An Interview In The Asylum With Mark Dallas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“LETS BE AVIN YOU!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ICW Barramania 4 Review

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

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

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

Match 1 – Andy Wild vs Aaron Echo

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

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

Match Two – Andy Wild vs Jordan Devlin

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

Match Three – Andy Wild vs DCT

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

Match Four – DCT vs Mark Coffey

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

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

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

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

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

Wolfgang vs Tor Atterhagen – Chain Match

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Just Justice” Jackie Polo vs Lionheart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Interview With Neil “The Wee Man” Bratchpiece

WMdWhen Neil “The Wee Man” Bratchpiece got involved in pro wrestling he was in the unusual position of already being recognisable for something else. A rare thing in wrestling generally and when it happens the person involved is often more interested in what wrestling can do for them than vice versa. As a lifelong fan of wrestling, Neil was never likely to fall into that bracket. We met in the bar of The Tron Theatre where Neil picked up a copy of “The List” that happened to have a drawing he’d done of Flight Of The Conchords in it along with a short quote from him. It wasn’t the first time his artistic skills had been on show, as he has made a yearly habit of somehow producing a drawing that has every single person on the ICW roster as part of it in the lead up to Fear and Loathing. A man of many talents indeed, one talent he does not possess however is being able to get chucked about a boxing ring without leaving the whole experience a very broken man, as he explained.

“My first involvement was I think in around 2010. I’d been to a show up at the Sports Bar on Sauchiehall Street. It wasnt ICW, it was like a pre Royal Rumble show they put on with some live wrestling. Off the back of that I made some enquiries about getting in to it. I knew Laura (formerly Lambrini in ICW) and I told her I was interested in gewummmtting involved in some way. From there I ended up training with Ross Watson (Kid Fite) at his old facility in East Kilbride. Me and my brother went and done a bit of training. A comedy promoter I knew had heard about that and was running a charity boxing night. He was trying to put together an undercard for this show, so he got in touch with me, knowing I was into the wrestling and asked if we could put together a match. So we put together a match where it was me and my brother against Fight Club. That was…eh *laughs* well we were chucked in at the deep end. They’re hard-hitting boys. I wouldn’t change that for the world of course. That’s the way it should be.”

When wrestling commentators gush about how the ring apron is the hardest part of the ring, imagine a ring made up entirely of ring apron, with a few ragged nails and a three-inch thick sheet of concrete on top. Then imagine every time you land face first on this surface, a swarm of bees appear from thin air and make a beeline for your right arse cheek. Each one stinging it at the exact same time. THAT’S how hard a boxing ring is. Kid Fite and Liam Thomson having the name “Fight Club” wasn’t some ironic thing either. They could fuckin fight.
“So not only was it in against them, it was also in a fucking boxing ring. I was the smallest in the match and also we were the heels so I was getting chucked aboot, sidewalk slams, snap suplexes and aw that. We brawled out to the bar and it had this stone cladding on the floor and he just snap suplexed me on to that. Nae holding back”

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“Every time I took a bump I thought I’d broke my ribs, but it’s just non stop. To the point where I literally crawled backstage after the finish. That wasn’t me putting it on at all. The ring was so hard even Ross said after taking maybe one or two moves on it “that ring was pretty hard eh” and I’m like “aye mate, a wee bit” I think Dallas got wind of that and got in touch about ICW from there”

His first ICW involvement wasn’t as the manager of champions. The term “Bucky Boys” didn’t even exist other than being the thing auld ladies said when they’re asked to describe the group of guys that just mugged her. Instead Neil was brought in to warm up the crowd a bit before getting his baws booted by Noam Dar and Rob Cage but it gained a level of interest that made Mark Dallas sit up and take notice and he was soon involved in the company on a more permanent basis “I actually rapped Renfrew’s ring entrance which was Shimmy Shimmy Ya by ODB. He had re-written the lyrics to make it more Glaswegian and gave me them but there was no chance I was learning it before show time so I done the original version. So I done a few things like that and got a bit of press off the back of it and I think at the time Dallas really appreciated that. Even at that stage Dallas was always thinking ahead. Telling us what venue we’d be running next and all that. At every stage I was like “Nah I’ll believe it when I see it” but I learned not to doubt him after a while when it kept coming true”

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From then on Neil was asked to link up with two up and coming wrestlers from the PBW Academy who would later be known as “Davey Boy” and “Stevie Boy” who joined forces to become “The Bucky Boys”. A team who would go on to have a huge hand in ICWs early development into one of the biggest and best independent companies in the UK. For Neil as much as their gimmick suited ICW perfectly at that time, how they meshed together ring was just as important as the catch phrases and the quality entrance music that gets ye jumping about like you’ve just tanned an eccie even if its been several hours since you actually did last tan an eccie.

“Right from day one, even though they were much smaller than they are now physically and stuff, they totally clicked as a tag team. That’s my favourite type of tag team as well. When you have the big power guy paired up with the smaller agile guy. Right from day one, even just observing from outside the ring it was amazing to see how well it worked. At that age, Stevie was naturally sort of taking the role as a ring general. He really knows what he’s doing in there man”

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As strange a concept as it may be to fans who weren’t around for those early days, Davey Boy and Stevie Boy actually didn’t come in to ICW together, and were presumably a wee bit perplexed when they were approached by a comedian telling them the trio were in fact all cousins, but whether it was the family bond or just the fact that they were three hard-working guys who really wanted to make this work, but as soon as they joined forces something just clicked, as Neil went on to explain.

“They were working separately when they first came into ICW. Probably way too young to be working in that venue at the time *laughs*. They were both really talented, but Dallas thought they needed some kind of hook to get them over with the audience. He came up with the idea to put us together and we sort of all developed the idea together. Dallas put it together, either him or Renfrew came up with the name, I came up with the cousins thing. I hope I’m not shattering anyones illusions here but to this day folk still believe that. I told them the character ideas I had. One being a mad criminal the other being a rampant shagger. Before I’d even finished the sentence Davey wanted to be the shagger and it just clicked that way. As brand new (Scottish for good) a guy as Stevie is, his work ethic is good if you give him anything like that he’ll just immerse himself in it”

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Any new fans of ICW who perhaps aren’t fully aware of how popular The Bucky Boys were should definitely go back and check out some of the earlier stuff they were involved in. A pair of died in the wool ruffians and the country’s best hype man who liked to have a laugh while they took care of the more serious business of tapping other tag team’s jaws and winning titles. Something they became so good at that other promotions made enquiries about booking them, but in a fashion that would see them embarrassed instead of championed.

“It was amazing to be a part of it. Especially to be a part of something that was so over. It was so popular with the fans. As soon as that music hit no matter the venue it always went mental. One of my favourite feuds was when The Sumerian Death Squad came over. Every time they came over it was unreal. As soon as I met them, I knew they were the real deal. They were tremendous professionals as well and it was just a pleasure to be involved in everything we done with them. They were a couple of big, scary boys as well but they were so easy to work with”

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All good things come to an end as they say and as wonderful as The Bucky Boys journey was, it was never for life. They were both young and hungry to carve their own paths and when the time came to blow the whole thing apart all parties seemed to know it was time. Although I don’t think any of the parties involved could have quite envisioned just HOW the whole thing came about as Stevie turned on his cousins to align himself with one of their moral enemies. The New Age Kliq. A moment that will go down as one of the most significant in ICW history “I knew myself that it was kinda winding down. Personally I felt like I was saying a lot of the same stuff in promos and it was getting to a stage where they had nothing left to prove as a tag team. When Stevie did turn, it was no sell job or anything like that, my reaction is genuine, I was fucking gutted. Evwee manen a bit angry. It was a natural time for it to happen and the feuds that have happened since have been some of the best things I’ve ever been involved in. Leading to Davey vs Stevie at the SECC”

The turn lead to the pair colliding in a singles match for the first time in ICW, with the Zero-G Title Stevie had won while still part of the Buckies on the line. It was the match trusted to set the tone on ICWs biggest show at that point, in front of an unprecedented 4000 people at the SECC. Quite a leap for a pair of “boys” too young to be in the nightclub they made their debut on. The significance of getting to go out there first wasn’t lost on Neil, who managed Davey Boy that night and cut a visceral promo on Stevie before Davey triumphed.

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“It was quite an honour to see the be trusted to go out there first. I had a wee promo that night as well, but the match itself was just brilliant. It really summed up the passion in ICW seeing that story come to an end on such a big stage and seeing the passion that went in to it and genuine emotion coming through in that. I think it was the perfect choice for the opener and set up the rest of what was a brilliant night for the company”

That led to a run with Neil managing Davie as almost the last Bucky Boy. It took a while before they evolved into something else and really hit their stride as a duo. Neil turning on Davey in disgust when Davey elected to join forces with Joe Hendry, before Davey saw the light and decided practicing the art of bad bastardry with The Wee Man was the path he wanted to go down on the way to ICW running The Hydro for the very first time.
“Working with Davey was great. It eventually clicked when we turned I reckon. After a wee while I felt like I was sort of doing the same thing, but cut in half *laughs*. When Davey turned, that’s when we really started enjoying it. That very quickly became the most fun I’ve had in ICW. You get to release so much pent-up shit as a baddie. You just kinda worry less about folk liking it, because they’re not meant to like it. That’s when I really felt we hit our stride as a wrestler and manager, leading in to the feud with Joe Hendry. I thought as a kinda duo, that was when we started to really work well”

For some reason we spent the next few minutes discussing Roman Reigns and why he hides what is undoubtedly an impressive chest under that body warmer. Maybe when exposed his nipples hide as some kind of defence mechanism and he doesn’t want school children who idolise him wondering why he’s nae nips. 

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That led to a singles match between Davey and Joe Hendry being the opener on ICWs biggest show a year later. This time packing over 6,000 into The Hydro a year after the SECC triumph, but one thing remained the same. Davey Boy in the opening contest with The Wee Man setting the tone on the mic, as Neil went on to explain “Two years in a row opening the big show. Me doing a promo first on the live show, after Billy of course. It was an honour. Full credit to Joe, we were out there to be the bastards and set up his big Bohemian Rhapsody entrance. Which he actually put together really quickly, so that’s a testament to the guys talent and work ethic. I watched the promo back and the fans start chanting shut the fuck up, and thats when I started doing the “EH?” thing. When I watched it back that was my favourite bit. Just that single guttural noise was my favourite bit of the whole thing and I thought to myself “I might just do that at the next show” It was a natural thing. It’s always the way it happens. You can plan stuff but the stuff that catches on quite often just happens when you’re out there.”

Fans of ICW in recent years will know exactly what that’s referring to. It’s hard to describe with words, but it’s essentially Steve Austin’s “What?” chant pumped full of Bucky and a wee bit of that flem ye get at the back of your throat if you’ve overdone the fags on a night out. It has on some mad level formed a connection with the ICW audience who were repeating it back to The Wee Man even when he was making a habit of calling them every name under the sun. Mostly some kind of variation of “virgin”.

“I figured after “What!” and “YES!” got over so much nothing was off-limits. It’s definitely more influenced by Steve Austin though. I’ve been watching that whole era back on the network a lot and he was so unhinged. It was almost like an unintentional thing. I’ll no lie, there’s a few things I’ve definitely lifted from that era of Austin. Even if it’s not intentional you can watch something back and think “I’ve just nicked something from Austin 2001″ *laughs* ”

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Neil being active as a standup and performing to comedy audiences as well as wrestling audiences leaves him with a bit of a unique perspective on the differences between the two. His enjoyment of wrestling audiences particularly almost serving as an insight as to why he continues to involve himself in a thing where big burly bastards can and will chuck you about at will. “Some of the bravado from speaking in front of wrestling crowd has definitely influenced some of my better moments doing comedy. I figured kinda recently, and I’ve thought this for a while, I’m actually much more at home in front of a wrestling crowd. I love doing comedian rap battles and all that as well, don’t get me wrong, im very relaxed and comfortable doing all that, but I almost enjoy performing to a wrestling crowd more. ”

In the early days it was certainly easy to understand why as The Wee Man’s job was essentially to come out and make near the bone jokes about news stories that were wide-open for ridicule. Something that sees like it would be endlessly fun “For a couple of years at least I was coming out, as a face, and coming out with topical gags that I would never dare to say on a standup comedy show. I mean just the shadiest chat. I think back to things I’ve said and notes I’ve had from shows years ago and I honestly wonder where this horrible shit came from *laughs*. I’ve just always thought, I’m not trying to be nasty or anything, ive always thought if you make light of fucking horrible things it helps you deal with them and I always felt wrestling crowds were more open to that sort of thing that standup crowds at that time. I’ve toned down a bit now with the topical stuff, but looking back I think it fitted better back then because at that time I was more playing to a live crowd as opposed to worrying too much how it comes across on demand and stuff. The more the company develops the more it becomes about how things look on the footage, and chat like that has a shelf life. You’d watch a show from even a few months ago and none of it would be relevant anymore”

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While the singles work with Davey did breed plenty of success, Neil has become known to be a bit of a mastermind with the auld tag teams. His recent work with the outstanding Rampage Brown and Ashton Smith has cemented them as a permanent fixture in ICW. A role their talent undoubtedly commands, but one they had struggled to find in the ultra competitive ICW roster. The Wee Man brought them out as surprise opponents for Polo Promotions merely 2 months ago and while it wasn’t their first ICW appearance, the impact they made that night and the impact since has left fans in doubt that they’ll be knocking the living shite out of tag teams for a long time. As evidence in the above photo where they leathered The Kinky Party AND their photographer while Neil decided to pick up his camera and take a few snaps of the destruction.

“They’re awesome. I was so chuffed to get to work with them. Rampage has been in and out at ICW, particularly on tour shows, and they’d been in as a tag team before. They came in and destroyed Pure Gangster at one point as well. It was that sort of thing where everytie they’d show up they would annihilate folk. There was very little reason why they shouldn’t be showing up and doing that all the time. You could tell by the crowd reaction when I introduced them in The Garage. Immediately you could tell the crowd sat up and took notice. They’re brilliant man. They’re both world-class. Even just looking at them you can tell they’re the real deal. A couple of very scary boys. I watched footage back from the last show and I’m very aware of my physical limitations but honestly, I have never looked tinier *laughs* They’re both huge. I think Ashton might have a slight edge height wise, but you don’t realise how big they are until you’re standing next to them and you look like a toddler with a wee suit on *laughs*. It’s not just how cool and intimidating they are, it’s that destructive style they have that really makes them stand out. I mean I said my favourite type of tag team is a bigger power guy with a more agile guy, but Rampage and Asthon can both do all of that. I wouldn’t want to arm wrestle or race either one of them, put it that way *laughs* ”

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Being the mouthpiece for a couple of the scariest bastards in wrestling (or indeed the world itself) will certainly be a time-consuming endeavour but Neil did leave the door open for potentially linking up with Davey Blaze one day in the future. At the very least Davey has a lifelong fan in his former manager.
“Davey’s had a wee bit of time off for various reasons but Davey’s brilliant. Particularly in the last feud we had with DCT and Coach. I can’t stress enough how brilliant Davey was in that feud. Some of his expressions and things like that told such a brilliant story. He’s so good at that type of thing, you almost get the story just from his expressions and all that. You don’t need my words or anything else. He’s so good at that and he leaves you in no doubt who you should be cheering in that much. I honestly think no one can touch him in that respect. He can be so funny but also scary at the same time and thats something he does so well. I’d hope to work with him again definitely. Hopefully one day. I’d definitely love to work with him in the future”

While the door to working with Davey again remains open it most likely won’t be in any sort of match against Davey as Neil discussed his dalliances with the in-ring side of the game. A side he consistently stresses is more difficult than anyone could imagine and something he never wants anyone to think you can just “do”.
“I’ve trained to the point where I know some of the basics. Since then I trained a bit with Wolfgang and learned a bit more. If im totally honest with myself I’d like to do more. I should do more. Just to drum in the fundamentals of it. Not in the sense that I’m going to try to be Will Ospreay *laughs* just more like I don’t want to be shambles and make anyone else look bad. I’m also hesitant to ever give anyone the impression that you can just step in the ring and do this. I’ll be the first one to tell you…..you cannae *laughs*. Trust me it fucking hurts. I’m getting on a bit if I want to make a career of it in the ring as well” *laughs*

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At that point I did remind Neil that DDP had set a precedent for older folk giving the wrestling a go and making a success of it but he reminded me DDP happened to be about a foot taller than him and I guess that’s fair enough. Being a big ride who already has a relationship with one of the biggest wrestling companies going is advantageous if you decide to embark on a wrestling career in your thirties, but whilst a full-time in ring career is likely never going to be his path, the flirtations he has enjoyed with that side it and just observing from ring side so much has given Neil a huge appreciation for the work pro wrestlers put in.

“At my size if you want to be a wrestler you need to really put the work in and you either need to be a mad high flyer or a technical wizard. The stamina and conditioning has always impressed me. You expect the smaller guys to have that, but right up to heavyweights they’re all well conditioned. It takes a lot to put together even a 10 minute match. The amount of conditioning it takes to even do that is unreal. Wolfgang defies the laws of physics. I don’t understand how he does the things he does”

Despite the physical limitations and limited training The Wee Man does have a decent record when it comes to stepping in to the ring. Somehow managing to tally up a 4-0 winning streak, “all clean wins”  as he put it, albeit with a bit of a knowing smirk,before a tag match that pitted him and Davey against DCT and Coach at last yeat’s Shugs House Party weekender brought it to an end. That streak included a singles bout with Coach, aka Adam Shame, which felt more like a series of Laurel and Hardy sketches than a wrestling match and Adam Shame is someone who Neil has a huge degree for respect for.

“I think I was 4-0 at one point eh? The Coach Trip match was a lot of fun. A few videos from that went viral. All credit to Shamer, who really made that great. He’s such a pioneer for Scottish Wrestling and really helped me through that. He’s one of the best guys to go to for advice and stuff. He’s one of the guys who built wrestling in this country and he goes out his way to help other people over. Even backstage and stuff, he’s a leader, and hes also a hilarious guy. One of the best guys in wrestling for sure. Even at the tail end of that match, for all it was, I was done. Honestly, I felt like I’d main evented mania or something so that tells a story of just how hard it is. ”

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Age is perhaps more of a secondary concern than many think in terms of the limitations involved however as Neil spoke of an accident he had before getting in to wrestling that left his hip held together with a steel plate.
“Besides age and size, I’ve got a steel plate holding my hip together so that’s not ideal. This was before I got involved in wrestling. I was in the Arches, and my pal was doing a one man theatre show. They had seating that went up 12-15 feet up and he was leading me up to the sound booth at the back and I kinda stepped out, thinking the platform went all the way down, but it didn’t, so I tumbled down. Shattered my hip, my wrist. I was in a wheelchair for a while. So that kinda hampered me a wee bit. When I got into it, maybe if I hadn’t had that injury I’d have given the training more of a proper go and done a bit more. I’m always hesitant to detract from what wrestlers do. I’m always reluctant to be that guy coming in as a non wrestler and making out like its easy. I never want to seem like im anywhere near on a par with the folk who do this for a living. Risking their health all year round. ”

As if there has ever been any need to make wrestlers seem any MORE intimidating but Neil went on to make a point that shook me and I’m sure will shake you. Wrestlers are not only likely to be far bigger and better than you when it comes to a fight, but they literally practice taking punishment over and over again. Almost to the point that it becomes….normal.
“Wrestlers can fight, but it’s how much punishment they can take is what you should be scared of. MMA boxers trained to dish out, but wrestlers are specifically trained to take punishment and still come up for more, thats a huge part of wrestling. Thats’s why id advise everyone not to get in a fight with a wrestler, even if you get a few digs in, they’ve had worse” *laughs*

Neil’s interest in becoming involved in wrestling at all of course stemmed from a childhood love of it. Introduced to it by his older brother David, also a comedian and the man who had the pleasure of stepping in to the ring with Neil to get flung aboot like wet washin in a boxing ring by Fight Club, he went on to follow it throughout his younger years.

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“My brother got me into wrestling. That was late 80s I guess. He was getting VHS or maybe even betamax tapes of shows. At the time wrestling wasn’t even on tv in britain and he had a pal in Wales that had cable tv. So they were one of the first folk in the country to be seeing wrestling shows. I specifically remember Royal Rumbles the best from when I was wee. Seeing all the different characters come out one after the other. I was the only one who had seen wrestling in my school. No hoagieone had seen it. It wasnt a thing back then. I was hooked back then I remember Gremlins 2 came out and it had a cameo from Hulk Hogan. He was such a big deal in America, but when it came out in Britain they’d actually edited that out and replaced it with archived footage of john Wayne with the gremlins *Laughs*. In every version now you see the Hulk Hogan bit but at the time wrestling was so not well-known that it was replaced with a mad bit from a western with Gremlins edited in *laughs* because no one in Britain knew who he was. I remember at the time being furious because I knew he was. By the time it came out on video they would have put the Hogan scene back in because at that point WWF was on Sky so people would have known who he was. By that time folk at school were doing Hogan and Warrior impression and im like “Guys, I’ve been into this for a year or two now!” and I was frustrated because it took them so long to get into it.”

While Neil grew up as one of earliest wrestling aficionado’s, long before the days of sweaty unibrows on the internet for some bizzarre reason feeling they’re the best authority to rate the physicality involved in wrestling, not everyone in his family seemed to “get” wrestling in the early days of his involvement, when venues like the SECC and The Hydro become the norm its hard to not sit up and take notice.

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“My Da, especially when I was a teenager, he’s just never got it. He’s a huge fitba guy and he trained my primary school fitba team when I was younger. He’s right into comedy and entertainment, but wrestling is this alien thing to him He just didn’t understand, and when I started getting involved in it I still thing he maybe didn’t take it seriously but the more it went on and the bigger the shows got the more he sort of took notice and started to take it more seriously. Then It got to a point where my mum and dad were asking when the next wrestling show is and that. My maw particularly still gets concerned. I sort of hide how much physicality is involved in it a wee bit from her. My maws always been wary since the accident. I’ve got a big sister as well who’s also very concerned although she appreciates the showmanship and the entertainment aspect of it. I’ve said to her to come to a show, as she lives in London, but I kinda get the feeling she’d be watching through her fingers a lot of the time”

Growing up around people involved in entertainment certainly saw Neil catch a bit of a bug for it all. One that’s been hard to shake. While other jobs have come and gone they served to be nothing more than time fillers for someone who just wanted to do what he was good at. Being the lead writer on BBCs Breaking The News,writing and performing in various online sketches for the BBC, as well as an appearance in the BBC show Scot Squad, have all provided excellent opportunities that have led to Neil finding himself in a situation where he makes his living from entertainment.

“It’s hard to make a consistent living out of just writing, so for the past wee while its been a combination of things that keep it going. I suppose they all kinda count as part-time jobs when you put them together. Being the lead writer on breaking the news and ive wrote for a couple of radio 4 things. I sort of justify it in a way that I’ve had a lot of jobs but working in comedy is probably the only job where I’ve experienced promotion in some sense*laughs* Just thinking of it logically there’s something significant in that.
It’s the only thing ive ever done I’ve really wanted any sort of promotion in either. I’ve worked in a bar but I’ve never wanted to be the bar manager. It was always just a time filler”

In terms of what’s coming in the very near future Neil was reticent to jinx it but by the sounds of it, a lot of exciting things are in the works. None more so than his most recent video that pits The Wee Man the character against Neil himself in a rap battle. Something he has much experience being involved in as the host of the Comedian Rap Battles. A monthly fixture at The Stand in Glasgow.

“I’m doing more videos. My most recent one is The Wee Man vs Neil Bratchpiece, that’s one im looking forward to a lot, its serving as a promo video gor the Glasgow Comedy Festival aswell. We’ve got a lot of shows coming up. As bullshit as it sounds, ive got stuff in development, but its all looking good. We’ll wait and see eh”

As it took me fuckin ages to get this done the video is actually out now. Have a swatch at it

A string of videos telling the story of “The Worlds Worst Paedo” went viral in 2016. In those videos, Neil played the part of the World Worst Paedo, who continually mistook his real life friend and fellow wrestling personality Chris Toal to be a child. seemingly never learning the lesson that he was in fact an adult, atlhigh Neil shed a different light on it. Painting him more as more of a misunderstood character who knew Chris wasn’t a child but was still in love with him anyway.

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“Toal gets recognised a lot more which im a wee bit relieved about. Younger folk recognise me from that. I appreciate that they can recognise me without all the Wee Man stuff. That came about I had the idea for the first one, it was just me mistaking him for a wean *laughs*. It was originally meant to be a vine or an idea for one anyway, so I spoke to Toal about it. It never happened on vine which probably worked out better. That’s part of a larger collection of sketches, there was more people involved in that, it was done as a taster sort of thing, but I always intended to put that character online as dodgy as it might be. A few folk were affronted but it was a bit knee jerk reaction to it. We came up with a few other sketches with those character, storyboarded them, Toal came up with one as well. A lot of people chipped in with ideas and it turned into this wee series.”

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Whilst it was undoubtedly odd to be recognised for playing The World Worst Paedo in a series of videos that went viral on Facebook, it represented a welcome change to being recognised for something that happened before Facebook was even a thing. Long before the days of yer maw being a fully fledged, commenting on all yer photies member. “I was chuffed but its such a strange thing to be recognised for. As potentially dodgy as the subject matter is. I’m still adamanat about this, justify it, joke anything, but also but if you pay attention he’s not actually a beast. He’s just a guy who really fancies Chris Toal and can’t come to terms with how he feels about it. When you think about it Chris is just a small man and he knows that but he just really fancies Chris Toal. He’s not like an evil character he’s just a bit confused *laughs* ”

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Even although he has his fingers in a lot of pies (dont laugh, you’re an adult for christ sake) when asked if he’s ever thought about wrestling becoming a full-time gig, it was something that raised a smile. A pipe dream

“Obviously that’d be awesome. Even in a manager role I’d need to work out the physical aspect because im guessing you’d still need to pass a physical before they’d employ you. I’d like to manage a bigger guy in that situation. I think that would work best You want to make your wrestler look as dominant as possible so that dynamic would work best. Even at my most enunciating and clear, I still think they’d be a bit confused as to what I’m saying over there. I widnae say naw, but it that way but im not holding my breath too much
Huge thank you to Neil for his time. Also to David J Wilson as usual for the photos and anyone else who’s photos ive used. If I’ve not given credit, give me a shout.

Like his Facebook page and keep up to date with what’s happening with him HERE

Follow him on Twitter HERE

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Comedian Rap Battles which Neil hosts happens on the first Wednesday of every month at The Stand in Glasgow.

Also get tickets for all the ICW shows Neil is involved in HERE

 

The Lasting Impact Of Drew Galloway, ICW Hall Of Famer

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Drew Galloway has always been The Chosen One. Long before Vince McMahon fired that moniker on him and it nearly pulled him to the ground like an anchor round his neck for the latter part of his first WWE run, he was always the one. Professional wrestling in Scotland has existed for a long time but Drew Galloway is the reason it is what it is today. That’s not an attempt to remove credit from anyone else, that’s not diminishing the hard work of anyone else at all, its simply a fact. Without Scotland producing this Disney prince looking motherfucker who made you believe in everything he does in and out of the ring, wrestling might not have ever happened here. It would have kept on existing and it would have had a following just like any other niche thing in entertainment, but running venues like the SECC and The Hydro? Forget it. Even places as big as the ABC, Barrowlands etc would have been a big ask if Drew was never born. Wrestling has always been niche, and small counties like Scotland don’t usually become a hotbed for something like this but Drew is the domino effect. He set a standard and it was up to everyone else to shoot for it and by god have they done that. The people who started out at the same time as him have all gone on to be integral cogs in the current thriving scene we have up here. The people he’s influenced since his return in 2014 continue to feel his influence. He was born to do this and as much as his body, and at times his mind, won’t be thankful for that, we are very lucky as fans that he happened to be born in Scotland.

When Drew started out 16-17 years ago, by his own admission there was nothing here. No schools. Hardly any down south either. No real scene of note to cut your teeth in. No hope really. If making it in the wrestling business was ever going to become his or anyone else’s reality an unimaginable amount of work had to be done. Being a foot taller than anyone else who existed at that time in Scotland (or ever has since) wasn’t going to be enough. Managing to get enough out of the almost non existent training to become a great wrestler wasn’t going to be enough either. The door was never going to swing open and invite Drew through it, he was going to have to take they what I assume are size 18s or something mad like that and kick the fucking thing down and that’s exactly what he done when he signed with WWE in 2007. He set a precedent then and the scene he left behind grew to something bigger than he or anyone else could ever have imagined in his absecne. While the hard work put in by so many while he was chasing the dream was all THEIR hard work, his success was the catalyst. He was the reason folk who might have chucked it long ago decided to persevere. He was the example that made any setbacks anyone else had nothing more than that. Just a bump in the road rather than a fatal head on collision. He was the catalyst for a scene that continues to go from strength to strength, and him making it to the WWE made everyone believe, while it was their hard work while he was gone that gave him the perfect platform to re-announce himself to the wrestling world when the dream turned ever so slightly sour. His first real setback in wrestling. After a few years of middling and trying to carve something good out of being comic relief as part of 3MB, Drew Mcintyre was released after 7 years with WWE. A few short weeks later, Drew Galloway was re-born.

Crashing Shug’s House Party

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Ya rude big bastard ye. A few spent years spent in America and the big man forgot his manners. Without invite, Drew Galloway showed up just as Chris Renfrew was about to cash in his Square Go title shot against Jack Jester, who had just been subjected to a kicking from Renfrew and his NAK stablemates. Jester’s year-long reign with the title was coming to an end. It was time. Little did Jester, or indeed Renfrew know, it wasn’t for the reasons they thought. It wasn’t because Renfrew had picked the perfect moment for the cash in and had Jester right where he wanted him. It wasn’t because Jester just couldn’t hold on after a year of fighting tooth and nail to keep a hold of that shiny belt he had coveted for so long. None of that mattered. It was all down to a big handsome bastard deciding his WWE release was not the end. Far from it. It was just the beginning for him personally and as much as ICW might not have known it then, it was the beginning of a new and brilliant chapter for a company who were doing just fine before his return. Great in fact. At that time ICW were unquestionably the biggest independent wrestling company in the UK and Shugs House Party was the second time they had sold out the 1,000+ capacity ABC. All was rosy and ICW was the best night out 15 quid could buy, but that night Drew came back and shocked the whole building by turning on best friend Jack Jester moments after saving his Championship; Chucking him off the stage through a table, ICW knew there was another level to be reached. Another door to be opened, except this time kicking it down wasn’t required. They had the key. The key was Drew.

The big factor that made his return so significant was his motivation being a bit different to what usually happens when someone gets released from WWE after being a success with the company. Most folk want back there ASAP and seem to almost believe being their once makes them instantly better than wrestling anywhere else. Almost as if wrestling owed them something. Drew has never seemed to be that guy and when he was released he knew exactly where he needed to be. He could have stayed in the US and wrestled exclusively over there, maybe coming back for a wee high-profile visit every now and then where he’d stoat in, act like the Billy Big Baws with the funny accent, stick his wage in his back pocket and get back to his comfortable wee life but that wasn’t for him. Drew knew fine well what was happening on the Scottish Wrestling scene and the noise ICW were making locally and globally in his absence and he wanted in. He believed in it just like he did when ICW were just starting out and he was the first man who was able to call himself ICW Champion. The new mission statement was simple. Get ICW on TV and become the first man who could call himself ICW WORLD Heavyweight Champion.

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Fear and Loathing 7 was the night it all changed. When Drew Galloway and Jack Jester went head to head that night it was billed as the biggest match in Scottish history and everyone in the building that night believed that to be the case. It held weight. Former best pals seeing their friendship come to a bitter, probably bloody end because of a wrestling championship. It was massive, and when Drew won to become a two-time ICW Champion a seismic shift occurred. ICW was no longer going to be a big deal just locally. ICW was ready to make the kind of noise that has yer neighbours from two streets away phoning the polis. ICW was ready to have a globe-trotting workhorse representing them not just when he wrestled here, but when he wrestled everywhere.Despite all the success and brilliant things happening to ICW, there was another gear they could get to and Drew Galloway helped them slide into it seamlessly. Everyone seemed to almost get better over night.

Chris Renfrew eventually cashed in his Square Go briefcase in a match at the 2015 Square Go against Galloway and we saw a Renfrew no one, even Renfrew himself, had ever seen before. A captivating match where Renfrew’s year-long pursuit of the title came to an almost tragic end. Losing the best match of his career to date, cutting a crestfallen figure at the end. Big Damo had revamped his look and was making a big impression but there’s no doubt Drew was his absolute perfect opponent and when they squared off both men reached another level. Having such a unique opponent brought the best out in Drew and the matches between them is undoubtedly a big reason both men now pick up a WWE paycheque. Joe Coffey had an absolute war with Drew at the Barrowlands and while his performance levels in the ring probably couldn’t  have got any better, having such a big match on a high profile show undoubtedly helped shine a bright light on his talent. His time in ICW made so many people better, including Drew himself. ICW let him be a wrestler again.

Then TNA happened and for some inexplicable reason, the waters got muddied a bit. Wrestling fans are the most fickle fuckers around, most will admit that to you, but the way they turned on Drew after that massive outpouring of emotion that night he made his return at Shug’s was startling stuff. A surprise to many, but probably not Drew himself.

“Drew go away, go away….BACK TAE TNA”

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Wrestling is a mad thing. A make-believe world driven by real emotions. When a company like ICW, who dance along the line between make believe and real like few others can, put a guy like Drew Galloway at the forefront of their product, there is a shelf life as to how long that can last before the natives get restless. ICW suffers at times from an inability for its fanbase to see past the end of their own beaks. I say that as a fan myself. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in something, anything that you see as a threat to it becomes something that warrants hostility and even though Drew Galloway saw TNA as a platform to elevate himself and in turn ICW, a percentage of the ICW fans didn’t quite see it that way. Drew appearing and becoming a focal point of TNA was a conflict of interests to them and it became a stick that was used to beat him with. Some might have been a bit hurt at that. Grafting all over the globe representing ICW as best he could and anytime he came back to Glasgow he was told to bolt. Some might have put the petted lip on but Drew became something else. Drew became a bastard. Drew joined auld mates Jack Jester and Red Lightning to form The Black Label and well, The Black Label fucked shit up for a long time. They laughed at anyone who dared to take umbrage with them fucking shit up. Drew was no longer all about gettin SCAAAAAATLAND to become a major factor on the wrestling circuit, Drew was all about one thing. Drew was about Drew. Drew was about holding on to the ICW Title at all costs. Then there was Grado.

When ICW announced they were running the 4,000 capacity SECC it felt monumental. Huge. Considering where the company started out, it was an unimaginable level of success to obtain. Running that building alone was a big deal but to sell the fucking thing out in advance? That was a show. That was a show people wanted to see. Nah fuck that, it was a show people NEEDED to see. For several reasons, but the main one was Drew vs Grado.

Grado had been a contender for the ICW Title before. Having brilliant title matches with Red Lightning and Mikey Whiplash in the past that had The Garage bouncing but with the greatest of respects to The Garage to repeat that feet in a building about 6 times the size? That would take a match of epic proportions and Drew Galloway vs Grado was it. Drew had mercilessly mocked and dissected Grado’s character in the build up. So much so that the rest of the roster saw fit to try to bring another side out in Grado. Colt Cabana, Damo, Joe Coffey and even Grado’s arch-enemy Renfrew told Grado if he was going to overcome an obstacle like Drew, he was going to have to bring something out in himself that we’d never seen before. Not just a mean streak, something more inspired than that. A mean streak isn’t enough to pin a guy who’s about a foot taller than you. Neither is punching him repeatedly in the baws. What it was going to take was a refusal to quit. A refusal to die. A refusal to give up no matter what Drew chucked at him and with timely hauners from Mick Foley as Red Lightning threatened to once again tip the odds in The Black Labels favour, Grado amidst rapturous scenes in front of 4,000. It felt right. Grado has always had all these amazing attributes, he’s always been the ost charismatic guy on the roster, but he needed a truly selfless baddie to create that wonderful moment and that’s what Drew was on the night. His shift that night was to make the good guy look fucking amazing and it was a shift that led Mick Foley to compare their match to Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes. The highest of all the praise.

The Chosen One Is Chosen Again

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Drew Galloway is a man who delivers on his promises. Even one’s he doesn’t broadcast to the world, he still delivers. When he was released there’s no doubt that in his mind, the goal was to get back to WWE. That is still the pinnacle and when his TNA contract ended and he didn’t re-sign with them, it was fairly clear where he was headed. The thing about it is, he wasn’t just headed back there because he had wrestled there before and they needed someone they knew and trusted to fill a role. He was going back because he had re-invented himself and become the hottest property on the Independent scene. Winning titles from Evolve to ICW and everywhere in between. Drew was going back almost as a form of admittance from WWE that they got it wrong the first time. He wouldn’t be coming back to be comic relief this time. Nor was he coming back to be told “We’ve got nothing for you big man, keep conditioning the fuck out of that hair but, its working for ye” he was coming back to make good on his promises. He was coming back to be the man.

Drew was actually on TV every week before his release the first time but being the dutiful professional he is, he knew what his role was. Even if he knew he was better than that role, he knew he was supposed to lose and if that was the job he was given, that was the job he was going to do. Being comic relief and losing most of the time wasn’t exactly the best place to be hitting a big single legged dropkick that sends the opponent to the other side of the ring as if they’ve been shot out of a cannot. It wasn’t the best place to be hitting a Double Arm DDT that cracks the opponents skull in half. When Drew came back he knew he needed to be in a place where 3MB Drew had never existed because that’s not who he was anymore. He got his head down and got on with the job back then like a true professional does, hoping for something else to come but when it never did he made something else happen on his own. That was the Drew that was coming back to WWE. The Drew they first signed except this time so much bigger, badder and better than he was then. A full 10 years after his first run began, Drew was back but instead of being full of hopes and dreams, he was full of goals. The first of those goals was to conquer NXT.

Drew Mcintyre – NXT Champion, Drew Galloway – ICW Hall Of Famer

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Much like ICW had grown to an unimaginable level in Drew’s absence, something special had happened to NXT while he was gone from WWE. It had gone from being seen as purely developmental, to its own special entity. The emphasis has still always been to make stars for the main roster in the future but the setting had become something else. Almost relief for anyone fatigued at how the main roster was. NXT was where you went for the proper wrestling. The wrestlers, rather than the larger than life SUUUUUPERSTARS on RAW and Smackdown. Even though he was an ex tag team and Intercontinental Champion from his first run, this run had to be something else. Drew had to be something else, so the first run was put to one side and Drew announced himself on NXT as something else. A killer. A baw bootin rambunctious big bastard. He was here for one reason and one reason only. Take the NXT Title and do to NXT what he had done with every promotion he wrestled for on the Indies. Take them to the next level. a few short onths after his debut he ended Bobby Roode’s long title reign and another promise had been delivered.

Unfortunately an injury has derailed him slightly, a torn bicep sustained when he lost the title to Andrade Cien Almas in November last year. In all honesty, bold proclamations of taking NXT to the next level aside, there was only so long he was going to be there anyway. WWE didn’t re-sign Drew to graft on NXT for the rest of his career, he was brought back to be a major player. They had no doubt kept a keen eye on him throughout his time away and only pulled the trigger on bringing him back when it was just right. The injury was hugely unfortunate and delayed his second main roster debut a bit but he was losing his title that night anyway and no doubt would have been main roster bound sooner rather than later so his speech when he was inducted into the ICW Hall Of Fame put to bed any doubts as to what the next goal is.

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When he stoated out at ICW on Monday night to fulfil the role as The Kinky Party’s relationship counsellor, there was nae nonsense. No one telling Drew to go back to NXT. Just love. Appreciation. Wrestling fans are fickle bastards. They’ll tell you that openly. Whatever his perceived sins where back then were gone. A case of not truly appreciating what you had until its gone. Drew was back amongst family again. In an environment where he felt comfortable. The very same venue he made his ICW return and shocked the world. Shocked the live audience to the point people were in tears, near fainting. That was the Drew being celebrated. His induction was unlike any Hall Of Fame induction wrestling has ever seen and he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He forced Jack Jester and Sha Samuels to make up, citing their ability to make people laugh as being an essential part of an ICW that would be a much darker place without them. He shared a laugh with Mark Dallas about how the giraffe he had lined up was no longer needed for his entrance, nor was the wee budgie that had some kind of trick lined up for us.  All because he had to put out one more fire before accepting his induction to the ICW Hall Of Fame and going after the next goal. Chasing the next accomplishment. The big one.

Everyone in ICW and Scottish Wrestling in general will always feel Drew Galloway’s presence. His 3 years back here helped each and every person he worked with reach another level. If he was on awful terms with WWE and never had a chance of going back we’d all gladly accept him back here permanently. Of course. He’s too good and too driven not to. That is not the case however. WWE very much want him and that being the case, we don’t want ye back big man. Not while the big goal is still out there to be reached. There’s never been a Scottish born WWE Champion. Imagine the first one also happened to be a guy who helped build Scottish Wrestling to being what it is today? Whether its Galloway or McIntyre. Good guy or bad guy. WWE or ICW. There’s no doubt the whole of Scottish Wrestling is firmly behind the big man once again as he shoots for the next one. Becoming the WWE Champion.

Thanks to David J.Wilson and eh….the internet I guess, for the photos. 

A Review Of ICW Fear And Loathing AT THE HYDRO

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To run The Hydro once is quite a feat. I mean its big int it. Proper big. Big enough that if you fired some grass in the middle, Nottingham Forest could use it for home games. That’s big time right there. They filmed RAW in there last year for god sake! A real episode of RAW where we had all our Noam’s well and truly Darred. Prince had a gig in there. Even the Mrs Browns Boys team had a wee look before deeming it too small to contain the amount of dribbling numpties that would pay to see that shite but they’re ta cheats so fuck them. To run it once as a Scottish wrestling company is the stuff dreams are made of, but to run it twice? That’s making it. That’s showing it wasn’t some mad fluke, and it didnae just happen because Dallas rubbed a lamp really hard and got three wishes. It happened because a lot of hard work went in to building something that could run a venue like this. Whether you love, hate or are completely indifferent to ICW that has to earn respect. ICW made dreams come true, then a year later they made them come true again. Next year the dream gets bigger. Fuck Hampden, Ibrox and Celtic Park. ICW’s runnin the Nou Camp! 110k, and the rest can watch ootside on a big screen. A wee holiday into the bargain. Nah? Too far??

We opened with Dallas, Sweeney, Toal and Scott Reid introducing us to the show. Dallas giving us a wee history lesson of ICW before introducing none other than Kevin Nash to the ring. Big Nash is the coolest wrestler to ever exist if he’s nothing else, and still stoats about like he has not a care in the world. When you’re 7 feet tall and sexier than a bag of Chris Hemsworths in yer 50s, there’s really not a lot to be worried about. He was buzzin that he could say fuck, and told anyone who fancies getting out of line that they’d get smacked with a steel chair. Anyone unhappy with him being announced as the commissioner for this year’s show surely must have been placated by this declaration because that’s the job in a nutshell really. Anyone starts acting up. Chair to the napper. Job’s a good yin.

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The show blew last year’s out the water, but don’t take my word for it, take my several words about it that will appear below. Or you could watch it on demand I suppose, but who has 3 hours to watch a show when you could spend 5 hours reading a review about it. Aye ok…here’s a link for on demand. Sorry for wasting yer time. https://icwondemand.pivotshare.com/

To those still with us, welcome. First up, everyone’s two favourite things, ladders and Bram!

Aaron Echo vs Kid Fite vs Bram vs Joe Hendry vs Jodie Fleisch vs Ravie Davie vs DCT (Ladder match for the ICW Undisputed Title Number One contendership)

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Ravie Davie secured his place in the match by being the most mental bastard in Glesga on Saturday night and doing a blockbuster off the balcony in The Garage on his way to beating Bram. A lot of people vocally don’t like Bram, and fair enough, if its Bram the wrestler you protest against that’s your opinion, but he’s very good at his job (that’s my opinon). Folk like DCT and Davie have had career shaping moments because of the red hoat fire Bram brings to the ring with him. His evil brings the best version of their good to the forefront. Ravie Davie was last to enter and met by an angered Bram, who at this point had an 0-2 record against a wee guy fae Govan chasing a dream. Raging so he was. They battled about a bit, and Aaron Echo done a beautiful big Undertaker dive, much like the dive him and big Iestyn performed in stereo last year. With that, the ladder match was off and…eh…climbing I guess. Cause ladders.dctjodie

DCT (as seen above having the fuckin time of his life clearly) plonked a ladder on his heid and spun around to take all other competitors out the game, before him and Davie took shots each of jabbing their mutual foe Bram, as Bram spat literal fire in frustration, burning both their eyebrows off in the process. Hunners of low blows followed, including one from the formerly wholesome Joe Hendry. Fully embracing his role as a bad yin and rounding off a succession of fallaway slams with one on a ladder to Kid Fite. Jody Fleisch hit a fucking beautiful moonsault off a massive ladder on to everyone, reminding everyone he’s still stupidly good at wrestling and apparently suicidal moonsaults off big massive ladders.

With bodies scattered about, Fear and Loathing’s most prolific performer saw his plan shoot into action. Lou King Sharp and Krieger emerged to tip the odds in Fito’s favour and got a few digs in before The Purge followed to take them out the equation. The Purge had nae dug in this race so god knows whit their ploblem was but the whole thing not working out sadly meant the end of Kid Fite’s attempt to make his 10th Fear and Loathing his most successful one. A shame, him winning would have been a well deserved feat for a man who has been a big part of ICW as a performer and nurturer of talent for the entirety of its existence but the story of who wins this yin was never meant to be a fairytale. It wasn’t going to be DCT with a career making win on the big stage. Jody Fleisch wasn’t going to do it for the old school warriors who do it better than the whole generation they inspired. Aaron Echo wasn’t going to achieve an accolade that matches his boundless potential. Joe Hendry wasn’t going to take a significant step in becoming a prestigious champ who won’t say fuck or bugger. But maybe it could be Ravie Davie. Maybe he just had the level of mental it would take to out mental the rest. Maybe the boy fae the scheme could achieve that dream. The big one. A title shoat on a big show.

He battled up a big ladder with Bram on a nearby ladder, and decided jumping aff a balcony the night before wasn’t enough. Big spear off the ladder. A move that Edge will tell ye is an entirely regrettable decision on everyone’s part, but still looks mighty impressive.That gave Hendry the opening to win the belt but instead of climbing the ladder, he sent Leyton Buzzard up to get it, only for him to get unceremoniously skanted by Coach Trip. That left DCT with the opening, only to be thwarted by Jody Fleisch and with everyone else taken out, up went Davie for his destiny. Davie for the absolute moment of his career. 2-0 against Bram and the number one contender, thats whits happnin troops! Until it wisnae what was happenin at all troops. It took a turn. Martina and Davie’s cousin Zander burst out to help their man get there. Knowing a lot of good is required to counteract the face melting evil known as Bram.

One of them was up to nae good though. One of them had come to the dark side. Martina took a character defining can and smashed it over Zander’s head, before helping Bram ease a shattered Davie off the top of a ladder, all the way to a table on the outside. Breaking his heart, and probably his entire body in the one go. Bram sauntered up the ladder to grab the briefcase and earn himself a tile shot while his manager Red Lightning celebrated in his own special way. Jumping out with reckless abandon like a Da who’s just watched his team score the winner against their biggest rivals in the last minute. No one does wild celebrations quite like Red. Unbridled jubliation. Fuck-in-YASSSS.

Bram’s yer number one contender. Took Davie’s title shot and his missus in the process. Now despite having a 2-0 singles record against Bram, you want to see Davie smash him more than ever before right? Exactly.

Bird and Boar (w/Iestyn Rees) vs Polo Promotions – ICW Tag Team Title Match

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When Bird and Boar first took the tag titles from Polo Promotions it felt….eerie. There was almost a stunned silence in Newcastle that night, as if folk were looking at eachother wondering if it had actually happened. At that point they were still building a reputation in ICW and that win for the patriarchs of the ICW tag division was so vital in them being where they were heading in to this one. That win made them go from decent contenders you could count on for a good match to ruthless champions. Holding on to the titles for 8 months, growing more menacing and more Welsh as fuck with each passing month. Getting to The Hydro as champions was an achievement all on its own but this wasn’t for them. They weren’t the home team at The Hydro. They played a huge part in this being a brilliant feud and this match alone being a very good wrestling match, but this wasn’t their night. This was every single bit of that frustration that has been bubbling in Jackie and Mark since they lost those titles all those months ago coming out in the form of wrestling moves. Wrestling moves that would be combined in a fashion with one goal in mind. Get what they consider to be their property back, and become the THREE TIME tag team champions. Legends.

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Iestyn Rees was immediately banned from ringside, and while he was getting super raging about it, got hit with the best 3D The Hydro has ever seen 😉 For fans of big Iestyn, its sound. He’d have his moment. Despite the 3D start, it was Bird and Boar who dominated early. Isolating Mark Coffey and scudding him with all sorts of forearms. That’s proved an effective tactic, as they’ve clearly recognised the only guy who can stop Mark Coffey is two guys. They fired in with all that lovely double team stuff they do, Bird whipping Boar into the corner in the former of a cannonball before Jackie got in to take the Welshies to Scooplex City. More scoops than that Celtic Christmas party where Bobby Petta got the jail for flahsin a waitress in Jumpin Jaks. He followed the scoops up with a gorgeous bridging Northern Lights suplex, before the boaysies combined for a double back suplex. Poetry in best pal tag team motion. In about it.

Coffey had Bird and Boar where he wanted them as he unleashed mad jabs and chops, but you don’t get to be champions for the better part of a year without being a bit good. They hit one of the best double team moves out there today in Mrs Pattersons Revenge, a move that has put away everyone who’s taken it before but not the Polos. Not on this night. Up went Coffey’s shoulder to everyones astonishment, and the game continued. Next goal wins. They all jabbed, chopped and forearmed each other daft, before Bird and Boar got on top again. This time when Bird sent boar into the corner towards Polo, Jackie moved and the opening was there. Polo has the Rings of Saturn locked in on Bird but had spotted Boar going up top to break it up and moved just in time to see Boar splash Bird. It was time. The Old Man Of Hoy was hit moments later and your favourite, ma favourite, evdy’s favourite tag team had scooped up the gold for a third time.

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Iestyn Rees didn’t give them even a millisecond to enjoy it though. Out he came to leather the champs like a big greetin faced baby because his besties couldn’t get it done without his statuesque hauners. Big Kev told yees earlier he wasn’t having it and out he came to drive that point home by smacking fire out of big Iestyn and sending him packing before he handed Jackie and Mark their titles at long last. Re-united and it feels so goooood. Mark Coffey’s face when Kevin Nash put that belt in his hands was one of the purest most heart warming things I’ve ever seen in wrestling so it was. He was in awe of both the achievement and of the sexy big legend raising him and his best pals hand. A beautiful way to end a tremendous feud. If it is indeed the end. What else is there for Bird and Boar other than coming back for another shot? They’ve been the champs for so long, they’ll not like the feeling of walking in to the next show without the shiny belts but for now and maybe forever, they are back where they belong. Round the waists of one of Europe’s beat tag teams. 589 combined days as champions and counting. The team who beat the legendary Dudley Boyz with a simple scoop slam. The most effective, not to mention devastatingly handsome best pal tag team on this planet we call earth. Polo Promotions.

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Kenny Williams vs Rey Mysterio Jr

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Wee Rey is some boy int he. Built like a brick shithouse these days yet still flies about the ring like he’s that skinny wee guy Kevin Nash chucked like like a scrucnhed up Greggs wrapper. Kenny Williams had to wait a while for the wee legend, as he allowed his music to play for about 15 minutes while he finished off his pre match ritual of a good long shite while smoking a cigar. When Rey eventually arrived to a chorus of “where the fuckin hell were you” much to his rampant confusuon, it was high octane good shit. Blink and you’ll miss it type stuff. Fast and Furious 47 – The Wan Wae The Aw The Back Elba’s. The wan where the bollocks continued his legacy on the big stage. Kenny is undefeated at Fear and Loathing ye see. An Undertaker-esque streak in the making here. Although if he makes it to 21-0 Brock Lesnar will probably be about 60 odds and maybe not the streakbuster he once was. To Kenny’s great relief I’m sure, although a 60 year old Brock Lesnar could probably still chuck a cruiserweight over his napper without breaking a sweat.

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They dived about a bit before Rey teased the 619 (most commonly pronounced as the six hunner n nineteen) on both sides of the ring. He followed that up with a baseball slide into a splash on the outside which was lovely stuff. Backed that up with one of the classics in the form of the auld slingshot legdrop. Rey isn’t what he once was, but he’s adapted to his age and more muscular frame and still churns out a helluva wrestling match when he wants to let me tell ye. Thankfully for us this was one of those times he really wanted to. The A-Game was brought and Kenny would have to bring the bollocks or eh…be the bollocks. Something related to bollocks is the point here. He’s The Bollocks, have you heard?

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Kenny got going with a back elbow on the apron, before hitting a pair of crackin dives. The biggest compliment you could pay Kenny is that he never looked out-of-place in there with arguably the greatest to ever wrestle in his style and that’s a nice thing. A cool thing. A thing made even cooler when Rey blocked Kenny’s attempts at his own move, before he hit a perfect 619, followed by a frog splash only for Kenny to roll through and sneak the pin.

If its not the moment of his career to date, it has to at least be the biggest name he’s pinned for the uno, dos, tres. Love a wee roll through finish as well. Take the opponents momentum and use it against him. Tidy stuff. The stunned reaction he had when he won was similar to the one he had when he first beat BT Gunn a couple of years ago and that’s some neat continuity right there. He understands the level of talent he needs to beat to be where he wants to be and he’s out to prove he’s the man for that big occasion. He’ll lose sometimes but he’s never anything less than game for the next fight when he does. This could be a win that propels him to new heights and he never did get that rematch with BT Gunn for the Zero-G. Might be time to cash that one in considering the extra shinies BT has added to his collection lately eh.

Chris Renfrew vs Stevie Boy vs Jimmy Havoc vs Mikey Whiplash – King Of Insanity Match

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Murder and suicide are two things that quite often go hand in hand. A person can be so racked with guilt by a murder they’ve just committed that they decide the only escape is to take their own life. Sometimes its pre-meditated in an attempt to avoid the jail for a murder. Basically like having a straight choice between hell and the jail and choosing hell. When four people try to murder each other and kill themselves all at the one time, it’s not called a murder/suicide though. When its four people, it’s called the King Of Insanity match. I assume the winner is anyone who has any semblance of blood in their body by the time it’s over. The winner is anyone who hasn’t gone blind. The winner is anyone who can still feel all their extremities when it’s all said and done. The winner probably won’t feel like a winner, but they might not be dead, and that in itself is some sort of victory when you step into something like this. All four of these man really hate each other in some sort of way, and there was cinder-blocks in the ring, so we were at least seeing someone’s skull being cracked in half and the other three men having a kick about with his brain. Mikey Whiplash entered in a coffin, perhaps a precursor for how he and the other three men in this match would be leaving the ring. Deid.

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People look down their noses at this style of wrestling but when its done correctly its stupidly engaging. This wasn’t just done correctly, it was done in such a fashion that it arguably stole the show. It certainly was at least on par with a wonderful main event. Even if it’s not your cup of tea, if you weren’t drawn in by this, there’s no hope. Beautiful, poetic violence isn’t for you. They started out jabbing fuck out each other in what proved to be the mildest pain any of them would feel over the course of the night. You ever been punched in the face and been able to describe the pain as mild? Exactly. Stevie was sent into a barbed wire chair and bust open early doors before Renfrew and Havoc dodged a slingshot crossbody from Whiplash and simultaneously called him a wanker. Stevie came crashing down on all of them, before subjecting Renfrew to what would prove to be only the third sorest barbed wire based hit he’s take on the night when he landed on a barbed wire board after a superkick from Stevie. Socarpetmehow all 4 of them got a hold of staple guns and blocked each other’s finishers by…well, stapling each other to fuck. Did you not see where that one was going naw? Havoc then started giving out paper cuts and it was one of those rare times that the pain you see in wrestling is actually something you can relate to as a fan. Paper cuts are the bump we’ve all taken, and the bump none of us would thank you to take again…brotherrr.

Renfrew impaled Whiplash on a cross lined with carpet tacks. I assume he needed all of the skin on Whiplash’s back for some kind of winter duvet for a serial killer and that was the quickest way to get it. Stevie hit a coast to coast via a bin and Renfrew’s face, before Havoc put him through a table lined with barbed wire and wee liquid capsules of the drug they use to put elephants to sleep. Whiplash then pulled out a barbed wire board covered in some of the streamers the fans chucked in the ring for the Polo Promotions match, proceeded to wipe his arse with them, before Renfew hit him with a Death Valley Driver on to the board and the fucking thing would not yield. The only thing more painful looking then being put through a barbed wire board is being launched at one and the fucking thing refusing to break. Like being whipped into the ropes, but instead of ropes its stanley blades, and instead of bouncing off, your back gets cut up to fuck…because stanley blades.

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Thumbtacks got involved soon after that, because is it really a deathmatch if at least one person involved disnae end up with enough holes in their back for a dot to dot? A superplex from Renfrew sent Whiplash straight to the tacks not long after he’d T-Virus’d mad Jokey who had taken leave of her senses and actually got herself involved in what at this point you could only assume was some form of 4 way suicide pact. Havoc then took everyone’s finisher in some kind of brutal way, yet he wouldn’t die. A T-Virus on fuckin concrete blocks didnt kill him. You could tuck a live grenade up this cunts arse and he’d probably stand up and smile at you, while he scoops up his insides and eats them. The man’s not what you’d call “stable”. Stevie Boy had somehow hatched a plan amongst all these near death experiences. He spoke to god when Havoc put him through a table earlier in the night and god told him, Stevie my son, to win the prize you must kill the other guys. And kill them he did.

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First up was Renfrew. Backdropped through a barbed wire board on the stage and all the way through the stage. While this was happening Havoc had Whiplash covered and Stevie came bursting down, colouring the walkway with about a pint and a half of his blood before he took the next one out. Havoc duct taped to the bottom rope. Screaming at folk to give him a knife, or set a German Shephard on his to chew his hands off. Anything to get free. He would never get free though, and with a ladder set up with a table lurking below, Stevie hit the most destructive Destroyer of his, or anyone’s career. Off the ladder, through the table, for a truly brutal victory. 

Hardcore stuff gets a bad rap sometimes but like every form of wrestling out there, when it’s executed well it has the capacity to be fucking unreal. If it’s not for you, that’s sound. Each to their own in wrestling and indeed life in general, but we all love this and its important not to close your mind off to different kinds of wrestling. It’s important that the I in ICW still stands for something and if matches likes this are commonplace folk wont soon forget what the I stands for. Even if there’s not much of a roster left to take part in said matches since they often lead to multiple casualties. Plus what a fucking night for Stevie Boy. This wasn’t just him winning a match, it was him getting the better of three of the maddest bastards in British Wrestling at the one time. He looked every bit the top guy he is well on the way to becoming and having this win under his belt could be the thing that takes him from the next big thing to the main man right now. The 2017 King Of Insanity is coming for belts. Aw the fuckin belts. Clearly he’ll do absolutely anything required of him to make the belts his, so if you’ve got a belt, locks yer doors. Board up the windaes. 1,2….Stevie’s coming for you.

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Kay Lee Ray vs Kasey vs Viper – ICW Women’s Title Match inside a steel cage

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With Carmel as special guest enforcer we would see the never-ending story continue. Kay Lee Ray and Carmel are STILL fighting each other and one of them atually retired. That’s a story that truly stands the test of time. When one of them dies, you’re gonnae see segments with the other one backstage covered in muck, aiming right hooks at a coffin they just dug up. Kay Lee might never have a rival quite like Carmel but Viper and Kasey are proving to be just as troublesome in the sense that they keep trying, and occasionally succeeding in taking her belt. So much so that the only way to properly settle it is chucking the three of them in a cage and telling them to have at it. Kay Lee Ray kicked things off by superkicking the taste of Carmel’s gub and we were off. Well not quite. All three women had to be in the cage for the match to officially kick off, and upon seeing that superkick out came Kasey and Viper. Making the total count of wrestlers in the ring a cool 0.

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Kay Lee chucked Viper in the ring and locked Kasey out. A smart strategy, eliminating the chaotic element of a three way dance for a short while to focus on murdering one foe, but still. That made the wrestler in the ring tally stand at 2. A full one wrestlers short of the required amount. klrFinally Kasey climbed her way in and the bell rang. All sorts of madness ensued. Viper chucked Kay Lee like a lawn-dart into Kasey in the corner. Before they all got a shot each of their finishers. Viper Drivers, Killing Jokes and of course Gory Bombs for days. It was a cracking scrap when it got going as we watched all three exchange brutal jabs before those pesky Kings Of Catch got involved! In they came to literally pull Kay Lee towards her escape, but they were subjected to a brutal double baw hit at the hands of Kasey. Low blows neutralise foes as they (probably dont) say. All 5 folk in the ring then combined for a super charged tower of doom, before Viper looked to be free and clear to climb out, only to patch that winning the match patter in favour of nailing a topper for a crossbody off the cage.

Viper’s momentum was derailed not long after that by Kay Lee Ray heidbutting her through a table. Seen a lot of things in the wrestling but never someone get heidbutted through a table. It’s always good when something familiar breeds something entirely unfamiliar eh. Especially when it involves folk going through tables and heidbutts. With Viper out the game and Kasey down, up went Kay Lee to retain and continue her reign as the top burd, but Kasey is a different sort of animal now. Kasey went from ring crew on this show last year, to bearer of shiny belts on it this year. An amazing turnaround and one that happened because she worked her arse off to make it happen. Two wins over Kay Lee in consecutive nights, a main event of a Garage show in a losing effort to Kay Lee a few months ago and now a career defining feat, beating two of the top women’s wrestlers in the fuckin world in the one match. She tied Kay Lee’s legs up in the cage before fending off Aspen Faith to drop to the floor. Becoming the two time ICW Women’s Champion.

Amazing what can be done in the space of a year if you graft at it. From ring crew to winning a fucking steel cage match at The Hydro to become a two time Women’s Champion is remarkable stuff from Kasey, and her performances merit all the success she’s enjoying right now. To step in with two of the finest female wrestlers in the world and not look out of place is a feat in itself. All three adapted to the cage like they were auld pro’s at it, diving aff it and into it with reckless abandon.  Jimmy Snuka style without the murder. She said it’s a one night only thing but having Carmel back permanently would be a buzz. She added something to the match without detracting from the three women in it. Maybe a wee shot in the cage might persuade her to come back for another wee visit. I mean look how fun it looks, if your idea of fun is getting chucked in and around a literal death trap. As for Kay Lee and Viper I hope they’re still with us for years to come but they’re on the radar of the big boys so hopefully their defeat doesn’t mean they’re leaving us anaw. Its nice to see talented folk make career progression and that, but stop stealing ma favourite wrestlers ya bastards! Or at least let Noam visit every time ye sign someone. Fair is fair.

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Zack Gibson vs Rob Van Dam Vs Lionheart

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This was supposed to be Lionheart’s redemption, in there with one of his personal heroes, ready for the big win on the big show, two years after he’d been told there really wasn’t a lot of room for him on the big show. Maybe his time for the big occasion had past. He said fuck that, you’re wrong. Fuck you, am right. Shut yer mooth and let me frog splash the worlds greatest frog splasher. Then came stupit big brilliant baddie Zack Gibson with all the patter. Giving nothing beginning to resemble a fuck about Lionheart, ICW or even Rob Van Dam. It’s about making an impression for him, and the only way to do that is being a factor on the big show. He took to the mic to tell us all exactly why we were shite and he was better, and why we’d SOOOOOON be recognising those things as facts, before a bit of the wrestling broke out.

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Gibson was subjected to a two-man attack at the start. Taking a superkick off Lionheart and a mad spinny legdrop off RvD to kick it off. That’s the problem with being the baddest baddie on badstreet and being in there with a pair of goodies. Even with Lionheart eternally being known as a fanny, their combined good still outweighed his bad. Gibson would have his moments though. Not content with being a superb villain, he’s fucking great at wrestling into the bargain. Hitting a beauty of a leaping codebreaker on RvD before nailing Lionheart with a suicide dive, and jumping back in to lock in Shankly’s Gates on Van Dam. Shortly after that he was eliminated and that was the only lowlight of the show for me. Not enough Gibson. Rob Van Dam hit the 5 star Frog Splash to put Gibson down for 3, but it was Lionheart who got the pin and that set us up for the originally scheduled match before Gibson forced his way into it. The Whole Fuckin Fanny looking to open up and swallow The Whole Fuckin Show.

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RVD hit a whole selection of spinny kicks, followed by a bit of rolling thunder. Its good when wrestling happens from all sorts of mad angles eh. Thats why RVD will always be a personal favourite and why it was brilliant just to see him doing his thing at all. He does his thing differently from the way everyone else does it and that’s just a fuckload of fun to watch. Even when it’s getting on a bit, it’s still cracking. Lionheart looked focused as fuck despite taking all of the RVD back catalogue. The hits kept on coming, including the multi platinum selling split legged moonsault, until Hearto hit a topper of a DDT followed by his very own Frog Splash to secure a big time win. 

I liked the match, but as an unashamed big time RvD fan it was never likely to be a let down. Lionheart was right up for it and looked at his very best throughout. He’s taken a lot of stick, called a fanny by the majority of crowds up and down the UK, but when he turns it on there’s few better than him in the UK. He deserved his moment and you have to wonder where this places him now. Surely he must be looking at that world title. Two years after being told he was expendable, what better way to show them you aren’t than by holding all the gold. He looks like he’s having the absolute time of his life when he’s in that ring right now and more often than not when someone gives off that vibe, their work is of the very highest standard because that’s what its all about int it. Its supposed to be fun. Wrestling is a big daft patomime and if you lose sight of that it becomes like any other job. Shite.

The Kinky Party vs The Kings Of Catch

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Speaking of shite. The dirtiest match in wrestling history literally started with a shite. Talk about living up its billing eh. The shite didn’t take place in the ring thankfully, but in The Kinky Party’s dressing room (its not as bad as ye think right) as Sha was caught bawdeep in The Metro while finishing off his traditional pre match jobby, when the boaysies had a chap at the door telling them the match was about to start. Jester made time to give Prince a wee kiss as they hoofed it to the ring for a wrestle against the King Of Catch. If this match was announced a couple of months back you’d be like “Hydro? whit?” but both teams have been brilliant in the run up to the show. The Kings Of Catch were always very good at the wrestling and Girvan arguably stole the show at The Hydro last year, but their alliance with Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray has taken them up a level as a tag team. They’ve proper thrown themselves into it and something that might not have worked has instead elevated everyone involved. The same could be said for The Kinky Party, who have been cracking entertainment since their unlikely alliance began after Shug’s House Party. The dynamic has brought the best out in both character wise and has brought some of the funniest segments ICW has had in recent years. This match proved that it wasn’t just a big laugh though. They focused up and looked every bit the vastly experienced duo that they are. jester

The two teams battled up the ramp a bit, The Kings seemingly raging about being kept waiting by the Kinky Party’s mad shenanigans. Sha bust out the Fatsault (he calls it that, am no body shaming awrite, big is beautiful, everyone is beautiful) early on, before Jester went up top and hit a once in a lifetime cannonball captured spectacularly by David J.Wilson. All yer mad high flying Will Ospreay shit insnae usually Jester’s bag, but its The Hydro, and if there’s ever a time to jump on folk as if you’re sitting on a big comfortable armchair in mid-air, its when you’re wrestling at The Hydro. The Kings were in about some of that slick double team patter they’re good at, with The Kinkys busting out the double elbow drop as a retort. Sha took a beauty of a double superkick from Girvan and Faith, before that big dildo ominously got involved. Where does Jester even get that from these days. Not seen him carry it to the ring in ages. It’s like Aladdin summoning the genie by rubbing a lamp, but instead of rubbing a lamp, he rubs his or someone elses (with consent of course, we’re no starting a scandal here) fun parts.

The Kings were looking good for the win after Girvan hit that lovely rolling neckbreaker followed by a moonsault from Aspen but The Kinky Party are for real. They’re no JUST here to get steamin and get in situations that gives Sha that wide eyed “whit the fuck have I got myself into here?” look. Sometimes its about racking up W’s before ye get mad wae it and get one or both nipples pierced, and The Kinky Party done just that. Blocking The Kings Attempt at The Apter Burner before hitting a Spike Tombstone of their own for the win. 

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They celebrated with a bit of crowdsurfing as ye do. Cunts in the crowd need to stop dropping Sha but. I mean he’s nae crusierweight but a team of grown adults should be able to support his weight surely. Don’t be feart. He (probably) doesn’t bite. The Wee Man came out before the match and said he’d be offering his services to the winners so who knows where that’ll go. He’ll probably be subject to some form of initiation in a dungeon where Sha bails out early because he got spooked and took a mannequin a square go for looking at him funny. A hugely entertaining match that could easily have been forgettable considering all the good shit on the show. The fact that there was two straight up tag matches on the show and both were excellent shows you how good the tag division is right now. Kinky Party forever and ever but. For a team that came together without much of a plan, they’ve been tremendous entertainment and have been a big factor in the fun being injected back into ICW this year.

Joe Coffey vs BT Gunn – ICW Undisputed Title Match

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Its cool seeing the likes of Kurt Angle and Rey Mysterio in ICW. Even cooler to see homegrown guys chalk up career defining wins over them when they do pay a visit. Matching up with Angle and beating him in the main event last year felt like the culmination of a lot of hard work for Joe Coffey and that night will live with him for his whole career, but this was something else. This was two of the guys who have been at the absolute heart of this company as its grown. Integral every single step of the way. It’s only right that on the biggest night of the year, its them who have pride of place at the very top of the card. The two champions and two standout wrestlers of the past 4 or 5 years, Joe Coffey and BT Gunn. What a stoater of a battle it was when it got going as well. For me anyway, a standard only those two could produce on that stage.

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They blocked each others finishers right at the start as both looked to catch the other cold. Sometimes its not good to land a big shot early on right enough. Just ask the Celtic team when they went a goal up in Paris the other week. Sometimes its better to bide your time when faced with a big bastard devil dug instead of sticking a thumb in its eye right away. Or the devil dug might just eat ye. BT whipped out a succession of tit melting chops, before both men locked in their signature submission moves  with both making it to the ropes to force a break. It was like watching two heavyweight boxers feel each other out. Giving each other warnings before the telling blows really start to land. They scrapped a bit on the outside, Joe easing BT into the crowd before hitting a big running dive. As it was under Save Pro Wrestling rules, the referee was counting them out but Joe wrote that rulebook mate. He kens it inside out. Breaking the count before the two of them leathered each other all the way to a second count of 9, which saw them sprint back into the ring before continuing to wail on each other. BT hit a pouncing facebuster before Joe got the upper hand, forcing BT into the corner and hitting mad splashes. Nothing would work. Nothing was putting BT Gunn down. He entered the Hydro with both his alter ego’s at either side of him, but this BT Gunn almost felt like all three personas rolled in to one frightening ball. A ball that’s heavy good at the wrestling.

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BT hit a codebreaker off the top, before someone made the ill advised devision to make Big Sexy put down his beer and sort some dafties out. That someone was Joe Coffey, after BT mistakenly hit referee Sean McLaughlin with the Gunnshot, Joe saw an opening and after flooring BT with a good old fashioned headbutt, he urged Red Lightning (who was fuckin brilliant on commentary throughout the match btw) to chuck him a steel chair. Primed and ready to knock BT out, big Nash wasn’t having it. For all the cunt’s that were indifferent and even booed him being announced, I get it right, but he was every bit the authority figure you need yer commissioner to be in that situation. An absolute giant who commands respect. It takes a brave or perhaps a really fuckin stupit man to try to rebel against a guy that size, but god bless Joe for having a swing eh. It widnae be me mate, but you decided to go for it and that’s admirable in a strange way. After Nash patching Joe’s offer for a too sweet, Joe cracked him full force with the chair originally intended for BT. The look Nash shot him told Joe it wasn’t his brightest idea, but the whole saga gave BT a chance to get up and nail Joe with a superkick, before accepting Nash’s offer of a Too Sweet. A lovely moment before BT picked up the chair now complete with a big Diesel shaped dent in it to swing it at Joe. Joe ducked and hit the first of several discus clotheslines as Thomas Kearins entered the fray to count two.

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BT’s finisher the TechnoDrome DDT has a 100% success rate in ICW and is the only move that’s earned anyone a pinfall victory over Joe this year, so Joe kicking out of that told the story of what it was going to take to keep either of these mad bastards down for a three. So many lariats. BT went for the Gunnshot and Joe caught him German Suplex style. It was all happening let me tell ye. Joe was sick and fuckin tired of Thomas Kearins only counting to two, so tired he hit HIM with a German as well, and that left us with precisely nae refs. Sean McLaughlin was either deid at this point or he’d rolled under the ring to play Candy Crush on his phone, but either way, Red Lightning dragged him back in and literally counted with his cold deid hand only for BT to get the shoulder up again. Not tonight Joe ma man. Moose might have fallen. Keith Lee was put down for the 1,2,3. Every challenger with a set of baws and a set of boots has fallen at the feet of the Iron King but for once on the big stage, this was not to be his night.

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The lights went out and suddenly there was three BT Gunns in the ring. I dunno if it counts as three superkicks or one big massive one but either way, Joe took three crackin kicks to the jaw before BT hit all the classics. Gunnshot, that Technodrome Joe kicked out off, followed by a crossface that seemed like it was getting the job done. Joe looked on the cusp of tapping but Rudo isnae just a manager. He’s not just a world class agent. He’s a get out of jail free card in a fetching grey suit. If Joe was drowning the bottom rope was his lifeboat and Red pushed it towards him, urging him to fight to keep that World Title, but there was nae fight left and after Red was superkicked out of the equation by BT 2 and BT 3, Joe could fight no more and he tapped out. BT Gunn securing the only title that’s eluded him as both his ICW Title reigns came before it was a World Title. Every fuckin honour you could think of has been BT Gunns at one point and its nice to see someone who for a long time was criminally underrated across the UK get the recognition he richly deserves. Both of them deserved that platform and produced a match well worth the spot it had. 

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Joe has hinted that this is the end of the road for him in ICW for now and if that’s the case, I think folk will only truly start to appreciate how good he is in his absence. No matter where he was on the card or what he was given to work with, the level of performance has never wavered and he done an admirable job as champion. Decisively beating everyone chucked in his path which have him an air of infallibility that made BT’s win over him even more significant. It’s all well and good beating a champion, but to beat one who’s been a real life superhero for years is another thing altogether. A wonderful feat and one that will hopefully be just a wee chapter in both of their stories. I sincerely hope if Joe is done its temporary and he’s just recharging the auld batteries, but if that’s really it and he’s off to pastures new, its been an absolute pleasure to see him do his thing to such a brilliant standard for so many years. From the best of 5 with Noam Dar, to the thankless struggle to get to the mountain top, all the way to a very strong title reign. BT has big boots to fill but something tells me he has more than enough to do the job. All the goodies jumped in the ring to celebrate with the new champ as they ended the Hydro the same way France 98 had ended the night before. In a mad taps aff party. Tits oot for the Hydro.

Overall a top quality show. From top to bottom a better show than the year before, and when it comes to running a venue the size of The Hydro, improvement is all ye can ask for. The crowd might have been a bit down from the previous year, but the quality of the show and ICW shows in general this year would say it wont be down again next year. Considering the stars that ICW have lost over the past year, to still get 4,000 folk to a British Wrestling show is a massive achievement. These mad bastards are only getting started.

Big thank you to David J Wilson as usual for the liberal use of his wonderful photos, and of course Warrior Fight Photography. 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 

shugaxisofevil

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.