Shotgun 2020 returns for a new season – and a lot of bumper episodes – as the dust began to settle on Shortcut to the Top!

For those wondering, this season of Shotgun 2020 is still being released on Fridays. As always, you can catch this show over on – the subscription is $11 a month, and includes a lot of the wXw back catalog, along with shows from other promotions.

Quick Results
Fast Time Moodo and Stephanie Maze went to a double KO in 7:00 (**¾)
Avalanche pinned Anil Marik in 5:20 (***¼)
Jurn Simmons pinned Paris in 0:50 (NR)
Emil Sitoci and Dirty Dragan pinned Abdul and Aytac in 7:50 (***)
Marius al-Ani pinned Dennis Zinner in 6:20 (***)

We open with a recap of the Shortcut to the Top finish, with Mike Schwarz winning the eponymous match… then Fast Time Moodo making his way to the arena with Stephanie Maze as they talk about the ban on intergender wrestling being lifted. They notice Abdul and Norman Harras chatting, but think no more of it…

…because we then see them shaking hands before we crash to some new titles. Hey, more names this season! Sebastian Hollmichel is once again your commentator as we’re inside the Steffy in Oberhausen. We have fans!

This week: Levaniel’s with Dirty Dragan and Emil Sitoci in das Himmelsschloß… then Dragan and Sitoci take on Ezel in a number one contender’s tag team match. Stephanie Maze takes on Fast Time Moodo… but first, die Raucherpause!

Bobby and his Bastards are backstage with shisha. Bobby brings up Cara Noir’s name in that he’s not heading to Germany anytime soon… before he mocked how Shortcut to the Top was won by “an alcoholic.” I mean, that’s a failure on his lads more than anything else. Bobby continues to talk down to Norman Harras, with the Bastards mocking him for being a village boy…

Alpha Kevin’s hyper again – he’s thrilled that his mate Kevin Schwarz won the Shortcut to the Top. Mike doesn’t want to dwell on it though, as his eyes are now on the title shot that came with winning the match. Since it’s for the heavyweight title (well, unified), he’s got to do a heavyweight workout… with Alpha Kevin as his training buddy.

WE’VE ONLY GONE AND GOT A BLOODY MONTAGE! The subtitles are absolutely exquisite, culminating in “this has turned into unintelligible yelling.” This is peak Shotgun! And there’s more next week. There’d better be…

Backstage, Jurn Simmons is chatting with Absolute Andy, talking about the gyms opening up and how he’s spent his time off. Andy wants Jurn to wrestle again, but Simmons isn’t so sure as he’s enjoyed the time out. Andy tries to sweetheart Jurn back into wrestling, comparing him to Batista, and tempts Jurn into destroying some fools.

Marius al-Ani is next, but he’s in no mood to chat to Dennis Zinner. Dennis wants a match, but he has to call Marius a Grandmaster first. He does so, and I guess we have our match later.

Fast Time Moodo vs. Stephanie Maze
Our first match of the season is intergender – and the crowd’s stuck around for the series!

Moodo tries to sting Maze with a kick early, but instead takes her down with a Judo-ish throw… but Stephanie’s in with headscissors that Moodo stands up from. He offers her a hand back up, before he swept her leg as he avoided a kick, taking her back down. This time, Stephanie doesn’t accept the handshake, and ends up kicking up from a takedown as Moodo looked for a submission. Maze counters a cross armbar into a roll-up for a near-fall, before they hit the ropes, eventually leading to another trip… but Maze avoids a legdrop before they checked a high kick. Stephanie slaps him, then throws some chops as Moodo seemed to be taking this a little light. Moodo eventually chops back, before a double underhook suplex flung Maze across the ring.

Irish whips bounces Maze off the turnbuckles, before Moodo measured up for a kick to the back. Out of nowhere, a back suplex drops Moodo, who begins to build momentum with elbows only for Moodo to take her into the ropes with one of his own. She blocks some more strikes before returning elbows, following up with a spinning heel kick off the ropes for a near-fall. A snapmare and some kicks to the back have Moodo back in front, but he runs into a mid kick from Maze who wasn’t staying down, and returned fire with a hook kick that almost got the win – but Moodo reaches a foot to the rope to save the match. Another leg sweep drops Maze, before Moodo went for a pumphandle something-or-other, only for Maze to slip out and grab a rear naked choke, taking Moodo down to his knees.

Moodo powers up and runs into the corner with a piggyback cannonball to break the hold – and almost win the match too – before Moodo went for a running spin kick that almost backfired. Maze goes in for a roll-up for a near-fall, before Moodo flipped out of a German suplex… then landed a dualling head kick that knocked both wrestlers out. The ref instantly calls for the stoppages via KO, a finish I wasn’t too keen on, but these two worked well with the time they had. Sure, there’s some rough edges, but given the experience levels on hand, this was pretty good – and a nice way to ease intergender wrestling in with an unfamiliar audience. **¾

They replay the double KO, and return to both Moodo and Maze getting back to their feet for a handshake. Watch that leg sweep, Stephanie!

Backstage, Killer Kelly is proud at what Maze and Moodo pulled off, and suggested they become a tag team. Steady on! Moodo recaps what Kelly just suggested, and they seem to be pretty cool with the idea.

Metehan is next with EZEL, mocking the idea of intergender wrestling because it goes against his key rule. He doesn’t want his lads fighting women, but more importantly he doesn’t want Abdul or Aytac failing again. The mob boss is not happy.

“Earlier this week,” in the wXw academy, we see Anil Marik and Paris trading elbows… to the point where Anil got a little carried away with himself. He blames watching Marius al-Ani matches for the inspiration, as we’re continuing the Avalanche/Marius feud from last season. Avalanche chews out Anil and tells him that he needs to know when to stop – for his own good. He’s booked a match with Anil if he keeps this up… and last time those two wrestled, it didn’t go well for Anil!

Anil Marik vs. Avalanche
So it’s the student against the teacher here, and we start off with Avalanche shoving Marik into the corner from a lock-up.

A side headlock’s next, with Avalanche taking Anil to ground, where they remained despite Marik’s attempts to wriggle out. Marik gets up, but he’s charged down quickly before a leapfrog led to a blocked hiptoss… with Anil just getting swatted down with a clothesline instead. Marik goes for a cheapshot kick, and gets thrown back into the corner again… where he suckers in Avalanche with some boots before Avalanche got mat… and proceeded to charge Marik around ringside. For some reason referee Tassilo Jung joins in the Benny Hill chase, which ends with Marik missing an elbow drop, before he rolled outside again to slap and get slapped.

Back in the ring, Avalanche lays out Marik with vicious elbows… then bounces him with a slam for a two-count. A chinlock keeps Marik down as you really sensed the anger from the head coach, as he looked to lay it in against the newcomer, throwing a knee to the gut before he bounced Marik back to the mat with a clothesline. Avalanche goes for a Dreissker Bomb, but Marik just about rolled away in time and came back with an ankle lock. Avalanche looked pissed that Marik even tried that hold, especially because he’d taught him the escape last season. It’s used quickly as Avalanche takes Marik into the corner for, ahem, and avalanche splash, before a fallaway slam and a Dreissker bomb got the win. I absolutely loved this – if all you knew was the preceding video package, they told a hell of a story with a LOT of aggression in not very much time. Well worth a watch if you’re into competitive squashes. ***¼

They recap Jurn Simmons’ return at Shortcut to the Top, along with Dirty Dragan’s return as that whole spot seemed to be a run down memory lane for Jurn. That segues to Jurn backstage with Dirty Dragan and his boots. It’s a little awkward because of their past, largely because a) Dragan helped shave Jurn’s head and b) Jurn was key to Dragan being forced to leave wXw a few years back. Cooler heads have prevailed, and the two look to start afresh.

Das Himmelsschloß
It’s Levaniel time! He needs to keep the Himmelsschloß clean and pure, like his soul, and asks everyone to leave if they aren’t clean, innocent or magical. That clears out the crowd then, before Levaniel could come out.

Yeah, Levaniel didn’t win Shortcut to the Top, but he’s celebrating taking baby steps towards victory. He’s still still using the royal we because he’s still in contact with Amale, who isn’t around for this season. The first guest this week is Dirty Dragan and his new music, quickly followed by Emil Sitoci. Dragan’s happy to be on the show, even if Levaniel’s missing some decorations… Emil just calls it “different”, and shows off his gains at the gym. Levaniel brings up their return and their hug at Shortcut to the Top, and Dragan calls out the Pretty Bastards for eliminating them. Dragan watched videos about the kumite rather than enter it, while Levaniel questioned their suitability as a tag team. He messes up their backgrounds while Dragan and Emil bounced off of each other. Metaphorically.

Emil talks about escaping his “dark spiral”, and suggests reforming his tag team with Dragan. That idea goes down well, and that’s a rare talk show that wraps up without any kind of strife.

Cue the titles again as they’ve stitched two shows together. Think of it as the second hour of Nitro, just without the pyro. C’mon, there’s budgets here guys!

Backstage, Paris is with Nico Schmidt. He’s the newest addition to the roster, straight out of the academy – and he introduces himself to us. Paris is from Athens, and tell us of the struggle he’s had just to get to this point. He apparently used to be in the Special Forces, and gets choked up as he talked about how far he’s come from living on the streets in Essen to this.

They recap Jurn Simmons being offered the prospect of killing fools to tempt him back into wrestling… and that opportunity is next.

Paris vs. Jurn Simmons
Call me stupid, but I think Paris may be in trouble here.

Paris charges at Jurn at the bell, but gets shoved away. He keeps going, then floats over Jurn in the corner before he landed an uppercut… only to get spun with a spear from Simmons. One Massive piledriver later, and that’s your lot, in less than a minute. Splat!

Nico Schmidt comes into interview Jurn afterwards. I bet Marius is going to get jealous. Jurn’s dead polite over this, as he tells us he’s a “real professional wrestler”. Yeah, he’s taking the piss out of Marius, and I’m enjoying this Jurn.

It still feels surreal watching those Carat adverts. It feels a LOT longer than six months ago…

Mike Schwarz is next, talking about his life. Getting up early for work, going to the gym, then watching Rot-Weiss Oberhausen games at the weekend. He calls the pub his escape from work, as we see him drinking and bowling. Of course, Alpha Kevin’s there too, talking about their history together, before we see Mike winning Shortcut to the Top with the Schicht im Schacht chokeslam. He reckons the backing of the people will help him beat Bobby Gunns… and there’s something about Kevin’s demeanour here that’s setting something off in my mind. To be continued!

Bobby and his Bastards are shit-talking Mike Schwarz when they’re interrupted by Alpha Kevin and Melanie Gray. Kevin’s defending Mike’s honour as Melanie just looks exasperated while Kevin seemed to be fearful that the Bastards’ stealing cigarettes from the vending machine will get them kicked out of the Steffy. All these leads to Bobby suggesting a warm-up match for himself. I have to dive for the pause button as Kevin calls his arms “Billy” and “Gunn”, and I think you can guess where this is heading. Kevin vs. Bobby like it’s 2017 all over again!

Andy Jackson’s with the Pretty Bastards, quizzing them about Norman Harras and EZEL. They dismiss it as just “people talking,” and stonewall Andy so he doesn’t get any scoops. Apparently this is part of Bobby and the Bastards’ plan to “divvy up” wXw, but Prince Ahura’s said too much and needs to make a save in an unconvincing way. Andy turns the interview to EZEL vs. Dragan & Sitoci, but they don’t seem to care who wins, as it’s “just one more match,” before they tell Andy to bugger off.

EZEL (Abdul & Aytac) vs. Dirty Dragan & Emil Sitoci
This is a top contender’s match, and we start with Abdul and Dragan locking up.

Dragan gets a wristlock, before sending Abdul into the ropes for an elbow to the gut and a neckbreaker, before he used a chinlock and a bell clapper to wear down the EZEL lad. An elbow drop follows for just a one-count, before Sitoci tagged in and flew in with a double sledge to the arm. Short-range shoulder tackles keep Abdul at bay, but an eye rake takes Emil into the EZEL corner as Aytac comes in to double-team the Dutchman. Uppercuts from Aytac help, but he’s caught with a DDT and a dropkick from Sitoci, who followed up with a butterfly suplex for a two-count.

Dragan tags back in and is propelled for a Rocket Launcher into Aytac for a two-count. EZEL distract and double team before a Dragon screw from Aytac dragged Dragan down, and began some dominance as EZEL hit the Anarşi dualling PKs. They continue to wear down Dragan’s leg, as Abdul came in for a legdrop while Aytac held Dragan down, before they charged him into the corner with shoulders. A clothesline from Abdul spun Dragan to the mat for a two-count, but Dragan begins another comeback… only to get used as a kick pad again, as EZEL almost took the win. Dragan just about manages to push himself away from a back body drop as he tagged in Sitoci… who ran in to clear house with elbows and clotheslines. Aytac tries to catch Sitoci out, but he eats a side Russian legsweep and a split-legged moonsault, before tagging Dragan back in for an electric chair splash.

There’s no pin, as Abdul runs in to start more double-teaming, all while the crowd chanted “eeyore.” There’s a reason for that: EZEL sounds a lot like “esel” – which is the German word for donkey. And now you know. EZEL land a back suplex/neckbreaker combo for a near-fall, but Dragan kicks out, and Emil quickly comes back in, dragging Aytac to the outside before dropping Abul with a Fireman’s carry gutbuster, as a top rope elbow gets the win! It’s another failure for an enraged Metehan, as Dragan and Sitoci book themselves a title shot! ***

Backstage, Norman Harras is being mocked again by the Pretty Bastards. They say they don’t trust him because EZEL lost, as “they really don’t want to wrestle those Dutchmen.”

They replay Avalanche squashing Anil Marik earlier on, before we go to the locker room where Anil wanted to apologise. He said that he was looking to try something different to get ahead faster, and while Avalanche understood, he reassured him he could make it “without any of this nonsense.”

Low-res Amale’s on a video call with Levaniel. She’s not at Shotgun because she doesn’t want to put herself at risk, so she’s been on holiday… she asks Levaniel if he did well at Shortcut to the Top, a subject he tries to dance around, before he brought up “the other Frenchmen” in Senza Volto and Tristan Archer. Amale seems to be a little out of place that she’s no longer special in wXw, and she hurriedly ends the call…

Metehan’s chewing out Abdul and Aytac again because they failed again. The Rotation appears and wants to talk to Metehan – about a promise he made a decade ago of winning titles. Rotation’s not done that yet, and asks for some benevolence from Metehan, in the form of a title shot. He’s laughed off, as Metehan dismissed him as a “little boy,” before telling him to piss off. This show really does teach you some German, eh?

They recap Dennis Zinner asking Marius al-Ani for a match

Dennis Zinner vs. Marius al-Ani
It’s a singles debut for the Austrian, who’s wrestled around various rings in Europe as Dan Main – hence the trunks. He’s even briefly introduced by that name here by Thommy Giesen.

Jockeying for position early, the pair tie-up in the ropes as Marius tried to bully the newcomer, coming in with a wristlock before he rolled him to the mat. Zinner tries to roll free, eventually reversing the hold, before Marius tripped him with an ankle pick as he went for an early ankle lock. Zinner didn’t tap, so Marius lets go and went for a step-up elbow drop which just led to some more aggravated stamping. A side headlock from Marius is pushed off, but he’s back with a shoulder tackle before he blocked a hiptoss and came back with more shots. Zinner mounts a comeback with some right hands and a discus forearm, following up with a splash in the corner and a dropkick. Another splash followed, but he’s quickly tripped into the corner by al-Ani, who lands the step-up elbow and a snap suplex for a near-fall.

From the kick-out, Marius rolls into an armbar, stopping to slap Zinner some more before he dropped another elbow. More shots keep the Austrian in the corner, before Marius just ran into him to knock him down, a la Big Daddy. A more muscular Big Daddy, at that. A modified half crab folds Zinner in half, but Zinner pushes away before he landed a STO. Zinner tries to kick Marius out of the corner, but he has to fight out of another ankle lock before he landed a springboard crossbody off the top. Somehow, Marius gets back to his feet first, and recovers with a roll-up into an up kick, before a Superman punch and a Diamond Driver got the win. Pretty one-sided, in spite of Zinner’s brief comeback, as Marius continues to stack up the wins… but with no clear path to a title shot forthcoming, it seems? ***

Nico Schmidt is in the ring afterwards, as Marius really is salty over Jurn Simmons stealing his thunder. Marius insists that only “real athletes” get interviewed after matches, and then storms out.

Backstage, Absolute Andy is having a nap. He’s interrupted, and unfortunately for him, it’s by Norman Harras. Norman tries to butter up Andy with a gift: he’s gotten him a beautiful A3 print of Norman Harras! It somehow dislodges Andy’s contact lenses, but not that Norman cares, he just wants to know what’s in his future. The answer: nothing.

Andy’s left Norman’s file “at the branch office,” and tells Norman to go and get it for him. Busy work! He promises him a huge opponent, and I wonder if it’s a Massive opponent…

An advert for wXw’s open air show in Kutenholz this weekend reveals that it’s gonna be streaming on wXw NOW next weekend. Sweet! We then wrap up with EZEL, as Norman Harras appears to greet Metehan. Apparently the mystery number 27 in Shortcut to the Top was meant to be Metehan, but even though it didn’t pay off as expected, Harras has a present for Metehan. A watch. It seems the real secret plan is still on… EZEL and the Bastards are staying out of each other’s business, and the bad guys in wXw are going to have a happy life. Even if EZEL are “happy” with just the Shotgun title. At least, that’s the public face, as the show wraps up…

A phenomenal return to form for Shotgun – they welded two shows together here, but what we got in the two-hour block was a fantastic collection of segments and matches that took me right back to the heyday of this show. That opening montage is very “European”, shall we say, and the use of vignettes to build Mike Schwarz throughout will please all fans of the “old way” that wrestling used to be, with stuff building and paying off.