wXw Back to the Roots XVII (1/20/2018)- Oberhausen, Germany
HARDCORE MATCH: “Session Moth” Martina vs. Melanie Gray- 6.75/10
Martina starts off by charging at Melanie and pounding on her in the corner because she’s upset that Melanie cost her her spot in the women’s title match at the i]17th Anniversary Show[/i]… and ten seconds later she has dropped her grudge match attitude to rub her ass into Melanie’s crotch. And now she’s doing her same dumb comedy spots again. How am I supposed to get invested in the idea of her getting revenge on Melanie if she herself would rather do dumb sh*t than try for revenge?
Anyway, she does her dumb spot where she wants to do a dive but just keeps running the ropes and then slumps over because she’s too drugged out or whatever and needs beer to give her more energy, so a fan offers his beer… and the f*cking REFEREE brings her the beer! He’s supposed to be impartial! Can you image what the reaction would be if at an NFL game in the freezing cold, a referee was going down one sideline and handing all of the players blankets but not the other team? And those are guys who aren’t even actively involved at the time!
But no. The referee is not hiding his bias here. He gives Martina the beer, she drinks it and goes for her dive… but because she took f*cking forever, Melanie just cuts her off with a chairshot. I laughed my ass off at this.
These two proceeded to have a very good weapons match in which they built to everything well (including a FINLAY ROLL INTO THUMBTACKS)… until the finish, in which they either failed to notice or failed to improvise when Martina hit the Codebreaker while holding a chair, except that while she had been rolling to avoid Melanie’s top rope move moments before, the seat of the chair came off, so they holding an empty chair frame for nothing and the finish to this big weapons match was actually just a regular Codebreaker that looked extra stupid. Still, the match was very good up until that point. This was by far the best match I’ve ever seen Martina have.
A LIVE SMOKE BREAK WITH BOBBY GUNNS- weird
Gunns started to cut a promo that either the announcers didn’t do a good job of translating well or was full of rambling randomness (although I guess both could be true). Then Absolute Andy came out and said that Gunns is a “rookie” because he only smokes cigarettes instead of cigars like Andy does. He also criticized Gunns for drinking beer instead of hard liquor and for having poor taste in champagne. This is very weird.
They went on to trade other insults that the announcers didn’t really translate for me until we got to the point where Gunns points out that he has a belt to carry around his waist while all Andy has is “a bit of extra luggage.” Andy then bragged about having had sex with very large quantities of both men and women. They resumed trading what the audience reacted to as very pointed barbs until Gunns said that the only reason that Andy still has a job in wXw is because Marius Al-Ani wants to get his hands on him, which caused Andy to come down to the ring so that they could have a proper nose-to-nose and then Andy started to take off his jacket like he was ready for a fight but Gunns spat in his face and left the ring. The ring announcer then informed everyone that these two would have a match later but Gunns’ wXw Shotgun Championship would not be on the line.
Maybe this plays better in the original German, but I found this segment to be very odd. The things they said seemed mostly rather awkward and both men came off like dicks… which makes sense because they’re both heels, but doesn’t really do anything to make me want to see either guy win the match and thus I mostly don’t care about it. You’d think that in a promotion with so many darn heels and two major heel turns on the men’s side recently that they’d at least make one of these guys (presumably Gunns because of Andy’s major feud with Marius Al-Ani) into a babyface just to balance things out. As we stand right now it seems like the roster is three quarters heels, one eighth babyfaces, and the remaining eighth is guys who feel like they should be babyfaces except that they come off as total dicks. You’d think they’d at least try to move Gunns into that category but apparently not.
JURN SIMMONS vs. DIRTY DRAGAN- no rating, good segment.
Jurn is one of the aforementioned recent major heels turns, while Dragan is definitely one of those guys who feels like he’s supposed to be a babyface except that he comes off like a total dick no matter what he does. Fortunately, the difference between wXw and 99% of other promotions out there is that such people actually have to face the consequences of their dickish behavior. Shockingly, Dragan actually wrestled this match like a really good babyface- albeit one who was completely out of his league. I guess what I really mean is that he was able to be sympathetic, which is pretty impressive for someone who both dresses and acts like he is trying to be the single biggest douchebag of all time.
Jurn basically squashed Dragan like a bug, but he also definitely entered into the realm of “playing with his food,” too, pulling Dragan up at two after a Piledriver and then doing spots that would have come off as comedy in any other match, but Jurn’s intensity just made them come off as mean and bully-like here. Jurn then hit another of his Massive Piledrivers… but then instead of going for the pin, locked in the Rings of Saturn to get the submission win. After the match he grabbed a Kendo stick and demanded that Dragan “bow” to him to face his fate, but Dragan defiantly spat on Jurn so Jurn kicked him in the head to get him down, then gave Dragan the “Viking Execution” Kendo stick shot to the back of the neck, which once again both looked and sounded vicious.
CHRIS COLEN vs. DA MACK- 6.75/10
ABSOLUTE ANDY vs. BOBBY GUNNS- 7.5/10
Andy jumps Gunns from behind during his entrance to start things off. They had a great match pitting the technical Gunns against the powerful Andy with Gunns working the arm while Andy played the being bruiser, slugging away at Gunns and throwing him around. Gunns got the win despite Andy’s repeated attempted to hit him with a wrench. The crowd was into the whole way and both guys worked really hard. This was a good singles win for Gunns, but I’m not sure I would have had anyone beat Andy before Marius Al-Ani gets to really get his hands on him.
wXw WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Killer Kelly(c) vs. Toni Storm- 6/10
They brawled around on the outside FOREVER but weren’t counted out. Toni dominated a good seventy percent of the match, and won cleanly. I think they’ve got to turn Kelly heel after this because if she continues as a babyface her win over Melanie Gray to win the title at the 17th Anniversary Show- via small package, after getting beaten up most of the match, and in a match she wasn’t supposed to be in but only got put in because Melanie injured Martina before their match- will never feel like anything more than a fluke, and now that they put her in there with one of the top female wrestlers in the world (not to mention the winner of wXw’s Femme Fatale tournament last year) lightning didn’t strike again and she couldn’t hang. At least if you turn her heel you can have losing the title in her first defense be something that drives her mad so that it at least feels important and necessary for her new character (plus you’ve got a built in story with the fans, who had supported her against Melanie, now dumping her the moment someone cooler comes along).
TONI STORM INTERVIEW- both she and heel announcer Emil Sitoci put over Killer Kelly a lot.
CAGE BATTLE: RISE (Ivan Kiev, the Young Lions, & “Bad Bones” John Klinger) vs. Monster Consulting (Julian Nero & “The Avalanche” Robert Dreissker) & RingKampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER)- 7.75/10
It’s time for the Kafigschlacht, wXw’s annual War Games-esque grudge match! And we’re starting off with KLINGER VS. WALTER! From there guys came in and everything was as you would expect it to be until Pete Bouncer of RISE came out and intimidated the referee into giving him the key to the cage. This allowed the door to be opened and, while I’m not going to go into everything they did, suffice it to say that while everything they did was totally logical and followed perfectly from one to the next, it just dragged on for WAY too long.
This match did NOT need to go forty f*cking minutes. If they had just found a way to trap all of the babyfaces aside from Dreissker in the cage and then did their big powerbomb through the table to take him out and had the babyfaces finish climbing down the cage just a moment too late to save him and did everything else from there it would have been SOOOOOOO much better. I probably would have given it, somewhere in the 8.75-9.25/10 range. But instead we got a forty minute match that felt like it was two shortmer matches with a giant ten-minute post-match segment in between.
On the brought side, their story about Dreissker- the man who had gotten the win in the previous two Cage Battles with Camel Clutch (one over WALTER and last year over Klinger, no less) being the difference-maker was well-told, and I liked the way they did the finish so that WALTER still got the clean win on Klinger but Dreissker still got to make the big difference by returning in a timely manner to prevent Pete Bouncer from interfering and breaking the submission up. There were a lot of clever little spots and decent twists in here and the stuff between WALTER and Klinger definitely got me excited for the inevitable title match they will have, but this match itself just went on for WAY too long, and that was ultimately the thing that kept it from reach it’s potential.
The other bright point in this match is that RISE losing here really helped establish the feel that they are on their way down, and it’s definitely the right time for it. Klinger is a top guy and Da Mack is hot as a heel, but the rest of the group, well… they’re really just undercard guys who got the rub from being part of a pushed and well-booked stable, but none of them feel like they really have the potential to be anything more than that in the future, so now that they’ve lost their titles at the Anniversary Show and lost their big War Games and pretty much all of the babyfaces have gotten their revenge on them, they feel like guys who are out of place on the top of the card and need to be phased down. And that seems to be what wXw is doing here, so props to them for realizing which way the wind is blowing. This stable had one hell of a RISE to the top and these last eight months or so have been fun, but it’s definitely time to move to the “breakup” phase.
This was the usual solid outing from wXw, despite the disappointing main event. The booker(s) are definitely making some interesting choice that are keeping me interested in the promotion, and yet, at the same time, things definitely feel weaker than they were at the end of the year, and some of the decisions, while on one level they make sense, feel kind of odd on another (the Gunns vs. Andy stuff, for example). The other negative on this show was that the announcers, Emil Sitoci and Christian Michael Jakobi, were not nearly as good as they usually are at keeping non-Germanophones like myself abreast of what was being said by the wrestlers who did speak in German. Still, the show was enjoyable, and if you’re looking for a show with a fun atmosphere that feels different from a lot of other promotions, wXw is a great place to check out.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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