With matches from the Fan Expo over World Tag Team League weekend, Shotgun came to a close in Oberhausen – as wXw also threw in some build for next weekend’s Road to Broken Rules show in Cologne.

*sniff* We knew this day was coming… at least for a few weeks, but it doesn’t make it easier!

We’ve already mentioned the changes to wXw that prompted the mothballing of the weekly TV show, and showcased our favourite five matches (and moments) here… so without further ado. The final episode of Shotgun. XXL. We open with the finish from the interim wXw title match at World Tag Team League, where Ilja Dragunov Torpedo Moscau’d his way to the title, and then… opening credits! Alan Counihan runs down some of the card, and we’re off!

Julian Pace vs. Ivan Kiev
It’s straight to action too, as the “real life car” Julian Pace scooted to the ring. Pete Bouncer’s notorious abs get an airing on this final episode, but he only gets as far as the stage.

Kiev’s straight in with a wristlock, but Pace is able to get free as the pair’s feeling out process sees Kiev take Julian down with headscissors… only to get caught with a ‘rana as the pair looked for an advantage. Another lock-up leads to another headlock on Pace, but he escapes and starts to confuse Kiev with the wacky rope running ahead of a dropkick.

Kiev slips back in to avoid a dive, but he’s caught in a small package before wiping out Pace with a leaping knee, then a modified facebuster as the match nearly ended right there. Pace gets a boot up to stop Kiev in the corner before he mounted another comeback, landing a monkey flip… but he took too long for the moonsault and gets rolled up for a near-fall.

A tiltawhirl backbreaker keeps Kiev ahead, but he only gets a near-fall, before he knocked Pace into the corner with a forearm. There’s another boot, this time in the form of a Yakuza kick, then a slingshot dropkick from the apron as Pace looked to be comfortable… and of course, there’s the cue for Pace to find a second wind as he lands a rolling, leaping neckbreaker for a two-count.

Pace goes back to being an evasive sod, throwing Kiev outside for a tope con giro, before returning to the ring as Kiev hit back with a roundhouse kick. A flying leg lariat follows off the top from Kiev, but Pace doesn’t stay down, countering out of a death valley driver with a tornado DDT, before a moonsault press off the top scored the upset! Very much an out of nowhere win, as Pace shocked Ivan Kiev – with RISE continuing to look shaky. ***

We’re backstage as WALTER and Timothy Thatcher are in catering… Veit Müller approaches and introduces himself while Timothy stared daggers through him. Veit asks if he can be a part of team RINGKAMPF, but he’s knocked back because “he’s not ready”. This is going to build, I’m sure…

Next… we’re still with Veit as he approaches Marius al-Ani. Müller claims that their prior match was so close, and if it weren’t for him, Marius wouldn’t be champion. Marius pokes fun at Veit’s physique (and then some!), before telling him to go to the academy and ask for training. Well, it gives us our main event anyway!

Clips from Lucky Kid’s win over Tarkan Aslan on night three of World Tag Team League air, and that jumps into the announcement of a RISE and Bobby Gunns vs. Jay-FK and A4 (I guess) match. Bobby’s backstage with RISE as they talk up that eight-man tag, saying that he’ll show “Grandpa Andy” what’s up as Lucky Kid got fired up.

Fred Yehi vs. Bobby Gunns
It wouldn’t be a Shotgun farewell without Gunns. Bobby Gunns. The crowd are a little tired after the chanting marathon the prior evening, but they do start out in full voice at the bell.

Yehi’s got no time for sentimentality as he instantly grapples, tripping Gunns to the mat but he can’t even get the one-count as we reset. Alan mentions on commentary that Bobby still has his title shot in the bag against Absolute Andy (or I assume, whomever is champion when they roll-up the interim strap), while Yehi looked to take Gunns back down to the mat.

There’s a mounted guillotine from Gunns, then a head-and-arm suplex before Gunns looked for the cross armbreaker perhaps too soon, as Yehi’s straight into the ropes. That just sees Gunns stomp on the arm a little as he trash-talked the former EVOLVE tag champion, which led to a rather ugly slam into the turnbuckles from Yehi. Chops follow as Yehi proceeded to whip Gunns into the corner, where he lifted the former Shotgun champion up top ahead of some bicycle up-kicks.

Yehi goes to his stomping game, but Gunns strikes back with some uppercuts and a lariat to put Yehi down. A forearm in the corner from Gunns looks to build to a German suplex, but he instead nails a clothesline to put Yehi back to the mat, following in with a diving European uppercut off the middle rope for another two-count. Another stomp from Yehi looked to stem the tide, as he had Gunns down on his knees, but a cravat’s rolled out of as Gunns hits a German suplex in response. Yehi ducks a lariat, but can’t avoid another roll through as the Swish armbar followed for the submission. This seemed like it took a while for the two to click, but for what it was this was a solid match that got another W for the King of Smoke Style. ***¼

They replay Monster Consulting having to give up their tag titles… and then we’re backstage as they’re celebrating with Ilja Dragunov. It’s a bittersweet moment, as Dragunov says that the recent months against Absolute Andy destroyed him mentally. Nevertheless, he vows to beat PCO in Dresden, before putting over Monster Consulting, saying they’ll get their tag titles back. Monster Consulting have a match in Cologne, as they face the Arrows of Hungary and Coast 2 Coast in a three-way match.

Speaking of Coast 2 Coast, their Shotgun debut’s here as they introduce themselves with Thommy Giesen. LSG and Shaheem Ali vow to beat the Pretty Bastards tonight as they continue to prove themselves on a new stage.

Pretty Bastards (Maggot & Prince Ahura) vs. Coast 2 Coast (Shaheem Ali & Leon St. Giovanni)
This was Coast 2 Coast’s Shotgun debut – having originally debuted for wXw at the Inner Circle just before World Tag Team League – and we start with Ahura and Ali exchanging shoulder tackles.

Ali works his way into an armdrag on Ahura, then a really high, snug dropkick as Ali looked to be in control. LSG tags in and rolls Ahura through for a pair of thrust kicks… but Maggot’s in too as he tried his luck against LSG, eventually getting floored with another dropkick as the Pretty Bastards were struggling.

Coast 2 Coast plant Maggot with a double-team hiptoss/facebuster variant, before another low dropkick from Ali caught Maggot flush. Prince Ahura tries to offer a distraction in the corner, and it sort of works as Maggot comes back in with a Thesz press before tagging out to Ahura, as the Bastards worked some of their own double-teams, including a fist drop/PK combo. Ali’s kept cornered with some shots as the Bastards took him down with a mid kick for a near-fall. There’s more kicks to the chest as Ahura goes in for some rope-walking ahead of more double-teaming, focusing on Ali’s arm. A back suplex from Ali stems the tide, before he enziguiris past Ahura and tags out to LSG… who runs into a huge knee from Ahura!

Not to be deterred, LSG hits a springboard forearm to Ahura before slipping out of a back suplex from Maggot. There’s a roll-through lariat for Ahura as LSG was on fire, catching Ahura with a double underhook into a side-slam for a near-fall as Coast 2 Coast looked to finish things off. The Pretty Bastards avoid the double hiptoss facebuster once again as they again focus on Ali… but Shaheem throws Maggot into the ring post before dumping Ahura with a swinging side slam as a 450 splash from LSG gets the win. A pretty functional tag match – this had a few rough moments, but both these teams need the experience, so this was a win all round. **¾

Clips from Femmes Fatales air here, with Melanie Gray distracting Toni Storm during Toni’s tournament loss to LuFisto. We’re backstage as Melanie blasts out LuFisto’s ears in a late contender for our gallery… LuFisto asks for a title shot, but Melanie stalls as Toni walks in and demands her rematch, which we’re getting at Broken Rules next month.

Next: Chris Brookes and Timothy Thatcher talk about their disappointing weekend… which just stacked up on top of their Wembley loss for PROGRESS. WALTER reckons that Thatcher’s mind was elsewhere, and that led to some bickering… complete with Brookes stirring the pot. WALTER wants to challenge the “cool new tag team”… and has a partner ready on standby… the bumping Ilja Dragunov! That’s next weekend in Cologne!

Alan runs through the card for Road to Broken Rules next weekend in Cologne:

RISE (Lucky Kid, Ivan Kiev & Pete Bouncer) & Bobby Gunns vs. Absolute Andy, Marius al-Ani & Jay-FK (Jay Skillet & Francis Kaspin)
Julian Pace vs. Veit Müller
Arrows of Hungary (Icarus & Dover) vs. Monster Consulting (Avalanche & Julian Nero) vs. Coast 2 Coast (Leon St. Giovanni & Shaheem Ali)
Kris Wolf vs. Killer Kelly
The Crown (Jurn Simmons & Alexander James) vs. Pretty Bastards (Prince Ahura & Maggot)
WALTER & Ilja Dragunov vs. Chris Brookes & Timothy Thatcher

wXw Shotgun Championship: Veit Müller vs. Marius al-Ani (c)
It’s main event time, and it’s only fitting that Shotgun ends with a Shotgun title defence.

Müller tries to grapple early, as Alan mentions on commentary that Marius al-Ani has decidedly dropped the Mr No-Bullshit act, opting to incorporate a lot of that into his matches these days. My words, not his. Veit scores a headlock takedown as Marius is grounded, but there’s an easy escape as the RINGKAMPF-wannabe goes back to the hold, only to get caught with a European uppercut.

There’s an armdrag out of the corner as Veit looked to turn it around, before a hiptoss drew a near-fall. From the kick-out, Müller goes for an overhead wristlock, but he’s caught with a Dragon screw as Marius started to go to work on Müller’s legs. Marius goes for a suplex, but Müller counters into a small package… only to get caught with a leapfrog/double-stop as al-Ani swung right back at him.

A roll-up out of the corner almost shocks Marius, before Müller scooped him up for a slam… but al-Ani rolls through into an ankle lock. Müller rolls out, but he’s met with a back elbow in the corner as the pair remain even… and we’ve our second Thesz press of the night as Veit catches Marius off the ropes!

A shoulder tackle and a Polish hammer puts Marius down for a rolling senton, as a gutwrench suplex almost gives us a new champion… but Marius is right back in with an ankle lock. Müller escaped again and lands a belly-to-belly for a near-fall… but Marius is quickly back with another ankle lock, and another roll through! Marius looked to head up top for a frog splash… but he stops himself and lands on his feet, catching the boot of Müller for yet another ankle lock, and we’ve a quick tap. This was a fairly dominant outing, with Marius showing his experience over the up-and-comer. A worthy shot, but Veit will fight another day! ***½

Alan reads through the card so far for Broken Rules XVIII in Dresden next month:

Street Fight for wXw Interim Unified World Wrestling Championship: PCO vs. Ilja Dragunov (c)
wXw Women’s Championship: Toni Storm vs. Melanie Gray (c)

…and after clips of Jay-FK winning World Tag Team League, Shotgun ends with the new champions alongside Marius al-Ani and Absolute Andy, who’s sans title. Jay Skillet takes aim at Andy not having his belt, but Andy instantly flips out at how he never lost his title. Andy gives us all some closure as he asks Francis what’s in his envelope… and it’s confetti! That’s what he fooled wXw with all along. I was hoping it was just his 8x10s!

…and with that, that’s the end of Shotgun. A suitable show to bring the series to an end on, and it’s pretty fair to say that we’ll miss it greatly. Four solid matches, plenty of build for the next two wXw events – and if the last few weeks has been anything to go by, you’ll want to keep an eye on wXw’s Twitter and YouTube accounts for the same kind of backstage segments that we were used to on Shotgun.

Nothing lasts forever, least of all in wrestling. But in an industry where performers frequently boil their shtick down into sound-bites, here’s a message for everyone who’s ever worked on Shotgun: thank you. Thank you for creating a product that helped many people (including myself) re-find their love of episodic wrestling, and a product that acted as a gateway for the wider wXw shows. It’ll never be forgotten.