wXw returned to wrap up the year with a New Year’s Eve special of Shotgun 2020 – featuring the top moments of the year, and some unaired matches.
The Rotation pinned Ender Kara in 9:14 (***¼)
Mike Schwarz pinned Karim Brigante in 8:44 (***)
From wXw 17th Anniversary Show – Pete Dunne pinned Marius al-Ani in 8:56 (***½)
Norman Harras pinned Metehan in 10:08 to win the wXw Shotgun Championship (***¼)
We open up in the studio with Sebastian Hollmichel and Andy Jackson, relieved at how 2020 is almost over. They run down the matches on tap tonight – we’ve got Pete Dunne vs. Marius al-Ani from wXw’s 17th Anniversary show, Mike Schwarz vs. the debuting Karim Brigante… Ender Kara vs. The Rotation, and Metehan defending the Shotgun title against an unknown foe.
They replay the mayhem from the Catch Grand Prix when Metehan and Bobby Gunns “faced off”, and then we’re with Norman Harras and Metehan. Norman’s a little confused because Abdul and Aytac were apparently meant to be involved in that melee – but Metehan’s not in the mood for any of this. He berates Norman, then tells him to “take care” of the list of Shotgun title challengers he was given by Absolute Andy.
Andy and Sebastian start to run down the top ten moments of the year. Number 10 was Alexander Wolfe returning to wXw to win the Shotgun title at 16 Carat Gold against Ilja Dragunov and Avalanche… man, that weekend feels like such a long time ago. The last major shows in Europe pre-Covid, and all that.
We’re backstage again with Norman Harras and Bobby Gunns. They poke fun at the list of Shotgun title challengers… Bobby doesn’t care because he’s above that, nor does he seemingly want anything to do with Metehan anymore. Norman wants to save the relationship, as it seems we’re getting something akin to the Brexit trade negotiations playing out on this here wrestling show.
Back to the studio now, as Norman Harras has gone from a “good boy” to a “poor boy”… Andy then mentions how the pandemic meant that Alexander Wolfe couldn’t defend the Shotgun title, which dovetails to the #9 moment of the year, which was Metehan winning the Shotgun title in a tournament final over Hektor Invictus.
Ender Kara vs. The Rotation
Kara debuted for wXw in the last week of the Catch Grand Prix, substituting for the injured Emil Sitoci…
We open with Kara using headscissors to escape Rotation, before he got shoved into the ropes for a dropkick. A springboard ‘rana from Rotation and another dropkick gets him a two-count, but Kara’s back with a rebound armdrag off the ropes, then a shotgun dropkick to knock Rotation into the corner. Rotation whips Kara into the corner, but Ender escapes and comes back with a tijeras… another dropkick caught Rotation off guard for a two-count, before an Octopus stretch kept Rotation in the middle of the ring. The hold’s broken up as Rotation fell into the ropes, before he found a way back in with a wacky submission that tied up the legs and arms ahead of a side Russian legsweep.
Kara’s kept on the mat with a modified Octopus stretch on the mat, but Kara throws his way free before he rolled in with a crucifix for a two-count. Rotation goes for a roll-up as the pair traded near-falls, leading to a crucifix bomb from Kara for a two-count. Ender looks to build up momentum with kicks, but Rotation throws forearms back as he looked to stay in contention. An enziguiri knocks Kara into the corner, ahead of a running dropkick… Rotation cartwheels off the top, then hit a satellite DDT to take Kara back outside. We’ve a tope next, then a missile dropkick as Rotation almost took the win… but Kara kicks out at two! Ender tries his luck with more kicks, throwing in a springboard missile dropkick as he one-upped the Rotation, following up with a tope con giro of his own.
We’re back inside with Rotation getting battered with more kicks, but he rolls back and hits an up kick of his own before doing the deal with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. Rotation heads up top, but aborts the Victory Over Gravity, only to get caught with a spinning roundhouse kick, as Kara then went up top… but got caught with a gamengiri. Rotation adds to that with a springboard ‘rana, before heading back up for the Victory Over Gravity 450 splash… crashing into Kara for the win. A pretty fun outing with Kara looking good on his second match in – there’ll be bright things to come from him in 2021 and beyond, that’s for sure. ***¼
Back to the studio now, as Andy and Sebastian throw to their #8 moment of the year – the barbed wire steel cage match from January between Jurn Simmons and Alexander James. It was bloody, and surprisingly, it’s been thrown onto the WWE Network this year.
wXw’s launching a new series in the new year – looking back sixteen years to some of their best matches from 2005. That’ll be worth a look at…
Norman Harras is on the prowl again. He tries to find Absolute Andy, but the Sporting Director’s office is closed. He gives him a call, only to find out that Andy’s on his holidays. Apparently it’s a fitness camp, so Norman cracks wise… and gets told Andy’s left his iPad in the office. So we’ve got a smash and grab on our hands.
We’re back with the number 7 moment of the year: it’s Ikeda vs. Ishikawa from Ambition. I’m surprised that’s that low, but I’m never going to say no to seeing those two beating the tar out of each other again.
Norman found his way into Andy’s office, and of course, there’s the iPad in a box. Amazingly it’s still got battery, as Norman decides to try and hack his way into it. Pick a strong PIN code, folks!
Back in the studio, Andy and Sebastian’s going back to 16 Carat Gold for their #6 moment of the year: it’s Bandido vs. Mike Bailey. That one ought to do very well in those Match of the Year ballots…
Karim Brigante vs. Mike Schwarz
This was Brigante’s debut in wXw – the Italian, trained by Harley Race, has worked a lot around Europe… he’s facing Mike Schwarz, back for the first time since losing to Bobby Gunns in the Diskowämmserei.
From the opening lock-up, Schwarz eventually pushes Brigante into the corner, but Karim retaliates with a side headlock. That’s pushed away as we get shoulder tackles from Brigante, but a pump kick from Schwarz stops Brigante for a near-fall. Schwarz looks for the Schicht im Schacht, but Brigante pushes it away… only to get thrown to the outside with a fallaway slam. Schwarz followed him outside to club away on the Italian, following up with a back suplex onto the apron… only to miss a legdrop as Brigante rolled back in. Karim takes the initiative with a PK on the apron, which led to some back-and-forth chops on the floor before they went back inside. Brigante pulls Schwarz into the buckles ahead of a Twist and Shout neckbreaker for a two-count, as the debutant looked to be building up some momentum.
Brigante hits a cravat knee to Schwarz, then a leaping leg lariat, before trapping Schwarz in the corner with shoulder charges. A second one’s caught as Brigante ran into a Bossman slam, taking him “straight into the Abyss” (I see what you did there, Andy…), as we’re back to the pair trading forearms. Schwarz pulls ahead as he threw Brigante into the corner for another barrage of strikes, following up with Snake Eyes that bounced Brigante out of the ring. He returns to get covered for a two-count, before a bicycle kick lands… the Schicht im Schacht chokeslam is countered out of again with a chinbreaker, before Brigante went up top for a crossbody.
Off comes the elbow pad as a rolling elbow from Brigante knocks Schwarz down, before a spear led to a two-count. He followed up with a crossface, but Schwarz powered up to his feet and eventually landed Schicht im Schacht for the win. Brigante looked good on his debut – hopefully he’ll be another one brought back in 2021 as the promotion continues to redevelop their roster. ***
We’re back on the countdown – the number 5 moment of the year was the Diskowämmserei – the Disco Brawl – between Bobby Gunns and Mike Schwarz…
Backstage, Metehan’s waiting for a phone call from Norman Harras… instead, Norman appears in person, with Absolute Andy’s tablet. He shows Metehan that he’s sent out an e-mail – as Andy – to the Championship Board of Directors, as Norman’s booked himself for a Shotgun title match. He’s a sneaky one, is Norman…
Number four in the moments of the year was the 16 Carat Gold finals, with Cara Noir beating Mike Bailey in an epic at the Turbinenhalle.
Backstage, Markus Weiss is making me hanker for some Horsthemke from the Oberhausen train station as he gets the e-mail “from Absolute Andy.” He calls Andy to confirm, but he’s got to leave a message…
Number three on the moments of the year list comes from the wXw Wrestling Academy – it’s the Academy match between Norman Harras and Avalanche, including the first clip of a light tube shot! Those of you with an eagle eye for pointless details will have noticed Norman got a new phone since this match…
Marius al-Ani vs. Pete Dunne
This one’s from wXw’s 17th anniversary show in December 2017 – originally al-Ani was meant to face Zack Sabre Jr., but illness forced a card change… and because at the time WWE weren’t allowing “their guys” to appear on VOD, this match had never been shown before. Until now. Hence the crowd!
We open with a handshake and a quick lock-up as Dunne tried to work over al-Ani with a wristlock. The escape’s countered with headscissors that al-Ani couldn’t quite escape, so Dunne goes to a hammerlock with some small digit manipulation before the referee forces a break.
A slap to the head annoys al-Ani, as he moves in for a front facelock on Dunne, but Dunne gets free with a finger snap as referee Tassilo Jung read him the riot act. al-Ani takes Dunne down for a toe hold, but Dunne spins free and clobbered him by the ropes before a stomp to the elbow. Marius returns with an O’Connor roll, then a step-up elbow drop before a dropkick took Dunne outside… where he ends up recovering with an elbow that knocked al-Ani into the crowd. An X-Plex from Dunne drops Marius onto the edge of the ring. Back inside, there’s back rakes as Dunne prepared to stomp on Marius’ knees. Peter goes bitey next, but al-Ani pops back up for a death valley driver, before he got sent onto the apron… and recovered with a roll through into a kip-up Exploder. Dunne rolls outside and gets caught with an over-the-corner plancha, before a Code Red back inside couldn’t be blocked, with al-Ani nearly nicking the win.
Marius’ springboard rear kick caught Dunne in the corner, but Peter replies with another X-Plex and a stomp off the top, before a Ligerbomb gets him a near-fall. Some more back-and forth sees Dunne shrug off al-Ani’s forearm before he sent Marius flying into the corner. Dunne keeps going with another forearm and an enziguiri, before a spinning heel kick from al-Ani stopped the tide. al-Ani counters a Bitter End into a DDT, then heads up top for a frog splash… but Dunne pops up and elbows him on the way down, before a Bitter End gets the win. The Marius al-Ani of 2017 is miles ahead of this – remember, this was months after he’d been turned on by Absolute Andy – but this was a solid match for where both men were at the time. ***½
We’ve got the return of the overdubbed theme music since this was back in the “before times”…
The number two moment of 2020 was the Catch Grand Prix – with Marius al-Ani defeating Cara Noir…
Backstage, Norman Harras and Metehan are, erm, stripping off as they’re getting prepared for their match… then we find out what the top moment of 2020 was for wXw, and it’s something of a surprise choice: it’s Stephanie Maze and Fast Time Moodo beating the Pretty Bastards for the wXw tag team titles.
wXw Shotgun Championship: Norman Harras vs. Metehan (c)
Metehan and Harras shake hands before the bell, as everyone seems to think this’ll be a Fingerpoke of Doom scenario… except before we start, Absolute Andy pops up on the big screen. He’s found out that his iPad got hacked, and adds a stipulation: the loser gets fined €5,000. Viel spaß!
Metehan still wants Norman to lay down for him (but not roll over, I guess, nor play dead), but Norman doesn’t want to lose the 5k. Norman does it anyway, but kicks out at two as Metehan then berates him – I guess calling him a dog, going by the crowd’s chants. Norman tries to roll up Metehan, but just gets slapped as the Shotgun champion unloaded with some right hands. A running kick knocks Harras to the outside, where he’s thrown into the ring post, before he’s elbowed on the apron. Back inside, Metehan stays on top with some forearms off the ropes, before Harras just threw him aside. Harras looks to take control with some forearms of his own, knocking down Metehan, following up with a running boot into the corner.
A clothesline from Harras drops Metehan for a two-count, before a release Fisherman suplex gets the challenger another two-count. Harras gets caught on the top rope as Metehan then worked his way into an Iconoclasm as he brought down Harras for another near-fall. Metehan looks for a slingshot DDT, but Harras pushes him into the referee… and lands a cross chop, then a poke to the eye as he looked to sneak a win. Harras only gets a two-count from that, and after he misses a charge into the corner, Metehan struck back with an overhand chop. He escaped a gutwrench powerbomb, then tosses Harras outside, which looked to give Norman a bad landing… upon his return, a slingshot dropkick and a slingshot DDT awaited for Harras, with Metehan landing both for another two-count. A snapmare from Metehan leaves Harras down ahead of some Danielson elbows, but Harras elbows his way free, then ripped away a turnbuckle pad.
More Danielson elbows from Metehan knock Harras down, but they’re in the corner… with Harras pulling Metehan into the exposed buckle. Harras follows up with a gutwrench suplex of sorts, and my God, we have a new champion! Norman wraps up his year with a major upset, while Metehan starts 2021 a little poorer… ***¼
That’s it for the show… but there’s fifteen minutes left on the VOD? After the credits they take us back to the 17th Anniversary show, with Alexander Wolfe and Axel Dieter Jr.’s surprise appearance, with them having saved WALTER & Timothy Thatcher from a beatdown from the RISE stable. Much like Pete Dunne’s match, their surprise appearance wasn’t allowed on the VOD at the time, so this is fresh content from the vaults.
The crowd are eating up this impromptu RINGKAMPF reunion, and it takes a while before Axel Dieter Jr./Marcel Barthel was able to speak, thanking the fans for their reaction. He remarked about how he saw WALTER & Timothy Thatcher win the tag titles, saying that’s what RINGKAMPF was. He closed out by saying that RINGKAMPF was “more than a logo on a shirt,” it stood for ideology, passion and friendship – and that the crowd should wear that logo with pride.
Alexander Wolfe/Axel Tischer wrapped up by saying that Axel had stolen his thunder, before noting how when he left a few years earlier, he’d promised to return. He brought up how they wanted to come to Oberhausen in December to check in with friends and represent RINGKAMPF as the four did the RINGKAMPF pose to close the show.
…and that’s it for wXw in 2020… and for the time being, seemingly. While wXw are releasing new content in 2021, in the form of “Conversations” shows and a new feature on their best matches from 2005, there’s no dates on the books for the company to tape new episodes of Shotgun – and that may well be the case for the near future as well.
With wXw’s taping schedule completely thrown out of the window as a result of the pandemic, this was the last new batch of matches we’re going to be getting for a while. The end-of-year pay-off of Norman Harras going from the downtrodden member of Bobby Gunns’ brigade to sneaking his way into a crack at the Shotgun championship was quite the sight – and capped off a year which saw wXw put stock into their younger generation of talent. Long may this continue – and even if we do have to wait well into 2021, I can’t wait to see the fallout from the events here, particularly given how much Metehan’s financially been beaten down in storyline.