After 338 episodes, Shotgun’s undergone a revamp – and we’re dealing with the fallout from Back to the Roots as RISE took centre stage!

The opening titles have been ditched as we pan the excited crowd inside Cologne’s Club Bahnhof Ehrenfeld, with commentator Alan Counihan pushing this week’s line-up, as RISE take on Jay FK in tag team action… there’ll be a statement from John Klinger… and more fall-out from back to the Roots!

Now we have new titles, and it’s to a recap from the end of the Käfigschlacht, as John Klinger was made to tap to WALTER’s rear naked choke. From there, we’re taken backstage as Lucky Kid’s apologising to Tarkan Aslan after their errant chair shot… Aslan’s fine, but he doesn’t know if they won. Lucky’s in pieces because none of RISE’s plans really worked, and eventually he gets a paramedic to check on the concussed Aslan.

Next, the winning team share a beer as WALTER shares how proud he is of everyone, and how teams like RISE should never have the gold… Before our first match, we’ve backstage footage as Lucky Kid apologises again to Tarkan Aslan. Kid’s got a new partner tonight in Ivan Kiev as Aslan promises that RISE will be successful again.

RISE (Lucky Kid & Ivan Kiev) vs. Jay FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin)
We start with Lucky Kid laying into Kaspin with some clubbing forearms, before the pair trip each other up to spark a series of pinning attempts.

Lucky Kid avoids an armdrag with some misdirection, and nails a low dropkick before a blind tag allowed Jay Skillet to come in against the unawares Kid… eventually sending the Young Lion into a spear and a clothesline combo! Some more double-teaming comes Ivan Kiev’s way, ending with a Kaspin stomp as Kiev was doubled-over, and it’s Jay FK who are in control for now. Ivan Kiev almost strikes Lucky Kid as the pair try a double-team, but in the end Kid’s able to drag Kaspin across the top rope, allowing Kiev to hit a facebuster en route to a single leg crab. Eventually Kaspin mounts a comeback of sorts, but he’s kept in the corner again as RISE isolated him from a tag.

Kaspin’s able to sneak a near-fall with a roll-up after Lucky Kid complained about a slow count for one of his pinning attempts… but Ivan Kiev tags right back in and wipes out Francis with a diving kick. A TKO’s escaped as Kaspin keeps trying in vain to fight free, and it’s once he hits a back suplex he’s able to tag in Skillet, who cleared house on RISE with crossbodies and neckbreakers.

Lucky Kid connects with a handspring back elbow as RISE try to come back, and gets a near-fall out of a lifting reverse DDT, before landing an Asai DDT. Kiev tries to capitalise with a flying leg lariat, but Kaspin breaks it up, then avoids an errant punch as Lucky Kid takes out Ivan Kiev… man, Lucky isn’t living up to his name!

Kid turned around into a double-team flapjack as Jay FK followed in with a wheelbarrow lungblower, then a Skillet double stomp to complete the win. Pretty decent tag team action here, with Jay FK busting out some new (sick?) tag moves. I wonder if there’s a chance of a possible tag with CCK over Carat weekend if things align? ***

After an advert, we’re taken to more highlights from Back to the Roots, and Jurn Simmons cracking Dirty Dragan with a Kendo stick. Dragan’s backstage as Sebastian Hollmichel bothers him with questions. Of course, Dragan’s upset over that post-match beating, as he now realises that Jurn only cares about himself. Maybe it’s because of bad choices of friend, but Dragan just wants to be alone… Another backstage interview follows, as Thommi Giesen’s got Jurn Simmons, and they’re addressing the challenge that David Starr issued for 16 Carat Gold. Jurn ups the ante though, and he replaces the knockout-only match to a Last Man Standing match… as the main event of night one of 16 Carat Gold. Well then, my misunderstanding turned out to be predicting the future!

We run through the Carat participants next… five and a bit weeks to go!

Jurn Simmons
David Starr
Travis Banks
Chris Brookes
Jeff Cobb Keith Lee (thanks to Lucha Underground pulling Jeff)
Jonah Rock
Mark Haskins
Matt Riddle
Matt Sydal

With Simmons vs. Starr in a Last Man Standing match confirmed for night one’s main event.

Clips from Toni Storm’s wXw Women’s title win follow, and it’s backstage to Toni and Kelly chatting. Toni feels bad for disrespecting Kelly before the match, but she’s now putting her over… saying Kelly will get the belt back one day. Another flashback takes us to the finish of Martina vs. Melanie Gray, and in contrast we’ve got Thommi with Martina, who’s celebrating. Martina reckons she’d have been women’s champion had the 17th anniversary pre-show not happened… and she wants a shot at Toni Storm. Problem is, someone else already had a shot, so it’s now a three-way:

Toni Storm vs. Killer Kelly vs. Martina at Dead End!

We’re back to the CBE now, with Melanie Gray in the ring for a promo. Cologne chant for Toni Storm, but Melanie’s just concerned about how the wXw women’s title has become the victim of a farce. Melanie’s angrily saying that she’s already beaten Toni Storm, and she’ll do it again… next week!

More clips from Back to the Roots, as Absolute Andy had to threaten the use of a wrench to beat Bobby Gunns in an impromptu encounter. There’s post-show footage of Bobby Gunns hunting down Andy backstage, and there’s a challenge for Dead End. Andy chases him off to the locker room with “the other muppets”, and it seems that Bobby’s going to have to prove himself… by defending his Shotgun title against the former A4 member.

Absolute Andy vs. Mike Schwarz
Blast from the past alert! Mike Schwarz, who hasn’t been seen in wXw for almost a year, is a former wXw tag champion, but he’s got more than his hands full with Andy here.

Andy tries to jump him at the bell, but Schwarz is even to it as he takes him into the corner for some body blows, some Snake Eyes and a big boot for an early two count.

Andy fights back with some right hands, before kicking away a telegraphed back body drop and landing a back cracker to put the former Prost member on the mat. Cologne seem to be pro-Andy, at least when it came to the call-and-refrain chants, but with Andy taking control, who can blame them? A suplex sets up the former A4 member for a superkick… and that’s where the anti-Andy crew come out!

Schwarz blocks the superkick, but his chokeslam’s pushed away… only for Schwarz to come back with clotheslines and another Snake Eyes, before a Bossman Slam (or the Rhein Ruhr Schwinger, as Alan gleefully called on commentary) almost caused the upset! Andy hits straight back with a spinebuster, before he went for a Sharpshooter… but Schwarz goes for the choke again, only for a superkick to put him down once more for the win. A valiant effort, but Dick Andy was in full effect here. **¾

A promo for Back to the Roots follows, including a translated line from the Gunns/Andy promo, where Bobby told Andy “I’m wearing the title belt… you wear love handles”. OUCH.

We’re backstage again, and hey, there’s Veda Scott! Killer Kelly greets her, but Veda’s being all annoying by feigning interest. She seems to think she’ll have an easy time wrestling Kelly, and by beating her she’ll be up for a title shot. Yeah, that character’s going to be easy to hate…

We’re back to the live crowd now as John Klinger has a speech. The crowd’s already telling him to shut up, but Klinger’s more than happy to remind them he’s the wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion. He brags about destroying Ilja Dragunov, which prompts Pete Bouncer to grab the mic. Yeah, Bad Bones ain’t happy with that, especially when Bouncer did it again, and again.

Do you think there’s trouble in RISE, folks?

Eventually the game of hot potato with a microphone was stopped when Da Mack grabbed it… only to get chants of “Axel Dieter… Junior”. Klinger gets the mic and tells us that if Bouncer wants to speak, he will… so he gives Pete the mic. Bouncer’s fed up that everything Bones can tell us is stuff we’ve heard before.

It seems Bouncer’s mad that the future of RISE is uncertain – Ivan Kiev’s not Shotgun champion any more, the Young Lions are on shaky ground… and with 16 Carat Gold around the corner, it’s Klinger’s time to repay their faith. Bouncer wants chances, and Klinger has news for them: he’s got two spots in 16 Carat Gold for them!

Problem is, he doesn’t know who to give them to. Oh, we’re going to get competitive in-fighting – which will hardly help! Lucky Kid and Ivan Kiev seem to be the picks, but Bones chooses to make them fight for it at Dead End, because Da Mack’s gotten the other spot. Cue shoving, as RINGKAMPF’s music stops the RISE in-fighting… but that’s going to be picked up next week! Ah, a cliff-hanger!

The show ends with a run through of the Dead End card for the show in Hamburg on February 9:

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Mike Bailey vs. John Klinger (c)
16 Carat Gold Qualifier: Lucky Kid vs. Ivan Kiev
wXw Shotgun Championship: Absolute Andy vs. Bobby Gunns (c)
wXw Women’s Championship: Killer Kelly vs. Martina vs. Toni Storm (c)

So, for the first week of the revamped Shotgun… it’s a thumbs up from me. It’s like a tighter version of the WWE product – mixing up live stuff from the arena with the backstage segments without the filler and dead air that usually turns people off of the WWE product. The show’s kept it’s usual formula of mixing live action with backstage segments – however, the new formula of having everything in a particular episode come from the same venue should be a positive, especially as it’ll help the product look more uniform.

As for the storylines, well, the slow-burning of RISE will be accelerated a bit by the intentional in-fighting that “Bad Bones” has set off here, and with a little over two weeks to go, Dead End is looking to be quite the intriguing card for Hamburg.