BOBBY GUNNS BACKSTAGE PROMO - AWESOME! He basically rips Joey Janela a new one to build up to their title match at Superstars of Wrestling 2019. Based on the context, my guess is that the word they have translated as "son of a bitch" probably translates more correctly to just "bitch" in terms of its idiomatic use, so that's definitely information every should file away for when they watch wXw.
MITTELDEUTSCHLAND CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Oliver Carter vs. Lucky Kid - 6.75/10
A good opener.
THE CROWN SHOW UP TO BULLY JULIAN PACE IN AN OTHERWISE EMPTY CAFETERIA - Good. Julian stands up to them so they take it up a notch, with Jurn getting in his face with threats of physical violence. Leon van Gasteren walks in and tells them to leave Julian alone, then takes Julian with him to prepare for their match with Jay FK. Once the babyfaces leave the room, the heels begin to plot to kick their asses.
The best part of this was that sitting on the table in front of Pace was a plain white cup that had "Starbucks. Get it?" written on it. This was the cup Pace was drinking out of, so it and its comedy disappeared the moment things got serious, with James slapping it out of Julian's hand and far off-screen, so that the comedy did not get in the way of the seriousness.
MITTELDEUTSCHLAND CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Veit Muller vs. Wheeler Yuta - 6.5/10
Yuta turns heel to get the upset win on Veit, using the referee as a distraction.
LUCKY KID INTERVIEW - Great! First he expresses confidence in his ability to win the Mitteldeutschland Cup. Then he was asked about his relationship with Pete Bouncer... and Lucky finally began to let loose. He's sick and tired of this even being a thing. He's told Pete many times that RISE is his family, but Pete keeps demanding that he "prove it!" WHY?! HOW?! What does Lucky need to do to prove his loyalty that he hasn't already done over the course of his two-year tenure in the group- from the moment of it's founding through the present day. "If he doesn't believe me, he should see a therapist." He's got big matches to prepare for, the tournament finals later tonight and his big match with Brian Cage at Superstars of Wrestling 2019. He has no time to deal with this crap right now.
Seeing Lucky's frustration finally boil over was great. I really loved the little subtlety of him only mentioning Absolute Andy when talking about the other people in the tournament even though Andy hasn't even made it to the finals yet... because Lucky is frustrated about losing to Andy at True Colors 2019, and he probably blames that on this whole "which side are you on?" Schadenfreude vs. RISE thing, when he just wants them all to get along so he doesn't have to choose between his friends.
And the saddest part of all was that included in Lucky's rant here- the sort of thing he never would have said to Pete's face because he's a very non-confrontational guy- was the phrase "my priorities are elsewhere." And you know that Pete Bouncer is going to interpret that as meaning "I care about myself more than I care about RISE."
EMIL SITOCI PROMO FROM BEFORE TRUE COLORS 2019 - Disappointing. He didn't say much of anything other than that he wouldn't be at True Colors and that he wouldn't be at this show.
MITTELDEUTSCHLAND CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH:
"The Avalanche" Robert Dreissker vs. Vinny Vortex - 4/10
Avalanche overpowered Vinny and got the win in a rematch from True Colors.
VEIT MULLER CONFRONTS WHEELER YUTA BACKSTAGE - Good. Yuta is proud of his less than honest victory. Veit tells him that WALTER will set him straight at Superstars of Wrestling but Yuta says he will win the Mitteldeutschland Cup tonight and then go on to beat WALTER at Superstars of Wrestling.
KILLER KELLY & AMALE WINCHESTER IN THE LOCKER ROOM - Not good. Amale is unhappy at having to share a locker room because she thinks she is a big star who deserves her own locker room. Kelly cut a promo on her. The part where she scolded Amale for having an outsized ego based on her performance so far was good, but Kelly's English (and/or memorization of the lines that were written for her, likely by someone else who doesn't have the belt English) fell apart at the end, resulting in the "I'm going to win tonight's match and earn a title shot" part of Kelly's promo coming off poorly.
I usually try to abstain from criticizing someone too much when they're making the effort to learn a new language, but Amale in particular really needs to stop speaking English, as she is very bad at conveying the proper emotions while doing so. Just let her speak French and subtitle her. And if the problem isn't her language skills but rather her acting ability regardless of language, then wXw is at fault for casting her in a role for which she is woefully incapable of filling.
OLIVER CARTER & VALKYRIE BACKSTAGE - Fine. They put each other over, and also Lucky Kid (who beat Oliver earlier tonight). Valkyrie tells Oliver that the women's locker room has way too much politics and drama going on for her taste. She just wants to win tonight's three-way and earn a title shot.
MITTELDEUTSCHLAND CUP FIRST ROUND MATCH:
Marius Al-Ani vs. Absolute Andy - 6.75/10
They referee let them fight on the outside for WAY too long without trying to count them out. Other than that this was a very good match between two friends turn enemies turned frenemies.
BOBBY GUNNS & ILJA DRAGUNOV BACKSTAGE - Good. Ilja puts Gunns over for winning at True Colors in front of a hostile, very pro-Ilja crowd. Gunns accepts the compliment but notes that he still technically hasn't ever defeated Ilja yet, as the match at True Colors was a three-way in which Marius Al-Ani got pinned. And this the seeds are set for another title match between these two.
BOBBY GUNNS & ILJA DRAGUNOV vs. THE CROWN - 7/10
A fun tag team match. I was pleasantly surprised that Ilja and Gunns worked flawlessly together, and The Crown are a lot more interesting to me when they're losing than when they're winning at the moment, so I was quite happy with this. They're definitely future tag champs, but they need to finish sorting out their own issues first while getting themselves over as bullies before getting added to the usual Aussie Open/Jay FK/RISE mix to freshen that up.
AUSSIE OPEN INTERVIEW - Good. They declared themselves now done with Jay FK. Yes, they acknowledge that maybe they wouldn't be the tag champs if Chris Brookes hadn't interfered on their behalf, but Jay FK had been cheating and interfering in their matches for months prior, so they see it as turnabout being fair play. I am skeptical that RISE will see things that way. They also vowed to become the first team to enter the World Tag Team Festival (which is apparently replacing the World Tag Team League this year) with the titles retain their belts by winning the tournament.
KILLER KELLY vs. AMALE WINCHESTER vs. VALKYRIE - 5.25/10
Look... I understand why they ran this back at True Colors (because the first time we saw the match Kelly and Valkyrie were fresh while Amale had already wrestled), but why do we need to see it a third time?
Kelly is the only one who hasn't won one of these yet, so she comes out of the gate hot with a big series of strikes. They continued with this fast pace and had a really great match for the time it got. Despite getting four minutes fewer than the other two three-ways this trio has had, I thought this one was by far the most crisp and certainly the best relative to the time it got. Kelly got the win here, which was followed by Amale starting a shoving match that eventually grew to include Valkyrie as well, and had to be broken up by referees. Each of these women have now won one of these, each taken the fall once, and each bot been involved in the decision once.
LEON VAN GASTEREN & JULIAN PACE vs. JAY FK - 6.5/10
A good solid babyface win.
KARSTEN BECK & THE WOMEN BACKSTAGE - Bad. They all want the title shot. Karsten scolds them for their behavior earlier, which seems ridiculous to me. I know that wXw goes for a more "real sports" feel than most promotions, but come on! It was just a shoving match. We see that (and worse) all the time. Karsten eventually announces that they'll all be getting the title shot, because apparently the match not being a singles match is a big punishment? Also, whoever told Valkyrie to keep turning from Kelly to Amale with each sentence should have been flogged.
ABSOLUTE ANDY, JAY FK, & AUSSIE OPEN BACKSTAGE - Disappointing. The Aussies show up to rub Jay FK's losses in their faces. They challenge the heel trio to a six-man tag at Superstars of Wrestling 2019. Andy immediately accepts because he knows for a fact that Chris Brookes has a booking that day... but Aussie Open reveal that they have a different partner. I was certain they meant Lucky Kid, which would escalate the RISE vs. Schadenfreude "whose side is Lucky on?" issue by having Lucky now team with Schadenfreude for the first time in wXw and the chance to get revenge on Andy for beating him at True Colors would be something that would entice Lucky to accept the match even though he knows it would exacerbate things.
But their partner won't be Lucky Kid. Instead it's going to be an "honorary member of Schadenfreude," Hardcore Holly. In 2019. At age 56. Only after this did I remember that Lucky is booked against Brian Cage that night in a match that suddenly feels disappointing because seeing Lucky team with Schadenfreude and seeing Hardcore Holly try to figure out a way to beat Brian Cage both sound a lot more interesting than what we're going to get.
MITTELDEUTSCHLAND CUP FINALS:
Marius Al-Ani vs. Lucky Kid vs. "The Avalanche" Robert Dreissker vs. Wheeler Yuta - 7/10
Yuta being stuck on his hands and knee for as long as it took them to set up that spot was ridiculous. Other than that, this was a great, all-action main event, but one that still felt disappointingly short at just 10:20. Al-Ani gets the win on Yuta, so he has now won the Mitteldeutschland Cup two years in and row, and he and Absolute Andy remain the only two men to have won this tournament.
THE CROWN SHOW UP TO BOTHER AVALANCHE, JULIAN PACE, & LEON VANGASTEREN BACKSTAGE - Good. The heels try to be jerks but the babyfaces verbally out-joust them. The heels give van Gasteren a shove and then beat a hasty retreat so that we have some reason to want to see the babyfaces get their hands on these jerks. In the process of all of this, the audience is informed of two upcoming matches: Avalanche, Pace, & van Gasteren vs. Emil Sitoci & The Crown at Superstars of Wrestling 2019, and then Avalanche vs. Sitoci for the Shotgun Title at Drive of Champions: Hamburg.
ILJA DRAGUNOV & MARIUS AL-ANI BACKSTAGE - Good. Al-Ani tries to run his shiny new trophy in Ilja's face. We wind up with a challenge being made and accepted for a singles match (which is what we were originally supposed to have at True Colors) at Superstars of Wrestling. Ilja turned to leave and Al-Ani was going to hit him in the back of the head with the trophy but Ilja figured it was coming and turned around before Al-Ani had been able to do more than rear back with the trophy. Ilja then reminded Al-Ani that he is the man with the hardest head in all of wXw so it's entirely possible that all a trophy shot with do is damage Marius' new trophy.
This was a decent little show from wXw. Nothing was close to being worth going out of your way to see, but the wrestling was enjoyable enough, the show was very easy to sit through, and I'm always in favor using more than one show between big shows to develop your stories (the catch being that unlike what New Japan does, I want the stories to actually develop on these shows, which wXw does via both in-ring results and backstage segments).
This was actually taped the day before True Colors. While it didn't spoil anything for the people in the building that night (the backstage segments did not air in the arena), I still think it is best practice to tape things in order whenever possible. I have chosen to give the kayfabe air date for this show because it is essentially functioning like wXw's TV now that Shogun has been cancelled and thus that's how it should be thought of.