It’s back! After 19 months away, Shotgun is back as wXw returned to the ring for the first time since 16 Carat Gold.

The first of a ten-part series, “Shotgun 2020”, is slightly-different to what we’re used to. Amidst the backdrop of the current worldwide pandemic, arena shows with fans just aren’t possible. Instead, wXw worked within North Rhine-Westphalia’s Coronavirus protection guidelines and were able to tape a series of shows, with matches taped at the Steffy in Oberhausen, as the show mixed together wrestling and segments, just like the old days. Just with 100% swings at the world taken (if you know, you know!) This current run of Shotgun will drop every Friday night at 7pm UK/8pm European time (that’s 2pm ET/midday Pacific) for subscribers over on… let’s get on with it! By the way if you’re new to wXw, all of their modern day wrestling output has English and German commentary, along with subtitles for the “other” language – this week, the English commentary coming from Sebastian Hollmichel.

Quick Results:
Avalanche pinned Rambo in 6:00 (***)
Ezel (Aytac & Abdul) beat The Rotation & Fast Time Moodo in 6:40 (***)

We’ve a new wXwNOW intro, and we open up in a room somewhere with Maggot smoking as he opens a garage door. On the other side is Prince Ahura, as Oliver Carter drives up as if he’s about to run in on AEW. They’re around a poker table and Shisha pipes, talking about some mysterious plan… Ahura mocks the fans who criticised them for not being entertaining… then went on to poke fun at the “fan boys” in the locker room. Nobody knows the plan… and we fade to the new-look Shotgun titles. I’m digging the cinematic vibe of these segments – like the Shotgun segments of old but with much bigger production values.

Sebastian introduces us to the new-look Steffy, and runs down the new matches we’re getting this week. Avalanche takes on Rambo… we get the Raucherpause… a mission statement from Ezel… with Ezel also in action against the Rotation and the debuting Fast Time Moodo. We’ve also got Levaniel’s Himmelschloß. But first, we see Alpha Kevin and Melanie Gray looking to visit the wXw Director of Sports, Karsten Beck. Except the door’s locked and nobody is in there. Kevin’s anxious to see who’s wrestling, but he’s got no answer.

They replay Alexander Wolfe winning the Shotgun title over 16 Carat Gold weekend, which led to the reveal of Ezel – and the rebranding of Metehan. That leads to Alexander Wolfe appearing via promo, where he tells us the pandemic has changed things… and because he can’t fulfil his obligations, he’s vacating the Shotgun title.

Ring announcer Thommi Giesen is on hand for introductions, and it’s to the action!

Avalanche vs. Rambo
This is Rambo’s first outing in wXw in almost five years, back when they co-promoted shows with the GWF…

Sebastian tells us how Rambo’s career has largely mirrored Avalanche’s in terms of being mostly a tag guy… and we start with Avalanche taking Rambo into the corner, before a side headlock led to Rambo shoving Avalanche into the ropes. A shoulder tackle has no effect, as Rambo went into the ropes… then found himself charged down himself. Rambo grabs a waistlock, but Avalanche shoves him down, before a bodyslam put Rambo back in the corner. He takes his time getting back to his feet, and catches Avalanche off guard with a kick and some right hands, taking the Austrian into the corner for a cannonball. It gets Rambo a two-count as he proceeded to batter Avalanche with forearms, before he took Avalanche back into the corner.

A back suplex is blocked as Avalanche elbows his way free… but Rambo elbows too as he avoided a Samoan drop and hits his back suplex anyway for a near-fall. Avalanche reverses a suplex as he bought himself some time, before some missed charges from both men allowed Avalanche time to come back with a leaping shoulder tackle. From there, Avalanche lands a Samoan drop for a near-fall, before a splash in the corner and a back body drop (yay!) put Rambo down on the mat… with Avalanche heading into the corner for a Dreissker bomb… but Rambo counters out with a Ligerbomb for a near-fall! Rambo tries to capitalise with a splash off the top, but he comes up short, allowing Avalanche to come back with a splash, a clothesline and a Dreissker bomb for the win. Solid stuff here from both men, with Rambo putting up a decent fight only to be blown away by a rapid-fire combination at the end. ***

Nico Schmidt is back from the Shotguns of old! He interviews Avalanche and asks about his goals… Avalanche wants to regain the (now vacated) Shotgun title.

We’re back with Alpha Kevin knocking on the door of Karsten Beck. He may be a while… especially as Melanie had to corpse. Send for the man! The Rotation appears as he too wants to speak to Karsten. He plays with Kevin’s hat while Melanie got a WhatsApp, telling everyone Karsten isn’t there because he’s being shielded. Kevin doesn’t know what to do without Karsten, but Melanie tells him there’ll be a temporary replacement.

Das Himmelschloß
It’s a talking segment with Levaniel – literally translated as the “Heavenly Castle.” I really adore Levaniel’s music, and the set-up they’ve got here in the Steffy. Sure, the no-crowd hurts the atmosphere, but wXw’s gone all out with the production here. Levaniel tells us that we are not alone, and that we are loved. I dig the zoom in as he bragged about his smile. He’s here to be a “lobbyist of love,” as he recaps his “love story” with Amale, from World Tag Team Festival last year, to Bielefeld… where Levaniel tells is that “giving love to each other” was more important than “some match.” Then it’s to Carat, where Amale got kicked square in the mush. Levaniel didn’t like that photo quite so much…

From the next episode of das Himmelschloß, he’ll have guests on the show, and will “explore what it means to feel love.”

We’re taken to Ezel next, as Metehan thanks his mum for the upbringing he had, for how hard she worked. Metehan tells us his mum isn’t well, and he didn’t want her losing faith in him. So to take care of her and his family, he’s changed… as the eye that tormented Metehan earlier this year was a reminder of family. Metehan is now “the person (he) wanted to be,” and he tells us how the eye protects him from curses… a curse that Ezel are now going to put on us all.

The Rotation is backstage with Fast Time Moodo – he wants to prove that his performance at Carat wasn’t a one-hit wonder. Moodo puts over Rotation for that, and talks about his martial arts style that he calls Tong Il Moo Do. They warm-up, and now it’s to the ring!

The Rotation & Fast Time Moodo vs. Ezel (Aytac & Abdul)
There’s separate entrances for Rotation and Moodo, with Moodo introduced as “the guy with the hardest kicks in the business.” That’ll be a test!

We get going with Moodo kicking Aytac in the leg repeatedly as he looked to give him a dead leg in the early going. An armdrag leads to another kick, this time closer to the arse, before Abdul caught Moodo in the ropes from behind. That opening allows the Ezel pair to double-team the newcomer, leading to the Anarşi double PKs for an early two-count. Rotation tags in, but misses a moonsault as Abdul got out of the way, before catching Abdul with an armdrag and a crucifix pin for just a one-count. Some rope-walking from Rotation is stopped as he’s pulled down, with more double-teaming from Ezel leading to a high kick, a back senton and some double knees as Aytac almost got the win.

Uppercuts from Aytac keep Rotation down, as Abdul comes in with a shotgun dropkick into the corner for a two-count. Frequent tags keep the Rotation isolated, with a Dragon screw from Aytac getting another one-count. Abdul returns, but Rotation floats free and makes a tag out to Moodo, who caught Abdul with a spinning heel kick for a near-fall. A distraction allows Abdul to chop block Moodo’s knee, before Aytac came in to hit a double-team cross-armed STO for a near-fall. More quick tags brought Abdul back in to chop Moodo as a gutwrench suplex gets another two-count, before uppercuts from Aytac pinned Moodo into the corner. Moodo fights his way out, landing an enziguiri before tagging Rotation back in… with Rotation hitting a dropkick before following up on Abdul with an attempted 450 splash.

Abdul gets back in with a discus lariat for a near-fall, but falls to an enziguiri as Moodo tagged back in to waffle him with a knee strike… only for Aytac to come in from behind with a Downward Spiral as a Parade of Moves breaks out. Rotation takes him down with a missile dropkick, before a Blue Thunder Bomb from Abdul got rid of Rotation… Moodo heads up top, but got shoved down as the Ezel paid finish him off with a knee strike and a German suplex. A solid debut for Abdul and Aytac, looking to make their mark alongside the former Lucky Kid. Moodo’s kicks looked good, but given the four names involved, he was almost always going to be taking the fall here. ***

Post-match, Metehan kicks Rotation in the back as he tried to take his partner to safety…

A promo package follows for 16 Carat Gold – a bunch of shows you really ought to have watched by now… and it’s a plug for 16 Carat Gold 2021 tickets.

Backstage, Rotation and Moodo are commiserating. Avalanche walks in to quiz them, but it turns into a pep talk for the Rotation, as he told the pair of them to keep going.

“Previously on wXw NOW,” the Pretty Bastards lose their tag team titles at 16 Carat Gold, courtesy of the Ja-Klasse…

Die Raucherpause
Bobby Gunns is back with his Smoking Break. There’s Shisha pipes for him, the Pretty Bastards and Norman Harras. Oliver Carter’s had to join via Facetime…

Bobby gloats because Cara Noir’s unable to enter Germany because of quarantine laws. “Gunns means gold,” but Bobby wants the Bastards to get their tag titles back. That leaves Norman as the odd man out, as they pressure him into taking a hit of the shisha pipe, but instead Oliver Carter has to show him via Facetime. It seems young Norman doesn’t quite fit in here…

We’re backstage again as Avalanche, the Rotation, Fast Time Moodo and referee Felix Schulz are wondering who the new Director of Sports is. Avalanche poked fun at everyone standing in front of the locked office all day, which left Rotation look a little sheepish. It seems we don’t have to wait too long to find out, because… the new Director of Sports is Absolute Andy!

That brings the first episode of Shotgun 2020 to an end – with the closing credits putting over the fans who backed the project, and my word, there was a lot of them!

Going back to “the old ways” with a new coat of paint and a LOT of production, the first episode of Shotgun 2020 provided the classic wXw mix of “matches and segments”, while setting off several storylines that will play out throughout the season. Having no crowd for this show – or the “original WWE vibe”, if you will – may not be to everyone’s taste, but given how much red tape wXw had to go through, they made the best of the current situation while addressing old storylines that were dropped. If you’ve been a wXw fan throughout, this is a no-brainer!