wXw We Love Wrestling Feature Event (3/8/2020)- Oberhausen, Germany
A MESSAGE FROM wXw CREATIVE DIRECTOR DENNIS BIERKENDAHL- Basically, due to coronavirus, 16 Carat Gold weekend is going to be the last one for a while. That means that the show they are presenting here has a bunch of promos to build up to matches for a show which has been cancelled. Basically, because everyone worked so hard on everything, they wanted to show us the event the way it was “meant to be seen,” so we should all please kindly ignore the fact that they’re pretending it was taped at a later date and are cutting promos for a show that won’t happen.
It was nice to have this disclaimer, but the kayfabe stickler in me would have rather they just didn’t show us anything that didn’t fit and don’t have the commentary (I assume recording new commentary would probably be difficult given the circumstances), and just let us see the wrestling.
EDDIE KINGSTON BOTHERS/CONGRATULATES /THREATENS CARA NOIR BACKSTAGE- fine
Cara Noir is sitting on the floor with his 16 Carat Gold trophy. He looks really apathetic for someone who just won one of the biggest wrestling tournaments of the year (and, at this point, arguably the most prestigious one outside of Japan). Kingston says that Cara made two mistakes: He beat Kingston but still left him alive, and in the process, he made Kingston a liar, which Kingston doesn’t like because while he may be many things (“maybe even a felon”) Eddie Kingston does not want to be a liar. He tells Cara Noir to enjoy this while it lasts, because Kingston will make sure it won’t last forever.
RUST TAYLOR vs. DANIEL MAKABE vs. ANTHONY GREENE vs. SCOTTY DAVIS- 5.5/10
They did four-way stuff.
VOLLGASTEREN BACKSTAGE- good
Leon van Gasteren puts his protégé Julian Pace over big for his performance 16 Carat Gold weekend, and Julian puts his own performance over as well. Leon suggests that they go for the tag titles one more time, but Julian says he thinks he has it in him to be a singles wrestler now. Leon says that Julian does, but quickly adds that he does, too, and that he has heard that he has a big singles match booked for Tampa (pour one out for the show not happening). Julian asks who Leon will be wrestling but Leon says he hasn’t been told yet. Julian thanks Leon for being a mentor to him and Leon tells Julian to give it his all.
This kind of segment is one of the reasons I love wXw so much. They get that line of humanity just right where the acting makes it totally believable that this is an amicable split, but also does lay the groundwork for the possibility of the “standard pro wrestling” direction where Leon really isn’t okay with this and turns on Julian. Leon could be telling the truth about having a big match booked for Tampa, but, based on his little hesitation earlier could have easily been making it up on the spot so as to not lose face. And even if it is the latter, this one little lie doesn’t necessarily mean that Leon is starting down the heel path. But maybe he is. We’ll have to watch for more clues (I really hope this stuff actually comes to fruition instead of getting ruined by coronavirus).
NORMAN HARRAS, OLIVER CARTER, & PRETTY BASTARDS vs. THE PILLARS (Brent Banks, Tyson Dux, Sebastian Suave, & TARIK)- 6.75/10
This was about fifteen minutes of action that wasn’t bad, but certainly could have been better. They did some fun and interesting stuff, but they were very much trying to have the second match on the card. And that’s fine, but unless you’re doing a friendly time limit draw, a match laid out to be worked like it’s the second match on the card really shouldn’t be going fifteen minutes.
MARIUS AL-ANI INTERVIEW FROM EARLIER TODAY- good
He brags about beating the winner of Ambition. He is asked about ling 16 Carat Gold and brushes it off as a loss, and “athletes lose. It happens.” Jurn Simmons showed up and barbs were exchanged. I thought Jurn kind of came off as a dick here for interrupting this interview without any provocation.
MARIUS AL-ANI vs. CHRIS RIDGEWAY- 6/10
Just under seven minutes of excellent technical wrestling.
KILLER KELLY & STEPHANIE MAZE BACKSTAGE AFTER 16 CARAT GOLD 2020: NIGHT 3- great
Stephanie asks Kelly why she lets Alexander James treat her the way she does. She gives the “he’s just going through some stuff and I need to support him” answer before changing the subject to Stephanie’s performance earlier that night. Kelly puts Stephanie over and tells her that she’s proud of her, then ends the conversation before the topic can be switched back, telling Stephanie, “I respect your opinion, but I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing,” and walking off.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Segments like these are a big part of why I love wXw so much. The acting might not be the best in some cases (especially when you’re watching the English feed and segment involves people who aren’t native English speakers), but the characters come off as more real and human than they do in any other promotion in the world.
AMALE & LEVANIEL BACKSTAGE- very good
Amale is furious that everyone is talking about the situation with Killer Kelly and Alexander James instead of talking about her, even though she retained her title at 16 Carat Gold 2020: Night 3. She demands that Levaniel do something for her about this. Levaniel says that he has already gotten a mixed tag match booked in Frankfurt, pitting the two of them against Kelly and AJ. Amale is annoyed about this and rants in French before storming off. Segments like this make me so sad about everything that COVID has caused us to miss out on. This absolutely would not have been much of a work-rate match, but holy crap would it have been an interesting segment, with the pure babyface Kelly teaming with her abusive pure heel boyfriend against the pure heel Amele and the man who is courting her, Levaniel, who is a heel, but gets cheered because he is so entertaining. That’s an interesting dynamic even without the specific personalities of AJ, Kelly, and Levaniel involved (Amale is pretty replaceable, but she is certainly capable of playing her part competently).
KILLER KELLY & STEPHANIE MAZE vs. BABY ALLISON & VALKYRIE- 6/10
Valkyrie is still doing her silly WWE pose, but she’s not doing the full choreographed entrance. It’s amazing how much more willing someone can be to accepting a silly pose if you have the babyface act like an actual babyface (smiling, slapping hands with the fans, etc.) during the parts of her entrance when she’s not doing the pose.
These four had a solid eight-minute tag match. The more I see of Maze, the more I like her. She got the win here on Allison, which managed to feel important even though I think pretty much everyone saw it coming. They definitely made an effort here to make her feel like someone we should see as being on par with Kelly and Valkyrie. Speaking of Kelly and Valkyrie, from there little teaser here, that is a match I would LOVE to see (particularly with the wXw Women’s Title on the line).
The finish itself was a neat little swerve where Valkyrie and Maze both seemed to need to make tags and both stumbled back to their corners, and while Valkyrie made the tag, Maze didn’t. Normally in this situation, the person who doesn’t make the tag loses, and the storyline is that person’s arrogance costing them the match. In this case, Stephanie nailed Allison with a roundhouse kick and pinned her for the win. I’m of the opinion that it’s good to do something like this every once in a while to make the usual result fell less obvious, but in this case I liked it even more because they planted that little re-educational seed for the audience in a situation where they were able to make the finish itself part of a storyline, killing two birds with one stone.
To find out how they did that, continuing reading for the…
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- GREAT!
Alexander James came out and said that he’s tired of Kelly complaining to him about not being in the title picture. Being a tremendous douchebag, he made sure to specify that this complaining happens “in bed every night,” just to make sure you know that he gets to do it with Killer Kelly.
He says that Kelly isn’t in the title picture because she playing by the rules and not taking every edge she can get and seizing on every opportunity that comes to her. “You let this little green-horn get the win” (instead of reaching out more and tagging herself in). AJ continues to be a dick, telling Stephanie “I have more fingers and toes than you’ve had pro matches” and berating her for not giving Kelly the tag. Maze starts to stand up for herself, while Kelly tries her best to keep them apart.
AJ then turned his verbal guns back on Kelly. “Where’s your edge? Where’s the ‘Killer’ in ‘Killer Kelly?’ I’m looking for it. They’re looking for it. I can’t find it. I just see a whiny baby that comes home every night, giving up opportunities.”
This provoked Kelly to lightly push AJ, and then immediately wish she hadn’t and start trying to defuse things again. Maze tries to speak up, but AJ “how I treat her is no one of your business. I like her. I’ll drop you right here.” Kelly eventually gets Maze to leave. AJ then tells Kelly that she should go to the back and watch his match if she wants to see how a real future champion wrestles, and gives her a great condescending version of the “I’m the veteran so how dare you question me after everything I’ve sacrificed for the business” speech. AJ does such a fantastic job at being a completely unlikable sack of sh*t, and yet retaining this little sliver of something where he does at least seem to have what he thinks are Kelly’s best interests at heart- any moment where those interests don’t conflict with his desires, anyway- to where you can almost understand why Kelly feels like she can “help him through this” if she stays with him, and that things will get better.
Kelly eventually accedes to his demand and heads to the back. Joe Gacy then comes out for…
JOE GACY vs. ALEXANDER JAMES- 5.75/10
AJ won a solid little match. The storyline was AJ showing his aggression and occasional cheating. In the end, though, his method of victory was clean, countering Gacy’s finisher into a rear naked choke. He left the hold in a little too long afterwards, which helped get the anger thing over. The announcers pushed the idea that this should be a big confidence boost for AJ, as he had just defeated a former CZW World Heavyweight Champion.
wXw WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: Jay-AA(c) vs. Young Guns (Ethan Allen & Lucas Jacobs) (w/Chris Ridgeway)- 6.25/10
This has too much of a comedic tone to it. The only spot that actively annoyed me was the spot where one of the Young Guns took a bump from an accidental elbow form a referee (and my problem is more that he took a bump for it than the fact that the referee accidentally elbowed him), but Andy and Skillet (or “Andre Schueller,” which I guess we’re going with now) had WAY too much of a “boy, isn’t this fun” vibe to their offense. That’s not what you want in a tag title match, or from your tag champs in general.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- fine
Bobby Gunns and his crew attacked Jay-AA after the match. Scotty Davis and Julian Pace came out to make the save. The babyfaces cleared the ring, then each dove onto the heels just for good measure.
SHOTGUN TITLE SEGMENT AFTER 16 CARAT GOLD 2020: NIGHT 3- good
Axel Tischer is cutting a promo about winning the Shotgun Title and then being jumped from behind by Ezel and the former Lucky Kid, now known as Metehan. He is interrupted by Avalanche, who is clearly a little sore because he lost his title on a night when he was prepared for a singles match and it got turned into a three-way, but he’s being a babyface about the whole thing, politely congratulating Tischer, then telling him that he’d like his rematch.
Ilja Dragunov then came by to show us how a heel would act in the same situation, yelling and whining and saying that Tischer- his trainer- shouldn’t have gotten in his way by sticking his nose the match. He’s certain he would have easily beaten Avalanche, and thus by joining their Shotgun Title match, Tischer cost him the title when he should have stayed out of the way and “let me have the title.” Ilja stormed off after having some words with Avalanche, and Tischer suggested to Avalanche that they have a three-way rematch for the title in Frankfurt, and this time everyone will be able to prepare for a three-way.
SHIGEHIRO IRIE vs. WALTER- 7/10
A big, hossy, hoss fight!
BOBBY GUNNS & HIS CREW INTERRUPT JAY-AA & SCOTTY DAVIS DISCUSSING FACIAL HAIR- not good
The barbs were exchanged. They were not very good. Only Scotty Davis and Oliver Carter had good intensity. The Andy vs. Gunns, Pretty Bastards vs. Jay-AA for the tag titles, and Oliver Carter vs. Scotty Davis were all teased, and a challenge was made for an eight-man tag in Frankfurt (Jay Skillet has a plan to secure a fourth man for the babyface side).
This was a decent little show from wXw, with mostly good-but-not-great wrestling and some very good storyline stuff. It was very easy to sit through, both due to the pacing of the card and the run-time clocking in at a little under two hours and twenty minutes. I enjoyed it while I was watching it, but with the whole COVID shutdown, I’m struggling to process it, simply because we don’t know how much of this storyline stuff is actually going to matter. Maybe I’m interpreting the opening paragraph wrong, but I’m not sure that this show is even supposed to be “canon,” (and if it’s not canon, you shouldn’t put it out for the world to see). Well… hopefully this whole mess will be over soon and we’ll have some clarity.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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