In a year where European wrestling has really lacked for buzz the climax of OTT’s premier feud has been a huge exception. Devlin and Starr’s work together has drawn such critical acclaim that it has drawn the eyes of many who don’t generally follow the scene.
Already I’ve been asked by a few folk what in particular they should watch to take it in fully. A quick answer would be ‘watch the excellent video package and that’ll get you hyped up for the match’, and such is the excellence of the package produced that it is a valid and effective choice. However, to fully appreciate the match and everything it meant to the fans, and to understand the context that created such an incredible atmosphere you do have to watch the entire feud. For those who might want to do that, well you’re in luck, that’s what this guide is for.
To get the full scope of the epic, one must go way back to June of last year. While the headline and climax of this story involved David Starr and Jordan Devlin battling for supremacy, the narrative is inextricably tied to both men’s feuds with WALTER; the rivalries of the triangle weave in and out of each other for the duration and there’s no distinct point where say the Devlin-WALTER rivalry ends and transitions into the start of the Devlin-Starr rivalry. Therefore, the place to start is with WALTER’s first visit to Ireland at ‘A Haven to Monsters’.
Going into the feud you need to have three key points of prior knowledge; everything else is contained within the content I am going to be linking to.
- David Starr and WALTER have been engaged in a feud dating back several years. It’s a simple one to understand: Starr cannot beat WALTER. No matter how many times he tries, no matter which company he tries it in, he always comes up on the losing side. At the start of this feud he was 0-10 against him in singles matches across five different promotions. A few times he’s managed to come up on the winning side against him in tag matches, but it has never involved him directly gaining a fall over him. It has produced some of the greatest matches to ever take place on the continent and creates a special environment every time they face off against one another in the ring.
- Jordan Devlin, at the start of this feud, was the greatest ace for a promotion in Western wrestling. The man had built himself up from the undercard talent to the champion of Ireland with an incredible crowd connection. In a promotion that had originally been heavily built around importing wrestlers from abroad, Devlin became the import killer. He turned back 23 foreign stars in the two years prior to this feud, including being on a 19-0 streak in singles competition within the promotion at the beginning of this story. This streak included a victory over David Starr in Starr’s first match in the company.
- The monolith that is WWE had semi-recently set up their UK branch of NXT, signing great swathes of the British talent scene in the process. In trying to be as balanced as possible (as this is not the place for an essay about my feelings on its impact on the European scene) I’ll say that it caused a large disruption to a scene that was prior to that point growing rapidly. As a result, significant portions of the fanbase held resentment for it as an entity. Jordan Devlin was signed with the brand prior to the starting point, and WALTER would go on to be in November of 2018.
All you need to watch all the matches in this feud is a subscription to OTT on Demand. However, more than perhaps any other feud in history, it is also vital that you watch all the accompanying YouTube videos that I will link in this article. They contain the narrative’s backbone, and to a one are excellent.
A Haven for Monsters – June 2nd 2018
Low Ki & WALTER vs. David Starr & Jordan Devlin
- Where it all began. This was WALTER’s first match with the company in the main event of a show at the promotion’s home venue the Tivoli Theatre.
That Ring – July 7th 2018
Sean Guinness vs. WALTER
- A less vital portion of the narrative, but still linked in. Sean Guinness was a long time associate of Devlin’s, and faced off against the big Austrian in the semi-main event while Devlin defended his title against Haskins.
WrestleRama 2 – August 18th 2018
David Starr vs. Timothy Thatcher
- Again, a more supplementary part, but this midcard match featured Starr facing off against WALTER’s Ringkampf teammate Thatcher
Jordan Devlin vs. WALTER
- The first big singles match of the feud, and a match touted by many of the best European match of 2018. It’s important to stress just how many imports Devlin had defeated leading into this match.
Redemption – November 10th 2018
David Starr & Jordan Devlin vs. WALTER & Timothy Thatcher
- This match was originally set to be Devlin teaming with Ospreay until Ospreay had to pull out and they shuffled things around. A detail that’s referenced later on.
Contenders 13 – January 20th 2018
Post Match for the Main Event
- You don’t really need to watch the main event itself, just what follows
Homecoming 2 – February 17th 2019
David Starr vs. Jordan Devlin
- A de facto number one contendership match with what might be my favourite video package ever setting it up
ScrapperMania V – March 16th 2019
Jordan Devlin vs. WALTER
- The rematch, and my personal favourite of the two even if things did get a little silly towards the end. Be sure to watch the post-match.
WrestleRama 3 – June 23rd 2019
David Starr vs. WALTER
- Starr must go through WALTER to get a shot at Devlin’s title, a feat he’s never before managed. At this point his streak had extended to 0-11 in singles matches against him with another big loss three months earlier in Germany.
Road to the 5th Anniversary – September 7th 2019
David Starr vs. Scotty Davis
- Another number one contendership match. Davis is thought by many as the next Devlin, a guy eventually destined for the title Irish Ace.
Fifth Year Anniversary – October 26 2019
David Starr vs. Jordan Devlin
- The climax. Everything comes to a head, and the crowd reactions are magical, especially when you consider where allegiances started (a huge sign of sucess for the video packages). Stick around past the closing bell.
That’s it, or at least that’s it for now. I look forward to the next chapter, whatever it may be. If you’re looking to be a super-completionist then you could go back and watch Devlin’s import killer streak leading into WALTER’s arrival, or even the WALTER-David Starr matches elsewhere that set the table, but in the interest of accessibility I kept the scope of this piece fairly narrow. Enjoy.