The final stop on the road to 16 Carat Gold saw Bielefeld play host to an epic brawl as Absolute Andy needled Bobby Gunns ahead of his latest title defence.
We start with the ending from Dead End, where Bobby Gunns pinned Absolute Andy in the main event to earn his title match at 16 Carat Gold… including the superkick to Vinny Vortex from the champion in the aftermath. Vinny was well enough to celebrate with Bobby backstage… cue titles, and Jeremy Graves on English commentary!
First though, Bobby Gunns comes to the ring for a live Raucherpause, where he tells Bielefeld that on mitte Samstag, he’s taking the wXw title from Absolute Andy… and is handing him his retirement papers. That stings. Vinny Vortex then screams “Gunns! Bobby Gunns!” into the mic, prompting Jay-FK to hit the ring to take shots at the former brothers Schilde, saying that Vinny only wrestles once a year (just like the Undertaker, quipped Bobby).
Bobby takes aim at Jay-FK for losing their tag title matches in Hamburg, and then for some reason, out comes Veit Müller, who’s quite popular in Bielefeld. Apparently just saying “Hamburg” is like saying Beetlejuice three times, as that’s what drew him out. We get a tease for Gunns/Müller in Hamburg down the line (which I so want to see now), and of course, that draws out Absolute Andy as this Raw opening segment was thankfully compressed, with Andy crowing on for a spell before he told the crowd that Bobby Gunns’ chant was “scheisse”. Kilby, that’s on you, that is!
Things break down into a six-way brawl, and that’s our main event for tonight.
Replays from the double count-out of Jurn Simmons vs. Avalanche at Back to the Roots air, but sadly no angry Avalanche airing his annoyances at referee Rainer Ringer.
No Count-Out: Jurn Simmons vs. Avalanche
The no count-out rule was obvious after what happened in Oberhausen, and we’ve again got Rainer Ringer as our official. We start with the two bulls charging into each other with repeated shoulder charges, that Jurn won out from… only for Avalanche to hit back in kind as these two shot out of the gates.
A belly-to-belly takes Simmons down ahead of a big splash off the ropes, as Avalanche wasn’t getting paid by the hour, but Jurn rolls outside as a Dreissker Bomb was being teased. Avalanche chases after him, brawling around ringside then back into the ring as Jurn hits a nice springboard clothesline back into the ring.
Jurn’s pumphandle slam dumps Avalanche for a near-fall, before a butterfly suplex was countered out of by Avalanche, who hits back with… Darkness Falls?! Somehow Jurn kicks out of that, before he flipped out of Boulder Dash and hit a Massive Boot… only for Avalanche to retaliate with a clothesline. The pair trade shots for a while before they spilled back outside, spreading further afield as Jurn’s thrown into a support beam before Avalanche is thrown through a fire exit… and to the outside as Simmons slams the door closed… and we fade away as no count-outs are taken literally!
Clips of Killer Kelly pinning Faye Jackson in Hamburg air, and her posing with the wXw women’s title… which led to a shoving match between her and the champion, Toni Storm. That segues to backstage as Kelly is apologising to Toni for what happened, in a sense that was perhaps a little disingenuous. Toni’s being completely snide and derisory towards Kelly, claiming that she “made her relevant” and that there is no Killer Storm. “Without me, you’re just Kelly”, was Toni’s claim… who then reminded her that she lost the belt at the first time of asking when they met. I must say, this side of Toni Storm is new… and I really like it. It’s an actual character, and one that we’ve been sorely waiting on.
Clips of Veit Müller’s effort in defeat to WALTER follow, and the following segment where David Starr interrupted Veit’s moment. Which leads to this next match, which is unfortunate for poor Julian…
Julian Pace vs. WALTER
Oh dear. These two have tangled before, with the most famous being Julian’s “graduation match” at the wXw Academy… and I don’t expect a different result here.
We start with a lock-up as WALTER took Pace to a knee before a gutwrench suplex saw the Austrian deposit the relative rookie on the apron. Back inside, Pace has his arm wrung as WALTER then tossed him to the mat… only for Pace to try and return the favour, but of course he’s taken into the corner as WALTER just boots him to the outside.
Pace tries to outsmart WALTER with his wacky rope running, going Vollgas with some misdirection ahead of a dropkick! WALTER’s low bridged to the outside after that, then dropkicked off the apron as Pace dives out… only to get caught and CHOPPED by WALTER on the outside. Thanks for coming!
Pace beats the count, but WALTER keeps up the offence, slamming Pace with ease before Pace tries to fight back with chops and dropkicks… only for one of them to get caught and rolled into a Boston crab. A STF is next, then a crossface as WALTER’s just wrenching back on Pace until a rope break is called for.
Chops from Pace… work about as well as you expect, as fortunately his jumpsuit ring gear will mask the bruises to the public. Still, Pace tries to chop, but an Irish whip is easily stopped as he instead looked for a tornado DDT… except WALTER countered into a butterfly suplex for a near-fall. More back-and-forth forearms ensue as Pace tries to come back… but he leaps into a Gojira clutch before WALTER slapped away a rope break and looked for a German suplex.
Except Pace flipped free and finally landed his tornado DDT! A shotgun dropkick’s next, before he sidestepped one from WALTER as a standing shooting star press nearly led to the upset, before a double jump moonsault saw WALTER get his feet up in time. WALTER’s right back with a shotgun dropkick, only to fall into a Code Red as Pace again nearly nicked it.
Another double jump moonsault misses as Pace landed in another Gojira clutch, before a folding powerbomb proved to be too much. A brave effort from Julian Pace, but in the end WALTER was far, far too strong for the Aachen native. ***¼
Backstage, David Starr is zipping up his backpack when Veit Müller approaches him to complain about having his moment taken away from him. Starr tries to tell Veit it wasn’t personal, but he’d been going after WALTER for longer (three years to be exact), and so he took precedent. Why do I get the feeling Veit’s going to be involved in that first round match?
We get recaps of how RISE did at Dead End… and then a post-show interview with Sebastian Hollmichel. Pete Bouncer reckons RISE are on course, and that Lucky can and will shock the world again.
Leon van Gasteren’s warming up backstage. Don’t bother looking for him on Cagematch! Marius addresses the “old man”, who turned out to be his trainer… except the “Bodey” al-Ani gets rather annoying, and Leon’s left rather non-plussed as he said that the “Bodey” is going to be pointless tonight.
Timo Theiss vs. Norman Harras
This was the (delayed) pay-off to the feud that started between these two last year, when Theiss attacked Harras after the pair lost to Coast 2 Coast in Cologne.
Harras, who’s about to leave on excursion with CWE in Canada, watches the crowd wind up Theiss before they start with a lock-up… but Harras shoves down Theiss, before a hammerlock attempt saw Timo dive into the ropes. Theiss cheapshots him on the break and goes in with a headlock takedown, before an armdrag and an armbar put Harras back in it.
Theiss tripped Harras from there, only for Harras to come in with a shoulder tackle and a slam as Theiss powdered to the outside. Another cheapshot from Theiss sees him take Harras outside, as he then trolled the crowd, teasing that he’d throw Harras into the crowd, only to hurl him back inside.
Eventually, Harras throws Theiss back in the hard way but he can’t follow up with a slam as Theiss makes things difficult, before landing a clothesline and some right hands for a near-fall. Harras tries to fight back, but he’s whipped from corner to corner before a reversal and a big back body drop puts Harras right back in it!
An avalanche clothesline traps Theiss in the corner, only for Theiss to pull Harras out of the corner into another lariat before Harras won a struggle over a suplex. Right as both men are down, Jurn Simmons and Avalanche return into the arena briefly as their no count-out match seemed to be ongoing… they roll into the ring as their original referee Rainer Ringer followed, and we’ve got two matches on at the same time!
Avalanche back body drops out of a piledriver before he clotheslines Jurn to the outside, as more brawling led to both men ending their little interval by going to the back. Meanwhile, the other match nearly ended with Theiss rolling up Harras for a near-fall, before Norman hit back with a German suplex for a two-count of his own.
An enziguiri from Theiss and an X-Plex followed for a near-fall as the momentum continued to swing, before Harras got the win out of nothing when he slipped out of a Fireman’s carry and rolled up Theiss with a sunset flip for the three-count. This was quite decent given the experience levels, but I look forward to seeing how Harras returns from his tour of Canada. **¾
Promo time now, as Timothy Thatcher’s got something to say in a pre-tape. He’s looking forward to wrestling Yuki Ishikawa at Ambition 10, especially since he credits him as a massive influence. Thatcher puts over wXw and RINGKAMPF for making him in wrestling, but then he seems to have second thoughts, saying that RINGKAMPF “made decisions for themselves”.
Cue a Tweet shower of people losing their minds over WALTER debuting in NXT UK.
It’s almost like Thatcher is seeing WWE as “giving in”, as he vowed to make his own decisions – regardless of what happens with RINGKAMPF. Genuine chills down the spine, and it’s not just because the usually silent Thatcher spoke!
wXw Shotgun Championship: Leon van Gasteren vs. Marius al-Ani (c)
Van Gasteren is the crowd favourite here it seems, as the pair started by rolling into the ropes as they were all about those early rope breaks.
al-Ani goes for a hammerlock, but van Gasteren reverses it… and keeps hold despite Marius’ attempts to roll free, before Marius just dove into the ropes for a break. In response, Marius tries for the ankle lock, but Leon rolls into a crossface that quickly ended in the ropes, as al-Ani responded with some more shots… only for van Gasteren to catch him with a series of armdrags as the champion was on the back foot.
Some headscissors take al-Ani outside, and he eventually manages to sneak back in, scoring with scissors kicks as van Gasteren was in the ropes. Another side headlock keeps van Gasteren down, with a dropkick to the back of the head setting up as Marius begins to work on Leon’s arms. A chop and a slam leaves van Gasteren on the mat for a near-fall, only for Leon to hit back with a dropkick before he ran into a drop toe hold.
Marius is back in with a crossface, then a side headlock, while propping himself in the ropes for extra leverage, before he rolled van Gasteren into the middle of the ring with a modified hammerlock. Some hard forearms to the head follow as van Gasteren was taken into the ropes, allowing him to sucker his way in with a back elbow behind the ref’s back as al-Ani then took a shotgun dropkick into the corner.
Van Gasteren follows up with a huge springboard European uppercut from the apron for a near-fall, following up with a plancha as al-Ani tried to powder outside for some respite. Leon takes too long back inside though, as Marius caught him on the top rope, only for van Gasteren to catch him with a Kimura up top before a crossbody earned a near-fall. After missing some knees in the corner, Marius eats a German suplex before van Gasteren headed up top… only to miss a frog splash as Marius rolled away.
The standing ten count is just about broken as van Gasteren fought back, trading strikes with al-Ani before he blocked a tornado DDT and turned it into a Go To Sleep. Marius is right back with a spinning heel kick, sending van Gasteren into the ropes for a rebound lariat that almost nicked the win for the challenger.
Back to his feet, van Gasteren tried to cut off some strikes with a cutter, but al-Ani counters into an ankle lock before he took Leon into the corner for the running double knees – called the DK – that proved to be enough for the win. A hell of a contest from the unfancied van Gasteren, who’s proving to be quite the capable hand when he’s been called upon by wXw. ***¼
Backstage, Lucky Kid and Ilja Dragunov run into each other and snarl. It’s not quite Heidenreich/Snitsky, as they suddenly gets civilised and wish each other luck for Carat. How bizarre!
Next, we’re backstage as we resume the Avalanche/Jurn Simmons match as they’re brawling around the Forum’s backstage area. They end up back towards the ringside area, with the crowd rather sparse as this is happening during interval. A cannonball gets Avalanche a legitimate near-fall, before Jurn ducks a shoulder charge, sending Avalanche into the ring post as they’re back outside. Thommy Giesen tells the crowd the match can only end in the ring, so of course they brawl around the bar, then to the front of the building as some fans’ own Raucherpause are interrupted by the wrestling…
Avalanche teases something outside, but Jurn just throws him into a door before he digs out his car keys and… drives away! That’s one way to end a no count-out match, I guess, with an official time logged by wXw of 81 minutes and 48 seconds. An epic, instant classic.
Backstage, Julian Pace congratulates Leon van Gasteren for his match, despite the result. Leon says he’s not done with wXw, and then gives Julian a pep talk, saying he’ll prove himself at 16 Carat Gold. That then gives way to a promo from the “Bodey” Marius al-Ani, who’s announced as the last man in 16 Carat Gold. Saving the best for last, eh?
Ilja Dragunov vs. Timothy Thatcher
A rematch from their recent outing at PROGRESS, these two tend to save their top tier stuff for the wXw banner. Timothy Thatcher’s slowly moving away from the RINGKAMPF branding it seems… and he shoots out of the gates with a big boot and a gutwrench suplex as he tried to tap Ilja in the opening minute with an armbar.
Ilja rolls free and hits back with forearms before he countered a Thatcher goozle with a Saito suplex, sending him powdering to the outside. Of course, Ilja followed him out, throwing Thatcher into the ring apron before sending him back inside for a nice flip over the ropes into a clothesline.
Ilja goes high for a back senton onto Thatcher for a near-fall, then looked to work over Timothy’s arm, before instead opting to just wallop Thatcher with more forearms and a spinning backhanded chop. Heading up top, Ilja tries to capitalise, but Thatcher rolls away and instead followed up with a leaping enziguiri before a RINGKAMPF belly-to-belly suplex put him back on equal footing.
A snap suplex is next for a two-count, as Thatcher begins to brutalise Dragunov with some knees to the ribs. More forearms keep Dragunov on those jelly legs, sending him into the corner for some stomps before a slam and an elbow drop has Ilja back on the mat and in the ropes. Ilja tries to respond with forearms and a chop, but Thatcher just catches the enziguiri and turns it into a single leg crab, ending when Ilja drags his way onto the apron as he tried to strike back…
…only for Thatcher to catch him in the ropes with a rear naked choke! Thatcher releases the hold, but Ilja backflips over the ropes and into a butterfly suplex as Thatcher again comes close. Another Gojira clutch traps Ilja, but he elbows free before he… 619s himself back into the hold. D’oh! Ilja’s fading, but he gets into the ropes only to have to back body drop out of a butterfly suplex as Thatcher almost took the fall.
Another 619 from Ilja finally pays off as he swivels into a clothesline, before a death valley driver sent Thatcher into the corner and almost out of the ring! A Coast to Coast dropkick follows for a near-fall, before Ilja booting Thatcher drew a look out of Timothy that’d scare most men to death.
Here, it made no odds to Ilja, who keeped trying to chop him down, only for Thatcher to stand up and fight back, knocking Ilja to the mat with a single palm strike for a near-fall. Yeah, that was a nasty landing for Ilja, who’s again pounded on from above before a Fujiwara armbar’s rolled out of, as Ilja eventually lands a Chernobyl Bomb!
From there, Dragunov heads up top for a back senton for a two-count, before he clotheslined away an enziguiri attempt as Dragunov found his second wind, chopping Thatcher in the head before a series of Saito suplexes led to the Torpedo Moscau for the win. An intense war here – one that perhaps started a little too hot, as it tailed off in the middle, but picked up again nicely towards the end as Dragunov collected a dominant win here. ***¾
We’ve a video package next for David Starr, charting his many, many attempts to beat WALTER. We’ve written about them all… failures in Dublin, Leeds, Manchester, Newcastle, New Orleans, Boston… Oberhausen… Bielefeld… Hamburg… it’s a long, long list, and it’s an obsession of Starr’s. So much so that his other achievements in wXw threaten to be for nought until he beats WALTER. Of course, Starr picked WALTER as his first round opponent for 16 Carat Gold, and it’ll be kill or cure for the Product.
In response to that, WALTER buries Starr in front of Thommy Giesen, calling him inferior to Veit Müller, in terms of handling his emotions and his ability. WALTER stops short of calling Starr insane for doing the same thing time and time again, but tellingly we’re getting the “bad guy WALTER” of old seeping in here, as he promised that Carat would be just another failure for David Starr. A great pair of segments, as if you needed to be told that!
Absolute Andy & Jay FK (Francis Kaspin & Jay Skillet) vs. Bobby Gunns, Veit Müller & Vinny Vortex
Main event time now, and it’s all about Gunns/Andy – especially since the other four men in this match don’t really have any part to play as part of 16 Carat Gold itself.
The match started with Jay-FK pulling out Vortex and Müller, as Gunns was jumped by Absolute Andy, with the wXw Unified World Wrestling champion schooling Gunns early with a suplex, before an A-Klasse attempt was countered out of with a back body drop. Müller tags in and takes Andy into the corner for an avalanche and another back body drop, before Andy made a tag out to a Jay Skillet who just bounced off of Müller.
Veit’s right in with a cravat suplex that Skillet rudely bounced from, as Vinny Vortex tagged in to keep up the momentum on Jay. A sliding clothesline dropped Skillet for a near-fall, as Kaspin gets tagged in to complete the series, laying into Vortex ahead of a snap Dragon suplex that earned him a delayed two-count.
The revolving door of tags brings Bobby Gunns back in, as he easily tosses Andy back outside so he can continue on Jay Skillet. Müller is back too, scoring with an elbow drop as Vortex puts the boots to everyone’s favourite Andre Schürrle lookalike, with the brothers working well together. A single leg crab from Gunns forced Andy in to break up the hold, as the frequent tags and some sly cheating led to Jay-FK coming in with a spear/clothesline combo to Vortex.
Andy returns to chokeslam Vortex, giving Skillet a near-fall, as the bad guys began to focus on Vortex. An Irish whip from Andy sees him bounce off the turnbuckles as Vinny’s partners became a hindrance, rather than a help as the Andy/FK trio made use of quick tags while working over Vinny’s arm. Finally, Vortex finds a way through with a shoulder charge to Andy, as he finally gets the tag out to Gunns, who folds up Jay-FK with individually-wrapped German suplexes as he fired up.
Corner-to-corner charges keeps Jay-FK on the back foot, as does a diving European uppercut off the middle rope, sending Kaspin outside before a clothesline from Andy turned it around. Müller is back in with a back suplex to Andy, before Kaspin comes in to try and break it up… only for Jay Skillet to have to break up a Swish armbar attempt. I think tags became a thing of the past here as Rainer Ringer lost control, watching on as Vortex hit a double clothesline off the middle rope.
A spinebuster from Andy stopped Vortex in his tracks before he tagged in proper, looking to hit Vinny with an F5… but Bobby Gunns breaks it up and charges into a cornered Andy with European uppercuts. Andy rebounds with a clothesline, before Vinny makes a save from the F5 as the ring filled up… then emptied as Bobby took that F5 anyway for a near-fall. Things then built up into a triple-suplex spot, but it’s Andy and Jay-FK who take the nasty landing, with Francis Kaspin landing right on Andy before Müller leapt onto the three of them on the floor!
Vortex goes up too, launching a crossbody into them on the outside before Bobby’s dive is again cut-off with an Andy lariat. The champion plays to the crowd as Gunns writhed on the mat… popping up as he cut-off Andy’s attempt at a dive with an O’Connor roll, and that’s enough for Bobby to snatch his second win over Absolute Andy. Cynical me’s wondering if a third win’ll be a bridge too far at Carat, but otherwise this was a nice little trios match to round off the road to 16 Carat Gold. ***½
After a trailer for 16 Carat Gold, Jurn Simmons returns to the venue in Bielefeld as they’re tearing down the ring. I’m liking this real day-long storyline… he’s pointed backstage to collect his gear as Avalanche, for some reason, is still there. Cue snarling, cue a suitcase being used as a weapon, and other kitchen utensils as the brawl RESUMES! A roasting tray shot drops Avalanche, as Jurn counts his own pinfall before he wandered off with his gear and his suitcase.
A fitting end to a story that enveloped an entertaining show, giving us plenty of build for marquee matches while keeping us all guessing as to who’d win Carat. There’s no super obvious choices this year, which is going to make Carat all the sweeter.
We then wrap up the Road to 16 Carat Gold with what everyone was waiting for – the first round draw, with Alan Counihan making a cameo here:
David Starr vs. WALTER
Rey Horus vs. Rey Fenix
Marius al-Ani vs. Axel Dieter Jr.
Mark Davis vs. Pentagon Jr.
Lucky Kid vs. Tim Thatcher
Ilja Dragunov vs. Daisuke Sekimoto
Shigehiro Irie vs. Chris Brookes
Falls Count Anywhere: Avalanche vs. Jurn Simmons
On Saturday, we’ve got Absolute Andy defending the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship vs. Bobby Gunns… and on Sunday, Toni Storm defends the wXw Women’s title against Killer Kelly. But if you read our preview, you’d know all this…
So, that’s it. Every stop on the road to 16 Carat Gold has been reached. We’ve collected all 16 entrants for the tournament, and a few others for matches across the weekend (disappointingly, outside of the Thatcher/Ishikawa match, little mention of Ambition was made here)… but let’s be real – it’s going to be an exceptional weekend of wrestling in Oberhausen, and it all kicks off in ten days time (at time of writing) with Inner Circle.
If you’re going… we’ll see you there, whether it’s in Essen, the Turbinenhalle, or at the bowling!