REVIEW: ICW Fear & Loathing IX 20/11/16

The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Good afternoon grapple fans, I had the pleasure to (eventually) watch ICW Fear & Loathing IX from the comfort of my own sofa on ICW On Demand. Due to the On Demand crashing or some other shenanigans I missed the opening moments with Mike Foley and most of Finn Balor due to struggling between BT Vision deciding that I didn’t need internet or Pivotshare deciding I didn’t need to watch Fear & Loathing. Finally got into it on Facebook in time for the first match where ICW were streaming live.

We’ll have a more comprehensive review by Adam later on but I thought I’d chip in with some of my thoughts on the show.

Joe Hendry truly does make things better and Joe Hendry’s entrance…was sublime. What’s better than one Local Hero? Four singing a parody of Queen that’s what! The Wee Man cut a promo bashing the attendees in the Hydro, which looked rammed. Several photos popped up on Twitter showing the 6,193 in attendance. The Hydro was half full but it looked packed to the rafters. Excellent work by those involved in setting up the staging. The match itself was really good with a heavy support for Joe Hendry. After Hendry scored the win he was supposed to have his 5 minutes with The Wee Man but after one Freak of Nature it was Blaze hightailing it with The Wee Man over his shoulder.

Next up was the Women’s Championship match, ICW commented on Facebook that they would continue the Facebook stream while the On Demand is being fixed so I appreciated that they actually told people and, for those that paid for it, could still watch. This match was great, one of my favourites of the night with Kay Lee Ray looking especially brilliant. Kay Lee hit a quick Gory Bomb on Carmel, threw herself outside to knock down Viper then delivered another Gory Bomb on Carmel for the win. A great moment, Carmel then interrupted the celebration by getting onto the mic, thanking Kay Lee and almost confirming that she would be leaving ICW without explicitly saying it. So if this was one last hurrah, it was a fantastic match to go out on.

The Facebook stream ended during a video package for the casket match so I spent the next few minutes refreshing and giving my computer screen the evil eye as the On Demand said I could watch for only $6.99…which I had already paid, a sharp exit from that, and more refreshing, finally got into the stream to see Gunn and Stevie brawling at ringside. There were some stiff kicks and the casket looked amazing, they both ended up in the casket only for Stevie to escape then dragged back in by BT Gunn. The end came with Kay Lee Ray coming out and interfered, stopping a superplex attempt with a handy steel chair headshot which lead to Stevie powerbombing Gunn onto the casket lid and rolled BT in. It was a fine ending but not the blood fued-ender that I expected.

A blink and you’ll miss it match followed when Polo Promotions defeated Team 3D in an awkward encounter, started off with a brawl, then ended weirdly. Ray and Devon were setting up Coffey for the 3D, Devon got Coffey up but Ray batted Mark away. Then there was a big pause, had to check to make sure my stream wasn’t buffering. Ray went over to Polo, who hit him with a chair then scooped Devon onto the same chair for the win out of nowhere. It just sorta happened.

After the match, the four stared at each other, while Team 3D held the titles, but were interrupted by The Wee Man and Davey Blaze for some reason. Blaze was soon on the receiving end of a Brother Ray powerbomb through a table.

There were some nice little touches during, like Brother Ray shouting “WHO BAD”, like they’d done their homework. But for me, I expected something a bit tastier and ended up with a bowl of muesli, it does the job but I didn’t enjoy it.

Before the Stairway to Heaven match, Mick Foley appeared on screen to add Kenny Williams to the match who entered and made a beeline straight to Lionheart. Rees and Echo with stereo over the top rope dives were outstanding and was certainly a highlight of the opening portion of the match. The eliminations were quick and it was soon down to Lionheart and Williams in the ladder match portion. Lionheart hit Kenny with The Elite onto a ladder which looked sare but it was Kenny Williams that would have his special moment, a cutter from half way up the ladder saw Lionheart roll out of the ring upon impact and it left Williams with plenty of time to climb the ladder and grab the title. A perfect end to Lionheart’s Zero G Championship reign. He may not be everyone’s favourite but he is tremendously easy to hate and seeing Kenny grab the title just made it all the better.

Lewis Girvan and Ricochet, in my opinion, was the match of the night. Started off hot with Ricochet diving into the crowd onto Girvan and security, Girvan showing a more aerial game before finding ways to twist Ricochet up and grounding him. A running shooting star press countered into a triangle choke was masterful and how Girvan found inventive ways to get Ricochet into a crossface was delightful. Eventually Ricochet succumbed to the crossface and tapped out. Great match, would watch again.

The steel cage lowered for the World Heavyweight Championship match, Wolfgang entered with, what looked like, The Purge flanking him at the top of the stage all on motorbikes which was a great visual. They didn’t stay out, much a pity, would’ve been a great wee stable. Brawling start outside the cage, Trent set up two tables outside before they both climbed over the cage for the match to start. Then they smacked each other about a bit, the brass knuckles came into play and they ended up brawling on the top of the cage, Trent leathered Wolfgang with the brass knuckles which saw him fall off the cage and through the tables Trent set up at the start. Wolfgang retained. It was fine, wasn’t really looking forward to this match as I wasn’t clicking with Trent Seven as a challenger and didn’t want him as champion, so happy Wolfgang retained.

DCT and Sha got there own wee moment with their entrances before the 8 man elimination match, DCT wearing a tassled jacket that Macho Man would be proud of accompanied by Colonel Mustard and The Dijon 5 singing International Sex Hero, Coach Trip with his son was a really classy moment also. Sha had an amazing Parklife inspired theme while Renfrew and Grado entered to Team Dallas with the man himself. Renfrew and Grado exchanged a fist bump before all four rushed to the ring to clear The Black Label. The battle for ownership of ICW was good, with fast eliminations before it was down to Drew and Jester against Renfrew and Grado. Grado sacrificing himself by pushing Renfrew out of the way of a pipe shot and ended up taking the brunt of the blow was great and really brought the story of Renfrew and Grado to a satisfying conclusion. Grado came back to help eliminate Jester and it was down to Galloway and Renfrew. Galloway seemed to be more focused on battering Mark Dallas which led to a heated exchange between him and Jester. Galloway called Jester the weak link which lead to Jester walking away. Drew held Dallas up for a Futureshock DDT which saw Finn Balor enter in an ICW shirt to break up the assault. Jester followed with his pipe as it looked like they were going to give Balor a beating, only for Jester to hand Balor the pipe to smack Galloway with and put him into the path of a lovely Stunner by Renfrew and the three count.

Once the gut of the eliminations took place and it was down to four the match really picked up the intensity. Galloway looked phenomenal and in great shape following his injury. That Stunner at the end with a 180 degree turn was a piece of art.

Afterwards Mark Dallas fired Andy (Red Lightning) and he was ushered out by security.

It was almost possible to forget that there was still one more match on the show but there was, the main event between Joe Coffey and Kurt Angle. Coffey entered as the Iron Braveheart, kilted up and combining his Iron Man paint with the saltire which looked amazing. It was surreal seeing Kurt Angle in an ICW ring, he looked in pretty good shape considering he’s torn just about every muscle in body at somepoint and is pushing 50. For 10 minutes it was a pretty good back and forth match before Coffey got Angle over for a Boston Crab for the tap out victory. It was short but sweet. A nice way to end the event, Angle got on the mic afterwards and told Coffey that it wouldn’t be the last time they’d be in the ring together.

This show, though having plenty of highlights and great matches, didn’t feel like an ICW show. It was quite tame and very sports entertainment, for which I can see why, if they want to be on TV or even be considered then the over 18’s bloody hardcore violence would need to be toned down, Fear & Loathing IX also had under 18’s and it needed to appeal to a younger audience which maybe sacrificed a bit of ICW’s reputation for being “extreme”. It was a great wrestling event but if it wasn’t for the logos saying ICW I’d be hard pressed to know it was an Insane Championship Wrestling show. I feel like I’m nit-picking here but there were some dud matches down to maybe being overhyped or just not hyped at all so I had no reason to look forward to it, and some just ended out of nowhere. The opener, the triple threat and Girvan/Ricochet were fantastic and certainly worth another viewing while the end portion of the ladder match certainly had some great moments. The streaming issues were annoying and I think if I was paying £20 for FITE I’d be pretty cheesed off to miss the first two matches, however, as I had just got ICW On Demand that day, which was a fraction of the cost for FITE, and watched the first two matches on Facebook for free I’m okay with it and won’t be digging out a pitch fork asking for a refund. I enjoyed some of the little touches like the previously mentioned Brother Ray shouting “Who Bad” and Renfrew wearing yellow boots to show unity with Sha and DCT. The camera work was beautiful and the match graphics with the Hydro logo were really great. It’s not like I didn’t enjoy the show, I really did, but there’s just little things that just niggled about in this brain of mine.

Let’s move away from the negatives, it wasn’t a perfect show but was a history making night in The Hydro in front of over 6000 people. For those in attendance the atmosphere was said to be unbelievable and it was like nothing they’d seen or felt before. Next year ICW do it all again for Fear & Loathing X on November 19th 2017 at The SSE Hydro.

Quick Results:
Joe Hendry defeated Davey Blaze
ICW Women’s Championship: Kay Lee Ray defeated Carmel and Viper
Stevie Boy defeated BT Gunn.
ICW Undisputed Tag Team Championship: Polo Promotions (Jackie Polo and Mark Coffey) defeated Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon)
ICW Zero-G Championship: Kenny Williams defeated Lionheart, Zack Gibson, Andy Wild, Liam Thomson, Iestyn Rees and Aaron Echo
Lewis Girvan defeated Ricochet
ICW World Heavyweight Championship: Wolfgang defeated Trent Seven
Team Dallas (Chris Renfrew, Grado, DCT and Sha Samuels) defeated The Black Label (Jack Jester, Kid Fite, Bram and Drew Galloway)
Joe Coffey defeated Kurt Angle