RISE took centre stage on this week’s episode of Shotgun, as the dust continued to settle from Superstars of Wrestling.

We open with Kim Ray and Karsten Beck backstage, with Beck running out of patience with not being able to fight back. Remember, Christian Michael Jakobi threw him into the ringpost at Superstars of Wrestling. Kim Ray notes that the attack was probably because Beck’s working against Jakobi’s business plan, but Beck just gets more frustrated and turns his aim on Ray.

Next up: a video package for David Starr’s impending return, with talking heads from Marius al-Ani, Jurn Simmons and a lot of footage of Starr’s international defences of the Shotgun title. The takeaway here is that David Starr’s gunning to regain his title from Angelico on June 2’s feature event in Hamburg…

Another backstage piece now, with Alpha Kevin “fetching some chairs” for Karsten Beck, only to be confronted dozens upon dozens of them. He’s interrupted/saved by Melanie Gray, who’s singing a German pop song out of the 80s, and I’m quickly seeing my lunch again!

Francis Kaspin vs. Alexander James
Alan Counihan is back on commentary after a few weeks on his sickbed! We’re opening with this match from Stuttgart in April, and we start with a rather nonchalant headlock takedown as James looked to put Kaspin down early. A trapped-arm abdominal stretch gives the American an early submission attempt, as it’s revealed that Kaspin will be taking on former mentor Chris Colen in Hamburg next month. Just as that was announced, Kaspin made a comeback of sorts, cartwheeling over a drop down before coming in with a sliding dropkick.

The offence continued with an enziguiri before following with a back elbow, only to get dropped with a diving uppercut from James as the American grounded him with a modified version of a camel clutch. Kaspin slipped out, only to get dumped on his neck with an overhead belly-to-belly for another near-fall. A single slap from Kaspin was enough to knock James to the outside as he continued to shake off that suplex, before Kaspin forearmed his way back into the game, only to run into a superkick.

Kaspin quickly hits back with a Northern Lights suplex for a near-fall, before he’s forced to kick out of a Fisherman’s suplex. Another superkick cuts off a springboard as James slingshots Kaspin into an Ace crusher for another near-fall, but neither man can hold an advantage, as James quickly fell into a running boot in the corner for another two-count. A ripcord back elbow keeps Kaspin down, before a single underhook DDT gets James the W in a solid outing. ***¼

Highlights from the Young Lions’ tag title win over A4 air, and if I know how wXw format Shotgun, it’ll lead to a video of them and/or RISE. Nope, it’s actually Absolute Andy and Marius al-Ani looking at some artwork with “Bad Bones” John Klinger… Andy’s annoyed at how out-of-it Marius has been since the title loss. Klinger says that he’ll take care of this, and it looks like A4 and Bad Bones are going to try and take down RISE. But first, Bones and Alpha Kevin have gotten themselves a title shot against the Young Lions in Hamburg.

Now we get that Young Lions/RISE video, with the Lions promising that they’re currently dishing out revenge. Not quite sure what wXw has done to wrong them, but there you go.

An advert for Shortcut to the Top airs, and we now have a new segment with Jaxon Stone.”The Star Show” (I assume it’s called, as Jaxon sits in way of the name!). Stone’s taking credit for the crowd at Superstars of Wrestling, and he reckons that Buff Bagwell was impressed with him… he’s about the only one, going by the reviews! Stone’s now “blessed” with the top hat, but he throws it down as we thankfully don’t have a revival of the top hat wrestler.

Highlights from Superstars of Wrestling follow, and I swear the German commentator tells us to “stay in the back, a Hurricane’s coming through”. Whether that’s a flub or not, that’s a great way to avoid trademarks!

Next up is Bobby Gunns in the shower – he’s rudely interrupted by Da Mack, who clearly has no shame. Mack’s mad that Gunns is ducking him, but Gunns reckons that he’s beaten him enough and has no case to answer. Bobby has an offer though: he’ll face Mack in Hamburg, but if Mack loses, he cannot wrestle in Hamburg again. They’re billing it as a loser leaves town match, so… is that to be taken literally, or in wrestling speak?

They announce more matches for the Hamburg show: Kim Ray vs. the debuting Pete Bouncer – one of the RISE members, who hadn’t even been named until this point! We also have Ivan Kiev – the other un-named RISE guy – vs. WALTER, Chris Colen vs. Francis Kaspin, plus the aforementioned wXw Shotgun and World Tag Team title match. Your main event? Jurn Simmons vs. Emil Sitoci for the wXw title. That’s a heck of a loaded card, considering they’re running two shows that day… although, looking at the announced card for the “other” show in Hilpoltstein, it’s fairly clear which is going to come across as a B show.

Thomas Giesen is backstage now with Jurn Simmons. He’s crowing about beating Matt Riddle a few weeks back, before Giesen brings up the loss to Emil Sitoci a few weeks earlier. That seems to annoy Jurn in the end, who insists that his losses have been because he’s underestimated people – including Marty Scurll, whose name dropping was too random to be just by chance…

After an advert for the Axel Dieter Jr. “best of”, we’re back with Thomas Giesen. This time he’s with Avalanche, who’s on a high after winning that three-way over his former Cerberus buddies. He sounds a warning for the champions in wXw, before storming off..

Avalanche vs. Chris Colen
Chris Colen was still loved here as this was taped before RISE was a thing – and he started by getting thrown into the corner as Avalanche shrugged off the opening tie-up.

A shoulder tackle knocks Colen down after he’d shoved off a headlock, but Colen replies with a trio of his own to send the Monster of a Man to the outside, where he’s met with a tope! Back inside, Avalanche takes over as the pair exchange blows whilst Alan runs through upcoming dates, including a show at the wonderfully-named Club From Hell. Which may be a similar nickname to the football team I support… or it just feels like it!

Colen elbows out of a headlock, but he’s quickly sent into the corner, before rebounding with a clothesline off the middle rope. A massive forearm rocks Avalanche in the corner, but the big man comes back as he fell on Colen mid-bodyslam attempt, getting himself a near-fall in the process.

With Colen still down, Avalanche lands a legdrop for a near-fall, but Colen gets back up and tries to trade blows, only to get taken down yet again with a Samoan drop for another near-fall. An avalanche in the corner from, erm, Avalanche sets up for a cannonball for another two-count, but some more strikes from Colen finally let him complete that bodyslam!

Colen sets up Avalanche for the uranage, but it’s elbowed out of, before Avalanche rebounded off the ropes and into that move anyway. The big guy kicked out at two, but he took a forearm in the corner before surprising Colen with a Blue Thunder Bomb, and that’s it for the win. Another impressive outing for Avalanche – and one that kinda highlighted how badly Colen needed a shake-up. ***½

That’s our lot for this week – within seconds of the three-count, we fade to the credits after another decent episode, which nicely rounded off the card for next weekend’s featured event in Hamburg. That’s what we like to see: cards announced nice and early!