If there’s one thing I love about the growing number of wrestling streaming services it’s the archive content. Whereas previously you’d hear of a hidden gem and you’d have to seek out a DVD or a compilation DVD, with a subscription you can find all sorts on shows you might not otherwise immediately seek out. It’s proper impulse viewing. One such match is available on wXw Germany’s streaming service, wXwNOW, took place on their 13th anniversary tour in 2013, as the Hot & Spicy duo of Axel Dieter Jr. and Da Mack challenged the AUTsiders, Robert Dreissker and Big Van Walter (before he became a big daddy or discovered caps lock), for the wXw tag team titles. At the time Dieter and Mack were one of the up and coming tag teams in Europe and were looking to win the titles for the first time, whereas Walter and Dreissker’s reign had begun earlier in the year and seen them overcome the likes of the Sumerian Death Squad, the Leaders of the New School and the scar-happy tandem of Drake Younger and Masashi Takeda in title defences.

The dynamic at the start of this was a very simple one. Hot & Spicy were enthusiastic good guys. They high five anyone and everyone, villains put them in chinlocks and they refuse to give up, the sound of rhythmic clapping from the crowds will make them stronger. Walter and Dreissker were the big boys tasked with squashing them like little tiny bugs. Dieter and Mack are both excellent babyfaces, very traditional but this isn’t to be considered a negative, especially for wrestlers so inexperienced at the time. Walter was the perfect foil for these two fresh-faced little boys, eagerly beating the hell out of them both, occasionally taking time out from destroying one to potshot the other on the apron just because he fancied being a bit of a dick about it. Hot & Spicy’s best moments in the first act of the match came at Dreissker’s expense, as despite being a certified big lad he was the most inexperienced man in the match and easier to catch out, therefore he relied more on Walter’s underhanded tactics and cheap shots to maintain control.

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The match up to this point had been good but nothing remarkable. What came next is why this match is something special. Walter tagged back in and immediately threw Dieter to the floor. Both AUTsiders then hoisted him into the air and charged him like a battering ram into the ring post, splitting his forehead open. He was leaking blood out of his head and it was absolutely disgusting. I like to think that we’re in a better place nowadays as far as wrestlers being aware of their own health, perhaps being more conscious about this sort of thing, maybe we all realise now that running into ring posts is not the best thing to do, but let there be no doubt: the blood improved this match immensely. The saying “red equals green” does indeed apply. Walter kicked his bully routine into top gear at this point too, like a bull upon spotting a matador, except without a red cape they’d had to improvise. Walter immediately picked Mack up and launched him off the stage onto Dieter with a press slam before side slamming Dieter through one of the wooden benches that the fans were sitting on, a low key brutal moment because those benches aren’t made to be slammed on. It was like a school assembly that had got out of hand.

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Walter continued to work Axel over in the ring and the next few minutes was straightforward but really effective, in that the big men did gigantic moves on an extremely bloody man and the extremely bloody man constantly kicked out of them all. In turn, every move that was done on him seemed like the most devastating move ever conjured up, and every time Mack was able to break up the pin he was the only thing keeping Hot & Spicy in the match. At one point the AUTsiders did a backpack splash on Dieter (Dreissker jumping on Walter’s back) that more wrestlers need to do because it looked great. What’s better than one big boy doing a great big splash? Two big lads doing a great big splash at the same time. Hot & Spicy nearly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat after Axel rose up like a Jesus and beat the shit out of Walter in the corner, allowing them to isolate Dreissker for a few moments, although when Walter recovered he went straight back to focusing on Axel. Nobody embarrasses a man like Walter and lives to tell the tale.

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A powerbomb through the mat didn’t do the job and neither did a crab (a foolish move; Axel is no trash young lion), so he clamped on a figure four leg lock. Both men slapped the fuck out of each other during the hold and my God was it fantastic. If Axel had been knocked out by a slap and pinned during the figure four I probably would have bought that as a finish. He kept hitting Walter, Walter kept hitting him back and Axel always came back for more. Walter and Dreissker went to double team Axel to death but Mack saved, throwing Walter off the top. Hot & Spicy then slammed Dreissker onto Walter, Dieter followed him outside with a huge tope, and this stunned the veteran for long enough. Hot & Spicy connected with a double enzuigiri on Dreissker and won a furious 30 minute contest to claim the titles. The time of this match completely shocked me as this did not feel like it lasted half an hour, which in my experience is a very good thing. If a match lasts a long time and is anything other than excellent it will suffer. This match flew by. I watched it twice, too. That’s how easy it was to get through.

It feels strange to focus so much on specific participants in this match but just about everything Axel Dieter Jr. and Big Van Walter did to each other in this match was absolutely immense. This isn’t to take away from the efforts of Dreissker and Mack; in fact, I enjoyed it when Mack tagged in because he still looked like a human being, a stark contrast to his partner, who resembled a murder scene. Dreissker also had an enjoyably understated relationship with Walter, as Walter was very clearly the veteran/teacher of the team, and Walter’s reaction to the loss – kicking Dreissker out of the ring before expressing frustration at the men who’d defeated them – conveyed disappointment and embarrassment. However, the story of the match was definitely built around Walter and Dieter, two men whose paths continue to cross to this day as tag team partners in the Ringkampf unit. At present, it’s hard to argue that both aren’t among the most underrated wrestlers in the whole world. They should definitely be booked in more places because they deserve the recognition. What I didn’t quite realise is how long they’ve been this good for. Walter was an absolutely incredible bullying heel here and Dieter was the perfect counter to this, a babyface who refused to stay down for anything despite being physically decimated. He had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand the moment his head hit that ring post, in part because of the very visual injury that he’d suffered. This is a match I probably wouldn’t have heard of if not for a few people recently wildly praising it (including Harrison at We Don’t Know Wrestling), and that praise was well deserved. Seek this one out. ****3/4

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