wXw World Tag Team Festival 2019: That’s not a Curse, this is a Curse
Hello and welcome to Adventures in Oberhausen Part 7 where the intrepid explorers of global graps descend on industrial North Rhine-Westphalia for a weekend of shenanigans, honking and broken glasses. Here’s what happened:
Thursday 3rd October 2019.
My alarm sounds and I’m ready for a trip to Germany. The biannual traditional trip to Oberhausen. There’s been talk of a curse. The list of missing talent is almost in double digits (not to mention those who were unable to attend who were not announced, and the half a dozen staffers who are missing). Here’s a list of everyone who’s injured, ill or unable to travel;
wXw have never had these issues before and on the eve of my trip my wife, who was going to drive me to the airport, got sick. I had to get a taxi at the last minute. But there’s definitely no curse.
I’m at Birmingham International Airport and buzzing thanks to downing a can of Monster before the taxi turned up. I’m positively bouncing off the inside of the cab as it drives into the airport’s drop and go. An hour later and I’m sat in Wetherspoon, the creatively named airport Spoons, with a terrible breakfast, Jake (@allyourvanity), Joao (@thekingofboom) and a can of Innis & Gunn Mangoes on the Run. I’m embracing the beers this weekend. Joao is on solid form already, having difficulty with the concept of a swivel chair and launching us into a debate about masked Mexican wrestlers and whether they need two passport photos. One with a mask and one unmasked. Leading further to a suggestion the masked one would be over the unmasked one and if he lost his mask in a match it could simply be torn off. This has nothing to do with the maskless gentleman sitting with Chief Deputy Dunne and Kyle Fletcher on the other side of the room. Joao is also amused at the “pizza to go” sign on the bar. Can you order a pizza for the flight? Would you have to stow it in the overhead compartment?
We’re joined by a very sleepy Dizz (@emilyjaynemorse) who insists on charging to the front of the line to get on the plane even though only business class passengers have been called. It’s “Dizzness class”.
Dusseldorf flughafen and we’re at the Pink Bar. For anyone who’s not made this trip meeting at the Pink Bar in almost essential at this point. Get the whole squad together so everyone makes it through the ticket buying process and gets on the right train. I’m looking at you, people who tried to board the delayed train to Dortmund. Newcomer James (@theJamesArris) is here because myself and Mort (@brotherMort) spent two hours putting Oberhausen over in the pub after SSS16 N2 in May. He’s happy to not to have to negotiate the ticket machine alone. He may have ended up in Dortmund. There’s a large Irish contingent, as always, and Allan Expensiveshot (@allan_cheapshot) makes his return to the wXw weekenders. We manage to get everyone on the right train and we’re off to scenic Oberhausen.
Arrival at the Tryp with two hours to kill before check-in. Myself and Mike Kilby (@MikeKilby) have Untappd antics planned to boost our numbers. For those unfamiliar with Untappd it’s like Pokemon Go for alcoholics. In 360 the beers start flowing and in a sign of things to come the mass of visiting fans absorb four entire long tables. We have a few drinks and are soon in fine voice. In particular singing “do you wanna touch Joao” to David Starr’s old theme.
The Inner Circle elite Eurograps Shadow Council head over to the Jakobi brewery for scoops. Allan Bigshot tries to scoop us by telling us who William Regal’s son wrestles as but we all already know. Gary (@GaryonGraps) was invited to this meeting but didn’t attend because he’s a coward.
We are joined by Oli (@anotherOli) and Matthew Gregg (@Maffewgregg) as we head into Tryp and get checked in. It’s a warm old afternoon, but wet, and we get in some conversation while reminding people that if they want to take public transport to Essen they should probably stop sinking pints and get a fucking jog on. The main focus of conversation is not the forthcoming weekend, nor the curse, but rather German stubbornness at not serving hot dogs in finger rolls. There is bread made specifically for the job guys. Get with the program.
STRIGGA (@STRIGGA) arrives. We had pre-arranged a lift to the wXw Academy with him to miss out on the fun and frolics of the train journey and instead have the fun and frolics of the STRIGGAMOBILE. It gets underway early as some random guy challenges STRIGGA to a drag race. “I didn’t even make eye contact”. After Fast & Furious Oberhausen Drift we debate why a David Hasselhoff poster has been daubed with graffiti reading “Nazi Idiot”. Is there something he’s not telling us? STRIGGA is almost out of “gas” so we get some more and notice some typical gangster Essen behaviour; a motorist has parked directly in front of a sign saying “no parking”. As we’re reminded every time we visit Essen it’s a dangerous place, filled with gangsters who flout parking signage. We drive past Maffew, who’s been driven by Toby (@_SlavSabreJr) and I can’t resist the urge to yell “BOTCHMANIA, YEAH” out of the window as we drive past. Sorry Matt. I wonder if that happens to him often. As we walk towards the wXw Academy we’re met by Allan Pissshot who’s heading for a dense area of trees and bushes on account of smashing pints but not having access to the Academy’s excellent toilet facilities.
Outside the Academy Dohmi (@RealPhillipDohm) has set up his Beer Boot Bar. Due to German Unification Day nowhere is open so he’s brought a load of beers for us to drink. It’s a very thoughtful move and although I’ve never spoken to him before we’re quickly friends (free beer does that). He has not one but two massive tubes of mustard and insists it has regenerative powers. Everyone who takes a beer is also greeted with “hey, want some mustard?” His favourite tag team is Mustard Mountain. Everyone has had fresh trims for tag league and while my haircut, and especially Joao’s, get a lot of attention German Doppelganger Arn has also cut his hair. What the fuck man! What’s happening? STRIGGA is beside himself at this, which is wonderful news because he has the best laugh in the world. If you’ve never seen STRIGGA laugh you are missing out on one of the wonders of the modern age.
Mike Kilby is sporting a baseball cap for this show, which makes him look a lot like Steven Spielberg although after substantial debate, and piss taking, we come up with “Coach Kilby: Director of Shenanigans” as an official title. Somebody get this man a whistle, stat!
7pm: Inner Circle
Alexander Dean, Rust Taylor & Jay Skillet def. Pretty Bastards & Rotation
Dominic Garrini def. James Runyan
The Work Horsemen def. Timothy Thatcher & Norman Harrass
Leyla Hirsch def. Sammii Jayne
Alexander James def. Daniel Makabe
Kyle Fletcher & Lucky Kid def. Anti-Fun Police
As per usual Inner Circle is a good primer for the weekend. There’s a lot of effort on show, singing from the crowd and meaty chops in the ring. JD Drake looked particularly excellent. Another major mishap though; during Tim Thatcher’s entrance the lights went out and couldn’t be fixed. With no power in the building a quick intermission is called and temporary lights are dragged in, surprisingly quickly, to allow the show to continue. There’s no curse though. Speaking of which Marvin (@M_punkt_arvin) almost passed out in the building due to sickness. He told me later that he’d vomited in his car driving here and had to turn around and go back home to clean it up. I didn’t see him after this show and I think he missed the rest of the weekend, which makes me sad.
Inner Circle is over and it’s back in the STRIGGAMOBILE to Oberhausen. The trip to Inner Circle was quite fun for the limited number of people who made this car. Everyone else had a terrible time with train problems. Some people abandoned the train and got a taxi back. No curse. The car journey is memorable for Mort being on inspired form. He claims to only be funny twice a year so he can get into the review. He saves the funny up. While trying to get his seatbelt on hilarity is flowing from the back seat of the car. “Just grab Oli’s ass” yells STRIGGA. “Grab all that ass?” replies Mort. “I’m trying to put it in the hole!” And so on.
We’re back at the Tryp for N1 at the bar. We’re greeted by Zig (@ZigOnTheRocks) and Barry (@BarryLad). The former said something absolutely hilarious here but there’s absolutely no way I can get away with putting it in print. They were sipping colas when we got back but were soon smashing pints and getting progressively louder. I got to have a huge chat about Japanese wrestling with Mort and we spent about 30 minutes burying NOAH. The train has still not arrived in Essen at this point. No curse.
The gang are finally reunited. Everyone has been coming in steadily based on who quit and got a taxi and those who took the delayed train and, to add insult to injury, got rained on walking from the train station. Mike makes everyone feel better by launching into his much vaunted Rico Bushido impression. I once asked Alan 4L if he wanted to be on a Bushido Sounds Like podcast where we all just talked like Rico. No sold. The plan with Mike is to get beers from shops and do #TrypFest, a beer tasting doohickey to boost our Untappd numbers. Several are tasted, semi-professionally, and due to the Tryp’s uneven carpet Barry has a tryp of his own. This is followed by Brian (@Brian1zvx) smashing a full wheat beer and drawing the ire of the bar staff. One of which is Ryan’s lost love from the Carat write up. Alas poor Valery, she’s finishing her contract in December and won’t be a part of Carat 2020. Ryan isn’t here but Jamie (@SirJamieH) is here and fucking hell he’s wrecked for a Thursday. He tells me the same story four times and proceeds to fail to pronounce Joao’s name. “Joaoey” being as close as he could get. Then being so drunk he didn’t understand me saying “say How and replace the H with a J” and responded with “How-Jay?” This is day one. Hungry, hungry Mort starts into his first tube of Pringles this weekend. Mort and food is the real unification day.
Tryp’s 24 hour bar is closed, for the first time ever, because there’s too many of us and we’re too loud. What have I done? We sat there drinking for another four hours, quietly, at Carat! We truly are cursed. Also Mort spilled beer up my leg so now I have to walk around with jeans that smell of beer for four days.
Friday 4th October 2019
I am ill. Like legitimately so. No, it’s not a hangover. I pop a few ibuprofen just in case but I’m clearly operating around 50%. Meanwhile Ivan Kiev’s train has been cancelled and Saraya Knight is added to the list of missing talent due to illness. The Tryp group chat has turned into a hunk rating system and the New Japan hunk ratings cause early morning debate, which is a pleasant distraction and I feel less ill.
Louisiana is where we go for the press lunch. The wXw contingent are actually late due to last minute issues. Including Tas’ flight being delayed because a stewardess knocked herself silly by hitting her head and Shooter Schulz’s car breaking down. We discover Maffew has been throwing up all morning and is effectively bed ridden. It’s just one thing after another. The press lunch allows a chance for the mood to be lightened. I’m sat with Oli, Benno (@BensonRichardE), Jamesie (@jamesie_2015), STRIGGA, Jasper (@Jeszbort) and Allan. As Tas walks in he’s asked “How are you?” His response…”errrrr”. The press lunch is getting more laid back every time I go and this one was no exception. Just shooting the shit and making fun of Brad Sheppard and Alex Shane. We get onto the subject of Dave Meltzer and why has he got a dog in his house? “It’s for when Big Tone comes around” – Benno.
I go to stand up for the press photos and my legs have gone. I am officially fucked. While the rest of the gang have drinks before the media centre opens at 5pm I’m left asleep for a few hours. The feeling of dread is very real. Marvin basically lost the entire weekend with illness and now, just hours later, I feel doomed. Many thanks to James, Oli and Shauna (@shaunathegrinch) for messaging me and trying to make sure I was ok. Five hours later I manage to get downstairs and run into Jamie and his pal Si from Darlington. They help me out on a very, very arduously slow walk to the Turbinenhalle. I’m so out of it that I queue up to go into the wrong part of the building along with a mass of fans attending what I think was a concert. On making it into the right entrance of the Turbinenhalle I feel pretty fucked. At one point using Brian to stand as I nearly fell over backwards. I look pale. Mike told me later he thought I was done for the weekend. Mort, scared of being ill himself, kept his distance. The isolation was sudden and yet understandable. I run into Yilmaz (@WrestlingYilmaz) who thanks me for naming my horse in Red Dead Redemption 2 after him (he was Turkish), tells us one of the spotlights has broken and we have a lengthy chat about DDP yoga. Not that I could do any yoga in this state.
8pm: wXw World Tag Team Festival N1
Pretty Bastards def. Jay-AA
Purge Club def. Kyle Fletcher & Lucky Kid
Jon Gresham def. Flamita
Work Horsemen def. Anti-Fun Police
David Starr & Norman Harrass def. The Crown
Mike Schwartz & Faye Jackson def. Levaniel & Amale
Arrows of Hungary def. Violence is Forever
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch def. Tim Thatcher & Veit Muller
During the show I perked up and by the end I was completely fine. The virus having rapidly passed through my system. Saved by the power of wrestling. That and Icarus diving off the balcony. Not the low balcony that Starr came off at Carat but the top balcony where commentary is. Alexander James turned on Jurn Simmons when they lost. The Crown is no more. Karsten Beck’s cummerbund received a lot of love here. It looks like he’s a champion in that thing. A champion of life. I had a few issues with Purge Club here, with Ivan Kiev’s terrible superkick being a particular nuisance. People were pretty mad that Kyle & Lucky went out in the first round and it being the Purge Club didn’t help matters at all. Overall this was a solid opening night with Arrows of Hungary and Pretty Bastards both getting over huge. It felt like a time for change in wXw and change is what we got. Those two teams combined with the presence of Norman Harrass was a huge positive.
Knippi’s Bowling Palace is the venue for the Oberhausen Open. Hosted by the 2 Sarahs (@The2Sarahs) it’s become a tradition of these weekenders. This time we had a King of Trios style tournament. The late start, 00.30, is due to wrestlers having to get across after the show. So we had an hour to kill and did so with glee. Some highlights included Mort challenging people to table football games and Joao’s despair at losing. Brian’s Red Dead Redemption gear. Andy Ogden’s (@oggypart3) big size 14’s. Lee Malone’s (@Malone_713) moustache. He looked like the chief of police, or a fire marshal, or someone’s dad. The transformation into Stagger Lee Marshall was completed by a wig and the trio of him Johnny (@BohsJohnny) and Dave (@thedaytodave) being the WCW Thunder announcers popped me big time.
When the bowling got underway I sent Oli out to be a roving reporter and get interviews on the lanes while I watched Mort bowl. The “Danish Spare” was a joy to behold. Lying on the end of the lane and slowly bowling the ball flat and waving it down the lane from side to side like he had a mate doing the curling business in front of it was a spectator sport. He got the spare. We get into a debate about the science of bowling and how you need some alcohol to loosen up the bowling motion and yet too much alcohol will throw you off balance. You need the exact right about of booze to bowl a perfect game. Oli tells me how much he hates Kenny Omega, based off the WK main event. “That Kenny Omega match was awful and I wanted to die during it”. This leads us into a discussion of people we want to set on fire (Ringo Starr was on the list), which is probably a bit too dark for a wrestling round-up.
It became apparent that Lane 16 and 17 were the place to be with Sarah Flann facing off against JD Drake in a battle of the best bowlers. JD told me about his basketball shoes that help with the slippery surface. Flann was not to be distracted though and bowled an excellent 161 to Drake’s 159. The difference being literally last ball stuff. Fantastic spectator sport. Especially with Drake having to contest not only with Sarah’s skill on the lanes but also Barry dropping a ball while JD was trying to bowl. How he escaped without a knuckle sandwich I’ll never know. While those two battled it out James Harris slyly coasted past both with a double strike in the last frame to score 164 and win overall.
James Harris 164, Sarah Flann 161, JD Drake 159
Kings of Trios:
- JD Drake’s team
- James, Shauna and Connor (@connor_welch)
- some jobbers
Bryan (@BryanIsNotFunny). Although he claims they never finished the game and the screens got turned off. “The two sweetest worlds in the English language; de-fault”. The 2 Sarahs got a lovely reception and “thank you Sarahs” was chanted at them. Dohmi claims he was highly successful because of the “power of mustard”. David Starr was thankfully not on his lane.
We’re in Burger King talking to Jon Gresham about Zero1. These weekends often throw up weird opportunities to have these conversations and this one was one of my favourites. It only happened because Jurn Simmons bought eat in food instead of takeaway.
In the Tryp bar and they’ve sent the barman home because it was quiet and now there are people everywhere demanding drinks. Crocodile Dundee is quoted. Kyle Fletcher and Lucky Kid stroll in. Everyone has cowboy hats. “YeeHArnold”. “Joaoboy”. Mort gets very protective of his seat. “This is my spot. Right that down”. It’s the wild west. You snooze, you lose. Jamie tells Valery “don’t come knocking on my door tonight”. Apparently there were issues and they nearly got kicked out the hotel the previous evening. #Trypfest continues. If you want to see the results get the Untappd app and add Mike (CerberusForsyth). I was planning on doing beer reviews in here but I am exhausted. Here’s a top five:
- Gaffels Sonnen Hopfen
- Aufwind Propeller Bier
- Hoppebrau Helles
- Augustiner Lagerbier Hell
Eamonn (@no_more_mutants) falls off his chair trying to put a box of cookies on the bar. The cookies survive. Not a single one dropped. Eamonn does not.
Saturday 5th October
We’re up early to podcast after having fun in lieu of doing so the night before. While I’m not ill anymore I am suffering with a bad back, which is par for the course. I attempt to relay my problems in German and come up with “mein spinen ist feinen”. I ask STRIGGA if the German is good and he goes to correct it. But then it won’t sound funny! We head over to CentrO and see Allan Voiceshot. A few people are suffering already from loss of voice. If we don’t pace ourselves the Absolute Andy Fan wins again. There’s a market set up outside CentrO that I’ve never seen before, probably because we usually spend Saturdays at shows, and there’s a brewery represented; WALTERBRAU. It’s non-alcoholic, which I feel is off brand. It should be strong and knock you out if you don’t respect it. We eat lunch at Mosch-Mosch. For those complaining of a lack of vegetables they do curries, ramen, noodles and such. Lots of veggies. Lovely flavor. Would recommend. They even have English menus and forks if you can’t do chopsticks, you cowards. I had a Reddo Kare Don, which was a curry with coconut in it. It was delicious. A discussion around spice leads to singing of “Spice Up Your Life”. We’re sorry Oberhausen.
The conversation moves on to sports and Joao brings up an ice hockey mascot called “Sharky”. “He’s surprisingly good for someone in a shark costume”. He’s the Koln mascot apparently. Untappd chat leads us into other potential ratings apps. Uncond for Ice Cream. Unplatd for dishes. Unsmokd for bacon. We leave Mosch-Mosch and the sun is out! It’s not raining in Oberhausen. I feel this is where the corner was turned.
2pm: Femmes Fatales
Martina def. Wesna
Leyla Hirsch def. Sammii Jayne
Lana Austin def. “Witch Bitch” Baby Allison
LuFisto def. Vicious Vivien
Leyla Hirsch def. Martina
LuFisto def. Lana Austin
Amale def. Faye Jackson
LuFisto def. Leyla Hirsch
Leyla Hirsch had a great weekend and this was the peak of it. A run through the tournament highlighted by an excellent final with LuFisto and a match with Martina, which, while shaky, was essentially called on the fly in the ring. A testament to both workers that it came out this well. Vicious Vivien is barely experienced and lost in a few seconds, thus depriving Martina and Leyla of any planning time. Lana Austin had a solid tournament and the title match between Amale and Faye was decent. LuFisto is from French Canada so she knows a few words of for Amale. Is she coming for her tomorrow? “Oui”.
“Lison (@LisonMa), what does “oui” mean”? – Mike Kilby
“It depends on the context” – Lison
It’s back to Tryp, which means no McDonalds so far. A strong performance. We have a chat about glass etiquette and how Valery didn’t want to pour a Veltins into a Weiss bier glass. It’s 3am, we’ll drink anything out of anything. Who cares if it’s the correct glass. We end up recording a podcast and doing #Trypfest. Which leads to Mike asserting that “a can is a really small room”. And also, “this is what I would have wanted to do in scouts”. Collect beer badges. Das Boot achieved by all this weekend. Maffew poops in my toilet after regaling us with a story of another famous internet celebrity type who refused to let him poop in his room. Matt promptly fucks the flush up, leaving it going in the background while we’re talking so I can see where the other guy was coming from.
I get the chance to have a quick word with Dennis Birkendahl who asks me how I’m enjoying the weekend and while shaking his hand relay him the story of how ill I was the day before. I’ve never seen a man look more horrified to be shaking hands. We had a nice chat about N1. Icarus had tried to get a balcony dive approved before but they always felt the timing wasn’t right. They still don’t know what caused the power failure in the Academy. The new music comes from a library that is also used by Progress. I can only presume supplied by WWE. I also get the chance to talk to wXw editor and camera operator Katja Pilz. Katja is the kind of person you want in your promotion. Brimming with positivity and enthusiasm and she’s really good at her job. There are people behind the scenes in wXw who make things happen and they all deserve credit but Katja especially.
7.30pm: wXw World Tag Team Festival N2
Jon Gresham def. Lucky Kid
Avalanche def. Alexander Dean
Pretty Bastards def. David Starr & Norman Harrass
Arrows of Hungary def. Purge Club
Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch def. Work Horsemen
Flamita def. Rust Taylor, Kyle Fletcher & Rotation
Jay AA def. Anti-Police
Timothy Thatcher def. Bobby Gunns
The more I think about this show the more I adore it. Thatcher’s title win was a really special moment and a great match. The Jay-AA vs. AFP match was the wildest comedy match I’ve seen in years. From the opening where Andy and Skillet used a super soaker and a bucket of water, drenching the same fan who normally gets a bottle of water poured over her. Santos used his gun and shot Andy in the head. Andy was revived by Fanta. Andy then machine gunned everyone. Three dead refs, Tommy and Dunne for the pin. Comedy gold. It was great to see Rotation on a tournament show. He did “cool Rotation stuff” and got popped. Purge Club got squashed. Everyone looked great.
11pm: The After Party.
Mort immediately orders 20 bons. There is a slight disappointment here as there’s less space to work with. The media centre is fenced off, leaving us standing in between two fences in the only quiet area while all the wrestlers play drinking games behind the fence. There’s no hanging around in the venue either so it’s either the karaoke bar or an alleyway. We end up in the alleyway between the fences. Mort is on rare form insisting that sambuca tastes like his toothpaste. Are you sure you’re not just brushing your teeth with sambuca? “It works. I have healthy teeth”.
“Dating is a work until it’s a shoot” – Joao
“What happens at the after party stays at the after party” – Felix Schulz (@ShooterSchulz)
“I hate wrestling” – Oli.
Rumours about Tony Khan and dogs.
Attempted superkicks a la Ivan Kiev.
“Look at him, he’s shit at beer pong” – James
Oli’s World will be at Edinburgh Fringe in 12 months. “Write that down. Then if I don’t get it done, I’m a coward”.
Dodge the drunken Jamie flash game (patent pending).
Drinking games are stupid. If you win you can’t drink. If you lose you win because you can drink. Just drink!
“It will finally be decided who wins the football”.
Daily Mail is shite. Old people are stupid.
JD Drake shoulderbarges Shauna who is a bit tipsy and apologises for walking into him.
“I just saw a couple unironically kissing to My Sacrifice. So now I’ve seen everything” – Jasper
“How do you like the Irish singing Tommy?” – me to Thomas Giesen (@ringsprecher)
“It’s not very melodic” – Tommy
We’re leaving and I hear someone doing a bad Rico Bushido impression. I turn around to tell them Kilby’s is better and it’s actually Rico Bushido.
Back at the Tryp bar and Mike has moved on from Rico to doing JP impressions. We missed you JP!
Sunday 6th October
Oli is unable to get up so I pop over to the petrol station and buy sugary snacks and Mr. Brown chilled coffee. Not to be confused with Mr. Brownstone. That old man, he’s a real motherfucker. A Monster Rossi levels me back out nicely. Oli is clearly better as he starts singing Goldfinger. Joao then arrives, unprovoked, with Berliners. The doughnuts, not the GWF fanbase. “Ich bin ein doughnut”. We podcast and head out for the day leaving our Nuts on the table for later. The chocolate bar you pervs. It’s like a Topic.
It’s raining. We get into the Turbinenhalle and Mort’s opening gambit is two sambucas and what appears to be a cup of water. I commend him on being at least slightly sensible. “It’s gin and tonic. This is the best decision I’ve ever made”. Given Mort’s alcoholic sacrifices there were a staggering number of cowards who didn’t even turn up. You know who you are!
12.30pm AMBITION: Wildcard Edition
Daniel Makabe def. James Runyan
Dominic Garrini def. Alexander Dean
Rust Taylor def. Sexy Kev
A-Kid def. Scotty Davis
Daniel Makabe def. Dominic Garrini
A-Kid def. Rust Taylor
Tim Thatcher def. Oney Lorcan
A-Kid def. Daniel Makabe
Tim vs. Oney was a near perfect AMBITION style match but almost everything else fell into the trap of throwing in wrestling moves for the sake of it and A-Kid was the worst offender with a fucking Spanish Fly. People were genuinely pissed off. On the flipside seeing Tim Thatcher beaming with blood pouring down his face was such an important moment for me that I was choked up. Seeing Thatcher happy makes me happy. Davis vs. A-Kid was nearly awesome. Kid got gator rolled out of the ring and when he came back in he was mad. They did overkill on the strikes but they almost had me locked in. Makabe vs. Garrini is immune from criticism. They had the second best match on the show. Makabe was very good and won over a lot of new fans. A-Kid was a late replacement for Damon Moser who had flight issues.
Walking with Andy Ogden and we get into the Bury vs. Rochdale history. Was he upset Bury had gone out of business? “Fuck Bury. I’m stamping on their grave”. So, I guess not!
The media centre finale. Jay Skillet was much improved after a worked interview with Kaspin last time. Felix Kohlenberg, Dennis Birkendahl and Tassilo Jung were up second and had some tough questions to deal with regarding the running of wXw. The initial music library got hooked and changed the week before Shortcut to the Top leaving Dennis and Katja scrambling around to find new music. The NXT UK future schedules are unknown so there’s no way of telling if Carat will clash with that. Sekimoto messaged WALTER back in August to try and set up a Big Japan match. Everyone is pleased they’ve been able to make that happen. Felix persists the live experience has not been hurt by the change of music. I think we all have to agree to disagree on that. Or he just has bad taste in music. People stepped up to fill WALTER’s various backstage roles over the weekend. There are questions about Road To vs. Shotgun and again, they double down on the viewership being better for Road To and Digest videos. The creative process for this weekend sounds downright painful as they had to rebook the entire show twice. Just awful misfortune. The Round Robin format being scrapped ended up being a huge boon to them when rebooking. Brexit is effecting UK shows until it’s sorted out.
Daniel Makabe took questions and provided honest and emotional responses. He talked at length about football shirts, Volk Han, “the music between the notes”, his vision issues, his wish list of opponents that he’s ticked off this year before breaking down while talking about the influence Tim Thatcher has had on his career. Everyone in that room is now a Daniel Makabe fan for life. Bobby Gunns answered questions about his music change. He seemed a little miffed to lose Robot Rock but likes his new theme. He also fielded questions about football and heel/face alignment. The Arrows of Hungary fielded questions about the Hungarian scene which has hopefuls like Maverick (he has a reptile character) and Peter Tihanyi. The Hungarian scene was rebuilt from nothing and the HCW crowd is mainly made up of HCW fans who don’t watch other wrestling. The dojo has 60 students currently. The crowds are 600-700. They make some excellent points about never knowing who might be watching them work and always giving it their all because of that. Faye Jackson closes the panels out by talking about life in the wXw Academy, which is like a dorm and she lives there with 7 other wrestlers now.
Finally a McDonalds, due to time constraints. I’m there with Maffew and Oli and we have no idea there’s a pre-show dark match, which we promptly miss. Instead we were talking about Joao trying to climb over the fence at the after party to escape an awkward situation. McDonalds was a reminder that their food is shite and they don’t even have a proper bin area. Next time I’m just leaving all my remains on the table.
5pm: wXw World Tag Team Festival N3
Scotty Davis def. Oliver Carter, Rust Taylor & Jay Skillet
Killer Kelly def. Leyla Hirsch
Kyle Fletcher & Lucky Kid def. Work Horsemen
Avalanche def. Flamita
Tim Thatcher def. Jon Gresham
Ilja Dragunov def. David Starr
Amale def. LuFisto
Pretty Bastards def. Arrows of Hungary & Oney Lorcan/Danny Burch
The big news from N3 was the formation of a new stable with Pretty Bastards, Bobby Gunns and Norman Harrass joining forces to ensure the Bastards made the headlines in Oberhausen. Then they all had a nice smoke. Most of the focus from the promotion was on new names and future talent and it felt nice to come away from a weekend thinking about the future rather than reminiscing about what could or should have been. Not everyone liked the new stable but I had no issues with it. Ilja vs. Starr was the best match on the show although didn’t quite edge out Thatcher/Gunns for match of the weekend. Despite losing his title Bobby Gunns made all the headlines. Talent like Scotty Davis, Leyla Hirsch, JD Drake, Anthony Henry, Norman Harrass, Arrows of Hungary, Daniel Makabe, Rust Taylor and the Pretty Bastards will be on the lips and minds of European wrestling fans for some time to come.
With the crew working hard to pack up it’s an emotional time at the Turbinenhalle. I like to hang around for a while and just take in one last look at the building before heading off. I got to have a nice chat with Makabe before going as well as an assortment of friends, old and new. “I cried when Joao cut his hair” – Alan 4L. “You take garbage photos” – Ainah, of Mort, who was a bit drunk. Alas it was time to say goodbye to the Turbinenhalle for six months. I keep promising to return more frequently but time and money have not been on my side. Now it’s like saying goodbye to an old friend. I’ll see you down the line.
Louisiana. The post show meal was split this time with half choosing Alex while half went to Louisiana. The latter was closer. It was also where Mike was and he was in a good mood, celebrating the new Bobby & The Bastards stable. Electing to give a speech to the assembled masses about the joy of the weekend as a whole. I was going to detail the antics at the bar where we stayed until the early hours, thus depriving me of any sleep and leaving me to write this through a haze of sleep deprivation but this is the best place to end our weekend. Surrounded by friends, enjoying a beer and sharing stories. Mike Kilby’s toast to hope combined with the image of a smiling Tim Thatcher is all I need to make me happy.
I’ll see you all at Carat.
Oh, alright. Here’s the late night bullshit:
“If you can’t wrestle with an erection what are you even doing in the business”
Mike telling the waiter “love you” instead of “thanks”.
The possibility of Karsten’s cummerbund becoming a 24/7 style championship
What’s your source? Garlic and herb.
Maffew trying to start a podcast without realizing we weren’t recording, he was talking into my powerbank for 5 minutes, and putting me over at length while I was eating the remains of Eamonn’s baking.
Oli pisses like a racehorse.
“Have you never seen a horse piss?”
Maffew and myself exchanging edibles stories.
“It’s made my dick small. Is this permanent?”
“Rust Taylor, fuck my arsehole”
“People should stop being mates in wrestling and just fucking lamp each other” – Mike
“I have a secret” – Mort. “I love you all”.
“You’re my best friend Joao” – Mort
“I thought I was your best friend” – Mike
“You’re all my best friends. But especially Arn” – Mort