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[2003-09-21-FWA-Hotwired] The Family (Paul Travell & Raj Ghosh) vs Alex Shane & Ulf Herman (Double Barbed Wire Baseball Bat)


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I’ve talked over the previous shows I’ve reviewed about the rivalry between The Family and Shane/Herman, and the increased violence in the feud being something that the UK scene had not been used to. As you will see from the stipulation for this match, clear inspiration is being drawn from ECW. I enjoyed the two teams last match at Vendetta – a tag team first blood match – which had the right kind of BS finish that builds heat on top of being a fun match, but this in contrast is a real mess and comes with an ending that even Dusty Rhodes would balk at in terms of screwing over the fans and trying to be too clever.


This is Shane and Herman’s last shot at the belts while The Family are champions, with the violence escalating to where we have two barbed wire baseball bats hanging from the entrance way. The fact there is a somewhat convoluted rule whereby a fall needs to happen before the bats come into play, and then another fall after that to decide the match is a bad sign of things to come.


As previously, The Family mix and match their numbers to defend the belts. In all of these matches Paul Travell has been a constant, given his propensity from show to show to take more and more punishment, but this time he is joined by Raj Ghosh, the newest member, who had cost Shane and Herman the first blood match the previous month. Unfortunately while it makes sense from a storyline perspective, Ghosh is really out of his element in a match with weapons. Greg Lambert, the Family’s manager, in his book looking back at this event talks about how Ghosh never seemed to want to be part of the group and didn’t want to be taking part in hardcore brawls, and you can definitely tell. He looks really off his game and you can see several spots where Travell is constantly trying to get him more involved.


The first fall is a standard tag team match and tells the familiar story of The Family/Showswearers matches of the smaller heels being outmatched by their bigger opponents in a fair fight but cheating to get the advantage. Sadly the action is pretty sloppy throughout and it’s clear everyone is just killing time until the barbed wire bats come into play, which they do when following Shane accidently taking out the ref when temporarily blinded, a replacement ref runs in to give Shane the first pinfall. This is important and comes into play at the conclusion of the match.


The increased violence with the barbed wire bats means that we get some welcome intensity and there are some nasty looking shots with them. In particular, Travell is busted open to where you can see the blood from his head dripping onto the wooden floor. The brawling on the outside between Shane and Travell is more inspired as the two have good chemistry, but once again the Herman section in the ring is him doing his New Jack rip off routine to diminishing returns.


The finish of the match is a real killer, not helped by following the screwy finish in the Storm/Harmrick match directly before it. Sadly it’s the sort of booking that would start to have an impact long term on fans investment in the FWA. In their last shot at the titles, and after all the instances of The Family playing the numbers game, Shane and Herman seemingly win the titles to a good pop when Shane hits his 1 Night Stand finisher on Travell off the top rope into drawing pins…until, that is amid a fair bit of confusion, FWA head ref Steve Lynskey reverses the decision due to him being the assigned ref to the contest and Shane taking him out during the first fall which wasn’t No DQ - thus the titles go back to The Family. If wrestling was a real sport, I’m not sure this decision or interpretation of the rules by the official would stand up to much scrutiny…


It all leads to Shane making one last challenge to The Family for British Uprising now they can no longer challenge for the tag titles – if he and Herman lose then he is gone from the FWA forever, but if they win then The Family’s manager Greg Lambert has to take a Herman chair shot. I’ve long felt that wrestling, from seemingly the dawn of time up to the current day is obsessed with building the heat to make a payoff even bigger, but so many times the hoped for cathartic ending comes too late after fans have become fed up with being pissed off. This was one of those occasions. There is a big storyline coming with Shane and a major change in direction, but this was a big mess and not a particularly good match to boot. (* ½)

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  • GSR changed the title to [2003-09-21-FWA-Hotwired] The Family (Paul Travell & Raj Ghosh) vs Alex Shane & Ulf Herman (Double Barbed Wire Baseball Bat)

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