It’s happened a bit later on Ramblings About (blame the G1 and the Edinburgh Festival), but wXw is back! After a summer break, everyone’s favourite Germans return with Shortcut to the Top which is their version of the Royal Rumble. We’ve also got Absolute Andy cashing in his 16 Carat title shot against Ilja Dragunov and Marius Al-Ani challenging Bobby Gunns for the Shotgun belt. Time to find out whether they’ve lost a step over the summer.
Marius Al-Ani defeated Bobby Gunns to win the Shotgun Title
Bobby Gunns held onto the Shotgun Title for as long as he did by being smarter than his opponents. It didn’t matter if they were bigger than him or faster than him, he could out wrestle them. Ultimately, everyone is the same size when they’re on their back.
Except, that tactic didn’t work against Marius Al-Ani. While Gunns tried damn hard to make it work, attacking Marius’s arms in that trademark Bobby style, it didn’t have the effect it had previously. Gunns’ problem was that Al-Ani is no slouch on the matt either. He might not be as good as Bobby, but when he was able to combine that with his athleticism, it was The Ninja who was coming out on top.
Then it ended. Just as it felt like Gunns and Al-Ani were going to the next level, Marius hit a Superkick (the move that kicked off Absolute Andy’s betrayal of him) and fell on top of the now former champion for the three. It was so sudden that I was sure something was going to happen afterwards. The commentator seemed to suggest Gunns’ foot had been under the rope, so I assumed that they were going to overturn the decision and keep going.
Alas, I was wrong. It was over. Al-Ani winning the belt with the move used to end his previous tag-team was a lovely piece of storytelling while I enjoyed the match we got. It just wasn’t long enough to be anything better than good. These two are perfectly capable of doing something special, fingers crossed we get to see it sometime.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
WALTER defeated Dirty Dragan in the Dirty Dragan Trial Series
WALTER was a surprise opponent for Dragan, and the second he walked through that curtain you got the impression poor Dirty was in for a rough night.
We were right too. While WALTER played with Dragan for a while, letting him get a few strikes in, it didn’t take long for The Ring General to put the plucky underdog away. There wasn’t even much in the way of a hope spot in what was a straight-up squash.
I’m going to say about this what I say about every Dragan match. The guy is over, it’s just a shame that he’s not very good. I’m still willing to be proven wrong, but I ain’t seeing it yet.
Verdict: Two Stars (it’s always pleasant to see WALTER)
Monster Consulting (Avalanche and Julian Nero) defeated RISE (Pete Bouncer and Ivan Kiev) and Jay FK (Jay Skillet and Francis Kaspin) in an Elimination Table match to retain the wXw Tag Team Titles
I was going to write about Jay FK being the stars of this bout, sadly that accolade was stolen by high-quality German engineering. These six men were let down by a table that refused to fucking break.
It doesn’t change the fact that Jay FK were great here. Even as the first time eliminated, they were the ones to stand out the most. They’ve taken to this heel turn like Sabu took to botching as they embrace their role as snotty punks. I love the way that they gloat while on top and throw temper tantrums when they’re not. If they can find the right balance between the over the top facials and the twattish heel stuff, this act could take Jay FK far.
Once they were eliminated (on the third attempt at going through the table), we got down to Monster Consulting vs RISE which was good if unspectacular. I’m a big fan of those four, but the table stipulation did them no favours. It turns matches into spotfests as a lot of time is spent setting things up and getting people into positions. Positions that ultimately prove pointless because of the stubbornness of German wood.
By the end, the table had no legs with both sets having buckled, so Avalanche decided to fuck off the fancy stuff and just throw himself at Bouncer while he was propped against it in the corner. To what I imagine was the relief of everyone, it finally broke. wXw might want to get a new table supplier.
Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars
Before the title match, Tarkan Aslan came out and did the whole retirement swerve into a heel turn. Imagine turning against someone as pure as Lucky Kid? What a bastard.
Absolute Andy defeated Ilja Dragunov to win the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship
Fucking hell, our auld da is the champ. Mum is going to be furious about this. He never helps around the house as it is.
Dragunov might have had a few months off, but he was still feeling the effects from his run of title defences earlier in the year. He came down to the ring with his mid-section taped up, wincing from the effort of making his entrance.
We all know what Ilja is like, though. Injuries don’t so much hold him back, as just make him that little bit more insane. He was desperate for a fight, and while Andy tried to duck him early on, he eventually got his hands on everyone’s least favourite father figure. Battling with a fire that only Ilja Dragunov can show.
Except Absolute Andy wasn’t going down. Whenever he got a chance, he’d strike, going after that injury and adding to it. Then, unsurprisingly, he started taking advantage of any opportunity he got to cheat. First, it was a beer in the eyes, and then in the final seconds, it was a chair being driven into a diving Dragunov’s skull.
Let’s not pretend Absolute Andy is a super worker. He’s not. You can’t look at any of his matches (this one included) and call them classics. However, he is a fantastic heel. The man makes my blood boil in all the right ways. Andy’s a smug cheating bastard, yet it’s always done in a style that leaves you wanting to see him get his ass fucking kicked. It’s possible there’s money in a champion like that.
As for Dragunov, I don’t think anyone will be worrying about him. Ilja is perfectly suited to chasing that belt, and I have no doubt he’ll be back sooner rather than later.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Bobby Gunns won The Shortcut To The Top
I despise reviewing Rumble style matches. How are you supposed to condense something that goes an hour and features multiple storylines into one review? It’s not possible, so why bother? Instead, I present you with some stream of consciousness bullet points.
- Big Timothy Thatcher turning up to suplex everyone and give WALTER a hug was lovely.
- WALTER nearly being eliminated because he fancied a beer was very relatable.
- By the time we hit entrant number ten I was sick of the overdubbed theme.
- Thatcher is brilliant. Anyone who disagrees should probably be arrested.
- David Starr is beginning to bore me. I wonder if that is his clear doucheness influencing my thoughts or if he’s actually getting dull?
- Julian Pace is fun, we should see more Julian Pace.
- Jay FK kept up the good work. Brilliantly twattish behaviour. Teaming up to eliminate Tim has earned them my eternal hatred.
- A wet guy turned up wearing a towel. I’m not really sure what was going on there.
- Someone called Rotation did a lot of flips. I like flips.
- Dragan came out with a microphone and brought some friends with him as back-up. I don’t know who they were, but that was a weird move for a babyface. WALTER murdered them.
- Jurn Simmons came back to a great reaction before eliminating WALTER. He then hugged Dragan, so it looks like they’ll be embracing the return love for a while.
- Oh, wait. That lasted all of three minutes. Simmons punched poor Dirty in the stomach and was going to decapitate him until Emil Sitoci made the save. The Dragan and Sitoci duo ended up eliminating both Starr and Simmons.
- Starr and Simmons had a fight on the floor, so that’s a feud we’ll be seeing.
- Alpha Female (Jazzy Gabert) turned up and destroyed a few flippy boys. She’s the first woman to compete in the match and is coming back after recovering from three herniated disks. Fair play.
- Alpha Female and Avalanche had an enjoyable face-off that saw Avalanche being slammed before he eliminated her.
- Doug Williams was a surprise entrant. I’ve only ever really watched Doug’s TNA/Impact stuff. What should I be checking out?
- Here’s a generic lucha boy. Every company in the world has at least one.
- Pete Bouncer and Ivan Kiev were working together when Tarkan Aslan made his way out as the final entrant. Probably an awkward moment for old Tarkan.
- Aslan’s ring gear is awful.
- Wait, Marius Al-Ani just turned up and helped Aslan. That’s random. They are a team now.
- Bobby Gunns didn’t like that. He snatched ‘his’ title off Al-Ani and blasted him with it. Gunns, Aslan, Veit Muller and Avalanche are our final four.
- Didn’t take long to whittle those four down to two. It’s Gunns vs Avalanche.
- These two are clearly knackered. This was in the middle of the heatwave too.
- Bobby wins!
There you have it, my not at all a review, review of the Shortcut To The Top. Jokes aside, this was a fun match. While I can’t pretend I knew who some of the more obscure German wrestlers were, they kept the pace up throughout and had plenty of storyline moments sprinkled throughout to keep it interesting. Gunns is also the perfect winner. Well done all-around.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
This wasn’t an amazing show, but it was entertaining. The main event and the World Title match were fun rather than spectacular while Gunns vs Al-Ani had its moments. It’s nice to have wXw back and let’s hope they maintain their momentum from earlier in the year.