Review: WrestleZone ‘Battle of the Nations 2017’ (The Moment Happened)

September 9th 2017 | The Northern Hotel | Aberdeen

So very rarely do you have a night of wrestling where you enjoy just about everything. I know that there will be some folk with negatives but for me, Battle of the Nations was the complete show.

We were treated to some comedy, some hard hits, some tense moments and some darn good wrestling.

The night belonged to Damien, up until late last year I wasn’t on board with the Damien Express. I was at the platform but wasn’t getting on the train. I needed a moment to ‘get’ Damien. This moment happened in Keith last year when Damien faced Scotty Swift for one more chance at the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship. His loss that night was the moment, I think, that Richard R Russell turned his attentions to Shawn Johnson and left Damien out in the cold. As Damien leaned against the apron dejected and lost, that was the moment where it clicked. I ‘get’ it now. As it was more obvious that Shawn was now the golden boy of Sterling Oil, the more Damien was left to his own devices. Russell picked Johnson as the Sterling Oil guy to win The Regal Rumble, which he did. It was clear that Damien was being treated as old news. His face at the end of the Rumble was clear that he knew that is how be was being treated.

Aberdeen Anarchy rolled round and Damien was having one final showdown with long-time friend and foe Johnny Lions. He ultimately lost but the real story was the end of the night. During Shawn Johnson’s battle with Scotty Swift, Sterling Oil joined the fracus. Crusher Craib looked to make the save as he swatted Damien aside but it was a ruse, Craib had rejoined Sterling Oil and helped Johnson win the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship, a goal that Damien failed to score. The Craib turn had clearly not been disclosed to Damien prior to the bout as William Sterling looked to calm him down after the match. He was the only man that got into it with Crusher, used as a dummy to send folk off course for the eventual turn.

With Craib now back, Damien was being pushed further down the line. The Sterling Brothers were on the hunt for the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships, Shawn Johnson was riding high as Undisputed WrestleZone Champion and Crusher Craib had his eyes on Scotty Swift. What about Damien?

WrestleZone management chose Damien to face the first WWE United Kingdom Champion, Tyler Bate, at Battle of the Nations. A moment that seem to humble Damien. Maybe it was the moment that made his decision to leave Sterling Oil. The moment that probably had him thinking that WrestleZone had more faith in him than Sterling Oil does.

For the match itself, Tyler Bate just had this superstar aura about him and, for me, is one of those guys who don’t realise how brilliant he is until you see him in person. Everything that was done was so smooth and crisp. Damien looked frustrated in the early going but was catching up towards the end. Lots of near falls for both and it was all to play for. Hard strikes being traded and Damien didn’t look out of place against a guy that appears on WWE television. The fact that this was just one on one, no outside interference, no shenanigans, just two wrestlers doing the wrestling was delightful. Bate wrapped up the match with the Tyler Driver ’97 but both men earned the round of applause following the bout. After five paragraphs you’d think I’d stop talking about Damien right? I’ll come back to him later.

Elsewhere on the show we were also treated to a fabulous match between The King of Catch Aspen Faith and Johnny Lions. On paper this would always be a solid contest but in the ring it excelled. The extra edge of the 10 minute time limit, due to it being a Tri-Counties Championship defence, was also great. You had Aspen not rushing his moves, he was in no hurry and was almost relaxed due to the championship advantage whereas Lions was trying to get his moves in quickly to end the match before the time limit ran down. Along with these two battling it out you also had Sammii Jayne atagonising the crowd and even throwing herself into a suicide dive that went amiss as she crashed into Faith due to a quick dodge from Lions. It came down to two minutes remaining and Lions went to the well one too many times for his turnbuckle, delayed hurricurana. A superkick from Faith rocked Lions long enough for him to fall into a Tombstone for the victory. Another dazzling display from Faith as he continued his roll since capturing the title at Aberdeen Anarchy.

The Battle of the Nations match itself is a chance for the patriotic to go wild (pun not intended) and this was no difference. Andy Wild represented England for the third time with his win-loss record sitting at 1-1. His opponent, possibly one of the most underrated talents in the country and not just in WrestleZone, Mr P. Mr P entered to bagpipes blaring, he was kilt wearing and painted like he’d walked straight from the set of Braveheart. He’d only be more Scottish if he’d smashed two cans of Irn Bru together while singing Loch Lomond and chucking haggis into the crowd. Wild wasn’t in the mood for games but…Mr P was more than game to use his kilt to full effect, distracting Wild with quick flashes to his disgust. There was a callback to Aberdeen Anarchy as Wild attempted a Stink Face seeing as he was embarassed by Rikishi at The Beach Ballroom, his attempt thwarted as Mr P sunk his teeth into the rear end of Wild before he too went for the Stink Face which landed. Wild now being 0-2 for having another person’s backside shoved into his face. Let’s hope no other streaks appear. Nathan North and his new manager Jeeves Winchester entered to cause the distraction allowing WIld to hit the Wildest Driver for another English victory at Battle of the Nations extending his record to 2-1.

Speaking of Nathan North, he was in action in front of VIP ticket holders against Bryan Tucker. Having never seen North in action I was interested in seeing what he’s got. What he’s got is a solid foundation, he’s got some character and he had a pretty decent match. Give him another year on shows regularly and you may have a breakout star right there. Tucker won after a few pinfall counters, not often that actually works so came out of nowhere in an overall fine match up.

In another match involving Sterling Oil, William and Alan Sterling flanked by Richard R Russell, sporting the worst wig hair transplant that money could buy. The WrestleZone Tag Team Champions The Rejected came into this one like a house on fire as the tornado tag and anything goes rules were in full effect as they brawled around the room and up to the bar. Chairs were brought in as the Sterling’s just battered Archer and Vago. A brief moment of reprieve came when Alan Sterling sat Archer onto a chair and attempted a senton only to come crashing down onto the empty chair in an O.M.G moment. Russell attempted interference but had his headpiece removed to reveal his chrome dome, which still had more hair than your slapheaded writer here. The only downside to this match was the finish, something about the Oil Crash just looks awkward every time I’ve seen William and Alan hit it on someone, not a lot of impact and more placing the opponent onto Alan’s knees. Maybe a new tandem move is needed. After the match had ended Alan DDT’s Vago onto a chair for good measure. A mauling from The Sterling Brothers, now that these two teams have been battling for close to a year, maybe after The Rejected’s rematch we’ll see some new teams enter the fray.

The first match announced for this event had been brewing since Aberdeen Anarchy 2016, on that night Crusher Craib broke his hip socket while fighting for the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship. Scotty Swift retained as the Creator of Carnage went into the shadows to recover. A year passed and while Swift rode high as the champion, with a small Andy Wild shaped hole near the end, Crusher was waiting. According to Craib, Sterling Oil looked after him while he recovered, being there when WrestleZone wasn’t. It came to a head on the night of Aberdeen Anarchy 2017 when Craib announced that he would return to action at Battle of the Nations, by the end of the night he had chosen his victim when his boot connected with Swift’s head. Craib blamed Swift for him losing a year of his career. This wasn’t a match, it was a fight. Craib entered sporting a new look but the same scowl, he was interrupted by Swift, who wasn’t waiting for his own music to hit. They brawled by ringside before Craib rammed Swift’s back into the apron, rolled him into the ring and just rained punches to Swift’s head. Referee Denzil Law put his body in the way to separate Crusher from the prone Swift and called the match. Referees and staff entered the ring to check on Swift who was starting to come to, as he got to his hands and knees, Crusher re-entered and forced Swift’s head into the mat with a Curb Stomp.

A brutal segment, Crusher looked like the monster like he used to be. The little things added to this one, Swift entering with a Craib shirt that had a red cross through it. The staff asking folk to not take pictures after the match while they tended to Swift. It felt real, not real enough to be distasteful but added a real tenseness to the whole feud and situation.

The main event was a fun triple threat match which really bucked the trend of two guys in the ring, while one recovered on the outside, with some nice triple offense between Dynamite, Coffey and Johnson. Shawn Johnson looked to be pretty savvy and was picking points to jump into the action to cause some damage. Dynamite looked to have it won on several occasions but was unsuccessful due to Coffey accidently knocking out the referee with a front dropkick. Johnson used a couple low blows and a double foot stomp to retain his Undisputed WrestleZone Championship in impressive fashion.

Following Shawn’s win the rest of Sterling Oil entered for their promised celebration having won three of the four bouts that included Sterling Oil members with both title matches going their way. Each member would take a turn at thanking each other. The microphone was passed to Damien, he only had one thing to say as he dropped the mic and superkicked Shawn Johnson and bailed out of the ring. Throwing down his Sterling Oil hoodie to end his tenure at Sterling Oil. The crowd came unglued when Damien landed the superkick. The pressure had been building for months, it was only a matter of time before it happened. The man that was at the forefront of Sterling Oil for a long time had left emphatically.

You can watch this moment below:

 

A great story driven show from WrestleZone, like I said near the start we were treated to some comedy, some hard hits, some tense moments and some darn good wrestling. WrestleZone return to Keith this Saturday, an event that always delivers, I won’t be there due to a prior engagement but you should go!

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Quick Results:
VIP Exclusive Match – Bryan Tucker def. Nathan North w/Jeeves Winchester
WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship – Aspen Faith w/Sammii Jayne def. Johnny Lions
WrestleZone Tag Team Championships – The Sterling Brothers def. The Rejected
Battle of the Nations – Andy Wild def. Mr P
Tyler Bate def. Damien
Crusher Craib def. Scotty Swift
Undisputed WrestleZone Championship – Shawn Johnson def. Zach Dynamite & Joe Coffey