As part of the Dublin Fringe Festival, Over The Top Wrestling came to town with a memorable card and a title change to boot!

#TLDR: OTT’s annual show at the Dublin Fringe was a fun event, with a show-stealing four-way match and a return to form for Pete Dunne in the main event.

The Full Review: Not named after one of the groups that ran during CHIKARA’s downtime, Wrestling Is Art kicked off this year’s Dublin Fringe Festival, with a show at the Spiegeltent.

The show starts with Don Marnell and Aonghus Og McAnally – the commentary team – hyping up the show, whilst the usual ring announcer, Butch, is there as the ringmaster.

Charlie Garrett & Katie Harvey vs. Rocky Mac & Martina
Harvey and Garrett keep up the gimmick of the thick-rimmed black glasses, but sadly he doesn’t have his classically-simple entrance “video”. Martina’s out as Ireland’s Sandman – read into that what you will!

Both teams played to the crowd at the start, which you’d expect given that this isn’t the typical OTT crowd. Then again, when Charlie Garrett gets “where’s your passport” chants, maybe there’s more regulars than we all thought?

Some good basics from Mac and Garrett, with a “Waterford Legsweep” (Mac’s version of a side Russian legsweep, which put more emphasis on the flat back bump) setting up to Rocky Mac revealing some ring gear underneath his tracksuit bottoms. Garrett reacted in much the same way I would have to Martina, and tagged in Harvey, who managed to avoid a double knee-strike in the corner, before suplexing Martina into the turnbuckles.

Charlie Garrett gets tagged in and has his trunks and thong pulled down as Martina tried for a sunset flip… and this being wrestling, we had a lot of bare arse on display, particularly from a hanging vertical suplex. Garrett gets his arse spanked, before Martina sits on his face from a sunset flip, and I don’t know what the hell I’m watching. Too much bare arse, that’s for sure.

The heels double team up on Rocky Mac, but he avoids a slap from Garrett – who gets Harvey by accident – before Mac finally makes a hot tag to Martina. Martina spikes Garrett on his head with a DDT, then gets the Bronco Buster that ends up with Garrett doing a Flair Flop out of the ring… and gets met with a tope as Martina tosses Rocky Mac to the outside.

Back in the ring, Katie Harvey lifts up Martina for a Gory Special, but Martina works free and gets a Codebreaker for a near-fall. Rocky Mac gets posted on the outside, whilst Marina pulls something out of her insides… she’s going all Jack Sexsmith on us and puts a condom on her hand. That gets her a right hand from TK Cooper… I mean Charlie Garrett, and that punch gets the win. Perfectly acceptable for a comedy opener, but your milage will vary depending on your liking of Martina. **¼

Logan Bryce vs. Travis Banks
Bryce is the guy with the rugby player gimmick, and he starts by throwing Banks a rugby ball before sucker punching him.

Banks quickly comes back with a leg lariat, but he’s sent to the outside as the action spills into the crowd. He throws Banks into the ring, but the Kiwi quickly flies out with a tope, and ends up back inside, where Bryce catches a leap over attempt, and turns it into a Big Ending.

Bryce peppers Banks with right hands in the corner, before a brief comeback from Banks ends with an inverted Big Ending (think atomic drop crossed with Abyss’ Shock Treatment) for a near-fall. The rugby ball comes into play as Bryce looked to kick Banks, but he misses and takes a dropkick into the corner, before a cannonball squashes Logan.

Logan gets a near-fall from a brainbuster, before he misses a lariat and takes one himself as Banks gets a two-count from a suplex. A springboard clothesline out of the corner gets turned into a powerbomb by Bryce, who gets a lariat for a near-fall, before Banks takes the win with the springboard roundhouse kick out of the corner. Fun match, and Travis Banks continues his under-the-radar run of performances. ***¼

The Kings of the North have a promo video plugging their handicap match – which is next. Hope you like Muse!

The Kings of The North (Bonesaw, Damien Corvin & Dunkan Disorderly) vs. Mega Nasties (Justin Shape & Danny Butler)
Shape and Butler jump the Kings at the bell, but despite this being a blood feud, Justin Shape still finds time to squat whilst he stomps away on Corvin the corner. The referee nearly falls to the mat as he tries to restrain Danny Butler as the Kings triple-team Shape, ending with a near-fall after a neckbreaker from Disorderly.

Shape squats as he catches a leapover from Disorderly and turns it into an Alabama Slam, before tagging out to Danny Butler, who counters a sunset flip from Disorderly and turns it into an overhead belly to belly. A side suplex takes down Bonesaw, before Corvin runs in and elbows Butler as he set-up for a dive. The Kings get a near-fall from a series of slingshot sentons, but Butler shocks Disorderly with a capture suplex and then tags back out to Shape.

Justin takes down Disorderly with a spear for a near-fall as the rest of the Kings flooded the ring. Butler takes a pair of double knees then some big boots for a near-fall as Shape makes the save, and tries to make a comeback with a brainbuster. Corvin gets backdropped into Disorderly on the outside, as Bonesaw prevents a dive and drops Shape with a German suplex.

Butler connects with a spinebuster, but no cover is made, as Bonesaw’s instead left to get up… and he moves away as Justin Shape takes a spear from Butler, allowing the Kings to get a roll-up for the win. That felt a little clunky at times, and didn’t really come across a blood feud as it had been sold. Not too bad, but not too great. ***

As the Kings of the North backed up the ramp, the rest of the Gymnasties appeared, squatting and giving a low blow to Corvin and Bonesaw. Dunkan Disorderly was thrown into the ring for a spear, and at least one of the Kings got their comeuppance, as Disorderly got his hair trimmed with a pair of cordless trimmers. Sadly, he didn’t go full cue-ball, but they left some really awkward bald patches for added humiliation.

Mark Haskins vs. Tommy End
This started out as a singles match, but before anyone could lock-up, Ryan Smile’s music hits as he comes out with a painted-on t-shirt and adds himself to the match. So this is now a three-way, right? Well… not quite. The lights go out before they can lock up, and Marty Scurll is a surprise addition!, and the Spiegeltent in Dublin goes bananas! Scurll sings a lullaby to Ryan, and suggests that he too gets added into the mix.

Mark Haskins vs. Tommy End vs. Ryan Smile vs. Marty Scurll
Fast and furious stuff here, with Haskins and End trading some kicks in the early going. Scurll comes in with some eye pokes to Smile and Haskins, and those two go at it for a while. Ryan’s shrieks annoy the holy hell out of me, which wouldn’t be the case were he playing, say, a cowardly gimmick.

This is the kind of match that’d give anyone trying to cover it move-for-move a quick case of carpal tunnel syndrome, so I’m not going to. Plenty of dives and apron spots throughout, in the kind of match that appeals to the live crowd, but remained simplistic as they rarely ventured outside the 1-on-1 format, with guys cycling in and out of the match.

Smile just about landed an OsCutter to end a parade of moves, then hits a frog splash onto nobody in particular as Haskins quickly capitalised with an armbar. Scurll rolled Haskins out into a powerbomb in a neat sequence, before Haskins took down End and Smile with a joint side Russian leg-sweep/DDT combo. After surprising Smile with a “Just Kidding” superkick, Tommy End replied to a similar one by… kicking Scurll’s face clean off. At least he learned!

Haskins and Smile try to hit a double superplex on End, before Scurll joins in as it turns into a double-team powerbomb instead of a tower of doom. A second double-team powerbomb turns into Smile and Haskins fighting each other as if they were in a pool, and they then dropkick each other at the same time. Smile decks Scurll with a headbutt, but ends up in a Sharpshooter, which End breaks up with a kick.

The end came after a brief encounter between Smile and End, which culminated in Smile trying for a springboard back elbow… only to land into the path of a Chicken Wing for a quick submission. After threatening to be another indie four-way high on moves and low on selling, this quickly turned into something quite fantastic. ****

After the match, Scurll takes the microphone and notes that Smile has never beaten him in singles matches. Smile’s apparently tormented by Scurll’s success, and this turns into some more baiting ahead of a singles match at OTT’s WrestleCon event in October. After Smile turned the air a deep shade of blue, Scurll accepted… and I have a feeling with promos like that, Smile may be a little further away from any promotion which has TV!

Once everyone else had left, Tommy End got a cheer for what was his last OTT appearance (for now).

Jordan Devlin vs. Big Damo
Devlin’s out with Charlie Garrett as the Social Elite member takes on the big guy from Belfast. Who is a babyface here, despite the other Northern Irishmen (Kings of the North) being reviled earlier. I know it’s not meant to be, but Devlin is just a synchronised arm lift away from fully cloning Finn Balor’s leather jacketed entrance…

This started as a typical David vs. Goliath affair, with Damo hurling Devlin across the ring, before he chops him in the crowd. For those asking, Damo’s “yep!” grunts for his moves are nowhere near as annoying as Ryan Smile’s Norman Smiley tribute act. Charlie Garrett cowers away as Damo went after him, but the distraction allowed Devlin to dropkick him through the ropes, and let Garrett get on him.

Throughout, Garrett kept attacking Damo as the referee was distracted, but after a while absorbing punishment, Damo roared back and squashed Devlin with avalanches and then a back senton. A powerbomb and an elbow gets Damo a near-fall, before an enziguiri gets Devlin a two-count of his own.

Damo counters a suplex into a Northern Lights, but falls to a brainbuster for another near-fall A missed top rope moonsault leaves Devlin reeling as Damo followed with a dropkick into the corner, another back senton and then a Vader bomb, but Devlin slipped out just before the three-count. From there, Damo went for the Ulster Plantation, but Devlin countered with a Victory roll for a near-fall, before a low crossbody got Damo another two-count.

Referee Niall Fox got bumped as Devlin pulled him into the path of an avalanche, and that was the cue for Devlin to get a steel chair from Garrett… which was weakly swung and blocked. A massive headbutt sent Devlin into the corner, as he was then backdropped to the outside. Garrett’s interference was nullified, but the referee got up in time to stop Damo from using the chair.

From there, Garrett hit a low blow as the referee was distracted yet again, and Devlin slingshotted himself back into the ring for an Ace Crusher for the win. Unpopular, yes, but a fun match as David (erm, Jordan) overcame Goliath. With the help of an English nut shot… ***½

Damo got his heat back afterwards by obliterating Garrett with the Ulster Plantation, before signing off his OTT tenure with a rousing speech.

Ahead of the main event, we get a video package building up Pete Dunne, whose only loss in his entire OTT career to date was against Luther Ward back in March, where he lost the title.

Over The Top No Limits/NLW Heavyweight Title Match: Pete Dunne vs. Luther Ward (c)
This was introduced as an NLW Heavyweight title, which apparently is an interchangeable name for the OTT No Limits title, as No Limits Wrestling and American Wrestling Rampage used the same belt before OTT took over the lineage.

We had a methodical start, as Ward and Dunne grappled for a while, with Dunne clearly being hated by the Dublin crowd. Early on, Dunne teased biting at Ward, but instead he opted for just a wristlock, before a blocked O’Connor roll ended up with Ward taking Dunne to the outside with a ‘rana.

Ward kept on top of Dunne with chops in the corner, before repeatedly slamming Dunne to the mat. An overhead belly-to-belly sent Dunne flying into the ropes, again for a near-fall. A bunch of elbows to the back of Dunne fired up the challenger, as they descended into a battle of forearms, only for Dunne to surprise Ward with a release suplex.

A sit-out powerbomb gets Dunne a near-fall after the pair exchanged blows, before Ward blocked a Drop Dead and went for a German suplex… but that too was blocked as Dunne snacked on the champion’s fingers. Ward got the German suplex in the end after a stiff forearm shot rocked Dunne, but he then got caught on the top rope with an enziguiri.

Dunne picked up Ward on the top rope, but he ended up having his fingers bit as Ward took down Dunne off a super reverse ‘rana, then a sit-out slam for another near-fall. Dunne shakes off a German suplex, but gets caught in a roll-through crossface as they called back to how Dunne lost the title.

A lariat knocks Dunne inside-out, but he then countered a Snake Eyes into a tombstone piledriver. Which Ward got straight up from, and into the Drop Dead for a near-fall. Way to kill two major finishers. From the kick-out, Dunne caught Ward in a cross-face, and that forced the submission – Dunne’s a two-time champion! I largely enjoyed that main event, but the finish just seemed a little weird thanks to someone’s decision to not have two big moves sold. ***¾

During the match, we were reminded that Ward “had done it in WWE”, which is one almighty stretch, given that he only wrestled three Florida house show matches in 2013. I may be wrong, but if Ward had dared to pop straight back up from a tombstone – even if it was for another finisher – he’d have been made to pay for it.

All told, another good show from OTT, who seem to have moved on from the “backyard-heavy” stuff that dragged down some of their earlier shows. Their next events are in October, for their WrestleCon shows, which should be quite the riot!