The third annual Insane Championship Wrestling blockbuster Barramania has come and gone. Once again hailing from Glasgow’s historic Barrowland Ballroom, this year’s event certainly contained its fair share of highs and lows, with a few shocks sprinkled in between. Here, Steven Wilson gives his review of the event.
ICW Zero-G Championship Scramble Match – Kenny Williams © defeats BT Gunn, Ravie-Davie, Flash Morgan Webster, Zack Gibson, Matt Cross and Charlie Sterling
With so many wrestlers usually involved in these kind of matchups, history dictates they are often a mess, with too many elements going on at once. However, for the second straight year, ICWs scramble match delivered.
The pre-match announcement that BT Gunn would make this a seven man match instantly made this a must see. Combined with the high quality of each of the participants, the match served as an appropriate opener.
Charlie Sterling is slowly becoming one of my favourite ICW wrestlers, with his combo of strength and speed a joy to behold. They did a good job making him look strong in defeat by having him taken out with a chair to the throat from Gibson, who is arguably the best heel in British wrestling at this moment.
Fittingly, it went down to Williams and Gunn in the end, with Williams surviving long enough in Gunn’s cross face submission to make the 15 minute mark as champ. I don’t expect this to be over between these two, with Gunn determined to become the company’s first ever grand slam champion.
All in all, a good start to the show.
Rating – 7/10
Polo Promotions vs War Machine
Damn, was I impressed with War Machine in this one. Despite now holding the IWGP Tag team titles, I was unfamiliar with their work before hand. Now, I am dying to see more.
The Polos came into this contest severally lacking in momentum after a poor start to 2017, and they struggled initially to impose their usual physical strategy on the larger duo. Coffey is proving to be the star of the two at present, bringing back some of the style which saw him shine greatly during his reign as zero-g champ in 2014.
What made War Machine more impressive was their ability to fly as well, with their Fallout finisher, a belly-to-back suplex/leg drop combo, a joy to behold. One botched springboard aside, they were on queue all evening. The match really hit its stride towards the end, as both teams matched each other physically, with Polos scoop slamming each in an impressive sight.
In the end, the Americans managed to score the win, in what is hopefully not the last we see of them. This fan, in particular, is itching for more.
Rating – 8/10
Last Man Standing: Chris Renfrew vs Stevie Boy
This match was exactly what I expected it to me; a straight up scrap.
Watching the match from home on FITE TV, the first few minutes were hard to follow as the camera crew seemed to struggle to keep up with the action as it descended into the crowd. Once they caught up, the hard-hitting nature of the contest was shown when Stevie took a slam on a solid table (unlike the usual tables seen in wrestling, this one had no give).
In fitting fashion, the match boiled down to Renfrew cable tying Stevie’s hands behind his back (as Stevie did to him at a Fight Club recording in February) and brutally beating him with a kendo stick. With the match won, Renfrew would then hit referee Thomas Kearins in the back, with the intent to continue the beating. This is when it got interesting!
The lights would go out, and a strange figure in a mask would drag Renfrew under the ring. When the lights hit, that same figure would climb into the ring, throw a nuce at Stevie, before relieving himself as…MIKEY WHIPLASH, before disappearing back under the ring, causing Stevie to run off, causing a non-contest.
It is interesting to see where ICW take this from here. The ending shows Whiplash intent to feud with both. Renfrews disappearance could lead to an absence for him, setting up a Whippy/Stevie feud until probably Shugs Hoose Party.
Rating – 6/10
As much as I love each of the four athletes in this match, this tanked big time.
The match would play second fiddle to two subplots; firstly, the involvement of UFC Scottish stars Paul Craig and Chris Bungard, who descended into a brawl in what surely is a PR stunt to promote the upcoming UFC Glasgow. Secondly, was the return of Coach Trip after the match, which made much more sense as before the show, Davie had traumatised Coach’s son.
The return of Coach was by far the high point of the match, which lacked really chemistry and didn’t seem to flow in the way you would expect. It also felt too gimmicky for my liking, which is a criticism some tend to throw at DCT matches. The fans were also still getting over the crazy ending to the previous match, which this contest was never going to live up to.
Rating – 3/10
Barbed Wire Rope Match: Drew Galloway vs Jack Jester
In the lead up to this match, I was both anxious and excited. Anxious at the thought of top of the company’s top stars sustaining injuries that could affect their career in the long run. Excited the potential hard hitting contest we were about to see. This is when I remembered: Drew was WWE bound!
It was clear at this point that the stipulation, which arguably was months in the pipeline, would see Jester take the majority of the bumps, with Drew staying scar free as I doubt WWE would want to see him get hurt, and that is exactly what happened.
Big credit needs to be given to Jester here, who took countless amounts of damage in the barbed wire rope, got put through two barbed wire tables and got him with an object wrapped in barbed wire. And walked away on his own accord. That is hardcore.
As some expected, Galloway would pick up the win, ending his second spell with the company on a high. What followed was a fitting farewell speech from Drew, thanking his fellow wrestlers and the fans, before sharing a hug with Jester and Dallas.
It will be interesting to see how ICW fare without Galloway, as he, along with Grado, has been the company’s flagship star worldwide for the last three years. Good luck in NXT big man!
Rating – 6/10
Street Fight: Sha Samuels vs Kid Fite
This match, whilst having a few fun moments, failed to really hit the mark.
After months of rivalry between two former partners, the stipulation looked to be a fitting conclusion on paper, and in a unique twist, we were shown the two fighting first in a car park, where Fite would come frighteningly close to running Sha over in his Corsa in a scary spot, followed by the Barrowlands stall area.
This was fun. However, when the two eventually got to the ring, they were given like…five minutes. That was all. What should have been the blowout of a nearly year long feud was blown off within the blink of an eye.
Sha would pick up the W in what was easily the best outcome, as his popularity has grown since joining The Pinky Party last July.
Rating – 4/10
Joe Hendry vs Lionheart
The match with the best build up produced the worst result.
The feud these two have had this year has been hot. Like, you can feel some genuine type of hatrid, which is great to see as a wrestling fan. However, the match itself wasn’t great. The finish? Well, its hard to tell.
The match concluded when Hendry, prone on the floor, received a stiff kick to the head from Lionheart, after which, the ref immediately called off the match. Now, at this point, it is hard to tell whether this was real or kayfabe. As a fan watching, there was a seriously sense of reality to it based on a number of factors; the look of concussion in Hendrys face, the amount of ICW ring crew who swarmed the ring, and the look of guilt in Lionhearts eyes.
However, its wrestling, and there is always a chance that this is just part of the script. If so, then it is poor booking in my opinion. Booking two no finishes on one of your main shows isn’t great. Hopefully we will get some idea what really went on in the coming weeks.
Rating – 2/10
Wolfgang vs Grado
Lets break this up into two parts; the match and the aftermath.
The match, well, the match wasn’t great. As much as I love Grado, he hasn’t really had a great match since Renfrew at last year’s Square Go, and even against a man who has been in the form of his career recently in Wolfgang, he struggled to produce anything memorable. In fact, it was just 15 minutes of both just hitting their big moves on each.
Eventually, Wolfie would pick up the win after hitting Grado with the brass knuckles.
Now the aftermath. When you first see Sha, Grado’s best friend away from the ring, you instantly think something big is happening. Then, Grado begins a speech which gives you the feeling that he is leaving. At this point, I am instantly getting sad, with the thought of both Drew and Grado leaving in the one night hard to take.
What followed was even worse. Grado then low blowed Sha!! I couldn’t believe it. My favourite ICW star had betrayed his best friend and the fans, claiming that he was tired of the company using his face to sell shows. Even worse, he then introduced the crowd to his new agent, RED LIGHTNING. What a betrayal, this felt so much like Austin/McMahon at Wrestlemania 17.
This was a great way of getting a reaction from the crowd, despite it making me feel was sorts of levels of betrayal. How the company book the ultimate babyface as the bad guy will be a major factor in how the company develops post Galloway.
Rating – 7/10
ICW Tag Team Championship – Bird and Boar © vs Ashton Smith and Rampage Brown
Admittingly, I didn’t catch the majority of this match, as I spent the majority of the start messaging many of my friends on Facebook and frantically tweeting about the events that had preceded this. So for that, I apologise to you all and to the wrestlers.
For what I saw, the match was a decent affair. Bird and Boar’s hard hitting style has been a refreshing addition to a division that had been largely stale for over a year. Factoring in the power and pace combo of Smith and Brown and you were always guaranteed a solid contest.
In the end, the finish kind of spoiled the match up. When the previously banished from ringside Iestyn Rees returned to help his fellow stable mates pick up the ring. The fact that Rees came and went with zero issue despite being ejected at the start of the contest made zero sense.
All in all, this was an ok filler before the main event.
Rating – 6/10
ICW World Heavyweight Title – Trent Seven © vs Joe Coffey
The cashing in of ICW’s square go briefcase has arguably created some of the company’s greatest moments. Joe Coffey getting his chance at gold was no different.
The match started slow, as with many Coffey match up’s, primarily down to the fact that Seven has earlier wrestled for Fight Club Pro in London that afternoon. As a result, Seven wasn’t really able to show the usual amount of intensity we are used to seeing from him.
Coffey, on the other hand, exhibited a vicious streak we had only really started seeing from him in recent months. The fans had slowly been beginning to turn on him, as shown by him giving the fans the finger pre match and repeatedly taunting the fan favourite Seven.
Whilst the contest was decent, it really hotted up as it came to a conclusion. Frustrated at this inability to put Trent down. Coffey went to use the title. After initially rejecting the idea of cheating to win, Joe eventually clocked Trent with the belt, before putting him down with a brutal looking Boston crab (by brutal, he repeatedly kicked him in the neck.
We would then see our second heel turn of the night, as Coffey would announce himself as the second member of Red Lightning’s new stable, attacking Mark Dallas in doing so. In one night, Dallas had lost his champ and his biggest hero.
What a fitting end to the show this was. Coffey has long needed to go heel. I have long classed him as the Roman Reigns of ICW, a solid wrestler that man fans don’t care for. It was only fitting that he used the Superman punch in the match. Coffey’s hard-hitting style is also well suited to being a heel, so this was perfect booking from the company.
Rating – 7/10
This was a decent ICW iPPV. The new stable of Lightning, Grado and Coffey will be interesting to see going forward. I hope we don’t just see a rehash of the Black Label vs ICW feud. What also is interested is who is going to be the one to stand up as the new top babyface. Sha is popular but I can’t see him carrying the company. Joe Hendry is a man with potential but his time might not come until year end. It is tailor fit for Jester to be the next hero, as Trent Seven is likely WWE bound.
In summary, the pros and cons cancelled each other out. Really hope we see more War Machine, as well as a Kenny Williams/BT Gunn feud.
Rating – 7/10