We dip into wXw once again, with their latest episode of Shotgun Plus – their weekly TV show of-sorts…

When we last looked at wXw, it was for their three-day World Tag Team League tournament, however, this week’s episode started off with host Rico Bushido confirming the news that Shane Strickland was no longer working with the company, and as such, the company’s tag titles were vacant once again. As a result, new champions would be crowned at the company’s Broken Rules show in a TLC match.

We’ve got a pair of wXw Shotgun title matches too, firstly featuring Pete Dunne defending against Lio Rush – from a show in Borken on October 14 (yes, it’s not a typo; it’s a town in north-west Germany, near the Dutch border).

But first, a triple-threat match from Dresden on October 17, featuring one half of three tag teams: Cerberus, A4 and the Waschbären (Racoons). We’ve held off for the English language version of this show, which means we get Alan Counihan on commentary (aka @Alan4L on Twitter, and the host of F4W’s Dr Keith Presents show).

Ilja Dragunov vs. Marius al-Ani vs. Laurance Roman
Dragunov starts off by trying to take the offence, but he quickly gets double-teamed as he’s forced to the outside. Ilja managed to get some offence in as he slammed al-Ani, then Roman on top of him, but he’s again overwhelmed for a while, before he connects with a double clothesline.

We end up with al-Ani and Roman for a spell, but neither man is able to get much of an advantage before Dragunov returned to the fray. He and Roman worked for a spell, with Dragunov nailing a high angle Saito suplex onto Roman for a near-fall, before Ilja’s back body dropped to the floor. We get a dive of sorts as Roman hits a baseball side dropkick, then a tope suicida… but Dragunov catches him and throws him into the front row. Al-Ani leaps in and drops Dragunov on the apron with a back suplex, before taking down Roman with a butterfly powerbomb for a near-fall, as Dragunov broke up the count.

Dragunov gets a pumphandle Blue Thunder bomb on al-Ani, but Roman stops him from making a cover before crashing into his two opponents with a crossbody off the middle rope. Al-Ani replies with a wheelbarrow suplex to Roman, before rolling through and following up with a double German suplex to Roman and Dragunov. That was impressive! Al-Ani’s attempt to go airborne was cut-off by Roman, before a leaping headbutt from Dragunov knocks down the A4 member. Dragunov catches Roman off the top and turns him into a Saito suplex, before then snatching the win with a diving European uppercut. An impressive outing from Roman, in a match that otherwise didn’t seem to have any repercussions for anyone. ***

We’re shown a new talking head in Nico Schmidt, who’s building up to the TLC match, before reminding us of the rest of wXw’s Shotgun Live tour, with matches such as WALTER vs. Marty Scurll in Stuttgart on October 21, whilst Scurll was back in action in Karlsruhe on October 23, teaming with Emil Sitoci against A4. Later on, November 5 in Lippstadt features Alpha Kevin (Kevin Roadster) vs. WALTER; November 6 in Erfurt with Absolute Andy vs. Ilja Dragunov; November 11 in Müster with Absolute Andy vs. WALTER. Good God, that’s what they might call großes Lads Wrestling in that match.

Other eye-catching matches include David Starr vs. Tyler Bate’s flat cap on November 18 in Gotha; Bad Bones vs. Absolute Andy on November 19 in Halle; WALTER vs. Scurll again in Cologne on November 26, plus Toni Storm vs. TNA’s Rosemary in Hamburg on December 2. Sure, they only list one match per show, but why on earth don’t WWE and ROH do this for their house shows? It gives fans something to look forward to for their show, but maybe a little bit of forward planning is too much?

After that plug, we get a video package recapping the World Tag Team League, and it leads into another plug for upcoming dates. They don’t quite get as far as their show in London next January…

Next up is a backstage segment, which they thankfully subtitle. It’s WALTER and Da Mack, which sounds like a bad buddy cop pairing. Mack has issues with WALTER, but the big guy admits he only makes decisions that benefit himself. WALTER pokes fun at Mack for being eliminated in the first round of the Cruiserweight Classic, and for losing the Shotgun title. They face each other at the Broken Rulz show, a match which WALTER dismisses as a squash. Mack promises a surprise for WALTER, and then we fade to black.

Apparently the Broken Rulz show is on wXw Now, but I’ll wait for Alan to do his English commentary before we dive into that. They plug a load of new features on wXw Now, including the Ambition tournament that we reviewed a match from a while back…

Rico Bushido leads us into a backstage segment with Marty Scurll and wXw champion Jurn Simmons. Marty’s unhappy that Jurn reckons their upcoming match will be a squash, and he reckons he needs something to become wXw’s ace – and yes, it’s Jurn’s title belt. They play a music video/montage to build their match, and my word, Jurn loves that term “squash match”.

Back into action now, as we have a wXw Shotgun title match now from Borken…

wXw Shotgun Championship: Lio Rush vs. Pete Dunne (c)
Dunne starts out by taking down Rush with a wristlock, but it’s quickly countered into a headlock takedown that took both men into the ropes.

Dunne keeps on top of Rush in a bid to keep the high-flyer grounded, which somehow ends with both men rolling around the ring in an endless small package that ended up with Rusg getting a near-fall. They exchange leapfrogs before a springboard ‘rana from Rush takes Dunne to the outside, where he quickly follows up and into a massive forearm from the champion.

Another ‘rana from Rush is caught, but Dunne can’t follow-up as we get an Asai moonsault off the bottom rope sees Rush drop Dunne. After a bit of cat and mouse, Dunne baits Rush to the outside, where he drops him on the apron with a release suplex.

Back in the ring, Dunne quickly trapped Rush’s knees and went straight for a snack of Lio’s fingers, before whipping Rush so hard into the corner, he ended up slipping through the ropes and back to the outside. Okay, that part looked odd…

Dunne bites again to block a sunset flip, before Rush hits back with an enziguiri for a near-fall. A lariat from Rush knocks the champion down, but they end up going back and forth once more, with Rush just about edging it, rolling out of the way of a chop, before a series of kicks earned him a two-count. Rush keeps on top with a handspring elbow, then a low-pe through the bottom ropes, before he threw Dunne back in for a frog splash, only to miss and instead score with a tornado DDT for a near-fall. A running enziguiri, then a gorilla press gutbuster got Dunne back into things, before a Ligerbomb forced Rush to kick out at two.

A lariat from Dunne ends up knocking down Rush, before the Drop Dead is countered into a DDT for a near-fall. Rush hits back with a back kick, then hits the C4 (standing Spanish fly), but can’t capitalise. After getting back to his feet, Rush nails Dunne with a Codebreaker, then he handsprings into the ropes, only to be met with a forearm by Dunne, whose latest attempt at the Drop Dead is countered with a reverse ‘rana.

Rush tries for a spin kick, but Dunne avoided it, and then hit the Drop Dead at the third time of asking and retained the title. A really fun match, and one that’s worth going out of your way to see if you can. ***¾

We’re back in the studio with Rico Bushido, who tells us that just 24 hours later, Dunne was defending the title again in the German town of Bielefeld, this time against Tyler Bate… and that match is up next!

wXw Shotgun Championship: Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (c)
During his intro, Bate’s factoid listed underneath him, “Finest Moustache in the UK”. Anyone want to dispute that?

Alan Counihan’s audibly licking his lips for this match, and we start with Bate working a wristhold, then an armbar, as Dunne tried to escape, only to fall into a grounded wristlock. After escaping, Dunne trades chops with Bate, and then returned the earlier favour by stomping on Bate’s elbow.

Dunne fish-hooks Bate’s mouth and moustache, then literally punches away on the youngster’s arm before stomping it yet again. Bate snaps back and drops Dunne with a toe-hold, then switches into another wristlock, ending with a stomp to the champion’s elbow. From a waistlock, Bate gets a one-count as he keeps Dunne grounded, but once more the champion gets back on top and slaps Bate into the corner. They trade headbutts, thankfully not the vicious kind that busts yourself open, before Dunne works away on the youngster, stomping him onto the apron, where they traded more punches as Dunne ended up being knocked down to the floor.

A running knee from Bate keeps Dunne down, but after returning to the ring, Dunne returned fire with a pair of regular suplexes, before hooking away at Bate’s nose. A third suplex sees Bate pop right back up, with Dunne offering himself up for a suplex… and he pops back up too. At least vertical suplexes are less violent than the snap Germans… and they keep popping back up from suplexes, until a hanging vertical suplex finally keeps the champion down.

Regardless, Pete fires back with a rope-hung DDT after throwing Bate onto the apron. That’s followed up with some finger biting, once again disguised as the Romero special, as Dunne keeps the offence going. Bate eventually hits back with a forearm, but he’s quickly knocked back down.

Dunne grounds Bate once more with an abdominal stretch, then lifts him up into a Saito suplex. A second Saito suplex follows, before Bate blocks a third and counters with a backdrop suplex on the champion. Bate continues his comeback with a diving European uppercut out of the corner, before he countered a triangle choke by lifting up Dunne and powerbombing himself free.

Dunne slips out of an Airplane spin and hits a German suplex, before Bate counters with one of his own. They reverse again, and again, before countering simple waistlocks, as Dunne snaps into Bate with a German suplex… which immediately gets a receipt. Now we get the Airplane spin, before a deadlift German suplex almost won it for the 19 year old.

A Ligerbomb gets Dunne another two-count as the champion made another comeback, but Bate retaliates more after some slaps, and they trade back and forth with paintbrush-like swipes, ending with a forearm from Dunne, and an elbow from Bate. Dunne tried to finish him off, but a lariat from Bate earns him a two-count, before they go back and forth with some finger biting. The Drop Dead from Dunne connects at the first time of action, but Bate kicked out, before getting the knees up for a moonsault… then Bate followed up with a tombstone piledriver for the win. A fantastic end to a good, long match, as Bate becomes the latest Shotgun champion. ****

After the match, we see Tyler Bate shooting a selfie with his new title belt, when Pete Dunne walks in to shake his hand. Dunne says he wants a shot when he’s back in Germany, and of course, Bate accepts. I was half expecting a sneak attack afterwards…

Another backstage segment sees Toni Storm and Marius van Beethoven. Storm asks what happened with Melanie Gray’s wedding, but van Beethoven cuts her off and orders Storm to leave. Tyler Bate makes the save, and offers a showdown between himself and Storm, against van Beethoven and “his boyfriend”. I’m guessing that was a shot at Alpha Female?

We’re back at the wXw Event Centre, where Nico runs down a three-way dance at the Broken Rules show: the Alpha Lovers (Alpha Kevin/Roadster & Melanie Gray vs. Tyler Bate & Toni Storm vs. Hakeem & Alpha Female). That leads to a video package which shows Marius van Beethoven turning on Alpha Kevin, all the way through to the Kevin/Melanie wedding at World Tag Team League.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t subtitled, which is a bit of a glaring omission on the English-feed. They repeated some of the Marius/Toni promo that we literally just saw, before running down the rest of the Broken Rules card. That leads us to another backstage segment with Cerberus. In German, and initially not subtitled, but the segment didn’t really tell us anything. Another cut to a video to plug the World Tag Team League, featuring *that* music that I’d only just gotten out of my mind.

Yet another backstage segment with Chris Colen and Cerberus’ Dirty Dragan. Dragan offers something to calm down Colen, but instead Chris offers a message, saying that he “wants the best Ilja” for their match next week.

We’re back to Rico Bushido, who pitches to an interview with Tassilo Jung. It’s in German, but they do subtitle it at least. Jung reveals that in the last few years the promotion became full time, and as such they started hiring people on a full-time basis in their office. Apparently at the end of 2015, wXw was losing money because they had bad accountants (TNA’s??)

Jung continues with a speech that was amazing in that – in a kayfabe role at least – he knew that borrowing money doesn’t help a struggling company; they had to find a way to get fresh capital. Dixie, are you listenin’ darlin’? Apparently Christian Jakobi came from a rich family, so he injected some new capital, and became the majority shareholder of wXw.

On last week’s show, I’m guessing Christian turned heel, calling Karsten Beck a failure (which is a bit close to the bone, given that Beck’s out of action after having surgery to remove a brain tumour). Storyline-wise, Jung puts that down to him “suffering from burnout”, but otherwise this was a time-killing segment.

The show wraps up with Rico in the studio reading something off his phone: which ended up being “breaking news” that Christian Jakobi was going to reveal his business plan for wXw next year at the Broken Rules show. I smell a storyline…

As a show, it was pretty decent – they threw in three really good matches from wXw’s house show loop, and plugged a tonne of stuff for their (then) upcoming Broken Rules event as well as upcoming house shows. I’ve been impressed by what I’ve seen of wXw so far, and on this form, they’re definitely on the right track!