Don’t even know why, but I’m getting massive Grand Theft Auto: Chinatown Wars vibes off this poster.
Just me? Okay.
It is indeed a return to Aberdeen’s Station Hotel on Saturday night for the WrestleZone crew for Station Hotel Showdown, the first show of the year and oh boy, what a lineup. After what was undisputedly their strongest year to date – take a look at the SWN Year End Awards if you don’t believe me – there are three championship matches, a Handicap match featuring the Grammy-nominated Bryan Tucker and Rhys Dawkins, the possibility of a pure egg Caleb Valhalla, and Jesus Christ Tommy Raiden is going to die.
The last time WrestleZone was at the Station Hotel was for Battle of the Nations last August. It was only five months ago but already, there’s been a seismic change within the WrestleZone realm. Scotty Swift is done. Cracks have formed in the now-championship-less Foundation of the Future. Aspen Faith ascended to the top of the mountain (and quite literally to the top of a steel cage).
And that was all just the last show!
VIP Ticket Holders – Triple Threat – Chris Archer vs. Ronan King vs. Connor Molloy
The trend continues, another Triple Threat for the pre-show and another pre-show appearance for Chris Archer. Fresh off his uncle Mark’s appearance on Monday Night Raw, the ‘Aberdonian Bad Ass’ is looking to pick up his first victory since May’s Aberdeen Anarchy where he bested Krobar in a match that lowered the roof. It’s not been an easy time for Archer of late, typically going uninvolved in the final sequence of whichever Triple Threat he’s involved in whereas his Rejected buddy Mikkey Vago is running with the wild ones as Tri-Counties Champion. Archer will actually be at ringside alongside Vago for his defence at Station Hotel Showdown, so he may want to hold back in this one, save some of that energy for the Foundation of the Future lads.
He’ll be fine to take a step back anyway; it’s Ronan King and Connor Molloy he’s in there with. Not only are they still fresh on the scene with their entire knees still intact, they just want to slap the gin out of each other. We got a glimpse of it at Christmas Chaos and it was bloody lovely so it was, Curb Stomps on the apron, somersault dives outside the ring, oh my! Though they were both unsuccessful in their quest for Mikkey Vago’s Tri-Counties Championship, either of them could have feasibly walked out as champion had Vago been off his game even the slightest.
This match also comes just twenty-four hours before Ronan brings his gift to Coventry for Wrestle Carnival, another promotion in the column for the 19 year old as he continues to be an absolute d*ck. It’s always the talented ones that are d*cks…
Tommy Raiden vs. Bruiser Brad Evans
Tommy Raiden took a massive sh*t in Len Ironside’s cup of coffee. It’s the only explanation for why he’s been thrown in with Bruiser Brad Evans.
After finding himself in the deep end against a pantheon of WrestleZone regulars at Trinity City Takeover, Tommy Raiden has gone 1-1 on main WZ cards, surprisingly besting Mr P at the WrestleZone Training Academy and then submitted to Umar Mohammed at last month’s Christmas Chaos. One submission loss doesn’t quantify being fed to Bruiser Brad Evans last time I checked.
Still reeling from dropping the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships to the Fair City Saints, a return to singles competition sees Evans enter the Station Hotel with mayhem on his mind. He’s already got a venomous Piledriver as it is; add in the fuel that is no longer being a champion and it spells the murder of Tommy Raiden. Right across from Union Square as well, good luck parking an ambulance on those streets at 10pm on a Saturday night.
Handicap Match – Rhys Dawkins & Bryan Tucker vs Umar Mohammed
Scotty Swift may have been forced into retirement after a Shakespearian thwack to the head and Umar Mohammed may be going insane because of it, but that won’t let the ‘Asian Sensation’ stray away from the task at hand. Bryan Tucker, the man who pinned Swift to end his run in WrestleZone, and Rhys Dawkins, the man responsible for Tucker obtaining said pinfall.
These two sides have been butting heads for months now, Where’s Wally? book sales have gone through the roof because of it, but now, it’s been made personal. Bryan Tucker would say it’s been personal since the start – here’s looking at you, Dennis Law – but this is something else now. Umar Mohammed, for the time he’s been involved full-time with WrestleZone, has stuck by Scotty Swift. It was Scotty that came to his rescue when he needed a hand against the old Outfit, it was Scotty next to his side when he made his Aberdeen Anarchy debut, it was Scotty who stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him and Lee McAllister in an anticipated fight at Battle of the Nations. But now he’s on his own.
Tucker and Dawkins haven’t wasted long in reminding everyone who sent Scotty Swift packing, producing an award-winning soundtrack that will be remembered for centuries. They’re the odd couple of WrestleZone, Tucker being the veteran who’s gone back to basics in a bid to reignite his career and Dawkins being the young upstart, clearly without a care in the world as far as the rules are concerned. He’s more than just a snappily-dressed poet, you see; he can carry himself in the ring with esteemed veterans of the scene, as scene vs. Blue Thunder and vs. Scotty Swift himself. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was just using Tucker to get ahead for now and indeed vice versa.
For Station Hotel Showdown, though, it’s a bit more unpredictable. WrestleZone likes to start their first show of the year with a bang (see: Aspen Faith’s return in 2022, Shawn Johnson dethroning Damien in 2018, Johnny Lions siding against Sterling Oil in 2016, et al) and Scotty Swift, the newest resident of Scottish wrestling’s retirement home, is keeping a suspiciously active presence on Facebook for someone whose time in spandex is over.
Maybe, just maybe, Umar Mohammed won’t be alone for long. I’ve heard anyone can sneak into buildings dressed as a Cysto these days…
Caleb Valhalla’s beard vs. The Outfit’s services – Caleb Valhalla vs. Captain Alan Sterling
It’s just personal now. It’s not about the Tri-Counties Championship. It’s not about battering each other in a Christmas Brawl. It’s just personal.
Coming to fruition all the way back in March which feels like a lifetime ago, all it took was one clothesline from Caleb Valhalla to pave the way for the past ten months of tension. There’s been battles across the nation, hijinx on Halloween weekend, chaos at Christmas, and now what appears to be the final showdown at the Station Hotel.
At Christmas Chaos, it was Caleb Valhalla who came away with the ring in the Christmas Brawl, battering Captain Alan Sterling with one Helride that, it seemed, spelled the end of his issues with the captain. It wasn’t, of course, and now he’s bald, being shaved by Sterling and the Outfit. It’s a bold look, going full Erick Rowan, but he may soon resemble more of a Kurt Angle if he’s to lose to Captain Alan. A loss here will see his beard shaved off too. And homeless apparently, not quite sure if Alan got the right memo. If Sterling loses, then it’s bye bye Outfit, the leaked second track on Bryan Tucker and Rhys Dawkins’ EP coming this spring. Very different stipulations, eh?
It’s a testament to WrestleZone, though, that for a story that really started at Halloween Hijinx 2018 when Alan first introduced the world to Caleb Valhalla that the fans are still so, so invested. They know all the right beats to hit, and Alan and Caleb have both been excellent in doing what they needed to do to tell that story. Even if it means faking COVID tests. Allegedly.
Depending on what order the card plays out, the Outfit will also have their WrestleZone Tag Team Championships match to think about, having sent Mr P and Shawn Johnson packing last month. As a purported feud-ender if you will, this has all the makings it needs – and it’ll overdeliver no doubt.
WrestleZone Tag Team Championships – The Fair City Saints (Alex Webb & Air Myles) (c) vs. The Outfit (Dino & Murphy)
The Fair City Saints have a lot to live up to following the Foundation of the Future’s journey as WrestleZone Tag Team Champions. A reign that saw them first fend off Crusher Craib and Connor Molloy to retain the straps, they later sent Molloy and Mikkey Vago back to rethink their strategy, and defeated Mr P and Shawn Johnson on two occasions to retain. A shock victory at Christmas Chaos saw the Fair City Saints become their successors in what was their first time teaming together up north.
One of the best teams in this fine country, Alex Webb and Air Myles have gelled so well together since their initial pairing further down south that you’d think they’ve been a team since they started. They bounce off each other so well, have eye-catching styles both as a team and separately, and carry themselves as a team, just like Bruiser Brad Evans and Ryan Riley do. The perfect duo to succeed them.
It could all come crashing down and hurt inside at Station Hotel Showdown. They’ve got the Outfit, two ostensibly bullish fighters who, although may not carry themselves with the same grace and elegance as other teams, would enjoy a memorable reign as champions just by smacking folk about.
There’ll be a lot of moving parts in this one, but it’s genuinely one I can’t call. That’s the sort of match you want on the first show of the year. The Fair City Saints could easily go on one of the greatest runs the WrestleZone Tag Team Championships will ever see, but the Outfit could do the same in a not-too-dissimilar fashion.
Plus there’s the possibility of Air Myles getting twatted mid-flight with a roaring elbow. Phwoar.
WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship – Mikkey Vago (C) vs. Zach Dynamite
You know who’s been a bloody lovely Tri-Counties Champion? Mikkey Vago. The ‘Heavy Metal Hooligan’ lifted the gold from Captain Alan Sterling in Inverurie last September and has seen off all-comers ever since, from Sterling and Caleb Valhalla to Connor Molloy and Ronan King. He’s been a busy boy so he has and now, he’s got his toughest test to date.
Zach Dynamite, fresh off dropping the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship to Aspen Faith, is vying once more for the WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship. Though he’s been chasing the Undisputed Championship since WrestleZone returned to live shows, Dynamite is no stranger to the Tri-Counties Championship, being a former two-time holder – and self-proclaimed greatest of all time – Tri-Counties Champion. It was during this period of his career that Dynamite perfected himself as a performer, mastering the bastardy that ultimately attained him the Undisputed Championship.
He won’t be there alone, of course, because Bruiser Brad Evans and Ryan Riley exist. Having had Zach’s back for several years, their loyalty has seen the two thrive alongside an established veteran who, due to circumstance, was only finally getting the chance to stand out on his own two feet.
Enter Chris Archer to stand up for Mikkey Vago, or so we think. Vago has promised backup to be in his corner for the match so unless it’s Archer, who knows. Kaden Garrick? It’s plausible.
But most importantly, is this the night Chris Archer batters Mikkey Vago? Probably not, but I’m sure I’ll look fuming either way.
Undisputed WrestleZone Championship – Aspen Faith (c) vs. Ryan Riley
The end of one thing can be the start of everything.
Aspen Faith did the unthinkable at Christmas Chaos. He went to the top of the mountain after years and years of scratching and clawing and reaching the surface only to slip and fall off the ring apron. Pinning Zach Dynamite after a thick Darkest Lariat, he left Danestone as the Undisputed WrestleZone Champion, the first Triple Crown Champion in WrestleZone history, a hero, an icon. It’ll be the moment that lives on forever. But now the grind begins.
Having downed the ‘Aberdonian Ace’, Aspen stands across from the headband-wearing, protein shake-drinking Michinoku Driver master Ryan Riley, the very man he booted square in the jaw in his first move back in WrestleZone last January. A first-time-ever match, it’ll be what sets the precedent for Aspen’s entire reign as champion, however long it lasts. It won’t be pretty, it won’t be slick, and it won’t be elegant – but it will be a scrap. The best kind of wrestling.
How good is it going to look when Aspen steps through the curtain with that belt around his waist?
So that’s what WrestleZone has to offer for their first show of 2023. Seven big matches, championships on the line, and all on the same day as the Royal Rumble. Best day of the year? Best day of the year.
No tickets are left so if you haven’t got one – why?
VIP Ticket Holder Match – Triple Threat – Chris Archer vs Ronan King vs Connor Molloy
Tommy Raiden vs Bruiser Brad Evans
Caleb’s Beard vs The Outfit’s Services – Caleb Valhalla vs Captain Alan Sterling
Two on One Handicap Match – Umar Mohammed vs Bryan Tucker & Rhys Dawkins
WrestleZone Tag Team Championships – Fair City Saints (Alex Webb & Air Myles) (c) vs The Outfit (Dino & Murphy)
WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship – Mikkey Vago (c) vs Zach Dynamite
Undisputed WrestleZone Championship – Aspen Faith (c) vs Ryan Riley
Doors: 6pm (VIP). 6.30pm (General). Bell time: 7pm (VIP). 7pm (General).
Tickets: SOLD OUT