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[2002-02-09-FWA-Revival] Doug Williams vs Eddy Guerrero

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For a bit of backstory, the Revival show in 2002 is a pretty big moment in British wrestling, as it was the start, along with British Uprising later in the year, of the initial revival (sorry about the pun) of a scene that was basically dead for the 1990s and that started an initial upswing for the industry in the UK that lasted until about 2005/06, when it slipped back into the doldrums for a few years until the renaissance that we've had over the last few years.


The King of England Tournament was a one off show designed to showcase what British wrestling could achieve and came at a time when because of the hotness of the WWF(E) and coming off the Attitude era, wrestling was massive in the UK to where WWF programming had been on Channel 4 in 2000 which was a channel that every house in the country got. The popularity was such that there was a wrestling radio show on a station called talkSPORT and it was the two hosts Tommy Boyd and Alex Shane that came up with the idea of this show. The goal was trying to put British wrestling back into the mainstream and show that it could be a viable TV product, something which outside of the WOS show on ITV at New Year in 2016/17 still hasn't been achieved. For a much better write up of all the history check out Greg Lambert's excellent book, Holy Grail.


The event was filmed at the Crystal Palace indoor arena which was a much bigger venue that any UK show was being held in at the time and it was shown on a cable channel called Bravo, which had been the UK home of ECW and WCW towards the end of their runs. Watching the footage back, the set up and presentation is obviously not as slick or well produced as a lot of shows you'll see today, but I think the production and attendance is pretty good considering the budget that was being worked with.


The show was centered around a one night 8 man tournament to be crowned 'King of England' which is actually the format that I might have gone with for the WOS show last year. Most of the competitors were UK guys, with the more well known names being the trio that helped build the scene: Jonny Storm, Jody Fleisch and Doug Williams, along with veterans like Drew McDonald and Robbie Brookside, but also intriguingly Eddie Guerrero during his time away from the WWE. This match is one of the semi-finals.


For the time shown (about 10 mins) this is fun, although you can tell there are a couple of rough edits for time constraints that are a little jarring. Doug was the most technically sound guy on the UK scene but you could sense some nerves in his performance as there are a couple of rough moments. but such is the talent of both guys that they are not harmful to the match. Some of those moments may also come from Eddie not being used to the small FWA ring that is being used.


There's not a particularly strong story to the match, but it's fun watching Eddie use his technical wrestling when in there with someone so proficient in the UK style and so sound himself in Doug. Doug is able to use his power while you can tell Eddie is the more wily and experienced of the two. The end comes when Guerrero goes for a cradle and it's blocked by Williams for the pinfall. I think this works nicely, as it shows Doug's smarts and technical skills, but is also a finish that works for not looking like they are pushing the home town guy too hard considering the reputation/status of Eddie (***)

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