Having spent a fair bit of time writing wrestling blogs,writing now exclusively for MFX gives me some freedom. Freedom to choose any subject in the world and share my considerable knowledge on any topic with the world. With this new found freedom, I have decided to write my first blog on… wrestling.
Particularly, ICW, or Insane Championship Wrestling.
ICW have grown fairly rapidly in popularity especially in the UK, and have brought the world a new darling for internet wrestling fans to get behind in the shape of Grado. They have also come to the attention of the rest of the world through two BBC documentaries, and the tweets of Mick Foley.
So here is the thing. Have they gone as far as they can go? Have they already gone too far, too soon?
Last year, I went to a live ICW event in Dundee, and it was awesome. Galloway had not long returned, and ICW was embarking on its first UK tour. The build was on for Drew Galloway v Jack Jester for the title, and ICW were on top of their game.
They produced a show in Dundee that was breathtaking, with a real build to a main event, lots of highs and lows, and more than a smattering of ICW’s trademark, violence.
Two weeks ago, for their second ever show in Dundee, ICW showed up, and that’s about it.
With Champion Galloway gone to Impact, Jester probably with him, ICW only really had one man left to see, and I am not sure Grado is enough to carry a main event, let alone the whole show. God knows how they sold the rest of the tour, Grado left Dundee with an ‘injury’,courtesy of a lead pipe to the knee, or to go to America.
Now I do not really want to knock the rest of the ICW roster, but it is hard to get excited by much else they have to offer. Noam Dar pulled double duty in Dundee and did what Noam does, he was pretty good. Jackie Polo did what Jackie Polo does, tries to insult the locals with badly thought out promos.
The Bucky Boys again were exactly what you expected, and this is where ICW have real problems.
When your top guys get attention from elsewhere, and leave, you need to have someone to replace them, and I am not sure ICW have that. Some of the matches in Dundee reached the level of OK, some had spots which were so bad you cringed.
When a wrestler has to stop mid charge and wait for his opponent to pull the top rope down for you, when a wrestler has to head butt a ring post because he was not thrown into it, or when someone cant reach to hit you with a lead pipe because you never got close enough to the ropes, it is never gonna leave a great impression.
And all those things actually happened, and I paid money to see it.
Now had that been followed by a great main event, I probably would have left happy, and as the main event was billed as Grado plus two mystery partners, the opportunity was there for the show to be saved. Noam Dar and Wolfgang were not what I had in mind. With all due respect to the two, they were following Grado to the ring, and were never going to raise the roof.
If you want to bring out mystery partners for Grado, and you know he is going to get a big pop, you need to bring out some big guns, or just announce his partners in advance, and let Grado come out last.
The whole card looked like they were just not up for it, with one exception, local girl and NXT champion(?) Sammi Jayne turned up to take on Nikki Storm. Sammi lost, but was the only one who really looked like she wanted to be there, she pulled out some big moves, and while not the finished article as a wrestler, put on a display to be proud of.
So the question is, who do ICW have that can step up if Galloway and Jester do not return? An example would be good here… during the show, someone tapped me on the shoulder and asked to get past, he was wearing a mask. He got in the ring and took his mask off and challenged Drew Galloway to a fight. I had to ask who it was…
Grado is fine in the upper tier, but you cannot make a comedy act the top guy, and that is essentially what Grado is. Wolfgang?Damo? Joe Hendry?
Hendry is probably the best equipped to take on the mantle, but there is something about him that I personally do not like. I get that he has his fans, and I can see why he has those fans, but he is just not for me.
Damo has the size, but size is not enough. Wolfgang is good, but can he be the guy?
Now look through the rest of the roster, and what have you got? The Bucky Boys, the 55, Kenny Williams, BTG, all are good at what they do, but what they do is not main event shows. Jackie Polo is the worst heel I have ever seen, trying to get cheap heat in Dundee with the same schtick that never worked when it was relevant last time he was here.
So where do ICW go? I don’t know the deal they have with Galloway and TNA, I don’t know if Jester will return, but if worst comes to worst and neither return ICW have real problems. Even if both return, ICW still have to prepare for the eventuality that both will go.
ICW need to start pushing the midcard, find a few guys who can get to that top level, and have them ready to go if needs be.The company has come a long way in the last few years, the opportunity exists for them to continue on that path, but if the show in Dundee was a taste of things to come, no songs by Yazz spring to mind.
And if Mark Dallas is reading this,I hope the show in Dundee was a one off, and I want my money back.