I shouldn’t like the violent-soap-opera-ballet that is pro wrestling, but I do, why? Is it the blood, the violence, the destruction, the athleticism, the spectacle, the crowd, the characters and costumes that are more over-the-top than a 100 man Royal Rumble (Or more over the top than one of Shawn Michael’s WM outfits)!? Yes, all these things and more…
The only problem is that nowadays the big promotions like WWE, they treat you like a child and often insult your intelligence by force-feeding you sugar-coated mindless swill (unicorn horn anyone?), I can’t remember the last time someone got their head bust with a chair on Monday Night Raw nevermind introducing barbed wire bats to the melee!
So for the discerning wrestling fan there is ICW, for everyone that was raised on the fast-paced balls-out glory of the attitude era, for every one of you that still chants ECW several years after its final show and for every one of you, who like me, enjoy a bit of blood and brutality with my exaggerated fights, there’s Insane Championship Wrestling.
It was back in the warm summer of 2015 the Gonzo Division took a trip down to the Insane Asylum to bounce off ropes (which hurts like fuck by the way) and to jump off turnbuckles (which hurts even more!) – people have the cheek to call wrestling fake, but they should try bouncing round that ring for five minutes and see how they get on, and I’m talking basic stuff, like body slams, Irish whips and clotheslines, that’s before you get into being smashed through a wooden table that’s on fire, or elbow dropping off a twenty foot balcony, or being mercilessly suplexed on drawing pins multiple times.
We befriended Dallas back then, through a mutual love of partying, white Russians, gonzo godfather Hunter S Thompson, and of course wrestling, and also through that, became friends with (former ICW champion) slightly-unhinged Chris Renfrew. And so ICW and NHC have enjoyed a relationship of mutual respect for one another’s passion and independence, us with the music, and them with the squared circle, and the two go hand in hand anyway. And ICW is a very independent business, built from the ground with the hard work of individuals such as Dallas, Renfrew, Jester, Drew and Grado, never selling out while selling out the SECC, and never being a bitch to corporate sponsors, Dallas does things his way, he has achieved his vision for his company beyond its wildest dreams as it steps now into its deserved position in the mainstream, but without compromising any of its integrity along the way.
We have over the years covered various ICW events, Spence, Jamie, Chrissy or I, the Shug’s Hoose Party madness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XJb8Z3OJAzo, the Dallas interviews which you can find on our Youtube channel, the unreleased, too-controversial-for-TV Hot Tub Dialogues with Renfrew, the ‘Dinner Date & A Dictaphone’ sessions http://www.newhellfireclub.co.uk/news/2017/1/31/dinner-date-the-dictaphone-the-renfrew-session-part-one and this time NHC teamed up with ICW and Westgap for a charity food drive at one of the wrestling company’s flagship events, Barramania at the hallowed dancehalls of the Barrowland.
Even after four years of press passes and being on the right side of the security I still can’t get used to it, especially at big places like the Barras, where I know for a fact some of the security (who have worked there for decades) have thrown me unceremoniously out of the building more than a dozen times each, and yet here I am, behind the locked doors, ahead of the queue on the other side of the human wall of security, it still makes me feel like an Allied paratrooper who’s been dropped behind the enemy lines of the Nazi trenches…
Insane Championship Wrestling teams up with New Hellfire Club Glasgow and WestGAP this Sunday at Barramania for a food drive. If you have any non perishable food items or toiletries please feel…
After we had done our duty and collected the food in, then piled it crammed into gonzo bodyguard Kayleigh’s Jimny, the event was well underway, so I hurried upstairs, armed myself with a couple of pints (that I had been thirsting for since arrival), located the crew, Chrissy, Dani, an E-mangled El Hefe, Sebastian (Jolly Bearded Photography), wrestling corespondent and ICW fanatic Laura Spence, Ailsa and co. and settled down for some proper wrestling as a nice reprieve from the mainstream acerebral fodder they churn out on the telly, this was insane wrestling and not long after I entered there was already cruiserweights doing suicide dives and moonsaults out the ring and pretty much right into the crowd!
Barramania is one of the biggest events of the ICW calendar and they did not disappoint with a plethora of stunning, savage, and sensational matches. Surprise appearances abound from Colonel Mustard (performing their song ‘International Sex Hero’ which DCT uses as his theme music and whose mixed gender tag match was way better than a certain Miz and Cena’s at WM), Paul ‘Bearjew’ Craig in a UFC invasion, and Mikey Whiplash coming out from under the ring in a ghoulish mask and clutching a noose as he dragged Renfrew down to hell and then sent Stevie Boy a warning glare before returning from the fiery depths from whence he came.
That was the culmination of the Last Man Standing match where good friend of NHC “The C*nt of Personality” and the “Sultan of Silent Hill” Chris Renfrew and his longtime rival Stevie Boy fought all over the Barras, punching, throwing and slamming their way through the crowd, tossing each other over the bar (Stevie used the ice bucket as a weapon, smashing it off his opponent’s head, sending icecubes scattering everywhere and invoking a chant from the crowd of ‘Damn that’s cold! Damn that’s cold!’).
Renfrew’s signature move, the brilliantly-named ‘Stone Cold Stoner’, is a thing of beauty that he has obviously honed to perfection over the years, it is somewhere between a stunner and an RKO and is one of the best I’ve seen, he dished it out plenty on Sunday as the aim in a LMS match is to incapacitate your opponent for the count to ten, he executed it out in the ring, in the crowd, and even on top of a stack of tables, and he handed out some lashings with the Kendo stick too, but still the irrepressible Stevie Boy wouldn’t stay down, it was then Renfrew reached for his signature weapon, a steel chair with thumbtacks glued to it, he was just about to dish out a delicious bloodied beating with this lethal foreign object when the lights went out as if because of a power failure and Mikey Whiplash gatecrashed the match and dragged Renfrew to hell, he has not resurfaced yet… Someone should maybe send a bottle of Buckfast and a cheeseburger down for him…
One thing I was really excited about was something I have only ever seen once before in the world of wrestling, or anywhere for that matter, and which I’ve only heard of happening a handful of times, and that was the barbed wire rope match between Drew Galloway and Jester. This style of match was voted “Most Bloody Match Ever” by ECW fans and Alumni alike and appeared on the “Professional Wrestling’s Most Brutal Matches” DVD. Sometimes the ropes are completely replaced by barbed wire, but in this case, they wrapped the ropes on two sides of the ring in it, but that was enough, and to be honest, it looked more like razor wire than barbed wire!
It didn’t take long before Jester became entangled in the deadly ropes, twice in a row Drew reversed Jester’s Irish whip into a big boot to the face, both times sent Jester careering into the barbs, and both times he was lacerated. I am a haematolagniac, that’s a word I made up to describe someone who likes blood, whether it’s pouring out of me or whether it’s pouring out of someone else, so I’m not satisfied by a wrestling show until someone has donned the crimson mask, and I got my bloodlust sated with the Drew/Jester match as Jester bled all over the ring and the fans and Drew (who escaped the whole match unbarbed). It was one of those matches where everytime you thought it was over they kicked out and the violence escalated to new heights, even after Drew powerbombed his opponent through a table wrapped in barbed wire, Jester still kicked out and required a tombstone, three successive Future Shock DDTs, and a crowning barbed wire bat to the skull to finally put him down for the three count! As hard as a Soviet winter that cunt, and as resilient and elastic as they come!
There was criticism that Drew didn’t go out on his back, as is the tradition when a wrestler leaves a company or retires, but as our ICW correspondent Laura Spence points out, “the stipulation of the match and the fact Drew couldn’t take any bumps as he is currently debuting in WWE’s NXT meant that the end had to go down that way, and Jester looked strong in defeat anyway”. I’ve watched Drew’s career for years and it’s good to see him climbing to the top of the mountain (again). It’s good to see the whole company, that has worked hard and literally broke its bodies to earn the reputation it has, finally getting the recognition it deserves on the global stage – Aye cee dub! Aye cee dub!
The night progressed to acute inebriation from us and a shocking turn of events for ICW fans as Grado (fae’ the tap-end o’ Stevenston) turned his back on them with a low blow and teamed up with the much-hated Red Lightning. Poignant words from Grado (one of the company’s star attractions) as he turned heel and revealed his new master plan;
“Just recently I’ve had an offer that I’ve basically had to consider, and it breaks ma’ heart that I’m gonnae’ huv’ tae’ announce a bit o’ bad news for myself tonight and for ICW. You know, yiz’ urnae’ stupid, yiz’ urnae’ daft, things are happening in British wrestling, people are taking over, people are getting big-money contracts, the British guys are ruling this place right now. and ye’ know whit’? My biggest accomplishment in my career is being an ICW fucking wrestler [to rapturous applause from the crowd]. It’s killing me but sometimes contracts need to be signed and sometimes you just gotta’ take the opportunities…”
At this point, and without warning Grado turns and kicks Sha Samuels in the baws proclaiming “Ah’ still run this fucking place! ah’ve ran this place for five years! Ah’ put this place on the map!” This shocked the ICW fans as Sha turned face (wrestling jargon for turned good guy) to team up with Grado, making his betrayal complete and ultimate. Grado continues to lay down the law announcing that if ICW still wants to use the “guy from the BBC, the guy from ITV, the guy from Impact wrestling” (which elicits chants of ‘Fuck TNA, fuck TNA!’), they have to go through his new agent, and he declares Red Lightning as his new agent, much to the shock of the audience (Laura Spence lost her shit!). And so the landscape in ICW changed once again…
The main event saw Joe Coffrey defeat Trent Seven to take his ICW World Heavyweight Championship from around his waist and the mutiny continued as he delivered a dazzling discus lariat to Mark Dallas to signify his allegiance with Red Lightning, leaving the ICW owner flat on his back in a crumpled black suit with Iron Man blaring from the speakers and the crowd chanting along in chorus.
This small Scottish wrestling company has gone from strength to strength over the past five years, growing, developing, improving but keeping its integrity intact and never disappointing its fans by always providing quality entertainment for its loyal and passionate supporters, and ICW fans are wild in their frenzied appreciation of the independent wrestling promotion that has put British wrestling firmly on the map.
Thanks to everyone who contributed to the food drive or donated money on the night, fifty plus bags of food were handed in at the event and another twenty or so were handed in at the NHC shop during the week as well as raising over a hundred in change in the collecting tins, all to support Westgap and the charitable work they do in the local community http://westgap.co.uk/ if you’re interested in attending an ICW event they are held weekly and PPVs monthly, find tickets for their next big event Fight Club on 30th April by visiting their page https://www.facebook.com/InsaneWrestling/?hc_ref=SEARCH or Tickets Scotland.
Big things are coming for ICW, I know this because I’ve heard it straight from Dallas’s mouth over bottles of Jack in the Hellfire shop, so stay tuned to that, I will be, and next time ye’ fancy seeing someone get bodyslammed through a stack of chairs and piledrived into a bed of thumbtacks I’ll seeya’ ringside!
**Thanks as always to the invaluable fountain of ICW knowledge that is Laura, and once again to everyone who donated to Westgap, and to the awesome fans of ICW and the awesome crew of ICW for a great night**
Check out some awesome pics of the night at Jolly Bearded Photography https://www.facebook.com/pg/jollybeardedphotography/posts/?ref=page_internal
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