We’re back for more from this year’s wXw World Tag Team League, with the “middle” night of matches from Oberhausen.
Night two opens with a video running through some of the prior wXw tag team champions: Swiss Money Holdings (Claudio “Cesaro” Castagnoli and Ares), AbLas (Absolute Andy & Steve Douglas), Switchblade Conspiracy (Sami Callihan and Jon Moxley), the Sumerian Death Squad (Tommy End & Michael Dante), Hot & Spicy (Axel Dieter Jr. & Da Mack) and Cerberus were all named.
Some teams who weren’t named for whatever reason including the pairings of Martin Stone & Doug Williams, GTS & Iceman, Matt Striker & Trent (Baretta), and Big Daddy Walter & Zack Sabre Jr. There’s a few weird pairings for you there, huh?
We actually get an opening with the commentary team before the show. Sorry Alan, but your English language version wasn’t posted when I was watching this!
Block B: A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani) vs. Cerberus (Ilja Dragunov & Julian Nero)
We begin with a jump start as Cerberus attack A4 at the bell, but A4 quickly overcome it, with a wheelbarrow suplex to Ilja, and then an F5/Frog Splash combo to Nero, as Adam Polak (Cerberus’ manager) makes the save to prevent the quick defeat.
Polak gets ejected from ringside for that, as does Dirty Dragan (who was ringside as well for some reason), but the referee doesn’t start counting out the remnants of Cerberus. Ah, that’s so Marius Al-Ani can dive over the turnbuckles to take them out, as he then throws Ilja into the ring.
Nero low-bridges Al-Ani to the outside, as we end up with Cerberus inside and A4 outside. Once everyone’s back in, Andy and Ilja trade chops, before Ilja tries his luck with some clotheslines, only to take a backstabber. Andy gets some more dropkicks onto Nero, before ducking a big boot and sending Julian to the outside with another dropkick.
Dragunov tries to charge at Andy, but he ends up taking the double team leapfrog from A4, as Nero again gets caught in an F5 but he pushes down Andy as Al-Ani’s knocked off the top rope as he waited to hit the frog splash. Al-Ani beats the countout but stays grounded as Dragunov works a bear-hug, before Al-Ani’s overhead belly to belly is responded to with a back senton.
Cerberus double-team Marius in the corner, before Nero gets a near-fall from a Papa Shango old-school shoulder breaker. Ilja goes up top, and after shoving down a superplex, ends up taking an Exploder after his double axehandle failed, before Nero dragged down Absolute Andy as a tag was about to be made. Al-Ani’s caught in a rear chinlock by Nero, before he’s dragged back for a two-count, as Dragunov tags back in and ends up… getting caught on the top rope again for a belly to belly superplex from Marius!
Absolute Andy gets the tag in and clears house on Nero, taking him down with clotheslines and a hanging vertical suplex. A jawbreaker from Ilja stuns Andy, but he comes back with a spinebuster and the Absolute Kneedrop (think a curb stomp, but with a knee…). A superkick knocks down Nero, but Ilja recovers with a back senton to break it up.
Marius Al-Ani returns in and tries for a German suplex, but Nero ends up wheelbarrowing into a tag to Ilja – something Marius missed and was left exposed for a lariat from Ilja for a near-fall. Cerberus go for the “super end” – the Fireman’s carry slam and a back senton of the middle rope – but Al-Ani kicks out at two. Nero’s top rope kneedrop on Al-Ani got another near-fall as Andy broke up the cover, before taking a big boot from Nero.
Andy replied with a superkick that sent Nero onto Al-Ani for a near-fall, before Andy and Ilja trade lariats and chops. A double clothesline takes both men down, before Al-Ani’s top rope crossbody gets caught by Ilja, who picks him up into a Fireman’s carry and slams Marius over the knee of Nero. Another comeback from Andy looked to be on the cards after he superkicked Nero, but Dragunov ran off the ropes with a diving European uppercut, and that’s what earned Cerberus the win and their first three points of the tournament. Fantastic back and forth action, which picked up after Cerberus lost their outside interferers. ***½
wXw Shotgun Championship: Francis Kaspin vs. Pete Dunne (c)
Pete Dunne only won this the day before, and he’s already defending it! Granted, his opponent here is relative newcomer Francis Kaspin – someone who’s barely been around for a year.
In our report on night one, we joked that Pete Dunne was rivalling Mark Haskins in terms of titles held… well, as of October 1 (when this was held), Dunne was holding five singles titles and one tag team title, whilst Haskins was about to win his fifth singles title at the same time that same day. So as singles guys… they’re tied in a game of one-upmanship. They’re both like British Ultimo Dragons then!
Dunne immediately starts by taking down Kaspin with a wristlock, before he goes to bite away at Kaspin’s boot. That takes us into an inverted figure four, which Dunne transitions smoothly into a STF and back again. Kaspin finally makes the ropes to force a break, before he’s taken down with a shoulder charge from Dunne.
A dropkick from Kaspin finally gets him some offence, before he connects with some forearms in the corner, only for Dunne to reply with a back suplex. Kaspin’s fingers get tweaked, and his forearm stamped on, before Dunne ties him up with an armbar… with some added biting! The pair trade overhand chops and forearms, before Dunne rakes the eyes and goes for the Drop Dead… but Kaspin reverses and gets an O’Connor roll for a near-fall.
Kaspin replies to the kick-out with a low dropkick, then a springboard bulldog off the top rope for another two-count. Dunne hit back with a snap German suplex, then a release suplex for a near-fall. A sit-out powerbomb gets Dunne another two-count, but he again goes to the Drop Dead which gets countered into a roll-up for a near-fall.
From the kick-out, Dunne hits an enziguiri, before taking an immediate receipt from Kaspin, whose springboard attack is cut-off with a forearm smash, as the third attempt at the Drop Dead is successful and gets Dunne the win. A solid, but unspectacular match – almost in the vein of a TV match, where the winner gets all his signature moves in without totally squashing his opponent. ***½
Block A: Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Los Gueros del Cielo (Jack Evans & Angelico)
The pre-match promos featured Trent almost telling off Tyler Bate for their first-night defeat, in much the same way a father would tell off his son… in the end, Bate promised that “Schnurrbartberg” would reign supreme.
Bate and Angelico start us off, with Bate working the wrist early off, before it’s reversed by Angelico, and back again by Bate. The pair swing and miss (metaphorically) with dropkicks and leg sweeps, before Jack Evans and Trent Seven tag in… which leads to a dance-off between the two. Who knew the German for “dance-off” was… “dance-off”?
Trent heels on Jack during the dancing, as he booted him in the stomach as Jack was mid-handstand, and then holds up Evans for a hanging vertical suplex… before he’s handed over to Tyler Bate, and back again for the pass-the-parcel-plex. Bate and Seven miss a double clothesline on Evans, but connect with a pair of uppercuts before their dives are cut-off by a pair of dropkicks from Los Gueros.
We get a pair of topes from Moustache Mountain, with Trent smashing a seat as he landed in the second row, before a Dragon suplex and a spinning piledriver gets Trent a two-count over Evans. Seven and Bate combine for a snap German suplex and a deadlift German suplex respectively for another near-fall, before a double Blockbuster from Jack Evans takes the Brits down.
Angelico makes the hot-ish tag to take down Seven and Bate with elbows, before Bate’s used as a stool for a flying knee to Seven in the corner. Bate and Angelico trade shots, before a trio of knees from Angelico takes Bate down, with an enziguiri from the ground getting a two-count on Bate. Los Gueros double-teamed Bate with some rapid-fire kicks, before the assisted, standing 450 splash gets a near-fall as Trent broke up the cover.
The match descended into a four-way chop battle, then a four-way forearm battle, with Seven winning out with a lariat, before Evans ducked a Rainmaker and took down Trent with an overhead kick. A Sasuke special from Evans is caught by Seven, who propels Jack into the air for an European uppercut from Bate, as Angelico takes a piledriver from Seven but avoids a brainbuster from Bate.
Tyler takes a crucifix bucklebomb from Angelico, who then runs corner to corner to dive onto Seven outside the ring, as Jack Evans gets the 630 Splash on Bate…which was totally no-sold as Bate popped up and dropped Evans with a scoop tombstone piledriver for the win. Much better than Angelico and Evans’ match on the first night, but the cynical part of me that questions selling wonders what the heck happened with that finish. ***¾
Block B: Death By Elbow (JT Dunn & Chris Hero vs. LDRS (Zack Sabre Jr. & Marty Scurll)
Dunn and Sabre start off with a lot of high-flying… oh, who am I kidding? It’s Zack Sabre Jr, so of course it’s ground-based wrestling! More of the same from Scurll as he tags in, as Dunn mocks Scurll’s chicken taunts, and gets a poke to the eye for his troubles.
Chris Hero tags in to renew rivalries with Scurll, and immediately decks him with a pump kick. Scurll takes Hero to the corner, and from the clean break, he decides to do the chicken taunt… which gets him a straight right hand from Hero. Yep, not a good night to do fowl taunts…
A back senton from Dunn gets a near-fall, as he keeps Scurll grounded, but the tag to Chris Hero ends up with Scurll having his leg grapevined. Marty rakes Hero’s eyes to free himself, but refrains from tagging out… and that sees him taken to the wrong corner as Death By Elbow try to keep his offence at a minimum. Sabre tags in and gets Dunn immediately in the Octopus hold (you know the one… “Hurrah! Another Year, Surely This One Will Be Better Than The Last; The Inexorable March of Progress Will Lead Us All to Happiness”), and rejects the offer of cheating from Scurll.
Marty tags back in and takes down Dunn with a dropkick as the match evens out for a spell. Hero drops Sabre with a bicycle kick in the corner, before Dunne got a near-fall from a facebuster. Hero comes in and tosses both of the LDRS onto the apron, before another bicycle kick takes them outside, and in prime position for a slow roll to the outside and then a series of strikes. Sabre catches a pump kick and leaves Hero trapped outside for a superkick on the apron from Scurll, then a PK.
On the outside, Hero takes a battering with some uppercuts, before Scurll stamps on his arm and elbow. Sabre continues the focus on the same joint as they repeatedly tag in and out for some stamps. Hero slaps Sabre off the apron, but quickly gets poked in the eye by the Villain, and then has both elbows stamped on at once. It’s going to be hard to give someone death by elbow if they’re both out of commission…
I take that back… Hero floors Sabre with an elbow, but from a resulting back senton, he falls straight into an armbar and is then forced to reach for the ropes. Scurll takes a straight right hand, but Hero quickly has to fight off both of the LDRS… who get so fixated with preventing Hero from completing a sunset flip, they are left holding hands as Chris scurries away and tags in JT Dunn!
Dunn clears the ring with a bicycle kicks and forearms, before a tope takes out Scurll on the outside. An Ace crusher gets JT a near-fall over Sabre, before a package piledriver attempt is blocked with Sabre going for a wristlock. Hero’s attempted full nelson is blocked, and the intervening confusion sees Sabre take a rolling elbow, a piledriver and a wheelbarrow German suplex for a near-fall, as Scurll broke up the pin.
Sabre made a comeback with an European uppercut to Hero, before both of the LDRS fooled Dunn with the Just Kidding superkick. Another Scurll superkick and a Sabre PK gets a near-fall after Hero makes the save, but Hero gets caught in a backbreaker rack and is dropped face-first to the mat by Scurll whilst Sabre dumps Dunn with a double chickenwing into a German suplex. Okay, that one I’ve not seen before! Dunn kicked out though, but managed to fight back yet again… until he took a dropkick-assisted Michinoku driver from the LDRS for another near-fall!
Hero comes in and gets pinged around with uppercuts from the LDRS, but another Michinoku driver attempt ended with Hero falling on Sabre and decking Scurll with a knee-strike. A series of wind-up clotheslines from Scurll failed to take down Hero, with a third one getting countered with a rolling elbow.
Sabre and Dunn end up sat on the mat opposite each other, trading slaps, and it degenerates into a load of grounded kicks and chops from all four men, until Hero and Scurll land back sentons at about the same time on their opponents. Some heavy breathing accompanies the latest round of Hero vs. Scurll’s elbow/chop battles, with Scurll’s rapid-fire chops earning him a bicycle kick, before he drops Hero with another Just Kidding superkick. Hero returns with a Just Kidding knee strike, before he takes a brainbuster for a near-fall.
As we entered the final five minutes, Scurll grabbed the wrist of Hero and went for the fingers… ignoring Hero’s pleas not to break his fingers, as he did it anyway. Scurll took a barrage of elbows anyway from Dunn and Hero, before Zack Sabre Jr’s attempt to save Scurll from elbows led to him taking another pair of strikes.
Scurll fought back with chops to both Hero and Dunn, who then both had their fingers snapped, and replied with a pair of bicycle kicks to the Villain. Another Death By Elbow gets a near-fall as Sabre makes a save, before Hero goes for a piledriver, but Scurll blocks it and scurries under the legs. Instead, Marty goes for the Gotch-style piledriver, but Hero counters with a cradle piledriver for just a one-count!
Scurll fires back with slaps, then a cradle piledriver, before going for the first Chicken Wing of the match. Hero counters, and lifts up Scurll into an Electric Chair. The Villain slips out into another Chicken Wing as the match enters the final thirty seconds – with a draw looking increasingly likely – and with the LDRS tying in Hero and Dunn in a Chicken Wing and armbar respectively, the ring announcer counted down the remaining seconds as this match went to a 30 minute broadway. A fantastic bout – if you knew about the 30 minute time limit (which wasn’t made clear on the show until they started counting down the time left), you might have been able to suspect the Broadway after about ten minutes… but still, this was a home run of a tag match that didn’t follow the usual pattern of any of these guys’ normal routines. ****¾
Up next was a special appearance from Karsten Beck, a man who’d recently been diagnosed with – and had successful surgery to remove – a brain tumour. Beck got a “welcome home” chant, but sadly, this whole segment was in German, and as bad as I feel for skipping it, I don’t want to make guesses at what was said. It did feature a run-in with the Ringkampf trio of WALTER, Timothy Thatcher and Axel Dieter Jr, so I’m guessing that’s where they’re going when Beck returns to the ring. That being said, with this WXW Now subscription, I probably should take a look at some of Karsten’s past works…
“Bad Bones” John Klinger vs. Dirty Dragan
Before the match, we’ve got footage of when Dirty Dragan joined Cerberus, with a weird mixture of promos in English and German that leads me to assume he turned on Bones because he wanted to be all serious. Bad Bones goes all Breaking Bad with his catchphrase, and this leads to the match…
Dragan’s wearing a fanny pack, and he throws something to Bones, who immediately rushes into the corner (and misses) with the Wrecking Ball knees. Dragan stomps away on him before using the fanny pack as a weapon, ad the same again with a chain-assisted punch. Bones kicks out though, but again has to kick out after a rope-assisted schoolboy by Dragan.
More stomps from Dragan stop being effective, as Bad Bones catches him with an overhead capture suplex into the corner, then a series of running forearms, affectionately known here as the “Dead Man’s Hand”. Dragan gets a back elbow in, but finds himself tossed outside the ring where he’s suddenly trapped as a tope from Klinger somehow doesn’t break another chair.
Klinger rolls Dragan back into the ring, then climbs up top for a missile dropkick, before a lariat knocks Dirty Dragan down. Bad Bones waits in the corner for Dragan to get back to his feet, and connects with the Wrecking Ball knees into the corner. Bones then follows that up with the Rebel Lock (crossface), and wrenches back massively on Dragan, who apparently goes unconscious in the hold, as the referee stops the match. This was fine for what it was, a totally one-sided squash, to the point where I’m wondering just how low down the wXw totem pole Dragan is… Very, it seems. **½
Block A: Ringkampf (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) vs. JML (Shane Strickland & David Starr)
Before the match, Strickland asks a fan to explain a chant – and it turns out that “WALTER’s heel” is actually English. Good to see the wXW fans self-explaining their storylines. Speaking of, JML seem to have stuffed their crotched to beyond adult-film star levels… their trunks were stuffed with Ringkampf scarves, which you can imagine pleased their opponents.
So, from a jump start, WALTER ends up taking down Strickland with a shoulder tackle, before Strickland low bridges the big guy to the outside. WALTER locks in a sleeperhold briefly from the apron, but gets dropkicked to the outside as Timothy Thatcher (and his only facial expression) is waiting for Strickland with an European uppercut.
Strickland gets cornered as WALTER stretches in him the ropes, before a back suplex on the apron sets up Thatcher for some strikes in the corner. After some European uppercuts in the corner, Thatcher takes an enziguiri, before pulling his facial expression as he swats down Strickland in mid-air with another uppercut. WALTER returns, but gets rolled up for a two-count from a crucifix, before he gets a near-fall himself from a sit-down splash.
Thatcher tags back in and throws Strickland around with a gutwrench suplex, but after a tag WALTER takes a roundhouse kick before David Starr comes in and lights up WALTER with chops and forearms. Starr avoids a WALTER powerbomb and tosses the big guy onto the ramp, where a springboard clothesline knocks down the Austrian.
Thatcher gets an uppercut to cut-off a dive from Starr, and it’s back to WALTER and Thatcher working over him. Another gutwrench suplex from Thatcher takes Starr down, before WALTER comes in for one of his own, with an added risk of concussion as Starr’s head snapped back wildly. More gutwrenches (moar!) follow, and this rag-dolling is running the risk of getting boring. It’s like I’m playing a video game against a guy who only knows one more…
Starr kicks out at two after some more gutwrenches, and Thatcher pulls his face as he grounds Starr with a chinlock. In comes WALTER again, and his decision to switch the move backfires as he and Thatcher take superkicks, before Thatcher yanks down Strickland from the apron to prevent the tag. A double underhook suplex from WALTER gets a near-fall, as Thatcher returns for a rear chinlock.
Another attempted tag from Starr fails, as Thatcher keeps cutting the ring off, but Starr finally reverses a suplex into a brainbuster over the knee and finally makes the tag to Strickland, who clears house on WALTER and peppers Thatcher with strikes. A dropkick to the head takes down a seated Thatcher, before a dropkick to WALTER’s knee sets him up for a diving Ace crusher.
Strickland hits a 619 as Thatcher went to throw him outside, before a missile dropkick gets Strickland a near-fall. A 450 splash is aborted from Shane, as he’s thrown into a big boot and a lariat from WALTER. Thatcher follows with a back suplex for a near-fall, but WALTER’s flirtation with the top rope ends badly as Starr brings him down with a belly-to-belly superplex, as Strickland hits the 450 Splash for a near-fall with Thatcher breaking it up.
It breaks down into some ground and pound between Thatcher and Starr, before WALTER cuts off Strickland on the top rope and brings him down with a German superplex attempt… but Strickland lands on his feet and rushes into the corner with a dropkick. WALTER returns the favour with a Shotgun dropkick that sent Strickland into the corner, as Starr and Thatcher again battered each other with strikes.
A tope from Starr takes out WALTER on the outside, before a ripcord forearm from Strickland sets up Thatcher for some more strikes, then a headbutt that Thatcher gets the better of for a near-fall. Thatcher’s mean face returns, but he takes a series of kicks and forearms from JML, who finish off with a double-stomp assisted German suplex for the win! ***½
WXW Unified World Wrestling Championship: Mike Bailey vs. Jurn Simmons (c)
After beating “Bad Bones” on night one to get this shot, I’m expecting a lot more kicks from Speedball tonight, since that seems to be all he displays…
Sure enough, Bailey surprises Simmons with a kick and a roll-up for an early two count, before he goes to work with some kicks in the corner. More kicks from Bailey forces the referee to separate the pair in the ropes, as Jurn goes to the outside… and drags Mike out with him as he ends up taking some more kicks on the ever-so-slightly wobbly entrance ramp. Bailey misses the moonsault knees and gets a DDT onto the ramp for his troubles, which started a period of offence for the champion, featuring elbows in the corner and hard Irish whips into the turnbuckles.
Simmons folds Bailey in half with a Mr Perfect neck snapmare, but the challenger fires back with… yes… kicks, before he low bridges Simmons to the outside and connects with a Sasuke special to the floor. More kicks on the outside as they brawl through the crowd, ending with Bailey being thrown into a dividing wall near a merchandise stand. Jurn jumps onto the wall and leaps down with a double axehandle to Bailey, before he dumps Bailey over the wall… only to get met with, yes, another kick.
Bailey takes a run up and hits a somersault plancha off that wall onto Simmons, before the challenger uses the ring apron as another runway for a diving knee strike. They stay in the ringside area, as Bailey collapses into an old lady after he’s rammed into the apron, before he’s rammed into the apron courtesy of a what I can only describe as a Shellshock crossed with a death valley driver.
Some fans in the front row give Bailey a hand in to beat the ten count, as he immediately gets covered for a near-fall. Simmons sets up for a piledriver, but he’s charged into the corner, where Bailey misses a pump kick before connecting with an enziguiri. The push down double stomp is followed up with some shooting star knees for a near-fall.
With Simmons on his knees, Bailey goes back to the kicks, with a superkick taking Simmons down, but Bailey misses a standing corkscrew star press and takes a hanging neckbreaker from the champion. Bailey tries for a standing Shiranui, but instead opts for a cavalcade of kicks, before he feints a kick and follows through once Simmons had lowered his guard. That gets a near-fall, as does a second roundhouse kick to the head, before Simmons finally connects with a dropkick after he takes a knee in the corner.
Simmons kips up, as does Bailey, who kicks him onto the middle turnbuckle, before going up top himself. A headbutt knocks the champion to the mat, but Bailey’s slapped down and almost falls off the top rope, before saving himself and kicking (yes) Simmons to the mat. He misses the shooting star knees, and takes a diving dropkick to the back of the head, but somehow kicks out in time.
Not to be outdone, Simmons goes up top and hits a moonsault on Bailey and gets a two-count from it. Bailey tried to counter a piledriver with an Air Raid Crash, before instead getting a ‘rana to take down the champion. Another kick ends up costing Bailey as Simmons moves out of the way, leading to a ref bump via a roundhouse kick. With the ref down, Simmons kicks Bailey low, and gets a uranage… but there’s no point in making the cover as the referee’s sleeping!
The commentary team calls it a “disaster for this wonderful match” (much more eloquent than their American counterparts would ever say!), as Simmons grabs his title belt. Bailey ducks a belt shot and hits a low dropkick, before a roundhouse kick and a La Magistral leads to a two-count. Another low blow follows from Simmons as the referee is tended to again, and Simmons waves to the back for someone… but Bailey hits a low blow of his own, then a standing Shiranui, but the second referee got there too late!
Another kick to the head gets Bailey a two-count, before he uses Simmons as a stepping stone to the top rope. A big boot from Jurn follows, as does a front suplex, but a schoolboy nearly steals the win for Mike, who takes a diving dropkick. Bailey gets a near-fall when he jack-knifes a piledriver attempt into a cover, then takes a massive clothesline, before Simmons goes for his belt again… instead, Bailey gets a spinning kick, then a wheelbarrow roll-up for a two-count. Annoyed by Bailey’s kicks and general shenanigans, Simmons nails Bailey with a big boot, then gets his piledriver finally and that’s it! Jurn retains, and that proves that you can’t kick your way to a title in Germany! Enjoyable, but Bailey’s quickly getting to Tim Thatcher levels of being unwatchable in my eyes… ***¾
So, after two days of action, the World Tag Team League is as follows:
Block A: four-way tie: JML, Los Gueros del Cielo, Moustache Mountain and Ringkampf (3pts)
Block B: Death By Elbow (4pts); LDRS (4pts); Cerberus (3pts); A4 (0pts)
Going into the final day, only A4 are completely eliminated from contention, but with everyone in block A able to make it to the finals, we’re set for a mouthwatering finale! Whether that can surpass the heights we saw today, particularly with the time-limit draw between the LDRS and Death By Elbow remains to be seen!