Or “the episode where Alpha Kevin has no willpower for grape juice”.

Shotgun opened with a backstage segment with Sebastian Hollmichel, alongside the Alpha Lovers – Alpha Kevin and Melanie Gray. Apparently they wanted to do something special with the lights, but Kevin’s too distracted by Sebastian’s cigarettes. He’s offered one, and goes to accept, but Melanie freaks out… and Kevin’s left befuddled as he remembered picking a pack of cigarettes out of her bag a few weeks back.

A fake TMZ segment follows with Jaxon Stone, this time focusing on him hugging a fake Oscar statue in bed. That’s all the paparazzi spot as we fade away…

Thomas Giesen’s up after that with Jurn Simmons. We’ve got German subtitles on the English feed for some reason as Jurn addresses the challenge of Avalanche at Shortcut to the Top. Jurn dismisses Avalanche as “just a man”, which doesn’t scare him at all, and that’s about it!

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Emil Sitoci vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger vs. Jurn Simmons (c)
We’re in Bielefeld for this match, as Jeremy Graves’ dulcet tones provide commentary for us this week. It’s for the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship, and we start with Emil Sitoci launching into both of his opponents at the bell. It quickly settles down into your usual triple-threat fare after Jurn shook on a fist-bump before taking Bones into the corner.

Bones edges ahead by whipping Jurn into the corner, only to get booted to the floor by Sitoci as he looked to go flying… and now we’ve got some Dutch-on-Dutch violence! After getting thrown around, Sitoci grabs Jurn in a rear chinlock for a spell as he tried his best to keep Bones and Jurn at bay and keep this as close to a singles match as possible.

Simmons avoids a Snapmare driver from Emil, but his piledriver’s backdropped out of as we get Sitoci and Bones for a spell. Sitoci works over Bones’ arm with kneedrops, before Klinger is thrown into Jurn on the apron for an accidental spear. It’s all very deliberate offence from Sitoci – not flashy, but extremely effective… until his split-legged moonsault got nothing but knees as Jurn hit the ring to clean house. An Oklahoma Stampede almost gets Jurn the win, but Bones recovers to stop any further offence, landing a slingshot spear onto Jurn, before a top rope release German saw Sitoci land on Simmons in what a move that surely would have won the match had Emil been able to stay on top!

The match turned into a slugfest for a moment as we then entered “let’s break up everyone’s pins” territory, before Jurn rolled away and hit Sitoci with a gutwrench powerbomb for a near-fall. Klinger tried to charge at Jurn, but got lifted onto the top rope as he shoved SImmons into a Snapmare Driver, before leaping into Emil with the flying lungblower… and it looks like we’re down two… only for Simmons to hit a Massive Kick out of nowhere before a piledriver did the job. A really solid triple-threat match – nothing overly flashy, but likewise nothing out of place here either. Well worth your time! ***½

As is traditional, someone from the previous match is next: Bad Bones with Sebastian Hollmichel, talking about RISE. Klinger admits to respecting RISE’s talent, but not their behaviour, and it’s revealed here that Klinger’s facing Ivan Kiev on June 16 in Münster in a match where the winner enters Shortcut to the Top at number thirty, and the loser… starts it off. Bones isn’t fazed by it, and that’s our match!

RISE is next with Ivan Kiev wondering out loud how he’s not been in 16 Carat. He wants it all, and I guess by beating WALTER, he’s capable of taking whatever he wants.

More from Jaxon Stone and the TMZ takeoff, LCJ.com (which doesn’t exist, not even as a Jaxon Stone fan-site!). He’s washing his fake Oscar, and the paparazzi’s continuing to show his unhealthy fascination with that statue.

We get clips from 2015’s Shortcut to the Top, which featured a rope break. wXw were ahead of their time… and just as I say that, here’s Grado winning the match. That aged well!

We’re back outside with Alpha Kevin and Sebastian Hollmichel. Sebastian’s almost like a pusher as he’s offering Kevin cigarettes and grape juice… living on the edge! Kevin got no willpower, and in comes Bobby Gunns to poke fun… which leads to our main event for this show.

Francis Kaspin is in the wXw dojo now getting praised by some trainees, but he’s trying to stay humble… Alexander James walks in and tells Kaspin that he needs to travel the world to build his name, rather than stay a one-company guy.

David Starr’s up next to rattle through his catchphrases – sadly, not his Circumcised Warrior one that Jim Smallman threw in – and Starr goes through the history of his nicknames. Like how “104 minute man” was taken off of an iron-man match that went to sudden death, ending at 1 hour 44 minutes long. Do the maths! Talk turns to the Shotgun title, and Starr’s promising to regain it against Angelico and Emil Sitoci at Shortcut to the Top.

Yet more from Jaxon Stone now. He’s showering with that statue. Eventually he spots the cameraman, and his pixellated crotch chases him away. That had better not be the pay-off… Thomas Giesen’s backstage now with Ilja Dragunov, addressing how Avalanche beat Ilja at Superstars of Wrestling. Apparently being invincible doesn’t mean never losing… Ilja knows he still has a title shot to cash in, but he’s not ready to cash it in just yet.

Next up: a recap of Karsten Beck’s segment from the Hamburg show. They subtitle it for us non-German speakers, focusing on the part where Beck cancelled his comeback after doctors found his brain tumour was growing again. “Tonight isn’t a goodbye, it’s a see you later!” He also wanted to “paddle” Christian Jakobi one more time, and of course, he got his wish as he punched out CMJ to end the segment.

That segued nicely to Jakobi staggering backstage, holding his head in his hands as WALTER stumbles upon him. Jakobi’s mad that WALTER didn’t save him, but WALTER tells him that “physical debuts aren’t your thing, they’re mine”. From there, we’re back to Karsten Beck who tells us that the June 4 date in Erfurt was the last time that he’ll be able to travel to shows for now. He thanks everyone in wXw, then the fans, before stopping himself in saying goodbye by promising that he’ll make it back once more.

After that, we’ve got a wacky backstage piece with Young Money Chong and Marius van Beethoven where one speaks in English and the other in German. Yet they understand each other perfectly as they look for Dirty Dragan. Their nose reveals him on the floor, wasted on pills and booze… all I want to know, was Sebastian Hollmichel anywhere near this?!

They run down the card for Shortcut to the Top, including the eponymous match (which curiously has Da Mack on the graphic, even though there was that segment last week that strongly hinted he was on his way out); Ilja Dragunov vs. Matt Riddle; Angelico vs. Emil Sitoci vs. David Starr for the Shotgun title; plus Jurn Simmons vs. Avalanche for the wXw title.

We’re back to Jaxon Stone again, and he’s on the phone to his agent, being all apologetic for beating up the paparazzi earlier. Stone doesn’t want to apologise, and he’s getting all paranoid about things.

Bobby Gunns vs. Alpha Kevin
We’re in Bielefeld again, and Melanie Gray’s awfully happy – perhaps she didn’t see Kevin give in to Sebastian the pusher?

Gunns is the massive babyface here for some reason, and we start with Kevin trying to take Gunns down with slams and clotheslines, before diving into Gunns with a crossbody for an early near-fall. Things turned around when Gunns caught Kevin with a rope-hung armbar, before a flying… something takes Kevin into the opposite corner. Kevin’s arm gets stomped viciously by Gunns, who then makes a point of grabbing Melanie Gray on the apron. She slaps him back, which sparked a comeback from Kevin with some corner charges, then a DDT! Dusty Punches keep Gunns rocked, as a back suplex gets a near-fall, only for Gunns to hit back with a bridging German for a near-fall.

An upkick to the arm follows from Bobby, who then ran into an Alpha Slam that almost went awry. Still, Gunns rebounded immediately with a Saito suplex for a near-fall after Kevin folded in half, before Kevin hit back with almost a spinning uranage. Just like that though, Gunns gets the win, catching Kevin in an armbar for the instant tap-out. This was fine, but bits of it felt sloppy, particularly the final sequence that just felt like “I do a move, you do a move”. **½

Next week, we’ve got an unusual tease for the Alpha Lovers bickering after this match… do you think Mella saw the tape?! This was a decent enough episode of Shotgun, with some nice segments sprinkled throughout which actually made me curious to see what’s going on with Jaxon Stone, so that’s gotta be a positive!