Five best WrestleZone (@WrestleZone) moments at the Beach Leisure Centre

Photo credit Brian Battensby Photography

It was today confirmed that the Beach Leisure Centre – as well as the Bucksburn Swimming Pool – is to close after a mass cut in council funding.

Among its many uses, the venue, which is located next door to the iconic and meticulously-presented Beach Ballroom, hosted a trio of top WrestleZone events; Battle of the Nations 2014, Christmas Chaos (Comes Early!) in 2015, and Aberdeen Anarchy 2019. Those shows were responsible for some star-making matches, legendary WZ moments, and an influx of fans, chomping at the bit to see WrestleZone present three mammoth international guests; Drew Galloway in 2014, WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley in 2015, and PAC in 2019.

Though WrestleZone didn’t frequent the Beach Leisure Centre as regularly as some of its other Aberdeen city-based venues, the Centre remained a core part of WrestleZone’s legacy. The layout allowed for some of WrestleZone’s largest crowds and, crucially, the use of a steel cage, as shown when the WrestleZone Tag Team titles were contested in April 2019. More on that in a little bit…

The Beach Leisure Centre’s closure comes as a huge disappointment. Aberdeen has already lost numerous popular venues post-pandemic, the Northern Hotel – a WrestleZone favourite – among them. To reiterate, WrestleZone’s hadn’t run the venue in coming up to four years, yet it remains a fond piece of company history for fans for moments such as these…

Crusher Craib vs. Jack Jester II – Battle of the Nations 2014

If, like myself, you weren’t in attendance for Aberdeen Anarchy 2014, then I direct you to Billy’s rundown of the happenings from the fateful May 2014 evening. A corker of a show in its entirety, the saga between Crusher Craib and Jack Jester was quite literally described as “something else”. It indeed was unlike anything WrestleZone had put on before, brawling all over the shop, Mikey Innes being murdered, and then the ending. Getting into Craib’s mind, Jester grabbed one of the girls at ringside, threatening her with his corkscrew, and subsequently shoving her aside when all that was needed was done. A Tombstone later and WrestleZone had a new Undisputed Champion.

At Battle of the Nations three months later, a show I was (and still am, really) jealous to not be in attendance for, the trilogy was completed with a third outing – WrestleZone stat fans out there will inform you that the first was at the January 2014 Cloverleaf Hotel show – that saw Crusher Craib reclaim the Undisputed title. The match, again, was the polar opposite of the rest of the show, which saw the coronation of Lord Alan Sterling and Mr. Malice eating dog food. Shoot dog food, apparently. The usual WrestleZone, in other words. Uber-family-friendly stuff in the best way.

Crusher Craib vs. Jack Jester, however, was barbaric, it was reckless, it was chaotic – and it ended the same way it did three months earlier, sort of. Seeking revenge on big Jack, the ringside girl from Aberdeen Anarchy – Thea I think her name was – distracted Jester, resulting in two stiff boots to the face. Those who saw any of the Crusher vs. Jester saga will tell you how insanely epic it was. Those who didn’t will have to replicate the feelings via DVD, available from all good retailers.

Photo credit Brian Battensby Photography
PAC vs. Zach Dynamite – Aberdeen Anarchy 2019

Like before, there isn’t really a specific moment from this match that was epic, but rather the whole thing. The announcement of PAC coming to Aberdeen Anarchy 2019 instantly spiked interest. He was still fresh off his return to wrestling following a largely fruitless WWE main roster run and he was a ‘Bastard’ now. A surprisingly delightful bastard, but a bastard nonetheless. Discussion as to who would face the former Neville typically led to such names as Bingo Ballance or Stevie Boy Xavier cropping up in conversation – it didn’t usually lead to Zach Dynamite, but it should have because the resultant match is up there with some of WrestleZone’s best.

Said Zach Dynamite ahead of the match:-

“When I was told I would be facing PAC at Aberdeen Anarchy, I felt excited at the opportunity to wrestle one of the very best in the world. I’m grateful to WrestleZone for giving me this opportunity and it’s one of those situations that you feel a ton of pressure but it’s the good kind of pressure. It’s time for me to back up everything I say and prove that I am WrestleZone’s elite.”

Often in the same conversation as Damien and Tyler Bate‘s Battle of the Nations 2017 clash in terms of the WrestleZone star’s career trajectory, Zach Dynamite was on the same level as PAC here. He’d been bubbling away since his 2016 comeback, but he needed that one match to put him up a notch. That he very nearly won says enough about Dynamite’s ability and WrestleZone’s trust in him. A loss meant nothing, but a win would have meant everything.

It’s the match that set Zach Dynamite on the path he’s carved out for himself in the four years since, the road that led him to the Undisputed title, back to the Tri-Counties title, to the Aberdeen Anarchy headline spot. He’s quite rightly hailed as the ‘Aberdonian Ace’ now, the title of Ace typically meaning the pillar of the promotion in Japanese wrestling lore. Dynamite is that and I don’t think it happens without this match.

Photo credit Brian Battensby Photography
Aspen Faith Moonsaults off the cage – Aberdeen Anarchy 2019

Right, so, if you’ve seen the footage, then you know the impact Aspen Faith‘s knees took on his way down.

But still – what a visual!

Defending the WrestleZone Tag Team titles in a three-way Steel Cage match against Blue Thunder and William Sterling, and eventual winners Scotty Swift and Johnny Lions, Aspen Faith ascended the blue-barred structure, channeling his inner-Jimmy Snuka which maybe isn’t the best example to use now that I think about it, and fell gracefully/gracelessly depending on your interpretation to the quartet of spandex below.

The impact aside, it’s a moment that Aberdeen Anarchy is made for. This was the first such event to be held outwith the Beach Ballroom since 2012, but the change in atmosphere was forgotten when it came to this moment. Because it’s Christmas or something like that, here’s the very Moonsault in full:

Photo credit Brian Battensby Photography
Shawn Johnson joins Sterling Oil – Christmas Chaos (Comes Early!)

If you ask me, this was the best Beach Leisure Centre show. Christmas Chaos (Comes Early!), a hoot and a half, a night of changes, a night of betrayal.

Having defeated Lord Mr Malice in a story I completely forgot ever happened, and subsequently dousing both Malice and Jeeves Winchester in fish guts because of course he did, StanShawn Johnson, at this point in his run no more than another fly on the wall, did a full 180 in a matter of hours. By the end of the night, he was black and red through and through, Richard R. Russell‘s new chosen one in Sterling Oil.

At this time, Sterling Oil was the biggest thing in WrestleZone, you had Scotty Swift doing his thing in his mammoth Undisputed Champion reign, but Sterling Oil, entangled as they were in that strand, stood above everything else. Damien was finally reaching the surface as a wrestler’s wrestler, Alan Sterling was serious and, surprisingly, a cracking in-ring talent, William Sterling was sensational in his wars with Blue Thunder, and Richard R. Russell was up there as a champion manager.

Adding Shawn Johnson to the group resulted in so much. His first great feud with Bryan Tucker, who he twatted at this show to join the group, his 2017 ascension to Undisputed Champion, the matches with Damien in 2017/2018, it was as great as great gets. WrestleZone often gets credited with having that period of Damien’s rise between 2017 and 2018 as being its best period – but don’t overlook 2015.

Speaking of which…

Photo credit Brian Battensby Photography
Mick Foley puts Richard R. Russell in the Mandible Claw – Christmas Chaos (COmes Early!)

This is the WrestleZone image. Not just the one that gets posted at Christmas, but the one you need to see to realise how driven the entire company is.

Mick Foley, the special ringside enforcer for the evening’s main event between Scotty Swift, Alan Sterling, Bingo Ballance, and Crusher Craib, had seen enough of the post-match antics involving Sterling Oil, ultimately unleashing Mr. Socko on both Richard R. Russell and William Sterling.

It’s the execution on Russell that typically gets discussed the most. Richard R. Russell was so good at riling folk up that seeing him made to taste wrestling’s most famous sock was the icing on the cake for what was ultimately a really solid night of WrestleZone action.

It’s why it always sees the light of day at Christmas.

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