ICW Shug’s Hoose Party 4
July 29 2017
We’re in Glasgow, Scotland, for the latest ICW supershow. After last year’s Fear & Loathing show I said I would watch more ICW this year in order to gain a sense of perspective for their long-running storylines. So here I am. The year started great but has tailed off badly into swerves, turns and crash TV booking. My last show was the disappointing and horribly booked Barramania event from mid-April. Some of the booking from back then has continued on into this event. Whiplash-Stevie Boy, Gibson-Bollocks, Hendry-Lionheart and heel Joe Coffey remains the companies top guy. Here teaming with *shudder* Bram to face Sha Samuels and a returning Noam Dar in the main event.
The venue is the O2 in Glasgow. Hosts are Billy Kirkwood and William Grange. They fire up an already feisty crowd. There are few pitchmen in wrestling better than Kirkwood and the commentary work on these shows is routinely the best thing about them. These two are pro’s and whatever Dallas is paying them it’s not enough.
Promo Time: Red Lightning & Grado
The crowd have opted to chant “fuck yersel” since Grado turned heel.
Grado is out here to announce he’s not wrestling tonight. ICW is running tomorrow too and Grado vs. Sha on that show is now a Loser Leaves Town match. The Red-Grado thing is falling apart already. It feels like ICW burying Grado for daring to make money elsewhere. Grado manages to salvage the segment by being better than Lightning at pro wrestling. Sha goes after Red Lightning but *shudder* Bram attacks Sha for the cut off.
Dog Collar Match
Stevie Boy vs. Mikey Whiplash
Whiplash has a group called Legion, where they wear facepaint. He’s already got Chris Renfrew. I actually prefer Whiplash when he’s just a trimmed down heel who banters with the fans. Here he’s leather and chains, like he’s on his way to a BDSM convention. This is another typical ICW trait; a love of gimmick matches. Dog Collar match stink, as a rule.
At least they don’t base this around touching corners and just fight using the chain as a weapon. Stevie’s concept of fairness is limited. He uses the chain to tie Whiplash to the ring post. It’s a hard match to watch. There’s no heel/face alignment and if anything the crowd are pro-Mikey and he’s the devil incarnate…in fishnets. Mikey inserts a move where the chain stops him running across the ring and it looks really painful. With the slow pace, heavy psychology and blood it feels like an old Southern US Indies match from the 80s. Like something from Memphis. Whiplash occasionally does something stupid with the chain but the stipulation basically hinders them. Whenever the match clicks into gear it’s because they just wrestle. Triple Powerbomb into a DVD (Zombiemaker) gives Mikey the win. Whiplash is clearly the horse to bet on here. He’s got the personality and charisma. He’s usually better than the quality on display here but the stipulation bound them into an old fashioned match.
Final Rating: **
Post Match: Whiplash banters one of the fans by saying he’ll stick his cock so far down their throat they’ll be “shitting semen”. See what I mean about his banter? Mikey and his “coenobites” go to drag Stevie to the coffin from Fear and Loathing. Inside the coffin, introduced in cringeworthy fashion, is Jimmy Havoc.
It’s WWE-lite special effects. Undertaker wannabe shit with the kind of nonsense that would get shredded if it was on WWE TV. In particular Havoc having to hold the coffin lid open is silly but Whiplash not noticing him is ridiculous. Havoc demands a spot on the Hydro this year. Havoc calls out Renfrew but he’s controlled by Whiplash and won’t fight. Stevie Boy eats an Acid Rainmaker for being in the ring. This whole segment took ages.
Promo Time: Mark Dallas
These big ICW shows have way too much talking on them. It’s like watching an episode of RAW. Dallas has that cult following like Paul Heyman. But he’s not running a cutting edge promotion, he’s copying the Attitude Era. Dallas has a big announcement and it’s Rey Mysterio. He’s not here, but he’s going to be in November at the Hydro.
Kid Fite vs. Bull James
Fite has backup in the form of Krieger and Lou King Sharp. The crowd are not excited for Bull and they’re right not to be. Sharp gets bumped off the apron into the front row, where he almost dies. Remember in ECW where the fans would catch the wrestler thrown into the crowd? Yeeaaaah, Scottish people are dicks. The three scrawny wrestlers bounce off Bull and it gets silly. At one point Sharp gets a near fall on James. It’s like the match is a massive rib on Bull for being a big fatty; they sent him the skinniest opponents they could find. The other two keep jumping in there and eventually Fite gets a roll up win, confirming the rib on Big Bull. This stank. The crowd serenade Bull with a “please come back” chant, confirming their status as a pack of bastards.
Final Rating: ½*
ICW Women’s Championship
Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Kasey Owens
Kasey Owens has come along so far in the past year. Her title match at Square Go was tremendous. When faced with the EuroDraft these were my top two women’s picks and I was not disappointed to get them. Naturally KLR gets a pre-match promo, disparaging Kasey for not being on her level and having no heart. Kasey promptly batters KLR with the Gorybomb and a Shining Wizard to win the belt in under a minute. Holy shit! That was unexpected. I would rather have had a long competitive match because they’re really good but it certainly establishes Kasey Owens as a star. Squashing the best women’s wrestler in Scotland.
Final Rating: NR
Jody Fleisch vs. Super Crazy
This would have been an awesome match…in 1999. Which is where Dallas gets booking inspiration from so it’s probably not a shock. Jody is fucking great though. In his late 30s he looks fresh as ever. Crazy on the other hand…is in horrible shape. He’s fat, he’s slow and he keeps stalling to catch his breath. Jody wrestles circles around him and takes a load of exaggerated bumps to cover for his rotund opponent. You can see Jody feeding himself into Crazy’s spots throughout the match. When Crazy has to do the same in reverse he’s constantly out of position. Considering Crazy’s weaknesses the match papers over them beautifully. Fleisch looks every bit as good as he was in his prime. Late 30s still gives him the best part of a decade in the ring, given his style. The match has rough moments, like Crazy taking a bump off a super rana late, but it’s a combination of Fleisch’s determination and skill that stops the car crash on the brink of the cliff. Crazy wins with a roll up and he should definitely buy Jody Fleisch a few beers after the show because this was a carry job.
Final Rating: ***
Lionheart vs. Joe Hendry
This stems from that stupid match at Barramania where Lionheart punted a fallen Hendry in the head. They try and set this out like a shoot, with commentary mentioning Hendry’s amateur background, but that doesn’t last long before they’re throwing in neckbreakers and superkicks. Then they head into the mass of Scotsmen for a big auld brawl. They use furniture, badly. There’s only so much re-positioning of tables a grown man can take. Lionheart gets opened up for the second gusher of the night. Lionheart takes the table bump and Hendry chokes him out for the win. This was patchy as fuck. I don’t buy into nice guy Joe playing a vicious spot-stealing wanker, which is what was expected of us here. Post match he points out they should shake hands and end this. A staggered Lionheart plants him with a urinage to the approval of the assembled throng of Glaswegians. Lionheart is a hero, lads? I’m surprised, honestly. ICW fans are impressed with the old lion, looking to defend himself against a younger aggressor.
Final Rating: **1/2
ICW Zero G Championship
Zack Gibson (c) vs. Kenny Williams
Kenny is looking in fantastic shape. He’s chiselled out of stone. He never looks out of place and I’m sad he’s basically stuck in ICW. Zack calls the crowd “bellends”, before asserting that no “mad flips” would take place. The hilarity of Scottish people chanting “where’s my car stereo” at a Scouser isn’t lost on me. One of the local skagheads has got it. That regional racism only works when you’re from somewhere nicer than Liverpool. Gibson is great at the joint manipulation and controlling a match, while drawing a lot of heat. It leaves the Bollocks with less to do. Given the ladder issues, and the potential for fucking up and getting hurt, there’s a lot of telegraphing. This includes a pointless moment where Kenny Williams walks back across a ladder bridge he’d already crossed to hit a dive to the floor before setting the ladder back up so he can do a spot before eventually climbing the tall ladder. Instead of all that bullshit why not just climb the ladder and get the title? The match is salvaged, psychologically speaking, by Gibson needing to reinforce the main ladder with two support ladders, which is nonsense but it creates a big spot without just setting ladders up for no reason. The result is a cutter off the top of the ladder, which takes too long and isn’t worth the pain of the landing. And yet the best spot in the match is Kenny hitting an impromptu tope and Gibson, the larger man, catching him and breaking his arm (not literally). They head up the ladder one last time, have a punch-up atop it, and Gibson tumbles off allowing Kenny to pull the belt down. The stipulation again hampered the wrestling here. Gibson the technician looked out of his element while Williams was hitting spots off the ladder for no apparent reason. The structure was hit and miss, although some common sense in setting up spots was nice.
Final Rating: ***
Dickie Divers vs. Thomas Kearns
Keirns is a referee who went viral giving Divers a DDT. His opening gambit is falling off the top rope, a spot guaranteed to be on Botchamania. Kearns is very, very basic so Divers spends the bulk of the match beating him up. Divers feels the need to insert the dreadful ‘chair shot that rebounds off the ropes’ spot. As the match continues Kearns looks increasingly out of his depth and it’s not fair on Divers to make him carry the load on a big show. This may have been better positioned at the Garage. Kearns gets the odd hope spot but is dropped by the Northern Lights bomb. Post match another referee distracts and Kearns hits Divers with a DDT again. Kirkwood’s reactions to all of this nonsense is beautiful. He’s out of his chair, yelling at the referees and getting visibly mad at everything.
Final Rating: ½*
WWE UK Championship
Pete Dunne (c) vs. Trent Seven vs. Wolfgang vs. BT Gunn
This shows how little WWE think about this title now. It’ll be defended at Butlins before you know it. All the challengers are crowd favourites. Trent had a great run here at the end of last year, Wolfgang is virtually ICW’s ace and BT is the guy with all the crowd love and momentum.
There’s a nice little touch between Dunne and Seven, acknowledging their British Strong Style status. A little wolfie kiss. This is followed by the Triple H apron water spit. Given Trent’s popularity in ICW it’s a little strange that he tosses all that away here but then the focus is on ICW’s regulars vs. ‘WWE guys’. BT Gunn gives the match a wicked edge, throwing in stuff like a trust fall to the floor and Codebreaker that Pete opts to head-spike into his knees. Dunne, dastard that he is, turns on Trent and hooves him in the balls. That creates an ‘every man for himself’ situation that suits the matches madcap structure. BT’s wild kicks continue to be a highlight during all the four-way spots. BT operates on the edge. That’s where genius lives. During the match there are several teases that BT might win and it helps to elevate the young man. The one stumbling block the match has is that WWE aren’t going to authorise a title switch on an Indie show. No matter how big the crowd is. So when Trent hits his piledriver off the top you know Wolfgang is kicking out. The Pete-BT interactions toward the end of the match is superb. I want that as a singles match. I also love Trent desperately trying to break the winning fall, giving it more legitimacy, before crumbling short. This match took place at a rollicking pace and once everyone had come to terms with Pete retaining it helped to elevate BT Gunn and it was a very strong bout. The post match has Pete going around and showing respect to all his opponents.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Noam Dar & Sha Samuels vs. Joe Coffey & Bram
It doesn’t make much sense to hype this as Coffey & Grado vs. Dar & Sha and then switch it on the night. Unless Grado is injured and he’s wrestling tomorrow night. Noam Dar has a load of monkeys as backup for some reason.
Dar’s arrival is greeted by a huge pop and raucous chanting.
If Bram wasn't a wifebeater and an idiot and wasn't shit at wrestling I might like him.
— Arnold Furious (@ArnoldFurious) August 19, 2017
The lengthy build up takes up half the time allocated to the match. Big entrances and then the grinding opening interactions. Dar has clearly improved since joining WWE and looks content to lead the match. He knows when to insert spots too and nails a tope into the front row after Bram has been dumped in the crowd. The audience becomes strangely disinterested for big chunks of the action, waiting for a high spot. Because ICW wants to be ECW so bad they head into the crowd and brawl all over the building. Again, because they want to be Attitude Era so badly we get an awful referee bump. Then the heel, Joe Coffey, gets a visual pin without it counting. They also have Joe tap out to Dar with the ref still down. Another ref runs in and Bram bumps him on purpose, instead of breaking the submission up. What fucking logic is that? Bram does a Canadian Destroyer on Sha and it’s completely no sold. What is this piece of shit match? Who thought any of this was a good idea?
Jack Jester comes out to attack Joe Coffey, thus taking him out of the match.
Red Lightning then offers Dar a heel turn, which would make no sense because Noam is signed to WWE. Nobody in the entire world would buy it. Red is then shocked that his ‘plan’ didn’t come off. That’s because they tried it with the wrong guy. Dar promptly chair shots Bram and gets the pin. Jesus fucking Christ this was abysmal. The booking was awful. Just awful.
Final Rating: DUD
The booking of ICW routinely confuses me. It’s as if they’re running through every possible awful booking decision possible and when they run out they start again. It’s as if Vince Russo is a creative advisor for them. It’s as if Mark Dallas has that same head injury that stopped Drew Barrymore from forming new memories in 50 First Dates. He’s stuck in 1999. He’s confused by how mundane and sensible everyone else’s booking seems. It’s the only possible explanation.