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  1. This is part of Storm’s brief run with XPW, which came about due to a working agreement with the FWA and resulted in the creation of the XPW European Title (a ‘title’ which would last longer than XPW and be defended in the FWA…well, a briefcase claiming to have the title in would be…). This is No. 1 contenders match for the XPW TV Title and came about due to a double pin in a 4-way No. 1 contenders match at the previous show. We open with some standard mid 2000s indie standoff stuff, but its more measured than usual, and there’s some decent chain wrestling going on. Lynn is a good base for Storm in this match and allows him to get over with the crowd by basing for his high flying. The early exchanges are good at helping put Storm over to the crowd at the ECW Arena that would have come in perceiving Lynn to be the bigger star. There’s lots of fun sequences in this, and the match manages to avoid devolving into full on spot fest territory. Both guys are faces, so the simple story is Storm trying to stick and move, while Lynn is able to counter some of Jonny’s high flying as the more powerful of the two. Lynn was very good at this point, coming off his great early TNA run in 2002, and this is a sort of budget version of his matches with AJ Styles from around this time (which is no way an insult, as those matches were great). Storm ends up getting the win with a wheelbarrow DDT, and while it may be went a little long with a few too many kickouts at the end, this is a good match. It shows the strength of his performance, that while Storm came in as the underdog, there’s a really decent pop when he wins. It’s a shame for Jonny that this is the one time in his career that he was getting a decent push with a US company, and that the company ends up going out of business a couple of months later. (*** ½)
  2. This is the first semi-final in the tournament to crown the first MLW Champion. Douglas defeated Corino in the QFs, while Lynn got past LA Parka. On his way to the ring Lynn is confronted by Christopher Daniels who says that he wants to “cleanse him of the sins of his past disappointments” and that all the companies that Lynn’s ever worked for have never treated him with any respect. This is foreshadowing the heel run that Lynn would have in MLW. Douglas gets the jump on him to start the match after faking him out with a handshake – it’s pretty ambiguous throughout the tournament if we are meant to be behind him or not, but is consistent with the Franchise character, I guess. There’s not too much to the match, but it has a decent flow to it. Lynn keeps it relatively interesting, wrestling at speed around Douglas to compensate for Shane’s lack of mobility. If you watch the whole tournament, then in contrast with what you see in modern wrestling, there’s not lots of unbelievable kick outs of big moves, so it gets a good reaction in this match when each kick out of the others finish; Douglas out of the cradle piledriver and Lynn out of the belly to belly. A bit like the Lynn/LA Parka match in the round before, just as it’s starting to look like hitting a big closing stretch, Douglas catches Lynn in another belly to belly to advance to the final. Solid stuff. (** ¼)
  3. What with the return of MLW in 2017, I thought it would be fun to go back and watch the initial run of shows from the company and compare it with the other Indie companies of the time that were all striving to try and fill some of the void left by the closure of WCW and ECW the year before. This is the first match on their first show, and it’s a quarter final match in an 8-man tournament to crown the first MLW World Champion. As with many companies at the time, MLW chose Philadelphia as the place to launch and their first show comes from the artist formerly known as the ECW Arena. As I think we’ll see, MLW would lean on a lot on both the talent and concepts from ECW, and this show has it in spades. Joey Styles being the announcer another clear link. Jerry Lynn was just about to start a strong period in his career, being one of the pioneers of the early days of the X Division and one of the big positives about TNA in their first couple of years. He gets a big pop here and looks very good in the match. LA Parka interestingly is now a featured player in MLW some 17 years later but here he looks positively svelte. I dug his white suit and sombrero look with his normal gear. LA Parka dominates the early stages, being a great dick heel with plenty of kicks and slaps and lots of his trademark taunts and dance moves. He doesn’t do too much, but he doesn’t have to – his charisma and personality carries his offence. When the pace picks up its Lynn that is able to take control, and through his time in WCW and ECW he’s got plenty of experience of course with working with luchadors. The two work well together, and there’s plenty of smooth sequences, but just as it looks like the match is about to kick into high gear it ends rather abruptly via a Lynn Tornado DDT. This was fun for what we got, and with a one-night tournament the first-round matches can’t go too long, but if they had some more time this could’ve been really good. (** ½)
  4. Bit of an explanation needed before this one then! This is set to be Doug vs AJ, before the final match of the tournament will be AJ vs Jonny Storm. Going in, Doug has 20 points, AJ has 20 points and Jonny has 20 points. After his three matches, Jody Fleisch has 15 points and has therefore already been eliminated. But before the match starts it’s announced that due to the DDT he received on the outside in his count out loss to Flesich, Storm is unable to continue so his match against AJ won’t be able to go ahead. This makes Doug vs AJ as the default final to win the tournament… …however we then get Jerry Lynn as a surprise, which was a pretty ballsy (stupid?) thing for the FWA to do, given you presume that if you had him booked you would’ve wanted to advertise him? Unfortunately there’s nothing on Cagematch that confirms if he was in the country wrestling elsewhere around the same time, but that could potentially be the case. For most of the second half of 2002, Styles/Lynn had been in a heated rivalry in TNA which had spilled over to other promotions, and like the continuation of the Williams/Christopher Daniels rivalry from ROH into FWA storylines I like this connectivity that doesn’t treat separate promotions as different universes and through respecting continuity delivers more layered story telling. Lynn gets on the mic to say that he was originally meant to be in the tournament but had suffered an injury against AJ, that Styles had then over-exaggerated to FWA officials to get his spot in the tournament. It’s a little hokey, but I like the logic and storytelling. He then asks the FWA ringside official, to be given Storm’s 20 points and enter the tournament, which he then does and turns this match into a triple threat. It’s all a bit ECW, but the effort with the backstory and carrying over storylines from another company just about gives it a pass from me. The match itself is only seven or eight mins long but they pack a lot into that and as you might expect it’s wrestled at a cracking pace. The chemistry between Lynn and Styles is evident and while, as with most indy three way matches in the mid 2000s, there’s not a huge amount of selling going on, there’s not a lot of down time and one guy lying on the outside either. The ending is controversial with Lynn power bombing Williams at the same time as he hits the Chaos Theory on Styles, with the ref counting the pin for Lynn while it looks like Doug is also pinning AJ. The ending, and the fact that a guy that has just wrestled the one match ends up winning the tournament still leaves a bit of a sour taste in the mouth 15 years later, but it continues the theme of the booking of Christopher Daniels winning the title whereby results were meant to shock the largely hardcore/internet fan that was following the promotion. However, overall, given the different storylines weaving throughout the tournament – and the fact it set up several rematches with most having legitimate gripes, as well as the fact that there is a solid evening of consistently decent matches, overall this is a strong show top to bottom. (*** 1/4)
  5. I’m going to be repeating myself here with the matches from Uprising I, but this is another match with a very early 2000s feel to it. This was one of the big selling points for the show and the main event of the first half. Doug was the UK’s premier technical guy at that point, in terms of someone that was blending the WOS style with a more modern/Japanese orientated move set and Jerry Lynn was really hot at this stage, given he was getting a lot of rave reviews for his work in TNA in the early days of the X Division plus he still had the ECW cache. The result is the fans chanting for Lynn before he’s even come out. The beginning of the match is worked like your classic Lynn/RVD opening sequences with lots of quick transitions into a stand off. It all looks quite dated now, but at the time, the crowd are lapping it up. It also shows that while Doug is the bigger more technical guy, he’s wrestled Jonny Storm and Jody Fleisch a lot and so is able to keep up with Lynn’s more fast paced/cruiserweight style. As the match progresses, Doug tries to slow things down and works in a number of submissions which is much more his strength, whereas Lynn is always looking to up the pace. Both have some big impact moves in their arsenal, and Doug continues to evolve his style by incorporating more suplexes and throws that are consistent with his judo background. There’s lots to enjoy in the match, although you never feel it properly escalates, with much more of an exhibition feel, even as they start to trade big moves as the match progresses. At this time the FWA had a ban on piledrivers but the commentators note that this has been waived for this match given that is Lynn’s finisher. In the end that catches Lynn out and he gets caught by Williams in a cradle, similar to how Doug defeated Eddie Guerrero at Revival and showing that his technical skills have been enough to defeat more high profile opponents. (***)
  6. After a really good shine by Jerry, this transitioned into him working from underneath while Nigel did some awesome work on top. Every time Jerry got some offense in, it was him doing damage to Nigel's injured arm, which was a great strategy. When it comes to legendary ROH World Title reign endings, this is not on the level of Danielson's match vs. Homicide or Joe's match vs. Aries, but it's still a great match & worthy of ending the all-time great reign of Nigel McGuinness. ****
  7. Grimmas

    Jerry Lynn

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