Sunday 23 March – Studio 24, Edinburgh
Jackie Polo defeated Noam Dar
This was a great opener that saw some excellent heel work from Jackie Polo and Noam Dar’s usual in-ring brilliance. Polo postponed joining Noam in the ring with some wonderfully loathsome posturing until Dar grew impatient and flew out between the ropes to attack Jackie and get the match underway. It’s great watching Noam wrestle whoever the opponent and Polo is no fool himself, and the duo traded an entertaining duel. The venue was a limiting factor to this match though, because without the low ceiling I’m sure Noam would have offered a much more aerially-based offence. Nonetheless this was an entertaining contest and served as a good opener. Polo eventually won with a full nelson choke submission, though there was controversy as Dar’s feet were well under the ropes.
Fite Club defeated Joe Hendry & Kenny Williams
I’d never seen The Local Hero Joe Hendry wrestle a traditional match (I saw him in the Square Go Royal Rumble in January) and after this match I think I can make the same claim. Hendry, who is one of the most likeable heels I’ve encountered in Scottish wrestling, played the intelligent/cowardly heel to perfection here. He was in the ring for what felt like a grand total of three minutes as he dodged facing off with the recently-heel team of Kid Fite and Liam Thomson, instead forcing Kenny to face off with the menacing duo. I’m in awe of some of the stuff Williams does in the ring and his encounter with Lionheart at 100% Shenanigans was a very late contender for my Match of the Year, certainly that I saw live anyway.
There was a lot of dissension on show within both teams and that was interesting to see in a match that was, on paper, heels vs heels. Of course, Kenny’s in-ring style and prowess means he’s a natural babyface and Joe Hendry is just so damn likeable. His alternative ICW theme song bounced around my head constantly (MMMMJoe Hendry… Local Hero!) until I heard the promo for the culinary clash between Hendry, Grado, Wolfgang and Jim Cornette in a burger eating contest when Corny was in Glasgow on his spoken word tour. I’m still annoying people with “Jim Cor-nette, Burger-Eating-Contest” over and over again. I don’t want to turn this review into a slavering over Hendry but his Youtube videos are brilliant and he uses his musical talents to great effect. This is the way the modern indy wrestler should be developing their character and furthering feuds and I hope more workers embrace the medium.
Back to the match and Fite Club picked up the win with Hendry taking the fall. After the match Kenny was lambasted by his tag partner and manager James R Kennedy for abandoning his partner to defeat. It’s going to be a brilliant pop when the bullied youngster turns on Hendry and Kennedy and embraces a full-blown face turn.
Jack Jester defeated James Scott & Joe Coffey, ICW Heavyweight Championship Triangle Match
It was time for our first half main event and it was a match that had really sold me on the show when it was booked. I’m a bit of a mark for Jester, I was thrilled for him when he won the title and he’s such a nice bloke to speak to after a show when you’re blind drunk in the Cathouse. Throw into the mix the two guys who have stolen the last three ICW events with a series of technical masterclasses and you’ve got my interest sir. Seriously, check out their Iron Man match from the Square Go. They managed to make 30 minutes feel like three and none of their matches has felt too similar to the last one despite them facing off three shows in a row.
Jester and Coffey shared some mutual respect beforehand before Scott heeled it up and ran out of the ring after some early action. The crowd was really hot for Coffey and his face turn has really been forced by the audience response to him. There’s a great intensity about his wrestling style and I enjoy his promo work. He has a solid look, despite losing the awesome beard, and his accessible catchphrase “No Mercy” is very over. It’s hard to focus on a specific part of the match because it all fit together so seamlessly, but the Tower of Doom spot was very cool. And, given the low roof, pretty ballsy. I do have to give James Scott a shout-out for his suplexes though – they were crisp and sublime as ever and his T-Bone suplex was tremendous.
Scott eventually pinned Coffey after some red-hot work and began celebrating his championship win, only for MC Simon Cassidy to remind him (and the crowd, it seemed) that this was a triangle match contested under elimination rules. A protesting Scott was shortly hit with a Tombstone Piledriver by Jester for the three count. Our retaining champ then welcomed a girl from the crowd into the ring after Scott had ruined her “Kiss me it’s my birthday” sign, and the poor lassie dropped the belt from nerves after Jack handed it to her.
The interval followed and just as I was feeling a bit bemused at how quickly we were getting through the card, out comes Carmel Jacobs – the top heel in Fierce Females, ICW’s all-female sister promotion and long-time nemesis to reigning champion Kay Lee Ray. I think Carmel is possibly the best on the microphone in the company, right up there with Chris Renfrew and Red Lightning at least, and I was delighted as she started ranting about her position as always being secondary to Kay Lee Ray regardless of what she does. She bemoaned the lack of a Fierce Females match on the last couple of cards and there was a widespread agreement with that – Carmel and Kay Lee’s encounters are always explosive and the likes of Viper, Bete Noire and the Owens twins are all talented workers. Unfortunately some idiots in the crowd decided to try and hijack the segment with some cringeworthy chants and that took the sheen off of what was a typically blistering promo.
Jacobs announced she was done with wrestling due to her long list of grievances and as she was making to leave, Kay Lee Ray came out to have her say. She complimented her long-term enemy, saying “behind every top face, there’s a great heel making them look good” which was well received by the fans. I missed out on a lot of what followed due to some ridiculous, sexist chants from a select few idiots in the crowd but as Carmel claimed she was still going to leave despite Kay Lee still holding the FF title, Ray asked her if she didn’t realise the reason she wasn’t the face of the division was because she wasn’t as good looking as Sara or as good a wrestler as Kay Lee herself. That spark lit the torchpaper and the girls were right at it.
Carmel’s boyfriend Liam Thompson soon came out to pull them apart and Kid Fite wasn’t far behind. Thompson then got in Fite’s face in response to his involvement and they teased, again, aggravation between themselves. Eventually owner Mark Dallas came out to diffuse the situation and the pair shook hands. It’s been a really dragged-out tease for Fite Club’s apparent split and I personally think it’s gone on too long, though I don’t think there’s any value in splitting them up at all. This was a great segment overall though despite those gripes, and the senseless few in the crowd, which furthered one of ICW’s best and longest feuds.
Mark Coffey defeated Lionheart, ICW Zero G Championship match
Adding Mark Coffey to Polo Promotions, Jackie Polo’s brand, was a stroke of creative genius on ICW’s part. Mark had been tagging with his brother Joe but the latter has been thrust into a face turn due to his explosive popularity. And while Mark is particularly popular himself, he’s still getting those heel reactions and keeping them apart from each other in this sense lets them both do their own thing as singles stars. It was also a clever way of moving the Polo/Lionheart storyline along by having Jackie fight Lionheart’s protégé Noam Dar while Lionheart himself tackled Polo’s new charge, with two great matches into the bargain as well.
Coffey came out with his title and cut a promo on his opponent at next month’s Still Smokin event, Solar, who was injured in a match with Mark at 100% Shenanigans that had to be cut short. Coffey said his opponent didn’t think he would still be Zero-G champion come March 30th so he was bringing him out right now to deal with the issue once and for all. Out came Chris Toal, Mark Dallas’ wee associate, in a Solar mask. The best way to describe Toal is as concentrated awesomeness. He’s a great foil for Dallas in promos and a good bloke to boot. He bumped like a boss for Coffey and took the pin after about eight seconds, and as Coffey celebrated like Eddie Guerrero at No Way Out 2004, his leader Jackie Polo came out to congratulate him before heading to commentary for the actual match. The in-ring work was top class but it was overshadowed by Polo’s presence, with the self-proclaimed king of chat receiving the vast majority of chants and reactions. He took to the mic to get inside Lionheart’s head which ultimately worked, as Coffey made a successful defence of his title, before an ensuing beat-down. Noam Dar made the save to a nice pop. I’d really like to see that tag team match but that’s one for down the line.
For the overarching feud it was a great move to have Polo come out and do his shtick on the mic but it took away from a good in-ring contest. Lionheart hasn’t been getting great reactions recently and Coffey isn’t quite as popular as his brother Joe, so I think this could have worked better. Had it been Joe vs Scott for instance, it wouldn’t have detracted any.
Yum Yum defeated Mikey Whiplash, Special Guest Referee Grado
The key thing to take from this one is that Mikey Whiplash is a psycho. I got right behind Whiplash when he turned face to pursue Red Lightning’s Heavyweight Title last year but he is lightyears better as a heel. Some savage abuse to the crowd confirmed that, as he called one girl a walking STD that made his crotch (he was more colourful than that) itch from a great distance. Yum Yum exploded out of the traps and offered up some strong offence before Mikey put himself on top. Yum Yum looked really nervous and I don’t know if that was the character or the worker, but it had a great sympathetic effect on the audience who were right behind him. It was great to see Whiplash back in the ring after his horror injury in December when he was impaled with a section of the guard rail through his thigh in his bout with Grado, and his brutal heel antics made sure that he didn’t receive too warm a welcome.
The main feature of the match was special ref Grado mercifully trying to end the match with a fast count, only for Whiplash to stop the pin and continue his torture of Yum Yum. Grado played the sickened bystander perfectly and Yum Yum had enough offense to get people believing he could get the win. There was a raucous response to his missile dropkick and the guy was just all heart in this one. Whiplash was eventually rolled up by Yum Yum after missing an attempted Wee Boot, Grado’s finisher, before the ref dropped Mikey with perhaps the best Wee Boot I’ve seen. Things turned sour though when Whiplash beat the duo down and brought a stretch of guardrail out to the ring. He gave Grado a piledriver onto the rail before fetching a bowl of water to baptise/drown Yum Yum. This was a fantastic set-up for Whiplash/Grado 3.5 at Still Smokin and all three guys deserved a standing ovation for their storytelling. It was no technical clinic but it wasn’t meant to be.
New Age Kliq defeated Wolfgang & The Bucky Boys, Edinburgh Street Fight.
It was then time for our main event, after security had tried to dry the section of the ring sodden by Whiplash’s dark baptism ritual. What was the point, the next match was a street fight?! The New Age Kliq of Chris Renfrew, BT Gunn and Dickie Divers came out first before Wolfgang emerged. The monstrous hero faced down the enemy as The Bucky Boys, Stevie Boy and Davie Boy, entered the ringside area alongside manager The Wee Man. Wee Man introduced his team with his typically hilarious patter before Divers dropped him with a punch and anarchy ensued. Admittedly there was some action in the ring for a while, with a running Shooting Star Press from Stevie a personal highlight, before Wolfgang took to the microphone to request confirmation that this was indeed an Edinburgh Street Fight. When he had this confirmed, he politely encouraged everybody to go outside to get ready for the carnage that was about to unfold. And the word “carnage” barely covers it.
Wolfie threw BT Gunn into the crowd, and a poor bloke’s face, while Divers and Renfrew went to war with the Bucky Boys. I couldn’t possibly do justice to what followed but I’ll try. We exited through the front door so we missed a decent portion of action, but Twitter confirmed that Wolfie threw two members of the Kliq into the cloakroom before throwing a sofa at his opponents. Yes, he threw a sofa. The brutality found its way out to the front of Studio 24 and the baying crowd had to be parted for a taxi to pass, and I’m pretty sure it was this guy who summoned the police. Guys were blasted into skips, shop shutters and supermarket cages left, right and centre. Renfrew took a sick bump when he was given a back body drop in the middle of the street before the guys went back inside.
There was some kind of chaos going on around the bar area that I couldn’t quite see and Wolfgang seemed to be lost at ringside. We eventually got back to the ring but the debauchery didn’t stop there. Stevie Boy was given a powerbomb through two set-up chairs before Renfrew smashed him into the guardrail, with the high-flyer appearing legitimately injured, before steel chairs were introduced. It seemed like everybody took a brutal hit of a chair and Wolfie even burst one after blasting all three members of the NAK sequentially. The NAK were able to grab the win and I honestly can’t say who was pinned with any certainty, the match was that crazy.
Renfrew, who has a guaranteed Heavyweight Championship match after winning last month’s Square Go, jumped on the mic and challenged Wolfgang to make his upcoming bout with Sabu at Still Smokin a triple threat match. Wolfie was more than keen and Mark Dallas emerged to tell Renfrew that was fine, but he might end up pulling double duty in the ABC because Dallas had just that afternoon booked another match for the March event – a three-way tag team ladder match for vacant tag team titles between The NAK, The Bucky Boys, and The Sumerian Death Squad. I was freaking out at this announcement, I’d told a friend that this was the match I wanted and I was just thrilled to hear it come to fruition. It’s a guaranteed classic. I’m curious how Paul London and Brian Kendrick will fit into the card now, perhaps they’ll be added into the three way or they’ll face Fite Club or Hendry/Williams, I don’t know.
As for the street fight, it was one of the most insane matches I’ve seen live. The six workers were outstanding, they used the stipulation really well and the chaos was delicious. There was a brilliant but twisted kind of Fun House aspect to the match as fans ran around the building, inside and out, to see what was happening. Based on what I’ve heard, read and seen about the Glasgow Street Fights, Edinburgh’s first effort certainly did justice to its predecessors.
All in all this was a fantastic show that had been written off as potentially just a filler show between the Square Go and ICW’s two huge shows in March and May, Still Smokin at the ABC and the visit to London. My match of the night has to go to the main event street fight, it was just so insane to behold. I can’t wait for the DVD to come out so I can see things I’ve missed from this one.