The final Shotgun of 2016 looks back on the year – and gives us some new matches to boot.

Rico Bushido is in a suit. Is he feeling well? He’ll be running down 2016’s big shows, and promises two “lost matches” from October’s stop in Karlsruhe, which became single-camera shows after technical glitches. The review of the year starts in the Steffy in January as we look at Back to the Roots – where Cerberus would overcome Hot & Spicy and the then-Big Daddy Walter in a setting that would be markedly different by the end of the year. This was also the match that saw Avalanche injure his shoulder, ruling him out for the remainder of the year… Of course, that’s a push for the Käfigschlacht match in January 2017.

February saw John Klinger get back on track in Hamburg, as he beat Donovan Dijak at Dead End as he dealt with the breakup of the Champions of Champions team… March saw Zack Sabre Jr. win 16 Carat Gold, while Jurn Simmons overthrew Karsten Beck to become wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion. That was also the event that saw Karsten leave his boots in the ring, as he teased retirement. From the names involved, I think I need to go back and watch 2016’s Carat at some point…

That segued into the departure of Tommy End – but instead Rico pitches to Superstars of Wrestling in Hamburg, which opened with the Sumerian Death Squad of Tommy End & Michael Dante beating Cerberus for the tag titles – thanks in part to Road Warrior Animal neutralising Adam Polak. I bet some of you think I made that last part up. From there, Rico connects Tommy End’s final match to his final opponent, as we’re taken to Karlsruhe for our first “new match” of the show.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Lio Rush
This was filmed on a single camera due to technical hiccups… Jeremy Graves is on commentary as he explains in great detail that this sort of production “isn’t the norm” for wXw.

Rush weathers an early storm and kicks Ilja to the outside before following him outside with a tope con giro. Returning to the ring, Ilja caught Rush with an elbow, but Lio’s back with a handspring back elbow for a near-fall. Ilja fires up as Jeremy chose his words wisely, saying that Ilja was “under the influence of Adam Polak”, right as Dragunov wrecked Rush with a Saito suplex. Chops keep Rush down, as did a neck crank, before a back senton squashed Rush for a near-fall. Shoulders keep Rush in the corners, but Lio hits a sunset flip to get a near-fall before he tried to strike back. A lariat from Ilja spins him to the mat for a near-fall, before a slam led to a delayed back senton off the middle rope that misses. Rush tries to capitalise, tripping Ilja on the way to a springboard enziguiri that could have won him the match.

Rush’s delay costs him though, as he’s planted with a Chernobyl Bomb for a very near-fall. He recovers with a satellite DDT, then headed up top for a massive elbow drop, but it’s not enough as Ilja kicks out, before he took a kicking as Rush tried to force his way to a win. A barrage of strikes rocks Ilja, but a Torpedo Moscau out of nowhere ends it. A hell of a match, with Lio showing why he was so highly thought of! ***½

Rico recaps Jurn Simmons winning the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship, and the quick list of names he beat in the early defences: Jeff Jarrett, Absolute Andy and John Klinger., At Shortcut to the Top in June, Klinger had another crack at Jurn, and we get clips of that here, complete with ugly chair bumps as Jurn would eke out the win, despite a screw up from Alpha Kevin.

Shortcut to the Top continued with surprises… and not just because of Chris Hero being in the match. Karsten Beck returned to wXw as he took on Jurn – who was left in the match – and eliminated him en route to winning Shortcut. We get Beck’s post-match promo too, as he thanked the crowd for their reaction, as he looked to be going head-on into a rematch with Jurn Simmons for the title. Sadly, weeks later, Beck would be diagnosed with a brain tumour – with the resulting surgeries marking the end of his in-ring career.

Instead, the match at FAN was changed as Da Mack challenged Jurn in a title-for-title match, on the back of his appearance in WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic. Mack would lose that night, thanks to interference from Axel Dieter Jr., as Hot & Spicy would begin to implode. We then leap to World Tag Team League, as Karsten Beck made an appearance after having surgery… only to have Christian Michael Jakobi savagely turn on him as RINGKAMPF (under CMJ’s orders) gave him his marching orders.

Paul London vs. John Klinger
This one’s also from Karlsruhe, with the single-camera set-up… and we open with Paul London chopping Klinger, before he told Klinger to run into the ropes, as he set up for a dropkick.

The single camera in use here is the hard camera, which means we don’t see too much on the outside. Luckily, they only stay there for a while, as they return to the ring, before London got chopped over the top rope to the outside. On the hard camera side. London uses fans as roadblocks as he ran away, before London tried to hide under the ring. He got caught.

They finally make it back to the ring, where London was hurled into the corner with such force, Klinger almost was able to win the match. Chops keep London on the ropes, as a back body drop took London into the air. A moonsault from London gets him back in it, as he proceeded to hit the ropes and confuse Klinger ahead of an atomic drop. From there, a ‘rana takes Klinger to the outside, but he rushes back in to hit a scoop slam for a near-fall. Another Irish whip takes London to the corner, with Klinger adding forearms and splashes to the mix as the Karlsruhe crowd were hoping Paul London didn’t expire here.

London lifts Klinger to the outside, knocking him to the floor for a dropkick-through-the-ropes, but Klinger’s thrown back inside… and quickly returns to the floor with a tope to London. An elbow drop off the top misses as the match returned to the ring, before Klinger is pushed off as he went for a superplex. The whiffs continue as London misses a shooting star press, and is quickly caught in a crossface, only to get his foot to the ropes. A kick from London takes Klinger to the apron, but the Bonespear brings Klinger back in for a near-fall, before London ducked a superkick and tried to sneak a win with a roll-up. London rolls outside from the kickout, and suckers Klinger outside for a hattrick of superkicks, rolling him back in to land a double stomp for yet another near-fall, but another trip to the ropes backfires as Klinger blocks him.

A back suplex from Klinger drops London across the buckles for a near-fall, before a spinning heel kick gave London some fresh hope… and it was enough to guide him to victory as he pushed away a superplex and hit a shooting star press for the win. A fun little match, with London’s early Benny Hill chase seemingly getting under “Bad Bones”’ skin enough! ***¼

Back to Rico, who highlights the TLC match for the tag titles from November, as they skipped over any other clips from World Tag Team League, instead taking us to A4 beating David Starr and Lio Rush for the vacated tag titles. From there, the obvious next stop is the 16th Anniversary show, and the three-way main event there that saw Marty Scurll tap out Adam Cole to win the title… only to lose it moments later to Axel Dieter Jr.

Rico wraps up for the year, as the outtakes episode mysteriously isn’t on wXw NOW… and since we already covered Shotgun 288, we’re going to skip a week as we hit the final three episodes in our collection as we see the start of David Starr’s international title defences.