It’s 2016 (or 2006 according to Bram on Impact Wrestling). It’s a brand new year with brand new action, brand new wrestling and a brand new me…actually no. Two of those of statements are correct, it is a brand new year, it will feature brand new wrestling and as for the brand new me stuff, c’mon.
Let’s start this with three words, Insane. Championship. Wrestling. Three simple letters, ICW. Now, I didn’t write about one of the biggest promotions in the UK a lot last year, the reason why, I was travelling about the UK even though I had been to many of the shows that year I didn’t want people to think I was jumping on the bandwagon now that their becoming world famous. By the way, out of interest, my first ICW event was 100% Shenanigans at The Garage at the end of 2013.
Now with that being said, I want to talk about ICW, it is far too good of a promotion not to talk about, it is getting notoriety across the world now, and rightly so, down to various factors (in my opinion that is).
I’ll start with being part of the crowd. If you have been to an event before you will know what I mean when I say this, you are not always the same person outside the event when you are inside. Case in point, personally when I’m at a wrestling event I’m quiet and I’ll join in with the crowd at the appropriate moments. At an ICW event, you get caught up in the action, the storylines, the emotion, the drama and the fury that occurs. I still remember at Barramania last year when Liam Thomson, who within a split second of hugging Carmel Jacob after she had lost a brutal match with Layla Rose, turned on her and connected with a steel chair, the venom that I was shouting at that moment was definitely not family friendly. It’s moments like that that make ICW extremely unique, it welcomes that reaction, it prays on your interaction to get emotionally invested in who is in the ring and what they are saying.
Hell, odds are you’ll be discussing what happens at the event and the aftermath of that on social media…step forward this week with the fantastic Chris Renfrew verbally destroying a UK publication and chastising the ICW Champion, Grado. Hours later on social media, Grado responded in an equally fantastic speech.
And that’s an example of another aspect that ICW is fantastic at, the build-up to a match or an event, before those two heartfelt and passionate speeches, interest in the ICW Championship Match for Square Go at The Barrowlands was there but after these two men verbally displayed how much they want to win and represent ICW, the tickets became a must have item.
Not many promotions, not just in the UK but Worldwide, can say they plan the build-up to matches in the events as fluidly as ICW. Cast your mind back and I’m sure there are examples where some matches were just thrown together but more often than not, there’s a build-up. I mean, even on the Spacebaws shows, one of the best build ups to a match I witnessed was Lewis Girvan versus Drew Galloway. For weeks, months even, Girvan demanded a match with Galloway, even mocking his WWE career, the climax of the feud was held at a Spacebaws event to the delight and surprise of the fans. That was one of my favourite build ups but without the risk of repeating myself you can look at 99% per cent of ICW matches and know there is a reason why that match is happening, knowing it will build to something else.
So why else is ICW so popular, the wrestlers? You bet. Such a unique team of amazing characters and when I say characters I don’t mean cartoon or fake personalities, I mean the group of people. You will be hard pressed to find such a mix of personalities in any other company at all, shall I name drop some? Sure, why not;
Jack Jester – That man is fundamentally one of the best individuals I’ve seen in a wrestling ring.
Mikey Whiplash – Amazing, when he appears at an event, you are in awe. He seizes your attention from the moment he arrives.
The New Age Kliq (Chris Renfrew, BT Gunn, Wolfgang, Stevie Boy and Kay Lee Ray) – There are more worldwide famous factions out there but when The NAK arrive, sh*t is about to go down and chaos will erupt. “Card is Subject to Change”
Grado – The everyman type of wrestler who finally got to live his dream and captured the ICW World Heavyweight Championship.
Davey Boy – A man who deserves his own show, wait a minute, he does you say? Total Davey on the On Demand service.
Noam Dar – The talent this man has captures you within seconds and you find yourself thinking damn this guy is awesome.
And there are so many more, I haven’t even mentioned Damo, Joe Coffey, Drew Galloway, Joe Hendry, Kenny Williams and Polo “4-4-2” Promotions…so many amazing talents, hell, you want to see them all, well “Square Go” at The Barrowlands is on the 24th January they all should be there to display how damn fantastic they are.
Now how has ICW amassed some of the best UK talent and drawn in some of the very best talent from across the world as well (e.g.: Tommy End and Michael Dante)? It’s a combinational effort, the talents you’ll see are part of other promotions (in no specific order – Premier British Wrestling, Scottish Wrestling Alliance, British Championship Wrestling, Pro Wrestling Elite to name a few) and members of the roster dedicated to ICW themselves have all united in many ways to make sure maximum exposure is given, i.e. you saw that guy on ICW, “hey my son/daughter, would like to see him too at a family friendly event?” Cue seeing that wrestler in the other promotions I’ve mentioned earlier. The more ICW is successful, the more everyone involved gets to benefit from it.
Last year ICW created GPWA at The Asylum, their own developmental facility, which now boosts two rings and their intake for students in Spring has sold out. But again, like everything else, this is only one aspect of ICW’s training plan for the future. ICW began to run shows during the Summer of 2014 titled Spacebaws, the difference between these shows and the others was that this was a division for the younger talent to showcase what they could do, to make their mark and to give them a taste of what it is like to wrestle and amaze an ICW crowd.
What’s next, oh yeah their expansion, let me rephrase, their progression in wrestling. From a hall in Maryhill to The Garage in Glasgow, The O2 Academy, the SECC last year and this year in the SSE Hydro. How many companies can say in such a short time that they have done that, had they had the ambition or the business acumen to do so. Few right?
How did that happen? Well, that’s the question isn’t it, is it down to the UK tour that ICW started in 2014 leading to the two separate tours in 2015 and another one planned for early 2016. Was it down to the weekly Fringe Shows in Edinburgh during the Summer? What about the BBC Insane Fight Club series that were rating winners on BBC1, then again BBC3 on repeat? Or the On Demand service that is available at the amazing price of $5.99 (£3.75) a month and with that you get to see some of the biggest moments in ICW history as well, thanks to the amazing work by the editing team in the back you get to see the most recent event within two days! Is it down to the Worldwide notoriety with Drew Galloway defending the ICW Championship across the World making it a World Title (defending the title in five continents makes it a World Title) or the ICW episodes dedicated to the Italian market presented by Marco Piva? Again these are only examples, there are of course more.
I’m sure everyone has their own reasons why ICW is skyrocketing at the moment, personally I think Mark Dallas and his team has had multiple long time plans in place, patiently, slowly building and it’s a plan so many other worldwide promotions should take note of.
On a social media note, many people ask me sometimes who are some of the best writers or what specific blogs to look at when relating to ICW, now I can say this without hesitation check out Snapmare Necks and Stramash Wrestling. Check out writers like Martin Smith and Lily Lestrange, two of the most passionate ICW fans around and knowledgeable wrestling fans in general.
So with that being said, I’ll probably see you at a wrestling event in the future. If it’s a ICW event, then I’ll be joining you in shouting out along with Billy F**king Kirkwood in saying, “Hello Glasgow, you sexy motherf*****s!”