Morning/afternoon/evening, whenever your eyes happen to glance on these words. Seeing as Adam has reviewed last Saturday’s show excellently (here). It gives me another chance to barrel in for some informal thoughts on the show without any major worries of providing context.
WrestleZone in Inverurie, it’s been a good number of years since I’ve had to stop in Inverurie for any reason other than fuel and/or relieve my bladder. Actually think the last time was to get a train to Aberdeen for Aberdeen Anarchy 2013, which is a weird poignant moment that I have returned to the town once again for wrestling.
Sidebar: I went to Greggs after finding the venue and hit a sweet spot of them starting to wind down so got a bacon and cheese turnover, two sausage rolls, and a pack of jam donuts, with only being charged for a bottle of Dr Pepper (£1.50), so you know it’s going to be a good evening.
Finding the venue was straightforward enough, parking facilities are always a plus, I did have visions of trying to find a parking space like at the Summerhill Best Western at the start of the year, but besides an old woman in a Range Rover eyeballing me while attempting to bay park in the only space that was near my car, it was a success.
It was a nice little hall, Red Bull at £2.50 a can so they saw me coming. The jarring thing was this was the first time I’ve seen the lowered ring and it was so weird to look at. Years of the ring apron being waist height and to sit front row in Inverurie with the ability to put my feet up on the lowered apron was odd. I didn’t do that of course, that would be disrespectful.
Matches! There were matches on the show and they were all a treat. Pay day Murphy made the first of his three appearances in the VIP pre-show main event taking on Shawn Johnson. A pairing that I liked the sound of, but the inclusions of their respective tag team partners Dino and Mr P made this even better. The bundles of charisma that they possess really stepped up what would’ve been a really good wrestling match into a highly entertaining affair. Since returning Dino has been an absolute revelation, quick witted, vicious, I’ll get onto him more as my scramble of thoughts continue.
Murphy is certainly coming into his own now he has a direction, there’s still some hesitation, and even some corny moments but he’s come a long way from the pleather trousers and sad eyes.
I’m still a little on the fence about Shawn Johnson’s Mr P cosplay, on one hand I love tag teams that look like tag teams, matching gear etc. but there’s still more than can be done. Ditching the old Hotshots gear from underneath the kilt would be a start, that alone would make the new look 100% fresh. Of course I mean that it would have to be replaced, no true Scotsman-ing here, it’s a family show.
These two worked well together as expected. A big man-little man dynamic is always great when pulled off and this did just that with a shock ending of Johnson scoring the pin but not before Dino knocked Mr P out with a roaring elbow at ringside that was disgusting. The wooden flooring enhanced a lot of moments outside of the ring and hearing Mr P’s body thud against the ground was brutal.
The main show opened after the 10 folk that didn’t want to spring the extra £3 a ticket to get VIP arrived.
We were greeted by Bryan Tucker, who is the victim of the new buzzword in the North East, “wally”. There’s been worst things said about wrestlers in recent years so wally is a nice change of pace.
It’s been quite the turnaround in my recent thoughts of Wally Tucker, it’s went from dread, to indifference, and now he’s an absolute riot. Coupled against really likeable and personable characters the over-the-top buffoonery of Tucker works so well. I don’t think there’s many that ticks those boxes better than Umar Mohammed right now. I know there’s the arrogant, movie star side of Umar that’s used elsewhere but when he turns on the charm he is so damn entertaining.
I have to commend either Tucker’s incredible control, or an act of God, that meant that I didn’t have him on my lap after an apron chase with Umar. I hope footage comes out soon of Bryan’s spill because it was fantastic… to witness, I bet it caused havoc to his knees.
There were a lot of brilliant moments but Umar silencing the crowd, asking them “where’s Wally?” and sea of hands going up in unison to point at Tucker was sublime. Pure pantomime and I love it.
I’m not ashamed to admit, I’m more than jealous of Scotty Swift’s red fleecey gilet when he appeared to stop Tucker’s post match attack. Is this a merch opportunity for the winter? Am I now officially old when I look at a gilet with envy? I’m afraid that my body shape makes me look like I’m off bird watching or, even worse, hiking if I was to obtain a gilet. I would rather look at tits out of the two scenarios though.
Part two of why Dino is so great was next when Murphy returned for his second appearance at of the evening to accompany his Outfit comrade to face the slow moving, brain scrambled, Mr P with Shawn Johnson by his side.
I honestly thought this would be a case of bell ring, Dino smashes Mr P with another elbow, pin, walks away, but this was a match that showed the heart of Mr P, metaphorically, with everyone solely behind Mr P battering a fool.
In a moment against type, Johnson distracted the referee (DENNIS!) which allowed Mr P to remove the top turnbuckle pad, smash Dino’s face into it and hit a scissor kick for another upset.
Everyone loves a comeback story, Seabiscuit, The Mighty Ducks, Robert Downey Jr, Rocky, Kim Kardashian, and now we can add Mr P to that stellar list.
The first half main event was the colossal six man tag but before I get to the match, I like that this was the first half main and the Tri-Counties Championship was the main event. It puts so much stock into the title when it’s put into main event over the match that includes the Undisputed WrestleZone Champion. It’s a little thing but it makes it look so important.
Anyways, we had the Foundation of the Future in full effect, Zach Dynamite, Ryan Riley, and Bruiser Brad Evans all entering with their shiny belts. Karma for Aberdeen Anarchy arrived in the form of Brad absolutely decking it when trying to get into the ring. I dared not laugh at the monstrous Brad, I didn’t have to when Kyle, co-host of K&K Wrestle Factory, lost his mind and was in hysterics (so if you want to take it out on someone Brad, I’m just saying). Brad wasn’t the only victim to the Hopeville Social Club which I’ll get to.
The super friends of Impact Wrestling’s Connor Molloy, WWE Network’s Caleb Valhalla, and Damien were a formidable force for the most part. There were so many mini stories that could spin off from here. The exchange between Dynamite and Molloy was stunning, the behemoths colliding in Valhalla and Evans was gargantuan. It felt like a big deal as they teased Damien getting his hands on Zach Dynamite, and it pulled you in as it got closer, and closer, before finally Dynamite found himself being pummelled in the corner by the former Undisputed WrestleZone Champion.
Ryan Riley was perfect in being the guy that could separate these showdowns and moments with some bloody good wrestling inbetween. He was already inspirational but seeing him become comfortable being a swimsuit wearing bastard is excellent.
I loved the finish of Damien getting erratic while battering Dynamite so Molloy tagged in so that they weren’t disqualified, it’s not like he’s just spent the majority of his career trying to calm down a tag team partner that’s also a raged filled beast eh, the thrown together trio had some dissension, The Foundation pounced and pick up the win.
So not only did this match give us some glimpses of matches down the line Dynamite-Molloy, Valhalla-Evans, it also gave us the possibility of Damien-Molloy and with them teaming at Halloween Hijinks against The Outfit, I might get the Connor Molloy battering from a teammate I ordered for Aberdeen Anarchy.
This was a chaotic, I loved all the little things, like Connor using the Black Hole Slam fulfilled part of his promise to throw all the Foundation boys about and was a fitting tribute to the boss, Crusher Craib, better than wearing Jesus sandals.
I think Bruiser Brad Evans will be the next big thing. After seeing Wolfgang, The Coffeys, Joe Hendry, Grado, and due to his NOAH exploits recently Jack Morris, I was trying to think of who could be the next guy from Scotland that has the most “WWE” potential, and outside of the names already mentioned I honestly think Brad is that guy. He’s a broad shouldered monster of a man, brings such an intense energy, is agile, strong, and can match up with just about any style of opponent from what I’ve seen. I would not be shocked to read Brad’s name on a tryout post if WWE does another during their UK visits.
Back from the break were I ran around like a blue-arsed flea to have a pee, wash my hands, get photos with Mr P, Shawn Johnson, and Umar Mohammed, get a raffle ticket, pick up stuff from merch, and get sat down in time for the restart, I was needing that second £2.50 Red Bull, we were treated by the sonnet quoting, well spoken, get your quills, take a bow, because it’s Rhys Dawkins’ time now.
He was on hand to educate the great unwashed with the works of Shakespeare but it was derailed by the wrestling policeman himself, with the red hair and turning his opponents black and blue… like a siren… okay it’s a stretch. Constable Swift schooled Dawkins in the early going, like the 4 hour uncut Kenneth Branagh’s Hamlet there was no stopping him. Even after a beauty of an elbow to the face, followed by an elbow drop from Dawkins.
In a call back to the opener, Wally Tucker returned to distracted Scotty long enough for Dawkins to hit A Midsommer’s Nightmare (until you name that Cobra Clutch legsweep that’s the name it’s getting Rhys) for a shocking win. The theme of the evening.
I’m in for Dawkins-Tucker versus Swift-Mohammed down the line. The fashion that would be on display would blow up Tucker’s v-log on its own.
We can’t get passed this match without mentioning that Rhys was also the unfortunate victim of missing the ring apron while making his entrance. For someone’s third official match it could’ve absolutely rattled them, but he shook it off and had some really fun exchanges, not only physically but of wit, combatting the chants of Harry Potter and he also got a Wally chant directed at him. The crowd had quite a vitriol towards Dawkins come to think of it, maybes them there done don’t want some educating.
In the penultimate match of the night it was the self proclaimed most gorgeous man in wrestling, Ronan King, against Chris Archer. I’ve been heavy on the praise for Ronan King recently, and that will continue, it started with him presenting a signed, and framed which is a classy touch, photos of himself to not only the birthday boy Kyle but also to Connor Molloy’s mum. What a bastard.
It’s ridiculous how good this lad is, and if his wrestling wasn’t up to scratch he could cover it with his sheer commitment to the character. He has Ronan tattooed on his chest, his use of social media is amazing, the arrogance of youth is palpable, the flexing, the gold jacket, the wrap around sunglasses available at the merchandise stand, the boy is good, very good. Even if he does lack confidence…
I knew this match would be a good one, Chris Archer might not be the most extroverted when it comes to vocalising his character but his body language and wrestling does the job effectively. The ArcherTaker busted out some Dead Man classics to match his double denim ensemble, even throwing in a chokeslam.
I don’t know if it was pre or post head bonk on a ceiling beam but Archer lost his bandana during the match, I can only think that if it was still on his head then he would’ve been protected from the beam. In any event after that moment of distraction Ronan King dominated and beat Archer pretty comprehensively and finished the job with a Curb Stomp. A really emphatic performance from Ronan which set up nicely for the next part.
He got on the microphone and called out Grado for Halloween Hijinks. Yes please. Citing reasons like why should Grado be on the poster after being away for so long, perfect narcissistic behaviour while also no doubt using Grado as a stepping stone for his influencer goals at being the greatest. Yes, excellent, great, smashing, super.
Less than a year in and King is getting a big opportunity. Strangely enough a recent guy that arrived in WrestleZone and got big matches with the imports within the first year was the guy that he just had a heated rivalry with, Mikkey Vago. Funny how life works out.
It was nice to see Ronan get through a match without swearing and/or risking a public liability claim.
I didn’t win the raffle but Adam did so I take that as a win for Team SWN.
Speaking of Vago, it was main event time. After that lovely starter, a gut busting main, it was time for the cheesecake, and there’s no bigger cheese than WrestleZone Tri-Counties Champion Captain Alan Sterling with his favourite seaman, making his third appearance of the evening, Murphy.
He’ll probably need all those extra appearance cheques to pay for ice packs because he took two hard falls on the floor, first by getting into the middle of a game of tug of war between Alan, Vago, and a Singapore Cane, then near the end when Caleb Valhalla arrived and threw him with a belly to belly. That lad earned every penny.
We got some absolute classic Captain Alan shenanigans that even Mikkey Vago was having issues controlling himself as his face got redder underneath his long hair. They brawled out of the hall after Alan tasked Murphy to give him a piggy back, Alan used Vago’s bandana to try and suffocate the Heavy Metal Hooligan, then he put it on his head and proceeded to head butt Vago.
This all sounds completely ridiculous without context… and it’s still pretty ridiculous with context to be honest.
The referee was knocked down, Caleb arrived to take out Murphy and stare at Alan which allowed Vago to hit a Stunner for the win and the title.
Archer returned to celebrate with Vago much like the roles were reversed at Halloween Hijinks last year. Did I wait for baited breath for Archer to go all Big Evil and beat down Mikkey?
Maybe I just don’t trust people to support successful friends. Am I the problem?
A great feel good end to the event, with the show only being 6 weeks or so away from Halloween Hijinks a title change was unexpected but not unwelcome. Vago has not only bought the dungarees to hide his tremendous shape, but he’s worked hard to put on exciting matches, and to put himself out more to the audience with the Mosh Pit. Totally deserved. He did say ‘shit’ during the match so I didn’t expect, especially with a Ronan King match on the card, that it would be Michael Vago providing the potty language.
Another fantastic event provided by WrestleZone. In my video of my trip I was trying to convey that this wasn’t the emotion draining night like an Aberdeen Anarchy but this was bread and butter WrestleZone in action. Smiles on faces, stories, callbacks, and sheer entertainment. Worth the trip especially on very little sleep.
Roll on Halloween Hijinks!