The final Shotgun before World Tag Team League marked the end of an era as the format went out with a bang.

We’re watching this in our hotel room in Oberhausen, ahead of the festivities that start today… however, on Monday morning wXw dropped an announcement that would literally shake up the company. In short, Christian Michael Jakobi’s taking a sabbatical… wXw are restructuring how they do touring, which means… the end of Shotgun. This week’s episode is the final “regular” show, having been taped in Fulda in September, while the stuff being taped at the Fan Expo on Sunday will be presented as a “Shotgun XXL” to bring the show to a close, after 374 episodes.

It’s quite fitting that we’ll be there for the final Shotgun.

We’re straight in with the title sequence, and it’s Jeremy Graves hyping the show as we’re in Fulda at the Kreuz – giving us all the news going into this weekend’s World Tag Team League.

First, we see Absolute Andy bigging himself up as he’s entering the venue – and belittling the rest of Tag League as he seems to be looking forward to the match with “the hairy ones”. We continue to hear his phone call as he enters the building, but he’s suddenly panicked by Ilja Dragunov calmly coming towards him. Andy calls for security, but Ilja’s not in any fighting mood. Instead, Ilja’s in a reflective mood, vowing that his recent travels have made him a changed man, and that looks to have scared Andy. Those mind games won’t work… and here’s Bobby Gunns to complete the hattrick.

We recap Jurn’s challenge for a hair match this weekend… and now there’s a promo from David Starr’s Twitter. Starr’s fine with putting “all” of his hair on the line, as long as Jurn’s prepared to bleed for it as it’s also no-DQ. From there we cut to Jurn brandishing some hair clippers, only to be cornered by someone who thought he’d look better bald. Not the smartest thing to say to a man holding some clippers, but thankfully Emil Sitoci makes the save.

Christian Bischof is backstage next with RINGKAMPF – it’s one of those interviews that segues in and out of German. Thatcher’s very understated about how things went at Battle of Los Angeles, as RINGKAMPF are more focused on the World Tag Team League… that is until Jay-FK wander in and take the piss. Of course, Francis Kaspin his his own recent trip to the States, and he’s got an envelope with something inside… WALTER jokes it’s the savings for “his next holiday to the States”, and this leads to tonight’s six man tag main event.

They play a video package for the wXw Women’s Championship match at Femmes Fatales, smartly playing off of how Melanie Gray cost Martina her spot in the tournament final last year (while clipping out how Melanie didn’t exactly make the most of her own hard work). That video package does show THAT Martina/Veda match from over Carat weekend, but only very briefly.

Backstage… Killer Kelly is here with Haribo. Is Toni Storm nearby? No… it’s Kris Wolf! “It smells good, but it’s not meat” is as good a reason to reject those. Kris wants some “Melanie meat” (cough), and promises to win Femmes Fatales to get “the shiny thing from her waist”… except Kris has to get past Killer Kelly in the first round. Damn you wXw, you have to make me choose?!

Jeremy runs through the Femmes Fatales card…

wXw Women’s Championship: Martina vs. Melanie Gray (c)

Femmes Fatales – First Round Matches
Toni Storm vs. LuFisto
Audrey Bride vs. Millie McKenzie
Kris Wolf vs. Killer Kelly
Meiko Satomura vs. Wesna

There’s not a bad match in that first round, and it’s a card that screams “more than a matinee” event, that’s for sure!

Emil Sitoci vs. Jurn Simmons
We start off with Emil charging into Jurn at the bell, scoring with some lucha armdrags and some headscissors as Jurn was caught on the hop.

An early attempt at the Snapmare Driver’s pushed away as Jurn instead ends up outside, where he’s met with a plancha. Back inside, Sitoci goes back to work on the arm, rolling Simmons down to drop a knee onto the limb, ahead of a lungblower-like attack to the arm. Jurn uses a cheapshot to get back into things, hitting a reverse slam – almost like Bad Bones’ old Shadow Driver – as things turned around. A short clothesline keeps Sitoci down, as does a modified surfboard stretch, and another clothesline as it was the former wXw unified champion who was in control at this juncture.

Sitoci tries to fight back, running into Jurn with forearms, before a clothesline took down his compatriot, as Emil burst back in with a side Russian legsweep and a split-legged moonsault for a near-fall. Dropping the arm across the top rope, Sitoci keeps up on Jurn with a crossbody off the top before trapping the arm in a Kimura… only for Simmons to power up and slam his way free with ease.

The suplex throw comes next as Simmons again tried to find a foothold… but Sitoci’s arm work meant that he was relatively safe as Jurn couldn’t lift him up for a piledriver. Emil capitalises with a gutbuster for a two-count, before he looked back for the Snapmare Driver. That’s blocked as Jurn responds with a Massive Kick, then the piledriver for the win. A fun little match here, and functional too – keeping Emil strong for the Shotgun title contendership match, while showing how much Jurn could withstand. ***¼

There’s a video package for that hair vs. hair match, stemming back from Massive Product’s run to the finals at last year’s World Tag Team League… and Jurn’s annoyance at David Starr’s frustration at losing. An excellent primer for someone who’s not seen any of this feud – and wondering why two men are putting their hair on the line on Friday night.

Time to run through the World Tag Team League card, and my word, there’s some awesome matches hidden in these line-ups!

Warm-Up Match: RISE (Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer) vs. Coast 2 Coast (Shaheem Ali & Leo St. Giovanni)
Hair vs. Hair: David Starr vs. Jurn Simmons
Shotgun Championship Number One Contender’s Match: Julian Pace vs. Fred Yehi vs. Emil Sitoci vs. Lucky Kid
Meiko Satomura vs. Toni Storm
Group A: Okami vs. Lucha Bros
Group B: Jay-FK vs. Monster Consulting
Group B: Aussie Open vs. Team SPLX

wXw Unified World Wrestling Championship: Bobby Gunns vs. Ilja Dragunov vs. Absolute Andy (c)
wXw Shotgun Championship: Marius al-Ani (c) vs. winner-of-four-way
Wesna vs. Toni Storm
Group A: Lucha Bros vs. RINGKAMPF
Group A: CCK vs. Okami
Group B: Monster Consulting vs. Aussie Open
Group B: Team SPLX vs. Jay-FK

Lucky Kid vs. Tarkan Aslan
Wesna vs. LuFisto
Group A: CCK vs. Lucha Bros
Group A: RINGKAMPF vs. Okami
Group B: Aussie Open vs. Jay-FK
Group B: Monster Consulting vs. Team SPLX
World Tag Team League Final

Don’t forget – we’ve got our preview up for this weekend’s festivities!

Another video package follows, building up Lucky Kid vs. Tarkan Aslan, from their return to wXw last year, through to Tarkan Aslan’s injury, the subsequent fall-out, and his turn at FAN. It’s more good stuff from wXw, and another package that can easily take you from “passing knowledge of the characters” to “full blown investment in the feud” in a matter of minutes.

Jay-FK (Francis Kaspin & Jay Skillet) & Absolute Andy vs. RINGKAMPF (WALTER & Timothy Thatcher) & Ilja Dragunov
Our final Shotgun (regular) main event is a trios match, and we start with Timothy Thatcher schooling Jay Skillet… to the point that Francis Kaspin repeatedly had to make the save as Thatcher kept going after Jay like a dog with a bone.

Regardless, Thatcher’s able to lock in a single leg crab on Skillet, but again it’s broken up as the bad guys scurried to the outside, where Andy tried to corral his troops… and it kinda worked as Jay managed to grab a hold on Thatcher, but it’s easily escaped, and WALTER was smart to Jay’s help as he throws out the onrushing Francis Kaspin. There’s a Benny Hill chase between Andy and Ilja, which helps to turn things around as Andy broke up Thatcher’s hold – allowing the bad guys to take over.

Everyone has their shot on Thatcher, who’d seemed to have gotten worn down by the cycling of tags. Andy tries – sucessfully – to rile up Ilja, who needed WALTER to calm him down while Thatcher finally switched things around with the RINGKAMPF belly-to-belly. The tag to Ilja follows, as the Czar quickly clears house, and comes face-to-face with a begging Andy… who receives no quarter as a flurry of shots and a DDT dumped the champion.

Clotheslines trap Andy in the corner, before knocking him down for a two-count. Ilja takes too long going for a headbutt, allowing Andy to pop back up and tease a F5, before he instead caught Ilja with a backcracker. A backcracker that rather fortuitously sent Ilja falling into a tag out to WALTER, as Andy went from a frying pan and into a fire. Slams and an Earthquake splash from WALTER squash Andy, who’s then unceremoniously tossed to the outside.

WALTER follows him there, throwing him onto the apron before chopping him back inside, as the champion looked fairly vulnerable. Then again, who the heck wouldn’t be vulnerable when you’ve got these three on your back?! A chinlock from Thatcher keeps Andy down, before Ilja comes in for some chops and a crossface that needed Jay-FK to make the save as they dragged him to the outside. Ilja follows, as do RINGKAMPF, as another Benny Hill chase follows, which led to Jay-FK escaping some RINGKAMPF Germans and then ducking as WALTER accidentally lays out Thatcher with a clothesline. Jay-FK look to capitalise as Andy and Ilja are fighting around ringside, then up to the ramp, which leads to Andy blocking a Torpedo Moscau and spiking Ilja with a nasty DDT on the stage.

With Ilja down and out, things don’t look so good for RINGKAMPF as they have a numerical disadvantage… at least briefly as Ilja somehow gets back into the ring, but he’s quickly cornered as Andy and Jay-FK again cycle through tags as this time they isolate Ilja. Skillet’s in, putting the boots to Ilja… but that just fires him up a little, before he collapsed, feeling the effects of that earlier DDT.

Andy tags in to pick apart the pieces, dumping Ilja with a big boot, before a snapmare and a low dropkick from Skillet earns a near-fall. Kaspin’s back to keep Ilja in the corner, while a backdrop suplex from Andy set up Ilja for a F5 off the top rope… but Ilja somehow counters with a powerbomb before bringing WALTER back in. Yeah, it’s a BURNING HOT TAG from the Austrian, who clears the decks, double-teaming Skillet as Jay’s powerbombed into an uppercut. There’s a Boston crab next, but Skillet has nobody to save him and with Andy, Francis and Jay all tied up in submissions, it looks elementary… but Andy escapes and manages to divert a Torpedo Moscau into WALTER as he dodged yet another Ilja-shaped bullet.

Apparently legal, Andy nearly steals a win with a F5 on Thatcher, as the match broke down into another wild brawl. Ilja tries to go up top, but he’s crotched… only to recover with a flying stomp to save the match as the Jay-FK (STO/back cracker combo) almost put Thatcher away yet again. Ilja can’t follow up as he spills to the outside through exhaustion.

In the ring, Thatcher manages to avoid another F5 as he slips out and tags in WALTER, who eats some more Jay-FK double-teams before a shotgun dropkick got rid of them. A spinebuster from Andy stops WALTER in his tracks as we have a Parade of Moves, featuring a 619-like clothesline from Ilja to Andy… only for Jay-FK to go after him. Ilja escapes and tope’s into Andy anyway, while WALTER chopped the hell out of Jay Skillet before forcing a quick submission with a Boston crab. WOW. Trios matches are almost always great, and this was no exception. With their own stories playing off of each other, this felt like more than a TV main event – and was a fitting match to sign-off the “regular” Shotgun with. ***¾

Shotgun closes with the video package for Saturday’s main event – Absolute Andy vs. Bobby Gunns vs. Ilja Dragunov. They’ve put in clips from last week’s tremendous hattrick of promos, but regardless, this did a good job of dovetailing all three of the main event narratives – which could very well culminate in a popular title change in Oberhausen in the coming days.

…and so ends Shotgun. Well, the regular version of it. The final edition – another Shotgun XXL – will be taped this Sunday at the wXw Fan Expo, and will air in two weeks’ time… and that’ it. There’ll be plenty of time to eulogise Shotgun then, and believe me… we will! As for this episode, well, it was exactly what you’d expect from wXw’s production crew: the wrestling more than held up its end of the bargain with two excellent matches (make time for that main event), but also weaving in plenty of video packages and recaps to bring you up to speed on all the storylines going into this weekend’s festival.