Looking back at OTT’s “Wrestling is Art” at The Dublin Fringe Festival

For the second year running people came and saw the Over The Top antics of OTT’s entertainers in “Wrestling Is Art” live from the Spiegeltent on September 10th 2016 in Dublin’s Merrion Square. This wasn’t OTT’s familiar surroundings of the Tivoli Theatre but they definitely made it their own for the night. The layout of the venue in a circle meant that there wasn’t a bad seat in the house, with everybody enjoying the action from close range seats. Personally I enjoyed watching the action in these surroundings, imagining back to years ago when the carnival came to town and people still thought this was a legitimate sport filled with strongmen the likes of which they had never seen before. The kayfabe may be gone now but the escapism remains and as usual Joe Cabray and his top class troupe of wrestlers didn’t let anybody down.

Aonghus Og McAnally  and Don Marnell, who are your regular OTT commentators kicked things off introducing the show to an audience made up of regulars and curious Fringe Festival goers alike. Aonghus and Don provide top notch commentary on the monthly OTT shows and continued their body of work here.

Roll up! Roll up! Come and see the amazing “beered” lady. Yes beered, not bearded, as Session Moth Martina, who likes a beer during a match, teamed up with Rocky Mac to take on Charlie Garret & Katey Harvey in the opening match. This was the perfect opening match with which to introduce any new fans to what they could expect from an OTT show. There was a suplex onto the bottom rope,  a flying DDT, a suicide dive, a delayed vertical suplex amongst other moves and this was built around the spectacle and comedy of this always engaging match. In the end Garret & Harvey stole the win but the crowd remembered Rocky and Martina for the entertainment.

Next up was Travis Banks vs Logan Bryce. Banks is a well travelled guy and his style meshed well with the always entertaining Bryce who’s toff rugby character is a hoot. These guys put everything into this hard hitting effort. Another suicide dive, between the middle and bottom ropes this time, was a high spot indeed as the wrestlers crashed into the seats at ringside. As always the staff are well prepped for such incidents and had fans safely cleared from the area moments before the dive took place. In the end Banks took the win via pinfall.

A 3-2 handicap match pitting The Kings of the North (Damien Corvin, Bonesaw & Dunkan Disorderly) against Justin Shape and Danny “The Beast” Butler was a hard hitting affair which resulted in a win for the team with the extra man not so surprisingly. Shape and Butler are both polished performers but The Kings of the North are a very well oiled machine. Their gimmick is fantastic and suits their heel persona, particularly in these settings of the South. After stealing the win the Kings paid the price however when The tag team of The Gymnasties made a run in to help their pal Shape and his partner Butler which culminated in a head shave for one Corvin.

The next match up provided one of the stand out moments of the card when a couple of extra wrestlers showed up unannounced making the match originally slated to be Tommy End vs Mark Haskin into a Fatal Four Way Match. First to stroll through the curtain was OTT original Ryan Smile asking to be put in the match. Next to stroll through the curtain was the very recent winner of the 2016 Battle of Los Angeles (BOLA 2016) “The Villain” Marty Scurll asking to make it a Four Way affair. Scurll is such a good heel he is hearing as many cheers (if not more) than boos at the moment. This match was a superb example of how to execute a Four Way match properly with all four wrestlers partaking in the action the majority of the time. In WWE the audience usually sees the 2 out, 2 in formula where the majority of the action surrounds 2 wrestlers at a time trading blows. There was so much happening it this match it would take all day to list but rest assured it was a barn burner of a bout. In the end Scull trapped Smile in his patented Chicken Wing and won by way of submission when OTT’s adopted English son tapped out. Afterwards Smile cut an inspired promo from the heart challenging The Villain to a 1-on-1 match over WrestleCon 2016 weekend (Oct 28th & 29th). Scurll accepted and so the scene is set for what should be an absolute classic of a rematch from their earlier bout this year.

The faction of the Social Elite was represented in match number 5 when Ireland’s newest heel Jordan Devlin took on US-bound Big Damo. The size difference between the competitors was substantial but that only added to the drama. Damo outweighed Devlin hugely but plaudits must go to both men for the believability they put forth. Damo sold for Devlin like a true pro while Devlin played the devious heel with sincere precision. This had powerbombs, Pele Kicks, moonsaults and flying cross body blocks in the body of the match. In the end Devlin went over by pinfall which was a big win for him and left me feeling very proud of the new breed on the rise (Devlin) and the deserved pro heading off for his big chance in America (Damo). An extra note on Damo is the selflessness to go out putting over a great hand on the up, in Devlin, and his tweets about Irish wrestling prove his true love for his craft. Nothing but good vibes for the big man.

And finally came the main event between OTT Champion Luther Ward (Cabray) and challenger “The Bruiserweight” Pete Dunne. A brief history lesson here will tell you that Ward made Dunne submit to his crossface a few months back to win the OTT title. Cabray’s character of Luther Ward is a proud man who never backs down from a challenge while Dunne’s recent win over Zack Sabre Jr at the Super Invasion show meant this had all the ingredients to be a classic. And it delivered. This had it all including superplexs, fall away suplexes, powerbombs, belly to back suplexes, reverse hurricanranas, reverse piledrivers and pump handle slams. In the end Dunne managed to escape Ward’s crossface and eventually put his own crossface on Ward. Cabray did the honours here and put over his younger competitor in the biggest possible way by submitting to it. It was a great gesture of confidence by Cabray to Dunne to allow the win to happen in this manner and as always it can only be because of future business opportunities in the future for both men. A great match with a great ending.

And so the card ended and the night was over. The fans, old and new alike, were left with memories of an evening of pulsating entertainment put forth by all the gallant men and women of OTT Wrestling. As always they delivered. They say that the Spiegeltent is the very essence of a festival club and that her ghosts and memories travel with her wherever she goes. No doubt she left Merrion Square with a presence and recollection of great showmanship.

A great night was had by all her visitors!


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