We’re ten days away – and 16 Carat is firmly in the horizon as this week’s Shotgun revealed the first round brackets.
We’re watching this before the Road to 16 Carat Gold event, so there’s the usual spoiler warnings… and we open with the finish to the Road to 16 Carat Gold tournament, where Marius al-Ani booked his spot in the tournament with a frog splash, before demanding Absolute Andy gets his “fat arse” out. Their pull-apart airs, as al-Ani hit a pair of death valley drivers, before landing a third one through a table. THEY HAD A CARAT BANNER TO POINT AT! That’s my big takeaway…
We’re in Weyhe this week as Jeremy Graves runs through what’s happening this week… but first, we’re backstage with Ivan Kiev and Pete Bouncer looking at the results of a photo shoot. Pete doesn’t care about that as he still has a chip on his shoulder… but now Ivan seems to be thinking that John Klinger may be right all along. Bouncer seems to be mad that he owes everything to Klinger, but deep down he just wants RISE to be what it once was.
More Bielefeld flashbacks now, as Dirty Dragan called down Emil Sitoci from commentary, only to get Jurn Simmons and Alexander James. AJ’s now on Jurn’s side, as Emil Sitoci made the save from Dragan getting beheaded by a cane again. So… why AJ? We don’t find out, as Dragan’s backstage on the phone to someone, talking out loud… Emil Sitoci comes in, dismissing what happened last year with the broken nose stuff, as Emil wrote it off as an accident before giving Dragan a quick pep talk.
We then cut to Sebastian Hollmichel with Alexander James… who’s asked why he’s gone from being attacked by Jurn to attacking with him. AJ says that he was embarrassed by Jurn in Hamburg, and that left him with the choice to walk away, or brush himself down and get back on the proverbial bicycle… and that partnership with Jurn might just get the pair of them to success at Carat.
Alexander James vs. Julian Pace
This was James’ return to wXw, and his third televised match against Pace, following outings on Shotgun 331 and at the Inner Circle before World Tag Team League last year.
Pace tries to ground James with headscissors, but AJ escapes and slaps him, prompting the newcomer to score with some trips as he mocked the Price of Pro. The high-speed, wacky rope running eventually led to James taking a dropkick, but AJ replies by taking Pace up top for a Tower of London attempt… which is eventually countered into a Code Red for a near-fall.
Pace is getting a lot more offence in this time, taking AJ outside with a ‘rana… but a dive’s aborted as James instead throws Pace arm-first into the ringpost. Some stomps back inside follow, as James tries to slow the pace (pun intended) by grabbing an Octopus hold in the middle of the ring. After getting free, Pace is kicked back down as James retained control, scoring with an overhead double underhook suplex before Pace backdropped him all the way to the floor.
Another ‘rana attempt from Pace gets countered as James nails a Tower of London for a near-fall, before Pace returns with a roll-up into a neckbreaker. More misdirection gets Pace back in it, as a monkey flip takes James out of the corner for a standing shooting star press… getting Pace another near-fall. James heads outside again after a missile dropkick, and he gets laid out with a somersault plancha, before Pace’s satellite DDT earned him another near-fall.
Pace misses the imploding senton out of the corner, and that just allows James to finish him off with a facelock suplex for the pin. A nice, even match, but one that asserted James’ superiority in the end. ***¼
Clips from the end of the Jurn Simmons/David Starr match at the 17th Anniversary Show follow, and now David Starr has some words from what I swear is a familiar place in London. Starr promises to knock out Jurn, no matter how violent he has to get, as he vows to win 16 Carat Gold… then focus on his next goal. WALTER?
More clips, as we see Bobby Gunns interfere in the Road to 16 Carat Gold final against Mike Bailey. That bleeds into a promo with the Shotgun champion, who mocks Bailey’s yoga and matcha tea lifestyle… and I think that is tipping off something. But first, we have the motley crew of RINGKAMPF and Mike Bailey ahead of their main event later tonight, as WALTER prepares more for his title shot at 16 Carat. RISE get a similar segment to counter…
After clips from the finish of the women’s number one contender’s match, we’ve got Melanie Gray in the… kitchen? Killer Kelly’s with her, offering a handshake, but Gray turns it down as she feels she should have been the champion all along. Veda Scott antagonises Kelly a little more, just for the hell of it, and those two are facing off at Inner Circle!
Now it’s time for Carat hype – we’ll be updating our preview once we’ve watched Road to 16 Carat, but on tap we have:
Saturday – wXw Women’s Championship: Melanie Gray vs. Toni Storm (c)
Saturday – wXw Shotgun Championship: Mike Bailey vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
Saturday – wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: WALTER vs. John Klinger (c)
Friday – Warm-Up – Alternate Four-Way: Julian Nero vs. Ivan Kiev vs. Emil Sitoci vs. Julian Pace
And your first round matches for Friday are:
Last Man Standing: Jurn Simmons vs. David Starr
Travis Banks vs. Mark Haskins
Avalanche vs. Keith Lee
Chris Brookes vs. Alexander James
Da Mack vs. Matt Riddle
Jonah Rock vs. Timothy Thatcher
Matt Sydal vs. Lucky Kid
Absolute Andy vs. Marius al-Ani
OH MY WORD. Those first and last first-round matches will be… erm, tasty?
RISE (John Klinger, Ivan Kiev & Lucky Kid) vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) & Mike Bailey
We start with Lucky Kid crawling into the ropes for cover… and to be fair, against WALTER, who wouldn’t?
The winner of this match decides the stipulation for the world title match, and with WALTER ragdolling Lucky Kid in the early moments, it looked rather academic… especially when the Austrian decided to just plant him with a slam after Kid just licked away a chop. A blind tag from Klinger allows him to slingshot into the match with a spear, as the champion and his next challenger exchanged shots, forcing Klinger down.
Klinger gets a few shots in before tagging in Kiev, who gleefully rained down punches on WALTER… but of course, der Ringgeneral chopped back before bringing in Thatcher to take over, throwing Kiev around with gutwrench suplexes. It’s back-and-forth as Thatcher gets cornered… but he’s straight back with an uppercut to Lucky Kid, following in with a single leg crab as WALTER ends up getting tagged back into the match.
Yep, Lucky Kid gets slammed and splashed, but not before WALTER kicked the rest of RISE off the apron, and now it’s Speedball time, and that means one thing. Kicks! A baseball slide dropkick to Lucky Kid misses… but there was a blind tag before the missed kick, and in comes Thatcher to try his luck with a rear naked choke, only for RISE to provide some interference courtesy of a leg grab from Tarkan Aslan on the outside.
That opened things up for Kiev to put the boots to Thatcher in the corner, before Klinger returned as RISE cycled through tags to keep Timmy worn down. Weyhe start to turn on RISE, as they should, as they try to wind up their opponents while Thatcher gets triple-teamed in the wrong corner. Lucky Kid’s grounded headscissors tried to force a submission, but he decided to just poke Thatcher in the eye instead before going back to the hold… this time wrenching on the finger as well for good measure.
An attempted death valley driver from Kiev’s aborted, as Thatcher breaks free and hits an enziguiri before bringing in Bailey for the comeback. Yep, there’s kicks here, along with a running corkscrew press as Speedball picks up a near-fall, before an attempt at the shooting star knees is stopped as Kiev comes back with a superplex following more interference. Bailey ducks a superkick from Klinger as the pair opt to trade chops, leading to more Bailey kicks, which Bones countered back with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall.
Klinger’s buckle bomb looked to have Bailey shook, but Speedball’s back with a recoiled kick out of the corner… and now WALTER’s back to continue the title match preview with some chops, before Bad Bones nails the lungblower off the middle rope. An errant boot from Klinger lays out Lucky Kid as WALTER comes back with a Gojira clutch… but the champion flips out and counters into a crossface, before the pair traded shotgun dropkicks back-and-forth.
Lucky Kid returns and almost gets the win with an Asai DDT on Thatcher as the ring fills up, but it quickly clears as Kid handsprings into a rear naked choke as RINGKAMPF pummel him… only for Bad Bones to come in and kick WALTER low to allow Kid to get a near-fall with an inside cradle. Pete Bouncer wasn’t best pleased with that, but Klinger had more important things to worry about, like taking an Asai moonsault into the crowd from Bailey, as we end up with Lucky Kid eating more chops.
Ivan Kiev manages to tag in and nail a flying leg lariat as WALTER tried to force Lucky Kid to submit, but WALTER hits back, lariating away a leg lariat before taking a Pele kick from Kiev. Another lariat decks him, and it’s only a matter of time before a powerbomb and triple Gojira clutches forces Kiev to tap out – with RISE having been restrained on the apron. This was quite the chaotic match, with perhaps a little too much going on as the ongoing stuff with Pete Bouncer and RISE was virtually lost in the moment. ***½
We ended with Thatcher, WALTER and Bailey doing the RINGKAMPF pose… and that’s all until next week’s go-home episode, where presumably we’ll find out WALTER’s choice?
wXw packed an insane amount into this week’s episode of Shotgun, and I can’t help but feel that they’re perhaps behind schedule? Last year’s Road to Carat show took place before Dead End, and gave a little more time for build for the remaining Carat matches. Still, what was announced this week was enticing, and it’s going to be hard to look past those two first round matches between former tag team partners for the must-see matches on the Friday night of Carat.