Bobby Gunns got his rematch while Alexander Wolfe returned to Dresden as wXw began the road to their 19th anniversary!

With the rest of Imperium over in the States as part of WWE’s Survivor Series weekender, Wolfe’s appearance in retrospect was a bit of an odd one – especially considering that unjury to Ilja Dragunov forced the cancellation of their advertised match… which was a shame considering the absolute banger of a match that’d aired on NXT UK just days earlier. Anyway, we’re at a sold-out Kraftwerk Mitte in Dresden for the first stop on the road to December’s 19th Anniversary show. We’ve upbeat music for the intro, a British Bulldog cosplayer in the crowd, and English commentary is from Andy Jackson.

wXw Shotgun Championship: Veit Müller vs. Jay Skillet vs. Avalanche (c)
This was meant to be a four-way with Absolute Andy, but he was withdrawn as a precaution after a car accident earlier in the day.

Jay Skillet complains about Andy not being there, because he’s going to get beaten up without the elder statesman of wXw. So he powders outside in a sulk. You can guess what’s next… and while he does attack early, he’s quickly forced to beg off as Avalanche began to unload on him in the corner. Skillet flops out of the corner, then gets hurled around for fun, before Veit Müller looked to join in the fun. Problem was, Avalanche didn’t want to share, so Veit grabs him in a headlock, only for Avalanche to shove off and land shoulder blocks for fun. Müller replies with a leaping shoulder tackle before dispatching of Skillet again so he could resume the hoss fight with Avalanche.

Cross chops from Müller just earn him a body slam… which he replies to in kind as Francis Kaspin randomly provided a distraction. It opened the door for Skillet to attack Müller from behind as he tried to steal a win, before Kaspin choked Müller behind the ref’s back. Normally I’d moan, but wXw announced tweaks to their multi-way matches last week, and that would have resulted in Jay Skillet being DQ’d and eliminated if caught. Shame commentary didn’t mention it though… Skillet tries a crossbody, but he just bounces off of Veit, then off of Avalanche as Jay wasn’t having a good day. A Parade of Moves breaks out as everyone tries to steal each other’s pins, leading to a Schürlle kick… but a back body drop gets Avalanche free as he pushed on, hitting a fallaway slam and a Dreissker bomb for the win. Nice and pacy, coming in at around ten minutes – a cracking way to open the show! ***¼

wXw World Tag Team Championship: Julian Pace & Oliver Carter vs. Pretty Bastards (Maggot & Prince Ahura) (c)
Oliver Carter’s replacing Leon van Gasteren due to an attack in Frankfurt – something that Thommi Giesen and a video summed up beforehand. He was Julian’s hand-picked partner…

Except Carter got attacked on the stage before the match, as the Pretty Bastards followed him out. Pace ran them off, but insisted on having the match short-handed. Yes, that is former EVOLVE ref Brandon Tolle, by the way… Pace starts off hot, laying into Prince Ahura before he clotheslined him to the outside, following up with an across-the-corners tope con giro! Julian keeps up the, ahem, pace, as he had the champions rocked, using a springboard crossbody and a springboard dropkick before the Final Lap almost put Ahura away.

A distraction helps the Bastards back in, with Ahura landing a leg drop before bringing Maggot in to beat down Pace. Ahura’s back as he kicks away at Pace, mocking him for not having a tag partner, before Maggot tagged in to get a two-count from a simple slam. Julian made a comeback with a neckbreaker as he found a second wind, dropping Maggot with a stunner (complete with a Scott Hall-ish sell!) The wacky rope running confuses the champions as Pace hits the dropkick, only for a spear and an Alley Oop into a knee strike to draw a near-fall as the ref seemingly waved away the concept of tags. Finally Oliver Carter staggers out to help, and watched on as Pace ‘rana’d his way free of a double team, before tagging in!

Carter’s limping… but he stops and flashes a grin as he turned around and caught Pace with a spinning heel kick in the corner. We all fell for it – Carter wasn’t hurt, and was able to hit a Quebrada to help with the double-team butterfly backbreaker as the Pretty Bastards retain. More a storyline piece than a match, but Julian had plenty of heart, if not partners to count on here. **½

We’ve a video package as we find out that Pete Bouncer still uses internet newsboards. That’s one step away from the old RSPW. Ivan Kiev claims to be the workhorse of the former RISE, and is bitter and how Lucky Kid got the adulation…

Ivan Kiev vs. Lucky Kid
Pete Bouncer was banned from the building for this, but that didn’t stop Ivan Kiev from trying to swing with a baseball bat from the off.

He misses, as Lucky started hot… but a handspring’s cut-off with a dropkick as Bouncer proceeded to take Lucky outside. A 619 on the apron stops him, but Kiev just posts Lucky, who responded with a trip and a low dropkick. Neither man was able to hold much momentum, although Kiev dumped Lucky in the ropes, before Lucky literally rebounded into an Asai DDT for a near-fall. Kiev misses a Pele kick and gets caught in a STF, before another low dropkick lands for a near-fall. Kicks from Kiev get him back in it, as he landed the Pele at the second try, ahead of a side-on facebuster that nearly put Lucky away. Lucky tries to fight back with forearms, before he flipped out of a German suplex and used a small package for a near-fall… a handspring elbow followed, only for Lucky to head up top and get pulled into a death valley driver for a near-fall.

An enziguiri from Lucky gets him in again, as does a German suplex and a springboard cutter, before Kiev nearly stole the win with a handful of tights. From the kick-out though, Lucky spins Kiev into the Lucky Lock, and the crossface forces the submission. Decent enough, with the crowd willing on Lucky… but the Purge Club just don’t seem to be catching on here. ***

Outside, Tassilo Jung’s talking to Jurn Simmons as he too needed a partner for tonight. Tass doesn’t want Jurn to do a Julian Pace, but luckily he finds someone as the Rotation wanted some payback. Jurn doubts him, but Rotation and Tass play to Jurn’s love of Batista by telling him not to walk alone…

We flash to the Pretty Bastards and Oliver Carter gloating about what happened. They reveal that it was Carter who took out van Gasteren and Pace in those attacks earlier in the year, completing their entire plan. Except Alexander Wolfe is right there as they gloated… and he took offence to what they’d just done… so we get Wolfe vs. Carter as our new main event tonight.

Amale & Skye Smitson vs. Killer Kelly & Little Miss Roxxy
Smitson crashed into wXw last month, and instantly called out her intention to go for Killer Kelly… here, she’s calling out a cosplay Orange Cassidy. Was Halloween a month late in Dresden or something?!

Kelly started out, but Skye of course backed off so Amale would start instead. Roxxy’s in to throw some forearms ahead of a PK from Kelly, as Skye complained from the apron. A dropkick from Roxxy took Amale into the corner for some elbows and kicks, following up with a slingshot dropkick from the apron into the ring for good measure. Things break down as Skye got her way across to Kelly, pulling her off the apron while Amale used an arm whip on Roxxy to keep the bad guys ahead. A slam from Skye has Roxxy down, as does a stalling suplex, while Amale choked Roxxy in the corner as Kelly kept on distracting the ref.

Amale tags in to whip Roxxy into the corner as the Geordie was struggling… not helped when Skye knocked Kelly off the apron, as the beatdown continued on Roxxy. Finally, Roxxy gets back in with a wheelbarrow stomp on Smitson, but she couldn’t instantly build on it as Amale kept up the offence. Roxxy slips out of a Champion’s Maker and lands a crossbody as she finally got the tag out to Kelly! Skye’s in too as Kelly hits some capture headbutts, then a butterfly suplex before Amale came in to cut-off the Shibata-ish dropkick. It backfires as she’s taken into the corner as the dropkick’s landed, with Kelly almost putting Skye away with a German suplex. Vale da Morte follows, before Roxxy added to the death valley driver with a murderous stomp off the top to Skye… and that’s enough for the win! A really good women’s tag match, and it’s amazing what adding a couple of basic storylines can do to get the crowd invested. ***

They replay footage from a house show in Magdeburg of Tyler Colton and Alexander James powerbombing the Rotation to death…

Jurn Simmons & The Rotation vs. Alexander James & Tyler Colton
We started with the Rotation trying to use his speed to outfox James, using headscissors and some rope walking – also evading Colton on the apron – to take the American down.

A nice drop-sault from Rotation forces James to tag out, but Rotation hesitated and got charged down by the Canadian. Unwisely, Rotation tried to strike Colton, and got swept away before he fought out of a powerbomb and tagged in Jurn. The two hosses clatter into each other with shoulder tackles, as this was extremely my graps, with Jurn leaping in to take Colton down. Rotation’s back with some knees as he managed to catch out James and Colton, but he took too long and got hung in the ropes by James as he prepared for a dive. Ah well. Looking to tweak his ankle after getting dumped on the edge of the ring, the Rotation at least had the crowd on-side as they chanted “princess” at James… which perhaps wasn’t good for his immediate future.

A ‘rana puts James down, but Colton charged in to stop a tag as Rotation was kept in for a little longer. Jurn shot the deadliest of death stares at James from the apron as he could only watch them tear apart the Rotation, who got pulled into a torture rack by Colton. Rotation slipped out, as Jurn low bridges James to avoid an attack… but the American just pulled Jurn off the apron instead as a Hart Attack almost got the win. Finally Jurn got the tag in as he cleared house with his “dumb muscle”, hurling James around with suplex throws, before James slipped out of a powerbomb… and got thrown outside. Colton’s in to clothesline Jurn to the floor too, as Rotation flies around to level things up, including with a nice step-up flip senton to the pile.

Back in the ring, Rotation cartwheels off the top rope and followed in with a satellite DDT on James… but Colton is in to land a swinging facebuster on Rotation as the ref lost control. Another Jurn powerbomb’s stopped when James used a Cobra clutch on Jurn, before handing him off as Colton assisted on the Rains of Castamere for a near-fall. Rotation stops a Doomsday something or other, knocking down James as Jurn hits a back suplex on Colton, leaving him prone for a 450 splash as James had to pull Rotation out of the ring to keep the match going. James gets chased away by the mad Dutchman, but things turn around as Rotation’s pescado is caught… he’s thrown back in like a ragdoll, then into the ropes awkwardly as Colton was having fun with him. AJ’s calling shots from the apron as Colton threatened to powerbomb Rotation into oblivion again… but Jurn’s back with a spinebuster. He and James slug it out some more, before Simmons landed the Blood Eagle curb stomp.

Colton threw in a Kendo stick as we weren’t looking… James doesn’t get to use it though as Colton saves his partner from a sit-out powerbomb. Instead it’s Rotation who uses the Kendo stick, and there’s the DQ. Ah, normally I’d be mad at having a 20-minute match that ended in a DQ, but it’s nice to see some form of progression as Rotation held his own before snapping. If they can stretch this Jurn/James feud to Carat, they’ll be in prime place for an absolute bloodbath of a match in March… ***½

Backstage, Rotation’s all happy about getting him some… but Jurn doesn’t care about whether they won or lost. He’s impressed that Rotation “showed some balls”, and they’re rematching in Hamburg later this week. I’m all in on that!

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Bobby Gunns vs. Timothy Thatcher (c)
Something tells me Bobby might not be winning the belt back on a “Road to” show, but let’s see where they go…

Gunns shot out of the gates with a dropkick, but Thatcher was more than ready for this to be a sprint, as he took Gunns down with a gutwrench suplex before a belly-to-belly suplex took both men from the ring to the floor. The match stays outside as Thatcher beat Gunns around the room, making use of the brick walls before Gunns had to fish-hook Thatcher to give him a shot. Heading back towards the ring, Thatcher has his finger trapped and wrapped in the turnbuckle irons, as the brawling continued. Thatcher throws Gunns up onto the stage, threatening to suplex Gunns into the crowd, before he instead opted for an uppercut. Gunns hit back with a suplex onto the stage, where the former champion followed up with a spit… and got slapped.

The stage lights bounce as Thatcher slammed Gunns, but Bobby shrugs it off as the pair fought back towards the ring, where Gunns kicked Thatcher down some more. Thatcher rebounds with the ol’ RINGKAMPF belly-to-belly off the ropes, then with a European uppercut for a near-fall, Gunns goes for a guillotine, then an Octopus as he tried to eke out a submission. Kicks from Gunns continued to wear down Thatcher, as the former champ worked up into a PK, before an enziguiri stemmed the tide. The pair resort to uppercuts as they tried to push on, leading to a Saito suplex after Gunns had gone for the fingers. A lariat follows, but Thatcher just slaps back and hits a Saito of his own, leading up to a Fujiwara armbar that Thatcher turned into a seatbelt cradle, rolling up Gunns for the win. Far from the blow-out that Thatcher was looking for, but there’s plenty left in the tank if wXw wants to go back to this match down the line. ***½

Oliver Carter vs. Alexander Wolfe
Carter got booed for his second appearance of the night, while Wolfe came out to the RINGKAMPF music for his “heimspiel” (home game) as he got a heroes welcome.

Wolfe/Tischer started by taking Carter to the mat, spinning around him as the newly-turned Carter scurried into the ropes. Second time around, Carter counters a waistlock, but just found himself in an armbar before Wolfe caught him with a dropkick for a quick two-count. An armdrag follows as the Dresden native subdued Carter, who fought back into the corner to force a break as chants of “Next Step Wrestling” broke out in honour of Tischer’s old promotion (now called Pro Wrestling Deutschland, for those keeping score). Carter rakes the eyes as he tried to get back in, trapping Wolfe in the ropes for a dropkick, before another take down and a thrust kick dropped Wolfe for a two-count.

A chinlock gives Wolfe something to fight out of, but Carter hits a knee drop before he mocked the RINGKAMPF pose. He’ll pay. Quickly, too, as Carter missed a second dropkick through the ropes, and Wolfe’s right back with clotheslines and a boot as he steamrollered through Carter. A flying clothesline has the crowd hot, but it’s not enough for the win, as Wolfe and Carter proceeded to exchange pinning attempts, before an enziguiri stopped Carter in his tracks. Carter responds by taking Wolfe outside for a tope that almost looked like that bulldog doing a bulldog, but Wolfe’s able to hit back with a German suplex back inside for a near-fall.

Wolfe continues on with a superplex, bouncing Carter back into the ring as Dresden was HOT for this… Carter again struck back with a clothesline and a Quebrada for a near-fall, but Wolfe wasn’t to be denied, and he’s back again with a back body drop, a German suplex and a sit-out powerbomb, planting Carter for the win. They gave Carter a little here, but this was some of the former Axel Tischer’s greatest hits, and a perfect tonic to send his hometown crowd home happy. ***½

The Pretty Bastards attack Wolfe almost immediately afterwards, but he fought back until Carter returned to make it 3-on-1. Not to worry, Julian Pace runs out to get him some, but he’s sent crashing to the outside, as Ilja Dragunov had to make the save. Don’t cross the universes, folks! There’s chops for all as the “other” hometown hero blew the roof off the Kraftwerk Mitte, before he handed off Ahura to get powerbombed as Wolfe closed out the show with a promo, putting over how wXw’s grown while he’s been away, and thanking the crowd before calling out Julian Pace as “proof that wXw brings out the future stars”. It’s in your hands, kid!

Andy Jackson pitches to some backstage footage as Tassilo Jung – subbing for Karsten Beck – has to deal with a whinging Amale. Tass tells Amale she’s defending the title in Hamburg against Valkyrie and Little Miss Roxxy… then we go to Avalanche, Julian Pace and Alexander Wolfe decompressing, before the Pretty Bastards and Oliver Carter walked up to them. They’ve got balls… especially because Bobby Gunns is there to back them up. That led to them making Pretty Bastards & Oliver Carter vs. Avalanche & Vollgasteren in Hamburg, while Bobby went for a bigger scalp: he’s got Wolfe. That’s perhaps the biggest threat “Billy Gunns” has had to his Hamburg streak yet!

When wXw lost Wolfe/Dragunov on this show, I was fearing the worst – especially given how good their match was on NXT UK earlier in the week. In spite of that, the Dresden stop on the Road to the 19th Anniversary was a really positive show, bringing in some storyline progression (accelerated or otherwise) in terms of Oliver Carter being revealed as the attacker, along with the Rotation stepping up. While we’ve only got two matches announced for the 19th Anniversary show, wXw genuinely feels like they’re building up momentum to end the year – and I can’t wait to see what they put on in Oberhausen just before Christmas!