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[2003-05-17-FWA/ROH-Frontiers of Honor] The Family (Brandon Thomas & Scott Parker & Paul Travell) vs Alex Shane & Nikita & Ulf Herman


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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. (**)

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