I started out for London on the Thursday afternoon. When I go down South for a show I tend to make the most of my time and take in some touristy sights whilst I'm there. Hence the reason we (as I met up with a "friend" wink, wink) were late arriving at York Hall, Bethnal Green, I blame David Blane! That and the fact that I'm hopeless with directions and even though I've already been to the Hall before I still managed to take a wrong turn! Anyway I thought this is the FWA they're never on time, so we'll be ok and sure enough when we arrive there's a huge crowd gathered outside the venue...phew! Of course I wasn't to know about the bomb scare and all the excitement of having the wrestlers hanging around outside with the crowd! So the FWA weren't at fault on this one and they still managed to finish on time so all credit to them!
We finally get inside the building and purchase two floor seats. Next time I will definitely buy the tickets in advance as I'm not keen on the waiting around. It turns out we have a pretty good view so I'm pleasantly pleased. The show gets underway very quickly once we were inside with Tony Giles and Nick London coming to the ring and getting us nicely warmed up with talk of the new wrestling channel and hyping the show. The awesome FWA Uprising II video played on a big screen to the delight of the crowd with a huge cheer being heard as Jody Fleisch appeared on the screen, gone but certainly not forgotten. Next out to the ring is Jane Childs, who goes on to say how we're being filmed, etc. and not to swear if possible. She doesn't know us very well does she? lol! Asking FWA fans not to swear is like asking Ulf Herman to take it easy on Paul Travell, not very likely!
Anyway the show gets underway following a dazzling display of fireworks, FWA really excelled in this department for this show. First out and to a big pop was one of our home grown stars in the cuddly shape of Jack Xavier! I can't say I knew too much about his opponent for the evening, that being the Indy sensation Homicide going into this match, but he soon impressed me with his stiff kicks and chops and his good interaction with the crowd, obliging when we asked for a kick to Jacks face "one more time" I'm sure Jack wasn't as thrilled! Homicide dominated most of this match but Jack fought back well finally getting the pin after some near falls from Homicide with a Fall Forward Neckbraker. This was a good solid match that did it's job perfectly and warmed up the crowd nicely. Both men got a good reception from the crowd and shook hands after the match which is always great to see.
Next out was Mark Sloan being accompanied by Stevie Knight, "aaahhh I was right!" I thought, Knight is the man who put the £10,000 bounty on Nikitas head but he assured us it wasn't him and then he went on to orally attack Nikita, slagging off the size of her backside amongst other things. Poor Nikita was far from happy as she wasted no time in running to the ring only to be greeted by several swift kicks to her back. This match wasn't bad with Sloan doing his usual technical moves and holds. Unfortunately I knew only to well that Nikita would be getting the victory as not only was she kicking out of all Sloans best moves but obviously this storyline was always going to be furthered and not finished with before it even took off, so bearing all this in mind it was no surprise when Nikita finally took the pinfall and subsequent victory. The only problem with this match in my opinion was that it was given a fair amount of time when other more interesting/entertaining matches which deserved the extra time were rushed and far to short. Still it was early in the show and to be fair to the FWA they probably hadn't realised how fine they would be cutting it to actually finish on time.
One of my favourite matches of the night was up next, with the FWAs first ever IWA Mid-South International Guest Match. The guests in question were non other than Colt Cabana who I had limited knowledge of and the awesome, not to mention very hot CM Punk!! Both these men earned my respect in this match, combining entertaining the crowd with humour and class as well as putting on a solid performance leaving the crowd chanting "please come back" at the end of the match! Punk eventually went on to win after his trademark Pepsi Plunge finally saw off Cabana. Both men received huge pops from the crowd throughout this match with chants for both ringing out. Punk capitalised on this when Cabana returned to his feet by having half the audience shout for himself and the other half chant for Cabana. That was a nice touch and I think both men were visibly touched with how well they were received by the FWA faithful. Hopefully we will see them both again in an FWA ring soon.
Jane Childs returned to the ring at this point to announce that Zebra Kid had not yet arrived at the York hall. Now, why would you do that if the person seriously wasn't going to turn up? I mean usually this trick is kept to "surprise" the crowd when the said person finally does waltz in, thus getting a bigger crowd reaction. Not in the FWA it doesn't! Anyway more on this soon....
Ulf Herman and Alex Shane made their way to the ring next, was Alex going to wrestle? As far as I was aware he was declared unfit by his doctor and was to play no part in this match. Greg Lambert reiterated this point and Alex had just two things to say about this and it was...Mikey and Whipreck!! So Mikey was the surprise tag partner for Ulf in this epic and final hard-core battle for the tag team belts against The Family. So epic that this match was announced as ..wait for it.. an "Apocalypse Grudge Match"! The crowd seemed very pleased to see Mikey back at York Hall and gave him a tremendous reception. He and Ulf took to the ring first having some fun with Mrs Lambert the blow up doll that frequently pops up (geddit?) at FWA events! Not that kinda fun, naughty!, but the Spike Piledrive manouever that poor Mrs Lambert always has to endure lol!
This match was brutal to say the least. All sorts of weapons were used including: cameras, video recorders, baking trays, baseball bats, barbed wire, thumb tacks, golf clubs, even a computer keyboard at one stage! A ladder was also introduced which Raj Ghosh attempted to climb even though the ladder was very unsteady. Travell managed to use the ladder to his advantage using it to perform a tornado DDT on Herman. As Herman was down Travell littered the floor with the thumb tacks, unfortunately Ulf had returned to his feet and he proceeded to Press Slam poor Travell onto the tacks and then went and stepped on him making sure that the tacks became embedded! I say "poor Travell" as he seemed, as usual, to be the Family's fall guy, taking the majority of the brutal bumps in this match...but the worst was yet to come. Unfortunately for me and for you, as I can't give a proper account of this next "stunt" as my view was hampered by fans standing up in front of me to see for themselves what was about to happen. Although I can tell you as much as I saw and after reading views on fan forums I'm slightly glad I didn't bear witness to what came next.
A table had been set up on the outside of the ring through which Herman proceeded to Double Chokeslam Paul Travell (I saw Travell being lifted in the air), nothing wrong in that you might think but add to this that the table was actually on fire!! Also add to this that Travell didn't seem to "ignite" as fully as intended and so by all accounts someone, either Whipreck or Travell himself (remember I couldn't actually see this) threw lighter fuel onto Travells back which resulted in Travell becoming alight and screaming in agony as the action continued in the ring. Ulf finished the match by suplexing Ghosh for the three count. I hope Paul Travell is ok as last I saw of him he was being attended to by St.Johns ambulance people.
Now I forgot to mention that a stipulation was in place for this match that if Herman and Shane were to win, Greg Lambert would have to take a chair shot. Naturally on hearing the result Lambert tries to disappear up the ramp but Alex Shane came out to greet him and drags Mr Lambert back to the ring, tying him to the ring ropes with tape, much to the fans amusement. So Ulf grabs a chair and takes a swing at Lambert but surprise, surprise, which it actually was to me! Shane grabs the chair and uses it to smack Herman with. He then unties Lambert and in the process completes a heel turn against his former tag partner, to be greeted with a hostile reaction from the fans who exclaimed f**k you Alex! So much for the no swearing lol!
Finally it was time for the interval! Yey! I could have a drink, an alcoholic one of course, only problem was that by the time we finally got served Jane Childs announces that we only have ten minutes. So I ended up having to leave a quarter of my pint, shocking!
Flash Barker had already made his way to ringside. Now the question was.. had Zebra Kid arrived yet? Well, there was no sign of him but coincidentally Hade Vanson was there, who just happened to have his wrestling gear with him. Make of that what you will, but the end result was the same. The match that went ahead was Barker vs Vanson for the All England Title. Now the crowd were shouting B*lls**t here and not just because of the match, but this was a legitimate angry response as basically the crowd felt cheated as this wasn't the advertised match. Especially considering that the last FWA match scheduled between Barker and Zebra had already been cancelled due once again to interference from Vanson. This match wasn't bad but unfortunately Barker aggravated his knee injury and you could just see the pain he was in. Credit where it's due he continued the match and finally Vanson scored the victory which left a distinct bitter taste in most fans mouths. On the plus side Barker gets to have the surgery he really does require and Zebra hopefully can have a decent feud against Vanson. If he ever returns with the belt that is lol!
Simmonz Mania was running wild in this next match as The Duke, Buttercup and Simmonz came out to finally face the monster that is Paul Birchill. This feud has had a wonderful and very entertaining build up with The Duke trying his best to avoid the inevitable contest. For a heel Simmonz is still super over with the crowd, we just love him! I was expecting the usual squash match here but surprisingly Hampton Court did actually get some decent offence in. One particular instant that stands out was them pushing Burchill from the top rope through a table to the outside of the ring. This gave the duo an advantage as they continued to work together and double team Burchill before squabbling over who should get the pin. Is this the first signs of unrest from Simmonz? Unfortunately this allowed Burchill to take control and he did so with his trademark Shooting Star Press and Moonsaults amongst various other power moves. The man really is agile and has to be seen to be believed. I would of liked this match to of lasted longer than it did but after heavy dominance by Burchill both The Duke and Simmonz were left K/O in the centre of the ring. The expected Double Count-out followed and Burchill who knew his job was done left up the ramp.
My favourite UK wrestler, that being the awesome Jonny Storm came out next with a whole new look! Gone was the trademark long hair to be replaced with... a skinhead! Add to that a new cool jacket and Jonny was looking the business! Naturally the fans erupted in a "where's your hair gone" chant, which had me cracking up! His opponent tonight was the former WWF/E and ECW star Justin Credible (I always liked the name much more than the actual wrestler lol!). Storm gained some tremendous heel heat by launching a verbal assault onto his former friend Jody Fleisch. This match was decent enough yet again a tad to short. A lot of the action was out of the ring. Credible actually had a three plus count after he had landed a Tombstone Piledriver but he had accidentally Super Kicked the referee leaving no-one there to get the count..shame hehe. After a bit more back and forth action Storm got a roll up, using Credibles tights to gain the pin. Credible knew he was defeated and acknowledged Storm as the better man (a real mark out moment for me!) but gave Storm a Piledriver for "London". This was a good match and Credible was also treated to a "please come back" chant.
Last but certainly not least was the hugely anticipated main event. James Tighe was finally getting his chance to land the gold in this one on one FWA Heavyweight Title Match against the fantastic Doug Williams. This was always going to be a very technical match up which indeed it was, but it also showed just how far Tighe has come in the past year. He really held his own in this match and you could tell that Williams really respected him. The wrestling was superb and was confined to the ring with the exception of Williams hitting his Chaos Theory on Tighe on the ramp no less, ouch! The match was a two out of three falls with Williams taking the first fall by submission, so naturally Tighe was getting the second pinfall after hitting not one but two Tighetanics! levelling the scores at one each. Who would leave as champion? I really wasn't sure, which is damn good booking. Again after lots of oh so near falls Williams scores the win with a Dragon Suplex Chaos Theory to retain the belt. A great way to end a very good and entertaining show. We had to make a swift exit to ensure we didn't miss our last train home but we just had time for a few very brief words with Colt Cabana who was selling T Shirts and pictures in the foyer. We had a really great time, so roll on Seasons Beatings!