ICW SPITROAST WEEKENDER REVIEW by Adam Wilson

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Last weekend (the 4th and 5th of May) saw Glasgow play host to Insane Championship Wrestling’s first ever double header, with ‘Luke, Who’s Yer Da’ and ‘Reservoir Dogs’ taking place on the Saturday and Sunday respectively. ‘Luke…’ was also the second show put on by ICW’s sister promotion, ICW: Fierce Females, the first of which attained the highest attendance of any wrestling show in Europe in 2012. The show would also feature the semi-final and final matches in a tournament to crown the first ever ICW: Fierce Females champion.

Let’s get one thing straight out of the way so I’m not repeating myself incessantly later on: there was not a single poor match on either of these cards. Both shows held an extremely high standard throughout, which was a credit not only to the performers themselves, but also to Mikey Whiplash (who as well as being one of the top wrestlers in the UK, is also the proprieter of ICW: Fierce Females) and Mark Dallas, the owner of ICW.

It almost finished before it started of course. On the Friday, news broke that the Classic Grand (the venue that the ICW: FF show was booked in) had suffered a power failure, and all shows due to take place that weekend were cancelled. Immeasurable credit must go to the Garage (now the regular home of ICW) for stepping in at less than 24 hours notice to volunteer to host the show. The company were able to take advantage of the extra space, and utilised a ramp entranceway, as well as screens and lighting which gave the show a professional feel that many other companies running their second show would be envious of.

The show opened the same way all ICW shows open, with the commentary team of Billy Kirkwood and Sean David warming up the crowd with (VERY non PG) wrestling related jokes. As many who saw Billy as a support act for Mick Foley and William Regal will attest, his enthusiasm is infectious and is perfect for warming up a wrestling crowd.

They quickly introduced the bizarre spectacle of Mikey Whiplash in suit (leading to one fan roaring “WHAT A MANEUVER!”), as he introduced the unfortunate news that Viper’s scheduled semi-final opponent, April Davids, was injured and would not be appearing on the show. He was soon interrupted by Fiona Fraser (who was not booked on the show), who ran down Davids, claiming her injuries were exaggerated. She in turn was interrupted by Viper, who made her way to the ring and took out Fraser quickly with a Michinoku Driver. At this point, Ayesha Ray (who also had not been announced for the show) emerged from the crowd and attacked Viper. Whiplash then returned to the ring and announced that Ayesha Ray would serve as a substitute for Davids, and the match would start immediately.

SEMI-FINAL ONE: VIPER v AYESHA RAY

This was a quick match, with Viper defeating Ayesha in short order with another Michinoku Driver. On one hand, it’s a shame the opening match wasn’t a bit longer, but the match served it’s purpose, as it allowed Viper to earn her way into the final, and she looked very convincing and powerful in victory.

SEMI-FINAL TWO: KAY LEE RAY v RHIA O’REILLY

This match was much more competitive, with O’Reilly dominating early, including hanging Kay Lee outside the ring from the top turnbuckle in a painful looking, tree of woe-esque fashion, wrenching back on her neck. Kay Lee eventually fought back, overcoming more adversity after an attempted run in by her longtime rival Carmel Jacob (who, incidentally, cost KLR her first qualifier back in November by getting Kay Lee disqualified against April Davids), eventually pinning Rhia with a top rope Swanton Bomb. Immediately following her victory, Kay Lee was viciously attacked by Viper, setting up a face/heel underdog dynamic for the final later in the night.

LEAH VON DUTCH v CARMEL JACOB

Making her highly anticipated ICW debut, Leah Von Dutch faced off against Carmel Jacob. Interestingly, while a heel on numerous recent shows, Leah was a face here, and quickly won over the ICW fans. While not that long, this was a competitive, exciting match, marred only by Carmel slipping as she attempted her Hurricanrana Driver finisher. However, she quickly recovered and pinned LVD with a DDT, and this was only a small blip in a fun match. Afterwards, Leah received a warm reaction from the crowd, hopefully meaning her first ICW: FF show won’t be her last.

BETE NOIRE v CRAZY MARY DOBSON

This was a highly exciting brawl, and in the eyes of many fans the best match of the night. Some fans weren’t familiar with Dobson prior to the match, but she quickly won them over through a combination of crazy stunts and some good old fashioned likeability. The weapon of choice to begin the match was a staple gun, which led to Dobson having a flyer stapled to her tongue, only to return the favour by using it to attach a copy of the ICW fanzine to Bete Noire’s back. From here, things escalated, eventually leading to Mary being bust open by a screwdriver. The next weapon of choice was a makeshift table, constructed from a wooden board and two chairs, that Noire ended up going through by way of a top rope hurricanrana. However, she soon returned the favour by drilling Dobson with a Death Valley Driver off the rampway onto a chair. However, it was Dobson that emerged the eventual victor, pinning Bete after hitting a split legged moonsault from the top rope whilst wielding a chair. Dobson received a massive reaction after her victory, including “please come back” chants. These were met with “How about tomorrow?”, as she revealed she had been added to the Jack Jester v Jimmy Havoc match, making it a triple threat.

BLUE NIKITA v ERIN ANGEL

This was a decent match, unfortunately hampered by having to follow the previous match. Fortunately, they both worked hard and managed to draw the crowd into it. Nikita dominated for the most part, including an impressive move where she caught Erin’s attempted dive from the middle rope and reversed it into a Death Valley Driver. However, it was Erin that managed to pull out the victory, managing to nail Nikita with a Code Red sunset flip powerbomb, which was particularly impressive given the size difference between the two.

LISA FURY, SARA, KIRSTY LOVEIGN v SAKURA LILY & THE OWENS TWINS

This segment opened with Kirsty Loveign being berated by her “Sports Entertainment Agent” James R. Kennedy for being a failure in comparison to his other client, The Teen Sensation Christopher. Kirsty did a good job of portraying being put upon by her manager while still appearing eager to impress him. The match itself was fun, with Sara, Loveign and Fury controlling it for the most part, using heel tactics and distracting the referee, allowing for multiple double team spots on Sakura Lilly. Eventually, she got the hot tag to an Leah Owens, who cleaned house with her sister Kasey, including hitting an impressive looking side slam/running leg drop combo on Lisa Fury. Eventually, Kirsty was tagged in and subsequently pinned after missing a move, leading to further discord between her and James R. Kennedy.

FINAL: KAY LEE RAY v VIPER

Next up was the final to crown the first ever Fierce Females champion, and in my opinion arguably the best match of the entire weekend. Kay Lee Ray came out still selling the earlier attack by Viper, which combined with their size difference set up a true ‘David and Goliath’ feel to this match. Viper capitalised on her Kay Lee’s injuries early in the match, only for a KLR comeback to be cut off early by another Carmel Jacob run-in. However, a Viper dive from the top rope to the outside took them both out, and Carmel was sent to the back. From here the fighting went into the crowd, and eventually up onto the balcony in the Garage. At this point, they were attacked by Fiona Fraser, who ended up battling Viper back downstairs and into the main section of the crowd, at which point a recovered Kay Lee Ray dived off the balcony, taking down Viper and sending Fraser packing.

At this point the fighting returned to the ring, with Kay Lee and Viper both scoring nearfalls with a Swanton Bomb and a Michinoku Driver respectively. After this, Viper introduced a chair to the match, but had it dropkicked into her by Kay Lee, knocking Viper into the referee Yum Yum, putting him down. Seizing advantage, Viper set the chair up in the middle of the ring and nailed Kay Lee Ray with a vicious looking Electric Chair Drop facefirst onto the chair. However, Yum Yum was still down so no count was made. By the time Viper had woken him up, she turned and was caught with an inside cradle by Kay Lee for the 3 count.

After the match, Kay Lee was congratulated on her victory by Viper, and as she made her way up the ramp, she was met by both Mikey Whiplash and Mark Dallas, who both also offered their congratulations, which was a nice touch, and ultimately the icing on the cake of a brilliant night for Kay Lee Ray, marking her first title victory. Given the bright future predicted for her by many (including myself), it’s fair to say it probably won’t be her last.

RESERVOIR DOGS

The mens show opened up much the same as the previous night, with Billy Kirkwood and Sean David cracking jokes, as well as breaking the news that ring announcer Liane Vandermotten would be leaving ICW for the forseeable future due to her being pregnant (congratulations Liane!), but they were soon interrupted by Mikey Whiplash. Wearing street clothes, he announced that since ICW Champion Red Lightning was apparently not in attendance, then he wouldn’t be cashing in his title shot (earned by winning the 2013 Square Go) that night. However, Red attacked him from the crowd, striking Whiplash viciously with his title belt, informing him that his challenge was accepted, and he would defend the title that night. Announcing “I have a match to prepare for”, he stormed off, leaving Whiplash, who had to be helped from the ring.

NOAM DAR v SOLAR

While Noam Dar is known all across the UK by this point, Solar is a relatively new addition to ICW, making his debut at the Square Go in January. Utilising his size advantage over his (very) diminutive opponent, Dar worked this match more heelishly than he has in recent months for ICW, refusing a handshake from his opponent before the match (and even mimicking John Cena’s “You can’t see me” hand motion). This was a fast paced, often high flying encounter, with Solar displaying exactly why he has won the crowd over so quickly (with this only being his third ICW appearance). Eventually though, the more experience Dar took control, working Solar’s legs with a series of brutal kicks and stomps, before applying his signature Kneebar for the win. After the match, Dar shook Solar’s hand, who by no means looked weak in defeat.

Before the next match could be announced, the recently reformed New Age Kliq (Chris Renfrew and BT Gunn, the latter of whom would wrestle Prince Devitt later that evening) came out to berate ICW owner Mark Dallas, painting him as a gloryhog living off the hard work of others, with Chris Renfrew describing how BT “opened his eyes” to the disregard they were treated with. Renfrew has always been good with a microphone, and this was the best I’ve ever seen him, delivering his words with a passion and intensity that many in mainstream wrestling could learn a lot from. The crowd was divided, as for all the NAK’s heelishness, they are both still hugely popular amongst fans. After Dallas, they turned their attention to Liane Vandermotten, whom BT threatened with a pair of scissors. He was saved by her (real life) partner Scott Maverick, who was quickly overwhelmed by the NAK and placed in a crossface by BT, while Renfrew implored with him to “open your eyes”. The NAK left to near silence, with Renfrew taunting the crowd “You’re not singing anymore”. Maverick was then helped to the back officials and a weeping Liane, who was replaced on MC duties by Simon Cassidy.

BUCKY BOYS (ICW TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS) v SUMERIAN DEATH SQUAD

This was a highly anticipated match, built up fantastically by promos posted to Youtube by the challengers, berating the Bucky Boys for their lifestyle (for those unfamiliar with the Bucky Boys, they are essentially a ned tag team). Ordinarily, a Bucky Boys match will start with their manager, The Wee Man cutting a humourous promo on their opponents. This did not happen this night as he was laid out before he could utter a word by a Superkick from Tommy End, which set the match off at a furious pace. Both teams brawled into the crowd, with Tommy End and Stevie Boy fighting past the merch stand (with Tommy, ever the salesman, imploring fans to “buy the shirt” as he passed it. The Sumerian Death Squad used their imposing size and strength to their advantage, dominating their opponents and cutting off comeback attempts. Eventually, the Bucky Boys fought back, hitting their Triple D finisher. However, this was not enough to end the match. The SDS soon regained the upper hand, almost pinning Davey Boy (who may be better known to English fans as Davey Blaze) for a 3 count, but the pin was broken up by The Wee Man. This distraction allowed Davey to win the match with a rollup. At this point, all Hell broke loose as Tommy End superkicked the Bucky Boys valet Lambrini with a Superkick. This brawl ended with the Bucky Boys laid out, and the Sumerian Death Squad making off with the tag belts. This obviously sets up a potential rematch, which already has fans frothing at the mouth.

GRADO V LEWIS GIRVAN (WITH GUEST REFEREE KAY LEE RAY)

This match was initially booked as Grado v William Grange. Instead, Dickie Divers (ex tag team partner of Grange) came out and berated Grange, saying he had pulled out because “he had a sore tummy”, and claimed he used a similar excuse to skip the Square Go. Instead, he was replaced by 18 year old Lewis Girvan, making only his 2nd appearance in ICW (his first being the aforementioned Square Go), accompanied to the ring by Grange’s valet Sara (presumably to further insinuate Girvan as a heel, not that it was needed given the popularity of his opponent). For the most part this was a comedy match, with Girvan doing a great job of being a straight man for Grado to play off. For the 3rd time in two days, Carmel Jacob made a run-in on Kay Lee Ray, who was saved by the Owens Twins. At this point, Joe Coffey, who has been building a feud with Grado over a number of months arrived and laid waste to everyone in the ring (including the females). He was stopped in his tracks by one of his opponents later that night, Wolfgang, who was in turn attacked by the third man from that forthcoming match, Andy Wild. After the commotion settled, Grado hit Girvan with the Wee Boot to pick up the win, and kickstart a party with KLR and the Owens Twins. This was a good match for Girvan though, who looked very impressive on his ICW singles debut.

Before Simon Cassidy even had the chance to announce the next match, he was cut off by the familiar sound of ‘Jackie’ by Scott Walker, signalling the start of another edition of (TV’s) Jackie Polo’s Polo Lounge. His set was still in a state of disrepair, after having it destroyed the previous month by Johnny Moss. Jackie called out Mark Dallas, insisting that he wanted to face Johnny Moss at ICW’s June show ‘Flava In Your Ear’, and that if he won that, he wished to face Mark Dallas himself for control of ICW. Dallas accepted this proposal, on the proviso that Polo vacate the ring immediately. To ensure this happened, Dallas sent out Sweeney, who has wreaked havoc on the Polo Lounge before, to chase away the King of Chat.

JIMMY HAVOC v JACK JESTER v CRAZY MARY DOBSON

This constantly changing match was originally booked as the 3rd decisive match between Jimmy Havoc and James Scott. However, Scott had to pull out a few weeks previously through injury and was replaced by Jester. Dobson was then a last minute addition based on her winning the crowd over the previous night. The match begun with Jester and Havoc arguing, both dismissing Dobson every time she approached, not taking her seriously. Soon enough, a brawl ensued which quickly left the ring. Unfortunately, your reviewer didn’t see much of what happened next on account of being on the opposite side of the venue, but it culminated in Jester hurling Dobson from the same balcony Kay Lee Ray jumped from the previous night. On returning to the ring, the weapons entered the fray, including the staple gun from the previous evening, and a bag of thumbacks (oddly held in a Poundland bag instead of the usual sack, leading to a humourous “Jester shops at Poundland” chant). Numerous staples to the genitals (and in Mary’s case, tongue) later, Jester eventually took the win, Tombstoning Havoc onto thumbtacks for the victory.

FIGHT CLUB v THE SENSATIONAL BFF’s.

This match was memoral for three reasons. The first was the debut of a tag team partner for The Teen Sensation Christopher, in the form of ‘The Teen KENsation, Kenneth’. While talking them both up, James R. Kennedy was still berating Kirsty Loveign, though like the previous evening, it hasn’t led to anything yet.

The second reason was that, by his own “Glasweigan” admission, Kid Fite was rather drunk. He has since apologised for this on Twitter, though in fairness to him, when he actually wrestled it didn’t seem to impair his crispness any.

The third, and perhaps most unfortunate reason, was the sight of Kid Fite delivering his signature “Teabag” maneuver (and yes, it is EXACTLY what it sounds like) to referee Eddie Sideburns after hearing a jovial and facetious “Teabag Eddie” chant from the crowd.

Fan power gone mad aside, this was a fun match, with the BFF’s hamming it up at every turn. Fight Club dominated for the most part, but an attempt by Loveign to prove her worth to Kennedy led to her blinding Kid Fite with Christopher’s hairspray, allowing the Teen Sensation to roll Fite up for a shock victory, which silenced the ordinarily vocal Garage.

BT GUNN v PRINCE DEVITT

Making his return to ICW after his debut against Wolfgang in September (which won Match of the Year at ICW’s end of year awards), Prince Devitt took on BT Gunn in an extremely physical, hard hitting match. Almost immediately, the two began brawling through the crowd, with Devitt cheekily “borrowing” fans drinks along the way, before returning to the ring where some of the hardest chops and kicks I’ve heard live were exchanged. Both men’s chests were bright red afterwards, with both men exchanging signature moves before Devitt took the win with a second Brainbuster. The crowd loved this match (evidenced by a simple yet effective “This match rules” chant), and were divided throughout. After the match, Devitt was attacked by Gunn, Renfrew, and an as yet unidentified third member of the NAK. Grabbing the microphone when he recovered, he promised to return to ICW and seek revenge on Chris Renfrew, sooner rather than later.

WOLFGANG (ICW ZERO-G CHAMPION) v ANDY WILD v JOE COFFEY

Wolfgang v Wild at Tramspotting earlier this year was hugely well received, so the addition of the recently returned Joe Coffey set the anticipation for this through the roof. This went like a typical triple threat, with two fighting while one was down, until Joe Coffey took control. Delivering an intense and fearsome performance, Coffey ran through his opponents, eventually laying them both out with his signature spinning lariat (the one he hit Wolfgang with was utterly brutal), before leaving the ring, never to return. After this Wild and Wolfgang went back and forth, before Wolfgang came back with his “now I’m mad!” look and pinned Wild with a Military Press Powerslam. Afterwards, he shook Wild’s hand, seemingly drawing an line under their feud and Wild’s chase to regain the Zero-G title.

RED LIGHTNING (ICW HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION) v MIKEY WHIPLASH

Mikey Whiplash came out still selling the effects of Red’s earlier attack, with his head bandaged and staggering around. Lightning dominated for the majority of the match, which at times left the crowd silent. However, booking the challenger as such an underdog in spite of the advantageous nature of a “cash in” title shot paid off, as the crowd truly came to life when Whiplash started to fight back. Red Lightning cut off numerous comeback attempts, grabbing the microphone and pointing to spots in previous Whiplash matches, claiming he studied them on his time off.

The irony came when Lightning himself went to a spot he has previously when he again struck Mikey with the belt, like he has to numerous challengers before. However, when he went for a second swing, Whiplash dodged it and nailed him with a DDT, pinning him to become the new ICW Heavyweight Champion, ending Red Lightning’s year long reign. The crowd popped big time for Whippy’s victory, and there was more to come yet. Red Lightning was then assaulted by his cohort from the Save Pro Wrestling movement, Joe Coffey, who declared himself the new leader. At this point, Mark Dallas then came back out, firing Red Lightning.

As well as commercially (I’m not sure if Reservoir Dogs was a sell out, but if not, it can’t have been far off), the show was a critical success, with new feuds and character developments coming from numerous matches. While not confirmed by ICW, Noam Dar has claimed via Twitter his victory makes him the Number One Contender for Wolfgang’s Zero-G title. In addition, Flava In Your Ear on June 9th has already had a title match announced: a rematch between Mikey Whiplash and Robbie Dynamite, who previously faced off at Get Yer Rat Oot in April, in what many are already calling a contender for Match of the Year. As well as this, Jack Jester and Jimmy Havoc will this time team up to face the New Age Kliq, in what is sure to be a heated, crowd dividing brawl.

However the biggest announcement of all following the weekender comes for the August show, which will see ICW return to Studio 24 in Edinburgh (this time as part of the Fringe), the location of the widely acclaimed Tramspotting show in February. Tickets for this show went onsale earlier today (May 8th), and it has already been claimed that it is the fastest selling show in ICW history, due in part to the one match announced so far: Jack Jester v Sabu. Yes, THAT Sabu. Many are calling it a dream match, and it’s hard to argue with that, seeing arguably the face of ICW come up against an ECW legend. It has also been stated there will be an announcement made on May 9th regarding a match for Grado. Rumours are already afoot, though I will not give them credence here until they have been confirmed. However, watch this space.

If you would like to find out more about Insane Championship Wrestling, please visit http://www.insanewrestling.co.uk or http://www.youtube.com/ICWOnline Also, I’m hardly one for blowing my own trumpet, but you can contact me on twitter @GingerPimpernel. Thank you for reading.

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