Review: ICW ‘Granite City Fight Club’ | The Ride Has Been Ridden

It was the night of the Christmas lights switch on in Aberdeen and there was a queue of people freezing their respective reproductive organs off in the rain outside of The Assembly, myself included. Insane Championship Wrestling had ventured up North to The Granite City for the first time as did many fans from Glasgow including some of the good folk from Eat Sleep Suplex Retweet, Kwaku and Jemma (check out their podcasts here), along with many familiar faces from the WrestleZone crowd. I just missed the complaints of queue jumping which I hear is a staple of the ICW queuing experience. Maybe next time.

As we all bundled into the venue it was strange to see all these familiar faces from the interweb just wandering past like Scott Reid and Mark Dallas. The cracking tunes of the Guardians of the Galaxy soundtrack made the wait for the show to start made any time pass by quickly. It was cool to actually see an ICW ring in real life. Bradley Evans and Ryan Riley of WrestleZone were around ringside in their ICW ring crew shirts, nice that local lads were being used on the show itself. Billy Kirkwood, in the place of the absent Simon Cassidy, introduced himself before heading backstage and re-entering to kick off the show properly. He introduced the show, couple jokes, good stuff.

Aaron Echo defeated Kid Fite by pinfall.

The wrestling contingent of the evening kicked off with ‘The King of Sink Style’ Kid Fite, having stolen the metallic washbasin from his former Fight Club brethren Liam Thomson. It was the battle of the Kings with ‘The King of Benidrom’ Aaron Echo coming out. It must’ve been cold in the venue with Kid Fite never taking off his jacket, he wouldn’t have got the benefit of that later. Fairly basic match, nothing too flashy, Echo launched himself from the top rope with a nice flying uppercut. Fite attempted his hammerlock DDT several times but it never connected and Echo swung with a spinning elbow to put away Fite.

It was uneventful, it didn’t light the crowd but the actual content of the match was fine. Fite chewing out the guy who was holding the sink for not hitting Echo with the sink was the highlight of the match. Oh and WrestleZone Senior Referee Mikey Innes being the assigned referee for the contest.

Liam Thomson vs Joe Hendry w/Leyton Buzzard ended in a no contest.

After a tepid start we got Leyton Buzzard with a beautiful introduction for ‘The Prestigious’ Joe Hendry who entered to a chorus of boos and ‘Dallas Rent Boy’ from The Granite City audience. Mark Dallas popped out to give the crowd a telling off for the assault on Hendry while he was also covering the ears of Mr Hendry. Leyton Buzzard attacked Thomson as the match started so it was thrown out by Thomas Kierans pretty sharpish.

Jack Jester made the save to run off the dastardly duo, he grabbed a microphone and noted that he was disappointed that Gangrel couldn’t make the show and that he wasn’t, in fact, a vampire so couldn’t fly to Aberdeen. Jester challenged Hendry and Buzzard to a tag team match to the chants of Sinky Party, Jester confirmed the one night only union of THE SINKY PARTY. It was on!

The Sinky Party (Jack Jester & Liam Thomson) defeated Joe Hendry & Leyton Buzzard by pinfall.

A little mix of wrestling and comedy. We had Thomson and Hendry trade holds before Leyton came in to be funny, and he was that but with some absolutely beautiful dropkicks, his timing was wonderful. Plenty of chants directed to Joe in among the “No Kinky No Party, SINK” chanting. Eventually Joe Hendry dropped off the apron and walked away leaving Leyton to eat a Tombstone piledriver from Jester for the win. Jester and Thomson then took a trip through the crowd with a little crowd surfing.

Fun stuff, nothing much of note happened but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

Traditional Wrestling Rules Match – Mikey Whiplash vs BT Gunn ended in a no contest.

Next up was the traditional wrestling rules match between Mikey Whiplash and BT Gunn, a lot of wrestling. BT Gunn made a lot of effort of aiming attacks at Mikey’s hands which I thought was quite clever seeing as he’s going into Fear & Loathing XI to go up against Pete Dunne who loves fingers, snapping, biting among other things. Lots of cranking submissions to bend the body in torture devices. Whiplash used the Ambrose rope rebound several times with very little success.

They traded signature moves with Whiplash hitting the Zombiemaker and Gunn hitting the Gunn Shot but neither could get the three count. They looked at each other, said f*ck it and went to grab a couple chairs to the roar of the crowd. Mark Dallas came out and told them they’d both be off the Hydro if they used them or attacked him. Joe Hendry and Leyton Buzzard snuck into the ring and attacked Gunn and Whiplash until Whiplash and Gunn got the upper hand, Hendry scrambled while Leyton once again took a beating on behalf of “The Prestigious One”.

This felt like a hiding to nothing. Nothing was really gained from the match. I mean it was good as a wrestling match, like it wasn’t bad when it came to wrestling y’know but I didn’t find it too exciting but that’s my personal taste. Mikey Whiplash’s entrance did send a shiver done my spine.

Grado defeated Red Lightning by pinfall.

The first half main event saw the return of Red Lightning to the ring. Lots of chanting towards Red and poor Mrs Lightning. Typical Grado match, trip ups, shenanigans and stuff. Red looked pretty good. It was a feel good match, good for a laugh. Plenty of sheep jokes as it was Aberdeen. I’ve seen Grado plenty of times, it doesn’t come much as a surprise anymore. I was expecting something a bit more “Grado with an ICW edge” but ach well, maybe next time.

It was what it was. Nice to see Red Lightning back wrestling.

During the break Jack Jester and Joe Hendry were wandering about which was neat. Got a picture with Joe while I was thanking him for his great podcast. The crowd was fairly chilled out, I was enjoying the show but to be honest, I wasn’t feeling the hype. Maybe because it was Aberdeen and not Glasgow but it felt like any other wrestling show but there was some swearing. It was placed in an awkward time where it’s full steam ahead to The Hydro and most of the stories are ready to go, judging by the first half it could have been any wrestling show and it just happened to be an ICW emblazoned ring.

Damien & The Purge (Krobar & Stevie James) defeated Sugar Dunkerton & The Kings of Catch (“Mr Universe” Aspen Faith & Lewis Girvan) by pinfall.

The second half started with the match I was most looking forward to. The Kings of Catch and Sugar Dunkerton, collectively known as The Big Bad Bawdy Daddies, against The Purge and the debuting Damien. This was what I expected when coming to ICW, wild, entertaining, high flying, fun and chaotic. Just what I wanted. We got the frolics from The Kings of Catch, the charismatic Sugar Dunkerton, the foils The Purge and the brilliant Damien. Damien has been on such an upward trajectory in the last two years and making his debut for one of the biggest wrestling companies in Europe plus in his hometown has really been the icing on the cake. The cherry on top was picking up the win for his team, pinning Suge out of nowhere. Now, sometimes out of nowhere finishes can leave you feeling a bit flat but the whole match was build up, build up, everyone got a little bit of something in like with Krobar showing off his agility, The Kings of Catch being The Kings of Catch and Suge throwing in a party feel, showing off his moves in the bid to impress to further push on the Suge for Hydro hashtag which he certainly did. Damien didn’t look out of place and has hopefully nabbed himself a future opportunity in ICW.

This is the ICW I expected and what I certainly got. Suge was embraced by the audience and earned his please come back chant. More Suge! More Damien! More Kings of Catch! This was my favourite match of the night.

Lionheart defeated Crusher Craib by pinfall.

Another debut with former Undisputed WrestleZone Champion Crusher Craib coming to ICW. He was coming in to face Lionheart and it was expected to be all Lionheart but to my surprise this was all Crusher. Craib battered Lionheart for the majority of the match, Lionheart would try anything to get Crusher down but nothing was doing it. It was one misstep from Crusher that opened him up to a couple superkicks, a Rock Bottom and a Frog Splash for a Lionheart win. A dominating performance for Crusher Craib in his debut and although he didn’t get the win he certainly left an impression.

Lionheart got on the microphone afterwards to note that next Sunday may be his last match but he knows that he will become ICW World Heavyweight Champion to the roar of the crowd.

ICW Women’s World Championship – Viper defeated Sammii Jayne by submission to retain the ICW Women’s World Championship.

Another match that was I was super excited for, an early exchange made this an even contest but a slip on the second rope saw Sammii favour her ankle that was broken last time she was at ICW. The atmosphere shifted from excitement to concern as Sammii would keep checking her ankle. Viper went for an ankle lock and, I swear, Sammii gave her a look that could kill after she escaped the attempt. The match raged on with Viper feeling the wrath of Shadowfax but Sammii couldn’t quite get the victory. Sammii thwarted a cannonball senton by tripping Viper on the apron which avoided a repeat of months ago at The Garage. Viper then snapped with several Viper Drivers, a Viper Bomb before stepping on Sammii’s good ankle and cranked the surgically repaired one for the quick tap out. Viper struck and it was hard to watch but at the same time it was enthralling. These two just work magic with each other.

Kay Lee Ray entered to get in the face of Viper, congratulating her on finding that killer instinct by using the ankle lock on Sammii’s ankle. After a verbal exchange Viper and Kay Lee Ray started brawling but it ended with an amazing Viper Destroyer. Kay Lee Ray retreated with a smile on her face.

It was great match but I was cringing watching it, out of concern for Sammii favouring her ankle throughout. A fantastic tug on my heart strings seeing as Sammii is my favourite. By the sounds of it I took the bait hook, line and sinker. The follow up segment was intense and I’m really interested to see what happens at The Hydro for Queen of Insanity,

The ICW World Heavyweight Champion Just Justice Jackie Polo entered with “The Warden” Coach Trip to mock the “cheap cigars” in attendance, Coach talked about his love for The New York Rangers and Justice was about to talk about his beloved Boston Celtics but was interrupted by a rendition of Stand Free or whatever that Aberdeen football chant is, I don’t know about the footballs but the noise was deafening. Just Justice offered an open challenge to anyone in attendance for a shot at the ICW World Heavyweight Championship. Ring crew member Ryan Riley took it up.

ICW World Heavyweight Championship – Just Justice Jackie Polo w/Coach Trip defeated Ryan Riley by knockout to retain the ICW World Heavyweight Championship.

The match didn’t last long before Jackie Polo had Ryan in a side headlock and Ryan passed out. Riley showed plenty fire in the early going but it academic with Polo picking up the win. Fantastic to see local lad Ryan Riley being in a World Championship match only a couple months after his in-ring debut, you could say it’s inspirational. It’s clear to see that these wrestlers coming out of the WrestleZone Training Academy are trained well with Ryan being the latest in a long line of recent talents, goes to show what’s hidden up here in the North East.

Jackie’s scheduled opponent, Andy Wild, entered and challenged Just Justice to put the title on the line.

ICW World Heavyweight Championship – Just Justice Jackie Polo w/Coach Trip defeated Andy Wild by pinfall to retain the ICW World Heavyweight Championship.

Pardon the pun but this was a wild main event. Again it was a chaotic brawl, that saw it travel around The Assembly. Polo busted out his old school wrasslin while Andy would take any chance to grab Just Justice and throw him about. Polo introduced a belt to proceedings and whipped Wild like a mule. Andy kept fighting back, a Wild Night Out made it look like Andy might just book his place at The Hydro over the head of Mark Dallas but Coach Trip was on hand to pull the referee out of the ring. Wild was distracted for a moment before trying to a top rope senton but missed. A power struggle to lift the other into an Electric Chair position saw Coach once again interfere and Polo rolled up Wild with a victory roll to retain.

This was a great main event, Andy Wild is truly an adopted son of Aberdeen. Sure when he’s wrestling in The Granite City he’s usually the bad guy but he’s our bad guy. The resurgence of Andy Wild has been fantastic and it’s a damn shame that he won’t make it to The Hydro, maybe he’ll still appear in some other form…

Seeing Just Justice as a character, I get it, the cringe factor of his ‘murican act is fantastic along with The Warden being an excellent addition. Jackie Polo knows how to push peoples buttons, he can make a crowd do whatever he chooses, a fascinating mind that would be incredible to delve into.

This was a show of two halves. The first was slow, and it was fine but I didn’t find it to be what I expected from an ICW show. There were snippets of storyline with Joe Hendry & Leyton Buzzard doing their thing and Mark Dallas making an appearance. The second half blew the first out of the water with the debutantes being a brilliant highlight. It made perfect sense to have Damien and Crusher Craib appear on this Fight Club taping as you were going to get a great reaction for them. Both looked great and put in plenty of offense to put themselves across. Sugar Dunkerton was a delight, his charisma and enthusiasm was clear, he wanted it. His goal was to not “sh!t the bed” and I think his sheets are well and truly clean. It was great to see Leyton Buzzard for the first time, he’s outstanding.

Meeting The Big Bad Bawdy Daddies after the show was awesome. So, to end this review here is a picture of The Braw Bucks:

Billy Kirkwood announced that ICW would be back in Aberdeen as part of a tour in 2019 so I will be looking to get myself to that! I bought a ticket to take the ride and although it was a slow start, it was truly a great experience. The relaxed atmosphere of the whole show was surprise, and a welcomed one.

A sold out Aberdeen debut, next up is Fear & Loathing weekend!

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