Tuesday 6 November 2012

wXw with CZW Present Tournament of Death Europe - Thomas Kayll Reports

From November 2-4, wXw hosted a weekend of wrestling alongside US independent promotion CZW for three shows over three days. The final of those shows, held at a secret location as part of the wXw Underground was a European Tournament of Death featuring a combination of guys from CZW as well as Germany’s Mike Schwarz and Tob *surname* and Britain’s own Jimmy Havoc. The format of the tournament was simple, four first round matches with the winners going into a four way elimination match to determine the winner. In keeping with the Underground theme of the shows, the card was not announced prior to the show.

For those who aren’t familiar with the set up to a wXw show, it’s brilliant and allows the fans to get as close to the action as they can (or dare!) since there is very little seating and fans are encouraged to stand along the ring apron, slamming their hands on the edge of the mat and being an integral part of the show. There aren’t many other companies who can offer this type of experience for a fan, but this helps to set wXw apart from other companies across Europe and the rest of the world.

Onto the tournament, and with the announcement that ICW’s Jack Jester was unable to make it to the show, we had an open slot in the tournament. To kick things off, Drake Younger and Jimmy Havoc went at it in a light tubes match. After feeling each other out in the early moments, the match quickly turned violent with both men smashing numerous light tubes across their opponent. One particular highlight came from Younger sending Havoc through an ironing board with barbed wire and light tubes attached (a weapon which had been brought by a fan for the Fans match and sparked great interest during its creation in the car park). They were followed by the now former CZW talent ‘Bulldozer’ Matt Tremont defeating Mike Schwarz in a Ruhrpott Death Match after a powerbomb through a table.

DJ Hyde came out for his match, and after cutting a promo which featured him challenging wXw owner Felix Kohlenberg to a fight and numerous profanities which were being kept count of by a section of the crowd (We counted just under 40 by the end of the night...naughty DJ!). After issuing an open challenge to anyone in the locker room, wXw’s own Toby Blunt answered the challenge while bringing possibly the biggest ladder I’ve ever seen in person to the ring with him and declaring the bout a TLC match. After a hard fought battle that went around the building, Hyde was victorious and moved on to the final.

The final first round match featured the CZW Heavyweight Champion, Masada defeated fellow CZW performer Greg Excellent. Weapons in this included more light tubes, an iron, a crutch, and a mannequin with barbed wire and baubles attached. As you would expect, there was lots of blood and plenty of violence.

After the interval, there were several non-tournament matches which included Jay Skillet defeating the newly crowned SCW Champion Karsten Beck in a singles match, while Skillet’s tag team partner Jonathan Gresham defeated the high flying Alex Colon in a 16 Carat Gold qualifier. Elsewhere, OI4K defeated GridIron in a fast paced, action packed tag team encounter and Robert Dreissker defeated Ares after a Vader splash in a highly entertaining match.

A second interval was needed to set the ring up for the final as the ring ropes were removed and replaced with barbed wire and light tubes to the delight of the crowd. Hats off to the wXw ring crew for setting this up as quickly as they did and allowing the final to take place without an overly long interval.

The crowd were hot for the match from the beginning, even after DJ Hyde announced that as part of the contract he’d signed for the weekend, ultraviolent wrestling would not be allowed to happen in wXw again without DJ Hyde and CZW’s presence. Hyde and Tremont, who have had some publicly documented problems, went straight for each other at the opening bell, relishing the opportunity to unleash some pain on the other. They brawled around the building and left Masada and Drake Younger in the ring to test each other out among the weapons.

With the match being contested under elimination rules, Matt Tremont was the first to exit the match after Drake Younger gave him a Death Valley Driver from the ring to the outside through a light tube filled table. Drake was then eliminated not long after following a Lariat from DJ Hyde, which left the CZW owner and the CZW Champion, Masada. After more brawling, the ring was completely pulled apart with a crowd-stunning finish of Masada hitting a Death Valley Driver through the ring to pin Hyde and win the Tournament of Death to the delight of the fans.

On a personal note, this was a completely new experience and an eye opening weekend for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve never given much time to CZW and their reputation for ultraviolent wrestling. However, seeing them, talking to some of the wrestlers and watching them in action has changed my perception of the company, showing over the course of the weekend that their roster isn’t just about ultraviolent wrestling, but that they can put on some great high flying matches with tag teams like OI4K and guys like Alex Colon, and they’ve got some excellent hybrid wrestlers like MASADA and Drake Younger. I was especially impressed with the Tournament of Death show, often being completely in awe of what those men were willing to go through to give their all to the fans and put on the best show they can. Without a doubt, I’ll be looking to watch more of the CZW product in the coming months as well as returning to Oberhausen for the wXw 12th Anniversary show next month (tickets available at http://www.wxw-wrestling.com).

To the wXw wrestlers, the CZW wrestlers, the ring crew, the organisers, the staff, the fans and everyone else who was involved in the weekend: Thank you.

Quick results:

ToD First Round: Drake Younger defeated Jimmy Havoc in a Lighttube Hell match
ToD First Round: Matt Tremont defeated Mike Schwarz in a Ruhrpott Death Match
ToD First Round: DJ Hyde defeated Tob *surname* in a TLC match
ToD First Round: Masada defeated Greg Excellent in a Fans Bring the Weapons match

Jay Skillet defeated Karsten Beck in Match 5 of the Jay Skillet Trial Series
Jonathan Gresham defeated Alex Colon to qualify for the 2013 16 Carat Gold Tournament
OI4K defeated GridIron
Robert Dreissker defeated Ares

Tod Final: Masada defeated DJ Hyde, Drake Younger and Matt Tremont in a No Rope, Barbed Wire and Light Tubes match (order of elimination: Matt Tremont, Drake Younger, DJ Hyde)

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