wXw Back to the Roots XIX (1/18/2020)- Oberhausen, Germany
MARIUS AL-ANI PROMO- good
He tells us he is back from a three-month suspension for “losing control.” I had no idea he was suspended, but his absence did seem rather sudden, so maybe this was a shoot suspension? The internet says it was. He then cut a promo burying the fans and the other wrestlers (especially the “skinny fly-ins from England” and demanded that some real competition come out to face him. Instead he got Levaniel.
MARIUS AL-ANI vs. LEVANIEL- 3.5/10
Al-Ani wins a match that lasted just as long as it needed to in order to remind us of his signature spots and show off his new finisher while still letting Levaniel at least look like a credible professional. Al-Ani’s new finisher (a military press into a powerslam) shows off his power, which works very well with his “best body in wrestling” gimmick.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- meh
Al-Ani took another turn insulting people and claimed that he would win 16 Carat Gold this year so that we would finally have a worthy winner. Then Cara Noir showed up (although there was WAY too much of his music playing and us staring at a darkened ramp before he actually appeared). After what felt like five straight minutes of Cara Noir’s entrance (in reality in was only about three, but that is still way too long), he finally made it into the ring and got face to face with Al-Ani. Cara Noir gestured back to the stage and a 16 Carat Gold 2020 graphic appeared, so I guess he has been entered into the tournament. Cool. Now we’ll see if he can have a great match against someone not named Ilja Dragunov.
Al-Ani eventually left the ring and ranted to the camera. One of these days I’m going to have to actually try to learn some more German so I can understand what these guys say when there are no subtitles. Cara Noir did some more posing. This whole thing would have been better if Cara Noir’s entrance hadn’t taken so damn long.
THOMMY GIESEN INTERVIEWS LUCKY KID- ominous
Lucky quickly puts over his opponent for later tonight before talking about how he won 16 Carat Gold last year only to have his title shot stolen from him. He notes that rather than letting that get him down, he got right back up and kept on attacking his goal. When Thommy asked him if he was going to continue attacking his goal in 2020, Lucky told him to “expect the unexpected.” When wXw teases something, they almost always deliver, so now I’m very suspicious of Lucky turning heel or something like that. Then again, he’s the most over babyface in the company, so maybe the surprise will just be instead of entering himself into 16 Carat Gold he’ll angle to get a title shot, either before the tournament or as the big main event of night 2.
LUCKY KID vs. SCOTTY DAVIS- 7/10
This was a great fourteen minutes that showed off Lucky’s new, aggressive style as well as allowed Davis to look very strong in defeat. Lucky’s new style fits him well, and definitely keeps the heel turn possibility feeling like something that could play out as a result of this. He almost felt like he was on the verge of getting DQed for not breaking in the corner multiple times in this match, which should be rare for a babyface in a match where there is no real animosity between the two sides.
ALEXANDER JAMES PROMO- very good build for the main event
JURN SIMMONS PROMO- GREAT!
Jurn explains to us that night’s match isn’t just about getting revenge on James, but after having such a tough year in 2019 he needs to prove to himself that he still belongs in wXw.
GOLDENBOY SANTOS vs. THE ROTATION- 5.75/10
A solid undercard showcase match for both guys.
LEVANIEL, MELANIE GRAY, ALPHA KEVIN, & KARSTEN BECK SEGMENT- good
First, we were shown recap of the two segments after the women’s title match at the 19th Anniversary Show. Both of those involved relationships in some way, as Karsten Beck went public with his relationship with Amale, and after that, Amale taunted Melanie Gray along several lines, including asking Melanie’s husband, Alpha Kevin, “how could you possibly fall in love with that?” Being an ambassador and angel of love (or whatever it is exactly that Levaniel calls himself), seeing this video package made him feel the need to come out and comment on what we saw.
He starts off by claiming that he is not okay with Karsten Beck dating one of his employees because of the potential for abuse of power, but later said that he doesn’t like this situation (he seems to be under the impression that Karsten is courting Amale, rather than the full-blown relationship- or at least long term friends with benefits relationship- that we know they have) because “love only happens between beautiful people,” implying that the overweight and unkemptly-bearded Karsten Beck does not qualify.
He asks the fans if it would be better if Amale would be with him instead, and they all cheer. As someone who usually likes fans to cheer babyfaces and boo heels, I found this situation interesting. Levaniel is a heel, but one whose goofiness has endeared him to fans in an odd way. Amale is clearly a heel, and Karsten had been a clear babyface up until the segment on the Anniversary Show, which showed us that this relationship with Amale has begun to corrupt him. I never thought I’d see situation that it’s the “right” reaction for fans to cheer when a heel says that he wants to steal the babyface’s girlfriend, but G-d damn it wXw found a way!
Levaniel then shifts his attention to the other post-match segment. He asks if there are two people in this building who love each other, and the fans immediately start pointing to Melanie Gray and Alpha Kevin, who had been sitting quietly in the back row. Levaniel asks them to come into the ring. Melanie doesn’t want to but Kevin grabs her arm and starts running towards the ring. She pulls back, but Kevin just kept going, resulting in Melanie giving us a wonderful exasperated shrug towards the sky before following Kevin to the ring. Kevin runs over to Levaniel and gives him a big goofy hug, but Melanie still won’t get into the ring. Levaniel, Kevin, and the fans eventually convince her to do so. This is the first time Melanie Gray has set foot in a wXw ring in one year, as last year at this very event in this very building, she lost not only the wXw Women’s Title but also her ability to wrestle in wXw’s home base of Oberhausen ever again in a match against Toni Storm.
Once Melanie got in the ring, Karsten Beck’s music hit. After a bit of a verbal swerve where it seemed like he was going to go after Levaniel, he starts to scold Kevin for “not keeping his cool” when he attempted to confront Amale. Kevin admits that he lost his temper. Personally, I don’t see how Kevin actually did anything wrong. We’ve seen wrestlers who were just in the crowd to watch the show get in the ring to confront someone at least once (if not more) over the past few months, so why was Kevin wrong to do so? He didn’t even attack Amale. She attacked him with a weapon! Why is Kevin apologizing?
What Kevin does object to is Karsten claiming that Amale is the “greatest women’s champion of all time.” Kevin probably thinks that Melanie is, but if everyone is being honest, the greatest wXw Women’s Champion of all time is pretty clearly Toni Storm.
Anyway, Kevin says that Amale is trash and that Melanie could wipe the floor with her. Karsten revised his previous argument and instead scolded Kevin for bringing Melanie into the ring with him here in Oberhausen, as she is not allowed to wrestle here. This not only makes more sense, but it also meshes with the reluctance to enter the ring that Melanie has shown both tonight and at the Anniversary Show.
Karsten finally wheels on Levaniel and scolds him for putting himself above both wXw and its Director of Sport, Karsten Beck. Then he said that “everything is negotiable in wrestling” and booked Kevin & Mella vs. Amale & Levaniel for Road to 16 Carat Gold 2020: Bielefeld, and if the Alpha Lovers win, Melanie will be able to wrestle in Oberhausen again. I really don’t like going back on stipulations, but at least in this case they have to earn it rather than the promotion just going back on a stipulation out of convenience.
This segment was long, but the personalities involved made it entertaining. The most entertaining of them was actually the person who talked the least: Melanie. Her facial expressions throughout this were absolutely tremendous, to the point where I started getting angry whenever they would move the camera and her face would be barely off screen. I actually started screaming “ZOOM OUT!” in the vain hope that a camera operator an ocean away and seven days in the past would hear me and obey my commands.
wXw SHOTGUN TITLE MATCH: Jay Skillet(c) vs. Absolute Andy- DUD!
Someone decided that the referee needs a comedy gimmick where he sits in a chair in the corner of the ring and eats a muffin. This shouldn’t be happening at all, never mind in a f*cking title match. The wrestlers then did some phantom spots, with Andy “hitting” Skillet with the trademark Hogan offense and Andy going for the pin- which the referee counted with seemingly no hesitation, even though this was all clearly kayfabe cooperative- but Skillet decided to kick out. He then apologized to Andy and took the bumps again without Andy even pretending do to anything to him. Andy “hit” the leg drop and went for the pin again but Skillet kicked out again. He tells Andy that title is so nice and shiny and he doesn’t want to lose it so he suggests that they just wrestle for it… so Andy picks him up and this him with an F-5- for real this time (well, not “real” but you know what I mean), and went for the cover and Skillet kicked out again, but at least the match was off and running for real.
Andy beat Skillet up for a while. Skillet made a comeback and beat Andy up for a while. They killed the F-5 dead in this match. Then they went back to the comedy, but at least this time it was slightly more palatable “both heels trying to cheat at the same time” comedy. Eventually Skilled won by reversing Andy’s Small Package into one of his own. This was long, boring, and had WAY too much comedy in it. The beginning of the match in particular was a huge negative. Just starting out with the tow heels trying to cheat at the same time bi would have put you in the same place without all of that stupid bullsh*t. I’m also baffled that they structured this in such a way that Skillet was the babyface instead of Andy, considering that Andy is both the guy on the quest here, and the guy ripe for a babyface turn.
And, then, of course, they’re still friends afterwards so no one is turning, none of this meant anything, and the storyline they spent a good chunk of the fall building up about Andy wanting to win the Shotgun Title because it’s the only non-Ambition rules men’s title or accomplishment in wXw he hasn’t won now peters out in a horribly disappointing manner.
They announced wXw Catch Grand Prix, which will take place over the course of five days, from September 23rd to the 27th. They didn’t really give details, but if I am interpreting the newspaper clippings they showed and the “tradition meets modernity” slogan correctly, this is going to be a tournament like the ones Otto Wanz used to run.
CAGE BATTLE: Bobby Gunns, Norman Harras, & Pretty Bastards vs. David Starr, VollGasteren, & “The Avalanche” Robert Dreissker- 7.5/10
Why did the staff-member obey the heels and lock the cage when two of the babyfaces who were supposed to be in the ring were outside of it?
The spot with Maggot hanging on the door looked horrendous. Why didn’t he just drop down? And the contact he made with the side of the cage was soooooo weak that it’s just plain implausible that it hurt him enough to make him drop.
Other than those two spots, this was the usual fun serious of weapons shots and the like, all done in a sequence that built well and made sense. There’s not much more to say than that, other than maybe that Starr making Harras tap out pays off that story, but also is yet another loss for Harras, who has zero credibility at this point.
BARBED WIRE CAGE BATTLE: Alexander James vs. Jurn Simmons- 7.25/10
The idea behind doing not just a cage match but one where the ring is surrounded by barbed wire here was that not only would Tyler Colton not be able to interfere, but James wouldn’t be able to get at any weapons, either. James outsmarted everyone by managing to hide barbed wire cutters and a kendo stick in the cage… but that just makes me wonder why no one checked the cage for this sort of thing before the match.
They did their best to have that big, dramatic, personal fight and make every spot matter, but I do think was hurt a bit by coming after the big crazy spotfest cage match. Jurn got the big win here and the announcers put this over as the beginning of him returning to a main event spot. For James, I think the loss here definitely has to lead to him snapping, especially based on his little promo in the middle of the match about everything he gave up to get himself to this big spot on the card.
KAFIGSCHLACHT BABYFAES BACKSTAGE- meh
David Starr puts over their victory and says that they all deserves titles matches coming out of it: Himself at the world title, VollGasteren at the tag titles, and Avalanche a rematch for the Shotgun Title that he lost at the previous show. This wasn’t bad, but there was something about the way David Starr kept repeating the word “deserve” that felt almost heelish.
ABSOLUTE ANDY & JAY SKILLET BACKSTAGE- fine
Andy is doing the whole “I’m totally not bitter about losing to you. It’s fine” deal. Avalanche shows up and tells Skillet that a Shotgun Title match between the two of them has been signed for Road to 16 Carat Gold 2020: Bielefeld, and some trash talk ensues. During all of this, Andy gave the Skillet the “you don’t need my help to beat this guy” speech and then slipped off, leaving Skillet to trade barbs with Avalanche without any physical back-up.
wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE BACKSTAGE SEGMENT- very good
They showed us Bobby Gunns complaining to Karsten Beck about Beck wanting to give David Starr a title shot. Starr then showed up and gave a big speech pushing himself as the next challenger. During Starr’s speech he kept turning from side to side like he was addressing an arena full of people even though this was a backstage segment and both of the people he was talking to were standing on his left. That really annoyed me.
Gunns responded with a promo saying that Starr keeps making big promises in his career, but no matter what success he has in the US or UK, his promises- such as winning 16 Carat or winning the world title or beating WALTER- never seem to come true in Germany. Starr acknowledged the truth of this statement, and upped the ante by vowing to leave wXw forever if he doesn’t beat Gunns for the title at 16 Carat Gold. Gunns responded to this in the phenomenal way that only Bobby Gunns can, smiling and saying “dude… you just made the worst decision of your life. And I f*cking love it!” They shake on it, and Karsten Beck makes it official.
This was not a good show from wXw. The segments and promos were good, but a lot of the matches were disappointing, especially the big headline matches that the show was built around. It did put some pieces in place for the road to 16 Carat Gold, but had nowhere near enough important storyline moments to make up for quality of the wrestling being below wXw’s standard. Not a good start to the year for wXw.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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FIP in 2005
PWG All-Star Weekend V: Night 2
DGUSA Open the Northern Gate
CHIKARA Hot Off the Griddle
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