On Saturday, February 4th, 2017, Over The Top Wrestling presented “Martina’s Gaff Party 2: Back In The Dr. Dre,” featuring top independent wrestlers such as Matt Riddle, Mark Andrews, the returning Mark Haskins, Drew Galloway and Eddie Kingston. It has been a full year since Martina’s first gaff party and in that time OTT has become one of Europe’s most talked-about independent professional wrestling promotions. The growth and popularity of OTT in 2016 was exponential and, from the looks of it, the promotion shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. The company continues to branch out, now holding regular monthly shows in Belfast as well as in its original home of the Tivoli Theatre (converted from an old cinema) in Dublin. Now featured on FloSlam as well as on Vimeo, OTT can be experienced by wrestling fans from all across the world as well as those lucky enough to attend the shows live every month. Why has OTT gained so much respect and recognition in the past year as one of the hottest independent promotions going today? As a fan who attends every month, I can say that what keeps me going back isn’t just the exciting talent or the incredible matches, but the fact that OTT is truly something special.
OTT has garnered a lot of attention from around the world for its ability to bring in top international talent on a monthly basis. Wrestlers such as Ricochet, Will Ospreay, NXT’s Aleister Black and Killian Dain (formerly Tommy End and Big Damo respectively), Zack Sabre Jr., Grado, Marty Scurll, Joey Ryan and so many more. WWE UK Champion Tyler Bate regularly makes appearances at the promotion and his fellow WWE UK Tournament competitor Pete Dunne is a former OTT No Limits Wrestling Champion. These internationally recognised and renowned talents as well as many more have wrestled in front of the boisterous fans at the Tivoli theatre. The promotion has also featured veterans of the business such as Tommy Dreamer, Sabu, Abyss, Mr. Anderson, Melina and X-Pac. These top current international talents and ring veterans are undoubtedly a huge draw for the promotion, but what makes OTT truly special is the original talent they have managed to produce and enhance.
OTT have introduced some of the most exciting, unique and talented performers to the world. Considering the size and relative youth of the promotion, which was established in 2014, its contribution to the UK and Irish independent wrestling scene has been hugely significant. One of the promotions most popular wrestlers is the ‘Session Moth’ Martina. Martina is a truly unique talent. She is simultaneously hilarious and engaging, having a true connection with the fans at the Tivoli. When speaking to Martina about OTT, she said, “It’s great to do something different that no one else is doing, and seeing the success of OTT and being there from the very beginning is the most special thing in my life.” It has been amazing to watch her grow with the promotion and become the now international star that she is as she has begun wrestling with UK promotions such as ICW, Southside and the newly emerging Lucha Forever. OTT is a promotion which truly fosters uniqueness and Martina, the inaugural OTT Women’s Champion, is a true testament to this.
The rest of the OTT roster is an incredible mix of talent who each bring something different to the table. This isn’t just limited to the wrestlers, however. From referee Niall Fox and ring announcer Butch to commentators Don Marnell and Aonghus Óg McAnally, all members of the OTT crew make the experience possible. One talent that this experience has proven successful for is the ‘Ultrastar’ Angel Cruz. Originally one of the promotions top heels, he has been totally embraced for his diva antics and is now a fan favourite. The former OTT Tag Team Champions, The Gymnasties, consisting of B. Cool, Sammy D and, until very recently, Justin Shape are adored by the crowd. I can personally guarantee that you will never find another wrestling show where the word “SQUAT” is chanted with as much enthusiasm as when The Gymnasties are in the ring at OTT. The crowd reaction when the team won the OTT Tag Titles at the show entitled “Even Better Than Better Than Our Best” was one of the most rapturous I have ever heard at any live wrestling show.
One of the UK’s brightest emerging stars, Ryan Smile, is the current OTT NLW Champion and a staple of the promotion from the outset, even designing the company’s signature Luchador mask logo. Smile has had amazing bouts at OTT with the likes of Marty Scurll and Chris Hero. Smile is also part of the tag team The Uptown Funkers with Will Ospreay. The promotion also boasts some of the business’ best bad guys as members of their roster, including ‘The Villain’ himself Marty Scurll. The current and two-time OTT Tag Team Champions, The Kings Of The North (Damien Corvin, Bonesaw, Dunkan Disorderly) have garnered huge attention recently and for good reason. The team have had amazing matches with teams such as Ring Of Honour’s War Machine at “Invasion Supershow” and an ongoing feud with The Gymnasties for the OTT Tag Team Titles. The OTT Tag Team Division is also home to teams such as The Wards and The Body Bros.
The roster also includes the heel faction The Social Elite, consisting of ‘The Lord of the Manor’ Paul Tracey, Charlie Sterling and WWE UK Tournament competitor Jordan Devlin, who faced the KOTN for the tag titles at the promotions debut Belfast show. All three members of the faction boast incredible wrestling ability and engaging character, with Devlin grabbing the much deserved attention of the WWE. Sterling has also truly honed his character at OTT and the heel persona he adopts there is one of the best in the business today. We also cannot mention the staples of the OTT roster without mentioning the current OTT Women’s Champion Katey Harvey, a rising star and incredible talent in women’s professional wrestling who recently made her PROGRESS debut against Nixon Newell at Chapter 39. What is truly special about OTT, however, is the atmosphere. As soon as you walk into the Tivoli, you feel as though you are a part of something bigger. There is an air of excitement in the reasonably small space that cannot be emulated. Every single person there is a fan and they let it be known. The intimate setting allows for close interactions between the wrestlers and the audience, which are always something special. Whether it’s every single audience member throwing up the middle finger to the Kings Of The North, or every single member of the audience raving along with Martina and The Lads From The Flats (Workie and Paddy M) to ‘Sandstorm,’ a good time is constantly being had by all, both audience members and wrestlers alike. I, personally, will never forget the moment when, at the third ever OTT show I attended, “Invasion Supershow”, I was pulled into the ring by Will Ospreay where we, along with Ryan Smile and multiple other members of theaudience, danced the macarena to Bruno Mars’ ‘Uptown Funk’, which has become the anthem of OTT. It’s no wonder people from all over the world, including WWE Superstar Finn Balor who appeared at the “Dream Before Christmas,” are now interested in Over The Top Wrestling. It provides amazing talent, incredible match ups and an atmosphere which truly must be experienced to be fully appreciated.
OTT as a professional wrestling promotion and as an experience is best summed up by the words of one of it’s regular attendees as he says, “After a lifetime of being made fun of for liking wrestling, finding a community like OTT gave me a lot of confidence when it comes to being a wrestling fan. They’ve created a unique experience that you really have to go to and feel for yourself. They make every fan feel special and a part of the show.” Ladies and Gentlemen: This. Is. OTT.