ICW Fear & Loathing XI
December 2 2018
We’re in Glasgow, Scotland at the Hydro. Third year running in this building but the law of diminishing returns is in full effect. From 6k to 4k to 2k. Billy Kirkwood (and James R Kennedy) open the show before throwing to Simon Cassidy to Mark Dallas. Having Dallas turn heel is certainly in line with ICW’s bizarre fascination with the Attitude Era. Nothing says Attitude Era booker like a heel authority figure.
We get a piece on Dallas’ underlings being pissed off with Mark’s change of attitude and his “stupid fucking decisions”. Dallas boots out his traditional bootlicks and replaces them with new ones before deciding to share his love of the United States of the America, the dirty fucking capitalist.
Rampage Brown & Ashton Smith vs. Jimmy Havoc & Mask Haskins vs. The Purge vs. King Lou Sharp & Krieger vs. Kings of Catch vs. The Briscoe Brothers
There are too many teams for a TLC match. Four is about the most you can have until it becomes a clusterfuck. If it was just a normal match with that many teams in, tagging in and out, you could call a lot of it in the ring. With a TLC you can call almost nothing in the ring because it builds to a series of high spots where people have to be in the right place. The whole match is; 1. Spot. 2. Guy rolls out of ring. 3. Repeat. But it’s not even limited to the 12 guys because you’ve got:
Wee Man and Vicky Haskins on the outside too. Vicky is dressed more provocatively than usual. It is the Attitude Era! The difference between then and now is the crowd aren’t happy with the Briscoe’s homophobic views and get on their case. The match has a lot of big spots. Such as stereo Tombstones through tables and Stevie James taking a horrendous WrestleMania 2000 level ladder bump through a pair of tables at ringside. Trying to make sense of it or explain wrestlers motivations is a chore. It is best viewed as “look at this crazy shit!” They have a decent finish with Lewis Girvan being on the brink of grabbing the briefcase but Wee Man stops him and Rampage & Ashton win.
Final Rating: ***
Kenny Williams vs. Aaron Echo
Kenny signed for WWE and his name value has completely disappeared. I had no idea he was on this show. He’s a prime example of midcarders under those contracts suffering, being used up and spat out. They won’t do anything with him, I guarantee it. Vince took one look at Kenny Williams and said “enhancement” I guarantee you. Meanwhile this bout exists to give Echo the rub and it probably shouldn’t be on the card. They try and lively things up with a few dives and such and the match certainly improves after a frankly pedestrian start. Then the booking kicks in and it all falls apart again. They do a bit with a chair and then a triple ball shot. All while pretending that this is a) good and b) important. It speaks volumes about the match that they feel the need to throw a load of bullshit and spots in there. Although that’s a better approach than their initial one. Then Echo hits his finish and that’s it. It’s the biggest win of Echo’s career. Whether he’ll be able to build on it is open to interpretation as ICW tend to forget about big wins and stuff. Poor Kenny Williams has been eaten alive by professional wrestling. He beat Rey Mysterio at the same show last year.
Final Rating: **1/2
Video Control takes us backstage where Liam Thomson is looking for his sink. That’s not a metaphor it’s an actual sink. Kid Fite, “the King of Sink Style” locks him in a room. It’s bad enough that WWE constantly run nonsense like this that ICW feel the need to pay tribute with their colloquialisation version of the same dumb shit.
Joe Hendry vs. Mikey Whiplash
Hendry has now been wrestling for five years so if he’s ever going to get good it’d be now. He’s turned heel, is trading off his legitimate wrestling background and is aligned with Mark Dallas.
Hendry’s execution here is quite good, certainly better than it was two years ago, but he’s so much duller under a shooter gimmick. It’s like ICW happened upon a new Kurt Angle but have no idea how to book him. Whippy is a weird case too. He wants to be perceived as a badass but he doesn’t do anything in the ring to back that up. If he was portrayed like a weirdo outcast (more often) that would work better. Think Raven rather than Aleister Black. The match turns to bullshit with multiple run-ins while the wrestlers lie around.
After a load of bullshit Hendry taps Whippy out with the Anklelock. Whiplash being positioned as Steve Austin opposite Hendry’s Vince approved Kurt Angle and the Corporation is patently ridiculous. If you don’t follow ICW this is just a bunch of nobodies scrapping while Whippy gets laid out a lot. If this isn’t hilarious enough ANDY WILD makes the save. ANDY WILD! And Ravie Davie randomly turns heel to save Dallas. What a company this is. I can’t wait to see what corporate shite they have Raving David do.
Final Rating: *3/4
So then Whippy stands in the ring with Aivil, Andy Wild and, um, someone else and yells “this is ICW!” Oh goody.
ICW Zero-G Championship
Mark Coffey (c) vs. Joe Coffey
Joe was the biggest star in the company a year ago. Now he’s paired with Red Lightning and mired in the midcard wrestling his brother for a secondary belt traditionally reserved for up and coming fliers. Hence the name “Zero-G”. Not to be too unkind to either Coffey but that’s not how I’d describe them. Brothers usually have good ideas of what they want to do because they’ve been working each other all their lives. But they don’t always click. This match doesn’t click at all. Mainly because they’re both boring wrestlers without strong opponents. Joe is better, obviously, and he does some decent power stuff but there’s no escaping how his style doesn’t suit his diminutive frame. Then they go into the bad punches part of the match, which just about every other promotion has done away with because, repeat it with me, “Punches are illegal in wrestling”. The best part of the match is Mark kicking out of the lariat at one but then Joe hits him with another one and wins. Joe using a lariat is hilarious as he’s too short to hit most guys with it. Anyway, Joe proves he’s the superior Coffey, then they have a chat in the ring for a bit. This was a nothing match.
Final Rating: **
British Strong Style vs. Noam Dar, Wolfgang & BT Gunn
This is the WWE Presents offering, plus BT Gunn. Seeing as BSS can only work in a few promotions come January they might as well turn up in ICW and earn those sweet Network dollars twice over baby! Trent Seven might as well have brought his wallet to the ring here to count his pay given his level of effort. BSS work heel, with Trent leading the way, albeit Banter Trent Seven not Strong Style Seven. The effort levels are very low here. They play the hits and only BT Gunn looks fired up on the one side. Pete Dunne is always good so even a low-effort Pete is good. Tyler is decidedly patchy by comparison. His obvious thigh slaps are downright lazy but he pops off standing SSP’s for fun. BSS have a certain shtick that they do very well but it’s repetitive. This is yet another of those matches. I know ICW don’t do ‘rules’ but the tags, or lack thereof, in this make no sense at all. BT pins Trent while the crowd chant “Scotland”. Trent brought it on himself by belittling the Scottish at the start. This felt very hollow and meaningless. Most of these guys were just going through the motions.
Final Rating: **3/4
Queen of Insanity
ICW Women’s Championship
Viper (c) vs. Kay Lee Ray
This is a violent match. Viper looks mentally unprepared for it as KLR comes after her with a kendo stick. Viper takes a shot right in the forehead and blades while KLR gets more plunder. When you see a legitimate blade job in a women’s match you know they mean business.
It gets nastier from there with chairs and barbed wire. It’s a tough environment for anyone to be in and this is all new to Viper. They bring in thumbtacks, covering all their crazy bases, and the crowd is hushed…anticipating something more violent due to the casual nature of the thumbtack introduction. Then this happens:
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) December 5, 2018
They start hitting spots in this tack covered ring and kicking out is hard due to all the tacks and barbwire. KLR survives a vicious Viper Driver through a table but then attacks Viper with barbwire, cutting her arm in the process, and the champ taps out.
Easily the best match on the show. Amazing effort and balls from both competitors. They can look back on this and be proud. They got very tentative towards the finish and I don’t blame them but that’s a small blemish on a strong contest.
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) December 5, 2018
Final Rating: ***3/4
While they clean all the crap out of the ring Liam Thomson escapes and uses his sink to bash Kid Fite with and is proclaimed the new “owner of this particular sink”.
ICW Tag Team Championship
Kinky Party (c) vs. Bram & Iestyn Rees
Kinky Party try to do the Angel Cruzers bit where they’re late for the show and have to run across Glasgow. I would not run across town to wrestle Bram. Run away yes. Sha is the star here, very aware of his comedic value and capacity to bust out a cracking moonsault. The champs pull out a table and this is the one match that didn’t need any plunder. Bram is terrible, as always. Throwing himself through a table at one point to try and project any kind of value to the contest. Jester rolls Bram up and the champs retain in the worst match on the card.
Final Rating: ½*
ICW Tag Team Championship
Kinky Party (c) vs. Rampage Brown & Ashton Smith
The POD cash in their title shot win from earlier and the already beaten up Kinky Party have to defend again. Jester eats a Tombstone and we get another title switch. That’s every title so far. Ashton Smith is terrible.
Sunday League Ashton with some more quality work here. pic.twitter.com/IoPFa28YxH
— Arn (@ArnoldFurious) December 5, 2018
Final Rating: DUD
Grado vs. James Storm
Tennessee music legend Jeff Jarrett is the referee and “perhaps the only man who can keep a lid on this match” claims James R Kennedy. He looks like a middle aged man who’s not long gotten out of rehab James. He looks like he can barely control himself. Grado comes out to Madonna! Literally the best sing-a-long in wrestling and the reason I gave ICW a shot back in 2016.
This is a fun little match. Storm is a better tag guy but he runs through some sequences designed to make Grado look good. The only issue stems from Jarrett who completely forgets he’s the referee in the first few seconds and is badly out of position throughout. Jeff also spends a few minutes selling an accidental poke to his eye. Making a point of staggering across the screen with a hand over his eye to make sure everyone sees it. There are further issues with the false finishes, which is down to timing. Grado turns into the bottle shot, Storm doesn’t move, so he turns back to look at something else and then turns into it again. Jarrett gets worse and worse. Slap Nuts? More like Slow Nuts.
Jarrett then refuse to count for Grado, clearly miffed about Grado accidentally catching him in the eye and then the groin. He’s a comedy wrestler Jeff! It’s a shame for Grado and Storm who were having a decent match until the bullshit kicked in. When Storm gets the pinfall Jarrett forgets he’s the referee again! This could have been good with better execution but Jarrett didn’t do a good job at all.
Final Rating: *
ICW World Championship
Jackie Polo (c) vs. Lionheart
They main evented the Hydro with THIS?!? I mean, shit, it’s a ballsy move but come on. Due to pre-match stips Lionheart’s career is on the line here.
Polo coming out as a Texas lawman is not what I expected. Polo has always been a passable midcarder to me. Lionheart is barely that. Coach Carlo Trip is in the champ’s corner doing an impression of Colonel Robert Parker. This is all very weird and the kind of thing you’d expect in the opening match. Lionheart tries to milk his career for crowd sympathy and the disinterest is staggering. It’s been a long show and it culminates in this long, long match between two career midcarders with no main event potential. The whole thing is a tedious drag. It’s not even bad, it’s just boring. They do a decent bit with the Polo mallet before Lionheart superkicks it, then Polo and finishes with the Frogsplash. The last minute of this was pretty great, everything before it was an absolute chore between two middling workers.
Final Rating: *3/4
ICW aren’t hilariously bad at the moment but the continual booking issues has created a promotion that has an identity but that’s it. There’s a constant lack of logic and they seem to be taking their loyal guys and just rotating them at the top end. When Grado was on top he was at least over. Since then we’ve had Wolfgang, Joe Coffey, Jackie Polo and Lionheart. Who’s next champion? Liam Thomson? Kid Fite? Mark Coffey? The great thing for ICW wrestlers is anything is possible. The main events don’t need to deliver in this company as long as the booking has some value. Lionheart’s storyline was compelling enough that the crowd bought into him being here. I don’t agree with this but about half the crowd did so it worked.
Typically ICW isn’t for me but this was probably the least offensive Fear & Loathing to date. It was also the least ambitious and the crowd numbers reflect that. They won’t be running the Hydro next year and ICW’s general ambition as a company has been going backwards since the first one. The main reason to watch this show is KLR vs. Viper. It was a brave match between two warriors and the incredibly shallow women’s division in ICW continues to be one of its main highlights. Quality not quantity.
The biggest issue about Fear & Loathing is that it’s ICW’s biggest show of the year and I only had two matches over ***. The quality just isn’t there at all. The depth of talent in Scotland isn’t there. They’ve papered over it in the past with big name fly in’s and the crowd helped a great deal but the crowd wasn’t that excitable here and the lack of star power was palpable.