ICW Fight Club on Tour – Cardiff, May 2017 (Eye-Witness Review)

The Insane Championship Wrestling tour of the United Kingdom stops off at the Tramshed in Cardiff, Wales. After stealing Kenny Williams’ ICW Zero-G Championship following a vicious attack, Zack Gibson gets an official shot at the title. Number one contender to the WWE United Kingdom Championship, Pete Dunne, faces fellow WWE star Wolfgang, whilst ICW World Heavyweight Champion Joe Coffey is in action against Jack Jester…


Wolfgang
vs.
Pete Dunne
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Wolfgang)

Lionheart
vs.
BT Gunn
3half_star
(Winner via pinfall: BT Gunn)

Davey Boy & Stevie Boy (“The Bucky Boys”)
vs.
Mark Coffey & Jackie Polo (“Polo Promotions”)
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Polo Promotions)

Kenny Williams (C)
vs.
Zack Gibson
ICW Zero-G Championship
4star
(Winner via pinfall: Kenny Williams)

Trent Seven
vs.
Sha Samuels
3half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Trent Seven)

Kay Lee Ray (with Stevie Boy)
vs.
Sierra Loxton
3star
(Winner via pinfall: Kay Lee Ray)

Chris Renfrew
vs.
Grado
4star
(Winner via pinfall: Grado)

Mike Bird & Wild Boar (“The Marauders”)
vs.
Danny Jones & Richie Edwards (“Modern Culture”)
ICW Tag Team Championship
3half_star
(Winner via pinfall: The Marauders)

Joe Coffey
vs.
Jack Jester
ICW World Heavyweight Championship
3half_star
(Winner via pinfall: Joe Coffey)


Review

At about £20 per ticket, it would be foolish to miss an ICW show when the company is in Cardiff. After a great experience at the last show they did in South Wales (see: ICW Pray for Mojo), I was expecting more of the same here, and I was not to be disappointed.

Where Pray for Mojo excelled was being a fun show for fans enjoying a beer, but Fight Club on Tour: Cardiff offered something more. That something was quality wrestling.

Before I write anything else, I should note that I’m not the biggest fan of Grado. I absolutely can’t stand his babyface gimmick, but this was the first I’ve seen of his heel work, and he absolutely knocked it out of the park. His pre-match promo was just superb mic work, and his reaction to “Dixie swallows!” chants was perfect. What followed that was a superb match with Chris Renfrew, with neither man holding back. I even got my fingers caught between two railings as they brawled at ringside, so am having great fun trying to type this review! I’m curious how this will look on TV, because in person it was nuts.

I was surprised to see Wolfgang and Pete Dunne go on so early, having assumed they’d be close to the main event. I was told after the show that Dunne appeared at a show in Cheltenham later that night, so perhaps that explains his early appearance on this show. Rather strange seeing Dunne play the babyface, and Wolfgang the heel, given I literally saw them in Norwich one week ago playing reverse roles in the respective matches. They match was fun, Dunne using referees and fans as weapons to hit Wolfgang with. It was the match I was most excited for, so I was slightly disappointed it went on so early, but I saw enough to get me excited for a proper main event between these two men.

The ICW Zero-G Championship match was great, both Kenny Williams and Zack Gibson going all out. The match actually went out to the beer garden, which I’m sure looked great, but sadly the camera connection to the screens inside cut out, so those of us who stayed put couldn’t see the action. As a closing match for the first half of the show, it was pretty perfect, and I got to give that championship a good slap so I was a happy man.

Trent Seven and Sha Samuels had a fun opener for the second half of the show, Seven demanding Samuels do shots of vodka with him if it was to be one of Samuels’ final matches in ICW. Hilariously, Trent was slyly throwing his shots away, and giving Samuels shot after shot (see it here: @kylethomaswest on Twitter). Their match was good fun, and just a complete change to how I saw Trent Seven performing in Norwich for WWE at the start of May, which obviously was done in a much more serious style.

Lots of Welsh talent filled the second half, a staple of ICW‘s shows in Wales, and one such appearance was from Sierra Loxton, who put in some good hard work in her first ever ICW match. Given the hate for Kay Lee Ray and Stevie Boy, and the fact she was a Welsh girl, Loxton was over with the crowd right from the start, and her Frozen gimmick (I’m assuming it was that!) won over a lot of the women stood near me. When I met her after the show, I found out that she’d sadly broken her hand during her match, so hopefully Loxton can heal up quickly and get back where she belongs in the ring. This was my first time seeing her, and I think she’s got a lot of upside and can become a good talent on the indie scene.

The Marauders versus Modern Culture was a surprisingly entertaining match. I’d never seen Modern Culture before (although, funnily enough I saw one of them on the train on his way home after the show, so made sure to shake his hand and thank him for the show!), so at first glance I thought a squash was in sight, but it was highly competitive and fun from start to finish. The Marauders will always be over in Cardiff purely for patriotic reasons.

The main event was changed to a title match just prior to the bell, with current ICW World Heavyweight Champion Joe Coffey deciding to give Jack Jester a shot at his championship. The bout felt like a main event, and the crowd were into it. Towards the end, Coffey was escorted to the back with a leg injury, sold even more by Mark Dallas even coming out still wearing his headset. Just as it looked like the night was going to end on a sour note, Coffey attacked Jester and started dancing on his “injured” leg. Great heel moment. The champion retained, but the crowd went home happy.

A fun live experience, and some incredibly good wrestling on show. If you ever see that ICW are coming to your area, you should check them out. Their shows are run very well, look professional, and you’ll often hear first-time attendees say that they prefer the experience to ones they’ve had at WWE shows. Personally, I felt the same way after ICW Pray for Mojo (until the incredible WWE United Kingdom Championship Tournament, at least), so I imagine the same is true for most people.

Oh, and if you hang around after the show ends, you’ll get to meet loads of the wrestlers and get photos with them… for free! Can’t fault that.

The Venue

The Tramshed has been open for just over 1.5 years, and this was the third time the venue has been used for a wrestling show, having hosted ICW on two other occasions.

The venue itself is  just a short walk from Cardiff Central train station. The Sun was out on this day, and Tramshed had the perfect beer garden to enjoy the good weather with a cold pint of lager. Unfortunately, the venue lets itself down with its drink prices, hitting almost £5 per pint – got to love that whole “gig price” excuse!

The hall that the show took place in was set up to the standard ICW Fight Club look. There was a bar at the back of the room, which was staffed adequately and didn’t keep you waiting long for drinks (friendly team, too). Merch stand next to it, which was later operated with the help of some of the wrestlers once the show was over.

Men’s toilets weren’t great, appearing almost flooded less than an hour into the show. Would’ve appreciated a stronger air con system, if it was even on at all, but luckily I sprayed on some extra deodorant before I went to the show!

Despite some of the negatives listed above, Tramshed is a nice venue, and does all sorts of various events and shows. I’d like to see other wrestling promotions use it, as the setup inside is pretty perfect for a good night of pro wrestling. Although, as far walking through a beer garden full of bright flowers to get into a wrestling show, the less said the better!

Match of the Night

Chris Renfrew vs. Grado

ICW Fight Club – Cardiff, May 2017 Rating

3half_star

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