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wXw 16 Carat Gold 2017 – Night 2

Arnold Furious: March 11 2017. We’re in back in Oberhausen for the fourth show of wXw’s 16 Carat Gold weekend. This one was followed by a rowdy after party that went on until the early hours. CMJ came up with that concept, allowing unprecedented access to the wrestlers. Like Mike Bailey? Have a pint with him. Fan of Absolute Andy? Do a conga line to his theme tune. Big into ACH? Have a little country dance with him. Voices of Wrestling’s own Oli Court got in on a lot of this action. My own personal favourite moment was waiting to be served at the bar while singing along to Teenage Dirtbag and being tapped on the shoulder by Matt Riddle. “Hey bro”. So now I’ve sung a verse of Teenage Dirtbag to a former UFC fighter. That’s journalism.

We get a video reminding us that traditionally the wXw Unified title is defended on Night Two of Carat and that’s no exception here. Axel Dieter Jr. must face off against “Massive” Jurn Simmons.

 

Jeff Cobb vs. Donovan Dijak
Big Donny impressed against Riddle but couldn’t get the duke. Meanwhile Cobb, who’s been on Inner Circle and AMBITION, is appearing in his first Carat event. Cobb is keen to leave a lasting impression and throws Dijak around like he’s absolutely nothing. It’s astonishing. These two big lads don’t f*ck around. Cobb brings flurries of action whereas Dijak loads up one big meaty move to swing the momentum. Cobb’s strength frightens me. He picks Dijak up off the mat in a deadlift. It always impresses me when Cobb lifts people like that and he does the direction-change German suplex too. Cobb picks up the win with the Tour of the Islands. This was a great way to open the show, allowing Cobb to look like a star and not forgetting to get in another Dijak showcase before night three where he’ll be hidden away in a tag.
Final Rating: ***1/4

 

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2017 Quarter Final
Matt Riddle vs. Mike Bailey
I thought it was a little strange these two clashed again after meeting in a stellar match at AMBITION but I’m certainly not complaining. It serves a booking purpose too, as nobody buys a loss to Riddle as ‘weakness’. Bailey is certainly someone wXw are hot on and with good reason. This match takes the tone of the shoot-style match but loads in more strikes, for entertainment’s sake. As a result it’s more violent but makes slightly less sense. It’s a very good back and forth, highlighted by Bailey pulling out all the stops to try and overcome Matt and the King of Bros getting caught being cocky and too relaxed. Some of the sequences are sensational. Riddle hitting Bro to Sleep right into a German suplex is just awesome as is Bailey cutting off some Riddle specials by getting his feet up. Bailey’s spinning high kick is incredible and he counter of the double spin kick into the Bromission finish is near perfect. I underrated this live by saying it wasn’t as good as the AMBITION match. It is.
Final Rating: ****

 

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2017 Quarter Final
Timothy Thatcher vs. Ilja Dragunov
This was an interesting match up to see how into Dragunov the fans, and wXw were. A few people had noticed the potential for WALTER vs. Thatcher to be the final, or perhaps a semi-final. That would, of course, have been an error. The crowd immediately lose their shit for Ilja. It was his time. These two don’t f*ck around either. They go right into each other with the chops, a theme of Dragunov’s work. The intensity leads to Dragunov getting even more excited about the match. He wants to be tested. He wants to be hurt! It makes him stronger. It makes him better. Thatcher is someone who certain wrestling fans, good friends of mine included, have decided isn’t a good wrestler. Presumably based on his run with the EVOLVE title. In wXw you can forget that. In wXw Timothy Thatcher is a wrestling machine. It helps Dragunov that Thatcher is so good because it pushes him. At one point Ilja headbutts Thatcher’s arm to stop a lariat. Thatcher hits his Butterfly Suplex but Ilja kicks out and refuses to tap to Timmy’s armbar too. Thatcher tries for the ‘holding the arm visual’ and that ends badly for him. Thatcher tries a headbutt instead and Ilja flattens him with Torpedo Moscow. Once again winning with that move outta nowhere. Dragunov is building a solid CV at this point.
Final Rating: ***1/2

 

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2017 Quarter Final
WALTER vs. Marius Al-Ani
Al-Ani has an ‘out’ here. He must overcome WALTER to proceed in the tournament and that’s just not happening. Dirty Dragan, and his pastel pink suit, joins commentary as a guest. “WALTER sat on me once. Marius Al-Ani beat me in two minutes” is the standard of Dragan’s commentary. He is a great man and a maverick shooter. Dragan’s stuff is hilarious. He points out “Gojira” as in “Gojira Clutch” is about Godzilla and “in Bosnia we call that a sleeper hold”. Al-Ani tries several flips but nothing works and he gets murdered with an assortment of brutality including the Greetings from Asbury Park. Several times WALTER doesn’t bother with the standard suplex styles and just throws Al-Ani across the ring. Marius finally gets some joy by doing the dive over the buckle, which popped Botchamania’s Maffew Gregg, who was standing next to me during this match. WALTER is perhaps a little too dominant for the match to last as long as it does but there are shades of overconfidence from WALTER. At one point he refuses to pin and wants a count out. The false finishes are sensational, especially as Al-Ani fires up and almost gets a submission with an Octopus variant. However Al-Ani can’t hold WALTER down and he gets beaten in the Gojira Clutch. This was really good.
Final Rating: ***3/4

 

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2017 Quarter Final
Bad Bones vs. Cody Rhodes
Cody Rhodes has been bashed a lot for his Indie work but you can’t fault his professionalism and his enthusiasm for the business. It’s taken him time to adjust and to find his feet. This match is the culmination of all that. They tease Bones winning in seconds with the spear, a’la Goldberg, before settling into an excellent contest. The crowd might not want to root for Bones but they certainly respect him. Cody gets all fired up, lifting bits of offence from his family tree. There is a very obvious ref bump, used to allow Cody a visual pinfall on Klinger before the match hits a higher gear. This includes Klinger kicking out of the Cross Rhodes, after Cody illegally used a water spit. It’s the start of Cody going a bit mental. Something that would come to fruition on Night Three. Cody misses a moonsault and the Wrecking Ball knees puts Cody down for three, which is a huge upset and the crowd are angry! Probably my favourite Cody match since he left WWE although the booking was there to protect him all the way, which is fair enough. Cody is only a big star as long as he is perceived as one.
Final Rating: ***3/4

 

This sets up an intriguing semi-final group of Riddle, Dragunov, WALTER and Bones. One big star import and three tremendous domestic talents.

 

Koji Kanemoto vs. Francis Kaspin
Kaspin has only been wrestling for just over a year and he’s in there with a legend in Kanemoto. The Japanese national has been wrestling since 1990. Kaspin wasn’t even alive then. Not even close. Kanemoto is aware that Kaspin is young and inexperienced and that he’s basically here to teach the lad a lesson. One that involves face washing and how it can be achieved with the soles of his wrestling boots. Kaspin uses the match as a tester of his tenacity. Can he realistically stand up to a man like Kanemoto. He gets to counter stuff and survive the Falcon Arrow. It’s a nice little rub for him, even if he’s the man to take a job for Kanemoto this weekend. Koji beats him with an anklelock in the end.
Final Rating: **3/4

 

Post Match: Bobby Gunns comes out here and talks shit about Kanemoto. “Bobby Gunns ichiban m*th*rf*ck*r”.

 

wXw Shotgun Championship
David Starr (c) vs. ACH vs. Paul London vs. Absolute Andy
This is a fun match, right from the start with ACH casually eating a banana, not for the first time this weekend, and everyone taking a bite for strength purposes. That’s not the end of the banana banter with ACH lobbing it on front of Andy while he’s trying for a dive. There’s also money-based gags with ACH wanting cash thrown into the ring. He then does the ‘Carlton’. Tas then has to gather up the cash and take it out the back. Then he’s greeted by chants of “welcome back” when he returns and then “you deserve it” chants. It’s hilarious stuff. ACH isn’t done though and he winds Andy up a treat by stealing his “Absolute” catchphrase. It got so bad he had to publically make amends at the after party! In between banter there is some solid wrestling, as all four dudes are good wrestlers and they’ve planned out fun spots. Starr hitting a tope that sends empty plastic beer cups flying caused raucous laughter up on the press gantry. Andy then steals the show by hitting a ridiculous F5 off the top rope on Paul London. It’s such a massive bump that he ended up being carted off to the hotel to rest and didn’t re-emerge until the later phases of the after party. JML Driver 104 puts ACH down for the pin after more ACH-Andy based banter. This was tonnes of fun. I spent most of it laughing live and missed some of the action. It’s great on tape.
Final Rating: ****

 

JT Dunn vs. Robert Dreissker
No offence to these lads but this is strictly filler before the main event and an excuse to rehab Dreissker after his loss to Dragunov last night. The Avalanche absorbs an assortment of abuse, with JT trying hard to make his five minute match mean something. Eventually Dreissker grabs him and hits the Spiralbomb for the pin.
Final Rating: **

 

wXw Unified World Championship
Axel Dieter Jr. (c) vs. Jurn Simmons
Jurn has special gold pants on, in pursuit of the biggest gold on Carat weekend. Jurn doesn’t strike me as someone who wants to wrestle a bunch of times over the course of a weekend. He just wants to stroll in on night two, win the title and relax at the bar, singing Tenacious D on karaoke. That actually happened by the way. Axel brings a mass of technical skill here but it’s clear that the match is headed for shenanigans as long as Christian Michael Jakobi is hanging around at ringside.

Jurn boots CMJ out of the match and when Ringkampf run in A4 get rid of them too. With the shenanigans gone we get into the meat of the match with ADJ desperately trying to outwrestle Jurn. The battle is two very different attitudes colliding. Axel wanted to be a wrestler since he was five years old. Jurn saw it on Dutch TV as an adult and drifted into it. Axel is second generation and determined to be remembered as a legend in German wrestling. Jurn doesn’t care what people think about him. Axel has chiselled his body into near perfection. Jurn can’t be doing with all that. And yet it’s Jurn who the people love because he’s massively charismatic and, when he can be bothered, he can do a moonsault. “Moonsaults are pretty easy” he once quipped. It’s just not fair. Axel spent his whole life getting here. Jurn just turned up and took it. The match takes place at a belting pace, a total contrast to Jurn’s heel title defences. On top of that it has that big fight feel, thanks to the early removal of the heels, the lively crowd and variations on both guys biggest moves. The subtlety is there throughout. ADJ survives the moonsault and the first Royal Piledriver but a second one finishes. They worked really hard in this match. As if Axel felt like he needed to go out on a great match to solidify his legacy during this run and Jurn needed a big performance to solidify his title win. They both delivered with ease.
Final Rating: ****1/2

 

Summary: Night Two saw a repeat of Night One where the main event was a blow-away great. It’s probably Jurn’s best singles match, ever. The undercard here was consistently excellent. It’s one of the best and most consistent undercards this year. It was a fantastic night of professional wrestling. On VOD, and this is bizarre to me, the show is even better than it was live. Massive thumbs up. Go and get wXwnow.de immediately.
Verdict: 98

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