In the second part of this great interview, Drew told us about WWE: how it felt to be at Wrestlemania, how fun it was being in 3MB and what happened when he left. Let’s see now what happened just after that day.
WtW: In Scotland, you were the very first champion in ICW history. How much has the promotion changed since then?
DG: There’s no comparison. When we first started in Maryhill there were probably less than 50 people at the shows, but Mark Dallas had a vision and he stuck to it. The first time it didn’t go so well, then he tried again, he was losing money, so he stopped. Later he restarted again, he started working with Duncan Gray who works backstage, he runs concerts, they got really good stuff going, then the first documentary came and things just exploded. One time I came back, I was backstage, I looked out and the Classic Grand was sold out: I couldn’t believe how big it was.
WtW: As soon as you came back to Scotland, you appeared in ICW. Why did you pick it?
DG: As soon as I left WWE I knew I was going to come back to ICW, I wanted to make my mission statement there. So I called Dallas and told him about the plan that I had in mind. We arranged everything to make sure that my presence was kept a secret from everybody, three people knew.
WtW: Who are those three people?
DG: Just me, Dallas and Chris Renfrew, who helps him write the shows and was also involved in the angle. And Jack Jester as well, it was actually four people.
WtW: Sorry for the interruption, please tell us about ICW.
DG: No problem. A bunch of promoters had messaged me as soon as I was gone from WWE. If I had been upset I would probably be pretty pissed off, they all immediately started harassing me. Luckily I was not upset, I was excited. Dallas was the only one who did not contact me. So I called him saying “Hey, motherf**ker, why didn’t you call me?” and he said that he thought I might need some time. I appreciated that. Anyway, I told him my plan of coming back to ICW making a huge bang. I mean, a lot of eyes were on me at the time, many were surprised I was gone from WWE, which was very nice to hear. When I came here for the show I was hiding in the basement, I could hear the reaction for the “Still Game” guys [“Still Game” is a very popular Glasgow-based sit-com whose cast appeared, unannounced, at that same ICW show], who also were a surprise. I wondered if the fans would even care when I came out. Then when I did come out, hooded, I saw and heard the reaction, there were so many people… I thought “Oh my God, this is the coolest place ever”. ICW is the coolest place ever, every time I go. The fans are cheering me everywhere except Glasgow, but even if they are booing, as long as they are reacting and having a good time, I’m having a good time. The fans are so passionate… a friend of mine was watching On Demand last night, he’s not a big wrestling fan, and he was just amazed. No matter where ICW goes, the fans are just crazy and passionate. It is great. I mean, the worst thing for a wrestler is if the crowd doesn’t react.
WtW: What about the Glasgow ICW fans?
DG: You know what they are like. So many support the heels. I mean, the NAK are the biggest babyfaces, in Glasgow. They are supposed to be heels. Every time I come out I embrace the booing. At this point I am trying to make the people, at least in Glasgow, think that I’m a bit of a dick.
Now Grado, he is the most over wrestler in any show – except for the ICW events in Glasgow. He needs to start adding layers to his character, that’s what we are working on when he’s on the ring with me or with Lee [Jack Jester]. He is getting more aggressive, I slapped him about, Lee made him use the corkscrew, he’s freaking out a bit because, if you ever want to do something different in Glasgow… and he will have to, because those fans are the way they are… they do what you don’t expect them to do. They are booing me, I mean… of course I embrace them, my point of view is that, as long as you are making noise, I don’t care if you cheer me or if you boo me. If you are making noise, I am winning. I’ll change the match to suit however the crowd reacts, I don’t mind, as long as you, the fans, are entertained.
Take for instance my match with Joe Coffey [at ICW Barramania]: he was by far the babyface, and we structured the match around that. I had just flew in from America, I had just won the Dragon Gate USA title, I was in the building at 8pm and I was wrestling Joe at 10pm. I heard the crowd reaction when Simon Cassidy announced my name; I thought it would be somehow like that, but probably me being with TNA put the Glasgow fans totally against me, many must have thought I was leaving.
But I’m sure that if Coffey had won the title, even though now he is probably the only one who is over with everyone, within two months the fans would turn on him.
In ICW nobody can know what is going to happen. I mean, Lionheart came back after a broken neck and the crowd booed him!
Mind, I love it: they are like part of the roster, they force to always think on your feet, you always need to ask yourself how you can change, adapt. They keep you creative, because they have watched the whole thing grow, and they have grown with it. You must adapt, but you also need to make sure you still are the puppet master. Certain guys get upset if the crowd turns on them, you see them moping around ‘cause they got booed when they weren’t supposed to. I keep saying that it’s entertainment, and if the fans are making noise, they are entertained and you are doing your job. If at the end of the match you say “F**k, that was a good match”, then I did my job. And also if I manage to make you think that the other guy is going to win.
WtW: Sure you did it with me in the match with Joe Coffey, I didn’t expect him to win before the match but I believed he was going to, in the last five minutes.
DG: I’m glad. I always structure a match to make it look like the other guy is going to win. Also my match with Renfrew [at the Square Go], he did his Stunner, I kicked out, then he did the SuperStunner off the second rope and I heard everybody, I thought “They think this is it”. That was good.
WtW: How much of you there was in those feuds in ICW, especially the one with Jack Jester that ended with you winning the title and the two of you embracing in the centre of the ring?
DG: 100%, especially in that one, it was totally real. Everything we did, we made it as real as possible. Everything we said, everything we did we had to believe. On the night I was really emotional, we put so much into the feud. It was also two years since my mom had passed, so I dedicated the match to her. It was a big deal for both of us, and we were both very happy with it. I almost never cry in front of my family, if I was going to do it it’d be in front of 1,600 people.
WtW: Any other stories about ICW?
DG: Yes, when I was in the ring with Sabu, some weeks ago. He is so unpredictable. Also, the first time I touched him during a match, I kicked him right in the face. We were outside the ring and there was a wet spot, somebody had spilled a beer, so as I went to boot him I just slipped and hit his face with full strength. He looked at me as if to ask why. Afterwards I fell so bad, we were in the tour bus and I spoke with Renfrew, I got myself so worked up… I mean, I had just legit battered a 50-year-old man… but he was OK with me.
With this, Drew told us everything about ICW, whose Heavyweight Title he holds. In the next (and last) part of this interview, we’ll talk about something more personal.3