World Tag Team League was my second ever wXw live show experience, after this year’s 16 Carat Gold tournament. 16 Carat Gold was something I’ll never forget. Every part of the weekend-long wrestling festival had something exciting to offer and I genuinely loved every second of it. I discovered new wrestlers, explored a new place, made memories that’ll stay with me forever and fell in love with a promotion I had previously never really engaged with. I honestly didn’t think anything could top the 16 Carat Gold tournament, but World Tag Team League 2018 did just that. This won’t be an in-depth review of each match throughout the weekend. Rather, this will be a summation of World Tag Team League as a wrestling festival and why it was the best wrestling show I’ve attended all year.
Walking back into the Turbinenhalle after seven months away felt amazing. Even though I remembered exactly what it was like, the scale and quality of the production value in the venue didn’t cease to blow me away. I adore the Turbinenhalle as a wrestling venue and on WTTL weekend it housed some of the best tag team matches I have ever seen live. Night one opened with Toni Storm vs Meiko Satomura. This was, for me personally, a dream match and it was such a great way to set the tone for the next few days. Starting things off with a match like this, between two of the best female competitors in the world today, let us all know that we were in for a very special weekend of wrestling. After an expectedly fantastic match between Storm and Satomura, we moved into the tournament matches, which included Okami vs Lucha Bros, JayFK vs Monster Consulting, Aussie Open vs Team SPLX, and my personal favourite tournament match of the night, CCK vs Ringkampf. CCK vs Ringkampf was such a great match because of the mix of styles. Ringkampf’s direct, hard-hitting style against Brookes and Gresham’s dynamic movement made for some unreal action. Both teams are such cohesive units and watching these teams that were so in-sync go at it was a treat. Other matches on the night included a wXw Shotgun Championship Number One Contender’s Match between Lucky Kid, Fred Yehi, Julian Pace and Emil Sitoci, and Jurn Simmons vs David Starr in a “Hair vs Hair” match. Jurn vs Starr was brutal and added something different to the night. There was blood and thumbtacks and weapons and anything else you could think of that would make a match as intense as possible. Starr shaving Jurn’s head after the match was one of the most dramatic things I’ve ever seen on a wrestling show… no, really, and the crowd really got into it. The inclusion of Dirty Dragan in this display also fed into a match later on in the weekend that I’ll mention later. That’s one of the things I’ve really appreciated about wXw since I’ve started watching. Their storylines and the relationships between members of the roster are so carefully crafted and each scenario that unfolds makes sense and has reason behind it.
A highlight of the weekend for me was the Femme Fatales show during day two. It was a great tournament with so much international talent on it. It was won by Meiko Satomura after she beat Wesna, Millie McKenzie and, finally, Lufisto. I love the shows wXw run on day two of their wrestling festivals. Both Femme Fatales and Ambition are fantastic as they showcase multiple individuals and give them a chance to shine in a slightly more intimate setting than on the main shows. Night two of WTTL was my personal favourite show of the weekend. As well as the tournament matches, Okami vs CCK, Jay FK vs Team SPLX, Ringkampf vs Lucha Bors and Aussie Open vs Monster Consulting, we had Marius Al-Ani vs Julian Pace for the wXw Shotgun Championship. I love Al-Ani as a bad guy and I think he is really shining in this role. We also had Toni Storm vs Wesna but the highlight of the night, and undoubtedly the whole weekend, was the main event.
The night two main event of Bobby Gunns vs Ilja Dragunov for the wXw Interim Unified World Wrestling Championship was, without a doubt, the most special thing I have ever experienced at a wrestling show. Almost immediately the crowd erupted into dueling “Gunns. Bobby Gunns.” “ILJA” chants and they went on for almost the entire match. The entire building, whether you were rooting for Gunns or Dragunov, were completely engrossed in what was happening. I have never experienced an atmosphere like it. I have never experienced such intense engagement with a single match in my life. Every single person inside the Turbinenhalle was using their voice. Its moments like this that epitomise why wrestling is special and why so many people choose to engage with it. The match itself was fantastic but the atmosphere around it was what made it unlike any other. These two men are superstars. They made an entire building of people ecstatic. It was a truly incredible and enchanting moment of wrestling and something which I doubt I will ever experience again.
During day three, wXw run the Fan Expo which also included a taping of Shotgun. This is a fun but relaxed way of easing into day three. It’s nice to have a more relaxed environment because by day three most people are starting to feel the toll of the three-day event. Night three continued with the tournament matches but also had two non-tournament matches which I really enjoyed, both telling very interesting stories. The first was Jurn Simmons and Alexander James vs Dirty Dragan and Emil Sitoci. James had returned to wXw the night before and appeared to form a kind of bad guy tag team with Jurn. The stipulation of the match was that if Dragan lost, he’d have to leave wXw.. and that’s exactly what happened. This really garnered a crowd reaction as Dragan is so popular with the wXw audience. I have no idea where they are going to go with this storyline from here but I’m really excited to find out. It really showed wXw’s love of Dragan while also solidifying Jurn’s new bad guy persona. The second non-tournament match I really enjoyed was Lucky Kid vs Tarkan Aslan. This match had a long history behind it, with Tarkan turning on his “little brother” Lucky Kid after having faked an injury for months. In the end, Lucky Kid was the winner and the other members of RISE came out to raise his hand. Good boys RISE is the best RISE. Finally, it was time for the main event and the final of the WTTL: CCK vs Jay FK. This was a great match. The crowd, no matter who you were rooting for, was so invested in what was happening. Jay FK came out in new gear with a very fresh look. You could really tell how big this moment was for them. There was so much action before the bell even rang which really gave it that big match feel. After a great match and an amazing showing from both teams, Jay FK won and became not only the winners of the wXw World Tag Team League 2018 but also the wXw Tag Team Champions. It was really great to see them win. Jay FK have been such an impressive team for so long and even though they’re playing their cocky bad guy parts perfectly, the crowd were so happy for them and proud of their achievement.
And that was it! The thing I love so much about wXw is that I always come away from it with something new to enjoy. After Carat, it was pretty much the entire roster. WTTL introduced me to Okami, who put in one of the best performances of the weekend. It’s a promotion which genuinely enhances my experience as a wrestling fan. wXw always seem to push themselves to put on a better show. You can see the care and attention to detail that is put into every part of their production. The best thing about wXw, though, is that you can tell it is run by people who just love wrestling. Like I said in the beginning, I didn’t think any show could top 16 Carat Gold 2018, but wXw managed to top it later in the same year. So far, they have announced Rey Horus for 16 Carat Gold 2019. If you are thinking about going to Carat, do it. You absolutely won’t regret it and you’ll come away with new favourites, new experiences and the best memories.