The world of Over The Top Wrestling comes replete with a cast of characters and mantras.
O-T-T! O-T-T! O-T-T! A familiar chant bounces around the Tivoli Theatre. Unusually for a Saturday night Tivoli is not filled with young house and techno aficionados savoring the delights of District 8 but instead hosts a crackpot crew of people from all walks of life in every shape, size and age you can imagine, all here for one thing: Over The Top Wrestling.
The ring occupies the usual dancefloor, ring side seating is on two sides, a raised seating area on another and standing room for the rest at this sold out event. There’s a quick test of the lighting set up, the music, cameras and projector before head honcho Joe makes his way around to usher the wrestlers back into the dressing room before the doors open.
The room is illuminated by the projector where we see live footage of ‘The Gymnasties’ tag team splitting up. It’s not my first time at an OTT event but once the fight action starts I’m blown away by the skills and bravery of the wrestlers not to mention their showmanship on and off the mic. Each fight is like its own party, with each wrestler bringing a different buzz out of the crowd. Zach Gibson can’t get a word out over the mic as every member of the crowd is booing his every action. One fight later and the crowd has flipped, the smoke machine is on, the glow sticks are out and the lights are low. A recognisable euro house song blares out of the speakers. The regulars know what’s next. Bursting out of the smoke in leopard print pajama bottoms, peroxide blonde hair and a can of cheap beer to tie it together is ‘Session Moth Martina’.
She’s clearly a crowd favorite, there’s a huge roar when she appears, her fans all swinging glow sticks in the air, directing a chant of ‘Stu-pid Hair-cut’ at her opponent.
The characters are fantastic, ranging from old school leotard and tights wrestlers to high flying masked men and names like ‘Jimmy Havoc’, ‘The East End Butcher’ and the ‘Kings of the North’. There’s an incredible creative mix of storylines and character development that brings you through a range of emotions through the night. That being said the star of the show is by far the skills of the wrestlers. Watching a 6’4” brick wall of a man backflip off the top of a walled barrier onto his opponent standing on concrete, or seeing Ryan Smile dive through the ropes to spear his opponent 8 feet outside the ring or even seeing the ‘Kings of the North’ orchestrate a perfectly in sync 3 man suplex to help win the main event, I’m baffled by the quality and range of skills these wrestlers have.
The agility, power and endurance needed to consistently produce big moves and take big hits is astounding. At the end of each fight there’s nothing left to do but stand and applaud these athletes. O-T-T! O-T-T! O-T-T!
The next Over The Top Wrestling event in the city is on Saturday August 5th in the National Stadium. overthetopwrestling.com
Words and photos: Emil Hernon