Jordan Devlin went to Belfast for his first defence of the OTT title – but would leave with a Big Hangover…
Banjaxed – a slang Irish term that means one of three things: you’re tired, you’re broken or you’re drunk. Perhaps something you can describe the Dublin venue situation with, but hopefully not this show! A huge hat’s off to OTT for getting this show online about 24 hours after the final bell. That puts 5-7 days to shame, as well as other promotions whose B-shows are taking weeks. Revolutionary.
It’s back to the Europa Hotel in Belfast, and we open with a video package before we see Aonghous McAnally in the ring alongside the still-sockless Tony Kelly. There’s a huge cheer in Belfast when Tony Kelly tried to crack wise about Theresa May quitting as Prime Minister…
Full Steam Space Machine (Calum Black & Scotty Davis) vs. Only True Pros (Liam Royal & Michael May) vs. The Mongrels (Eddie Stone & Russell Dempster)
Scotty Davis being thrown into a tag team is certainly a move, but one I’m trying not to read too much into after his less-than-stellar outing against Jushin Thunder Liger. After all, Scotty’s still a wee kid…
I popped big for May and Royal’s TruPro logo. You gotta want it.
This was the in-ring redebut of May and Royal, who’ve been repackaged as a tandem that’s sick of the comedy and gimmicks in OTT. Think along the same lines as Nathan Cruz or Zack Gibson, and you’re there. Meanwhile, the Mongrels were down one Gavin Fitz, having chucked him from the group last time out.
Davis surprises Eddie Stone early with some Gator rolls, before tags took us to Calum Black and Russell Dempster… and his shiny gold and black singlet. A leapfrog and a lariat from Black sends Dempster outside, before Liam Royal came in to cut off Scotty Davis’ tope attempt. I guess they’re anti-dives?
Michael May comes in to instantly ragdoll Davis with a German suplex, as he showed no love for his former Legit 100 buddy. Scotty tries to come back with a double leg takedown, but he’s taken into the corner as Royal came in to wear him down. The Mongrels take their turn on Scotty too, with a choke and a double chop in their corner wearing down Davis, before Dempster’s legdrop earned him a near-fall. Royal returns to cut off Davis, then shove down Calum Black off the apron ahead of a sweet slingshot spinebuster as OTP were on firm. OTP and the Mongrels got into a brief shoving battle, which gave Davis time to climb the ropes and moonsault into them, before a hot tag brings in Black to clear house.
Black runs wild with knee strikes until May’s missile dropkick left him down. Scotty’s saved by a pounce from Black, before he lifted him to the outside for a back body drop that turned into a corkscrew plancha! Back in the ring, Royal popped up Davis into a backbreaker, before handing him off for May’s elevated German suplex… but Dempster breaks up the cover and tries to turn things around himself.
Davis ends up catching Dempster, dumping him with a German before a lariat-assisted Supremacy led to the win. A fun three-way tag, although I’d liked to have seen more from the OTPs. Handled well, that duo has a real good future here. ***¼
Rene Dupree, Justy & Sammy D vs. Club Tropicana (Captain Sexsea & Aidan) & The Fabulous Nicky
Holy crap, they dug up the old La Resistance theme for Renee, who was billed as a former WWE champion. Well, in the loosest of senses, I guess he’s not wrong.
We start with comedy as Nicky finds a way to fish-hook Justy up the arse… before the stinky finger makes everyone wretch. Sexsea and Sammy are in next, with Sammy charging him repeatedly into the corner before a sunset flip ended rather unconventionally. That brings in Rene Dupree, who was glove-slapped… and instantly replied with a slam and the French Tickler. It’s easy work, this.
Nicky joins, in as does Justy, as we get a Human Centipede French Tickler, which Sammy D lost the rhythm of before the move turned into a domino effect of mule kicks. Everyone heads outside as Rene digs out some baguettes from under the ring, while Club Tropicana brought out their oars for a duel.
The oars beat the bread, hands down, before Tropicana tied up Justy in a Paradise lock for a paddling. Yep, it broke two of the oars. The third one survived because Sammy and Renee turned things around, as they looked to focus on Aidan, scoring a two-count off of an elbow drop.
Justy’s back in, but he can’t avoid Aidan’s atomic drop before retaliating with a low blow as someone threw in a baguette. A running knee from Sammy nearly puts Aidan away, but he manages to fight free and make a tag as Sexsea and Nicky went to work. There’s a really nice double-team cutter to Dupree before a mini superkick party broke out.
Justy massively telegraphs a leap off the top, and ends up getting crotched into the corner for the slip ‘n’ slide headbutt, before the Careless Whisper – side Russian legsweep and running Blockbuster combo – puts Justy away. Some solid work among the comic relief here, although your mileage will probably vary. **¾
David Starr vs. Sean Guinness
The David Starr entrance music jukebox gave us the House of the Rising Sun, and even though he’s still feuding with Jordan Devlin, the nuclear heat against him has subsided. Despite wearing the dílseacht trunks…
At the bell, Starr heads outside and tosses something from a fan, as the crowd began to get on his back with chants of “you’re never beating WALTER”. Starr seemed to ignore those as he took down Guinness in an attempt to stomp on his hands… only for Guinness to escape and tease a receipt.
That seemed to anger Starr, who goes in with an inverted Figure Four early on, turning it into a leg spreader, before a deathlock was shoved away. Starr looks to be targeting Guinness’ legs, but he didn’t have an answer for some pace as a dropkick caught the SSS16 winner unawares.
Guinness lights him up with some chops though, but Starr kicks out before we even got a one-count, and quickly goes back to Guinness’ left knee, driving it into the mat, then wrapping it around the ropes. Starr gets in the ref’s face, which just gives Guinness time to settle, allowing him to rise and go after Starr with an enziguiri, before a powerbomb went bad as Guinness’ knee gave out.
Guinness heads out to recover, but he’s caught in the ropes with a Dragon screw as Starr looked to stay on the body part. Bridging back in a deathlock for a near-fall as Starr seemed to want to pin him with a submission hold. An attempt to fight back led to Guinness backflipping onto the bad leg, then scoring with a leg lariat… again, using the injured body part, as the referee continually asked if he wanted to forfeit.
Still, Guinness keeps chopping through Starr, before some body blows led to Starr covering up. A head kick out of the corner had Starr all woozy, as Guinness headed to the top rope, pushing away Starr before flying with a missile dropkick. Problem was, the landing on that aggravated the knee, and gave Starr another opening as a knee breaker and a Figure Four has Guinness in trouble, only for him to roll the hold over as Starr was suddenly on the verge of tapping.
Starr rolls it back over though, before Guinness got to the rope… where he’s met with more stomps and kicks to the knee, as Starr just shoved him out of the ring like he was rubbish. Starr tried to get the ref to throw out the match because Guinness couldn’t stand… but when that didn’t happen, he just threw him back into the ring before trashtalking him some more.
Guinness needs the ropes, but he can’t quite do it as Starr brought Jordan Devlin’s name into it, saying that Devlin’s the only reason he’s been booked on these shows. The crowd actually applaud that, which is getting us dangerously into how Eddie Dennis became a bad guy who everyone agreed with in PROGRESS 18 months ago. Eventually Guinness gets to his feet, but he just as quickly falls… and the referee throws the match out. A weird ending, but one that makes a tonne of sense given the story they told here – and as part of Starr’s direction, I loved this. ***½
OTT Women’s Championship: Valkyrie vs. Raven Creed (c)
Ahead of this match, the new OTT Women’s title belt was brought to the ring – they’ve finally dumped the generic belt for a customised strap that is very much in keeping with the men’s title.
CT Flexor seems to have joined Valkyrie and Debbie Keitel as a woke queen… or a woke king, I guess?
Valkyrie and Creed start with a long tie-up into the corner, before the opening flurry ended with Creed taking down Valkyrie with a double-handed chop. Creed follows her out though, taking her into the crowd for some more chops before bouncing Valkyrie’s head off the back of a chair.
Back in the ring, Valkyrie took over, pulling Creed off the top rope before she put the boots to the Cork native. An axe kick dropped her for a two-count, as did a Kofi Kingston-like double legdrop. Valkyrie keeps up as Creed stayed on the mat, throwing kicks and an elbow drop for a near-fall, before she slowed down the pace with a neck crank on the mat.
Creed mounts a comeback with an ankle lock, but she’s rolled through into a faceplant as Valkyrie stayed on top – much to the restrained excitement of Flexor at ringside. Valkyrie begins to target the arm of Creed, who egged on her challenger… and yes, Valkyrie obliged. Debbie Keitel tries to start an ironic “blue hair, no fans” chant, but the crowd took a while to reply as Creed caught Valkyrie out of the corner with a stacked up German suplex. A leg lariat from Valkyrie’s caught and turned into a Blue Thunder bomb for a near-fall, before a series of standing switched ended when Creed ran in with a diving knee for a near-fall.
From the kick-out, Creed grabs Valkyrie’s ankle and cinches in an ankle lock, pulling Valkyrie away from the ropes before Debbie Keitel got involved to help pull her into the ropes. Creed responds by heading outside to chop the tar out of Keitel, before she bounced her off of the ring post for good measure.
Valkyrie finds a second wind, landing a shotgun dropkick and a leg lariat as Creed got back in the ring. There’s a huge lariat to deck a running Valkyrie, before CT Flexor came in to distract the referee… that masks Debbie Keitel spraying something in Creed’s eyes, before Valkyrie flew in with the Death Note flying axe kick off the top for the win! Perhaps a little muted, given the general lack of appearances for Creed and Valkyrie on the bigger shows/ As for the wider story, I’ve got my eye on OTT’s debut in Cork for a possible payback for Creed… **¾
OTT World Tag Team Championship: Besties In The World (Davey Vega & Mat Fitchett) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c)
There’s a big part of me that finds it weird how Tyler Bate’s pretty much off of all indys in the UK… except in Northern Ireland.
We start out slowly, with Bate and Fitchett going back and forth with wristlocks and hammerlocks, before Seven and Vega tagged in to keep that motif going. Headscissors from Vega give Belfast a chance to do some karaoke before Trent kipped out.
After some brief double-teaming from the Besties, the champions eased into a lead, with Tyler Bate grounding Vega with an armbar. Bate and Seven proceed to isolate Vega, swapping tags and keeping him in their corner, before a brutal chop felled Davey. Time and again.
Vega thought he’d outwitted Trent when he ducked a chop, but Tyler’s quickly brought in as that motif continues. Quick tags, lots of chops, and a bloodied chest. Mat Fitchett makes the save, but can’t help as Tyler held Vega in a camel clutch, as Davey needed to stand up and back Bate into the corner, before a back suplex finally got him free.
Trent tags in and looked to cut off Vega, to boos, but Davey rolls through to get to his corner… and here comes Fitchett with enziguiris and overhead kicks! A High Fly Flow crossbody cracks Trent in the head, as does a running knee, but it’s only enough for a two-count as Trent cut off some superkicks with an Emerald Frosion. Tags get us back to Tyler and Vega… Davey can’t avoid body blows or a knee lift, before his attempt at a leaping forearm was caught and turned into an Exploder. Tyler follows it up with a running shooting star press, as I’m wondering just when on earth the Besties will be able to get out of neutral.
Vega boots away a rebound clothesline and superkicks the taste out of Tyler, as they finally got going. A Giant Swing and a standing moonsault combo’s picturesque, but only good for a two-count, as Tyler began to fight back, landing bop/bangs for fun before he looked to superplex Fitchett into Vega… only for Tyler to get shoved down into a German suplex. Fitchett quickly follows with a big splash for a near-fall, with Trent barely breaking it up in time.
All four men hit the ring, with Trent’s aggression seeing his backfist diverted to Tyler, who then got cornered for a pair of diving boots before a kick-assisted Blackheart Buster almost caused the win. The Besties looked to finish it off, but Trent helps reverse a tombstone as Tyler came within a hair’s breadth of getting the win… and after taking out Fitchett with a tope, we got even closer as a clothesline-assisted Dragon suplex gets another two, before a flying knee-assisted Burning Hammer led to the win. Well, this was suitably great – perhaps a little too one-sided for the champions in the early going, but for a first defence, this was almost like a throwback to Moustache Mountain before things got a little silly with all those comedy trios matches. ***¾
They replay the Tucker promo video where he recalled getting signed for the WWE in what was the precursor to NXT UK. He talked about getting concussed at Download, which knocked his confidence, and eventually… a release. This segued into Tucker asking to face WALTER, as he wanted to see if he really could still go.
Tucker vs. WALTER
You know if this match had ever happened on NXT UK, it’d have been totally unheralded. Yet here we are, a match with Tucker, who rarely figures in OTT outside of these Belfast shows, has a featured match. The wonders of promoting.
WALTER’s swapped out his OTT belt for the NXT UK strap since he was last here, and since he’s no longer directly tied to Jordan Devlin, he’s not getting as much heat as before. Tucker tries to circle WALTER at the start, but he’s instantly taken down by the arm by the Austrian, then again with a standing headlock takedown. In terms of raw power, Tucker’s got no chance… and the split crowd perhaps reflected that. Even if Tony Kelly’s maths meant that this crowd was 110% full…
After getting dropped on the ropes, Tucker comes back with body blows and some kicks before a sunset flip proved fruitless, with WALTER taking him into the corner. He escapes though, eventually landing a ‘rana to take WALTER outside, keeping him there with dropkicks before WALTER faked him out, dragging the local lad to the outside for good measure.
Tucker manages to surprise when he shoved WALTER into the apron before a 619-like kick… but a ‘rana off the ring is caught and turned into a powerbomb on the hardest part of the structure. From there, it’s pretty much all WALTER for a while, as he chopped Tucker off the turnbuckles, then booted him to the floor, as the carpet in the Europa Hotel proved to offer precious little cushioning.
Clubbering forearms through the ropes don’t make Tucker’s chances any better, nor does an elbow to the head… but WALTER’s forearms get caught as Tucker worked over the arm, before he leapt into the Austrian’s arms for a slam and a nonchalant kick to the back of the head. A Lion Tamer’s next, turning it into a cravat crossface as Tucker was forced into the rope for a break.
WALTER goes for another chop, but gets stopped with an enziguiri before a Slingblade dropped him for barely a two-count. Tucker flips out of a German suplex before he scored with a multi-jump springboard DDT, then a senton bomb for a near-fall… with WALTER still having way too much in the tank. Kicks to WALTER’s legs help wear him down, before Tucker leapt into a chop for a near-fall, which angered WALTER a little.
Tucker lands the SDK superkick out of desperation, but it sends WALTER sailing to the outside. Tucker gets the crowd to help WALTER up, and it works! Problem was, WALTER getting back in the ring first backfired as a big boot and a powerbomb dropped Tucker, ahead of a nasty lariat that finally put Tuck Dog away. A valiant fight, but perhaps the result everyone expected. Now, let’s see if Tucker can get on shows south of the border… ***½
OTT World Championship: Jake Atlas vs. Jordan Devlin (c)
It was an OTT debut for Atlas, who’s been impressing on the west coast of the US – but perhaps this was a poisoned chalice for Jake, whose sparkly coat put Tony Kelly to shame.
It’s a cagey opening here as Devlin looked to work over Atlas’ arm in the early going, to the point that Atlas realised he needed to up his game, and fast. There’s a nice springboard armdrag out of the corner before Atlas went sky high with a lucha armdrag and a dropkick for a two-count. Chops take Devlin into the corners, where he’s met with a step-up knee, only for the champion to come back with the Air Jordan uranage/standing moonsault combo for a near-fall.
Atlas headed outside, but he couldn’t avoid an apron PK, nor an Orihara moonsault, before David Starr decided to wander out and watch from the front row. Devlin looked to be nursing his ribs as he proceeds to chop Atlas, then dump him with a back elbow off the ropes, before the match headed outside, where Devlin avoided getting a Brookesing, before he found himself eating a tope from Atlas.
Back in the ring, Atlas measures up for a springboard spear that got him a near-fall, before the American began to work over Devlin with some knees to the ribs. A kick to the back gets Atlas a near-fall as the crowd began to die down… so much so that you could hear Starr’s sarcastic attempts to gee up Devlin. A full nelson gives Devlin something to fight out of, before he came back with a wheelbarrow roll into a double stomp.
A back cracker out of the corner keeps Devlin ahead, but the slingshot cutter is caught and turned into a German suplex by Atlas, who just ran into a Spanish fly as the momentum continues to shift. Devlin tries to add to that with the Devlinside Saito suplex, but Atlas countered into a Code Red, then a modified Gory bomb for a pair of near falls.
Devlin tries to get back in with a slingshot cutter, landing it for a near-fall, before he missed on a standing moonsault. A rolling death valley driver, a PK and a standing moonsault from Atlas all connect for a near-fall – but you get the feeling that with Starr in the crowd, people aren’t buying an Atlas win. Even less so. Atlas whiffs on an LGBDDT – a cartwheel DDT off the top rope – and the crowd dies a little more there. That’s the downside of high risk stuff like that…
He heads back up, only to get caught with a gamengiri by Devlin, then a Spanish Fly off the top before a snap Devlinside got the win. This was fine for an opening title defence, but the second Starr came out, you sensed there were bigger things at play. ***½
Speaking of Starr, he commandeers the mic straight away and mocks Jake Atlas before he got into the ring. Those few fans who were cheering Starr were quickly on his back as he declared that promotions like ROH and PROGRESS found out that he couldn’t be silenced. That wasn’t the only PROGRESS mention, as Starr waited for the crowd to die down… coughing a little to start it up again. Beautiful heat.
Starr claimed that Devlin owed him a shot at the OTT title… and after taking some more digs, Devlin issued a reply. Perhaps saying “you’ve never beaten me” wasn’t such a good move, particularly when it happened in another promotion earlier in the month… and yeah, Starr breaks the fourth wall, acknowledging the finals of Super Strong Style 16 in PROGRESS.
In response to being told that there’s more than just OTT, Devlin decides to play a similar card: to get to a title shot, Starr’s got to go through WALTER. The crowd roared before he even said it, and my God.. the look on Starr’s was a picture. A glorious way to keep the fires going for that three-way feud.
But wait, we’re not done. As Devlin headed to the back, he was attacked through the curtain by Sean Guinness, who took Devlin into the ring post. Starr’s looking thrilled at this development, particularly when Guinness threw Devlin into the ring, then followed up with a belt shot. While Jordan Devlin thinks he’s outsmarted Starr, it looks like the Product’s playing him at his own game, taking away another part of Devlin’s group.
Devlin may have won tonight, but he was left in the ring, with a big hangover.
With OTT having to rejig what they run and when, a lot of the (former) “smaller” shows have become must-see. In years gone by, these Belfast cards were seen as little more than spot shows, barely keeping storylines going. Now, with the Tivoli gone and little else going on aside from Contenders shows, Belfast has become OTT’s default home for their storyline-progressing shows.
While Banjaxed may not have had a match that’d reach out and grab you, it’s still a worthwhile show for the development of the Devlin/Starr/WALTER triad – all done without feeling overly forced. Next up for OTT is WrestleRama 3 from the National Basketball Arena in Dublin – a show that’ll deliver, even if the lack of regular shows means that aside from the top matches, we’ve not had much build for anything.