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[2003-06-22-FWA-Vendetta] James Tighe vs Jody Fleisch


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This is the first of two qualifying matches for a No. 1 contenders match, with the winner of this match meeting the winner of Flash Barker vs Jack Xavier on a future show to determine who would get an FWA title shot at Doug Williams. Jody is of course, the biggest star in the company at this point, while Tighe had been putting on a series of excellent performances and is coming off a big win against Paul London at Frontiers of Honor. There is a contrast in that coming into this show, Jody’s burgeoning feud with his former best friend Jonny Storm has been costing him his focus and costing him matches.


These two mesh together really well and this is an excellent match. While you could make the case that the opening sequences and reversals are too choreographed, the speed and precision with which they are worked is fantastic, and it helps to establish right from the beginning that Tighe is not out of his depth and can hang with someone of Jody’s calibre. Tighe is so smooth with his matwork, and watching him in 2003-04 makes me really wistful that his career tailed off at the time the UK scene was in the doldrums. The match also enables Jody to show off some of his technical skills, which he didn’t often show, and I thought he looked very competent on the mat. I particularly enjoyed his switching from an arm bar into an STF to try and prevent Tighe from getting to the ropes.


The action is fairly fast paced throughout, and while it’s a common complaint of a lot of matches from the 2000s to this day, you just feel that if they had slowed down at times and let some of the sequences breathe then we could have had one of the best matches from the company all year. The mat wrestler vs the flyer is always a match up I enjoy, and Tighe also brings a lot of suplexes and high impact moves to the table. I loved his double chicken wing into a release German suplex.


The second of the evenings Chekhov's Gun’s comes midway through the match, with the mention by the commentators of the popularity of Jody which can best be summed up by an enthusiastic fan in the crowd wearing a Dakko Chan mask, which was Jody’s masked character from when he wrestled in Michinoku Pro. This comes into play later in the match, when following a mid air collision and both men falling to the outside the ‘fan’ in the mask leaps the barrier and holds onto Fleisch’s leg making him lose by count out. The fan is revealed of course to be Jonny Storm.


Following the reveal, Tighe gets on the mic to say he doesn’t want to win that way and they both ask the ref to restart the match. As was the case at Frontiers of Honor when there was a time limit draw between Low Ki and Flash Barker, we once again have FWA head official Steve Lynskey playing up his heel ref character by refusing the request and confirming that Tighe moves on.


This is a really fun match, with some great sequences and exchanges. The count out interference ending is a shame, but it was all being designed to build the heat on the big Jody Fleisch/Jonny Storm showdown being planned for British Uprising II. Sadly, as I’ll document, we don’t get to that match. (*** ½)

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