Preview: ICW Fear And Loathing X – Joe Coffey vs BT Gunn – Champion vs Champion

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It had to be them. When your company holds its biggest show of the year. Even the biggest show in its history, you don’t leave the workhorses on the bench. You don’t leave the two guys who have been the very best in ring performers in the company for going on 4 years now on the sidelines. You don’t leave your two deadliest strikers farting about the midfield. The 2015 Wrestler Of The Year vote came down to a handful of votes between these two because they went out and killed it every single fuckin time and have continued doing so since. In fact naw, they’ve done it since the very first time both of them stepped in an ICW ring and that’s why they are two of only four people to have more than one reign as ICW Champion. When the big show comes around, don’t pick the team based on reputations. Don’t pick it because of what folk have done before. Pick it on current form. Pick the guys who are firing on all cylinders and as a result, are making the titles they hold seem hugely important. Pick Champion vs Champion. Pick Joe Coffey vs BT Gunn for AW the belts.

Joe has had some absolute stormers of late with the title on the line, and while no one could really see the likes of big Keith Lee or Moose taking the title and replacing The Iron King in the main event at The Hydro, Joe overcoming them in outstanding bouts while still retaining that villainous aura has made the title feel like the biggest prize in Independent pro wrestling again. Its a role that suits him, sitting on top of the pile, inviting anyone from any corner of the earth of thinks they have what it takes to come and have a shot at the shiny. BT Gunn on the other hand has been riding the wave of emotion that came with him winning the Zero-G Title and in turn, becoming ICW’s first ever triple crown winner. Grand slammer. Jaw tanner. The fuckin guy. His achievement happened after he toppled the first and currently only ever 3 time holder of the Zero-G Title Kenny Williams, and since then those two massive things happening back to back that title has felt huge, and in turn it makes this match feel more like a unification than the the top guy of one division taking on the top guy from another. The Zero-G title is no longer something you’ll see Joe Coffey opt out of winning as he once did back in 2013 when he was involved in the a multi man match with the title on the line and decided he plain wasn’t interested. It wasn’t the one he was after, but now? He wants it just as bad as BT Gunn wants to become the first ever three time ICW Champion. Because winning it makes him the undisputed top dog.

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While they have high level performances in the ring very much in common, their paths to this massive match have been very different. Joe had cultivated a huge following over the past few years based on his eye catching matches and crowd pleasing mannerisms. Beating the chest, and being a walking advert for the marvel movies made him the most effective good guy in ICW by a distance. He was so good that it made Red Lightnings job as the authority figure trying to hold him down so much easier. Red is a guy who is already very good at his job, and having such a natural good guy to aim his heinous words at was perfect. The stuff between Joe Coffey and Red Lightning has been consistently great because they bounce off each other so well. Joe continually fighting for spots he rightly feels he deserves, while Red constantly represents the chosen ones holding him back. The auld pals act. As long as the likes of Red Lightning existed, there was no beating the system, so Joe decided to join them instead. Joe decided that no matter how hard he fought, even if he made it to the mountain top there would be some bastard up there ready to knock him all the way down, so he decided the buy in. Fuck it.

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They’re not trying to save pro wrestling like they did in 2013. Their alliance then ended when Joe first showed signs of becoming the all conquering hero by unceremoniously stuffing tenners in Red Lightnings gub moments after he had lost his ICW Title to Mikey Whiplash. Tearing into him for valuing money over pride. It seems almost poetic that now he fights alongside Red with the mighty dolla at the forefront of their thinking. As a unit thats what its all about for them. Making racks, and laughing at any geek who tries to get in their way. The only thing is, BT Gunn is far from a geek. He’s been the best kept secret in British Wrestling for years now and is finally getting the rub his talent deserves.  Companies chucking gold at him from all angles. He built up a menacing reputation as an unhinged baddie with the NAK and it was the perfect fit for him at the time. As part of that chaotic unit he was able to have superb matches all over the shop, flying under the radar as one of the very best because he was always part of something bigger. The NAK vs Legion feud has some of BT Gunns best work tucked away in it, and he continually had singles matches that caught the eye but it was the demise of the NAK and the almost awkward split between him and Renfrew that saw him take a different path, and in turn, saw him find his voice.

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The silent assassin thing works well when you have a mouthpiece like Renfrew who can flesh out the character a bit with words, while BT backed it up constantly by being a stone cold killer in the ring, but when the split happened BT needed to stand alone. Even if its infrequent, he needs his voice to be heard and ever since he cut that promo challenging Joe to the match at The Hydro he’s become something else. No longer quietly one of the best out there, he is out and proud. The fatal four way match for the WWE UK Championship at Shugs House Party 4 cemented it. He really made you feel like he might actually win it and that’s a special thing. The audience completely bought in to the idea that BT Gunn was going to walk out of that match as champion and walk in to Vince’s office the next day demanding a job. How could he refuse the guy who overcame three of the most vital cogs in this UK division before literally stoating in with your property around his waist because he fuckin earned it.

No matter who comes out on top, there will be a lot of eyes on this match and rightly so. It deserves that spot at the very top of the bill. A pair of Glasgow’s own, in the main event of the biggest wrestling show Glasgow has ever seen, with the eyes of the world watching. Is there anything better than that? Besides smack, but smack kills.

Huge thank you to David J.Wilson for the photos used as per. Man’s a genius

Getting sick saying it now, but buy tickets here. Go to the show. It’ll be smashin. Wrestling. Beers with straws. I’m sure they serve pizza somewhere in The Hydro. Whit ye waiting for? https://www1.ticketmaster.co.uk/icw-fear-loathing-x-glasgow-19-11-2017/event/3600517298384AB0

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Interview With Mark Coffey

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

Mark Coffey

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

Polo Promotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He Aint Heavy….He’s My Brotherrr

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

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

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

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

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

Japan Ground Zero (One)

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Mark kickin the tits clean aff Aaron Echo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The World Of Sport(s) Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every End Has A Start

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

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

“We Are A Main Event Tag Team”

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Mark on Twitter HERE
Like Polo Promotions on Facebook HERE

 

GPWA Asylum Invitational Review

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Its two weeks since it happened so admittedly some of the details might be a bit sketchy but it was important to get this reviewed simply because of how important the tournament itself was. 16 up and coming talents from the three top wrestling schools in the west of Scotland. It was for my money anyway, something any wrestling fan in this country should have an interest in. Having a glimpse into the future of the product you enjoy now. Getting to know talented folk before they end up breaking yer heart abandoning ye for the WWE like Noam did. Whilst I’m gonnae talk about all 16 matches in some sort of detail one thing I took away from the whole event is that an event full of “trainees” never yielded one bad match. These folk from different school who had never really worked with each other besides a few exceptions somehow managed to gel and put in top performances in every match. A remarkable feat.

Night One

Ravie Davie vs Matt Daly

Intriguing from start to finish. Daly dominated the middle of the match with some methodical, sare looking offence before Davie took over with his usual brand of enthusiastic jaw scudding. I find it impossible to fathom whit kinda evil must exist in your soul to come anything close to disliking Ravie Davie but each to their own I suppose. My only problem is no being able to catch whit hes saying when he does his pre-match rap and that upsets me cause I want tae rap along with him. Enjoyed the match. Davie progressed with a big bastardin heider to knock MAAAAAATT DAAAAALY out. Davie took to the mic afterwards and let us know he was winning the whole fuckin thing. Bold statement from a bold man.

Krieger vs Danny Cantrell

Sophie’s choice here innit. Danny is someone im pally with from his pre grappling days and I mind him going to his first ICW when he turned 18. Fuck if I mind right it was the day of Surprise Devitt taking the Zero-G title. So there’s a bias there.We shared a moment eh. Against anyone else I’d have been aw Danny, but fuckin hell, this one was hard. Big Krieger just has “it”. That thing that you can’t teach. One way or another he has everyone watching him absorbed in what hes doing and over the course of this tournament he was undoubtedly the one who fans gravitated towards the most. I dig it a lot. It just works and his tag team with Lou King Sharp is one of the most entertaining things in Scotland today. Was proud to see my pal hold his own with one half of the PBW Tag Team Champions but also kinda happy Krieger progressed thanks to a beautiful combination of kicks cause he’s a crackin talent. His wee pre match “sexy dance” got the ring announcer for the night Molly Spartan involved but his big finale of gettin the tits oot was not mirrored by her despite his best attempts. Better watch yersell mate. The big bad wolf is always watching and they knucks are probably always within arms reach. Protect yer domepiece at all times. Krieger advanced but ma man Danny held his own in the face of a much bigger opponent, and even survived a hate crime when Krieger cried him a “big Emo”.

Irving Garrett vs Scott McManus

Pick of the first round for me in terms of match quality. A cracking mesh of styles, summed up by the duelling chants of “holds” from Garrett, met by Mcmanus’ cry of “throws”. Holds and throws mate. That’s what this wrestling caper is all about. Its nae secret I have a rampaging hard-on for Irving Garrett as a wrestler, but Mcmanus also caught the eye with his unorthodox style. Looks like he could knee ye in the temple from aw sorts of angles. Hugely enjoyable match. Irving Garrett for me is one of the most complete in ring talents in Scotland and must be utilised more. His finisher is a side Russian leg sweep and he turns it onto a submission that looks like it would make ye greet instantaneously and that’s how he rounded this off but the hard work was done with all the mad looking submissions he was getting in about before that. Weakening the opponent for the mega sare finish. McManus was equally important in making this match as good as it was though and will feel unfortunate not to have gone further.

Leyton Buzzard vs Kez Evans

Kez Evans is a slightly peculiar case. He main evented the first Asylum show when it was under the ICW banner and had a stormer with big Wolfgang. Really good match and he showed a level of ability far beyond the experience he had. Maybe needs a wee something extra character wise to pair up with his unquestionable skill in the ring and he seemingly found it here. Brutally knocking eleven shades of shite out of Leyton Buzzard when he took what would be regarded an upset win with a rollup after Kez dominating the match. Kez mocked his opponent from the start, so of course he would be raging at losing to someone he was pretty much pointing and laughing at throughout. The doing that commenced shortly after was almost unavoidable but regardless, Buzzard progressed to face Aaron Echo in the next round. Just what yer needing after taking an almighty scudding, a match against the most accomplished talent in the tournament who’s also probably about double your weight.

Aaron Echo vs Jack Dillon

The favourite against one of the underdogs was always going to go one way, but credit to Jack Dillon for at least managing to to showcase some of what he’s capable of over the course of it. Something about Aaron Echo is a wee bit different from the other 15 competitors. With the greatest of respect to them all, Echo carries himself like hes the finished article and even if he isn’t the finished article yet, carrying yourself with that level of conviction goes a long way to convincing folk that you are. He showed a proper villainous side as the tournament wore on but this was more of a straight up, nae messin win. Taking Dillon out with a thunderous Pumphandle Slam.

Devin Fawkes vs Kai Williams King

This was a bit easier to choose sides cause Devin’s my pal and I didn’t really know much about Kai Williams King beforehand. Not making it to many Asylum or Source shows due to the day job made this tournament a lot more eye opening than it might have been and Kai Williams King certainly showed he has something. A big lump of a guy tae. Fawkes cut a promo beforehand deriding Williams-King seemingly ignoring him as a threat and treating the first round as formality and it certainly wasn’t that. Fawkes is adept at they big dirty kicks to side of the dome and slung some vicious chops. Taking his deceptively agile opponent out his stride and even catching his attempt at a big running boot to the chest and sweeping him, causing him to land beak first on the hardest cunt in wresting, the ring apron. Fawkes was giving it the “this is my house patter” which was mirrored by KWK, and I dunno if this mean’s they’re flat mates or suhin. If there isn’t at least some kinda joint tenancy at play here it cannae be both of yer gaffs. Who’s hoose is it? Williams-King did eventually gain some momentum and took the win with a German Supelex that turned into a rock bottom type of thing.

The Sam Barbour Experience vs Dylan Angel

I liked this a lot for two reasons. First and foremost, it was was really good match. Dylan Angel is very talented at that mad Will Ospreay backflip stuff and managed to showcase his talent while making his opponent look fuckin excellent. When ye go to a show like this ye need to be open minded and give folk a chance to make a fan out of you, and Sam Barbour certainly done that for me. I really had no idea he was as good as he displayed over these two shows and that’s reason two for liking this. I became a fan of a wrestler and promptly added him to the constantly growing list of “gid cunts that dae the wrestling”. He has a really neat bridging northern lights suplex that I enjoyed whenever he busted it out, but even aside from the high level of talent he has in ring, he has whatever that character is meant to be locked down. Yer man has a hand signal and pretty much everyone there was mimicking it. Anything remotely villainous was met with a “that’s not handsome” chant so he seems to have convinced the audience “handsome” is a blanket term for things that are morally upstanding. He won with the hangman’s DDT but Angel could definitely consider himself unfortunate to be going out. A bit like Scott McManus he managed to shine even in defeat.

Lucha DS vs Kieran McColm

Another interesting wee mesh of styles and the start of a bit of character development for Kieran McColm. In all 3 of his matches the crowd favoured his opponent despite him being a happy go lucky Bob Backlund-esque type of dude and by the third match he was starting to resent it. In this one he was happy to let the crowd go Lucha daft and responded to it by doing hunners of good wrestling. A very talented dude who showed why he managed to keep up with Tyler Bate on a Source show not long ago. Lucha kept McColms skills at bay with some slick Lucha stuff. With the springboards, and the moonsaults and aw that stuff. The 205 live material. It was a strong finish to a first night that was competed at a stupidly high standard and McColm joined the quarter final lineup with a crossface. A handshake was exchanged afterwards despite initial resistance from Lucha, momentarily forgetting his Lucha manners before restoring balance in the Lucha universe by eventually agreeing to the handshake.

Night one ended with the Quarter Finalists being brought out and Aaron Echo punching Leyton Buzzard square in the mouth leading to a big 8 man stramash. I hope future wrestling tournaments take heed and stop having folk who are gonnae wrestle each other soon go face to face, cause it invariably leads to someone getting punched in the mouth. Ravie Davie and Echo were the two last men standing, some foreshadowing for what was to come in night two perhaps? Keep reading these words to find out. And these ones. And aw the ones below this.

Night Two

Quarter Finals

Aaron Echo vs Leyton Buzzard

This was a bonafide scudding from the beginning. The smallest guy in the tournament going against the favourite to win it was always going to be a rough time for Leyton Buzzard but chuck in the fact he got leathered after his match just 24 hours earlier you had to wonder if there was even any point in him showing up. He did have a wee 1-2-3 Kid type of spell in the match where he made the arrogant big dude giving him a doing a bit worried, but the fairytale was never on the cards. This was the start of Echo properly morphing into a big no gien a fuck baddie, when he chucked Molly Spartan off her chair in order the use that chair for nefarious deeds. There wis surely another chair he could have used in the area, its a wrestling show ffs. There should be a 3 steel chair minimum for all wrestling shows, just in case. It was dominant from Echo but the use of the steel chair when he most likely didn’t need it to get the job done is some wicked behaviour.

Kai Williams King vs The Sam Barbour Experience

Probably just edged Garrett vs Ravie Davie for match of the Quarters. This is when Sam Barbour proper started to shine for me, and him and KWK (it said that on his gear and its easier than typing the full name) seemed to have aw sorts of chemistry. The big boot KWK does on the apron that was foiled the night before against Devin Fawkes, connected emphatically in this match, making Barbour’s performance in the remainder of the match all the more remarkable considering he had to pick the remnants of his ribcage up after the kick. Barbour does this thing where he tells the opponent to “relax” before attempting to boot their heid aff their shoulders, a play on his theme music whilst also telling his opponent hes about to get knocked the fuck out. Effective on many levels, but again it was the Hangman’s DDT that got the job done after KWK missed from the top rope.

Krieger vs Kieran Mccolm

The moment of the weekend happened before this match even began, as Krieger broke out the sexy dance routine, once again pulling the straps doon only for WWE superstar (look out for the interview, coming…..probably today) Wolfgang to emerge before he could try and drag the poor ring announcer into it again. Instead Wolfgang joined Krieger and Molly Spartan in a spot of sexy dancing, a fact that I’m sure was of great relief to Krieger who must have anticipated he was about to be on the sharp end of a sound thrashing. It was Wolfy who whapped the dids out instead, ripping his t-shirt off, revealing a big tattoo that said “Product Of The WWE Performance Centre” before leaving Krieger to get on with the grapplin. One has to ponder if the shenanigans took Kriegers eye aff the ball a wee bit but this was also the start of Mccolm acknowledging that the crowd were heavily favouring his opponent and him getting a bit pissed off at it. In-ring ability wise he’s another who is at a level far beyond his years, so why don’t they love him like they love sexy dancing? One of they questions we’ll never get an answer to but he took the crowd favourite clean out the equation with the crossface and advanced to the semis.

Ravie Davie vs Irving Garrett

The battle of two GPWA mainstays. Garrett signalled his intent to knock Ravie Davie out of the tournament in his post first round promo, and Ravie Davie used that same promo opportunity to tell everyone he intended to show them why he’s “the best hing gaun” in Scottish Wrestling right now. Something had to give. One of them was certainly heading up the road. Garrett responded to Davie’s usual “Whits happenin troops!” pre match war cry by telling the crowd “Holds! Holds are what’s happening” so reading between the lines there, I think he was intending to utilise some holds over the course of this match. This certainly ticks all the boxes for a cracking rivalry, two guys who are polar opposites both in character and in wrestling style. Really enjoyable scrap, was sad to see Garrett go out thanks to a big scudding heider from Davie, but the dream lived on for Davie and he moved on to write a new chapter in his rivalry with Aaron Echo in the semi finals.

Semi Finals

The Sam Barbour Experience vs Kieran Mccolm

Another standout match in the tournament and the match where Sam Barbour solidified himself as a top talent as opposed to a guy who had a couple of flukey good matches in a row. Three out of three being belters certainly means something. If McColm was the thorn in PBW’s side, yer man Barbour was the Source destroyer and managed to extinguish their hopes of being the school responsible for the first winner of the GPWA invitational by taking McColm out. It was interesting to see that wee bit of frustration from McColm to get the crowd on his side eventually coming to the boil as he lost his cool a wee bit with the home crowd. Its that wee bit of attitude that will take him to the next level. Something he’s trying hard to achieve, shedding the “Underdog” moniker and singlet for trunks and snazzy jacket. Its unquestionable that aw the best wrestlers in the world wear trunks and a snazzy jacket to the ring. Wrestling is mainly being as snazzy as possible without wearing something that could shrink if ye get heavy sweaty. A difficult balance to strike. Barbour once again put his opponent away with the Hangman’s DDT, but I’m sure he has a much sexier name for it than that.

Aaron Echo vs Ravie Davie

Echo entered first and waited patiently in the Asylum bogs for Davie to emerge, blindsiding him before the bell and subjecting him to a pre match skelping. Yet more villainous behaviour from Echo who does seem to suit the role of ruthless bad yin down to a tee. He’s more than capable of getting the job done without using such tactics, but why leave anything to chance when ye can batter folk with a chair instead? He flung Davie about a bit before finally getting the match start. Davie did enjoy a wee spell on top. Hitting that Pele Kick and the springboard moonsault he busts out every now and then but anything he flung at Echo just couldn’t match Echo flingin a chair at Davie with the referee out of the equation. I’d always found a right good chair throw a lot more emphatic than a chair shot, if its done right it’s certainly acoustically pleasing at the very least but it was a right shame to see Echo lowering himself to such things. Hingin aboot bathrooms just to get the upper hand in a fight. Throwing lassies aff chairs. Surely by this point he should have had a dedicated chair for use in these matters, but yer man seemed to be enjoying chucking Molly Spartan off a chair that didnae even look comfortable anyway. It was probably already creating a bit of sore arsedness and into the bargain she had to deal with gettin flung about. Echo did indeed take the win with that chair throw as the favourite to win it all put the fan favourite out.

Fight Club vs The Purge

A smashing choice as the only non tournament match of the weekend. Ye need that wee breather between the Semi’s and the Final and it was also a chance for GPWA to showcase the most polished tag team to come from the school to date. The Purge were the goodies and very popular with a crowd who were largely made up of regular Asylum show attendees, and Fight Club just had a fuckin great time as the baddies. Liam Thomson seems to be having the time of his life anytime he enters a wrestling ring right now anyway, and Kid Fite was in fine form. Ripping the piss out of someone’s choice of headwear before jawing with folk in the crowd as he hung about the apron, certainly not inviting a tag. Liam Thomson’s one of the finest grapplers in the land after all, why get in amongst it if he’s doing the job  just fine on his own? First time in a while I’d seen The Purge and they have what it takes to become a staple of the tag division up and down Scotland and beyond. They contributed to a proper fun match, even if it did end in some sare baws as Fight Club took advantage of the ref being out the equation to deliver a double baw hit for the win. I dunno why folk bother doing moves after they’ve dunted someone in the baws; ye kick me in the baws I’m down for a count of 300 at least never mind 3.

THE GRAND FINALE

The Sam Barbour Experience vs Aaron Echo

A fitting pairing for the final. Aaron Echo the most accomplished talent in the field going in to the tournament, and Sam Barbour the guy who in my eyes anyway, turned the most heads in the tournament. Certainly anyone who hasn’t been to a lot of the Asylum shows will have seen a level of ability from him that they maybe weren’t expecting. Being a GPWA guy up against the big dominant baddie who had gradually become more and more of a baddie as the tournament went on meant the crowd were hugely on Barbour’s side. Not that Echo was giving anything resembling a fuck. He came to win a tournament and clearly had no qualms with whatever tactics he had to use to complete that objective. A credit to all the schools involved that such a high quality tournament was brought to an end by an absorbing final. Barbour really had Echo worried throughout and gave him his toughest match of the tournament, but the big man made use of a slick reversal before rolling Barbour up with a handful of tights to get the pin and become the first ever winner of the GPWA Asylum Invitational. A wee cheeky handful of tights and more attempts to use a steel chair didn’t go down well with all observers, namely a certain big bad Wolf (him thats in WWE, read part one of the interview coming….in a few hours, or it might already be oot depending on when you’re reading this) who saw Echo attack Barbour after the match and could take no more. He emerged at to commend Echo’s talent and congratulate his victory before going straight to Da mode and telling him how he was disappointing at some of the more sleekit tactics he used to get the job done. Challenging him to a match at the next Night At The Asylum show. Wolfgang vs Aaron Echo. With big tournament wins comes big opportunities it would seem.

Overall really enjoyed both nights. The tournament was a rousing success and will hopefully grow and grow from this point on. If its a yearly thing its another thing for “trainees” to shoot for. Winning that tournament and having people sit up and take notice. Of the 16 matches, none were anything approaching bad, which is a pretty amazing thing considering the level of experience amongst those who took part in them. A sign of how high standards are across the board and that can only lead to a bright future. asylum2echo

Photo of the winner taken by the extra talented David J.Wilson

An Interview With Krieger

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Krieger throwing up gang signs moments after being given detention for wearing a singlet to school

When I first gave big Krieger a shout about doing an interview, he was not one half of the PBW Tag Team Champions. In between me asking and eventually sending him questions, he had somehow become one half of the PBW Tag Team Champions and that got me thinking. What if this is a trend? What if this is the winter of gold for Krieger’s young and old, and if I wait it out just a wee bit longer, he’ll be WWE Champion by the time I send the questions. Ever since I pulled the trigger and actually got this done, Krieger has won The TNA X-Division Title, The GFW Grand Atlantic 12 Gold Bars for £11.99 Title, The Nobel Peace Prize, The Formula One Drivers Championship, The ICW Zero-G Title, The WWE Smackdown Womens Title and The Johnny Thighslaps Award For Excellence In Wrestling Realism, so he’s on pace to have won every award available to the human race by the end of 2016. A number of postal votes for the US Presidential Election are said to have Trump and Clinton crossed out and “Big Krieger fae the wresslin!” scribbled in their place, but we pride ourselves on getting these interviews BEFORE the big break happens so we can be all smug lit that “See him? Knew about him before knowing about hings wis even a hing m8!”

So the questions were sent, and the big charismatic baw booter provided answers. Probably while he was covering Kevin Owens to become only the third ever WWE Universal Champion.


So new PBW tag champs eh? Ye think yer a big shot now do ye? Nah seriously though, how did it feel to take the titles on PBWs biggest show of the year?

Means the world. The fact that it’s for PBW who trained me and taught me everything I know makes it that much more special. The fact it was with Lou was special for me also because he has always went out his way to help me. When it became clear that our characters fell within the same ballpark it would have been easy for him not to be too keen on it but instead he went out his way to advise me on how to carry a character through a match. When you put they two factors together it was an honour.

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You and Lou King Sharp have been tagging for a wee while now and are part of a growing division of young tag teams in Scotland. How far do you see this team going and will there be a plentiful amount of dancing and maw shaggin along the way?

No need to worry, for the foreseeable future I’ll be dishing out scuddings and Lou will be sending yer maw scuddies. The tag division in Scotland is full of great talent. It’s no my place to say where we fit into that, that is the job of fans and promoters to decide. We will continue to work as hard as anyone and take any opportunity that comes our way.

You recently had your first run on the holiday camps with Kid Fite and co. How was that experience? Getting to wrestle so much in a short period, do you feel it helped your learning process a lot?

I had a 9/10 week run wrestling the best in the UK 5 days a week. If I wasn’t working them, BT Gunn and/or Kid fite gave me feedback after every one of they matches. So to answer your question it made me much better. At my stage of development what I was crying out for was reps. Consistent work, improving my wrestling and fine tuning my character. Thanks to Kid Fite giving me the nod I got all of that this summer. There is a long way to go for me and I have a lot of improving still to do but the camp run made huge improvements to myself.

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How would you describe your character? Like if I’d never seen you do your thing, how would you sum yourself up? Just a mad patter merchant that loves scuddin cunts?

Fito (clown owes me a fiver for plugging him so much on this) likes to describe me as “Lous big mosher brother” I think for a one sentence answer that’s the best.
Just a mad patter merchant that loves scudding folk is my tinder bio.
It was actually an interview with the bold Fito conducted in Kriegers car that made me pay particular attention to him, and sure as fuck he proved to be the standout on the trainee show PBW were running in Greenock that night. So a plug for a plug int it. If the guy who does the single greatest snap suplex in wrestling thinks yer decent, you must be doing something right. 
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You’re a PBW academy graduate. Tell us a bit about the school and what sets it apart from the others? Who have your main influences been during training?

One of the great things is that there are loads of top schools in Scotland each trained by people who have a wealth of experience. For me PBW has been brilliant, TJ Rage and Kid Fite trained me and they are very much believers of you get out exactly what you put in. If they see how bad you want it they will do everything in their power to make it happen for you. I am a prime example of that. If you work your arse off for they two they will give it back tenfold. My biggest training influences (outwith my trainers) is probably Kenny Williams. Kenny has only taken training a handful of times whilst I have attended but he started where I did and look where he is now. One of the very best in Europe

You make your first (I believe) main roster ICW appearance soon. Has becoming a regular there been a goal for you, and how do you intend to make that happen?

Anyone who says they wouldn’t want to be an ICW roster member is at the noise up. Of course that’s a goal but, at the moment, possibly unrealistic for myself. My immediate goal is to solidify my place in the promotions I work for in Scotland and build on my work down south. If I can do that and make a bit of a buzz around myself then ICW could become a regular thing but only if I continue to work hard and improve.

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So you tag with TJ Rage and Lou King Sharp. One big, one wee. Aw the dynamics. The big question is, who’d ye like better?

Fuck me. Both teams bring their own benefits and challenges. Both of them are extremely talented and I need to be at my best to not look out of place when I team with either of them. I appreciate the help both these guys continue to give me.
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The classic “I prefer the wee guy but don’t want the big guy to leather me” response. Safe but respectful. Hopefully reading this wee bit means big TJ will batter him anyway for a giggle.
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With Scottish/British wrestling going through a “boom” period right now, how much of a buzz is it to be slap bang in the middle of it trying to carve out a name for yourself in an era where opportunities are plentiful?
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The generation that have came before us have taken Scottish wrestling to a level never thought possible. They are the reason people like myself have the opportunity to hone our craft in front of packed out venues up and down the country. Without their hard work none of us would stand a chance. It undoubtedly is easier for us to make a break nowadays but fuck me we don’t half have a hard job following this group of wrestlers.
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Who were your wrestling influences growing up? Anyone in particular you try to channel through your own work?
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Growing up it was the attitude era guys as I’m sure krieger10most 22 year olds would say. In terms of people who I try to replicate I would probably say Michael Hayes. Guy was a big flamboyant guy who could either make a crowd love him or hate him, if I can replicate that even 50% we might have something.
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No gonnae lie, got a wee semi for that answer. Being a generic pants n kickpads wrestler man is fine, but unless you’re flawless at the grapplin’ it’ll go nowhere. Be a fuckin freebird and be something. 
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Anyone on the scene you’ve yet to aim the scuddin boots at but would like the chance to? 
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A few cause it’s too hard to just say one Stevie Xavier. Guy is a class act. Never seen him have a bad match. Aaron Echo, never really crossed paths despite training almost exact the same amount of time.
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Aaron Echo vs Krieger for the PBW Title will happen one day. Mark my wildly speculative words.
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What’s the big aim for Krieger? What are you personally looking to get out of this wrestling carry-on? 
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The big aim is to make a living from this carry on. I want to get to a level where this can be my full time job. In order to do that I have a lot of improving to do, so immediate plan is to continue to ask anyone and everyone for advice and make the most of every opportunity I get.
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Last but not least, tell us literally anything ye like. Plug yer social media if ye want. Tell us yer favourite sweetie. Favourite juice to enjoy in glass bottle form. Whitever ye fancy ma man.
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PBW academy has schools in Greenock, Barrhead and Airdrie every Sunday.
PBW has launched its on demand service where you can see any PBW show soon after its been. This includes Noam Dars last match for PBW(me and lou pure scudded him) that time me and Lou battered two power rangers. That other time me and Lou scudded Wolfie and Hearto just cause we could and soon our glorious tag title win.
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BCW needs no plugging as it sells out 3 month in advance nowadays but they have given me so many opportunities I need to to thank them here.
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Twitter- @kriegerPBW
Instagram- @KriegerPBW
www.facebook.com/KriegerPBW/

 


Big thank you to the massively talented David J.Wilson for the photos and to big Krieger for his time. Talented dude. Lots of charisma and seems to be finding his niche so keep an eye out and come and see his ICW main roster debut at The Garage the night before Fear and Loathing at The Hydro. 

Bon Voyage Noam. We Hardly Knew Ye.

noamprofAugust the somethingth 2012. I stood in The Garage nightclub for only the second time ever, eyes fixed on this wee wrestling ring with a patchwork blue canvas that looked like someone had stapled a B n Q tarpaulin on the actual canvas underneath to cover up some unsightly blood or spunk stains. Honestly, aside from being aware of Grado thanks to my pals who had been at the show previous going “check this funny wee cunt oot! he wears a bloody bumbag!” and being told Lionheart had wrestled for both TNA and WWE (probably because he had taken great pleasure in announcing it at the previous show, but thats neither here nor there m8s, bow down to your Zero-G king) I had absolutely no idea what to expect from ICW. This mad Scottish Wrestling thing that had built up a bit of a cult following thanks to some chaotic shows in Glasgow’s City Centre and a late night TV show cancellation because some helmet spending his Da’s money didn’t think there was any problem firing things like blood soaked brawls and grown men attacking each with dildo’s on at 6 in the fucking morning. The night began with this wee fuckin probable chino wearing, hair swooped to the side, smiling at you like he’s better than you in every way shape or form arrogant wee cunt cutting a promo about exactly how much better he is than you. About how your maw thinks of him as “the son she never had” and they talk about you behind yer back. Basically, what I seen in front of my very eyes was a wee dick. That wee dick had his arrogant promo interrupted by Wolfgang and they had a match that very quickly told me this ICW caper was nae fuckin joke. That arrogant wee dick would go on to conquer the world. That arrogant wee dick was Noam Dar.

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That was probably the only show I attended that he portrayed that character and he very quickly shed the cockyness to become one of my personal favourites on the scene, thanks to his unrelenting wrestling talent and general being a sound cunt-ness, but that match with Wolfgang stuck out because it was the very first match I’d seen at a Scottish Wrestling show and well….if this wee 18 year old, who looks like he weighs 4 stone soaking wet can be this good…..how good are the rest of the cunts on this show? As it turned out, ICW were spoiling us by opening the show with two of the very best but even after the show that thought lingered. How in the name of god can this cunt be 18 and be better at wrestling than I’ve ever been at anything? When I was 18 my two main achievements in life were beating the second ranked player overall in the world at Pro Evolution Soccer, and my da getting me Paul Dickov’s autograph at a charity night. This wee cunt’s going toe to toe with behemoths like Wolfgang and knocking them stupid with all sorts of mad kicks and things that bend your legs in ways that legs are not supposed to bend. That first year of attending shows cemented the love for Noam’s talent. A main event spot against his pal Lionheart at Oran War showcased his ability to captivate an audience well before he’d gained the experience necessary to be so unspeakably good at it. As a cunt a solid 4 years older and decidedly less talented it was difficult to figure out if I was possessed by envy at his talent or just completely captivated by it but either way, I needed to see more of whatever sorcery was at play to create the fuckin magic he comes up with in that ring.

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As would be the case with any teenager told that the world one would day be theirs from a very young age, there were teething problems. Being one of the few talents coveted both north and south of the border he could pick and choose his shows and sometimes those choices perhaps brought the ire of the promotions who gave him the opportunities to get to the stage where he was seen as a must have talent for promotions up and down the UK, but at the end of the day, that’s no Noam’s fault and making that early impression down south was no doubt essential in making him the performer he is today. Cause fuck yer comfort zone. Swap it for a miserable 10 hour megabus hellride and get doon to that London to snap peoples knees in half. Its what god, yer maw, yer da and and aw yer mad uncles intended for him. ICW has always been his home though. ICW was the place that made him. As he said in his own words last night, when he walked into the Community Centre in Maryhill, his life changed forever.

He always thought the pinnacle of his wrestling career would be one day making it to WWE, but on the 8 year journey he took to get there, he found a wrestling education and a home in ICW. Last night, he finally flew the nest. Its a natural thing in life to move on from the place you grew up in, and as much as I hope he comes and says hello whenever he can, it’ll be a sad day if we ever see him in ICW in a professional capacity again. That will mean they didn’t see it. They didn’t see what 700 folk were on the verge of simultaneous tears over in The Garage last night as he gave us one last masterclass against arguably his best opponent and one of his best mates in Andy Wild. The gift he possesses and the age he is should mean this is a lifetime gig for him, and if Fergal Devitt can make it to the very top, you better fuckin believe Noam Dar can follow suit. This isnae just a talented wee guy for the Cruiserweight Division they’ve signed, this is a guy, if given ample opportunities, can be a leading man in the world’s leading wrestling company so if he’s ever on an ICW show again professionally, ye can assume Vinny Mac has fucked it. Just like he did with The Chosen One, but this time with The Special Wan.

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Of course the ending had to be beautiful. It couldn’t be any other way could it. Andy Wild was the Zero-G Champion right as ICW were on the cusp of big shit. He was on the first two 1,000 plus sellout shows, and stole one of those shows in a match with Noam that really had no right to be match of the night. A card loaded with heated feuds and “money fights” and a couple of pals having a scrap for the fuck of it blew the rest of it out the water. So Noam used his final match to pay it forward. Shining a bright light on a tremendous talent we should all be more aware of and having another absolute stormer of a match, ending with an emphatic sitout powerbomb to give Andy Wild the win. Paying it forward to the guy who grew up with him in wrestling, and showing his appreciation for the guy who might have taken a slightly different path in wrestling and life, but is a bigger part of Noam’s success than anyone really knows. While his farewell words encouraged the fans to continue to support ICW as a company and the talent in the back, he’ll hope beyond hope that a byproduct of his departure sees the re-emergence of Andy Wild as a regular in ICW. The guy who beat that guy fae the WWE, ye know the wan? wee Jewish fella? Cruiserweight classic? Robbed aff the ever so bendy probably at least 75% elastic Zack Sabre Jr? Aye. Ye ken who I mean. Yer a smart kid. It was classy to give up having one last win in ICW knowing how much the win would do for Andy Wild and it was just a reflection on how classy the wee cunt is in general.

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So for that magical night in The Garage where you overcame Drew Galloway to keep a hold of your job, being swept aff the upper tier balcony like an empty pint tumbler in the process, we thank you Noam. For that beautiful best of 5 feud with Joe Coffey, for my money the best pure wrestling feud I’ve seen in ICW, we thank you Noam. For every single time you and Andy Wild stole the show across the past 5-6 years, we thank you Noam. For the fun and games of The Pinky Party in the last few weeks, we thank you Noam. For every dive, every kneebar, every wrist kiss, every time ye namedropped “Martin Smiff wae the big beard” in a promo (so one time) every single anything you’ve done in ICW and Scottish Wrestling in general, we thank you Noam. Naw fuck it, I thank you Noam. Personally. For making each and every show you were ever on that much more fun. Just by being you. Thank you for being the reason Sha Samuels is allowed to smile on shows now, because how the fuck could ye not if Grado and Noam are yer best pals? He might be the best villain in Europe but in ICW at least, he’s now better known as the worlds angriest good guy, but there was nae anger last night. Only genuine emotion from Noam himself, Sha, Grado on facetime fae America (to the one cunt who gied it “Fuck TNA” when they seen Grado, fuck up and fuck off) everyone gathered on the stage to say their goodbyes. The sold out crowd chanting his name over and over and over until they couldn’t chant it anymore. Until the tears took over. Thank you Noam. He’ll see things we’ll never see, but the memories will live forever.

Thank you to David J.Wilson and Robbie from Warrior Fight Photography for the photos. And thank you to Noam Dar for being Noam Dar. Have I said that enough? One more time wae feeling eh.  WE LOVE YOU NOAM…WE DO…WE LOVE YOU NOAM…WE DO…WE LOVE YOU NOAM …WE DO…OHHHH NOAM WE LOVE YOU. 

Aw the best. xx catch ye 😉