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#MustWatchMonday (3/28/16): Will Ospreay vs. Shane Strickland


In my continuing quest to provide readers with alternatives for the WWE, I've now decided to take that journey to Germany, home to a promotion you should certainly be keeping your eyes on. This promotion is none other than wXw.

wXw, or Westside Xtreme Wrestling, is a German promotion based out of Oberhausen, Germany. It started off as a hardcore promotion back in December 2000 opened by Peter Wieschers. As it grew, it began working with other promotions, which was instrumental to its growth. Some of these promotions included staple names on the independent circuit such as Combat Zone Wrestling, EVOLVE, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and Chikara. Not limiting itself to American collaborators, wXw has also worked with Japanese promotions like Pro Wrestling NOAH and Dragon Gate, two of the bigger Japanese promotions currently running. 

In fact, in 2015, wXw came to an agreement with NJPW as well, and while the direct results of this particular relationship have not manifested yet, the possibilities are exciting. Despite that, these working relationships eventually allowed wXw to become a staple indie itself, as well as one of the biggest wrestling promotions Europe has to offer. 

Around the late 2000s, wXw eventually started to distance itself away from its hardcore origins, and focus on straight-up wrestling matches. To this end, in 2007, they began holding the annual 16 Carat Gold Tournament, which is comparable to NJPW's G1 Climax or PWG's Battle of Los Angeles, with winners coming out of two brackets eventually colliding to win the tournament.

In early March, wXw held the first night of this tournament, and one of the matchups was that of Will Ospreay and Shane Strickland. While most people should be familiar with Will Ospreay by now, Shane Strickland might not be as well known. Shane Strickland is an American professional wrestler who made his name in CZW, winning their Wired TV championship twice. Since then, he's appeared on Lucha Underground as a midcarder named Killshot. Strickland, like Ospreay, employs a high-flying offense, and is generally considered to be one of the better high flyers in the world right now.

In this match, we get a collision between two wrestlers who fight using the same style. Given the easy-going nature of both men, the match starts off light-heartedly, with the two men having a quick dance-off. This obviously doesn't go on forever, as both men eventually try to one-up each other flip for flip, blow for blow. 

While Ospreay is certainly one of the best wrestlers in 2016, Strickland more than held his own, and the moves you'll see here are simply, in a word, cool. Despite the amount of flips however, it never seems unnecessary, as both these men are able to work them in such a way that they don't come off simply like doing flips for the sake of flips. This match was a great back and forth, and you should give it a watch.




Did you like the match? Want to see more wXw? Leave a comment below!

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Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.

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