wXwNOW & Friends Showcase
March 11, 2023
There are a LOT of people on this show that I don’t know who they are. I’m not sure if that’s a positive or a negative. I like to see new talent shining through. Also, I like to see competent pro-wrestling. Which way will we slide on this show? One of my friends who did all the Carat weekend referred to this as the worst show and called it “rough”. We’re in Oberhausen, Germany at the historic Turbinenhalle. This show drew 375 souls, making it the lowest attended show of the weekend. Before the show we have a ten-bell salute for IPW Germany promoter Thomas Strauss.
Adam Priest (c) vs. Jaden Newman
I know who both these gentlemen are, and I’ve seen them wrestle this weekend and I like them both. It’s a good start! This is a technically solid contest. Apparently, Newman has a history of knee issues and Priest does a cracking drop down into a jujitsu assault on that knee joint. Newman doesn’t make much of an impact on me. All his stuff is very generic here with Priest stealing Newman’s thunder with his creativity. Priest is a mesh of styles and the more I see him, the more I’m into how his career will pan out. Just as I’m done slagging off Newman’s day at the office, he comes up with a wacky angled powerslam that looks awesome. Sadly, all the legwork doesn’t lead to a finish. Priest catches Newman in a short DDT for the win. This was good. Newman is a bit hit and miss, especially compared to Priest. Meanwhile Priest looks like he could go all the way. ***
Lucifer Lohan vs. Martn Pain
This is a match from PWO, an Austrian promotion. Austria is not an undiscovered hotbed of talent. Lohan is heavily tattooed. Pain is younger than him but has a lot of experience and was in that New Japan LA Dojo. Lohan, who has an nWo tattoo on his side, works heel and his biggest dick move is pulling Pain’s manbun apart. Pain is extremely vocal. Lohan has his moments here. The sliding German suplex. The slingshot into a stomp. Pain has an irritating tick where he’s always adjusting his ring gear. I hate that shit. It’s so distracting. Should I prepare for my next offensive move or should I pull my trunks about a bit. Pain hits a powerslam, doesn’t even cover for three, and Ringer clearly makes a mistake by counting Lohan down. Oops. Pain has a bit of a chat with the ref about his decision, but this is wXw. The referee’s decision is final. I rewatch the pin and there was no kick out. A mistake by Lohan presumably. My apologies to Rainer Ringer. Lohan is bleeding from the mouth and appears a little discombobulated.
Bodyslam! Tag Team Championship
Easy Loverz (Bam Bam Quaade, Jackpot & Erik Sabel) (c) vs. Adonis & Hunyadi Tamas
Bodyslam! Is a promotion I’ve not heard from in a while. When I did watch some Bodyslam shows I don’t remember any of these guys. Bodyslam was a promotion based on crowd interaction, fun characters and infectious enthusiasm. Adonis has an odd approach to pro-wrestling. There’s a lot of dancing and goofing around. Quaade vs. Tamas involves a lot of weak punching. I can’t help but feel this would work better in Denmark with fans who are more invested in the characters. The champs try the Freebird rule and try to switch behind the ref’s back. They look nothing alike. I realise this is a comedy match but Bam Bam accidentally Tombstones his tag team partner. Quaade piledrives Tamas to retain. Well, this was…something. Some of the comedy worked but it was mixed in with less than convincing straight up wrestling and it made it hard to tell what was supposed to look daft. Does that make sense?
Rick Salem (c) vs. Kuro
If this was last year, Mike D was champion. We could have had more D here.
Instead we have Rick Salem, who has a mystic gimmick and has a crystal ball with him. It’s quite small. He can only see very small slices of the future.
Across the ring from him is Kuro. He’s relentlessly cool so he wrestles in sunglasses. Instead of continuing to attempt to get their gimmicks over, they hit a bunch of spots for a minute and then hit a chinlock. You have 5 minutes, and this is how you choose to use it? To be fair, the spots are all pretty fun but it’s just one after another with no rhyme or reason to it all. The absolute definition of ‘getting your shit in’. I can’t fault the effort but when you get a chance to showcase yourself, simply doing all your moves one after another doesn’t leave much on the memory. Salem hits a Codebreaker with Kuro diving off the ropes, which looks pretty cool, but it’s not what his actual finisher looks like, so he pulls Kuro up and hits another Codebreaker. There were myriad irritations here. Like watching two children playing a video game.
Psycho Mike vs. Charles Crowley
This is Smash Wrestling’s match, from Canada, which is where Mike is from. Charles Crowley isn’t a Smash regular, but he wrestled there, last year, so I guess that counts. Crowley is a polarising wrestler. This is my first time seeing him.
Nothing says “I’m a TV wrestler” more than working to the hardcam baby! Mike gets serious giggles with this bit and rapturous applause from his commitment to the gimmick. “I’m gonna knock you over like a freight train!” None of Crowley’s shtick works and he just feeds off Mike’s craziness. Mike is basically wrestling himself.
I saw him work in Smash a few years ago and he’s developed a fully blown version of his former self. It’s great character work. Is he working WrestleMania weekend? He should be. Crowley’s falsetto voice is weird, and I get that his gimmick is a bit strange but it’s not coming across like Mike’s is. It’s supposed to be a circus variety act with a layer of weirdness over it. There’s something in there somewhere but it’s not working for me in the current incarnation. Psycho Mike finishes with a brainbuster. Psycho Mike is the ideal indie gimmick where he’s come up with three bits that work (hardcam, bodyslam, “I dare you”), and he just does that along with some decent powerhouse offence sprinkled in. I don’t think this qualifies as a good match, but Mike’s gimmick is fantastic and that’s the kind of thing you remember from a weekend.
Body slam count: 3
Gulyas Jr, Maokai & Bence Toth BT vs. Maverick, Corey McRae & Zafar Ameen
This is a Passion Pro showcase. I’d never heard of Passion Pro. Apparently they sprung up in Hungary during the Covid pandemic. Maokai is the least experienced guy in there, but he impresses with his rope work. He’s got tremendous potential. I can see him in that flippy boys undercard N3 tag in a few years. Despite Maokai’s potential, the star of the show is Gulyas Jr. He’s a babyface powerhouse who loves to clean house. Getting everyone’s personalities across in one match is tricky and some of them make no real effort beyond ‘wrestler’. Bence Toth dispenses with getting himself over and instead apes Hulk Hogan. In 2023? Fuck off. Corey McRae and Maverick both have their moments. Having already seen Zafar this weekend, he’s probably worse in this match. He’s part of the most awful spot where he accidentally DDTs Maverick. In a spot that Maverick calls out to Bence Toth on camera. Gulyas spears the unfortunate Maverick for the win. Right guy went over. Some dumb as rocks wrestling on display here but there is a huge potential in the Hungarian scene. It’ll be interesting to see how Maokai progresses over the next 12 months.
Leyton Buzzard (c) vs. Vaughn Vertigo
Vaughn is from Canada, which makes you wonder why he wasn’t in the Smash match earlier. But that would have turned this into Buzzard vs. Crowley.
Buzzard is from Bristol, so there’s a severe lack of Scotsmen in the Scottish match. Buzzard wrestles both like he’s in New York in the 1980s and like he’s auditioning to be in AEW. A bizarre mesh of styles I cannot stand. For a company champion he lacks almost everything I would want as a champion. His bumps have next to no snap on them. He persistently slaps his thigh for no reason. He ambles from one spot to the next. If he was an opening match guy, he’d be ok. I wouldn’t like him, but he’d be fine. As the champ? A representative of the promotion? No thanks. It speaks volumes about how shit ICW probably is if this is the gold standard. Vertigo is fine. He’s ok off the ropes and does what he can with Buzzard’s relentlessly bad offence. At one point our Leyton goes to run into the corner, stops, slaps his thigh (in the middle of the ring, PTSD?), runs into…something in the corner. Vaughn hits him a few times. He stands there, watching Vaughn run the ropes, boots him coming in and runs through a combination of convolution. At no point am I drawn into this. It’s just bad wrestling. The only thing Buzzard is good at is late kick outs. Great timing on those. The rest of the time he’s staring at the next spot from a mile away. It’s not telegraphing moves but rather sending out fucking smoke signals. Buzzard hits the Rock Bottom to retain and thankfully they kept this relatively short. I am NOT watching ICW any time soon. No. Not even if you pay me.
Progress World Championship
Spike Trivet (c) vs. Danny Black
Black came into the scene during Covid, so I don’t know him. Trivet was a passable midcard heel act in Progress about 4 years ago. Until he formed that dreadful Do Not Resuscitate stable. I’m surprised to discover Trivet unseated Big Damo as Progress champion. Huh. He’s aged over the past four years and seems to have misplaced his hair. Trivet has an intensity and cleanliness about his basics that is refreshing after that last match.
Black telegraphs quite a lot but he’s quick enough for it to be less noticeable. His high spots look mildly out of control, which is either cool or bad. I’ll let you know later. Trivet does enough with his basics (a simple arm wringer, pinning combinations, minor strikes) and his presence to get over his importance. His in-ring doesn’t wow me but he’s competent, which is a good starting place. Black’s unpredictability leads to a botched DDT spot. Black seems to launch himself into the air and then figure out what he’s about to do. Trivet’s striking is the strength and weakness of the match. He’s constantly slapping his thigh, which drives me nuts, but he also lands some cracking forearms. Every Black high spot has the potential to be a car crash and some of them are. Too many for the match to receive a recommendation. Trivet hits his slam over the knee thing to retain. This could have been tremendous. Black’s high flying and Trivet’s asshole heel felt like a good match up. Trivet probably should have cut off half of Black’s flippy nonsense to make the big spots mean more. To be fair, he even did cut him off a few times and it still felt like Black did too much stuff and not enough of it landed. As a main event it was quite bad, but it at least started out ok and went downhill, instead of being consistently dire.
Just about every match had a gaping flaw and in some cases several. The ICW and Progress title matches that concluded the show are vindication for those calling BritWres ‘dead’. It’s a sad indictment of both promotions that they were called upon for this weekend and delivered these matches. Both promotions felt like a big deal not so long ago and yet both pale in comparison to the work done by wXw this weekend. Time for wXw to do this…