Insane Championship Wrestling, or ICW as it is more commonly known, is the brainchild of 29-year-old Mark Dallas. Operating out of Glasgow, Scotland, ICW is a wrestling promotion that has been growing monumentally in popularity over the last couple of years.
Until recently their biggest achievement was selling out the ABC Academy in Glasgow for the first time, a 1,300 seater venue, having only ever put on much smaller shows in the past. The build-up to that event was covered by the BBC for their documentary “Insane Fight Club”, which aired on the 11 March this year.
An ICW event isn't much like your average wrestling show and is aimed at a mature audience. Mark describes it as being like a trip to the theatre but with some very graphic, violent scenes and colourful language. He adds: “It's like a violent adult soap opera with a lot of twists and turns. It's not for kids and the story-lines aren't insulting to your intelligence”.
On Sunday 4 May ICW comes to London for a sold out show at Islington Academy, a landmark in the history of the company since they have previously only performed in Scotland. Asked about how he felt about selling out his first show down south Mark said: “I'm very excited about that. I'm a bit nervous, I don't usually get this nervous but it's a completely different audience and we've got to see how they react to our humour and other bits-and-bobs throughout the show. To see if it resonates with an English audience the way it does with a Scottish audience. I'm just over the moon that it sold out in advance”.
Internet sensation and ICW fan-favourite Grado will be appearing at the event, taking on hometown powerhouse Sha Samuels in what is expected to be a very heated encounter.
Grado has become somewhat of a legend in British wrestling due to his cheeky behaviour, hilarious promos (often filmed by his Mum) and his ability to not take things too seriously (his entrance music is “Like A Prayer” by Madonna, for example). Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed Grado signs on display at WWE events in the USA in recent months, including one during the opening sequences of Wrestlemania XXX in New Orleans at the beginning of April.
“We started to watch it on the big screen and the first thing we saw was somebody holding a Grado sign, at Wrestlemania! We're sitting on a couch in Glasgow and there's some guy holding this sign up as high as he can, and I was like “Grado, that's you mate!”.
Mark has big plans for ICW and sees no reason why they can't be recognised as one of the biggest and best brands in wrestling. International stars such as Sabu and Colt Cabana are part of the ever-growing roster and Mark would love to book Jeff Hardy, Scott Steiner and Rob Van Dam given the opportunity. His main objective is to get a TV deal for a regular wrestling show and for his performers to be getting paid full-time for the huge amount of time, energy, and quite literally, the blood, sweat and tears that they put into to making each show more memorable than the last.
Asked what else he would like to do with the company Mark replied: “I want action figures, I want computer games, magazines, the works. Maybe do music festivals, there's a million things that can be done as a wrestling company”.
Tickets for Sunday are sold out, but given their recent success it won't be your last opportunity to catch the likes of Jack Jester, The Bucky Boys and Mikey Whiplash in action wherever you are based as they plan to take their high-flying, table-smashing live show to every major city in the UK and Ireland.