We’re heading to Switzerland for some of this week’s Shotgun, as the fallout from 2016’s World Tag Team League continued.
Wow, that’s a one hour twenty run-time this week… with just two matches? Denim Rico tells us we’re a little over a week from Broken Rules, with the TLC match for the tag team titles… plus we’ve got Christian Michael Jakobi explaining himself after what happened with Karsten Beck. But first, before we get to the TLC match, the then-tag team champions faced each other in wXw’s debut in Basel.
Shane Strickland vs. David Starr
This was part of the Swiss Open – a one night tournament for the live crowd. Alan Counihan’s on the call, as we start with Starr and Strickland grappling on the mat, countering each other early on.
Strickland takes Starr down and stands on the arm, but Starr grabs a leg and grapevines it on the way to a Trailer Hitch. An escape has Strickland guillotining Starr, before some back and forth led to a stand-off… with Starr looking to keep going with a headlock as Strickland powdered into the ropes. The champions roll for a bit, and… erm, cartwheel about as good as I can. Tas corpses. Send for the man. Starr calms down with a side headlock as Strickland gets shoved off and comes back with a shoulder tackle, before he had to kick out of a bunch of rapid roll-ups from his tag team partner.
Strickland powders again, and returns to try his luck with a wristlock… then found his way through with an armbar as he forced Starr into a neck bridge. Headscissors and dropkicks finally give Strickland an opening, taking Starr outside before he faked out a dive a la Will Ospreay. A switcheroo leads to Starr clotheslining Strickland to the floor, but he ends up worse for wear on the outside as they traded strikes. Starr fails to part the red sea as the crowd refuse to move. Kids, always refusing to do what they’re told! So we end up back inside, with more chops from Starr cornering Strickland ahead of some mudhole stomping as he pulled a page from the Stone Cold playbook. Strickland struck back with a leaping back kick after backing Starr into the corner, before a backbreaker from Strickland earned a near-fall.
Another kick from Strickland knocks Starr into the corner as he repaid those earlier stomps, before a chinlock keeps Starr on the mat. Starr breaks the lock by tweaking Strickland’s fingers, then came back with a chop… only to get caught out with a springboard Flatliner for a near-fall as Strickland came back in from the apron. Starr responds with a Violence Party in the corner, before a sliding splash keeps Strickland down for a two-count. A Pretty Pumped follows next as Strickland is back in the corner, with running forearms keeping him there, but Starr gets caught as Strickland switched Starr into a brainbuster. Looking woozy, Starr’s swinging at thin air as Strickland looked to push ahead, catching Starr with a tiltawhirl backbreaker, then another leaping back kick for a near-fall.
Strickland looks for a Dragon suplex, but Starr slips out and ends up getting back into the corner. He blocks a second kick and goes for an ankle lock as we go back to the quick pinning attempts. A Pretty Pumped gets countered into a satellite DDT as the momentum was all over the place here, with neither man able to hold an advantage for long. Starr catches Strickland on the top rope, but a superplex is blocked as Starr’s knocked down ahead of a Swerve Stomp for a near-fall. Uppercuts from Strickland keep Starr on the back foot, before he straight up spat at him… Starr responds with a flurry of shots, as you would, before a German suplex dropped Strickland. More strikes lead to a rolling elbow to the back of the head from Starr, before a Product Placement finally gets the win. They took a little while to find their feet, but when this got going, this was a fantastic match for the Swiss crowd. ***½
Backstage, Starr and Strickland are more jovial as they paraded the tag titles… and crowed about bringing a new “flavour” to wXw.
From there, we’re with A4 training backstage in the Turbinenhalle. JML’s there, with David Starr mocking Absolute Andy’s footwear, and A4’s general attire. Marius al-Ani fires back, as Strickland branded him a “video game villain”. Wait until he sees the short-lived Raiden-like look…
Nico Schmidt’s building up Broken Rules, but there may be a fork in the road as JML have to get past Cerberus in Borken before hand. Also, we’ve got WALTER vs. Chris Colen there, along with Da Mack vs. Tyler Bate. Bielefeld gets WALTER vs. David Starr, Marius al-Ani vs. Shane Strickland, Da Mack vs. Lio Rush, and Melanie Gray vs. Toni Storm.
Stuttgart’s card – the day before Broken Rules – was to have seen JML vs. A4 in non-title action, WALTER vs. Marty Scurll, and Melanie Gray vs. Toni Storm vs. Alpha Female. Karlsruhe had A4 vs. Scurll & Sitoci, David Starr vs. Jurn Simmons, and Bobby Gunns vs. Shane Strickland.
Back to Rico now, who recaps Tengkwa beating Vinny the Beast… before we go to Bobby Gunns backstage looking for Tengkwa. Francis Kaspin’s there to listen as Gunns bemoans what Tengkwa did, before Kaspin gave him some health advice.
Rico recaps the fortunes of Da Mack, who lost his Shotgun title over World Tag Team League weekend. He meets Tassilo Jung backstage, and is a little downbeat over his fall from grace. Giving advice, Tas tells Mack that nothing worth having comes easily, and reminds him of all the previous times Mack’s stepped up. It seemed to work. From there, we’ve extended clips of Da Mack vs. Peter Fischer from Basle – another Swiss Open tournament match. This was Fischer’s final appearance in wXw (for now), as the former tag team champion had been phased out… and a loss to Da Mack here kinda reinforced that.
We’re back with Nico in the Event Center, who tells us Da Mack will face WALTER at Broken Rules. He runs down the rest of the Broken Rules card, including that TLC match, along with Lio Rush vs. Emil Sitoci, Chris Colen vs. Ilja Dragunov, Bobby Gunns vs. Tengkwa (in the warm-up, no less!)
Rico runs down some upcoming additions to wXw NOW, then recaps how the Alpha Lovers’ wedding was ruined in Oberhausen. Christian Bischof is backstage with the Alpha Lovers, who look like they really didn’t want to hear Christian recap how wonderful World Tag Team League was. I don’t blame them! He moves onto the “sadness” of the wedding, as Kevin struggles to comprehend how his former friend would stoop so low. Kevin seemed more hurt that Marius van Beethoven “found a new alpha”, before Melanie Gray showed off her bruises. “Time may move on, but love remains,” says Gray, as we move on…
Timothy Thatcher vs. John Klinger
We’re in Fulda for this one, as we have a cagey start, as Alan Counihan tells us about these two having form in England about a decade earlier.
Things go to the mat early on, with Thatcher looking to grab a hammerlock as he wore down Klinger, but there’s an escape as Klinger rolls Thatcher down for just a one-count. Klinger trips Thatcher down as the pair exchanged some ground and pound, which took Thatcher into a cross armbar attempt on the German… who manages to counter out into a crossface that ended in the ropes, before Thatcher swung an up-kick in the direction of Klinger after the break.
Thatcher tries again with a half crab, but Klinger escaped and managed to come back in with a leapfrog/dropkick. Chops sting Thatcher, as did an Irish whip into the corner as Klinger lands a scoop slam for a near-fall coming back out. Another chop sees Thatcher crumble, but he recovers and clubs Klinger with a forearm in the corner, before rolling him back down as another armbar attempt seemed to follow. After freeing himself, a clothesline in the corner from Klinger gets a near-fall, before he dove on Thatcher with another crossface attempt… ending with Thatcher dragging himself to the outside. Klinger’s taken outside too, as the pair brawl around ringside, which put Thatcher back on top as he returned to the ring to resume working on the wrist and arm of the German. A chinlock drew “boring” chants from Fulda, but Thatcher didn’t care as he ended up being caught with knees and elbows as Klinger fought his way free.
Thatcher tries to regain the upper hand with a mounted sleeperhold, following up with a butterfly suplex and a leaping enziguiri as he took down Klinger for a near-fall. Knees to the side keep Klinger down, while a side Salto suplex just hurled Klinger around for another two-count. A striking battle led to Klinger surprising Thatcher with a superkick for a near-fall as the match turned on its head, but a Thatcher headbutt restores order as the match nearly ended right there. A rear naked choke from Thatcher kept him ahead, but Klinger rolls him to the outside to break the hold, following up with a swift tope. Klinger’s missile dropkick follows back inside, before a crucifix bucklebomb dropped Thatcher for a near-fall. The pair trade running forearms in the corner, before Klinger was dumped with a Saito suplex for another two count.
Another rear naked choke drops Klinger, but Tassilo Jung does the arm drop gimmick… which gives Klinger enough time to muster up another fightback, countering out with a suplex to Thatcher. Both men haul themselves back up, but Thatcher’s bid to sling Klinger outside just led to him eating a Bonespear for a near-fall, before a crossface right by the ropes gave Thatcher an easy out. Both Klinger and Thatcher try to lock in their submissions again, with Klinger finally getting the win with a crossface as Thatcher couldn’t make it to the ropes this time around. A solid match, but not one that seemed to have Fulda captivated. ***½
Backstage, Christian Bischof’s with John Klinger, who blurts out how the wXw locker room has a drug dealer and an addict. That’s Dirty Dragan and Adam Polak. Klinger demands for Dragan to be banned from wXw, before saying that he wanted to see Ilja Dragunov and Julian Nero break free and lead wXw in the next five years.
From there, we’re taken to Sebastian Hollmichel, who’s with Christian Michael Jakobi. Sebastian’s first question was around Karsten Beck, and why Jakobi went after him the way he did. CMJ tries to label it a “misunderstanding”, saying that it was simply a means to an end. Just told much better than I just did there. Jakobi said that if wXw says something, it has to be done, and he didn’t want to promise something that couldn’t be delivered.
Jakobi noted that he had no beef with Beck, whom he said he took care of, but said that he felt that Beck had “painted himself into a corner” and “had to face the consequences” as ultimately, it was CMJ who’d bear responsibility. Sebastian noted that that seemed a little hypocritical given how CMJ wept during Karsten’s speech, but Jakobi noted that “things look differently from up here than they do from down there,” because he was able to separate business and pleasure – which is why he did what he did.
We keep going as Sebastian asks about RINGKAMPF’s involvement in it all. CMJ notes that WALTER was employed by wXw, having emigrated from Austria… while Beck “lives just twenty minutes away”, which seemed to be a storyline shot at Beck, as Jakobi compared Beck and his attire to RINGKAMPF’s professionalism.
Hollmichel digs a little deeper, asking why A4’s win over RINGKAMPF at FAN (to enter World Tag Team League) was pretty much done for nought as RINGKAMPF ended up being thrown into a qualifying series… with some pretty easy draws. Jakobi tried to say that it was a different team because Axel Dieter Jr. was in that (while Thatcher was in the team at FAN), before saying that anyone who buys a ticket to wXw “expects the absolute best”. All entirely logical responses, albeit with a hint of bias…
Jakobi’s asked about the situation with the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship, which looked to be heading to a three-way with Jurn Simmons defending against Marty Scurll and Adam Cole. CMJ’s thrilled at how wXw “got” Cole, saying how “if wXw aspired to be the top promotion, then the top talent have to work there.” Christian didn’t seem too thrilled at Marty talking his way into things, especially because (in his eyes), “just because he won a gymnastics tournament in California doesn’t mean that he can make a claim for the championship.” Shots fired. One telling line from Jakobi: “I am sure the man who defeats Jurn Simmons really is a legitimate Unified World Wrestling Champion.” Ominous words.
Back in the studio, Rico promises an interview with Tassilo Jung next week, before throwing to footage of the Rotation and Francis Kaspin. Rotation was telling Kaspin to avoid high risk stuff so he doesn’t get hurt (as Rotation had his wrist and thumb taped…), before Kaspin uttered the words “die Matte ist Heilig.” Jurn Simmons walks in and questions that RINGKAMPF love, calling it a marketing ploy. He went one further, saying he’d pee on the mat knowing that he’d still be in the main event of the 16th Anniversary show over anyone in RINGKAMPF, because he’s an entertainer.
Jurn dismisses Marty Scurll as a “cruiserweight”, bringing up how quickly he beat ZSJ in Cologne… and that’s it for a week! While the long matches this week perhaps may not have been favourites, this was another solid package on Shotgun as they dealt with Broken Rules as well as the Anniversary show, while planting plenty of seeds for the months ahead!