wXw may be on their summer holiday, but there’s still time for a quick road trip on the way to Shortcut to the Top!

We’re coming from the Stadthalle in the city of Gütersloh – about twenty minutes’ drive away from Bielefeld – opening with Avalanche arriving at the building, asking about Avalanche… and getting wound up because the front doors were locked. Poor Baby Allison… and poor wheelcase too!

Alan Counihan is back on commentary. It’s been a while since I’ve heard those dulcet tones on a wXw show. We’ve got a battle royal on tap to determine who’s getting the number 30 spot in the Shortcut to the Top next month, the Crown vs. Aussie Open and so much more.

First, they replay Pete Bouncer turning on Lucky Kid at Drive of Champions in Hamburg… and how that led to Absolute Andy robbing Lucky of his wXw title shot. Backstage, Absolute Andy’s with Jay-FK, who are interrupted by Pete Bouncer, who’s on their side. What happened with Lucky was a plan… because it got Andy his title match. Oh boy.

Next, Baris is showing Lucky Kid something on his handicam. I bet it isn’t fingerprints… it’s footage from Superstars of Wrestling, before the show opened, where Andy and Pete Bouncer were formulating that plan. Bouncer says that “the thing with RISE must end”, and that sends Lucky into a rage. Luckily, going into the same room as Pete, who mocked him for not wearing his Schadenfreude tee

Baris is just getting his own back for Andy beating him up before…

They replay Emil Sitoci walking out on his match with Avalanche at Drive of Champions, along with Avalanche’s payback later that night in the main event. We then see Avalanche hunting backstage for Emil, but instead he bumps into Veit Müller, who wants to make a plan for the main event.

Battle Royal for #30 in Shortcut to the Top
Thank God, everyone gets name-checked! So we’re getting an 18-man battle royal with Leon Van Gasteren, Jurn Simmons, Alexander James, Mark Davis, Absolute Andy, Jay Skillet, Francis Kaspin, Wheeler Yuta, Pete Bouncer, Ivan Kiev, Maggot, Levaniel, Prince Ahura, Kyle Fletcher, Marius al-Ani, Veit Müller, Emil Sitoci and Avalanche.

Levaniel wanted a shortcut to Shortcut to The Top as he asked everyone to eliminate themselves… but instead he just got tossed out first. Ah well. Prince Ahura’s next, and then the action begins as we see from the floor cameras that this place has a balcony. It’s a nice change from the usual clubs wrestling tends to run in.

Pete Bouncer and Mark Davis go next, followed by Kyle Fletcher, as there’s rapid-fire eliminations, with the pace slowing down as the heavy hitters were left in. Avalanche manages to eliminate Emil Sitoci, but he’s quickly pulled out as Emil did his Sid/Hulk Hogan tribute, as those two proceeded to brawl to the back. Another spate of eliminations left us down to Leon van Gasteren, Absolute Andy and Jay-FK. You can guess the direction here… Leon’s bullied by the trio, before a stunner almost eliminated Andy. He held on, but Jay Skillet couldn’t, nor could Andy as he charged back in, leaving us with Kaspin and van Gasteren, before Andy and Jay low bridges Leon… sending him sailing to the floor as Francis Kaspin won the #30 spot. This was fine for a battle royal – a lot of folks left very quickly, but the story at the end was told well. **¾

We’re taken to Hamburg as Aussie Open issued a challenge to WALTER & Ilja Dragunov… which was met with an answer as those teams meet at Shortcut to the Top. That bled into an interview with Aussie Open, who call that match their toughest test to date… and then we’re backstage as Karsten Beck interrupts Francis Kaspin’s celebrations. Absolute Andy seemed to be heading in the direction that he and Skillet team up to become Jay-AA. Karsten had other ideas, especially since the three of them were a team… they’ll be wrestling as well as being in Shortcut to the Top: against OWE’s Strong Hearts. Oh yeah, and Francis has had his #30 spot swapped to #1 because of his mates’ cheating.

Levaniel vs. Ivan Kiev
Still nursing sore ribs after being thrown out first in that battle royal, “the Prince of the Stars” is back for his main show singles debut.

This was Ivan’s first singles match in six months, having last taken action in the Road to 16 Carat Gold tournament back in London earlier this year. Levaniel has to endure “who are you?” chants from the Gütersloh crowd, before Kiev enjoyed the best of the early going, scoring a near-fall from a springboard crossbody.

A missed boot in the corner gave Levaniel the opportunity to counter back, landing a spinning heel kick for a two-count. Problem was, the, rookie was too full of himself and spent a lot of time playing to the crowd, and ended up missing a charge into the corner as Kiev lands his Yakuza kick. Hey, there’s a Combinacion Cabron a la Naito too from Ivan, only for Levaniel to come back with a Fisherman’s suplex for a near-fall, before Kiev slipped out of a swinging reverse STO and landed a high kick.

From there, Kiev heads up for a flying leg lariat before a Samoan driver led to the win. A perfectly fine debut in defeat for Levaniel, who’s got a lot of potential as the latest graduate of the wXw academy. **¾

They replay Amale’s win over Valkyrie in Hamburg, as she’s now backstage moaning to Karsten Beck over not having a private locker room and some other crap. Karsten tries to congratulate her, but Amale takes a phone call… it’s a video call from Killer Kelly who’s more than a little mad at how Amale only had one goal. So, Karsten’s news? Amale’s defending the women’s title against Kelly and Toni Storm at Shortcut to the Top.

Baby Allison vs. Valkyrie
Both women started this out of the title picture, and we started with Allison taking Valkyrie to the mat… but the Irishwoman’s quickly back, taking her outside for a dropkick through-the-ropes.

Back inside, Allison throws down Valkyrie a la Ric Flair to counter the Death Note, as the match descended in a strike-battle that Valkyrie got the better of. Allison Matrix’s out of a clothesline before landing a spinebuster for a near-fall, but Valkyrie’s back with an enziguiri before the Death Note landed for the win. Very much on the short side, but perfectly fine for what we got. **¼

They recap how the Pretty Bastards have fallen from grace, largely thanks to Prince Ahura’s behaviour, before we go backstage as Maggot tries to talk Ahura into making things right. Ahura does… albeit via voicemail as he didn’t want to face Karsten Beck face-to-face. Cue some crocodile tears! After the call, Maggot tries to plan their way back into things, but Ahura seems so disinterested.

The Crown (Alexander James & Jurn Simmons) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
Alexander James is now going as the “Prince of Pain”. This is a non-title outing, and it almost ended in short order as James dumped Fletcher with a suplex in the opening seconds.

The match quickly spilled outside as Davis threw James into the back of the room, while Fletcher dumped Jurn into the front row as the Crown ate some big boots. Back inside, James continued to take a beating, as did Jurn, who gets tripped… only for James to slide his partner from a sliding D as the Crown finally found an opening.

James keeps Davis in the corner as they upped the aggression… Davis charges through a clothesline, but Fletcher’s hot tag was quickly extinguished as he ran into a pop-up uppercut as the Crown just got right back in the driver’s seat. They focus on Fletcher, double-teaming him in the corner as Davis tried to get involved, before Kyle got stretched across James’ back on the way to a near-fall.

A back body drop gets Kyle free, as did a suplex to James, before Davis came back in to chop and clothesline his way past the Crown. Briefly. A tope from Fletcher keeps the Crown on the outside before Jurn saved James from the Gold Coast Waterslide as the momentum began to shift wildly.

The double-team Go To Sleep and an assisted Aussie Arrow dropped James for a two-count. Jurn gets involved again as the tide turns, with James’ ripcord back elbow nearly putting Dunkzilla away. When a double-team chokeslam doesn’t do it, the Crown teed up for the curbstomp, only for Fletcher to return to break it up. Kyle eats another elbow before he and Davis caught Jurn with a double low blow – getting payback from Hamburg – as the champions retain. Really enjoyable stuff with the Crown yet again showing aggression but ultimately failing to get the win. ***½

Backstage, Marius al-Ani’s with Emil Sitoci, trying to forge a plan as they’re teaming in the main event. Of course, Emil doesn’t want to team with the man he took the Shotgun title from a few months back. Elsewhere, the Crown are livid with how Aussie Open beat them by kicking them in the dick. Heck, they’re just livid at not getting a straight-up tag title shot. James took credit for the losses of Julian Nero and Dirty Dragan in wXw, as they continued to tear apart how they’ve been treated. This was tremendous stuff from the Crown, who found great fire in their run so far.

Absolute Andy & Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) vs. Pretty Bastards (Maggot & Prince Ahura) & Leon van Gasteren
We’ve a jump start as Andy and his Kids caught their opponents from behind… but they’re quickly taken to the outside.

That led to Absolute Andy complaining about a blister – fortunately, wXw have medics on hand, so he’ll get taken care of. Well, not until after the match…

When we got going again, we had a lot of stalling before Absolute Any began to charge through Maggot, throwing him to the mat with ease with a suplex. Things turned a little as van Gasteren tagged in to charge through Andy with forearms and a neckbreaker, but Skillet quickly put him down with a snapmare and a kick to the back. That’s one way to handle the football chants…

Van Gasteren returns the favour, then scored with headscissors before Maggot’s blind tag allowed him to crash into Skillet with a crossbody. Ahura’s in next, chopping through Skillet before Andy put him back in his place. Yeah, there’s some cheating, as Andy managed to detach the tag rope and choke Ahura with it, which led to him trying to switch corners as he went walkes with that rope.

Uppercuts leave Ahura on the mat, but he eventually got free and tagged in Maggot, whose comeback had Jay-FK backpedalling, as a spear took Kaspin down with ease. A low bridge from Skillet and Andy evoked memories of earlier in the evening as this time it had Maggot in the defensive, with him quickly getting cornered before he countered Andy’s F5 into a cutter.

Leon’s back with German suplexes, before he dumped Andy into Skillet with a back body drop. There’s a stunner to Kaspin too, but the pin’s broken up, before the Bastards hit a nice spin-out butterfly suplex to Skillet. Andy’s back to flatten them as the match settled down into Andy and Leon trading forearms, before Leon leapt into another F5 attempt. That’s countered, but Andy lands a spinebuster instead before he uncorked some F5s.

Tags get us to Ahura and Kaspin… but Ahura missed Andy’s blind tag, and quickly fell to a roll-up as Jay-FK stole it. A fun trios match as Andy and his Kids managed to get a win without too much in the way of shenanigans. ***

Veit Müller’s backstage with Verena, who asks him about his win over Wheeler Yuta in Hamburg. Veit tells us he’s set on collecting wins, before talk turned into what’s going on with RINGKAMPF, especially given WALTER’s recent behaviour. Veit doesn’t want to question WALTER, even if things are a little weird…

We get reminded of how Lucky Kid got a title shot against Bobby Gunns – despite losing it to Absolute Andy earlier on at Drive of Champions.

Wheeler Yuta vs. Lucky Kid
This was presented as something of a tune-up match for Lucky, as he worked over Yuta’s wrist in the early going.

Yuta tries to fight back, but he’s caught with some low dropkicks as Lucky took the match outside briefly. A quick crossface attempt is escaped, but Yuta ends up in the corner as he has to avoid a running knee, before he sprung back in with a missile dropkick to take the 16 Carat Gold winner down.

An attempted Octopus stretch sees Yuta try to force a submission, but Lucky escaped and nearly pinned him too as the momentum began to shift. A handspring back elbow caught Yuta unawares, as Lucky builds up some stream again, eventually leaping to the top rope for a missile dropkick for a near-fall.

Yuta’s back suplex looked to turn the match back in his favour, but Lucky flips out of a German suplex and comes in with a springboard cutter. From there, a La Mistica lands him into a crossface… only for Pete Bouncer to saunter down to ringside. He distracted Lucky, allowing Yuta to snatch the win with an O’Connor roll. This was fine for what it was, but this was more a placeholder for what was to follow. **¾

Ivan Kiev’s at ringside too after the match, arguing with Pete for what he just did… Lucky springs onto Pete as Ivan’s attempts to calm him down were in vain. Eventually Ivan tried to break them up, but Lucky’s had enough as those “Rise ist scheiss” chants popped up. A cheapshot from Bouncer decked Lucky, before he left his (I guess now former) running buddy for dead.

Backstage, Veit Müller’s approaching Wheeler Yuta to thank him for their battles they’ve had during Yuta’s tour. Wheeler wants to come back to wXw, and they shake on the prospect of future battles.

Marius al-Ani & Emil Sitoci vs. Veit Müller & Avalanche
Well aren’t these some wacky teams? Just about everyone here has had a run-in with Emil Sitoci recently – but it’s Müller and al-Ani who start us off working on each other’s arms until Veit clocked Marius with a clothesline to the back of the head.

Müller quickly found himself on the defensive as Sitoci came in to gnaw and rip away on him. Veit gets free to tag in Avalanche, but of course Emil scurries away. He returned, just to tag out to al-Ani, as the pair began to corner the big man and double-team him in decidedly underhanded ways.

Sitoci refuses to tag in, which allowed Avalanche a way back in as slammed Marius, then Veit, before Müller slammed Avalanche onto the former Shotgun champion for good measure. One cheapshot later, and Sitoci suddenly has no such issues as he took the fight to Veit, scoring with a side Russian legsweep before wrenching away on his head and neck.

Marius returns with a suplex for a near-fall, then with a crucifix as Veit’s rear naked choke was countered. Sitoci again baited Avalanche into the ring, but it backfires as Veit gets the tag out. Just after Emil tagged out, and of course, he wanted nothing to do with saving his partner from Avalanche. al-Ani avoids a back body drop, but couldn’t get away from a belly-to-belly before Sitoci’s attempt at a cheapshot was shrugged off.

Avalanche hits a pumphandle slam on the Shotgun champion, allowing al-Ani back in as a Parade of Moves broke out. We eventually settled back down to Avalanche taking Sitoci up top, but the ring stayed full as Müller caught al-Ani with an Exploder. A top rope elbow from Sitoci doesn’t help Marius much, and yet again Emil bails to the back.

Avalanche demands the count be stopped, so he could chase after him… and Tassilo Jung obliged as the pair brawled around the merch tables. Back in the ring, Sitoci demanded to be tagged… but perhaps not in the way Marius did it, as a right hand dropped Sitoci before a Keiler Recliner suplex and a Dreissker Bomb out away the Shotgun champion. A fun main event as Avalanche picked up a win over Emil – and that ought to put him in good stead for when they meet for the title. ***½

We close down with the card for Shortcut to the Top on August 3 in Oberhausen.

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Lucky Kid vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
wXw World Tag Team Championship: WALTER & Ilja Dragunov vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) (c)
wXw Women’s Championship: Killer Kelly vs. Toni Storm vs. Amale (c)
Absolute Andy & Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) vs. Strong Hearts (CIMA, T-Hawk & El Lindaman)
Shortcut to the Top Match

The Road to Shortcut to the Top was your usual solid table-setting show. Save for Francis Kaspin, not much was laid out for the Shortcut to the Top match itself, but the rest of the show filled out nicely. I’m extremely curious to see how that Strong Hearts vs. Andy and his kids turns out – I’m not expecting Lucha Andy, but that’d be wild, wouldn’t it?