Our wXw week continues as we head further back into Superstars of Wrestling lore, as 2015’s card features a team that looked wacky then… and still does today!
We’re in Mannheim for this show, and it’s not Thommi Giesen as our MC. He tries to do the Tony Chimel “soo-perstars” line, but gives up and instead throws to our opening match.
Da Mack & Toby Blunt vs. Ultimo Dragon & Miguel Ramirez
Ramirez is an Austrian luchador who was coming towards the end of his run in wXw here – but this may well have been his highest profile partner. I have vivid memories of seeing Ultimo Dragon on that mess of a 1PW card some eight years earlier, beating El Ligero on a show that’s never seen the light of day.
Ramirez does a decent job with Mack early, forcing him to flip around wristlocks, but it’s just setting the table for the guy people really wanted to see. Although I bet Ultimo Dragon wasn’t so eager to take Mack’s early Slingblade attempt! His tag in didn’t generate much of a pop in Mannheim, as he went on to tie up Mack in a wacky grapevine/backslide combo that turned into a pinning attempt that Blunt instantly broke up.
I guess tags are a novelty as Ultimo Dragon quickly took him down with a Dragon screw then a leg grapevine. Da Mack noticed he was still legal, so he broke that up, and now Blunt gets the tag in to have a go with Miguel. A slingshot into a roll-up nearly gets Blunt the win, but instead he ends up taking some headscissors as Ramirez flipped around him, hitting a standing moonsault for a near-fall.
Da Mack comes in for some happy clappy kicks, then a handstand into a knee drop, before the end quickly came via a La Magistral from Ultimo Dragon. This never really got going for me – doing nothing to grab me, but likewise, didn’t stink. **¼
Robert Dreissker vs. The Rotation
If the Miz was younger and grew his hair out…
This was in the eggy bit when “Avalanche” (that was still just a nickname) was no longer an AUTsider, and before Cerberus came into being, although Adam Polak was there at ringside with him, so the seeds were there. Today, Dreissker’s playing Goliath, as he absorbs kicks from the Rotation early, but you know the score… he’s quickly taken outside as the Rotation dove onto him!
Dreissker quickly swung things around, swinging Rotation back into the ring, but the beating continues as those kicks from Rotation just did nothing. Manhandling doesn’t even begin to describe it, as aside from the kicks, Rotation got precious little in. Then again, with the size difference, all he could do was kick and throw himself around.
A crunching moonsault off the top gets a near-fall, before Dreisser has enough and pulls the Rotation into the Boulder Dash for a near-fall. He escapes a pumphandle slam, but the bulk of Dreissker flattened him with ease as a Dreissker Bomb put away the Rotation. A fun squash – a perfect match to keep heating up Dreissker for bigger things that laid ahead. **½
Next up, Vince Russo comes down to the ring, prompting the German crowd to chant “Uso”? Okay.. apparently there were some problems last night, which relates to Karsten Beck. Russo invites him out, and we actually get Ode to Joy in its full, non-dubbed glory. Beck’s got the entrance that Jurn Simmons stole from him, minus the air guitar, and… oh my God, that’s the Alpha Kevin?! He’s out Tyler Bate-ing Tyler Bate with that moustache…
Going back even two and a half years is throwing up some gems.
Russo tries to make peace with Beck, apologising whilst saying that he’ll not kiss Beck’s belt. Beck sends Kevin with a message, which seems to be Beck wanting Russo to “prove his trust”. That apparently means Beck wants his title defence vs. Walter cancelled, and Russo switches things around: instead, we get an eight-man tag, with no title on the line. Big Daddy Walter rushes to the ring in his RINGKAMPF hoodie, going straight for Russo… Vince threatens to fire him if he touches him. Instead, Walter picks up poor Kevin Roadster and powerbombs him instead. I think I need to watch this entire phase of wXw, because despite it involving Vince Russo, this looked to be a storyline that at least made sense.
wXw World Tag Team Championship: Tyler Bate & Mason Ryan vs. French Flavour (Lucas Di Leo & Peter Fischer) vs. James Storm & Mike Schwarz (c)
A year later, Schwarz would be pretty much done with wXw as we saw in our review of the second half of 2016’s Superstars of Wrestling. The prior night, he and James Storm – who was about to embark on a summer of teasing WWE with his availability – dethroned French Flavour in a no DQ rematch, having “won” their previous encounter with a cheap DQ. Turnaround is fair play, I guess.
Also, let us not forget: Tyler Bate and Mason Ryan as a tag team. He’d barely be 18 here…
Schwarz starts off by slamming Fischer repeatedly, but we quickly run into blind tag territory as Tyler Bate gets himself in so he can blast Fischer with an uppercut. Mason Ryan decides to come in so he can superplex both Frenchmen at once, and the theme of the former champs taking a beating continues. Things go a little weird, and the former champs end up in what commentary calls a “sexy pin”.
Tyler Bate and James Storm run the drop-down spot that led to Bate jumping out of the ring by mistake… it’s cuter when Candyfloss does it, it has to be said. A series of headscissors and escapes tire out young Tyler, so we go down to Mason Ryan and “German Sandman” Mike Schwarz. Who does push-ups. Fair enough.
Ryan quickly boots down Schwarz as the former champs from France took over, with Di Leo wearing down Schwarz with a rear chinlock before Fischer came in to lay a boot. There’s just something about this three-way that just doesn’t seem to fit right to me – it’s the same sort of thing as we’d see a year later: although I’d have thought more could have bought another title change given that Schwarz and Storm were hardly an established pairing.
A Bossman slam from Schwarz takes down Fischer, before he makes the tag back out to the Cowboy who went back to the Frenchmen, dropping Fischer with a neckbreaker and a DDT. More tags take us to a hoss fight, with Mason Ryan eventually being felled when the champs worked together, before Fischer ate a uranage from Schwarz for the win, This match was alright, but a lot of it just didn’t click to me. Two thrown-together teams and former champs don’t exactly scream “we’re getting a title change here”, and given that Ryan and Bate had a shoving match afterward suggested that they may be butting heads sooner rather than later. ***
Spoiler: Tyler didn’t. He’d not return to wXw until later that year for the World Tag Team Tournament, where he’d partner with Jurn Simmons.
After interval, Vince Russo’s back out, and this time he’s joined by French Flavour. Russo bullies the ring announcer out of the ring, then calls in James Storm and Mike Schwarz. Uh oh. I’d noticed on Cagematch that the tag title history was a little funky. I’d also noticed that right now, Russo looks like a poor impersonator of the KFC Colonel, before dying his hair white. The upshot here is Russo almost forgets the name of the promotion, before declaring that last night’s no-DQ tag title insta-rematch was invalid.
So despite having been out earlier and not saying anything, Vince Russo waits until after they’ve had a defence before stripping the champions, returning the belts back to French Flavour. Storm and Schwarz refuse, so Russo counts to three in German… and we still don’t get the handover. Instead, the Frenchmen eat a superkick and a uranage, before Russo threatened to fire Storm if he attacked him. I actually tune out here as this segment drags on way too long, before Russo took the superkick.
Well, if that triple threat tag match wasn’t clicking before, it totally felt like a waste of time now – even if this was needed to get the belt off of Storm after his one (and so far, only) weekend in wXw! Someone in the crowd chants “Die Russo, Die”. Then “The Russo, The”, before Russo confirms Storm’s firing. Gotta love Simpsons references!
Melanie Gray vs. Toni Storm
We’re in the early days of Toni Storm here, or at least “the early days of Toni in Europe”, as she’s bedecked in all yellow. Because Gold Coast.
Gray goes for Storm early, but the Aussie’s kicks offer some respite before Gray drills a knee into Toni’s lower back. Gray keeps telling off the referee for doing his job. Poor Tass. Storm nearly nicks the win with a roll-up, before nailing a modified Codebreaker as the Aussie took over.
Another shove-off led Gray to wander into a head kick for a near-fall, before Gray quickly ended it with a Sharpshooter. This was fine, but far less polished than they’d both become. **
Die Schilds (Bobby Gunns & Vincent the Beast) vs. Chris Brookes & Yoshihiro Takayama
My mind blew here. So, Bobby Gunns, we know about… Vincent is Bobby’s brother under another name, although they are still calling themselves the Schilds. It seems that our favourite Best Boy has been a part of wXw since 2013, and this is one of those matches that you can’t help but raise your eyebrows at.
The Schilds in their matching, fringed gear, go after a woman in the front row, before we opened with Bobby and Chris. Gunns seemed to have his eye on Takayama, but that allowed Brookes to get in the game, taking down Bobby with a dropkick before tagging Takayama in.
Gunns grabs a cigarette and lights up in front of Takayama. A slap just angers the legend, who hits back and makes Bobby tag out. Well, that showed him. Problem was, Vinny got the same treatment, as he was taken into the corner for a series of bodyblows as both of the Schilds struggled. Brookes and Takayama combine with a big boot for a near-fall on Gunns, before the Schilds combine and take down Brookes with a sneaky clothesline, which led to another spell where the “Calamari Catch King” was on defence. Vincent targets the leg, stomping and throwing it into the mat, whilst Bobby kept up the pressure with variation of the Muta lock.
Brookes comes back with a DDT off the middle rope, then an enziguiri to Vinny as Takayama hits the ring to give the Schilds belly-to-bellies. Brookes goes diving, because Takayama ain’t doing that! Vinny gets worked over once he made it back inside, eating a bunch of forearms ahead of a punt and a side suplex as Bobby makes the save. The Schilds pepper Takayama with forearms ahead of a dropkick in the corner, as Vinny’s spinebuster gets Bobby a near-fall. Don’t be silly, Gunns is a few years off of beating Japanese legends, right? He channels one of Brookes’ future partners by calling for a brainbuster, and has similar trouble as Takayama reverses it into a suplex, before bringing Brookes back in.
A dropkick from Brookes knocks Vinny off the apron, but the Schilds return to eat a double missile dropkick, before Bobby snuck in a bridging German suplex… and just like that, Brookes ate the pin. That was a bit of a weird finish to a thoroughly enjoyable match, and not just for the wacky Takayama/Brookes team. The Schilds looked decent here, but you could tell that wXw had a long-term goal in mind for Bobby Gunns. ***½
Sadly in May 2017, Yoshihiro Takayama would be paralysed after delivering a sunset flip.
Keel Holding (Aaron Insane & Kim Ray), Karsten Beck & Kevin Roadster vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger, Absolute Andy, Big Daddy Walter & X-Pac
We’re ending with another wacky tag match, which Vince Russo booked in place of a Walter/Beck title match. X-Pac cuts a promo ahead of the match, using just those two words… which prompted Beck to threaten to “knock the fuck outta” him.
Beck cuts a promo which makes Kevin respond by clapping like a seal, which leads to a LOT of playing to the crowd. Eventually a match breaks out as Walter throws Beck into the corner, before working his way into a sit-out splash as the wXw champion is left reeling. Bad Bones comes in, but quickly gets dragged into the corner, as the “Best in Europe” is made to take some kicks from Kim Ray.
Bones overcomes it and brings in Absolute Andy as Aaron Insane tried to knock him down with shoulder tackles. It doesn’t work, and earns Insane a stalling suplex as Walter posed for Karsten Beck in the process. More tags get us to X-Pac and Kevin Roadster, who work well together, even if I can’t stop myself thinking “why is Tyler Bate in a singlet?”
Kim Ray pulls Kevin away from a Bronco buster, but that just sparks some dives… including a plancha from Andy, as everyone tries to brawl around ringside. Walter gets held up by Tassilo Jung, which allows the bad guys to crotch X-Pac in the ringpost on the outside. He quickly recovered though, shoving Insane into the turnbuckles as we got back to Kim Ray and Absolute Andy, with the latter landing an Absolute Knee Drop for a near-fall.
Poor Kim eats some chops from Walter, before Mannheim also heard a one-handed slam as Big Daddy ran riot. Roadster takes some too, before a buckle bomb from Bones nearly put him away… only for Karsten Beck to interfere and swing things back in the bad guys’ favour. Bad Bones tries to fight back, but we know what Kim Ray does best. Kick kick kick.
Finally Bones gets something back in, cutting off a top rope move from Beck as tags get us to Kim Ray and X-Pac… and that led to the ring filling up as the bad guys all ate corner punches. Beck ends up getting cornered and on his own as the Wrecking Ball knees and a Bronco buster left him prone. Kevin tries to make a save, but he ends up falling to a triple-team X-Factor (with Walter and Andy lifting him up for the move) as Kevin ate the pin. This was pretty good once the playing to the crowd died down… and compared to how we’ve seen other Superstars used before on these shows, X-Pac didn’t go too overboard with his shtick. ***¼
I’ll admit, when I remembered that Vince Russo was with wXw, I feared the worst – in spite of how much Christian Michael Jakobi sang his praises over World Tag Team League weekend. It’s unfair to judge an entire run based on one show, but this was a mixed bag whenever Russo was around: the stuff with Karsten Beck was intriguing, but the tag title stuff just felt like a waste of time – regardless of the reasoning behind it.
Still, the second half of the 2015 Superstars of Wrestling weekender is worth your time, but I’d say that if you’re cherry-picking, you can skip to the last two matches: one to give you a hint of future storylines, and one for the weirdness of seeing Chris Brookes and Yoshihiro Takayama. What is life?!