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  1. Yep, that’s the PJ Black you know today from Lucha Underground and the artist formerly known as Justin Gabriel. When he was young and just starting out in the business he came over to the UK from South Africa and trained in the FWA Academy. He would compete on FWA Academy shows through most of 2004, but this is pretty much his only ‘main show’ appearance. I say main show, but this is about as close to a ‘house show’ as one existed for a company that was an indie wrestling promotion. 2004 was the biggest year in the FWA’s history and with its TV deal meant most shows had a higher profile (on a relative scale of course) running buildings that looked decent enough on screen. This event though – from a leisure centre – has a much less polished look, essentially being just for the live attendance. During the summer of 2004, Shane as the now firmly established No. 1 heel of the company would work a series of matches against smaller, young and often local-to-the-area-they-were-running competitors to work some fairly standard ‘big bully heel vs plucky underdog face’ matches. Another example would be his match against Aviv Mayan that I reviewed here: http://prowrestlingonly.com/index.php?/topic/41663-alex-shane-vs-aviv-mayan-fwa-live-in-morecambe-04082004/ This match is worked in a very similar format, and if viewed back to back, would reveal a very similar, dare I say identical structure. The Mayan match is much the better of the two. At this stage – and it’s funny to say this given what Black would go on, and continues to do in his career – Mayan seemed a genuinely more impressive prospect with more polish and he is able to elicit a better reaction from the crowd, although to be fair that would have been because the audience were more familiar with him. It is not to say this match is bad – it tells a good simple story, and Black plays his role well – getting in some good hope spots, and aside from one slight slip on the top rope, exhibits some of the athleticism that he continues to showcase today, including a tope con hilo to the outside. Shane for his part mixes in some power moves with lots of pantomime heel spots such as the grabbing of the ropes and manipulating the ref. As he does in most of these matches Shane is prepared to show some ass and Black does get a visual pinfall at one stage. But I think the match would’ve been improved by Shane showing more of the vicious side that he did in the Mayan match and it being a few mins shorter – it tends to meander at times and they repeat sections. After a short flurry, Black misses a 450 splash - which interestingly would be his finisher in WWE - and Shane picks up the win with the One Night Stand. (** ½)
  2. Really liked this. Compact, physical sprint that makes you wish they could have had an extended match. I mean, Cena breaking out headscissors and slaps? Corner beatdowns with a hint of nastiness behind them? Come on now. Cena really is a great base for high flyers. Maybe not at Cesaro's level, but you've got stuff like this and that MOTYC against Mysterio in 2011 that shows that this is usually a winning combination. This did a good job reminding you that Cena's top dog while making Gabriel look like more of a threat and also continuing the Nexus program.