By Doctor Bedlam
Greetings dear readers, for this report I am going to change things up, instead of reviewing as they happened I’ll deal with the tournament first as whole then about the other matches I felt it was the best way to do it.
Before I do, anyone found it rather interesting that Billy Kirkwood more or less acknowledged on the Sunday it was a small crowd, it was noted by fans outside there wasn’t a lot of people attending, it’s not a good thing but I will leave my thoughts on that until the end.
First lets look at how the tournament played out:
Bad Company defeated Dallas Mavericks
The Anti-Fun Police defeated The Sinky Party
The Wild Boys defeated Power Forward
The Kings of the North defeated More Than Hype
Bad Company defeated The Anti-Fun Police
The Wild Boys defeated The Kings of the North
Bad Company defeated The Wild Boys
Now look at the teams shall we?
Bad Company – I had been saying The Purge/Bad Company have needed… something, they needed this more than any team and for once ICW made sense. Also was good that one of the true stables won it, you could imagine Wolfy and BT as The Asylum with the Purge running drills and training for this they are being used correctly, finally, congratulations.
The Dallas Mavericks – Lost out due to Leyton Buzzards interference and I was thinking at the time they are gonna be in the final by cheating/Dallas but ultimately lose. This again is where Dallas seems to be, I dunno, he doesn’t get that a heel boss… is the BOSS and uses his power to help his people. Dallas right now is acting like a glorified heel manager with no more true power, he’s like bad Charles Boddington. The team did seem to work well though, more so Kez and Joe, Davie seems to be trying to find the balance of keeping the gimmick but being heel a difficult thing to do at times.
The Sinky Party – Individually this was the most impressively decorated team. Is it me or are they constantly booking The Kinky Party in a way that suggests a split but they never pull the trigger, like Dallas would love to get them back as singles but the fans want them as a team still.Though in the Anti-Fun Police he may have finally found a potential catalyst. Liam Thomson was the right guy to have as a third man, he’s one of the best pure wrestlers in ICW so as a team it did work The Anti-Fun Police going over as a curious choice though at the time but made sense later.
The Anti-Fun Police – Very interesting and very balanced team. I’d like to see more of Drake, the guy looks mean and has a commanding presence. I liked how tactical they were, even the ending of their first match. They made sure Sha, the biggest threat was truly down and that the other two were incapacitated before pinning, I also find their stipulation for next time they face the Kinky Party (that if The Kinky Party lose they have to split) to be something to really look forward to, mainly because this could be the time Dallas does pull the trigger and split The Kinky Party.
The Wild Boys – This was, in my eyes, the best individuals team (in the sense that they weren’t an established team/faction at all before). They had the perfect balance of power, technical ability and speed and all three had varied levels of experience. Does that help? It does, a team of just veterans can be over confident, a team of just rookies too nervous, this team tempered all that and it showed by them reaching the finals, once again Keiran Kelly being a standout and when you consider his teammates that’s high praise.
Power Forward – Be warned, this ain’t pretty. Story line wise what is the point of them? They came in and beat up random guys, helped Mark Coffey at the Square Go then.. disappeared. Only brought in because The Fite Network pulled out, and they lose handsomely, but no fear, Mark Coffey assaults Andy Wild. (match at Shug’s I’m guessing). But Mark (and Joe, more on that later) are not around often enough to build such a story line around him. Who are they? (We know Grant McIvor is one… Hi Grant!) Why are they doing what they are doing? Why is Mark Coffey the one in charge? I mean they have had over five months to do stuff and come up with motivations and stuff but nothing. They have just attacking Paxxo, then Liam Thomson, helping Mark at the Square Go, then nothing. They should of gave them to someone who is able to be at ICW more often, it seems to be the typical ICW “good idea not fully thought through”. Yes it’s something different and new, yet it’s poorly executed, yes have some mystery but not to the point we literally have no idea about it period, that’s what is getting me.
The Kings of the North – They were impressive and were a few people’s dark horses for the tournament and dare I say it they were unlucky to lose in the semis. They performed amazingly against The Wild Boys. Power-wise they were the most impressive team there, I could easily see these guys more often in ICW and I have to admit I was especially impressed with Bonesaw. There’s so many guys in ICW he could feud with.
More Than Hype – Loved them. Yhey were energetic, excitable, got the crowd involved and generally reveled in the event. It was unfortunate that they lost in the first round, I wanted to see more of them though the fact they are appearing again at Shug’s. They have a certain charm to them that is hard not the like them, it’s like you can see they are genuinely having a ton of fun in the ring and they aren’t afraid to show it, something you don’t always see these days. I can’t wait to see them take on Kenny and Iestyn Rees, should be very intriguing.
The other matches:
Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch vs The Nine9 – I do have to ask, why are they calling Nine9? All I keep thinking of is Brooklyn Nine Nine for some reason (though a Captain Holt style manager would be kinda cool). Jody is one of my all time favourites and Dickie Divers is one of the best at theatrics but the match seemed to have not much flow to it (btw, be it Shawn Michaels or Jonny Storm, having “Kid” in your ring name is okay when you’re young, but not so much later in your career). Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed it for the most part, I just don’t know what it was but it wasn’t the best I seen from those involved.
Rampage vs Paxxo – Before people were talking about how this would be a quick squash match but Paxxo made a match of it in a valiant effort. Of course it was a warm up match for Rampage in preparation for his title match against Lionheart the next night, but if I’m honest it showed just how good Paxxo can be if given half a chance. I believe that Rampage is one of, if not the, best wrestlers in the UK right now so seeing Paxxo go out there and not be phased and be part of a great match, well I see a bright future for him.
Viper vs Anastasia – This was an enjoyable match that was of the high quality we’ve come to expect from women’s wrestling in the UK. Of course, Viper came out victorious and proceeded to challenge Toni Storm to a match at Shug’s, I’m glad if there’s an ICW Women’s title match at Shug’s Toni isn’t involved, granted her NXT UK belt IS up but that means we may probably see her win this time.
Joe Coffey vs Josh Terry – Okay I will be brutally honest, I’d never heard of Josh Terry before this match and why did he deserve to be number one contender in front of pretty much anyone else in ICW? Joe wins obviously and proceeds to give a promo burying the King of the Hawners concept among other things, but out comes Liam Thomson to lay claim to the belt, even hinting he is dropping the sink thing for the match and no longer be a mid card comedy act. I’d like Liam Thomson to win, at least he’s there every event and they can do something with it.
Wolfgang vs Primate – I have only seen Primate about once before and he was pretty decent. This served mainly to remind people just how damn good Wolfgang is and always has been, don’t get me wrong Primate was more than credible opponent and hopefully we see him again soon.
Kenny Williams vs Ryan Griffin – While Kenny won, I was there to see Griffin and I wasn’t disappointed. We are all aware of what Kenny can do, a lot of people got to see just how good Ryan Griffin is (and should be in the Zero G title picture). I feel that with guys like Kenny, the Coffey’s and Wolfgang doing more WWE NXT stuff it is the time to showcase other talents and Ryan Griffin is one of the best guys I have seen that ICW can bring in regularly.
Kay Lee Ray vs Aivil – Just bloody give the title to Aivil already. She’s talented, has a great look, can tell a story in the ring all without ever speaking and while I do enjoy her and Kasey facing off, how to word this, I used to love Kay Lee Ray versus Carmel and we all know how I feel about that feud, ICW have a chance to do something new and different with the Women’s title with Aivil. Give her lots of opponents of various styles and watch them fall prey to her wrestling prowess and mind games, you only get a talent like Aivil once a generation, book her wisely.
The Kings of Catch vs The Fite Network – I won’t lie, I was gutted The Fite Network were not in the tournament but equally it’s good to see them finally get chances like this and the Kings of Catch showed everyone just why they are the champions. It’s easy to forget just how long Lou King Sharp has been competing and just how that he has managed to make his size (or lack thereof) work for him. He’s the one who knows other guys won’t take him serious and uses it against them. Of course he does get overconfident and requires Krieger to bail him out but that’s what makes them such a good team, they lost but certainly laid a marker for the future.
Lionheart vs Rampage – This was a great match and while it did have a bit of backstory for once, you still just had that feeling Lionheart was never going to lose. A bit sad really as Rampage is a great opponent and could have made a great heel champion and The Wee Man would have been even more insufferable on the mic but it wasn’t to be but have no fear we have Lionheart still our champion, probably until at least Fear and Loathing I fear, sorry it’s just been a dull reign in general. Lionheart is a great guy and awesome wrestler but the way he has been booked as champion has just been severely lacking.
The Joe Hendry versus Leyton Buzzard at Shug’s match stipulations: Not a fan, not a fan at all, I hate these “if you lose you have to leave”, it means you get half the fans wondering if said wrestler is injured/taking time off/that sort of thing and kinda kills the suspense a bit. Also, the whole “you have to wear a mask and not say a word” thing is a bit creepy to be honest. Yes, Leyton comes out with an ornate mask but come on, it’s something Mikey Whiplash would come out with, but Leyton did bring up a rather interesting point. Allying himself with Dallas has not done anything for Joe Hendry, he’s supposed to own the company and, as I said earlier, he’s acting like a heel manager with no more real power in the company than The Wee Man (even then his clients have had more title shots than Dallas’s). I mean think of it, Dallas is supposed to the owner, and booker, and everything and has never used his power to get Joe Hendry, the man Dallas touts as the future of ICW, anywhere near the world title. I have said numerous times it’s like he doesn’t understand how to be a heel owner at all.
To further explain my last statement about Dallas not being a good heel owner, Eric Bischoff was a heel owner and aligned with the nWo, the main event players, and did everything to keep the belts on them, especially the world title on Hogan. To the point of trying to actively change match decisions after the matches. Vince McMahon kept trying to get the belt off Steve Austin, the champion of his company because Austin didn’t fit his image as champion. There’s more examples, but the point is evil owner characters want to control the product, and a big part of that is making sure the people they want have the belts and the people they don’t want as title holders to lose them as soon as possible and use their power as owners to change things in favour of their guys. Dallas does none of that, entering Joe Hendry into the Square Go to win a title shot was all he did and seems silly when you think he could book Joe in title shots every event until he won if he chose to. Dallas these days acts more like a heel MANAGER than OWNER.
Did my ears deceive me or is there an actual feud/reason for someone facing Lionheart at Shug’s? Well bugger me it took them long enough, granted I don’t see Wolfy winning for some reason but at least it’s not some imported talent you know 100% has no chance of winning who is only competing due to Lionheart wanting the “best international talents”. I’d like to think Dallas actually listened to me about that but it’s probably been in the pipeline for a while, I’m just glad they are doing something now.
Was this a success? While I do admit to enjoying the tournament, I feel having it over two nights was a bad idea. Granted it gave the wrestlers a rest, yes but look at the crowds. I’ve seen Fight Clubs more full than the first night and the second was even worse. Some fans could only go one night and some thinking what’s the point of going to just one night so not going at all. Others just plain didn’t see the point of the tournament. They could have had two quarter finals, have the tag champions match, two more quarter finals, have the Zero G or women’s match, have the semis, have the World title match then the tournament final. A lot of the other matches could easily have been put on a Fight Club taping and the Leyton-Joe Hendry promo took a while, they could of had a short match in that time frame it felt like ICW were treating it like an extended Fight Club instead of a true special event. Hey, it’s just my honest opinion.
Now, initially the idea was I was going to fantasy book the next show but when I was at the merch stand on Sunday (was looking for a new t-shirt, didn’t see any that took my fancy) I heard a fan talking to Joe Hendry about some curious idea, something that since I heard it, I have thought about more and more until I realised the idea is something that’s crazy enough to work, so stay tuned, I assure you it’s got the potential to be big.
Bare in mind as usual these are merely just my personal opinions, thank you for your time.