As we post this, the wXw FAN weekender is just a day away… so it’s the perfect time for Ilja Dragunov to get a small measure of revenge!

We open with a recap from last week, where Absolute Andy and Juvenile X captured Laurance Roman and painted him up… before Ilja Dragunov made the save for the Waschbär.

Cue titles, and we’re back in Cologne with Alan Counihan on the English language call… but first, Laurance Roman thanks Ilja for saving him last week. Except Ilja’s trying to tell him that being hazed was a good thing for him as it’ll toughen him up… and help make him unbesiegbar! We keep saying it, but in any language, Ilja’s passion shines through every time. On the other side of things, Juvenile X is meeting with Absolute Andy… and he’s worried about facing Ilja. Andy calls Juvenile a “dodo” and tells him to follow a plan. A plan which sounds a lot like Juvenile’s plan to eliminate Roman and get themselves a handicap match.

We recap Millie McKenzie’s arrival in wXw, and her destruction at the hands of a returning Alpha Female… along with the build to Millie’s partnership with Melanie Gray. Our handicap match between those three is this next!

Melanie Gray & Millie McKenzie vs. Alpha Female
We’re working this one under tag rules, but there’s already dissension as Melanie Gray tagged herself in before they even touched.

Except Melanie remembers her history, and tags back out… only so she could cheapshot Alpha from behind, so Millie could take the brunt of the backlash. Millie’s shoved off, so Gray tags herself in to continue the offence… only to get punched away by Alpha, who scored a straight-forward near-fall. Gray’s choked in the corner as Alpha continued the domination, before she’s knocked back a bit by some repeated dropkicks from Millie. McKenzie’s caught up top though, as Alpha resumed her onslaught with a double slam, picking up a near-fall as Melanie Gray breaks up the pin. Mella’s needed again to chop block Alpha’s knee as Millie was caught in a torture rack, as it was only when both Millie and Mella were in that they were able to wear down Alpha briefly.

As soon as Alpha got back to her feet, she powers the pair of them into corners, but it doesn’t last as Millie finally gets off a German suplex, only for Alpha to hit back instantly with a lariat for a near-fall. Millie manages to land a spear as Alpha teased the Dominator… and a tag to Melanie follows… except Gray drops off the apron and walks away. That heathen! What happens next is elementary… despite showing the mean face, Millie’s Ace crusher is caught as she gets ragdolled into a powerbomb for a near-fall! Melanie’s annoyed at that, but an Anaconda Vise quickly traps Millie on the mat, and that leads to the stoppage. This was more of a backdrop to continue the storyline between Millie and Mella – but it does raise the question… who the hell can stop Alpha Female?! ***

We get a video package next to build up to Friday’s match in Hamburg, with Zack Sabre Jr. facing Absolute Andy for the wXw Unified World Wrestling Champion. The package is full of Smug Andy™, but they put over Zack’s championship pedigree – and this should be a cracker of a match.

Backstage… Millie McKenzie runs into Melanie Gray… who doesn’t have anything to say. McKenzie vows to work “through” Melanie to get to the top. She won’t have long to wait – those two face off at FAN. Alpha Female’s got a promo next, as Thommy Giesen asks her about the match with Toni Storm in Oberhausen. Alpha vows to upgrade the division and leave Oberhausen with the title.

More recaps, this time of Lucky Kid’s run-in last week with Marius al-Ani and Tarkan Aslan, before we go to the remains of RISE. Lucky Kid apologises for what happened with Tarkan, before saying that what we saw then wasn’t his “big brother.” Pete Bouncer doesn’t believe Lucky’s trying to rationalise it all, but in the end Lucky says he can only trust RISE.

They replay Emil Sitoci saving Dirty Dragan during Shortcut to the Top… and now they’re both outside going through potential tag team stuff. Dragan wants to call the team the Gang Gang, but Sitoci has bigger plans. Tag League?!

A video’s up next for Saturday’s match between Toni Storm and Alpha Female, as we’ve got a scheduled match between the first two winners of Femmes Fatales for the wXw women’s title. Except that’s not going to happen as hours after Shotgun dropped, wXw announced that Toni Storm was injured and forced to vacate the title.

Emil Sitoci vs. Jurn Simmons
We start this one with the pair already in the ring (as I guess this bled on from the match with Koray that aired a few weeks back), with Sitoci instantly going for the Snapmare Driver, then a Codebreaker-to-the-arm as he looked to work over the arm.

There’s another Codebreaker-to-the-arm, before Jurn’s caught in a Key lock… but he charges Sitoci into the corner and pulls off the suplex throw out of it. Simmons starts to toy with Sitoci, despite Emil’s attempt to fight back from the mat, before he telegraphed the Oklahoma Stampede. A springboard crossbody out of the corner from Sitoci surprises Jurn, as do some right hands before a wheelbarrow into an armdrag continued the comeback. Headscissors take Simmons down again, then a side Russian leg sweep and a split-legged moonsault for a near-fall. Another Snapmare Driver’s avoided as Jurn hits a spin-out side slam to leave his fellow Dutchman on the mat.

Jurn goes for a powerbomb, but it gets countered into a facebuster as Emil quickly goes for that Key lock… only to get lifted onto the apron and dragged back in for a draping DDT that nearly puts him away. A superkick keeps Jurn down as Emil looks for his elbow off the top… but he has a slight delay in going for the pin as Jurn’s able to kick out at two. From there, Jurn shoves away a springboard… and instantly capitalises with a piledriver as he made the most of his opportunity. An enjoyable back-and-forth outing, but in the end it’s Jurn’s power and sneakiness that earned the win. ***¼

We’ve a video package for the Last Man Standing match on Friday, recapping the life of Massive Product and the fall-out that ensued after last year’s World Tag Team League, through to their match at the 17th Anniversary Show last December and Jurn’s betrayal afterwards. Of course, this match was originally slated to be a first-round match at 16 Carat Gold, but injury delayed that… and now Oberhausen gets their match, five months later!

There’s build for Doug Williams’ match with Veit Müller for Hamburg on Friday, courtesy of a promo with Doug… they address Doug’s at least taking some time off at the end of the year, and his potential retirement match in September.

Time to recap the Fan Appreciation Night cards… with a slight tweak to both shows after Toni Storm’s injury and subsequent title vacation.

Hamburg – August 31
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Absolute Andy (c)
wXw Shotgun Championship: Bobby Gunns vs. Marius al-Ani (c)
wXw World Tag Team Championship: Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) vs. Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero) (c)
Melanie Gray vs. Kris Wolf vs. Killer Kelly
Sexy Starr (David Starr & Jack Sexsmith) vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher)
Doug Williams vs. Veit Müller
Fred Yehi vs. Chris Brookes

Oberhausen – September 1
Ilja Dragunov vs. Absolute Andy (for the title if Andy is still champion after Hamburg)
Doug Williams vs. Fred Yehi
wXw Women’s Championship: Alpha Female vs. winner of Kelly/Wolf/Gray in Hamburg for the vacated title
wXw World Tag Team Championship: Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero) (c) vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) vs. Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
Last Man Standing: Jurn Simmons vs. David Starr
Lucky Kid & Bobby Gunns vs. Marius al-Ani & Tarkan Aslan
Kris Wolf vs. Killer Kelly vs. Melanie Gray vs. Millie McKenzie

Good God, those are two stacked cards – they’ll drop on wXw NOW early next week (4th & 5th of September) if you’re not going to be in the Turbinenhalle or Markthalle.

Jay-FK are backstage, when they run into Timothy Thatcher who’s mad about their change in attitude. Jay Skillet plays the fool, before saying that they don’t play the “ass kissing game”.

Ilja Dragunov & Laurance Roman vs. Absolute Andy & Juvenile X
After being painted up last week, Laurance has his own choice of face paint, as he’s the Waschbär – the Raccoon – for this match. We start with Roman going straight for Juvenile X, as fired up as you’d expect him to be… taking down the Juvenile with a diving clothesline before his crossbody effort was swatted away. Juvenile thinks it’s a job all done, but Ilja’s tagged in and Juvenile’s on his knees begging for mercy.

Like Ilja’s going to give him that! Instead, Dragunov dishes out a back elbow and a chop, as Andy’s rookie was made to pay for his misdemeanours. Roman’s back in to get him some, including landing a missile dropkick for a near-fall, before Absolute Andy pulls his hair from the apron. That just annoyed Ilja, who slings Andy into the ring… but the Veteraan’s straight back out as quickly as he came in.

That turned things around as Roman’s left isolated… and now Andy wants in as the plan to eliminate Laurance looked to be put into effect. Chops put the Waschbär down, but Andy’s not here for a long time as he exchanged frequent tags with Juvenile. There’s a tiltawhirl backbreaker that takes Roman to the outside – giving Andy a chance to taunt Ilja while Roman’s charged into the ring apron, as all signs pointed to the inevitable payback being dished out.

But first, there’s another pendulum backbreaker from Andy as Juvenile X comes back to chop his way through Roman. Juvenile hits a nice back body drop as Laurance ran out of the corner as we’re back to Andy picking his shots… but this time it doesn’t work as Laurance escapes and gets that hot tag to Ilja, who’s more than happy to take down Juvenile with a dropkick! Andy tries a cheapshot, but Ilja just dropkicks him off the apron as he continued to tear through Juvenile X. Roman tries to come back in, but he just leaps into a F5 as Juvenile’s pin attempt ends with Ilja hitting a back senton off the top to crush him… and his own tag partner! That leave us with Andy and Ilja locking horns, with Dragunov’s early flurry ending with a clothesline… then a Torpedo Moscau as Juvenile X was thrown into harm’s way!

Andy leaves with his belt at this point, meaning that Juvenile X’s days were numbered… especially as Dragunov’s brought back in, finishing off Juvenile with the Chernobyl Bomb, before a top rope splash from Roman got the win. A fun main event that kept things ticking along for the (maybe) title match in Oberhausen – while showing that deep down, Andy is still a little scared of Ilja! ***¼

…and that’s your build complete for this weekend’s FAN events. If you’re fresh to wXw, this week’s episode of Shotgun was perfect to bring you up to speed on the two shows, and tell you why exactly you should care about the cards. If it doesn’t make you wish you were in Germany for FAN, it’ll at the very least make sure you put the shows at the top of your to-watch lists when they drop next week.

It’s a shame that Toni Storm’s injury has forced the card changes, as that Storm/Alpha match would have been quite interesting… but since we’re guaranteed to leave the FAN weekend with a new champion, that division will regain some spice heading into World Tag Team League weekend. There’ll be no Shotgun next week, as the uploads of the Hamburg and Oberhausen FAN shows take their place. Yep, it’s going to be a two-review week for us!

Shotgun returns on September 12, with an edition branded as Shotgun XXL, where the build to Tag League weekend will resume with some vigour.