wXw/NOAH Dead End VIII: Day 2- European Navigation
By Big Red Machine
From June 22, 2008
BERND FOHR vs. EDDIE EDWARDS - 7/10
This was one hell of an exciting opener! Just some good, clean, athletic wrestling action, with one guy the crowd wanted to see win and one guy they wanted to see lose.
CHRIS HERO vs. TAKASHI SUGIURA - 7/10
A great battle of wills with both guys working over the other's head, but in different ways (Hero with his elbow strikes and Sugiura by dropping Hero on it).
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. Hero was attacked by Steve Douglas & Absolute Andy but his wXw Tag Team Championship partner Marc Roudin came out to make the save. The ring announcer called a referee out, and this turned into the previously-scheduled...
wXw TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Chris Hero & Marc Roudin(c) vs. AbLas (Absolute Andy & Steve Douglas) - 7/10
The heels isolated Roudin (between the grueling match against Sugiura and post-match assault, Hero was barely even able to stay on the apron, and whenever he got up they just kept knocking him back down) for a long time and relentlessly worked over his back. He eventually made the hot tag and the crowd went NUTS for it and Hero ran wild. EXCELLENT babyface in peril stuff. Eventually, though, Hero got caught on the outside brawling with Douglas, leaving the injured Roudin alone with Andy. Roudin still put up a good fight, but Andy capitalized on Roudin's injured back to make him tap out to the Sharpshooter.
CLAUDIO CASTAGNOLI vs. KENTA - 7.25/10
KENTA worked over Claudio's head and neck and got the win.
RELAXED RULES MATCH:
Thumbtack Jack vs. Jay Briscoe - 7.75/10
Unlike in ROH, where it just means the rules will be relaxed a bit but the referee still reserves the right to order the wrestlers not to do certain things or call for a DQ if he/she thinks the match is getting too violent, "Relaxed Rules" in wXw is basically just a Falls Count Anywhere Match (with no time limit). Concordantly, the wrestlers spent the entire match brawling around ringside and hitting each other with weapons and stuff very hard.
wXw WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH:
Bryan Danielson vs. Nigel McGuinness - 8/10
The fans chanted for Nigel to "SLAY A DRAGON!" Wonderful! Later, when Dragon tried to avoid Nigel's wrath by running to the ropes, the fans chanted "BEST IN THE ROPES!" I love this crowd. I could have done without the "BORING" chants, but at least they were all aimed at Dragon, and he got them not only for chinlocks but for kneedrops to the head as well. This was a crowd that had one guy who they wanted to win and one guy who they didn't, and they let everyone know.
They started off with arm-work for the first few minutes until Dragon threw the first strike... and from the look on Nigel's face, Dragon knew he screwed up and tried to get as far away as possible. Things got meaner as the match progressed, with Dragon working over Nigel's head while Nigel did a bit of everything and just going for his signature big stuff. They had some great false finishes and the babyface/heel dynamics worked so well that Nigel using Dragon's own crucifix elbows against him felt like just desserts rather than doing your opponent's move just to be a dick. They capped off this babyface vs. heel match with an excellent babyface vs. heel finish of Dragon slipping a low blow past the referee, then rolling Nigel up for the win and getting the hell out of their as quickly as possible. The fans gave Nigel a big ovation afterwards.
"BAD BONES" JOHN KLINGER & WALTER vs. KENTA KOBASHI & GO SHIOZAKI - 7/10
wXw charges in before the bell to start things off. After a little e bit of heat, the NOAH guys took over, and then things just became painfully repetitive. It felt like every single spot was some sort of double-team chop on Bad Bones when the legal guy had him in a submission and the illegal guy would come over and chop him, while young WALTER (and I do mean "young," because he was only TWENTY here) would let his temper get the better of him and try to come in and wind up distracting the referee so the referee wouldn't see it. Then Team wXw took over and got what I assumed was the heat because by this point I was completely confused as to who the babyfaces were. It seems like it was supposed to be Team NOAH, except that they had spent the entire shine (or at least what I assume was the shine) cheating. Eventually Kobashi made the hot tag to Shiozaki, the babyfaces ran wild, moves were hit, and Kobashi pinned WALTER after a nasty lariat right to the side of the head. The atmosphere was great and they hit each other very hard, but the match didn't really feel like it delivered to the level that it should have. It was the minimum acceptable for a main event, but with names like these and especially with this being Kobashi's first match in Germany, and considering the high level of everything that came before it, it still felt disappointing.
This was an AWESOME show from wXw (and NOAH), with every single match passing my minimum for TV main event quality. High-quality wrestling all up and down the card from excellent wrestlers in front of an extremely hot crowd. FANTASTIC!