Wrestling And Depression Part Deux

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I first wrote about depression around 2 or 3 years ago now. Excuse the ballpark figure, but who can be arsed actually fact checking when it involves such strenuous activity as typing a word into a search bar. Point is, it was a while ago now. That first post was to be perfectly honest a liberating experience. To have so many people not only appreciate the most difficult words I’d ever managed to string together somewhat coherently, but to tell me the words helped THEIR struggle and they saw some comfort in reading about someone experiencing similar things that they do on a day to day to basis trying to conquer this beast once and for all, it was the most surprising and rewarding thing I’ve ever stumbled into. Not to mention the wee added bonus that writing about it became therapeutic and helpful to my own battle. We’re all winning out of this one guys. I planned to write a book about this soul sucking affliction and I still plan to/have written bits and pieces but how can anyone who’s such a horrendous, fucked up mess of a human do a thing like that? Write a book. Please. Try sorting out the sorry pile of humanity that looks back at ye in the mirror first eh. Having ambitions is silly. Goals are for other people. Better people. People who have it together. People who know who and what they are. Not you, with the apprehension and the sweat rapidly racing off your forehead like its late for getting in some other poor cunt’s eyes. Not you constantly making excuses to stay in your own wee safe haven. Away from them. Away from the eyes, and the judgement. Away from anything that isn’t perfectly still.

The thing about mental illness I’ve learned above all other things is that it’s a sneaky wee bastard so it is. Let your guard down to it and it’ll eat you alive. Stop doing the things that make it better and guess what? It’ll get fucking worse won’t it. Of course it will. Self explanatory. Don’t deviate from a path that brought success. Don’t take your eyes off the ball, or the ball becomes a medicine ball dipped in concrete heading right between your eyes, taking your head off your shoulders. And there lies the problem with being involved in something that relies on your brain being functional, creative and open. When I first started writing about pro wrestling it consumed me with fuck all but pure joy. Fuck all but worry free escape. Who gives a flying fuck who says what about it, its only words. The logical side of the brain can tell you that sunny shit all day long. You could even give someone a job following you about whispering “You’re fuckin amazin, and yer dick is perhaps the most aesthetically pleasing one ever conceived” in your ear every 5 seconds and it still wouldn’t work. You’d just be a mentally ill cunt with a wet ear listening to the even louder voice in your head telling you its not possible. You can’t do it, you’re the guy who had a panic attack in Central Station and had to get the bus home quietly in angst soaked tears because getting a train to a college course that was supposed to put you on the path to journalistic superstardom was too much that day. You’re the guy who pursued fuck all in a romantic sense for the best part of 10 year because the image that looked back at you in the mirror was sad, specky and definitely dying alone. Why even bother trying. Why.

I guess what I’m trying to articulate is that suffering from anxiety and depression is like a constant internal battle. For a while the side telling me I was worthless and good for fuck all except crustin up socks won every single day. A landslide in favour of fuck all. Sit and do nothing. Watch a TV series. Watch another one. Drink a beer alone. Drink 12 beers and a half bottle of vodka alone. Vomit up 12 beers and a half bottle of vodka alone. For fuck’s sake don’t let your brain wake up and realise what you’re trying to do to it. I wanted my brain to die. I wanted it numb. Having no thoughts other than how I’d be spending the next hour of that present misery ridden day. When I started writing regularly for the first time since I was at school the other side starting grabbing the odd unlikely win. The side that saw the good shit. The side that thought a life of eternal solitude wasn’t a guarantee. Don’t get me wrong, even the more positive side still thought that one was likely, but at least I was open again. I had purpose, and felt like something I was doing mattered and I honestly had no expectations from it at all. Everything was a bonus. Everything felt so very “yasss”. A wrestler agreed to an interview? Fuckin yass. Many wrestlers agree to interviews? Fuckin yass, plus yaldi, plus OOOH WEE. A wrestler agrees to a sit down interview? Fuckin yass plus yaldi, plus OOH WEE, plus OH MY MY, WHAT A GUY. Mick Foley DM’s you at 1am saying he really liked that piece you linked him to about ICW and that he was a big fan of your style. Fuckin…are you……is this….a joke? HOW? WHAT? WHY? REALLY??? NO WAY. Naw….naw fuck off mate. Naw.

You catch the drift there, point is, it was fucking emotion I’ve never really felt before. Mick Foley is my all time hero in wrestling and up there with my auld man, and former Celtic playmaker Lubomir Moravcik when it comes to my heroes in life generally. There’s no one I looked up to as a young yin quite like Mick Foley. Maybe its because I grew up overweight and he didn’t have the chiselled abs like the rest of the spandexed bruisers I loved watching batter lumps out each other. Maybe it was because his character tore his hair clean out his skull and I felt like doing the same to mine (figuratively like, I was bald as fuck from ages 15 to 25). Maybe it was because up against all kinda of evil he still had a soft side. Almost a innocence that remained it tact no matter how many things lined with thumbtacks got smashed off his skull. No matter how many times a “game” wielded a sledgehammer at him. No matter how many times an Undertaker actually tried all he could to put Mick Foley in the ground for good. He never relented. I love John Cena more than most, but as far as I’m concerned he’s borrowing “Never give up” from a man who literally didn’t seem to know how.

I don’t know if this deep seeded desire to never give in was driven by the voices in his head telling him HE couldn’t do it, but the fact is something kept telling Mick Foley to get up and that resonated with me. I remember staying up till 4-5am to watch the 2000 Royal Rumble, when I was at an age where staying up till that time was actually not allowed as opposed to an ill advised decision I make regularly as an adult. WWE had recently secured a deal with terrestrial TV station (purely used that word cause typing channel twice in a row wis hurtin ma brain) Channel 4, meaning the Royal Rumble could be watched without me having to beg my mum n dad to shell out 15 quid for the PPV on cable. Mick Foley under his perhaps most fabled Cactus Jack guise would challenge Triple H for the WWE Title that night and honestly, as much as the death-matches with Terry Funk and the one where he was tossed from 30 feet in the air through a table probably brought him closer to his maker than any other contest, something about this one felt more brutal. The punishment he took that night just seemed to mean more for some reason, because in my naive little brain I was CONVINCED he was taking that title from the man attached to a nose known as Triple H. Good would triumph over evil for once. Violence for the sheer fun of being violent would triumph over huge nosed violence for personal gain. Sitting on the edge of my seat quite literally watching that, and the heartbreak that came with Foley’s loss to The Rock at that same event the year before after the most sickening and probably slightly illegal attack with a steel chair I’ve ever seen are two of the most prominent and important memories I have from growing up watching wrestling. Seems weird that two of the moments I remember more than most are two high profile “failures” but it felt good to believe in someone and be lost in those moments so much that it almost felt like YOU were there. That time period solidified Foley’s role as my hero, the gift (and perhaps the curse) he gave me in 2015 was a different kind of heroism.

I think the most troubling aspect of being validated by my all time hero was the fact that I suffer from mental illness at all. If I didn’t, such a beautiful joyful thing could never have been turned into a negative but almost instantly when I read Mick Foley’s first DM to me I wondered what made me worthy of that? I mean think about it for a second, of all the wrestlers who have gone on to write books, Mick Foley is by quite a distance the most esteemed as an author and has gone on to write several more critically acclaimed books. He has a talent for this very thing I’m doing right now. To have him tell me I was talented at a thing he’s very talented at himself was just incredibly surreal. To have him vow to share my work on social media platforms where literally millions of people follow him was almost too much. I felt mostly great about it all, but the doubts were still there. The doubts that it was all a fluke, and maybe if I hadn’t written about a promotion he was about to appear for, he wouldn’t have read it at all. Truth be told that’s probably the case as he likely gets linked to all sorts every day in his social media life. The perils of being a famous man on social media. I wondered why it was right that social media connecting us all made it so easy for me to make an impression on a man who had to do a lot more to make an impression on me all those years ago. All I did was include his handle in a tweet to get him to notice me, when he nearly fuckin died trying to entertain me.

When I first started writing I had absolutely no expectations for it, but the all-time, never to be reached but keep shooting for it anyway goal was to interview wrestling people. That was it really. I’ve always been interested in stories more than any kind of critical evaluation when it comes to wrestling, so when folk occasionally pull me for not being critical enough it kinda baffles me. I’m not in an informed enough position to fire a star rating at you or tell you what you done wrong in a match and I never will be. Its a role I’ve never been comfortable with in the slightest, but telling someones story? I’m all in for that. Getting the chance to sit next to people you admire and have them give you the time of day enough to really get something good out there is a buzz I’ve never come close to doing anything else “professionally” and when I started doing it, that unattainable goal was sitting next to the man I admired the most in wrestling and getting to pick his brain a wee bit. So I figured “fuck it”. He messaged me after all. He’s in the country for ICW in a few weeks. Why not just ask. What harm can come of asking? Well, him saying no, but apart from that? A no can only kill the self esteem after all, the human shell would still remain. BUT HE FUCKIN SAID YES. Cutting a long story very slightly shorter, he said if he had the time he would do an interview with me and a month or so later there I was. Sitting next to Mick fuckin Foley with a dictaphone and my actual phone just in case the dictaphone fucked up, asking him questions. Interviewing Mick fuckin Foley. Fuck.

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It went by in a 15 minute literary heart attack. A blur. Somehow I was coherent. Somehow I asked questions that mattered to me and mattered to him. Besides transcribing it the day after I haven’t actually ever listened to it back, but a recording exists of me interviewing Mick Foley. That’s real and it fuckin scared the living shite out of my barely functional brain. How did we manage that one? The interview happened after a Micks standup show the night after ICW at the SECC, and he left for Manchester right after, with everyone else still at the venue. I remember standing outside waiting for a taxi when Billy Kirkwood pulled up on his way out asking if I was ok for a lift, and as soon as he pulled away a few tears ran down my cheek. I don’t know what specific feelings were attached to those tears at the time, but christ, around 2011-2012 I didn’t see a future for myself at all. In life. The only thing preventing multiple suicide attempts was cowardice and a reluctance to leave my loved ones with a similar pain to the one I felt every day just from being alive. The best future I seen for myself was somehow getting some kind of IT job as far away from the world as possible and becoming one of those middle aged guys with a shit tonne of money cause they spent their 20s and 30s hidden away from the world getting really invested in weird Japanese porn. The point is, to go from that daily torment to standing outside The Stand in Glasgow after having a dream literally come true, and being able to tell my long term partner about it later carried a significance that can’t be summed up properly with words. My self worth had never been higher in my adult life than it was at that point and well…fuck. Where do we go from there? The only way is dooooooown.

Truth be told from the moment I put that interview up until very recently something’s been missing. I don’t love doing this any less than I did at all. In fact quite the opposite. Often me not writing much is due to loving it a bit too much and fretting about coming up to this imaginary standard I’d set in my head. Truth be told if Mick Foley liked anything about my stuff it wasn’t the quality control aspect of it. I write what I feel and overthinking is very counter productive to doing that. Or at least doing it well. I went off anti-depressants, then back on them, and finally off them again. I got a job and for the first time in many years, maybe ever, I had a pretty normal life on the go. Girlfriend, job, even some friends for fucks sake! Something resembling a social life. Things to do that made sitting torturing yourself over the words you are writing and the word’s you haven’t been able to muster just wasn’t the same anymore. I think for a wee while I was denying it to myself that this is what I want to do with my life and quietly that was wreaking havoc on my self esteem all over again because I stopped doing one of the things. The things that made this mental illness shit seem like less of an “illness”. The things that lifted the proverbial black cloud. The key one was undoubtedly throwing myself fully into something I loved. Something I felt deep down I was born to do. Being a writer. Spending every spare moment writing for better or worse. It has to be this again.

For the past few months, on and off, I’ve struggled again. For the past 2 weeks or so, its been an unrelenting restlessness. A feeling that I’m not doing enough that’s been impossible to shake. Weirdly working in a paper shop was one of the triggers. Front page of one of the rags with a shiny celebrity (be fucked if I know who) telling us how she “Beat” depression. Turn to page fuck yersell to read how you can beat it too! The only time the media really want to cover mental illness is when there’s chaos involved in the lows, or triumph in the highs. No one wants to talk about the day to day struggle. No one wants to cover a story about a person having what they consider to be a good day purely because they overcame depression enough to eat a meal and leave the house. No one wants to talk to you about coping mechanisms, they either wan’t you to be a mess drowning in substance abuse or “cured”. There is no cure. You could be months, years, fuckin decades free of it and one day it could decide to fuck with you again for no reason. That’s the nature of it and telling folk otherwise, pushing this stupid idea that if you do certain things or be a certain way you can be rid of it for good, is something that will forever insult and eat away it me. The only thing you can do is make day to day life easier. Sometimes a lot easier. You can recover and learn to live with it. You can find things that help rather than habitially doing things that harm. One of the few things that helps me is doing this. Because it always has been and always will be a coping mechanism and that’s ok. I think I resented it being a coping mechanism for a wee while and stopped writing about mental illness because I only wanted happy things to be attached to this but that’s not what writing is. Writing is getting the wet-suit on and scuba’ing to the deepest darkest shitest most self doubt ridden corners of who you are and pulling out the words regardless. Fuck giving up. Fuck going backwards and reverting back to the guy who wanted to die. Fuck watching this writing caper pass me by for another minute. While having a full-time job fucks with it slightly, no more excuses. No more letting my brain talk me out of doing what I love. No more of anything between 3 and 6 weeks going by without a single word going on this site. I interviewed Mick Foley ffs. I am something. I am someone. I have depression.

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ICW Shugs House Party 3 Review

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Pro wrestling is about moments. Back in January at the Square Go, after a 2 year long violent journey, Chris Renfrew defeated Grado in the most emotionally charged ICW match in history to become ICW World Champion. His reign lasted just over a month, before he became the first victim of “The Troubles” (thats what Big Damo calls they rapid elbows btw) and finally getting that emotional moment he worked so hard for, it all fell apart at the seams for Chris Renfrew. Banned from the company he loves, no longer entitled to compete for the title he fought so hard to win, watched his NAK family disintegrate in front of his very eyes and as of right now no longer even employed by the company, his loyalty to Mark Dallas cost him his family, his title, his job and the place he calls home. While Renfrew stood up for what he believed in then watched it dismantle his world, someone very close to him made a different decision that night. It was almost like he foreseen Renfrew’s plight and decided he wanted absolutely nae part of it. That’s the man with the knowing smile and the sleek looking briefcase pictured next to Renfrew here. That man is Wolfgang.

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Say whatever the fuck you please about how this night ended. As paying customers you’re entitled to it and if you were annoyed by how it played out, by all means have a right good moan about it, but don’t try and tell me Wolfgang does not deserve to be where he is. If ICW was built from the ground up, yer man laid the foundations and helped lay the first bricks. Before ICW was selling out yer SECC’s and running places like The Hydro, Wolfgang was one of the major players in getting the company within pumpin distance of these extraordinary feats by helping establish a cult following for the company across Glasgow, and as if I don’t go on about it enough, but Wolfgang vs Prince Devitt changed the way I viewed pro wrestling as an adult. As a live experience and as a standalone wrestling match it blew me away and got me personally hooked on the very special scene we have here, so as Prince Devitt aka Finn Balor gets ready to main event WWE Summerslam this Sunday, how could it be an injustice that his opponent that night sits atop the ICW mountain? Isn’t that the least the big brute deserves after years of leaving them slack jawed with his deceptive agility and that he seems to seamlessly mesh with raw power? Ever think the reason you weren’t thrilled when his moment finally came is that he’s just that good at being a belligerent baddie that all of the good things he’s done before no longer mattered? Think about it. The guy famed for being able to perform physical feats guys his size shouldn’t be able to, became ICW champion by knocking an already knackered champion out with a pair of brass knuckles. If that’s not truly becoming a “villain” I don’t know what the fuck is.

ICW Shugs House Party 3 was as about as wrestling as it gets. Good guys done good things, bad guys done bad things. Bad guys became good guys and joined up with their good pals. Bad guys said good things about good guys. A bad guy and a bad burd fought a good guy and his good pal. A good guy avenged the untimely loss of tash and a wedding ruined at the hands of a very very bad guy. A guy helped a guy he vehemently hated 6 short months ago for the greater good of the good guys, and the bad guys walked away smiling despite their hardships earlier in the night, because bad times don’t last, but bad guys do ūüėČ

The night started with Billy Kirkwood pump…I mean introducing the show with So Cal Val who was there doing backstage stuff for the Fite Network, before a vitriolic bit of promo work from The Wee Man ahead of the Tag Title Tournament final got us started wrestling show wise. A promo he ended with “wrestling is for kids” because if turning into a black vested supervillain wisnae enough, he wanted to become a sworn enemy of the virgin community anaw.

To be the champs you have to beat the champs…

The Local Fire vs Bird and Boar РFinal Of The ICW Tag Title Tournament 

The become a champion you have to beat a champion. Unless its a new title, or the former champions are deid or in jail, that’s the rules. Mark Coffey and Jackie Polo are still alive and as far as im aware, whilst they “left” ICW, that really just means they were no longer looking for bookings from that company. They didn’t leave permanent positions, so if they decided to once again make themselves available for ICW duty, they immediately become the ICW Tag Team Champions once more, and yer wee dug and pony tourny means ride aw.

Having said that, Bird and Boar and The Local Fire have been the undoubted successes of the tournament that seen many more well known teams fall by the wayside. Bird and Boar becoming more established in the company having beaten The 55 and The Sumerian Death Squad to get there. The Local Fire going from a bit of an on again off again patchwork team to one of the most established and cohesive teams kickin about. They even do songs together now, and when they jump in for a wee Mcdonalds they know each other’s order off by heart; singing it in perfect harmony while the cunt at the till wonders what kind of alternative dimension they slipped in to. Anyway, Mark and Jackie unfortunately aren’t here and working off the assumption that they won’t be back, we’d just have to accept the winners of this as the tag champs eh.

Davey had a gammy foot and was limping about a bit throughout the match. Combining the limping with calling Wild Boar fat a few times, while Wild Boar responded with mad sentons. Loves a good senton so he does. Davey took a right horsing for a bit before hitting Boar with a move he calls Tramadol Nights and tagging in Joe Hendry for some rapid lariats and a ddt. With the momentum successfully shifted, Joe hit a fallaway slam on BOTH the bird and the boar, before the two teams stood toe to toe leathering each other with heavy forearms and jabs. Bird and Board bust out their double team move Mrs Pattersons Revenge, which is probably a reference to some mad Welsh carry on, but its a cracker of a double team effort involving knees and frog splashes. It would be a double team effort that would bring the contest to an end as well, as a double team fallaway slam crowned The Local Fire your NEW ICW Tag Team Champions.

Can there really be new champions if the old ones still exist? As purple and pink blood still runs through the veins of the ICW Tag Titles (in this metaphor, the titles are living things btw) Polo promotions still have a legit claim to the tag team throne, and when the their music hit and the troops emerged, it immediately rendered the whole tag title tournament irrelevant. Nah I jest, its an achievement and we officially have two sets of champions now, but The Local Fire’s reign will always be shrouded in doubt until they beat the guys. Not the good guys, not the bad guys, THE guys. The Real Deal and Nature’s Gift To Grapplin. Polo Promotions. As they stopped at the top of the ramp to survey the supposed new kings of the tag division, Polo sparked up a cigar. 50 quid doon for smoking indoors, not even the beginnings of a fuck given. It was an almighty statement, and even if they aren’t back for good and just fancied fucking with whoever happened to win the tournament, that wee 5 minutes of them coming out and staring Joe and Davey down was enough to tell you that these cunts NEED to be back in ICW. The level of fan support and talent they possess makes them essential.¬†

Lionheart (c) vs Kenny Williams (ICW Zero-G Title Match)

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Lionheart may or may not be a fanny. Its not for me to tell ye if he is or isnae, and I certainly wouldn’t go writing articles about it or that, but one thing he most certainly is, is a smart man. A man who knows that when your opponent is making his entrance and you are yet to enter, for that wee moment in time, he’s no got a fuckin clue where you are. Ye could hop in a taxi to your opponents gaff and ride his missus for all he knows, he’s too busy jumpin aboot high fiving folk to have any clue. Lionheart didn’t jump in a taxi to go n pump Kenny’s missus but. Instead of hitting it fae the back, he hit Kenny in the back, giving the champion the upper hand from the word go. Smart thinking for a fanny eh?

Kenny quickly got a foothold in the scrap though, as the pair briefly flirted with the ring before making their way into the crowd. A wee battle on the bar, led to Lionheart tumbling to the floor and Kenny loassin the plot. He climbed up on to the wee ledge above the bar and yer man only went and hit a moonsault from about 20 feet in the air. I appreciate Lionheart’s abilities and have enjoyed his run with the Zero-G belt immensely, but if one of the two guys in this match is a “bad motherfucker” its the one wae the hi-tops and skinnies, daein death defying moonsaults.

They got in amongst it in the ring with the wrestling moves and whatnot, leading to a beauty of a spot where Kenny tried a top rope Hurricanrana only for Hearto to catch it with a Styles Clash in mind, before Kenny regained his momentum and hit the ‘rana after all. Tap stuff fae a cuttla tap boays right err. It was a belter of a match as it always is between these two, and Hearto showed more character than a Brendan Rodgers post most interview when he got the shoulder up after the Quiff Buster, before Kennys world was turned upside down when he became a TWO TIME ZERO-G CHAMPION…..for about 5 seconds. In a rare error, referee Sean McLaughlin counted three, when Lionheart got his foot on the ropes at 2. Senior referee Thomas Kearins came out giving it aw that “haw haw, hey hey, whoah there, ell Leeeeonhearto had the old fit on the rope there buddy, restart this mother!” and restart it they did. A pair of superkicks, a rock bottom and a frog splash later, Lionheart had retained.¬†

LT Degree With Debbie Sharp

Liam Thomson is one of the best wrestlers in Scotland. One of they guys who never has a bad match so he is. Tidy in all aspects of the wrestling game, particularly any aspect involving the backstabber. The LT degree has been an entertaining romp for the past few months and has proven that he has the patter to match his skills in the ring, but I’d say its had its day now and it would be lovely if we could see oor Liam do a bit more of that wrestling thing he’s so very good at. This episode was so that he could tell Debbie Sharp he actually likes her, only for Debbie to reveal she actually wants to pump Sammi Jayne. Sammi politely rejected the applibaetion (thats lit…an application to become bae…….wordplay n that) and Liam got heavy raging before Christopher Saynt appeared with a group of drag artists. Liam and Saynt had a wee standoff, which led to Liam referring to the group as “trannies”, leading to a swift slap to the dial from the tallest one wae the crackin set ah pins, and a flying kick from Saynt. I love ye Liam mate, but transphobia isnae funny. Hopefully this will signal the end of Liam Thomson doing more talking than wrestling as it looks like Thomson vs Saynt in the near future.

DCT vs Bram

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ICW ring announcer Simon Cassidy is great at his job. So much so that every single person he introduces is done with the same level of vigour. Professionalism at its finest. With one exception, and that exception is whenever he gets the truly unique honour of introducing his best friend, a certain Mr D…..C……T. On this occasion, he got to introduce his best friend as he made his way into a steel cage match on a fucking PPV so Simon gied it fuckin laldy for him as the big man made his way to the revenge pit. The steel sided warzone where Bram would finally have his comeuppance. I know its wrestling, I know him and Viper aren’t really married, but in this wee world of ours everything is real and that big bastard fuckin piledrove your missus through the cake on the happiest day of your lives. Get him fuckin smashed, not in the name of “fuck TNA” or any other trivial pish, do it because that’s how DCT handles his business. An eye for an eye. An erse slap for an arse slap. A piledriver for a piledriver.

DCT was a man possessed in the early stages. And no the usual kind of possessing that happens to him when his eyes turn red and he starts shagging everything in a 20 mile radius.This was pure “I’m gonnae rip your heart out, shite on it, put it back in, rip it out again, wash the shite aff it, then eat it” vibes as he sent Bram over the barrier as the battle started before Bram could even make it to the cage. A procession of scoop slams followed, but a wise man once told me “no one gives a shit about the moves we do” so I’ll try and keep that kind of patter to a minimum to avoid boring the tits clean aff yees. Bram had a spell of, for the lack of a better term, knocking the living fuck out of DCT for a bit, but DCT would not yield. He’s the guy that got whipped to within an inch of his life wae a belt the first time he “wrestled” in ICW and he’s the guy who had to stand idly by and watch his poor missus get her arse skelped before being sent scalp first through a big cake. He’s been through worse than a few heidbutts and a pair of middle fingers from a beard wae a thug attached. Come ahead ya big diddyride.

All of a sudden after a dropkick and a wee stumble back, Bram found himself in the exact same position DCT did that fateful night a year ago. Arms tied up in the ropes. Forced to see the horror unfold. This horror wasn’t seeing his spouse get her heid split in two though, this horror was seeing his own heid get caved in as DCT rained rapid jabs down on Bram’s skull, but auld lumpy hud tae ruin it eh. With the ref down, big Flex came to Bram’s rescue but a decidedly less lumpy being had DCT’s back as the ol ball and chain came to her man’s aid. Viper climbed to the top of the cage and crossbodied the daylights out of both Bram and Flex, before Coach Trip dragged Flex out the ring and out the equation altogether, leaving DCT free and clear to climb out the cage and soak in the adulation of 1,200 screamin “OH” at the top of their lungs. First time he’ll have heard such a thing since he ran through 50 hen parties in the one night back in the day. DCT wasn’t interested in their adulation yet though. Not until justice had been served. Justice for the ruined wedding, justice for the tash, justice for just being an unpleasant big bastard in general. Justice for having Viper in his grasp once again, how fuckin dare ye mate? DCT put victory on the back burner to come to his wife’s aid, before scoop slamming Bram from the top of the cage and scudding Bram with the polo mallet and escaping once more, but nah. Not yet. An eye for an eye. A piledriver for a piledriver.

That moment where DCT replicated Bram’s arse slap/piledriver combo to enable him to pin the big brute and win the match felt like a career maker. DCT isn’t some kind of technical wizard in that ring, but he can fuckin fight and has more charisma than many who fit the stereotypical “wrestler” bill better than he does, and he deserved to pin a bit internationally known cunt on his PPV debut. He deserved that moment. He deserved to have a match that people will talk about for a long time to come, and I don’t think I’ve ever been more personally buzzin for someone to get that moment. DCT for life. Oh.

The Black Label vs Noam Dar, Grado and ???? (Team Dallas)

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Sha Samuels is the most natural villain in British pro wrestling. To the point that using him in any other fashion is just not using him right. It would be like buying expensive paint brushes and using them to batter emulsion on tae yer bedroom walls. Having said that, there’s always an exception. John Cena was a bad guy once anaw mind. A battle rapping bad guy to be precise. So in a world where the guy who slings a ridiculous amount of merch to kids can be a battle rapping, doctor of thuganomics, there’s certainly room for the East End Butcher to pal about with his two bestos. It wasn’t looking likely right enough, as Sha came out with the rest of The Black Label as per usual, but when Team Dallas emerged still a man short, and surveyed The Black Label from the entrance way, you could tell something was afoot. There was nae hint of worry amongst the troops, in fact they looked quite confident. Gallus even. And when Grado gied it “no pinky…no party” we all knew. Sha had dropped a wee bit behind the rest of The Black Label and pointed his pinky towards the sky, before starting to leather fuck out the label as Grado and Noam joined him. SHA SAMUELS IS THE THIRD GUY. HE’S ONE OF OUR OWN! HE’S ONE OF OUR OWWWWWWWWWWN. SHA SAMUELS. HE’S ONE OF OUR OWN!!

The Pinky Party rained down mad rights n lefts on The Black Label before Noam landed a beauty of a suicide dive on a selection of them. Grado went up top for a wee slice of senton action, before Sha rounded off the high flying madness with a flying elbow off the top. Imagine villain Sha daein a flying elbow and sending the crowd daft? Unthinkable, but the times are a’changin and that means keep an eye oot for any flying Sha’s in your area. Red Lightning got right up in Sha’s face after that, before Sha chucked him in the ring for a staredown with Dallas which was broken up when a wrestling match broke out amongst the carnage. A fuckin wrestling match mate, who’d have thunk it.

Sha predictably got isolated and battered for the first part of the match. Not predictable cause he gets battered a lot or that, purely because he’d literally just turned on the guys he was against and they might not have been very happy about that. He finally got back to his buddies and tagged Noam in for what has to be the hottest tag in the history of pro wrestling. I’m no exaggerating mate. Folk in the front row were liberally applying suncream on their domes such was the ferocity of the heat kickin aff this tag. Noam went mental for a while, slingin mad dropkicks, before tagging Grado in for a tag that was even hotter! I’m no kiddin guys. Somedy stuck an uncooked beef joint, yorkshire puddings, totties and veg next to this tag, and 5 seconds later they had a beef dinner sittin in front of them. That’s how hot it wis. His momentum was short lived as Drew and Wolfie hit Grado with a double team Razor’s Edge off the second rope, before it all went a wee bit mental and we had everyone battering everyone, including Sweeney getting ko’d by Wolfgang and Scott Reid heroically hammering Drew Galloway in the baws.

Drew recovered  from the baw bashing and managed to turn a wee boot attempt from Grado into a big fucker of a powerbomb, before locking in that crossface aided by Jesters big chainmail dildo/orifice maimer, only for the lights to go out and just like Shugs House Party 1, everything changed. That night the lights going off and coming back on saw Drew Galloway return, and cost Chris Renfrew the ICW Title. This time Renfrew was the guy costing folk important shit as he hit Galloway with a stoner before dragging his sworn enemy Grado on top of Drew for the 1,2,3. Team Dallas wins. 

Dallas took to the mic to give an emotional speech about how ICW is for everyone and you can be yourself, so I guess that means Sha Samuels is actually a really nice guy deep doon if this is him being himself eh? A nice guy with unlimited access to meat cleavers right enough, so don’t get wide just because he’s allowed to be pals with Grado and Noam now. The moment where Sha joined the boaysies was incredibly beautiful and one that’ll not be forgotten. Nice that he gets to team with Noam a few times before he leaves us aw behind and becomes the most famous jew since that polis Mel Gibson slung racial slurs at.

BT Gunn and Carmel Jacob vs Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray (The Filthy Generation)

Stevie and Kay Lee’s music man. I know they’re baddies and that’s fine, they wear it well, but that tune is just too good. Its enjoyable in a way that makes ye want tae tan a bottle of buckie and 4 eccies in a wanner and spend the rest of yer night heidbutting a face ye drew on yer own hand. BT Gunn revealed his mystery partner to be ICW Women’s Champion Carmel Jacob, meaning Carmel and Kay Lee would be renewing their long standing rivalry for the first time in a while in ICW. Exciting, gid wrestling stuff all round.

They all proceeded to set about each other, and in terms of chemistry in that ring, Stevie and BT are better at setting about each other than any other two people in the company. Carmel and Kay Lee probably coming a close second. In fact Kay Lee and BT have bags of it anaw, which makes you wonder if there’s anyone who doesn’t have in-ring chemistry with BT Gunn. He’s just that fuckin good, ye could fire a mop wae slinky’s for arms in there with him and he’d drag a cracker of a scrap out of it. Kay Lee and Carmel battled for a bit, Carmel coming close with a Fisherwuman’s Suplex, surely a wee feud for the Women’s Title on the cards there unless some big bastardin American company steals one or both of them. BT and Carmel then set both of their opponents up in the corner, before taking shots each to chop them admist a deafening backdrop of “BT…BT…BT FUCKIN GUNN” is anycunt more popular than BT Gunn in ICW right now? Probably not. Rightfully so cause the cunt gets rid of more talent when he takes his morning shite than most folk ever actually possess. He strung together about 40 different kinds of kick in the one go on Stevie, before Kay Lee hit the Gory Bomb on him to switch the momentum back in favour of the baddies.

Weirdly for a real life couple and a long standing tag team, Kay Lee and Stevie kept fuckin up and hitting each other, yet when it came to the vital moment they were more cohesive than ever. First and foremost, BT kicked out of the destroyer somehow cause he’s some kind of atomic choppin’ cyborg, but when Stevie went for it a second time, BT blocked it only for Kay Lee to crack him over the nut with a chair, and Stevie to finish the job by easing into a roll-up for the win. They then followed that up by trying to kill him with a chair before security intervened and stopped murder. Jackie Polo had already smoked a cigar ffs, ye cannae have murder on the same show as indoor smoking. The C in ICW disnae stand for “Crime…aw the crime” cmon noo. Wee bit of revenge for BT costing them a place in the tag tourny final, but they’ll fight again and it will be beautiful.¬†

Legion vs Moustache Girvan 

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Expected some manner of shenanigans here with people turning on other people, and those people gaun “haw? whit ye daein turnin on me? thats shite mate” but in truth, it was maybe the least shenanigan riddled match of the night. Instead of shenanigan riddled, it was simply a wonderfully entertaining, non stop, out and out scrap between 6 hugely talented individuals, rounded off with people being really nice to each other on the mic. Lovely.

Girvan and Whiplash teed off on each other with rapid forearm smashes, before Tyler Bate bamboozled Dante with some slick movement. How ridiculous is Tyler Bate btw? Cunt’s 19 and has the physique and talent level of a young Mr Perfect. Just makes ye feel…..whits the word……auld. Thats the word. Heavy fuckin auld. Like an auld creaky kneed Granda shouting at the weans next door for kicking their ball in yer back garden. We then got a beautiful glimpse of what a Tommy End vs Trent Seven match would look like, but the post match speeches would suggest that’s a match we won’t ever actually get to see and that’s nothing short of heartbreaking. Know who’s stupidly underrated? Big Dante. He can go like fuck and displayed some beautiful agility for a guy his size when he rounded off a series of dives by clearing the top rope with a dive of his own (he leaned on it a wee bit, but so fuck, he’s huge and jumped really high, that’s what’s important here) As sad as it is that Tommy End may no longer be gracing ICW, don’t fuckin sleep on big Dante. He could easily be a factor in the future.

Everyone hit everyone for a solid 2-3 minutes, and it was honestly too much to keep up with. I think at one point Trent sprouted an extra heid, and Tommy End had kicked it before it had even fully emerged. Rapid kicks from all over the globe. Was nice to see Lewis Girvan match, if not exceed the level of so many talented cunts. I dunno what it is, but since that match with Lionheart there’s been an extra assurance about everything he does. Hopefully that means he’ll be shedding the “future star” tag and folk will consider him in the upper echelons in the here and now. Fuck being the future. Be the present. Noam Dar got that future patter for years, well what is he now? Very much the here and now. Age disnae matter a fuck, being able to tell engaging stories in that ring does, and yer man Girvan has all the tools when it comes to that. He and Tommy End both locked in a half crab each on Whiplash and Trent respectively, before slapping fuck out each other when they realised they both had the same move in and quickly decided…THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE!

As Trent had put Whiplash away with a piledriver off the middle rope in Birmingham the night before, he could be forgiven for thinking it would get the job done here as well, so he went ahead and done that very move only for Whiplash to KICK OUT EMPHATICALLY AT ONE. A one count. No even anywhere near a near fall. As far away from a fall as you can get. Proof if it was ever needed that Mikey Whiplash and Trent Seven will not stop until they kill each other, and probably everyone else on planet earth. He followed that up with a big heid remover masquerading as a clothesline and that did indeed get the job done, bringing what was maybe the best 1o minutes of pure entertainment of the night to a close. 

Whiplash got on the mic and laid it all out there for Trent. Insisting he no longer wants the main event at the Hydro because Trent deserves it more and urging everyone to make our voices heard and get Trent in that ICW Title Match. Hard to argue with anything he said really, up until the match immediately following this one, there had been no better match in ICW this year than Trent Seven vs Big Damo for the ICW Title, and his performances in general have been unspeakably good. If he isn’t in the title match, he should absolutely still be a prominent figure on the card. Even if that means risking seeing him hit a piledriver from the top tier of the Hydro, right through the middle of the ring. Tommy End then took over to¬†bid a fond farewell to the promotion he’s spent 3 years performing for, and as nice as that was, and as much as we’ll miss the ridiculously talented big warrior, we know its not the end big man. We’ll be seeing you kick fuck out of aw sorts of cunts on that telly and hopefully one day in person again.¬†

Big Damo (c) vs Joe Coffey (ICW World Heavyweight Title Match)

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This is his time. His moment. Joe Coffey stood on the edge of the big one. The shiny prize he’s fought tooth and nail to get within shaggin distance of. Big Damo has been as dominant a champion as ICW have maybe ever had, but even 25 stone behemoths can’t stop destiny. It was finally going to be his, after 3 years of turning in outstanding performance after outstanding performance. 3 years of jumping through proverbial hoops. 3 years of battering down obstacles both real and storyline. Over a year after his last shot, Joe Coffey once again found himself in the main event of a big ICW show with the title on the line, and this time he would make no mistake.

What a fuckin stoater of a match. Its unlikely anything in ICW history will ever top Renfrew vs Grado for emotional investment, but there was something about this that left you feeling like both of them had drawn upon every single reserve they possibly could. Knowing victory meant not only being the ICW Champion, but victory would also mean earning the right to face Kurt Angle in front of 11,000 at the Hydro. Career defining shit right here. The fact that having great matches is just what Joe Coffey and Damo do together was almost rendered irrelevant because this was a different kettle of fish altogether. This wasn’t two guys who genuinely like each other having a scrap for the sake of it, for the duration of this match they wanted to maul each other and it showed as Coffey came right out the traps with a dropkick, before they laid into each other wildly with punches. If this was going to be Joe’s time, he was going to have to fuckin earn it, because its hard to get anything away from the grasp of a 25 stone giant, far less a prize that giant has fought his whole career to earn. Either turn up armed with a bazooka and a cigar hingin out yer gub, or there’s nae real point in turning up at all. You’ll be going home empty handed.

Damo weathered the early storm and firmly took control after hitting that big rib rattling senton against the barrier. Joe had silver paint on and alot of it ended up on Damo early on, so much of the early stages was basically The Iron Giant repeatedly standing on Joe Coffey’s neck. No whit yer wantin. Every attempt by Joe to get a foothold was slapped down by the champ, before he stood on Joes chest, only for Joe to reverse the senton attempt and hit the springboard crossbody to get a wee bit of momentum on the go. Big uppercuts and jabs sent Damo into the corner, before a few splashes got Joe’s tail up but Damo battered him down again before hitting the mark with a firemans carry drop into a beauty of a senton. Whit is it wae Irish wrestlers and sentons though? Every variant of the senton is used by every Irish wrestler at least 15 times a match, and naw that’s no an exaggeration. You’re an exaggeration and so’s yer maw.

Joe took a leaf out of Ireland’s book soon after with a rolling senton of his own followed by a picturesque splash from the top rope. Joe continued to build that momentum, a runaway train he wis, last stop, awthebelts. Damo derailed the train with a crossbody which must have been like getting hit by a train, before blocking a second attemot at the discus lariat with a straight up headbutt. Not a wrestling type headbutt, more like a fight to the death type of headbutt. Joe didnae die though, instead of dying he performed a feat of incredible strength, which is probably as close as ye can get to the opposite of dying, cause Joe Coffey’s no a normal man, he’s made of actual real bits of iron. A superplex from Joe was followed by a fuckin brutal looking forearm exchange. They were hitting each other guys. Nae two ways about it. Really hard. With hard ¬†bits of their body. The hardest bit of Damo’s body is probably his elbows. Nothing scientific about that assessment other than the plethora of deid bodies he’s left behind in his title defences. Anyone unsure Damo would go to the flurry of elbows to the side of the dome he calls “The Troubles” in a match against such a close ally, needn’t have wondered. Down came the elbows. But Joe wasn’t still. Joe had something in him that no one else who’s taken those elbows had. It was like someone stepping through a wall of bullets and walking up to the give the middle finger to the shooter. He somehow made it to the ropes and became the first person to survive “The Troubles” .

The trouble with surviving the troubles is the fact that they’re fuckin troublesome. A 25 stone man elbowing yer cunt in for any length of time is going to leave its mark, even if it doesn’t knock you clean out the game. Damo hit the Ulster Plantation and some how Joe kicked out. Some how, some way he hoisted a shoulder aff that canvas, because it was his night…or at least, it should have been. Another attempt at the troubles was blocked, before Joe kicked Damo in the back of the head and hit a quite beautiful German Suplex, followed by a big bastardin lariat to the back of Damo’s heid, and finally finishing the brute off with a huge lariat to the front. JOE COFFEY IS THE ICW CHAMPION. THE TWO TIME WRESTLER OF THE YEAR AND PERENNIAL MAN OF THE MATCH HAS FUCKIN DONE IT. Damo stopped on his way up the ramp to beat his chest in honour of the man who’s responsible for the only two clean losses he’s suffered in ICW in the past year. It looks like farewell from Damo, as he deservedly looks to go overseas for the next portion of his career and what better way to go out is there than having the match of the year so far with one of your best mates, before passing the torch to him? Perfection so it was. Almost too perfect….

Wolfgang is a big part of the reason I fell back in love with wrestling and him winning the ICW Title is something that absolutely had to happen at some point in time. ¬†This, in my opinion anyway, wasn’t the right point in time. The match those two had deserved to stand alone, so as much as I love big Wolfie, I’d rather have toasted his grand slam win and his first ICW title reign without feeling gutted for a guy who fully deserved that moment and fully deserved to soak in the adulation for it. Having said that, that was the whole fuckin point was it not. The goodies got to win earlier, and Dallas gained ground in the power struggle so of course it had to end with Red Lightning giving us all the middle finger and folk having anger fits. Wolfgang cashing in on a tired champion after his cronies took Damo out of the equation was the only way he could really cash in, because he’s a proper villain. Think about it, when did ye last see one of they perfect photies from David J.Wilson of Wolfgang in mid air? Ages ago, because baddies dont make people go “oooooh”. Proper baddies don’t dae Swantons to put their opponents away. Why bother when its no rules and you can fire some brass knuckles on and knock the cunt clean oot instead? Joe did fight. He kicked out the first time and managed to hit a lariat in anger, but as Red stopped the ref counting the three, Wolfgang had enough time to stick the brassers on and knock Joe the fuck out to become your NEW ICW Champion.¬†

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Really good show n that. Totally wrote this ages ago, I just eh……forgot to put it out. Honestly. Still tickets for the show at The Garage on Sunday. Go to that.¬†

 

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

An Evening In The Company Of Mick Foley

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Don’t meet your heroes. That’s what they say. They’ll let you down. There is no feat that everyday humans are capable of that can live up to the way you see someone you’d regard as a “hero”, so when you meet the real human incarnation of that person who you have placed on such a high pedestal, its supposed to be disappointing.¬†Maybe they aren’t very nice in person. Maybe everything you believed to be true about them was actually wrong. Instead of doing a lot of charity work, they do a lot of smack. Instead of making people happy, they make a people go to Starbucks for them 12 times because their coffee “tastes like roasted underboob sweat”. Throwing the rejected cups in the vicinity of that persons dome in the process. Instead of putting smiles on peoples faces, they put a gym sock on their hand and stick it down peoples throats. Although for this person, those things are one and the same. The point is, if your hero is a famous person, there’s a good chance fame might have opened up and swallowed their decency. I could never imagine approaching my hero and being ignored. How awful that would feel. But I know that kind of thing has happened to people in the past and that just makes me incredibly thankful to have had my own personal hero live up to my lofty expectations for him. That man is of course, the hardcore legend and former 3 time WWE Champion. Mick Foley.

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Hey Seth, I don’t want to alarm you or Ambrose here, but there’s a huge spider about to fall in at least one of our mouths right now.

I’m going to write a big review of the SECC show so I won’t say too much about his role on the show here, but it didn’t feel real. To see the company that I’ve personally been immersed in for 3 years, which was started over 8 years ago in a community centre in Maryhill, grow to the point that selling out the SECC was a real thing, AND having my idol appear ON that show was….a lot. When he appeared I thought I’d cry but I just smiled and watched in awe. Like the first time my maw put the Summerslam 90 VHS on and I saw my first ever hero Hulk Hogan, battering a villainous big lump of a man called Earthquake with a chair (I don’t actually remember smiling the same way at this, but we’re adding colour to the story here…emotional depth)

He was there right in front of us all. Not just fulfilling a date on a tour either, he was there because he loves wrestling and believes ICW do it correctly. He was happy to be in front of 4,000 wrestling fans hanging off his every word, because that’s where he belongs. In front of people who appreciate his influence on wrestling and the sacrifices he made. In front of people who would rate meeting him as a lifetime highlight. I’m one of those people. Meeting him at all was an incredible experience, but being told by 3 or 4 people BEFORE meeting him that he had been speaking highly of ME was just. I can’t absorb that. That’s not supposed to happen. Your hero isn’t supposed to know who you are, far less appreciate your work.

He spoke passionately about how ICW produced memories that would last a lifetime, well Mick mate, you created a memory that I will literally tell everyone about. Mum, dad, other half, best pals, pals in general, their pals, their pals grannies, the guy who serves me at Greggs, the wuman who serves me at Greggs (I don’t even go tae Greggs that much, but I’ll start for this) any bus driver on any bus journey I ever go on from now until the day I die, I’m even gonnae tell Stone Cold Steve Austin because he needs to know. Everyone does. Even those dafties who think wrestling is a joke because when it creates something as real and emotionally significant as this. It has to matter. It has to be more than that. He finally created a moment that ranks up there with that moment he won the WWE Title from The Rock on RAW. That time WCW told their whole audience it was happening, almost mocking it, only to see that audience change the channel in unison to witness Mankind take the title. All he had to do to create a memory that ranks up there with that one is just speak to me for a few minutes.

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Mick Foley is someone who inspired me to believe that if you do things differently, you can still succeed. If you do things the way you believe in doing them, you can get to unimaginable places and you can experience things that once never seemed possible. Like having an all-time wrestling legend who also happens to be the only person outwith your own parents that you’d ever call a “hero” give you 15 minutes of his time. After performing for 2 hours and doing a meet and greet for another 2 hours, he still gave me that time and the opportunity to write this article and I will never forget that for as long as I live. And while this is based off the wild assumption that he will read this and thus give me even more of his time, I would like to thank Mick Foley from the bottom of my heart for inspiring everything I do, and more importantly I’d like to thank him for giving exposure to my work and the opportunity to conduct an interview with him. In his honour I’ve decided to mirror his vow to only drop “one f-bomb per show” so for one article only, I will limit myself to one use of the f-bomb. C-bombs, b-bombs and p-grenades are fair game though. He opened the show with a line as humble as he is.

“I’m not gonna be as funny as Billy Kirkwood”

Mick Foley emerged after 20 minutes of Billy warming up the crowd and basically told them “see that guy, him with the mad hair that talks about willies and fandans a lot? he’s much better at this than me” The ultimate endorsement. Billy is a brilliant guy and was the first person involved in wrestling to tell people about my stuff, so I might have teared up a wee bit hearing that, even though I didn’t because I’m a man and we don’t do that. Mick Foley doesn’t call these shows stand-up comedy shows because he’s not a comedian. He’s an entertainer with a million stories that he tells in a very unique way, but he doesn’t have a big enough ego to put himself in the same bracket as someone like Billy Kirkwood who makes a living from making people laugh.

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To balance all the Foley love out a wee bit, I’ll say he was spot on with that assessment. Billy was funnier than Mick, because he’s very good at what he does. A pish yer pants type of comedian. Mick Foley wasn’t there make anyone pish their pants. Mick Foley was there to captivate an audience of 200 or so people who were there absorb every word he said. A lot of those words formed to create stories that were f……..friggin hilarious (cheers to William Grange for the assist there, still got ma f-bomb) but it wasn’t a comedy show. It was a night to appreciate everything Mick Foley has given wrestling.

He said later in the show with a hint of very real sadness that Vince McMahon told him he no longer connected with the audience, well no offence to Vinny Mac. He obviously knows what he’s doing when it comes to wrestling, but he has never been more wrong with anything he’s ever said. People don’t buy books to read a man’s words, and buy tickets to hear a man speak if he no longer connects with them. The tickets for this show sold out in 5 hours and it didn’t have any sort of huge announcement. The show finished at around 11pm and I’d say at least 150 of the 200+ audience stayed for the meet and greet. A meet and greet where he handed out free signed pictures to show appreciation to the audience for coming out. Mate. You’re Mick Foley. You really don’t need to be appreciating us but I suppose him being the type of person who does do things like that was the reason we were all there in the first place.

Suppose I should talk about the interview itself eh? Well I had a wee list of topics I wanted to cover depending on how much time he had, and for some magical reason my brain pushed the most important questions to the front of the queue. It all happened very quickly so I forgot to glance at my notes before starting and all of a sudden there we were, and I had asked him for his impressions on Fear and Loathing 8, at the MOTHER-FU……NKING SOLD OUT SECC (still got that f-bomb in the holster)

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“I was so impressed on so many levels. Not only from a wrestling standpoint, but more importantly from an emotional standpoint.” A point he drove home in his promo at the start of the show and during the show at The Stand was how much emotional investment there is in ICW and particularly in that main event. He even brought a very hungover Drew Galloway out to chat for 5 minutes and even he seemed overwhelmed to be on stage with Mick Foley, before speaking passionately about everything ICW is and how much he believes in Grado’s ability to take it forward, even if he doesn’t always believe in himself. Thoughts that were mirrored by Mick.

“Grado is an amazing character. Such a great story. I honestly didn’t think he could be as good as he was in the ring. I don’t know what went into the match itself, I only know what I saw, and not only was it a top notch wrestling match, but the emotion surrounding it made it special. I think it’ll go down as a match that people remember for decades”

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“There are moments in wrestling that people remember for the rest of their lives, and that’s the goal you strive for. It’s the goal I used to strive for, and I think those guys succeeded. A certain percentage of people will remember that match for the rest of their lives”

Mick spoke during his show about how it was Drew Galloway who first alerted him to ICW, when he asked him to take a look at the promo he cut when he first returned to the company in 2014. He even included a disclaimer about the swearing knowing that it’s something Foley avoids doing if possible. Plenty of f-bombs, mother f-bombs, and f-bomb the polis in that one but Mick saw the passion. Drew had an energy about him that has not only helped propel his own career since he was released from WWE, but its helped push ICW to the next level and having a figure like that to carry your title and defend it so impressively all over the country is exactly what ICW needed to have. It would take an impressive big ride of a man like Drew to provide an opponent worthy of that moment. The villain who was born with all the genetic gifts and talent in the world, against the hero with the wee belly, lion-sized heart and tremendous patter. Drew’s role in making that moment special was not understated by Foley. While he had to shuffle down the ramp without the acclaim from the crowd and Foley himself, he was as big a part of that moment as anyone.

“It was an exclamation point on the Drew Galloway resume. If I was Triple H or Vince McMahon I’d be on the phone to him right now if I’m honest with you. To have a guy that can help build a promotion,¬†who can also tell and story and execute that story in the ring. I think ICW are very lucky to have him”

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While that is no doubt true, you could say the same vice versa. Drew Galloway could have gone the same way as other talents WWE have released. Taking any booking under the sun and not really trying to make a mark on the wrestling landscape. Trying to get by more than anything. Drew needed something more. He needed to pull on his size (probably) 15 boots and stamp his foot on that landscape while shouting “I might not be on RAW playing air guitar anymore, but I fu…….lly matter. And I WILL be heard” ICW was the perfect place for him to make that impact. In front of a crowd that would most definitely react the way the promo was supposed to make them react. That was why it captivated Foley, because that sort of involvement from a crowd is so rare. It no doubt brings back memories of those special times in his own career where every single person in the building was invested and right now, there is no better wrestling company in the world at getting that type of reaction than ICW.

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“I think Grado and Drew did a particularly good job of recapturing that energy that was spent over the 3 hours of the show. People had seen a lot, and been through a lot. With the cage match and everything else. So for those guys to come through, in a match that didn’t have stipulations…..”

Mick paused for a second, with a genuine look of pride on his face that he came to Scotland a saw two guys from the same town create a match that was so absorbing. Lost for words. If there’s any higher praise for a wrestling match than “had Mick Foley lost for words” god knows what it is (see that would have been an f-bomb there, but we’re saving it mate…wait for it) That wasn’t the highest praise he had for it though…

“It was impressive beyond my abilities to explain how impressive it was. It reminded me a lot of Ric Flair v Dusty Rhodes 1985. With Grado as the every-man, who is just over to a crazy extent, and Drew was just so impressive. Its high praise to put them up there, but I think you could go there”
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When I suggested Grado is almost the Scottish version of Dusty, Mr Foley seemed to approve. I know the comparisons have been drawn before but I don’t know if its had someone with such an undeniable impact on wrestling rubber-stamp it. If Grado ever thinks he hasn’t earned that title, as Drew touched on himself when he spoke. He’s the draw. Drew might have piqued the interest of a lot of wrestling fans when he returned, but Grado gets the man from the street off his arse to buy a ticket to ICW. Creating an atmosphere that’s more akin to the days of Dusty and Flair where most, if not ALL of the crowd had no idea wrestling was pre-determined, and were fully invested in the everymans genuine attempts to overcome the polished, slick . When Grado pinned Drew Galloway, people reacted like their favourite football team had just won the ICW title. Or eh….their favourite wrestler just scored the winning goal in the World Cup final…or…eh..naw wait..I’ll get it this time….
THEY REACTED LIKE GRADO HAD JUST WON THE ICW TITLE. BECAUSE GRADO HAD JUST WON THE FUCKING ICW TITLE. REJOICE!

gradmickkkkkkkkk

(f-bomb detonated)

Towards the end of the show, Foley noticed someone in the audience wearing Bayleys “I’m a hugger” t-shirt in the crowd and went on to speak fondly about his interactions with some of the women currently at WWE. Recalling a story of when his illusions about Sasha Banks and her character were shattered when she showed him a pic of a much younger, intimidated version of the “boss” posing with Mick many years ago. Something that showed him the person behind the character and really made her click with him. A moment that was no doubt repeated with every person he met last night, and a photo they recreated recently, just as Bayley approached Mick and he unwittingly pushed her out the way to get the photo with Sasha. An act he recalls with a laugh, although I doubt Bayley was offended. Any story of any interaction with Mick Foley is a decent one. Even if its “Mick Foley punched me in the mouth and called my mother a whore” its still a story involving Mick Foley doing something with you. Maybe add “then we went for ice cream” after the punching part though. Makes it sound a bit more of a Foley thing to do.

sashaaaaaaaaaaaa
He spoke ¬†passionately about womens wrestling, and his unsuccessful attempts to woo the Bella Twins maw; bemoaning the fact that John Lauranitis took her away from him. I asked what he thought of the 3 way dance to crown the first ever ICW Women’s Champion. Having imposed his will on the match by inserting Viper into it at the very last moment.

“Mark (Dallas) came to me right after I cut my in-ring promo and told me I could go back to my dressing room and relax, or do whatever I wanted to do and I said ‘no….I’m gonna stay right here and watch everything I can’ and I was really impressed with not only the performance of the women in the ring…but the reaction of the crowd”

“There’s a tendency for people to compare ICW’s crowd, to ECW crowds in the mid 1990s, but I don’t know that the ECW crowds of that time would have given the women the same amount of respect. Their reaction to Viper when I came out and put her in the match was huge. I had to go back and ask someone what her back story was. As a guy who grew up being heavy set, and grew up being teased for being heavy set. I always worry about the public’s acceptance of larger individuals. They told me about her promo on the British Bootcamp show TNA did, and it made me think it may have been more successful in creating stars in Scotland than it was for TNA”

SNOOD

The hopefuls at the Glasgow auditions for the aforementioned show. Minus Grado who was at China Buffet King finishing aff a plate of king ribs

“It gave them a great platform for people to learn about the passion the wrestlers have, and I think ICW have been the main beneficiaries of that. But yeah….I really enjoyed the womens match. Another thing I¬†never get tired of people appreciating me watching the matches backstage. Thats always a good thing.”

It shouldn’t be forgotten that for a lot of the performers on the show, meeting Mick Foley was as big a deal to them as it was to me. It raised a smile with Mrs Foleys baby boy (thats a cheap pop eh? I’ll only use it once, promise) when he spoke of his love for wrestlers almost being humbled at him watching their match. Jack Jester appeared at the show to ask a question and basically thanked Foley for being the reason he wanted to be a wrestler, and there’s so many people like that who maybe felt “different” and saw Mick Foley as the high priest of being a wee bit odd. ICW is the home of “different” in wrestling right now and it seems more than apt that Mick Foley slotted in to the show like he’d been there all along. He brought Mark Dallas on stage at one point and told us all the reason they shared a prolonged hug before Mick cut his promo. He pulled Dallas in close, looked deep into his eyes and asked “Mark….what am I supposed to say” Even a guy who’s seen and done it all forgot his line on the big stage, but as soon as Dallas prompted him, off he went. Dallas was on stage again later to give the best Vince McMahon impression I’ve ever heard. Well the voice was awrite, but the mannerisms were pure and utter Vince.

fol dal

Ah swear tae god Mick, you better no have tanned aw the Madoori.

Mick went on to explain the next steps in his career. Revealing that the one man show’s will be less frequent in 2016.

“I’m probably going to stop doing the one man show’s around March, for the rest of the year. I’ll just be taking a break to concentrate on other things. I’m gonna do a few more wrestling appearances too”

While Foley has made an undoubted impression on audiences of all descriptions, its continued interest from wrestling fans that have made his foray into the one-man shows a successful one, as I asked how he sees himself as a performer now. More of an all-round entertainer, or a wrestling personality.

“I think its hard to separate the two. If I was drawing 50% wrestling fans, and 50% fans of my spoken words, then I could say there was a distance between them. Regardless of whether I do a wrestling appearance, or an appearance at a comic book convention, or even at my own shows. Its mainly a wrestling audience. I’m very thankful to the dedication of the people that watched me when they were children”

Decent time to break this out I suppose. A picture of me when I was 11, wearing a halloween costume that was comprised of one of my dads shirts, an auld pair of brown leggings my mum had, a wig probably made of dug hair and a mask made by a friend of my mums. Here’s the entirely haunting image of me dressed as Mankind. Also probably breaking the record for different kinda of horrendous wallpaper captured in one picture. Don’t worry, I still live here, but I made sure we got better decorators over the past 15 years.

fol
Everybody loves Christmas. Except for the folk who are of other religions, or the folk who just plain don’t like it, but “everybody loves Christmas” makes for better reading, so we’ll go with that. Mick Foley loves Christmas more than you though. Mick Foley is currently undergoing a lifelong process to eventually morph into a real life Santa Claus, and he spoke about Christmas with as much passion as a lot of the wrestling things he spoke about. I had 15 minutes with Mick Foley and I never asked him about Hell In A Cell, or being the WWE Champion, or even being chucked directly into a barbed wire and explosives. I asked him “why dae you love Christmas mate?” Because the people need to know.

“I guess its a deep seeded thing. I’ve loved for as long as I remember, and I think there is a parallel between the years I’ve spent in the ring and the time I’ve spent in the red suit as ambassador for Father Christmas, and that if you do everything right…you can take someone to a really special place. I think that place, is a memory in the parents mind. If you can take them back to when they felt happiest as a child. You’ve done your job.”

foleyclaus

The Usos in a rare candid shot

“People think its for the kids, but its about the parents. They’re the ones with the huge smile. When I make the Christmas Eve visits, you can see grown people cry. That’s when you know you’re doing your job right ”

I remarked that Mick had done that at the SECC when he came out and there was a genuine burst of appreciation for that comment. The fact that me saying that to him meant anything is the reason he DOES still connect with the audience and will never stop connecting with them, because he actually gives a fu……..(ah I’ve used my f-bomb eh? och fuck it, I shouldn’t try to imitate a legend anyway so we’ll drop a few more) he actually gives a fuck if he entertains you or not. He didn’t come here to make the show about him, he came here to restore the balance between good and evil. Drew was flanked by the evil genius ICW GM Red Lightning, and a right bad yin in Jack Jester, so Grado needed a squad of goodies to counteract the baddies. He had Big Damo taking care of Jester, but Grado needed someone with authority that was a big enough hero to counteract Red Lightning’s villainous ways and Mick Foley served that purpose.

For the last question I had to ask if he’ll be gracing us with his presence again, and while no definitive answer was forthcoming, the feeling amongst everyone who was there that night, and Mick himself is that it went very well and we may very well have not seen the last of Mrs Foleys baby boy (ok, maybe I’ll use it twice…this is the last time though, I swear) on these shores. If Vince McMahon still thinks Mick Foley no longer connects with the audience, he should ask any of the 50 odd people still queueing to meet him after midnight last night if he still connects with them. People missing last buses and trains home just to steal the tiniest moment of his time. I’ll forever be extremely thankful that he saw me worthy to give me a full 15 minutes of it. Thank you Mick. For everything.

meandmick

Credit as always to David J.Wilson for the wonderful photos.

 


 

If you liked this and want to read more things of this nature, well tbh I don’t interview people like Mick Foley often, but there’s other good stuff on the site about all things wrestling. Particularly ICW and British Wrestling in general.

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ICW – Flawless Victory Review

Credit Warrior Fight Photography

Credit Warrior Fight Photography

It was a night of homecomings as ICW Continue reading

An Interview With Chris Renfrew

crdru

 

After a brief Q and A last month, I sat down with Chris Renfrew properly this time to fire some extremely important and heavy journo-y questions at him. I say ‚Äúsat down with‚ÄĚ but that’s bending the truth slightly, I sent them tae him over Facebook at half 1 on a Tuesday morning, but the man had some important shit tae say, and sometimes the most vital things in life get spilled over Facebook. I’ve given a few folk my life story for free over that fuckin thing, said some things tae some burds I shouldn’t have anaw, but this isn’t about me and my various misadventures. It’s about Chris Renfrew, it’s about upcoming projects, it’s about two heided dildos, it’s about Street Justice and its about the NAK taking over the fuckin world. It’s also a wee bit about wrestling wae giants, and you might be surprised to hear its a wee bit about Damien Demento. Its eclectic. Informative. Heroin for the soul. Fuck knows. Read it….


 

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