After the FAN weekender, wXw is back with a super-sized Shotgun, as we’re well on the road to World Tag Team League!

On this week’s Shotgun we’ve got the draw for World Tag Team League, but we open with Absolute Andy complaining to Christian Jakobi about his scoliosis and how he has to defend his title. Apparently the poster boy of wXw shouldn’t be treated this way, so he threatens to start a union. Jakobi’s not impressed, so much so he makes a pun about Andy’s spine, and promises to “protect him” by having him partner with Jay FK as they face Monster Consulting and Ilja Dragunov tonight. Cerberus Reunite!

We’re in Frankfurt this week, with Alan Counihan on commentary, running down tonight’s card, before we throw to the ending from FAN in Oberhausen. Backstage, Ilja’s a little ashamed at how he lost his temper as Monster Consulting join him in plugging their new merchandise. They talk about tag league, with Ilja hoping that Monster Consulting leaves with the tag titles… while he hopes that he can reunite Cerberus as champions that weekend.

They replay the end of Doug Williams’ match with Veit Müller in Hamburg, then his match with Fred Yehi in Oberhausen, before we jump to Sebastian Hollmichel interviewing him. It’s a lot less zoomed in than Doug’s last interview. Today, Doug’s facing Marius al-Ani, in what could be his final wXw match… but Doug vows to return to wXw if he wins the Shotgun title here.

Pretty Bastards (Prince Ahura & Maggot) vs. RISE (Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer)
The Bastards are back! Maggot had been on the bench with injury, and this was their first outing as a pair – against a RISE team that is at a bit of a loose end going into World Tag Team League.

Ahura spits on Ivan Kiev after the Bastards had powdered to the outside… but the Benny Hill chase ends quickly as the Bastards return to the ring, and lure RISE into a beatdown. Maggot and Ahura double-team Kiev for a bit, with a cravat/headbutt combo putting Ivan down, before Ahura and Kiev trade forearms…which just led to Ivan getting sent outside with a dropkick! RISE were pretty much stalling, but Ahura going Tranquilo in the ropes allowed Kiev an easy way back in as he slingshots into the ring, lands a neckbreaker and gets a near-fall for all that. Bouncer comes in and lands a sidewalk slam with Kiev’s legdrop, as Ahura looked to be building up for a hot tag… and eventually he leaps off the top and into Bouncer, who just about hauls him up for a bodyslam.

Bouncer’s standing elbow drop gets a near-fall, as does a double-team suplex, before Maggot tried to low bridge Kiev to the outside… but it ends up working as the Bastards double-team Kiev behind the ref’s back. Some more double-teaming nearly puts Kiev down for the count, but Maggot mocks the RISE pose, perhaps getting overly cocky… and of course things backfire as Kiev makes a comeback, shoving the Bastards into each other before tagging out.

Bouncer clears house with clotheslines before a superkick/full nelson slam gets a two-count on Ahura. Kiev’s flying leg lariat takes out Maggot, before Ahura leaps into a punch and a double-arm DDT as RISE take the win. A decent, by-the-numbers tag match between two teams who are very much on the back burner for the next little while. ***

We’ve got a backstage promo as Kris Wolf speaks to “us humans in there”. She’s in Germany for the duration of the Shotgun Live tour, and wants to be fed. I hope she likes Turbinenhalle kebabs…

A recap of the finish of the women’s title match in Oberhausen is shown, and that leads to Alpha Female berating Jakobi backstage. Luckily she shoves Christian into a padded chair, before we get Melanie Gray in her very-smart casual gear to brag about her newly-won prize. She claims she went through hell to get the women’s title, watching others getting preferential treatment, before she eventually got fed up of “clearing up the mess”. Now she’s looking forward to turning the screws when it comes to negotiating title matches…

wXw send their best wishes to Toni Storm with a video package… which could easily be turned into a “we never really wanted Melanie as our champion” angle.

Then we replay how Jay-FK qualified for World Tag Team League. We’re backstage as they’re basking in that, before we see WALTER and Timothy Thatcher getting excited. They run down their tag league opponents, with Thatcher always being polite about it all. They reference Timothy Thatcher tagging with Chris Brookes in PROGRESS, and how that could lead to divided loyalties.

They replay the tag match from Oberhausen which ended in a quick loss for Lucky Kid… and then nothing else!

wXw Shotgun Championship: Doug Williams vs. Marius al-Ani (c)
This is either going to be Doug’s farewell to wXw, or some extra time in his career, depending on how this goes.

We start with Williams getting taken into the ropes as Frankfurt bust out the “al-Ani sucks” chant, a la John Cena. Doug manages to grab a cravat early, then trip Marius down to the mat as a leg grapevine kept Marius on the mat. After another rope break, Marius goes for another leg grapevine as the pair hit a stalemate with leg grapevines, ending when they rolled into the ropes. They announce here that Alpha Female’s been suspended for what she did to Jakobi earlier…

…and back to the match we see Doug score a headlock takedown on Marius, only to get shot into the ropes as Williams returns with another headlock takedown as he tried to squeeze the life out of the Shotgun champion. Headscissors from al-Ani keep it on the mat, before he lets go to land a low dropkick and the step-up elbow drop as Doug was on all fours.

A chinlock keeps Doug on the mat, but he fires back with a knee strike and some forearms, before kicking al-Ani’s leg in the ropes. There’s a leaping shoulder tackle as Doug was seemingly energised by those John Cena chants, but it’s a dropkick from Marius that gets our next pinning attempt, as Williams is forced to kick out at two. There’s more of Doug’s comeback, but he runs into a roll-up and a kick from Marius as the Shotgun champion continued to look comfortable, following up with a suplex before he was forced to block an Exploder. A leap out of the corner just sees Marius get caught and met with an overhead belly-to-belly, then a leaping back elbow as Doug found his second wind… only to get lifted onto the apron as he was helped into a diving uppercut! Marius was able to kick out of that though, before his bid at the sunset flip kip-up deal saw him caught and met with an Exploder as Doug was starting to get into his groove.

The Chaos Theory’s teased, but Marius counters with a spinning heel kick, before he’s sent dazed into a clothesline as Doug went for his other big finish: the Bomb Scare knee… but Marius clips the ropes to crotch Doug, and then brings him down with a superplex! From there, Marius heads up top and hits a frog splash for the win… and given how Doug was almost in tears as soon as the three count was hit, you’d have to believe that’s it for his wrestling career in Germany. It’s a small positive, but at least his final few matches in wXw were absolute barnstormers! ***½

Speaking of Doug, he’s backstage with Veit Müller, who also has new merch. He wants to thank Doug for the match, and considers it a personal win because he got the experience. Doug asks Veit to continue down the path he’s on, and they close on a handshake.

Next: Marius and Tarkan Aslan! Tarkan reckons Marius is Lucky Kid x10, while he knows how to hurt people. Tonight, Aslan promises to break someone mentally and physically – he’s got his younger brother Lucky Kid! Marius wants him to focus on finding a challenger for his title, as there’ll be a four-way for that spot at World Tag Team League.

They recap the ending of the Last Man Standing match from Oberhausen, then play a Twitter video from an aching David Starr who vowed to face Jurn again one more time, no matter what it took. Say what you will about him, but Starr is a damned good promo in these situations. Thommy Giesen’s with Jurn Simmons next as they talk about that – with Jurn having seen the video because of Twitter’s new weird algorithms. Jurn wants to humiliate Starr, and so he’s got an idea: he wants to remind Starr of his humiliation no matter where he goes, so the challenge is issued…

Hair vs. Hair. If that counts body hair, we’re all in for a long night.

They run through the announced cards for World Tag Team League. Get ready – we’ll have a preview of this up nearer the time…

Friday October 5
Warm-Up: RISE (Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer) vs. Coast 2 Coast (Shaheem Ali & Leon St. Giovanni)
Hair vs. Hair: David Starr vs. Jurn Simmons
Shotgun Championship #1 Contender’s Match: Julian Pace vs. Lucky Kid vs. Emil Sitoci vs. Fred Yehi

Saturday October 6
wXw Shotgun Championship: Marius al-Ani (c) vs. Winner of the four way
wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Ilja Dragunov vs. Bobby Gunns vs. Absolute Andy (c)

They then announce the groups for World Tag Team League – matches to follow. Group A is CCK (Gresham & Brookes), Okami (Daichi Hashimoto & Hideyoshi Kamitani), RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) and Lucha Bros (Penta El Zero M & Rey Fenix). Group B is headed by the champions, Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero), alongside Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher), Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) and Team SPLX (Jeff Cobb & Angelico).

Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin) & Absolute Andy vs. Ilja Dragunov & Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero)
Cerberus have evolved!

Ilja bursts out of the blocks with a Torpedo Moscau for Andy, which leaves him laying as Monster Consulting went after Jay-FK on the outside. Ilja needs some time to get back to his feet, and it’s helpfully enough for Andy to start stirring… but Monster Consulting took their eye off the ball as Jay-FK hit the ring and attacked Ilja from behind.

They’re quickly sent back outside, but Jay Skillet’s got hold of the tag title belts which he threatens to use… but Tassilo Jung beats him in a tug of war for the title and we resume the six-man brawl on the outside, with some added Dragunov chops too! Well, a five-way brawl, since Andy’s just sitting on the stage. He needs his rest, poor guy!

Ilja spots him and stalks Andy on the stage as we built up into a six-way suplex spot, with the bad guys taking the awkward landing… and Andy backing away to save his back. The crowd chant for Cerberus, while Ilja looked to chase after Andy, who’d gone to the back. Problem was, Jay-FK tried to stop Ilja, and were made to pay as Skillet gets thrown back into the ring as the match actually starts!

Chops from Dragunov have Jay reeling, as did a back senton, before Avalanche came in to continue clearing house. Dragunov gets a near-fall after Avalanche’s splash on Kaspin, before he pairs up with Nero as the pair leapt onto Kaspin for another two-count, as the one-time “Pop Culture Wrestler” was taking quite the battering. Dragunov’s back with a snap suplex, before he looked to go airborne… but Andy’s back through the crowd to shove Ilja into Nero, while a belt shot from Skillet behind the ref’s back almost led to the undeserved win.

Andy comes in for some “high flying action”, with a simple elbow drop off the middle rope, and he celebrates it like he’s done a twisty flippy do for the first time! He also goads Ilja and Nero, while Jay-FK choke away on Avalanche behind everyone’s back… but their tactics backfire as it meant that Tassilo Jung couldn’t count a pinfall attempt. There was another problem: Andy’s mere existence was riling up Ilja, who was snarling like a wildman on the apron – forcing Andy to do whatever it took to make sure Dragunov couldn’t tag in. The bad guys stay on top with Skillet trying his best to keep Avalanche at bay… but his crossbody off the top just sees him bounce off of the big guy as a wound-up Dragunov finally came in.

Poor Skillet eats a bunch of clotheslines and a Chernobyl bomb for a near-fall, before Nero’s Wasteland sets up Dragunov for a flying back senton off the top, giving Nero a near-fall. Everyone ends up outside, except for Ilja… who looked to go back to the top rope… but Andy pops up and hits a belly-to-belly superplex as the spot picker almost gave Skillet the easy victory. A Parade of Moves breaks out Andy and Ilja end up decking themselves with clotheslines, meaning we were back to Jay-FK and Monster Consulting… which quickly thinned down further as Avalanche wiped out Skillet with a lariat… just as Andy and Ilja got back to their feet! Chops back-and-forth rang around the Batschkapp, only for Andy to sneak in with a F5 for a near-fall, before he started to tune the band…

But Ilja blocks the superkick and makes a blind tag out as a tope from Ilja gets rid of Skillet on the outside. The Avalanche Bomb followed, but Kaspin breaks up the cover at one to save Andy’s skin, before he’s caught… he fights out of a Final Consultation as Ilja again clears the ring, leaving Andy in there to take said Final Consultation and a Torpedo Moscau… and Ilja gets the win! A breathless trios match, which are hardly ever not fun – and this was no exception. ***¾

We go backstage as Lucky Kid gets a pep talk from the rest of RISE. They want to help him against Tarkan Aslan, but Lucky wants to do it on his own, so we return to ringside, as Lucky Kid calls out his older brother. He’s more than a little worked up, but it’s Marius al-Ani who makes an appearance… providing a distraction as Tarkan Aslan heads through the crowd and clocks Lucky with the brass knuckles again!

Aslan declares that Lucky Kid is the end of RISE, and that Marius al-Ani is the best athlete wXw has ever seen. Tarkan reckons he’s starting a new era, and is leaving an old one behind, declaring Lucky Kid “garbage” as the show ended with Aslan and al-Ani standing tall.

Tagged as “Shotgun XXL”, and headlined with the tag team champions, it was quite poetic that this was a monster of an episode. One that cleared the decks from FAN and began setting the table for the weeks ahead, giving us a hattrick of good matches and several exciting announcements for anyone going to Oberhausen in October. For the here and now though, we got plenty of foreshadowing – with Melanie Gray’s idle threats (and Alpha Female’s not-so idle threats)… plenty of build for World Tag Team League, and the seed in everyone’s head as to “who’d look better bald, Jurn or David?” Germany’s autumn wrestling festival is quickly upon us – and from those early announcements, the Turbinenhalle will be playing witness to a host of great wrestling!