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WWE NETWORK REVIEW
WXW AMBITION 11
AUGUST 9, 2019
TORONTO, ONT., CANADA
REVIEW BY SAM MCCOY, PWTORCH CONTRIBUTOR
What a fascinating time for WWE to be posting this show on the network being less than two weeks after the introduction of the Raw Underground concept. Here is a show that touts itself as being more in line with shoot-style wrestling with a stripped-down presentation.
Westside Xtreme Wrestling (stylized as “wXw” by the promotion) is a promotion based out of Germany and I had only ever watched a series of shows they promoted with PWG in the past. Always have heard good things but have never had watched any shows beyond those PWG shows. This particular show was one of a trio of shows in North America over Summerslam weekend.
“Ambition” is a tournament where matches are decided by Knockout, submission, or ref stoppage. Previous winners of the tournament include Bryan Danielson, Zach Sabre Jr., Timothy Thatcher, and Alexander Wolfe. This show also features no commentary which is a norm for the Ambition shows from what I can tell. There is a ring announcer from time to time that does make comments such as rope breaks and other necessary information.
(1) Timothy Thatcher vs. Alexander James
Thatcher thrives in an environment and presentation like this. Lots of mat work and some brutal ground and pound by Thatcher. Thatcher wins with a half Boston crab. The crowd was very quiet but it makes you hear the blows and work going on seems all the more brutal. The crowd would get more into the show as it went on but it took a bit of time.
(2) Daniel Makabe vs. Bobby Gunns
I have been hearing more and more about Makabe over the last few months but had never seen him before. Bobby Gunns was at the time the wXw Unified World Wrestling champion. Some solid enough mat work and amateur style techniques before Makabe wins with a rear-naked choke.
(3) Buck Gunderson vs. Daniel Garcia
Buck Gunderson may be my new favorite name in wrestling. Garcia does a series of slaps to Buck, which is just asking to then advance to get chopped by WALTER. Buck with a cross-legged suplex which in this style of presentation just doesn’t work. Garcia with a modified sharpshooter that he cranks back on that looked incredibly painful for the victory.
(4) Mike Bailey vs. Walter
I hadn’t seen Mike Bailey in a few years since he stopped working for PWG due to visa issues. I like how he has evolved his image and look. This is the perfect match-up for both as Bailey is so good as the underdog babyface and Walter is superb as the overpowering heel. Some fun action to start and as soon as Bailey starts to get in some offense and goes for a spin kick, he is quickly overwhelmed by Walter and Walter wins with a Boston Crab.
(5) Daniel Makabe vs. Timothy Thatcher
After a bit of research, it appears these two have a bit of history and it showed as they seemed to have chemistry with one another. This is one place where commentary would have been nice to help fill in that story. Thatcher wins with a series of strikes that led to a ref stoppage.
(6) Daniel Garcia vs. Walter
Garcia attempts to rush Walter but is quickly overpowered. Walter wins with a powerbomb followed by a Boston crab. I’d be curious to when was the last show that had three matches decided by a full or half Boston crab. While the powerbomb was a more “pro wrestling” move than about anything we had seen before in the evening, I feel like with Walter’s style and how much bigger he was than Garcia it worked.
(7) Non-Tournament Match: Tyson Dux vs. Yuki Ishikawa
Dux is a name I’ve heard for a long time but I’m not sure I had ever actually seen him work before. I had to look up Ishikawa and saw he was a founder of Battlearts, of which I had also never seen before. I feel that while this was billed as a “super fight” I didn’t get a whole lot out of it. It was a lot of Ishikawa working on getting an armbar until he finally won with a crossface chicken wing.
(8) Timothy Thatcher vs. Walter
My favorite match of the show. It also helps it is the closest to a traditional pro wrestling match on the show it still totally fits with the style and presentation of the show thus far. Some really brutal stuff between these two. Walter lands two powerbombs before decimating Thatcher with a lariat for a ref stoppage.
I admit I’ve always struggled with the idea of wanting to make wrestling more “real” and closer to MMA. If I wanted that I would watch MMA. As much as I loved my time as an amateur wrestler, I have no real interest to make pro wrestling more like it, as part of the appeal to pro wrestling for me is a bit of the pageantry and theatrics that differentiates pro wrestling from those legitimate sports. I watched the disaster that was the Brawl for All in 1998. And while I’ve always been intrigued by the Bloodsport shows by GCW I’ve yet to watch them.
With all that being said, I enjoyed this show an awful lot. I feel like none of the tournament matches overstayed their welcome which was such a pleasant surprise. And while this also keeps the show moving it also adds credence to the concept that these are more “real” matches. What other show can you get a complete eight-man tournament with an additional match that includes no screwy finishes where one competitor gets a bye? So if you have an hour and a half and are just curious to watch something different, WXW’s Ambition 11 is probably the most unique program on the network as there is nothing else like it on the WWE Network. I know I’m curious to see more Ambitions if they are ever posted in the future.”