Days ahead of 2016’s World Tag Team League, Shotgun keeps the build going…

Rico’s hyped about the Inner Circle that was happening tonight (as the show went out). That was a four-match card that featured David Starr vs. Timothy Thatcher, which sounds all sorts of fun for only the second-ever Inner Circle card.

Going through the “topics” for this week, Rico brings up that Drew Galloway is injured – so his match with Jurn Simmons at World Tag Team League is off. Drew had injured his neck being spiked with a DDT during a match for WCPW… we then pitch to Jurn backstage walking in on Kim Ray making some coffee. Jurn pokes fun at Kim for not having a good time of it lately in wXw, and challenges him to a match. A fair match, since Ivanov’s on the shelf…

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Kim Ray vs. Jurn Simmons (c)
Alan Counihan’s on the call as he opens by bringing up their collective past as part of Keel Holding a few years earlier…

They went at it early on, but Jurn charges Ray down with a clothesline out of the corner before dishing out a back body drop. An Irish whip bounces Kim out of the corner, before some brawling around ringside saw Ray get thrown into the ring post, before he used the ref to distract Jurn on the apron… following up with a dropkick.

Back on the outside, Jurn caught an apron PK, then swept the leg, before he returned to the ring and began to get a kicking from Kim. A shoulder charge spins Kim to the mat for a near-fall, as a slam and an elbow drop kept the one-way traffic going. Jurn keeps going with a suplex throw for a near-fall, stopping to get into it with the crowd, before Kim Ray surprised with a STO.

A spinning roundhouse kick misses, but has luck with a roll-up and an enziguiri, only to run into a dropkick from Simmons as a uranage and a piledriver put away the challenger. By the numbers, but a good squash outing for Jurn. **¼

Rico’s backstage to tell us that Mike Bailey’s been booked for the weekend – and will face John Klinger for the shot at Jurn on Saturday.

We then get footage of Bobby Gunns in the wXw academy as he scraps with a trainee, stopping to admire himself in the mirror… then we’re backstage with Tengkwa and Thommi Giesen. He puts over wXw for building his career, then referred to “idiot kids and douchebags”, specifically referring to Bobby Gunns. At the World Tag Team League, Tengkwa’s facing Gunns’ brother, Vincent the Beast…

Nico Schmidt’s back to talk about upcoming Shotgun Livetour dates. Borken was due to get JML vs. RINGKAMPF, in addition to Lio Rush vs. Pete Dunne. Bielefeld had Shane Strickland vs. Axel Dieter Jr., and Da Mack vs. Lio Rush.

Rico’s loud as he tells us that all of the World Tag Team League shows will drop on wXw NOW in the coming days… and mentions the then-upcoming Conversations with Karsten Beck as he spoke for the first time since surgery to remove a brain tumour.

The World Tag Team League weekend’s also going to have the wedding of the Alpha Lovers. That’s a quick turnaround. We then jump to Melanie Gray at the wXw show in Fulda, where she announced that she was injured… Marius van Beethoven was quick to mock, as he promised to make sure she’d not make it to her wedding day. Which bled into this…

Melanie Gray vs. Leah Vaughan
Jesus Christ, Markus Weiss… how is this an official match if Melanie’s injured?!

Gray sidesteps a charge in the corner early to roll-up Vaughan for a near-fall, but the Canadian’s quickly working over Gray’s arm, yanking it around before she went to stomp on it. An uppercut from Vaughan drops Gray for a two-count, before a seated surfboard stretch worked on the taped-up elbow some more.

Vaughan smartly stays on the arm, dropping it across the top rope before Gray came back with a spinning back elbow and a back senton to get herself a near-fall. Going back to the arm, Vaughan drops Gray as she hit a cobra/camel clutch combination… and there’s the quick submission. A smart game plan that made for a short match. **

A brief beatdown gives way to a video package for the “summer of love” to hype up Kevin and Gray’s wedding… featuring Melanie throwing a fit over Haribo, in among a tonne of photos and videos of the two.

CMJ’s in the Event Center, and he’s buzzing for World Tag Team League. We’ve got a wedding and the wrestling, as Jakobi runs down the cards for the weekend, along with the announcement of the announcement of wXw’s tour schedule for the first half of the next year. I always loved those things – especially in an era when a lot of promotions were announcing shows on an ad hoc nature.

We get a promo video for Dirty Dragan vs. John Klinger… which the cynical may say could tip off Klinger’s chances of winning the match with Mike Bailey for the Saturday title shot as he’d be doing double duty…

Before the main event, we get footage of A4 and RINGKAMPF having a confrontation. Absolute Andy accuses RINGKAMPF of using their “office connections” to get an easy route to World Tag Team League, before Marius called out Axel Dieter Jr. for ditching Da Mack as a tag team partner…

Da Mack, Francis Kaspin & John Klinger vs. RINGKAMPF (Axel Dieter Jr., Timothy Thatcher & WALTER)
This was the first time this form of RINGKAMPF were in a trios match, against something of an “all star” team for wXw.

Junior and Da Mack start as Hot and Spicy continued to explode, with Junior starting on the wrist of Da Mack, who flipped his way free of his former tag partner as Alan on commentary talked about the “RINGKAMPF family”. That makes me sad for the wXw NOW content we never got… can you imagine the soap opera/reality show that would have been?

Anyway, Junior goes back to the arm, rolling down Mack for an armbar… switching into a headlock… that Mack hand-walks out of. A leapfrog and a dropkick from Mack lands, before Francis Kaspin joined the fray, having some success with an armbar on Junior clinging on despite Axel’s attempt to slam his way free.

A cross chop from Junior drops the rookie, whose day went from bad to worse as Timothy Thatcher came in and worked over the arm. Knees to the ribs follow, before Thatcher looked for a half crab, what Kaspin kicked his way free of before hitting some dropkicks. Kaspin makes the tag out to Klinger, who scoops Thatcher up for a slam for a near-fall, but the German’s quickly taken into the corner as WALTER comes in to try and restore order.

Chops and forearms are exchanged, but Klinger just runs through a chop and fired back in kind. A leapfrog and a dropkick has WALTER on the back foot ahead of a back body drop, before Mack and Kaspin came in with crossbodies off the top to subdue the RINGKAMPF lads. Things reset as Junior came in with uppercuts to Klinger, but a kitchen sink knee to the gut resets things as Francis Kaspin returned to almost upset Axel with a roll-up.

A dropkick from Kaspin gets him another near-fall, before Mack tagged in… and found himself low bridged to the outside, where WALTER dumped him onto the apron with a back suplex. An armbar from Junior keeps Mack down as the RINGKAMPF lads worked over Mack in their corner, leading to a Northern Lights suplex from Junior for a near-fall.

Mack manages to evade Junior in the corner, but a Mack Magic cutter’s caught as Junior dumps Mack on the ropes ahead of a springboard uppercut for a near-fall. A double underhook suplex from Thatcher keeps the pressure on, but Mack finds a way back and catches Thatcher with the Mack Magic Upside Down Crack Smash. From there, a tag brings in Klinger to charge through Thatcher, landing a flying forearm before he had to fight off RINGKAMPF’s double-teaming to fly into Thatcher and Junior with a missile dropkick.

Kaspin’s back in as he tries to take down WALTER with dropkicks, but he had more luck with a springboard bulldog. A dive from Kaspin’s caught, but Klinger makes the save with a tope before Mack’s body press to WALTER completed the hattrick. Things resume with Thatcher getting rolled in for Kaspin to pick up a two-count, but Thatcher’s quickly back with a rebound belly-to-belly as RINGKAMPF regained control.

Chops from WALTER keep Kaspin down, as he was again passed around the RINGKAMPF team like a crash test dummy, with things only relenting when Thatcher dropped Kaspin in a side headlock. Gutwrench suplexes follow, before Kaspin countered a WALTER powerbomb into a DDT… but WALTER’s right on top of him quickly with a STF, while Thatcher added some forearms from above to keep the pressure going. Again, Kaspin tries to fight out of a half crab, successfully doing so when Thatcher turned it to an ankle lock…

…and here comes Da Mack with a flying kick off the top rope. La Mistica followed, but Thatcher rolls free and uppercuts his way out of Mack’s clutches. The pair run into each other as a wobbly Thatcher tags in WALTER, as Klinger returned for another scrap, leading to a scoop slam from Klinger, following up with a Bone-Spear from the apron. That’s good for a near-fall, but WALTER regains the upper hand as he looked to superplex Klinger… only to get caught with a corner-to-corner crucifix buckle bomb.

Kaspin’s back… but is quickly overwhelmed as RINGKAMPF isolate him, leading to a German suplex from Thatcher and a Bully choke from WALTER for the submission. Add yet another match to the trope about trios matches – with everyone on the “wXw team” playing their part well, as Kaspin shone in his underdog rookie spot. ***½

Back in the studio, Rico highlights that Axel Dieter Jr. injured his knee in that match in Ludwigshafen – which meant that Dieter won’t be able to take part in World Tag Team League. As a result, Timothy Thatcher will be replacing him… and on that bombshell, we wrap up with the promo trailer for the tournament.

This week’s Shotgun was a bit of a breeze at an hour long, while having to deal with two fairly big injury-enforced changes to the World Tag Team League weekender. In terms of matches on Shotgun this week, we had two relative squashes – which made for a refreshing change – as well as a feature-length main eventer, as the “Shotgun Plus” format continued to settle in on the new streaming service.

  • We’ve already reviewed the 2016 World Tag Team League – Night 1, Night 2, Night 3 –  and the Femmes Fatales tournament. Why not take a look through those before we get to “next week”’s Shotgun?