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A look back at last weekend's wXw 16 Carat Gold 2020 tourney

Cara Noir's spectacular entrance

Last weekend's wXw’s 16 Carat Gold 2020 was a very newsworthy edition with one former top talent (David Starr) reportedly having to leave the company at the urge of WWE while a WWE contracted performer (Alexander Wolfe) is on a temporary deal there through mid-April (or whenever wrestling picks back up again).

Those two stories somewhat overshadowed the actual tournament which had a lot of very good and one insanely great match. The winner was wXw newcomer and current PROGRESS world champion Cara Noir who impressed people with his performance as everything from his entrance to his facial expression and mannerisms up to certain spots in the match seem to be constructed with the high arts in mind.

He beat Mike Bailey in the main event in somewhat of a surprise match as many people had picked Dutch-born Jurn Simmons as one of the sure-fire finalists. The match of the weekend was had by Bailey and Bandido, who did some insane spots and had a match that will probably go down as one of the best, if not the best, in 16 Carat history.

The promotion was super lucky when it came to the COVID-19 virus as on Tuesday after the shows, the government of North Rhine-Westphalia (the state where 16 Carat took place) prohibited all events with more than 1000 people in attendance. Had they run this weekend, they would have had to cancel. COO Tassilo Jung said while they had some sort of backup plan, it would have been a gamble at best and could have meant a massive loss for the company.

The weekend followed the typical formula of establishing everyone on night one, having great and dramatic matches on night two and progressing storylines and saving raw emotion for night three

Here are the highlights of the weekend, followed by results to all the shows:

David Starr leaves wXw, indicates WWE is responsible

The 29-year-old came to wXw in early 2016 when he was a CZW regular through the relationship the two promotions had established that dates back to the early 2000s. He started in WXW (Afa’s promotion in Pennsylvania and no relation to wXw) and mostly wrestled for CZW, Beyond, and a couple of smaller indies in the Northeast. wXw took a chance at him and he quickly showed both his talent and promo skills, becoming a regular over the years as well as a major player in storylines.

He began a feud with WALTER which spanned multiple promotions and lasts to this day with the key being that he never beat WALTER (except for some tag matches where he still never was the one to beat him), held the wXw Shotgun title on three different occasions, and became part of the main event picture.

Being in wXw put him on the map to a number of other promotions in Europe, and he soon started wrestling for almost every major promotion in the UK, including PROGRESS, OTT, Revolution Pro, and Defiant back when there were fewer political issues on who you worked for. He also got noticed by PWG in the US, who started using him in January 2018.

Very outspoken and left-leaning on the political spectrum, Starr idolizes Bernie Sanders to the point he is being billed as “the Bernie Sanders of pro wrestling” among a ton of other nicknames. He moved to the UK in order to be eligible for public health care and is the founder of “We The Independent”, an organization striving to improve working conditions for wrestlers. He is a strong proponent of unionization and has been working with Equity in the UK, the trade union for those in the performing arts (similar to SAG in the US).

Starr is very outspoken about the way some major wrestling organizations conduct their business, publicly calling out both WWE and ROH owners Sinclair repeatedly and also got into a war of words with Gabe Sapolsky of EVOLVE about the payment of some of their talent. He last appeared for PROGRESS on December 30 of last year and hasn’t been mentioned there since which got some people talking.

At the end of January after the two clashed in an eight-man War Games-style single cage match, the match with wXw World Unified Wrestling champion Bobby Gunns was announced for night two of 16 Carat when it traditionally happens. Starr, seemingly out of nowhere, established a title vs. career stipulation. They did a good build up including some tremendous video packages and interviews by both guys and the match felt important, but the buzz seemed to be lower than for similar matches in the past.

The bout started slow but picked up pace and went 41:15 and saw both men give it their everything, kicking out of big moves. Starr messed up his back on a crazy dive where he virtually crashed into the first few rows of seats (hardback plastic chairs) at full speed, while Gunns also hurt his leg when Starr threw him off the entrance ramp as the two brawled around ringside, landing on a set of risers for standing room fans to get a better view of the action. After some fantastic back and forth action, Gunns retained the title with the “Ehrenmann Driver” (“man of honor driver”).

After his loss, Starr cut a very emotional promo and talked about how “freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of consequences” and that he and wXw mutually agreed to part ways. He thanked everyone in the office and said that wXw put him on the map on a major level and that he wouldn’t be where he was if not for them. He talked about CEO Felix Kohlenberg taking a chance at him when he was “just a stupid kid at CZW, begging them to book him and had no idea what he was doing."

He talked about creative director Dennis Birkendahl taking him to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp (Starr is Jewish and about 70,000 Jews were killed there during WW II) which he said changed his life forever. He thanked Christian Jakobi, the former CEO who left due to occupational burnout, and said that he helped him out a ton but would hate certain spots in matches which is why they included one today just to piss him off if he watched it. He said he also meant to thank WALTER “But, f*ck WALTER. Who did he ever beat?” He said he felt a certain disconnect with the locker room over the past 2-3 years, but that before this match, people came up to him, saying they loved him. He also said this was goodbye for real, not some intricate storyline or angle.

He tweeted last Monday that "I won’t go into further details regarding wXw on this platform and idk when/if I will in any public setting. Like I said, freedom of speech does not mean freedom from consequences and that this mutual decision was one that neither of us wanted to make. I love wXw & always will." He was very emotional at the merch table as well, hugging fans and saying goodbye to everyone personally who took the time to walk up to him. Starr himself confirmed to me that this was very much a WWE call.

wXw also thanked him and that they would miss him while COO Tassilo Jung took to Twitter and wrote “It has been an unbelievable ride and I'm gutted it had to end.”

At a Sunday media panel, Jung said there would be some limit on how deep they would dive into the topic of Starr and any possible WWE involvement. He said they sat down with Starr beforehand and told him that after the match, the mic was his to say whatever he wanted to say, basically giving him the chance to keep things within the realms of storyline or let the person behind David Starr speak, and Starr chose the latter. He said they appreciated what he said, the kind words he said, and later posted on social media about wXw and that they would miss him a lot.

He said they would not comment on the decision itself but wanted to make sure that people knew how much they appreciated Starr as a person as well as a talent. He said they made the decision when they set up the match a few months ago. Jung praised Starr for his work ethic and that he always showed up, eager to give his best and help people, stating examples of the four way at their 19th Anniversary show, theior two January shows in France, the cage match in January at Back to the Roots, the Dragunov match in February at Dead End, and Saturday's performance.

He said Starr went out as an absolute professional and that they hold him in the best regards. Jung said Starr said he'll always be a wXw guy and they'll always have his back.

The one thing to say for wXw is that they built this match up, gave Starr a storyline exit so fans would get closure and a reason of him not being there, and giving him a live mic after the show. In PROGRESS, it was seemingly the same deal. There, he simply lost a match to Jimmy Havoc on December 39th and hasn't been heard from or seen since.

It will be interesting what the future has in store for Starr, who still holds the OTT world title in Ireland and also the SWE (Southside Wrestling Entertainment) title, which now is part of RevPro (who have a working relationship with New Japan) as well as the Liverpool-based TNT world title. OTT seemingly has a relationship with WWE, but it seems less intense than what WWE, PROGRESS, ICW or EVOLVE have.

If you want to take a deep dive into the whole topic, Will Cooling, who also was there this weekend has an excellent article on Starr and his political campaigning among others things over.

Cara Noir wins 16 Carat Gold, Mike Bailey and Bandido have the match of the weekend

Noir (real name Thomas Dawkins), the current PROGRESS champion, had his first matches in 2010 to mixed success under his given name and several other monikers. He almost quit the business in 2016, but after a conversation with longtime friend Chris Brookes, decided to develop the gimmick of Cara Noir, the black swan of wrestling, supposedly a former ballet dancer (and computer genius with an MMA background) that was kicked out of the academy for his anger management issues while being harassed there.

He wears swan-like face paint and enters the ring in darkness with just a spotlight on him to Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake before a performance in the ring where he brings up his cape of peacock feathers. He is a very unique individual who views wrestling as the ultimate art form and expresses himself through facials, body language, mannerisms, and a unique move set. He does dozens of small things in each match which almost feel like a musical composition. After a few notes, you recognize the composer, but like music, each match is different with different overtures and themes reaching back to earlier spots in the match, and often enough there are unique things he does with certain opponents, exclusive to that match.

Noir beat “Speedball” Mike Bailey in the finals in a very good, dramatic match that went 28:27 and saw both guys put on a great performance. While it was face vs. face, Bailey showed some heel tendencies. Noir, at times, very much played the dying swan. At one point, he took three running kicks to the chest with Bailey becoming more and more reluctant to deliver the punishment and asking Noir to just quit. Noir looked pained by having to go yet another round, but asked Bailey to pull him back up and deliver another kick, the third after which he suddenly powered up. He also hugged Bailey and seemingly told him everything was going to be OK before delivering his own finishing sequence.

They also did some crazy spots like Bailey missing his moonsault knee drop both on the apron and on the steel ramp at one point. Noir kicked out of the Flamingo Driver which looks like a variation of the One Winged Angel. After Bailey missed the moonsault knees on the ramp, Noir hooked in the Blackout sleeper and then left Bailey laying in order to get the countout victory, but Bailey made it back at nine.

The finishing sequence was Bailey hitting a top rope moonsault fallaway slam which Noir narrowly kicked out of and came back with a Madame Guilltone and package piledriver for a kickout by Bailey. Noir finally hit a Blackout sleeper suplex, followed by a Blackout sleeper for the victory by referee stoppage. Noir pulled up Bailey, who still seemed out of it, for a long hug before posing with the trophy up the ramp and in the ring.

Bailey had another great outing the night before, facing Bandido in the match of the weekend. In a near eighteen minute match, they did some unreal spots and had the crowd in the palms of their hands, starting off with duel chants and songs and having people in an absolute frenzy as the match progressed. After a ton of spectacular near falls, the finish was a fisherman moonsault fallaway slam from the top rope by Bandido. Afterwards, the fans starting pelting the ring with money to the point there was fear somebody could get hurt by being hit with a coin. Ring announcer Thommy Giessen then made the call to ask people to throw notes instead of coins.

Both men hugged and even brought Bandido superfan Chris Lawson, who was at ringside, into the ring and put him on their shoulders. From the match itself to the post-match, this was one of those 16 Carat experiences on par with the surprise Ilja Dragunov return, the Alexander Wolfe surprise last year, and Jurn Simmons turning on Karsten Beck to win the world title, an angle no one will forget and will be talked about and featured in video highlights forever.

Bailey beat UK indy and NOAH prodigy Chris Ridgeway in the first round, Bandido in the second, and put away favorite Jurn Simmons in the semifinals. Noir beat al-Ani in round one, eliminated Jeff Cobb in round two and then Eddie Kingston in the semi before going on to win the tournament.

Two other standouts were wXw’s homegrown talents Julian Pace and The Rotation who hung in there move for move and spot for spot with Bandido and Puma King respectively in the first round. Pace, 24, who only has been wrestling professionally for less than four years, is one of the most exciting young workers in Europe today, has great speed and tremendous flying ability and never looked out of place, going toe-to-toe with one of the most amazing wrestlers out there in 2020. He is the first full-fledged graduate of the wXw Academy and was trained, among others, by WALTER and Timothy Thatcher.

Rotation is a similar high flyer and started in 2013 after training at the Westside Dojo, the predecessor of the wXw Academy, before it became a full-time school. After a few years in wXw in an enhancement role, he toured Mexico in the summer of 2015, mostly working for DTU, but also had two matches for AAA. He returned full time in wXw last fall and has been great ever since. He hung with Puma King in many typical lucha spots and did impressive stunts, such as standing on the top rope, jumping up to avoid a punch and landing on the rope again or cartwheeling along the top rope to avoid another attack. Puma King and Black Taurus also both looked good the whole weekend, and hopefully international fans will see more of them outside of AAA.

Simmons, who many saw as the favorite for the tournament, looked impressive, both with an improved physique and a new moveset which included power moves such as a gorilla press and athletic moves like a standing moonsault. Him being eliminated by Bailey was a surprise to many and a return to the main event picture seems imminent.

Alexander Wolfe makes a surprise appearance, wins wXw Shotgun title, gets attacked by Lucky Kid’s new heel group

On Sunday, a wXw Shotgun title match was scheduled between champion Avalanche and Ilja Dragunov, set up after the finish of Bobby Gunns vs. Avalanche at February's Dead End in Hamburg when they did an angle where Dragunov attacked Avalanche and got beat up.

Most suspected this to be a bonus match of sorts, a hard-hitting battle between two former partners who have always delivered and as a way to get Dragunov on the show the day he was first available after two days of NXT UK tapings.

During ring introductions, ring announcer Thommy Giessen was handed another cue card and announced that the wXw championship board of directors had added a third man to the match at which point the Ringkampf/Imperium music played and Alexander Wolfe appeared to a big pop. Initially this was somewhat lackluster since it was a mix of Dragunov getting added to the world title match against Bad Bones two years ago and Wolfe appearing as a surprise with his old Sanity-gimmick last year.

They had a fun match with Dragunov initially suggesting Wolfe team with him, playing off their previous friendship and NXT UK contracts, but Wolfe refused.

The finish came when Dragunov hit Torpedo Moscow on Avalanche, who fell out of the ring. Wolfe then pinned Dragunov after a sitdown power bomb to win the title to a shocked reaction as nobody believed that to be a possibility.

Wolfe held the then-vacant title in 2014, ironically winning it after the then-champion Dragunov was out with a broken skull after suffering the injury at a WWE tryout in 2013. Wolfe cut a promo, saying that the title meant a lot: it meant that the champion had to be the best and defend it against all comers.

He then put the title down in the middle of the ring and said that he could not take it back with him to the U.S. After some boos, he reconsidered and said “F*ck it. I’ll stay in Germany and defend this title until somebody from the locker room takes it from me, but I’m not going to make it easy for them."

At this point, the big eye, which had distracted Lucky Kid in matches over the past few weeks including his first round loss to Simmons in 16 Carat, flashed on the screen. As Wolfe looked at it, he was attacked by two burly guys in black shirts (Abdul Kenan and Aytac Bahar, who teamed as Grup Arnasi in the Berlin-based GWF and also were trained there). Lucky ran out and confronted them, signaling to Wolfe to stay back before attacking him and the three then beat him down.

Lucky then cut a fiery, bitter promo as it was important to him to explain what he was doing here. He had been a part of various groups over the past few years and slowly lost his honor and his identity in the process. In RISE, he was the crazy guy; with Schadenfreude, he was the stupid, childish kid; with The Purge (Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer), he was their good friend Lucky. Now, he was the leader of his own group and would go by the name his mother had given him, Metehan (his actual real first name; he has Turkish roots but was born in Germany).

He said he would get everything back that was taken from him and that his new group would be called Ezel (which is Turkish for “Eternity” based on a show of the same name that seemingly aired in Turkey years ago). He slapped each of the Grup Anarsi members and then proceeded to beat down Wolfe some more.

Wolfe has since been confirmed for five upcoming shows (3/28 in Frankfurt, 3/29 in Erfurt, 4/17 in Limbach-Oberfrohna, 4/18 in his hometown of Dresden, and 4/19 in Leipzig). No matches have been confirmed, but matches against former champion Avalanche, Dragunov (maybe in Dresden as Dragunov was injured when they last wanted to do the match there in November), Metehan, and possibly a tag match against Grup Anarsi al seem like logical choices.

Shoot style reigns supreme with AMBITION 12 thanks to two young guns and a senior citizen BattlArts superfight

AMBITION, wXw’s take on the shoot style concept, keeps playing an important part at these big festival weekends. After almost abandoning the concept after four events (plus an almost forgotten AMBITION on the Road mini-tournament) back in 2013 due to low attendance, they brought it back as an experiment in October 2014 as part of the World Triangle League weekend with much better success as the hardcore fans in town from all over Europe ate the unique show up.

They moved it to March in 2016 and it has been a part of 16 Carat weekends ever since, expanding to a show in Toronto over SummerSlam weekend last year, as well as a “Wildcard Edition” this past October. Last year’s AMBITION 10 and AMBITION 11 in Toronto also featured Yuki Ishikawa, the legendary founder of BattlArts, who seemed to have the time of his life in his fights.

AMBITION also undoubtedly inspired concepts such as Bloodsport over WrestleMania weekend and Tetsujin: Hybrid Wrestling in the UK, which even added two more shows after its initial one shot event. It was at the final Tetsujin show in November, where Tassilo Jung, who is also wXw’s head referee, officiated some matches as Tetsujin and wXw had worked together from the start. It was there that he saw Ethan Allen and Luke Jacobs, the two members of the England-based Young Guns, have a match against each other and immediately offered to bring them in for AMBITION.

While both men are barely of drinking age (in the UK, at least), they trained at some of the premier schools of the country and put an intensity into their AMBITION match that would put more established grapplers to shame. Allen won their bout by submission, but both men won over the hearts of those in the Turbinenhalle that day. They also prevailed at the Jay-AA Tag Team Experts Wild Card Tournament later that night, a fun, parejas increibles style gauntlet, supposedly decided by an app that Absolute Andy programmed on the fly the night before (including creating all the graphics for it).

Then, there were Yuki Ishikawa and Daisuke Ikeda, longtime rivals and partners, who have been in the ring with each other on close to 100 occasions dating back to 1994 and at least 60 times in BattlArts. They gave people a first taste of what to expect when they teamed with each other against Chris Ridgeway & Daniel Makabe at the Inner Circle show, a prelude to the 16 Carat string of events. This was a dream match, especially for Makabe who traded BattlArts tapes as young as 14 and idolized Ishikawa ever since. He told me a story of when he first met Ishikawa in Toronto last summer. He told him about it and Ishikawa was baffled that some kid in the U.S. actually got his tapes from Japan. It was then when he told him “Maybe, one day, you and me, we work together”.

In their AMBITION fight, the impression people got was that they legitimately tried to end each other then and there. Never before have I seen two men aged 52 and 53, respectively, hit each other so hard with punches, slaps, kicks and shoot headbutts and getting so much joy out of the process. The headbutts especially were something else with both men having huge bumps on their forehead, but who am I to tell those two men what to do or not do. This was a fight that people should go out of their way to see.

They faced each other one more time the next night as Ishikawa teamed with longtime protégé Timothy Thatcher who had his farewell match in wXw for the time being against Ikeda & WALTER. Those four, the answer to the trivia question of who you would want to back you up in a bar fight, had another hell of an outing as you would expect from them. This was another symphony of violence, especially when Ishikawa no sold WALTER’s chops. Thatcher submitted Ikeda in an armbar after which the four men paid each other their respects.

Thatcher then refused to address the crowd and indicated he would choke up and cry if he did. Then, when the whole roster came out on the stage to say goodbye, he could not handle it anymore and left the ring through an exit by the crowd. Thus ended the era of Timothy Thatcher in wXw, the last and only real man in the world, who is kind enough to let us lesser men live in it.

Alexander James is an abusive boyfriend, Killer Kelly is no longer with NXT UK

A story that progressed throughout the weekend (and on World Women’s Day, nonetheless) was the story of Alexander James being an abusive, toxic boyfriend to his girlfriend Killer Kelly.

The backstory was that Kelly came out during a James vs. Jurn Simmons Singapore cane match back in December in order to stop James from putting a beating on Simmons, at which point, AJ shoved her down.

Kelly, who wrestled and beat newcomer Stephanie Maze (an Alex Wright trainee with a kickboxing background) at Inner Circle, then came out during James’ tournament match against Jeff Cobb on Friday to cheer him on. James didn’t take kindly to it, screamed at her, and ordered her to the back before eventually losing to Cobb.

On Saturday, James came out and demanded the best challenger available, at which point Alpha Kevin came out who James quickly beat with a cobra clutch. Kevin had his girlfriend, Melanie Gray, with him who was on crutches due to a knee injury. James kept attacking Kevin and also shoved down Gray, who entered the ring despite her injury to help out her boyfriend. Kelly came out to confront James, but in a backstage promo later, was defending him to Kevin and Melanie, claiming that he had a hard time and needed support. Melanie then told Kelly that she would show her what real support looked like and offered Kelly her title shot against Amale the next day.

Then, at Sunday’s Feature event, which was taped in the afternoon, Kelly and Stephanie Maze beat Valkyrie and Baby Allison with Maze getting the deciding pinfall. A furious James came out again and berated Kelly, telling her he lacked the killer instinct she once had and asked why she let a rookie get the deciding win. He also threatened to punch Maze at that point and sent Kelly to the back to watch what a real killer looked like after which he faced and beat CZW champion Joe Gacy.

On Sunday, Kelly (who refused the shot) had another backstage promo with James where he again told her she was wasting chances and how she got opportunities he never got and never used them to her advantage. Kelly and Gray then presented Maze as the new surprise challenger for Amale, who eventually beat her. James then came out once more and again berated Kelly, beat down Kevin and Levaniel, and threatened to beat up Melanie, telling Kelly to decide between the love of the fans or the love of him. Kelly, seemingly choosing James, sulked to the back while James beat up Kevin some more.

The promos here were really good and I am intrigued to see where the story goes as it gives both James and Kelly something to do, and also can involve Melanie while she recuperates her injury, plus Kevin, Levaniel, and possibly Amale and Karsten Beck when he returns.

Kelly also confirmed that she is no longer with NXT UK, which was obvious since she appeared for RevPro at their March 1st show, attacking Giselle Shaw and also wrestlling for EVE twice in non-dark matches after last being at NXT UK in October. Kelly also is the first female Ringkampf brand athlete.

Maze has a good look and good movement, but still is very rough around the edges and needs to improve her ring speed and precision. Then again, she started just over two years ago and had only around 60 matches, so changes should be noticeable soon especially if she spends more time at the wXw Academy.

As far as Beck (who is an on-screen GM as the “Director of Sports”), Jung said at the media panel that he had some issues (possibly medically related as he had surgery for a brain tumor twice before) but they would not comment on it and said they’d let him talk about what they were on his own time, and when those things were sorted out, he would probably be back.

wXwNOW Showcase a success, CZW returns to Germany

wXw’s streaming service wXwNOW features a plethora of different promotions from all around the world. Seven of them joined forces to present the wXwNOW Showcase with each of them presenting once match. The Showcase followed the somewhat ill-received #WrestlingDeutschland shows of the past two years which had a similar concept for smaller promotions in Germany. While the first show was fun, the second was mostly abysmal with many bad matches and talent clearly not ready for a bigger stage.

The Showcase was generally considered a success with every promoter very happy about it and most matches being good and well received by the crowd, especially the ones put on by CZW (wXw’s longtime U.S. partner promotion), SMASH (Canada), Rising Sun (Italy) and White Wolf Wrestling (Spain). DJ Hyde, the owner of CZW, came out after the Joe Gacy vs. Anthony Greene match and announced that CZW would return to Germany on November 14 in Frankfurt and would also “bring the ultra violence”. The date will be a doubleheader with CZW promoting an afternoon show and wXw promoting in the same venue in the evening.

Odds and ends from various panels and informal talks

Tassilo Jung said that they were monitoring the WWE Network situation closely and could not say what it meant for them or if anything would be changing regarding a multi tier system and their content eventually being on the Network. He said they didn’t have that level of access to WWE management and basically followed the situation of Michelle Wilson and George Barrios being gone from the company just like everybody else.

They also said that they did not see WWE pulling talent or having NXT UK tapings head to head as a major problem as they saw during the Tag Festival with all the late cancellations and that they could work around it. He said Lio Rush very much had been the top draw as most tickets moved after he was announced. He said WWE offered them a replacement but would not comment who it was. At that point, they had already gotten Jeff Cobb, who was available that weekend.

It looks like Veit Müller has burned his bridges with wXw for the time being as he told them just four days in advance that he would not be there. He pulled out of most of the Tag Festival in October due to complications his wife had with his pregnancy which was totally understandable. Jung said the minimum they expect from their talent is to show up to work and how they would not work with Müller for the time being. Müller later posted a tweet with his child, saying “some things are more important than wrestling,”

Francis Kaspin is out with a herniated/bulging disc. He tried various methods of therapy, none of which have really worked. They brought him in after his injury, but he eventually said he’d prefer not to come as each long car drive back and forth really hampered his progress in recovery. They will see when he feels better to incorporate him back into storylines.

They haven’t talked to Jazzy Gabert since she quit NXT UK, but no door ever is closed in wrestling and they’d be open to work with her again if the right opportunity arises.

They also were very understanding of the whole Alex Shelley situation and hope they will be able to bring him in one day. Felix Kohlenberg was been waiting for more than a decade to book him.

Killer Kelly seemingly quit NXT UK, but did not want to further elaborate on it. She appeared for RevPro and EVE in the UK after she last was at NXT UK tapings in early October. She also now is the first female Ringkampf athlete for their sports apparel/merchandise brand.

DJ Hyde talked extensively about the various deal they had for streaming their content, including wXwNOW, their own CZW Studios (on Pivotshare), IWTV, and FITE TV as well as Stone Cutter Media where they put old content on PPV around the world through Steve Karel, who also was instrumental in the old ECW television deals. He said while he didn’t have all the data yet, the FITE TV numbers looked really good. He said it was a challenge to upgrade old tapes to be HD ready and how each iPPV they did was a struggle as the money will not come in for months. He said they would be simulcasting their first show on IWTV and FITE TV and also would get on PPV soon.

Methehan (the former Lucky Kid) reiterated to me that his new group, Ezel, was not to be understood as any kind of Turkish nationalist group and that he very much considers himself German as he was born and raised in the country.

The full 39-minute media panel with the wXw office can also be viewed here.


wXw Inner Cirlce 9 (March 5, 2020 – attendance: 170/sold out, wXw Academy, Essen/Germany)

  • Julian Pace pinned Rust Taylor after the Best Moonsault Ever (9:22)
  • Avalanche pinned “Goldenboy” Santos after a DRSKR Bomb (6:44)
  • Four Way: Marius Al-Ani beat The Rotation, Hektor and Vertigo after pinning Vertigo with a Diamond Driver (4:24)
  • Jay Skillet pinned Absolute Levandy (Levaniel) after an FtY (9:57): Pure comedy gold, with Levaniel doing a spot-on Absolute Andy impersonation
  • Killer Kelly pinned Stephanie Maze after the Carnation Revolution (9:17)
  • Shigehiro Irie pinned Scotty Davis after a Beast Bomber (8:30)
  • Daisuke Ikeda & Yuki Ishikawa beat Chris Ridgeway & Daniel Makabe when Ikeda pinned Ridgeway after a high kick (17:44): Super fun shoot-style match with everybody being great at the style

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2020 – Night 1 (March 6, 2020 – attendance: 1,250, Turbinenhalle 1, Oberhausen/Germany)

  • Alternate Four Way Dance: Rust Taylor defeated Levaniel, Hektor & Scotty Davis when he tapped out Levaniel with the Rings of Saturn (6:30)
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: “Speedball” Mike Bailey pinned Chris Ridgeway after a Flamingo Driver (12:55)
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: Jurn Simmons pinned Lucky Kid after a piledrive (4:32): The eye appeared again at the beginning of the match, prompting Lucky to almost get pinned right away
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: The Rotation pinned Puma King after Victory over Gravity (8:57)
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: Eddie Kingston pinned Daniel Makabe after the Backfist to the Future (9:33)
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: Bandido pinned Julian Pace after a Top Rope Fallaway Moonsault (9:39)
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: Shigehiro Irie pinned Black Taurus iafter a Beast Bomber (10:30)
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: Jeff Cobb pinned Alexander James after Tour of the Island (12:44)
  • 16 Carat Gold first round: Cara Noir beat Marius Al-Ani via ref stoppage after Al-Ani passed out in the Blackout Sleeper (11:32)
  • wXw World Tag Team Championship: Jay AA (Jay Skillet & Absolute Andy) beat Pretty Bastards (Maggot & Prince Ahura) (c) after a belt shot and the JAA-Klasse (15:47): This was a fun, very good match. Bobby Gunns and Norman Harras came out at one point, handed the belts to the bastards who clocked Jay-AA with them but didn’t get the pin; referee Tassilo Jung then caught Gunns and Harras in the ring with the belts a second time and threw them out, allowing Jay-AA to use the belts and then hit JAA-Klasse for the win and title change.

WrestlingKULT #15: Früh Choppen 2020 (March 7, 2020/morning, sold out, Kulttempel, Oberhausen/Germany)

  • Christianium Le Surrealiste beat Mot van Kunder
  • Kasey Owens beat Molly Spartan
  • Three Way Match: Mexxberg beat Mike D and Tristan Archer
  • Carnage beat Rico Bushido
  • WrestlingKULT No Limits Title Four Way Match (vacant): Goldenboy Santos beats Durancon and Julian Pace and Norman Harras to win the title
  • WrestlingKULT Title Match: Tom LaRuffa beat Absolute Andy to win the title
  • WrestlingKULT Title Match: Tom LaRuffa beat Tristan Archer (0:03)

AMBITION 12 (March 7, 2020/noon – attendance: 488, Turbinenhalle 1, Oberhausen/Germany)

  • First Round Match: Daniel Makabe submitted Kevin Lloyd with an STF
  • First Round Match: Chris Ridgeway beat Vincent Heisenberg via TKO after a head kick: Heisenberg replaced Veit Müller here and is actually the son of Baron von Hagen, the first ever 16 Carat Gold winner back in 2006
  • First Round Match: Rust Taylor submitted Tyson Dux with a modified double arm bar
  • First Round Match: Scotty Davis submitted “Speedball” Mike Bailey with an arm bar/hammerfists combo
  • Next Generation AMBITION Fight: Ethan Allen submitted Luke Jacobs with a double arm stretch and kicks to the back: Really impressive performance by those two, they should be back in wXw soon and will also debut for PROGRESS at the end of the month
  • Semifinal: Daniel Makabe submitted Scotty Davis with an upside down armbar headscissors combo
  • Semifinal: Chris Ridgeway beat Rust Taylor by TKO after a head kick
  • AMBITION Superfight: Daisuke Ikeda knocked out Yuki Ishikawa with a punt kick: This was unreal violence between two senior citizens who looked to kill each other with death
  • Finals: Daniel Makabe submitted Chris Ridgeway with an Indian-style Cattle Mutilation

wXwNOW Showcase (March 7, 2020/afternoon – attendance: 436, Turbinenhalle 1, Oberhausen/Germany)

  • Wrestling Kult (Germany) presents: Carnage pinned Mexxberg with a crucifix hold
  • White Wolf Wrestling (Spain) presents: Rizo pinned Kaiden after a diving knee
  • British Empire Wrestling (UK) presents: BEW Shooting Star title: Lexa Valo (c) submitted Kat von Kaige with a Dragon sleeper
  • CZW (U.S.) presents: CZW World title: Joe Gacy (c) pinned Anthony Greene after a discus lariat
  • Bodyslam Wrestling (Denmark) presents: Three-Way-Dance: Peter Olisander beat Michael Fynne & Emeritus after pinning Fynne with a roll-up
  • Rising Sun Wrestling (Italy) presents: Rising Sun title: Nicolo Inverardi (c) pinned Luca de Pazzi after a Code Red
  • SMASH Wrestling: Four-Way-Dance: Tarik beat Sebastian Suave, Tyson Dux & Brent Banks after pinning Suave with a Flying Curb Stomp

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2020 – Night 2 (March 7, 2020 – attendance: 1,600/sold out, Turbinenhalle 1, Oberhausen/Germany)

  • 16 Carat Gold quarter final: Cara Noir submitted Jeff Cobb with the Blackout Sleeper (11:40)
  • 16 Carat Gold quarter final: Eddie Kingston pinned The Rotation after a Backfist to the Future (9:26)
  • Marius Al-Ani pinned Daniel Makabe after a Diamond Driver (9:44): This was preceded by a backstage segment, where Al-Ani challenged Makabe after his AMBITION 12 tournament win earlier in the day
  • The Young Guns won the Jay AA Tag Team Experts Wildcard Gauntlet (24:09): The build-up to this was hilarious, after Andy cracked up the crowd with his dad humor, then claimed he had designed a graphic for the match with the “paid version of Microsoft Paint” and studied color theory for it, plus he had developed an app which would randomly choose partners for the gauntlet.
  • Puma King & Julian Pace beat Leon van Gasteren & Lucky Kid when Puma pinned Lucky after a sitdown powerbomb (5:42): This had Pace and van Gasteren, actual tag partners against each other, which Pace was upset about
  • Black Taurus & Avalanche beat Puma King & Julian Pace when Taurus pinned Puma King (4:22)
  • Black Taurus & Avalanche beat Tarik & Norman Harras when Taurus pinned Tarik after a Spinning Fishermans Buster (3:42): Harras and Tarik didn’t get along, leading to a challenge and an eight men tag at the wXw Feature Event taped on Sunday afternoon, where harras, The Pretty bastards and Oliver Carter faced The Four Pillars of SMASH
  • Black Taurus & Avalanche beat DJ Hyde & Levaniel when Avalanche pinned Hyde after a DRSKR Bomb (0:46): This was amazing. Hyde was upset that Levaniel, who does a sleazy “Prince of the Stars” gimmick, where he claims that he has a castle in the sky, sees the most shooting stars in the sky and wants to spread “the love” was his partner. While Hyde was getting beat up in the ring, Levaniel, totally oblivious of what was going on, cut this amazing promo about how his father was a death match wrestler, who made him sleep in broken glass and would set his blanket on fire before putting him to bed. Hyde then chased him away.
  • Scotty Davis & Chris Ridgeway beat Black Taurus & Avalanche when Davis submitted Taurus in the Rolling Prawn Hold (2:01)
  • The Young Guns (Ethan Allen & Luke Jacobs) beat Scotty Davis & Chris Ridgeway after a Gotch-style Piledriver/PK combo on Davis (7:36) to earn a shot at the wXw tag team championship
  • Alexander James submitted Alpha Kevin in 2:02 with a cobra clutch: James kept attacking Kevin, then shoved down an injured Malenie gray who came to make the save; Killer Kelly then came out to confront him
  • 16 Carat Gold quarter final: Mike Bailey pinned Bandido with a Meteora Dream (17:36): Unreal good, match of the weekend. The fans showered both men with money afterwards and it was one of the all time great 16 Carat matches
  • 16 Carat Gold quarterfinal: Jurn Simmons pinned Shigehiro Irie after a piledriver (9:01)
  • wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship - Title vs. Career: Bobby Gunns (c) pinned David Starr after an Ehrenmann Driver (41:15)

wXw We Love Wrestling Feature Event (March 8, 2020/afternoon – attendance: 450, Turbinenhalle 1, Oberhausen/Germany)

This takes place chronologically between Night 2 and Night 3 as far as storyline progression goes

  • Four-Way-Dance: Scotty Davis beat Daniel Makabe, Rust Taylor & Anthony Greene after pinning Greene with a Spinning Fishermans Buster (7:59)
  • Eight-Man-Tag-Team Match: Pretty Bastards, Oliver Carter & Norman Harras beat The Four Pillars of SMASH (Tarik, Sebastian Suave, Tyson Dux & Brent Banks) when Carter pinned Suave after a Redlight Driver/springboard moonsault combo (16:43)
  • Marius Al-Ani pinned Chris Ridgeway after a Diamond Driver (6:35)
  • Stephanie Maze & Killer Kelly beat Baby Allison & Valkyrie when Maze pinned Allison after the Black Mass (7:24)
  • Alexander James submitted Joe Gacy with a corba clutch (7:04)
  • wXw World Tag Team Championship: Jay AA (Jay Skillet & Absolute Andy) (c) beat The Young Guns (Ethan Allen & Luke Jacobs) after the JAA-Klasse on Jacobs (14:42). Bobby Gunns, Norman Harras, Oliver Carter and The Pretty Bastards attacked Jay-AA after the match, until Julian Pace and Scotty Davis made the save
  • WALTER pinned Shigehiro Irie after a big splash of the top rope (12:51)

wXw 16 Carat Gold 2020 – Night 3 (March 8, 2020 – attendance: 1,291, Turbinenhalle 1, Oberhausen/Germany)

  • 16 Carat Gold semi-final: “Speedball” Mike Bailey pinned Jurn Simmons after a Flamingo Driver (10:40)
  • 16 Carat Gold semi-final: Cara Noir submitted Eddie Kingston with the Blackout Sleeper (8:15)
  • wXw Women:s Championship: Amale pinned Stephanie Maze after the Champions Maker (9:06) Maze replaced the injured Melanie Gray here, after Killer Kelly refused the shot since she believed she hadn’t earned it; after the match, there war another scene with Alexander James and Kelly
  • Special Attraction Tag Team Match: Timothy Thatcher & Yuki Ishikawa beat WALTER & Daisuke Ikeda when Thatcher submitted Ikeda with an arm bar (16:42)
  • wXw Shotgun Championship: Alexander Wolfe beat Avalanche (c) & Ilja Dragunov after pinning Dragunov with a sit-down power bomb (12:44)
  • Bandido, Julian Pace & Jeff Cobb beat Puma King, Black Taurus & Hektor when Bandido pinned Hektor with the 21 Plex (12:28)
  • 16 Carat Gold finals: Cara Noir beat Speedball Mike Bailey via ref stoppage in the Blackout Sleeper (28:27)