wXw Road to Shortcut to the Top 2019: Gutersloh (6/15/2019)- Gutersloh, Germany
AVALANCHE IS MADE TO LOOK LIKE A GOOF ON HIS WAY INTO THE BUILDING- The lines he was given were completely unnatural, his verbal delivery was poor, and they made him look like a total goof who had trouble finding his way into the building. This was horrible. The only redeeming feature was his body language, which sold his frustration well, although even that was too over the top.
ABSOLUTE ANDY, JAY-FK, & PETE BOUNCER BACKSTAGE- Apparently Bouncer screwed Lucky Kid because he made some kind of deal with Andy! How dare that piece of sh*t Pete Bouncer betray RISE! And especially after giving Lucky Kid such a hard time about Lucky’s supposedly divided loyalties between RISE and Schadenfreude. That backstage segment with Lucky, Andy, and Bouncer at Superstars of Wrestling just got a lot more suspicious with hindsight, didn’t it? EXCELLENT booking.
We then cut to a cameraman showing Lucky some film he recorded of Pete Bouncer and Absolute Andy sitting down together and chatting. Apparently they’ve bene talking since after 16 Carat Revenge 2019: Frankfurt at the end of March. Andy admired the brains Bouncer showed by eavesdropping on his and Jay-FK’s plan to interfere in the RISE vs. Schadenfreude match and use their plan to his advantage. Bouncer has apparently decided that “this RISE thing has to end” and that “Lucky is not a leader.” The dialogue and acting here were that wonderful level where it really, truly feels like real people talking and having real human interactions, not characters reciting lines, and one of the reasons I love wXw so much is that I think they hit that level a lot more often than any other promotion in the world. This was GREAT.
Or at least it would have been if not for one major flaw: the setting. We were told that this was taped “ten minutes before Superstars of Wrestling.” My guess is that they said this because they wanted an excuse for why a cameraman would have been recording at all. Also presumably for that reason, they had this conversation occur on the stage, where a cameraman testing his camera could take notice of it and record it. The big problem with this, though, is that if these guys are so devious then WHY DID THEY HAVE THIS CONVERSATION IN PUBLIC INSTEAD OF A IN SOMEONE’S LOCKER ROOM?!
(As for why this cameraman is only showing Lucky this footage now, my guess is that he couldn’t make heads or tails of it until after he saw Pete Bouncer turn on Lucky at Drive of Champions, which happened the day before this show was taped).
Upon seeing this footage Lucky became furious and went to go find Bouncer... who apparently wasn’t very far away because we cut back to the heels and Lucky was there almost immediately. Then some very interesting things happened.
1. Rather than attacking Lucky when he grabbed Bouncer by the throat like one might suspect they would do for a new colleague, Andy and Jay-FK slunk off, not wanting to get involved.
2. Ivan Kiev ran in to break things up and try to make peace between Bouncer and Lucky very quickly, to the point where it is seemingly impossible that he didn’t see- or at least hear- his best friend Pete Bouncer hanging out with their enemies. I’d be shocked if Kiev wasn’t secretly in on this as well. After all, if he wasn’t, you’d think he’d be demanding answers from Bouncer about why Bouncer screwed Lucky out of his 16 Carat Gold title shot as well.
VEIT MULLER & AVALANCHE BACKSTAGE- fine
Avalanche is wants to find Sitoci and kick his ass right now but Muller convinces him to calm down and come up with a plan for their match against Sitoci and Marius Al-Ani in the main event.
BATTLE ROYALE FOR THE #30 SPOT IN SHORTCUT TO THE TOP: Absolute Andy vs. Alexander James vs. “the Avalanche” Robert Dreissker vs. Emil Sitoci vs. Francis Kaspin vs. Ivan Kiev vs. Jay Skillet vs. Jurn Simmons vs. Kyle Fletcher vs Leon van Gasteren vs. Levaniel vs. Maggot vs. Marius Al-Ani vs. Mark Davis vs. Pete Bouncer vs. Prince Ahura vs. Veit Muller vs. Wheeler Yuta- 4.5/10
Levaniel was the “goofball who starts off the match bragging about how he is going to win, only to have everyone gang up on him and eliminate him first. Then they started eliminating people very quickly because it’s a battle royale and they know it’s not going to be very exciting until there are few enough people in the ring that the fans can really start keep track of individual wrestlers.
Avalanche eliminated Sitoci but Sitoci pulled him over the top rope and down to the floor afterwards and they brawled away. Eventually it came down to Leon van Gasteren facing down Absolute Andy, Jay Skillet, and Francis Kaspin all by himself. They beat him down, he made a comeback and eliminated both Andy and Skillet, but then Andy low-bridged him when he went to hit the ropes, giving Francis Kaspin the #30 spot in Shortcut to the Top.
AUSSIE OPEN INTERVIEW- very good build for their upcoming title defense against Ilja Dragunov & WALTER
ABSOLUTE ANDY, JAY-FK, & KARSTEN BECK BACKSTAGE- didn’t like it
The heels were entertaining, but it all had a purpose, as Andy’s insecurity was on full display in trying to worm his way into being Skillet’s new tag team partner after diplomatically allowing that Kaspin could become the world champion if he wins Shortcut to the top.
Karsten then showed up told them that because of their cheating, Francis Kaspin would actually be entering from #1. I’m all for heels being punished for cheating, but this felt like it went too far, to the point where it opens a can of worms about why Karsten doesn’t just overturn the decision any time a heel cheats to win (he did say that he wanted there to be absolutely no cheating in wXw).
IVAN KIEV vs. LEVANIEL- 4/10
A fine six-minute match. Kiev picked up the clean win in his first singles match in wXw in a year and a half. On commentary, Alan Counihan wondered what Kiev felt about Pete Bouncer’s recent actions and the big revelation earlier that Bouncer had conspired with Andy and Jay-FK.
KARSTEN BECK & AMALE WINCHESTER BACKSTAGE- better than the usual with these two.
Amale is upset because she isn’t being treated as she believes a champion deserves to be treated, which to her means a private locker room, fancy flowers, and fancy fruit. Killer Kelly sends her a video massage (helpfully displayed for us on our screens after seeing it begin on Amale’s phone) and rants about how pathetic it is that Amale only sees being champion as a way to get fancy things and not as having value in and of itself, and she vows to take the title away from Amale at Shortcut to the Top.
Kelly promo was great, but the execution here was weird. I would jump on them for it being ridiculous that Kelly could somehow hear this conversation, but Kelly seemed to be under the impression that Amale had a private locker room but this segment told us that she didn’t, so I’m going to give wXw the benefit of the doubt (which they have earned through years of solid storytelling with few- if any- holes) and guess that Kelly is responding to something Amale said on social media about a private locker room.
Amale was upset about having to face Kelly again, at which point Karsten told her that the title match at Shortcut to the Top would actually be a three-way involving both Killer Kelly and Toni Storm (in other words, the two women in the match where Amale won the title that Amale didn’t pin). Amale was very unhappy about this and began ranting in her native French, and as I predicted previously, this greatly increased her acting ability. There is no reason to not have her just speak in French the whole time and have subtitles.
BABY ALLISON vs. VALKYRIE- 4/10
Another short match. Valkyrie was a good babyface and picked up the win.
THE CROWN vs. AUSSIE OPEN- 6.5/10
The Crown jumped the bell on Aussie Open. We got some good babyface in peril stuff, a good comeback, and good twists and turns, but the match often felt like it was going half a step slower than usual speed. The finish saw Jurn try to use a low blow after a ref bump, only for it to be blocked by Davis and for both members of Aussie Open to retaliate by kicking Jurn in the nuts before hitting their finisher for the win.
MARIUS AL-ANI AND EMIL SITOCI BACKSTAGE- good
Al-Ani acknowledges that neither of them is happy that they have to team together, but they’re stuck together for now so they might as well make the most of it. They’ve got a match tonight against Veit Muller and Avalanche, so Al-Ani wants to come up with a game plan. Emil doesn’t want to because he’s a nihilist and thus doesn’t care. Al-Ani gets annoyed and cites various bits of evidence staying that he thinks Sitoci is full of crap about being a nihilist and really only cares about winning and retaining championships (basically the theory that I posited last time). He calls Sitoci a poser and Sitoci tells him to go away. Seeing that he isn’t going to get anywhere whether his theory is right or not, Al-Ani decides to just leave.
THE CROWN RAGE BACKSTAGE- PROMO OF THE YEAR CANDIDATE!
They scream and shout- first it was just Jurn, but James worked himself into a rage by the end as well- about how they’ve been booked lately, stuck in undercard matches and six-man tags and “dumbass gauntlet matches” and not getting the title shots that they deserve. They claim that wXw management is protecting Aussie Open with non-title matches and scream about how Aussie Open had to “bend the rules” to beat them tonight. This was an excellent bit of heel hypocrisy, as the victory they are claiming over Aussie Open in the gauntlet at the previous show was overturned when a second referee came out to tell the first that Jurn had used a low blow, and Aussie Open only used a low blow tonight after Jurn tried to kick Davis low. And yet, I can’t help but notice that unlike at Drive of Champions 2019, no second referee came out to overturn this decision and award The Crown the win. So while The Crown might be he hypocrites, they’ve also got something of a legitimate reason to be pissed off here.
From there, James talked up their history and all of the opponents they have defeated, both individually and as a team. Jurn retired Karsten Beck and “sent Axel Dieter Jr. packing the US.” They broke Monster Consulting by putting Julian Nero out of action, forced Dirty Dragan to leave wXw forever and humiliated him on his way out the door, and destroyed Emil Sitoci’s psyche so badly that he “turned into a coward” (which also served as a nice little reminder of Sitoci walking out on them at Superstars of Wrestling 2019, in addition to Sitoci’s wars with The Crown last year that led to his current direction). And they are EXTREMELY pissed off. And now they’re going to take it out on everybody else.
ABSOLUTE ANDY & JAY-FK vs. LEON VAN GASTEREN & PRETTY BASTARDS- 6.25/10
The babyfaces were being goofs, and thus the heels were able to sneak up on them from behind and attack them. Let this be a lesson to all aspiring wrestlers: DON’T BE A GOOF. The heels won clean when Kaspin rolled up Prince Ahura, who didn’t realize that a blind tag had been made and was posing after laying Andy out.
VEIT MULLER INTERIVEW- good
The new interviewer/ring announcer asks Veit Muller what he thinks about WALTER’s recent actions. Hearing her ask Veit this question made me SOOO happy, as one of the things that drives me nuts about WWE is that relationships are only important when the plot requires them to be. They will establish a relationship on screen, but once someone turns, they’ll just never bring it up and expect you to not remember it until the next time they want it to be relevant (for example, if Naomi were to turn heel, you’d never see Charly Caruso asking a babyface Jimmy Uso about the fact that his wife is now acting like a terrible person).
Muller talks about how much being in RingKampf means to him and what a mentor WALTER has been to him, and he said that RingKampf’s values are what matter. He did a great job of making it clear that he did not want to criticize WALTER, but also was not thrilled with his actions.
LUCKY KID vs. WHEELER YUTA- 6/10
They have a decent match that ends when Pete Bouncer comes out to distract Lucky Kid, allowing Yuta to roll up and pin the #1 contender to the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- very good
Ivan Kiev comes out to ask Bouncer what the hell he’s doing, but Lucky dives onto Bouncer before he can get an answer. Kiev tries to get Lucky to stop beating Bouncer up but Lucky shoves him angrily. Kiev let Lucky beat on Bouncer a bit before trying to calm him down again, but Lucky just ignored him. Eventually Kiev grabbed Lucky from behind to pull him off and restrain him... and while Kiev was restraining Lucky, Bouncer took the opportunity to nail the defenseless Lucky with a cheap shot, then left.
VEIT MULLER & WHEELER YUTA BACKSTAGE- interesting
Muller comes to Yuta to make peace with him and put their mini-feud to rest before Yuta heads back to the US. Yuta was equally respectful, they said nice things about each other and shook hands, with Yuta saying that he hopes to be back in wXw someday. This was very interesting, as there is no purpose in doing it unless you Yuta turned babyface and to have the hatchet specifically buried with Veit, but I’m not quite sure why they would need that.
VEIT MULLER & “THE AVALANCHE” ROBERT DREISSKER vs. MARIUS AL-ANI & EMIL SITOCI- 6.75/10
The story here was the interplay between the heels more than anything else, though Avalanche finally getting his hands on Sitoci was definitely an important- albeit disappointing- pay-off at the end. They told their stories well, though the match was definitely not main event quality in terms of action. I was fine with the idea of the referee agreeing not to count Sitoci out when he tried to walk out on the match once again and letting Avalanche go get him, but it felt like they spent too much time brawling on the outside after that instead of Avalanche trying to bring him back to the ring like I’m sure the referee expected.
This was one of the worst wXw shows I’ve ever seen in terms of in-ring action, but it did do a good job of building the stories up for the big show, which is what these “Road to...” shows do under the new regime. That being said, I see no reason why we can’t aim higher in the ring. Something like the main event on this show or Lucky vs. Wheeler should have been a lot better than it was, and a lot of that is due to not getting enough time to really deliver.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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