Review: Insane Championship Wrestling (@InsaneChampWres) โ€˜The 11th Annual Square Go!โ€™ (26 Feb 2023)

Thanks to some luck and doing one of those like and share competitions on Twitter, I obtained a code to order Insane Championship Wrestling’s 11th Annual Square Go! on the FITE app. I did have to watch it on the worlds oldest laptop as my television and mobiler device had a disagreement about casting to the television so there I was, headphones on, an overheating laptop on my lap, ready to watch some live streaming wrasslin’.

Coming into this show I was intrigued if this event would have a different feel now that it was not going to be streamed or shown on the WWE Network. Any shackles being lifted etc. and if there would be a bit of the “old ICW” part of the event.

First up, the pre-show.

VIP Early Entry Match โ€“ Square Go! Entrant Tournament Final โ€“ Landon Riley defeated Ryan Richards by pinfall to earn entry to the Square Go! match.

Landon Riley was a popular fella in The Garage, he showed plenty spark, very quick and nimble. Ryan Richards showed plenty of confidence and was more than capable in slowing the match down. He stomped and bullied Riley throughout.

Richards tried to gain an advantage by low blowing Riley while distracting referee Sean McLaughlin, but Landon kicked out of the follow up TKO which was a shocker. A quick enziguri and frog splash from Riley gained the win and entry into the Square Go! match.

This match was all Ryan Richards but Landon Riley showed plenty of courage which ultimately saw him pick up the victory. It was strange to see Richards just lose on a pre-show match, his whole thing elsewhere is being bulletproof, “The Supreme”, the unbeatable, but in ICW he’s just another young guy on the roster.

VIP Early Entry Match โ€“ Winner Enters the Square Go! Match at #30 โ€“ Stevie James defeated Jason Reed w/Coach Trip by pinfall to enter the Square Go! match at #30.

Jason Reed soaked in the full rendition of Tina Turner’s ‘Simply The Best’ as the crowd chanted the score from the earlier Old Firm cup final (2-1 to Celtic apparently).

The match itself was a bit by the numbers, nothing exciting but it was certainly a match. Moves were done, the winner got the pin. Coach Trip wasn’t really a factor in the match.

James hit a couple superkicks and an Impaler DDT to get the win and #30 spot.

As Stevie James celebrated in the corner, Jason Reed and Coach Trip attacked him with a chair before we got another 30 minutes of random promos etc. before the main show began. Weirdly after the Stevie James attack, the first promo they showed was Stevie James in The Asylum talking about winning the Square Go! and helping Landon Riley to his feet. Honestly, I thought I’d missed something and Riley came out to chase off Jason Reed and Coach Trip during an advert and the house lights had went up for some reason.

The crowd split for Jason Reed hasn’t created the volcanic reaction that may’ve been anticipated, it’s more a muddled 50/50.

On to the main show!

ICW Tag Team Championships โ€“ KoE (Adam King & Marcus King) w/Denise defeated The Young Team (Logan Smith & Jimmy Pierce) w/The Wee Man by pinfall to retain the ICW Tag Team Championships.

The main show started with The Wee Man making several references to the overflowing attire worn by Denise.

The match action was thick and fast, these two teams worked very well together. KoE kept control as much as possible but the comebacks from Pierce and Smith were heavily invested in. The Young Team had flashier tag team moves, but KoE were no slouches in the tandem maneuverers department.

Denise was sent to the back for interfering but it was of no consequence with KoE hitting a flapjack/complete shot combo for the win soon afterwards.

Personally, I think this was the time to pull the trigger on the The Young Team but that’s just the armchair booker here, with a big platform like FITE, the opening match of the main show, it could’ve properly set the tone for the rest of the evening. There were other title changes to come but this would’ve been a great one to kick off the show with.

All that being said, it was a good match, two teams that work like teams, and created a fun story of the underdogs trying to overcome the big bad Kings.

ICW Womenโ€™s World Championship โ€“ Rhio defeated Molly Spartan by pinfall to WIN the ICW Womenโ€™s World Championship.

Knock down, drag out, these two threw hands.

They brawled and smashed each other before they headed up to the balcony for the scariest moment of the night. Molly Spartan hung Rhio over the balcony with a sleeper hold before pushing her off to send her crashing down. Rhio hit the apron face first with the one lone crew member missing the catch. A terrifying moment that had me audibly shouting expletives. Somehow Rhio was still alive, a bit out of sorts, but shook it off. Absolute madness.

Kasey’s music hit and her body was tossed to the top of the stage with Moxie Malone, Grant McIvor, and Eddie Castle making an appearance. McIvor and Castle set up a table at ringside but were soon thrown out of the ring by Spartan and Rhio. A bit random but was paid off somewhat later on.

After crashing through the table, Rhio rolled Spartan back into the ring, hit a couple superkicks, and a lariat to the back of Molly’s head before finishing the match with a leg hook swinging neckbreaker to win the ICW Women’s World Championship.

Easily the best and most chaotic match of the night, Molly Spartan and Rhio battered each other with plenty of emotion. The balcony drop was insane, and I don’t know how Rhio was not only be able to get back up but also lift Spartan up later on for a makeshift White Noise off the apron through a table.

However, that balcony moment could’ve went catastrophically wrong and there should have been more than one person tasked with catching Rhio.

ICW Zero G Championship โ€“ Saqib Ali defeated Theo Doros by pinfall to WIN the ICW Zero G Championship.

Before the match, Simon Cassidy announced that Saqib Ali had not arrived at the venue therefore the ICW Zero G Championship would not be defended. Theo Doros stotted out with his weird God attire, gloated for a bit, then declared he would give Saqib a chance to come to the ring. A wee Rocky-esque video package played and Saqib Ali appeared for the match.

Doros spent the majority of the match targeting the leg of Ali, being adorned with “if you’ve shagged Theo’s maw clap your hands” chants. Saqib fired back but couldn’t get momentum going thanks to the work Doros had done to the leg earlier in the match. A Figure Four Leglock around the ring post, then a follow up in the ring from Doros looked to have it wrapped up but Chris Toal turned up with a megaphone to support Ali.

Ali escaped but ran into a Superman Punch, Doros went for a Figure Four Leglock one more time but Saqib rolled him into a small package for the win.

Another shocking result, Theo Doros had been looking unstoppable as Zero G Champion so to see Ali get the roll up was a surprise.

The crowd were hot for the match, they were behind Saqib Ali 100% so when the three count hit they exploded.

Another fine bout, it’s two very good wrestlers having a very good match.

ICW World Heavyweight Championship โ€“ Leyton Buzzard defeated Kenny Williams by pinfall to retain the ICW World Heavyweight Championship.

There was something so off in the build up, you found yourself agreeing with Kenny Williams. Leyton Buzzard has such an unlikeable cadence to his voice, it is very easy to twist it into sounding like he is only doing all the overseas title defences for his own, I’m better than you, ego and not for the good of the company.

The match itself was back and forth, both had the chances to win. Superkicks were thrown, with Williams’ offense being a bit more aggressive with stiff forearms across the face of Buzzard.

Kenny Williams sprayed black goo into the face of referee Thomas Kearins which took him out, Williams’ headlock driver onto Buzzard was for naught as there was no referee to make the count. Sean McLaughlin turned up after Buzzard hit a 450 splash but it was for a near fall. Buzzard hit a nasty Death Valley Driver on the apron but it couldn’t finish Kenny Williams.

The war continued with both throwing everything at each other, in the ring, outside of the ring, both looked exhausted and trying to get one up on the other.

Williams brought in a bucket of drawing pins but was ultimately slammed into them with a uranage from Buzzard for the champion to retain.

This was survival, there wasn’t any really fancy moves, they laid into each other, which is how the match was built up to be and it delivered. Some criticism in recent years is that the ICW World Heavyweight Championship has been less about stories but more villains of the week instead of any actual story. Since the return of ICW after the pandemic it really looks like they’ve put a major focus on making the title matches for the big belt at least have some sort of story behind them, there’s probably exceptions to that but in general the title matches mean more because there’s a reason to have them.

Before the main event, Mark Dallas came out to announced that ICW would be staying on FITE with Fight Club to be aired weekly on FITE+ with more ICW content to be added in the future including streaming events like the Square Go and Fear & Loathing live.

I don’t think anyone thought it would be anything other than FITE, it would be weird if Dallas came out on the FITE service and announce signing with another platform. It would seem counterproductive for FITE eh…

Square Go! Match โ€“ Aaron Echo last eliminated Stevie James to win the Square Go! briefcase.

There were a lot of mini stories throughout this one, the first third was The Manifesto taking over, and Alexander Darwin MacAllan dismantling the group for reasons unknown before eliminating himself ala Kane 1998. Before that, Kasey entered and targeted Moxie Malone, Molly Spartan ran out to get her some revenge.

Landon Riley was in and out before the next entry which made the whole Square Go entry tournament a waste of time.

The middle segment had “Jackie Polo” trying to host the Polo Lounge before eventually being stopped by JAXN, returning in Polo Promotions gear and with Scott Walker’s ‘Jackie’ theme music. Coach Trip had tried to form an alliance with “Jackie Polo” but got battered for daring to call him DCT. Denise broke the record for shortest time in the Square Go! with an elimination that could’ve went all sorts of wrong as she spilled over the top rope. A lot of trust was put into her top.

We got the re-formation of Fife Delight with Jason Reed, Andy Roberts, and Coach Trip forming an alliance and they were a fairly formidable trio.

The Grado return was a highlight as the crowd sang along to ‘Like A Prayer’ loud and proud. Nobody is talking about it, but Grado with a beard is a handsome sight.

There was a lot of mid-match hugging, once or twice is fine but it happened so often. Yes there is an alliance being formed, throw in a high five maybe.

UFC fighter Paul Craig turned up, he looked fairly competent in a battle royal environment. He and Chris Bungard had a little tussle with Bungard eventually eliminating Craig. Lou King Sharp squared up to Chris Bungard which was good fun, but they were both eliminated shortly afterwards by Krieger. Rudo Lightning came out with Bungard and was beside himself when Paul Craig entered but overall Lightning was very subdued on commentary and other than the odd line/complaint could’ve been at ringside for all that it mattered. It did sound like there was some technical difficulties so it may’ve been the case that Rudo had more to do but couldn’t due to connectivity issues.

The 5 weapons concept sounds good on paper but ultimately pointless when Thatcher Wright had his hardback Margaret Thatcher book with him and “Jackie Polo” had his polo mallet as well as a stool. The other weapons included a cardboard cut out of Danny DeVito, a kendo stick, a belt, and a bumbag with a can of Irn Bru in it.

Of the surprise entries there was the aforementioned Paul Craig, former NXT UK star Ashton Smith, and of course Grado.

The heavy favourite to win, Andy Roberts, was eliminated by Che Monet via a scissor kick from the second rope while Roberts was hanging over the ropes while standing on the apron.

It came down to an underwhelming final two, once Jason Reed was eliminated there was a very noticeable drop in atmosphere. Aaron Echo didn’t look like he had much bother throwing out Stevie James to mark his seventh elimination and the win.

Aaron Echo. Square Go! winner.

Sweeney entered after the match and after an initial handshake tease, threw Echo over the top rope after a quick brawl to close the show.

There was a lot happening, with plenty of threads to pull on for future Fight Club feuds. I’ve pointed out the negatives, but the opening section with Daz Black, Dylan Thorn, and Levi was fun with Andy Roberts marching out at number four and throwing bodies about. The scoop slamathon with Coach Trip and JAXN was a great throwback to ye olde ICW. Angel Hayze coming out with a belt and wasn’t feart to crack it off backs was cool.

I’m surprised that there wasn’t more big ICW names like Jack Jester appearing but that is by the by.

So that was the 11th annual Square Go event from Insane Championship Wrestling and it was anything but predictable. Whether it pays off or not, nobody could’ve foreseen what was going to happen from the shock title changes to Aaron Echo coming out with the Square Go briefcase.

Overall it was a fun show to watch, even if my mouth was agape after Rhio smashed her face at speed on the apron from the balcony, it being available to me for free definitely helped because, personally, it wasn’t an event where I would be slamming down my card to order the next live event or to subscribe to watch Fight Club. It was good, but I’ll just wait for the highlights on social media for future shows.

Insane Championship Wrestling have been trying really hard to make Aaron Echo and Stevie James main event calibre and in my opinion, folk still aren’t buying in. There are a lot of young and hungry wrestlers available to ICW, like Daz Black, Jason Reed, and even Thatcher Wright, as examples that may’ve done more by winning then holding the briefcase and being the looming threat over the World Heavyweight Championship.

I am happy to admit though that it is way too early to tell, so maybe by the time Aaron Echo is cashing in, he’ll feel like a guy that could be thee guy in ICW.

ICW is still in a transition period, with this show still feeling very much like the WWE Network iteration of Insane Championship Wrestling. It will be interesting to see what they do when it comes to ‘Get The F Out’ in May to try and recapture the magic that made them one of the biggest independent wrestling companies in Europe.

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