With Hamburg in the rear-view mirror, wXw’s turned their sights onto Cologne’s Shortcut to the Top with this week’s episode of Shotgun!

We open with a backstage promo with David Starr and Rico Bushido, after Starr’s loss to Angelico in Hamburg. He seems distracted, and heads off after saying that his loss doesn’t mean he won’t ever get the title back… before he heads out and shakes Angelico’s hand. This segues into a promo from Angelico, but not much of one!

Next up is Dirty Dragan with Marius van Beethoven and Young Money Chong. Dragan’s happy that they won their first match (a dark match at Superstars of Wrestling), but Marius and Chong argue in subtitles as the pair struggle to get along. Dragan insists that the pair compliment each other, except Chong only gives his in Dutch, which Dragan translates whilst keeping his look of a 90s sleazeball. Complete with the shellsuit top.

We’re taken to an in-ring segment with Timo Theiss – someone I’ve never heard of. He proclaims himself to be the most awesome in the ring… and he’s interrupted by Young Money Chong. Then Dirty Dragan. Then Marius van Beethoven. Chong and Dragan ripping off the Rock’s catchphrases like they’ve gone out of style. Nobody can agree who the most awesome one is, so… we have a four-way!

Timo Theiss vs. Young Money Chong vs. Dirty Dragan vs. Marius van Beethoven
This is from Bielefeld, and no, this isn’t a handicap as Theiss looks to make short work of the odd triple in the early going. Marius tries to cut him off, but his piledriver’s cut-off as the trio took over, with Marius doing the Shield’s Cerberus powerbomb… Marius takes the pin, as the trio celebrate, not recognising what’d happened. That was a fun segment, if not a short outing!

After that, we’re off to Alpha Kevin messing around with Melanie Gray’s makeup. He’s a fish out of water when it comes to cosmetics, which Melanie finds funny… Kevin roots through her cosmetics bag and finds a packet of cigarettes, which she claimed she’d found laying around. I wonder whose… next is Bobby Gunns, who’s bragging about beating Da Mack in his latest Smoking Break. It was a Loser Leaves Town match, of course, but we don’t know if that means Mack can’t wrestle for wXw anymore, or just in Hamburg. Gunns sings a football chant, before mocking Mack by saying he can sleep rough. Alrighty then!

Next up, we see a disconsolate Mack in the Markthalle in Hamburg as they’re tearing down the place. Kim Ray tells him he doesn’t have to leave, but Mack takes his bag and walks out. But not before deleting Walter (wXw) from his phone’s contact list… but not the numbers of Axel Jr (US) or Axel Tischer. I guess that’s a hint that he’s joining the Axels in America?

After that, Avalanche has a brief promo with Tommy Giesen acknowledging his wXw title shot against Jurn Simmons at Shortcut to the Top… then we’ve got Emil Sitoci dismissing Rico Bushido’s attempt to get an interview… and then a RISE promo.

Jaxon Stone gets a brief promo as he’s leaving his home, but he’s interrupted by paparazzi asking him about his loss to Buff Bagwell. I’d be ashamed too. Julian Nero’s got an advert for his consultancy – a promo I swear we’ve seen before – and then another recap of Superstars of Wrestling from last month.

Shotgun Championship: Ilja Dragunov vs. Angelico (c)
Also from Bielefeld, this was our main event as Angelico made his first defence of the Shotgun championship.

Angelico mocks Ilja’s “unbesiegbar” taunt as we had a rather deliberate opening series that Ilja just about came out second-best on. The South African works over Ilja’s arm for a spell before he’s dropkicked to the floor as Ilja recovered to chop away a springboard as both men failed on their dives.

Once Jeremy Graves runs through the upcoming dates, we see Angelico land a nice suplex, before Ilja blocked a second by clinging onto the ropes and instead just chops the champion down viciously. He crashed and burned with a back senton off the top, but Ilja popped back up to clothesline Angelico to the outside for a tope into the darkness!

Second time was lucky for that back senton as Ilja tore into Angelico with plenty of clotheslines, before a lariat knocked down the champ for a two-count, as Dragunov continues to waffle Angelico with chops. Those were returned with interest with some kicks from the champion, then a diving knee off the apron as Dragunov’d rolled to the floor for some respite.

We get some brawling in the dark, with Angelico doing a 619 on the apron to break the count, before climbing to the stage for a body press to Ilja on the floor! A second crossbody off the top rope eventually got a near-fall after they returned to the ring, but Ilja backdropped out of a Fall of the Angels attempt, before springboarding into an accidental Codebreaker from the South African!

That almost got a three-count as Dragunov barely kicked out in time, but Ilja bounced back with a DDT and a Saito suplex as he too came close. An attempt at the Torpedo Moscau’s blocked, with Angelico throwing in a leaping knee as the 16 Carat Gold winner was forced to fight out of a superplex… before leaping into the referee by mistake. With Tassilo Jung down, Angelico landed the Fall of the Angels, but there was nobody to make the count!

After scoring a visual ten-count, Angelico sets up for the superplex again, but Ilja countered into a sunset flip powerbomb, before nailing a Torpedo Moscau as Dragunov scored a visual cover with Tassilo still sleeping. They went back and forth some more as the spectre of a time limit draw loomed, with Ilja landing a superplex then another Torpedo Moscau for yet another visual cover… and now I’m thinking Tass might just be dead.

Angelico nearly joined him after taking a vicious forearm from Ilja, but he recovers to counter a superplex into another Fall of the Angels, and now the referee stirs just in time to make a two-count as Ilja kicked out… into the final seconds, Angelico headed up top for a double stomp, but he took too long to make the cover and Ilja kicked out as the time limit expired! A hell of a TV main event as both men went to a 20 minute broadway – great, hard-hitting action, with perhaps a little too much downtime from the ref, but this was enjoyable and fun to watch! ****

We get replays of some of the visual pinfalls here as Angelico and Ilja shake hands… then we fade out to Hamburg where Angelico is being approached by Emil Sitoci at ringside. The Dutchman demands a rematch after he lost to Jurn Simmons in Hamburg, but he is interrupted by David Starr. They both bicker: and yes, this leads to a three-way for the Shotgun title at Shortcut to the Top!

Another good episode of Shotgun, with a hell of a main event that you really need to see – and with just two title matches (and the Shortcut to the Top match itself) announced, July’s spectacular is looking like it’s going to be a sneakily-good card!