With the dust still settling on Scrappermania, OTT returned to Belfast for a show that saw David Starr try to boost his title credentials.

From the Europa Hotel in Belfast, the latest “Live in Belfast” show (before it got retitled afterwards) started with chants of “Where is Foxy?” as Joel Allen was in as referee for thus show. Aonghus og McAnally and the sockless Tony Kelly are here (this time, live) for commentary. There was a late change to the show as Jordan Devlin pulled out – so we’ve a slightly tweaked card.

Curtis Murray & Steven Carvel vs. Angel Cruzers (Angel Cruz & B. Cool)
It’s a Belfast show, so that means we’ve got another appearance from Steven Carvel. I still don’t know what “The View” is.

Apparently Angel Cruz was incarcerated after the police arrested him for his lawnmower assault at ScrapperMania. B Cool tells the crowd that, and gets jumped before the bell… he tries to return with a Hurricane-like double chokeslam, but to no avail as Murray and Carvel, whose entrance video called them “Just a couple of heels” took control. B Cools’ repeatedly thrown to the outside as the referee had more care for the crowd than anyone else… and that seemed to fire up B. Back inside, a back body drop sends Murray flying, before Angel Cruz came through the entry way, shoving down a policeman before… tagging in?!

He’s still handcuffed though, but he’s able to use it to his advantage as he caught Carvel in a sleeperhold, breaking the cuffs in the process. A tope con giro from Cruz wipes out the front row and Carvel outside, before Murray’s search for a brainbuster was shoved away, as he instead had to make do with a senton-assisted reverse DDT for a near-fall. Carvel got involved, but he accidentally knocked down Murray and ended up taking a superkick-assisted brainbuster as Joel Allen, ever the stickler, counted the stacked up pin. This was alright for what it was, and you have to think Carvel/Murray is going to be a feud soonish? **½

Justy & Sammy D vs. More Than Hype (Darren Kearney & Nathan Martin)
Calling Justy the “most toxic man in OTT” is certainly a brand… they’re both here with a hand-less Rick after the lawnmower incident at ScrapperMania. Christ, Justy’s even had a shave… who are you?!

It’s all pretty chaotic from the start as Kearney and Martin shrugged off a double-team attempt to take the bad guys outside for topes. Justy tries to get involved, but he’s just tossed outside as Sammy D took a barrage of offence… before Rick ran in and was sent out a la Justy. There’s some brawling on the outside as Justy trolled the crowd a little, while Darren Kearney got hung up in the turnbuckles. Joel throws a fit about how lax Justy and Sammy’s tags are, which is one of my favourite things: refs complaining about them not doing their own job!

Kearney leapfrogs over a chop block attempt, but can’t quite get the tag out as Sammy D continued the work over the knee. Eventually Kearney fought free and made a tag into Nathan Martin, who unloaded on both men as he punted Justy off the apron, before a tope con giro crashed into the shaven former Gymnasty. Kearney’s brought back in, perhaps too quickly, but More Than Hype hit a high/low… only for Rick to distract the ref. He’s thrown into the ring as they threaten to go after his stump, but the distraction worked as Justy and Sammy got back into it. A superkick dropped Kearney for a near-fall, before there’s some old school cheating as Justy worked a figure four – complete with Sammy D’s assistance.

Eventually Nathan makes a save, pushing away Rick before he helped out on a superkick-assisted Angels’ Wings for the win. Well, that was fun while it lasted, as More Than Hype start to build a winning run. **¾

Tucker vs. AJ Istria
Since reportedly parting ways with NXT UK, this seems to be the only place you hear of Tucker these days.

Istria got straight into Tucker’s face before the bell, and the pace was quite high from the off as the Australian swiftly took Tucker down for a cross armbar… but there’s an equally-quick escape as the two scrambled for an advantage. Tucker flips over a dropdown, then finds his mark with a ‘rana before he backflipped for… reasons ahead of a diving back elbow. Hey, it gets the crowd going! An arm whip from Istria stops the momentum though, as he continued to focus on Tucker’s left arm with strikes. Chops trap Tucker in the corner before a chinbar added further pressure to the Northern Irishman’s arm. There’s a Dragon screw-like whip to the arm as it looked like the Aussie was trying to detach the limb, following up with some arm breakers that Tucker tried to fight back from.

Eventually a Slingblade from Tucker gets him free, before a uranage-like takedown earned him a near-fall. He followed that up by heading to the top rope, but he sentons nastily into Istria’s knees, providing a crunching impact as Istria came right in with a cross armbar that also ended in the ropes. Some Kawada-style kicks from AJ keep him in front as a Dragon suplex led to a near-fall… then more arm work as he tried to pop the joint with a stomp. From there, Istria tees up for a superkick, but instead runs in with a roll-up for a near-fall… Tucker took his time to kip up out of that for an enziguiri, only to get caught with a roll-through armbar. Tucker escapes and clobbers Istria with another superkick, and that’s enough for the come from behind win – a hell of a performance from Istria, who I think may well click with crowds on his European tour. ***

Woke Queens (Debbie Keitel & Valkyrie) vs. Raven Creed & Amy Allonsy
Despite coming up short at ScrapperMania, the Woke Queens are still antagonising Raven Creed – and in this bout, Amy Allonsy will have something to say after their antics against her at the ill-fated Contenders show. A bit they mocked during their entrance…

They’re jumped at the bell, but they quickly slide outside… where Creed and Allonsy charged them into each other, then into the ring post. A low blow from Creed has Keitel reeling, before she looked to chase Valkyrie around ringside, knocking her down with chops. Keitel’s back to take over with chops and a face-washing boot in the corner on Creed as Allonsy’s down on the outside. Valkyrie’s strikes keep Creed down, but you feel it’s only a matter of time before her comeback, especially after Creed was sent into the ropes for a slap from the floor. Creed’s kept in the wrong corner as the struggle continued, but she finally Judo throws Valkyrie away before bringing in Allonsy. A shotgun dropkick from Amy dispatches Valkyrie, before an enziguiri dropped Keitel, who got charged into the turnbuckles with a bulldog. Corner-to-corner uppercuts from Amy allowed her to keep the Woke Queens down on her own, before a double legdrop found its mark for a near-fall on Keitel.

Creed returns to catch Valkyrie with a chop on the top rope, but Keitel runs in to help crotch Creed as a pair of low dropkicks had Creed down in the corner for another two-count. Allonsy makes a save, only to get wrecked with a clothesline as Valkyrie ended up eating a nasty DDT from Creed, before she shocked the champion with a small package for the win. That’s twice Creed’s lost in tags as champion to the Woke Queens, perhaps Valkyrie’ll have more luck in an inevitable title match? **¾

LJ Cleary vs. Terry Thatcher vs. Session Moth Martina
Commentary were painting this as “can Martina keep it serious, or will she slip into old habits” after her loss to Meiko Satomura at ScrapperMania.

We start with an argument between LJ and Martina over who ought to be the Gender Neutral champion… before they snapped Thatcher’s braces into himself as he tried to interject. Doh. Despite that, Martina and Thatcher worked together to get Cleary out of the ring, before they broke into some ref-trolling near-falls, that ended with LJ somehow getting a sweet double two-count on Martina and Thatcher at the same time. Chops from LJ just make people mad, but he’s able to avoid Martina’s ire as he proceeded to give Thatcher a back body drop for a two-count. He kept his focus on Thatcher while keeping Martina on the outside as he had to block a reverse ‘rana by clinging onto the top rope. Martina finds her way back in with a senton off the top, following up with forearms before a clothesline took everyone down.

A tope followed to the outside, but back in the ring Martina’s forced to fight out of a superplex… only for Thatcher to set it off with a powerbomb anyway! The three-way stuff continued with Martina clocking LJ with a headkick, only for Thatcher to make a save as the focus again shifted to him and LJ. Martina tries again, this time edging back in with forearms and an enziguiri to LJ.

LJ makes the save as Thatcher was about to take a suplex, only to shove Terry into the corner as some more frenetic action ended with Clearly crashing into Thatcher with some Wrecking Ball knees. An enziguiri to Martina gets a near-fall as LJ was trying to pin anyone here, but it was not to be as Martina proved her resilience. Thatcher tests that with a superkick before he caught Martina at the second time with the Dethatched neckbreaker… and that’s enough for the win. Apparently that gets him a shot at the GN title… and it’s another heartbreaking loss for Martina after a cracking triple-threat. ***¼

The Mongrels (Eddie Stone, Gavin Fitz & Russell Dempster) vs. Club Tropicana (Captain Sexsea & Aidan) & Fabulous Nicky
There was a slight tease of in-fighting between the Mongrels during their entrance, ahead of this rematch from the last Belfast show.

We had a flash roll-up at the bell as Fitz tried to roll up Sexsea, but he barely got a one-count as we were all about comedy early, as the Mongrels kept botching breaking up the pin, repeatedly attacking their man in the process. From there, all six men come in for the tease of a Conga line German suplex, only for Sexsea to distract the ref with a loose turnbuckle pad so he could whack Fitz below the belt with an oar. Wash, rinse and repeat, with Stone… but they couldn’t do the same with Dempster, who was just too big. So they pratfall him before they went for a golf swing, using the oar on Dempster’s rear. Stone comes back as Nicky was looking for a triple-team, and the Mongrels turn it around from there, at least until Nicky found a way through with a big boot.

Aidan gets the tag – ever the loveable underdog in OTT – and he manages to send Stone flying with an Exploder suplex. There’s no such luck with Dempster, as he went back to Stone with an airplane spin, complete with boot swipes from Sexsea for the hell of it. Problem was, it made Aidan dizzy, and therefore vulnerable as Dempster threw him outside… meaning nobody could make the save as Sexsea took a back cracker and a diving boot. Nicky tries to fight back, but gets sent outside as Fitz threatened a dive… but took so long to set it up that his dive was him just getting knocked off the apron and held as Sexsea hit a slip n’ slide headbutt out of the ring. From there, Fitz eats the Careless Whisper – a side Russian legsweep and a running Blockbuster – and that’s another loss for the Mongrels, who’ll be more fractious than ever you’d think. A solid match, with plenty of action and comedy that kept things moving along nicely. ***

Post-match, Stone and Dempster stare down Fitz, who offered a handshake to make things up. Except everyone walks away and leaves him behind as the crowd actually chanted for him.

Flip Gordon vs. David Starr
This was Flip’s first match back from injury… and sadly his last one before another injury as he seemingly re-injured his knee in this outing. Starr’s revolving entrance music stopped on “House of the Rising Sun”, and he jumps Gordon before the bell before stopping to neatly fold-up his PROGRESSIVE JEW shirt.

He’s got his priorities, that’s for sure.

Gordon fights back with chops before a monkey flip sends Starr outside. Flip followed with some high fives to the crowd, which just wound up Starr… so he ends up taking a superkick as he continued to moan. A PK and a standing moonsault back inside gets Gordon a two-count as Starr rolled outside, this time getting caught in the front row with a chop as he tried to talk the ref into throwing out the match. Starr looked to target the knee, throwing Gordon into a chair knee-first, before sending him deep into a confused crowd. After breaking the ref’s count, Starr goes back to the knee with various offence, including a leg sweep that saw him kick Gordon’s leg out of his leg… right as the crowd mocked Starr.

A Pretty Pumped inverted slam drops Gordon for a near-fall, before a version of an Indian deathlock forces Gordon to drag himself to the ropes for a break. Gordon stops himself short as he was whipped into the corner, but it seems to be a ruse as he catches Starr in the ropes with an enziguiri before a slingshot Blockbuster brought him back in from the apron. Gordon tries to fight back, and succeeds with a crossbody off the middle rope, only for Starr to kick away the leg… a second crack at Pretty Pumped is countered into a DDT as Gordon found another way back in, nearly winning with a Falcon arrow. A cartwheel kick from Starr turns it right back his way though, before the Blackheart Buster almost led to victory.

The pair trade forearms back-and-forth from there, but Starr goes back to the knee to regain the upper hand… then curry favour with the crowd by mocking some of Gordon’s past statements. Flip Matrix’s away from a clothesline, but can’t avoid a thrust kick before he wheelbarrow’d thru a German suplex and into a version of the Regal Stretch, ending when Starr got a foot to the rope. Starr uses the referee to crotch Gordon in the turnbuckles, and once Flip crashed back to earth, it was pretty elementary as Starr stomped over Gordon’s knee some more, before he rolled Flip into the old Edgucator – the Republican Remorse – for the quick submission. Whatever injury Flip picked up must have been early on as his usual game wasn’t in force here… but in spite of that he was able to gut through the pain. Hopefully, after recovery, Flip won’t be waiting too long for his next return. ***½

Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) & Travis Banks vs. Kings of the North (Bonesaw & Damien Corvin) & Scotty Davis
So the Kings of the North are only exiled from Dublin it seems, as they’re here despite losing the Loser Leaves Town match at ScrapperMania.

The Antipodean trio jump their opponents at the bell, but things quickly break down as Dunkzilla took a White Star Line while Fletcher ate some similar triple-teams. Travis Banks has a go too, as the Supreme Kings were having the best of the early going, building up into a nice tope from Corvin. The brawl spills outside as things got wacky in and around ringside as the camera crew struggled to keep up with the happenings. I swear Kyle slammed Mini Joey Cabray onto Bonesaw, then onto Corvin, before we got…

Travis Banks snapmaring Scotty Davis into Dunkzilla’s groin. Yup. This is madness! Bonesaw returns the favour with Little Joey as commentary had no idea what to call. Unfortunately at first “Corvin” sounds like “boring” when chanted, but it quickly gave way as we finally had a match break out, with Scotty Davis Gator Rolling Travis Banks to hell and back as he shone a little. That shine got tarnished as Aussie Open double teamed him, then went outside into the Kings with topes as Banks’ springboard stomp drew a near-fall. A single chop in the corner from Banks dropped Scotty, before Fletcher came in and kept up the pressure with a simple body slam for a near-fall.

Mark Davis increases the pain for Scotty with some body blows, before a snap body slam dropped Scotty as he tried to fight back. Size and inexperience, this time, were two things he couldn’t overcome right now. Aussie Open double-team him some more, but again Scotty fought back against Travis Banks, who seemed to be the weaker link of his side. Scotty begins to overpower Banks out of a wristlock, but he can’t avoid a series of kicks… so instead he caught one and turned it into a Regal plex that almost ended badly. Aussie Open return to overwhelm the youngster, succeeding too as the crowd let them know what they thought. Another chop led to a very cocky pin from Dunkzilla, as Scotty was left trapped in the wrong corner before he once again fired up on Banks… and this time snuck past the Aussies with a Quebrada before tagging in Corvin!

Corvin unloads on Davis and Fletcher with right hands, before a tiltawhirl backbreaker laid out Banks… who replied by running into a uranage and a slingshot senton from Corvin. The Aussies return to try and equalise things, but this time get stopped by Bonesaw, who dumps Fletcher with a spinebuster as the Kings turned things in their favour. Dunkzilla takes a big-boot assisted facebuster before Travis Banks tried to make a comeback… only to get stopped by a springboard German from Scotty, and a Deep Six from Corvin for a near-fall. Aussie Open return with a double-team Go To Sleep on Corvin on the outside, before an assisted Aussie Open left Bonesaw down… but Scotty Davis’ moonsault took them both down. Davis again gets overwhelmed with the triple-teaming, as a double-team inverted Razor’s Edge and a Kiwi Krusher almost put the youngster away, before the match descended into a six-way slugfest.

In the end, the Supreme Kings fought back with superkicks, before a Sasuke Special from Davis took him deep into the crowd. Back inside, the referee misses a bunch of low blows, before a Fidget Spinner put down Corvin… and that’s the win for Aussie Open (and Travis Banks). This was perhaps a touch too hectic for my liking, but this told a lot of stories: one, the ongoing story of the Kings being the local heroes in Belfast; two, their ongoing fall from grace on both sides of the border; and three, Aussie Open’s winning streak in OTT, which came with a cheeky Schadenfreude kneepad. ***½

Post-match, Mark Davis ragged on the Kings for “pulling off the fail of the century” in losing their tag titles, before challenging them to putting their careers on the line next time they were in Belfast. That’s going to be a big one.

So, one week on from ScrapperMania, and this wasn’t the “Backlash” style of comedown as OTT put on an entertaining show in Belfast, continuing stories that fit into the wider picture and those that seemingly only develop in Belfast… but with the promotion’s regular issue of not having any big dates in the pipeline coming to the fore, it looks like OTT’s 2019 is going to be very stop-start, creatively speaking. Still, that’s not to say they’re not worth following now ScrapperMania’s been and gone – but be prepared for some lean times if you’re only here for the big match feels.