WHEELER YUTA vs. WALTER - 4.75/10
A fine little match in which Yuta got to be the arrogant punk and WALTER the angry veteran. WALTER eventually fed Yuta some humble pie in the form of a big lariat for the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Very interesting. WALTER offered Yuta a handshake and Yuta accepted... and then, when he turned his back, WALTER attacked him. The announcers put this over as very out of character for WALTER. They tried to play it up like they thought the kid just got under his skin and he thought he needed to teach Yuta more of a lesson, but it seems pretty clear that WALTER is now in the middle of a slow-burn heel turn. The crowd very vocally disapproved of WALTER's actions here as well and even gave Yuta quite the cheer after wards, which shocked me because Yuta has been quite the dick to both WALTER and Veit Muller.
BOBBY GUNNS & JOEY JANELA BACKSTAGE - Good. Janela tries to goad Gunns into having their wXw Unified World Wrestling Title match be a street fight but Gunns says that he is a technical wrestler and will make Janela tap out and expose him as a "glorified stuntman." I wonder where he got that line from.
BRIAN CAGE vs. LUCKY KID (w/RISE) - 7/10
They had a great match built around the story of Cage's size advantage. Most of Lucky's offense was either strikes or moves kin which he used leverage or momentum to help bring Cage down. They pretty much all targeted the head, which set up for Lucky's crossface, but Cage was able to get to the ropes. Lucky seemed to have things won when he went to the top for a 450 but Absolute Andy came out and grabbed his leg while the referee was distracted with Ivan Kiev on the outside as Ivan was trying to get the referee's attention to warn him about Andy. Lucky was able to kick Andy off, but this gave Cage enough time to recover that he was able to roll out of the way of Lucky's 450, then hit his finisher and got the win.
One thing I found a little curious here was why Pete Bouncer wasn't able to stop Andy. Pete was on the opposite side of the ring and might not have even seen Andy until it was too late... but at the same time I can't help but thinking that Lucky losing here is something that most benefits Bouncer's goal of keeping RISE together, both by giving them a common enemy to focus on who is someone that Lucky has an issue with (as opposed to Jay FK, who are really more foes of Bouncer & Kiev, or Lucky's buddies in Schadenfreude) and also by possibly discouraging Lucky from pursuing his burgeoning singles career, which Bouncer has accused Lucky of putting all of his focus into, to the detriment of RISE as a unit. I'm not accusing Bouncer of seeing Andy coming and not moving to stop him... but it also wouldn't totally surprise me if that does turn out to be the case.
EMIL SITOCI & THE CROWN vs. JULIAN PACE, LEON VAN GASTEREN, & "THE AVALANCHE" ROBERT DREISSKER - 6.5/10
The stuff with Sitoci continues to be done very well, but I am losing patience with it. The character really doesn't seem to have too much you can do with him, and it feels like they have exhausted it all (other than perhaps a change where violence now makes him "feel something"). Avalanche got to look very strong going into his title shot against Sitoci, and chased after Sitoci when Sitoci walked out. The babyfaces won shortly thereafter, in a sequence that involved both James and Jurn taking Rock bumps for Leon's stunner.
After the match, the veteran van Gasteren showed Pace respect by holding the ropes open for him.
KEN SHAMROCK vs. VEIT MULLER - 3/10
This was disappointingly short in the ring and Shamrock didn't even put Muller over, so what was gained from any of this?
MARIUS AL-ANI vs. ILJA DRAGUNOV - 7/10
Al-Ani worked over Ilja's head and neck. This was your standard "Ilja is a great babyface" match. I was utterly shocked when Al-Ani got the clean win, as they seemed to be so clearly heading for Ilja as Bobby Gunns next challenger.
CIMA & THE STRONGHEARTS WILL BE AT SHORTCUT TO THE TOP - Did not see that coming. Then again, I really shouldn't be took shocked about AEW-contracted guys wrestling for a WWE partner promotion when you consider that at the previous show we saw the Impact Wrestling World Heavyweight Champion do a clean job for a guy under WWE contract. The usual rules don't apply in Europe.
ABSOLUTE ANDY & JAY FK vs. AUSSIE OPEN & HARDCORE HOLLY - 4/10
For those who are wondering, Hardcore Holly in 2019 looks like... a really old version of Hardcore Holly, plus an ugly "series of swirls" tattoo on his left arm/chest/shoulder/back region that looks like something out of an SvR game. There was a lot of stalling in the beginning, some decent action, then a pointless spot with a referee and a suplex, and then Hardcore Holly got to pin Jay Skillett after an Alabama Slam. In 2019.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - GREAT! Hardcore Holly got cheered and left. Then Mark Davis cut a promo letting those of us who don't follow wXw's Instagram about the post they recent made there. Basically, They're issuing an open challenge gauntlet match for their titles at Drive of Champions: Hamburg. They are confident that not only will they win that but they'll also become the first team to successfully defend their titles through all of the World Tag Team Festival.
When Davis finished talking, an injured Ilja Dragunov came out. This turned out to be a diversion to allow WALTER to attack Aussie Open from behind with the WWE UK Title, and WALTER and Ilja beat Aussie Open down. WALTER has been turning heel slowly but surely for a few months now but this felt too far for him, never mind for consummate babyface Ilja Dragunov.
WALTER cut a promo explain their motivation. He says that the only reason wXw has been so successful is his and Ilja's hard work. They also both feel insulted at having been booked against a bunch of guys who are below their level recently. They feel taken for granted; a feeling which was solidified for WALTER at a recent meet-n-greet when fans were passing him by to meet the newer wrestlers because "WALTER? He's always around."
Ilja tells the fans that they are doing this as an "act of love" because they love wXw and the fans... but they need to teach them that "love is a two-way street." As long as the fans and wXw don't show them the love and respect they deserve, they won't show any back. Ilja rips on Aussie Open for hanging out in the gym too much or something like that. I'm guess there was a translation issue. WALTER finished it off by declaring that "we are no longer your 'wXw guys.' We are Superstars(TM)."
At first I thought this was a rather odd moment (and a rather big risk) to turn not one but two of your top babyfaces heel. The heel depth chart before this turn has Andy on top but people are kind of sick of him being in the title picture. After that you've got Al-Ani and Sitoci, though Sitoci's character is more than a little odd and arguably isn't working that well. After that you've got Jurn who has been losing pretty much all year (as part of a storyline, but it's losing nonetheless). There is a vacuum at the top, and this turn fills that space quite nicely.
Meanwhile, on the babyface side you've got all of these new guys stepping into big spots. Bobby Gunns and Lucky Kid are the top babyfaces now, Avalanche is getting his first big babyface singles push, Veit Muller is becoming a big act now. These babyfaces need some strong, credible heels to feud with, and WALTER and Ilja would more than qualify, and turning them heel now cements this new generation of babyfaces as the top babyfaces in the company by removing the sentimental favorites (in addition to Timothy Thatcher and David Starr, who are both not around right now, either) from the babyface side of the equation.
wXw WOMEN'S TITLE MATCH:
Toni Storm(c) vs. Amale Winchester vs. Killer Kelly vs. Valkyrie - 3.5/10
The announcers pushed Amale to a degree that felt ridiculous. The reason for this is that wXw wanted her to feel like a big deal when they made the inexplicable decision to put their title on her when she's not really very good at any facet pro wrestling. She also controlled a lot of this match, which meant that the match wasn't very good, either. I have no idea what wXw is thinking with this decision.
ABSOLUTE ANDY BOTHERS PETE BOUNCER & LUCKY KID BACKSTAGE - Very good. Lucky demands a rematch against Andy in Hamburg. Andy says he'll give Lucky a rematch if Lucky puts his title shot for winning 16 Carat Gold on the line. Lucky is ready to accept the challenge but looks to Bouncer for guidance. Bouncer nods, so Lucky accepts the challenge. Andy says that they should shake on it... and then he offered Bouncer a handshake and not Lucky. Bouncer accepted it without a thought, but for the briefest of moments Lucky's face had this wonderful expression of "are you kidding me?!" on it before going back to his look of determined confidence.
NO DISQUALIFICATIONS MATCH FOR THE wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE:
Bobby Gunns(c) vs. Joey Janela - 7/10
This didn't start as a street fight so they really shouldn't have been allowed to start the match with lit cigarettes in their mouths. They did a few spots and then Janela just went to the outside, grabbed the belt, got into the ring and posed with it so Gunns took it from him and hit him in the face with it for the DQ. Gunns then grabbed a mic and suggested that it be a no DQs match, and wXw management apparently agreed so it was restarted as a no DQs match.
They did some good stuff and told a bit of a story with Gunns still wrestling like a technical wrestler never in this environment. They did some big stuff and it certainly passes my threshold for an acceptable main event, but not by much. This was a great match while you're watching it, but it wasn't the kind of match anyone will remember in a month.
This was a rather disappointing show from wXw. It moved storylines along relatively well, but the wrestling was well below their usual standard, the booking of the women's title was baffling, and the big bring-ins who are the signature of this show didn't really deliver (Cage and Janela had great matches, but even Janela's was disappointing and the others certainly flopped). If you watch one thing from this show, check out WALTER and Ilja's heel turn promo, but that's really all you need to see.