ICW Fight Club #75
November 10 2017
Another complaint that was made of me, regarding my ICW reviews, is that I wasn’t a regular viewer and that their programming was actually good. While I’ve seen all their big shows this year I have neglected to watch anything in between. With Fear & Loathing looming; here is the latest Fight Club show.
We’re in Liverpool. Host is Billy Kirkwood. Crowd is worryingly small. Although we are outside of ICW’s Scottish base. It’s probably not so small that it’ll bother Mark Dallas just yet and they do run a lot of shows.
ICW Zero G Championship
BT Gunn (c) vs. James Drake
This is Drake’s ICW debut and somehow that justifies him going straight into a title match. Maybe it’s on the strength of his hair, which is lustrous.
The ICW fans launch into the arseface business fairly rapidly. Drake, while fairly dull, makes amends with solid technical stuff and immaculate hair. This is up BT’s alley as they can go and have a good match to open the show. BT gets the crowd all worked up with his fiery offence and he does a fine job of selling. There’s nothing particularly outstanding about the match and it goes south in a hurry when BT is too slow going into the corner and Drake lands on his head. The trouble with a lack of familiarity is that accidents can happen. BT clearly felt Drake wasn’t in position when he was and then by the time he moved Drake was already on his way down. It’s easy to forget that Drake is an exciting wrestler when he wants to be. Only in Progress he’s nailed into that heel persona and cannot show off. Honestly, he’d be better positioned as a babyface. His 450 Splash in this was neat. BT puts him away to retain but it was good showing by Drake. Would have been better without the botch.
Final Rating: ***
Video Control takes us backstage where Red Lightning gets wound up because there’s no power socket for his phone. It’s your own fault for playing Candy Crush on the train down mate. Also, “Bram is one of the best wrestlers in the world” is a falsehood. I know you’re both heels but come on.
Mikey Whiplash vs. Bram
Billy calls this a “dream match absolutely anywhere”. It’s a dream match absolutely nowhere mate. They do some perfunctory wrestling before throwing hands. Bram’s Attitude Era punches annoy me. Like he thinks he’s Steve Austin or something. To be fair Steve was accused of domestic violence too. This match stinks. Mikey tries hard to prove a point with some wacky topes but Bram is a wrestler trapped in the past mentally. His style is so dated. Whiplash is on a mission to ensure this isn’t an embarrassment but when they do the Rebound Lariat countered with a spinning heel kick it all comes tumbling down. What in the blue fuck is that? The crowd, bless them, actually get invested in it and get a duelling chant going. Mainly because they go into a tonne of high spots, one after another. When Bram wipes out the guard rail everyone gets excited but that just reveals what a shoddy job they’d done of putting the rails together. Unless it was deliberate. It probably was because they brawl out of the building. There’s no finish. Eh. Crowd hates it. I’m not bothered.
Final Rating: *3/4
ICW Tag Team Championship
The Marauders (c) vs. The Kinky Party (Jack Jester & Sha Samuels)
Bird & Boar have Iestyn Rees in their corner. I don’t understand why they need him but here he is. I love the Marauders and I’m pleased they’ve been given a substantial role in ICW. It’s a team I would love to see other places. Whether I actually will is another thing. The match isn’t the best. Working heat on Sha turns out to be a mistake. Sha doesn’t have a lot of sympathy and the usually inspired Marauders seem to have an off-night. There are some really dodgy miscues. Like Sha cutting Boar off when he’s not supposed to and Mike looking very confused about it. To be fair to Sha his moonsault to the floor is absolutely killer. He’s really got that down now. The structure of the match is poor with it breaking down and Rees interfering without any real purpose. It looks badly organised. The chair shot from Rees for example is poorly planned out and it leads right into the finish and the Marauders retaining. This did nothing for me and I love the Marauders.
Final Rating: **
What’s the point of hiring a famous person to be ‘Commissioner’ for the night? Don’t ICW have enough authority figures running around already?
Viper vs. Kay Lee Ray
This doesn’t appear to be for KLR’s women’s title. She’s still heel, if you can believe that. They do a lot of stuff on the floor and it’s surprisingly violent. KLR’s tope is beautifully sold by Viper. There’s no intention of staying upright for a long time, Viper goes straight down with that thing to sell the shit out of it. In the ring they beat the shit out of each other too. Lots of heavy shots and big spots. Most of it is great but Viper twice gets pinned right by the ropes and goes for shoddy kick-outs when the rope is right there. KLR gets a small package to win. If this hadn’t quite been so sloppy around the edges it could have been really great.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Video Control takes us backstage where Jimmy Havoc and Chris Renfrew mentally prepare for the Scottish Rules match. Jimmy calling ICW “the most hardcore company in the world” is sensational stuff. I’m sure CZW would love to hear that promo.
Scottish Rules Match
Chris Renfrew vs. Jimmy Havoc
Scottish Rules means there’s a round system and in between rounds they take shots. The idea is normally to gimmick the drinks but they make a point of showing the bottles of Jack Daniels and vodka, which are still sealed. The booze immediately gets to Renfrew who thinks he’s an old-timey wrestler. Jimmy promptly pulls a staple gun out of his trunks. Then they start hitting each other with plunder. That’s how R1 ends.
R2 sees more technical mastery from Havoc; the poke to the eye. For this he gets trolleyed. This gets a beautiful “Supermarket Sweep” chant from the crowd. Renfrew has one more tremendous gag up his sleeve, doing the Joe Coffey taunt before setting up an ironing board. The bell saves Jimmy.
R3 and Havoc whips out a dildo. They fuck around with that before finally getting to the ironing board, which Havoc is powerbombed through. 1-0 Renfrew.
R4 starts with Renfrew hitting a rapid Stunner. Havoc perhaps distracted by the booze. They’re up to eight shots at this point. Rainmaker. 1-1.
R5 kicks off with a drunken “ah fukkin luv yeh man” promo from Renfrew. There’s mutual admiration until a drunken brawl breaks out. Then Stevie Boy randomly walks into the ring and attacks both guys. Huh. The old ICW booking curse strikes again. Bram and Whiplash then brawl back out here and everyone fights. That means yet another match gets thrown out. I was really enjoying this until the last round. If they’d collapsed into a drunken heap and both got counted out you could have gotten the same result (a draw) without any of the bullshit. But then hey, there are Hydro tickets to sell.
Final Rating: **
Post Match: Red Lightning announces Bram as the winner. He’s promptly attacked by Ravey Davey, who’s currently suspended. “This is a shambles” yells Red into the microphone. No shit.
Video Control takes us backstage for some more interviews. I’m glad, in a way, that there’s a promotion out there that allows the boys to cut promos and learn that aspect of the business. Davey has Bram at the Garage the night before the Hydro. If he wins he’s on the Hydro card.
Promo Time: Red Lightning
He comes out here and yaps for a while about the title vs. title match and the title shot ladder match. It’s a rambling load of crap and when the crowd chant “boring” Red resorts to insulting the audience.
Polo Promotions vs. Rampage Brown & Ashton Smith
Rampage & Ashton got a lucky break with ITV and nobody jumped on it. ICW have used them sporadically. They’ve had a couple of squash wins and lost a title match against the Marauders. Polo Promotions make a point of having a technically sound match but one with attached comedy. The idea behind this match is that if Rampage & Ashton win they’ll be taking Polo Promotions spot at the Hydro. Which, in a way, would be more interesting but the long term plan has always been Marauders vs. Polos. Ever since the Marauders beat Polo Promotions for the belts in February. The match plods along until the Marauders run in for no apparent reason. Mark Coffey is distracted and Rampage beats him with a piledriver. This was weird. It didn’t get into a higher gear at all and the run-in was odd.
Final Rating: **1/2
Video Control shows Lionheart looking moody. He punches out a drunk Chris Renfrew. There is other chatter too.
Fite Network (Kid Fite, King Lou Sharp & Krieger) vs. Wolfgang, Stevie James & Krobar
This being ICW there are no rules. It’s a contrast for Wolfgang, fresh off the WWE UK tour. James & Krobar are a decent team but this is just a mess. They brawl around the bar area for ages with nothing happening. It’s like watching an ECW show minus all the rabid fans because this style has been run so far into the ground that nobody gives a fuck anymore. Nothing makes sense. At one point everyone stands around waiting to get hit with stuff. It’s hard to plan out trios matches when there are no tags but check out British Strong Style’s work this year. It’s doable. True, they rely on a lot of the same tropes but this is just a fucking mess. Here’s an example of the waiting to be hit business; Krobar runs in with a stick. Fite runs up and gets hit with it. Then Krieger. Then Sharp. Although Sharp considered running forward when Krieger does and stops because it’s not his turn. It’s this kind of dumb shit that makes this kind of match unwatchable. Wolfgang wins with a chain shot. This was AWFUL.
Final Rating: DUD
Video Control gives us a blessed interview with Keith Lee. He looks so comfortable talking. The difference between him and everyone else is astonishing. He may save this show by himself.
Promo Time: Lionheart
He calls out Zack Gibson. “I came to Liverpool to punch your fucking face in”. Gibson joins us on pre-tape. “Security, there’s a fan in the ring”. “Oh no, it’s just Lionmark”. He’s also incredibly comfortable talking. His criticism of Lionheart extends to baiting Lionheart into adding him into the match with Rob Van Dam. Mark Dallas comes out looking really upset with Lionheart.
ICW World Heavyweight Championship
Joe Coffey (c) vs. Keith Lee
Joe runs some cheap heat and points out normal wrestling rules apply, including DQ’s. They set this out nicely with Joe working a defined heel role and they keep it basic to start. Joe has had a rough year (mainly because of the ITV thing falling through, then Five Star, then Canuck Pro). However he’s still the man for ICW and in that role he has to contest against the best the company can afford. Joe tries to do some no-selling, which isn’t ideal but is met in kind. After seeing Keith wrestle Ishii, I believe he sells way too much here. It’s a deliberate attempt to put over Coffey but the match quality suffers because of it. Keith is so great on offence. When he’s in charge here the match is at its best. It never threatens to erupt into a classic because Joe cannot take it to Keith like an Ishii can. Keith Lee is at his best it’s when someone is pushing him. Joe tries but he’s simply not got the confidence levels to push Keith to another level. Which is what happens when you have a run of misfortune. It doesn’t help that the crowd sound drunk with their chanting becoming increasingly disorganised. They sound like they’re having a good time though and Keith helps that atmosphere with his witticisms and freakish power. Keith has trouble with a middle rope moonsault where he can’t get over and lands head first on Joe’s chest. That looked painful for both guys. Keith struggles after that and walks into All the Best of the Bells. Coffey retains. This was decent but it didn’t quite connect on the same level as Keith’s best work. Mainly because he operates at his opponents level. Joe didn’t bring that four star game. Good match though, easily the best on this show.
Final Rating: ***1/2
ICW continues to have issues. I’m told the Garage shows are worth seeing just for the atmosphere but the tour shows don’t do a lot for me. This was no different. Some decent guest acts like Keith Lee, James Drake and Rampage Brown brought something different to the usual dirge of ICW but it wasn’t enough to make it stand out. The standard of British wrestling is really high right now and ICW, while providing an alternative to great wrestling, and doing more storylines don’t have that top end excellence that Progress, wXw and Rev Pro have. Which is why they’re never in the conversation for ‘best’ anything come the end of the year. Except ‘best attendance’ for the Hydro.