wXw’s We Love Wrestling tour headed to Frankfurt for what would end up as Axel Dieter Jr’s penultimate show – as he’d face-off with RINGKAMPF partner WALTER in a captivating main event.
wXw Tag Team Championships: A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius al-Ani) (c) vs. Bobby Gunns & Jaxon Stone
A decidedly makeshift team provide the challengers in our opener here, but Jaxon Stone has trouble disrobing as he takes his sweet time taking off his shiny gold gear… which led to him getting F5’d at the bell, forcing Bobby Gunns to make the save to prevent a rapid squash.
Gunns didn’t fare much better, taking a bunch of shoulder blocks as Andy absolutely was on fire, allowing the champions to really isolate Gunns in the opening phases. A double-team suplex leads to al-Ani going for the leaping sit-down senton, but Stone makes the save as the tide turned, with Gunns catching Marius with a Suzuki-like armbar in the ropes.
We get some double-teaming as Stone slaps Marius as he was held in a camel clutch, before Gunns decided to thrust his crotch at al-Ani… who snapped back into it after that, firing forearms to get out of the corner, then score with a sunset flip into an Exploder! Andy returns to pull off a delayed vertical suplex on Gunns, before a spinebuster gets a near-fall. Gunns ducks a superkick, only to fall into a back cracker as Andy headed up top… and saw his flying elbow turned into an armbar.
Marius al-Ani broke that up as all four men ended up in the ring, ending with the challengers getting dropkicked into each other. Gunns again goes for an armbar to avoid an F5, whilst al-Ani’s missile dropkick is turned into a Boston crab by Stone… but Andy powered up and swung Gunns into Stone to break up both moves.
Andy continues with a plancha to the outside, before A4 planted Gunns with more double teams as a wheelbarrow suplex from al-Ani looked to set up for a Magic Killer… but Gunns avoided it and went back to that armbar. Gunns then decides to light up a cigarette – that gets superkicked out of his mouth by Andy, as the match continues to teeter, with Stone getting a two-count with the Cutaway (over-the-knee brainbuster). al-Ani returns with a spinning heel kick to Jaxon, before leaping into a DDT on Gunns that gets blocked. Andy eventually disposes of Stone as Gunns gets caught in that leaping seated senton after all, before the F5/Frog Splash combo earned A4 a near-fall, thanks to Stone breaking up the count. Jaxon takes a DDT, then an Absolute Knee Drop before a superkick was caught.
Jaxon goes up top, but he’s caught too as Andy busts out a top rope ‘rana, and now we get a double-team stunner as A4 finally pick up the win. This was a really fun opener, although I’m not too crazy about the makeshift team pushing them this far – even if Gunns and Stone had a good outing here. ***½
Francis Kaspin vs. Da Mack
In recent weeks on wXw Shotgun, Mack’s been out of sorts, bemoaning his downturn in fortunes and hinting at a turn to the dark side. Yet he’s still out in his Michael Jackson gear for now…
They shake hands to begin with, before Kaspin grabs a headlock… that Mack handwalks free of. Mack cartwheels out of an armbar then sweeps the leg, before the pair go back and forth in the corner until an overhead belly-to-belly gets Mack an early near-fall. The pack slows down when Mack grabs an arm, before Kaspin works free and takes him into the corner for a forearm.
Mack comes back with a double leapfrog into a dropkick, a la SANADA, before clotheslining Kaspin to the outside where he followed up with a PK off the apron and a cannonball to the floor. Back inside, Mack turns up the pressure with a snapping suplex, but a falling clothesline off the middle rope sees Kaspin keep a foot in the proverbial door.
Kaspin’s overhand chop drops Mack to a knee, but the Urban German returns fire with a Slingblade, before landing a forearm off the top rope. Bobby Gunns wanders down to the ring for some reason, and of course that distracts Da Mack into awkwardly taking a face-first bump.
Mack counters a crossbody off the top into the Mack Magic (RKO), and then he gets even more distracted by Gunns, which allowed Kaspin to rush in with a shotgun dropkick. Another Mack comeback leads to Gunns getting in the ring, but he scarpers before anything can happen, and even more distraction leaves Kaspin able to score a springboard bulldog for the win – whilst apologising to Mack for taking advantage. Yep, Da Mack did NOT like that! A decent outing, but my God, when will they end the Mack/Gunns feud? **¾
After the match, Kaspin throws himself into a hug, which Mack begrudgingly accepts…
We get a lengthy video package recapping the recent history between Cerberus – from their implosion to the current feud between Ilja Dragunov and Avalanche. I said it during my Shotgun review last week, but I feel that this maybe starting to cool down Ilja after his 16 Carat Gold win.
Special Referee: Julian Nero – Avalanche vs. Ilja Dragunov
Julian’s got his own “Nero Consulting” logo on his ref’s shirt, which is a nice touch. They start with forearms back and forth, and it’s not long before Avalanche uses his size advantage to take Ilja into the corner, before flattening Ilja with a legdrop for an early two-count.
Dragunov fights back with clotheslines, only for Avalanche to backdrop him onto the apron, then body attack him to the floor. They fight around ringside, with Avalanche crashing into the post as Ilja moved, before Dragunov looked to throw him into the crowd – instead settling for a big boot in the aisle.
Julian Nero orders Ilja into the ring – and literally throws him in – before laying down so Ilja could connect with a tope to Avalanche on the floor. Back inside, Dragunov misses a back senton and quickly eats a cannonball as Avalanche looked to capitalise, catching a cross body attempt, before losing a Samoan drop and eventually deciding to sit-down on a sunset flip from Ilja.
Avalanche gets that Samoan drop for a two-count, but Dragunov chops back, only to get dropped with a back suplex. Ilja returns the favour, but Avalanche flips over and squashes him. They head up top as Avalanche looks for a superplex, but Ilja powers up and lands a sunset flip powerbomb after Julian Nero slapped away Avalanche’s mounted punches. That gave Ilja some momentum to finally hit a deadlift Saito suplex, then a Torpedo Moscow diving uppercut… but Avalanche rolls to the outside to avoid a pin.
Julian Nero starts counting – but holds up the count at nine for some reason as he motions that he wanted the match to end properly. Dragunov shoved him for that and went outside to roll in Avalanche, but another Torpedo Moscow attempt’s avoided and met with a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall.
Avalanche takes Ilja into the corner for some mounted punches, but won’t break on the count of five… Ilja returns the favour with a Thesz press and some punches, and won’t break – and to be fair… WHY WOULD HE? They were nowhere near the ropes! After shoving Nero, Ilja goes back into punches with the Avalanche, forcing Nero to break them up again… and he promptly gets ejected from the ring like the horrible referee he was. Nero waves the match off, then strips off to drop Ilja and Avalanche with double knees, and it looks like this is going to be a three-way as Nero drops them both with Wastelands, as he finished off Ilja with a diving knee. The three-way brawl continues, with Avalanche dropping Nero with a Blue Thunder Bomb, and finally squashing Ilja with a Dreissker Bomb to stand alone at the end of it.
Well… the match was alright, but it didn’t feel in any way like the blood feud it was. Predictably, the special referee was just a storyline device – and the shenanigans took this down a level from their prior outing at True Colors. ***
After that, out came Karsten Beck for a segment where he gave everyone an update on his medical status. Beck’s been on the shelf (and in a storyline role) after being diagnosed with a brain tumour last year… I was watching this without any English translation, but the summary was that after Christian Michael Jakobi came out to taunt him, Beck revealed that he’s been medically cleared to return to the ring!
For some reason that made Jakobi snap… and lick Beck. Perhaps he’s watched too much New Japan and he thinks he’s Hiromu Takahashi? After all of that baiting, Jakobi dared Beck to punch him out, but instead we had Kim Ray come into the ring and lay out Jakobi with a kick. Because of course. Credit to Jakobi, for a non-wrestler, he took a lot of kicks to the chest, and a beating that a lot of non-wrestlers would not in his role.
Emil Sitoci vs. Jurn Simmons
Billed as the “champion’s challenge”, neither the Shotgun or Unified World Wrestling championship were on the line here as the two Dutchmen collided. Sitoci confronted some fans who brought “fuck you Emil” signs… by gyrating in their faces. Well, whatever works…
After being taken into the corner, Sitoci just spits at Simmons, before taking him down and tries to get Jurn’s back, instead sending him into the ropes to force a break. Emil tries to take down Jurn with a crossbody off the top, but it’s caught and turned into a slam before a missed elbow drop gets the Shotgun champion an opening… one that’s quickly shut-off by way of a dropkick from Jurn.
Sitoci surprises Simmons with a sunset flip and a low dropkick as he then decided to work over Jurn’s legs, throwing them into the side of the ring before landing a sit-down splash in the ropes. A split-legged moonsault gets Emil a two-count – and a loud cheers – before Sitoci went to the figure four leglock. Jurn gets free and eventually bulls down Sitoci with clotheslines and an Oklahoma Stampede.
Simmons catches Emil in a torture rack, prompting referee Tassilo Jung to do the arm-drop gimmick, before Emil fights free and tries a headlock driver, before hitting a backpack stunner from a wheelbarrow position instead. Another headlock driver attempt follows, but he turns it into a Shiranui after Jurn pushed him into the corner, before an elbow drop off the top rope earned Emil another near-fall.
Another split-legged moonsault misses, allowing Jurn to hit a sit-out gutwrench powerbomb for a two-count, before a piledriver attempt’s backdropped out of. A powerslam off the ropes quickly keeps Jurn in it, as he goes back to the piledriver, but Sitoci surprises him with a headlock driver for a two-count.
Simmons once again goes for the piledriver after a massive boot, but Sitoci flips over for a near-fall, only to take a uranage as Jurn went up for a moonsault… he’s caught though, and after shoving away Sitoci’s attempts to bring him down, Jurn repositions himself… and takes a dropkick before a Spanish Fly from Emil gets him the surprise win! This was quite good – perhaps a little on the methodical side at times, but I really enjoyed this match. Whether it leads to anything down the line remains to be seen, but Sitoci should benefit somewhat from pinning the world champion. ***½
Sierra Loxton vs. Melanie Gray
Well, this is a surprise – Sierra Loxton making her wXw debut! The 19 year old from Wales has barely been wrestling for a year (going by Cagematch), so getting a debut here on the back of a try-out earlier in the day is quite the opportunity for the sometimes-ATTACK! Raffle pixie!
From the opening handshake, Loxton attacks Gray from behind before hitting a uranage to take Gray down. A series of back elbows in the corner follow from Loxton, who tried to get the pin with a single boot on Gray… which was never going to happen this early. A hair-mare comes next from Sierra, who took Gray back into the corner for some stomps and overhand chops, and so far this has not been going the way you’d expect.
Some nonchalant kicks from Sierra keep Gray down, but Gray finally fires back with some chops, only to get whipped into the corner for Loxton to regain control with a snapmare and a seated abdominal stretch. A Kevin Nash-esque big boot choke comes next from Sierra, who then teased a hip attack, before sidestepping a dive off the top as Gray crashed and burned.
Loxton stamps on the back of Gray for a while before mounting her for a two-count, but she misses another hip attack in the corner as Gray finally makes her comeback, trading forearms and headbutts before a diving clothesline gets a near-fall. Gray tries a powerbomb, but it’s backdropped out of, allowing Loxton to try to get back into it with a superplex… Gray pushes her down and hits a senton bomb to Sierra’s back, before turning into the Melladram (cloverleaf) for the submission. This was quite the outing – Loxton certainly didn’t let herself down here, but the match itself was quite basic, with a LOT of offence from the debutant before one false move cost her the match. With any luck, this’ll be the start of something for her here, although without a regular women’s division in wXw, it may be a “wait and see” deal. **¼
Alexander James vs. Angelico
Angelico’s tour of Europe continues with his first date of the year for wXw, and before the bell goes the crowd are calling for a dance-off.
James wrestles Angelico to the mat for an early armbar that’s broken via the ropes, as Alexander declares himself “the best wrestler, no matter what country”. They stay on the mat as Angelico grabs a modified ankle lock that swiftly ends in the ropes, before a series of missed kicks ends with an upkick from Angelico that sent James to the outside.
A tope con hilo sees Angelico fly into the aisle, before returning to the ring to land a double stomp that planted James’ head into the mat for a near-fall. James comes back with a slingshot into a Blockbuster to get a two-count of his own, then went back to the abdominal stretch before deciding to just shove Angelico to the floor.
Back inside, a pumphandle fallaway slam gets James a near-fall, but his offence is rudely interrupted with a bicycle knee as he tried to land an axehandle smash off the top rope. A flurry of kicks from Angelico end with a double stomp to counter a sunset flip, before a Fall of the Angels is blocked and eventually replied to with a Tower of London out of the corner from James.
Angelico tries for the Fall of the Angels again, but James counters out into a Northern Lights and a modified Michinoku Driver for another near-fall, which he then turned into a Dragon Sleeper after the kick-out. James continues by catching Angelico on the top rope, but the South African counters with an enziguiri after aborting a sunset bomb, before hitting Fall of the Angels at the third go to get the win. Pretty decent, but I’m now starting to wonder if Angelico’s high-flying stuff is ever on show outside of Lucha Underground, particularly since what I see isn’t what I’m expecting from him. ***¼
They replay the really quite special WALTER/Axel Dieter Jr video package from the past week’s Shotgun…
WALTER vs. Axel Dieter Jr.
Both men came out separately, albeit in RINGKAMPF-branded gear, and you could see that Axel was perhaps a little choked up for one of his final outings.
The pair immediately went for each other, switching around as they went into the ropes, as we had a cagey feeling-out process, with Dieter grabbing a wristlock as WALTER tried to catch him in a chinlock. A bridging hammerlock follows from Axel, which just riles up WALTER into throwing some strikes, clotheslining Dieter to the floor… only to be caught with a diving uppercut as his attempt to throw a big boot led the Austrian to get caught in the ropes.
Axel flies with a tope, but he’s caught and deposited on the apron as the pair started to trade chops around the ring, before WALTER returns them to the ring and missed a sit-out splash. Second time was the charm for that splash, as WALTER gets a near-fall, before pulling Axel off the top rope into a pendulum backbreaker for a near-fall. It’s all WALTER for a spell here, as he boots Axel to the mat, before Dieter gets a boot up to prevent a charge in the corner… but he quickly succumbs to a rear naked choke.
Somehow, Axel blocks the German suplex and fights back, only to take that German suplex after all, then a double underhook suplex as the big Austrian keeps on top. Axel tries to power up again, but he’s thrown across the ring with another suplex before he’s forced to break out of another rear naked choke… with a jawbreaker only getting him a moment of respite. A big boot from WALTER sets up for a powerbomb attempt, but Dieter slips out and connects with a suplex, then an uppercut off the top for a near-fall, before connecting with the Hamburgerkreuz (Air Raid Crash) for a near-fall.
From there, Axel tries for the Landungsbrücke, only for WALTER to elbow free of it and instead take a side suplex as both men were left laying. We go back to the back-and-forth chops, before WALTER just pounds away on Axel in the corner… to a smattering of cheers. Of course, Axel comes straight back with windmilling punches in the corner as he eventually stomps down WALTER… who replies by kicking Axel’s leg away to send him hurtling to the mat.
WALTER grabs an ankle lock, forcing Axel to the ropes where he’s stomped on some more, before a German suplex and a lariat gets another two-count for the Austrian, but Axel returns with a corner enziguiri and a Blockbuster, before catching WALTER with a rope-hung DDT for another near-fall. The Axel Dieter Special follows next as Axel tried for a submission, but WALTER rolls over and powerbombs himself free, getting another two-count from all of that!
After the kick-out, WALTER grabs a sleeperhold, but Axel rolls out and gets the Axel Dieter Special once more, which WALTER then countered into an ankle lock. Dieter rolls out and into a big boot, before shrugging off a big boot as the pair charge back and forth in the corners. Axel tries an O’Connor roll, but after the kick-out WALTER grabs a sleeperhold, and that’s what forces Dieter to give as WALTER wins the battle of RINGKAMPF in an absolutely captivating battle of former team-mates. ****¼
After the match, the crowd rise to give a standing ovation to Dieter (although the over-dub masks that!), with Axel having a bloodied chest from all those chops as the pair hug it out. Thomas Giesen tells the crowd that this is Axel’s final weekend in wXw before leaving to expand his wrestling career outside of Germany, which prompts a loud ovation for Axel, moving him almost to tears, before we got a promo from Axel… and since it was in German, this is where our review ends!
Considering that these wXw NOW “feature events” are meant to be a step down from the “marquee events”, this was quite the card. Plenty of good wrestling, with a surprisingly good tag title match (involving a makeshift team) and a solid “champion’s challenge”, this is another good outing from wXw that is well worth your time – particularly for the main event!