wXw We Love Wrestling Tour: Hamburg (18/5/18) Review

 

Yup, it’s another horrendously late wXw review for your reading pleasure. This time we join that German lot in Hamburg where we got a rather tasty main event between WALTER and Zack Sabre Jr. In fact, this was one hell of a card. Let’s see if it lived up to that promise.

Bobby Gunns defeated Lucky Kid to retain the Shotgun Title

I sometimes question how wXw decides who is worthy of title shots. On their last big show, Lucky Kid lost to Jay Lethal. He’s also already lost a Shotgun Title match to Gunns by count-out having chosen to check on Tarkan Aslan after Gunns attacked him rather than continue the fight. So, how exactly did he earn this?

Not that I’m complaining, a bit of Lucky Kid can never see you wrong and with Gunns heeling it up with his version of Hamburg’s famous footballing clock (counting how long he’d been unbeaten in the city) he was the clear crowd favourite. They loved his unique style, and in the early goings, it looked it was going to cause Bobby problems.

Sadly it didn’t last. Lucky faked a dive to the outside with a handspring into the ropes, but Gunns showed a touch of genius by grabbing his arm and sending him crashing to the mat. Suddenly, Lucky Kid had to get serious as this turned into a fun back and forth encounter with Gunns looking to floor Kid and Kid trying to keep away from the game-ending Armbar.

It was a goal poor Lucky wasn’t to be successful in, although he didn’t have to worry too much because when he did end up in it, Tarkan Aslan rushed the ring and forced the DQ. It was a disappointing end to what was turning into a good showing. Lucky seemed to agree as he didn’t look overly impressed with his brother’s decision. I guess we’re getting this one again.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Lufisto defeated Killer Kelly

LuFisto and Killer Kelly were given under six minutes to make an impression. They went out and proved that sometimes you don’t need a marathon to put on a good wrestling match. A hard-hitting sprint can be just as exciting.

These two women were a perfect combination, as they can both bring it. LuFisto had the clear power advantage, but Kelly’s earned that killer moniker. Needing five elbows rather than one to do the damage wasn’t an issue for her. If anything she seemed to enjoy hitting LuFisto in the face.

After a brutal closing stretch LuFisto picked up the win with the Burning Hammer, and in six-minutes, these two women convinced me that I’d watch them wrestle anytime anywhere. It’s a shame that commentators Jurn Simmons and Rico Bushido were more interested in talking about their looks than the fact that they were killing each other.

Verdict: Four Stars

David Starr defeated Julian Pace

There isn’t much to say about Starr vs Pace. It was the walking definition of fine as Starr picked up the win and Pace got thirty seconds or so to impress. While you’re not going to regret watching it, you won’t be missing out if you skip by it either.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Veit Müller defeats Dirty Dragan

I have even less to say about this one. After picking up a couple of victories, Dirty Dragan got over-confident and ended up being beaten by relative rookie Veit Müller. Afterwards, he had a bit of a hissy fit. Look, people love Dragan, and I don’t begrudge them that. As someone who is new to wXw, I don’t have that connection, so this isn’t for me.

Verdict: One And A Half Stars

Jay FK (Jay Skillet and Francis Kaspin) defeated RISE (Ivan Kiev and Pete Bouncer) to become the Number One Contenders for the wXw Tag Team Titles

Skillet and Kaspin are still wandering around with their stolen tag team titles and have a newly discovered rotten attitude to show off. In fact, this seemed explicitly designed to get that heel turn over.

Unfortunately, that meant we got lots of stalling and a dirty victory. I’m not going to complain too much as they’re establishing Jay FK. However, there’s no doubt in my mind that these two teams can do much better. Let’s hope that we get to see it in the future.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Ilja Dragunov defeated Alexander James to retain the wXw Unified World Title

These two do not like each other. Alexander James made the mistake of mentioning Dragunov’s son during a promo on Shotgun. It’s safe to see Ilja didn’t take that well. Judging by the way he threw himself across the ring when the bell went, you might even say he was a bit angry.

If James was to stand any chance of winning the belt he had to cut that anger off before it overwhelmed him. That’s something he must have been aware of because it’s what he did. As Ilja came charging towards James, he twisted out of the way and used Dragunov’s momentum to push him through the ropes. As he tumbled to the floor, his neck bounced off the steel cable, and James suddenly had a target.

From there, James was able to take control, working away on that neck and trying to make that explosive offence impossible. Several times Ilja would fire up only for his neck to cause him to collapse to the ground in pain or for Alexander James to find a new and inventive way of hurting it. There was one beautiful transition into the Rains of Castamere that I highly recommend seeking out as he flipped Dragunov over his shoulder and into position.

If you’re going to try and floor Ilja Dragunov, however, you better be sure that you’ve floored him. In fact, it would be better if you just killed him. It’s the only way to be sure. Otherwise, the odds are that he’ll come charging back, gritting his teeth through the pain and throwing himself across the ring headfirst to connect with Torpedo Moscau. Sadly for James, that’s a lesson that he hadn’t yet learnt and despite getting close, he ultimately fell to Comrade Dragunov. Don’t worry too much, AJ. You’re not the first.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Absolute Andy defeated Marius Al-Ani in a No Holds Barred Match

It’s the latest incarnation of Andy and Al-Ani hit each other with stuff.

Glib remarks aside, there’s no denying that these two have fantastic chemistry. My problem is that they are wasting that chemistry by having them wander through the crowd hitting each other with chairs. The best moments in the match were when they were in the ring going at each other. The combination of Al-Ani’s ninja-like speed and Absolute Andy’s veteran power is a lovely one, and some of the sequences they put together are wonderful. It’s a hell of a lot more interesting than chair shots.

Not that the fans in attendance seemed to care as they spent most of the brawl craving tables. They eventually got their wish as Andy finally dragged one out. He slammed Al-Ani onto it with a Die A-Klasse (it didn’t break which only served to make it look more brutal) and presumably put this feud to bed once and for all.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Toni Storm defeated Kay Lee Ray to retain the wXw Women’s Title

Kay Lee Ray is fucking awesome. She’s got that badass aura that instantly makes you sit up and pay attention. It’s an aura that Storm is blessed with too and this had all the potential to be a show stealer.

Sadly, as is becoming a theme with Storm’s title defences in wXw, I was left with the feeling that they didn’t have enough time. It felt like these two were slipping into the highest gear when out of nowhere Storm connected with a German followed by Strong Zero for the win. It was a disappointing end to a good fight.

There was also an issue with the Hamburg crowd not being familiar with KLR. They built this around her going for the Gory Bomb and Storm finding a way to escape. Sadly, when she did hit it, the crowd didn’t even react making the kick-out a lot less impressive. It was a problem that wasn’t unique to this match as they did occasionally seem more interested in having a sing-song than reacting to the action in the ring.

Still, even with those issues, these two had an entertaining fight. Fingers-crossed we get to see them go for twenty minutes at some point (there’s every chance that’s happened somewhere. If it has, please point me in the right direction).

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Zack Sabre Jr defeated WALTER

Zack Sabre Jr vs WALTER is another one of those matches that I will watch every day of the week. On paper, it shouldn’t work. WALTER is built like a bear while Zack is more twig-like in stature. However, the beauty of pro-wrestling is that none of that matters. When you have men as talented as these two, they can go out and tell a story that makes you forget the size difference.

In this one, Zack went after WALTER’s leg. It was almost like an MMA fight, as he lashed out with kick after kick to the big man’s leading leg. It left the Ring General unable to get his usual power behind his moves as his base was gone from underneath him. He’d rear back for one of those chops then his leg would crumple causing him to stumble to the ground.

Not that WALTER became useless. Sabre still took one hell of a beating, and a fair few of those chops did connect. I love the way Zack sells strikes. He doesn’t even try to stand his ground, and when WALTER makes contact, he often flies off, crashing to the floor as if he’s been hit by a sledgehammer. You don’t really have to sell those plate sized hands battering you, but no-one does it better than Zack.

For once, though, WALTER’s power was not enough to get the victory. Zack knew what he was doing, so he gritted his teeth and took every chop in the hope that he’d get his chance. In what looked like insanity, he even went as far as taunting WALTER, shoving his face and mocking him. It was all a set-up so that when the big man came charging towards him with that already injured leg, Zack was able to go to work, dragging him to the mat and doing what he does best. For the second big wXw show in a row, WALTER was forced to tap out.

Post-match, Zack grabbed the mic called everyone dickheads and demanded a title shot. Dragunov vs Sabre? Yes, please.

Verdict: Four And A Half Stars

Overall Show

There were a couple of down points (Starr vs Pace and Dragan vs Müller didn’t set the world on fire). However, this was another excellent wXw show. When you get into the business end of the card, they’re up there with NJPW for delivering fantastic matches. That’s not a bad place to be.

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