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Found 29 results

  1. This is a match with a huge amount of backstory coming in and a huge amount of controversy coming out. It’s the final chapter in a violent rivalry that had been building since The Family defeated the team of Shane and Herman for the tag team titles at Crunch in March. Since then almost every FWA show had seen an escalation of the feud, as different combinations of The Family clashed with Shane, Herman and others such as Nikita and Stevie Knight, with the tag belts changing hands at different times but always ending up back with corrupted quasi-religious cult The Family. This match is titled, rather grandiosely, as an ‘Apocalypse Grudge Match’ but that basically means it’s just No DQ. It follows on from falls count anywhere, first blood, street fights and barbed wire baseball bat matches that these teams have had. Despite them being champions, The Family’s titles are not on the line after Shane & Herman lost their final shot at them at Hotwired the month before, in a match marred by an awful Dusty finish. The stipulations are that if The Family win then Shane and Herman must leave the FWA, while if they lose, their manager Greg Lambert has to take a Herman chair shot. As you’ll have seen in the title of the thread though, due to a storyline injury sustained the month before (in reality Shane wanted to focus on the booking and running of the show) he is being represented by Mikey Whipwreck. It’s an interesting dynamic – having your career being held in someone else’s hands – but never really plays into the match and feels odd given how prolonged and personal this feud has been. The match itself is pretty brutal, with parts varying between both of the uses of that word. Most of the matches in this feud were pretty clearly ECW inspired, and this features a selection of suitably random weapons including: cameras, video recorders, baking trays, baseball bats, barbed wire, drawing pins, golf clubs and a computer keyboard. As previously it’s Paul Travell who takes an insane amount of punishment (with the worst to come) including taking a press slam from Herman onto the pins (tacks) and then being stepped on to where they become firmly embedded in his head. Lovely. Which brings us to the big controversial moment of the match. With the violence having been escalated and escalated during the year, and this match already having had blood, drawing pins and every other type of weapon used - not to mention this being the big blow off to the feud and the big show of the year – fire is introduced as a way of trying to keep the bar raised. Greg Lambert’s book Holy Grail gives an excellent summary of what happened next, given he was ringside and just a few yards away. The Family light a ringside table on fire and go to powerbomb Herman through it. Due to the inexperience of the guys involved with creating the fire, not enough lighter fluid was initially used and by the time that Paul Travell ends up going through the table the fire has almost gone out. However, in trying to keep it going, and squirting extra fluid onto the table, the end result is the cap of the lighter fluid bottle catching alight. In an effort to try and salvage the spot Whipwreck - although it’s hard to know what he was really attempting to do - squirts the bottle at Travel unaware that it has now become effectively a homemade flame thrower and the result is suitably disastrous with Travel being set alight. On the video it’s hard to see exactly what happens next as the camera pulls out and you see Whipwreck diving on top of him to help put out the flames. Thankfully it’s an incident that I don’t think caused long term damage, but it’s an understandably horrifying moment that resulted in the FWA being banned from the York Hall by the building’s management. The company would never run there again. All this means that the finish, just a moment later when Herman suplexes Raj Ghosh into the tacks, is hugely anti-climatic, with most fans, and people at ringside focussing rightly on the aftermath of the fire spot gone wrong. As an ending to a rivalry built over the year and at the end of which the faces finally get a decisive win, it’s completely overshadowed. As a match it’s also hard to judge. You could argue the standard of the matches peaked in the summer and that the constant screw job finishes had stretched things on too long while also diminishing fan interest. The guys in the match do put everything into it, taking some brutal punishment and there’s a whole boatload of weapon shots – the match rating is as much for the guys efforts. Unfortunately the ECW inspired plunder brawl was already looking tired even back then. (** ½) As per the stipulation, Alex Shane comes to ringside to stop Greg Lambert from leaving and him and Ulf proceed to tape him to the ring ropes for the big revenge chair shot until…Shane stabs his partner in the back and turns heel to a huge chorus of boos. Shane’s ascent to be the top heel in the company was to be the predominant story in 2004, and in truth, probably needed, given the void of a heel at the top of the card.
  2. Mikey Whipwreck has always been a real favourite of mine, although I wouldn’t say a guilty pleasure as that doesn’t give him enough credit. His tag team with Tajiri is a legitimately brilliant team. However, it’s somewhat odd to see him here representing ROH, given from what I recall he wasn’t particularly prominent for that company at all, only I think wrestling in a couple of multi man scramble matches with Special K. Feel free to let me know if I’m wrong though! I think him being featured here was also because of the allure that UK companies had at the time for booking former ECW guys. While Whipwreck may not be the most obvious choice to represent ROH, it’s really good to see Xavier in here in a decent spot and being one of the FWA representatives. Like Tighe, Xavier was a young guy who fans were starting to get behind, and who would go on in 2003 and 2004 to be a prominent face for the company with his feuds against Alex Shane and Hade Vansen. The decision to match them up is logical, given the many similarities; both visually, in their statures and ring attire but also in their in-ring style. However because they are so similar, there are times when they simply seem to be exchanging moves with little transitioning – sometimes a styles clash, if it’s not too awkward, can work better than two people that work the same way. The match starts fairly cautiously with Whipwreck stalling, but gets more entertaining when they hit the floor and start trying to dive at each other over the crowd barriers. The selling is a bit all over the place but there is a frenetic chaos to the match and they bring lots of intensity. The match is wrestled in a 2000 ECW way, with chairs and the ringside table and guardrails being used, but as accessories to spots rather than just mindless plunder brawling. It’s a match that feels like it wouldn’t have looked out of place on an ECW TNN show from the last few months of the company. I liked the storyline of Xavier being a younger version of Whipwreck, teaching an old dog some new tricks, and being able to keep one step ahead of him by adapting some of his signature moves. It’s a match that puts Xavier over with him being able to kick out of the Whippersnapper. In one sense the roll up finish feels a bit anti-climatic given some of the punishment they are both taking, but it works in the sense of the youngster being just too quick for the veteran. The FWA goes 2-0 up. (**)
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