wXw Shotgun 2020: Silvester Spezial (12/31/2020)- Oberhausen, Germany
This show was a mix of original matches and backstage segments as well as count-down of the best moments of 2020. I’m going to ignore all of the year in review stuff, because I’ve already seen it all, and I’m here for the storylines and the action.
NORMAN HARRAS APPROACHES METEHAN BACKSTAGE AFTER THE BOBBY GUNNS VS. METEHAN MATCH IN CATCH WORLD GRAND PRIX- fine
As usual, Norman is trying to play the diplomat, but Metehan isn’t having it. He is fed up with Die Raucherpause not living up to their end of the agreement, and he is angry that Director of Sport Absolute Andy has given him a long list of challengers to defend his wXw Shotgun Title against (presumably as punishment for punching interviewer Andy Jackson in the stomach during a fit of rage right after the big scrum that his match with Bobby Gunns turned into). He demands that Norman fix things right now. Both men played their roles well.
NORMAN HARRAS & BOBBY GUNNS BACKSTAGE- interesting
Norman thinks they need to repair their relationship with Metehan but Bobby tells him to forget about it. Norman says he will handle Metehan’s demands on his own. The interesting part here was that Bobby was insistent that it was Metehan who didn’t hold up his end of the deal, whereas I had assumed the deal was the they would Metehan win the tournament but Metehan would not use the shot at Bobby Gunns’ wXw Unified World Wrestling Title that was part of the prize, as he has claimed to only really be interested in the prize money, which he says he needs to pay for his mother’s medications (although it should be noted that Metehan’s behavior during the tournament- specifically doing a lot of things he knew would get him fined- casts his claims about his intentions into doubt), and that Gunns was the one who broke the deal by not forfeiting to Metehan. It’s possible that this was just Bobby being an asshole arrogant heel, but he seemed very sincere here, and wasn’t acting the way he would if he knew he was just being a selfish, arrogant asshole (and we know how he acts when he is being a selfish, arrogant, asshole very well, because that’s his ground state; this was different).
THE ROTATION vs. ENDER KARA- 6.5/10
With went a solid ten minutes, allowing both guys to look very good. There was a nice element of “anything you can do, I can do better” between the two up-and-comers here, too.
Ender Kara was very upset with himself after his loss and slapped away The Rotation’s post-match handshake, but eventually came back and accepted the sportsmanly gesture. In just two matches, wXw had gotten me really invested in Ender Kara, and I’m not even sure why.
NORMAN HARRAS GOES TO SEE ABSOLUTE ANDY IN HIS OFFICE, BUT ANDY WASN’T THERE- fine
Norman called Andy, and it turned out Andy was on vacation. Norman chided him for going on vacation while Shotgun was still happening. Andy claimed to have forgotten his Tablet, so he asks Norman to break into his office and mail it to him.
NORMAN HARRAS HAS MADE IT INTO THE BUILDING SOMEHOW, AND FINDS ANDY’S TABLET- He successfully guesses Andy’s password. It’s 1-2-3-4, because Andy is incredibly lazy.
MIKE SCHWARZ vs. KARIM BIGANTE- 5.25/10
This was a fine hoss fight for the time it got.
NORMAN HARRAS REPORTS BACK TO METEHAN- good
Norman shows him Andy’s Tablet and tells him he has changed the list, and there is now a new #1 contender to the wXw Shotgun Title: Norman Harras. Norman insists that he and Metehan can “do business” in a fair manner. He promises that Metehan will retain the title. Metehan accepted this.
This was good for the storyline, but if this is a different day than their previous meeting, they really should have had these guys change clothes.
REFEREEE MARCUS WEISS SMELLS A RAT WHEN HE READS THE EMAIL NORMAN SENT FROM ANDY’S ACCOUNT, SO HE CALLS ANDY- good
Norman’s going to be in trouble… but I think Norman is completely fine with that. He wants a match against a big name, and goading Andy into a match would certainly fulfill that goal.
MARIUS AL-ANI vs. PETE DUNNE (FROM wXw’s 17TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW)- 6.75/10
This originally happened as a dark match, back when WWE was new to working with their partner indies, and only PROGRESS was allowed to have WWE-contracted talent appear on their broadcasts.
This was eight minutes of a really good match, plus about thirty seconds of dumb where Dunne’s head suddenly became so strong that forearming Dunne in the head hurt Marius. This was a very strange choice of a match for wXw to air, considering that Al-Ani lost cleanly, while his gimmick in wXw in the present day is that he hasn’t lost a singles match since March. The only way it would make any sense is if it was setting up for Dunne to come back and Marius to get the win back, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon for multiple reasons (namely the pandemic and WWE not liking their guys to do jobs to non-WWE-contracted wrestlers).
NORMAN HARRAS & METEHAN CONSPIRE WHILE THEY ARE GETTING CHANGED FOR THEIR MATCH- fine
This made it seem like Norman was going to screw Metehan out of the title.
wXw SHOTGUN TITLE MATCH IN WHICH THE LOSER WILL BE FINED 5,000 EUROS: Metehan(c) vs. Norman Harras- 6.75/10
Right as the match was about to start, Absolute Andy appeared on the Tron and said he would allow this match to continue, but added the big fine for the loser, so unless Norman is willing to pay 5,000 Euros, we’re actually going to get a real title match and not a Fingerpoke of Doom!
Norman was not happy that his plan was ruined. Metehan insisted that Norman stick to his word and lay down for him. Norman eventually did, but decided to kick out at the last moment. The announcers told us that Norman couldn’t afford the fine, and given that he is a young up-and-comer and just came out of a tournament where he was fined very often, it’s completely believable.
Norman begged off, but then tried to roll Metehan up. Metehan kicked out. Norman tried to negotiate, but Metehan wouldn’t have it and started firing off forearm shots, starting the match in earnest.
The dynamics here were very interesting, as they always are when Norman Harras was involved. Metehan wrestled cleanly while Norman did poke Metehan in the eye at one point and also removed a turnbuckle pad. Despite this, Norman felt like the babyface, and both I and the live crowd were completely behind him. wXw has done such an amazing job with Norman Harras during the pandemic. They have kept him solidly a heel, but had his interactions with other heels (and, occasionally, with Andy) always come in situations where he feels sympathetic, either because he is being disrespected despite the work he does, or because he is the one who is showing initiative and ambition and intelligence in creating and trying to keep together the alliance between Ezel and Die Raucherpause when everyone else (especially his Die Raucherpause comrades) seem to disregard its value.
Norman actually won the title here, which felt like a big moment for him… but if there is one place that wXw has failed with Norman, it’s in letter him prove his in-ring skill. He’s got his basics down, but we really don’t know if he can be a guy who can help carry a card from an action standpoint. They haven’t done a good job of this with a lot of their most recent crops of up-and-comers, but with a guy like Norman who has gotten more screen time than pretty much anyone in the company during the pandemic era (it’s probably either him or Avalanche at the top), it’s a lot more glaring. I don’t know when this was actually taped and what matches either of these guys might have had before, but considering how good of a worker Metehan is, the big moment that this was in storyline, and the fact that it’s our last match of 2020, I really wish they would have given it more than 10:08.
FOOTAGE OF THE RINGKAMPF REUNION FROM THE 17TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW- A touching moment between the returning Axels (both Axel Dieter Jr. and Axel Tischer) and the fans.
This was a fine show from wXw. It delivered the big storyline moment, but the in-ring was disappointing. I understand wanting to keep these tapings short because of COVID, but they really do need to start giving the matches more time if they want guys like Harras, Fast Time Moodo, Stephanie Maze, Anil Marik, and Vincent Heisenberg to feel like stars to the fans when crowds are allowed to come back.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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