By Big Red Machine
From July 03, 2010
ROUND ROBIN CHALLENGE MATCH 1:
Bryan Danielson vs. Wade Fitzgerald - 6.75/10
Bryan is fresh off of his WWE firing, so when he came out to the ring the fans showered him with both adoration and neckties. Even eight years later, the fans' unbridled joy at getting to see Bryan Danielson wrestle like Bryan Danielson again was almost tangible. That, combined with their wonderfully smooth wrestling and with a true sport-like feel to it made for a perfect opener.
THUMBTACK JACK vs. TOMMY END (w/an unnamed ally) - 7/10
This match was truly amazing in its ability to suck me in even though I knew literally nothing about anything going in and there wasn't even any commentary. All I had was the wrestlers and the crowd and holy crap did they do something amazing with an otherwise shockingly simple and basic match. First there was the crowd, which was about 95-5 in favor of Thumbtack Jack. Throughout the whole match they made it very clear that they wanted Jack to win and Tommy End to die. The very first chant we got was a simple and direct "F*ck you, Tommy, and die!" At one point Tommy did a standing moonsault and instead of cheering for him doing a cool move, the fans chanted "YOU STILL SUCK!" And keep in mind that this is back in 2010 when we weren't seen standing moonsaults multiple times a match.
Then we come to the wrestlers themselves, who did an AMAZING job of creating drama on their nearfalls. And when I say that I don't mean setting up dramatic situations to hit the move that leads to the pinfall attempt. I mean on they created wonderful drama on the pins themselves by waiting for the very last moment to kick out. They managed to make all of the very simple strikes they were doing feel like this could very well be the end of the match, and those submission teases at the end felt like they meant even more because of this. Throw in the wonderful heat created by the actions of Tommy's pal on the outside and the amazing sense of being wronged that Jack conveys to the referee after the match and you've got a match that manages to greatly exceed the sum of its parts.
KARSTEN BECK vs. BERNARD FOHR - no rating, fine semi-squash.
They had a pre-match brawl instigated by Beck which was part of the squashing. I couldn't tell if this part was clipped because stuff looked bad and had to be edited out or because the cameraman couldn't get through the crowd to get a good shot. Beck cut a promo after his victory. I don't speak German so I have no idea what he said. The fans didn't seem happy with it, though.
JOHNNY MOSS vs. "BAD BONES" JOHN KLINGER - 6/10
Bad Bones got jumped on his way to the ring by a group that included WALTER, Tommy End, Tommy's unnamed buddy from before, and a fourth guy. End and the two unnamed dudes were dressed similarly, but WALTER was just wearing a plain white t-shirt so I don't know if he's normally in their group or not. Johnny Moss came out and made the save for Bad Bones. Bad Bones was unappreciative and started shoving Moss, so they locked up and started to have their match. The match was good for the time it got and crowd was into it. Moss got the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. Some guy came out to make fun of Bad Bones for his loss. Bad Bones yelled at him so he got up on the apron. Bad Bones kicked him down and they had a scuffle that was broken up by security very quickly. It was all good while it lasted. We then saw the other guy arguing with referees and he cut a promo on Bad Bones into the camera.
ROUND ROBIN CHALLENGE MATCH 2:
Wade Fitzgerald vs. TJP - 6.25/10
A fun mix of various styles.
JON RYAN vs. CARNAGE - 6/10
DOUG WILLIAMS vs. MARTIN STONE - 6.25/10
This was Doug's final match before heading to TNA full-time. He and Stone held up a big English flag together and got a polite cheer as the fans chanted Doug's name before the match. The match wasn't bad or anything, but it wasn't particularly good, either. More than anything, though, I was shocked at how American it was. I was expecting some good old-fashioned British wrestling, but instead it felt like Doug was having any random Doug Williams match on Impact.
ROUND ROBIN CHALLENGE MATCH 3:
TJP vs. Bryan Danielson - 7.25/10
Dragon worked the legs, TJP worked the arms, and they great wrestling match with one hell of a finish.
wXw UNIFIED WORLD WRESTLING TITLE MATCH:
Zack Sabre Jr.(c) vs. Big Van Walter - 6.75/10
We start out hot with Zack climbing up to the top turnbuckle to do his entrance but then jumping off to nail WALTER with a missile dropkick. I'm dead sure I remember Bryan Danielson doing this spot at some point during his feud Takeshi Morishima in ROH, so I'd guess it's not a coincidence that they did this spot on a night where they were sharing a locker room with him.
They worked a very slow match, with WALTER working over Zack's leg being the main story, but they slid in and out of that one to also use the size disparity between them a bit. They started traded strikes back and forth, and then something happened that seemed very: Zack just went flying out of the ring via tope. What really happened was as follows:
WALTER had a friend on the outside who Zack dove onto, but they apparently lost the use of their floor camera between the previous match and this was all shot form the hard-cam and it was extremely difficult to tell what happened because you could barely even see the guy Zack was diving on, never mind realize that he wasn't just some random fan. It looked like Zack just dove out of the ring, to the point where at first I thought the spot was that WALTER had hit so hard that he went flying in this goofy manner. I figured out I was wrong when WALTER started obviously trying to keep the ref's attention on himself and then we saw Zack and WALTER's mystery pal throw some kicks at each other on the very edge of the screen so I went back and once I knew to look for the guy I was able to see that Zack purposely dove onto him.
The friend beat Zack up while WALTER had the referee distracted, then the friend rolled Zack back into the ring and WALTER powerbombed him and went for the pin but Thumbtack Jack ran to in for the DQ to stop WALTER from winning the belt in such a cheap manner. The friend got into the ring did a sequence with Thumbtack Jack. Then some more people came in for the babyface side and for the heel side. One of the heels was definitely Tommy End, and I'm 90% sure that one of the babyfaces was Bad Bones. Other than that I had no idea who anyone was, due to a combination of my ignorance of wXw storylines at the time (and it's pretty hard to find anything online that explain them. I looked quite hard) and the fact that we only had the hard-cam made it quite difficult to get a good shot of anyone's face. Thumbtack Jack and ZSJ both cut promos after the match. Jack's was in German, but that at least allowed me to pick out the phrases "Tommy End" and "Anthony Zeus" which I know for a fact not German words but rather are English names, so I'm going to assume Anthony Zeus was another one of the heels who ran in. Zack then cut a promo on WALTER and Tommy End, and the show closed with Zack leading the crowd in a rousing chant of "DIE TOMMY DIE!"
This was a decent little show from wXw but by the end it totally petered out. It was a fun watch for a while, and the hot crowd allowed me to pretty much entirely overcome my ignorance of the specifics of the storylines, but the main event- both with its big schmoz at the end and its disappointing pacing and DQ finish, compounded by the camera problems, ended it on a big down note for me on the wrestling count and left me totally overwhelmed on the storyline count. This was a fun exploration of a random period in the history of a promotion whose modern self I have gotten very into recently, but I don't think I'll ever go back this far again.