Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Opinion: The Winner Takes It All (Billy Strachan)

For those who don't know I am the big cheese over at OSWtv where I lead a band of merry writers to talk about Scottish professional wrestling. We recently complete our first ever year end awards which got a great reaction with all the winners greatly deserved. People voted in their hundreds, picking their favourites and who impressed them in 2015.

Organising Year End Awards is often a daunting task with so many things that could go wrong or tampering to skew the results. This has put me off doing awards in the couple years OSWtv has been around. This year though, I wanted to let the fans decide jst who has impressed them in 2015 as 2015 was such a momental year in wrestling in Scotland so it was only right that we let the people vote.

This month in my guest column on Across the Pond Wrestling I'm going to pick a couple of the winners and take a look as to why the fans voted and why I think they won their respective category.

wrestler of the year (male) - damian o'connor

Damian O'Connor, the Beast of Belfast, had an incredible 2015. When he wasn't winning championships, he was leaving fans in awe by doing unthinkable moves that a monster his size should not even consider. He faced the best the world has to offer and stood on their chests. In Scotland, his highlights this year include winning the Heavyweight Championship in Pride Wrestling by defeating Jackie Polo, defeating the ICW World Heavyweight Champion Drew Galloway at ICW Shug's Hoose Party II (before shenanigans saw the match restarted and the decision go the other way), the fued between Rampage Brown and him saw a final showdown at Discovery Wrestling in a Last Man Standing match where Damo was able to keep Rampage down for a 10 count to be declared the victor plus a highly rated match with WWE NXT star Samoa Joe at PWE. Outside of Scotland Damo faced current WWE signees AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura plus Tanahashi and a host of huge names in professional wrestling. Damian O'Connor is truly a beast and one that is getting the recognition that he has earned especially over the last 12 months, I don't think we've seen the "final form" of Damo yet and this is just part of the evolution of the Irishman.

tag team of the year - polo promotions

Jackie Polo and Mark Coffey have really taken tag team wrestling in the country to the scruff of the neck, starting 2015 as ICW Tag Team Champions, the duo also captured the SWA Tag Team Championships after DCT turned on his Muay Tache partner Adam Carrel. Lead by Coach Trip and his #442 strategy they took over the tag division in Insane Championship Wrestling in impressive fashion by scoop slamming anyone that stood in their way. They retained their titles over The 55 team of Sha Samuels and Kid Fite in front of 4000 people in the SECC in Glasgow. It's a team that went from detested to loved and it was down to how well Coffey and Polo work together.

import of the year - mick foley

2015 saw many, many wrestlers come from across the pond to work in Scotland. This was a tough contest with the likes of Samoa Joe, Rhyno, James Storm, Hardcore Holly all coming over here to face some of the best Scotland has to offer, many top quality matches and moments provided by wrestlers outside of Scotland. The winner though, was Mick Foley. "The Hardcore Legend" was here over two shows in November as commissioner for WrestleZone Christmas Chaos (Comes Early!) and ICW Fear and Loathing VIII. Two sellout shows, two passionate speeches and two run ins to make sure the fans went home happy. With a recent tweet from Mick showing interest in returning in 2016 at the Hydro for ICW Fear and Loathing IX, could Mick make it two years in a row?

promotion of the year - insane championship wrestling

I don't think it was any surprise when ICW won Promotion of the Year and I can exclusively reveal it was a landslide vote for the Glasgow based company. 2015 was what dreams were made of for ICW, Mark Dallas and his team have taken the bar for which independent wrestling is measured on and snapped it. With several tours under their belt, high profile guests and high attendance figures, they are a key factor in Scotland and the UK on a whole being such a hotbed for talent. The Glasgow Pro Wrestling Asylum is provided a platform for growth and it's the developmental program, the on demand service and the high quality of wrestling that makes ICW very special. Often compared to ECW, Mark Dallas is Paul E (expect y'know he pays his talent), Chris Renfrew is Tommy Dreamer and their team is a family. ICW is a true underdog story of starting with less than 50 people in Maryhill to become a juggernaut in wrestling with 4000 fans flocking en mass to the SECC to watch Fear and Loathing VIII. It's a truly remarkable growth and with more cities to conquer in 2016 it's very possible that ICW could dominate this category in 2016.

The votes for the Year End Awards 2015 came in thick and fast, all the winners were picked by the fans plus the special Administration awards that the OSWtv team picked to give those who are just as important to the Scottish wrestling product as the wrestlers. If you missed our full results…check them out!

'Till next time…

- Billy

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