Wrestling in Ireland through the 90s was pretty much Orig Williams touring the country with his WWF tribute act, fake Bret Hart, fake 123 Kid (‘sup Jonny Storm), fake Undertaker who was also fake Kane …you get the idea. Irish Whip Wrestling had a great run from about 2005 until early 2008, bringing many international stars to Ireland such as Christopher Daniels, AJ Styles and CIMA. They also fo the first time established Irish stars in Sheamus O’ Shaughnessy, Mad Man Manson, Red Vinny, the Ballymun Bruiser and others. Things dropped off for IWW around 2008 and the despite the hard work of those that remained on the scene, nothing got much attention.
Over The Top Wrestling (OTT) opened its doors in October 2014 with the debut show titled F*ck PG. The crowd were hungry for some decent local wrestling after years of nothing but WWE house shows and family friendly shows in GAA halls and theatres. At the beginning it was very much geared towards the “I miss the Attitude Era” fans—hence the title of the first show—and this proved to be a smart tactic for pooling together a nice core fanbase which would grow and evolve over the next two years.
With each OTT show, the independent wrestling fan demographic has increased as the word has spread that this is Ireland’s Progress/PWG/ICW. At the same time, it definitely feels like OTT has exposed more Irish fans to the European independent wrestling scene.
For those new to OTT or looking to jump into the promotion, here is the story of the company so far as well as some things you’ll need to know.
The No Limits Title
Luther Ward: Leader of the Wards, father of Pa Ward and brother-in-law to Rocky Mac. The first and current OTT No Limits Champion, Luther is the all around face of the company. The “King Of All Men” as he’s known, was the champion from the beginning of OTT taking the title with him from the former No Limits Wrestling. Ward quickly lost this belt in February 2015 to another staple of Irish wrestling—the preening, prancing “Lord of The Manor” Paul Tracey.
Paul Tracey: The former tag team partner of Finn Balór went on to have successful title defences against international stars Dave Mastiff, Tommy End and Sean Guinness before Luther finally got his rematch in August 2015, this match resulted in a 30 minute time limit draw as Luther was so caught up in punishing Tracey and wasn’t paying attention to the clock.
Pete Dunne: “Unstoppable” Pete Dunne cashed in his Money in the Bank contract he had won back in May on a beaten Paul Tracey and became the new No Limits Champion. Pete is a massive heel who generates quite a bit of heat from the crowd. His run included wins against fan favourites Mark Andrews, Jigsaw, Ryan Smile and Will Ospreay. Pete was the longest reigning No Limits Champion holding the title from August 2015 until March this year when he finally faced and was defeated by Luther. OTT provided Dunne with a platform to really grow as a performer, and has led to him achieving much more success in the UK.
Tag Team Championship
OTT’s tag team division has mainly centred around four teams.
The Kings of the North: A heel trio from Northern Ireland consisting of Bonesaw, Dunkan Disorderly and Damien Corvin. All three guys are huge and look more like WWE wrestlers than indie wrestlers. Hated by the crowd as they are associated with William J Humperdink (who I’ll get to later) and Paul Tracey…and also because they’re from the North! Bonesaw & Corvin became the first tag team champs in July 2015 and have held onto them while Dunkan is a contender for the No Limits title who has come up short in the past.
The Wards: Pa Ward and Rocky Mac are Irish travellers. Rocky is Pa’s Uncle and Luther Ward is Pa’s Father. All three are usually a tight knit family who accompany each other to the ring and have each other backs. Both Pa and Rocky threw the towel in on each other in matches against Paul Tracey causing the other to lose. Rocky, when Pa was obviously in trouble, and then many months later Pa threw the towel in on Rocky out of spite. This caused a rift between the pair and they faced off against each other this past February. The crowd clearly didn’t like the split and were happy when Rocky “beat the poison” out of his young nephew. As in traveller culture whoever wins the fight is right and the two were able make up after the match was over much to the delight of the crowd.
The Gymnasties: A trio compiling of Irish wrestling veteran Justin Shape and his young companions Sammy D and B Cool. The ‘Nasties come out to Salt N Peppa – “Push it”, do squats on demand and look like aerobic video instructors throwbacks from the early 90’s. Justin Shape is very witty and often plays manager but is also an active wrestler. Originally heels, the Gymnasties have turned the crowd and are now the most loved tag team in OTT. This was helped by the recent arrival of Northern Ireland’s Body Bros who are heavily fake tanned gym/body builder guys who actually look the part too (a hateable quality!).
The Lads From The Flats: Martin and Workie, two tracksuit wearing loveable Irish junkies accompanied by their lady friend “The Session Moth” Martina who is just as mad as the two lads. They are adored by the crowd who get up and rave along with their music at the beginning and end of every match regardless if they win or lose. Again like the Gymnasties the Lads are a comedy team, zoning out during matches and using drink and drugs in spots but are surprisingly good workers and have even busted out some pretty slick lucha when their drugs kick in! Martin had his final match in OTT in March and is said to be in prison leaving Workie on his own
The Rest Of The Lads!
The Humperdinks: First on the scene we had William J. Humperdrink—a parody of a heel owner with a snooty upper class Dublin twist. He constantly meddled in the business of the Wards, the Lads from the Flats and other fan favourites. He aligned himself with The Kings of the North, Sean Guinness and Paul Tracy to do his bidding.
His father Gerry Humperdink showed up and revealed that is was him funding the company for his son and exposed William as not being the upper class man he claimed to be. Coming out to AC/DC’s “Back in Black” was a sure fire was to receive a positive reaction which he duly got from the crowd. Originally Gerry was meant to have a different first name but was recognised by the crowd as another face from Irish wrestling’s past – Gerry Soul. On the spot, he had to change his name to Gerry Humperdink as the crowd broke into a “Gerry! Gerry!” chant.
The bad blood between Father and Son escalated over the months to come and came to a head at the big Scappermaina show in March with loser leave town stipulation forcing William to leave OTT.
Logan Bryce: Brought in as a young prospect by William J Humperdink but now is out on his own. Logan has a South Dublin Rugby player gimmick which is great for local heel heat. He’s a hard hitting, high impact style wrestler who would appeal to those who are fans Japanese wrestling. @Alan4L loves him because of his big Lariat!
The Fabulous Nicky: A camp cross between Kane and Shawn Michaels. Nicky was originally a heel character who gradually became a fan favourite during in his feud and friendship with Angel Cruz with the fans taking his side.
Angel Cruz: Annoying reality TV star who has his own suited up teenage body guards, constantly arrogant but can’t get a win to save his life. Had an epic losing streak vs losing streak match against The Fabulous Nicky which Nicky won.
Martina the Session Moth: The only consistent female wrestler in OTT and massively popular. Martina first appeared as Martin’s love interest but then just ended up friends with the two lads. She has wrestled international talent such Toni Storm and Jinny along with being involved in intergender tag team matches. While she loves the party more than anybody, she seems more with it than Martin and Workie and also associates with the “session friend” Nixon Newell and The Fabulous Nicky.
Ryan Smile: Probably the biggest babyface in the company. Like Dunkan Disorderly a contender for the No Limits Title who has had failed attempts at capturing the gold. Bags of charisma, often best match on the show, never gets any stick from the crowd about being British unlike most the others, loved by the fans who have adopted him as their own.
Jordan Devlin: Former Zero 1 tag team Champion along with Sean Guinness who himself sometimes wrestles for OTT but is still in Japan a lot. Jordan was one of Finn Balors students and wrestles a lot like him. His character is a great technical wrestler who the crowd massively enjoy but is constantly in the opening match and has had some frustrating results lately. He may well snap soon.
Last but not least ….
“Jumping” Jake O Brien: The initials J.O.B. say it all!
OTT returns to the red hot Tivoli Theatre this Saturday for “Even Better Than Better Than Our Best” featuring international stars Marty Scurll, Joe Coffey, Bull Dempsey, Tommy End along with the rest of the OTT crew. And remember as always at OTT it’s three cans for a tenner, cans are class!