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[2002-10-13-FWA-British Uprising] Jonny Storm vs A.J. Styles


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You feel like if Twitter and gifs had been around in 2002 that this would be the sort of match that would engage some of the debate that came following Ricochet/Ospreay, although, it’s a match where for all the faults people might have with lack of selling and transitions, it's a match where both are always trying to win with less instances of posing and stand offs.


Coming into this match, AJ was just starting to build his reputation having been the breakout name alongside Low Ki (who would come appear for the FWA the next year) of early TNA and also ROH. Jonny meanwhile, alongside Jody Fleisch, was very much the new hot thing on the UK scene. Over the years Jonny would become much more of a well rounded wrestler and much more proficient on the mat and with the traditional British style, however at this stage, he was most definitely go, go, go.


While Jonny gets to showcase his flying, AJ dominates a lot of the match with his high impact style. Styles has always been a guy that to me that can wrestle ‘bigger than he is’, that is to say, he is able to compete with guys that are bigger than him to where he is not viewed as an underdog because of his ability to take it to them. Likewise, when he is up against other cruiserweight or X division guys, his vast arsenal of high impact and nasty looking moves as well as hard striking and kicks means he works really well on top. This match is no different – Jonny as an elastic and wiry competitor takes a lot of punishment that results in him eliciting a lot of sympathy from the crowd and gets them on his side even though many would instinctively want to cheer AJ with his cool moves and take no crap attitude.


If you’ve seen a Jonny Storm or AJ Styles match from around this time then this has pretty much all of both of their greatest hits – rewind rana, moonsault DDT, wheelbarrow DDT, leapfrog over the guardrail into a super kick – but as with everyone that night, they hit everything pretty much flawlessly.


Towards the end of the match there is a pretty unnecessary ref bump, which I assume was to help protect AJ who was losing as it gave him a visual pinfall, but looking at where the booking went, it did allow them to build a rematch the next year on the basis that AJ could legitimately say he had the match won. Looking at where their respective careers went, you can clearly tell that AJ was the more polished at this stage, with the more professional look, but the strength of the match is the way you can easily get behind the way it’s presented as a dream match between one of the US’ best young high flyers and one of the UK’s. (*** ½)

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