I’d heard nothing but good things about Ireland’s Over The Top Wrestling over the past year or so and, with the recent launch of their on-demand service via Vimeo, I thought I’d take a look at their first show of 2016. Things get started with a hype video highlighting ‘The Aerial Assassin’ Will Ospreay (who made his debut at OTT’s Father Ted themed show “Ah Ted” this past weekend) before we head down to ringside for the first match…
. Martina & Nixon vs The Gymnasties (B. Cool & Sammy D, w/ Justin Shape)
A loud and energetic crowd greeted the eponymous Martina and “her mate Nixon” for what was a fun opening match against The Gymnasties. The long haired one tried to trade chops with Nixon, but it didn’t go so well for him. At one point Justin Shape got involved, only to fall victim to a Welsh Destroyer. The Gymnasties did a good job of controlling for much of the match but, ultimately, played the fool once too often and Martina set the pair of them up for the loss following a moonsault from Nixon.
. Ryan Smile vs Charlie Garrett
Great reception for Ryan Smile from the OTT crowd, which seemed to rankle with his opponent Charlie Garrett who’s strength came into play early on, while his surprising agility played a big part in the latter stages of the match. Smile is a very confident and charismatic performer and put on a good show here for the appreciative crowd, displaying some great aerial talent as he sought to out-pace his larger opponent. But Garrett proved a tough challenge, repeatedly breaking Smile’s momentum with some big offence such as a deft spinning heel kick that caught Smile right in the face, or his picture perfect dropkick. His agility was his undoing, however, as after missing a corkscrew senton off the top-rope, Smile capitalised with an out-of-nowhere cutter and a beautiful frog splash for the three count. An exciting bout here, great work by both men.
. The Bronsons vs The Kings of the North (Bonesaw, Damien Corvin & Dunkan Disorderly)
As far as wild and crazy brawls go, this match did its job well enough. The big lad from The Bronsons saw a lot of the action and could have won it with a Black Hole Slam, but stopped the count to call for a table. It would prove to be a costly mistake, as after the skinny lad from The Bronsons (who had since recovered from a brutal looking pop-up powerbomb) hit a sliced bread, only to be rolled up from behind for The Kings of the North to steal the victory. This was enjoyable and the crowd were certainly loving the action that spilled all throughout the building.
. Luther Ward vs Logan Bryce
My word, there were some bombs being thrown around in this match. Luther Ward has some amazing suplexes at his disposal, including an impressive Honma-esque deadlift vertical suplex, but while Luther had the best of the early going, a brutal backdrop driver from Logan Bryce would turn the tide on more than one occasion. Luther looked to have the match wrapped up after an Emerald Flowsion, but the ref was pulled out of the ring by Bryce’s man on the outside and, through a series of interferences and shenanigans, Logan stole the victory. A good match, I was impressed by both men, but especially Luther Ward who cuts a charismatic figure and can back it up in the ring. The finish was a bit needlessly over complicated, but nevertheless this was enjoyable.
. The Body Bros. vs The Lads from The Flats (Martin & Workie)
Martina surprised the referee with a birthday cake, but was interrupted by The Body Bros, a group of rather buff gentlemen who took issue with her weight. The Lads from The Flats, Martin & Workie, came out to back her up and the match was under way. Martin, the smaller of the two, was outmatched strength wise, until he took an empowering swig from a can of special brew. The Body Bros briefly isolated Martin, but a vicious leaping tombstone got him the hot tag and Workie went to work. Despite the Body Bros best efforts, the finish wasn’t far away as The Lads from The Flats hit a big moonsault, neckbreaker combo for the victory in what was a fun tag match that the crowd were well into.
. Terry Thatcher & The Ballymun Bruiser vs The Wards (Paddy Ward & Rocky Mac)
This started out a fairly ropey, but got a bit better as it went along. They told a good story of dissension between Ward & Mac, starting with the two unable to decide who should begin the match, continuing with some rather surly tags and ultimately ending with Paddy Ward trying to superkick Rocky, only for the big man to notice and start throwing punches. Thatcher & The Ballymun Bruiser capitalised, Bruiser hitting some nasty looking suplexes that dumped Mac on the back of his head, while Ward left Rocky to his fate.
. OTT No Limits Title Match: Pete Dunne (c) vs Paul Tracey
A strange atmosphere for this one, almost a competition to see who was the most reviled by the crowd, the champion or the challenger. Pete Dunne’s already off to a flying start in 2016 and is receiving some much deserved acclaim, while Paul Tracey (a veteran of the UK and Irish scene, with a full decade of experience over his opponent) is an accomplished technical wrestler and the two started things off with some good hold-for-hold action. After spilling out to the floor, Tracey took control of the match and started to wear Dunne down, only to be caught by a vicious DDT through the ropes that turned the tide decidedly in the champion’s favour.
He was unable to put Tracey away, however, and when the ‘Lord of the Manor’ again started to build up a head of steam, Dunne pulled the ref in the way of a flying clothesline. Tracey hit his finisher (a Rainmaker-esque affair) but the ref was down for the count, which prompted a whole series of run-ins that ended with Luther Ward hitting an Emerald Flowsion on Tracey, which allowed Dunne to finish him off with a pump-handle facebuster to retain his title. A good main event, considering the crowd’s distaste for both men. The run-ins towards the end were a bit much, but the crowd absolutely loved it, especially when Martina hit a big headscissors tornado DDT.
Overall this was a very enjoyable show from a promotion who seem to be doing a lot of things right, as evidenced by the loud and raucous crowd that routinely pack out the Tivoli Theatre for OTT Wrestling. The main event of Pete Dunne vs Paul Tracey and the Luther Ward vs Logan Bryce match were both good bouts, but match of the night for me was the excellent contest between Ryan Smile vs Charlie Garrett, while the various tag matches throughout the show were never less than entertaining. Production-wise, I was certainly impressed. There’s no commentary on the show, but that helps make the already loud crowd sound even louder. The pre-recorded segments and promos between matches were all well produced, while the in-ring action also looked great on OTT’s setup, well shot and well lit in an intimate venue that puts the audience right up against the ring. Good stuff.
“Martina’s Gaff Party” and other OTT shows are available now for VOD & download over at https://vimeo.com/overthetopwrestling