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TonyPulis'Cap posted a topic in July 2002This is a mixed tag team match, with the main heat being on the Saraya Knight and Nikita interactions. Saraya Knight is the mother of Paige, while many will know Nikita as the future Katie Lea Burchill. Because of the very small number of active women wrestlers on the UK scene at this time, Nikita was often put in there with men, so it’s good to see her mixing things up with another female competitor. For anyone that’s seen Saraya Knight in action, you’ll know that she brings great intensity to her matches and as anyone that’s seen her Shimmer run will probably back up, she’s a fantastic heel. That’s in evidence in this match where she’s really vicious and full on in everything she does. The men are essentially just window dressing in this match and bring little to nothing to the table. Vansen would go on to be a major player in the FWA, however Cruz was a guy I had no idea who he was coming in, and I can’t remember him doing anything else for the company coming out. The exchanges between Nikita and Sweet Saraya are fun, if really rough at times – although that’s always been Saraya Knight’s style – she’s a Roddy Piper type wrestler, all intensity and brawling rather than a technician. There’s very little to the match really, with Nikita getting a hurucanrana into a pin for the win, although it didn’t look like that was potentially meant to actually be the pinfall with a botch from the referee. (* ½)
TonyPulis'Cap posted a topic in October 2003Due to the relative lack of women’s wrestling options on the British scene at the beginning of the 2000s, Nikita continues to be booked in intergender contests. Because of this it’s almost to the point that she is playing a standard underdog baby face in her matches, rather than a female wrestling a man. A recent storyline had just been started whereby a £10,000 bounty had been put on her head. Given her popularity it was important to get Nikita on the card for the biggest show of the year, with Mark Sloan being the first person to try and earn the bounty. Another little note is that recent FWA arrival – loud mouth Northern wrestler Stevie Knight acts as misogynist ring announcer running Nikita down, although he makes it clear, he isn’t the person who has put the bounty on. The match plays very similarly to a lot of Nikita’s other singles contests in the FWA, with her getting an initial shine through some fast paced arm drags, head scissors and reversals before it settles into her being worked over to build sympathy with the crowd. It’s a formula that works well, and was effective for most of the year when she was a big part of the Showswearers/Family feud, however this match suffers from the common knock that I, and many others had against Sloan’s rather robotic in-ring style. He was not a bad wrestler per se – technically competent, and as in this match, he throws in a few cool looking moves - but nothing seemed to have any emotion, just moving between sequences as if he was a video game wrestler. Compared to Nikita’s match with Paul Travell at Uprising I the previous year, structure wise they are very similar, but in that match Travell was more vicious and brought character and personality. This feels rather soulless, and doesn’t have that sense of urgency to get over that a bounty is involved. As that storyline is just beginning, and being the more pushed and over person, Nikita picks up the win and we’ll see how her storyline progresses in 2004. (**)
We are back at the Broxbourne Civic Hall for Vendetta, and there’s a really hot crowd for this show. This is a fairly basic opener, but the work between two wrestlers, both still young and relatively inexperienced (Ghosh was just 18) is solid throughout. For the past several months Nikita (the future Katie Lea Burchill) had been part of The Family vs Alex Shane/Ulf Herman feud over the tag titles, while Ghosh had largely been on a losing streak. There’s not too much meat to the match to get into, most of the attention is on the post match, but what we do get is decent enough, with Nikita showing a lot of polish in her arm drags, headscissors and take downs, while Ghosh acts as a solid base. As with many of the guys coming out of the FWA Academy, Ghosh was athletic, but quite mechanical and hadn’t shown much by way of charisma or character. At this point he looked like a guy with potential though, considering his age and the fact he already had a lot of the fundamentals down. In 2003 there were not many options for her to wrestle other women, so Nikita was most often placed in these intergender matches and it’s to her credit that she rarely feels overmatched, or that it’s unbelievable that she’s picking up wins over male competitors. She does again here, which leads on nicely to the post match arrival of The Family. Greg Lambert, their manager, cuts a good promo on Ghosh after the match, basically making the point that he was well praised for his British Uprising match but that since then he’s lost a lot of matches and that FWA management and Alex Shane don’t rate him, so why doesn’t he join The Family, which as a group was giving guys on losing streaks a career revival. Ghosh turns down the offer leading to a Family beat down, and a save from Shane and Herman, but this all plays into the Tag Title match later in the night. (**)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opEPCaZpEBc https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0E_hyCS13F0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75X68JBv1KA This is not part of the FWA vs. ROH tournament, rather the next chapter in what would be a personal and bloody feud that would go on all year. The Family were a stable modelled on a religious cult. Started by a wrestler named Brandon Thomas – so called the Messiah due to his Jesus like resemblance (as ever these seem to be the high concept ways these things start in wrestling) – he had started to band together a group of babyfaces that had all been on losing streaks, preying on people looking to revive their careers. As outlined in Greg Lambert’s excellent book Holy Grail: The True Story of British Wrestling’s Revival which chronicles this period really well, with the Old School stable having been overcome, the company desperately needed a top heel act. And in fact it was the addition of Lambert as their manager – an evil journalist to spread their propaganda – that put them over the top as truly hated heels. A few months before this they’d won the FWA Tag Team Titles by defeating Alex Shane and Ulf Herman, and with The Family having six members (including Lambert as manager) they would defend them Freebird style with different combinations. This is a six person No DQ match and part of a run of the participants facing each other in different combinations. The Family’s signature entrance here with burning crosses is very cool, although the sort of thing that as Lambert sets out was pretty controversial and banned from a lot of buildings, although that might have been more on a fire safety note rather than for any sacrilegious connotations. As for the match itself, then I’d say car crash/train wreck would be the best way to describe it, very much in the ECW mould, whereby they start off in the ring with tags etc. but it soon devolves into brawling all over the building. With Shane and Herman being so much bigger than their opponents, The Family are unable to really get anything going as they bump all over for the faces. Herman, who spent some time in ECW, is a giant German who it would be charitable to say was rather limited technically (an understatement), but who created a cult following for himself in the UK though the use of weapons and in hardcore matches. A lot of the in-ring portion is pretty sloppy and all over the place, and there’s a fairly scary moment when it looks like Alex Shane legitimately knocks out Scott Parker with a Doublearm Chokeslam. From there the match completely breaks down into mayhem and the arena wide brawl, and your enjoyment will depend on how much you are into that style. Just as at British Uprising the craziest spot is a dive from the balcony with Nikita (Katie Lea Burchill) jumping off onto the pile of wrestlers below. There’s really too much for the camera to capture at times, with a brutal looking spot of Alex Shane giving his One Night Stand finisher to a Family member off the ramp through a table. Unfortunately a lot of the action is a mess and the match is notable for one of the worst Van Terminator attempts you’ll ever see when Ashe, one of the other Family members on the outside, slips when trying to springboard off the top rope and faceplants himself into the ring. It looks unbelievably painful but gets the expected you f**ked up chant. As if it needed it, the finish includes a ref bump and ends with Nikita getting isolated for the pin. The match is certainly entertaining at times, and there are some big spots like the dive from the balcony, but so much of it is all over the place with lots of sloppiness, and it’s hard at times to really work out what’s going on. At just under 25 mins it’s also much longer than it needed to be. These guys would have much better matches in what was a much better feud than just viewing this match in isolation would suggest. (**)