It’s a battle of two relative evils for Jordan Devlin – as his next title contender would be decided in the main event of a cracking WrestleRama.
We’re coming from National Basketball Arena in Tallaght, Dublin, with commentary from Aonghus Og McAnally and Tony Kelly. But first, a fantastic video package to sum up today’s big matches, before the opening banter with Kelly burying the Irish sports scene gave way to an interruption from Justy.
There’s a big pop from me at the clock in the arena proving that Britwres Time hasn’t spread to Ireland as they started at 6pm prompt.
Justy vs. Puma King
This was the threat of Justy Libre. A chance at redemption after Justy Jitsu.
In the early going, Justy Libre wasn’t much of a match for Puma King’s offence as he tied him up in knots, before he out-paced the former Gymnasty, whose kip-up flopped like a dying fish. Justy tried to reply by throwing Puma King to the outside, but that goes awry too as the luchador went right back on the offence, sidestepping a moonsault as a stalling suplex dropped Justy to the mat.
Justy’s pancaked and superkicked too as the fur began to fly. He spills to the outside as he leapt at Puma King, who makes this look too easy. Leaning into the ropes wasn’t a good idea as Justy’s attempt at cheating out of a sunset flip was thwarted, before he got caught in a pendulum swing, with his head bonking off the bottom turnbuckle.
Headscissors were countered into a backbreaker as Justy ends up eating a powerbomb for a near-fall… because he held the ref’s hand to stop the three count from getting completed. That wound up Puma King, who was taken off his game as Justy began to make a comeback… only to whiff on a Spiral Tap.
He still has his wits around him as he shoved Puma King into the ref, giving him an opening for a low blow and a roll-up… but that doesn’t pay off as he gets caught on the top rope with an avalanche powerbomb as Puma King took the win. An entertaining match to open with, and Justy Jitsu is just about forgiven. ***
Backstage, Butch interviews Jordan Devlin ahead of his title match with Sean Guinness. Jordan called his former tag partner a failure, which are fighting words indeed.
CT Flexor & Valkyrie vs. Jimmy Havoc & Raven Creed
This mixed tag match saw Creed have a mystery partner, which’d turn out to be Jimmy Havoc. Flexor’s got a nice new WWF t-shirt as he’s trying way too hard to be part of the Woke Queens.
Jimmy’s appearance had the “Woke Bloke” Flexor in a tizz, as Valkyrie demanded to face Havoc instead. Of course, she just tagged out instantly, because Valkyrie isn’t that stupid… but we eventually get going with a scrap on the outside before things calmed down as Havoc was worn down. Flexor sidesteps a dropkick as Valkyrie tried to capitalise… which she did with a big splash, which served as a set-up for a comedy People’s Elbow from CT, who played around too much. Ditto Valkyrie, whose crossbody missed, as Creed got the hot tag instead.
Creed kept up on CT with chops, before she shrugged off a kick in the ropes from Valkyrie. Those two have a coming together as Creed continued to assault Flexor with chops, but the tables turn briefly, as Creed was more than holding her own in this… until she ran into a dropkick. A stacked up Samoan drop from Creed got the crowd on their feet, as my jaw hit the floor in disbelief, before Jimmy Havoc got the tag back in.
A rolling death valley driver dumps Valkyrie onto CT, ahead of a nasty double stomp as Creed hits her own… and that’s enough for a near-fall. Flexor manages to get rid of Havoc, as the numbers game returned, with Valkyrie’s Death Note flying axe kick on top of a backbreaker from Flexor nearly winning it… One quick Parade of Moves later though, and Creed gets the win with an Acid Rainmaker-infused backcracker on Flexor. This was fun, and got Creed back on track for what I can only hope is a title rematch in her native Cork later in the summer. **¾
More Than Hype (Darren Kearney, LJ Cleary & Nathan Martin) vs. Martina & Angel Cruzers (Angel Cruz & B. Cool)
Our all-Irish trios match gets going with some friendly banter, before B. Cool looked to find a way out of a wristlock. It worked.
His apparent audition to join More Than Hype ended when he leapt into LJ’s inverted atomic drop, before More Than Hype buttered up Angel Cruz by singing his theme song. That could have meant Cruz underestimated Kearney, but the Ultrastar seemed to get the upper hand, until Kearney and Martin double-teamed him.
Cruz didn’t tag out, so he became the whipping boy for a spell as More Than Hype cut the ring in half, before Martina eventually got in – and capitalised on the ref being out of position to take down Cleary. There’s an Magistral driver for Kearney too, before Martin replied to a German suplex with a brainbuster as the bodies continued to fly, with B. Cool hitting, of all things, a Sasuke special to the outside.
Back inside, B. Cool threatens to whip More Than Hype with his belt, but we’re quickly at the finish as brainbusters were avoided, and instead replied to with a trio of superkicks as More Than Hype took the win. That felt a little flat, but what came before it all was enjoyable enough. **½
Scotty Davis vs. Darby Allin
A week earlier, I saw Scotty Davis tear it up in a converted barn in Milton Keynes against the OJMO. A match that killed any fears I had that he was starting to stutter in 2019… so would this match well and truly put those to bed?
Allin struck first, taking Davis outside before outsmarting him with a tope into a little kid… something Scotty tried to one-up with a suplex off the walkway, before he instead landed a gator roll on the ramp. A tope con giro off the apron’s next, as Davis kept up the momentum with some rolling gutwrench suplexes to aggravate Darby’s taped-up ribs.
A belly-to-belly into the buckles doesn’t help much for Allin either, but he’s able to make a comeback, taking Davis onto the apron with an armbar before the pair traded strikes… but ultimately Darby’s caught up top with an avalanche German suplex that flung him corner-to-corner. Christ!
Darby’s straight in with a shotgun dropkick though as he began to box away at Davis, following in with a Destroyer… oh, and some biting too. The action keeps flowing – a Coffin Drop into a German suplex, then a Sasuke Special from Davis, before Darby found his second wind, chaining together moves, forcing Davis to go a little below the belt, removing Darby’s tape and throwing a barrage of strikes to the ribs.
A flip stunner from Darby led to a near-fall – delayed by his floatover crashing him into the referee – before he slipped on the way to the top rope, which took him off his game just long enough for Scotty to pick up the upset with a twisting cross-legged brainbuster. This was superb – perhaps suffering from a few near misses with the pace of it, but these two meshed exceedingly well, with Davis getting back on the board after his recent performances. ****
Rey Horus vs. Bandido
If the opener was a wacky interpretation of lucha, then this ought to be more orthodox…
We open up with armdrags and headscissors as both men were bringing the flips in the early going – albeit mostly to evade the other’s strikes. Bandido scored with a ‘rana to take Horus outside, following in with a monstrous Sasuke special. After the pair confused the referee by counting in Spanish, they opted to head back into the ring as the banter quickly gave way to strikes.
We’re back on the lucha kick as Horus took Bandido outside for a slingshot ‘rana, as these two were making this look goddamn effortless. Ditto with a tope con giro! Problem was, the earlier stuff outside was making the Dublin crowd count in Spanish, and something tells me Horus wasn’t as confident on their linguistics!
Back inside, Bandido stops all the tomfoolery with a dropkick as Horus flew off the top, which led to a standing ten count… that the pair kipped up from. This crowd counting en Español is making even simple stuff a hoot. Bandido’s one handed press slam was just showing off for the sake of it, as a Shining Wizard almost got him the win. We’re back in with the dives too, before Horus took Bandido into the ring post before catching him with a pop up satellite DDT!
A spear’s turned into a Spanish Fly as Horus stayed on top, but the tide began to swing wildly as a pop-up cutter was quickly replied to, with both men booting each other simultaneously. The crowd look to count to diez again, but both men beat the count as Bandido pushed ahead with a torture rack GTS, a Last Ride powerbomb, and finally the 21 Plex as Bandido took the win. This looked effortless, in a good way. We’re starting to hit a run of form on this show, and it’s glorious! ****¼
OTT Gender Neutral Championship: Terry Thatcher vs. Mark Haskins (c)
On the last Contenders’ show, Thatcher beat Haskins for the title… but Haskins cashed in his Golden Opportunity briefcase to instantly regain it. Thatcher didn’t get to come home with the title… but with no second chances for Haskins, can lightning strike twice? There’s an excellent promo package that built us up to this match – OTT as ever are on point for nailing these big match feelings.
Thatcher’s out wearing the mask of the Irish Dragon – there’s a bloody throwback – while Mark Haskins came out with Vicki. The barbed wire bat didn’t clear customs.
Haskins tried for a belt shot before the bell, but Thatcher’s wise to it as this one started hot on the outside, with Thatcher chopping Haskins on the floor. He keeps the pace up back inside, scoring with a Quebrada before he started to pound away on Haskins. That led us back outside, where Haskins rakes the eye as he put Thatcher in a chair… only for the tables to turn as it was Haskins who needed a human shield as Thatcher ended up leaping into the furniture.
Things settled down a little as Haskins systematically began to wear through Thatcher, keeping him at bay with a variety of strikes and submissions. Granted, Thatcher tried to fight back, but Haskins seemed to be a step ahead, countering a roll-up into a crossface. Despite all that, Thatcher finds a way back in, planting the champion with a tornado DDT for a near-fall, before a wheelbarrow roll-up nearly snatched the win for him.
A nice Arn Anderson-style spinebuster gets Thatcher a little closer… but it’s his braces and waistband that proved to be a downfall, as Haskins pulled him into the ropes ahead of a double stomp as the champion pulled things back. Haskins’ running Falcon arrow can’t do it though… but nor could Thatcher’s top rope elbow.
On the apron, Thatcher runs into a superkick ahead of a death valley driver onto the edge of the ring… but still, Thatcher’s got something left in the tank. A tank that’s emptied a little more when his search for a superplex was kicked away… but still Thatcher had enough to take Haskins out for a big Sasuke special. Yep, even on fumes, Thatcher’s not giving up. A pair of 450s to the legs follow back inside, before the Dethatched neckbreaker should have gotten the win… only for Vicki to put Haskins’ foot on the ropes.
Vicki gets involved again, clinging onto Thatcher’s leg to prevent a second Dethatched as he ended up running into a Made in England for a near-fall, before Haskins followed it up with a Sharpshooter, with Vicki pulling the rope away from the challenger as the referee ended up waving the match off. For me, this was a shade above their Contenders outing, although I’m not quite sure how far you can go with the Haskins pair in this role defending the title. Another disappointment for Thatcher, who may well have shot his shot. ***¾
The Rapture (Charlie Sterling, Sha Samuels & Zack Gibson) vs. Club Tropicana (Aidan & Captain Sexsea) & The Fabulous Nicky
Well, isn’t this a cracker of a match to start the second half? A cacophony of noise greets the Rapture for their OTT return, with Zack Gibson barely being able to speak. I’ve missed crowds drowning him out. Sha Samuels’ live Mug of the Week gets a similar reaction, but fortunately Charlie Sterling’s national anthem karaoke was cut off by Club Tropicana… and a slip on a censor!
Club Tropicana coming out to Sweet Caroline was a sight to behold on the VOD.
We’ve a jump start as the club finally sorted out their intro, and this one quickly spills to the outside the Rapture were beating everyone’s favourite bunch of seamen around the arena. Aidan gets put in the bin as the crowd were needed to pull him out of the wire frame holding it up. Ah well.
Nicky manages to find a way back in, dropping Sha with a back suplex… but he’s on his lonesome as Aidan and Sexsea were still fighting to make their way back to the ring, still suffering from the earlier beating. Eventually Nicky gets the tag out to the Captain, who cleared house with a bunch of Steve Austin-like right hands and mudhole stomping, before he back body dropped Sterling into Sha on the outside.
There’s a Rocker Dropper from Sexsea to Gibson too, before Club Tropicana’s oar antics helped them out, as Gibson tried to snap an oar… only for it to whack him in the face. D’oh We get some comedy as a figure four’s reversed back and forth as the Rapture were in some degree of trouble, but a rope break saved the NXT UK tag champion in the end.
A shotgun dropkick put Sha in the corner as Club Tropicana teed up for a slip ‘n’ slide… before a superkick and the Careless Whisper (side Russian Legsweep/running Blockbuster) almost took the win… only for Charlie Sterling to make the save by pantsing Niall Fox. Poor sod.
Sterling’s made to pay with some superkicks and a paddling, which the referee missed because he was putting his trousers back on all while Aonghus threw in a nice reference for long time fans. If you know, you know. As that happened though, the Rapture found their way back in and promptly dispatched Aidan with a double-spiked piledriver. Fun for what it was, but on current form, there was no way the comedic club were getting past the Rapture. **¾
OTT World Championship: Sean Guinness vs. Jordan Devlin (c)
This was set up a month ago when Guinness was sort-of brainwashed by David Starr at Banjaxed. Didn’t see it? Not to worry, there’s another glorious video package as Guinness took aim at being left on Jordan’s guest list.
Guinness, whose entrance video is now giving him that third name that commentary kept throwing in (Sean Maxer Guinness), came out all in black, looking like he’d taken a few style tips off of Jay White.
This one started off pretty keen, with the pair heading into the ropes before Devlin sought to ground Guinness with a hammerlock as commentary asked “why aren’t we giving Maxer praise for having a contract in Zero1?” Without being flippant or dismissive, I think it may be down to exposure…
After powdering to the outside, Guinness returned and held Devlin up in a Canadian backbreaker… something Jordan slipped out of, before his crossbody got turned into a slam. Duelling dropkicks led us to a standoff, before a side headlock led to Guinness flipping off the crowd as they bayed for him to tap.
Having gotten free, Guinness gets dropkicked to the outside, before he pulled Devlin through the ropes and to the floor as he was done taking the champion’s handouts. Chops follow in the crowd, which led to Devlin almost losing by count-out… only for him to dive back into the ring at the last possible moment.
An attempted Air Jordan was blocked as Guinness got the knees up to block a moonsault, before he went to an abdominal stretch to wear down Devlin. It’s escaped and replied to in kind, but Guinness goes to the eyes before he took Devlin down with some bodyscissors. The champion escapes, standing up and charging Guinness into the corner before scoring with a crossbody off the top – not really a smart move given that Guinness had been targeting his ribs for the entire match.
Still, Devlin’s able to build momentum with an Air Jordan and some lariats, following in with a slingshot cutter as Guinness rolled to the outside for cover. Guinness makes a comeback, going back to that Canadian backbreaker before he got caught with a superplex… one that Devlin rolled through, only to get caught with a guillotine in the middle of the ring.
That guillotine almost led to the shock title change, but Devlin fought free and turned it into a brainbuster. A 450 splash crashes and burns as Guinness gets the knees up again as he went back to Devlin’s midsection, scoring with a gutbuster and a splash to the back to pick up a delayed two-count. That backbreaker’s back, but this time Devlin rolls free and cracked Guinness with a headbutt, only for Guinness to counter a Devlinside and hit back with a Widow’s Peak of all things. It’s not enough, and with Guinness in disbelief, he looked to finish off Devlin with his own package piledriver, only to leave himself wide open for Devlin to jack-knife him for the pin. While I doubt many bought that Devlin was losing his title here, this was a nice little match to highlight Guinness’ recent change of attitude – and hopefully OTT are able to make this more than a “one and done” outing. There’s juice in a rematch down the line, albeit with more than a month’s build. ***¼
David Starr vs. WALTER
Fulda. Hamburg. Oberhausen. Bielefeld. London. Melrose. Wolverhampton. Leeds. Newcastle. Manchester. Concord. All of those places, Starr has tried (and failed) to get a singles win over WALTER. Is Dublin about to get added to that list?
Curiously, commentary’s lightened up on Starr, who was seemingly having the beginnings of a nervous breakdown when Symphony No. 9 IV started. There’s still a few fans who are trolling Starr with chants of “you’ll never beat WALTER”. Maybe they’ll call themselves realists? Rolling outside at the bell to psyche himself up, Starr’s in a familiar position of being thrown around the ring by WALTER as the crowd chanted “26” – the number of matches in OTT canon Starr’s gone without recording a fall over WALTER. To be fair, one of those matches was a Rumble… which Starr eliminated WALTER from!
A shoulder tackle takes Starr to the outside, from where he returned to slap the Austrian… who just goes for his throat as referee Niall Fox grabbed the arm to break it up. Just as WALTER went for a chop. Interesting timing. Starr leaps on that to take WALTER down, but he got too arrogant too quickly, as a slam dropped him to the mat. Starr threw himself at WALTER after a low bridge took him outside, but a tope’s easily caught… only for Starr to catch a kick and throw it into the ring post. A different tactic, this time? Using a fan’s backpack as a pivot, Starr wrenched on WALTER’s knee on the floor, only for the big man to get up and deck him with a big boot in short order. And another. Thanks for coming.
Back in the ring, WALTER began to decimate Starr… but that earlier leg work began to have an effect, as a leapfrog led to WALTER jarring his knee, allowing Starr to come right back in on those legs. Those chops are harder to throw from the mat. Still, WALTER had more of a power game in him as he shoved Starr to the floor, giving him time to rest as he looked to haul Starr back in with a superplex… except the Product went for the leg again, as this time, he was finally making some severe headway. A ringpost figure four didn’t quite go to plan, but it was effective – and aggressive – enough to keep WALTER on the back foot. A patronising pat on the head from Starr led to a chop. Which WALTER gleefully returned to leave Starr shaking on the mat.
More chops, more! Another boot too! A seated splash… that moment of arrogance looked to cost Starr, who tried to fight back in… but he ends up getting caught in a tombstone. A tombstone that seemed to hurt WALTER just as much as it did Starr, who rolled onto the apron for relative safety. Starr’s back in the ring, taking a rude clothesline before going back to WALTER’s legs, hanging it in the ropes ahead of a German suplex and a Figure Four! WALTER’s banging on the mat seemed to pass for a tap, as Starr again didn’t play to the bell… and just like at Carat, WALTER goes for a Gojira clutch. Except this time, Starr rolled back and got a near-fall, before WALTER went right back to the hold.
An escape gives Starr fresh hope, as he tried to Han Stansen his way past chops as he eventually felled WALTER… and now the crowd’s believing. It’s back to the Figure Four, but again it’s escaped as WALTER got to the rope. Perhaps out of ideas, Starr rolled outside, and grabbed the NXT UK title belt from ring announcer Butch, which led to some symbolism that irked so many.
WALTER’s response? A chop and a powerbomb… but Starr’s words turned the crowd against WALTER, as they began to call him a sell-out. The next response? WALTER dumping Starr deep into the crowd with a powerbomb. Good God. Referee Niall Fox used himself as a human shield to delay WALTER from getting to Starr again, but it’s for nought as the pissed off Austrian chopped Starr around, as the Dublin crowd got back onside. Foxy took a brutal shotgun dropkick into the corner, which’ll make you gasp too… as well as the Fire Thunder Driver that WALTER followed up with on Starr. Except there’s no ref! After getting the visual cover, WALTER tried to shake Foxy back to life, but Starr goes back to the belt, which he used as a shield for a WALTER chop, before he laid him out with it. Still, Foxy’s asleep, but Starr goes for the visual cover, which WALTER emphatically kicked out of at two. My God. He won’t stay down, even when it doesn’t matter!
That triggers another meltdown, and also has the crowd firmly behind Starr. Even more so when he threw the belt to WALTER… and Foxy fell for the Eddie Guerrero trick! Dublin erupts for the DQ win… but Jordan Devlin’s out there instantly to tell the referee what happened! History? Not quite. We’ve a restart, which Starr instantly tries to eke out a win with a roll-up, before he turned his sights to Devlin with a tope… which just opened the door for WALTER to pull Starr back into the ring with Gojira clutch… and as Devlin watched on emotionless, Starr fades away as the referee waves off the match.
The bit everyone’ll scroll down to read: This was the 12th time these two faced each other one-on-one, and I’m fairly confident in saying that this was perhaps the best of the bunch. Building off of their many prior encounters, Starr tried a different gameplan, which actually seemed to work. Was the crowd as heated as prior altercations? Perhaps not – OTT going without regular shows means that both men went into this as neither strong good guys nor bad, with Dublin at first not quite willing to forgive Starr, yet also not wanting to see WALTER back against the man he dethroned last year. That belt was the turning point though, and my word, how such a simple move could swing a crowd. Everything here was on point and the arrival of Jordan Devlin to tattle tale on David Starr made this even more exquisite. After the match, Starr laid out Foxy with a Han Stansen, furious at how he took someone else’s word to restart the match, as the show came to a close with the crowd roaring behind the irate Starr. It’s 26-0… and still the hunt continues. There be no fear here. *****
The change of reactions in those last two matches was a marvel – with Jordan Devlin going from beloved champion to a despised being. All because of David Starr bring in and stomping on that NXT UK title. While the whole “independent” thing has been turned into a debate about unionising, workers rights and the like, at its core there’s plenty of fans who take it as “us vs. them”, “indie vs. WWE”, or whatever words you want to use. Don’t believe me? Just take a look at how the crowd almost universally turned in Starr’s favour… and against their man Devlin at the end.
A masterpiece in how to take something in wrestling and spin it on its head.
If you’ve been sleeping on OTT for some reason, this is the ideal show to come in on. An exciting blend of Irish talent and a few imports that were used well – and if you’re minded to complain about that, well the good news is OTT’s next Contenders’ show is an all-Irish affair.