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[2003-09-21-FWA-Hotwired] James Tighe vs Flash Barker


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This is to determine the No. 1 contender to the FWA Title at British Uprising II to face Doug Williams. Each won a match at Vendetta in June to qualify for this match; Tighe beat Jody Fleisch while Barker knocked off Jack Xavier. This is being presented as the future of the FWA in Tighe versus the veteran Barker, and it makes for a nice dynamic. I also liked the announcers playing up Barker’s desire to return to British Uprising one year on from losing his title at the same event.


These two match up well stylistically – Tighe was excellent as a mat wrestler, combining that with the hybrid style being popularised by ROH at the time. Barker during his heel British Title runs was much more of a brawler, but since turning face at the beginning of the year now wrestles in a more MMA inspired way. The mat exchanges between the two at the beginning are smooth, with each trying to find an opening without rushing in. Whereas a lot of the other young UK wrestlers at the time were looking to do everything at pace, Tighe stands out from the pack by working much smarter and taking his time.


I enjoyed Tighe consistently working the headlock and using that as a tool to keep on top of the bigger and stronger Barker and using that as a way of trying to prevent him using his strikes. The match has a really nice logical flow to it, with each changing their game plan to suit their strengths as things progress. Early on it’s a technical bout which favours Tighe, so Barker goes with strikes and kicks rather than trying to trade holds. Tighe realising he his overmatched when it comes to striking then takes things to the air with a springboard crossbody and split legged moonsault. In the end he is able to counter Barker’s attempt at his Flash in the Pan (roll the dice) finisher for the three count and No. 1 contender spot. This is a smartly wrestled match that largely keep things simple with a logical escalation as it goes on. Thumbs up. (***)


While the winner of the match was to be the No. 1 contender to the FWA Title, the loser was given an All England Title shot the same night, which seems strange for losing a match, but that means we are set for Barker to take on the perennial All England Champion Zebra Kid. Zebra was champ at Vendetta but since then there had been title switches involving Chris Hamrick and Jonny Storm, before coming back to him. I won’t post this match in its own thread as just as it starts we get interference from Hade Vansen who had done the same thing at Vendetta, and the match is thrown out.


After the last incident Vansen was fired/suspended in storyline, but once again he tries to hijack the show triggering a big brawl between the three guys and lots of security. We see the camera following security throwing him out the building, while the commentators try to play it off as a shoot. People maybe rolling their eyes at the whole worked shoot stuff, but as Greg Lambert outlines in his book on the period, that sort of angle had never really been done in British wrestling before. In an interesting note from Lambert’s book he notes that Alex Shane concocted an angle that only him and Vansen were in on whereby they had a confrontation at a fan convention to again sell the ‘realness’ of what was going on.

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