Preview: wXw Back To The Roots XVIII (1/19/19)

Germany’s Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw) enters 2019 on a huge international buzz following their partnership with the WWE last year and the recent debut of wXw’s own megastar WALTER in NXT UK at TakeOver: Blackpool last weekend. They kick off their own new year this Saturday with Back To The Roots XVIII that features some heated rivalries plus the ultimate faction Civil War as RISE is split in half and are fighting for the stable name and all the gold.

wXw Back To The Roots XVIII

Bobby Gunns vs. Shigehiro Irie

Photo: wXw

A rematch for the third time, as former wXw Shotgun Champion Bobby Gunns tries to find a way to defeat 3x DDT Pro K-OD Openweight Champion Shigehiro Irie. So far, Gunns has lost the past two encounters, most recently at wXw 18th Anniversary at the end of December. Irie is as tough as they come and he won’t back down one bit, so Gunns is going to have find new weapons for his arsenal to avoid going 0-3 against Irie.

Avalanche vs. Jurn Simmons

Photo: wXw

There’s been some bad blood between these two heavy hitters for a while now. On the Road to Back To The Roots in Bielefeld last December, Jurn Simmons defeated Avalanche, and then they went to war in a tag match for the titles at the 18th Anniversary just before the New Year. The two lock up once more, as Avalanche looks to finish of Jurn Simmons once and for all.

WALTER & Veit Müller vs. Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin)

Photo: wXw

WALTER is normally in tag team action with his Ringkampf partner Timothy Thatcher, but Thatcher has a personal war later in the card. On Saturday, he pairs up with Veit Müller and the two look to take down one of wXw’s most exciting tag team combinations in Jay-FKFrancis Kaspin & Jay Skillet have only been pairing since 2017, but they’re already former wXw World Tag Team Champions and hungry to get back at their lost gold. WALTER may bring the experience and size, but there’s no denying Jay-FK have the chemistry.

Timothy Thatcher vs. David Starr

Photo: wXw

Timothy Thatcher and David Starr have been at each other’s throats for years now. They first met teaming in Rockstar Pro in the US in 2014, but in 2016 they were reintroduced when Thatcher defended his EVOLVE Championship against Starr at wXw The Inner Circle 2 in September of that year. Since then, Starr has fought Thatcher and his Ringkampf pal WALTER on numerous occasions (with multiple partners) and his battles with Thatcher have gone around the globe – in RevPro, Beyond Wrestling, and Over The Top (OTT) Wrestling – with back and forth results. Now it all comes back to where it began, as Thatcher and Starr look to settle the score once and for all.

wXw Women’s Championship, Loser Leaves Town: Toni Storm (c) vs. Melanie Gray

Photo: wXw

At first glance, it’s easy to say that it’s likely that Toni Storm is going to lose because of her involvement with NXT UK. But wXw is an ally promotion that NXT performers are allowed to work. And her opponent, Melanie Gray, was part of the WWE tryout in Germany last year. This has simply come down to two of the mainstays of wXw’s women’s division simply not liking each other or sharing the same air in the locker room. Regardless of the outcome, Gray is one of Germany’s best wrestlers and she will be determined to regain the title she lost to Toni Storm last November at wXw Broken Rules.

wXw Shotgun Championship & wXw Tag Team Championship, Cagematch: RISE (Marius Al-Ani (Shotgun Champion), Da Mack & Tarkan Aslan (Tag Team Champions)) vs. RISE (Lucky Kid, Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer)

Photo: wXw

For the past few years, RISE has become wXw’s most dominant stables, collecting belt after belt, winning match after match. But the faction has become unstable and now there’s a Civil War on wXw’s hands that can only be settled inside a steel cage on Saturday night. On one side, is wXw Shotgun Champion Marius Al-Ani and the wXw World Tag Team Champions Da Mack & Tarkan Aslan. On the other side, former wXw Shotgun Champion Ivan Kiev and the team of Lucky Kid & Pete Bouncer. Whichever side wins the match, collects the gold for their trio – the Shotgun and Tag Team titles – plus gets to continue as RISE. While the losing trio are removed from the stable forever.

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship, Cagematch: Absolute Andy (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov (w/ UFC’s Nick Hein as Special Referee)

Photo: wXw

When wXw’s World Champion Absolute Andy went down with injury early last fall, wXw decided to crown an Interim World Champion, which was won by Ilja Dragunov during the wXw World Tag League last October. A month later, Andy returned and defeated Dragunov to make his title once again undisputed, but Dragunov has not been happy with the result. He’s faced Andy in a few tag match encounters to weaken him down, but on Saturday he gets one more chance to be the Unified World Wrestling Champion, when he faces Absolute Andy inside a steel cage. And to make sure things get resolved properly, wXw is bringing in German UFC figher Nick Hein as the special guest referee!