Billed as the final Tivoli show of the year – OTT returned to their spiritual home as Mark Haskins took his shot at Jordan Devlin’s title… while a much bigger threat loomed.

In spite of the hype, there’s going to be another OTT show at the Tivoli later this year, with the follow-up to April’s Defiant women’s card having been pencilled in… but just in case they couldn’t get a final farewell in 2019, this is it.

We start with a video recapping OTT’s Tivoli years, from the matches, the moments and the stars who came to play. They segue into the heel commentators in the ring, with Gerry Humperdink and Tony Kelly telling us that the Rapture found a partner… so their tag match tonight’s going to be a six-man tag. Humperdink brings out Don Marnell and Aonghus McAnally for this month’s edition of “here’s how we get to the proper commentary team”. Via a face-off between Marnell and Humperdink… and the whole “Don screwed Gerry’s wife” thing’s paid off by… Humperdink getting a divorce? This was a little awkward to watch and not just because I was thinking Gerry was going to swell the commentary team to inhumane proportions, but instead he handed over the reins.

Jinny & TK Cooper vs. Trent Seven & Martina
Jinny’s not been in OTT since ScrapperMania last year, on the losing end of a trios match… and here she’s part of a foil for the comedy pairing of Trent Seven and Martina, your WWF NEXT tag team champions. I tell you what, whomever’s making those knock-off belts is doing a stand-up job!

Jinny has enough of the tomfoolery and decides to open fire on the crowd (verbally, of course), before Trent gets a right of reply. Once everyone’s done singing the song he had last month. No chance, and all that… but it leads to a jump start that the good guys quickly overcome as Trent set up for the cricket chop (complete with him tasting his own ball sweat) and a Bronco buster from Martina.

Martina gets to do Trent’s flip, which was a crushing assisted back senton before it was time to “do the Tyler stuff”. Except Martina misses the rope in trying to do the rebound clothesline as commentary busted out the “there’s always hope” lines I’ve not heard since Sunderland played. It’s been a long summer. That miscue allowed TK Cooper to come in with what looked like Kenny Omega’s Kotaro Krusher before the referee was distracted by Martina, and was unable to count a pin.

Jinny’s in to lay into Trent, then Martina, and back to Trent as it became clear that Martina was there waiting for the inevitable hot tag. TK stretched Trent in a camel clutch, but it doesn’t last… nor does Trent’s attempt to tag as TK pulls him back before Jinny yanks Martina off the ring apron. In a cute moment, the crowd chant “Penneys” and “Primark” for those who know both brands, right as Jinny’s barrage of offence was coming to an end.

Martina’s in with forearms and a suplex for a near-fall, but Jinny slaps back and goes for an Acid Rainmaker… only for it to be ducked and turned into a spiking DDT for a near-fall. From there, it’s time for more Tyler Stuff as we get an airplane spin with a squat in the middle, before going for a German suplex to take Jinny into the corner. TK makes the save, only to get dispatched as Jinny was forced to escape a suplex… we hear Trent chopping the post as Martina went for a Tyler Driver, but TK’s back in to save things as a combo Acid Rainmaker/Back Cracker nearly gets the job done as it was Trent’s turn to break up the pin. There’s another resurgence as the teams exchange strikes, before Martina does a little better on the Tyler Clothesline, then decides to jump onto TK Cooper on the outside for… reasons.

That left Jinny all alone with Trent Seven, who’s left with the simple task of ragdolling her for a spinning piledriver for the win. Enjoyable stuff, and I’m now left wondering “who’s the next champion for Martina to pose as”? ***

We’re taken to backstage footage with Mark Haskins… he’s asked by ring announcer Butch (and THAT shirt) about his OTT title match in the main event. Haskins is preoccupied with not having “his” title, and walks off in a rather frustrated manner.

Veda Scott vs. Raven Creed vs. Valkyrie
With women’s champion Sammii Jayne still on the shelf, OTT’s actually put a women’s match on the show… with the winner getting to the head of the queue when Sammii’s back.

From Cork, Raven Creed wasn’t exactly one that had the local support… unlike Valkyrie, who shot out of the gates with a running enziguiri to dispatch Veda Scott at the bell. Creed tries to lay out Valkyrie with a lungblower, but it’s cartwheeled out of as Valkyrie was avoiding the offence for a spell.

Veda’s back in to trip Valkyrie as she look to dive onto Creed on the outside, which raised the crowd’s ire as Scott took her into the corner for a diving crossbody. The crowd kinda fell flat a little here, which is sort-of to be expected as the OTT women’s division has barely been highlighted in recent shows… but they did wake up when Valkyrie mounted a comeback as Creed returned.

A dropkick to Creed in the ropes gets rid of the Cork native, as does a through-the-ropes dropkick, before Veda grabs the referee to help with some rope-walking ahead of a body press to the pile. Back inside, Veda axe-kicks Valkyrie before Creed came in and suplexes Valkyrie onto her as the momentum continued to swing. Scott’s back in to set up for an Indian deathlock to Creed – throwing in a German suplex to Valkyrie at the same time as she almost got the win there.

With Creed on the outside, Valkyrie’s left alone as Veda nails a handstand kick in the corner and a rope-hung Snapmare driver out of it for a near-fall. There’s more typical three-way stuff, with pins being broken up, as Valkyrie looked to set up for a superplex… only for Scott to return for a Tower of Doom that almost turned nasty. Creed recovers enough to knock Scott down as she was looking to climb the ropes, but she can’t capitalise as Valkyrie comes in with a wheelbarrow’d snapmare driver, then a legdrop and a standing moonsault as Veda’s put away. This was okay – lacking a lot of crowd reaction, which is to be expected when you’re throwing out characters in an inconsistent manner. The match itself was decent, but going in some feared that the “three-way women’s match” would struggle to break out… and it was the case here. More a case of the way the division been’s presented, rather than the fault of anyone in the match. **¾

More Than Hype (Darren Kearney, LJ Cleary & Nathan Martin) vs. Club Tropicana (Aidan Epic & Captain Sexsea) & Colt Cabana
Hey, Butch has even gone back to THAT shirt to fit in with Club Tropicana! We’ve got Jose Idle, who is in no way a man who used to announce the darts, and he’s got a gift for LJ Cleary… who he once called a little girl. Except the present is wrapped in “baby girl” paper, and it’s… a doll. Oops.

There’s dolls for all of More Than Hype as Idle proceeds to introduce Club Tropicana after Captain Sexsea’s brief outing here last month. Oh, and Colt Cabana… so does that make them Club Tropicabana? Anyway, THIS is the sort of thing we mean about “not throwing people out there”. More Than Hype and Club Tropicana have been building up their stuff around Ireland and on the OTT Contender’s shows… which has turned them into cult favourites. It’s not hard.

So, what was it like once the bell rang? Well, it started off pretty tentatively as Cabana worked his classic World of Sport style stuff with LJ Cleary, who was more than up to the match as he catches Colt with a dropkick early on. Shenanigans get us to Captain Sexsea and Nathan Martin after the Cap’n had asked for the “sexiest member of MTH”, prompting the crowd into their own little debate. Perhaps slapping “Psycho Nathan” with a glove wasn’t such a good idea, nor was the Bionic Elbow to Nathan’s nether regions as Tropi-Cabana were on fire. Like all of MTH’s groins…

At least Colt heeded the crowd’s pleas of “face… not the face” when he was throwing punches at Darren Kearney, before Tropicana borrowed the Elite’s boots spot in the corner. We’ve an airplane spin from Epic as Colt and the Captain paintbrush Kearney with gloves, eventually ending with Epic and Kearney Flair Flopping in Stereo. Tags bring in LJ Clearly to hit a bunch of springboard enziguiri, only for Colt’s springboard moonsault to cut it off as he began to direct traffic.

Things take a turn for the unexpected as Aidan Epic grabs a proper dining chair from under the ring… and goes full Sabu with his flag and a hair band… including flopping when he tried to springboard off of the chair. Colt recovers things as he cornered More Than Hype, who finally hit back with some circus-like acrobatics as LJ climbed onto Kearney and Martin’s shoulders… so Colt tries a chicken fight with the referee underneath him. It doesn’t work. It’s bloody ridiculous stuff, but the crowd are buying all of it, so who am I to complain?

Eventually it all breaks up as More Than Hype dispatch Cabana, then Epic with a slam and a frog splash, only for Sexsea to break up the pin… then take down Cleary with a spinebuster as the People’s Elbow was thwarted because he had no elbow pad. Nevermind, he borrows Colt’s, who races into the crowd to recover the pad. LJ avoids it and hits a stunner before Stone Cold’ing it up with water… and we’re still in WWF finishers territory with RKOs, Attitude Adjustments, and no-sells. Yeah, Colt stopped selling that stuff years ago.

One Flying A’hole in the corner from Colt keeps his crew ahead, as does the slip ‘n’ slide headbutt from Sexsea as Colt’s Superman body press gets the win over LJ. As a match… this has plenty to hate (that parade o’ WWE finishers in particular felt a little backyardy), but you’ve got five relatively new acts that were over like Rover, so how can you not fall in love with this? ***

Angelico vs. Mike Bailey
It says something that Mike Bailey seems to have the same entrance video just about everywhere he goes. Good job, SSF!

Bailey, sporting a mouth guard now after he lost a tooth during a match in Scotland, started by taking Angelico down by his arm, but the pair largely keep it on the mat as they wrestled for control of a body part. Any body part. There’s a swing and a miss from Bailey early on, but it’s Angelico who connects with a kick first, taking Bailey outside for a missed double stomp… allowing Speedball to unleash a flurry of kicks at ringside.

After crashing into the stage, Bailey’s taken back inside as Angelico began to wear him down, landing a backbreaker for a near-fall, before nearly rolling Speedball into a version of the Tequila Sunrise with a trapped-arm single-leg crab. Bailey tries to rebound, but his dive’s kicked away… only for him to lift Angelico to the outside for a Golden Triangle moonsault right into those floor seats!

Bailey shifts into his usual mindset, but Angelico kicks back and nails a nice Capoeira-style kick from the mat for a near-fall, before the Fall of the Angels was countered into a snapping ‘rana for a near-fall. The standing moonsault knees connect next from Speedball, as does a corkscrew roundhouse into the corner before another shooting star knee out of the corner is met in mid-air with a knee strike from Angelico! Back on his feet, Bailey goes back to the kicks, only for Angelico to block them, following in with a pop-up bicycle knee as the Canadian took a hard landing for a near-fall.

A Dragon screw from Angelico sees him keep Bailey on the mat for a reverse Figure Four, before another crack at the Fall of the Angels buckle bomb was countered into a sunset flip as Bailey clung on. The moonsault/fallaway slam out of nowhere gets Speedball another two-count, and eventually set up Angelico for the shooting star knees to the back as he picked up the win. This was a low-key good match between two guys I usually struggle to get into. Who knew, eh? Take away the overuse of kicks, and I seem to enjoy Mike Bailey more… that’s not a knock, just my own personal taste. ***¾

The Rapture (Zack Gibson & Charlie Sterling) & Sammy D vs. Angel Cruzers (Angel Cruz & B Cool) & Pete Dunne
Can you say troll? In a moment that doesn’t age well, Zack Gibson and Charlie Sterling came out to “Three Lions”, or the song that got played to death during the World Cup. You know the one… it’s coming home. Anyway, earlier in the day, England had beaten Sweden to get to the World Cup semi-finals, which meant that the English pair had something new, timely and white hot to troll the Tivoli with, while Zack managed to sing the new English national anthem…

“It’s like if the Great Muta had joined the EDL” – oh, and the winners of this match face the Kings of the North at WrestleRama 2 by the way.

Gibson had his usual rant about Irish wrestling’s “best” being Angel Cruz and B Cool, a pair that had to mess with weaponry because they had no ability… but they had a weapon of their own: the returning Sammy D. He’d been away from OTT for over a year after the Gymnasties split coupled with an untimely injury. Cool’s response was rather hot-headed… to grab an axe, then a gun, while the crowd chanted for the other third – Justy. Instead, Angel Cruz had a better idea: Pete Dunne!

When we finally get going, they teased the former Gymnasty partners facing off, but of course that wasn’t happening, as we instead got Dunne vs. Gibson, with the Bruiserweight quickly taking Zack into the corner as Dunne controlled those early stages. Cruz and Dunne came in to do duelling stomps on Charlie Sterling’s arms, before Angel scored with a flapjack and a running knee ahead of an attempted brainbuster.

Of course not.

Now we got the duelling tags as Sammy D and B Cool faced off, but it took the Rapture to attack Cool from behind as we entered the “comedy” portion of things, as a gun, a bowling ball, an axe and some shoes come into play. Yep, that’s a thing here as well. Eventually the referee disarms everyone and turns the gun on the wrestlers in a bid to maintain control. Eh, it’s more authority than some refs show.

They forget about the bowling ball though as Sterling gets cornered… but it’s not a bowling ball that meets Charlie’s nether regions… it’s one half of team PRICK! Hissing provides the backing track as Sammy D came back in as Angel Cruz was worn down, with all three members of Rapture & Friend isolating him. Finally Angel gets the tag out to Cool, who captures the Rapture in an “accidental” DDT between friends, before Sammy D hit the ring and whipped him with a weightlifting belt.

Cool turns the tables with his own belt, producing a satisfying crack, and the inevitable showdown as the former Gymnasties whipped each other silly. After a brainbuster was reversed, Dunne hit the ring and flattened both of the Rapture, as a Parade of Moves broke out… but Sammy D makes a save to break up the cover. A Blue Thunder Bomb from Sterling shocks Dunne, who’s then passed into Sammy D with the old District Line powerbomb. They’re not done though, as Sammy spits and superkicks Cool, before Angel Cruz avoids a standing moonsault from Sterling, who then tried to win with his feet on the ropes. Peter of Team PRICK breaks that up and is made to pay for it as Sammy throws him into the clutches of a Rapture spike piledriver.

There’s an attempted comeback by Cruz, who goes Old School without any training wheels, and turns it into a Coast to Coast dropkick that hits Sammy D and causes him to be wrapped in the OTT banner on the stage… as he staggers around, Cruz and Cool Chase the Dragon, and that superkick-assisted brainbuster gets the win! The Angel Cruzers get a tag title shot after another wacky tag team outing… and it’s worth noting that last time the Cruzers faced the Kings of the North (in March), it was Angel and B who came out on top! ***¼

Post-match, as Angel and B celebrate, as Sammy D in the banner got back to his feet. They roll him into the ring, but the picture cuts out just after he escaped the brainbuster attempt… and it’s Justy! All three of the former Gymnasties are back in OTT… and will that get under B Cool’s skin ahead of their title shot?

Lucky Kid vs. Damien Corvin
Making his singles debut in OTT, Lucky Kid came with his RISE music and some new gear too to accompany the collective of fans on the floor. BLAHHH.

Corvin’s looking to break out as a singles wrestler, which is odd since he only won the OTT tag titles a month ago! He’s out on his own here, not counting his fans as there’s duelling chants before the pair locked up. Lucky Kid draws first blood, tripping Corvin ahead of a low dropkick to the outside, but there’s no dives because in the Tivoli we… BLAHHH!

Returning to the ring, Corvin’s forced to leap over Lucky before hitting a dropkick of his own… which prompts Lucky to cling to Corvin’s leg like an overly needy pet. It eventually leads to a leg spreader, which is not something any of my pets has ever done to me, before Lucky mistook a handshake as friendship… something the snarling face of Corvin should have given away.

An Irish whip sends Lucky hard into the buckles, before he’s sent outside for a nice plancha from Corvin as he was hitting the RISE member from all angles. That stage wall gets used as Lucky’s thrown into it… then suplexed on the floor by the bar, forcing him to crawl back to the ring to beat that 20-count… and roll into some pinning attempts. Corvin takes his time and telegraphs a White Star line, but it’s ducked as Lucky instead takes some elbows before returning with a shotgun dropkick into the corner.

A handspring elbow takes down Corvin though, but Corvin retaliates with a uranage from the apron and another crack at the White Star, instead hitting a big boot for another near-fall. Lucky nearly lives up to his name with a snap roll-up for a near-fall, before another handspring’s countered… Lucky escapes the German suplex and retaliated with an Asai DDT for a two-count.

Perhaps sparking a strike battle wasn’t the best idea as Lucky riled up Corvin, who gladly replied with elbows of his own, before he shrugged off lariats from Lucky and hits the White Star Line out of nowhere, before the F-6-Counties somehow drew only a two count! Corvin looked to finish with an avalanche brainbuster, but Lucky switched out into a Liger Bomb as they keep the near-falls coming. A Dragon suplex gets a similar result for Lucky as Corvin got a foot to the ropes, but it was the King of the North who hit back once more, catching Lucky up top for a superplex before following up with a big boot and a sit-out front suplex for the win. Another really good outing here for Corvin, and a performance that should surely mean that Lucky Kid’ll be back in OTT sooner rather than later. I’m still not sure how Corvin goes from being a tag team champion to a singles guy without any kind of acrimonious split… especially since we’ve already had that teased recently by the Kings. ***½

Sean Guinness vs. WALTER
In his OTT debut last month, WALTER made it known that he was coming for Jordan Devlin’s OTT title… but first, he’s got a slight roadblock in the form of Devlin’s sometime tag partner Sean Guinness.

Guinness’ early efforts were completely thwarted as WALTER threw him aside with ease, but he’s able to momentarily catch out WALTER with a dropkick amid a sea of duelling chants. That was just temporary though, as WALTER used a Greco-Roman knuckle lock to pin Guinness to the mat for the never-not-impressive neck bridge kick-out, only for a stomp through the chest to put the Irishman back onto the mat.

After a brief tribute to Keith Lee on commentary, WALTER wrenches Guinness back to the mat by the head, before trapping him in a STF after another dropkick attempt was thwarted. It’s brutal stuff from WALTER, as commentary threw in yet another name for Sean Guinness. Look, pick one: is it Sean Guinness? Sean Maxer Guinness? Sean Maxer? Maxer Brennan? Pick one!

Whatever moniker you used though, Guinness was again found on the mat as WALTER tried to twist his head off, before throwing in a kick to the back once he’d reached the ropes. That prompts Guinness to throw some chops, but you know how those eventually go. We had to wait a little longer after Guinness hit elbows and a clothesline to drop WALTER, before cartwheeling off the top rope to keep a step ahead, before a handspring cutter finally took the big man down.

Just like that though, WALTER’s right back in with a Gojira clutch before… CHOP! The first one’s always the sweetest, but Guinness nearly shocks him by rolling back out of another clutch for a pinning attempt, before a massive shotgun dropkick shot him like a cannonball into the corner. Guinness still tries it on though, catching a guillotine choke on WALTER, only to get flung across the ring as the big man was proving to be resilient.

He was also looking to be versatile too, taking Guinness up top only to get booted away and met with a double stomp. A 450 splash followed, but WALTER’s up at two before he was forced to counter a piledriver into an Okada-like neckbreaker slam, following up with a murderous lariat for another two-count. WALTER washes Guinness’ face with some boots as the crowd tried to get behind him… and it worked as Guinness egged on WALTER before pulling himself up with the help of the referee.

More forearms and elbows follow between the two, until WALTER scored a thunderous big boot… and gets met with some superkicks for good measure. An O’Connor roll almost gets the win, but WALTER kicks out and locks in the Gojora clutch out of nowhere for the flash stoppage. The crowd seemed a little silent for that, but it was a really good finish to continue to highlight WALTER as a killer in OTT… and with a tag win over Devlin… a singles win over his tag partner… we all know what’s next. And it’s going to be fantastic. ****¼

OTT World Championship: Mark Haskins vs. Jordan Devlin (c)
Looking to regain the OTT title he held for a few months last year, Mark Haskins was greeted with a raucous atmosphere for what was billed as perhaps the final OTT match in the Tivoli.

Jordan Devlin’s not able to get into the ring when Haskins jumps him in a bid to try and win with a double stomp early, as “Hellbent” Haskins lived up to his own nickname. Devlin looked to hit back in kind as he escaped the Made in Japan, before scoring a dropkick to take Haskins to the floor, eventually following in with a punt kick and a moonsault to the floor!

Returning to the ring, a slingshot cutter gets Devlin a near-fall, but Devlin looked to have tweaked his knee a little, giving Haskins something to aim for as he instantly kicked it and went to work over the body part. The pair end up on the apron, where Haskins continued to go after the body part, using the edge of the ring for a knee-breaker on the champion, before going back inside to grapevine the leg and put more pressure on the joint.

The submission attempt turned into an impromptu DDT as Devlin tried to escape, and it almost costs him the title as Haskins picked up a near-fall… but Devlin began to fight back, only to get caught as Haskins again went to the knee, making an Indian deathlock look effortless. Devlin’s left leg again remains the focal point, and it goes from bad to worse for the champion as Haskins busts out a Stretch Muffler then a STF, holding back Devlin’s hand in a failed bid to stop him from getting to the ropes.

Devlin manages a comeback, countering a Dragon screw into a standing double stomp to Haskins’ midsection… that was perhaps not wise, nor was the standing moonsault after a uranage as the champion’s knees had seen better days… so of course, running double knees come next for a near-fall. Jordan keeps up the pressure with a tornado DDT and a brainbuster for a near-fall.

Another slingshot cutter’s stuffed though as Haskins tries to hit back with a death valley driver… but Devlin escaped for a springboard moonsault, hitting it despite slipping on the middle turnbuckle. Devlin tries to counter with an ankle lock, but Haskins counters into a bridging pin, as another relentless series ended with a standing Spanish fly that got the tired crowd out of their seats. The pair continued to fight, trading strikes as they got back to their feet, before a left hand from Haskins and the pumphandle driver almost caused a title change.

They head up top as Haskins looked for an avalanche pumphandle driver, but Devlin slips free and hits a gamengiri to take down the challenger. Devlin looks to capitalise with a moonsault, but he whiffs and lands nastily on the bad leg, allowing Haskins to come straight back in with a Sharpshooter… with Devlin fortunately close enough to the ropes to keep his championship alive. We try again, but Devlin rolls through and shocks him with a package piledriver out of nowhere as Charlie Sterling, Zack Gibson and Sammy D hit the ring and pull out the referee.

A beltshot from Sammy looked to be the turning point, but Devlin kicks out… prompting Haskins to lay out the referee as Devlin became the target of a 4-on-1 beatdown. Sammy regains the belt and hands it to Haskins, but a second beltshot was stopped by the Angel Cruzers… specifically, the head of Angel Cruz, prompting the crowd to chant for Justy as the good guys were still outnumbered. Until Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and Martina make the save, just because, with triple bop/bang punches and Pedigrees took out the Rapture and Friend.

Everyone brawls to the back as Haskins looked for another belt shot, but the referee pops up and stops things, disarming Haskins and blocking a big boot, hitting Haskins with a Stunner before Devlin snatched the win with the package piledriver. This was fun until the finishing straight – I get the whole “send the crowd home happy” moment with the supposed question marks over the Tivoli, but I wasn’t enamoured with the deluge of interference. It didn’t bring it down too much, but I could have lived without it. ***¾

Post-match, Devlin jumped into the crowd as Linus caught his second wrestler in as many shows… before WALTER hit the ring. There’s a face-to-face staredown between the two as WALTER tries to snatch the belt, before the time honoured tradition of “point to the logo of the show you’re wrestling on” confirmed their showdown at WrestleRama 2 in August.

I. Cannot. Wait.

While probably not really the final Tivoli show, OTT looked to go out as if it were… and they did so with a card that presented a little of everything that made OTT what it is. You had your abunance of comedy with Martina and the Angel Cruzers, you had the sprinkling of insanely-over new talent in More Than Hype and Club Tropicana (two groups that I will be going out of my way to see again)… and the storyline that’s relatively come out of nowhere with WALTER gunning for Jordan Devlin’s OTT title.

Some of OTT’s booking last year chased us away – but the changes they’ve made have gotten us right back on board at perhaps the most uncertain time in the promotion’s history as they begin to look for a new regular home away from the Tivoli.