Another supercard at the Tivoli saw OTT return with Ryan Smile defending the NLW strap against Matt Riddle!
Some familiar faces from Britwres-past appeared on the undercard too, with Irish twins 2 Unlimited returning home, whilst a confusion meant that Tyler Bate was appearing on both sides of a trios match. It’s a monster show, going over three hours long on the VOD thanks to a nine-match card… so let’s get cracking!
You know the deal here with the pre-show stuff: Aonghus McAnally and Don Marnell talking about how they had to start the show early because they had so much on the card. Or how about you just trim the card? Less is more sometimes! The crowd popped for British Strong Style’s mention after they’d been unable to appear on here due to the OTT/FloSlam deal… and Ryan Smile actually got some boos after his slight turn at Marble Zone: Act One.
Yep, Don Marnell’s keeping the Joel Gertner wannabe act up. It’ll just be a phase…
Kenny Williams vs. Jake McCluskey
This is a weird booking, to say the least… not for Kenny, but for McCluskey whom, as we said when he appeared at Lucha Forever a few weeks earlier, has largely disappeared from the “top line” UK indies as of late.
Billed as a battle of high-fliers, they started… with a headlock. Fair enough. It’s surprisingly grounded but fast-paced as Williams scored with a back elbow to McCluskey off the ropes, before landing a springboard dropkick to knock Jake into the crowd… but his diving dropkick through the ropes misses and he gets chopped for his worries. Williams heads up to the dividing wall and cannonballs off it onto McCluskey, who mounted a comeback by standing on Williams’ back and connecting with a moonsault. Yeah, that nickname “Mr Moonsault” really never aged well, did it? Jake’s able to keep up the offence with a dropkick to take Williams to the floor, before cartwheeling to the floor for a superkick.
That nickname may be bad, but there’s never been any doubt over his abilities. Except the general “why is a heel doing flips that make me want to cheer him?”
Williams tries to blend in with the crowd as he frustrates Jake, which led to a tope through the turnbuckles as McCluskey took a bump in the aisle. A leaping back elbow gets a near-fall for Kenny, as the pair went back and forth with kicks and knees, ending with a lariat from McCluskey after Williams had rebounded off the ropes.
Williams comes back with a Flatliner, only to get caught with a David Starr-esque reverse gutwrench, before the finish came out of nowhere as McCluskey’s tiltawhirl ended up with him being spiked into a DDT for the win. Thankfully Jake was fine, but that finish looked nasty! Plenty of flippy action, but the usual question about why we are cheering for bad guys who flip remains… **¾
Extra Talented (Aaron Solow & Ricky Starks) vs. 2 Unlimited (Patrick Sammon & Jay Sammon)
Extra Talented are perhaps better known lately for their work with WrestleCircus, and are over in Europe for a little while on tour… this is my first time seeing them in any way, shape or form. Of course, the crueler among you will know Solow only as “Mister Bayley”, something which his gear kinda tips the hat to! Meanwhile, 2 Unlimited are returning to Ireland – and I have seen these guys before, doing some quite wild dives in a bar in Wimbledon in front of a few dozen fans.
Yeah. The OTT fans picked up on Solow as “Bayley’s bitch”. Stay Classy.
The Americans cheap-shotted 2 Unlimited at the bell, but they rebounded with some corner dropkicks as they launched into the “Extra Talented” tandem. Jay Sammon lands a moonsault off the top rope to the floor, before Patrick one-ups him with a springboard Lionsault. It’s pretty much exhibition stuff from the Irish, until Jay leapt into a dropkick from Starks… before Solow was tagged in to a chorus of “shit Jimmy Uso” chants. Eh, I preferred the “Essa Rios” comparison.
Starks went for a People’s Elbow, but ended up trust falling onto Jay for a near-fall as the Americans rolled with the chants as Don Marnell had a pop at the crowd. The world’s ending… I kinda agreed with him! Starks stole the Charlie Sterling mooning gimmick after Jay pulled his trunks down… and left them down as he went up top as Jay press slammed him to the mat. That actually got chants of “Charlie does it better” as Starks did a bare-arsed hip attacks, before Solow and threw Jay onto his head with a capture suplex.
Patrick finally gets tagged in – and after a slight slip, he catches Solow with a Sliced Bread onto the apron before a tope into a tornado DDT left Solow down again on the floor. Another slip saw Patrick nearly crash and burn as he landed a step-up tope con hilo across the turnbuckles, before the pair’s tandem offence kept the Americans at bay yet again.
A springboard 450 elbow drop from Jay almost gets the win as Solow broke up the pin, before Solow rolled through Patrick into a double-stomp as the tide kept turning. Starks uses an Alabama Slam to dump 2 Unlimited on top of each other for another near-fall, as a double-team gutwrench into a facebuster with a neckbreaker earned the visitors another two-count. Jay comes back with a handspring double overhead kick to Starks and Solow, before Patrick took a superkick-assisted release German suplex to get dumped on his head.
A superkick’d Angels Wings gets Starks a near-fall on Jay, who was saved from a repeat as he was able to land a Finlay Roll before Patrick stood on his brother’s shoulders – on the top rope – as 2 Unlimited hit the Limitless Effect for the win. That’s a 450 splash off of the shoulders, then a moonsault. Holy crap… this was all kinds of fun to watch, but there were some scary/sloppy moments in there too. ***
On commentary, Don Marnell flat-out called out a 2 Unlimited/Kings of the North match. I thought CCK had a tag match first for those belts?!
HAH! The on-screen graphic for Pastor William Eaver lists him as “himself”. But first, Justin Shape has a promo talking about his upbringing as an altar boy – which stopped once he lost the fear of God. What he did have, was the fear of CGI thunder!
Justin Shape vs. Pastor William Eaver
Shape had William J. Humperdink and the entourage out with him (Bryce Logan and Valerie), since they travel together, I guess.The Pastor debuted his Holy Ghost in the Tivoli, sending fans and ring crew alike flying! He even had a man rise from his wheelchair… and walk around ringside!
Of course, this isn’t the Pastor’s first time in Ireland, as he’s close to passing the one-year mark as Celtic Championship Wrestling’s champion. The Humperdinks left ringside early as the crowd started chants of “we want Mass”. Only in Ireland, will you get that chant!
The Pastor forces Shape to pray, before laying into him with forearms and a backbreaker. Like a Hulk Hogan comeback, only with a backbreaker instead of a big boot! Shape wandered into that fan’s wheelchair from earlier, before a faked-out dive from the Pastor led to chants of “holy shit”. They did a funny! Those fans get a chance to have a shot at Justy, throwing chops at him… but now Shape gets back into it with a fish-hook as the comedy stuff was just restricted to commentary.
Eaver misses a crossbody as Shape set-up for another fish-hook… which the Pastor blocked with the Holy Ghost! Shape fish-hooks himself, before another round of the Holy Ghost knocked him down! Still, Shape tried to come back with a sit-out Alabama Slam for a near-fall – with the kick-out apparently being the Pastor’s Resurrection – before another Holy Ghost blocked Shape’s clothesline and earned the Pastor the win! As a comedy match it was fine, but there’s a lot of stuff that will likely go over your heads! **¼
After the match, Justin Shape took the microphone and addressed “Himself”, challenging the Pastor to a tag match… so we’ll have “Logie and Justie” versus “The Fake and his Fake Friend Upstairs”. I hope they have a bright spotlight in the Tivoli! Maybe God’s learned how to bump since Backlash 2006?
Charlie Sterling & Sha Samuels vs. The Lads From The Flats (Paddy M & Workie)
I’ll always have a soft spot for the low-fi Tivoli graphics… here, instead of having a separate graphic or anything like that, Sha and Charlie’s promo pics are just put up on the screen, side by side.
There’s no Martin again for the Lads, despite his “release” to appear at Scrappermania, and the Lads get jumped during their entrance as Samuels and Sterling took the initiative. A double back elbow dumps Paddy on his neck as Sterling opts to trade his beret for a baseball cap. Sha gets in on it too as Sterling kicks some drinks onto some fans who were chanting some rather derogatory stuff.
National pride seems to make a lot of Brits here bad guys… when it suits them! Cue chants of “Brexit” and the Eastenders theme song as Sha Samuels declared something that probably wouldn’t go down well on these shores: “I love Theresa May… and Trump and all!”. Yeah…
As for the match, it really felt like it played second fiddle to the crowd’s chants, as Paddy M pulled down Sterling’s trunks for the second arse spot of the night. Of course, Sterling leaves his arse hanging out as the crowd lap it up… not literally. Sha does his dive, seemingly slipping as he crashed and burned on a moonsault before a Spiral Tap from Sterling came up short too.
Eventually Paddy M tagged in Workie, who went after Sha and Sterling with right hands, before hitting a Sky High on Charlie for a near-fall. A diving knee takes down Sha, before Paddy M re-emerges to hit a moonsault along with Workie’s reverse DDT for another near-fall. Sterling’s arse is hanging out again as he takes a TKO from Workie, before Sha shoves Paddy as he looked to go airborne. From there, Sha blatantly punches Workie below the belt, and that’s a DQ. Well, it was a rather unedifying finish to a match that the crowd really didn’t give a chance to as they looked to chant over it… so we’ll probably have another crack at it, especially since Sha took out the Lads with some chairshots afterwards. The match wasn’t bad, but it just meandered and went nowhere until the beatdown afterwards. **
Sha gets the mic after the match and declares the Irish as “mugs”, before Sterling concurs that they “always need the Brits”. They go to Pillmanise Paddy M’s leg, but Workie rushes back and saves the day.
We go from there to “live” footage of Angel Cruz meeting Tyler Bate, whose smartphone use is second to none! Cruz tells Tyler he’s tagging with him in tonight’s main event, alongside B. Cool… who’s still ranting about the Gymnasties. Their opponents? Well, in comes Trent Seven to rescue Tyler and be all sassy… probably. It looks like Tyler’s been double booked, and he wanders off to answer a fake call as B. Coll runs in thinking he’s tagging with Pete Dunne. Comedy!
Mark Haskins vs. Sami Callihan
This is the third time these two have met… and you’ll probably lose a bet if you were asked to name where those two prior meetings were. Southside and NGW are your answers, with the pair facing off twice last year (plus a third time in a multi-man match at Southside’s Speed King 2016 show).
This was Callihan’s OTT debut, which also struck me dumb given how much he’s travelled and how much OTT love their imports. I’d have expected this to have happened before now, but clearly not.
The pair start by getting into each other’s faces, with Haskins charging Callihan into the ropes before flying into each other with headlock-based offence. Callihan decks Haskins and stomps away on him to almost the sounds of silence as the crowd somehow seemed to be unfamiliar with Sami’s style. Thankfully, they more than knew who Haskins was, as he launched into Callihan with knees before a missed dive to the outside ended up with Callihan launching in with a PK off the apron. They head outside as Callihan set up for a spit-laden chop before accidentally forearming the ring post… but Sami comes back into it with a run-up ahead of his lap-of-honour chop… with Haskins catching him mid-stride.
Back in the ring, Haskins rolled through Callihan into a STF, with a rope break ending that particular attempt before Haskins lays in with those kicks again. Sami catches one and stomped for a bit, but Haskins again snapped back into things… only to get tripped into the corner for some running boots from Sami.
Haskins quickly countered back with a forearm, but Sami again knocked him down with a clothesline for a near-fall.He countered a back body drop into a sunset flip to spark some indyriffic pinfall attempts, ending with Haskins getting stomped on his knee ahead of a sit-out powerbomb for yet another near-fall. From the kick-out, Callihan locks in the Stretch Muffler briefly, but Haskins forces an escape before rolling Sami into a Sharpshooter for the submission win. This was a bizarre one to watch – the OTT crowd are usually very receptive to new names, but here they took a long time to get warmed up to the point where it brought the match down a bit. What they did was fine, and nothing against Sami here, but to this crowd he could have been anyone. A waste of an import. ***
It looks like that win propelled Haskins into title contention as commentary made a point of suggesting he’d be in line for a shot “next month”… all of a sudden, Ryan Smile’s got a laundry list of challengers. Sami Callihan gets the mic after the match, and plans a kiss on Mark Haskins for the hell of it. The crowd made more of a response to Sami’s declaration that he’ll be back than they did for the entire match. Huh?
A promo for WrestleRama airs – announcing War Machine’s arrival to the already-loaded roster for OTT’s return to the National Stadium. Oh, and Marty Scurll too, even though they’ve already signposted Scurll vs. Smile for that show.
Kay Lee Ray & Kris Wolf vs. Martina & Katey Harvey
I’m always one for picking out the details, but holy crap, how old is that photo of Kay Lee Ray? Seriously, it’s like they went for the first large photo they could find on Google and just used it… I guess it just adds to the overall low-fi charm, eh? This was another debut in OTT, with Kris Wolf’s European tour seeing her explode into the Tivoli with her unbounded energy… it’s quite the sight live or on tape!
For some reason, Kay Lee and Kris were facing an odd-couple in Martina and Katey Harvey, who I guess were being forced to co-exist ahead of their eventual women’s title match. Harvey had her Wonder Woman/Xena garb from her trip to PROGRESS, but apparently she’s working with an injured/broken shoulder, as it’s all heavily taped up.
There’s cans for almost everyone before the match, including the “Session Wolf”, but Harvey reacts to being the last one invited by… throwing her can to the outside. That’s heresy in these parts! Harvey puts the boots to Wolf and Ray from there, but of course they fight back as Wolf rolled up Katey for a near-fall before landing a double knee-drop for a near-fall. Kay Lee then clears the front row for Wolf to deliver a body press of the top to Harvey, before throwing in a tope of her own. Even Martina does a dive, taking out Kay Lee Ray as commentary speculated she’d have taken out her partner… with Harvey then landing a body press off the top too.
Back in the ring, Wolf and Ray bombard Harvey with avalanches in the corner, before Martina came in with more cans, almost to celebrate them beating down the champion. Of course, that was a sucker for a drop toe hold for a series of near-falls that were pulled off without spilling a drop! Eventually Martina sprayed beere at Kay Lee, before Wolf dove off the top for a near-fall, but she wasn’t legal in the match so her pinfall attempts were moot.
Kay Lee returned to the ring to take out Harvey with a forearm, before a backslide led to a near-fall for the champion, and this is looking to break down just a bit here. A weird wrinkle led to Kay Lee’s Gory Bomb seeing Harvey land in a Martina Seshbreaker as this pretty much became a four-way, with Kris Wolf breaking up that pin, before Martina reversed an O’Connor roll on Harvey for the win. That was fun to watch, but equally felt clunky at times – it felt like there were too many different dynamics at play, with nothing really rising out until the Harvey/Martina stare-off after the match. ***
Apparently Harvey vs. Martina for the title is at WrestleRama in August… so will there be any other challengers in the meantime, or are we getting two months of build? Harvey gets a can as Martina points to the WrestleRama sign… and the threat of a post-match session ends rather violently as she smashed the can into Martina’s head!
Lukewarm take alert: don’t go on about other companies “just paying lip service to women’s wrestling” when you’re one of the many promotions that, regardless of how they’re presented, just does one “token” women’s match per show.
Jordan Devlin vs. Moose
Not much was being said of Devlin’s association with the Social Elite – a group that looks to have fallen by the wayside in favour of the Humperdinks. Moose came out with his old ROH-inspired gear, as well as two belts: the Impact Grand Championship and the German Wrestling Federation title that he’d won the prior night.
Devlin’s a little more than half of Moose’s size, which made for an interesting mismatch here, as Moose easily lifted up Jordan more or less on command. When Devlin could use his speed, Moose popped up just as quickly, with a kip-up from some headscissors leading to Devlin getting knocked down with a big boot and a dropkick.
Devlin tried to fight back outside, but Moose more than matched his chops sending the guy the fans dubbed the “Demon Princess” into the seats… for more chops. A series of bicycle kicks to a seated Devlin didn’t help, before a dropkick sent a running Moose into the wall. However, back in the ring, Devlin was able to keep up the pressure with a slingshot Ace crusher for a near-fall.
Moose, erm, Mooses up, and gets a superkick for his troubles before coming back with the Dusty punches then a big boot. An impressive diving dropkick into the corner connects with Devlin for a near-fall, before scoring with a press slam that sent Devlin from the ring and into the stage. That’s mighty impressive… as was Devlin’s retort of a cross body off the stage back into the ring!
That’s very remniscent of something you’d see in ECW! But then they quickly move onto more back and forth as Devlin tried for a package piledriver, before settling for a brainbuster as they both collapsed to the mat. The crowd actually started to support Devlin after that, but he quickly ate a powerbomb, a back senton and a moonsault in quick succession as Moose tried to end the match.
A choke bomb off the top rope saw Moose come even closer, but Devlin cut-off a dive with an enziguiri before giving the big man a Spanish Fly off the top… but Moose leapt out of that at one?! However Devlin’s able to polish off the Moose with a second brainbuster and a moonsault – and finally, Jordan Devlin’s able to get the win… and the adulation of the crowd! I was not expecting to be saying that Moose and Jordan Devlin would have been the match of the night… and with two matches left, that’s where they are. A hell of a performance from Devlin, who might finally be cracking through that proverbial ceiling. ****
Okay, if you’re not subscribed to OTT’s On-Demand service, at time of writing, this next match is up for free… so hurry! It’s still cheaper than individual purchases were on Vimeo, and as long as the US Dollar exchange rate doesn’t tank, it’s worth it for that and the back catalogue!
British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) vs. Angel Cruz, B. Cool & Tyler Bate
Oh, how I’ve missed “Love Is Blindness”… Aonghus McAnally still thinks that Tyler Bate and Tyler Breeze will both be here, and I don’t think he’s kidding. Tyler disappears during the entrance, so he’s not able to do the Triple H water tribute, which is when they notice his disappearance.
Yeah, Bate re-emerges on the other side as “Tyler Breeze”, so he’s going to be floating? He’s alongside Angel Cruz and B. Cool, whose programming has malfunctioned as all he can do is utter the Gymnasties’ old catchphrase. Pete Dunne has enough of the Irish lads doing the Triple H thing, so he gets on them with forearms before using a fan as a battering ram. Yeah, they’re all brawling outside the ring, with Tyler being urged by the crowd to pick a side.
Dunne gets a fan in a wheelchair to barge into Angel Cruz, before clawing away on the “Ultrastar”’s back as if he were a cat. In the meanwhile, Trent just bodied Cruz’s security team and took their suit jackets for he and Pete to wear as they did the Vince McMahon strut to the crowd’s chant of “No Chance in Hell”. I may be sleep deprived from the hot weather, but this is starting to feel like a fever dream!
Cruz and Cool drop the pair with some stunners as Trent sold a “tore quad”, just like Uncle Paul! It gave Trent an excuse to use someone’s crutches as B. Cool tried to steal a pin on Tyler Bate, who I guess was now on the BSS side… Tyler then had a choice to make as he had to pick between Angel or BSS, but ultimately sided with Trent – breaking Angel’s heart in doing so… forcing Team Prick to hit the ring and defend their boss’ honour. So what did the hurt Angel do? Grab an axe, of course!
Cruz looked to swing at Trent Seven, causing everyone to flee the ring as if it were a Benny Hill skit, only for Tyler to come back and save his tag partner’s head. We go back to regular action as Cool tries for a brainbuster on Dunne, but he needs the support belt because he’s still pining for the Gymnasties. Dunne knows how this goes, so he willingly offers himself up, but Cool can’t lift him up. The same happens with Trent… perhaps someone ought to hit the gym and stop being nasty? In the end, the comedy wraps up with referee Niall Fox being thrown into the move, but he reverses it and drops Cool on his head for a near-fall.
This really is something that wouldn’t be too out of place in, say, ATTACK! Or WrestleHouse!
Dunne snacks on B. Cool’s fingers, squatting in time with him to keep biting away until Cool hit an enziguiri… and then we had tags to bring us back to Tyler having to make a decision as he played piggy in the middle with everyone else fighting over him. Everyone actually ganged up on Tyler, until he punched out everyone with the bop/bang punches, finishing with a “sorry… I love you” punch to Angel Cruz.
Dunne went to celebrate, but got caught in an Airplane Spin as Cool tried to join in… and was simultaneously given a giant swing too. The lovelorn Cruz freaks out when B. Cool broke up a hug attempt, before dismissing his security team… who then bit his middle fingers. Yep, Team Prick have sided with the Bruiserweight!
Trent gets rid of the kids in suits, who return to spray water as Pete went to Pedigree Angel… which left a blinded Peter to Pedigree Trent… before recovering to give the security guys a double Pedigree. Then Pete and Angel superkicked Tyler at the same time… and this isn’t as much a wrestling match as an extended comedy sketch, in the veins of Fawlty Towers and Monty Python!
In the end, Tyler sided with British Strong Style, then dropped Cruz with a Tyler Driver to seal the deal. As a match, it’s not something that’s going to win any awards, but as a spectacle it was perhaps the best outcome you were going to get from this combination. **¾
NLW Championship: Matt Riddle vs. Ryan Smile (c)
Ryan Smile’s changed man. He’s no longer the fun-loving, Uptown Funking crowd favourite – he’s morphed into a not-quite-so-cocksure, arrogant man since he won the belt. Heck, he’s even ditched his cape and replaced it with a leather jacket.
Riddle blasts Smile at the bell with a running knee, but unlike Trent Seven a few weeks earlier, Smile’s able to avoid being pinned… and so we go longer than six seconds! Smile needs to be “revived” with water by the ref, who chose not to wave the match off straight away, allowing Smile to pull himself up in the corner as Riddle impatiently waited.
That seemed to be a ruse as Smile headbutted Riddle… then gave him a German suplex. Wrestlers never learn! Riddle flew back in with a side suplex as he started battering Ryan with kicks and chops. Rolling gutwrenches follow, before it’s turned into a gutwrench powerbomb as Smile tried to headscissor his way free… leading to an uncomfortable landing.
Smile headed to the outside as they trade chops, before Riddle decided to bugger off to the bar and merch areas, then through the crowd as everyone got a front row seat… bar the cameramen, that is! Returning to ringside, Ryan throws Riddle into a wall, before blasting him with a running knee and some right hands as he looked to go strike-for-strike with the UFC fighter.
Smile started to fly with the across-the-corner tope con hilo into the aisle, before deciding to just punch Riddle in the forehead as he was leaving Riddle in the fairly unfamiliar position of having to defend. Some elbows in the corner started to turn things around for the Bro, who landed an overhead belly-to-belly on Smile… only to get punched down again ahead of a DDT. Unwilling to even try for a pinfall from there, Smile drags Riddle to the corner for a 450 splash… that misses!
Riddle instantly hits back with rolling German suplexes for a series of near-falls, only to get caught with a cutter from Smile for a near-fall. An attempted overhead kick from Riddle gets caught, but he comes back with more Germans, only for Smile to land a Destroyer out of nowhere! Riddle popped back up and responded in kind as he dragged a near-fall out of the champion.
We get some rolling Fisherman busters for more near-falls, before Riddle switches into a tombstone slam that Ryan barely kicked out of! Riddle then goes for a Bro To Sleep, but swivelled around as we got a ref bump, which allowed Smile to slip out and grab his title belt… which ring announcer Butch willingly gave him without a fight. Smile then introduced said belt to Riddle, who kicked out at one!
A big splash off the top follows as the referee is still stirring, but yet again Riddle kicked out at one! Ryan lands more superkicks, then a frog splash… but he wanders over to the opposite corner to throw in another one, which Riddle again kicks out of! Someone messed up as Smile’s music hit until Niall Fox signified it was only a two-count… and Smile is far from happy! One more superkick and another big splash do the job though, as Riddle stays down for the three count. Well, that finish was a bit weird to say the least – but I guess they can shrug it off and say it’s in keeping with the “Stranger Things Have Happened” tagline!
As a main event, it was pretty enjoyable, with Smile more than matching Riddle – something which you wouldn’t have expected, despite Ryan going in as champion. I like the extra wrinkle being thrown in of him slowly turning bad, which seems to be culminating in that meeting with the Villain at WrestleRama! ****
So… as much as I tend to use “this was weird” as a shorthand for shows I’m really unsure how to rank, this… really was. On paper, everything seemed to be in place for another show that popped… but at least watching on VOD, precious little did. I’m not at all sure how Haskins/Callihan fell as flat as it did, and although you can say that the Pastor/Shape match wasn’t going to click as well away from an Irish audience, there was a lot on here that wowed, but didn’t stick in the memory.
It wasn’t a bad show, but save for Moose/Devlin, the main event and the nonsense trios match, there’s not going to be much from here that you’ll look back on months down the line.