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Found 8 results

  1. Doug is the FWA Champion coming in, while Flash is representing the 'Old School' which was the main heel stable in the FWA at the time. British wrestling legend Mick McManus is at ringside for this, while there is an old World Of Sport ref for the match, which rather than be nice nods to the tradition and history of British wrestling are sadly red flags for the complete mess this match will devolve into. Flash cheapshots to start the match, and the early exchanges are the best part with both guys showing great fire and intensity and lots of snap in their strikes and chops. Barker tries to slow things down, but quickly realises that if its a technical battle then that plays right into Doug's hands, who will dominate on the mat, whereas when its a brawl the challenger has much more of a chance. After a flurry of offence, Doug gets a really nasty DDT off the top rope, but the old ref, after doing a standing 2 count WOS style then just calls for the bell?... to general confusion with no-one sure what's going on. We then get Dino Scarlo, who was off screen the FWA booker and on screen part of the Old School turning this into a 2/3 falls match, so Doug has gone up 1-0 rather than winning the match. You can already tell this is now going to go off the rails... After what seems an age, Doug goes on the attack against a still dazed Barker to try and finish off the match, which is a sound strategy and when the two guys can actually just wrestle straight the match is decent, but the old ref - think one of the Athletic Commission refs at MSG in the 80s - is so useless it ruins any momentum. Given how the story of the match goes, there's a chance that could be intentional, but I genuinely think he just didn't have a clue what was going on. Williams gets the Chaos Theory, but just as it looks like he's going to get the 2nd fall and retain, we get the next screwy moment as the bell rings again 'for the end of the round' and this is now being fought under European rounds. As rip offs of Over the Edge 98 go this is not the most compelling. Despite all this, Doug is still dominating, until Barker gets a low blow and a pin with his foot on the ropes (maybe a bit much?) to tie things at 1-1. Barker then destroys Doug's leg with a chair, with Dino Scarlo just liberally joining in as well, which makes you think - why bother with the elaborate changing the rules on the fly story for the match if the interference/cheating is just going to be so blatant anyway? Just have him interfere to cost Williams the match. Rather than be Steve Austin vs Dude Love, this is Lance Storm vs Mike Awesome from New Blood Rising in making no-one come out looking good. After using the chair, Barker continues to work over the leg. Doug manages a hope spot, but can't execute the Chaos Theory with his injured ankle which I liked, but then Flash gets an ankle lock and the ref just calls for the bell without Doug tapping which I liked less (why not throw a bit of Montreal in for good matter?) and Flash is the new FWA Champion. Because of what went before, and the general shoddyness of the screw job execution no-one in the crowd really gets whats going on so you don't even get the reaction to the hated heel cheating to win. The booking in this destroys what could've been a really good match given that Doug is a brilliant wrestler, and Flash Barker in the FWA was a more than decent enough worker. Mick McManus presents Flash with the belt, but again its not clear if he was involved in the Old School's conspiracy to get the belt or if he's just an old guy that like the rest of us doesn't know what's going on... just really bad * for the match and -***** for the booking.
  2. This is another match that is part of the FWA’s overarching ‘Old School v New School’ feud that dominated the company in 2002. Parker had become No. 1 contender by defeating Justin Richards at the previous show Vendetta, in a match interestingly reffed by Jake Roberts. Flash is coming in as the FWA Champion, and with the belt on the line here, this is the first match on the show that creates some drama with the crowd and this starts with some good intensity. In doing this FWA re-watch, I’ve been really impressed by Barker, who is never less than solid in his matches. Here he is nicely vicious working over Parker’s ribs, which is a nice bit of continuity from them being injured by Doug Williams in the FWA Title tournament the previous year. Parker was a fairly decent hand, although would suffer as the promotion became more work rate heavy in the next couple of years and would drop down the card pretty much after this. Here though he has good fire, and I enjoyed the ringside brawling, making use of the old school WCW style entrance ramp and entrance way. Unfortunately, the match breaks down after this, and they seem to rush into the big kick outs, with each hitting the others finisher for a near fall, before interference from Mark Sloan (the old school’s manager Dean Ayass had been banned from ringside) see’s Barker get the win. After a decent start, the match doesn’t really progress anywhere, and you feel it was just an excuse to get to the post match stuff, which admittedly is very heated. (** ¼) Firstly the Old School do a beatdown on Parker including cutting his hair, which would ultimately lead to him heading into a losing streak and ending up turning heel as a member of The Family. Ayass then gets on the microphone and reissues a challenge for the title to Jody Fleisch that he had made in advance of the show, saying he can have that match right now if he can get to the building. This is a classic bit of heel bluster, with the commentators pointing out that Fleisch had been on tour in Japan, however we get the big reveal that Fleisch has made it to the building! And we have ourselves a second FWA Title Match… Flash Barker vs Jody Fleisch This doesn’t go long, although these too have great chemistry – Flash can move and bump really well for a guy his size, while Jody makes Barker’s offence look killer. Highlight’s include Fleisch’s signature shooting star press to the outside and a really nasty back breaker from Barker using one of the guard rail’s. During the match we get Ayass taunting Jody on the mic, which brings a great sense of urgency and the crowd are really behind Fleisch, who after hitting the 720 DDT wins the title! This impromptu match would ultimately culminate in the main event of the first British Uprising, with the disputed title put up for grabs in a ladder match, where Fleisch would ultimately get his big win.
  3. This is part of the ‘Old School’ vs ‘New School’ angle which dominated most of 2002 in the FWA. These guys would be feuding on and off throughout the year, trading the FWA British Heavyweight Title and that would culminate in Jody beating Flash for the title at British Uprising in October. The two have really good chemistry, with Flash acting as an excellent base for a lot of Fleisch’s highflying and springboards, and Jody making Barker’s offence look really impactful through his crazy bumping. This is about 10 mins long and is all action, but without it feeling overly spotty. Through his size Flash dominates a lot of the match, but the fans are kept invested through Jody’s excellent selling and exciting hope spots. For his part, Flash was a guy that was deceptively agile and quick for a guy with his build, meaning he can equally bump really well for Fleisch’s offence. Towards the end of the match the FWA’s rather lax rules when it comes to weapons and DQ’s plays a part with a chair getting involved and Jody getting a good nearfall after springboard drop kicking the chair into Flash’s face. I enjoyed the psychology in the finish which plays off the arm that Jody broke the previous year; coming off the top, Flash smashes his arm with a chair and then Pillmanizes it with a leg drop on the chair. He then gets the win by making Fleisch tap to an arm bar. (***)
  4. This was set to be Zebra Kid defending his All England Title against Flash Barker, a match originally scheduled for Hotwired the month before. That match never really got started due to the appearance of the recently fired Hade Vansen turning up to spoil the show and subsequently getting chucked out of the building. As you’ll see Vansen is very much the focus here. After Flash Barker’s entrance there is an announcement that Zebra Kid is not at the building and so the title can’t be defended. I’m not sure if this was a legitimate no show or storyline (Zebra Kid is back at the beginning of next year, although there is a five month gap in shows after British Uprising) but it means no match which the crowd is understandably unhappy about. However, the ‘fired’ Vansen is in the crowd and demands to be put in the match and for the All England Title to be on the line. In storyline terms the FWA commissioner Dino Scarlo had stood down so without him there the FWA officials at ringside agree to Vansen’s demands to ensure the fans get a title match. Not too much of this makes complete sense – why would they agree to these demands from someone they fired? And why does Vansen just happen to have his wrestling gear on under his clothes? (well, there is that maxim of always bring your gear) – but it all plays into the worked/shoot angle the company had been running with Vansen, and as we’ll see going into 2004 they had big plans and a big push for him in the works. The outside the ring/angle stuff is sadly much more interesting than what we eventually get within the match though. Flash has been a really consistent performer on the roster in 2003 but with the much less experienced Vansen having to lead large portions of the match there’s just nothing of any real substance or coherence to get invested in. Vansen was a guy with the look, and who had a lot of heel charisma but even when getting more experienced, struggled putting a match outside of the big spots together. He’s got some nice kicks – his background was in karate – but too often they involve incredibly convoluted ways in getting to them and what few transitions there are here are very awkward. The early stages are Vansen trying his best to avoid Flash, knowing he’s largely overmatched in a fair fight which leads to a chase on the outside and Barker putting his foot through one of the mesh guardrails attempting a super kick. Vansen follows this up by going after the injured leg with a chair before some pretty uninspired leg work on the inside. Flash makes a brief comeback but ends up crumpling after a leap frog and coming down on the injured leg. The finish is pretty surprising – both in that it’s clean and Flash submits – with Vansen winning with a knee bar. It’s a logical finish but the match before is non-descript. (* ½)
  5. This is to determine the No. 1 contender to the FWA Title at British Uprising II to face Doug Williams. Each won a match at Vendetta in June to qualify for this match; Tighe beat Jody Fleisch while Barker knocked off Jack Xavier. This is being presented as the future of the FWA in Tighe versus the veteran Barker, and it makes for a nice dynamic. I also liked the announcers playing up Barker’s desire to return to British Uprising one year on from losing his title at the same event. These two match up well stylistically – Tighe was excellent as a mat wrestler, combining that with the hybrid style being popularised by ROH at the time. Barker during his heel British Title runs was much more of a brawler, but since turning face at the beginning of the year now wrestles in a more MMA inspired way. The mat exchanges between the two at the beginning are smooth, with each trying to find an opening without rushing in. Whereas a lot of the other young UK wrestlers at the time were looking to do everything at pace, Tighe stands out from the pack by working much smarter and taking his time. I enjoyed Tighe consistently working the headlock and using that as a tool to keep on top of the bigger and stronger Barker and using that as a way of trying to prevent him using his strikes. The match has a really nice logical flow to it, with each changing their game plan to suit their strengths as things progress. Early on it’s a technical bout which favours Tighe, so Barker goes with strikes and kicks rather than trying to trade holds. Tighe realising he his overmatched when it comes to striking then takes things to the air with a springboard crossbody and split legged moonsault. In the end he is able to counter Barker’s attempt at his Flash in the Pan (roll the dice) finisher for the three count and No. 1 contender spot. This is a smartly wrestled match that largely keep things simple with a logical escalation as it goes on. Thumbs up. (***) While the winner of the match was to be the No. 1 contender to the FWA Title, the loser was given an All England Title shot the same night, which seems strange for losing a match, but that means we are set for Barker to take on the perennial All England Champion Zebra Kid. Zebra was champ at Vendetta but since then there had been title switches involving Chris Hamrick and Jonny Storm, before coming back to him. I won’t post this match in its own thread as just as it starts we get interference from Hade Vansen who had done the same thing at Vendetta, and the match is thrown out. After the last incident Vansen was fired/suspended in storyline, but once again he tries to hijack the show triggering a big brawl between the three guys and lots of security. We see the camera following security throwing him out the building, while the commentators try to play it off as a shoot. People maybe rolling their eyes at the whole worked shoot stuff, but as Greg Lambert outlines in his book on the period, that sort of angle had never really been done in British wrestling before. In an interesting note from Lambert’s book he notes that Alex Shane concocted an angle that only him and Vansen were in on whereby they had a confrontation at a fan convention to again sell the ‘realness’ of what was going on.
  6. This is the second qualifier for a No. 1 contenders match, with the winner to meet James Tighe at a future show to determine who would get an FWA title shot. Both guys are coming in with momentum from Frontiers of Honor; Xavier from beating Mikey Whipwreck and Flash from holding Low Ki to a time limit draw, which would’ve earned serious credibility points. In terms of FWA hierarchy, Flash is much higher though as a two time British Champion and in this match it shows. It’s largely one sided, with Barker dominating, and you never feel like Jack has a chance. In the opening moments they exchange kicks, and while Xavier is someone that can absorb a lot of punishment he doesn’t have the weapons to live with Flash, who is able to win all the strike exchanges. Xavier was starting to really get over with the crowd as an underdog babyface and this match does allow him to showcase his excellent selling and building sympathy, but aside from a couple of brief flurries, it’s no surprise that Flash wins in fairly decisive fashion with his Flash in the Pan (Roll of the Dice) finisher. (** ¼)
  7. Going back in time, having Low Ki on the card was one of the strong selling points. In 2002 he’d been ‘the guy’ in ROH, being the first champion and having a great series of matches against all comers. He was also a guy with a real badass aura to him, which to a large extent, he still has when he appears on a show today. Interestingly though, this was at a time when his standing with ROH really had been slipping, and after this he only appeared for them very sporadically for the rest of the year. At this stage though, he arguably gets the biggest reaction of the night. He’s up against Flash Barker here, who the previous year had been the British Heavyweight Champion and the centre piece of the Old School stable. Following the ending of that storyline, Barker would turn face as the respected veteran of the locker room, with a strong-style MMA inspired persona, which is why I would imagine he’s been matched up with Low Ki here. This match is wrestled at much different pace to ones earlier on the card, and it feels more like a match that could’ve been on one of the early ROH shows. There’s lots to enjoy in the early mat exchanges with the two trading strikes and holds, but cautiously rather than unloading everything they have. Low Ki decides early to fight off his back during the initial feeling out process. They exchange some brutal looking kicks until Low Ki hits a Dragon Screw to take over. From there Low Ki starts to dominate, and there are fewer better wrestlers who it just feels right when they are in control. Some might think he can take ‘too much’ of a match, but in an age where too many matches are heavily back and forth, it’s enjoyable to watch him just brutalise opponents. Barker is great at taking the punishment, with his thick frame, and he’s able to stay alive by getting plenty behind any of the moves or strikes he’s able to hit to slow down Ki’s momentum. While Barker is surviving (just), his problem in the match is that he can’t ever seem to get any sort of sustained attack going, as soon as he gets in a move, Ki is able to hit right back; he hits a short clothesline, Ki comes back with a springboard front kick, Barker ranas him, Ki hits a Kappou Kick, Barker hits a spinebuster, Ki catches him with a Hanging Octopus Scissors and the Tidal Wave. That’s the pattern. Flash shows great tenacity to hang in there with Ki busting out all his high impact attacks, so Low Ki then tries to wear the bigger man down instead with submissions like the Hanging Dragon and a cross armlock, but the change of strategy isn’t successful and the 20 minute time limit expires. Predictably for a 2000s crowd, the crowd wants five more minutes, as do both guys, but FWA Head Ref Steve Lynskey plays stickler for the rules and doesn’t allow it, even when Samoa Joe and AJ Styles come down to back up Ki. Even with the draw I really enjoyed this, particularly the cat and mouse exchanges at the beginning, and then the pretty vicious beating that Barker is able to survive. I’d recommend to check this one out. (*** ¾)
  8. In other posts on the site I’ve reviewed the main (and best) matches from the show, but just to touch briefly on some of the ones I haven’t mentioned, before we get to the main event… Zebra Kid vs Hade Vansen – this is for the All England Title. Zebra Kid is one of Paige’s older brothers while Vansen is known for being a guy that got a one week push to be an Undertaker Wrestlemania opponent before being mysteriously released the week after. This match is pretty nuts with no transitions to speak of, but all the moves they pull off, they throw themselves into 100% and the recklessness and chaotic nature of it actually makes for a pretty fun match. I’ve always enjoyed the work of Roy Knight (The Zebra Kid) and his brother Zack as they bring an air of chaos to their matches where a lack of polish actually helps them. UK Pitbulls vs The New Breed – this is for the FWA Tag Titles but isn’t really a match, more an angle. Before the match starts, future pirate Paul Burchill wipes out the New Breed who then get squashed by the Pitbulls who even by big man wrestling standards are absolutely huge. Will be interesting to chart the development of Burchill in the FWA, as at the time he was doing mind blowing stuff for a guy his size (although he was benefitting from being a ‘big’ guy in a UK scene where he stood out more). Robbie Brookside vs Drew McDonald – this is pretty boring with largely uninspiring brawling and lots of choking from McDonald. Brookside shows good fire, but it’s not a match where he gets to utilise his technical skills. You also feel that the crowd wasn’t very receptive to seeing these two veteran guys when everyone else on the card is working much more modern spot-orientated matches. Nikita vs Paul Travell – Nikita is the future Katie Lee Burchill, and actually someone that seemed to regress as she got more experience, as at this stage she looked really good, in terms of her execution of moves being crisp and being a great sympathetic babyface for the crowd to get behind. She’s always someone that had a great look – and her run in OVW is actually lots of fun – but for whatever reason it never seemed to click in ring in WWE on the main roster or in TNA. This is well worked in terms of Nikita being the underdog and getting in her hope spots, but maybe the match on the card that would go over better today given the prevalence of inter gender matches on the indy circuit. Ulf Herman vs Balls Mahoney – this is your standard ECW/hardcore/plunderfest with plenty of weapon shots and crowd brawling. Hard to really get invested in – even in 2002 this was tired – although both guys work hard and take some nasty bumps into tacks and with a barbwire baseball bat. At 20 mins it’s way too long but Ulf was a pretty important character in the FWA who became a cult favourite through his fire breathing entrance and copious amounts of swearing in his promos. Finally onto the main event, and a match that I actually found the most divisive and hard to nail down an opinion on. This is a ladder match, and going in the title was vacant due to a title change where Fleisch won the belt not being recognised. Most people probably know Jody – he was the rising star of the UK scene at the time and had won the King of England Tournament at Revival earlier in the year. Flash Barker is not as well known, and was a powerhouse guy with a really hard hitting style. Going into Uprising a key storyline for the year had been the rivalry between the ‘Old School’ who were veterans who didn’t like the new way the UK scene was going – and who Barker was representing – and younger guys like Jody, Jonny Storm and Alex Shane. I guess a bit like the New Blood/Millionaires Club feud from WCW but with the old guys as the heels in this case. It’s a good match up for the main event, with Fleisch being one of the guys the FWA wanted to build around, the linked Old School/New School feud to bring the heat and for being two British guys when there must have been the temptation to use one of the imports. The size difference and the way Jody sells Flash’s big moves like death also gives the match a natural storyline to follow for large parts with Barker absolutely brutalising him with some of the moves. In particular the suplex Fleisch takes on an upright guardrail had me wincing. I really enjoyed the intensity in the match and happily there’s little of the clichéd slow climbing, with the ladder – which takes a while to come into play – mainly being used as a weapon. On the downside however, and this is where I find it hard to rate a match that I enjoyed, higher, but at multiple times there are chances to go for the belt that aren’t taken in order to do big highspots. Until it gets right to the end there’s no urgency to actually climb to get the belt and you wonder if it might have worked better as a NO DQ match, where all the tables and chairs they do use could come into play, and allow them to work a more natural match around the sequences they were doing. Which leads onto the biggest and most famous spot of the match and arguably one of the most famous spots in BritWres history. This is where Jody vaults and springboards from the balcony at the York Hall into a moonsault to the floor below. It’s insane and perfectly hit and even now, having seen it dozens and dozens of times down the years still amazes me. However, it’s set up by Flesich going into the crowd to set up the ladder to climb up, while Barker follows him and stands there waiting. It’s such an amazing spot but the sad critic in me just wishes they could have found a more organic way of getting there. That really sums up my feelings for the match as a whole – there’s plenty of big bumps, excitement and drama, with some runs in that fit with the bigger companywide feud, but at times you get taken out of the moment by the big spots not feeling organic and people giving up the opportunity to go for the belt when they have clear openings. (*** ¼)
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