Insane Championship Wrestling returned to The Assembly in Aberdeen this past Sunday with a huge line up. A contrast from last year’s skeleton crew which made all the difference. Last year it felt like it was a tester show for future events, thankfully Aberdeen passed and we were treated to a proper ICW event in The Granite City. Parking up at the Denburn car park (free after 5pm, public toilet and a 3 minute saunter from the venue), intitial plans were to grab food but ended up chatting to the good folks in the queue while we survived the baltic cold air. Thank goodness for my super comfortable Joe Hendry Local Hero hoodie still available from Joe Hendry’s online store… I think.
Once everyone piled into the venue I found the same seat (not the exact seat) from last time out. Silver seating meant that it was second row but I lucked out with nobody sitting in front of me, plus, I was seated close to the commentary table. The reason I chose this seat this time was because I got to hear the commentary first hand. While it seems like a strange reason, it was brilliant hearing Billy Kirkwood and James R Kennedy interact and tell the stories in the ring within ear shot of seeing the action live in front of my very eyes. It was like watching ICW OnDemand with a VR headset.
You don’t get this sort of in depth chair picking analysis anywhere else.
We were welcomed by “Champagne” Simon Cassidy, the master of being the master of ceremonies. A lot of this review will be me just excited to see the typical ICW things so it will probably be old hat to those regular attendees at an ICW show. One of the things that is appreciated by fans is the pre-show warm up with Billy Kirkwood, he brought his tiny hands to proceedings this time. It’s quite a sight to see. With all the handoffs and introductions done, it was time for some wrestling!
Kieran Kelly defeated Scott McManus by pinfall.
An absolute firecracker of a match to kick off the show. It was clear that both knew each other well with early counters and stand offs. It was McManus that ramped the aggression up by bulldozing Kelly all over the place. The stocky McManus, with his barrel chest and low centre of gravity, punished Kelly for a large portion of the match. Kelly fought back but was soon being battered by McManus again. It was an impressive showing from McManus in his first proper match in ICW (not counting the beating he got from Iestyn Rees way back when), he was so close to winning but Kieran Kelly somehow caught a quick pinfall to escape victorious.
A brilliant opening match, it was very easy to get into. I liked that there was a little bit of familiarity to get the crowd invested before McManus turned it up a notch and took over. Kelly looks so innocent, it’s hard to not feel sympathy when he’s eating kicks all over the place. A great way to start the show.
Aivil defeated Viper by pinfall.
A match I was certainly looking forward to. When it comes to the dark world of wrestling social media it can be hard to find positives as the vocal minority seem to be right grumps. However, any time there’s a Jokey/Aivil match it’s flooded with positivity. Her character work as either has been heaped with praise and I wanted to see why. Sure, you can see her work on YouTube and OnDemand but you’ll get a fraction of the atmosphere that is created when Aivil enters. It wasn’t just the cold venue that gave me shiver down my spine. She faced Viper, who is pretty much the opposite of “The Twisted Priestess” which always makes for a good story. Viper was spooked by Aivil throughout, reacting perfectly to the subtle… and less subtle ticks. We’re so used to Viper just destroying the competition but Aivil held her own through the match which made it an even contest. It clear that her actual wrestling isn’t as a high a standard of Viper but her character work actually corrects that by allowing her to be a little rough around the edges, a little crazy and wild. Aivil picked up the win following a spear which was a bit of a shock considering her opponent.
Aivil looked fantastic in this one, it made me super excited to see her lighter side, Jokey, in two weeks up in Inverness. Now I understand why she gets such a strong reaction on the interwebs. I haven’t really mentioned Viper in this bit, but what can be said that hasn’t already been written down at length? She is a superstar and I don’t think I’ve ever seen a bad match from her.
ICW Tag Team Championships – The Kings of Catch (Aspen Faith & Lewis Girvan) defeated The Kinky Party (Sha Samuels & Jack Jester) by pinfall to retain the ICW Tag Team Championships.
The Kings of Catch, ICW Tag Team Champions… that sounds good doesn’t it? I was expecting entertainment and I got it and more. The Kinky Party are infectious in their sheer enjoyment of being two pals that like to drink and fight. Can’t go wrong with that. The Kings of Catch entered with their ICW Tag Team Championships AND their WrestleZone Tag Team Championships. The WrestleZone belts are beautiful, check out all their titles actually, stunning pieces of work. They joined Sha and Jester in finishing their drinks thanks to Mark Leslie (The Prince of Catch??) providing Red Bulls for the occasion.
We got some Lu-Sha action early on with nip ups and flip counters. How does he do it? On the outside he is a stocky East end bloke but on the inside he’s a sub 205 pound masked wrestler which is incredible. What I enjoyed about the match was the amount of tag team moves, plenty teamwork on display and teamwork makes the dream work. Poor Lewis felt the force of Sha’s head on to his rear in, former ICW tag team, Team 3D style, Sha “wassup Lewis’s behind” you could say (or don’t, actually don’t). There was very little in it with both teams having opporunities to pick up the win that it left me with my heart in my mouth. Aspen hit a lovely middle rope moonsault onto a standing Kinky Party which could’ve went all sorts of wrong. Thankfully, to save tears, Sha was lifted into position for an Apter Burner which connected for the win.
A joyous match, plenty of fun, frolics and shenanigans to keep everyone entertained. It’s a nice change for me to see The Kings of Catch, more specifically Aspen Faith, win a match in person. Let’s hope this run of luck continues into next Saturday…
The familiar beats of ‘Like A Prayer’ hit before the Mick Foley car crash soundbite transitioned to Grado’s theme music. The man himself entered to talk about his recent time in ICW, more specifically his run ins with Jeff Jarrett. He went on to challenge Jeff Jarrett to a match. Jarrett appeared on the big screen on location at WWE Fastlane, he told Grado that he needed to prove himself against a hand picked opponent.
Enter, the unadvertised, ‘Just Justice’ Jackie Polo. Yas.
‘Just Justice’ Jackie Polo w/Coach Trip defeated Grado by pinfall.
I loved that we got a bit of the ICW hybrid Grado in this, sure we had the laughs but we got some aggression to go with it. Polo is incredible at just being so disingenious yet charming it’s a difficult mix to have yet ol’ Just Justice nails it quite remarkably. Polo had a lot of the offense, not even a stumble trying to lift Grado for the Electric Chair drop could phase him. What made the match different from other Grado matches was that we didn’t get the usual the fat jokes specifically the german suplex counter with Grado being deadweight. We got the Roll N Slice, we got the Dusty flip, flop and fly, we got the moves but with the comedy downplayed. Grado powered out of a headlock that Polo has been using to knockout opponents but was soon looking up to the glittery disco ball in the ceiling for the three count after the Electric Chair drop.
After the match, Polo told Grado that he didn’t need the approval of Jeff Jarrett as he had the love from the fans and even the love from ol’ Just Justice. Polo turned to the camera and flat out told Jarrett never to use him as a pawn in his games and issued a challenge of his own to Jeff Jarrett for a match at Shug’s Hoose Party.
Another fantastic match, give me more of this Grado and all the Jackie Polo you have. We got the set up for two matches involving Jeff Jarrett over the course of Shug’s weekender in July. Highly enjoyable match, highly enjoyable storyline progress, brilliant.
Bad Company (Wolfgang, BT Gunn & The Purge (Krobar & Stevie James)) defeated The Dallas Mavericks (Joe Hendry, Leyton Buzzard, Kez Evans & Ravie Davie) by pinfall.
Chaotic, aye. Wild, aye. Cluster, maybe. Brawls and breakdowns and brawls around ringside to create an unpredictable atmosphere in the venue. Not much to report as it was just two factions smashing each other about until one got the pin. Bad Company had some sweet team moves but it was Leyton Buzzard tagging himself in by accident, following some miscommunication, that lead to the downfall of The Dallas Mavericks. Krobar and Ravie Davie continued to brawl after the match but it was soon Wolfgang standing alone in the ring.
It wasn’t so much of a match and more of a wild brawl, which was fun and you had to have eyes everywhere to take it in. We got some glimpses of Evans and Gunn interacting plus it continued the breakdown between Hendry and Buzzard. Buzzard is exceptional, he’s pure gold whether it’s wrestling or comedy and has a very bright future.
Wolfie got on the microphone to talk a little about his position in ICW. He talked about him travelling the world and when he comes back to ICW he wants world class competition and he didn’t feel that he got that in Aberdeen. He then went on to say that he’s fed up waiting for chances and he will have to start knocking on doors.
On hindsight it was noticeable that Wolfgang was looking at the brawl and had the face of a guy wondering how he wandered into this particular situation which played perfectly into his post-match comments. It looks to be Wolfgang on his way to challenge Lionheart, maybe at Shug’s Hoose Party or So’s Yer Maw 2.
My other thought coming out of this is, have we ever had Joe Hendry versus Wolfgang in ICW? This seems like a pretty high calibre match. I’m concerned that Joe Hendry is being treated as a lackey to Mark Dallas, there needs to be a way to really set him apart and having him in these eight man tags isn’t the best way in my opnion. He’s becoming just one of The Dallas Mavericks when it should be Joe Hendry and The Dallas Mavericks if you catch my drift.
ICW Zero G Championship – Joe Coffey defeated Andy Wild by pinfall to retain the ICW Zero G Championship.
The second title match of the evening was the hotly anticipated Zero G Championship match between Joe Coffey and Andy Wild. After recovering from the eye burning combination of tiger balm, deep heat and vapour rub, we were treated to a phenomenal match between two excellent wrestlers.
I had a slight fear that this would be a chain wrestling, technical style contest. It’s not a style I particularly enjoy, but this was two big blokes throwing each other about and it was glorious. They crafted such a match that I was gripped throughout, I was absolutely postitive that Andy was going to walk out as Zero G Champion. This was non-stop action, lariats, throws, I’m sure if Liam Thomson’s sink was located then that would’ve been involved for good measure. This was thrilling from start to finish, Coffey finally landed Aw Ra Best Fur The Bells after numerous counters and found himself still the ICW Zero G Champion.
RUDO Lightning entered to tell Joe that he wasn’t going to challenge for the Zero G Championship with his Square Go shot but he knew a guy that deserves a shot at Coffey’s title. Liam Thomson entered and made a challenge to Coffey, face him with the Zero G Championship on the line. Coffey accepted the challange then clotheslined Thomson before walking out.
More matches set up for future shows which is good. The match was incredible and I’d go as far to say it was the best overall match of the night. It’s only a matter of time before Andy Wild is a champion of some form in ICW and the fans will be ready for it. Often times I’m not a bit fan of Joe Coffey, he’s a bit too smug for my liking, but then he has these kinds of matches and it’s hard not appreciate how good he is.
Aaron Echo defeated Scotty Swift by pinfall.
One of the very rare low points of the evening was Aaron Echo versus Scotty Swift. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a very big fan of Scotty Swift so this was a hard pill to swallow. It was strange to see Scotty, in Aberdeen, be the bad guy. Coupled with him facing the black hole of charisma in Aaron Echo it was a tough one to watch. Echo walked through his moves and Swift looked a bit wobbly. I can’t even remember how Echo won but he did. It wasn’t just a disappointing match, it was further marked by Echo’s attempt to square up to a fan who was criticising him during the match before he sulked away. The last two times I’ve seen Echo he had a basic and uneventful match with Kid Fite, then this one with Scotty Swift. That’s two opponents who can generally drag really good matches out of anyone but couldn’t get me to care at all about Aaron Echo who only seems to have a nifty chant (Aaron Echo, Echo, Echo, Aaron Echo) and little desire to have the crowd interact with him.
Kenny Williams defeated Jason Reed by pinfall.
In the penultimate match of the evening we got the debut of Jason Reed. He came up against the confident NXT UK star Kenny Williams. Williams entered, microphone in hand, running down his opponent before he offered Reed the chance to speak but smacked him with the microphone and went forward with a mauling. Any time Reed fought back there was a roar from the crowd, willing him on, especially two guys sat on the opposite side of where I was. It took a low blow from Kenny to eventually put down the plucky Reed.
Reed, even in defeat, looked impressive in this one. He didn’t need to say anything and he let his actions speak louder. It was a mark of a good bad guy in Kenny Williams in his quest to save ICW from “forever trainees” and the mark of someone who can use their body language to drum up crowd support effectively. It was a really good match with Reed earning every bit of praise.
ICW World Heavyweight Championship – Lionheart defeated Mark Coffey by pinfall to retain the ICW World Heavyweight Championship.
The main event arrived with Lionheart defending his ICW World Heavyweight Championship against Mark Coffey. A slow starter that lead to a crowd brawl with the first appearance of one of Coffey’s masked pals. Once they got back to the ring a second appeared at the entrance then a third came from under the ring to attack Lionheart. None of this mattered though as Lionheart eventually hit a superkick and a frog splash to retain.
Lionheart dragged one of the masked guys out and gave them a uranage before declaring that he welcomes all comers to his title to close out.
A bit of a dull main event, there was little threat that Mark would win and his masked trio were useless in their interference. Lionheart attacked one after the match and didn’t unmask them which makes him look a bit silly. The match itself was fine but with the result never in doubt it failed to pull me in.
Overall a really great show from ICW, sure two matches didn’t hit the mark for me but when that’s in contrast to six really good matches it’s not a bad ratio at all. It was refreshing to see so many new faces to me like Scott McManus, Kieran Kelly and Aivil. Even though I didn’t enjoy the match itself, it was a joy to see Scotty Swift in an ICW ring. I just hope he gets another chance to show what he can do. The atmosphere was great, everyone behaved themselves, it was a really enjoyable show and worth heading along to. Come back to Aberdeen please and thanks.
(For anyone interested, post show meal at KFC: Big Daddy box meal, gravy, cherry pepsi and two hot wings. Thanking you.)