And we’re finally here! Let’s pretend that 16 Carat wasn’t nearly a month ago and that my review is still relevant to anyone who isn’t me (wait till I cover some of the other stuff I have to catch up on). If you don’t want to pretend, screw you. I’m doing it anyway. The last day gave us the final alongside a handful of title matches which should be more than enough to keep us entertained. Let’s dish out some stars.
David Starr defeated Keith Lee
Keith Lee deserves praise for the way he approached 16 Carat. Typically, he is a man who wows fans with incredible feats of athleticism. Throughout this weekend, Lee switched it up. Playing the monster that people had to adapt to, as Keith used his size to dominate opponents. He’s still far quicker than he has any right to be, he’s just using that pace to accentuate his power rather than to fly.
It put David Starr in a tight spot. He’s also a powerful man, who threw some lariats that would have decapitated a lesser opponent. The problem was, they didn’t even get Lee off his feet. What would usually take one move was now going to take five. An idea that is easier to state than it is to execute.
Yet, Starr was determined, throwing everything at the big man. He even managed to lift Lee up for a massive powerslam – although it did take him three attempts. While it might have been Starr showing more balls than brains, it was still an impressive sight.
Sometimes, you need to rely on balls. Starr didn’t let Lee bully him. Instead, he turned this into a fight with both men throwing everything they had into their strikes. Slowly and surely, Davey Wrestling was making a chink in Lee’s armour. He even survived a colossal Spirit Bomb, bouncing halfway across the ring and somehow still kicking out. That bounce and Lee pausing to regroup before making the cover proved to be the difference (and if I’m honest, removed a bit of the tension from the fall).
That kick-out was either going to be Starr’s last gasp or the inspiration he needed to come back. Thankfully, for him, it turned out to the latter. Slipping out of the Ground Zero he took off towards the ropes, flying towards Lee and twisting around him into position for the JML Driver 104. A three-count later and we were done.
A lovely piece of storytelling with Lee as the monster and Starr as the babyface determined to chop him down. The only minor flaw was the bump out of the Spirit Bomb, which hurt that moment. There’s a reason these men are in the position they are, though. It’s because they’re both really good at wrestling.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Absolute Andy defeated Timothy Thatcher
Two very different approaches to the noble sport. Thatcher is a man who appreciates the art of grappling. Absolute Andy is a cheating thug.
And in a straight fight, Big Tim would have eaten the prick for breakfast. Man to man, blow for blow this was the Timothy Thatcher show. He was able to dominate Andy, battling through his power to prove himself as one of the very best.
However, Andy is bastard, and he’s damn good at being a bastard. Every time it looked like Thatcher had it sorted, he’d find a new way to cheat. Low-blows and plier shots, they all chipped away at that RINGKAMPF steel.
Those chips added up too. Thatcher managed to get Andy in the centre of the ring and lock on a Gojira Clutch. It looked like the end was in sight. Then the twat rolled back and scored a flash pin. He stole Tim’s destiny from him, and I hate him for it.
It wasn’t a great wrestling match, but it was a fantastic piece of storytelling. Thatcher was all heart. Giving everything he had to get to the final he so desperately craves. Sometimes, though, nice guys finish last. Absolute Andy just had one too many tricks up his sleeve. Wanker.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Afterwards, RISE showed up to issue their challenge for RINGKAMPF’s tag titles later in the show. While WALTER looks reticent, Thatcher is a warrior. He wants to fight.
Emil Sitoci defeated Lucky Kid, Alexander James and Mark Haskins
The crowd still loved Lucky Kid.
This was a wild spotfest that was an awful lot of fun. They did a great job of putting together sequences where all four men were involved, and there wasn’t too much waiting around for someone to show up. You’re never going to avoid that entirely in a frantic four-way, but they did as well as can be expected.
It was filler, designed to pack out the card and give the big boys a longer rest before they had to come out again. That didn’t stop it being a lot of fun. Lucky Kid is on the way to stardom while they are making sure Alexander James looks strong too. Nothing to complain about.
Verdict: Three Stars
Toni Storm defeated Killer Kelly, Session Moth Martina and Wesna
Wesna is new to me although she apparently has a history with Storm. A history that seems to have involved them beating the shit out of each other.
Whatever Wesna did, it apparently terrified Martina because she had no interest in fighting her. Killer Kelly didn’t suffer from the same issue. She was quite happy to stand up to her and used some of that intensity to leave a mark. Kelly impresses me every time I see her and only seems to be getting better.
The real war here was Storm vs Wesna and whenever those two were together business picked up. They weren’t holding back, throwing bombs at each other with something approaching glee. With Storm picking up the pinfall over Martina, you’ve got to think that’s a match they’ll go back to sometime.
For now, though, Toni continues to be pushed as wXw’s dominant champion. She’s beating everyone they put in front of her and quite comfortably too. If they keep this going, it will mean a lot when she eventually falls.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Ilja Dragunov defeated Matt Riddle to retain the wXw Unified World Championship
Christ, they don’t give their champs a break in wXw do they? Not content with Dragunov getting flayed by WALTER on his return to the company the night before, he now has to deal with Matt Riddle.
Both men cut pre-match promos, and while I couldn’t understand a word Dragunov was saying, he’s an intense bugger. An intensity only increased by the wounds still visible on his chest. Whatever it is, that man has it.
This match was a fantastic way to establish how much of a fighting champ Dragunov is. 24 hours removed from that war he was sent out there to take on a man that comes close to physical perfection. Riddle is the whole package. Capable of knocking you out and making you tap.
A skill package that meant there was more than one occasion where Ilja was fighting to survive. Whether he was being daft enough to invite Riddle to kick him in the chest or being choked out in the centre of the ring, it was clear that there were more guts than brains in this performance.
It’s those guts might be the secret to people loving him, though. Even the finish showed a lack of care for his own body. As Riddle came charging across the ring, Dragunov met him halfway, throwing himself through the air with a Torpedo Moskow.
It left Dragunov two for two in fantastic performances since his return. Although we shouldn’t forget Riddle. I think people expect excellence from him now, but it’s still mental that he’s as good as he is. You can always rely on him to deliver.
Verdict; Four And A Quarter Stars
CCK (Chris Brookes, Travis Banks and Jonah Rock) defeated Speedball Mike Bailey, Marius Al-Ani and Matt Sydal
I’m not going to bother trying to capture everything that happened here. I’d be willing to bet that these guys were sent out with the simple instruction to have fun. They succeeded.
Thankfully, we all had fun with them. Adding Big Jonah to CCK was never going to be a bad thing. I don’t think there are many things that you could add him to which he’d have a detrimental impact on. Maybe a cake, then again, he might taste lovely. He worked well with his two partners, and after being on the losing end for most of the weekend, he deserved to finish on a high.
Special mention has to go to Banks and Bailey. Bailey had an outstanding weekend, shining in everything from title matches to Ambition tournaments. I’ve recently learnt he’s banned from working in the US which might explain why he’s as underrated as he is. Their loss is Europe’s gain. He and Banks took pleasure in kicking each other really hard. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t too.
I’m picking them out, but the truth is that everyone impressed. This was a perfect chance for them to shine before we got down to the serious stuff.
Verdict: Four Stars
RISE (John’Bad Bones’ Klinger and Da Mack) defeated RINGKAMPF (WALTER and Timothy Thatcher) to win the wXw Tag Team Titles
A storyline heavy outing with a botched finish.
Beforehand, Kiev (who earned the title shot) declared that Bouncer and Da Mack would be taking it. Bad Bones disagreed and replaced Bouncer with himself, much to Pete’s annoyance.
They then went on to have a decent match. Despite having worked earlier in the night, Thatcher spent more time in the ring that WALTER, getting the upper-hand on RISE in the early goings. Sadly, it wasn’t to last, and a miscue with The Ring General turned the tide of war.
From there on, it was a question of whether he could survive, something RISE made harder by deploying every antic they could to keep the big man on the apron. Every time it looked like Timothy was going to get out of there, they’d step in, dragging WALTER to the floor. Eventually, he had enough and came charging in, dishing out chops to Klinger and Da Mack. Unfortunately, the ref trying to remove him from the ring served as a distraction and Bad Bones was able to do the official’s job for him. Although you’d like to think the referee wouldn’t have done it quite so violently.
By then, Thatcher had been through too much. Da Mack isolated him, and it was only a matter of time before this was over. Unfortunately, whoever was in charge of the ring bell didn’t have much faith in Tim as they rang it on the long two count rather than the three that came a few seconds later. It was a fuck up which took the heat out of the finish as RINGKAMPF dropped their belts to their biggest rivals.
Those rivals weren’t problem free, though. Post-match, Bad Bones continued to poke Pete Bouncer, sticking his new belt in his face. This was apparently one piece of bullshit too many as Pete finally snapped turning on his partners to a huge reaction. It was a perfectly executed angle that they’ve built to for months and the pop that greeted it proved that. The only question was whether or not Ivan Kiev’s loyalties lay with Klinger or Bouncer. For now, he’s apparently going with the RISE boss.
This was an alright showing with a big old storyline moment coming afterwards. It was sad to see RINGKAMPF lose their belts with so little fanfare (not helped by the bell botch) as Thatcher is apparently going to be away from Germany for a bit, although I’m sure it will make no difference when he finally returns. For now, it’s time to figure out what happens next to the boys in RISE.
Verdict: Three Stars
Absolute Andy defeated David Starr to win 16 Carat Gold
Finals of multi-day tournaments always feel more like feats of endurance than wrestling skill. It doesn’t matter how these two men’s matches were structured or what they had to, there is no way they were coming into this anything below exhausted. It’s just the way it is.
A situation that makes storytelling even more critical than usual. The saw David Starr positioned as the ultimate underdog. Having cheated his way through the tournament, Absolute ‘Snake’ Andy was now in the ring with someone he could bully. He’s bigger and stronger than David. Able to hoist him up in the air for multiple F5s and also Superkick his teeth down his throat.
On top of that, Andy is a cheating prick, and he’s more than happy to dive into that bag of tricks, even if he does have the physical advantage. It didn’t take too long for him to go for that massive pair of pliers. Except, this time, Al-Ani decided to bother his arse to come down and level the playing field. WHERE WERE YOU WHEN THATCHER NEEDED YOU!? Sorry.
His betrayal of Big Tim aside, Al-Ani gave Starr a chance to even things, and he hit a desperate chair shot of his own. It was the opportunity the Jewish Cannon needed, and he came firing back, throwing everything he had at Andy. While Starr isn’t a yet small guy, next to Andy, he looked it. He was battling from underneath with those big lariats.
He also refused to lose. At one point, Andy hit him with him three F5s in a row before capping it off with an Avalanche version of the same move. So what did the stupid bugger do? He kicked out. He didn’t only kick-out, he tried desperately to fight back. Defiantly giving Andy a two-fingered salute before being slain with a Crucifix Powerbomb into a Facebuster (which I think might be called Die A-Klasse?).
I’m the rookie when it comes to wXw. However, I don’t think I was alone in being shocked that Andy won this tournament. He’d have been pretty far down my list of guesses. Yet, they did an outstanding job of building him up. Of making him look like a man who was going to do everything in his power to come home with that trophy. I’ll never forgive him for destroying Thatcher’s dreams the way he did, but the boy did well.
Verdict: Four And A Quarter Stars
Another fantastic show to finish off a weekend of greatness. Like most wrestling fans I have my own little bucket list of things I want to do. Whether that’s watching wrestling at Korukaen Hall or going to WrestleMania. After this, it’s safe to say 16 Carat has now made that list.