Photography by Brian Battensby
The last event of the year would see the WrestleZone grapplers lay it all on the line for the very first time at Danestone Community Centre. A boisterous crowd awaited and they were treated to some tantalising pro wrestling on a chilly night in Aberdeen!
The last stand would see the WrestleZone gold defended as both Andy Wild and Sterling Oil defending their titles. The night’s main event would see “Unstoppable” Andy look to live-up to his billing as he was pitched in against two former champions; Scotty Swift invoking his rematch clause while Johnny Lions would get another bite at the cherry after questionable tactics from the champion cost him in Huntly.
The anticipation was at fever pitch as Wild, Swift and Lions made their way to the ring and the action more-than-lived-up to the heights. Swift and Lions recognised they needed to work together to take down the bigger man, and that included a pair of suicide dives out to take out the Englishman!
Soon enough, the action would continue as Lions and Swift renewed their rivalry but Wild was dominate as champion here! Even a falling out with none other than Santa Claus couldn’t stop him as he hit the Wildest Driver on the “Red-Haired Warrior” for a sure three-count that Lions had to break-up!
Sensing his moment, Lions climbed to the top rope and looked for the Lion Bite, only for Cysto (who had accompanied Santa to ringside, handing out gifts to the fans prior to the main event) to shove the former two-time Undisputed Champion from the top rope!
s Andy Wild scored the three-count, the bewildered look on the fans told a story. But it all came into sharp focus as Cysto was revealed to be Damien; a cunning ploy by the “Revolutionary” to cost his former tag team partner and most hated rival the biggest prize in WrestleZone!
For Lions, there are unlikely to be any more championship challenges for a while, and Sterling Oil's Damien is squarely to blame for that. But for Scotty Swift, who was not involved in the pinfall here, the recently disposed champion ends the year in uncertain territory as to his status and his fans will surely be clamouring for a one-on-one rematch with Andy Wild.
But let’s not brush over the year that “Unstoppable” Andy Wild had; from relative obscurity, he has returned to become the top dog in the North and he looks like quite the champion to beat. Ending the year as title-holder has set a marker for all to follow and 2017 is already looking like a landmark year!
New Tag Team Kings - or the End for the Challengers?
Speaking of Sterling Oil, the tag team championships were also on the line in the night’s opening match as they took on rivals Mr. P & Kaden Garrick – with the special stipulation that the challengers must never team again if they lose!
The big fight feel erupted in seconds as Mr. P & Kaden took it to Alan Sterling and Shawn Johnson, subbing for the injured William Sterling. The champions were rocking as the action spilled to the floor – but returning to the ring Alan caught a break and managed to isolate Paterson from his partner.
The beating was on as frequent tags kept Oil on top – until the braggadocious Sterling got too cocky and Kaden Garrick was in! Unleashing a rampage, the Aberdonian powerhouse looked to win the titles and ensure his team's future in the tag division.
This included a Spear from the top rope that Shawn Johnson had to save his partner from – however Johnson was then tossed shoulder-first into the ring post!
Richard R. Russell was overjoyed as he watched his troops ensure that they will start the new year with the doubles belts intact! But there were more shocking scenes to come as the realisation set-in for Mr. P & Kaden Garrick.An Alan spinebuster took our Mr. P, and Garrick missed another Spear, turning instead into a DDT that stopped Garrick long enough to give Sterling Oil the victory!
They took their curtain call well knowing this was the end of the road, but what happened next shocked all! As they headed backstage, Garrick snapped and threw Mr. P into the ring post! Exploding in a fit of rage, he delivered a Spear to his partner to end their tandem on a real sour note.
Garrick made it clear why he was ditching Mr. P, jabbing a finger in the face of his prone ex-partner and blaming him for recent defeats. This is definitely not the way Mr. P would have wanted to end 2016, but what’s for sure is there is an issue here that will need some resolution.
Former Tag Champs Explode in the Christmas Brawl
It wasn’t just tag team action that Shawn Johnson had to deal with on Saturday night; the annual Christmas Brawl with his former tag team partner Bryan Tucker the culmination of a feud that has ignited 2016.
Initially trying to get out of the match, citing an injured shoulder from the previous match, Johnson had no luck as Tucker showed no leniency and took the brawl to Shawn. In this bout, the use of Christmas-themed items was legal and that went as far as an inflatable Santa, sledges, crackers and a fully decorated tree as these two battled all around the centre!
However, it was Sterling Oil head honcho Richard R. Russell who was forced into the limelight early on, having been inadvertently struck with a festive turkey dinner - pulled from the seasonal entrance way set up - right to his midsection, and then Tucker made sure Russell got his just desserts as he put his face into a trifle! Russell was quick to retreat, humiliated and covered in cream!
Johnson managed to gain traction and used everything he could to keep down Tucker; candy striped Singapore canes, steel chairs, Christmas baubles, the lot! But when he tied Tucker up in the ropes looking for the final shot, Tucker rallied and the battle inside the ring gathered pace, with an exposed metal turnbuckle and a chair looming in opposite corners.
Johnson looked to have sealed victory when he used both in a mirror-image of their match at Battle of the Nations back in August; but with his last gusto Tucker kicked out! Sensing victory, Johnson introduced a table into the ring and looked to Footstomp Tucker’s head through it.
However, Tucker managed to stop Johnson, momentarily. Johnson then opened-up on Tucker in the corner, raining down on him with repeated blows. But Tucker regained his senses and scooped his former friend up on his shoulders before powerbombing him through the table!
The three-count followed and was greeted with tears of jubilation in the crowd; for Bryan Tucker this marks the end of his long struggle to put the end of the Hotshots behind him, and also put this epic feud with Johnson to bed! Shawn will cite his injury as just cause for losing this battle, but in the end the fans loved the outcome here and seeing Johnson crying into Christmas wrapping paper was the perfect present for fans who have come to despise Richard R. Russell’s golden boy.
Controversy in “World of Sport” Bout
Worlds collided once more as Aspen Faith and Jimbo Bannon looked to settle the score in a traditional British rules match – two pinfalls, two submissions or a knockout the key to victory here!
Both men had back-up in their corners; Sammii-Jayne on hand for the “King of Catch” while Bannon had recruited his fight mentor Ross McTavish to talk him through proceedings.
Round 1 of 5 started off cagey with neither man showing their hand. An exchange towards the end of the round saw Bannon gain the upper hand, but there was to be no decisive pinfall before the rest period.
In round 2, Bannon was under the cosh but scored with a leg kick before locking on a version of the crossface, which Faith quickly tapped from to avoid injury. Faith was irate and attacked Bannon between rounds, driving him into the turnbuckle and injuring his left shoulder.
Faith received a public warning for his actions, but in Round 3 he scored a decision with the Fujiwara Armbar to even up the contest. Fittingly, it would all come down to the final fall. Catching Faith in the Kneebar, Bannon could only watch on as Sammii Jayne helped her beau get a rope break, and this caused a ruckus on the outside between corner man and woman. Ross McTavish was irate to see the interference when it seemed like Bannon was honing in on victory.
In the ensuing melee, Faith tried to use his stool only for Dennis Law to catch him in the act! But with Law’s back turned, Faith struck a low blow and followed-up with a Tombstone Piledriver for a controversial victory in this one! While both these men are purists in their respective specialisms, the rivalry between the two overtook the action and it was a real sour note to see this contest end the way it did. But in the record books it will read “King of Catch” Aspen Faith 2 – Jimbo Bannon 1.
The Tri-Counties Championship Tournament Reaches the Next Stage
The final two first round matches in the massive tournament to crown our first-ever Tri-Counties Champion would also take place at Christmas Chaos – but not before new WrestleZone board member Councillor Len Ironside unveiled the stunning championship belt to the awestruck audience! It was also revealed that the tournament final has been scheduled for WrestleZone's return to Westhill, Aberdeenshire in April 2017. Stay tuned for more on that news as it develops!
In our first bout, it was the return of Zach Dynamite to take-on “Outcast” Chris Archer, with the Rejected member subbing for Lou King Sharp. With his partner Mikkey Vago by his side, Archer was trying to prove a point having originally not been in consideration for a last 16 place.
However, the full explosive nature of Dynamite came to the fore and in the end, he was too much for Archer – scoring the victory with a Running Jacknife cradle!
Later in the evening, Damien and Jason Reed would also tie-up for the first time ever, and what an encounter this was! Both men gave it their all, but at the same time came oh so close to being eliminated. Trading superkicks and slams, Damien and Reed gave it their all, but it was Damien who advanced after hitting the Codebreaker to move on to the Quarter-Finals. A valiant but unsuccessful night for Reed, he has made quite the impression in 2016 and will surely be back for more next year.
The four matches that will make up the last 8 are now set, and what a quartet they are - Andy Wild v Bryan Tucker, Shawn Johnson v Zach Dynamite, Aspen Faith v Johnny Lions and Damien v Bingo Ballance. With five men still involved who have held the Undisputed Championship at some point, each competitor will have to be at their very best to advance even further. We cannot wait to see things unfold!
Major Announcements Rock the WrestleZone!
It wouldn’t be Christmas Chaos without some huge announcements and what a double whammy we had this year!
Firstly, it was announced that Grado will returnsto WrestleZone at our first show of 2017 taking place at the Summerhill Hotel on Saturday, January 21st – fans can’t wait to see the Ayrshire funnyman back in business in the Granite City. Tickets for the event are on sale NOW - check the event page elsewhere on the site for all the info!
And it was WrestleZone management representative Chris McDonald who had the pleasure of letting us all know about the first former WWE star signed-up for Aberdeen Anarchy next June; former women’s champion Mickie James will make her WrestleZone debut on June 17th!
And so ends a very eventful year in the WrestleZone topped off by a super debut event at Danestone Community Centre. We hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, a wonderful New Year and we will see you at ringside for Summerhill Showdown when we will do it all again…