Due to the newness of the blog, I’m regularly adding new series’ of posts and this is the latest, an in focus where, as the name suggests, look at a wrestling promotion in focus. It won’t be your WWEs or TNAs but promotions based in Scotland/UK. Starting, today, with the Insane Championship Wrestling.
Mark Dallas, the main bod of ICW, is a man that is very passionate about wrestling and the growth of the sport in Scotland. His knowledge base, combined with his quick fire conversational style, leads to a very in-depth conversation on those topics.
Dallas created ICW back in 2006 and ran events for a year until folding the promotion. The group restarted in 2010 with a hope that within 3 years they would have a regular club in the Glasgow city centre hosting their events and within 5 years a TV deal. They reached both targets in 2 years and there is a buzz about ICW at the moment. “It’s a very exciting time for ICW at the moment. We’ve got a few parties interested in sponsoring us, not just those with a previous interest in wrestling and we’ve gone from approaching clubs to host our events to clubs now coming to us. We started in the city centre at Apollo and then moved to the Classic Grande and then to the Garage and that has been great. With our shows being on Sundays, and that not being a night that sees clubs being busy, we’ve made ourselves very attractive to those that want 400 or 500 people threw their doors on a traditionally quiet night.”
Former ICW Champion Drew ‘Galloway’ McIntyre
Prior to setting up ICW, Dallas always wanted to run a wrestling promotion and while virtually anyone could do it nowadays, the options were a bit more limited back then. After going to wrestling training in Falkirk, alongside future ICW champion and current WWE superstar Drew McIntyre, he decided to set up his own promotion and the rest, as they say is history. Starting out at the Maryhill Community Centre, dubbed the ICW arena in a doff of the hat to Exteme Championship Wrestling, the group now hold events every 8 weeks at the Garage in Glasgow. “WWE and WCW both used to be aimed at adults with Stone Cold, DX and everyone like that. Now though, WWE are aimed at younger, and more PG audience which has left a gap in the market and I think that’s helped us. There is nothing aimed at adults now, we all remember ECW and we get compared to ECW which is an honour.”
There is no doubt that there is a buzz about wrestling in Scotland at the moment but, aside from British based associations, all the Scottish fan ever gets is the odd house show from WWE and a proposed visit from TNA in 2013. “The ICW fans are incredible and have helped get us where we are. It’s a really interactive thing; the guys come to the shows then go to the after party where they can hang out with the wrestlers. It’s really down to earth and the fans really appreciate that, feel more involved and more emotionally attached to the product. It also helps the recognition of the wrestlers as they fans know who they are as soon as the music hits.”
Mark is keen to give fans value for their money and the price at the door is only £10. “If you treat your audience well and make the product affordable then people come back, and we see that. We’ve sold out the last ten events we’ve hosted at the Garage and that has a capacity of around 400-500 and that’s great. That pleases everyone; the fans are happy, the wrestlers get to perform in front of a passionate audience and the club gets a good show and an enthusiastic crowd.”
The roster of ICW is mostly Scottish talent with the odd sprinkling of performers from elsewhere in Britain and when I ask him if he’s keen to book American talent, he shows a loyalty to his current workers. “The roster we have at the moment is great and perhaps the strongest it has been. When you look at the guys we have they have been wrestling for years yet have an average age of something like 25 which gives us a young, yet experienced, group of wrestlers that know how to work. The older heads help out the younger wrestlers and it’s a great environment for them to work in.”
You certainly cannot knock Mark Dallas’ enthusiasm for the world of wrestling and his passion for it to succeed in Scotland. Can wrestling in Scotland, and ICW in particular, succeed? If Mark Dallas has his way, it can only go from strength to strength and I am looking forward to my first ICW event on the 1st of April.
The Independent British channel MY show Insane Championship Wrestling every Saturday at 1am, Sky Channel 219, and they also broadcast in Germany (Martens, Wihelm Tel, MNet), Cyprus (CNS), Romania (Cable Nanonet) and Bulgaria (Spectrum Net JSC, Koel 1, Speedy Net, Noblecom)
Check out ICW on their website: http://www.insanewrestling.co.uk, follow them on twitter: https://twitter.com/ICWUK or ‘like’ them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/InsaneWrestling