Directly across the road from the Barrowlands is an ‘adult shop’, that’s quite fitting I’d say as on Sunday night at ICWs ‘Fear & Loathing VII’, THE BARRAS GOT PUMPED!
The anticipation of this show was pretty obvious to see before the event, but arriving at the Barras you could feel the buzz. I was speaking to several people who had been there since 2pm. What other show gets people queuing 5 hours before doors? None, that’s what.
Mark Dallas jokingly saying to us he’ll need a taxi to go from the front of the queue to the back wasn’t a joke. This is a testament to just how big this company has got in the last 18 months. For anyone who doesn’t know, the Barrowlands is the most iconic venue in Glasgow and also the biggest without going to arenas.
Fill this huge venue with people, a wrestling ring (new, bigger ring) and some of the best talent in Europe and you have one of the most electrifying nights in Glasgow ever.
So the night started out with an introduction from the man himself, Mark Dallas. Coming out with his conscience Chris Toal and his heavy Sweeney, he gets sentimental thanking the fans and being met with just as many thanks as he’s giving. He then, crazily enough, calls out WWE and Vince offering a ‘square go’ anytime in retaliation to the WWE changing their network launch date to the same day as ICWs own on demand service. After a Barras-wide congratulation to Sweeney on the birth of his baby daughter, the boss left and it was time for the first match.
Oh yeah, Barra-Mania was announced. Running the Barras on the same night as mania next year (tickets available now)
Zero G Title Match: Kenny Williams (c) vs. Joe Hendry vs. Kid Fite vs. Big Damo
The match starts with kid fite trying to make a moment to remember. He offers a strip from one of the Owens (sorry) and Courtney in exchange for a Mexican wave. Now, for anyone who hasn’t been to an ICW show, the best way to get ICW fans to do something is to offer a strip show. So the Mexican wave happens in glorious fashion and just as the striptease is gonna happen… ‘We found love in Joe Hendry’s face’. Yeah, it was Joe Hendry coming to stop the anticipated event. Anyway, next is Big Damo followed by Marty Mcfly- sorry, Kenny Williams. Thought this was a good opener with Joe Hendry playing his usual heely self while the other 3 where playing up to the crowd perfectly. Being so early in the night, this is a bit hazy. Big highlights of the match was a massive beast of Belfast/samoan drop thing from Big Damo carrying both Kid Fite and Joe Hendry. After some back and forth between all 4 guys, Damo and Kid Fite take the match out of the ring allowing a bit of action between Joe Hendry and Kenny- I personally thing those two have a cracking chemistry between each other. After a fantastic DDT and a few hard bumps from Kenny (mainly landing almost directly on his head), Tim Wylie puts the chair up for Hendry to swing Kenny into. We get the obvious outcome here of Kenny reversing it and Joe taking the hit. Kenny gets the rollup win and leaves pals with a shocked Damo and Kid Fite.
Stevie Boy & Kay Lee Ray w/the wee man vs. Liam Thompson & Carmel Jacob – 2/3 Falls
I’ll say this to start; Stevie boy is one of the best there is right now. Absolutely zero limits.
After the introduction from the wee man Thompson and Carmel are coming to the ring, they get to the bottom of the ramp and we get a duel suicide dive from Stevie and KLR. I’m not a fan of female wrestling but KLR and Carmel are just fantastic. Once they get in the ring, Liam Thompson gets the fast rollup for the first fall on Stevie Boy. Now we’re on. We get the classic heel vs. face match here with the ref being distracted allowing Stevie boy to be teamed up on by Thompson and Carmel. After more flippy stuff from Stevie and some back and forth from Carmel and KLR I get lost. These things happened but in what order I’m not sure. Liam thomspon tries to catch Stevie for an electric chair but stevie reverses it for the rollup pin. 1-1
After more back and forth, Stevie boy goes for a dive into Liam Thompson and gets caught pretty bad on Liams head. I’m assuming they were both supposed to go over the rope but missed it. This left the two of them out the ring and let Carmel and KLR get a bit of shine. After some dominance from Carmel she gets KLR on the top rope for the top rope ddt. She hits it and gets the pin on KLR.
Thompson and Carmel win the match 2-1. The next sight of Liam Thompson is of his face below his mouth covered in blood, he must have taken a bad one. As they celebrate, the bucky boys music hits… ITS DAVEY BOY!!
Davey hits a monumental spear on Liam Thompson as if to cement his return and then lifts Carmel for the 3D with Stevie. KLR then hits Swanton bomb followed by a family wide celebration.
Sumerian Death Squad vs. NAK
This show just doesn’t stop does it?
This match was always gonna be brutal, hard hitting and downright crazy. How do you make an already anticipated crazy match more crazy ?
Oh yeah, the SDS come in laden with ceremonial robes to an A Capella version of the pixies ‘where is my mind’ sung by a skull painted women while carrying a body bag.
C’mon. This is ICW, that’s not crazy. What’s crazy is when that body bag is opened to unveil a previously absent Mikey Whiplash painted with similar demon paint to the singer. You could tell the ICW regulars here as the place went MENTAL. We have a six man.
This match was tamer than I thought but still just as good as I expected. Like the zero g match, all 6 guys got some time with each other. Apologies if my memory is hazier than I thought but it felt as though the SDS were dominant here. Plenty of kicky stuff from Tommy End, plenty of strong stuff from Dante and plenty of hard-hitting attack from Whippy. The bit that interested me though was the 3 man moves from the new improved SDS, the three-headed snake.
After a full nelson german suplex from whippy on Dickie Divers the SDS pick up the win. I don’t think this is over with and I’m ecstatic at the thought of more.
BT Gunn vs. Wolfgang
I talk about chemistry a lot and tbh, you’ll struggle to get more chemistry than what these two have. Probably the biggest feud in ICW outside Jester and Drew (arguably bigger).
After an entrance from BT Gunn, Wolfie appears. He has a bike, like a real massive Harley. This is how big tonight is. He carried a huge Harley up the stairs in the Barras.
Simon Cassidy informs us that the match is now a last man standing match. The match starts and finishes the exact same way. Massively hard hitting. Like brawl for all hard hitting, bigger than brawl for all hard hitting.
The whole match was just a joy, the same as every match they have. The match had lots of near counts for both guys, chairs, gorilla presses, kinky boots. Too much to mention.
My only issue with this match was just an inconvenience of being a fan. After teasing a gorilla press for BT Gunn into the crowd, wolfie finally went for the gorilla press. Right in front of me. Amazing to see, except the fact I was expecting it due to the high security presence. Like I say, a minor, necessary inconvenience. After getting back into the ring BT gets a bit of a build going after an almighty chair shot to Wolfies head (agony). He then goes for kinky boots and hits it. Everyone expects Wolfie to stay down but he gets up!!
After something that completely escaped my memory, the match ends in a double count out.
The Bucky Boys, Dallas and the NAK both come down to check on the guys and for a while it felt like they were legit finished with wrestling. Wolfie is helped to the back by the buckys but tries to get back to the ring to get a final ending to the match and in effect, the feud. Dallas holds him back so wolfie lays down another challenge. If they cant finish the match, he wants his cousin somewhere that his NAK buddies cant get to them (despite the NAK not interfering this match (pleasantly) – he wants him in a cage!!
So there we have it. My match of the night and it gets finished with the probable outcome of a cage match at the ABC on the square go event.
ICW Tag Team Championship: Paul London & Brian Kendrick (c) vs. Polo Promotions
After the break we’re treated to a cracker once again, this time for the tag titles.
Again, my memory is hazy but I’ll give it a go.
After polo promotions entrance, we get London and Kendricks entrance. Kendrick goes straight to the ring but London takes a detour via the entire Barras main hall. Kendrick gets fed up of waiting and just starts the match.
These two teams gelled pretty well IMO and was a cracking match. We got body slam galore from Polo and hard hitting from Coffey. The whole match I thought London and Kendrick were winning. After lots of classic tag wrestling London somehow (I said my memories vague) hit the shooting star press to the cheers of the crowd. Kendrick then goes for the sliced bread on coffey bouncing off polo but its blocked by coffey. I think coffey hits the pumphandle slam on Kendrick and get the pin, I think.
Anyway, polo promotions are new champs.
As good a match as this was, I get the feeling that this match wasn’t about the titles. It was about what happened next.
Polo continues the heel tactics on Lionheart, gloating about how Lionheart cant face up to Polo and he’ll always be the better man.
Cue Lionheart. He’s met with cheers from the crowd and comes out to talk it out with polo. He strangely but perfectly uses his own personal demons to put polo into his place about how he’s not able to go up against hearto on the mic. The whole moments perfect and is made better as we see signs of Lionheart recovery. Polo attacks Lionheart and tries to get him up for the styles clash. Hearto gets down and lays into Polo, hits the rock bottom and clears the ring of him. That’s not it… Lionheart gives us the first match for ‘Barra-Mania’. The match 1 year in the making. LIONHEART vs. JACKIE POLO.
Joe Coffey vs. Noam Dar
Two of the best technical performers in Europe. That’s what these two are and it’s the view they’ve cemented with this best of 5 series.
Going into the match the series is tied at 2-2 and 4 fantastic matches.
This match was no different.
The match begun with the entrances here. It felt like a final match, from Coffeys Iron Man entrance to Dars Star Wars entrance, complete with Yoda, yeah that’s right.
The match went exactly how you would expect these two to go, fantastic technical wrestling that sucks in the whole crowd. That’s until Joe gets angry. You wouldn’t like Joe when he’s angry. He gets chairs, chairs that he can swing like a pillow. But metal pillows that hurt when you get hit. He appears to turn and go for the chair shot on Dar but is stopped. You already guessed how he was stopped didn’t you? No? You sure?
Use the force…
Yeah, Yoda stopped the chair shot with the force. This is amazing. Dar then uses the lightsabre on Joe but he kicks out at 2.
Joe gets up and is pumped up. He gives Dar a discuss lariat and then hits him with a second, even harder, discuss lariat to get the pin.
Despite much mumblings, Joe and Noam shared a respectful embrace after the match. Again, two of the best performers in Europe.
Grado vs. Sha Samuels
This is the point of realisation for me. Grado is the most sought after guy in Scottish wrestling. I hate saying that as I love the guy but I also have ridiculous respect for the rest of the stellar roster there is in ICW. But as pops go, Grado is the man.
This was a classic Scotland vs. England encounter. The match wouldn’t have been anywhere near as entertaining without the input of Sha Samuels.
Sha played up the cockney gimmick perfectly here, interacting with the crowd better than anyone else the entire night.
This was a decent match from Grado, who hit an early F5 on Sha. He kicks out and the match starts. Grado gets the better of Sha for a lot of the match allowing for a huge singalong of several classic Scottish songs. You’ve seen nothing until you see the entire Barrowland Ballroom sing the entire rendition of ‘Flower of Scotland’.
Grado looks to be getting the win before Martin Stone (I was confused at the number of people clueless to who he was) comes down the ramp. Martin stone gets the better of Grado with a chair but Grado kicks out of the pin. Sha hits the top rope DDT and finally gets the pin on Grado.
I for one enjoyed the match greatly, and so hope we see lots more of Stone and Samuels on future shows. They would make a perfect tag team in ICW.
ICW Heavyweight Championship: Jack Jester (c) vs Drew Galloway
This is it. The match that sold out the Barrowlands 2 months in advanced. The match that’s been billed in several sources as the biggest match in Scottish, British and European history.
Drew comes in to a smaller pop than I expected, this was probably due to burnout from the red-hot atmosphere during the Grado match previously. Jester comes out and as always the crowd is split. I like this idea in ICW where there are no heels or faces set out, the crowd decides.
Drew is just amazing, isn’t he? Watch him as Jester comes in, he doesn’t blink, doesn’t make any movements. Just stares.
He misses what’s to come from this though. Jester playing to the crowd swings round and scuds drew on the head with the belt. The bell goes and the match starts. The next thing I know drew is being Suplexed on top of me from the ring into the crowd, over the barrier, similar to BT Gunn earlier in the night.
This was the match we expected, a strong, hard-hitting brawl. Jester was burst open pretty early, I still have no idea how he burst open- I think jester just burst open when he gets into a ring, but hey, that’s jester. Entertaining.
The match goes out into the crowd and like Paul London, they take a tour of the Barras all the time alternating who was getting bumped with the chain around jesters neck. After a brawl, drew gets flung over the bar and reappears burst open. Again, I think the night just caused people to burst open.
There was a table spot at the stage with Jester elbow dropping onto drew, the table didn’t snap though. I imagine its just the sheer size of drew that he just slid off when he was hit instead of the table taking the hit. Looked a sore one.
They’re now back in the ring with chairs, that’s not enough for Jester and ICW though. He likes something a bit more barbed… yup. He brings out the barbed wire bat that drew somehow got from him. Drew goes to town on him with it but it doesn’t keep jester down. Jester gets a few near falls from the piledriver that gets pretty audible gasps from the crowd.
Drew gets up and goes for and hits the piledriver on Jester, the ultimate insult surely huh ? Beating a guy with his own move. Nah, he didn’t get the pin. Another kickout. Drew appears angry and tells ‘Lee’ to stay down. He pulls him up and takes him back down immediately with a futureshock DDT. 1…2…3! NEW CHAMP. The almost yearlong reign of Jack Jester is over like that.
It was nice to see them share a hug after they both resurfaced. It appears it wasn’t personal, it was all about the company.
I hear a bundle of people all the time say that Jester can be stale, I don’t agree wholly with that. Yeah his matches are structured similar, but so was a hell of a lot of the greats. I’ve seen him in other promotions where he wrestles totally different matches to ICW. What he does in ICW isn’t stale, its what the majority of the crowd want. I think he gets a bit too much heat similar to Cena when in ICW to be honest. I for one look forward to the rematch.
If it happens that is …
There was the looming potential for a Renfrew cash in you see. He won the square go almost a year ago so doesn’t have long before he cant cash in. everyone was expecting the cash in last night; there were clear chants of ‘renfrews gonny cash’. Drew stays in Tampa; he’s not here all the time. Renfrew is, he’s gonna do it, he’s gonna cash in.
ICW though. They suck you in and then hit you with the unexpected. Amazingly, the unexpected this time was for nothing to happen.
To sum this up, this was ICWs biggest show to date. I went into the event thinking there was an awful lot of rematches but looking back, this felt like a culmination of 18 months of shows. So many things tied up just perfectly and more questions left for us to think about.
People talk about a so called ‘big 3’ in UK wrestling promotions.
With all respect to every other promotion in the UK, I think last night ICW proved they are the biggest, fastest rising promotion in Europe. Size dictates that. No debate there. But I have to ask myself. What is it that puts them out there away from everyone else? I think its their own identity, that thing where when you see it its quite obviously ICW, that thing that will push them further and further to be one of the biggest promotions on the planet (WWE are their own entity). Why shouldn’t this amount of talent be spoken about in the same sentences as NJPW, PWG and ROH? Last night was on par and better than a lot of TNA tapings who use names a hell of a lot more well known. But that’s an argument for another day.
If you haven’t already seen it, watch F&LVII on the ICW on demand service.
Follow me on twitter – @ryan_blackwood