When the news that Insane Championship Wrestling was making their way up to the North East for an edition of Fight Club I was on the fence about whether I would go or not. Aberdeen is literally 90 minutes up the road and it was be crazy to not go, on the other hand there was a lot of real life expenses coming up like Christmas that had me all, ehhh could I swing it? ICW is the biggest wrestling promotion in the country, but I’ve always been reserved about making my way to Glasgow to see it. The thought of standing for four hours in a sea of bodies while watching hardcore blood filled matches didn’t really have my heart racing to attend. It’s not a style of wrestling I particularly enjoy and I’m more of a sports entertainment sort of soul. Give me something silly and I’ll be wooping and hollering.
That being said, ICW has really evolved in the last 18 months, saving the big deathmatches for special occasions to maximise their importance while producing entertaining events for an adult audience. The famed atmosphere at ICW is something I am yet to experience so as I bought a ticket for November 25th and shifted around some holidays, I am prepared to take the ride.
Back when OSWtv was just starting in late 2012 I knew of one independent wrestling company, as I delved into a YouTube rabbit hole I stumbled across ICW Insane In The Membrane. From the opening words of Billy Kirkwood to the 90 second main event I was enthralled. ICW hit every target from the athletic Zero G title match, the entertaining debut of Grado, to the hardcore barbarity of Jack Jester and Mikey Whiplash, to the hybrid of old and new in the Scottish Rules World of Sport match there was a little bit of everything. All these faces and names that I may have only heard in passing or not at all had me hooked. I needed more. I watched countless hours of their YouTube content from Monday Night BRAW to ICW Online to ICW Worldwide. Absorbing as much of it as possible and seeing some of the craziest moments I’d ever seen in professional wrestling to top it all off. The VICE documentary on Grado was another eye opener in what reputation Insane Championship Wrestling was carving in the professional wrestling industry.
As the years rolled on, BBC documentaries watched, DVDs and merchandise purchased, the ladder that ICW were climbing was getting higher, the return of Drew Galloway, the rise of Grado to the top of the mountain, venues being sold out again and again. ICW looked unstoppable. Although the blood sport wasn’t my “thing” those that did it well, like Mikey Whiplash and Jack Jester, made the story worth the gruesome acts unfolding.
My first “live” ICW experience was from my own sofa. ICW Fear & Loathing IX from The SSE Hydro in Glasgow. Streaming live on ICW On Demand, well, most of it as the first hour or so was on Facebook. I saw the large crowd roar for Insane Championship Wrestling from the thousands in attendance, watching Lewis Girvan and Ricochet have one of the best matches I’ve ever seen, seeing Joe Coffey tangle with Kurt Angle, Team 3D against Polo Promotions. A remarkable wrestling show which really proved that the hard work was paying off. A sports entertainment show as opposed to an “ICW” show marked the beginnings of an evolution to bridge both to create the amalgamation of the two. Sure there were teething problems, an overabundance of imported talent along with super quiet tour shows made the journey a bit bumpy but now, as the Hydro once again looms for the third year in a row, ICW seem to have struck a fine balance of insane violence and entertainment.
I should really speak about Granite City Fight Club shouldn’t I?
What has really drawn me to going to ICW’s debut in Aberdeen, other than the distance or lack thereof, is the debuting talent on the card. As many readers will know, I consider WrestleZone my “home promotion”. Not a year goes by without several WrestleZone shows being attended while I praise the shows, the stories and the talent as far as my social media reach can allow. So to see Crusher Craib and Damien making their ICW debuts makes me proud. A former and the current Undisputed WrestleZone Champion, I’ve seen both wrestle numerous times and to see them make their mark in ICW for the first time will be truly special. Along with them there is also Sugar Dunkerton, the most charismatic man that I’ve ever had the pleasure to witness on video. I’ve never seen an actual match involving Suge but his passion and the overall praise he’s received from fans and peers has got me all excited. The final debut is Gangrel, a random addition but right in my wheelhouse of wrestling nostalgia.
This is the final ICW show before the Fear & Loathing XI weekend begins on November 30th with Wrestling Experience Scotland putting on a secret show at The Asylum in Glasgow, £8 a ticket and no matches announced. What’s exciting about this is that anyone could show up, considering the guests and talent that are confirmed to appear at Fear & Loathing XI they could be up on the Friday to get a bit of a warm up, imagine paying £8 and you get Noam Dar versus Lionheart for example. After that France ’99 takes place at The Garage in Glasgow on December 1st before the main event, Fear & Loathing XI at The SSE Hydro. What a huge weekend of shows.
Let’s take a look at The Granite City Fight Club card though, which is one of the most stacked event cards of the year.
The first match announced was Red Lightning challenging Grado. Lightning recently returned to the ring at Wrestling Experience Scotland against Wolfgang after a long absence due to injuries. These two have a very long and storied history from way back in the early days of ICW, that VICE Documentary, The Black Label versus ICW, RUDO Sports and Entertainment Brand, Grado and Red Lightning have been through a lot. It’s so fitting to see these two tangle once again in Red’s official in-ring return in ICW. Having seen Grado and Red Lightning numerous times in the family friendly area of the wrestling world of wrestling, I’ll be keen to see ICW’s Grado along whatever words of wisdom Red will embark on the inhabitants of Aberdeen.
Back to the debuts, former WWE star Gangrel will be in action as ‘The Vampire Warrior’ takes on ‘The Big Ride Machine’ Jack Jester. I love Jack Jester, he’s just bloody good at his job, he has made me laugh and near wet myself in fear, sometimes all in the same night. At the moment he’s in a fun and frolicking tag team with Sha Samuels, together they are the current ICW Tag Team Champions, The Kinky Party. So I’m expecting a bit of fun here with “Big Kink” facing off against a man who’s other activities include making adult films, it’s almost a match made in heaven. I’m hoping to hear that infamous Brood music to bounce along to in The Assembly.
A few months back Viper and Sammii Jayne squared off at The Garage in a match that was en route to becoming an instant classic in ICW, however, due to reasons and an errant cannonball senton, Sammii ended up being carried out with a broken ankle and was side-lined over the summer. Sammii and Viper have tussled all over the country with many of those battles taking place in The Granite City itself, trading victories. The environment has changed with Viper coming in as ICW Women’s World Champion against someone that could consider Aberdeen her city. It’s going to be a war, with one week to go until Fear & Loathing XI there could be a detour on the road to Queen of Insanity as Sammii could find herself at The Hydro with a win here.
The big matches keep coming with the King of Sink Style “Bad Boy” Liam Thomson takes on “The Prestigious” Joe Hendry, who will no doubt have Leyton Buzzard squawking about the vicinity. Two Edinburgh natives with plenty to prove. Hendry has Mikey Whiplash up ahead but it would be unwise of him to forget about Liam Thomson, he may be in this slightly odd phase of sink loving but he’s also one of the fiercest wrestlers in the country.
One of the matches I’m most looking forward to is the six man tag match involving my favourites The Kings of Catch, Aspen Faith & Lewis Girvan teaming with Sugar Dunkerton to form The Big Bad Bawdy Daddies against Krobar & Stevie James of The Purge along with the debuting Damien. Speaking of Damien, he has had quite the 2018, he started the year as Undisputed WrestleZone Champion, after losing that he went on to get to the finals of The Drew Galloway Invitational Tournament before narrowly losing to Irving Garrett, he then competed in the first ever Steel Cage Match in WrestleZone and won the Undisputed WrestleZone Championship again all while being involved in one of the most thrilling stories that I have ever bared witness to that lasted years from the return of Sterling Oil to its demise. Damien has more than put in the work and effort to deserve the call from ICW. If you’ve been watching Filth Life/Kings Road you’ll know how much on-screen chemistry the trio of Faith, Girvan and Suge have. It’s a matter of if that translates to the ring. Suge has been campaigning to get booked for Fear & Loathing XI for quite some time and this is his chance to give Mark Dallas a reason to add him to the show. The Purge and The Kings of Catch will be at The Hydro to take part in a barbaric TLC match along with Rampage Brown & Ashton Smith, Jimmy Havoc & Mark Haskins, Lou King Sharp & Krieger and The Briscoe Brothers to get a chance at the ICW Tag Team Champions, whoever that may be after December 2nd.
As mentioned before, the debutantes that ply their trade up in the North East are one of the many reasons I’m making my way over to Aberdeen on Sunday. “The Beast From The North East” Crusher Craib has been one of those guys that has been battering folk for years, throwing opponents all over the place, winning titles and creating carnage. He steps in with Lionheart, now on any other night I might’ve given the edge to the larger Craib, his size and deceptive agility would cause all sorts of problems, but we’re one week away from Fear & Loathing XI. One week away from Lionheart versus Jackie Polo for the ICW World Heavyweight Championship, one week from the possibility of Lionheart leaving ICW forever. Lionheart isn’t coming to Aberdeen for a bit of fun and games, he’ll be seeing Jackie Polo’s face in front of him. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if this isn’t just a one and done for Crusher and that it plays into a bigger story, we’ve seen the big imposing enforcers in the past like Flex Hunter and that big Swedish butcher bloke, how about Crusher being behind Jackie, standing with Coach Trip and just being a big brute. It could be a ruse, Polo may have used that couple extra pounds he’s got from title defenses to pay for some back up.
The current ICW World Heavyweight Champion Jackie Polo will also be in action, non-title action that is, as he goes up against the leader of the Wild Boys, Andy Wild. Andy Wild has seen lots of success in recent times in Aberdeen, winning both singles titles at WrestleZone, and although he’s currently without a match for Fear & Loathing XI and by the sounds of it he isn’t going to be on the show thanks to Mark Dallas’s petulant behaviour in recent months and the ICW owner’s bias towards recent opponent Joe Hendry, The Assembly would be a good place for the former Zero G Champion to stake his claim to the title.
Few stories in ICW history have had as much blood-lust and the will to torture like BT Gunn and Mikey Whiplash. They collide once more in Aberdeen. The last time they went at it there was broken glass, broken bodies and both were left lying in pain while Stevie Boy walked away with the ICW World Heavyweight Championship. Over six months have passed since then with BT Gunn recently joining his cousin Wolfgang along with The Purge to strengthen Bad Company as they march on with current WWE Superstar Noam Dar to face British Strong Style while Mikey Whiplash has been at loggerheads with ICW Owner Mark Dallas, who is set about ICW becoming less about mindless violence and more accessible to the masses enlisting Whiplash’s student Joe Hendry to do the dirty work. Both may have their minds elsewhere but I’m sure it won’t take long before they’re reliving the past and finding new and horrific ways to take a couple pounds of flesh from the other.
All that plus Aaron Echo taking on Kid Fite, both are gunning for The Hydro with no concrete direction. One would assume that Kenny Williams and Liam Thomson would be in each respective’s sights but time will only tell.
There are very limited tickets still available on Ticketmaster, so jump onto the final show before the Fear & Loathing weekend begins!
Aaron Echo vs Kid Fite
Liam Thomson vs Joe Hendry w/Leyton Buzzard
Lionheart vs Crusher Craib
Jack Jester vs Gangrel
BT Gunn vs Mikey Whiplash
Grado vs Red Lightning
Jackie Polo vs Andy Wild
Damien & The Purge (Krobar & Stevie James) vs The Big Bad Bawdy Daddies (Aspen Faith, Lewis Girvan & Sugar Dunkerton)
ICW Women’s World Championship – Viper (c) vs Sammii Jayne