In the aftermath of WWE’s broadcast of their UK tournament, it’s clear to see that the higher ups of the company may have finally taken notice of the amazing talent we currently harbour in our small part of the world. The tournament has hopefully exposed a lot more casual WWE viewers to UK wrestling, bring extra attention to British wrestling promotions like Insane Championship Wrestling (ICW), and possibly put a weekly UK wrestling show onto the network itself. But what does this mean for the Die-hard fans of the WWE network? They’re there to get their fill of WWE shows as well as partake in archived ECW and WCW content, so why should they give a crap if some promotion in the UK? As it turns out, there are a few things you might want know when it comes to ICW.
ICW’s Alumni and Roster is extremely impressive
Some of you may be thinking, who might you recognise when it comes to people who have worked for ICW? Well, you may find some small household names among their list of alumni such as, oh I don’t know, Fergal Devitt, who goes by the name Finn Balor right now in WWE. He was even a ‘Zero-G Champion’ for the promotion. As a side note, The Zero-G Championship is the equivalent of a junior heavyweight title, but is described by the promotion as “Zero gravity means zero restrictions… Some of the most awe-inspiring matches in company history have been fought over the strap, and to call it a ‘secondary title’ would be unfair to the men who have bled and battled to call it their own.” So, you know they treat the title with a lot of respect.
Other names for the brand include current 205 live wrestlers Brian Kendrick, Jack Gallagher and Noam Dar. You’ll also find in their alumni former WWE Superstars Kurt Angle, Bubba Ray Dudley & D-von Dudley, Paul London and even ECW legends Rhyno and Sabu. But a more notable name you may remember is Drew Galloway, for ICW he was a two-time World Heavyweight Champion and defended the title not just in Scotland, but even going as far as New York to defend his belt for non-ICW events, shows how international the promotion is willing to go in order to make an impact in this industry. All of these experienced professionals saw the brand ICW and treated it as a promotion that was worth their time, whether it was to use their name to give it extra attention to the brand, or for younger wrestlers to develop their skills and forward their career to where they are now being watched by WWE audiences across the globe.
Its current roster has names you may recognise as some of them did compete in the WWE UK tournament. Wolfgang, who is currently the ICW World Heavyweight Champion, Moustache mountain partners Trent Seven and the WWE UK Champion himself Tyler Bate, also Drew Galloway, have their names proudly represented within ICW. If you’ve been aware of the recent New Year’s special of World of Sports Wrestling which returned to our screens, you may recognise some of the talent that appeared on the special such as Kenny Williams, Grado, Joe Coffey, Viper, and Sha Samuels are involved with ICW’s Roster.
But it doesn’t end there, ICW incorporates talent from other British promotions and basically creates a central hub for all them to compete. Promotions like Premier British Wrestling (PBW), British Championship Wrestling (BCW), Pro Wrestling Elite (PCW) and Scottish Wrestling Alliance (SWA) all link together to create a strong network of UK talent that all goes into promoting the finest wrestlers that Britain has to offer. When your brand is able to have access to all these sensational performers, you must be doing something right. So now that you have all these people at your disposal, how do you get the most of them?
Freedom in The Ring
If there was one possible reason for you to be interested in having ICW on WWE’s streaming service, it would be this. 18+. This isn’t your PG wrestling entertainment show. This is a show where when someone wants to a shooting star splash so a guy on the outside of the ring, weighs up the risks, shouts “Fuck it” and bloody goes for it. So you’ve got that style of hardcore wrestling for whet your appetite if you’ve been a fan of ECW (That’s golden age ECW, we don’t talk about the reboot here). But, not only is the beauty of someone being thrown into a table from atop a ladder. There’s also a lot more freedom of movement for these guys to perform and put on genuinely entertaining matches every chance they get.
Are there other promotions out there that provide this much extreme violence? Of course there is, ECW left a massive hole in people’s hearts that needed to be filled, so what makes ICW different from over extreme promotions? One word: Charm. You can wrestlers bleeding profusely after a sick shot to the head from any number objects, but then have someone like Grado come out and not take himself seriously when he walks out to a Madonna track, and everyone in the audience would join in too by singing along. The characters involved truly make ICW something unique and not your typical extreme hardcore ultra-violent intense insane wrestling promotion. Characters like Grado, Christopher Saynt with his House of Saynt’s which want to bring glitz and glamour into the wrestling world, Kenny Williams embracing a Back to the Future 80’s aesthetic creates an environment that truly stands out from the competition.
This has been something that the WWE has been needing for a while, and whilst they have been pretty successful with the Cruiserweight Classic and UK tournament, adding a British wrestling brand that has established itself as one of the best places for new talent to perfect their artistry, and engage audiences in exciting performances. You should be excited, or at least curious if ICW comes to the WWE Network.