ICW No Holds Barred Volume 12 – Farewell to the Pawn Shop
Saturday, April 10
8:00 PM
81Bay Brewing, 4465 Gandy Blvd #600

Watch: IndependentWrestling.TV

NOTE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, wrestlers may be removed from shows due to positive COVID-19 tests or exposure, so cards may be different than what is previewed below.

I have a love and hate relationship with ICW: NHB. As I covered in my preview for ICW: NHB Vol. 11, I respect their drive to be their own thing, to throw everything at the wall, from chain ropes to insane stipulations to the Pit Fighter gimmick and pulling wrestlers out of the weeds. On the other hand, I find that their shows typically under-deliver & make me uncomfortable (not because of the violence). Throughout the week they have 4 shows scheduled. The “Then & Now” show, featuring some indie talent of yesteryear facing off against wrestlers of today, two Pitfighter shows (going to be interesting to see that setup shoved into the Brewery in between other, normal cards), and this—a traditional all-deathmach ICW: NHB show featuring wrestlers that are on most of their cards. From the outset, I’m not terribly impressed with the lineup, but it is likely to deliver for people who are fans of the promotion, the style and features a main event that should be near the top of American Deathmatches for the year.

Satu Jinn vs. Ruben Steel

Ruben Steel looks exactly like you would expect a deathmatch wrestler to look. This is a dude who drinks beer, listens to heavy metal and likes to bleed. I’ve only ever seen him work down in Heavy Metal Wrestling in Texas and he’s perfectly capable and like everyone else on this show – not afraid to die. Satu Jinn has a tremendous look, coming across like someone that would’ve been showcased on Sunday Night Heat 22 years ago, but also not afraid to bleed and mix it up. I don’t have high expectations that this match will be anything revelatory, but should get that bloodlust up for those that want it.

Orin Veidt vs. Bobby Beverly

Unfortunately, this was originally supposed to be Veidt vs. new star Akira, who has really made a name for himself in ICW: NHB, but he tested positive for COVID-19 prior to the show and has been replaced by Bobby Beverly. Beverly is no stranger to deathmatches, though he looks and works a bit more like a classic indie wrestler or early ECW era guy. He likes to punish his opponents and can get quite twisted. Veidt will do anything for the pop, and definitely has his fans from the faithful. Expect this to be one of the hardest HITTING matches, even if it doesn’t have the ultimate sicko spots.

Atticus Cogar vs. Reed Bentley

I’m an admitted Cogar hater, but even I can figure out that I’ve probably worked myself into a shoot due to his 44OH! Alliance. He’s put in work in the past year and has definitely shown improvement in his presence, both in deathmatches and traditional matches. I’m not quite sold on him like some others that I know, but he’s definitely on the upswing. Bentley is a traditional deathmatch guy, but happens to be one of the most consistently good, easy to root for guys on the scene. He doesn’t quite have the name of some of the guys that work GCW regularly, but with ICW using different talent, he’s one of the biggest names (with his other Rejects teammates). This has a chance to be really gnarly, with both dudes willing to do some less than traditional spots here. I’d expect Bentley to win, but could go either way.

Neil Diamond Cutter vs. Jeff King

This is the “drunk uncles fighting” match of the show, and one that a 20/20 expose about “Dangerous Deathmatch Wrestling” would focus on. I watch these two dudes wrestle when they are on screen and never think about them otherwise because they just try to die every time. I’m never impressed and always impressed, you know what I mean? True deathwish wrestlers – this might be the single bloodiest match on the show.

Shane Mercer vs. SHLAK

Despite my personal feelings about SHLAK, he’s more or less the main character of ICW: NHB. He’s not the undefeated, top-of-the-card guy, but in a way, much of the promotion is built around him. I hate watching him wrestle. On the other hand, I love watching Shane Mercer wrestle, and I love watching Shane Mercer destroy dudes. One thing you can give SHLAK is that he has a complete disregard for his own body, and I expect Mercer to take that to heart with a massive beating.

Dan Maff vs. Nolan Edward

Now here is a match between 2 guys that I actually love. Maff has been really fun in his ICW appearances and has had some true highlights in his career renaissance over the last couple of years. He’s still the same Dan Maff he’s always been, just a massive ass-kicker that can throw anyone in the world around like they’re nothing. Edward, one of the top young stars and a great wrestler in just about any style is also a tremendous bumper. Expect Maff to lay a gigantic beating on this kid, but for Edward to sneak out a win here. I’m really looking forward to this one, circle it.

Brandon Kirk vs. Alex Ocean

This is an interesting match because these are the two guys that everyone attending and watching ICW hate. Brandon Kirk comes to the ring with Kasey Kirk and they make out and do gross stuff and are super hateable. Alex Ocean comes with Riley Madison and you get about the same. I hope the crowd that is in attendance just boos through the whole match, that is the intriguing part here. Battle of the most hated! But for real, these two guys get booked strongly in ICW and have had some really good matches, and are true sickos that will take needles, tacks, saws, basically anything. Expect the women to get involved, probably some throwback Cat Fight, even. This will be a match full of debauchery and bad decisions, which is sort of where ICW: NHB excels. I’m gonna go with Ocean as the winner, but it’s a complete toss-up.

John Wayne Murdoch vs. Eric Ryan

Now, with main event time and some creative booking, this match could absolutely be a sleeper pick to be one of the single best matches of the weekend. Murdoch has been doing this shit for almost 20 years at this point, primarily in IWA-MS, but really all over, and his work in ICW: NHB has been the best stuff they put on. He’s the true ace of the promotion, winning something like his last 17 matches in the promotion – but his only loss was against Eric Ryan during ICW: NHB Vol. 1. Ryan won King of the Deathmatch for IWA-MS last year, and defeated Murdoch in the semis, so there is a great story here of Murdoch, able to beat just about anyone in the scene except for Ryan. Expect this one to have true heat, where two deathmatch wrestlers that actually understand the psychology of the style go at it. This will be brutal, will have us going holy shit and should end with Murdoch standing tall as the ace of ICW. Their match at Vol. 1 wasn’t very good, but I have full faith they can put something together here to really shine and get people talking. 

Overall, I can’t say that ICW: NHB Vol. 12 is the show I’m most excited about for the weekend, and perhaps of the four shows the promotion is putting on, it’s the one I’m least excited for, but if ICW plays their cards right, if everyone delivers to their ability (or even exceeds their usual ability), they could really set themselves up to be the premier American deathmatch company right now. I’m going in skeptical, but would LOVE to be surprised and have a kickass show.