FWA British Uprising – The first full report!
Posted by Luke Constable on October 13th, 2002
Despite taking a turn in the wrong direction which led us to walking around in the freezing October rain for 20-odd minutes more than we should’ve done, me and my companion George still arrived at the York Hall in time.
The fans were in falstaffian spirits as they queued patiently outside, despite being as soggy as an overly-dunked biscuit. We were all perked up therefore, when a beaming white limo pulled up right outside the building. Why should we have expected anything less from the biggest UK show of the year? Alex Shane stepped out from the back and was met by ‘Show!’ chants all round as fans readied themselves for the evening’s action.
Despite being more of a casual fan (this being his first UK show), George was only joking when he asked what time The Rock would appear. There were no jokes though when the same limo returned to the same sodden pavement with three new passengers aboard – Jodie Fleisch, AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn. As they wangled their way through the bustling crowd to get through the door, it dawned on me that around 80% or so of the fans waiting will have paid their money to see those three people alone. But there was a certainty amongst the regular FWA followers that those same fans would leave Bethnal Green with the names of other stars etched in their minds.
With two separate merchandise tables, there was plenty on offer to make you part with your cash. The new Alex Shane and Jodie Fleisch t-shirts seemed to sell pretty well, as did the black FWA ones. I shelled out for two programmes at a cost of a tenner, as I was due to pay more money to the nice man from http://www.x2videos.idz.net who gave me some tapes as planned. ; )
After an abrupt blast of pyro which made most in attendance (myself included) nearly soil ourselves, frontier’s Jane Childs entered the ring and the show was underway. After months of hype and excitement, British Uprising had begun!
The first match was a three way dance for the number one contendership to the All-England title, and was contested between James Tighe, Raj Ghosh and Jack Xavier. It wasn’t the best start to a show when Tighe ambled out from behind the curtain and promptly proceeded to trip up over a part of the set that had come loose. Regardless of all entrance mishaps, this was an excellent opener, with the three men linking together to perform an array of innovative triangle-style spots, with one of the highlights being a Tighe fireman carry on Ghosh being worked into a tornado DDT by Ghosh on Xavier.
This match was so entertaining as it eschewed the usual ‘one man waits while the other two wrestle’ approach and instead involved some proper three-way grappling. As the match progressed to the finish, both Xavier and Ghosh did some suicidal dives to the outside – Ghosh in particular seemed to glide down onto his opponents. Back in the ring Ghosh clasped onto the ropes to evade a Xavier waistlock, which enabled Tighe to sunset flip over both men and roll-up Xavier, who simultaneously planted Ghosh with a german suplex. All three men garnered the standing ovation that they richly deserved as Tighe celebrated becoming the number one contender.
Before the in-ring action could continue, a special guest returned to the fold. And he was there for one reason – to steal the show. Alex Shane’s return to the FWA took the form of an anti-Old School promo as he berated the foes that gave him his neck injury and put him on the bench. A lot had changed in the time that had elapsed since he had last been in the ring according to Shane – “9 months ago you could ask John Major how last night’s Currie was without going red”.
As he admonished his Old School adversaries, it raised the ire of Dean Ayass and Flash Barker as they trundled to the ring to set a few things straight. Ayass was not in the best of moods, as proven when he stole some kids sign and tore it to shreds, to the amusement of everyone else. After a stern warning to the Showstealer that the Old School is not to be messed with, Shane angered Ayass further by playing the painfully camp radio jingle for ‘Dean’s Dream Theme’. As Shane began to cap off his promo, Mark Sloan ran in through the crowd and levelled him with a chair to the head. That’ll teach him, the cheeky scamp…
Having settled who would get the next shot at the All-England championship, it was time to decide on who Tighe would face at London Calling. Champion the Zebra Kid took on Hade Vansen in a hard-hitting affair which was heavily punctuated by some stiff kicks, Lo Ki style, by Vansen. The bout spilled to the outside on more than one occasion, with Vansen taking the brunt of the Zebra’s offence. A legdrop on Vansen – laid across a chair at ringside – from the ring apron by Zebra gave him the upper hand as the match returned to the ring. The bemulleted Kid faced a fight back from Vansen who looked to reverse his fortunes with a corkscrew moonsault, but after he missed, it allowed the Zebra Kid to pick up the win with an impeccable top-rope elbow drop.
The next match saw the FWA tag titles go up for grabs as the popular New Breed were set to take on the massive Pitbulls. But as Ashe and Curve made their way to the ring, the big rookie Paul Birchall ran in inexplicably and levelled the duo. Impervious to Curve’s boot to the face, he nipped up and took control of him before blasting him through a table at ringside. As Ashe recovered and discovered the state of his fallen partner, the Pitbulls wobbled their way to the ring. Ashe’s plea’s for the match to be cancelled fell on fat (I mean, deaf) ears as Big Dave and Bulk proceeded to smash around the solitary Breedster. After a brief comeback, Ashe’s hopes were entirely dashed after he was mangled by the rotund ‘rasslers which saw them retain their straps. Never was the term ‘squash match’ more appropriate…
I was thoroughly disappointed in the outcome of that match, as I was hoping to see the Breed perform. Seeing as this was the biggest show in the Frontier group’shistory, I would’ve though they’d have been given the opportunity to showcase their talents. But alas, the force of our chubby champions was too strong.
I had hoped to sooth my woes with a interval pie as Jane Childs began to announce a break. But she had not counted on the interruption of Drew McDonald. The
‘Highlander from Hell’ challenged Old School icon Robbie Brookside to a match which was sanctioned by the TWA. Brookside was only to happy to oblige.
Unfortunately their match didn’t go down quite as well with the younger fans who had grown familiar with flip dives and planchas over the top rope. Indeed, one of the highlights of this match was a comment from a random punter who remarked on the physical similarities between Drew and the WWF grandad the Iron Sheik. Instead,
Brookside and McDonald set about telling some semblance of a story in their match, a concept lost on a minor percentage of the crowd. This particular story had no conclusive ending however, as both men were disqualified after slapping the referee about. After the decision, Brookside gained some retribution by smashing the official with a baseball slide to the face.
As I prepared myself to dash off for my much-wanted pie, Jane Childs informed us all that one match would take place before the interval began. One that many people
were so very eager to see – Doug Williams versus Jerry Lynn. Williams was the first out to what I considered to be a big ovation. But it paled in comparison to that of the New F’n Show, who had every single fan on their feet as he made his way down the ramp.
The appreciative fans were spoilt for choice with chants to select from with ‘New F’n Show!’, ‘Anarchist!’, ‘F-ck him up Jerry/Doug!’ all being used, as well as the
legendary ‘E-C-Dub!’. It was at this point that the fans decided to stand up on their chairs for the rest of the show. As I was behind a lot of these (tall) people, I had no choice but to follow suit and stand, much to my chargin.
Whether standing up or sitting down, the fans were well into the match and were suitably vocal for the occasion. Lynn and Williams traded hold for hold in the early
proceedings, before eventually reading each other’s minds and going for dropkicks at the same time. I managed to get a half-decent snap of Lynn in mid-air as he performed asomersault from the ring apron on the outside of the ring. They remained on the outside as Doug powerbombed Lynn on the protective (yet thin) mats on the outside.
Back in the ring, Lynn scored one of many near-falls when he flipped over Doug on the top strand and swivelled into a sunset flip. They then proceeded to bond together a
string of close two-counts, and the enthusiastic crowd enjoyed seem banter with the ref. For every two that the ref declared, the fans vehemently responded with an overwhelming ‘Three!’. The fans would have to wait for that number to be counted until Williams slipped out of a cradle piledriver attempt and hit his ever-tremendous roll-through german suplex for the very popular three-count.
As good as the match was, I didn’t stick around for long enough to soak up the fans’ adulation as I dashed off for a pie and some lukewarm cola. Mmmm, yummy!
Despite the pastry snack’s label reading ‘Minced Beef and Onion’, the manufacturers clearly forgot to add the ingredient of ‘Grease’ to the label. As sloppy as it was, it tasted nice after hours after being kept waiting in the line for so long. Me and George entertained ourselves by laughing at a child next to us who looked like Diff’rent Strokes wiener Gary Coleman. ‘Whatchu talkin’ bout?’
Due to the claustrophobic queues, ‘The Family’ of Paul Travell, Ian DaSilva, Brandon Thomas and Scottie Rock were in the ring by the time I returned to my seat. The
opponent for Travell was the blue bacofoil-clad Nikita. Despite widespread internet opinion that Nikita would get the duke, I had shrewdly predicted that it would be Travell
to gain the bragging rights. Nikita’s prospects improved when Travell’s cohorts were sent away from the ringside area by the referee. Nikita went close with a crucifix turned into a sunset flip which drew a close two-count. Travell retaliated with a chokeslam into a backbreaker which provoked a collective ‘Oooh!’ from the crowd. After exposing the turnbuckle Travell’s luck was reversed when Nikita smashed him face-first into the padless corner fixing for another near fall. Travell bounced back eventually and won the match after a powerbomb/facebuster hybrid.
It was time for some hardcore action to spread throughout the buliding next as Ulf Herman tangled with Balls Mahoney. Ulf’s ECW t-shirt and persistent chants for the
Extreme promotion provoked Balls to grab the mic and tell the fans that “We don’t wanna hear that ECW sh+t.” The three letters he was looking for were F.W.A. The crowd
Before the show when it was announced that Ulf’s opponent would be the one-time hardcore stalwart of ECW, a lot of people criticised both the FWA and Balls. So it was pleasing to hear Balls get possibly the biggest ovation of the night as he came to the ring, armed with a barbed-wire stick and a custom-made FWA chair. Before the
match began Mahoney was sidetracked by a sign in the front row declaring that ‘ULF SUCKS BALLS’. Mahoney laughed, but never denied it.
After various takedowns and holds, Mahoney sent Ulf to the outside, prompting the fans to sing that ‘Balls can wrestle’. Not soon after, as if to prove them wrong, Balls
began to get all kinds of hardcore. The match spread around the Hall and I wormed my way into the thick of it as they battled by the merchandise tables by the back of the hall. Balls smashed Ulf through the Strong Style tapes table, shattering it in two and sending videos and cd’s sprawling all over the floor. Further damage was done when Balls smashed a bottle of water over Ulf’s noggin, spraying H20 everywhere.
Fans had less reason to fear getting crushed and killed when they returned to the ring and proceeded to exchange chair shots to their now-bleeding heads. As the match became more violent, two fans a few seats away from me started a meagre ‘We want thumbtacks’ chant. My reaction was one of disdain – as if they’d just listen to you and go get some pins to mess around with. My smugness was therefore eradicated when Balls produced a bag of the shiny sharp stationery and scattered them over the floor. Planning to superplex Ulf onto the tacks, he managed to reverse it into a top-rope sunset flip – an amazing feat for a man of seven foot – and splatted Balls back first onto them for the win.
Balls soaked up the blood, sweat and a unanimous roar of ‘Please come back’ as he stood in the ring after his defeat with pins stuck in his arse. Clearly not troubled by
them, he stuck a few in his forehead for good measure. Must be a handy place to attach notes I guess.
The third american star to feature on the card appeared next as Ring of Honour and NWA:TNA worker AJ Styles prepared to take on Jonny Storm.
After a frenetic opening Styles began to show people what he could do, and got a good reaction for a nip-up into a legscissor takedown which sent Storm out of the ring. Styles baseball-slid under the bottom rope and connected with Storm for another legscissors and battled briefly on the outside of the ring.
Their return to the ring saw some breathtaking spots take place, not least a second rope back flip into a reverse DDT by Styles, and a wheelbarrow into a DDT by Storm.
After inadvertantly knocking the ref down with his trailing leg, Storm fell prey to the impressive Styles-Clash finisher – from the second rope. The loud ‘You killed Jonny’
reaction didn’t revive the ref until Storm had regained his senses. In one of the most amazing finishes to a match I’ve ever seen, AJ military-pressed Jonny on the top rope
only for Storm to turn it into a DDT. An incredible finish to an incredible finish.
In normal circumstances that match would’ve gone down as a showstealer. Butthe next match on offer had the possibility of doing so. Flash Barker versus Jodie Fleisch
in a ladder match.
The ever-popular Jodie has battled in ladder matches before (most notably withthe aforementioned Storm) and was more familiar with the gimmick than his opponent
Flash would have been. That said, the two still put on an amazing encounter which allowed for innovation without totally compromising logic. Jodie’s consistently breathtaking shooting star press to the outside of the ring paved for the way for the ladder to brought into the fray, and the first use of note was
when Flash was suplexed onto he ladder which had been propped up across the ring and the safety barrier.
At around this point in the match, me and George spotted a certain Mr. Lynn peering through the curtain to watch the match. Despite several frantic attempts at waving at him, he never responded although I’m sure he saw us. How could he not – we looked like bloody retards.
Having clashed into the security barrier, Jodie had something amazing in mind – the move of the night. I saw him catch a glimpse of something above me and I knew what
it was. The 20 foot high balcony. Setting up the ladder below it, the fans rose to their feet in anticipation of what was bound to come. I was right underneath Jodie as he clambered into the balcony from the ladder. And after perching himself precariously on the ledge, he leapt down in a moonsault on top of the prone Flash. With ‘Holy Sh+t!’ chants still ringing in my ears from what had been witnessed earlier in the evening, Jodie still managed to eclipse them all in one fell swoop. Absolutely astounding.
Needing to climb the ladder to retrieve the belt, Jodie still had plenty of work to do. As the fans were further drawn into the match which had everyone engrossed, I
spotted a large, bloody figure creeping down the aisle beside me. It was Balls Mahoney. As I stood on my chair preparing to take a quick snap, Balls thwarted me by putting his finger to his lips and whispering ‘Sssshhh!’ to me. Dang.
The match continued and Flash dragged Jodie from the top of the ladder by way of a huge german suplex. ‘The Phoenix’ rose to set up another ladder and as both men climbed their respective rungs, Jodie shoved Flash over and sent him crashing through the table below him outside the ring. This left Jodie to do one thing, and that was climb the ladder and grab the belt which he duly did to a massive ovation. As confetti swirled through the air the babyfaces including Alex Shane, Jerry Lynn, Doug Williams, AJ Styles and others congregated in the ring to congratulate Jodie on a job well done. Unlike at No Surprise 4 when his title win was debated, there was no denying it this time – Jodie Fleisch was the FWA heavyweight champion.
And with that the show was finished. But for me I still had the pressing matter of capturing some autographs from Messrs. Mahoney, Lynn and Styles. But George had received a text message. The last train was imminent. I had to leave immediately. As I rued the missed opportunity to get some signatures, George tried to console me by saying that I had the memories of being present for an excellent show – and noone could take them away.
And for me, memories are made up of Balls pushing tacks in his head, Jodie diving from that balcony and Jerry Lynn refusing to wave at me. B+stard.