“SPEEDBALL” MIKE BAILEY vs. JULIAN PACE - 6.5/10
A solid ten-minute opener with a nice babyface show of respect afterwards.
At this point ring announcer Thommy Giesen introduced two special guests sitting and watching the matches in the front row: former wXw Shotgun Champion Sasa Keel, and former wXw wrestler and current president of GHW (German Hurricane Wrestling) Aaron Insane. He tells us that both are from around these parts, so they decided to come to the show tonight.
“THE AVALANCHE” ROBERT DREISSKER & THE ROTATION vs. JAY-AA (Jay Skillet & Absolute Andy) (w/Francis Kaspin) - 6/10
A fun undercard tag that did a good job of building up to the upcoming Shotgun Title match between Absolute Andy and Avalanche.
NO DISQUALIFICAITONS MATCH:
Jurn Simmons vs. Alexander James - 6.25/10
This was one of those matches that was clearly a “we’re holding back because it’s the first match in the feud” kind of match. It was fine for the time it got, but the real purpose of this match was the finish, which saw a big dude named Tyler Colton show up and save James from certain defeat. He then shattered Jurn’s Kendo stick over his knee, beat Jurn up, and held him so that James could hit Jurn with Blood Eagle and get the pin. A decent match that served its purpose of moving the storyline forward.
DAVID STARR, ILJA DRAGUNOV, & KARSTEN BECK BACKSTAGE - Great! The only negative here is that this was yet another segment that started out with Karsten breaking up a last-minute shoving match between two people who are supposed to hate each other, making this look less like two adults who despise each other and more like a teacher breaking up a potential fight between schoolchildren at recess.
This segment accomplished several goals. Firstly, it set up the next match as a de facto #1 contendership match. Secondly, it established the idea that despite being a huge part of the storylines this year (aside from the four-month period where he had kayfabe quit), David Starr really hasn’t done much of anything to kayfabe justify this possible title shot he has been negotiating with Karsten for (which does justify Starr’s slightly heelish trapping Karsten into a strategic corner at Road to Broken Rules XIX: Bielefeld, which is perfectly in character with Starr’s ego). His last big singles win was back in January against Timothy Thatcher.
It also acknowledged the fact that Ilja’s actions in Bielefeld absolutely could have gotten him fired (you don’t punch your boss in the stomach), but said that Karsten had decided not to do so for the good of wXw. I really appreciate it when a company goes out of its way to acknowledge things like this instead of just ignoring them.
The other thing I have to say about this segment is really a major strength of all of wXw’s backstage segments, and that is the fact that the characters feel human. There is stuttering and people repeating themselves while trying to come up with their next point and people trying to shout over each other. Stuff that makes the characters feel like real people and the scenes feel spontaneous and unscripted. Even the people who are a little more cartoonish like Ilja still feel human for what they are. No other company in the world even comes close to AEW in that regard.
DAVID STARR vs. ILJA DRAGUNOV - 7.5/10
Starr wins, setting up a title shot against Timothy Thatcher which should give us quite a bit of insight into Starr’s true mental state, as he will be facing someone forever associated with WALTER, but who is currently not friends with WALTER one bit and has actively tried to distance himself from WALTER.
BASEBALL BAT ON A POLE MATCH:
Lucky Kid & Aaron Insane vs. Purge Club - 7/10
This was supposed to be Lucky Kid vs. Pete Bouncer but Lucky snuck into the ring and attacked Purge Club from behind to get the advantage for a bit but was then hit with Bouncer’s nightstick and beaten down until Aaron Insane decided to hop the guardrail and even things up, leading Karsten Beck to come out and turn this into a tag match. I like that they established that Insane was there before this moment, but I really don’t like getting bait-and-switched out of the originally advertised singles encounter in exchange for a match that involves someone who had no involvement in the feud whatsoever before this moment.
That being said, these guys did a great job of putting this match together in a way that made the gimmick the focus of everything and made sure that only Lucky, Pete, and Ivan were the key players in the finish. The beginning of the match was all about getting the bat, and once the bat came down, everything was about attempted bat-shots, with Lucky overcoming some shots to the legs (with the help of a miscue by the heels) and getting the submission victory on Ivan using the bat.
SKYE SMITSON PROMO/VIDEO PACKAGE - Good.
SKYE SMITSON vs. LITTLE MISS ROXXY - 4.25/10
They let Roxxy get in more offense than I expected. Smitson won clean with the CrossRhodes. She cut a promo into the camera afterwards saying that she was coming for Killer Kelly.
TABLES, LADDERS, & CHAIRS MATCH FOR THE wXw WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES:
Pretty Bastards(c) vs. Arrows of Hungary - 8/10
I have no idea why the Arrows of Hungary are getting this title shot or why it is a TLC match, but the story is that they need to win the titles to finally prove that they are worthy of regular bookings in wXw.
This was twenty minutes of the expected awesome violence, and some unexpected stuff, too. There is also something about seeing a TLC match outside of WWE/AEW/TNA where the actual weapons just look less… polished, I guess… in a way that makes the fight feel more raw. This is amplified a bit in wXw where instead of some fancy device specifically created to hold title belts from the ceiling, they stretch a cable across the room from balcony to balcony. It makes matches like these feel more special because it makes them feel like something the promotion does so rarely that they haven’t seen fit to invest money in a fancy apparatus for it.
LUCKY KID & KARSTEN BECK BACKSTAGE - Meh. Apparently Lucky Kid has a match with Kassius Ohno coming up? This is the first I’m hearing of this. He was very weird here, talking about having a dream that he was about to beat Ohno but woke up because he was so focused on Purge Club. He says that they will claim that he hasn’t won the feud because he hasn’t won a one-on-one match, and wants to face them in singles match during the next tour. Karsten makes it official, and adds that stip that both are barred from ringside while the other wrestles Lucky.
PRETTY BASTARDS & JULIAN PACE BACKSTAGE - Good. This was an interesting peek into Pretty Bastards’ psyche, as they seem to not understand why Julian can’t see them hiring someone to attack him so that they could take VollGasteren’s spot in World Tag Team Festival as “just business.” They still want to be friends with Julian but they think Leon Van Gasteren is too old and that fans won’t want to cheer for Julian (or them) if they are aligned, so they say that taking Leon out was something they did to help Julian. As a show of friendship, they offer Julian a shot at the tag titles with any partner of his choice at Road to 19th Anniversary: Dresden, which they note Leon won’t be at. Julian accepts the tag title match because it’s a title match and he both wants revenge on Pretty Bastards and wants to redeem himself for costing his team the titles by trying to be too fancy and going for the BME at Road to Broken Rules XIX: Bielefeld, but he is still clearly annoyed at their inability to process why he is so upset with them. They leave, and he calls “Carter” on the phone and asks him if he can be in Dresden. I assume this is Oliver Carter, but I guess we’ll have to wait until Dresden to find out.
This was a very good show from wXw, mixing solid to great action up and down the card with important storyline advancement. It is certainly disappointing to see what was formerly a marquee event turned into something that felt more like a “Road to…” show, but I felt that way in the spring and the new booking pattern worked out pretty well, so I’ll give them the benefit of the doubt here, too. I just hope this doesn’t become a permanent thing.