wXw starts the tournament to crown new tag team champions, and Bobby Gunns finds out his next challenger on the latest We Love Wrestling show, brought to you by… us?
Michael Knight submitted Peter Tihanyi in 7:33 (**¾)
wXw World Tag Team Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Aigle Blanc & Senza Volto pinned Dover & Icarus in 8:58 (***)
Bobby Gunns submitted Dennis Zinner in 4:53 (**¾)
Leon van Gasteren pinned Johnny Evers in 7:27 (**¾)
wXw World Tag Team Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Robert Dreissker & Anil Marik pinned Nikita Charisma & Michael Schenkenberg in 14:07 (***¼)
Norman Harras defeated Fast Time Moodo via referee stoppage to retain the wXw Shotgun Championship in 7:23 (***)
For those wondering “why are there only seven teams?” in the tag title tournament… wXw revealed over the weekend that the Pretty Bastards get a bye to the semi-finals in lieu of the rematch they couldn’t get for the titles. Dave Bradshaw is on English commentary as he runs down tonight’s card… but first, we find out who Bobby Gunns’ next challenger is.
Andy Jackson’s in the ring as he brings out Felix Kohlenberg to make the announcement, alongside the fuel of wXw’s festival weekends: Monster Energy. Felix tells us they’ve look at results and performances over the last little while, and they got their shortlist of contenders: Tristan Archer, Robert Dreissker and Marius al-Ani, all of whom come out to their music.
Kohlenberg goes over the credentials everyone’s bringing: Dreissker’s win over Bobby Gunns and al-Ani’s long unbeaten run sticking out here… and of course, 18-0 is what makes al-Ani the next contender to the title. It’ll happen at Dead End 2021 – airing over WrestleMania weekend – as wXw bring back the marquee show in this format. Dreissker and Archer exit stage left as Andy goes to interview the new top contender, who claims he feels like Versace but is treated like Adidas. Marius is fed up of being fed scraps, and promises to take everything on offer.
Backstage, Archer and Dreissker are with Christian Bischof – they’re disappointed to miss out on the shot (even if Archer didn’t realise because of the language barrier)… while Dreissker’s looking to focus on the Academy for the time being, especially because Dreissker kinda guessed that win over Gunns wouldn’t count for too much.
Michael Knight returns to wXw, as he’s with Andy Jackson. He was previously in wXw in the late noughties briefly, but has been a mainstay of the European scene… today, Knight’s facing Peter Tihanyi, and he gives away that he’ll try to keep the Hungarian grounded.
Michael Knight vs. Peter Tihanyi
Tihanyi came up short against Marius al-Ani last week, and is looking to get his first win in wXw.
We get going with a lock-up that ends in the ropes… wash, rinse, repeat, as Tihanyi grabs a side headlock, then came back after Knight telegraphed a floatover out of the corner. They take it to the mat as Knight tries to roll out of the side headlock, but Knight escapes and wrings the arm to get free.
Tihanyi reverses it, but gets taken down for a toe hold… only to escape and hit a dropkick to take Knight outside, as he then faked out a dive. Knight gets back inside and charges Tihanyi into the corner as he worked over the leg, dropkicking it in the ropes. A side Russian legsweep from Knight gets a one-count, as he then ties up the legs in a Deathlock, which ends in the ropes.
Knight kicks Tihanyi’s leg out of his leg as the veteran began to pull ahead, stretching Tihanyi with a figure-four toe hold. Tihanyi gets free and makes a comeback with a PK for a two-count, before Knight deadlifts Tihanyi up for a flapjack, before a half crab ended in the ropes. Tihanyi hits a leaping knee to surprise Knight, then a spinning enziguiri before he hobbled up top, but his 450 splash ends badly as he lands on his bad legs. A shinbreaker followed from Knight, before he rolled Tihanyi into a Trailer Hitch for the win. An efficient outing from Knight, who stuck to his gameplan and won. **¾
Promo time with the Arrows of Hungary – they’re looking to go one further than they did at 2019’s World Tag Team Festival and win the tag titles.
wXw World Tag Team Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Aigle Blanc & Senza Volto vs. Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover)
The French lads come in as relative underdogs here, and it’s Icarus and Aigle who start us off.
A side headlock from Blanc leads to a springboard headlock takedown, but Blanc gets pushed off into the ropes. His kick’s flipped back, but he’s able to take Icarus into the corner before a float in was caught… Blanc eventually finds a way out with a ‘rana, as Senza Volto tagged in to try and take control. Except he flew off the top rope and caught Blanc’s arm on the way down.
Dover’s in, but Volto escapes, floating over a clothesline before a springboard ‘rana took Dover down for a two-count. Blanc’s back, but he’s pushed away by the Arrows as Icarus picks up a two-count, before a missed enziguiri sees Icarus ground Blanc with a half nelson that ended in the ropes. An ankle lock stays there, as Dover tags in to hit a slam for a two-count. Icarus is back with a chinlock to Blanc, then a surfboard stretch, but Blanc gets free… and gets knocked down in the corner. An up-kick buys Blanc some time, but Dover’s run around to pull Senza Volto off the apron as Blanc went for a tag, before Dover’s uranage dumped Blanc into Icarus’ knees for a nice two-count.
Eventually fighting free, Blanc flips out of a German suplex and tags in Senza Volto who goes wild with clotheslines and springboard dropkicks. A handspring back elbow lands for a two-count for Volto, who brings Blanc back in… Icarus is caught with leaping enziguiri in the corner ahead of a springboard Meteora to the back of the head that sparks a big ol’ Parade of Moves that nearly wins it for the French team.
Volto’s dumped to the outside as Icarus nearly pins Blanc with a roll-up… a kick-assisted Fire Thunder Driver nearly gets Dover the win, as Icarus went outside to take care of Senza… Blanc’s charged into the corner for a gamengiri, with a cannonball following for a near-fall as the ropes saved the White Eagle. Dover tags in on Icarus’ head as they look to put away Blanc with the Crossfire, but Senza Volto comes in with a handspring cutter to Icarus. Dover boots him out, but Blanc counters a suplex into an inside cradle, and there’s your upset as the Arrows go out in the quarters! A good showing in defeat for the Arrows, but it’s Volto and Blanc who go into the semis. ***
Post-match, Andy Jackson interviews the French lads – Senza’s hyped up and starts singing La Marseillaise.
We’re told that Vincent Heisenberg has decided not to participate in the tag title tournament after the issues with Anil Marik last week… so Robert Dreissker’s taking the vacant spot instead.
Backstage, Bobby Gunns is interviewed about his new title contender. He reckons Marius al-Ani is just copying him from the past, what with the ground grappling and punchlines. Today, Gunns faces Dennis Zinner in another non-title match – Gunns mocks Zinner for having two names and being a “TikTok clown”…
Dennis Zinner vs. Bobby Gunns
Commentary pushes Zinner’s TikTok followers – like he’s a new Zack Ryder.
We open with a lock-up as Gunns works Zinner’s arm, but Zinner’s reversal ends with him getting caught with a right hand. Uppercuts from Gunns take Zinner into the corner, before elbows from Zinner led to a dropkick as he pushed ahead. A clothesline followed, but Gunns counters out of a fireman’s carry into a mounted sleeperhold that ended in the ropes.
Uppercuts from Gunns trap Zinner in the corner again, before he pulled him down into an armbar. The ropes save Zinner, whose arm remained the main focal point for Gunns, with a chicken wing looking to force a submission. Zinner breaks it up in the corner, then booted away Gunns before a double-jump springboard clothesline took the champion down. More clotheslines follow, then a leg lariat, before a spinebuster left Gunns down… but Zinner’s Fireman’s carry is countered as Gunns slipped out into an Octopus hold, pulling him down to the mat for a Swish armbar that earns a quick stoppage. A good TV-style match, with Zinner getting some offence, only to get stopped in short order by the dominant champion. **¾
After five months off, Levaniel’s Heavenly Castle is back! He’s here to celebrate with his new tag team partner Marius al-Ani, who’s called out.
Except Marius is in no hurry to appear, so Levaniel raps to his music. Eventually al-Ani appears in his street clothes, completely bewildered by the whole scene. Levaniel looks to discuss tag team finishers, but Marius is unaware that Levaniel signed them up on the basis of his sarcastic remark last week.
Marius doesn’t want any part of this, considering he’s got a title shot in the bank for Dead End. Levaniel tells us he indulged in some casual identity fraud as he rattled off his work history… Marius keeps reminding Levaniel that tag team wrestling is “behind him”, but Levaniel tells him he’s “the new Andy”, “the old fat one with the catchphrases.” Apparently there’s no way back, so Marius might have to do double duty… and he sounds THRILLED.
Backstage, Andy Jackson plugs the “ghost” tickets for wXw, and then moved on to interview Leon van Gasteren. Leon’s someone happy with Marius’ progression, but not with his attitude.
Johnny Evers vs. Leon van Gasteren
Save for a brief run at Shortcut to the Top last year, Evers hasn’t been in wXw for a while.
We open with a handshake and a lock-up that sees van Gasteren backed into the ropes. Evers tries again and is successful with a waistlock takedown, but van Gasteren hits uppercuts to Evers’ arm, then took him down for a grounded wristlock. Evers gets to his feet, but van Gasteren hits a boot to the gut, then came back with a side headlock before Evers went in with one of his own.
Van Gasteren’s leapfrog’s caught and turned into a slam for a two-count, before a leaping elbow drop adds another two-count. Leon returns fire with a kick and a rolling neckbreaker, taking Evers into the corner before a springboard uppercut knocked down the Dutchman. Chops keep Evers in the corner, but he comes back with an elbow out of it. A big boot from Evers is blocked as van Gasteren went for a Stunner… that’s pushed away as Evers keeps going. A chinlock keeps van Gasteren down, as do some right hands, but Leon’s back with a German suplex and a clothesline for a near-fall. From there, Leon picks up Evers for a cross-legged Falcon arrow, but it’s still not enough as Evers returns with a roll-up and a running elbow. Van Gasteren kicks out at two, then ducked a crossbody off the top as Evers crashed and burned, before a Stunner gets van Gasteren the win. A decent match with Evers having some good spells, but one big error proved to be his undoing. **¾
Backstage, Andy Jackson’s with Rott und Flott – Nikita Charisma and Michael Schenkenberg. They’re in the tag title tournament next, and Charisma’s all “I told you so” after his performance last week, reminding us that he’s still bitter about being turned down years ago.
wXw World Tag Team Championship Tournament – Quarter-Final: Flott und Rott (Nikita Charisma & Michael Schenkenberg) vs. wXw Wrestling Academy (Anil Marik & Robert Dreissker)
C’mon Robert. You know the move I’m waiting to pop for.
Marik and Charisma start us off but it’s Charisma who looked to draw first blood (metaphorically) with a toe-hold. That’s pushed away as Marik’s waistlock is countered out of… he gets it back, but Charisma grabs a side headlock, before some hair pulling took Marik down as the pair trade pinning attempts before we settle down.
Another lock-up sees Marik take down Charisma for an armbar, but Charisma fights out with an Irish whip before he got dropkicked. Marik takes him into the corner for a forearm, before an enziguiri and a Slingblade left Charisma down for a two-count.
Marik goes back to the wrist, and takes Charisma to the corner for Dreissker to tag in. Schenkenberg also gets the tag, but he’s restrained with a side headlock… Schenkenberg escapes and goes for a side headlock of his own, but Dreissker pushes free and hits a shoulder tackle. A slam’s next, then a splash for a two-count, before a grounded chinlock kept Schenkenberg down. Marik tags back in and suplexes Schenkenberg, getting a two-count from that, before Dreissker returned to take Schenkenberg into the ropes for a pair of shoulder tackles. A snapmare from Marik gets a two-count as the coach and student pairing keep each other fresh with frequent tags, but Schenkenberg catches a crossbody and slams Marik to the mat.
Schenkenberg tosses Marik to the outside, then distracted the ref as Charisma stomped away on Marik as Dreissker argued… back inside, Schenkenberg grabs Marik in a chinlock, before Charisma came back in and threw Marik into the corner. He gets carried away as Marik responds with a roll-up for a two-count, before taking an elbow drop, as a full nelson kept Marik in trouble.
Charisma stretches Marik across his back in a funky submission… Schenkenberg tags back in to hit a bulldog out of that submission for a two-count as Dreissker makes the save. Schenkenberg corners Marik with some knees, but Marik escapes and rolls out to make the tag to Dreissker, who clears house with clotheslines… and there you go! Back body drop! A splash in the corner followed for a two-count, with Charisma making a nuisance of himself only to get scared away by the Austrian.
The distraction works for Schenkenberg, who hits a back suplex for a two-count, before an Irish whip took Schenkenberg into the corner. It gives Dreissker enough time to tag out to Marik, who flies in off the top with a crossbody for a near-fall on Schenkenberg. Charisma breaks it up, then hit Marik with an enziguiri for a two-count before Marik again tried to fight through the numbers game.
An errant enziguiri from Charisma drops Schenkenberg, as Dreissker tags back in to clear house. A fallaway slam tosses Charisma to the corner, before a Dreissker Bomb gets the win. An enjoyable outing for the Academy team, who seem to be a good blend of youth and experience – outlasting the shenanigans from Rott und Flott… but I do wonder, if they persevere, does Heisenberg try to sneak back in to claim the glory? ***¼
Post-match, Andy Jackson got in a dig on Anil Marik for “no communication errors” as Dreissker revealed the tape study after the “embarrassment” of last week, which he blamed on an overindulgent Christmas.
Next week: EZEL’s Abdul and Aytac take on Levaniel and Marius al-Ani in our remaining tag title tournament quarter-final… also next week, the Pretty Bastards speak.
Fast Time Moodo is interviewed by Andy Jackson before the main event – he’s been drawn for a Shotgun title match here. Moodo knows he’s got to be ready for some cheap tricks, as Andy then brings up Moodo’s recent bad form… which drew what could be best described as an unwanted reaction. Sometimes it’s best not to poke the bear.
wXw Shotgun Championship: Fast Time Moodo vs. Norman Harras (c)
We’ve a 15-minute time limit, as is the way with the Shotgun title these days.
When we get going, Norman shoves Moodo… who shoves back before swinging for a kick. Norman catches a kick, then grabs a side headlock and takes Moodo to the mat. Moodo gets up, but Norman holds firm before he was shoved into the ropes… and comes back with a shoulder tackle.
Moodo kips up, then finds a way through with kicks and body blows before he swept the leg. Blows from above have Harras covering up, before a triangle choke had the champion in trouble. Harras tries to powerbomb out, but instead elbows free before missing a stomp… Moodo’s back with kicks into the corner ahead of a sliding punch as Norman rolled outside for respite. Moodo joins him out there, but a running kick from Harras dumps Moodo on the floor, with kicks to the legs following. Back inside, Harras pushes Moodo back down with his foot, but Moodo responds with some more kicks before a stomp to Harras’ back gets a two-count.
Harras tries to fight back from the mat, but Moodo keeps going with kicks, including a roundhouse enziguiri before Harras hit back with a German suplex. An uppercut’s next for a two-count for the champion, before an attempted German suplex was broken in the ropes. Norman tries again, but Moodo elbows free, then sweeps out the leg ahead of some more kicks as Harras tries to sit up.
A kick to the back of the head leaves Norman reeling, but he kicks out at two and looked to throw Moodo to the outside. Moodo hits a kick from the apron, then kicked Harras back to the corner for a spinning heel kick… but a second sliding D misses as Harras looked to have removed the turnbuckle cover, with Moodo sliding ribs-first into the buckles. Moodo has a bad reaction to that and they call off the match as Moodo was struggling to breathe. Once again, Harras ekes out what some may say is a lucky win, as that one turnbuckle pad going AWOL proved to be the difference. He’ll get his comeuppance… ***
Post-match, Andy Jackson notes how Norman managed to “squeak out” another defence… Norman gets mad at the suggestion of luck, as he continued to paint himself as overcoming all the odds. He’s told that next week, he’ll face Cash Crash (Dennis Dullnig) in his latest title defence. In the post-match replays we see Norman loosening that turnbuckle pad as he was on the floor – so that luck was entirely manufactured!
As we’ve seen with European wrestling in general, there’s a big re-stocking of the scene going on. wXw started making the moves last year before the pandemic hit, but like with everyone else they’ve had challenges: names being signed, talent not being available because of covid restrictions and what have you – but the talent they are using, whether they’re new for these tapings or already established favourites, are being used well, with pretty much everyone featured on these shows has something to do – rather than “just wrestle”… and the return of a tentpole event in Dead End gives some fresh spice for these shows as well.