Reviews

wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament 2016 Day 1 Review

Air Date: 11/3/16

wXw is a company out of Germany that runs a three day tournament every year with the best talent from all across Europe and the US indies.

Aaron Insane vs. Tyler Bate vs. Mike Schwarz vs. David Starr

This was to determine who would become the alternate in the tournament if someone were to get injured, which I think is a really cool concept that more tournaments should incorporate. We got an awesome spotfest that didn’t overstay its welcome and was just a hell of a lot of fun, with Starr and Bate coming out looking the best. Starr pins Aaron Insane with the Product Placement ***

We get a nice little video package running down all of the competitors in the tournament. After that all of the entrants come down to the ring and pose for a photo with the trophy, this is something I really enjoy about tournaments as well.

Big Daddy Walter vs. Zack Sabre Jr (16 Carat Gold 2016 First Round)

These two are former tag team champions, so the early portions of this match were built around the two being equally matched technically. After some brutal looking strikes Zack got the upper hand and completely outwrestled Walter, showing why he may be the best technical wrestler in the whole world. It took a little while for Zack to really fire up, which is fine since this is the first of three nights, but when he did it was something special. Lots of credit goes to Walter as well, who was great on the mat as well as with his strikes. Zack Sabre Jr pins Big Daddy Walter *** ¾

Sasa Keel vs. Timothy Thatcher (16 Carat Gold 2016 First Round)

This was a pretty good grappling style match, as you would expect from Thatcher, but unlike the previous match it never really felt like it moved into second gear. Well wrestled but not my cup of tea at all. Timothy Thatcher pins Sasa Keel with a headbutt ** ¾

Leva Bates vs. Toni Storm

Toni is one of the most exciting young female wrestlers on the European scene, while Leva is best known as Blue Pants on NXT and is mediocre at best. These two had a fine match, Leva came in as the face but slowly became more heelish as things went on. Toni sold very well for Leva, whose offence didn’t look great at times. Quick come back leading to the finish. Toni pins Leva with a fisherman suplex ** ¼

Toni is attacked by Melanie Gray after the match, who cuts a promo on her in German.

Ilja Dragunov (w/Adam Polak) vs. Speedball Mike Bailey (16 Carat Gold 2016 First Round)

The audio for this match seemed a little off, the crowd was clearly enjoying the match and chanting along but it didn’t seem as loud. Ilja worked over Speedball’s legs for much of this match, which made a lot of sense, and they had a pretty fun back and forth match. Dragunov pins Bailey ***

Shane Strickland vs. Will Ospreay (16 Carat Gold 2016 First Round)

The crowd was super into this match, chanting this is awesome before anything even happened. Strickland is of course Killshot in Lucha Underground. The two had a dance off before things really got going, which was perfectly incorporated into the match with both men starting to get a little aggressive until actually getting back to the match. After a little bit of comedy these two got down to business and had a crazy, intense, high flying spectacle. This was a real star making performance for Strickland, who sold his ass off and showed an aggression I’ve never seen from him before. Ospreay was obviously great as well with some of the most exciting high flying moves I’ve ever seen. It’s a real testament to these guys that they were able to flip from a comedy match to a legit match of the year contender so easily. Ospreay pins Strickland with a 630 splash **** ½

Trevor Lee vs. Angelico (16 Carat Gold 2016 First Round)

Hot start to this, with Trevor immediately going after Angelico. Lee was working his usual pro-TNA gimmick and this sort of become a TNA vs. Lucha Underground match. These two had a really fun sprint with lots of cool moves that never really slowed down. They had a hard time following the last match but did an admirable job. Angelico pins Trevor Lee with a corner powerbomb ***

Silas Young vs. Drew Galloway (16 Carat Gold 2016 First Round)

Silas Young is on the long list of guys that Ring of Honor aren’t pushing as well as they deserve, he and Galloway had a really awesome brawl here. I am not normally a huge fan of matches with a lot of outside brawling, but it worked here partially because it was something different to the rest of the card. Galloway pins Silas Young with a Futureshock DDT ***

Galloway gets on the mic and puts over the crowd before announcing that he won’t be at day 2 so his second round match will be on the final day.

Kim Ray (w/Ivanov) vs. Sami Callihan

If the last match was a brawl, this was a god damn war. The heat of this match was great and you really got the impression that these guys were trying to kill each other. Kim Ray got busted open early in the match which really added to the intensity. Hell of a performance by both men. Sami pins Kim ****

We get a video package setting up the main event, Marty has apparently been trying to get Axel Dieter Jr to embrace his darker side. This was a great video package that really makes me want to go back and watch this feud.

Marty Scurll vs. Axel Dieter Jr (16 Carat Gold First Round, I Quit)

I am not a huge fan of I Quit matches, the referee continually asking each man if they want to quit really hurts the flow of the matches and stops things from really getting going. These two worked well within the gimmick, with Marty using the mic to trash talk Axel while also brutally beating on him. The story of this match was a simple one, Marty was remorselessly beating on Axel Dieter Jr with all kinds of weapons but Dieter refused to give up, even when the crowd was begging him to. A story like this is made or broken by the selling of the face, and Axel garnered an incredible amount of sympathy and the few times he fired up had me on the edge of my seat willing him on to win. A truly incredible match. Axel Dieter Jr submits Marty Scurll **** ½

Overall: 6.5

What a great show, tons of variety on the card with two or three matches that were absolute classics. And it’s only the first day!

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