wXw headed to northern Germany for the last (televised) stop on the road to the World Tag Team Festival, as Aussie Open had to defend their titles once again.

We’ve got a rare village show from wXw here, with the Dr. Uwe Harder Stadthalle playing host to a stacked show, with a rematch from FAN the prior night on tap. We open with recaps of Aussie Open regaining their wXw World Tag Team Titles at FAN, before Ilja Dragunov and WALTER surround Karsten Beck backstage, demanding a rematch because of his “interference”.

They accuse him of sabotaging their success, and say they’ll seek a vote of no confidence in management… partially because he didn’t know David Starr was there. They get their rematch tonight anyway, as Ilja bangs the door…

Ah man, the old Shotgun intro’s lost “Take A Swing At The World” with the new music… the last vestige. At least we’ve got Jeremy Graves back on commentary. It’s been way too long.

They recap Avalanche winning the Shotgun title, before Avalanche is getting interviewed by someone off-camera. Of course he’s thrilled at winning his first singles title, and thanks the fans for their support. He’s interrupted by Absolute Andy and his mug, who reckons that eliminating Avalanche at Shortcut to the Top earns him a title shot… and a chance to complete the wXw triple crown. Andy’s more worried about being called “Opa” than getting slapped.

The Crown are backstage as Julian Pace screams at them for attacking Leon van Gasteren at Shortcut to the Top. I mean, neither of them look like the masked guy. Jurn tells Julian he couldn’t have been the attacker, while Alexander James was in another country. Solid alibis. Leon’s stuck in traffic as Pace is just shooed away.

wXw Shotgun Championship: Avalanche (c) vs. Absolute Andy
Hey, it’s Christian Bischof on ring announcing duties. I guess it’s because of his karaoke on commentary in Hamburg…

Andy’s out with Jay Skillet – those two will be in World Tag Team Festival as Jay-AA in Francis Kaspin’s absence. From the opening lock-up, Andy shoves away Avalanche, but gets very cocksure of himself, and gets shoved into the corner as Avalanche returned the favour. Andy goes to ruffle his hair… anything to delay a Test of Strength, before they gave way to a headlock and some shoulder charges as Andy was having trouble. More shoulder charges from Avalanche led to mounted punches before Andy went up… and was press slammed down a la Ric Flair. A clothesline takes Andy outside for good measure, but Jay Skillet provides a distraction as Andy gets back into it with uppercuts. Back inside, Andy’s thrown into the corner before he staggered into a back body drop as we’re back outside. A right hand knocks Andy into a spare seat, before Skillet again interferes… this time helping distract as Avalanche gets shoved into the ring post.

Behind the ref’s back, Skillet pulls Avalanche far away from the ring… and nobody notices. It’s to help Andy win via count-out, but Avalanche manages to beat the count in the nick of time. More interference nearly makes Jeremy swear, as Andy targets the lower back with elbow drops, before Avalanche got turfed outside so Jay could stomp some more. An abdominal stretch is applied, as Rainer Ringer’s woefully out of position and misses Skillet again helping out from the floor. Chris Roberts would be proud of this officiating. Eventually the ref catches them in the act and kicks the arm away, allowing Avalanche to land a hiptoss. Skillet’s chased away into the path of a pescado from Andy, before Avalanche finds a second wind, landing some clotheslines and a Samoan drop. A big splash gets a near-fall, but Andy’s big boot and spinebuster provided a response, as did an attempt at the F5, before a superkick led to another near-fall.

Andy calls for the hammer… so Jay Skillet grabs the bell hammer from Christian Bischof at ringside, and brings it into the ring. Of course, Avalanche reverses an Irish whip, then squashes Skillet in the corner, before taking Andy there to for a Dreissker bomb… and with Jay Skillet flat out in the corner, Avalanche scores the pin. A nice, enjoyable opener for the village crowd with the bad guy trying so hard to win with interference… but it backfired in the end. ***

After the match, Andy and Jay were left behind… and interrupted by the Crown, complete with their snazzy new t-shirts. Alexander James demands the mic, as he’s annoyed at being accused of attacking Leon van Gasteren. Ah, a classic whodunnit! Andy tries to deflect the blame, despite the fact the Crown had cast-iron alibis, which makes Jurn accuse them.

Andy recaps how Leon was attacked, then asked the crowd if they thought a man of his style would wear a black hoodie to cover up. They… agreed. James’ German’s improving as he understood bits of it, before he blamed Francis Kaspin. “Poor Francis Kaspin”, who was at home with a back injury. Cue more appearances, as Raw is Neumünster saw the arrival of the Pretty Bastards… who aren’t in World Tag Team Festival. Prince Ahura doesn’t believe anyone, and asks the crowd for their opinions. Maggot cuts him off, and introduces Julian Pace and Leon van Gasteren as they storm the ring.

Karsten Beck wanders out, as he still doesn’t get his new music played, and yep, later on we’re gonna be seeing an eight-man tag. Holla Holla.

Marius Al-Ani vs. The Rotation
Not counting Shortcuts to the Top, it’s been three years since Rotation made tape on a wXw “main roster” show. It’s been way too long.

Al-Ani starts with a tie-up, taking Rotation straight into the corner as he was bringing the aggression here, slapping Rotation before he looked for a press slam. It’s ducked, as Rotation tried to mount a fight back, but he leaps up top and loses balance, allowing al-Ani to kick him when he’s on the way down.

al-Ani grounds Rotation with a chinlock, following in with knees to the back for good measure, before a snap slam dumped him on the mat. Commentary brings up Mike Schwarz after their incident at Shortcut to the Top (foreshadowing!), right as Rotation tries to make another comeback, but his springboard crossbody was caught and turned into a one-handed suplex. Show-off. A big forearm from al-Ani decks Rotation again, but some chops looked to provide a response, as did some knees before Rotation went up top again… and cartwheeled away before landing a nice satellite DDT! It’s back up top for Rotation again as he had to abort a 450 splash, before a ‘rana was caught and turned into a death valley driver as al-Ani gets the win. Marius is real good in this bully role, but there’s not that many Rotations around, sadly. **¾

We quickly cut away as Vollgasteren and the Pretty Bastards are chatting backstage. Ahura’s complaining about his fake watch and Julian’s snazzy Academy jacket, while Leon van Gasteren vowed to find whomever it was who attacked him. The Pretty Bastards weirdly are trying to downplay all of this…

Next, Marius al-Ani mocks The Rotation in a promo, comparing him to a child who’s a little out of their league. Marius is told he’ll be facing Mike Schwarz at World Tag Team Festival. Marius reckons Schwarz should hang around Oberhausen Hauptbahnhof with his family and fans… that’s low.

Leyla Hirsch gets a vignette, introducing herself to the wXw fan base. She’s originally from Russia, and after being adopted she’s found her way into wrestling… and just from what I’ve seen in Beyond, she’s highly recommended.

Leyla Hirsch vs. Valkyrie
This was Hirsch’s wXw “taped” debut, and man… something tells me Valkyrie’s ring music has to be a rib. It sounds way too much like Nine Inch Nail’s “Hand That Feeds” in parts for it not to be a homage to a feud in another company…

The simple act of Valkyrie asking the crowd if “you guys ready?” made her the good guy here, as Hirsch started by going in for a side headlock and a noogie… before Valkyrie reversed the headlock and quickly found herself being taken down. Valkyrie was matching Hirsch’s grappling early, before she charged down Hirsch with a shoulder tackle.

A leapdrog/dropdown combo doesn’t do much to Hirsch, who is right back up with a dropkick to take Valkyrie outside. Valkyrie’s back in and tries to win with a Superman body press, then with a modified La Magistral, but her follow-up roundhouse kick is blocked as Hirsch pushed ahead, cracking the Irishwoman into the corner with double knees and a dropkick for a near-fall. Valkyrie’s quickly back with a nice handspring into an overhead kick, before she headed up for the Death Note… but Hirsch runs under it and took her out with a running knee to the side of the head for another two-count. Hirsch tries to follow up with a double-jump moonsault, but she misses as Valkyrie went back up for the Death Note… and that’s the win! A nice, brisk outing here… it’s a little weird Hirsch lost on her debut, especially given that Valkyrie isn’t in Femmes Fatales, but there’s longer-term plans, I guess. ***

They replay Amale’s win over Tenille Dashwood at FAN, before we’re taken backstage as she’s trying to sweet talk Karsten Beck away from checking out David Starr on Instagram. It’s the moustache. Amale’s mad that Tenille hit her in the face a lot, before she’s told that she has a title defence today… against Faye Jackson, who apparently got her shot by winning that four-way at FAN.

Clips from Veit Müller’s loss to Bobby Gunns at FAN follow, before we’re taken backstage as Thommi Giesen’s interviewing Veit. He thanks the fans for their backing, before saying that “another wrestler” will finish the job for him at World Tag Team Festival. It’s going to be another busy weekend for Timothy Thatcher, who’ll have six matches in four days. Maybe I’m reading into this too much, but I’m expecting a twist here…

We’re back with another Smoking Break from Bobby Gunns. He’s bigging himself up, recapping his 16 Carat Gold victory, and all of his wins since then, rattling off the scalps he’s claimed. Weird how Daniel Makabe wasn’t in that lot… Gunns brings up the old angle where he put out his cigarette in Tim’s eye, just so I don’t have to. It’ll be a wild one.

Hey, here’s Timo! He’s tired of Bobby Gunns, and how he’s “disrespecting the art of professional wrestling” with his shortcuts. Thatcher says he’ll win the title so wXw has a champion they can be proud of – a very understated promo, as we get a massive zoom in for good measure.

Jay-AA (Absolute Andy & Jay Skillet) & The Crown (Alexander James & Jurn Simmons) vs. VollGasteren (Julian Pace & Leon van Gasteren) & Pretty Bastards (Maggot & Prince Ahura)
Andy’s dicking around with water bottles again, as he really needs to keep the lid on those things…

Christian Bischof’s barely out of the ring when the match had a jump start, with the bad guys meeting their opponents in the aisle for a wild brawl around the Stadthalle. Van Gasteren’s sent into one of the pillars in the room, while pretty much everyone else on his team tasted the ring post. The Crown focused on the Pretty Bastards, while Jay Skillet tossed Julian Pace into the wall as the camera crew were having a hell of a time keeping up with this. Christian’s hiding by the timekeeper’s table as Andy’s on the prowl, but finally Maggot gets in some offence, raking Jurn Simmons chest. It was a drop in the ocean compared to what was happening around him, as Ahura got chopped out of a chair. Things go awry for the bad guys when they tried to co-ordinate, as they ended up in chairs that they got kicked out of.

Finally Skillet and Pace hit the ring to start the match, trading superkicks and enziguiri until Pace’s roll-through neckbreaker took down Skillet. Maggot and Jurn come in as Rainer Ringer never really had control, as we build to Maggot’s crossbody off the top before Ahura and Alexander James hit the ring… but Ahura’s crossbody gets caught and turned into a pop-up uppercut ahead of a rear spin kick from Ahura. Andy and van Gasteren come in to trade shots, but Andy rakes the eyes before he went for an F5… Leon counters, before he blocked a superkick ahead of a double-clothesline. Pace and Skillet are back as Jeremy has us play “guess the footballer” (it’s Andre Schürrle), before van Gasteren busts out a suplex, then rolls it into a Fisherman suplex for a near-fall.

The Pretty Bastards come in to double-team Skillet, using an elevator splash for a near-fall before Absolute Andy charged the ring and clotheslined everyone. Jay Skillet makes the tag behind the ref’s back, but it’s allowed as Jurn Simmons charged through the Bastards, before Andy scaled the ropes… then slunk back down to hit an uppercut. A release suplex from Andy hurls Maggot across the ring, as the bad guys were using means that were fair and foul to stay on Maggot. Including Andy throwing Ahura into the wall again, as we had a count-out tease. Maggot beats the count, but ends up taking a fallaway slam from James. Andy stops to tell Jurn that he’s stretching… which just gave Jurn a chance to throw Maggot into his boot as the crowd booed it all.

Jurn busts out his own suplex throw as Andy tries to walk off his “pulled muscle”, as the bad guys were all over Maggot, using quick tags to keep themselves fresh. Maggot tries to get the boot up to stop Andy’s charge, but to no avail as Andy splashes him anyway before Skillet looked for a suplex… and instead just pulls him into the ropes. Maggot finally gets free, pulling Jay into the same ropes ahead of a spear, before he made the hot tag to Leon Van Gasteren, who cleared house. Stunners lay out Jurn and Andy, before James finally took one for a near-fall. A head kick from Ahura helps get rid of Skillet, sending him outside as he teased a dive… but Andy’s superkick starts a massive Parade of Moves, ending with James and van Gasteren trading uppercuts ahead of a Judas Effect! A wild tope from Ahura wipes out Andy and half of the front row (should have had those drinks sooner!), as a roll-through neckbreaker from Pace almost took the win.

With the good guys surging ahead, Pace calls Ahura back into the ring… but the bad guys isolate van Gasteren again as James came in with a lariat before a double-team chokeslam left Leon laying. From there, the curb stomp looked to follow, but Skillet tags himself in to steal the pin, and of course, it doesn’t work. He’s suddenly having to beg for help from the Crown, who exit stage left in sheer disgust, and as Skillet’s pleading for them to return, he’s met with another Stunner. Andy too, as Pace hits a double-jump moonsault onto Skillet for the win. Almost a main-event length match (ahem) as we got some good action with clearly defined good and bad guys. Well, almost. ***¼

We’re taken backstage to… Hamburg, as David Starr contronts Ilja Dragunov. Starr’s rubbing in the title loss, as I swear these two have had a similar pre-tape in Hamburg before. Starr brings up his entry in the World Tag Team Festival with Eddie Kingston, while Ilja yawned a bit, stopping only to laugh as Starr called him a twat.

Elsewhere backstage, The Crown are asked how they plan to win World Tag Team Festival, as Julian Pace wandered from one room to another. There’s a loud bang as a guy in a hoodie leaves the bathroom, showing Julian Pace laying… and another shot of the Pretty Bastards holding the door open for the hoodlum to get away. Leon Van Gasteren’s quickly in to check on Pace, as were the Bastards, but it’s clear now they’re in on it at the very least.

LuFisto’s backstage with a promo, talking about how she lost to Meiko Satomura in the finals of last year’s Femmes Fatales… and she’s going to go one better before retirement.

wXw Women’s Championship: Faye Jackson vs. Amale (c)
So Faye gets her title shot less than 24 hours after winning a four-way in Hamburg, and we start with some trash talking from both sides.

Jackson shoves away Amale from a tie-up, before she made Amale run the ropes ahead of a shoulder charge. A slam’s next, as was a running splash, getting Faye a near-fall as Amale rolled outside for cover. Faye joins her outside, trading forearms back and forth before Amale was… given a lapdance in the front row. Back in the ring, Amale’s caught with a slingshot sunset flip for a near-fall, before she kicked out and landed a big knee for a near-fall. Amale begins to pick her spots, taking Faye into the corner for some shoulder charges before throwing her into the turnbuckles. A shotgun dropkick keeps her there for a running boot, as Amale goes all Rikishi on us to get some payback.

Jackson snaps back with a Whoopee Cushion splash out of the corner for a near-fall, but Amale boots her down again as she proceeded to remove some of Faye’s ring gear. So that’s why she snapped off the suspenders… grounded figure four head scissors led to Amale driving Faye’s head into the mat, before Amale demanded that Faye kiss her flag. The French flag on her wrist, that is. Faye refuses and hits back with forearms, following up with a hip attack in the corner for a near-fall, before Jackson got surprised with a stunner. Amale can’t follow up as she’s met with a spear for another two-count. Another fightback from Amale looked to lead to a Champion’s Maker, but Amale’s taken into the corner… where she manages to take Faye back down with a forearm ahead of another missed hip attack. That left Amale open for a cannonball, which sends her spilling outside, so Faye follows her out to throw Amale back inside…

We’ve got a ref bump as Rainer Ringer’s left a little stunned, so Amale shows her resourcefulness, grabbing the leg covering she’d ripped off Faye earlier before choking her out with it, forcing the stoppage with a sleeperhold. An inventive finish, as Amale continues to grow into the role. **¾

Backstage, Leon Van Gasteren is quizzing the Pretty Bastards over what happened, when Karsten Beck and his wonky collar comes in to break the bad news. Julian Pace is out of World Tag Team Festival because of the attack, and so Beck has to look for a new team. Leon puts up the Pretty Bastards as replacements, and goes as far as vouching for them. Oh Leon… You forgot when the Pretty Bastards came up with a plan to get to World Tag Team Festival because their poor performances cost them a spot.

Recaps show us Ivan Kiev turning on Lucky Kid as RISE were killed off and replaced by the Purge Club at FAN. That leads us to an interview with Lucky Kid, who reckons that Pete Bouncer needs a doctor as he pushed how hypocritical Pete was. Lucky knows he’s alone, even if it leaves him a marked man.

Cue a video package of boots and baseball bats as the Purge Club introduce themselves to a wider audience…

Faye Jackson’s approaching Amale backstage, angry with the underhanded tactics she used in the match earlier. Jackson demands a second match, this time at Femmes Fatales, as Amale tries to worm into Karsten’s mind again. Beck makes the match, which means Faye’s not in the tournament…

wXw World Tag Team Championship: WALTER & Ilja Dragunov vs. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) (c)
WALTER & Ilja “need” the titles if they’re going to be a part of World Tag Team Festival, it seems, while Aussie Open have that long standing promise to be the first team to defend the titles throughout the tournament.

Before the match, WALTER grabs the mic to tell the live crowd about his garden (NOT a euphemism), before stating their displeasure at having to come to Neumünster. I have a feeling Tass was doing some translation there…WALTER tries to jumpstart the match, but Aussie Open were ahead of it, catching him with superkicks as things got underway. Ilja’s dumped with a Fidget Spinner straight away, but WALTER pulls Kyle outside as the match spilled outside, with Davis getting thrown into the ring post. He’s quickly back to pull WALTER into a double-team Go 2 Sleep, before Ilja almost overshot a tope for good measure. Back inside, Ilja and Davis trade stinging chops, before WALTER’s threatened interference was knocked away.

Ilja catches a chop and hits some rapid-fire ones of his own, before pulling Davis down by the arm, following up with a Konstantin-Spezial that was ducked… before he went for a goddamn Teardrop suplex that almost won the titles back. Such strength. Ilja stays on Davis, taking him into their corner as WALTER tags in to land some uppercuts. Dragunov’s quickly back in with a chop before he looked to wrench Davis’ arm some more, before WALTER busted out EVIL’s old Banshee Muzzle chinlock. WALTER stops to chop Kyle off the apron, as he began to toy with Aussie Open, throwing some plaintif kicks before catching an enziguiri and rolling Davis into a Boston crab. Ilja storms the ring to dropkick Kyle as he was getting back onto the apron, but Davis gets to the ropes, before he had to fight out of a powerbomb, back body dropping his way free.

Davis gets a tag out as Kyle unloads on Dragunov, taking him into the corner with a Miz-like clothesline, before Dragunov fired back with a Torpedo Moscau for a near-fall. Davis keeps up with the chop/clothesline comeback, before he’s caught with a death valley driver into the corner by Ilja. Fletcher’s still legal though, eating a WALTER powerbomb before a back senton off the top nearly put him away. Another save from Davis sees him punch out WALTER on the top rope, bringing him down with a big superplex before Kyle got on Davis’ shoulders for… an elevated splash! Dragunov breaks up that cover before he got sent outside again, where he pulls out the ref as WALTER was about to lose to the Fidget Spinner.

A low blow from Ilja has Davis down behind the ref’s back… and here comes Karsten Beck again. WALTER’s back to send Kyle into the corner with a shotgun dropkick, before Ilja went Coast to Coast. WALTER rolls Karsten Beck in to make the cover, but Beck’s slow count led to a kick-out as I’m wondering when that became a thing. Some misdirection led to WALTER accidentally clotheslining Ilja, before superkicks got rid of WALTER, as a Fidget Spinner dropped Ilja for the pin, which Beck counted. Not a fan of the “authority figure becoming a ref” thing, but I’m sure this is setting stuff up for later. Think of this as “that Rev Pro main event with the shenanigans, but massively cut down and not as overblown.” ***½

WALTER and Ilja headed to the back, and were followed by the camera crew as they waited for Karsten Beck… so they could give him a piece of their mind. The former champions are mad that Beck “interfered in their business”, calling him a “saboteur to their careers”, before Beck told them they weren’t needed at World Tag Team Festival. That drove Ilja to remind him that he demanded their presence… and they’ll be there. But in what capacity?

The show closes with a rundown of the World Tag Team Festival lineups – we’ll have our full preview up on Monday – but here’s what’s on tap so far:

Thursday October 3 – Inner Circle
Veit Müller & Timothy Thatcher vs. Work Horsemen (JD Drake & Anthony Henry)
Anti-Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne & Los Federales Santos Jr.) vs. Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis)
Alexander James vs. Daniel Makabe

Friday October 4 – World Tag Team Festival: Night One
Six x First round tournament matches (TBA)

Saturday October 5 – Femmes Fatales
First Round: Sammii Jayne vs. Leyla Hirsch
First Round: Saraya Knight vs. LuFisto
First Round: Lana Austin vs. Baby Allison
First Round: Martina vs. Wesna
wXw Women’s’ Championship: Faye Jackson vs. Amale (c)

Saturday October 5 – World Tag Team Festival: Night Two
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Timothy Thatcher vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
Three x Semi-Finals

Sunday October 6 – Ambition: Wildcard Edition
Superfight: Oney Lorcan vs. Timothy Thatcher
Ambition First Round: Daniel Makabe vs. James Runyan
Ambition First Round: Kevin Lloyd vs. Rusty Taylor
Ambition First Round: Alexander Dean vs. Dominic Garrini
Ambition First Round: Scotty Davis vs. Damon Moser
Ambition Semi-Finals and Final

Sunday October 6 – World Tag Team Festival: Night Three
Tournament Finals for wXw World Tag Team Championships

After that, we see Aussie Open backstage with their titles, gloating over how they’d given WALTER & Ilja Dragunov the weekend off, as Kyle reiterated how they were going to enter… and leave World Tag Team Festival with the gold.

The Road to World Tag Team Festival stop in Neumünster was very much like the rest of the “Shotgun XXL” shows that have since become Road shows. A good, late primer for fans who want to check in on the final show before the big weekender. With a couple of stories left to be told after FAN, the Neumünster show tied up a lot of loose ends, giving us late changes to the field of entrants while continuing some stories you may have forgotten about. World Tag Team Festival is less than two weeks away – and on this form, it’s going to be another memorable weekend in Oberhausen!