By Liam Byrne @TVtimelimit
So here we are now – the third day of what had been a brilliant 16 Carat Gold Tournament for WXW. Could they maintain their momentum through a final day full with the tournament climax and some other heated encounters? Let’s find out.
Ilja Dragunov vs Bad Bones (Semi-final)
It is hard to really describe the extent to which Dragunov is over with the crowd at this point. These are two hard hitting heavyweights and an early suplex attempt would see both men tumble over the top rope to a ‘Holy shit’ chant. Bones speared Ilja from the apron into the ring to halt a suicide dive attempt, followed be a teased crucifix bomb into the chairs only to hit him into the apron instead. This is where Ilja works the best, fighting from underneath, and Bones just bullies him with Irish whips into the corner. An attempted Ilja comeback saw his momentum stopped as a crossbody attempt would be reversed into a Codebreaker before Bones hit an excellent suicide dive to the floor. The obligatory strike exchange saw both men teeing off, with Ilja then no-selling a half nelson suplex and planting Bones with a pumphandle spinning powerbomb for a near fall. A surprise decapitation kick by Bones almost stole the match, but the Torpedo Moscow finally would see Ilja through to the final.
Matthew Riddle vs WALTER (Semifinal)
Another really cool match on paper, especially with Riddle more than capable of handling WALTER’s punishment. An early chop and big boot look ominious for Riddle, but he would land his Pele kick, flying forearm and senton combo to show he was more than a match for the big Austrian. In an attempt to slow down Riddle, WALTER targeted the ankle with a kneedrop. The ring steps, apron and ringpost were then all used to work over the leg of Riddle with aplomb. A no-sell on a German suplex would see Riddle get a two count after a running knee and fisherman buster, with a swanton bomb nearfall shortly after. However, his leg was still a problem and WALTER would slap on the ankle lock to regain control. A last ditch triangle choke – with elbows – seemed to have WALTER in trouble, but he had the strength to powerbomb Riddle out of the hold. One more powerbomb was all it took for WALTER to win and head to face Ilja Dragunov in the final.
Koji Kanemoto vs Bobby Gunns
This is the play-off of needle between the two men stemming from the previous evenings and Kanemoto jumped Gunns before the bell, blasting his opponent with the facewash after a kick combination. What can only be described as a crotch thrust to a seated Kanemoto is Gunns first real offense, and only leads to him eating several more kicks. Gunns would have limited success, though a second rope European uppercut allowed him to work the arm. Kanemoto’s big submission weapon, the ankle lock, would be applied three times, whilst he would also get close falls off of a falcon arrow and a big kick. Gunns ultimately stole the victory from Kanemoto with a roll-up and bridge pinning combination for the three count.
WXW Tag Team Title Gauntlet Match
Paul London and Da Mack vs Chris Colen and Francis Kaspin
Five teams met in the next contest for A4’s WXW Tag Team Titles. The two teams who opened the Gauntlet match only fought for a few minutes, but London and Da Mack showed some good tag team moves, whilst Colen looked impressive with a tiltawhirl rope-assisted powerslam in particular looking pretty unique. Kaspin dropped the fall after getting thrown off of the top into a Mack RKO and having London nail the shooting star press for the three.
Julian Dreissker and Julian Nero were next out and it would take the Avalanche dragging London to the outside for them to finally take control of a lively face team. Just as it seemed London and Da Mack might beat the second team in a row, the Avalanche kicked out of the RKO/second rope shooting star press combination. One spinout powerbomb later, Dreissker and Nero had progressed.
The tag team champions, A4, were out next, but Marius Al-ani was clearly injured the previous night and had a sizeable bandage on his ear. Absolute Andy would hit Nero with a spinebuster and an Absolute kneedrop, but a collision with Al-ani saw the injured man crushed against the ringpost by an Avalanche … well, avalanche. Al-ani would be taken backstage to be worked on, leaving Andy fighting the odds. Luckily, he managed to avoid an avalanche and drop Nero with a superkick for a quick three count to eliminate the two Julians.
Ringkampf were always going to be the main challengers and with the numbers advantage, Andy is in a lot of trouble. Dieter Jr and Thatcher are great dick heels, and they methodically beat up on Andy with a sneer never too far from their lips. Andy almost steals the victory after Dieter mistakenly hit Thatcher with an enziguri and the champ connected with a superkick for a near fall. Just as things seemed to be slipping away for the champs, Al-ani would return to a big pop – though this would only make the ending even more anti-climactic. Considering the initial fiery comeback, a tag back to Andy shortly after led to a small package, then a reversed small package, for the champions to retain. Just an oddly quick finish that didn’t really capitalise on the return of Al-ani.
This was more than made up for in the aftermath as all hell broke loose. WALTER would come down to join in on a beatdown of both A4 and Colen/Kaspin after the rookies headed out to try and help. CMJ would get involved, before Karsten Beck and Kim Ray would also head down, with Ray being the last man standing after a nice exploder suplex on Dieter Jr and a spinning kick on WALTER.
David Starr vs Jurn Simmons vs Emil Sitoci vs Cody Rhodes (WXW Shotgun Title Match)
After some bromance interviews with Starr and Simmons, the other two join for another invitational challenge match for Starr’s Shotgun Title. Whilst this was never going to be played for as many laughs as the one from the previous night, it does start with Emil being made the butt of a lot of humorous interplay involving too sweet hand signals and Rhodes’ lack of desire to work with him. Indeed, it is Sitoci who eats a lot of the punishment in this match as he would have a split legged moonsault blocked by Starr, be put in the figure four leglock by Rhodes, before getting dropped hard in a piledriver by Simmons. An impressive athlete, Starr once again showcased his athleticism with an impressive leap to the top for a belly to belly suplex on Rhodes. After a collection of moves to the outside, the referee would get bumped by a sliding Rhodes, allowing Sitoci to clock Rhodes with the belt. As Starr debated using the gold himself, the referee would stop him, leaving him open to a snapmare driver and allowing Sitoci to pick up the victory and the title. Not the ending I expected, but a fun match nonetheless.
Alpha Kevin vs Marius von Beethoven (No-rope match)
A match that has a storied past but one that I unfortunately am not completely aware of, Kevin and Beethoven dragged anyone who didn’t know about their feud into this contest with brawling and violence that was engaging from the start when they brandished steel chairs at each other. Melanie Gray would come out near the start, only for Beethoven to punch her hard in the face! This at least gave Kevin enough time to stop Beethoven leaving, leading to a monumental beatdown. Chair shots, kendo shots, slams onto the apron edge; Kevin was out to destroy Beethoven. However, an attempted dive would see Kevin take out a row of chairs, allowing Marius to finally mount some offense. Kevin’s desire to attack would cost him several times, as he would also charge into a ringpost. Beethoven’s kendo stick shots attempted to work the leg, but an attempted chair shot later on would see Kevin punch straight through the chair! Gray would reappear to allow Kevin to use her crutches, shortly before a package piledriver leads to a two count as Kevin pulled Marius up off of the canvas to dump him with a package piledriver through a ringside table. This time, he gets the three count to conclude this absolute war.
BT Gunn and Donovan Dijak (w/Cody Rhodes) vs ACH and Mike Bailey
A tag team match including five men who have been excellent throughout the three events, this is a good buffer between the no-rope match and the 16 Carat Gold final. ACH and Bailey had the early going all their own way, with multiple kicks by Bailey on Dijak supplemented by a running slap after multiple rope runs by ACH. It would take the managerial involvement of Rhodes, who slapped Bailey from the outside, to put Bailey in peril. Bailey eventually would kick at both men from the ground in an attempt to fight back, with Gunn then dropping Dijak by mistake with a rolling elbow. The match would begin to break down at this point, with ACH landing a plancha and Bailey hitting his kick flurry on Dijak. A flapjack/RKO comibination almost got the win for Dijak and Gunn, before ACH was dropped with a tombstone on the rampway. However, a Feast Your Eyes/elbow combination only gets a two on Bailey. With this kicked out of, there is only going to be one winner – ACH would hit a jumping RKO from the outside into the ring, drop Dijak with a brainbuster and Bailey would land the shooting star knees for a three count. A very good match, if a little overkill on the spots – the Feast Your Eyes/rolling elbow combination kickout a particularly egregious example.
WALTER vs Ilja Dragunov (Final)
This match is straight up ridiculous (in a good way), with the best bully in the promotion going up against the best wrestler at gaining sympathy. Unsurprisingly, what we get is WALTER absolutely punishing Ilja throughout the contest, with Dragunov unwilling to back down at all. In the opening moments, Dragunov would hit his Torpedo Moscow to take WALTER off of the apron, as well as landing a suicide dive to the outside, but a powerbomb onto the apron soon had WALTER in control. WALTER’s shovel-like hands bruised and battered Dragunov’s chest, whilst the sleeper would be used several times in an attempt to weaken the Russian. Still, Dragunov came back. A lariat and side suplex got him a two count; a sitout powerbomb using the second rope for assistance another two.
An O’Connor roll would be reversed into a sleeper hold in the center of the ring, but Dragunov’s only dropped two times. Realising he needed to do more, WALTER punished him with alariat and a powerbomb, but still only picked up a two. Then followed a chop battle of Kobashi/Sasaki levels of intensity, with a chop from WALTER at one point even cutting Dragunov’s chest open. Dragunov would land the Torpedo Moscow shortly afterwards, but only managed to get a two count. A return to the sleeper followed by a Rikishi driver got WALTER another two count as he couldn’t put Dragunov away. A big slap would send Ilja back into the ropes, but this would allow him to come back and crack WALTER with the Torpedo Moscow for the huge three count and 16 Carat Gold Tournament victory!
An amazing tournament. An amazing final night. With the globalisation of wrestling at this time, and the ease with which people around the world can check out WXW, a star is born with the victory of Ilja Dragunov. But credit goes to WALTER, and pretty much all of the wrestlers for three shows of action that only continued to improve and develop as the nights went on, culminating in a third night that will be up there for show of the year at the end of 2017.