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TonyPulis'Cap

[2003-08-02-FWA-Northern Exposure Tour - Night 1] Doug Williams vs Christopher Daniels

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This is a banner match for the FWA, which brings with it lots of history between the two. This includes them first clashing in the UK all the way back in 1999 for the ill-fated UWA promotion (might have to go back and revisit that one day), to Daniels winning the FWA British Title by pinning Doug and taking it ‘hostage’ to America for 6 months to finally Doug winning the title back in Ring of Honor at Night of Champions (a hell of a match). A few months before this Daniels had pinned Jody Fleisch to win the FWA vs. ROH series and thus justify this shot at the title.

The first thing to say about this match is that the two have fantastic chemistry. Daniels stalls to begin the match, knowing that Doug got the best of him last time out, and Williams dominates the early goings. Daniels is used to being able to ‘out-wrestle’ his opponents, but Doug is the superior ‘technical wrestler’ and Daniels only answer early on is to try to break up his opponents momentum by going outside. What I loved was Doug steaming out with a tope to stop Daniels from stalling further on the outside, meaning there was a reason for the normally grounded Williams to fly to the outside.

But while he is finding himself outmatched technically, you can tell how smart a competitor Daniels is, and he continues to use tricks where he can to rile Doug up, and get him to make a mistake, and that’s where Daniels is able to capitalise when Doug lets his anger get the better of him. Daniels is then able to seize his opening to hit the Angels Wings for the first fall (FWA Title matches at this time were 2/3 falls).

Recognising his title is now in serious jeopardy, Williams gets a brief flurry at the beginning of the second fall and a couple of flash pins, but Daniels is great at cutting off any momentum, just as it is building. Daniels strategy is then to try and wear Doug down by going for regular pinfalls, but tries one too many, as Williams is able to catch a reversal on a sunset flip to tie things up at 1-1.

I liked that Daniels sold this anger at allowing himself to be caught and pinned when he was in control, and that it manifests itself in him not allowing the rest period between falls and taking it to the outside, where he will have the edge if this comes down to a brawl. But now the match has turned from a tactical encounter to a fight and its back and forth. I liked how with the tables turned, and Doug as the aggressor that it was Daniels who was looking to hang in and grab flash pinfall attempts where he can. There’s a great near fall where you think Doug has the match won off a bomb scare knee drop, but while Daniels survives that he is then vulnerable to the chaos theory and the winning fall goes to Williams to retain the title.

This is not as good as some of their previous clashes, in particular their more high-profile match in ROH, however that is more of a sign of just how good their other matches between them are! These two always mesh so well together, and it’s nice after Williams won the belt in America to see him definitively beat Daniels in a title match in the UK as well. I really liked the stories they told through the 2/3 fall structure in this one. (*** ½)

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