OLIVER CARTER vs. RUST TAYLOR vs. SCOTTY DAVIS vs. JAY SKILLET - 5.75/10
Six and a half minutes of great opening-match action.
ARROWS OF HUNGARY PROMO - Good.
KILLER KELLY vs. LEYLA HIRSCH - 6/10
Good for the seven minutes it got, but why the hell did this only get seven minutes? I really hope they’re telling a story where Leyla finally learns to stop doing that damn moonsault because her gimmick is that she is an amateur-style wrestler and she always winds up missing the moonsault and usually losing soon after.
PRETTY BASTARDS PROMO - Good. They cut a promo bragging about being in the finals in their very first tournament appearance, then remind us all that they’re doing this for VollGasteren. They came off as perfectly smarmy to the point where those of us who are certain they were the ones who attacked VollGasteren would get angry at it while someone who hasn’t yet figured it out might enjoy their brashness.
THE WORK HORSEMEN vs. SCHADENFREUDE (Lucky Kid & Kyle Fletcher) - 6.75/10
A decent twelve-minute tag team match with a GREAT finish. Lucky had Anthony Henry in his version of La Mistica but he saw Drake on the top rope to try to break it up via moonsault, so as Drake went to jump Lucky rolled the hold over so that Drake’s moonsault missed then rolled Henry back over to properly apply the hold and get the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Not so good. We got a post-match show of respect that went on WAY longer than it needed to. Then the Work Horsemen left and Lucky and Fletcher celebrated their win some more, which actually felt very odd because it’s not like there was anything on the line here other than the W and the winner’s purse.
Eventually Purge Club showed up. Fletcher charged up the ramp at them before Lucky could even react and ate a baseball bat to the ribs and then several shots with a nightstick, putting him down moments into the fight and leaving Lucky alone. I liked the idea, but doing it like this made Fletcher look like a total chump. Lucky got some good shots off on Purge Club before being cut off by a nightstick to the head, then hit with their finishing combination (Bouncer hold the opponent in a full nelson for superkick from Kiev, then hits the opponent with a double-arm DDT.
wXw SHOTGUN TITLE MATCH:
“The Avalanche” Robert Dreissker(c) vs. Flamita - 7.25/10
Just under nine and a half minutes of excellent storytelling. One guy is a quick little Luchador, the other guy is a large, strong mountain. A great little rendition of the classic battle of size and strength vs. speed and agility.
wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE MATCH:
Timothy Thatcher(c) vs. Jonathan Gresham - 8/10
Fifteen wonderful minutes of technical wrestling. The story of the match was Gresham working over the knee, and Thatcher sold beautifully. This was one of those matches that really makes Gresham’s “octopus” nickname feel apt.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - GREAT. First, we got a nice show of respect between Thatcher and Gresham. After Gresham left, Ilja Dragunov came out- presumably to cut a promo on Thatcher- but as Ilja got into the ring Thatcher just walked right by him, not even acknowledging him (and giving him the disrespectful shoulder bump on the way, just to make sure Ilja knew he was ignoring him on purpose).
Ilja cut an angry promo on the fans, the promotion and Director of Sport Karsten Beck. Hen ranted about how wXw should be giving him every world title shot in recognition for all he has done for the promotion. He demanded that Karsten (who was at ringside, as he is for all title matches) get into the ring, whereupon Ilja berated him and then punched him in the stomach. Ilja began choking Karsten but David Starr came out to make the save. Security pulled them apart, and Karsten booked them in a match for after intermission. While the fans had to wait a bit to see this match, we watching at home didn’t have to wait more than few moments to see…
DAVID STARR vs. ILJA DRAGUNOV - 8/10
Ilja jumped Starr from behind during his entrance, which, while definitely heelish, did at least prevent us from having to hear Starr’s entire Jericho-esque list of nicknames. That attack was the begging of a brutal, vicious fight. This was a war, plain and simple… and they didn’t need to use a single weapon. They just beat the sh*t out of each other. The only thing I didn’t like was Ilja no-selling a belly-to-belly superplex.
Highlights here included a Canadian Destroyer where both the physics and set-up felt like they made perfect sense, Ilja brutalizing Starr with spinning backfists and Starr defiantly firing back, and Ilja hitting Starr with both a Gotch-style powerbomb, and what I can only describe as a “Gotch-style German suplex,” even though I know that sounds redundant. All of that and the finish, which was just sick.
wXw WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH:
Amale Winchester(c) vs. LuFisto - 5.75/10
LuFisto did the best she could with Amale. I’m sorry, but Amale is just SOOOOO sub-par when you compare her with the other women in this company that the decision to put the belt on her was baffling and the decision to keep it on her for as long as they have has been downright dumbfounding.
19th ANNIVERSARY SHOW ANNOUNCEMENTS - Meiko Satomura will be cashing in her Femme Fatales victory from last year for a shot at the wXw Women’s Title, Robbie Brookside will be inducted into the wXw Hall of Fame, and Kassius Ohno will be appearing. The crowd was completely shocked by the last announcement.
DANNY BURCH & ONEY LORCAN PROMO ABOUT WANTING TO WIN WORLD TAG TEAM FESTIVAL - Fine.
WORLD TAG TEAM FESTIVAL TOURNAMENT FINALS FOR THE VACANT wXw WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES:
Pretty Bastards vs. Danny Burch & Oney Lorcan vs. Arrows of Hungary - no rating, good segment
This match has no count-outs, no DQs, and will be fought under both elimination and tornado rules. As you might expect, they brawled a lot. It built up to one spot where Icarus went to the second level to set up a big dive, as he has done several times in wXw… but then Prince Ahura pulled him down from the railing rather than pushing him off. I guess it makes some sense in that he very badly wants to prove that he belongs in this tournament, but it’s still kind of odd to see someone essentially stealing the “glory” of the dive instead of shoving the opponent off a ledge in an attempt to injure the opponent in an effort to get the win.
Ahura then tried to do his spot where he strips his pants off while standing on the railing, and when he started to fall backwards I thought he had legit lost his balance but it was just Icarus pulling him down. In the end, no one did a big balcony dive, which makes you wonder why they even teased it. They did, at least, end the sequence with Ahura hip-tossing Icarus over the railing of the staircase for, a still impressive but thankfully much shorter fall onto the big pile, so they did give the fans something similar to what they teased. I’m not a big fan of those sorts of big, dangerous spots, but if you’re going to do one, it seems counterproductive to first tease an even bigger one to only deliver a lesser one in the end.
One thing I did like about that spot here is that at least they made it actually count in the match, as after throwing Icarus over the railing, Ahura dragged him to the ring where he and Maggot hit their finisher on him and pinned him to eliminate him. This was much better than the usual way this spot is done, where someone does the big spot and then everyone sells for a while and then gets back up, with the end result of this big dangerous dive being fans chanting “HOLY SH*T!” rather than it actually meaning something for the story of the match.
After that, Lorcan got into the ring, but he, too, was alone for a bit as Burch was still selling from being part of the pile on Icarus’ involuntary dive. He was able to hold his own for a bit before getting overwhelmed, but Burch was able to make it back to the ring to bail him out. Burch & Lorcan took over and looked to have things won when Bobby Gunns ran in and attacked them. Gunns celebrated with Maggot and Ahura and started to beat down Burch and Lorcan when Norman Harras came out.
At this point Rico Bushido accurately described things as getting “getting weirder by the moment.” Harras was making such of big show getting ready to attack Gunns and the Pretty Bastards that it was pathetically obvious that this was going to be a Russo-swerve. They beat Burch and Lorcan down some more before Pretty Bastards hit their finisher and got the win. Announcer Andy Jackson went on about how this was the new generation stepping up and taking their place while Rico Bushido decried their actions as disgraceful.
I’m not a big fan of taking one of your major tournaments or a main event of one of your biggest shows of the year and turning it into an angle via a f*ck finish, but I am okay with doing it every once in a while (if you do it well). wXw does not do these things very frequently, and aside from the Harras Russo-swerve, I thought this was done rather well. I also think it was important to give Bobby Gunns something big to do after his title loss last night and greatly appreciate the way they built Harras up over the course of this weekend before doing something like this with him. That being said, I do think it was a big misstep to not turn Pretty Bastards heel before revealing that they are the ones who attacked VollGasteren. Of course, maybe they, too, were a red herring and someone else did the deed, but I’m certain that’s not the case. So, overall, I’m more than fine with this segment being what it was, but I do have those reservations.
This was a great show from wXw, full of storyline moments and great wrestling. Parts of it definitely could I been better, but this was definitely one of those shows where they chose certain things to focus on and pushed those hard, while letting everything else sink or swim on it’s own in the time they gave it, and everything other than the women’s title match was at least good for the time it got. The main event angle definitely has the potential to be something we look back on in a few years as a huge moment in wXw history, but whether it ultimately becomes one or not, for the moment we definitely have something of a brave new world in front of us as embark on the road to Broken Rules XIX.