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The Week In British Wrestling: ICW draws the biggest UK crowd in 35 years

Main photo by David J Wilson

Here’s five things you need to know about British wrestling this week:

1) ICW’s big day out at the Hydro went off like a firecracker

After a year of promotion -- and the addition of a couple of big name guests -- Insane Championship Wrestling announced a paid attendance of 6,193 for their Fear & Loathing IX at the Hydro in Glasgow last Sunday. This almost certainly makes it the biggest show by a UK promotion for three decades, and no other non-WWE show has topped that for almost 15 years.

The show was topped by home-grown superstar Joe Coffey capping a big year by submitting Kurt Angle, who put over Coffey, ICW, and the UK fans afterwards.

Angle puts Coffey in the ankle lock -- photo by David J Wilson

The big four-on-four elimination match to decide the future of the company, between Mark Dallas’ team and one led by Red Lightning, was won by Dallas’ men, and he now takes sole control of the company again.

The climax came when Jack Jester, who had already been eliminated from Red Lightning’s team, returned to the ring with a lead pipe, when only Chris Renfrew and Drew Galloway -- Jester’s teammate -- remained. Jester went to attack Renfrew but instead handed the pipe to special enforcer Finn Balor, who struck Galloway and allowed Renfrew to pick up the win. Red Lightning was immediately fired by Dallas.

The ICW Heavyweight title match between champion Wolfgang and super-popular challenger Trent Seven in the confines of a steel cage ended when both men were atop the cage and Seven, wearing brass knuckles he’d stolen from Wolfgang, punched his opponent to the floor, giving the champion the win, and breaking two tables as he went.

The champions also retained in the ICW Tag Team Championship match, as Polo Promotions saw off Team 3D, while Lewis Girvan made it three-for-three in home-grown vs. import matches when he beat Ricochet, who looked in amazing form.

However, there were two title changes, when Carmel lost her ICW Women’s title to Kay Lee Ray in a three-way match with Viper, and Lionheart ran the gauntlet in a Stairway to Heaven match for the ICW Zero-G title, losing out to surprise late entrant Kenny Williams -- who was entered by Mick Foley, via satellite -- in a ladder match which also featured Zack Gibson, Andy Wild, Liam Thomson, Iestyn Rees, and Aaron Echo. The show’s other match -- a casket match -- saw Stevie Xavier best BT Gunn.

Kenny Williams is the new Zero-G champ -- photo by David J Wilson

The previous night, ICW had run a Friday Night Fight Club special, at The Garage in Glasgow, which featured angles to set up the final details for the big show, as well as wins for Jimmy Havoc (over Bram), Davey Blaze (against The Sam Barbour Experience), and Mike Bird & Wild Boar, who defeated both The Purge and TJ Rage & Krieger in a three-way.

All the ICW action can be seen on ICW On Demand (and on the Fight Network in the US and Canada), and they are back with a quick return to The Garage this weekend for another Friday Night Fight Club taping.

2) There was a shock departure at the end of ATTACK!’s latest Walkabout show

As one of the founders of the promotion, few would expect Pete Dunne to find himself in a position where he was no longer able to wrestle for ATTACK! Pro-Wrestling, but that’s what happened when the final bell rang at the end of Seriously, Another PPV Tie-In Event? at the Walkabout in Cardiff last Sunday.

The stipulation arose as the stakes between Dunne -- who had surrounded himself with a team of Bruiserweights -- and announcer Jim Lee -- backed by The Jim Leegion -- were raised with a loser leaves ATTACK! punishment, and Lee outlasted Dunne to send the Bruiserweight packing.

The sides square off -- photo by Turning Face's Jim Maitland

Both men had left a spot open on their teams for late surprises, and Lee announced that his was referee Shay Purser, who had been on the end of some rough treatment from Dunne, only for Purser to immediately turn and join Dunne as his surprise.

The sides -- Dunne, Nixon Newell, Chris Brookes, Kid Lykos & Purser vs. Lee, Mark Andrews, Martin Kirby & El Ligero -- were evened up by Eddie Dennis joining the Leegion, and it came down to Lee vs. Dunne & Newell, with the shock result seeing Dunne gone, and just two weeks after he had a WWE tryout.

Dennis had opened the show with Mike Bird, in the final of the tournament to find the first ATTACK! Heavyweight Champion (with the 24/7 title becoming a secondary title with its own unique rules), and the two had an incredible battle which saw Dennis triumph. Afterwards, Wild Boar attacked Dennis, and Bird intervened. However, Bird then turned on Dennis, rejecting the support of the fans, and the two were also up to shenanigans later in the show when Wild Boar faced Tyler Bate and Boar picked up a Bird-assisted win.

Sand-Drew canes Los Federales Super Santos Sr. -- photo by Turning Face's Jim Maitland

With ATTACK! 24/7 Champion Ryan Smile unable to compete through injury, his title was up for grabs and went through a succession of title changes, with Sean Kustom winning the vacant belt against Lee Construction, before losing to Chuck Mambo, who lost to Los Federales Super Santos Sr., and then finally Drew Parker -- who emerged as Sand-Drew, complete with Capri-Suns en lieu of beers -- took the title from the Anti-Fun Policeman.

The night’s other contest saw the Bowl-A-Rama team of Splits McPins & “Fat Cat” Lloyd Katt lose again, this time to the pharmaceutically-enhanced “Raver” Danny Jones & the Love Making Demon. ATTACK! return on December 17th and 18th with a two-day Under The Mistletour, and all their recent shows can be viewed on their Vimeo service.

3) CZW came to the UK and mixed it with the north’s finest

Although they were running their own Night of Infamy show in New Jersey, half the Combat Zone Wrestling roster flew over to the UK last weekend for shows in Liverpool, Manchester, and Leeds.

The first stop on the tour -- a joint show with Preston City Wrestling at the Fusion nightclub in Liverpool -- saw the CZW stars mostly successful, with AR Fox beating El Ligero, Joey Janela pinning Jimmy J, and Dave Crist defeating T-Bone, although Rampage Brown did best Chris Dickinson. The show also featured an all-CZW affair, as Desmond Xavier beat Zachary Wentz, and was headlined by Bubblegum against Dean Allmark, with the PCW Cruiserweight Champion picking up the win.

Ironically, the shows with CZW (and next weekend's big Wrestling World Championships) came about because Ring of Honor decided to run opposition against PCW, their British partner, and their Liverpool show saw Will Ospreay beat Bobby Fish for the ROH TV title, which he lost two days later in London to Marty Scurll. Joe Hendry and Travis Banks also competed for Ring of Honor on their tour.

The impressive MMU Union -- photo by El Ligero

The second night of the PCW/CZW hookup saw the pair take over the MMU Union in Manchester, and was again main-evented by PCW Cruiserweight Champion Bubblegum, this time defeating AR Fox, and it was a better night overall for the PCW lads, with Joey Hayes also submitting Joey Janela.

After fighting on night one, Xavier & Wentz teamed up to defeat their CZW colleagues Crist & Dickinson, and that all-CZW affair was matched by all-PCW matches with a win for Rampage Brown and a street fight victory for Ashton Smith over T-Bone. The Honky Tonk Man was in for both shows, probably marking the first time he'd appeared on a CZW show, albeit a co-promotion!

CZW are back with PCW this Friday and Saturday -- and are joined by Beyond Wrestling and Germany's wXw -- for the two-day, three-show Wrestling World Championships at the Evoque night club in Preston, but they also traveled to Leeds last Sunday for Tidal Championship Wrestling's latest Against All Odds show at the O2 Academy.

Although David Starr picked up a win for the CZW side over Liam Slater, the Tidal lads were successful in the night's other clashes, with Rampage Brown defeating AR Fox in the main event for the Tidal title, HT Drake going over Joey Janela, and Tidal Tag Team Champions The Proven beating Desmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz. Other matches on the show brought wins for The New Nation, Sean Only, Ruby Summers, and -- in an all-CZW bout against Chris Dickinson -- Dave Crist. Tidal are back this Friday in Darlington.

4) Mark Andrews captured the Fight!Nation title but is a hunted man already

Mark Andrews overcame the odds to lift the vacant Fight!Nation title at the promotion's Season Finale at My Skate World in Eastbourne last Saturday. The title was held up after Mark Haskins was advised to stop wrestling for an indeterminate period, and a four-man tournament was scheduled.

The sold out My Skate World

Andrews was a late replacement for Drew Galloway and made the most of his opportunity as he bested Joseph Conners in his semifinal, after which Conners and James Castle -- who beat the very popular Adam Maxted in his semifinal -- laid a heavy beat down on the TNA star. Andrews did make it out for the final, however, and hit a shooting star press to beat Castle and become the third Fight!Nation champion.

His card is already marked, not only by Conners and Castle (who will be out for revenge) but also by a number of top competitors vying to compete for Andrews’ title.

The show also featured tag team action as Jake & Bruce -- Liquid Dreams -- beat DnD, and Sid Scala & Lewis Howley defeated the Swords of Essex, on this occasion made up of Paul Robinson & Scott Wainwright. Lord Gideon Grey beat Psycho Phillips, and former-WWE star Mr Anderson, who was scheduled to face Josh Bodom, instead issued an open challenge, answered by Joseph Conners, but picked up the win with the Mic Check.

Fight!Nation return in 2017 but you can see their YouTube show for free every Wednesday.

5) Nathan Cruz still tops the NGW tree (and other stuff)

Bubblegum pouts in Keighley -- photo by Julie

New Generation Wrestling finished up their 2016 schedule with a show at the Victoria Hall in Keighley last Saturday. The main event saw Nathan Cruz put his NGW Undisputed Heavyweight Championship on the line against James Drake, with Cruz triumphing despite Drake using a steel chair when the referee was down.

Drake was a replacement for Cyanide, and worked an angle earlier in the show demanding the match be for the title, destroying The Rogue's Gallery until Cruz acquiesced. Cruz's long-time best friend Matt Myers -- who disappointingly revealed himself to be anti-dab on Twitter this week -- was also successful in defending his title, beating Bubblegum, and there were also wins for Screwface (who has promised to tear down NGW) over Liam Slater, El Ligero against Caz Crash, and for The New Nation in tag team action.

NGW's British Wrestling Weekly returns for its fourth season this week on local cable in the UK and on the Fight Network in the US and Canada.

Pete Dunne gets a taste of his own medicine! -- photo by Turning Face's Jim Maitland

Out west in Gloucester, at the city's Liquid nightclub, Riot House Promotions ran their second Friday Night Wrestling event last Friday. The adults-only brand had a successful debut earlier this year and the promotion came back with a barnstorming main event as Pete Dunne took on Travis Banks, with Banks picking up the win and Dunne the recipient of his own medicine when the same fan he bit at last week's ATTACK! show bit him this week!

The show also featured wins for Mike Bird (over Big Grizzly), Wild Boar (in a four-way match with Sean Kustom, Damian Dunne, and Chris Brookes), and The Renegades (in tag team action against Sweet Jesus), and intergender tag team action between Robbie Caine & Kat Von Kaige and Nixon Newell & Matt Ridler.

Bengal Tiger takes flight -- photo by Pump Photography's Al Veryard

Lastly, but certainly not leastly, last Friday was that time of the month for Lucha Britannia, and a first title defense for new champion Jerry Bakewell at the Resistance Gallery in Bethnal Green. Unfortunately for the tweed-masked tomfool, he was bested by the resurrected Sumerian God Malik, in a three-way which also featured former champion Lord Reginald Windsor.

Malik may have to deal with a legend from Lucha Britannia's past as the Bengal Tiger (whose return coincides with a step up in his schedule by RJ Singh...) returned to win the opening Lucha Chaos scramble, beating Lagarta de Plata, Muneca de Trapo, Estupido, Fug, Monito Aulador, Nordico Fuego, and Steakley Bakewell.

Pavo Real shone once more, defeating two London School of Lucha Libre trainees, and the League of Lucha once again went after Cassius & Diablesa Rosa, but came up short. Lucha Britannia return for Christmas Concussion on December 16.