Two storylines featuring women were in focus at last month’s OTT Contenders show: Valkyrie and Debbie Keitel’s feud with literally any woman who’s not them, and Session Moth Martina’s tag run with the Lads from the Flats. Only the latter continued with this month’s main Dublin show, Homecoming, which took place last Sunday at the National Basketball Arena in Tallaght. Homecoming was a terrific event, one of the best OTT shows I’ve seen, but it was an extremely mixed bag when it comes to women’s wrestling.
Just a week before the show, no women’s matches had been announced: the only woman scheduled to compete at the show was Session Moth Martina in the tag title match. Four days before, OTT finally announced that OTT Women’s Champion Raven Creed would defend her title against the rising star Yuu.
The late announcement would foreshadow the priority given the match on the card. The show opened with seven men’s matches, including a MOTY contender between Jordan Devlin and David Starr, with the winner facing OTT Champion WALTER at OTT ScrapperMania 5 in March. Again, it was a great show, with mostly great fights, some surprising twists and shocking turns, and a match that included seven low blows, one from a low-blown wrestler falling skull-first into the groin of the referee. PAC dislocated his finger and just popped it back in. But the blatant opportunities not taken to include more women in the card were frustrating. Even if you didn’t just have a women’s singles match for no reason, which you can always do, whenever you want, there’s the matter of the OTT Gender Neutral Championship.
OTT Gender Neutral Champion Mark Haskins won the belt in a fatal four-way with all male competitors at OTT Redemption last year. He defended the title for the first time at Homecoming in an all-male triple threat that was one of the weaker matches on the card. Right up until the very last moment, I was waiting for one of Ireland’s great women’s wrestlers – some of whom I knew were in the building! – to come out and demand a place in the match. After all, what’s the point of a gender neutral title if you’re not gonna try and fit at least one woman in most of the title matches? Alas, despite my hopes, there was no Valkyrie run-in, and a straightforward opportunity to spotlight women in the company passed by. Finally, then, to the women’s title match.
OTT Women’s Championship Match: Raven Creed (c) vs Yuu
Yuu entered first to a more subdued crowd reaction than I’d expected for her debut at OTT. The Homecoming crowd was kind of odd in places – an OTT crowd, cheering for Mark Haskins!? – but came alive when Raven entered. I’ve said it before: Raven Creed is incredibly over in Ireland right now, almost as over as the Session Moth herself. The whole room popped when she hit the runway, followed by hundreds of people screaming along to her entrance music: “I’m going to hell!” Creed deserves a serious push, and though Devlin v WALTER will obviously main event ScrapperMania 5, I’ll be very disappointed if Creed finishes the year without main eventing one of the big Dublin shows.
Tragically, her title match with Yuu was over in a flash. The penultimate bout of the night, it took place right before the intermission during which the steel cage for the main event was assembled, and it was obviously cut short. Referee Niall Fox could be seen checking his watch throughout and must have called for a quick finish, because, late addition or not, the match had potential. It began with an exchange of chops, which surprisingly favored Creed, despite Yuu’s obvious size and power advantage. Nonetheless, Yuu managed to put down Creed with an incredible spinning side slam with at least two or three full rotations and took the lead. Holding firmly onto Creed’s hand, Yuu chopped her straight to the ground, then pulled her back up, then chopped her back down, over and over. Creed bounced back with a fierce forearm strike, which Yuu answered before scooping Creed onto her shoulders and landing a devastating Samoan drop for a near fall.
Creed recovered long enough to drive Yuu into a corner, stomping her down and ringing her bell with a couple of hip attacks. Yuu was able to counter with a rough, nasty-looking powerbomb, followed up with an astounding dropkick that nearly turned Creed’s ribgcage inside out, leading to another near fall. Yuu transitioned swiftly from the pin to a sleeper hold, but Creed fought out just in time for Yuu to send her to the mat with a hip toss. Yuu went for another powerbomb but Creed countered, setting herself up to put Yuu away with a backstabber.
The match was super short and it ended just as it was hitting its stride. I have only praise for Raven Creed and Yuu, who did good work with what little they were given, but both deserved better booking. I hope Yuu is invited back for a much bigger match, as she was especially hard done by in her debut. It was a disappointing note to lead us into the main event.
OTT Tag Team Championship 3-on-2 Handicap Steel Cage Match: The Kings of the North (c) vs Session Moth Martina and the Lads from the Flats
The steel cage was assembled during intermission and it looked grim. Wrestlers at major promotions are spoiled with the structural integrity of their cages. Welded panels, fresh paint, screws. Indie cages may as well be bits of old fence held together with zip ties.
The stipulation was announced right before the match, and it was a bit of a strange one, described by a friend as “Sneaky WarGames”. The match would start with a member of each team in the cage, with the remaining three competitors entering at timed intervals. There would be no pinfalls or submissions: the only way to win would be for every member of one team to escape the cage, both feet on the ground, before every member of the other team. Although weird, it was a pretty neat idea, evening out the advantage provided by the handicap. The Kings of the North may have been outnumbered, but only two of them had to escape, but three of their opponents.
I won’t summarize the whole match, as it went quite long, but here are the highlights. Paddy M started for the Lads from the Flats and Bonesaw started for the Kings of the North, two elder statesmen of Irish wrestling in a great exchange that was possibly as much as fifty percent reversed Irish whips. Damien Corvin entered next for the Kings of the North, followed by Workie for the Lads from the Flats and finally Session Moth Martina. Paddy M, aka Suicide Morrow, did four or five dives, including from the top of the cage, that would surely have killed a lesser man. Corvin and Bonesaw tried to hold the cage door closed to stop Workie getting in, but he smashed. their fingers with a steel chair. In short order, he and Paddy were laying both Kings out with chairs and kendo sticks, but the tide turned and soon Corvin was DDTing Workie through a chair.
Martina received one of the biggest pops of the night just entering the match. She dodged a nasty double clothesline from the Kings and tried to spit beer in their face, but missed. The Kings laid her out with a huge double boot to the stomach, stomped her until she stopped moving and threw her into the cage. Next, they beat down Paddy and threw him face-first into the cage. Finally, they beat down Workie, put a chair over his head and shoulders and threw him chair-first into the cage.
There was little effort to escape the cage at this point. Martina began to recover as the crowd broke out into Session Moth chants, so obviously the Kings decided to lawn dart her into the cage. Fortunately, she countered, sent Corvin first into Bonesaw and then into the cage, and caved in Bonesaw’s chest with a double-springboard seshbreaker. Both teams decided that would be a good juncture to start trying to escape, each taking turns at climbing and tearing their opponents off the cage. Workie was the first to succeed, followed by a simultaneous escape from Paddy and Bonesaw not long after.
The final act of the match pitted two of OTT’s young stars, Martina and Corvin, in an absolutely brutal clash. There was little concern about intergender wrestling coming off “problematic” here: at one point, Corvin had one hand around Martina’s throat while punching her repeatedly in the face with the other, and they both looked like a million bucks. Martina made several abortive attempts at her signature sequence, a satellite DDT with no release, rolling through into a stalling vertical suplex. Corvin had the move well-scouted and countered it a few times. On one occasion, Martina landed the DDT and popped up from the mat with Corvin’s neck still in her grasp, a smile on her face and the crowd roaring in excitement, only for Corvin to reverse it and suplex Martina instead.
Corvin could easily have climbed out of the cage then, but he stopped halfway up, looking back at the prone Session Moth. He wanted to make a point. He climbed down, retrieved a paper bag full of thumb tacks and poured them out over Martina and the mat. The thumb tacks were the locus for a ton of great spots: Martina headbutting Corvin off the top rope onto the tacks; Martina planting Corvin and herself on the tacks with a long-overdue vertical suplex; Corvin and Martina smashing each other’s faces into the cage mid-climb until Martina fell backwards into the already-bloodied pile.
The ending was a high-tension affair: Corvin climbing the cage and Martina crawling on her hands and knees through the thumb tacks to escape via the cage door. Just as it looked like the Session Moth might triumph, Bonesaw came out of nowhere to smash the door closed on her and Corvin dropped from the cage wall to win the match.
All in all, it was a great main event that gave two generations of Irish wrestlers their due. Paddy and Bonesaw still look incredible for how long they’ve been in the business, Corvin is a beast in waiting, and the Session Moth is ready to take over the world. Unfortunately, the women’s title match was too abrupt: few wrestlers, if any, can work a good match with such little time. And the gender-neutral title match was a wasted opportunity. In the midst of an otherwise stellar event, it was fairly noticeable that the weakest parts of the show were those that shortchanged the OTT women’s division.
OTT has announced two more shows for 2019 thus far. ScrapperMania 5 is scheduled for March 16th at the National Stadium in Dublin, while Live in Belfast 5 will take place in the Europa Hotel on March 24th. OTT will also host a comedy night in Whelan’s in Dublin on March 15th, featuring stand-up from OTT commentator Tony Kelly and wrestler/comedian Dan Barry. Applicants of any gender are also sought for a blind date with Session Moth Martina at the show, apparently.
Here’s the full card, including men’s matches, with results:
- Winner Gets WALTER: Jordan Devlin defeated David Starr
- Ilja Dragunov defeated Shigehiro Irie
- PAC defeated WALTER (by DQ)
- Charlie Sterling and the Anti-Fun Police defeated More Than Hype
- OTT Gender Neutral Championship Match: Mark Haskins (c) defeated Andrew Everett and Terry Thatcher
- Scotty Davis and Will Ospreay defeated the Besties in the World
- Justy and Maxwell Jacob Friedman defeated The Angel Cruzers
- OTT Women’s Championship Match: Raven Creed (c) defeated Yuu
- OTT Tag Team Championship Match: The Kings of the North (c) defeated Session Moth Martina and the Lads from the Flats
Check back in with Diva Dirt for more coverage of the OTT women’s division, on the road to ScrapperMania 5.