An Interview With Jack Jester – Part One. Becoming Jack Jester. ICW Champion

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Across its history ICW has had a few mainstays. The building blocks that make a company recognisable at every stage of its growth. The franchise players. The ones having to put up with being side eyed and told their success is a by-product of their friendship with the owner and nothing to do with their unquestionable talent. Among the most vital of those building blocks over the years has been Jack Jester. Many of the ICW and Scottish Wrestling’s biggest moments have had him in the middle of it. Corkscrew in hand, unapologetically causing it as either a hardcore bastard, a right nasty bastard or most recently, a kinky bastard. Aside from that, without him reaching out to Mark Dallas back in 2010, with an idea that only an adult orientated show could handle, ICW as we know it today might not even exist at all. After becoming immersed in the local BDSM scene thanks to meeting one of his best pals who would go on to become his wrestling valet, the idea was born for “Scotlands” Lee Thomas to become the Jack Jester we know today.

“It came in stages, the character obviously takes years to build over the years as you find things and add things to it over the years. Before that, Scottish Wrestling was bare. There was nothing there. It wasn’t as bad as it had been maybe 15 years or so ago, but when you look back at the quality of it, there was nothing there. So to make any sort of money, you had to go on the camps.”

Jester’s induction to the camps happened completely by accident after future Black Label comrade and good pal Red Lightning done something so daft that only a potent mixture of youthful exuberance and red-blooded patriotism could be blamed.

Jestttttttt “Red Lightning was part of the Scottish camp team and he, when travelling back up on one of his days off, insisted on getting his photo taken on top of the ‘Welcome To Scotland’ sign…and he fell aff it! *laughs*. So he was out injured and I got the call and asked if i could replace him for a while on that. It was my 18th birthday, and I went to Weymss Bay Holiday Park, and I just remember it being scariest thing. Not because I was nervous for the shows, but because I walked out and there was about 4 or 5 folk there. I’d been wrestling for a wee while up until that point, obviously starting out with BCW. Which wasn’t at the level it is now but they still ran the same venues. Actually, if I remember right, I ditched my prom date to wrestle at the Kilmarnock Grand Hall” *laughs*

Persuading the poor lassie to maybe patch the prom altogether to watch her potential date do a bit of wrestling wouldn’t have been as appealing as it might be now when BCW consistently pack out these venues. A different time. A different, altogether less Jestoooglamorous set-up but it would have taken huge commitment to give up a once in a lifetime experience. Or maybe the burd was just heavy annoying. In any case, it caused Jester to develop a bit of a love/hate relationship with the venue that would go on to be the scene of some of his biggest matches. Including an official shot at Drew Galloway’s TNA World Title. “I’m sure there was about 50 folk there and you could imagine how dire that would’ve been for a venue that size. I always had a love hate relationship with the Grand Hall as its incredible now. Graeme obviously gets the stage now for the bigger shows and the setup is a lot better. Back then everything felt a bit flung together. I’m all of nothing when it comes to character. If I didn’t feel it was right or it wasn’t clicking I’d be more inclined to say take me off shows, because I wasn’t comfortable. I was off and on, and coming up with all sorts of stupid names and all that. Looking back on some of the photos and stuff I don’t know what I was thinking”

“Scotlands” Lee Thomas

“The camps became a thing I done every year after that. I moved from Haven to Allstar. At that point I was still Jack Jester on the camps, butleeee when I went to all-star, they took that away from me. Made me wear a kilt, wave a Scotland flag etc. I was there to replace Drew essentially after he got signed. I ended up working for them on and off for years. I moved to Liverpool and I lived there for most of the year, just coming back every now and then, but I didn’t take any other bookings anywhere, because it was the type of situation where if I asked for 2 days off to come up to Scotland for a show, you’d likely get a call as soon as you get here saying ‘just come back in 2 weeks’ and you’d end up losing a lot of money”

Before the journey to becoming the hardcore icon happened, Jester learned his craft in his early days when he was based in Liverpool for most of the year. The type of sacrifice that showed a huge amount of faith in his own ability, but one that was also a necessary part when it came to learning your craft back then. There wasn’t an abundance of training schools or experience to be gained on your doorstep. As a result, despite being limited already, the Scottish wrestling scene had to do without Jack Jester for a while before his ICW re-genesis came about.

“I was gone from Scotland for years at that point, and then I had this idea (for ICW). The idea came about organically as I’d recently got involved in that scene (BDSM). I’d met Lolly, we hit it off and became best mates. Obviously you know it exists, watching it on the tele and all that when you maybe shouldn’t have been. Things like Eurotrash, Sexcetera and all that. You know that there’s alternative scene that no one knows about, where everything is very secretive. All of a sudden through hanging about with her, I’d become immersed in this scene, and I was meeting all these folk that were so open, so friendly and maybe the first time I’d ever met folk who were completely sure about who they were. People who were proud to say this is me and that’s it, and that really opened my eyes up. If I hadn’t been introduced to that scene and put in environments and situations like that I certainly wouldn’t be the person I am now. I would never have known there was this different side to the world essentially”

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Becoming Jack Jester – The Hardcore Icon

Being exposed to this enlightened world where the people in it aren’t riddled with self-doubt gave Jester an idea. He needed to get on the phone to a certain Mr Dallas who had run a few shows under the name “Insane Championship Wrestling” a few years earlier before putting the company on hiatus. There was only one company and one promoter where this character could see the light of day in Scotland. It needed to be an adult audience and back then that sort of thing was a rarity.

“I started to come up with the bare bones of this character and I thought “There’s no way I can apply to anywhere else bar an adult company” and they weren’t ten a penny back then. Even now they aren’t. I phoned Dallas, and at that time I didn’t know what the look would be or any of that. I had Lolly as my valet and she was the dominatrix, and it was almost as if I was this kinda guy who was just hanging out with her while she done that stuff. I was adamant it wasn’t going to be a hardcore thing even though I had always enjoyed that type of wrestling. Mick Foley/Cactus Jack was the reason I started to enjoy wrestling in the first place. At that time I was adamant I would never do it until I had earned my stripes. Until I could work. Until I had learned wrestling. When its done badly I can’t stand it. If you’re in there doing hardcore stuff, and you’re ring positioning is shite, and you’ve no footwork, it’s never going to look good. If you can’t do the basics you’ve got absolutely no right hitting someone with a chair, or putting them in to thumbtacks”

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The first taste of the more ‘adult’ version of Jack Jester we seen today took place in Maryhill and while he had an idea of where he wanted the whole thing to go, there were some teething problems in the early days, or ‘randomly paddlin’ guys arses’ problems to be more precise, but once they worked out the kinks, they came up with something that drew a reaction never really seen before at least locally. Having a manager with a very particular skill set started to come in handy as Jester began to flesh out this character over time.

“The first time I ever done the BDSM thing was in the smaller hall in Maryhill that we run now with GPWA. It was against William Grange. I was feeling like there’s no point in having Lolly just beside me unless she’s involved. There’s no point having anyone with you if they’re no doing anything, be it a valet or a domanatrix valet in this case. Even in cases when I’m working with someone with a valet, I’ll always come up with something to involve them, otherwise, what are they there for? So Lolly came oot, she had a paddle, she had a noose, and she used to come out and just randomly start paddling guys arses and all that *laughs*. I had to keep saying to her, I know what you’re trying to do, but stop just randomly doing it during the matches, cause I’m trying to get something across in the ring, and no ones watching me because you’re out there randomly paddling guys arses” *laughs*

When the arse paddlin subsided they collectively realised Lolly had a skill few others could replicate or indeed regurgitate. She could spew on command, and when you chuck some red food colouring in the mix, and hunners of cider, you’ve got yourself the recipe for a good old-fashioned blood spew “Lolly could make herself sick. So we came up with something using that. I was backstage, this is right before I come out, I’m back there feeding lolly with pancakes covered in red food colouring and she’s washing it down with cans of Strongbow. I’m sure if I remember right, I threw Grange out the ring, and Lolly just toddled over, threw her hair to the side…it was so eloquent *laughs* and all this red stuff comes pouring out all over Grange. He was a good sport and let me do it. The reaction was like nothing I’d ever heard before. They weren’t cheering, they weren’t booing, they weren’t laughing, it was like a mixture of everything. There was guys wanting to react but couldn’t because their burds were there. Parents walking out with their kids. That’s when we realised….we’ve got something here. We might not know exactly what it is yet, but we’ll make something out of it. Over time it was more about me starting to look more the part. That was when I ditched the colourful gear, grew my beard etc. Its taken a long time to just fine tune it. What I am now didnt happen because I’d planned it. Things just stuck and I added things on and it grew over time”

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An important aspect to Jester and something that anyone going down the path of doing hardcore stuff should consider was looking the part. If you don’t look like someone who can survive getting scudded over the napper with a barbed wire bat you have no business wielding one yourself, as he went on to explain.

“I didn’t want to do it until I looked old enough as well. If I started out and immediately wanted to do all that shit it would have looked daft. I’d have been a wee boy, doing stupid shit and at that point I wasn’t clued up as to when I needed to hold back. Even on the camps, I used to drop elbows off the apron every single night. Twice a day. I used to get thrown off the stage on to the concrete and this is for folk who are barely paying attention. I was young and I was fulla beans and I just wanted to go out there and do this stuff. I also didn’t have anyone telling me not to do it. I was on this team with guys in their 30s, and 40s who have been doing this a long time and no one was telling me otherwise. “

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He has no trouble imparting a bit of wisdom on his trainees but he maybe sees a bit of himself in the ones with the youthful exuberance to go ahead with it and ignore his advice anyway. They would be wise to heed the advice of someone who learned their craft back in a day where good advice wasn’t easy to come by. Someone who’s made the mistakes before and learned from them, but if people don’t want to listen, there’s only so many times you can repeat yourself

“I will tell folk that, although at times they choose to ignore me. If you’re fundamentals aren’t right. Your footwork, intensity, your striking isn’t there, then I’m not impressed when you jump off a balcony. What am I impressed about? Anyone can do it. Sure it takes a set of balls to do it. I’m not denying that at all. Not everyone will do it, but anybody CAN do it. If you don’t time it right, and do it in the right places where people care about it you’re going to crash and burn eventually. Ignore my advice all you want.”

While hardcore wrestling is a big part of Jack Jesters story, he has standards when it comes to putting these matches together. Its an art and even if its one you don’t particularly enjoy as an individual its a craft you can undoubtedly appreciate when its done well. Something Jester has continually prided himself on throughout his career. Tell a story. Don’t bleed for nae reason. Don’t take putting your body through such heavy trauma lightly. Time it right.

“I never wanted to be a garbage wrestler either. I’ve never been a fan of weapons just being everywhere and guys pulling stuff out from under the apron for the sake of it. I was always more a fan of the Cactus Jack, Terry Funk kind of style. More than say, The Sandman. I mean there was a time and a place for him and all that but he’s always kinda annoyed me. I’ve got certain standards when it comes to hardcore matches and I think it comes from looking up to guys like Foley and Funk. I don’t like things like wrestling in jeans and a t-shirt…just because it’s a hardcore match. If that’s your look, fair enough, but I’ve never liked changing it just for that type of match. Terry Funk always wore his tights, so I always wear mine. Another thing I don’t particularly like is lightubes. I just don’t like the look of it. If you’re going to put yourself in a position to get hurt, it should look like it actually does hurt. I want folk to believe I’m putting my safJestdownety on the line. I just draw a line at some stuff. The death match tournaments and stuff now just isn’t for me. Maybe in the past, I always wanted to go to Japan and do death matches but when I look at it now, there’s no way I would. If I was allowed to work my style of hardcore match then fine, but I don’t know how much of a reaction it would get because everyone’s doing all this crazy stuff. People are hitting themselves with these light tubes and no selling it, then when the opponent hits them with it, and all of a sudden its sore. When there’s broken glass all over the ring and you’re doing pinning combinations on it but not feeling the glass, then all of a sudden you take a move on it and the glass is sore again. You’re rolling about in broken glass. You should be selling that constantly. For me its a case of it missing a story at times now, and you’re just sitting waiting on the next big thing to happen without really paying attention to the bits in between”

Looking up to the likes of Foley and Funk breeds a need for authenticity. A need for it to feel real. If you don’t look like you’re a wee bit mental, don’t be flying through tables. Don’t be getting chucked on to thumbtacks. Tell a story through the art of being a mad bastard or don’t bother at all. The infamous match in 1995 in Japan between Cactus Jack and Terry Funk where both men left in ambulances serves as a measuring stick and almost a manual on how to push that type of match to the absolute limit while managing to tell a story in the process. A story etched in blood stained barbed wire and two best pals forever bonded by what could only be described as some kind of mutual murder pact.

“Foley and Funk in the King Of The Death Match tournament is the prime example. I still watch that and believe it to this day. I believe these guys were killing each other. Funk’s head is taped up, Cactus arm is taped up, its dark, they’re fucking things up, and you can just feel this atmosphere. I’m frightened watching it. I’m sitting wondering how they must have felt, after wrestling death matches all day, and then doing that to each other to finish it off. Going out there when you’re already severelyhhhh injured, knowing you’re going out there to injure yourself way worse than you already are. Watching it back, you know this is going to happen and you still get sucked in, and if I’m caring about now when it was nearly 30 years ago, you’ve done your job. Mick always had this way about making me care about him. He wasn’t doing loads of different big spots all the time, but if he done something it always meant something and helped tell the story. Like when The Rock took that chair to his head at the Royal Rumble. That match was planned out in stages, but they did it until it was too much. They pushed it as far as it would go. Folk loved him. They cared about HIM. It made me feel things I’d never felt before. I’ll never forget when Triple H beat him in the cell, and he retired. My Ma kept me off school the next day. Because she knew, if anyone made a snide comment to me about it, I’d have fuckin wrecked the place. I’m no 8 year old here. This is high school *laughs* . Terry was the same. He had that respect. He’d go over the Japan and have the respect of that audience. He used to just snap at folks ankles, and run at them, he literally personified a madman but yet he would never shy away from asking for help. This guy wasn’t trying to look like a hardman. He was just a normal guy, apart from the fact he was a mental case” *laughs*

The allure of characters who meshed an air of unpredictability with vulnerability is something that has influenced Jack Jester throughout his career to date. If you care so much about a character that his retirement keeps you off school the next day, this wrestling thing exists somewhere deep down inside you. Its ingrained. It matters. Taking all these eye catching risks means very little if the person taking them doesn’t show a human side and make it seem like putting themselves through this ordeal is as terrifying as it looks. That legitimacy is lost when people don’t make the effort to make things look like they hurt. Call out for help when your arm is falling off like any normal person would. Kidding on you’re robocop and no selling a steel chair to the skull isn’t the right way to do it. Were aw flesh and bones. Act like it.

Jester9“One of my favourite photos is of him (Funk) all cut up, barbed wire bat in his hand, his t-shirt all torn and hanging off and you look at that and go ‘thats scary as fuck’ . Leatherface is MEANT to be scary, but he’s no. It’s no real. Terry’s just a mental case and that IS scary. He comes across as a legit nutjob. These two guys just went out there for each other, and tried to create a memory. There wasn’t a lot of folk there but the potential for folk to see it down the line was massive. I do get disheartened at times with hardcore wrestling now and I feel I probably got away from it at the right time. You’ve got feuds like myself and Mikey (Whiplash) that I hold in high regard. Its been 7 years since our first match in ICW. I’ve known Mikey for years. Since travelling with all-star. We travelled together for years, and I fuckin hated him. I really didn’t like him. Because he was an arsehole *laughs* he was. Mikey’s one of my best pals now, and by the time that we had worked for ICW, we realised we had a lot of stuff in common, and it felt daft. How did we manage to travel together for so long and be in the same company and all that not once realise we were the same person almost? *laughs*. It was like…we’re just different folk. Mikey had been in this bubble for so long back then, so he had his pals and that was that. I was young and just wanted an easy life so I shut my mouth and got on with it.”

Jester vs Whiplash – Becoming ICW Champion

Despite the rocky start to their relationship the pair became synonymous with each from the moment Whiplash stepped through the door. Kindred spirits who went on to become good pals whilst maiming each other on a semi regular basis. A unique and altogether sare relationship but one that saw a formidable bond happen in the process as they started to notice their similarities. Similarities that led to a chemistry in the ring that produced some of the best matches ICW have ever had. Even if their first match took place in not so ideal circumstances that almost forced them into straight up battering fuck out each other. Leading to a rivalry that was as much about winning wrestling matches as it was just managing to survive them.

JestWhip “Mikey debuted his transvestite character in his first match. This wasn’t announced at all. Everyone was expecting this tights and boots wrestler, folk were in shock. He had like a black shiny raincoat on, and he came out with this pink balloon he just found in the venue on the day. We broke the ring almost instantly. I hit him with a bulldog and the beam snapped *laughs*. We were second last on so that’s how the first ICW Street Fight came about, because the ring was broke. That’s when you had Wolfgang throwing folk into busses on the street and all that. Me and Mikey kinda winged it, that was the first time I’d ever had my arm attacked. Lolly had turned on me at this point and she was holding my arm while he carved it. Me and Mikey always had a mutual sorta goal for this kind of match, lets build it around 2 or 3 big moments, but don’t do it until we know the timing is right. If the timing is never right, and it never feels right, just don’t do it. There’s no point in throwing stuff away. Say I’m going to take a Finlay Roll into a barbed wire board. If we’ve not got them (the crowd) at that point? Just dont bring the board out. Because I’m no taking it just because we’ve spoke about it beforehand if its not right. There’s always wee things that we know are there if we need them. Me and Mikey were always good for pushing each other. We never put limits on it. It was always a case of doing it and seeing where it takes us, and when the crowd didn’t want to see me or him get hit again that’s when we’d stop. You have to take to the limit to know what the limit is.”

They formed a trust based on pushing each other to the limit physically and producing matches that were not for the squeamish. But it wasn’t blood and guts for the sake of it. It was two guys who managed weave a story that spanned more than two years, the final chapter being written with Jester taking the title from Whiplash at Fear and Loathing in 2013. Captivating the ABC in a blood soaked contest that saw Jester complete an arduous journey to the top of the company he had invested so much of his career in.

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“We built that understanding up over the course of the matches we had, and the thing is, he always beat me, always won, right up until the culmination at Fear and Loathing in the ABC where I won the belt from him. I knew by that point the time was right. Dallas had told me on a few occasions “I’m going to put the belt on you” and as often happens in wrestling, plans would change, and I was ok with that, you don’t need to give me a date that it’s happening you know what I mean? if you do that and it doesn’t happen then I’ve been working towards nothing. When its right, its right. That’s how wrestling is. People don’t really see that sometimes. Plans change. Things change. You have to roll with the punches. People who moan about having opportunities dangled in front of them then taken away? Cry me a river. If the opportunities come your way, make sure you take them, and if they don’t? Shut up. You’re not entitled to anything. Earn it.”

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“That match got out of hand quick. Mikey really dragged me through that. I was gone. He gave me just the right amount of time to recover and catch my breath, because I was starting to pass out from the blood loss. I still don’t know how it happened, I can only assume there was a can or something sharp on the table he flung me on to, but I’ve never felt anything like it. I could just feel it running. It had taken us so much time to get there and at that point I’m thinking I’m not going to make it through this.”

But he did. Thanks in no small part to the guy he was in there with. There’s few who could have handled the situation the way Whiplash did and instead of the match being a struggle, it became an iconic moment in the history of ICW and Jack Jesters career. With his auld man watching for the first time in his career, Jack Jester was the man. This was his time to lead the company forward at a vital time in its growth and the moment might not have been so special had it not been for Whiplash pulling Jester to the epic conclusion the match had that made the moment what it was.

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“There’s not many folk who could remain calm in that situation and push me to get to the end, so the stars aligned with me being in there with Mikey. The temptation was there to just take it home and end it early, but if he had done that, it wouldn’t have been the moment that it was. He made me get to the end. That’s one of the biggest reactions I remember because it wasn’t even like a wrestling “pop”. It was people who’d seen the journey to get to that point thinking ‘Well in, you’ve done it’. Make them want about it. Make them care about it when it happens, because when you’re thrust into that situation before you’re ready for it, its brutal. Having the ICW Title is a lot of pressure. It made me ill eventually because I had it for so long. You’re on last every show. Pressure to go out and perform every time. I personally used to let the pressure fall on me because if the show wasn’t busy, in my eyes it was my fault. I know it isn’t actually like that, but I feel like if you don’t think like that, you’re not giving it enough.”

The years of investment in Whiplash and Jesters story is something that’s a bit of a lost art in wrestling these days. The involvement of the biggest prize in ICW came a wee bit down the line as Jester and Whiplash were the final two in ICW’s second ever Square Go match. Whiplash eliminating Jester and going on to take the title from Red Lightning before Jester finally got his shot 6 months down the line when ICW sold out the ABC in their second time running the 1,000+ capacity venue.

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“People were invested in that story for such a long time and it doesn’t happen anymore. Folk want everything to happen fast. They want to win this, win that, in the shortest amount of time possible. No one cares if you’re just winning everything. Its little more than an ego trip if that’s all you do. Mick Foley wasn’t a big ‘winner’. He was a guy who made you care. He went in there and burst his arse. When he did win, people were overjoyed. They were happy for him as a person. People backstage were genuinely happy when he won his WWE Titles. The locker room just emptied and you had him up on DXs shoulders and all that. Everyone was just happy for him”

When the adrenaline from winning the title eventually wore off Jack Jester the ICW Champion, became Lee needin his bed. Almost bleeding out on the ABCs floor is draining business but being the man comes with sacrifices. The sacrifice at that particular time was a lot of sleep and probably a few stitches in favour of a tried and tested home remedy and well….booze. A lot of booze.

“We were filming for Insane Fight Club at that time, and I remember after it we had to film the afterparty. I was half deid and Dallas tells me this. I’m thinking I need to go to the hospital, and he’s thinking ‘you dont need to go to the hospital, you need to go the Cathouse’ *laughs* so I remember being in the Cathouse, and I’d used my old trick where I’d put hairspray on the cut so it would conjeal, then put a bandana on it, and deal with it in the morning *laughs*. I remember being at the Cathouse bar. Falling asleep. Dallas giving me a wee elbow lit ‘cmon champ”

The Jester and The Homicidal, Suicidal, Death Defying mad bastard

One of the defining moments of Jesters title run came when a show ICW had announced in Edinburgh suddenly became the biggest crowd they had performed in front of to this date. Dave’s Not Here Man was initially supposed to be at ICWs usual smaller venue but rapid ticket sales when Sabu vs Jack Jester was announced meant a switch to the 1,100 capacity Picture House. A show that also saw a huge match at the opposite end of the wrestling spectrum when Grado wrestled Colt Cabana.

sabu_jack_jester_3“I wrestled Sabu that show and Grado wrestled Colt. That show was meant to be in Studio 24 actually but as soon as we announced me and Sabu, it sold out in 4 minutes or something, so we had to find a bigger venue for it. This is a long time in advance. To go from that size of venue to selling out something 1,200 capacity was a dream. Sabu was still this mythical guy. I’ll never ever get bored of Sabu. I’ll never not get a buzz from the fact that Sabu’s my pal *laughs* people don’t understand it because I’ve worked with him so often but it’s just surreal to me. I watched him and Cactus Jack wrecking casinos together in ECW, so to get the chance to pick his brains and spend time with him will never not be cool to me. “

That match had the top billing at ICWs first ever four figure crowd and had the added stress of one half of the match being held up at the airport and not arriving until the second last match had started. Giving them just enough time for a quick handshake and exchange of pleasantries before one half of the match snapped a coathanger in half and tucked the sharp end on his boot. For future use in some sort of gouging incident over the course of a mental 20 minutes or so at the end of a landmark night for the company.

“I’d never met the guy and we heard he’d been held up at the airport. I already wasn’t in the best nick, I’d been out the night before and I fucked it. It was stressful as fuck. Matches go by and it gets to the one before we’re meant to go out. He’s still not there. Panic. He finally showed up, so I introduce myself and we really had no time to get any kind of plan in place. It was a case of me saying “I know what you do, this is what I do, lets wing it” kind of thing, and despite booking Sabu, Dallas didnae think to bring chairs *laughs* so the only chair we had is this bright pink folding chair that was all broke and just like normal catering chairs. The last thing I remember is him snapping a wooden coathanger, putting the spike in his boot, and saying “I’ll see you out there” and I’m thinking “fuck”. The whole time I know its in there, but he didn’t know I knew, so I’m just wondering when he’s going to pull this thing out. At that time he was one of my heroes and I wasn’t all that comfortable maiming him with the corkscrew but knowing him a bit better now, I definitely wouldn’t hold back *laughs* One of the coolest things and no one thought he was there. The rumours were swirling about that he wasn’t there. People used to say he’d always no show and they assumed that had happened, then suddenly the drums for his music hit, and this unbelievable noise comes out. Even I was reacting. It was one of those moments where you’re just in awe”

A genuine appreciation for how Sabu remained dedicated to his character after years of putting his body through agony to gain his reputation in the first place stayed with Jester after that match. For better or for worse, he’s a mad bastard. He is homicidal, suicidal, and even with a burst hip he still defies death in a variety of ways. He lives it and even if his particular brand of wrestling isn’t for you, its hard not to respect someone who wants to give folk their moneys worth no matter what. If you pay for a ticket to see Sabu, you’ll get Sabu.

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“He always had that air of legitimacy about him as a genuine madman. When I worked him again at the ABC he’d been absolute doing me with my spike and all sorts. So I rolled out the ring for a break, and I don’t know where he got it from, but the next thing I know he’s standing over me with a massive ladder above his heid *laugh* I’m thinking, he’s pulled that out his arse or something. I swear he can sniff out tables. Honestly. I’ve wrestled him before and I’ve hid tables around the ring. So he can’t find them. Some nights its just not something you’re keen on, and if its like a pasting table, I won’t do it. I think it looks stupid. This promoter had a pasting table and I thought “nut, Its no happening” but I knew if he knew it was there he would use it, so I hid it. Of course he fuckin found it *laughs* set it up, and there it was. Sabu was so good at selling. He was always asking for help and holding his neck or his head. It all looked real. He learned from being around guys like Terry Funk and Foley when they were at their best. He basically took Cactus Jack and added acrobatics to it. He was fearless, and he lives up to his billing. I wrestled him and he’d separated his shoulder and broke his collarbone the night before and we’re telling him in the back he doesn’t need to do this. We can play it safer. He’s adamant that’s not how its going to happen. “People have paid to see Sabu” its hard not admire that. You do get folk who show up and they clearly can’t be arsed. People who don’t really do dangerous stuff and still come and half arse it, yet Sabu had the option of just not doing that and refused it. He’s a real enigma. A proper character and an absolute maniac.”

What is wrestling without folk like that? Your mad uncles that might ruin your birthday party but will always have the best stories whenever you can get 5 minutes of cohesive sentences out of them. That first match and their subsequent meetings have made them more than just guys that are pleasant to each other out of necessity. Jack Jester and Sabu are actual pals, two folk who come from such different backgrounds and have gone down two entirely different paths to get where they are in wrestling, somehow being drawn to one and other anytime they’re in the same country. If that doesn’t sum up the mad alternate universe the wrestling scene exists on, nothing will.

Part Two will be up tonight. I wanted to do it in one part but it was gonnae be heavy long so this means you’ll no get a sore arse sitting reading it in the one go. Don’t say I’m no good to yees. 

Thank you to David J.Wilson, who actually dug through his photos for some of the older shots. Very kind of him. Also thank you to Warrior Fight Photography. Thanks for all the photies guys. Your work is heavy appreciated. 

 

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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.

Raising The Bar

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. 

Wolfgang – Built Fae Girders (Interview Part One)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nae pressure there then eh?

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

READ PART TWO HERE

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

An Interview With Iestyn Rees

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You lookin at ma belt mate? 

Iestyn Rees and The Marauders have made a profound impact on the Scottish scene over the past year, establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in ICW quickly after forming as Bird and Boar took the ICW Tag Team Titles from Polo Promotions. With Bird and Boar firmly established in the tag division, Iestyn Rees has been staking his own claim for recognition in the mix for the ICW World Heavyweight Title. As the only man to hold the PWE Heavyweight Title more than once, his credentials are there. In PWE particularly he’s wrestled the best and became a better performer for it. He also happens to be carved outta granite. A big block of shiny Welsh granite who’s more than adept at chuckin dafties aboot. From wee dafties, to medium sized dafties, all the way up to big incredible hulk sized dafties.


You go by the “Alpha Male”, a bold claim by definition. Are you actually THE Alpha Male? and if you are, do you promise you wont steal my burd? Nah I jest, seriously though, how did that nickname come about and how does it tie in with your character?

No bird stealing I promise!! Yes it is a bold claim and if you look up Alpha Male in the Dictionary the quote is as follows: “the most dominant, powerful, or assertive man in a particular group” I think that when you look at the British Wrestling Scene and further afield when I step in locker-room of any company I am dominant, powerful and assertive hence why I am the Alpha Male.

Now there was a time when myself and Charlie Sterling were a tag team and we derived the name the Alpha Males because we literally covered all bases when it came to wrestling, high flying, power, technical etc. When that teams time came to a close it was a natural transition for the leader of the team yours truly to step up and take on the Alpha Male moniker.

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In case the answer itself didn’t suffice, here’s a visual aid articulating the point courteousy of Warrior Fight Photography

On to more wrestling based stuff I guess. You have twice been a PWE Champion. The only man in the companies history to do so. You also were the chosen opponent for 2 of Drew Galloways matches with the company. His only matches in his hometown. How vital has the PWE’s trust in you as a performer been for you establishing yourself in places like ICW, PCW, Progress etc?

PWE for me has been the company that allowed the evolution and progression of Iestyn Rees to occur. I had, had success prior to my long list of knee injuries and surgeries in IPW being crowned their champion beating Martin Stone, if I’m truly honest this was probably a little too early in my career and the title run exposed some of weaknesses I had as a wrestler at the time. The injuries caused my bookings to dry up, I was lucky enough to then spend 2 years working mainly for Welsh Wrestling honing my craft and trying to improve every aspect of my wrestling ability.

Once I started to gain more bookings elsewhere etc, I discussed with Adrian (Lionheart) about bringing me into PWE (I had always wanted to work in Scotland as the scene has grown from strength to strength). Adrian was keen to use me, but he wanted to get the best from me. So I had vignettes hyping my debut and from then on I have been a main eventer for him ever since, working all of Scotland’s top talent Wolfgang, Damo, Grado, Noam, Joe Coffey and of course Drew. The top tier talent I got to work and Adrian’s faith in me allowed my profile to grow considerably, this allowed me to pick up work in PCW and ICW and to be used as an integral part in both companies.

How did you feel those matches with Galloway went? Was it a learning curve for you at all? Being in there with someone who at that time was one of the hottest properties in Independent Wrestling?

Those matches were and still are the 2 of the biggest 3 matches I’ve been involved in, Adrian put a hell of a lot of trust in me to go toe to toe with the hottest commodity in world wrestling in his hometown. I felt that I held up my end of the bargain and gave as good as I got from Drew, in terms of learning curve every match I try to improve on the previous one, but certainly Drew forced me to work at a level I hadn’t until that point. I feel that coming away from those matches I am now a much better performer because of them.

Your ICW career started with a few defeats. Took a while for you to chalk up your first win. Since The Marauders started up you personally have been on a hot streak as have your fellow Marauders. How vital has this alliance been in your own upturn of fortunes in ICW?

Coming into ICW I was put up against the top tier talent 4 World Champions and a Zero G champion and perhaps I took them all to lightly as I had faced them at other companies and come away with my fair share of victories. The marauders came together as Bird and Boar reminded me that Wales has been over looked in terms of British wrestling for far too long and as a small nation we were better to stick together as there is always strength in numbers.

My current hot streak just proves that if you have your head in the game, you possess the physical capabilities and the support of your boyos the wins will come and come.

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Whats the overall goal for The Marauders as a unit going forward? Aw the belts?

Of course I can’t see a team taking the tag belts from Bird and Boar, and all I need is an opportunity at some gold and I can see us holding all the belts.

British Wrestling has never been hotter than it is right now and high profile opportunities are popping up all over the place. Do you feel you’re one of the next in line for one of these opportunities perhaps with WWE, WOS etc?

The eyes of the wrestling world are certainly focused on Britain and its wrestlers as we have the hottest products in the world right now. Next inline might be a little presumptuous to say, but do I think I have the ability, charisma, the look and the marketability to offer either WWE, WWEUK, WOS, Impact or wherever someone who they could invest in. #InvestInIestyn

#InvestInIestyn because who doesn’t like their champions to glisten? If you’re not as shiny as the belt itself you’re not worthy to hold it

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Is there anyone you haven’t faced yet that you fancy going up against? If you’ve not wrestled Mark Coffey someone should definitely make that happen

Oh wow, I feel that im only getting started and the list is as long as my arms (6’ 9” wing span, they are pretty bloody long.) But Mark Coffey is definitely top of that list the guy is phenomenal! Others include Lionheart, Jester, Whiplash, Zack Gibson, Pete (Dunne), Trent and Tyler hell anyone and everyone.

Do you enjoy proving people wrong/winning them over, or as a big baddie are you not particularly arsed what people think? I wasnt a huge fan before (sorry, dont kill me or that plz) but over the past year I’ve been won over so was just wondering if thats an aspect of wrestling you enjoy. Being able to shape the way fans see you with your performances?


I’m out there to do my job, in today’s Indy wrestling scene there aren’t many guys my size 6 foot 3, 17.5 stone. Now I wrestle a style that isn’t to everyone’s tastes and I’m used to hearing people not being impressed or not fussed by me as in the case with yourself I am confident in my ability and captivate people and win most not all round with my style. But don’t let that fool you I’ve got lots of tricks in my bag and I occasionally let them out and when I do most fans are shocked, I can fly (check out my “Undertaker” dive alongside Aaron Echo at the Hydro far example)

That dive is one of the chief reasons I became a believer. If you’re a wrestling fan and not impressed when huge dudes do dives that huge dudes shouldn’t be able to do, you’re not really a wrestling fan

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You’ve been compared to Chris Masters in the past due to your similar physiques and you’ve even wrestled him a few times. Is that a comparison you enjoy and is he someone you’re a fan of?

I feel the comparisons to Chris are flattering hell the guy has an incredible physique (I was a huge fan of him when he debuted in WWE) and has worked at a top level for the WWE, but at the same time I feel that although that maybe peoples first impression after they have seen me perform a few times then will understand that I’m not a Sh*t Chris Masters, I am Iestyn Rees, I’m the Alpha Male. I bring a whole different package to the table.

Because how many times has Chris Masters ever done a big dive at The Hydro with Aaron Echo? 0 times. Big man couldnae lace Iestyn’s boots. 

You’ve been putting people “on notice” lately. Making short work of “local” talent in ICW, and even posing with the corpses…sorry, opponents, in a fishing style “catch of the day” pose, are you enjoying making an example of these guys, or is it time for the Alpha Male to go toe to toe with some more worthy adversaries?

The whole roster is “On Notice” that’s been evident when I’ve been on tour and beaten Aaron Echo and DCT in quick fashion. Ill wrestle whoever I’m matched up against “Local Talent” to World Champion, but people need to understand if I’m sent out there against Local talent or anyone else they run the risk of being the latest “Catch of the Day”!

Last but not least. Tell us anything you like. Plug your social medias. Tell us a joke if you fancy. Whatever you like.


Thanks for the interview; your reviews are definitely a great read.

Find Iestyn on various social medias here
Twitter: IESTYN REES TWITTER
Instagram: IESTYN REES INSTAGRAM
Facebook: IESTYN REES OFFICIAL FACEBOOK PAGE

Merch: www.iestynrees.bigcartel.com
Press/Media/Enquiries: Iestyn.rees@sky.com

Cheers to David J.Wilson and Warrior Fight Photography for the shiny shots that made the words pop

ICW Barramania 3 Review

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Wrestling is about heroes and villains is it no? Telling stories? That’s what it is to me anyway. Every character has an arc. A thing that happens to them that changes the person they were at the start of the story. If things didn’t change from time to time, yer telling fuckin shite stories and should write better ones. A lot of shit changed in this show. Stories end, new ones begin. Fuckin wrestling mate. Swings and roundabouts.

Billy Kirkwood’s unabashed joy at the prospect of William Grange coming out gets me every time. He got really excited to see his pal, then we all sung Sweet Caroline for a bit. I realise context would help here for anyone who wisnae there, but let yer brain go wild there. Why would 1000+ wrestling fans be singing Sweet Caroline, or perhaps the more pertinent question is, why the fuck wouldn’t they be? Its a tune.

The Zero-G Scramble (Kenny Williams vs Matt Cross vs Ravie Davie vs ‘Flash’ Morgan Webster vs Charlie Sterling vs Zack Gibson vs BT Gunn) 

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Never been hugely into these matches unless they involve about 900 ladders but this match last year was the start of Lionheart re-inventing himself and had the added intrigue of one competitor not being know going in to it so I was quietly buzzin for it. I mean who could the other guy possibly be? Possibilities are endless Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks wrestled in Scotland that week, so they all immediately become suspects. WWE and ICW seem pally enough to allow special dispensation for a wee Noam Dar visit, if he can stop hingin oot the back ae ALLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEESHAAAA FAWWWWWWXXX for 5 minutes. Even the likes of Pete Dunne, Jimmy Havoc and Tyler Bate were all intriguing options. Closer to home oor BT Gunn didn’t have match and has a Grand Slam to be completing, but naw. None of the fuckin above. Sit doon, and kindly cover up yer semi’s. Embarassing yourselves so yees are. Its fuckin LIVERPOOOOOOOOOLS NUMBEH WUN. Zack Gibson. Like it or fuckin lump it.

Zack Gibson has quietly been killing it for a wee while in ICW, particularly on the mic. Know why? He quite plainly disnae give a flying fuck about being cheered and has catered his character to be as much of an annoyance to the audience as possible. Like a good fuckin villain should. Wrestling does have this grey area between hero and villain now, and that’s aw fine. Dance along the line if it works for ye, but there will never not be room for real baddies who get pure enjoyment from fuckin wae folk. Red Lightning is one of them anaw, but the relevance of that will be revealed shortly (who we kiddin there? It’ll be revealed in about 10,000 words) but the point is, Zack Gibson was the last guy. Until he wisnae cause who the fuck says a scramble needs to be six guys? It’s an open challenge and if the whole Nation Of Domination came doon and said they were in the match that’s how it would have to be. They did not, but BT FUCKIN GUNN did, and 6 became 7.

BT Gunn and Matt Cross flew about together for about 10 seconds which was enough to convince me all the matches from now on should be BT Gunn vs Matt Cross matches. Everywhere. I  jest n that but them two wrestling each other would be some of the dopest shit. Zack Gibson continued his hot streak of being brilliant at being an absolute worst cunt by dismantling a tower of doom suplex thing in the corner. Every other competitor slotting together like some kinda mad game of wrestler jenga before big Zack burst in and knocked the whole tower doon. Followed it up with a sexy big chinlock because fundamentals are important. Even in a mad flippy Zero-G showcase, a right gid chinlock to give you a breather and the opponent a sare chin is still effective.

Everyone bar one very important exception had a wee shot of being interim Zero-G Champion. First was Charlie Sterling, who had his shot of it via a shooting star headbutt after a lovely wee sequence of him doing some mad agile stuff. I’m a heterosexual man, got a burd and everything mate, ask anyone, absolutely daft for fanny, but some lifeforms supersede sexual preference and with that being said, I’d maybe….probably……definitely pump Charlie Sterling. The big ride lost his interim champ status thanks to a Ravie Davie heidbutt and folk went mental for about 20 seconds before he lost it to the impressive ‘Flash’ Morgan Webster doing a hoppy backwards Hurricanrana thing. Who the fuck knows whit ye cry it but it looked good and he was a pleasure to watch throughout. Poor Ravie but, didnae even get to savour it for a full minute. Flash held on to it for a wee while, keeping everyone out the ring. A solid strategy until the poor boy got flip fever. After Kenny and Davie both nailed dives into the crowd, up Flash went for some ill-advised show stopping. Hitting a superb dive, before Matt Cross usurped his interim status with a springboard cutter back in the ring. If there’s any lesson to be taken there, it’s that doing big dives makes ye quite tired and more accustomed to being pinned by springboard cutters.

Sadly for the magnificently bearded American, his interim reign was also short-lived. BT Gunn came very close to ending it, but Zack Gibson tossed him out the ring when he was on the verge of becoming the first ever ICW (interim) Grand Slam winner, and locked in Shankly’s Gates on Cross to begin his stint as Zero-G Champ. With minutes left Kenny Williams had seen his belt passed aboot like a joint at a hoose party, but good joint etiquette dictates that the roller of said joint, or in this metaphor the holder of said belt, gets the last shot of it. It’s just manners int it. Kenny hit a mad reverse DDT thing and become the 6th and final interim champion of the night. Despite a grand slammin (sorry) effort from BT Gunn to take it aff him. Deep down we all knew it would come down to them, as impressive as the other dudes were, these two had the most at stake. BT Gunn wants that Grand Slam so much its palpable. Yer man’s building a legacy and shit like that is what it’s all about. He had Kenny in a crossface for the whole of the last-minute of the match but Kenny would not yield. He held on the his face and in the process held on to his shiny belt. The Zero-G Open continues.

Entertaining romp. Thought everyone was impressive. No big on their being so many “interim” reigns in a 15 minute period but it made sense as the only one NOT to get a pin was the man it would have meant the most to (even if it’s no officially a title reign, BT Gunn being Zero-G Champ for a millisecond would have meant a lot) so aye. Enjoyable way to kick off the show and mad Kenny wound up emerging from the chaos looking unbeatable and hard as nails for surviving a one minute crossface.

Polo Promotions vs War Machine

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Arguably of the matches on the card this had the least at stake storyline wise. Nae gradual story being told over the course of multiple shows. Nae bad blood. Just two of the finest tag teams on the planet bringing the absolute best out in each other in a brutally hard-hitting scrap. Seen a lot of good tag team shit in ICW since 2012, but I have to say this edges the whole fuckin lot of it as my favourite tag match in the company. To steal the show on a card that had so many matches with personal aspects and titles on the line says it all about the story they told. War Machine will likely not be kicking about the “indie” scene long. Truth be told, neither will Polo Promotions if anycunt’s paying attention, but as long as they’re all still available for selection, fuckin pick them. Have this match a million times. If War Machine are available fly them err. Bring back concord flights and have a dedicated War Machine concord plane to fly the big majestic bastards to every ICW show. Best of 5? Try best of 50. Too far? Fuck ye. No far enough.

The match of course kicked off with a big shoulderblock war, because what else would 4 big fridge sized dudes be doing to start off a match. Raymond Rowe edged Mark Coffey in the hoss war, kicking off an early period of War Machine dominance. They’re a machine built for fuckin war, of course they’re gonnae be good at throwin folk about, but Polo Promotions are both upwards of 6 feet tall. Both big stocky lads, and yer man Rowe was chucking them about like empty ice cream cones (empty cause they need SCOOPS, get it? aye, yer a smart kid, you get it) performing a whole manner of suplexes before him and Hanson started tagging each other in with their forearms. There’s a thing ye cannae usually comment on, both these teams have a unique way of tagging. The Polo’s with their gentlemanly no wasted motion handshake tags, and the big Viking fuckers tagging each other in with forearms smashes. Dare to be different. If you’re an up and coming tag team out there looking for a hook, try tagging each other in with elbow bumps or if yer totally aff yer nut, headbutts. Dare to Zlatan.

Polo took some punishment off Big Hanson, including a beard infused chinlock, and considering the big fella’s got a family of Hawk’s living in that beautiful tapestry of hair he calls a beard that shit was mad dangerous, a back body drop bought Polo enough time for a tag and for Coffey and Rowe to re-assume their shoulderblock war. This time Coffey getting the edge and taking the big fella off his feet. Coffey followed it up with some forearms smashes that Rowe was HEADBUTTING away. If you’ve seen a Mark Coffey match before you are well aware he does not hold back when it comes to levelling cunts jaws with forearms and the big man swatted them away with his dome, before sending Coffey down with a combination of kicks and a forearm of his own. Big Hanson then proceeded to run from corner to corner clotheslining both Polos for what felt like hours. Incredible athleticism for a guy that size, but the Polos kept scrapping. Mark taking the big man off-balance before Polo took him off his feet with a high crossbody and they finally managed to nail him with a double back suplex. Polos in the ascendency going into the final furlong.

They stood team to team. Toe to toe. Sizing each other up. If there were judges in pro wrestling, the scorecards would have been all even at that point. Two top quality teams who had given each other the absolute business. As much business as they could handle. It all came down to the final chapter. The “Big guys throw other big guys into other big guys” chapter. Hanson and Rowe performed a mad Hardy Boyz looking move in the corner where Hanson flipped off Rowes back, before Rowe basically powerbombed Hanson into Coffey. Hanson must be a bawhair aff 300 pounds and is 100% a viking and Rowe looks like the enforcer for some kinda murderous biker gang, so they have no right to be doing late 90s/early 2000s Hardy Boyz shit, but do they look like the type of folk to be worried about what they should be doing? Polo injected a bit of momentum back into his team with a morale boosting pair of scoop slams. Somehow managing to nail Hanson with one, but the big man brushed it off, up right away screamin “come ahead!” in Norweigan right in Jackies face (I know he isnae actually Norweigan but there’s some kinda Scandinavian lineage there for sure) they nailed Coffey with a big double team powerslam. Hanson hitting a fuckin 300 pound suicide dive on Polo to stop him breaking up the pin but Coffey kicked out at two. Our boaysies wurnae done yet.

Coffey bravely kicking out of the first devastating double team move only served to annoy War Machine I think. Up Hanson went, and down he came with a legdrop from the top rope as Rowe had Coffey up for a belly to back suplex. A move they call fallout, probably because most of the opponents vital organs fall out their arse when they take the move. That was enough to put Polo Promotions away but if there’s nae rematch I am fucking done with this wrestling carry on. Why would you want this match to happen only once? If there’s one thing we’ve learned from movies is that the sequel is always better than the first one. Or something like that…

Wonderful, show stealer of a match that had no right to be going in. As good as stories with a slow build can be, sometimes just a brilliant match is enough of a story on its own.

Stevie Boy vs Chris Renfrew (Last Man Standing Match)

barrasenfstevFrom a match with very little personal bad blood attached to it, to one that was absolutely soaked in it. A year of these cunts hating each other after being brothers in arms for over a year before it all went wrong. One of those friendships that had a brotherly bond combined with both parties having the sneaking suspicion one could stab the other at any time. Stevie stabbed first, and I don’t think Renfrew has truly ever managed to pull that knife out his back. The dagger Stevie, Kay Lee Ray and Wolfgang drove through his heart is still there anaw. Amazing that a guy who got figuratively stabbed twice won a brutal TLC match later that night, but that’s just the kind of Rambo cunt Renfrew is. Stevie emerged with Kay Lee Ray but quickly sent her away. This was his fight. Stevie vs Renfrew. Last Man Stabbin.

The early part of the match was mainly them chucking each other into various hard surfaces in the East End of Glasgow, before Renfrew hit a Stoner on a table. Not through  a table in a wrestling way, I mean he scooped the cunt on to a real table. One ye could sit a buffet, or some VCR’s on without break it, and performer a Stone Cold Stoner on that hard surface. No gonnae lie, looked like he picked up a sare arse in the process. Because really real tables are probably not fun to land on. It was entertaining but I’ve never been hugely into Last Man Standing matches. Dunno why, it’s just rarely a stipulation that grabs me. Renfrew hitting a big Senton off the barrier is some shit capable of grabbing me but the first significant count happened after that when Stevie hit the destroyer. Renfrew made it to his feet and floored Stevie with a pair of Stoners. The second coming off the top rope that got Stevie to a count of 9 before he rolled out the ring, grabbed a kendo stick and smacked Renfrew between the eyes wae it. He set up a pair of chairs, no doubt so him and Renfrew could sit down with a few brewskies and talk this whole mess out. Man to man. Much to Stevies dismay, Renfrew had other ideas and decided a double underhook piledriver through the chairs was a better idea than any kind of peace talks. In any case, when given a choice, Renfrew will probably always go with the one that leads to somecunts heid getting split open. That would have been a fitting end to what was a brutal affair, but as the ref got ready to count to 10, Renfrew knocked him out with the Kendo Stick. He could have just picked Stevie up to break the count, but once again when presented with two options, he went with the one that was most likely to split a cunt’s heid open.

Renfrew whipped out the cable ties the same way Stevie had used them on him about 6 weeks earlier and went to fuckin work. A few brutal Kendo Stick shots knocked Stevie out, before Renfrew decided it was thumbtack chair time. Someone else had other ideas, someone else thought instead of it being thumbtack chair time, it was actually drag Renfrew under the ring time. Probably to murder him or at least stick a tongue in his ear or suhin. The man who emerged to drag Renfrew to hell was revealed to be MIKEY WHIPLASH, who then re-emerged to hand Stevie a noose before disappearing under the ring again. Probably to start feasting on Renfrew’s rotting corpse, or maybe he had a crossword book under there, who knows how long he had to wait under there mate. Maybe he brought a wee puzzlebook to pass the time. Point is the whole thing kinda ended in limbo. Nae winner or losers, nae definitive end to this whole saga, but Mikey Whiplash is back and it would be quality if this is somehow leading to a beautiful feud between him and Stevie. A right good feud with Whiplash could be the thing Stevie needs to move up to that permanent main event level and it would also just be a fuckin treat for the senses. As for Renfrew, who knows. BT Gunn and him still have some unresolved business but he might just be living underneath a wrestling ring in The Barras now. Maybe Whiplash has an underground dungeon that only appears when a wrestling ring is built on top of it and Renfrew’s gonnae be trapped there till the next Barras show. Its all up in the air. Wrestling.

DCT and Viper vs Davey Blaze and Kay Lee Ray

This one came about in an odd fashion, after Viper pinned Kay Lee at a Fight Club show ,her reward for pinning the champion was eh…a mixed tag match? It would have been difficult to do two more singles matches on a card loaded with them, but I didn’t really get these two feuds kinda being shoehorned together, even if DCT and Viper tagging together is always an undisputed winner. Davey injected a bit of unexpected heat into the whole thing but absolutely killing it on a backstage promo where he called Coach Trips wee boy “specky” and called his DCT and Coach Trip arseholes, before smashin fuck out the wee mans easter egg. There waere consequences for his sickening actions though. Smashing a wee boy’s easter egg apparently gets ye a Square Go with a big massive UFC guy. Who fuckin knew mate. Dallas, Sweeney and Toal formed like voltron as “Team Da” and made Paul “BearJew” Craig special enforcer for the match. Another who’s felt Davey’s verbal wrath recently as he viciously flipped his nickname upside down and called him a “JewBear” at another recent Fight Club taping.

A wee forgotten aspect of this is that Davey Blaze and Kay Lee Ray once kinda shared a tag title reign. Kay Lee filling in for Davey when he was injured when The Bucky Boys had the titles. So a married couple against a couple of folk who were once married to the same belt. Throw in some UFC guys, and baseball bat wae a horses face on it and you’ve got yourself a party. Viper tossed Kay Lee to the outside in almost a suicide dive that hit both DCT and Davey before Viper went up top, only for Wee Man to stop her from doing a big dive. Worried for her safety of course. He must have been worried about her neck anaw, cause he then went on to hold a baseball bat across her throat as Davey got ready to smash another few eggs, but a wild BearJew appeared to save the day. And the eggs.

Another UFC guy got involved called Chris Bungard, who apparently turned on BearJew for some reason. Hitting a low blow before they scudded each other around the ring in a very UFC’ish fashion for a bit. Bearjew taking the other guy down with a lovely throw. Everyone else with baws took a baw hit, including referee Sean McLaughlin, before Kay Lee Ray took a jab to the fanny. It’s all about equality at the end of the day, if baws can get hit, so can fannies. Wrestling int it. Davey hit a spear and a spinebuster on Viper because ICW mixed tag matches actually allow for real inter genderin. Kay Lee got the pin on DCT after a baseball bat shot from The Wee Man. This is what the whole enforcer business was designed to stop. I dunno if this is leading to an MMA fight in ICW or these dudes doing a bit of grappling, but the lack of enforcing meant DCT needed another saviour as he was being subjected to a post match beatdown. He needed the head of Swat Team Da. The man who had to literally pick up the pieces of that poor wean’s broken easter egg. Fuck a Coach Trip. We’re no going wur holidays here, the man who emerged to give Davey the father of all doings was none other than ADAM SHAME. The man, the myth, the legend. A big fuck off boot to the chops taught Davey a lesson only a Da could teach. Don’t call weans specky. Don’t smash their Easter Eggs, and most important do NOT call their Da’s arseholes if their Da’s are former big bastardin SWA Champions. Shame on you.

Drew Galloway vs Jack Jester (Barbed Wire Ropes Match)barrasdrewjester

When Drew Galloway came back to ICW, it was thriving. Pulling in bigger crowds than it ever has, putting on shows more regularly than ever before, and generally creating a bit of buzz on the European Wrestling scene. When WWE released him he knew ICW was going to be integral in his own personal relaunch, and knew how important it was to make an Impact there as soon as possible. How many folk have a moment like his return at Shugs House Party so soon after being released by WWE? If ICW wasn’t as strong as it was, that moment wouldn’t have been possible.  The views on the youtube video would have been a few thousand rather than hundreds of thousands. It was a big deal because it blew the roof off the place in a way that wouldn’t have been possible in a smaller venue with less of a rabid crowd. Simple as that. Drew’s moment was the first in a long line of moments and achievements that have since led to WWE signing him again. This time signing him as a guy who’s barely 30 with 15+ years experience all over the world. A guy who wasn’t content to live off nostalgia bookings using his WWE name and gimmick. A guy who wanted to do something different. To truly stand out he needed ICW, and to move to the next level, ICW needed him. That night he returned, he saved his old friend Jack Jester from the NAK, and thwarted Chris Renfrew’s attempt to cash in his ICW Title Shot he earned from winning the Square Go earlier in the year. He then celebrated with his old pal, only to knock the living shite out of him moments later. Lobbed him through tables and aw sorts. It was some brutal shit, and led to Drew ending Jesters year long reign as ICW Champion at ICW’s first Barrowlands show, so its only fitting that this chapter in Drew’s ICW career ends in the same place. Against the same opponent. Stories n that. Sometimes they come full circle. Sometimes they end with having a hunner puncture wounds in yer arse because yer pal baseball slid ye into a barbed wire board. That’s life.

If you’re wondering why they made it a Barbed Wire Ropes match, it’s fairly fuckin obvious is it no? I’m sure Drew would have taken a wee bit more punishment if he wasn’t a current WWE employee, but you need to be some kind of mad lunatic to actually expect a guy who’s just secured a second crack at his dream job to willingly be tossed in about barbed fuckin wire. The match was given that stipulation because Drew was going out as a stone cold killer. The same way he came in. Sacrificing his best pal for what he seen as the greater good. I’ve been going to ICW since 2012 and have seen Jack Jester take some of the severest doings I’ve ever seen anyone take in wrestling matches, but this was the heaviest one I’d seen him take in ICW. In terms of the ferocity of what Drew slung at him and the amount of times he had to literally rip barbed wire out of his skin, it was at the very least the most profoundly sore looking one. Its not like Drew was swanning about, dishing out a heavy doing and taking zero dunts either. He took punishment. He took a suplex on the floor. You ever took a suplex on a hard floor? Me neither, but I imagine its fuckin sare. The fact that he was willing to be anywhere near any amount of barbed wire for your entertainment is plenty enough risk. Imagine you got yer dream job, a bit of stability, ye tell the wife it finally happened, you’ll no need to always be on a plane, more time at home, more normality, then ye tell yer wife a day before you’re due to start the new job, you’re going down to your old job to have a chainsaw fight with one of yer old co-workers, then yer gonnae swallow a gallon of petrol and shove a lit match up yer arse, blowing ye hauf way across the east end of Glesga. Expecting Drew to get mauled by some barbed wire knowing what was at stake for him is a bit weird and selfish. If he chose to do so, fair enough, but expecting him to is perverse. Jester on the other hand, did choose to do so, and it looked….well depending on your neurological reaction to pain, it didnae look fun.

The barbed wire board he was baseball slid onto earlier magically turned into a table. Jester set it up, but after a battle on the apron, found himself once again with an arse fulla puncture wounds. Drew then ran a barbed wire crown over his pals forehead, carving “NXT IS DA PLACE 2 B” on his skull before running his napper along the barbed wire ropes. A second barbed wire table was entered into the mix, this time Drew powerbombed Jester through it. There was no wee bouncy clean landing either, it broke awkwardly and he stuck to the fuckin thing like a mouse with a gub full of cheese. Drew then literally ripped him off the mass of barbed wire and wee broken bits of wood, straight into the first of at least 4 Futureshock DDTs. He also kicked a barbed wire bat into his face, and I don’t mean that like it was a bat with barbed wire wrapped round it. The bat part was also barbed wire. It was basically just like someone carved a bat shape out of a block of barbed wire, then wrapped more barbed wire around it to make extra wire-y. Definitely said barbed wire too much here. Point is, blood pouring from numerous orifices, Jester kept getting up. He even nailed Drew with a tombstone, but that was as close as he came to winning. Drew eventually put him away with a big shot to the skull with the aforementioned barbed wire bat and that was that. It ended as it start. With one pal knocking fuck out the other. Friendship.

Drew invited Jester and Dallas to join him in the ring as he made a wee farewell speech. It’s nice that he was even able to have the match at all, and it being given the Barbed Wire stipulation to me was a way of Drew going out looking as dangerous as possible, while making Jester look like a bad ass dude who can withstand a heavy barbed wire based doing. Drew completely dropped character and thanked everyone which was confirmation if it was needed that he is, at least for the foreseeable future, done with ICW. If it is the last time we see him in the company, he deserves a lot of credit for helping elevate ICW and put a lot of eyes on the company on a global scale. He needed them as much as they needed him, and at this stage they both leave each other in a stronger position than they were before. The perfect way to end it if ye ask me. He put the title and the company on a platform then used that platform to show the big boys what they were missing. All the very best to ye big man.

Sha Samuels vs Kid Fite (Barras Street Fight)

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This was essentially presented to us as an ongoing brawl throughout the night, as we seen a couple of video clips of them scrapping before they eventually emerged at ringside. Would have been a buzz if they just kept appearing around the venue every so often. Popping up during the Zero-G open so Sha could dae his moonsault and be amongst aw the other high flyers. His people. The backstage bits did involve Sha having to jump out the way of a car being driven at him. The man at the wheel was the source of some confusion amongst the audience. A chant of “who the fuckin hell are you?” even emerged, and let me tell ye, what a bloody outrageous thing that was if I’ve ever seen an outrageous thing. That’s the man Krieger (I get it right this time? Fuckin better huv) one half of the maw pumpin, jaw duntin, PBW Tag Team Champions Lou King Sharp and Krieger. Big Scudmaster Sexy. One of Fito’s elite group of hauners providers, providing timely hauners and perhaps more importantly, a motor that he’s willing to drive into cunts at the behest of Kid Fite.

The second wee clip seen them battling round The Barras market, chucking each other in to shutters and whatnot before they eventually emerged for all us to see. Knocking lumps other each other before Sha disappeared up that top rope to hit the worlds greatest moonsault. Before Christopher Daniels gets on the line about gimmick infringement he better look at a fuckin clip of this majestic thing. Sha Samuels very well might be the best out-and-out villain in British Wrestling history, but him not being a villain in a few companies lately has meant the big man’s bustin out aw sorts of moonsaults and that’s just a blessing I don’t think any of us expected in this lifetime. Savour that shit. If ye were there in person, you saw something truly beautiful. Pigs might not be able to actually fly, but the big hair geezer’s that butcher the pigs apparently can.

Sha took a big grogger to the face, before Krieger got involved again and took Sha off his feet. A big sweeping DDT on to a chair was nearly enough to end it but big Sha would have his moment. In the history of one guy holding a second guys arms so a third guy can hit the guy with a chair, has it ever ended any other way than the guy doing the holding ending up getting smashed over the melt with a chair? Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it, and repeat it Kid Fite and Krieger did. The chair shot took Krieger our the equation briefly. Enough for Sha to hit a big Firemans Carrry Situout Slam situation to bring this endless scrap to an end.

They even had a wee beer together afterwards. The very thing their whole alliance was based on in the first place. Another story ending the same way it started. Pals knocking fuck out each other, not being pals for a while, then becoming pals again by knocking fuck out each other and drinking beer about it afterwards. The way it fuckin should be. Or suhin. A beautiful moment for Sha, but one he might be struggling to look back on with fondness after the heinous, unspeakable acts that took place a wee bit later on.

Lionheart vs Joe Hendry

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The heinous unspeakable acts didn’t happen here, even though Lionheart did full on scud Joe Hendry on the side of the heid. This wasn’t the feud ending match clearly. They’re building it a bit more before they have a stoater but it was another chapter in the story. Tell ye whit, I was completely convinced it was all “story” as well, even though they’ve done a stellar job of making it seem real as fuck. Watching this back was the first time it’s crossed my mind that maybe there is a bit of bad blood there. They seem genuinely agitated at each other and unable to control the urge to bypass the wrestling to proper leather each other. Every move in the wrestling match portion of this looked 5x sorer than it usually would. Everything had a bit of extra added oomph, and as much as I suspect that’s just them selling the whole thing really well, who the fuck knows mate. Maybe they do really hate each other and the blade that Lionheart said he had for Joe Hendry if he got out of line again is real. Maybe Joe’s gonnae fallaway slam Lionheart aff the Kingston Bridge if he talks smack about his woman again. Who the fuck knows. What we do know is that match got thrown out on a count of Lionheart full on punt kicking the side of Joe’s heid.

The genuine remorse that Lionheart showed after it made ye wonder as well, but then again he also had a large part of an audience in Edinburgh thinking he’d legit broke his neck again before he hopped up and Rock Bottom’ed Kenny Williams so who knows whit this devious character is capable of. Who knows when they’ll have this rip-roaring stoater of a match Lionheart promised us either. They’ll need to stop legit battering each other and do some wrasslin if its ever going to come about.

Grado vs Wolfgang

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Grado’s fuckin sick ae it. I dunno what part of that is difficult for folk. If you’ve watched ICW for the past year and a bit, you know fine well what he’s sick of. The shite. The patter. The moaning. He does the same thing every time they say, Like A Prayer, funny promo, wee boot, hame. He disnae care, too busy acting and making an Impact abroad (see whit I did there? done an Impact joke earlier anaw, its aw about subtlety and nothing says subtlety like detailed explanations of jokes….) He’s no loyal enough. ICW disnae matter to Billy Big Baws fae the BBC. You’ve changed Grado. You used to be one of us, now you’re one of them. Once the everyman, now the arrogant man wae the fancy tan. FUCK TNA, FUCK TNA, FUCK TNA…..AWWWWW BUT HOW ABOUT FUCK YOUS INSTEAD?

All those accusations, all the folk that turned against the cunt because he came from nowhere to be a proper star. Type of cunt ye see in the paper as a charity golf do wearing the same polo neck as Andy Goram and Frank McGarvey having a fuckin ball while hittin some fuckin balls. Type of cunt ye see in the paper writing a fuckin weekly column in the paper. That’s the level he’d reached. He wis in a national newspaper every week. No bad for a dafty, but he’s no really a dafty is he. The character you see in ICW and everywhere else isn’t a real guy. Graeme Stevely is a guy with a lot of charisma and he carved out a character that highlighted all the happiest, sunniest parts of himself because it fuckin worked. It still works all over the world, but it had been most prevalent for the longest time in ICW and in ICW shit had changed. Particularly the crowds at The Garage were giving him mixed reactions. For whit? Whit was the big crime?

Fair fucks to big Wolfgang here as well. Never been hotter property than he is right now. One of the absolute standouts in WWE’s UK Championship tournament and in general can’t put a foot wrong right now. He prevailed in the match itself and continued to elevate his own status, and the popularity he has now will probably see him slowly go back to being a crowd favourite. That, along with Drew’s departure leaves room for two big bad baddies at the very top and a couple of unlikely suspects took those positions before anycunt else got a sniff of them. Grado started strong as fuck, Wee Bootin and R-Gra-Do his way to a pair of two counts. Wolfy busted out his big moves early anaw, landing his Swanton that he calls “The Howling” somewhere in the region of Grado’s baws before Grado’s attempts at the same move came up short. Couldnae just let Sha have his moment eh, had to try and outdo the ShaSault. I think this fame carry on might be going to his head.

Another thing occasionally levelled at Grado from cunt’s who don’t have a fuckin clue whit they’re on about is that he can’t wrestle. He is bad at the wrestling, because he lacks agility, and couldnae batter out some mad choreographed Will Ospreay stuff cause he’s a wee chubby guy. Cunt’s that cannae wrestle don’t bust out Death Valley Driver’s dae they? Did you know before this match Grado could do a Death Valley Driver? Nah mate. Keeps it in the locker for a rainy day, but he cannae wrestle really. Its all an act, these stories he crafts aw err the world. Its all trickery. Greener than Nathan Jones so he is. He got in the ref’s face for failing to count the three and turned round into a big shot to the temple with the trusty brass knuckles for the win. Wolfy’s still a baddie at heart, but when it was all said and done he wisnae the biggest baddie in the ring.

Sha Samuels came out for moral support as Grado took to the mic, seemingly to deliver some bad news. He gibbered about an “offer” for a bit and seemed in genuine angst to tell us what the fuck he was on about only for him to turn round and boot his best pal square in the baws. Whit. The. Fuck. As Sha rolled about like any sane man who’s been toed in the baws would, Grado cut his most beautiful promo in wrestling yet. That electric charisma being used to power evil instead of good. One thing ye could quite clearly see from the promo he cut at the time of him and Renfrew’s heated feud is that with a bit of annoyance behind him he’s a different animal. A guy not to be fucked wae or fucked aboot. No feart to say shit that needs said. As much as him getting on the mic and getting each and every person who’s doubted him TELLT was part of his character evolving, you could tell it was a wee bit cathartic for him anaw. Letting all those frustrations out as he told us all HE runs the place. We’re all there because of HIM, and if ICW want to continue using his name to sell out shows, they’d need to go through his newly appointed agent. Red Lightning. Aye. He’s fuckin back. Deal wae it.

Tell ye something, the whole Black Label vs ICW thing as a story line had its flaws. There were moments where it was disjointed and didn’t make hunners of sense, but Red Lightning from a performance aspect was untouchable throughout. An absolute integral part of shows, so the fact that he’ll once again be a part of ICW shows isn’t a bad thing. To assume its the start of the same storyline again and this is just Black Label 2.0, or Gold Label 3.0, or the fuckin first ever Purple Label is a bit daft. Lets see where it goes. The two guys who main evented the first ICW show I ever went to against each other for the ICW Title forming an unholy alliance and Grado’s a fuckin baddie. How can that not be an exciting thing? This is one of those rare things in wrestling that hasn’t actually been done before at all. Even John Cena was a villain once upon a time, but Grado? That guy fae the BBC? It’ll never work. Except the reaction it got and the way it was executed makes it pretty clear that it already has.

Bird and Boar vs Rampage Brown and Ashton Smith

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Tough ask to be the meat between a sandwich of Grado turning heel and a World Title Match. Even tougher to follow one of the best, if not THE best tag match ICW has ever seen earlier in the night, but this was a stellar tag team title match in its own right. Bird and Boar are delightfully good at chucking each other into their opponents and do some double team shit you’ll no see anywhere else. Easy to see why Rampage and Ashton kept their wee alliance on the go from the WoS thing as well, Rampage’s raw power meshing well with the agility of Smith. Fuckin travesty its took Rampage Brown this long to get a spot on a Glasgow show though. One of the best heavyweights in the world and a cunt who’s look and style has ICW written all over it. Hopefully this show is the start of many appearances for him on the bigger shows.

The match was heavy entertaining, it’s a shame the crowd were a bit drained for it but it was excellent viewing. Rampage made his Glesga impact by haphazardly lariating fuck out of anyone Welsh that made the mistake of being within 10 feet of him. Impressed by Asthon Smith as well. Moves brilliantly for a dude who’s about 6’4. Iestyn Rees came out with the marauders, shirtless and oiled up because even when yer no wrestling, if there’s an audience out there, its important to be as shiny as possible. He was quickly chucked out and the portion of the match that didn’t have him at ringside was an evenly matched affair. Bird and Boar keeping their larger opponents at bay with aw sorts of good double team shit, but they struggled to withstand the big man’s power as he ran clean through a double clothesline attempt and levelled them with a pair of clotheslines of his own. It looked like Rampage and Ashton would have the dream Glesga debut but the aforementioned Iestyn Rees got involved again. Why did he even agree to it in the first place if ICW’s nae rules? I dunno, maybe Thomas Kearins looked like he wis ready for murdering a cunt and the big man got the fear, but Iestyn eventually came to his senses, realised he could dae what he want, came back out and took Rampage out of the equation before Bird and Board hit Mrs Pattersons Revenge on Ashton to retain.

Trent Seven vs Joe Coffey (ICW World Title Match)

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If you watched this match and the word “boring” entered your psyche at all, suhin’s fuckin very wrong with you. Or at the very least, you should be watching something that isnae called professional wrestling. This was fuckin terrific and was only narrowly beaten by one of my favourite tag matches ever as match of the night. Joe Coffey has been the standout performer when it comes to putting on the best wrestling matches in the company for years now. So often denied when going for the big prize, but three years in a row of being voted the best wrestler in the company by the fans told the folk at the top something. This guy’s money and deserves to have the faith put in him. Trent Seven managed to do a remarkable thing and got so many people behind him there was almost no choice but to give him the title and the top spot. Something had to give. Two of the most popular characters ICW have showcased in recent memory, one of them was going to end up a wee bit more popular than the other when the dust settled, because that’s how wrestling works. One’s a baddie, one’s a goodie. Always.

They battled with shoulder tackles, neither man giving an inch, Trent mocking Joe’s chest beating antics, and getting took out with a dropkick for his cheek. They chopped each other back and forth before Trent done that fuckin god forsaken chopping the ringpost thing. MATE. I’d get it a bit more if one of the times ye set a guy up on the ringpost and went for a chop that the chop actually landed. Even just one time. The move would make more sense, but does the fact that EVERY time ye dae it, the cunt moves and you break your hand on a ringpost no make ye really re-consider your decision to have it as part of the repertoire? Who am I to tell a World Champion how to do his World Champion’ing, but ffs, at this stage you’re just wilfully causing the destruction of your own hand and its no big or clever. Joe sent Trent into the crowd before clattering him with a dive over the barrier on to the floor to move comfortably into the ascendency. All cause Trent’s more fond of smacking Poles about than a member of the EDL. Get it? Cause they’re racists and Poles…..ach forget it. Wrestling.

They entered into the knocking the living daylights out each other section of the match, combining about a thousand chops each with headbutts, straight jabs, more headbutts, forearms, headbutts, lariats and also some headbutts thrown in for good measure. Joe ended that brutal sequence with a dropkick and some splashes in the corner before nailing The Fall From Nebula to take Trent off his feet. He took Trent up top going for that skull shatterer of a piledriver Trent does from up there but Trent had it scouted. Probably because he’s the only cunt on the planet mad enough to do top rope piledrivers and is therefore the most able to recognise when one is about to happen. Reversed it into a powerbomb followed by that spinny piledriver he does for a two count. They battled a bit on the ramp, blocking each others attempts at various suplexes before Joe hit the sarest of Germans. We then entered into a section of the match I never expected to see before it, the Roman Reigns vs Triple H section. Joe perhaps nodding towards what was to come by paying tribute to the biggest baddie in the wrestling world today, Roman Reings. A SuperIronMan Punch came close to getting the job done, before a second attempt at it was avoided and Trent hit a Pedigree followed by another piledriver that couldn’t get it done either. This was Joe’s night. A discus lariat attempt was ducked and referee Sean McLaughlin was taken out of the equation, before Joe took Trent out with a lariat anyway and agonised over the decision he was faced with. Use the belt and knock Trent out and see your journey to finally become the ICW Champion end in bittersweet triumph. Or put that shiny instrument of destruction doon and win it the right way. There right way in wrestling is often the stupidest way though. The history books don’t have the manner ye won the title beside yer name, only the fact that you did indeed win it and in the end, for maybe the first time in about 5 years, that ruthless side of Joe Coffey re-emerged and he flattened Trent with the belt, before locking in a Boston Crab that eventually made Trent tap. It was finally his. For good this time. At long last, Joe Coffey is your ICW World Champion.

The superman punchin and the devilish look in his eyes told us this was a different Joe Coffey from the one we’ve seen churn out show stealing performance after show stealing performance for 4 years. The superhero paint was replaced by dark eyes and an even darker demeanour and the sudden appearance of Red Lightning at ringside provided a stark reminder of the last time Joe wasn’t a fan favourite in ICW. The Save Pro Wrestling Joe Coffey who decimated Grado and humiliated Red Lightning on the night his own ICW World Title reign ended, was now seemingly aligned with them both. A grudge Red seemingly could never shake off during his spell as ICW GM/owner/general annoyance to anyone who wasn’t his pal, but its all over now. Joe getting sick of the constant setbacks and turning to the dark side in order to become the top guy makes plenty of sense, but aligning himself with a guy who for the past 2 years has tried to stop him succeeding at every turn didnae make as much sense as Grado’s turn. Why trust him now? It’s the first chapter in a story and its intriguing to see where it goes. Dallas recently having a bit of aggro with Jackie Polo and now being levelled by Joe Coffey as he aligns himself with his biggest enemy spells worrying times for the head honcho as half the squad that helped him keep a hold of ICW are seemingly heavy annoyed at him.

Overall the show had a bit of everything. Some things felt slightly rushed but its hard to give 10 matches all the time they need. Don’t write off new storylines before they’ve even really started because ye didnae like the old storyline. Red Lightning is a top performer and him being involved again is fuck all but a good thing. Thanks for reading, thank you Drew and most importantly, don’t vote for the fuckin Tories

 

Review: ICW Fear And Loathing 9 AT THE HYDRO

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From 30 people in Maryhill to 6200 in The Hydro. A fairytale. Rags to riches. Cindarella story. Started from the bottom now we here. Community centres to nightclubs to really big nightclubs to iconic music venues to really big iconic music venues to fuckin full scale arenas. You’ve heard it all before. If you were looking for anything any different from this review I’m afraid you’ll be sorely disappointed. The reason you’ve heard that patter a lot is because it IS amazing what ICW have done. This show happening at all represented monumental triumph not for British Wrestling, not even for Scottish Wrestling, it was a monumental triumph for ICW. For the people who worked tirelessly to get ICW to this point. The fact that it undoubtedly has a knock on effect for the rest of the scene is nice and important but it’s not the whole scene who get to bask in the glow of this. This is for the daft cunts who put their bodies and sanity on the line to make this happen. This was their night. They represented ICW above everything else and showed the world what ICW was all about. No it wasn’t the best ICW show ever. In fact ICW have run and will run better wrestling shows, but it was a remarkable spectacle and a fuckin good wrestling show to boot. A night to be proud of and a launching pad on the way to selling the fucker oot in a years time for Fear and Loathing 10.

It started with a Finn

The only thing more beautiful than Surprise Dev….sorry auld habits n that…Surpise Balor, is a Balor that you were very much expecting. Surprise Balor would have been nice, but the first time it happened I literally had to peel myself aff the fuckin floor. In case your new to this site or new to the concept of having functional eyes, Finn Bfinnalor is an attractive man. I’m burd daft mate. Love them. Boobs n that. Boobs aw day. But Finn is the exception. You are a died in the wool lying bastard if you can tell me with a straight face no matter what way you swing that ye widnae scran melted chocolate buttons aff that boys abs. In all seriousness but, it was so very beautiful to see him back in an ICW ring. Something I genuinely never thought would happen again. Not because he told us a lie when he said “It’s not goodbye, it’s just see ya later” he would never lie to us, but I just assumed it was modesty at play and he didn’t actually realise WWE would want to employ him forever and ever. They still do employ him btw, yet there he was, in some parallel universe where ICW run The Hydro and WWE allow contracted performers to appear elsewhere. Like a dream kiddin on its a human being. Balors Irish Dream. He spoke of not wanting to let cunts run riot in the company he loves and that he’d be behind that curtain dishing oot doings to anyone who tries it.

Joe Hendry vs Davey Blaze

This was always supposed to happen eh. Nae offence to “The Local Fire” but that’s a stupit name for a team that never did make a lot of sense. Two guys with completely different sets of ideals teaming for tenuous reasons. Perhaps more unnatural than that, a guy fae Glesga teaming wae a guy fae Embra! Like if Jack Jester suddenly started teaming with Solar or suhin ridiculous like that, you’d know fine well joehemian.jpgthe whole thing was gonnae end with Jester tombstoning him through the centre of the earth. Davey came out first and looked mean because he’s a baddie now, meaning he gets to use the Davey Blaze name and gets to wear the Davey Blaze pants. All very Blaze indeed. He looks exponentially more raging than he ever did and that’s nae mean feat cause he’s always at least a bit raging at something. Joe emerged to his own version of Bohemenian Rhapsody which was pretty fucking wonderful. As much as he wouldn’t much like the injection of profanity there, so fuck mate. I’ll fuckin describe yer brilliant entrance any fuckin way I want. It was heavy good, and the four Hendry heads looking at and interacting with each other was hilarious. It was all a ripping good time then a wrestling match broke out and ruined it aw.

Davey dominated the early exchanges, controlling the bout with jabs and calling people in the front row nasty names. He had Joe in a pretty sare looking Guillotine choke on the outside before Joe reversed it into a superb suplex on the ramp. Joe kept getting distracted by The Wee Man which gave Davey many opening to do many spears. He went up top and got caught and fallaway slammed to buggery because that’s not your forte Davey pal. Only time you should be up there is when you want absolutely everyone in the building to see you grabbing yer crotch as opposed to those just at eye level. While we’re on about crotches, I know he’s from Edinburgh but I’m absolutely not having Joe Hendry continually referring to Davey’s dick as his “Bobby” cause people fae Edinburgh definitely say “Boaby” mate. Even if they say it a bit funny, they say it. Naecunt calls it a Bobby.

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Joe gained the upper hand with that mad palmstrike thing he does which I’m very much intae. Its very street fighter as fuck, but Davey’s retort of a kick to the baws was very street fight as fuck. It was all fun and games until Joe took Davey up the top rope and tossed him clean over his heid for the win. A decent opener, and the right spot for Joe’s entrance to be in for sure. Wee Man took a fallaway slam before Davey took Wee Man up the road and Joe was left to soak in the adulation of the adoring public.

Carmel Jacob vs Kay Lee Ray vs Viper (ICW Women’s Title Match)

Kay Lee. Kay Lee. Kay Lee fuckin Ray ‘mate. I know her and Stevie are the fuckin dirtiest baddest baddies on the roster/residing on earth right now but this was their night and it was terrific to see them shine on the biggest stage ICW has ever appeared on. Viper emerged next and I’m nae lipreader but she definitely said “wow” when she went up to the second rope to have a good look at the crowd and that’s just so fuckin nice is it no. A unique moment on a special night. A lassie who’s wrestled all over the globe fuckin gobsmacked at the magnitude of this moment in her home country. The champ followed and if I knew this was the end I’d have greeted it so differently. Don’t go. No yet. There’s still so many more folk who need yer vitriol on the mic. So many more burds and the occasional guy who need DDT’d in tae next week.

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She went out on the very top and that’s really sound anaw. Went out as a bad bastard who eviscerates folk on the mic because as nice as it was to be able to cheer her for a bit when she was a goodie, that’s what she was put in out wee wrestling universe to be. Vicious. A killer. Up there with the very best when it comes to saying words and sounding like she fuckin MEANS them. When she stoated out at There’s Something About Maryhill with a mic in hand back in 2013, few were prepared for her to captivate them the way that she did. As a relatively new fan I’d only ever seen her in one or two matches and wasn’t fully aware of how good she could be on the mic and what she done that night blew me away. She’d take to the mic one last time for her final moments as a pro wrestler, but not before she fell on her sword one last time.

Kay Lee and Carmel were unthinkably on the same page for much of the early stages. Both stomping fuck out of Vipers bad knee and looking pure ragin’ about it. It was never lasting though. As much as they take pride in being the originators of women’s wrestling in Scotland, they take even more pride in being able to batter fuck out each other in spectacular and engaging ways. Them joining forces started to backfire quickly, Viper managing to regain her vertical base enough to lose it voluntarily in the form of a cross body which leathered both opponents. Viper then hit Randy Orton’s Chauffeur (The Viper Driver…see whit I did there? Wis pure shite eh?) only for Kay Lee to break it up with a Swanton. She was not to be denied on this night. ICW have only had a Women’s Title for a year now but she’s been the Women’s Champ for far longer. Nae disrespect to anyone else at all, but no woman in the company has been as integral to its growth as her and no other woman in the company got chucked like a fuckin dart by Mikey Whiplash, only to go on and STILL beat the cunt, so she deserved the moment. She deserved the recognition. She was well overdue the shiny shiny gold.

A nice wee three person german suplex thing happened in the corner, before Carmel lulled Viper in by pretending her knee was sare again only to take the knee brace off and crack her with it. Devious till the bitter end eh Carmel. Why be any other way when yer so fuckin good at being that. Kay Lee stopped the pin and weirdly seemed in control the whole way. With both opponents selling knee injuries she just seemed in control, not something that happens a lot in triple threat matches but it always felt like it was going to be hers. Viper was valiant. Carmel gave it all she had in her last ever match, but it was never their night.

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It was my favourite finish of the night anaw. Nae ambiguity at all. Kay Lee was hitting mad Gory Bombs on Carmel in the ring, knowing each one was putting her that bit closer to the title but she was smashing Viper on the outside with all sorts of suicide dives, keeping Viper at bay, making sure it was hers. It needed to be, and after a third Gory Bomb it was all over.

Carmel took the mic and basically told us she was done. The words “I retire” never came out her mouth so that leaves some hope that one day we’ll see her back but her words seemed to mean, at least for now, she’s gone. She bigged Kay Lee up about as much as you legally can big up a dirty heel because it made sense. It worked. If she’s gone and has had this sworn enemy for the duration of her time with the company, its only right that the person she done her best ever work with is a vital part of her exit speech, and she’s not fucking wrong. As talented as so many of these wrestlers are, especially Viper, for me Kay Lee Ray is a talent unmatched in the UK and I cannae fuckin wait to see what she does with that belt. Send aw yer best burds. See if they’ve got what it takes to take the title off a woman who would just as quickly stab ye in the neck as she would Swanton ye to keep a hold of that shiny shiny belt.

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If it is truly the end for Carmel, its been a pleasure watching her do her thing for the past 4 years. One of my personal favourites and while she’s entitled to her opinion that she no longer belongs in the same ring as the likes of Viper and Kay Lee, I’m gonnae have to respectfully disagree.

Stevie Boy vs BT Gunn (Casket Match)

In the lead up to the show, this was my favourite match on paper, for the simple as fuck reason that its BT Gunn vs Stevie Boy in the fuckin Hydro mate. A matchup that never has any prospect of being anything short of excellent. Two of the best we have in front of  a beautifully massive crowd of 6200. For all the chat about imports, the first three matches was made up of exclusively Scottish performers. Infact see the negative patter about the “imports” , it smells like import snobbery. If it was The Young Bucks instead of The Dudleyz and Adam Cole instead of Angle naecunt would have batted an eyelid about it, but because its big names, the show’s relying on imports to sell it. A crock of pure jobby that patter is. Stevie Boy got the jump on BT by waiting on him halfway up the ramp as soon as his entrance music hit, but BT had the pre-emptive jump on Stevie by literally jumping on him. As the casket had been rolled out and was dwelling ominously behind Stevie, mad BT jumped right out it and all of a sudden we went fae 0 to cunts smashing each other in 0.2 seconds.

BT was close to falling in the casket as Stevie performed various moves with this eventuality being his end game I assume. In other words, yer man wis tryin’ lit a berr so he wis. BT would not yield and got back into the ring via a mad spear through (pictured below by the talented gent known as David J.Wilson) the ropes before a mutual scudding session was ended when BT straight up jabbed Stevie. This was nae sort of wrestling “strike” this was a man punching another man square on the fuckin jaw, and that man going down to one knee in anguish. Startled by said scudding. A Canadian Destroyer nearly ended BTs night but he managed to poke a foot out the casket. I actually heavy enjoyed all the wee casket spots. Maybe that type of shit isnae for everyone, but I liked BT dragging Stevie back in when they were both in the casket and Stevie tried to escape. I liked that when the lid was shut for a while, instead of thinking they were in there trying to kill each other the crowd started chanting “Shaaaaaaaaaaaaggin” cause imagine they wur mate. Biggest show of their lives and they’re shaggin in a coffin. Only in ICW eh.

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They weren’t shagging, but they climbed out from doing whatever demented shit they were doing in there to get in about some sublime wrestling stuff. All sorts of mad kicks gettin slung towards each others jaws. BT tried to lure Stevie in to the casket with a handful of scud books, a wee satchel fulla tenner eccies and some pieces n jam but to no avail. Disappointed by his inability to end the match there and then, BT decided to just scramble the cunt’s brains with a superkick instead. Ye cannae be filthy as fuck with the most bangin entrance music ever if you’ve no got a brain. Luckily for him he shares that music with the new ICW Womens Champion. A fine set of hauners to have indeed. Out came the champ to tip it in Stevie’s favour, but BT was wise to it and hit them with a double springboard cutter. He’s played this game before and won but it wasn’t to be at The Hydro. They had too much. Kay Lee cracked him over the nut with a chair and as BT hung perilously on the top rope, Stevie powerbombed him on top of the casket, and calmly rolled BT inside. Closing the lid for a career defining win. 

Thought they both fuckin nailed it, there were some daft bits centred around the casket but that’s exactly what casket matches are and have always been. It still doesn’t detract from what was an excellent bit of storytelling and a huge power move seeing Kay Lee winning the title in one match followed by Stevie beating one of the best performers in the UK in the following match. The Filthy Generation are proof that the NAK split was the right thing, as they are now primed and ready to become key figures in ICW for a long time to come. The other guy who left the NAK that night has done no bad for himself either eh. Carries about a right big shiny thing and knocks cunts out for fun. Point is, its a story and Stevie and Kay Lee have carved out a beautiful, almost tragic end to theirs. Tragic for Carmel and Viper, one losing a title and a career the other seeing a moment that could have been hers snatched from her. Tragic for BT Gunn as he saw his protege and former best pal shove him into a coffin and close the lid. The only folk who didn’t  see their story end in anguish was Stevie and KLR themselves. A pair of low down dirty hooligans who combine their disregard for all human life that isnt their own with a fuckin abundance of wrestling talent. The Natural Born Thrillers.

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Polo Promotions vs The Dudley Boyz (ICW Tag Team Title Match)

Polo Promotions are already masters of the tag team craft, the only issue standing between them and being widely recognised as one of the best tag teams in the world is matches like this. Matches where big names get put to the sword. Matches that your casual every day fan forum dweller knows all about. It was enjoyable to hear Bubba on the mic bigging up both the match and Polo Promotions but it was all undone by him ending it with “Lets make it an No DQ!” in a company where every match is no DQ. That’s like getting to 90 minutes in the World Cup Final at 0-0, grabbing a mic and going “We don’t want this to end on a draw do we?! LETS GO TO EXTRA TIME” That was always happening anyway Bubba ma man. Cheers for yer input anyway. No DQ it was!

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It was a decent brawl to start with, after the Polo’s jumped on Bubba and D-Von, I assume to stop Bubba getting back on the mic and digging himself an even bigger hole by talking about how happy he is to be in Glasgow, England or suhin else daft.  The Dudleyz were on top early and D-Von even looked not completely puffed out for a spell. Rolling back the years with a pouncing neckbreaker and a shscoopsoulder tackle where he actually got a few feet off the ground. Polo derailed their wee renaissance with a double clothesline and subsequently scooped the ever loving shite out of the pair of them. So many Dudley scoops. Even Spike Dudley sponteanously stood up and scooped himself through the coffee table in his house. Wife had him committed so she did. Thought he was having Vietnam style flashbacks.

Folk have had a lot to say about the finish to this and obviously the 3D that didn’t happen was supposed to go some kind of other way. It was either badly mistimed or someone missed their cue but who the fuck cares man? Genuinely. No one knows exactly what was planned and no one will ever know because its not our fucking place to know. Its our place to reflect on what actually happened and what actually happened is Jackie Polo hit a spine shattering scoop slam on D-Von, that scoop slam landed on top of a steel chair and that was enough to put the most decorated team in tag team history to the sword. Game, set and STILL champs. 

For some reason after the match Davey and The Wee Man decided to take a saunter down to a ring that contained zero allies. Essentially the ring was full of Bloods, and Davey in his wee blue crip pants was like a red rag to a team of bulls. The Dudleyz urged Jackie and Mark to “GET THE TABLES” and they duly obliged. I suppose if Foley couldnae make it there was a cheap pop quota that needed met so it was to be expected, and an assisted powerbomb from Team 3D put Davey through the table. A wee moment of glory for the legends, but the real glory goes to the best tag team in Europe. Yer scoop slammin, cigar smokin, snug workin, leaders of the revolution and STILL your ICW Tag Team Champions. The undisputed Da’s of European tag team wrestling. Polo Promotions.

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Lionheart vs Aaron Echo vs Zack Gibson vs Liam Thomson vs Andy Wild vs Kenny Williams (Stairway To Heaven Match For The Zero-G Title)

Lionheart has been unrivalled lately and fully deserved the position he found himself in going in to the show. The fuckin Zero-G king. Considering they were competing for a belt called Zero-G the match was absolutely fuckin brimming wae gravity. A lot of big lads in there and Liam Thomson isnae exactly a high flyer, he does do a mean missile dropkick but none of yer 470 dragonfly senton moonsaults n aw that. The match had a fresh injection of Zero-G’ness when Mick Foley appeared on the screen to reveal that the match would have a seventh competitor. A man who lost his qualifier in dubious circumstances, and a man who’s been down on his luck lately. A man who wasn’t even on the card for the biggest show in Universal wrestling history. The biggest show in the history of sport. He wasn’t even invited to the party, so he had one of his own. Up a ladder with a shiny belt in his grasp.

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The match unfolded at a frantic pace and was one of the more eye catching matches of the night. Iestyn Rees and Aaron Echo both cleared the top rope with a pair of stoatin’ dives, before Lionheart superplexed Kenny off the top rope to a waiting group of bodies on the outside. Thank fuck they were where they were supposed to be, because if naecunt caught them, there would be a Kenny shaped hope in the Hydro floor for the rest of time and a new finish to this match due to one of the folk involved in it being incapacitated with a bad case of clinical deidness. Zack Gibson was the first man eliminated, which saddened me as he’s a huge talent. My personal favourite of the English talents that are occasionally utilised by ICW. At the same time it was nice to see Liam Thomson pin someone in The Hydro and his Backcracker out of the corner is a thing of beauty, so it was nice to see both Liam Thomson and that move looking as dyno’ as possible.

His reign as the king of dyno hings was short lived however, as the bold Andy Wild eliminated him with that sexy situout powerbomb he always delivers with aplomb. Lets take a wee moment to appreciate Andy Wild eh. Came from nowhere to earn a spot on this show and not only that, but came from nowhere to deservedly re-take a spot on the regular ICW roster. Hats off to the big man, and how beautiful would it be if this wee story ended with him becoming a 2 time Zero-G Champion? He got in amongst it with Aaron Echo after that. The man who earned his spot in the match the night before with a win over Ravie Davieawild and he showed he was more than worth the spot with an excellent showing. Beauty of a spinning forearm sent Wild into a daze, but big Iestyn Rees is always about the spoil the party. He only very recently won me over, and doing things like pinning Aaron Echo is a fine way to find yersell jumping straight out of the good books so it is. Remember when yees both done a mad dive together? Remember the glory days? Iestyn Ree clearly does not and we were down to the final four.

Aaron Echo and Kenny Williams are big pals, so fucking with one may lead to the wrath of the other. Even though Lionheart seemed to have big Iestyn under control, Kenny wanted to be the one to pap him out and duly was as he broke up Lionheart’s Styles Clash attempt before pinning Rees with the Quiff Buster DDT. Andy Wild was still in there keeping the fairytale alive, but three became two after a superkick followed by a rock bottom from Hearto put Andy away. A sare yin, but there’s no doubt Andy Wild is back and looking even better than ever since his win over Noam Dar. This wasn’t a wee nostalgia booking, this is a talented guy firmly re-establishing himself and that’s just fuckin beautiful is it no? We were down to two though. Of course we were. It could only be them. It could only end this way. Lionheart standing toe to toe with the natural air to the Zero-G throne. The fuckin bollocks.

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Everyone involved in the match deserved to have a spot on The Hydro show so the match made sense and was loaded with entertaining moments. Aaron Echo’s performance had already drawn huge amounts of praise for a very talented guy, but this is the feud. This has always been the thing that needed some kind of resolution and you have to give big Hearto credit for for being that constant thorn in Kenny’s side. The architect of his demise was also the launching pad for probably his best moment in ICW. They slung mad jabs at each other before Kenny took the upper hand by booting a set of ladders in to Lionhearts face. Lionheart’s retort was making a bollocks shaped hole in a mad giant set of ladders. A Rock Bottom while they both battled up a set of ladders each followed that, well and truly bursting Kenny and leading to the debut of his new gimmick. #BURST Kenny Williams coming to a show near you, gibbering about how he’s gonnae delete his brerr and how dyno xylophones are. He didn’t stay burst for long, as Hearto climbed that big banana ladder for another notch on the winpost ,Kenny was having none of it. It’s been Lionheart’s year but this wasn’t his night. The people needed to pop for The Bollocks, and The Bollocks did indeed pop moments later. Kenny hit a mad springboard cutter on Lionheart as he climbed the ladder before managing to rush up and grab the gold. Your new Zero-G Champion. 

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Hugely entertaining scrap if a bit short. Would have liked to see a bit more of Gibson forearming fuck out of folk but hopefully there’s more ICW’ing in his future. Cannae believe how much big Iestyn Rees has won me over, wee bit wary saying it too much cause he’s proper massive and might see fit to leather me but he was one of the guys I just didn’t get. The whole comparison with Masters and never liking Masters fucked it for him but he has improved a huge amount since his early PWE days and has earned his spot on the roster. Hopefully 2017 is injury free and full of backcrackers for Liam Thomson and it was nice to see him revive an auld feud when him and Andy Wild leathered each other but arguably the biggest impression made from the other 5 guys was big Aaron Echo making absolutely every moment of his time in the match matter. That’s the thing that sets him apart from the rest of the “new” talent in this country. His work in the ring is constantly engaging and everything fuckin matters. Nae wasted motion. If he doesn’t add his name to the list of Zero-G champions by the end of 2017 there’s something no right. He might need to get behind the rapid resugrence of Andy Wild in the queue, as he chases a second reign that would have looked impossible a year ago, but it was Kennys night and after 3 years of show stealing performances and constant improvement no one could begrudge him that.  His biggest challenge might just be the guy who stole the show in the very next match.

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Lewis Girvan vs Ricochet

It was a night with a lot of big moments. Career defining. Long storylines ending, and new ones beginning. Monumental shit. Arguably the match that had the least on the line storyline wise proved to be the very best contest of the night and probably done more for Lewis Girvan’s career than any other performance done for anyone else on the night. In there with one of the darlings of Indie wrestling in one of the biggest, most widely viewed shows in Indie Wrestling history and Lewis Girvan fuckin nailed it. 180 (darts), 147 (thats the highest break in snooker btw, we’re doing a thing here, bear with me), the perfect hat-trick, first place in the formula one race, the gold medal, the gold standard Shelton Bejamin, to be the best you’ve got to beat the best and Lewis Girvan knocked off a fuckin massive talent that I perhaps didn’t fully appreciate until having the pleasure of seeing him wrestle two nights in a row and thinking “I don’t know what the fuck he just did there, but I know I liked it”

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Ricochet fired out a wee tweet a few days before the match about being excited for the show even if he was down the bottom of the poster. Tongue in cheek for sure but perhaps the reaction to it gave him a wee insight in to how passionate ICWs fanbase can be. Don’t get wide mate, yer lucky ye even got the shout to be on the show and so whit if ye were amazin? Yer nae Bob Holly pal. Wind it in. He kicked the contest off by kneeing Lewis Girvan to the outside before nailing him with a suicide dive and a made springbaord dive into the crowd. This was approximately 2.75 seconds in to the match and that tells you all you need to know about Ricochet’s rapid skills. Followed that up with a springboard 450 like it was fuck all. Girvan imposed himself on it with a lovely wee hurricanrana followed by his own version of mad high flying shit as he set Ricochetgirv2 up on the barrier before going up top and landing on him with an emphatic knee to the melt. Givan’s not about the 720 corkscrew flippedy dippedy stuff but his work is flawless and the mesh of styles was lovely to watch. Tap wrestling stuff right here.

Standing shooting star press reversed into a traingle choke by Girvan was beautiful to watch. The whole thing was just joyful mate. They smashed each other with elbows, forearms, lariats, knees to the baw, Girvan pulled out a BB Gun and fired a few rounds in to Richochets temple, Richochet responded with a 540 shotgun blast to the melt. Beautifully choreographed wrestling warfare. Richochet fired about 70 kicks at Girvan in about 3 seconds before nailing a deadlift back suplex type thing because he also happens to be a fuckin tank on top of all the mad flippy goodness.

His next attempt at flippy goodness was reversed into a codebreaker from Girvan and from that point on it was always his. A Blue Thunder Bomb followed by a pin was reversed into a Crossface from Girvan and after a long sequence of Ricochet trying to get out of that Crossface to no avail he had no choice but to tap. He did manage to gain enough separation to go for the 630 splash but it missed, and after a cracking spike DDT the crossface was locked back in. It was more of a vicegrip than a submission hold and its hard to wrestle at the speed of life if you’ve been choked to death by Lewis Girvan so he made the right call tapping when he did. He lives to fight another day. Hopefully some of those days will happen in ICW. Even if we all need to invest in hard hats so he can fly all over the joint whatever way he wants.

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Its been a pleasure to see Girvan find his “thing” in wrestling. He’s been around ICW for 4 years and was always a reliable go to guy for a good match on any card but recently he’s found that connection with the audience that was maybe missing at times. A terrific display on ICWs biggest night will only strengthen his spot and him vs Kenny Williams for the Zero-G will be majestic when it eventually happens. For all the “best young wrestler” patter was used to rip the piss out him at times, he stuck with it and its caught on. Excited to see what 2017 brings for a guy who started off 2016 by repeatedly smashing folk in bollocks as part of the square go, in 2017 he’ll be looking to smash a different kind of bollocks to finally get the Zero-G crown he’s coveted for so long.

Wolfgang vs Trent Seven (ICW Title Match)

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Wolfgang is The Undertaker of ICW. That’s not just because they both like driving a motorbike roon the ring. Its not because they both love shaggin deed bodies. Its not even because they both favour a goatee beard over other types of beard its because no matter the character he protrays or the story he’s telling, you can rely on him to be central to any ICW show he’s on. With or without that shiny belt, he’s an icon in this company. With or without catchy Duran Duran entrance music, he’s one of the best performers in the companies history and on a historic night it was only right that he went in as the companies champion. When the big occasion comes, Wolfgang delivers and he was the perfect, unassuming, dangerous baddie to counteract Trent Seven’s overwhelming popularity. Trent had an army made up of more nations than Seven behind him for this one, but folk might have forgot, Wolfgang fuckin runs Glesga. This is his yard, and that steel structure they were stepping in to is his domain. If Trent was going to take that belt from Wolfgang his night would have to be a flawless one. He’d need to stick to the gameplan and no matter what the big bad bastard flung at him, he’d need to get up and show him it wasn’t enough. Most importantly, he’d have to stay true to everything that brought him this opportunity in the first place. Spectacular beard, spectcular principles, and making smart, well timed moves to bring the opportunities he needed to move into position for the title shot. The worst thing he could possibly do is play Wolfgang at his own game, because its his fuckin game mate. He wins. Always.

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Trent entered to a wonderfully passionate reception and felt the full power of 6000 behind him, but Wolfgang entered on a motorbike and motorbikes are cool so first blood to Wolfy. Trent wasn’t for fucking about and met Wolfy before he even got in the cage, before they battled their way IN to a 20 foot tall deathtrap. Perhaps an indicator as to where they both are sanity wise, but this is for the World Title mate. Sanity disnae matter a buggery. They started the war by trading Germans. Wolfgang swapping his Bastian Schwiensteiger sticker for Trents Jurgen Klinsmann limited edition shiny. Or suplexes. Whatever makes more sense in a wrestling context. A popup powerbomb had Wolfy in control before he broke out the gold plated demon that managed to topple an army. The brass knuckles that have claimed so many bodies in Wolfgang’s reign added another name to the list but this entrant entered his own name by playing Wolfy at his own game. He managed to get the knuckles and knocked Wolfys two front teeth out with a cracker of a shot, catching them in his back pocket so he could use them to kid on he’s a walrus later before hitting a spinless piledriver for a two count. Aye. Knuckle shot then a piledriver only got a 2. For all the momentum Trent carried in to this, he carried that momentum in to the moment Wolfgang had dreamt about from way before Trent would have even heard of ICW. If he was taking the belt, he was taking Wolfgang’s deid body with it because that’s the only way the big man was letting his shoulder hit the mat for a count of three.

Wolfgang was still well and truly out the game and Trent decided it was time to make like a banana and get the fuck out the steel cage. That’s a saying int it? See the thing about Wolfgang needing to be clinically deid to surrender his belt is that he was in there with a certifiable nutjob. A guy who’s went to lengths we’ve maybe never seen before to get the job done during his unbelievable battles wolfwith Mikey Whiplash and if anyone might have what it takes to go to the deep dark place a wrestler needs to go to if he’s able to murder another wrestler for the sake of a shiny belt, Trent Seven had it in him. Kicking out of a superplex from the top of the cage AT A COUNT OF ONE is living breathing proof of that. Mad bastard. I thought they were telling a beautiful story and if I’m honest I wasn’t daft on how it ended. Maybe this isn’t the end of the story, but as Wolfgang tried to climb out and Trent Seven caught him at the top of the cage, you wondered if he was going to a silly thing. He stashed they brass knuckles in his skants, but that’s not where ye use them mate. Not in a cage match. Not at the top of the cage. C’mon Trent pal. Yer better than that. Don’t dae it. Fur tha love ov gawd don’t do it.

He couldn’t resist though, and with them both perched at the top of the cage, with two tables waiting below, Trent inexplicably rattled Wolfys jaw with the brass knuckles and he majestically fell to his certain death, from 20 feet in the air through two tables Trent set up when they brawled on the outside. Becoming your first ever deid ICW Champion. Turns out even death wouldn’t be enough to take that belt from the Big Bad Wolf. Another name taken by ICW’s very own deadman. 

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I sincerely hope there’s another battle in this between them because it feels like it shouldn’t end on a mistake. The result of the following match might make Trent’s prospects of a re-match a bit more promising but at the end of the day he fucked up and has to own that. A careful campaign to become ICW Champion doon the pan because Wolfgang lured a beautiful man in to a dirty, dirty game. Maybe it just wasn’t his time, but Trent Seven has made an incredible impression on ICW over the past 2 years and there’s no doubt he’ll have more fights like this.

Team ICW (Chris Renfrew, Grado, Sha Samuels and DCT) vs Team Black Label (Drew Galloway, Kid Fite, Jack Jester and Bram) – Winner gains full control of ICW

The match for all the marbles as Mark Dallas put it. The match that meant everything. A match that was already loaded with emotion before Drew Galloway decided to douse that emotion in a gallon of petrol and set the fucker on fire by fooling us all with his wee speech the night before. A man who was integral in aiding ICW’s growth when he returned to the company 2 and a half years ago (aye its been that fuckin long since that night, unreal eh) dropping character to announce that he’d miss its biggest ever show due to a serious career threatening injury. Standing side by side with Mark Dallas as he announced he’d have to take a step back from wrestling only to land an almighty shot to his old pal’s jaw and an even mightier shot to his heart. Going in to The Hydro, Team Black Label undoubtedly had the mental edge and with Galloway cleared, even the physical upper hand on Team Dallas. A “team” who’s hopes very much hinged on two sworn enemies putting that shite on the back burner for the greater good.

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The entrances indicated they might just be willing to do that. First DCT came out with Coach Trip (with his son, which was a lovely n nice thing to see) and Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5, the band who do his wonderful entrance music. It was a ripping good time already before Sha came out to his new tune, a parody of Park Life called SHA LIFE which was better than life itself. Normal everyday shite life can fuck off, SHA LIFE is where its at. Renfrew and Grado presented a united front with Mark Dallas, coming out to the ICW music and bumping fists before charging down to the ring for an almighty scrap. Stuff yer sorrows in a sack guys, this is a night to come together, jump about to a bit of Sha Life, and smash some very bad men. For the greater good. For ICW.

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Sha Samuels and Kid Fite have been leathering each other for a few months now, without actually ever managing to do it in a wrestling match setting, so it all spilled over when they got in amongst each other at the start of this. Would have liked to have seen them both involved for a bit longer, but their personal battle is for another day.fito As everyone had split off and picked a guy from the other team to batter, that left Sha and Fito in the ring to have a bit of a barney. Sha hitting a nice spinebuster before Fito eliminated him with that mega sare looking DDT he does. Fito’s joy was shortlived however as DCT snuck behind him for a cheeky wee rollup to pap him out, leaving the former 55, pint swiggin, mug mauling brothers to continue breaking our hearts by fighting to the back. Need to get these cunts together, sit a keg in the middle and let them hash it out like real men by gettin stupidly steamin and declaring their love for each other.

Bram and DCT renewed their rivalry for a bit before Jester snuck in and hit that mad high arcing pedigree thing he does called The Plunge To The Dungeon. Drew finally got his infinite evilness involved in the in-ring action after he nearly took Grado’s heid aff with a big boot. Grado vs Drew seems like a lifetime ago but it was only a year earlier that they combined to rip the roof aff the SECC in an incredible main event. Grado went to the shake, rattle and roll but before he could sharpen that bionic elbow, Drew straight up nutted him. Fuckin sit doon Grado mate. Renfrew was on hand to provide hauners for Grado, a sentence that just didn’t feel possible at the start of the year when they were verbally and physically decimating each other but this was no ordinary night. Renfrew had Billy Connollys big banana feet on for fucks sake, this was a special night. A very Glesga night. Renfrew went for the T-Virus, a move that would nae doubt compromise Galloways burst neck if it hit the mark but it was blocked and he had to be content with delivering one of they big banana feet right to Galloway jugular with the missile dropkick he calls Kiss Kiss Molly’s Lips.

DCT was the next one out, as he intervened in the doing Bram was giving Renfrew in the corner only to see Bram smash him in the baws and put him away with a piledriver. Aw fuck. A team of Drew Galloway, Bram and Jack Jester would be a difficult one for any two man team to topple, but a pair of guys who fuckin hate each other? Nae chance. On an ordinary night it wouldn’t be a go-er, but this night was far from ordinary. Renfrew and Grado shook hands and just fuckin went for it. Why no. Fuck all to lose except maybe their jobs if they didn’t prevail. Nae pressure boaysies eh.

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Bram was the first hurdle overcome for the unlikely duo, Grado hitting the R-Gra-Do outta naeplace to send the horrible cunt packing. He left his mark before he fucked off of course. It was never going to be a simple task to get rid of that big hooligan. He knocked the life out of Grado and Renfrew with a chair and left them for dead. Only stopping after Red jumped in to tell him they were deid 5 minutes ago and further chairshots at this point are just gratuitous. Bram eventually did bolt, but the odds of ICW continuing as we know it were shortened dramatically when Renfrew was about to take a shot to the heid with that massive studded dildo Jester carries about, only for Grado to take a bullet for the team and shove him out the way, taking a belting shot to the dome which was enough to see him eliminated. If this was the same, huffy Grado from the night before ICW were fucked. Even though he’d been eliminated the team still needed him. If Bram could stick about after he’d been papped out, so could Grado. Nae rules. Stakes have never been higher. Don’t abandon ship. No yet.renfffff

Red celebrated like it was a done deal at that point and you could see his point. Two of the longest reigning ICW Champions ever and best pals, against a beaten and battered Renfrew. Renfrew managed to chuck Drew to the outside to even the numbers up briefly, and in came Grado to provide the timeliest of hauners. Nailing Jester with The Wee Boot, a wee boot that sent him directly into the path of a Stone Cold Stoner. Jester was out, and one of the most emotionally charged feuds in ICW history would decide its future. Renfrew vs Galloway. Renfrew had Dallas in his ear right after Jester’s elimination. Delivering some rousing words. John Lambie-esque. Bring it home or you won’t have a home to go to after this. There’s no doubt his feud with Galloway put Renfrew on another level career wise, but he’d have to be willing to maybe end Galloways career for that journey to continue. You best protect ya neck kid.

They faced off, exhanging jabs before Drew flattened Renfrew with a snap piledriver. Maybe the only way to stop Renfrew going for his neck would be going after his. Renfrew nailed Galloway with a top rope stoner, a beauty of a hit that would somehow only prove to be the second most impressive execution of that move in the match. It looked a certainty to end the match only for Red to drag referee Sean McLaughlin out, flooring him with a jab and taking him out of commission. This is where I really struggle with folk questioning if the Renfrew arm drop thing was a genuine mistake. The original referee was taken out so it WOULD be Thomas Kearins overseeing the rest of the contest. Red, Jester and Drew looked set to put the finishing touches on their masterpiece only for Dallas to burst in like scrappy do on eccies to take the whole lot of them out. Raining rapid rights down on Red. His momentum was derailed by Drew removing his head with that big Claymore Kick but that sequence of events proved to be The Black Labels undoing. Seemingly possessed with a lust to see Mark Dallas personally suffer, Drew continued to batter him, taking his eyes off Renfrew, the man he still needed to pin to win the match and keep Red in charge. Jester’s attempts to get him to focus up fell on deaf ears and words were exchanged between Jester and Drew. Drew seemingly referring to Jester as the weak link, causing Big Kink to get the fuck outta dodge. A moment of anger that would cost big Drew dearly.

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He nailed Renfrew with a tombstone that probably would have got it done but nae ref meant nae count. This is where I have an issue, cause questioning if it was a real mistake is just not paying attention to the story. Thomas Kearins was humiliated, fired, laughed at, made to apologise for things he didn’t do, and just generally torn down by The Black Label. He then found himself refereeing a match that decided their future after not being initially assigned to that match. When Renfrew’s hand dropped for a third time when Galloway had that Crossface in. He took a long hard look at Renfrew. Almost willing him to wake up, and wake up he did. The match continued because Thomas Kearins was in charge and decided that if Team Dallas were going to lose, he would lose his job as a result, so it wouldn’t happen on something as underwhelming as a hand dropping three times. Think of it this way anaw, how often do you actually see refs do the hand raising thing in ICW? not often. So why would it happen in that vital moment if it wasn’t for a reason?

Still locked in the Crossface after three drops, it was only a matter of time before Renfrew WOULD pass out. Dallas knew he had nae choice but to thrust himself in the road of a phenom if he was gonnae get his company back but even a golf club accross the back barely made a dent. He swatted it away, before nutting Dallas and getting him in position for The Futureshock DDT. If only there was someone else. One more man with ICW in his heart and scuddin boots on his feet. Finn Balor. It’s never been nicer to see ye pal.

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Out came Finn to save the day but his main nemesis in his ICW days Jack Jester soon followed, dwelling ominously behind him as Drew looked on smugly. Fully expecting his Kinky brerr to crack this Irish cunt err the napper and bring it home. Jester was fuckin done though. Done being the hype man in The Drew Galloway Show. He handed that big dildo built for a 12 foot fanny to Finn and he duly cracked Drew over the napper with it, sending him right in to the best 360 Stone Cold Stoner of all time for the one, two, three. Renfrew pinned Galloway. Team Dallas beat Team Black Label. Good had triumphed over evil. 

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It was high drama and that’s what wrestling is supposed to be about. Nights like this need dramatic, heart wrenching, at times soap opera moments. It wasn’t the perfect wrestling match but it fuckin mattered. Every single moment of it did and when Red Lightning was told he was FIRED it felt real. It didn’t feel like he’d no longer be playing the role of ICWs half owner, it felt like he’d been sacked from his actual day to day job and that’s how it should be. All the credit in the world has to go to that man to making this storyline consistently engaging. Continually holding the good guys down, show after show, letting that frustration towards him build to come to a head poeticall. All the boaysies partied afterwards including Toal, Scott Reid and Sweeney. Sha even took a break from an intense game of deidys with Kid Fite to partake. Grado and Renfrew were co-existing. ICW is a wonderfully merry place without Red Lightning but I hope he’ll be back to spread his expertly crafted misery at some point.

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Joe Coffey vs Kurt Angle 

This was the main event because it was the fuckin main event. Simple as that. When since was it the role of a wrestling fan to wonder if an “import” had demanded the main event spot. When since did we just ignore the most consistent performer in ICW and perhaps the UK getting a spot he undoubtedly earned in favour of speculating if there’s a reason for it that you can put a negative spin on. The reason Joe Coffey vs Kurt Angle was the final contest on ICWs biggest ever show was the fact that Joe Coffey is one of the best independent wrestlers on the planet and Kurt Angle is a fuckin megastar. A dream match up that diehards and casual fans alike can dig their teeth into, perhaps even more so than the title match or even a match that literally had ICWs future on the line. Wrestling disnae always need to be about stupid dirtsheet patter and letting speculative pish overshadow real significant things that actually happened so leave that shite at the door and enjoy this for what it was. A dream match that pitted one of the best wrestlers in the world against an American guy called Kurt Angle.

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Angle entered to a friendly enough reception with a wee chorus of “You Suck!” from the Iron Man daft regulars. Perhaps he didn’t fully realise what ICW was all about until he got his first almost hostile reception since making his debut on the “Indies” after leaving TNA. A much loved, well respected guy, but he wasn’t OUR guy. The guy who stoated out to The Hydro as a walking saltire. It was the second time I’ve been near greeting in The Hydro in the space of a month after seeing oor Noam make his RAW debut in the very same building a couple of weeks earlier. They might be in different places career wise right now, but they both have career  making moments in that building within a couple of weeks of each other and that was a beautiful thing. Angle got a lovely reception when he was announced, because naecunt really thinks he sucks. A lot of folk just liked the guy he was facing that wee bit more.

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After a very wrestling opening, with a whole manner of tie-ups, side headlock takedowns and all that carry on, Joe gained the upper hand with a beauty of a missile dropkick that caused Kurt to spill to the outside. Fuck taking another one of them. Ye don’t win Olympic Gold Medals by standing there and taking hunners of missile dropkicks. How much better would Olympic Wrestling be if it did have missile dropkicks though? And run ins? The Jamaican wrestling team run in to some trouble so Usain Bolt literally does a run in but its so fast that naecunt actually sees it. Kurt lured Joe to the outside and jabbed him a bit, before they went back in and Kurt went up top, only to be caught and belly to belly suplexed by Joe. Top rope belly to belly suplexes are another thing that could definitely improve Olympic Wrestling, but it was a move straight of Angle’s post Olympic playbook. Yer man fuckin loves a rope assisted suplex and his nose would have been knocked well out of joint by Joe getting one in there first. Add that to getting paint all over him within about a minute and Kurt was not a happy chappy. Time for a wee bit of ANGLE SMASH.

He needed to rake Joes eyes to get a bit of respite from the battering he was on the sharp end of but even then, Joe floored him moments later withangleslam a big shoulder tackle. For a guy who’s been there, seen it, done it all, bought all the t-shirts,and cut them into wee vests, he seemed to be struggling to come up with answers to what Joe was chucking at him. Joe smelled blood and went for the Lariat but the cat like reflexes of Angle kicked in to gear and suddenly he was stringing together German Suplexes. Three of them got him a two count as he finally looked to be making a bit of headway but his Angle Slam attempt was expertly dodged, and turned in to a German from Joe. The second attempt hit the mark but nae amount of Angle Slammin was getting the job done the night. The only kind of slam capable of putting Joe to the sword on his big night would have been a world famous Jackie Polo scoop slam on top of a chair. Nae Olympic Gold nonsense was even making a dent. Joe did carry a problematic left leg injury in to the match though, and well, Kurt Angle is maybe the best in the world at turning a sare leg into a broken one. The ankle lock was in and Joe was in serious bother.

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He somehow battled out of it and not only that, Aw The Best For The Bells hit the mark moments later. That’s what his Discus Lariat is actually called. No Black Coffey, the Costa Clothesline or any other daft coffee related pun, but Angle got the shoulder up and moments later he once again had Joe in real bother. Serious shit. Squeaky bum time. Joe was in agony but even if Kurt locked it in tighter and even if he snapped Joe’s ankle clean aff and smashed him over the heid with it, he’d still didn’t have enough to get the job done. This was Joe’s night and as he locked Angle in the No Mercy Boston Crab, he never looked like he had it in him to get out of it. Angle duly tapped and Joe had the moment he unquestionably deserved. A fitting end to ICWs biggest ever show.

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Angle tapped out to a Boston Crab so any question of him being an egotist that demands main events surely goes out the window there. He got on the mic and said some very nice things about Joe, signalling his intent to come back for a rematch before leaving Joe in the ring to enjoy his moment with his people. A moment he earned by consistently stealing show after show. With Red Lightning gone from the company, it might have been a moment that saw the last of the roadblocks standing between him and a proper reign as ICW World Heavyweight Champion removed. He definitely has a score to settle with Wolfgang and if he has to smash 29 other guys in Newcastle to earn another shot, he’ll no doubt climb that mountain as well.

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A hugely enjoyable night. Enjoyed it personally a wee bit too much, to the point that I immediately whiteyed in a hedge after the show. A hydro hedge fulla whitey. Everyone involved should be immensely proud. If we’re giving it a star rating I give it a million magic stars out of 1000 chocolate starfishes. Chocolatey good so it wis. Star ratings for wrestling is stupit. Look at all these people. I give getting that many people into a building for a Scottish Wrestling show 4 billion stars. 

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Many thanks to David J.Wilson again for the wonderful photos. A very talented man who is a huge part of these shows. Seems to always manage to capture the special moments as they happen. 

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 😉

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 – Final 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.