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TonyPulis'Cap

[2003-06-22-FWA-Vendetta] Jonny Storm vs Super Crazy

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Ah, the XPW European Title, where do we start with this one…

 

As part of their growth and the desire to pull more international eyeballs onto the promotion, the FWA was continuing to look at where it could partner up with companies overseas. The partnership with ROH that had led to the joint Frontiers of Honor show the previous month was a logical and obvious move, the decision to work with XPW, perhaps less so. I won’t go into too much detail on XPW, other than to say they were a Pound Land ECW, owned by a Porn producer, with all the violence, but none of the nuance. I’m not sure exactly how the relationship between the two companies was first established, but from the ever reliable Wikipedia:

 

“The championship was created in 2003 through a working relationship between XPW and the FWA. This was to be the flagship of the working relationship as the title would be defended throughout Europe and would appear on both promotions respective television programmes, however the title's primary home was to be the FWA.”

 

As we’ll document, and as ever in wrestling, things didn’t really turn out like that. Shortly after this XPW folded, but the title itself did continue to be defended in the FWA. In a somewhat comical note, an actual title belt never existed, which led to the brilliant visual of Jonny Storm, the inaugural champion, supposedly carrying the title in a briefcase he carried with him to the ring. Storm was the winner of a tournament which had a British and US bracket. Some decent names were featured, so for interest (if there are actually odd people out there like me interested in the prestigious lineage of the XPW European Title), I’ve included the brackets below:

 

Round One
Zebra Kid vs Robbie Brookside
Jonny Storm vs Juventud Guerrera
Psicosis vs Simon Diamond
Jerry Lynn vs Chris Hamrick

 

Round Two
Jonny Storm received a bye
Jerry Lynn vs Psicosis

 

Final (held at FWA Crunch 2003)
Jonny Storm vs Jerry Lynn

 

Perhaps this is where the WWE got the idea for the UK Title…

 

So that’s the rather lengthy backstory, onto the actual match. Jonny is coming in full blown heel now, and pleasingly gets a lot of boos from the crowd. As we’ll see after another match that night, the company was going all in on trying to make him the top heel in the promotion. Super Crazy, with the obligatory ECW chants, was I believe with XPW at the time so it makes sense for him to be the first challenger. This is wrestled very much like an ECW match from 1999/2000, with lots of back and forth, and at times, some pretty non existent selling. At the beginning of the match they announce the contest as under ‘XPW’ rules, which means that a chair comes into play at one stage, but mostly the match is wrestled cleanly.

 

For most of the match Storm shows he can hang with Crazy – including hitting a perfect moonsault from the top turnbuckle back into the entrance area - although when he tries some of the lucha sequences and the arm drags, you can tell he’s not as polished. Crazy is the one that actually slows things down at times, and I really enjoyed his transition out of a rana and a sunset flip into an STF. You can tell in general, that Storm was getting more comfortable at being a heel, taking more time to antagonise the crowd, rather than just going from spot to spot. Crazy for his part still looks good and consistent with the standard of performance he was putting in towards the end of ECW.

 

A criticism of some of the FWA matches at this time, which I can readily see, is how many of them seemed to copy the tropes from ECW, and matches going on at the time in TNA/ROH, with the overuse of the choreographed stand offs and series of two counts and pinning combinations. I’m looking at these matches with 2018 eyes, and they always got a good reaction in 2003, but I’m very happy that the UK scene now has much more of an original style to it, and includes many more nods back to the WOS days, than was the case in the early 2000s.

 

From the pin reversals you get a nice escalation into the exchange of some big bombs, including a massive sit down power bomb from Crazy where he catches Jonny springboarding in, but unfortunately the match ends on a flat note by going pretty much straight from there into Storm hitting a powerbomb of his own with his feet on the ropes. I can understand why it was done – it gives Crazy an out for losing and helps to put further heat on Storm, but just feels a bit underwhelming and that it could’ve been built to better. Still, this is a fun match, and a nice rebound for Jonny after a disappointing showing against AJ Styles the month before. (*** ¼)

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