This week on Shotgun, wXw turned their sights onto their 17th anniversary show – with the announcement of a pretty Massive match to end the year for a former champion…

We’ve the usual post big-show spoiler warning first, and then it’s into a backstage segment where Pete Bouncer – injured shoulder and all – congratulates Ivan Kiev after the match in Hamburg on Saturday. Apparently Pete doesn’t need surgery and will be back in three months… Bad Bones comes in and makes a beeline for that injured shoulder, before bigging up RISE’s chances of victory at the 17th Anniversary show.

Except Ivan snaps and shoves Bones into the wall – he’s had enough of Bones bullying Bouncer. Bad Bones claims he forgot about the injury, and it’s an unusual backdown for the RISE leader. Well then!

Next is Marius al-Ani packing up his suitcase. He’s depressed after losing to Avalanche in Hamburg… mostly because Absolute Andy suddenly turned up. That’s something Jay Skillet didn’t seem to think was any big deal, since he puts it down to jealousy on Andy’s part. Jay turns Marius’ thoughts onto his match with Zack Sabre Jr. at the anniversary show, and all’s well!

Speaking of Andy, we go next to him trying to leave the building… but Christian Jakobi stops him and tears into him. Jakobi’s not exactly thrilled that Andy’s been AWOL while wXw has been beset by injuries, so he suspends him until 2018. Like Andy cares…

Chris Colen vs. Jaxon Stone
We’re back to Gotha for this one, with Jeremy Graves on the call for one of Jaxon Stone’s last appearances here (for now). Stone’s posing impresses Chris Colen (sarcastically), so he goes for the wrist as the pair go back and forth early on.

Stone’s having a hard time with shoulder blocks, as the Austrian Wolverine seemed to be a brick wall, resisting then easily knocking down the American to the outside. Back inside, Stone takes over, whipping Colen from corner to corner, but Colen hits back in earnest, bringing Jaxon down with a suplex for just a one-count. Colen tries to mount the ropes, but Stone sweeps him off and almost gets the win out of that, before he starts to wear down Colen in the ropes. A DDT spikes Colen as Stone looked to get frustrated, and when he leapt into an inverted atomic drop, the tide truly shifted as the Austrian gets back in control for a moment.

A pop-up knee to the head almost gets the win for Stone, but he takes too long in his attempt to follow-up with a superplex, and that lets Colen back in once again, with a running knee in the corner leaving Jaxon loopy… until he snuck in a TKO Stunner for another near-fall. I’m sure Jaxon’ll let us know the name of that one…

All those kick-outs continue to frustrate, and it leads to the end as Stone called for his finish, only to get dropped with a uranage and some Angel’s wings for the win. A really impressive showing from Jaxon, who hopefully will be a part of wXw again in 201, and another hard-fought win for Chris Colen, who’s rebuilding after his spell in RISE. ***¼

Next up, Dirty Dragan’s playing on his phone. He gets a call – and it’s Emil Sitoci breaking the news that he needs a nose job. Dragan keeps putting his foot in it, and Emil hangs up on him before he can really get the apology out.

From there, it’s a mini-documentary featuring Ilja Dragunov! They’re doing this this across the next few weeks, building up his whole story in wXw, how he built himself up from nothing to where he is now, despite becoming a wrestler apparently being “by accident”. Ilja reveals what drives him in wrestling (and in life), what he had to get through to get where he is, and what keeps him grounded. Yes, there’s talk about Ilja’s 16 Carat Gold campaign, and the fall-out from his skull fracture from 2013… It’s such a departure from what wXw usually put out, but this was wonderful stuff – and there’s two more parts to follow!

After all that, we’ve got the excited Rico Bushido alongside Jurn Simmons, who’s jubilant after the I Quit match on Saturday. Jurn reckoned the losses to Alexander James made him wake up, before bringing up how David Starr’s never beaten him… yet his reaction to losing the World Tag Team League finals was all about how Starr’d never beaten WALTER. Simmons demands that David Starr show his face at the 17th Anniversary show for a match – and the Massive Product truly is imploding! We get the other side of the coin next, as Alexander James is mad in defeat…

wXw Shotgun Championship: Ivan Kiev (c) vs. David Starr
The Shotgun time machine takes us back to Borken in October for the main event this week, as the longest-reigning champion David Starr gets a shot at the belt.

Kiev scurries to the ropes to escape from a simple wristlock, as Starr seemed to have the RISE member on the back foot, even more so when he trapped Kiev on the mat and into an armbar as commentary ruminated over the friendship that turned sour between Starr and Jurn Simmons.

Kiev gets back into it, rushing off the ropes into a big boot as he suddenly had Starr on the defensive, culminating in a flying leg lariat off the top that almost earned Ivan a win. A grounded abdominal stretch keeps Starr neutralised, but the back-and-forth ensues as Starr suddenly gets back into it with an inverted tilt-a-whirl slam.

Starr unloads on Kiev with a Violence Party in the corner, but a Product Placement attempt’s thwarted… so Starr heads onto the apron instead for a superkick through the ropes. We see a change in tactics as Starr ties up Kiev in a modified Scorpion deathlock – the old Edgucator, for those who remember that – but we get a pretty swift rope break and the momentum continues to swing back-and-forth, with Kiev hitting a Fisherman buster for a near-fall.

From there, Kiev lands a nice fallaway slam off the middle rope, almost resulting in the pin as Starr found enough to kick out. That seemed to be the last straw as Kiev hobbled to the timekeeper’s table to grab his title belt, but Starr ducks a belt shot and instead throws him into the corner with a death valley driver, further targeting that injured knee of Kiev.

A Shining Wizard from Starr almost gives us a new champion as Kiev just about gets up before three, before Kiev’s forced to block a pair of Product Placements as the two tee off on each other with boo/yay punches. Kiev’s left slumped on the ropes, and Starr capitalises with more forearms, only to get sent onto the apron with a desperation enziguiri from the champion… who then wandered into a Cherry Mint DDT!

Starr keeps up with a pair of topes, sending Kiev deeper into the crowd, but on the third go Kiev hits a forearm to cut it off, before he grabs a chair as he again threatened to cost himself the match. Kiev throws it into the ring, distracting the referee, before using the Shotgun title to block another tope attempt… and it’s elementary from there as a death valley bomb secures the underhanded win. A very back-and-forth contest, with Kiev showing that RISE can win without the pack mentality… but they still need to cheat! ***½

We finish this week with a Smoking Break, as Bobby Gunns is looking forward to two days before Christmas, as he promises to wrap up an eventful year by taking what he reckons will be his: the Shotgun title!

So, the card for the 17th Anniversary show is shaping up like this…

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: John Klinger (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
wXw Shotgun Championship: Ivan Kiev (c) vs. Bobby Gunns
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Marius al-Ani
David Starr vs. Jurn Simmons
wXw Women’s Championship Tournament Final: Martina vs. Melanie Gray

…plus Karsten Beck’s wXw Hall of Fame induction.

That’s it for another week on Shotgun. Only two matches, but both were good bouts, and away from the ropes, the usual wXw fare of storylines mixed in with the phenomenal Ilja Dragunov documentary. This may be intentional, but something’s telling me that the finger is on the trigger for something big in just over two weeks’ time…