OTT started their new year in Belfast with some faces of the future – and left with some new champions!

We start with Captain Sexsea looking for a new tag team partner as Aidan’s injured… they open a toilet door, because they thought they saw their man earlier. Thankfully, their man wasn’t naked Justy taking a crap… but they find Travis Banks, who accepts, as long as they don’t do “stupid shit”. From there, we’re taken inside the Europa Hotel with Aonghus og McAnally and Tony Kelly’s usual opening,

More Than Hype (Darren Kearney, LJ Cleary & Nathan Martin) vs. Club Tropicana (Captain Sexsea & Fabulous Nicky) & Travis Banks
Methinks one team may be more used to themselves than the other…

Nicky’s in to get confused by LJ’s see-saw kip ups, before a dropkick led to Sexsea tagging in. He’s smuggling a glove, which he slaps LJ with. Travis Banks tags in, and gets slapped as LJ thought Sexsea was still there… of course, there’s an instant response as Banks lit him up with kicks and chops.

A roll-up gets Banks a near-fall before he hit a diving knee… then slapped LJ with the same glove. That annoys Sexsea, who demanded a tag out and put Banks in the front row “to be serious”, as Darren Kearney also came in. Trav’s quickly back in as Club Tropicana looked to be a bit out of their depth, before Nicky tagged himself in, seemingly to take the glory.

Glory that was instantly cut off as LJ and Kearney battered Nicky. Then Sexsea… then Banks with a double-team hiptoss. Nicky’s back in as Nathan Martin hits a shot to the gut for a near-fall, before Kearney had to save his trunks as a sunset flip nearly led to a full moon. Nicky tries the same on LJ, before dishing out a back body drop to Kearney… and in comes Travis Banks to turn up the tempo with kicks!

One of those kicks took Martin into Kearney with an accidental cannonball as Banks was a one-man More Than Hype wrecking crew. Then Captain Sexsea wants back in for some thrusting and a touch of das Wunderkind, but LJ and Kearney work over him as Travis Banks had to stomp in for a save.

That turnaround led to the Slip ‘n’ Slide, but Banks grabbed the swimming cap so he could do it. We follow that up with a paddle to Kearney’s arse, and the paddle doesn’t break for once! Kearney’s back is marked and bleeding after all that, but he’s able to help lift up LJ for the Activate Destroyer… and with a sore arse, Kearney gets the pin. Good fun to start the show, but I pitied poor Darren by the end of this. **¾

B. Cool vs. Cara Noir
Not sure how B’s gotten on the Belfast show this time. You know the score – he’s warming everyone up for some more documentary filming. B’s really good in this role of being oblivious yet hopeful, but those crowds have to work on their Mexican waves…

B tries to wind up Cara Noir by giving him a present: some shoes! Cara chokes him into the corner, before he ducked some shoe-lariats as he proceeded to dropkick the sneakers out of B’s hands. Cool scarpers as Cara crawled towards him, while the ref was struggling not to corpse.

Once B returned, he threw Cara to the outside, then mockingly held the ropes open for him, as B turned into the Road Dogg with some Dusty punches… before he got caught with a capoeira kick as Cara got fed up with him dicking around. B picks up again with chops as he tried to go Ric Flair on us, then Steve Austin, as parts of the crowd began to turn on him.

More chops to Cara eventually backfire as a “shotgun chop” was ducked, while Cara just slapped him on the back. A German suplex is next, as are kicks, but B hits a back suplex of his own and picked up a two-count from it before an Exploder looked to add to the pressure. B calls for a brainbuster, but wastes time trying to pick up Cara, and gets caught with Madame Guillotine as Cara went on the offensive, quickly spiking B with a package piledriver for the win. Decent enough, but this was a big come from behind win for Cara after he’d played B’s games for so long. **½

OTT Women’s Championship: Sammii Jayne vs. Katey Harvey (c)
Sammii’s got a shot at regaining the belt she lost a little over a year ago, having beaten another former champion in Raven Creed to earn this spot.

Instantly Sammii went to work on Katey’s arm, but the pair went hold-for-hold with Katey using a waistlock takedown to get herself free, following up with a nice Romero special and a spinning sidewalk slam for a near-fall. Jayne hits back though, taking Harvey into the corner with forearms before going back to the armbar.

Katey absorbs some more forearm shots before she threw back, only to get caught with a dropkick as Sammii continued to dominate. A cobra clutch keeps Harvey on the deck, but she fights out and dove in with an elbow to the back of her challenger, before a legdrop led to a near-fall. Harvey blocks a knee strike and countered into an Exploder suplex… a Fisherman’s superplex gets a near-fall too. A brief fightback from Sammii ends in a fallaway slam, but she’s right back in with a Shadowfax for a near-fall before another knee strike was caught, as Katey took her into the buckles with a Gory bomb.

That’s still only enough for a near-fall, with it being in “not quite all of it” territory… and seconds later Katey was made to pay when Sammii snatched the win with a roll-up out of nowhere. We’ve a new champion, and a Belfast crowd that doesn’t quite know what to make of it… I’d dare say in Dublin, this could have gotten a bigger reaction, but for now Katey has to rebuild. **¾

Omari vs. The OJMO
2020 in OTT starts with a clash between two of the imports that made a big splash in 2019…

They start off slow, with Omari grabbing a side headlock which led to a push-off and a shoulder tackle as the OJMO came back with a dropkick and headscissors to take Omari down. A crossbody from Omari stops that momentum in its tracks, before a simple slam dumped OJMO on the mat.

Another slam followed for a two-count, before the OJMO had to grab hold of the top rope to avoid being kicked off the apron. OJMO turns it around, throwing a dropkick to the leg as he began to try and keep Omari on the deck. A slingshot stomp to the leg’s good for a two-count for the OJMO, but Omari’s still able to hit a slam as he began limping. A powerbomb too, but OJMO turns it into headscissors to put both men on the apron, from where they traded forearms. OJMO’s low dropkick knocks Omari to the floor, and that’s quickly followed with a Fosbury flop… but it’s caught as OJMO had to escape a lawn dart into the ring post. Back inside, Omari’s hung up in the ropes with a springboard dropkick and gets taken outside as the Fosbury Flop connected on the second go.

Omari’s thrown back inside as the OJMO followed with a frog splash off the top for a near-fall, then looked to roll Omari into a half crab, but Omari dives into the ropes in the nick of time. Problem was, Omari went back to the kicks, and got caught as OJMO trips him for another half crab,but yet again the ropes saved Omari. Down comes the knee pad as the OJMO looks for a leaping knee, but a leg lariat caught him off guard before Omari teased a vertebreaker and flipped the OJMO into an inverted Alabama Slam for a heck of a near-fall.

A standing double armbar has OJMO in more trouble as Omari looked to do Zack Sabre Jr’s old Young Boy Killer, before an axe kick to the back nearly ended things. OJMO’s right back in with a Destroyer, then with that leaping knee for a near-fall, before Omari pushed away a half crab and came back in with a double stomp almost to the hip of the OJMO. One goddamned pop-up O-Zone later, and Omari managed to eke out the win – a cracker of a match that started slow but bubbled up nicely towards the end. Commentary strongly teased a NLW title shot for Omari after this… and I wouldn’t argue! ***½

NLW Championship: Shota Umino vs. Scotty Davis (c)
They don’t call him Shooter two jackets – even though he’s carrying the Death Rider jacket from the Jon Moxley promos with him these days. Commentary’s dropping hints about Scotty Davis maybe heading to Japan… so this’d be a nice test for him.

Scotty starts with a hammerlock as the pair went hold-for-hold, looking to force an opening through simple grappling. A test of strength led to an armbar for Scotty, but Shota counters with a side headlock as the pair went to the mat, and then back to their feet as Scotty looked to go back to the arm. Fireman’s carry takedowns served to confuse Shota a little, before he got caught with some Gator rolls. Umino responds with a snap DDT, but doesn’t go for the cover, instead opting to take Scotty into the corner for an elbow before hanging him into the turnbuckles for a dropkick to the back. A neckbreaker’s next for a near-fall, which seemed to spark Scotty into life as he threw some forearms, only to get decked by Umino.

An up-kick gets Scotty some breathing space, and he makes full use of it, landing a Quebrada for a near-fall before a Fisherman buster almost got him the win. Umino’s back with forearms and elbows, as he looked to complete an upset with a Fisherman buster, but Scotty kicks out and after escaping a German suplex, it’s back to the forearms!

Shota throws them back though, before catching Davis with a dropkick. Scotty’s back with a page out of EVIL’s playbook, handing off Shota’s boot so he could hit a German suplex, before some knees from Umino led to a near-fall. A high Dragon suplex nearly bounced Scotty on his head on the way to a near-fall, before Umino looked for a Death Rider… and got caught as Scotty rolled him through into an omoplata. That switches to a grounded abdominal stretch, but Shota gets a foot to the rope to save himself. Davis keeps going though, throwing another Fisherman buster, then a cross-legged brainbuster to get the win. Considering the age of the guys here, this was really good – and I wouldn’t be too shocked if this match is repeated down the line, under the New Japan banner… ***¾

Only True Pros (Liam Royal & Michael May) vs. Kings Of The North (Bonesaw & Damien Corvin)
Liam Royal’s still sporting Captain Sexsea’s original yachting hat as the still-unnamed J Money promised regicide here.

Bonesaw and May start us off, but May’s tossed into the ropes before he began to throw some shots, catching Bonesaw unawares before tags brought in Corvin and an amped up Liam Royal. Liam ran into a dropkick, then got caught out low as his own intensity was used against him.

May grabs Corvin’s leg to stop a uranage, and that opens the door for Royal as the True Pros cornered Corvin and put the boots to him. Royal keeps going with a forearm, but misses a spear… luckily he’d tagged out to May, who just ran into a high back body drop. Royal’s back to dump Corvin with a bodyslam, before May whipped Liam into the corner. They reverse roles as May looks for the pin, but Corvin gets himself free with a White Star line to May, and got the tag to a refreshed Bonesaw.

Bonesaw unleashes with palm strikes, then took Royal down with a ‘rana out of the corner, before he dumped May on top of him. A spinebuster keeps May down, but he’s back up with a back elbow off the middle rope… before the Parade of Moves led to Corvin hitting the uranage, before slingshotting into a Royal powerbomb. The True Pros mock the Kings and get their lights punched out, before a kick-assisted fireman’s carry led to a near-fall. Not-J Money leaves commentary as May ran into a 3D, and J’s up on the apron with a microphone to distract. It works too as Corvin gets caught with a spear, before May punted Bonesaw low behind the ref’s back, allowing Royal to hit a sit-out powerbomb for the win. A bruising affair, and a bit of a statement too as the True Pros pick up another win. Now, if only the OTT tag title was actually in play, because this division is rapidly getting backlogged… ***

OTT Gender Neutral Championship: Adam Maxted vs. Mark Haskins (c)
It seemed like Haskins spent most of 2019 up against Terry Thatcher – so the new year started with a new challenger for his GN title.

Haskins looked to be taking Maxted lightly from the off, playing with his foe as he took him to the mat with ease in the early going. When Maxted did get into the match, Haskins simply upped and walked out, before returning so he could stall some more. Eventually he offers a handshake as this felt right out of the holiday camp shows, right as Haskins cheapshotted Maxted with a kick to the gut.

Maxted quickly responds with some boots before he clotheslined Haskins to the outside… which prompted the champion to flip out by throwing some chairs into the ring. Even if Maxted just sits on it. More stalling from Haskins follows, so Maxted gives chase… and gets caught out with a kick as Haskins was waiting for him back in the ring. A missed dropkick doesn’t help Maxted’s cause, as he ends up getting thrown onto the apron, then dropkicked to the floor.

Maxted beat Haskins though, hitting a springboard clothesline then a baseball slide dropkick… but the veteran Haskins turned it around on the outside, at least for a while as Maxted sent him into the crowd. Finally back in the ring, Mark hit back with a forearm as Maxted went for a springboard dropkick, and we’re back on the outside as Haskins looked to stretch Maxted by the bar and sneak a win via count-out. It felt like forever, thanks to a slow 20-count…

Maxted beats the count though, as Haskins begins to unload with some mid kicks, before he grounded Maxted with a chinlock, perhaps suspecting that the long game would win it for him. After getting free, Maxted caught Haskins with a scoop slam off the ropes, before he just about caught a crossbody to turn Haskins in with a fallaway slam. A dropkick in the corner has Haskins running for cover ahead of a pescado from Maxted… and the Northern Irishman continued with a missile dropkick after hanging Haskins in the ropes. Haskins fights back with a suplex for a near-fall, quickly following in with a stomp off the top… but Maxted’s still got something left, but that “something” had bad aim as he wiped our referee Niall Fox with a brutal springboard missile dropkick.

With no ref, Maxted hits a spinebuster for the visual pin… yeah, he forgot he just killed the ref seconds earlier. Mark Haskins gets back to his feet and hits a low blow, before a belt shot led to a delayed near-fall after Vicki Haskins had revived Foxy… Mark gets pissed of with the ref, and unsights him as Vicki went for another belt shot, but Foxy stops and ejects her from ringside.

Not that she’d miss much though: once the Haskins were done arguing, Maxted got up and hit a Burning Hammer… and that’s the win! In his home town, Adam Maxted wins OTT gold, and hopefully means he’ll find his way back to Dublin for the first time since late 2017! As for the match, I wasn’t a fan of the stalling, even if it did establish Haskins as someone trying to grind out a result, but it developed into something decent enough to close the show out with. ***¼

OTT’s first show of the new year was a solid effort, even if it wasn’t exactly a must-see card on what was a very busy weekend of wrestling. The promotion returns to Dublin for a Contenders show in February, ahead of March’s Scrappermania… a big show that perhaps is coming a bit too soon given that there’s not much in the way of big storylines quite yet – as we’re still waiting to see what the next challenge is going to be for David Starr, while the OTT tag championships remain in limbo.