Last night I had the pleasure to attend my first ever Insane Championship Wrestling show at the O2 Academy in Sheffield, as the company had traveled over the boarder into England, and were running the final show of their UK tour before returning back to Glasgow, Scotland next week. The company is often compared to ECW, given it's brutal, hardcore, over 18's only style but last night I discovered ICW was about more than just that. It is a company that is simply about giving the fans what we want and deserve; a good mix of entertainment and wrestling. ICW boasts some of the UK's top independent wrestling names with the likes of Noam Dar, Kay Lee Ray, Jack Jester, and former WWE Superstar Drew Galloway in it's ranks and if last nights show is anything to go by, ICW proved they are a very serious company on the rise.
While WWE is used to running shows where the arena can hold several thousand people ICW hold their shows in much smaller venues that are more fitting to a rock gig. This only adds to the intense, crazy atmosphere that an independent promotion can create and it helped give last nights show a personal and intimate feel for all those in attendance. ICW is an over 18's company only though, hence the comparisons to ECW with their product but I guess if you want an alternative to WWE then this is certainly on the opposite end of the scale. While WWE can provide quality content in terms of production level and story lines ICW are able to make the most of limited resources and a limited budget while still providing compelling story lines that boarder very close to the lines of reality at times. Matches didn't stay confined to the ring and saw the action spill out to the outside, with some matches even ending up going into the crowd as the ring simply wasn't big enough to contain the action.
From bell to bell last night there was not one bad match on the card. Every match was worked solidly and the participants all gave 100% when it came to effort. What has made ICW even more compelling and easy to follow is the fact that all their shows are filmed and put onto their On Demand service, usually within 24 hours of the event having taken place. And this doesn't alter the way the company operates either as the matches and promo's contain swearing, adding an element of realism, and weapons are legal in matches such as when last night a barbed wire chair was used during the match between Chris Renfrew and Dickie Divers. Chairs, stairs, cork screws, anything that wasn't nailed down could be and was used as a weapon last night. But despite ICW being known for it's hardcore style the show actually saw very little blood spilled which is not something I'm sure we would have seen in the original ECW. Blood has it's place in ICW's product but the company don't over use it which is only a good thing.
From the opening match between Stevie Boy and Kenny Williams, to the amazing women's match between Nikki Storm and the super talented Kay Lee Ray, to the fatal four way number one contenders match for a shot next week at the ICW Heayweight Championship featuring Noam Dar, Martin Kirby, Davey Boy, and Joe Hendry, to the great match between Jack Jester and BT Gunn, the whole card was simply faultless. One match I had been looking forward to saw Wolfgang take on ICW's most popular superstar Grado. Grado featured on the most recent season of TNA British Bootcamp, and while he is not known as ICW's best wrestler by any stretch of the imagination he is very much the most entertaining star they have on their roster. Grado's entrance to the ring to the Madonna song Like A Prayer has to be seen and experienced to be believed. It really is compelling and amazing to witness in person but because you couldn't be I uploaded a video of it which you can watch here.
Without doubt though my match of the night was the shows main event which saw Tommy End challenge the defending champion Drew Galloway, formerly known as WWE's Drew McIntyre. From bell to bell this match was awesome to watch with both men giving it their all and not holding anything back. This one went all over the O2 Academy in Sheffield, brawling in the ring, outside the ring, through the crowd, even seeing both men battle in front of the bar. Drew really has come on so much since his release from WWE, returning to ICW and proving why WWE missed the boat with his immense talent. I believe Drew will return to WWE one day and will be back bigger and better than ever. Until then I hope he continues to blaze a trail across the independent wrestling scene and continues to use his knowledge and talent to help ICW grow more as a company.
Without question I would highly recommend to anyone that if ICW is in your town that you make sure you attend the show. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole event from start to finish with the electric atmosphere, the great in ring action, and the unforgettable interaction between the wrestlers and the crowd. The company isn't as ultra violent as some would have you think and if you just want to see a good alternative wrestling to show to what WWE offers you then this is the company to watch. ICW will be back in Sheffield, and other cities in England, again later this year according to a recent announcement by the company and I hope that I will maybe see some of you there next time.
For more information in Insane Championship Wrestling, please visit their website here. And if you want a taste of the ICW action, want to witness the events I watched unfold, or want to see some of the companies past shows then please subscribe to the ICW On Demand Service. It's only $5.99/£3.75 per month and is regularly updated with top quality content that will leave you wanting more. You can also check out the ;latest goings on with the company on Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube channel.
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