Hey guys, here's our detailed report of night one (of four) from this year’s inaugural World Triangle League.
wXw, CZW and Big Japan are having some of their top talent slug it out in the “World Triangle League”, a round robin tournament with three blocks of four wrestlers each. A win gets you 3 points, a draw 1 point and a loss obviously 0 points. The winner of every block will make it to a 3-way finale on Sunday. The winner of that match will get the chance to challenge for any title from any of the three promotions (not sure yet if this will be a “WWE Money in the Bank”-style thing of challenging for any belt at any time and place or more of a NJPW G1 version, where the winner has to announce in advance for which title, when and where he wants to cash in).
The blocks look like this:
· Zack Sabre Jr. (UK, wXw)
· AR Fox (USA, CZW Wired champion)
· Ricochet (USA, CZW)
· Drew Gulak (USA, CZW World champion)
· Jonathan Gresham (USA, CZW)
· “Bad Bones” John Klinger (Germany, wXw)
· Yuko Miyamoto (Japan, BJW)
· Robert Dreissker (Austria, wXw)
· Daisuke Sekimoto (Japan, BJW Strong Champion)
· Big van Walter (Austria, wXw)
· Drake Younger (USA, CZW)
· Kim Ray (Germany, wXw)
Current wXw World champion Tommy End also would have qualified, but stated in a promo after one of the last shows that as “the current world champion of the most important promotion of the Triangle League”, he sees no need to compete here. He was replaced by Kim Ray, who got on Walter’s bad side for not being respectful. Walter promised to teach him a lesson.
288 fans attended the show, which took place on a rare Thursday, because October 3 is Germany’s national holiday (the day when West and East Germany reunited in 1990). We expect a bigger turnout on Friday and Saturday because of the weekend factor. This was the first show from the new “wXw Arena” in Oberhausen, Germany. This place is still part of the “Turbinenhalle” event complex, but as the “T-Club”, where wXw shows usually take place is currently being adapted, the new home base is the “CentreVille” sports bar, a place that usually offers pool billiard and indoor soccer fields.
The show started with the ring announcer Tommy Giessen introducing all the participants of the tournament. One block after another the wrestlers came out, except for BJW's Yuko Miyamoto who wasn't there because of problems with his flight. He'll be here on Friday and pull a double duty, wrestling the scheduled match from Friday against Bad Bones and his planned second match against Jonathan Gresham as well.
1.) "Bad Bones" John Klinger and Carnage beat the Schild brothers
Bad Bones came back out after the parade and told promoter Felix Kohlenberg that he’s give him exactly five seconds to find an opponent for him since Yuko Miyamoto wasn't here tonight or he'll just go get Felix instead. Dojo prospects Robert and Vincent Schild accepted the challenge and everything looked like it was going to be a handicap match. That was until Bone's former tag team partner, Carnage made his return and Felix booked them in a tag match. Carnage has incredible charisma but he can't wrestle to save his life. He took a hip toss and landed straight on top of his head. Bad Bones and Carnage broke up their team a few years ago and feuded for a while but Carnage kept getting hurt so that whole deal was kind of forgotten about. Well, they remembered during this match and kept attacking each other over and over again. Also lots of fun, as Bad Bones and Carnage kept jaw-jacking one another, egging each other on, making fun of the other guy when he took offense from the Schild brothers, etc. The Schild brothers didn't get much offense in at all and when they did they were immediately shut down by their opponents. In the end, Carnage threw Bad Bones out of the ring and pinned one of the Schild brothers with his cpd-1 (Falcon Arrow type of move).
2.) WTL Block A: CZW World Heavyweight Champion Drew Gulak (3) beat Ricochet (0)
Ricochet is one cursed, poor devil. Barely two weeks after he and AR Fox had to work a match in a broken ring for EVOLVE, he had to go through that ordeal again. But at least this time, he broke it himself. Well, Drew Gulak helped. After a hard irish-whip into one of the corners, one of the steel hooks for the ropes under the ring, that hold the ring posts up was bent and all of a sudden, the ropes were hanging pretty loose. They worked around it quite well and finished their match. Ricochet at one point even got on the second rope very gingerly and did a flip off it. Good match with lots of flying and flipping by Ricochet and mat-based submission style by Gulak. They took a break after the match to fix the ring (which held up fine the rest of the show). Drew Gulak went around after the show and shook hands with fans, apologizing for the match. Class act, this guy. Gulak won with the University Stretch (Dragon Sleeper).
3.) WTL Block C: Big Van Walter (3) beat Drake Younger (0)
Walter just beat on Drake Younger, putting the heat on him the entire match. Drake had his moments of shine, but he mostly took crazy bumps for Walter. Drake was finished off via Powerbomb and finally tapped to subsequent half-crab.
4.) WTL Block B: Jonathan Gresham (3) beat Robert Dreissker (0)
Not much to this, it was a fun little match but lasted only about five minutes, which is very unusual for wXw matches. At one point Dreissker powerbombed Gresham, but instead of staying on his feet, he dropped forward with him, forgot to put his hands out before he hit the mat and hit the canvas full force with his face. In the end, Gresham won via Shooting Star Press with Dreissker kicking out at 3.1 seconds, pulling the Hogan special. Highlight of the match was Gresham actually German suplexing the 350+ lbs. Dreissker.
5.) Davey Richards and Freddy Stahl beat Axel Dieter Jr. and Toby Blunt
Story was Davey had asked in advance to be put in a match with some of Germany’s finest young talent. Really good match with Davey seemingly being impressed by both Freddy Stahl and especially Axel Dieter Jr. who may just be one of the best chain wrestlers in the world (he’s a second generation wrestler, his dad actually was an enforcer in German wrestling for decades). Davey's kicks are fucking stiff – breaking news here. Toby Blunt seemingly re-injured his knee, which he had surgery on recently on a double knee lift from the top rope and was carried away late in the match. wXw played it up as legit but it looked like Blunt was selling it hard, from the way he acted and screamed, but then I never tore any ligaments in my knee and have no idea how it feels and how one would scream and act upon that happening. Davey pinned Axel Dieter Jr. via double foot stomp and DR Driver. Stahl, who also recently returned from an injury hits the gym like a madman and is jacked to the gills. He’s only 22, a pretty good wrestler with a mat-based and suplex-based style. Reminds me a bit of a young Davey Boy Smith or actually Harry Smith. He’d fit right in on NXT for example.
After the match, Davey announced that he'll be here tomorrow as well, said he’s basically an asshole and likes to fight, so he challenged his partner, Freddy Stahl to a match for Friday, which Stahl accepted.
One of the owner, Christian Michael Jakobi came out. He talked about Two-Face. This is one of the few angles they are doing right now, I’ll try to explain it as best as I can. Two-Face is a young wrestler, who decided to retire a while back and did commentary for the DVDs. During the last six to nine months or so, various younger wrestlers, mostly Westside Dojo (wXw’s training school) students got attacked or locked in backstage, or got calls talking about emergency’s to family members, so they would leave and miss their matches, etc. During one of the last few shows, Two-Face came out and attacked Jakobi, stating he was the mystery person who did all of that. Which in theory, would make him the heel.
So Jakobi came out and talked about Two-Face. He was booed, even though he is supposed to be the guy representing the face (I think). He comes across phony and insincere though, which I am not sure is what he wants or is just his personality, as everything about him and the way he acts screams natural heel. He talked about Two-Face having his last match this weekend (facing one of the guys he attacked backstage), but then immediately stated he hopes that Two-Face will have loads of other matches and all the Westside Dojo guys will take care of him. Nope, I make no sense of this either. Two-Face came out and talked trash at him. Fans popped. He said if Jakobi is crazy and wants to hurt all the “kids” by putting them in the ring with him. Jakobi then talked about HATE and how things had improved so much since the new owners took over a few years back (true, show quality, marketing, the wrestling school all improved by leaps and bounds and wXw is now legit Germany’s #1 promotion by far). This brought out HATE who jaw-jacked at Jakobi. Jakobi appealed to HATE, saying they are not all that different, even though they look and dress differently and how him and HATE both love wrestling, want to improve the business and want to further young talent. Tw-Face then decked Jakobi, who begged off and threw a fit of rage afterwards. I’m not really sure what to make of it yet, as even as somebody who follows wXw’s storylines I am not sure I understand what all of that is about. But I give them the benefit of the doubt and hope it plays out well over the weekend and the subsequent shows.
6.) WTL Block C: Daisuke Sekimoto (3) beat Kim Ray (0)
Daisuke is the most impressive looking human being I've ever seen, between the size of his thighs and upper body. He beat Kim Ray with a deadlift German Suplex. Kim Ray is a fantastic heel, so fans popped hard for every move he took. The fans here just love to hate that guy. Kim actually got a good deal of offense in, mostly using kicks, as he is a Tae Kwon Do instructor in real life.
7.) WTL Block A: AR Fox (3) beat Zack Sabre Jr. (0)
This was the match of the night by leaps and bounds. AR Fox is just crazy. Early on, Zack Sabre tied Fox in knots which led to Fox exclaiming “damn, you know a lot of holds”. Hysterical. So many great spots, including a springboard cutter from Fox, which Sabre countered into his signature armbar. Him and Ronda Rousey would have great kids. At one point, Fox hit a move on Zack in the corner, jumped over the top rope towards us, hung there on his arms, told us “sorry, buddy” and skinned the cat back in. Probably just because he can. In the end, Fox won via his Arabian Fly finisher (kind of a springboard Spanish Fly). Some great near-falls in this match. Everybody who has never seen Zack Sabre Jr. work should go out of his way to do so. He’s a NOAH regular and loves it there, but I’d love to see him compete in modern-day NJPW as well. Thinking about him and Tanahashi, Okada or Device makes me drool in anticipation.
Next we got our main event. HATE, the original founder and owner of wXw always celebrates his birthday with a match. It's called "HATE's fucking birthday party" and is always contested under death-match rules. Tonight, that ritual happened again. HATE is over like nobody’s business with the fans and actually brought a lot of his buddies to the show. The match was HATE and his hardcore buddies from CZW against the biggest collection of douchebags available in the locker room.
8.) DJ Hyde, Karsten Beck, Sasha Keel and Aaron Insane beat HATE, Madman Pondo, Crazy Mary Dobson and Chris Rush
Before the match, which was supposed to be a six-man, Keel brought out his “employee” Aaron Insane. The faces then brought out Chris Rush. Keel, Insane and Rush were in the “Keel Holding” stable together, along with Michael Isotov as the fourth guy. Keel and Isotov turned on Insane and Rush a while back. Then, Insane turned on Rush and re-joined Keel Holding. Yep, no idea why either.
Anyway, madness this match! Crazy Mary is a looker though. She earned the name "Crazy", too. 20 years old and 120 lbs., Crazy Mary is engaged to 44 year old, 220 lbs. Mad Man Pondo. How he pulled that one off, we’ll never know. My first guess would be severe daddy issues but as long as they're happy, that's great.
Fans chanted “fat boys, fat boys, whatcha gonna do?” at the heels. Hyde pointed out Pondo is fatter than him. Pondo then started singing “fat boys, fat boys, what am I gonna do” at himself. Hilarious! It started off with Rush and Insane, who went at it like crazy people. It got to Hyde and Pondo. Hyde grabbed a staple gun and started shooting staples towards Mondo, asking him if he wanted to play games. Crazy Mary, who is one of the few female wrestlers doing death matches, begged to be tagged in, exclaiming that she loves playing games. I bet she does, too!
What followed was cringeworthy male-on-female violence. DJ Hyde obviously doesn’t give a shit and slapped and threw her around. She took it all and came back for more. Keel at one point also snap-mared her, spit on his hand and went for a back slap. Mary got up. This upset Keel greatly – he grabbed her, put her back in the corner, told hr that “we’ll try that all over again”, cursed at her for moving when “he got himself wet for this”, and did the spot all over again. More shenanigans by Karsten Beck, who at one point decided to just kiss Yuki, the female guest ref from Big Japan. After that, things turned hardcore. DJ Hyde and Pondo introduced the staple gun. This was our first live death match experience. Still not sure what to make of it. Hyde ended up with a dollar bill stapled to his forehead. Chants of “one dollar bitch” at him. He returned the favor. He got stapled in the crotch too, seemingly. Ouch!
At one point during this match, DJ Hyde decided to staple a one Dollar bill into the mouth of Crazy Mary. Holy fucking shit! Madness. Things got wild, everybody brawled around at ringside. A lot of further staple gun spots, chair shots, cane shots, low blows and blows to the head with a stop sign. Not a lot of this looked safe, so while it was unique and fun to watch, I can’t endorse unprotected shots to the head in 2013. In the end, Sasha Keel pinned Crazy Mary Dobson with his Vijak finisher (Rock Bottom) through a chair bridged across two other chairs. Fans detested the heels for all the violence on sweet Mary.
The faces got their revenge though, as HATE and Pondo grabbed Keel and beat him up. The placed him in the corner, Mary got on top with a chair and did a moonsault with the chair in front of her chest onto Keel to a major pop.
After the match, Madman Pondo led the crowd to sing happy birthday to HATE and then said that Germany always treated him great with everybody always chanting “Madman” for him. He said fuck that, the star of the match was Mary, so led the crowd into chanting “Crazy Mary” at her.
This was quite a good show, with the Fox/Sabre being the show stealer and Ricochet/Gulak being very good as well, especially with the way they worked around the broken ring. The opening tag was fun just for the Bad Bones/Carnage interaction. The main event was a fun clusterfuck with a few questionable spots. The Davey tag was fun to watch, I really hope the Blunt injury is an angle as it would suck for him to be injured again. The other tournament matches were kind of there, not bad in any way, but mostly very short. Guess they decided to get the not so interesting pairings out of the way early.
We’ll be sending in more reports for the remaining three shows and are also live-tweeting results @DarkMatEU using the hashtag #WTL.
1. AR Fox (3)
-. Drew Gulak (3)
3. Zack Sabre Jr. (0)
-. Ricochet (0)
1. Jonathan Gresham (3)
2. Bad Bones (0)
-. Yuko Miyamoto (0)
4. Robert Dreissker (0)
1. Daisuke Sekimoto (3)
-. Big Van Walter (3)
3. Kim Ray (0)
-. Drake Younger (0)
Patrick & Markus Gronemann
Dark Mat EU