ICW Shugs House Party 5 – Night One Review

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The 5th instalment of the Shugs series could potentially have been a let down. Key players missing with a big match unable to take place as a result, the venue having to be changed due to a fire wrecking the usual place, things were conspiring against them a bit. The potential was there for it to not live up to expectations and yet it turned out to be two very different, but equally excellent shows. For me ICW are a company who thrive when the chips are down. Finding solutions to problems and making them work. Sometimes even better than whatever the original plan was. For me, the wrestling show that happened on Night One is one of the most complete shows ICW have produced. Every possible style of wrestling you could call yourself a fan of was on display. Big time rivalries were settled. One off matches dazzled. Imports meshed perfectly with mainstays to make magic. It was just a really good wrestling show. From top to bottom.

Kid Fite vs Ravie Davie (Winner faces James Storm in Night Two)

Big fan of the basis of this rivalry being Fito wanting to establish himself as the king of ICW’s scheme division. Sick and tired of this upstart getting opportunities ahead of him, he decided the best way to establish himself as the king was the old-fashioned way, by slapping someone aboot. He smashed fuck out the young pretender at the last ICW show and cut a vicious promo vowing to steal his big match with James Storm on night two. Davie has a habit of making folk really fuckin annoyed at him eh? They are invariably mean looking cunts who look like they can chew tobacco without pulling that “aw man this is heavy boggin” face anaw. True hard men who can fuckin fight. Davie came out all guns blazing for this one though. Taking out Lou King Sharp and Krieger with a mad double drop kick on the ramp before setting out to take his revenge on someone who literally cut a promo while sitting on his heid at the last show. There was a chair between Fito’s arse and Davie’s heid like, but still. If you respect someone so little that you don’t hesitate to plant the chair you’re about to sit on right on their napper, its bound to make that person a wee bit angry.

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Kid Fite started the match strong. Taking advantage of Lou King Sharp and Kriegers distractions to back rake and forearm Davie until he was seeing wee birdies floating above his heid. Davie rallied and hit the blockbuster that everyone remembers so fondly from the time he hit it from the balcony of The Garage. A cracking move, but not as cracking as folk literally crackin each others jaws in a good old forearm war. They wailed on each other for a while, teeth flying all over the shop before Kid Fite hit the brainbuster for a two. A perfect sitout powerbomb didn’t do it either and an increasingly raging Kid Fite wasn’t having it anymore. It was time to drop all pretence that this was ever one on one. After all, Kid Fite wanted to be somewhat fresh for his big match with the big import on Night Two so it was time to wrap this up. In came Lou King Sharp and Krieger to deliver the team handed beatdown Kid Fite needed to get the job done a bit earlier. It was all going to plan….UNTIL IT WISNAE

A revved up figure emerged. A mysterious trackied man. Probably Davie’s cousin Zander but also maybe no Davie’s cousin Zander. With the greatest of respects to Zander, the hooded figure hit a T-bone Suplex so picture perfect that only a handful of folk in Scotland could be responsible for it. One of those people was someone we hadn’t seen for a while. Someone with a bit of history with Kid Fite. Surely……surely no….surely its no fuckin….is it? YASSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!

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The scarf came down and the trackie tap was removed to reveal LIAM THOMSON. Back from a long injury lay off. One that could have potentially ended his career but on this evidence it most certainly has not. There he was. Back in an ICW ring chucking folk about with reckless abandon. Kid Fite, Lou King Sharp and Krieger are three of my favourite folk in Scottish wrestling. The fact that the latter two weren’t involved in a match on this weekender was some sort of crime. But I couldnt have been happier to see them get chucked aboot on this occasion. Well Thomson actually didn’t directly hit Kid Fite which im sure was quite deliberate but the suicide dive that followed the t-bone suplex’in goodness on Lou King Sharp and Krieger tells its own story and that story reads “LIAM THOMSON IS BACK. FUCKIN YALDI!”

With Kid Fite’s hauners handled by Liam Thomson and Fito himself left dazed and confused by the whole thing, Davie sneakied in and won the match with a roll up to leave Fito stunned.

Davie gets his big match and his chance at revenge over James Storm on Night Two after a much needed assist from the bad boy. He joined Liam in saluting the crowd before leaving him to soak in the adulation on his own. Considering all the massive things that happened over the course of the two shows, it’s a big compliment to Liam that this was up there with Grado’s return in terms of the noise the crowd produced when it happened. An absolute pleasure to have the bold yin back in action. 

Lewis Girvan vs The Sam Barbour Experience

Sam Barbour is good at wrestling. Watched him absolutely kill it at the first GPWA Invitational and have wondered why he isn’t involved in more promotions since then. This was a huge opportunity to impress but he was in there with a guy who carries himself with so much more swagger these days. Lewis Girvan has always been a very good wrestler but its like any self-doubt he carried with him evaporated the minute he aligned himself with The Filthy Generation. Whatever may have been stopping him going to the very top of the card despite scarcely having anything even approaching a bad match and stealing the show at the Hydro 2 years ago against Ricochet (wonder what happened to that guy eh) is most certainly gone now. He’s one of the main men and folk forget when reminiscing about DCT and Stevie going from the main event of Spacebaws to the main event of the big show for the big belt, that one of those main events had a third man and that man was Lewis Girvan. In ICW for a long time he’s been seen as the reliable guy. A guy who always turns in a good match. A good soldier and a fine member of the roster and see now? He seems like a guy who could not give a fuck about those things. Fuck it all. Low blow some cunts, tombstone their brains out with yer best pal, have a right good laugh and be done with it. That’s the kind of attitude that gets ye belts. Beautiful, shiny belts.

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It was of course a very good match. Sam looking good early on, only for Lewis to completely sidestep a crossbody attempt as if it never happened. They nailed each other with a bunch of forearms before Barbour took Lewis out to the apron and kicked his chest repeatedly, a bit like that chest beating thing Sheamus used to do a lot, except y’know…..with kicks. Girvan hit that rolling neckbreaker he does where he leaps into the ring from the outside first. Lovely to watch. Top 5 neckbreaker of all time. A tombstone followed, but I particularly enjoyed the setup where he had him set up for a scoprion death drop only to scoop him for the tombstone. SBX came back into it but missed the mark with a moonsault and Girvan produced a mad suplex combo to seal the win (may be calling it that because I’ve no idea what the final suplex was called, it was very suplexy though)

Girvan’s tag partner Aspen Faith had provided commentary for the match and jumped in the ring to enjoy his pal’s victory with him. Girvan offered SBX his hand as a mark of respect. Instead of shaking it, Barbour took it as an invitation to dance, ordered the sound booth to play Reach by S Club 7, and the foes become friends through the power of dance to upbeat 90s pop. Majestically swaying around the ring while Aspen Faith looked on, confused about his role in the whole affair. Except none of that actually happened and The Kings Of Catch of course battered Sam. Apter Burner then a low blow after ANOTHER offer of a handshake that Barbour somehow thought was genuine. They’re scallywags yer Kings Of Catch but they do it well and have a vicious side to accompany their scallyness that makes them very good to watch. Won’t be out of the tag title picture for long, thats for true.

Mikey Whiplash vs Angelico 

Match of the weekend for me in a lot of ways. It didn’t have all sorts of crowd pleasing big time “spots” but it had people absolutely lost in it for 10-15 minutes. I certainly was as they opened the match with a series of holds with neither man managing to gain the upper hand. I could type all sorts about this one but really, no words will be able to do it justice so get it watched. Angelico had Whiplash tied in all sorts of knots only for Whiplash to wriggle out of it with a headstand before doing that corner pose that wrestlers do sometimes and shooting Angelico a look that was half “look at me, im pure good at wrestling” and half “lets have sex” I mean honestly, not to weigh a wrestling review down with smut, but Angelico is a good looking man. I say that as a man with a burd and everything. The only thing better looking than his face is his wrestling.

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They exchanged near falls before Whiplash bent Angelico’s wrist so much it became several wrists all going in different directions. A wrist medley. Angelico went for his finisher only Whiplash to reverse it. Angelico locked in the reverse figure four he utilises, but Whiplash got free. They leathered each other with forearms, uppercuts, before Whiplash cleaned Angelico out with that clothesline he does when he rebounds off the middle rope. A zombiemaker (death valley driver) followed for a two count, but his attempt to do that same move from the top rope was reversed and Angelico hit The Falling Angel (think a running Razor’s Edge that ends with the opponent being launched heid first at the turnbuckles) to take the win. A brilliant contest and an outstanding showing from Angelico on his debut. Hope to see a lot more of him in ICW. 

Whiplash took to the mic afterwards and it seemed like it was over. He slowly untied his boots as he told the crowd maybe it was time for him to move aside. Maybe he just can’t keep up with the young yins anymore. Aivil emerged to pretty much tell him to shut it. She told him to remember who he truly is. The sadistic fucker who tormented Renfrew. The sadistic fucker who took and also dished out unimaginable pain during that run of death matches he had. The sadistic fucker who still has a lot left in the tank. Not only did Aivil’s words make Whiplash put his boots back on, but he also put the mask back on that has become synonymous with Legion and his darker side. Maybe a sign that he’s no longer accepting Mark Dallas’ ban on him doing anything but straight up wrestling matches and we could see that sadistic fucker re-emerge once more. As if he was ever gone. 

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Joe Hendry vs Chris Renfrew – Glasgow Street Fight 

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No gonnae lie, I loved this. It reminded me of an Attitude Era (bring it back! amiright?!) hardcore match and that is a huge compliment. As much as Hendry has built his character around hating this type of thing by god he isn’t half good at it. Done it very well with Lionheart to end that feud and this was outstanding entertainment to probably end this particular feud as well. Renfrew came out all guns blazing, chucking a chair at Hendrys face soon after he had made his music free entrance. One less new theme to get used to it might have been but his entrance being without the music that helped launch him to stardom was no accident. He wasn’t here to engage in mental warfare with the tunes. He was here to engage in actual warfare with his fists….perhaps a samurai sword. Who knows. That’s the beauty of the Glasgow Street Fight.

They chucked each other about at the bar, scudding each other with wee metal baking trays before Renfrew chucked Joe through a door that took them outside. They battled all the way along to the wee spar down the road, where Renfrew bought them a tin of monster each, before challenging Hendry to a footrace to The Garage where they completed the match Foley vs Rock style. Empty arena baybeeee. Nah that didn’t happen at all but it COULD have. The possibilities are endless in a Glasgow street fight. They were actually only outside for about 30 seconds before continuing to battle around the outisde. Renfrew setting Joe up on a chair, only for Joe to end up dropping Renfrew with a side slam. They made their way to the merch table and Joe balanced another table against the merch table and after a wee battle for supremacy, he eventually launched Renfrew through said table. Quite painfully.

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They eventually made it back to the ring where Renfrew gained the upper hand. Planting Joe with a Death Valley Driver before calling on an old friend for a bit of support. It was none of auld NAK squad, not even new pal Kieran Kelly (yet) but instead it was a pair of scissors. The scissors that have become synonymous with demon Renfrew. The scissors that could end the match and the life of one of the folk in it. Leyton Buzzard was on hand to grab the deadly sheep shearers as Renfrew wielded them towards Joe’s dome. Joe hit the fallaway slam and Leyton decided that made it safe enough for him to jump in and stomp Renfrew out. Their team handed assault was brief as Kieran Kelly did finally emerge to provide some timely back up. Hitting a stunner (its only a stoner if Renfrew hits it I think but I dunno if Kelly can call it that through association, ask yer MP if it bothers ye that much ffs, trying to review the wrestling here) before Buzzard was quickly made to regret his previous intervention as Renfrew hit him with a sitout powerbomb off the top rope to pretty much end his participation in this one and perhaps his participation in being a person who is capable of standing up.

After all the commotion Joe gained the upper hand again, locking in that choke that he vowed could end Renfrews life if he locked it in properly. Renfrew broke the hold and hit a top rope stoner for a two count,  but was hit with an extremely uncouth low blow by Hendry. Matches with no rules bring that devil right out of him, and he chased it with two fallaway slams before they both had a wee shot of each other’s finisher. Hendry hitting a stunner that Renfrew immediately leapt up after to hit the freak of nature. It looked like Renfrew had it with the Stoner soon after but Leyton Buzzard rose from the dead to break the pin only to be quickly removed by Renfrew, before being on the sare end of a suicide dive from Kieran Kelly.

Renfrew found himself in deep trouble soon after. Hendry had his ankle lock welded in. Seemed like he was genuinely right on the cusp of twisting Renfrew’s foot clean off his body and using it to beat him to death to win the match if he wasn’t going to tap. Renfrew held on and gave Hendry the middle finger of defiance that was also the last thing Big Damo seen before becoming ICW Champion. Hendry locked it in even tighter and the pain was too much. Renfrew fully passed out and Hendry took the win. 

What a transition its been from the guy with the funny custom entrance music to a guy vicious enough to topple folk like Lionheart and Renfrew in hardcore matches. As entertaining as the entrance videos were, the best version of Hendry for me is this vicious bastard. Dead set on eviscerating anyone who dares to cross his path. Renfrew told him he had earned his respect after that war and I’m sure Joe appreciated that, but respect isn’t main events. Respects isn’t titles, the heavyweight and the Zero-G. Respect isn’t some sort of gift (christmas gift). Respect in the grand scheme of things means little to Joe because his goal is to get to the very top and he must feel like now is the time. 

The Kinky Party vs Alpha/Evil (Bram and Iestyn Rees) – ICW Tag Title Match

This kinda came from nowhere to be one of the highlights of the weekend which is a testament to all involved. Could easily have just went through the motions, kept it in the ring and got pass marks but they didn’t. They put their bodies on the line and went all out and you have to respect the fuck out of that. Guy’s the size of Bram and Sha Samuels going for death-defying dives that Jeff Hardy would baulk at. Blood pouring from Jack Jester’s face from about 30 seconds in. Iestyn daring to pull Martina off Sha Samuels mid grind. They all put their lives on the line in some way, shape or form and it made for a smashing tag title match. For me the best match The Kinky Party have had as champions and even up there with their match with Polo Promotions before they got the titles.

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Sha and Iestyn quickly moved their battle to the outside, leaving Jester to pull out the corkscrew with intentions to maim. It was him who ended up maimed however, as he was wearing the auld crimson mask very early on thanks to Bram. Tell ye whit, I defy anyone to look at Bram’s body of work in ICW in the past couple of years and tell me he isn’t a good wrestler. He is as good a villain as independent wrestling has right now. Him and Iestyn have no redeeming features. No cool guy shit that makes folk cheer. They’re just a pair of big bad dudes who smash folk and it works. Jester hit Bram with a baseball slide before Iestyn joined the party with the worlds biggest suicide dive. The Kinky Party hit the Teamstone Paldriver but the pin was broken up. Nae way this was ending yet.

They ended up back outside with Iestyn set up on a table below. Sha decided to go, for the lack of a better term “fuckin mental” and attem1SHP-KPAvBrIept a moonsault from about 30 feet in the air but Bram blocked it, causing Sha to take a heavy fall as he came off the platform he had climbed on a bit awkwardly. Even when this match wasn’t intentionally brutal it was still incredibly sore looking. Bram then climbed on that very same platform and thanks to some help from Martina, Iestyn had ended up putting Jester on the table, for Bram to hit with a glorious Swanton through the table. Definitely killing both of them in the process. What a move.

After taking about 5 seconds to mourn the death of their respective tag partners. Iestyn and Sha decided life goes on and continued the match in the ring. A seemingly burst Sha rallied after avoiding Iestyns spear. Hitting out with some definat jabs and splash in the corner but Bram soon resurfaced. We’ll call him Zombie Bram from this point on since that Swanton killed everyone involved in it. Zombie Bram hit that big spike ddt he does, before Sha took a Bronco Buster from Martina that felt like it lasted a good half hour before Iestyn peeled her off. His tolerance for shenanigans had been exceeded and it was time to win some tag belts. Iestyn hit a powerbomb which Sha brushed off Hulk Hogan style, drawing the energy from the crowd, ready for the next assault. Iestyn hit his finisher after that but Sha still kicked out and they decided, perhaps foolishly, that he was no longer the best bet for the finish. Dragging Jester’s deid body into the ring was probably a smart plan when they thought of it. Its easier to pin a deid guy than an alive one, but what if he was playing possum? What if he had already become a zombie like Bram?

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They played a dangerous game and unfortunately for them, they lost. Iestyn took Jester up for the Doomsday Device and as Bram went up top to complete the job, Sha knocked him off the top, and Zombie Jester rolled Iestyn up for The Kinky Party to retain. 

Hard hitting chaos from start to finish. If you can watch this and say it wasn’t entertaining then you and I see wrestling quite differently. Big guys doing shit big guys shouldn’t be able to do. Leaving it all out there for your entertainment. Heavy good shit. A highlight of the weekend and another excellent title defence from Sha and Jester. Kinky Party 4 lyf.

BT Gunn vs Walter

A dream match for many and that just shows how highly BT Gunn is thought of in the European scene. Its been a great year or so for him and he’s finally getting some of the wider recognition his work has deserved for a long long time. Walter is arguably the biggest star stoating about the “indies” right now and BT Gunn didn’t look out of place for a second. Matching Walter’s chest melting chops every time…in fact naw, Walter matched BT Gunn’s chest melting chops. BT Gunn is the original chest melter and as good as Walter is at chopping he knew he had met his match as soon as BT landed one. He made that “fuck sake that was sare!” face that many an unsuspecting opponent has made when BT first lands a chop on them. Learning the hard way. The extremely hard way.

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The early stages was mostly mind melting striking from both. BT fighting hard to stop his much bigger opponent getting him down and dominating. At times it felt like the a plucky wee scrapper having a pop at the school bully. The big man seemed like he always felt he had it in hand, but its hard to be that confident when you’re getting all sorts of chops, punches to the gut and kicks to the heid flung in your direction. BT left a noticeable hand print on big Watty that will likely be a permanent fixture on his chest from here on out. He recovered from that to catch BT coming off the top, turning him over into a Boston Crab. BT escaped that before he managed to take Walter down with a clothesline off the ropes before series of stiff kicks took the big man into the corner. It seemed that every time BT took the upper hand, the big man floored him with something. He locked in the coquina clutch before turning it in to a German Suplex that took BT Gunn down. For being built like a brick shithouse, Walter is well versed in the submission game and he had BT in trouble with an STF but once again he somehow escaped with all his limbs in tact.

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A superkick followed by the Gunnshot gave BT a near fall and it looked like he was heading for the win. He had the big man rattled anyway, only for the Austrian powerhouse to turn the match back in his favour with a thunderous chop followed by a Brainbuster. Following that by once again locking in that coquina clutch only for BT to roll him over for a quick three count. What a win for BT Gunn. Considering the status of Walter and the ability he has it felt monumental. It was something he should have been able to enjoy. Maybe go up the top rope and let the crowd give him the ovation he deserved. Kez Evans had other ideas. 

When Kez Evans appeared in the Square Go I ripped the piss out of him a bit in the review. Light heartedly of course. Its aw fun and games. But he’s proved in recent times he’s nae joke. Sick to death of seeing other GPWA trainees get chances and he gets ignored. This character definitely suits him because the frustration he spoke about when he simultaneously cut a promo and booted fuck out of BT Gunn is definitely real. He has at times felt like it wasn’t going to happen for him, so he’s going out and fuckin making it happen. He continued the beat down for a while, also admitting that he was the guy who attacked BT at the last show before disappearing to a chorus of boo’s. Ruining BT’s win over big Walter and getting booed out the building. A good nights work if you’re a bad yin. 

Jody Fleisch vs James Storm

This is what I really liked about this show. Matches like this turning out great. A match with no build between two guys who on paper maybe wouldn’t mesh well together, yet they went out and smashed it. Jody Fleisch is seemingly incapable of anything else. Since he appeared at this event last year he has been used regularly by ICW and is yet to produce anything but good shit. This was another cracker. Storm was in nae mood to fuck about with a Texas Death Match looming the following night, but Jody Fleisch wasn’t in the mood to be an afterthought either.

Storm favours a more methodical pace these days but he knew fine well Jody Fleisch goes at full speed and he matched him in that regard early on, before Jody floored him with a pair of dropkicks. They made their way to the bar, Storm seemingly intent on smashing a whole crate of beer bottles over Jody’s napper, but the pheonix dodged his attacked before hitting a beauty of a moonsault off the bar. Is there anything he can’t moonsault off of? I’d like to see him try it on a surfboard or a sinking ship. Something that’s moving anyway. See how far that moonsaulting talent can go. Maybe campaign to get Harry Maguire  to a show so Jody can try and hit a moonsault off the top of his gigantic square dome.

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Storm proceeded to scud Fleisch with a full pint of cider he commandeered from someone in the front row. Never even asked if he could have it either. A true villain cause its 4 quid a pint in the 02 at the very least. Folk intending to drink in the venue on both days were selling their kidneys and taking out second mortgages to afford it. Back in the ring they battled up top before Storm chucked Jody halfway across the ring. Jody replied with a beautiful hurricanrana off the top, only for storm to hit back with an Alabama slam and a big lariat for a two count. Jody hit a gorgeous Spanish Fly soon after, never actually sure who’s ‘hit’ that move when it happens as it seems to be equally sore on both men but its lovely to watch so it is. Just a couple of veterans from opposite sides of the world, in the middle of Glasgow, having a belter of a match. Wrestling is beautifully odd sometimes.

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Fleisch went up for the Shooting Star Press to put this one away, but Storm swerved it before hitting the Last Call then knocking Jody upside the head with a cow bell to make sure of the win. 

Storm took to the mic and acknowledged how good Jody is, but highlighting that as good he is, he still got his arse booted. The same would be happening to Ravie Davie, or Davie Ravie, or whatever the hell his name is. Davie didn’t take too kindly to Storm not getting his name right and emerged from the back with a mic of his own, immediately calling him “Stormy James” before vowing to kick the death match off a night early as he stormed the ring for a scrap. James Storm was fit for it though, catching Davie as he came in the ring and laying him out once more before vowing to finish the job the following night. 

Kay Lee Ray And The Great Big Ruse

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Kay Lee Ray came out to her brand new music have a chat. I quite like The Filthy Generations new theme. Its in the same vein as the previous one and has that menacing feel to it that makes you feel like the person coming out to it is about to batter fuck out some folk, but I’d like to take this opportunity to commemorate the death of the greatest entrance music in ICW history. The auld Filthy Generation theme was so bangin’ I listened to it so much outwith wrestling shows that my burd fuckin hates it. Such a tune that even people who hated Stevie and KLR used to dance to it while holding up the middle fingers. Music patter aside Kay Lee Ray was out to bemoan the lack of a womens match to challenge Viper. Viper emerged and they exchanged words but it was all in the name of the ruse. Out came The Kings Of Catch to attack Viper, as Kay Lee knocked her daft with a belt shot to the head, before the Kings set Viper up for the Apter Burner, leading DCT with Coach Trip in tow to provide husbandly hauners and to prevent his wife going in to her title defence the next night with a concussion.

It was all a big ruse. A play for the upper hand, as Stevie came out and nailed DCT with a low blow as he set Kay Lee up for the spike DDT. He hit the destroyer before standing over DCT triumphantly. Belt in hand. A belt he would put his life on the line to keep in his possesion . They’re dirty bastards. They make a living off it, and Stevie isn’t giving up that title without utilising every trick in the book. Giving his opponent a scheme bootin a night before they main event the biggest show of their lives together is exactly what Stevie is all about. The best in the business at being a bastard. The filthiest player in the game.

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Lionheart vs Just Justice Jackie Polo

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The term “big fight feel” gets chucked about haphazardly sometimes. For this it fitted what was about to happen perfectly. It deserved the main event and absolutely lived up to that spot. Lionheart needed it. Simple as that. He unravelled because a part of him doubted that he could beat Jackie after Barramania, so he avoided ever wrestling him again instead. Locked that pain away and tanned rapid whiskies instead. A slap from Sha Samuels seemed to kick him back into gear. It made him believe. He wanted the match and signed on the dotted line eventually. Only problem is, Jackie Polo dies not give a fuck about fairytales or what his opponent needs. Deep down underneath that deeply southern exterior he still fuckin hates Lionheart with a burning passion and he definitely wanted to break his spirit once and for all. He wanted to make it 3-0. No coming back. Career in the toilet. Ruined.

They kicked it off head to head. At odds with each other like they have been for what seems like forever. True enemies. Vicious jabs were exchanged, Polo getting the upper the hand and taking Lionheart down with a series of shoulderblocks. The first scoop of the match followed. Polo in his comfort zone. Knowing he has the beating of his opponent if he keeps the heid. He hit a double axe handle off the apron as Lionheart struggled on the outside before rolling back in to raise his fist towards the crowd Mark Coffey style. Perhaps not the time for it, but he gave off a vibe that said he had this in the bag and was going about his work like he had it all in hand. Not a problem. Lionheart tried to climb back in but Polo hit a lovely dropkick to send him back outside. In control.

He rolled outside to meet Lionheart and had a weird moment with someone in the crowd. I really don’t know what these cunts are thinking when they square up to wrestlers. Its a show and they are performers, unless they legit start shit with you there is nae reason to let your emotions spill over. It will not end well and you’ll either end up knocked out by a big burly bastard in a singlet or carried out the building. Usually both. The big walloper in the crowd was told to calm it before Lionheart acrobatically dodged an attempt by Polo to send him towards the ringpost. That led to Lionheart putting his stamp on the contest and he soon has Polo locked in a sharpshooter before he valiantly made it to the bottom rope. Polo does a jab then chop combo and its one of my favourite things to watch in wrestling, simple, well executed, good shit. He never invented jabs or chops but he does them in a unique way somehow. Lionheart dodged a splash in the corner and hit that big pump kick in the corner (he should defo call it the “get it pumped” kick imo) followed by the rock bottom for a two count. Back and forth. Lionheart fighting for his wrestling life. Compelling viewing.

Lionheart reneged on hitting the frog splash and instead rolled out the ring seemingly on the lookout for a weapon. That weapon was most likely the Polo mallet, and he thought he could gain the upper hand by utilising it first, but the problem was he went to the wrong side of the ring and over on the other side Polo had already grasped the mallet. Ready to pounce. Lionheart dodged a wild swing from Polo before they played a wee game of cat and mouse. Lionheart’s anxiety was palpable, knowing how vital that mallet has been in his previous defeats. He wanted it out the picture or in his hands, because it Jackies hands? It meant danger. It meant defeat. Jackie chucked it in the ring and they both went after it but neither man could get a good grip on it. Jackie tried to put Lionheart away with the electric chair drop that won him the match at the Barras but Lionheart reversed it into a hurricanrana, before hitting a huge dive over the top rope on to the ramp.

They battled on the ramp a bit. Polo having a piledriver attempt blocked, before he blocked Lionhearts rock bottom attempt, nailing the move himself. Lionheart hit that very same move on the ramp at the Barras so thats some lovely storytelling. Both men very aware of what’s done them damage in the matches before and trying to avoid those things. Lionheart going for the mallet. Polo hitting the rock bottom. Beautifully done. Polo hit the electric chair drop on the second attempt but this time it was only a two. Lionheart wasn’t done yet. This wasn’t just a match to him. Another chapter in this rivalry. This was pretty much his career on the line and it showed. He was desperate and it brought the very best out of him. A version of himself that could beat Polo. If he just believed it himself.

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He hit a beauty of a frog splash soon after but Polo kicked out. As strong as Lionheart’s will was to win this one, you’re aff yer nut if you think Polo didn’t want it just as bad. The bragging rights that comes with being the man who pretty much buried Lionheart is something he definitely wanted and he was willing to do whatever it took to get it. Anything. He looked right into Lionhearts eyes after kicking out of the frog splash. Undoubtedly in pain but not willing to show it. He had something up his sleeve that he was sure would do the job. He crawled towards the mallet but Lionheart stood on it as if to say it wasn’t going to end that way. Not this time. Up he went once more for the electric chair drop, which Lionheart once again attempted to reverse only for Polo to counter that by setting him up for….is he…..oh my fuckin god…..

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The Styles Clash. Not just The Styles Clash, but a Styles Clash hit with unerring perfection. Absolutely nailed it. Right in the middle of that ring. Lionheart’s career once again was in deep jeopardy thanks to that move, only this time there was no tragic neck break. Everything happened exactly as it should have, and as is the norm with that move, it would surely end the match. In any other circumstance it would have, but Lionheart faced his biggest fear and fuckin conquered it. The move that has no doubt been a central piece in his nightmares for the better part of 4 years. Haunted by it. Why did I tuck? It didn’t matter anymore. Its rare that being on receiving end of a move can be a cathartic experience but that’s exactly what this was. He triumphantly kicked out at fuckin ONE. Not this time.

Superkick, big pump kick in the corner, another one for good measure, rock bottom, down went Polo. This time. Maybe this time it might just be different. Emphatic frog splash. A cover that was dripping with fear, dripping with emotion, maybe it would be three this time. It was. Lionheart had won. Somehow. Someway. He pulled it out the bad when he truly desperately needed to. A triumphant effort. A magnificent main event.

In terms of getting the crowd engaged and evoking real emotion there’s no better feud in British Wrestling than this one. Sha Samuels vs Grado is always brilliant and is up there with them, but this has the edge for me because it carries that edge that it’s a bit real. They really don’t like each other but on the evidence of the last two matches, they work incredibly well together. Lionheart got the big win he needed and wants it to propel him to bigger things but something tells me ol Just Justice doesn’t want this to end on a loss and this might not be the end. After all. The score overall still reads Jackie Polo 2 Lionheart 1. Lionheart was played out by his brilliant new music as he toasted a massive win. He’s won a watch with this whole revamp so he has. They’ve absolutely nailed his tune.

A topper of a show overall. For me one of the best ICW have ever produced. So much variety in the matches and everything was quality. No lulls. Cracker of a main event. I gie it 60 stars. A hunner and fifty Meltzer badges. 10 outta fuckin 10.

Massive thanks to David J Wilson as usual for some stunning shots. The Fleish moonsault and Bram swanton captured perfectly and the shot of that Styles Clash is just art. 

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An Interview In The Asylum With Mark Dallas

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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“LETS BE AVIN YOU!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

An Interview With Neil “The Wee Man” Bratchpiece

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Follow him on Twitter HERE

Follow him on Instagram HERE

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

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

 

A Review Of ICW Fear And Loathing AT THE HYDRO

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Kenny Williams vs Rey Mysterio Jr

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Zack Gibson vs Rob Van Dam Vs Lionheart

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

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

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

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

The Kinky Party vs The Kings Of Catch

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

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

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

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

Joe Coffey vs BT Gunn – ICW Undisputed Title Match

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

ICW Shug’s House Party Night 2 Review

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Night Two managed to be just as good a show if not slightly better, remarkable considering it was Noam Dar free. Every match just had something that mattered. Its nice that we got to enjoy a good show before Bram ruined wrestling by turning his dick into offensive weapon that apparently casts a spell on anyone who touches it. Naw wait. That might be someone else….

Aaron Echo vs Jody Fleisch

One of those matchup’s you had no idea you fuckin NEEDED to see until it was actually announced. It felt a bit like Joe Coffey vs Brian Kendrick did a few years back in the very same venue. Opening the show, and not completely stealing it, but setting the tone perfectly for a cracker of a night. It felt like a match that will propel Aaron Echo to massive things. Maybe in a few years he’ll be the guy with the shiny belt defending it in the big cage. He matched Fleisch in the early exchanges with some deceptive agility. Big man’s looking in crackin shape, and displayed just how much of a lean, mean, back elbowin’ machine he is when he caught mad hang time shugechoon a Kenny Williams-esque back elbow off the top. Fleisch hit a moonsault to the outside and a backwards hurricanrana in the ring because in case it wasn’t hugely apparent on night one, Jody Fleisch is still just as good as he was back in the day. Maybe even better cause when he pulled off mad shit back then it was a bit more understandable. Youthful reckless abandon n that. Doing it at 37 is another matter altogether. I’m 28 and can barely peel myself aff the chair in the living room sometimes, and this guy’s near enough 10 year my senior daein aw sorts of mad headscissorin. It was lovely to watch.

Echo caught the bold yin going up top for some kinda twisty 720 moonsault nae doubt, and instead turned it into a release German that sent Fleisch flying, but mere moments later Fleish had hit a beauty of a springboard tornado DDT to bring an absolute skelper of an opening contest to an end. 

If ever a match served as a display of why two guys need to be carving out regular spots for themselves, it was this. Echo matching a 20 odd year veteran move for move and the 20 odd year veteran in question flying about like a 20 year old never mind a guy who’s been wrestling for that length of time. They shared a wee handshake and both went up the ropes so folk could aim their “yasss’s” at them, and aim them they did. Polite applause might no be currency but these guys were rich in good will after this one let me tell ye. A rerr show.

Lionheart is a hero

“Ye cannae jist….rock bottom interviewers”

“Jist did mate”

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I think you’ll find Lionheart does what he wants. If he wants to dae a Scottish version of CM Punks pipebomb he’ll go ahead and do that as well. Fuck knows why he decided to Rock Bottom interviewer Molly Spartan but he did and ye can fuckin like it or well…..there really doesn’t need to be any other options anymore. Everyone seems to be liking it. In his own words hes still a fanny, we’re just into it now. A world where everyone’s into fanny is a world I’m well and truly on board with. While Mark Dallas was not a fan of his methods, he told Lionheart he’s recognised that folk have slowly started getting on his side over the past few months because as Lionheart stated, for the past year+ he’s been a top performer, if not THE top performer in the company and following on from Rey Mysterio being announced on Night One (A fact that I may have forgot to include in the night one review, I finished it in a rush awrite, gies a brek) Dallas announced Lionheart’s Night Two opponent would be none other than Rob Van Dam, in a match that’ll be nothing short of a tasty bitta dropkick warfare. ‘Kin yaldi.

Wolfgang vs Super Crazy

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Super Crazy and Jody Fleisch keep their straws dipped in the fountain of youth eh. How the fuck else do you explain them doing what they do in 2017. Super Crazy faced off with current WWE Superstar Wolfgang and it was really nice that out of the two of them, its big Wolfy who holds that accolade. A sign of just how far its all come over here. They faced off in the middle of the ring, Wolfgang telling Super Crazy “Ah’ve heard you’re pure mental mate” and Super Crazy seeming to fire back with “Aye well you’re tall as fuck int ye, mon we’ll wrestle aboot a bit” or whatever that might be in Mexican. Wrestle aboot a bit they most certainly did.

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I mind some folk on a certain group on a certain social media site where maw’s sell their unwanted kitchen appliances (should really gie them to Liam Thomson) kinda wrote this match off. Never write any match off before it happens unless its a guy against a blow up doll or suhin 😉 Crazy missed a mad dive to an area about a mile and a half west from where Wolfgang was actually standing. Super Crazy is as super crazy does. Wolfgang missed with the most aesthetically pleasing moonsault in wrestling, that middle rope effort that had aw the views on the WWE FB page when he done it the UK Title Tournament, before Crazy hit a missile dropkick that prompted the knucks to come out the kneepad. This unorthodox session of wrestling about was about to come to a better end for the mental yin. He dodged the first brass knucks attempt and nearly rolled Wolfy up for the quick win, but the big man levelled him second time and that was that. 

Thoroughly enjoyable so it was. I think the Super Crazy sceptics couldn’t argue he added plenty to both shows, and Wolfgang just doesn’t do bad wrestling matches. There’s bigger fights out there for him. There’s Liam Thomson’s soul to take for starters but a wee win over a legend does ye nae harm. 

Kenny Williams vs BT Gunn (ICW Zero-G Championship Match)

Its cool how thing’s come full circle sometimes. Kenny Williams faced BT Gunn in a singles match at The Garage last year and when he won, he fell back into the corner in a state of shock at what he’d accomplished. The enormity of overcoming a talent so iconic and brilliant in this country literally took Kenny aff his feet. They went on to have a sweltering wee series of matches and were involved in a tense finish to the Barramania scramble match where Kenny just held on to his belt, but this match and the reaction to it proved just why Kenny was so overwhelmed by that win. BT Gunn is unbelievably good at what he does and he deserved this. So many big shows have been and gone with other folk having the biggest moment. The biggest matches. This was for him. As emotional and historic as any outcome to any match ICW have ever put on.

The crowd seemed to feel it too. There’s been a few near misses for BT, most recently when he caused Kenny to tap out just after the time had run out in that scramble match, but he also tore the house down with Lionheart at The Garage last year with the title on the line, coming within a dusty bawhair of winning it all. The look on Kenny’s face said it all. None of the usual jovial smiley patter from the bollocks. He was feart. As any man with half a brain should be if the guy standing opposite him with the intention of aiming kicks at his face is known as The Oddity. The atmosphere was unreal. Personally I could barely stand after the booze fuelled exploits of night one and spent most of this show contemplating jumping the barrier just so I could dive under the ring for a sleep, but I felt every moment of this. How could you not? It was fucking incredible.

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BT nearly ended it before it had really started when he locked in the crossface but Kenny made it to the ropes. They battled in the crowd after BT hit a suicide dive, only for Kenny to absorb that dive and use its diving power to his advantage when he hit a mad somersault senton off one of the many wee bits in and around the ABC ye can do dives from. He even managed to perform this dive without caving in the ABC’s ceiling in a refreshing change of pace from his recent diving exploits (for cunts that dont know, Kenny Williams broke The Garage) following that up with a top rope back elbow that caught so much air Kenny managed to kiss the top of the cage suspended above the ring on his way down before catching BT sweet on the jaw. They kicked and forearmed fuck out each other for a bit as the match reached an unrelenting pace. Kenny nearly put BT away with that running knee, but it wasn’t his night. Sometime’s no matter how crisp the back elbows are, or how many times you clock the guy’s jaw with yer knee, he just won’t stay down. The word “destiny” is chucked about a lot in wrestling, in an often cringeworthy fashion but this was destiny for BT Gunn. He was meant to be the first man to have held all three ICW titles. He’s been there throughout every era. A constant in ICW who’s carved out an almost godlike status amongst the fans without having to ever speak directly to them. The wrestling does the talking for him.

The springboard cutter he calls the “Gunnshot” led to BT locking in that crossface again. Kenny was within an inch of tapping and with the greatest of respects to him, there wisnae a soul in the place who didn’t want to see him tap. He rolled BT valiantly on to his shoulders for a 2 count, but he couldnt break the hold and when BT rolled back into the crossface it was over.

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An unbelievable moment and maybe the match of the weekend. In the 5 years I’ve been going to ICW shows I don’t remember a moment that felt as significant as this one. A wee tear was shed as he enjoyed the moment. Kenny Williams snatched the belt as soon as it was handed to BT, but that’s to be expected. A man who made history himself just 24 hours earlier seeing the belt he hold’s so dear snatched away. Maybe in that moment he regretted the open challenge patter. Its exciting and makes you hard as nails cause literally anyone could answer it, but sometimes literally “anyone” is that guy. The same guy who had you in shock at your own capabilities when you managed to pin him a year earlier. Most folk in the crowd knew the significance of that moment but when Simon Cassidy actually announced it seemed to really hit home as an emotional BT Gunn enjoyed the moment with the folk who handed him unwavering support no matter what guise he was under. The blood spitting homicidal baddie with the NAK, the guy who cut his own hair off in the middle of the ring when he returned to face Chris Renfrew 5 years ago, or the guy arguably being the standout performer in matches with WWE championships on the line. 

Davey Blaze and The Wee Man vs DCT and Coaaa…ADAM SHAME

It feels like a weird thing to type but Davey Blaze smashing a wee boays easter egg made this feud what it was. Him doing that and being hilariously and horribly mean to the wee guy made him and The Wee Man unmistakably the baddies and made it really easy to get behind DCT and Adam Shame. They’ve been such arseholes they awoke a dormant personality inside Coach Trip, basically causing split personality disorder. If that isn’t the work of some big bad baddies I dunno what is. The match wasn’t yer 6 star, 27 different kinds of suplex type of affair. It was the good guys getting the better of the bad guys. It was a Da fighting for his boy, and his boy’s fallen easter egg. It deserved better. It deserved to be scranned. It needed to be avenged.

Wee Man got on the mic (theres nae way of typing that without it sounding like he’s entering a rap battle) and told Adam Shame he was glad he never brought his “specky” wee boy out with him as he’d avoid seeing how much of a loser his Da is, and thats really just asking to get chased is it no. Shamer and DCT did give chase, prompting Wee Man to bolt through the crowd. Only re-appearing when Davey had evened the score by toeing Adam Shame in the baws. Much of the early exchanges were between Davey and DCT, with Davey getting the better of it setting the Paisley Young Team for a tag that would give everyone within a 10 mile radius of it a suntan. The hoattest tag in professional wrestling history. In came Shamer throwin ‘bows aw err the camp. Taking Davey up with the airplane spin into a Samoan Drop. Wee Man provided less than ample hauners but for what he lacked in physicality, he made up for in being a distraction, giving Davey a wee opening to hit a spear. I dunno if Wee Man was scooping aw sorts of spinach and had his very ain Olive Oil in the audience to impress but moments later The Wee Man hit an F5 on DCT. I mind watching Grado take about 15 attempts before finally hitting one of them and he’s a former World Champ mate. Whit does that make The Wee Man? Is this winning streak legit? Is he some kinda GoldbergBrock Lesnar hybrid?shugsdav

Well, in short, naw. Naw he isnae. His reign on top was over as quick as it began as DCT locked a figure four in on Davey, only to be joined by Shamer putting a version of it on The Wee Man. Everyone was gettin’ sare legs and it was time to be tappin for the baddies. Both Davey and The Wee Man tapped and the arse kicked was about to be followed by the arse kissin’. Nae drama. Pucker up and get it err wae.

Davey was not fucking having it though. Not at all. In true villainous fashion he refused to fulfill his contractual obligation to kiss his colleagues arse. Instead opting to head up the road post haste. Someone else wasn’t fucking having it either though. A wee boy who wanted to scran an easter egg only to see it crumble into wee  bits in front of his very eyes. The reaction to this moment really shows how well the original video was done and how much of an evil evil man Davey looked, because when Adam Sham’e son Ryan appeared and low blowed Davey everyone knew what it was about, and everyone lost their minds when he re-emerged with an Easter Egg to crack it over Davey’s napper. That allowed his auld man to chuck Davey back in the ring to to get what was coming to. An arse, framed by a yellow thong, thrust right in his face. I’m sure not a new experience for Davey, but maybe the first time the owner of that arse has been an International Sex Hero who shagged over 1000 women…that day.

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Sometimes the good guy’s win. Folk need that payoff sometimes. Give Davey and The Wee Man their due. Without them being as unquestionably cunty as they were, The Shame Family and DCT wouldn’t have had that amazing moment in front of 1,000 odd folk. For all he’s given to Scottish Wrestling, before it was even a recognised thing, Adam Shame deserved that moment and he got to share it with his wee boy. some real feel good shit right there.


I wrote the whole second half of this review and then it vanished. This is a re-write performed by the empty vessel known as my body that used to, but no longer houses my soul. Fuckin 4000 words gone. Fuck this shit. I mean….wrestling.


Grado vs Sha Samuels (Loser Leaves ICW)

It had to be that way. The same man who made Grado look like a superstar all those years ago would be pivotal in his demise. Not Red Lightning, although he did provide a proper unlikeable baddie to bounce off Grado’s charisma back when he debuted in 2012 and he did play a big part in his defeat and resulting exit from the company. Not even Sha Samuels, who’s battles with Grado down the years have provided British Wrestling with one of its best ever feuds. Grado at his high-fiving, shake rattle n rollin best is the perfect opponent for Sha’s ruthless hooligan, and their matches in 2014-2015 are some of the best the company has ever produced, but it wasn’t the East End Butcher . Although he did deliver the final blow, somewhat reluctantly as his former bestie chucked the pinky up one last time in the hope that the big man would take pity on him. The guy who made Grado look like a superstar all they years its go is HIMSELL. There’s never been a talent more spoken about, scrutinised at every turn, and until about a year ago unwaveringly adored than Grado and there’s not a wrestler on this planet that gets more fans through the door than he does.

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Great wrestling brings a lot of wrestling fans, but the fact is there’s hardly any of us. Your wee circle might be full of wrestling fans, but the world’s full of folk who think its stupid. Grado is a big part of the reason some of those folk become fans. They want to see him. That witty wee guy aff the tele. Him playin golf wae John Hartson and Andy Goram. That guy. They come for him and some of them get hooked as a result of that. There’s no doubt for however long he might be gone that his influence will be missed but maybe this was needed. Grado is very good at being a baddie, managing to be a proper arrogant fud while remaining hilarious but as much as I liked watching it, he probably didnae like doing it. Its just not him is it. That’s not what Grado’s in wrestling for. He’s no in it to make people stick the vickies up at him and call him a dick. He’s in it to have a room full of sweaty wrestling fans losing their minds to Madonna. He’s in it to make ye laugh and greet. He’s no in it to make ye mildly irritated because he called ye specky in a promo, he’s in it to make folk feel things and he will again. Him and Sha made folk feel things in their match and it reminded anyone who might have forgot just how brilliant they both are.

After Grado had sent Red to the back to “get the toast on” while he dealt with this ‘jabroni’. Sha obviously took exception to that slur and started chucking rapid right hooks, before Grado hit him with a German Suplex into the turnbuckle (this is the guy that cannae wrestle according to some dafties) followed by the Roll n Slice, and then a fuckin Death Valley Driver on the apron. Grado and Sha on some PWG shit early on. None of this “both these guys” pish but. Keep they chants for Mania weekend mate. This is serious business. Bad guy vs good guy. For perhaps the first time ever between Grado and Sha where Sha was the goodie and Grado the baddie and as great as the match was there was never a point where that wasn’t a wee bit weird. Like watching Batman only Batman’s the one terrorising Gotham, and The Joker tries to stop him while avenging his deid maw n da at the same time.

Grado hit another Roll n Slice on the outside before offering Sha’s coupon to the camera as he repeatedly jabbed it. I mind Sha doing similar when he was using that fitba scarf as a choking device when they first faced each other in ICW’s second (maybe third) London show. Parallels n that. Grado took the big man back in the ring before belting him with a chair legitimately hard as fuck. Sha shouting EAST! in his face wasn’t him no selling the chair shot, that was him completely ignoring the considerable pain he must have felt for the sake of good wrestling. He walked through the chair shot like it never happened before hitting a Michinoku Driver, but Grado reversed his attempt at the destoryer with a pair of R-Gra-Do’s out of nowhere. Well the second one wisnae a big spurise after the first, but that’s no as catchy is it. She hoisted that Pinky up in the air in defiance when Grado thought the win was in the bag and he had to go to Plan B. Scatter thumbtacks all over the camp and hope it works out. It did not.

Grado went to drive Sha dome first into the tacks, but Sha reversed and hit the sarest Death Valley Driver in wrestling history. Grado’s back was 90% tacks after it and he chucked the X up in desperationshugsgradsha2. Nae ambulance was forthcoming, instead Red Lightning came out and tossed a chair in Sha’s direction, before whispering “I burnt yer toast anaw” in Grado’s ear right before Sha cracked a crestfalled Grado clean err the napper with a heartbreakingly emphatic chairshot. Knocking Grado clean out the game as Sha placed his foot on him for the 3 count. 

The “cheerio” chant quickly turned to “Thank You Grado” when they seen his face after sha had waved him goodbye solemnly on his way through the curtain. Not the actions of a man who’d just beat his sworn enemy because he hadn’t. They’re best pals and as much as it had to be Sha, it must have hurt his heart a wee bit. To almost close a chapter of your pals career with one almighty chair shot to the napper, it must sting. But it had to be him. They’ll undoubtedly fight again but for now its done and dusted and Grado was visibly emotional after it. Dropping the character and acknowledging the fans on the way out. He’s in this to make folk cheer. He’s in this so Gradomania can run fuckin wild brotherrrr and I doubt we’ll see him again until enough time has passed for folk to miss the old Grado. The Grado that has grown men belting oot Madonna so hard they pop a blood vessel. The Grado that represents all that is good and pure in the world. God rest ye bad guy Grado. It was fun while it lasted.

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The Big Scheme Wedding Of Ravie Davie and Martina The Session Moth

I fuckin love Sean McLaughlin and you should to. He was the reluctant Da of this whole shindig, giving Martina away with the promise that she’d leave him alone and stop planting johnnys in and around his person if he agreed to do so. He was more like a polis escorting a prisoner that’s shat himself out of protest. Disgusted. He literally tossed her in the ring and bolted, wanting no further part of this. Which pretty much means he didn’t want to get his cunt kicked in aff Bram. A smart lad is oor Sean.

The wedding itself was lovely. Vows included the bride vowing to save her fanny for her husband only, meaning she’d have to give up rubbing it in folk’s faces as an offensive manoeuvre in wrestling matches. Perhaps swapping it for a wee armbar, or that Marty Scurrl bit where he puts his already chewed chewing gum into someone elses gub. Anything not vagina based it probably a winner. Davie vowed to keep a draw of all his fags for Martina, and to look after her when she’s hungover. Basically signing yourself up for a full-time job there mate. I suppose if ye never stop drinking, being hungover isn’t really an issue. Vows exchanged, it was really just the formalities left. Although the priest (GPWA’s Leyton Buzzard) could have saved himself the breath it took to say “If anyone has any protests to this union” by simply saying “HEEEEEERE’S BRAM”.

Its a wedding ffs. Whit else did you expect.

Ravie Davie vs Bram

Bram obviously battered everycunt in sight. That’s what he does at weddings. Having a wedding within a mile of wherever Bram is like waving a red rag in front of a team of bulls. In fact its like waving a red rag in front of Bram himself. I imagine he’s not far off a bull genetics wise. He cleared out the whole wedding party. Leathering Saqib and Prince Asad from Pure Gangster, hitting a beauty of a popup powerbomb on Zander, dumping most of a can of lager on Chris Toal’s heid as he whapped the dids oot to defend Martina’s honour. Even Cav emerging with his fire resistant shield and can do attitude never stood a chance. Bram literally punched a hole in his shield because it might be fire-proof but its no fuckin devil proof, before rounding off his reign of with the patented forced winch, arse slap on Martina. The exact same fate that befell Viper. This time the revenge came a wee bit quicker though. Although he was derailed slightly after the priest climbed back in the ring and attacked him with holy water, but the holy water ran out and so did Leighton Buzzard’s luck as he got fired into the crowd for a second time like a fuckin dart.

I’ll no tell anyone any lies here, after Davie valiantly rose to his feet and challenged Bram to a match right there and then, the doing he took made me queasy as fuck. It was uncomfortable. Standing there irreparably hungover watching a big bruiser of a guy repeatedly dish out short arm rabbit punches to the eye of his foe was not fun. The aim was to burst his eye open to smear the blood on Martina I believe and that would have been some fuckin top drawer villainous shit but Davie’s eye would not yield. It just kept swelling up to fuck. Its as if it sprouted a face, and that face was screamin “Come ahead ya fuckin DAFTY!” at Bram and come ahead he did. He eventually relented with the eye punching cause it was probably getting incredibly sare, instead smearing a bit of blood from Davey’s lip  on Martina. Davie’s face did look fucked up and people were stunned to silence but even if it did end up a bit more brutal looking than intended, did it not do its job? Hate Bram aw ye like, its kinda his job to make that happen, but Davie taking that doing and getting up for more. Winning the fucking match anaw. It made this whole thing matter as opposed to being a bit of fun in the middle of a mega serious night. It made Davie look like the fuckin top boy. He took the absolute worst that big bad bastard had to offer and would not stay down. In amongst one of the best ICW shows I’ve ever been to, and certainly the best weekender the company has ever put on (in my opinion n that) everyone was talking about Ravie Davie. Everyone was calling Bram a cunt. The whole fuckin point, even if getting to that point happened in a way that made folk uncomfortable.shugbram

Technically Martina and Davie didn’t complete the marriage so Martina performing the Vulva Buster on Bram wasn’t going back on the vows. Him asking for more saw a chair thrust in his coupon, as Davie somersaulted from the other side of the ring lit a schemey Shane McMahon. A move he calls Scenes On Toast To Coast, but it wasn’t enough. He’d need to survive another Bram flurry, and he even took  piledriver on that heid that looked like it was about to burst at any second. I genuinely think Davie might be allergic to Bram’s hauns he was that swollen but he still had hit wits about him and rolled Bram up for the quick one, two, three. Another yass moment in a night jam-packed with them. 

Kasey vs Kay Lee Ray

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Some folk jumped on the first match for being a bit short, but really think about it for a minute. Instead of one longer match, with Kasey triumphing in the end, Kasey beat one of the best wrestlers in Europe TWICE in two days. Once in quick and brutal fashion and once in an excellent wrestling match. Kay Lee Ray is really fucking good at this and is at the top of her game. Toppling her in the fashion she did after beating Viper to earn the shot in the first place makes Kasey a proper star. Instantly. Deservedly so. Over the past year, maybe 2, she’s improved every single time we’ve seen her and she’s got that character down to a tee. Unhinged and calculating all at once. A bit scary. Good shit.

Kay Lee was having fucking none of it though. Managing to enter amidst the best entrance theme of all time while barely acknowledging that it was even playing. A truly remarkable feat to stop yourself from going absolutely fucking mental when that plays. The match was top notch. Kay Lee attacking Kasey right away, looking to avenge that rapid defeat the night before in equally rapid style. It was a match laden with sare looking submissions, Kasey attempting to pull Kay Lee’s arm out of its socket with a cross armbreaker on the barrier that looked, for the lack of a better term, fuckin agony. Kay Lee locked in a Koji Clutch and that’s just a sexy move is it no. That’s no even sexism btw, a sentient piece n jam could lock that move in on a lampost and it would still be sexy. It’s just a sexy move. I cannae explain the science behind it giving me a semi to you, I can just assure you it does.

Kasey went for a springboard suhin but got caught with a kick to the gut putting Kay Lee Ray in the ascendancy despite the fact Kasey pulled her arm aff moments earlier. Another Koji Clutch was locked in, amazingly as a reversal from Kasey trying to pin Kay Lee before she decided she’d had enough. If double Koji Clutching isn’t getting the job done, a belt to the heid will just have to eh. The belt shot did indeed land, for a fuckin ONE COUNT. Whit. How. The Gory Special followed, and that only got a two. Kay Lee must have been contemplating jumping out and seeing if she could hi-jack a double decker to run Kasey over wae, because that’s the only way she was staying down for a three. No after fighting tooth and nail to get where she was. Kay Lee draped the title on Kasey as she went up top for a Swanton. A move she only bursts out when she really needs it these days, but Kasey caught her up top, and with a brutal knee to the back of the heid she had retained. Nae fluke, thats HER title now. 

Top drawer match. This weekender turned Kasey from someone people talk about as being improved to someone people talk about as one of the top women’s wrestlers in the UK. A spot she grafted to get and has definitely earned. Beating one of the very best in the fuckin world is the perfect way to announce your arrival at the top table. 

Polo Promotions vs The Marauders (If Polo Promotions Lose They May Not Team In ICW Ever Again)

Who needs a third man when you’ve got the twelfth man eh? Who needs a third man when you’ve got the locker room? Who needs a third man when you’ve got a main event tag team fighting for their very existence? That’s what Polo Promotions do, and a bit like the second last match of Night One, this match felt like one half of a double main event opposed to the match before the main event. The Marauders take a lot of credit in that respect because for this to matter as much as it does, a team needed to properly give Polo Promotions a challenge. Bird and Boar on their own have done that, but add big Iestyn “the nerd squasher” Rees into the mix and make it 3 on 2? The odds are in favour of the sheep sh….I mean Welshmen.

It started out as a mad brawl before settling into The Marauders using the numbers game to their advantage effectively, but there’s nae numbers game on this planet that’s derailing Mark Coffey when he gets gaun. He hit a big running double sledge which William Grange called “The Polish Hammer” on commentary which is a tremendous name for a wrestling move. A tremendous name for anything really, except actual hammers made in Poland. Big Iestyn was the Mark Coffey momentum stopper throughout and his palpable rage at anything that dared to try to stop him and his pals splitting Polo Promotions added a vital element to it. While Jackie and Mark battled from the first whistle, the big man’s presence always made them feel like the underdogs looking to cause an upset. That was no more apparent than when The Marauders took shots each of smashing Jackie Polo in the corner with uppercuts, forearms, splashes, aw sorts, shortly after Polo seemingly had the win in the bag for his team. Big Iestyn broke it up, knocked Mark Coffey off the apron and just like that Polo nearly making Mike Bird tap became three Welsh guys knocking a Scottish guys teeth oot.

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Mrs Patterson’s Revenge followed that mad flurry of offence from The Marauders but Mark Coffey broke up the pin, causing Iestyn to spear his whole ribcage clean out his body. Mark Coffey vs Iestyn Rees is a feud I’d be heavily intae, Two big handsome sumbitches knockin fuck out each other for sport. Good shit. Iestyn chucked Coffey about the outside a bit before telling Bird and Bor to fire Jackie up again for Mrs Patterson’s Revenge. One of the best double team moves out there TWICE. Its done. It’s over. The dream is dead. What was once 4-42, is now a bunch of 1’s wandering aimlessly. Referee Sean McLaughlin was tending to Mark Coffey when the pin needed counted though and down came head of ring crew and apprentice ref Stephen Hughes to count the pin. He got to two, before turning to three angry Welsh guys and giving them the fingers. Making them regret bullying him on a Fight Club show months ago. His moment of glory was powerbombed into oblivion moments later but he was just the precursor before The Cavalry arrived.

Any good cavalry needs a good leader. A noble man to lead the troops into battle. Who better than eh……Simon Cassidy? Why the fuck no eh. As The Maruaders set Jackie and Mark up in some kind of steel chair laden death device, Simon Cassidy saw that the end was near and even if he wasn’t going to be the man to stop them, he was going to distract them long enough for someone else to stop them. So many of their pals being in danger must have awoke DCT and Adam Shame from their post victory slumber, as they rushed the ring to take Bird and Board out the equation. Leaving big Iestyn to catch a beauty of a top rope back elbow from none other than Kenny Williams. The final piece of the pal puzzle. His intervention led to the boaysies getting to their feet and hitting The Old Man Of Hoy on Iestyn for the win. It pays to be pals.  

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The dream stays alive. Must admit, when they lost to the Kings Of Catch in Edinburgh and seemed further apart than ever I genuinely thought it was all over. They were that convincing that night, but it was never going to be the end. Polo Promotions are a main event tag team and if they call ICW home and ICW run places that can hold 11,000+, their mission isn’t complete until they’re top of the bill on shows like that. Until they’re selling oot fuckin Hampden for Insane-a-mania, there’s still work to be done. There’s titles to be won back for a start and they earned one more shot with this win. The fact that this win was so significant WITHOUT it even being for the belts shows ye how well its been done. Stick yer Solo Promotions up yer hole. 

Joe Coffey vs Jack Jester (Steel Cage Match For The ICW Title)

If someone told you a year ago at the very same show Joe Coffey saw his first ICW Title reign ended after about 5 minutes, that he’d be the champion again, this time aligned with the man who was partly responsible for that first reign being so short, you’d have told that person that their oddly specific premonition was a lot of fuckin baws. Yet there he is. Baddest mamma jamma on the planet right now. The iron bad yin. Up against a guy who stood shoulder to shoulder with Red Lightning in his auld axis of evil a year earlier, Jack Jester. Yet somehow this works better. It makes sense really. Everyone wanted Joe to overcome the odds and become the guy. Everyone wanted to see him batter Red Lightning and anyone else who stood in his way, and they were invested in his journey because of all the of the obstacles placed in front of him. A year earlier he learned even when you DO overcome it all and make it to the top, it’s still not enough. The odds will never be in your favour, so when he won it again, there was nae sense in nobility. Nae sense for standing up for doing it the right way, so why bother. Just go out and batter folk and don’t leave winning up the chance. Stack the odds in your favour. Stay on top. Make a lot of money. Buy an Island.

It was a cracker of a match. Maybe my favourite ever Jack Jester match. I enjoyed the fact that the cage wisnae just a climbing frame surrounding a normal wrestling match, it was consistently used as a maiming device by both. Taking shots each to chuck each other off the sides of it early on. Joe responded to a “Yer just a shite Mark Coffey” chant by making a face that looked like someone had just skooshed essence of dug shite up his nostril. Joe hit the Fall From Nebula off somewhere near the top of the cage before Jester went climbing himself hitting a peach of a Cactus Elbow Drop off the topshugsJoeee. Jester loves a non conventional elbow drop but rarely does he get as high as that. He set Joe up for it by knocking him off the cage with that massive studded dildo he uses that he pulled from…fuckin…fuck knows mate. I’ve watched it back about 15 time and I still cannae see. As far as I can tell he’s got some kinda kinky Midas touch on the go, and instead of things he touches turning into gold, they turn into big spleen splitting dildos.

Jester saw a chance to escape after that, only for Red Lightning to hop off commentary to slam the cage door in Jester’s face. Anytime he chucks William Grange off commentary ye know fine well he’s laying in wait. Overseeing the action until intervention might be necessary. Grange got to tag back in after that, cutting short the game of pontoon he was playing with Simon Cassidy at ringside while Joe unleashed aw sort of jabs on Jester. Jester had a cut above his eye right, causing it to swell, and Joe punched him repeatedly on and around that cut. Causing it to swell more. No saying that’s a familiar scene or anything, but aye….Joe then used the chain he had wrapped round his fist as he unleashed punch after punch to tie Jester to the cage by the neck, leaving him seemingly free and clear to stoat out. Jester managed to get free and they had some kind of mad steel chair/dildo duel before Jester levelled Joe with some brutal chair shots leaving his path clear to climb out as his leisure. Or so we thought.

Bram took a break from trying to start World War 3 before Trump does to stop Jester climbing out. Grabbing him by the feet and tossing him back in the cage. They battled it out a bit more, exchanging finishers and even exchanging each other’s finishers beofre Jester tried to climb out again. If only Jester just fell doon. He could have easily become champion if he just jumped and broke his legs in the process. A new shiny belt and wee trip to A and E but it wasn’t to be. Bram, who somehow still had some energy left after a hard day of defacing monuments and pishing on our troops, managed to hold Jester in place, getting his legs tied in the cage long enough for Joe to jump out. The New Axis Of Evil wins. Long live the baddies. 

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A properly gripping main event at the end of two hugely draining nights of wrestling. Joe Coffey and Jack Jester always seem to have great matches but this one was their best to date and like I said at the start, probably my favourite Jack Jester match ever. On a night filled with the good guys getting the better of the baddies, it had to end with the three most evil men in the wrestling stratosphere hopping out victorious. Later that night, Bram would go on to commit his most evil deed of all by taking to social media to post Game Of Thrones spoilers directly to everyone who hadn’t seen it yet. Even though he disnae watch it because “dragons are for pencil necked geeks”. 

Big thank you to David J.Wilson for the photos as per usual. 

 

Wolfgang – Built Fae Girders (Interview Part One)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nae pressure there then eh?

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

READ PART TWO HERE

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

Review: ICW Fear And Loathing 9 AT THE HYDRO

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

It started with a Finn

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

Joe Hendry vs Davey Blaze

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Stevie Boy vs BT Gunn (Casket Match)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lewis Girvan vs Ricochet

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

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

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

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

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

Wolfgang vs Trent Seven (ICW Title Match)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Joe Coffey vs Kurt Angle 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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