You’d think after doing so many previews, reviews and typing that writing would be easy. To write about a show that took you on an emotional roller-coaster from beginning to end is difficult to express into words. Sure I could say it was great, I could say it was the best show ever, but I don’t think that even conveys the wide range of emotions that I went through.
On September 1st, I was ‘All In’, I was all in at The Beach Ballroom in Aberdeen. I was all in for the characters that graced my eyes, I was all in for Aberdeen Anarchy X.
For five years I’ve been making my way to Aberdeen to see WrestleZone. June 2013, Aberdeen Anarchy was held at The Beach Ballroom for first time to celebrate their fifth anniversary. I was there. As the years progressed one thing remained the same, I was at Aberdeen Anarchy. Saturday’s show was my sixth Aberdeen Anarchy event. I’ve seen ladders, new champions, twists, turns, shocks, retirements, returns. I’ve just about seen it all. I’ve had tears for joy, for sadness, for anger. The emotions have always been very real and the night never fails to have me on the edge of my seat, holding my breath and praying for it to be over but at the same time never wanting it to end.
I’ve mentioned before that wrestling is a way for me to escape the realities that the world gives, the everyday struggles whether financial, physical or mental. A way to just relive my youth as the hair fades and the aches and pains gather. This is my happy place, watching grown men and women displaying athleticism, stories, herculean efforts and providing those moments that entertain your heart and soul. It’s like a pantomime, circus, superhero movie, but the best possible kind. Live entertainment at its finest. When it’s done right it leaves you begging for more.
As WrestleZone once again headed to The Beach Ballroom, they made sure to keep giving at every turn. I love that they get at least one of the guests in a day early to do radio interviews and features with media. It’s a little thing that shows that they are in tune with fans. Sure, it won’t hurt the ticket sales and putting more money into the product means we can reap the benefits of WrestleZone bringing in more names each year. It’s a cycle that means that everybody wins. Plus their regular social media updates on the cage arriving, the ring aprons being put together, the constant contact online just made the whole show have that ‘big’ feel.
On that subject of giving, their Aberdeen Anarchy shirt was the minimal cost of £10. Always really well made shirts but at that price it wasn’t difficult to see why there were very few left at the end of the night. It’s easy advertising for them plus it’s a perfect memento for the show. I still have my first one from 2013 and my hoodie from last year that still gets worn when the slightest chill appears around my person.
About the guests for this year, the international guests are the reason for many to make their way to Aberdeen each year. It was the reason I went to my first show, it was the reason I was at Aberdeen Anarchy in 2013 and sometimes it’s still the reason I go to events. You see a Billy Gunn or ‘Hacksaw’ Jim Duggan but go again the month after cause you liked that dude with the red hair all spiked up. You go to see Tyler Bate but you really liked his opponent and want to see more of him. You see Aspen Faith and immediately buy all his merchandise. It works and it’s why Aberdeen Anarchy continues to grow and continues to attract over 1,000 fans each year.
This year saw two former champions in WWE, with Santino Marella and Chavo Guerrero. Full disclosure, I wasn’t that fussed to meet either when they were announced and going to Aberdeen Anarchy is a way for me to see some brilliant wrestling and the international guests are the bonus. However, I wasn’t going to miss actually shaking hands and getting the awkward photo following even more awkward chat. It wouldn’t be Aberdeen Anarchy without spluttering out some pleasantries to these wrestlers that I’ve watched on the telly, getting a picture taken consciously trying to avoid hover-hand and then wandering about the room aimlessly trying, and failing, to not buy merchandise. It’s a tradition for gawd’s sake!
The meet and greet was once again well organised. For once I wasn’t there as the doors opened and found my way to the Star Ballroom at the venue around half an hour after it started. The line was fairly short when I arrived so there wasn’t much waiting around. The last few years I’ve just went for photos, got to get those likes on The Facebook and the ‘sgram but when the combo for a pic and signed photo was £15 I said to myself, “treat yo’ self, you’ll only spend that extra money on food you chunky monkey”, so keen to finally start the diet I put down the extra pounds so I could lose some extra pounds.
It might come as a surprise at this stage but I am not the conversationalist. “Awkward” is a fairly accurate description of my conversation style and with that comes trying to chat which always ends with silence then two-three seconds of nothing… then wandering off. It’s a thing I try to push myself on but I’m just rubbish at it.
After melting in the sun at Burger King, waiting 20 minutes to order a Kingsaver chicken burger and Kingsaver chilli cheese bites (yeah that diet thing…) I was soon back joining the queue to go see some wrestling. I was shocked and appalled that the sound guys had taken my spot on the balcony. Shocked. And. Appalled. Once again these bigger and better production values have to sacrifice my seating plans… however, I’ve found a new spot that’s way better. Perfectly situated near a door to get the breeze when the door to the venue is opened. Which is super welcomed. Perfect view, which isn’t difficult at The Beach Ballroom when there isn’t a bad seat in the house.
Right, I better speak about the actual wrestling shouldn’t I?
The show started with a pre-show battle royal. I love battle royals. The suspense, the shenanigans, the tomfoolery, this one had it all. We were treated to a last minute return of Adam’s favourite wrestler, Lord Michael of Graham. There was a lot of good stuff in the match itself especially from The Outfit, Ted O’Keefe and Dino Del Monte, they are growing at a steady pace, Bradley Evans is still showing plenty of potential, Ryan Riley looks like he has something to give so he will be one to watch for 2019 in WrestleZone, Kaden Garrick brought some intensity but the star of this match was Jason Reed.
When this match was announced I was really surprised to see Jason Reed being put onto the pre-show, his character is just fantastic. I’ve been heaping the praise on Reed since he grabbed onto this “Presidential-like” character, taking advantage of a chant that has etched himself a space onto a packed roster. He entered with the former Jeeves Winchester, now his head of security Agent W, along with a sign with battle royals crossed out and his pledge to “Make WrestleZone Great Again” on the other side. As Lord Michael made his triumphant return, Reed clotheslined him out of the ring before the bell rang and sent the Lord packing before sliding out of the ring. The Outfit took over the match but Reed would slide in and get cheeky eliminations before exiting the ring again.
After Garrick disposed of O’Keefe he aimed his sights on Del Monte but Reed snuck in and sent both out of the ring. Thanks to Agent W, Reed soon had Bradley Evans over the top rope and was the winner.
When it comes to pre-show matches it’s very easy to just plod through when it’s in front of 100-200 people max. It’s be a DVD extra that many will forget to check out. But these guys really put on a show to really kick off the night. It was impressive that six out of seven of these guys were from the WrestleZone Training Academy. A good advertisement for the academy and the speed that The Outfit are growing at is remarkable, really paying credit to those that have been training them.
Plus Lord Michael of Graham made an appearance. It was majestic!
Billy’s Prediction Score: 1-0
As the venue filled up for the general admission ticket holders I spotted the cage in the corner of the venue, cornered off and out of the way. Just the mere sight of the blue bars had the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. A blue bar cage summed up WrestleZone beautifully in their brand of wrestling. It’s about your big colourful characters, it’s about your heroes and villains. It’s your late 80s, early 90s nights of fun. When it was innocent to your young eyes. Old school is cool.
The show properly kicked off with resident MC Martyn Clunes welcoming fans to The Beach Ballroom.
After the return of Lord Michael, we had more royalty when the Queen of WrestleZone Sammii Jayne made her entrance for the opening match with ‘The Vixen of Violence’ Viper. There two are just a match made in heaven. It doesn’t matter where the match happens these two always seem to put on something special. What was incredible about this one is that Sammii didn’t even appear to have lost a step since breaking her ankle months ago. Sammii Jayne is just brilliant isn’t she? Throwing Viper around for German Suplexes and catching her with kicks and forearms all over the place. I finally saw Shadowfax for the first time, which is a lovely second rope drapping-baseball slide-German suplex hybrid of brutality. Viper was the favourite in the venue, hot off WOS Wrestling, she wasn’t being beaten easily and wasn’t, a cannonball into the corner and a Michinoku Driver sealed the deal with Viper finally getting a singles victory over Sammii in WrestleZone. Great match to kick off the show, which set the tone for the evening.
There two never fail to put on a fantastic match, they could truly fight forever and find new ways to wow the crowd every time. Truly two of the best.
Billy’s Prediction Score: 1-1
After the hot opener, we had the biggest injustice to ever grace professional wrestling, professional sports in general! The WrestleZone Tag Team Championships were on the line in a tables match, that was confirmed as an elimination tag team tables match before entrances. The Kings of Catch entered first, as the challengers usually do, to cheers as The Filthy Generation music blared. Girvan attacked the big Thor-looking monster on the ring crew before the match, classic Lewis. Aspen Faith and Lewis Girvan are a rare shade of grey in WrestleZone, they do all the things that should usually garner boos but because of their nonchalant attitude, actions and general “coolness” they have really established themselves as anti-heroes in WrestleZone. A slice of Attitude in a Hulkamania world. They were up against the WrestleZone Tag Team Champions The Rejected who entered sporting biker masks looking very grungy and bikery. Mikkey Vago of The Rejected has been another WrestleZone Training Academy graduate that has really started to breakout, it may not have been as rapid or as obvious as others but he’s certainly building more consistency with every match. Chris Archer is an unsung hero in WrestleZone, his small stature may not look the most intimidating but his willingness to throw himself anywhere and everywhere is commendable. Not your typical high-flyer by any stretch but he has one of the best top rope elbow drops in the UK today. From the outset The Kings of Catch were on the attack, getting straight to work, and were soon putting Vago through a table on the outside with a powerbomb/suicide dive combo called ‘The Dirty Device’. Leaving it just Archer to be eliminated. It was so close you could almost taste it.
After a struggle on the second rope, Aspen was the next to go through the wood to get The Rejected onto a level playing field again. The match continued with Vago and Archer rallying back. Archer had Girvan in position, looking to dive off the top turnbuckle but Aspen jumped onto the apron and pushed Archer off the top and through the timekeepers table at ringside.
There was a moment of shock.
There was another pause, could it be? Aspen and Lewis then held the titles aloft!
THE KINGS OF CATCH WERE CHAMPIONS! Elation from The Catch Corner up in the balcony. Referee’s Denzil and Mikey had a look of confusion as they conferred before taking the titles away from the Kings, the timekeepers table didn’t count???
You what mate?
It’s a table. Archer went through a table. Faith and Girvan are champions. Give them their belts! Damn referees and their rules!
That elation soon turned to panic as Archer and Vago had recovered and were scrambling to put Girvan through a table. I was on the edge of my seat hoping that Archer would go crashing through the wood one more time. As Archer forced Lewis through a table to retain my heart sank. Though I was thoroughly entertained I witnessed a travesty in front of my very eyes. A bigger screwjob than Montreal, where is the justice! Tears were shed, the pain in my heart was growing, making me feel feelings here. The Kings of Catch are the real WrestleZone Tag Team Champions in my heart.
Once again Aspen Faith had lead to heartbreak. Shouldn’t be surprised at this stage, after a bit of research, he’s only won 33% of the matches I’ve ever seen him in. Some may call me a jinx…
This was a down and dirty brawl with tables thrown into the mix, truly anarchy and chaos. As much as the final “official” result pains me it was a really great tables match. The tables were also cracking (physically and aesthetically), the last time I’d seen a table in WrestleZone it was just a big bit of plywood with a couple legs on it. Production values, thumbs up.
Billy’s Prediction Score: 1-2
After that you’d think it would be hard to get excited about the next match. After seeing The Kings leave empty handed bar some splinters. It was a task but the sight of Nathan North entering with a new, “Vintage” look certainly helped. It was the WrestleZone Tri-Counties Championship match, four men, one title. Coming into this one North was my favourite to win with Mr P as the outsider. So, much like most of my predictions, I was wrong. Mr P entered with a flagbearer in Bradley Evans, sporting the same face paint.
The match was pretty quick going with two men being in the ring at the same time while the other two were either brawling or recovering on the outside. A brisk affair didn’t stop seeing Andy Wild throw his opponents about like they were bags of tatties inside and outside of the ring, plus seeing the highflying nature of Zach Dynamite and Nathan North along with the fun that Mr P brings to proceedings it was action packed throughout. Nathan North and Zach Dynamite struck up a partnership early on, calling back to their recent debut in Discovery Wrestling as a tag team. It wasn’t to last as they were soon knocking lumps out of each other with North missing a moonsault. The big moment in this one was Andy Wild baring the brunt of a Tower of Doom with him being superplexed from the top turnbuckle. It’s not often you see the biggest man in the match being at the top of that situation.
Dynamite spat in Evans face as it looked like Mr P would take advantage of the lapse in concentration, hitting his scissors kick to secure victory but Evans slid in and lifted Mr P for a TKO before dragging Dynamite’s arm on top for the three count. A shock win for Dynamite and an even bigger shock to see Bradley Evans realign with Zach considering it was Dynamite that attacked him following the loss of the Tri-Counties Championship in the first place.
Like I said it was brisk, very heavy on the action which made for fun viewing. I’m not a big fan of Zach Dynamite so was shocked to see him leave with the title. Bradley’s turn to rejoin Dynamite is interesting and maybe we’ll see him as an enforcer in the future as I’ve pegged him to be in the past. I was gutted for Andy though, four appearances in The Beach Ballroom has accounted in four losses but maybe this will see him move back into the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship picture.
A shocking match all round, my pick was Nathan North but had a feeling that Mr P would give us that feel good victory. Boy was I wrong.
Billy’s Prediction Score: 1-3
The first half main event was a match that had plenty of buzz. The roar when Chavo Guerrero entered was deafening, I never got the appeal of Chavo Guerrero when I was younger. I loved Eddie, but who didn’t? Chavo was always just there. But in recent years I’ve went back to check out Chavo’s matches and he was damn good, always a solid hand in the ring. Very rarely had a bad match. Sure he didn’t have great storylines and there was Kerwin White, but Chavo Guerrero was super underrated in his WWE run.
Having met Chavo Guerrero before and seeing him wrestle way back in 2012 I was quite excited to see him go again against an opponent that would harken back to classic cruiserweight clashes. Bingo Ballance looked in great shape as the two started slowly, feeling out the other in the process. It was a marathon not a sprint with lots of weardowns with a high impact move to add an exclaimation point to each sequence.
We got plenty of highflying from Bingo Ballance, using his speed to pick up the pace of the match to spin Chavo around including the BSP but couldn’t quite get the G17 to finish the match despite attempts, but it was Guerrero who would slow down Ballance with the Three Amigos before a set up the Frog Splash, Ballance was able to counter but couldn’t escape a Gory Bomb to see Chavo victorious.
A good match, not as great as I thought it was going to be. A little slower than I’d anticipated, then again Chavo Guerrero is 47 years old and has been launching his body around for over four decades, it wasn’t going to be like his bouts with Rey Mysterio from 2003 was it.
After the match Chavo thanked the crowd and his opponent in a sign of respect, he talked a little about GLOW and that he loves coming to Scotland. Which is always nice to hear.
As someone who really enjoyed watching GLOW is was cool to see Chavo at Aberdeen Anarchy. Knowing that he put the time and effort in helping put the wrestling sequences together on the show plus making an appearance (won’t spoil as to when incase you’re making your way through the show), it was neat to see him in person again.
Sorry Chavo, your butchering of Kilmarnock was not the reason for booing, it was because Kilmarnock beat Aberdeen in that there football game hours beforehand. Awkward.
Billy’s Prediction Score: 1-4
The interval approached as I would obtain some refreshment, £1.30 for a tin of diet Irn Bru… didn’t know I ordered a mugging with my drink. I jest, I was half expecting to pay closer to £2 so will squirrel that 70p away for future use. It was also a great chance to go buy some merchandise. As a VIP it earned you a chance to not only see an extra match but also grab a chat with some of the wrestlers before the show. So I did just that by catching a quick word with Bingo Ballance, Scotty Swift and Johnny Lions going through my own theories for their match ups along with general Aberdeen Anarchy chatter. Anyway, at the interval The Kingdom of Catch were in the Star Ballroom selling their wares, so that was all sorts of exciting. As it may’ve been missed, they’re my favourites. What was unexpected when walking towards them was the camera rolling, with footage for Filth Life being obtained for a future episode. That episode was this week’s which you can watch below:
Anyways, during this I finally purchased a new Sammii Jayne shirt, (Sammii’s Ankle Fund), it has been over a year since I got a Sammii shirt (Queen of Catch), so it was nice to finally put some pounds down towards supporting one of my favourites. Aspen already got my money for The Kings of Catch tee so it’s still balanced nicely…
Enough about all that, let’s get on with the rest of the show.
Sandwiching the break was the other international guest for a match made in heaven. Death Squad 2000 aka Grado and Santino Marella joined forces, bigger than The Mega
pals Powers, bigger than The Two Man Power Trip, bigger than that time John Cena and Batista teamed up and won the WWE World Tag Team Championships. Bigger than all of that. It was pretty big okay?
Kid Fite and Krieger entered first to a chorus of boos. The crowd knew what was coming, who was coming out to save the day. Grado entered to a resounding rendition of ‘Like A Prayer’, it was spine tingling hearing over 1,000 fans chanting along to Madonna.
Quick sidebar at this point. How good is Krieger? He’s big, quick, charismatic, this guy is prime material for your big companies like the WWE, WOS Wrestling and even Impact Wrestling. He’s bloody good in the ring, can talk and has a very big aura about him. I’d very very surprised if he isn’t a big deal in the very near future.
We got some fun and shenanigans as you’d expect from this with plenty teases for the Cobra. The opening of Grado and Santino trading high fives leading to them to keep tagging in and out by mistake was hilarious. The big bullies of Krieger and Fite took control but were often made to look silly thanks to the funny duo. After plenty of fun and frolics, Santino put Kid Fite away with the Cobra for the three count.
Once again Grado is part of a dream match in WrestleZone, much like his match with Scotty 2 Hotty in 2014 it was a blast to watch with plenty of laughs.
It was also an absolute pleasure to see Santino Marella again, 2009 was the last time I’d seen Santino wrestle, the AECC against Kofi Kingston. This was a bit more competitive however.
Technical masterclass? No. Fun and entertaining? You’re God damn right my friend!
Grado and Santino had a bit of a dance off to ‘Like A Prayer’ before heading to the back. What a moment.
Billy’s Prediction Score: 2-4
The penultimate match of the evening was the big eight man tag match with Sterling Oil taking on the mighty Team WrestleZone. The culmination of years of storylines and build up to this one match. I wrote about the match in depth before the show and to see it take place was tense. On one hand it would be great to see Chris McDonald get his revenge on Richard R. Russell and rid WrestleZone of Sterling Oil once and for all but on the flip side, that’s your mega bad guys. Those are the guys you just straight up hate and without that then you have little for the heroes to fight against. Sure there are bad guys on the regular roster like Dynamite and Evans, Nathan North, Andy Wild, Jason Reed but they don’t hold as much history as being that villainous core. Sure there has been a period without Sterling Oil in recent times but having that faction of bad guys just made the odds near insurmountable for the good guys which makes for stories to watch and support. It’s like watching Hans Gruber fall off the Nakatomi Plaza in Die Hard, sure he was a bad guy but he was so good at it you felt bad to see him meet his demise.
The match was quick with a bit of back and forth, including a painful looking missed top rope elbow drop from William Sterling, it wasn’t long before Team WrestleZone has taken out William and Alan by knocking Crusher from the top turnbuckle onto the outside on top of the pair. It was really interesting to see Crusher go back to the top after his injury two years prior against Swift, really brought that story round full circle. After his boys were taken out, Russell tried to escape only to be dragged back to the ring by Martyn Clunes, which was amazing.
After a round of punches Chris McDonald put the final nail in the Sterling Oil coffin with a Rock Bottom to see the end of Sterling Oil.
I had mixed feelings when the three count was made. It was a shame to see Sterling Oil go but it was satisfying to see Russell get his comeuppance one more time.
Billy’s Prediction Score: 2-5
The cage was being built while the raffle was being drawn. One very lucky dude called Keith Ross won a World Heavyweight Championship made by Main Event Belts which was gorgeous. That big gold belt is so pretty. The crew put together the cage fairly quickly bar some delays getting the far side over as there were seats shifted. I didn’t time it but it didn’t feel like we’d been waiting forever to see it all put together. Just look at it.
I wasn’t around for the blue bar cage but when you go back in history, you know that cage. It’s the cage where Owen Hart and Bret Hart battled at Summerslam, it’s the cage where King Kong Bundy and Hulk Hogan collided at WrestleMania. It’s an incredible structure that just looked stunning in The Beach Ballroom.
It was main event time and you could cut the tension with a knife. It started straight away with Damien attacking Shawn Johnson before they even entered the cage. Once they entered the cage it was very much even with both men finding themselves a drop away from walking away with the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship. It was very much a chess game, at one point both men were staring at each other at a corner of the cage, both straddling the top, mimicking their movements mentally trying to decide if the gamble was worth it. Damien almost cost himself the title by throwing Shawn against the door that opened. Fortunately Shawn had held onto the door for Damien to eventually swing him back into the ring. There was so many tense moments, so many close calls, the match could’ve ended at any time. It felt like a big deal, and coming into the main event with a very bad prediction record it was all to play for in my mind.
They both took big risks, and felt the might of the cage on several occasions. Damien looked to have victory sealed but dived off the top of the cage with an ax handle in an attempt to land one final blow to his rival but Shawn held on a little while longer.
Even though Sterling Oil disbanded it didn’t stop The Sterling Brothers making their way down to the ring only to be met by Lee McAllister who clotheslined them both at the entrance way. Russell tried to sneak in but was caught by McAllister and thrown like a rag doll.
The match continued with Damien and Shawn hanging onto the side of the cage. One of them would only need to drop to gain victory. In one final gasp effort, Damien lowblowed Shawn and dropped to ground. A fitting way to start his title reign considering how his previous reign ended. Damien had won the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship for the record breaking third time.
Billy’s Final Prediction Score: 3-5
As Damien re-entered the ring to celebrate, having his hand raised by Lee McAllister, Richard R. Russell got into the face of Damien but was met with a right hook from ‘The Aberdeen Assassin’, leaving a lasting image to end Aberdeen Anarchy X:
What an incredible main event. It had an atmosphere, a tension throughout, you could feel every moment and every thought going through Damien and Shawn Johnson’s brains. It was possibly the best main event in Aberdeen Anarchy history, certainly in The Beach Ballroom. The last few years have seen a bit of fatigue come the main event but this years show was so well paced that by the time the last match rolled around the crowd were ready for something special.
This whole show was a wild emotional roller-coaster. Taking you on a journey, you had shocks, you had title changes, twists, turns, you had controversy, you had heartbreak, elation, tears, cheers and everything else in-between. I’d confidently say that this was one of the best shows that I’ve ever been to.
As my predictions proved, it was an unpredictable show. I’m no expert by any stretch but I know quite a bit about WrestleZone and just when you think you know what’s happening they take it in a different direction. It’s not as a jolt, it’s not turns for the sake of it or for the short term shock factor, the stories are crafted so well that you get turned onto a new course but are still in for the ride.
This wasn’t your typical fun and games WrestleZone event, it was a hybrid of Hulkamania big characters mixed with the Attitude down and dirtiness, whether this marks a new evolution of WrestleZone remains to be seen but after 10 years they continue to be the North East’s premier promotion and one of the best in the country.
Don’t sleep on WrestleZone, though it may be hidden up North, it’s worth the trip especially for Aberdeen Anarchy. Just a shame it only happens once a year at The Beach Ballroom but on the other side of that, that is what makes Aberdeen Anarchy special.
Thank you WrestleZone for providing another unforgettable night.
A special thanks to Mark and Courtney for their company during the show. I can be quite the loner at wrestling events so it’s great to have wrestling fans to chat to and using my WrestleZone knowledge to full effect! It’s always appreciated even if my general awkward demeanor doesn’t look like it is.