the States, so this one could be pretty good.

They scramble at the bell, but Yuta grabs a headlock as Müller is forced to elbow free ahead of a single leg crab attempt. Yuta gets to the ropes, but a big lariat to the back decks him before Veit brings the gutwrench suplexes. Yuta makes a comeback with dropkicks, but Müller gets up before a count is even made… so Yuta throws another dropkick, and still can’t get a one count.

Yuta goes for a Sharpshooter, but instead rolls it into an Indian Deathlock as he snapped away on Müller’s legs as we’re told Yuta faces WALTER at Superstars… while Veit takes on Ken Shamrock on the same show. Ooh boy. A trapped-arm armbar from Yuta forces Müller’s shoulders down for a brief count, before he went back to a chinlock that Veit had to fight out of. After that, Yuta goes to an Octopus stretch, before Müller escaped and went deep into the RINGKAMPF playbook with a Gojira clutch and a butterfly suplex. Veit looks for the Keiler Recliner suplex, but Yuta fights free, shoving Müller into the corner… Veit puts on the brakes to stop him from crashing into the ref, and ends up losing to an O’Connor roll. An upset here, and a little too brief for my tastes, but this was good. **¾

Replays of Absolute Andy cheating to beat Lucky Kid at True Colors air here… and we’re backstage as Lucky’s with Andy Jackson, alle in Deutsch! Andy asks about Lucky’s relationship with Pete Bouncer, but Lucky’s annoyed with the whole situation, and the distractions it’s bringing. Lucky reckons Pete should see a therapist if he doesn’t believe him… I wonder if Dragan still has his guy’s number?

They replay Emil Sitoci’s video, announcing that he wouldn’t be at True Colors… nor the Mitteldeutschland Cup.

Mitteldeutschland Cup 2019 – First Round: Vinny Vortex vs. Avalanche
At True Colors this was a squash. Will it be the same in Leipzig in the future past?

Avalanche starts by taking this into the ropes from a tie-up, but they can’t get anywhere… so they try again. This time Vinny gets a side headlock, which led to shoulder tackles on the Austrian, ahead of some clotheslines that trapped Avalanche in the corner. An Irish whip takes Vortex across the ring for a belly-to-belly as Avalanche got a foothold in things, following up with a simple slam and a big splash for a near-fall.

Another shoulder tackle puts Vortex down, as does a spinebuster out of the corner… and Avalanche keeps up the assault with another hard Irish whip into the corner that had Vinny bouncing. Vinny makes a comeback, charging at Avalanche in the corner before landing a headbutt… and a big body slam, dropping the Austrian for a near-fall. Vortex looked to finish things off the top rope, but Avalanche caught him… and got headbutted back to the mat before he sidestepped Vinny… who went into the corner and got squashed. One fallaway slam later, Vortex was down and prone for a Dreissker bomb, and that was all. We saw more of Vinny here than at True Colors, but in the end he was outclassed on the night. **¾

Backstage, Wheeler Yuta’s confronted by Veit Müller for cheating… and is then warned that he’ll need to do more than that against WALTER. Yuta’s a little too sure of himself, it seems!

More replays from True Colors, with Amale Winchester winning… and she’s backstage with her merch. Killer Kelly joins her, and is a little put out at Amale wanting superstar status. Those two meet again in another three-way with Valkyrie later. Speaking of Valkyrie, she’s walking and bumps into Oliver Carter… seems like Valkyrie wants to keep herself to herself and away from politics and just “go on and win”.

Mitteldeutschland Cup 2019 – First Round: Marius al-Ani vs. Absolute Andy
al-Ani won the cup last year, so he’s back to defend, but first he’s gotta get past his former A4 tag team partner.

In fact, both of these guys are former cup winners, and we start with Marius going after Andy’s arm, forcing an early rope break. Andy had ideas after catching al-Ani’s leapfrog, but instead had to make do with shoulder tackles before the pair brawled around ringside. A chop from Andy goes awry as he hit the ring post, before the two headed up to the stage as Marius ended up having to scramble back to the ring as he almost took a suplex.

Andy manages to catch Marius with a legdrop on the apron, but back inside he’s too slow to go up as al-Ani caught him with a belly-to-belly suplex. Marius keeps up with a dropkick for a two-count, before a series of Danielson elbows kept the former champion rocked. Another charge sees Marius leap into Andy’s shoulders, but he manages to get free and hit back with an Exploder. Andy cuts off a frog splash by catching al-Ani off the top rope, before a series of right hands has Marius on the back foot again. Some headscissors get Marius back in it, as he keeps Andy in the corner with a clothesline ahead of an up kick for a near-fall, but a spinebuster from Andy gets him ahead briefly, before he got caught with an ankle lock.

Marius lets go so he could drop Andy with a step-up elbow drop, before he was obliterated by a chop from Andy. A superkick’s next, but this time Marius kicks out before he counter Andy’s attempt at a sunset flip by leaning into the ropes for the win. KARMA! ***

Backstage, Ilja’s getting himself fired up before he told Bobby that he respected him for what he did in Dresden at True Colors. On the other hand though, Bobby seems to want to beat Ilja one-on-one… but first they have to team up.

The Crown (Alexander James & Jurn Simmons) vs. Bobby Gunns & Ilja Dragunov
The Crown were already in the ring when Ilja and Gunns got their intro.

James and Gunns start out on the mat, with the wXw unified champion going for a Swish armbar early, only for James to back out and tag in Jurn, who was in no mood at all. Unusually the calmer of the two, Ilja tags in, but he’s got to fight out of a side headlock as Jurn showed some aggression early, eventually bouncing Ilja off the mat with a shoulder tackle.

Dragunov’s instantly back with a back chop before he caught Jurn with forearms in the corner, following up with a backflip and a lariat off the apron. Gunns returns to help with a pair of low dropkicks for a near-fall, but Ilja’s quickly back as he find himself on the defensive, taking a suplex throw from Jurn before a back elbow from James sent him to the mat. Jurn attacks Ilja on the outside as James had the ref distracted, but it’s not quite enough as the Crown have a lot more to do to wear down Dragunov. They keep him isolated in the corner, only for Ilja to sneak in with a knee lift to put Jirn down. James is back to knock Gunns off the apron to stop a tag from being made, following up with a kick-assisted slam on Dragunov as the Crown continue to build momentum.

What I can only describe as a modified figure four headscissors-turned-Anaconda vice trapped Ilja as AJ again impressed. Jurn brought the rough housing back with a backbreaker before he stretched Ilja’s arms… but when Ilja got free, he was able to drop Jurn with an enziguiri. Yet again though, the Crown try to thwart a tag out, eventually succeeding as James pulled Gunns off the apron as Ilja dove for the tag. Dragunov finally hits back with a death valley driver into the corner, but Bobby Gunns has to cut-off a rushing James with a hanging armbar before a back body drop from Ilja took the Crown into each other… and NOW Gunns tags in! He’s a house afire, going corner to corner with running uppercuts before landing a Saito suplex on James. Jurn elbows out of another one, but instead gets taken down with a diving clothesline as a rebound German suplex nearly put James away.

A back senton off the top from Ilja would have gotten the job done, but Jurn breaks up the cover as a Parade of Moves broke out. There’s a nice wrist-clutch suplex from James, who ended up taking a Konstantin Spezial from Dragunov as all four men ended up flat on the mat, but the Crown are right back in with duelling Doctor bombs for a near-fall. Jurn manages to catch Gunns with a Massive Boot before they looked for a curb stomp… but a Torpedo Moscau from Dragunov takes Jurn outside before James was quickly caught in a Swish armbar for the submission. Some real good stuff here – and I’m still high on the Crown; I just wish they’d be able to get into the title picture. ***½

Recaps from True Colors see Aussie Open beat Jay-FK, as we then go backstage to Aussie Open. Andy Jackson’s asking them if Jay-FK are done with getting shots… Davis blows them off, while Kyle states Aussie Open’s goal: to get to World Tag Team Festival and successfully defend their belts.

Killer Kelly vs. Amale Winchester vs. Valkyrie
Amale’s still a little sore as Karsten Beck’s stringing her out in her hunt for a title shot at Superstars…

We start off hot as Kelly went after both opponents, only for Valkyrie to sneak an early roll-up before a double dropkick had Kelly back on top. A pump kick dumps Valkyrie as Winchester ends up taking some cravat knees, only to take Kelly onto the apron as she boots her outside.

Winchester manages to keep some momentum, taking Valkyrie into the corner for a running boot to the throat. There’s a dropkick and a hip attack for Kelly too, as Winchester looked to be streets ahead, following up with headscissors that she used to ram Kelly’s head into the mat repeatedly. Valkyrie makes the save with a series of mid kicks, before a wheelbarrow bulldog took down Kelly for a near-fall. A leap over helps Valkyrie avoid Winchester’s charge as she just about scored with a crossbody that looked to cause Kelly problems… but she’s right back with an attempt at a Stretch Plum, then a double arm stretch that Valkyrie countered into a Euro clutch… only for Kelly to kick out and lock her in a Dragon sleeper until Amale made a save.

Winchester’s back with a bicycle knee to Valkyrie, then a Northern Lights for a near-fall, but Kelly broke that up and ended up countering a swinging flatliner with a crucifix for a near-fall. There’s a headbutt to Amale, who’s left cornered for a Shibata-ish dropkick, but Valkyrie tries to capitalise… only to get picked up off the top rope in a fireman’s carry as a rolling death valley driver got the former champ the win. This was a heck of a spring, perhaps a touch too fast at the start, but they crammed a LOT into their time, for better or for worse. We’re 1-1-1 in this three-way series, so I guess there’s no clear top contender? ***

Post-match, Winchester and Kelly got into a shoving match, before Amale dragged Valkyrie into it.

Jay FK (Francis Kaspin & Jay Skillet) vs. Julian Pace & Leon van Gasteren
Freshly out of the title picture (ahem), Jay-FK are now looking for something new to take on in wXw. So, how about this rookie/veteran combo of Julian Pace and Leon van Gasteren, whose entrance rocked out a little too hard!

Pace started by taking Kaspin into the corner, where he stole his bandana and had the audacity to put it on. Kaspin wrestles it back from a headlock, before Pace’s high-speed rope running confused Francis ahead of a dropkick. Jay Skillet distracts the ref as Kaspin hung up Pace in the ropes, before he tagged in to boot Pace in the spine. Pace flips out of a snapmare and gets some quick revenge, before the misdirection led to Skillet losing track of pace ahead of a rolling neckbreaker. Van Gasteren’s in with a slingshot senton, then with headscissors to take Skillet down ahead of a running forearm and a DDT for a near-fall.

Jay-FK use some double-teaming to catch out van Gasteren, while Julian Pace does a good job of tying up the referee as the former tag champions sought control of the match. Quick tags keep van Gasteren on the back foot, as the crowd sang his music to try and get him back in it. A grounded abdominal stretch has Leon in more trouble, especially because Kaspin beat out his music on his chest, but a double clothesline gets him free ahead of a tag out to Pace, who clears house. Skillet tries to put on the brakes, but Pace keeps up with a standing Spanish Fly to send Kaspin outside. A roll-up from Skillet looks to steal it, before a Schürlle-kick clocks Pace… who staggered into the corner to tag out to van Gasteren. Leon’s in with a springboard back elbow to Skillet, then a German to Kaspin, only for double-teaming toi lead to another Schürlle-kick.

Pace makes a save with a missile dropkick before a tope con giro wiped out Jay-FK on the outside. Skillet’s thrown back in to take a Stunner, before a double-jump moonsault from Pace proved to be enough for van Gasteren to get the win. Entertaining as heck, with Jay-FK’s shenanigans not quite being enough to outwith the veteran and the rookie. ***¼

Backstage, Karsten Beck is having to deal with Valkyrie, Killer Kelly and Amale Winchester, who all have a claim to a title shot. Beck tells them that none of them get a singles match: because it’ll be a four-way for Toni Storm’s title.

Elsewhere, Andy’s with Jay-FK, as they’re interrupted by Aussie Open bragging to the “bunch of losers”. Mark Davis wants to have Schadenfreude help them out, offering a six-man tag that Andy dives in to accept. Aussie Open have another tag partner since there’s no Chris Brookes… a “proper veteran”: it’s Hardcore Holly & Aussie Open vs. Absolute Andy & Jay-FK. Now THERE’S a match I didn’t know I wanted to see.

Mitteldeutschland Cup 2019 Final: Lucky Kid vs. Marius al-Ani vs. Wheeler Yuta vs. Avalanche
It’s a straight-up four-way final, and we start with Lucky Kid and Marius al-Ani brawling outside, with Marius not particularly wanting the 16 Carat Gold winner picking up more trophies.

Problem was, it left Wheeler Yuta in there with Avalanche, who blocks a springboard armdrag… before he finally landed some headscissors as Marius al-Ani came back in. A clothesline and a slam has Yuta on the deck, before Lucky Kid returned to stop a step-up elbow drop… only to take one as he got stacked-up on Yuta.

Lucky fires back on Marius, but gets whipped into the corner before he lands some running elbows… just in time for Avalanche to return as the pace remained stupidly high. A handspring back elbow took down Marius and Avalanche, before the Austrian started to build up momentum, taking Wheeler and Lucky into the corner for an avalanche splash. All four men spill outside as Avalanche looked to commandeer an advantage, but he ends up running into the ring post before Yuta tried a tope… and got swatted away with a forearm from al-Ani. Marius heads up top, but takes too long to pose and gets goozled by Avalanche… who ends up taking an al-Ani dropkick as the ring began to fill up again.

Lucky Kid skins the cat and drops Marius with an Asai moonsault as a Parade of Moves broke out, leading to the crowd chanting for Lucky to throw Yuta into a chair… which he did not do. Back inside, Lucky’s lifted onto the apron, before he leapt over a Yuta dive as Marius ended up eating a pair of topes. Avalanche teases a dive, but Marius rolls him up for a two-count instead… and ends up getting splatted with a Samoan drop for a near-fall too. Leipzig seemed to turn on Avalanche with chants of “no chance, Avalanche”… as he looked for a superplex. Lucky and Yuta broke it up, so Avalanche returns to trigger the Tower of Doom… except Marius stayed up top and ended up bouncing off of the Austrian with his crossbody. I love that.

Yuta tries a cheapshot, but Avalanche ignores it like he was Arnold Schwarzenegger ahead of a flying DDT from Yuta… which did land. Lucky tries to capitalise with duelling crossfaces to Marius and Yuta. They get free, but there’s not long left as Yuta misses a charge into the corner and gets caught with the double knees to the back by Marius, who gets the win and becomes a repeating champion! A solid main event, very pacey with a LOT crammed into it – without relying too much on the usual multi-man tropes. ***½

We go backstage as The Crown walk in on Avalanche, Leon Van Gasteren and Julian Pace. Jurn tries to start things off with Avalanche again, but Pace and Van Gasteren try to shut them up… before too long, Avalanche tells us there’s a trios matchs set: Simmons, James and Sitoci vs. Avalanche, van Gasteren and Pace. Oh, and Avalanche will finally get his hands on Emil Sitoci for the title at Drive of Champions in Hamburg a few weeks later.

Elsewhere, Ilja Dragunov is waiting for Marius al-Ani backstage… he slow claps the trophy winner… and the trash talking builds up to a challenge for Dragunov vs. al-Ani at Superstars of Wrestling. They shake on it, before Dragunov turned around and caught Marius mid-cheapshot.

The show wraps up with the card for wXw Superstars of Wrestling from the Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen on June 1…

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Joey Janela vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
wXw Women’s Championship: Amale Winchester vs. Killer Kelly vs. Valkyrie vs. Toni Storm (c)
Ilja Dragunov vs. Marius al-Ani
Brian Cage vs. Lucky Kid
Ken Shamrock vs. Veit Müller
Absolute Andy & Jay-FK vs. Aussie Open & Hardcore Holly
WALTER vs. Wheeler Yuta
The Crown & Emil Sitoci vs. Avalanche, Leon van Gasteren & Julian Pace

As the final build for Superstars of Wrestling, the Mitteldeutschland Cup was a fun show – although it’ll be interesting to see if the Mitteldeutschland Cup will play into any storylines, or indeed, get references outside of this. While perhaps not a “must see” event, wXw’s feature events rarely disappoint – and if, like us, you’ve been on a steady diet of tournament action from England and Japan, this will be a nice change of pace for you.