OTT Martina’s Gaff Party
February 4 2017
We’re in the Tivoli Theatre in Dublin for the first of two nights of OTT action.
They do good work from the get-go showing Martina recovering from a night on the beers and searching for her “gaff”, which is the Tivoli and we start with a fucking rave! The commentators say they can’t do Pete Dunne vs. Matt Riddle, because WWE won’t allow it. They’re both in action though…against mystery opponents.
Promo Time: Justin Shape
Justin turned on the Gymnasties at the last show so he’s not very popular. He introduces William J. Humperdink. He’s the son of OTT’s owner. They’re joined by Logan Bryce. William blah blah blah’s his way through a promo and the crowd chant “boring” at him. Heel authority figures bore me. He talks about banning the Lads from the Flats from these shows and that brings Martina out here. The heels have got her a present; it’s Jinny! Oh, the heat!
Martina vs. Jinny
Jinny hasn’t been in OTT for ages but she maintains her heat. The great thing about this return is that Jinny has been away improving everything about herself and she was already over huge in Ireland. Martina, under this gimmick, is heavily into character to the point where it’s easy to forget she also wrestles under the name Kazza G, where she’s just a normal wrestler. While Jinny has improved massively, by working everywhere and training hard, Martina hasn’t show much in-ring improvement over the last year. Jinny’s knee strikes are the best thing she’s added.
But it’s not the only thing she’s added. Her matwork is much improved and she genuinely impresses me every time I see her, which is a good place to be in. Martina’s response is to hook the Tarantula while drinking Stella upside down, followed by the 5% mist. Jinny gets the X-Factor out of the corner and Martina is pinned clean. Honestly, Jinny is a fucking great bitch heel and her improved in-ring has turned her into the UK’s top women’s talent. Her post-match promo is electric. She calls Martina “council estate scum”. The Gaff Party has been ruined!
Final Rating: ***
Justin Shape vs. Eddie Kingston
Eddie’s been over working a few UK promotions. I saw him in Fight Club Pro. He’s working face here against Shape due to his recent heel turn. Kingston works a very tasty form of strongstyle, which gets over quickly. Especially as he’s putting a beating on a bad guy. Especially one with such stupid looking tights as Justin.
The state of Justin’s chest after an array of violent chops from Kingston is sickening. You can see all the broken blood vessels in there. Justin doesn’t do very much. He takes a shellacking. If he wasn’t working heel Justin would get nicely over in surviving and mounting a comeback. Logan Bryce runs in for the DQ when it becomes apparent that Justin has no chance of actually winning. Kingston was entertaining in his beat down. The Gymnasties run in to save but there’s conflict there. It’s a solid ongoing storyline that I’m not totally sold on. Kingston looked a level above all the Irish lads here.
Final Rating: **1/2
Video Control takes us backstage where Tyler Bate is congratulated on being the WWE UK Champion and Angel Cruz is all fired up at the prospect of them teaming together.
Mark Haskins vs. Mark Andrews
This is Haskins first match back after a potentially career ending neck injury that cleared up in a few months. Fuck it, I don’t care. I’m just thrilled to see him back. As I said to him in Wolverhampton; stay safe. Haskins, having missed three months, looks like he’s not missed a second away. He’s as technically perfect as he was before and there’s no rust at all. Haskins was obviously worried about taking bumps and the first couple in this match are speculative. It’s pleasing to see him pop back up without any ill effects. Then it becomes about the match itself. You’d think these two had wrestled a dozen times or so given the immediate chemistry. It’s incredible.
— LARIATOOOO!!! (@MrLARIATO) February 11, 2017
Some of their near miss and tease sequences, inevitably leading to a big spot, are wonderful. I love that some of the fans have clearly not seen Haskins’ transitions before and pop them huge. The sequence that leads into the Stundog Millionaire draws a huge pop and a standing ovation. My God these two guys are phenomenally talented. This is why I was so upset with Haskins being injured last year. Because he’s this fucking good. His transitions in this match are immaculate. The fluidity is a thing of beauty. There’s no resting either. Both men have such unbelievable conditioning that they just blast through the entire match at full pelt. Haskins finds one final counter to get the Sharpshooter and leans back for the submission. This was absurd, non-stop action in front of a hot crowd. With regards to the rating, it may not be enough. This was fucking incredible.
Final Rating: ****1/2
Promo Time: The Body Bros
Adam “Flex” Maxted and his “Bros” are out here to have a chat. Crowd happily chant “steroids” at them. They have a gift for Martina, because this is her party. Adam has a tub of fat burner for the “fat bitch”. Martina tries to take on all three but Drew Galloway is here!
The kick to Maxted’s roided up face is beautiful. Drew sort of puts these lads to shame because he’s bigger and in better shape. Drew hasn’t been seen in an Irish wrestling ring in a decade so this is great news for OTT as a promotion. Being able to attract all these names and sell out shows is wonderful for them. Drew’s promo about Irish Whip Wrestling and how they didn’t know what they were doing is fun. Galloway is such a fucking great promo. Drew promises to come back and wrestle in April.
Matt Riddle vs. Marty Scurll
The news that Scurll is wrestling Riddle is met by an enormous pop. Imagine going to a show, getting Haskins-Andrews at ****1/2, then Drew Galloway as a surprise and then Scurll as a surprise opponent for Riddle, one after another?
The commentators bring up an interesting point; Scurll is all about mind games and Riddle never lets that effect him. It means Marty’s usual game is rendered almost obsolete. Instead they hit the mat and Marty shows off his ground game, which is often lost in the midst of his shenanigans. Riddle has Marty’s number. The rolling gutwrench suplexes are freaky. It takes Marty cheating to convince me, and everyone else, that he can be on Riddle’s level. Which is actually a nice switch on his Hero matches that didn’t make so much sense.
Riddle is one of the rarest of commodities, someone who will relentlessly find ways out of wrestlers signature moves because he’s done his homework. The only time this doesn’t happen is for the “Superkick, just kidding” spot, which is quite surprising. Especially Riddle previously chopped his way out of the finger snap spot. It doesn’t work twice for Scurll though and the Chickenwing, telegraphed as always, also fails. It takes counters from Scurll to get into his trademark holds. It’s where Marty steps his game up, on the countering, and the toe snap that sets him apart. However Riddle just refuses to be beaten by Scurll’s cheeky move set. This is what happens when both men are pushed into working outside of their comfort zone. Scurll eventually catches Riddle in the Chickenwing and gets the tap out. This was a tremendous clash of styles with both men changing their offence to suit the situation. Tough to follow Haskins-Andrews but these two put on a cracking match.
Final Rating: ****
Post Match: Marty gets really upset with Riddle for getting as good as he is after two years when it took him twelve.
Jordan Devlin vs. Mike Bailey
I had forgotten Bailey was booked on this show. They loaded this card up something fierce. It used to be the odd show would be stacked for OTT but now it seems like every card is littered with International superstars.
In the midst of this is Devlin, the local boy who has benefitted from wrestling guys from all over the world. The rest of the Irish roster still feels colloquial. Devlin feels like he’s closer to the global level. Speedball is a lot of fun when he’s not drawn into a contest that requires coherent selling. This begins in tremendous fashion then Devlin hits a chopblock and I immediately lose interest, knowing Mike’s issues with selling the leg. After ignoring Devlin’s heat segment Bailey comes firing back with kicks and knees with his bad knee. At least switch legs. The one part where Bailey salvages the selling is by doing the Crane Kick from the Karate Kid. Devlin looks like an idiot for running into it but hey, maybe he’s never seen the Karate Kid. Patchy selling aside the action comes thick and fast with Bailey hitting wacky high spots and decent striking duels. Devlin looks a lot better here than during the WWE tournament. If it wasn’t for the leg match nonsense this would have been all kinds of great. At least it plays into the ending, with Bailey missing a double knees off the top before eating a package piledriver. Swings and roundabouts here. The leg match didn’t work for me, everything else did.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Video Control plugs all the talent on ScrapperMania and by God the Young Bucks gets a massive pop. That’s after Ospreay, Smile and Ricochet have already been announced. Finally…Kenny Omega! King Kenny has been announced all over the UK in 2017. ScrapperMania III is taking place the same weekend as Fight Club Pro’s Easter weekender. The Elite are appearing at both.
Paul Tracey & Charlie Sterling vs. Angel Cruz & Tyler Bate
This is certainly a switch of pace after the star-studded undercard. Tyler Bate is the only global megastar on show. Tracey is an old hand in Ireland. I remember seeing him wrestle in Scotland some 12 years ago.
Tyler is over huge, thanks to his WWE UK title win just a few weeks before this. Paul Tracey is one of those nearly men in wrestling. Teamed with Finn Balor before Finn got famous in Japan. Fergal went off to chase his dreams and Tracey was left in Ireland, where he’s stayed. His brief dalliances with fame have included runs with Zero1 and wXw but he’s always been Jannetty to Devitt’s Shawn Michaels. He doesn’t look quite as rough as Jannetty but he’s still in his 30s. Let’s give him a chance. The match whizzes by, probably losing time due to the show overrunning and Tyler pins Tracey with the Tyler Driver ’97.
Final Rating: **1/4
OTT No Limits Championship
Pete Dunne (c) vs. Ryan Smile
Pete Dunne is been such a sensational dickhead in OTT that he eventually won over the entire crowd. It’s been a slow process but he’s now a massive babyface, despite not changing his approach at all.
Given the earlier Riddle opponent, I would probably have done Riddle-Scurll last but I get that both these two have wrestled in OTT for the entire history of the promotion so it makes sense. Pete, being a dick, hugs Smile and then nails him with a Pedigree. When the match gets properly underway they have incredible fluidity. It’s all so smooth and well done. The trading in the ring is great but they do better work with dives and Pete pulling security in the way of them. When they’re on the mat Pete hooks Cattle Mutilation and goes after the finger in the middle of it. Pete’s offence is getting better every time I see him. The match benefits from the chemistry between the two, based on their mass of previous meetings. The more you wrestle Pete, the better the matches get. See Andrews, Mark. While Ryan excels at flying, Dunne proves he’s the superior striker with relative ease. The match gains traction with Dunne refusing to sell strikes but Smile finding incredible counters to prevent Pete finishing him off.
It gains a sense of epic when they’re sat cross-legged and beating each other senseless. Pete manipulates the ref beautifully, dragging him in the way of a frogsplash. Ryan completes an unlikely comeback by hitting the Canadian Destroyer and three Frogsplashes for the win. Pete Dunne takes his first clean loss in an OTT ring and Ryan wins the big one. Now I see why this was on last. The booking was a little ‘over the top’ but there’s no substitute for someone finally reaching the top of the mountain. This was Ryan’s time.
Final Rating: ****1/4
With three matches north of four stars it’s an easy show to recommend. Perhaps the best show I’ve seen from OTT yet, although since they started firing a tonne of top class talent onto the shows it’s a tough call. All their shows are getting to be this good. There is a huge divide on the shows between what the top tier imports are doing and the work of the locals, which is unfortunate, but hopefully working with imports will improve the local talent as it has in the UK. Jordan Devlin is much improved, for example.