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ICW Shug’s House Party 5 – Night Two Review

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Night one was a wrestling show you could show to any wrestling fan in the world and they’d find at least one thing they liked. Class from top to bottom. A big variety bag of wrestling goodness. Night two was the start of the road to the Hydro. New storylines came to the forefront. Journeys came full circle. James Storm came to glass folk and chew bubblegum (and hes all out of bubblegum dang it) and Grado came…………home.

Jeff Jarrett also came for a visit. Essentially given the keys for the night, because Dallas knew keeping a hold of them on his birthday would be a fine way to get his hoose….well…..fuckin wrecked. Double J was there to make sure the fine crockery was locked away in the end cupboard. He was there to put a coaster under any unruly drinks that might have had ideas about staining the good coffee table. He was there to make sure all party-goers conducted themselves in an orderly fashion. Most importantly….he was there to crack a guitar over someones napper. After Dallas introduced Double JJ, had a wee strut with him on the ICW logo, and let the crowd know he was the boss for a night he was presented with a guitar by Chris Toal. Shareen Nanjiani’s very own guitar no less. If Shareen knew what would end up becoming of that guitar she’d bemoan the day she accepted that Ebay bid from “LaToalFamilia88” for a sum total of £6.99 (Inc postage and packing) but the signed photo she chucked in for good measure being used for roach is something we can keep between you and I. She doesn’t need that heartbreak anaw.

BT Gunn vs Kez Evans 

After tappin’ BT’s jaw immediately following his win over Walter, Kez Evans fancied going one better and actually beating his trainer in a match. The chief issue with that is BT Gunn doesn’t take kindly to having his jaw tapped, in fact he prefers to be the jaw tapper rather than the jaw tap-ee so naturally he came out all guns ragin’. Time to teach this rookie a lesson.

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In Glasgow a straight up heider is one of the most effective ways to teach lessons and that is exactly how BT started this off. Fuck yer collar and elba tie up. Fuck a handshake. If someone sneak attacks you mere moments after an Austrian tank has just taken great pleasure in leathering you for 15 minutes, its fair enough to be a bit perturbed at it. BT hit a beauty of a dive followed by some stinging chops before jumping on Kez’s back to ride the pony Happy Gilmore style. We weren’t in Ayr and the Academy is nae race course, but BT was clearly planning to ride this pony all the way to his second win in as many nights.

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I liked this mainly because it never felt like the outcome we ended up with was going to happen. BT was in control for most of it and it felt like routine stuff but as it went on Kez grew more menacing. BT was a whisker away from hitting the TMNT and ending it early doors. But the longer it went, the stronger Kez Evans got. A big clothesline, followed by a nice combo ending in a senton had him looking strong. Looking like the guy who didn’t hesitate to batter his mentor moments after one of the biggest wins of his career.

The rage in BT Gunn continued to be doled out in chop form. Multiple chest shaving chops. Pectoral pounding belters. A diving cutter off the top gave BT a two and once again he looked well in control of his young tormentor. He missed the mark with a dive giving Kez a wee opening to hit a big boot in the corner, but his attempt to go for a package piledriver was thwarted. Instead BT Gunn set him up for the Technodrome DDT. A killer move. Up there with the NAK’s famed Killer Boots for effectiveness. It would certainly have ended this contest if he hit it but Kez wriggled free and nailed BT with a low blow swiftly followed by the package piledriver for the three. 

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If you’d have told Kez Evans at the start of this year he’d wind up beating the Undisputed ICW Champion just one night after he’d beat arguably the biggest name in European wrestling he’d have told you to fuck off, and going on recent form, he’d probably slap ye aboot. BT might not hold all the gold anymore but he’s a bonafide ICW legend and as much as it came from nefarious means, this was a statement from Kez. No more waiting about for the chances to come to him, he’s a part of ICW now and he’s here to fuckin TAKE chances. Even if he needs to put a big dent in his trainer’s chances of reproducing via rapid forearms to the baws. They face each other at the next show on August 26th and there is a more than decent chance BT’s gonnae show up with a trident and straight up murder this upstart but for now? Enjoy the win of your career Kez Evans. You have certainly made a statement

Lionheart wants the shiny belt

Lionheart came out and kept it very short and sweet. He wants the title match at The Hydro. The winner of the nights main event is his. This statement went surprisingly unopposed and he swaggered to the back like the fuckin cock of the walk. The big kahuna. The boss. The future grand slam champion.

Kings Of Catch vs The Hunter Brothers

The Kings Of Catch will have been gutted not to be involved in a tag title match over the course of this weekend but I think the way it panned out suited everyone. We didn’t have a multi team match where it all gets a bit messy and it feels like some of the people involved don’t really get into it much. Instead we got a brilliant match for the titles on night one, and this cracker on night two, which wasn’t officially a number one contenders match but it pretty much was. A massive opportunity for The Hunter Brothers to make a big impression in ICW after some impressive showings so far. Even if they didn’t manage the win one thing you were absolutely guaranteed is a top quality tag match. That’s what they do.

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It’s also a talent of the Kings Of Catch but another talent they possess is being conniving bastards. Lewis Girvan offered his hand to Jim Hunter as he had to Sam Barbour the night before, but he saw through the ruse, accepting the handshake only to immediately reverse the armbar Girvan put in after. It was the polar opposite to the title match the night before and that’s what makes the tag divison so intriguing right now. So many different styles. This was all slick tags and double team goodness early on before The Kings isolated Jim Hunter with a combination of slick teamwork, tomfoolery and sentons. Finally Lee saw some action as he caught a roastin hot tag, taking both kings out with a moonsault before hitting Aspen with a lariat to the back followed by a slick German suplex. The Hunter’s bringing their very best on what was their biggest match in ICW to date. If the tag division is going to have more focus put on it going forward, The Hunter Brothers were out to make sure they’d be a big part of that.

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A rollup from The Hunters was broken up by a top rope double stomp, one of the more exciting ways a pin attempt has ever been broken up I imagine, before Aspen hit a powerbomb straight in to a knee to the coupon before he found himself on the sare end of a pouncing DDT. The gid wrestling was coming at you thick and fast in this one as The Kings busted out something special right after. Essentially the 3D but Girvan hitting the cutter springboard style for a near fall. They were looking for some kind of mad double team move on the apron that would have no doubt been heavy stunnin but instead they wound up heavy stunned when some evasive action from The Hunters saw Aspen accidentally hit a senton on his partner, immediately followed by Jim hitting a DDT as he came back in the ring. Moves that happen simultaneously when folk are entering the ring are the best moves.

They then somehow combined a brainbuster type manoeuvre with the other yin hitting a superkick at the same time. It was lovely stuff, as was pretty much all the stuff both teams done in this one but The Kings are out for the belts. Losing matches that aren’t even officially for the number one contendership is not the way to turn belts from belts you covet, in to belts you own. Double superkicks to both Hunters, before the Hunters became eh….The Hunted? The defeated? The deid? They took the Apter Burner is what I’m trying to say here and The Kings Of Catch took the win. 

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They took to the mic after to bemoan the fact that they weren’t in the mix for the title. They’ve been here every show. Putting in performances. Superkicking folk. Being a pair of cheeky bastards. Back in the good auld days some good old-fashioned hard work and wee bit of cheek got you everywhere. Now? With yer millenials all over the shop with their ipads and their berets? It gets ye naeplace. They were stopped in their tracks by RENFREW OUTTA NOWHERE cracking them with a chair before telling them him and a partner of his choosing would face the kings at the next show. Who’s his partner gonnae be I wonder? BT Gunn pulling double duty to reform the NAK? Kieran Kelly? The return of “The Teen Sensation” Christopher? Get tickets to the August 26th show and find out! 

Andy Wild vs Jody Fleisch

Matches like this helped make this weekender so enjoyable. High quality wrestling matches without a huge amount of emotional investment involved. They don’t have bad blood. There was nae “feud” here. It was just two guys who somehow haven’t crossed paths in wrestling before having a right good match. It stops you winding up absolutely devoid of energy when the main event comes along when there are matches you can just enjoy as matches. Wild has been on song for a while and has fully embraced the new him. The bruiser who moves like a cruiser. The man with the van and a decent tan. In there with the OG of British Wrestling. A right good time for all involved.

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They jockeyed for position early on before coming to a stalemate. Leaving the crowd in no doubt that they are both heavy good at the wrestling. Wild busted out a butterfly suplex before Fleisch took it to the outside, dropkicking Wild off the apron before hitting a beautiful crossbody as captured above by the incomparable David J Wilson. Look at that photo, look at they reactions, folk in awe at the flying Londonder about to land on the adopted Fifer. Lovely.

For some reason Jody Fleisch wound up picking up a leather jacket and hitting Wild with it, giving a whole new meaning to “leathering” yer opponent. Absolute thuggery so it was. Jody’s on a fast track to being in this year’s King Of Insanity match if he keeps on with that hardcore carry on. Terry Funk would be turning in his…eh…bed…if he seen the lengths this man was willing to go to for the win. He got Andy Wild up for a scoop slam right after. They nailed each other with mad forearms, multiple jabs before Fliesch went up top to end it with a moonsault. With that attempt evaded, Wild still had to contend with the Spanish fly for a two count before he hit the sitout powerbomb to seal an important win as he continues to build momentum. 

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Jody had a cracker with Aaron Echo on night two last year and this was another good yin. Would love to see him in a right good feud for the Zero-G. He is a legend and a big name to have on your show but fuck the legend patter. That would suggest he’s past his best when the evidence in the ring suggest that’s a lot of shite. He’s never been better and is yet to have anything anywhere near a bad match since he became an ICW regular. As for Andy Wild, sky’s the fuckin limit big man. He has a following and seems more focused than ever. Both men will no doubt be after that Zero-G belt. Maybe even the big yin.

Jeff Jarrett makes a match

Jarrett appeared for the second time of the night and he was in the mood to make him a wee match. After teaching us all how to spell his name, the law around these parts appeared to set a few things straight. The bold yin. Just Justice Jackie Polo. Double J exchanging barbs with Double J, JP. There’s no been that many J’s in the same room since Snoop Dogg’s last birthday party. Just Justice was out to demand a match at the “02 Sportatorium” (this wasnt no armoury thats for true) and that match was to be a rematch with the man who defeated him the night before. His perennial enemy Lionheart. After firing out some patter about the snugness of Jackie’s beautiful white jeans, Double J announced that he had different plans for Jackie.

His opponent was actually a dealbreaker in Double J even appearing at the show at all. A man who Jarrett counts as one of his closest friends in wrestling. A man whose name has become synonymous with ICW over the years, but a man whose relationship with the company ended on strange terms. He went out as a baddie who got his comeuppance. A role that entertained me personally but truthfully just never fitted him. That’s not who Grado is. The reaction he got here? The joy on his face and the joy that came pouring out of pretty much everyone in attendance when his music hit? That’s what he does. Gone was all the uncertainty. Gone was any notion that Grado isn’t a talent to be cherished. It was almost like the reset button had been hit and no one was interested in fucking TNA anymore. No one was interested in booing. It was almost like folk actually woke up and realised this is the guy who shifts tickets to normal folk. The guy who bridges the gap. This is the guy the taxi driver mentions when you tell them you’re going to wrestling show in Glasgow. This is the guy I heard my maw pishin herself laughing at when she watched the first part of the first episode of WoS and he spoke about how he walks his dug instead of going to the gym. Yer maw, yer granny, yer best pal. At his brilliant best there’s no conceivable way to dislike him when he’s doing his thing. This is pure joy in a shiny singlet and I hope he never goes away again because he BELONGS in ICW. They were mutually integral in each other’s growth and ye know what? They need each other. Simple as that. Welcome home.

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Grado vs Just Justice Jackie Polo

This being the match just made sense for so many reasons. It was the best way to use Jarrett as he is genuinely pals with Grado, and a great way to get Grado in the ring with an opponent he has always had a lot of chemistry with. It also gave Polo the chance to go line for line in a promo war with one of his heroes. Even having the highest of honours bestowed upon him to finish the match off but we’ll get to that in due course eh. Patience ffs. If you waited a full year for a Grado match in ICW ye can wait another paragraph to see how it finished up. Calm it.

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Grado emerged to a thunderous reaction. Proper earth shattering, smile inducing, heavy gid shit. Nae word of a lie when I first started going to ICW shows and I was bad mentally, I’d look forward to Grado coming out because it was impossible not to get into it. It was impossible not to get lost in it. It was relief from the shite. He emerged with the guitar Mark Dallas gave Double J earlier in the night before getting in the ring and saluting all 4 sides of the crowd (one side was just Jeff himself, but he done his bit) and finally facing down his opponent. They both done that wee head tilt Grado done at the Barras before his match with Renfrew when he had a baying NAK mob behind him, the same head tilt Polo imitated before his match with Lionheart at the barras. Rivals in the ring they will always be. In his eyes, Polo MADE Grado after all. But there’s definitely a mutual respect there. A wee bit of scope to have a laugh before the serious business kicked off. A handshake seemed to confirm that respect only for Polo to betray Grado with a boot to the mid section. Crafty.

A procession of scoops followed by Polo taking Grado to the ground and locking him in a variety of effective, no frills holds had Just Justice looking strong. In nae mood to lose two nights in a row that’s for sure. A marquee attraction like ol Just Justice can’t be having any of that. Grado drew in the energy of all the Gradomaniacs and cameback swinging lariats, jabs, chops, a roll n slice attempt was reversed before Grado foiled Jackie’s attempt to spark him out with the mallet. A wee bit of shake, rattle and rolling happened, followed by the bionic elbow to the dial, and the second attempt at the roll and slice did indeed land. Vintage Grado. He should have looked right down the camera lens, planted a kiss on it and gied it “I’M BACK BAYBAAAAAY”  but instead he kept wrestling. A smart move when you’re in a wrestling match right enough. Fair play.

A wee boot brought a two count before Double J emerged. Clearly not too pleased at being told by Just Justice that he would in fact be reporting to him and not vice versa. He picked up that guitar and knocked Jackie stupid with one of the best guitar shots of his illustrious guitar swinging career. This wasn’t just a shot to the dome with a guitar, this was one man joining another man with a guitar in holy matrimony. That guitar is a part of him forever now. Grado decided that was enough to get it done and covered him straight after for the win. No further damage needed. Polo disappeared backstage looking dishevelled, but no doubt had a big smile on his face when he was away from the crowd. It was likely a similar moment to Jake The Snake appearing on raw and putting his snake on Dean Ambrose. He couldn’t help but smile. A personal hero doing their thing. Even if that thing is cracking a big plank of musical wood over your napper.

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Grado insisted Double J wasn’t going anywhere until they had a wee sing song. You cannot book Jeff Jarrett on a show and not get him to sing a wee song ffs. We all wait for that moment when we get to be alone with our significant other. Or maybe just some insignifcant other ye met that night and decided to fire intae with the hope that he/she might have loose morals. The message is the same and they sung it beautifully together. As if The Road Dogg Jesse James wrote with this duet in mind. Wait…whit d’ye mean he didn’t ACTUALLY write it? Why did they base a whole feud on it then? Is it all a lie? 

Welcome fuckin back Grado ma man. Its been far too long.

Aaron Echo vs Jeff Cobb

No doubt they were building towards Echo vs Williams for this show but that will come in due time. This however posed a different sort of challenge for Echo. A world-class athlete and one of the most notable wrestlers on the ‘indies’ coming over for a scrap. A truly unique grappler. Built like Rhyno and wrestles like Kurt Angle. Watched a lot of his matches about a year ago to see what all the fuss was about and the fuss was justified. Based on this match the fuss was definitely justified. It was a huge opportunity for Aaron Echo to prove he could get to that level. With key players pursuing opportunities elsewhere, ICW needs a band of mainstays to do the business every single show. Aaron Echo has been primed and ready to be one of the guys for a while. This was the time to step up and prove it.

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Cobb is a big suplexing machine and a decent way to avoid getting the bejesus suplexed out of you is staying on the move. Back elbows from all angles. Be as difficult a target as possible. With Cobb on the ramp Echo misjudged a move off the top and found himself caught. Undoubtedly shitting himself for the suplex potential on the ramp, but instead Cobb launched Echo clean over the top rope with a Fallaway Slam. As Billy pointed out on commentary, he didn’t even squat for extra leverage. Effortlessly chucked a big unit of a guy clean over his heid. If anyone wasn’t aware of exactly how good Jeff Cobb is, they were quickly brought up to speed. A freak of nature.

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A diving back elbow after a backbreaker got Echo back in about it and he never backed down for a second. As much as Cobb was here to make an impression, this is not his gaff. Aaron Echo’s been knocking on the door for a long time now, and this was his time to announce himself as a big time player. A stalling superplex was another display of Cobb’s raw power before he once again caught Echo coming off the top, this time turning it into a powerslam. He then hit a standing moonsault which is just nuts for a guy his size. Defying gravity, the laws of physics, and the laws of making sense all at once. He hit a mad powerslam variation he uses as his finisher called The Tour Of The Islands (big mans Hawaiian btw) but Echo was not settling for anything other than glory on this night. There would be nae respectful standing ovation in defeat like his match with Jody Fleisch. This yin wouldn’t be another hard luck story.

Rolling forearm from the big man had Jeff seeing stars. Clean connection with the jaw. Emphatic. He immediately hooked him in for a Pumphandle Slam, turning it in to sitout for the one, two, three. A huge moment for Aaron Echo. A win over one of the most recognisable names in independent wrestling and a guy whos just a joy to watch. An excellent match. They showed each other much respect afterwards and that’s nice. Its nice to make pals int it? Big Jeff won’t think its so nice when Echo shows up at his door in Hawaii out his banger looking for a gaff party right enough but such is life eh. 

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Mikey Whiplash talks

Out to explain his actions from the previous night, Whiplash bemoans his lack of focus in recent months. He apologises to Aivil for not having his eye on her concerns or Legion as a whole. He vows to be better. He speaks of his past successes. One of which was ending Red Lightnings reign as ICW Champion 5 years ago. Red Lightning didn’t take too kindly to that and out he came, but with something different in mind to what you might think. He teased the idea of facing Whiplash in the ring again, telling him he could probably beat THIS Whiplash. Confused. Broken physically and mentally from pandering to the “ugly bastards” that make up the ICW crowd. He told them they were too ugly to deserve such a match and instead Mikey should join the Rudo crew. He could be the face of the brand. A new start. He wasn’t having it. Point blank refused and chucked up the Legion sign which is apparently like a red rag to the bulls known as Iestyn Rees and Bram. They all laid into Whiplash with boots before Ravie Davie came out for some unexpected hauners. As much as he hates Bram and Iestyn, cmon tae fuck mate. A raging James Storm awaits. This one wasn’t your battle.

As is customary on seemingly every show where they are within 100 feet of each other, Bram proceeded to boot Davie square in the baws. Saluting him with the double middle finger before embracing James Storm as he approached the ring with homicide on his mind.

James Storm vs Ravie Davie – Texas Death Match

Ravie Davie. The gallus one. Not an ounce of fear in him. Even if you don’t like him, the set of baws he has on him must be respected. Even if they had just been very much disrespected by Storm himself. He takes an absolute battering sometimes. He is thrust into situations that will almost certainly lead to him getting his shit ruined and he still embraces those situations anyway. He embraces them for the moments that he might create if he does overcome the odds. Moments like that blockbuster off The Garage balcony en route to beating Bram. Moments like the coast to coast he hit after Bram had dismantled his eye socket. Moments like stepping out in front of the Barrowlands crowd with James Storm in tow. Ready to fight a couple of big violent bronze statues. For every good moment there’s pain. For every Blockbuster off the balcony, there’s geting pushed off a ladder by your fiance when you’re about to win the biggest match of your life. For every coast to coast, theres Bram relentlessly punching your eye until its barely even visible anymore. So swollen it looks like you’re smuggling golfballs under yer eyelid. For every moment like stepping out in front of the Barrowlands crowd with a tag team legend as your partner, theres a moment like that very same man smashing a beer bottle over your dome and beating the living shite out of you. For no real reason. Just because he can. Even the previous night, Davie tried to et the jump on James Storm and he was brutally floored. Mocked almost. This was a chance to avenge all that shite. All the doings. Getting chucked down a staircase. Fiancee bumped. Cousin Zander cathing a few pastings in the process. This was it. A death match. Objective. Kill a Texan.

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The only issue with that is that the Texan in question has been around a long time and still seems to be breathing. That tells you something in itself. He is essentially the completely opposite to Ravie Davie and something about him has made a veteran of 20+ years fuckin snap. Straight up. A vicious streak has been unleashed and he seemed hell bent on legit killing Davie. Not gaining an emphatic victory, killing the poor cunt fully dead. When a bull rope comes out before anyone’s chucked a jab in anger you know you’re in for a different kind of match. They made their way into the crowd where Davie hit a big senton off one of the many jumpable platforms dotted around the Academy. Fuck knows why this wasn’t a venue ICW ran before because in that regard its rammed with possibilities. They then scudded each other with folk’s beers. James Storm has truly proved his villainy over the course of these two nights because he must have wasted about 100 quid worth of beer. Two whole pints worth in the 02. A disgrace.

He choked Davie with the bull rope again but Davie continued to stay in it. Nailing storm with a Pele kick. before hitting a dive in the corner assisted by a chair that had been previously set up to cause him some critical damage. Then the real villains appeared. I’m no talking about Rudo’s boys. I’m no talking about the NwO. I’m no talking about The Briscoe Brothers. I’m talking about a big bag of thumbtacks. Make no mistake about it, James Storm wanted to hurt Ravie Davie. He wanted him to suffer. He took him up top to hit the Eye Of The Storm through on the tacks but Davie somehow reversed it into a Hurricanrana. His momentum was short lived however, missing a moonsault on to the tacks before Storm finally hit his finisher through a table he’d set up earlier. A valiant fight from Davie but that was the killer blow. Surely. Stay doon for three so this sadistic bastard doesn’t literally kill you.

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He would not yield though. Instead he got himself involved in a gless cheque fight. Irn Bru bottle vs Beer bottle. Storm always seems to get there first in these situations and that’s a learning experience for Davie. A full irn bru bottle vs an empty beer bottle? Storm had connected with Davie’s dome before he was anywhere near connecting with the bru bottle. Too heavy. Not compact enough. Difficult to swing. Next time drop all pretence and just bring a stanley knife. It was a fatal error as Storm tied Davie’s hands with cable ties before taking a handful of tacks and filling Davies mouth up with them. Absolutely boak inducing stuff. Truly brutal. A gub bursting superkick later and it was all over. Perhaps mercifully for Davie. If only that was the end of his suffering for the night but little did he and even James Storm know, it was only just beginning. 

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Storm continued his attack after the match of course. That wasn’t a joke, he really is trying to murder Ravie Davie. Putting 20-30 thumbtacks in someones mouth and kicking them is at the very least an attempt to make eating impossible. How the fuck can someone eat if their mouth is mostly thumbtacks. Zander was the first out to put a stop to the attack, then to everyones surprise Davies real life pal Leyton Buzzard arrived. That made it feel all the more real. The image of his real life best pal so distraught by the kicking he was taking. He had no idea that was just the tip of the iceberg. It would get so, so much worse.

Joe Hendry arrived swinging a chair wildly. Clearing Storm out. He got on the mic and it sounded like a full blown character change was in effect. Buoyed by the respect and cheers he got at the end of the war with Renfrew, Joe was a changed man. A company man. Or….not. He attacked Leyton for insubordination. Not following simple instructions. Acting as a lone wolf. His words were so cutting. So vicious. Egging his apprentice on. DEMANDING he hit his best pal with a chair. Thirsting for it. Joe Hendry wanted Leyton Buzzard, Ravie Davie, Zander and the whole audience to know HE is in control. He controls his assistant. He controls what happens to people outwith ICW. He can make or break you and by the sound of his words he’s out to do a lot more breaking than making. He wanted Leyton to learn a lesson the hardest way possible and he reluctantly did hit a defenceless Davie with the chair. Freed from the cable-ties by Joe initially but frozen to the spot with exhaustion. He urged Leyton to do it for the sake of his career and Davies. Joe threatened to blackball them both. It was the only way. He carried out a frenzied beat down, not even realising Joe had left the ring before he stopped and looked at his pals in horror. What have I done? Happy with his nights work Joe disappeared, and Leyton left through the crowd. Broken.

Viper vs Martina vs Kasey – ICW Womens Title Match

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Viper will have been a perturbed that this yin was scheduled right before her man went for the men’s title in the main event, with Kay Lee Ray not being involved leaving her free and clear to meddle as she pleases. She will have been even more perturbed when The Wee Man, now managing Kasey, got on the mic to praise her abilities as a standard-bearer for the women’s division while also telling the crowd that it was a “fuckin cobra” in her entrance video. A revelation that had everyone in the ring having to stifle a mad bout of the giggles. Not to say they are done with ICW but with Rampage and Ashton Smith both being handed big opportunities elsewhere, putting The Wee Man with Kasey is a bit of a masterstroke. Leaving her to focus on impressing in the ring while the best hype man in Scottish Wrestling does his thing on the mic. Triple threat matches always have the capacity to be a bit shite, but so does every match I suppose. Sometimes matches are just shite. This was not.

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Viper started out with mad scoops and a Viper Driver, sensing that she had to come out swingin before the Irish alliance joined forces to try to take her down. Martina hit a beauty of a suicide dive as they took the action outside before Viper again put paid to any kind of double team carry on by reversing a double suplex attempt in to her own form of double suplex. Martina was then whipped towards a waiting Viper in the corner for her version of the Bronco Buster which is paints quite a vivid picture when it’s referred to as “The Yeast Infection”, only for Viper to continue to keep the troublesome Irish pair at bay with a double crossbody. Back on the outside Viper hit a cannonball on to both her opponents and a team of security guards who made the mistake of hosting their weekly game of switch at ringside during a match. I know yees love a good game of cairds boays but this was hardly the time for it. Another double move, this time a double back suplex kept Viper in the ascendancy. Never leaving her two opponents to battle it out one on one. If anyone was taking her belt they’d at the very least need to go through her first.

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A Viper Driver on Martina was quickly followed by Kasey hitting that running knee called The Killing Joke a few times but when that failed to put Viper away she went to her go to. Polo goes for the mallet. Jester goes for the corkscrew. Sha Samuels goes for a pint and a bag of pork scratchings. Kasey goes for the bat. Its part of who she is now, but she didn’t count on a mad Italian burd lurking under the the ring to skelp her sideyways. Aiivil emerged to fight Kasey all the way to the back, starting what will no doubt be an excellent feud between them but also taking Kasey out of the equation and ending her quest to become a three time champ, leaving Viper to hit Martina with the Viper Driver to retain that shiny belt.

Very entertaining match right enough. I’m a bit buzzin to see how Kasey and Aivil develops and for Viper, it was a hard fought defence at a time where she really didn’t want it. Should’ve slipped Double J a score and fired him that “put me on first eh big man” wink so she could be as present as possible for husband’s big match but no to worry eh. I think he ended up doing awrite.

Stevie Boy vs DCT – ICW World Title Match

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If you sat these two down three years ago and told them they’d be in the main event for the ICW World Title in three years time they have probably went “How the fuck dae you know? have they finally perfected time travel? Did Trump win the election? How many times have The Gzrs won the tag titles? We have so many questions! Where’s yer DeLorean parked?” but here they were. Its been a remarkable ascent for them both but a true testimony to where a bit of hard graft can get you. So many who started training around the time when Stevie did don’t even wrestle anymore. Many more have settled for mediocrity. Wrestling as a hobby. Similarly quirky characters of DCT’s ilk never shake that quirkyness off. They become the quirk. It defines them and their careers going forward. DCT knew there was more for him. DCT stepped in front of the buzzsaw known as Bram and took an almighty doing to prove he was more than a moustache. More than a sex hero with a densely stamped passport. Neither of them were really supposed to be here and that’s what made this truly special. A main event born and raised in ICW. These guys grew up in this company. They had their first taste of main event spots in this company when they tore the house down at Spacebaws. Now this was THEIR time. They got to close the weekender and they fucking delivered. Streamers rained down as they entered the ring for a match that would change the course of their careers. Loser leaves. Winner wins the big yin.

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Kay Lee Ray appeared on the ramp looking menacing. Immediately drawing DCT’s eye off the champ, but it was another top quallity ruse as she launched a chair at Coach Trip and with DCT distracted, Stevie got fired right in. He clearly had a plan of action and the objective of that plan was to remain a citizen of the UK by the time its finished, as well as the ICW World Champion. He accidentally dropkicked his burd, an act of accidental betrayal that was met with the  “Stevie’s on the couch!” chant that usually happens when he accidentally clashes with her. Finally down to a one on one fight they exchanged brutal forearms. On his way to earning this title match DCT has proved he has a capacity to absorb pain like few others. Surviving a brutal Number One contenders match with Renfrew before stepping in to face Stevie in the main event that very same night as BT Gunn couldn’t compete. That night made him in ICW and he hasn’t looked back since. Gone were the days of him not being taken seriously. He proved beyond any reasonable doubt that he could fuckin fight and in ICW that’s half the battle when it comes to winning the big belt and keeping a hold of it. He dished out all the lariats, back elbows and splashes to get back in the ascendancy, even looking for the win early on with a beautifu facial for a two count, only for Kay Lee Ray to fire Coach Trip in harms way at ring side. Stopping DCT in his tracks long enough for Stevie to nail a dive on them both. There might be new music on the go, but Stevie Boy was out to show he still dominates the fuckin world (RIP Stevie’s auld music. Gone but never forgotten)

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Kay Lee Ray got involved once more but was taken out by a resurgent DCT. Only way he’s leaving the UK after this yin is if the wife has him booked on a celbratory cruise roon the Maldives or suhin. He knew if he fucked this chance up it might not come round again too quickly so he was as focussed as he’s ever been. He even hit Stevie’s very own move, breaking out the Destoryer for a two count that was as much mental warfare as it was physical. Stevie’s own version also didn’t get the job done after a chair being set up in the ring had led to DCT using it as a launchpad for a beautiful lungblower (had nae idea it was called this but Billy uses it on commentary and it sounds a lot fuckin better than “double knees to the ribs n that, looks sare”)
Viper had finally seen enough of Kay Lee’s meddling and hobbled out to provide matrimonial hauners, only for the Kings Of Catch to once again prove pivotal in proccedings. Intervening eventually but only after Stevie had crashed through a table that he previously set up on the outside. Kay Lee Ray set out handing out a whole load of superkicks, only for Coach Trip, who had previously taken one right on the jaw to bust one out of his own, rolling back the years to set the example his charge needed to go on and win the big yin. Like when Ale Ferguson chucked that teacup at Beckham and he single handedly won the World Cup for Real Madrid. Or suhin like that. Stevie capitalised on the Kings involvement to go for a second, no doubt fatal Destroyer but DCT rolled through it and instead delivered a second facial, this time it was a messy one, gettin all up in Stevie’s face (sorry) in his eyes n everything but he managed to kick out at 2. The figure 4 that made Davey tap at Shug’s the previous year was locked in as DCT looked to turn the screw, but Stevie managed to reverse it aided by Kay Lee and we were back to square one.

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It was all a bit chaotic at the end up, which had tended to put things in Stevies favour in the past. He had the numbers advantage and when the Kings hit Viper with the Apter Burner after she’d nailed Kay Lee with the Viper Driver they well and truly had the numbers in their favour.  Put yer passport away Stevie ma man. You’re no going anywhere. Coach Trip heroically climbed in there in an attempt to at least distract the Kings and he foiled their Apter Burner attempt on him, leaving Viper to hit a cannonball off the apron to clean pretty much everyone apart from the two guys fighting for that coveted slab of sexy gold. The way it always should have been. One on one. Mano e mano. Destroyer vs Facial. Stevie vs Davey (Campbell Thomson). If you did sit them down three years prior to this to tell them they’d be the main event in three years time, they would probably have believed it because they’ve always backed themselves. Even when it wasn’t easy to do so. Other folk might not have believed it but they were the ones putting in the work and on this evidence its a spot they were very much suited to. Born for it. For the last few minutes this war was all about them.

They scudded each other daft with all sorts of strikes, DCT gaining the upper hand befor Stevie hit a stonker of a superkick. Stevie’s attempt to get a chair involved again was thwarted by a sickening lowblow from DCT. Another aspect he’s proven more than capable of has been utilising the dirty tactics when he’s needed to. Sometimes you need to fight fire with fire. There’s nae prizes for being clean cut and by the book in ICW and judging by his International Sex Hero days (and the fact that his finish is called the fuckin facial) yer man’s no stranger to getting down and dirty. His attempt at the electric chair drop was actually not that at all, instead he dropped Stevie and hit a German before clearing Kay Lee off the apron as she attempted to get in about it again., DCT had fuckin done it. A facial finish for the win. Just as god intended. One, two, three. Wait….haud on. That means……Stevie’s fuckin….aw naw. Stevie’s gone.

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One man’s elation was another man’s heartbreak. The thing that will hurt Stevie even more is that he essentially done this to himself. It was him who originally set the stipulation that if DCT lost he was gone and his actions after that made Dallas change it to a loser leaves match. Christ knows if Stevie is actually going somewhere, he certainly deserves it if this means he’s off to chase an opportunity somewhere, but as a big fan of his work it was a gutter to see him vanish up that ramp without that title he worked so hard to finally get. It felt like there was more to come from his run. Take absolutely nothing away from the victor though. A man whose initiation in ICW came with him being eliminated from his first two Square Go’s by a single Renfrew chop, and his first brush with an ICW Champion led to him being mercilessly whipped with a belt at the hands of Jack Jester. He’s no ones whipping boy now. He is the fuckin guy and he’s determined to be the guy who steps out with that glorious new belt at the Hydro. No matter if its Lionheart or some other new and exciting challenge, you’ll need to go through a guy who’s went through hell to get that belt and prove his worth. DCT. ICW World Heavyweight Champion. Living the dream

Big thanks as always to David J Wilson for the wonderful photos. 

ICW Shugs House Party 5 – Night One Review

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The 5th instalment of the Shugs series could potentially have been a let down. Key players missing with a big match unable to take place as a result, the venue having to be changed due to a fire wrecking the usual place, things were conspiring against them a bit. The potential was there for it to not live up to expectations and yet it turned out to be two very different, but equally excellent shows. For me ICW are a company who thrive when the chips are down. Finding solutions to problems and making them work. Sometimes even better than whatever the original plan was. For me, the wrestling show that happened on Night One is one of the most complete shows ICW have produced. Every possible style of wrestling you could call yourself a fan of was on display. Big time rivalries were settled. One off matches dazzled. Imports meshed perfectly with mainstays to make magic. It was just a really good wrestling show. From top to bottom.

Kid Fite vs Ravie Davie (Winner faces James Storm in Night Two)

Big fan of the basis of this rivalry being Fito wanting to establish himself as the king of ICW’s scheme division. Sick and tired of this upstart getting opportunities ahead of him, he decided the best way to establish himself as the king was the old-fashioned way, by slapping someone aboot. He smashed fuck out the young pretender at the last ICW show and cut a vicious promo vowing to steal his big match with James Storm on night two. Davie has a habit of making folk really fuckin annoyed at him eh? They are invariably mean looking cunts who look like they can chew tobacco without pulling that “aw man this is heavy boggin” face anaw. True hard men who can fuckin fight. Davie came out all guns blazing for this one though. Taking out Lou King Sharp and Krieger with a mad double drop kick on the ramp before setting out to take his revenge on someone who literally cut a promo while sitting on his heid at the last show. There was a chair between Fito’s arse and Davie’s heid like, but still. If you respect someone so little that you don’t hesitate to plant the chair you’re about to sit on right on their napper, its bound to make that person a wee bit angry.

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Kid Fite started the match strong. Taking advantage of Lou King Sharp and Kriegers distractions to back rake and forearm Davie until he was seeing wee birdies floating above his heid. Davie rallied and hit the blockbuster that everyone remembers so fondly from the time he hit it from the balcony of The Garage. A cracking move, but not as cracking as folk literally crackin each others jaws in a good old forearm war. They wailed on each other for a while, teeth flying all over the shop before Kid Fite hit the brainbuster for a two. A perfect sitout powerbomb didn’t do it either and an increasingly raging Kid Fite wasn’t having it anymore. It was time to drop all pretence that this was ever one on one. After all, Kid Fite wanted to be somewhat fresh for his big match with the big import on Night Two so it was time to wrap this up. In came Lou King Sharp and Krieger to deliver the team handed beatdown Kid Fite needed to get the job done a bit earlier. It was all going to plan….UNTIL IT WISNAE

A revved up figure emerged. A mysterious trackied man. Probably Davie’s cousin Zander but also maybe no Davie’s cousin Zander. With the greatest of respects to Zander, the hooded figure hit a T-bone Suplex so picture perfect that only a handful of folk in Scotland could be responsible for it. One of those people was someone we hadn’t seen for a while. Someone with a bit of history with Kid Fite. Surely……surely no….surely its no fuckin….is it? YASSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

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The scarf came down and the trackie tap was removed to reveal LIAM THOMSON. Back from a long injury lay off. One that could have potentially ended his career but on this evidence it most certainly has not. There he was. Back in an ICW ring chucking folk about with reckless abandon. Kid Fite, Lou King Sharp and Krieger are three of my favourite folk in Scottish wrestling. The fact that the latter two weren’t involved in a match on this weekender was some sort of crime. But I couldnt have been happier to see them get chucked aboot on this occasion. Well Thomson actually didn’t directly hit Kid Fite which im sure was quite deliberate but the suicide dive that followed the t-bone suplex’in goodness on Lou King Sharp and Krieger tells its own story and that story reads “LIAM THOMSON IS BACK. FUCKIN YALDI!”

With Kid Fite’s hauners handled by Liam Thomson and Fito himself left dazed and confused by the whole thing, Davie sneakied in and won the match with a roll up to leave Fito stunned.

Davie gets his big match and his chance at revenge over James Storm on Night Two after a much needed assist from the bad boy. He joined Liam in saluting the crowd before leaving him to soak in the adulation on his own. Considering all the massive things that happened over the course of the two shows, it’s a big compliment to Liam that this was up there with Grado’s return in terms of the noise the crowd produced when it happened. An absolute pleasure to have the bold yin back in action. 

Lewis Girvan vs The Sam Barbour Experience

Sam Barbour is good at wrestling. Watched him absolutely kill it at the first GPWA Invitational and have wondered why he isn’t involved in more promotions since then. This was a huge opportunity to impress but he was in there with a guy who carries himself with so much more swagger these days. Lewis Girvan has always been a very good wrestler but its like any self-doubt he carried with him evaporated the minute he aligned himself with The Filthy Generation. Whatever may have been stopping him going to the very top of the card despite scarcely having anything even approaching a bad match and stealing the show at the Hydro 2 years ago against Ricochet (wonder what happened to that guy eh) is most certainly gone now. He’s one of the main men and folk forget when reminiscing about DCT and Stevie going from the main event of Spacebaws to the main event of the big show for the big belt, that one of those main events had a third man and that man was Lewis Girvan. In ICW for a long time he’s been seen as the reliable guy. A guy who always turns in a good match. A good soldier and a fine member of the roster and see now? He seems like a guy who could not give a fuck about those things. Fuck it all. Low blow some cunts, tombstone their brains out with yer best pal, have a right good laugh and be done with it. That’s the kind of attitude that gets ye belts. Beautiful, shiny belts.

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It was of course a very good match. Sam looking good early on, only for Lewis to completely sidestep a crossbody attempt as if it never happened. They nailed each other with a bunch of forearms before Barbour took Lewis out to the apron and kicked his chest repeatedly, a bit like that chest beating thing Sheamus used to do a lot, except y’know…..with kicks. Girvan hit that rolling neckbreaker he does where he leaps into the ring from the outside first. Lovely to watch. Top 5 neckbreaker of all time. A tombstone followed, but I particularly enjoyed the setup where he had him set up for a scoprion death drop only to scoop him for the tombstone. SBX came back into it but missed the mark with a moonsault and Girvan produced a mad suplex combo to seal the win (may be calling it that because I’ve no idea what the final suplex was called, it was very suplexy though)

Girvan’s tag partner Aspen Faith had provided commentary for the match and jumped in the ring to enjoy his pal’s victory with him. Girvan offered SBX his hand as a mark of respect. Instead of shaking it, Barbour took it as an invitation to dance, ordered the sound booth to play Reach by S Club 7, and the foes become friends through the power of dance to upbeat 90s pop. Majestically swaying around the ring while Aspen Faith looked on, confused about his role in the whole affair. Except none of that actually happened and The Kings Of Catch of course battered Sam. Apter Burner then a low blow after ANOTHER offer of a handshake that Barbour somehow thought was genuine. They’re scallywags yer Kings Of Catch but they do it well and have a vicious side to accompany their scallyness that makes them very good to watch. Won’t be out of the tag title picture for long, thats for true.

Mikey Whiplash vs Angelico 

Match of the weekend for me in a lot of ways. It didn’t have all sorts of crowd pleasing big time “spots” but it had people absolutely lost in it for 10-15 minutes. I certainly was as they opened the match with a series of holds with neither man managing to gain the upper hand. I could type all sorts about this one but really, no words will be able to do it justice so get it watched. Angelico had Whiplash tied in all sorts of knots only for Whiplash to wriggle out of it with a headstand before doing that corner pose that wrestlers do sometimes and shooting Angelico a look that was half “look at me, im pure good at wrestling” and half “lets have sex” I mean honestly, not to weigh a wrestling review down with smut, but Angelico is a good looking man. I say that as a man with a burd and everything. The only thing better looking than his face is his wrestling.

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They exchanged near falls before Whiplash bent Angelico’s wrist so much it became several wrists all going in different directions. A wrist medley. Angelico went for his finisher only Whiplash to reverse it. Angelico locked in the reverse figure four he utilises, but Whiplash got free. They leathered each other with forearms, uppercuts, before Whiplash cleaned Angelico out with that clothesline he does when he rebounds off the middle rope. A zombiemaker (death valley driver) followed for a two count, but his attempt to do that same move from the top rope was reversed and Angelico hit The Falling Angel (think a running Razor’s Edge that ends with the opponent being launched heid first at the turnbuckles) to take the win. A brilliant contest and an outstanding showing from Angelico on his debut. Hope to see a lot more of him in ICW. 

Whiplash took to the mic afterwards and it seemed like it was over. He slowly untied his boots as he told the crowd maybe it was time for him to move aside. Maybe he just can’t keep up with the young yins anymore. Aivil emerged to pretty much tell him to shut it. She told him to remember who he truly is. The sadistic fucker who tormented Renfrew. The sadistic fucker who took and also dished out unimaginable pain during that run of death matches he had. The sadistic fucker who still has a lot left in the tank. Not only did Aivil’s words make Whiplash put his boots back on, but he also put the mask back on that has become synonymous with Legion and his darker side. Maybe a sign that he’s no longer accepting Mark Dallas’ ban on him doing anything but straight up wrestling matches and we could see that sadistic fucker re-emerge once more. As if he was ever gone. 

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Joe Hendry vs Chris Renfrew – Glasgow Street Fight 

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No gonnae lie, I loved this. It reminded me of an Attitude Era (bring it back! amiright?!) hardcore match and that is a huge compliment. As much as Hendry has built his character around hating this type of thing by god he isn’t half good at it. Done it very well with Lionheart to end that feud and this was outstanding entertainment to probably end this particular feud as well. Renfrew came out all guns blazing, chucking a chair at Hendrys face soon after he had made his music free entrance. One less new theme to get used to it might have been but his entrance being without the music that helped launch him to stardom was no accident. He wasn’t here to engage in mental warfare with the tunes. He was here to engage in actual warfare with his fists….perhaps a samurai sword. Who knows. That’s the beauty of the Glasgow Street Fight.

They chucked each other about at the bar, scudding each other with wee metal baking trays before Renfrew chucked Joe through a door that took them outside. They battled all the way along to the wee spar down the road, where Renfrew bought them a tin of monster each, before challenging Hendry to a footrace to The Garage where they completed the match Foley vs Rock style. Empty arena baybeeee. Nah that didn’t happen at all but it COULD have. The possibilities are endless in a Glasgow street fight. They were actually only outside for about 30 seconds before continuing to battle around the outisde. Renfrew setting Joe up on a chair, only for Joe to end up dropping Renfrew with a side slam. They made their way to the merch table and Joe balanced another table against the merch table and after a wee battle for supremacy, he eventually launched Renfrew through said table. Quite painfully.

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They eventually made it back to the ring where Renfrew gained the upper hand. Planting Joe with a Death Valley Driver before calling on an old friend for a bit of support. It was none of auld NAK squad, not even new pal Kieran Kelly (yet) but instead it was a pair of scissors. The scissors that have become synonymous with demon Renfrew. The scissors that could end the match and the life of one of the folk in it. Leyton Buzzard was on hand to grab the deadly sheep shearers as Renfrew wielded them towards Joe’s dome. Joe hit the fallaway slam and Leyton decided that made it safe enough for him to jump in and stomp Renfrew out. Their team handed assault was brief as Kieran Kelly did finally emerge to provide some timely back up. Hitting a stunner (its only a stoner if Renfrew hits it I think but I dunno if Kelly can call it that through association, ask yer MP if it bothers ye that much ffs, trying to review the wrestling here) before Buzzard was quickly made to regret his previous intervention as Renfrew hit him with a sitout powerbomb off the top rope to pretty much end his participation in this one and perhaps his participation in being a person who is capable of standing up.

After all the commotion Joe gained the upper hand again, locking in that choke that he vowed could end Renfrews life if he locked it in properly. Renfrew broke the hold and hit a top rope stoner for a two count,  but was hit with an extremely uncouth low blow by Hendry. Matches with no rules bring that devil right out of him, and he chased it with two fallaway slams before they both had a wee shot of each other’s finisher. Hendry hitting a stunner that Renfrew immediately leapt up after to hit the freak of nature. It looked like Renfrew had it with the Stoner soon after but Leyton Buzzard rose from the dead to break the pin only to be quickly removed by Renfrew, before being on the sare end of a suicide dive from Kieran Kelly.

Renfrew found himself in deep trouble soon after. Hendry had his ankle lock welded in. Seemed like he was genuinely right on the cusp of twisting Renfrew’s foot clean off his body and using it to beat him to death to win the match if he wasn’t going to tap. Renfrew held on and gave Hendry the middle finger of defiance that was also the last thing Big Damo seen before becoming ICW Champion. Hendry locked it in even tighter and the pain was too much. Renfrew fully passed out and Hendry took the win. 

What a transition its been from the guy with the funny custom entrance music to a guy vicious enough to topple folk like Lionheart and Renfrew in hardcore matches. As entertaining as the entrance videos were, the best version of Hendry for me is this vicious bastard. Dead set on eviscerating anyone who dares to cross his path. Renfrew told him he had earned his respect after that war and I’m sure Joe appreciated that, but respect isn’t main events. Respects isn’t titles, the heavyweight and the Zero-G. Respect isn’t some sort of gift (christmas gift). Respect in the grand scheme of things means little to Joe because his goal is to get to the very top and he must feel like now is the time. 

The Kinky Party vs Alpha/Evil (Bram and Iestyn Rees) – ICW Tag Title Match

This kinda came from nowhere to be one of the highlights of the weekend which is a testament to all involved. Could easily have just went through the motions, kept it in the ring and got pass marks but they didn’t. They put their bodies on the line and went all out and you have to respect the fuck out of that. Guy’s the size of Bram and Sha Samuels going for death-defying dives that Jeff Hardy would baulk at. Blood pouring from Jack Jester’s face from about 30 seconds in. Iestyn daring to pull Martina off Sha Samuels mid grind. They all put their lives on the line in some way, shape or form and it made for a smashing tag title match. For me the best match The Kinky Party have had as champions and even up there with their match with Polo Promotions before they got the titles.

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Sha and Iestyn quickly moved their battle to the outside, leaving Jester to pull out the corkscrew with intentions to maim. It was him who ended up maimed however, as he was wearing the auld crimson mask very early on thanks to Bram. Tell ye whit, I defy anyone to look at Bram’s body of work in ICW in the past couple of years and tell me he isn’t a good wrestler. He is as good a villain as independent wrestling has right now. Him and Iestyn have no redeeming features. No cool guy shit that makes folk cheer. They’re just a pair of big bad dudes who smash folk and it works. Jester hit Bram with a baseball slide before Iestyn joined the party with the worlds biggest suicide dive. The Kinky Party hit the Teamstone Paldriver but the pin was broken up. Nae way this was ending yet.

They ended up back outside with Iestyn set up on a table below. Sha decided to go, for the lack of a better term “fuckin mental” and attem1SHP-KPAvBrIept a moonsault from about 30 feet in the air but Bram blocked it, causing Sha to take a heavy fall as he came off the platform he had climbed on a bit awkwardly. Even when this match wasn’t intentionally brutal it was still incredibly sore looking. Bram then climbed on that very same platform and thanks to some help from Martina, Iestyn had ended up putting Jester on the table, for Bram to hit with a glorious Swanton through the table. Definitely killing both of them in the process. What a move.

After taking about 5 seconds to mourn the death of their respective tag partners. Iestyn and Sha decided life goes on and continued the match in the ring. A seemingly burst Sha rallied after avoiding Iestyns spear. Hitting out with some definat jabs and splash in the corner but Bram soon resurfaced. We’ll call him Zombie Bram from this point on since that Swanton killed everyone involved in it. Zombie Bram hit that big spike ddt he does, before Sha took a Bronco Buster from Martina that felt like it lasted a good half hour before Iestyn peeled her off. His tolerance for shenanigans had been exceeded and it was time to win some tag belts. Iestyn hit a powerbomb which Sha brushed off Hulk Hogan style, drawing the energy from the crowd, ready for the next assault. Iestyn hit his finisher after that but Sha still kicked out and they decided, perhaps foolishly, that he was no longer the best bet for the finish. Dragging Jester’s deid body into the ring was probably a smart plan when they thought of it. Its easier to pin a deid guy than an alive one, but what if he was playing possum? What if he had already become a zombie like Bram?

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They played a dangerous game and unfortunately for them, they lost. Iestyn took Jester up for the Doomsday Device and as Bram went up top to complete the job, Sha knocked him off the top, and Zombie Jester rolled Iestyn up for The Kinky Party to retain. 

Hard hitting chaos from start to finish. If you can watch this and say it wasn’t entertaining then you and I see wrestling quite differently. Big guys doing shit big guys shouldn’t be able to do. Leaving it all out there for your entertainment. Heavy good shit. A highlight of the weekend and another excellent title defence from Sha and Jester. Kinky Party 4 lyf.

BT Gunn vs Walter

A dream match for many and that just shows how highly BT Gunn is thought of in the European scene. Its been a great year or so for him and he’s finally getting some of the wider recognition his work has deserved for a long long time. Walter is arguably the biggest star stoating about the “indies” right now and BT Gunn didn’t look out of place for a second. Matching Walter’s chest melting chops every time…in fact naw, Walter matched BT Gunn’s chest melting chops. BT Gunn is the original chest melter and as good as Walter is at chopping he knew he had met his match as soon as BT landed one. He made that “fuck sake that was sare!” face that many an unsuspecting opponent has made when BT first lands a chop on them. Learning the hard way. The extremely hard way.

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The early stages was mostly mind melting striking from both. BT fighting hard to stop his much bigger opponent getting him down and dominating. At times it felt like the a plucky wee scrapper having a pop at the school bully. The big man seemed like he always felt he had it in hand, but its hard to be that confident when you’re getting all sorts of chops, punches to the gut and kicks to the heid flung in your direction. BT left a noticeable hand print on big Watty that will likely be a permanent fixture on his chest from here on out. He recovered from that to catch BT coming off the top, turning him over into a Boston Crab. BT escaped that before he managed to take Walter down with a clothesline off the ropes before series of stiff kicks took the big man into the corner. It seemed that every time BT took the upper hand, the big man floored him with something. He locked in the coquina clutch before turning it in to a German Suplex that took BT Gunn down. For being built like a brick shithouse, Walter is well versed in the submission game and he had BT in trouble with an STF but once again he somehow escaped with all his limbs in tact.

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A superkick followed by the Gunnshot gave BT a near fall and it looked like he was heading for the win. He had the big man rattled anyway, only for the Austrian powerhouse to turn the match back in his favour with a thunderous chop followed by a Brainbuster. Following that by once again locking in that coquina clutch only for BT to roll him over for a quick three count. What a win for BT Gunn. Considering the status of Walter and the ability he has it felt monumental. It was something he should have been able to enjoy. Maybe go up the top rope and let the crowd give him the ovation he deserved. Kez Evans had other ideas. 

When Kez Evans appeared in the Square Go I ripped the piss out of him a bit in the review. Light heartedly of course. Its aw fun and games. But he’s proved in recent times he’s nae joke. Sick to death of seeing other GPWA trainees get chances and he gets ignored. This character definitely suits him because the frustration he spoke about when he simultaneously cut a promo and booted fuck out of BT Gunn is definitely real. He has at times felt like it wasn’t going to happen for him, so he’s going out and fuckin making it happen. He continued the beat down for a while, also admitting that he was the guy who attacked BT at the last show before disappearing to a chorus of boo’s. Ruining BT’s win over big Walter and getting booed out the building. A good nights work if you’re a bad yin. 

Jody Fleisch vs James Storm

This is what I really liked about this show. Matches like this turning out great. A match with no build between two guys who on paper maybe wouldn’t mesh well together, yet they went out and smashed it. Jody Fleisch is seemingly incapable of anything else. Since he appeared at this event last year he has been used regularly by ICW and is yet to produce anything but good shit. This was another cracker. Storm was in nae mood to fuck about with a Texas Death Match looming the following night, but Jody Fleisch wasn’t in the mood to be an afterthought either.

Storm favours a more methodical pace these days but he knew fine well Jody Fleisch goes at full speed and he matched him in that regard early on, before Jody floored him with a pair of dropkicks. They made their way to the bar, Storm seemingly intent on smashing a whole crate of beer bottles over Jody’s napper, but the pheonix dodged his attacked before hitting a beauty of a moonsault off the bar. Is there anything he can’t moonsault off of? I’d like to see him try it on a surfboard or a sinking ship. Something that’s moving anyway. See how far that moonsaulting talent can go. Maybe campaign to get Harry Maguire  to a show so Jody can try and hit a moonsault off the top of his gigantic square dome.

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Storm proceeded to scud Fleisch with a full pint of cider he commandeered from someone in the front row. Never even asked if he could have it either. A true villain cause its 4 quid a pint in the 02 at the very least. Folk intending to drink in the venue on both days were selling their kidneys and taking out second mortgages to afford it. Back in the ring they battled up top before Storm chucked Jody halfway across the ring. Jody replied with a beautiful hurricanrana off the top, only for storm to hit back with an Alabama slam and a big lariat for a two count. Jody hit a gorgeous Spanish Fly soon after, never actually sure who’s ‘hit’ that move when it happens as it seems to be equally sore on both men but its lovely to watch so it is. Just a couple of veterans from opposite sides of the world, in the middle of Glasgow, having a belter of a match. Wrestling is beautifully odd sometimes.

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Fleisch went up for the Shooting Star Press to put this one away, but Storm swerved it before hitting the Last Call then knocking Jody upside the head with a cow bell to make sure of the win. 

Storm took to the mic and acknowledged how good Jody is, but highlighting that as good he is, he still got his arse booted. The same would be happening to Ravie Davie, or Davie Ravie, or whatever the hell his name is. Davie didn’t take too kindly to Storm not getting his name right and emerged from the back with a mic of his own, immediately calling him “Stormy James” before vowing to kick the death match off a night early as he stormed the ring for a scrap. James Storm was fit for it though, catching Davie as he came in the ring and laying him out once more before vowing to finish the job the following night. 

Kay Lee Ray And The Great Big Ruse

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Kay Lee Ray came out to her brand new music have a chat. I quite like The Filthy Generations new theme. Its in the same vein as the previous one and has that menacing feel to it that makes you feel like the person coming out to it is about to batter fuck out some folk, but I’d like to take this opportunity to commemorate the death of the greatest entrance music in ICW history. The auld Filthy Generation theme was so bangin’ I listened to it so much outwith wrestling shows that my burd fuckin hates it. Such a tune that even people who hated Stevie and KLR used to dance to it while holding up the middle fingers. Music patter aside Kay Lee Ray was out to bemoan the lack of a womens match to challenge Viper. Viper emerged and they exchanged words but it was all in the name of the ruse. Out came The Kings Of Catch to attack Viper, as Kay Lee knocked her daft with a belt shot to the head, before the Kings set Viper up for the Apter Burner, leading DCT with Coach Trip in tow to provide husbandly hauners and to prevent his wife going in to her title defence the next night with a concussion.

It was all a big ruse. A play for the upper hand, as Stevie came out and nailed DCT with a low blow as he set Kay Lee up for the spike DDT. He hit the destroyer before standing over DCT triumphantly. Belt in hand. A belt he would put his life on the line to keep in his possesion . They’re dirty bastards. They make a living off it, and Stevie isn’t giving up that title without utilising every trick in the book. Giving his opponent a scheme bootin a night before they main event the biggest show of their lives together is exactly what Stevie is all about. The best in the business at being a bastard. The filthiest player in the game.

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Lionheart vs Just Justice Jackie Polo

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The term “big fight feel” gets chucked about haphazardly sometimes. For this it fitted what was about to happen perfectly. It deserved the main event and absolutely lived up to that spot. Lionheart needed it. Simple as that. He unravelled because a part of him doubted that he could beat Jackie after Barramania, so he avoided ever wrestling him again instead. Locked that pain away and tanned rapid whiskies instead. A slap from Sha Samuels seemed to kick him back into gear. It made him believe. He wanted the match and signed on the dotted line eventually. Only problem is, Jackie Polo dies not give a fuck about fairytales or what his opponent needs. Deep down underneath that deeply southern exterior he still fuckin hates Lionheart with a burning passion and he definitely wanted to break his spirit once and for all. He wanted to make it 3-0. No coming back. Career in the toilet. Ruined.

They kicked it off head to head. At odds with each other like they have been for what seems like forever. True enemies. Vicious jabs were exchanged, Polo getting the upper the hand and taking Lionheart down with a series of shoulderblocks. The first scoop of the match followed. Polo in his comfort zone. Knowing he has the beating of his opponent if he keeps the heid. He hit a double axe handle off the apron as Lionheart struggled on the outside before rolling back in to raise his fist towards the crowd Mark Coffey style. Perhaps not the time for it, but he gave off a vibe that said he had this in the bag and was going about his work like he had it all in hand. Not a problem. Lionheart tried to climb back in but Polo hit a lovely dropkick to send him back outside. In control.

He rolled outside to meet Lionheart and had a weird moment with someone in the crowd. I really don’t know what these cunts are thinking when they square up to wrestlers. Its a show and they are performers, unless they legit start shit with you there is nae reason to let your emotions spill over. It will not end well and you’ll either end up knocked out by a big burly bastard in a singlet or carried out the building. Usually both. The big walloper in the crowd was told to calm it before Lionheart acrobatically dodged an attempt by Polo to send him towards the ringpost. That led to Lionheart putting his stamp on the contest and he soon has Polo locked in a sharpshooter before he valiantly made it to the bottom rope. Polo does a jab then chop combo and its one of my favourite things to watch in wrestling, simple, well executed, good shit. He never invented jabs or chops but he does them in a unique way somehow. Lionheart dodged a splash in the corner and hit that big pump kick in the corner (he should defo call it the “get it pumped” kick imo) followed by the rock bottom for a two count. Back and forth. Lionheart fighting for his wrestling life. Compelling viewing.

Lionheart reneged on hitting the frog splash and instead rolled out the ring seemingly on the lookout for a weapon. That weapon was most likely the Polo mallet, and he thought he could gain the upper hand by utilising it first, but the problem was he went to the wrong side of the ring and over on the other side Polo had already grasped the mallet. Ready to pounce. Lionheart dodged a wild swing from Polo before they played a wee game of cat and mouse. Lionheart’s anxiety was palpable, knowing how vital that mallet has been in his previous defeats. He wanted it out the picture or in his hands, because it Jackies hands? It meant danger. It meant defeat. Jackie chucked it in the ring and they both went after it but neither man could get a good grip on it. Jackie tried to put Lionheart away with the electric chair drop that won him the match at the Barras but Lionheart reversed it into a hurricanrana, before hitting a huge dive over the top rope on to the ramp.

They battled on the ramp a bit. Polo having a piledriver attempt blocked, before he blocked Lionhearts rock bottom attempt, nailing the move himself. Lionheart hit that very same move on the ramp at the Barras so thats some lovely storytelling. Both men very aware of what’s done them damage in the matches before and trying to avoid those things. Lionheart going for the mallet. Polo hitting the rock bottom. Beautifully done. Polo hit the electric chair drop on the second attempt but this time it was only a two. Lionheart wasn’t done yet. This wasn’t just a match to him. Another chapter in this rivalry. This was pretty much his career on the line and it showed. He was desperate and it brought the very best out of him. A version of himself that could beat Polo. If he just believed it himself.

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He hit a beauty of a frog splash soon after but Polo kicked out. As strong as Lionheart’s will was to win this one, you’re aff yer nut if you think Polo didn’t want it just as bad. The bragging rights that comes with being the man who pretty much buried Lionheart is something he definitely wanted and he was willing to do whatever it took to get it. Anything. He looked right into Lionhearts eyes after kicking out of the frog splash. Undoubtedly in pain but not willing to show it. He had something up his sleeve that he was sure would do the job. He crawled towards the mallet but Lionheart stood on it as if to say it wasn’t going to end that way. Not this time. Up he went once more for the electric chair drop, which Lionheart once again attempted to reverse only for Polo to counter that by setting him up for….is he…..oh my fuckin god…..

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The Styles Clash. Not just The Styles Clash, but a Styles Clash hit with unerring perfection. Absolutely nailed it. Right in the middle of that ring. Lionheart’s career once again was in deep jeopardy thanks to that move, only this time there was no tragic neck break. Everything happened exactly as it should have, and as is the norm with that move, it would surely end the match. In any other circumstance it would have, but Lionheart faced his biggest fear and fuckin conquered it. The move that has no doubt been a central piece in his nightmares for the better part of 4 years. Haunted by it. Why did I tuck? It didn’t matter anymore. Its rare that being on receiving end of a move can be a cathartic experience but that’s exactly what this was. He triumphantly kicked out at fuckin ONE. Not this time.

Superkick, big pump kick in the corner, another one for good measure, rock bottom, down went Polo. This time. Maybe this time it might just be different. Emphatic frog splash. A cover that was dripping with fear, dripping with emotion, maybe it would be three this time. It was. Lionheart had won. Somehow. Someway. He pulled it out the bad when he truly desperately needed to. A triumphant effort. A magnificent main event.

In terms of getting the crowd engaged and evoking real emotion there’s no better feud in British Wrestling than this one. Sha Samuels vs Grado is always brilliant and is up there with them, but this has the edge for me because it carries that edge that it’s a bit real. They really don’t like each other but on the evidence of the last two matches, they work incredibly well together. Lionheart got the big win he needed and wants it to propel him to bigger things but something tells me ol Just Justice doesn’t want this to end on a loss and this might not be the end. After all. The score overall still reads Jackie Polo 2 Lionheart 1. Lionheart was played out by his brilliant new music as he toasted a massive win. He’s won a watch with this whole revamp so he has. They’ve absolutely nailed his tune.

A topper of a show overall. For me one of the best ICW have ever produced. So much variety in the matches and everything was quality. No lulls. Cracker of a main event. I gie it 60 stars. A hunner and fifty Meltzer badges. 10 outta fuckin 10.

Massive thanks to David J Wilson as usual for some stunning shots. The Fleish moonsault and Bram swanton captured perfectly and the shot of that Styles Clash is just art. 

The Return Of Liam Thomson

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Before ICW’s second last Edinburgh show, a nervousness had consumed me. Liam Thomson was due to appear to address his long injury lay off and that meant something horrible was at least a possibility. Maybe the game was a bogey. The injuries over the years have accumulated and this time there would be no coming back. Thankfully while the promo seemed like it might be heading that way, instead the seed was planted for a potential all Edinburgh feud with Joe Hendry one day and everybody emerged frpm it very much not retired. Massive relief. Liam Thomson wasn’t finished yet.

It would have been the cruellest of blows for Liam at that stage in his career. Only a few months removed from a WWE try out and in the midst of what was one of the most entertaining feuds in ICW last year, if not in the companies whole history; It looked like Liam Thomson was right on the cusp of getting the recognition his talent has deserved for a long time. The feud in question had reached the stage where Liam had little else to lose. Already a sink, and then a whole house down, there was little else Wolfgang could conceivably take from the poor man other than one or more of his countless degrees. For Christ sake, he came out for his next ICW match with his worldly possessions in a back pack, scranning the living daylights out of a steak bake some kindly stranger had no doubt purchased for him as he took a nap outside Buchanan Bus Station covered in newspaper. He was homeless, hopeless and ready for an almighty pay off in a feud that saw two opponents who have saw plenty of each other over the years in Scottish wrestling somehow break new and hilarious ground in their personal battle. No doubt the pay off would have been beautiful. Hopefully it still will be one of these days. But Liam was unfortunately forced to postpone it to deal with something a touch more serious.

One thing the promo Liam cut in Edinburgh made clear that if he was being truthful for the first part of it, that his medical situation was not good and he was basically advised to chuck this whole wrestling patter. A hard pill to swallow, but some folk just can’t do it until its absolutely taken out of their hands. Pro wrestling keeps drawing them in. Liam Thomson has always struck me as that type of guy. Never consumed by ego or the politics of it all, just a guy who loves pro wrestling and enjoys going out there and doing it well. That’s why personally even though for the vast majority of the times I’ve seen him he’s been a villain, he’s always been a big favourite of mine. Whether its being a bit of a hardnut bastard with Fight Club, scudding his real life missus Carmel Jacob with a chair in the name of inter-gender wrestling madness, or being the cocky bastard telling weans to shut it at family shows. Most of the time he’s been a baddie. In fact I’m struggling to recall a time I’ve watched him in any other capacity. That’s what makes what happened at ICW on Saturday night so special.

ICW is a place where its probably more accepted than anywhere else for villains to be cheered. It just is. Maybe folk think its cool and edgy to do the opposite of what you’re supposed to do. Maybe folk just love bastards. Who knows. Liam Thomson however…he’s never been one of yer cool t-shirt slingin heels. He was never in the NAK. Fight Club were always the baddies. Anyone cheering for the guy who swings steel objects at his Mrs probably isn’t all there in the mental department, so you can go ahead and ignore any cheers he got in that storyline as well. Even during the fun and games of the Wolfgang feud, you couldn’t call him the good guy. More of a dafty who just wouldn’t learn his lesson to leave the big bad Wolf alone.

Yet when that hooded roughian provided Ravie Davie with some timely hauners, right in the middle of Liam’s ex tag partner Kid Fite and his two bestos stomping a mudhole in him and walking it dry, the crowd went mental. The assumption probably being that it was Davie’s cousin Zander, but then the figure slung a beautiful t-bone suplex that made you think otherwise. The penny had probably dropped with a few folk, but when the hood came down and Liam Thomson revealed himself the roof came clean off the place. In a weekend Grado made his first appearance for over a year, somehow he wasn’t the one who got the loudest crowd reaction. People were absolutely fucking delighted to have “Bad Boy” Liam Thomson back and rightly so.

After years of giving him the boo’s his villainous work deserved, all the character stuff was stripped away and what was left was 1,000 odd people appreciating someone who has done a lot for their entertainment. The noise was no accident, it wasn’t to do with folk just reacting to a surprise, it was fans recognising they almost lost a brilliant talent long before that talent was done with wrestling and it was a massively heartwarming thing to be in the crowd for. One of the things that will stick in the mind when we’re aw heavy old and the 1000s of matches we’ve seen all kinda roll in to one. Moments like that never fade. Hopefully it can be a springboard for one of the most technically proficient (not to mention fuckin hilarious) wrestlers Scotland has ever produced making the comeback to end all comebacks and winning every shiny belt in Scotland.

Welcome back Liam. Away and get yer sink back mate. Wolfgang’s in America a lot these days anyway. Next time hes over there, gain the trust of whoever holds his spare key and you’ll no even run the risk of the polis nabbing you for breaking and entering.

An Interview In The Asylum With Mark Dallas

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Mark Dallas started ICW with little more than the clothes on his back and brother, he had a dream. A dream that one day this wee wrestling company from Maryhill, Glasgow would get to the stage where the people who work there ply their trade in the wrestling business full-time. Its been a right bendy road at times. Anything worth having in life tends to kick you in the teeth a few times before you eventually get it, but three years in a row running a triumphant beauty of a building like the Hydro would suggest ICW are doing just fine. Better than fine. The fact that Dallas was running about stressed while looking for turnbuckle pads when I showed up to interview him is a wee insight as to how far this has all came. Think about it, I went to a building that exists purely as ICWs office and GPWA’s training school to interview Dallas, where he works full-time as a wrestling promoter, and his first stressor of the day was trying to find one of the turnbuckle pads he owns and stores in ICW’s very own HQ. If you told Mark Dallas in 2006 that by 2018 an inability to find some of the many ICW branded turnbuckle pads he owns would be a real problem, he’d probably have laughed at you.DallasThing

Or maybe he’d just nod and go “fuckin right” because having that conviction you’ll get there one day is a big part of building a succesful venture from the ground up. If you don’t believe in your own vision, how can you expect anyone else to? He did find those turnbuckle pads eventually with the help of Ravie Davie, who stoated into the building shortly after me to record a promo video with Dallas and Jack Jester for a reality show they’re filming in the coming months. Turnbuckle pads, reality shows, a roof office with a pool table and a signed Bill Murray poster amongst other trinkets of feelgood shit. Walking through The Asylum was eye-opening before Mark even broke breath to me for the interview itself. ICW is no longer just an independent wrestling promotion. Its a workplace. It had grown exponentially even since I last went there to do an interview 2 and a half years ago. Considering the humble, at times chaotic beginnings the company had, its remarkable to see.

“We’ve learned from the ground up. There wasn’t really any great role model in the promoting side when I started. I was 21 or 22. So I had to learn on the job. I’m meant to be the guy that knows the way to do things, when promoters are generally double my age. So we had to learn from scratch. Our most recent Fight Club show is a prime example of how that’s helped us. A lot of things went wrong, yet you can’t watch that show tell me it’s not a good show. It was madness at times. Wolfgangs ran out about 10 times to batter folk. Reds running about aw err the gaff cutting promos calling people bints (and bastards). It felt like an old ICW show, it was fuckin mental. People were getting injured and things just had to get changed on the fly. And it felt good to come through in difficult circumstances and pull out a great show, it’s a testament to the character in the locker room. Theres a buzz about it now and its great to see. Its going in the right direction, and as much as it’s hard work, we’ll get there”

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With the emphasis firmly on bringing through new talent and giving opportunities further up the card for some of ICW’s mainstays, there’s very much a fresh feeling about ICW right now, meshed with a large dose of that unpredictablity that made ICW such a force in the first place.

“I think we’re finding our groove again, and we’re back in to just doing what we set out to do and not worrying about what other people are doing. That being storyline driven stuff, and building to the bigger matches on the big shows. Giving people what they want to see, but also making people care about it. Instead of just saying “here’s this indie guy vs this indie guy” and that being that. No reason for it whatsoever other than shit like “aw this guy does 16 great reversals…awesome”. Thats not what we do. Our stuff is more like “I want to see this guy fight this guy because he shagged his sister…they’re gonnae go to war” that’s fuckin wrestling mate”

Each to their own and all that, but there’s a reason the Attitude Era is so fondly remembered. Even if watching some of it back can be uncomfortable and at times a lot shiter than you remember, it made you care. The stories pushed peoples buttons and made them favour WWE’s product over the bigger marquee names WCW had to offer. It’s a philosophy at least in wrestling aimed at an adult audience that will never change, as Dallas went on to explain while firing balls around his luscious (recently re-turfed) green pool table. “Don’t get me wrong at all, its awrite bringing a big name in for one match and selling a show off the back of that. I’m sure the matches are good, but I’m running a city where I want the fans to come back again and again. The fact that we’re Scottish sometimes comes into folk’s thinking as well. We’re seen as less relevant because we’re up in this wee country in a wee corner of the world and its bullshit. Barramania this year is a prime example of ICW standing tall and showing people what we’re all about. That showed you all the talent that’s now rising to main event status, and the talent underneath that’s coming through that’ll help us get to that next level again.”

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Keeping it storyline driven means rewarding your long-term fans. Their investment makes companies like ICW tick and that’s how people like Stevie Boy and DCT end up rising to the top of the pack. The fans have seen every step of their journey to the top and it has been rewarded by Dallas giving them main event slot on Shug’s Night Two. Considering both of them shared their first ICW main event’s as singles wrestlers at Spacebaws many moons ago, it’s a sign of the forward thinking philosophy ICW has adopted that the match up will be repeated with so much more importance attached to it. Stevie defending his recently captured ICW Title against DCT.

“I think that match is something that shows the way forward for ICW. Here are two people owning the main event. Making themselves main eventers. I think the overall night DCT had at the last Fight Club taping made him a main eventer. It’s not that he didn’t have the credentials before, that was just him showing people he’s a force to be reckoned with in ICW. Thats an ICW wrestler if there ever was one. He knows how to get the crowd behind him. Knows how to have a great match, and he knows how to get everyone believing in him. I think he’s very very underrated in pro wrestling. I’ve never heard a crowd not shout “oh” when he comes out”

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Stevie’s journey has been a remarkable one. Still only in his mid 20s, yet with more experience than most of his peers and an enviable ability to adapt and grow as a performer.

“Stevie’s become the man. That’s another guy who started with ICW when he was very young. So young we had to sneak him in the nightclubs we used to run back in the day because he was too young to be in them legally. Him, Noam Dar and Davey Boy were all the same. He’s grown up in ICW and now he’s the fucking man. He’s got his own crew, his own coll faction that everyone seems to be right behind. Everything’s clicking for him and these two motherfuckers at their peak are going to collide in the Main Event of Night Two with the ICW Title on the line”

“It’s an opportunity to shake things up and inject a bit of new life into the company. A lot of these guys have been here for a long time but they’re still very young. I think that blows peoples minds sometimes. A guy like a Stevie Boy is 26, 27 years old. Lewis Girvan is another one around 24-25. With the talent going away to do different things, it’s opened up spaces for other talented people to take. Obviously in some cases its big shoes for people to fill and it might take them a bit of time to get there, however that’s always the challenge. Thats what you need to do. Slow and steady wins the race as they say and I’m sure they’ll get there”

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Get there just like Noam Dar (any excuse to use this nice wee photie btw, pals bein pals…cannae whack it wae a tenny racket) and many others have over the past few years. Talented people who have grown as performers on ICW’s platform before going on to take up opportunities with WWE and ITV’s WoS. A subject people love ‘debating’ of course but any doubt that performers who take up such opportunities are doing any sort of damage to ICW is quelled by Dallas.

“Its pride for me when I see people who as little as 10 years ago were involved in an industry that was a laughing-stock, compared to what we see now. Now we’ve got guys on mainstream tv, guys going to do panto, going to perform with WWE and WoS. Back then you wouldn’t even think that was a real possibility unless you were somebody who’s built like Drew Galloway, and I for one am over the moon for every single one of them. I know it’s that person that has put in the work to get there but I can’t help but feel a little bit of pride seeing the succeed when ICW was a part of their journey. How can you perform if you don’t have a platform?”

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It was a platform used to perfection by Drew Galloway (pictured above kicking his bosses teeth down his throat) Now back for a second run in WWE looking sharper and more polished than ever before. Drew was already the best Scotland has ever produced before his initial WWE release and return to ICW but since then? Big man’s become one of the very best at this on the planet and re-invented himself in such an emphatic way that you barely even recall the years where he seemed to be stuck in place. ICW’s relationship with WWE, which led to a recent appearance by Triple H at an ICW show in Cardiff, naturally comes under scrutiny from fans and Dave Meltzer alike 😉 but Dallas offers a unique and sensible perspective on it.

“Drew (Galloway) is a prime example of the sort of relationship we have with WWE right now. You see a lot of people going from ICW to WWE and they think it’s a one way street when that’s really not the case. The wrestling business has always been like this. Drews time with WWE came to an end, so he came back here, enhanced his character, made it cooler, then he went back to WWE a bette performer. There’s guys who have gone over to WWE recently who worked with ICW, are they going to stay there forever? No. Hardly anyone stays there forever. If they do it’s an anomaly. You might get 10-15 people. The likes of Shawn Micheals, Undertaker etc. Other than that? It’s a rare thing. Eventually they’ll leave WWE. In the past people would leave WWE aDallasnd it would be highly unlikely that they would ever go back. Now? People can leave WWE, end up somewhere like ICW. Their enhanced status helps ICW draw bigger crowds, they get the chance to work on their character and improve, the people who work with them in ICW get the rub from working with them, they get the chance to alter their persona and maybe become something else in wrestling. Then they’re in a better position to make an impact if WWE bring them back for another run. That’s a thing that will definitely happen but it’s obviously going to take longer than 2 or 3 years”

Trusting the process is something wrestling fans can struggle with at times. Social media has made reacting to things you see so instant and easy, and its often difficult to see the bigger picture. That can lead to folk talking, or the lack of a better term, absolute shite. Wrestling is stories. Some of them are big epic novels, some of them are wee 500 word efforts about a parrot who learned how to swim but refused to teach the other parrots because he identifies as a dolphin

“That’s the thing with social media. Imagine they had that back in the day and you’ve got the Iron Sheikh jumping on Facebook or Twitter after the match saying to Hulk Hogan ‘Thank you for the great match brother. Hope we can do it again soon Hulkster’ Wrestling would never have been anything know what I mean? Everyone’s entitled to their opinion and all that, but the internet gives them the platform to bother everycunt else with it, and that I don’t agree with *laughs* We’re getting to a stage with the internet now where people should be able to differentiate between what’s good and what’s a pile of shite, instead of everything being treated as if it of equal relevance, because some people are absolute fuckin’ gonks…..quote me!” *laughs*

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“This is a long-term plan for the industry as a whole, to create more opportunities for the workers within the industry and in turn for them to be in a position to further their careers and make more money. It’s great to see guys who have been affiliated with ICW like Killain Dain, Aliester Black, Nikki Cross, Drew, Noam etc and they go on TV and do something important, or get recognition. Things like make a difference and shows the world the high quality of talent that comes from ICW and how much working with ICW can help you get to WWE in the first place.”

In recent years Dallas has become something of a celebrity himself. A status that he embraces and why not? When there’s an audience for something you create and take pride in, perform in front of them as much as you can while they want to see it. ICW is Mark Dallas’ bread and butter and always will be as long as people want to see it but the exaggerated version of himself you see on-screen is something else. The fact that his on screen persona being so well-known also enables him to perform on wrestling shows outwith ICW, without the added stress of being the man responsible for that particular show going to plan is a luxury and one he enjoys when the opportunity arises.

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“I am happy with the fact that ive been able to use the name value ICW has given me to pursue things like doing comedy, spoken word shows, and also doing different TV work like Scot Squad. To be honest with you the other wrestling gigs are just…a laugh. It’s great to be able to be part of a show and the only thing I’m doing on that show is the segment I’m booked in. It’s completely different from being a promoter. I can’t speak for what its like compared to actually wrestling on a show, I’m sure there’s a lot of stress involved when it comes to planning your match, but I’m sure also as soon as that match is over your stress is finished, whereas my stress is the from the moment I wake up until the moment I go to sleep on a show day. It’s nice to get away from that and also make a nice bit of money from it in the process”

Performing on show’s geared towards family audiences also gives Mark the chance to perform in front of his young son Danny. With ICW being an 18+ product chances like that have been few and far between over the years so being in that position is one he relishes. In particular this Saturday when Wrestling Experience Scotland run a show in ICWs first ever stomping ground in Maryhill.

“When it comes to the family shows, I like performing in front of children specifically. Seeing kids going crazy and getting excited for what we’re doing is nice. I always get them chanting ‘jobby’ at the bad guy and they’ll go mental. I love stuff like that. If it wasn’t for the fact that we as children grew up watching people like Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior, and stuff like that then would we end up being adult wrestling fans? I doubt it. I think a lot of people forget that at times and you get things like people saying John Cena should turn heel. Mate, John Cena’s beloved by children all over the world, and when he’s an old man he’ll be remembered for that the same way Hulk Hogan was”

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If being involved in a show at the venue where it all started wasn’t enough excitement, yer man’s whizzing off to see The Rolling Stones afterwards. As ye do.
“I’m buzzin for this Maryhill show because the last time I went to Maryhill it was the bigger hall because with ICW, as there was no way we could run the smaller hall. But the small hall was the first ever ICW arena. With ICW growing as it did, I’ve not had a show in there since about 2010. To be able to go back there 8-9 years later is incredible. Surreal. It’ll be a family show so my son gets to be there as well which is cool as fuck. Him getting to see his Da being involved in a wrestling show is something I love. Its my team vs Red’s team. It’s the two boys from Maryhill, so that aspect comes into it as well. A lot of ICW originals involved as well as the up and coming talent. So its going to be a brilliant experience, it wont just be a normal family show it’ll be a bit like a blast from the past in terms of where ICW came from. There won’t be any alcohol! *laughs* although there will be after because me and Jester are getting absolutely honkin, bouncing in a car and going to see The Rolling Stones at Murrayfield”

I planned on plugging that show in this bit as it’s a stellar card top to bottom but its only went and sold the fuck oot so my advice would be to just mug anyone wearing a wrestling t-shirt over the next few days and see if you get lucky. At the very least you’ll come out of it with a nice new watch and a pair of decent Fila sannies. No belters, but clean enough to wear oot

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That Maryhill show gives Dallas and Red Lightning a chance to showcase their storied rivalry in front of a family audience. A rare chance to bring their unique back and forth to a family show and a true test of their willpower when it comes to not calling each other arseholes and other such slurs not fit for a family audience.

“Red is my arch nemesis We’ll be in our 60s with big heavy beer bellies at a legends show and we’ll waddle oot and start slapping each other and hopefully people still care *laughs*. We are destined to never see eye to eye. It’s the same in real life as well. We’ve known each other a very long time but we still bicker a lot and that definitely comes through when we’re performing. That’s not to say we don’t respect each other. We definitely do, but we also bounce off each other very well whenever we collide. The results speak for themselves when we do and the reactions we get. ”

Perennial enemies with a grudging respect for each other are essential building blocks for any succesful wrestling company. Red Lightning is currently building another army, but this one feels a bit different. This one isn’t geared towards taking over completely, its more to do with gaining power from within and taking as many innocent bystanders down as possible as ICW press on with what has already been a strong year in terms of show quality. The next step is getting more eyes and ears on the new look product, as the company undergoes something of a facelift at the next show. New ICW Fight Club logo to go with a roster with renewed vigour and freshness

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New Logo pictured in the t-shirt Renfrew’s wearing. Also buy that merch. If ye like….merch n that

“For me, ICW has been putting on some of its best shows in a long time this year and it’s just a matter of time until that gets a bit more recognition on a wider scale. We went from being the coolest company in the world to all of a sudden maybe not being so cool, when you’re cool you can do no wrong, but when that goes away a bit you can’t make yourself cool again for love nor money, so as a company we’ve just weathered the storm a bit, whereas most companies in that situation would just bottom out and disappear. Slowly but surely we’ve tweaked things and rebuilt, brought through new talent, but at the same time kept the same ICW mentality where we won’t bow down to people who want us to change. People don’t realise we want you to moan. We don’t want everyone to be happy and holding hands. We want debate. We want you to react”

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“LETS BE AVIN YOU!”

As ICW gears up for another shot at running The Hydro this year, mainstream media exposure is a big target for the company. People talking means tickets shifting and tickets shifting means the new wave of ICW talent get to perform in front of bigger, more enthusiastic crowds.

“With the revitalisation of the roster and the team ethic we’ve built, I’ve noticed over the past year the one thing we’ve been missing that mainstream exposure. Things like the BBC having cameras at the ABC for the documentary (on Viper), so this year there’s been a conscious effort to change that and there’s a bunch of stuff happening in that regard this year. We’re at the point now where ICW is well-known in the UK, especially Scotland so when our name pops up in all these different outlets they already know who we are so yeah…expect to see a lot more ICW in the mainstream media soon as we build towards the Hydro”

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Safe to say The Hydro is never too far from the thinking of those grafting away in the Asylum but for now the big focus is on Shug’s House Party 5. A weekender that Dallas promises will be the best installment of the Shug’s series yet and the way the card’s for both nights are shaping up so far, its hard to argue. As much as ICW have always been built on pushing their own talent to the forefront, there’s always room for those special “imports” that offer something a bit different and Austrian powerhouse Walter certainly comes under that bracket. I heard he met Ted DiBiase Jr once and chopped him so hard yer man literally turned to dust. Think about it, when did you last see that guy anywhere? Exactly. His match up with BT Gunn at Shug’s is one that gets the juices flowing for Dallas both as a promoter, a fan of wrestling and a fan of folk chopping the guts out each other, as he went on to explain

“I’ve been wanting to book Walter for a while but he’s a very in demand performer. I’m happy he was available for this show. People wondered what kind of opponent I’d give him, but for me there only was one opponent. BT Gunn. BT Gunn and Walter had to be the match. I’ve seen him post photos of folk whose chest he’s mangled with they chops and I’m like “cool” *laughs* I’ve seen folk like Fergal Devitt buckle at BT Gunns chops man. We’ve got this big monster Austrian guy coming for one of our own. Its like Rocky, and hes Ivan Drago. In the other corner you’ve got the plucky Scottish guy who’ll fight anycunt. No matter how big they are. And they’re gonna chop the SHIT out each other. Its Rocky 6 mate”

One match that needs no selling is the upcoming battle between Joe Coffey and Mark Coffey. If ever there was a feud that could garner fan investment with ease its former tag partners feuding. It sells itself. Just make the match and watch the zeroes jump on the end of your bank balance. Throw in the fact that they’re brothers and two of the best out there? Its going to be fucking glorious mate. I know. You know it. Dallas knows it

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“For a long time I’ve wanted to see Mark vs Joe. I think it’ll be an epic encounter. Thats not just me giving you hyperbole, I genuinely think for wrestling fans thats going to be a fantastic contest to see. I’ve wanted to do it for a while but there’s always factors stopping it. There are times they’ve not felt the time was right and I’ve agreed with them as they had other things to focus on at the time. Now I just feel like….its ready. It’s a massive thing if Joe takes that belt off his brother, and the same if Mark retains. It matters. Its something special, especially in front of the ICW who’ve seen them grow up in front of them. This crowd has seen them perform since as far back as 2011, maybe 2010 for Joe. That’s a long, long time, and over that time they’ve become two of the best professional wrestlers in the world. Now finally after all these years, they’re finally going to have that match in ICW. ”

Another encounter that sells itself is the potential match-up between “Just Justice” Jackie Polo and Lionheart. After their show stealing match at Barramania, Dallas agreed a follow up match with the victor, a certain Southern gentleman, whose aptitude for good manners is only matched by his aptitude for swagger, who goes by the initials JJJP…only for his potential opponent Lionheart to express no interest in the re-match. Seemingly going through a break down after his Barrowlands defeat. It’s a match that Dallas certainly wants to see as part of the weekender and considering the quality of the match that night, it’s a match fans must be keen to witness as well.

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“My intention as a promoter is always to see matches like that happen. The fans want to see it happen. Main event of night one is where I want to see it. That’s what I think should be the main event. There are people that were really looking forward to the Barrowlands match, and even I expected it to be something special, but honestly, I was still gobsmacked with just how good that match was. I can honestly say it was one of the best matches in ICW history. It seems to be a lot of our best matches have happened in that venue. There’s something special about that building. Hopefully we can talk Lionheart into feeling the same way as everyone else, in that there’s another chapter of this story to be written. If they do clash finally in that main event, all eyes on them, it’ll be something spectacular.”

Everyone tweet Lionheart “shitebag if ye don’t” until he signs on that dotted line.

One man who didn’t need much persuasion to sign on that dotted line is a man who actually wrestled Lionheart once before and a man who JJJP clearly takes a lot of inspiration from. A certain Mr Jeff Jarrett, who will come in as commissioner for Night Two of the showpiece weekender as he comes to the UK for a spoken word tour. All the details of which can be found below in this big poster where Jeff does that clenched fist pose every wrestler has done 1-1000 times in their career

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When Dallas put the call in to Jarrett he was pleasantly surprised by his enthusiasm not only to work with ICW, but to share his knowledge with Dallas as they spent some time shootin the breeze. Chewin the fat about the biz. Engaging in some good ol fashioned shop talk

“He’s doing a spoken word tour in July and I found out he was on a wrestlecon in London on the Sunday so I got in contact with him to see if there was any chance he could get down for Night Two. He said “You know what, for ICW, consider it done” and he found a way he could finish at mid-day to make it down to be the commissioner for night two. He’s flying up from London for it. I got chatting away to him and I think we talked for about 3 hours the first time we talked. I think people underestimate his wrestling mind because its incredible. So just to be able to sit on the phone with him and pick his brains was something special. You tend not to push that kind of chat with legends in wrestling, but when HE wants to talk about that and is asking what ICW’s like and all that its hard not to get carried away. It was a great experience to be able to talk to him for that long and made me think very highly of him. If you look throughout his history in wrestling, he always managed to keep himself prominent somewhere that matters. As a promoter, he invented TNA and made them a very good alternative to WWE at a time where no one else existed”

Alongside Jeff when he did invent TNA was his father Jerry Jarrett. Dallas might be due an invite to the Jarrett’s Christmas dinner this year as he’s set to appear on a podcast with Jerry himself. A man who seems to share Mark’s vision for how wrestling should be done.

“I’m doing a podcast soon with, of all people, Jerry Jarrett. An American podcaster who watches ICW asked me to do it. He wants people to talk to him about booking philosophies and all that kind of stuff and he said he put my name forward. I misunderstood at first and thought he meant himself, but he actually meant Jerry Jarrett put my name forward. That blew my mind. I was like….of course! That whole Memphis style where JJ comes from is something I’ve always admired. Think about it, when you look at the territories, what outlasted everything and continued to draw consistently? It’s the Memphis area. Even if it’s not just the one company, that area has always been somewhere that has drawn consistently well. To this day if they put on a legends show they could still draw 6-7 thousand people easily. Thats something special. A lot of people think my main influence is ECW but in reality it’s that, the attitude era with a wee bit of Memphis in there”

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When asked exactly how much Memphis wrestling influenced ICW, Dallas responded with enthusiasm. An admiration for the way they crafted stories shines through in his own work with ICW as he revealed the three prongs of the booking plug that makes ICW so electric! (wis pure excited when I came up with that metaphor there, if you’re from a country where plugs have more or less than 3 prongs well…kid on yer no)

“Thats my booking soup. ECW, The Attitude Era, and wee bit of Memphis. All 3 were about storylines. Even though Jerry Lawler was the champ about 38 times *laughs* that was always crafted with stories as well. Big bad guy would win the belt, they’d make hin look like a monster and Jerry would take it. It’s a very underrated territory in my eyes. Anyone into the history of wrestling, look at that territory as an example”

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While ICW knocking it out the park consistently in the ring is essential when it comes to drawing big crowds at places like The Hydro (and one day Hampden mate, it’ll happen) mainstream exposure is essential to keep growth steady. A recent venture that’s captured the imagination is Dallas’ latest TV show, the as of yer unnamed BBC show detailed in the photo above. A project Dallas is buzzin to get started with

“Some fans think I’m looking for people to train to be wrestlers when that’s actually not the case at all. If you want to become a legit professional wrestler go to a wrestling school. This is more like a wrestling bootcamp. This is more like a TV show where you get absolute arseholes and you put them through hell. I want good tv. I want the voice over guy to be saying stuff like “Barry from Springburn has kicked off ” and I want Ravie Davie jabbin some trainee. I want arguments. Its going to be one of they shows like when they take all the wee neds and try to scare them straight. I want people just oot the jail. I want troublemakers. I want people who’ve had a troubled past. I want characters. Anyone who thinks this is just going to be the BBC filming a wrestling school and a bunch of wrestlers is missing the point. I want everyone watching this. Maws and Da’s. People who think wrestling is cheesy. I want people in Barlinnie watching this. I want grannies watching it. I want people in their work on a Monday morning to be sitting talking about it. I don’t want just wrestling fans sitting on a forum talking to just each other about how good the show is and how much is respected the business, because only they watched it. Sometimes people don’t see the bigger picture and that what you’re doing is for the greater good for not only ICW but the performers within it”

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Midway through the interview Jack Jester showed up to folk a promo with Dallas and Ravie Davie clarifying what the show was all about and I was personally privelaged to oversee the storyboard process of this promo. Many potential names for the show were chucked about, my personal favourite being “Rapscallion to Wrestler” because the word rapscallion is incredible. Dallas said we could finish the interview after the promo which might take an hour or so and I made the decision to hang about because why the fuck no. I had nothing else on the cards that day and seeing a wee promo happen from behind the scenes was something of genuine interest to me. We see these wee videos go up and the creative process never really crosses your mind. Why would it? Its not supposed to at the end of the day. Its all about how the finished product resonates with the viewer, but the whole process is nae joke. Theres is no half arsery at play here. They do it over and over again until the job is done. On this occasion the job was to clear up any confusion as to what kind of person they’re looking for to take part in this show. They want raspers. Roasters. (W)rong uns. Rogues…and above all….Rapscallions

“They asked us to put posts up about it and I knew it would be all wrestling fans responding. They got about 500 emails about it from wrestling fans so they asked us to put a video up about it so they could put it on their social media. Basically asking us to explain it a bit better. Ravie’s going to be used as an example a lot in this series as a guy that’s had a hard life. A guy thats had trouble with the law. A guy thats had a troubled past. But he’s a guy who’s then turned that round. People think when this guy wins this that he’s on the ICW roster. Nothing could be further from the truth. You’ll maybe get a belt and some bragging rights, but at the end of it you’ll get the opportunity to go and train. One of the prizes will be that opportunity to train and make a career in wrestling if that person chooses. Even if someone turns out to be great, they still need to go and train if they want to do this professionally”

Anyone thinking this show might be an easy way in to the wrestling business has the wrong end of the stick. This is about using wrestling as a means to give someone with a troubled past a bit of purpose. Maybe someone with an attitude problem will have that attitude adjusted, while being taught how to display hustle, loyalty and above all respect at all times. This show isn’t about finding the next Dean Malenko. It’s about finding the next Mike Tyson. Its about finding someone who wouldn’t hesitate for a second to bite your ear clean aff, and perhaps teaching that person biting peoples ears off isn’t big or clever. One thing it most certainly isn’t, is a slap in the face to professional wrestling, as Dallas explained further.

“I don’t want people thinking I don’t have the utmost respect for wrestling because I’m doing a show like this. I’m the worst for putting the fear up people in that regard. (Ravie) Davie will tell ye, I’ll walk thought this training school when there are classes on and give them patter like “out of 30 of you, one 1 will make it!” and all that, and the trainers are telling me not to say that *laughs* but thats how it is. Don’t think I don’t have that old school mentality.”

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From what I gathered as I sat in Mark Dallas’ roof office, overlooking (I was sitting slightly below it so I was literally looking over it) a pool table with some of the most spectacularly woven luscious cloth I’ve ever seen, as we sat among posters from significant ICW events, signed posters of legends of film and the massive trophy Drew Galloway received for going in to the ICW Hall of Fame that he eventually wants sent over to him (As to how that might happen “That big bastard can pay for it to get shipped” I believe was the direct quote, followed by a hearty laugh) the point in it all is to find someone, perhaps several people, who need something to help them turn their lives around. Its designed to be entertaining but perhaps life changing and essentially that’s what ICW is all about at its core. Buy the ticket, take the ride, reach for the fuckin stars.

“There’s a lot of perks from winning it and being seen on television, but whoever wins it will have no advantage over any other trainee and they’ll still need to get to the back of the queue. It’ll be up to them whether they want to do this properly or not. Essentially it’s not really about wrestling, it’s about taking people who have had a troubled life and helping them better themselves. Maybe it’ll help someone be a bit less depressed, or help them if they don’t see their wean enough, or help them if they’ve had troubles with the law and all that. Maybe they take this as an opportuity to make their family proud”

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After recently making ICW’s second ever show “Stop, He’s Already Dead” available on their On Demand service with Dallas and Renfrew providing commentary over the top of it, the feedback recieved has made digging through the archieves a top priority. To know where’re you’re headed, you need to have a right good laugh at where you’ve been as Dallas detailed what kind of thing you might expect from a deeper look at ICWs history

“It is fun watching them (the older shows) back. It’s like watching a toddler book a wrestling show. It was my baby steps as a promoter. Barely able to walk let alone fucking run.. a wrestling show. I crawled a wrestling show *laughs* After you’ve accomplished things it gives you a bit of perspective on those and you’re more able to laugh at it. It makes you think, whenever you’ve got a problem now, just stick one of they old tapes in and you realise it’s nowhere near as bad as that *laughs*. We want to do more of that and go through some of the old ones. There’s footage of ICW’s first match from Fear and Loathing 1. It’s all on cassettes and stuff like that and it needs edited together but we want to do more stuff like that”

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“At least these are the older shows that have footage. Back in the day hardly anyone had DVDs and all that. Scott (Reid) unearthed the first ever ICW match recently and its…..*laughs*.  (At this point Scott poked his head in from the office below and said its fuckin ghastly, which just make me want to see it more) Mike Musso and Damian Diamond in a dog collar match where the top rope breaks is the first ever ICW match. I cannae even begin to imagine how horrendous it’ll be. Me and Renfew will do it but I’d like to have others involved. Maybe Wolfy, Kid Fite, Liam Thomson. People that were around at that time. In fact, why is Liam no daein an online thing for us. Why is Liam Thomson not commentating on these old shows?. There’s an exclusive mate. I want Liam Thomson involved in commentating on these old shows with us at some point”

Any exclusive that means we get more Liam Thomson in our lives is one I am happy to be able to bring to the world.

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As ICW hurtle towards another crack at The Hydro, there’s renewed motivation amongst the whole team to make this the best Hydro show ever. Marketing wise it’s been approached a bit differently, with emotive images from ICW’s history being used to garner interest without outwardly advertising the show details. Simple planting the seed of interest in people’s minds as they wonder just what they’re seeing and how they can see more of it.

“Instead of just doing normal posters with the show details on the, we decided to do a bit more of a digital marketing campaign sort of thing. So the idea was to take these 5 really ghastly photos from ICW’s history and just put the word “Insane Championsip Wrestling – Fear And Loathing” on it and nothing else, so it makes you take notice and you want to look it up and find out more about it. I’ve seen that done with different things around the city, and its a really smart thing, so there’s going to be those five. They posters will go up everywhere around Glasgow over time. When they’re done, there’s going to be a series of posters with images of ICW’s most iconic drinking moments, and they’ll be in black and white, with maybe a wee bit more information about the show, and after that it’ll maybe be a similar style with the match ups that have been signed until that point and they’ll have all the information on it. It’ll be a gradual progression and I want it to subliminally get into people heads. Those five posters we have now are jarring images, to the point that when I put them up in the street, you actually see people stop what they’re doing to look at it. To be honest, they’re pretty fucked up, but I think it’s the attitude of ICW summed up to a tee. By the end of the year we want peole who don’t follow wrestle, who don’t follow ICW to be like “what the fuck is this thing I keep seeing all round the city” and that’s the thinking behind that”

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New marketing campaigns, new logo, music and stage setup for the June 17th Garage show, new talent, new main eventers, and whole new set of challenges. ICW has indeed entered its second era, and the first challenge for this new era is topping the two Hydro shows they’ve put on so far. The next one after that is giving their eras their own names. The catchier the better

“I want this to be the biggest Hydro crowd ever. Certainly bigger than last year, which was nothing to be ashamed of at all. Just over 4000. But this year I want more. Who’s to say we can’t top the first year? Ye never know what’s going to happen between now and The Hydro. The first big names for Hydro. New look, new sound, we’ve got access to this etensive music library and a lot of things are going to be different. The stage will look cool as fuck. Everything is freshened up a bit and geared towards this new era. This is the dawn of a new era. I don’t know what its called mate *laughs* I’ve never ran a company that has gone through a full era. Maybe we’ll just call this the second era, and if we get to a third era cunts might start giving them names *laughs*”

Massive thank you to Mark Dallas for his time on what was a busy day at The Asylum. 

Thank you to David J.Wilson, Warrior Fight Photography, Chelsea Cochrane, Turning Face Photography, and anyone else whos photos I may have used. If you see your photo and its uncredited shoot me a message or sue me if you so wish

To buy tickets for any of the shows mentioned in this interview, or indeed any ICW show you fancy going to, click this link  RIGHT HERE

ICW Barramania 4 Review

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The Barras has a special kind of feeling about it. Nothing that happens there can be considered throwaway. Nothing happens for no reason. It just, matters. When ICW first ran this venue it was the first time you knew for sure this shit was going to be huge. It had to be. The product and the talent on display belonged in venues like this and the atmosphere that night was electric. It’s almost a bit sad that running this venue has become normal thing but that’s what happens when you grow. There’s less scope to break new ground because you’ve already left your footprint everywhere. 

This felt a wee bit different from previous Barras shows. Previous shows have had crowning moments for the company and this era of stars, but this show felt more like it was introducing us to the folk who’ll be making memories in big time matches there for years to come. After Barramania 4 the picture for this year’s Fear and Loathing was bound to look a bit clearer, but perhaps more pertinently the card for Shug’s latest weekender started to take shape and one absolutely cash money match I’ve personally been frothing to see since day one finally looks like its going to be a reality in ICW. Honestly, as matches go, this yin is basically printing money so it is. As soon as it was announced, all the tenners in the world gave birth to a score. First, the gauntlet.

Andy Wild vs Aaron Echo vs Jordan Devlin vs DCT vs Mark Coffey vs Rampage Brown – Gauntlet Match For The Vacant ICW Zero-G Title 

Match 1 – Andy Wild vs Aaron Echo

Due to Jody Fleisch having to drop out with an injury, yer man Andy Wild kicked this whole affair off in a heartwarming tale of the man with a winning smile, a killer release belly to belly suplex and a heart of pure solid gold. Its hard not to like Andy Wild really. He has fought very hard to regain his place as an ICW regular after a few years of dipping in and out for various reasons. He’s battled his own mind at times just to get to this point. Redemption. What better way to reclaim his place than by taking the title that helped him make his name in the first place? Only problem with that was a big unit of a boy from Clydebank who happened to draw number two.

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This was an enjoyable scrap for the few minutes it got. Echo looked like a guy who wanted to maximise the ring time he was getting and you have to respect the shite out of that kind of nae wasted motion approach to the wrestling. No doubt in my mind the big man will one day be on the list of folk who have won this title but it wasn’t to be on this here night, although he did nail Wild with a stoater of a back elbow off the top in a style of a good good personal friend of his, but he was put away with the Gutwrench Powerbomb and ANDY WILD advanced.

Match Two – Andy Wild vs Jordan Devlin

Having just returned from an injury that saw him miss a recent Garage show, Devlin came out all guns blazing against his auld pal. Hitting a lovely backstabber with Wild suspended in the corner. Devlin had the better of this one for the most part but Andy Wild was here to reclaim his spot and nae amount of Devitt trained talent was stopping that happening. Even if walking out of the Barras with the Zero-G Title was going to be a tall order, big man was at least going to walk out with his name on the tip of people’s tongues and after taking a lovely floaty moonsault from Devlin, Wild stole the win with a small package to advance once again. ANDY WILD CHARGES ON TO MATCH THREE. Against none other than D…C….T

Match Three – Andy Wild vs DCT

We were the guts of the gauntlet at this stage and no one on the roster knows more about gettin up in some guts than yer man DCT. Perhaps he just caught Andy a wee bit out of puff. After all he had just beaten one of the best young talents in the country in Aaron Echo and the massively talented murderer of the non-Irish Jordan Devlin. A helluva shift even if those matches happened at opposite ends of the card, but one after the other? Hard graft. A cunt of a shift. DCT looked fired up to fuck advanced by driving his two knees into Wild’s chest, and a steak knife through his heart. DCT MOVES ON

Match Four – DCT vs Mark Coffey

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Dripping with intrigue this one was when Mark Coffeys jazzy new music hit. For anyone who wasn’t a fan 2-3 years ago, DCT was a part of Polo Promotions before they left, and to my knowledge this is the first time since the split (completely amicably, best pals 4 life) that they were engaged in fisticuffs. I fancied this to be the final pairing actually but on this evidence there’s certainly an excellent singles match between these two on the cards somewhere down the road. They thumped each other in the early exchanges. So many forearms, you’d think they did have four arms. DCT nearly put Coffey away with a running knee to the skull, but it was Coffey who advanced soon after thanks to that heid removing low forearm to the skull. MARK COFFEY ADVANCES

Match Five (Winner Becomes Zero-G Champion) – Mark Coffey vs Rampage Brown

Sam Barbour is good so he is. A charismatic guy who can fuckin go in the ring. When he emerged as the final entrant in this match I was delighted for him. A massive opportunity to make an impression. That brief moment of “yass, well done mate!” soon wore off however. Mostly because Rampage Brown knocked the poor cunt into next week and well. Anyone else I’d be more raging on your behalf Sam. Honestly. This bit here I’d be aw ranting and raving, like how dare they do that to you but well. I’m not going to do that here for a few reasons. Firstly, Rampage Brown is a fuckin fridge/freezer masquerading as a human and I don’t fancy getting my heid kicked in by a human with the dimensions of a fridge/freezer. Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, Rampage Brown is THE BEST. Any set of circumstances that means he ends up wrestling on a card he wasn’t previously announced for is a-ok. Even if a few handsome men were harmed in the making of this match. It was a match we all needed to see. Mark Coffey vs Rampage Brown for the vacant Zero-G Title. Ooh aye. That’s the good stuff.

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Rampage is far too massive and intimidating to catch people in mid air and powerslam them like he does, but there he was, aw up in The Barras, doing just that. It was a lovely 5 minutes of deceptively agile big guys doing brilliant stuff. One thing this match displayed is that whoever won it would instantly have 5 guys (make it 6 if yer counting Jody Fleisch) champing at the big for a title shot. Rampage will be no different but it was Mark Coffey who emerged a THREE TIME Zero-G Champion thanks to that low forearm he does which is most likely named after a That 70s Show reference because Mark Coffey is the best wrestler in the world mate.

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His brerrs no bad either right enough eh. Oh my my. Since the first time I seen the Coffeys wrestle, them feuding against each other in ICW has felt like a thing that just HAS to happen. It has too much potential not to. Brothers wrestling each other is always a bit of a wildcard. A bit like how it’s always pish when the Williams sisters play a bit of tennis against each other. Naturally in a highly competitive sporting environment, your will to demolish whoever you face is diminished a bit when yees started yer careers in the same bawsack. At the same time though, wrestling is performance art and being paternal brother brothers is just an added bit of intrigue. A selling point. Joe openly questioned where else he could go in ICW after dropping the title he had coveted for so long, and this is it. This is where. He’s never really chased the Zero-G Title nor has he chased his brerrs jaw as mantelpiece memorabilia so finally he has a path less travelled. They stared each other down but wisely no blows were thrown. Keep that intrigue going. Get the people fucking clamouring for the first time you throw hands. 

Wolfgang vs Tor Atterhagen – Chain Match

If you were to build a wrestler from scratch you’d probably build something like big Tor Atterhagen. Huge. Distinctive look. Really fuckin huge. Swedish. Big massive huge cunt. Beard. Not to mention, hes HUGE. The difficulty with guys like Tor is that all the aesthetics are there before the in ring stuff has caught up. Feels really strange saying that about a Johnny Moss trained wrestler but at least from my point of view anyway, he’s not put it all together when it comes to in ring stuff yet. Reminds me a lot of Braun Strowman when he first debuted and was in The Wyatt Family for a while in WWE. He hadn’t quite worked out how to put all these attributes together to make it something that has a lasting impact, but it was all there. Just in need of refinement. Having matches with top quality pro’s like Wolfgang will only help the big guy improve but there was times it just looked like he wasn’t sure what to be doing next.

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The match didn’t officially start until the chain was hooked on Tor’s wrist and after some stiff jabs and forearms Wolfy finally got it under way. He done a stellar job of making Tor look like a superhero. Every clubbing blow to the back looked like it had shut down a vital organ and the spear the big Swede hit took every single one of Wolfys ribs down with it but the battle hardened big bruiser fae the East End doesn’t tend to fail when ICW hits The Barras (please no one actually verify if this is the case, I’ve no done ma homework here) and he put the probable murderer away with a Swanton on Tor’s back with the chain being utilised for extra added sareness.

It’s now been well over a year since Wolfgang lost the ICW Title and its about time the big man was back within pumpin distance of that shiny belt again. Few on the roster have the name recognition and talent the big man has and if WWE aren’t going to steal him full-time its high time the big yin was back in amongst the title picture. Not to be a spoilerin bastard but the show was over 2 weeks ago now, so if you don’t know, where ye been? but aye. One of Wolfgang’s finest matches as champ was against a certain leader of some sort of generation.  Would stand to reason that if that person ever became champion himself, he might owe Wolfy a wee shot. 

The Conclusion Of Chris Renfrew vs Joe Hendry – Falls Count Anywhere Match

What can you say about the longest match in wrestling history? Are there any words? I must admit, looking at the record for this in the past led me to believe there was nae chance on this earth I’d ever personally witness the longest wrestling match ever. The way wrestling is now? No promoter in the world is putting on a match that spans several hours/perhaps even a full show. No way. That’s suicidal stuff. That’s akin to taking a pile of tickets for future shows and using them as some extremely ineffective, probably painful toilet roll. Unless you’re clever about it. Unless you’re constantly “keeping an eye on it” so we, the fans, don’t have to.

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In all honesty this whole affair has been one of the funniest storylines ICW have ran with in a long time. From the first night of chaos where Hendry continually shot down Renfrew’s match suggestions, to the brawl continuing in Edinburgh, and even all the way to Renfrew confronting Leyton Buzzard about Joe’s whereabouts in Glasgow only to be told he was a wee bit busy representing this fine country in the Commonwealth Games. Its been very entertaining from the start and has shined a very positive light on both men involved in the “match” itself. Not because they were producing high-octane, head turning, 6 star rated wrestling for 3 months, but mostly because they displayed an ability to laugh at themselves and get fully immersed in the daftness that wrestling ultimately is. Also, it’s the only wrestling feud I’ve ever seen where both the ref and one of the competitors “assistant” end up coming out of it looking fantastic. Step forward Kieran Kelly and Leyton Buzzard. The joint MVP of the longest wrestling match of all time. Heroes in short troosers.

Kieran Kelly is a very talented wrestler and has been a hot prospect for a while but in an environment  where so many trainees fall into that bracket these days and competition for places is hotter than ever, you need to have a willingness to do something else. To be a bit daft. To have a constant running battle with the assistant of one half of the match you’re reffing, then seeing that progress to actually laying hands on the competitor himself. Those antics only to be topped by the night where the other half of the match you’re reffing actually becomes the ref for your match with the aforementioned assistant, before both of you get frozen in time pointing to an imaginary sign and have to be carried out. It looked like it would roll on to the next show/possibly next decade when Dallas was about to tell Simon to keep an eye on it but they appeared actually at the ringside area and we were finally gonnae get it. The end.

Renfrew looked like he ‘d done it only for Leyton to pull the ref out at the very last minute. That led to another instalment of the feud within a feud, taking place within a match, which also included a match within the match at one point. This is all the one match btw. Every shite taken, nose picked, meal eaten, toenail clipped, knee skinned, flight boarded, pair of shoes tied, bowling ball shined up real nice, breath taken, all of the things that have happened since this match started until that point had been part of the match. This match was basically life itself and much like life itself as we knew it, it felt like it was finally coming to an end. Kieran Kelly hit Joe with a stunner, followed by Renfrew with a remarkably similar move called the stoner and that was finally that. Game, set and finally the END of the match that threatened to never end. 

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That would’ve been that if it wasn’t for that pesky Conrad! Joe congratulated Renfrew on a career win and insisted on serenading him as a goodwill gesture to commemorate the journey they had been on together. He told him he was gonna be big in this business one day if he kept at it and as amusing as it all was, it was a dirty, stinky ruse I tell ya! Dave Conrad attacked Kieran Kelly before joining Joe Hendry and Leyton Buzzard on the stage. Seemingly formally joining their wee gang before being introduced by Joe as “Bantz”. The joke there being that he actually doesn’t say very mu…..ah you’re a smart kid. You get the joke. Renfrew carried Kieran Kelly on his shoulder like he’d just took a bullet for him on the battlefield and with that, a strange but oddly beautiful palship was formed. Don’t be surprised if this is the start of a very promising career in ICW for Kelly.  

The Kinky Party(c) vs The Purge vs The Kings Of Catch vs Rory Coyle and “Screwface” AJ Anderson

Rory Coyle has a way about him on the mic that’s for true. Undoubtedly it was his strength in that area that saw his tag team The Sons Of Ulaid catch the eye enough to be given a shot. A problem has arisen. His partner Bas Ban is either deid, has killed a man, has killed several men and a few sheep, or all of the above, and that means Rory needed a new partner. One a bit less dead. He needed “ScrewFace” Ahmed aka AJ Anderson (although a more accurate name would be “ScrewShoulderPads” because that’s literally where the screws were…wee  joke for ye there) the only person he could find close enough to his level of mental on such short notice. As much as it’s not the team they originally gained an interest in there’s something about Coyle that shouldn’t be ignored. Few people have that kind of special, almost creepy allure about them and if this change is a permanent one I sincerely hope it doesn’t spell the end of this opportunity in ICW for Coyle.

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They were one of the teams making up the field for The Kinky Party’s first defence of the tag titles. The Purge and Kings Of Catch the other challengers. Card’s on the table right, 4 team tag matches are one of my least favourite types of matches in wrestling but I’ll blame that on WWE having one EVERY FUCKING YEAR at Mania when I was growing up. Dripping in indifference. How could we be indifferent to this one when The Kinky Party were finally home with they shiny belts. For something that didn’t really have much of a plan or direction to it, its done awrite eh? Two pals who didn’t have much else to do coming together to enjoy themselves and suddenly its 9-10 months down the road and they’ve won all sorts of belts together. That’s what wrestling’s all about at the end of the day innit. What gets you interested. What gets you properly invested. What gets you standing at a show smiling from ear to ear. Thats what the Kinky Party are. You won’t get aw sorts of intricate, complexed double team stuff that they’ve drilled 4000 times a week in training. They’re no out here to go flip for flip wae the Young Bucks, they are in this for the laughs, the pints, and the fuckin tag team titles.

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While Coyle and Screwface were a brand new thing altogether, The Kings Of Catch and The Purge have been two of the main chasers of the titles. The Kings in particular have a decent claim for a title shot one on one considering they hold a tag team win over The Kinks, but perhaps a wee four way where they could utilise their expert sneakiness would work out better. They started out red hot with some high flying antics, as all of the teams had a wee shot of looking slick early doors. Sha and Jester had The KoC and the SickScrewCru (I’m no typing out both their names every time mate, although the whole point in that is kinda negated by this bit in the brackets eh? ah well) set up in the corners while they took turns each to splash them. As they passed each other on the way to each splash, they handed each other uplifting notes cause that’s just the kinda tag team they are. Powers of journalistic-ness led me to one of these notes from Jester to Sha and it just said “You are good at pints”. Never a truer word spoken…or written down.

The Kings do a cool thing where they break up pins with a senton, I dunno why thats noteworthy other than the fact I liked it personally but there ye go. It’s a fun and effective way to avoid losing a wrestling match. I also like this thing the Purge do thats like a sideslam, but Stevie James does a superkick at the same time. I suppose this is the wee things I like section eh. I also like how Jester flies sometimes now. Clearly inspired by Sha, who hit a fuckin Hurricanrana on Aspen Faith while Jester went up top and landed on the rest of the field with a big elbow. When he does that it’s no yer big floaty dive where the guy performing it barely touches the folk taking it, this is a cunt driving the point of his elbow into a team of folk with intentions to leave a Jesters elobow shaped dent in their eye socket.

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They made their way back into the ring to end these shenanigans and do what they really came here to do. Crowdsurf. A spike tombstone piledriver they call “The Teamstone Pal-Driver” on Screwface got the job done and they crowdsurfed the night away while the kings looked understandably gutted on the ramp. They also kinda looked like they wanted to crowdsurf a wee bit, but mainly the gutted thing. no tag titles for them but there’s undoubtedly another title match down the line for them. 

As for Sha and Jester? Keep being the most uplifting, fun thing on the show. Keep enthralling the masses with shiny jaikets and even shinier personalities. Shine the fuck on. 

“Just Justice” Jackie Polo vs Lionheart

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They still don’t fucking like each other do they. Perhaps not with the same ferocity as the hatred they had for each other 4 years ago, but it’s still there and its beautiful to watch that simmering disdain come to the forefront when you out them together. They bring the very best out in each other and in Jackie’s case at his very best he is the master of mind games. An expert pusher of buttons. Lionheart knows he’s having his buttons deliberately pushed at this stage but Jackie is too good at it for him to stop himself rising to it. Unfortunately for Lionheart, the big rematch didn’t happen. There would be no avenging of that loss from 4 years ago that cut him so deep and made him completely re-invent himself. No no. Not on this night. Because Lionheart would not be wrestling Jackie Polo. He would be the first opponent for the debuting “Just Justice” Jackie Polo. Or JJJP if yer into abbreviations. Aint he fuckin brilliant.

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Even the stare down before they started beats most matches for intensity and entertainment value. Jackie with a few heidbutt feints, before they kicked things off by knocking the utter hell out each other. If you watched all the build up to their first match, then put this match on immediately, its perfection. It’s like all that dormant hatred had been reborn and there they were. Having it out the way they were always supposed to. By having the best match of the show.

Polo hit a scoop to break up the fisticuffs, only for Lionheart to spring up and slap the taste out Jackie’s gub. Oh right. So it’s that type of fight. Two guys getting as wide with each other as possible until one eventually out wido’s the other. Exactly what you want for yer Sunday night entertainment. Polo responded by sending Lionheart baws first into the ring post before launching him into the nearby barrier. Double sare yin. Polo continued to dominate and even made a rare trip to the top rope to hit a big double ae handle before following that with a knee off the apron. Well it would have been a rare foray up top for Jackie Polo anyway, but I hear JJJP has a beltin’ Shooting Star Press up his sleeve. You’ll never see it in a match because such a move would be uncouth, but its like Brock Lesnar’s Shooting Star Press in the sense that just knowing its in his arsenal is reward enough. Actually seeing it might just be too much.

Jackie focused on the neck before a clothesline took both men over the ropes. Lionheart reversed a piledriver attempt on the ramp into a Rock Bottom to turn it back in his favour but upon re-entering the ring he had a wee internal struggle. To scud him with the mallet, or not to scud him with the mallet. That is the question. That wee delay allowed Jackie to roll him up for a two count before Lionheart finally had the vindication he so craved. Even if this wasn’t the same guy he faced 4 years ago, JJJP’s striking similarities meant victory would be some kind of vindication regardless and it was surely in the bag after the big brogue kick was followed by the rock bottom, then the “Final Moment” frog splash, but it wasn’t the final moment. Somehow Jackie scraped his shoulder off the mat and on we went to the breathtaking conclusion of this fuckin stoater of a wrestling match.

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Having chucked everything he had at Polo, Lionheart decided to go for a different tactic. Not one for making folk tap often, he stuck the sharpshooter on Polo anyway. As he writhed in agony, he scooped up the polo mallet Lionheart was so reticent to use and broke the hold with it. Busting Lionheart open. A bit of the blood got on Jackie’s singlet and since it had his face on it, it looked like singlet Jackie was busted open as well. Maybe singlet Jackie and real life Jackie are one and the same. Maybe JJJP is actually a vessel for Jackie Polo himself and the guy smiling on the singlet is in fact The King Of Chat. Trapped in a singlet forever. JJJP was undeterred by his bleeding singlet however, and got up to end this whole saga only for Hearto to floor him with a superkick. Some heavy jabs from both, Polo in particular, led to a 4 scoop salute from Jackie as he looked as fired up as he had been all match. Time to bring it the fuck home.

He went for the electric chair drop only for Lionheart to roll through it for a two count. Polo tried to put an end to it with mallet shot to the napper, but that was blocked and a rock bottom followed for another two. A mallet shot finally landed from Polo BUT THAT WAS ONLY TWO ANAW. How did they keep kicking out. Lionheart picked the mallet up and this time he wasn’t planning on missing. One thing about this feud that’s been consistent throughout the years is Polo being just that half step ahead. He knew the lure of that weapon would hit Lionheart again and he was ready for it. Hoisting him up for the electric chair drop to bring a superb bit of pro wrestling to an end. 

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There was no big gloating celebration from JJJP. He didn’t milk it. In fact he looked like a man who had done exactly what he expected to do. Lionheart on the other hand looked devastated. As if he believed so strongly that he would get the job done and he done absolutely everything in his power to do it, only to fall agonisingly short. They very much left the match going in opposite directions. Polo looking more convincing than ever and looking like he’s ready to charge up the card, whereas Lionheart looked lost. You had to ask yourself does another retirement loom? Well if it does, it shouldn’t. This was one of the best matches ICW have had. Certainly in recent memory but even all-time it has to be up there. If Lionheart can be one half of something that good, it shouldn’t be a retirement we’re expecting. It should be a re-match. One more time. Win and you finally know its possible to beat him. Lose? Who knows. 

Stevie Boy Xavier vs Kenny Williams – Ladder Match (If Stevie loses he loses the Square Go briefcase, if Kenny loses he leaves ICW)

There’s absolutely no doubt that these two will be top guys in ICW going forward. Two of the standouts from their generation and two of the best performers this country has produced. That was inevitably gonnae mean they run into each other at some point. In a setting where both of them made their name. Albeit at different stages. Stevie’s ladder legacy started with ICW’s first ever ladder match as him and Davie battled for to become the first ever ICW tag team champions, while Kenny’s obsession with ladders started a bit later in his various pursuits of Zero-G gold but one thing is for certain. One thing is undoubtedly for true. That thing is that they undoubtedly know whit the fuck they’re daein in there, and this was going to be beltin’. If Kenny could seek some kind of solace going in to this with his career on the line is that remarkably Stevie hadn’t won a match since his Square Go win.

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Being two of the quicker more agile guys on the roster, it lent itself well to a ladder match. Kenny kicked off the violence by seeming to come from completely out of shot to nail Stevie with a leaping forearm. As Stevie took over, Kay Lee Ray set up a ladder for him to stroll up and end this thing before anyone had chucked a karate chop in anger but Kenny’s career was on the line here. Nae way it was ever gonnae be that simple. Kenny looked as fired up as he’s been in a long time and was undeterred by the fact that Stevie brought hauners. Seemingly managing the looming threat of Kay Lee Ray well by chucking ladders in her direction every now and then, while producing some eye catching stuff in the ring. Hitting that mad sunset flip powerbomb thing called the Tequila Sunrise.

Stevie set up some kind of two ladder death sandwich situation. With the intention to kill Kennys chances of getting burds in the future by making a big ladder indent on his coupon. Dastardly stuff. Kenny stopped that plan in its tracks by launching Stevie into the ladder in the corner with a German suplex, the impact of which was doubled as Stevie was holding a ladder at the same time and for some reason didnae think letting go of it mid German suplex would be a good idea. Too busy hatching diabolical plans to force Kenny into this “Ladderface” gimmick he was so daft on. With a table set up precariously on the outside by Kay Lee, Stevie tried to put Kenny through only for Kenny to block and eventually be the one to hit Stevie with a spear through the ropes that caused Stevie to land on the table without breaking it. It made a horrendous noise when he hit it and the fact that it didn’t break after that noise would suggest that was a fucker of a dunt. By the end of the night I’m sure Stevie wasn’t fussed, but at the time it must have been a stingy bastard.

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Kay Lee Ray climbed the ladder seemingly with the intention of daein the reverse Ellsworth and dropping the briefcase into Stevie’s arms but big Echo was at hand to stop any such shenanigans in their tracks. Usually big Echo is aw aboot shenanigans pal. One time I heard he had 8 beers or more! In the same night! but this wasn’t the time for shenanigans. It was time for helping his besto save his job. The Kings of Catch got involved at that stage but Echo took the whole filthy lot of them out with a big dive over the top. Maybe what happened next is why Kenny eventually flipped, because his well-meaning big pal hoisted Kenny on to his shoulders to grab the briefcase. Obviously under some kind of illusion he’s 8 feet tall, because Kenny was naewhere near it and the Kings Of Catch broke it up before ushering big Echo to the back leaving it one(plus one, cause Kay Lee was still about) on one.

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Stevie set up another deathly two ladder contraption with the intention to hit a destoryer from the bigger ladder on to the smaller one set up in the corner. Kenny dodged it before hitting that spear on to the table and that might have been that if he climbed up the other side of the ladder. First Echo’ shoulders, then the wrang side of the ladder. Now’s not the time to be dreaming up new and exciting ways to win ladder matches mate. Climb up the right side and you could end this night the ICW Champion. Kay Lee climbed up the other side giving Stevie the chance to recover and climb up to battle with Kenny, smacking his head off the top of the ladder causing Kenny to watch his ICW career slowly slip away as he fell from the big ladder on to the smaller one still set up in the corner, leaving Stevie to scoop up his briefcase and send Kenny Williams to the same place his auld pal Christopher went to all those years ago. Team CK re-united somewhere in wrestling purgatory. The dream. 

As Stevie disappeared, completely content with his night’s work with no intention of engaging in anything else strenuous for at least 40-45 minutes, Kenny was left to ponder what might have been. His ICW career was littered with brilliant moments. Undoubtedly the all-time best in the Zero-G division (Mark Coffey will give him a run for his money there but for now anyway) for me. He became synonymous with “The Power Of Love” and gave fans (the live crowd anyway, his regular music was dubbed in for on demand) a wee taste of that rousing entrance for this match. Just in case it was his last. Aaron Echo came out to console his pal and stood by as he said his final words as an ICW wrestler. He spoke about how much he valued his big pal, but he wasn’t the pal he needed right now. For a brief moment I thought Noam Dar was gonnae come out and all Kenny meant was that Noam gives better cuddles, but he scudded his poor big mate right in the baws, and floored him with a mic shot to the melt before revealing the pal he needed was Rudo. Signing on the dotted line with Red and his team of heavies much like Grado had done a year earlier when he leathered Sha and joined Rudo.

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Big Echo was left heart sick as he rolled about in agony while Red Lightning cut a promo about how he was assembling another army. I don’t know if Kenny “leaving” is because of what’s came to light this week (If you dont know, I’ll put it this way….theres 205 reasons to watch all of WWE’s programming this week….know what I mean??? Naw?? aw ffs, just watch 205 Live) and he will maybe be dipping in and out a bit more but this is such a positive thing for him and Aaron Echo. Kenny Williams is one of the most polished performers in the UK, and displaying an ability to be a bit of a wee cunt will do great things for him. It opens him up to all sorts of possibilities in the future, starting with a feud with big Echo to get the big man where he needs to be. This is a new era. A time to build new stars. Aaron Echo is potentially one of those stars and a series of stoaters with his newly evil best pal is a fine way to get him the opportunities his talent warrants. 

James Storm and Ravie Davie vs Iestyn Rees and Bram w/Red Lightning

Ah Ravie Davie. Its a fuckin shame so it is. One minute you’re happy as Larry. Could not be happier. Got a tidy wee Irish burd on the go who loves tannin’ cans and chain smoking 20 decks, about to become his wife who loves tannin’ cans and chain smoking 20 decks. Making a name in singles wrestling AND getting opportunities as a tag team with your cousin. A beloved character in the wrestling company he dreamed of just getting some kind of recognition in. It was all going swimmingly for Ravie Davie. Then Red Lightning decided to form an army basically dedicated to ruining his life. At the very least his eye sockets anyway.

The burd is long gone. Taking the role as Bram’s main squeeze, as the pair combined to tip a Davie off a ladder as he saw his Hydro dreams turn into nightmares. No matter if its singles, tag, or taking a leisurely stroll doon the street, some kind of big bastardin unit of a cunt somehow finds him and knocks his cunt in. His whole world was crumbling before his very eyes, but then hauners arrived. A cowboy rolled into the barras to save the day and for one night only, outlaw and king of the scheme weans would combine to put these Rudo boays in their place. Well that was the idea anyway. As the auld saying disnae go, its all fun and games till James Storm cracks the side of yer napper with a beer bottle and spits on the boss.

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It all started so well for intercontinental criminals. Davie coming out all guns blazing with all sorts of mad moonsaults and blockbusters. Iestyn and Bram are some statue looking big bastards though, and quickly took the match over after Bram blocked Davie’s moonsault with the double knees to the midriff. Wearing Davie down until he eventually got that roastin hot tag in to his future nemesis. Eh cowboy. Once they got a foothold in it, Davie and Storm actually worked well together. All part of the ruse for Storm I bet. Working out some slick double team stuff with Davie to throw him aff the “about tae get bottled a belter” scent. A wee backstabber from storm into a double stomp from Davie was particularly eye catching and they looked all set to win it all before Red got involved.

He hit Davie with a chair before Iestyn nearly speared him into another stratosphere for a two count. Storm continued the ruse by tossing Iestyn out only for Bram to clean him out with a popup powerbomb leaving just him and Davie to battle it out. It always seems to end up this way. Bram piling on the misery, one skull shattering piledriver at a time. Davie blocked the piledriver in one last act of heroism with a low blow. Making sure there’s nae chance of a Bram Jr popping up to avenge the death of his fathers baws. He unloaded on some revenge punches to the eye socket only for Red to break it up. Davie finally had enough and grabbed Red by the collar with some bad intentions my man. Real sinister stuff. With Red in hand, Davie presented him to James Storm to finish the job. Beer bottle to skull. Knock all the genius clean out and end Rudo’s reign of terrific pattrt for good. The odd couple overcome the odds to grab the win. A heartwarming tale really.

Then it happened, and fuck knows why it was surprising really. Outlaws aren’t good guys. Outlaws don’t get on well with authority figures. Outlaws bottle cunts for seemingly no reason. Outlaws feel nae need to explain their heinous actions. They scoop up the loot and its on to the next cunt daft enough to put their trust in him. Storm bottled Davie, Bram got the pin and that was that. Even Zander got a doing for daring to try to help his cousin before Storm dragged Davie back in to scud him over the heid with another bottle of beer followed by a superkick for good measure. Dallas appeared, obviously raging at the waste of beer, screaming at Storm for no recycling they bottles, which seemed to ramp Storms rage up a few notches, causing him to spit on a guy fae Glesga. Not a smart move ma man. Outlaw or no. 

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Must admit when James Storm was announced for ICW I never seen it being a long term affiliation but on this evidence it potentially could be very good. The aggression that came seeping out him after the initial beer bottle smash, and then the attacks on Zander and Davie that followed was some old school James Storm. Him at his best. If that’s what he’s bringing to the table then there’s good shit for him in ICW. Spitting on Dallas is some gallus behaviour. That’s like a hate crime where he’s fae. In fact it is pretty much everywhere in Scotland. My pal accidentally spat on me in primary school once and I send him a lollipop stick wae a big dug shite on it once a year as retribution. Spitting on folk is not on. 

Viper(c) vs Kasey – ICW Women’s Title Match

This one’s had as much praise as some of the other matches on the show but this was definitely one of the best matches on the night, and one of the best Women’s Title matches the company has had to date if ye ask me. Viper’s been charging roon the globe hoovering up any belt she gets within sniffing distance of, and while she’s been doing that Kasey has been carving out a reputation for bringing the noise on the big shows here. A win over Viper in Edinburgh last year definitely helped her along the way and that match was a belter as well. She can now call herself a two time ICW Women’s Champion and the winner of the first ever women’s cage match the company held. Hard fuckin work from both to get them to this point and they continue to solidify that hard work by killing it on the big shows.

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They kicked it off in high gear with Viper hitting an incredibly sare looking overhead belly to belly on the ramp. More matches should start with overhead belly to belly suplexes on hard surfaces. She set Kasey up against a barrier for a Cannonball but Kasey smartly dodged that. Probably anticipating its heavy sareness. Her attempted kick on the apron was blocked and she was swept face first on the apron. Embedding 3 or 4 teeth in what’s widely known in the biz/world as the hardest part of the ring. Ouch.

A powerbomb attempt was rolled into a two count of Kasey before she nailed a springboard crossbody before they flew into jabbing fuck out each other. It was intense and competitive from the start and I dunno why more folk aren’t talking about the quality of this match. Another belly to belly sent Kasey to the corner for a cannonball before she responded by launching aw sorts of knees at viper. Double, single, hauf…any way a knee can be launched in the direction of another human it happened. Somehow Kasey managed to kickout of a powerbomb off the top followed by the Viper driver and spurred on by her own resilience, she found it in herself to nail Viper with The Killing Joke but that didn’t get it done either.

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It would take another trip to the skies to finally put Kaseys bid for a third ICW Title away. Viper catching her before hitting a stoater of a Viper Driver off the top to bring an excellent match to an end. Fair play to Kasey for making herself such a solid fixture when it comes to shows like this. She continues to improve and show why she belongs in the company of globe-trotting stars like Kay Lee Ray and Viper and its only a matter of time before she ends up seeing similar opportunities come her way. As for Viper, sky is the limit right now. Impressive everywhere. Uniquely talented. Believable in any match against any living human being. A fine representative of both ICW and the country. Keep scooping up belts tae ye need a bigger hoose just so you’ve got somewhere to put them. 

BT Gunn(c) vs Mikey Whiplash – Death Match For The ICW Championship 

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Everybody dies. Everybody involved in wrestling probably loves it on some level. By that logic, wouldn’t a death match be the perfect way to go? Even those who have an aversion to this style of wrestling, surely when it comes time take the long sleep, a proper literal death match would be the way to go? Clearly both Mikey Whiplash and BT Gunn had decided this was their time, and this death match wasn’t some gimmick. It was a pair of certifiably insane guys 100% trying to kill each other for real. A fascinatingly brutal thing to watch with a jaw dropping finish. Although it really shouldn’t have been if you’ve paid attention. It should have been exactly what we were expecting. The ultimate heist.

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They eased us gently into the more harrowing stuff with some good old-fashioned strikes early on, before Whiplash kicked off the more brutal stuff with a death valley driver on some chairs set up in a way that kinda looked like how you’d position two chairs if you wanted to pretend they were shaggin. Even the stuff that might not necessarily leave permanent scars looked fucking brutal. A backdrop on the apron (hardest part of the ring don’t ye know) looked extremely painful, but what followed soon after will stay with me for a long long time. There was a wooden frame on the outside, only instead of the frame housing a nice painting, it housed barbed wire. Instead of that painting being on a nice canvas, it was barbed wire on top of more barbed wire. As BT Gunn set up a cluster of cinderblocks with Whiplash set up on the top rope, Whiplash decided blocking that would be a good idea. A wise move, but when the alternative is being launched into a barbed wire spiderweb it’s very much a no win situation yer in there. Honestly when he landed on it, it felt like it had formed an instant bond with his back and that would be his life now. Half man, half barbed wire. As it would turn out, that somehow wouldn’t be the most painful thing to happen to his back in this match. Fuckin…….somehow. A barbed wire spider web and they topped it. How.

BT then took to wrapping barbed wire round his leg and kicking Whiplash with it. As much as Whiplash wanted to bring this side of BT out, im sure that idea changes a wee bit when bringing that side of BT out means him trying to make you bleed to death via about 5 million tiny wee barbed wire induced puncture wounds. He then locked in a Texas Cloverleaf only for Aivil to come to Whiplash’s aid as she hit a bulldog on top of the aforementioned cinderblocks. Ye didnae think the cinderblocks weren’t getting burst at some point did ye? Come on now. Behave. That was the moment it turned in Whiplash’s favour and it really turned in his favour when he hit back to back piledrivers off the apron through tables. Aye…he done that twice. So if your opponent being clinically dead marks a wrestling match turning in someones favour, this was very much…that.

Such was the severity of the punishment these two had taken, it was like a lightbulb went off. Like everyone in the audience felt it at once. This could be it. Two men bawhairs from death. One of them the ICW World Heavyweight Champion. In a ring. With a ref. If ever there was a fullproof cash in plan, this was it. BT Gunn was set up beneath a ladder, covered in thumbtacks, ready for death because somehow the apron piledrivers didn’t do it, only to spring up and hit the Gunnshot off the ladder on the thumbtacks. Both men crestfallen. Gubbed. Then the music hit. The sirens. That bassline. It was happening. Stevie’s had arrived to steal the moment, and the ICW World Title.

9stevvvThe king of insanity was here to take his place at the mountaintop, and he came team handed. Kay Lee Raid laid Aivil out with a superkick and The Kings Of Catch provided additional hauners as Stevie strolled in to the Barrowlands to turn a dream in to reality, even if the way it happened was the stuff of nightmares. It was like he was in the pictures watching a stoater of a horror and decided to jump in and re-write the ending. Watching these two tear each other apart in all sorts of inventive ways only to swoop in at the last moment and stab them both in the neck and watch them bleed out. That actually isn’t as far away from how it actually happened as you’d maybe think.

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BT Gunn has never saw anyone kick out of the Technodrome DDT. When he does that move, titles stay round his waist. In what was almost an act of desperation he nailed Stevie with it but he got the shoulder up. Whiplash swooped in with the Zombie Maker before setting up the newest sinister room in this figurative house of horrors. Fuckin hell, no another glass panel. The one Whiplash put Jimmy Havoc through a few weeks earlier still haunts my dreams. That noise. Like the first bit of Stone Cold’s theme except instead of summoning an angry bald Texan it sends a goth from London to the hospital. This time it would be Whiplash going to hospital. Quite literally as BT Gunn powerbombed him through the glass, only for Stevie to dump BT out and swoop in for the pin and become the NEW ICW CHAMPION. 

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That last bit wasn’t hyperbole at all. Mikey Whiplash genuinely needed an operation after this match and is out of action for a while. Even if death matches aren’t your thing, the level of commitment to entertaining you and I that comes with being willing to do that has to be hugely respected. BT Gunn and Mikey Whiplash went all out to fucking very near kill each other and it was all to facilitate someone elses moment. The ultimate act of wrestling selflessness because at the end it wasn’t about them.. BT Gunn didn’t even get the big mutual respect handshake to commemorate his excellent reign as champion. He was mugged and it was perfect. Neither he nor Whiplash got to raise that shiny belt as reward for their labour.

Instead it was the endlessly wily Stevie, and by fuck was it richly deserved. In my 5+ years going to shows, no one has improved more than Stevie and he now leads the most influential stable in ICW as the motherfucking ICW World Heavyweight Champion. Sometimes life rewards the good cunts for their graft, and the look of pure joy on Kay Lee’s face when he climbed the ropes and raised the title was just lovely. A beautiful end to the violent tapestry that was the main event. Anyone not on the Stevie train, get to the next show and you’ll see what kind of champion this man will be. More than fit to lead this company into and new and exciting era. 

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Big thank you to David J.Wilson for the wonderful photos of per usual. He is a hero and everyone reading this should appreciate him a very great deal

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Braun Meets Roman (Again)

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Do you remember where you were the day Braun Strowman won the “Greatest” Royal Rumble? For those who haven’t seen it, he didn’t jump in a time machine and gun it to 1992, eliminating an ecstatic Ric Flair celebrating his first WWE Title to claim it as his own. Nah. He won the big mad thing last week in Saudi Arabia in a match that’s main purpose seemed to be for Titus O’Neil to show us how to properly take a front bump then slide underneath the ring all in one amazing motion. Braun won the big mess of a thing though and that is of some significance. For a start he now has that green belt, which he can sit on top of his gigantic trophy in his house. He’s the only person in the world who can legitimately claim to have beaten another 49 guys in a fight (not that anyone would doubt him if he said that and it wasn’t true because he’s a fuckin hoose wae a beard) and well….he can always tell folk “see that time fell face first and skited through the ring apron? I won that match”

The greatest Royal Rumble it most certainly was not but it had the smartest outcome. Daniel Bryan making it all the way to the end to be dumped out by fuckin Big Cass to build a Backlash match that still makes no sense was slightly less smart, but it at least gave Braun a final two opponent who matches him for height if not, for the lack of a better term, girth. A guy who upon entering second last was fresh enough to at least put up a wee fight. The main reason it wouldn’t have been smart to make Braun and Daniel Bryan the final two is much simpler. Braun Strowman is THE guy. Daniel Bryan was THE (last) guy and a guy who could definitely be THE guy on Smackdown so having one massive good guy get the better of the other does nothing for anyone.

In wrestling no matter how much management want this guy to be the next guy and throw their whole weight behind that being the case, its ALWAYS up to the fans. Fans will vote with their feet no matter what you chuck at them. Its harder to manipulate situations to “force” people into liking a certain wrestler because no fans have seen it all before and strangely, during his amazing run to the world title 4 years before, a precedent for changing the course of things was set with Daniel Bryan. Daniel Bryan was chosen by the fanbase rather than his employers. They wanted it so bad that they made it so, and in turn created a memorable Wrestlemania when Daniel Bryan defeated every active member of Evolution in one night to take the titles he so richly deserved. It undoubtedly wouldn’t have happened unless fans pulled for it so hard it pretty much made them change plans. Fast forward a few years and fans are demanding its anyone BUT Roman Reigns. The disdain for Reigns is almost palpable but until now they didn’t have someone to throw their whole weight behind. Without a cause your protests are just aimless and as much as this might upset some fans “Reigns is shite!” is not a cause. For a start, its not even fucking true.

Reigns doesn’t have to be shite at this stage. Truth be told he doesn’t have to do anything. No matter what they do with him fans will find some kind of reason to protest. Some kind of reason to revolt. Some kind of reason to boo the good guy. As much as the booing is an act of protest when it comes to Reigns, ultimately its noise. Its not only noise, but its usually A LOT of fucking noise and if you keep handing that to the biggest wrestling company they are going to turn it into something. They will turn that noise into money somehow. they just need something. Anything. The perfect thing to push it over the edge. Enter Braun Strowman.

The example is already there. They feuded for an extended period and every single match was money. Every single match showed a different level of the physicality these two brutes could be capable of. More importantly than that? It showed both men are fallible. They both showed kinks in their armour that allowed the other to come out on top. Its all there for them but in wrestling, for it to be as good as it can possibly be, it has to be hero vs villain. It just has to. Its the dynamic that makes people care. People who know this whole thing is staged need to be able to suspend their disbelief and get lost in it and over the course of their matches, Roman Reigns and Braun Strowman certainly done that. They just need the right dynamic. They just need, big bad Reigns.

WWE make a lot of money off Roman Reigns merch. Without a ready made replacement for that money, there’s no way they turn him heel. The best way to replace that money? Turn your “monster” into the type of monster who makes 10 year olds dreams come true. Make him a monster who drags a massive cello out on RAW to mock Elias before cracking it over his napper knocking the shite clean out him. Make him destructive but make that destruction FUN and at the very same time, have Roman Reigns go through a career breakdown. Decimated at Wrestlemania. Lost the rematch at the Greatest Royal Rumble thanks to some rotten luck. Reprimanded by management for speaking his mind. He’s ragged. He’s raw. For the first time in his WWE his back is really against the wall. Its now been almost two years since Roman last held the WWE Title and as long as Brock Lesnar and Braun Strowman are in the picture he might never hold it again. Unless he becomes something else.

Its not a certainty they will turn him but they certainly have everything in place to do so and having someone the fans truly viscerally hate will be perfection for Braun. Particularly if its a guy he knows he works well with. You assume Brock will hold the title until CM Punks record is broken but after that it most likely goes to Braun while Roman Reigns spends months hearing about how much of a failure he is via the mouth of Samoa Joe. A man who done more to build Brock vs Reigns at the GRR than anyone else. Another natural foe for Reigns and someone who can continue to push him towards the dark side.

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They’ve tried to for so long now and one thing is abundantly clear. A large percentage of the crowd just won’t cheer for Roman Reigns. Even if a lot of it is out of habit now a bit like Cena, they just won’t change. The fans DO want to cheer Braun Strowman and he has all the tools to be absolutely huge as a good guy. As much as his look and demeanour might scream villain, he has this unquestionable likeability that seems to be connecting with people more and more. Doing things like having him grab a 10 year old the crowd to win the tag titles with him only adds to that. Anyone who had some kind of issue with that, how much issue would you have had if he beat Sheamus and Cesaro in a handicap match? Probably not much. Why does having a 10 year old do nothing change that? He made a wrestlemania moment people will remember long in the future. A moment people will remember a lot more than some of the matches that took place. It helped add to the connection between him and the audience and that means he’s going to be a massive goodie.

Will Reigns be the baddie Braun needs to go from the biggest thing now to one of the biggest maybe ever, both literally and figuratively? You have to hope so. There’s only so many good matches and feuds this guy can have and still be booed before he eventually loses it and starts superman punching his way through the crowd. Although I bet he he would get a massive reaction in his first RAW back after he gets oot the jail.