To set the record straight, hosses are my favorite types of wrestlers. Watching big, burly men running into each other endlessly brings me to a state of bliss. Hosses with muscle are all fine and dandy, but fat wrestlers are the ones that bring me the most enjoyment. When I think of a “hoss,” names like Chris Hero, Big Damo, and Ryota Hama come to mind. There is one hoss, however, that I see as above the rest: a massive Austrian named Walter.
Walter has gone by many names throughout his career. Man Mountain Walter, Big Van Walter, Big Daddy Walter, and currently just WALTER. The 11-year veteran is a mainstay for wXw in Germany, and is arguably the ace of the promotion. Most fans may know Walter from his appearances in PROGRESS Wrestling, where he’s wrestled the likes of Rampage Brown, Dave Mastiff, and Chris Hero. But what exactly is it about Walter that makes him a world-class talent? To truly understand Walter’s brilliance, one would have to delve into the wXw archives and watch everything he’s done since 2013. For those who aren’t aware, wXw is one of the few promotions in the world that still tours regularly. These tours typically cover every city in Germany, with occasional trips to other Eastern European countries and even England. In order to really get a feel for a wrestler, it’s necessary to watch their matches from minor shows as well as major. This lets me know if they can deliver in more contexts and settings than just a few.
Let’s start with the most salient aspect of Walter’s work: his offense. Nothing Walter hits ever looks soft or subdued. Everything, even something as simple as a scoop slam, looks like it kills coming from Walter. He has some of the loudest and meanest chops I’ve ever heard, and his lariat perfectly treads the line between snug and stiff. Besides being wince-inducing, Walter’s offense is also very crisp and safe which is quite the accomplishment considering it still looks like murder.
One of Walter’s less noticeable strengths is his psychology. This is what Walter has struggled with the most in his career. In the past, Walter’s selling left a lot to be desired and didn’t do a good job of making his opponent look good. Walter also didn’t really know how to give big moments in a match time to breathe. That all changed in 2013, as if something just clicked in him. Suddenly, Walter’s selling and psychology improved dramatically. Today Walter is a bigger throwback than ever before, implementing old school storytelling techniques to work the crowd. Those techniques were most apparent when he tagged with his student Robert Dreissker against Axel Dieter Jr. and Da Mack on November 16th, 2013. This match, referred to by some as the greatest in wXw history, featured Walter busting open Axel and taking every opportunity to open up the cut with closed-fist punches. Walter played the perfect bully, taking cheap shots any chance he could because he saw his opponents as below him. Watching Axel and Mack finally lay out Walter was so satisfying because he was being such an effective heel throughout. It also helped that he sold everything like it took him by surprise, pleasing the crowd even more. Walter sure as hell knows how to tell a story, which is not something many big men can do.
The final and perhaps most important reason why Walter is one of the best in the world, is that Walter is extremely versatile. He’s capable of fulfilling every possible role a company can give to him. The tag match I described earlier shows that Walter is an excellent tag worker. If his performance in that match doesn’t convince you, watch his matches from wXw’s World Tag League last year. Walter puts on of the finest individual performances I’ve seen in 2015. Walter can also work face and heel exceptionally well. As a face, Walter exudes energy and oddball charisma while still maintaining his intensity and viciousness. As a heel, Walter is cold as ice. He maintains the same intensity, but maintains a stoic, grouchy demeanor to make sure the crowd doesn’t get behind him. Walter can carry inferior or less experienced wrestlers to good matches, can have great hoss fights against equally sized opponents, can act as an effective bully to get over smaller underdogs, and can even work technical/shoot style matches against grapplers.
Walter is one of those rare talents that’s can do everything well, so why doesn’t he receive a lot of recognition? Well, the obvious reason is because Walter’s spent most of his career in a relatively obscure promotion. The only homegrown wXw guy who’s really broken through in recent memory is Tommy End, and even then it took about 10 years for him to reach that point. The less obvious reason is that many fans have based their opinions on Walter on his work in PROGRESS, the promotion more people have eyes on. While his performances in PROGRESS were impressive, they aren’t the best representation of Walter’s ability. Fans could look at those matches and come to the conclusion that Walter isn’t that much different from other big men. I urge anyone who’s curious to subscribe to wXwNOW and watch as much of Walter’s work as you can. Because once you do, you’ll understand why WALTER is the most underrated wrestler in the world.