One week on from True Colors, wXw were back on the road, as Frankfurt played host to the latest featured stop on the We Love Wrestling tour.
The headline here saw the return of Zack Sabre Jr for the first time since 2016’s World Tag Team League – after his planned return at wXw’s 17th Anniversary Show last December was canned due to illness. We’re in the Batschkapp in Frankfurt, with Christian Jakobi flying solo on commentary, complete with a timely “ping” for the hashtag…
Marius al-Ani vs. Ivan Kiev vs. David Starr vs. Emil Sitoci
David Starr’s got a new t-shirt, and it’s already out of date as he’s added “Best of the Best” to his list o’ nicknames. Why was it useful? Thommy Giesen didn’t read out the names today, so Starr threw a little fit and decided to do it himself, in spite of a vocal section of the crowd who didn’t want to hear the full intro. It’s a nice little nod to the character he’s been slowly morphing into across Europe – and who knows, it may give him that edge he needs to get the WALTER off his back here.
Originally announced as a three-way dance, Sitoci was added late on to this, and we got going with Starr trying to give Sitoci and Kiev a German suplex at the same time, before that burst into a series of pinning predicaments as every man got near falls en route to a rush of headlock takedowns.
Yep, that made me dizzy too!
A Human Centipede of side headlocks come next, with Starr leading and clinging on, before it’s finally shoved away as Starr and Kiev stood firm and scored with shoulder tackles… and we’re finally pairing off with Kiev and Starr. Kiev landed a dropkick to take Starr outside as we began the revolving door effect, leading to al-Ani landing a dropkick of his own before his slingshot sunset flip was cut-off by a returning Starr.
More dropkicks take Kiev to the outside as Sitoci cut off a dive, taking Starr to the floor with headscissors, before our dives started with a plancha from Sitoci, a tope from Starr and a springboard cannonball that Kiev just about got off! Back inside, Kiev tried to go after Marius, scoring with an overhead kick and a Fisherman’s buster for a near-fall, before Emil Sitoci’s blocked Snapmare Driver just led to him giving Kiev some Sliced Bread. al-Ani blocks another Snapmare Driver, countering into an ankle lock before he was shoved into a Cherry Mint DDT by Starr, as Sitoci countered back with a Fireman’s carry gutbuster and a split-legged moonsault for a near-fall… because Marius pulls Emil away with an ankle lock. Kiev broke that up with a top rope leg lariat, as Starr keeps the string going with a Blackheart Buster for a two-count on Ivan.
A modified Tower of Doom follows as Marius powerbombed Starr during a back superplex to Kiev, which Sitoci capitalised on with a top rope elbow to Starr for another near-fall as we finally had a breather! That quickly gave way as all four men traded blows, until Kiev redirected a spinning heel kick from al-Ani into the path of Starr, before another leg lariat’s caught and turned into an ankle lock, with Marius grapevining the leg to give Ivan no choice but to tap. My word, this was a fun and frenetic opener – a bit of a Marmite match if you’re not into four-ways, but very well done to get the crowd warmed up. ***½
Clips from Shotgun last week air, where we find out Emil Sitoci’s plan for Dirty Dragan: the trial series! That first match is next… so who would Dragan’s first top star be?
Dirty Dragan vs. Absolute Andy
Uh-oh. Well, they did say it’d be the top stars, and with the 16 Carat Gold winner, Dragan’s starting off with a really stern test. Dragan’s dyed his air again, looking a little like Paul Gascoigne from Euro 96, as I imagine this’ll become a bit of a nightmare for Dennis Birkendahl on the match graphics…
Andy refused to disrobe, as he didn’t take Dragan seriously at all – even giving him the chance to lay down for him rather than get hurt. Dragan kicked away a handshake and I guess we get underway, as Andy finally takes off his hoodie, just as Dragan unloads with Karate-style chops.
Andy quickly stuffs that offence, clinging onto the rope and sending Dragan to the outside, where Andy kept up the pressure with chops. Back inside, shots from above and a boot keep Dragan down, as this was looking to be a squash… but Dragan wouldn’t stay down! A backbreaker followed as Dragan didn’t look to be offering much of a threat, beyond a few hopeful shots.
Dragan’s whipped into the corner for a back body drop, but somehow Dragan is able to escape the F5 and roll up Andy for a near-fall… only to turn around into a spinebuster. The A-Klasse’s escaped as Dragan was at least able to avoid the big stuff, but his decision to follow up with clotheslines led to his downfall as Andy ducks one and spun Dragan with the F5 for the straightforward win. Very academic from Absolute Andy, as you’d expect from someone of his standing. **½
Post-match, Andy keeps beating down on Dragan, then threatened the A-Klasse before Emil Sitoci jogged down for the save… which ended up with Emil taking an F5 instead. In the end, Sitoci’s back up and tried to rally Dragan, who got applause from the crowd despite defeat. There’s a long way to go, and this is just the start of the Dirty Dragan story… hopefully we’ll get a different hairstyle for each match, just to really mess with us!
Melanie Gray vs. Killer Kelly
The ongoing rivalry between Melanie Gray and the latest woman whom she’s felt has “usurped her” in wXw, Killer Kelly, is next. Shotguns past have had plenty of segments between these two to build this up, and Melanie’s clearly angry at how she’s been brushed aside for a rookie… and all of the social media buzz for Kelly is getting under her skin.
Gray jumps Kelly before the bell, shoving her down to the floor as the match started at ringside, with Melanie putting the boots to her Portuguese foe. Well, after what happened at the 17th Anniversary show, that shouldn’t be a shock. Melanie tried to get the referee to raise her hand and get the win via forfeit, but Kelly returned to the ring in the nick of time, throwing forearms as the bell finally goes, just in time for a big pump kick to Gray, who rolled outside… where Kelly kept up on her by throwing her into the crowd.
Gray reverses it though, taking Kelly into the front row, but her follow-up senton misses as Gray ate nothing but those chairs before getting booted to the floor. Melanie did hold on as Kelly tried to whip her into the ringpost, but that too gets reversed, as Melanie finally took it back into the ring as the clubbering continued.
A backbreaker, then a Gunn slinger followed for Gray, but Kelly kicked out at two, before she was wiped out with a clothesline as this too looked to be pretty one-sided. Finally Kelly began the fightback, only for her suplex to get blocked as a series of slaps to the back kept Gray ahead. That was the last straw though, as Kelly came back with a cravat and some knees before suplexing Melanie into the corner, ahead of the Shibata-ish dropkick!
On the outside, Kelly keeps up with the Cristiano – the PK off the apron – then chased her to the other side of the floor for a teased German suplex off the ramp. Melanie blocked it and countered into a suplex on the ramp, before rolling Kelly into the Mella-dram cloverleaf on the floor to try and force a count-out… and although it didn’t work there, Gray took the match back to the ring and reapplied the hold, forcing the submission. A surprisingly one-sided outing, but it keeps the story up of Killer Kelly rebuilding herself after “winning the title too early”… and I would dare wager we’re going back to Melanie vs. Toni at some point after Superstars of Wrestling. **¾
Clips from True Colors aired, showing Mark Davis winning the four-way at a shot at Bobby Gunns’ Shotgun title… then the attack on Shotgun where Dunkzilla threw Gunns into a wall and a clothes rack…
wXw Shotgun Championship: Mark Davis vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
You’ll be happy to know the “Gunns! Bobby Gunns!” chants have reached Frankfurt…
Gunns tries to out-wrestle his bigger opponent to start with, taking the Australian into the ropes, but a cheeky uppercut is met in kind, before David shrugged off a rope-hung armbar as Gunns’ usual gameplan looked to get thrown out of the window.
Plan B was to try a test of strength, which was just a ruse for a headlock attempt that Davis easily shoved off and follow through, as Gunns’ submission game was just getting powered through, as an abdominal stretch attempt ended with him getting hiptossed over the top rope. The next plan was to stick and move, but David catches a kick and throws one of those killer high fives before popping up Gunns into a flapjack for good measure.
Chops take Gunns onto the apron, but he’s able to sucker Davis in with the rope-hung armbar, before flying in with a forearm as he started to take the fight to the Australian, nailing a diving dropkick for a near-fall. Gunns starts to work on the arm again, stomping on Davis’ forearms and hand, before tying him up with armbars.
More shots to the arm follow, as does some joint manipulation and a thump snap, but Davis tries to fire back with slaps and a discus lariat, but another hanging armbar follows, one that Davis powerbombed out of before clocking Gunns with a sliding lariat in the corner for a near-fall. The inverted Angle slam’s avoided as Gunns tried a guillotine choke, only to get charged into the corner. Wash, rinse, repeat, but this time Davis tries to suplex out and ends up getting the inverted Angle slam for a near-fall.
The pull-up piledriver follows, but Gunns again countered into a triangle armbar, before switching to a guillotine choke once more. Davis escaped as Gunns tried to clothesline him back to the mat, succeeding with a rebound German suplex off the ropes. Another guillotine from Gunns gets blocked, as he gets taken up top, but Gunns slips out and brings Davis down with a superplex, before switching into the another armbar as Davis this time made the ropes.
Gunns and Davis go back to slugging it out, swapping uppercuts and elbows, before Gunns countered Davis again and dragged him into a Swish armbar for the submission. This was a fun little match, with Davis initially outsmarting Gunns’ game, gradually getting worn down throughout the match before eventually falling to the armbar. ***½
We get a replay from Shotgun, of Alexander James asking for a big opportunity… that led to James making an appearance, where he bragged about going toe-to-toe with some of wXw’s finest. It seemed that James was meant to be facing Ilja Dragunov… but Ilja’s injured. James tries to spin it as him being “weak” and “afraid” – with the intimation that it was Ilja’s son that caused it bringing out the wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion.
Referees hold back Ilja as James continued to taunt him – before bowing and leaving, but not before Ilja decked him with a Torpedo Moscau! A fun little diversion, with James vowing that he’ll be back to take his title.
wXw World Tag Team Championship: Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero) (c)
It’s a feature show debut for the Arrows – who’d appeared on a show in Gifhorn a month ago, and a prior tour stop in Prague in November 2015.
Icarus refused the offer if a handshake at the bell, and was instantly taken into the corner by Julian Nero for some mounted punches. Just the five, mind you, before Avalanche came in to throw Icarus across the ring with ease. Dover gets involved, distracting Avalanche, but Icarus couldn’t capitalise as he relied on Dover pulling Avalanche outside as the pair threw Avalanche into the ring steps.
Nero charges around to their corner to get some payback, but he’s quickly dropped with a back suplex from Dover, who then sent Icarus onto Nero with a back body drop to keep the pressure up. The Arrows worked over Nero while Avalanche was on the outside, as Dover stomps on Nero in the corner before an atomic drop was fought out of, allowing Nero to reply with Wasteland.
Avalanche still isn’t back though, and Icarus is able to tag in to drop Nero with a standing moonsault for a near-fall. More double-teaming keeps Nero down, with Dover’s chinlock keeping Nero on the mat ahead of a T-bone suplex and an assisted cannonball. Chops in the corner from Icarus keep Nero worn down, but he begins a fight back, booting the Arrows away just as Avalanche got back onto the apron… and he gets the hot tag, clotheslining through the Hungarians before scoring with a Samoan drop and a body splash to Dover!
The sidewinder follows – the sidewalk slam/legdrop combo – but Icarus saves the pin with a senton bomb before low bridging Avalanche to the outside. Kicks to Nero followed as the Arrows tried to snatch the win, courtesy of Dover’s neckbreaker slam, but Nero barely gets his shoulder up in time. The Arrows tried for their crossfire kicks, but Avalanche made the save pulling Dover to the floor, only to get crashed into by a moonsault from Icarus!
Icarus returned to the ring to try and stomp Nero, but it misses as a diving knee gets Nero a near-fall. Nero fights back with forearms to both of the Arrows, before he’s stopped by a pair of chops as the Arrows accidentally caught each other with a springboard enziguiri… right as Avalanche tagged in to tease a the Final Consultation (double-team Go To Sleep). That too is delayed, before the Avalanche nailed it and a ripcord lariat for the win. An impressive outing from the Arrows, who surely have earned future dates from this – and a fine defence from the newly-crowned tag team champions. ***¾
We’re backstage next for a joint meeting of the new RISE. Pete Bouncer’s at pains to call this a conversation, not a dictation, but Tarkan Aslan’s pipes up as he queries RISE’s lack of success lately. Ivan Kiev put the blame on Bad Bones, while Lucky Kid was asked for his goals: he wants to become Shotgun champion and have Aslan back in the ring. With all that in mind, Pete Bouncer has his own goal: to take care of Da Mack.
We head to the ring then, with Bouncer calling Bad Bones history, allowing RISE to be a team again. After doing the Spinal Tap thing of calling everyone in the crowd a member of RISE, Bouncer invited out Da Mack… but he’s not there. Who is there though, is Lucky Kid, who happened to be in our main event!
Lucky Kid vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Had you announced this before 16 Carat weekend, a lot of folks would have felt disappointed by this… but that weekend made Lucky such a star, this feels like a worthy main event.
Zack’s out in his black Suzuki-gun jacket for his return, which makes me hopeful that we’re getting THAT ZSJ. Sabre did get in Lucky’s face before the bell, but when we get going it’s a rather more tentative start, as Sabre took Kid to the mat… although Kid didn’t seem too fussed by that, as he was more than willing to play his games.
Sabre’s already swearing at Tarkan Aslan at ringside, but Tarkan’s not providing too much of a distraction as Kid scored with a drop toe hold as those fun and games continued. Zack slowly tried to get into it, dropping Lucky as he started to work over the legs with a bridging Indian deathlock, before mocking the RISE pose. That’ll not go down well…
Some pie-facing from Zack led him to take down Kid again, before Lucky avoids a PK and an uppercut to take Sabre outside with a low dropkick… and we know what’s next. Blaah! That angers Sabre, who tries to throw apart some chairs, all while Lucky beckoned him back to the ring. That sitting position almost left Lucky in a bad place, but he ends up avoiding a PK by hugging onto Sabre’s leg.
Anyone who’s ever had a cat can relate. Even Tas found it funny, at least until Kid was booted back do the mat as they exchanged kicks from a sitting position, ending with Sabre switching it up as he twisted Lucky’s neck between his legs. With Lucky down, Sabre picked his shots, calling Lucky “not in my league”, which eventually brought Kid back into action… at least until he was felled by another slap.
One guy in the crowd dared say “this is boring”… which was met with the perfect response from Sabre as he gave the Frankfurt crowd a lesson in some choice swear words! Another stiff slap puts Lucky Kid down, where a Japanese stranglehold was used to try and force a submission, but Lucky stands up and almost reverses the hold, only for Zack to quickly reapply it as they went back-and-forth.
Lucky’s able to escape and take Zack into the corner with the shotgun dropkick, following up with charging uppercuts before an overhead kick to the arm snuffed out that offence. A gamengiri from the apron tries to get Kid back in, as he followed back in with a missile shotgun dropkick to almost snatch victory. Some overhand chops from Lucky looked to keep him set, but Sabre again escaped and hits a suplex to put both men on the mat.
They resume, trading slaps and strikes once more, before Sabre chained a tornado DDT into a butterfly hold as he rolled through his list o’ submissions, until Lucky got to the ropes. Kid’s again forced to fight back to his feet, as he fells Sabre with another overhead chop, before a handspring elbow from Kid is caught and turned into a Dragon sleeper… only for Kid to roll to the ropes. Now that’s Lucky! Sabre’s right back in with kicks to the chest, kicks that Lucky seemed to invite, but he was able to kick out after a PK put him down on the mat. Once Kid got back to his feet, he was forced to defend himself some more, but he was pulled into an abdominal stretch… only for Tarkan Aslan to slip some brass knuckles onto Lucky’s hand as the ref wasn’t watching. Kid threw them aside though, and tries to snatch the win… but he’s forced to kick out of a Euro clutch as Sabre went back to work, setting up Kid for one more PK…
…but Kid avoids it and cradles Sabre to almost snatch victory, only for the pair to trade more strikes, ahead of an Asai DDT from Lucky Kid! Sabre’s still kicking out as Lucky gave him a taste of his own medicine with slaps and kicks. Some chops to the chest ricocheted off of Sabre’s chest as he was in the ropes, but Zack hits back as you’d expect, before falling to a handspring back elbow… only to trap Kid in a triangle armbar. Somehow, Lucky powerbombed his way free, and almost takes the win from there.
Sabre again tries for a Euro clutch, but the counter is countered into an Octopus hold, before Sabre trapped him in a mixture of a grounded abdominal stretch with a trapped arm as Lucky had nowhere to go apart from submitting. If you’re a fan of Zack’s matches, this will be your cup of tea – the loss won’t harm Lucky Kid, as he held his own against one of the world’s best; but you’ve got to remember, not even two months ago, Lucky Kid was “just a guy” in RISE, so these things take time. ****
As a show, wXw’s stop-off in Frankfurt was more story-focused show than usual – as witnessed in the Dirty Dragan trial series, and the latest progression of the Melanie Gray story that you could say is all about her entitlement. That being said, while the in-ring action didn’t quite reach the dizzying heights of True Colors, this a worthy show, with the main event in particular being quite special for the wXw career of Lucky Kid. The next big stop for wXw is their Superstars of Wrestling show in Oberhausen in a little over a week – featuring some more casual-friendly names on the bill such as Tenille Dashwood (vs. Toni Storm, non-title), Christopher Daniels (vs. Bobby Gunns for the Shotgun title) and Jay Lethal (vs. Lucky Kid, in what ought to be another cracker of a match).