DAVID STARR PROMO - Awesome babyface promo. He lets us know that his tag team partner Jurn Simmons can't wrestle tonight because he's sick so tonight's scheduled tag team title match against RingKampf will have to be postponed, so instead he wants to focus on getting the "monkey off of the my back," by which he means beating WALTER... and WALTER is one hell of a monkey to get off of your back because not only is he huge, but if he's on your back it likely means he's got you in the Gojira Clutch and you're about to either tap out or be choked out. Starr cuts an impassioned babyface promo saying that he knows he can beat WALTER and asks Christian Michael Jakobi to book the match and Jakobi does so.
LUCKY KID vs. CHRIS BROOKES (w/Kid Lykos) - 5.75/10
I really don't need odd rubbing, licking, and rubbing bodily fluids into orifices in my wrestling. Other than that, this was a decent eleven-minute opener.
CHRIS BROOKES PROMO - He says he's happy to wrestle for wXw whenever he gets the chance, even though he doesn't get the chance to do so as often as he like. He says that wXw is the first place that gave him a chance and thanks the office for that, then announces that he will be returning to wXw for next year's 16 Carat Gold tournament (we found out later in the night that he will be joined by his tag team partner Travis Banks, as well as Penta el 0M and Jeff Cobb).
MARIUS AL-ANI vs. EMIL SITOCI - 6.75/10
These guys had a really fun back-and-forth match that was really more of a backdrop for the announcers to push Al-Ani's current storyline, which is that since his partner Absolute Andy turned on him during the final day of the World Tag Team League, Andy has been totally incommunicado and thus we still don't know why he turned even though it has been almost two months, and not having an answer to this question must be eating Al-Ani up inside. It would have been a bit better if the wrestlers had managed to find a way to portray that during the match, although I'd not really sure what the best way (or even really a good way) to do that would be. I do think it would have helped this cause a bit more to have Al-Ani lose here, but he went over instead.
MICHAEL DANTE vs. "AVALANCHE" ROBERT DREISSKER - 5.5/10
A fine hoss fight.
DAVID STARR vs. WALTER - 8.5/10
The story here was Starr's determination to beat WALTER despite the massive size advantage between them and they told it well, highlighting it with Starr's resilience, WALTER's powerful lariats, and his ability to cut Starr off with one big, well-time power mover. Starr saw his path to victory as working over WALTER's hand, and while most of his offense focused on that, they also did a good job turning around things WALTER had previously done to Starr into false finishes when Starr was able to reverse them when WALTER went for them again. AWESOME match!
NINA SAMUELS vs. TONI STORM - 6.75/10
The story of this match Toni outwrestling Nina, causing her to become more and more frustrated to the point that she started to resort to heelish tactics. First she cheated, then, when she felt herself solidly in control of the match, she tried to mock one Toni's signature spots but Toni was able to reverse it for a great nearfall. From there we got Nina using her power to control things while trying for the GTS but your wXw Women's Champion proved why she is the champion by picking up the clean win.
MARK HASKINS vs. ILJA DRAGUNOV - 8.25/10
A match full of great action between two tough, determined babyfaces. Awesome stuff.
MARK DAVIS vs. TIMOTHY THATCHER - 4.25/10
Thatcher is wrestling with a big bandage covering his right eye, due to Bobby Gunns putting a cigarette out in his eye. The match was fairly short, but good for the time it got.
wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE MATCH:
"Bad Bones" John Klinger(c) vs. Travis Banks - 7.25/10
Twelve years ago this month Bryan Danielson and Steve Corino had a match for the ROH World Title at Buffalo Stampede where the story (although they mostly squandered it with lackluster follow-up) was that Corino immediately hit Dragon with his big lariat finisher and his big head-drop finisher and went for the pin, and although Dragon was able to kick out, he was severely weakened from it and had quite the steep mountain to climb if he hoped to get back into the match in a competitive way. Well, these guys did that same opening... except Klinger didn't kick out and Banks seemingly won the belt in about eight seconds.
And then, after Banks' big celebration went on just long enough to make everyone think this was legit, a second referee who I guess was watching in the back came out and informed the Senior Referee that Klinger's foot was under the ropes. I really don't like things like this because if you're going to let a second referee make a call from the back once, you need to do so in every instance.
Not only is this a gigantic can of supersized worms to open, but what's more is that opening it seems completely pointless. What's the end goal of this? If Banks does win the belt tonight, then this didn't matter one bit, and if doesn't win the belt, at best you have a weak argument that might deserve a rematch because overturning of the decision so quickly took a big emotional toll on him, combined with the fact that he did, theoretically get a pin on the champion that the champion was unable to kick out of (and even then it would have to be some sort of "No Rope Breaks" gimmick match) but if your goal is to set Banks up for a rematch, such a thing could more effectively be done via phantom pinfall or having Klinger cheat or something more normal that doesn't open this major can of worms (and also doesn't f*ck with the fans' heads so much).
Once the match restarted we got some great brawling from these guys, followed by some great wrestling. Then Banks got Klinger in the Lion's Clutch and the usual RISE dog and pony show stuff started. I think the fact that from that point on it was almost all cheating-based false finishes rather than the various spots being separated by periods of wrestling helped this not feel too overbooked because it felt like one big overbooking spot rather than the match constantly being interrupted for overbooking like your stereotypical TNA PPV main event. That, plus the fact that the crowd loved Banks and hated Klinger (at one point they were singing "John Klinger sucks" to John Cena's music) really helped this not feel like it was strangled to death by the overbooking. That being said, I still don't really see any reason for that opening spot to have happened unless the idea is that (as Jeremy Graves said) Banks now knows what it feels like to be wXw World Champion, which could be used to set him up for a title run, but that would have to be a ways down the line, as Klinger has many foes who have a lot more build with him than this little bit with Banks, and whichever babyface gets the belt from Klinger should have at least some sort of decently-sized run with it before dropping it. Actually, now that I think about it, some of those nearfalls they did almost felt like a dry-run for someone else (Ilja?) winning the belt from Klinger.
But that's all in the future. Now we have to discuss the...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Very good. RISE (although they seem a lot less scary only being represented by Lucky Kid and John Klinger tonight) put a post-match beat-down on Banks, leading to CCK coming out to try to make the save. Unfortunately for them, Klinger quickly put Brookes down with a belt shot, then knocked Kid Lykos off the apron. Marius Al-Ani then came out to make the save but he was quickly overwhelmed by the two-on-one advantage and beaten down. Forget what I said about RISE not looking as scary with only two of them. The crowd chanted for Ilja Dragunov to make the save, but instead we got RINGKAMPF coming out to square off with our top heels... and Klinger immediately went for Thatcher's injured eye to deal with him before helping Lucky Kid overwhelm WALTER...
And then WALTER powered his way out of the corner and took the fight to both members of RISE, and we got WALTER and Banks working together to put Klinger down with Brookes and Thatcher teamed up to deal with Lucky Kid (and then WALTER gave Lucky Kid a powerbomb for good measure). Than Al-Ani got the chance to dive onto RISE to send the heels running off for good. WALTER then cut the big show-closing babyface promo... and in the process of doing so, put Travis Banks over huge before challenging him to a singles match when wXw returns to London on March 24th, 2018.
A great show from wXw, with the usual great wrestling being supplemented by the usual engaging stories that wXw provides (although perhaps things tonight were of slightly less consequence than other shows have been). In addition to the wrestlers and books, a lot of credit for that is due to announcers Jeremy Graves & Alan Ferrell. They come across as exactly what they are, which is two intelligent wrestling fans who have been put on commentary and understand that their job is simply to call the action and get over the stories in a professional way. When you compare this to WWE's overproduced dreck or the barely-serious commentary we often get from Ring of Honor, or whatever dumb gimmick TNA will usually have going on with the announcers burying each other, I'll take "two fans" over that crap any day so long as these fans understand what their job is, and Alan and Jeremy most certainly do.