The second episode of The Next Generation gives us a look at the current wXw Academy Cup champion, Benjamin van Es.
We instantly open with the sit-down piece as van Es tells us about his first encounter with wrestling – a Rey Mysterio tape. That love of Rey Rey led him to discover that wrestling was a thing, and eventually attending a show in Holland… and that got the ball rolling. Van Es tells us about the promotions in Holland he’s wrestled and trained in, but now he’s training with wXw, which led to him beating Julian Pace for the wXw Academy Cup this past May.
Formerly known as “The Dream” Nate Devlin, he tells us that he’s got some other idols like Bret Hart and the Rock, and that his main goal in wrestling is to be able to wrestle enough to make a living off of what he loves. From there, we segue to a match and… oh, hey Lukas!
wXw Academy Cup: Lukas Robinson vs. Timo Zimone vs. Julian Pace vs. Benjamin van Es (c)
You’ll probably remember Lukas from his cult appearance during #WrestlingDeutschland – he’s been a bit of a regular on the wXw Scouting the Next Generation shows since then.
This was a four-way for the Academy Cup, with Julian Pace looking to regain his old championship, which the Dream confidently brought with him to the ring (along with his old name… which happens, I guess. Jeremy Graves is back on the English language call again, and we start with van Es and Pace on the offensive as they went after Robinson and Zimone respectively. Pace and Robinson decide to dive after the other two powdered to the outside, but Lukas decides to turn his sights on Mr. Vollgas next as those two went at it for a spell. A nice dropkick clocks Pace in the midsection, but Pace recovers and starts running the ropes, confusing Lukas before finally replying with a dropkick of his own.
Zimone runs in and dumps Pace with a Samoan drop, but it’s Robinson who stays in the ring as the revolving door effect came into force, with van Es and Zimone double-teaming our intrepid explorer. Pace tries to come back and help, but he’s taken out as Lukas has to make his own way back into the match, trading shots with van Es… only to get taken down with a suplex from Timo.
We then get our first sight of “bad guys can’t agree who’ll take the pin”, as van Es broke up Zimone’s cover. That leads to Benjamin taking a back body drop to the outside, as Robinson finally gets Zimone one-on-one… but Lukas again changes focus and launches himself into van Es with a plancha, just as Julian Pace got back into the ring. A slingshot rolling neckbreaker gets Pace in the lead, as does a flying DDT out of the corner, before van Es hit the ring… and now we’ve our square-off between the current and former champ!
Or at least, so we thought, as Zimone ran in and laid out Pace, allowing Robinson to come back into the fray, taking van Es around the turnbuckles. A crossbody off the top almost wins Robinson the match, but Zimone broke up the pin as Lukas ended up on the top rope, with a double-team superplex eventually turning into a Tower of Doom as Pace brought the pile crashing down. van Es resumes the offence, kneeing Robinson in the head before hitting a Blackheart Buster for a near-fall, as Pace finally gets his hands on his Dutch foe once again.
An enziguiri drops van Es, but he’s back with another knee before an attempted low blow was caught… Pace stops it and responds with a Code Red for a near-fall, again broken up as Zimone wanted in. He’s sent to the outside as Pace superkicks Robinson, then lands a springboard moonsault on Robinson… only for van Es to shove Pace to the outside and steal the pin. A cheap finish to an otherwise solid four-way, as van Es retains his Academy Cup. ***
On the whole, this was a decent episode – the only nitpick here is that van Es’ character didn’t really get much of an airing. Still, as a 20 minute piece to introduce us to him and his in-ring work, this ticked all the boxes, and is worth it just for that alone. With no episodes scheduled in September, The Next Generation is on hiatus now – but it’s probably for the best that we don’t rattle through the academy really quickly.