Levaniel’s been forced to run yet another gauntlet – as he’s being made to qualify for 16 Carat Gold (and win it), else his time as champion is over.

Quick Results
Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Levaniel pinned Michael Schenkenberg in 10:37 (***)
Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Ahura pinned Alex Duke in 6:27 (**¾)
Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Elijah Blum pinned Anil Marik in 8:55 (***¼)
Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Fast Time Moodo pinned Heisenberg in 6:22 (**¾)
Baby Allison & Maggot submitted Jacob Crane & Ava Everett in 11:01 (***)
Jurn Simmons pinned Massimo Pesca in 7:17 (***)
Bobby Gunns pinned Sebastian Suave in 12:09 (***½)
Laurance Roman pinned Nick Schreier in 7:42 to retain the wXw Shotgun Championship (***¼)
Road to 16 Carat Gold – Final: Ahura pinned Elijah Blum, Fast Time Moodo & Levaniel in 12:22 (***½)

— If you want to catch this before it’s uploaded to Peacock/WWE Network, head over to wXwNOW.de – it’s now been moved over to YouTube after wXw left Vimeo’s platform, so you’ll need to sign-up…

It’s the last televised show ahead of 16 Carat Gold… and the scene at the Forum in Bielefeld changed just days before the show. As we covered on the Auf Die Fresse podcast, Levaniel was forced to qualify for 16 Carat Gold – and if he doesn’t qualify AND win 16 Carat Gold, then the winner of Carat would leave Oberhausen with the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship.

We open with a recap of Norman Harras’ announcement, which he framed as a positive way to mark his first anniversary in charge… and a way for Levaniel to prove himself as a fighting champion. The swine. So with all that in mind, we’re off to Bielefeld, a town that apparently doesn’t exist… with Dave Bradshaw back on English commentary.

Norman Harras is introduced to the live crowd, with Sebastian Suave by his side. A nice bit of continuity given their pairings every time Suave’s been over. Harras again frames the situation as a positive, a way for Levaniel to become immortal, as he vowed to make this year’s Carat “his monument.” Levaniel interrupts so he can parade his title in front of the “Liebe-feld” crowd, which is a wonderfully accidental anagram.

Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Levaniel vs. Michael Schenkenberg
Levaniel has to win 16 Carat Gold to retain his title – but first he needs to qualify, so this is the first of six matches to immortality, I guess?

There’s no Nikita Charisma with Schenkenberg here, as I guess Norman Harras at ringside was enough distraction. Armdrags from Levaniel gave him an early lead, as did a headlock takedown, with Schenkenberg trying to counter into pins… before he got free and charged down Levaniel. Schenkenberg’s tripped up as Levaniel grabs a side headlock on the mat… things went back Schenkenberg’s way as he caught Levaniel with a bear hug, then with a knuckle lock as Levaniel was forced back to the mat for a two-count. A neck bridge is broken, but Levaniel’s able to power up and monkey flip his way free into a pinning attempt, which see-saws across the ring.

Levaniel’s forced to escape a suplex, before he elbowed Schenkenberg out of the corner as a springboard armdrag followed. A suplex follows from Levaniel for a near-fall, but Schenkenberg’s able to muscle his way back in, clotheslining Levaniel in the corner before landing a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall. Schenkenberg tries for a TKO, but Levaniel slips out and began to fire back with forearms, then a spinning heel kick that took Schenkenberg down. Levaniel follows up with an overhead suplex and a discus clothesline for a near-fall. A Galactic Facecrusher’s blocked as Schenkenberg throws Levaniel outside, where the pair scrapped… before Norman Harras tried to grab hold of Levaniel to make him lose by count-out.

Levaniel rolls back inside, but ate a uranage/sit-out spinebuster for a near-fall, before the Galactic Facecrusher capped a quick turnaround. Levaniel now needs to win the four-way main event to stay alive… as far as Carat goes, anyway! ***

They recap Ahura’s attack on Baby Allison at Back to the Roots – which led to Laurance Roman winning the Shotgun title… then some comments from Maggot, who threatened to end Ahura next time he saw him. That morphs into backstage comments from Ahura ahead of his match here, with Ahura claiming Maggot was only Shotgun champion “because he let him” before he dismissed the “side character” Baby Allison. Ahura’s got Alex Duke in the first round of the Road to Carat tournament, but he’s more concerned with the death threats that Dan Mallmann’s not asking him about.

Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Alex Duke vs. Ahura
It’s a taped-show debut for Duke, who’s usually one half of the Posterboys with Don Sheen…

Ahura gets a pop for ripping off his trousers at the start, as he proceeded to grab Duke in a side headlock. Duke pushes free, but his drop-down’s stomped on before Ahura lit up Duke… then took him back down with a side headlock. Duke returns the favour, complete with the patronising pat on the head, but Ahura kicks out Duke’s knee before a clothesline took the newcomer down. Duke escapes a charge into the corner as he slid around the corner to roll up Ahura for a two-count, only to be met with some more kicks as Ahura looked to regain control.

Ahura fakes out a chop as he went for the ribs in the corner instead… but Duke takes advantage of Ahura’s aloofness to fight back, hitting a back elbow and a clothesline before Ahura floated out of a suplex and went back to the knee. A twisting brainbuster nearly wins it for Duke, but a roundhouse kick from Ahura clears the way for a spinebuster from Ahura, who then won with the Paradise Waterfalls. **¾

Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Anil Marik vs. Elijah Blum
Anil Marik’s still looking for that first win back from injury (at least, on a taped show)…

Blum was the early aggressor, but gets taken to the mat with a wristlock from Blum… only for Blum to flip free and ground Marik with an armbar. A drop toe hold from Marik helps him free, but Blum’s not too far behind as the pair reach a stalemate. Marik’s caught with a roll-up as the pair trade headlock takedowns and escapes, until Blum slowed things down with a side headlock on the deck. Another headlock takedown keeps Blum on top, but Marik escapes and returned with a Slingblade for a two-count, bringing “Osnabruck” chants – since Marik’s hometown’s pretty close to Bielefeld.

A back body drop from Marik gets a two-count, before he countered a Blum neckbreaker with a back suplex for a two-count. Blum misses a clothesline in the corner as Marik returned with a Codebreaker for some two-counts, drawing some frustration as Blum looked to force a submission instead. Blum escapes, but gets pulled down for a Boston crab, with the resulting Liontamer-esque hold getting spun out of. Blum snaps back with a side Russian legsweep, mounting pressure with clotheslines and a dropkick, before Marik blocked a Parting Gift. Another Codebreaker’s attempted, but Blum countered that into a suplex… before some pinning attempts led to Marik coming close from a Victory roll, only to lose to a roll-up. A good showing for the luckless Marik, as the new prodigy of the academy moves a step closer to Carat. ***¼

Dan Mallmann joins Marik at ringside… Anil notes he missed Carat last year due to injury, and that he’s not won since he’s come back. Marik’s frustration is clearly growing…

Road to 16 Carat Gold – First Round: Heisenberg vs. Fast Time Moodo
Winner joins Ahura, Blum and Levaniel in the finals for that last Carat spot…

Moodo ducks a charge from Heisenberg, chopping him into the corners early on as he was forced to stick and move. A chop from Heisenberg fell Moodo though, before an early powerslam attempt was wriggled out of as Moodo returned with kicks instead. Heisenberg blocked one, but couldn’t stop a second as Moodo cornered him for a spinning heel kick… before a clothesline out wiped out Moodo. Heisenberg hiptosses Moodo across the ring, following up with chops in the corner before a follow-up splash allowed Moodo in… but his Fireman’s carry is overpowered as Heisenberg’s fallaway slam chucks the former tag champions cross the ring. A corner splash gets a two-count for Heisenberg, before Moodo snuck in a DDT to buy him some time.

Strikes are exchanged as Moodo looked to kick down the big man, before his latest attempt at a Fireman’s carry went nowhere. More kicks weaken Heisenberg as the Samoan drop finally came off for a near-fall, before a Black Belt kick was swatted away. Heisenberg hits a chokeslam off the ropes, then a sit-down splash for a near-fall… as Moodo wouldn’t stay down. More kicks from Moodo are caught, but he’s able to hit a pair of Black Belt Kicks anyway to take Heisenberg down… and that’s the win. That was a little unpopular, as Moodo’s had an undercurrent of that in recent months… but he felled the giant, and is one match away from Carat. **¾

We’ve got comments from Ava Everett, who’s looking to regain the wXw women’s title on her latest run in Germany…

Ava Everett & Jacob Crane vs. Maggot & Baby Allison
Jacob Crane’s wearing a Pretty Bastards t-shirt in a bid to wind up Maggot… while Ava’s gear finally made it to Germany. Those ear muffs suit Jacob…

Maggot and Allison strip Crane of that t-shirt before the bell, as we start the match with Allison against Ava and her glow-in-the-dark gear. Allison mirrors Ava, who got shoved into the corner as some trash-talking led to Allison scoring with leaping clotheslines. A high kick breaks an Ava waistlock, ahead of a Northern lights suplex for a two-count. Jacob Crane comes in, shrugging off a jawbreaker as the crowd called for a bodyslam… so he tries one, only for Allison to slip out and tag in Maggot. Clotheslines from Maggot wipe out Crane, who tries a bodyslam of his own, only for Crane to scurry into the corner for respite. Those bodyslam chants disgust Crane, as did the chants of “Jesus” and “Judas” at Maggot. What have they become…

Maggot returns with a Thesz press and some right hands ahead of the strutting kick, which sent Crane outside. Ava talks him back in, as the crowd bay for bodyslams, but Maggot decks him with a forearm before tagging in Baby Allison… a Scorpion kick from the apron knocks Crane down, before Everett low bridges Maggot outside, allowing Crane to come close to the win with a clothesline. Crane’s snap suplex led to Ava tagging in, as she proceeded to distract the referee so Crane could choke Allison in the corner. Ava joins in, as the pair proceeded to exchange frequent tags to stay on Allison. Crane’s back to hit a bodyslam on Allison, but he spends time goading Maggot… which allowed Allison back up to hit a back suplex.

Maggot tags in and runs wild on Crane, throwing him with a back body drop ahead of a crossbody off the top for a near-fall. Crane escapes a bodyslam, as Everett came in to help… but she’s dragged outside as Maggot’s crucifix almost wins the match. Allison’s back with clotheslines and a heel kick to Everett, who then took a bodyslam… but Crane’s attempt to intervene sees him eat a spear from Maggot. Ava takes a spear from Allison too, before more bodyslams led to Ava getting slammed onto Crane… before Allison rolled in with a Muta lock on Crane for the submission. It’s a popular win as Maggot (and to a lesser extent, Allison) continue to focus on Ahura down the line. ***

Jurn Simmons vs. Massimo Pesca
It’s a big test for the impressive Pesca – given Jurn’s got to be one of the pre-tournament favourites for Carat.

Bielefeld didn’t fancy Pesca’s chances, as he went for an early roll-up… but to no avail. An inside cradle at least gets a two-count, which only served to piss off Simmons, who blocks an Irish whip and took Pesca into the ropes… only to get taken down with headscissors.

Pesca charges into the corner, as he came in with a flying armdrag off the top before some more headscissors and a dropkick had Simmons reeling. More headscissors from Pesca are blocked and countered into a bucklebomb, with a running boot and a suplex throw well and truly turning the match around for Simmons. Simmons chucks Pesca with another suplex throw, before he repeatedly hurled the Italian into the buckles. A head kick from Pesca buys him some time, but he charges into Jurn on the apron… who countered it into a draping DDT onto the side of the ring. Another suplex from Jurn drops Pesca onto the side of the ring, before Pesca began another comeback.

Forearms from Pesca led to a dropkick, taking Jurn into the corner for a follow-up knee, as a clothesline in the corner set up for a missile dropkick. A Fireman’s carry’s escaped as a reverse slam from Jurn, then a curb stomp left Pesca laying, before a Massive Piledriver shut the door. ***

They recap the events of the 22nd Anniversary and Dead End, where Norman Harras cost Bobby Gunns his shot in 16 Carat Gold… then some pre-tapes with Gunns expressing his anger with Harras’ actions.

Sebastian Suave vs. Bobby Gunns
Suave had Harras out with him to do ring introductions, but the crowd wind up Norman so much he gives the job back to Thommy. Complete with all the ridiculous nicknames.

Suave wanted the crowd to be quiet because he had a sudden hearing problem. So of course, Bielefeld respond with piercing whistles and loud chants… which Suave took advantage of to jump Gunns as we got going with the pair laying into each other. A Kitchen sink knee from Gunns puts him ahead, before Suave booted him out of the corner… only to get caught with a Saito suplex. A snapmare and kicks to the back of Suave follow, then some kicks to the front before Suave pulled himself out of the ring to avoid the onslaught. It’s a good move for Suave, who’s able to drop Gunns on the side of the ring before nonchalantly breaking the count, as he then went for a back rake.

Gunns manages to switch things around with kicks as he kept Suave at ringside, but back inside Suave grinds his forearm and elbow onto Gunns’ face in a bid to force a pin. Gunns fights back, wringing Suave’s arm before he ran into a spinebuster that drew a two-count. Suave shows off how he can count to three in many languages, but it doesn’t change the result, as he ends up running into a kick… before kicks from Gunns began to wear down the Canadian. Uppercuts from Gunns in the corner led to front kicks and an Exploder for a near-fall, before Suave ended up on the apron… and baited Gunns into a hanging armbar. Gunns elbows away a spinebuster, then lariated away Suave for another near-fall, but Suave again goes back to a roll-up before he got pulled into a German suplex.

Gunns’ attempt to hit back ends with him running into a spinning Air Raid Crash that nearly won it, before Suave emptied his nose out on Gunns. That drew a reaction, because of course it would, with Gunns absorbing kicks before he fired back with palm strikes. Suave flips off Gunns as the pair tee off on each other amid an attempt at an Irish whip… but its Gunns who pulls ahead, taking Suave into the corner, before a German suplex and a headbutt sank the Canadian. Another PK followed, and that’s enough for the win in a pretty even outing. ***½

We’ve got a promo from AMBOSS’ Icarus and Dover – they challenge the Frenchadors to a tag title match over 16 Carat Gold, noting that even with a handicap, it still took the Frenchadors (and Peter Tihanyi) over ten minutes to get the win in the Käfigschlacht.

wXw Shotgun Championship: Nick Schreier vs. Laurance Roman (c)
It’s an unexpected title shot for Schreier, who has some singles wins under his belt…

Schreier looked to take the initiative early on, locking up with Roman into the corner before the favour was returned. The pair exchange wristlocks, but it’s Roman who pulled ahead, charging down Schreier with a shoulder tackle. Roman looked to add to it, but runs into a drop toe hold as Schreier then added some armdrags, scoring three of them before landing a slingshot sunset flip for a two-count. A neckbreaker followed as Roman tried to get back into it, as a dropkick sent him outside for respite.

Roman throws Schreier into the side of the ring, before a back elbow back inside dumped Schreier for a two-count. Stomps keep Schreier in the corner, while a suplex kept Roman on course, before a pop-up dropkick looked to buy Schreier some time. A clothesline and a wheelbarrow bulldog takes Roman back outside, with a plancha wiping him out on the floor seconds later. Back inside, Schreier lands a crossbody, which doesn’t get the win, before Roman scored with a knee strike. A powerbomb ragdolls Schreier seconds later, but Schreier managed to sneak in an enziguiri, before he gets shoved off into the ropes, where he eats a discus lariat, before a facebuster ended up getting the win. A successful second defence for Roman, but Schreier asked some uncomfortable questions here… ***¼

Road to 16 Carat Gold – Final: Elijah Blum vs. Fast Time Moodo vs. Ahura vs. Levaniel
It’s win or bust for Levaniel – given the ongoing stipulations around Carat… and with it being a normal 4-way, he doesn’t even have to be pinned here.

We’ve a tentative start as the crowd wished for everyone to get Ahura “auf die Fresse.” It led to a defensive Ahura squaring up to Levaniel, before he backfisted Blum, then redirected a Moodo kick to Levaniel, before Moodo got sent outside. Blum’s back to his feet to slap Ahura, much to the delight of the Bielefeld crowd who didn’t seem to want to call him the Flowerman… A dropkick from Blum misses, as the moustache man’s thrown outside… but Levaniel’s back up to swipe at Ahura, then throw him with some suplexes before Ahura avoided a brainbuster. Moodo and Blum get knocked off the apron, as Levaniel went after Ahura with mounted punches in the corner… then a stalling suplex out of it.

Ahura’s lifted onto the apron, but shoves Levaniel off before a springboard back in… saw him land into kicks from all three opponents. With Ahura gone, Levaniel tries to roll-up Blum, but the rookie kicks out as Moodo began to kick Blum’s leg out of his leg. Blum returns with flying forearms and a dropkick to Moodo, before Levaniel raged back with a double clothesline. Levaniel’s caught with a roll-up from Ahura, but a discus lariat spins Ahura down for a two-count – while similar attempts to pin Moodo and Blum yielded two-counts. Ahura catches Levaniel with a kick as he looked to control things, dispatching Blum and Moodo to the outside before he took Levaniel to the corner.

Moodo and Blum trade shots on the outside as Ahura and Levaniel did the same in the corner. A submission attempt from Ahura goes nowhere before he got clotheslined to the outside, having distracted himself with Blum and Moodo. Levaniel stays on Ahura on the outside, but Moodo sneaks in a kick from the apron as ringside got rather crowded. Moodo takes Ahura back inside, and almost put him away with the double underhook facebuster… but Ahura rolls outside as a Parade of Moves broke out. Elijah Blum’s Parting Gift took care of Moodo, while Levaniel’s backbreaker and discus lariat put paid to Blum. A Paradise Waterfalls-like neckbreaker from Ahura drops Levaniel, but Ahura couldn’t follow-up as Moodo caught him on the top rope… eventually leading to a Tower of Doom that Levaniel triggered off.

Levaniel looks to snatch the win with a Galactic Facecrusher on Ahura, but Blum and Moodo break up the cover. Moodo takes the facecrusher, but rolls outside… before Ahura pushed Levaniel into the corner, then threw him outside. Elijah Blum tries to get the unlikely win with a roll-up on Ahura, but Ahura kicks out at two… then again from a roll-up… before the Paradise Waterfalls landed for the win… as Norman Harras had snuck out to hold Levaniel back! Ahura makes it to Carat, and Levaniel is stripped of the wXw Unified World Wrestling title. ***½

Post-match, we’ve a myriad of emotions – joy, disbelief and disgust, as Norman Harras then decided to personally strip Levaniel of the title, in line with the tournament stipulation. Sebastian Suave played Harras’ lackey again in this, attacking Levaniel as Harras joined in with a belt shot.

Eventually Jurn Simmons ran out to make the save, wiping out Suave with clotheslines and boots, before Harras begged off – threatening to fire Jurn if he touched him. Suave capitalised with a low blow, before Bobby Gunns ran out and dispatched Suave with an Exploder. Gunns had no such qualms about going after Harras, dropping a MF-nuke on him, before Harras announced “the biggest comeback”… and booked himself against Bobby Gunns for 16 Carat Gold weekend. Before promptly getting knocked on his arse by Gunns. C’est la vie!

Dominated by the show-long storyline – and tournament – the last televised stop before 16 Carat Gold was all about the manufactured downfall of Levaniel, while setting up a few more bits and pieces for the tournament weekender in Oberhausen next month.