EWA report 1-17 Leoben, Austria

I just got back from the EWA show in Leoben, Austria, about 1h 45 min
from Vienna. This was the "big" yearly show, promoted by Chris
"Bambikiller" Raaber, who went through the Otto Wanz school of
promoting, namely the booker is the champ and always wins.
Fun show, but all in all pretty lackluster, as they just don't really
have the talent or any storylines in place and it's mostly the "local
heros" against the heels, which for the crowd of locals and loads of
kids is more than sufficient - if you have some standards as far as your
indy wrestling goes though, you mostly cringe your way through these
shows. Anyhow, as my flight to Germany for the BJW/wXw shows leaves in
five hours, let's get going.
There were only six matches, show still lasted around 3.5 hours (with
two intermissions). The arena was pretty packed, I'd estimate 600-700
people, which is impressing enough, given that the city only has a
population of about 25,000 and I'd estimate more than 95% being locals.
Also lots of press (photographers and even a camera team from Austria's
national brodcasting company) in attendance.
CWA legend Tony St. Clair is the figurehead commissioner and was
ringside at all points.
1.) Mexx & Christian "Bull Power" Meixner beat Robert Dreissker & Big
van Walter in 14:05 via spear by Mexx on Dreissker
Notes: Dreissker/Walter are the AUT-siders in wXw, but were billed as
being from Germany (Walter lives there now) so they could be the heels,
when actially all four guys are from Austria; they're kinda Austrian
heels in wXw though. Walter and Dreissker are head and shoulders above
anybody else on this show, with Omori being on the same level probably.
Mexx is a muscular guy and I think had a WWE tryout in Munich in
November. Meixner is a powerlifter/strong man competition guy with a big
gut and virtually no talent.
2.) "Space Cowboy" Damon Brix beat "Sexy" Peter White in 16:41 via
sitting down on a sunset flip and grabbing the ropes
Notes: Brix is somewhat decent, White is another muscular guy with not
too much in the way of talent, his offense looked atrocious at times and
his timing is way off. This was kind of the Randy Orton/Kofi Kingston
match on this week's RAW in that I thought it had gone at least 20
minutes at the ten minute mark. Crowd was into White and Brix plays a
good heel but this just crawled on. Finish was Brix sitting down on a
sunset flip. Also the ref, "Pete Johnson" who they billed from Canada
was Peter Jedlicka from Vienna who ran his own indy shows during the
late 90s with himself and his buddies as the stars. On one show in '97
or '98, Chris Raaber actually had his debut and I aso saw one of Afa
Jr./Manu's earliest matches when he won a Battle Royal at age 14or 15
there while Samu sold bootlegged nWo shirts.
3.) Joe Doering beat Dragan Okic in 9:32 via spinning powerbomb/Elgin Bomb
Notes: Doering is a regular with AJPW now and was briefly in FCW in
early 2010. Okic is one of Alex Wright's trainees from his NEW
promotion/school in Germany and is pretty decent by now, he also had a
fun match with AJPW's KAI at the last EWA show in Leoben in October
2012. Stiff match with Doering really laying his stuff in and working
snug. Probably all in all the best match of the night, in the *** range.
4.) Michael Kovac beat Julian Nero in 11:32 via frog splash
Notes: Kovac also promotes under the EWA banner, has been around for 20
years now and started in the dying days of the CWA in Vienna. He trained
Raaber early on and Nero is one of his students now. Kovac is decent but
not what you'd expect from a 20 year veteran. Maybe because he cares
mostly about partying, having his share of beers before/after the
matches and banging rats. Which is what he himself states publicly and
in a column for a German "news"/copycat page. Nero was OK but still
rather green. Kovac was supposed to face Omori on this card, before the
latter got bumped to main event when Daisuke Sekimoto got injured.
5.) Miguel Ramirez, Chris Colen & Blaze beat Rock n Rolla, Tommy 2 Fast
& Cannonball Grizzly in 10:44 when Colen pinned Tommy (sorry, forgot the
Notes: Colen has been around for some time and also has his own
wrestling school and is decent. Ramirez is only 18 and does a lucha
gimmick, a little rough around the edges, but he's had a few matches in
wXw and NEW (Alex Wright's promotion), so if he keeps working with good
people he'll improve. Blaze is a Kovac/Colen trainee, a bit older than
Ramirez and about on the same level, wrestling on shows in Germany and
Austria. He's small, about 5'6" and has been somewhat of a spot monkey
in the past, but was OK here. Tommy and Rock n Rolla are students from
Raaber's school in Leoben and were green as grass and pretty much
atrocious. Grizzly was their mystery partner and is pretty much the man
these days. I'd say a good way north of 400 lbs., pretty over doing big
man spots, no-selling offense and not taking a single bump, besides and
ultra-slow tumble over the top rope towards the end. The two green guys
actually botched a tag twice (Tommy wanted to tag Grizzly, tagged Rolla
instead who tagged Grizzly then while still on the apron). At another
point, Tommy had trouble getting through the ropes (this happened a few
times) and when Rolla went out after a tag, he kinda kicked him in the
face when both went through the ropes in different directions. They
tried some flashy offence like dropkicks and huricanranas without
learning coordination or basics first it seemed. Cringeworthy. Grizzly
being a good sport, still put them over after single-handedly taking out
all three heels with a corner splash post-match (the heels escaped the
first time which was the spot Grizzly tumbled out). Finish was some kind
of screwy thing I think.
6.) EWA world title: Chris "Bambikiller" Raaber (c) beat Takao Omori
after a Celtic Cross in round 7
Notes: This was round-based like World of Sports/CWA back in the day (15
three  minute rounds, with one minute breaks). Omori came out with
Walter/Dreissker waving the Japanese flag as his seconds. Would have
been funny if it had been Daisuke, as Walter/Dreissker were supposed to
face Strong BJ (Daisuke/Okabayashi) tomorrow in Germany. Anyhow, Raaber
came out with Kovac and Meixner and spoted a new ring coat that looked
suspiciously alike to what Okada would wear in NJPW. Then again, the EWA
belt looks a lot like a NJPW belt. It also has his logo, which is a
blatant rip off of the Jägermeister logo. Dude is over like nobody's
business here and at least knows how to appear like a big deal world
champ. This is the countryside of Austria, so we had a brass band
playing both national anthems in the ring. The match itself was kind of
boring and had the typical Raaber world title defense formula: trade
offense in round 1, get beat down the rest of the time, come back during
the last round and win. They brawled around ringside and into the stands
early on. At one point, Kovac and Meixner botched handling the water
bottle during round breaks and spilled water all over the apron/mat in
one corner. Oh well. Kovac fired the crowd up a bit, Meixner just stood
there and blocked the view for people who paid for ringside seats
mostly. Raaber was saved by the Bell a few times, mostly when almost
being counted out. St. Clair at one point went over and checked on him
during a round break, basically playing commission doctor. They both hit
lariats at one point, Omori gave him a tombstone piledriver with Raaber
on his backside rather than in front for a 2.999 near-fall. Near the
end, Omori missed a King Kong kneedrop and shortly after Raaber hit the
Celtic Cross for the win in round 7, so at about the 20 minute mark
(closer to 25 minutes with the round breaks). Raaber actually caled the
designated mayor in the ring to present the belt and put both him and
the former mayor over. He just knows how to work the local royalty and
make them feel good and I guess he's a celebrity in Leoben and knows how
to work the city and the media and play the "local guy done good" card
after most international tours he does. Kids flocked to the ring, Omori
and Raaber shook hands and hugged and all was fine in the world.
As mentioned, off to Oberhausen soon for the Big Japan and wXw shows.
Ilja Dragunov is also off, after not being cleared after a skull
fracture he suffered late last year. They only announced it now. He
vacated the ShotGun! title and his opponent, Carnage, insists on getting
a title match in a Cage with the same stip that ref Markus Weiss has to
get into the cage for 5 minutes with him if Carnage wins. No word on the
opponent yet, but they teased shuffling the cards around, so we'll see.
If I can dream, I'd hope Bad Bones faces Carnage in the cage and they
fly in Prince Devitt to face Chris Hero instead of Hero facing Bones.
But we'll see... :)
Kind regards,
Markus "Grown A Man" Gronemann

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