You ever look at a show and think wow, that sounds completely insane? Well, that was my introduction to ICW New York when I saw they were advertising Low Ki vs Masashi Takeda in a match with no rules, just KOs and pinfalls. Then more and more matches got announced and well, here we are. I just had to watch this, it had the potential to be a complete bloodbath in the most glorious way. Oh, and the ring ropes were chains. Let’s get into the action.

Tessa Blanchard defeated Nick Gage via Hammerlock DDT onto a Chair

Tessa Blanchard fought Nick Gage in a match with no rules. That takes guts. She fought Gage at his own game and took whatever he hit her with. Gage went full-on dickhead by attacking Tessa as her name was announced and forced Larry Legend to make his full introduction as he beat her down. He choked her on the chains and took the fight to the floor. This was when Tessa started fighting back as she smashed Gage in the head with forearms. Gage knocked her down again then went for some hardware. Even getting a fan to hold a chair so he could smash Tessa into it. However, he kept taking Tessa likely and paying for it as he got nailed with a Suicide Dive and the Magnum. The pair continued to trade shots. Tessa then nailed Gage with a chair and dropped Gage head first onto a chair with a Hammerlock DDT. She scored an upset victory over the most popular guy in the room. It was not without its controversy though as Gage got his shoulder up directly at 3, prompting crowd speculation over the validity of the pin. He took his frustrations out on the referee by hitting him with a ChokeBreaker. Tessa didn’t take the victory and bail either, she sat and watched as Gage punished the ref. She dropped a promo after the match praising Gage and her own strength, with plenty of expletives for the crowd. Yes, Tessa, you were the baddest bitch in Jersey City. Just to take it one step further, she called out Amazing Red. I never knew I wanted to see that match. This was one hell of a strong statement to make to start the show and a fun match to see.

Homicide defeated Casanova Valentine via Bleach Waterboarding

Now, this was a guy in his element. Casanova Valentine is the King of the No-Ring Deathmatch and this match definitely didn’t have to stay in the ring. He would not have an easy task though as he was fighting a legend, Homicide, in Michael Myers garb. There certainly could have been a homicide here given the pair fighting. It started as a brawl but got very violent very quickly as Homicide introduced bolt cutters to the side of Valentine and stabbing at his forehead with a fork. The sadism got taken a step further as he introduced lemon juice into the head wound. Valentine was just getting destroyed as the crowd cheered on Homicide’s brutality. He took it into the crowd and kept gouging at Valentine’s head. It was a proper tribute to Abdullah the Butcher as he kept taking Valentine round the ring and stabbing further, drawing forth even more blood. Against all odds, Valentine did get back into it, dragging Homicide into an overhead belly-to-belly Suplex. He got a modicum of revenge by tearing up Homicide’s back with a Garden Weasel then taking the weapon lower.

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Then Valentine’s secondary weapon got introduced, Satan’s Cock, a dildo full of nails. Before it could be used though, Homicide low-blowed him. He tried to hook in the Cop Killa but it got reversed into a Suplex and the pair knocked each other down, giving Valentine the chance to hit the Text Message Break Up for a two count. Since that didn’t work, he went and retrieved a barbed wire board. Unfortunately for him, his attempt to use it resulted in him getting thrown through it. Homicide then went for the kill by retrieving some bleach from the back and waterboarding Valentine with it. Yes, you read that correctly. He then returned to stabbing Valentine in the head until the referee called for a stoppage. This was brutal, so of course, I loved it. I was glad to see it wasn’t a totally one-sided affair and love the fact that Homicide still lives up to his name. Also, People = Shit is one hell of an entrance track for Homicide.

Alex Colon defeated Jimmy Lloyd via Barbed Wire Spanish Fly

Next up was a match between two GCW superstars. Alex Colon may be one of the best wrestlers in the world as he can do it all and Jimmy Lloyd is one of the future stars of deathmatch wrestling. There was fuckery galore as the ring was filled with boards of dubious means. There were cans, barbed wire and more so you knew it was going to get ugly. The pair started swapping technical holds whilst trying to lob the other into a barbed wire board. Colon broke this off by going for a thumbtack bat but ended up with it bouncing off his skull. He returned the favour and bounced it off Lloyd’s head twice for good measure. Colon hit a pair of dives then pulled out a pair of scissors from his pocket and stabbed Lloyd in the head with them. Actually, he had three pairs and he dragged two of them across Lloyd’s forehead. Colon retrieved a chair and tried to use it but was driven throat first onto it. However, he reversed a lariat and used it as a step to hit a Code Red. Colon continued the violence by raking Lloyd with a barbed wire bat and dropkicking it into his groin. Lloyd managed to grab one of the pairs of scissors and stabbed at Colon’s side before retrieving the other pairs and stabbing Colon in the head. He then retrieved the can board and hit a Flatliner and a Tiger Driver onto it with one can getting stuck in Colon’s back.

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It went from bad to worse as Lloyd then grabbed a board of hacksaws and raked it into his head. Lloyd’s luck would run out then though as he ended up putting himself through a barbed wire board. Colon took the advantage and hit a diving Tornado DDT to the floor then drove the Hacksaw Board into Lloyds face and chest with a Meteora. Lloyd powered up and crushed Colon with a Dragon Suplex then retrieved a gusset board and dropped Colon onto it with a Gonzo Bomb. When Colon kicked out, Jimmy became the prophet of his own demise by setting up a barbed wire board and heading to the top rope. Colon intercepted and hit an Avalanche Spanish Fly through the board and got the win. This was deathmatch fuckery at it’s finest and oh man was it fun to watch. Both men are killing it at the moment. I imagine both men were feeling this one at the moment. Also, as the description may give away, it was a bit of a spot fest.

Eric Ryan defeated John Wayne Murdoch via Lion Tamer with Head Stomps

The fuckery continued next as 2 more deathmatch stars took to the ring next. As the match was setting up, my eyes were drawn to a board of bent forks. Once again, it was going to get ugly. Within 10 seconds, Eric Ryan had a gusset plate in his face and cans in his back. Murdoch gave him a whirlwind tour of the hardware. The forks were next as Murdoch hit a DVD through the fork board for a two count. He kept hammering Ryan with forks and chairs. It would be a chair that would save Ryan as he launched it at Murdoch and started beating him with a fork covered chain. Ryan kept grabbing forks and stabbing them into Murdoch then returned the gusset plate favour. The pair took the fight outside, with Murdoch setting up a board in the crowd. The pair traded headbutts on the apron and fell into the board. When the board didn’t break, Ryan smashed it multiple times over Murdoch’s head. The favour was returned and the pair went back to fighting in the ring. The two had a series of striking contests that even saw some submissions used. Ryan was struggling to recover when Murdoch dropped a board of razor blades onto him. He set up a board and looked to fly but instead hit a Superplex through the board. However, he took the brunt of the landing which meant Ryan could hit a release Suplex and hammered Murdoch in the head until the ref stopped the match. This was a total fork fest but it was once again enjoyable to watch. Both wrestlers received a standing ovation for their match.

 Killer Kross defeated Tony Deppen via Death by Saito Suplex

Now for something a bit different. It was time to see Tony Deppen pay the toll as he had to take on Killer Kross. This was a change to the scheduled card as Kross was meant to fight Chris Dickinson and Eddie Kingston was meant to take on Deppen. Instead, these 2 killed each other. Both of these guys are excellent wrestlers so it was fun to see them break the rules and push their limits. Deppen messed up instantly by disrespecting Kross, who hit Deppen with a thunderous Spinebuster. Kross annihilated Deppen until he reversed a Brainbuster into a Sleeper Hold. Deppen took the lead and started working over Kross with strikes and a less than successful dive. Kross retorted and pummelled Deppen through the crowd towards the bar, which Deppen then dived off. The pair continued to trade until Kross flattened him again with a Crucifix Bomb into the ring. Each time Deppen tried to come back, Kross would just knock him back down be it with Lariats or power moves. Deppen finally got his moment when he kneed Kross in the temple. He continued to strike but couldn’t keep Kross down. He tried to fly and was caught by Kross and slammed into the mat then dropped face-first into the chain. Four Saito Suplexes later and Deppen was done. Kross mauled him and did it in style. Nick Gage’s theme played after the match but he no-showed.

SHLAK defeated Necro Butcher via SHLAK Bomb trio

Next up was the weirdest match on the card. It was SHLAK vs deathmatch legend Necro Butcher. He made the crowd and SHLAK wait as Free Bird played. The barefoot brawler and deathmatch innovator came out to a loud pop prepared to throw down. It started technical as Necro Butcher locked SHLAK up. SHLAK fought out and dumped Necro outside. He followed that up with a Dropkick and started raking at Necro’s eyes. The pair fought outside as SHLAK continued to beat down Butcher with strikes and a bin lid. He but Necro in a bin and smashed it with the bin lid. This seemed to power up Butcher who started fighting back, slamming SHLAK into the bar. Necro avoided SHLAK’s plastic bag and proceeded to suffocate SHLAK with it. SHLAK fish hooked Butcher and posed for the crowd’s cameras, pissing off Butcher. A hockey fight broke out that SHLAK won. SHLAK pulled up some chairs to initiate a bar fight. Not the smartest move to pull around Butcher. SHLAK ended up winning the bar fight though, knocking the legend out of his chair. SHLAK laid in some chair shots then tried to rip Necro Butcher’s arm off. He hit a sit-out Powerbomb but only got a two count. As did a second one. The third one was enough to win the match. This wasn’t pretty but it was certainly something history-making as Butcher was beaten in his own game. As a sign of respect, SHLAK helped Butcher to his feet and Butcher gave SHLAK his choose death shirt. The torch has been passed on.

Dan Maff defeated Mance Warner via Burning Hammer through a door

Last time I saw Dan Maff in action, he killed Jimmy Lloyd. Now he was out to destroy Ol Mancer. The ring was once again full of plunder, ready for another symphony of destruction. Mance started things by letting Maff, the human tank, chop him. The pair traded chops with Maff clearly winning, as he knocked Mance down each time. Maff took it a step further by spearing Mance through a board. Mance came back with a series of jabs into an eye poke and two DDTs. This was followed up by a chair assisted Satellite DDT. Mance went for more jabs but only succeeded in pissing Maff off who pummelled him in the corner. He continued the pain by hitting a trash can trapped Mance with a Cannonball and a Piledriver onto the trash can. Mance retorted by throwing Maff throat first into the turnbuckle platform and crushing a trash can on his head. He tried to keep Maff down with knee strikes but couldn’t, even one with a chair wasn’t enough. He followed it up with a Uranage through some chairs but that couldn’t do it either. In desperation, Mance tried to hit Maff with a broken bit of board but Maff just wore it like a hat and shattered it over Mance. Maff went for the kill and murdered Mance with a Burning Hammer through a door. Maff got to win his last call and walk out of independent wrestler a winner. This was amazing and once again I just want to reiterate, Dan Maff is terrifying. He gave a heartfelt speech to finish up.

Low Ki defeated Masashi Takeda via Warrior’s Way

Last but not least, the match that sold me this show, Takeda vs Low Ki. Takeda is a deathmatch star with legit fighting credentials and Low Ki is well, Low Ki. This was going to be something special. Also, just to disclose my bias, Takeda is one of my favourite wrestlers on the planet right now. This started very slow and very methodical with both guys feeling the other out. They exchanged holds and takedown attempts with neither man really gaining an advantage. Takeda was able to lock in a partial Knee Bar but gave it up. Takeda feigned sportsmanship then straight up kicked Low Ki in the balls. He threw up the fingers and tossed Low Ki outside. He went to hit Low Ki with a chair but Low Ki punched it square into Takeda’s face. He rolled Takeda back into the ring and rained down some elbows on Takeda’s head. He tried to whip Takeda but Takeda reversed it into a powerful Spear. The pair traded with Takeda trying to slingshot Low Ki into the ring post only to have Low Ki land on the chains and launch a double stomp. Low Ki kept on the offence with a series of kicks, especially one to the outstretched middle finger. Takeda returned the favour with a stiff knee strike to the jaw. Low Ki survived an attempt at the inverted DDT and locked in a Crossface but Takeda got to the chain and delivered another low blow. Takeda tried to use the signature shears he had brought with him but Low Ki disarmed him and threw them aside. Takeda missed another attempt with the shears, opening himself up to a Cappo Kick from Low Ki.

The now frustrated Low Ki removed his Gi and tied up Takeda’s arms with his belt. He stared down at a trapped Takeda and received some spit to the face. This infuriated Low Ki so he delivered a spin kick to Takeda’s chest and finished the match with a Warrior’s Way to the back of Takeda, slamming his head into the canvas. The ref stopped the match and Low Ki was declared the winner. He couldn’t celebrate though as Nick Gage’s music hit and the MDK King of ultraviolence came out to challenge Low Ki to a match. Guess what is now set for No Hold’s Barred Volume 2? Yes, I’m drooling too. Gage was also sure to give Takeda some recognition too, as did the crowd, claiming he was also the best deathmatch wrestler on the planet.

So, there you have it, ICW NY’s No Holds Barred Volume 1 reviewed for your reading pleasure. As you can hopefully tell, I had a blast with this. From bell to bell, there was something to enjoy. The unique ring style, the lack of rules and the creativity in the matches all added up to create a show full of sick fights and deathmatch fuckery. There was a bit of everything here as we got hardcore, intergender and technical all merged into one packed show. I love this style of show and cannot wait to see what volume 2 holds. I love outlaw independent wrestling and this show reflected the best of it.

All images courtesy of ICW New York Twitter, 2ndgunny, BLVD Bullies, Earl Gardner, Evan Germano, Chris Grasso, MrLariato