ICW Fear & Loathing X
November 19 2017
We’re in Glasgow at the Hydro for ICW’s biggest show of the year and possibly the last show of theirs I watch for some considerable time, due to frustrations with the product and the manner of the booking. Hosts are Billy Kirkwood and William Grange, the bespectacled Williams.
Promo Time: Mark Dallas
It wouldn’t be an Attitude Era tribute without the owner coming out to chat with the crowd for a while before we get underway. I choke on my water hearing Dallas say “best wrestling in Europe, hands down”. He reminds us that there were 74 people at the first Fear & Loathing and they had a tape deck for the music. So Dallas says ICW is “the best wrestling company in the world” before pointing out some of the wrestlers had “moved on to greener pastures”. If you’re the best wrestling company in the world, what does that make “greener pastures”? You fucking melt. He then introduces “an absolute fucking legend” Kevin Nash.
He’s the authority figure tonight. He’s immediately thrilled that he can say “fuck”. “Imagine getting pumped by Diesel” quizzes Billy Kirkwood. Oh lord.
#1 Contender’s Ladder Match
Kid Fite vs. Aaron Echo vs. Jody Fleisch vs. DCT vs. Joe Hendry vs. Bram vs. Ravie Davie
Winner gets a title shot at Square Go. Davie has a great storyline as an underdog who used wrestling to overcome his mom’s suicide. He beat Bram last night to get into this match. The crowd is all fired up for the show and there are nice ripples of appreciation that flow out when spots are about to happen. There are various seconds like Coach Trip for DCT and Leighton Buzzard for Hendry. This means a tonne of bodies around and plenty of cushioning for people to hit dives onto. Kid Fite’s cronies run in. Then The Purge run in. There are no rules so that sort of works but is there any need for multiple run-ins in a seven-way match? Plus the two seconds. Davie and Bram have the biggest spot; a spear off one ladder onto the other. It’s a perfect storm of the biggest face and biggest heel clashing. Martina runs in, Davie’s missus, but she turns heel and joins with Bram to knock Davie off the ladder through a table. Everyone else has buggered off so Bram pulls down the title shot. #1. Martina is a fun loving babyface. #2 Bram is a cunt. So it’s easy to see why ICW would want to shock book the face with the heel but I can’t see any woman wanting to go near Bram based on his history. Also this match was a total, total clusterfuck.
Final Rating: *1/2
ICW Tag Team Championship
The Marauders (c) vs. Polo Promotions
If the booking lets this breath it could be pretty good. Of course Iestyn Rees is in the Marauders corner so that’s unlikely. Mark Coffey is starting to look like Joe, with the beard. The referee makes an excellent decision and bans Rees from ringside, making this an actual regular tag match. Given the crowd it’s a bit like watching Jim Cornette try to “bring back” traditional tag team wrestling in the WWF in 1998 with his ‘NWA stable’. This being Scotland there’s still crowd noise because sitting around doing nowt is boring. Mrs Patterson’s Revenge and the Jam Sandwich should win it for the Marauders but Mark kicks out to almost no reaction. What a strange crowd. The selling in this isn’t logical. People sell when it’s required by the plot of the match, not when it makes sense to. It’s wildly inconsistent. Boar really throws himself into the match, literally at times. Polo Promotions end up picking off Bird and double teaming him for the win. The front row promptly take their shirts off! Happy drunk Scotsmen. A lovely sight.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Post Match: Iestyn Reeds beats up the new champions to give Kevin Nash someone to fuck up. Rees works for PCW so he’s used to selling for has beens from the Attitude Era. Nash doesn’t even have a powerbomb in him.
Kenny Williams vs. Rey Mysterio
They do a weird angle where Rey doesn’t come out the first time he music plays. Was he not ready? The crowd happily chant “where the fuck were you?” at Rey. He looks confused. Rey has had a few cracking matches in the UK this year (vs. Scurll in York Hall and vs. Ospreay in WCPW’s World Cup gimmick). This match is definitely lower on the list of Rey matches. It doesn’t have the fluidity of crispness of those contests. I’m aware Kenny Williams is a level lower than Scurll and Ospreay but the gulf becomes more apparent as the match progresses. Kenny looks tentative and downright nervous in his movements around the ring. Rey connects with the 619, hits a frogsplash and Kenny rolls through the pin, in yet another awkward spot, for the swift win. This was massively underwhelming. Kudos to ICW for continually putting their local talent over, even when they’re not as good as the imports.
Final Rating: **1/2
Stevie Boy vs. Jimmy Havoc vs. Chris Renfrew vs. Mikey Whiplash
Whippy enters in a coffin, for shits and giggles. I hope they don’t do the ‘surprise person in the coffin’ swerve. There is a bunch of hardcore crap out here like barbwire and such. There is blood and stupidity. Renfrew takes a bump on a barbwire board, for example. It looks painful. They all go after each other with staple guns. It’s nasty. They go through a phase of stapling each other to block wrestling moves. Whippy takes a horrific bump into the crucifix that’s set up in the corner. He is lacerated. Stevie bleeds the most, from an early bladejob.
The match is total carnage. The selling is fairly inconsistent but it’s a better put together match than that shitty ladder opener. “You always spit on it before you fuck someone” is Billy’s most horrific call of the night. There’s some throwaway male on female violence with Renfrew giving Jill Valentine the T-Virus. This is merely a time killing spot in between more evil intentions. The thumbtacks come out and everyone takes a bump in them to lessen the impact. Havoc takes finishers off everyone, the last through a barbwire covered table. Renfrew is the next to be killed off; backdropped through the board on the stage. This is where the match peaks. It should logically finish in an interaction between Stevie and Whippy right afterwards. Instead Mikey lies around selling and Stevie starts setting stuff up. Eventually he gets around to hitting the Devil’s Halo off a ladder through the table.
I appreciate them making it through this match without any run-ins or assorted nonsense. The wait for the finish was excruciating compared to the pacing of the rest of the match but this was genuinely good and tremendously violent. Post match Whippy finds this whole thing amusing and hugs it out with Havoc. Basically all the guys that lost are now mates, sort of.
Final Rating: ***3/4
This is the end of Part One as they need to clean up. This is where I got struck down with the flu and spent an entire day in bed. I’m sure the two instances are totally unconnected. I am still decidedly unwell as I take on this second half of the show so apologies if I’m on the grumpy side.
ICW Women’s Championship
Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Viper vs. Kasey Owens
Kasey was on the ring crew last year. Carmel Jacob is the ‘ringside enforcer’ and KLR isn’t having any of that shit. She takes her out and loads up the ring with plunder.
The match is fairly dumb because KLR locks Kasey out of the cage and until Owens gets in the match can’t start. So anything Viper and KLR do is irrelevant. Jamie Winters runs in to attack Kasey, and still the match hasn’t started. I’m sure on paper this sounded great. Eventually Kasey gets in there and KLR has the chance to escape and instead hits a senton for no reason. They almost start wrestling but the Filthy Generation run in to help KLR. Women’s Wrestling! Viper takes a horrible bump through a table while the Filthy lads just lie around doing nothing. The finish is incredibly convoluted as KLR is out but she gets caught in the cage and Kasey climbs out to win the title. There was a powerful absence of logic here. They tried very hard and I can’t fault the effort from any of the women but the booking was AWOL.
Final Rating: **
Zack Gibson vs. Lionheart vs. Rob Van Dam
Gibbo calls the crowd the “biggest collection of bellends” he’s ever seen. This was originally Lionheart vs. RVD but that stank of PCW so ICW added in Gibson, who’s feuding with Lionheart. RVD is 46 years old and has been semi-retired since his last WWE run ended in 2014.
He looks in decent shape and runs through his spots looking comfortable as fuck. The three-way nature of the match causes issues. One guy has to rest while the other two fight. Plus Lionheart and RVD have issues, including Lionheart failing to throw RVD out of the ring. Frogsplash puts Gibson out, which is unfortunate as his work with RVD looked better. When it’s down the Lionheart vs. RVD it fully exposes how mediocre Lionheart is. He seems to cower away from kicks, turning sideways in the corner. Has he heard that RVD likes a few spud shots? Lionheart beats RVD with his own move, which is fairly typical of ICW. Put over the locals at the expense of expensive imports. I’m sure Rob doesn’t care. Match was ok but Lionheart was nowhere near RVD’s level, even at 46 years old.
Final Rating; **3/4
Promo Time: Wee Man
He’s looking out for a new tag team to manage. “Please commence with your ape like chundering”.
Kings of Catch (Lewis Girvan & Aspen Faith) vs. The Kinky Party
The rules of tag team wrestling are ignored here. It’s tornado rules. So it’s four guys brawling for the entire match. ICW keep referring to Girvan as the best young wrestler in the world but he really isn’t. He’s good but he needs seasoning against better opponents. The Filthy lads try to finish with a spike Tombstone but Sha counters it and the Kinky Party win with a spike Tombstone of their own. The Kinky Party are a fun enough group. Jester crowd surfs his way across the crowd and Sha attempts the same but he’s too heavy. This was fine but the match was in the death spot before the main event.
Final Rating: **1/4
ICW Undisputed Championship
Joe Coffey vs. BT Gunn
BT Gunn comes in as the Zero G champion, while Coffey is ICW Heavyweight Champion. There’s still over 30 minutes on the show as the main event starts. This means they start out slow and steady, which perhaps isn’t how a main event should work on a supercard but the crowd are very supportive of BT Gunn so it’s hard to say if it’s the wrong decision. It does feel oddly flat, which has been a criticism of the whole show, bar the more ridiculous matches (four way especially). Joe has been defending his title under traditional rules, much to ICW fans chagrin. Which means count-outs and DQs. Ideally Nash should have waved the rules here to make this match seem more important and put Joe in peril, and give him an ‘out’ when he loses. Joe decides to get himself disqualified so Kevin Nash turns up. They do a weird angle where Joe hits Nash with a chair, which is totally no sold. Nash is an old man, who doesn’t wrestle anymore. Why would you put him over on your top guy?
With the nonsense finished they hit a higher gear with Joe battering BT with repeated discus lariats and not able to get the pin. If they’d just let them have a belter of a match it would have been a good main event. But this being ICW there is always bullshit. Coffey decks the ref. In comes Red Lightning to use the unconscious referee to count the pin, which BT blocks. Get our of the fucking ring Red. I barely watch ICW and I’m sick of the sight of you. Anyway, the lights go out and the other two BT Gunn’s, from his entrance, appear. They triple superkick Joe right in front of the referee and Joe kicks out of the finish anyway because why would you book a logical finish. BT gets the crossface and Coffey taps out. This got really good in the middle but the overbooking nonsense ruined it. No surprises there, huh?
Final Rating: ***
Post Match: Joe turns back face by offering a hug, which seems somewhat contrary to the entire build to this.
Then a big dance party breaks out.
This was a strangely flat show, underdelivering across the board. The ladder match that opened the show was an unplanned mess. That was the first sign that things were amiss. Rey Mysterio didn’t bring his work boots here and nor should have done. Kenny Williams, good though he is, was simply not on the level of Mysterio’s better UK opponents. The women’s cage match was badly booked. Lionheart? Really? And the main was way overbooked. The positives; when they were allowed to actually wrestle Coffey/Gunn was good. Polos/Marauders was good. The four-way stole the show and might have cracked **** if Stevie Boy hadn’t spent so long setting up the finish. Overall I would be very disappointed if I’d shelled out £40 to go and watch this live, although it was probably better in that live environment with everyone yelling than in my house with only my contempt for the promotion as a whole for company. I make no qualms in suggesting that Mark Dallas is creatively bad at professional wrestling. The 18-Rated entertainment that ICW offer is limited strictly to people salivating for swearing and violence in the vein of the old ECW, which is a promotion best left to the mists of time. The more extreme elements are done better in other promotions and the crowd that ICW continues to draw is a complete mystery to me. I’ve tried very hard to get into the promotion over the past year but the severe lack of quality wrestling makes it an easy promotion to drop from my rotation. Especially when everyone else is killing it and ICW are doing the same shit over and over again. It’s overbooked and it’s deliberately catered to a certain type of fan. I’m glad that ‘extreme’ fans have a promotion they can watch but it’s not for me. I’ve tried very hard to get into it and it’s clearly not happening. Especially with Bram being a featured player. He’s not “polarising”, he’s a shit. ICW is polarising. Some people clearly love it, others clearly hate it. As a neutral, I’ve tried to get into it but I just can’t. There are too many promotions deserving of my time to continue with it. Apologies to their better talent (Simon Cassidy is a great ring announcer) but while it’s creatively as bad as it is it’d just not for me.