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By Markus Groneman on 2013-03-01 08:43:21
From 3/1 to 3/3, Europe's biggest pro-wrestling tournament, the wXw 16 Carat Gold Tournament will go down. These three shows are among the best in wrestling this side of the Atlantic, and at least in parts can hang with the best offerings in the world, from WrestleMania to the major New Japan Tokyo Dome shows. Last year's shows have been voted the best European shows in tow different fan votings of two of the biggest wrestling websites in Germany.

The Carat is a 16 man, single-elimination tournament, this year featuring wrestlers from the US, Japan, Mexico, the UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands. It is one of the most in-depth fields of all time and will certainly feature some awesome matches and lots of great drama. The winner earns a future title shot at the wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion.

Here are the first round matches, along with a brief analysis:

1. Karsten Beck (GER) vs. Paul Tracey (IRL)

Beck is a great chicken-s***t heel who has nuclear heat and really came into his own both as a worker and a promo during the last two years. He cheats and low-blows his way to victory, and almost finished El Generico, last year's winner via low-blow Dusty finish last year in the semi-finals. Paul Tracey, a former heel was hired by Beck as his hechman last August, but is none too happy with being treated like trash by his employer. He cost Beck more than one match, and his contract with Beck ends 3/1, so he hopes to get revenge on Beck here.

2. MASADA (USA) vs. Super Crazy (MEX)

MASADA, of CZW fame, meets Super Crazy who basically wrestled all over, from ECW to NOAH. This will probably be a hard-hitting and insane match. MASADA, the current CZW champion won the CZW/wXw Tournament of Death - Europe last November and is pretty over in Germany. Super Crazy is, well, just super crazy.

3. Bad Bones (GER) vs. Shinobu (JAP)

Bad Bones is one of the best workers in Europe and earned his spot by beating Michael Elgin in a great match. He's brutal, stiff and his moniker is that of the "German Psycho". He also hopes to enter TNA via Gut Check Tryout. Shinobu, of 666 and BJW fame is a great high-flyer who makes his Germany/wXw debut here and will awe the fans.

4. Ricochet (USA) vs. Tommy End (NED)

Ricochet is among the best high-flyers in the world and a Dragon Gate/DGUSA mainstay. Tommy End went all the way to the finals last year and is one hell of a worker who can basically do it all from brawling to scientific wrestling to flying and mat wrestling. He improves constantly and went to the finals last year, losing to El Generico. He broke his nose last year during the tournament and just went on. Also, a former long-time wXw tag team champion with his partner Michale Dante as th Sumerian Death Squad

5. Jonathan Gresham (USA) vs. Ricky Marvin (MEX)

Gresham, while a small guy is a great flyer and one tough dude who can hold his own in a brawl or grappling test. Ricky Marvin is a long-time NOAH stay and one of the best workers out there. He was great in the tournament last year and was over like crazy. This should be a great match.

6. Chuck Taylor (USA) vs. Eddie Kingston (USA)

EVOLVE/DGUSA meets CHIKARA/ROH here, as two of today's top Indy stars collide. Both had bigger and bigger success on the U.S. scene these last few years and are looking to tear the house down in Europe as well.

7. Robert Dreissker (AUT) vs. Yuji Okabayashi (JAP)

This is basically the tournament's version of unstoppable force vs. immovable object. Dreissker won the 8-man, round-robin 16 Carat League, not losing a single match. He's a very agile big man, after the fashion of a Vader or Bam Bam Bigelow, just like his mentor Big Van Walter. He destoryed everybody in his path since the summer. Okabayashi, a BJW regular and AJPW regular is one of the most popular Japanese wrestlers who tours Germany, along with his "Strong BJ" tag team partner Daisuke Sekimoto. This will be a war.

8. Johnny Moss (UK) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. (UK)

Moss is a guy with a physique that would make Vince McMahon drool while being a great worker and really good European mat-wrestling stylist. He had great matches with Jon Ryan and Fit Finlay during the last year and is playing a monster in the ring since his heel turn in late 2011. ZSJ, the tag-team partner of Marty Scurll of British Bootcamp fame, is awe-inspiing in the ring. He splits his time between NOAH and wrestling in the UK and is the master of the arm-bar, like a male Ronda Rousey. He is most enjoyable in the ring as a flyer, brawler and mat/submission expert. He won the shoot-style AMBITION tournament in January and is looking to win the big one here.

Alternate Four Way (winner goes to the second round, if somebody from round 1 gets injured or there's a double-count out, etc.)

Jay Skillet (GER) vs. Kim Ray (GER) vs. Michael Dante (NED) vs. Sebastian Sage (GER)

Skillt is a product of wXw's wrestling school, the Westside Dojo and currently tag team champion with Jonathan Gresham as RockSkillet. Michael Dante is one half of the former champs with Tommy End as the Sumerian Death Squad. Kim Ray is another Dojo student and a tae kwon do black belt. Sebastian Sage is a pretty good worker trained by Alex Wright in Nuremberg, Germany and also does German commentary on WWE shows for EuroSport (Vintage Collection & This Week in WWE)

Then, on Saturday, the second tournament day and traditionally the one best visited will feature a big world title match:

Axel "Axeman" Tischer (c) vs. Big van Walter

Tischer is a very good worker, who incorporates lots of strong-style, MMA and submission techniques into his style. He won the title in August in a four way with then-champ El Generico, Bad Bones and Karsten Beck. He qualified against Davey Richards and since defended against El Generico and Eddie Edwards. He actually challenged Walter for the match during the company's 12th Anniversary show. Walter is a former two-time Champion and very pissed that Axeman is wearing "his" belt and is trying to make "a name off him". He wants to take back was is rightfully his. Walter is the best big-man/tring style wrestler in Europe, bar none and had a match that I would easily rate north of 4 3/4 stars with Daisuke Sekimoto in the "Saturday Title Match" at last year's tournament. Walter and Axeman faced off in three tags/six-men-tags during the last few months with each team taking turns in winning, but neither Axeman nor Walter ever pinning/submitting the other one. This will be one hell of a great match.

wXw is very fan-friendly and this weekend is virtually their version of WrestleMania. There will be a press conference before the first show, a Westside Dojo public workout and Q&A sessions with the various wrestlers on the cards in the afternoon on Day 2 and the taping of a podcast and the traditional fans vs. wrestlers soccer game (that saw everything from camel clutches, dropkicks, drop toe-holds during penalty shootouts and fans getting speared through the barricades last year) on Sunday.

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