Odyssey Championship Tournament Predictions Lucy Simons In August, Odyssey Pro Wrestling set the British independent scene alight with its debut show Set Sail which was filled to the brim with main event calibre matches and competitors. But there’s one question everyone wants to know the answer to – with so many top talents and a huge future, when will this company crown its very first champion? We weren’t left wondering for long, as at Set Sail it was announced that at their next show, their championship tournament would begin, with RP Davies and Ryan Hunter announcing themselves as the first entrants. Since then, we have had the bracket of the tournament revealed to us and the first matches announced for Stormy Waters. Join me as I analyse these matches for you and give my predictions for who’s going to come out on top in the first round. RP Davies vs Big Guns Joe First of all, let’s turn to this clash of titans. RPD blew the roof off the place in his Morecambe debut at Set Sail, having converted to the sport from boxing. He may not have experience in this type of squared circle on his side, but you couldn’t tell as he commanded his match against Scotty Rawk and earned the victory. He meets none other than Big Guns Joe in the championship tournament who is contrastingly a well-known face to the whole wrestling world. Despite this, the crowd struggle to get behind him to say the least, because of his arrogant antics. However, the fact that he was featured in the main event of OPW’s inaugural show proves that he is worthy of the top spot and a force to reckon with in the ring. Whether you love him or hate him, you can’t deny he has the entertainment factor on his side with buckets of charisma. Therefore, this is going to be a mash of styles, with RPD wanting to showcase his no-nonsense grappling capability and Joe undoubtedly being more focused on berating the crowd. This may lead you to think that RPD has the upper hand. However, we must consider other factors – such as Joe’s friends JJ Webb and Sandy Beach possibly making an appearance. They made it clear at Set Sail that they aren’t against using unsportsmanlike tactics to get the upper hand, when they attacked Ryan Hunter in a vicious three-on-one attack that was only stopped by a returning Chris Ridgeway. Could RPD be victim to this at Stormy Waters to give Joe the win? Or could someone else emerge from the shadows to ruin RPD’s run? We can’t forget how Andre Dekker was fast to attack RPD after he announced his place in this tournament, unleashing a brutal blind-siding beat down. Dekker is salty that he isn’t on the roster and is undoubtedly fuming that he isn’t in the championship tournament, so we may see him turn up again, perhaps this time before the match kicks off in order to help Joe to the victory. It’s clear that RPD has some big obstacles to overcome at Stormy Waters if he is to progress to the next round. I have no doubt that he’s going to put up a brilliant fight as he has proved he is more than capable of doing, but I’m not sure if I trust Dekker or Joe to not ruin this moment for him and no matter how tough you are, it’s hard to overcome those odds. With that, I’m predicting a victory for Big Guns Joe in this match. Former Lancaster University Pro Wrestling Society president Jack Taylor has gone on the record to say that OPW “might as well not even have the tournament, Big Joe is taking it home.” I might not go as far to say at this point that he is going to win the whole thing, but it’s clear that Big Joe shouldn’t be, and isn’t being, counted out by the fans. Rick Markus vs JJ Webb On the opposite side of the championship bracket is Rick Markus facing JJ Webb. Rick Markus opened Set Sail in a hard-hitting encounter with Lance Revera, who he defeated in a match which perfectly set the tone for the rest of the evening, with its fierce back-and-forth offence which saw Markus showing off his ability to twist and turn a battle anyway he wants. Close friends with RPD, Markus has a similar fighting style to him in the sense that it is hard-hitting and no frills. JJ Webb of course has Big Guns Joe on his side and the pair proved at Set Sail that their styles match each other, consisting of dodging and bantering. So, in many ways this match may mirror RPD vs Big Guns Joe, because it is a clash of two very different competitors and the numbers game may come into play. However, there is a key difference to consider here. Rick Markus is a well-known face in Morecambe and has earned himself a reputation for being tough. The fans will remember how he never used to be their favourite with his unforgiving style that left many of the best in Morecambe on the floor. He may have the edge over JJ Webb because he is less likely to be ambushed by Webb’s accomplices because of his reputation. With more experience on his side than RPD, he has proven that he is resilient and will able to fight back, and the wrestlers are aware of this so may back off. It is true, though, that Webb has shown himself to be a technical master in the ring and Markus will have to bring his best to match him. At Set Sail, Webb was fearless to step up to be Joe’s replacement tag partner when Sandy Beach was injured and unlike Joe, who was reluctant to get in the ring, went straight in to fight the renowned Ryan Hunter and Chris Ridgeway, so he has bravery and the skills to back it up. However, Joe being less than willing to fight at Set Sail tells me he won’t be too eager to mess with Rick Markus in order to help his friend advance in the tournament. This on top of Markus’ intensity and absolute determination (as he showed when he interrupted my interview with RPD to remind him that he is not afraid to beat up his friend in order to win the belt) is why I am predicting a hard-fought victory for Markus. Of course, if both RPD and Markus were to win their respective matches and Semi Final matches, the pair will end up in a match against each other to decide the Odyssey Pro Wrestling Champion, which would be certain to shake the rafters of the whole of Morecambe. Rick has made it clear that he isn’t afraid to fight RPD despite their mutual respect and even said that he hopes they meet and I have to agree. It would be a treat for all the fans so who knows? Born Ready may just meet in the future on the opposite side of the ring to decide it all? Ryan Hunter vs Sandy Beach The last member of Big Joe’s entourage makes their appearance here, with Sandy Beach making his OPW debut. He was supposed to be Joe’s tag partner at Set Sail, but injured himself when “lifting the biggest weights” so was unable to compete. This may play a part in this bout; the pandemic meant that Set Sail was most of these wrestler’s first time back in the ring after almost a year and was their opportunity to get rid of any ring rust. Sandy Beach is one step behind everyone else in this sense, having been on the shelf for longer and lacking the experience in the ring that his opponent does. In addition, who’s to say that his injury won’t play up again? Beach has a big hill (or should I say sand dune?) to climb if he’s going to stand a chance against Ryan Hunter. Or will he, with the support of Big Joe and JJ Webb in his corner? I won’t be surprised to see them yet again in this tournament to support Beach and this will definitely affect the way the match plays out. I don’t envision this allowing Hunter to be kept down, though. He is a Morecambe hero and was welcomed as such at Set Sail. As he stated in his interview with me, he has been involved in wrestling in Morecambe since he was very young, first being a fan in the crowd and working his way up from being a camera man, a trainee wrestler and eventually to a champion. I could sense his determination and I don’t see how anyone can keep him down, especially with the fans spurring him on. It’s going to be difficult with such a formidable team in the corner of Sandy Beach, but Hunter has made a career of being the underdog and scrapping his way to the top, so he is used to this and will thrive under the pressure. With that, I’m predicting a victory for Ryan Hunter in this first round matchup. Tu Byt vs Troy Ryan Finally, we turn to perhaps the most unpredictable and surprising pairing in the bracket, Tu Byt vs Troy Ryan. If my prediction is correct, the winner of this will face Ryan Hunter in the next round. The reason I call this match unpredictable is because we have Troy Ryan in a singles match, which is a bit of a rarity despite Sinergy being one of the biggest tag teams in the British scene today. But that’s exactly it – they’re a tag team, not singles wrestlers, as they attempted to explain to Ethan Edwards when I interviewed them at Set Sail. Ethan was adamant that there was only room for one of them in the tournament and as we have seen through their hilarious videos that have emerged these past few weeks, they finally decided that Ryan will be the one to represent them and attempt to win the championship. It will be strange to see him on his own inside the ropes and I’m interested to see how he adapts when he can’t tag out if he is tired (is Sinergy’s only weakness their cardio?). There’s no denying that Ryan is physically built for wrestling and will be able to throw Tu Byt around like a rag doll, but without the option of smooth double team moves, it’s unclear if he will be able to make full use of his strength and agility and gain the victory. One thing’s for certain though, with Anderson Daniels no doubt being in his corner cheering him on from the outside, he has the charisma and support of the crowd to spur him on which will definitely help. On the other side of the ring, we have the polar opposite Tu Byt. He is not a crowd favourite or even a well-known face to the Morecambe faithful – yet. He is determined to make himself known and earn his victories and doesn’t care what others think, as proven when he quashed the legendary Sexy Kev at Set Sail. Undoubtedly, he will see this tournament as his chance to show the fans that he is worthy of being considered one of the best in OPW. He is scrappy and opportunistic in the ring, not afraid to use underhand tactics behind the referee’s back in order to inflict maximum damage, so Ryan will have to look out. This is even more relevant since his manager Jennifer will certainly be on the outside, playing a big part as she did at Set Sail in making sure Byt’s opponents do not gain any momentum. It will be amusing to see how the moody, calculating and aggressive pair of Tu Byt and Jennifer interact with the bubbly, hilarious and spontaneous team of Sinergy; I’m sure outside shenanigans will come into play in the result. It’s been really difficult for me to evaluate who will come out on top here, but I think I have to give the edge to Byt. As a selfish prize fighter, he is used to singles matches and has endless tricks up his sleeve to defeat even the most skilled and athletic wrestlers, and this includes Troy Ryan. With Jennifer there to stop Daniels from assisting Ryan, I think Byt will scrap his way to a victory and advance in the championship tournament. So there you have it, my predictions for the first round of the OPW Championship Tournament. The prestigious belt is going to be hard-fought for, that’s for certain, and I can’t wait to see who the history-making inaugural champion is going to be. Get your tickets now for Stormy Waters to make sure you don’t miss out!