The new-look Shotgun returns as Toni Storm puts her wXw Women’s championship on the line against someone who believes they’re the righteous champion… and there’s some bad news for RISE.

Last week ended with a cliffhanger as RINGKAMPF threatened to crash John Klinger’s “state of the union”-like address for RISE. This week, we see what happened next… we open there, with WALTER and Timothy Thatcher in the ring, stopping storytime with RISE. WALTER tells us that people all around the world ask him about wXw talent… but never about RISE. Apparently WALTER making John Klinger tap at Back to the Roots means he’s got a title shot, and he’s going to take it on the middle Saturday of 16 Carat!

So that means no WALTER in 16 Carat this year, which means they’re keeping him further apart from David Starr for the time being.

There’s a reminder from last week, where Melanie Gray demanded to face Toni Storm for the wXw women’s title… and we cut backstage to Toni’s reply. Despite being “a giant bitch”, Toni’s giving Melanie her title shot later tonight… but first, it’s back to the ring as Bobby Gunns is out with his Shotgun title. Gunns tells us he was meant to defend his Shotgun title tonight, on Shotgun, but his opponent just didn’t turn up. Someone in the crowd REALLY wants Gunns to defend against Alpha Kevin, but instead we have an open challenge… answered by Dirty Dragan!

wXw Shotgun Championship: Bobby Gunns (c) vs. Dirty Dragan
Well, Dragan did better than he did in his last open challenge, as Gunns didn’t sweep him aside as quickly as Timothy Thatcher did. Three times.

Dragan goes for a wristlock early before simply booting Gunns in the face, and throwing him to the outside… where he fakes out a dive and instead hits a karate chop off the apron! Gunns edged ahead when Dragan returned to the ring, kicking the ropes into Dragan’s groin, and it’s all Gunns from there, tying up Dragan’s legs for a rather arrogant submission attempt.

Gunns works over Dragan’s hand, snapping the fingers, but Dragan tries to hit back, almost back body dropping Bobby to the floor… only for the Shotgun champ to return with an armbar in the ropes. Dragan’s still able to shrug it off and come back with a superplex though, only for Gunns to go straight back to the arm with a punt kick. Dragan pulls himself up enough to boot away a charge and come back with clotheslines, before another leap out of the turnbuckles saw Dragan land in a double armbar as he was forced to submit. A fun outing with Dragan getting a lot more offence than I expected… I even expected some interference from Absolute Andy, but clean wins are even better. ***

Speaking of Andy, Gunns wanted to settle things right there… and sure enough, it happened as Andy hit the ring, attacking Bobby from behind before leaving him laying with a sit-out Dominator.

A replay from last week’s Shotgun, where Jay FK beat RISE, and we go to Jay Skillet boasting over his tasty protein supplements. Timothy Thatcher appears and offers them a tag title shot… so that’s added to the Dead End card! Kaspin thinks they only got offered the shot because “they’re easy opponents”, but Skillet’s more positive about it all.

Your Dead End card, thus far, now reads:

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 ©
wXw World Tag Team Championships: RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) (c) vs. Jay FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin)
Warm-Up: Veit Müller vs. Julian Pace

Timothy Thatcher bumps into WALTER next to express his incredulity over how Jay Skillet seemed disrespectful about what just happened. WALTER reckons that Jay has a chip on his shoulder… Thatcher really thought that they only picked Jay FK because they were easy opponents, but WALTER was astonished he could even think that!

Next up, they run through the 16 Carat Gold line-up, with:

Friday – Last Man Standing/16 Carat Gold – First Round – Jurn Simmons vs. David Starr
Saturday – wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship – WALTER vs. John Klinger OR Mike Bailey (c)

Your 16 Carat Gold field is now:

Keith Lee
Absolute Andy
Chris Brookes
Jurn Simmons
David Starr
Travis Banks
Jonah Rock
Mark Haskins
Matt Riddle
Matt Sydal
Da Mack
Timothy Thatcher
Alexander James

Add in the Ivan Kiev/Lucky Kid winner, and there’s just one spot remaining…

wXw Women’s Championship: Melanie Gray vs. Toni Storm (c)
Once Toni got over the crowd reaction, she started by dragging Melanie down in a hammerlock before going after the arm of her challenger on the mat.

Storm mugs off Melanie with a handshake, and that’s not going to make Gray happy… sure enough, she grabs Toni’s head in a cravat, but Storm nonchalantly escapes before Gray attacks her from behind. An uppercut in the corner keeps Gray ahead, but again Toni is able to come back in, chopping Gray around the turnbuckles, before going to the hip attacks.

Out of nowhere, a spear turned things back around, before some knees to the gut had the Aussie firmly on the defensive. Another cravat wears down Storm, as does a Finlay roll and a back senton, but still Toni kicked out at two, and works her way back into it… except Gray pushes away a superplex, only to get viciously yanked off the top.

Storm followed up with a Fisherman’s suplex, but she’s caught off the top rope as Gray brings her down with an Air Raid Crash before trapping Toni in the Mella-Drama (cloverleaf). It’s an easy crawl to the ropes for Toni though, and after leaping over a charge in the corner, it’s the small matter of a headbutt, German suplex and a Strong Zero piledriver as Toni retains! A spirited effort, but it was all too easy for Toni in the end. ***¼

You know, thinking about it, Melanie Gray’s never been the same since she found Kevin’s list that called her Disney socks a negative…

Gray attacks Storm after the bell, but the sore loser’s put in her place by Killer Kelly’s ripcord head kick. She tends to Toni, but Veda Scott hits the ring to attack Kelly… only for Toni to quickly chase her down.

We go backstage where John Klinger’s with Ivan Kiev. Ivan’s begging him to listen, as he reckons that RISE is one argument away from collapse… especially since nobody really believes that the group is dominant. Nobody, except Bad Bones. Kiev wants RISE to have a heart to heart before Dead End to find a way out of their situation… but Klinger just gives him a cold shoulder.

Next up, we’re at the wXw merch table as Mike Schwarz is greeted by Julian Pace. Schwarz implores him to go his own way and don’t act like a rookie…

RISE (John Klinger & Da Mack) vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher)
It’s a non-title main event as John Klinger and his best pal in RISE, Da Mack, take on the tag team champions. Mack thought he’d gotten a good start, but then he walked into this…

The WALTER strikes continue for a while, but Klinger’s able to tag in and renew the rivalries with (potentially) his next challenger after Dead End. Another WALTER chop puts Klinger down, as Pete Bouncer appears on the apron to distract the referee from some double-teaming as Klinger and Mack… eat a double suplex from WALTER! Another WALTER boot dumps Klinger as he tries to antagonise Mack, but it just distracts the referee as Bouncer tries to get involved again… only for Klinger to whack him as there’s more dissension within the ranks.

In the middle of that, Thatcher tags in as he continued the house clearing, as Klinger continued to absorb a tonne of offence, including a sit-down splash from WALTER for a near-fall. A neat WALTER dropkick keeps the champions ahead, as do a series of elbow drops to Klinger’s back, but RISE interference finally pays off as Thatcher’s tripped in the ropes and hit with a kick from Da Mack.

While Klinger has the ref tied up with a fake injury, Bouncer rips off the tape from Thatcher’s ear, and the recently-bloodied part is exposed again. Klinger tries to make it bleed again by raking it in the ropes, but Thatcher fires up with some uppercuts as he looked dizzied by the ear attacks… unable to avoid a flying lungblower and a flying forearm from Klinger and Mack respectively.

A shotgun dropkick on WALTER means he can’t make a save as Thatcher’s forced to kick out, but he’s able to avoid a Mack Magic and hit an enziguiri, with Klinger getting one too. The hot tag to WALTER follows as he lights up RISE with chops, then big boots, before they start to double-team him again. It’s short-lived as WALTER lariats his way back into it, then goes back to the German and butterfly suplexes, and der Ringgeneral is standing tall!

Mack slips out of a powerbomb and delivers a knee strike instead, before he’s sent into the corner and rebounds out with a springboard enziguiri that almost caused the upset. In response, Mack’s sent flying into the air with a release German suplex, as RINGKAMPF looked to put the finishing touches on things… but Klinger gets a blind tag in, and instantly takes down WALTER with the Rebel Lock crossface as Bouncer had Thatcher tied up on the outside.

WALTER rolls through and grabs a Gojira clutch, only for Bones to roll back into another Rebel Lock. Another escape looked to have WALTER set, but Klinger continues the assault with a lungblower before putting the Rebel Lock back on… and WALTER taps! RISE get the win, and Klinger gets his tap-out back! This was a solid TV main event, perhaps a little disjointed with the interference, but it progressed the story really nicely. ***½

After the match, the rest of RISE hit the ring to continue the beatdown on RINGKAMPF, as Klinger’s crew stands tall to end the in-ring portion of the episode.

Before we go though, we’re taken to a car park where Lucky Kid picks up Tarkan Aslan. He’s got the results from some medical tests… it’s not good news, and Aslan’s not happy, as he’s seemingly been put on the shelf? Still, at least Lucky Kid can distract them…

Aslan doesn’t want a kebab though, he just wants to go home. He’s done? That’s the retirement, or is this a swerve in the making? I guess we’ll have to wait and see…

Another solid episode of Shotgun – but let’s be real, I cannot remember covering anything close to a bad episode. We’re almost done with the names for 16 Carat Gold, and with Dead End next week, the final few strings for wXw’s centrepiece will be put in place. As for stories, well, RISE’s problems continue, but it’s been an up week for them… despite Ivan Kiev’s ominous feelings of doom for the group.