The road to Broken Rules came to a head as Bobby Gunns and Jaxon Stone faced their toughest test yet for their warm-up.

Ilja Dragunov vs. Pete Bouncer
It’s straight into action from a little over a week ago as Pete Bouncer took on the 16 Carat Gold winner Ilja Dragunov. Jeremy Graves is on the call as Bouncer was looking to end his painful losing streak… but few could have given him a chance here.

Bouncer started off going hold-for-hold with Ilja, but a dropkick and back senton quickly put Ilja into the driver’s seat… at least until he took way too long taking Bouncer back into the ring. He shrugs that off with a double chop as the pair remained pretty even, with Bouncer almost getting a shock win with a sidewalk slam.

A reversal to a suplex kept Bouncer in it, but Dragunov gets a reversal of his own, sending Pete into the corner with an Irish whip, before cutting off another Bouncer comeback with a huge knee to the head. Regardless, a sweeping reverse DDT gets Pete a near-fall, but you sensed that the Berlin crowd just didn’t buy the hapless Bouncer as someone in Ilja’s league.

A draping DDT off the top is escaped as Ilja frees himself and hits a backhand chop instead, before hitting a leaping enziguiri for a near-fall. Bouncer, erm, bounced back by shoving Ilja into the ropes before coming close with a swinging rope-hung neckbreaker, only to get caught out posing by Ilja.

The two exchange a lot of hard strikes before a whacking lariat gets a two-count for Ilja. Some aborted comebacks from Bouncer later, and he falls to a crushing back senton off the top before the Torpedo Moscau finished him off. Enjoyable stuff, but there was little way Bouncer was winning this clean. ***½

I must say, this match from Berlin was night-and-day from wXw’s usual output, at least in terms of production. The ring was lit much more brighter than usual – and if that’s your sort of thing, then you’ll love the not-so-dark look.

A RISE promo follows, putting them over as the most successful faction in wXw… but there’s a slowly-creeping feeling of them turning into Bad Bones’ henchmen now rather than the unified group of eviltons they were at the start. They package together the entire RISE story arc here, down to Chris Colen’s beatdown a few weeks ago, and Bad Bones throwing in the ladder match stipulation to further screw Colen.

New footage now, and Oli Sandler’s getting screen time. He’s with RISE, but he wants a photo with Da Mack. It’s a there-and-then job, but he wants more than just the RISE pose. C’mon Oli! He gets what he’s given, and we’re seeing how morose Da Mack is these days.

The Broken Rules card is run down here, featuring a new match:

Number One Contenders for the wXw World Tag Team Championship: Jay FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) vs. Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid) vs. Dirty Dragan & Emil Sitoci vs. Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero)
Ladder Match for wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Chris Colen vs. “Bad Bones” John Klinger (c)
wXw Shotgun Championship: Marius al-Ani vs. Ivan Kiev (c)
Tornado Match for wXw World Tag Team Championship: Jaxon Stone & Bobby Gunns vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) (c)
Ilja Dragunov vs. Da Mack
Alexander James vs. Jurn Simmons
wXw Women’s Championship Tournament: Martina vs. Jinny
Next Step Wrestling Battle Royal

Yup, that’s a hefty card right there… and it bleeds into a video package for the Simmons/James match, featuring their previous encounter in that 3-way in Bielefeld, and Uncle WALTER dishing out presents from Shotgun last week.

Jaxon Stone’s with Bobby Gunns for another Smoking Break. A live version, at that, as they vow to be here with gold next week, with Bobby wanting to add those titles to the long list of things he’s taken in the last year.

wXw Women’s Championship Tournament: Jinny vs. Killer Kelly
We’re still in Berlin as Jinny’s possible road to the title continued against Killer Kelly. Jinny slapped away Kelly at the start, who would be out of the tournament with a loss here. Jeremy on commentary confirms that the top two on points after the “league” portion of the tournament wraps up will be competing for the title in late December.

A missed kick hung up Kelly in the corner as Jinny tried to capitalise, working over the legs to keep the Portuguese newcomer on the mat. Jinny’s modified leg grapevine forces Kelly into the ropes for respite.

Just like that though, Kelly fires back with some rolling Germans for a near-fall, before missing a charge into the corner as Jinny throws in a big kick for good measure. Kelly doesn’t stay too far behind though, tripping Jinny face-first into the corner before hitting a pump kick for an eventual two-count.

Jinny feigned a shoulder injury so she could keep the ref out of position for an eye poke and a head kick… but just as she went for the grapevine again, Kelly rolled up Jinny and snatches the win with an inside cradle! A fun, brief match – and I stand by what I said over World Tag Team League weekend. With more experience against varied opponents, Kelly could well be a breakout star in 2018. **¾

Per, here’s the standings of the tournament after last weekend’s swing of shows…
1. Martina (3-2; 9pts)
2. Melanie Gray (3-3; 9pts) ***
3. Jinny (2-2; 6pts) **
4. Killer Kelly (2-3; 6pts) *

* Killer Kelly replaced the injured Pauline and takes her record going forward; ** Jinny was awarded a win via forfeit over Melanie Gray as the scheduled match over World Tag Team League weekender couldn’t happen due to injury; *** Melanie Gray was awarded a win via forfeit over Jinny as their scheduled match on November 11 in Lippstadt didn’t happen due to travel issues

Remaining matches: Martina vs. Jinny (November 18, Dresden – Broken Rules XVII); Jinny vs. Killer Kelly (December 9, Fulda); Finals (December 23, Oberhausen)

We’ve not even had Broken Rules, but wXw is building up to their next feature event – it’s in Hamburg on December 2nd. Announced thus far:

RINGKAMPF (Timothy Thatcher & WALTER) vs. RISE (Bad Bones & Ivan Kiev) in a non-title champion’s challenge
Avalanche vs. Marius al-Ani

Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid) vs. Jaxon Stone & Bobby Gunns
Our main event this week comes from Borken, as wXw’s newly-minted Sleaze Team of Bobby Gunns and Jaxon Stone take on the former tag team champions, the Young Lions. It’s quite the test, but one they badly need given they’re facing the current champions, and the World Tag Team League winners in Dresden this weekend.

Gunns had a few vocal fans in attendance as he enjoyed an even start with Tarkan Aslan, nullifying an early leg lock before neutralising the former tag champion. Aslan fakes out some rope running and tricks Gunns, before both men tagged out.

Jaxon Stone has no time for Lucky Kid’s antics, but he does fall for a handspring back elbow before grabbing the Kid’s fingers as he tried to mock Jaxon’s shtick. Gunns and Stone fake out a slam onto the knee as they instead do that Super, Smashing pose, before an attempted Rolling Stones (the Samoan drop into a fallaway slam) is escaped by Kid.

Lucky Kid dropkicks Jaxon to the outside, but again he’s being a weirdo, grabbing the referee’s leg so Tarkan Aslan can sneak attack Stone on the outside. For some reason Bobby Gunns just tied up the ref as the Lions double-team Jaxon for a near-fall… which Bobby doesn’t break up. The Lions do a good job of isolating Stone for a spell, helped with them knocking Gunns off the apron, as Bobby seemed to be a little rusty when it came to tag team work.

It’s been a little while since die Schilds were a thing…

Out of nowhere, Stone countered a handspring back elbow from Kid and turned it into a back suplex… which bought him time to bring in Bobby Gunns, who cleaned house. A Flatliner into the turnbuckles rocks Lucky Kid, as Bobby goes after both of the Lions’ wrists, before Aslan ate the Rolling Stones! Somehow, Tarkan kicks out at two, and the Lions mounted a brief comeback onto Gunns, leading up to a chop-assisted German suplex that nearly gets them the win.

Jaxon makes the save as another double-team was attempted, and actually lays out Lucky Kid with the Clashing Stones (the Styles Clash powerbomb), leaving Kid in there to take a cross armbreaker from Gunns for the submission. Some fun stuff in here, even if Borken weren’t used to cheering for Gunns and Stone. Jaxon’s got some neat stuff in his arsenal, and it’s good to see them building their team around his unusual offence. As to whether Dresden will give them a chance against RINGKAMPF though… ***¼

Shotgun wraps up with a video package to build up that tag title match, featuring the assault on the eye of Timothy Thatcher, before going to Chris Colen slapping a ladder in anticipation for Saturday. Will his hand hold up? Well. he was jumped by the Young Lions, and actually overcame them before Bad Bones hit him with the title belt from behind. Bad Bones stands tall to end the show, and perhaps that’s a red herring as I don’t really see Colen leaving Dresden with the title.

I’m really looking forward to Broken Rules this weekend – there’s a lot of different, fresh faces in prominent roles here: Gunns, Stone, James, Colen… the challenge now is to make the Dresden crowd (and crowds beyond there) accept those guys as serious contenders. It’s a challenge, but one I’m sure the wXw team are relishing. Yet another solid episode of Shotgun – and if you’re the sort of wrestling fan who complains about the lack of storylines in the non-WWE product, you owe it to yourself to give wXw a try.

I’ll just keep talking about it until you do!