Ahead of Shotgun’s final episode tomorrow, we take a look back at five of our favourite matches… and some of our most beloved moments from Shotgun through the years.
Since we started covering Shotgun almost two years ago (our first episode was #278 for those who click “next” on all the pages; only nine weeks after it began in that form on wXw NOW); back then it was a show that cherry-picked matches from wXw’s touring schedule, focusing a fair bit on the Shotgun title – but since evolved into a more “coherent” show that was less of a clone of, say, This Week in WWE and more like a Raw or SmackDown.
When we started covering, the storyline in wXw seemed to be how Christian Michael Jakobi’s “rich family” injected capital into the company, and turned it from a money loser into a profitable operation. There was also a reference in there as Jakobi – playing a villainous authority figure – cast aside the former head Karsten Beck (whom in real life had had to go under the knife to remove a brain tumour; which in storyline was portrayed as Jakobi dismissing Beck as a failure who was “burnt out”). Since then, we’ve watched Shotgun each and every week, even the blooper episodes, and reviewed all of them. We may well go back and fill in the final few episodes from wXw NOW, but for now, here’s our top five matches from (what we’ve seen) of wXw Shotgun – and links for where you can watch them on wXw NOW.
These aren’t in any order apart from chronological, before anyone gets on us!
wXw Shotgun Plus 280 – WALTER vs. David Starr
Starts at 42m
This one wasn’t from our weekly coverage of Shotgun, but rather from “just before we started”, as we look at this match taken from a Shotgun Live Tour stop in Bielefeld. David Starr was still looking for a singles win over WALTER, but had managed some victories in tag team action…
By this point, WALTER was firmly a RINGKAMPF athlete (it even says so in his title card), which makes Starr sort of a good guy here as Bielefeld chanted for the Jewish Cannon. He’s learned not to go for WALTER instantly, but he manages to get the first chop of the match in… and circles the big guy to prevent an instant response. WALTER instead takes him down with a headlock, before missing a seated splash as Starr tried a fightback. The trip works, before some legscissors led to a near-fall… as WALTER hits back hard with a series of chops, before connecting with that Earthquake-like splash for a two-count.
Starr is egged on to throw chops, but instead he slaps WALTER… and gets whipped hard into the corner for his troubles. A big boot comes next as Starr’s designs on retaliating were cut short, with WALTER trapping him in a grounded wristlock before retaining control by taking Starr back into the corner for a clothesline. It’s pretty one-sided, but Starr does get some brief glimmers of hope, superkicking WALTER low to take him into the corner for a sliding splash that just gets him a one-count. Starr low bridges WALTER to the outside next, but he takes too long to dive, and he’s again caught… but this time he avoids instantly being dumped on the apron… wriggling out to try for a PK, before instead taking WALTER into the crowd, landing a superkick off the bleachers, then a crossbody off of them!
WALTER beats the count back in as Starr unleashes with forearms to the back of the head, before nailing a crucifix for a near-fall as WALTER had blocked a German suplex attempt. Starr takes too long to capitalise, and gets caught in a rear naked choke that gives way to a RINGKAMPF German suplex, dumping Starr on his head, before a double underhook suplex gets another two-count for der Ringgeneral.
A fightback from Starr’s quickly shrugged off, but the Product Hulks up, decking WALTER with a rolling elbow, then a knee lift, but WALTER instantly replies with a lariat for a near-fall. The tables turn as Starr gets caught on the top rope, but this time WALTER’s attempt at a butterfly superplex is shoved away, before Starr’s forced to squirm out of a fireman’s carry and take WALTER into the corner with another back body drop.
Starr starts throwing chops and forerarms, while ducking WALTER’s, as a Violence Party took the Austrian into the corner… but a shotgun dropkick puts things right back to normal… only for Starr to counter a powerbomb into a DDT. Somehow he gets WALTER up for a Blackheart driver, picking up a near-fall in the process, before catching him with a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron.
Another rolling elbow rocks WALTER, and Starr looks to be setting up for Product Placement… but WALTER goes into the ropes and returns with a rear naked choke, dragging Starr to the mat, forcing the referee to call off the match as the arm-drop deal didn’t generate any response out of the Product. An entirely different match to their outings in Fulda and Hamburg, with Starr having learned from his mistakes… but ultimately not enough to get past a more vicious WALTER. ****¼
wXw Shotgun 314 – RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Axel Dieter Jr.) vs. Mike Bailey & Jurn Simmons
Starts at 40m (yes, on the blooper special)
This one’s from Chemnitz, this is a pretty different looking venue from the hard cam. Kinda reminds me of a place in Germany I stayed at as a teenager at school… WALTER and Jurn open up clattering into each other with shoulder tackles, before Jurn caught a kick and clocks WALTER with a right hand as der Ringgeneral stuttered a little in his opening exchanges.
Axel Dieter Jr comes in and struggles to defend himself from Mike Bailey’s barrage of kicks, but WALTER quickly came to his partner’s aid, pulling “Speedball” off the apron as he went for a springboard into the ring. The action quickly spills outside as Bailey took down RINGKAMPF with a moonsault off the bar, before WALTER straight up murdered Bailey with a German suplex in the ring for a near-fall.
WALTER and Axel kept Bailey isolated in the ring, but a missed knee looked to have cost RINGKAMPF as Dieter hung himself in the ropes, only for WALTER to tidy things up as the onslaught continued. It’s quite a methodical approach to things from RINGKAMPF, who kept the smaller Bailey in… but somehow Speedball was able to fight back, but Axel pulled down Simmons off the apron to prevent a tag out a WALTER dropped Bailey with a gutbuster for another near-fall. Finally Jurn gets tagged in as he flew in with a crossbody to WALTER, before dropping Axel with a uranage. Dieter comes straight back as he and Jurn windmilled punches on each other, before Simmons’ shoulder tackle knocked him down… Axel returns with the Hamburgerkreuz for a near-fall, before a leap off the top just earns him a punch to the gut by Simmons.
A Doctor Bomb follows, but Jurn can’t capitalise and make a cover, but he can bring in Bailey… who gives as good as he gets from WALTER, and almost scores with a standing Shiranui, only for WALTER to shrug him off and blast the Canadian with a lariat for a near-fall. Bailey nearly nicks it again with a roll-up out of a wheelbarrow, before the moonsault double-knees flatten WALTER, who then takes a roundhouse to the head for a near-fall. A German suplex is avoided by Bailey, who then tries for the shooting star knees to WALTER… but those miss as a Gojira clutch ends up taking the Canadian down to the mat. Jurn breaks it up by dumping Axel onto the pile with a spinebuster.
Things almost end not long afterwards when Bailey hits a double knee drop off the top rope to assist a Simmons slam, but RINGKAMPF again target Speedball, who ‘ranas out of a powerbomb/uppercut attempt, as he then sends Axel off the top with another ‘rana. The flying continues with a top rope Butterfly suplex from WALTER to Simmons , as RINGKAMPF then finally get off the powerbomb/uppercut combo as Axel scored the decisive pin. ****¼
wXw Shotgun 334 – wXw World Tag Team Championship: Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero) vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) (c)
Starts at 41m
It’s a suitable wXw-length main event, clocking in at well over 20-minutes long, and we start with Thatcher just booting Julian Nero in the face when shoulder blocks didn’t work. A group of fans in Munich have signs for “five-star WALTER” as the former AUTsiders collide, with thundering shoulder blocks, with Avalanche knocking his former Big Daddy tag partner down. WALTER quickly replies with some chops, but an attempt to slam Avalanche just sees him fall back on himself as the champions look to be in trouble, especially when Avalanche slammed WALTER with ease.
Revitalised, WALTER stings Avalanche with chops, before Timothy Thatcher comes in to keep up the the offence, drilling knees into the ribs as he teased a gutwrench suplex… Bloody hell he gets it too! With Avalanche stunned, RINGKAMPF take over on Nero for a spell, keeping him cornered with a series of body blows and suplexes. When Avalanche returned, he’s quickly dropkicked to the outside as a pair of butterfly suplexes left Nero down and out… but the dissection of the consultant just continued in spite of that until he eventually managed to sidestep a charge and tag in Avalanche… who avoids a WALTER dropkick and returns fire with a splash for a two-count!
A Samoan drop keeps Avalanche on top, but WALTER quickly tags out as the tide turns against RINGKAMPF, with Thatcher taking a long string of tandem offence, culminating in a diving big splash for another near-fall. Julian Nero tries to offer five minutes of his time to Timothy Thatcher, but it’s refused… and so Timmy eats a fallaway slam as the isolation continued once again for Thatcher. Out of nowhere, Thatcher takes down Nero with a belly-to-belly, but Avalanche storms the ring and knocks WALTER off the apron as the challengers looked to snatch victory… but WALTER barely returns in time to make the save as Thatcher looked to be heading towards a proverbial empty gas tank. Even more so when Avalanche and Nero take a page out of War Machine’s book with a beautiful sidewalk slam/legdrop combo.
Enziguiris from Thatcher finally get himself free, and we’ve got a fired up WALTER bringing all the chops! Nero’s obliterates with a German suplex and a butterfly suplex as WALTER becomes a one-man wrecking crew, emphasising it more with another butterfly, this time to Avalanche… just as I start to worry that the “five star WALTER” chants is a guerrilla campaign for a UK promotion. Please, no.
Instead, we see WALTER fall back on himself as he teased a tombstone on Avalanche, before both men tag out as Julian Nero nails Thatcher with the Wasteland for a near-fall. A second one’s escaped as Thatcher goes for the RINGKAMPF suplex, but Avalanche snuck back in with a cannonball as Thatcher’s forced to kick out to keep the titles alive. WALTER returns again with a butterfly superplex to Nero, and finally RINGKAMPF look to have both challengers in their sights… only for Avalanche to come within a hair’s breadth of the gold courtesy of a big boot-assisted slam. We’re back to the former AUTsiders, with Avalanche barging WALTER down with ease again as the ring fills up… to Nero’s peril, as he gets wiped out with a big boot before Avalanche backdrops out of a powerbomb. Another shotgun dropkick from WALTER puts Avalanche down… and this time there’s unholy powerbomb… but Avalanche gets up!
As Nero remains on the sidelines, RINGKAMPF double-team Avalanche, but it nearly backfires as he counters out of more offence and tags in Nero… who gladly charges into WALTER with some knees. But WALTER nonchalantly boots him in the head and finishes him with a sit-out tombstone as RINGKAMPF retain! My word… it might have been because I’ve sat through New Japan’s World Tag League, but this was a BLAST of fresh air. A phenomenal tag team match that you ought to go out of your way to see. ****¼
wXw Shotgun 353 David Starr vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Starts at 33m
Technically this was a warm-up to their clash at PROGRESS’ Super Strong Style 16 – and yes, it was good there, so I’ve got super-high hopes for this one. Zack tries to stuff a takedown early, but instead he has to fight back to his feet as Starr looked to take the early initiative in the match. Starr tries to pin Sabre, but Zack bridges up and embarks on his regular ground game, grinding his fist into Starr’s back before they rolled into the ropes.
Starr tries to get back into it with a headlock, but Sabre escapes with headscissors as they went back-and-forth on the mat, ending in a stalemate as Zack again took them into the ropes. From the restart, Starr gets a near-fall out of a Thesz press as he looked to gain the upper hand, surprising Sabre with an inside cradle as it was now Zack’s turn to head to the ropes for some respite.
The pair get into some verbals after that, with Sabre again going after a heckler before he started to unload with some kicks on Starr’s quads. More grappling ends with a rope break and a cheeky kick, before repeating the trick, hitting an uppercut after dragging Starr into the ropes as the match started to get a little dirty… something Starr was ready for, as he unleashes some chops as Sabre recoiled to the mat. In response, Sabre snaps Starr’s leg between his legs… but the match stays even as Starr mounted an instant response before going for the arm, bending and stomping on it.
Sabre tries to kick away at Starr again, but a Han Stansen lariat quickly snuffs that out as Sabre rolled onto the apron again… where he caught Starr with an armbar… only to get drilled with Product Recall on his way back in as the match remained delicately poised. Strikes from Starr look to set him up for a lariat, but Sabre kicks it away and sweeps the leg – throwing an expletive in there for good measure – before a PK’s caught. Starr counters that with a knee to the face, and goes for a PK of his own… but Sabre counters that, then a Pretty Pumped before trapping Starr in a brief Octopus. Eventually Starr gets off a pair of those Pretty Pumped reverse slams, but it’s only enough for a near-fall on the New Japan Cup winner. We’re back to lariats from Starr, and kicks from Sabre as they exchange fire, descending into slaps and wild forearms as the pair sent each other to the mat. Sweet jesus… they’re not holding back!
A Violence Party catches Sabre in the corner, but Zack responds with a knee bar as Starr instantly grabbed the rope. There’s little respite as Sabre tries to go back to the leg, but gets dragged into a Cherry Mint DDT on the apron, before rolling through a crossbody attempt as he catches Starr in a nasty Key lock in the middle of the ring. Some shots to the kidney try to force a break, but instead Sabre rolls back into a pair of clutches for near-falls either side of a rear naked choke attempt. Zack goes for a guillotine, only to get dumped on his head by a Blackheart Buster and a superkick for more near-falls.
More back-and-forth gets Starr caught in a knee bar again, but Starr turns it into a variation of Darby Allin’s Last Supper clutch to score a near-fall – and get free – as Sabre was getting dogged with his submission attempts. An armbar’s counted by Starr’s OTC lumbar check, before another Han Stansen waffles Sabre as he tries to set-up for the Product Placement… only for Sabre to slip free and drag Starr to the mat for a spot of Orienteering with Napalm Death… and there’s the submission! This was a low-key banger of a match – both men fought evenly, as it took just one counter for Sabre to lock in his end game and force a submission. Wonderful, wonderful stuff. ****¼
wXw Shotgun 365 WALTER vs. Pete Dunne
Starts at 42m
Yes, I’m here for Pete Dunne’s old ATTACK entrance video, complete with… is that Sebastian Radclaw in the background of the video? Pete Dunne instantly goes to the ropes as Alan was losing his mind on commentary just for the opening bell, as WALTER showed Dunne how easily he could lift him, despite the Bruiserweight kicking him in the leg. The crowd was remarkably split between the two, as Dunne tried to grab WALTER’s leg to avoid a single leg crab… and it worked as he quickly escaped the hold before reverting to a stick-and-move tactic.
WALTER’s got to go to the ropes as Dunne went for a submission, but they’re still looking to make the first major blow… with WALTER grabbing a front facelock only to get taken into the ropes pretty quickly. A surfboard from Dunne is easily powered out of, and Peter’s scurrying into the corner. The Austrian’s quickly on top of Dunne with some ground-based grappling… and this crowd’s going absolutely ballistic with duelling chants as they go through the basics.
Dunne throws a chop… and that hushes the crowd as they realise Peter’s messed up, but WALTER shrugs it off before he drove his foot through Dunne’s chest and throat. Ow. Uppercuts keep him on the mat, before WALTER trapped the WWE UK champ between the ropes to show the crowd some crossface blows… until Dunne catches the arm and snaps the arm.
Ah, nevermind, WALTER’s still got his feet, and he quickly throws one through Dunne’s face as the match heads outside. A backdrop suplex dumps Dunne on the apron, before Peter got back to his feet and clattered into WALTER with some PKs as the match slowly turned in the Bruiserweight’s favour. Some wrist manipulation makes WALTER scream as he was dragged into the ropes, only to get caught with some more kicks as Dunne was firmly on top.
Problem was, he was taunting WALTER with some boots, and he quickly gets made to pay with a MASSIVE shotgun dropkick. One worthy of this show’s name!
WALTER keeps up the fire with a German suplex and a folding powerbomb, before he rolled Dunne into a Boston crab. Another powerbomb’s countered into a DDT as Dunne busts out some Sliced Bread and a double stomp as somehow Dunne was able to shrug off that massive John Woo. Tassilo Jung has to restrain Dunne, but it just ends up with Dunne getting caught in a Gojira clutch… which he bites his way out of, only to get murdered with a lariat. WALTER attempts the Gojira Clutch but Pete bites his wrist to break the grip. So WALTER lariats him in the goddamn face. Again, Tassilo gets involved, but he ends up being an accidental step for Dunne to use as he goes for a triangle choke, then a guillotine on the big Austrian, who escapes with a suplex. The pair start to niggle at each other, with Dunne stamping on WALTER’s hand, which theoretically stops the chops… but it doesn’t stop the forearms, as Dunne asks for more, before throwing a chop of his own. Good God, WALTER throws a chop and nearly wins the match with it!
WALTER can’t quite follow-up, despite booting Dunne’s head, as another chop’s caught and turned into a finger snap. The Bitter End’s attempted but easily tossed out of as WALTER tries for a Gojira clutch… but Dunne backflips over and pins the big guy. This was an absolute war – a banner match for Shotgun, and an outing I really, really want to see again. For those who don’t like the “shticky” matches that Dunne and the WWE signees have become prone to, well, sit back and enjoy this. An instant classic. ****¼
The other memorable part of Shotgun came through it’s many, many backstage segments. One of the things I liked about those segments in the early days was the caption that everyone got – so even new fans had a chance of figuring out who was who outside of the ring.
JAKOBI AND THE FRIDGE
This was a classic moment of “stuff being taken out of context”, from episode 338 (https://www.wxwnow.com/en/tv-series/wxw-shotgun/338 – jump to just before 28 minutes in), starting with Christian Jakobi being stressed about an empty fridge, while WALTER mistook Christian’s dispair at an empty larder at being frustration at how the women’s title tournament wound up.
…and on the business of memes, how about this relatable moment from episode 371 where Fred Yehi stood up Tarkan Aslan so he could go and have a pee? Some say, he’s still going…
— Half Dan Half Biscuit (@GolazoDan) September 20, 2018
ABSOLUTE ANDY VERSUS THE WORLD
Ahead of his match at FAN this year with Zack Sabre Jr., Andy decided to try out his technical chops. I’m not quite sure that Baris Aydin and commentator Sebastian Hollmichel were on a similar level though…
Speaking of Andy, we can’t get away without showing his descent into being the “Absolute Dad” that his character became in the last 12 months…
It’s been a bit of a recurring feature on Shotgun – from the “pre-wXwNOW days” when an angry Jurn Simmons took out his anger on Alpha Kevin after he accidentally hit him with a title belt on Shotgun 258 (see the clip here).
Showers haven’t exactly been a good place for Alpha Kevin on Shotgun… at least if you take things out of context. Back on episode 311, when Bobby Gunns was in the midst of a feud with Kevin, he sent a note to have Melanie Gray join him in the shower. Which she did…
…before threatening to hit him where it hurt the most.
TASSILO JUNG VERSUS CHEATERS
I think these GIFs say it all…
— Half Dan Half Biscuit (@GolazoDan) April 28, 2018
— Half Dan Half Biscuit (@GolazoDan) March 7, 2018
This seems to have been a bit of a trend, but the pairing of “Killer Storm” have had a fondness for the gelatinous treats on Shotgun, whether it was Killer Kelly trying to offer some to Marius al-Ani (outdoors, on a sofa… don’t ask!) or most recently Kris Wolf turning down Haribo because it wasn’t meaty enough… we’ve found in Shotgun that candy can make you friends.
We’ve had a lot of unexpected teams… how about this moment from Shotgun 371 when Lucky Kid and Fred Yehi bonded before facing RINGKAMPF?
and of course, more than just friendship has blossomed on Shotgun, with love and hate to show!
— Half Dan Half Biscuit (@GolazoDan) June 6, 2018
— Half Dan Half Biscuit (@GolazoDan) July 19, 2018
While not strictly a “talk show” in the same vein as the long-time wrestling trope, Bobby Gunns’ regular segments always ended in a tagline that got over like Rover: “rauchen ist tödlich, aber Bobby Gunns ist killer”. Whether it was to take shots at opponents, tournaments or an entire country’s indy scene, the Smoking Break didn’t seem to change that much whether Bobby Gunns was beloved, or an antagonist.
In the build up to his title match at the 17th anniversary show, Ilja Dragunov was the subject of a magnificent three-party documentary that presented him in a whole new light. Of course, Ilja would lose – and then go to take some time off after that match – but the documentary would give us all a bit more background into who Ilja Dragunov really was away from the ring.
Friday night will see the airing of the last ever Shotgun (for now, we can hope). wXw are already making sure that they don’t become “just another promotion” by dropping video segments that would have gone on Shotgun, onto their social media channels. It led to us getting hyped for the Chris Brookes & Timothy Thatcher vs. WALTER & Ilja Dragunov Match for next weekend in Cologne… and long may this kind of drip-feeding continue!
In truth, Shotgun has always been a massive team edit. Just look at the graphic above – and that’s just listing the folks who worked on the final “regular” episode… while a lot of credit in recent weeks has (rightfully) gone to Katja Pilz and Sjörd Zegers for scaling the mountain of editing work that World Tag Team League created, the truth is that without all of these folks (and of course, the wrestlers), Shotgun wouldn’t have been around for as long as it did.
Over a hundred episodes in it’s current form is no mean feat for a company the size and stature of wXw; and while many will say that Shotgun’s presence helped contribute to wXw’s growth in the last two years, the time has come for things to move on. Shotgun’s departure will leave a big hole in our watching, and in our hearts, but as the saying goes, it’s better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all.
“Take a swing at the world, and it’ll swing back… “