Adam’s Review: WrestleZone ‘Live In Ellon 2022’ (19 Feb)

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Quick Results
VIP Ticket Holders Match – Scotty Swift def. The Super Executioner by Pinfall

Connor Molloy def. Bryan Tucker by Count Out
Ronan King def. Cysto by Pinfall
Caleb Valhalla def. Crusher Craib by Pinfall
The Foundation of the Future (Bruiser Brad Evans & Ryan Riley) def. Heavy Metal Thunder (Mikkey Vago & Blue Thunder by Pinfall)
Zach Dynamite def. Mr P by Pinfall
Damien def. Dino Del Monte by Pinfall

Until Saturday night, I can’t remember being at one of the “smaller” WrestleZone events since 2018’s offering in Turriff. It was a solid card from the little nuggets I remember, too; a Damien vs. Aspen Faith main event with Richard R. Russell main eventing. Of course I was there.

It was also my first time – and probably last, maybe until the next show is there – in Ellon. A place of nothingness by the looks of it, aside from a sharp roundabout just as you come off the A90 into Ellon and an overpriced petrol station directly next to the venue which, while overpriced even for the infamous Ted DiBiase, served well in delivering some post-show snacks for the drive home. Maynard’s Wine Gums, for anyone interested.

Much like Billy (you can read his review here), my intentions were set on heading to the show from the minute Crusher Craib challenged Caleb Valhalla at Summerhill Showdown. How can you not want to bare witness to two beefy men slapping meat off of each other. That’s a story for another time…

Tickets were purchased at the start of February. Everything’s going well, some nice match announcements, surprises teased, and lol, two storms back-to-back. Dudley and Eunice slammed into the north-east as my fingers remained crossed that college would close early on Friday but the show in Ellon would go forward. Of course, Scotland being Scotland, it was perfectly fine weather by the time I woke up on Saturday. A bit too warm, really. Onwards to Ellon it was, driving down the AWPR to the Encanto soundtrack. Weren’t you?

On to the show then, that’s what you’re here for I assume.

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VIP Ticket Holders Match
Scotty Swift def. The Super Executioner by Pinfall

Owing to extreme fan demand (fan, not fans, cheers Billy!), The Super Executioner rode once more, booked against a rare “pre-show” appearance of Scotty Swift. You could tell Swift was buzzing to get back out in front of the Ellon crowd, it was as if this was the first show back all over again. He was over the moon. Had he watched Ghostbusters: Afterlife before entering perhaps?

Immediately, the classic Executioner shenanigans began. He was under the ring, microphone in hand, suffering from a severe case of ear pain after having Swift stomp around the ring while he was still under it. Better call Doctor Captain Alan to get that checked out. Some would say who you gonna call? I’ll see myself out…

Executioner seemed peeved off to be in ElginEllon. Can’t blame him. Sorry, people of Ellon. But it’s fine, the people in attendance, plus Swift and referee Dennis Law (shoutout to The Law, who demonstrated a lovely World’s Strongest Slam attempt on our former Undisputed Champion, get him in the Regal Rumble) couldn’t see him. He’s John Cena. U Can’t C Me. Sadly, there was to be no squeezing of Executioner’s head between the merchandise tables, robbed of a true classic Executioner tactic, if you can call getting your head smushed a tactic?

What I enjoyed was that Swift wrestled to the audience in front of him. There weren’t that many regulars. The assumption could be made that for many, a trip to the Victoria Hall is the only time they see WrestleZone. Swift – and the remainder of the roster, to be fair – could get away with wrestling a more loose, comedy style than he typically would. I mean, it was always going to be the case here, but Swift went further than I was expecting anyway. I particularly enjoyed his “demonstration” of a suplex that saw a beautiful snap suplex executed on the Executioner. I mustered a giggle from underneath my mask when Executioner uttered Suplex City, Female Dog. I like to think that was a dig at Ronan King byย not using a swear word on a family show.

Executioner’s Kali Ma attempt (not to be confused with actual Greatest Wrestler In Historyโ„ข, The Great Khali) was somehow reversed as Swift turned Executioner’s hand on himself in a totally not-weird way, I promise. Wrestling(!). An O’Connor role was Swift’s method of victory after a bizarre scene where both Swift and Executioner stood on opposing turnbuckles, with Executioner rolling forward, Stinger Splashing an empty corner, and stumbling back into the rollup. A Granite City Driver downed Executioner in one of many post-match things from the night.

This is how you get a crowd invested. Scotty Swift, as focal a point as he may be in WrestleZone, is perfectly-suited for these opener spots. He’s the guy you walk away remembering. He’s got the spikey hair (a child near me in the crowd kept screaming for him to stab Executioner, a big IWA Mid-South fan by the sounds of things which is a tad concerning) and the overall red aesthetic that makes it easy for him to be The Guy. Then there’s The Super Executioner. Need I say more? The main point for me was that I didn’t need to explain anything about the Executioner to James. If these larger-than-life, out there characters can do their thing without anything needing explained, then they’ve accomplished what they set out to do.

I now await any further Super Executioner-related queries, simply so I can shove on the famed Lightsaber battle between Executioner and William Sterling on #TheBigTelly. The only place it should be watched.

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Connor Molloy def. Bryan Tucker by Count Out

Once again, no time wasted in transitioning from the “pre-show” into the “main show” as just fifteenish minutes passed by before we were greeted by the very good announcer, Martyn Clunes (check his Twitter for reference) and a rather disgruntled Bryan Tucker. Still not onboard with this outfit. Where was his scarf? Why wasn’t he carrying a camera to film content for his V-Log? And to think this man is a former Undisputed Champion. Despicable.

Connor Molloy – who entered to a pop track by the sounds of things, couldn’t imagine him dancing out by himself to For Whom The Bell Tolls, though this is a sight I now want to see – was his opponent, who just looked happy to be alive and not climbing through windows. The dynamic of Molloy vs. Tucker benefitted both brilliantly, my own grievances with Tucker’s current run aside.

The back-and-forth between the two was crisp, neither held the advantage for longer than they needed to, while also keeping the crowd invested. A classic chant of chicken ran through the venue, courtesy of Connor – little did we know this wouldn’t be the only chicken-related chant of the evening. Molloy was full of energy throughout, a little too much it seems as he slipped on the ropes whilst attempting an Eddie Guerrero-esque armdrag. Ever the professional, Tucker capitalised on this as if nothing had happened, taking control while lambasting both Connor and the crowd. He’s a real wrestler, you see, he said while resting in, oddly enough, rest hold city. Yas.

A brawl up through the crowd brought Tucker and Molloy a little too close for comfort in the aisle, all leading to Tucker rolling the Tag Team Champion back into the ring, getting into it with the crowd, and being counted out by referee Mikey Innes for his troubles. Brilliant finish.

This Bryan Tucker, attire aside, is slowly leaning itself towards my tastebuds. I’m getting the first bite of it, I’m not too sure at first, but as time goes on, the flavours are coming out, Tucker is showing some sort of character which is more than he was before. Great stuff. What I liked was that he sort of combined the Bryan Tucker of old and this new twisted version into one, by which I mean he used The Miz’s old Reality Check finisher that I haven’t seen him use in years. He probably has. I should get my eyes tested.

A Sliced Bread #2 from Molloy post-match left Tucker reeling back through the curtain. Again, these post-match shenanigans were aplenty in Ellon, though Tucker seemed ready to Twist of Fate Mikey Innes. It won’t be obviously, but are we leading towards both Dennis Law and Mikey Innes entering the Regal Rumble match?

No. Stop it, Adam. Moving on.

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Ronan King def. Cysto by Pinfall

That damn dirty Tangerine Dream returned after a lengthy absence to the adulation of the WrestleZone crowd (myself not included), stealing hats willy nilly and being a general buffoon around ringside and when trying to enter the ring. A modern day Jeeves Winchester. Ronan King, new tattoo and all, was having none of it. Sensible.

Now, as much as I detest Cysto for all that he/she/they/it is/are, I can appreciate the sheer nature of it all. WrestleZone prides itself on being a promotion where everyone can enjoy at least a fraction of the show. Cysto fills the comedy portion of that very easily, almost just by existing. His rolling away from Ronan King as he climbed the turnbuckles got a good laugh from the crowd, as did his removal from the ring, standing on the ring apron next to a turnbuckle-sat King as he shouted at the crowd. Damn you, Cysto.

A Curb Stomp ultimately sent Cysto packing back to whatever hole he crawled out of. I’ve never seen a more beautiful sight than a Cysto having his head stomped into the mat, and that’s coming from a man who once got six chicken select in his five chicken selects meal. It takes a lot to top such a feeling.

Ronan King is really coming into his own. Considering he only debuted in November, that’s mighty impressive. His cockiness got the better of him at times here (Cysto got the advantage on one or two occasions, which is something it never has), but that’s all part of the fun. You want to see him get beaten up, even if in this case, all he got was a horse ride. His crowd work remains his biggest attribute, his actual in-ring work is essentially all there, and he has the look that you’ll remember. Everything is there.

I think I can forgive him for those tights now that he’s murdered Cysto. Doing God’s work.

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Caleb Valhalla def. Crusher Craib by Pinfall

Meat. Beef. Steak. Mince. Chicken. Pork. Bacon.

Ah yes, wrestling…

Caleb Valhalla vs. Crusher Craib, an easy main event anywhere in the country if you’re asking me. If you’re not, then my apologies. The ring crew had rushed in after the last match, I presumed a board had popped up as it’s happened before, but no, they were just tightening the ring because Caleb and Crusher are simply too beefy for the standard ring. Lol. It was a nice touch.

No chain wrestling here unsurprisingly, just some big beefy lads colliding shoulder-first. It was your classic Big Lads Wrestling, neither budged an inch. The ring did, but that’s a given; a Black Hole Slam early on from The Creator of Carnage could’ve easily broke a board or two. At one point, The Mighty Caleb clotheslined Craib over the ropes, where he came this close to wiping out a lady in the front row. Obviously, thank God he didn’t, but a little tiny bit of me was pulling for it, simply for the reaction. Valhalla found himself trapped in the ring apron at this stage, an old classic of Crusher Craib’s I believe, wailing away at the helpless body of the God of the Seven Kingdoms (no, you had to Google Game of Thrones references).

Caleb started bleeding from the nose at one point, which seemed to bring a burst of life into him. Valhalla used that to spur himself on, not that he really needed to, he and Craib both showing gnarly bruises from the absolute war they were going through. It was a battle, a big beefy battle of big beefy men over who was the biggest and the beefiest. Beef. A slew of release German suplexes rocked the ring, as did an amazing Celtic Cross from Caleb. I’m yet to watch his Fair City Wrestling and Discovery Wrestling escapades (I really need to, judging by Billy’s reviews), so you tell me if he uses this on the regular now. He should. An underrated move. All hail, Finlay.

The Helride rode Caleb into victory. Again, I need to watch his work elsewhere, so I’ve no clue if he’s always used the ripcord to get into the Helride a la Kazuchika Okada, but it’s bloody beautiful. Valhalla and Craib showed respect afterwards, the fans lapped it up, a sell-out at the monitor no doubt.

It was everything I’d ever wanted from a Caleb Valhalla vs. Crusher Craib singles match and more. A war, a battle, a fight. I enjoyed that Captain Alan Sterling didn’t intervene – something I thought I’d never admit – because there was no need for it. This wasn’t the time for comedy. We’d had that in The Super Executioner and Cysto. A big lads wrestling match was all that this needed to be.

Beautiful, calculated carnage. I loved every second of this.

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The Foundation of the Future (Bruiser Brad Evans & Ryan Riley) def. Heavy Metal Thunder (Mikkey Vago & Blue Thunder) by Pinfall

Christmas Chaos DVD bought, raffle tickets in hand, we returned from the interval with my spirits high from the previous match. There was a different dynamic to this next one, which simply shows the diversity within WrestleZone.

The scheduled Evan Young vs. William Sterling match was pulled last-minute, with the planned six-man tag turning into two seperate matches, the first of which saw Bruiser Brad Evans and Ryan Riley of The Foundation of the Future facing, for one night only, Mikkey Vago and a returning Blue Thunder(!). Heavy Metal Thunder they were called. Class. His Rejected attire was lovely.

While Riley and Evans were once more like a well-oiled machine, what with their matching black-and-gold gear and actual tag team wrestling, I did enjoy the dynamic of Vago teaming with the unknown in Blue Thunder. A first-time pairing I believe, which led to their attempt at a criss-cross neckbreaker thing (#Analysis) seeing Vago explain every detail of it to Thunder as they performed it. A subtle detail, but one that went a long way.

This, as expected, was a largely FOTF-dominated outing. While Evans beat the poop out of Vago and Thunder – well, Thunder while Vago waited not-so-patiently for the tag to be made – Riley was vocal towards the Ellon faithful. Swimming is cardio don’tcha know, that’s why he wears the, erm, swimsuitsinglet. The return of Thunder’s tornado snap suplex will forver justify his coming out of retirement; something so simple, yet it’s gorgeous. Never fails to amaze me.

Speaking of (f**king) amazing, Ronan King ran out with an attire somehow worse than his ring gear, shoved Mikkey Vago off the top turnbuckle, and fled the scene. I was too engrossed in his sickening “drip” (is that still a thing) to realise that the match had then ended. A Foundation of the Future elevated inverted DDT did the job apparently. Another brilliant sight for the eyes, though not so much for Vago’s back.

This was a classic WrestleZone tag team match. You had your fun and games on one side of the ring with Heavy Metal Thunder, but were also starkly reminded that they’re capable of some great tag team wrestling with Riley and Evans who continue to impress. It’s rare you get two singles guys (or in this case, three with Zach Dynamite) who gel so well together as a team, but WrestleZone has really nailed it with The Foundation of the Future. The development of the Mikkey Vago and Ronan King also interests me, they’ve since been confirmed for a bout at the Regal Rumble that’ll no doubt be superb.

As for Riley and Evans? Get the Tag Team Championships on them.

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Zach Dynamite def. Mr P by Pinfall

Another change for the scheduled card, The Foundation of the Future’s Zach Dynamite collided with Mr P in a fun, albeit serious, encounter. Dynamite was sans Bruiser Brad Evans and Ryan Riley, much like he was, for a while, at Summerhill Showdown. It was weird in a way seeing the former Tri-Counties Champion entering the Victoria Hall all alone, almost emotionless. He got in the crowd’s faces, sure, but he wasn’t as vocal as he typically is. A neat change, given how Summerhill ended for him.

Mr P was the polar opposite, coming out screaming, waving his flag around (which seemed to be on a longer pole this time, either that or I was too close to him than I’d care to be…), and getting the crowd invested by, um, flashing Dynamite? Wrestling is a weird thing when you write it down, isn’t it?

There was a lot of capering in this. A fan at ringside was given Mr P’s flag to look after, so of course,ย of course, Zach Dynamite had to stick his nose in throughout the match. He probably wishes he never now, receiving some snap arm drags, kicks to the arse, and backpack Stunner for his troubles. For those interested, infamous Twitter user Ryback used to call his backpack Stunner the Over The Shoulder Boulder Holder. Hearing that when I was eleven, I thought it sounded cool (I also couldn’t get enough of Ryback at the time, so I was hardly the person to ask for good wrestling opinions). Hearing it now, and you wonder if he named it himself.

Anyway, Zach Dynamite vs. Mr P. Yes…

It was a solid match as you’d expect, plenty of back-and-forth action, Dynamite seeming pissed off with just about everyone in the room and Mr P just happy to be performing. A slingshot sunset flip was reversed, Dynamite sitting atop Mr P and holding the ropes for leverage. That slimy Dynamite.

A rare post-match bit on the microphone saw Mr P say there’s plenty of guys in the back ready to join him and take out The Foundation of the Future. A big six-man(+) tag at the Regal Rumble is likely the outcome here, maybe even stretch it to Aberdeen Anarchy. As for who could team with Mr P? Maybe a Shawn Johnson or a Chris Archer while Mikkey Vago deals with Ronan King’s antics.

Mr P and Zach Dynamite always deliver in singles matches together, and Ellon was no different. I liked that Zach seemed to not be all there. He didn’t make it abundantly obvious, but there was a different aura around him here. He wasn’t interested in the match, his mind perhaps still set on the Undisputed Championship that continues to allude him. Moving forward, it looks as if it’ll be revenge on the minds of Mr P and friends against The Foundation of the Future; that’s something to look forward to.

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Damien def. Dino Del Monte by Pinfall

Dino Del Monte needed this match.

I’ve backed Dino all the way since he debuted at the 2018 Regal Rumble. I enjoyed the character, I enjoyed the in-ring work, I, uh…enjoy the early facial expressions quite as much, but,ย but, everything else was making Dino a potential star. Wrestling Damien, the current Undisputed WrestleZone Champion, in the main event, albeit a non-title main event, was the moment for Dino. He’s a main event level talent.

Wrestling in a full Kevin Nash getup (step aside, Big Sexy Calebโ„ข), Del Monte carries himself like a star. The leather jacket is a fashion improvement, as is the toothpick. Serious question; was he watching footage of The Outsiders when deciding this new look? The toothpick got caught in Damien’s boot at one point. Dangerous even when he doesn’t mean to be. They don’t call Dino the best striker in WrestleZone for nothing, y’know.

It wasn’t quite Caleb Valhalla vs. Crusher Craib, but this was a stiff war. Damien and Dino, because they’re real men akin to lord and saviour Steven Regal, gave each other some free shots to kick things off. Meat was slapped once more (I promise that’s the final reference of meat, apologies to any vegan readers). Damien seemed to regret his decisions. I would too, Damien. I would too. We don’t blame you. I do, however, want to call out Dennis Law. I’m not going to call him biased because that wouldn’t be fair, but if you saw Damien wailing on Dino with a bin, then you’d call a disqualification, wouldn’t you? I’m telling you, Dennis is going to screw someone over at some point.

Dino’s nipples were the focus of attack at one point because I dunno, Damien’s taken a training seminar from Los Cystos recently? The reigning Undisputed Champion also offered a foam finger to anyone who wanted one. There’s a price of ยฃ6. He can’t give them away blindly. Everyone has a price.

Comedy out the way, the war returned, Damien hitting a nice Backstabber, Dino hitting a second-rope leg drop that looked as crisp as they come. I’m yet to rewatch his appearance on Mikkey’s Mosh Pit to remind myself if it wasย the Stonehaven Legdrop, so for the purpose of this review…WHAT AN ELLON LEGDROP! Oh my, vintage, what a manoeuvre, etc etc.

A flying Codebreaker didn’t get the job done for Damien, convincing me that Dino Del Monte was going to defeat the Undisputed ChamOh Damien wins with a rollup. It came out of nowhere, which is often what you want after a match that was fought so closely.

For the third show in a row, Damien was ambushed post-match because apparently everyone hates him. Scotty Swift came to the rescue, only to be blindsided by Mauler Murphy, who’s now just Murphy. No affiliation to the now-Buddy Matthews as far as I’m aware. Murphy has thankfully ditched the weird pleather outfit in favour of a shirt and trousers combo, sort of how Dino looked early on. It’s certainly an improvement. His second-rope splash looked solid.

In amongst all of this, Dino knocked out Damien, not with the rolling elbow as he traditionally would, but with a Chris Hero-esque Death Blow. He declared The Outfit to be under new management with himself and Murphy, a big bruising tag team. Sweet.

As I was leaving the venue, I walked past Billy, who had just a single comment; something interesting for Murphy. He needed something and, crucially, someone to help him in the right path. Hopefully, Dino can be that assistance. You’ve got two big beefy guys (I lied about meat) now who, together, could be tremendous. I for one can’t wait to see what they do together. As a side note and to reiterate Billy’s review, the Del Monte should go now. It sounded nice and flashy for the first few years, especially since his seemingly ex-partner Ted O’Keefe also had a nice sounding name. That he went simply by ‘Dino’ in the Reckless Rumble makes it easy to assume it’ll be Dino and Murphy now. Simple as that, no first/last names required.

I always write off these smaller shows, but I’ll admit I’m wrong to do that. You’re not going to get a big story development all of the time, but you will get a card of great matches that encompasses all wrestling tastes. I go to watch the wrestling portions, your Caleb Valhallas vs. your Crusher Craibs, but my partner (whose only interest in wrestling is WrestleZone) is going to come for your Cystos and your Super Executioners. He was a tad raging when there was no sign of Captain Alan Sterling. Now, the job is to convince him into going to Edinburgh for Gene Munny-related shenanigans.

When WrestleZone announces further dates for 2022 that may not be in the Aberdeen city area, it’s definitely worth at least trying to make plans to get there. I know we will be if they head back to Inverurie or something. They’re a hoot and you’ll be entertained for about three hours.

It’s just fun wrestling at the end of the day.

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