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[2003-06-22-FWA-Vendetta] The Family (Scott Parker & Paul Travell) vs Alex Shane & Ulf Herman (First Blood Match)


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This is the latest chapter in what was arguably the most violent feud the UK scene had seen at this point. Following on from them defeating Shane and Herman (affectionately known as the Showswearers) for the tag titles, different combinations of The Family (there were five in-ring members at this stage) had been trying to fight off the challenge of the former champs in matches around the country where the violence would continue to escalate. These matches place on the card was very much to cater to the audience brought up on ECW and Attitude era brawling.

 

The month before at Frontiers of Honor these teams had been part of a No DQ 6 Person Tag Match that I didn’t like very much at all. It was too long and too much of a mess with lots of sloppy moments. This though is much better – more tight and compact, and with a clearer storyline running through the match. This is First Blood rules meaning that both members of a team have to be bleeding for their opponents to win. The Family is represented by Paul Travell and Scott Parker who were probably the best in-ring members of the stable at this stage.

 

As you can imagine, there are a lot of weapons shots in this and general chaos, and while at times it drifts off into WWF Hardcore division stuff, the intensity of the match keeps it from descending into your basic plunder brawl. For a lot of the match there are effectively two separate singles matches going on; Ulf brutalising Parker in the ring in a New Jackesque manner featuring various items including bizarrely a garden gnome, while more interestingly Shane and Travell brawl around the building. Shane in particular really puts over Travell’s offence taking a swinging neckbreaker on the stage, a rana off the stage and a Russian Legsweep into a brick wall.

 

Parker is the first to bleed, followed by Shane who gets busted open via the ever popular cheese grater, meaning that really, both teams should’ve been trying to isolate the man on the opposing team not bleeding. Shane is taken out of the match by a crazy looking tornado DDT off the ring apron through a wooden board but with Parker basically dead on the outside, it comes down to Ulf and Travell. In the chaos the referee ends up being taken out by an errant Herman chair shot, meaning that as is the way in these matches, there is no ref to see Travell when he starts bleeding. We then get a second ref, but one of the other family members Ian DaSciple, coming into the ring to switch places with Travell. All of this isn’t executed as smoothly as it could be – there is a long period of the second ref having to look the wrong way – but there is a satisfying intertwining of different stories in the finish.

 

Earlier in the night, we would see the first of two Chekhov's Gun’s, the rather random awarding of a glass decanter by the Broxbourne Hall management to the FWA for their series of sold out shows there. All very odd, but it comes into play when Lambert brings it into the ring to use, only for it to be taken away by Raj Ghosh. If you’ve watched wrestling before you’ll know that Ghosh then turns and joins the Family by smashing the glass into Herman, making him bleed and giving the win to the Tag Team Champions.

 

While some may find a lot of the brawling clichéd, and while some of the execution was a little off at times – the sequence where the second ref is just standing watching the crowd for no reason while the finish is happening is very jarring – I enjoyed this match, for mixing violent and chaotic action, with an interweaving of different wrestlers character arcs and motivations. Long term, too many screw job finishes start to drive some fans away, and while we will chart that, at this point, this felt like it worked and helped to introduce a new member to the lead heel stable. I think they should also get points for actually going to the trouble earlier in the night of setting up why a glass decanter would be at ringside. Perhaps a half star is for continuity. (***)

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