An Interview With Kay Lee Ray And Stevie Boy Xavier – A Couple Of Wrestlers. A Couple In Wrestling

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“There’s been a good few times where we’ve been the last line of defence for each other before we do something daft in wrestling. I don’t care what kinda problems you’ll have, I’m the one that has to deal with it on the Monday when you’re in a bad mood and I’m taking the brunt of it *laughs* but I think we both deal with that and help each other out.” – Stevie Boy

“I’m just putting it oot there, Season 3 of Rick and Morty was f****n shite”

It had all started so well tae. I walked in to The Howlin’ Wolf pub on Bath Street in Glasgow a wee bit late, having walked past it maybe 4 times in a shocking attempt to find it as I quikcly realised I only recognised the name because its what Wolfgang calls his Swanton these days. When I eventually did get there, I was greeted by Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray sitting with a dug. A real life dug they had brought along to this apparently dug friendly pub. When conducting interviews its important to be professional you see. Show up on time, don’t get lost, don’t ask anyone if they’ll do one of they delayed vertical suplexes on you like The British Bulldog used to. Be very journalism I guess is the point here, and that duty of responsibility is the only thing that stopped me running right out the back door and shouting “A FUCKIN DUG!? YASSS” when I seen Berty the Pug. Giver of life and more importantly paws. A good boy. The good will that came from the dug’s appearance vanished entirely when my man Stevie started giving Season 3 of Rick and Morty a bit of stick. It was different mate. Not all highlights, but shite? Mon noo. Ease up on the accelerator before this misguided opinion takes off. A bit like his career has done over the past year.

A fine way to segway into wrestling stuff eh. That’s what this interview was initially about before we got all caught up in the land of dugs and Rick and Morty. The wrestling. Kay Lee Ray and Stevie are not only a couple, but a couple of brilliant wrestlers. The uniqueness that comes with them going through the trials and tribulations wrestling throws at them as a unit made this interview one of my favourites to conduct, but at the same time, they brought a dug, so they could have spent an hour calling my beard shite and I’d have walked away thinking it went well. Because dugs are life. Well, wrestling then dugs. Or more specifically, wrestling at The Hydro….then dugs. As Stevie explained when he spoke about his match. A fatal four-way death match for the “King Of Insanity” crown which may or may not see people die in a pool of their own blood and snotters when the big show takes place on Sunday. Some eerie promo’s from the competitors as they had their psychological state assessed ahead of it properly set the tone for what’s to come

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Stevie “It was something different. They just told me they wanted me in to film something, I showed up and had no idea what it was. They laid it out. It’s loosely based on The Joker Diaries. I’d never seen it but they fired on the computer and I was like “Aye…I am so down with this” there’s a wee bit I keep telling people because it just makes me laugh. In the promo my hand is completely white, because the wall behind me had just been painted. So I grabbed the chair and chucked it off the wall and when I turned it round I realised my full hand was white. That’s how my hand’s down at my side the whole time. I pull it up to spark the fag and it goes right back in the pocket *laughs*. The promos have added something extra to the match. People keep asking me if I’m looking forward to it and I keep saying I’m looking forward to the Monday morning. See if I can wake up and go “its done man” and I’m in one piece, I’ll be happy. I think its going to be a yearly thing. I don’t get why they wouldn’t want to capitalise on the interest in it so I assume it will be something they build on. Another reason I’m glad its come about is that I think we lost the insanity a wee bit of a while in ICW. We lost that edge. We used to be the company doing all this mad stuff, and as much as I’m not a death match wrestler and its so far from what I want to do long-term, I want us to bring that back, so I’m excited to do this”

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While Stevie will be trying to avoid three of the maddest bastards in the UK trying to end his life, Kay Lee has the simple task of defending her ICW Women’s Title inside a steel cage. Against two women. Who also happen to hate her. It’s a match that’s been built up perfectly to come to this potentially brutal conclusion. As Kay Lee went on to explain

“That main event match with Kasey was a really good match. I think we played the match perfectly. I wanted people to forget it was a Women’s main event and just focus on the match we produced. There was a lot of pressure, and it was nice to see that Kasey CAN step up. Its nice to see that because it’s always been just a few women in ICW who are trusted like that. Its nice to have a variety of people, and we can all work together and do different stuff. Hopefully next year there will be even more. I’m sure they’ll all be coming for my belt, but it’ll be nice for some of the attention to be on other people. There’s a lot of hype around us going in and I think if there’s anybody who can pull it off it’s the three of us. The matches I have with Viper are always good as well, so we have chemistry. It feels like we’ve been going against each other forever. Maybe one day we can be pals *laughs*, but it’s not today, It won’t be Sunday, and it probably won’t be Monday either”

The chance of duelling cage swantons had both Stevie and Kay Lee buzzing. As Kay Lee will look to emulate her big pal and steel cage veteran Wolfgang who Stevie remarked has made jumping off the cage a bit of a hobby “You could ask Wolfie what he’s upto this week, and he’d hit out with ‘Nuhin much, just gonnae set the cage up and jump aff it” Kay Lee tantalisingly chimed in with what I took to be a promise rather than a clue “Wonder who can do the Swanton off the cage better? We’ll maybe find out eh”

Balls to maybe. After that if there’s not at least one Swanton off the cage, a lawyer will be consulted. While the big one at The Hydro has always been on the horizon, it was only after a tough couple of weeks that the duo could really bring it in to sharp focus. “I feel like we’re good at keeping it in perspective. The hydro is happening, but we’re good at focusing on whats happening in the here now. Even if it’s always building towards The Hydro. This weekend for Pro Wrestling Eve, I wrestled Charli Morgan, Nina Samuels and Nicole Matthews. Three tough matches that definitely sharpened me up for this. It’s always been the focus, but its only now that we really think about it. The Hydro’s really crept up on us this year”

Stevie and Kay Lee have always been at least loosely affiliated in ICW. On a permanent basis since Kay Lee’s short stint as Davey’s replacement after an injury stopped him defending the ICW Tag Titles he held with Stevie, but over the past year they’ve really carved out an identity as a team with The Filthy Generation. A stable which recently took on new recruits in Lewis Girvan and Aspen Faith. Talks of expansion had always been in the works, as Stevie explained

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“It had been spoke about since the start. Like we need more members. It needs to be a generation, there was names floated but it got to a point where we thought, we need to pull the trigger on this before it dies”

Kay Lee “There was a chance taken with this. It could have been almost too similar, to the point that we clashed instead of gelling, but I think it stuck very quickly. There was a few wee kinks to work out but we instantly thought “this works”. There’s wee things, but with a team coming together that’s always going to happen. We’d never really done anything together before either, and we all came from different training schools, but there’s wee things the boys do that pop me and I think we’ve come together well”

While the lineup is a bit younger and a good bit hairier than the NAK days, that thirst for carnage that exists in Stevie and Kay Lee made this setup perfect, and early signs show that the newly formed group has the potential to wreak havoc on the card in a similar way “The Kliq” did in his heyday, as Stevie explained.

“Its nice to be causing a bit of carnage again. It reminds me of the Kliq with hunners of cunts runnin aboot causing it. Even backstage as much as we hadn’t worked together, I knew Aspen from working him at Wrestlezone years ago and I’ve known Lewis a long time. We all knew each other but we had different groups socially, so we were almost strangers going in. So it took a wee second to get to know each other. Now when we go backstage they’re the first people we speak to. We’re having fun with it”

Kay Lee “We have merch now so its official! Buy our merch! *laughs* I was sick of getting battered as well so its nice to have a wee bit of extra hauners. We still get battered but at least now there’s people getting battered with us”

Buy this t-shirt btw. Right now. click these words, follow the link and get it bought.

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While this venture has given Stevie and Kay Lee the platform to build something of their own, their involvement in the NAK gave them the template for team handed anarchy. A period they both look back in with a great deal of fondness. If a slight bit of regret over what was seen as a slightly premature end

“We were resident arseholes. We were the bastards”

Kay Lee “How annoying did that music get for you though? Everybody said that at one point. That the music had played too many times, and I was like “Its never enough!” *laughs* The more it plays the more they’ll hate it. I wanted people to be like “fuck off!”

Stevie “We caused some riots. There was one time in Newcastle I remember we ran in on someones match, I cant remember what match it was, but that night in Newcastle we had people throwing drinks at us. People asking to take us a square go. I remember knocking a drink out of a guy’s hand at ringside, and him kinda gesturing to go for me, and I look up and see BT hanging over the ropes going “Fuckin go for itttt!” *laughs* It was chaos at times. The night we split nearly turned into a riot as well. That was a proper tense atmosphere”

Kay Lee “I think that was because it wasnt just one person leaving or something like that, it was the whole thing blowing apart. I fuckin loved it!”
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Kay Lee “I feel like I was always the one in the vicinity, to be able to grab somebody before they done something daft, but at the same time I was also the one egging them on *laughs*. I’d be in BT’s ear just winding it up, telling him “he said yer maws a bitch, go!”

It was a time where having a lot of fun and bringing a lot of violence went hand in hand. Stevie remarked when he recalled a segment for Chris Renfrew’s birthday that involved water pistols, a lot of stunners, and the now defunct Gzrs.

“One of my favourite segments was Renfrew’s birthday bash with The Gzrs. It was just a pure shambles. It was such a laugh. ICW has a no drinking policy backstage but we weren’t doing anything on the show apart from that segment and getting battered, so I thought “Fuck it, I’m going out there for a laugh and getting steamin’, why not?”

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“People say it ended prematurely, and I think all of us kind of felt the same. We had the problem of being so over as heels, it was turning us face. A bit like what happened with DX. I think we could easily have had another year in us as faces if we turned. Like it could have been us vs The Black Label at The Hydro. In hindsight now, when you look back it, you think maybe that was the best way to end it. We’ve all gone on from it and done so much good things. Its one of those things, where you can never rule it out (a reunion) even if its 5 years down the line”

KLR “If Triple H showed up in an independent ring, anything can happen!”

Stevie “We tend to think of the NAK being that five man group, so to us it ended prematurely, but the NAK have been around for a long time. Even before ICW. There’s been different versions throughout. So even though we were only the NAK for about a year, its been around for a long time. I think it kinda launched all of us individually and gave us a lot of attention. Something that we craved individually and as a stable. ”

One of the biggest positives from that time for Stevie was the emergence of a new side to him that has since become a big strength. The art of the promo. An art that was passed down by one of the best promo guys in the UK in Chris Renfrew. Something Stevie never really had to deal with in his days as a Bucky Boy, as The Wee Man acted as their resident mouthpiece.
“I wasn’t hiding behind wee man as such. He was there to do that job. So I’d never say he took the spotlight from us or anything like that. He was doing his job perfectly. I don’t hesitate to say without The Wee Man, The Bucky Boys would have been nothing. He gave us that extra dimension. Renfrew was one of the first ones who encouraged me on the mic. When I broke away from the Buckies he was the one that pushed me on. I have to thank him for that, because that was another platform for me to make an impression”

Learning his promo craft has certainly helped Stevie get to that next level, but it was never something he prioritized in a big way. Always busy with trivial side projects, like making history as part of the Bucky Boys. Daft shit like that keeps you busy it seems.

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“It was never a thing I gave a second thought to if im honest. I’ve never really felt like it was needed because since I came in to ICW there’s always been something. It’s never felt like something was missing. Its only when I split from Davey and with Renfrew’s encouragement that I ever really thought about it. It got to a point where I’d show up and they’d tell me “you’re no wrestling tonight, you’re doing this promo” and I’d be like “thank fuck man, I’ve been in this company 5 year and never had a night aff ” *laughs*

Nerves did set in before Stevie went out to cut his very first promo in an ICW ring but that nervous energy and the support of Renfrew propelled him to produce something remarkably good, particularly for a first try.
“I was 10 times more nervous for that first promo than I have been for any wrestling match. That’s why Renfrew was there. In case I tripped up over anything, he was there to make the save. He was always going to come out with me I think, but I also encouraged it and I think him being there helped it become the promo it did because I had that comfort blanket there.  It turns out I’ve got a natural instinct for being a wee arsehole. I seem to have a talent for it”

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While Stevie prides himself on his talent for being a wee arsehole, his other half prides herself on well…being heavy talented. They both are but we’re doing a slick transition here. One thing running in to another so its an easier read eh. Kay Lee has built a reputation around the world as one of the best female wrestlers out there. Nah actually, just one of the best wrestlers full stop. Before we got to talking about Japan, The USA and everything in between, we had to start at dogs. Because dogs are life

“We are pro dogs. I actually tried to get a dog to be our tag team partner this week. There’s a wee pug at Pro Wrestling Eve, and I asked if I could take him in the ring. He’s used to it all, so they said aye as long as you’re careful. If he was ever uncomfortable I was ready to take him away from it all, but he fuckin loved it. He was getting “hes a good boy” chanted at him and I could feel his wee tail wagging. He loved it”

That allowed Berty the pug to once again take centre stage. The true subject of this interview if we’re all being honest with ourselves and a man who at the tender age of 1 almost made his own wrestling debut recently as Stevie told us
“He nearly made his Lucha Forver debut the other week but he’s still quite young. He watched the show and he seemed keen, so he’s in about it”

Kay Lee “Life’s about dugs. He’ll no let me have a dug. This is his sisters dug, but she works a lot so we’ve kinda adopted him. I understand why because of how much we travel and all that.”

The travel is undoubtedly one of the more strenuous parts of the wrestling game, but one that Kay Lee and Stevie accept and make the best of. Getting to travel together a lot of the time being a big selling point. Living in close proximity to Kay Lee’s family recently has allowed them to gain better insight and understand as to what the couple go through and how much hard graft they put in, as Kay Lee explained.
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“My mum and dad realised recently how much we do now I’m a bit closer to home. We live just across the road from them and they see the car coming in at 2-3am and stuff like that, and by the next morning we’re away again to the next show.”

Stevie “When people say they want to be a wrestler, I don’t think they really know what it is. They don’t know how much of a hard graft it can be.”

Kay Lee “TNA was the first thing I done where my mum and dad realised. That was when they realised this wasnt just a hobby. This wasn’t something daft. This isn’t a dingy wee town hall. This is real. Not that I’m downplaying that kind of thing. Some of the best times I’ve had have been working in that environment and we still do those shows. Stevie had a brilliant match with Wolfy in a wee pub in Dennistoun for GPWA. ”

Stevie “You’re an international jet setter now so that kinda convinces them as well”

International jet setting is all good when you go to places like Japan and America and wrestle in front of crowds absolutely ganting for that sweet wrestling action, but it’s not always like that as Kay Lee recalled on a recent trip to Germany for a show that was a wee bit surreal to say the least.

“I done a show in Germany recently. One of the most professional shows I’ve ever done. Pyro and everything. And it was full of business men who didn’t have a clue what they were watching. No one was into anything. I was valeting for one of the wrestlers, Bad Bones and once I realised the situation I just had fun with it. I was trying to steal pints off folk and everything. I feel like I made it fun for myself anyway since no one was into anything. It was so professional as well. it was so odd to be part of it. By the end of it there was a lot of people taking photos and stuff. I just think they didn’t really know what you’re supposed to do at a wrestling show so that’s why they were so quiet”

Before Kay Lee went on to chat about more exciting jet setting experiences, we somehow got on to bigging up Sha Samuels. Context wise I have no idea how, but its going in because Sha Samuels, much like dugs, Rick and Morty, and the wrestling in general, is life (Sha Life)

Stevie “Sha is just an all round good cunt man. I’ve only wrestled him once and honestly, I fuckin loved it. It was brilliant. Naw in fact it was twice. Me and Grado foguht him and Martin Stone in Edinburgh just before Stoney left, but that was the first singles match we’ve had at ICW recently, and aw mate, what a buzz. The Canadian Destroyer was the only bit we actually had planned. The rest was just us having fun. Like we both knew we just had it. Everything was built round that destroyer”
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Stevie “The first time you went it was horrible man. I hated having you away”

Perhaps the one drawback to both giving your lives to something as all-consuming as wrestling is the separation when one half ends up somewhere else. In Kay Lee Ray’s case that has been regular trips to Japan and the USA. Her love affair with Japan starting as far back as 7 years ago, before going on to make her trips more regular over the past 4 or 5 years.
“I’ve been going to Japan for 7 years. First time I went to japan I was 18. I didn’t go for 2 years after that but still, that’s amazing to think that. It was hard because I was on my own. There was this journalist who worked with the company that helped me a bit. Showing me about and stuff, but I was basically on my own. I think more recently I’ve been getting to know Japan, and a lot of it is what you make of it. A big part of enjoying it is who you’re with and I’m always out there with my best pals. People like Viper, Toni Storm and of course Nixon before she got signed”

“That’s not a slight on the Japanese girls at all, but if you’re out there without friends it can be very very difficult. I’ve been lucky to have my pals with me every time. Every time I’ve been to Japan there’s been great nights out and moments I’ve enjoyed. Toni Storm kind of has to do it on her own sometimes because she’s got a big commitment with Stardom. I kinda like the agreement I’ve got with them right now, I go in January, I go in May and if I can keep that the way it is I’d be very happy. I think they’re happy with that as well. We spoke about it a wee bit and it was a bit of a co-incidence with the way the dates worked out, but its got to the stage now where companies here have kinda got used to that. They expect me to not be available at these points and cater to that so it works out well. ”

Having familiar faces makes it a bit easier on Kay Lee, but knowing how much these trips are helping her progress as a person and wrestler is a fine way to soften the blow.

“I do miss home. I miss Stevie. But having that familiarity being with pals helps a lot.”
“it depends how hard the schedule is. January we have more training days. Its nklrnixonot mandatory but it is at the same time. Me and Viper go them a lot. I always love the pop when she does something they don’t expect her to be able to do. She’s a great example for me, in terms of adapting to situations they throw at her. If they give her something she can’t do she wont just down tools and tell them she can’t do it, she’ll do something that’s at least close to what they’re asking and they go mad for it every time”

While the two Scots have made a huge impression in Japan, it is not without its tough moments, or indeed moments of true inspiration with a hint of envy when it comes to learning from one of the best in Io Shirai “Training is hard over there though. Maybe not as hard as some of the horror stories you hear, but still very hard . There’s one drill in particular everyone hates. Its handstands. You need to do it for 2 minutes then drop into a headstand for 1 minute. This is Io Shirai and she’s one of the very best. If shes there I’ll be at training every day. I’d love to see her in ICW one day because she’s just amazing. She used to be a gymnast so she can do all that nae bother. After the handstand you’re already feeling a bit sick, then you have to drop into a headstand for a further minute and if you get through that good. Well done. You’re gallus. Then you do drills where the person opposite you either does punches or kicks, and they go down the line until they’ve got everyone. Its hard work. Io is so good, I hate her but I love her. Ye cannae be jealous because shes just so good. She’ll do it all, and while everyone else is dying, she started doing push ups. Still in the handstand. I was like “You can get tae fuck”. I fuckin hate you. Why are you so good. I want to be you”

Her experiences in training with talents like Io Shirai have no doubt helped Kay Lee get to a level where she can hang with people like that, although she was never too far from that level in the first place, being genuinely inspired by talents must be a special thing when you’ve been doing a job for as long as her and Stevie have done it.

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“I’ll watch my matches back with Io and it always leaves me with ideas. It sparks me like that which is nice. She speaks great English as well which helps. I didnt exactly come in as a trainee either. I had that bit of step about me so that made it easier”

While matches with Io are highlights, Kay Lee is also fond of her battles with one of her best pals. Mae Young Classic semi finalist and current Progress Women’s Champion, the very talented Toni Storm. Even if one of those matches ended up three times as long as originally planned.
“I’ve had great ones with Toni Storm. Its funny sometimes because they do things a bit differently over there. Over here there’s a bit more creative freedom, but they do it differently in Japan. Me and Toni had this 12 minute match planned once, and the promoter comes up right before it and tells us “I’ve changed my mind for the finish, time limit draw, 30 minutes” and we’re like “for fuck saaaaaake” We’ve got this 12 minute match planned and now we need to somehow stretch that out over half an hour. It was good, but it was difficult because we didnt have the time to prepare and get in the mindset for a match like that. We had one a Korauken Hall recently, but it was part of a tournament so you knew one of us would have another match that night. It felt like it had come full circle because we’d wrestled each other all over the world and now we had the chance to do it a Korauken so it was a wee bit disappointing because neither of us wanted to do anything that would hurt the other, knowing whoever won would go on to the finals that night”

While battles with familiar foes and pals like Storm make the whole culture shock easier, its battles with the homegrown talent that have been really eye-opening. As Kay Lee explained when she spoke of taking on Mayu Iwatani. One of the smallest people she’s ever come across in wrestling who dropkicked her haufway back to Glesga Airport.

“Mayu’s very quiet but I’ve had some great matches with her. Hell of a wrestler. She kicks fuck oot ye. I remember my first impression being reluctant to hit her because she’s so small. Then she dropkicked me and I was like “naw, fuck this” she doesn’t just dropkick you, she tries to send you out the ring. The first time I took that I thought to myself, naw, never again”
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Regular trips to Japan have been paired with regular trips to the USA for Kay Lee, working with Shimmer against many of the competitors that made up the field for the Mae Young Classic, which Kay Lee herself exited in the first round but made a strong impression. Although her first trip to the states led to an experience that might have needed a bit of therapy to get over. Her first WWE show being The Undertakers first Wrestlemania defeat
“First time I was over there was for New Orleans during Mania 30, where The Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar. That was my first WWE show. So that was me. I’m never coming back to a wrestling show”

Stevie “I was fuckin raging about that because the bookies were taking bets. I thought to myself, if any cunts gonnae dae it’ll be Brock Lesnar and I was so angry with myself. Thats one I’ll take to the grave.”

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A bit of vocal support from a fellow globetrotter in Wolfgang helped any pre match nerves when Kay Lee made her Shimmer debut in front of an enthusiastic crowd. None more enthusiastic than the big man himself.
“Big Wolfgang came to watch me in Shimmer. He was over there on holiday with his mum and dad and he told me he was coming to see me at the show. So that was nice. A few people reacted when I came out, but hearing that big roar from Wolfie was nice. Especially in a company like Shimmer, it was a big deal. Since then its been most April’s then in the Autumn for a wee jaunt. America’s fun”

As fun as America undoubtedly is, Kay Lee has never seemed more in her element than when she goes up against her former perennial foe. A rival who was so good as an enemy, she became a pal. Leading to a poignant finale when Carmel ended her career at last year’s Hydro after the match where Kay Lee first captured the ICW Women’s Title. From the first match they had together, to that finale and the countless battles in between, their feud became one of the most notorious in ICW, as Kay Lee spoke about passionately.
“The death match was meant to be the end of our feud essentially, but then it just ended up that we never, ever stopped *laughs* We’ve wrestled everywhere from Glasgow to Denmark. I knew nothing about the retirement. I remember being a wee bit annoyed the night before because I wasn’t getting my own way. I didn’t want to win at The Hydro the way I did, but I kept getting told no to how I wanted to do it. So I thought “fine, yous want me to be a face, I’ll hit oot wae aw the fuckin gory bombs then” and it turns out it worked out really really well. Then she done her speech and it made more sense. There was a reason for it, they just didn’t want to tell me the reason. She wanted it to be a surprise and I’ve took that wrong way. So when you see me sitting on the ramp crying, that was genuine because I had no idea she was going to do it”

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Kay Lee certainly has more battles with Carmel under her belt than anyone on planet earth, but she also crossed Stevie’s path during the all couples feud between them and Carmel paired with her other half, Liam Thomson. A massively entertaining bit of inter gender goodness that led Stevie to experience something Kay Lee had a lot of experience dealing with. Carmel’s exceedingly sare kicks.

Stevie “It was good humoured, and again thats because of the couples thing. There’s freedom to do things you wouldnt normally be able to do with someone else. Some of the tour matches were a wee bit mad, but they were always a lot of fun. Working them was just effortless. They’re both so good. You get that quite a lot, Kay Lee probably more than me but ive noticed it with travelling about a lot recently. Sometimes you can walk into a locker room and folk are reluctant with ideas. With them it was just effortless. They didn’t even need to ask, one of them would find you and just tell you ideas they had for the match and usually we’d say aye ”

KLR “Carmel was the easiest person to work”

Stevie “She kicked like a motherfucker though. I thought she’d broke my ribs the first time she kicked me. It was the stomps. Then the penalty kicks, when she punted ye man. She knew how to kick”

KLR “Aye see ye learned. Ye learned not to feed. I’d take any move in the world off Carmel, but as soon as I seen that boot coming I was like ‘noooo’ ”

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In ICW intergender matches aren’t restricted. Both genders being allowed to freely scud each other stupid, as Stevie’s horror stories about Carmel’s kicks can attest. Kay Lee has plenty of experience in that area, as she almost perished thanks to a dangerous spot in the crowd during a match with Mikey Whiplash, which to use her words saw the venue “attack” her. The venue in question being the legendary Studio 24 in Edinburgh. A place where the walls had actual real human sweat glands somehow embedded into them

Stevie “I prefer the inter-gender stuff when its me and Kay Lee against two other guys. I feel that really pushes Kay Lee to bring out something different”

“We done inter-gender on the all-star tour recently and its a different ball game there. I wasn’t on any terms allowed to hit the female on the other team. We were in with a guy called Little Legs. Who’s a little person as well. I fuckin loved that. Would honestly do it every day of the week. I worked him for about 5 days in a row and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. Seriously, look up his stuff, he was in Harry Potter and all that. He’s so good”

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Both Kay Lee and Stevie were at the recent ICW show where none other than the man himself showed up. The beak. Big Hunter. Paul to his pals. Triple fuckin H”. A nerve racking experience but one that showed them both just how much of a special time in wrestling they exist in.

Kay Lee “When Triple H showed up everyone was nervous. I knew I had to cut a promo, and I thought theres nae way I can cut a promo in ICW without swearing. Luckily he hadn’t showed up yet, but cheers for dropping that on us on the day  anyway Dallas” *laughs*

Stevie “I could write anything down on a piece of paper right now. Anything wrestling, and it could legit happen in ICW. Thats how it is right now. We had Balor, Triple H. Anything can happen. Triple H showed up right before the interval, so a 20 minute interval became a 5 minute interval. He apologised because he couldn’t stick about as WWE were running just down the road that night but he didn’t need to come at all. It was nice of him to do even that. He was sitting backstage and you realised this is the first time he’s EVER appeared on an independent wrestling show. So we must be doing something right. We’re definitely still on the right course”

A unique accolade the pair hold is being a couple who have held the same singles title. Southside’s “Speed King” Title which Kay Lee Captured in 2014. Not unusual for a mainstay in the company who had made a habit of toeing the guy’s baws, but Stevie winning the same title this year proved to be a huge moment for him in his attempts to become a regular fixture in promotions down south. Although the fact that he isn’t everywhere already is a fuckin travesty.

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Kay Lee “I won it against Martin Kirby and for me that was some of my best stuff. He came to me with all these ideas and asked if I’d be up for them and I just said aye right away. I had so much fun working with him. Martin Kirby is one of my favourites. Great wrestler. He could wrestle a brush and it would be good. I think it would have been great no matter who I won it from, but working with him made it brilliant”

Stevie “I think he’s one of our joint favourites, he’s so good. It’s not really worked out for him in ICW yet, but thats not a slight on the company at all. I think they just need to let Kirby come in and be Kirby”

Stevie’s moment came as the title had been vacated due to Davey Richards inability to make it to a show. As much of a huge moment as it was for him, he had very little time to think about it due to the hectic schedule he and Kay Lee had undertaken that week.

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Stevie “Davey Richards had the title but couldn’t get to the show because of some kind of visa issue. So it was me and Chris Tyler, with the belt vacant. We were first on. 10 minute match. They told me I was going over.It was my first title in England so I was buzzin about that as well. It was one of they things that I didn’t really have time to think about it. We were on the Fight Club Pro show the night before and travelled there right after that so I didn’t really have time to even get nervous about it. ”

KLR “It’s strange that it never really occurred to me that we’ve both held that belt, because I remember saying to you when you won “Its heavy” ” *laughs*
“It is that. The promoter asked me if I wanted to take it home, and I was like “Mate, I don’t think my shoulder could even cope with that”

While that was his first piece of significant singles gold down south, Stevie has been vying for big time singles titles for a while now. A match with Red Lightning in 2013 with his ICW Title on the line proving to be another career favourite during Red’s brilliant title run where he really set the blueprint for villains in ICW.

Stevie “Andy still says its his favourite title defence. I loved it. Initially I panicked because of how big a match at was. Me used to being in a tag team and if I fuck up, some of the blame goes on other people, but this was all me. I don’t think there’s anyone better I could have been in the ring with in that situation than Andy. See if I can finish my career and they say I was half the heel that Andy was during that run, I’d be happy. He was like an EastEnders bad guy. So witty on the mic. See even now because he’s a Dad, and that transfers to his work, he’s unbelievable. Any segment Red Lightning is on you can guarantee I’m on the other side of the curtain watching. There was no one else that could have made that as good as it was. I think anyone else being the head of the company at the time might have dictated to me, wheras Andy was so open to everything. A lot of the ideas were my ideas and he was so receptive to it. As nervous as I was, I was eager to impress. I was madly in love with wrestling and wanted to go out there and do everything I could and instead of holding that back he encouraged. I’ll always look back on that as one of my favourites. Looking back on it now I could have been at the time like aye i can do this on my own, but i was very focused on the Buckies at that point.

Red Lightning isn’t the only veteran who has had an impact on Stevie. Kid Fite has also been a huge part of both Stevie and Kay Lee’s careers. Both of them citing the PBW promoter and ICW resident hardnut as a big part of the reason they’re still even involved in wrestling, never mind both of them being on WWE’s radar. While they started at Source Wrestling School, they both feel they were fine tuned under Kid Fite aka Ross Watson’s tutelage.

fito17Stevie “Ross is the reason I stuck at this. We were ready to leave wrestling, and Ross told us to come to training with PBW”

Kay Lee “We were 17 and we’d just moved into a flat, so we didn’t know where we were finding the money either, and Ross just goes “Know whit? Don’t worry about it, just come along” He started getting us bookings to get experience. We don’t give him enough credit. We’d done training but we needed the experience and he got us that experience”

Stevie “We knew how to wrestle. We had an idea of what it was, but he really fine tuned that”

Kay Lee “We did try and help him out a bit. Doing training sessions for him and stuff. But we were happy to do that because without him we might not still be doing this”

Stevie “He’s a gem of the guy. It might be a bit cheesy but he’s one of our guardian angels. He’s looked after us. He’s been brilliant in the ring lately as well. He done his shoulder around the same time as me, but he REALLY done himself and I think only now he’s really starting to get the confidence back and its showing. I wrestled him a few times since the injury and before there was definitely mental barriers there. He wasn’t the Kid Fite I met all those years ago, but he’s back to being that same guy now. I think the world of the guy. We argue and bump heids a lot but to me that just shows how close we are. That just means we are actually pals. He’s a master of getting on my nerves but I love him to bits for it”

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The Bucky Boys made up so much of Stevie’s early career, and with so much happening since their ultimate demise its important to never lose sight of how huge they were in building the ICW tag division, and launching the singles careers of its two members. A journey coloured with major moments, including the duo’s two ICW Tag Title reigns and that mesmerizing moment where Stevie attacked his best pal and ended the group for good. The destroyer that literally destroyed Davey

“Man. I mind me and Davey having to do a walking tour of London on the day of the first ICW show there and it was the worst day of my life man. We’d stayed up all night drinking the night before, and we had to go from the venue all through London. We got the belts that night as well in the triple threat with the SDS and The NAK”

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The night where it all ended was one that will go down in ICW folklore, as it signalled the beginning of the new NAK, and the beginning of a reign of terror Stevie hasn’t stopped since “Its mental. I’m getting the anniversary stuff coming up on Facebook since its Fear and Loathing time and some of the stuff is from 5, 6 years ago. I’m like no way man. I’m actually getting auld. I was a wean when I first started, and I’ve got grey hairs in my beard. I get asked about it a lot. Obviously I was young at the time and worked different jobs and everywhere I went there would be someone who knew me from The Bucky Boys. I wouldn’t change a second of it. Blaze is one of my best pals in the world. I love Neil to bits. Even the way it ended was brilliant. It was a story coming to a perfect ending. Blaze takes the destroyer brilliantly. For so long he was the one I couldn’t ever do it to, and when I finally did it was like “Maaaaaaate, that was amazin. You’ve got a natural talent for landing on yer heid”

The feud between the two ended up being centred around the ICW Zero-G Title as Stevie captured it in London not long before turning on Davey. His first singles title in ICW and a moment he will never forget. “Danny Hope won it the night before. It was something else I never really go the chance to think about, because I was told on the Friday and I wrestled every night from then to theat show on the Sunday. Literally until we walked into Koko and seen that we were all set up that it set in. This is actually happening then? I was overwhelmed a bit. It was a cool experience. Having a bit of support there made it special as well. I didn’t expect a reaction like that. The reception I got was amazing. BT Gunn got me a framed photo of it recently. After I won the title, David Wilson’s took a photo of me and I’m giving the finger. It’s up on my wall now. We’ve got a wall full of wee things from wrestling and that’s up there. It was just an epic experience. The reaction I got and even the messages afterwards was amazing. This all eyes on me. My first singles title in ICW. ”

That led to the former best pals having the huge accolade of opening the show when ICW sold out the famous SECC. A venue that could hold 3,000 more fans than their previous record attendance. The magnitude of that moment wasn’t lost on Stevie or his stomach, but a moment that a roaming camera got a bit too close too took none of the shine off what was an excellent match on a career changing stage.

“I wish we had a bit more interaction, but I liked the feud a lot aye. I think that SECC match was the only one we had so it would have been good to maybe have had one in the build up or something. They did do well to quite us quite separate, and most the times we came face to face it was more being involved with run ins and stuff. It was amazing to face him in the first match at the SECC. Considering where the company had came from, and where we had came from personally, to be out there in front of 4,000, wrestling my best mate, the guy I started with, was such a special feeling. Then I spewed ma ring in front of 4,000 people *laughs* ”

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Time must have stopped for Stevie in that moment, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of there. Anycunt who tells you wrestling in front of 4,000 wouldn’t  be never racking is a liar of the highest degree and should not be trusted. It was more the collision the former tag partner made when Davey went for a big dive that caused the moment, which Stevie recalled upon with good humour.

“I was really nervous beforehand and with us being on first, you’re anticipating going out. Waiting on it. They kept delaying it and that made it worse. You’re jumping from 1,200 people to 4,00 so its a big thing. I dump bottles of water over myself before going out, so there’s always water there. Out of nerves I kept picking up a bottle of water, taking a sip, putting it back down, and doing the same seconds later”

KLR “I remember coming up to him and telling him to stop drinking so much water before going out”

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Stevie “They kept  putting the start off so I kept drinking more and more. The match starts and I go out after Wee Man, Davey is supposed to hit me with the big Undertaker dive, but he clipped the top rope, so instead of catching him I just moved under him to give him something to land on. All of a sudden I find myself scudding off the barrier behind me and I said to Blaze ‘I’m gonnae be sick’ but I thought I could hold it. Two seconds later I’m having to lean over the side of the barrier to spew, and I just heard 4,000 collectively groan *laughs* and I’ve looked up to see the roaming camera zooming in on my face. ”

If time stopped for Stevie, his other half watching back stage was more concerned with saving her man’s blushes. Irate that the camera had zoomed in on him in his moment of vulnerability. Only calming words from the bold Mick Foley helped calm her in that moment. Tap hauners fae big Mick.
“I was going mental back stage. I could see he was going to spew so I’m screaming at the monitor backstage to get the fucking camera off him. It was actually Mick Foley who had to calm me down and tell me it was awrite”

Hitting a bad yin took none of the shine off that moment though. One that Stevie beams with pride when he speaks about. A genuine fondness for not just the match, but the moment where he was beaten and Davey got to soak in the adulation of a 4,000 strong crowd. Truly The Bucky Boys story coming full circle.

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“Even with that happening its one of my all time favourites. I loved every second of it. To hear the pop that Blaze got when he beat me with my own move. It was amazing that me and my mate got to go out and tear it up in the opening match of such a huge show. Another thing I remember is Duncan telling us not to touch the barriers when you come out. They were the venues so we’d need to pay for them. First thing Blaze does is fire me into one of them and we both fell through *laughs* the match has barely even started and I’m thinking ‘I’m already in debt!” I owe this company money and I’ve just walked out the curtain”

The Bucky Boys did briefly re-unite in ICW for some marquee matches. As two of the top villains in the company it made sense for them to come together, and it also made plenty of sense for it to not become a permanent arrangement. With both parties already off on their own directions as singles wrestlers.

“We had a few matches recently and its one of those things. We clicked again right away, but at the same time I never wanted it to be full-time again. I feel like I’m till only getting started with the solo stuff. As cool as it was, I never wanted us being back together to be the end of that. It turns out it wasn’t and it was just a part of the story”

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The trials and tribulations of road life for Stevie and Kay Lee will certainly stand them in good stead if WWE ever do come calling. A thought that does cross both of their minds with Kay Lee recently making an impact as part of the Mae Young Classic as well as Stevie taking part in a WWE tryout recently. As tough as life on the road can be, finding enjoyment in the time spent together and with pals helps, and keeps the enthusiasm for doing it permanently one day strong.

Kay Lee “I feel like i was kind of just on autopilot with all the travelling we’ve done recently, so WWE would be the same on a bigger scale. I cant moan about it because this is what we’re meant to do”

Stevie “When you think about it, we could be doing anything else, sitting in an office getting screamed at, so that makes all the travel and stuff much easier. Especially doing it with each other. ”

Kay Lee “I was booked down in Manchester and I asked if he wanted to come with me recently. We went a wee jaunt, had a rerr day, I done a wrestle, and we came hame. It was lovely. You’ve got to count your blessings and enjoy it. If it becomes a grind and you stop enjoying it, that’s when it really becomes work. We would much rather be doing this even with all the travel than doing absolutely anything else. ”

That being said, if the opportunity arose for one or both, they are more than willing to jump at it. As Stevie said, if Vinny Mac comes through the door with that contract, it’s getting signed. Although hopefully Berty the Pug’s name would be on there too.

Kay Lee “I’ve never turned down any opportunities in wrestling. I think its silly to do that. People can be reluctant. People can even be reluctant about WWE. Thinking it means they need to go back to training every day and all that. You know what I’d actually really like that. Especially if I was earning good money into the bargain. It would be nice to have that structure. We do all the same things as signing with WWE would entail, but it would be nice to have a bit more of a structure about it. I’d definitely love to end up there, but its not everything”

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Stevie “That’s obviously the main goal. It’s the reason we all do this. I’ve got other goals for now that I’m focused on but it’s always in the back of my mind. They’re aware of me, I’m aware of them. I’ve always wanted to travel the world while doing this, and I can do that without WWE, but see if Vinnie Mac walked in one day, handed me a contract and said “right Stevie, stick yer signature on that” I’d be like “hand it over”. Its Viper that keeps you positive man. She keeps saying it “life is good” and great having that positivity. We travel with her quite a lot and its great to have that. You can be in the car after tour. Everyones seizing up. You’re sore, and she turns and goes “Aye but, think about what we’re doing right now” and it makes you think of it in a more positive light again. Its taken a long time to get here, I’ve been doing this for 12 years but its getting to a point where I feel like aye. Its happening. I’ve started to travel a bit more around the rest of the UK, so thats my goal for now. Winning the speed king and debuting for Fight Club, I think that’s broke down a bit of a barrier for me when it comes to doing that. Going back to the tryout, the only slightly disappointing aspect was that they don’t give feedback. Iwent in with the mindset that they’d tell you what you needed to be doing, but they don’t do feedback. As long as I know I’m going forward, I’m happy. I’m making my own name”

KLR “Its a situation that I’d love it to happen but if it never did, I’d be very happy with what I’ve done in my career. ”

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One thing the pair will perhaps want to tick off the bucket list is something neither have done yet. The grand finale for this interview. Usually I don’t really structure them to come to a particular conclusion but this was special. This was a rare moment in time where it was absolutely acceptable to ask a couple if they wanted to fight each other and I had to cash in on that. So far we’d petted a dug, chatted about Rick and Morty, shattered any illusions about Stevie being actually filthy by discussing a mutual love of staying in the shower for fuckin ages and I even got offered a bit of Haggis Pakora. The rules were oot the windae long before we got to the grand finale, but when I dropped that question in, the buzz that came from them both secured it as a sure fire winner. A slam dunk as they say in baseball. Do you ever want to feud with each other?

Kay Lee “Actually since the FSM thing, we have actually been in a match together. It was a multi man thing for Fight Club Pro. We had a wee kiss at the start, done a wee tag move, then he tried to chuck me out the ring to steal the win.

Stevie  “I tried to do ma burd and win the match *laughs*. I didn’t though. I lost. But the intention was there. If any booker is willing to book it I would happily punch lumps out my burd”

Kay Lee “Ye know what, I’m probably the only burd you could say that about and people would say ‘Aye I’d quite like to see that actually’ *laughs*. I like the fact that nobody will go ‘Ooh that shouldnae be happening”. I do appreciate that, as much as it usually comes with me getting kicked in the face”

Stevie “One thing I liked at Fight Club was that we came out to same music, so hers had played and then when I’m coming out they start giving it ‘You fucked up’ before they realised *laughs* but yeah. I’d relish getting the chance to punch lumps out my burd”

Kay Lee “I think it would be a great match as well. It would just be a case of getting us against each other somehow, but we’d both do it in a heartbeat”

Stevie “If anyone emailed me tomorrow saying I want to book you vs Kay Lee Ray, I’d be like ‘send me the date!” its something we’re definitely up for doing”

So there you have it troops. They’re enagaged to be married yet want to batter each other in a wrestling ring, and if that doesn’t make them extra endearing to you, I’m afraid there’s little hope for you as a fan of this wrestling carry on.

Oh aye btw. They’re engaged. They just casually dropped that in there somewhere along the way. Brought a dug, great news, and a fuckin top interview. Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray. Certified good cunts.

Was a pleasure chatting to Stevie, Kay Lee, and of course Berty. They brought a fuckin dug. Other wrestling people I interview need to somehow top that. Maybe a bear? Aye. Next wrestler I interview needs to bring a bear or at least a wolf or the interview does not go ahead. 

Huge thank you to David J.Wilson and Warrior for the pictures used. And anyone else who’s pictures I might have used. If you would like credited and I’ve no done it, send me a message and I’ll rectify that heinous error. 

See the t-shirt pictured way at the start there. BUY IT HERE

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PREVIEW: ICW Women’s Title Match INSIDE A 15 FOOT HIGH STEEL CAGE

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I was trying to be JR wae the title there, did it work? Wis it Oklahoman AF? Anyway. The  thing about the lead up to Fear and Loathing I’ve enjoyed the most is that all of the big matches have been built up perfectly. This one is no different. Kay Lee Ray won the title at The Hydro last year, taking it from Carmel before she retired in front of 6000+, in a match that also involved Viper. It was an emotional moment for all involved, but Viper you’re a dafty if you think Viper’s forgotten. She was almost an afterthought as Carmel lavished praise on Kay Lee Ray and herself while Viper sat simmering and beltless. Still bemoaning the loss of the title she became the first ever winner of at the SECC a year earlier, the flame never stopped burning. In her eyes that’s still her belt. The desire to get it back has never been stronger. Its almost as if Viper stepped in to Carmel’s role as the Kay Lee Ray’s constant foe in this mad wrestling world. No matter what else she’s involved in, her and Viper are drawn together. Anytime they’re in the same building, hands will be thrown. Something will most certainly go down and one if not both of them are coming out the other end of it missing a tooth or five.

Kay Lee’s battles with Kasey have been more of a recent concern for her, but the ferocity of the matches in that feud probably makes it feel like they’ve been trying to kill each other for a lot longer. Their matches over the Shug’s House Party 4 weekender were huge for Kasey. Showing she was capable of stepping up when it mattered the most, and holding the title with conviction after her two victories over Kay Lee. Any win over one of the best wrestlers in the world is a big thing, but doing it twice in a row in entirely different circumstances is something else. An incredible platform that shes taken full advantage of. Her reign might not have lasted long, but the circumstances she lost it in should give her a fire in her belly. In a captivating main event at a recent Garage show, Kay Lee took full advantage of the vast array of hairy hauners she has at her disposal in Stevie Boy and recent Filthy Generation recruits Lewis Girvan and Aspen Faith, and despite some hauners provided on Kasey’s behalf halting the inevitable, Kay Lee eventually took back the title in a main event that could easily rival anything ICW have put on all year.

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Even Kasey and Viper have a bit of an issue with each other. Kasey beating Viper to earn her shot at Shug’s was a rare defeat for the vixen of violence and one that kept her away from one of the biggest shows in ICW’s calendar. Not something she’ll have forgotten. So the rivalries are there. The only thing missing was some kind of structure to the whole thing. Something to keep all the shenanigans away. Well shenanigans excluding folk jumping from 15 feet in the air because we’ll probably see plenty of that as this huge encounter takes place inside A MOTHERFUCKIN STEEL CAGE. I know this isn’t news. Even if you didn’t know before you opened this page, its in the title but still. Its a big enough deal to give it the all caps treatment. Nae danger.

It would be patronising to say its a big deal because its an all female steel cage match, and to me that’s not why its big. Its nice that these opportunities are coming to female talents more often as a result of this big women’s revolution carry on, but to me this is huge because its three very talented people being given a huge spotlight. Anytime a steel cage is involved in ICW it takes centre stage and being involved in a match like this as opposed to a straight up triple threat somewhere else on the show gives it the opportunity to truly steal the show. To be the match that everyone stoats out the venue buzzing about.

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Wrestling at its very best is when you are completely lost in it. Not over analysing every wee detail. Being there and being involved in it. Its that feeling that you’re witnessing something that you wont ever see the like of again. The three women involved in this match have been involved in so many of those moments its hard to imagine this match being anything but excellent. One of those moments was Viper herself becoming embroiled in her man DCT’s battle with Bram inside the steel cage, and her exploits that night represents the only experience any of the three have with the dangerous structure. Perhaps a slight advantage for her going in, but Kay Lee Ray is not one to back down from an opportunity to produce something you wont soon forget. Her match with Mikey Whiplash in Edinburgh happened the best part of 4 years ago yet fans still fervently discuss the events of that scrap. Namely the event that saw Kay Lee launched arse first into the crowd, with a sickening landing that felt like it had certainly caused her premature demise. She got up and won the match but. Cause she’s Kay Lee fuckin Ray. That’s what she does.

This match certainly represents something historic in ICW and in the careers of the three women involved but I don’t think it being historic will matter a fuck to any of them if the match isn’t a show stealing belter and that’s why I think it will be exactly that. A culmination of a lot of hard work building a story that will come to a dangerous, not to mention probably very sare, conclusion.

Seriously. Three wumin who proper hate each other jumping about a steel cage. Buy a ticket. Immediately https://www1.ticketmaster.co.uk/icw-fear-loathing-x-glasgow-19-11-2017/event/3600517298384AB0

Preview: ICW Fear And Loathing X – Joe Coffey vs BT Gunn – Champion vs Champion

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It had to be them. When your company holds its biggest show of the year. Even the biggest show in its history, you don’t leave the workhorses on the bench. You don’t leave the two guys who have been the very best in ring performers in the company for going on 4 years now on the sidelines. You don’t leave your two deadliest strikers farting about the midfield. The 2015 Wrestler Of The Year vote came down to a handful of votes between these two because they went out and killed it every single fuckin time and have continued doing so since. In fact naw, they’ve done it since the very first time both of them stepped in an ICW ring and that’s why they are two of only four people to have more than one reign as ICW Champion. When the big show comes around, don’t pick the team based on reputations. Don’t pick it because of what folk have done before. Pick it on current form. Pick the guys who are firing on all cylinders and as a result, are making the titles they hold seem hugely important. Pick Champion vs Champion. Pick Joe Coffey vs BT Gunn for AW the belts.

Joe has had some absolute stormers of late with the title on the line, and while no one could really see the likes of big Keith Lee or Moose taking the title and replacing The Iron King in the main event at The Hydro, Joe overcoming them in outstanding bouts while still retaining that villainous aura has made the title feel like the biggest prize in Independent pro wrestling again. Its a role that suits him, sitting on top of the pile, inviting anyone from any corner of the earth of thinks they have what it takes to come and have a shot at the shiny. BT Gunn on the other hand has been riding the wave of emotion that came with him winning the Zero-G Title and in turn, becoming ICW’s first ever triple crown winner. Grand slammer. Jaw tanner. The fuckin guy. His achievement happened after he toppled the first and currently only ever 3 time holder of the Zero-G Title Kenny Williams, and since then those two massive things happening back to back that title has felt huge, and in turn it makes this match feel more like a unification than the the top guy of one division taking on the top guy from another. The Zero-G title is no longer something you’ll see Joe Coffey opt out of winning as he once did back in 2013 when he was involved in the a multi man match with the title on the line and decided he plain wasn’t interested. It wasn’t the one he was after, but now? He wants it just as bad as BT Gunn wants to become the first ever three time ICW Champion. Because winning it makes him the undisputed top dog.

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While they have high level performances in the ring very much in common, their paths to this massive match have been very different. Joe had cultivated a huge following over the past few years based on his eye catching matches and crowd pleasing mannerisms. Beating the chest, and being a walking advert for the marvel movies made him the most effective good guy in ICW by a distance. He was so good that it made Red Lightnings job as the authority figure trying to hold him down so much easier. Red is a guy who is already very good at his job, and having such a natural good guy to aim his heinous words at was perfect. The stuff between Joe Coffey and Red Lightning has been consistently great because they bounce off each other so well. Joe continually fighting for spots he rightly feels he deserves, while Red constantly represents the chosen ones holding him back. The auld pals act. As long as the likes of Red Lightning existed, there was no beating the system, so Joe decided to join them instead. Joe decided that no matter how hard he fought, even if he made it to the mountain top there would be some bastard up there ready to knock him all the way down, so he decided the buy in. Fuck it.

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They’re not trying to save pro wrestling like they did in 2013. Their alliance then ended when Joe first showed signs of becoming the all conquering hero by unceremoniously stuffing tenners in Red Lightnings gub moments after he had lost his ICW Title to Mikey Whiplash. Tearing into him for valuing money over pride. It seems almost poetic that now he fights alongside Red with the mighty dolla at the forefront of their thinking. As a unit thats what its all about for them. Making racks, and laughing at any geek who tries to get in their way. The only thing is, BT Gunn is far from a geek. He’s been the best kept secret in British Wrestling for years now and is finally getting the rub his talent deserves.  Companies chucking gold at him from all angles. He built up a menacing reputation as an unhinged baddie with the NAK and it was the perfect fit for him at the time. As part of that chaotic unit he was able to have superb matches all over the shop, flying under the radar as one of the very best because he was always part of something bigger. The NAK vs Legion feud has some of BT Gunns best work tucked away in it, and he continually had singles matches that caught the eye but it was the demise of the NAK and the almost awkward split between him and Renfrew that saw him take a different path, and in turn, saw him find his voice.

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The silent assassin thing works well when you have a mouthpiece like Renfrew who can flesh out the character a bit with words, while BT backed it up constantly by being a stone cold killer in the ring, but when the split happened BT needed to stand alone. Even if its infrequent, he needs his voice to be heard and ever since he cut that promo challenging Joe to the match at The Hydro he’s become something else. No longer quietly one of the best out there, he is out and proud. The fatal four way match for the WWE UK Championship at Shugs House Party 4 cemented it. He really made you feel like he might actually win it and that’s a special thing. The audience completely bought in to the idea that BT Gunn was going to walk out of that match as champion and walk in to Vince’s office the next day demanding a job. How could he refuse the guy who overcame three of the most vital cogs in this UK division before literally stoating in with your property around his waist because he fuckin earned it.

No matter who comes out on top, there will be a lot of eyes on this match and rightly so. It deserves that spot at the very top of the bill. A pair of Glasgow’s own, in the main event of the biggest wrestling show Glasgow has ever seen, with the eyes of the world watching. Is there anything better than that? Besides smack, but smack kills.

Huge thank you to David J.Wilson for the photos used as per. Man’s a genius

Getting sick saying it now, but buy tickets here. Go to the show. It’ll be smashin. Wrestling. Beers with straws. I’m sure they serve pizza somewhere in The Hydro. Whit ye waiting for? https://www1.ticketmaster.co.uk/icw-fear-loathing-x-glasgow-19-11-2017/event/3600517298384AB0

PREVIEW: ICW Fear And Loathing X – Lionheart vs Rob Van Dam vs Zack Gibson

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When Joe Hendry beat Lionheart at Shugs House Party 4, something happened. Something that no amount of steering the story in a certain direction could stop. After years of derision aimed in Lionheart’s direction and a solid year+ of him being straight up called a fanny time and time again by hundreds and at times thousands of people, the people loved him again. Maybe not all of them, but a large enough percentage to see one of the most interesting things wrestling has to offer happen in front of our very eyes. The auld double turn. Baddie becomes goodie, goodie becomes baddie. Hero becomes villain, villain becomes hero. The whole landscape changed for Lionheart that night and it led to an opportunity he had more than earned. The big bout at The Hydro with the whole fuckin show. Rob Van Dam.

The difficult thing about it is that Rob Van Dam very much fits in with what ICW are and what the fans want it to be, so they are instantly geared up to cheer for him. That’s why you get the likes of him involved in a show like this, because a lot of fence sitters end up pulling the trigger on getting tickets because of folk like RvD. People who haven’t bothered their arse with wrestling for years see him on a poster and think it might be for them again. If folk are geared up to cheer for him and you put him in there with a guy who people are only starting to enjoy cheering for again after a long hiatus from doing so, the whole equation lacks a vital thing. A thing it needs to really feel like something more than two guys who love a frog splash and a sexy big dropkick. It needed to be a bit nastier. It needed the best villain in the United Kingdom today. Step furrit, Zack Gibson.

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Over the past year and a half, Zack Gibson has gone from an occasional visitor who would impress without making a lasting impression, to one of the most engaging talents in ICW. A huge part of him carving out that reputation was something so simple it seems almost effortless when he does it. That promo. If you’ve not heard it before I’m sure you will SOOOOOOON (sorry). You see, Zack Gibson is Liverpool’s Number One. That’s already recognised, but SOOOOOON we will recognise he’s ICWs number one and shortly after that the whole fuckin world will recognise how good he is. There’s only so long you can ignore such a convincing self proclamation before you begin to realise its not just a promo. Its not hyping up something that isn’t there. Zack Gibson is one of the very best and absolutely stands alone as the best villain in the UK right now. He has an uncanny ability to spark the most apathetic crowd to become united in their hatred of HIM. That bad bastard who verbally dismantles your heroes before he sets about snapping their arm off and slapping them with their own hand.

While Lionheart’s feud with Joe Hendry showed him in his very best light and earned him this opportunity, there’s no doubt Gibson’s feud with Kenny Williams over the Zero-G Title was a big part of him having such a big match on the big show. Without that, he might have had to settle for another spot in a big multi man stramash but with the greatest of respects to that type of match and the competitors in the ladder match this year, he has earned something better. The strength of his work this year has made him part of the brickwork at ICW and while he was unable to wrestle due to injury, his scathing words towards Lionheart on ICW’s recent tour shows have made this match feel massive. Lionheart has had to listen to the same pish that he’s had aimed at him for donkeys but no matter how similar the content of Gibson’s barbs are to that of many others who have tried to tear Hearto down before, he delivers it in a way that you could fully see the recipient of his verbal doing losing the fuckin plot and going apeshit. In Lionheart’s case, his version of going apershit was taking an already hugely dangerous opponent in Rob Van Dam and saying to himself “know what we need instead of this mad bastard? this mad bastard AND a vicious Scouser who’s gonnae try and break my arm”

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That’s the mad bit about this. Lionheart DEMANDED Gibson be added to this match. Gibson after all insisted him not wrestling on tour was HIS choice because he was raging that “LionMark” (ready made dope tag name if we ever get that Hearto n Mark Coffey tag team no one knew they needed till right now) already had that match at The Hydro while he had fuck all. That palpable rage supposedly led to him pretty much going on strike until he got what he wanted and Lionheart took the bait as all good heroes are supposed to. That’s what makes this match loaded with intrigue because this was supposed to be Lionheart’s big moment of redemption. The moment he wanted his comeback from that horrendous neck injury to be. The crowd go wild for him, he beats the big ECW legend, and the adulation from all corners comes pouring in the weeks and months that follow. Another bastard of a baddie has come along to fuck with that and that disrespect should not and will not be treated lightly. Lionheart isn’t going in to this for a fun wee jump about with RvD any more, he’s going in for the biggest test of his wrestling career, looking to unleash retribution that leaves Gibson SOOOON to be recognised by his dental records alone.

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While Gibson and Lionheart’s feud has taken centre stage in the build up to this, Rob Van Dam has an opportunity to cement himself as one of those “imports” who never really felt like one. Like Paul London and Brian Kendrick who came in and instantly felt like they belonged, RvD ‘s appearance may well be the start of many marquee matches involved The Whole F’in Show. For me, having two top talents in there with him gives him more of an opportunity to impress. Years of jumping into and off of things that a human being really shouldn’t be jumping in to and off of has likely taken its toll on his body, not to mention years of partaking in the consumption of a certain herb that makes ye really like eatin cheeseburgers taking a toll on his cardio. Having two others in there who are locked in a deeply personal feud meaning all eyes aren’t always on him gives him the chance to get in amongst it and show The Hydro the very best of RVD when he chooses to. Some well timed dives on to Gibson and Lionheart while they heider each other to the brink of death. Remember this isn’t just a guy who was one of yer ECW cult heroes, this is a guy who had an arena so united in their support of him that they were ready to fuckin murder John Cena if he dared beat their man. This is a superstar we’re dealing with here and ye know whit, its a guy I’ve just got a major soft spot for so it is. He’s that rare type of wrestler who doesn’t just entertain, he sparks the imagination of his audience as well. He makes anything seem possible.

If you aren’t planning on coming to The Hydro, and the image of Rob Van Dam attempting to break up a fight between a Scotsman and an Englishman by utilising aw sorts of mad fly kicks doesn’t change your thinking then I dunno mate. Maybe this wrestling carry on isnae for you.

Seriously, scoop up some tickets right here. Still available so they are. http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/icw-fear-loathing-x-glasgow-19-11-2017/event/3600517298384AB0

PREVIEW: ICW Fear And Loathing X – Kenny Williams vs Rey Mysterio

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Maryhill will always be a big part of ICW’s history. Its where the whole thing began after all, but somewhere along the line the company outgrew it and as a result new talent will never really know what its like to make their first impression on the company in that historic place. The growth of the company means that teeth are cut under the bright lights of The Garage now, and while that’s where Kenny Williams did make his ICW debut, it was a one-off show in Maryhill where he really opened people’s eyes to what he could do. In a match that on paper could just have been the purveyors of anarchy the NAK (the Renfrew, BT Gunn and Divers version) knocking the living fuck out of Team CK (Kenny as “Kenneth” teaming with former ICW wrestler Christopher) for a laugh, but they found something that night. Maryhill seems to have this power that if properly tapped in to, can take a performer to a new level. This was a crowd absolutely geared up to hate this wee walking quiffs in skintight chinos. They were so against ICW’s deep rooted ethos of not giving a fuck what anyone thought that watching borderline hooligans like the NAK batter them would represent a joyful experience. Almost a release at the end of a hard week. Yet many of the crowd that night got behind the quiffs. Many of the crowd that night realised that Kenny is indeed the bollocks. They dived all over Maryhill that night and took their tanking like warriors. Kenny in particular. While it was a losing effort that night, the respect they earned caused at least one of their careers to skyrocket.

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That night proved to be a launchpad for him personally, and while his tag partner seemed to vanish off the face of the earth, Kenny got better and better. Almost as if they were twins and Kenny decided to scran Christopher in the womb in order to absorb his wrestling power. It soon became obvious that no matter how hard he and manager James R.Kennedy tried, that Kenny Williams was not a baddie. Not by any stretch of the imagination. As soon as “Kenny Is The Bollocks” became a thing and had its own merch line, it was over for any  notion of that and slowly we began to get full blown good guy Kenny. The heir to the Zero-G throne. When he eventually did become to one to permanently usurp Mark Coffey from the top of that division it just felt right. A natural progression. As much as Mark Coffey absolutely owned it and made the division his own, he’s not a “Zero-G” guy. The name of that title was very much designed for the likes of Kenny, who isnae yer Will Ospreay doing aw sorts of 450s and making ye dizzy type of Zero-G but almost glides through the air effortlessly on that back elbow and works with a pace and precision that makes it look like he isn’t affected by gravity. Literally Zero-G.

Over the past three years he’s set about that division like Tommy Robinson sets about any civilian no wearing a giant poppy as a hat. After an excellent first reign where he held the gold for the best part of a year, he embarked on a seemingly endless journey to re-capture it, leading to the worst slump in his ICW career in the lead up to the last Hydro show before he won the Stairway To Heaven match. His second reign saw for me his strongest one on one feud take place with the best baddie in the UK right now, Zack Gibson. A feud that cemented both as two of the very best in the company and UK in general, and a feud that seemed genuinely bitter at points, with both men stealing the title when they didn’t hold it as they genuinely believed it belonged to them. Their battles elevated both the title itself and the performers involved to the point that while Kenny might not hold the championship going in to the show, its one of the prizes up for grabs in the main event, while both Gibson and Kenny are part of two huge matches elsewhere on the card. A rare case of both performers and the title itself emerging from a feud stronger than any of them were before it happened.

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A vital cog in making all of that possible was Lionheart. A guy who was so good as a baddie when he had the title, that the release when Kenny toppled him at The Hydro last year was almost therapeutic. His masterful work during that run definitely earned him his place in the three way dance with Gibson and RVD, but his role in making Kenny vs Rey have such a big time feel shouldn’t be diminished. Kenny toppling Lionheart reminded everyone just how untouchable as an out and out hero he can be and when he overcame Gibson in a ladder match to seal a history making third reign with the title that’s been synonymous with his name, it almost felt like it was his time when BT Gunn toppled him a night later. This is always what he was meant to do at The Hydro and a match of that magnitude needs nothing to fight for other than the pride of winning it. In case it had escaped your attention, Rey Mysterio is a bonafide wrestling legend. Beating him would propel Kenny to something else. Something that might see his next appearance on RAW as the guy fighting Samoa Joe instead of the security guy haudin the big man back from dishin oot a scheme bootin.

Much like when Joe Coffey stood toe to toe with Kurt Angle last year, this type of match needs a venue like The Hydro. Well maybe not “needs”, it would be great anywhere but it DESERVES The Hydro. It deserves that stage because Kenny Williams has built a reputation as one of the best at his particular style of this wrestling caper and he gets to prove that on a massive stage against a guy who broke down barriers for guys Kenny’s size. He showed the world that even if you weigh half of the guy you’re fighting, if ye jump aboot enough he’ll get heavy dizzy, and if you aim for the knees a lot, you might even put some of these big oak tree lookin bastards on their arse. If Rey Mysterio can hurricanrana Triple H clean over the top rope to win the Royal Rumble en route to becoming a World Champion, Kenny Williams surely has it in him to beat Rey himself and earn a World Title of his own one day. He’ll be hoping that day is not too far in the future but for now a win over a living legend will probably do.

Cheers as always to David J.Wilson for the photos. 

Get tickets for The Hydro right here and see Kenny elbow Rey’s wee heart clean oot his chist – https://www1.ticketmaster.co.uk/icw-fear-loathing-x-glasgow-19-11-2017/event/3600517298384AB0

PREVIEW: ICW Fear And Loathing X – Polo Promotions vs The Marauders

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Some matches just feel, I dunno….right. ICW could have done a lot of things with the tag team titles. They could have got a big name in like last year, even making this a triple threat and maybe getting more casual eyes on two of the best teams in the UK. They could have made it one of they four corners matches that naecunt remembers ever and chucked The Kinky Party and Kings Of Catch in there rather than having them in separate matches, but it wouldnt have been as good as the two separate matches will undoubtedly be. Its a testament to how well Bird and Boar have been established as genuine threats to Polo Promotions reign as the top guys in the tag division, that this could only be one team vs another. Nae shenanigans. Nae pals. Nae Iestyn (card always subject to Iestyn right enough) just two teams settling it once and for all. The fitness tests have been completed and Mark Coffey isnae feeling dizzy this time boyos. If toppling the legendary Dudley Boyz with a scoop slam last year was a buzz, winning back the tag team titles is the whole fuckin bee hive. The word “destiny” is chucked about too much in wrestling, but winning them back on the grandest stage of em all feels like “destiny” for Polo Promotions. It feels like their moment to have all eyes on them while they celebrate auld pals, just being auld pals….with shiny belts.

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When I first clapped eyes on Jackie Polo, a large percentage of the audience had chosen NOT to clap eyes on him. Having only been to Celtic games and a couple of dozen gigs in my time until that first show, it was a surreal experience to see paying patrons willingly not watch the action they had paid to watch. So repulsed they were by “The King Of Chat” they chose to face the bar instead. It took a few shows to grasp what was going on, but when the penny dropped it was life changing. They were doing it because he had them eating out the palm of his hand. The same way he had them with the Lionheart This Is Your Life segment at the first ever Shug’s House Party where he had a large percentage of the crowd positively ragin’to the point they were ready to start flinging cups filled with their sweet, angst ridden tears toward the ring as if they’d just witnessed Hulk Hogan turning heel. Bad guy, good guy, chat show host guy, commentator guy, whatever hat Jackie Polo sticks on in the wrestling, he’s a fucking maestro at it. The fact that all that genius happened BEFORE Polo and best pal Mark Coffey took over the tag team division makes their legacy all the more impressive.

You see, Mark Coffey had done not too badly for himself as a solo act either. After going his separate ways from his brother and current ICW Champion Joe, Mark made the Zero-G division his own, holding the title on two separate occasions for over a year all in. A loss to the man now known as Finn Balor the only blip before he eventually surrendered the title to Kenny Williams for good. The level of support Mark received when he was handed an ICW Title shot against Trent Seven earlier in the year on a random Garage show shows you just how high Mark is regarded amongst the ICW fans and especially his colleagues. For the most part during his Zero-G run he also portrayed the bad guy, yet he was just that good in the ring that fans gravitated towards him. Individually they were great, but as a unit Polo Promotions bring the very best of each other to the forefront. A bond that only being real life best pals can form.

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A match can’t feel this important on its own, and it would be remiss of me or anyone else to diminish just how brilliant Bird and Boar have been since establishing themselves as a proper rival to Polo Promotions in the ICW Tag Division. Until the 3 on 2 match at Shug’s, they were the first team who put a consistent streak of getting the better of the Polos together and even then they’d argue the only reason Jackie and Mark toppled them that night was the endless array of hauners they called upon to get the job done. An argument that becomes void when they have a sentient statue of a guy called Iestyn Rees in their corner all the time, but for that night only they could at least claim the numbers advantage wasn’t in their favour. As much as Polo Promotions getting the job done feels like something that just HAS to happen, imagine what the win would do for Bird and Boar going forward? The one’s who usurped the Polo’s and secured their spot as ICW’s premier tag team in the same building greats like 50 Cent, Gary Tank Commander and Prince have plied their trade. It would be a fitting end to a feud that in their eyes, they’ve always had the upper hand in. In their eyes, that night in the ABC was a mere blot on the copybook and The Hydro isn’t going to be them standing by watching the Polo’s fulfill their “destiny” but instead represents a chance at redemption for Bird and Boar for the events of that night.

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A stunned silence followed Bird and Boar’s coronation as tag champs in Newcastle when the crowd who hadn’t seen Polo Promotions beaten in ICW for over a year, finally saw them toppled in brutal circumstances. The first thing that personally caught my eye about Bird and Boar was that brilliant double team finisher and when Mrs Patterson got her revenge that night the air of invincibility about Polo Promotions was clouded in doubt for the first time in a very long time. That vulnerability led to a wee period of turmoil with Scotlands BEEEEST tag team seemingly on the verge of splitting after a tough loss to The Kings Of Catch in Edinburgh. The thing about that is, as powerful as wrestling can be in making and breaking friendships, it can’t touch ones that existed before wrestling did. It can’t touch blood brothers who care about each other more than they care about their spot on the card, and that is what truly sets Polo Promotions apart.

polosmarauderssWell that and the way they crowd react to them. A team who seemingly stand for all that is good and pure, getting told to “get tae fuck” by half the audience is a phenomenon to say the least. One that Jackie’s past in the company perhaps covets, but even at that, its been a long time since anyone faced the bar cause Polo was on. Its been a long time since he was the guy who snuck a wee Hillsborough reference in to a promo in Liverpool (and lived to tell the tale, all the more impressively) but that ability to get a reaction of some kind no matter what is a skill that cannot be taught. A skill that makes anything involving him must see.

No matter if you’re “Polo Promotions” or inexplicably “get tae fuck”, this match matters. It matters because the performers in it make it matter and considering the performers are an all Scottish tag team up against an all Welsh tag team, it makes it all the more captivating to see. Nae Young Bucks required to make this something worth your ticket money, just two sets of folk who have been pals since they were young bucks (that was such terrible patter, I apologise) going toe to toe for the gold. Nae stipulations, nae wildcards this time, nae imports, nae shenanigans, just two of the best tag teams in the UK going at it in a match that truly matters.

Buy tickets for The Hydro using the link below. Or be a dafty and don’t.

http://www.ticketmaster.co.uk/icw-fear-loathing-x-glasgow-19-11-2017/event/3600517298384AB0?bba=1

 

Wrestling Is Mental Right Now And Its The Best Thing Ever

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Photo Credit – Jim Maitland Of Turning Face (Twitter @Jim_TurningFace)

When WWE announced the UK Championship Tournament a lot of eyebrows were raised. Sceptics wondered if their motives were pure and if they would continue to invest time and money in the UK wrestling scene after the tournament, many suspecting they would instead plunder all the best talent, use them poorly, and return them as soulless husks of their former selves. A wolf without a gang, a Pete who’s truly dunne. Trent three and a half. Tyler wishing he hadn’t taken the bate. Many believed its only purpose was to kill off a potential rival in World Of Sport, and once they had successfully curtailed the success of that venture, they’d continue being blissfully unaware of just how much talent there is on this wee island. Instead choosing to invest their time in folk who who’ve never chucked a back elbow in anger once they’ve given up trying to make it doing something else. Any question of that being the case was undoubtedly punted to fuck when Triple H emerged at an ICW tour show for no particular reason other than to just be there. Opportunity dictated that it would be easy enough for him to do that due to WWE running in Cardiff on the very same day, but that being the case makes the fact that he did appear all the more fucking amazing. Not to mention exciting. He deliberately put eyes and ears on someone elses product the very same day they were running in the same city as WWE, imagine someone told you there was even a remote possibility of that back in the day where any comapany who came within pishin distance of WWE was swiftly vanquished. These are heady days indeed.

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Ye see, in case its escaped you, Triple H is the heir to the throne. Vince McMahon will be the patriarch of WWE until his body and/or mind gives out (Vince McMahon dying is an actual real life thing that will happen believe it or not, although the manner in which he took an absolute scudding aff Kevin Owens would suggest that time will not be soon) but Triple H is laying the ground work with the view to becoming the main guy one day, and along with wife Stephanie Mcmahon, running the whole operation eventually. As Executive Vice President of talent and live events, he already handles a lot of the day to day running of it, and oversees the wildly successful NXT brand, which is essentially WWE’s old developmental system on steroids.

The recent influx of talent on NXT even before the UK Championship tournament suggests that important people have had their eyes on ICW, Progress and the like for a long time. Killian Dain was the ICW World Champion less than a year before making his Wrestlemania debut in the Andre The Giant Memorial battle royal, where he made it to the final three. Nikki Storm was once an ICW regular before becoming Nikki Cross, and has portrayed a strong character in NXT pretty much from the moment she walked in the door, being one of the founding members of Sanity, a stable led by Eric Young that Dain would also go on to join. While the UK wrestling scene cant claim Aleister Black as one of their own, there’s no doubt the impact Tommy End made in the UK with places like ICW and Progress were a big part of the reason he was drafted in too. In fact, as John Lister recently tweeted, of the matches announced for the latest NXT takeover special, each and every one has an ICW alumni involved. Arguably the most notable ICW alumni of all, Drew Mcintyre is the latest to be given the “ball”, and when you consider the fact that Finn Balor, Shinsuke Nakamura, Kevin Owens, Bobby Roode and Neville as among the illustrious list of former NXT Champions, it brings that achievement into perspective and lets you know what WWE have planned for Drew’s second stint with them going forward. With the greatest of respects to his former 3MB cohort Jinder Mahal, if they’re open to giving him a stint as WWE Champion, they’re open to a Scottish born big ride of a guy finally living up to that “Chosen One” billing and leading the main roster going forward but for now he is a convincing and commanding champion on NXT, truly a beacon of hope for those who are let go by WWE and think its the end of the road. Its not. As Triple H put it, places like ICW who believe and invest in the development of talent are the “grass-roots” of the wrestling business, and there’s nae shame in having to go back to where it all started to get where you’re trying to go.

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The simple reality of it is this, WWE could probably invade any company they want, rob all their talent, and leave them without a pot to pish in. The fact that they’ve recognised a vibrant independent scene is good for wrestling and they are working with companies to ensure their continued success instead of burying them is a good thing. A great thing. The trust stretches so far that they’ll even give these companies a wee shot of active in ring talent as well as high profile non wrestling appearances from the likes of Finn Balor and Triple fucking H. ICW once prided itself on being a product for those sickened with what WWE had become but since those intentions were stated WWE has morphed into something else entirely and a mutually beneficial working relationship is the best way to keep ICW growing. To a point where you couldn’t see Fear and Loathing being anywhere other than The Hydro or fuck it. Even somewhere bigger. Lets Wrestlemania 2 that bitch and have one show at Hampden, one at Ibrox and another at Celtic Park. Just the 160,000 wrestling fans you’ll need for that. Nae big deal since the last Wrestlemania attendance was in the millions to see what is now a 5 day long show.

The madness goes far beyond the companies you and I hold dear on these shores, as Chris Jericho recently became embroiled in what seemed like a genuine war of words with NJPW’s Kenny Omega. As Omega is a man widely regarded as one of, if not THE very best in the world, working for WWE’s biggest global rival with seemingly no real interest in ever working there, it seemed that Jericho’s words were a genuine scolding from a dyed in the wool WWE company man. Yet here we are living in a reality where Jericho vs Omega is a real thing that will happen at 2018’s Wrestle Kingdom event. Unless some kind of internal turmoil has gone undocumented, Jericho is not on anything like bad terms with WWE and this seems more like him being on assignment than him being poached by NJPW. While I don’t think any big jointly promoted WWE/NJPW event is on the cards anytime soon, they definitely don’t despise each other and it would seem WWE are at least open to working with everyone in some capacity.

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A lot of folk will tell you that’s a bad thing. A lot of folk will forever think its all part of one big ruse to make WWE the one true wrestling company, and the only alternative that gets to exist is that borderline illegal chainsaw shit ye sometime see pop up on facebook with the tagline “I Miss When Wrasslin Wuz Exxxxxtreeeeme!” but truth be told, WWE is the mountain top. If WWE is Barcelona, and ICW is whitever team you support, as much as you might dislike Barcelona and find their success boring as fuck you recognise them as the biggest most successful thing in the industry. Ultimately want to see the guys from your team make it to that level one day. Them making it to that level not only suggests your team is something right, it suggests that talent your team has nurtured and helped get to that level aren’t “developmental”. They aren’t for the future. Think about it, of all the UK Wrestling alumni WWE have used, how many have spent significant time in developmental? I’m no talking NXT shows, I’m talking the cunts who train for years before they even get a ring name and get to work on live events. How many? None. Viper was a prominent part of the recent Mae Young Classic as well, making the quarter finals before losing out to another UK regular Toni Storm. Kay Lee Ray and Ayesha Raymond also represented the UK scene as part of that field. Noam Dar is on RAW every week pretty much. While Drew Mcintyre, Killain Dain, Nikki Cross, Jack Gallagher, Aleister Black and co all thrive on weekly WWE programming. Wolfgang, one of the most uniquely talented big men in the world for over a decade now gets to fly all over the world, literally and figuratively, working in front of huge crowds with WWE titles on the line. If that’s not the dream, you and I see this wrestling caper very differently and as much as I’d want to see guys like Wolfgang, Pete Dunne, Sha Samuels, Noam Dar, Drew Mctintyre, BT Gunn, Grado, Kay Lee Ray, Viper, Joe Coffey, Mark Coffey, Stevie Boy, Jackie Polo, Kenny Williams and co play for my team forever, some of them will make it to bright lights and big bucks of Barcelona.

If their success comes as part of WWE actively working with other companies, and that leads to mad moments like Triple H popping in to say hello at ICW, then sign me up for the madness. Sign me up for not having a fucking clue what happens next. Wrestling is supposed to keep you guessing and we seem to exist on the timeline where even the most outlandish guess isn’t completely inconceivable so instead of constantly wondering what WWE’s motives are, why not just enjoy the endless stream of great wrestling this whole thing is bringing to us? There’s never been a more blessed time to be a fan of this. Strap yersell in and enjoy the ride.