As part of a new weekly series on wXwNOW, we’re taken inside the wXw Wrestling Academy in Essen to have a look at the current class of trainees.

In episode one, we’re introduced to Timo Theiss, who has already flirted with the main roster for a few shows, appearing most recently in Shortcut to the Top. He’s got a (deliberately?) unfortunate surname, which just allows the crowd to chant “Scheiss” at him during matches. I’ll let you run that through Google Translate…

We’re introduced to Timo – he’s 26 and has been training since 2015. The hashtag “pings” onto the screen in a timely fashion as the native of Bochum tells us he started with a seminar with Nigel McGuinness, and it was that seminar that opened his eyes to the mere presence of wXw’s academy. Timo’s been watching wrestling since WrestleMania 21, citing Rey Mysterio vs. Eddie Guerrero as one of the first feuds in wrestling that dragged him in. One thing led to another, and Timo started training with Bad Bones at what was then the Westside Dojo. We learn that Timo’s first major goal is to appear in 16 Carat Gold. Anyway, after that quick introduction it’s time for a match as we get to see Timo in acton.

Timo Theiss vs. Ric Salem
Okay, I don’t feel so bad about the chants now, as the ring announcer literally calls him “hot shit”. In German, naturally.

Thanks to Cagematch, we know this was taped in June at one of the monthly Scouting The Next Generation events that’s held in the Wrestling Academy, and Theiss’ opponent is out here with a glass ball. Someone in the crowd gleefully tells Ric the joke about the name, which just angers the Jetsetter. Which isn’t as easy to chant. Hey, we’ve got Jeremy Graves on the English call, making very sure to enunciate the TH in Timo’s surname as Salem starts with a wristlock to take Timo into the ropes. Salem’s leaping over some kicks from Theiss before he holds up his glass ball, which just gives Timo a chance for a cheapshot as Salem was distracted in handing his ball to a member of ring crew.

Undeterred, Salem makes his way back into it, hitting a snapmare… but another takedown attempt is stuffed as Theiss’ size difference made things difficult. A flapjack from Salem works though, before Theiss throws Salem to the outside after a full nelson attempt from his smaller foe. Back in the ring, Salem’s slammed then met with an elbow drop as Theiss takes shortcuts to stay ahead. A kick to the back of Salem has him reeling, as does a charging elbow in the corner as Timo looked comfortable. A third elbow’s stopped, but Theiss backs into the corner to break a full nelson… Salem puts it back on, but Theiss rolls through and boots him in the head for a near-fall.

Another knee drop keeps Salem down as Theiss wears him down some more with a chinlock… but that gives Ric a chance to fight back, only for a clothesline to drop him back down to the mat. There’s a trio of double axehandles too as Theiss continued his offence, but a fourth one’s stopped with a dropkick as Salem mounts another comeback, landing a diving uppercut before he’s again sent onto the apron.

This time, Salem’s able to come back off the top rope with a crossbody into Theiss for a near-fall, before he went right back to the full nelson… only for Theiss to break the hold and hit back with an X-Plex for a near-fall. Finally, Salem gets his full nelson in and lands his move – a full nelson spin-out facebuster – and he thought he’d won as the ref counted three… but Theiss has a foot on the rope!

Salem looks to make sure of the win, but he ends up running into Theiss, who grabs and unsights the referee, allowing him to hit a mule kick low blow and a Samoan driver, spiking Salem on his head… and that’s enough for the win. A decent enough match considering the surroundings – you’ve got to remember that everyone in this series is going to be far from a finished product, so bear that in mind when casting any kind of eye over this. **¾

As a show, The Next Generation was a quick watch at just 15 minutes long – and it’s exactly the kind of programming that all promotions should be doing. Whether it’s incorporated into their shows, released on social media or as part of their on-demand – it’s a throwback to the old days, where promotions used to run vignettes for newly-appearing wrestlers. Sure, what wXw are showcasing here is only a work in progress, but any kind of spotlight and screen time will help if and when the Timo Theiss’ of this world get promoted to the main roster – and will surely mitigate the tricky early days of a wrestler’s career as they try and form a connection with the fan base.