Ever since WWE made its presence known in the UK by starting NXT UK, there were fears from many that the indies would slowly die in the UK and be consumed by the big corporation. The indies have had to up their game to compete with the bigger companies. Irish based OTT as one of the biggest indies in Europe has brought in some of the biggest names in wrestling to combat this. Their main event scene this year predominantly consisted of Jordan Devlin, David Starr and WALTER. They all had to battle to be the biggest star in a crowded scene. This led to arguably one of the best feuds Europe has ever seen. The rivalry occurred over a year and a half period and captivated all audiences that had the pleasure to witness it.
Before I get into everything that happened in this time period, a few things must be taken into account:
Jordan Devlin was the biggest fan favourite in Ireland, being known as both the Irish Ace and the Import Killer after defeating 23 world class foreign wrestlers. Included in the list of people he beat was David Starr, who he befriended around the time of their match. During Devlin’s time in OTT over the years, he had made many friends and had began to train other young Irish wrestlers too.
NXT UK started doing their weekly show around this time in which they began to sign top UK talent. Jordan Devlin had been signed to NXT UK quite early in the promotion’s lifespan, but he was still allowed to wrestle for OTT. WALTER signed for NXT UK late in 2018 and went on to win the WWE UK Championship in mid 2019.
David Starr had amassed 11 straight single losses to WALTER over the years in different European indy promotions. It had become his obsession to beat WALTER which created a lot of tension anytime they faced off against each other.
With all of that being taken into account, here is what happened in this feud:
The rivalry all began at OTT’s show, A Haven For Monsters, where WALTER first debuted in the OTT ring. He partnered with Low Ki to face the team of Devlin and Starr. This was the first time that Devlin and Starr had teamed together after becoming good friends while working for a promotion in England. The two came to the ring wearing t-shirts that has both of their faces on it. As they made their way to the ring, the commentators mention that “nothing compares to the friendship, the bond that Starr and Devlin have”. WALTER proceeds to make Devlin tap out, serving him his first loss in the Tivoli Theatre, OTT’s then home, in 22 months.
A month later, at the show That Ring Really Tied The Ring Together, Sean Guinness, Devlin’s long time friend who he had won tag team championships with in the past, faced off against WALTER to avenge Devlin’s loss. WALTER, again showing why he is considered one of the best in the world, beat Guinness and looked ready to battle Devlin for the OTT World Championship.
WrestleRama 2 came another month later, which saw David Starr take on WALTER’s Ringkampf teammate Timothy Thatcher. Thatcher picked up the win over Starr in a very good match, that may have been match of the night, if it had happened on any other night than this one.
Also, on this night Jordan “The Import Killer” Devlin defended his coveted championship against the monster who made him tap out, WALTER. A video package detailing how “The Import Killer” Jordan Devlin was ready to show why he had been given that moniker hyped the crowd for their battle. Both men had Starr and Thatcher in their respective corners. They put on arguably the best match on the UK Independent scene in 2018 with WALTER walking away as the champion after pinning Devlin. The crowd were in awe of what they had just witnessed as Starr helped his friend to the back. In a matter of months, WALTER burst into OTT and took everything from its top star. The Irish Ace, the Import Killer, was suddenly a broken man as The Ring General stood tall to end the show.
At Redemption later in 2018, Jordan Devlin was scheduled to team with Will Ospreay to take on Ringkampf’s WALTER and Timothy Thatcher, but Ospreay had to be pulled from the show, Devlin was left without a partner. It was finally announced that Starr had come in to replace Ospreay, in hopes of finally being able to defeat WALTER. After a gruelling 20 minute match, it looked like Devlin was about to pin WALTER, when Starr suddenly pulled the referee out of the ring. Devlin stared in disbelief at what his so-called best friend had just done,
which allowed for Ringkampf to pick up the win. Though Devlin lost the match, he was able to show that WALTER is beatable and that he could do it.
At the start of the new year, OTT held the Contenders 13 event, which Jordan Devlin main evented, defeating A-Kid. After the match, Starr came out and him and Devlin had to be separated by the locker room to ensure no brawl occurred. Starr grabbed Devlin’s protégé, Scotty Davis and attacked him on the outside of the ring. He proceeded to attack another one of Devlin’s friends before going backstage. The show ended with Devlin helping Davis to the back.
OTT had booked two big matches for their next show Homecoming 2. Firstly, Jordan Devlin finally took on David Starr after months of tension had built between the two. The match was to determine would face WALTER for the championship at the next show. Starr came to the ring, wearing Ireland’s tricolour on his trunks and wearing the t-shirt with the two men’s face on it. After a war where both men did all they could to get the win over the other, Devlin won the match. Later in the night, WALTER and PAC ended by disqualification, leading Delvin to come out and attack WALTER, holding the belt above his head, staking his claim at the title he once held.
At Scrappermania 5, the Ring General and The Irish Ace fought for the OTT World Championship in a match that lived up the hype of their previous encounter. Devlin became a 2-time champion as he did what Starr had never been able to do, by slaying the beast known as WALTER. After the match, the locker room flooded out to congratulate Devlin’s tremendous victory. WALTER shook his opponent’s hand as David Starr stood on the entrance ramp looking on with a blank stare.
OTT held their Banjaxed show in Belfast in the summer of 2019. At this show, Sean Guinness took on David Starr. This match was all about Devlin’s best friend trying to defeat the man who had betrayed Devlin over 6 months ago. Near the closing of the match, Guinness came down with a leg injury, leaving him unable to move. Starr trash talked Guinness about his unwavering allegiance to Devlin and how his “friend” wasn’t there now to help him now. In the end, the referee had to call off the match because of the injury Guinness had sustained. In the main event, Devlin defeated Jake Atlas to retain the title in his first defence. Starr had come out during the match to distract Devlin but that didn’t affect the outcome of the match. After the match, Starr claimed he is owed a title opportunity as he made Devlin tap out in Progress. He was then told that if he wanted a title match, he had to beat WALTER. As Devlin left to
go to the back, Sean Guinness surprisingly come out to beat him down and claim his stake at the championship in doing so. The crowd were booing David Starr the whole time.
Sean Guinness was granted a title match after Starr turned him against Devlin. He had this match less than a month after beating down his once friend when they fought at WrestleRama 3. Guinness looked determined to punish Devlin, as he sported new black ring gear. Delvin retained the championship to a good crowd reaction. The night was building to the big clash of Starr vs WALTER. To get an opportunity at the title, Starr had to beat the man that he was 0-11 against. The match had a controversial moment where David Starr who had been dubbed Mr Independent took the WWE UK Championship and stood on it, showing his loyalty to the indies. After Starr tricked the referee to apparently win the match, the referee restarted the match after Jordan Devlin got involved, which led to WALTER winning. The crowd was firmly behind Starr in this match, for the first time since turning on Devlin.
Starr disappeared from OTT for a few months before returning at The Road to Fifth Year Anniversary to face off against Scotty Davis, the winner would go on to face Devlin for the championship. These two had history before as Starr had previously beaten Davis up to aggravate Devlin. Their match main evented the show and saw Starr earn the opportunity to fight for the title. He took to the mic to tell the fans why he needs to be their champion as he will fight for the independent companies unlike Devlin who does everything to please Triple H and all the big corporate people. The crowd turned against Devlin here and began to side with David Starr.
After a year and a half of building to the final match in this rivalry, the time had come for David Starr to face off against Jordan Devlin at the grandest Irish stage with the OTT World Championship on the line. The crowd were completely behind Starr taking the title from the “corporate sell out” Devlin. The two had security holding them off before the match began but when they were let loose, they beat each other up for just under half an hour to the crowd’s roaring reactions. In an emotional ending, David Starr won the championship and crowd surfed among his loyal fans.
The next day, it was announced that Jordan Devlin had completely cut ties with OTT, the promotion he had built up and had been his home for many years.
The success of this feud has been off the charts. It has produced some of the best matches that Europe has seen in a long time. The three men have unparalleled chemistry and the storytelling present in every match was phenomenal. There was so much content to the feud, yet somehow it never felt overcrowded. OTT produced video packages for most of the matches in this rivalry which have been called some of the best video packages ever produced. They got fans invested in each and every match they promoted which led to electric crowds and atmospheres when any of these men competed in an OTT ring. Many events that happened outside of the OTT bubble were mentioned such as Starr beating Devlin in Progress or WALTER winning the WWE UK Championship. This helped to make the rivalry feel real and serious. All 3 competitors made the OTT World Championship feel like the most prestigious title one can hold in modern wrestling by putting every single piece of blood, sweat and tears they had to win or keep this championship. There was something so special about seeing David Starr finally win the title too and how he had fully turned the crowd to support him and not Ireland’s own Jordan Devlin. Their match and the entirety of the feud has already received critical acclaim, being touted as one of the greatest feuds of the decade. This is fully deserved too as the European indies may never see a feud with the fire and of the same quality as this one. I was present for most of these events and the atmosphere was something that can never be recreated.