Review: WrestleZone ‘Battle of the Nations 2018’

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Well, looks like I forgot about this being in the drafts somehow. Lucky I’ve got a good memory then…

Battle of the Nations was now two weeks ago, and I still can’t believe some of what happened. Last year’s summer extravaganza featured the inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion Tyler Bate, who put on a match of the year candidate with Damien. Judging by that as well as everything else that occurred last year, how on earth could this year’s event be any better? Well, just look at the card. While there may have been some British Strong Style on the show last September, this year’s event featured plenty homegrown talent, and also saw Grado and Bingo Ballance return to The Granite City.

Without comparing the two shows any more, let’s get in to the review!

VIP Ticket Holders Pre-Show Triple Threat Match
Dino Del Monte w/Ted O’Keefe def. Bradley Evans and Kaden Garrick by Pinfall

The VIP ticket holders received a special treat, a Triple Threat Match featuring three powerhouses of the WrestleZone Training Academy as Dino Del Monte, Bradley Evans, and Kaden Garrick squared off. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the work both Dino and Ted O’Keefe since their debut in March. A lanky guy, Del Monte’s facial expressions are always slightly over the top but his in-ring skills are great. Both members of The Outfit remained at ringside in the early stages, being picky in their chances to intervene. Evans and Garrick had some exchanges of their power following the ring of the bell, a singles match I’d love to see. O’Keefe kept the returning Garrick down at ringside, the former Tag Team Champion finally getting back in the ring to prevent Del Monte from picking up the three count. A spear intended for Dino wiped Evans off his feet, with the gangster then clocking Garrick in the back of the head to take the pin for himself and remain unpinned in WrestleZone.

If you want a showcase match for the training academy, this is it. Dino Del Monte is quickly becoming one of my favourites to watch in WrestleZone, his character work could use some developing as right now he’s just a lanky gangster that makes weird faces but he’ll get there with the more shows he’s on. Meanwhile, Bradley Evans and Kaden Garrick also got to showcase their brute strength. I’ve seen a few slips in Evans’ past matches, but give him more time (he’s only been going a year remember) and he’ll be a force to be reckoned within WrestleZone. Same goes for Kaden Garrick, he might not be the biggest guy in the locker room, but he has the determination to make it big. Injury forced him to take a year out, but he’s now back and much better than he was when he disappeared.

As general admission ticket holders flocked to their seats, I went up to purchase a shirt from Sammii Jayne. As most of you will be aware, The Queen of WrestleZone is currently out of action with a broken ankle, a right shame considering how much titles she’s holding at the moment. Support her in her time out by buying her merch from herย online store.

Intergender Match
Bingo Ballance & Nova Moore def. Nathan North & Anastasia Hawthorne w/Jeeves Winchester by Pinfall

The main show kicked off with a match featuring a return to WrestleZone and three WrestleZone Training Academy graduates, two of those being main roster debuts. Bingo Ballance made his first appearance up north since last year’s Aberdeen Anarchy to team with Nova Moore as they went toe to toe with “Vintage” Nathan North and Anastasia Hawthorne. When the match was announced, it was great to see two more WrestleZone-produced talent breaking on to the roster. I hadn’t heard much about Moore and Hawthorne, with the exception that Moore had competed at Granite City Comic-Con two weeks prior and that Hawthorne had been trained by Sammii Jayne. Nova and Anastasia teased their interaction throughout the match, while Bingo and Nathan had some great back and forth action. Anastasia, having entered looking like the princess of WZ with a big fur jacket, tossed Nova about when they finally locked horns, including a fantastic fisherman’s suplex. Moore dove off the top later on with a crossbody, an absolute thing of beauty (here). A G17 from Bingo put Nathan away for the three count.

I’ll admit, there were a few slips in the early going from the debuting women but they came back from these and showed what they’ve learned from their training. On another note, I’ll reiterate a point mentioned in Billy’s words about the show and that’s the fact that Bingo Ballance is severely underused in the country. I could see him meshing well with the rosters in ICW and Discovery. His work with Nathan North in this match was rather good, there aren’t enough words to praise North. He has the charisma and the in-ring ability, he’ll be a big name in the years to come.

If Sterling Oil win, they can accompany Richard R. Russell for his match with Damien.
If they lose, they will be barred from the building.
Scotty Swift, Johnny Lions & Bryan Tucker def. Sterling Oil (Crusher Craib & The Sterling Brothers (Alan Sterling & William Sterling)) by Pinfall

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting too much from this match but it delivered on what it needed to do. The stipulations surrounding the match are what kept me on the edge of my seat for this one, even if my hot take never came true. Crusher and Scotty, issues between them still at a high, ended up brawling through the crowd never to be seen again. Until later in the night anyway. Still at ringside and Tucker didn’t play much of an impact in the latter stages. As I sat thinking something was going to happen, Lions caught Alan with a Lion Cutter mid-air for the three count. Celebrations were had before Johnny and Bryan headed to the back. Something could still happen later on. Anyway though, The Sterling Brothers refused to leave the ring until two security members dragged them away.

As I said, there wasn’t much that happened. It was the story that mattered the most here; not just the impact the ending would have on Damien vs Richard R. Russell, but also the ongoing rivalry between Swift and Craib. It’s been an exciting year the two have had and it shows no signs of stopping; possibly a blowoff match at Anarchy?

Triple Threat #1 Contenders Match
Mr P, Jason Reed and Zach Dynamite went to a No Contest

Jason Reed is great. It’s as simple as that. Having been on the receiving end of ‘Donald Trump’ chants during his last few appearances in the north east, the cheeky Fifer endorsed the audience’s opinion and entered with a new character. Reed is on a mission and let me tell you one thing; he WILL #MakeWrestleZoneGreatAgain. Anything else will be classified as Fake News. On to the match though, and it was another terrific one. With a Tri-Counties Championship opportunity ย at stake, all was put in to the match. Mr P looked to be on the brink of victory with his signature axe kick as Jeeves Winchester burst through the curtain, followed by Nathan North. The North Star whacked recent rival P with a steel chair and told Dynamite to go up top, but he too felt the wrath of the steel. Nathan’s motivation for this attack? He feels overlooked by management and wants to make the Tri-Counties Championship vintage.

Personally, I’m behind this. Mainly because it involves North and champion Andy Wild in the same story but Nathanย does have a point. He’s one of the best graduates from the WrestleZone Training Academy and has an incredible future ahead of him. If you haven’t already followed The North Star, now’s the time to do so. Why not check out hisย Starter For 10ย while you’re at it?

Side not; make sure to send Jason Reed plenty of fan art on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Also buy a t-shirt from his Big Cartel store. Together, we can #MakeWrestleZoneGreatAgain.

#1 Contenders Match
If Russell wins, he will be the General Manager at Aberdeen Anarchy X.
Damien def. Richard R. Russell by Pinfall

The second half kicked off with a bang, it was time for quite possibly the most anticipated match in WrestleZone history; Damien vs Richard R. Russell, one on one, Sterling Oil barred from ringside. Unlike at The Regal Rumble, Damien wasn’t shying away from laying in to Russell. His wild behaviour here almost got him disqualified as he shoved referee Mikey Innes, with the official letting him off. Bad mistake from Mikey as he got an accidental superkick later on. Enter Crusher Craib (he wasn’t dragged away remember) to boot the face off of his former colleague. Scotty Swift also reappeared looking worse for wear as the pair continued their brawl. Crusher’s big boot wasn’t enough though and Russell grabbed the Regal Rumble trophy to use as a weapon; once again, a two count. In a moment that received the biggest pop I’ve ever heard from a WZ crowd, management representative Chris McDonald stepped down from commentary and took the trophy before Triple R could use it again. Two superkicks later and Damien is now heading to the Aberdeen Anarchy X main event.

No, this wasn’t a technical masterpiece. But in terms of storytelling, this was match of the night. Lee Manton and Sterling Oil excluded, there wasn’t a single person that wasn’t celebrating this victory. It’s been a fantastic story thus far, and I think we all know how it ends…

Triple Threat Match for the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships
The Rejected (Chris Archer & Mikkey Vago) def. Proper Mental (Lou King Sharp & Krieger) (c) and The Kings of Catch (Aspen Faith & Lewis Girvan) w/Sammii Jayne by Pinfall

The match I was most looking forward to, and it was sadly in a bad spot on the card. With everyone settling from the previous match while looking forward to Grado after it, the match didn’t seem to get the reaction it should’ve. It was still rather good though, I mean it involved six of the best in the country. The Kings of Catch used some of their trademark moves that have the best names; the 4K, the Mean Old Twister and the Return On Investment being three of them. Sammii Jayne, on crutches, attempted to get involved but ended up taking out Aspen and Lewis with what appeared to be some sort of cast. Proper Mental celebrated their victory prematurely before they were rolled up from behind as The Rejected became four-time WrestleZone Tag Team Champions.

It was a fine match I guess. Not exactly the ending I was expecting, I predicted a Proper Mental retention or a Kings of Catch victory. Look at it this way though, Archer and Vago are two underrated talents so don’t take this win away from them. They now enter their second Aberdeen Anarchy in a row as champions, so that’s some good news for them!

Before the main event, Chris McDonald revealed former WWE, WCW and Impact superstar Chavo Guerrero for Aberdeen Anarchy X! Looking forward to seeing the Guerrero family member in The Granite City, big fan of his work.

Undisputed WrestleZone Championship
Shawn Johnson (c) def. Grado by Pinfall

Originally advertised as a non-title match, Grado was disappointed at travelling all the way to face a champion without the gold up for grabs. A pre-match assault from Shawn Johnson later, and he agreed to defend the championship. It was mostly all Johnson in the early goings, with The Chubby Wee Chancer only getting brief moments of offence. Just when it looked like Grado was going to finally win the big one, Shawn feigned an injury that allowed Proper Mental to interfere. Grado again fought back however but was rolled up with a handful of the tights as Shawn Johnson remains the Undisputed Champion once again.

Chris McDonald brought Damien to ringside after the match as the main event of Aberdeen Anarchy X is now official, but with two added stipulations as he announced it would be a Steel Cage Match and professional boxer “The Aberdeen Assassin” Lee McAllister would be the guest enforcer!

It wasn’t the best of matches but with guys like Grado, you’re not exactly coming for a five star classic. The announcement on the other hand was a huge surprise. A steel cage is something I’ve wanted to see in WrestleZone for quite some time, so that’ll be a fun little adventure. Maybe not for the two men going inside the cage, but still.

Overall, this was one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve attended. The Northern Hotel shows are always ones to keep your eye on for surprises, and this show provided plenty. With the road to Aberdeen Anarchy X now officially underway, now’s the time to start following Scotland’s best kept secret. Tickets for the huge supershow can be purchased;

  • ONLINE โ€“ย www.aberdeenperformingarts.com
  • IN-PERSON โ€“ His Majestyโ€™s Theatre (located on Rosemount Viaduct) or The Lemon Tree (located on West North Street)
  • TELEPHONE โ€“ 01224 641122

Check out Billy’s thoughts on the showย here, and keep your eyes on the site for more WrestleZone posts as the road to Aberdeen Anarchy X heats up!

Quick Results
Pre-Show Triple Threat Match – Dino Del Monte w/Ted O’Keefe def. Bradley Evans and Kaden Garrick by Pinfall
Intergender Match – Bingo Ballance & Nova Moore def. Nathan North & Anastasia Hawthorne w/Jeeves Winchester by Pinfall
Ringside or Barred From The Building? – Scotty Swift, Johnny Lions & Bryan Tucker def. Sterling Oil by Pinfall
Triple Threat #1 Contenders Match – Mr P, Jason Reed and Zach Dynamite went to a No Contest
#1 Contenders Match – Damien def. Richard R. Russell by Pinfall
Triple Threat Match for the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships – The Rejected def. Proper Mental (c) and The Kings of Catch w/Sammii Jayne by Pinfall
Undisputed WrestleZone Championship – Shawn Johnson (c) def. Grado by Pinfall