wXw’s World Tag Team League kicked off in Oberhausen with the first round of action, where we found out Absolute Andy’s other job!

This is new territory for us – coverage live from the venue. We’ll not be anywhere as in-depth as usual, but hey – these’ll be up on wXw Now by the end of next week! We’d like to thank the folks at wXw for having us for this weekend’s shows – we’ll be trying to get live reports up after every show, but make sure you follow us on our new Instagram page for photos from Oberhausen! instagram.com/backbodydrop

The hour-long pre-show is essentially a live version of WWE’s version – with talking heads on the stage previewing the weekend’s events. We did have a match in among all this…

Jaxon Stone came out in the pre-show wanting people to chant “welcome back” for him. It didn’t quite work out for him in terms of the reaction he desired, and this turns into an open challenge.

Jaxon Stone vs. Jay Skillet
This brief outing started when Stone attacked Skillet from behind as Jay mocked the “you’re going to watch me take my jacket off” deal, but he was quickly put on the back foot as Skillet hits a neckbreaker for an early near-fall. Jaxon had a spell on top, but ended up going down to a tornado-ish DDT out of the corner, before Skillet spiked him on his head with a Michinoku Driver, before a sit-out powerbomb earned Jaxon the win. Watch for this on Shotgun in a few weeks! **¾

Yes, they play the wXw intro sting at the shows! A video package of wXw tag team champions of lore play, without background music. I miss the ear worm. Spirit Squad got booed, whereas the rest of the pack got the reaction you’d expect… even more so when all the entrants made their way to the ring.

World Tag Team League – Group B: The Rottweilers (Homicide & Low Ki) vs. EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz)
Well, this is quite the match to get us going… a battle of LAX! EYFBO had a chant that I’m sure will follow them around Europe. You know the ones.

It’s a fairly tentative start, at least until Low Ki caught Draztik in an armbar in the ropes as the Rottweilers edged into an early lead. A neckbreaker from Homicide kept that up as Ortiz found himself on the receiving end for a spell. He gets a near-fall out of a Northern Lights on Homicide, before EYFBO landed a nice elevated senton combo for a near-fall.

Eventually Low Ki gets the tag in, and countered a slingshot into the corner with a swift double stomp on Draztik. Homicide tied up the ref, meaning that some double-teaming from EYFBO could occur, which led to the finish as a Blockbuster/Powerbomb combo earned the win for Draztik and Ortiz. A fun opener as EYFBO get the first threepoints on the board. ***¼

World Tag Team League – Group A: Spirit Squad (Mikey & Kenny) vs. Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid)
My God, RISE’s entrance is an experience. Theres a lot to be said for making the trip to these shows if you can – the stuff that gets edited out of the VOD is spine tingling. The crowd didn’t really care for the Spirit Squad, so this could be a little weird.

Kenny didn’t like the fans’ chant of “who are you?”, and thing didn’t go much better when the Lions frustrated Mikey’s wish for a test of strength. Once Tarkan Aslan instructed Lucky Kid into action, things got going, with a take on a high-low from the Spirit Squad putting them ahead. Poor Lucky Kid took the lions’ share of offence (pardon the pun!) as the Spirit Squad slowly but surely won over the Turbinenhalle.

Finally the Lions got back in it with a spot of double-teaming and copious cheating. Lucky Kid swung and luckily missed Aslan with a Polish hammer, which somehow allowed the Squad to get back in it, with Mikey hitting an RKO that almost turned into a driver. Kenny’s dumped into the crowd as the Lions escape some mounted punches, and a double stomp across the back of Mikey (who was draped over the knees) led to the win. This was alright, but the weird clash of styles and the lack of a universally accepted babyface kinda hurt. Kenny needed some treatment after that awkward landing, and was instantly taken to the back. **¾

Julian Nero vs. Da Mack
We’ve some non-tournament action now, based on an overheard phone call where Da Mack thought that Julian Nero had set him up as easy pickings for Avalanche in last week’s Shotgun title contender’s match.

Mack started out hot, but Nero quickly tried to use his size to keep the Urban German at bay. At first, it didn’t work, at least until he booted Mack’s springboard away, sending him crashing to the floor. Back inside, Mack had to fight up from a neck crank as he came back with a Slingblade and a springboard forearm smash.

Nero sidestepped a cannonball senton with ease, and then followed up with a top rope knee drop, but Mack looked to kick out just after three… it was a weird one, but the luckless Mack’s run keeps on rolling, I guess! **¼

Mack got lots of boos after this. I guess the crowd are as sick of him losing as he is?

The tease for the 17th Anniversary Show featured the return of… Zack Sabre Jr! December 23rd, he’s returning to wXw!

World Tag Team League – Group A: A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius al-Ani) vs. Massive Product (Jurn Simmons & David Starr)
Or is that Batmandy and Robinani? Massive Product came out with the classic mash-up of their entrance themes, and this is another of those “you had to be there” moments…

Respect was the name of the game at the start, as were shoulder tackles as Andy tried to take down Jurn in the opening moments. When those didn’t work, it went to punches, before the shoulder block spams FINALLY yielded something. Marius and David came next for a faster-paced sequence, before Marius shifted his focus onto knocking Jurn off the apron… which cost him as he instantly ran into an inverted slam.

If you expected a Geordie to lead the “Absolute Andy” chants, you’d have taken a huge guess as Andy responded by dumping Jurn with a stalling suplex before Starr clotheslined away an attempted Absolute Knee Drop. Davey tried a dive to the floor, but he was caught and F5’d into the ring post, leaving Simmons on his own for a spell as Starr hobbled back to his corner.

Andy busted out a top rope ‘rana, but Jurn pops up for a Massive Boot… and Andy pops up again immediately for the F5 as both men crashed to the mat. Tags out lead us to a Violence Party from Starr as the Massive Product looked to get ahead, getting close with the Massive Recall – a pop-up Flatliner.

Things shift back when Andy catches Starr in a Spinebuster off the top rope, before rolling him into a Sharpshooter… which was broken as the crowd willed Starr towards the ropes. A chaotic series ends with an al-Ani frog splash as Jurn couldn’t capitalise from his own piledriver to Andy.

al-Ani’s kip-up into an Exploder series is even better live than on tape, and that signalled a change in momentum as Starr gets a German suplex to take him outside, before a leapfrog splash onto Jurn left both halves of the Massive Product outside… in prime place for Marius’ across-the-corner dive! That wasn’t to be enough though, as a spike piledriver, chained into Starr diving to Andy on the outside led to the win – a lot of fantastic sequences here from both teams – well worth going back to watch on VOD, and not just for the sketch at the start. ***¾

That leaves Group A with Massive Product and the Young Lions at the top with 3 points, whilst A4 and the Spirit Squad have zero.

After interval, we had Dirty Dragan and Rico Bushido out to plug their podcast taping later tonight. What happens there… stays there!

wXw Shotgun Championship: Avalanche vs. Ivan Kiev (c)
Avalanche used his power early to toss Kiev out of the ring, then to shrug off pretty much anything the champ threw his way. Being a big lad does have its advantages, it seems.

Kiev threw in a Blockbuster out of nowhere for a near-fall, before working over Avalanche’s repaired shoulder. A low bridge briefly took Avalanche onto the floor, before he came back in and misses a Dreissker Bomb out of the corner. Kiev just about got off a headscissors into the ropes, but was more successful with a top rope leg lariat as the crowd started to get behind Avalanche as a defacto good guy.

Avalanche’s comeback started in earnest, with an, erm, avalanche, before he misses a cannoball int the corner. Pete Bouncer appeared to “help” with his RISE buddy, but he could only watch as Avalanche shrugged off a rear naked choke and the bumbling Bouncer to squash the pair with a cannonball. Yeah, this isn’t going to help Pete with Bad Bones…

An attempt at Boulder Dash is escaped, but Kiev can’t avoid a Samoan drop as Bouncer threw in the Shotgun title belt… he’s ejected, but Kiev runs into a Boulder Dash, and that would have led to the win, except Bouncer breaks it up for the DQ. That was alright, but it felt like more of a set-up for the post match stuff… **½

The rest of RISE run in for a four-on-one beat down, but Avalanche overcomes it on his own… until Bad Bones comes in, that is. Julian Nero eventually makes the save, but he’s quickly squashed, but Ilja does the job! The ensuing scuffle leads to Ilja downing Bad Bones with Torpedo Moscau… and it’s on tomorrow!

Ilja offers a handshake to Avalanche, but he snubs it. Nero doesn’t even get the offer!

World Tag Team League – Group B: RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) vs. Briscoe Brothers (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe)
Our final league match of the night, and it started with Mark trying to play Thatcher at his own game. It didn’t go that well, but at least the Briscoes were ahead, peppering Timmy with dropkicks into the corner.

Tags take us to WALTER and Mark again, and why would you try chopping WALTER? WHY?! A slam and a sit-down splash left Mark reeling, allowing RINGKAMPF to cut the ring in half and isolate the brother. Finally Jay gets the tag in, and he clears house by booting WALTER off the apron… which led to a dive from Jay that wiped out a reluctant fan! Mark’s moonsault follows… as did a chair into the ring, and I think that guy in the front row may move next time!

Back inside, Timmy goes to the suplexes, but the Briscoes remain in charge, at least until WALTER came in to chop Dem Boys. And suplex them… but mainly chop them. A Gojira clutch was quickly escaped out of by Mark, before WALTER got mad and just kicked Jay’s head off. You can probably guess how the bouts of violence came in this one, eh?

Thatcher blocks a Jay Driller, but had no answer for an elevated neckbreaker apart from “kick out of it”. Like WALTER kicked off some more heads as a powerbomb to Jay led to a near-fall. The Briscoes’ end came went they were simultaneously dragged into Gojira clutches, giving them with no choice but to tap as RINGKAMPF took home the points! A bloody great main event if you like watching chops and heads being kicked off! ****

The Young Lions and Massive Product lead group A, EYFBO and RINGKAMPF group B – all with 3 points after night one!

The opening night of the tag league was a mixed bag, but on the whole a really solid show to get the weekend officially underway. The singles matches were a welcome change of pace, and things are set up nicely for the rest of the weekender. But first – Saturday afternoon’s Femmes Fatales women’s tournament, which features a bye after Pauline pulled out of that (and the Women’s Championship Tournament) injured.

We’ll have a weekend in retrospective report up after the weekend is done. You can sign up to see the World Tag Team League weekender, plus the Inner Circle and Femmes Fatales shows on wXwnow.de – those shows will appear on demand from Sunday!