If you’re expecting me to make a Shotgun 3:16 joke here… you’re about 20 years too late!

wXw’s final Shotgun before the opener of their Fight Forever tour on Saturday has a new title screen which means that there’s no more Axel Dieter Jr, and a whole lotta RISE.

We open with Thomas Giesen who’s with Jay Skillet and Francis Kaspin. They’ve challenged Dirty Dragan and Emil Sitoci for this Saturday, and that match is on! Kaspin wants Dragan to bring Chong with him, before they talk down their Dutch opponents. Don’t forget about Marius van Beethoven…

They show footage from years back of Skillet being beaten down by Sitoci, before stitching together some old segments to join the dots and link Sitoci and Dragan together.

Next up is Julian Nero by an ATM. He’s telling us that it’s not only Da Mack who can fall on hard times (harsh!), before introducing us to another of his clients… Richie. Who now has money in his bank account as he’s got an awesome life. This had better lead somewhere…

In August, wXw’s adding their 2011 shows to wXw Now, featuring a wacky match with Colt Cabana and Marty Scurll, and another with a bunch of barbed wire. Credit to wXw for backfilling their on-demand service like this – with 2011 and 2012 shows being added during the summer.

Jaxon Stone vs. Kim Ray
We’re off to Münster for this one, with Jeremy Graves on commentary… but it’s Jaxon Stone who’s got the upper hand in the opening moments, before Kim Ray gets back in with some elbows.

A dropkick starts off Ray’s kick party, with a diving dropkick into the corner almost loosening some teeth. An Exploder follows as Ray shrugged off some brief offence, and now it’s kick time as Stone’s chest takes a pounding. Stone swerves a kick and tries for a death valley driver, but it’s avoided as he ends up taking down Ray with a clothesline before a couple of knee drops put the American a little further ahead.

Stone keeps up the offence, whipping Ray hard into the corner, before grinding his face into the mat as Kim was kept as far away from those kicks as possible – all whilst commentary reminded us that so far, Ray’s the only one who’s been able to score any kind of a win against RISE. Jaxon nearly gets the win with a pop-up slap, before a fallaway slam gets a near-fall as he’d originally set up from a Fireman’s carry position. Misdirection!

Ray tries to fight back though, trading shots with the American before a big knee takes him down, as does a clothesline. A Fisherman’s driver nearly gets the win for Ray, as the back-and-forth contest continued, with a hiptoss knee landing for Stone, who’s then caught with a roundhouse kick out of nowhere for the win. Colour me surprised – I was not expecting to enjoy this as much as I did, but Stone and Ray put on a really entertaining TV-style match. Thanks for toning down the kicks! ***¼

Thomas Giesen’s back next with WALTER, who tells us that his summer break is just preparation for his future travels representing wXw and RINGKAMPF. Giesen brings up Christian Michael Jakobi, but WALTER refuses to discuss him… instead he’s happy to talk about RISE, and Chris Colen in particular since those two meet on Saturday. WALTER vows to be better prepared for Colen than he was against Ivan Kiev a few months ago…

That bleeds into a RISE video, and it’s the one with Chris Colen still being unhappy at how he was used.

The World Tag Team League’s barely two months away… so they run through the entrants for this year’s tournament – the Young Lions, the Spirit Squad, Jurn Simmons & David Starr, A4, OI4K (Dave Crist & Jake Crist); as well as the already-confirmed names for the Femmes Fatales tournament, and the confirmation of the double iron man match between Dave Crist and David Starr. A two hour long Iron Man Match. Ouch.

Melanie Gray is in some toilets when she’s interrupted by Verena Fischer, who asks her about Bobby Gunns. Melanie is still protesting innocence, and hopes Saturday clears everything up. The usual video package builds this up some more, and it’s been quite the story/PSA between Gunns/Gray and Kevin.

wXw Tag Team Championship: Ryouji Sai & Shinsuke Watakata vs. Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid) (c)
We’ve got some international flavour here in Münster as Sai and Watakata – from the Pro Wrestling Land’s End indy in Japan – visit to offer a challenge to the Young Lions’ tag titles.

I’ll be honest, I’ve no clue about Sai, Watakata or Land’s End, so this is all new to me. Sai and Aslan start us off, with Aslan trying a leg grapevine before an attempted eye rake annoyed the former ZERO ONE trainee Sai. Aslan DDT’s the leg after Lucky Kid played silly buggers by the ropes to try and distract everyone, and Kid quickly comes in to try and target Sai’s bad leg.

Sai stays in, and manages to slam Kid before bringing in Watakata, who goes straight after Lucky with some chops, taking him into the corner… but Kid fights out as Watakata’s taken to the wrong corner for some double-teaming from the Lions. The Lions cheat some more as Lucky Kid uses his RISE shirt to choke Shinsuke whilst the ref was distracted, as the Lions just kept up the pressure.

There’s more cheating as Sai protests… but that just lets Kid choke Watataka some more as “Shinsuke Jet” is forced to make a comeback by himself… but he has little answer as he has to rely on Sai breaking up a pinfall attempt. Kid knocks Sai off the apron as they continued to wear down Shinsuke, but finally he makes a comeback, blocking a back body drop and instead flapjacking Kid.

Sai finally gets the tag back in and he kicks Lucky in the head, before chopping down Aslan, as he then picks up Watakata in a fireman’s carry and propels him into the Lions! A suplex from Sai gets a near-fall, but the Lions again double-team to hit a pair of kicks in the corner to allow Kid to get a near-fall.

With Sai down, the Lions circle their prey, but he elbows away from the Circle of Life and instead kicks off Kid’s face in the corner! Watakata flies in with a missile dropkick as Lucky Kid had a taste of some two-on-one, finishing with a German suplex/legsweep combo… but the Japanese tandem don’t make a cover, as Watakata hits a crossbody instead that almost won them the belts.

Aslan made the save though, before Kid comes back with a roll-up into a DDT as Shinsuke eats a double-stomp from Aslan onto the knees of Kid for the win. Another one for the “unexpectedly enjoyable” column – one that might just make me seek out some Land’s End to see what else Sai’s promotion has to offer. ***½

A video package follows for A4’s rematch for the Young Lions’ wXw tag team titles, chronicling the Lions’ return and the debut of RISE… along with their subsequent sneak attack to Absolute Andy shortly thereafter.

The rest of the Fight Forever tour open card is quickly shown: of course, A4 vs. Young Lions for the wXw tag titles; Jurn Simmons defending the wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship against Ilja Dragonov and “Bad Bones” John Klinger; Chris Colen vs. WALTER; Bobby Gunns vs. Alpha Kevin; Alex Windsor vs. Melanie Gray; Ivan Kiev vs. Kim Ray; Dirty Dragan & Emil Sitoci vs. Jay FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin); and in the pre-show… Julian Nero vs. Pete Bouncer.

After one more video package, for the world title match, we end with Jurn Simmons and Ilja Dragunov snarling in front of a green screen. Bad Bones has no-shown the photo shoot, so this bit’s cancelled, which annoys Jurn who’d driven for four hours to get here… to the point where Simmons vows to hurt him worse than he’s ever done before on Saturday. Ilja’s not annoyed by the cancellation, and instead he laughs at Jurn because he doesn’t care about Bad Bones, as Dragunov is focused on the biggest day of his career.

It’s quietly shaping up to be a really good card – and with wXw’s usual turnaround, this’ll be up early next week… as will our review (in due course!). That’s it for another week of Shotgun, and Shotgun 3:16 says “this was quietly impressive”. Two enjoyable matches with some names I’m not usually into, and that’s all you can ask for in your wrestling!