wXw Back to the Roots XIX
January 18, 2020
wXw kick off 2020 in their usual way. Käfigschlacht! We’re in Oberhausen, Germany at the Turbinenhalle. Commentary comes from the duo of Rico Bushido and Andy Jackson.
Marius Al-Ani vs. Levaniel
Al-Ani is back after suspension. He got a spell on the sidelines for reacting badly to a fan insulting him. The crowd are relatively receptive to his return. He’s done his time!
This match doesn’t last long. It’s basically a squash to demonstrate Al-Ani’s return is serious business.
Final Rating: Squash!
Post Match: Al-Ani throws his hat in for 16 Carat Gold and holy shit Cara Noir is here!
Both guys will be in 16 Carat.
Lucky Kid vs. Scotty Davis
This is a babyface match up. Given time it could be super. They’re both technically very solid although Lucky has lost a lot of steam over the past year since winning 16 Carat.
He’s been unlucky with Brookes going to Japan and the RISE implosion being such a wet blanket. This isn’t the best of showings for Scotty. It’s completely fine but it never hits that fiery higher level due to the dual babyface alignments. He impressed over tag league weekend in two matches so I’m sure he’ll get another shot but this match is only sporadically on the level it should be. It’s worth remembering that Scotty is only 19 years old. Lucky gets the crossface for the submission. This picked up a little down the stretch but they didn’t click as well as I’m sure everyone hoped they would.
Final Rating: **3/4
The Rotation vs. Goldenboy Santos
I’m very happy to see a healthy Rotation out here having matches on marquee events. He’s been plagued with a load of injuries during his run and it’s derailed his promising career. I suspect wXw have delayed in giving him something meaningful to do on the roster because of those repeated injury issues.
If he can stay healthy he’d be a great asset for wXw. His rope work here is on point and he’s fun to watch. Santos is an interesting character. He’s committed to the Goldenboy gimmick with bleached blonde hair and golden ring gear. I’m not sure about the moustache. It makes him look like a bigger Tyler Bate and you don’t want people making that comparison. Rotation wins here with the 450 splash and this was perfectly fine. Hopefully Rotation can do something in 2020.
Final Rating: **1/2
Video Control gives us clips of Amale bitching out Melanie Grey, who was in the crowd at a previous show.
Promo Time: Levaniel
He’s out here to address his children of the stars. He will continue his mission as an ambassador and angel of love. He’s concerned with Karsten Beck’s attachment to Amale. “Love only happens between beautiful people”. Fuck’s sake. Anyway, he invites Alpha Kevin and Melanie Grey to the ring.
Karsten Beck, King of the Cummerbund, doesn’t like that. I wish wXw didn’t feel the urge to turn authority figures heel. Kevin is a weird one for wXw. They pushed him pretty hard in a supporting role for years and then stopped using him in 2017. Mella herself hasn’t wrestled here since Back to the Roots 2019. Has it really been an entire year? I have missed her. She had a very distinct persona and was very effective in her role. Mella is still unable to wrestle in Oberhausen after her loss last year so Beck makes a match for Bielefeld where if Kevin and Melanie win, against Levaniel and Amale, then Mella can wrestle in Oberhausen again. Melanie seems conflicted about all of this.
NOTE: Vimeo has been so bad during this watch that I’ve been suffering constant buffering issues and it’s taking ages to get through anything. This is making me incredibly grumpy. Update: I switched to vimeo.com and it worked perfectly on there.
wXw Shotgun Championship
Jay Skillet (c) vs. Absolute Andy
These two are allies but ended up in a four-way where Skillet won Avalanche’s title by pinning Andy. Logically this should be Skillet vs. Avalanche but this is funnier. They goof around so much that Rainer Ringer stops off to eat a muffin. They fuck around and do the Hogan phantom leg drop deal where Skillet is supposed to lie down for Andy but he can’t bring himself to do it and kicks out. Andy gets serious and keeps hitting F5’s like he’s trying to end the Streak.
Naturally both guys try to cheat but Andy wins that by pretending to have been struck low. However when he realises he won’t win the title he claims he was struck on the inner thigh. I’m in bits. Skillet then fakes a groin shot and when nobody buys it he rolls Andy up for the win! These guys are doing great work with their excellent comedy timing. Andy’s transformation over recent years from midcard babyface tag guy to heel champion to comedy act has been a hell of a ride.
Final Rating: ***1/2
A reminder that 23-27 September is the Catch Grand Prix. It replaces World Tag Team League/Festival.
Bobby & The Bastards vs. Avalanche, David Starr, Julian Pace & Leon van Gasteren
It’s perhaps a little strange that this isn’t the main event but Jurn and James have a barbed wire cage match to finish the show.
Kafigschlacht is the purist interpretation of War Games today. Someone has to submit or surrender. Also they have the belief that the heels should always have the unfair advantage. The opening sections are fine with Avalanche leading the way. They freshen things up by fighting out of the cage and brawling all over the building. Uhura stealing the key and locking the cage with most of the faces on the floor is also an interesting wrinkle. It’s a shame they make a mess of the Maggot getting dropkicked off the door spot. It takes three attempts. They reduce this to Avalanche & Starr vs. Gunns & Harrass to try and focus on the more important elements but the match isn’t particularly creative, which is a bit disappointing. They fill spaces between high spots with a lot of generic brawling. The approach suits the match but modern wrestling is so choreographed that it feels weird to have a match that lacks that. All the heels go through tables and Harrass gets choked out with a chair for the submission.
Structurally this was very hit and miss. War Games is a match that’s tricky to maintain. They certainly hit the high spots but a lot of this match felt like filler.
Final Rating: ***
Barbed Wire Steel Cage Match
Alexander James vs. Jurn Simmons
They told a good story here getting us from The Crown to a Singapore caning match where Jurn absorbed a lot of punishment and AJ bled. The pressure is on here because they have to follow another cage match that just climaxed. They make it harder for themselves by establishing a meticulous pace. AJ plays a tough guy heel so the usual cage escaping attempts simply aren’t there. The need for the barbed wire is questionable.
They do some good character work as we progress. AJ is bloodied and refuses to tap, spitting in Jurn’s face and Jurn immediately belts him with a slap. It shows the contempt and really draws me in. The match rarely demonstrates the hatred as well as it does in that spot. AJ’s hidden Singapore Cane is an interesting spot. How did that get there? Jurn blades off that spot so we have a bloody double gusher. The stuff with the Singapore Cane is the best work in the match, which stems from their previous encounter and makes me further question the need for the cage here. Jurn absolutely plasters AJ with the cane shots. Add in a couple of piledrivers and Jurn wins. The barbed wire was completely pointless here. A brutal but, at times, sluggish main event.
Final Rating: ***1/2
wXw put a few video interviews on at the end of this show. A fired up David Starr wants another title shot, Andy and Skillet make up, Avalanche wants his Shotgun title back, Gunns vs. Starr is made for 16 Carat and if Starr doesn’t win he leaves wXw.
I love how Starr isn’t looking at Bobby, he’s eyeing up the belt.
Back to the Roots is a show that leans pretty heavily on the Käfigschlacht. For me the match didn’t really deliver here. It merely served as a bridging match on the feud between Starr and Gunns and a preview of matches at forthcoming shows. The Jurn/James blow off match suffered having to follow another long cage match and there was nothing on the undercard that really jumped out either. All in all it was a bit of a disappointing show. The good news is that wXw is clearly getting its ducks in a row for 16 Carat Gold and that should be a sensational weekend of pro wrestling. The Gunns vs. Starr title match should headline night two.