wXw 16 Carat Gold 2023 N2
March 11, 2023
We’re in Oberhausen, Germany at the historic Turbinenhalle. In between this show happening and it arriving on wXw’s streaming service there were allegations on Twitter against Davey Richards. They related to “domestic violence toward his present spouse”. Richards has “cancelled himself” despite denying the charges and is going to retire after this weekend. After wrestling for OTT/FCP. I’m frankly staggered OTT haven’t pulled the plug on that and actually went ahead with his match against Dan Moloney. Not knowing is one thing but knowing the accusations are there and continuing with the match is disgusting. OTT should be ashamed of themselves, and no one should continue to support this promotion. As for Davey Richards matches on this wXw weekend, I have no intention of mentioning them and they won’t feature.
All forms of domestic abuse are not acceptable in any situation.
16 Carat Gold Quarter Final
Tristan Archer vs. Shigehiro Irie
Irie is as technically solid as Archer, so Tristan doesn’t even have that to lean on here. Incredibly he manages to make Irie look clumsy and slow. It’s astonishing. The whole match is like watching wrestling in treacle. I’m sure that exists. Some kinky shit, no doubt*. Each spot here is followed by some weird awkward pause and then awkward setting up for the next sequence, all done at a slow, slow pace. It’s so bad. I can’t believe Irie is actually in a match this atrocious. The only time it isn’t bad is when they do strike duels because it’s just two guys hitting each other, which needs no chemistry. Irie has clearly had enough and twats Archer in the face a few times before the Beast Bomber finishes. Awful match, correct finish. Irie is, by some distance, the best bet for a strong final night.
*I googled it. I ended up reading a Wikipedia article about Treacle Mining.
16 Carat Gold Quarter Final
Ahura vs. Komander
People are audibly annoyed that Ahura is the opponent for Komander.
If you want a Simpsons comparison; Komander is Daryl Strawberry. Ahura is Homer. “Are you better than me?” “Well, I don’t know you…but yes”. The story of the match is Ahura having a size advantage while Komander keeps going to the ropes to offset it. As evidenced by the picture above. He’s taller if he stands up there! Ahura does a lot of clubbing and Komander works from underneath doing roll ups and stuff. A lot of Ahura’s offence is weak and he’s better off just being a dick and ripping the mask. They do have some huge ideas but Ahura is a bit too clunky to execute them. The cutter off the mid-rope should be amazing and it gets a huge pop, but the set up was awkward. The bottom line is that Komander is so much fun to watch it almost doesn’t matter who he’s wrestling but it’s better when he’s got someone he can vibe with like Arez. That’s not to say this is bad because it’s not. The rope work is cool, and the mat work is cool too. The strikes are underwhelming. Ahura whips the mask off and hits Paradise Waterfall with Komander covering his face. He doesn’t see it coming. This was good! Kudos to Ahura for having fun out there and not getting blown away. Komander was really good, again. ***¼.
wXw Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Gauntlet
Oh, no. The dreaded gauntlet. I don’t think there’s ever been a good gauntlet match in the history of wrestling. It does serve as an excellent opportunity to get loads of wrestlers on the same show though. It does strike me as bizarre as a lot of the teams are just thrown together. A strange choice all round. The first pairing is Arez & Trey Miguel vs. Nick Schreier & Elijah Blum. My first time seeing Nick, who looks like a full of beans junior babyface. He’s barely out of the Academy and eats a quick pin from Miguel. This was about 3 minutes. Nothing much happened.
Team #3 is Psycho Mike & Maggot. The Psycho Bastards!
I do love Mike’s insistence at staring into the hard cam. Maggot pointing in the corner there popped me. TV Wrestling. Psycho Mike is more over than everyone in the tournament. He should have been in there really. Maggot pins Arez after about 7 minutes. Much longer and better than the opening segment. They needed time to get all Mike’s gimmickry in.
Body slam count: 5.
In next is Zafar Ameen & Rambo. Ameen is yet another Hungarian wrestler. That scene has really taken off. Rambo is Metehan’s bodyguard/stooge. Frankly, I would much rather have Metehan in the match. He’s been booked strangely this weekend. From a technical stand point he’s the best wrestler wXw have but he seems to have lost his way. The match is ok for a minute or so before they do a weird ‘Rambo enters the ring illegally’ spot, which is mistimed. Rambo is such a shit name. As a worker, he telegraphs. I know what spot is about to happen based on how he’s stood. For a 37 year old, who’s had hundreds of matches, that’s not good. “Metehan tries to shove Rambo on top” says commentary as they fuck up the finish. Rambo gets a reversed pin on Mike and the bad team advances. This was shambolic. Worse still, it only had one body slam.
Body slam count: 6.
The final team is Rot und Flot. Michael Schenkenberg and Nikita Charisma. Big pop for them. They’re immediately in trouble as Schenkenberg eats a heat segment. The hot tag doesn’t really happen, and it turns into a complete clusterfuck. Eventually Charisma does get the tag and Rot und Flot immediately hit their finish. The match was 20 minutes and it only had one good segment; the Arez & Miguel vs. Maggot & Psycho Mike bit. The segment that had collectively the best wrestlers and the best gimmicks. Strange that. Add this to the scrapheap of dreadful gauntlet matches, which is all of them.
16 Carat Gold Quarter Final
Axel Tischer vs. Masha Slamovich
I thought Slamovich was unlucky to have a disappointing match with Fuminori Abe. It wasn’t entirely her fault and there were communication issues. The story here is Tischer isn’t taking Slamovich seriously. Tischer looks in much better form here. He’s pure aggression when he gets going. The personality oozes off him. He doesn’t come across as sleazy. He just comes in assuming superiority and then shows it. It’s a great performance from Axel Tischer. Masha works from underneath and it’s the second time tonight the underdog vs bully match has worked. Slamovich gets loads of great cheeky roll up sort of near falls. Tischer comes back with a HUGE Ligerbomb and Masha kicks out, causing this wonderful facial reaction from Axel.
Slamovich spits in Tischer’s face so he chokes her out and that’s him into the semis. This fucking ruled. An outstanding performance from Tischer. Elite work. ***½.
Sidenote: this is a big turnaround for me. I’ve never liked Tischer and his guest spots, on loan from WWE, were at the height of my contempt for that promotion for the destruction of the European scene. This is the kind of performance that should win anyone over though. As a big old bully, and with his crazy facials used more appropriately, he’s awesome.
16 Carat Gold Quarter Final
Peter Tihanyi vs. Francesco Akira
On paper, this is the smartest pairing of all the quarters. That said, two of them worked out beautifully so what do I know? Tihanyi bringing his bag to the ring with him, as part of his look, is smart because he’ll never have to leave his wallet in the back where Jay Phoenix or Baron Corbin can steal it. Akira is closer to Tihanyi’s ability level than Trey Miguel. Plus Akira works his shit in from underneath half the time, which makes him less of a jerk. He decides to work heel anyway. I’d rather they just left it as a babyface match. Tihanyi strikes me as a bit gangly. Like he’s not quite gotten used to his body yet. His timing is better here than on N1 though and they do a nice spot where they both hit high kicks at the same time. They do good things with sequences. The duck under the Fireball into a legsweep from Tihanyi is excellent. They do a bunch of cool near falls. Tihanyi’s next tactic is to play dead to avoid the Fireball. The finish is hot as hell with Akira getting knees up on the 450, Tihanyi catching him in a choke to block the Oscutter and finally taking it with the 450 Splash. Cool finish knocks it up a touch, this was very good wrestling. ***½.
wXw Women’s Championship
Aliss Ink (c) vs. Baby Allison vs. Ava Everett vs. Iva Kolasky
These are the last four wXw women’s champions, all over the past 18 months. I’ve missed all of their reigns. Amale was the champion when I stopped going. Baby Allison has changed a lot since I last saw her. Kolasky is yet another Hungarian wrestler. They probably came over in a tour bus this time. Ink is Swedish, from Bodyslam. I think I’ve seen her before. Having Nikkan Lee as the ref is pretty cool.
Ava Everett is very good at this sort of thing. The gobshite heel act requires some acting and that’s her forte. Ink has a sensational look. She’s covered in tattoos. My personal favourite is Iva Kolasky. Everyone else has a big look or personality, Kolasky is just very solid. Her covers are excellent. The match structure is a mess. They have everyone in there at the same time and the match probably would have benefitted from tags. Allison has improved in the ring over the past 3 years but still does dumb things. All the worst moments come from her. The spot where she’s supposed to knock Aliss Ink out of the ring is so bad. Kolasky gets tapped out by Allison and she wins another title.
The women’s division in wXw has been a problem since day one. They’ve never had the depth of field to create an interesting division and WWE’s insistence at hoovering up all the women’s talent they can get hasn’t helped. There were moments here where I could have gone for an Ink-Kolasky singles, and it might even have gotten good. Multiple person matches are hard to structure though, and inexperienced wrestlers are generally no good in them. It didn’t help Baby Allison at all.
wXw World Tag Team Championship
Frenchadores (c) vs. Arrows of Hungary
The Arrows turned heel and joined Amboss. They lost these belts at Carat weekend last year.
Aigle Blanc hadn’t quite broken out in wXw the last time I was here. Senza Volto has been one of Europe’s best kept secrets for ages. The Arrows are an outstanding tag team. They’re so good, I’m surprised no one has come sniffing around from the major leagues. America’s loss is wXw’s gain. They can plan their tag division around these guys for years. My favourite spot in this is Icarus kneeing Aigle out of the air. My least favourite spot is right afterwards when Volto is forced to sunset flip his partner. What? The spot that irks me though is later. Icarus takes a Tombstone on the apron. Dover is then pinned from a moonsault and Icarus breaks up the pin. What the fuck are you doing? That kind of spot is designed to stop that pinfall break up happening, ever. It’s a shame because they have some very cool ideas, but they’re constantly hindered by bad decisions in between. No wonder Dreissker looks so wound up at ringside. The Frenchadores slap their thighs too much as well. Speaking of ringside; Roman goes in the general direction of Aigle after a spot and Tas kicks him out. He didn’t even do anything. Have him at least attack Aigle or have done it a lot during the match. Plus, Aigle was hurled over the top rope. He should be out anyway. Everyone just stands around like lemons watching this develop. Dreissker hands his mask to Icarus, who blasts Volto with it and Volto is subsequently CAUGHT IN THE CROSSFIIIIIRE* for the loss. I can’t believe these wrestlers were involved in a match so fundamentally flawed and stupid.
*Copyright Stevie Ray Vaughan
Job vs. Career
Norman Harras vs. Bobby Gunns
Harras, as “director of sport” for wXw, has been messing with Gunns, so now Gunns puts his career on the line to get Harras to step down as an authority figure. I’ve never liked authority figure angles. I think Vince McMahon has a lot to answer for. It has definitely helped Harras with his public speaking, so that’s a bonus at least. The no DQ stip is added by Harras just before we start.
They have a wrinkle in the storyline where Tas, who also hates Harras, counts quick so Harras kicks him in the jewels. There’s an early spot that makes me chuckle where Harras drops a wrench he’s intending to use. “If you can catch a wrench, you can catch a wrestler”. We get a second ref, but Metehan takes him out. “It’s a farce” says Dave Bradshaw. Uh huh. Generally, if a match has a ref bump, I hate it. This match has four ref bumps. Jurn Simmons runs in and gets beaten down. The same thing happens to Levaniel. Michael Knight runs in for the actual save. They manage to get in another offensively bad spot; Rambo being accidentally DDTd by Ameen. Gunns pins Harras and Levaniel counts it, which is apparently ok because Felix Kohlenberg gives it the thumbs up. This was some pure Sportz Entertainment nonsense.
Was it even a wrestling match? It was all angle. At least the crowd liked it, if we’re reaching for positives.
Oh man, this was rough. There were some decent tournament matches (Tihanyi-Akira, Tischer-Slamovich and Ahura-Komander) and I was really enjoying the show. However, the second half was diabolical. The Women’s four-way was flawed, the tag match a disaster of stupidity and the main event was just shit. Missing the big wXw title match to close out night two was palpable. The booking was designed for a happy ending here and while Gunns winning was the right thing to do, the path to that outcome was not. Again though, I’ve not seen the storyline that lead to this so I don’t have that same emotional investment that the fans in the building had and the reactions suggest I may be missing some keen storytelling here. Even so, the match structure was not my kind of thing at all, so even with context I would probably have hated it.