Every wrestler encounters someone who they identify as their career rival, or in-ring equal. A pairing who’s chemistry is so out of this world that they could blow the roof off of the place every night, no matter how many times they wrestled. Two wrestlers who always bring out the best in each other and deliver a tremendous match every time.
The Rock had Stone Cold Steve Austin, Ric Flair had Ricky Steamboat, Eddie Guerrero had Rey Mysterio, Trish Stratus had Lita, Sasha Banks has Charlotte Flair, and Viper has Kay Lee Ray.
Kay Lee Ray and Viper have had over 50 matches against each other across Stardom, ROH, PWE, Pro Wrestling: EVE, and most prominently in ICW.
Ray made her first ICW appearance in 2011, while Viper would make her own ICW debut one year later. Since then, their careers have been synonymous with each other in a way where it’s almost impossible to mention one without the other. Viper has the privilege of being the first ever ICW World Women’s Champion, while Ray has the privilege of having the most reigns with the title.
In addition to that, ever since Fear & Loathing VI, these two have wrestled each other at nearly every one of the show’s premiere events. Ever since 2015’s edition of the event, every ICW Women’s Championship match has featured Viper and Kay Lee Ray as participants in some capacity.
Their legacies will always be associated with both each other and the ICW Women’s Championship, so it makes sense that their latest match – last Sunday’s Fear & Loathing XI – would feature the two going one-on-one with each other in ICW’s first ever Queen of Insanity match for Viper’s ICW Women’s Title.
The Queen of Insanity match is the male equivalent to ICW’s King of Insanity match, which in turn is ICW’s answer to the classic deathmatch. With nearly 2,500 bodies in attendance, these athletes brutalized each other with kendo sticks, steel chairs, barbed wire, tables, barbed wire tables, a trash can filled with 80,000 thumb tacks, a stable gun, and a pink cheese grater. The latter of which gave us this gem of a line from commentator Billy Kirkwood: “Who the F*** has a pink cheese grater?! Where do you even get that?!”
Ultimately, once all the blood, sweat, and tears settled past the dust, Kay Lee Ray would walk out of the ring with her third ICW Women’s Championship. While only one of these women left the ring with gold, both of these women solidified themselves as true trailblazers of their industry.
When someone spells out the letters ICW in front of a bunch of well versed wrestling addicts, several things could come to mind. The carnage displayed from the company’s many hardcore matches, Grado’s extravagant entrance, or perhaps the fact that the promotion once housed numerous future WWE Superstars (i.e. Killian Dain, Nikki Cross, Drew Galloway).
When I think of ICW, the first thing that comes to mind is the many wars held in its ring between Viper and Kay Lee Ray.
Beneath the ECW-style grit and a Scottish bloodthirst for carnage, ICW is all about a drive for men and women to push themselves to their limits in order to achieve their dreams. ICW is all about using tenacity and the human spirit to conquer fears and bring out the best of yourself. Both the Scottish Daredevil and the Vixen of Violence have done just that through their matches, but never quite as much as they did for Queen of Insanity.
For this match, Ray and Viper managed to show an extreme side of them that we’ve never seen before. They dished out ungodly amounts of punishment onto each other in a way that rivals some of wrestling’s most historic hardcore matches. They pushed themselves to prove why they are two of the best wrestlers in the business today. Queen of Insanity single-handedly defines the careers of not only both women, but it defines everything that ICW is about.
It’s hard to imagine one without the other, and it’s even harder to imagine ICW without either one. To make history in the midst of the current Women’s Evolution is special enough, but to truly define a company is a feat reserved for those of legendary status.
No matter how many times these two wrestle against each other, they managed to leave a memorable impression in the eyes of fans and critics alike. Much of that has to do with the fact that they’re the best of friends in real life and know each other’s ins and outs through countless travels with each other. Their Queen of Insanity is a summary of everything these two are capable of, and everything hardcore that ICW has to offer.
“This match is the culmination of everything that myself and Kay Lee have done,” Viper would state in an interview with Glasgow Live, to explain what this match means to her. “I wouldn’t do this sort of match unless it was the right thing to do. There is no other story I would do this for. It’s the only way to finish this.”
Of course, their Queen of Insanity match isn’t the last we’ll ever see of Kay Lee Ray vs Viper. Like the best of rivals, these two are destined to do this forever, and Viper knows it. “I’m sure mine and Kay Lee’s feud will carry on until the end of time. There isn’t [anyone] else I’d want to kill myself for. It is a very strange kind of relationship. It’s very love-hate. I wouldn’t want to do this with anyone else as I don’t feel I have that history with anyone else.”
While Queen of Insanity could not possibly mark the finale to their series of matches, it does, at the very least, reach a crescendo to their storybook rivalry. It opens the door for another chapter, while also highlighting why their pairing is such a special one in the ICW history books.