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[2002-03-22-FWA-Urban Legends 2] Doug Williams vs Flash Barker

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Doug is the FWA Champion coming in, while Flash is representing the 'Old School' which was the main heel stable in the FWA at the time. British wrestling legend Mick McManus is at ringside for this, while there is an old World Of Sport ref for the match, which rather than be nice nods to the tradition and history of British wrestling are sadly red flags for the complete mess this match will devolve into.

Flash cheapshots to start the match, and the early exchanges are the best part with both guys showing great fire and intensity and lots of snap in their strikes and chops. Barker tries to slow things down, but quickly realises that if its a technical battle then that plays right into Doug's hands, who will dominate on the mat, whereas when its a brawl the challenger has much more of a chance. After a flurry of offence, Doug gets a really nasty DDT off the top rope, but the old ref, after doing a standing 2 count WOS style then just calls for the bell?... to general confusion with no-one sure what's going on. We then get Dino Scarlo, who was off screen the FWA booker and on screen part of the Old School turning this into a 2/3 falls match, so Doug has gone up 1-0 rather than winning the match. You can already tell this is now going to go off the rails... 

After what seems an age, Doug goes on the attack against a still dazed Barker to try and finish off the match, which is a sound strategy and when the two guys can actually just wrestle straight the match is decent, but the old ref - think one of the Athletic Commission refs at MSG in the 80s - is so useless it ruins any momentum. Given how the story of the match goes, there's a chance that could be intentional, but I genuinely think he just didn't have a clue what was going on. Williams gets the Chaos Theory, but just as it looks like he's going to get the 2nd fall and retain, we get the next screwy moment as the bell rings again 'for the end of the round' and this is now being fought under European rounds. As rip offs of Over the Edge 98 go this is not the most compelling.

Despite all this, Doug is still dominating, until Barker gets a low blow and a pin with his foot on the ropes (maybe a bit much?) to tie things at 1-1. Barker then destroys Doug's leg with a chair, with Dino Scarlo just liberally joining in as well, which makes you think - why bother with the elaborate changing the rules on the fly story for the match if the interference/cheating is just going to be so blatant anyway? Just have him interfere to cost Williams the match. Rather than be Steve Austin vs Dude Love, this is Lance Storm vs Mike Awesome from New Blood Rising in making no-one come out looking good. After using the chair, Barker continues to work over the leg. Doug manages a hope spot, but can't execute the Chaos Theory with his injured ankle which I liked, but then Flash gets an ankle lock and the ref just calls for the bell without Doug tapping which I liked less (why not throw a bit of Montreal in for good matter?) and Flash is the new FWA Champion. Because of what went before, and the general shoddyness of the screw job execution no-one in the crowd really gets whats going on so you don't even get the reaction to the hated heel cheating to win. 

The booking in this destroys what could've been a really good match given that Doug is a brilliant wrestler, and Flash Barker in the FWA was a more than decent enough worker. Mick McManus presents Flash with the belt, but again its not clear if he was involved in the Old School's conspiracy to get the belt or if he's just an old guy that like the rest of us doesn't know what's going on... just really bad * for the match and -***** for the booking.

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