Arnold Furious: February 5 2017 Love the Royal Rumble? Hankering for more Rumble-esque action? Never fear, ICW is here! To be fair to ICW, it’s not a total rip-off of the Royal Rumble match. It combines elements of other wrestling matches. Five participants are allowed to bring weapons with them and the winner gets a Money in the Bank style briefcase, which can be cashed in at any point over the following year. Of the five former briefcase winners; three have successfully cashed in. Dickie Divers lost his title shot to Chris Renfrew. The previous year Renfrew became the first man to unsuccessfully challenge for the ICW title after winning Square Go. Who will be champion at the end of the night also depends on the result of the Fear & Loathing re-match between champion Wolfgang and challenger Trent Seven. He may have come up short on the biggest stage in UK Independent history but Trent has another opportunity tonight.
We’re in Newcastle. Hosts are Billy Kirkwood and William Grange. The opening video package has the most atrocious audio I’ve ever heard on a professional promotion’s production. It’s too quiet, tinny and is almost entirely inaudible. It sounds like it’s being broadcast from inside your neighbours house and you’re listening to it through a wall.
ICW Tag Team Championship
Polo Promotions (c) vs. The Marauders (Mike Bird & Wild Boar)
Bird & Boar are very solid team but they’re a pair of Welsh pricks so they’re the heels. Mark Coffey was injured by Bird & Boar and was barely passed fit for tonight. Polo Promotions have held these titles for absolutely ages. The crowd, as per usual, is rowdy and excitable. Bird & Boar immediately isolate the previously hurt Coffey and cut the ring off. They’re good at that old school tactic, which has seen a ‘Revival’ of late. Polo Promotions switch on their usual approach so Polo is the man who comes in to clean house. Of course he has his ever reliable Scoop Slam rampage, which has gotten over to the point where you have to remember any move can get over. It’s just how it’s presented. Bird & Boar look like they mean business and all their double teaming is so impactful. This is ICW where DQ’s are non-existent so both teams use chair shots. They don’t mean anything though because those spots are overused in ICW. The challengers isolate the injured Coffey a second time and double team him into defeat. Bird & Boar deserve a big run with the straps somewhere. This is a good call from the Glasgow office.
Final Rating: ***
Zero G Championship #1 Contender’s Match
Andy Wild vs. Lewis Girvan
Girvan is one hell of a prospect. I don’t think he’s on the level that ICW do. I wouldn’t have put him over Ricochet, for example. There are a lot of prospects in the UK that are on Girvan’s level or better. That’s evident here with some shaky movement across the ring and he shouldn’t start to believe the hype just yet. There is a lot of work to do before he’s good enough to live up to his own tag of “Best Young Wrestler”. Poor Billy Kirkwood struggles to cover for the sloppy nature of the match but he and Grange do an excellent job of doing so. The boys have some horrible issues, including mistiming corner spots and awkward bumps. Wild does sell his arm quite effectively but Girvan doesn’t really work it until hooking the Crossface for the win. The less said about this match the better.
Final Rating: *1/4
ICW Women’s Championship
Kay Lee Ray (c) vs. Kasey
I’ve seen Kasey before, wrestling as Kasey Owens. She couldn’t hope for a better opponent to walk her through a big match than KLR. For my money Kay Lee Ray is easily the best British women’s wrestler working today. She’s supposed to be a heel but she’s so good that the fans cheer for her anyway. Kasey looks to be in good condition and manages to nail her positional work, being a decent babyface. KLR does lean toward heel but the match is more about pure wrestling excellence. The last time I saw Kasey was over a year ago and she’s improved massively in that time. To the point where she doesn’t look out of place opposite KLR. Compare this to Carmel or even Viper at F&L and there’s a big difference. Maybe it’s down to these ladies having a similar style but Kasey impresses. A pair of Gorybomb’s, a senton and a third Gorybomb puts Kasey away. The narrative here is that Kasey, although much improved, simply wasn’t on KLR’s level. The actuality of the match is that Kasey put in an excellent performance.
Final Rating: ***1/4
ICW Zero G Championship
Kenny Williams (c) vs. Ricochet
It’s a bit weird that Ricochet lost to Girvan but still got a title shot. They should have just put Ricochet over Girvan. Let’s have some logic, lads. Speaking of logic; Kenny Williams can’t weigh in at 1.21 gigawatts. Sorry to be a killjoy but that’s not a unit of weight, it’s a unit of power. I love Back to the Future though so I’ll let it slide. Ricochet works heel, perhaps knowing that he’s such a popular wrestler that he’ll outshine Kenny in a babyface battle. This is not a crowd where you get over as heel with cheeky stuff like punches and bashing your opponents head off the buckles though. Ricochet stole the show at the Hydro but he’s more subdued here. Even a subdued Ricochet is a mightily exciting experience. Both in his offence, which includes a Cutter that’s really ‘outta nowhere’ and his bumping. It’s a fun match done in the Cruiserweight Classic style with lots of big spots and it’s pleasing that, for the most part, Kenny can stay in touch. He looks like he belongs in the ring with Ricochet. Kenny pulling a fluke win out on a roll up doesn’t feel wrong. Kenny earned it.
Final Rating: ***3/4
ICW World Championship
Wolfgang (c) vs. Trent Seven
Grange reminds us that Wolfgang knocked Seven out of the WWE UK tournament in less than seven minutes. Wolfgang’s aim tonight is to win in even less time, suggesting Trent cannot beat him at all. The issue I have with Wolfgang as champion is that he was never good enough for that spot. The best work he’s done as a wrestler was in that WWE UK tournament. But now he’s been champion he feels like a bigger deal. Considering how over everyone has been on this show the crowd goes weirdly quiet at the start of this one. Wolfgang brings some interesting psychology by trying to end it quickly, inferring that Trent is a waste of his time. Wolfgang also manages to break a wall with Trent’s head. That’ll cost him. I can imagine Mark Dallas sitting in the back counting out £20’s for the repair bill. For fuck’s sake, lads! Trent’s body takes all manner of abuse, including a backdrop on the metal ramp. Trent does a marvellous job of selling the pain he’s in. Few people can slump over things like Trent Seven. He makes slumping an art. Wolfgang, having dominated the early going, hits a nonsensical moonsault off the stage. Hey, it looks great but why would you do that? Having sold for almost the entire match Trent makes a sensational comeback. This is Seven’s other massively positive attribute. He knows when and how to mount a comeback. Trent’s kick-out at one from the piledriver is magnificent. When Trent takes over it’s Wolfgang’s turn to demonstrate his selling, taking a shellacking from the piledriver and the Seven Stars lariat. As the battle gets more and more epic I’m convinced this is the match they should have had at the Hydro when more eyes were on them. Trent eventually takes it with a hugely dramatic piledriver off the top onto a pair of chairs. Women are genuinely weeping at ringside. That’s what this means. I love Trent Seven. This was a wonderful moment.
Final Rating: ****
Square Go Match
#1 is Lionheart. He lost the #1 vs. #30 match, to Jack Jester, so here he is. #2 is Ravie Davie. He’s about a quarter step up from Wonky Duck’s Chavs gimmick. #3 is Chris Ridgeway. This lad is turning a few heads. I’ve been impressed with him whenever I’ve see him. #4 is Aaron Echo. He’s a big lad. He towers over the other three. He reminds me of a totally unpolished Eddie Dennis. His insistence at rolling on forearms is disconcerting. #5 is the Sam Barbour Experience. #6 is Johnny Moss. The match needed some star power and Mossy provides that, murdering all the scrubs with chops and suplexes.
#7 is Rampage Brown. His music is muted but business picks up considerably. Scrubs are now full-on eliminated leaving Moss vs. Rampage in a big old Big Lads Battle. Lionheart sneakily dumps them both out and stands alone. #8 is Stevie James of the Purge. I’m sad that I don’t get to see any more Moss vs. Rampage. Hopefully that gets booked down the line based on this interaction. James is pretty good. If “Krobar” is as good I’d like to see some Purge matches. #9 is Iestyn Rees. Another big lad. He’s got the first weapon; a strap. #10 is Krobar, also from the Purge and he has a kendo stick.
#11 is Davey Blaze. The theme of the match seems to be that Lionheart is a survivor. More often than not whoever gets #1 in a ‘Rumble’ match is getting pushed. #12 is Joe Hendry. He enters to a version of “Enter Sandman” that mocks Lionheart and he’s got a table! Joe hits Freak of Nature and throws Lionheart out. That’s the big storyline of the opening third complete, until Lionheart jumps back in and throws Hendry out too. There’s another match set up. What’s left in the ring is not terribly impressive. Blaze, Rees and the Purge boys. #13 is DCT. #14 is Flex Hunter. He’s a very, very large man. 6’7”, dressed like Diesel. Only he doesn’t limit himself to power moves, he’s doing all manner of shit. The spin kick he pulls out almost has me applauding the TV. He’s certainly one to watch out for.
#15 is Jason Prime. Despite being far smaller Primate does the power offence better than Flex. #16 is Alexander Henry. Combined with Primate they boot Flex out. It was a good little showing for him. He was memorable. #17 is Christopher Saynt. He’s quickly dumped as Prime, Henry and Blaze take charge. #18 is BT Gunn. He had a knee injury and hasn’t worked for ICW since Fear & Loathing. #19 is Chris Renfrew. He’s “not supposed to be here”. He has a chair and cleans out the baddies leading to a hot brawl between Renfrew and BT. #20 is Stevie Boy and he has been feuding with BT. Shenanigans ensue with Kenny Williams forcing Stevie into the ring and Kay Lee Ray trying to save him. This logically should lead to Stevie being eliminated but instead he hangs in there and gets dumped off camera later on.
#21 is Kid Fite. #22 is Martin Kirby. That gets a solid pop and he’s one of the bigger names in this shindig. Unfortunately the ring starts to fill up at this point. #23 is Sha Samuels. He seems to be more babyface than I remember. I’ve not seen a lot of ICW over the past year. #24 is James Scott. You might know him better as Darkside. He nails a bunch of strongstyle stuff to my delight. He’s a lovely chap. #25 is Jimmy Havoc. He dishes out an assortment of Acid Rainmakers. “He’s making it rain like a gangster in a strip club” says Grange, managing to out-do Kirkwood for once. Havoc also hits a Canadian Destroyer on Stevie Boy. Despite each entrant making a big impact it’s getting crowded out there. #26 is Joe Coffey. He manages to clear the ring out a bit. Kirby getting dumped isn’t a popular move. #27 is Liam Thomson. He’s got a weapon, it’s a kitchen sink. Wolfgang strolls out, kills Liam, and takes his spot. #28 is Drew Galloway. Business is picking up! This Rumble is top end heavy. All the biggest names have entered at the bitter end. Drew boots Havoc out, eliminating one of the favourites. #29 is Grado. Sadly Madonna is muted but he wastes no time in charging down here so the fans can finish Like a Prayer off. Awesome! I’m glad Grado hasn’t lost that aura that he had in 2015. Renfrew accidentally knocks BT Gunn out and Grado then hurls Renfrew out. NAK fucked that up! #30 is Jack Jester. Jack arrives to square off with Drew, Coffey, Grado and Wolfgang.
Galloway goes to charge Jester out of the ring and gets low bridged out himself. That’s another match lined up with Jester vs. Galloway. Some solid booking in the big angles during this match.
Final Four: Jack Jester, Wolfgang, Grado and Joe Coffey. While Jester is mocking Galloway he gets tossed out by Grado. That leaves three massive names competing for the title shot. Grado manages to piss off both Wolfie and Joe and gets himself thrown out.
With it down to two guys they run multiple teases as to who gets the win. The final two segment is surprisingly long but Joe eventually lobs Wolfie’s knucks, the brass ones, into the crowd and discus lariats the former champion out of the ring. Joe wins. This match suffered from all the usual flaws of a ‘Rumble’ match although the ring didn’t overly fill up too often and there was some solid storyline work throughout. Another plus is the sheer number of people that I was introduced to. Some of them made a very positive impact.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Post-match: Trent Seven strolls down with the belt and the briefcase.
These two were the wrestlers I saw the most live in 2016 and I can say, without a shadow of a doubt, they deserve these top tier spots in ICW. The crowd want Joe to cash in immediately but they’re both babyfaces so we’ll be settling this at a later date. They do a little toast and get into a minor scuffle to sell a future match. Fired up for well-dressed WWE Superstar Trent Seven carrying the belt for a good spell before that happens.
Summary: I’m surprised but also glad this show turned out to be as good as it is. After watching Fear & Loathing I had very little positive to say about ICW and was genuinely concerned that a) they’d peaked and b) they didn’t know what they were doing. Instead Square Go was a terrific wrestling show with very few major issues. The exception was Girvan, who looked lost against Andy Wild in what was a very poor match. I worry he’s been pushed into a big position and is struggling to cope with that spot. The rest of the card was great.