"BAD BONES" JOHN KLINGER vs. CHRIS COLEN - 6.5/10
A solid opener, with lots of big impactful moves from these two relatively big men. Watching this in hindsight, a lot of the comments Rico Bushido made on commentary are quite interesting when you look at where these two men wound up just one year later. Lines like Klinger needing to go back to the drawing board to figure out how to regain the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title, about Colen being an outsider trying to earn a spot on the roster and Klinger having a lot of respect for him. I don't think they were meant as foreshadowing because I doubt the idea for RISE had been conceived this far in advance, but it's nice to see things play out in a way that fits in so well, even if it was unintentional. Colen picks up the upset victory for what was certainly his biggest win in wXw up until this point.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Dirty Dragan shows up to taunt Klinger. Klinger goes after him, but walks right into a trap laid by Cerberus. Chris Colen comes back to make the save for Bad Bones (though, admittedly it wasn't a very good save, as they had already laid Klinger out with their finisher at this point). Klinger shows Colen respect via fist-bump.
AXEL DIETER JR. vs. FRANCIS KASPIN - 5.75/10
The story of this match was the youngster Kaspin being able to go hold for hold with the veteran Axel Dieter Jr. Axel eventually got frustrated and started throwing strikes to take over the match. Announcer Rico Bushioda also noted that tying someone up in the ropes before hitting them with a dropkick is technically illegal and thus goes against Axel's usual M.O. This match was fine for the time it got and effectively accomplished both of its goals.
EMIL SITOCI vs. MARTY SCURLL - 4.75/10
Marty worked over Sitoci's arm a bit. Sitoci made a comeback and hit his big moves. He locked Marty in a submission but Marty got to the ropes, and when the ref was turning to see Marty's foot on the ropes, Marty tapped so Sitoci thought he won and started to celebrate, and then Marty rolled him up from behind for the win.
WORLD TAG TEAM LEAGUE 2016 QUALIFYING MATCH:
A4 vs. RingKampf (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) - 8/10
Absolute Andy & Marius Al-Ani were introduced by the now-familiar "A4" name, but both their gear and their entrance video called them "The Four." They established themselves as a true force to be reckoned with in the tag team division by not just going toe-to-toe with but actually defeating RingKampf here in an AWESOME tag team match.
TENGKWA vs. BOBBY GUNNS - 5.5/10
wXw WORLD TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Cerberus (Julian Nero & Ilja Dragunov)(c) vs. Legion (Michael Dante & Mikey Whiplash) - 6.5/10
Rico Bushido took the beginning of this match as an opportunity to let us in on some news about an altercation during a pre-show Q&A panel which resulted in "Bad Bones" John Klinger coming out to confront Dirty Dragan about something and the rest of Cerberus beating Bad Bones up (this was separate from the thing we saw after the first match). He also pointed out Adam Polak's absence from ringside (as well as that of Dirty Dragan) and expressed his unease about recent changes in behavior that are causing him to wonder if Dirty Dragan has done something that has caused Polak's mental state to deteriorate (we would later learn he was giving him drugs).
This was a decent tag team match propped up by one very cleverly-designed false finish. Rico Bushido's commentary did an excellent job of complementing that nearfall by really making you think that the above issues related to Polak and Dirty Dragan and neither of them being at ringside here for Cerberus could result in a title change tonight.
TITLE VS. TITLE MATCH:
Jurn Simmons(wXw Unified World Wrestling Title) (w/Marius van Beethoven) vs. Da Mack(wXw Shotgun Title) - 6.75/10
Da Mack got as close as I've ever seen wXw come to doing a big "WrestleMania-style" entrance with a fun Thriller-esque entrance.
They had a decent match for a while (though they probably should have been counted out right in the beginning for how long they were fighting on the outside). Mack was the little guy underdog who used leverage for his moves. He had Jurn trapped in an armbar but Marius caused a distraction. Da Mack's tag team partner Axel Dieter Jr. came out to deal with Marius, then stayed at ringside.
Jurn would occasionally try to taunt Axel into running in and causing a DQ. The match went back and forth for a while with some decent nearfalls until Jurn laid the Mack out and seemed to have him pinned but Axel finally did run in for the DQ (although they called it a no contest for some reason. I don't know if belts can change hands on DQs in wXw, but that would explain why they did it, although it would still make no sense for this to be a DQ because Axel only attacked one of the competitors. Axel was very angry about everything, grabbed Da Mack's wXw Shotgun Title belt, and threw it at Mack, then walked off.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Kevin Roadster comes out and cuts a promo. It was in German so I didn't understand it, but I did hear the names of Jurn's rival Karsten Beck as well as Kevin's beloved Melanie Gray mentioned. The crowd went nuts for all of this. I guess Kevin asked Jurn for a title shot and Jurn said fine, despite having just wrestled, because Jurn has never really taken Kevin seriously, still seeing him only as a lackey (and a sometimes incompetent one at that) and the results of the last time Kevin tried to stand up to him in the Shortcut to the Top match didn't help matters. Kevin's tag team partner (and fellow Jurn Simmons lackey) Marius van Beethoven was begging Kevin not to accept the match on the outside but Kevin did so we got another...
wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE MATCH:
Jurn Simmons(c) vs. Kevin Roadster - 4/10
According to Rico Bushido, Kevin is "defending the honor of Karsten Beck," who had won the Shortcut to the Top but was unable to wrestle tonight because, as he would announce in about five weeks during the World Tag Team League, he had a brain tumor and had to retire.
They had one of the best three-and-a-half minute matches you'll ever see, with the crowd going totally bonkers for everything before Jurn got the win with his Massive Piledriver. That being said, I think them going just 3:22 really hurt Kevin by making him look like too much of a chump. Losing that quickly to a guy who just wrestled for fourteen minutes in a champion vs. champion match will but a big damper on any babyface turn.
Marius van Beethoven was on the outside the whole time looking very conflicted and simply begging Kevin to stop because he was screwing up a good thing that they all had as Jurn's lackeys. I probably could have rated this whole thing, from Kevin's promo to the match to the post-match segment as one segment but chose not to because they did feel rather separate.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Great! Jurn leaves, taunting Kevin on the way out. Kevin eventually gets back up to his feet. Marius hobbles into the ring and gives Kevin a big hug and raises his hand... then hits him in the back of the knee with his crutch. Marius beat Kevin with his crutch for a while until Melanie Gray came out and blocked Kevin's body with her own. Marius went to the stage and cut a promo on Melanie in German, then brought out Alpha Female, who was returning to wXw for the first time since her lone appearance back in 2003, and the two of them beat up the Alpha Lovers more before leaving.
The only real flaw in this was the whole Alpha Female thing. The way they introduced her, with Marius giving a big speech and having a video package ready was really weird considering she wasn't even kayfabe booked on the show and thus there should have been no reason for her to be in the building and even less of a reason for a video package for her to be ready. In hindsight, I think the way I would have booked this all out would have been for Marius to leave after Melanie threw herself onto Kevin to protect him from Marius, with Marius telling Melanie she was making a huge mistake by siding with Kevin instead of staying with him and Jurn. I would have just run with the Jurn vs. Kevin match at the Shotgun Live Tour shows rather than booking any sort of Kevin & Melanie vs. Jurn & Alpha Female matches, with Melanie being in Kevin's corner for all of them while Marius would be in Jurn's for the first, then feigning a worse injury to get security to protect him when Kevin tries to kill him (which could lead to a quick finish with Jurn taking advantage of the distraction in the first match [Hamburg] to set up for the rematch in Dresden). After this Marius would not be seen again until the wedding segment, which would be the first time Alpha Female is introduced into the feud (I would still put her over in the Femme Fatales tournament the night before, but I would do so cleanly, and with Marius nowhere in sight). In addition to making the dastardly wedding disruption more of a surprise, Marius' going away and Alpha Female not being shown to be part of a unit with him and Jurn would have the added benefit of giving Jurn some completely clean victories in his title defenses before they really start trying to establish him as a babyface at World Tag League.
Kevin and Melanie hugged and kissed to close the show, thankfully that the beatings were over and they had both survived. This was the first of a series of great angles in what would become one of my all-time favorite blood feuds, spanning the next eight months.
From an in-ring perspective, this was a very subpar show in the ring from wXw (especially with this actually being a show of a decent length [almost two and a half hours] as opposed to some of the ninety minute to two hour shows they'll occasionally do), despite the excellence of the A4 vs. RingKampf match. From a storyline perspective, though, this show is just plain can't miss, with almost every match aside from Gunns vs. Tengkwa mattering in some way. Even the stuff with Colen saving Klinger would be more than just establishing Colen as a formidable babyface newcomer, as it go on to set up the two of them teaming up in the World Tag Team League Qualification Series next month. One of the things that has made me such a fan of wXw is their ability to weave their stories together, and I was glad to see them put it on full display here at Fans Appreciation Night.