Absolute Andy finally makes a call on the tag team titles this week, as the empty-arena Shotgun continues.
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— The allegations coming from around the wrestling scene continue to appall. As a fan, we have to listen, we have to believe, and most importantly, change this scene for the better.
Marius al-Ani submitted Mike Schwarz in 7:00 (***)
The Rotation pinned Norman Harras in 7:30 (***)
We open with a recap from last week of Norman Harras trying to get the Pretty Bastards their rematch. After the intro, we’ve got Absolute Andy on the phone to… Jay Skillet on a tablet taped to a coat hanger. He’s asking Jay for workout advice, as this becomes a plug for Jay’s Fresh Coachings… Andy admits that everyone asking him for something is irritating, and it’s not just Norman Harras this time! Jay says that while he can’t be in Germany to wrestle, Andy should wrestle with a mystery partner… because mind games.
In the wXw Academy, Avalanche is going over tape with Anil Marik, going over his loss to the Pretty Bastards a few weeks ago. He picked out Marik getting too emotional as they lost the match, before they did some in-ring training. The drills didn’t go too well for Marik after a while, as he was preoccupied with that loss…
— Back in the arena, Norman Harras is with the Pretty Bastards, complaining about having to prove himself to get into the Shotgun title tournament. Prince Ahura thinks Norman’s taking Rotation too lightly, but Maggot talked him up. Maybe just to make sure he kept nagging about the tag titles.
— Marius al-Ani has a promo, declaring himself the best professional wrestler, as we get clips of his Carat weekend outings. They talk about his suspension in 2019, with him painting it as being forced to stay at home and miss Carat preparations. Now everyone’s on a fair playing field, Marius reckons his winning streak will resume anew.
Marius al-Ani vs. Mike Schwarz
We start with al-Ani looking for Schwarz’s leg as commentary brought up Schwarz’s run as a tag team champion with James Storm.
Marius can’t quite get going, but he surprises Schwarz with an uppercut and takes him into the corner for some right hands. Schwarz hits back with some shots of his own, before an attempt to whip Marius led to him taking a forearm and some more boots as the referee had a hard time separating them. A running forearm drops Schwarz in the corner, but he suckers al-Ani as he got out of the way of the running knees, with Marius sailing over the top, crashing to the floor. Schwarz follows him outside to chop him by the apron, following up with elbows before he missed a legdrop on the apron.
That opened it up for al-Ani to strike back with some kicks on the floor, before he wrapped Schwarz’s legs around the ring post. Back inside, a thrust kick to the knee set up al-Ani for a step-up knee drop as Marius gets another near-fall, before he took Schwarz to the ropes as he leapt onto the knee again. Schwarz somehow manages to find a way back in, but his chokeslam’s escaped as al-Ani instead hits a Superman punch for a two-count. From the kick-out, he applies the ankle lock, but Schwarz pushes away and returned fire with a Black Hole slam. Mike follows that up with a sidewalk slam out of the corner for another two-count, before some Snake Eyes and a pump kick left both men down.
In the end, Marius’ earlier leg work paid off as he kicked out the knee to get out of a chokeslam, before forcing the submission with an ankle lock. A decent enough match with Marius’ game plan paying-off in this one. ***
After the match, Nico Schmidt gets into the ring to interview Marius, like the UFC used to. Marius tells him he feels like a winner, and that his mindset turns everything into reality. “If you don’t want to recognise me as the best… it means your mindset is limited.” was the takeaway there.
— We’ve a promo from Julian Pace, featuring old shots of Baby Pace. He brings up his match with WALTER at the Academy a few years back, and his matches over Carat weekend. Julian tells us he’d reduced his hours at work to wrestle more… and then the Coronavirus pandemic happened. It’s not changed him, he wants wrestling to be his life, and he wants Pace to refer to more than his speed… but to his improvements in performance.
— Absolute Andy is backstage practising a State of the Union speech for later. Complete with the bad news about no pay rises. Norman Harras snuck in, complaining about having to qualify for the Shotgun title tournament. Harras bugs Andy about the tag titles again, and that makes Andy flip out as he books the match with the Pretty Bastards against himself and a mystery man.
Norman Harras vs. The Rotation
This is almost a Shotgun title tournament qualifier, going by prior segments.
Rotation’s back is taped up after his loss a few weeks ago, and he started by being thrown to the mat as Harras was overpowering him early on. Harras works over Rotation’s arm with uppercuts, forearms and knee drops, before he threw a slap at Rotations’ face.
That prompts Rotation to reverse his way free, tripping Harras to the mat before finding his way back with a wheelbarrow armdrag. A springboard ‘rana follows, as does a dropkick as Rotation pushed ahead, only to take a nasty spill as Harras swept the leg while Rotation was trying to walk the ropes. A suplex gets Harras a one-count, so he grounds Rotation with a chinlock, before a standing elbow drop drew a two-count. Harras keeps going, charging his shoulder into Rotation in the ropes before a delayed spinebuster takedown led to another two-count. Those two-counts pile-up before Rotation flipped free from a back suplex and chopped his way back into things.
Rotation again goes for the springboard armdrag, recovering on the way before a dropkick catches Harras in the corner. A cartwheel off the top rope takes Rotation into a satellite DDT, but it’s not enough as Harras kicks out, and almost nicks it seconds later with a scoop slam off the ropes. Harras takes Rotation up top for a superplex, but a gamengiri from Rotation knocked him down as the Victory Over Gravity 450 splash… saw Rotation land squarely in Harras’ knees. A diving European uppercut follows, but it still doesn’t get Harras the win, and after a missed armdrag, Harras got caught with a La Magistral cradle for the win! Norman’s own cockiness was his undoing again as he took Rotation too lightly… and ends up falling short. ***
— Backstage, Levaniel’s on a video call with Amale. She’s worried because she’s not got any control over the Director of Sports, and thinks she’ll be stripped of her title because of the situation. Levaniel’s got an idea… and he wanders off.
— Norman Harras is scarred and licking his wounds as the Pretty Bastards (and Oliver Carter via Facetime) pop up. Carter tells Harras he shit the bed, so Norman just hangs up on him. Maggot pulls the “we’re not mad, just disappointed” line on Harras, as the Bastards bully him over his poor form.
Norman says that “next time” he’ll take care of it. I have a feeling about things next week… especially as Norman said he’d “get all the belts” before storming off.
Next week: Absolute Andy and a mystery man defends against the Pretty Bastards… and maybe something on the Shotgun title picture as we wrap up another quiet episode of Shotgun, although things are primed to pay-off on next week’s episode as we finally get a title match.