Monday 28 July 2014

AWBA: ICW - Shug's Hoose Party

Disclaimer: This won't be as in-detail as my usual reviews. I didn't take notes, was simply too engrossed. I've spoke a wee bit about this show beforehand (at length and in short) and provided Live Results updates for it. Fair to say I was excited. So here's a wee bit about what went down. (Note - A slightly different version of this can be seen at PWPonderings, if you like variety.)

Insane Championship Wrestling - Shug's Hoose Party
Sunday 27th July
o2 ABC, 300 Sauchiehall Street, Glasgow, G2 3JA

THIS EVENT HAD SOLD OUT, CAPACITY OVER 1,000 (I've seen 1,100 and 1,200 quoted, take your pick)
ICW Online - Facebook // Twitter //

There had been a few awesome announcements. A great wrestling match in Joe Coffey v Jack Gallagher, an ending to a very personal feud in Kid Fite v Liam Thomson in an I Quit match no less, Jack Jester facing a tough challenge in former NXT/FCW star Martin Stone, the Zero-G champion Mark Coffey finally putting the belt up against Solar, a special guest rumoured to appear, Grado, the announcement of the venue for Fear & Loathing 7, so much was going on. The show sold out well in advance. Exciting times.

Wee bit of a cracking intro from Billy Kirkwood first of all, wherein he confirms that Dr Sean David will no longer be a part of the ICW broadcast team. Sad news to start us off with, Sean did a lot of work for ICW and his commentary was always insightful in my opinion. Anyway, Kirkwood did manage to gift us with a new chant for perennially put down upon MC Simon Cassidy - "It's Your Fault".

First Match - Kid Fite v Liam Thomson (I Quit rules)
Liam Thomson and Carmel were the first wrestlers to grace the ring. Well, that's putting it too nicely. The Edinburgh natives declared that there was still 2 hours to go until the I Quit match was scheduled to take place, however as Liam Thomson couldn't stand to be in Glasgow any longer, he challenged Kid Fite to start the brawl early.

Fite duly obliged and came to the ring, but Liam was ready to pull the rug from under his former tag partner's feet. He immediately quit, and seemingly headed up the aisle and back home to Edinburgh. Kid Fite was enraged, and took it out on the ICW Security team, most specifically Bobby Roberts.

Second First Match - Mark Coffey (c) v Solar (Zero-G Championship match)
Mark Coffey came to the ring with some more bad news for us all. It would appear the long-awaited match would not go ahead as planned, with Solar unable to appear as scheduled. However, as we all knew, a special guest was rumoured to be appearing. Cult Of Personality hit, out came Paul Heyman in his full ECW get-up and.... it was all a ruse. Paul Heyman was in fact none other than Mark's boss Jackie Polo, and in the guise of CM Shrunk came Chris Toal for another squash victory for the so-called "Real" ICW Champion. Or so it seemed, because...

Third First Match - Mark Coffey (c) v Solar (Zero-G Championship match)
Solar is in the building!! The masked man finally got his shot, and after waiting so long, the first proper match of the night was great. Fast paced action from Solar, strongman showings from Coffey, after a multitude of suplexes throughout, Mark Coffey retained following his pumphandle slam finisher.

The Bucky Boys
Despite a strong showing in London with stand-in Bucky Greg Burridge, The Bucky Boys made their way to the ring, flanked by Kay Lee Ray, The Wee Man and Davey Boy's crutches, to announce that Davey Boy's injury recovery was going well, but he couldn't compete once again. ICW have had a word and stated that the belts will have to be vacated.

A series of boos soon gave way to the NAK's theme song, as the four core members (Chris Renfrew, BT Gunn, Darkside and Dickie Divers) surrounded the ring, sending the Bucky's into a frenzy. Renfrew assured that they weren't there for a fight, simply to talk. See, the NAK still believe that they never truly lost the belts, so if the title were to be vacated, then the belts might as well just be handed back to them.

They made fun of Stevie Boy and his ragtag team, then asked who was left to help them. (Enter The ICW magazine would reveal that Chris Renfrew, or one of his cohorts, had sabotaged Greg Burridge's travel plans, ensuring the English cousin wouldn't be there). At this, Wolfgang's music hit - but it was all a ruse. The NAK revealed footage that showed, not content at almost killing him in London, "someone" jumped Wolfgang at his Glasgow pub and seemed to literally kerb stomp him, perhaps finishing Wolfy off for good.

This enraged The Wee Man, who took to the microphone and used the NAK's own words against them - Card Subject To Change fuckers.

Second Match - Stevie Boy (c) & Kay Lee Ray v The New Age Kliq (Chris Renfrew & BT Gunn) for The Bucky Boy's ICW Tag Team Championship
Kay Lee Ray would be Davey Boy's stand in, and carnage ensued. I'm not going to call anything that happened really, you will just have to wait for the DVD or Season 3 of ICW Worldwide on Youtube I'm afraid. What I will tell you is that everyone got involved in some capacity - Davey Boy even got his injured leg attacked - before a BT Gunn superkick and Chris Renfrew's "Stone Cold Stoner" finisher saw the belts return around the waists of the Kliq.

I'm also pretty sure at some point Bobby Roberts took one, or several, chair shots to the head.

Mark Dallas
Next to enter the ring, ICW owner and birthday boy Mark Dallas, with Chris Toal in tow to keep the boss in check. With Toal advising Dallas to tell us "the whole fucking story", we were informed that not only would Fear & Loathing 7, ICW's flagship show, be held in the historic Barrowlands venue in October, but tickets would be on sale at a reduced price for tonight only. This was one of the ways Dallas felt he should reward the ICW home crowd, after spending much of 2014 visiting Newcastle, London and Edinburgh, and with August seeing four shows back-to-back at the Edinburgh Fringe.

I was immediately on my way to the ticket stand and almost missed the next announcement - as another reward, the 5th Sunday in August (that's the 31st to me and you) wouldn't see an Edinburgh show. Instead, ICW will be back in Glasgow. With Fierce Females recently announcing a return to Walkabout at 2pm on August 31st, the full picture soon became clear - double-header!! Two amazing shows, one city, one day. Best believe I'm going to be at both, and any further information I can find will be shared with you all here.

With the announcements all made, Dallas was about ready to head back and enjoy the rest of his birthday cake when Bobby Roberts returned, having shed his Security outfit and now donning a rather familiar looking leather jacket. Bobby opened his mouth, but after suffering so much head injury in one night, the voice of Stone Cold Steve Austin came out. What followed was easily one of my most favourite ICW segments of all time, as Stone Cold Bobby Roberts cut an amazing promo. It was comedy gold, utterly enthralling and I'll leave it for you to find footage of the rest.

(Did I mention the BBC were in attendance? More on that later.)

Third (?) Match - Grado v Johnny Moss
Wow. What a segment to try and top, yet Grado did it again. He missed the first show at the ABC, but rewarded us with footage of him and Bill Goldberg all the way from America. The second ABC show, out he comes with Michelle McManus singing his theme tune, Madonna's "Like A Prayer". Tonight, he topped it all, with a Goldberg-inspired entrance video, Goldberg theme drilling away, getting the crowd pumped but slightly disappointed, until.... Life is a mystery.... the most amazing remix ever kicked into high gear, and between the Goldberg fist pumps and pure unadulterated sing-a-long, this was the best Grado entrance I've ever seen.

What a match it was too. Well paced, well played out by both wrestlers, the crowd were on top form too, hitting out with an a capella version of Like A Prayer partway through. It's only happened a few times during Grado's matches, and every time special, making you believe. Believe that he'll do it. I believed he would beat Mikey Whiplash for the ICW title (he didn't) and I believed he would beat Johnny Moss for the pride of beating a wrestler who looks like he's forced one wrestler to eat another wrestler then benchpressed the result. And he did.

Grado did. He beat Mossy by pinfall, not even requiring his usual plethora of finishers (though we did see the F5, an incredible feat). Just Grado's shoulders on Johnny's legs, keeping the bigger man down for the count of 3. Amazing.

Jackie Polo - "This Is Your Life, Lionheart"
You either like Jackie Polo, or you don't. You may appreciate his charm, or be suckered in every time he tries to draw your ire, or be bored by him, feel he's overexposed, or you just can't get enough of him and his theme tune. Maybe you don't like Lionheart, maybe you wish him a speedy recovery. Maybe you don't know much about either wrestler. Maybe you face the bar, maybe you were dying for more. Chant Polo Promotions. Chant Wrap This Pish. Doesn't really matter.

Almost unanimously, the crowd felt this segment lasted too long. And maybe that was the point. Maybe we were meant to be worn down, on the verge of hating the man behind the persona behind the gimmick behind the segment. Maybe we were meant to get to the point of wanting to shove birthday cake in Mark Dallas' face for allowing this to happen to us. Maybe even the most die-hard of Polo fans were meant to be sick to their stomach and contemplating throwing their drink at him.

(Btw, as I unfortunately seem to be saying in every review lately, don't throw drinks you utter cretin. Two landed in the ring, at least one other I spotted not even reaching that far and hitting a fellow fan in the third row. Just... no. Don't do it.)

Maybe, like this whole section of this article, it was meant to drag on too long to set you up for... Lionheart hitting the ring. So far, so obvious. But he wasn't alone. Jackie may have dragged out most of the backstage crew and dressed them up in all manner of nonsense, but Lionheart had friends too. He had... the cast of Still Game!! The crowd went wild. I include myself in this, and I'm not even really a Still Game fan! It was a pretty cool pay-off to what was (intentionally or not) far too long-winded and frankly boring a segment. The cast (well, Greg Hemphill, Ford Kiernan and unlike most reporters I won't forget to mention Gavin Mitchell) helped Lionheart take care of Jackie and friends, including Lionheart's first move in ICW since his awful neck injury suffered in a match against AJ Styles, as Lionheart delivered a Rock Bottom.

Intermission - Lost In Audio live music
A lot of people felt, following the segment that came before it, that a live music set was not well placed here. I personally disagree, but then I am a fan of Joe Hendry's Lost In Audio band. Different strokes and all that. Starting off with their rendition of Crank, ICW's somewhat theme song and Jack Jester's entrance music, they then proceeded to go through a variety of cover songs leaning towards Joe Hendry's exploits in Burger Eating contests and finding love in faces. It was all perhaps a bit meta for a lot of people who may have been experiencing ICW for the first time, but I enjoyed it and for music being played at a wrestling gig, this was the best sound I'd heard so far. Besides, what else is there to do during an intermission? On with the show...

Fourth Match - Damo v Joe Hendry
Damo has some unfinished business, and that business sometimes likes to sing songs with his band. Damo was having none of it, and with James R Kennedy and Kenny Williams circling the ring, it was time to get Joe Hendry one-on-one.

Kenny has been showing ever more blatant disregard for the Kennedy Administration, openly goading the crowd into cheering FOR Damo and against his stablemate Hendry. Kennedy however still had the "Global Hero"'s back, twice dragging the referee out of the match whenever Damo was about to score the victory.

The ending came when Kennedy and Kenny ended up in the ring, Damo destroyed Kennedy and turned to Kenny... who dropped out of the ring and produced a green steel chair for the Irishman, who proceeded to use it to kick Hendry square in the face, then... I can't describe it... just watch...

Video courtesy of Paul Docherty via Facebook, used with permision

Yeah. That happened. Hendry ended up flying out of the ring with the force of it all, and Damo of course got the victory following that.

Fifth Match - Liam Thomson v Kid Fite (I Quit rules)
Of course this was going to happen. Now, I was still reeling from that so I'm not too sure how this match finally came about. My girlfriend seems to reckon Carmel was dragged out by the hair by Kid Fite and that was how it all began, so we'll go with that. Sounds plausible, don't it?

Anyway, Carmel herself was taken out of the equation fairly early on after Kid Fite slammed her on the entrance ramp. From there, the match went on a brutal tour around the ABC. Kid Fite got slammed groin first on the guardrail, Liam Thomson got put through a table, all kinds of crazy stuff went on.

It was as intense as I thought it was going to be, with Liam Thomson taking most of the damage but still declaring "Fuck Glasgow" every time he was asked if he was going to quit.

The ending came as Kid Fite had managed to wrap Thomson up in the ropes. He went to drill his former partner with a steel chair, but Carmel came in to try and make the save - and ended up hitting herself in the face with the chair! Fite then threatened to brutally attack her, and rather than quit, Thomson told him to go ahead. "Do what you have to". His pride meant more than his girlfriend.

Kid Fite stopped, stunned. This was too much. He would not strike Carmel so defensively. But he would tea-bag her! This threat was enough to get Thomson to finally say I Quit, legitimately and in front of us all. That wasn't enough for Kid Fite however, who still went for the tea-bag anyway. This action was enough for Thomson to finally break free of the ropes and save his girlfriend from the embarrassment, but unfortunately for him, Kid Fite managed to get his balls out that night - Liam Thomson received the eventual tea-bag, adding insult to injury.

Sixth Match - Joe Coffey v Jack Gallagher
Oh. My. God. This was wrestling. This was what we needed when Jackie Polo was out earlier. This is what sells tickets (to me anyway). A masterclass. A masterclass I won't sully by attempting to call the moves. Just... watch it. As soon as you can. Jack Gallagher did a handstand on the turnbuckle and still kept Joe Coffey at bay with his feet. Joe Coffey threw Jack into the corners with such force, the ring moved. Now, I've seen the ring move before, but I mean, the ring moved. Jack Gallagher looked in so much pain, his bruises had broken bones.

The ending came via Joe Coffey delivering a short discus lariat which turned Gallagher inside out, but amazingly was only good for two. Coffey then set Gallagher up for the full powered discus lariat, turning Gallagher inside out and then some, which scored the pinfall victory. Incredible. Match of the night. This is wrestling. etc

(I wanted the focus to be on the wrestling, but aside from the fantastic paint job, Joe Coffey also emerged with an electric guitar and played Black Sabbath's "Iron Man" before entering the ring. I mean.... Oh My God. This was amazing. Every thing about it. Coffey for champ.)

Main Event - Jack Jester (c) v Martin Stone (ICW Heavyweight Title match)
Martin Stone entered the ring every inch the foreign heel. Middle fingers in the air. Fuck Scotland. He even hit a drink out my girlfriend's hand. (Personal sidenote, I think hitting drinks out of fans hands is up there with throwing drinks into the ring in terms of stop fucking doing it you cretin. There's better ways to get heat. Just my opinion, always felt this way.)

Anyway, it all worked. The polite applause for a man that has made it to some level of WWE gave way to plain boo-ing. It was time for our champion, our Hardcore Icon. Jack Jester emerged... and the NAK signs came out. There was as much cheering for Jester Fears Renfrew as there was for the resident champion. You see, Chris Renfrew won the 3rd Annual Square Go and is entitled to an ICW Heavyweight title shot at any time. The NAK have a sizeable following, and many felt tonight would be the night.

But before that, we had a wrestling match. Jack Jester has been through hell recently. Sabu turned on him and tried to kill him. Prince Fergal Devitt threw everything he had at him and tried to drown him in Newcastle. Jimmy Havoc turned on him and tried to kill him. Chris Renfrew has been at his back every step of the way, threatening to kill him. The man has had more murder attempts on him that the entire East side of Glasgow this year. As Jester himself seemed to reveal via Enter The ICW, he may be on the verge of a breakdown. Throwing in a vicious Martin Stone into the mix certainly wasn't going to help.

As it went, Jack Jester survived, thankfully with no blood loss for a change, and hit his tombstone piledriver finisher to pin Martin Stone. The visitor had endured a lot of (well deserved) abuse from the crowd, mostly related to the show Eastenders, but he left applauding the champion, a surprising endorsement that was void of murderous threats.

Sensing a lack of murder, The NAK returned. Wolfgang may be dead. Grado was spent. The Bucky Boys had been stripped of their titles. Jack Jester had no-one, while Chris Renfrew had three psychotic friends, a referee and a briefcase containing a title shot. It was time. It was finally cash-in time.


The special guest was finally here - Drew Galloway.

Formerly WWE's Drew McIntyre, the original ICW champion was here to clear the ring of the NAK. Jack Jester was in tears, his life saved for once. His friend had returned. Drew fully endorsed Jack, helped him celebrate this fantastic moment, the crowd in utter rapture.

Then he led Jester up the ramp. He turned to address the crowd. He struck Jack Jester down. He got a microphone.

"Stay down. I have something to say."

If there is one thing Jack Jester doesn't do, it's stay down. He didn't stay down when Sabu betrayed him and tried to cut his head off. He didn't stay down when Jimmy Havoc threatened his very life. He didn't stay down for Drew Galloway. He got up, and Drew threw him off the ramp and through a table. Drew had something to say.

The attack and the full speech are both up there, 20 minutes of amazing footage, but here is what it all comes down to. In 1314 Scotland rose up. In 2014, Drew will help ICW rise up. He will bring us to worldwide acclaim. He will regain the belt, get us back on the BBC, lead a TV revolution, and show the world that ICW is the best promotion going. The show that began with 13 fans and has grown to almost 1,300 will continue to grow. He is here to lead the way.


Credit for photos, as ever, to the amazing (c) @MrDavidJWilson

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