“Alexa, how do I write a review about a show that left me speechless?”
This seems to be a common occurrence after attending a WrestleZone event. For the handful I get to each year, WrestleZone do everything in their power to have me begging for more with a throat that feels like sandpaper due to all the shouting that takes place.
Now, pre-warning as usual, if you want a more comprehensive review of this event then please read Adam’s review. It’s way more professional than this couple thousand word rant on why this was the single best show that I’ve ever been to. Never has a company been able to tap into my emotions and play with them like a puppet-master. It’s like they take a look at the run-sheet and go, “y’know if we do this, that bald bloke from SWN is going to cry… let’s do it.” I’m not known for being a particularly outspoken, emotive and socially comfortable person but when I go to WrestleZone, I don’t know what it is that just makes me become the child fan again. Maybe it’s the colourful characters, maybe it’s the good ol’ entertainment, who knows. I just know that when I attend other shows I enjoy them but I always end up having the grown up cap on, clapping, maybe joining in with a chant but not shouting myself hoarse.
Possibly it’s the familiarity. I’ve been to a good number of WrestleZone shows over the last six years. I’ve had the chance to speak to most of the roster whether for this website, that podcast that didn’t really get off the ground or just as a fan. I’m comfortable to the point where I don’t care about being judged for getting into the show. It sounds strange, but I am a socially awkward person in every day life. I struggle to make conversation, which is great for someone who relies on contacting people for interviews, I struggle with that chat, that banter, it takes a long time for me to warm up which is frustrating and just part of being me.
WrestleZone have an uncanny ability to have me leaving wanting more. Every show. Doesn’t matter if it’s Keith in front of 50 people or Aberdeen Anarchy with over 1000 fans. They always make me want to see the next show. The Regal Rumble was no different.
Coming into this show there had to be lots of stories to kick start and advance with less than a month to Aberdeen Anarchy. One match was confirmed coming into this event, PAC versus Zach Dynamite, but there is probably another seven matches needed to be announced and to have reasons, motivations to be added to the North East supershow. A lot of work to do in a two and half hours and if it isn’t well thought out it could turn into a mess very quickly.
Snow wouldn’t stop me (or I should say my wife) driving the 64.4 miles from Elgin to The Northern Hotel in Aberdeen. A venue that I’ve been on the edge of my seat, a venue where I have laughed, cried and been through every emotion in the space of a few hours. It’s strange from an outside perspective to understand how a bunch of blokes in their pants fighting can extrapolate those kinds of emotions.
Due the forethought of The Northern Hotel being a very popular venue for WrestleZone, I made sure that I purchased the VIP ticket for early entry from Ringside World. It was certainly a good thought as the snow dropped from the sky, we casually entered the queue minutes before doors opened. Thanks in kind to “The Prince of Catch” Mark Leslie, we were able to secure perfect seats on the second row. Perfect view without the possiblity of projectile wrestlers that could be flying over later in the evening.
The added perk to VIP ticketing is an extra match which was Chris Archer versus the “Inspirational” Ryan Riley. Riley had a very disingenious demeanour. He said all the right things, he loudly praised Archer throughout the match but it didn’t sit with me as all that real from him. It came across as smug, I mean, “The Loserweight” has lost 7 stone y’know. I lost a stone last year… then promptly found it plus interest so it’s nothing to turn your nose up at. The match itself was solid, nothing too out there in terms of content in the early going just some fine clean professional wrestling. It rampt up in the closing stages with Archer hitting a Rough Ryder then a diving flatliner to nab victory in an even contest. A nice taster for the evening’s upcoming action.
As always I’m impressed to see WrestleZone Academy trainees improve at a rapid pace and they always do. I first saw Riley at Aberdeen Anarchy in the pre-show battle royal and he clearly had something that could be moulded into more, I didn’t get to see much of him at the time but, having seen his character develop during the misadventures of Manton and Scotty Swift on Facebook, his confidence and character were built and on point. His growth since September is evident. It was always going to be a dependable and solid match when you have Chris Archer in the ring. He’s consistant and, while doing very little BIG movements in terms to garnering crowd support, has a quality that the WrestleZone fans have really taken to along with Mikkey Vago.
With the pre-show out the way and our whistles wetted for some wrasslin’ action. The general ticket holders piled in so that Martyn Clunes could officially kick off the 2019 Regal Rumble event.
And what a way to kick off the show, Aspen Faith and Lewis Girvan, The Kings of Catch, defended their WrestleZone Tag Team Championships against Blue Thunder and William Sterling along with the riot that is Scotty Swift and Johnny Lions. Three highly entertaining teams with three totally different characters and styles. You have Thunder and Sterling who are using each other for gain, Thunder just wants to get back into the title hunt while Sterling wants to take revenge on Scotty Swift for ending Sterling Oil. Neither particulary like each other, which was shown in a little moment when Martyn announced the team as their old team name, Thunder Buddies, with Blue Thunder quietly waving it down. They’re not buddies, just two individuals that are teaming with each other to reach their own individual goals. Scotty Swift and Johnny Lions are not a tag team, according to Scotty Swift, and while Swift’s stance has softened since the re-emergance of Sterling and Thunder, he still believes that they aren’t a tag team. Swift had a nice little moment where he was trying to calm Lions down from bopping along to the theme music of the champions and the only agreed tag team in the match, The Kings of Catch.
The Kings of Catch, I’d say in total bias-ness, are the best team in the country right now. They are cool, they don’t act like the good guys but because they have these stunning tag team moves and make it look effortless, they become the cool team to cheer. Think of it like Steve Austin, he attacked everyone and anyone that he saw fit but was still cheered without question because he was so cool. I’ve said cool too many times… William Sterling was double superkicked right off the bat and crumpled to a heap. This was chaotic with each team tagging in and causing damage then being tagged out by another team. Well, most of the time, as The Kings of Catch opted for a refreshment break thanks to The Prince of Catch Mark Leslie and a couple tins of Monster. In a moment that impressed my wife, Lewis held both tins of Monster and jumped off the apron and didn’t spill a drop. That’s the kind of skills that Lewis Girvan possesses.
The match broke down quickly with every man having a moment to take out everyone else. Johnny Lions was hyped, and when he gets hyped he stays hyped (suck it Mojo Rawley). William did get a move in, a nice chokeslam backbreaker but suffered from another superkick and miscommunication between himself and Blue Thunder. I loved the moments of miscommunication between the pair as it plays into the individual pursuits that the team has, they aren’t on the same page.
As per Regal Rumble tradition for tag team matches, this turned into a brawl around the room and up to the bar. The Lawman himself referee Denzil Law lost all control and called for the bell to end this as a no contest. Len Ironside picked up the microphone to give the six wrestlers a rollicking for not keeping themselves under control before announcing that they’ll do it all again on April 13th inside A STEEL CAGE!
The match style that was on Johnny Lion’s bucket list is happening at Aberdeen Anarchy. There’s plenty of wild thoughts coming into this one. My initial thoughts is what totally crazy thing will William Sterling do? He has a history of throwing himself off and onto ladders in the past and it can’t be out of the realm of possibility that we’ll see William do a dive off the steel structure. I can’t wait.
This match was lots of fun, lots of subtle moments along with big blows and chaos. I’m looking forward to seeing them all go at it again in a couple weeks.
Following that was the Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap match between Andy Wild and Alan Sterling with his muscle Caleb Valhalla. I wasn’t expecting a mat classic here but between the three of them I knew that it would be entertainment at its finest. Outside of my original thought of, “where can I get me an Alan Sterling t-shirt?” I was interested to see if big Caleb would get involved. The match started with Andy lighting up Alan with chops that rung around The Northern Hotel, again and again. He even let somes kids in the crowd have at Alan with chops. Sterling would try and escape then throw in a couple digs when he could. It took a distraction from Valhalla for Sterling to take advantage with a backstabber. Alan tried to use the ropes to steal the win but referee Mikey Innes was on the ball and cancelled the pinfall. Valhalla was soon sent backstage due to his interference and Alan tried to force a bar of soap into the mouth of Wild but was giving a big slap in the face for an Andy Wild victory.
Alan then tried to escape before being brought back by Grado. Wild then forced some Imperial Leather into the face of Alan Sterling. He wasn’t done with the soapy justice as he let several fans shove soap into the face of Sterling at ringside.
A really fun match that really showed off the comedic chops of Alan Sterling along with the physical chops from Andy Wild. Alan Sterling is an incredible character that really excels at being an idiot and a goofball. He takes any character that could fail in the wrong hands and make it gold, Mixed Martial Alan, Lord Alan Sterling and now All About Alan, he’s so great. The wrestling content wasn’t anything fancy and it was purely pantomine tomfoolery which I love.
Before I move onto the next match, Caleb Valhalla. This norse God mountain of a man. He’s a broad and jacked dude that looks imposing, even in a vest covered in the face of Alan Sterling. I need to see more of this guy wrestle. I’m sure he’ll be a little rough around the edges at first but would be an intimidating force within six months and challenging for titles in no time.
The fun and laughter abruptly stopped and replaced by boos when Crusher Craib entered for the next match as he glared a hole through the fans in attendence. That stoppage was subsided by the opening bars of ‘Like A Prayer’ as Grado made his way to the ring showering in the attempts at singing along from those in The Northern Hotel. A first time ever singles match encounter between “The Creator of Carnage” and “The Chubby Wee Chancer”, I didn’t know what to expect and was hoping that it wouldn’t be the standard Grado match with the jokes and all that stuff. Not that I don’t enjoy the usual Grado antics but to maintain Crusher’s credibility of being a monster I didn’t want him prat falling and being made to look like a fool. We didn’t get that at all. Grado did start with the cheekiness, mocking Crusher behind his back, we got the Bionic Elbow but it forego the trip ups and silliness. Once the match got into gear there were little jokes as Crusher took control. Grado, with the insistance of the fans fought back and after landing the Roll N Slice and RGradO he set up for a Wee Boot which saw Alan Sterling return to distract him long enough to allow Crusher Craib to recover and take the win following a Big Boot.
A really enjoyable match between two really good wrestlers. Crusher Craib is a highly underrated big man and I’m glad he got the call for ICW last year. The rest of the country should see Crusher in action. The second weekend in a row I’ve seen Grado wrestle and I got treated to the ICW hybrid Grado last weekend and this time we got that but with a softened edge for the family friendly nature of the audience. Lovely stuff.
Len Ironside got back onto the microphone after the match saying that Crusher has been wanting competition and at Aberdeen Anarchy he would get it in the form of a triple threat match. It would be “The Creator of Carnage” against the returning “Zenith of Zero Gravity” Bingo Ballance and a current World Heavyweight Champion, Lionheart.
A great match announcement. Lionheart and Crusher Craib faced off one on one late last year when ICW made their debut in Aberdeen. It was a hard hitting match that saw Crusher really dominate Lionheart before Lionheart gave Crusher his only pinfall loss anywhere since his return 18 months ago. Crusher remains unpinned in WrestleZone but what a fantastic wrinkle in this story. Bring back Bingo Ballance and putting him in the middle of these lads is a great addition.
It looks like we have an Alan Sterling versus Grado feud coming into Aberdeen Anarchy. I’m all in for that. I can see it being a Team Grado versus Team Alan match for Aberdeen Anarchy but we’ll find out soon enough.
Our first half main event featured the Undisputed WrestleZone Champion, Damien, and WrestleZone Tri-Counties Champion, Mr P, teaming up to face the team of Zach Dynamite and Jason Reed. The champions versus my top two picks to win The Regal Rumble match later in the evening. There was a lot of tension coming into this match from all angles, between Bradley Evans and Agent W at ringside, to Dynamite and Reed, the latter refusing an early tag as he was, in his own words, “recovering from ICW” the previous weekend, even Mr P and Damien had some heated moments of shoving. Nobody were pals in this one. Mr P was cut off from his half of the ring in the early stages by Dynamite and Reed as they begrudgingly worked together. Damien threw himself off the top with a dive onto the unsuspecting crowd of Dynamite, Reed, Evans, Mr P and Agent W below. It reminded me to Ralph Wiggum going through the window in that, what the kids call, a mee mee(?). It was effective as it turned the tide into the championship duo’s favour. We got some fun Mr P sans kilt moments before Mr P channelled his inner Bret Hart and locked Zach Dynamite into a Sharpshooter. Ryan Riley came out and, after some hesitation, rattled Mr P with his protein shake bottle while the referee was distracted which allowed Dynamite to superkick Mr P for the win.
Riley looked beside himself and it looked like Dynamite was next to feel the wrath of the bottle but instead the two embraced. For weeks, months, Riley has been telling everyone that he’s facing PAC and not Zach Dynamite and now the two have alligned. It was a fascinating bait and switch which left me in two minds, shock that it happened in the manner it did but not shocked that Riley was a bad guy the whole time. As mentioned near the beginning of this novel, Riley was very disingenious in his manner, something a little off in his behaviour. Either way I like it. Often you find that it’s a great way to build someone’s confidence with being in front of a crowd before finding a way either organically or as a requirement for progression, to have them become a fan favourite again. It’s worked for all the greats in the business, The Rock, Steve Austin, Jack Swagger and I don’t doubt for a second that it will work for Ryan Riley.
The tension between Mr P and Damien was very interesting, they’ve had tussles in the past and it just added a shade of grey moment of, yeah they’re fan favourites but it doesn’t mean they have to like each other. A fun match that hammered home the odd couple dynamic of both teams. Jason Reed is a fully formed character, he’s dropped some of the more hokey parts of the Trump-esque character and made this smug and totally unlikeable version in the process. The next stage is to reveal this long awaited cabinet as I’m finding that just having Agent W isn’t cutting it. He needs a team behind him to do his bidding.
Dynamite and his Foundation of the Future brethren fill that spot left after the demise of Sterling Oil. It’s not unreasonable to think that Zach Dynamite could very well become Undisputed WrestleZone Champion in 2019.
With the tension between Dynamite and Reed that existed in the match and this “cabinet” that Reed has went on about. I’d be keen to see if we end up with a little gang warfare in the future between them. It would be interesting to see whose side the fans would be on if that happened.
Final thought coming out of this is I would love to see a Ride Along episode with Agent W and Bradley Evans bickering, that would be fascinating.
The interval meant the usual toilet break but I got a chance to get another picture with The Kings of Catch but this time with both of their tag team championships. Those WrestleZone Tag Team Championships are absolutely stunning, heavy, but stunning. I’m not a fan of the ICW Tag Team Championships, I think the silver nature of the titles makes them look a little cheap. Like they’re made of tin instead of gold and they felt lighter like a replica belt would… it didn’t stop me having one on my shoulder like the mark that I am. Anyways, one of the many picture even had a cheeky photobomb from the Undisputed WrestleZone Champion for good measure. Little did we know it would be one of the last photos of Damien holding that title…
It’s a well known secret that I love rumbles, they’re just the best kind of match. There’s always plenty of opportunity for surprises, swerves, twists and turns for everyone to enjoy and this year’s Regal Rumble was no different. The difficulty with rumbles, however, is trying to keep up with all the action. The Regal Rumble wasn’t short of action and as the ring filled with more and more bodies it was a while before we started whittling down the pack. Reviewing a rumble is near impossible but what I find is you hold onto the moments from the time. Lewis Girvan entered early and proceeded to perform his tried and tested rumble method of low blows whenever and wherever possible. I think I lost count at 17 low blows of varying nature. Andy Wild landed hard chops to anyone that would stay still long enough and Caleb Valhalla killed a guy. After a brief face off between Lord Mr Malice and Grado, Alan Sterling dumped out Grado much to everyone’s surprise. As we were recovering from that shock, Caleb Valhalla picked up Malice and dropped him over the top rope which lead to Malice landing back first onto the wooden floor below. The sound echoed around the venue followed by the sound of “oooooh”, words cannot comprehend how loud it was and how painful it looked. Thankfully Malice walked to the backstage area but my God, that was an incredible show of strength. It looked a bit dangerous, a little overshot, but accidents can happen and time in the ring will smooth out that roughness but I can still hear the thud from the moment Malice landed. Valhalla’s couple eliminations following were a bit slower paced but he had a fantastic showing in this match. He ended up brawling with Kaden Garrick after both were eliminated. We’ll likely see a battle between them in the near future that will be hard hitting for sure. We also got the debut of Thatcher Wright, he sometimes looked a little lost but he struck up a team with Jason Reed that worked for moment. The loudest reaction (after Malice was eliminated) was Connor Inglis‘s “Maven” moment. Inglis entered late on, his second match in WrestleZone, he threw out some nice offense but found himself thrown about more often than not due to his small stature. The last entrant was Crusher Craib, who had deciminated Inglis in his first match and had planned to do the same here but was caught in a headscissor and eliminated by Connor seconds after entry which had the crowd come unglued.
It was soon down to four with two of my picks, Jason Reed and Zach Dynamite, Johnny Lions and hidden outside of the ring, RUDO Lightning. Reed was soon eliminated to my shock, then as Dynamite and Lions tussled by the ropes, RUDO snuck in and dumped both out to win the 2019 Regal Rumble. Full entrant and elimination order is on Adam’s review for those statisticians out there. A shocking win for an incredible Regal Rumble. Once of the best Regal Rumbles that I’ve ever seen and I have seen, like, four of them in my time…
It may not have had the emotional impact of 2018’s edition but the amount of concievable winners and the moments that happened during the match certainly made up for that. It was a wide open field were at least half of the entrants could have been heading to Aberdeen Anarchy and it would’ve been believable in terms of their standings in the promotion. We had the continuation of the ongoing stories with the tag teams, bar Johnny Lions, all eliminating each other in quick succession. The previously mentioned Sterling and Grado moment plus soap somehow made its way back into the ring. It was a sharp change in direction with RUDO coming out victorious, very few would’ve seen that coming. It was a great conclusion to the night with so many callbacks to the first half.
My only disappointment was, after many shouts (from myself) of “PURPLE RAIN!!!”, I didn’t see a face off between Blue Thunder and RUDO Lightning… it may’ve happened but with so many wrestlers I could’ve missed such a HISTORIC moment. RUDO Lightning was fascinating to watch in this one. He only really got into the match when there was a group attack, he would call traffic, deflecting attention from himself and keep the action moving away from his corner. It was the cleverest performance that I had ever seen in a rumble and that’s just past Aspen Faith’s Road Dogg tribute as he gripped onto the bottom rope for dear life.
As per tradition, the Regal Rumble winner would face off with the Undisputed WrestleZone Champion to close the show, hold their respected prizes up for a photo op and we’d head home happy. As fans started shuffling their jackets and getting ready to head back out into the snowy weather RUDO got onto the microphone to talk about his shocking victory before inviting Damien into the ring. He built Damien up as a guy that he’s been watching, that he was the one to bring him to Glasgow and before it was all said and done RUDO blasted Damien with the Regal Rumble trophy and challenged him to an Undisputed WrestleZone Championship match there and then. He pointed out that he doesn’t have to wait until Aberdeen Anarchy to cash in his shot (see: The John Cena Clause 2008) and wanted his match there and then. He talked about Damien’s daughter being disappointed in her Dad and that gouded Damien into accepting the match.
It only took two minutes, following a referee knockdown, RUDO grabbed the belt and hit Damien across the skull for the three count. We had a new champion in The Northern Hotel. RUDO adds himself to a long list of Undisputed WrestleZone Champions, Joe Coffey, Andy Wild, Scotty Swift, Crusher Craib, Shawn Johnson, Johnny Lions, Damien and now RUDO Lightning. He’s the first man to win the Regal Rumble and the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship in the same night. Unbelievable.
As the fans were baffled by the turn of events, the WrestleZone crew at ringside stood mouths wide open shocked at how the Regal Rumble ended. No one in that crowd knew it was going to happen and from being a possible unknown to a lot of the WrestleZone crowd, RUDO Lightning became enemy number one in one evening.
As the mumbles and conversation happened on the way out of the venue Lightning burst out onto the landing with the title which had one fan so-filled with rage that he squared up to the new champion. RUDO was able to calm him down, but it goes to show how protective the fans are of WrestleZone and seeing RUDO be so dastardly to become the champion just set them off into a tail spin. It’s never encouraged, so don’t pick fights with the wrestlers, but it was incredible that RUDO had sparked such a vitriolic reaction to have fans want to fight him. The next few weeks on the run up to Aberdeen Anarchy is going to be huge for WrestleZone with a different feel coming out of the event. WrestleZone, for me, is that bridge between Hogan Era and New Generation. Big characters, absolute fun and easy to love. I think that we’ve entered just into 1997 WWF, it wasn’t the attitude era but there were shades of grey cracking through the surface. It’s a very exciting time to be a wrestling fan up in the North East with Aberdeen Anarchy so close.
Every time I go to a WrestleZone event, especially in the last two years, I’ve come out thinking that it was the best event I’ve ever seen live. This was no different. What makes it more exciting is that I can’t predict what will happen. There’s always a twist or a turn around the corner but not in a way that muddies the logic.
Just… go get a ticket for Aberdeen Anarchy.
VIP Bonus Match – Chris Archer defeated Ryan Riley by pinfall.
WrestleZone Tag Team Championships – Triple Threat – The Kings of Catch (Aspen Faith & Lewis Girvan) vs William Sterling & Blue Thunder vs Scotty Swift & Johnny Lions ended in a no contest.
Wash Your Mouth Out With Soap Match – Andy Wild defeated Alan Sterling w/Caleb Valhalla by pinfall.
Crusher Craib defeated Grado by pinfall.
Zach Dynamite w/Bradley Evans & Jason Reed w/Agent W defeated Mr P & Damien by pinfall.
Regal Rumble – RUDO Lightning last eliminated Johnny Lions and Zach Dynamite to win the Regal Rumble.
Undisputed WrestleZone Championship – RUDO Lightning defeated Damien by pinfall to win the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship.