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TonyPulis'Cap

[2004-11-28-FWA-Goldrush 2004] Alex Shane vs Burchill

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This is a match that should’ve had a long build to it, and a program that you think the company would’ve looked to be a major part of their storylines in 2005, but was rushed to here because of Burchill’s departure for WWE. This was to be his last match for the FWA. In hindsight, and it’s always easy to be wise after the event, the company should really have utilised Burchill more effectively in 2004 and pushed him up the card sooner, but as is so often the case in wrestling, these things get held off until it’s too late. With Burchill’s departure imminent, you can see why they wanted to do this match when they had the chance.

The hastily booked storyline going in, was that after British Uprising III a couple of weeks prior, Shane had jumped Burchill backstage believing that as he was leaving for the WWE, that there wouldn’t be any repercussions. Unfortunately for him, in kayfabe terms, Burchill’s contract had one more month to run until the end of the year and so Shane has screwed himself over. Given how sporadic FWA shows could be at times though, you could feel Shane’s decision had some logic to it…   

Shane is fresh off winning the British Heavyweight Title at BU3 but this is non-title due to Burchill’s departure, which at least helps to add some drama to the result, which would otherwise have been pretty telegraphed. Before the match we get some funny mic work from Shane, with him trying to weasel his way out of the match by saying that Burchill doesn’t want to risk injury before his big move to the States. That unsurprisingly doesn’t go too well for him and in the early stages there’s a lot of Shane running and stalling in an effort to escape. He’s actually the taller guy, but such was the Goldberg-esque rep the FWA had built around Burchill that the fans are very much bought into him being the one who should be dominating. It should be noted that Burchill is ripped here and much leaner than when he first appeared in the company.

We get a number of opportunities early on for Burchill to showcase his power and agility – including a Samoan Crash and standing moonsault - which a lot of reasonably big guys on the indies can do now, but at the time, especially on the UK scene was revolutionary. As I’m finding a lot in my FWA rewatch, a number of matches that didn’t get much love at the time, are actually a lot better viewed now as tastes change. This match is a case in point. At the time, in hardcore wrestling fan circles, people were very much into smaller cruiserweight style or technical wrestlers, while big guys had a ‘WWE stigma’ attached to them. But today, ‘hoss’ matches or brawls between bigger guys are much more en vogue and I enjoyed this as a fun power match.

Shane was far from a technical marvel – his counter wrestling at the beginning his really ugly – but as a brawler and a guy that could tell a story in the ring, he was usually able to make his matches compelling, and I think 2004 is a very strong year for him in-ring wise – arguably the best of his career. With him having newly won the company’s title and Burchill leaving, this needed to be far more competitive and even that most of the matches Burchill had been in up to this point. There was enough in the exchanges here that made me think they could have had a really good match if they had been able to have Burchill be the guy to end Shane’s title reign at some stage in the future.

After a period of Shane being in control, we get a nice fired up run of power moves from Burchill, culminating in a really impressive looking C4 (standing Spanish Fly), although where due to his size and having to rotate it looked like Shane was perilously close to having his neck broken. We get a fun exchange of big moves; Burchill misses a standing Shooting Star Press, Shane gets a Chokebomb for 2, a second attempt is countered into a hurucunrana before Burchill misses a moonsault from the top rope. Shane going in for the kill hits his One Night Stand finisher…but just for two! Hits another, but once again a kick out. I can see why at the time some FWA fans thought this was killing off the champions finisher against a guy wrestling his last match for the company, but Burchill had been so protected and presented so dominantly that it needed that number of big moves to finish him off, which is emphasised by one of Shane’s security guards Stixx interfering and a final One Night Stand getting Shane the win.

I liked this match, but the overbooking in Shane’s matches is something that I can feel (and that I recall from watching at the time) is going to get very old, very quickly. But considering they had to rush to this match, I enjoyed their chemistry. (***)

After the match Burchill gets a standing ovation from the crowd and the locker room to wish him well before he left for WWE. Ultimately that was a move that didn’t really work out for him – although I like his run on (WW)ECW which had some fun little matches – but watching this in 2018 when NXT UK has just been established and so many UK guys are in such demand, the contrast with 2004 is incredible. Back then UK guys, and Europeans in general just didn’t get a chance in WWE. I think Burchill was definitely a guy that came around too early and that could’ve been a significant player in NXT UK if he was coming up on the scene now.

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