Tucked away in a residential street in Essen, World Tag Team League weekend kicked off with a fun show as the Inner Circle came to the fore once more.

We were there live, but watching on-demand… Sebastian Hollmichel and Christian Bischof (almost dangling out of the crow’s nest) are providing your German-language commentary here, and let’s get straight to action! But first… hey, “This Ain’t The End of Me”!

Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) vs. Coast 2 Coast (Leon St. Giovanni & Shaheem Ali)
This was Coast 2 Coast’s debut in wXw – they’re here for the remainder of the autumn Shotgun Live tour, and we start with LSG and Fletcher trading headlocks before they got free… and a low dropkick from Fletcher took down the American.

LSG has a dropkick of his own for an early near-fall, as “Absolute” Ali tags in to help with a roll-through and a double thrust kick as the Aussies were on the back foot. Briefly. Ali looked impressive against Fletcher, but he ended up getting charged into the corner as Mark Davis engaged in a chop war. Why?!

A high five puts a stop to that, as did a flapjack and a back senton as Dunkzilla looked to be in control. Ali manages to sneak in a dropkick, before landing an enziguiri to Fletcher as LSG returned to the fray, being the proverbial house on fire with a roll through clothesline and a springboard forearm. A combo of Jeff Jarrett’s Stroke and a Flatliner nearly puts Fletcher away… but he’s able to bring in Dunkzilla with that customary hot tag, as Coast 2 Coast were summarily put in their place.

All four men end up in the ring, with Ali saving LSG from an assisted cutter, before he caught Davis with a facebuster. Coast 2 Coast hit Fletcher with an inverted Fidget Spinner for a near-fall, with Davis returning to help clear house once again, decking LSG with a sliding forearm into the corner before an assisted cutter put LSG down for the count. A fun opener, with Coast 2 Coast showing plenty of promise here – but given Aussie Open were in World Tag Team League… yeah, they weren’t losing here! ***¼

Benjamin van Es vs. Julian Pace
Van Es is the current wXw Academy Cup holder, and has been featured on the Next Generation series not too long ago. His gimmick is mostly that of a “pretty boy”, as witnessed when he cowered away at the bell out of fear of being hit in the face.

The “international contingent” were loudly behind Pace at the bell, even more so when van Es was scuttling away to save his face… but while the former Nate Devlin was on his guard from Julian Pace, he was not expecting the huge back elbow from Tassilo Jung! Pace followed up on that with some palm strikes, before a Turbo Boost rope-run led to a dropkick and an attempt at the clunk-click Code Red… but van Es escaped and took Pace into the corner.

A back elbow off the ropes gets van Es a near-fall, but Pace is back with a monkey flip before a standing moonsault sees him crash into some knees. There’s a twisting Blackheart Buster from van Es as he looked to come straight back… but shots to the face became the order of the day, before Pace used the ropes to his advantage, landing a slingshot, roll-through neckbreaker. A 720 DDT follows, but van Es kicks out at two, before taking Pace into the corner for a Cheeky Nando’s-like kick… but Pace goes to strike him in the face, only for van Es to cower and leave himself open for the Code Red for the win. An enjoyable outing, but van Es has a lot to flesh out character-wise I feel. **½

LuFisto vs. Kris Wolf
So we had duelling chants of “Kris Wolf/Meat” to start us off, but it wasn’t like there were many LuFisto fans in attendance.

Wolf’s forced to take to the skies to escape LuFisto early, before she, erm, got a taste of the meat, chasing LuFisto into the corner as she tried to get a bite out of her rear. The instant payback is LuFisto choking on Wolf in the corner, before lifting up her shirt for a chop. A standing suplex gets a near-fall for the Canadian, who largely kept the upper hand, kicking Wolf in the ropes for another two-count. A sunset flip out of nowhere nearly gets Wolf the upset, before a shotgun dropkick draws a near-fall… but LuFisto’s right back on top, stretching Wolf with a surfboard only for Wolf to bite her way free once more. Some headscissors have LuFisto reeling, as did a running knee and a bulldog out of the corner, before she reached for Tito… who left LuFisto pretty much blinded as she took some kicks to the midsection.

Another kick misses as LuFisto’s right back in with a German suplex and a clothesline for a near-fall, before a Trailer Hitch forced Wolf to reach for the bottom rope. Wolf has one last comeback, taking down LuFisto with a crossbody, before she’s caught in the ropes with a Fisherman’s suplex off the middle rope for a near-fall, before a Fisherman’s DDT put the Wolf away. This was solid, if not one-sided – but a nice taster for what followed at Femmes Fatales. **½

Fred Yehi vs. Timothy Thatcher
Fred appears to be losing his first name in wXw, but the biggest story of this show was the continued pranking of Timothy Thatcher. First, we had the Schalke pen on Shotgun, and now, this:

So yeah, if you’re wondering what Thatcher was clapping along to – and why the international fans were confused – that’s your answer! These two had a long history going back to their days in EVOLVE, and whatever hostilities remained showed early as they rolled into the ropes before taking each other down to the mat. That somehow led to a chant inspired by madness, of “Tim’s House… in the middle of our street”. Well, he does live next door…

A large portion of this match was ground-based, with Thatcher doing whatever it took to grab hold of a part of Yehi, but it was Yehi who was able to get the upper hand, grapevining Thatcher’s legs… only to get caught in another Trailer Hitch as Thatcher found a way out, mostly by slapping the living crap out of Yehi! Yehi gave what he was given though, lighting up Thatcher with chops before a powerbomb looked to drop Thatcher on his head – thankfully though, Tim got a head up just in time! A chinlock from Yehi keeps Thatcher down, as does a neckbreaker, as the former FIP champion was in control… at least until Thatcher burst into life with an enziguiri and a RINGKAMPF belly-to-belly.

A side Salto suplex drops Yehi for a bunch of one counts as he refused to be put down, coming back with another dangerous-looking piledriver for a near-fall as Thatcher was nearly Ganso-bombed.Yehi keeps up with a brainbuster before another powerbomb drew another two-count… with Thatcher kicking out and instantly going for an armbar as he forces the submission. Well… you keep spamming the save move against Timo, you’ll pay for it, and Yehi ultimately did. ***½

The moral of the story here: don’t keep powerbombing Tim. He’ll make you pay!

Jay FK (Francis Kaspin & Jay Skillet) vs. Okami (Daichi Hashimoto & Hideyoshi Kamitani)
The last of our advertised matches saw two teams from opposite blocks of World Tag Team League square-off.

Setting the tone for their weekend, Jay-FK were arrogant and backing-up from the off, with Kaspin backing away from Hideyoshi Kamitani before bringing in Jay Skillet… who wanted Daichi Hashimoto instead. Oh, and to get rid of those “Schurrle” chants… Skillet’s into Hashimoto early with some knees, before he ran into a kick as Okami looked to take over. It didn’t quite go to plan though as Kamitani’s back in to slam Skillet and drop an elbow for a two-count. That doesn’t last for too long though as Kamitani’s cornered with Jay-FK taking shots and making their numerical advantage count, as well as their frequent tag-and-booting routine.

Problem was, Jay-FK played to the crowd a little too much, allowing Kamitani to fire back up… dumping Skillet with a shoulder tackle, then Kaspin with a slam before Hashimoto got the tag back in as the crowd began to find their voices for Okami. More double-teaming from Jay-FK made the match stutter a little, at least until Kamitani blasted through Jay-FK with duelling clotheslines.

Okami began to give Jay-FK a taste of their own medicine, double-teaming Skillet with a pair of kicks for a near-fall, but Jay-FK get right back in it with a superkick-assisted death valley driver for a near-fall of their own. Another shoulder tackle from Kamitani puts Kaspin down, ahead of a Falcon arrow from Hashimoto, but Skillet dives in to break up the cover… only to get turfed to the outside as a high/low combo put Kaspin down for the count. A solid tag match, much in line with the entirety of Jay-FK’s output for tag league weekend – plenty of cowardice, but in this instance, they didn’t take the win. ***¼

Lucky Kid vs. Chris Brookes
We had a lot of shenanigans for this one – some that may need to be explained if you’ve not followed Chris Brookes’ many, many tag teams.

Lucky Kid and Chris Brookes tagged briefly in ATTACK! earlier this year as CC-BLAH (and later as part of Brookes’ Schadenfreude group in Fight Club Pro). It was the CC-BLAH combo that would garner the attention here, with Lucky Kid really thrilled to be back “teaming with Brookesy”. Except this was a singles match… so Lucky tries to get it changed to a tag match, to no avail as there’s nobody else in the back.

Problem was, Brookes’ protesting meant that Lucky wanted to tag against the Undertaker and Kane. This was comedic stuff, and played really well with the international crowd… perhaps not so much the locals. Payback for the Hoff stuff? So anyway, after Lucky and Chris “won via forfeit” against the Undertaker and Kane, we got down to business, but not after the Undertaker’s dong went off, making Lucky all scared. Brookes started on Lucky’s arm, before Lucky escaped and took him outside with a low dropkick… so he could BLAAAH. In response, Brookes tries to stomp through his former tag partner, who found safety by clinging onto the leg, before tripping Brookes… who didn’t take too kindly to that, as he feigned the RISE finger touch, only to wrench away on Lucky’s digits.

Chops followed, as the crowd came up with new ways to antagonise Brookes… who thought he’d taken down Lucky with a German suplex, only for him to come back in with a leapfrog. Brookes boots Lucky’s head off, forcing him to skin the cat, as the see-saw nature of the match led to Lucky hitting an Asai DDT, a plancha to the outside and a 619-like kick on the apron as Brookes then took a missile dropkick for a near-fall. Brookes’ back senton off the top clips Lucky for a near-fall, but the RISE member retaliates… and runs into a chop that sent him sailing to the outside. Another attempt to skin the cat just ends with Lucky tripping himself into an Octopus hold, before he got free and lands a handspring elbow, ahead of a lifting reverse DDT for a near-fall.

Another strike exchange led to a comeback from Lucky, but only after he’d bitten his opponent, before a Ligerbomb drew a near-fall. In the end, another handspring backfires as Lucky eats a German suplex, but he ends up countering Death by Roll-up, rolling up Brookes for the relative upset! A fun main event, and one that had Chris Brookes derailed before World Tag Team League got going. ***½

On the whole, a fun show, Inner Circle 6 was a card that may have lacked a blow-away match, but presented plenty of value for those looking to set themselves up for the barrage of wrestling that was to follow down the road in Oberhausen!