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WXW “16 CARAT GOLD 2016” TOURNAMENT
NIGHT 2 REVIEW
MARCH 12, 2016
The show was introduced by Alan Counihan and Jeremy Graves. The crowd was red-hot to kick the show off with non-tournament action.
(1) Tyler Bate vs. Silas Young. The fans chanted mustache city before the start of the match. Alan mentioned that Bate is still in his teens as the announcers discussed experience playing a factor in this match. The fans tried to fire up behind Bate after Young got the upper hand. Bate eventually fired back and hit an uppercut out of the corner. Young fired back and hit his signature back breaker/lariat combination for a 2 count. They went back and forth at a fast pace. Young eventually hit an ace crusher, but Bate managed to kick out at 2. They went to a spot where both men hit clotheslines at the same time three times and a row and both men were down! Wow! They went back and forth again and Bate hit a brainbuster that was good for the win.
WINNER: Tyler Bate at 9:34.
Star rating: (***) – This was a really good back and forth opening contest. The crowd was really hot behind Bate in this match.
(2) Da Mack & Big Daddy Walter vs. Shane Strickland & David Starr. Walter dominated Starr after hitting some thunderous chops during the early going. He tagged in Mack, who continued to work over Starr. Strickland tagged in, but Mack cut him off. He then wiped out Strickland and Starr. Walter got the tag and went to work on Strickland with a big series of avalanche lariats in the corner. Strickland took a beating for a long period of time as Walter and Mack tagged in and out to work him over. At one point, Walter nailed Strickland with a huge slap to the face.
Starr got the hot tag and ran wild. He wiped out Mack with a dive through the ropes. He went for a dive through the ropes on Walter, but got caught and slammed on the apron. Strickland went for a dive through the ropes as well, but Walter caught him and powerbombed him onto Starr. Starr took a beating from Starr and Mack as they worked him over inside the ring. Starr finally tagged out to Strickland, who went to work on Walter. The action broke down and Starr ran into the ring. He managed to trip Walter as he came off the ropes. Strickland then hit a springboard 450 that was good for a 2 count after Starr made the cover. Walter fired back and caught Starr with a roaring lariat for a near fall. Both teams went back and forth as the ref lost control of the action. Strickland came off the top with a double stomp on Mack. Starr then hit a straightjacket German for the win.
Walter did not look happy with Mack after the match. Walter had words with Mack before heading to the back. Mack was left alone in the ring and the fans fired up with a big chant for him.
WINNERS: David Starr & Shane Strickland at 11:08
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a hot tag match. Starr has been impressive on both nights of this tournament so far, but he was particularly impressive here working well with Strickland and having some good big vs. small exchanges with Walter. The crowd really ate up the action once the ref lost control of things down the stretch.
(3) Ilja Dragunov vs. Axel Dieter Jr. in a 2016 16 Carat Gold 2nd Round match. Counihan mentions that both men have been involved in a long-term feud. He made it clear that both men hate each other. The fans chanted back and forth for both men. Dragunov no-sold a huge chop and hit a Saito suplex and the fans fired up. Dieter tried to fire back, but got caught with a big elbow for a 2 count. Dieter finally caught Dragunov with a European uppercut. Both men went back and forth exchanging big chops. The fans were rabid as they took turns chanting for both men. Dieter took Dragunov down with a diving European uppercut off the turnbuckles.
The fans were going crazy with Dieter in control. One portion of the audience tried to rally behind Dragunov while another tried to drown them out with boos. Dragunov no-sold a Regal-plex and both men began exchanging slaps to the face as the fans went nuts. Dieter finally decked Dragunov with a huge slap to the face. Dragunov fired back and turned Dieter inside out with a lariat for a near fall. Dieter fired back and hit a Regal-plex with a bridge and it was good for the win.
WINNER: Axel Dieter Jr. in 8:56 to advance to the Third Round of the 2016 16 Carat Gold Tournament.
Star rating: (**3/4) – This was an all-out brawl from start to finish. Most of the action involved both guys hitting each other really hard and no-selling stuff. The fans were absolutely rabid for the action, but the finish left me a bit disappointed.
(4) Angelico vs. Mike Bailey vs. Marty Scurll vs. Trevor Lee in a Four-Way Dance. The action in this international four-way was fast and furious right from the start. Scrull went for a chicken wing on Angelico, but Bailey broke it up the pin with a moonsault double knee strike. Lee and Angelico brawled up the entrance ramp. Lee suplexed him on the stage. Bailey went to the turnbuckles for a shotting star double knee, but missed. Scurll went for the pin, but Lee came out of nowhere to break up the pin with a leaping double stomp over the ropes from the entrance ramp.
Scurll went for another chicken wing on Lee, but Bailey broke it up with a shotting star double knee strike off the top. He made the cover on Lee, but he managed to kick out at the last second. Bailey and Scurll brawled into the crowd, but Lee wiped them out with a huge flip dive over the ring to the floor and the fans went nuts. Angelico got a running start and wiped out all three of his opponents with a huge splash off the stage to the floor. Scurll countered a crucifix bomb attempt from Angelico and got a chicken wing submission for the win.
Scurll had a cut above his eye that was visible after the match was over.
WINNER: Marty Scurll at 8:02
Star rating: (***1/4) – This wasn’t bad for mindless action. They really turned things up nicely during the final two minutes. The first six minutes were fine, but nothing memorable.
(5) Will Ospreay vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. in a 2016 16 Carat Gold 2nd Round match. The fans seemed to favor Ospreay during the early going as they chanted his name. Ospreay danced around after hitting an arm drag on Sabre. Ospreay played to the crowd and went for a springboard, but Sabre managed to nail him with a big uppercut to the back. Ospreay favored his neck as Sabre went to work on him. Sabre hit a series of big stomps to Ospreay’s neck in the corner as the crowd was split between both men. Ospreay suddenly escaped a stranglehold submission attempt and rolled right up into a handspring that wiped out Sabre. The fans fired up as both men attempted to recover. Ospreay went on the attack and the fans fired up. Ospreay signaled for the rainmaker, but Sabre blocked it with an uppercut. Sabre then ate a slingshot German.
Ospreay hit the Sasuke special to the floor and followed up with a series of high-flying moves capped by a Phoenix splash off the second turnbuckle, but Sabre kicked out at the last second. Sabre caught Ospreay a short time later and folded him up into a tiger suplex for a 2 count. They went back and forth and Ospreay caught Sabre with a one man running Spanish fly that left both men down on the mat. Wow! Both men ended up trading blows in the middle of the ring. Sabre hit a forearm, but Ospreay nailed him with an enzuguri. Ospreay tried for a double spring off the top, but Sabre nailed him with a dropkick. Ospreay ended up hung upside down, but Sabre stood him up. He tried for a top rope dragon suplex, but Ospreay blocked it.
They went back and forth and Ospreay eventually hit a springboard ace crusher. He then went up top, but missed a 630. Sabre hit a penalty kick and a Liger bomb, but Ospreay kicked out at one. Sabre immediately got a double arm submission while sitting on top of Ospreay’s back and he tapped right away.
WINNER: Zack Sabre, Jr. at 12:39 to advance to the Semi-Final round of the 2016 16 Carat Gold Tournament
Star rating: (***1/2) – This match wasn’t nearly as good as some of the matches I’ve seen these two have in Progress in EVOLVE. The first half of the match was rather pedestrian by their standard. The story of Sabre working over Ospreay’s neck was fairly standard as well. This did get quite good down the stretch, but overall it felt like something was missing from this match.
(6) Melanie Gray vs. Toni Storm. Storm got right in Gray’s face before the match began. Gray took out Storm after she beat Bates on the previous night. Storm ran wild early, but Gray cut her off and began working her over. They said each women wants to be the resident diva of wXw. Gray dominated the action for a long period of time. Storm finally fired back up top and hit a superplex as one as the announcers oversold the quality of this match and the card overall as being one of the greatest ever on European soil. Gray blocked a running hip attack and got a Texas cloverleaf, but Storm got to the ropes. Storm suplexed Gray into the ropes. They then went to a poorly timed spot where Storm missed a running hip attack. Storm hit a hip attack in the corner a short time later, but Gray fought out of a fisherman buster attempt. Gray then hit an ace crusher for the win.
WINNER: Melanie Gray at 6:53 – The action was fine, but unremarkable here. The crowd was fired up beyond belief for action that was just average. I really didn’t like the story they tried to tell here either, as Storm finally hit a flying hip attack only to be pinned right after finally landing it.
(7) Sami Callihan vs. Timothy Thatcher in a 2016 16 Carat Gold Second Round match. Both men simply stared at each other after the bell rung from opposite sides of the ring. Both men went back and forth on the mat until Callihan finally kicked Thatcher away. Thatcher backed Callihan into the corner and Callihan spit at him. Gross. Thatcher fired back with a big slap to the face that decked Callihan. Thatcher went for a quick Fujiwara arm bar attempt, but Callihan managed to escape. Thatcher dragged Callihan to the apron and slammed him chest-first into it several times. Callihan went for a springboard lariat on the apron, but Thatcher cut him off with a lariat of his own. The fans chanted for both men as Thatcher worked over Callihan back inside the ring.
Callihan eventually fired back and hit a big running face wash in the corner. Thatcher blocked an attempt at a second face wash. Both men then hit punches at the same time. They repeated the spot and then both men went down after kicking each other in the head at the same time. Both men charged at each other after getting up and they both connected with a kick to the head. Both men were down once again and they struggled to get to their feet. They repeated the spot for the third time and the fans lost a little steam before firing up once again.
Thatcher caught Callihan with a Saito suplex once they got up that was good for a near fall. Callihan held Thatcher up and drilled him with a Saito suplex and then a running forearm, but Thatcher kicked out at one. Thatcher caught Callihan by surprise with a short headbutt a short time later. Thatcher then applied a Fujiwara arm bar. Callihan faded and the ref checked his arm. Callihan nearly dropped his arm for a third time, but managed to get his foot on the bottom rope.
Callihan began targeting Thatcher’s leg from the ground as he tried to make a comeback. They then began to trade bombs in the middle of the ring. Both men traded slaps. Thatcher hit another headbutt, but Callihan fired back with a headbutt of his own. Thatcher ate a big powerbomb and a running kick to the back of the head, but he managed to kick out at the last second. Callihan went for a stretch muffler, but Thatcher got a cross-arm breaker. Callihan eventually tried to break it with big forearms and Thatcher finally let go of the hold and the fans fired up. Callihan then held on to Thatcher’s legs and stomped him over and over. He then applied a stretch muffler. Callihan transitioned the hold and began kicking Thatcher in the head. The ref finally called for the bell with Thatcher appearing to go limp.
Callihan stopped Thatcher from leaving the ring after the match. He offered Thatcher his hand and they shook hands and hugged. Thatcher refused to let Callihan raise his hand. He raised Sami’s hand and looked despondent as he left Callihan alone in the ring.
WINNER: Sami Callihan at 16:03 to advance to the semi-final round of the 2016 16 Carat Gold Tournament.
Star rating: (***3/4) – The first half of the match was a bit slow, but they really turned the heat up during the final six or seven minutes of the match with some great hard-hitting exchanges that built up to a fantastic finish.
A video package aired with Vince Russo counting the pin as Beck won the WXW Unified World Wrestling Championship. Oh boy. They ran down a list of people Beck had defended the title against. The package then focused on the challengers Andy and Klinger. The footage showed Beck pinning both men. Beck’s second, Jurn Simmons was shown saying a triple threat match was unfair to Beck. He then asked to be added to the main event so it would be a fair match. Beck said it would be like a handicap match if he had to face Klinger and Andy. Beck continued to yell at wXw’s director of authority. He looked upset, but eventually said ok and walking away after consulting with his people.
(8) WXW Unified World Wrestling champion Karsten Beck vs. Absolute Andy vs. John Klinger vs. Jurn Simmons in a Fatal Four Way for the WXW Unified World Wrestling Championship. All four men had very elaborate entrances by independent standards. They then did the formal introductions. Beck got a big pop when he was introduced as the champion. Andy kicked Klinger out of the wing. Simmons and Beck then immediately began working him over using the numbers game to their advantage. Andy eventually fired back with a double clothesline and went to town on both men until Klinger ran into the ring and nailed him with a dropkick. Klinger focused on Beck with the other two men down on the mat.
Beck fired back and wiped him out with a dropkick off the turnbuckles. He made the cover and Simmons didn’t even bother to break up the pin. Klinger managed to kick out, as Simmons and Beck began working together once again. Klinger mounted a comeback and sent Simmons to the floor. He then went after Beck, but Andy nailed him with a big spinebuster. Klinger made a comeback on Beck a short time later and grabbed a cross face. He let it go when Simmons was about to recover. He applied it on Simmons. Andy tried to run in, but Klinger countered him and hit an F5 into a cross-face. Andy struggled, but managed to get to the ropes.
Klinger back dropped Andy over the ropes and onto the entrance ramp. He hit a slingshot spear through the ropes on Simmons, but Beck cut him off with a running knee from behind. Andy cleaned house on the floor. He then got back into the ring and told Beck to bring it. Both men exchanged blows as the fans fired up. Andy got the upper hand and hit a big slam. Beck fired back and caught Andy with a flatliner for a near fall. Andy fired back with a back stabber and tuned up the band. Simmons then ran into the ring to take the superkick. Andy then hit a huge snow plow variation, but Klinger pulled the ref to the floor to break up the pin.
Andy and Klinger went at it inside the ring. They battled up top and Andy hit a super hurricanrana, but Klinger no-sold it and hit a series of forearms. Klinger went up top a short time later and hit a big elbow off the top. Klinger set up in the corner, but walked right into a superkick from Andy for a 2 count. Andy got a big pair of plyers. He went after Klinger with them, but he countered him into the crossface. Andy tried to roll over, but Klinger held on. The ref checked Andy’s arm and Beck blocked his arm from touching the mat for a third time. He dragged Andy to the floor.
Beck then ran into the ring and a big gonzo bomb. They went to a big sequence of moves that ended with all four men down and the fans fired up. Simmons suddenly surprised Beck with a rollup for a 2 count after he had sent Andy to the floor. Beck sold shock. The announcers said Simmons had looked out for Beck for all these months to make sure he kept the title. Beck yelled at Simmons and they went face to face, but Andy and Klinger ran back into the ring to wipe them out. Andy and Klinger tuned up the band. Andy nailed Simmons with a superkick and Klinger followed up with a spear. Andy ducked a charge in the corner and nailed Klinger with a F5. He then surprised beck with a big superkick when he ran into the ring, but Beck kicked out at the last second. The fans fired up as Beck tried to drag himself to his feet.
Andy hit another F5, but Beck kicked out at the last second. Andy went under the ring and got a table. He set it up on the floor and dragged Beck to the outside. He then dropped Beck onto the apron. Beck fought back, but Andy nailed him with a superkick. Klinger went for a spear on Simmons, but he side-stepped him and he sent Andy through the table with the spear. Simmons set up behind Beck in the opposite corner of the ring. Beck swatted away a running kick and hit a piledriver. The ref made the count, but Simmons kicked out at the very last second! Wow! Beck sold shock after Simmons kicked out.
Beck went up top for a splash, but Simmons got his knees up and hit a huge running kick to Beck’s face. The ref made the count, but Beck kicked out at the very last second. The fans fired up once again as Simmons stood over Beck. Simmons pushed Beck away and nailed him with another sick kick variation. Simmons then nailed Beck with his own piledriver variation for the win.
WINNER: Jurn Simmons at 24:44 to become the new WXW Unified World Wrestling Champion
Star rating: (**1/2) – The first three quarters of the match were largely pedestrian with some good near falls. The match got good for a stretch, but then they overdid it with the nearfalls and pin falls being broken up. Simmons turning on Beck made for a good storyline twist, but overall if some of the nearfalls had been cut out, this would have ended the show on a higher note than it did.
Post-match, Melanie Gray grabbed the title and gave it to Simmons on the ramp. She then put on his ring robe and he held up the title. Simmons walked to the back and Beck was still down inside and outside of the ring. Klinger was carted out on a board and the fans applauded. Beck began to slowly recover inside the ring. The fans began chanting his name as he came to his senses. The fans then chanted thank you Karsten. Beck began taking off his shoelaces. The fans chanted please don’t go and he began taking off his laces faster and faster. Beck took both of his boots off and got to his feet.
The fans chanted his name over and over. Beck then put his boots down in the middle of the ring and kissed the mat. Beck then left the ring as the fans applauded. A big thank you Karsten chant rang out as he went to the top of the entrance ramp. Beck saluted the fans and bowed before heading to the back. The cameras focused on his boots to end the show.
Overall score: (6.0) – This was a fairly pedestrian show compared to the first night. The crowd was just as hot for the action for the most part, but the matches were mostly short, so if you’re pressed for time, you can skip night 2 of this tournament and proceed to the finals.
There were some solid matches on the undercard, but most of the matches were too short to amount to much. The highlight of the tournament matches were the Ospreay-Sabre and Thatcher-Callihan matches. I was expecting much more out of the Ospreay-Sabre match, but it paled in comparison to the recent matches I’ve seen between them in other promotions. The highlight of the show was the Callihan-Thatcher match. It started slowly, but got quite good down the stretch with some hard-hitting exchanges.
The main event was solid, but the plodding action didn’t do a lot for me. The match got good for a brief time down the stretch, but otherwise there wasn’t anything memorable about the four-way featuring four heavyweights competing for WXW’s top prize.
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