This past Sunday, Insane Championship Wrestling hosted their eighth annual Square Go event, their equivalent of the Royal Rumble, at SWG3 in Glasgow.
It was their first time running SWG3 and the venue seemed to work really well for wrestling. Aside from a fight in the crowd at one point (that was promptly dealt with by security), the sold-out crowd provided a great atmosphere throughout the evening.
Insane Championship Wrestling
February 24, 2019
Watch: ICW on Demand
On commentary were Billy Kirkwood and James R. Kennedy.
ICW Tag Team Championships
Kings of Catch def. The P.O.D.
Faith and Girvan’s development as a popular babyface tandem in ICW has been a highlight over recent months and this match was the perfect culmination of their progression.
Whilst Girvan has traditionally received more spotlight in the company, this match was Faith’s chance to shine and he took it well. The match started hot, with Smith and Brown powerbombing Girvan through a table in the crowd, producing an impact that ‘hit harder than heroin-flavoured toothpaste’ (Never change Billy, never change), leaving Faith to face the champions alone. He kicked out of a number of tag team moves before eventually hitting a sunset flip on Ashton Smith to secure the win and their first run with the titles.
Although the finish didn’t quite come off as they’d obviously hoped, this match was easily the best tag team title match on a major ICW show since the Marauders were regulars. The Kings have come a long way recently and this was the best way to kick off a new era in the tag team division. ***1/2
ICW Women’s World Championship
Kay Lee Ray vs. Toni Storm
As soon as I saw Toni Storm come out with the NXT:UK Women’s title belt, I had a feeling this was going to end much like the PAC matches have of late in RevPro with a screwy finish. That was what we got but unlike those PAC matches or the matches these two have had previously, this was a massive disappointment.
The work between the two women was crisp and entertaining but unfortunately the crowd never seemed particularly interested and then the finish, with Kasey Owens returning from a three-month absence to attack both women, and, because ICW has permanent no-disqualification rules, referee Thomas Kearins. I get they couldn’t do a clean finish and it does get Kasey over, but she’s a two-time champ in ICW, so this felt odd. The work was fine though and being aware of the finish means I probably don’t hate it as much as others might. **1/2, I suppose.
ICW Zero-G Championship
Joe Coffey def. Ilja Dragunov
Perhaps it’s because the match quality in ICW is usually dreadful, or perhaps it’s because I was in a good mood, but I thought this was brilliant and the best non-hardcore match in ICW in a long time. It was also the exact sort of match Joe Coffey needed after his disappointing showing in Blackpool.
This went about 20 minutes and if I’m going to criticise anything about it, it’s probably that length and the commentary. I enjoy Billy Kirkwood’s work and I think Kennedy is a good foil for him but it was painfully apparent in this match that neither had seen much of Ilja before, meaning that they missed the call on many of his big moves, including the Torpedo Moskau. Those two qualms aside, this was a good match that got Ilja over massively with the Glasgow crowd.
The two men began with a test of strength, which Ilja eventually won by connecting with a brilliant-looking spinning backfist. Ilja would also hit a number of big sentons during the match, including one from the ramp into the crowd, for a couple of nearfalls, whilst Coffey hit one of the best step-up springboard crossbodies I’ve seen him hit, which was slightly surprising given that he’s put on a fair bit of muscle recently.
Dragunov’s style meant that he bumped like crazy for Coffey here and this match did far more to get Coffey over than his match with his brother at Fear and Loathing did. Coffey eventually closed the show with a discus clothesline after the two men had traded a number of big strikes and nearfalls. ***3/4
ICW World Heavyweight Championship
Lionheart def. Angelico
Where do I start with this?
Fundamentally, this was not bad, and that’s sort of the problem. It was just aggressively dull for its entirety. It only went about 15 minutes but it felt every one of them.
Angelico worked some grappling to begin with before Lionheart took control, only to have his momentum stopped with a pop-up knee. The South African got some nearfalls in the closing stretch to absolute crickets, but Lionheart made the third successful defence of his World Title after connecting with his three moves of doom – the superkick, uranage and frog splash. As I say, this was fine, just painfully dull. **1/2
The Eighth Annual Square Go
The easiest way to review this match was a stream of consciousness as it unfolded.
There’s one hour and 25 minutes left on the VOD, so I better get strapped in. Liam Thomson and Red Lightning, whose ring attire remains one of the worst things in ICW, are out first, followed by two of Mark Dallas’ boys, Leyton Buzzard and Ravie Davie. Number five is our second former winner, Dickie Divers, whom Billy Kirkwood described as having ‘a face like a Breville sandwich maker’.
Paxxo is out at 6, before the Purge, Stevie James and Krobar, follow at seven and eight. Jack Morris, Dickie Divers’ new tag team partner, came out at nine and he looks like someone who could break out in ICW this year. He’s a former footballer with a background in gymnastics and he certainly has a good look. Big Welshman Iestyn Rees follows Alexander Darwin MacAllen and Kenny Williams out at 12, thankfully sans Bram, and it only dawns on me now that we’ve had no eliminations yet. That soon changes as Rees caters for Krobar and Dickie Divers, with Kenny Williams and Red Lightning seeing to Leyton and Ravie Davie.
The 13th man in is Mark Coffey, soon followed by Krieger. Three random masked men then hit the ring to assist Coffey, helping him get rid of Paxxo, Krieger and MacAllan. I assume that’ll give Mark a new storyline for the first part of the year. Krieger also got rid of Stevie James, meaning that when Andy Wild comes in at 15 there’s six left in the ring.
Kez Evans and Kieran Kelly are in next, followed by Lou King Sharp with a kendo stick. Entrant 19 is Jimmy Havoc, who gets no countdown but does have a chair. Kenny Williams and Iestyn Rees soon turn on Red Lightning – RUDO Sports and Entertainment Brand is no more. Rees throws Sharp from the ring but they do the Kofi Kingston spot as he crowdsurfs his way back in, with BT Gunn entering in the meantime. Gunn rapidly eliminates Mark Coffey in the match’s first big shock, only to be quickly thrown out by Kez Evans.
Next in Jack Jester, followed by Viper and Wolfgang. Lou King Sharp managed to lift Viper onto his shoulders, prompting Billy Kirkwood to point out that it’s the only time he’s been able to pick up a woman which I thought was great, but he was quickly eliminated and Wolfgang then clears out Rees and Williams.
JACKIE POLO IS BACK! Just Justice hits the ring to a great pop and eliminates Havoc. He’s followed by No Fun Dunne, who is thankfully being used more in ICW. Sha Samuels is next, helping further the ongoing feud between the Kinky Party and the Anti-Fun Police, which I expect to peak at Barramania. Sha is in the best shape of his career and looks good here, helping to eliminate Dunne.
Aaron Echo is next in and in time-honoured Scottish tradition, the match is stopped so he and the Kinky Party can enjoy a few cans of Tennents, which, from experience, is not a pleasant lager. Wolfgang and Red Lightning (he’s still in, I wonder whether he is winning…) take out the Kinky Party as number 28 comes in and it’s GRADO!!!!! I barely get time to digest Grado’s new ring gear and JEFF JARRETT IS HERE!!! BRITWRES ICON JEFF JARRETT! J-E-Double F nails Grado with the guitar and eliminates him and enjoys a stereo strut with Polo, only for that swine Just Justice to eliminate Jarrett.
Joe Hendry is out at 30 and there are now 10 left. Hendry gets rid of Kieran Kelly, Aaron Echo and Jackie Polo in short order, only for BT Gunn to come from the back to take out Kez Evans. Hendry then eliminates Viper to leave us with five: Joe, Wolfgang, Andy Wild, Liam Thomson and Red Lightning.
Liam Thomson shows real fire to eliminate Wolfgang and Andy Wild, leaving just three. Wolfgang has nicked his sink, the dastardly individual! Thomson and Hendry go back-and-forth; the fans are starting to think Liam might win. Hendry gets Thomson over the top and thinks he’s won but where’s Red? There he is, he’s behind Hendry! Lightning eliminates Joe Hendry to become the first two-time Square Go Winner!!!
Right, so what to make of that. First of all, I am not shocked that Red Lightning won, he was my second favourite to take it after Hendry, but did he really have to come out at 1? He spent almost the entirety of the match laying on the mat. He also won’t be a popular winner. Liam Thomson stood out for his effort throughout, whilst I thought Kenny Williams worked with a real intensity he’s lacked for a while. The returns of Jackie Polo and Jeff Jarrett were good, but in general the match lacked any real surprises. Matches like are hard to rate because they don’t fit on the five-star scale as such, but this was objectively fine. It furthered some stories lower down the card, elevated Liam Thomson in a big way and there were some good moments. Still, the end visual was Red Lightning winning the Square Go. **1/2
An up-and-down show from ICW that still stands as their best show in a while. Coffey’s match with Dragunov and the tag title opener wouldn’t have been out of place in any other top British promotion and whilst the other two title matches weren’t great, they weren’t overrun by the nonsense booking that has harpooned ICW previously. The Square Go reverted to the method of old of going for Red Lightning vs Mark Dallas when they don’t know what else to do, but the match itself was good. All in all a fairly positive event for ICW in a new venue, something that’ll hopefully continue as the year progresses.