Saturday 21 June 2014

AWBA - Fergal Devitt in ICW (part 1 of 3)

Disclaimer: I know my articles are sometimes picked up and re-posted on somewhat "PG" websites. While there are no vulgarities, swearing or blood contained within the body of my article, the content of the videos are classed as 18+ so if you're reading this anywhere other than AWBA be forewarned... oh, and visit the original site at

Insane Championship Wrestling prides itself on showcasing the best of Scottish and British wrestling, never having to rely on outside talent to sell out a show. However, ICW has not been shy in bringing in foreign wrestlers that complement the company's ethos, from Crazy Mary Dobson to Brian Kendrick, from Sabu to the Sumerian Death Squad.

The nearly 2 year tenure of Prince Fergal Devitt was something else entirely however. Hopefully over the course of this three-part article I do justice to just why that was.

Prince Fergal Devitt

Video credits: ICWOnline
Photo credits: (c) @MrDavidJWilson

An Insane Debut
Fergal Devitt v Wolfgang
ICW: Hadouken!
September 2nd 2012, The Garage, Glasgow

Sporting a list of achievements a mile long, "Prince" Fergal Devitt was already highly thought of amongst the ICW faithful before making his debut, well evident with very early chants of "We want wrestling" and a split crowd cheering for both Wolfgang and the visiting Devitt.
It is a beginning that will come across more than a bit strange for newer ICW fans. A pre-Duran Duran entrance from Wolfgang followed up by Fergal being introduced with a tune that would become more synonymous with the Coffey brothers; nevertheless the music didn't matter once the action began.

What started as a polite battle of wristlocks and snapmares, appeasing the pro-wrestling hungry record-setting crowd of 650, soon gave way to an introduction to ICW style. Having suffered a fierce dropkick that sent him to the outside, Wolfgang responded with a fiercer clothesline followed up by literally throwing Devitt to the ICW masses. In less than 3 minutes, Fergal had been given a true Scottish welcome.

His adaptation was swift, however. As Wolfgang then launched himself through the air, Devitt deftly rolled back into the ring leaving the hometown hero with nothing but the dancefloor of the Garage to greet him. Devitt himself then took a turn to fly, taking the big man out before turning to a fan in the crowd and downing his beer. Devitt had responded to the warm welcome in style.

What followed next was an incredible exchange of raw strength and brutality - chops, whips, dropkicks, splashes, even a tree of woe! By the time Devitt re-organised Wolfgang's spine with an incredible double-foot stomp at the 9 minute mark, it had already felt like a war for the ages. What followed next were four incredible 60 second sequences, each one feeling like a full match in itself, punctuated by a 2nd rope moonsault, a Brainbuster, powerbomb, cloverleaf, Swanton, you name it.

By the end of the match, the entire club was standing anywhere they could grab a vantage point. Piercing silence from the fans and the commentary team contributed to an eery and fitting atmosphere, punctuated by the most ICW of chants as the crowd firmly got behind their own - "F--- Em Up Wolfgang, F--- Em Up".

As the battles raged and momentum switched, the crowd returned to their unified ways. "This is awesome" rang out as Wolfgang finally hit his finisher to hand Devitt his first defeat in ICW. It is no wonder this bout gained Match Of The Year credentials, but don't just take my words for it - the entire match has been hosted for your viewing pleasure:

The madness had truly bit. With a shake of the hand and a respectful bow of the head, Prince Fergal said a short farewell to a company he would soon be calling home.

A Welcome Return
Fergal Devitt v BT Gunn
ICW: Reservoir Dogs
May 5th 2013, The Garage, Glasgow

In the months following Devitt's debut, ICW continued to grow. Major changes were afoot. Wolfgang had used his victory over Fergal to launch himself headfirst into the Zero G division, becoming the Champion by the time Reservoir Dogs rolled around. Mikey Whiplash had won the 2nd Annual Square Go and was about to challenge Red Lightning for the ICW Heavyweight title. The Bucky Boys had obtained the ICW Tag Team belts and were about to embark on an incredible war with the Sumerian Death Squad that would still be raging a year later. But not all was good on the ICW front.

At April's event, "Get Your Rat Oot", the disassembled parts of the New Age Kliq, BT Gunn and Chris Renfrew, were due to battle in a match deemed too vicious for the refereeing team to handle. ICW owner Mark Dallas instead donned the black and white stripes and bore witness to the dawning of a new age. BT Gunn succeeded in "opening the eyes" of his former friend Chris Renfrew, who took a kendo stick to the back of Dallas, knocking the boss unconscious. This brutal and unexpected attack immediately drew the ire of the crowd and was left unexplained for weeks.

At Reservoir Dogs, the duo made their intentions clear. They were now anti-ICW. They were no longer here for the braying masses or the delusions of the company. They were here to bring in a new era. The era of the NAK. With Renfrew firmly aligned with Gunn once again, ICW needed a new hero, and entering to the fitting refrain of You're The Best Around, Fergal Devitt looked set to be that hero.

In a reversal of last time, Fergal's opponent was resoundingly met with boos, despite BT Gunn's own impressive list of titles. Devitt sensed the wishes of the crowd and wasted no time going on the offensive against BT, launching with a dropkick the second the bell had rang, following this up with a top rope chop and superplex, leading to the first nearfall within seconds of the match starting.

The action then lead to the outside as Devitt, firmly in command, set BT up on a chair against the railings and drilled him with a massive dropkick. It was dropkick city, as Devitt lead BT to another corner and repeated the feat. Insane Championship Wrestling madness had set in on the visitor. Cheers of "Fergal Devitt" and "I C W" rose up as BT Gunn made a quick escape through the crowd, only to be cut-off at the stage by Fergal. A picture speaks a thousand words as to what happened next:

Back in the ring, the Prince continued to reign with cutting chops to Gunn's chest only halted by a desperation lowblow from BT. It was now the NAK man's time to chop, and chop he did. Finding time to mock Fergal's mannerisms, BT looked in cool control as he took Devitt out with a suicide dive, breaking through the barrier and into the crowd.

BT followed this up with a big elbow from the top rope and looked to have victory in the bag, but Fergal mustered just enough energy to kick out. Both men then proceeded to attempt decapitation via various vicious kicks, succeeding in flooring each other (with heads still thankfully attached). A toe-to-toe exchange of punches and ear-splitting chops followed, with BT coming out of the exchange with the upper hand, but still he couldn't put Fergal away. It was time for NAK tactics.

Rolling to the outside, BT retrieved a hidden pair of scissors, a pair of scissors that would notoriously go on to ignite a heated rivalry between BT and Devitt's previous dance partner Wolfgang - but that's for a future article. For now, BT thankfully had no chance to utilise his dastardly weaponry as Devitt cancelled them out with a lifting inverted DDT then a double-footstomp, which resulted in a nearfall so close it nearly left Devitt in shock.

Wrestling, however, seemed to be prevailing over pure violence, with Gunn responding in style to Devitt's attempted suplex with the most incredibly sublime spinning clothesline. The local man(iac) seemed to have things wrapped up as he mockingly went to put Devitt away with his own Brainbuster, only for Fergal to reverse it and follow up with a double-foot stomp to the back, getting the closest of nearfalls so far. Striking quick, Devitt finally put Gunn away with the Brainbuster.


The celebration was extremely shortlived. Chris Renfrew, who had been providing commentary for the match, ran down to the ring to attack Devitt. The visitor did have enough left in the tank to both clear the ring of the NAK and resume celebrating, pointedly and respectfully shaking hands with the referee Yum Yum.

If you haven't seen this match before, I urge you now to check it out. Once again ICW have uploaded the full match for free via their Worldwide youtube show. Here is the full episode here, Fergal Devitt v BT Gunn begins at 27:38:

As you will have seen above, all was not over yet... without warning, a masked man emerged from the crowd armed with an 8 ball, taking out Devitt as Yum Yum was unceremoniously kicked out of the ring by the returning NAK. Chris Renfrew took to the microphone to further explain the NAK's mission - they are here to destroy pro wrestling piece by piece, starting with the best wrestler in the world lying prone at their feet. This action was met by general derision and angry voices, as the three slithered away like snakes.

Despite now improving his ICW record to 1-1, the brutal post-match beatdown would have been enough to leave a lesser man broken and dismayed. Instead, Fergal got himself to his feet and addressed the crowd:

"On Friday, in Japan, wrestling in front of 5,000, on live PPV, it doesn't compare to wrestling here in ICW."

With that, and an offer to come back to face Chris Renfew one on one, Prince Devitt once again left to consider his experience at ICW, this time leaving to strong and loud chants of "Please come back."

What happened next...

Unfortunately, the match with Chris Renfrew did not materialise. With Devitt vanquished back to New Japan Pro Wrestling, the NAK went from strength to strength. The third man was unmasked as Dickie Divers, the trio utilised the Card Subject To Change proviso to gain Tag Team gold, and Chris Renfrew went on to claim victory at the 3rd Annual Square Go, promising him an ICW Heavyweight title shot in the future. To this day, Project Mayhem continues to ravage ICW and pro wrestling.

Some of the NAK's sentiment may have actually rubbed off on the Prince. From May 2013 through to April 2014, Devitt headed up a dastardly group of NJPW foreigners called The Bullet Club. Turning on his former partner Ryusuke Taguchi, Devitt and his various cohorts embarked on a tear throughout New Japan that would cement Fergal Devitt's legacy throughout the world as the star of the future. Boasting nine accolades as a group, including the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship held by Devitt and his unparalleled victory at the 2013 Best Of The Super Juniors, the Bullet Club dominated proceedings at New Japan, at least in the eyes of many on the outside. It would only be a matter of time before America came a-calling for Prince Devitt...

Further Reading

Part 2 of this article should be published soon.  For now, here is a link to an ICW interview from Prince Fergal Devitt during the time of Reservoir Dogs:

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