ICW Square Go 2020
February 2, 2020
Glasgow, Scotland

Watch: icwondemand.pivotshare.com

Scotland’s leading promotion, Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), ran their first event of 2020 on Sunday, February 2, when the 9th Annual Square Go – their equivalent of the Royal Rumble – took over SWG3 in Glasgow. Headlining the show was the 30-man battle royal and Stevie Boy defending his ICW World title against  Noam Dar.

Billy Kirkwood was joined by James R. Kennedy on commentary, with Simon Cassidy on announcing duties

ICW Zero-G Championship
Liam Thomson def. Leyton Buzzard (C)

Before the match started, Buzzard, who really broke out in ICW in 2019, cut a promo that firmly established him as a heel. It made all the sense in the world because although he’s got a flashy moveset, he’s easy to boo and Thomson is a veteran that the ICW fans want to root for. The match itself was a standard WWE-style TV match – some back-and-forth action that, while good, was largely forgettable. We had the standard spots of each man landing their finisher, getting a nearfall and then looking exasperated down the hard cam. In a callback to Buzzard winning the belt, Thomson hit a low blow in the middle of the ring and pinned the youngster to regain the title. It was the most ICW finish possible and while it serves a purpose for people invested in the storyline, it doesn’t look great to an outsider. *** for the match, * for the finish. **3/4 overall.

After the match we got a weird video package for Just Jaxn – Jackie Polo is back in ICW! While it does mean the end of Just Justice (who’d have thought I’d love a Jeff Jarrett cosplay so much), it is good to see Polo back in the promotion as he’s one of their best at holding up a storyline. He was confronted by a returning DCT and the two proceeded to brawl all over the arena before Polo walked off. These two have unsettled business from when Polo beat DCT for the belt back in 2018, so presumably, this will continue until Shug’s in July…

ICW Women’s Championship
Aivil (C) def. Isla Dawn

I’ve always found myself slightly uncomfortable watching two relatively green competitors squaring off on a (relatively) big stage because there’s such a high chance that it could go wrong. In the end, I was pleasantly surprised by this as Dawn delivered her best showing in the promotion and Aivil looked composed and organized. Yes, it was sloppy in places, but it was a good sort of sloppy and I was always engaged. Aivil secured her first defense of the title thanks to a frog splash from the top rope. **1/2

ICW Tag Team Championships
The Fite Network (Krieger & Lou King Sharp) def. The Purge (Krobar & Stevie James) (C)

These two teams went at it from the opening bell and while the crowd brawling probably wasn’t the best for the live SWG3 crowd (I mean, the feed literally cut out at one point, leaving some sections utterly bemused), I quite enjoyed the whole aesthetic of it all. From Stevie James having to move some t-shirts to hit a stump puller on the merch table to Krobar getting stuck behind a fire door, rendering it a handicap match during the final stretch, it felt like a perfect microcosm of ICW, their booking and overall vibe. The action itself was quite decent and I enjoyed it, even if I know it won’t have been everyone’s cup of tea. Sharp and Krieger secured their first titles in ICW by hitting the wheelbarrow bulldog on James. ***

The new champs had very little time to celebrate post-match as they were confronted by Kenny Williams and his new partner, Mark Coffey. The Gallus man laid out the new champions, presumably setting up a title match down the line…

ICW World Championship
Noam Dar def. Stevie Boy (C)

My major observations from this match were a) the dichotomy of the match, with natural heel Stevie Boy awkwardly positioned as the face because the NXT UK guy has to be the heel, didn’t really work and b) Noam Dar is someone who has benefitted from being in the WWE system as he has improved, especially in terms of his physique and presence.

If you want to be granular and break the match down, there are definitely holes– for stretches the match seemed to drift aimlessly and the run in with Davey Blaze was poorly timed and largely flat. However, this was an enjoyable contest and another strong showing from Stevie Boy since returning last year. The theme of the match was Dar working over the champion’s surgically repaired knee and Stevie Boy desperately trying to fight back. That work played into the finish, when Dar kicked the champion off the top rope and landed a splash for a nearfall. From there he was able to set him up for the enzuigiri and the three count to secure a first run with the ICW World title. ***1/2

Kez Evans wins the 9th Annual Square Go!

It’s very hard to get a rumble match massively wrong. You have the element of surprise with entrants, you can tell stories during the match and you have the fun of eliminations and the big carrot at the end of a title shot. ICW didn’t get this wrong at all but it also felt quite flat to me for the most part.

First out were BT Gunn and Sami Callihan (one of their best recent imports) and they had some fun exchanges, with Craig Anthony tossed out in short order so that they could continue their scrap. Jason Reed, Lewis Girvan and Dickie Divers all follow to mixed reactions before we got Trent Seven at, you guessed it, seven. Banter.

The Irish contingent started at eight with Damien Corvin, with his Kings of the North partners following at #12 (Bonesaw) and #13 (Adam Maxted). Jack Morris, former Scottish footballer, comes out at #9, while former ICW champion Wolfgang is #11.

It’s this sort of procession of guys, with very few people getting eliminated, all the way through. Thatcher Wright, one of the best possible gimmicks for a Scottish audience, comes out at #14 and gets promptly chucked out, book and all. Evans is #15, with a rather swole Nathan Martin in briefly at #16. Ravie Davie, Kieran Kelly, Kid Fite and Andy Wild bring us up to #20.

Wild’s arrival brings a rare bit of intensity as he nearly kills Wolfgang with a belly-to-belly before then getting the WWE NXT UK double by eliminating Wolfie and Trent. It then quietens down a bit as Zander comes out at #21.

Jake Crist is #22 and he helps Callihan eliminate BT Gunn, who had returned to the ring after an armbreak spot earlier in the match. The oVe boys don’t last much longer though and they brawl with Bad Company to the back.

Jack Jester comes out at #23, carrying a pipe, and he’s followed by Aspen Faith. Aspen accidentally eliminates his tag partner Lewis Girvan and he’s eliminated himself soon after. He clearly feels Lewis could have done more to help him and they bicker before heading to the back, separately. Implosion of the Filthy Generation?

Rickey Shane Page is next out at #25 and he’s got a kendo stick. #26 is my highlight of the match, Grado. He’s in good shape physically and he’s in an NFL costume, because Superbowl weekend. Subtlety be damned, man! At this point Ravie Davie’s neds hit the ring, prompting #27, Davey Blaze, to rush out. Blaze and Davie have been feuding over who’s the real ned in ICW and that pays off here, with Blaze hitting some lovely spears on the neds before eliminating himself by diving over the top rope.

#28 and #29 are Darren Kearney and LJ Cleary and they have a few fun spots before we get to #30. Luca de Pazzi. To quote my man Grado, ‘who the f*** is that?’ He does the whole taking ages to get to the ring shtick before he gets immediately eliminated by Kid Fite.

Not only did that #30 spot feel like an utter waste (the de Pazzi thing was something perfect for earlier on as comedy filler), there were still nine people left in the ring when he got dumped out. A flurry of eliminations brought us down to the final five – Alexander Dean, Kid Fite, Andy Wild, Kez Evans and Grado.

Evans eliminates Dean, with the Irishman then wiping out Andy Wild on the apron to send the big man from Fife packing as well. That left Evans, Fite and Grado. Evans saw off Grado while he was firing up, leaving two. It’s the young guy vs the grizzled veteran hoping for his big moment. However, instead of ICW running with that, they have Evans do a false injury angle, which brings out Mark Dallas.

It’s all a ruse! While Fite is distracted, Evans pops back up to hurl him out of the ring and secure his breakout victory.

As I said at the start, this wasn’t awful. I respect ICW for going with a different guy and trying to build up someone organically. The mix of people in the Square Go was good but the pacing was off and the finish was flat. A disappointing end to a largely solid show. **

Final Thoughts

The Square Go tends to be ICW’s best show of the year, largely because the rumble match at the end puts the title matches at the start, usually making the work more consistent top to bottom. That was largely the case here, with the highlight being Noam Dar vs Stevie Boy. The Square Go might have been a bit flat but this card showed a lot of the future for the promotion and there are stories in place for the next few months, although it’s more than five months until the next big show. Thumbs in the middle from me overall.