The 2017 World Tag Team League wrapped up in style… but did RISE leave the weekend as they came in, or would they be faced with a new dog in their war on wXw?

On night two, Bad Bones managed to retain his Unified World Wrestling title via DQ thanks to the help of new RISE member Da Mack… who intentionally struck Bones with his own title belt before confessing all to referee Tassilo Jung. Which led to a comedic/frustrated F-bomb…

Earlier in the day, it was revealed that Low Ki would not be able to compete in his final group B match as scheduled, after injuring his knee against RINGKAMPF on night two. What would happen to the planned Rottweilers/Briscoes match? The situation was simple – if the Rottweilers couldn’t wrestle, they’d forfeit the match… and that was what ended up happening.

Low Ki said a few words before being interrupted by Bobby Gunns, who breezed past them on his way to the ring. He addressed them in English, saying that “when old timers head into my ring, they get hurt”. A challenge to Homicide’s accepted, and that’s our match later tonight.

World Tag Team League – Group A: Spirit Squad (Mikey & Kenny) vs. A4 (Marius al-Ani & Absolute Andy)
Kenny busts out the anti-Germany shtick early, but they were interrupted by A4. Wearing American football helmets… they got spirit, I guess.

They finally end up in the ring as Andy press slammed Mikey into Kenny, before Marius leapt over the top rope into the ring with a double clothesline as the a thumb to the eyes of Kenny and Mikey led to a wacky series of indy’riffic pins… as the Spirit Squad tried to beat themselves. A boat-load of two counts later, and they’ve knackered themselves!

The Spirit Squad get rolled into the duelling submissions, which end with some rope breaks. Kenny’s comeback saw him dropkick away an Absolute Knee drop… but A4 made a comeback, heavily drawing on Marius for the big stuff as he led to the over-the-post body press to wipe out the Squad.

Mikey eats the leapfrog splash, just as Kenny crawls back into the ring… but Andy superkicks Marius as they went for a second one… and there’s the turn! Andy stares at Marius as the Spirit Squad make the cover… and A4, ist nicht mehr. **½

The crowd didn’t know how to react afterwards. Why would Andy turn on his partner?! In among the confusion, they eventually willed on Marius as he picked himself up and took himself to the back.

World Tag Team League – Group A: Massive Product (Jurn Simmons & David Starr) vs. Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid)
There’s no joking around from Massive Product here… they have 6 points – if they avoid defeat, they go through to the finals and guarantee new tag team champions. Extra points for adding a cold blast of air as they made their entrance too!

Massive Product get going, with a big boot-assisted slam as Lucky Kid’s isolated in the early going… and when Tarkan Asan came in things took a while to pick up as Lucky Kid hits a top rope ‘rana to take Starr into Simmons… then a flip tope to leave Starr down outside.

Back inside, Aslan wears down on Starr’s arm as the Product gets isolated and double-teamed for a spell. Lucky Kid threw a t-shirt for Aslan to choke Starr with, before a chop battle looked to give Starr an edge… but it wasn’t to be. Jurn backdrops away some attempted interference from Lucky Kid… only for Kid to pull the Dutchman off the apron as the onslaught continued.

Eventually Jurn gets the hot tag, dumping Lucky Kid with a back body drop, before a Massive Kick dropped the Young Lion. A gutwrench powerbomb’s good for a two-count, thanks to Aslan’s breaking of the pin… which earns him another Massive Boot. Massive Product go for the spike piledriver, but Pete Bouncer appears on the stage to distract, and Starr falls for it.

Bouncer low blows Starr, leaving Jurn alone to get double-teamed for a while, culminating in a double chop from Aslan for a near-fall. That prompts Bouncer to get on the apron again, as Ivan Kiev comes out with the Shotgun title belt… which Aslan uses on Jurn, but by then Starr recovered to break up the pin and resume the war!

An accidental double stomp from the Lions led to some more attempted interference, but Jurn just dumps Kiev and Bouncer on the floor. One spike piledriver later, Massive Product win… and we’re guaranteed new champs by the end of the night! Enjoyable stuff as RISE take another dent im their armour! ***½

Group A ends with Massive Product on top with 9 points; everyone else had just the three…

World Tag Team League – Group B: EYFBO (Mike Draztik & Angel Ortiz) vs. RINGKAMPF (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER)
EYFBO could play spoilers here – their loss to the Briscoes yesterday mean that they can only stop RINGKAMPF from reaching the finals…

Timothy Thatcher gets us going with an early armbar to Draztik… Ortiz makes a save and this quickly broke down. EYFBO took RINGKAMPF into the front row with some plamnchas as WALTER gets isolated… but he outstood them, powerbombing Draztik onto Ortiz in the corner.

Ortiz eats a stiff clothesline as RINGKAMPF kept him in for a spell… by which I mean “Angel wanted to be chopped”. The loon. He got those, and some uppercuts, and a double dropkick… but EYFBO respond with the Demolition top rope legdrop… only for the momentum to swing back and forth.

Poor Draztik took a series of gutwrench suplexes from an increasingly-sadistic Thatcher and WALTER, but his attempt to avoid a one-armed powerbomb went badly wrong as WALTER then German suplexed him out of his bandana. EYFBO respond with a double press slam, taking WALTER into a cannonball on Thatcher in the corner, before a step-up cannonball from Draztik nearly did the job.

In the end, WALTER booted away Draztik, leaving Ortiz alone for a WALTER powerbomb… that’s all folks! RINGKAMPF or Massive Product will be your next tag team champions, as EYFBO gave it all but couldn’t quite derail RINGKAMPF in the end… ***¾

EYFBO got a loud “please come back” chant – and I think Oberhausen’s fallen in love with the LAX members!

As Thommi Giesen ran down the final brackets, RISE’s music hit – and the dejected unit hit the stage, along with new recruit Da Mack and a pissed-off Bad Bones. I like how Mack’s already colour-coordinating his tassles to the RISE colour scheme. Promo time sees Bones mocks Ilja Dragunov after last night…

And he’s interrupted by Julian Nero… scratch that, Cerberus are back! Adam Polak, Dirty Dragan join Nero, Avalanche and Ilja. We have a brief brawl, ending with Ilja and Bones squaring off… and we have an impromptu match right now?

RISE (Bad Bones, Ivan Kiev, Pete Bouncer & Da Mack) vs. Cerberus (Ilja Dragunov, Avalanche, Julian Nero & Dirty Dragan)
Guess who took a lot of the early beating? Yup, Poor Pete Bouncer.

Cerberus turned back the clock, almost as if the Ilja/Avalanche stuff earlier this year never happened. That’s not a bad thing, as Cerberus as a unit is what wXw needed now A4 have wrecked the “home team”.

The crowd chanted for Dragan to get the tag… but he’s quickly low bridged to the outside as Da Mack put some boots to him. Dragan became the Cerberus whipping boy for a bit as Bones pounded on him – followed by the rest of RISE. In a nice, orderly fashion, of course.

When Dragan made the tag out, Kiev took a top rope knee from Nero, who quickly found himself on the wrong side of Bad Bones. Ilja gets tagged in and is instantly popped up awkwardly into the ropes and things break down from there as an 8-way fight broke out in the ring.

A Parade of Moves ends with Mack eating the Torpedo Moscau, only for Ivan to kick his head off… and plancha onto Bouncer and Dragan! Ilja throws in another tope into Bones, Kiev and Bouncer, and then we get the returning Lions… except Adam Polak punches out Tarkan Aslan!

In the end, Cerberus won thanks to Torpedo Moscau – their first night back… and they were already in the wars as Dragan took a nasty spill early and Nero left the match with a nasty cut to the back of his head. Fun stuff and a memorable end to the first half of the finals of the World Tag Team League. RISE have a real threat! ***½

The Briscoe Brothers came out to start the second half… they “won” their match by forfeit, but they’re not making the tournament finals because of other results. So they have no match. Here’s an open challenge!

Briscoe Brothers (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe) vs. Jay FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin)
Another impromptu match here, with the fairly-new team of Kaspin and Skillet taking on the Briscoes… and it’s Mark who starts off on top, grounding Skillet with a side headlock before Jay slammed him to the mat repeatedly.

Skillet eats a flapjack as the Briscoes ran riot, throwing Kaspin with a double-team beel as Skillet continued to take a pounding. Finally Kaspin got back onto the apron and made a blind tag, clearing house on Mark Briscoe, dropping him with a flying forearm for a near-fall. Jay Briscoe repeats the trick, with his blind tag leading to a brutal clothesline on Kaspin, before a double shouler barge kept the “Pop Culture Wrestler” down for a two-count.

Kaspin struggled to catch a break, but at least he was able to tag in Skillet to make his own comeback, which featured a neckbreaker into an accidental DDT between the Briscoes. Jay FK get a near-fall out of a neckbreaker aided by a double stomp, and that angered Mark into starting a chop war.

Francis wanted to slap back, which led to an entertaining series, leading to a spear/clothesline from Jay FK, and a spike Michinoku driver for a near-fall. Jay Briscoe pops straight back with a pop-up death valley driver onto Skillet, but a DDT takes Briscoe out… leaving Mark one on two for the briefest of moments. In the end, Mark responded with a Burning Hammer of all things, and the Briscoes get their win! Enjoyable stuff as Jay FK took the fall in the biggest match yet… but they’re still new as a team. They’ll get more from this loss, I feel, than from a win. ***¼

The Briscoes got loud “please come back” chants… they’ll be back, I feel!

Relaxed Rules: Bobby Gunns vs. Homicide
They added the no-DQ stip just before the bell, but it didn’t faze Gunns as he laid into Homicide… who replied by digging out a FORK as he used it to hook at Gunns.

This turned into a walk-and-brawl, winding up on the raised entrance way, then the stage as Homicide suplexed Gunns up there. Back at ringside, Gunns stomped on Homicide’s hands on the steps, before Homicide pushed the ring steps into Gunns’ midsection. There’s a table under that there ring, but Gunns stopped him from doing much more than set it up.

An Ace Crusher from Homicide gives way to an armbar from Gunns… but then they tease a spot with a table that’d now collapsed into the bottom turnbuckle. A missed swandive headbutt lead to Gunns taking a back body drop through the table… only for a near-fall! In the end, Gunns unsighted the ref, then hit a low blow and a small package to get the win! Decent stuff, but this was Gunns somewhat out of his element. **½

After the match, Low Ki appeared on the stage… Homicide offered a hand, but Gunns spat at him. That earned him a Cop Killa, and Homicide left with Bobby laid in the ring!

World Tag Team League – Final for wXw World Tag Team Championship: Massive Product (David Starr & Jurn Simmons) vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher)
A nice even start gets us going in this final – that will crown a new set of tag team champions, remember – with Thatcher going for a heel hook early… but Starr rolls into the ropes.

Thatcher and Starr work on the mat early, before we swap to the hosses of each team. See-saw shoulder barges eventually get Jurn an edge, especially when he hung on to avoid a WALTER dropkick as the big men left their feet… only for Jurn to gloat and earn himself a Gojira clutch/German suplex combo. Jurn thinks he can fight back with chops… and he was right, as he charged WALTER into the corner, allowing him and Starr to double-team briefly.

WALTER overcame and isolated Starr, handing him off to Thatcher for a gutwrench. Starr dragged him down as the back-and-forth momentum swings continue. Thatcher’s forced to fight away some double-teams before WALTER comes in to chop away on the Massive Product. David Starr tries to copy that, and has some success with an O’Connor roll… only to get dragged into a Gojira clutch that Jurn broke by dumping Thatcher onto the pile with a spinebuster.

RINGKAMPF returned that favour, powerbombing Starr onto Jurn to break up a pin.

WALTER comes in with a chop to Starr… and yes, they’re returned because we need a Violence Party! Things get really tasty for a spell between those two, hitting harder and harder, before WALTER wandered into a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron from Starr.

Massive Product looked to go for a spike piledriver, but WALTER booted away Starr as RINGKAMPF went after Jurn with the double powerbomb… but he kicked out at two! The crowd started to get further behind RINGKAMPF, just as the two hosses traded clotheslines in the corner. WALTER dropped Jurn with the sit-out tombstone, but Starr got in in time to break it up as he came in with a floatover Destroyer… that led to the spike piledriver… but not the finish as Thatcher got his shoulder up and turned into a zombie!

With Jurn down, Thatcher wrapped Starr in a rear naked choke… WALTER came in to add a second submission, and that was enough to make the Massive Product crumble! Starr taps – he’s not repeating as World Tag Team League winner, and RINGKAMPF leave with the gold! An awesome match to wrap up the World Tag Team League, and the mat is indeed holy! ****½

Afterwards, WALTER paid tribute to Axel Dieter Jr., then to his new tag team partner.. who spoke.. in German, saying that RINGKAMPF is family to him, before thanking Oberhausen.

World Tag Team League was a success – memorable moments in the turn of Da Mack, the reformation of Cerberus, and Absolute Andy’s betrayal of Marius al-Ani. Add in RISE taking further losses. The only issue I had was the tournament final lacked a clear favourite – in the crowd’s eyes at least – but it didn’t hamper the quality of what happened in ring. We were all just glad to see new tag champs, regardless of who they were.

The World Tag Team League finals will be up on on Wednesday night – we’ll have one more retrospective column up in the coming days after we’ve digested this hectic, but fun, weekend in Oberhausen.