WrestleZone are heading for the Northern Hotel in Aberdeen on Saturday evening for the 2019 edition of Battle of the Nations, a night that will mark 10 years of WrestleZone hosting shows inside the very venue. Since 2009, fans have flocked to the Northern Hotel to see the incredible action offered by the WrestleZone roster. Whether they wanted to see a hard-hitting scrap, a tantalising tag team encounter, or a comedy match to get them in a good mood, you were bound to find that sort of action on a Northern Hotel show. Considering they’ve been at the hotel for 10 years now, they’ve made quite a lot of memories there. While their web team have been reminiscing about some of their favourites over on the WrestleZone Facebook page, let’s have a little look back ourselves at what could be considered some of the best moments not just in Northern Hotel history, but in WrestleZone history overall!
Lionheart wins the Heavyweight Championship (Aberdeen Anarchy IV)
First Undisputed Champion crowned (Aberdeen Anarchy 2011)
Shawn Johnson pins Crusher Craib (Battle of the Nations 2011)
Jack Jester’s rampage (Regal Rumble 2014)
Mr P earns a WrestleZone contract (Regal Rumble 2014)
Scotty Swift’s road to Aberdeen Anarchy begins (Regal Rumble 2015)
Joe Coffey wins the Undisputed Championship (Regal Rumble 2015)
The Sterling Brothers make history (Battle of the Nations 2017)
Richard R. Russell wins the Regal Rumble (Regal Rumble 2018)
Crusher Craib and Scotty Swift’s battle (Regal Rumble 2018)
Make WrestleZone Great Again (Battle of the Nations 2018)
The Foundation of the Future is formed (Regal Rumble 2019)
PERSONAL OPINION ALARM
10. Aspen Faith assaults Len Ironside (Regal Rumble 2014)
Kicking things with what was a great moment due to the lasting impact it had. At the 2014 Regal Rumble, British wrestling legend Len Ironside was on hand but before he really had a chance to speak, he was interrupted by Aspen Faith. The Hippie Horror wanted an answer as to why Len had been slandering him and calling him a cheater, before issuing a challenge to him for a bout at Aberdeen Anarchy that May. Although Len would originally decline the match, Aspen called him a coward, leading to Ironside accepting the challenge and the match being made official for the Beach Ballroom. With a grin across his face, Aspen Faith had gotten what he wanted, but not before delivering a huge forearm to the jaw of Len. It’s a move that got him banished from the WrestleZone locker room leading up to the match, but it had a lasting impact throughout the company. Regardless of his actions, it made it hard to forget Aspen’s name. If you can accomplish that in one move, you’re doing something right.
9. The Kings of Catch unite (Regal Rumble 2018)
Heading into the 2018 Regal Rumble, it was revealed that Lewis Girvan would be making his WrestleZone return, having not appeared for WZ since Aberdeen Anarchy 2016. Although both he and Kings of Catch partner Aspen Faith were involved in separate matches on the night (Lewis challenged for Shawn Johnson’s Undisputed Championship in a Triple Threat Match while Aspen defended the Tri-Counties Championship in a Fatal Four Way Match), that didn’t prevent them from leaving an impression in the tag team division. Following Proper Mental winning the Tag Team Championships from The Rejected, both Chris Archer and Mikkey Vago would be ambushed by the now-former Tri-Counties Champion as Faith had lost the gold to Andy Wild in the match prior. Lewis Girvan burst through the curtain to seemingly save the biker duo, only to remove his hoodie and reveal a Kings of Catch t-shirt. The Kings of Catch had finally united in a WrestleZone ring, which was cemented as they broke Chris Archer in half with their famed Apter Burner. A momentous occasion for all Kings of Catch fans.
8. Richard R. Russell screws Crusher Craib (Battle of the Nations 2012)
Nothing annoys the WrestleZone faithful more than seeing Richard R. Russell get his way. He’s easily the most hated man to ever step foot inside a WrestleZone ring. If we head back to the summer of 2012, it was a time when Russell had made one of the biggest mistakes of his life as he slapped Crusher Craib in the face at the 2012 Regal Rumble after The Creator of Carnage had refused to eliminate himself from the namesake match. Craib was a member of Sterling Oil at this stage, a group he would leave as a result of the actions here. At Battle of the Nations two months later, he had the chance to earn a singles match with Russell – all he had to do was defeat Damien and The Sterling Brothers in a 3 on 1 Handicap Match. All was going well for him, until William Sterling rolled him up from behind. One, Crusher kicks out… two, three? The referee had counted the winning pinfall for the Sterling Oil team despite Crusher kicking out at the count of one. All was revealed after the bell as Russell had paid off referee Andy Andrews to screw Craib out of the match he wanted more than anything. That Richard R. Russell always has a plan up his sleeve.
7. Richard R. Russell’s comeuppance (Battle of the Nations 2018)
While they hate seeing the lad come out on the winning side of things, the WrestleZone fans always get a kick out of seeing Richard R. Russell getting what he deserves. Thus, Battle of the Nations 2018 was a dream come true for any WrestleZone fan as Triple R was forced to go one on one with former colleague Damien, and there was no-one left to help him. Crusher Craib and The Sterling Brothers had been barred from the building after they lost to Scotty Swift, Johnny Lions, and Bryan Tucker earlier on in the evening, while Shawn Johnson was busy preparing for his Undisputed Championship defence against Grado in the main event. It was just Richard against The Revolutionary, the man he had screwed out of the Undisputed Championship at that year’s Summerhill Showdown event. Or so we thought. Crusher Craib, who technically wasn’t thrown out of the building like Alan and William had been, returned to ringside and booted Damien in the face. That, as well as a shot to the face courtesy of the Regal Rumble trophy, wasn’t enough to keep Damien down. The former Sterling Oil member bounced back by superkicking the most hated man in WrestleZone history square in the face to a chorus of cheers, as he overcame the final obstacle to secure his spot in the Aberdeen Anarchy X main event opposite Shawn Johnson.
6. Bryan Tucker returns (Regal Rumble 2016)
Following the betrayal of Shawn Johnson at Christmas Chaos (Comes Early!) and his defection to Sterling Oil, Bryan Tucker decided to step away from the ring. It looked as if the breakup of The Granite City Hotshots was too much for Tucker to handle, and for good reason. They’d been a staple of WrestleZone’s tag team division for many years by that point, multi-time Tag Team Champions no less. For Shawn to throw it all back in his face made Bryan far too angered. That was shown a) by him walking away from wrestling, and then also b) when he made his shocking return in the 2016 Regal Rumble Match. Although he wasn’t an official competitor in the match, Bryan (under a mask) stormed the ring with a steel chair when it came down to the final two of Shawn Johnson and eventual winner Crusher Craib, ambushing his former partner before being dragged away through the crowd by a team of referees and security. The reaction when he stormed the ring was something else. Everyone who was following WrestleZone at this point knew who it was under that mask. It could’ve only been one man – imagine if the hood had came down, and it was Cysto? Don’t even get me started…
5. Jay Lethal wins gold (Battle of the Nations 2013)
Jay Lethal has done it all in his career. Former Impact Wrestling X Division Champion, former Impact Wrestling World Tag Team Champion, former Ring of Honor World Champion, former Ring of Honor World Television Champion, 2012 Ring of Honor Survival of the Fittest winner, his list of accolades goes on. Another championship he’s added to his collection however is the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships, which he won alongside Scotty Swift at Battle of the Nations 2013. When The Franchise was announced for that year’s summer extravaganza, I’d bet no-one would’ve predicted he’d be heading back to New Jersey as a WrestleZone champion. He and Swift won the titles in the evening’s main event, defeating defending champs and the greatest tag team in WrestleZone history Team S.M.A.S.H. Aspen Faith and James Midas – what a duo. But yeah, Jay Lethal won the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships. That’s what we were speaking about.
4. RUDO Lightning shocks everyone (Regal Rumble 2019)
A more recent one now, and one that sent shockwaves throughout WrestleZone. The 2019 Regal Rumble Match featured a few first-timers in the match, from Thatcher Wright to Caleb Valhalla to Ryan Riley. Another of those names was RUDO Lightning, a man who hadn’t been seen inside a WrestleZone ring since Battle of the Nations 2014 at the Beach Leisure Centre. RUDO entered at number 14, using the old tactic of staying out of sight to make it down to the final three, where he would eliminate both Johnny Lions and Zach Dynamite to win the 2019 Regal Rumble Match. That alone was enough to shock the audience, but that’s not all he did that evening. After inviting the Undisputed Champion Damien into the ring, Lightning whacked him across the head with his Regal Rumble trophy, before demanding to have his Aberdeen Anarchy title match then and there. The match ensued and after a ref bump, RUDO hit the champ with the title belt to end the reign of the perennial fan favourite. A huge change in momentum for WrestleZone here as Damien again found himself in the role of the challenger heading into the following month’s Aberdeen Anarchy. RUDO Lightning was exceptional throughout the duration of his four weeks back with WZ – let’s hope it’s not as long before he’s in this neck of the woods again.
3. Tyler Bate debuts (Battle of the Nations 2017)
Tyler Bate. A sensational talent. Find me someone that doesn’t like him – I’ll give you some time because you’d have to go pretty far to find someone who doesn’t enjoy the work of The Big Strong Boi. The inaugural WWE United Kingdom Champion made his WrestleZone debut at Battle of the Nations 2017 after then-champion Pete Dunne was forced to pull out, with his opponent being the surprising choice of Damien. I say surprise because at this point, Damien wasn’t on the best of rolls, having not scored a victory in months. WrestleZone management were willing to give him the chance though because they knew just how much of a great wrestler he is. Unsurprisingly though, it was one hell of a match. I believe I mentioned this in my review of that show that you don’t realise how great a wrestler Tyler Bate is until you’ve seen him live. Every little movement, every little transition, every little hold makes it a better match. A Tyler Driver ’97 would score him the win, and he even showed respect towards Damien after the bell. A class move by a class guy on a class show from a class promotion who have kindly uploaded the full match for free! Watch it. Then watch it again.
2. Richard R. Russell returns (Battle of the Nations 2015)
After Sterling Oil reformed at the culmination of Aberdeen Anarchy 2015, it was only really a question of when, not if, Richard R. Russell would return to WrestleZone. While a group featuring Damien and The Sterling Brothers is fine on its own, it just didn’t feel right having Sterling Oil back on the scene, and not having Russell there to lead them into battle. At Battle of the Nations 2015, Richard would indeed return at the end of the night. Damien had just defeated Scotty Swift in an Undisputed Championship match, albeit via disqualification after The Red Haired Warrior used a steel chair, with a masked man later emerging from the audience. Damien, Alan, and William would beat down on the champ, while the man revealed himself as the one and only Richard R. Russell. It was the icing on the cake. The crowd were stunned to see Russell back inside a WrestleZone ring. For the three years he was back, the fans’ distaste for him grew and grew as the shows went past. Don’t expect to see any Richard R. Russell fan pages being created any time soon.
1. Damien superkicks Shawn Johnson (Battle of the Nations 2017)
For as long as I’m alive, I’ll never forget the reaction from the WrestleZone fans when Damien superkicked Shawn Johnson in the closing moments of Battle of the Nations 2017. After numerous failed attempts at lifting the Undisputed Championship from Scotty Swift, it became clear that Damien was no longer the man Richard R. Russell wanted as the face of Sterling Oil. His attention was now firmly on Shawn Johnson, with Shawn winning both the 2017 Regal Rumble Match and then the Undisputed Championship. On both of those occasions, Damien’s facial expressions were absolutely superb – he was visibly frustrated with how his Sterling Oil comrades were treating him. Then, the moment finally happened. The members of Sterling Oil were in the ring showing their appreciation towards Shawn Johnson for all of his successes but when it came to Damien, he only had one thing to say, or rather show. A superkick straight to the jaw of Johnson. One of the best moments in WrestleZone history, and for me, the best moment in Northern Hotel history.
What have been some of your favourite WrestleZone moments at the Northern Hotel over the years?
Tickets to Battle of the Nations are available from http://www.ringsideworld.co.uk, priced at £15 for VIP, £12 for adults, and £10 for under 14s. Fans can also pay at the door on the night. Doors open at 6pm for VIP ticket holders and 6:30 for general admission tickets holders, with the action officially getting underway at 7pm!
The card for that show, at the time of writing, is as follows;
- Undisputed WrestleZone Championship – Triple Threat Match – Damien (c) vs Zach Dynamite vs Liam Thomson
- WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship – Triple Threat Match – Jason Reed (c) vs Alan Sterling vs Andy Wild
- WrestleZone Tag Team Championships – Scotty Swift & Johnny Lions (c) vs The Outfit (Dino Del Monte & Ted O’Keefe)
- Crusher Craib vs Connor Inglis
- The Thunder Buddies (Blue Thunder & William Sterling) vs The Granite City Hotshots (Bryan Tucker & Shawn Johnson)
- Mikey Innes vs Austin Osiris
- WrestleZone Tag Team Championships #1 Contenders Match: The Rejected (Chris Archer & Mikkey Vago) vs The Foundation of the Future (Bradley Evans & Ryan Riley)