wXw 16 Carat Gold 2017 Day One on March 10, 2017
Turbinenhalle – Oberhausen, Germany
We get beautiful shots outside the Turbinenhalle as well as establishing shots of the venue prior to the introductions.
All the wrestlers competing in the tournament walk to the ring separately (holy shit, so much talent jam-packed into one roster) as they take the traditional tournament photo.
16 Carat Gold First Round: Cody Rhodes vs. Da Mack
The show opened hot with one of the most intriguing matches of the first round. This is Cody’s wXw debut. Da Mack was the perfect guy to pair him with as Mack can work any style, communicate well, and keep anything exciting. The two two sweeted each other rather than go for a handshake. Cody hit a top rope superplex but Mack kicked out. The crowd were already molten hot as the 16 Carat bunch are always one of the best crowds all year. The funny thing about that is that any Mack chants were drowned out as everyone LOVED Cody. Highlights included an awesome arm drag counter to Cross Rhodes, a cannonball from Mack, a powerslam/disaster kick near fall and the two colliding in a double crossbody. The finishing stretch was, as the kids say, fire emojis. Mack went for the jumping Mack Magic counter but was countered into Cross Rhodes as Cody gets the win and advances to the next round. Tons of fun with a great crowd. You couldn’t have executed this better for an opener.
16 Carat Gold First Round: JT Dunn vs. Marius Al-Ani
I didn’t expect to call this one of my favorite matches in the first round, but here we are! I enjoy both these guys, specificially Al-Ani, but I definitely did not expect it to deliver on a high level. It did just that, starting off hot, and staying hot for the 7 minutes they locked up. A rolling elbow was hit seconds in but was kicked out of. I love those “opening bell finisher” spots. Dunn stayed on fire hitting a huge standing moonsault. Since this was only a few minutes long, Marius rolled through with his comeback, botching a crossbody, but Dunn covered it up well by stomping on Ali. Highlights included a cutter reversed into a German sulex, a death valley driver kickout, both down after a superplex then rolling into an incredible double pin and amazing forearm trading. Al-Ani hit a spin kick to counter the rolling elbow then hit a frog splash for the win. This is my favorite sub 10 minute match this year. Everything stayed HOT and we got tons of action and near falls. Perfect for the undercard.
16 Carat Gold First Round: Timothy Thatcher vs. Koji Kanemoto
After two hot undercard tournament matches, it only made sense to nudge this in before we got even hotter. Not to say this wasn’t a hot match, cause it was in its own right. To see Kanemoto in wXw in 2017 is wild, but then you see him about to lock up with Thatcher. In a batshit encounter, you have smug Thatcher trying to beat the hell out of/submit a legend. Thatcher was in peril though, early on, selling everything on an elite level–really making Koji a killer. A suplex was hit for a kickout and Thatcher gained control. He locked in a kimura and hit a knee to the gut and another suplex; Thatcher was cruising in control. We got those classic face washes and the big boot in the corner, and lastly, the ankle lock! Thatcher looked like he was slowly dying in the hold, trying to maintain his sanity, and what helped was that Kanemoto had it on for a while. Thatcher locked in an arm bar and turned that into an arm trap roll-up out of nowhere for the win. Another match that’d be hard to book better than it originally was. Kanemoto was protected while looking like a god, where as Thatcher sold like a god in return. Exactly what you’d expect in a matchup between these two, even if it isn’t Kanemoto in his prime, he can still damn go.
Post-match ‘King of Smoke Style’ Bobby Gunns was smoking on the side of the stage as Kanemoto gave him a little interaction. Amazing.
16 Carat Gold First Round: Ilja Dragunov vs. Robert Dreissker
The most important backstory to know of a first round match would be this one. Dreissker is apart of Cerberus that Dragunov broke apart from after turning face. It’s two behemoths colliding in two distinct roles with the story laid out as clean as can be. I’ve talked about hot a lot this show, and it’s a constant theme. This match started out in ENGULFING fire emojis with the Torpedo Moskau being hit right away. Commentary lost their shit. (Sorry Alan, I couldn’t wait for English commentary.) Ilja is a house of fire, hitting a huge dive then hitting one of the most graceful sentons of all time. Avalanche continues to miss everything he’s going for, but when Ilja went for a backdrop suplex, Avalanche held on for a great near fall. Ilja hit the backdrop this time but was slid to the corner upon a Robert kickout. The crowd was going mental as this only went 7 minutes too. Dragunov absorbed the Avalanche bomb as well as a lariat, hitting a lariat of his own for a kickout. The finishing stretch ruled with Adam Polak spitting in his former golden boy’s face, leading to a superplex and corner senton for a kickout. A lariat and another Torpedo Moskau earned Ilja the golden ticket to the next round. The match combined a hot brawl, storytelling/feud elements and a hot crowd–making it one of the best matches of the first round.
Avalanche ended up turning on Polak too post match. Cerebrus continues to implode further and further. An Avalanche bomb was hit and the crowd loses it.
16 Carat Gold First Round: Donovan Dijak vs. Matt Riddle
This isn’t the first time these two have faced in a tournament, with high stakes on the line. They were the finals matchup in Beyond’s Tournament for Today in November, with Riddle beating Dijak, ending his Beyond Wrestling winning streak. This is also a preview of what’s to come ‘Mania weekend at Beyond’s Caffeine event. Yet another match started hot as this was balls to the walls just like their Beyond match. Dijak chucked Riddle all around the ring, but was hit with three-four separate knees during the match. This was also the “senton city” portion of Carat as when you have Ilja and Riddle matches back to back, you’re going to get tons of sentons. A bro to sleep was hit but Dijak flipped out of a German, yet Riddle flipped out of Dijak’s German. Riddle hit his fisherman’s suplex that looks absurd when hit on someone as big and lanky as Dijak. How about this sequence? Feast Your Eyes was caught into a Bro to Sleep which was caught into another Feast Your Eyes. Riddle got his foot on the ropes during the pin on that. So brilliantly executed. Dijak missed a moonsault and found himself caught in the bromission which earns Riddle the victory. Another wonderful short match that’s unique in its own way.
16 Carat Gold First Round: Bad Bones vs. Paul London
One would figure this is a sleeper match of the tournament. It’s not something you set high expectations for, but if it delivers big, you aren’t surprised. Again, that’s what happened here. At some points I expected it to maybe falloff and be the weakest of the first round, but it came up huge when it needed to. London keeps taking the corner Irish whips HARD during Carat weekend and I’m worried he may have a broken back by the end of it. Paul FUCKING London hit a marvelous standing hurricanrana, among other glorious spots that can be injected into 2002 ROH. Bad Bones hit a dive then went to the top rope but was superkicked. PAUL LONDON TOOK A CODEBREAKER FROM BAD BONES AND LITERALLY BACKFLIPPED. That made for one of the most memorable moments of the tournament so far, for a kickout. London hit two moonsaults but we got a shocking kickout, London then bumped on his head for a suplex. A thrust kick and wrecking ball knees earned Bad Bones the victory. Fun addition to the tournament, and as much as I love Bad Bones, Paul London stole the show with everything he did.
16 Carat Gold First Round: ACH vs. Mike Bailey
It was time for two of the most fun wrestlers on the planet to wrestle. We got the new first round tradition of the Carat; the annual dance off placed in a match. Last year saw Will Ospreay and Shane Strickland do it, and it’s only fitting that the most “athletic looking” match would do it again, albeit not as epic. wXw crowds continue to chant “Hey….Hey BAILEY….ooooo. ahhhh, I wanna know…..” and so on at Speedball as the best mega troll. But they’re serious. They truly want Speedball to be their girl. The match started and stopped at a crazy explosive rate, as you can picture some of the things these two can do with each other in ring. wXw Carat Weekend Fun Fact: This is the second show in a row where someone’s balls got hit. At Inner Circle, our Bro’s sack fell victim to David Starr, and here Speedball’s sack got attacked by ACH after the “look there!” trick to the ref. Highlights included all the back and forth, Speedball hitting a golden triangle moonsault, Bailey working extra stiff, a PK on the outside that made Speedball flip, and Bailey kicking out of the Buster Call (ACH hit a brainbuster, so I guess it was kind of by proxy the buster call). There was also a cutter hit that turned into a half stunner. It looked so painful. ACH hit a German suplex, Bailey hit a roundhouse kick, ACH slipped away, but again fell back into the kneel position to be hit with the shooting star knee drop, as Speedball earns the victory to advance to the next round. Not a favorite match of the first round, but it was still a very good combo that gave the “tons of fun” match that’s needed to balance a card out.
16 Carat Gold First Round: WALTER vs. David Starr
Quentin nailed it on the head when he said this would be a special match, especially if it was the main event of Night 1. It was indeed. From the jump you could tell how special this would be, as two of the best in the world, and arguably wXw, went at it in the main event. Starr was rammed into the ringpost and smashed into the ring apron right away, screaming in pain as the ring-out count started. Starr chants picked up right away as well. As I said in my notes, “just fucking great wrestling!” The sleeper was avoided by Starr multiple times, as it was almost cat/mouse like for portions of the match. Starr sold everything so well, paying attention to detail, which helps him get over as a larger than life babyface. For example, Starr got side-slammed and SHOT UP in pain only to fall back down. Starr continued to be a wrestling Jesus, giving the middle fingers to WALTER on his knees, refusing to die. Highlights included a brutal shotgun dropkick that sent Starr flying into the corner at 200 miles per hour, a powerbomb reversed into a DDT, a brainbuster kickout, dives, and most importantly, Rico Bushido losing his mind on English commentary so loud and hard that it picked up on the German feed. WALTER got the ankle lock on and clamped down like no tomorrow as the crowd chanted “you suck”. Starr continued to fight, hitting a top rope belly-to-belly suplex as well as a sunset bomb, and three elbows, but WALTER absorbed that all hitting a lariat before Starr could hit product placement. It was a next level match kicking into the home stretch. Starr was as fired up as ever, shaking the ropes, exemplifying the emotion of pro wrestling, trying everything to put WALTER away, making him cradle up while selling. A rolling elbow was caught into a sleeper, which was transitioned into a sleeper suplex. Another lariat and another sleeper caused Starr to collapse. The ref checked for motion in the arm, which led to a 3 count, as Starr only was able to get his arm half limp. Not good enough as WALTER advances to the next round as the crowd is shocked.
Post-match gave us an out of this world image. Ringkampf were out in black suits on stage, looking grimacing as can be, walking down to the ring for a CMJ promo. After a while Jurn Simmons came down to clean house, re-affirming that on Day Two he would re-claim his throne on top of the company. Axel Dieter Jr. who he’d be facing as well as the rest of the stable flocked away. Perfect ending to an amazing first go, as we continue to dig deeper into the tournament.
wXw 16 CARAT GOLD DAY ONE ON MARCH 10, 2017
Excellent - 8.5/10
The first day of 16 Carat 2017 was an excellent outing. It's only going to get better from here on out, but the first show gave us 8 matches with 8 different stories told with red hot wrestling and a red hot crowd to match. wXw is easily the best promotion this year and they continue to assert their quality dominance at the top of the pro wrestling world. That includes production. I write this on March 13, mere days after their huge weekend is over. By Wednesday all five shows will be out. I couldn't be more excited than I currently am. Hop aboard now, because you'll regret not doing so down the pipeline. I'm even to the point where I'm tempted to go 9/10 in terms of a full show. 8000 thumbs up.