We reached Championship Saturday of World Tag Team Festival – would the Turbinenhalle play host to the World Timothy Thatcher Festival, or would Tim come up short in his hunt for the gold?

We’re back inside Turbinenhalle 2. in Oberhausen for what’s really a bit of a mystery show going in – we knew the six semi-finalists, but not the pairings as wXw followed their usual process of blind bracketing in tournaments. Before the show started there was a pull apart in the merch area between Jurn Simmons and Alexander James as the former tag partners continued their acrimonious split.

Backstage, Kyle Fletcher’s with Lucky Kid telling him he’s got his back with the whole Purge Club situation.

Lucky Kid vs. Jonathan Gresham
A little bit of confliction within the wider Schadenfreude universe here, as two of Chris Brookes’ best buds were in the opener. I kid. Chris doesn’t care much about Lucky.

The early feeling out process sees neither man grab an advantage, until Lucky kicked away Gresham’s leg ahead of a low dropkick. A pescado sees Lucky sail outside onto Gresham, before rolling him back inside for a one-count. Gresham barely gets under a floatover before he took Lucky into the corner for a stalling dropkick that truly found its mark. As did Gresham’s trapped-arm armbar, before Gresham did a Zack Sabre Jr and inadvertently rolled Lucky into the ropes from a submission attempt.

Lucky slaps away a leapfrog attempt, before he looked to rough up Gresham, stomping on the left arm. Which meant Gresham was able to chop with the right. A Quebrada took Lucky down after he’d resisted a trip attempt, before some crossface punches had Lucky in trouble, before Lucky fired back up with an uppercut to buy him some breathing space.

Some breathing space he sorely needed after the pair crashed into each other with a duelling crossbody.

Back in the ring, the pair wheeled away on each other with forearms until Lucky decked Gresham… who just popped right back up! The arm work paid off in the end as Lucky’s handspring backfired, but he was able to recover with an Asai DDT for a near-fall. Some crossface punches from Lucky follow as he screamed like a child having a temper tantrum before Gresham caught him with an Octopus stretch in the middle of the ring as Lucky tapped out. A somewhat definitive win as Lucky Kid never really seemed to be at the races as Gresham’s long game paid off. ***

wXw Shotgun Championship: Alexander Dean vs. Avalanche (c)
The parade of champions video returns for the Shotgun title – only showing unique title holders, mind you.

Dean looked to grab a part of Avalanche early, using a cravat to restrain the big man only for Avalanche to explode with some shoulder tackles. A spinebuster out of the corner, then a back senton, squashes Dean, taking him outside for a legdrop on the apron, before Dean rolled away in a hurry to avoid a Dreissker bomb.

Dean turns it around, kicking Avalanche’s knee away as he proceeded to stomp over the Austrian. Playfully brushing Avalanche just woke up the big man, who shrugged off forearms before dishing a back body drop and some clotheslines. Another back body drop follows, then a standing splash for a near-fall, before a second Dreissker bomb attempt was countered into an avalanche (ahem) German suplex for a near-fall.

Third time was the charm though, as Avalanche slammed Dean ahead of the Dreissker bomb, and that was a quite decisive defence in front of a partisan crowd. Thanks for coming, Alexander! ***¼

World Tag Team Festival – Semi-Final: David Starr & Norman Harras vs. Pretty Bastards (Prince Ahura & Maggot)
Maybe I’m a little untrustworthy, but there’s something about Starr’s demeanour here that I found a touch troubling…

It’s a pacey start, as Starr took down Maggot with a backslide early, before cracking him with an enziguiri… only for Maggot to return with a spinning heel kick. Harras comes in to regan the advantage, doing so with a diving uppercut and a stalling suplex, before a bandanna’d Prince Ahura came in to do his Taichi act.

David Starr tags in to stop him as all four men hit the ring, catching each other’s kicks. Starr successfully negotiates a break, before everyone caught each other on the hop… as we got back to Ahura and Starr, with Starr running into a tiltawhirl backbreaker for good measure. An electric chair drop gets Maggot a two-count, before a double-team suplex got the Bastards a near-fall over Starr.

Ahura misses a head kick and gets sent outside, as Starr finally broke free, with Harras in to clean house on the Bastards. There was a German suplex for Ahura as Harras whaled away on the pair of them, but the numbers game overwhelms, at least untl Norman reversed a double suplex.

A big boot catches Maggot in the corner as Starr returned with a double-team Kaepernick for a near-fall. The Bastards try some double-teaming of their own, which led to Starr getting jack-knifed for a near-fall. Harras is back to uppercut the gum out of Ahura’s mouth, but he too is left laying as it’s time for the Taichi tribute!

It backfires for Ahura as he was caught with his trousers down – so Starr lands a Destroyer, sending those trousers into the crowd! A Blackheart Buster’s good for a near-fall, before the ring filled again, as a cutter dropped Harras. Maggot tags in to go for a TKO, but Harras comes in and accidentally dumps Starr with a diving uppercut, as the Bastards snatch the win with the Red Light Driver – a spin-out double-team butterfly driver. A bit of an upset until you consider that Starr and Harras was a makeshift team… and yet again, David Starr’s path to WALTER has been thwarted in wXw! ***¼

Considering they were on an awful run of form that initially meant they were out of this tournament… the Pretty Bastards sure have found a formula to get them here, and on a winning streak, eh?

World Tag Team Festival – Semi-Final: Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. Purge Club (Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer)
The Purge Club come through the crowd and attack the Arrows before the bell, as Ivan Kiev bullied the referee to start the match. Which he did. Lucky Kid runs out for interference, and it works as a roll up gets the Arrows into the final!

World Tag Team Festival – Semi-Final: Work Horsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry) vs. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch
This is gonna be tasty!

Burch and Henry start us off, with Henry’s back helped with a few bits of KT tape, as they looked to ease the crowd back into things after that last match. A wristlock has Henry on the defensive, but Henry switches around as he made Burch scurry into the corner. Henry’s leapfrog is pulled down by Burch, before Oney Lorcan tagged in to land some chops, complete with receipts from Henry.

Henry eventually staggered into the corner so JD Drake could have a go, eventually flying Lorcan to the mat with a clothesline. Now he chops, before Henry came in to kick through Lorcan in the corner, as the former EVOLVE tag champs looked to be in some control. The crowd try to fill in Anthony Henry and JD Drake’s birth certificates through the medium of chants. Classic. It’s Paul, by the way.

Henry and Burch come in, with Danny taking offence to that middle name, landing some right hands and clotheslines before a missile dropkick took down Henry. The One-Two elevated DDT’s blocked by Drake, but Henry continued to take a beating… but there’s a turnaround as the Work Horsemen just plough through Lorcan and Burch, only for Burch to kick out after a Drill Bit from Drake.

Drake’s tagged back in and heads up top, following up Henry’s stomp with a senton bomb, but Lorcan breaks up the cover… and you sense the jig was up there. Burch runs in to uppercut Drake, as the match descended into strikes akin to a hockey fight. An enziguiri from Henry calms it down, but Drake whiffs on a cannonball, before Henry fell to the One-Two, as the NXT pairing booked their spot in the final. Some fantastic stuff with all four lads knocking lumps out of each other – and I now have a new-found appreciation for Drake and Henry after this weekend. ***¾

Flamita vs. Rust Taylor vs. Kyle Fletcher vs. The Rotation
How’s this for a flippy four-way to get us going in the second half?

Rotation and Flamita try to out-do each other with their lucha stylings, only to be stopped by Fletcher and Taylor, who don’t like the flips. They take armdrags, then give them, before a four-way dropkick-off led to a stalemate.

Rotation has his head kicked off as Kyle was only able to defend against him in the corner for some reason. Finally, Rotation manages to hit a clothesline on the Aussie before a Quebrada took out Rotation and Taylor… as things built to a crescendo with Flamita moonsaulting onto Fletcher and Taylor outside… with Rotation adding to that with a step-up flip senton. Hope you like the flips!

A satellite DDT from Rotation nearly put Flamita away as Taylor dove in at the last second to break it up. Taylor decides to stop Rotation’s bouncing by rolling him into an omoplata. That’s broken up as Fletcher and Taylor exchange forearms, until a Michinoku driver almost got Kyle the win, before an exchange of strikes led to four-way head kicks.

Fletcher’s back to dump Rotation in the corner with an overhead belly-to-belly, but Taylor just lays out Kyle as we quietened down, with Flamita landing a nice moonsault to Kyle and Rotation on the outside… then came back in for a 450 on Taylor, who quickly countered with a crucifix, before a Phoenix Splash damn near broke Rust’s face for the win. High risk, entertaining flips, and it’s someone ironic that the guy who proclaimed in the media stuff that he wasn’t good at flips took the brunt of it all. Then got forced to Floss. ***¼

Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne & Los Federales Santos Jr.) vs. Jay-AA (Jay Skillet & Absolute Andy)
Andy’s turned into your da who’s found Super Soakers, and loves to play with them. They’re told to pay a 25 cent deposit… so a fan in the crowd stumps up the money for them. This is going to be comedy, and I’m here for it.

Santos and Andy square off with shoves, forcing Santos to pull out the No Fun Gun. Tass is unimpressed, until a gunshot plays. Andy responds with the Super Soaker (told you!), forcing Dunne in to brandish… a cleaver?!

“Look at this zucchini” was a good tactic, as Andy defused the situation. Skillet cuts the zucchini, and it’s taken away by catering. He’s a good lad, is our Jay. Back to our regularly scheduled match, and we have shoulder tackles all the way between Andy and Santos, before Santos… shoots him dead?!

Skillet tags, as does Dunne, as they do the Doink 1993 stuff with sunglasses, ending with a superkick as Jay… ends up taking a False Alarm superkick. Jay tries to dive for a tag out, but Andy still hasn’t moved a muscle, so he’s having to fight back all on his own. Someone brings a bottle of Fanta to revive Andy with (I don’t know either), but the Anti-Fun Police do their damndest to stop him from getting it.

Eventually, Santos gets caught low by his own man as Francis Kaspin appeared on the stage – to a huge reception. He’s here to save the day! Andy raises from the dead for the Fanta, as the Andy-Taker takes a swig and hulks up! A stalling suplex dumps Dunne, ahead of a superkick for a near-fall… so Santos tries to use the gun, and gets stopped by Andy’s automatic rifle as he takes down everyone. Referees, ring announcers, the lot!

In the end, a stomp-assisted A5 gets the win, with Francis Kaspin coming in to make the count using a dead ref’s hand… before the Fanta revived everyone so we could have a curtain call! There’s a lot of skits here I missed… and I have no idea how you’d rate that, so let’s go with a very tongue in cheek *****

I never knew I needed that in my life until just then! That was absolutely amazing. Just don’t tag JC in anything about this match.

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Timothy Thatcher vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
A VERY pro-Thatcher crowd greeted the World Timothy Thatcher Festival main event, as the Bobby Gunns turn has well and truly worked. Even Bobby Gunns got “One Tim Thatcher” chants, as this felt like this point last year… but with the crowd on the other side of the divide.

Gunns takes Thatcher into the ropes before they went to ground, with Thatcher looking to school Gunns on the mat. After going to the guard, Thatcher had to break with Gunns going back to the ropes, before it’s back to the mat, then the ropes. Some wild swings from Thatcher gave way to a slam and an elbow drop, before a side Salto suplex led to Gunns getting thrown around the ring.

A headlock suplex gets Thatcher a two-count, before he shrugged off a clothesline from Gunns, only to get caught in the ropes as Gunns snapped the leg around the middle rope. Gunns goes for a kick, but Thatcher caught it and looked to give Gunns a dead leg as a single leg crab led to Gunns getting to the ropes. The champ responds with mid kicks to Thatcher, before he went for a punt kick that brushed Thatcher’s previously-injured eye.

Gunns mocks Thatcher’s eye-patch days, then stands over him as Gunns perhaps took Thatcher too lightly. Hip swivelling came into play, before he used a deathlock and rolled Thatcher down for a near-fall. Thatcher’s bleeding from the eye, which just gave Gunns a bull’s eye to work on aside from his usual offence. A stomp to the arm turned into a stomp to the head, before Gunns focused on the bloodied head and eye of the challenger.

Thatcher begins to fire back with some knees to the gut, before Gunns’ backslide led to some kicks… which were met with a Saito suplex as Thatcher stopped the momentum from building up. A hattrick of RINGKAMPF belly-to-belly suplexes off the ropes dumped Gunns, before they spilled outside, where Gunns got dragged onto the apron for some brawling by the turnbuckles, which Gunns edged out with an avalanche Northern Lights suplex.

Gunns tries to charge in on the mat, but Thatcher’s back up… and walloped with a clothesline. The crowd’s chanting seemed to give Thatcher some hope, but Gunns peppered him with strikes to the arm ahead of a German suplex… then a lariat that Thatcher refused to go down for!

Thatcher zombies up and lands a Saito, then slaps Gunns away before the pair crashed to the mat. Gunns picks up again, heading up top and leaping into an uppercut from Thatcher, before a cross armbreaker in the middle of the ring had the crowd on their feet, anticipating a title change… but Thatcher got rolled up for a near-fall before he was blasted with a running kick.

We’re back to uppercuts and forearms, but Gunns powers on before he got goozled and slapped by Thatcher, who proceeded to land a butterfly suplex for a near-fall. We bit. The crowd’s expectations surged as he slapped Bobby silly, before an O’Connor roll nearly got Gunns the win. A rear naked choke is quickly applied by Thatcher, but Gunns tweaks the fingers to get free… momentarily! Thatcher reapplies the choke, only for Gunns to climb the ropes and fall back off the middle to break it up.

The standing ten-count looked to end with Gunns getting choked out, but he’s right back up with a Swish armbar on Thatcher… who rolls out into another rear naked choke as the Turbinenhalle came unglued… and even more so when Thatcher threw Gunns back, and we got the tap out! A NEW CHAMPION IS CROWNED, and Timothy Thatcher has finally won the big one! It’s rice pudding for all as Timothy Thatcher leaves Oberhausen as your new wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion after a goddamned bloody war. ****¼

A hell of a show from wXw – from the moment we set foot inside the Turbinenhalle, the atmosphere was massively different to night one. A more relaxed, upbeat, and fun setting gave way to the insanity we had tonight. That Anti-Fun Police/Jay-AA “play” was exactly the kind of comedy graps we needed to blow away any lingering talk of a curse over the weekend, and set us up nicely for the main event, which began to answer any doubts over Gunns’ reign as champion. Even if it was in his last night as champ.

Curse? What curse?!

A hell of a show from wXw – from the moment we set foot inside the Turbinenhalle, the atmosphere was massively different to night one. A more relaxed, upbeat, and fun setting gave way to the insanity we had tonight. That Anti-Fun Police/Jay-AA “play” was exactly the kind of comedy graps we needed to blow away any lingering talk of a curse over the weekend, and set us up nicely for the main event.