Bloodstained Memoirs: A Look Back at ICW’s 2012
By Scott Reid
Right now, throughout Glasgow, there is a buzz in the air. A buzz brought on by a wrestling company that has taken the city by storm, and shows no signs of slowing down. The company in question? Insane Championship Wrestling. With their wild, unpredictable shows that have been thrilling fans each and every month, ICW have gained a cult following in Glasgow, and while the company has been around for a few years now, it is 2012 that have seen ICW grow at a terrifying pace, to become one of the best, and most talked about, promotions in the U.K right now.
While Scottish wrestling, as a whole, has been working hard to establish itself as a fantastic, exciting scene in wrestling, ICW has spent 2012 watching its fan base grow and grow at an alarming rate, with fans from all around the country making their way to Glasgow to witness the insanity that so many people are raving about, and with their biggest show of the year, ICW : Fear and Loathing V, taking place on November 5th at the Classic Grand, what better time to look back at 2012 in Insane Championship Wrestling, and remember the titles matches, the debuts, and the shocking moments that have kept us captivated each month.
One thing that ICW is never short of is high quality matches. Each month, ICW manages to book its talent into fantastic matches that take the fans breath away, and 2012 has been a year full of undeniable classics. BT Gunn took on all comers in a series of title defences against Jack Jester, James Scott, Wolfgang, and Lionheart that truly proved how talented, and genuinely tough, BT Gunn is. The Tag Team division also stepped up in brilliant fashion, with a thrilling tournament to crown the first ICW Tag Team Champions taking place, which ended with The S.T.I gaining the titles over The Bucky Boys in a savage TLC match that saw both teams taken to the limit. However, one match that, in many peoples opinion, stands above the rest this year is the brutal Last Man Standing match between Jack Jester and Mikey Whiplash, which took place at Insane In The Membrane.
Going into this match, fans were well aware of the violent, nasty history between both of these competitors, but no-one expected to see what took place that night. Both men went straight at each other, fighting to finally put the other man down for good. The bout took Whiplash and Jester all around The Garage, with even the commentary table stage being ripped apart by Whiplash, in order to use it as a punishing weapon against his hardcore foe. Blood was shed, old wounds were re-opened, and both men left everything they had in the ring, however, Mikey Whiplash eventually prevailed after driving Jester into a barbwire board, which literally pinned Jester to the ground and kept him down for the 10 count. The sadistic Whiplash may have taken the victory, but Jack Jester was the true winner of the night, as he received a standing ovation, and the undying respect, from the entire ICW crowd.
Very rarely does a match capture the fans hearts and minds to the extent that this match did, but when it does happen, the fans know that they have watched something special, and forever more, any fan in attendance at Insane In The Membrane will remember what they saw that night : An in-ring masterpiece.
There was one other match this year which will be remembered by ICW fans for years to come, however, it was not simply the match itself which will be remembered, but the story behind the match as well. It was the story of an underdog who showed heart and determination to gain the universal support of the ICW fans, and ultimately get the chance he had so often dreamed of. It was the story of Grado.
Having wrestled in other promotions around Scotland for a few years, Grado still had never fulfilled his dream of wrestling in ICW. Through a series of YouTube videos, fans were given a look at Grados attempts to be booked for ICW. Whether he was throwing up from drinking buckfast with Mark Dallas, or taking a low-shot from Jimmy Havok, Grado never gave up in his attempts to prove himself, and soon, the once relatively unknown performer had an army of supporters, screaming his name at ICW shows, and fighting his cause, but he still, he could not get booked. Eventually, Grado took matters into his own hands, entering through the crowd and jumping the guardrail to help Drew McDonald and Wolfgang fight off The Official Community. Impressed by his guts, Mark Dallas booked Grado in an impromptu 6-man tag match. Unfortunately, Grado found himself at a loss that night, but his big moment was still to come. Overwhelmed by fan demand, Mark Dallas gave Grado the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to go one-on-one with Red Lightning for the ICW Title at Super Smokin’ Thunder Bowl. Naturally, Grado jumped at the chance, and on August 5th, fans packed out The Garage to see, arguably, the most talked about match in Scottish Wrestling this year. The energy in the building was electric, and from the moment he stepped through the curtain to ‘Like A Prayer’ by Madonna, Grado had the ICW fans firmly behind him, and when he scored the three count to win the ICW championship, it was a celebration that had to be seen to be believed. Fans were cheering their lungs out, drinks were flying, and the ultimate underdog was carried on the shoulders of his adoring fans. Although he would go on to lose the title back to Red Lightning in controversial fashion later that night, fans will always remember the night that, even for a few hours, they watched an underdog climb to the top of the mountain, and were there with him every step of the way.
While there are plenty of matches from 2012 that stick in the minds of ICW fans, there are also more than a few specific moments that have defined Insane Championship year. Moments that have thrilled us to the point of cheering till our throats gave out, or that have brought tears to our eyes as we said farewell to legends of the business.
Jack Jester and BT Gunn gave us the first iconic moment of the year, when Jester threw the, then, ICW Champion from the balcony of The Garage onto the fans, and wooden floor, below. Never one to be outdone, Stevie Boy went on to willingly dive from the same balcony onto Team ICW and Team Ofcom during the 5 on 5 Glasgow Street Fight. There was also the tearful goodbye of Iceman, who competed in a tag team deathmatch with Jack Jester, Jimmy Havok and Chris Renfrew, before retiring from the wrestling world. Through all the blood and sweat that night, genuine tears were shed as a Hardcore legend said farewell. But the biggest shock of the year was a surprise that would spell nothing but trouble for ICW : the return of Red Lightning.
Having won the first annual Square Go to guarantee himself a championship match at a time of his choosing, Red Lightning was like a viper, quietly biding his time while waiting for the perfect opportunity to strike at BT Gunn, and take his ICW Championship. A few months after winning the Square Go however, Red was forced to retire from wrestling, which left a new #1 contender to be crowned, in the form of Lionheart. Fans truly believed they had seen the last of Red Lightning, but a few months after his supposed retirement, Red went off on a verbal tirade aimed at ICW on The One Wrestling Show, which resulted in him angrily leaving the studio, and then, a few nights later, he returned to ICW as only Red Lightning could. After an intense match between BT Gunn and Lionheart, which saw BT retain his title, Red returned and assaulted the champion with a steel chair, before dropping a bombshell on the ICW fans. The contract he had earned after winning the Square Go was still valid, and so, he would be cashing in his opportunity then and there. With the Champion beaten and bruised, all it took was one big move from Red to score the pinfall, and become the ICW Champion. The ICW fans were livid, as Red Lightning proclaimed himself to be their “New Leader”, and since that night, he has done everything in his power, legal or otherwise, to make us believe that.
So with 2012 already having been a massive years for Insane Championship Wrestling, what could the future possibly hold? Only time will tell, but there is no doubt in my mind that Glasgows own mad scientist Mark Dallas has plenty more aces up his sleeve. All we have to do is show up, grab a cold beer, and watch the madness unfold before our eyes, as we get lost in the wild world of Insane Championship Wrestling.
WrestleShark's Simon and David, Chris Renfrew, Billy Kirkwood, JD Bravo and Louise Marshall bring you The Big WrestleShark Show every Tuesday at 10pm on 98.4 Pulse FM. Head over and like it on Facebook: www.Facebook.com/BigWrestleSharkShow
Follow WrestleShark on Twitter
Like WrestleShark on Facebook