Thirty wrestlers. One ring. One winner. wXw’s Shortcut to the Top returns as they look to find a challenger for the main event of next week’s 20th Anniversary Show!

Quick Results
Icarus & Dover pinned Anil Marik & Robert Dreissker in 12:27 to win the wXw World Tag Team Championships(***½)
Marius al-Ani submitted Tristan Archer in 16:24 to retain the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship (***½)
Jurn Simmons won Shortcut to the Top in 53:54 (***)

The opening video has Bobby Gunns claim that wXw’s number one will be starting the match at number one… but he’ll repeat his win from 2018 and get back to his title sooner rather than later.

We’re at the Steffy in Oberhausen again… Dave Bradshaw’s on the English commentary as is usual these days.

First up, Robert Dreissker and Anil Marik are backstage. Dan Mallmann reminds Anil that this time last year, he was making his marquee event debut and now he’s a tag champion… while Dreissker brought up how the Arrows had been bickering in the not-too-distant past, which may put them at odds here.

wXw World Tag Team Championship: Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. wXw Wrestling Academy (Robert Dreissker & Anil Marik) (c)
The Arrows have been painted as the “almost-men” of wXw’s tag team division, having had several recent near-misses in title matches…

There’s mind games early as Dreissker tagged himself in and bum-rushed Icarus, throwing him into the corner as an early attempt at a Dreissker bomb nearly won the match in the opening minute. Dover makes the save, before a second Dreissker bomb backfired as Icarus rolled outside… into the path of a crossbody from Marik. The rush from the former Avalanche continued as a Samoan drop drew a near-fall, before Dreissker threw Marik onto Icarus for another near-fall. Marik slows the pace down with an armbar, before Dreissker came back in for a slam and a splash. Dreissker’s chinlock keeps Icarus grounded as the champions controlled the pace, before a missed Slingblade from Marik was countered with a back suplex.

Tags bring in Dover and Dreissker, who charge at each other before Dover’s chops wore down the champions. A standing no-bump fallaway slam dumps Marik, before Dreissker’s attempted comeback fell short, so he ends up waffling Dover (the man, not the place) with clotheslines. Marik’s back with a Slingblade for a near-fall, before a bulldog out of the corner drew a near-fall on Dover. A second bulldog from Marik’s countered with a back suplex, but Dreissker’s back with a sunset flip for a near-fall as you perhaps sensed a more panicked pace from the champions. Dover escapes a neckbreaker and hits a back body drop too… Marik and Icarus tag in, but it’s Icarus who pulls ahead, dumping Marik on his head and neck with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall.

The Heart of Europe submission follows, but Marik holds on as Dreissker tagged in and made a save… a ripcord lariat and a pumphandle slam drew a near-fall. A wheelbarrow lungblower/Boulder Dash series gets a near-fall in spite of Dreissker stacking up the pin, and that’s where Marik’s temper looked to fray. Another Dreissker Bomb’s stopped by Dover in the corner. Dover tags in to punch out Marik, then pull down Dreissker with an Electric Chair… before hauling Icarus to the top rope to hit a senton bomb. Marik’s legal, and gets Alabama Slammed into a kick for a two-count, with Dreissker doing his best JYD headbutt to break up the cover, but time was running out on the champions.

Marik somehow kicks out from a kick-assisted Fire Thunder driver by Dover… but Icarus tags right back in. A Crossfire left Dreissker draped in the ropes, before a pop-up chokeslam dumped Marik in place for a second Crossfire… and the Arrows win! A helluva story for the Arrows who finally take their spot on top, despite the champions’ early – and sustained – flurry of offence that threatened to make this a squash. This wasn’t a “banana peel” loss, nor was this “the Arrows pinned the weaker man” either – a cracker of an opener than I only wish had a crowd on hand for it. Go out of your way to see this opener! ***½

Post-match, Icarus and Dover are ecstatic about their win – with Dover putting over Dreissker for helping them find the “missing” piece.

Backstage, Bobby Gunns comments on his number one spot in the Shortcut to the Top match – noting that for years he was number one and everyone wanted to beat him… so he’s used to it. Rott und Flott have a promo too, saying they’ll be the first team to win the match, because if they throw everyone out, wXw “have” to declare them the winners.

We’ve more Shortcut promos from Gulyas Junior, Senza Volto, Prince Ahura (who didn’t take anyone in the match seriously), Fast Time Moodo and Peter Tihanyi.

We get a recap package showing how Marius al-Ani retained the wXw title at FAN last month. Speaking of Marius, check out his Twitter – the guy’s been at it in the gym and is now like a freaking armoured tank… as for the video, Archer’s still a little gutted at how he felt he was cheated out of victory because of a rope break, which is why we’ve got limited rope breaks in this submissions main event.

Submission Match for wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Tristan Archer vs. Marius al-Ani (c)
We’ve got a Pure Rules-ish addition here in the form of both wrestlers being allowed three rope breaks each… which gets on-screen graphics, a la ROH.

Archer tries to force Marius to burn rope breaks early by backing him into the ropes – Tassilo Jung noted that they’ve got to be conscious rope breaks to count. Good call. With that in mind, Archer took down al-Ani, looking for a half crab… but he pulls him away from the ropes early, as Marius rolled his way through to counter with a leg lock. Archer grabs a side headlock, but the push-off leads to a shoulder block from the Frenchman before they’re back on the deck trading heel hooks. They roll towards the ropes, taunting the other into using a rope break, before Marius just threw a slap instead. An attempt at La Terreur’s escaped, so Archer drags Marius back to the mat, only for Marius to escape build some momentum, landing a dropkick before grounding Archer in a Kimura.

A mounted sleeperhold sees Marius give up as Archer walked towards the ropes, and instead roll the Frenchman into the middle of the ring so he could take his back, with a rear naked choke ending in the ropes as Archer used his first rope break at 6:40. Marius reapplies the hold, dragging Archer to the middle of the ring, but a backpack stunner breaks the hold. Marius quickly gets caught in an Arabian clutch, which then turned into a Million Dollar Dream as Archer aided the pair into the ropes at 8:11 as Marius used his first break. Stomps from Archer wear down Marius, who quickly returned fire with a rolling Octopus, forcing Archer to use another break at 9:21. An ankle lock quickly followed from al-Ani, forcing Archer to crawl to the outside… but Marius followed him, and I guess this is now falls count anywhere?

Nevermind! Archer rolls through as Marius was sent sailing into the ring post! Back inside, a Dragon screw from al-Ani took Archer back down, as he then dragged him towards the ring post and wrapped the leg around it repeatedly. A half crab followed, as Archer had to use his final rope break at 12:03… and that’s pretty much the ball game for al-Ani. He reapplies the ankle lock, as Archer can only use the ropes to help pull al-Ani to the outside as we hear some choice language on the floor. al-Ani goes back to Archer’s leg, but an attempt to wrap it around the post again ends with Archer pulling the champion into the steel, before Archer applied a sleeperhold in the ropes… with Marius using a rope break on the floor at 13:34 to get free of the hold. A swipe from al-Ani sees him chop out Archer’s bad knee, following up as (you know it’s coming) “he kicked Archer’s leg out of his leg”.

Marius is quickly on the defensive as he’s pulled into a triangle choke, but 14:43 sees al-Ani burn his last rope break – so both men are on the same playing field now. La Terreur from Archer lands, but he can’t follow up as the landing on his bad knee left him in pain. Getting back to their feet, al-Ani kicks out Archer’s knee, then went back to the ankle lock… a knee strike puts us back to the ankle lock, and despite Archer getting to the ropes, there’s no breaks, and Tristan taps. Marius stretches his run even more, in a good submission match that again could have done with a crowd… and me perhaps clocking the “falls count anywhere” part before I did! ***½

Post-match, Marius shrugs off a question about whether the match was “tough” and said that he wants to become number one in Europe, then the world, then “the universe.” Hmm.

More promos – Ender Kara’s told he’s in Shortcut to the Top, and he wants to take it… while a Facebook post from Hektor (translated) read “who sows wind will reap storms.” HMM. Not-Hektor, Dennis Dullnig, is ecstatic about that, because he’ll be back with Hektor… and takes off the jacket for later. Norman Harras is still morose, and talks himself into believing he can win.

Shortcut to the Top
As a result of last week’s match, Bobby Gunns will be the first man out, while Michael Knight will be in at number 30. We’ve also got seven mystery slots open… and I don’t think one of them is Alpha Kevin, unless they tied him up to stop him bragging about eliminating Chris Hero that one time.

Levaniel started by introducing himself to Gunns. He’s nice and polite like that. Levaniel reckoned his story with Marius al-Ani was far from over… but he’s instantly taken into the ropes by Gunns when things started. Levaniel lifts Gunns over the top rope and onto the apron, but got caught with a hanging armbar before freeing himself. Peter Tihanyi joined as both men had clotheslined each other, and was able to surprise Gunns with a standing Sliced Bread. Fast Time Moodo gets an early entry to show off his kicks, before Leon van Gasteren gad the pick of the litter as he joined and hit a slew of stunners. Aigle Blanc’s early shine sees him land a springboard crossbody to Tihanyi, before the ring got fuller with the arrival of Tim Stübing, who went for Fast Time Moodo to begin with.

Tristan Archer joined at number eight, hobbling out to take his awful draw in the match. He tries to hit La Terreur on Aigle Blanc, but couldn’t get it off, and despite landing a clothesline, was swarmed by Bobby Gunns. Aigle Blanc skins the cat to avoid being the first one out, before Iva Kolasky became the first woman in the match. She rattled Blanc and Moodo with head kicks, before Moodo eliminated Tihanyi by lifting him over and kicking away a springboard (that’s our first exit at 11:47). Tayra Gates hits next, and made a beeline for Kolasky, whose headscissors took both women over the top rope and onto the apron. Gates gets thrown off the apron by Kolasky, as her time in the match was brief, before Dennis Dullnig’s entrance saw him lay Hektor’s jacket on the floor. O-kay…

Dullnig ran wild, and almost had help in eliminating Aigle Blanc, but again the Frenchman saved himself. Nicky Foxley is in at 12, and of course she goes for Kolasky, throwing her down with a facebuster as that ring began to look mighty full again. Foxley tries in vain to eliminate Kolasky, before Heisenberg joined at 13 and instantly cleared house, goozling Stübing out of the match as Tim tried for his crane kick. The demented Heisenberg chucks out Foxley too, before Archer tried to play amateur psychiatrist briefly… and bot booted out of the match for his troubles. A gorilla press slam chucks out Aigle Blanc, as Heisenberg reduced the numbers, just in time for the arrival of… oh God. A debuting Feyyaz Aguila!

Feyyaz (the man who was blamed by Heisenberg for what happened to his hair) jumped Heisenberg, but everyone else gangs up on Heisenberg to save Feyyaz, who’s low bridged to the outside for a group elimination. Heisenberg still wants Feyyaz, and argues with referee Markus Weiss as Dullnig booted Kolasky out of the match. Van Gasteren tries to throw out Dullnig seconds later, before Nikita Charisma ran out and chose to wait at ringside, arguing with Rainer Ringer and Tassilo Jung as he waited. I cackle maniacally as the referees try to pull Charisma up out of his sit-down protest, but luckily Michael Schenkenberg is in next as Rott und Flott manage to do their double-team strategy. They get rid of Levaniel, while Dullnig and Moodo’s scrap on the apron ended when Robert Dreissker joined the match and charged them off the apron. Serves them right!

There’s splashes for all from Dreissker, who’s still groggy from his earlier match, and holy shit… Jurn Simmons is one of our mystery men! He goes wild with clotheslines, before he obliterated van Gasteren with a spinebuster en route to tossing him. Out of the ring. Jurn focuses on Dreissker as he looked for his next elimination, while Nikita Charisma climbed under the ropes and clung to the ring post. Paris joins next, and his reunion with Jurn Simmons saw him hit an uppercut before Jurn lifted him onto the apron. Paris’ attempt at the 2004 Rumble finish ended early when Schenkenberg kicked him off the apron to break the hold – and end Paris’ brief run in the match. Rott und Flott try to buddy up with Jurn, but the Dutchman just double-clotheslines them out of the match. So much for the team victory!

Dover joins next and charges straight for Simmons, but ends up taking a scoop slam. Dreissker goes for Dover, but we’ve another ticker and it’s a returning Timo Theiss! That’s Theiss, not Scheiß… and he gets too carried away as the big lads left in the match surround him, pepper him with strikes and slams, before Mike Schwarz came out, looking to win back-to-back Shortcuts. Schwarz goes straight for Gunns… Gulyas Junior runs wild with splashes and chops after entering. Schwarz eliminates Theiss, and holy hell, here’s Alpha Kevin! I guess the promo on Chris Hero got lost this year! Kevin goes straight for Gulyas, while his Prügelbrüder tag partner Mike Schwarz cheered him on. Icarus comes in next, and quickly pairs with Dover to double-team Gunns.

Dreissker tries to throw out Gulyas, and eventually clotheslines him off the apron after being given a whiff of the Hungarian’s armpit… Prince Ahura;’s in with his Shotgun title belt, which he laid out folks with. Everyone but Schwarz, at first, who tries for a chokeslam, before he had the belt kicked into him, as Ahura then used said belt to lift Schwarz out of the match. A Massive boot from Jurn leaves Ahura on the mat seconds later as Senza Volto joined in at number 27. Handsprings and springboards all around for Senza, who ends up eating a Simmons clothesline second later, before Gunns booted Kevin off the apron. Ah, no save from Jurn? Norman Harras gets the number 28 spot, and pulls Ahura out of the ring… distracting Dover in the process as Gunns lifted out half of the new tag champions. Are Bobby’s Bastards working together again?

Icarus tries to fight back, but eats a head kick from Ahura, before Harras got rid of Icarus. Norman’s all fired up… and gets thrown out by a selfish Ahura, who gets similar treatment seconds later as Gunns apparently wanted no distractions from the two kids. Ender Kara gets the last unknown spot, and went straight for Gunns… but that sparks a big chained elimination attempt that Ender escaped, as did Dreissker. Michael Knight’s the final one in tonight. He also goes for Gunns, picking up where they left off last week. Ender Kara tries to capitalise, but eats a spinning gutbuster before he got clotheslined out. Gunns tries to chuck out Knight, but there’s some cat skinning before Gunns caught Knight on the apron with a hanging armbar, dragging the “German Highlight” back onto the apron. Gunns elbows away from a German suplex attempt, then posted and kicked Knight down to the floor.

Our final four are Robert Dreissker, Senza Volto, Jurn Simmons and Bobby Gunns. They pair off, with Simmons and Dreissker trading lariats before Jurn’s spear and an Eiffel Tower from Senza left Dreissker groggy… and prone for a double clothesline from Jurn and Senza for an elimination. Senza and Gunns trade strikes, but a missed enziguiri leaves Volto open for a rear naked choke… he pushes back out of the corner, only for Gunns to hold on. Back in the sleeperhold, Senza throws free, then trades kicks before handspringing into a sleeperhold… a German suplex and a clothesline out gets rid of Volto, and then there were two!

Bobby Gunns and Jurn Simmons – both former two-time champions, looking to get another shot at the title…

Jurn goes for another Massive Boot, but Gunns sidestepped it and grabbed an armbar on the big Dutchman. A rear naked choke turns into a rebound German off the ropes from Gunns, who then wound up for a lariat… and ran into one from Jurn instead. Simmons tries to Gorilla Press Gunns out of the match, but Gunns slipped free… and got caught with a standing moonsault from Jurn instead! Simmons lifts Gunns onto the apron, but got caught with a sleeperhold again, with Gunns trying to drag out his foe… he manages to put Jurn out, then leapt back into the ring with an uppercut, before he waited for Simmons to get back up to his feet.

A series of quick-fire slaps from Gunns rocks Simmons, leading to a quick PK… only for Jurn to come right back with the Massive Boot. He goes for a piledriver, but Gunns lifts him over the top onto the apron to escape, before Gunns manipulated the fingers to break Jurn’s grip on the ropes. Jurn clings on, then flipped back inside to hit another spear, before a piledriver drops Gunns… and there’s an easy toss as Jurn Simmons wins Shortcut to the Top! Jurn Simmons, making his first wXw appearance since last October, makes a glorious return and books his spot in the main event of the 20th Anniversary show next week!

Order of Entry: Bobby Gunns, Levaniel, Peter Tihanyi, Fast Time Moodo, Leon van Gasteren, Aigle Blanc, Tim Stübing, Tristan Archer, Iva Kolasky, Tayra Gates, Dennis Dullnig, Nicky Foxley, Vincent Heisenberg, Feyyaz Aguila, Nikita Charisma, Michael Schenkenberg, Robert Dreissker, Jurn Simmons, Paris, Dover, Timo Theiss, Mike Schwarz, Gulyas Junior, Alpha Kevin, Icarus, Prince Ahura, Senza Volto, Norman Harras, Ender Kara, Michael Knight

Order of Elimination: Tihanyi (by Moodo), Gates (by Kolasky), Stübing (by Heisenberg), Foxley (by Heisenberg), Archer (by Heisenberg), Blanc (by Heisenberg), Heisenberg (by van Gasteren, Levaniel, Moodo, Gunns & Aguila), Kolasky (by Dullnig), Aguila (by Schenkenberg), Levaniel (by Schenkenberg & Charisma), Fast Time Moodo (by Dreissker), Dullnig (by Dreissker), van Gasteren (by Simmons), Paris (by Schenkenberg), Schenkenberg (by Simmons), Charisma (by Simmons), Theiss (by Schwarz), Gulyas (by Dreissker), Schwarz (by Ahura), Kevin (by Gunns), Dover (by Gunns), Icarus (by Harras), Harras (by Ahura), Ahura (by Gunns), Kara (by Knight), Knight (by Gunns), Dreissker (by Volto & Simmons), Volto (by Gunns), Gunns (by Simmons)

A valiant effort from Gunns, but in the end it’s Jurn Simmons who gets the shot – and a chance of regaining a belt he last held four years ago. G’wan Jurn! ***

wXw’s August release schedule hasn’t been published yet – but there are two more “We Love Wrestling” events in the can, while they’re also running live events the following two weekends in Oberhausen (for their delayed 20th Anniversary show) and Bielefield. It’ll be interesting to see how they manage to weave timelines together there…

Keep It Short. Simple. The three-match card here gave us no filler, and made this two-hour show skip along with just the big beats present. Sure, the Shortcut to the Top match was long – Rumbles always are – but the two title matches made good use of their time, and felt important too. The mark of a good show is one that makes you want to go out of your way to see the next one… and if I could, I’d be sorting out tickets and flights and all that to get my rear end to Oberhausen for next week after watching this!