The road to World Tag Team League in 2016 continued on Shotgun, as the qualification series progressed…

It’s another long Shotgun – this week coming in at an hour and eleven minutes – and we open with Rico building up the Champions Night show in Chemnitz. This week: we’ve got Bobby Gunns vs. Timothy Thatcher for the EVOLVE title from Munich. Rico looks back to Da Mack’s win over Axel Dieter Jr. last week… and then pitched to footage from Nuremberg where Da Mack was attacked by Hakeem Waqur, followed by a backstage confrontation between the two to set up their match in Chemnitz for the title.

Backstage, Bobby Gunns is sparking up as Tengkwa approaches him, mad over what he did to Johnny Evers’ bag last week. Bobby tells Tengkwa he’s not into the “leather and mask fetish” stuff, before telling Tengkwa he got lucky at FAN… which led to Bobby challenging Tengkwa to a match with Vincent the Beast at the World Tag Team League warm-up show.

Rico pitches to clips of Bobby Gunns vs. Timothy Thatcher from Nuremberg, complete with some factoids during their entrance. There’s bits in the match where Gunns was flat-out asking for a shot at Thatcher’s EVOLVE title… and after he won with a low blow and an O’Connor roll, Gunns certainly made a point as that would be the first of a long series of matches the two would have with each other in wXw.

But first, we’ve footage of Gunns arriving at the venue and handing his bag to a staffer, telling him he’s “holding the bag of a future EVOLVE champion” as he had his eyes on Thatcher, “Thatcher’s girl” and “maybe Gabe Sapolsky’s” too. Of course, Thatcher has a reply, awfully politely-put, as he mentioned that Gunns “kicked him in the bollocks” to beat him. If you’ve seen the Bryce Braxton-Collins promos, you’ll know.

Thatcher puts over Gunns as “an alright wrestler”, but promised that he’d not drop the EVOLVE title to him.

EVOLVE Championship: Bobby Gunns vs. Timothy Thatcher (c)
This became a title match after Gunns’ win 24-hours earlier in Nuremberg…

Jeremy Graves is on the call as we start with Gunns having to escape a key lock early on, before he tried to take down Thatcher… only to end up on the defensive as the Munich fans were feeling rather glorious. Thatcher keeps tying up Gunns, but the tables turn as Gunns grinds the ball of his fist into Thatcher’s back ahead of a trapped-arm armbar on the way to a pinning attempt.

Thatcher kicks out and gets Gunns with a waistlock takedown, turning into a chinlock and a side headlock as they stayed at close quarters. A shoulder block knocks Gunns down for a one-count, before the challenger came back in, tying up Thatcher’s legs ahead of an Indian deathlock… only for Thatcher to grab him while snapping back to counter back with a side headlock. Nice counter!

Heading into the corner, Gunns catches Thatcher with some running boots. Helluva kicks, if you will, before Thatcher countered a suplex and went in search of another Key lock. Instead, Thatcher gets on top for some ground and pound before he tries to choke out Gunns, with the pair ending up in the ropes.

A slap from Thatcher looked to annoy Gunns, who takes down Thatcher with a Dragon screw en route to a half crab that turned into half a Lion Tamer… after a rope break, Gunns stays on Thatcher with a modified toe hold, but the match quickly descends into a battle of uppercuts. Thatcher changes tack with a side Salto suplex, hurling Gunns across the ring as the champion held on to hit another before getting a near-fall.

Thatcher tries for a Fujiwara armbar, but Gunns rolls free as we’re back to the striking… which looked to bloody-up Gunns, who found a second wind in the nick of time. A Saito suplex from Thatcher snuffs all that out though, before an attempt at doing the same to bring Gunns back into the ring ended with a hanging armbar in the ropes.

Gunns makes his way back in with leap off the top… but an uppercut cuts that off as a suplex nearly puts away the challenger. A rolling armbar almost ekes out the upset, before another striking battle gets Bobby even nearer. Thatcher tries for a German suplex, but Gunns unsights the ref to go for a mule kick… Thatcher sidesteps it and grabs the leg, turning Gunns down with an ankle lock, but the challenger rolls out and goes for an O’Connor roll… only for Thatcher to kick out and choke him out with a rear naked choke. A heck of a battle here, with Thatcher (and Gunns) having learned from the night before. ****

Post-match, Thatcher takes a mic – and shows off his bloody mouth – as he calls out Jurn Simmons. Ah man, I forgot Jurn’s old “Ode to Joy” intro… Thatcher puts Jurn over, but then told him to stop running his mouth as things descended into a challenge for Simmons vs. Thatcher in Chemnitz.

CMJ’s in the Event Center to hype up the Chemnitz show… Thatcher/Simmons is confirmed, as was Da Mack vs. Hakeem Waqur, and Cerberus vs. A4 – all in title matches. Also on that show: WALTER vs. Bad Bones, Leah Vaughan vs. Alpha Female.

Backstage, Dirty Dragan interrupts Verena Fischer… he’s a little sour over the mock Cerberus photo with Verena and co from a few weeks back.

Back in the studio, Rico plugs Femmes Fatales… and pitches to Thommi Giesen interviewing Alpha Female. She talks about her prior guest appearance some 14 years earlier, but is back to take care of Melanie Gray. Thommi turns the conversation to her partnership with Marius van Beethoven, but Alpha tells us we’ll see why she paired up with him soon enough…

Next: Melanie Gray bumps into Leah Vaughan… Gray tries to make Leah leave. Leah puts down Germany, before Alpha Kevin comes in to try and propose. They end up kissing, as next week, Kevin’s got a big, live-changing surprise…

Christian’s back to run down the new releases on wXw NOW, including the wXw Office show… and the upcoming Chemnitz show. That bleeds into a promo with Yannick Assmann, Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr. This was when Marty was trying to get the “armbars and chicken wings” chant going, but ZSJ wasn’t too keen on it in that form. Sabre says the LDRS are “stuck with each other”, but Marty wants to win the wXw tag titles so they can move on with their careers.

Marty had more than enough coffee before this, it seemed. Enough to perturb ZSJ as Scurll ended up losing his voice through it all.

Back to Rico as he pitches to another match from Munich – the second stage of the World Tag Team League Qualification series as RINGKAMPF took on Chris Colen and Bad Bones. Holy crap at that Ganso bomb from Colen in the picture-in-picture…

World Tag Team League Qualification Series Match #2: Chris Colen & John Klinger vs. RINGKAMPF (Axel Dieter Jr. & WALTER)
Klinger and Colen beat Ivanov and Kim Ray in Nuremberg 24 hours earlier – and would have two more matches after this before getting into World Tag Team League proper.

Colen and Junior start off, trading holds until Dieter rolled out of an armbar and pushed down the Austrian to the mat, eventually getting a two-count from a headlock takedown. An attempt to monkey flip out of a wristlock doesn’t work for Colen… nor does a slam as Junior clamped onto that limb until Colen flipped his way free of it.

Klinger tags in and tries his luck with a wristlock, but ends up getting tripped as Axel grapevines the leg as he worked his way into a hammerlock, tagging WALTER in in the process. Another side headlock from WALTER keeps Klinger down, as did a shoulder tackle before Bad Bones found his mark with a dropkick. That advantage didn’t last too long as Junior’s back in to work on the wrist and arm of Klinger, taking him down for a double wristlock, before Klinger got free as all four men ended up in the ring.

WALTER’s thrown outside as Colen and Klinger double-teamed Junior with a Hart Attack for a near-fall. Colen’s back to dump Junior with a slam, but a cross-chop to the throat snuffs out Colen briefly, as the Austrian took his time recovering with a back elbow until WALTER low-bridged him to the outside. A back suplex on the apron has Colen in trouble as Klinger’s inadvertently distracting the ref, but it just keeps Colen on the back foot as he’s thrown back in and ends up being beaten from pillar to post. He’s cornered as WALTER returns to club away on his fellow Austrian, before a sit down splash misses, allowing Colen to crucifix pin WALTER for a near-fall. Second time’s the charm for WALTER, who picks up a two-count, then brought Junior back in to boot his way through Colen.

Colen gets crotched on the top rope ahead of a springboard elbow that would have gotten the win – but Klinger breaks up the cover. Uppercuts and chops from WALTER keeps up the one-way traffic, at least until Colen lands a springboard clothesline out of the corner. That’s enough to get him a tag out, despite Junior’s efforts, as Klinger comes in to try his luck with shoulder tackles, eventually taking down WALTER.

Running elbows into the corner keep Klinger ahead, as did the Bone-Spear and a Sliding D lariat, before Klinger countered a superplex by floating over and carrying WALTER corner-to-corner for a bucklebomb! WALTER shrugs it off to hit a shotgun dropkick though, as Colen tagged in and launched a flurry of shots as he proceeded to back body drop Junior onto WALTER.

There’s a perhaps-too-quick tag to bring Klinger back in, as he hits a missile dropkick to WALTER, then a low-pe to Junior on the outside. Colen’s flying axe handle to the floor keeps the RINGKAMPF pair behind, before a Landungsbrücke from Junior got countered into a crossface by Klinger. WALTER breaks free of Colen to powerbomb him onto the pile, and we’re back to square one as RINGKAMPF double-team Klinger.

WALTER’s back to gutwrench suplex Klinger for a two-count, while a neat bridging suplex from Junior gets a similar result ahead of a modified chicken wing… but Klinger dives into the corner, which just made it easier for WALTER to tag back in. Elbows to the shoulder from WALTER continue to wear down Klinger, before Junior returned… and leapt into a lungblower!

Junior quickly tags in WALTER as it turned out Klinger’s big move didn’t do too much to change things… but WALTER finds out his chops have little effect, so he ends up hitting Klinger with a German suplex instead. A butterfly suplex follows for a near-fall, before Klinger rolls out of a Gojira clutch. Junior tries to interfere, but he’s quickly sent outside… where he’s able to pull Colen off the apron to prevent a tag out.

As the lighting goes weird, an uppercut-assisted powerbomb lands for a near-fall. WALTER stays on top of Klinger with a chop, before Colen tagged back in and lands a crossbody to keep the near-falls rolling. Colen’s momentum increases as he clotheslines WALTER out of mid-air as all four men hit the ring for a Parade of Moves, featuring Colen spiking Junior with a German suplex before a release Landungsbrücke from Junior and a Bully choke from WALTER forced the submission to end this hard-hitting match. That’s Colen and Klinger out of contention for 2016’s World Tag Team League… and a seed sewn for storylines in the future too! ***¾

We immediately cut to WALTER and CMJ backstage celebrating that win in Munich. WALTER, citing his Academy commitments, then tries to get Jakobi to find some “great opponents” for the rest of their series… suggesting the Waschbären, before CMJ’s called away.

Nico Schmidt’s back in the event center to run down the future show in Dresden – they got Julian Nero vs. John Klinger, Leah Vaughan vs. Melanie Gray vs. Alpha Female… plus Absolute Andy vs. Timothy Thatcher. There’s also another World Tag Team League Qualifier Series match, as RINGKAMPF face Posse in Effect. Nico tells us that Leipzig will be the finals of the series, with the Waschbären waiting for them… and also in Leipzig: Timothy Thatcher vs. Johnny Rancid, Absolute Andy vs. Ilja Dragunov.

Back to Rico, who pitches more stuff for World Tag Team League – including Drew Galloway vs. Jurn Simmons for the wXw Unified World Wrestling title. That segues to a promo from Drew to close the show, who tells us last time he was in Germany, he followed that up by flying back to America and winning the Impact Wrestling championship days later. Will the good luck charm strike twice? (Spoiler: the match ended up not happening!)

So, another good episode of Shotgun, as the build for World Tag Team League continued with a pair of fantastic matches. It’s nice to see that the qualifying series got air time here, but with wXw running every weekend, they either had to pick-and-choose matches or dedicate Shotgun to the entire mini tournament. What they went with was perhaps the better option.