ICW Barramania 2
The Barrowlands Ballroom, Glasgow Scotland
April 3, 2016
Barramania, ICW’s second annual Wrestlemania weekend show came at the end of the second phase of UK tour, the highlight of which was Damo O’Connor winning the ICW Heavyweight Title from Chris Renfrew in his home town of Belfast.
Noam Dar opened the show to express sadness of the passing of English wrestler Kris Travis who died four days earlier after a battle with cancer. On Travis’ passing, most wrestlers wore pink armbands on the show in his memory. Dar then spoke about his joy at joining the WWE Cruiserweight Series which received a rapturous reception from the crowd.
15 Minute Scramble Match for Zero-G Title: Zack Gibson v. Kenny Williams v. Liam Thomson v. Joe Hendry v. Lionheart v. Davey Blaze (C)
This had potential to be a car crash but turned out to be a thoroughly enjoyable outing. The standout moments here were a suicide dive by Davey Blaze onto Lionheart and Williams and a nice back and forth between Gibson and Hendry. As these type of matches are wont to be this had it’s fair share of well-planned big spots the most impressive of which was a crisply executed moonsault from Williams to the outside. It would be unfair to categorize this match as merely a spot fest however as Lionheart subtlety avoided most of the physicality during the match which actually made for some good story telling. A series of dueling forearms between Hendry and Williams reminded me of how underutilized both are in single programmes and what energy and charisma both have to offer. I thought what had been a well-executed match was hamstrung by an uneven closing stretch. Davey Blaze who appears to be ‘one foot in, one foot out’ on a heel turn speared (his some time tag team partner) Joe Hendry with thirty seconds remaining in the match. Blaze then turned to the crowd to gloat allowing Lionheart to hit the Styles Clash (which he should just rename the TrollClash and have done with it) to win the Zero-G title. A worthwhile match somewhat spoiled by the odd finish.
‘Throw in the Towel’ ICW Tag Team Title Match: The 55 (C) v. Polo Promotions
I have written so many ICW reviews for VOW now that I can reference previous ones. Back in January I said that I could do without seeing these two teams face off again. Well, I have avoided watching them but they have still been wrestling each other pretty much non-stop. The reality is that ICW’s tag division is limited and needs some freshening up. The stipulation in this match was that the only way a team could win was by their manager throwing in the towel. The story has been that Coach Trip (Polo’s manager) was far more likely to throw in the towel than the uber sleazy James R. Kennedy. I really like all four of these guys (Mark Coffey, Jackie Polo, Kid Fite and Sha Samuels) but they have nothing left to do with each other. That being said they put together a nice match here. Trip, true to form, wanted to throw in the towel early on but was speared by his own man, Coffey, to stop him. Polo Promotions incapacitated Fite and Jackie applied a Crippler crossface to Samuels. As Kennedy refused to throw in the towel he was slapped around by Coffey who then joined Polo in applying a double Crippler causing Kennedy to finally throw in the towel. After the match Samuels and Fit attacked Kennedy.
Trent Seven v. Mikey Whiplash
This was the match I was most looking forward to on this card and it did not disappoint. Seven, who generally wrestles for the Fight Club: PRO promotion in Wolverhampton, is one of the many talents from the English midlands at present (see YxB Pete Dunne, Jinny, Ryan Smile, Tyler Bate). These two had previously clashed in an intense match in Birmingham in 2015 that went generally unnoticed. There match here was certainly noticed. A short description of this match would be quick, brutal and well executed. The standout moment which has been GIF’ed incessantly was Seven suplexing Whiplash from the top rope to the floor. When they finally got back to the ring they exchanged vicious looking forearms. Whiplash caught Seven with his Zombie maker finisher which usually means game over. Surprisingly, Seven kicked out and hit a piledriver to pick up the win. In the past two weeks, ICW has had it’s two best matches of the year so far and both have involved Whiplash- here against Seven and a week previously against ZSJ. Superb effort.
Street Fight: BT Gunn and Chris Renfrew v. Kay Lee Ray and Wolfgang
Kay Lee Ray spent the first few weeks of the year with STARDOM before returning prematurely to Scotland for personal reasons. In this match she replaced her beau, Stevie Boy, against the (as always) super over NAK. With any knowledge of ICW, one knew this match would be the type of blood and guts match that brought them prominence. It did develop into, or disintegrate into depending on your view, exactly that but the early exchanges between Renfrew and Wolfgang were technically very solid. The ‘moment of madness’ one expects in these ICW matches came when Renfrew and the excellent Gunn power bombed Kay Lee Ray from the ring to the outside. In my last review, I mentioned how uncomfortable the Thomson/Carmel match had been at Square Go. I did not feel that same level of dread here primarily because Ray is presented as an equal to her male combatants rather than a doll to be played with (as Carmel was). When Ray (or Kayleesi as Billy Kirkwood called her during this match on commentary) went to STARDOM, I felt her next move would be to NXT and I think that will be the case by years end. Renfrew, battered and bloodied, hit his T-Virus piledriver on Wolfgang for the win.
Grado and Joe Coffey v. Red Lightning and Jack Jester
Maybe it was the fact that it followed four good to very good matches but this match felt so, so flat. Apart from Coffey everyone felt like they were on autopilot. I have recently been reviewing old NWA World Championship shows and have developed a dislike of dull Billy Jack Haynes matches. This was a Billy Jack Haynes match. There was nothing of note here. Red Lightning picked up the win over Joe Coffey after interference which is really daft booking.
After the match, Coffey trapped Lightning with a chair to the throat and demanded a one-on-one match with Lightning for an ICW title match which Lightning had no choice but to agree to. It was never explained why Coffey wouldn’t just demand a title shot rather than put an obstacle in his own way. Coffey deserves better than this. Awful.
Doug Williams v. Massimo
A small side story here, aas ICW is pushing Massimo now that they are now on TV in Italy on the Nuvolari channel. British wrestling is in rude health. Williams dominated the ICW razzago in the early stages. Worth saying that as British wrestling is in such good shape at the moment, one could forget both the impact and talent of older British wrestlers like Williams- he was a pleasure to watch throughout, although he had little to work with and the match dragged a little. Williams picked up the win after Massimo missed a big boot.
Loser Leaves ICW: Sammi Jayne v. Nikki Storm
First thing that popped off the screen was the physical shape of NXT-bound Nikki Storm. She looked incredible. Much of Storm’s offence was about trying to punish Sammi while keeping her emotions in check given that she is prone to losing control. Sammi Jayne’s offence was super crisp throughout and she looked far sharper than I have seen her previously. Sammi looked to have taken one too many risks as she went for a third suicide dive only to get caught with a neckbreaker. When this failed to result in a win, Storm’s frustration peaked. Storm attempted to suplex Sammi Jayne from the top rope. Sammi pushed her down and followed up with a neckbreaker from the top. An excellent, fluid match second only to Seven/Whiplash in terms of quality at this point in the card. Storm played the belligerent heel to the end refusing to leave the ring and needing to be carried out of ICW by security. Next stop: Orlando.
ICW World Title Match: Big Damo (c) v. Drew Galloway
Galloway, fresh off his tag matches at EVOLVE 58 and 59, had an intense, physical battle with Damo here which essentially boiled down to these two hammering at each other for 20 minutes. They fought on the outside in the early stages. Galloway attempted to get Damo with his Futureshock DDT which Damo reversed into a northern lights suplex. This would have been impressive from junior heavyweights, but given the size of these two it was something else. Galloway kicked out from Damo’s Ulster Plantation finisher. Galloway’s frustration at not being able to put away Damo with the Celtic Cross lead to him to using a kendo stick for added leverage with a crossface. Damo followed with a flurry of punches. We got the dreaded ref bump, and for me, the even more dreaded appearance from Red Lightning and Jack Jester to prevent a second ref giving Damo a three count. Despite the best efforts of Red Lightning, Galloway still could not put Damo away. The closing 60 seconds were fantastically intense as Damo caught Galloway in a submission and battered him with elbows until the referee stopped the match. A good match spoiled by the outside shenanigans which offered nothing.
A much improved show from Square Go, with all matches bar one ranging from good to very good. The real downside of the show was the under use of Joe Coffey and the overuse of Red Lightning and Jack Jester, neither of whom contributed much despite being involved in two matches.