Submitted by Markus Gronemann
Axel “Axeman” Tischer is an amazing wrestler. I’ve seen him wrestle about 30 times over the last five years for wXw in Germany.
He looked very good to great against such names as Marty Scurll (UK indy guy, also was on British Bootcamp), Tommy End (wXw and recently EVOLVE and PWG), Yoshihito Saski (Big Japan), Eddie Edwards, Ricky Marvin, Big Daddy Walter (wXw), Daisuke Sekimoto (Big Japan), Davey Richards, El Generico/Sami Zayn, Yuko Miyamoto (Big Japan), KUSHIDA, “Bad Bones” John Klinger (wXw and TNA during their UK tour), Chris Hero, Akira Tozawa, Kazuki Hashimoto (Big Japan), Drew Gulak (EVOLVE, CZW), Biff Busick (EVOLVE, CZW), Zack Sabre Jr., Cedric Alexander, Chris Sabin and Uhaa Nation, and those were just some of the matches I saw live and in person and not the bulk of his work there. I’d say most of these were at least *** 1/2 stars and about half of them were probably in the **** range or above. He’s a very smart and solid worker and can go with the best in indy wrestling, Japanese strong-style and more European/England-based mat-wrestling/submission style – he should adapt to the “WWE style” really well. He also trained BJJ and I think some MMA and enjoyed grappling with other guys before the shows, so maybe they can play off that elements of his style too.
He also ran a wrestling school in his home-town of Dresden, Germany, working closely with the GWF school in Berlin and also helped coach wXw’s own Westside Dojo. He started in 2004, started working on a regular basis around 2007/08 and really came into his own around 2011/12, when he won the wXw world title in a four-way in August of 2012 (champ at the time was El Generico) and held it for the better part of a year, before losing it to Tommy End in June of 2013. He started out as a face and was always popular and respected by the fans as a really good worker, but wasn’t all that over as a main eventer, at least not to the level of his push during his title run. He got better reactions as a heel, when he turned in January of 2014 and was finally getting more traction as a face during the last few months (he finished up in wXw on 3/29) as he wrestled his “farewell tour” in that role. The company also did a really great farewell ceremony for him during this year’s 16 Carat Gold weekend in early March in front of their “home crowd” in Oberhausen, with all the wrestlers and fans giving Tischer a standing ovation and some talking about what a great colleague, wrestler, mentor and friend he had been to most of the roster, especially to the younger and upcoming guys.
The major thing I’m kind of concerned about him in WWE is his promo-ability and maybe also his general knowledge of English (he was cringe-worthy at times, when cutting English-language promos at some of the U.S. guys he worked with). That being said, I’m sure his English will improve drastically, since he’s living in the States now and may already have improved over the last year or two, as I’m not quite sure when I last heard him cut an English-language promo (plus, a weird German accent worked for Arnold). He came across as wooden at times, when cutting promos in German too, but hey, that’s what’s promo-class is for, plus I think he’s very coachable and may actually be one of the few guys to benefit from pre-written promos. He went as far as to address these facts during his farewell speech on Carat weekend, stating how people had been criticizing his lack of charisma and his promo-skills for years.
Therefore, he might be a good fit for a manager or valet, à la Rusev & Lana, which may help him. He was paired with Kyrgyz-German valet Svetlana Kalashnikova (who sadly since retired, since she was probably the best total package in a female wrestler coming out of Europe in years) in wXw, and that worked out pretty well; Svetlana was the valet of Ilja Dragunov, a legit student of Tischer’s, and went with Tischer when the latter turned heel in a steel cage match for wXw’s ShotGun/YouTube title against Carnage/Dominic Brackner on 1/18/14, as the title got vacated when Dragunov got injured.
His signing already got some mainstream press in Germany, with “BILD” (Germany’s biggest tabloid), weekly news magazine “Stern” and national sports station “Sport 1” (the former “DSF”, which featured WWE, TNA and UFC programming at various points in the past) running the story on their websites today. Mainstream coverage on WWE in Germany has been on the upswing over the past year, with WWE returning to free-to-air television after being on Sky Germany for the past few years, plus with former national soccer goalkeeper Tim Wiese (who bulked up huge after his soccer career, going from about 200 to 285 lbs. of muscles over the last year or two) teasing he got an offer from WWE and appearing on their house show in Frankfurt last November (he may just as well have been in talks, but since he’s technically still under contract to soccer club “TSG 1899 Hoffenheim” until 2016, at a rumored 3.5 million euros per year, I guess WWE doesn’t want to buy him out at anything close to that rate). Nevertheless, the press has been playing “what-if”-games on Wiese going into wrestling ever since, and there rarely is a wrestling story in German media that doesn’t mention him on the side and speculating on him maybe becoming “the first German to ever sign a contract with WWE” (well, I guess that honor went to Achim “Brakkus” Albrecht back in the late 90s).
So now the press has their “local hero” in WWE, plus the hardcores will also be happy, since a “real, hard-working” wrestler got the nod, instead of a bulked-up soccer player with no real clue about the wrestling business (unless they got Tischer, who has a proven track-record as a trainer, to specifically start training with Wiese, a fellow German, should he be coming in next year – but that’s a huge speculation on my part). Anyway, they’d be wise to fast-track him to the main or at least the NXT television roster (NXT also airs on free-tv in Germany) by November for the next European tour, which also hits Germany (Leipzig on 11/13 and Stuttgart on 11/14; Leipzig is only about 80 minutes/70 miles from Tischer’s home town of Dresden). He’d be great for local promotion and as a local face for the Leipzig crowd.
I’m very happy for him and wish him all the best – I hope he makes television and gets to impress the right people, as he’s a really good guy and genuinely nice person and deserves all the success he can get in WWE-land.