Review: WrestleZone ‘Live In Inverurie’ (17 Sep)

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Now, I’m not sure if it was a new venue to experience or if it’s because said venue was a brisk five minutes down the road, but WrestleZone’s recent jaunt to Inverurie was just a lovely little night out. I doubt those working the show will be chomping at the bit to return to the Hopeville Social Club after a number of near collisions with the low ceiling – or in Chris Archer’s case, a full-blown collision – but I’m down for it. Little tables to rest on and actual comfy chairs(!) – ticking all the right boxes.

With this being (assumingly) the only show between Battle of the Nations and Halloween Hijinx, which looks like it’ll have a cracking card in my mind, you can’t fault WrestleZone for making the smaller shows matter. Before, you’d have a great time, but you weren’t really expecting any major happenings, you know? Now, you’re getting title changes, major story developments, and folk running around the venue. I say folk; it’s Bryan Tucker and only Bryan Tucker.

Enough about him and his suspenders for now, though; there’s a surprisingly really good pre-show match to talk about…

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VIP Ticket Holders Pre-ShowShawn Johnson w/Mr P defeated Murphy w/Dino by Pinfall

Big up Mr P, first of all, for giving James’ mum his Scottish flag. You’ll never see anyone so excited in your life.

In all honesty, I didn’t know what to expect here. Murphy has improved drastically since linking up with Dino, but I was still on the fence about him. Shawn Johnson, meanwhile, has done a similar thing since aligning with Mr P, but he’s far from the Undisputed Champion Shawn Johnson of 2017. So I was pleasantly surprised when they had a really good match, all things considered.

Murphy controlled large portions as big beefy lads tend to, pummelling Shawn within an inch of his life, while Dino and Mr P continuously got into it at ringside. Dino was particularly vocal, comparing Shawn’s lifeless body at one point with a wet napkin.

Huh?

The match was good when it became a back-and-forth fight, a Tornado DDT-style Guillotine Choke from Shawn Johnson proved a highlight until he was rammed into the corner by Murphy. Dino and Mr P’s jaw-jacking at ringside left the latter knocked out with a Rolling Elbow. “He’s not in the match”, cried out Dino who, yes, did indeed have a fair point.

Murphy’s Samoan Drop seemed to be spelling the end until Shawn Johnson countered the over-confident big man’s pin attempt into a crucifix for the win.

Simple and easy. Murphy has really come into his own in-ring-wise, still a couple of niggling issues charisma-wise for my liking but that’ll come in no time I’m sure. He’s clearly learning some bits off of Dino in the way he carries himself as a big man. That Samoan Drop was beautiful, not quite Tamina-level but then again there’s no matching the Tamina Train.

No dancing from The Dancing Dads™, though. Where do I apply for a refund?

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Umar Mohammed defeated Bryan Tucker by Pinfall

Bryan Tucker was promising a new plan in his return to Inverurie. He’s got some suspenders that he ransacked from the ghost of Mr Malice’s wardrobe and – I can’t believe I’m even typing this – he removed his tie and threw it to the side.

Shock, gasp, horror, etc.

Umar Mohammed was in a fun mood, making sure to not hit his head off the roof and playing a game of Where’s Wally. He’s been in WrestleZone full-time for around a year now, and it’s proven why he works so well; he just picks all the right points to get a good chant going. Wally is going to become the new ‘easy’ chant up north. It wasn’t dying down all night. At all.

Cue the usual Tucker ensemble of running around towards the toilets, tripping, getting caught in the ropes, and going flying off the apron, narrowly avoiding dropkicking both the TV and a wild Billy Strachan. Plus he did a forward roll and a cartwheel. Outstanding stuff, I write after tucking into a more-than-enough-sized portion of spaghetti bolognese. Save that stuff for him and Umar to do.

Umar had some tremendous offence throughout the match, at one point busting out the old D’Angelo Dinero Express double knees to the back. Remember how good he was in 2010 TNA?

‘The Asian Sensation’ strut his way to victory after reversing the Cobra, the most deadly of all the 2010s WWE finishers, almost being laid out afterwards by WallyBryan Tucker until Scotty Swift came to his aid, sporting a flashy new red fleece. It’s almost winter now. Getting chilly. Get them on the merchandise stands.

This, needless to say, was all of the fun you could expect on a WrestleZone show. Bryan Tucker’s new persona has really grown on me over the last year (the less said about the Shawn Johnson rivalry, the better), and Umar Mohammed never ceases to amaze. I think because of how goofy he’s become, it’s often overlooked how good a wrestler Tucker actually is. He’s had his moment in the sun and it looks like he knows and accepts it – what he’s doing now is more than enough from him. How it took me this long to fully *get* him is a hate crime.

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Mr P w/Shawn Johnson defeated Dino w/Murphy by Pinfall

Clearly I need more sleep because I only realised when a sombre Mr P made his entrance that this was a continuation of The Dancing Dads vs. The Outfit.

Alas, Mr P wandered out, flanked by Shawn Johnson and looking absolutely knackered. I enjoyed that he wasn’t his usual self, that both Shawn and Dennis Law were checking to make sure he wanted the match to go on. He’d taken a nasty elbow from Dino earlier that it made such a simple gesture highlight the very stiffness of Dino’s Rolling Elbow.

And then Dino battered Mr P some more.

The rest of the match was a slow, methodical affair, with Dino keeping Mr P at bay with a series of chinlocks and headlocks, all while asking James’ mum if she enjoyed it, “sweetheart”. Lovely 1980s bastardness. The big(ger) man of The Outfit continued his onslaught of Mr P without much repercussions, kicking him square in the head at one point in a moment not too dissimilar to your average NJPW card. Mr P ultimately plucked up the courage to execute a Scissors Kick, the best in the game after Alicia FOOOOOOOOOOXXXXXXXXXX, after exposing a turnbuckle behind the referee’s back.

Yes, the referee was exactly who you’d think it was to not notice a turnbuckle pad halfway across the ring, but he did the whole show, so I think he can be forgiven on this occasion.

More lovely stuff here. Dino battered Mr P within an inch of his life, proving himself to be a major player within WrestleZone. He’s slowly been rising up the card from just another tag team guy to a legitimate Undisputed Championship contender. Personally, I wasn’t all for Mr P coming back from a Dino Rolling Elbow to get the win as he was knackered for the majority of the match, but he cheated so my personal opinion doesn’t matter in this case. Maybe this isn’t the last of The Dancing Dads vs. The Outfit either – I certainly wouldn’t be against some big schmozz at Halloween Hijinx.

Still no dancing. Disgraceful.

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The Foundation of the Future (Zach Dynamite, Bruiser Brad Evans & Ryan Riley) defeated Caleb Valhalla, Connor Molloy & Damien by Pinfall

A six-man tag team match that descended into utter chaos. Colour me surprised.

There were so many moving parts in this that it all came together in the end to create something wonderful. The Foundation of the Future came in together, still looking outstanding in their matching gold and black gear and having no mercy for anyone in the crowd. The mismatched team of Damien, Caleb Valhalla, and IMPACT Wrestling megastar Connor Molloy sauntered out next, one by one. It’s still odd seeing Damien without the Undisputed Championship, but I loved the little continuation of his and Zach Dynamite’s story. Dynamite seemed legitimately petrified whenever Damien got within an inch of him.

There was almost a gradual story being told here. In the beginning, Damien went at it with Ryan Riley, kicking the poo out of him. Dynamite and Molloy were next, displaying some mesmerising work that I’m sure Crusher Craib remains proud of Connor for, almost like an uncle looking on from afar. Then Bruiser Brad Evans and Valhalla entered, neither backing down as the ring moved a couple inches with every collision.

The Foundation of the Future cut the ring in half, using some excellent trios offence not often seen in Scottish wrestling. Connor was the unfortunate recipient of having big Brad landing on him. I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone – not even a Cysto. Okay, maybe Cysto 3.

It broke down, everyone nailed their signature moves, and then both Damien and Connor dove to ringside. Connor somehow got a somersault dive over the ropes in without kicking a hole in the ceiling on his way up, so extra brownie points to him. As Damien battered Zach Dynamite in the corner, Connor tagged in, infuriated with Damien for letting his emotions get the better of him. Cue Damien and Caleb being wiped out, a neat double arm Neckbreaker from Dynamite, and a Foundation of the Future victory.

This was a lot of fun. Dynamite, Evans, and Riley fail to let you down, a prime example of why tag team wrestling is still important to many. It’s not something you see too often in Scottish wrestling, not even British wrestling as a whole. They’re physically all very different performers, but going out of their way to get matching gear, to learn how to mangle all their individual offence together, these are all things that add up to form a magnificent trio.

I’m intrigued to see where Damien goes next. Both Connor and Caleb looked furious with him after, deserting him as Damien himself looked peeved off at himself. He’s not been without the Undisputed Championship since late 2018; of course he doesn’t know what to do or how to act. It’s such a simplistic story that could do wonders over the coming months.

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Rhys Dawkins defeated Scotty Swift by Pinfall

Back from the break and straight into Harry Potter And The Order Of The Rowie. Yes, I scowered Twitter and saw Umar Mohammed’s tweet right before writing this. Yes, I’m as appalled as you are – I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a “veggie” rowie. Our Lizzy would’ve loved them.

Anyway.

Rhys Dawkins vs. Scotty Swift, another case of the master vs. the student for young Rhys. I feel I was harsh on him in the past but here, he was much more refined in everything he did. There was a lot more pomp and circumstance behind him. There will come a time where he does actually get to read a piece of Shakespeare and everyone will take a piss break but until then, I’m enjoying him now.

It was clear here how new Rhys still is, falling at certain hurdles created by Swift. A surfboard variation at one stage got me hyped up for a Super Dragon-esque Curb Stomp – maybe another time, after Swift’s gotten over *almost* killing that other guy. Rhys appeared to attempt a Cobra Clutch on a handful of occasions, each one being scuppered by the man with hair too spiky to even touch apparently.

It soon came time to hear some Shakespearian(?) tales but just as I was about to roll my eyes at the prospect of such a wicked act, a surprise rollup got a nearfall for Swift. He was nearing victory when Bryan Tucker wandered out, distracting Scotty just long enough for Dawkins to lay him out with a Cobra Clutch legsweep, just like Ted DiBiase Jr. did back in t’day.

What ever happened to hi…oh. Right. Yes.

A solid match which is about what you can expect between Scotty Swift and, well, anyone, particularly those new graduates from the WrestleZone Training Academy. Like I said earlier, Rhys is coming into his own a bit more now, he knows how to rile everyone up and even got a bit of panto in there as well with his whole ‘oh no he didn’t’ schtick. A classic.

I will say, though, if this is going towards a Bryan Tucker and Rhys Dawkins pairing – get the matching suspenders and tartan cufflings.

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Ronan King defeated Chris Archer by Pinfall

Because of course he did, Ronan King strutted out, clutching a framed picture of himself, and presented it to birthday boy Kyle. Who else?

Scotty 2 Hotty’s favourite wrestler had what I’d class at one of his best matches yet with Chris Archer. It was a return to competition for Archer, seeing him against Krobar in literally one of the most boring experiences of my life at Aberdeen Anarchy wasn’t exactly great, and he missed Battle of the Nations, so going back to fine form vs. Ronan King was a good sign.

What was even better, though, is that Archer went full-blown American Badass Undertaker. He already had attire-wise, but now he’s doing the whole WWE 2K games comeback spiel. The corner splash, the Snake Eyes, the legdrop, the whole shebang. It was my first time seeing it anyway and it was bloody magnificent. I wouldn’t be surprised if he just rolls to the ring in a Little Tikes bike, complete with a side compartment for Mikkey Vago.

Ronan King took a solid beating that was slowly reversed when Archer collided head-first with the ceiling. A literal BONK echoed. We all laughed at his misfortunes, right? King battered Archer until he could barely stand, ending proceedings with a Curb Stomp that would make even Seth FREAKIN’ Rollins proud. Freakin’ proud. Ugh.

Then he called out Grado.

Oh my.

We’re (almost certainly) getting Ronan King vs. Grado at Halloween Hijinx. F*ck me lads, I can’t wait. It’s going to be the exact sort of cartoonish buffoonery that is right up my street. Once again, a sublime example of simplistic storytelling. Ronan isn’t on the poster. Grado is. Ronan’s annoyed. Bang. Story done.

Come on, 29 October, you little bastard.

Raffle won as well. Get in. I can retire now.

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WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship – Mikkey Vago defeated Captain Alan Sterling w/Murphy by Pinfall to win the WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship

It was a smaller show. Halloween Hijinx is right around the corner. They’re going to do Captain Alan Sterling vs. Caleb Valhalla again, aren’t they? Yes. Halloween Brawl. Tri-Counties Championship. It all makes sense.

Well, it did.

Mikkey Vago vs. Sterling rounded off a return to Inverurie and, in the same sense as Sterling vs. Chris Archer from last year’s Halloween Hijinx, it all made sense why this headlined over the presumed six-man tag.

The match itself was bags of fun, as Captain Alan Sterling matches often are. Even if what he does is a simple thing, it becomes instantly ten times more hilarious when it’s him doing it. He stole Mikkey’s bandana at one point, first putting it on and looking like a ripoff Paul Burchill, and then whipping it off of Vago’s back. Never bet against basic when it comes to Captain Alan mannerisms.

Murphy, the lone member of Sterling Oil Lord Alan’s CourtCaptain Alan’s Ship who emerged, was wiped out with a kendo stick at one point. Like, properly knocked down. I’d hate to be his back the day after.

Dennis Law was taken out towards the end because obviously – and then Caleb Valhalla popped in to say hello, belly-to-belly suplexed Murphy on the floor (ouch), and distracted Alan long enough for Mikkey Vago to become the new Tri-Counties Champion. A Heavy Metal Stunner got the win in the end as his Stunner executions continue to be questioned.

A real heartfelt ending to the show. Mikkey Vago may not have gained as much traction as a Caleb Valhalla or a Ronan King upon coming out of the Academy, but he’s remained solid in-ring, has found ways to keep himself relevant even when he may not be doing much of importance, and his podcast is very nice (very good, very nice you could say). For someone who debuted in 2015 because 2014 Mikkey Vago is a thing of the past that no one dares speak about, he absolutely deserves this.

Chris Archer joined him to celebrate and I believe his family may have been there too. Crack open the Motörhead beer because it’s time for a mosh pit.


You don’t sleep on WrestleZone’s smaller shows anymore. They only do a handful of them now by the looks of this year and of the couple I’ve been to, they’ve both been excellent. Numerous developments story-wise, several potential matches now on the cards for Halloween Hijinx unless I’m absolutely, completely wrong (most likely), and a new Tri-Counties to top it all off. Lovely, lovely, lovely.

I believe there are no shows between now and Halloween Hijinx so in the meantime, buy a ticket to that, watch the podcast Billy will have out very soon, and watch/listen to the fine folks of K&K Wrestle Factory give their take on the show soon as well.

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