The final Shotgun of the year completed the build for this weekend’s 17th Anniversary show.

It’s another monster of a show, clocking in at over an hour… and we start with WALTER and Timothy Thatcher alongside Rico Bushido. He quizzes them about their loss to Ivan Kiev and John Klinger in Hamburg… and their successful title defence against Monster Consulting. WALTER doesn’t want to talk too much about RISE, apart from asking them how they want to be remembered: as wrestlers, or as thugs? WALTER rips into the Young Lions for not having any of the virtues that champions should have, before promising RISE one thing: the absolute relentlessness of RINGKAMPF.

Young Lions (Lucky Kid & Tarkan Aslan) vs. Kim Ray & Francis Kaspin
We’re going back two months to Bielefeld for this, as the Young Lions take on a rather makeshift team… Aslan and Kaspin start off, with Tarkan mocking Kaspin with a backheel to the head, but that just angered Kaspin into life.

Problem was, when Kim Ray tagged in, he was quickly taken down as the Lions wore over his knee, but he’s able to make the tag back out as we’re back to Lucky Kid and Kaspin. Kaspin gets worked over this time, with Aslan choking on him with a boot lace, before he’s turfed outside for some more choking from Lucky Kid. The Lions isolated Kaspin for a spell as Alan Counihan ran through some tour dates… and Kim Ray’s eagerness to get the referee’s attention really didn’t help things. Eventually Kaspin’s able to break free, dropping Kid with a back suplex before making the hot tag back to Kim Ray, who of course kicks away on the Lions, before dumping Kid with a Falcon arrow for a near-fall.

Kaspin looked to be tagged back in as all four men ended in the ring, with the Lions blocking double-team suplexes so they could isolate Kim Ray again. Lucky Kid hits a nice handspring back elbow off the ropes before the Lions pepper Ray with double-teams, only for him to come back with an Exploder to Kid. Tarkan quickly snuffs out that offence with a sliding knee as Kaspin returned with a missile dropkick.

Ray and Kaspin looked to be going for a Doomsday Device to finish off the Lions, but Lucky Kid hits a springboard Ace crusher to Kid, as Tarkan Aslan hits a Victory roll on Kim Ray for the clean-as-a-sheet win! Pretty decent stuff, even if the Lions really ought to have won this match regardless due to the opposition… as to whether it was “impressive enough” to make them title contenders… we’ll see. **¾

A video package for the RINGKAMPF vs. Young Lions match follows… there’ll be plenty of those!

Karsten Beck and Sebastian Hollmichel are backstage next, talking about how Massive Product have gone from being the top points scorers at World Tag Team League to opponents this Saturday. Beck hopes they can sort out their issues, before reminiscing on how Jurn Simmons turned on him back at 16 Carat Gold in 2016 – taking the title in the process. They then talk about Karsten Beck’s Hall of Fame induction this weekend… and I smell an angle!

They build up David Starr vs. Jurn Simmons with a video package after that…

Pete Bouncer’s next, giving Ivan Kiev a pep talk ahead of the Shotgun title defence on Saturday. Kiev seems to be worried about Bobby Gunns, but he vows to end the year still as Shotgun champion…

A Karsten Beck video rolls ahead of his Hall of Fame induction on Saturday, featuring clips of him with El Generico, his Campaign for a Better WXW, and the time Vince Russo labelled him as wXw’s figurehead… all the way up to Jurn Simmons turning on him and the comeback story last year… and the brain tumour that took Beck away from the ring, seemingly for good.

Thommi Giesen’s with Monster Consulting after that, talking about how they came up short against RINGKAMPF for the tag titles last week. Avalanche isn’t happy, so Julian Nero – who’s looking more and more like Ethan Page as each week passes – speaks first, as Thommi’s line of them being an “odd couple” team’s shot down. Monster Consulting face Jay FK at the 17th Anniversary show… and Avalanche seems to want this done in, ooh, five minutes.

wXw Women’s Championship Tournament: Jinny vs. Killer Kelly
We’re off to Fulda from earlier this month for the final match in the inaugural Women’s Championship Tournament. Unfortunately, this was a dead rubber as neither woman could qualify for the finals due to tie-breakers, so Jinny and Killer Kelly are effectively playing for pride.

Jinny lands an early head kick as she tried to end things early, but a Rainmaker attempt is ducked as Kelly kicks back, only to get rolled up into the corner as Jinny snapped back in. A Shibata-ish dropkick into the corner gets a near-fall for Jinny, who proceeded to choke Kelly in the ropes some more.

It’s a vicious, measured assault from Jinny, who proceeded to dump Kelly with a suplex for a near-fall as Kelly’s attempts to fight back ended with her taking a running ‘rana as Jinny seemed relentless. Eventually Kelly chains together some German suplexes, bridging one for a near-fall, before trapping Jinny in a guillotine that would have ended the match had she not been by the ropes.

Jinny’s back to the kicks though, and works back up to another Rainmaker, but Kelly ducks it and hits an enziguiri, before going back to the DDT into a guillotine for the submission! A flash submission brings the match to an end – this was fine, if not a little punch/kick heavy, but since Kelly’s sticking around, it makes sense to have her not finish bottom of the group. **¼

Your final standings are:
1. Martina (4-2; 12pts)
2. Melanie Gray (3-3; 9pts) ***
3. Killer Kelly (3-3; 9pts) *
4. Jinny (2-4; 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; Melanie Gray wins 2nd place via tie-breaker having beaten Pauline and Killer Kelly in the group matches.

Next up, Kelly’s looking through the wXw calendar, and like all of us, she’s disgusted at who’s representing March. She’s happier in June though, because she’s on it… and that’s just the cue for Melanie Gray to come in, jealous at the coverage that Kelly’s getting. Kelly tries to calm things down by putting over Melanie for being in the final, but she just sulks instead…

We’re up to the third and final part of the Ilja Dragunov documentary… a special mini-series that leaves many assuming that he’s got to be winning the title on Saturday, right? This part raises the question as to whether Ilja’s future lies – is it in wrestling, and if so, where… or is it with family and away from the ring?

Ilja admits that if he wins the title, it’ll be a painful moment as it’ll put pressure on him… but that’s his forte. Either he’ll win and be the world champion, or he’ll fail in a bloody mess, but will still be able to return to his family – he’s looking at this as a no-lose situation. Felix Schultz looks at Bad Bones vs. Ilja as wXw’s Ric Flair vs. Ricky Steamboat – not a bad comparison, I must say – and the documentary ends with Ilja promising that their rivalry will culminate with their destiny, their final battle on Saturday.

I know these can’t be made for everyone, but it’d be grand if wXw could do more of these, especially for the big match hypes…

Next… WALTER’s joking with Rico Bushido, as they talk about Dave Meltzer’s ***** rating for WALTER’s match with Zack Sabre Jr. in PWG. WALTER reckons him and Sabre’s careers have gone in parallel, and talk turns to how Marius al-Ani will fare on Saturday. If Marius focuses on Zack and not Absolute Andy, then he’s got every chance… and this should be a hell of a match for those watching in Oberhausen.

They run through Saturday’s line-up…

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: John Klinger (c) vs. Ilja Dragunov
wXw Shotgun Championship: Ivan Kiev (c) vs. Bobby Gunns
wXw World Tag Team Championship: RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) (c) vs. Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid)
wXw Women’s Championship Tournament Final: Martina vs. Melanie Gray
Zack Sabre Jr. vs Marius al-Ani
David Starr vs. Jurn Simmons
Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) vs. Monster Consulting (Julian Nero & Avalanche)

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

Bad Bones is with RISE and he’s giving them presents… new RISE t-shirts! Except Lucky Kid’s too eager to open it and he gets a bollocking from Klinger. Instead, Bones lays out the RISE plan of attack for Saturday, telling us that they’ll be without Da Mack (hmm)… and it seems that their plans are “to keep the titles”? At least they didn’t go into too much detail!

Klinger insults Pete Bouncer by forgetting what he’s injured, before mocking Ilja Dragunov’s fight for his family, saying he’s doing the same, but the fans don’t care about his family.

“Bad Bones” John Klinger vs. Marius al-Ani
We’re in Munich for this week’s main event, as Marius al-Ani has the biggest challenge of his newly-single career to date.

Marius grounds Klinger early with a headlock, which he holds onto despite a side suplex and various other escape attempts, but Bones finally shoves himself free and rattles al-Ani with a knee to the gut. A Beele throw sent Marius into the corner, as did a standard Irish whip as Klinger took over, at least until Marius hit him with a Monkey flip out of a corner.

al-Ani goes to a grounded submission game, using an abdominal stretch to try and force a submission, then a pinfall out of the RISE leader, but Klinger rebounds with a running knee as the pair traded near-falls. Klinger pulls down a leapfrog attempt as he tried to catch Marius in a Rebel Lock, but al-Ani escapes and grabs a single-leg crab for a moment.

Klinger escaped, but just earns himself a spinning heel kick as he took too long jawing with the crowd as Marius burst back into life, catching Klinger with an elbow drop after an O’Connor roll had left him unawares. An overhead belly-to-belly keeps Marius alive, but he can only get a two-count as they go back to trading right hands in the middle of the ring. Marius goes for a Kotaro Krusher, but Bones slips out and hits a German suplex for a near-fall, but al-Ani hits the leaping ‘rana and a death valley driver eventually as the match headed towards its crescendo, with Bad Bones chopping Marius into the ropes, only for al-Ani to respond with the sunset flip and a kip-up into another overhead belly-to-belly.

Again though, Marius takes too long and turns around into a slingshot spear as Klinger comes close again. An attempt at a crucifix powerbomb is avoided by Marius, who slips in another death valley driver before going up for a frog splash… and hey, there’s a well dressed snake making an appearance! Mr March appears on the stage, distracting Marius as he went for a frog splash…

Absolutte Andy takes off his jacket and slowly heads to the ring to grab a chair… of course, al-Ani grabs it as tempers flare… and all of that distraction allowed Bad Bones to capitalise with a low blow and a double underhook DDT for the win. A cheap finish, but for once, it wasn’t all RISE. A nice, competitive main event which had Marius in control for parts without looking like too much of a threat as his past eventually cost him. ***¼

There’s no follow-up with Andy, so we go to a video package to hype up Klinger vs. Dragunov on Saturday, and that’s all folks! All sights turn to Oberhausen this weekend as wXw close out their year with their 17th Anniversary Show, and that’s it for Shotgun in 2017!

Since wXw don’t do the WWE-like ballyhoo-filled go-home shows, where everyone’s screaming about how “these men will clash this Saturday!”, this was a pleasant, measured sign-off for the promotion going into their tour finale this weekend. Over the last few weeks, every match has had some build to it – there’s no “filler” on this card, and if you’ve been watching wXw for any period of time, you’ll know that this show will deliver.

There’s no new episode of Shotgun next week due to the Christmas break, but those of you with wXw NOW will be able to see this past weekend’s wXw Wrestling Academy: Scouting the Next Generation 22 event, headlined by WALTER vs. Julian Pace. The 17th Anniversary show from this weekend follows on December 28, for those looking to jump in on the show…