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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Wrestling Is Mental Right Now And Its The Best Thing Ever

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Wildly Speculative Article Regarding The Participants Of The Number One Contenders Ladder Match At ICW Fear and Loathing

ICW recently announced that their most recent shot at running The Hydro will involve a multi man ladder match for a shot at the ICW Undisputed Championship at The Square Go. With only two of the six competitors announced, now seems like the perfect time to talk absolute shite about who might make up the rest of the field. Shite that could have been adapted to list article form, but instead is introduced by stupidly wordy title as if I’m trying to break a Guinness World Record or suhin (as far as I’m aware wrestling blog stuff isnae regularly recorded, but it should be) cause list articles are the death of creativity or something. Anyway. Here’s some wrestlers who might join Bram and Jody Fleisch in the match. Some of them will make a lot of sense, some will make a bit of sense as outside bets, and others will be varying degrees of fuckin ridiculous

Iestyn Rees

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He doesn’t have a match yet, because all the big rides are being announced last it would seem. Him being involved in this would make plenty of sense. Him winning it would make even more sense. He’s spent the best part of this year squashin’ various geeks (and CAV) and if the 90s taught us anything, that inevitably leads to shiny belts. If it’s not as the winner I definitely fancy him to be involved and you can count on him being as shiny as humanly possible. I don’t think there’s a performer in ICW who’s improved as much as he has over the past year and rounding that off with a win here would be just reward. Having said all that, if he fucks with the Polo’s trying to get the tag titles back. Me and him have a problem. Not a problem I’ll do anything about because he’s fuckin massive and carved out of granite but still….a problem.

Aaron Echo

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Another big ride without a match announced, he made a bit of a breakthrough in ICW when he worked his way on to the Hydro card last year. Since then he’s had some good moments but still seems to be waiting for that defining win that seems him in a position that his talent no doubt deserves. Stoatin out for his second Hydro appearance, stealing the show and becoming the number one contender might be that moment. Either way he’s one I expect to be involved and if he doesn’t win it, he’ll come within bawhairs of doing so.

Andy Wild

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Him making it on to the The Hydro show last year was a bit of a fairytale considering he hadn’t been involved much before he brought Noam Dar’s ICW career to a close with a win. That match gave him a bit of momentum for the first time in a long time and he wore it well, having some cracking matches with Kenny Williams, Lewis Girvan and co before kinda fading again. Recent photos appear to show him in great shape and he’s certainly capable of going out there and performing again. Might be slightly too late for another Andy Wild for The Hydro push but if he doesn’t make it on to this show I hope 2018 will be the year he really establishes himself again. A very talented wrestler and a smashin guy. Fuck it. The get Andy Wild on The Hydro show movement starts HERE. Again.

Krieger

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Currently embroiled in this entertaining wee bit of gang warfare between Kid Fite’s crew and team vroom vroom oan the motorbike, but if that feud isn’t settled at The Hydro, Krieger could be one of the dark horses for this match. A very talented, charismatic guy who is now getting a bit more recognition north and south of the border, big Scudmaster Sexy certainly wouldn’t be a waste of a jersey if he is one of the chosen six.

Sha Samuels

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I know, I know, he’s on the show already right. But hear me out. Is it likely that anyone on the card will be involved in two separate matches? No. Should it happen in Sha’s case because I personally want him to win? Aye. Nothing further to add if im honest. Sha being the number one contender would be sound. He probably wont be but imagine he done a big shooting star press aff a 40 foot ladder through a big table, and stood up straight after gien it “EASSSSSST” somehow already clutching two beers. It would be smashin eh? And in this life, there’s not a thing wrong with wanting to witness heavy good shit.

Charlie Sterling

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An outside bet considering he’s not been seen in ICW for a wee while but the impressive Charlie Sterling certainly has plenty of attributes that would make him a good addition to a mad ladder based stramash. Particularly the fact that he’s heavy good at jumpin aboot but also good at power moves, making him whats technically referred to as a “powerful jump abooter”. The perfect type of wrestler to be when it comes to ladder matches. Even if he doesn’t appear at The Hydro I hope we see him back soon. Guy is crazy good and a mad ride to boot. I need to stop calling folk rides in this article. Professionalism.

Ravie-Davie 

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Suspended as fuck but with Bram in the match it makes sense to think Ravie Davie will at least be involved. Even if he’s not announced for the match, he’ll be out there causin aw sorts of havoc to get to Bram. Put it this way, if I had to put a fiver on the person most likely to crack Zack Gibson err the nut wae a micro scooter, that fiver would 100% be going on Ravie Davie. If he’s in the match, him winning it would be fairytale stuff but I don’t think its quite his time yet. I think his role will be stopping Bram winning it, leading to Bram punching fuck out the other eye socket.

Lou King Sharp

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Often seen gyrating and occasionally tagging with a man who featured earlier in the article, mad Krieger, Lou King Sharp has been about a wee while now and has had his ups and downs in ICW. A sensational showing in the 2015 Square Go was never really capitalised on and until joining up with Krieger and Kid Fite recently he was in and out of the picture. Now he’s a regular again and displaying all the charisma and tenacity that first got him noticed, if he joined the field here he would be an underdog but that’s what big multi man ladder matches are for eh. For folk to come from naewhere, win them, win shiny belts and in due course, fight Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania for the WWE Title. Imagine Brock vs LKS but for a wee second. He’d suplex him so hard oor Lou widnae wake up until the next year’s Mania. Which would be in a different city, meaning he’d just wake up alone in the middle of an American Football field, asking the wee guy cuttin the grass if he won.

The Sam Barbour Experience

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When I went to the GPWA Invitational a few months back I knew of most of the competitors and the ones I was already very aware of impressed as they always do. The standout of the folk I hadn’t seen a lot of was SBX. Big time outside bet considering his main role in ICW lately has been backstage interviewer but he’s certainly a talent and is one that could easily make the breakthrough in the new year if he keeps grafting at it.

Liam Thomson

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Huge relief when he didn’t retire at the last Edinburgh show. One of the very best in Scotland and one that you maybe don’t realise just how good he is until you don’t get to see him wrestle for a while. No idea if he’ll bit fit in time for the show at all but if he is it would be a smashing way to end a rough year both in real life and storyline life. I mean does he have a place to stay yet? Does that place have a sink? Either way a wee Hydro pay packet wouldn’t go amiss. I’d actually rather see him vs Joe Hendry in a singles match tbh but any slice of Liam Thomson we can get would be certified *tasty*.

Joe Hendry

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Like I said in Liam’s bit, their heated wee bit of promo action in Edinburgh gave me a hankering for an all Edinburgh singles scrap but there’s a good chance yer Prestigious One might wind up involved in this. With the year’s he’s had he’s another who would have to be in with a shout of winning it and him with a title shot against either of his prestigious pals at the Square Go would be hot shit. The viciousness of the words he fired at Liam in Edinburgh would suggest that he’s no fucking about and that mean streak might mean there’s actually NO grandiose entrance video this time no matter where he’s involved. After Bohemian JoeHendree last year it would be difficult to produce anything that tops it anyway.

DCT

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Look at that majestic creature in that fuckin glorious singlet and tell me that’s not a man ready for a big title shot on a big show. Recently he’s been having some stoating bouts and will forever be one of my favourite’s. There’s folk ye develop a soft spot for early on and it just disnae go away. He could pump ma maw and not only would it not be surprising, I don’t think it would be that upsetting either. He’s just a big likeable bastard and the prospect of him and Bram battering lumps out each other again is a laugh. For those who doubt what Bram can do, think about where DCT was before their feud and where he is now. His matches with Bram undoubtedly added a lot of legitimacy to him as a guy who can hold his own in the face of pure evil. If he is involved he’ll certainly entertain and him in the main event of the Square Go is some shit I’d personally love to see.

Kid Fite

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On top form lately in recent matches with DCT and Wolfgang. Would be a hugely deserving participant and winner of this. Plus he ALWAYS has brilliant matches with Joe Coffey so if Joe prevails in the main event, it would be a smart move taking that match up to the title picture. I have a feeling he’ll be involved somewhere else on the card but if it’s here he has to be in with a shout of winning it. Definitely in with a shout of executing the sharpest, crispest most delicious snap suplex of the whole show anyway. That’s for true.

Davey Blaze

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Davey’s been on a bit of a cauld streak of late, since the humbling at DCT and Coach…I mean Adam Shame’s hands at Shug’s but some rousing words from The Wee Man, who has been excellent as a baddie, seems to have jolted the big man into gear. If DCT’s involved I fully expect Davey to join him. This is gonnae be one of they everlasting feuds where they pass the feud down from generation to generation until we’re at Fear and Loathing 200 and its their great great great great great great grandson’s having a scrap on a hoverboard made entirely of candy floss and holograms. I dunno why I think candy floss will be a prominent part of future engineering.

Zack Gibson 

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He is the finished article and if you can name 5 folk better than him in the UK, you’re either lying or really don’t like Scousers because he has it all. A brutal, methodical wrestler and one of the most convincing on the mic. The only thing missing is one of the main shiny belts in the UK. If his feud with Kenny is any sort of indication, if he’s thrust into a proper feud with a title on the line, the best he has to offer will invariably come out. If he’s involved he has to be the favourite to win it and correctly so. A massive talent and probably the best villain in the UK right now. SOOOON to be recognised as the number one contender. Perhaps.

Could go on listing folk all day but I think the 45 folk already on the list will do for now. Hope this piece of nonsense was awrite. Will be writing more preview stuff before The Hydro and hopefully a few interviews if I can fit them in. Wrestling. Come to the show. Tickets still available because The Hydro is massive and unless you’re Celine Dion, selling the fucker out in advance is a hard task. Get them here 

ICW Shug’s House Party Night 2 Review

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Night Two managed to be just as good a show if not slightly better, remarkable considering it was Noam Dar free. Every match just had something that mattered. Its nice that we got to enjoy a good show before Bram ruined wrestling by turning his dick into offensive weapon that apparently casts a spell on anyone who touches it. Naw wait. That might be someone else….

Aaron Echo vs Jody Fleisch

One of those matchup’s you had no idea you fuckin NEEDED to see until it was actually announced. It felt a bit like Joe Coffey vs Brian Kendrick did a few years back in the very same venue. Opening the show, and not completely stealing it, but setting the tone perfectly for a cracker of a night. It felt like a match that will propel Aaron Echo to massive things. Maybe in a few years he’ll be the guy with the shiny belt defending it in the big cage. He matched Fleisch in the early exchanges with some deceptive agility. Big man’s looking in crackin shape, and displayed just how much of a lean, mean, back elbowin’ machine he is when he caught mad hang time shugechoon a Kenny Williams-esque back elbow off the top. Fleisch hit a moonsault to the outside and a backwards hurricanrana in the ring because in case it wasn’t hugely apparent on night one, Jody Fleisch is still just as good as he was back in the day. Maybe even better cause when he pulled off mad shit back then it was a bit more understandable. Youthful reckless abandon n that. Doing it at 37 is another matter altogether. I’m 28 and can barely peel myself aff the chair in the living room sometimes, and this guy’s near enough 10 year my senior daein aw sorts of mad headscissorin. It was lovely to watch.

Echo caught the bold yin going up top for some kinda twisty 720 moonsault nae doubt, and instead turned it into a release German that sent Fleisch flying, but mere moments later Fleish had hit a beauty of a springboard tornado DDT to bring an absolute skelper of an opening contest to an end. 

If ever a match served as a display of why two guys need to be carving out regular spots for themselves, it was this. Echo matching a 20 odd year veteran move for move and the 20 odd year veteran in question flying about like a 20 year old never mind a guy who’s been wrestling for that length of time. They shared a wee handshake and both went up the ropes so folk could aim their “yasss’s” at them, and aim them they did. Polite applause might no be currency but these guys were rich in good will after this one let me tell ye. A rerr show.

Lionheart is a hero

“Ye cannae jist….rock bottom interviewers”

“Jist did mate”

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I think you’ll find Lionheart does what he wants. If he wants to dae a Scottish version of CM Punks pipebomb he’ll go ahead and do that as well. Fuck knows why he decided to Rock Bottom interviewer Molly Spartan but he did and ye can fuckin like it or well…..there really doesn’t need to be any other options anymore. Everyone seems to be liking it. In his own words hes still a fanny, we’re just into it now. A world where everyone’s into fanny is a world I’m well and truly on board with. While Mark Dallas was not a fan of his methods, he told Lionheart he’s recognised that folk have slowly started getting on his side over the past few months because as Lionheart stated, for the past year+ he’s been a top performer, if not THE top performer in the company and following on from Rey Mysterio being announced on Night One (A fact that I may have forgot to include in the night one review, I finished it in a rush awrite, gies a brek) Dallas announced Lionheart’s Night Two opponent would be none other than Rob Van Dam, in a match that’ll be nothing short of a tasty bitta dropkick warfare. ‘Kin yaldi.

Wolfgang vs Super Crazy

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Super Crazy and Jody Fleisch keep their straws dipped in the fountain of youth eh. How the fuck else do you explain them doing what they do in 2017. Super Crazy faced off with current WWE Superstar Wolfgang and it was really nice that out of the two of them, its big Wolfy who holds that accolade. A sign of just how far its all come over here. They faced off in the middle of the ring, Wolfgang telling Super Crazy “Ah’ve heard you’re pure mental mate” and Super Crazy seeming to fire back with “Aye well you’re tall as fuck int ye, mon we’ll wrestle aboot a bit” or whatever that might be in Mexican. Wrestle aboot a bit they most certainly did.

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I mind some folk on a certain group on a certain social media site where maw’s sell their unwanted kitchen appliances (should really gie them to Liam Thomson) kinda wrote this match off. Never write any match off before it happens unless its a guy against a blow up doll or suhin 😉 Crazy missed a mad dive to an area about a mile and a half west from where Wolfgang was actually standing. Super Crazy is as super crazy does. Wolfgang missed with the most aesthetically pleasing moonsault in wrestling, that middle rope effort that had aw the views on the WWE FB page when he done it the UK Title Tournament, before Crazy hit a missile dropkick that prompted the knucks to come out the kneepad. This unorthodox session of wrestling about was about to come to a better end for the mental yin. He dodged the first brass knucks attempt and nearly rolled Wolfy up for the quick win, but the big man levelled him second time and that was that. 

Thoroughly enjoyable so it was. I think the Super Crazy sceptics couldn’t argue he added plenty to both shows, and Wolfgang just doesn’t do bad wrestling matches. There’s bigger fights out there for him. There’s Liam Thomson’s soul to take for starters but a wee win over a legend does ye nae harm. 

Kenny Williams vs BT Gunn (ICW Zero-G Championship Match)

Its cool how thing’s come full circle sometimes. Kenny Williams faced BT Gunn in a singles match at The Garage last year and when he won, he fell back into the corner in a state of shock at what he’d accomplished. The enormity of overcoming a talent so iconic and brilliant in this country literally took Kenny aff his feet. They went on to have a sweltering wee series of matches and were involved in a tense finish to the Barramania scramble match where Kenny just held on to his belt, but this match and the reaction to it proved just why Kenny was so overwhelmed by that win. BT Gunn is unbelievably good at what he does and he deserved this. So many big shows have been and gone with other folk having the biggest moment. The biggest matches. This was for him. As emotional and historic as any outcome to any match ICW have ever put on.

The crowd seemed to feel it too. There’s been a few near misses for BT, most recently when he caused Kenny to tap out just after the time had run out in that scramble match, but he also tore the house down with Lionheart at The Garage last year with the title on the line, coming within a dusty bawhair of winning it all. The look on Kenny’s face said it all. None of the usual jovial smiley patter from the bollocks. He was feart. As any man with half a brain should be if the guy standing opposite him with the intention of aiming kicks at his face is known as The Oddity. The atmosphere was unreal. Personally I could barely stand after the booze fuelled exploits of night one and spent most of this show contemplating jumping the barrier just so I could dive under the ring for a sleep, but I felt every moment of this. How could you not? It was fucking incredible.

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BT nearly ended it before it had really started when he locked in the crossface but Kenny made it to the ropes. They battled in the crowd after BT hit a suicide dive, only for Kenny to absorb that dive and use its diving power to his advantage when he hit a mad somersault senton off one of the many wee bits in and around the ABC ye can do dives from. He even managed to perform this dive without caving in the ABC’s ceiling in a refreshing change of pace from his recent diving exploits (for cunts that dont know, Kenny Williams broke The Garage) following that up with a top rope back elbow that caught so much air Kenny managed to kiss the top of the cage suspended above the ring on his way down before catching BT sweet on the jaw. They kicked and forearmed fuck out each other for a bit as the match reached an unrelenting pace. Kenny nearly put BT away with that running knee, but it wasn’t his night. Sometime’s no matter how crisp the back elbows are, or how many times you clock the guy’s jaw with yer knee, he just won’t stay down. The word “destiny” is chucked about a lot in wrestling, in an often cringeworthy fashion but this was destiny for BT Gunn. He was meant to be the first man to have held all three ICW titles. He’s been there throughout every era. A constant in ICW who’s carved out an almost godlike status amongst the fans without having to ever speak directly to them. The wrestling does the talking for him.

The springboard cutter he calls the “Gunnshot” led to BT locking in that crossface again. Kenny was within an inch of tapping and with the greatest of respects to him, there wisnae a soul in the place who didn’t want to see him tap. He rolled BT valiantly on to his shoulders for a 2 count, but he couldnt break the hold and when BT rolled back into the crossface it was over.

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An unbelievable moment and maybe the match of the weekend. In the 5 years I’ve been going to ICW shows I don’t remember a moment that felt as significant as this one. A wee tear was shed as he enjoyed the moment. Kenny Williams snatched the belt as soon as it was handed to BT, but that’s to be expected. A man who made history himself just 24 hours earlier seeing the belt he hold’s so dear snatched away. Maybe in that moment he regretted the open challenge patter. Its exciting and makes you hard as nails cause literally anyone could answer it, but sometimes literally “anyone” is that guy. The same guy who had you in shock at your own capabilities when you managed to pin him a year earlier. Most folk in the crowd knew the significance of that moment but when Simon Cassidy actually announced it seemed to really hit home as an emotional BT Gunn enjoyed the moment with the folk who handed him unwavering support no matter what guise he was under. The blood spitting homicidal baddie with the NAK, the guy who cut his own hair off in the middle of the ring when he returned to face Chris Renfrew 5 years ago, or the guy arguably being the standout performer in matches with WWE championships on the line. 

Davey Blaze and The Wee Man vs DCT and Coaaa…ADAM SHAME

It feels like a weird thing to type but Davey Blaze smashing a wee boays easter egg made this feud what it was. Him doing that and being hilariously and horribly mean to the wee guy made him and The Wee Man unmistakably the baddies and made it really easy to get behind DCT and Adam Shame. They’ve been such arseholes they awoke a dormant personality inside Coach Trip, basically causing split personality disorder. If that isn’t the work of some big bad baddies I dunno what is. The match wasn’t yer 6 star, 27 different kinds of suplex type of affair. It was the good guys getting the better of the bad guys. It was a Da fighting for his boy, and his boy’s fallen easter egg. It deserved better. It deserved to be scranned. It needed to be avenged.

Wee Man got on the mic (theres nae way of typing that without it sounding like he’s entering a rap battle) and told Adam Shame he was glad he never brought his “specky” wee boy out with him as he’d avoid seeing how much of a loser his Da is, and thats really just asking to get chased is it no. Shamer and DCT did give chase, prompting Wee Man to bolt through the crowd. Only re-appearing when Davey had evened the score by toeing Adam Shame in the baws. Much of the early exchanges were between Davey and DCT, with Davey getting the better of it setting the Paisley Young Team for a tag that would give everyone within a 10 mile radius of it a suntan. The hoattest tag in professional wrestling history. In came Shamer throwin ‘bows aw err the camp. Taking Davey up with the airplane spin into a Samoan Drop. Wee Man provided less than ample hauners but for what he lacked in physicality, he made up for in being a distraction, giving Davey a wee opening to hit a spear. I dunno if Wee Man was scooping aw sorts of spinach and had his very ain Olive Oil in the audience to impress but moments later The Wee Man hit an F5 on DCT. I mind watching Grado take about 15 attempts before finally hitting one of them and he’s a former World Champ mate. Whit does that make The Wee Man? Is this winning streak legit? Is he some kinda GoldbergBrock Lesnar hybrid?shugsdav

Well, in short, naw. Naw he isnae. His reign on top was over as quick as it began as DCT locked a figure four in on Davey, only to be joined by Shamer putting a version of it on The Wee Man. Everyone was gettin’ sare legs and it was time to be tappin for the baddies. Both Davey and The Wee Man tapped and the arse kicked was about to be followed by the arse kissin’. Nae drama. Pucker up and get it err wae.

Davey was not fucking having it though. Not at all. In true villainous fashion he refused to fulfill his contractual obligation to kiss his colleagues arse. Instead opting to head up the road post haste. Someone else wasn’t fucking having it either though. A wee boy who wanted to scran an easter egg only to see it crumble into wee  bits in front of his very eyes. The reaction to this moment really shows how well the original video was done and how much of an evil evil man Davey looked, because when Adam Sham’e son Ryan appeared and low blowed Davey everyone knew what it was about, and everyone lost their minds when he re-emerged with an Easter Egg to crack it over Davey’s napper. That allowed his auld man to chuck Davey back in the ring to to get what was coming to. An arse, framed by a yellow thong, thrust right in his face. I’m sure not a new experience for Davey, but maybe the first time the owner of that arse has been an International Sex Hero who shagged over 1000 women…that day.

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Sometimes the good guy’s win. Folk need that payoff sometimes. Give Davey and The Wee Man their due. Without them being as unquestionably cunty as they were, The Shame Family and DCT wouldn’t have had that amazing moment in front of 1,000 odd folk. For all he’s given to Scottish Wrestling, before it was even a recognised thing, Adam Shame deserved that moment and he got to share it with his wee boy. some real feel good shit right there.


I wrote the whole second half of this review and then it vanished. This is a re-write performed by the empty vessel known as my body that used to, but no longer houses my soul. Fuckin 4000 words gone. Fuck this shit. I mean….wrestling.


Grado vs Sha Samuels (Loser Leaves ICW)

It had to be that way. The same man who made Grado look like a superstar all those years ago would be pivotal in his demise. Not Red Lightning, although he did provide a proper unlikeable baddie to bounce off Grado’s charisma back when he debuted in 2012 and he did play a big part in his defeat and resulting exit from the company. Not even Sha Samuels, who’s battles with Grado down the years have provided British Wrestling with one of its best ever feuds. Grado at his high-fiving, shake rattle n rollin best is the perfect opponent for Sha’s ruthless hooligan, and their matches in 2014-2015 are some of the best the company has ever produced, but it wasn’t the East End Butcher . Although he did deliver the final blow, somewhat reluctantly as his former bestie chucked the pinky up one last time in the hope that the big man would take pity on him. The guy who made Grado look like a superstar all they years its go is HIMSELL. There’s never been a talent more spoken about, scrutinised at every turn, and until about a year ago unwaveringly adored than Grado and there’s not a wrestler on this planet that gets more fans through the door than he does.

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Great wrestling brings a lot of wrestling fans, but the fact is there’s hardly any of us. Your wee circle might be full of wrestling fans, but the world’s full of folk who think its stupid. Grado is a big part of the reason some of those folk become fans. They want to see him. That witty wee guy aff the tele. Him playin golf wae John Hartson and Andy Goram. That guy. They come for him and some of them get hooked as a result of that. There’s no doubt for however long he might be gone that his influence will be missed but maybe this was needed. Grado is very good at being a baddie, managing to be a proper arrogant fud while remaining hilarious but as much as I liked watching it, he probably didnae like doing it. Its just not him is it. That’s not what Grado’s in wrestling for. He’s no in it to make people stick the vickies up at him and call him a dick. He’s in it to have a room full of sweaty wrestling fans losing their minds to Madonna. He’s in it to make ye laugh and greet. He’s no in it to make ye mildly irritated because he called ye specky in a promo, he’s in it to make folk feel things and he will again. Him and Sha made folk feel things in their match and it reminded anyone who might have forgot just how brilliant they both are.

After Grado had sent Red to the back to “get the toast on” while he dealt with this ‘jabroni’. Sha obviously took exception to that slur and started chucking rapid right hooks, before Grado hit him with a German Suplex into the turnbuckle (this is the guy that cannae wrestle according to some dafties) followed by the Roll n Slice, and then a fuckin Death Valley Driver on the apron. Grado and Sha on some PWG shit early on. None of this “both these guys” pish but. Keep they chants for Mania weekend mate. This is serious business. Bad guy vs good guy. For perhaps the first time ever between Grado and Sha where Sha was the goodie and Grado the baddie and as great as the match was there was never a point where that wasn’t a wee bit weird. Like watching Batman only Batman’s the one terrorising Gotham, and The Joker tries to stop him while avenging his deid maw n da at the same time.

Grado hit another Roll n Slice on the outside before offering Sha’s coupon to the camera as he repeatedly jabbed it. I mind Sha doing similar when he was using that fitba scarf as a choking device when they first faced each other in ICW’s second (maybe third) London show. Parallels n that. Grado took the big man back in the ring before belting him with a chair legitimately hard as fuck. Sha shouting EAST! in his face wasn’t him no selling the chair shot, that was him completely ignoring the considerable pain he must have felt for the sake of good wrestling. He walked through the chair shot like it never happened before hitting a Michinoku Driver, but Grado reversed his attempt at the destoryer with a pair of R-Gra-Do’s out of nowhere. Well the second one wisnae a big spurise after the first, but that’s no as catchy is it. She hoisted that Pinky up in the air in defiance when Grado thought the win was in the bag and he had to go to Plan B. Scatter thumbtacks all over the camp and hope it works out. It did not.

Grado went to drive Sha dome first into the tacks, but Sha reversed and hit the sarest Death Valley Driver in wrestling history. Grado’s back was 90% tacks after it and he chucked the X up in desperationshugsgradsha2. Nae ambulance was forthcoming, instead Red Lightning came out and tossed a chair in Sha’s direction, before whispering “I burnt yer toast anaw” in Grado’s ear right before Sha cracked a crestfalled Grado clean err the napper with a heartbreakingly emphatic chairshot. Knocking Grado clean out the game as Sha placed his foot on him for the 3 count. 

The “cheerio” chant quickly turned to “Thank You Grado” when they seen his face after sha had waved him goodbye solemnly on his way through the curtain. Not the actions of a man who’d just beat his sworn enemy because he hadn’t. They’re best pals and as much as it had to be Sha, it must have hurt his heart a wee bit. To almost close a chapter of your pals career with one almighty chair shot to the napper, it must sting. But it had to be him. They’ll undoubtedly fight again but for now its done and dusted and Grado was visibly emotional after it. Dropping the character and acknowledging the fans on the way out. He’s in this to make folk cheer. He’s in this so Gradomania can run fuckin wild brotherrrr and I doubt we’ll see him again until enough time has passed for folk to miss the old Grado. The Grado that has grown men belting oot Madonna so hard they pop a blood vessel. The Grado that represents all that is good and pure in the world. God rest ye bad guy Grado. It was fun while it lasted.

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The Big Scheme Wedding Of Ravie Davie and Martina The Session Moth

I fuckin love Sean McLaughlin and you should to. He was the reluctant Da of this whole shindig, giving Martina away with the promise that she’d leave him alone and stop planting johnnys in and around his person if he agreed to do so. He was more like a polis escorting a prisoner that’s shat himself out of protest. Disgusted. He literally tossed her in the ring and bolted, wanting no further part of this. Which pretty much means he didn’t want to get his cunt kicked in aff Bram. A smart lad is oor Sean.

The wedding itself was lovely. Vows included the bride vowing to save her fanny for her husband only, meaning she’d have to give up rubbing it in folk’s faces as an offensive manoeuvre in wrestling matches. Perhaps swapping it for a wee armbar, or that Marty Scurrl bit where he puts his already chewed chewing gum into someone elses gub. Anything not vagina based it probably a winner. Davie vowed to keep a draw of all his fags for Martina, and to look after her when she’s hungover. Basically signing yourself up for a full-time job there mate. I suppose if ye never stop drinking, being hungover isn’t really an issue. Vows exchanged, it was really just the formalities left. Although the priest (GPWA’s Leyton Buzzard) could have saved himself the breath it took to say “If anyone has any protests to this union” by simply saying “HEEEEEERE’S BRAM”.

Its a wedding ffs. Whit else did you expect.

Ravie Davie vs Bram

Bram obviously battered everycunt in sight. That’s what he does at weddings. Having a wedding within a mile of wherever Bram is like waving a red rag in front of a team of bulls. In fact its like waving a red rag in front of Bram himself. I imagine he’s not far off a bull genetics wise. He cleared out the whole wedding party. Leathering Saqib and Prince Asad from Pure Gangster, hitting a beauty of a popup powerbomb on Zander, dumping most of a can of lager on Chris Toal’s heid as he whapped the dids oot to defend Martina’s honour. Even Cav emerging with his fire resistant shield and can do attitude never stood a chance. Bram literally punched a hole in his shield because it might be fire-proof but its no fuckin devil proof, before rounding off his reign of with the patented forced winch, arse slap on Martina. The exact same fate that befell Viper. This time the revenge came a wee bit quicker though. Although he was derailed slightly after the priest climbed back in the ring and attacked him with holy water, but the holy water ran out and so did Leighton Buzzard’s luck as he got fired into the crowd for a second time like a fuckin dart.

I’ll no tell anyone any lies here, after Davie valiantly rose to his feet and challenged Bram to a match right there and then, the doing he took made me queasy as fuck. It was uncomfortable. Standing there irreparably hungover watching a big bruiser of a guy repeatedly dish out short arm rabbit punches to the eye of his foe was not fun. The aim was to burst his eye open to smear the blood on Martina I believe and that would have been some fuckin top drawer villainous shit but Davie’s eye would not yield. It just kept swelling up to fuck. Its as if it sprouted a face, and that face was screamin “Come ahead ya fuckin DAFTY!” at Bram and come ahead he did. He eventually relented with the eye punching cause it was probably getting incredibly sare, instead smearing a bit of blood from Davey’s lip  on Martina. Davie’s face did look fucked up and people were stunned to silence but even if it did end up a bit more brutal looking than intended, did it not do its job? Hate Bram aw ye like, its kinda his job to make that happen, but Davie taking that doing and getting up for more. Winning the fucking match anaw. It made this whole thing matter as opposed to being a bit of fun in the middle of a mega serious night. It made Davie look like the fuckin top boy. He took the absolute worst that big bad bastard had to offer and would not stay down. In amongst one of the best ICW shows I’ve ever been to, and certainly the best weekender the company has ever put on (in my opinion n that) everyone was talking about Ravie Davie. Everyone was calling Bram a cunt. The whole fuckin point, even if getting to that point happened in a way that made folk uncomfortable.shugbram

Technically Martina and Davie didn’t complete the marriage so Martina performing the Vulva Buster on Bram wasn’t going back on the vows. Him asking for more saw a chair thrust in his coupon, as Davie somersaulted from the other side of the ring lit a schemey Shane McMahon. A move he calls Scenes On Toast To Coast, but it wasn’t enough. He’d need to survive another Bram flurry, and he even took  piledriver on that heid that looked like it was about to burst at any second. I genuinely think Davie might be allergic to Bram’s hauns he was that swollen but he still had hit wits about him and rolled Bram up for the quick one, two, three. Another yass moment in a night jam-packed with them. 

Kasey vs Kay Lee Ray

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Some folk jumped on the first match for being a bit short, but really think about it for a minute. Instead of one longer match, with Kasey triumphing in the end, Kasey beat one of the best wrestlers in Europe TWICE in two days. Once in quick and brutal fashion and once in an excellent wrestling match. Kay Lee Ray is really fucking good at this and is at the top of her game. Toppling her in the fashion she did after beating Viper to earn the shot in the first place makes Kasey a proper star. Instantly. Deservedly so. Over the past year, maybe 2, she’s improved every single time we’ve seen her and she’s got that character down to a tee. Unhinged and calculating all at once. A bit scary. Good shit.

Kay Lee was having fucking none of it though. Managing to enter amidst the best entrance theme of all time while barely acknowledging that it was even playing. A truly remarkable feat to stop yourself from going absolutely fucking mental when that plays. The match was top notch. Kay Lee attacking Kasey right away, looking to avenge that rapid defeat the night before in equally rapid style. It was a match laden with sare looking submissions, Kasey attempting to pull Kay Lee’s arm out of its socket with a cross armbreaker on the barrier that looked, for the lack of a better term, fuckin agony. Kay Lee locked in a Koji Clutch and that’s just a sexy move is it no. That’s no even sexism btw, a sentient piece n jam could lock that move in on a lampost and it would still be sexy. It’s just a sexy move. I cannae explain the science behind it giving me a semi to you, I can just assure you it does.

Kasey went for a springboard suhin but got caught with a kick to the gut putting Kay Lee Ray in the ascendancy despite the fact Kasey pulled her arm aff moments earlier. Another Koji Clutch was locked in, amazingly as a reversal from Kasey trying to pin Kay Lee before she decided she’d had enough. If double Koji Clutching isn’t getting the job done, a belt to the heid will just have to eh. The belt shot did indeed land, for a fuckin ONE COUNT. Whit. How. The Gory Special followed, and that only got a two. Kay Lee must have been contemplating jumping out and seeing if she could hi-jack a double decker to run Kasey over wae, because that’s the only way she was staying down for a three. No after fighting tooth and nail to get where she was. Kay Lee draped the title on Kasey as she went up top for a Swanton. A move she only bursts out when she really needs it these days, but Kasey caught her up top, and with a brutal knee to the back of the heid she had retained. Nae fluke, thats HER title now. 

Top drawer match. This weekender turned Kasey from someone people talk about as being improved to someone people talk about as one of the top women’s wrestlers in the UK. A spot she grafted to get and has definitely earned. Beating one of the very best in the fuckin world is the perfect way to announce your arrival at the top table. 

Polo Promotions vs The Marauders (If Polo Promotions Lose They May Not Team In ICW Ever Again)

Who needs a third man when you’ve got the twelfth man eh? Who needs a third man when you’ve got the locker room? Who needs a third man when you’ve got a main event tag team fighting for their very existence? That’s what Polo Promotions do, and a bit like the second last match of Night One, this match felt like one half of a double main event opposed to the match before the main event. The Marauders take a lot of credit in that respect because for this to matter as much as it does, a team needed to properly give Polo Promotions a challenge. Bird and Boar on their own have done that, but add big Iestyn “the nerd squasher” Rees into the mix and make it 3 on 2? The odds are in favour of the sheep sh….I mean Welshmen.

It started out as a mad brawl before settling into The Marauders using the numbers game to their advantage effectively, but there’s nae numbers game on this planet that’s derailing Mark Coffey when he gets gaun. He hit a big running double sledge which William Grange called “The Polish Hammer” on commentary which is a tremendous name for a wrestling move. A tremendous name for anything really, except actual hammers made in Poland. Big Iestyn was the Mark Coffey momentum stopper throughout and his palpable rage at anything that dared to try to stop him and his pals splitting Polo Promotions added a vital element to it. While Jackie and Mark battled from the first whistle, the big man’s presence always made them feel like the underdogs looking to cause an upset. That was no more apparent than when The Marauders took shots each of smashing Jackie Polo in the corner with uppercuts, forearms, splashes, aw sorts, shortly after Polo seemingly had the win in the bag for his team. Big Iestyn broke it up, knocked Mark Coffey off the apron and just like that Polo nearly making Mike Bird tap became three Welsh guys knocking a Scottish guys teeth oot.

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Mrs Patterson’s Revenge followed that mad flurry of offence from The Marauders but Mark Coffey broke up the pin, causing Iestyn to spear his whole ribcage clean out his body. Mark Coffey vs Iestyn Rees is a feud I’d be heavily intae, Two big handsome sumbitches knockin fuck out each other for sport. Good shit. Iestyn chucked Coffey about the outside a bit before telling Bird and Bor to fire Jackie up again for Mrs Patterson’s Revenge. One of the best double team moves out there TWICE. Its done. It’s over. The dream is dead. What was once 4-42, is now a bunch of 1’s wandering aimlessly. Referee Sean McLaughlin was tending to Mark Coffey when the pin needed counted though and down came head of ring crew and apprentice ref Stephen Hughes to count the pin. He got to two, before turning to three angry Welsh guys and giving them the fingers. Making them regret bullying him on a Fight Club show months ago. His moment of glory was powerbombed into oblivion moments later but he was just the precursor before The Cavalry arrived.

Any good cavalry needs a good leader. A noble man to lead the troops into battle. Who better than eh……Simon Cassidy? Why the fuck no eh. As The Maruaders set Jackie and Mark up in some kind of steel chair laden death device, Simon Cassidy saw that the end was near and even if he wasn’t going to be the man to stop them, he was going to distract them long enough for someone else to stop them. So many of their pals being in danger must have awoke DCT and Adam Shame from their post victory slumber, as they rushed the ring to take Bird and Board out the equation. Leaving big Iestyn to catch a beauty of a top rope back elbow from none other than Kenny Williams. The final piece of the pal puzzle. His intervention led to the boaysies getting to their feet and hitting The Old Man Of Hoy on Iestyn for the win. It pays to be pals.  

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The dream stays alive. Must admit, when they lost to the Kings Of Catch in Edinburgh and seemed further apart than ever I genuinely thought it was all over. They were that convincing that night, but it was never going to be the end. Polo Promotions are a main event tag team and if they call ICW home and ICW run places that can hold 11,000+, their mission isn’t complete until they’re top of the bill on shows like that. Until they’re selling oot fuckin Hampden for Insane-a-mania, there’s still work to be done. There’s titles to be won back for a start and they earned one more shot with this win. The fact that this win was so significant WITHOUT it even being for the belts shows ye how well its been done. Stick yer Solo Promotions up yer hole. 

Joe Coffey vs Jack Jester (Steel Cage Match For The ICW Title)

If someone told you a year ago at the very same show Joe Coffey saw his first ICW Title reign ended after about 5 minutes, that he’d be the champion again, this time aligned with the man who was partly responsible for that first reign being so short, you’d have told that person that their oddly specific premonition was a lot of fuckin baws. Yet there he is. Baddest mamma jamma on the planet right now. The iron bad yin. Up against a guy who stood shoulder to shoulder with Red Lightning in his auld axis of evil a year earlier, Jack Jester. Yet somehow this works better. It makes sense really. Everyone wanted Joe to overcome the odds and become the guy. Everyone wanted to see him batter Red Lightning and anyone else who stood in his way, and they were invested in his journey because of all the of the obstacles placed in front of him. A year earlier he learned even when you DO overcome it all and make it to the top, it’s still not enough. The odds will never be in your favour, so when he won it again, there was nae sense in nobility. Nae sense for standing up for doing it the right way, so why bother. Just go out and batter folk and don’t leave winning up the chance. Stack the odds in your favour. Stay on top. Make a lot of money. Buy an Island.

It was a cracker of a match. Maybe my favourite ever Jack Jester match. I enjoyed the fact that the cage wisnae just a climbing frame surrounding a normal wrestling match, it was consistently used as a maiming device by both. Taking shots each to chuck each other off the sides of it early on. Joe responded to a “Yer just a shite Mark Coffey” chant by making a face that looked like someone had just skooshed essence of dug shite up his nostril. Joe hit the Fall From Nebula off somewhere near the top of the cage before Jester went climbing himself hitting a peach of a Cactus Elbow Drop off the topshugsJoeee. Jester loves a non conventional elbow drop but rarely does he get as high as that. He set Joe up for it by knocking him off the cage with that massive studded dildo he uses that he pulled from…fuckin…fuck knows mate. I’ve watched it back about 15 time and I still cannae see. As far as I can tell he’s got some kinda kinky Midas touch on the go, and instead of things he touches turning into gold, they turn into big spleen splitting dildos.

Jester saw a chance to escape after that, only for Red Lightning to hop off commentary to slam the cage door in Jester’s face. Anytime he chucks William Grange off commentary ye know fine well he’s laying in wait. Overseeing the action until intervention might be necessary. Grange got to tag back in after that, cutting short the game of pontoon he was playing with Simon Cassidy at ringside while Joe unleashed aw sort of jabs on Jester. Jester had a cut above his eye right, causing it to swell, and Joe punched him repeatedly on and around that cut. Causing it to swell more. No saying that’s a familiar scene or anything, but aye….Joe then used the chain he had wrapped round his fist as he unleashed punch after punch to tie Jester to the cage by the neck, leaving him seemingly free and clear to stoat out. Jester managed to get free and they had some kind of mad steel chair/dildo duel before Jester levelled Joe with some brutal chair shots leaving his path clear to climb out as his leisure. Or so we thought.

Bram took a break from trying to start World War 3 before Trump does to stop Jester climbing out. Grabbing him by the feet and tossing him back in the cage. They battled it out a bit more, exchanging finishers and even exchanging each other’s finishers beofre Jester tried to climb out again. If only Jester just fell doon. He could have easily become champion if he just jumped and broke his legs in the process. A new shiny belt and wee trip to A and E but it wasn’t to be. Bram, who somehow still had some energy left after a hard day of defacing monuments and pishing on our troops, managed to hold Jester in place, getting his legs tied in the cage long enough for Joe to jump out. The New Axis Of Evil wins. Long live the baddies. 

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A properly gripping main event at the end of two hugely draining nights of wrestling. Joe Coffey and Jack Jester always seem to have great matches but this one was their best to date and like I said at the start, probably my favourite Jack Jester match ever. On a night filled with the good guys getting the better of the baddies, it had to end with the three most evil men in the wrestling stratosphere hopping out victorious. Later that night, Bram would go on to commit his most evil deed of all by taking to social media to post Game Of Thrones spoilers directly to everyone who hadn’t seen it yet. Even though he disnae watch it because “dragons are for pencil necked geeks”. 

Big thank you to David J.Wilson for the photos as per usual. 

 

Review: Target Wrestling LIVE In Carlisle – Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain

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When I rocked up to the Carlisle City Centre around 4 hours before this show was due to kick off, admittedly I had no idea what to expect. Carlisle isn’t a familiar haunt despite its relatively close proximity to Glasgow and I half expected it to be a bit deid. Deid it most certainly is not. I dunno if their was some kinda hen night convention on the go or folk think Carlisle is lawless cause its on the border and they can tan as much gear as they like, but I must have walked past at least 5 or 6 different hen parties happening at the same time. It generally seemed to be rammed with folk having a smashin time and it was a scorcher of a day. The perfect setting for the single greatest tag team match of all time eh? Or at least it felt that way. Even if Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain ended up NOT living up to its considerable hype, the build it had been given and the fact that it took pride of place at the top of the card for the night made it feel massive. Polo Promotions run Carlisle to the extent that even famous mustachioed men wrestling under WWE’s banner are still the baddies when it comes to facing Polo Promotions on their turf, and that led to a unique atmosphere in a crowd that were truthfully fucking excellent all night. Adults and children all absolutely lost in what was taking place. I might have personally made the trip for Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain, but overall you got the feeling that Target have something special on the go in terms of how invested their fanbase are. Perhaps not quite as special as Johnny Moss haphazardly chuckin folk over his head repeatedly but still pretty special.

Johnny Moss vs Ryan Hunter vs Havok

Less wrestling match, more “these two wee guys owe Johnny Moss money and he’s gonnae collect that debt in the currency of suplexes” here. Enjoyable because Johnny Moss is forever the undisputed ‘Da of British Wrestling a seeing him suplex folk a lot is about as much fun as you can have without ending up in the jail. He also spent a solid minute of the match going corner to corner chopping the life out of both guys. Seeming to particularly enjoy the chops on Havok who has a coupon ye widnae get sick slapping. He also chucked BOTH men over his head at the one time as Hunter set Havok up for a fallaway slam only for Moss to chuck them both into next week with a German. Mossy then sealed the win by catching Havok coming off the top rope and tombstoning his wee skull to bits. This was my first ever Target match and I was instantly very happy that this guy was getting tombstoned till all that remained was skull fragments and tears, so if strangers wishing harm on him is what he’s shooting for in this wrestling gig, he’s absolutely nailing it. A short but utterly devastating display from Mossy. More Mossy in ICW/everywhere please.

Khifie West vs Medallion

Medallion is a big guy in a mask who comes out with a medallion. Sometimes gimmicks are just…there. Ronseal’d oot their nuts. Doing exactly what they say on the tin. Medallion was unhappy with folk chanting “fake medallion” at him, and rightly so. Even if it was made out of aluminium filled wae dug shite, it’s still a medallion. Medallion challenged GPWA alumni Khifie West to a pose off since Khifie had recently been crowned Scottish Junior Bobybuilding Champion and Medallion had the ladies eating out the palm of his medallion when he pulled the straps doon and busted out that rad dad bod. Khifie went to do his own pose and was CALLOUSLY ATTACKED FROM BEHIND in a move no one saw coming. Vicious.

Fair fuck’s to Target for giving West a shot. The raw ingredients are there and they seem to be investing in him early before he’s the finished article. He won the match with a situout firemans carry slam after Medallion had burst aw his ribs shortly before with a senton from the middle rope. I’ve been reliably informed the fake medallion patter is actually because there’s sometimes a fake one so there ye go. The more you know and all that.

Joe Coffey, Joseph Conners and Magnus vs The Tyne Wolves and Flip Gordon

Fuck off. How dare ye. Years of going to shows, beating the chest, repping the iron man proudly. Lariats, boston crabs, mad missile dropkicks. All met with a big whooping “YASSSS” and this is how I’m repaid. One of my favourite wrestlers committing an act of sheer heinousness. Joe Coffey supports Celtic, I know this to be a fact and yer man came out to Simply The Best by Tina Turner. The anthem of the true blues. Anything Rangers related has this as its soundtrack and to see a tim stoat out to it was jarring. An act of self loathing only a true villain would be capable of. After beheading all the children in attendance in an act slightly less evil than his entrance, Joe Coffey took to the mic to inform us who he and Joseph Conners mystery partner would be. None other than former TNA Champion, mad Magnus. A guy who I hadn’t seen since he looked heavy bored at that 5 Star Wrestling carry on that was on the tele before the whole thing fell apart. He looked less bored here, probably because he was about to see a man’s trousers vanish in front of his very eyes.

At this point I will fully admit I had never heard of Flip Gordon and his magical vanishing pants so fuck knows why you’re even still reading this. I clearly do not have my finger on the pulse because this guy is fucking tremendous, and his trousers fully vanished mate. He done a pre match flip and the three quarter lengths he had on over his skants just weren’t there anymore. If any male strippers in the audience didn’t instantly steal that move they are bad at their jobs. As good as the main event was, Flip Gordon literally flipping out of his trousers ran it close for entertainment value. Then wrestling happened.

Joe Coffey was a big bad baddie throughout and he seemed to be having a rerr time with it. Stopping Flip hitting a big dive with a shoulder tackle, fulfilling his promise to allow “none of that flippy dippy crap” to occur in this match. A chant of “He’s a wrestler, a mighty wrestler, his name is MARK Coffey” started which followed Magnus having “You’re shit, but you’re burd is fit” chanted at him. Matches don’t tend to be rated on horrendously villainous entrances, vanishing trousers or chants, but if they were, this had match of the year written all over it. After a spell of dominance from the baddies, peppered by Conners regularly shouting at unruly fans to shut it, the goodies had their resurgence and Flip eventually did hit his dive, using the middle rope first, before gently easing on to the top and landing on all three of the opponents. Where’d yer troosers go but mate? Troosers don’t just vanish. They must have went somewhere.

Magnus went up top only for Flip to come out of nowhere to propel himself to the top rope, somehow maintaining enough balance to hit a superkick, followed by a 450 splash after The Tyne Wolves had set Conners up, but his acrobatics were to be in vain after Conners snuck the win for his squad with a sneaky wee rollup.

‘Turbo’ Josh Terry vs Shady Nattrass – High Octane Title Match

Two guy’s I’d heard good things about but until this night had never seen wrestle. The card was originally supposed to be Terry defending in a triple threat but Liam Thomson’s injury meant it was re-jigged and nae disrespect to the triple threat, or my favourite wrestler in the world right now Liam Thomson but I’m glad it turned out to be this instead because it was a terrific display of how talented they both are.

Terry is one of Johnny Moss’s graduates and it shines through. In amongst all the impressive athleticism he is so technically sound. Learning wrestling from Johnny Moss must be akin to being taught painting by Da Vinci, or being taught interior design by Laurence Llewelyn Bowen. Yer watching a master at work. Allowing your own work to be moulded by a true maestro. Terry hit a sexy backflip off the stage after him and Nattrass going back and forth for it a bit. As much as Terry looked shit hot throughout, a lot of him looking like the next big thing was accentuated by Nattrass making it so. He had a wee spell of dominance ended after seeing a move reversed into a Satellite DDT from Terry, but Shady gained the upper hand again after shoving the ref into the ropes when Terry went on top, causing severe baw trauma on the top turnbuckle and giving Shady the chance to catch him up top and hit a mad flippy top rope suplex situation. Impressive.

Perhaps even more impressive was Shady Nattrass ability to somehow block out men, women and children coming together to chant “shitty mattress” at him pretty much for the whole 15 minutes this match lasted. It must be slightly off-putting to be a human man compared to a mattress caked in shite but he shook it off and proceeded to chuck Terry into some barriers and such. Terry looked a bit out on his feet and then about 30 seconds later proceeded to hit a Canadian Destoryer on the apron (hardest part of the ring btw, there’s a scoop for ye) and undoubtedly killed Nattrass. Shame the first time seeing him was going to be my last cause he was at the very least rendered braindead by that move. They both narrowly avoided being counted out before a Nattrass cutter got him within bawhairs of regaining the title. Terry regrouped and hit a backwards hurricanrana followed by a lovely shooting star press for the win.

Hugely enjoyable and both guys made a fan out of me over the course of the match. Riddled with chemistry so they are. Would gladly watch them do a wrestle again. Josh Terry is so good it actually makes ye forget his name is one latter away from being John Terry, at least till ye mention it at the very end of the paragraph.

Karnage vs Rampage Brown – Target Heavyweight Title Match

From the remarkably flippy Flip Gordon and jumpin Josh Terry to perhaps the least flippy wrestling match you’ll see all year. Maybe since time began. That’s exactly why Rampage Brown is and forever will be one of my favourite wrestlers. One of the guys on the list of guy’s I’ve never seen have a bad match. Know why that is? He fuckin kills cunts mate. No matter who the opponent is or how competent they might be, Rampage Brown will make the match good because he is a human battering ram who’s been known to break folk’s necks just by firing an icy stare at them.

I gathered early on yer man Karnage is a bit of a hometown favourite, because folk actually had the audacity to boo Rampage Brown when he came out and big Karnage got the pre match streamer treatment. The match was a decent scrap. Your heart went out to Karnage as Rampage chucked him about like an empty shellsuit in the early stages. Even spitting on the streamers chucked in his honour. It wasn’t like watching any auld wrestler get brutalized by Rampage, it was like watching him chuck yer Da about his local while all his pals cheer him on, with absolutely no intentions on jumping in on his behalf because Rampage Brown is a scary big bastard.

Never underestimate the power of Dad’s though. Karnage exploded in a fit of Da fury after an excellent forearm exchange between the two, and gained the upper hand for the first time with a big fucker of a boot to the chops. They made their way on to the stage which is kinda just higher than the apron of the ring, allowing for Karnage to chuck Rampage from the stage into the ring, before hitting a top rope elbow and a two-handed sitout chokeslam for the win. Da’s everywhere rejoice. The king of your Carlisle wing retained his belt.

Afterwards someone called The Coyote Kid leathered Karange with a chair. Seemingly furthering a storyline I admittedly knew ride all about. That was the only time in the night I didn’t feel “in” on what was happening which is pretty decent considering it was my first show. Another big reason I enjoyed the whole show.

Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain – Target Tag Title Match

Moustache Mountain entered almost with a hint of trepidation. Like Barcelona when they rock up to an away ground in the Champions League. They know the audience knows how good they are, but they also know the audience do not give a fuck. For 90 minutes anyway. How good you are and how famous yer squadron is does not matter a fuck. Polo Promotions in Carlisle are the home team. The 4 guys queuing up at 4pm (they might have been there longer thats just when I walked past) in full Polo Promotions regalia indicates they run this toon. The almost palpable tension when Moustache Mountain entered indicates Polo Promotions run this toon. The deafening noise that happened with the first notes of Jackie by Scott Walker hit and the troops emerged suggests that Polo Promotions run this toon. This is purple and pink country and the duo who’ve been beating the drum and telling anyone with two ears that they ARE a main event tag team finally had their wish. Here they were. Top of the card. In there with the big famous WWE superstars and standing toe to toe with them. For 20+ minutes they had each and every person in attendance eating out of the palm of their hand which is what a main event should be. Undivided attention. Everyone from every age group engrossed.

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The first 10 minutes of this was just a wall of noise. Trent and Tyler had a wee waltz to the Polos theme as they came out but when they eventually hit the ring it was back and forth chanting for days. Polo Promotions fans were louder but that was the first point in the night you really hard from the away end. Turning out to see their heroes aff the WWE Network. The two teams stood side by side and just drank in the noise for a solid two minutes. Feeling every single second of it before chucking a chinlock in anger. Sometimes wrestling is special. Sometimes it all just comes together and feels fuckin incredible and this was one of those matches that it was privilege to be in attendance for.

Even after the duelling chants, it still took another 2-3 minutes for wrestling to start. Jackie Polo soaking in chants of his own, energised by them. One of my favourite things in wrestling is watching matches the wrestlers themselves seem absolutely buzzing out their tits to be involved in and this was one of those. Polo’s were well on top early, in amongst unwavering support. Completing a couple of home runs after hanging both opponents up in the corner. If you ever needed anything to articulate how good Polo Promotions are, it’s the scoop slam and namely, the way a crowd reacts when the opponents have the absolute cheek to attempt one. Trent and Tyler were near booed oot the building when they went on a scoop rampage much to Jackie Polo’s rage. Even scooping each other on to a stricken Mark Coffey before Polo caught a red hot tag and unleashed a few spine shattering scooplexes of his own.

Its fine viewing seeing Jackie Polo in full flow so it is. Moustache Mountain chucked everything they had at him here but he was chucking it all back with interest. Is there a better Northern Lights suplex in British Wrestling than Polo’s btw? If there is it must be a fuckin sight to behold because he always nails it. He stopped Moustache Mountain’s attempt to double suplex him by suplexing BOTH of them at the same time , leading to Mark Coffey coming back in via another suntan of a tag. Cannae think of a tag they made throughout the course of this that wasn’t absolutely roastin. Fans champing at the bit to see Coffey unleash a leathering, and that he did. Charging at Trent repeatedly before grounding him with a suplex. Tyler Bate then displayed exactly why he was one half of the best WWE match this year. Unleashing vicious forearms on both Polo’s before rounding it off with catching them on their collective jaw with a suicide dive. Trent came very close to sending the away team hame with the gold thanks to a rainmaker clothesline for a two count.

Both teams saw attempts at their double team finishers blocked which brought the atmosphere to the boil once more. duelling chants started up again as they stood opposite wach other in the ring before an exchange of straight up ounches to the face led to Moustache Mountain coming as close as it gets thanks to a piledriver from trent and a standing Shooting Star Press from Tyler but Coffey broke up the pin. A second attempt at The Old Man Of Hoy by the Polo’s was reversed and almost seen Tyler sneak the belts for his team, but the third attempt hit the mark and Polo Promotions retained amid chaotic scenes. 

The reaction to that three count was one of the most impassioned fan responses to a match I’ve seen in a long time. People were throwing their children in the air in excitement while the children were throwing smaller children and in some cases, wee dugs. The boys left through the crowd, shaking hands with their people and ensuring they’d enjoyed the show. We most certainly did troops and I will most certainly be making the trip again. Even if the show was pish, going to see Polo Promotions in that atmosphere again would be worth it, but the show was fun and Target clearly have a really good thing on the go there. Investment in their home-grown guys from the audience while using some of the best talent the UK has to offer to its greatest potential. A company to be keeping a wee beady eye on for sure.

 

An Interview With Mark Coffey

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“I just don’t agree with people who try and separate themselves from the locker room. Its almost in an attempt to make yourself seem more important. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. We all share the one locker room. We’re all one”

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A lot of making an impression on people is in how you carry yourself. On many occasions in wrestling someone with a bit of swagger can catch the eye of fans long before a more polished in-ring talent without that swagger would be able to. Mark Coffey has managed to seamlessly mesh the two things together from the first time I seen him wrestle and with only 7 years graft under his belt he seems to have naturally become one of the leaders of the locker room. A firm believer in unity amongst his peers, he marries that desire for unity with a desire to forearm folk’s teeth clean out their heid. That’s what makes him unique, and someone I’ve been absolutely gantin’ to interview for a long time. His belief in ‘the boys’ and fondness for the bond a growing band of the locker room seem to have shines through with every sentence and that all for one, one for all mentality can only be a good thing as British Wrestling powers forward.

Polo Promotions

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As I sauntered towards The Venue in Carlisle for the hotly anticipated Target Wrestling show taking place that night, at 4pm in the day the last thing I expected to see was fans already queuing up.  Yet as I approached I seen 4 or 5 guys huddled round the entrance; Happily chatting away. Most, if not all of them had one thing in common other than being clinically insane to voluntarily be in a queue rather than a pub a 3 full hours before a show. The other thing they had in common was being Polo Promotions to the core. Donning the club colours proudly, feverish at the prospect of the duo who run Carlisle taking their main even tag team vision and turning it into a reality. Polo Promotions are incredibly popular with the fans of Target Wrestling and enjoy an electric rapport with its fan-base, which brought about a momentous occasion on June 17th 2017. Polo Promotions vs Moustache Mountain. Two of the finest teams in the country. Two of the finest teams on the continent. And the two teams who made the concept of having a tag team match as your standalone main event a reality, but make no mistake about it, if it wasn’t for Mark and Jackie Polo pushing for this for a long time, it may never have been a reality.

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“This (Target) is just great because up until the match with Moustache Mountain the crowd have been 100% in our favour. Tonight its going to be more of a 50/50 because of how popular Moustache Mountain and British Strong Style are, but up until tonight we’ve had most of the crowd with us. This is like a testing ground for everything we do. Because we get on so well with Ryan (Devlin) the promoter, John who does a lot of the booking as well, and the fans. They trust us enough that when we go “can we try this?” when we want to do new things, they trust us to do it.”

That trust and the right team to make the match as huge as possible popping up was the perfect mixture of circumstances to make the whole thing come about. With Carlisle bathed in beautiful sunshine and their opponents bathed in beautiful facial hair, it was the right amount of beautiful shit to bring about a beautiful main event. “We’ve been pushing for ages saying we’re a main event tag team. We can put on a main event calibre show. Tonight is a culmination of all that. Of us telling Ryan we can main event and him agreeing that we need to go that way. Getting the right opponents so its a big enough tag team match for a British Wrestling company to go with as their main event. The way you look at shows now, particularly in independent wrestling, guys have a lot more freedom. You notice it a lot on shows now that when it gets to the main event, the crowd struggle. Because they’ve seen everything they could have possibly wanted to see. Sometimes 3 or 4 times over. If you put a tag team match out last, you couldn’t possibly have seen it before. They might have seen a tag match somewhere on the card, but not a main event tag match”

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For what felt like hours, they chanted. They sang. They made every manner of noise they possibly could for tag team wrestling in the main event. When Moustache Mountain entered you could hear a pin drop. The away team. Respected, maybe even feared a bit, but not supported. Not yet anyway. Their fans would get more vocal as this whole saga played out but in that moment they almost seemed scared. Like an away fan at a European game nestled in the home end. Fearing the repercussions of even giving the natives a sniff of the possibility that you might not be one of them. Moustache Mountain will no doubt go up and down the UK this year but I sincerely doubt they’ll face an atmosphere like this again anywhere they go. Rabid loyalty to a pair who might not be born and bred in the city, but a pair who have grown to be two of Carlisle’s favourite sons, as Mark recalled upon proudly.

“A lot of our matches have a derby day feel but this sort of has a Champions League feel. The thing I’m most pleased and excited about is going on in the main event. That’s something we’ve really pushed for. We also pushed for a Tag Division in ICW and I think as a duo we’ve done as much as we can to achieve that, so lets start pushing tag wrestling. Having this match in the main event slot is a win in our column. So we’re gonna keep pushing that way. This is the first step. This is like an achievement unlocked kinda thing. That’s the best thing about it and why we really appreciate it down here. Not only are the fans phenomenal for us and they have been from day one, but Ryan, John etc have been great with us and to get that wee nod from them in having us in the main event tonight is special”

The match was indeed special and became another in a long list of outstanding bouts the team have been involved in this year. Many of those coming in ICW, the company where the team rose to prominence as a duo after singles success and a company where the duo have always been polarising figures. In stark contrast to the almost universal acclaim they get in Carlisle, even when they were devilish big bad baddies, they still had a vocal band of followers, and since transitioning to become fan favourites, its only served to split the audience more. Its an environment that Mark seems to have a huge amount of fondness for. “I love it. We’re lucky enough that most matches we do have a. I don’t want to say ‘big match feel’ because it sounds a bit up your own arse, but it has that sort of derby day feel. Everyone’s up for it. You look at the match with The Kings Of Catch. The crowd were going back and forth for the whole thing. I think that plays into our favour because we’re used to it, whereas our opponents might not be. I said that recently about me and Trent in the singles. He’s not used to that atmosphere either. He’s used to everyone singing for him, and having the Trent Seven army. He’s not used to half the crowd staying faithful to his opponent. So it always kinda plays into our favour. I always say it would be nice if everyone did cheer for us, Jackie doesn’t care either way but I think aw yeah it would be nice, but we’ve experienced it so many times. That’s our atmosphere now, that’s what we bring to a show. The last three times we’ve been down here at Target, the match hasn’t been able to start for 10 minutes. We get in the ring and there’s 10 minutes of absolute chaos before the match starts”

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That chaos and the seemingly never-ending duel between the “Polo Promotions” half of the crowd and the “get tae fuck” team of dafties (sorry journalistic integrity n that, need tae stay impartial, you’re all entitled to your opinion’s, its just a shame those opinions are  very wrong) was never more apparent when the duo took on international superstars and IWGP Tag Champions War Machine at Barramania. “It was a wee check against our name to go in there and have a good match with the IWGP Champs at that time. I think we proved a decent point to the crowd but i think we proved an even bigger point to War Machine themselves, both in the ring and backstage. A lot of guys are afraid when bigger teams come in, but they were coming in to our company. The thing seems to be they (imports) come in, call the shots, and if you disagree you’re wrong. Fuck that. We built this house. I’d like to go again with them. The only fear id have is that with the first match being so good the expectation is there for the second one.”

The team came up ever so slightly short against War Machine, but they managed to topple one of the finest teams in wrestling history at ICW’s Hydro debut. Retaining the ICW Tag Titles against Team 3D aka the legendary Dudley Boyz.  “The match with Team 3D was a great indicator for us. No team has the accolades that team 3D do, they’ve held every major tag title there is. A strong argument could be made for them being the greatest team in pro wrestling/sports entertainment history. So it was a good test to see where we stood on a stage with one of the greats”

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Whilst the outstanding contest with the former ROH and IWGP Tag Champs, and the victory over the most decorated tag team in wrestling history solidified Mark and Jackie as a force to be reckoned with on a wider scale, its the work in building ICW’s tag division that seems to be a personal source of pride, tempered with frustration at times “We worked a bit with The Purge recently and the first match we had was great. Worked with them the next night and it wasn’t good. Then we worked with them 2 or 3 more times and you could see them getting better and better andmcoffey6 its frustrating because you could see the difference in them from the first match to the last and there’s no solid plans to use them going forward. If you’re going to pull the trigger, go the full way. Don’t half pull it. But I feel positive about the tag division right now.”

Bird and Boar may sit on top of the tree right now and have been superb performers since debuting as part of the tag team tournament that took place when Polo Promotions vacated their titles, but the tag division they currently rule wouldn’t exist if not for Mark and Jackie’s record setting reigns with the titles. A fact Mark is rightly proud of

“When we started tagging in ICW, we realised there wasn’t much of a tag division at that time and we wanted to rebuild it. Teams nowadays are a means to an end to a lot of guys. They do it so they can split up eventually. To get on the card, get experience and move further up the card. We just wanted to be a proper team who moved up the card together. Looking at it now, specifically when we came back from the match with the Hunters, I felt very good. Thinking about what we’ve done overall in 2, 3 years worth of pushing. Saying we need a division and recommending teams. Now I think we have a strong division. There’s us, Bird and Boar, The Hunters, Kirby and Hayes had a match on the tour and are coming back. Kings of Catch (who the Polos face at ICW in Edinburgh this Sunday) even The Buckys popped up again. The Purge. Its great and its moving forward. We’re almost where we need to be as a tag division and then when you throw guys like War Machine in. Its a nice bonus. The get to fuck side of the crowd were a bit like “why is it Polo Promotions in with War Machine but i think that was strongly outweighed by by the pro Polo Promotions side”

The quality of the match itself was proof enough that Polo Promotions deserved that match. Stealing the show, and continuing to add weight to their desire to make tag team wrestling a main event fixture. “I think tag wrestling is on the up and is seen as something that’s cool again. People want to team up. Guys like Gallows and Anderson, The Revival and even The Young Bucks are making it more appealing. I don’t understand why you wouldn’ t want to do it to be honest. I’m big on team sports and very much see wrestling as a team game. When you lose you lose, when you win you win, but if you do stuff in groups its definitely more rewarding. I feel weird now having singles matches”

Fuck Yer Coffey, We Want Tea. Then Mark Coffey won the Zero-G

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“If you think about it from when I won until when I lose it you can look at it like a book. There was a beginning, a middle and an end, and its closed now. A lot of people just think about what they’re doing immediately, they don’t think about after that. Being able to look at the whole thing and move on, its something I’ve got a lot of pride in”                                                                                   – Mark Coffey on his Zero-G Title run

A popular, not to mention hugely inventive (naht) chant in my early days attending ICW shows was “Fuck yer Coffey we want tea” aimed at both Coffeys, but when Mark Coffey took the Zero-G Title with a clean win over then ICW Champion Mikey Whiplash, that all seemed to die down. Even those who didn’t naturally gravitate to Mark and his brother Joe had no choice but to recognise their talent in the ring. His run as Zero-G champ might have had a wee Balor shaped mishap in the middle when Fergal Devitt showed up at Still Smokin unannounced to end Mark’s first reign. That blip serving as the middle part to a story Mark looks back on with a great amount of pride.

“My thinking at the time wasn’t that this is the midcard belt. My thinking was that this is the championship, and the main title was the hardcore championship. ICW being what it is, with the rules being at the refs discretion and Jestemcoffey8r being who he is and doing what he does. All of his matches were going to be violent, so again, my thinking was I’ll main event with my title. *laughs* It was never gonna happen…well apart from me and Kenny main eventing Spacebaws that time. That whole run, from winning it to eventually losing it is something I have a lot of Pride in. As one whole piece. A lot of people struggle to look at the bigger picture and just take wrestling as it comes, but if you think about it from when I won until when I lose it you can look at it like a book. There was a beginning, a middle and an end, and its closed now. A lot of people just think about what they’re doing immediately, they don’t think about after that. Being able to look at the whole thing and move on, its something I’ve got a lot of pride in”

Having toppled the ICW Champion at that time with a clean win, Mark carried the moniker of being the “Real ICW Champion” for a while. A tag that was only shed when the champion who eventually did usurp Whiplash, Jack Jester, beat Mark in a match for the title. That match, and a shot at the title Mark recently had against then champion Trent Seven served as a reminder that while singles wrestling might not be high on Polo Promotions agenda at the moment, there’s an audience ready and willing to chuck their support at both parties if the unthinkable does happen at Shugs House Party 4, where they face The Maruaders in a match that will see them forced to split if they lose. “The first title shot I got against Jester when I held the Zero-G, I thought I got quite a bit of support. That surprised me. I didn’t think there was any support for me in that one. The one with Trent I realised ‘oh shit, there is a lot of support for this’ and not only that, there was a lot of support from the locker room. That’s kinda what me and Jackie have become. Not locker room leaders, but just…the boys. I think I’ve got it on Twitter somewhere, that the best part about wrestling is being one of the boys. Its not that I don’t like these people, but I just don’t agree with people who try and separate themselves from the locker room. Almost in an attempt to make yourself seem more important. At the end of the day, we’re all in this together. We all share the one locker room. We’re all one. We try and bring that atmosphere and there’s a big group of us now that are all pals. Everyone is getting that feeling now. The feeling of, this is what it’s about. It’s about the boys. That’s the way it should be”

Indeed it was the backing from his peers that humbled Mark the most before his title match with Trent. Most other opponents on a routine Garage show would have put up a good fight without much hope that they might actually take the title, but there was an outpouring of support for Mark that heralded a real belief that “The Power Forward” might actually go ahead and fucking do it.

“The support from a lot of the locker room meant a lot, it was surprising to get a lot of support from the audience because all I’ve ever been was the midcard champ or tag team guy, so to get a sniff of it and for folk to go “aye, this should happen” and for them to really get behind it, it meant a lot. It would have been nice to win it and would have been a massive upset. I think its something that would really have boosted The Garage as a venue. You see a lot of ‘big game hunters’ and ‘celebs’ coming out when the big shows come around and it does my nut in. They appear on Hydro day or Barras day and hit out with a tweet about how much of a big fan they are. No you aren’t. Fuck off. Where are you when we’re doing The QMU? That’s why I like smaller shows. Don’t get me wrong, I like every show, but I enjoy more intimate venues like The Garage and the QMU. I think for a while there, now that everyone has an on demand streaming service, so they’re all concerned about interviews, cameras, lighting and all this shit. Fuck that. They’ll watch it no matter what. Give everything you have to the people that are in the building at that time. The people who have showed up that night and paid more for that single ticket than they would for a month (or even 3 months) of the on demand service. Give them more that night than what goes into putting an on demand show together”

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The “we’re all pals” movement that has seen the formation of almost a brotherhood is something almost unprecedented. Forgoing the in-fighting that tears locker rooms apart, replacing it with days out on the swally watching Scotland snatch a draw from the jaws of a glorious victory against England. “It just kinda happened. We realised none of us had a show and we all went out to watch the Scotland game at Oran Mor. I see guys in wrestling a lot more than guys I grew up with. Mates who you try and make plans with. So thats kinda cool. A lot of the boys are standing up for the boys now. You cant pay people next to nothing anymore. Me and Jackie have set our stall out, and you might notice we dont work at a lot of places other people do because they’ve not agreed to pay us what we’re asking for”

He Aint Heavy….He’s My Brotherrr

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While Mark’s tag team legacy will be largely attributed to achievements as part of Polo Promotions, he first broke on the the scene as part of a tag team with current ICW Champion and his brother Joe Coffey. The team seemed to naturally go in their own directions, and last year they had their first high profile foray into feuding against one and other. Having matches in SWA and PWE, with one in particular tinged with regret for Mark.

“(Working with Joe) Its a challenge. A lot of people just see me and Joe as brothers and assume they must like the same things. They must do the same things. But we dont. We are so far opposites, and wrestling is where its become so apparent that we are thinking totally different ways. We are chalk and cheese when it comes to wrestling in terms of what we like, what we do and what we try to do. So its a challenge. You’re in the ring with someone thinking the totally opposite way. When me and Joe tagged together it was the same thing and it worked against us at times. I felt anyway. We had some good, some bad. But he would bob, I would weave and vice versa. Whereas with me and Jackie, again we are total opposites in terms of personality wise, but in that case opposites attract. He’s so extrovert and I’m so introvert, that he’s sort of pulled me out my shell, and at the same time I’ve sort of tamed him a wee bit.”

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“Working against Joe….it was what it was. I’d have liked it to have been better. I’d have liked it to have been in a different place than SWA if I’m honest. One day in ICW I think it will happen. It has to. When the time is right. I think the idea did get floated in early 2013 and I said no, and they said “why not?” and I said “well….why?” and they were like “brother vs brother” and I said no because it would just be about that. I think Joe was kind of up for it, but I said no him when we do it, its going to be the main event.”

Perhaps with a certain shiny belt Joe currently carries on the line at some point? One can only imagine the atmosphere if Joe in his current villainous form defended the gold against his brother. Hopefully without illness or injury getting in the way as it did when Joe challenged for Mark’s SWA Title last year.

“I was disappointed in the match that ended it. Its nothing to do with the company, or the match stipulation or anything. Its nothing to do with any of that. I was just unwell. Thats my lasting memory of it. It was the week after Barramania last year, and I woke up the morning after Barramania violently ill. Coughing up blood and stuff. Me and my mate watched Wrestlemania that nigmcoffey3ht and it obviously got worse without sleeping so I woke up the next day in an absolute mess. Didn’t leave my bed for 3 or 4 days. I live three floors up and the thought of going down to get food and stuff was a no go. Eventually my mum phoned and asked if I needed anything brought up and I said “Yeah…bring me 4 mcflurrys and 4 milkshakes. That…and Tesco pink doughnuts” and she was asking why and all I could say was “I don’t know, I just need it, bring it” I just needed sugar and cold things. It pisses me off because that day David Wilson was there doing photos and he done the photo that got used in the FSM one to watch article. My bellys hangin out. I’ve got tits, but I’ve got a big left tit and small right tit and I hate it because people still use that photo! Soon as I got in the ring, the cage I think is built for a slightly bigger ring to sit on top of it, but with that ring it cant so it sits on the floor. So you have to go up under the ropes to get in the cage, and even just doing that, Thomas (the ref) asked if I was awrite, and I said “I’m knackered…I’m blowing up here, I cant breathe” and he was like “fuck sake mate. I felt disappointed in myself and that id let down Joe. It was what it was and I needed to just get through it that was that”

Japan Ground Zero (One)

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Mark kickin the tits clean aff Aaron Echo

Even though they may not have worked out as a tag team and have differing views towards the industry they both work in. Joe and Mark do have a lot of similarities. Aside from their DNA (huvin the same maw n da n that) the pair both got the chance to cut their teeth with a stint in Japan working for Zero One, who were affiliated with the Source Wrestling School the brothers came from. Mark recalls on his stint in the far east and how it shaped him as a performer today. When in doubt, be John Cena. Never give up.

“When I was there I lived with Jack Gallagher and Jon Gresham (now of ROH). He’s another I’d love to see in ICW. Bring him in and stick him in a Zero-G match. They’re missing a trick on that so badly. I’ve been pushing for that for ages. Him vs Kenny would be great. I got to spend a lot of time with him and he’s so smart. He tells you things you’d never have even thought of it. When I went over there, my main thing was to work on finishing a match better. When I think about it, my first couple of training sessions over there. I was the shits. When I went over I thought yeah, I’m cool, and then I quickly realised I don’t know anything. The first few days we were there we didn’t train, and I was dying to see what it was all about and then we finally did and I had no idea what was going on. Shinya Hashimoto’s son Daichi was working for Zero One at the time. We were doing some ring drill, and I didn’t have a clue what he was saying. For some reason he ran off the ropes and dropkicked me right in the knees, and I just fell like a tonne of bricks, and I’m thinking “what the hell’s happening here” . There was a few times I knew in my head what was going on, but realised its just something I’d need to put up with”

Putting it with it would mean taking a power of Germans. Something John Cena also has notable experience in himself. I’m not saying Mark Coffey is Scotland’s answer to John Cena or anything but well, he clearly is. Deal wae it.
“They held me behind in training twice. Once was to get Daichi to practice Germans on me. I took about 25 in a row. Another guy I’ve been trying to get over to the UK, Dylan. Guy from New Zealand, 6 foot 4, jacked to the gills, I can’t not see him in WWE in the future. He’s just built for it. He was really good to me. So he was like “let’s go back and get something to eat and train” and they stopped us and went “No, Coffey stays for ring training” and I seen Dylan looking back, he didn’t say anything but he had a look that said “I’m so sorry mate”. So yeah, I went back, took all these Germans, and my mentality was just keep getting up. Keep getting up. In the end it was him who gave up. They done it again a week later and I took like 30 spears. I ended up being sick but he was hitting me square in the belly. So I went out, was sick and got back in the ring before they said stop. I think that’s one of the big things you need to do over there. Keep getting up. Even if you did want to quit, you couldn’t say you wanted to quit. ”

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Another thing Mark and Joe have in common is their involvement in ITV’s revival of World Of Sport. A full run of shows were announced for May this year but have been “postponed” until further notice. Many believing that it’s dead in the water. Even if it never happens, over a million people were watching The Coffeys in a scudding war with the bold Rampage Brown and Ashton Smith and in the immortal words of DDP, that’s not a bad thing…it’s….A GOOD THING.

“I know a lot of the boys are kinda frustrated. Last year ended on such a positive and such a high note for a lot of people. We were thinking “this is actually a thing now, British Wrestling is becoming something where you can make a living and you don’t need to leave the country”  Then this year we’ve seen it fall quite drastically quite quickly. I think a lot of the boys are thinking “fuck, we were so close” but you’ve just got to keep doing it. We’ve got to accept the fact that this current crop of talent in the UK right now might not make a full-time living out of wrestling, but the next generation might if we keep doing what we’re doing. Because if i look back when I started there was no one. Big Damo taught me and he’s been wrestling 6 years, which is less than I’ve been wrestling now. I don’t feel like I could teach somebody now. There was no one for us to turn to. Apart from guys like Robbie Brookside, and even Drew Mcdonald stayed down South, so these guys weren’t readily available to turn to. In America you’d probably have one veteran in every car going to a show and 3 or 4 more backstage but with us we were more flying by the seat of our pants and teaching ourselves. Now I think if we’re 40 and we’re still doing this here, at least we’ll have accomplished something and young guys coming up will have someone with 20 years experience to turn to. ”

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Despite frustrations about how the World Of Sport endeavour has panned out, it seems to have been the breeding ground for the locker room unity that has grown since and even without the show itself, it still may turn out to be the driving force behind the continuing rise of British Wrestling, and the lessening need or desire for performers to give it up.

“I think people need to justify it less. When I started about a year in I done a show with literally 4 people there. I wrestled Lewis Girvan, he’d been at it maybe a year longer than me and its something I wouldn’t even want to look back at now to laugh at. I think it would genuinely make me sick. Back then you’d be worried sick wondering if anyones going to show up. Now you know at least there will be people there. Its nice to go into certain shows now knowing its sold out. I think guys that are 2 or 3 years in, wrestling guys who have been doing it the same length of time. In a building that has more people in the back than it does out front, you can understand thinking “whats the point?” but now that’s less likely because people who’ve been doing it that length of time can look around at people who have been doing it for a long time and think there’s value to keeping at it”

The World Of Sport(s) Entertainment

Moving too far away from what made the ‘pilot’ of the WoS a success seemed to be the problem for the show. Teaming up with Impact Wrestling and allowing the company to not only impose their will, but a lot of their talent on the roster. I was admittedly a wee bit feart to even ask Mark about it all. Overstepping is always something I try to avoid when doing these interviews, and make no mistake about it, World Of Sport was an opportunity that could have been life changing. A palpable annoyance almost paired with renewed motivation poured out of him as he explained further.

“We were told to hang tight and see what happens. They’re still trying to sort it all out. I just think they got in bed with the wrong burd. They’re a TV mcoffey13company, great at TV, but they didnt have anyone wrestling related in the office. Apart from when they got on board with Jeff Jarrett. When they phoned up to tell me it’s not happening yet, I didn’t lose my shit or anything, because I kinda knew it was coming, but I swore at them, and I’d been very professional to that point but I just thought “fuck it, its not happening, or you’re telling me now it might not happen, I’m just gonna tell you what I think” If you’re asking my opinion and you’ve not asked any of the boys their opinion; I’d say tell Impact Wrestling to fuck off. They’re bringing in guys I’ve never even heard of. What’s wrong with our guys?”

That palpable annoyance over it all gradually turns into a huge amount of pride over the show that did air on ITV on Hogmanay. A continuance of the comradery that burns bright in a locker room more united than ever in the face of adversity. If the show ever does end up happening, it should happen with the talent who were involved in the first place “The best thing about it was the roster that was there was so unselfish. There was a general atmosphere that didn’t say “We’ve got this thing, its ours, lets not let anyone touch it” everyone wanted to just do a good job, and the mentality was “if we do this well, it will be good for everyone” . I think they saw how big wrestling had got in this country and they weren’t prepared for dealing with the inner workings. How you deal with certain talents, etc.”

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“That was another thing we got a lot of support from the roster on and it was nice. You do start to wonder, why have we become these martyrs? Its gonna benefit everyone, and someone needs to do it so fuck it. ”                                                                                                                                                       – Mark Coffey on Polo Promotions departure from ICW in 2016

The postponement came around the same time as 5 star Wrestling cancelling their 170000 man, 45 year long tournament, where the winner is the last one to retire. The combination of the two breeding a lasting annoyance at the pitfalls that come with British Wrestling’s “revival”. Although kind words were reserved for WCPW who also had to cancel shows around that time for different reasons “That, along with this 5 star thing that went down. I was supposed to be on all these Friday dates, and I said to him “can we confirm this now?” and he never got back to me. I actually feel for WCPW because they’ve been tarred with that brush a bit when in reality they didnt book a bunch of shows and go “we aren’t doing these now” they were honest and came out with their reasons for cancelling. I thought that video they put up was great and explained it well. They almost dumbed it down, but in a good way, explaining this is how we get our money, and if we don’t get that money we can’t pay these guys so we can’t run these shows. But with all that happening, and a lot of shows being cancelled recently, in my 7 years of wrestling, id had 3 shows cancel on me until January this year, and since January I’ve had 20. At that stage you start to count the money you’ve lost and go “fuck”. So there’s a unity now. Theres a lot of unity in the ICW locker room, and a feeling of “let’s do this for the boys, lets stick together and make sure this is good for everyone”

The spate of cancellations came not too long after Polo Promotions ended a self-imposed exile at ICW. Sacrificing their own interests and taking a step back from the company for a variety of reasons. Relinquishing their tag titles only to scoop them up again upon their return in a ladder match with the team who ‘won’ the tag titles in their absence ‘The Local Fire’.

“Money wasn’t the issue. It was a load of different things and it was one of those things where a lot of the boys felt the same way so we just took the hit for it. I went in to the office to speak to them and it quickly turned into a shouting match, so I thought ‘fuck this, im not having it anymore’ It was becoming too much of a headache. I avoid wrestling from about 9 o’clock at night before you go to bed, because if you think about it gives you a headache. It was left on Dallas mcoffey12saying I still want to work with you in the future, so it was left open-ended. I’m all about putting the power in the boys hands, and you know, there’s a lot of people backstage now that aren’t wrestlers and there was this feeling that they’re more important than us. I don’t mean that in a bad way, they are important, but at the end of the day if the backstage interviewers, the graphics guys and all that show up but the wrestlers don’t, there’s no show. All these people bought tickets to watch nothing. If it’s the other way about, there’s still a show there. The show goes on. It was a feeling that we’re undervalued. That was another thing we got a lot of support from the roster on and it was nice. You do start to wonder, why have we become these martyrs? Its gonna benefit everyone, and someone needs to do it so fuck it. ”

Every End Has A Start

polos3Despite the setbacks its important to remember just how far the independent scene in wrestling has come, both locally and globally. Mark is no different to many wrestling fans in the sense that wrestling for much of his life was just WWE. Maybe Japan a bit, but mainly WWE. Nowadays WWE are featuring British Wrestlers prominently and cherry picking the ones they think can make a difference for them. A compliment to what’s going on in the Independent wrestling scene here and beyond. “I didn’t know Indy wrestling was a thing until about 2009. I knew there was things other than WWE out there but I never watched it. I’m not gonna claim I was a big fan of this, that and the other. Nah. I’d seen Japanese shows and stuff like that and thought “aye…that’s cool…there’s Prince Albert!” *laughs* I remember picking up a magazine at that time, it must have been FSM or something and seeing Brock Lesnar when he was working for New Japan. This was when he first had that sword tattoo and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing”

His introduction to life outside WWE via Brock Lesnar’s frankly terrifying chest tattoo quickly led to the Source Wrestling School. The very existence of which seemed surreal at the time. “Joe and Jackie found the SWA school and I couldn’t stop laughing about it. Not in a mean way at all, i just couldn’t believe that something like this existed to close to home. Even wanting to be a wrestler. People always say how they watched their heroes, and said how they wanted to do that. I would always watch them and go ‘Thats amazing, I’ll never be able to do that’ the thought of me doing that is outlandish. Then I went to an SWA show with Joe and Jackie one time and thought “Fuck….I can do that!” I think it was more the physique of people who made me think I couldn’t. Because I was always very heavy. I was a very fat child, and I played rugby since I was 5 so I didn’t need to look good. As long as I could go. For the position I played in rugby I was always the fittest. So it didn’t matter that i was carrying a bit of weight as long as I could run fast enough, but getting in to something where you need to take your top off? Seeing some of the guys, the physiques now have improved tenfold as to what they were, but looking back, even me at my worst, I looked at guys back then and realised I was in better shape than them. For my first couple of matches I changed my training, then I seen pictures back of me and I thought aw god, I look terrible. Then I dropped just as much weight as possible, but it does creep back on. I think going to Japan as well, they did say to me you’re mid way between a Junior and a Heavyweight, what do you want to be? and I was like “aw yeah, a heavyweight, naturally” and they said you need to put on 10kg. So I ate everything in sight. I ate everything in sight, but I trained like a loony, came back, I was still eating everything in sight but not training like a loony *laughs* ”

“We Are A Main Event Tag Team”

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“Everywhere we go we get such a spit atmosphere and its weird. I always crack the same joke to Jackie. The moment we’re in the ring at ICW or wherever and you’ve got one half chanting “Polo Promotions” and one chanting “get tae fuck” or whatever, I always turn round and say to him “It’s like being John Cena innit”. Like we’re the John Cena of tag team wrestling” –                                                     – Mark on the mixed reaction Polo Promotions get in ICW

With the prospect of having to split in ICW hanging over Polo Promotions there’s no doubt their desire to become a tag team who regularly main event shows up and down the country will continue even if it’s not in ICW.  There’s a passion in both men when they speak about it, and there seemed to be genuine appreciation for the support they had after their victory over Moustache Mountain at Target. The pair exited through the crowd, shaking hands with fans. In their element as the main event tag team they’ve long desired to be.

“If we had to split now it would be hard. Especially coming off the back of the singles match with Trent and it got such a great response. If we split now I wouldn’t get that same organic reaction. If we were to split now I’d be swimming against the tide to move up the card in singles. So it would be a lot of treading water. In my mind, its logical to put a tag team match on last. It happens in Japanese wrestling a lot as well. If a singles match goes on last you have to be so invested in the story to get into it, but with tag team wrestling there’s more to keep you engaged. More people involved and just more action. Looking at this right now. This venue is perfect (for the match) we’ve got seating, its tiered, and over there is the Jungle (Polos singing section) the all signing all dancing section which is just the faithful. You’ll hear a lot of noise from this section tonight”

He wasn’t wrong. They are Polo Promotions supporters. Faithful through and through. Over and over. They will follow you.

Huge thank you to Mark Coffey for his time. Also big thank you to the amazing work of David J.Wilson, Chelsea Cochrane, and whoever took that photo from the crowd at Target. It captured a wonderful moment so well done to ye. 

Follow Mark on Twitter HERE
Like Polo Promotions on Facebook HERE

 

Wolfgang – Built Fae Girders (Interview Part One)

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As hard it might be to imagine anything other than the imposing, deceptively floaty big unit of a man who we now know as “Wolfgang”, the big bad Wolf was once a young pup. A young pup who spent his youngest days growing up on an estate called “Haghill” in the East End of Glasgow. A place my missus also happens to hail from, and has described as “rough as fuck” in the past. Rough it may be, but it was the place that Barry Young’s love affair with Pro Wrestling had its beginnings. “It started when I was about 6 or 7 growing up in Haghill” he explained. A place notorious for its “young team” and a breeding ground for many a childhood scrap. Something Wolfgang himself never took a great amount of interest in. “Like the majority of wrestling fans, it was the first thing I remember seeing was wrestling, I couldn’t tell you who it was specifically but I imagine it was Hulk Hogan as he was my hero. I had wee cousins and mates from Haghill and we’d play wrestling. We used to play wrestling on this gable end and it was just concrete. So even from that age I would mimic what I’d see on the tele and by this point I didnt really know modern day wrestling. I only knew Hulk Hogan, The Ultimate Warrior and all that.”

Indeed he grew up in an era familiar to many of us, where WWE only existed on SKY and the only people who had SKY were confirmed or suspected drug dealers. How else would such a lavish lifestyle be possible? It was an era where a wrestling fan was only as good as his tapes. An era where Silver Vision provided an education better than any subject at school could. For me it was Summerslam 90 and WWE Year In Review 1993. For Wolfgang it was…  “One was Royal Rumble 91 where Hulk Hogan came out and just smashed everybody and won it. I’d watch that over and over. The other one was mega matches, where you’d get to see a bit of macho man and stuff. I would watch them religiously and anywhere I went where I wanted to watch wrestling I’d take them with me. So its been a love affair as far back as I can remember. ”

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A love affair that often led to a young Wolfgang demolishing his maws furniture. Maws will tolerate a lot of things from their boays, but there’s a limit to the amount of beds you’re allowed to break doing tombstone piledrivers before you end up sleeping on the deck. “You’ve no idea how many beds I’ve broke powerbombing my cousins through them. Showing them what wrestling is by actually doing it to them. The amount of times I’ve powerbombed my cousins when they didn’t want to be powerbombed *laughs*. I was actually watching tapes of what we used to do out my back garden the other day ”

It was these early years on the mean streets of Haghill that saw the start of a trend for the big man when he moved to Carntyne, a place that housed the the Haghill Young Team’s most storied rivals “When I was 10 I moved to Carntyne and that’s who Haghill used to fight. It would be he Haghill Powery against the Carntryne Goucho. I turned again like I’ve often done in my career with the various labels. Whatever one’s the most popular I go with that. ”  It wasn’t until his first encounter with BT Gunn that Wolfgang started to consider wrestling an interest that went beyond bursting his maws furniture. Although the genesis of the “Extreme Wrestling Federation” would still require a wee bit of furniture to get the ball rolling.

“My first day at secondary school I met BT Gunn. I heard him talking to someone about the Ken Shamrock/Foley/Rock cage match they had, so I just kinda drifted towards him, and I got close enough to go “are you two talking about wrestling”. Tam was kinda just above me on the social scale, because he was into fitbaw and I’m sure a wee bit of street fighting when he was staying up in Riddrie. When I moved to Carntyne this was the first time I’d had a big back garden. He eventually came down and we’d put on these wee shows together. We changed the name so many times but I think the one we eventually stuck with was the Extreme Wrestling Federation, and there was nothing extreme about this. We had my ma’s cushions put on to a bit of astro turf my Da brought home. We had poles dug into the ground with washing lines tied round. So you couldn’t run them, couldn’t climb them, they were really just there for show. So I’ve loved it ever since the “dont try this at home” era” and now he’s on the show’s that have the “Don’t Try This At Home” warning before they air. Anything is possible kids. Although if you’re a kid reading this, ignore the profanity please. Stay in school. Don’t do drugs.

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Wolfgang after being powerbombed through his Ma’s dining table for saying the gravy she made with his roast dinner was “thick enough to grout tiles”. Circa 1996.

Following the move to Carntyne, Wolfgang had his first exposure to new era WWE. Gone were the Hulk Hogans and Macho Mans, and in their place we had tits, unfiltered violence, blood, more tits, more blood, Savio Vega and a baldy guy who tanned cans in the ring. Paradise for any young man reaching a certain level of ‘maturity’. “When I turned on Sky the first thing I seen was Ken Shamrock belly to belly suplexing the entire Nation of Domination on RAW, and I was blown away by it. All the people I knew were all gone, or they’d become commentators or whatever. I fell in love with it all over again at that point. I loved this new, fresh style they were doing and I was just hitting puberty at the time so it was perfect”

Boasting years of experience with the EWF, Wolfgang was itching to finally join a proper wrestling school and turn this wrestling caper from fantasy to reality. Unfortunately he was looking for a career path that literally didn’t exist in those days. Almost as if you needed to know a secret handshake or a password to gain access to the boss level, then if you beat the boss you MIGHT be able to get some wrestling training. If you’re lucky.
“After wrestling out my mums back for so long, my dad came home with a newspaper article saying Jake The Snake was coming to a wrestling school in East Kilbride. I’d tried various ways to get into wrestling, including amatuer wrestling, and couldn’t get in. Couldn’t find a school and low and behold, WWE hall of famer Jake The Snake was coming to a wrestling school about 20 mile from my house. So I jumped on it right away.”

This would prove to be a vital time both personally and career wise for Wolfgang. In an era where wrestling and particular wrestling training wasn’t anywhere near the standard it is now, a bit of handy advice from a beleaguered veteran and meeting a merry band of brothers who would end up sticking with him throughout the years are undoubtedly big reasons why young Barry not only stuck with the wrestling, but a big part of the reason slightly aulder Barry is enjoying the most successful period of his career 15 years on.
“Jake wasn’t there the first day, but Red Lightning, Drew Galloway, Mark Dallas and Kid Fite were all there. I’d took a couple of pals with me, because it was always like I wanted to do it but I needed a pal there. It turned out one week one pal wouldnt go, and the other week the other wouldn’t, so I was the only one who really stuck it and the more I went the more I got to know Red Lightning, Galloway, Dallas etc and became close pals with them. When I started training our coaches always used to talk about how bad they had it, and now I’ve started coaching I’m trying no to be that guy, but it rings true sometimes just how hard we did have it.”

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His first “match” was another eye opening experience for Wolfgang, and one he must consider an important one to reflect on when its all said and done and all anyone remembers is the glory days of ICW running places like the SECC and Hydro. It wasn’t always glory. It wasn’t always stoating out in front of 6,000 with aw sorts of pyro flying in and around your eyes. It took a lot of hard work and a lot of fighting against the bad and promoting the good before the balance started to shift and British Wrestling began its revival.
“I was just watching my first participation in a show not long ago, and it was me, a couple of other trainees, and the pro’s at the time, who lets face it, weren’t really in the best shape, they weren’t doing wonders for pro wrestling. I mean the attendance was dire, looking back I don’t remember it being that bad. I remember it being bad, but no THAT bad. I imagine its because its the first times I’d been in fronwolf11t of an audience like that. So you think of it being bigger, like “there was 500 of them there, they were aw going wild!” when really there was like 3 people in the crowd. ”

The standard of training at that time mostly existed as a “How not to train people to wrestle” guide for future reference and it was less the influence of the trainers and more the influence of his peers that helped Wolfgang become the polished, knuckle duster slinging bad mamma jamma we see today “When I started out it was on judo mats and we would just get powerbombed and stuff like it. It was more like we were getting bullied by the people training us but we were more learning from each other along the way. We were sort of this clan of people who watched wrestling, then mimicked it and got to experience it. When I first started the standard was bad aye, and it took a long time to sort of wean the bad stuff out. My first match I wore all white and sorts Sting type makeup. It was ridiculous. So I started off doing tag stuff and that was how I started going down south a lot. Down to Newcastle with a company called WZW. I was only about 16-17 then and I became and inter-promotional Champion” *laughs*

Whilst its since gone on to become synonymous with wolves, the name “Wolfgang” originally had nothing to do with wolves at all. It was instead derived from watching The Munsters.
“Wolfgang was meant to be this dark and mysterious character and it was never anything to do with Wolves. It was just the name. I wanted to be a kinda Sting character, with the face paint etc. When I wrestled oot ma back garden, my wrestling name was Damage. When I started training I told them my wrestling name was “Damage” . I dunno why, I always liked these one word names. Like Sting, Kane, etc. When I was in school I was watching The Munsters and Eddie Munster turned into a werewolf. He was called Eddie “Wolfgang” Munster, and it sorta came from there. I liked the werewolf aspect of it because people have always said I’m a different person when I get in the ring. Wrestling helped bring me out my shell in a lot of ways. Anybody who knows me will know that back then I was very quiet. I was just this wee, quiet, polite guy. My Ma had taught me my manners and to say please and thank you but when I got into a wrestling ring my character came out and my personality just flourished. So the link with werewolves is more that there’s two sides to me. The wee quiet guy and the werewolf that’ll tear you apart.”

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His first wrestling road trip at the tender age of 15 turned out to be a life affirming event for young Wolfgang, as he finally got to meet the man who’s potential presence at a local wrestling school got him started. Whilst the hero in question, Jake The Snake Roberts, wasn’t doing very well at that time, the interaction with him is still held up as one of the key reasons for Wolfy’s success a story that came full circle when the two spoke again at Wrestlemania. An opportunity that only came up because of how much good Wolfgang done over the course of the UK Championship tournament that put him in that position in the first place. “The first time I got to step in a wrestling ring was down in Melksham for a compny called 3CW. We got on this mini bus, first time away from home, me Lightning, Drew etc. We were going down to work for a promotion run by the mate of the guy who was training us. It was my first time being away from my Ma n Da when I was about 15-16. I never ended up getting on the show, but that was the first time I actually met Jake. It was at the time he wasn’t really doing very well, but I always credit him for helping me out. I got to speak to him for 5 minutes back stage and it just blew my 15 year old mind. This icon was sitting in front of me speaking and its the exact same as watching one of his promos. You were just hooked on every word he was saying”

Jake’s own personal turnaround when he previously seemed at death’s door is proof enough in itself that anything is possible with a bit of hard work and elbow grease. Getting to speak to him again would have felt like an impossibility at one stage in both their respective journeys, yet the stars aligned for a reconciliation behind the scenes of the grandest stage of them all. The stage Jake once graced and the stage Wolfgang is shooting for. The be all and end all for anyone who’s ever laced up a pair of boots, or in John Cena’s case, double knotted a pair of gutties.
“I recently got to thank him for what he said to me at Mania this year. 15 years later. To be able to see him in those circumstances, where I’m on the other side of the guardrail was amazing. When I seen him I got goosebumps, because I always wanted to meet him again to kinda thank him for whatever he did do for me. And I got a chat with him, he said one of the nicest things he could have said to me. That he was very proud of what I’d done. He could just have been saying that to get me away from him, but it was nice to have that. A bit of a full circle thing for me. ”

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Whilst that was one chapter in Wolfgang’s career that finally had its conclusion, another that might never see its end game is the story he is constantly crafting with BT Gunn. A rivalry that goes all the way from the Extreme Wrestling Federation in the backyards of Carntyne, to steel cage and dog collar matches in ICW. Its a rivalry Wolfgang clearly holds dear and a story that will seemingly forever be open ended. A story where a final chapter will only be written when one of the men draws their last breath.
“A match that gets overlooked is one in 2012 when BT was champ and it was one of the best matches we’ve ever done. I think it was overshadowed a bit because it was the night Iceman retired, but people really believed I could take it. No matter how many times a match has been done in the past, you can still get fans invested in it and we always tried to make the match something new and different from the last one. We did that with matches like the cage, dog collar, last man standing matches. Dog collar is one of my favourites because it was a really good match. Something substantial came from that stipulation, and I was really happy with that piece of work. The use of the dog collar was good as well. Whether we’re against each other or on the same side, its always something I throw myself into because I care about and I always want the story of me and BT Gunn work. BT Gunn is just incredible though. Quietly the best wrestler in the UK and my favourite wrestler to watch”

It seemed a far fetched notion in late 2014-early 2015 that BT Gunn and Wolfgang would ever end up on the same side, but this is wrestling. Things can do a full 360 in an instant and see you fighting wars alongside long time sworn enemies like its fuck all. Whilst the prospect of getting to team up with a guy who you know for a fact is really good at wrestling due to him doing wrestling stuff in thwolf10doge direction of your face for years beforehand must have been an attractive one, the idea of going a full calendar month without catching a team handed doing from the NAK certainly appealed to Wolfgang as well. “I was getting fed up of the NAK crushing my skull. The conclusion came at Barramania 2, when Divers was feuding with Renfrew and everyone thought I was coming down to save Divers. The reaction for turning the W into an N was the easiest nights work I’ve ever had. Easily the biggest reaction I’ve got for doing so little. Some people seen it coming, a lot of people wanted it to happen but the buzz after ending the feud with BT and joining the NAK is one I’ll never forget. Getting to team with BT after years of knocking seven shades of shite out each other, and getting to work with Renfrew who’s someone I always looked up to in terms of promo skills and addressing the camera. Being that close to him I got that knowledge, it still took me a long time but I’m starting to get there now.”nak

His alliance with the NAK was a shot in the arm for Wolfgang in ICW and returned him to the role of villain for the first time since The Gold Label’s tenure in ICW. Whilst he admits his more natural role in wrestling is as a crowd favourite, being able to do both is essential in an era where more different companies than ever might be looking to use a wrestler for different roles. “I’ve always been more comfortable as a babyface. When ICW started it would be me feuding with the likes of Red Lightning, but that all changed when The Gold Label started. It was basically me, Lionheart, and Red. We were 3 best mates, and we were the best of a bad bunch, and to put three of the better guys together was something that hadn’t really been done and something I was really excited about doing. Then James joined. I was kinda the big bad bruiser of the group, I had a lot of fun doing that stuff. One of the best times up until that point. That all kind of fizzled out and I would turn face from that point, no really feuding with anyone in particular I was just sort of the good guy on the show that would turn up and knock fuck out of someone. I got to be myself more from that point and show my personality like the Wolfgangnam style video and the Finding Wolfgang skits *laughs* . Thinking about it that’s embarrassing looking back on them now, I’ll need to get them taken aff *laughs*.

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The bad news for the big man there is that the internet is forever. The good news is, at least its just a couple of funny videos and nothing involving anyone’s nipples. While the goofier side of Wolfgang was allowed to run wild back then, in the NAK it was all business and Wolfgang looks back on the feud the group had with Legion as a particular highlight.
“Three of the best in Europe vs three best mates. Stevie and Kay Lee were obviously part of that when they joined as well. Some of the matches we had were incredible. Edinburgh 3 on 3 with Stevie, me and BT was a brilliant match. Went all over the venue. Then the cage match at the SECC to end it. Cage matches are difficult on a show like that where you’re not going to get a huge amount of time, but the big thing I done in that match was again coming off the top of the cage. That seems to be my favourite thing about it. Climbing up it and jumping aff it. ”

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The battle in the cage, which Wolfgang admits he’d have liked more time in after being eliminated early, brought the fued and seemingly the NAK to its natural end. As red hot and engaging as they were at the time, they were too driven individually to stay as a unit for the long whole. For the group of real life pals, it was very much time to divide and conquer and after a wild night in The Garage when they split and ended up wrestling each other in a wild Fatal Four Way for Renfrew’s newly acquired ICW Title, the turbo charged all star NAK was no more. “That brought the feud with Legion to an end and at that time we sort of lacked direction as a group. Being in the NAK was one of the most fun experiences I’ve had in wrestling ,because it was me and my genuine pals. At Halloween in 2015 we all came out as Batman villains and I’ll never forget that. Its one of they things that makes me love wrestling, and one I’ll look back on in 20 years time, as you don’t really get the chance to take it all in when its happening. After the Legion feud was over everybody wanted to do their own thing, and from my point of view I was a sick of being part of a group. I’d been in the Gold Label, The NAK, even The Black Label although I felt I was never really fully “in” The Black Label. That was Drew, Jester and Andy (Red Lightning), and I was just their big mate.”

“I’ve always said Wolfgang isnae a bad guy, he just keeps bad company”

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There’s not likely top be many people that can pinpoint being in the bath as one of the key moments in their wrestling career but after years of graft, going up and down the UK taking (seldom) and dishing out (often) doings with little or no prospect of it going any further had began to bear fruit a few years earlier with rise of ICW and British Wrestling as a result, but the sweetest most ripest of wrestling fruit came to him pretty much as soon as his baws hit the water on one fateful evening when wrestling royalty phoned. “It all started for me in the lead up to The Hydro. We were on tour with ICW, in Manchester I think. I was against Noam, and at this time Regal was doing the rounds and scouting for it. I met him there and didnt really speak to him, but I was on with a guy Regal knew. I knew I’d be the guy with the ICW belt, and if Regal was sitting watching with Dallas he would be explaining how he’s going to be the guy with the title.”

Its a nice thing that the match responsible for WWE sitting up and taking notice of Wolfgang is the same one that made me sit up and take notice of him in 2012. The first match I seen in Scottish Wrestling happened to be Noam Dar vs Wolfgang. A cocky young Dar cutting a promo telling me and aw my pals we were aw smelly virgins (not true at all btw…I don’t smell…) before Wolfgang came out and gave him a doing. A routine that would repeat on the night it all changed.

“I had to show up that night. Noam kept me right though. I thought I’d have to go out and keep up with Noam, but that was never the case. I think the reason I got noticed in the first place is that I look like I can beat people up. That was what Noam was saying, they’re no looking for all the bells and whistles, if they look at you and think ‘I reckon this guy could batter this person’ then that’s what they’re after. So poor Noam, I just spent the whole match beating him up.”wolf8

Regal making a swift exit meant Wolfgang pretty much considered that to be that, but nothing’s a foregone conclusion when mobile phone technology means being in the bath isn’t a barrier between you and achieving your wildest dreams, so really there’s nae excuse for huvin BO at all. Don’t tell me you smell like a foot cause you’re waiting on NASA to phone and offer ye that job driving the spaceship mate. Nae excuses. Wolfgang got to the WWE via the bath, so really anyone can do anything they want and still be clean.

“I didnt really get the chance to speak to him after, but Noam passed me his email address so I sent him an email asking for feedback on the match. He sent me oneback explaining the next tryout was full but he’d give me a shout down the line. Fast forward about a month to The Hydro show and he emails asking for my number and within about a millisecond I sent it. I waited by the phone like “where urr ye Regal” and I waited and waited on him before I eventually decided he must just be looking for my number for future reference. So I jumped up the stairs for a bath after a few hours, forgetting the time difference and hes phoned me just as I’ve got in the bath. So there I am submersed in water , talking to William Regal. I thought to myself I better get out of here eh, so I’m out, walking about the house in a towel with William Regal on the phone telling me there’s gonnae be this 16 man tournament to crown the first ever WWE UK Champion, and you’re gonnae be the only Scottish guy in it. ”

Nae pressure there then eh?

A fine note to leave it on. Bath related shenanigans. Part Two will be up tomorrow at around 6pm. Tell yer pals. Share this piece of loveliness. Do it. 

READ PART TWO HERE

Credit to David J.Wilson, Warrior Fight Photography and anyone else’s images I might have used for the fine work. All talented humans