Scotland’s leading promotion ICW returned with their third major show of the year, Shugs Hoose Party and for the second year in a row the show was split over two days. The first night’s main event was the third match between long-term rivals Jackie Polo and Lionheart, whilst the show also featured the ICW debuts of WALTER and Angelico.

Insane Championship Wrestling
Shug’s Hoose Party 5
July 28, 2018
O2 Academy
Glasgow, Scotland

Watch: ICW on Demand

Due to fire damage to the original venue, the O2 ABC, this year’s shows were moved to the nearby O2 Academy in Glasgow. On commentary were the usual duo of Billy Kirkwood and William Grange.

Ravie Davie def. Kid Fite

I’ve never really been a fan of Kid Fite and Davie still needs to make in-ring improvements so this had the potential to be quite poor and in reality it was. There were a couple of awkward botches and Kid Fite’s powerbomb on Davie nearly went very wrong indeed. The Fite Network inevitably got involved but they were taken out by a bandana-clad individual. It wasn’t Zander, Davie’s cousin and regular tag partner, but instead the returning Liam Thomson! It was Thomson’s first appearance in an ICW ring in ten months after some injury issues and in the ensuing chaos Davie secured a roll-up victory, moving him onto Night Two and a Texas Death Match against James Storm. Not a good match by any means but it was good to see Thomson back and looking in good shape. *

Lewis Girvan def. The Sam Barbour Experience

This was officially the singles debut of The Sam Barbour Experience in ICW. The bout started off slowly and never really got going but this was a decent debut for SBX. His strikes looked weak as hell but he was competitive and got given a lot. He kicked out of a double powerbomb and a tombstone before eventually being pinned by Girvan after a hatch suplex – it was Girvan’s first ICW singles match in 16 months. **1/4

Post-match Girvan and Faith teased shaking hands with SBX before hitting a stomp piledriver and a low-blow on the debutant. They face The Hunter Brothers on Night Two.

Angelico def. Mikey Whiplash

Angelico is someone I just don’t get. I’ve seen a number of his bouts in Progress and Lucha Underground and I always expect something big and then always feel a little bit disappointed. Here he was taking on a different Mikey Whiplash. Gone was the face paint and the weapons, this was basic catch wrestler Whiplash. The match began with both men exchanging grappling holds and whilst the South African was much smoother, Whiplash more than held his own. A pump knee from Angelico triggered a chance of pace as both men focused on their strikes, with Whiplash soon getting a near fall with a death valley driver. That wasn’t enough and after reversing a top-rope exchange, Angelico got a somewhat shock win with the Fall of the Angles, a release crucifix buckle-bomb. The match was very one-paced in my view but still reasonably entertaining nonetheless. **3/4

We got a long retirement tease from Whiplash after the bout but Aivil stopped him, giving him his mask which he’d later put on and leave the ring by her side. More death matches it is then, I guess.

Glasgow Street Fight
Joe Hendry def. Chris Renfrew

We didn’t just get crowd brawling in this one, we even got to go outside the arena! To be honest this wasn’t good and I don’t really think either man gains anything from this, despite Renfrew putting Hendry over with his post-match speech. There was too much nonsense involving Leyton and Kieran Kelly for this to really push on and there wasn’t enough weaponry use to really make the most of the stipulation. Hendry eventually won with an ankle lock. Time to move on. *

ICW Tag Team Championships
The Kinky Party def. Alpha/EVIL

Both teams came out the blocks firing for this one, landing strikes and Jester bringing a corkscrew into play, which Bram would later use to cut him open. After Bram and Rees took Sha out with an apron bomb, Rees took flight with a suicide dive to wipe out all four men. A lot of this match was spent on the outside and whilst I’d normally moan about that, it made sense here because they worked at a good clip. They teased a Samuels moonsault off the speakers through a table, only for Bram to throw him off and Martina to spit beer in Jester’s eye. Bram then took Jester through the table with a swanton bomb, making the match effectively a singles contest between Samuels and Rees. Sha powered out of all the Gloucester’s man offence as Jester and Bram recovered, before shoving Bram into Martina and allowing Jester to roll-up Rees to secure their third title defence. This wasn’t the best match in the world but it was entertaining from bell to bell, which is more or less all you can ask for. ***

BT Gunn def. WALTER

This was the match I was most looking forward to on the entire show. WALTER is one of the best in the world and in my mind Gunn is one of the UK’s more underrated talents. In the end I was only slightly disappointed, but this was still match of the night from an in-ring perspective. Both men traded hard strikes throughout, with Gunn managing to redden the chest of the big Austrian. Gunn managed to land a fair few blows of his own, landing a springboard cutter and getting a nearfall. It felt like he’d lost when WALTER pounded away with some big shots and locked in the Gojira clutch. However, Gunn reversed the choke into a flash pin to pick up the big win. Look, the finish wasn’t for me, I’d rather see Gunn go over clean if it’s only one-night you’re bringing in WALTER for, but the match was good. ***1/2

After the match Kez Evans, one of the GPWA trainees, came out to seemingly congratulate his mate BT Gunn. However, he landed a low blow and a gotch piledriver to lay him out before cutting a promo and challenging ‘The Oddity’ to a match on Night Two.

James Storm def. Jody Fleisch

In many ways I was surprised they had Storm working Night One with his big bout lined up for the Sunday evening, but there again I guess Mark Dallas might as well make as much money out of him as possible. This was Fleisch’s first appearance since April after injuries ruled him out of Barramania and he looked good as always – the man really is a marvel. We got the standard crowd brawling to begin, with Fleisch landing a moonsault off the bar at the O2 Academy. Fleisch came close to a win twice in the ring with an awkward looking Spanish Fly and a big twisting kick but it never really felt like he’d win and sure enough he didn’t. Storm clocked him with the cowbell and landed a big superkick to get the win. A good competitive comeback for Fleisch and a big win for Storm – it achieved all it set out to do in simple fashion, so thumbs up from me. ***

Lionheart def. Jackie Polo

The third match in one of ICW’s most-heated feuds, this was the chance for Lionheart to get redemption. After losing the second match between the two men at Barramania earlier this year, they told the story that Lionheart had slipped into depression and didn’t have any fight left to give. He’d resigned himself to defeat and walking away from ICW without holding the big prize, the heavyweight title, and without beating his nemesis, ‘Just Justice’ Jackie Polo.

The match began with a series of callbacks to their last match, much of it focusing on the Polo mallet. They spent quite a while circling the ring as Polo wielded the mallet and it was probably a bit too long as it seemed to suck quite a bit of energy out of the match. Eventually though they got past that though and once again took the action to the outside, with Polo recovering from Lionheart’s dive to land a uranage on the stage.

When they got back to the ring it was still Polo in the ascendancy, connecting with the electric chair facebuster that won him their bout in April. That wasn’t enough, Lionheart would fight on. Polo tried to step it up with a diving double axe handle from the ring to the stage, only for his opponent to reverse with a superkick, a uranage and a frog splash for a very close near fall. A near fall that easy to buy and one sold excellently by William Grange. Grange’s commentary in this was really good, selling that he didn’t care about competition or future bouts, he wanted his mate Adrian (Lionheart) to win because he needed to win.

Lionheart then landed another uranage but again it wasn’t enough. The questioning look in his eyes was all too apparent – what would it take to put this man away? Even he, perhaps the most cocksure man on the ICW roster, was clearly doubting himself. That doubt allowed Polo to hoist him onto his shoulders, looking for that electric chair again. Except he wasn’t. He transitioned it into a Styles Clash, a move that four years ago saw Lionheart break his neck and the moment where this feud all began. He landed it clean, only for Lionheart to power at one. That move was the switch, the moment where Lionheart found that extra burst of energy. A huge clothesline in the corner was followed up by two huge pump kicks. A third uranage put Polo down and then a second Frog Splash for an incredibly important one-two-three.

I honestly don’t know how to rate this. In terms of in-ring psychology, this was easily one of the best matches in an ICW ring. This was a match that rewarded the fans who’ve stayed with the company. It had callbacks of moves, moments and matches. The pop when Lionheart kicked out of the Styles Clash was brilliant, only topped by the pop for when he won. In-ring wise, this wasn’t the best, but it was never going to be. But it told a brilliant story and had me hooked. I criticise this company a lot, and often with good reason, but on this night they got everything right. ***1/2

Final Thoughts:

Last Saturday, ICW stepped up. No, the show wasn’t replete with MOTY contenders or work-rate classics. What it did though, was avoid the overbooking tropes of the past and deliver a perfectly entertaining top to bottom show. The tag team title match was entertaining, BT Gunn stepped up when opportunity was given to him and then the main event over-delivered my expectations. Lionheart is now the hottest act in the company and seems a shoo-in to main event the Hydro in December. Roll on night two.