The first Shotgun of the Fight Forever tour was quite the brisk affair – with plenty set up for wXw’s next big show!

wXw’s next event is in about three weeks time, with their FAN in Hamburg – the Fan Appreciation Night – so expect some build to that here! We open with a spoiler warning for the Fight Forever Tour Opening (which we’re once again going to watch after this…)

We open up in the wXw offices, I assume, where Jurn Simmons bumped into Sebastian Hollmichel whilst looking for Christian Michael Jakobi. CMJ’s got the day off, so Jurn’s got a message to pass through via Sebastian… he wants a one-on-one rematch for the title at FAN.

We go from there to Thomas Giesen with Toni Harting, who’s new to wXw (although we last saw him doing non-tournament action for WCPW in a tag match with the footballer mashup Ronaldo Shaqiri). Harting’s happy to have the chance in wXw, and although he knows a few people already, they’re doing their own thing. So I guess he’s got to rise to the occasion and meet new people and get settled in, eh? Julian Nero walks in to give Harting his business card, and I guess Toni’s the latest client for Nero Consulting.

From there it’s to another vignette, featuring a lot of graffiti… it’s a Francis Kaspin video. He tells us he’s young, modern and fresh, and this is a “be a difference” away from being Fati. Instead, Kaspin wants to make wrestling fresh and cool again in Europe, so that kids can talk about wrestling in the playground. “Francis Kaspin is pop culture”. Alright…

We’re backstage next with the Alpha Lovers – with Alpha Kevin having his arm seen to by medics after his loss to Bobby Gunns. Melanie Gray’s not too pleased, especially when Bobby walks in to ironically tell Kevin to smoke a little less. Kevin stands up, but he can’t really do much… and Melanie looks increasingly conflicted. I wonder how many people screamed “don’t do it” (in whatever language)…

Pete Bouncer vs. Alpha Kevin
We’re going back to happier times from Berlin two months ago, and Kevin spears Bouncer at the bell. Bouncer powders to the floor and drops Kevin neck-first across the top rope as he tried to go after him… and that’s where the tide quickly turned for the RISE member.

Kevin gets whipped hard into the corner, but he manages to hit back with a dropkick out of the corner but again Bouncer rolls to the floor, where this time he’s met with a cannonball off the apron! Back inside, Kevin gets a near-fall, but Bouncer quickly cuts him off again with some mounted punches as commentary runs through upcoming tour dates.

A front facelock keeps Kevin at bay briefly, as does a full nelson slam, but just like that, Kevin reverses a suplex and dumps Bouncer ahead of a springboard stunner out of the corner. It wasn’t quite Cena-levels! Kevin keeps up with some shoulder charges in the corner, before a back suplex gets a near-fall…

Kevin tries to end it with a package piledriver, but Bouncer escapes into another shoulder tackle before cutting off Kevin on the apron, which led to him dragging Kevin back in and into a rope hung neckbreaker. It’s elementary from there as a double arm DDT drops Alpha Kevin, and gets Bouncer the win. Short and sweet – and Kevin’s losing run continues. **¾

You have no idea how happy I am to hear the World Tag Team League earworm… and it’s for more reasons than “because I’m going”. Retrofuture Clean will be stuck in my head for the next few weeks, as we get our reminder of the teams booked so far for the tournament: the Young Lions, the Spirit Squad, Massive Product (Jurn Simmons & David Starr), A4, OI4K and the Briscoe Brothers! As for the Femmes Fatales women’s tournament on the Saturday of that weekend, we’ve got Alpha Female, Toni Storm, Viper, Jinny, Amale Winchester (from France), Laura Di Matteo, Pauline and Melanie Gray. That looks to be the field for an 8-woman tournament…

Next up is Kim Ray backstage with referee Markus Weiss. Markus is frustrated that he’s been in wXw for seven years and he’s not getting main events… oh God, is RISE getting their own ref?! Ray explains that Weiss had been out with injury, and that he should trust the process. Oh, he’s got a Nero Consulting card… but Kim buried Julian by saying “this guy isn’t successful himself”. Can we have some cold water for that slight burn?

Thomas Giesen is again backstage with Sebastian Hollmichel – changing after (I assume) the Tour Opening. They talk about what happened during the main event of the Tour Opening, where Bad Bones won the wXw title… Giesen notes that RISE have the world and tag team titles, and that Ivan Kiev has a Shotgun title shot at FAN. Could RISE control wXw’s gold? Flip Gordon and David Starr’s names are also dropped, so is that’s a three-way. Giesen surmises that this is just the beginning of RISE, and I really need to stop reading into mystery non-wrestlers joining that group. It’s not the nWo!

Ivan Kiev vs. Marius al-Ani
It’s back to Berlin for our main event, and we start with al-Ani taking down Kiev out of a waistlock, but the RISE member’s able to hold his own and go hold-for-hold.

Kiev clings to the ropes and avoids a dropkick… but Marius finally connects with one before sliding to the outside. He returns with a sunset flip, before kipping up into a knee to the face, and that’s where the back-and-forth continues as Kiev again does the sunset flip into a kip-up, this time landing an overhead suplex.

al-Ani follows Kiev to the outside with a baseball side, then throws him back in to keep the RISE member grounded with a front facelock. Yet again though, Kiev comes back, blocking a ’rana and turning it into a back suplex/neckbreaker variant for a near-fall. That ‘rana succeeds at the second attempt, but Kiev gets up and hits a clothesline to stop the offence, before Marius worked into another sunset flip for a near-fall.

Clotheslines and dropkicks sent Kiev onto the apron, but al-Ani stays on top of him, rolling Kiev down for another near-fall. Kiev manages to come back with a leg lariat out of the corner, which gets him a two-count as the momentum continued to shift… illustrated seconds later when al-Ani gets a tornado DDT off for a near-fall!

A top rope ‘rana from Kiev gets him back in it, but he crashes and burns in the corner with a cannonball as al-Ani followed up with a spinebuster-ish move for a near-fall. After a roundhouse, al-Ani tries to follow with a frog splash, but Kiev rolled away and capitalises with a sit-out death valley driver for the winner – a decent match, but it felt a lot like move trading for large portions. Still worth a watch though, as RISE continues to build momentum. ***

A hype video for a documentary on wXw’s hardcore legend Thumbtack Jack airs here. With things like a chair of razor blades and a man threatening to attack another with a saw… it’s safe to say that this is not work-safe! That documentary’ll be on wXw now on August 25…

We end with Sebastian Hollmichel with Ilja Dragunov, who’s painted as not being able to win the wXw title in his big opportunity. Perhaps if Avalanche hadn’t kidnapped him mid-match? Ilja’s enraged… but now he realises that he has to break Avalanche before he can get to the throne. Ilja declares war, and that’s our match for FAN – a number one contender’s streetfight between Avalanche and Ilja. Hey, the theme music for FAN is quite summer-y and jolly, eh?

That’s our episode for another week – pretty short, but it cleared everything it needed to, recapping the big points from the tour opening and setting up to FAN in three weeks time.