This past weekend, at OTT ScrapperMania 5, my friend turned to me and said “Sometimes, it’s really depressing to be a women’s wrestling fan.” And, well, yeah. I say this not merely to foreshadow the negative aspects of this recap, but as a reminder that sometimes coverage of women’s wrestling just won’t be positive.
I had more than one person question why I’d decided to cover OTT at all when my last recap criticized the booking of its women’s division. But I decided to cover OTT to criticize the booking of its women’s division, to point out the highs as well as the lows of women’s wrestling in Ireland’s biggest promotion.
Why do recaps for a promotion that only books two women’s matches for most of its shows? Because that is how most indie promotions book their women’s divisions, and therefore it is the auspices under which most women’s wrestling occurs. It would be bizarre for a women’s wrestling website that seeks to promote the art to just ignore the vast majority of women’s wrestling because it is undervalued within most promotions.
There is also no particular reason this logic couldn’t be applied to WWE, especially before the women’s revolution, and yet no one has ever asked why we continue to cover their women’s division. Taking women’s wrestling seriously means dealing with the good as well as the bad and covering women’s wrestling in all indie promotions, not just women’s promotions. So, with that being said, let’s talk about ScrapperMania 5.
ScrapperMania is the largest of OTT’s annual shows, the biggest spectacle of their calendar. Last year’s ScrapperMania featured just one women’s match in nine, a very weak match between then-champion Sammii Jayne and Valkyrie. This year, on the Saturday night of St. Patrick’s Day weekend, OTT gave us two women’s matches in nine, so that was nice. But, though neither match was bad, there were, suffice it to say, some problems. And it was a little depressing.
Singles Match: Session Moth Martina vs Meiko Satomura
The more hyped of the two matches saw the face of the OTT women’s division, Session Moth Martina, face off with the living legend of joshi puroresu, Meiko Satomura. Following her loss in OTT Homecoming’s tag title cage match main event, in which Martina failed to escape the cage and thus cost her team the win, the Session Moth is on a quest to prove she’s more than just a gimmick.
Her change in energy was palpable the second Martina emerged, to her classic entrance music, Mark McCabe’s cult hit “Maniac 2000“. Though she still wore her signature leopard print, albeit in green for Paddy’s Day, everything else told a simple story: this is the Session Moth as you’ve never seen her before. She walked with a completely different kind of confidence to her usual bombast. She was excited, but focused. She looked like a superhero. Martina is my favourite independent wrestler, so she never needed to convince me she wasn’t a joke. But her presentation at ScrapperMania was a transformation. Her makeup alone! The moth become a butterfly at last.
Satomura entered to a huge pop, because she’s Meiko Satomura. The match began with a handshake and then a collar-and-elbow tie up. It was a dry, technical match, with long stretches of grappling and tons of submissions. The crowd fell quiet, and I was initially worried the decidedly unflashy wrestling wasn’t going over with them, but every time the room exploded at a spot, it became clearer that the silence wasn’t boredom, but awe. When both women pulled out their signature moves, the Scorpion Rising from Satomura and the double springboard seshbreaker from Martina, the crowd just about lost their minds.
Satomura proved the perfect opponent for Martina mainly because she seemed to not be part of her story. She obviously respects and loves Martina, but the second the bell rang, she wrestled with a merciless focus on victory. She showed no sense of sympathy or even occasion. This wasn’t about getting Martina over as a serious wrestler for Satomura. It was just another match. But that’s exactly what it needed to be to get her over, and what a match it was. I’m a stickler for good selling and both competitors sold like champs. Satomura was particularly excellent at twisting her face in agony during submissions. I called the match for Martina leading up to it, since that’s the traditional formula for putting someone over. When Martina superplexed Satomura off the middle rope, before rolling through into a stalling vertical suplex, I thought it was over. But Satomura kicked out and the win was as good as hers.
When Satomura put Martina away, there was something refreshingly honest about it. It wasn’t about the win as an end in itself for Martina, it was about proving she could hang with the best in the world, and she did. She had the respect and love of the crowd. Hopefully it will buoy her to success as she strives to regain the OTT Gender-Neutral Championship, lately on the waist of Mark Haskins, by winning a number one contendership match at Live in Belfast 5. And Satomura proved how in the bag she is for the Session Moth by joining her for a post-match can. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Meiko Satomura dancing around to “Maniac 2000” with an open can of terrible beer in one hand, I tell you.
OTT Women’s Championship Match: Raven Creed (c) vs Debbie Keitel (w/ Valkyrie)
ScrapperMania returned from a brief intermission with the women’s title match between Raven Creed and Debbie Keitel. Creed and Keitel have been feuding for about two years now, first in the defunct Celtic Championship Wrestling (CCW), then in OTT and CCW’s successor promotion, Phoenix Wrestling, and most recently in Sheffield’s indie upstart Breed Wrestling. The rivalry had cooled off following Keitel’s loss to Creed at OTT Defiant, the first of two all-women’s shows held by OTT last year. But when a non-title match with Keitel’s new partner, Valkyrie, ended in a DQ due to interference from Keitel, Creed became embroiled in Keitel and Valkyrie’s conflict with their former tag partners, Amy Allonsy and Katey Harvey. Keitel scored the pin over Creed in a three-on-one handicap match back at Contenders 13 and thus secured her first shot at Creed’s title.
I’ll get the good notices out of the way. Creed, Keitel and Valkyrie were on fire from start to finish, making the most of the opportunity. Creed and Keitel know each other like the backs of each other’s hands. Here are two women who’ve fought to a double count-out, who’ve shared a last woman standing match and Ireland’s first ever women’s ladder match. They’ve tagged against each other and even, reluctantly, with each other. Their familiarity and chemistry made the match fluid and calculated all at once. Whether they were trading chops or suplexes, sparks flew, though Creed had the spot of the match when she responded to a forearm to the face with a low blow. That said, Valkyrie almost stole the show outside the ring, whether she was choking Creed under the ropes behind the ref’s back, or pushing Keitel out of the way while screaming “SAVE YOURSELF” and eating a corner post for her trouble.
But here’s the rub: it was the shortest match of the night. Six minutes and twenty seconds flat. When it ended, it ended so abruptly. Creed put Keitel away with a backstabber and it was just over. It wasn’t, I suppose, the four-minute match that OTT gave Creed and Yuu at Homecoming, but it was far less than these women deserved. Creed has defended her title four times and only once gone to ten minutes, against Lana Austin at OTT Redemption. I don’t understand it. She’s one of the most over wrestlers in the country. The crowd adores her. And she’s great at wrestling! So is Keitel! I don’t get why OTT put the title on someone they won’t even give ten minutes. I don’t get why they’re wasting one of the most richly-textured rivalries in Irish wrestling. Even without mentioning their work in other promotions, Keitel spent the weeks leading up to ScrapperMania hyping up her title shot with a series of tweets telling the story of her time in OTT, including her rivalry with Creed.
It was great social media promo work, of the kind that women have been pioneering since before #GiveDivasAChance. The women’s revolution in WWE was built on this kind of initiative and ingenuity, women creating their own buzz when the company wouldn’t or couldn’t, whether it’s Sasha Banks and Bayley trying to make something palatable of their tortured will-they-won’t-they or Lana’s entire existence. When they’re working so hard and wrestling so well, when they’re so over and so ready for the spotlight, it just seems mad to me that OTT would continue to sell these women so short. ScrapperMania 5 was a good event over all, but, well, sometimes, it’s really depressing to be a women’s wrestling fan.
Creed and Keitel are set to meet again at Live in Belfast 5, where Creed will team with a returning Amy Allonsy against Keitel and Valkyrie, who have styled themselves the Woke Queens. I can only hope this match will set up a big match moment at a potential Defiant 3, a spotlight these women have more than earned.
OTT has announced two more shows for 2019 thus far. Live in Belfast 5 is set for March 24th at the Europa Hotel, while Contenders 14 will take place at the Ringside Club in Dublin on April 21st.
Here’s the full card for OTT ScrapperMania 5, including men’s matches, with results:
- Tag Team World Cup: Aussie Open defeated Angélico & Ray Horus, The Besties in the World and Club Tropicana
- More Than Hype defeated The Rapture
- The Angel Cruzers and Hurricane Helms defeated Justy, Sammy D and Team Prick
- David Starr defeated Dan Barry
- Meiko Satomura defeated Session Moth Martina
- OTT Tag Team Championship Loser Leaves Town Match: British Strong Style defeated the Kings of the North (c)
- OTT Women’s Title Match: Raven Creed (c) defeated Debbie Keitel
- Scotty Davis defeated Jushin Thunder Liger
- OTT World Title Match: Jordan Devlin defeated WALTER (c)
Stay tuned to Diva Dirt for more coverage of the OTT women’s division.