By Big Red Machine
From March 12, 2017
We open with promos by the four remaining men in the tournament. I don't speak German, so aside from Matt Riddle's promo (which was simply "day three: 16 Carat Gold Tournament. Bro's gonna win."), I didn't understand anything they said aside from the words "wrestling" and "16 Carat Gold Tournament," but it all sounded intense, so that was good.
16 CARAT GOLD TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINAL MATCH:
Ilja Dragunov vs. "Bad Bones" John Klinger - 7.5/10
Dragunov's gimmick seems to be that he is a Soviet. And yes, I do mean a Soviet, despite being born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, this is his gimmick. In 2017. And yet he is such a great babyface that I, as anti-socialist an American as you'll ever find, cannot help but root for the guy. He took a lot of punishment here but he always fought back and G-d dammit if Riddle doesn't make it to the finals I'm going to be rooting for this frickin' Commie with all my heart.
16 CARAT GOLD TOURNAMENT SEMI-FINAL MATCH: Matt Riddle vs. WALTER - 4.25/10
This was very disappointing. They tried to tell two different stories here. One of them was that WALTER had the size and power advantage, which they told well. The other one, which they spent the first half of the match on, was WALTER working over Riddle's leg. The problem is that Riddle pretty much completely forgot to sell it. A rare bad performance for Matt Riddle, and now I'm stuck rooting for a f*cking communist in the tournament finals.
KOJI KANEMOTO vs. BOBBY GUNNS - 6.25/10
Kanemoto worked the leg but Gunns pulled off the big upset victory with a roll-up.
GAUNTLET MATCH FOR THE wXw WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES:
A4 (Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani)(c) vs. Chris Colen & Francis Kaspin vs. Paul London & Da Mack vs. Julian Nero & The Avalanche vs. Ringkampf (Axel Dieter Jr. & Timothy Thatcher) - 6.75/10
First London & Mack beat Colen & Kaspin in a short match with a very cool finish. Nero & Avalanche the beat London & Mack. Then the champs came out. Al-Ani got injured but Andy managed to hold the heels off and got the win. Then he had to face Ringkamp by himself. He held them off for a while but then they started to overwhelm him. He finally made a comeback, and Al-Ani came rushing out from the back with a big bandage on his head to receive the hot tag and the babyfaces got the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fantastic! This was a whole bunch of good twists and turns in a post-match battle involving Ringkampf, their manager Christian Michael Jakobi, the tag champs, Colen & Kaspin, some other guy who I think was a babyface manager, and (all culminating in) the big return of Kim Ray. I had never heard of Kim Ray before the moment he showed up, but I could immediately tell that this guy is a big deal. This was also really intricately put-together- like on the level of that big segment at Evolve 55 that set up a bunch of challengers for Thatcher all at once, or the big show-ending schmoz at ROH Night of the Butcher II that was supposed to be a signal that the "faction warfare" idea that had been looming in the background was starting to heat up (but then it didn't happen because Gabe got fired). There was a lot of thought put in to make this work as well as it possibly could, and you could definitely tell.
DAVID STARR & JURN SIMMONS SEGMENT - GREAT! Starr says he is going to defend his wXw Shotgun Championship just like last night in a four-way invitational. He says it is the most important title in the wXw. wXw Unified World Champion Jurn Simmons comes out to disagree with him, pointing out that his title in was the main event last night, not Starr's. They went back and forth, keeping things moderately respectful, but definitely heated as well. Emil Sitoci also came out and cut a promo saying he wanted to win the wXw Shotgun Championship, but the real focus here was between Starr and Simmons.
FOUR-WAY MATCH FOR THE wXw SHOTGUN TITLE:
David Starr(c) vs. Cody Rhodes vs. Emil Sitoci vs. Jurn Simmons - 7.25/10
I guess Cody doesn't have to cut a promo to announce that he wants a title shot. This had a bit of a story in the beginning that established Sitoci as that sort of heel who you love to hate, then transitioned into some great actioned, followed by a wonderful storyline finish where after a ref bump Sitoci hit Starr with the title belt. After stuff happened Starr went to hit Sitoci with it but the ref, who had by now recovered, prevented him from doing so, which also distracted Starr, allowing Sitoci to hit him with his finisher to pick up the win.
NO ROPES MATCH:
Alpha Kevin vs. Marius van Beethoven - 8.5/10
I knew absolutely nothing about this feud going in. Before the match they had a recap video that was entirely in German aside from the words "no ropes singles match" at the very end, but I am now determined to learn (and watch) everything I can about this feud because I'm pretty sure that this is going to be the 2017 Feud of the Year.
In addition to there being no ropes, this match also has no disqualifications and falls count anywhere. After losing a quick exchange of chairs in the beginning in which his chair was knocked out of his hand, Marius tried to run away. He was stopped by Kevin's girlfriend Melanie Grey, who has been a big part of this feud. Then he just punched Melanie right in the face. This made Kevin understandably very angry, so he charged over and hit Marius with the chair. And it only got more violent and more heated from there.
They told a great story and made excellent use of both the important elements in this feud as well as the various stipulations of the match. This is what a blow-off match should be.
ACH & "SPEEDBALL" MIKE BAILEY vs. JT DUNN & DONOVAN DIJAK (w/Cody Rhodes) - 8.25/10
Cody is working a stereotypical heel manager gimmick. I have no idea how this came about. The match was nuts. I NEED to see more of ACH and Bailey working together as an underdog babyface tag team.
16 CARAT GOLD TOURNAMENT FINALS:
Ilja Dragunov vs. WALTER (w/Ringkampf) - 7.75/10
I can see some people complaining that this match was pretty much the same as the others we've seen from Dragunov in this tournament, but it still worked for me, especially with the way they have built WALTER's sleeper hold up over the course of the tournament.
Another great night of wrestling to cap off an excellent weekend from wXw. The 16 Carat Gold Tournament is wXw's highest-profile set of shows each year, and this year's shows definitely delivered I'd seen almost nothing of wXw before this (and almost all of what I had seen was from a decade ago or more), but they made me into a fan over the course of this extremely fun weekend. You should definitely check these shows out!