Hey! Wir woll’n die Tag-Teams seh’n… The World Tag Team Festival returned to wXw after three years away.
AKIRA pinned Jacob Crane in 3:16 (**½)
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block A: Masahiro Takanashi & Chris Brookes pinned Axel Tischer & Eric Young in 12:12 (***)
Peter Tihanyi pinned Laurance Roman in 9:23 (***¼)
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block A: Ahura & Maggot pinned Aigle Blanc & Senza Volto in 10:24 (***½)
Street Fight: Vincent Heisenberg defeats Jurn Simmons via referee stoppage in 11:56 (***)
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block B: Kevin Ku & Dominic Garrini pinned Michael Schenkenberg & Nikita Charisma in 9:41 (***¼)
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block B: Icarus & Robert Dreissker pinned Fuminori Abe & Shigehiro Irie in 15:57 (***¾)
Mike Bailey pinned Bobby Gunns in 20:44 (****¼)
— If you want to catch this before it’s uploaded to Peacock/WWE Network, head over to wXwNOW.com
We’re at the Turbinenhalle in Oberhausen once more for the first of three nights in the World Tag Team Festival. The format is pretty straightforward – two blocks of four teams in a mini round-robin tournament, with the winners of each block meeting in the finals for the wXw World Tag Team titles – which’d be vacated if the reigning champions (Rott und Flott) couldn’t make it to the finals. So far, no tag teams have come into this tournament and defended their titles successfully…
English commentary comes via the pairing of Dave Bradshaw and Mett Dimassi, who have struck up a hell of a partnership in the few shows they’ve done together so far.
Jacob Crane vs. AKIRA
We’ve got a pre-show match that made it to YouTube…
Oberhausen’s thirsting for bodyslams, as Jacob Crane’s still got PTSD from Psycho Mike. Crane’s slapped by AKIRA, who tries a slam, before he kicked Crane in the leg… then went for the slam again. Another slap just pisses off AKIRA, who chopped Crane onto his arse, prompting Crane to go after AKIRA’s eye patch. A poke to the eye allows Crane to hit a back suplex for a two-count, then started to put the boots to AKIRA as commentary begged for engagement for Jacob Crane. Not like that, although maybe? AKIRA eats a running front kick, but came back with an overhead kick as he kicked away at Crane’s legs, leading to a spinning back kick.
Crane avoids another double stomp, but AKIRA’s ready for a bodyslam. It’s good for a two-count, while a German suplex followed… then a Koppo kick into the ropes. The Death Penalty (lifting reverse DDT) is next, and that’s all in a brief, but enjoyable match. Always got to love when the visitors play into local lore… **½
The main show starts with the obligatory parade of entrants, and the group photos… which was followed up by the arrival of Norman Harras and his flunkies for the weekend – Joe Keys and Dante Caballero. Norman’s brought out in a wheelchair, which drew a quip of “is he hurt or is he lazy?” from Dave on commentary… and Norman getting help down the stairs, rather than being wheeled down the entrance ramp gave us plenty of time to have his theme music burned into our very souls.
Harras berated the crowd for not showing him respect, least of all for the effort he put in to get to the ring while injured. Norman introduces us to Keys and Caballero, calling them proteges of Jonathan Gresham, then got interrupted by Levaniel – who had been ruled out of the weekend with injury, and thus wasn’t able to get his title shot. Except Levaniel’s been cleared, and demanded some time to air out his grievances with management.
Levaniel demanded to get his shot at the wXw title, only for Harras to claim that he’s not fit. So to dis/prove that, Harras gave Levaniel a match… “in a part of the card closer to his level.” Levaniel’ll get Jacob Crane later in the weekend, and that’ll be it for him. Levaniel exits stage left, as Harras got his music (and plenty of time to exit the ring) as we finally got into the action.
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block A: Sanity (Axel Tischer & Eric Young) vs. Calamari Drunken Kings (Chris Brookes & Masahiro Takanashi)
We’re running with 20-minute time limits throughout the block matches…
Takanashi and Young start us off, but Takanashi bails outside in fear of Sanity. In the ring, the pair trade wristlocks and counters, before Young grounded Takanashi with a hammerlock… which is escaped as Young’s forced into the ropes. Tags bring in Chris Brookes and Axel Tischer, with the Axeman grabbing a chinbar before the pair traded wristlocks and chops. Tischer throws an uppercut, prompting Brookes to march into the corner and tag in Takanashi, who went straight for Tischer’s beard. He’s booted down for that, and nearly loses to it, as Young came in to pick up a near-fall from a neckbreaker. A suplex from Tischer gets another two-count as he went back to the chin bar, while a backbreaker and elbow drop combo helped Eric Young keep Sanity ahead.
Sanity keep Takanashi isolated for a long while, before he broke free and tagged in Brookes, who marked a return with a missile dropkick to Tischer. A back senton to the back of a doubled-over Tischer gets a near-fall, while a second back senton as Takanashi had Tischer was suspended off the ropes forces Young in to break up the pin. Tischer avoids a Praying Mantis Bomb and forces his way free to tag in Young, who hits a slam and a top rope elbow drop for a near-fall. Takanashi trips Young as Brookes nails a stomp off the middle rope, while Masahiro tagged back in to go after Young’s nose. A dropkick to the knee followed, then a Dragon screw, before a Shoop cutter from Brookes left Young prone.
A Praying Mantis Bomb is saved by Tischer, who dumps Brookes with a Horrible Slam (that’s the name, not an opinion!) to spark a mini Parade of Moves. Takanashi’s met with a pop-up powerbomb from Young, then a wheelbarrow neckbreaker from Tischer for a near-fall, before Takanashi avoided a back suplex… then trapped Tischer in a Mouse Trap pin, with Brookes jack-knifing onto it to make sure Tischer couldn’t kick out from a rather dubious pin. ***
Backstage, Daan Jökisch is with AMBOSS, noting that they’re undefeated as a team. Robert Dreissker takes umbridge at how the interview overlooked Laurance Roman, who had a match next, with Roman saying he’d leave a “hell of a mark” on Peter Tihanyi. Assuming he’s not asleep… ahem.
Laurance Roman vs. Peter Tihanyi
We’re into non-tournament action next, and sadly the booming first bar of the AMBOSS theme music doesn’t translate onto VOD.
Tihanyi mocks Roman’s height to start, and gets kicked in the gut for it as Roman followed in with a shoulder tackle. A kip-up from Tihanyi leads to armdrags and a dropkick, before Roman heads outside… only for Tihanyi to hold the lower two ropes for him to get back in. The chihuahua of AMBOSS, perhaps? We have a Benny Hill chase around the ring, ending with Roman missing an elbow drop as he tried to catch out Tihanyi… before he knocked Tihanyi off the ropes mid-springboard. Stomps follow from Roman, then a snap suplex, before Tihanyi was chucked to the outside. Back inside, Roman corners Tihanyi, knocking him down with a kick to the quad before Tihanyi was taken outside again.
Roman’s back elbow shut down Tihanyi’s attempted comeback, grounding him with a chinlock. A suplex gets Tihanyi free, as Roman’s thrown outside… before Laurance was bounced down with back elbows and a swinging DDT for a near-fall. Forearms from Roman look to slow down Tihanyi, but he fights back in kind only to get taken down for a crossface, which ended in the ropes. Eventually letting go of the hold, Roman throws Tihanyi onto the apron, but got met with a quick Meteora, then an enziguiri before Roman’s back suplex was countered with an Asai DDT for the win. ***¼
Post-match, Roman attacked Tihanyi some more, only for Orsi to make the save… she lays into Roman with forearms and a fallaway slam, only for Robert Dreissker to sneak through the crowd and trip Orsi, while Tihanyi’s thrown to the outside once more as AMBOSS stood tall.
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block A: Frenchadors (Aigle Blanc & Senza Volto) vs. Pretty Bastards (Ahura & Maggot)
This was the first time that the Bastards had tagged together since Dead End 2021 – during the closed set tapings – when they lost in the finals of a tournament to crown new tag champions.
Maggot and Aigle start us off with leapfrogs and drop downs, before a headlock takedown from Aigle saw him squeeze in a tag to Senza Volto… and some mockery too. Maggot got the crowd to chant 069 for him and Ahura, before indulging in some Pentagon-like communication of the Frankfurt area code. Senza replied with the international code for the US, using his middle finger to get that over…
Ahura and Aigle Blanc run in to join in as the ring fills, cleared, and led to Aigle Blanc wiping out the seats out of a chair with a tope con giro. Back inside, the action continued with a handspring cutter from Senza, before a Red Light Driver almost put Senza away amid a long Parade of Moves. Senza and Maggot trade forearms, and it’s not long before the ring’s full again… prompting referee Felix Schulz to lose his shit and demand that we go back to one-in, one-out. FINALLY. A ref after my own heart…
We resume with Ahura and Aigle, but Ahura’s quickly trapped in the Frenchador’s corner for some double-teams. Ahura’s held in the ropes for a back senton off the top from Aigle, who followed up with an abdominal stretch of sorts, before Senza tagged back in to ground Ahura with a chinlock. A handspring cutter’s countered into a German suplex by Ahura, who scurried into the corner after seemingly getting his head squashed. Maggot’s in to sidestep an Aigle Blanc crossbody, following with a back body drop and a crossbody of his own off the top. Another enziguiri lands, then a crucifix driver for a near-fall on Aigle, before Ahura returned to set up for what looked like a Spanish Fly… but Aigle fought out. Senza’s sunset bomb takes Maggot into the bottom buckles ahead of a Coast to Coast from Aigle, as Ahura, then Senza squashed him some more, ahead of a 450 splash to Ahura for a near-fall.
Senza ties up Maggot in the ropes, while a double armbar from Aigle Blanc looked to put Ahura way… but Ahura held on for long enough to power up and crash into Maggot and Senza in the ropes to break up the two holds. Ahura adds a tornillo to Senza Volto in the crowd, before throwing Maggot into Aigle Blanc… as a Paradise Waterfall proved to be enough to put away Aigle Blanc in a wild first round match. ***½
We’ve a post-match interview, with Dan Mallmann quizzing the Pretty Bastards on their win… but Ahura’s got some bad news. He’s not going to be around for their second group match on Sunday because he’s at his brother’s wedding. That’s pretty poor admin on his part, given he had their whole participation in this tournament signed into his contract. Maggot chased Ahura away from the mic so they could argue/debate this, with Ahura trying to gee up Maggot into wrestling on his own against Sanity tomorrow.
Street Fight: Vincent Heisenberg vs. Jurn Simmons
Heisenberg came out with a Togi Makabe-esque chain, but we start with him taking some right hands from Jurn before a headbutt and a fallaway slam put the big man ahead.
Heading outside, Heisenberg grabs a chair, but a spear from Jurn caught him out ahead of a pumphandle slam and a Tree of Woe in the corner. Jurn whales Heisenberg with chair shots as he was upside down, before a back body drop from Heisenberg freed him from a piledriver as a big boot took Jurn outside. Jurn’s pulled into the ring post as Heisenberg followed with chair shots to the back, before he grabbed a Kendo stick from under the ring. A body blow saves Jurn, who swung the stick against Heisenberg to knock him outside, following with more clubbing blows as the pair brawled around ringside.
Heisenberg grabs security and threw one of them into Jurn, who then blocked a throw into the ring steps… only to get caught with the chain. The pair brawl up the ramp and onto the stage, as Heisenberg’s attempt to throw Jurn into the crowd was delayed by security… who got jumped before Jurn took over. Jurn checks on security… then teased a piledriver on the stage, only for Heisenberg to stop it with a low blow. Heisenberg chases one of the security guys towards the ring, but Jurn stops him on a lawn dart… only for Simmons to get that lawn dart into the ring post. That security guard’s taken into the ring and got press slammed into the referee, complete with the poor sod clipping the ropes on the way down.
With no referee, Heisenberg rolls Jurn into the ring… then grabbed a bag. You know what that means. Lots of drawing pins. Heisenberg teases a bodyslam onto the tacks, but instead Jurn hits one of his own… and Heisenberg didn’t even have his singlet up to protect him. Bloody hell lads. Jurn gets the Kendo stick, but took too long to swing and gets caught in an ugly Fire Thunder Driver, just as Felix Schulz ran out to make a count as Jurn kicked out in the nick of time. Heisenberg stays on Simmons with a Kendo stick-assisted camel clutch, leading to the referee stoppage as Jurn passed out. ***
Jurn’s left laying as Heisenberg leaves the scene of the crime… he comes to though, and manages to roll out of the ring as he left under his own steam.
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block B: Violence Is Forever (Dominic Garrini & Kevin Ku) vs. Rott Und Flott (Michael Schenkenberg & Nikita Charisma)
Throughout World Tag Team Festival, Rott und Flott’s titles aren’t on the line in individual matches… but they need to win the whole tournament in order to retain them.
Garrini and Charisma start the match, with Charisma getting taken into the corner before Garrini charged him down with a shoulder tackle. A leapfrog’s caught as Charisma’s thrown with a German suplex… and in comes Schenkenberg to take one of those too. All four men head outside for chops and eventually some laps of honour as Rott und Flott got kicked out of some seats they’d borrowed. You’ll get used to it after a while…
Charisma’s shown sliding under the ring, as he eventually emerged to pull Ku off the apron as Garrini ran into a Schenkenberg clothesline. The champions take the upper hand here, albeit with some shortcuts as Charisma tried to choke out Garrini in their corner. A snapmare and a kick keeps Garrini down, but Dom’s attempted leg lock ends in the ropes as Charisma charged Garrini back into the corner. Schenkenberg’s shoulder charge led to a dropkick-assisted sidewalk slam that Ku broke up the cover on, ahead of a Rott und Flott Express, which was another dropkick-assisted double-team. Garrini’s spinning clothesline off the ropes finally buys him time as Kevin Ku and Nikita Charisma got the tag in… but it’s Ku who ran wild with corner-to-corner clotheslines… then a Tiger suplex to Charisma for a near-fall.
Ku heads up top for a flying kneedrop to a rope-hanging Charisma that gets a near-fall, before a Chasing the Dragon’s stopped by Rott und Flott. Ku’s dumped onto the apron, as Garrini took a Snapchat DDT for a near-fall… with Ku making the save. Ku’s flying knee off the apron stops Charisma’s attempted interference, while Garrini’s spinning tombstone in the ring left Schenkenberg laying. Chasing the Dragon follows, and that’s a loss for the champions as Violence is Forever get their tournament off to a dream start. ***¼
World Tag Team Festival 2022 Block B: AMBOSS (Icarus & Robert Dreissker) vs. Fuminori Abe & Shigehiro Irie
Our final group match of the day saw AMBOSS’ bass-heavy theme shake the Turbinenhalle once more…
Icarus and Abe start us off, with Icarus poking the proverbial bear before the pair went hold for hold on the mat. Abe ties up the legs and looked to stretch Icarus, but it ends in the ropes before a kick to the back from Abe had Icarus reaching for a tag out. Of course, Shigehiro Irie’s in alongside Dreissker, who apparently wanted to sumo this match out, as we get shoulder tackles that eventually dumped Irie down.
Irie busts out an Auf Die Fresse as he cracked Dreissker with a forearm to the head, before Abe came in and got taken into the AMBOSS corner. Icarus is back to indulge in some bati bati fighting, but came off second best. There’s a deliberately illegal tag from Dreissker that was done to distract the referee as an eye rake from Icarus allowed him to toss Abe to the outside, where Dreissker indulged in some more cheapshots. Abe’s knocked into the crowd as Icarus took things back inside for an armbar, while an elbow smash knocked down Abe as Dreissker returned to keep the direction of travel going.
Irie’s knocked off the apron as Dreissker slammed and splashed Abe for a two-count, following with a boot choke in the corner. Icarus is back to hit a snap suplex into the corner, Abe’s kept isolated as AMBOSS exchanged quick tags, only for Abe to break free with a spin kick to Dreissker and a Dragon screw to Icarus… giving him time to make the tag out to Irie. Irie’s elbow smash drops Icarus, but a Samoan drop’s cut off by Dreissker… who’s taken into the corner ahead of a back body drop. Icarus is pulled up for a piledriver onto the downed Dreissker, before a THWACKING elbow from Irie kept the Hungarian down. Icarus fought back in kind, but the crowd laughed off his elbow as Irie THWACKED him once more, before a blind tag brought in Abe, who booted Icarus off the apron.
A diving crossbody through the ropes from Irie keeps Icarus on the outside as Abe’s running PK nearly got the win back inside. Icarus escapes a double-team move and tagged in Dreissker, who speared Abe out of a full-nelson slam… while a Saito suplex from Icarus and a ripcord lariat from Dreissker almost yielded the win. Abe and Irie pepper Dreissker with kicks, before Dreissker’s baited into the ropes for an Irie cannonball to the back. We’ve an Irabu punch from Abe, who then trapped Dreissker in a manjigatame – on the same day that Antonio Inoki passed – but Icarus broke free from Irie to break up the hold. A Parade of Moves breaks out, leading to a springboard crossbody from Dreissker to Irie, before Abe reversed a Dreissker suplex.
Icarus’ springboard enziguiri keeps it going, as did a cannonball from Irie to Dreissker, while another Irabu punch from Abe to leave Icarus laying. Back-and-forth strikes ensue between Abe and Dreissker, ending with an Abe dropkick before Irie was pulled off the apron. Dreissker Biel’s Abe into the corner as AMBOSS looked to mount one final charge, ending with a fallaway slam from Dreissker, a senton bomb from Icarus, then a Dreissker bomb as AMBOSS ensured their campaign started with a win in a hard-hitting outing. ***¾
Bobby Gunns vs. Mike Bailey
Winner gets a shot at Tristan Archer’s title tomorrow… and Gunns goes in having won both prior singles meetings over Speedball.
Of course, we’ve got duelling “Gunns, Bobby Gunns/Speedball” chants that Bailey played up to, before we broke out with shoulder blocks, leapfrogs, roll throughs… and a kick from Speedball. Scissor kicks follow from Speedball, taking Gunns outside, following up with a pair of topes after Gunns evaded a triangle moonsault. Gunns tied up Bailey’s leg between the ropes, then hit a Dragon screw to the other one as Speedball got his leg tied up in the ropes like Andre the Giant’s arms. After Bailey was freed, Gunns pounced on the knee with an Indian deathlock, then with a cross-legged abdominal stretch that ended in the ropes as Speedball was looking like a two-bon pretzel. Following up, Gunns snapmare’d and kicked Bailey for a one-count, before he went after Speedball’s toes. He wasn’t playing “this little piggie went to market…”
More kicks keep Bailey down, as did a Dragon screw before the pair teed off with elbows to the head… while a surprise inside cradle from Bailey nearly won it. A missile dropkick off the middle rope knocked Gunns down, while a corkscrew back senton of sorts added a near-fall, before Gunns avoided a PK… and hauled Bailey down with a German suplex by the ropes. Bailey pulls himself up in the corner, but couldn’t evade a shotgun-ish dropkick from Gunns as Bailey rolled outside and ended up taking an apron PK. That’s shrugged off as Speedball returned to the ring for a triangle moonsault to the floor… but Gunns is back up first to tie up Bailey in the ropes with an Octopus hold, following up with a lariat after the break for a near-fall. It’s back to the Octopus hold in the middle of the ring, but Bailey breaks free… then saw his moonsault double knees land on Gunns’ knees. Yep, it’s a Speedball-hates-his-knees match!
Bailey’s dropped with a forearm, then returns with one of his own as the pair teed off on each other, swapping forearms with kicks, before a headbutt from Gunns sank Speedball. A PK’s next, then a shotgun dropkick into the ropes… but Bailey rebounds with a PK as the pair continued to trade on those. Eventually Bailey lands the moonsault knees, but missed a roundhouse kick as Gunns kicked his way back into it… only for a roundhouse to take him down for a near-fall. Gunns caught a spinning roundhouse in the corner, but got kicked away as Bailey ends up getting hauled down with a Dragon screw. A half crab’s next, then an ankle lock, and a German suplex as Bailey was literally on the ropes alongside his title dreams. Breaking free, Bailey lands a roundhouse in the corner, then an Ultima Weapon to Gunns for a near-fall…
Bailey takes Gunns into the corner for a Flamingo Driver, but Gunns slipped out and looked to choke out Speedball with a rear naked choke. That ends with Bailey throwing free, only for a discus lariat to keep Gunns ahead as an Ehrenmann Driver and a PK almost booked him that title match. Gunns heads up top as Bailey’s efforts to stop him ended up with Speedball getting pulled into the ropes. Gunns’ attempt at a stomp’s stopped as Bailey’s up-kick crotched Gunns on the turnbuckles, before a Flamingo Driver out of the corner proved to be enough to get the win. A fantastic main event for the opening night – with Speedball finally getting a win over Bobby Gunns to book a first-time meeting with Tristan Archer for the title. ****¼
Speaking of Archer, he appeared on the stage afterwards for the obligatory staredown-at-a-distance before Bailey left to chants of “hey Bailey” to close out the show…
A solid start to the tournament shows from wXw saw a lot of consistency as the opening shots were fired… while Mike Bailey and Bobby Gunns tore down the house.