The Lasting Impact Of Drew Galloway, ICW Hall Of Famer

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Drew Galloway has always been The Chosen One. Long before Vince McMahon fired that moniker on him and it nearly pulled him to the ground like an anchor round his neck for the latter part of his first WWE run, he was always the one. Professional wrestling in Scotland has existed for a long time but Drew Galloway is the reason it is what it is today. That’s not an attempt to remove credit from anyone else, that’s not diminishing the hard work of anyone else at all, its simply a fact. Without Scotland producing this Disney prince looking motherfucker who made you believe in everything he does in and out of the ring, wrestling might not have ever happened here. It would have kept on existing and it would have had a following just like any other niche thing in entertainment, but running venues like the SECC and The Hydro? Forget it. Even places as big as the ABC, Barrowlands etc would have been a big ask if Drew was never born. Wrestling has always been niche, and small counties like Scotland don’t usually become a hotbed for something like this but Drew is the domino effect. He set a standard and it was up to everyone else to shoot for it and by god have they done that. The people who started out at the same time as him have all gone on to be integral cogs in the current thriving scene we have up here. The people he’s influenced since his return in 2014 continue to feel his influence. He was born to do this and as much as his body, and at times his mind, won’t be thankful for that, we are very lucky as fans that he happened to be born in Scotland.

When Drew started out 16-17 years ago, by his own admission there was nothing here. No schools. Hardly any down south either. No real scene of note to cut your teeth in. No hope really. If making it in the wrestling business was ever going to become his or anyone else’s reality an unimaginable amount of work had to be done. Being a foot taller than anyone else who existed at that time in Scotland (or ever has since) wasn’t going to be enough. Managing to get enough out of the almost non existent training to become a great wrestler wasn’t going to be enough either. The door was never going to swing open and invite Drew through it, he was going to have to take they what I assume are size 18s or something mad like that and kick the fucking thing down and that’s exactly what he done when he signed with WWE in 2007. He set a precedent then and the scene he left behind grew to something bigger than he or anyone else could ever have imagined in his absecne. While the hard work put in by so many while he was chasing the dream was all THEIR hard work, his success was the catalyst. He was the reason folk who might have chucked it long ago decided to persevere. He was the example that made any setbacks anyone else had nothing more than that. Just a bump in the road rather than a fatal head on collision. He was the catalyst for a scene that continues to go from strength to strength, and him making it to the WWE made everyone believe, while it was their hard work while he was gone that gave him the perfect platform to re-announce himself to the wrestling world when the dream turned ever so slightly sour. His first real setback in wrestling. After a few years of middling and trying to carve something good out of being comic relief as part of 3MB, Drew Mcintyre was released after 7 years with WWE. A few short weeks later, Drew Galloway was re-born.

Crashing Shug’s House Party

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Ya rude big bastard ye. A few spent years spent in America and the big man forgot his manners. Without invite, Drew Galloway showed up just as Chris Renfrew was about to cash in his Square Go title shot against Jack Jester, who had just been subjected to a kicking from Renfrew and his NAK stablemates. Jester’s year-long reign with the title was coming to an end. It was time. Little did Jester, or indeed Renfrew know, it wasn’t for the reasons they thought. It wasn’t because Renfrew had picked the perfect moment for the cash in and had Jester right where he wanted him. It wasn’t because Jester just couldn’t hold on after a year of fighting tooth and nail to keep a hold of that shiny belt he had coveted for so long. None of that mattered. It was all down to a big handsome bastard deciding his WWE release was not the end. Far from it. It was just the beginning for him personally and as much as ICW might not have known it then, it was the beginning of a new and brilliant chapter for a company who were doing just fine before his return. Great in fact. At that time ICW were unquestionably the biggest independent wrestling company in the UK and Shugs House Party was the second time they had sold out the 1,000+ capacity ABC. All was rosy and ICW was the best night out 15 quid could buy, but that night Drew came back and shocked the whole building by turning on best friend Jack Jester moments after saving his Championship; Chucking him off the stage through a table, ICW knew there was another level to be reached. Another door to be opened, except this time kicking it down wasn’t required. They had the key. The key was Drew.

The big factor that made his return so significant was his motivation being a bit different to what usually happens when someone gets released from WWE after being a success with the company. Most folk want back there ASAP and seem to almost believe being their once makes them instantly better than wrestling anywhere else. Almost as if wrestling owed them something. Drew has never seemed to be that guy and when he was released he knew exactly where he needed to be. He could have stayed in the US and wrestled exclusively over there, maybe coming back for a wee high-profile visit every now and then where he’d stoat in, act like the Billy Big Baws with the funny accent, stick his wage in his back pocket and get back to his comfortable wee life but that wasn’t for him. Drew knew fine well what was happening on the Scottish Wrestling scene and the noise ICW were making locally and globally in his absence and he wanted in. He believed in it just like he did when ICW were just starting out and he was the first man who was able to call himself ICW Champion. The new mission statement was simple. Get ICW on TV and become the first man who could call himself ICW WORLD Heavyweight Champion.

Raising The Bar

Fear and Loathing 7 was the night it all changed. When Drew Galloway and Jack Jester went head to head that night it was billed as the biggest match in Scottish history and everyone in the building that night believed that to be the case. It held weight. Former best pals seeing their friendship come to a bitter, probably bloody end because of a wrestling championship. It was massive, and when Drew won to become a two-time ICW Champion a seismic shift occurred. ICW was no longer going to be a big deal just locally. ICW was ready to make the kind of noise that has yer neighbours from two streets away phoning the polis. ICW was ready to have a globe-trotting workhorse representing them not just when he wrestled here, but when he wrestled everywhere.Despite all the success and brilliant things happening to ICW, there was another gear they could get to and Drew Galloway helped them slide into it seamlessly. Everyone seemed to almost get better over night.

Chris Renfrew eventually cashed in his Square Go briefcase in a match at the 2015 Square Go against Galloway and we saw a Renfrew no one, even Renfrew himself, had ever seen before. A captivating match where Renfrew’s year-long pursuit of the title came to an almost tragic end. Losing the best match of his career to date, cutting a crestfallen figure at the end. Big Damo had revamped his look and was making a big impression but there’s no doubt Drew was his absolute perfect opponent and when they squared off both men reached another level. Having such a unique opponent brought the best out in Drew and the matches between them is undoubtedly a big reason both men now pick up a WWE paycheque. Joe Coffey had an absolute war with Drew at the Barrowlands and while his performance levels in the ring probably couldn’t  have got any better, having such a big match on a high profile show undoubtedly helped shine a bright light on his talent. His time in ICW made so many people better, including Drew himself. ICW let him be a wrestler again.

Then TNA happened and for some inexplicable reason, the waters got muddied a bit. Wrestling fans are the most fickle fuckers around, most will admit that to you, but the way they turned on Drew after that massive outpouring of emotion that night he made his return at Shug’s was startling stuff. A surprise to many, but probably not Drew himself.

“Drew go away, go away….BACK TAE TNA”

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Wrestling is a mad thing. A make-believe world driven by real emotions. When a company like ICW, who dance along the line between make believe and real like few others can, put a guy like Drew Galloway at the forefront of their product, there is a shelf life as to how long that can last before the natives get restless. ICW suffers at times from an inability for its fanbase to see past the end of their own beaks. I say that as a fan myself. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in something, anything that you see as a threat to it becomes something that warrants hostility and even though Drew Galloway saw TNA as a platform to elevate himself and in turn ICW, a percentage of the ICW fans didn’t quite see it that way. Drew appearing and becoming a focal point of TNA was a conflict of interests to them and it became a stick that was used to beat him with. Some might have been a bit hurt at that. Grafting all over the globe representing ICW as best he could and anytime he came back to Glasgow he was told to bolt. Some might have put the petted lip on but Drew became something else. Drew became a bastard. Drew joined auld mates Jack Jester and Red Lightning to form The Black Label and well, The Black Label fucked shit up for a long time. They laughed at anyone who dared to take umbrage with them fucking shit up. Drew was no longer all about gettin SCAAAAAATLAND to become a major factor on the wrestling circuit, Drew was all about one thing. Drew was about Drew. Drew was about holding on to the ICW Title at all costs. Then there was Grado.

When ICW announced they were running the 4,000 capacity SECC it felt monumental. Huge. Considering where the company started out, it was an unimaginable level of success to obtain. Running that building alone was a big deal but to sell the fucking thing out in advance? That was a show. That was a show people wanted to see. Nah fuck that, it was a show people NEEDED to see. For several reasons, but the main one was Drew vs Grado.

Grado had been a contender for the ICW Title before. Having brilliant title matches with Red Lightning and Mikey Whiplash in the past that had The Garage bouncing but with the greatest of respects to The Garage to repeat that feet in a building about 6 times the size? That would take a match of epic proportions and Drew Galloway vs Grado was it. Drew had mercilessly mocked and dissected Grado’s character in the build up. So much so that the rest of the roster saw fit to try to bring another side out in Grado. Colt Cabana, Damo, Joe Coffey and even Grado’s arch-enemy Renfrew told Grado if he was going to overcome an obstacle like Drew, he was going to have to bring something out in himself that we’d never seen before. Not just a mean streak, something more inspired than that. A mean streak isn’t enough to pin a guy who’s about a foot taller than you. Neither is punching him repeatedly in the baws. What it was going to take was a refusal to quit. A refusal to die. A refusal to give up no matter what Drew chucked at him and with timely hauners from Mick Foley as Red Lightning threatened to once again tip the odds in The Black Labels favour, Grado amidst rapturous scenes in front of 4,000. It felt right. Grado has always had all these amazing attributes, he’s always been the ost charismatic guy on the roster, but he needed a truly selfless baddie to create that wonderful moment and that’s what Drew was on the night. His shift that night was to make the good guy look fucking amazing and it was a shift that led Mick Foley to compare their match to Ric Flair vs Dusty Rhodes. The highest of all the praise.

The Chosen One Is Chosen Again

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Drew Galloway is a man who delivers on his promises. Even one’s he doesn’t broadcast to the world, he still delivers. When he was released there’s no doubt that in his mind, the goal was to get back to WWE. That is still the pinnacle and when his TNA contract ended and he didn’t re-sign with them, it was fairly clear where he was headed. The thing about it is, he wasn’t just headed back there because he had wrestled there before and they needed someone they knew and trusted to fill a role. He was going back because he had re-invented himself and become the hottest property on the Independent scene. Winning titles from Evolve to ICW and everywhere in between. Drew was going back almost as a form of admittance from WWE that they got it wrong the first time. He wouldn’t be coming back to be comic relief this time. Nor was he coming back to be told “We’ve got nothing for you big man, keep conditioning the fuck out of that hair but, its working for ye” he was coming back to make good on his promises. He was coming back to be the man.

Drew was actually on TV every week before his release the first time but being the dutiful professional he is, he knew what his role was. Even if he knew he was better than that role, he knew he was supposed to lose and if that was the job he was given, that was the job he was going to do. Being comic relief and losing most of the time wasn’t exactly the best place to be hitting a big single legged dropkick that sends the opponent to the other side of the ring as if they’ve been shot out of a cannot. It wasn’t the best place to be hitting a Double Arm DDT that cracks the opponents skull in half. When Drew came back he knew he needed to be in a place where 3MB Drew had never existed because that’s not who he was anymore. He got his head down and got on with the job back then like a true professional does, hoping for something else to come but when it never did he made something else happen on his own. That was the Drew that was coming back to WWE. The Drew they first signed except this time so much bigger, badder and better than he was then. A full 10 years after his first run began, Drew was back but instead of being full of hopes and dreams, he was full of goals. The first of those goals was to conquer NXT.

Drew Mcintyre – NXT Champion, Drew Galloway – ICW Hall Of Famer

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Much like ICW had grown to an unimaginable level in Drew’s absence, something special had happened to NXT while he was gone from WWE. It had gone from being seen as purely developmental, to its own special entity. The emphasis has still always been to make stars for the main roster in the future but the setting had become something else. Almost relief for anyone fatigued at how the main roster was. NXT was where you went for the proper wrestling. The wrestlers, rather than the larger than life SUUUUUPERSTARS on RAW and Smackdown. Even though he was an ex tag team and Intercontinental Champion from his first run, this run had to be something else. Drew had to be something else, so the first run was put to one side and Drew announced himself on NXT as something else. A killer. A baw bootin rambunctious big bastard. He was here for one reason and one reason only. Take the NXT Title and do to NXT what he had done with every promotion he wrestled for on the Indies. Take them to the next level. a few short onths after his debut he ended Bobby Roode’s long title reign and another promise had been delivered.

Unfortunately an injury has derailed him slightly, a torn bicep sustained when he lost the title to Andrade Cien Almas in November last year. In all honesty, bold proclamations of taking NXT to the next level aside, there was only so long he was going to be there anyway. WWE didn’t re-sign Drew to graft on NXT for the rest of his career, he was brought back to be a major player. They had no doubt kept a keen eye on him throughout his time away and only pulled the trigger on bringing him back when it was just right. The injury was hugely unfortunate and delayed his second main roster debut a bit but he was losing his title that night anyway and no doubt would have been main roster bound sooner rather than later so his speech when he was inducted into the ICW Hall Of Fame put to bed any doubts as to what the next goal is.

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When he stoated out at ICW on Monday night to fulfil the role as The Kinky Party’s relationship counsellor, there was nae nonsense. No one telling Drew to go back to NXT. Just love. Appreciation. Wrestling fans are fickle bastards. They’ll tell you that openly. Whatever his perceived sins where back then were gone. A case of not truly appreciating what you had until its gone. Drew was back amongst family again. In an environment where he felt comfortable. The very same venue he made his ICW return and shocked the world. Shocked the live audience to the point people were in tears, near fainting. That was the Drew being celebrated. His induction was unlike any Hall Of Fame induction wrestling has ever seen and he wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. He forced Jack Jester and Sha Samuels to make up, citing their ability to make people laugh as being an essential part of an ICW that would be a much darker place without them. He shared a laugh with Mark Dallas about how the giraffe he had lined up was no longer needed for his entrance, nor was the wee budgie that had some kind of trick lined up for us.  All because he had to put out one more fire before accepting his induction to the ICW Hall Of Fame and going after the next goal. Chasing the next accomplishment. The big one.

Everyone in ICW and Scottish Wrestling in general will always feel Drew Galloway’s presence. His 3 years back here helped each and every person he worked with reach another level. If he was on awful terms with WWE and never had a chance of going back we’d all gladly accept him back here permanently. Of course. He’s too good and too driven not to. That is not the case however. WWE very much want him and that being the case, we don’t want ye back big man. Not while the big goal is still out there to be reached. There’s never been a Scottish born WWE Champion. Imagine the first one also happened to be a guy who helped build Scottish Wrestling to being what it is today? Whether its Galloway or McIntyre. Good guy or bad guy. WWE or ICW. There’s no doubt the whole of Scottish Wrestling is firmly behind the big man once again as he shoots for the next one. Becoming the WWE Champion.

Thanks to David J.Wilson and eh….the internet I guess, for the photos. 

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The Top 20 Folk Who Might Win The 2018 Square Go

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The data’s been analysed. Theories have been organised from most likely to least likely. Win percentages cross referenced with height and age, and all of that thrown in a pot to produce this here article. I can now reveal the 13 men most statistically likely to win the 2018 Square Go.

Or this is a lot of speculative shite about a wrestling show. Ye know. Either/or. Who really gives a fuck? Why 20 guys? Why no just do all 30? Why anything?

Mikey Whiplash

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Won the first Square Go I seen with my own two eyes after a helluva battle in the final two with Jack Jester and went on to become the man to usurp Red Lightning as ICW Champion. Had a stormer of a match with Jordan Devlin recently as well. One of the best matches I’ve seen live in a long time. That would make it seem like hes hot on form, but wrestling is pre-determined and form is of little consequence. I predict he’ll enter early and be in it a long time. Or maybe he’ll enter late and be in it a short time. Its aw guesswork.

Odds – 30-1

Ravie Davie 

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If Bram wins the title in his match with BT Gunn we could very well see Davie boy do it. Had a gallant effort in their last year and definitely isnae a stranger to a bit of a Square Go so you never know. If him and Zander are both in it they need to form an alliance quick and avoid aw the big bastards that will no doubt be in it but Divers won it one year mate. Anything’s possible.

Odds – 30-1

Iestyn Rees

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An absolute Adonis of a man and now he has the first ever Square Go winner and former ICW Champion Red Lightning behind him, he could be the dark horse to win the whole thing. Tall muscular dudes tend to be favourites for battle royales going in after all. I mind watching the 94 Rumble and commentators heavy bigging Adam Bomb up then he got papped out within 2 minutes of going in so aye. Adam Bomb wont win it, but big Iestyn might. At the very least he’ll pap a few folk out and establish himself as a big time factor in the new year.

Odds – 30-1

Kenny Williams

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Beat Rey Mysterio at The Hydro in a five-star performance and has conquered the Zero-G Division so a serious push at the big belt has to be on the horizon for the bollocks. Also has his big pal Aaron Echo in there and they might team up to eliminate aw sorts of cunts Diesel and Shawn Michaels style. He’s definitely due a re-match with BT Gunn after losing the Zero-G to him but Kenny winning it makes sense and making sense is important in wrestling. It’s no like anyones ever gave birth to a hand or any mad shit like that. All serious business so it is.

Odds – 30-1

Mark Coffey

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Seeing Mark Coffey win the Square Go would be an unmatched buzz but there a huge dose of the fear about this since Rampage and Asthon won they belts. Right before the Square Go. A match where its every man for themselves and both members of Polo Promotions will most likely enter? Aw nut. Please no. I’m not ready to see them fight. It was hard enough seeing Mark and Joe fight each other, but not the Polo Promotions brethren. I hope they both enter early, work together to eliminate everyone and when it comes down to they two, they simultaneously eliminate themselves and BOTH win the Square Go. Like Lex Luger and Bret Hart both winning the 94 Rumble because they completely avoided the camera angle that showed whose feet touched the ground first.

Odds – 60-2

Jackie Polo

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Polo Promotions have become such a fixture in the tag division that folk seem to forget how much of a big deal they were as individuals. Jackie Polo vs Lionheart sold out the Barrowlands before anything else was announced. Jackie Polo vs Mark Dallas had the whole Garage captivated, watching Jackie turn battering his boss into some kind of artform. Not quite in the Stone Cold mould of bedpans over but he brutally dissected the ICW owner before a string of hauners helped Dallas overcome. Point is, Polo Promotions are wonderful and should never split, but don’t write off the possibility of one of them winning it. If that can happen without any friction between the two occurring its a win-win.

Odds – 60-2

Chris Renfrew

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Won it twice before (sorta, he won Divers briefcase so it’s basically the same thing) and he’s not under anyone’s spell anymore so why the fuck no Renfrew? His two Square Go cash-ins were two of the most memorable matches in ICW history after all. One big obstacle standing in front of him winning it is being Santa Claus cause that’s a full time concern really. Sorting out presents for literally every living being in the world. That’s no a job ye can phone in is it. His promo after knocking 70 shades of shite out of Leyton Buzzard was his best work on the mic for a long time. The fire still burns. He wants that shiny belt back.

Odds – 30-1

Stevie Boy

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I read a thing earlier that really convinced me he might win it. Guy seemed to know what he was on about. Really done his homework. Definitely a favourite.  😉

Odds – 30-1

Lewis Girvan

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Lewis Girvan is very good. Good enough to be beating the likes of recent WWE signee Ricochet at the Hydro a year and a bit ago. That win should have been the launching pad for him to be a big time factor as a singles wrestler but the path he’s gone down since is something else. Something different. Part of a brilliant tag team who seem to improve with every match and also part of a stable running riot through ICW right now and it suits him. He wears that wee nasty streak well. Don’t see him or Aspen actually winning it but they may very well be very big factors in someone else winning it.

Odds – 30-1

Aspen Faith

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Love this photo cause they all look heavy raging at whoever’s taking it. Like how dare you photograph us when we’ve aw just got our hair heavy wet and pulled it over our faces? The very cheek of it. Aspen was another who flitted in and out a bit of ICW on the Spacebaws shows and whatnot so undoubtedly its his career that’s benefited the most from the emergence of the Kings Of Catch and them joining up with Stevie and Kay Lee. Very good wrestler, nae doubt him and Lewig Girvan will scoop up the tag titles at some point down the line if they keep going the way they are. He probably won’t win this but if him and Lewis Girvan draw numbers close together they’ll be hard to shift.

Odds – 30-1

Tor Atterhagen

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An absolute unit of a boay. Has done nothing but wreck cunts since his debut. That would suggest he has a good chance. Know what else him being a big baldy tree wae a beard would suggest? Fuck getting on the wrong side of him. Fuck doing things like calling him a big baldy tree wae a beard. That’s just asking for bother so it is. Might not actually win it but he seems magnetically drawn to throwing Divers about like wet washin so he may at the very least eliminate Divers in a hugely inventive, really sare fashion. His elimination will probably be all the folk he battered at the end of the last Fight Club taping teaming up and high fiving after he goes out while he mentally assassinates them all.

Odds – 120-4

Wolfgang

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Lost the title at this event last year in a brilliant match with Trent Seven then entered the Square Go and made it to the final two. that’s what’s known in pro wrestling as “an absolute cunt ae a shift” Had the year of his career last year and it couldn’t have happened to a better guy really. He’s also a guy who’s been at the very highest level for a long time, its just that more folk are starting to notice. That’s what happens when yer moonsaulting, powerbombing and swan-tonning all over yer WWE Network.

Odds – 30-1

Aaron Echo

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If he’s gonnae win it all he can’t be doing shit like the mad behaviour pictured above. Being able to clear the top rope isnae actually an advantage in this situation but big echo has been knocking down the door for ages and a match like this is where a man like him has his career made. Even if he doesn’t win it a solid shift that has the commentator reminding how long he’s been in every 5 minutes is what you’re after. Carving out a wee niche for himself as the guy who turns up a wee bit late so he might draw an early number and just saunter out last no giving a monkeys. Where in the rules does it state that the performer actually has to come out when his number’s called? Naeplace. I personally read the rulebook cover to cover to make sure this is indeed a fact.

Odds – 30-1

Sha Samuels

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As with big Echo, if Sha takes the photo above as some kind of instruction manual rather than a cautionary tale, big man’s got nae chance. He’ll have Sha-saulted himself clean out the picture. Keep that weapon in the holster for this yin big yin. He’s stated that his intention if he wins is to bend the rules a bit (mind ive just read the rulebook, so this is coming from a place of great knowledge) and cash in for a shot at the tag titles with Jaaaaaaack but what if Jaaaaaaaaack beats Jimmy Storm and goes on to win the belt on Monday night? Well the Kinky Party throw hands? Do kinky parties usually involve folk doing stuff to each other with their hands? I dunno mate. Never been to one, but I hear there’s a lot of slappin involved. As much as I think Stevie’s the favourite and all that, I promise ye, if Sha is the last man standing I’ll tan a ten deck of Tennents Lager in the one go and go streaking down Sauchiehall Street screamin “EAST!” in everycunts face. Thats a promise.

Odds – 30-1

DCT

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Recently scooped up his first main singles belt when he won the Reckless Intent Title and that’s fucking superb so it is. DCT is one of our own. A wee secret almost. Tucked away up here doing his thing very very well. Winning the Square Go would almost be like revealing him to the world. Look at this mad charismatic bastard. You can keep yer mad choreographed dance routine flip contests. Give me DCT going to war with the likes of Joseph Conners and Renfrew aw day long. Is that a way of saying DCT is better than Will Ospreay? You can draw your own conclusions as the reader but ask yourself this, can Will Ospreay even grow a tache? Probably not. DCT has to shave every 45 minutes to keep the tache from re-emerging on his glorious coupon to go with that glorious singlet. Know what other accessory would go nice with both tache and singlet? A wee briefcase with a very important contract in it.

Odds – 30-1

Kid Fite

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Much like the Filthy Generation the Fite Network are a squad. A unit. A team that understands teamwork above all else will help them prevail. The thing is, every team has a captain. A snarling leader on and off the pitch who represents the team’s interests. Someone who leads the charge. That leader in this case is Kid Fite. Had a cracking feud with Wolfgang after Wolfys feud with Liam Thomson was unfortunately cut short due to the bold yin’s injury. Really good matches while they both used the platform to elevate the up and coming tag teams who came from their respective schools.

Odds – 30-1

Lou King Sharp

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I think it was the 2015 Square Go he had a cracking run? He was in it for a while and when he was tossed out at one point the crowd caught him and sent him back in. It was all very lovely but that was back when he was giving it the underdog patter. Now? Yer man’s a thug. Making up for his size disadvantage by giving off the air of man who would stab ye for the rest of yer McChicken Sandwich. If he’s stab ye for fast food, just think what he might do to win the Square Go. Him, Fito and Kreiger will be hoping to draw numbers close together so they can make the dream work via some top quality team work. Might not actually win it but he’ll be heavy entertaining as he always is. Good to see him back in amongst it at least after a couple of years of dipping in at out of ICW.

Odds – 30-1

Krieger

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Love big Krieger. Very likeable big guy. I know that’s not what the Fite Network are going for but charisma is charisma mate. Can’t be contained. Self proclaimed as having the most underrated arse in Scottish Wrestling. Know what helps get peoples arses the respect and admiration they deserve? Winning the Square Go. Winning the ICW World Title. Becoming one of the most recogniseable arses in wrestling. He might not do it this year but he’s a guy ye could easily see doing it one day. Lazer sharp focus. Eye of the Krieger locked in. It’s all there for the big man. Feel like I’m just saying words now so I’ll end it by calling him a big ride. So aye. Krieger’s a big ride.

Odds – 30-1

Joe Hendry

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When he revealed the WCPW Title on an ICW show and declared “I’m the Prestigious One!” it was such an emphatic, bold move. I never saw it going down the road it has. It’s brilliantly entertaining and his alliance with Leyton Buzzard has brought a very talented young performer into sharp focus so that’s good but in Joe’s case, he needs something like this. If he’s still dead set of taking all the titles, he needs a strong Square Go. A winning Square Go. One strategy that might work is him tossing Clayton as anyone who comes near him but I imagine chucking him at big Tor will be akin to a fly landing on you and me.

Odds – 30-1

Lionheart

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Lionheart’s seemingly a full-blown good guy now. Imagine someone told ye that just over a year ago. You’d think they’d taken some heavy good gear and you’d immediately enquire as to where you can source some of said gear, but since the Joe Hendry feud folk have slowly but surely came around to the idea the Hearto’s the fuckin man. His work over the past two years certainly warrants him winning this and it would be a buzz if he did. The ICW Title is the only one missing from his own Grand Slam bid (of Scottish heavyweight titles, not the ICW grand slam) and beating the only current grand slam holder to get it would be a poetic sorta thing. Goes in full of belief, so if you’re the owner of one of they taps he had with “Believe” on it and you believe in Lionheart’s bid to win it all, wear the tap mate. Represent. There’s no need to hide you’re allegiances now. Big man is and out and proud good yin and 2018 might be Mad Leon’s time.

Odds – 30-1

So in conclusion, everycunt might win it. It’s a battle royal. Maybe it’ll be none of these cunts? Joe Coffey could come from nowhere and make his big comeback to win it for the second year running. Grado might blow the roof aff the joint and win it all. Finally avenging Renfrew snatching the 2014 Square Go from his clutches. Its aw guesswork. Get a high stakes sweep on the go with yer pals where everyone chucks their car keys in and the winner wins everycunts motor. 30 motors. One for every day of the month. Any months wae 31 days ye take the bus on the 31st. Enjoy the show. Square Go is always a belter.

 

(PS…Stevie’s winnin it but xxxxooooxxx)

Stevie Boy – The King Who Would Be Champ

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When Simon Cassidy blew the proverbial half-time whistle at the last ICW Fight Club taping, nothing significant was supposed to happen for the next 15 minutes or so. It was time for a pish, maybe a fag, even a drink at the bar, a wee catch-up with a fellow wrestling loving pal. It wasn’t time for someone to officially take the mantle as the undisputed Da. That’s exactly what Stevie Boy done at that show when he sauntered out with his stablemates Aspen Faith and Lewis Girvan in tow and told the crowd the meet and greet with a hardcore icon they were promised at the last show would finally be delivered. The last show was the scene of Stevie Boy’s win over ECW legend and when he took to the mic afterwards, he (for the lack of a more accurate term) heavy wound the mad cunt up. To the point that he was chucking chairs with reckless abandon and wondering what one of these almost identical hairy deviants had dared to call him a “piece of shit”. It was Stevie mate, and what of it? What Sabu didn’t know when he was taking a mad ragey was that he was living up to his lofty reputation and being homicidal, suicidal and death-defying all at once by taking on the don. The leader of The Filthy Generation. Stevie ‘effin Boay.

I’m not entirely sure if Stevie’s intention that night was to have Sabu thirsting to legitimately murder him, but how he handled it is a big part of the reason he’s correctly no longer seen as someone who might be ready for the top one of these days. Instead he’s now seen as someone who can get there now. He’s mixed it with the very best in the ring and produced stunning wrestling matches but we’ve known he can do that part for a long time. He’s gradually gone from someone who had never been near a mic to a guy who is one of the very best in the country on it. The only ingredient missing to make a champion is belief. Swagger. Knowing that you are one of the best, and carrying yourself like you are THE best. The one and only. When Stevie pissed off a legend to the point that he basically flushed money down the pan by refusing to do his meet and greet that took baws. Big ol cojones. But to come out at the next show and tell the crowd they WOULD get their opportunity to meet a hardcore legend and that legend was HIM. Basically scooping up Sabu’s potential earnings from his meet and greet and sticking them in his own back pocket. That’s the very definition of swagger. That’s how a hardcore icon handles his business. That’s how a CHAMPION handles his business. That’s a man who can and very well might win a certain over the top rope battle royal happening on Sunday. The show is named after his favourite hobby after all. A right good Square Go.

The King Of Insanity

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The King Of Insanity match at The Hydro might not have been a style to everyone in the world’s taste but any wrestling fan with a basic understanding of ICW and wrestling in general would have got just what a monumental thing it was for Stevie to win that. In there with three men more experienced and accomplished in that style of match. Two former ICW Champions in Mikey Whiplash and Chris Renfrew and the longest reigning Progress Champion ever in Jimmy Havoc. Esteemed company and not only did he win the match, he done it by taking all three of the men in it out one by one. There was no sneaky pin after someone else had done the body-ing, yer man straight up bodied all three of them on his own. Renfrew put through the stage. Havoc incapacitated by being tied to the ropes and Mikey Whiplash Canadian destroyer off a fucking ladder all the way to hell. Last year’s Hydro show was excellent from end to end, but the fact that Stevie Boy and BT Gunn both had career defining nights made it feel a bit more special. A pair who have been seen as almost undervalued in the past, on a collision course to the very top. Now BT Gunn has all the belts and his former stablemate/best mate/protege is on a homicidal rampage, it seems like only a matter of time before they face each other again in an ICW ring. Sunday night may dictate both the circumstances of that face off and what’s at stake when it happens.

As much as Stevie most likely took great pride in winning the King Of Insanity match in the fashion he did, he is the leader of The Filthy Generation mate. None of them are lo-rider driving technical wizards called Eddie but they will lie, cheat and steal at any opportunity and having a shot at the big one to be cashed in any time he fuckin likes will be something hugely appealing to a violent opportunist like Stevie Boy. He’s probably already pricing shotguns right now so he can shoot whoever holds the gold right in the belly. Keeping them breathing just long enough for the 1,2,3 before watching the life slowly drain from their eyes. The Square Go being on the horizon is almost poetic. With an army at his disposal now and the prospect of entering the match with a weapon (perhaps the aforementioned shotgun), on the hot streak of his career. The stars seem to be aligning for the former Bucky Boy to become the Bucky MAN. I mean eh….the former ned to kill the competion DED. I mean eh……Stevie’s gonnae win the fuckin Square Go mate. Deal with it.

Teamwork makes the dream work

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While Stevie definitely has all the tools to add his name to the illustrious list of Square Go winners, that doesn’t necessarily make him the favourite on its own. Not when Lionheart, Mikey Whiplash, Kenny Williams, Aaron Echo, Mark Coffey, Jackie Polo, Chris Renfrew, Iestyn Rees, Sha Samuels and the like are involved and have their own very particular set of skills. Skills they’ve gathered over many years in wrestling. One thing that very well might edge Stevie in front of the competition is the troops. The team. His own personal squadron of scumbags. His chances of winning it greatly increase when Lewis Girvan and Aspen Faith are on his side and more importantly, understand their roles. They are both very good and would be more than capable of becoming ICW Champion in their own right if they won the Square Go, but when they aligned with Stevie and accepted filth as a lifestyle, they bought into something bigger than themselves. Their involvement and potential alliance with Stevie within the match isn’t just an advantage for Stevie himself. It’s an advantage for The Filthy Generation as a unit. Kay Lee might even be involved too (not completely sure if she’s still in Japan or not) and if that’s the case, try stopping the mad cunts, but for Lewis Girvan and Aspen Faiths part, they need to understand that helping Stevie win is helping The Filthy Generation take over. Stevie with the Square Go briefcase. The Kings going after the tag titles. Kay Lee Ray no doubt having her eye on the womens title. The Square Go isn’t about self-interest on this occasion. Buying in to the “every man for himself” mentality is counter productive. Team up, pap cunts out, and you hold the keys to the castle. A licence to ambush and batter fuck out of whoever might hold the title at any given time. The lunatics literally running the Asylum. Fuck.

The Best Laid Plans Of Mice And Filthy Bastards

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While Stevie’s hot on form and everything seems just right for him going in. It’s the fuckin Square Go. Unpredictability is what makes it my personal favourite show of the year and one of the highlights on the UK wrestling calendar, so even if there’s a plan in place, Stevie still might not win the Square Go. That’s the nature of the beast and a testament to the strength of the field going in to the match but one thing that’s absolutely certain is that the man is ready. The apprenticeship has been served. He is no longer under the learning tree of anycunt. Now folk look up to him and rightly so. He has been one of the best wrestlers in Scotland for several years, but the evidence of the last few months of 2017 and the first few months of 2018 would suggest that Stevie himself believes that now. He is no longer a prospect. No longer a good tag wrestler with potential. No longer talented but maybe not imposing enough to be a top guy. Any fault you could possibly find in his arsenal is gone and all that remains is a maniac with the biggest set of baws in the company. Maybe the world. In a match that requires you to be more than a wee bit mental to win it all, surely that gives him a fighting chance at the very least. Then again who needs a fighting chance when you have a whole generation of mad murderous bastards at your disposal?

Thanks to David j Wilson as usual for the wonderful photos

An Interview With Kay Lee Ray And Stevie Boy Xavier

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“There’s been a good few times where we’ve been the last line of defence for each other before we do something daft in wrestling. I don’t care what kinda problems you’ll have, I’m the one that has to deal with it on the Monday when you’re in a bad mood and I’m taking the brunt of it *laughs* but I think we both deal with that and help each other out.” – Stevie Boy

“I’m just putting it oot there, Season 3 of Rick and Morty was f****n shite”

It had all started so well tae. I walked in to The Howlin’ Wolf pub on Bath Street in Glasgow a wee bit late, having walked past it maybe 4 times in a shocking attempt to find it as I quikcly realised I only recognised the name because its what Wolfgang calls his Swanton these days. When I eventually did get there, I was greeted by Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray sitting with a dug. A real life dug they had brought along to this apparently dug friendly pub. When conducting interviews its important to be professional you see. Show up on time, don’t get lost, don’t ask anyone if they’ll do one of they delayed vertical suplexes on you like The British Bulldog used to. Be very journalism I guess is the point here, and that duty of responsibility is the only thing that stopped me running right out the back door and shouting “A FUCKIN DUG!? YASSS” when I seen Berty the Pug. Giver of life and more importantly paws. A good boy. The good will that came from the dug’s appearance vanished entirely when my man Stevie started giving Season 3 of Rick and Morty a bit of stick. It was different mate. Not all highlights, but shite? Mon noo. Ease up on the accelerator before this misguided opinion takes off. A bit like his career has done over the past year.

A fine way to segway into wrestling stuff eh. That’s what this interview was initially about before we got all caught up in the land of dugs and Rick and Morty. The wrestling. Kay Lee Ray and Stevie are not only a couple, but a couple of brilliant wrestlers. The uniqueness that comes with them going through the trials and tribulations wrestling throws at them as a unit made this interview one of my favourites to conduct, but at the same time, they brought a dug, so they could have spent an hour calling my beard shite and I’d have walked away thinking it went well. Because dugs are life. Well, wrestling then dugs. Or more specifically, wrestling at The Hydro….then dugs. As Stevie explained when he spoke about his match. A fatal four-way death match for the “King Of Insanity” crown which may or may not see people die in a pool of their own blood and snotters when the big show takes place on Sunday. Some eerie promo’s from the competitors as they had their psychological state assessed ahead of it properly set the tone for what’s to come

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Stevie “It was something different. They just told me they wanted me in to film something, I showed up and had no idea what it was. They laid it out. It’s loosely based on The Joker Diaries. I’d never seen it but they fired on the computer and I was like “Aye…I am so down with this” there’s a wee bit I keep telling people because it just makes me laugh. In the promo my hand is completely white, because the wall behind me had just been painted. So I grabbed the chair and chucked it off the wall and when I turned it round I realised my full hand was white. That’s how my hand’s down at my side the whole time. I pull it up to spark the fag and it goes right back in the pocket *laughs*. The promos have added something extra to the match. People keep asking me if I’m looking forward to it and I keep saying I’m looking forward to the Monday morning. See if I can wake up and go “its done man” and I’m in one piece, I’ll be happy. I think its going to be a yearly thing. I don’t get why they wouldn’t want to capitalise on the interest in it so I assume it will be something they build on. Another reason I’m glad its come about is that I think we lost the insanity a wee bit of a while in ICW. We lost that edge. We used to be the company doing all this mad stuff, and as much as I’m not a death match wrestler and its so far from what I want to do long-term, I want us to bring that back, so I’m excited to do this”

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While Stevie will be trying to avoid three of the maddest bastards in the UK trying to end his life, Kay Lee has the simple task of defending her ICW Women’s Title inside a steel cage. Against two women. Who also happen to hate her. It’s a match that’s been built up perfectly to come to this potentially brutal conclusion. As Kay Lee went on to explain

“That main event match with Kasey was a really good match. I think we played the match perfectly. I wanted people to forget it was a Women’s main event and just focus on the match we produced. There was a lot of pressure, and it was nice to see that Kasey CAN step up. Its nice to see that because it’s always been just a few women in ICW who are trusted like that. Its nice to have a variety of people, and we can all work together and do different stuff. Hopefully next year there will be even more. I’m sure they’ll all be coming for my belt, but it’ll be nice for some of the attention to be on other people. There’s a lot of hype around us going in and I think if there’s anybody who can pull it off it’s the three of us. The matches I have with Viper are always good as well, so we have chemistry. It feels like we’ve been going against each other forever. Maybe one day we can be pals *laughs*, but it’s not today, It won’t be Sunday, and it probably won’t be Monday either”

The chance of duelling cage swantons had both Stevie and Kay Lee buzzing. As Kay Lee will look to emulate her big pal and steel cage veteran Wolfgang who Stevie remarked has made jumping off the cage a bit of a hobby “You could ask Wolfie what he’s upto this week, and he’d hit out with ‘Nuhin much, just gonnae set the cage up and jump aff it” Kay Lee tantalisingly chimed in with what I took to be a promise rather than a clue “Wonder who can do the Swanton off the cage better? We’ll maybe find out eh”

Balls to maybe. After that if there’s not at least one Swanton off the cage, a lawyer will be consulted. While the big one at The Hydro has always been on the horizon, it was only after a tough couple of weeks that the duo could really bring it in to sharp focus. “I feel like we’re good at keeping it in perspective. The hydro is happening, but we’re good at focusing on whats happening in the here now. Even if it’s always building towards The Hydro. This weekend for Pro Wrestling Eve, I wrestled Charli Morgan, Nina Samuels and Nicole Matthews. Three tough matches that definitely sharpened me up for this. It’s always been the focus, but its only now that we really think about it. The Hydro’s really crept up on us this year”

Stevie and Kay Lee have always been at least loosely affiliated in ICW. On a permanent basis since Kay Lee’s short stint as Davey’s replacement after an injury stopped him defending the ICW Tag Titles he held with Stevie, but over the past year they’ve really carved out an identity as a team with The Filthy Generation. A stable which recently took on new recruits in Lewis Girvan and Aspen Faith. Talks of expansion had always been in the works, as Stevie explained

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“It had been spoke about since the start. Like we need more members. It needs to be a generation, there was names floated but it got to a point where we thought, we need to pull the trigger on this before it dies”

Kay Lee “There was a chance taken with this. It could have been almost too similar, to the point that we clashed instead of gelling, but I think it stuck very quickly. There was a few wee kinks to work out but we instantly thought “this works”. There’s wee things, but with a team coming together that’s always going to happen. We’d never really done anything together before either, and we all came from different training schools, but there’s wee things the boys do that pop me and I think we’ve come together well”

While the lineup is a bit younger and a good bit hairier than the NAK days, that thirst for carnage that exists in Stevie and Kay Lee made this setup perfect, and early signs show that the newly formed group has the potential to wreak havoc on the card in a similar way “The Kliq” did in his heyday, as Stevie explained.

“Its nice to be causing a bit of carnage again. It reminds me of the Kliq with hunners of cunts runnin aboot causing it. Even backstage as much as we hadn’t worked together, I knew Aspen from working him at Wrestlezone years ago and I’ve known Lewis a long time. We all knew each other but we had different groups socially, so we were almost strangers going in. So it took a wee second to get to know each other. Now when we go backstage they’re the first people we speak to. We’re having fun with it”

Kay Lee “We have merch now so its official! Buy our merch! *laughs* I was sick of getting battered as well so its nice to have a wee bit of extra hauners. We still get battered but at least now there’s people getting battered with us”

Buy this t-shirt btw. Right now. click these words, follow the link and get it bought.

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While this venture has given Stevie and Kay Lee the platform to build something of their own, their involvement in the NAK gave them the template for team handed anarchy. A period they both look back in with a great deal of fondness. If a slight bit of regret over what was seen as a slightly premature end

“We were resident arseholes. We were the bastards”

Kay Lee “How annoying did that music get for you though? Everybody said that at one point. That the music had played too many times, and I was like “Its never enough!” *laughs* The more it plays the more they’ll hate it. I wanted people to be like “fuck off!”

Stevie “We caused some riots. There was one time in Newcastle I remember we ran in on someones match, I cant remember what match it was, but that night in Newcastle we had people throwing drinks at us. People asking to take us a square go. I remember knocking a drink out of a guy’s hand at ringside, and him kinda gesturing to go for me, and I look up and see BT hanging over the ropes going “Fuckin go for itttt!” *laughs* It was chaos at times. The night we split nearly turned into a riot as well. That was a proper tense atmosphere”

Kay Lee “I think that was because it wasnt just one person leaving or something like that, it was the whole thing blowing apart. I fuckin loved it!”
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Kay Lee “I feel like I was always the one in the vicinity, to be able to grab somebody before they done something daft, but at the same time I was also the one egging them on *laughs*. I’d be in BT’s ear just winding it up, telling him “he said yer maws a bitch, go!”

It was a time where having a lot of fun and bringing a lot of violence went hand in hand. Stevie remarked when he recalled a segment for Chris Renfrew’s birthday that involved water pistols, a lot of stunners, and the now defunct Gzrs.

“One of my favourite segments was Renfrew’s birthday bash with The Gzrs. It was just a pure shambles. It was such a laugh. ICW has a no drinking policy backstage but we weren’t doing anything on the show apart from that segment and getting battered, so I thought “Fuck it, I’m going out there for a laugh and getting steamin’, why not?”

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“People say it ended prematurely, and I think all of us kind of felt the same. We had the problem of being so over as heels, it was turning us face. A bit like what happened with DX. I think we could easily have had another year in us as faces if we turned. Like it could have been us vs The Black Label at The Hydro. In hindsight now, when you look back it, you think maybe that was the best way to end it. We’ve all gone on from it and done so much good things. Its one of those things, where you can never rule it out (a reunion) even if its 5 years down the line”

KLR “If Triple H showed up in an independent ring, anything can happen!”

Stevie “We tend to think of the NAK being that five man group, so to us it ended prematurely, but the NAK have been around for a long time. Even before ICW. There’s been different versions throughout. So even though we were only the NAK for about a year, its been around for a long time. I think it kinda launched all of us individually and gave us a lot of attention. Something that we craved individually and as a stable. ”

One of the biggest positives from that time for Stevie was the emergence of a new side to him that has since become a big strength. The art of the promo. An art that was passed down by one of the best promo guys in the UK in Chris Renfrew. Something Stevie never really had to deal with in his days as a Bucky Boy, as The Wee Man acted as their resident mouthpiece.
“I wasn’t hiding behind wee man as such. He was there to do that job. So I’d never say he took the spotlight from us or anything like that. He was doing his job perfectly. I don’t hesitate to say without The Wee Man, The Bucky Boys would have been nothing. He gave us that extra dimension. Renfrew was one of the first ones who encouraged me on the mic. When I broke away from the Buckies he was the one that pushed me on. I have to thank him for that, because that was another platform for me to make an impression”

Learning his promo craft has certainly helped Stevie get to that next level, but it was never something he prioritized in a big way. Always busy with trivial side projects, like making history as part of the Bucky Boys. Daft shit like that keeps you busy it seems.

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“It was never a thing I gave a second thought to if im honest. I’ve never really felt like it was needed because since I came in to ICW there’s always been something. It’s never felt like something was missing. Its only when I split from Davey and with Renfrew’s encouragement that I ever really thought about it. It got to a point where I’d show up and they’d tell me “you’re no wrestling tonight, you’re doing this promo” and I’d be like “thank fuck man, I’ve been in this company 5 year and never had a night aff ” *laughs*

Nerves did set in before Stevie went out to cut his very first promo in an ICW ring but that nervous energy and the support of Renfrew propelled him to produce something remarkably good, particularly for a first try.
“I was 10 times more nervous for that first promo than I have been for any wrestling match. That’s why Renfrew was there. In case I tripped up over anything, he was there to make the save. He was always going to come out with me I think, but I also encouraged it and I think him being there helped it become the promo it did because I had that comfort blanket there.  It turns out I’ve got a natural instinct for being a wee arsehole. I seem to have a talent for it”

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While Stevie prides himself on his talent for being a wee arsehole, his other half prides herself on well…being heavy talented. They both are but we’re doing a slick transition here. One thing running in to another so its an easier read eh. Kay Lee has built a reputation around the world as one of the best female wrestlers out there. Nah actually, just one of the best wrestlers full stop. Before we got to talking about Japan, The USA and everything in between, we had to start at dogs. Because dogs are life

“We are pro dogs. I actually tried to get a dog to be our tag team partner this week. There’s a wee pug at Pro Wrestling Eve, and I asked if I could take him in the ring. He’s used to it all, so they said aye as long as you’re careful. If he was ever uncomfortable I was ready to take him away from it all, but he fuckin loved it. He was getting “hes a good boy” chanted at him and I could feel his wee tail wagging. He loved it”

That allowed Berty the pug to once again take centre stage. The true subject of this interview if we’re all being honest with ourselves and a man who at the tender age of 1 almost made his own wrestling debut recently as Stevie told us
“He nearly made his Lucha Forver debut the other week but he’s still quite young. He watched the show and he seemed keen, so he’s in about it”

Kay Lee “Life’s about dugs. He’ll no let me have a dug. This is his sisters dug, but she works a lot so we’ve kinda adopted him. I understand why because of how much we travel and all that.”

The travel is undoubtedly one of the more strenuous parts of the wrestling game, but one that Kay Lee and Stevie accept and make the best of. Getting to travel together a lot of the time being a big selling point. Living in close proximity to Kay Lee’s family recently has allowed them to gain better insight and understand as to what the couple go through and how much hard graft they put in, as Kay Lee explained.
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“My mum and dad realised recently how much we do now I’m a bit closer to home. We live just across the road from them and they see the car coming in at 2-3am and stuff like that, and by the next morning we’re away again to the next show.”

Stevie “When people say they want to be a wrestler, I don’t think they really know what it is. They don’t know how much of a hard graft it can be.”

Kay Lee “TNA was the first thing I done where my mum and dad realised. That was when they realised this wasnt just a hobby. This wasn’t something daft. This isn’t a dingy wee town hall. This is real. Not that I’m downplaying that kind of thing. Some of the best times I’ve had have been working in that environment and we still do those shows. Stevie had a brilliant match with Wolfy in a wee pub in Dennistoun for GPWA. ”

Stevie “You’re an international jet setter now so that kinda convinces them as well”

International jet setting is all good when you go to places like Japan and America and wrestle in front of crowds absolutely ganting for that sweet wrestling action, but it’s not always like that as Kay Lee recalled on a recent trip to Germany for a show that was a wee bit surreal to say the least.

“I done a show in Germany recently. One of the most professional shows I’ve ever done. Pyro and everything. And it was full of business men who didn’t have a clue what they were watching. No one was into anything. I was valeting for one of the wrestlers, Bad Bones and once I realised the situation I just had fun with it. I was trying to steal pints off folk and everything. I feel like I made it fun for myself anyway since no one was into anything. It was so professional as well. it was so odd to be part of it. By the end of it there was a lot of people taking photos and stuff. I just think they didn’t really know what you’re supposed to do at a wrestling show so that’s why they were so quiet”

Before Kay Lee went on to chat about more exciting jet setting experiences, we somehow got on to bigging up Sha Samuels. Context wise I have no idea how, but its going in because Sha Samuels, much like dugs, Rick and Morty, and the wrestling in general, is life (Sha Life)

Stevie “Sha is just an all round good cunt man. I’ve only wrestled him once and honestly, I fuckin loved it. It was brilliant. Naw in fact it was twice. Me and Grado foguht him and Martin Stone in Edinburgh just before Stoney left, but that was the first singles match we’ve had at ICW recently, and aw mate, what a buzz. The Canadian Destroyer was the only bit we actually had planned. The rest was just us having fun. Like we both knew we just had it. Everything was built round that destroyer”
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Stevie “The first time you went it was horrible man. I hated having you away”

Perhaps the one drawback to both giving your lives to something as all-consuming as wrestling is the separation when one half ends up somewhere else. In Kay Lee Ray’s case that has been regular trips to Japan and the USA. Her love affair with Japan starting as far back as 7 years ago, before going on to make her trips more regular over the past 4 or 5 years.
“I’ve been going to Japan for 7 years. First time I went to japan I was 18. I didn’t go for 2 years after that but still, that’s amazing to think that. It was hard because I was on my own. There was this journalist who worked with the company that helped me a bit. Showing me about and stuff, but I was basically on my own. I think more recently I’ve been getting to know Japan, and a lot of it is what you make of it. A big part of enjoying it is who you’re with and I’m always out there with my best pals. People like Viper, Toni Storm and of course Nixon before she got signed”

“That’s not a slight on the Japanese girls at all, but if you’re out there without friends it can be very very difficult. I’ve been lucky to have my pals with me every time. Every time I’ve been to Japan there’s been great nights out and moments I’ve enjoyed. Toni Storm kind of has to do it on her own sometimes because she’s got a big commitment with Stardom. I kinda like the agreement I’ve got with them right now, I go in January, I go in May and if I can keep that the way it is I’d be very happy. I think they’re happy with that as well. We spoke about it a wee bit and it was a bit of a co-incidence with the way the dates worked out, but its got to the stage now where companies here have kinda got used to that. They expect me to not be available at these points and cater to that so it works out well. ”

Having familiar faces makes it a bit easier on Kay Lee, but knowing how much these trips are helping her progress as a person and wrestler is a fine way to soften the blow.

“I do miss home. I miss Stevie. But having that familiarity being with pals helps a lot.”
“it depends how hard the schedule is. January we have more training days. Its nklrnixonot mandatory but it is at the same time. Me and Viper go them a lot. I always love the pop when she does something they don’t expect her to be able to do. She’s a great example for me, in terms of adapting to situations they throw at her. If they give her something she can’t do she wont just down tools and tell them she can’t do it, she’ll do something that’s at least close to what they’re asking and they go mad for it every time”

While the two Scots have made a huge impression in Japan, it is not without its tough moments, or indeed moments of true inspiration with a hint of envy when it comes to learning from one of the best in Io Shirai “Training is hard over there though. Maybe not as hard as some of the horror stories you hear, but still very hard . There’s one drill in particular everyone hates. Its handstands. You need to do it for 2 minutes then drop into a headstand for 1 minute. This is Io Shirai and she’s one of the very best. If shes there I’ll be at training every day. I’d love to see her in ICW one day because she’s just amazing. She used to be a gymnast so she can do all that nae bother. After the handstand you’re already feeling a bit sick, then you have to drop into a headstand for a further minute and if you get through that good. Well done. You’re gallus. Then you do drills where the person opposite you either does punches or kicks, and they go down the line until they’ve got everyone. Its hard work. Io is so good, I hate her but I love her. Ye cannae be jealous because shes just so good. She’ll do it all, and while everyone else is dying, she started doing push ups. Still in the handstand. I was like “You can get tae fuck”. I fuckin hate you. Why are you so good. I want to be you”

Her experiences in training with talents like Io Shirai have no doubt helped Kay Lee get to a level where she can hang with people like that, although she was never too far from that level in the first place, being genuinely inspired by talents must be a special thing when you’ve been doing a job for as long as her and Stevie have done it.

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“I’ll watch my matches back with Io and it always leaves me with ideas. It sparks me like that which is nice. She speaks great English as well which helps. I didnt exactly come in as a trainee either. I had that bit of step about me so that made it easier”

While matches with Io are highlights, Kay Lee is also fond of her battles with one of her best pals. Mae Young Classic semi finalist and current Progress Women’s Champion, the very talented Toni Storm. Even if one of those matches ended up three times as long as originally planned.
“I’ve had great ones with Toni Storm. Its funny sometimes because they do things a bit differently over there. Over here there’s a bit more creative freedom, but they do it differently in Japan. Me and Toni had this 12 minute match planned once, and the promoter comes up right before it and tells us “I’ve changed my mind for the finish, time limit draw, 30 minutes” and we’re like “for fuck saaaaaake” We’ve got this 12 minute match planned and now we need to somehow stretch that out over half an hour. It was good, but it was difficult because we didnt have the time to prepare and get in the mindset for a match like that. We had one a Korauken Hall recently, but it was part of a tournament so you knew one of us would have another match that night. It felt like it had come full circle because we’d wrestled each other all over the world and now we had the chance to do it a Korauken so it was a wee bit disappointing because neither of us wanted to do anything that would hurt the other, knowing whoever won would go on to the finals that night”

While battles with familiar foes and pals like Storm make the whole culture shock easier, its battles with the homegrown talent that have been really eye-opening. As Kay Lee explained when she spoke of taking on Mayu Iwatani. One of the smallest people she’s ever come across in wrestling who dropkicked her haufway back to Glesga Airport.

“Mayu’s very quiet but I’ve had some great matches with her. Hell of a wrestler. She kicks fuck oot ye. I remember my first impression being reluctant to hit her because she’s so small. Then she dropkicked me and I was like “naw, fuck this” she doesn’t just dropkick you, she tries to send you out the ring. The first time I took that I thought to myself, naw, never again”
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Regular trips to Japan have been paired with regular trips to the USA for Kay Lee, working with Shimmer against many of the competitors that made up the field for the Mae Young Classic, which Kay Lee herself exited in the first round but made a strong impression. Although her first trip to the states led to an experience that might have needed a bit of therapy to get over. Her first WWE show being The Undertakers first Wrestlemania defeat
“First time I was over there was for New Orleans during Mania 30, where The Undertaker lost to Brock Lesnar. That was my first WWE show. So that was me. I’m never coming back to a wrestling show”

Stevie “I was fuckin raging about that because the bookies were taking bets. I thought to myself, if any cunts gonnae dae it’ll be Brock Lesnar and I was so angry with myself. Thats one I’ll take to the grave.”

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A bit of vocal support from a fellow globetrotter in Wolfgang helped any pre match nerves when Kay Lee made her Shimmer debut in front of an enthusiastic crowd. None more enthusiastic than the big man himself.
“Big Wolfgang came to watch me in Shimmer. He was over there on holiday with his mum and dad and he told me he was coming to see me at the show. So that was nice. A few people reacted when I came out, but hearing that big roar from Wolfie was nice. Especially in a company like Shimmer, it was a big deal. Since then its been most April’s then in the Autumn for a wee jaunt. America’s fun”

As fun as America undoubtedly is, Kay Lee has never seemed more in her element than when she goes up against her former perennial foe. A rival who was so good as an enemy, she became a pal. Leading to a poignant finale when Carmel ended her career at last year’s Hydro after the match where Kay Lee first captured the ICW Women’s Title. From the first match they had together, to that finale and the countless battles in between, their feud became one of the most notorious in ICW, as Kay Lee spoke about passionately.
“The death match was meant to be the end of our feud essentially, but then it just ended up that we never, ever stopped *laughs* We’ve wrestled everywhere from Glasgow to Denmark. I knew nothing about the retirement. I remember being a wee bit annoyed the night before because I wasn’t getting my own way. I didn’t want to win at The Hydro the way I did, but I kept getting told no to how I wanted to do it. So I thought “fine, yous want me to be a face, I’ll hit oot wae aw the fuckin gory bombs then” and it turns out it worked out really really well. Then she done her speech and it made more sense. There was a reason for it, they just didn’t want to tell me the reason. She wanted it to be a surprise and I’ve took that wrong way. So when you see me sitting on the ramp crying, that was genuine because I had no idea she was going to do it”

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Kay Lee certainly has more battles with Carmel under her belt than anyone on planet earth, but she also crossed Stevie’s path during the all couples feud between them and Carmel paired with her other half, Liam Thomson. A massively entertaining bit of inter gender goodness that led Stevie to experience something Kay Lee had a lot of experience dealing with. Carmel’s exceedingly sare kicks.

Stevie “It was good humoured, and again thats because of the couples thing. There’s freedom to do things you wouldnt normally be able to do with someone else. Some of the tour matches were a wee bit mad, but they were always a lot of fun. Working them was just effortless. They’re both so good. You get that quite a lot, Kay Lee probably more than me but ive noticed it with travelling about a lot recently. Sometimes you can walk into a locker room and folk are reluctant with ideas. With them it was just effortless. They didn’t even need to ask, one of them would find you and just tell you ideas they had for the match and usually we’d say aye ”

KLR “Carmel was the easiest person to work”

Stevie “She kicked like a motherfucker though. I thought she’d broke my ribs the first time she kicked me. It was the stomps. Then the penalty kicks, when she punted ye man. She knew how to kick”

KLR “Aye see ye learned. Ye learned not to feed. I’d take any move in the world off Carmel, but as soon as I seen that boot coming I was like ‘noooo’ ”

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In ICW intergender matches aren’t restricted. Both genders being allowed to freely scud each other stupid, as Stevie’s horror stories about Carmel’s kicks can attest. Kay Lee has plenty of experience in that area, as she almost perished thanks to a dangerous spot in the crowd during a match with Mikey Whiplash, which to use her words saw the venue “attack” her. The venue in question being the legendary Studio 24 in Edinburgh. A place where the walls had actual real human sweat glands somehow embedded into them

Stevie “I prefer the inter-gender stuff when its me and Kay Lee against two other guys. I feel that really pushes Kay Lee to bring out something different”

“We done inter-gender on the all-star tour recently and its a different ball game there. I wasn’t on any terms allowed to hit the female on the other team. We were in with a guy called Little Legs. Who’s a little person as well. I fuckin loved that. Would honestly do it every day of the week. I worked him for about 5 days in a row and it was the most fun I’ve ever had. Seriously, look up his stuff, he was in Harry Potter and all that. He’s so good”

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Both Kay Lee and Stevie were at the recent ICW show where none other than the man himself showed up. The beak. Big Hunter. Paul to his pals. Triple fuckin H”. A nerve racking experience but one that showed them both just how much of a special time in wrestling they exist in.

Kay Lee “When Triple H showed up everyone was nervous. I knew I had to cut a promo, and I thought theres nae way I can cut a promo in ICW without swearing. Luckily he hadn’t showed up yet, but cheers for dropping that on us on the day  anyway Dallas” *laughs*

Stevie “I could write anything down on a piece of paper right now. Anything wrestling, and it could legit happen in ICW. Thats how it is right now. We had Balor, Triple H. Anything can happen. Triple H showed up right before the interval, so a 20 minute interval became a 5 minute interval. He apologised because he couldn’t stick about as WWE were running just down the road that night but he didn’t need to come at all. It was nice of him to do even that. He was sitting backstage and you realised this is the first time he’s EVER appeared on an independent wrestling show. So we must be doing something right. We’re definitely still on the right course”

A unique accolade the pair hold is being a couple who have held the same singles title. Southside’s “Speed King” Title which Kay Lee Captured in 2014. Not unusual for a mainstay in the company who had made a habit of toeing the guy’s baws, but Stevie winning the same title this year proved to be a huge moment for him in his attempts to become a regular fixture in promotions down south. Although the fact that he isn’t everywhere already is a fuckin travesty.

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Kay Lee “I won it against Martin Kirby and for me that was some of my best stuff. He came to me with all these ideas and asked if I’d be up for them and I just said aye right away. I had so much fun working with him. Martin Kirby is one of my favourites. Great wrestler. He could wrestle a brush and it would be good. I think it would have been great no matter who I won it from, but working with him made it brilliant”

Stevie “I think he’s one of our joint favourites, he’s so good. It’s not really worked out for him in ICW yet, but thats not a slight on the company at all. I think they just need to let Kirby come in and be Kirby”

Stevie’s moment came as the title had been vacated due to Davey Richards inability to make it to a show. As much of a huge moment as it was for him, he had very little time to think about it due to the hectic schedule he and Kay Lee had undertaken that week.

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Stevie “Davey Richards had the title but couldn’t get to the show because of some kind of visa issue. So it was me and Chris Tyler, with the belt vacant. We were first on. 10 minute match. They told me I was going over.It was my first title in England so I was buzzin about that as well. It was one of they things that I didn’t really have time to think about it. We were on the Fight Club Pro show the night before and travelled there right after that so I didn’t really have time to even get nervous about it. ”

KLR “It’s strange that it never really occurred to me that we’ve both held that belt, because I remember saying to you when you won “Its heavy” ” *laughs*
“It is that. The promoter asked me if I wanted to take it home, and I was like “Mate, I don’t think my shoulder could even cope with that”

While that was his first piece of significant singles gold down south, Stevie has been vying for big time singles titles for a while now. A match with Red Lightning in 2013 with his ICW Title on the line proving to be another career favourite during Red’s brilliant title run where he really set the blueprint for villains in ICW.

Stevie “Andy still says its his favourite title defence. I loved it. Initially I panicked because of how big a match at was. Me used to being in a tag team and if I fuck up, some of the blame goes on other people, but this was all me. I don’t think there’s anyone better I could have been in the ring with in that situation than Andy. See if I can finish my career and they say I was half the heel that Andy was during that run, I’d be happy. He was like an EastEnders bad guy. So witty on the mic. See even now because he’s a Dad, and that transfers to his work, he’s unbelievable. Any segment Red Lightning is on you can guarantee I’m on the other side of the curtain watching. There was no one else that could have made that as good as it was. I think anyone else being the head of the company at the time might have dictated to me, wheras Andy was so open to everything. A lot of the ideas were my ideas and he was so receptive to it. As nervous as I was, I was eager to impress. I was madly in love with wrestling and wanted to go out there and do everything I could and instead of holding that back he encouraged. I’ll always look back on that as one of my favourites. Looking back on it now I could have been at the time like aye i can do this on my own, but i was very focused on the Buckies at that point.

Red Lightning isn’t the only veteran who has had an impact on Stevie. Kid Fite has also been a huge part of both Stevie and Kay Lee’s careers. Both of them citing the PBW promoter and ICW resident hardnut as a big part of the reason they’re still even involved in wrestling, never mind both of them being on WWE’s radar. While they started at Source Wrestling School, they both feel they were fine tuned under Kid Fite aka Ross Watson’s tutelage.

fito17Stevie “Ross is the reason I stuck at this. We were ready to leave wrestling, and Ross told us to come to training with PBW”

Kay Lee “We were 17 and we’d just moved into a flat, so we didn’t know where we were finding the money either, and Ross just goes “Know whit? Don’t worry about it, just come along” He started getting us bookings to get experience. We don’t give him enough credit. We’d done training but we needed the experience and he got us that experience”

Stevie “We knew how to wrestle. We had an idea of what it was, but he really fine tuned that”

Kay Lee “We did try and help him out a bit. Doing training sessions for him and stuff. But we were happy to do that because without him we might not still be doing this”

Stevie “He’s a gem of the guy. It might be a bit cheesy but he’s one of our guardian angels. He’s looked after us. He’s been brilliant in the ring lately as well. He done his shoulder around the same time as me, but he REALLY done himself and I think only now he’s really starting to get the confidence back and its showing. I wrestled him a few times since the injury and before there was definitely mental barriers there. He wasn’t the Kid Fite I met all those years ago, but he’s back to being that same guy now. I think the world of the guy. We argue and bump heids a lot but to me that just shows how close we are. That just means we are actually pals. He’s a master of getting on my nerves but I love him to bits for it”

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The Bucky Boys made up so much of Stevie’s early career, and with so much happening since their ultimate demise its important to never lose sight of how huge they were in building the ICW tag division, and launching the singles careers of its two members. A journey coloured with major moments, including the duo’s two ICW Tag Title reigns and that mesmerizing moment where Stevie attacked his best pal and ended the group for good. The destroyer that literally destroyed Davey

“Man. I mind me and Davey having to do a walking tour of London on the day of the first ICW show there and it was the worst day of my life man. We’d stayed up all night drinking the night before, and we had to go from the venue all through London. We got the belts that night as well in the triple threat with the SDS and The NAK”

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The night where it all ended was one that will go down in ICW folklore, as it signalled the beginning of the new NAK, and the beginning of a reign of terror Stevie hasn’t stopped since “Its mental. I’m getting the anniversary stuff coming up on Facebook since its Fear and Loathing time and some of the stuff is from 5, 6 years ago. I’m like no way man. I’m actually getting auld. I was a wean when I first started, and I’ve got grey hairs in my beard. I get asked about it a lot. Obviously I was young at the time and worked different jobs and everywhere I went there would be someone who knew me from The Bucky Boys. I wouldn’t change a second of it. Blaze is one of my best pals in the world. I love Neil to bits. Even the way it ended was brilliant. It was a story coming to a perfect ending. Blaze takes the destroyer brilliantly. For so long he was the one I couldn’t ever do it to, and when I finally did it was like “Maaaaaaate, that was amazin. You’ve got a natural talent for landing on yer heid”

The feud between the two ended up being centred around the ICW Zero-G Title as Stevie captured it in London not long before turning on Davey. His first singles title in ICW and a moment he will never forget. “Danny Hope won it the night before. It was something else I never really go the chance to think about, because I was told on the Friday and I wrestled every night from then to theat show on the Sunday. Literally until we walked into Koko and seen that we were all set up that it set in. This is actually happening then? I was overwhelmed a bit. It was a cool experience. Having a bit of support there made it special as well. I didn’t expect a reaction like that. The reception I got was amazing. BT Gunn got me a framed photo of it recently. After I won the title, David Wilson’s took a photo of me and I’m giving the finger. It’s up on my wall now. We’ve got a wall full of wee things from wrestling and that’s up there. It was just an epic experience. The reaction I got and even the messages afterwards was amazing. This all eyes on me. My first singles title in ICW. ”

That led to the former best pals having the huge accolade of opening the show when ICW sold out the famous SECC. A venue that could hold 3,000 more fans than their previous record attendance. The magnitude of that moment wasn’t lost on Stevie or his stomach, but a moment that a roaming camera got a bit too close too took none of the shine off what was an excellent match on a career changing stage.

“I wish we had a bit more interaction, but I liked the feud a lot aye. I think that SECC match was the only one we had so it would have been good to maybe have had one in the build up or something. They did do well to quite us quite separate, and most the times we came face to face it was more being involved with run ins and stuff. It was amazing to face him in the first match at the SECC. Considering where the company had came from, and where we had came from personally, to be out there in front of 4,000, wrestling my best mate, the guy I started with, was such a special feeling. Then I spewed ma ring in front of 4,000 people *laughs* ”

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Time must have stopped for Stevie in that moment, but there’s nothing to be ashamed of there. Anycunt who tells you wrestling in front of 4,000 wouldn’t  be never racking is a liar of the highest degree and should not be trusted. It was more the collision the former tag partner made when Davey went for a big dive that caused the moment, which Stevie recalled upon with good humour.

“I was really nervous beforehand and with us being on first, you’re anticipating going out. Waiting on it. They kept delaying it and that made it worse. You’re jumping from 1,200 people to 4,00 so its a big thing. I dump bottles of water over myself before going out, so there’s always water there. Out of nerves I kept picking up a bottle of water, taking a sip, putting it back down, and doing the same seconds later”

KLR “I remember coming up to him and telling him to stop drinking so much water before going out”

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Stevie “They kept  putting the start off so I kept drinking more and more. The match starts and I go out after Wee Man, Davey is supposed to hit me with the big Undertaker dive, but he clipped the top rope, so instead of catching him I just moved under him to give him something to land on. All of a sudden I find myself scudding off the barrier behind me and I said to Blaze ‘I’m gonnae be sick’ but I thought I could hold it. Two seconds later I’m having to lean over the side of the barrier to spew, and I just heard 4,000 collectively groan *laughs* and I’ve looked up to see the roaming camera zooming in on my face. ”

If time stopped for Stevie, his other half watching back stage was more concerned with saving her man’s blushes. Irate that the camera had zoomed in on him in his moment of vulnerability. Only calming words from the bold Mick Foley helped calm her in that moment. Tap hauners fae big Mick.
“I was going mental back stage. I could see he was going to spew so I’m screaming at the monitor backstage to get the fucking camera off him. It was actually Mick Foley who had to calm me down and tell me it was awrite”

Hitting a bad yin took none of the shine off that moment though. One that Stevie beams with pride when he speaks about. A genuine fondness for not just the match, but the moment where he was beaten and Davey got to soak in the adulation of a 4,000 strong crowd. Truly The Bucky Boys story coming full circle.

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“Even with that happening its one of my all time favourites. I loved every second of it. To hear the pop that Blaze got when he beat me with my own move. It was amazing that me and my mate got to go out and tear it up in the opening match of such a huge show. Another thing I remember is Duncan telling us not to touch the barriers when you come out. They were the venues so we’d need to pay for them. First thing Blaze does is fire me into one of them and we both fell through *laughs* the match has barely even started and I’m thinking ‘I’m already in debt!” I owe this company money and I’ve just walked out the curtain”

The Bucky Boys did briefly re-unite in ICW for some marquee matches. As two of the top villains in the company it made sense for them to come together, and it also made plenty of sense for it to not become a permanent arrangement. With both parties already off on their own directions as singles wrestlers.

“We had a few matches recently and its one of those things. We clicked again right away, but at the same time I never wanted it to be full-time again. I feel like I’m till only getting started with the solo stuff. As cool as it was, I never wanted us being back together to be the end of that. It turns out it wasn’t and it was just a part of the story”

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The trials and tribulations of road life for Stevie and Kay Lee will certainly stand them in good stead if WWE ever do come calling. A thought that does cross both of their minds with Kay Lee recently making an impact as part of the Mae Young Classic as well as Stevie taking part in a WWE tryout recently. As tough as life on the road can be, finding enjoyment in the time spent together and with pals helps, and keeps the enthusiasm for doing it permanently one day strong.

Kay Lee “I feel like i was kind of just on autopilot with all the travelling we’ve done recently, so WWE would be the same on a bigger scale. I cant moan about it because this is what we’re meant to do”

Stevie “When you think about it, we could be doing anything else, sitting in an office getting screamed at, so that makes all the travel and stuff much easier. Especially doing it with each other. ”

Kay Lee “I was booked down in Manchester and I asked if he wanted to come with me recently. We went a wee jaunt, had a rerr day, I done a wrestle, and we came hame. It was lovely. You’ve got to count your blessings and enjoy it. If it becomes a grind and you stop enjoying it, that’s when it really becomes work. We would much rather be doing this even with all the travel than doing absolutely anything else. ”

That being said, if the opportunity arose for one or both, they are more than willing to jump at it. As Stevie said, if Vinny Mac comes through the door with that contract, it’s getting signed. Although hopefully Berty the Pug’s name would be on there too.

Kay Lee “I’ve never turned down any opportunities in wrestling. I think its silly to do that. People can be reluctant. People can even be reluctant about WWE. Thinking it means they need to go back to training every day and all that. You know what I’d actually really like that. Especially if I was earning good money into the bargain. It would be nice to have that structure. We do all the same things as signing with WWE would entail, but it would be nice to have a bit more of a structure about it. I’d definitely love to end up there, but its not everything”

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Stevie “That’s obviously the main goal. It’s the reason we all do this. I’ve got other goals for now that I’m focused on but it’s always in the back of my mind. They’re aware of me, I’m aware of them. I’ve always wanted to travel the world while doing this, and I can do that without WWE, but see if Vinnie Mac walked in one day, handed me a contract and said “right Stevie, stick yer signature on that” I’d be like “hand it over”. Its Viper that keeps you positive man. She keeps saying it “life is good” and great having that positivity. We travel with her quite a lot and its great to have that. You can be in the car after tour. Everyones seizing up. You’re sore, and she turns and goes “Aye but, think about what we’re doing right now” and it makes you think of it in a more positive light again. Its taken a long time to get here, I’ve been doing this for 12 years but its getting to a point where I feel like aye. Its happening. I’ve started to travel a bit more around the rest of the UK, so thats my goal for now. Winning the speed king and debuting for Fight Club, I think that’s broke down a bit of a barrier for me when it comes to doing that. Going back to the tryout, the only slightly disappointing aspect was that they don’t give feedback. Iwent in with the mindset that they’d tell you what you needed to be doing, but they don’t do feedback. As long as I know I’m going forward, I’m happy. I’m making my own name”

KLR “Its a situation that I’d love it to happen but if it never did, I’d be very happy with what I’ve done in my career. ”

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One thing the pair will perhaps want to tick off the bucket list is something neither have done yet. The grand finale for this interview. Usually I don’t really structure them to come to a particular conclusion but this was special. This was a rare moment in time where it was absolutely acceptable to ask a couple if they wanted to fight each other and I had to cash in on that. So far we’d petted a dug, chatted about Rick and Morty, shattered any illusions about Stevie being actually filthy by discussing a mutual love of staying in the shower for fuckin ages and I even got offered a bit of Haggis Pakora. The rules were oot the windae long before we got to the grand finale, but when I dropped that question in, the buzz that came from them both secured it as a sure fire winner. A slam dunk as they say in baseball. Do you ever want to feud with each other?

Kay Lee “Actually since the FSM thing, we have actually been in a match together. It was a multi man thing for Fight Club Pro. We had a wee kiss at the start, done a wee tag move, then he tried to chuck me out the ring to steal the win.

Stevie  “I tried to do ma burd and win the match *laughs*. I didn’t though. I lost. But the intention was there. If any booker is willing to book it I would happily punch lumps out my burd”

Kay Lee “Ye know what, I’m probably the only burd you could say that about and people would say ‘Aye I’d quite like to see that actually’ *laughs*. I like the fact that nobody will go ‘Ooh that shouldnae be happening”. I do appreciate that, as much as it usually comes with me getting kicked in the face”

Stevie “One thing I liked at Fight Club was that we came out to same music, so hers had played and then when I’m coming out they start giving it ‘You fucked up’ before they realised *laughs* but yeah. I’d relish getting the chance to punch lumps out my burd”

Kay Lee “I think it would be a great match as well. It would just be a case of getting us against each other somehow, but we’d both do it in a heartbeat”

Stevie “If anyone emailed me tomorrow saying I want to book you vs Kay Lee Ray, I’d be like ‘send me the date!” its something we’re definitely up for doing”

So there you have it troops. They’re enagaged to be married yet want to batter each other in a wrestling ring, and if that doesn’t make them extra endearing to you, I’m afraid there’s little hope for you as a fan of this wrestling carry on.

Oh aye btw. They’re engaged. They just casually dropped that in there somewhere along the way. Brought a dug, great news, and a fuckin top interview. Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray. Certified good cunts.

Was a pleasure chatting to Stevie, Kay Lee, and of course Berty. They brought a fuckin dug. Other wrestling people I interview need to somehow top that. Maybe a bear? Aye. Next wrestler I interview needs to bring a bear or at least a wolf or the interview does not go ahead. 

Huge thank you to David J.Wilson and Warrior for the pictures used. And anyone else who’s pictures I might have used. If you would like credited and I’ve no done it, send me a message and I’ll rectify that heinous error. 

See the t-shirt pictured way at the start there. BUY IT HERE

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. 

 

ICW Shug’s House Party 4 – Night One Review

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Noam ‘fuckin Dar. A lot of really good shit happened on night one of the Shug’s weekender. An eye watering fatal four-way match with a WWE title on the line stole the show in terms of being the best wrestling match and all 4 men involved should be incredibly proud of what they produced when the stakes have maybe never been higher, but nae single moment matched the one where Noam Dar stepped through that curtain one more time in front of 1,000+ people who love him like a brother/son/mythical god in a shiny trackie tap. It was a wee moment of triumph for him and everyone watching. The fact that his talent has been recognised with WWE signing him AND we still get to see him perform in ICW. Even if its just for one night, thats still a special, surreal situation we all find ourselves in. Wrestling right now is beautiful and you’d need about 50 pairs of eyes and at least one and a half functional brains to watch all the good shit. All I needed to see Noam on this particular night was a pair of steamin eyes and at least 1/8th of a brain and honestly it was like seeing the love of my life for the first time all over again. The first guy who stepped through the curtain at the first ICW show I went to had suddenly came back into my life. If he didnae leave me so he could hing oot the back ae ALLLLLLLLLLEEEEESHA FOXXXXX I might have considered going for a reconciliation but I realise now that’s where he belongs. Don’t be sad its over, just be happy it happened, and if the fair city riots come back to town again, scream so hard ye gie yersell a hernia.

Unfortunately while Noam would be tagging with his auld pink party pal Sha Samuels in the main event, he wouldn’t get to share the ring with fellow pink partner turned big bad baddie Grado. Due to other commitments Grado and Red Lightning opened the show by informing the crowd that Grado wouldn’t be competing that night and that Grado vs Sha Samuels the following night would be “loser leaves town”. Grado took to the mic to call us aw jabronis and tell us he didn’t need us. But what if we need you eh? Ye ever think about that? What if we need you and you fuck off to America to ride Alicia Fox anyway? Whit am I supposed to tell the weans?

Bram was announced as his replacement and the latest client of Rudo, little did we know just 24 hours later he’d set fire to the world before sitting back with a cigar watching it burn.

Mikey Whiplash vs Stevie Boy (Dog Collar Match)

ICW’s only other dog collar match was a fuckin stoater between two guys who would later be involved in an equally excellent contest later in the night. This one was also beautifully brutal viewing and its excellence might get a bit lost considering all the other heavy duty shit that occurred on the night but any match that involved a guy literally hanging his adversary should never be lost in anything.

They started with Whiplash pulling Stevie into the middle some some thunderous forearms and jabs before Stevie used the dog collar to pull Whiplash off the ropes into an innovative cutter. Stevie had control and decided that with Whiplash down, it was time to get that collar aff. I seen this move being queried and folk askin if it should be a DQ, its a fuckin dog collar match troops. People were scudding each other with chains. There are nae DQs. Its very much a dae whit ye want type of scenario and Stevie wanted that collar off. He then had the ingenious idea to attach his half of the collar to the ringpost before leathering Whiplash with the chain for a while. Whiplash ended a sustained and brutal period of getting a doing with a Death Valley Driver but his own wee bit of momentum ended when he went for a running kick but the chain was just a wee bit short and he went fleein into the air like Stevie had chucked The Geezers auld slip n slide in the ring.

Whiplash decided the best course of action after that mishap would be keeping the chain a close to him as possible, strapping it to his body like a demonic life jaiket before leaping off toe top rope and landing a splash. Whiplash then put the collar back ON Stevie, before pullin the rulebook oot his pocket and showing Stevie the word “Dog Collar Match – Rules” at the top of an otherwise empty page. As blood trickled down Whiplash’s face they scudded each other daft once more, Stevie hitting two superkicks in a row and looking the sharper man, only for Whiplash to bust out THREE powerbombs and the death valley driver he called “The Zombiemaker” for the win.

Whiplash grabbed a mic after sealing the win to tell Stevie it wasn’t over. His disciples placed a coffin on the stage and there was a present for Stevie in there. I dunno if there was some kinda flesh-eating monster in there but whatever Whiplash had in store was absorbed by a certain Jimmy Havoc. Who hopped out looking more murderous than ever before, attacking Whiplash before getting on the mic himself (making this sound like a rap battle, it wisnae one, sorry to disappoint) to reveal he would be part of a four way death match at Fear and Loathing also involving Whiplash, Stevie Boy and Chris Renfrew who was summoned to the ring by Havoc to be called a bitch repeatedly. Renfrew’s auld Renfrew instincts told him to jump in there and hammer the cunt, but Whiplash kept him under control. For now. Surely Renfrew is due a mad stabbin spree anytime now.

Bull James vs Kid Fite

This was a right good laugh so it was. Originally supposed to be Bull teaming with Liam Thomson, while also allowing him to sleep in the bath of his hotel room. But Liam’s injury meant nae wrestling and nae roof over his heid for the night. Boy just cannae catch a break. If they have another match and Wolfgang wins his maw hes literally got fuck all left. Unless Wolfgang ever needs a kidney, the game’s a bogey. Liam’s injury meant instead of a tag match with Lou King Sharp and Krieger, they became the hauners for the Da of this team/Scottish Wrestling in general. The sultan of snap suplexin. Kid Fite.

Fito tried in vain to take big Bull off his feet before Bull took him down, following that up by shoulder charging Lou King Sharp so hard he flew right out the venue and landed perfectly on a bar stool in BOX. Ordering himself a double jack n coke wae nae ice while his two pals tried to literally wrestle a bull. The size disadvantage Fito was at was mad apparent when he had Bull down but couldn’t physically turn him over for the pin. Lou King Sharp made it back fae BOX in time to try and turn him over, but the swally had obviously taken a hold because the universally acclaimed muscle man couldnae get the job done. Eventually Krieger was called upon to do the deed, and his success seemed to enrage oor Lou. A bit of a family dispute led to Bull having the opening to enleash aw sorts of jookin n jiving. He even hit a Tornado DDT on Krieger in impressive fashion before the sharp yin took it upon himself to put this matter to an end. I dunno if he expected a bullet to shoot out of his shoulder when he went for the spear on Bull but it didn’t work and while Bull was laughing it off, Kid Fite rolled up him for the sneaky win.

The troops made their way to the back laughing it up while big Bull bemoaned the lack of hauners he was given on the night. Shoulda kidded on ye were into motorbikes and gied The Purge a shout mate.

Kay Lee Ray vs Kasey (ICW Women’s Title Match)

Kay Lee Ray has maybe been my favourite ICW performer since The Hydro. Anything she does when she steps in that ring has authority. It fuckin matters. She carries herself like titles belong round her waist and accolades are rightfully hers. I never thought watching her drop the title she’s made her own since that night she dethroned Carmel in under a minute would be a thing I like but it made a star out of someone who’s deserved that shine for a long fuckin time and in the immortal words of a smiley DDP, that’s not a bad thing it’s….A GOOD THING.

Kay Lee got on the mic and ripped Kasey three or four new arseholes, claiming that while shes good, she’s not in the upper echelon of women’s wrestling and not even on the level of her sister. Upon hearing this, Kasey took what could only be described as a mad ragey and nearly pinned Kay Lee instantly with a superb knee to the jaw. Kay Lee rolled to the outside only to be met by a suicide dive from Kasey, as the Belfast born bruiser (fuckin alliteration daft the day) chucked her back in to beat her with her own move, the Gory Special, followed by another belter of a running knee to crown Kasey the NEW ICW Women’s Champion. 

Kay Lee loses her belt to Kasey going tonto on her jaw. Does nae harm to Kay Lee and made Kasey look like a legit badass/borderline murderer. Folk complaining about the “not getting enough time” n aw that, watch them have an absolute stoater of a rematch on night two and tell me it didnae work. As for Kasey, a lot of hard work paying off for her, shes crafted a cracking character and paired with her in ring ability, its nice to see someone who’s grafted at it for a number of years finally get a bit of momentum.

Jody Fleisch vs Super Crazy

Cards on the table, of the announced matches this is the one I was the least hyped about and then they fuckin killed it and made me and everycunt who went “Super Crazy? Why?” when he was announced look incredibly stupit. How dare we question the credentials of a Lucha Granda who’s been at this wrestling carry on for 29 years and still flies about like an Apprentice Lucha on his first day. Jody Fleisch is someone I remember from my younger years doing British Wrestling brilliantly when it wasn’t in fashion and looking in the shape of his life. A couple of auld geezers having the time of their fuckin life out there in front of 1,000 + sweaty Glaswegians. Wrestling is diversity. Diversity is wrestling.

Super Crazy chucked Jody about in amongst the crowd after a bit of lucha sparring to kick the match off. They got back in the ring and Super Crazy hit a drop toehold on to a chair before dropkicking that chair, then doing a mad standing corkscrew thing. 29 fuckin year doing this wrestling carry on and he’s fleein about like Will Ospreay fulla poppers. Jody Fleisch sent him outside with a gorgeous handspring back elbow, then an even more perfect moonsault to the outside. Both men landing remarkable safely on the ramp. Everything Fleisch done over the weekend was flawless, except maybe having the Union Jacks on his gear but loving the Sellik isnae absolutely essential if ye want to become a Snapmare Necks endorsed grappler. Its preferred like, but not essential.

They both went for some death defying top rope stuff. Fleisch missing a shooting star press, before super Crazy landed super hard on a missed moonsault, but Jody was caught napping as he pondered hiring a helicopter and doing a 1080 splash out of it to put Super Crazy away, and Super Crazy rolled him up for the win. Hugely entertaining and they both rolled back the years to put on a cracking show. More Jody Fleisch in ICW please. in fact, fuck it, more of both of them.

Lionheart vs Joe Hendry (Non Sanctioned Match)

Beast feud in ICW this year by a fuckin mile and its been a smashin year so that tells you just how good they’ve both been. Who knows how “real” the whole thing is, but its felt real. Its felt like Bret vs Shawn type of animosity between two guys who are probably similar deep down but something between them has gone a bit wrong. Something in their dynamic got a bit fucked up and that led to them fucking each other up. Big kicks to the temple. Threats of stabbing. Joe Hendry saying a SWEAR WORD. It’s all happened over the course of this bitter rivalry and here’s where it ends. In a match that by definition COULD end in a stabbing without ICW being liable for it. The stabber would still likely get the jail but whit the fuck else to you expect when you stab a guy in front of 1,000 witnesses? A medal for being the tap stabber in wrestling? Mon noo.

It began with them both trying to punch each others cunts in, but both managed to cover their heads effectively and that led to Joe busting out that palm strike into the neckbreaker he does that looks lovely I must say. One of my favourite Joe Hendry wrestling manoeuvres. They went out into the crowd and belted each other off of every hard surface they could find, taking a break to go haufers on a pint cause only kings and sultans can afford a full pint to themselves in the ABC. Lionheart then chucked Joe off a wee ledge, before somersaulting on to him and hunners of fans. The ABC is probably the best venue for mad dives. There are hunners of wee places for that type of madness. Back in the ring, yer man Hendry took a chair to Hearto’s back quite brutally. Seeming conflicted throughout. In the unsanctioned arena there’s nae room for your conscience. Its do or die. Joe Hendry in his normal hear might not be able to knock fuck out of a guy with a chair, but Jeans Hendry with the jeans on? fuckin go for it mate. Jeans Hendry. Chair slingin hero.

The chair attack was derailed with a defiant dropkick from Lionheart, which lead to him daein a bit of D-Vonning. Setting up a table and going up top only for Jeans Hendry to catch him square on the brain with a flying chair. With the table set up and Lionheart bleeding aw err the camp, Joe hit a superb exploder suplex that sent Lionheart through the table before getting him in a chokehold and watching the life drain from his eyes as the ref called it.

Joe Hendry had won, but something beautifully organic happened afterwards. A double turn of sorts as the crowd chanted “Joe Hendry’s A Fanny” parodying his famous ditty about Hearto that started this whole thing. Hendry then took to the mic to cut an emotive promo, telling Lionheart he had to do what he done before a dazed Lionheart hit a Rock Bottom on him to a wild reaction. There’s nae doubt Joe Hendry is brilliant as an arrogant baddie, and Lionheart deserves a run with a bit of momentum behind him so the outcome is a big win-win and the feud was superbly done. Lionheart is a hero chants rang out as Jeans Hendry trudged to the back. Take a bow troops. Good wrestling indeed.

Zack Gibson vs Kenny Williams (Ladder Match for the ICW Zero-G Title)

He is Zack Gibson. He doesn’t do flips. He doesn’t want you to enjoy flips. If he knew what madness was going down in that Fleisch vs Super Crazy match he’d have burned the place to the ground but he was too busy throwin darts at a photo of Kenny stealin HIS belt. This has been a feud full of blatant thievery in all honesty, so the safest course of action was probably taking the belt aff them and sticking it on the ceiling. Gibson told us as SOOOON as Kenny Williams was out cold, then and only then would we see a ladder but within about 30 seconds Kenny had brought one in and Gibson had dropkicked it into his face.

This feud has been another highlight of 2017 and it was nice to see the Zero-G defended on a big show in a match that didnae have “scramble” in the title somewhere. Kenny Williams and Zack Gibson are firmly established as two of the very best in the country. Give them aw the singles bouts. This match was essentially all the mad shit they always do to each other with a ladder somehow wedged into the mix. Gibson hit a slingshot on to a ladder set up in the corner that saw Kenny’s two front teeth knocking clean out his heid, somehow landing in Gibson’s back pocket. Despite missing two of his most important gnashers, Kenny hit a beauty of a back elbow off a wee ladder attached to a big ladder, a move that followed a mad crossbody off the ladder to Zibson on the outside. Gibson hit the Codebreaker on Williams while he carried one of the wee ladders in a move that was probably as sare on him as it was on his opponent. What I like about Gibson is no matter the type of match or opponent, he’s always working the arm. He’s always got the finish line in sight. Everything he does is for a reason. Nae flashyness. Functional, really sare looking, wrestling. They battled on the ladder before both falling back, Kenny landing hard on the wee ladders.

With both men poised on ladders, Kenny hit a smashing cutter off one ladder on to the one Gibson was on, before deliberately running underneath the ladder on his way to a suicide dive that was caught by Gibson. He undoubtedly would have hit the dive if he didnae anger the gods by running under the ladder in the first place. It all culminated in yer classic two guys climbing the ladder, peppering each other with jabs, before one guy ups the ante and knocks the opponent off the ladder. On this occasion it was Kenny who took a maddy, leathering Gibson with about 50 forearms before the man SOOOON  to be recognised as the former Zero-G Champion fell off the ladder and Kenny climbed up to become the first ever 3 time ICW Zero-G Champion. 

Another feud that hugely benefited both parties. Kenny makes history and comes out on top of an extremely physical feud with some cracking matches while Gibson undoubtedly positions himself as one of the top guys in the company. Of all the English guys ICW have used in recent years, some of whom have flitted in and out and not really established themselves as regulars, Zack Gibson is the example to follow. Don’t settle for being on the odd tour show. Don’t settle for bit part. Carve out a spot for yourself. Break peoples arms. Do it SOOOOOON.

Dickie Divers vs Thomas Kearins

I really dunno what else folk expected from a match between a referee and a wrestler. It was supposed to be a bit daft. It was supposed to provide a bit of respite between a stoater of a ladder match and two of the biggest matches ICW’s ever seen. It started with Kearins up the top rope, completely missing a dive while Divers laughed his heid aff and that set the tone for the whole piece.

Another good thing this “feud” has brought to us is the return of Divers’ running knee in the corner. One of the best executed moves in Scottish Wrestling. Up there with the famed Kid Fite snap suplex, and Divers busted out a snap suplex of his own right after that brought a two count. Stunned that Kearins was able to kick out at all, Divers was even more taken aback by Kearins nailing him with a big boot. He had wee moments like that. He hit yer Da’s favourite flying headscissors ever much to everyones astonishment but whenever he got a head of steam, he got kicked in the jaw. Imagine how much of a doing the ref at a fitba game would get if he decided to take the ball off a player and smash one in the top corner. Stay in yer lane kid. Oversee the grapples, don’t be the grapples. His attempt at seemingly some sort of dive was derailed by a big boot to the chops from Divers.

He seemed a bit done with it at that stage and when he hit a legdrop off the second rope that was probably it but he pulled Kearins shoulder up. Seemingly wanting to inflict more damage but yer man got rolled up for the quick one, two, three! THE REF HAS BEAT THE WRESTLER. SHUT THE WHOLE THING DOWN. Nah I’m jestin mate, Divers of course kicked out and hit a Northern Lights Driver (had nae fuckin idea what to call so cheers to William Grange for knowing the names of aw the moves) for the win. 

Divers wasn’t done apparently, as he grabbed a chair to continue the beatdown only for Dirk Mcintosh to appear on the stage. Dirk Mcintosh is a character Thomas Kearins portrayed so folk were aw like “aw man, i mean, if hes there and hes there, WILL THE REAL TAM KEARINS PLEASE STAND UP!?” He did, and hit a DDT on a distracted Divers before giving his alter ego a big thumbs up for the hauners. I don’t even think it was another guy, I think he’s got that special type of schizophrenia where both yer personalities get a body each. I’ll say one thing for big Kearins he does hit a fine DDT indeed.

Pete Dunne (c) vs Wolfgang vs BT Gunn vs Trent Seven (WWE UK Championship Match)

Simon Cassidy looked positively buzzin as he announced this. Realising the hugeness of what he was about to do. Only time I’ve heard more buzz come from him was when he announced the fuck out of DCT before his cage match with Bram. This was an active WWE Title being defended on a show ran by a UK promotion. Nah fuck that. This was a WWE Title being defended on a FUCKIN ICW SHOW. Involving two ICW LEGENDS and one of its most recent champions. It was essentially a WWE match with ICW spray-painted over the top of it NWO Hollywood style, but if ICW were staging an NWO style takeover, Pete Dunne was Sting. Pete Dunne was the guy who was gonnae single handedly gonnae bring it down.

There were tense moments in the pre match staredown. Wolfgang wondering where the fuck Trent had been for the past wee while, and Trent too sweeting his pal Pete when he entered the ring. A wee alliance there perhaps? Take the two Scottish guys out and keep the belt Birmingham exclusive is it? Wolfgang and BT Gunn weren’t fucking about and when Trent and Pete went out on to the apron to do that Triple H thing where he spits water all over his own face, BT and Wolfy knocked them off the apron. This is for a WWE title. Nae fuckin messin. Be British Strong Style besties on yer own time. Wolfy and BT had the ring to themselves after that and of course knocked lumps out each other because that’s what they do.

They were seemingly taking shots each to fight each other, but Wolfgang decided he was gonnae fight everyone at once. Taking BT down with a spear and hitting a big dive to the outside on Pete and Trent who happened to be out there forearming each others faces to bits. BT Gunn got in on the diving fun with a trust fall dive on to all three men, before Wolfy’s attempt at the Slam Dunk on Trent was thwarted by a stunner of a Half Nelson Suplex. Every single moment of this was fucking incredible and if you’ve not actually seen it with your eyes you need to go ahead and do that right now. Fuck reading this shit. Go watch the match. Go and watch Pete Dunne offer another too sweet to his “pal” Trent only for Pete to drastically reduce the chance of any wee Trent Seven’s running about with a hellacious boot to the baws. Pete Dunne is a fuckin killer and when it comes to shiny belts, he has no pals. Never forget that. When it comes to keeping hold of a fuckin active WWE title he will literally kill a man or at least bite each and every one of his fingers off to make sure it stays round his waist. A pedigree followed for a two count that enraged Dunne so much he nearly bopped Sean McLaughlin before deciding against it. A wise move there Pete. Don’t mess wae Sean. He might no have a mustachioed alter ego or a sweet DDT but he looks like he’s slung a few haymakers in his time.

After that everyone pretty much lost their fuckin minds in the best possible way. All sorts of strikes from all four men. Kicks, punches…purple stuff. You name it, they done it, before they all struck each other with forearms and fell to the ground. Back on their feet they unleashed mad furious punches on each other, it was just a blur of furious British fists, before Wolfgang used BT Gunn’s foot to kick both Pete and Trent, before hitting beauty of a powerslam on BT, followed up with a slam dunk/senton combo from Wolfgang on Pete and Trent, and as BT Gunn went for a crossbody, Wolfgang caught him in another Slam Dunk to end the whole sequence with Wolfgang right on top of three of the best wrestlers in the UK. What a fuckin year the big man’s having, and with the WWE UK Championship and Liam Thomson’s maw in his sights, its only gonnae get better. A whole lot of fun, prizes to be won.

Wolfgang went up for the swanton to finally bring that belt hmae but BT Gunn kicked out. They then both landed in a pinning position from a superplex and Sean counted them both. If it was a double pin again, Sean’s a joiner by trade so 5 minutes wae a hacksaw solves that problems. Half a belt each. Trent hit a stunning half nelson suplex on TWO men at the same time, I thought that would be a better way to describe it than a double half nelson suplex cause then its a full nelson suplex? I don’t fuckin know. This is all too much.  Dunne hit the bitter end on Wolfy but BT Gunn was like a man possessed throughout. The only one of the four not currently tied in with WWE in any way but a man who at least proved to everyone watching that he was on that level. Him being mightily impressive throughout this match wasn’t even the highlight of his weekend so that tells ye just how amazing his night two was. He hit a double Gunnshot before Trent almost took the title himself with the same top rope piledriver that saw him take Wolfgang’s ICW Title back in February. BT once again got a taste of the glory with a beautiful three move combination ending in a brainbuster on Dunne but Dunne countered BT coming off the top rope with a huge forearm and retained the shiny belt, bringing a stunning contest to an end with the Bitter End.

It all ended rather amicably which was nice. All four men taking a swig of water before doing their best Triple H impression after it. Well done troops. With the pressure on to deliver all for of you tore the house down. Truly felt like ye were standing watching history so it did. Lovely.

Sha Samuels and NOAM FUCKIN DAR vs Joe Coffey and Bram

There has never been an entrance in pro wrestling so perfect. I will completely admit to be being hugely biased saying that, but to me there’s never been an entrance so marvellous. So joyful that if you could condense it into pill form it could cure any illness. Even that wan that makes ye age backwards. As Sha waited patiently in the ring for his best pal in the whole world, Noam Dar’s WWE music hit and a procession of monkeys in suits came out instead of a cheeky wee monkey in a tracksuit. Sha looked a bit taken aback himself, and even urged the monkeys to calm it when they entered the ring but then the joy came. Then we heard that thunderous opening to Fair City Riots and each and every person within a 50 mile radius of that wrestling ring lost their fuckin minds. Even Sha couldn’t help having a wee dance as Noam made his way out to the tune he mad famous. FAIR CITY RIOTS ARE COMIN TO TOWN, FAIR CITY RIOTS ARE BRINGIN YA DOWN. Fuckin……aw fuck….there he is. In all his glory. For one night only. Your favourite, ma favourite, evdy’s favourite! Noam Dar was back in the building. In his element. Thousands of miles away from ALLLLLLLEEEESHA FOXXXXX. Get the tea on and the tunnocks teacakes oot, oor boy’s hame!

The baddies came out to ruin all the fun, cause that’s what baddies do. Little did Bram know he was just 24 hours away from ruining everyone’s lives. Punching the joy clean out of our collective souls. Joe Coffey stepped out with that shiny belt and started the match staring down Noam Dar. An iconic ICW moment considering the feud they had a couple of years back. My favourite ICW feud in terms of the quality of wrestling matches it produced and thats what it’s all about at the end of the day innit. The auld grapplin. Joe tagged out before they could actually do any grappling, in a villainous move thats up there with him coming out to Simply The Best at Target. Bram was set about by both Noam and Sha, who were looking like a machine as well oiled as Iestyn Rees chest. Joe did get in there eventually, swinging Noam about a bit before locking in a half crab. They isolated Noam effectively for a bit but he eventually made it to Sha for a red-hot tag. Scorchin so it wis.

Bram hit a cracker of a spinning heel kick on Sha and he seemed to gel with Joe very well. Sha and Joe went at for a bit in a enjoyable exchange that could perhaps one day happen for a World Title on the line. Sha Samuels is a main event guy after all. You put him in main events, the result is always top drawer. All of a sudden the action made its way into a crowd that was now at least 95% sweat, Noam hitting a suicide dive before Sha hit the famous Sha-Sault frop the top rope into the crowd. The most aesthetically pleasing move in pro wrestling by a fuckin mile. As they battled in the crowd Joe had Noam in a belter of a Boston Crab but as Red Lightning was rightly saying on commentary, ye cannae win the match there mate. Back in the ring, referee Sean McLaughlin was taken out mistakenly by Sha, leading to all sorts of low blows. Noam clocking Bram’s hawmaws right after he had booted Sha in the crown jewels. Joe Coffey bypassed all the low blow patter, instead hitting the Discus Lariat for what would have undoubtedly been a three count had a referee been present. Nae ref means nae count, and nae danger for Noam as he quickly locked in the X-Wing Kneebar that had Joe tapping, but once again, nae ref, nae party.

With Thomas Kearins knackered from doing a spot of wrestling himself, the only other ref available was Stephen Hughes, who was cleaned out as soon as he hit the ring by Bram, who just 24 hours later would somehow get access to the big red button. Managing to somehow beat Trump to pressing it, launching aw sorts of missiles and killing us all. Bram then hit a fuckin Canadian Destroyer on Sha, which Sha seemed impervious to, hitting one of his own to shatter Bram’s skull. Joe then cleaned Sha out with the discus but a groggy Sena McLaughlin only got across in time to count two.

Joe was removed from the equation completely when his opponent on Night Two Jack Jester emerged and they set about each other all the way to the back, prompting Red Lightning to hop off commentary and break all our hearts. A skill he has finely cultivated over the years. He handed Noam a steel chair and it seemed to be lights out for the Pinky Party. Noam seemed to be joining the big bad baddies. He berated Sha just like Grado had a few months earlier, holding a steel chair in his hand seemingly intent on ruining everyones life a full 24 hours before Bram did, but it was a fallacy. A falsehood. A fuckin big ruse so it was. Sha’s middle fingers turned to Pinky’s, and Noam’s villainous scowl became the widest of smiles as he turned the chair to Bram, before leaving it to Sha to chuck at the big bastard before Noam knocked him clean out with a flying knee for the win. Endlessly beautiful stuff. Still buzzin aff it.

As if all the beautiful wrestling stuff wasn’t enough he rounded it off with a nice wee promo. If the words he said are to be believed he might love us just as much as we love him but surely that’s no fuckin possible is it? Nae way. Nae pinky. Nae part-ay. 

 

 

 

An Interview With Mark Coffey

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

Mark Coffey

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

Polo Promotions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He Aint Heavy….He’s My Brotherrr

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

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

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

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

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

Japan Ground Zero (One)

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Mark kickin the tits clean aff Aaron Echo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The World Of Sport(s) Entertainment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Every End Has A Start

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

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

“We Are A Main Event Tag Team”

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

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

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

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

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

Follow Mark on Twitter HERE
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