Q&A: wXw CEO Felix Kohlenberg on the return of ‘Shotgun’

wXw CEO Felix Kohlenberg speaks with POST Wrestling about the promotion re-launching their 'Shotgun' series and first shows since the pandemic began.

All promotions globally are dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic and most are left unable to run events during this time. The European wrestling scene has largely shut down with the German-based wXw set to take one step forward with a ten-episode season of ‘Shotgun’ premiering this Friday.

It will be the group’s first content they have produced since their events stopped in mid-March and will begin on Friday at wXwNOW.com beginning at 2 pm Eastern (8 pm in Germany).

wXw CEO Felix Kohlenberg took some time out to speak with POST Wrestling about the process of putting these unique tapings together, the safety measures necessary and looking at a different world once live events can presume in their proper form with an audience.

POST Wrestling: First off, how are you doing during the pandemic, and can you give us a sense of the state of the virus within Germany and how the public is handling everything?

Felix Kohlenberg: The virus hit Germany before the UK and North America, so we started preparing for it by late February in preparation for 16 Carat Gold in March. Luckily that was the last weekend that Germany allowed to host events. Since then, we postponed all events that were scheduled as we were in Lockdown since mid-March. We are down to about 10,000 infected people by Covid-19, so restrictions get lifted day by day now. Let’s hope there is not a second wave coming, everybody is still very careful.

POST Wrestling: How did your company go about getting the proper approval to run these tapings?

Kohlenberg: For us, it was clear that we will only go ahead with the tapings if we meet all criteria set by German law and regulations. Our COO Tassilo Jung spend the major amount of the last weeks working with city authorities to find out about the ways we could do these tapings at all. We ended up with a huge document explaining what we are going to do and what we are doing to keep everybody safe.

POST Wrestling: From the planning side, how much more complex were these tapings of Shotgun when it came to additional safety measures?

Kohlenberg: We needed to keep the amount of people in the venue at a time to an absolute minimum, we had wrestlers come in and out for their segments basically and our staff was reduced as far as we possibly could. Of course, we had to keep a tight hygiene concept, everybody was kept far apart, and everybody was wearing face masks all day as long as they were not in front of the camera. We also disinfected the whole ring after every match to limit any risks further.

Overall, it felt more like being at shooting for a movie instead of a being at a wrestling event. It was a completely new experience for all of us.

POST Wrestling: Were there any concerns raised from any talent and how was that process handled?

Kohlenberg: Our talent was very aware that we tried our best to limit all risks, everybody traveled by car, there were no rooms shared and everybody was aware of the safety rules that needed to be kept.

We left it to the talent if they would like to be a part of the tapings and nobody would have lost a spot not doing it but after over two months of sitting at home, everybody really wanted to get back in there. We tried to be as transparent about the whole process as possible.

POST Wrestling: Looking down the road, how is this pandemic going to affect the way wXw runs live events?

Kohlenberg: It’s a day to day decision at the moment so I can not really tell at all. We don’t have a real idea which the first show with fans in attendance could be. Once we start, we have to keep a lot more rules that we used to have but we want everybody to be safe at our events. wXw is a live event company so we rely on promoting live events but we will not rush going back to it if it’s not the right thing to do.

POST Wrestling: Finally, please let our readers know how they can seek out these upcoming episodes

Kohlenberg: Shotgun 2020 will be released every Friday at 8 pm (German time) on wXwNOW.com which is our Vimeo based streaming service and is available for 9,99 Euros a month. Aside from Shotgun 2020, there are over 1500 hours of wXw and 3rd party video content on wXwNOW. Follow us on @wXwGermany on Twitter to stay posted about everything going on.

wXw Shotgun returns on Friday, May 29th at 8 pm German time / 2 pm Eastern at wXwNOW.com.