By Callum Leslie
Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW) began running community centres in 2006, before moving into Glasgow city centre. Running nightclub shows with a unique brand of adult-orientated hardcore wrestling, ICW is almost universally episodic and storyline based. Using mostly Scottish and some British talent, ICW have used imported talent sparingly, usually sticking to indie favourites like Crazy Mary Dobson, The Sumarian Death Squad and Prince Devitt.
After announcing former ECW star Sabu for their second venture across Scotland to the capital city Edinburgh, the original 250 person venue sold out in a matter of hours. ICW then decided to shift the show to Edinburgh's Picture House, selling out over 1000 tickets over a month before the show. This made it one of the biggest shows in Britain since World of Sport went off the air in the late 80s! Taking place in the middle of the largest arts festival in the world, the Edinburgh Fringe, ICW 'Dave's Not Here Man' was the culmination of six years of growth.
The opening contest saw Colt Cabana take on ICW's own Grado, in a top quality comedy match. Even those who have seen a lot of Cabana would have seen something new in this match, and Grado's character is just so perfect. If you haven't seen the Vice documentary about him, go watch it now! These two go back and forth for a decent amount of time, with the recurring theme of Grado impersonating CM Punk to provoke Cabana's ire. After Cabana attempted a GTS, Grado reversed it into a stunner for the win. *** Afterwards the anarchistic New Age Kliq of BT Gunn and Chris Renfrew attacked Grado, but Cabana made the save. The two shared Irn Bru Steve Austin-style, and started the show on a happy note.
Next up was Nikki Storm and Leah Owens in a bra and panties match. I'm not a huge fan of this stipulation and it wasn't particularly well executed. Storm had her top ripped off, but she was wearing another one underneath. Storm gets the win, but Leah Owens wasn't too upset, crowdsurfing and kicking Storm out of the ring. * Odd to have this follow up the comedy match that the crowd were really into, and they seemed to be more excited about the idea of this than the actual execution, and the match was very short.
James Scott (formerly known as Darkside) and Jimmy Havoc battled next, with a match with Rhino on the line. Havoc was previously booked against Rhino at Fear and Loathing VI in Glasgow in October, at the 1200 capacity ABC. Fear and Loathing was the name of the first ICW show, and it has become the company's showpiece event. Scott is a very technical wrestler with an MMA background, and Havoc was trained at the NWA Hammerlock school despite being primarily known as a hardcore wrestler. The two wrestled to a double finish, with Scott tapping to a triangle while Havoc's shoulders were counted for a three. ** Disappointingly these two didn't get a lot of time to live up to their potential. Owner Mark Dallas made an appearance after the finish, and declares that the two will now face Rhino in a three way dance!
The main event of the first half was the four way match with the tag team titles. The defending champions The Bucky Boys, accompanied by The Wee Man and Lambrini, took on The Coffeys, Fight Club and Team CK. However, the New Age Kliq reared their head again and took our Team CK and took their place in the match. After pre match promos from Wee Man, The NAK and Team CK's manager James R Kennedy you can see where the time went from the other matches. This match is apparently elimination though that wasn't announced, and the NAK eventually got the final fall over the Bucky Boys to win the tag team titles. **1/2 The NAK and their third member Dickie Divers continued attacking the Buckys until Fight Club returned to make the save. After chasing off the Kliq and posing in the ring, Fight Club turned on the Buckys and laid them out before leaving. After a few minutes the Buckys got back up and stood tall, for no real reason. There was a lot to this match, with lots of storyline stuff to get through. Maybe it could have benefited from being a straight tag match.
After the interval, Andy Wild took on the rookie Solar. Solar is an exciting high flying wrestler, and the crowd have really taken to him. After some exciting spots Solar gets the 3-count, but the referee waves it off after Wild had a foot under the roles. Straight away Wild got the submission win, but both looked decent in the short time they had. **
In the first of three marquee matches back to back, Kay Lee Ray defended her Fierce Females title against Carmel Jacob in a last women standing. This is the exact opposite from what we saw in the first half, and these two brawl all over the venue for over twenty minutes. They throw each other downstairs, vault off the bar, bodyslam each other onto to the hard floor and generally beat the hell out of each other. These two had a last women standing match in the past that is generally considered one of the best in ICW history, and this was certainly of a very high standard. Interference from Viper set up Kay Lee Ray's victory, coming via a swanton bomb from the announce table onto the stage. ***1/2
Next up was ICW Champion Mikey Whiplash taking on ICW Zero-G Champion Wolfgang in a title .vs. title match. Whiplash has recently transitioned from a very Goldust-inspired gothic character to a straight wrestling gimmick, and has endeared himself to the crowd in the past few months. This match honestly suffered from being in between two spectacles, but these two are solid workers who know each other very well. Mikey Whiplash got the victory to become a dual champion. ***
Finally, the main event pitted Scottish death match favourite Jack Jester against Sabu in a bloody brawl that lived up to the lofty expectations. This hardcore style is something ICW has become well known for in the last six years and this was a fitting main event. These two used all manner of weapons on each other and fought in the crowd, and this was a bloody brawl. Particularly gruesome was Sabu opening up Jester with something that the crowd could not agree whether it was a bit of broken table or a chopstick. Jester got the pin on Sabu to send the crowd home happy at seeing their hero conquer the hardcore legend. ***
Overall, this show was a big deal. Two large screens displayed entrance videos and a live edit of the various camera angles during the matches, but unfortunately the venue's screens were surprisingly poor. From ICW's side, this show delivered in almost every way possible, however the card was rather long at around four hours bell to bell. Despite only having two imported talents and the rest of the card made up from regular ICW roster members, some matches didn't get the time they could have done with and there was a lot going on. Maybe there was too much on this show, but it's hard to complain about too much quality on a British wrestling show these days.
Almost all of ICW's recent shows are edited into one hour YouTube episodes that are all available online, and I'd advise checking them out. It's a very different product from any other indy company in the world these days, and if you tire of the big American companies this may well be for you.