David Starr and Zack Sabre Jr. provide a thrilling main event while we waited to see the fall-out after Jay FK stole the tag team title belts at Superstars of Wrestling.
You know the score – don’t watch (or read) beyond here until you’ve seen Superstars!
We’re still in Cologne, with Jeremy Graves (perhaps with a procreating seagull in the background) on commentary, throwing to the finish of the mixed tag team match. That leads to Absolute Andy backstage complaining to Christian Jakobi that he “had to lose” because he was in the “tag team match thing”. Andy wants Marius again, so he can go into the wXw summer break on the back of a win, and we’re getting that at Hamburg next week!
Clips from Dirty Dragan’s Trial Series victory over Joey Mercury come next, and that takes us to an over excited Dragan flying into shot, spilling some of Emil Sitoci’s drink in the process. He’s thrilled over winning, thinking he’s proven himself… but Dragan’s way ahead of himself as he’s thinking about new gear and a new look. Sitoci reminds him he has to focus on his next match, because in Hamburg he’s facing Veit Müller, a real potential banana skin. Dragan busts out some German – “für Veit hab ich kein zeit!” – then runs off…
Emil Sitoci vs. Lucky Kid
Lucky’s got Tarkan Aslan back with him, so hopefully there’ll be a change of fortunes for at least one of these guys, after their losses at Superstars of Wrestling.
Jeremy Graves notes that there’s a title shot on the line here, as the winner’s getting a Shotgun title match, and Sitoci starts off hot, taking down Lucky with an armdrag early on, before falling to a low dropkick as Lucky sent him to the outside… and you know what’s next. Woaaaaah… BLEEEH! Lucky avoids a kick from Sitoci and sends him back outside for a plancha… but it’s caught as Emil drops him chest-first onto the edge of the ring before going back to that arm, ahead of a back suplex as Sitoci stayed on top. A single-arm DDT keeps Lucky down, as Sitoci mocks the whole RISE pose, almost enticing Aslan onto the apron in the process before refocusing on Lucky with a backcracker-like move to the arm.
It’s all about the arm as a hammerlock-slam keeps up the pressure, as does a Jim Breaks-like arm lift, before Lucky escapes from a gutbuster and takes Emil down into the corner. Some charges into the corner follow with Lucky’s good arm leading the way, along with a handspring back elbow as Lucky scored a near-fall. Sitoci manages to sneak back in with that gutbuster and a split-legged moonsault for another two-count as he snuffed out Lucky’s momentum, before teasing a Snapmare Driver.
Lucky shoved out of that, but Emil just rebounds out of the corner and goes back to the arm with a Kimura, only for Lucky to escape and land the Asai DDT for another close two-count! Yet again Sitoci goes back to the arm, but he can’t hit the Snapmare Driver, and almost pays as Lucky rolls him up for a near-fall. A superkick rocks Lucky up top, but he rebounds with a Ligerbomb out of the corner… but it’s still not enough!
That kick-out seemed to affect Lucky a little more than it should, as he tries to finish off Sitoci with a Dragon suplex, and after they counter each other’s counter, Sitoci nails the Snapmare driver! Tarkan Aslan throws in the ring bell to try and provide a distraction, and it sort of works as Lucky throws Emil into the ropes, right into a forearm from Aslan… and Lucky Kid gets the win! It’s a win “without him knowing” there was cheating, but it gets the job done as Lucky Kid is back to winning ways after a nice even contest! ***¼
Clips follow from the tag title match at Superstars of Wrestling, and Jay FK’s shocking turn… the repercussions of which we see next as Avalanche flips out backstage. Julian Nero tries to calm him down and come up with a plan… which we don’t hear, of course!
Clips from the WALTER/Ilja match follow. WATCH THAT MATCH. You won’t be disappointed. We go from there to WALTER backstage, who’s being goaded by Alexander James. WALTER berates James for acting like a “high school kid”, and says that AJ’s still looking for someone he can beat. AJ runs through the list of guys he has beaten, which WALTER’s stunned at, along with the claim that he’ll beat Ilja… which flowed nicely into a reminder of how Alexander baited Ilja at the wXw show in Frankfurt last month.
Ilja is backstage with Thommy Giesen next, and he’s elated at victory over WALTER last weekend. Well, that’s the sentiment – Ilja painted it with much more romantic language than I just did! The win cemented Ilja’s role as champion… but then talk turns to the match with Alexander James as Ilja has to make him pay for his words in Frankfurt.
They run through the card for that feature event in Hamburg – what’ll be wXw’s 20th show there:
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Alexander James vs. Ilja Dragunov (c)
Marius al-Ani vs. Absolute Andy
Dirty Dragan Trial Series: Veit Müller vs. Dirty Dragan
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. WALTER
Yep, they’ve got a pretty tasty main event!
The finish to Tenille Dashwood vs. Toni Storm follows next, and we’re backstage with the pair of them as Toni’s all friendly with her defeated challenger. Storm’s found an old message she sent Tenille, where she called Dashwood inspiring… and the response that came to it. So much cheese! Next up for Toni… sleep!
David Starr vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Main event time, and we’ve got sing-along-with-David’s-t-shirt for his entrance. Yeah, it’s not gone down well with his opponent, as Zack was out in his Suzuki-gun black gear.
Technically this was a warm-up to their clash at PROGRESS’ Super Strong Style 16 this past weekend – and yes, it was good there, so I’ve got super-high hopes for this one. Zack tries to stuff a takedown early, but instead he has to fight back to his feet as Starr looked to take the early initiative in the match. Starr tries to pin Sabre, but Zack bridges up and embarks on his regular ground game, grinding his fist into Starr’s back before they rolled into the ropes.
Starr tries to get back into it with a headlock, but Sabre escapes with headscissors as they went back-and-forth on the mat, ending in a stalemate as Zack again took them into the ropes. From the restart, Starr gets a near-fall out of a Thesz press as he looked to gain the upper hand, surprising Sabre with an inside cradle as it was now Zack’s turn to head to the ropes for some respite.
The pair get into some verbals after that, with Sabre again going after a heckler before he started to unload with some kicks on Starr’s quads. More grappling ends with a rope break and a cheeky kick, before repeating the trick, hitting an uppercut after dragging Starr into the ropes as the match started to get a little dirty… something Starr was ready for, as he unleashes some chops as Sabre recoiled to the mat. In response, Sabre snaps Starr’s leg between his legs… but the match stays even as Starr mounted an instant response before going for the arm, bending and stomping on it.
Sabre tries to kick away at Starr again, but a Han Stansen lariat quickly snuffs that out as Sabre rolled onto the apron again… where he caught Starr with an armbar… only to get drilled with Product Recall on his way back in as the match remained delicately poised. Strikes from Starr look to set him up for a lariat, but Sabre kicks it away and sweeps the leg – throwing an expletive in there for good measure – before a PK’s caught.
Starr counters that with a knee to the face, and goes for a PK of his own… but Sabre counters that, then a Pretty Pumped before trapping Starr in a brief Octopus. Eventually Starr gets off a pair of those Pretty Pumped reverse slams, but it’s only enough for a near-fall on the New Japan Cup winner. We’re back to lariats from Starr, and kicks from Sabre as they exchange fire, descending into slaps and wild forearms as the pair sent each other to the mat. Sweet jesus… they’re not holding back!
A Violence Party catches Sabre in the corner, but Zack responds with a knee bar as Starr instantly grabbed the rope. There’s little respite as Sabre tries to go back to the leg, but gets dragged into a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron, before rolling through a crossbody attempt as he catches Starr in a nasty Key lock in the middle of the ring. Some shots to the kidney try to force a break, but instead Sabre rolls back into a pair of clutches for near-falls either side of a rear naked choke attempt. Zack goes for a guillotine, only to get dumped on his head by a Blackheart Buster and a superkick for more near-falls.
More back-and-forth gets Starr caught in a knee bar again, but Starr turns it into a variation of Darby Allin’s Last Supper clutch to score a near-fall – and get free – as Sabre was getting dogged with his submission attempts. An armbar’s counted by Starr’s OTC lumbar check, before another Han Stansen waffles Sabre as he tries to set-up for the Product Placement… only for Sabre to slip free and drag Starr to the mat for a spot of Orienteering with Napalm Death… and there’s the submission! This was a low-key banger of a match – both men fought evenly, as it took just one counter for Sabre to lock in his end game and force a submission. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. ****¼
Do you think it sorted their issue out? Oh…
Clips from Lucky Kid vs. Jay Lethal follow next, and we’re backstage as Lucky is mad at how things didn’t work out for him. Lucky realises he needs Tarkan Aslan by his side, if only for moral support. Pete Bouncer tells Lucky that moral support means little, before giving him a pep talk, encouraging him to win the Shotgun title… next week on Shotgun!
We wrap up with a stylised black-and-white shot of Jay FK as they sit longingly looking at the tag title belts they stole. There’s a voiceover speaking for them (and it’s a voice that sounds familiar), as it seems they’re fed up of waiting for something to come to them… and now, they’re going to change the world, because they’re Fresher Than You.
That’s Shotgun for the week – and my word, in terms of in-ring action it was a home run. Two fantastic matches, both with significant outcomes in terms of where all four men headed to next… and we’re still none the wiser re: Jay FK’s actions this past weekend. The rapid pace of the wXw tour continues with Hamburg next week for a feature event, as the brief summer break approaches.