Monday, January 2, 2017

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2016: Night 2 Review

wXw's 16 Carat Gold Tournament continues!

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2016: Night 2
Oberhausen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany 3/12/16

1.) Tyler Bate vs. Silas Young: ***1/4

Our first match of the night sees a battle between two mustachioed manly men and, quite appropriately, the match starts off with “Mustache City” chants. I thought this was a pretty solid opening match. Both guys looked good, the crowd was into it, and it didn’t overstay its welcome. Tyler Bate got the win here, which made sense, since he’s more of a regular in wXw.

2.) Da Mack & Big Daddy Walter vs. David Starr & Shane Strickland: ***1/2

Here we have a match comprising of some competitors who were eliminated from the tournament on Night 1. This was a very entertaining tag team match, in my opinion. There were some good spots throughout, and all four guys got a chance to shine at various points. Da Mack was probably the weakest of the four competitors, and their were points in this match that made me see why some are critical of him, but I thought he was largely fine here. David Starr & Shane Strickland would end up getting the victory in this tag team affair. They worked really well together as a tag team, which would be a sign of things to come a couple of months down the road (but more on that in a future review).

After the match, Da Mack & Big Daddy Walter have an argument, but unlike the night before, Big Daddy Walter didn’t attack anyone.

3.) wXw 16 Carat Gold 2016 - Quarterfinals - Axel Dieter Jr. vs. wXw Tag Team Champion Ilja Dragunov (with Adam Polak & Julian Nero): ***1/2

Up next we have our first quarterfinal match of the night. Dragunov is coming off an impressive victory over Mike Bailey, while Axel Dieter Jr. won a brutal I Quit Match against Marty Scurll. I thought this was a really good match. The action was very solid throughout, with both men fighting hard right from the opening bell, but the crowd was very hot for this one, which really helped as well. This was my first time seeing Axel Dieter Jr. in a straight wrestling match, with no gimmicks (like the night before), and I thought he looked impressive. However, I think Ilja Dragunov stood out even more in this particular encounter. I’ve only seen two of his matches, but I’ve quickly become a huge fan of Dragunov. He has a unique presence and aura about him, and the fact that’s he this good at his age (22 at the time of this show) bodes well for him. After some really entertaining back & forth action, Axel Dieter Jr. was eventually able to pick up the win, meaning that he’s the first person to advance to the Semi-Finals.

4.) Fatal Four-Way Match - Angelico vs. “Speedball” Mike Bailey vs. Trevor Lee vs. Marty Scurll: ****

This match has an interesting makeup of participants. Firstly, all four men are representing four different countries (South Africa, Canada, USA, & England), making this an international affair. Secondly, while three of the four men in this match have already been eliminated from the tournament, Angelico is still in it. He’s in this match because his opponent in the quarterfinals, Drew Galloway, had a booking in the UK that same day. Their match would take place the next night. As for this match, I thought it was awesome!! It was a fantastic sprint (going just over eight minutes), and they managed to pack a ton of action into that timeframe. From start to finish, this was just so much fun to watch. Ultimately, Marty Scurll would get the victory in what was one of the most entertaining matches of the weekend.

5.) wXw 16 Carat Gold 2016 - Quarterfinals - Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre Jr.: ****1/4

I forgot to mention this in my review of Night 1, but these shows occurred right after it was announced that Will Ospreay had signed with New Japan, and had become the newest member of CHAOS. These two would end up having a spectacular match a few weeks later at Evolve 58 in Dallas, Texas during WrestleMania Weekend. While this match wasn’t quite as amazing as that match, it was still pretty awesome, so much so that it was my Match of the Night. Both guys are so good at their respective styles, and while that might lead you to believe that a clash of styles could hurt the match, it didn’t. The match featured a ton of great back & forth action, and the fans were (of course) very much into it. They just make things look so incredibly easy. Eventually, Zack Sabre Jr. was able to score the victory over Ospreay (via submission) to advance to the Semi-Finals!

6.) Melanie Gray vs. Toni Storm: **3/4

This match was set up the night before, when Melanie Gray attacked Toni Storm following her victory over Leva Bates. This was definitely a better women’s match compared to what we saw on Night 1. They worked at a relatively quick pace, and while it did have some rough points, it was pretty solid. Gray would get the win in the end, but the issue between these two was certainly not settled.

7.) wXw 16 Carat Gold 2016 - Quarterfinals - Evolve Champion Timothy Thatcher vs. Sami Callihan: ***1/4

Here we have our last quarterfinal match of the night. A few weeks after this show, these two would go on to have a match for the Evolve Title that absolutely stunk up the joint at Mercury Rising 2016 in Dallas, Texas during WrestleMania Weekend. Having seen that match, I was very nervous going into this one, as I thought it was going to be just as bad. Fortunately, this match was much better than the one they would go on to have a few weeks later. The match wasn’t perfect, as I found the first five minutes or so to be incredibly boring (it was legitimately putting me to sleep), but thankfully, the action picked up from there, and it ended up being a solid match. Even though it was far from one of the best matches of the tournament, it was miles better than their match in EVOLVE. I don’t know what it is, but it just seems like these two just don’t work that well together. It would have been interesting to see how things turned out five minutes were chopped off of this, because I feel like Callihan performs much better when the matches are sprints. Eventually, Sami Callihan gets the victory, and advances to the Semi-Finals.

After the match, the two men shake hands.

8.) wXw Unified World Wrestling Title – Fatal-Four-Way - Karsten Beck vs. Absolute Andy vs. John “Bad Bones” Klinger vs. Jurn Simmons: ***

This was originally scheduled to be a Triple Threat Match for the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title (the primary singles title in wXw), but before the show, Jurn Simmons (an ally of Karsten Beck) demanded that he be added to the match, so it wouldn’t be an “unfair fight”, with Absolute Andy & John “Bad Bones” Klinger (two men who have been going after Beck’s title in the months leading up to this match) teaming up against Beck, who also made his case for the change, which was ultimately agreed to.

Before the match, they ran a great video package highlights Karsten Beck’s title reign, which included the long list of noteworthy opponents he had defeated.

I should mention that this was the second Fatal Four-Way Match of the night. Jurn Simmons is from the Netherlands, while the other three are all German wrestlers. While this match wasn’t nearly as awesome as that earlier four way, and although it was a pretty long match (clocking in at close to twenty-five minutes), it was still a solid match that featured some cool moments and told a good story. All four guys are pretty sizable heavyweights, so it was never going to as good, but again, all four guys managed to put together a relatively good Main Event. The big story of the match was that, about midway through, Simmons turned on Beck when he tried to roll him up for the win. Beck sold the turn really well, both in that immediate moment and when he later failed to put Simmons away. There was also a scary spot towards the end of the match where Absolute Andy & John Klinger were both involved in a spear to the floor through a table. Klinger appeared to get hurt in that sequence. In the end, Simmons hit Beck with his own finisher (a piledriver) to score the pin, capturing the wXw Unified World Wrestling Title! I feel like the double-cross by Simmons, which happened about midway through the match, would’ve been more effective had it happened closer to the end of the match, but maybe that’s just me. As a whole, I enjoyed this, but it was definitely overshadowed by the four way from earlier in the show.

After the match was over, John Klinger was taken out on a stretcher. Beck is then left alone in the ring, and the fans in Oberhausen give him a standing ovation, chanting “Thank You Karsten”. Beck then takes of his boots, and leaves them in the ring (the universal sign of a wrestler signaling his retirement). As he leaves, the fans once again give Beck (who seems to be holding back tears) a standing ovation as the show comes to a close.

Overall: 8.0/10

Even though Night 2 wasn’t quite as good as Night 1, I still thought it was a very good show. Once again, Will Ospreay had the Match of the Night, this time with Zack Sabre Jr., about halfway through the show. The first of the two four way matches (featuring Angelico, Mike Bailey, Trevor Lee, & Marty Scurll) wasn’t that far behind. While nothing else on the show came close to those last two matches, the rest of the undercard was pretty solid. There really wasn’t a bad match on the show, though it definitely peaked in the middle of the card with those two great aforementioned matches. While I can understand why some people might not like the Main Event, I enjoyed it for what it was. As a whole, this was another good outing from wXw.

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