wXw Drive of Champions 2019 (6/14/2019)- Hamburg, Germany
WINNER QUALIFIES FOR THE wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE MATCH IN THE MAIN EVENT AND GETS LUCKY KID’S 16 CARAT GOLD TITLE SHOT: Lucky Kid(c) vs. Absolute Andy- 7.25/10
The announcers themselves were unsure if the title shot the winner would get in the main event counted as the 16 Carat Gold title shot or not. My instinct says that it should, as neither guy has quite done enough to earn a shot independent of that recently, IMO, and the means of qualification for the other two challengers all come from some accomplishment or another (the Sitoci/Avalanche winner will be the Shotgun Champion and Al-Ani won the Mitteldeutschland Cup), but either way, there is no reason for the promotion not to have made a decision about this and informed the announcers of it by this point.
The rest of RISE came out onto the stage with Lucky, then they each gave him a big hug and headed to the back.
Andy jumped the bell on Lucky with a big boot. Then, after the referee yelled at Andy but then ordered the bell rang, Andy went for the quick F-5 that has been something of a motif of this current run of his... and Lucky JUST BARELY kicked out. This was one of the closest nearfalls I’ve ever seen, the camera was in a PERFECT position to capture Lucky’s shoulder JUST BARELY getting off the mat.
They proceeded to have a great big mean heel vs. underdog babyface match with an excellent and dramatic build. In addition to the story of the size difference they also told a story about Andy working over Lucky’s back and Andy’s various attempts to cheat. Lucky Kid actually had Andy tapping but Pete Bouncer had pulled the referee out of the ring. Lucky screamed at Pete but turned around into an F-5 but Lucky kicked out, so Andy picked him up and hit the A-Klasse for the win.
This finish was a lot more... blunt than I would have expected you told me Bouncer was going to screw Lucky out of the match. We got a good shot of Bouncer walking to the back (and getting flipped off by the fans), and the look on his face was not one of satisfaction of maliciousness or anything else but rather the determined but unhappy look of someone who has decided to do something that he wishes he didn’t have to do but believes that he must because it leads to the best outcome in the long term. That might be how Pete feels, but I highly doubt that Lucky Kid is going to see things that way.
BOBBY GUNNS & VEIT MULLER ARRIVE AT THE BUILDING EARLIER TODAY- good
Muller notes that Bobby had promised him a title shot at some point of if Bobby beat Andy for the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title (which Bobby did, in fact, go on to do). Bobby Gunns recalls it a bit differently (and a bit more accurately, at least according to my review of Road to 16 Carat Gold 2019: Bielefeld), saying that he never promised Veit a title shot but rather said that Veit is the kind of person he’d like to defend the title against, which is not a promise for a title shot but rather a hope that such a title match would be able to happen... which requires Veit to earn one, first. And, as Bobby points out, Viet hasn’t been winning that much lately. Muller pushed for the match, trying to spin it as a Bremen vs. Hamburg sports rivalry thing and the match the fans wanted to see (and you could hear the live crowd responding very positively to this idea), but Gunns blew him off.
wXw SHOTGUN TITLE MATCH: Emil Sitoci(c) vs. “The Avalanche” Robert Dreissker- 5.5/10
As if the stakes weren’t high enough already, the wXw Shotgun Champion will also be part of tonight’s main event wXw Unified World Wrestling Title match. Sitoci came out of the gate very aggressively, which is rather at odds with his “I’m just trying to feel something nihilistic character since his return at 16 Carat Gold. The finish saw him walk out of the match- just like he did to his partners at Superstars of Wrestling, and once again avoiding Avalanche like he did when he no-showed their scheduled title match at True Colors.
The announcers looked at Sitoci’s behavior here and in other places and wondered if he might be making the whole nihilist thing up. I don’t think that makes much sense, as Sitoci showed up as a nihilist before he was involved in any sort of title picture, and I don’t see how pretending to be a nihilist would help him in any way. Why I think is happening is that Sitoci has finally found something that does make him feel something: being a champion (or perhaps specifically the wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion, depending on whether you believe he was genuine about his reason for no-showing True Colors or you think he lied and his real goal was just to not risk losing Shotgun Championship because that also allows him to feel something).
The match was good for the time it got and definitely did something for Sitoci’s character, but the finish, while effective in allowing Sitoci to screw Avalanche over while still keeping Avalanche hot as a challenger, is not something that cannot happen again or else this feud (and Sitoci’s character as well) still start to feel obnoxiously repetitive. Their next match ne3eds to have some sort of stip to prevent Sitoci from walking out.
MARIUS AL-ANI INTERVIEW- good
He’s annoyed that he’s not getting a singles match against Gunns for the title, but is still extremely confident in his ability to win the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title tonight.
wXw WOMEN’S TITLE MATCH: Amale Winchester(c) vs. Valkyrie- 5.25/10
Good for the time it got. Amale retained cleanly. I still don’t understand what wXw sees in her. Valkyrie, on the other hand, looks great each time she’s out there and is the sort of person I would earmark as a future top babyface simply based off of her fighting spirt and babyface move-set.
VEIL MULLER vs. WHEELER YUTA- 7/10
A very good match elevated by an extremely hot crowd that wanted nothing more than to see Muller get revenge on Yuta and pick up his first win in his home city.
RECAP OF ILJA DRAGUNOV & WALTER TURNING HEEL- In addition to their attack on Aussie Open and the clips we got of their promo, we were also shown first a backstage promo from Aussie Open daring Ilja and WALTER to enter the gauntlet and try to take their titles from them, then a clip of Karsten beck trying to convince them to do so but WALTER telling him they can’t make this show because they’re wresting on “the big stage” today instead of “a dump like Hamburg.”
JAY FK PROMO- entertaining heel stuff, getting shouted down and frustrated by the crowd. Aussie Open came out so Jay FK insulted them and bragged about having won World Tag Team League, which Aussie Open have not yet done. Aussie Open responded by punching them, starting off...
GAUNTLET MATCH FOR THE wXw WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: Aussie Open(c) vs. Jay FK vs. RISE (Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer) vs. The Crown vs. Julian Pace & Leon vanGasteren- 6.5/10
Aussie Open eliminated Jay FK in a matter of seconds after the aforementioned punch, giving Jay FK a reason to whine later. RISE was out next and Ivan Kiev was did not look happy with Pete Bouncer after Bouncer’s actions earlier tonight. They barely even tried to work together as a unit, and Bouncer got pinned after a failed attempt to cheat, prompting Kiev to shake his head in disgust.
The Crown were in next, and came out through the crowd, attacking Aussie Open from behind while they faced the entrance. They had a good little mini-match which ended with a Crown victory after a low blow, ensuring that we would have new champions.... or so we thought. Instead, Julian Pace and Leon van Gasteren came out, pulling Senior Referee Taassio Jung with them, and Tassio told the referee assigned to the match about the low blow, resulting in the call being overturned and instead of Crown victory it was the Crown getting DQed. This opens up WAY too big a can of worms to be worth doing. Why doesn’t this happen every time the heels cheat?
The Crown attacked Pace & van Gasteren when they got into the ring but Aussie Open made the save so they could have their match. They had a nice little match which Aussie Open won. This whole gauntlet wasn’t particularly exciting, but I think every part of it at least served a purpose for the various storylines going on in the division.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- good
Aussie Open put themselves over for wining this big gauntlet just like they said they would. They said that WALTER and Ilja were either lazy or cowardly for not showing up as invited. Ilja and WALTER then appeared on the wXwTron. Because the commentators told us that they knew WALTER and Ilja were following this show on the internet, I’m going to be generous and suppose that they heard Fletcher’s comments when someone posted then on Twitter, then called wXw and demanded to be hooked up to the feed on the big screen so that they could respond.
Ilja and WALTER have gone full heel now, constantly insulting the fans and claiming that Aussies haven’t worked anywhere near as hard as they have and need to take shortcuts to win. They say they be at Shortcut to the Top so it looks like we’ll be having our title match then. Their video ended, at which point Mark Davis repeated Aussie Open’s vow to become the first team to make it through the entire World Tag Team League as wXw World Tag Team Champions. He also announced that the next time they came back to Hamburg, Chris Brookes would be with them and that they would have “the entire Schadenfreude crew.” That last statement is interesting, as it clearly mean Brookes, but could also mean that they expect Lucky Kid to leave RISE, or that they could be bringing Timothy Thatcher back, or both.
wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE MATCH: Bobby Gunns(c) vs. Marius Al-Ani vs. Emil Sitoci vs. Absolute Andy- 8/10
A little under half way in, Avalanche came out and attacked Sitoci, and those two brawled to the back. After that happened the remaining three had a really great three-way, with Gunns coming out on top by making Andy tap, overcoming the odds to retain his title as well as his long undefeated streak in Hamburg.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- very good
Bobby Gunns has a little fun with the crowd, who were actually 60% against him due to a sports rivalry with his home city of Bremen. Then he says that what happened at the beginning of this show was a travesty and that “as a man of honor” he isn’t going to let someone else just get screwed out of a title shot by Absolute Andy like Andy did to him last year, so he calls out Lucky Kid and tells Lucky that he wants to give him a shot at the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title at Shortcut to the Top 2019. Lucky accepts. Left unsaid by the announcers (but not unnoticed by some in the crowd) was that this “as a man of honor” phrasing is exactly the phrase Gunns had used back at Road to 16 Carat Gold 2019: Bielefeld when talking to Veit Muller about a title shot, which still remains unfulfilled.
This was a good show from wXw. As I’ve said for several of this spring’s show, I wish they would up the wrestling quality a bit, but one thig that wXw never fails to deliver is good storyline advancement. It’s not that the wrestling is bad or anything- the bigger matches almost always deliver- but it’s not quite at the level it has been at for the past few years (outside of the biggest matches). Road to Shortcut to the Top should be quite interesting, as the field feels wide open this year, and the Road to show should lay the groundwork for some big moments during the Shortcut to the Top match itself later in the summer.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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