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[2003-06-22-FWA-Vendetta] Zebra Kid vs Mark Belton


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Zebra Kid, fresh off unsuccessfully challenging Samoa Joe for the ROH Title the month before, is also sadly coming in here sans his somewhat legendary mullet, which he must’ve disappointingly chopped off in the time between that match and here. Mark ‘Five Star’ Belton was a newcomer to the FWA having appeared on the British Breakout Tour the company had been on earlier in the year. As Greg Lambert notes in his Holy Grail book, Belton was interestingly one of only a few ‘outsiders’ who came into the promotion at this stage, with the FWA very much sticking largely to a tight, home grown roster. Considering the huge numbers of high quality UK talent today, there really wasn’t that strength in depth at that time, however it did feel like the FWA should’ve been more open to refreshing their roster. As Lambert also notes, Belton had to overcome an initially hostile locker room after some comments he’d made on another show, but he does well enough here to earn a regular spot for the next couple of years and becomes a strong addition.

 

Belton was a really good athlete who meshes well here with Zebra Kid and this is a fun, just under 10 minute sprint where they go balls to the wall. This is not a match with a ton of nuance, it’s two guys just hitting each other hard, and some of the strikes and kicks they exchange in the match are particularly brutal looking. Zebra Kid especially doles out some real punishment, and brings his usual intensity and frantic pace which made all his matches a spectacle. As the commentators themselves highlight when he hits a dive to the outside – Zebra was not a guy that was always technically refined, but he was effective nonetheless. Belton for his part wins over the crowd by taking the hits and connecting with some big moves of his own.

 

One interesting note is that this is the first of two matches in the night where we see the card system that the FWA brought in, aping football (soccer) where the yellow card served as a warning, and a red card resulted in a DQ. I’ve always been torn on it – on the one hand it’s a bit corny, but on the other I liked that it was different and played into our own sporting culture. It could also be used to help the story of a match. The yellow card in this match was brandished to Zebra for hitting a piledriver, banned under FWA rules. The biggest disappointment though, is that what could have lead to an interesting story to weave into the match – Zebra Kid taking a yellow card and risking a DQ to cause damage – is immediately flushed away with Belton going right back on offence straight away.

 

Zebra Kid retains his title with a nasty looking top rope DDT, followed by his Zebra Crossing (top rope) elbow drop, but Belton’s decent showing clearly contributed to him becoming a company regular. Post match, after both guys have left the ring we get an ‘impromptu’ appearance from Hade Vansen, who is clearly being transitioned into a heel role. The gist of his promo is that he’s sick of being overlooked (he wasn’t booked on this card), complete with some obligatory early 2000s “I’m shooting” stuff, but it works well enough, and I liked the angle where he took out a security guard when being escorted out, which was made to look pretty realistic. (** ½)

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