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Buried Treasure Report

The drama was never ending on Saturday 4th December at OPW’s final show of 2021, Buried Treasure. If you missed it, you need to catch up, because this was thick with twists and turns that are sure to alter the horizons for OPW going forward. Read on to find out everything that happened and all the winners and losers from the night.

First of all, we had SilentMark to explain that after being attacked by Andre Dekker at Pier Fear, Ethan Edwards had suffered a concussion and would be unable to attend that evening. He was replaced by someone we all thought we had seen the back of – Chris Brooker was fulfilling the role of general manager for the night. He characteristically began his tenure as GM by singing his own praises and claiming he was bringing the spotlight to Morecambe and managing to insult just about everyone in the room in the process. The real defining moment, though, was when he announced that he had granted a contract to someone who was a Morecambe original star and more worthy of the spotlight than anyone else in the locker room – it was none other than Andre Dekker. Brooker’s intentions for OPW were clear from this moment; he wants to unleash chaos. The pair signed the contract in the ring (using Brooker’s assistant, Kelly, as a table in a very demeaning manner) and demanded photos be taken of them celebrating while the fans urged them to get out of the ring, which they were apparently deaf to.

Everyone was pleased when their wish was granted and they eventually vacated the ring, ready for the opening match of the night. It was the high energy triple threat between Scotty Rawk, Lance Revera and R.P. Davies which kicked things off and it was one hell of a match from the opening bell, with an eclectic mix of wrestling styles. RPD went for the boxing jabs at first, steering away from the typical lock up. Revera and Rawk were keen to keep him down, perhaps detecting his sharp punches as their biggest threat. The clever double teaming continued throughout but Lance and Scotty weren’t a dream pairing and argued over who could dish out the strongest chop and who should get the pin (they both gave incredibly strong strikes, so there was no clear winner of that competition). Rawk managed to get Revera down for long enough to get RPD alone in the ring, going for an impressive German suplex and DDT but only for the 2 count. When Revera re-emerged in the ring, he seemed to have every chance of becoming the victor after dodging RPD’s attacks, but when he went for a moonsault from the second rope, he was caught with a Superman Punch in mid-air that knocked him out cold. RPD’s quick-thinking resourcefulness had won him the match, but he wasn’t done. He grabbed a mic to announce that before he left for the night, he wanted to give Dekker a chance to face him one-on-one after blind-siding him at Stormy Waters. Dekker never appeared and the fans chanted “Coward”, to which RPD responded: “That’s one word for him… or just a little bitch!”

Next on the card was a semi-final match in the OPW Championship tournament in the form of Ryan Hunter vs Sam Bailey. If you follow me or him on Twitter, you might have seen that Sam Bailey seems to have beef with me because I predicted that he would lose this match. He certainly put up a good showing to try and prove me wrong here, with technical ability that matched Hunter’s and clear knowledge of his move set which allowed him to reverse some of his biggest offense, including the Hunter’s Arrow where Hunter landed awkwardly on his knee. He was left with an injury that he was nursing for the rest of the night, but refused to give in, even with Bailey targeting it brutally. Bailey was convinced he had the match won, but his confidence came back to bite him as he took too long to go for his finisher and ended up on the receiving end of a clever roll up, with his shoulders down for 3. Hunter was clearly hurt but proud of his victory as the fans raised the roof in their appreciation. Sorry Sam – it looks like I was right this time. Maybe if you win your next match I’ll ask you for an interview?

We barely had time to recover before the next semi-final was underway, this time between two of the most aggressive men on the roster, Tu Byt and Rick Markus. They began with a lot of technical grappling which Byt utilised to keep Markus grounded. When Markus was able to, he showed off his strength by throwing Byt across the ring painfully. It was perhaps Byt’s speed which gave him an edge in this match, meaning he could go for roll ups and reversals in a breath-taking manner, and unleashing harsh submission holds. Markus is nothing if not tough, though, and was able to reach the ropes or just throw Byt off him several times. He proved this again when Jennifer was thrown in the ring (who would have guessed?) meaning Byt could catch Markus with a solid slam, and we all feared it was the end, but he kicked out emphatically. However, Jennifer ultimately did change the course of the match when she climbed on the apron, stopping Markus from attacking Byt and meaning that Markus had his back turned when Byt jumped him. Markus nearly managed to force his way out but Byt used his teeth to deal damage and locked in the Rat Trap which knocked Rick out. The match was forced to end and Byt had advanced to the final.

Despite his loss, Markus made his way out of the ring to the applause of the fans. But this appreciation was cut short by a vicious assault that no one saw coming. When he was on the stage, Dekker suddenly appeared from the curtain with a bottle in hand and smashed it over the head of Markus. He collapsed on the floor and had to be helped out by multiple referees and security while everyone in attendance was subdued in shock at the horrific act they had just witnessed.

With that at the back of everyone’s minds, we tried to move on to the main event of the first half. The excitement surrounding the crowning of the very first OPW Women’s Champion was the perfect way to get the fans on their feet again, and this they did for Alexxis Falcon in particular. Right from the bell she was on the attack, hitting a clothesline in synch with Gia against Lizzy and Taonga. As was to be expected of a fatal four way, especially with these passionate wrestlers, it was hard to follow all the action as it spilled the way around the venue. Alexxis was keen to take her revenge on Taonga for her harsh words as they battled near the bar area, but Taonga cleverly reversed Falcon’s momentum and slammed her into the shutters. She was down on the floor meaning Gia was subjected to a two-on-one attack inside the ring – despite dishing out effective offense against Lizzy when it was just the two of them, there was nothing she could do to stop her elimination when the numbers game came into play. Evo and Taonga hit a brutal double kick and she was out cold. As Alexxis made her way back into the ring, she too was predictably subject to this. However, she proved her versatility and speed with a quick roll up on Lizzy and eliminating her. All this did was wind Lizzy and Taonga up, though, and they unleashed their fury on Alexxis. Thankfully, Gia came back to apparently help her friend out of this unfair situation and the attack ceased. However, all was not as it seemed, as out of nowhere, Gia suddenly attacked Alexxis herself – the frustration at being the first woman eliminated too much for her. Taonga then had a clear advantage but Alexxis fought on, kicking out of the initial cover. She tried to rally with the fans firmly behind her with a series of drop kicks and a swinging neck breaker, but Taonga had more stamina reserved and was able to hit her finisher for the win. The fans weren’t happy to see her become the inaugural champion, but her ring smarts were undeniable. Taonga has cemented herself in the history books of OPW forever.

The second half of action kicked off with a heavy-hitting tag team bout, with Big Guns Joe and JJ Webb (with Sandy Beach on the outside) facing Sinergy. Webb and Joe decided to make their presence felt on the mic rather than in the ring at first, making sure everyone knew how hench they are. Sinergy were quick to dispute this, though, telling them that they nearly missed Joe because he is so small, that Webb had smelly breath, and complaining that they travelled all the way to Morecambe and they didn’t even get to wrestle “the good one”, referring to Sandy. All of this smack talking made for a heated battle inside the ring. As usual, Troy Ryan and Anderson Daniels both made use of their strength, even catching the opposing pair as they simultaneously attempted cross bodies at one point. Joe regretted his life choices again later when Sinergy passed him around while he was suspended upside down in the air. What he didn't regret was having Sandy Beach on the outside to make use of the refs back being turned to dish out illegal offence. They managed to ground Ryan for solid percentage of the bout using these tactics, but when the hot tag was made to Anderson, the beef waggon was unleashed. Towards the end of the match, Sandy decided to bring out a steel chair, seemingly willing to risk a disqualification loss for his friends, but Joe and Webb argued with him and this ended up being their demise as the distraction meant that Sinergy could catch Joe in their finisher. The cracks are perhaps beginning to show in this faction but Sinergy are only just hitting their stride and becoming ever more popular with the fans.

Next, we had SilentMark announcing that the next match would be a Rising Stars match as we had been introduced to at Pier Fear. This time it appeared to be Lucas Neon vs Nick Kutter, but before the bell rang, Chris Brooker was out again. He went on a tangent about he was going to “raise the simple lives and simple spirits” of the people of Morecambe and give the spotlight to deserving wrestlers. But he had fooled everyone, and it turned out that he wasn't wanting to bring the spotlight to Neon or Kutter, but instead to Reece and Rogan, who bulldozed into the ring and laid waste to the unsuspecting victims. They had a dominant showing at Pier Fear but this was an unfair assault that try as they might, the two young upstarts could not fight back against. Brooker once again proved that he was more than happy to be a tyrannical GM if it meant he could get the last laugh.

There was still another tag team match to go and everyone was eager to see what was going to happen next in the saga between Mark Meltzer and Isaiah Quinn. It seemed like we were not going to get our answer when Meltzer’s music hit but there was no Meltzer to be seen, leaving Sexy Kev confused and lonely in the ring. This thus became a handicap match where Kev did all he could to channel the crowd’s love and fight back but could not manage it. The Freakshow are dangerous enough on equal grounds with their high-speed agility and skill, let alone in a two on one situation – and even three on one with Isaiah Quinn rubbing unnecessary salt into the wound at times. There was a heart stopping moment still to come though; Mark emerged from nowhere and stood side by side with Kev for a moment, subduing the Freakshow. But the unthinkable happened and he instead clotheslined Kev and slammed him hard on the mat, marking a shift in OPW. It appears that Quinn has achieved his goal and Mark has been converted to the dark side.

Finally, it was time for the main event and to crown the inaugural OPW Champion. The fans were electric for their hero, Hunter, despite his knee clearly bothering him from the moment he stepped through the curtain, limping to the ring but still full of charisma. The passion of both men to make history was tangible as they got in each other’s faces before the bell had even rung. Byt resourcefully went after Hunter’s knee from the very start and the pain was evident on Hunter’s face. He continued to fight back and managed to catch Byt with the most brutal knee strikes to the face with his good leg, followed by the bridging German suplex that surely would have won the match if it wasn’t for Jennifer pulling the referee out by his ankle. James Greenwood had seen enough and did a very dramatic “You’re… out of here!” much to the dismay of Jennifer. If Byt was phased, he didn’t show it as he tore off Ryan’s bandages and went for more targeted offense on the knee. The battle continued nonetheless and Hunter almost hit the Hunter’s Arrow but Byt was able to reverse it into a series of roll ups only for 2, then followed by an attempted Rat Trap. Hunter was just too big and strong for Byt to get down though and broke free of it, rolling him up in a small package of his own. It wasn’t enough to put Byt away and he managed to wrestle Hunter into a leg lock in the centre of the ring, Hunter in excruciating pain as his injured knee was torqued repeatedly. Hunter used the spirit of the crowd to break free and this second wind stayed with him until the end, using it to break free of the Rat Trap for a second time and unleash a flurry of sharp blows to the head. He followed this up with the hook kick and the biggest Hunter’s Arrow he has ever pulled off which no one could have got up from. Hunter had done it – he is the very first OPW Champion. The fans made more noise than ever before and the atmosphere in the Alhambra was ecstatic. It appears that Tu Byt may be less capable without Jennifer than he would have us believe – but who knows how a potential rematch might play out?

I can’t wait to see who Ryan Hunter’s first challenger is going to be and if he can remain the fan’s champion in the months to come. You will have to buy your tickets soon to make sure you can be there to see what 2022 holds for OPW.

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