More Than Hype headed north of the border for their biggest challenges to date, as the Bleh boys looked to leave Belfast with the gold.
We’re in the Europa Hotel in Belfast for this one, with Aonghus Og McAnally and Tony Kelly on commentary. Aonghus announces that Martina wasn’t on the show because of RyanAir… so Mark Haskins needed a new challenger for his title tonight. In fact, he got two: Calum Black and Terry Thatcher! There’s an interruption too, as the Mongrels did Aonghus’ closing line as they want a match…
Club Rock Shandy (Clayton Long & Martin Steers) vs. The Mongrels (Eddie Stone & Russell Dempster)
Club Rock Shandy’s back after their debut at the Contenders show last week… but they keep the no-music entrance, so I don’t really fancy their chances here. Especially now the Mongrels are only a pairing, having ditched Gavin Fitz…
Steers and Stone start us off, but Eddie’s bringing the aggression as he stomped away following Martin’s missed dropkick. Russell Dempster got a quick tag, scoring with a legdrop for a near-fall, as the Mongrels looked to make light work of things, almost putting Steers away with a wheelbarrow suplex. After a series of kicks, Clayton Long comes in… but some double-teaming backfires as Dempster got involved, squashing Steers before a death valley bomb quickly put paid to Club Rock Shandy. Good for what it was, an utter squash. **¼
Club Tropicana (Captain Sexsea, Aidan & The Fabulous Nicky) vs. Only True Pros (Liam Royal, Michael May & Sean Guinness)
Christ, that was a loud pop for Club Tropicana’s entrance…
J-Money hit the ring before Club Tropicana’s opponents appeared. Apparently they were due to face the Lads from the Flats, as commentary again refused to tell us who he was. So until then, I’ll just say “the Irish Weird Al Yankovic” since everyone’s using their own shorthand. There’s some scuffling before the bell, as we see Aidan’s got some new gear – a wacky, Andre the Giant-like singlet, that’s intended to look ridiculous. It works. He started against Guinness, with some criss crossing that saw Aidan lose his strap before he dropped to the mat, all tuckered out… so Guinness just does some push ups to take the piss.
Aidan got up, then got chopped down, as Captain Sexsea got the tag in as we start again. Michael May makes short work of Sexsea, taking him down in an armbar, before an attempt at a leapfrog ended up with him landing in an atomic drop as Sexsea proceeded to go all old-school David Starr, making him Look At It before… Liam Royal came in, and got slapped in the face with a glove. His response? To hurl Sexsea across the ring, before Guinness came in to get a near-fall off of a shoulder tackle. Sexsea’s kept isolated, but he quickly gets free and brings in Nicky to clear house, sending May out with a back body drop before Royal ended up missing a Stinger splash. Sexsea’s back with a missile dropkick to Royal, before Aidan returned from the dead and tried to chop Guinness. It didn’t work, at least, not by himself, it didn’t…
A double chop with Sexsea puts Guinness down, ahead of the slip ‘n’ slide headbutt… but they couldn’t get a cover out of it as Royal took out Nicky with a spear, before Sexsea got obliterated with a Ricola bomb as the Only True Pros got the win. Pretty fun for what this was, as the OTPs dominated Club Tropicana. ***
After the match, the OTPs threw Club Tropicana to the floor as we got Not Weird Al cutting a brief promo before they exited stage left.
We’ve a promo video from the Kings of the North, who were looking to get back in the win column after recent defeats saw them exiled from Dublin.
Team WhiteWolf (A-Kid & Carlos Romo) vs. Kings Of The North (Bonesaw & Damien Corvin)
That’s Carlos Romo tugging his neck at the heat in Belfast… not the out of date entrance graphic.
Referee Niall Fox has to apologise before the bell after getting carried away during the Kings’ entrance… and we start with some surprisingly calm handshakes as Bonesaw and A-Kid got us going. Bonesaw matched A-Kid on the mat, before the Spaniard began to work the leg… which led to duelling heel hooks and a tetchy stand-off. Next up, Bonesaw forces A-Kid to bridge… then smashed it before he got caught in a crossface while Carlos Romo offered support from the apron. A dropkick from A-Kid broke a wristlock, as Bonesaw proceeded to tag in Corvin, who smirked as the crowd prophesied that he was going to “kill” A-Kid.
A-Kid clings on despite a back body drop attempt from Corvin, as Bonesaw nonchalantly tagged in to light him up with some chops. Oh boy. A spear traps A-Kid in the corner ahead of a Northern Lights suplex, as the Kings were making the post of some quick tags to keep the fresh man in the ring. Corvin’s back with a shoulder tackle for a two-count, before combinations from the Kings almost ended this one in short order. Chops from A-Kid just led to Corvin decking him with a forearm… but he responds with a dropkick that gave him enough time to bring in Carlos Romo… who catches Bonesaw with a shotgun dropkick into the corner. A running knee finds its mark too, as Romo tried to kick his way through Bonesaw, leading up to a roll-up for a near-fall. There’s more of the same from Romo as he kept Bonesaw grounded, before A-Kid came in and double-teamed Bonesaw for another two-count.
With the crowd wanting Corvin back in, Whitewolf opted to keep Bonesaw isolated, while stopping to take a drink… and it backfires, as that impromptu break gave Bonesaw enough time to slap the water out of Romo’s mouth. Problem was, Bonesaw was quickly back on the defensive, before he hurled Romo over his head as Corvin finally got in. A big boot, then a missile dropkick has Romo in trouble, before A-Kid ran into a backbreaker as Corvin remained the proverbial house afire, wiping out both members of Team Whitewolf with a tope con giro on the outside. Corvin slingshots back inside for a White Star Line for a near-fall, before Bonesaw Deep Six’d him for another two-count, as the Kings were suddenly back in it. Or at least they were, as Whitewolf clattered Corvin with a series of double-team moves to force their way back in, including a springboard ‘rana before dives and moonsaults left Corvin on jelly legs. Back in the ring, a Blockbuster and a frog splash got a near-fall, as A-Kid looked to end things with a cross armbreaker… but Bonesaw tries to break it up, despite giving Romo a piggyback at the same time.
Things break down as Whitewolf exchange forearms back-and-forth with the Kings, before a Destroyer out of nowhere and a moonsault nearly had Corvin down for the count. Don’t blink, else you’re going to miss a lot! Like a 3D out of nowhere to Romo, before Corvin overshot in a tope to the outside, landing badly on his shoulder as he took out A-Kid. The crowd fell silent for that, as Bonesaw quickly proceeded to put Romo away with a piledriver… but everyone seemed to be more concerned with Corvin, as he stayed down after that dive. An unfortunate ending to a hell of a tag match, as the Spaniards pushed the former tag champions a lot further than anyone expected. ***½
OTT Gender Neutral Championship: Calum Black vs. Terry Thatcher vs. Mark Haskins (c)
Despite coming up short against Jordan Devlin a week ago, Calum Black’s one of the beneficiaries of Ryan Air’s issues as he and Terry Thatcher got a shot at the Gender Neutral championship.
We started with Thatcher charging at the “King of Intergender Wrestling” as Haskins scarpered so he could watch the match from the front row. He was even a good little egg and played cheerleader too – none of that “getting yourself over” malarkey you get from some fans. The mat wrestling between Black and Thatcher was there to play second-fiddle to the optics of Haskins watching on, which was a shame because their back and forth was working… at least until Haskins leapt from his seat and broke up a cover… then ran out so he could get the crowd going. Mark took exception to a fan reminding him that this was a three-way, so the match kept going with Thatcher hitting a Thesz press… before he got blind-sided by Haskins. Happy now, Belfast?
Thatcher manages to block Haskins’ offence and light him up with chops and forearms, before Calum Black clotheslined Haskins to the outside… just in time for a plancha from Thatcher! Haskins tried to get Black on his side… and gets flipped off. So Haskins tries it on with Terry, which was as bad an idea as some thought his twirly villain mustache was. It breaks down again as Thatcher clubbed Haskins into the corner… only to be stopped so Calum could have a go. That corner’s not big enough for all three of them! Haskins powders out again, but he’s caught as Calum tried to give him a seat… a seat he could clothesline him out of. Haskins trolls the crowd a little as he set up for a PK off the apron, targeting Thatcher again, then his good ol’ misdirection topes that took out both his challengers in a matter of seconds.
Vicki Haskins trolls Terry some more, telling him “you’re doing this for your girl”, right as Mark was laying waste to him with forearms… and it’s becoming a little one-sided here as a running Falcon arrow almost got Haskins the win. A bridging armbar from Haskins forced Black in to stop the submission from happening… but Black’s quickly dispatched as we’re back Thatcher fighting from the bottom… only to get stopped with a shot to the gut as Haskins picked up where he left off. Black tried to get involved from the floor, but an axe kick off the apron stopped him as Haskins proceeded to miss a stomp back in the ring, which finally opened up Thatcher to connect with a couple of dropkicks. Before he could do too much more though, Calum black took the initiative and charged at the pair of them, before he caught a reverse ‘rana… and splatted Thatcher with an Alabama Slam. There’s an impressive X-Plex on Haskins too, as he’s dumped onto Thatcher for a near-fall… and still we’re no nearer a result as the Belfast crowd didn’t care who won, as long as they saw a title change.
Thatcher made a mark with a tornado DDT, as referee Niall Fox began to count all three men down… but we’re back to Thatcher and Haskins trading shots, only for a clothesline from Black to equalise things again. Terry escaped another X-Plex, but couldn’t avoid the pounce as Thatcher almost went sailing through the ropes… and was left helpless as Black got caught in a Sharpshooter. Black held on long enough for Thatcher to superkick it away, taking Haskins outside… but the Dethatched is blocked, as Black instead ate a superkick. Now it’s time to brace yourself, as Dethatched was hit… prompting Haskins to come in with the belt and tease a shot. Thatcher ducks it and looked for the Sharpshooter… tapping wildly to it, only for Vicki Haskins to distract the ref. Vicki jumped down eventually, just in time for Mark to roll up Thatcher tightly for the win. Yet again, Haskins steals it as Terry Thatcher was once again denied. The addition of Calum Black to this was a choice that didn’t seem to be a clean fit – he’s still looking for his first singles win, but it was smart that he wasn’t pinned here, as it kept the Haskins/Thatcher story going some more. ***¾
Adam Maxted vs. PAC
This was PAC’s first match in OTT since his DQ win over WALTER back in February… so it’s fitting it was against a local lad in Adam Maxted.
It’s PAC’s first match without any kind of gold around his waist, having lost the Open the Dream Gate belt a week earlier… but he’s still able to scare away small kids. PAC brings the aggression early on, charging Maxted into the corner, before a nice, snapping headlock takeover put the “superstar” on the mat. After getting back up, PAC challenged Maxted to landing a shoulder tackle, as we instead got a lucha-inspired sequence before PAC got caught with a nice dropkick from the big man… which then prompted him to head outside. Coming back in quickly, PAC wandered into a suplex as Maxted drew a two-count, before he came back in with some headscissors off the ropes… then a plancha that wiped out a stagehand. Back inside, Maxted’s whipped from corner-to-corner, producing some concerning thuds as he hit the turnbuckles… just as Belfast decide to troll PAC by asking “are you Neville in disguise”. Too soon, guys, too soon.
PAC heads up top and lands a missile dropkick, crashing into Maxted for a near-fall, before he choked away on Maxted in the ropes as things were looking extremely one-sided. Kicks keep Maxted rocked, including a sneaky one to the head as PAC hit a standing shooting star press, just for the hell of it. Maxted offered a little resistance, landing a scoop slam before a Blockbuster took PAC outside… where a pescado awaited the Geordie, as Maxted indulged in a bit of brawling around ringside, grabbing two chairs for a running step-up dropkick that almost led to a nasty landing for the Northern Irishman. A quick spinebuster back inside gets Maxted a near-fall as both men were looking like they were running on fumes.
Maxted fight out of a superplex, shoving PAC back to the mat as everyone was holding their breath over the low ceiling, before a pair of missile dropkicks connected for a near-fall. PAC thought he’d gotten back into it, but he had to withstand a big boot before he folded Maxted in half with a snap German suplex, then with a deadlift German that almost ended things. Waiting for Maxted to get back to his feet, PAC unloads with more kicks… including a vicious superkick that sent Maxted rolling to the outside, where they tease a death valley driver on the apron… only for Maxted to come back with a Slingblade!
Another springboard back in sees Maxted land a second Slingblade, before a pumphandle facebuster led to a near-fall. Maxted again headed up top, but gets caught as PAC teases a superplex once more… and gets it as the two-counts kept racking up. A 450 splash to the back’s next, before a Rings of Saturn continued the focus on the lower back, as Maxted ended up passing out, with the referee waving off the match. This was a solid outing from PAC – but I never once got the impression that this crowd were buying any other result. A shame really, because Maxted put on a good showing, but the gulf in perceived class here was too much as PAC never needed to hit top gear. ***½
OTT Tag Team Championship: More Than Hype (Darren Kearney & Nathan Martin) vs. Moustache Mountain (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) (c)
Weeks after their biggest tour of their careers to date – in the shape of their PROGRESS debut – this was the first half of More Than Hype’s biggest test in OTT. Anyone for an upset?
From the off, you got the sense that Martin was a little over-awed by the challenge on hand, as we started with Darren Kearney instead against Tyler Bate, who was busy showing his gains. Tyler tries to wear down Kearney with a double arm stretch, before he clung onto a wristlock, despite Kearney’s attempts to flip and slam his way free. After the pair mirrored each other for dropkicks, we got the obligatory tags out, as Trent Seven and Nathan Martin came into play. They start with a lock-up that sees Trent eventually take Martin into the corner, but a chop’s ducked as Nathan responded by wrestling Seven to the mat, looking to force a pin with a simple Greco-Roman knuckle lock. More Than Hype manage to carve a way through, using double-teams to dispatch of Tyler’s interference before they picked up a two-count over Trent… only for Seven to respond with some defiant chops to Psycho Nathan.
The chops led to Trent faking out Nathan for a DDT, which opened it up for Tyler to come in – once Trent had kept hold of the leg so Martin couldn’t get much of a chance to tag out for himself. A diving chop to the back of Martin gets Trent a near-fall, with Martin’s cause not being helped by having to hiptoss out of an abdominal stretch… but again, he’s grounded as Bate got a tag out, keeping that isolation going. Trent’s chops keep waking up the live crowd, who didn’t seem to be giving More Than Hype anything here… but at least they reacted when Martin fired back with chops of his own, swatting away Tyler Bate as well before he ducks a Seven Stars lariat en route to making the tag. Darren Kearney’s full of it too, sending Tyler Bate high into the sky with a back body drop as the house afire led to a Blue Thunder Bomb for a near-fall.
Kearney took the time to dive on Trent outside, but that left him open for Tyler as both men proceeded to whiff on standing shooting star presses before Bate connected with bop/bang. It’s shrugged off though, with Kearney rolling Bate into a Lance Storm-ish half crab, only for Trent Seven to come in and break it up, but only after he broke free of a rear naked choke to throw Nathan Martin onto the pile. Tags get us back to Martin/Seven doing all the chops, before Trent caught him out of nowhere with an Emerald Frosion for a near-fall. Martin’s quickly sent outside for a low-pe, targeting Martin’s bruised shoulder before Trent misses a Whisper in the Wind, opening things up… Kearney somehow kicked out of Trent’s snap piledriver, but had no answer for a clothesline-assisted Dragon suplex, as Martin’s frog splash had to break up the cover.
Moustache Mountain end up denying their challengers’ final bit of resistance though, blocking a piledriver attempt as Trent ends up doing a Shigehiro Irie, piledriving Martin onto Kearney, before a stomp-assisted Burning Hammer led to the win. This was perfectly fine, but the Belfast crowd just didn’t buy More Than Hype here at all. It might have been a different response in Dublin, but this came across to me as an acid test for the youngsters, and a match they’ll use to compare themselves against in the years ahead, rather than it being a match they had any fighting chance in, despite the dejected look on Nathan Martin’s face afterwards. ***½
OTT World Championship: LJ Cleary vs. Jordan Devlin (c)
LJ’s also out in shiny gold gear, although his was more gold than white, unlike his tag partners’ in the prior outing.
Devlin looked to be the early aggressor, but LJ reverses things, only to get taken down to the mat in a wristlock as we had echos of the prior match. Unlike his partners, LJ had more luck escaping the hold, but got thrown back to the mat before he was forced into a strangle hold. Attempts to escape were thwarted, as Devlin clung on… at least until Devlin propelled LJ with a monkey flip. Back in the ring, LJ lands on his feet as Devlin went for a second monkey flip, before LJ hit a monkey flip of his own, then a dropkick to take Devlin outside as a PK followed on the apron. An Irish whip sends Devlin into the corner, then down to the outside with a nasty landing, as LJ was determined to stay on top of the champion, rather than showing him “too much respect”.
A floatover suplex from LJ barely got a one-count, before an awkward leap into the ropes allowed Devlin to shove LJ to the floor. Devlin gives chase, dropping LJ on the apron with a back suplex, before a right hand left LJ laying on the floor. Back inside again, LJ’s popped up into a pancake by Devlin, before he’s sent flying with a chop in the corner. One of Devlin’s typical backbreakers follow, as LJ’s chances already looked to be diminishing, not helped as Devlin was firmly in the mindset of wearing him down. LJ avoids another forearm to the back as he looked to snatch a win with a roll-up, before a springboard crossbody and a lucha armdrag had Devlin dazed. A corkscrew enziguiri drew similar results on the way to a near-fall… as we end up with some near-misses before a missed springboard enziguri took LJ into a standing Spanish Fly. Cleary tries to knee his way out of a suplex, but ended up on the top rope as he’s met with a headbutt… but LJ hits one of his own before a pair of dropkicks took Devlin into the corner.
LJ can’t keep the momentum going though, as he’s surprised with a brainbuster. He’s able to get up to stop Devlin climbing the ropes, before taking the long way around into an avalanche reverse ‘rana. A springboard enziguiri connects, despite a slip, as LJ still couldn’t get the three count, before Devlin used a back body drop to counter a Destroyer. That needs to be done more! Devlin’s slingshot cutter served to only take LJ outside… not to worry, an Orihara moonsault to the floor connects as Devin stayed on top of his challenger, only to get caught with the Destroyer out of nowhere as LJ somehow snatched another near-fall. LJ looked to put the icing on the cake with a frog splash, but Devlin gets the knees up, and eventually fought back with the Ireland’s Call. Cleary’s up at two, and a defiant “bleh” just winds up the champion as some kicks and a Devlinside wrapped things up. This wasn’t as one-sided as you’d expect, but this was a pretty straightforward win for Devlin as he had to snap a little to push himself over the proverbial line. ***½
With both of the More Than Hype title matches, I don’t think anyone really saw either of the titles changing hands – however, these matches will be used as yardsticks for their futures. I mean, right now, it’s way too soon for either LJ, Nathan or Darren to be thrust into those spots. Not in the manner that these title shots came, with scant build, and especially not when Jordan Devlin is in the middle of an ongoing story with WALTER and David Starr. Would that main event have been better as a non-title match? Perhaps… but then you’d open it up to moaning about the belt not being defended. Regardless of what you’d think just looking at the asterisks, this was a solid show from OTT as they begin their road to October’s 5th year anniversary. A show worth watching if only for the continued progression in stories that you expected… and others that you didn’t.
Next up for OTT is a debut in Cork in August… and that is looking to be a loaded card, with the likes of the #Stronghearts, PAC, Mike Bailey being added to the OTT regulars.