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[2003-10-18-FWA-British Uprising II] Doug Williams vs James Tighe

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As with British Uprising I the previous year, it’s good to see the show main evented by the FWA Title and main evented by two British guys. Over the year since that show Doug Williams had been firmly established as the ace of the company having brought the title ‘home’ by beating Christopher Daniels at ROH’s Night of Champions in March. Following that he successfully defended the title against a series of imports including Chris Hamrick, Juventud Guerrera, Christopher Daniels and Bryan Danielson. This is his first home grown challenger.


This is a really well built up match. Back at Crunch 2003 in March, Doug defeated James Tighe in a match that showed that Tighe could compete with Doug, but wasn’t yet on his level. For much of the summer and autumn Doug was competing in ROH and NOAH, cementing his position as the best wrestler in the UK and as a trailblazer of sorts for the UK scene, while Tighe was able to pick up big wins and defeat two former FWA champions; Jody Fleisch and Flash Barker in a mini tournament to become No. 1 contender. With his momentum growing Tighe was also able to beat another former FWA champion in Christopher Daniels and then finally pin Doug in a non title triple threat match, also involving Flash Barker, in Newport in Wales two months before this to show that he was now ready to challenge.


A simple story – very Japanese in booking - and effective in building Tighe up; it really felt like the title could realistically change hands here. Stylistically, it’s a match up that also clicked - Tighe as a younger version of Williams, looking to take his crown.


That plays into the match from the start and the opening mat exchanges; these are two technical guys, proficient in that style. A reminder as well, that FWA Title matches at this point were contested under 2 out of 3 falls rules. For most of the first fall, Doug, showing that he’s the top guy in the company is largely in control with Tighe trying to work an opening on the leg to make use of his Texas cloverleaf. Williams mainly controls the head and neck with a series of front chancery’s one of which he turns into a reverse DDT on the floor. Tighe, feeling like he is being dominated on the mat tries to up the pace with a pair of dropkicks and also an exchange of forearm’s, but this just seems to piss Doug off. After a series of reversals where each looks to hit one of their signature moves, he is able to catch Tighe in a cobra clutch which he flips over in a version of the move I don’t recall seeing before, but which looks really painful. This is enough to get a tap to go up 1 fall to 0.


We have breaks between the falls with each having a corner man and taking on water, both playing up to the WOS heritage and the rounds system but also helping give it that big fight feel. With Tighe still feeling his neck, Doug goes straight in for the kill and tries to hook the same move again, before transitioning into a cattle mutilation! He’d had a series of great matches with Bryan Danielson in ROH that year so I like that he was working that in as a move he had picked up. Doug is looking to keep the advantage and keeps working over the neck but gets caught with a snap German when charging in with a knee. Tighe realising this is his chance uses that as an opening to hit a flurry of a springboard back elbow, a hurucanrana and a brainbuster for a nearfall when Doug just gets his foot on the bottom rope. He levels up the match at 1-1 after hitting two Tighetanics after Doug actually kicks out of the first one. I liked this and the foot on the rope as it showed the resilience that Doug has even in dropping the fall, and that Tighe will really have to raise his game to take the title.


Almost off the restart, Tighe gets a great nearfall reversing the Chaos Theory into a roll up. With both men in a sudden death environment now, the third fall sees the intensity levels rise and the match breakdown into more of a brawl and it spills to the outside with Doug taking a nasty bump on the outside when going for his revolution DDT off the apron. They work their way to the ramp where in a brutal looking moment, Tighe takes a Chaos Theory on the ramp! Tighe is clearly now running on fumes but somehow stays in the match kicking out of not just a revolution DDT, but a series of a pair of brainbusters followed by the Chaos Theory!


Getting frustrated, Doug deviates from his game plan and makes an error by going to the top but missing a senton. This gives Tighe the chance to hit a desperation tiger driver but just for 2! Given it’s got him a fall already, it makes sense that he goes for another Tighetanic, but having been hit by it before, Doug is able to counter this time and go all out with a Dragon Suplex Chaos Theory to retain the belt. This is a great match, the best of the FWA all year in 2003, and probably to this point the best I’ve seen in the company history. From the opening exchanges, to the escalation, to the ebb and flow and then the hot finishing sequence, there is lots to love in this one. (**** 1/4)

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