An Interview With Jack Jester Part Two – Battles With Drew, No Kinky No Party and The Black Label B*****d

Jester

READ PART ONE HERE. ITS REALLY GOOD

After 8 or 9 graft ridden months as ICW Champion all of a sudden the opportunity of a lifetime was placed in front of Jester. Maybe even TWO opportunities of a lifetime, with the impossible choice of having to pick just one of them. Either make up for time lost and spend as much time with his recently released WWE superstar best pal Drew Galloway as possible after years of scarcely seeing him more than twice a year, OR pretend you hate the big beautiful bastard to the point that not only the people watching believe it, YOU actually believe it. Selling out one of Glasgow’s most iconic venues in the process as you go on to share a career defining achievement and match with a pal who wasn’t going to feel like a pal for a while.

“I knew he was coming back but the majority didn’t. It’s hard to keep a secret these days with the internet etc. This has always kinda happened with me and Drew, we’ve been mates since we started training. I moved to Ayr and we were best mates, then suddenly he gets signed so you go from that to seeing him twice a year when he’s over for tours. So this was really the first opportunity we’d had in years to really be pals again, but we couldn’t. He arrived home a week before the show and hid out in his house, because all it would have taken was for one person to see him in Ayr and connect the dots that he was coming to ICW. So he came in the back door and he was kept downstairs because we wanted it to be a legit shock. Renfrew hits out with the “you’ve got no friends left” line, lights go down, lights come back on, there he is. They still didn’t react until his hood came down and even then they can’t believe it. Why is it allowed? Isn’t there the 90 day no compete clause? Then the earth shattering genuine reaction came. People bursting into tears and all that. It was massive. Anytime a moment like that happens and it’s so massive for the company its hard to take it all in. To see Drew standing there with that fire in his eyes with that reaction along with it. It was amazing.”

Even if your friend is living the dream, if it turns into a nightmare for them personally it must be difficult to see. Drew knew he had so much more in him than the bits and pieces he was being allowed to display in WWE and his release was more of a relief than a letdown. An opportunity to make memories and show them why they signed him in the first place. The perfect person to work with was of course the current ICW Champion. The guy who had been at the top end of the company for the better part of a year and the guy who also happened to be that same best pal who had been in your corner all these years.

DREWJEST

“I knew Drew hadn’t been happy for years and I was always kinda his conscience in that respect. Reminding him that as bad as he felt about his spot that he was still earning good money and getting to be a full-time pro wrestler with the biggest company in the world. I know you’re hating doing what you’re doing, but you’re at RAW tonight, while we’re doing the same thing but in community centres and all that. I wasn’t trying to make him feel shite about not appreciating it, it was more to try to perk him up and make him realise that as bad as he felt, he was still in a great position. So to see him come back the way he did, and the way he was standing there. With that intensity. He cared. It poured out of him”

drewAs much of a heart racing, blood pumper of a moment that undoubtedly was, after the better part of the year leading the company as a fan favourite, Jester found himself on the sare end of people just being plain mesmerised by seeing Drew at all. So mesmerised they paid little attention to their stricken champion. Who had just wrestled a top quality talent in Martin Stone, before taking a doing from the NAK as Chris Renfrew attempted to cash in his Square Go briefcase, before the third and final absolute sickener. His returning best pal who saved him from being a lamb to the slaughter as Renfrew waltzed to the ICW Title, immediately turned on him and left him in no doubt as to why he wanted the ICW Title to remain with Jack Jester. Drew wanted to take it for himself. He was willing to break a guy who had once considered a brother to make the impact he needed to make on the wrestling world. It was pain that Jester used to fuel the pair of them on the road to what was at the time the biggest match in Scottish wrestling history.

“That show bothered me for a long time, I’ll no lie, when he came back and then he turned on me and tossed me off the stage through the table, they were still chanting for him. I remember lying there and feeling hurt. It sent me into a bit of a headspin and I was gutted that they didn’t really seem to care. Just pure self-pity. That’s all it was. I know now they were reacting to Drew and still taken aback by the fact he was there at all, but honestly, it was the best thing that could have happened. Then we had to make them hate him. We built it from there. It had to feel real. Me and Drew weren’t pals for that period. We didn’t see each other. The only thing I said to him was, until this payoff happens, you can’t be my pal. I need you to upset, and vice versa. If I don’t believe in it? How are you supposed to get the fans to believe in it? It had to look as real as possible. We’ll be pals after but until then we cant be.”

“He was constantly doing things to upset me, I was doing the same, we were never telling each other what we were going to say, then we done the angle in the pub, where he was doing the speaking thing was Billy (Kirkwood)and I showed up. He says any other questions and I think I mentioned his Dad, and he just flipped. I fell and cut and my heid open. Dallas flipped over the table and cut his arse on a glass *laughs* and in the end he’s raging, standing over me going “I know where you live! I’m gonnae fuckin stab you!” I was like…thats not Drew. That’s not the kind of person he is. I’m outside kicking off with Dallas. You know why you’re doing it but we were so caught up in it at that time it felt real. ”

JestDrewwww

The major string to the bow that came from the whole emotionally draining affair was the fact that when it was all said and done, two best pals could look back with fondness on that time they sold out The Barrowlands as the ONLY match announced for a fucking pro wrestling show run by a Glasgow based company. Unthinkable just a few short years earlier. A motivated Drew Galloway helped the company go to the next level and that feud was something special.  Having a figurehead like Drew made everyone involved with the company up their game, and considering the fact that their game was already wielding 1000+ crowds and notoriety, the only thing to do was go bigger. There’s no doubt that Barrowlands match was a pivotal point in that growth as Jester had the title ripped from his grasp in front of a red-hot crowd. A landmark moment in ICW and British wrestling in general and a moment that meant a lot to Jester in particular because without The Barrowlands, he might not exist at all.

“Selling out the Barrowlands is a career highlight. An absolute dream. My granny and Granda met there. I remember them telling me stories about it. My granda telling me they couldn’t afford hair gel, so he would put margarine in his hair. All the guys would be combing their hair in front of the lassies, then you’d flick your comb to get all the margarine off it into the gutter. There was a guy who used to play clarinet and everyone used to get up and dance. There would be a point in the night where everything would stop and a few folk would get brought up on to the stage, and there was all these wee doors, and you’d pick a number and whatever was behind that door you’d get to keep. Stuff like tickets for things, silverwear and china sets. Stuff like that. My granny choose a number and it was a toilet roll *laughs*. That’s in the Peoples Palace funnily enough now, the thing with the doors. So without that venue, they would never have met, and I’d never be here.”

JesDrew3

“Now we’re in the same hall wrestling. I let it get to me. As far as ICW running it goes, that’s a Glasgow institution. The Barrowlands is. There isn’t another venue more Glaswegian. The people who have performed there. Bowie etc. Its like nothing else. Even if you go down to where ICW’s merch stand is, and you got to cloakrooms and its all individual coat hooks. Even the toilets, it’s the same ceramic urinals and that’s all cracked and smells ah pish *laughs* Up stairs you’ve got a pasting table at the side where you can get cans of lager. I don’t think there’s any need for them to be selling cans at a pasting table really but that’s what the Barrowlands is. That’s the way people like it. It’s the wan place in the world you don’t want a cold beer.”

The venue sold out well in advance before anything other than Jack Jester vs Drew Galloway was announced. That’s how much it meant. At that time, there was nothing bigger in British wrestling and they told a story that few other duo’s in the UK could replicate. Less a wrestling feud, more two brothers having a stoater of a fall out. Proper chucking auld pool cues and fitba boots at him type of stuff. There was only one way to resolve it, and that was in front of 1,200 sweaty Glaswegians in Glasgow’s most iconic venue.

“I’ll never forget Duncan messaging me and asking me “how does it feel to have sold out the Barrowlands. Only me and Drews match was announced and we’d sold out a month in advance. If you ask Drew, at the time he called it his greatest achievement. This is someone who’d done Wrestlemania, but personally that topped it. Coming back to the company after all that time and achieving something with his best pal in a venue that meant so much. I remember travelling there that day and the emotion of the day just getting the better of me. A song came on and I honestly felt like I was going to burst into tears. It was a mixture of everything.”jeDrew

“Even at that, we didn’t do the big plan for the match, because I couldn’t look at him. We’d gone too far at that point. We had no interest in helping each other. Drew’s dad was in the crowd, my parents were in the crowd. Drew had recently lost his mum as well. When it was all over and I went back, I just said to him ‘this is your time’ and I know wrestling is this “fake sport” but nothing’s ever felt more real and it was just great, because after that match…I had my pal back. It was all over. It took a referee counting to three and it was just gone man. The cloud had lifted. It’s a hard thing to do now. It takes a while to build and take a certain amount of commitment to what you’re doing and where you want it to go. Its a thing folk aren’t prepared to do anymore most of the time”

It was a case of everyone being in the right place at the exact right time to make something work. No matter what sacrifices those involved had to make to create something brilliant, they were willing. They were even willing to harbour genuine resentment for each other just to add weight to the experience for people watching. Genuine emotion is what makes wrestling what it is, without it it’s just guys in spandex kidding on they’ve got sore legs. It needs to make you care and that particular feud not only drew you in, it made you pick a side. It mattered.

“What I would say to anyone who’s presented with a situation like me and him were then. When the stars align and its all just right. Give it everything. Drain every single thing you can out of it. As much as I had to hate my pal to get there, me and him will always share that. We can always talk about it and look back on it”

JestDrewwww3

Once it was all said and done, not only did Lee Greig have his best pal back, Jack Jester had the real Drew Galloway back. An animal that the wrestling world had got used to living in the shadows. In truth, when he was released no one really knew just how good Drew could be. He had spent so long creatively unfulfilled in WWE but never completely on the shelf. Gaining experience working on TV and working in front of huge audiences that he transferred on to the independent scene when he re-invented himself over the course of a storming 3-4 year period. A period that saw ICW go from strength to strength with their feud acting as a launchpad for so many other things.

“Having Drew back, and he’d lived this life that everyone wanted. When Drew got signed that was still a time where it was unimaginable. WWE changed him. There was a point where it wasn’t for the good either, because he was so uptight and paranoid. It always used to dishearten me because it just didn’t look like he was enjoying anything he did anymore. He was scared of everything. In his head everybody was a threat, everybody was a danger, but then when he came back after 7-8 years and suddenly he has free rein again. He was unleashed and he had that fire again. He could be creative. Folk were blown away because if you didn’t know Drew beforehand you didn’t know he had this in him, and there’s very little chance you would have because the scene here wasn’t anything before he got signed. So he came back and they seen him doing all this stuff and they’re thinking “fuck, this guys great” stuff that he wasn’t necessarily allowed to do on TV, but he can do it all now. ”

JestDrew

“It was good to come full circle and have Drew’s starting point and ending point in ICW. Going back to the hardcore stuff, I’d been asked to barbed wire rope matches for years and I’d never said yes. It just never suited any situation I’ve been in. There had never been a company that’s had enough build for it to work and it’s not the type of match I’d take on for the sake of it. If I was going to do it for anyone it would always have to be ICW, but it had to be right. There was no better situation to do it than that situation with Drew. Dallas doesn’t often ask us to do things. It’s always us that go to him. In this case he actually did ask me to do it, so I asked him what Drew thought. He told me Drew was keen but you were obviously going to have to figure out how its done. If this wasn’t the time to do it when is? I hadn’t been doing stuff like this for a long time.”

drewjest

They steered it towards trying to bring the devil back out in Jester, Drew continually winding him up and waiting for the perfect opportunity to get his revenge. The fact that Drew’s ICW return ended with him betraying Jack Jester and his final match was him trying to get revenge on Jester for doing the same thing is storytelling at its finest. At no point in the whole affair were they not friends, yet it felt like they proper despised one and other. It felt like Drew Galloway wanted to kill Jack Jester during that barbed wire ropes match and vice versa. Brothers fight, but they always make up in the end. Even if they’re both bleeding profusely and some of them’s picking bits of barbed wire out his arse.

“When you’re out of that mindset its hard to get back into it again so we worked that angle. Brought that side of me back out. That day? I’m not usually a nervous person but I was so nervous. I think just the importance of it and the fact that I’d waited so long to do a match like this. I wondered how it could be done without it being a disappointment to people. That was hard enough to do with a guy who had free rein, but we had to somehow get it over without getting Drew hurt before he went back to WWE. We had to do in a way where it wasn’t blatantly obvious that Drew was being protected and I didn’t want it to be just a procession of me being through different things for the crowd reactions. People had to believe, even if they knew in their mind it wasn’t going to happen, that something could have happened to Drew”

The biggest problem the match had is making people believe situations Drew found himself in COULD lead to him being seriously hurt, even if you knew deep down due to his re-signing with WWE its was extremely unlikely he would be. They had to make that audience believe they could see The Chosen One fly arse first through a flaming barbed wire board with live sharks waiting underneath. Jester recalls of a similar situation during his hero Mick Foley’s retirement match, when he couldn’t understand why the crowd weren’t reacting to him kicking out of big moves early. They knew that wasn’t it. It couldn’t be.

jeDrew

“When Cactus wrestled Triple H in the cell he found it a struggle for a while because they weren’t reacting to him kicking out of heavy stuff early on. Then someone said to him down the line, this is a massive match, a retirement match, the fans KNOW you’re not going to lose in the first 5 minutes. They know you’re going to kick out. So it was a similar process. There was a few things I suggested that Drew was unsure about, not really wanting me to put myself through that, but I just felt like I didn’t really have a choice. I had to do something. He was worried about me being safe and all that but my point was, that wasn’t the goal for that match. It needed to be dangerous. People needed to believe I was in danger. It needs to be scary. So I was taking some serious stuff. The superplex from the rope to the floor. Powerbomb through the table. I was really tied up a few times as well. It went back and forth a few times through the day, wondering if I should have tweaked the match and taken certain bits out but I knew if I did do that I’d have been angry at myself. We had to make folk care about it while working in the parameters of what we were able to do. I felt the build was done really well. Everything I wanted to go in to it did. We set the scene for it really well in the build up (dimming the lights before Drew’s video packages etc) can we get a constant noise on the go. Not music, but something that gets a bit of an atmosphere going while the ring’s getting set up. I wanted it to be a spectacle. ”

A spectacle it indeed was, and it was one that left Jester with a few new scars but ones he undoubtedly wears with pride. If you’re going to permanently mark your body because of pro wrestling, make the marks matter. Like a wee scrapbook on your skin to tell the grandweans about. “See that 4 inch red mark on ma foreheid son? that’s from Spike Dudley attacking me wae a stanley blade. We weren’t even wrestling, he just does that to folk sometimes”. Wrestling is all about stories after all.

jestdrewww
“One of my favourite videos is telling the whole story. It goes back to us cuddling. Wee bits backstage and all that. Its fully in black and white and when I come out the curtain it turns to full colour. I had the idea from the wizard of oz. Black and white until the action starts. It’s so well done and creates an atmosphere and then by the end its him coming down for one last hug, and that was him, he was gone again. Imagine I had thrown that away when I was at the height of doing my hardcore stuff? If I had just started doing random barbed wire matches it wouldn’t have been as special. Even though personally I did want to do it, you need to know when to hold back. One day an opportunity will come up that makes you think ‘im glad I saved it for this’ ”

The conclusion of the match saw Drew overcome Jester in brutal circumstances. Leaving his pal a battered and bloodied heap and spitting in the face of an unwritten wrestling rule. If you’re leaving a promotion, you leave with a loss and the winner gets the benefit of having that win as some kind of, I dunno…badge of honour. It’s a nice thing to do and sometimes it works but when its folk who are genuine pals, it’s not necessary. It’s almost patronising. If the story made more sense with Jack Jester losing the match, then so be it. It didn’t matter. What mattered is that they started and ended their story in the same place, having accomplished so much in between.

“That’s like one of they mad wrestling rules. Why does Drew need to put me over because he’s leaving? I just think it’s a bit corny. I didn’t need to win. It wasn’t going to affect me in any way. At no point did I insist I should go over. It didn’t make sense to me. If folk are expecting it? Don’t give them it. Give them something else. You’re constantly trying to get people to care so give them something to care about. He was in my environment too, he was out of his comfort zone and it genuinely pissed some folk off that he won. Private messaging me and all that. I’m like “thanks for the support, but it’s not keeping me up at night”. This whole he could have done me a favour mentality, when if anything I helped give him one of those last big moments before he went back in to the machine again. He deserved it. See because he is my pal as well? I think its a bit of a riddy. Like “get a room” ye know what I mean” *laughs*

Jestah

“I felt it was done well. I can’t see any more of those matches in my future to be honest, never say never like, but I’m so far from being in that place right now and I’m enjoying what I’m doing with Sha. People laugh because I saw the stuff being set up for a hardcore match recently and I was shaking my head and they’re like “here…what are you shaking yer heid at?” *laughs* and its no like im judging the people doing it it’s just more shaking my head at myself and how far removed I am from doing something like that right now. I honestly couldn’t imagine myself doing anything like that at the moment.”

Another thing Drew and Jester have in common was being side by side with Grado as his infectious character swept the Scottish Wrestling scene. Why stand by and be jealous when you can be your absolute best self in a match with someone who’s going to get a reaction anyway. What’s the point in fighting in when you can lean in to it and have some of the best moments of your career.

JestGrado

“I’ve been there for great things. I’ve witnessed Grado while being part of my own stuff. Its great. It just so happened that The Black Label were all pals, but as a team, it just worked. I’ve got to work with the company I love and travel and do it side by side with my mates. It’s an amazing thing. I love it. ”

“Grado used to get so much shit before he had the reputation he has now and the character he has now because he was just a daft bastard who was getting a mad reaction when he went out there and folk hated it. Full of bitterness about what he couldn’t do at that time and the reactions he was getting and it was honestly just pure jealousy. It used to bother him so much, I used to have him on the phone to me upset about it, wondering what he could do about it, and I used to tell him not to do anything different from what he’s doing just now. Listen if you’re getting the reactions you’re getting out there and you change what you’re doing to suit one jealous bastard backstage, risking maybe losing the support of 500 folk out there? Fuck that. Fuck them.”

Having folk in your corner when you’re in the spotlight as much as Grado is has to be an important thing. Anyone who doesn’t appreciate how many eyes he has put on their work by drawing in regular folk is kidding themselves on. Its daft not to take a moment and just enjoy something special. Even if you’re not particularly into it. Even if it’s not your thing. Enjoy the fact that someone is out there making the people lose their shit.

“I love the fact that I was there for Gradomania. Bearing in mind the first time I saw Grado I tried to pap him out of backstage *laughs*. Because he was just a guy walking about with his singlet on and I’m just like “whit ye daein?” *laughs* I hate that. See if there’s someone backstage who I feel shouldn’t be there, I’ll be the prick who’ll tell them ‘get oot’ There’s always some arsehole with a lanyard on telling me why they’re there and they’re from the press and all that and it doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t know where the appeal is. I suppose it could be cool to see some of the things, folk putting their boots on and all that, to us its boring as fuck, but I can kinda see the appeal to someone on the outside, but see if I don’t know who ye are? Why are you there? If you’re press, go to a press room, but all my gear’s lying here, this is me at my work. ”

After his initial reaction, he started to realise Grado had something no one else had. He undoubtedly belonged because this shit is about entertaining as many people as you possibly can. Folk buying tickets is what keeps it going and if you think someone in a high profile position hasn’t earned their spot, help them. Make it work, because if the fans want it, it’s happening, and there was absolutely no stopping Gradomania. Folk were in love with it and it was something you had to stand back and witness as a fan at times even if you were directly involved. A once in the lifetime character.

JesterGrado

“I didn’t know him and Dallas had this planned so I’m telling him to get out, you’re not part of the show and Dallas comes up to me and tells me “naw naw, he is” that was right back at the start at The Classic Grand during the book Grado campaign. Then he had his big night, when he tagged with Drew Mcdonald. Drew? He was my hero man. I loved the guy to death. Grado always says he was so glad that he was there. When you watched it you realised, something was going on here. Then when we done the two Insane Fight Clubs together you really got to see it unfold closely and it was an amazing experience to be part of. I don’t know why anybody would feel any different. Why are you raging that this guy’s popular? Why are you raging that you’re getting to wrestle in front of massive crowds when at that time, it was largely down to him? He couldn’t have done it by himself but he was such a big part of it especially back then”

It became a relationship where Jester was almost protective of Grado. Realising his worth and how to get the best reaction out of working with him, he started noticing folk trying to be smart with it when it helps no one. There’s going to be a spell in the match where Grado takes a doing and when that part is happening, have at it, build as much sympathy up for him as possible but when it comes to his time, you fly all over the shop for him. Take they jabs like he’s got a fist made out of cast iron. Sell the roll and slice like he’s lobbed the living room couch directly at your chest. You are there to make him look like a superstar and few are better at doing that than Jack Jester.

Gradoooooooo

“People used to be smartarses when they wrestled him, and they’d go out and tie him in knots and try to make him look silly. That’s not your job mate. Your job is to go out there, fall on your arse for him and get raging, take the Dusty punches, and highlight what he does well. That’s your job. If you feel you’re above that? Go somewhere else man. Mikey was always a great example of that. At times he didn’t love doing what he was doing with Grado because as creative as he is, he’s a purist, but he’d go out there and bump like a madman for him because that’s his job. He knew that’s what he was there to do”

The message with Jester is consistent and very simple. Don’t do things that don’t look or feel natural. Folk will smell it off you. They’ll feel that self-doubt. That inexperience creeping in to every move. Learn your craft first, do mad stuff later. Work Grado’s match first, then maybe try to get some of your best stuff in there but the match is about HIM and what HE does. No one at PBW in Balornock gives a flying fuck if you’ve got a smashin handspring back elbow mate. They want to see you get dusty punched in to next week.

“If you don’t know how to work a regular match you shouldn’t be doing hardcore stuff. If you’re not capable of getting a reaction without being rattled over the heid with a chair. We used to have a lot of folk like that and we slowly got away from that but I’m starting to see it creep back in. Guys who see all this cool death match stuff and just want to copy it because they see other folk getting reactions for it. Maybe I’m just a moany bastard but stuff like lego and things like that just doesn’t appeal to me. Stuff like that can work, like Grado when he opened the bumbag and instead of thumbtacks it was skittles but that’s Grado. That’s what he does.”

JESTGRADOSWA

A recent mad main event in Paisley saw Jester team with Grado, Billy Gunn, Sha Samuels and Lionheart and if ever there was evidence of Gradomania continuing to run wild, it was then. Grado was the person most folk were there to see, not the WWE legend who may have sold some tickets to the auld timers like me, but the young crowd were there for Grado. If they were also there to see Jester do the slosh to the DX theme, then they would not have left disappointed in any way. A recent match with PBW saw the old spark between Grado and Jester start up again.

“When Gradomania happened it angered some folk. You could step by step do the same match with me as Grado would and it just wouldn’t be the same. You’re not him. No one has what he has. I wrestled him recently for PBW and it felt like it did back in the old days. The spark was there. His time away (from ICW) has done him favours because he’s come back inspired again. He did want to embrace being the bad guy but he couldn’t fully commit to it. At the end of the day he’s a brand, and for him to be a villain on just one type of show, it doesn’t work. When he came out at that PBW show, they went mental for him. We went ages not doing anything and just enjoying the crowd. Then we started calling stuff on the fly and it was great. He doesn’t need someone trying to be funny with him, he needs folk to fully embrace his stuff, he needs you to sell for him. You’ve got to be the straight man. There’s got to be that dynamic there. I’ve seen so many matches with Grado where he’s wrestling somebody and they think ‘this is gonnae be a comedy match’…aye, it is, but he’s the comedy.”

jestgrrrr

Be yourself. Don’t look at something popular and try to be that, look at why something’s popular and take the important core aspects of it and put it in to your own work. Grado tribute acts will always just feel like Grado tribute acts and nothing more substantial. Choosing to wrestle a unique talent like that and almost doing an impression of him in the match rather than just wrestling him is a trap Jester has seen many fall in to.

“People get in situations they wouldn’t usually do when they wrestle him sometimes, you’ll have the big heel in this company and all of a sudden he’s doing something stupid, like he’s doing fuckin baby shark or something. That’s not your job. Your job is to give him the platform to make people laugh. I mean if he can still make me laugh, after aw the years of him pissing me off and me pissing him off, and all the fall outs we’ve had *laughs* the amount of times we’ve wrestled, and the amount of times I’ve seen him do his thing. If he can still make me laugh after all that, its funny. He’s got something. When you see other folk trying to replicate it, to me its embarrassing, but when he does it, it’s just funny. He’s got funny bones. Everything about him is just funny. That promo at the last show, he just kept making me laugh, the best night of my life thing became funny. Plus just to see him with that fire behind him again was amazing. ”

Jester’s attempts to de-bunk a frankly daft theory that only pals of ICW promoter Mark Dallas get opportunities in ICW. As if he hands out a leaflet before each show telling the audience who they should be reacting to. A nonsense mentality it has always been and one he never allows the trainees at GPWA to get sucked in to. You have to believe if you’re good enough and have something substantial to offer, you’ll get chances. Make sure and take them if you do.

“If you go out and get over, it doesn’t matter who you are or if he likes you or not, Dallas will bring you back. He’s selling a product here. He’s not booking a show that he wants to watch. Everybody wants to moan and blame stuff on other people. People also mention the lack of women coming through but there’s a lot less women training than men. Its not a sexist thing. If you’re good enough you’ll get opportunities. If a male wrestler isn’t good enough he wont get put on a show. You think I don’t want more females coming through the school or being on the shows we run? Of course we do.”

gpwa

“For every 20-30 guys there 1 female trainee. If you’re good, you’ll be on the show. Man or woman. Sabryna’s the perfect case (Aivil) she works hard, shes committed, shes creative, she was always trying to up her game. Don’t show up and do fuck all then moan and blame it on something else. Your finding reasons to justify you not getting booked even though deep down you know the real reason is that you’re not very good. Its nothing to do with favouritism. We need young talent. We’ve got loads of guys here we could push for Mark Dallas, but you can’t come in here and make ICW your be all and end all. You need to make your mark elsewhere because if you get put into ICW a moment before your ready, they’ll eat you alive. If you go in there and it doesn’t get over, it’s a 100 times harder to come back again, so wait until you’re ready. Wait until you know you can do this. Because its scary. Its scary when you’ve been doing this a long time so imagine how much scarier it’ll be for a trainee? Some of them have taken the opportunity and went with it”

jestoal

Two recent standouts in ICW and further afield have been Source trainee Kieran Kelly and GPWA trainee Leyton Buzzard. After they were heavily involved in the worlds longest match between their respective pals Chris Renfrew and Joe Hendry, the young standouts were finally given a one on one match at ICWs recent debut at the Glasgow Uni Union. A match that not only put their characters into sharp focus but displayed a standard in the ring that most people knew Kieran Kelly was capable of, but something people may have been slightly shocked by regarding Leyton Buzzard. Who until that point had seen the focus of his work mainly aimed at his skills as a ‘theatrical wee bastard’ as Jester so eloquently put it. They had a standout match on a very strong show and showed the future might indeed be bright.

“They were kinda the backup for the 2 experienced guys, but then they end up outshining the guys they’re meant to be backing up. Kieran Kelly has always been very very good. He’s a cracking worker. But he’s always been a shy kinda reserved wee guy. Arthur on the other hand has always been committed, always creative, and he’s a theatrical wee bastard. He’s grown up in that life he was acting since he was wee. He was in an advert for a Star Wars thing, building the wee R2D2 in the garage. He did like singing competitions. He’s got that side to him. With Arthur, he moved here from Bristol by himself to be a wrestler. He didn’t come and see how it went, he moved here because in his mind he wasn’t going to fail. He’s entertaining and he’s always trying to push himself out there, but hes not a pest. He can back it up. In front of the ICW crowd like that you can really see. I just kinda wish that match had been in The Garage.”

“You watch these two and they steal the show and that’s a good thing. These are two guys who haven’t done much yet and they’re only going to get better. It’s a sign of things to come. Its no up to guys like me to resent it. Its natural. I don’t want to be popular because everyone else is shite because that’s no sort of achievement. I don’t want folk to fail. We did Maryhill the next day and people took the time to come up and congratulate Arthur on how good it was. You don’t often see that after the night of the show itself unless its something special. If you don’t have that passion or that level of commitment, it’s not acceptable. Anything less than that isn’t acceptable. ”

The attitude that shone through in both of them is the absolute minimum requirement for Jack Jester when he and his fellow trainers at GPWA are looking for the next big thing. Even if you aren’t as good as they undoubtedly are, you should want to get to that stage. Want to improve. Actively try to better yourself on a daily basis because they isn’t clocking in at your work in ASDA or something. This is a labour of love. It needs hard graft, dedication and just a wee streak of undeniable insanity.

JesterBT

“I’m looking for folk who want to learn to work. Trainees who’ll come through and they’ll get to the point where they’ve got a certain set of stuff, they can do, and they can have a certain amount of success with that, but I want to see folk who are constantly trying to get better and improve. I want the type of folk who are coming up to me and ASKING me if they can go to seminar down south. Anything you can do to get better, do it. If I’m constantly saying the same thing and someones not listening, there’s only a certain amount of times i’ll say it before I wont say it again. If you’re not going to listen fair enough, but I’m not going to waste my time trying to get you to listen. People like Arthur, constantly trying to get better and he wants to do it the right way. He doesn’t want to do it by being a wee suck up bastard or copying anyone else. With people like that, that’s when you realise right, this is a guy I can work with, this is a guy who wants to learn, he doesn’t want to just go out there and do what he’s comfortable. He wants to learn, he wants to impress, and hes doing it the right way by working hard at it and learning how to work and he’s spewing with confidence and charisma ”

Another strongly conveyed message was about as simple as it gets. Don’t be a dick. If someone gets an opportunity, congratulate them and work out what they’re doing that you’re not. Otherwise you’re going to spend a lot of your weekends on the couch as opposed to chucking folk about.

“I’ll always say this to my trainees as well, if one of your fellow trainees is getting on an ICW show and you’re annoyed about it, why? You should all be supporting each other. You should be trying to work out why he’s getting that opportunity when you’re not. You should be trying to get better and don’t worry about being a pest either. If you go up to someone and ask them to watch your match to give you feedback and they tell you to fuck off? Disregard them, because they’re wankers.”

Leeeeeeeee

Jester in his early years realising he’d left the oven on and even though it probably wouldn’t burn the house down, it would definitely burn his scones

Wankers indeed. If someone really wants to learn, why be like that? No one lives forever. The next batch of talent has to arrive and one day take over. Wanting them to be shite is how you end up with a scene the way it was 15 years ago. If the scene is to continue to grow, it needs good training schools and wave after wave of good talent. No matter where they come from, talent is talent. Nurture it. If someone doesn’t want to help you out, fuck them.

“If you ask for advice and they’re dicks to you, don’t get upset, it’s not worth it. Mikey’s great for that, he’ll sit with any trainee that asks for advice, and he’ll go on for ages but he’s telling you. He’s giving you advice. I’ve seen it happen even with some of my guys when they’re finished and they’re not arsed, they’re just happy to get back and get a beer. Again I’ll say, I’ll only say the same thing so many times before I’ll stop. Because folk are telling you somethings good why try to get better? Then on the other hand you’ve got guys like Kieran Kelly, Craig Anthony, Leyton Buzzard and all that. Folk from all different schools who have that potential and the work ethic to get better. Ones that make you think “this guys dangerous, I need to up my game here” If you’ve got something to offer a promoter it doesn’t matter what school you come from either. Its like Luka (Paxxo) Ross (Watson) loves him. He’s now one of the mainstays on PBW shows. Ross always books all different sorts of people, different talents, but Luka now seems to be part of their core and that says it all. He’s took him away on the camps with him. If I can book a guy and say this is the date, and he’s going to show up and do his job with no fuss, you’re going to keep getting booked. These people are being booked on merit. Luka is mad creative as well and both of them as a couple are mad creative.”

jestaaaah

“If you ever show up at ICW and you just want it over and done with, there’s no point in you being there. You always need to have guys like myself and Mikey who don’t take this for granted. They care and they set a standard. You get folk who want to go out there and go “watch what I can do” but you’ve got to make them care. Sha is the only guy who’s came up here and almost became Glaswegian. Like this is his second home. All his pals are up here. You don’t consider Sha someone you bring up for a show, he’s just part of ICW now. Bram as well, he’s a mad bastard but folk believe what he does. People come up here and I think they assume because they’ve worked in this place and they’ve worked in that place that people up here will care but you’ve got to make them care”

Jester believes having a bit of something else is a vital part of making it in front of an ICW crowd, or at the very least making the little time you might get matter. Don’t be timid or they’ll eat you alive.

“You need to be a certain type of person because they can read you like a book. They don’t want you to suck up and be nice to them. They want you to make them give a fuck. If you don’t go out there and make any sort of connection Dallas isn’t gonna book ye again. He’s booking a show that the fans want to see. You need to do something. See if you’ve not got a bit of attitude behind ye, a bit of spunk, you’re not going to make that connection. If you’re coming out all polite, and like ‘I’m going to show you a great match’ they might not react. That’s ten a penny. Do something else. Stand out. Immerse yourself in it”

One of Jesters career highlights has been working at The Blackpool Tower. A venue that holds great importance to him due his love for the circus. Being able to work at the same venue some of his heroes had previously done in a different lifetime must have been a surreal moment but one of those rare ones where wrestling meshes perfectly with something else you love to create something special. A memory you hope lasts as long as the ones the lions, tigers, bears and clowns created all that time ago.

“I’ve had a few bucketlist venues in my life. The Blackpool Tower was one of them because I’m obsessed with the circus. I always have been. I know an ungodly amount about clowns *laughs* so that was always a special place because all my heroes from that side of things had all worked there. I remember, me and Brian Dixon…well we were never pals, put it that way. My name at that time was Scotland’s Lee Thomas. He gave me the name and I honestly don’t know why. Even though he’d gave me that name, he always called me Tom *laughs* there was nae point even telling him otherwise. After I worked the Blackpool Tower, I’ll always remember him coming up to me going ‘well Tom, you’ve done it!’ and it was one of those few times Brian was really nice to me because he knew it meant a lot to me. I love the fact that I wrestle in it often now for PCW. I mean me and Sha won the belts in there and it was incredible for us. I remember after we’d won, there was this one wee guy going absolutely mental so I went over and got him in the ring with us, and before I knew it there must have been about 50 kids in there with us *laughs* and I’m thinking, whoever’s ring this is, is gonnae kill me.”

JesterSha

“That moment was so special for me honestly, it was cracking man, to get that reaction in a venue that meant that much. Its one of those venues that every time I get there I appreciate it, and I’ll walk about and look at everything. There’s so much cool stuff. There’s props everywhere for the clowns, up the stairs in the tower there’s a clown museum, and the most famous clown at that time was a guy called Charlie Corolli. He done 40+ summer seasons in a row there. Mind blowing. He had 3 white faced clowns called the three Pauls and all there suits are there. Charlie Cairoli could play every instrument, including the kitchen sink. Doonstairs there’s cages where all the lions, tigers, elephants and all that used to be kept. It’s not normal cages that would be used now, these were built to last, raw iron stables. These things were built into the foundations. So you’ll be walking by and thinking “fuck..there used to be elephants in there!” I tried to show Sha this, when you go backstage there’s a black and white photo of the trapeze artists practising and that bar still hangs there to this day. Almost as if its frozen in time. Its been there for 70 years or something.”

Having that moment in a venue of such personal significance where so many of Jester’s interests share house room was career defining stuff. The reason folk put their bodies on the line week in week out if for wee bits like that. Combine that personal significance of the venue with the sheer amount of joy the moment brought wrestling wise and you have some sort of perfection. There is no doubt The Kinky Party has lit a fire under both Jack Jester and his partner in hilarity Sha Samuels. Two guys who built careers on being something completely different to what they are now, throwing themselves into this tag team wholeheartedly and making it work. Making an impact on people. Making all age groups have the simple joy of getting to forget about all the shit in their lives and enjoy two folk who are quite obviously having the time of their lives.

No kinky, no party…..EAST!

JesterSha2

“It was not planned. That match the first time against Renfrew and Mikey was meant to be a one off. It was kinda just like we didn’t have anything to do so they put us together. Sha had never done anything like this before. He was always this straight up, hardnose, cockney geezer. Even at that point I wasn’t doing anything funny. It’s just that I was such a different kind of person to him and it made him uncomfortable and that made people laugh. The fans made it. It was them that started chanting no kinky no party. It wasn’t even a thing until then. We hadn’t even thought of that before they started chanting it and we’re thinking this is fun. We could do something with this. Dallas wasn’t fully sold on it initially, and we’d got ourselves so excited about it that we needed it to happen. My focus became making this happen and convincing Dallas to let us run with this. We don’t really know where we’re going with it, but let us try.”

KinkyParty

They didn’t really need to do much to convince him. People wanted it. Simple as that. Something about the dynamic just clicked and before either one of them knew it, they were having the absolute time of their lives. Wrestling had never been more fun. It shone through in both of them and it was born out of sheer discomfort. Sha Samuels the proper cockney geezer. Pints, the fitba, a curry, a fight. That’s what he was all about. The only thing he used chains for was to wrap round his fist when he was leathering some poor bastard and on the other end of the scale you have Jack Jester “Kinky Torturer” as The Sun so accurately put it (thats definitely no sarcasm) who just wanted them to forget their differences and be pals.

“At the start Sha was reluctant and that had to show, it has to start with a straight guy who’s reluctant to get involved in it, and I was the guy trying to get him to have fun with it. You can’t build something funny without having that to start with. So I was way more keen than him and I had to get him to take to it. That got me the sympathy from the crowd because I’m trying and trying to get him to be my pal and he’s patching me. It was Mankid and The Rock. Mankind was so keen on the idea. The Rock was his best pal in his mind, but The Rock would kid on he never existed *laughs* . So folk though he was a dick and they sympathased with Mankind. The best thing is ICW don’t usually write for us. They just let us get on with it and trust us to go with it. Sha never really wrote anything either because I played off his reactions. ”

They are one of a select few…well really they’re the only tag team who have ever had an official “launch party” but when Sha and Jester came out the closet as a full-blown tag team in Newcastle it changed everything. It established this as not just a fling. They were in this together forever. A bond so strong that Sha is even willing to pick up that big studded dildo, even if it’s just so he can hand it to Jester to wallop someone with it. There was strippers with breasts of various sizes, some more impacted by gravity than others and there was a gummy snake. The absolute cornerstones of a kinky party as the google image search I done in preparation for this confirms.

shajack2“Like the launch party in Newcastle. He genuinely didnae know what I had planned *laughs* and I said to the crowd, Sha’s shiteing himself back there *laughs* and its hilarious because he was. Its nerve-wracking enough having a segment and know what you’re doing but he’s going out there without a clue. I genuinely think its one of the best things I’ve ever done *laughs* and it had to be kinda shite but heartwarming at the same time. I was just trying to rib him, putting a photograph of him wearing a white suit *laughs* he actually owns this thing and has worn it to genuine occasions, and it blew my mind *laughs hysterically* Of all the folk I wouldn’t expect to be wearing a white suit, Sha Samuels is near the top of that list. I wanted him to have that “you bastard!” reaction. So we did that. I sourced the stripper last-minute but the older lady who was involved wasn’t planned. I’ve came in contact with her numerous but shes such a laugh. So game. She switched with the stripper and bless her, she was so game. She loved it. Its hard doing that type of stuff because if it’s no happening and they’re not reacting. Its hard. I didn’t want it to be too polished, I wanted him to keep playing off his reactions, and then he’s starting to come round and we switched it and its me getting upset with him, and he’s trying to get my attention”

That switch took their popularity to the next level. Many thought that night at the ABC was the end for The Kinky Party. It couldn’t ever work! They were too different from the start. Kidding themselves on they were. It was always going to end so why prolong the pain? But like with any important relationship, someone has to fight for it, when the chips are down, someone has to buy more chips. Sha Samuels reached out and as much as they weren’t quite as dazzling as that white suit no doubt was, he offered Jester an olive branch in the form of the sexiest team jackets in professional wrestling history.

JesterSha3
“We done the thing at the ABC and had the fallout (after Jesters match with James Storm) Then the thing with the jackets, I corpsed throughout that, he was so funny, its hard not to laugh. With The Kinky Party, I approached it differently to how you usually would, the wrestling side would take care of itself. Its building the double act that was important at the start. We had to be a double act. We had to be Francie and Josie. That’s why I was really adamant we had to get to the point that we’d be a recognised double act. We do have a really good laugh and you can feel the spirit being lifted when we do what we do. It’s the easiest thing I’ve done in wrestling, I’ve never had anything that’s so easy and so natural. He’s so good off the cuff, so I wont tell him what I’m going to say, he just needs to react to me. ”

With a bit of gentle encouragement from a returning Drew Galloway they finally made in and have gone from strength to strength ever since. When you’re entertaining people the way they do, run with it. They’re not only giving people a bit of comedic respite in the middle of some pretty intense shows, they’re doing it while having top quality matches for the tag team titles of teams with various styles. Be it monsters like Alpha Evil and The PoD, brawlers like The Purge, or the ever charismatic Lou King Sharp and Krieger, they have had one of the most notable ICW Tag Title runs ever and have created an environment where whoever takes it off them will be creating a moment. A team who have done battle with them before and who have a huge amount of momentum are The Kings Of Catch, and it seems only natural that their paths will cross again if both can make it through their respective Hydro matches.

While The Kinky Party very much remain a double act, the return of Grado to the ICW fold has proven welcome as they’ve had the opportunity to combine their charisma with his. Tanning a beer up the ropes is a wee bit different to slinging a bumbag over your shoulder right enough but The Kinky Party are determined their spot as the chief comedians in the comedy is not coming under threat.

jestgrador
“With Grado coming back, we wanted to play it like ‘he better no come in here thinking he’s gonnae be funny *laughs* we’re the funny wans noo. I’m in Sha’s ear annoying him, trying to get him riled up so he disnae go back to Grado *laughs*. I think Kinky Party came at the right time because everything was so intense at that time, and you need a part of the show where you can just exhale. Have a laugh. You can just relax. Don’t send us out first. Put us in somewhere about the middle and give folk a chance to breathe. The crowdsurfing thing just came by accident but it became a thing we were known for. We want to have things people identify with us. Like the pre parties we’ve done, we’re genuinely out there drinking with folk, Sha’s missing his mooth. *laughs* We enjoy it. ”

Jester explained the dynamic between him and Sha as more of a married couple as opposed to two pals. An analogy that I’m sure puts the shitters up oor Sha but one that makes sense. It’s a partnership innit. With pals you can maybe not see them for a few weeks and it matters not. Next time you see them the lager will be flowing, and someone might end up getting glassed. With a partnership? If you’ve no texted in a 12 hours period you better be sleeping or deid. The Kinky Party is for life no just for Christmas and that bond has to remain sacred. If they’re going to win belts and drink aw sorts of different beers together, the trust has to be there. The trust you’d consider commonplace between married couples.

KinkyParty2

“When we fall out it has to be treated like a married couple falling out. You’re first instinct isn’t to challenge her to a fight the next week *laughs* You go all pathetic, stomp aboot, act petty. Then we had the thing at the ABC, and he gives me the jacket, and I’m telling him I don’t like it…I love it, but its no enough. So I storm away and out comes Drew telling us to get back in and sort it out. It was a great moment.”

Wrestling fans aren’t known for their patience. Possessed with this overarching thirst to see the next big storyline happen. Never content to let it play out. If anyone thinks a split followed by what would be an excellent rivalry is coming anytime soon, think again. Sha Samuels and Jack Jester are having the time of their wrestling lives and that’s not stopping until there’s a good reason for it to stop. ”

“People know it’s not going to turn in to this split. There’s always the potential down the line but right now I can’t see it. I’m so protective over this because I don’t want it to get serious. I want to keep what we have going. People just expect it now. They’re waiting it thinking “that’ll be Jester and Sha’s feud starting now” but why? We’ve still got plenty of things to pursue and I can’t stress enough how much I’m enjoying it. Its gave me and Sha such a lift. Its gave me and Sha a new lease of life. I’d done so many things and you get to a point where you’re not really sure whats next and this came at the perfect time. Its made me love wrestling again. It pours over to even when we’re not tagging, I’m enjoying it more everywhere. It doesn’t matter where I am, even if I’m myself, you get someone chanting no kinky no party. It carries over, and we started looking at the photos, David Wilson is always so good with that, and we were zooming in on them and you see everyone’s smiling man. We kinda started realising, somethings happened here Sha. We need to run with it. But then its all about how to keep it going and be creative and no repeat yourself etc.”

ShaJAck

While the emphasis is heavily on the dynamic between the pair as characters, the wrestling side still needs to be paid attention to. As much as The Kinky Party have been known as violent bastards in a past life, that’s not the life they’re living now. Those characters are still in there but there’s a balance to be struck between letting them loose a wee bit when the tag titles are on the line and they’re in the ring with legit monsters, and keeping them at bay enough to make the aforementioned monsters look as scary as they unquestionably are.

kinkyyyyyy

“The likes of the match with Iestyn and Bram. Its different. We have to work out how to make the match work with these two big bastards while still keeping what we have going. How do we do it and still be able to come out on the next show and be funny. Then we realised, we’re the perfect opponents for Iestyn and Bram right now. They’re so dominant and they look scary. You put me and Sha in with folk like that, and Rampage and Asthon. If im in the ring facing guys like that and I’m trying to take the piss and have a laugh. It kills them. It makes them look daft. You need to take them seriously. There’s nothing wrong with showing fear, but you have to still be The Kinky Party at first. You have to go out and do what you do, but when it comes to facing these big monsters, you need to take it seriously. ”

That match was a defining moment for The Kinky Party, who had already surprised some by managing to usurp Rampage Brown and Ashton Smith as Tag Champions, despite the dangerous team knocking the living shite out of them a lot before. They proved they have the ability to get serious when it matters and when you’re in there with bruisers like that…it matters. It matters a lot. It matters to know when someone the size of Bram hits you with a Swanton from about 20 feet in the air, stay down for a fair bit after that. Don’t be getting up, tanning a beer and taking photies. The Kinky Party are all about the fans and having a laugh when the time is right, but sometimes the fight comes first.

“You can’t have us in with guys like Iestyn and Bram and make us look like supermen. Even though we’re the champions, we need to think about it and make them look like the dominant guys they are. I can just pick Iestyn up and slamp him, but I wont. I’ve never been one to do a lot of plannin beforehand, we’ll go over a few wee things, but if you can’t go out there and have a match with Iestyn and Bram and not make it look serious? Whats the point. If you cannae make that look like a fight? Yer fucked. I started doing wee things, like now we have the jackets so I can stick the corkscrew in there. So you build it up, and Iestyns no a blood and guts guy so he’s selling it. Even when Bram done that swanton….I was in nae rush to get up” *laughs*

1SHP-KPvsBRIE1

“He’s huge and he’s landing on ye from about 20 feet in the air. Its knowing how long to lie there. Its knowing when to get up. They battered Sha while im out, Sha rallies a bit, then the finish to the match, we could feel it, it started having this atmosphere that folk felt ‘this is a bit heavy-duty here’ and that’s why we made it a sneaky pin and we didn’t even celebrate it in the ring. I rolled right out and that’s when you see the more serious side. We have the belts and we have to back up the funny stuff with defences. With good matches. You cannae just go out there and dance and drink beer and no dae anything, so having matches like that elevates because folk remember who we are. We remind them who we are deep down and that we can go. Then the next show you come out and its almost like you can start again. Now people appreciate you more and you’ve got a wee bit more sympathy because these guys have battered us. Same with Rampage and Ashton. It’s not my job to go out there and look like their equal. I’m not going to throw Rampage about. Thats not what I’m there for. Its storytelling man. Its using their confidence and their power against them, because they’re so confident they’ve got us, they’ve battered us before, and we come out of nowhere and beat them”

Becoming champions took The Kinky Party to another level. If you’re keeping the married couple analogy going, having the tag titles is living having a wean for a married couple. You know that means its going to stay together for at least the next wee while. Maybe take in a wee bit of sun for a first family holiday. Jester, Sha and the belts. The analogy kinda falls apart when they eventually lose the belts right enough because you wouldn’t exactly put your child on the line in a wrestling match would you? We’re getting off track here, point is, being ICW Tag Team Champions meant they were part of an elite group. That prestige meant an obligation to wind each other up as much as possible became an unwritten rule.

“When we won the belts in Newcastle that’s when we really started talking about things and documenting stuff and I’m always winding him upKinkyBenidorm on twitter *laughs* We’re doing wee videos, with him shouting “JAAAAAAAAACCCCCKK” and its just such a laugh. ICW don’t write for us but we’ve got certain things that we need to hit storyline wise. When we do backstage stuff I always tell Veronica or Jen, don’t try not to laugh, just go with it, We always kinda try to get them involved and we love. If we’re enjoying ourselves, it obviously come across. Filming stuff in Benidorm and all that. I wanted us to be a double act. I wanted us to be Laurel and Hardy. I didn’t just want to be a tag team. I wanted it to be a situation where if one of is booked somewhere, folk are asking where the other one is. It’s somehow crossed over well to family shows. Sha hates it being called The Kinky Party at family shows *laughs* he’s like ‘lets call it The Drinky Party’ *laughs* but it goes over their heads, its like pantomime, its riddled with adult references that go over the childrens heads. At ICW you can be a bit more risque, its more like an adult orientated panto, but on family shows I just feel like I’m in a panto and its great. We really enjoy doing it. Making the kids laugh and even when we come out we’re having a laugh, because we’ve been doing it for hours beforehand and we’re going out there and carrying it over, it’s an amazing thing man ”

JesterSha4

We all know wrestling is scripted, pre-determined, whatever you want to call it. If you’re a fan as an adult you can have a fairly accurate education guess at how things might turn out and the direction stuff is going in. Those facts can make folk a wee bit bitter towards it. Almost as if they’re active’y trying not to enjoy wrestling but if you’re not enjoying it what’s the point? Sha Samuels and Jack Jester are enjoying every second of this and they’re going to crowdsurf and mug folk off until it stops being fun.

“The Kinky Party has allowed me to be the every man as well. We can go and be in the crowd and we can mingle and all that. We can dress it up as me doing character work, but it just means I get to jump in the crowd and sit next to an auld guy and steal his pick and mix. We just have laugh with it. You need folk to identify with us. They’re the reason we exist. Without that backing there’s never a Kinky Party. Sha will agree, it happened by mistake, but I don’t know what would be happening with either of us now if we didn’t have that. I joke that The Kinky Party has added another 10 years on to my career *laughs* but honestly, at that point we were both wondering where we wanted to go and honestly. I just love it. With every big moment you know the crashing low is coming and we’d both had big moments at Shugs. Sometimes you make plans, sometimes plans are made for you. The fans made this happen, we just took something they reacted to and went with it. We’d never done comedy stuff before so its been such a removal for us and its been great.”

TheKinkyParty

With an impressive amount of years racked up between them Sha and Jester are trusted to take their work in whatever direction they want to take it. After all this is their title run, as much as the company will give you opponents, you need to make the moments. You need to make the matches matter and Jester hopes the work they’ve done as champions stands whoever’s up next in good stead. “Its a nice feeling knowing the boss trusts us to go wherever we want to take it. We never thought for a second we’d be champions so then you have the dilemma of “how does the comedy team survive” in a division that’s full of big scary bastards” *laughs*

“I hope that me and Sha have done enough work that whoever does win it from us gets the reaction they deserve. I want people to be elevated by it. Its been great. Working with different kinds of teams who have different reactions to what we do and you chop and change to suit the situation. It’s great to be able to do that at ICW and even at family shows now where we’re just the big friendly funny guys. Yer mad uncles that love a laugh. As long as we’ve got the stage to be creative we’re gonnae continue. Its great. Its proper perked me back up again. ”

Before The Kinky Party came the gathering of the bastards. The Black Label tore ICW a new arsehole throughout 2015 and 2016 and it was a time period Jack Jester threw caution to the win. Not a single fuck was given and a lot of people didn’t like that. Well…good. If you’re trying to be a prick, thats the fullproof way to know its working.

Becoming Big Kink – Black Label’s Nastiest Bastard

Jester3

Seeing that drive in Drew and the drive it gave everyone else in the company set a standard that had to be met if you were to be considered a part of this. You need to look interested at the very least. Learn how to make audience react to you instead of judging them for not doing it. It’s not your job. They’re the customers. You don’t go to McDonalds and flip the burgers yersell. It’s up to the performer to get their performance over and that’s something both Jack Jester and Drew placed a lot of importance on during that time period when they reigned supreme.

“It pisses me off sometimes when I see folk who have been doing this less than 5 years and they look like they’d rather be anywhere else. Or when folk would rather complain about crowds going down or crowds being dead rather than problem solving. ‘The crowd are dead’….are the crowd dead? Or are they just not reacting for you as much as you want? Its self-indulgent. Just because you walk through the curtain as a babyface doesn’t mean these people need to cheer you. They aren’t getting paid to cheer you. You’re getting paid to give them a reason to cheer. Instead of coming back and moaning, figure out why it hasn’t gone the way you wanted it to go and do something to change it. I think people walk through the door sometimes and expect Dallas to sit them down and give them this handbook on how to get over with his audience. It doesn’t work like that. Dallas will listen to you. He can have a constructive conversation with you and sometimes we wont always agree, but he’ll listen. You’ve got to make it happen yourself”

Black Label

“Having Drew back and seeing Drew putting everything in to it made such a difference. Drew was very much like me. He’d get raging if he saw anyone who looked like they couldn’t be arsed. It fuelled him. We had the mentality that we’ll continue to be the top guys until someone proves they can take it off us. As The Black Label, we’re the older guys, and all this young talent that can do everything are coming up that can do everything and they look great and have all the tools, but they’re bitter. They have this mentality that we get the opportunities because we’re Dallas’ pals as opposed to earning them. Being Dallas’ pal doesn’t get you over with the crowd. Being pals with Dallas doesn’t get them to react. Only you can do that”

Being pals with Dallas also doesn’t matter a fuck when, at least in storyline terms anyway, you fucking hate the cunt. The Black Label were built on solid foundations of hating Mark Dallas and everything his ICW stood for. They wanted the power, and needed to come across like the biggest team of pricks the world has ever seen. They ran the show and wanted anyone who would dare to cross them to know that was the case. Fuck with the label at your peril.

Jester7

“With The Black Label I had to be such a bastard and I had to commit to. I gave everything I had to being a genuine bastard that folk despised”

“We did that switch where me and Drew had been feuding, and at the ABC. So many things that happened in my career happened in that venue. I came out and folk thought I was gonna help Damo, and I turned and helped Drew instead. Red was there and it was just the three oldest best pals together again. We did that photo where we’re backstage (photo is below) all giving it the vickies together and there’s that same photo somewhere from years before of us doing that in Walkabout. It was one of they things that was organic. We were thick as thieves. We had guys who came in for wee stints and were affiliated with us, but we were the core group and we just caused it man. Some of they tours got wild man. There’s certain shows where the crew have thrown their headphones off and ran out because they thought there was genuine riots happening. I was just out there annoying folk, and I wasn’t really angry, but I was getting that anger out of them. If you don;t believe in your own shit, no one else would. We ruled the world man. We had everything at our disposal to make sure we stayed on top. Comparing it to the kinky party sounds daft but I’ve some of the biggest reactions from both. Like with The Black Label I just used to cause absolute havoc, then I’d stand in the safety of the ring, surrounded by security, while folk go mental *laughs* so to be getting the opposite now with The Kinky Party but still getting the reactions is great. ”

Make no mistake about it, during that run with The Black Label, Jack Jester was a bastard. He done absolutely everything in his power to draw nothing but pure unfiltered hate from the paying audience. Who gives a fuck if you paid for a ticket mate, we run the gaff, you do not. It was as simple as that and he embrace his role as chief aggressor of the group very seriously. He existed to annoy you and he had an absolute ball doing it.

Jester6

“Say I was on second, and someone would dare say something to me, and I’d refuse to work until they were thrown out. Folk used to come up and say stuff to me. Telling me it was shite. I’m like…I know. Its meant to be. I want them to hate me. If you’re angry about it, think how angry the guy is that got chucked out. It got to the point where Drew would always just let me kick everything off and he’d be my backup. Drew used to jump in front of me thinking I was genuinely losing it. Trust me, if I’m genuinely raging about something. You’ll know about it. Let me be in my head for the segment and really commit to it.”

The problem being such an unapologetic bastard is that when it came time to turn back, it was hard to make people believe in him as the loveable psycho they had made at one time considered of their idols. You call folk arseholes enough times, they just start to believe you think they consider them to be an arsehole. They forget you’re playing a character and it had come time to become something different. Drew was about to rejoin WWE and he needed one last feud. He needed a hero to annihilate and who was better for the job then his auld pal? Once again aligned with ICW after turning on The Black Label and knocking Drew out with a massive studded ‘weapon’ at The Hydro to give control of ICW back to Mark Dallas.

“I was like fuck, I’ve backed myself into a corner here. How can I ever be babyface again when I’ve been such a bastard. So spiteful. I used to target folk for different stuff and I was a proper bastard. Folk were genuinely raging. If I go and say sorry and ask them to forgive me they don’t believe in it. They don’t believe I’m the bastard I want them to believe I am.”

“Somehow we managed the big turn at The Hydro. I’ll never forget that reaction the night before when Drew said he was retiring. Folk were so taken by that, it was amazing. We didn’t plan that either and it went so far. Someone shouted something and everyone just went aff their nut at him. He was still treating it like a wrestling show but folk were convinced. This was real. Folk were watching like it was real.findrew Then someone fainted and I jumped out the ring and broke character. Dallas came out. Everyone’s out of character then banng! Drew punched Dallas. Folk were going nuts. You bastards! Folk are crying. You had a half and half reaction, like wrestling fans who got it were like “well done” and then you had the folk who feel entitled to know when its real and when its not. So you had this building with Drew getting ahead of himself, and Red kinda thinking of himself as bigger than The Black Label. It was the opposite of when I turned to join them, when I came out folk were expecting me to help Drew and I went the other way ”

The thing about The Black Label people really fucking hated is that you knew they were good. You fully despised it but you knew deep down they were at the very top because they had earned it and with Red Lightning at the helm, they had the power to stay there. A thing that comes in handy when it comes to keeping you on top is being able to do this job well. Mad concept I know, but actually being good at this and being able to adapt to any situation you’re thrown into is an integral part and a value Jester tries to instil in to his trainees as well as his own work. A lot of lessons have come from working with Sabu several times and adapting the matches to still look good without taking liberties. A relationship built between the two men that led to Sabu making Jester an offer he couldn’t refuse.

jesabuuuu

“I know hes got a bad neck, I know hes got a bad hip, If I can’t find another way of working someone without doing stuff that puts them in danger, then I can’t work. He’s constantly being put in there with folk who are inexperienced. A guy knocked all his front teeth out, this guy obviously didn’t know what he was doing. He’s panicking because he’s wrestling Sabu, and he’s made a mistake. With Sabu you need to be on your game. I enjoy working with him, some folk say they find it hard, but to me its interesting. Its exciting. You’ve got to be at your best. There’s nothing better than meeting your hero and it turns out he is that guy. It was after a show, I remember talking to him about doing the barbed wire match and how I’d never done one before and all that and he says to me “Terry (Funk) taught me how to do them, if you want I could teach you” and I nearly burst into tears. It was surreal. I’m standing outside The Garage and Sabu’s telling me he’s going to teach me how to do a barbed wire match. I couldn’t wrap my head round it. So I’ve kinda taken wee bits from all these guys, and when you see people who are maybe 2 years in, doing in badly and almost belittling it, it annoys me. I never have and never will find using lego in wrestling funny. I’m sure it was a good laugh the first time it was done. After the match they’ll post a photo that kind of defeats the purpose of it entirely with a funny wee caption. Or they cannae wait to get backstage to they can post a photo of their chest when its been chopped to bits.”

While his standards for hardcore wrestling stay high, the key seems to be respect at all times. Respect wrestling and take your responsibility seriously, and Jack Jester will respect you. Coming in chopping 3 layers of skin and a few vital organs out of a trainee in their first match is just being a dick.

SQGOJESJST“Its folk taking liberties I don’t like. With a guy like Walter, you’re going to get these big marks. He’s a big guy and if he times it right that’ll happen, but its people who take liberties and you can see the anger in their face when they do it. Like when they do it with younger guys because they know they wont say anything, but they’re naive enough to go back and take a photo of their chest all black and blue and there’s nothing cool about it to me. I hope the guy who was in there chopping fuck out ye thinks he’s a hard man, because that’s obviously why he’s doing it”

Someone who is undoubtedly ‘hard’ is the enigmatic PCO. PCO was once one half of early-mid 90s WWE tag team The Quebecers and has continued to hold an influence on wrestling to this day. Recently performing in the prestigious Battle Of Los Angeles for PWG as well as having an eye catching match with Walter at Wrestlemania weekend a year earlier. To be doing some of the things he does at 50 after having a career most people would be able to draw a line under and be proud of takes something. It takes a love for pro wrestling and that was something that shone through in PCO when he and Jester spent some time together on the camps. An attitude that has no doubt carried in to Jesters work with the GPWA, and surely must serve as some kind of inspiration for the future, because if a guy like that who’s done everything still wants to crack out a moonsault to entertain folk, he’s built a bit differently. There’s a love there for this wrestling carry on that somehow has not been tinged with bitterness and regret over time.

“PCO is another guy I met at all star, but he’s an absolute workhorse. Carl’s been about forever and hes had so many reasons to be disheartened by this,so many reasons to give it up. I mean he’s 50 now, when I met him at all star I was early 20s. By this point he’d done everything, but he always wanted to help others out. He was always trying to evolve himself as well and he’d try out different gimmicks every month but he was so forthcoming with anyone who needed help. Mason Ryan (former WWE wrestler) started out there and back then he just wasn’t getting it. He had the look and he was getting pushed to the moon, but there was a lot of things he was struggling with and Carl really tried to help him whereas a lot of the other more experienced guys would just tell him he was shite.”

pcowalt

“There’s no point telling anyone they’re shite if you’re not going to give them any advice on how they can improve. He used to work him a lot and his gimmicks were so suited to that environment and suited to making Mason look good, so he’d give him different bits of advice on how to make the matches look good and what to do at certain times. He was so dedicated and just a lovely guy, so to see the stuff he’s doing now is great. The match with Walter was outstanding. He’s out there doing all these dives and moonsaults, sentons off the ropes and all this. He took so many chops his chest was black and this is Wrestlemania weekend. This is a 50 year old man. Folk are wondering “why the fuck is he wrestling Walter on one of these shows?” and he’s thinking “I’m gonnae show ye why”

Experimentation with different gimmicks seems to be another lesson Jester has drawn with working alongside PCO. An ability to adapt to any given situation, even if that adaptation is more to highlight your opponents strengths than your own, as PCO undoubtedly knew he was doing when he got involved in a chop war with Walter.

“That kind of chopping is a different story, Carl would let you know if a line was crossed, he would let you know if he wasn’t happy, but they just stood there and went toe to toe, chopping fuck out each other and it was cool to see. If the fans are reacting to it and its working for you, go at it all day”I enjoy it when its a back and forth, and you’ve got two guys who can really work and react to the crowd so they know exactly how long to go with it, then eventually one gives up and take the bump and the crowd goes wild for it. ”

Jestah

A deep seeded love for villainy seems to be ingrained in Jester. One of my favourite aspects of going to family shows was just how absolutely terrified the weans were of him. He doesn’t do that because he hates children and wants to be in their nightmares (well….maybe a wee bit) he does that because if they’re going to experience a wrestling show the right way, they need the baddies. They need the guy with the scary eye who comes out looking homicidal and clatters his corkscrew off the barrier right in front of you as he walks past. You need the guy who’s going to jump the barrier and chase the team of wee guys round the perimeter of the Paisley Lagoon.

“I love being a villain at family shows. I love being the guy to wind the weans up and give them a fright. You’ll get wee guys giving you stick, and usually take a few steps past them before I turn round and shout something back. You’ve got to make them believe you’re the villain. I’m no being a dick. If folk ask me for a photo I’ll gladly take it, but ask me when I’m a babyface. Don’t ask me to do this stuff when I’m trying to be the devil. ”

Jack Jester – Star of film and television

Jesterbbc

Along this journey Jack Jester and ICW have been on, there’s been vital moments along the way. Things that have helped the company grow to what it is today. Putting exposure on what they do to a wider audience of people who aren’t necessarily interested in wrestling. In fact, a lot of them probably think its a bit daft. That fake shit yer auld uncle used to like before he got intae the boxin’. A real mans sport. The British Wrestler documentary with Vice was the first time ICW was really put on a platform for a wider audience to see. Leading to Insane Fight Club and Insane Fight Club 2 on the BBC

“It was the first time I became synonymous with one product. I’d need to watch it again. We all went down for the premier then we went back down and done this wee show in a working mens club to kinda promote it. We filmed that video and just had a laugh, Grado talking about his pieces being an embarassment compared to mine. ”

The Vice Documentary lead to an infamous road video filmed on Mark Dallas phone when the crew went down to see the premiere of the film. A chaotic couple of days ensued fuelled by misery, cocktails, good pieces and megabuses.

“I don’t like London. I’m more likely to knock back work down there because it drains ma soul man. We were only meant to be a small part of that but the guys realised we had something and made us the main focus. It was back in the earlier days so it was when we were first getting a bit of momentum. It was funny because we watched it and we didn’t know till later that Alan Rickman was behind us the whole time. Grado was having to go up and talk about stuff and all that and we were all heckling. They put on this small show as sort of an example of what we do. It was in this wee pub in Bethnal Green. It was like it was frozen in time from the 60s or something man. The barmans telling ye he’s done a life stretch for murder. It was just us down in London causing it lately. It gave us a wee bit of a sort subculture status online”

When Insane Fight Club was first released Jack Jester became a celebrity overnight. His storyline of becoming ICW Champion in front of his Dad watching him wrestle for the first time was the perfect complement to the stories told by Mark Dallas and Grado and really built up the achievement as something special for Jack Jester as a wrestler and a person. It mattered and that came across, helping show reach unprecedented levels of success.

jesterdevitt.jpg
“With Insane Fight Club we all has a meeting to start off. It was a guy called Adrian McDowell who directed it. It was so full on. We filmed it over the course of a year but it was all the time. Every show. Honestly I think he ended up with 150 hours of footage and its for a one hour show so it was so full on. Going in to all out backstories. Then Grado became a big focus of it because he was kinda the every man. The funny guy. Like when we first started getting recognised, he used to go on about it being a pain in the arse, and I wouldn’t mind it, and that’s because when they come up me they’re a bit intimidated or maybe they’ll just politely ask for a photo or something, but with him they’re coming up to him and jumping on his back and all that because he made them feel like he was their pal. He had that appeal”

JesterInsaneFightClub

“When it was coming on the TV we all piled into my grans, my mum, my sister and everyone. We’re all buzzing and Grado’s like ‘My Ma’s shiteing herself, she’s sitting here with the dishtowel over here heid n everything’ because obviously she was in it as well. It was meant to be just BBC Scotland but it went on the network. They were originally aiming to hit 100k for the views and I’m pretty sure we topped over a million on that first night. Me and Dallas went out to celebrate it and that’s when you proper started noticing it. You’re walking down streets you walk down all the time but you can overhear folk talking about it, and you’re wondering if you’re supposed to turn round or just pretend you’ve not heard it. Especially looking how I do when you go out, I dress a bit different and with the big earrings and the beard etc, its hard to miss me. That was when I got a wee taste of that jealousy Grado because folk are a bit put out at the extra attention I was getting, but I don’t get it. If more folk are recognising me or any of us, that means more eyes is getting on the product YOU work on.”

Then came the next one. Having recently welcomed Drew Galloway home it was time to make the best of his glorious presence and one aspect of that would be including his story in the sequel. A further look in to ICW and how it had grown since the first documentary aired and the resulting success.

“The second one was more focused on us touring and trying to promote stuff for that. A lot of stuff didn’t make the cut actually, like we had an eating competition etc. We had Toal in a pram at some point. Going to Brookside was the best though. I couldn’t believe, folk live there man. It’s an actual place. The best thing was, Jimmy Corkhill was there. Folk are just going about their business as usual, looking out their window’s and seeing Jimmy Corkhill there…..in Brookside. Grado’s giving it ‘its like cuttin aboot wae Bieber’ because you’ve got folk flooding out their houses to get photos taken and all that. It was just madness. Drew was involved with that so we got into the backstory with me and him a bit more leading up to The Barrowlands”

It allowed a wider audience to see a bit more of the story that captivated British wrestling at that time as Drew and Jester barrelled towards their ICW Title match at Fear and Loathing.

“Drews mum had recently passed so it went in to that a bit. She was like my mum as well whenever I’d stay there, obviously I wasn’t from there so when I’d stay I wouldn’t know how long I’d be there. I always had a great relationship with his family. Both documentaries done amazing things for us. In terms of bringing eyes in, it was so important. We didn’t want wrestling fans to watch it, or well we knew they would anyway, but we needed to do enough interesting things where if folk were flicking through the channels they’d stop and go ‘wait a minute, whats this?’ It was amazing because before that we were just this wee company who ran nightclubs in the town. We had popularity. We had this kinda subculture status and even back then we could tell we had something, but after the Fight Clubs I had auld women coming up to me knowing who I am, and even if they’ve no watched it or they don’t know exactly what I do but we became more recognisable.”

“We worked with the same producers on both Insane Fight Clubs and then again on the new show we’re doing. Rogue To Wrestler. It’s a different thing in terms of us being the ones behind it as opposed to being the subject of it. It was difficult because there was the potential there to make it look a bit daft. We had to make sure we were doing it the right way and putting it across right, but we had no doubt the producers would do a great job on it. We’d built up such a rapport with them there was never any danger of that”

Insane Fight Club II - This Time it’s Personal

Armed with plenty of experience of at least being in front of the camera in a reality TV setting, Dallas and co had an idea of their own. They would be the ones driving the bus, instead of getting steamin up the back of it. They wanted to make a show of their own and the concept they came up with was rogue to wrestler. A show that would take down on their luck people who have maybe come from hard backgrounds and giving them the chance to turn their lives around with powerbombs n that. Instead of a one off documentary, it would be a series and having recently finished filming it Jester beamed with pride at the finished product.

“Its coming in February, what channel? we’re not sure yet, but we know it’ll be February. There’s going to be press about it starting from the new year. People are going to know what’s happening. The good thing about it is, with the Fight Club docs, we filmed for so long and got so much material, then once it was done that was it. It was over. With this, we’ve filmed three episodes. We gave them so many different challenges that led them to the point of being ready to go out and perform. The people involved had given us a rough idea of what had went on in their lives, and really this show’s about them, as opposed to the Fight Club ones being about us. We learned so much about them over the course of it and these people have ben through some tough stuff. So to see them put themselves out there and even take part in this has been amazing. Some of them suffer really badly from anxiety and things like that and it was impressive they even signed up. Dallas was laughing and even our producer was laughing when we watched it back because this is our TV show that we’ve filmed and I was literally on the edge of my seat watching it, wondering what was going to happen at the end. For anyone who doesn’t know what’s going on? Its going to be great. Honestly, I’m so, so happy with it.”

ROGUETO

One of the reasons they were so over the moon with it was the light it shone on Glasgow. A positive, uplifting story of people changing in front of your very eyes through wrestling. Obviously the main point is to entertain folk but the work everyone involved put in to it wasn’t to make something throwaway or daft. This is a project they really believe in.

“Even on my days off I’d come in here and film cut aways. We did so many daft things to help the process. Its very Glaswegian. We filmed daft wee things to help add to it all. Stuff like guys sitting on the grass at half 2 in the afternoon in George Square and all that. But its good. Its funny. We laughed all the way through it and by the end, I honestly couldn’t thank them enough. Jen and Elspeth who spearheaded the whole thing (producers) have seen it many times now and love it, but the big boss who took a lot of convincing just to make it at all, absolutely loves it now. She just didn’t get it, but she was balling her eyes out watching it. The whole team were so engrossed in the filming, it was nice to see. At times in that industry there can be a bit of disconnection between what you’re filming but when we went into their offices all the name tags are changed now to wrestling personas. Things like “Mad Dog” Egan and all that. It took over their whole office for a while. Its great. The work they done considering we filmed it with very little in terms of cameras and equipment. Its came across really well and all my fears and my nerves about it have kinda gone now. I’ve seen it and I can relax. Now I can push it to the moon because I know its good and I’m just dying for folk to see it.”

“It makes ICW look great as well. All the different shots at the venues we run, especially The Hydro. They really put over the skill of wrestling and the seriousness that it takes to be good at it. These people had never done anything wrestling related before. One person hadnt even watched it ever. So to see their attitudes change was amazing. They went in with the attitude “its fake, how hard can it really be?” so it was good to see that slowly change and for that to come across on screen.”

ddp

As much as it showed ICW in a positive light it also gave folk a wee peek at how things are done at GPWA. The school Jester and Lionheart both have a hand in running and the school where that hilarious photo of them doing DDP yoga poses above was taken. The show gave the audience a look at how the coaches sync up and apparently a lot of that syncing comes from synchronised stretching.

“The dynamic between me and Lionheart was interesting to see as well. We do this all the time, but we’re different people. We’ve got a similar mindset when it comes to how we approach it but it was interesting to see how we differ. There are times where he’s in the ring doing drills and stuff and I’ll be on the floor or on the apron and when folk are feeding out, I’m giving them advice before they rejoin the queue. It was interesting to see that all play out. The fact that the people who made it are so in love with it means a lot. THEY cannae wait to get it out, so its great to have the might of them behind us. Its our first jaunt into formatted TV so its great to have that confidence in what we’ve produced from the people who made it. It’s about the people who have been part of the show. Its about the “rogues” and our role is presenting the show as best we can and helping them get their stories across. We gave them an experience that they’ll never get again and never could. Without sounding too dramatic, it really has been a life changing thing. You can see people change in front of your eyes in the process of it. People start to look better, talk better, feel better, and these are people who have been through some proper heartbreaking things. Utterly heartbreaking. Because we’re dealing with real lives and real people, it comes across differently than if it was just a group of wrestling trainees. It had to be approached in a certain way because if we in any way looked like we were trying to set these people up and make them look silly. It would make us look like bullies.”

There was also misconceptions as to what the show was going to be in general. When the ad went up initially there was a rush of eager wrestling fans wanting to sign up but that wasn’t what they were looking for. People assumed it would just be a bunch of criminals having a wrestle. Not the case. They were looking for people who just needed an opportunity in any form. The less you know about wrestling the better, because you’re sure as hell going to find out this is serious and the seriousness it takes to make a career in this happen came across every well.

“I think when people heard the title “Rogue to Wrestler” they were thinking along the lines of us taking someone who’s just out the jail for something serious and putting them on display. We can’t do things like that because then you’re almost glorifying it, and what is the poor victim going to think about that? Sitting in the house watching the person who assaulted you have this life changing experience? So it’s definitely not along those lines. Its about folk who have had a tough time who want to better themselves, and show folk “this is me now” and I’m really really happy with how it’s turned out. Its been great to be a part of and I’m just so impressed and excited with how its been put together. Its been nice to sit back and see the finished product and not feel like we could have done certain things better or even just differently because they’ve done an immense job putting it together. People worked over their hours to make it what it is and I can’t wait for folk to see it”

Jester5

Its a simple enough concept and one that was a continued theme throughout an interview that wound up spanning 4 hours after initially being scheduled for 1-2. Take wrestling seriously. That doesn’t mean don’t enjoy it and have a laugh with it, but take it seriously. Get good at it and don’t get pissed off if it doesn’t happen for you right away because the chances are, it not happening for you right away is the best possible thing for you. You have to learn as you go. It takes a lot of graft to get to ICW and to get to the required level you need to be willing to graft.

“I’m protective of ICW because we’ve built something here, and I hate seeing anyone come in who I don’t think should be there. Taking it for granted, and moaning about being asked to do things. If you’ve been about for a long time, you get your say, we all have a moan, but folk who are quite frankly not giving it everything when they’re lucky to be there in the first place. You need to give it absolutely everything. I’m no saying go out and hurt yourself, but give it everything you’ve got. They watch the fans react to the established guys”

“If you cannae adapt to new things, you cannae work. I’ve never wanted to be a sympathy booking or just considered part of the furniture. I’ve always took pride in being able to change it up and give people something to think about it. If you had your favourite dinner every single night, you’d end up craving just about anything else. Doing the same thing over and over never works. You need to give people something to be invested in”

The reactions Jack Jester is getting right now as part of The Kinky Party is ample proof that he’s nae sympathy booking. He’s not just there because that’s the way it’s always been, he’s there because he and Sha are vital cogs in an ICW that is telling some of its most engaging stories in years. No Kinky. No Party.

Massive thank you to David J.Wilson for fishing out some cracking shots for me. Also thank you to Warrior Fight Photography. Hope Wrestling. ICW. Jack Jester’s official facebook page, the internet, I think some of the photos are from The Herald? Some folks phones. You get the jist. A lot of good photos

Advertisements

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

Jester1

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”

JestIceMan

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”

Jest

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”

JestCrhsi

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. ”

Jester8

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.

Jester4

“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.”

jester

“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.

Jesto

“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.

JesterSabu2
“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.

JesterSabuuuu

“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. 

 

The Lasting Impact Of Drew Galloway, ICW Hall Of Famer

drewwwww

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

drew

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”

dreww

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

DrewNXtChamp-696x392

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

drew

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.

Drwwwwww

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)

wolf5

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. ”

wolf2

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.

wolf

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.”

wolf9

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.”

wolfgang

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. ”

wolfy

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*.

nakwarrior

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. ”

wolfcage

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”

wolfwwe

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

iestyn

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.

iestyn 2

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.

iestynmarauders

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

iestyn3

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

aecho

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

barrasssss

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) 

barrasszerog

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

barraspoloswar

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)

barrasshafito.jpg

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

barrasjoehearto

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

barraswolfgrad

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

barrastagbelts.jpg

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)

barrasjoetrent

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

fnl

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.

joehendblaze

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.

klr

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.

klr2

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.

klr3

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.

stev

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.

stevklr

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!

polooo

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.

poloooooo.jpg

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.

aecho

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.

lionheart

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. 

kencutter

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.

kennn

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”

girvflyrico.jpg

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.

girv

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)

wolfbike

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.

trenty

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. 

wolfy

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.

labelteam

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.

dallasteam

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.

dreww.jpg

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.

renfdrew

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.

findrew

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. 

dallas

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.

dallasred

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.

joevkurt

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.

joecoff

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.

anglee

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.

joejkurt

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.

joe4

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. 

crowd

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.