Ilja Dragunov’s homecoming as wXw champion saw him face WALTER as True Colors headed to Dresden – with a hell of a show on-tap!
The opening video recaps what happened at 16 Carat Gold – from Absolute Andy’s win to the subsequent TLC challenge… and of course, Ilja’s dramatic return. We’re watching the German commentary, hosted by Christian Bischof and Frank Fehrmann, while Timo Hartmann is filling in as ring announcer… and we’re straight into our opener for the vacated tag titles!
wXw World Tag Team Championship: Jay FK (Francis Kaspin & Jay Skillet) vs. LAX (Santana & Ortiz) vs. Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero)
With Bad Bones gone from wXw, the tag titles were vacated… and as such, we’ve got this match to find new champions.
They burst into life from the start, with everyone but Avalanche and Skillet heading to the floor… poor Jay probably wished he’d gone too, although perhaps not against Santana, who was chopping the taste out of Francis Kaspin by the aisle. Skillet did land a dropkick on Avalanche, but it had no effect… although his headscissors did. After barging Skillet to the outside, Avalanche had to go head to head with Santana, who ducked some shots and fired back with a flurry of palm strikes, before an O’Connor roll into an Ace crusher dropped the big guy.
Kaspin’s in next, with a lucha-inspired series before rolling Santana down… but he doesn’t get the shoulders down, and instead has to opt for a death valley driver right as Ortiz comes in. Armdrags follow next as Ortiz nails a suplex/jawbreaker for a near-fall, as Julian Nero completed the revolving door… just to offer the LAX member five minutes!
Nero’s not in the mood for messing around, as he takes down Ortiz and stands on his hand… and yes, Nero finally knows what fünf means now! Avalanche returns with a slam as Monster Consulting took over on LAX, and were left standing tall… but Jay FK turned it around as Avalanche knocked Nero off the apron as we’re back to the revolving door again!
LAX tried to isolate Kaspin in the ring, hitting a double hiptoss facebuster before an elbow, a standing moonsault and a belly-flop splash almost got Ortiz the win. More revolving door action took us to Avalanche dumping Kaspin with a Samoan drop, before Ortiz flew in with a crossbody off the top, only for Kaspin to spike him with a Michinoku driver as everyone was left down and out! Magic Bullet Theory – the neckbreaker and splash combo – nearly gets Jay FK the win, but Ortiz makes the save… he’s thrown out as Nero has to break up the cover from the Jay FKO (wheelbarrow lungblower) onto Santana. The Demolition legdrop onto Skillet from Avalanche led to a stolen cover from Jay FK as there looked to be no let-up in the action, at least until Santana tried to lay out Monster Consulting by himself. Avalanche ends up taking a DDT and an assisted senton from LAX, as they rushed out with a somersault plancha to take out Jay FK for good measure.
Kaspin’s left in the ring against LAX, but he makes a comeback as the ring fills up, leading to Avalanche catching a flying Santana, hitting him with the Final Consultation (double-team Go to Sleep) and a ripcord lariat for the win! Wow, that was breathless stuff to get us going – some may be put-off by this, but I bloody enjoyed this as an opener… and not just because my boss left with gold! ****¼
Audrey Bride vs. Killer Kelly
From this, we’re into the debut of the very Kill Bill-ish Audrey Bride… who’s got an apt opponent in Killer Kelly.
It’s a tentative start as the two circled each other, with Bride slapping Kelly as a handshake was offered. Kelly’s response? Just to take her down and pound away on the Hungarian. She deserved it, and all…
Bride attacks Kelly from behind as she took the Portuguese into a corner, but Kelly’s back with a forearm and a pump kick off the ropes for good measure. Audrey escapes as Kelly measured her up for a charge into the corner, before a leg sweep on the apron dumped her on the floor as the Dresden crowd turned on Bride something fierce. She whipped Kelly into the ringpost as the pair brawled on the floor, leading to Bride scoring a near-fall as they got back inside.
Some hair-assisted snapmares followed from Bride, who kept up with some chops in the corner… but all that just fired up Kelly, who got some receipts as the shots kept flying. Bride blocks a suplex with a knee to the gut, then went to choke Kelly across the middle rope, before a nonchalant cover cost her, as Kelly kicked out. Another crack at the suplex sees Kelly get thrown into the turnbuckles again as Bride went to choke her with her boot, before she attempted to force a submission with a chinlock.
Kelly fights free though, but she telegraphs a headkick before returning with a cravat, throwing in some knees for good measure. Still, Bride was cutting off Kelly’s attacks, but finally Kelly lands that suplex into the corner, following back with a Shibata-ish dropkick to take Bride outside… and she could smell blood. Proverbially, this time!
A kick off the apron keeps Bride rocked, as does that head kick… but Bride charges into the ropes to avoid a German suplex, and replies with a Downward Spiral for a near-fall. Cue anger as she thought she’d won the match, but she just ends up spinning herself into a bridging German suplex as Killer Kelly took the win. Both women brought the fire to this, and it led to a hell of a heated crowd. Another short match, but in the six months or so since Kelly’s debut you can really see the progression… and as for Audrey Bride, I was equally as impressed. Hopefully this isn’t a short-term deal in wXw for her, as her performance hopefully opened some doors for her. ***¼
A trailer for wXw’s Shortcut to the Top follows – it’ll be in Oberhausen on August 4 if you’re looking to make the trip.
Da Mack vs. TKO
Mack came out with the rest of RISE, apparently the new de-facto leader of the group as he took on TKO, who’s currently the Internet champion in Alex Wright’s New European Championship Wrestling.
Lucky Kid seemingly wanted to take the match for himself, but Da Mack ordered him out of the ring as the crowd got on RISE’s back. Commentary mentioned how Pete Bouncer wanted an answer from RISE today, and perhaps that was on Mack’s mind as he was struggling out of the gates against TKO, who took him down with a series of springboard armdrags.
Eventually Mack breaks free with some chops, taking TKO into the corner before nailing a picture-perfect dropkick. TKO tries to make a comeback, landing a springboard uppercut out of the corner before a series of clotheslines had Mack on his knees, but a barrel roll trips TKO as Mack regained the upper hand, taking him outside for a spot of Brookesing. It’s been a while since we’ve seen anyone properly thrown into the crowd…
TKO manages to beat the count though, but he runs into a butterfly suplex that Mack floated into a butterfly lock, before opting for a neck crank… Eventually TKO comes back, rolling through Mack into a Finlay roll, but the moonsault out of the corner misses, as Mack rushes in with a leaping knee for a two-count. Chops from TKO put Mack down to a knee, but he replied in kind, before taking TKO to the ropes… where we expected some interference, but Tarkan Aslan thought better of it.
I must say, in this form, RISE look like a ragtag bunch of friends who only have tracksuits in common, rather than the unified force they were months ago. A Falcon arrow gets Mack a near-fall, as he tried to end things… but the Mack Magic cutter is blocked, before he’s wiped out with Whisper in the Wind from TKO! Another Falcon Arrow gets a near-fall, this time from TKO, before Mack avoided another moonsault, as he got to his feet to plant TKO with an Unprettier for the win. A pretty good match, although the story of RISE not helping Mack was one that was telling for later in the night… ***
By later in the night, I mean “now”, as Pete Bouncer appeared on the stage, mic in hand. He’d given RISE ten days to answer, and now, he wants an answer. Da Mack tried to order RISE to charge after Bouncer, but instead they turned on him, and chased him away as the original RISE quartet were reunited by way of a fist-bump, a finger touch, and a hug! Dresden weren’t so keen on that, but RISE is back in their (mostly) original form… and now we wait and see what’s next under the guidance of Pete Bouncer and his mighty abs.
TLC Match: Absolute Andy vs. Marius al-Ani
Absolute Andy’s title shot from 16 Carat Gold is on the line here, as they looked to finally put the issues between A4 to bed.
Marius went full Raiden with his entrance gear for his latest round of combat, and I swear I could see a guy in an Elvis jumpsuit hanging out the back of the arena. Cosplay season, is it?
They finally get underway with Marius unloading on Andy, scoring with a leapfrog and a dropkick as the early feeling out process had Andy scarpering to the floor… where he’s joined by Marius as the pair brawled at ringside. Andy’s the first to reach for the plunder, but his chairshot misses, and Marius gets a little confused when he pulls out a fan from under the ring.
Who the hell would keep that there?!
Of course, Andy has relevant plunder too – his wrench! Fan versus wrench… there’s only one winner, I’m afraid, and it’s not what you’d think either, as Marius whacks Andy with the fan before poking him in the eyes. Classic veteran stuff!
They’re back outside as Andy gets beaten around ringside, before the pair headed up towards the stage where those tables, ladders and chairs were oh-so-nearly arranged. Andy chops Marius into a chair, then boots him out of it, before grabbing a really tall ladder to bring down to the ring… except Marius grabs it to stop Andy in his tracks, earning him another boot to the head.
The pair tease a suplex on the stage, but Andy reverses it and sent Marius crashing through a table as a ladder remained ominously-positioned on the ramp. Instead, Andy goes back to the ring for a second ladder… but he’s only got part of it, as he needs more parts to build it together. Nevermind, he gets some gaffer tape and tries to tape the two pieces together. I’m not entirely sure that would fly with any health and safety group!
Nevertheless, Marius is back, but he has to fend off Andy with a chair again, before scoring a low dropkick and a step-up elbow drop as the Ninja sensed he was getting the upper hand… until his leaping ‘rana ended with him getting dropped into the makeshift ladder in the corner. Another chair comes in as Andy teased an F5 through it, before he instead dumps Marius into the chair with a sidewalk slam. Well, with Bad Bones gone, the spot of “dangerous bumper onto chairs” is free, I guess…
An ankle lock from Marius had Andy screaming in pain… but he was able to roll through, sending Marius onto the apron, which somehow led to a frog splash that got Marius back with the ankle lock. Andy heads outside, and suckered Marius into the across-the-corner dive… swatting him out of the air with a chairshot. Ow. With Marius down, Andy brings the massive ladder down to the ring, but he climbs it too slowly and Marius uses it to hit a back heel kick… only for Andy to throw him back outside as we’re back to climbing! A missile dropkick knocked the ladder down as Marius was doing all he could to stop Andy winning… but a spinebuster lessened his chances somewhat, only to rebound instantly with a superplex of sorts that looked to dump Andy awkwardly to the mat.
The pair go back to slugging it out, but Marius comes in with the sunset flip into an Exploder, before nailing the ‘rana… only for his frog splash to get interrupted by a superkick. Ah, it caught him out again! Andy looked to finish off Marius with some tape, tying his hands behind his back… and it’s going to massively hard to climb a ladder with no hands, let alone reach for something. Andy takes his shots, using a chair, before putting away Marius with the A-Klasse (the sit-out dominator).
The big ladder returns as the match looked to be nearing an end, but Andy goes for another table… setting it up ominously in the aisle. Marius mounts a hands-free comeback, using a dropkick and a back body drop, before a spinning heel kick put more impact onto his wrists as he tried to wriggle free… but instead, he decides to climb the ladder. That is insane…
He’s at the top, but he can’t reach the contract with his teeth, so he has to climb back down as someone came out with scissors for him. In the meantime though, Andy’s in the ring, and now the fight is back on as Marius nails a death valley driver before going out for another chair. A chairshot and a death valley driver onto Andy’s makeshift ladder follows, as Marius looked to climb the ladder once more… but Andy shoves him off, forcing Marius into the ropes, as he rebounded with a tornado DDT! He followed up with a frog splash as we were pretty much back to square one with the ladder climbing.
Marius gets caught again, with Andy bringing him down as an F5 from the ring to the table on the floor follows… and it’s pretty elementary now, as Andy took his sweet time climbing each rung before regaining his contract! A decisive win for Andy, who now has a date with destiny, or at least, a wXw title shot… but my word, what a showing in defeat for Marius. The image of him climbing that huge ladder, hands free, is going to live with me for quite a while. ****¼
Alexander James vs. Ivan Kiev vs. Lucky Kid vs. Mark Davis
This was originally meant to be for the Shotgun title, but an injury to Bobby Gunns meant that Ivan Kiev took his spot and this became a number one contendership match.
Kiev and Lucky wee jumped doing the RISE pose, but Mark Davis quickly becomes a beast in this, throwing everyone into a corner before Lucky Kid laughed his way into the lead. Blaah! There’s some nice stuff her as Lucky Kid piled-up everyone for a near-fall, but then he makes the mistake of chopping Mark Davis, and that’s the end of him. High five, pop-up flapjack, and that’s him on the apron.
Ivan Kiev has a little more luck against Dunkzilla, but he’s caught by a slingshot Blockbuster from James, who followed up by… faking out a dive to Dunkzilla, before he was assisted to the floor by a dropkick from Lucky Kid. yep, we’re into the dives now, with Kid hitting an Arabian press to Dunkzilla, before the two RISE colleagues went at it, with Kiev sending Kid into James with a ‘rana. Lucky Kid’s right back with a handspring double elbow to Davis and James, with Dunkzilla returning the favour as he slammed the two RISE members at the same time. Yep, that gets the crowd on-side! Alexander James is back in with a ripcord back elbow to Davis, before sending RISE downto the mat for a wacky three-way submission, blending an Octopus with two Coats of Arms.
After getting free, RISE work together… and get blasted with a double clothesline from Davis, before the Rains of Castamere gets James a near-fall on Kiev, before Kid tried to nick the win with a quick roll-up. An Asai DDT keeps James down, but he’s up at two, before he has a limp Lucky Kid thrown at him by a resurging Davis… who finished off Lucky with the inverted Angle slam, before Ivan Kiev’s leg lariat almost got the win.
Davis keeps up with a sliding forearm into a cornered Kiev, and all that’s left is the pull-up piledriver, which shocked Dresden as Dunkzilla picked up the number one contendership. This was all sorts of fun, with Davis coming over really well in his debut in Germany… I had to pop a little for the commentary at the end when they called Davis’ finish too! ***¾
Post-match, Bobby Gunns rolls into the ring… and the Gunns! Bobby Gunns! chants live on! I am so happy at that, that I almost miss Gunns booting Davis during a staredown before he ran away for his own good.
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: WALTER vs. Ilja Dragunov (c)
It was a homecoming for Ilja, who’s made Dresden his home in Germany… and you’ll not be surprised at how much Dresden popped for him.
Ilja’s chest was pretty marked up, having not recovered from a title defence against WALTER the previous night. Felix Schultz was announced as the referee for this one, and I’m already worried for him.
WALTER started off the early aggressor, taking Ilja down with an armbar, before a rope break was forced. Ilja tries his luck with shoulder tackles after his headlock’s pushed away, but it’s the Austrian who knocked him down before throwing the first chop of the match, and my God, he’s already drawn blood.
Ilja has to elbow out of a chinlock, but his lariat barely budges WALTER, whose elbow had much more effect, as the challenger went back to wearing down Dragunov in the middle of the ring. Dragunov ducks a chop and starts to throw his own, but a bid to slam WALTER was easily blocked as the Austrian easily hits one of his own. WALTER tosses Ilja outside as the match entered the front row, with more thunderous chops from both sides. Now there’s blood on Ilja’s chest, but that doesn’t deter the champion, who gets rolled back in before heading straight out with a tope… only to be caught and charged into the ringpost. A chop from WALTER connects with nothing but the ringpost as WALTER gets chopped into the front row.
Back in the ring, WALTER’s back with those chops, sending Ilja staggering into the ropes as he stood on his goddamned throat for good measure. Ilja fights back with chops as he tries to mark up WALTER’s chest, but a huge forearm decks him before he could make too much of a mark. More chops keep Ilja bouncing in the corner, before WALTER goes all Young Lion on him with a Boston crab.
Of course, Ilja hangs on, even doing press ups before pushing WALTER away… but he goes to the bodyslam again and gets chopped right back down to the mat. Ilja spits at WALTER, but to no avail, as the boots keep coming, before Ilja finally nails a spinning backfist… before he charges at WALTER with clotheslines before falling down again with a bodyslam attempt. WALTER tries a powerbomb, but that fails as Ilja does the Andre!
A back senton off the top follows as Dragunov almost gets the win, but that just angered the big man into slapping Ilja silly. Clotheslines follow again from Dragunov, but those wicked chops are always a threat… and in spite of that, and a boot from WALTER, Ilja gets the big man down with a clothesline! They get back to their feet, nose-to-nose, for more chops, but Ilja’s laughing them off now, even if they sound nastier and nastier…
This is getting insane, but Ilja’s edging ahead, before WALTER grabbed him by the throat and slapped him again, before working his way into a RINGKAMPF German and a subsequent butterfly suplex. Somehow, Ilja gets up from that, and manages to backdrop out of a piledriver attempt, before he catches a Torpedo Moscau and wraps in a sleeperhold instead.
Ilja quickly fades, but he fights back, shrugging off WALTER before accidentally wiping out Felix Schultz with a Torpedo Moscau. With no referee, WALTER’s back with a German suplex and a powerbomb, but Rainer Ringer takes a while to come down to make a count… and when he can only get a two-count on Ilja, WALTER replied… by booting his face off. That looked NASTY, and a throwback to the WALTER of old.
Tassilo Jung, somewhat reluctantly appears to wave off the match, causing the crowd to boo… as he doesn’t want any more referees hurt. Ilja grabs the microphone as the no contest was declared… but he doesn’t want it to end like that… not in his town.
WALTER doesn’t need to be asked again, and he’s straight in with lariats to Ilja, but it’s not enough to put him away. So it’s back to the chops, as the pair go hell for leather on each other, with both men knocking each other down. WALTER’s sent outside for a tope, which connects this time, but he stays on the outside as WALTER tried to powerbomb him into the crowd. Lucky, Ilja escaped, but he spits at WALTER again, which was as bad an idea as it was the first time… as the two engaged in yet more chops on the apron.
WALTER breaks from tradition and press slams Ilja from the apron into the chairs, before scoring a powerbomb back inside for another near-fall. Tass gets threatened here, and the sigh of relief after WALTER let go was telling, particularly since it was Ilja who took the next few kicks and not him! Ilja looked to be set for a superplex, but he switches it into a powerbomb out of the corner, and just as you sensed he was on the ascendency, his Torpedo Moscau’s cut-off with another Gojira clutch. Nevermind, he escaped that with a back suplex, before landing Torpedo Moscau, and that’s all!
A huge victory for Ilja Dragunov, and I need a lie down after that! Whether you see this on the same level as their infamous match at Carat from last year is subjective, but these two seemingly cannot fail to put on a great showing against each other – their health be damned, especially looking at how nasty Ilja’s chest looked after this match. ****½
For a show that, on paper, isn’t a “top tier” wXw show, you may well be tempted to skip this one. DON’T. Everything on this show delivered, if not bell-to-bell, then in terms of the storylines they served. The new era of RISE, the Shotgun title picture, the finale to the A4 , the latest step of Ilja Dragunov’s championship reign… heck, even the continued development of the company’s women’s division, all delivered and then some.
Hot on the heels of 16 Carat Gold, wXw is on fire – and with the company heading into Frankfurt this weekend for a feature event ahead of May’s Superstars of Wrestling, there’s very little sign of that slowing down.