Off the back of the fantastically good Fear and Loathing last year, I have become fully immersed into the world of Insane Championship Wrestling. I bought On Demand, I got tickets for the London show and Friday Night Fight Club is now post night out viewing on a Friday. So, I was hyped for the first big show of 2016 coming from the historic Barrowlands; The Square Go. A Royal Rumble style event with a Money In The Bank style briefcase going to the winner and a few weapons thrown into the mix as well. However, we also had one of the most heated world title matches in ICW history between Grado and Chris Renfrew. So anticipation was high for the first show of the new year. Here’s my thoughts.
Kenny Williams vs Lionheart
The opening contest is to find who will be entering the Square Go at number 30, and the loser goes home. Kenny Williams is quickly becoming one of my favourite wrestlers in ICW because his entrance is awesome (coming out to The Power Of Love is a victory in my book) and I am amazed at how he wrestles in skinny chinos so well, it’s practically physics defying. A highlight in this contest is the chant ‘Lionheart is a fanny’ to the tune of Seven Nation Army – it will never not make me laugh. A great fast opener, including a nasty bump off the guard rail from a Kenny Williams dive, Lionheart smacked his head off the wood floor which is not nice to see happen to a man who has had neck surgery. Lionheart sneaks the win via a roll-up with the tights.
ICW Tag Team Title Match – The 55 © vs Polo Promotions
The third match between the two top teams in ICW, and another based on the simplistic but good story of Jackie Polo’s injured knee. Polo promotions were on top until Polo tweaked his knee, then it became all about The 55 smelling blood in the water, with Jackie Polo and notably Mark Coffey getting some nice hope spots in. A solid, meat and veg tag team match with good psychology and storytelling with a nice emotive ending; Coach Tripp throwing in the towel for Polo after he struggled in vein in a half Boston crab. The 55 then tried to end Polo by taking out his knee, but DCT made the save and they piledrive The 55’s manager James Kennedy to get their heat back.
The course has run for these two now, The 55 can go on to facing some other teams in the company and really building a wider tag division than just these two teams. Polo Promotions are one of the lead face acts in the company and I feel they can move up the card as a non title main event team. Stick them in with The Black Label, have those guys feud just under the title match.
Carmel Jacobs vs Liam Thomson
A nice video package introduces us to this emotive storyline of a ten year relationship shattered by professional jealousy. The story has built so well since Fear and Loathing; Liam Thomson plays this psychopathic ex-boyfriend heel so well and Carmel Jacobs has become of my favourites purely for her range. She can go from such a hateable bad girl to the fiery babyface with tremendous success so these two have bounced well off eachother. It is a shame however that this didn’t show in the match itself, it went on for a bit too long and too much of the match was Liam Thomson just battered Carmel to a point where it was getting uncomfortable. The whole thing lacked structure and for Carmel to then win out of nowhere with one chair shot was a pretty weak ending. It was good, but it could have been great.
ICW World Heavyweight Title – Grado © vs Chris Renfrew
Another amazing video package detailing all of the issues between the two, from Renfrew bringing in Grado to ICW to his recent ‘shoot promo’ on a past Friday Night Fight Club (which you can seen here). One of ICW’s biggest strengths is the big fight feel, and this match had that big fight feel. Chris Renfrew came out with his fantastically horror game style entrance, then Grado made his entrance.
I love Grado’s normal entrance, but this was so fitting to the match. The Foley flannel, the trunks over the singlet, the music, the swagger – it just all fit so well to make the match look so seriously and it made Grado look so legit. He has trimmed down too, he is taking his spot at the top of the card so seriously, and this made him look like a main eventer. I have also not stopped listening to the music he came out to since then.
This crowd was mixed, with some for Grado but a lot were pro-New Age Kliq. This match was stiff. It was a fight, with Grado taking a pasting from Renfrew in the early going. Grado bled a lot throughout the match and some very heavy kendo stick shots were exchanged. They hit finishers, did eachothers finishers, moves into thumbtacks but after Grado got a long two count off of a Stone Cold Stoner of his own onto Chris Renfrew, the leader of the N.A.K got the win and the title, hitting the Stoner on Grado. We have a new champion, after a mere two and a bit months with Grado at the helm. Chris Renfrew is a great loyal ICW talent to have as champion and with Grado off around the world and with him showing a bit of an edge at the end of the match; will we see Grado gone bad this year? If we can do it after I see them, I want to sing Like A Prayer.
The Square Go Match
’30 bodies. 5 weapons. 1 winner’
These words uttered by Billy Kirkwood sum up ICW’s iteration of the Royal Rumble pretty well. A normal Rumble match, but 5 random spots will be allowed to bring out weapons during the match. This one is hard to go through bit by bit, so I will talk about my favourite parts and key moments of the match shortly but first we shall look at the big stories in this match. We have the two owners battling for supremecy, the evil majority owner Red Lightning and the beloved ousted owner Mark Dallas both in the Square Go, purely to go their hands on one another. We also have ‘The Iron Man’ Joe Coffey who picked the number one spot to not only cement his legacy as ‘The Iron Man’ but to have no questions left to ask in his pursuit of the ICW world heavyweight title.
Right onto the match itself, and the key points and my favourite parts of a very enjoyable Square Go. Joe Coffey came out as a number one and number two was ‘The Beast Of Belfast’ Big Damo. However, SHENANIGANS! Evil GM Red Lightning comes out and due to a “clerical error” Damo is not in the match, so he is removed from ringside by security sort of…because he murders most of them on the ramp straight away. He is replaced by Black Label lackie Lewis Girvan and we are underway. Girvan wins the best strategy award as he took the Royal Rumble 2000 game plan of the Big Boss Man and just hit everyone with low blows. Genius. Dave Mastiff at one point came out and set out a pretty impressive manifesto in his battle for the Suplex City by-election. We also had Sebastian from the GZRS come out, and his weapon of choice was his own tag team partner, Tom Irvin. A man was used as an inanimate object in this match. I love The GZRS. The second best comedy spot was Lou King Sharp doing the Spike Dudley crowd surfing spot and getting put back in the ring, only for Lewis Girvan to try It and getting dumped on the outside. We then get more SHENANIGANS!! As Noam Dar is taken out by The Black Label and ejected from the match. We got a Joe Hendry bespoke entrance, I love him. Mikey Whiplash did the ‘why did you just do that’ award by suplexing Trent Seven off the ring apron onto the rampway. OUCH. We also set up a few storylines for the coming year as well. My mouth watered as Whiplash and Havoc battled through the Barrowlands following their eliminations. WHIPLASH VS HAVOC PLEASE THANK YOU. They had the confrontation between Mark Dallas (who re-brought out Damo as his back up in the match) and Red Lightning, only for Drew Galloway to appear on the video screen and distract him long enough for Red Lightning to dump him out. Joe Coffey made a mega show of himself here, lasting from number one until the final two with N.A.K member Wolfgang, and he came so close to getting the win, only to be dumped out by Wolfie himself.
Where will this lead us? Hopefully, I would like it to lead to a Joe Coffey title win at Fear and Loathing (he is their best talent right now, he should be chasing the belt) and before that, he can feud with the N.A.K and The Black Label. We also have potential N.A.K dissension with Wolfgang having a title shot at his beckoned call and Chris Renfew his stablemate holding the championship.
Overall, it was not at the heights of Fear and Loathing but that would be comparing WrestleMania to the Royal Rumble, they are two different beasts. As a show in itself, it was good. Decent matches on the undercard, a great dramatic title match and good Square Go. A few of the matches did drag on a bit and Jacobs/Thompson lacked structure, but I enjoyed it. It is a good way to set up the rest of the year and put the feuds that will go on the tour this month into motion.
2016 is meant to be ICW’s year. They’ve started as they mean to go on.