The first round of the tournament to find a new contender for Bobby Gunns’ Shotgun title came to an end on this week’s Shotgun.

After a reminder of last week’s show, which ended with WALTER offering a tag match with Ilja Dragunov against Absolute Andy and Alexander James, we’re into the opening titles as we’re still in Bielefeld, with Jeremy Graves on commentary. We open up backstage with Absolute Andy berating Alexander James for helping him against Ilja… but they’re pulling our leg. James wants to get his hands on WALTER, but Andy just wants to have a drink.

They recap some of the issues between Killer Kelly and Melanie Gray… and now we’re back with them as Melanie’s gloating about how LuFisto beat Kelly in Hamburg. LuFisto stops Kelly from leaving, but the schoolyard bullying’s stopped by Toni Storm, prompting LuFisto to declare her hatred of Jurassic Park as she leaves. Maybe she’s right about the newest movie, going by the reviews…

We’ve introductory promos for Veit Müller, who doesn’t care if you find his style boring because that’s what got Axel Dieter Jr. respect. Mike Schwarz reminds us you don’t mess with the fighter from Oberhausen!

wXw Shotgun Title Number One Contender’s Tournament – First Round: Veit Müller vs. Mike Schwarz
You’ll not be surprised, but this is a first-time meeting here, and we start with the popular Schwarz rolling around the ropes from the opening tie-up, before they break apart.

From there, they move to a test of strength, which Müller edged ahead on, only for Schwarz to reverse it. So far, so basic, but it worked with this crowd, so who can complain? Eventually Schwarz stamps on Müller’s hands as we engaged in a battle of shoulder blocks before a fallaway slam from Schwarz keeps him ahead. Punches in the corner rock Müller, who’s gently placed into the front row for some chops among some conspicuous luchadors. Veit manages to fight back soon enough, throwing Schwarz into the ring post, then back into the ring as he collected a two-count, before choking and booting on Schwarz in the corner.

A snapmare out of the corner and some face-washing keeps Schwarz down, before a chinlock gave the Oberhausen fighter a chance to fight back. Müller runs into the Rhein-Rühr-Schwinger (a Bossman slam) as both men were left on the mat. They slug it out some more as Veit eats Snake Eyes, then a pump kick, before he gives out a big back body drop… but Müller escapes a chokeslam and locks in a cravat.

That’s turned into a cravat suplex, and that’s all Veit needed to win the fight! Müller gets through to the quarter-finals after a decent, slow-paced outing. It’s not a match that’ll win many plaudits, but one that you probably shouldn’t skip past either. ***

They remind us of last week when Dirty Dragan was told that winning matches probably wasn’t the best thing to happen… and sure enough, Dragan finds Emil Sitoci to confront him. Dragan’s visibly upset and barely gives Emil a chance to explain. Dragan wants to know who his next opponent is, but Emil’s holding it back until Dragan’s done the therapist thing… which prompts a little altercation that quickly ended with Dragan getting shoved into the wall.

More promo pieces follow as our final first-round match is profiled. Juvenile X’s wrestled for WWE (in a tryout), and he feels he’s the man to win the wXw Shotgun title because he doesn’t play wrestling… he is wrestling. TKO, on the other hand, is in wXw to be successful – and if that means winning the Shotgun title, then so be it.

wXw Shotgun Title Number One Contender’s Tournament – First Round: Juvenile X vs. TKO
We have a tentative start here as X gets distracted by the crowd early on, which is perhaps what prompted him to go for an early cover… but instead he telegraphs an armdrag and almost pays for it.

From there, Juvenile X forces TKO to the mat with a test of strength, but TKO has a strong neck bridge and manages to hold on before flipping X to the mat… only to get rocked with a chop as they got back to their feet. Uppercuts follow in the ropes, but TKO’s back with a springboard armdrag and a spinning heel kick, and all of a sudden, TKO is on top… for a brief moment.

X hangs TKO over the top rope as he boots him on the apron, as the match continued in his favour with more uppercuts. A knee to the gut keeps Juvenile ahead, as do some snap suplexes, but TKO’s attempt at a comeback’s quickly snuffed out once again. Third time was the charm as TKO gets some big boots in, but he’s taken down with a powerslam off the ropes as Juvenile opted to ground his foe once again.

Finally Juvenile’s offence backfires as he missed a crossbody off the top, allowing TKO back into it with some forearms in the corner before crashing into him with a Whisper in the Wind! A Falcon Arrow’s next for a near-fall, before TKO looked for his eponymous finisher… and instead gets taken down with a neckbreaker from Juvenile X. Second time’s the charm though, and the TKO gets the win for TKO! A decent enough match, although the crowd weren’t as into this as they were the other tournament match… **¾

The updated brackets reveal that our semi-finals are Lucky Kid vs. TKO and Marius al-Ani vs. Veit Müller… the semis and the final will take place on Shotgun in July, after the wXw summer break.

They replay the finish of the Ivan Kiev/Marius al-Ani tournament match, where Jay FK’s involvement cost Kiev the win. From there, we’re taken to a meeting with Christian Jakobi alongside Jay FK, RISE and Monster Consulting… who I’m surprised haven’t torn each other apart. Of course Pete Bouncer’s got his abs on show. You would too… Jakobi reiterates that there has to be peace backstage, and any sneak attacks will lead to suspension. Avalanche furiously declares he’s the epitome of calmness… while Jay FK reckon they’ve left the tag title belts at home. Next week, all three teams will be in the ring at the same time. Jay FK make their excuses and leave… and that’s all for this week!

All in, this was a solid episode of Shotgun to keep things ticking along – I do like how the Shotgun title contender’s tournament is being held off until the week before Shortcut to the Top, although part of me would have liked to have had some build-up. Still, that leaves the floor open for more stuff involving the rest of the roster, since the past few weeks have largely been exclusively devoted to the Shotgun title.