More build for Back To The Roots this week on Shotgun, as we see action from Julian Pace, and a triple-threat match between three of wXw’s bigger stars.

We open with a promo with the Young Lions, with Lucky Kid in particular weirding out Thommy Giesen. Tarkan Aslan’s staunch in his belief that with John Klinger by their side, RISE cannot possibly lose in the Käfigschlacht.

They throw is back to last week on Shotgun where Melanie Gray tried to choke out Killer Kelly – only for Martina to make the save as their issue continues. We’re taken to the office of Christian Michael Jakobi, who’s interrupted by Melanie, refusing to wrestle Martina as she thinks they’re in entirely different leagues. Jakobi’s still mad at Melanie’s actions, and it’s not helped when Melanie calls Kelly a “little Portuguese something”. Mella’s got to go to the back of the line, and all because of her actions in the 17th anniversary pre-show.

16 Carat Hype… these next two months are going to feel long aren’t they? No new names this week, as I’d expect them to arrive at Back to the Roots.

We’re back with Thommy Giesen, who’s interviewing “Mr. Vollgas” Julian Pace. They talk about Pace’s match with WALTER at the December Academy show, and how Pace is now part of the main wXw roster. Pace reveals that he works as an automotive painter, which suddenly explains a lot of the gimmick… and that he used to play football. I’m guessing he used to be a winger with his pace…

Kim Ray vs. Julian Pace
Jeremy Graves is on the call for this week, as Kim Ray schooled Pace in the early going, charging him down with a shoulder tackle before landing a superkick.

They rattle through tour dates as Pace tries to avoid a charge in the corner, only for Ray to take him down with a running back elbow. Pace uses his speed to confuse Ray with some rope running, as a dropkick takes Kim to the outside for a nice dive from the rookie!

Back inside, Pace lands a monkey flip for a two count… but Ray takes over and blasts Pace out of the ring with a wacky kick-out. A dropkick keeps Pace there as a PK off the apron solidified Ray’s place, as more kicks from Ray followed in the ring.

Just like that though, Pace gets back in with a roll-up into a neckbreaker, as Julian was forced to use his, erm, pace as he flips in with a tiltawhirl DDT on the veteran Ray, following up with a missile dropkick that almost took him across the ring. Ray barely gets up at two though, before avoiding a kick from Pace as he charges in with one of his own.
Ray rebounds with a spin-out Falcon arrow for a near-fall, then a PK for another two, before Julian Pace shocks him with an inside cradle for the win! Really fun stuff as wXw look to be doing more with the newcomer than just have him be a body on the roster. The future’s bright for Mr. Vollgas! ***

Bobby Gunns is next with the next part of his Smoking Break’s year in review, talking about exiling Da Mack from wrestling in Hamburg, and beating Homicide at World Tag Team League, before focusing on his highlight – freeing the Shotgun title from RISE. Gunns wants the Shotgun title to be the belt everyone wants in 2018, and he’s going to celebrate with a live Smoking Break at Back to the Roots. I smell an angle!

We get a recap to Jurn Simmons’ promo from last week being gatecrashed by Dirty Dragan… this week, it’s Dragan’s rebuttal, as we learn that Jurn’s challenged him to a match at Back to the Roots. Dragan almost trolls Jurn’s ego by asking him how he’ll feel if the crowd cheers for him in Oberhausen.

Next, we’re in another RISE meeting as Ivan Kiev’s up with John Klinger. Kiev asks about what’s going on with Da Mack… Klinger just talks about his plan bearing fruit in the end, before he gets annoyed as Kiev talks about Chris Colen. Mack’s back at Back to the Roots, and I’m guessing that’s our match?

So, your Back to the Roots card, as it stands:

Da Mack vs. Chris Colen
Jurn Simmons vs. Dirty Dragan (this time, not in cosplay)
Martina vs. Melanie Gray
wXw Women’s Championship: Killer Kelly (c) vs. Toni Storm
Die Käfigschlacht III (cage match): Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero) & RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) vs. RISE (John Klinger, Ivan Kiev & Young Lions (Tarkan Aslan & Lucky Kid)

Speaking of that Käfigschlacht, we’ve got Thommy Giesen right in our face next as we’ve a promo with the quartet taking on RISE in the cage. It’s a crowded backstage area, with everyone getting in their words, with Avalanche being put over as the key player in the cage match.

Jurn Simmons vs. Da Mack vs. Bobby Gunns
It’s main event time as we’re off to Munich, and before Bobby Gunns won the Shotgun title. Of course, there’s history between Mack and Gunns, but it’s Jurn who is the main target as Mack takes down the former champion with a Slingblade.

Simmons switches back in as he whips Mack hard into the corners, before scoring with an elbow drop as Gunns rushed in to stop the pin. There’s your next shoving match, but we go back to Mack and Gunns briefly before Jurn clotheslined Da Mack out of the ring. Gunns tries to go after Simmons with a guillotine, but he’s charged into the corner repeatedly before ducking out and landing a German suplex instead.

Mack tries to return, but he’s instantly caught with an armbar in the ropes, before freeing himself and returning with a springboard dropkick as the newest member of RISE kept up the offence on Gunns. Jurn’s back to throw Mack across the ring with those release suplexes… and Gunns gets one too, before Gunns and Mack tease a partnership.

Nah, Mack doesn’t want the help for a suplex, but when Gunns gives it to him anyway, Jurn just reverses it as Mack hits back with a Slingblade to help Gunns “accidentally” DDT Jurn. A diving uppercut from Gunns accidentally takes out Simmons as the future Shotgun champion unleashes with corner uppercuts to both foes, before Mack rebounds with a sunset bomb to Jurn that propelled a superplex to Gunns.

The crowd appreciate that, but are quick to tell Da Mack that they still think he sucks, as Jurn rares back into a series of clotheslines as he looked to isolate Mack once more. Out of nowhere, a powerslam takes down Mack, as the Massive boot follows up… but as soon as Jurn hits the piledriver, Bobby Gunns returns to throw Jurn out and steal his pin! Sneaky stuff from Gunns, who picks up yet another win over Da Mack to prove that that thread still runs on despite Mack’s allegiances changing. ***

A shorter than usual, but still solid episode of Shotgun this week, as we’re barely a week away from the Back to the Roots tour opening show. It’s going to be another loaded card in Oberhausen, and the cynical eye in me is wondering if there’s a reason other than the history as to why Avalanche is being highlighted as the decision maker in this one. With Carat also on the horizon, it’s going to be a cage match that many will be looking to shine in – if they can survive, that is!