wXw Superstars Of Wrestling 2018

I’m not going to try and hide it: this review is late. Over a month late to be precise. New Japan did that thing they do and put on a big old tournament which distracted me. However, I’ve reviewed every big wXw show so far this year, and goddamnit I’m going to keep going. Prepare yourself for some cold takes.

Billy Gunn defeated Emil Sitoci

How does Billy Gunn do it? He was an average wrestler who got by on his athleticism back in 1998. Now, in 2018 Gunn is a terrible wrestler who has no athleticism. Sure, he looks great for a 54-year-old, but even someone with the talent of Emil Sitoci couldn’t drag him to a decent performance. Then, he only went and fucking won! What were wXw thinking? Please don’t bring him back in the future.

Verdict: One And A Half Stars

Dirty Dragan defeated Joey Mercury

The weird bookings continue with Joey Mercury. While Joey is a decent wrestler, I struggle to equate him with the legend billing that they were presenting him under.

This wasn’t going to prove me wrong either. Dirty Dragan is insanely popular. However, he’s not good. The underdog act works right up until he has to do something and then that problem becomes glaringly apparent.

He stole the win with a sunset flip, and while the crowd enjoyed it, it doesn’t change the fact it was a bad match.

Verdict: Two Stars

Alexander James defeated Mil Muertes

To the best of my knowledge, it’s still impossible to legally watch Lucha Underground in the UK. That means Muertes was an unknown to me. On this evidence, I reckon I’d like him.

He played the big babyface here, showing a lovely combination of power and speed. Alexander James, meanwhile, aimed to use his technical style to floor the big man. There’s a touch of the Zack Sabre Jr’s to him as he is good at varying his holds, making it more exciting to watch as he works away at the arm.

Sadly for him, he was unable to keep Muertes down and looked like he was going to pay for it. That was until he caught the big Mexican in an Inside Cradle, popped his feet on the ropes and stole the win. After a dud start, these two finally brought the card to life with a decent match.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Jay Lethal defeated Lucky Kid

I’m beginning to turn around on Jay Lethal, again. I used to think he was one of the best wrestlers on the planet before he came out of his ROH title run with all the momentum of a dry fish. Thankfully, the last few months have seen him slowly regain my favour. An enjoyable bout with the fantastic Lucky Kid may be the final stroke in returning him to my good books.

The story here was whether Lethal could cope with Kid’s antics. Lucky was his standard mental self, doing things like grabbing hold of Jay’s leg in delight and deliberately letting him take control of the match. Lethal, meanwhile, was trying to play babyface but failing in the glow of Kid’s incredible charisma.

It was a problem that they overcame in the closing stretch. These two are perfectly capable of hitting top speed, and that’s precisely what they did as we got all the big moves. In the end, Lethal would survive a Liger Bomb to connect with a Lethal Injection for the three. This was easily the best thing on the show so far.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Marius Al-Ani and Killer Kelly defeated Amazing, Spectacular, Invigorating, Monumental, Wonderful and Historic Absolute Andy Experience featuring M.G. (Absolute Andy and Melanie Gray)

If the tag-team name didn’t tip you off to it, Andy was of the opinion that he was the star of their team.

I’m going to use this section to rip into commentary. Jurn Simmons has joined Rico Bushido at the desk, and they are fucking atrocious. Personally, I don’t think you should be describing any of your female wrestlers as a ‘hot redhead’, but you certainly shouldn’t be describing a badass like Killer Kelly that way. They were like two schoolboys giggling over all the innuendo they could come up with because they’d seen a pretty girl. It was awful.

It also made paying attention to the action in the ring hard which was a shame, because this was an entertaining outing. Gray and Andy were very much the comedic foil to Al-Ani and Kelly as they started off with all kinds of antics. However, as we got further into the action, things got serious, and this quickly turned into a good fight.

The deciding moment was Andy’s decision to infuriate Kelly by kissing her on the forehead. From there, it became an intergender fight, and that would prove his downfall. While he nearly murdered Killer with an extraordinary F5, she would later get revenge, slamming him in preparation for an Al-Ani Frog Splash.

While there’s a small complaint to be made about Gray being sidetracked to get the other three over, it can also be argued that it’s just Kelly’s turn. She’s popular as hell at the moment, and they’d be silly to derail that to keep Melanie hot. I’m sure her time will come around again.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Bobby Gunns defeated Christopher Daniels to retain the Shotgun Title

It was a delight to see Christopher Daniels in a straight-up singles match, especially with him playing the babyface. His current role in ROH doesn’t give him much chance to remind us all that, despite the fact he’s 48, he’s still a damn fine wrestler. Compare the way he moves around the ring to Billy Gunn, and you’d guess there were twenty years between them not six.

This was also an example of nailing the booking. Daniels was a perfect person to outwrestle Gunns because everyone knows how long he’s been playing this game. You can believe he’d go out there and use all that experience to get the advantage. Right up until Bobby started playing his games and took over.

Because it doesn’t matter how experienced you are, Bobby Gunns is a damn fine cheat. He’d wind Daniels up by spitting in his face and began to work the submission holds that have brought him so much success. While Chris would get back into it (even hitting Angel Wings), the damage was done, and Gunns used the ref to block the Fallen Angel before locking on his Armbar for the victory. This was a lovely showcase for both men.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Monster Consulting (Avalanche and Julian Nero) and RISE (Pete Bouncer and Ivan Kiev) fought to a No Contest meaning Monster Consulting retain the wXw Tag Titles

There’s not much to say about this one. They showed a few touches of good chemistry before Jay FK came down and attacked them both for the no contest.

Jay FK went on to conduct an extended beatdown on all four men before making off with the tag titles. This was more of an angle than anything else, but Jay FK being in the title picture gets the thumbs up.

Verdict: Two Stars

Ilja Dragunov defeated WALTER to retain the wXw Heavyweight Title

Dragunov vs WALTER is one of those matches that I will never tire of. With Ilja having snuck out with the belt in their previous bout (there was a ref bump that prevented a WALTER victory) wXw went straight back to the well. Typically, I’d warn against burning people out on a big fight by giving them too much of it. However, I refer you to my first sentence again. It’s WALTER vs Dragunov, who is going to be burned out on this?

And, they were smart enough to change it up. Gone were the million chops and Dragunov stumbling around the ring with blood pouring down his chest. In its place was a tactical battle. Brought about after Ilja ducked an early WALTER chop on the outside and his hand collided with the ring post.

From there, Dragunov spied an opportunity. WALTER’s hands are a vital part of his offence, not only because of those chops but with the Gojira Clutch as well. So, Dragunov ditched his standard all or nothing style for a more methodical one. He began working over that hand (and the rest of the arm too) in an attempt to limit what the big man could do.

It was a plan that worked, with WALTER unable to throw chops or hold that Clutch for too long. The problem is that WALTER would be dangerous with no arms. Unable to use those chest flaying strikes, he discovered a new favourite game, kicking Dragunov in the head. He returned Ilja’s limb work with some of his own, wrenching on that neck and trying to get the victory that way.

The huge bastard almost did it too. WALTER would hit a massive one-armed powerbomb and follow-up by stomping on Dragunov’s head before locking in an STF. Unfortunately, the hand couldn’t bear the strain, and Dragunov escaped.  A Crucifix drove the Ring General to the ground before an Armbar put all that earlier limb work to good use and forced the victory by submission.

As usual, these two put on an incredible contest. I have to admit to it not being my favourite of there’s as I missed the total destruction that Dragunov and WALTER usually bring. However, it was still one hell of a fight, and if you haven’t watched it at some point in the last month, then you’ve been missing out.

Verdict: Four And A Half Stars

Toni Storm defeated Tenille Dashwood to retain the wXw Women’s Title

Firstly, let’s give wXw props for putting the women in the main event with little to no fanfare. They just did it, which is how it should be done. However, that doesn’t make everything perfect. This was still the only straight-up women’s match on the card plus they got less than half the time of the men’s main event. When you throw in Simmons and Bushido continuing their pervy schoolboy routine on commentary they still have a bit to go.

The match itself was a fairly standard Toni Storm sprint. I’m not sure if the formula is down to the time they have or is Storm’s doing, but it is getting a bit repetitive. It wasn’t helped by the fact that these two seemed to take a while to warm-up. At the start, everything seemed a bit tentative, and I was worried they weren’t going to get on the same page.

Thankfully, those worries were quashed as the final stretch showed they can most definitely work together. It started with Storm hitting an incredibly impressive Delayed Fisherman Buster, and from there they seemed to take off. It was big move after big move before Storm got the victory with a headbutt, German and Strong Zero combo.

For what it was, this was a good match. However, I still feel like there is more to come from Toni. She rarely fails to deliver and yet I haven’t watched her blow the roof off the place (with the caveat that I’m not watching any of her Stardom work and only bits and pieces of her PROGRESS stuff). If she’s to make this title run memorable, she needs a couple of those performances. In saying that, this was easily the best I’ve seen Dashwood look since her early days in WWE, so she was apparently doing something right.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Overall Show

Superstars of Wrestling didn’t get off to the best start. Thankfully, they made up for that later in the show. While it’s a real shame the commentary was as bad as it was, that’s not the fault of the wrestlers and shouldn’t be held against them. They did their job brilliantly. Apart from Billy Gunn. Let’s not have anymore Billy Gunn, okay?

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