ICW sold out the SECC. That’s impressive. Look at the size of the joint. A lot of people have put on shows in that same hall in the SECC and not sold it out. If you want an entirely fictional list of acts who’ve run the SECC and not sold it out, here it is. Tom Jones in 1968, Sylvester Stallone and The Boomtown Stallones, Roy Chubby Brown on his world famous “Take a Trip To Brown Town World Tour”, The Fratellis, Coolio and Dancing On Ice WITH KNIVES AND FIRE…all failed to sell out the famous venue. ICW sold it out a month in advance. 4,000 tickets. If you’re wondering when the last time an independent wrestling show drew that sort of crowd in the UK, it was 35 years ago. When wrestling was actually the only good thing on the telly apart from Grandstand and any snooker tournament Alex Higgins was involved in. I thought ICW smashed it. The perfect show for that occasion in front of that audience. If others think differently, that’s down to them. Opinions and all that. They’re like arseholes in the sense that most of the time they’re quite hairy. We entered the venue to stand in a queue that was indoors, with toilets and shops conveniently located nearby. This made the queue the best queue in the history of queues. People were singing and Drew Galloway bolted the length of the queue taking a video only to be eventually booed when everyone remembered he was the bad guy. This is wrestling and this is what we live and breathe, so if the bad guy is very close to his scheduled time to be the bad guy on the show, folk will boo.
We entered the hall itself to find a WWE show. In terms of the professionalism of the set-up, the visibility of the ring and the screens, it was of that standard. There was no angle uncovered and I’m yet to see anyone complain about lack of visibility in the venue. To run a show of that size for the first time and to avoid any huge problems in that regard is an achievement in itself. Credit has to go to everyone behind the scenes for managing to do all that good shit and make the show an experience that most of us will never forget. I’ll shut up about that and talk about a wrestling show now. Billy Kirkwood treated us to an extremely excited welcome to the show. Luckily the kilt managed to draw peoples eyes away from the massive stauner he had as he bellowed “Hello SECC, you sexy motherfuckers!!” Oh and ICW have a game coming out on PS4, Steam and Xbox. If that was the smaller announcement, imagine how huge the big yin was! Then there was wrestling.
Mark Dallas, Chris Toal, Sweeney, Scott Reid, Red Lightning and Mick Foley open the show
A wordy heading for this section, but it’s a special time and all of those men were in the ring at the start of the biggest thing to happen in UK Wrestling since yer Da wisnae even a Da. People should know it was Scott Reid, one of the hardest working guys behind the scenes, who was caddying for the evening. Everyone should know Chris Toal and Sweeney were there because when ICW make big announcements, they have to be there. Its tradition, like yer Granda looking at his Christmas dinner every year with a raised eyebrow before saying “I’ll never eat aw that! That’s enough tae feed a hoarse! Ye trying tae kill me?” Traditions are important, and when the whole story needs told, ye better call Toal.
Dallas stoated out in front of 4,000 with a smile as wide as the swagger he had when I met him walking from the venue into town after the show. The before and after of running the biggest show in the recent history of British Wrestling. Seeing a roster filled with people who have been with ICW from the start along with an eclectic band of talented men and women who have joined the movement along the way. You only cut it at ICW if you have something different. To quote Dallas “sometimes when the race gets faster, you either keep up or you trip and fall” Everyone who’s with ICW has a role on the team and they earned that role on merit. When it mattered the most and pressure was on, teamwork made the dream work. Well teamwork is going to somehow have to turn the improbable into the possible. The possible has to become certainty, because after saluting the audience and gesturing to leave, only to be told by Toal to give us the whole fuckin story, Dallas revealed that in a years time, ICW ARE RUNNIN THE FUCKIN HYDRO. 11,000 tickets. If that seems like something that isn’t possible, you know nothing. Even if 11,000 isn’t reached, you can be sure the number of tickets shifted will be a bawhair away from that and it’ll be a night even more unforgettable than this one was. Before all that, Dallas introduced as to ICW’s very own Titantron, aka “the big telly”, and the rest of the show was him sitting in the ring watching his favourite episodes of countdown.
Of course it couldn’t be a love in to open the show, because its a wrestling show. The happiness provided by the goodies, needs counteracted by baddies making folk go “that guy’s a pure dick int he? mon we’ll boo him” and there’s no one better at evoking that type of emotion than ICW GM Red Lightning. He’s a wanker because his role demands it of him and he’s the best in Scottish Wrestling at fulfilling that role. If Dallas is the manager of the ICW team, Red Lightning is the mercurial midfielder who nae manager can keep under control. He got on that mic like Davey Ginola in his prime and soaked in the acclaim as 4,000 people chanted “RED LIGHTNING, YER A WANKER…YER A WANKER” at the top of his lungs before telling us all that if we were looking for someone to thank. Look no further than the former ICW Champion himself. The winner of the first ever Square Go and the mastermind behind The Black Label, Gold Label….aw the fuckin labels. He was raging about the suspension and demanded a letter, or a hearing, or at the very least a wee game of play your cards right to determine if it was to be upheld or not. Dallas saw this act as a breach of his suspension and since a disciplinary hearing had already been conducted, it gave him great pleasure to announce that “Red Lightning….you’re………..”
The hardcore legend became Reds unlikely saviour as his entrance stopped Dallas mid sentence. Mick Foley in an ICW ring at the same time as Red Lightning was completely surreal. A true wrestling legend in the ring with the best villain in Scotland and one of the people who first made me think this Scottish Wrestling scene might be alright when I first got into it. Red Lightning provided the wanker that made the reaction Foley got all the more special, because if you’re exerting energy telling a bad guy how much of a bad guy he is, you’re going to mirror that energy when the good guy comes out to save the day. Red told Mick Foley he was NOT his hero, before bolting up the ramp like he’d just stole the Tamagotchi out of Micks back pocket and he was excited to watch it slowly die. Mick got on the mic and told us that he had worn his best Jim Cornette t-shirt for the event. A fashion choice that more thought went in to than you’d think. It was basically a straight choice between his own merch, an ICW shirt and Jim Cornette’s face, and he went with the latter. Deciding the ICW shirt would have been pandering although I think the big man underestimates just how many fans of Jim Cornette’s face were in the crowd. He then proceeded to tell us how he thought when he heard the venue had sold out, that it was a 1,200 seat venue and when he heard it was the 4,000 capacity SECC. It made an impression. An impression that in turn made Billy Kirkwoods life as Foley dropped an extremely rare f-bomb on us all. As his reaction when he heard ICW had sold 4,000 tickets was simply “what the FUCK is going on here?!” Billy pished, shat and came all at once I think, as he embraced some of the fans behind him, ridding himself of some of the aforementioned bodily fluids. Then the wrestling part kicked off, with Foley assuring us that he would do the best he can to help add something to the lifelong memories ICW were creating that night. Sold out SECC ffs. Lets be having ye.
Stevie Boy vs Davey Boy (ICW Zero-G Title Match)
The energy coursing through The Wee Man as he stood there introducing us to Davey Boy was infectious. He also got to intro Stevie Boy a bit while explaining how much of a pure dick he is for turning his back on the family, but it was fitting that in that moment he got to be the guy to let us know what we were in for. The Bucky Boys used to shift tickets. Everyone wanted to see their next match. The perfect mix of strength and speed. Aggression and poise. They had it all and the best hype man in the game, so its fitting that the same hype man who used to get us excited about both of The Bucky Boys was the voice that got us excited about this match.
Stevie’s entrance made him look like a fucking superstar. I saw someone say it was almost like a hardcore version of the Buckies tune, but its more than that. It was a statement. On the biggest show in ICWs history, Stevie Boy stood there with his own identity, his own music and his very own shiny belt. Basically showing Davey the level he’s reached since the split and encouraging him to meet that level. Show everyone Davey Boy can channel that intensity that made him and Stevie such a good team and put it into his singles game. While it didn’t steal the show, having an entertaining opener with emotional significance set the tone for what was to come. Stevie emerged and literally told Davey to “come ahead” and come ahead he did, full pelt. Steam coming oot his airs, and probably a steady waft of pure intensity sweat coming from his baws. It was time for war.
Davey chucked Stevie through a barrier to kick it off, before the Buckies finally faced off in the middle of the ring. Davey hitting his auld pickpocketing buddy with a superb single leg dropkick, Stevie following that up with a sexy missile dropkick that landed plum on his tag partners pals chin. Davey has had a chip on his shoulder for a few months now. A chip on his shoulder which Stevie and the NAK created when they joined forces at his expense and one that has been fuelled by his detractors (myself included) who said he wasn’t the best Davey Boy he could be. That fuel has driven him to produce his best stuff as a singles competitor for ICW, and the former Buckies gave us a stoater of an opener. The match was full of interesting wee spots. Davey following up a big Undertaker dive over the top rope by launching Stevie into the ring ropes from the outside, only for Stevie to springboard off them into a DDT on the ramp. That’s the type of move that wouldn’t be possible in smaller venues, without a running a very real risk of cracking your skull right down the middle and your brain actually escaping. Back in the ring, Stevie connected with an Enziguri to the temple before going for a crossbody off the top only for Davey to catch it in a spear, partially DDT’ing himself in the process. Double dunt.
With both of them laid flat out, it felt like the good auld days, when they used to pile into the same gaff and get full of Blue MD and batter each other to the point that they’d pass out, just for a giggle. They both suddenly sprung to life and unleashed mad jabs on each other. Like The Wee Man jumped in the ring and sprinkled Eccie dust on them both. Awaking them from their slumber right back into panning each others melts in. A mixture of both Stevie and Davey’s teeth were collected by some of the weirder looking folk in the front row as the jabs got more vicious, before Stevie went for his first Canadian Destroyer attempt, only for Davey to block it with a backdrop that sent Stevie so high it look like he’d been shot out of a cannon fulla trampolines (I realise that joke doesn’t make a lot of sense, but neither does yer maw mate) Davey proclaimed that he was “gonnae fuckin spear uhm” after he hit the mark with a powerslam. The spear was blocked into another Destoryer attempt, which was also blocked and turned back into the spear. He did fuckin spear uhm after all but only for a 2 count. Stevie responded with a couple of beautiful superkicks, the first one barely making a dent in Daveys titanium plated skull, before the second dazed him leading to a swinging vertical suplex, a sequence that let 4,000 people know, we were baws oot, swinging them aboot, heading heid first into the grand finale. For once The Bucky Boys entered a title match where only one of them could leave with a shiny belt, and we were about to find out what one it would be.
Stevie delivered a couple of slaps to Daveys face. Seemingly convinced the job was done and completing it was a mere formality so he had time to get a wee bit slappy, The Wee Man got involved and after a bit of a cagey standoff, he took a Stevie superkick straight to the jaw, sending him somewhere in the direction of the Armadillo where he rushed the stage during Michael Mcintrye’s standup act to tell him “flippin yer hair aboot in a posh accent isnae being a comedian mate, tell a joke for wance” . Back in the ring, Stevie finally hit the destroyer for the 1…2….WHIT! Not 3. Not match over. More wrestling mate. Davey got the shoulder up and we moved on to my favourite spot in the match, and maybe of the whole night. Stevie dodged a move from the top rope, and landed behind Davey as he was perched on the middle rope, and he pulled Daveys head between his own legs before superkicking it against the turnbuckle. One of those moves that makes you turn to the person next to you and go “oooft, ye see that shit? good eh?”
Davey hit back with a superkick of his own before hitting quite possibly my favourite Canadian Destroyer ever. As much as I personally favour Stevie as a wrestler and love how he does it, its no about what I think personally, its about that wee bunny hop Davey done to harness enough momentum before actually doing the move. He fuckin hopped up with a look on his face that said “aw fuck, things are about tae get far too flippy”.Maybe he was jumping for joy at becoming the new champ a bit prematurely, but the destroyer hit the mark and Stevie Boy had lost his title to his own move. Bringing a title reign that turned Stevie Boy into a man in front of our very eyes to an end and maybe starting a title reign that’ll see Davey Boy fulfil his potential and become Davey Blaze.
An opener should never steal the show for me. It fucks up the balance of the whole thing. This had the right mix of emotion and action without wearing anyone out. They’ll probably main event the next spacebaws and knock the utter fuck out each other, but the pace of this one was spot on. The tag team might be deider than Maggie Thatchers cauld deid face, but the feud lives on.
Noam Dar, Joe Hendry and Kenny Williams (Champagne Global Bollocks) vs Lionheart, Doug Williams and Liam Thomson (eh…….we’ll just call them The Baddies)
Joe Hendry had lost me a wee bit sadly. After being into him from day one, it was a sorrowful thing to realise. Maybe I’m just gettin too auld to process different things on every show, but for me a wrestler’s entrance is a big part of who they are and if the entrance is different every time, how can anyone be totally sure what you represent? Don’t get me wrong, the parodies have all been funny (apart from the Dr Dre one, cause how fuckin DARE anyone mess wae 2001) but if you’re losing the match that happens after you rip the piss out of your opponent, doesn’t that make you look a wee bit daft? Joe Hendry blew those concerns clean out the water when he made his entrance in a Hendryball. He showed us that represents entertaining folk and making the most of opportunities given to him and doing THAT entrance was the exact way to make 4,000 people notice you on a card where maybe your role isn’t as big as you’d like. That entrance has been stuck in my head since and it wasn’t centred round poking fun at anyone elses character, instead it highlighted everything good about Joes own character.
The team comprised of Hendry, Noam Dar and Kenny Williams had the feel of a team that will be further up the card in the future. Young guys who all have their own connection with the audience, but they’re maybe lacking that moment. The moment that turns you from the next big star of tomorrow, to the guy NOW. Noam’s been waiting on that moment in ICW for a while. He’s been around since he was gettin KB’d to go and see 12 rated films. Dallas had to sneak him and The Buckies into nightclubs, because people who are 15 years old shouldn’t be in night clubs. Its illegal and its pretty much a certainty that a footballer will sniff you out and fire in to ye regardless of your gender. Noam certainly seemed motivated to outperform everyone in the match, and have his impact felt, while Kenny Williams had a sexy wee Back To The Future 3 themed entrance of his own and performed admirably throughout, but for all the high energy feel-good stuff the goodies engaged in, their opponents probably cancelled it out by being 3 of the most miserable looking cunts on the planet. Almost like it bothered them to be performing in front of 4,000 people. A good villain should be able to hide how buzzin they are to be out there in front of so many people and all 3 certainly done that, flanked by Timm Wylie and James R.Kennedy also looking completely raging at nothing in particular. There was also a match.
The baddies made their way to the ring spitting on pensioners and drawing glasses on pictures of inspirational leaders, prompting the goodies to jump on their heids quite literally as Kenny and Noam took a whole stack of them out with a pair of suicide dives. Sending James R.Kennedy in the ring for Joe Hendry to chuck about like an empty waistcoat and pair of fingerless gloves. A fallaway slam took him out the game before Liam Thomson caught a delayed vertical suplex. Wrestling moves were definitely happening. Doug Williams probably isn’t Kenny Williams dad, but he was taking the young upstart to school. While Kenny hit with a couple of leaping forearms to the jaw in the corner, it was the elder Williams who got the better of their wee exchange. Avoiding a high risk move from Kenny with a simple sidestep and getting the pace down to one that suited him. Doug Williams might have only been in ICW for a short while, but he’s been one of the shining examples of what British Wrestling has to offer for a long time and fully deserved to be involved in such a huge show. Lionheart finally got in after spending the duration of the match being called a wanker to that point, and his exchange with Kenny Williams wasn’t as explosive as it might have been as he stopped it midway through to jump out and batter a guy aff the telly (not Grado, his co-star Darren Connell) As much as I appreciate that a wee bit of cross promotion with a TV show that features Grado is good business, I’d rather have seen Kenny and Lionheart keep knocking fuck out each other tbh. When he got back to the ring he took a beauty of a single leg dropkick from Kenny, then it was Noam Dar time!
One thing Lionheart doesn’t get enough credit for is his willingness to look a bit daft for the sake of his current character. For a guy who has been called arrogant to basically allow himself to be an afterthought who took a bit of a kicking on the biggest show in ICW history was humble to say the least. ICW are a team and if you’re going to be on that team, accept your role. If you don’t like that role, earn a new one, but don’t phone it in when you’re still in your current role. Lionheart’s giving everything to this “Bad Motherfucker” thing and as much as is make me cringe till my eyes bulge everytime he says that, gone was the silky smooth, fast paced Lionheart of the past. Instead he looked a bit dazed as Noam smashed him into the corner, before hitting Doug Williams and Liam Thomson with a suicide dive at the opposite corner, then jumping back in the ring to hit a forearm on a still dazed Lionheart, followed by ANOTHER suicide dive to his two pals or. He then transitioned into the Fishermans Brainbuster for a 2 count, before locking in the kneebar, which he seems to be calling the X-Wing these days. A lot easier to type than Champagne SuperKneebar so cheers to Noam for taking that potential difficulty out the road. He locked Liam Thomson in the same move, before his pals joined him in locking in their own favourite submission holds only for Doug Williams to break the whole party up with a simple, effective knee to Noam’s jaw off the top rope. Its subtle wee things like that I’m intae. No big incident broke it all up, just a knee, before Williams returned to the apron and asked for a tag because rules fuckin matter sometimes. I know there’s nae countouts in ICW but Doug Williams counts his own anyway, because rules are rules.
Noam and Doug had a lovely wee exchange, which gave me a wee semi at the prospect of them working together in the future, before everyone got a wee shot of their favourite move. Culminating in a picture perfect t-bone suplex from Doug “The Da” Williams, only for Kenny “His Boy” Williams to hit him with a springboard back elbow off the middle rope. Lionheart ended the sequence with a rock bottom, leading us to……
Jimmy fackin Havoc
He’s back. Well he came back on the tour, but this is was in front of 4,000 folk so its a different sort of back int it? There’s really not any way to put the nature of his comeback into words other than “anyone who was a heel within 20 feet of him got leathered” All the short-arm clotheslines and forearms to the melt. Doug Williams offered Havoc a sincere hand in friendship and he got clotheslined out his boots. A lot of folk expected Havoc to make an appearance somewhere more significant on the card, but everything meant too much. Jimmy Havoc’s almost too big a name now to be getting involved in main events and taking focus away from the people in them, so having him come out during a match that didn’t really matter outcome wise, and have him battering fuck out of everyone made sense. If you wanted Jimmy Havoc on the show, this was where it had to be and he looked every bit the bad motherfucker Lionheart claims to be. 4 folk came at him and not one got a decent hit in. He departed saluting everyone with a double middle finger, but the ICW jersey indicates that we’ll be enjoying his company a lot more in the future.
Look at the finish as well for further proof that Lionheart has a bit of a selfless streak in him underneath the bravado. He mistimed a frogsplash and hit his own team-mate Liam Thomson, before taking the Quiff Buster from Kenny Williams for the 1,2,3. Giving Kenny the edge in their own wee feud. Then wandered up the ramp only for 3 fictional polis to lift him for battering Bobby from Scot Squad earlier in the night and being wide to them on the internet. Not only did he take the pin, he left with his tail between his legs. As much as the whole Scot Squad thing was a bit daft, it did evoke a “fuck the polis” chant from the crowd which proved that no matter how big of a villain you are, to 4,000 people predominantly from Glasgow, there is NAE bigger villain in this world than a copper. Oh aye, I almost forgot…CAR FUCKIN MEL.
When Liam Thomson scudded his fiancée with a chair back at Barramania we’ve all been waiting for this. The return and the retribution. The announcement of a match that might set both Carmel and Liam Thomson up in ICW for life as she burst into the ring and laid him out with a chair before challenging him to a match at next years Square Go. A no doubt sold out Barralands with something truly unique unfolding in front of them. A real life couple, who might even be husband and wife by the time the match takes place, knocking the ever loving shite out each other. Don’t expect it to be the same kind of thing as when the Williams sisters play each other at tennis and don’t try a leg, this is a whole different ballgame because Liam Thomson’s got baws. Liams got degrees. Liam IS degrees, but on this night Liam was the guy lying on the deck because the pipebomb princess was in no mood to arse about. Steel chair to the back, middle finger to face. See ye in January, better bring yer degrees, and maybe a set of nun-chucks because CARMELS GONNAE KILL YE.
Kay Lee Ray vs Nikki Storm (ICW Womens Title Match)
Foley had to commission something I guess, so this match didn’t happen. As wonderful as it would have undoubtedly been, he made it even MORE wonderful by telling Sammi Jayne she was to come backstage and watch it with him, before inserting VIPER into it and making it a three way dance. Wee bit of Foley fairydust sprinkled on it before crowning the first ever ICW Women’s Champion.
Kay Lee Ray vs Nikki Storm vs Viper (ICW Women’s Title Match)
Viper was not fucking about, as her opponents looked at her slack jawed at the prospect of not only having to pit their own talents against each other, but having another massively talented prospect to deal with, who can and will fling people about. Viper hit a solid double clothesline to take both her opponents off their feet, before suplexing Nikki Storm on top of Kay Lee Ray. That’s an underutilised strategy in triple threat matches is it no. Instead of having to hit two people separately, why not pick one of them up and hit the other one. Why not literally throw a person at another person. Kay Lee and Nikki joined forces to derail Viper’s momentum, as Nikki tried to powerbomb Viper from the corner, a big time Enziguri helped ease Viper’s grip on the ropes and allowed Nikki to powerbomb her. Nikki got proper raging at everything for a while, including a 2 count which was definitely 3. It so was. I mean it definitely wisnae, but don’t tell her I said that. The biggest change in Kay Lee Ray since joining the NAK is that unquestionable swagger that accompanies her now. No longer is she jumping about trying to get the crowd involved, she pretty much look at us all now like “here, I’m the fuckin best, you’re very lucky I’m even here…enjoy it while you can”
Kay Lee went up top after imposing herself on the match with a combination of smashing folk and looking extremely satisfied with how she was smashing them, but Nikki caught her and went for a superplex only for Viper to turn that into a SUPERPLEXBOMB. Well I think the official title for it is the Tower of Doom, but Viper didn’t just help launch her opponents, she used a situout version of the move, fully justifying dubbing it the SUPERPLEXBOMB from this day forward. Kay Lee and Nikki exchanged jabs before catching a Double Spear out of naeplace from Viper for a 2 count. Viper was the only one in the match currently going with the “hit both people at once” strategy until Kay Lee flattened Viper, before launching Nikki toward her with the Gory Bomb. Nikki got in on the action next with a beauty of an elevated Double DDT but that never got the job done either. Seriously though, breaking new ground in three way dances for the amount of time spent where all 3 competitors are actually involved in the action and that made this match crackin.
Nikki took Viper to the outside with some heidscissors’ing before Kay Lee unleashed a not so gentle suicide dive right on Vipers jaw. Honestly mate, she was sparkled. I’m no making this up. Watch it back on demand if ye think I’m at it. That suicide dive had the poor lassie seein stars. Nikki then got dumped on the apron, before being dragged back in the ring and hit with Kay Lee’s Gory Bomb. Canvas met coupon, but that gave Viper the chance to go up top and hit a splash. Anything the splash lacked in grace, was made up for in “holy fuckin shit, shes killed her, shes killed her deid.” That surely would have been game, set and match but the difficulty about getting one of your opponents in a triple threat match down for a 3 count is that there’s another human involved ready to fuck it. Nikki Storm broke the count and hit Viper with the Eye Of The Storm, as we moved into the really sare signature/finishing move portion of the match.
Viper continued the trend of handing out impactful dunts by blocking Kay Lee’s attempts at stopping the Viper Bomb, before pretty much wrapping the NAK’s resident baw booter around her back and driving her from the middle rope heid first into the same dent Nikki Storm’s heid made on the canvas when Kay Lee hit her finisher on her earlier. Then she got Nikki up for Electric Chair drop and dropped her straight on to Kay Lee, proving that forethought and strategies fuckin work in wrestling sometimes. I dunno if Viper consulted with the Polo Promotions team for the whole “throw one of yer opponents at the other opponent” strategy, but there was a very 4-4-2 feel to it, and she realised a dream that wasn’t even a possibility before Foley’s intervention by pinning both of them and stoating up the road with another shiny belt to add to her growing collection.
A smile as wide as Lou King Sharp’s swagger. How can you look at that and not want to cuddle fuck oot it? Both Viper as a human person and that moment in general. Even if Kay Lee Ray and Nikki Storm do depart for pastures new, the Women’s division is in good hands.
Joe Coffey vs Rhyno
Cards on the table. I’ve never really been a big fan of Rhyno and of the 8 announced matches, I expected the least from this one. Mainly because in my eyes, Rhyno probably no longer had it in him to match Joe Coffey. Never been more happy to be wrong, and if the main event wasn’t so packed with emotion, you’d find it difficult to argue against this being match of the night. It just worked. Joe Coffey is capable of doing all that proper wrestling carry on yer mad puroresu Uncle loves, but he can also hit people really hard and if you’re regularly taking a human fridge freezer off its feet, you have to be able to hit it hard. I think we exhausted all the “refer to him like he’s a Rhino cause he’s called Rhyno” patter for his match with Wolfgang, so instead we’ll call it what it is. This wasn’t a wolf huntin a Rhino, or an Iron Man stalking its prey. This was Joe ‘fuckin Coffey knocking lumps out of a big bastard with a mean streak from Detroit, Michigan.
Joe swept aside a security team holding back his Ultrons in a special wee entrance. It was interesting to see how much he’s evolved since the last time he faced an “import” on a big ICW show. Shugs House Party 1, when he had a cracker of a scrap with Brian Kendrick before he was a “mighty” wrestler. Back then he was nothing more than a “really fuckin good” wrestler, so I suppose condensing that into the word “mighty” is progress in itself. Joe soaked in the adulation from 4,000 folk screaming their lungs out for him and Rhyno met that with a belligerent middle finger. No giving the beginnings of a fuck about what 4,000 foreigners think, but Joe can play at that game anaw. He found a middle finger of his own dwelling down the front of his trucks and with Rhyno suitably raging, the match began in earnest with yer run of the middle collar and elbow tie-up.
Stiff European uppercuts and jabs to the belly took a dazed Rhyno to the corner before a trio of hulk busters set big Rhyno up to take the missile dropkick off the top rope. Rhyno looked engaged as fuck early on and I think that added to the match as well. He’s probably the only wrestler aside from Drew who knew how it felt to be in front of that many people and it clearly meant something for him to be here taking beautiful missile dropkicks and all that sare stuff. They battled out to the ringside area, where Rhyno decided to shove the most dangerous guy in the match. I don’t care if ye used to be ECW daft, or if you’ve speared a hunner guys through a hunner jaggy tables, you do NOT but your hands on Sean McLaughlin. He shoved Sean and Sean shoved him right back, before Rhyno turned round and caught a few uppercuts. Joe clearly out for retribution because Rhyno shoved the Sheriff, even if he claims that he didn’t shove no deputy.
Rhyno took a wee break from getting his jaw smashed by uppercuts to unleash a beauty of a spinebuster, before these two “big hoss’s” (borrowed patter from an American pal, I think its American for “check the size ae these cunts!”) went at it corner to corner, Joe hittin numerous hulk busters before hitting Rhyno with that springboard crossbody where he leaps from the middle rope to the top rope and hits the crossbody all in one motion. I don’t give a fuck if that might be considered “impossible” or whatever. It was one motion mate. No hearing otherwise. Rhyno hit back with a Firemans Carry into a cutter before Joe somehow hit a fuckin deadlift German Suplex on the big unit. He is the shape and probably the weight of a fridge freezer wae a coo stuffed in it so it was possibly Joe’s finest feat of strength to date, apart from that time he gorilla pressed the whole Spirit Squad at the one time, and chucked them into a gimmick generator to produce Dolph Ziggler.
Usually when a spot is repeated every single time a wrestler appears, it gets predictable and loses its impact. So when I seen a table being set up in the corner, it didn’t raise the amount of excitement it was probably intended to, but the way they worked it when they got into it was sexy as fuck. Honestly, if you weren’t nursing a potent semi as they danced around this ominous table, you’re deid from the dick doon. Joe went for a suplex through the table which Rhyno avoided, launching Joe with a suplex of his own before sending him back in the direction of the table with a belly to belly. Rhyno came at Joe with Gorey intentions (see what I did there? extremely clever so it wisnae) but Joe rolled out the way and went for the Discus Lariat, which was also avoided, and that left Joe with no other choice, dwelling in front of a table with Rhyno about to run at him. It was time. He was mentally and physically prepared to take that gore through the table. And take it he did, but he did not bend or break. He took the full brunt of it and only stayed down for 2. Rhyno has gored a lot of human wrestlers through a lot of tables, but he’s never tried it with an Iron Man. Joe kicked out at 2 and Rhyno pulled a face that was so fitting I had to screengrab it. Look at the sheer look of shock mixed with “here mate, wis that gear? I don’t hink that wis actually gear”
Not only did Joe kick out, he got up and hit the discus lariat. Snatching certain victory from the jaws of gore induced death only for Rhyno to kick out. I mean what the fuck? This match was billed as the discus lariat against the gore, but no one specified which competitor had to use which move. Joe threw caution to the wind and hit a spear of his own, a move that didn’t look entirely natural to him but when it was backed up with a second and even more emphatic discus lariat it was enough. Joe Coffey had toppled Rhyno. Iron Man over Man Beast. Lariats beat Gores. Glesga beats Detroit.
Know what I loved? Rhyno continuing to sell when they had their wee post match handshake. That’s classy as fuck. In front of 4,000 people who would likely have given him a hearty cheer if he did stand up straight, you could have forgiven Rhyno for not bothering his arse, but he stayed hunched over and almost meekly shook Joes hand before departing the ring. Allowing Joe Coffey to soak it all in. He’s had big wins on big ICW shows before, but this was a statement. Nae nonsense whatsoever, just Joe legitimately getting the better of his foe. A foe that isn’t just a star of the past, he’s enjoyed a bit of a career resurgence on NXT recently and proved over the course of the match that he still has a lot of the things that made him a star in the first place, but you know what he doesn’t have anymore? His heid. Joe Coffey took care of that and it now sits atop his mantelpiece. Might have a shiny belt sitting next to it soon enough if he keeps this momentum up.
It was a year ago when Polo Promotions produced a bit of a shock win in the Barrowlands as they took the tag belts from London and Kendrick, but since that disputed “shock” they’ve put their very own stamp on whole division. The tag titles used to be the only ones in ICW where maybe you’d see shorter reigns, but Polo Promotions saw a gap in the market. A gap that if you fill it with a lot of fore-thinking, charisma, scoop slams and the resurgence of the tactics board that simply has “4-4-2….always” written on it, you can retain they shiny belts in the face of all comers. Particularly Sha Samuels and Kid Fite. The only consistent challengers they’ve had over the past year, and a couple of hard bastards in their own right but if you’re going to break down a solid 4-4-2, you need more than bad bastards, you need bad bastards with a strategy. Or maybe you just need bad bastards with a hammer. That was the logic Kid Fite was working with when he came out hammer and swagger heavy, but if there was a strategy in place, the first part of it was not even letting Polo Promotions get through their introduction. Poor Simon only got as far as “Polo….” and now none of us can really be sure how that sentence was going to end. He could easily have said “mints” know what I mean? They also had a wee pre-match huddle, confirming beyond any reasonable doubt that POLO PROMOTIONS LOVE THE SELLIK. YASS.
Polo and Sha kicked it off by battering each other with chops, before Sha delivered an emphatic and decidedly cheeky scoop slam to the scoop maestro. Never thought I’d see a scoop slam being seen as a strong heel move but on this occasion it most certainly was. Its the same rule as Chokeslamming the Undertaker. Don’t fuckin dae it unless you’re his wee brother or The Big Show. As far as I’m aware, Sha Samuels is neither a member of the Polo family, nor is he The Big Show. Mark Coffey and Kid Fite danced a merry dance of mutual disdain, culminating with Fito spitting on Mark, before Mark it back with a big running kick to the ribs. Shenanigans occurred that saw The 55s Timm Wylie face to face with The International Sex Hero and of course DCT panned his melt in, because if he’s not busy providing impregnating Girls Aloud one by one, or selling condoms with moustaches on them, you can be pretty sure he’s battering some dafty who had the ill advised notion to mess with him. The ref seen none of Wylie’s indiscretions, or James R.Kennedy fannying about on the apron and he made the LUDICROUS decision (thats fuckin shockin referee!) to throw DCT and Coach Trip out. All of a sudden the numbers game was well in The 55’s favour, and when we were queuing to get in, Kid Fite went past us in a suit sharper than the sponsor on any 90s Man United tap. A suit that screamed “I’m gaun game with a shiny belt” the night if there ever was one, and yes I am fully aware that suits are not capable of screaming, but fuck up. Point is, the troosers looked a bit loose, and the only way to solve that problem is by acquiring a shiny belt.
The 55 isolated Coffey with an old school beatdown in the corner. Nae frills offence. I’m into that a lot. Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder on NXT are a similar sort of tag team and its nice to see that kind of thing re-emerge. IMO the reason tag wrestling has seen its role diminished in wrestling so much is down to a lot of the storytelling being lost in a sea of flippy spots and superkicks (nae offence to yer boys The Young Bucks like, I’m sure they don’t need me to tell them, what they do = money) so when two teams come out and do what they’re supposed to do and tell a decent story, its always a buzz. Coffey hit the belly to back suplex, but he was once again denied the tag as Fito ducked the enziguri and basically told 4,000 people to sook his baws. A double clothesline took both men down and thats when we had the DOUBLE HOAT TAG. Polo vs Sha. Huge chops and jabs from Polo were followed by a beauty of a short arm clothesline and a bridging Northern Lights suplex. It was time for a few scooooops after that, and I’m no talking a few pints ah John Smiths doon The Miners, I’m talking numerous scoop slams delivered to Sha Samuels. 5 of the fuckers to be exact, before Mark Coffey was tagged back in to combine with Polo for a double back suplex. The 55 regained a bit of momentum thanks to a slimy….sorry timely, intervention from James R.Kennedy that led to Sha flattening Polo with a huge spinebuster before Fito hit that picturesque hesitation dropkick in the corner on Coffey. The DOA Brainbuster followed for a 2 count, but it felt like it might be their time. Maybe the baddies WOULD leave with the belts.
Even without Trip or DCT at ringside, the strategy is always there. Its always 4-4-2. Its always effective. Get it out wide and get crosses in early and often. The results will come. The result came this time thanks to yet more extremely illegal interference from James R.Kennedy, that backfired and led to Kid Fte inadvertently scudding Kennedy aff the apron, giving the champs the opening to hit the Assisted German Suplex (they call it The Old Man of Hoy, which according to google is a really big sea stack…had nae idea a sea stack was a thing..every day’s a school day n aw that) on both their opponents, latterly Sha Samuels, who took the pin and Polo Promotions took the win.
Polo Promotions (4-4-2)
Jackie Polo (c) 9 – Continued with the pre-match plan despite the coach being banished to the stands. The sign of a true captain. Northern Lights suplex earlier in the match tested the back of Sha Samuels. Edged it for Man Of The Match.
Mark Coffey 8.5 – The usual accurate concise performance from “The Real Deal”. A wrestler who wrestles with wrestling moves. A rarity in a world where some wrestlers do most of their wrestling at merch stands and on the internet. Hit the bar early on with a stiff kick to Fito’s ribs.
The 55 (5-5-0)
Kid Fite 7 – Managed to stifle his undoubted excitement at being part of a show with 4,000 fans in his hometown. The sign of a true baddy. Impressive hesitation dropkick just after half-time but couldn’t sneak one past the keeper and that will make this night a dissapointing one for him.
Sha Samuels 6.5 – Powerful moves had Polo Promotions reeling a few times but he was caught off guard by the forearm/old man of hoy combo as Polo Promotions isolated The 55s resident shin snapping centre-half.
Still a wee bit strange seeing Jackie Polo embrace the good guy role, but it warms the heart. For the first time in 3 years of going to these shows, I feel like Jackie Polo might actually give a fuck about how I feel as a fan, and even though I know fine well that’s just a sophisticated illusion he’s created to make me think that, its still nice. I feel like if I offered him a wine gum now, he might actually consider taking it instead of snatching it out my hand and sticking it up my left nostril, and thats nice too. No one likes a wine gum up the beak.
The N.A.K vs Legion
Managing expectations can be a difficult thing for a wrestling fan. I’ve done it a few times myself, where a match has seemed so big before it even started that the match itself had nae chance of living up to those lofty expectations. This match had a real ominous feeling about it beforehand. The way they’ve knocked the living fuck out of each other for many months before it seemed to indicate that this one might be a bloodbath. It wasn’t a bloodbath and for some folk that meant it wasn’t enough. Everyone has a right to their opinion and I’m not saying that EVERY cage match is a winner because of the risks the wrestlers take. Sometimes they’re boring. But this one? Nah. It told a story and brought a physically and mentally brutal feud to an end that made sense. An end that revealed the the underlying mutual respect between the two factions who have made a habit of pushing the boundaries. I really don’t know how we’re living in a universe where some folk think falling off a cage through numerous tables isn’t risky enough. God forbid that these 6 mad bastards would go out there and create a match that wasn’t just a succession of mental spots. God forbid they try to tell a story instead of brutalising each other to the edge of death. Even if you did go into it with a thirst for seeing someone being beaten to death with their team-mates severed head, the fact that something like that didn’t happen does not detract from the match being extremely dangerous, and extremely fucking entertaining.
So rather than talking about what they didn’t do, we’ll talk about the amazing shit they actually did do. The teams entered the steel coated deathbox to feverish reactions. If theres one type of feud that relates to pretty much everyone its gang v gang. My team against your bunch of fandans. We all had a side. Appreciating the sacrifices all 6 men made for our entertainment comes after the match, but for the duration of it, picking a side and sticking with them adds another dynamic to it completely. Instead of relating to a character like you would in a one on one feud, you relate to a cause. Were you NAK till death, or were you one of the many?
They collided three on three to start, natural enemies pairing off with End/Renfrew, Whiplash/BT and Wolfgang/Dante chucking rapid jabs at each other, before BT Gunn found himself on the sare end of the first instance of the cage coming in to play as The Sumerian Death Squad launched him skull first off the cage, before a double team pancake removed any teeth BT had left after the hit off the cage. Whiplash took the first cage dunt on Legions side, before a tower of doom that involved BT and Tommy End powerbombing…..well, everyone who isnae BT Gunn or Tommy End. Tommy End took a belter of a knee from BT Gunn, leaving Renfrew and Whiplash to knock each others lights out with stiff forearms to the dome, only for both men to turn round to be greeted with a spear each as Wolfgang and Dante waited at opposite corners. Sequences like that, where all 6 men were involved in quick succession, is what made this match special. It would have been understandable if the match broke off into 3 one-on-one battles, but they kept everyone involved early on. Particularly the big guys. The quiet ones of their respective groups, although in the case of big Dante and Wolfgang, beating the living fuck out of one and other always speaks louder than words.
The big yins chucked vicious forearms in the direction of each others temples, an exchange that Wolfgang edged before he embarked upon a climb now known as “the mad climb”. That climb that takes Wolfgang higher than yer Da at a Snoop Dogg concert. He made his way to the top of the cage, looked upon 4,000 screaming fans, chucked the W up, before turning it into an N, and turning his alive body into a deid one as he launched himself majestically into the air for a 15 foot Swanton Bomb. Catching fuck all bar cold hard canvas as Dante had it well scouted and had already departed the scene. While almost every single person in the SECC stood slack jawed at seeing one of the biggest men on the roster flying through the air like a dart, the three men who weren’t catching flies were three extremely important men. They’re the men who are collectively known as Legion, and seconds after Wolfgang had come to his unceremonious crash landing, they had the door open and they’d punted him out the cage. Whilst the match could only be won by the team who had all 3 members escape and putting Wolfie out was helping the NAK go a step closer to that goal, it left the rest of the match to be a 3 on 2 handicap match, and that was clever as fuck. Advantage Legion.
Renfrew has “united we stand” scrawled on his chest, with “divided we fall” on the back, that would be put to the test as the NAK stood face to face with Legion once more. This time a man short. Renfrew fell on his sword for the greater good. Putting the gun to his head and encouraging them to shoot. Giving BT Gunn time to gather his energies as Mikey Whiplash rattled him off the cage before delivering the Death Valley Driver he calls The Zombie Maker. He would have known, as good as he and BT Gunn are. The sheer size and ability of the 3 Legion members would have been too much. They had to play possum as all 3 legion members tried to climb out at once, and as BT Gunn and Renfrew caught up with Tommy End and Whiplash, Dante had a clear path to escape. Realising his pals were being dragged back in, Dante hastily tried to climb back in but united the NAK fuckin stood. Wolfgang didn’t jump backstage for a well earned beer and a foot massage, he was still at ringside and he made sure Dante’s story inside Hell On Earth came to an end by pulling him out the cage.
Just in case maths wasn’t yer strong suit at school, that left us with a 2 on 2 fight to the finish. As Wolfy and Dante continued restructuring each others jaws with big bastardin forearms on the outside, the double team action kicked off on the inside. BT Gunn sending Tommy End in the direction of a dropkick from Renfrew, before BT himself was thrown by Tommy End in the direction of a cutter from Mikey Whiplash. Wolfgang was actually choking Dante with something resembling a shoelace at one point. Whiplash and Tommy End saw an opening to bring the battle to an end, but they were stopped by Renfrew and BT. Tommy End shook Renfrew off and had almost escaped before noticing that BT Gunn had pulled Whiplash back in and laid him flat out with a cutter and just like Dante had earlier, he tried to make it back in. Wolfgang pulling Dante out is fair game. Sure, he was signing up for a scrap with the big monster, but Wolfgang could take anycunt in a one on one fight. When he pulled Tommy End out, he was signing up for a kicking aff The Sumerian Death Squad. A noble deed from the man who raises the W above his heid. Taking arguably the best tag team in Europe out of the equation and leaving Mikey Whiplash in a 2 on 1 situation against another one of the best two man units in the continent today. Chris Renfrew and BT Gunn.
Then came the execution. As Renfrew was perched on the top rope, BT Gunn hoisted Whiplash up before going all the way up. Whit is it wae BT Gunn and Wolfgang jumping off really high things? They must have wrestled on some 20 foot bunk beds when they were wee or suhin. Cunts are obsessed with flying. With Whiplash’s skull dangling precariously, BT Gunn came off the top of the rope for some ATOMIC KILLER BOOTS MAN. Mikey Whiplash looked deid. He had to be. Wolfgang celebrated halfway up the ramp and his brothers looked upon him with a smile that quickly turned to a frown as big Wolfy had kinda forgot the fact that the Sumerian Death Squad were still a bawhair away from him. They went from thinking they had it sewn up and all three members of the NAK were walking out with all their faculties, to seeing Dante and Tommy lift Wolfgang up, before driving him back first into the cage. Sending Renfrew and BT Gunn into a frenzy trying to get out the cage and stop their brother getting his limbs individually shoved up his arse by the NAK. You can’t rely on an oddity though. The same mercurial streak of genius that exists in BT Gunn that makes him a special talent, is the same part of the brain that makes him climb back IN to a steel cage containing Mikey Whiplash. Ill-advised at best, but in BT Gunn’s eyes, it couldn’t end while both him and Mikey Whiplash could still draw breath.
Whiplash and BT Gunn battled at the top of the cage, while their team-mates set up tables below them for the killer spot. This is the one that would end it all. This is where I have a problem with anyone demanding MORE from these folk. You’re basically encouraging performers to commit to acts that will have them walking with a limp in later life. If the events of this cage match wasn’t the “payoff” YOU feel you deserve, well…I’m sorry, but fuck off. Mikey Whiplash and BT Gunn both dropped from a cage through a fuckin stack of tables. Hands up who else in the building that night would be willing to put their bodies on the line to that degree. Come on now. Don’t be shy. If the risks they took weren’t quite risky enough, what else would you suggest. I’m sure Wolfgang could have got the motorbike out and maybe he could have run somecunt over, but this is pro wrestling. Its about telling a story, and the almost gracefully disastrous fall BT Gunn and Mikey Whiplash took off that cage was the perfect way to end the story these two factions have told over the course of the year. It was never going to end with one man dying and the other reigning supreme. It had to be them both. Neither of them was capable of killing the other in the end. It became almost a suicide pact, and the sickening ferocity they hit those tables with, Whiplash especially, will live on in the memory of everyone who had the almost gory pleasure of seeing it. Both combatants were pulled to their feet by their comrades. The match was a draw. Or was it?
If it ended that way then sure. I could maybe wrap my head round anyone considering this match not enough of a payoff in the feud, but it fuckin didnae. That sickening thud we all heard when their bodies hit the tables wasn’t it. There was more. Whiplash climbed back in and encouraged BT Gunn to end it. It’s always felt like Mikey Whiplash has wrestled with a bit of a death wish at times in ICW, and the only wrestler who has ever given that same impression is BT Gunn. The only man for the job. “Kill me” were the words ringing in BT Gunns ears as he pondered going back. Renfrew and Wolfgang tried to hold him back, but he brushed them both off, jabbing Renfrew in the process as he bolted down the ramp to finally end the war. Huge forearm smashes were tossed in anger as the match went down to sudden death, before Whiplash rebounded off the second rope for that big clothesline only to be laid flat out with a sickening super kick that earned BT Gunn the pin.
The NAK had won the war, but I doubt anyone involved in that match would have woke up the next morning feeling like they’d won. They would have felt mighty fuckin sore, and that was for us. To tell a story that connected with us, and the match hit the mark every step of the way. Only time will tell if this is the definitive end between these two teams, but the show of mutual respect as all 6 men re-entered the cage and pulled the beaten bodies of the 2 who brought the war to an end towards each other would indicate that there’s a least a shift in the way they see each other. If you can get 6 guys to all agree to be in a cage match, surely they must be a wee bit alike eh? on the count of them all being mad bastards.
It was over. 4,000 folk could finally exhale. Even being an NAK fan, it was hard to revel in the win. If ICW ever try to run “dont try this at home” ads, they should play clips of some of the more brutal bits of this feud with Dallas popping up n going “dae ye actually want tae try this? why?” Pure drama from start to finish. If that match wasn’t enough of a payoff for you as a fan, this wrestling carry on isn’t for you I don’t think. Its professional knife fighting you’re looking for, or bare knuckle breaking bottles over folks skulls. As pro wrestling goes, it scarcely gets better than everything this match proved to be. A story told in brutality, and sare dunts through solid tables.
Jack Jester vs Big Damo
Jack Jester. Ya dastardly big bastard ye! Damo didn’t even had time to swish his magnificent beard towards the thousands in attendance, and the millions (AND MILLIONS) of fans watching On Demand before Jester had launched a chair at him. I wouldn’t imagine that’s ever a good idea. If “dont poke the bear” is the commonly used phrase, surely “dont throw a steel chair at the bears unsuspecting dome” is a given eh? Intentionally angering the equivalent of an army tank covered in hair, who can do all sorts of mad dropkicks is never a smart idea. Tanks aren’t supposed to be able to do dropkicks. Too busy being tanks int they. He exhibited all his dropkicking prowess with a stoater of a dropkick sending Jester to the corner, before they battled into the crowd a bit. Damo standing on Jester’s chest and hitting that big Senton, before scooping aw the wee broken bits of Jesters ribs into a rucksack to chuck in his minestrone soup later.
I thought Jester has an unenviable task here and he was perfect as the completely unpalatable baddie. Complete with new entrance theme fuckin dripping in arrogance and pungent pre-cum. He was there to provide enough of a villain for Damo to look like even more of a hero when he took him down. Jester’s made a habit of noising fans up and generally being an arsehole since turning heel and joining the black label and that made it even more of a buzz as Big Damo hulked up right in his face as he gave him everything he had. Absorbing all of Jesters offence, including the leg drop on the apron before finally making it to his feet and chucking Jester towards the canvas, before hitting another senton on an area now completely unprotected by ribs. I’m sure I seen one of Jester’s kidneys flee out his arse as Damo landed on him. Damo went up top for the Van-Damonator only for Jester to chuck the chair at him and hook him in to the move that ended so may challenges for the ICW Title. That all too familiar sickly feeling you got in your belly when he defended against someone you wanted to win, only for him to scoop them off the top rope and hit the Tombstone was back, as he scooped Damo off the top rope and hit his most emphatic Tombstone to date. Deid Damo.
Damo doesn’t follow the usual rules for pro wrestling though. Damo is 23 stone and he can fuckin fly, you’d need to literally pull a tombstone out the ground and bash his skull in with it to keep him down for a three count. Of course he kicked out. Jester unleashed about 50 chair dunts to Damo’s forehead in the corner, before Damo loudly claimed “im gonnae kill uhm!” and flattened him with a solling senton on the chair. The human senton machine was next to pick up the chair, smashing it off Jesters back repeatedly as Jester made his way to his knees and gave Damo the vickies.
That was the last act of defiance he could muster as Damo tossed the chair straight aff his jaw. Jester went down like he’d been scudded with a pebble loaded snowball before big Damo placed the chair on his chest and stood all 23 stone of his mass on it, before crashing back down on it to keep Jester down for the pin.
An important win for Damo as he’ll no doubt come looking for that belt no matter who walks out of the main event holding it. It was also a wee favour for Grado from a fellow goodie as he eliminated the threat of any interference from Jester later in the night by jumping on him a lot and probably knackering at least the majority of his vital organs.
Drew Galloway (c) vs Grado – ICW World Heavyweight Title Match
A lot of matches are really fucking good. Almost too many. The likelihood of anyone being able to see every single outstanding wrestling match that has taken place in any given year is slim. In fact its not possible unless you spend 24 hours of every day watching wrestling. There is a fine line between outstanding matches and classic matches. A classic match has to have everything an outstanding one has, but the key difference for me is that a classic match has to live on in the memory. A classic match has to be something that you can recall the major incidents from at will. A match that you feel you can compare to the all-time greats as soon as its finished. A match that has the biggest crowd in British Wrestling for 35 years eating out of the palm of its hand, after that same audience had absorbed over 3 hours of history. The main event had to be everything the rest of the card was and more. It had to create drama, intrigue and emotion. It had to be two men from the same county, but from the complete opposite ends of the wrestling spectrum standing face to face, with one of the richest prizes in wrestling today on the line. The ICW Title.
Grado had his first shot at the ICW Title during the first ICW show I went to, in only his second ICW match. Taking on The Black Label’s own Red Lightning and pinning the bastard to a thunderous reception. The 600 odd folk in The Garage that night believed in the early stages of Grado and every single person in the place that night went daft when he “won” the title, so to see him standing opposite the most impressive wrestler Scotland has ever produced 3 years later, topping the bill in the biggest show in ICW and perhaps British Wrestling history was almost surreal. A journey coming full circle. He might have ended that night on his back having dropped the title back to Red Lightning and being told he’d never won it due to a technicality, but the reaction to him winning it initially is something that I’d imagine has never been forgotten by the people who matter at ICW, and thats what made him the ONLY choice to face Drew on this night. The ultimate underdog against the man with more physical gifts than any wrestler who crosses his path. He strolled out to a chorus of boo’s, and despite ICWs very strict “dont be a dick and throw stuff” rules, I was almost surprised we didn’t see a few plastic cups of juice hitting him in the side of the heid. Thats how much this meant. This was Hogan turning heel levels of bad bastardry as big Drew had Psyko Dalek’s own David Grimason sing him out to the ring for the battle of a lifetime. If Grado vs Drew has shades of Dusty vs Ric Flair according to Mr Foley himself, this is the guy. This is Scotland’s own nature boy, and as much as I personally wanted Grado to reign supreme and have his moment, we have been extremely lucky to have this big unit holding the ICW Title for the past year.
Drew was a bawhair away from mocking Grado in the early exchanges. Overpowering him easily when they tied up and dropping him like a sack of spuds over his heid, but Grado wasn’t there to be bullied. He ran at Drew like the wee fat guy who got picked on at the playground and just couldn’t take anymore. He wasn’t letting the big ride who gets aw the burds lord it over him anymore. Ducking Drews clotheslines and unleashing rapid jabs. Shake, rattle n roll style. Drew countered one of the jabs with a choke, before driving Grado into the corner and stomping him into the ground. An early Futureshock attempt was evaded, but Drew did his a beauty of an overhead belly to belly suplex and looked every bit the big scary bastard we’ve been led to believe he is. The same frightening prospect who left Grado mopping his own blood up off the canvas the last time they came face to face at the last ICW tour show in Nottingham.
(mentioned that purely as an excuse to use this photo again, cause its beautiful and deserves recognition)
Grado can’t rana. He can do a lot of things, but he can’t rana. He got a wee head of steam up by connecting with a stiff elbow to Drews windpipe, but he can’t rana. Even if he goes up top, Grado can’t ‘rana..or…..or maybe, MAYBE GRADOCANRANA. Its a fuckin Gradocanrana, and while it wasn’t something you’ll ever see on a hurricanrana highlight reel, at least he didn’t powerbomb himself like John Cena does when he hits it (don’t mistake that dig for me being a Cena hater btw, quite the opposite, his tune came on in the Catty after the show and never has joy poured out of me more freely) he clotheslined Drew over the top rope before soaking in every single bit of the adulation and probable flying spurts of ejaculate that resulted in the completion of that move. Folk going absolutely nuts for it. Throwing lion cubs in the air in celebration at the dawning of the age of the Gradocanrana as Drew took a well earned breather on the outside. He followed that up with the cannonball off the apron that left Drew in an unfamiliar position. On his back, looking up, wondering what the fuck just happened.
He never even had time to catch his breath before Grado had hit the R-Gra-do on the apron (is that the official title for this? could also go wae Diamond Roll n Slicer if you prefer your cutters DDP style) sending both of them crashing to the floor. All the momentum being with Grado caused him to slip into a delirium of stupitness as he once again went up top. Come on now Grado san. That’s not your domain. If you’ve already hit a ‘rana, take that to mean you don’t go up top again. He wisnae for listening though, and he was caught in mid air, before Drew somehow reversed all the momentum into a beauty of a tilt-o-whirl backbreaker. Drew Galloway is a lot bigger and stronger than Grado, so of course there was going to be a section if the match where he flung Grado about like a empty washing basket. This was that section. Sending Grado to the floor with a huge chop, before German Suplexing him against the turnbuckles. Comedy wrestler taking a German off the turnbuckles aye? Grado’s just comedy though. Of course he is. Interchangeable with every other comedy wrestler on the planet isn’t he? Because they all main event shows this size don’t they? Not that there’s anything wrong with being a “comedy” wrestler, but to call Grado that diminishes everything else he is aside from that and almost makes a mockery of putting him in the main event in the first place. Grado is more than that, Grado is a storyteller and during this part of the story our protagonist was lying flat on his back, with the antagonist who just chucked him as hard as he could into the corner stood over him with menace in his eyes. Time to make the dream die.
There’s just no way. As the crowd chanted his name in an attempt to summon the hero to his feet, there’s just no fucking way he can do it. Not Drew. It’s too much to ask for him to topple Drew and even the power of 4,000 chanting his name couldn’t give him the necessary energies to make it to the mountain top. Drew fired in 4 or 5 hellacious chops, before taking Grado up top to end it. Futureshock off the ropes. Skull caved in. Dream turned into a nightmare. Somecunt must have handed Grado a plate of spinach because in true popeye fashion his run of the mill right arm turned into something Batista would be proud to flex right into your coupon as he sent big Drew crashing to the earth with the Rock Bottom from the tap end. All of a sudden Grado was ALIVE. Jookin and jivin’ as he followed up the jabs with the bionic elbow in true Dusty style. Captivatin’ and motivatin’ baby, you gotta love it sugar. He went for the F5 after that and he hit the fucker surely to turn the dream into reality. Grado’s time has come. Mrs Stevelys baby boy had done it….BUT HE HADN’T DONE IT. No yet. Drew got the shoulder up and this captivating, energy sapping, beauty of a title match continued.
Only a matter of time now Grado ma man. Roll and slice hit the mark right after that, and he was tuning up the band for the sweet wee boot music, but there’s a reason this huge Aladdin on steroids looking adonis of a man has been head and shoulder above the rest during his title reign. He’s just better. Who else ducks a big boot to the coupon and turns it into a powerbomb. Who else can do that but Drew? Even that spine shattering powerbomb wasn’t enough however as the balance between good and evil shifted towards the darkside once more. Grado done a wee spinny off the ropes to garner some momentum but was hit with a brutal piledriver for another 2 count. How the fuck Grado was even still alive far less kicking out his beyond my comprehension. With Drew’s heid precariously dangling in the corner, Grado was looking to give his title challenge a double stomp up the erse to get it back on track, but Drew grabbed him as he wend up top and chucked him clean over his head. It was time for the grand finale of the most significant night in British Wrestling’s recent history, and it did not disappoint as two guys who entered the SECC as mere wrestlers, played out the end of the match that would see them leave the famous venue as legends. Standing toe-to-toe. Raining jabs down on each other while 4,000 folk screamed their lungs out. There’s no doubt they crafted this story together, but there was still a winner to be crowned and only one could stand glorious at the end. Good vs Evil. Underdog vs Phenom. Grado vs Drew.
The jabs seemed never-ending, but Drew created enough seperation to finally bring them to an end when he hit that flying single leg dropkick but that didn’t get the job done either. It was toy time. Drew dived outside to grab a chair before holding it above his head like he’d just managed to lift Thor’s hammer, only for Grado to go low and deliver a forearm right to Drews own hammer, and the conkers that dwell below it. Or in other words, he hit im in the baws mate. Wee boot hit the mark soon after and surely the dream was reality, sare baws and knocked spark out with the biggest wee boot of all time, but NAW. Drew would not yield. If the most decorated talent to ever hold the ICW Title was giving the strap up, it would take a wee boot where Drew falls heid first into a landmine because HE made that title a world title. Only he was capable of taking the ICW to numerous continents and he sees himself as the only man who can take ICW to the places it needs to go, but Grado would not fuckin die. The futureshock DDT hit the mark. A move that people don’t generally kick out of, but after the match they’d had to the point? Grado kicking out was even more unbelievable. He even took the Celtic Cross on to a fucking chair, and somehow still chucked a shoulder in the air.
Drew KO’d the ref in an act of sheer frustration (totally not setting up the finish or anything, no at all, he was just really annoyed mate) and of course out came Red Lightning. The Freddy Krueger of ICW, making a living off turning dreams into nightmares, but on this night Freddy had an enemy. Not a Jason-esque “I also love murdering people” type of enemy. He had the Santa Claus of wrestling to contend with as commissioner Foley came rushing out to Grado’s aid. If Drew was to retain the ICW Title on this monumental show, he was going to have to do it the good old fashioned way. Beating his opponent fair and square. Foley blocked a jab from Red, before smashing him with one of his own and donning the famous Mr Socko. Jack Jester appeared and he was the first to smell what the sock was cookin as yer man Foley sent him into a blissful sleep. Sleep was probably the best thing for him at this stage as a nightmare was unfolding in the ring. The Black Label and their absolute villainous power had been counteracted by the combined forces of Grado and Foley.
Red Lightning perched himself in the corner with a steel chair in hand, before Foley swept him off his feet, sending the chair in the direction of Drew. Who picked it up with serious intentions only to see it come crashing into his face full pelt in the form of a STEEL PLATED WEE BOOT. IS THIS IT? IS IT……aw fuck there’s nae ref. WE NEED A REF HERE. Who else but Dallas to count the three. It was maybe a wee bit fast, but who does a heroic run-in to count a pinfall and does it slowly? 1…2…………3. Three as fuck. HE’S DONE IT. OH MY FUCKIN LORD. Apologies for the f-bombs going off all over the shop, BUT MRS STEVELYS BABY BOAY HAS BECOME THE KING. The clown prince (whatever that actually means, there’s nae monarchy amongst the clown community mate) has become the undisputed champion.
Not bad for a “comedy wrestler” eh? Funny might not equal money in some peoples eyes, but it does equal shiny belts and moments you’ll never forget. Well done Grado. I can honestly say as sad as this might make me, I’ve never once been indifferent to him coming out in 3 and a half years of watching him do his thing and even though my personal hero was on this show, the only person I might have shed a wee tear for over the course of the evening was Grado. The fact that Mick Foley was directly involved in helping Grado realise the dream could not be more fitting in any way. A beautiful moment and one that even the most ardent of anti Grado folk couldn’t help but appreciate. There’s only one person who could have evoked a reaction that made 4,000 people sound like 40,000 as as amazing as Drew Galloway is, that man isn’t a 6 foot 5 big ride of a man. Its someone who’s belly might be a little big. His heiny might be a little big. But brutha, he’s the champ, and we know he’s the champ.
Overall ICW smashed it. I have nae complaints whatsoever from the biggest show in British Wrestling history and that’s not because I seen shit I hated and just didn’t say anything about it. The show was good and a triumph for all involved. Its sound to revel in that. Its sound to enjoy wrestling, and it’ll be even more sound to maybe enjoy a wee seat if thats what you’re intae as we pack out 11,000 capacity SSE Hydro next year. As for the immediate future, a certain Mr Renfrew has 2 months to cash in his briefcase. Oddly enough a lot of NAK fans are also Grado fans, as despite Renfrew’s clear disdain for Grado, he’s never definitively made anyone choose. The current state of affairs allows you to be fans of both, but believe me. Renfrew’s not fucking about when it comes to that belt and as impressive as his win was, Renfrew will be smacking his lips at the prospect of cashing in on Grado as opposed to the usually team-handed Drew Galloway.
Don’t usually bother rating the shows out of 10 because its often a hollow and pointless gesture, but fuck it. ELEVEN OUT OF TEN MATE. Such a good show it makes you toss conventional rating methods in the bin. Congratulations to each and every person who made it what it was.
Huge thank you to David J.Wilson as always for the cracking photos.