Lancaster Review – FWA 5/7/2002 Telford
Posted by Tom Lancaster on July 8th, 2002
Frontier Wrestling Alliance – Vendetta – Telford UK – 05/07/02

A change of pace for the FWA’s debut with ‘Vendetta’ at the Oakengates Theatre in Telford, Shropshire on 05/07/02 where the attraction of Jake The Snake Roberts enough to draw a near sellout crowd of 400 fans to the theatre venue with decent tiered seating, lighting and sound. Oakengates Theatre a popular venue for wrestling with the likes of NWA-UK Hammerlock, All Star and tributes all having held shows there over the last year. This show built around the rematch between Flash Barker and Doug Williams for the FWA Championship which was a Match of the Year candidate and Jake’s appearance. This report describes things from my filming viewpoint at the top of the tiers.

The show started with a local DJ downtalking wrestling until Alex Shane interfering and nailing him with a chair, then talking to the crowd, in a segment which again shows the ego of radio DJs in what is a fairly common occurence in indies around the world. Steve Lynsky refereed and now regular MC Jane Childs did the announcements, whilst providing the fans with something nice to look at.

An excellent opener saw the top trainee to come out of the FWA’s Portsmouth school, James Tighe, looking increasingly ripped, against the top London trainee, Hade Vansen and both men putting on the second best of the night. This mostly a technical and power based match with some nice high flying, including a series of moonsaults from Tighe who eventually took the win with his Running Shooting Star Press. Only complaint is that this one perhaps a little bit high impact for the position in the card, with so many big moves already used. After the match Mark Sloan appearing on the stage to exchange words with James Tighe to perhaps reunite the Establishment stable and set up events for later in the card.

In a segment old school members Dean Ayass, Justin Richards, Flash Barker and Drew McDonald set up the main event where Scott Parker would take on Justin Richards with an FWA British Title shot at stake at No Surprises 4 if Scott wins, but with Jake Robers as the special (old school?) referee. McDonald not wrestling tonight elsewhere on the card.

Next match in the TV Taping seeing the Duke of Danger, with butler Simmons taking on Jack Xavier. A lot of details in the programme and on the Internet about Danger having kidnapped Xavier’s valet Cami, but this seemed to be completely downplayed in this one, with no mention given and Xavier not seeming concerned. A decent enough match but with poor refereeing as Simmons interfering in front of the referee a few times, including giving Xavier the Butler Blockbuster, now downvalued as Xavier kicked out and scoring an invalid pinfall on Xavier with old trainee finisher, the Simmonz Roll. The funky, chunk Jack Xavier still taking the win despite the interference.

Mark Sloan defending the All England Title against the Zebra Kid had a lot of potential but something about this one didn’t quite gel, although the match still decent. Somehow Zebra here devoid of a lot of the face heat he’d had at Walthamstow, perhaps because the hard to get to location of Telford removing a lot of the regular FWA fans, or perhaps because of Zebra’s previous appearances in the venue on the All Star roster. Zebra taking the All England Title with a Flying Elbow after botched interference by James Tighe.

Probably the most over match of the night the New Breed taking on the dream team combination of Jonny Storm and Jodie Fleisch in a US indie style spot fest. The match saw Jodie and Jonny hit a load of their big moves in the first couple of minutes, before the Breed dominating for much of the face on face match, including hitting a Double Shining Wizard. This match losing itself a bit in the closing stages with some attempts at spots going afray and so the finish Jonny Storm get pinned after a missed Moonsault attempt in a new type of loss for him.

The second half opener seeing the UK Pitbulls make their first defence of the FWA British Tag Titles in a squash against new team Double Dragon of Raj Ghosh and Ross Jordan, in matching red and black trunks and baseball caps. Quite why Double Dragon had earned a shot in their first match not quite made clear and the size difference in this one evident as lightweight team Dragon barely getting a dropkick apiece in against one of the world’s heaviest teams before being polished off in around three minutes. The Pitbulls announcing that this wasn’t enough of a challenge and another new team Electric Mayhem, better known around as the rest of the UK as the Coalminers, heading out with new green tights. Unfortunately for them the FWA name seeming to have removed most of their offence and charisma and the Pitbulls too finishing off Mayhem in short order in what seemed another pointless waste for introducing a new team. At this point the New Breed coming out, taking it to the Pitbulls and security breaking it up, presumably the open challenge rules no longer in effect, but this not made clear. Not much in terms of wrestling here, more a TV set up.

Wrestling however the order of the day for the next match, with Dean Ayass bringing FWA Champion Flash Barker to the ring to make the second defence of the belt against the former champion and Universal British Champion, Doug Williams, although quite why Doug challenging for a lower ranked title and why his belt on the line not ever made clear. A mat clinic for the most part leading this match to be a must see for anyone disillusioned with the spot filled style taking over wrestling, with a bit of interest added with a short brawl around the building. The finish seeing a referee bump, Doug Williams having three counts with both the Chaos Theory (Roll through German Suplex) and the Revolution DDT but with the referee recovering Flash hitting the Flash in the Pan for the win. A little bit of a standard finish but easily the best match of the night keeping the audience’s attention with the modernised technical style for over twenty minutes.

The final match couldn’t follow this, with Scott Parker against Justin Richards, a decent match, but thrown with the appearance of Jake Roberts as special guest referee and his snake in the corner of the ring. Jake struggling a little on the way to the ring, but doing a good job of down the middle officiating, although getting more chants than the men in the ring and dwarfing both of them. Scott taking this one with the Golden Arrow (Falcon Arrow) despite Dean Ayass’ interference at ringside. After the match main referee Steve Lynsky heading to the ring for the main purpose of taking the DDT and having the snake placed on him and down his trousers before Jake Roberts and Scott Parker soaking up the crowd applause.

Overall a good show with two strong matches and much easier to follow booking than FWA shows have seen for a while, coming across more as a complete show than something for small time TV. The spot fest nature of some of the matches still a little suspect, with so many moves in the first couple of bouts than everything else would struggle to follow and with spot fests always come blown spots and this as evident here as anywhere else. But the show definitely a step in the right direction and a good model for the future.

Tom Lancaster