Sometimes wrestling makes you choose. There are situations where two forces with conflicting ideals can get by without their affairs mixing and for the majority of the time Grado and Renfrew have managed to be at opposite ends of the wrestling spectrum without seeing much of each other. Renfrew did ensure that he started 2014 at the very top of the villainy mountain when he sneaked back into the Square Go after being eliminated to pap Grado out and steal the title shot from his grasp, but besides that act and the match Grado had against Renfrew with the briefcase on the line, that’s been that. A simmering mutual disdain was there, but I guess the point I’m trying to make is, in those circumstances you could be a fan of both Grado and Renfrew+ the rest of the NAK without much fuss, but now? Make a choice. Make it now before its too late. Make it before Grado finds himself turned upside down with the guts hingin oot his body leaving fuck all but a hollow ribcage for Renfrew to pin to complete the journey. A full year after that all consuming match with Drew that saw Renfrew test himself against the best, only to find that he wasn’t there yet. At that stage he wasn’t at Drews level and he knew that, but as much as he knew he wasn’t quite at that level back then, he knows even more so that he IS at that level now. Maybe not in terms of pure wrestling ability or marketability but in terms of having what it takes to lead this company HIS way? Absofuckinlutely.
It had to be this way. This journey pre-dates any SECC sell-out or even any documentaries on the BBC. This is the thing that hooked me. Chris Renfrew having the Square Go briefcase and the promise that one day he would exchange it for the ICW Title. When he cashed in at the last Square Go and came up short in what was undoubtedly the match of his career to that point, it felt………incomplete? Fuck it, call a spade a fuckin shovel mate, it hurt. Because while most of the motivation was to see the shows in general, a wee bit of the reason I went all of the first 10-15 ICW shows in England was fear of missing Renfrews moment. In fact when he lost at the Square Go I gave the CR Drunk tee I’d worn for most of those shows to my pal because that t-shirt was supposed to be the lucky charm that would be worn when he won it. It meant something. But the loss to Drew meant rebuilding. It meant starting again, and assembling not only a better version of himself but perhaps the most dangerous stable in the UK. In fact, fuck “perhaps”. It is. When Wolfgang led the NAK out for their 4 on 4 match with Team Grado at Friday Night Fight Club they looked like a team of outlaws that had rolled up The Garage having spent the other 6 days of that week starting bar fights and tipping folk upside down if they walked out the bookies with a smile on their face. A proper unit.
A unit now comprised of Wolfgang, in perhaps the best shape of his life and absolutely knocking fuck out of anyone who stands in his path. The enforcer of the NAK, and himself a threat for the ICW Title but what he represents to the NAK is security. The fact that he has their backs makes each and every one of his stable-mates lives a wee bit easier. Having a destructive big bastard like that in your corner makes every breath more relaxed. You can slap the taste out of a ring announcer’s gub without fear of repercussions with big Wolfie about, and he’ll probably join in for the fuck of it. Stevie Boy who continues to evolve with BT Gunn showing the way in the ring and Renfrew showing the way on the mic. No longer the wee ned that would batter goths for fun, instead he kept the stabby mentality of the ned while adopting the darkness of the goth. Becoming a terrifying mixture of the two. Might have dropped that shiny belt but he’s no dropped that shine yer jaw up with a right hook attitude. Kay Lee Ray just happens to be the best female wrestler in Europe right now, and even if you don’t agree with that, if yer no ranking her in the top 3 you’re bad at ranking things, oh and that just leaves BT Gunn.
While most people see Renfrew as the leader, if you asked Renfrew himself he’d probably call BT Gunn the leader of the NAK, because without him it wouldn’t exist in its current form. Without him taking his brothers by the throat and making them see what he seen, no ones eyes would have got opened. Maybe the BT vs Renfrew feud would have ended with one winning and the other retiring and that would have been that, but that would have been tragic because when Renfrew cracked that Kendo Stick over the back of Mark Dallas’ napper in 2013 and signalled the beginning of the current incarnation of the NAK, ICW changed. It was no longer clear who you were supposed to cheer for because while the NAK are as villainous as it gets, they’re inclusive. You’re allowed to support the NAK, as long as you do one thing. You have to become a villain too. That’s Renfrews role. Renfrew is the voice of the voiceless. He embodies everything the NAK need to put into words and delivers in a way that makes yer fuckin bones shudder and he’s created a mob mentality that you’re either with or against. A situation that’s never been more obvious than the recent games of “Would You Rather?” that have seen Renfrew place the lives of innocents in the hands of the “fans” or perhaps “executioners” if we’re still calling spades shovels.
This was the moment you chose. Whether you’re comfortable with it or not, it was wrestling perfection because it was downright disturbing. Presenting the audience with two backstage employees in Jennifer Louise and Veronica LeStrange and basically asking what one of them is allowed to go home and see their families. If you engaged with that, you picked your side. You are NAK right from your cold, deid eyes, all the way to your black heart that pumps pure evil and liberal amounts of THC through your system. If you winced and wondered if you should really be involved in a game that picks and chooses who gets to live or die then I guess you’re team Grado…..not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’ll tell ye something, I’ve never heard that theme music hit and not felt happy because I relate Grado to happiness and as much as I throw the N up at everyone and have wanted Renfrew to hold the title for a long time, an internal struggle exists with the happy specky cunt who didnae have a fucking clue what was happening years ago but knew that he liked the guy with the bumbag who drew you in to everything he done.
Recently I’ve felt a bit alone dwelling in Grado’s corner. Ye see, the 4,000 people who poured beer down their pals backs and cried on the shoulders of strangers when Grado won the title at Fear and Loathing aren’t here anymore. That’s not a dig at all, just a statement of fact. A lot of them will return at the Square Go making the crowd probably pro Grado. Creating the best environent possible for Renfrew to become champ if he indeed does, but when it boils down to it, the diehard fans who come to most shows are split. The reaction to Grado at the recent Garage shows has not been the thunderous pop of old you could set your watch by, because he is no longer the hunter and for a lot of people the magic melts away when the goal is achieved. Some people are born underdogs and when the underdog finally gets his day, for a lot of folk that’s it. The thrill is sucked out of it and what remains is simply a more rigorously scrutinised version of the character you maybe excused a lot of faults in because underneath it all he was just like you and me. Know why it doesn’t feel like he’s just like you and me anymore? Cause he’s the ICW Champion mate. He holds the big belt and that means there’s pressure on him to be EVERYTHING. Pressure on him to deliver every single time he’s out there, and even if he does deliver it might not be enough for some. I’m no saying this because the shine has worn away for me personally, I’m saying it because that’s just simple wrestling shit. Fuck, if it can happen to Daniel Bryan it can happen to Grado. It happens and its up to Grado to prove that not only can he be a viable contender for a title like the ICW one, but that he can be a viable champion. That starts at the Square Go.
The happy smiley moment that will undoubtedly go down in history is gone now. It’s like when a team wins the Champions League and starts again in the same competition the following year. Truth be told, naecunt gives a fuck about that moment anymore apart from you and your own fans. The casuals just see a big fuckin bullseye on yer back, and the NAK are aiming shotguns at it. Grado does have allies, but really, aside from Noam Dar, does he have anyone who would take one of those bullets for him?
That’s the difference between what Renfrew brings to The Barrowlands at the end of the month and what Grado brings. Renfrew brings the impatience that comes with 2 years of waiting, and an army he designed while Grado comes in content with life having accomplished an all-time goal. On the face of it, there’s nae way Renfrew isn’t walking out of the Square Go with the belt, but that perhaps leads to a more intriguing question. What the fuck happens if he does fail? If backstage interviewers, ring announcers and unsuspecting performers are getting Killer Boots’ed tae fuck as it is, imagine an ICW where Chris Renfrew cashes in the Square Go briefcase for a second time and comes out the other end of it without the ICW Title. Imagine that post apocalyptic wasteland where you enter a venue for an ICW show only to find that everycunt’s lying deid. Bar staff, bouncers, ring crew, wrestlers, promoters, guys giving flyers out for their slam poetry night outside the venue, photographers, fans, guys with nae teeth, the guy who stole the other guys teeth and even god himself. Lying deid. Every single time you think you’re coming to see the wrestling, you leave having seen fuck all but a pile of deid bodies. Everyone dies if Renfrew fails this time because the standards the NAK have set won’t allow it. If it happens, an all consuming fire will open up and swallow ICW to the extent that if Mark Dallas continues to be exiled from the company by The Black Label, by the time he gets his company back it might not be a company at all. It might be a pile of ashes with a belt and an “Its Yersell” heidband lying on top. You wanted Grado at the top of the mountain? you got it. But the mountain is fuck all but dust. Enjoy.
Perhaps the most worrying thing for Grado was that wee handshake between Renfrew and Red Lightning when Renfrew took Grado out with a stunner at The Garage last week. That would indicate that there’s a mutual understanding between the two that would facilitate Renfrew taking that belt home from the Square Go at all costs, so maybe the same man who counted the three that crowned Grado king is the only man who can keep that belt around his waist. Maybe a glorious return of power for Dallas will be the thing that tips the balance in Grado’s favour and that evokes memories of the thing that made the NAK such a force when they reformed. A kendo shaped dent in Mark Dallas’ skull that is possessed with an itchy, intense pain every time Renfrew steps into an ICW ring. A statement that made a mockery of Dallas’ authority and an act I doubt he’s forgotten. Maybe he’s been waiting on his moment, and its presented itself now early 3 years later to finally exact revenge but if he does, its at his own risk. If he does stand between Renfrew and the ICW Title, he risks that pile of ashes becoming his own. Carried about in an urn by Renfrew who uses the power of the urn to bring BT Gunn back to life every time he takes a bump that would break mere mortals.
If the 2015 Square Go was Renfrew’s demise, the 2016 Square Go presents an opportunity for Renfrews redemption. Redemption that will be found by either making it to the top of the ICW mountain, or rigging the mountain with explosives and blowing it to fuck if anything stops him getting there. As for Grado, The Square Go represents a chance for him to shake off the “Clown Prince” “chubby wee chancer” tags and prove his worth in the trenches with someone who wants his belt more than anything else in the world. Prove that it wasn’t just the moment 4,000 people needed to make that SECC show complete and he CAN lead this company as a legit, believable champion. My money’s on the NAK killing everyone (myself included) but whit the fuck dae I know.