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. 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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