OTT’s return to the National Stadium proved to be a memorable one… and long too!
With ten matches on the show, the VOD for this goes beyond the four-hour mark, which is insanely long no matter how you spin it. Still, at least they didn’t have a two-hour pre-show. We open with a WrestleMania-ish opening video hyping up WrestleRama, and the big matches on tap… including CCK taking on the Kings of the North in a trios match for the tag titles. Thankfully, Mark Haskins’ promo piece for the match with Ryan Smile doesn’t go full Booker T…
We’ve the usual pre-show shtick… and now I get why they’ve booked ten matches. Cheers Tye. Mick Foley’s the GM/commissioner/whatever for the night, which almost comes over as an afterthought during Aonghus McAnally’s speech… and yes, Don Marnell still thinks he’s Joel Gertner. I will say this, he does a good Moe Szyslak impersonation.
Jordan Devlin vs. Matt Cross
I remember when OTT’s storyline with Jordan was that he was fed up of being low down the card… and he’s now getting cheers. At least it’s better than the Brian Clough-inspired stuff he gets in the UK!
The pair are evenly matched early on, as they go through a series that ends with duelling dropkicks, and it’s pretty clear they’re playing Ricochet and Will Ospreay! Cross topes Devlin into the front row, before a handspring into the corner’s caught… but Devlin struggles to get a foothold into things.
Cross keeps up with some clotheslines before a massive springboard crossbody gets him a near-fall. A double stomp to a doubled-over Devlin gets another two-count, but the local lad fights back with a back cracker out of the corner, as a bridging German gets him a two-count… and that’s the start of the fight back! Tope con hilo from Devlin!
Devlin crashes and burns with a big moonsault, which leads to some back and forth, ending with Cross bouncing shoulder-first off the top rope into a ‘cutter… which only gets a two-count! Devlin busts out a Spanish Fly off the top, and that’s enough for the win! That was quite the match – Jordan Devlin being all flippy and getting cheers is not something I’m used to seeing. A really good opener, keeping the crowd hot – although I think I’ve missed something with Devlin’s story here? ***¼
We’ve a backstage segment with an un-named interviewer… and Mick Foley. His cheap pop is stopped by Justin Shape, Logan Bryce and William J Humperdink, who are banned from the show tonight. Mick’s got back-up for Justy and Logan, and all of a sudden we hear some buzzing… he’s borrowed Team Prick. Who have a taser?! Fun segment!
The hell’s up with the Cagematch listings? This show’s barely matching the order they have…
Jonny Storm & Jody Fleisch vs. 2 Unlimited (Jay Sammon & Patrick Sammon)
A first-time match here, featuring a tandem that helped put the British scene on the map… and somehow this is their OTT debuts?! Expect lots of flippy goodness!
We open with Jonny and Patrick, swapping wristlocks with increasingly flippy and flashy reversals. Jody and Jay have a go, flipping all over the place as they cartwheel out of headscissors before squaring off… it’s the sort of stuff that looks nice, but would enrage those of a certain disposition.
Storm boots Patrick in the head with his own boot as he gets a near-fall, as the British veterans took control, but Jay tags in and lands a springboard superman punch, then a springboard Pele kick as the Irishmen flew! A double Russian legsweep floors Storm, who’s then held in place for a low dropkick as 2 Unlimited chained together tag team offence as if it were nothing.
Another comeback from Storm sees him clock Jay with an enziguiri, before a missile dropkick sent Jay flying. A springboard moonsault gets Jonny a two-count, before both men tag out, leading to Jody Matrix’ing away from a clothesline as he clocked Patrick with a head kick and a reverse ‘rana to boot!
Patrick low bridges Fleisch to the outside for a tope, and they’re joined by Storm’s tornillo, then a moonsault off the top rope by Jay as the set of dives was complete! Jody goes up again for a shooting star press, and then they decide to head back into the ring, where Jay catches Jody with a Spanish Fly!
Jonny returns the favour with a powerbomb before Patrick’s top rope cutter ensures nobody can capitalise, as Fleisch ensures Jay goes airborne again with a top rope ‘rana. Patrick hits a sliced bread off the ropes before Jay’s shooting star press off his brother’s back sees him land on his damned head. He’s able to recompose himself though, as the pair finish off Jody with a Hart Attack-style Blockbuster for the win.
This was a fun match, but one of those that had so much high risk stuff in it… that something was bound to go wrong. It wasn’t a wreck or anything, but this came across as a stunt show rather than a competitive match that this style’s evolved into… a true sign of BritWres past! ***
Charlie Sterling & Zack Gibson vs. The Lads From The Flats (Paddy M & Workie)
Sterling and Gibson have been working a pro-British act for the last few shows – so yeah, they get the expected heat in Ireland. They get chants of “Brexit”, and Gibson claims people voted for it because they’re ashamed to be associated with Ireland. That’s… a theory, I guess.
Charlie Sterling sings “God Save The Queen”, or at least tries to… he’s interrupted by the Lads from the Flats, and cue the strobe lighting! The Brits jump their opponents, but they’re overcome when Paddy hits a double-team neckbreaker on Gibson before the Lads hit stereo topes to the outside. Zack gets a TKO from Workie, then a senton bomb from Paddy, but of course it’s not going to end early, as Sterling pulls out the ref at the count of two.
The tide turns in the Brits’ favour, as they isolate Workie, which leads to what I can only describe as casual racism on all sides, along with copious double-teaming. Standard. Still, at least the crowd were solidly behind the Lads, especially as Workie comes back in with a sunset flip to Sterling… and you know where this is headed.
Yep, Sterling moons the crowd briefly, before Gibson fixes the malfunction.
Another malfunction occurs when Gibson’s pulled into the path of an axehandle from Sterling, and that lads to the hot tag to Paddy! Crossbodies from Paddy lead to some flying fists, before Gibson’s attempted cut-off ends with him taking an enziguiri. More dives as Paddy hits a tope con hilo as he ragdolls into the Brits.
Gibson wrenches over Paddy’s wrist ahead of the double knee gutbuster, before Sterling Spiral Tap gets a much delayed two-count. An attempted double-team powerbomb turns into an accidental DDT as Paddy frees himself and dropkicks Gibson, before Workie tags back in to unload with more punches. The Thesz press follows to Zack, as does a Sky High… but Workie decides to wait and drop Sterling with a Destroyer!
There’s still no cover as the Lads decide to finish off Charlie with a moonsault/reverse DDT… but Gibson shoves him down before grabbing the Irish flag… and threatens to rip it. That distracts everyone, allowing Sterling to punt Workie low before the Brits hit a stuff piledriver for the win. It keeps the story going, I guess, but the result was almost met with an obligatory boo rather than any kind of hatred. I’d have had the Lads win – by hook or by crook – but what do I know? The match was fine, but you got the sense the crowd didn’t buy into it much. **½
No Rules: Paul Tracey vs. Jimmy Havoc
Hey, the Social Elite is still a thing… and Paul Tracey is dressed in some… medieval garb? I… I have no words. It seems to draw more laughter, but I’m not sure if it’s just because of the costume.
Tracey attacks Havoc before the bell, and it’s clear he’s looking to end this before Havoc can get to any weapons… but he decides to roll outside as soon as Havoc starts hitting back, and that’s where things go downhill for the Lord of the Manor. A table’s pulled out by Havoc… then put back under the ring by Tracey, as he’s insisting that this no rules match remains technical. So he shows off some holds, and gets thrown into the ringpost. Figures.
Havoc goes back under the ring for plunder and gets some baking trays… which Tracey gets very familiar with, receiving and giving shots to the head, before Havoc just uses a chair instead. A toilet seat comes into play as Havoc makes Tracey wear it… before doing the decent thing and putting the seat down on his head. Yep, it’s a walk n’ brawl!
They head onto the stage where Tracey gets some beer spat at him, before the brawl leads to a teased suplex off the stage. Instead, we get a big crossbody off the stage from Havoc, who then goes for that table… and eventually puts Tracey through it with a death valley driver in the corner for a near-fall.
Havoc makes things a little more sadistic as he uses an 8×10 of himself to give Tracey some lovely papercuts between the fingers, before spreading a load of thumbtacks onto a chair. He feeds some to the Lord of the Manor too, then forces him to sit on some… but Tracey avoids a dive by hiptossing Jimmy onto the pin-riddled-chair.
Havoc calls for a Rainmaker, but Tracey avoids it and comes back with a headlock driver… but Havoc gets the Rainmaker at the second try for the win. Well, that escalated quickly, didn’t it? A fun match with Tracey painfully trying to keep it a straight match… but with Havoc in a no-rules outing, you’re always going to get pain. ***
Six Man Tag for OTT Tag Team Championship: CCK (Chris Brookes, Mondai Lykos & Travis Banks) vs. Kings of the North (Bonesaw, Damien Corvin & Dunkan Disorderly) (c)
The crack OTT graphics team is at it again – first giving us Johnny Storm earlier in the night, and now Chris Brooks. Chris Brookes’ golden ring has been cashed in for this trios match, where CCK will win the tag titles if they beat the Kings… but there’s no clue as to which two’ll get the belts.
CCK jump the Kings during their entrance, and this starts out with Lykos and Dunkan in the ring. Hey, Bonesaw’s got flashy dark blue gear, as it seems that’s this match’s colour scheme! The Kings target Lykos early, triple-teaming the dirty wolf on the way to some near-falls as it looked like the Kings were on the way to a straightforward defence.
Lykos cartwheels away from the top rope to bring in Brookes, who has some success against Corvin and Disorderly with a double Dragon screw, before dumping Corvin with a half-and-half suplex. Banks has a go with some uppercuts, but his set-up for a cannonball changes as CCK end up hitting a trio of Coast to Coast dropkicks instead!
The wolf flies with a springboard 450 to the floor – which may well have been where he dislocated his shoulder – as the match degenerated into a series of back-and-forth kicks amongst all six men. Corvin’s White Star lariat flips the wolf around, but Lykos recovers and goes for a top rope brainbuster… which is shoved away as he spills to the floor.
Brookes and Banks try to pick up where the wolf left off, but it’s blocked and turned into a monstrous tower of doom as Lykos comedically sunset flips to off the top to trigger the move. Lykos gets caught again with a fallaway slam off the middle rope by Bonesaw as the Kings again target him, and we then enter a litany of double- and triple-team offence from the champs.
Banks monsters up into a one-on-three beatdown, taking care of the Kings with suplexes before decking Corvin with a Fisherman’s driver for another near-fall. More sick bleeping tag moves ensue from both sides, with Bonesaw almost blocking the elevated Codebreaker before the back senton and double stomp earned a near-fall. A Full Moon from Lykos takes Corvin off the top rope, but the big lad catches Lykos’ crossbody and dumps him with the F-6 Counties. A missed lariat leads to more stuff from CCK, as Lykos gets off the brainbuster before Brookes’ double underhook piledriver somehow only gets a two-count from Corvin!
The Octopus nearly gets Brookes the win, but Corvin powers up into another F-6 Counties, but Bonesaw sneaks in with a kick to the head as the referee was distracted by Dunkan. As to why… Christ knows. The one time the ref was going to reinforce the rules, eh? That head kick leads to the pin, and given all of the wild action we had, that was a cheap finish in my book. Still, a fantastic match until then, as the Kings continue their march of destruction. ****
I’m not sure whether this is the curse of mad crowd mic’ing or not… but the crowd here sounds dead compared to their lively selves at the Tivoli…
Another backstage segment airs, with Joey Ryan and Candice LeRae going into Commissioner Foley’s office. Joey’s got a plan, but the acoustics are pretty bad… and he goes into a darkened office for some reason. In comes B. Cool and Angel Cruz – Cool wearing a shirt with Candice’s face on, and Angel with the “I’m A Jim Cornette Guy” tee.
Apparently Ryan wanted to wrestle Mick Foley… but because he realises Mick’s retired, he wants to resume his tag team with Candice. She refuses, and then accepts B. Cool’s offer of teaming with him. So I guess we get Cool and Candice against Joey Ryan and… Yup.
Ricochet vs. Matt Sydal
Don Marnell threatened to retire if these guys didn’t flip. That’s about as safe a bet as the New York Jets not making the Superbowl in 2018…
We start with that “skirmish, break, skirmish” pattern, as Ricochet went after Sydal’s arm, before the tempo slowly raised. Ricochet flips out of headscissors, and that sadly means we keep Don… but he’s gone oddly silent as Sydal’s tiltawhirl into a schoolboy got him a near-fall.
Sydal targets Ricochet’s left leg, looking to keep him as far away from anything aerial, and almost forces a submission with a variation of the Muta Lock. The leg work continues, but it seems jarring to the crowd who looked to have been expecting high-flying out of the gate… and not things like a running knee into the corner as Sydal edged further ahead.
Ricochet finally leaps back into it though, and clocks Sydal with a 619 around the corner as the effects of that legwork’s shaken off. A leaping knee from Sydal’s side-stepped as RIcochet tried for a Benadryller, before instead charging into Matt with a cutter and a standing shooting star press for a near-fall as the former tag team partners continued to tussle.
Another Benadryller’s attempted, but Sydal avoids it and lands a superkick, before watching his top rope ‘rana get countered as Ricochet landed on his feet. A headlock driver spikes Ricochet for a near-fall, but he gets up to avoid Air Sydal and goes back to the Benadryller, and yet again Sydal avoids it as Ricochet’s hesitation sees him take another kick to the head.
Sydal turns it up again with a satellite DDT out of the corner, but again… two-count! Air Sydal follows, but Ricochet rolls away and eventually lifts up Sydal for a lifting reverse DDT for a near-fall. A wheelbarrow out of nowhere gets Sydal a two, but Ricochet gets out and finally lands the Benadryller… for another near-fall!
Ricochet goes up to finish things off, and he nails a 630 splash with some aplomb… and that’s enough for the win! Well, this threatened to be the match that the Dublin crowd didn’t want… but it turned into quite the match at the end as Ricochet shrugged off endless attacks to his leg to stand tall at the end. ***¾
Joey Ryan & Angel Cruz vs. Candice LeRae & B. Cool
Candice and Cool wearing shirts with the other’s face on seemed to upset their previous partners… at least until the crowd sang Angel Cruz’s theme and demanded that Joey grease him up. When even Marnell calls for some wrestling, you know the pre-match shenanigans have gone on for too long!
Ryan instantly goes for the Penis Suplex shtick, leaving Candice nonplussed as B Cool complained. He eventually relents and teases… before punching Joey in the face. Except Joey’s dong is made of steel, and an atomic drop hurts Cool. Tags out take us to Candice being knocked down by Cruz’s shoulder, before she hits a dropkick… and yet again B Cool’s hesitant to attack his regular tag partner.
They get into a slapping match, before Cool goes for a brainbuster. Yeah, that move didn’t work for Lykos earlier, and I don’t think it’s going to work here. Ryan works over Cool with boot chokes in the corner, before Cruz decides to go all Undertaker with the Old School… but he can’t balance himself on the top rope, so Joey grabs a fan and gives him a lift up before Angel crotches himself!
A double brainbuster’s blocked, but Cool sends Cruz and Ryan into each other as Candice hits a flying ‘rana… but then she’s clubbered by a big forearm from Cruz, who gets booed for that man-on-woman violence. Angel’s told to leave, but he gets mad… and returns with a Jim Cornette tennis racquet. What the hell is this?
Cornette Face makes Ryan quiver, but Ryan no-sells the shot to the balls as this match continues with Cool and Cruz slugging it out… whilst Ryan and LeRae hug it out. Cruz and Cool hug too, and that accidentally leads to Joey touching Ryan’s dong. The Penis suplex follows, before Ryan shoves a lollipop in Cool’s mouth… then superkicks it out for the win. If you like the Joey Ryan shtick, you’ll like this. I’m not a fan, and this match was an uphill struggle from the get go. Officially, your winners are Joey Ryan and Angel Cruz, I guess. *
Post-match, Justin Shape, Logan Bryce and Gerry Humperdink hit the ring to beat down Cool and Cruz. Humperdink mocks Foley for even trying to ban them from the show, and of course, that’s the cue for Mick Foley to head to the ring. Yep, we get cheap pops as Foley introduces the “Mick and Prick Connection”… but Team Prick easily get wiped out by Humperdink’s croneys. Cool and Cruz get rid of Shape and Bryce, and we’re down to Foley and Humperdink. Mick even drops a rare F-bomb… as he punches out Gerry, then gives him Mr Socko.
Justin Shape throws powder at Foley as he threatened to fish-hook him… but instead Cool delivers a brainbuster as Joey Ryan wanders out again. Here’s your viral moment to piss off Jim Cornette: Foley thinks he’s giving Humperdink Mr Socko, but instead he’s got the claw on Joey’s dong… and so Mick takes the Penis suplex. Apart from him being commissioner giving him power to ban the bad guys, I’m not quite sure what the whole point of Foley being the storyline GM was… but eh, it got a reaction. Maybe not the roar you’d have expected, but it got something, I guess.
Maybe it’s me being a cynic, but asking your fans to chant doesn’t automatically make them “one of the most passionate, loyal fan groups”…
War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) & Jeff Cobb vs. British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate)
The ring announcer does the whole “War Machine rules” deal before the match, so that’s ruined their shtick! Yes, it’s another British Strong Style trios match, and yes, BSS are being pushed as a WWE trio, despite them being on different sides of the good/bad guy divide there.
BSS’ attempt at playing Paul earns them belly-to-belly suplexes, and then it’s everyone out on the floor. Poorly lit crowds plus six men brawling all over the place equals… my favourite kind of match to review!
We see Dunne throw a plastic title belt at Jeff Cobb as Moustache Mountain struggled against War Machine. Dunne tries to smash a bin lid onto Cobb’s hand… and then all we see is a lot of people climbing stairways, at which point I decide to take commentary’s advice – “let it wash over you”.
It’s the Fight Club: Pro special, but in a bigger venue. It’s wacky, it’s fun, but also increasingly hard to follow – either in the crowd or on VOD. Outside of the vacuum they exist in, I’ve never been a fan of these BSS trios matches, because they invariably don’t lead to anything. They’re a way to get them on the show without having to worry about storylines… and for my liking, they’ve long outlived their usefulness especially in the era where their matches are available online. It’s a model that worked best in the old territory days, “just for the house”.
So yeah, as much as I don’t like labelling these “greatest hits”, it’s a way to see everyone’s highlights – including plenty of big men flying. Hanson’s cannonball to the floor… a trio of superplexes… and lots and lots of forearms! Tyler gives Hanson an airplane spin, because yes, he’s freakishly strong, and it’s not long before we get Pedigrees to give Tyler enough of a breather to drop Hanson with a deadlift German.
Hanson shrugs off a pair of handspring back elbows to deck Dunne and Bate with one of his own, before British Strong Style set up for a monstrous Tower of Doom. A big splash from Hanson nearly gets the win over Trent, before Tyler goes stratospheric for a pop-up slam. In the end, Cobb takes a Trent piledriver, a Bitter End from Pete, and a Spiral Tap from Tyler for the win. Enjoyable stuff, but I’m cold to these matches at this point – and you got the sense that the parts of the crowd were starting to feel that way too… especially as they started to pelt the ring with glowsticks afterwards. Classy. ***¾
OTT Women’s Championship: Martina vs. Katey Harvey (c)
After originally winning the women’s title almost a year earlier in the tournament final at WrestleCon, Martina’s got her first chance to regain the belt she lost just two months later. Those who hadn’t thrown their glowsticks earlier created a neat visual for Martina’s entrance, showering the ring in those glowing plastic tubes.
Martina nearly ends it in seconds with a Seshbreaker out of the gate… but Harvey replies with a Gory Bomb as they trade near falls in the opening minute. On the outside, Martina suplexes Harvey into the chairs – which can’t have been good for Harvey’s injured shoulder – but she’s able to recover by suplexing Martina onto the stage… before Martina hits a flying crossbody off the stage into Harvey.
The back-and-forth continues back in the ring as a superplex gets Martina a two-count, as Harvey replied with a Liger Bomb… and it looks like Harvey’s busted her nose during a strike exchange. Martina takes an awkward suplex into the corner as another Gory Bomb dumps her in the ropes, before a second takes her down in the middle of the ring… but she still kicks out!
A Codebreaker out of the corner almost won it… but Harvey has her foot well out of the ring, so the count’s stopped as commentary reminds us of how that harkened back to the controversial finish in the original title match… but Martina ends up getting the win anyway with a top rope Seshbreaker as she regains the title! That was a fun sprint, and a decent match, even if it felt rushed… which considering how long some of the other stuff’s been is a bit odd. **¾
NLW Heavyweight Championship: Mark Haskins vs. Marty Scurll vs. Ryan Smile (c)
After Mark Haskins won… then lost the title on a Dusty Finish at last month’s Born To Be Wasted, he found himself added to the already-announced Ryan Smile/Marty Scurll title match. This was changed to an elimination match… and boy, wouldn’t it have been nice if our commissioner-for-the-night to show his face and say that himself?
Smile gets chants of “You’re Not Balor”, apparently because he’s wearing body paint. Surely the guy in the opener fits those chants better?
Haskins nearly shocks Smile at the bell with a headkick for a near-fall, before we go to Scurll and Haskins for a little while as they neutralise each other on the way to a square-off. Haskins does his level best to keep Smile on the outside, as does Marty, who tries for an apron superkick… only for that to be blocked as Haskins goes crazy with topes!
We get Smile and Haskins for a spell, with Haskins leaping into a double stomp before Smile just punts him in the chest as he tried a leapover in the corner. Next up… across the corner tope con hilo from Smile, before he counters Marty’s “Just Kidding” superkick. It’s fairly breathless stuff, largely sticking to the “two in, one out” formula, typified when Haskins ran in to hit a roll-up death valley driver for a near-fall on Scurll… seconds after he’d taken a superplex.
A Star Armbar follows from Haskins on Scurll… but Smile breaks it up. Yeah…
Haskins catches a springboard cutter and drops Smile in the Star Armbar, but that’s quickly broken via the ropes, only for Smile to fall into a chicken wing, with Haskins throwing in the Star Armbar as well in a bid to force a submission, but they roll into the ropes for a break.
Marty tries for a double chicken wing, but his arms really aren’t long enough to get it on… so he instead clears an Electric Chair from Haskins and Smile with a pair of “Just Kidding” superkicks. More superkicks… all the superkicks follow to kneeling Haskins and Smile, before Marty lands a Cross Rhodes for a near-fall.
Marty gets off the finger snap to Haskins, who drills him with a death valley driver for a two-count. Another one’s avoided as Haskins and the Villain keep countering, leading to an indyriffic set of near-falls, just in time for Smile to pick away the pieces with a missed Smile High splash. Smile takes a barrage of superkicks, before a double-team tombstone looked to do the job… but instead of covering Smile, Scurll just goes back after Haskins… and that was his downfall as Smile snuck in with a schoolboy as Marty was going for a chicken wing… eliminating the Villain!
By the time Marty leaves the ring, we’ve got ten minutes left on the video, so there’s not too much left in this marathon of a show! Smile slithers back in to jump Haskins with a shotgun dropkick, before a spinning back suplex and a high suplex looked to put the champ back in the driver’s seat. Another Smile High connects this time, but Haskins gets out at two!
A springboard cutter plants Haskins on his head, but Smile wants that exclamation mark, landing a Smile High to the back… but again, Mark kicked out at two! Smile teases a curb stomp, but Haskins swerves and lands the Made In Japan (pumphandle driver) for a very close near-fall. That’s followed up with a sit-out death valley driver, again for a two-count, before we get a ref bump as Smile shoves Haskins into the official.
We get a callback to last month as Smile punts Haskins low, then goes for the title belt – after a fan tries to get involved – and that belt’s smashed into the challenger’s head. A curb stomp onto the belt follows, and although the ref’s awake… he only gets a delayed two-count off! So Smile goes for another Smile High, but he spends too long mouthing to the crowd, and misses as Haskins burst back into life, rolling Smile down into a Sharpshooter… and despite getting the ropes, Haskins pulls him away and forces the submission! A hell of a main event, with Haskins getting his just desserts after last month’s screwy finish in a match that echoed his title win on another company’s big show last year… ****¼
For a while I’ve had a love/hate relationship with OTT, but this latest supershow is more than enough for now. A lot of this show came off as cold, largely due to the lack of crowd reactions until the bigger matches rolled around. Ironically, September’s “WrasslePops” show looks to have some intrigue to it in the form of the “Cereal Bowl” match… but I’m already meeting my RDA of supercards from other promotions – and those at least have some semblance of storylines in there! I’m not saying that OTT isn’t a major promotion, but it’s also quite telling that – outside of Ireland, at least – the law of diminishing returns is taking hold. Outside of those who go to these shows, there’s surprisingly little buzz for a show with some of these names on. Maybe it’s the big names working for other promotions that have buzz? Maybe it’s the fact that 50% of today’s card were just matches thrown out there?