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FWA academy Powerplay 1 preview

Eamon Shrahan (FWA Academy Champion) vs Duke of Danger (FWA Academy Title Match)

The latest FWA Academy show sees a rare appearance from the Duke of Danger, as he looks to prise the Academy Title out of the grasp of Champion Eamon Shrahan. Eamon has now made the most title defenses of any FWA Academy Champion, and will have to be at his best to keep this streak alive and retain the Title that is clearly so precious to him. Eamon’s possessiveness of the Title was a major factor in this match being signed, as last week’s Onslaught 1 saw Eamon attacking Andy Simmonz with the title belt and taunting him with it after a victorious defence. The Duke of Danger, a self-proclaimed ‘man of honour’ made the save, disgusted with Eamon for attacking a man that had offered him his hand in respect. Whether the Duke can claim the ultimate revenge for such a display of bad manners will be decided at Powerplay 1 in Portsmouth.

James Tighe (ranked 5th) vs Paul Birchall (ranked 2nd)

Saturday’s show will also see another chapter written in what is arguably the hottest long-term feud in the history of the FWA Academy; as James Tighe takes on his monstrous nemesis Paul Birchall in singles competition for the 4th time. Birchall has emerged victorious from all 3 of these matches against Tighe, and so must be considered the favourite for this match. Having Tighe considered an underdog is a very rare occurrence in the FWA Academy, after all he has only ever been defeated by four wrestlers currently active on the Academy roster. However, two of these defeats, at the hands of Mark Sloan and Stixx respectively, have occurred at the last two shows, so Tighe is looking to avoid losing his third consecutive match. What for long seemed to be a competitive rivalry between Birchall and Tighe took a nasty twist at Revolt 2004; when Birchall allied himself with Stixx, Mark Underwood, and Brad Bennett; and led a brutal 4-man attack on Tighe. Avenging this beatdown may be the catalyst Tighe needs to record his first ever victory over Birchall, and he has the opportunity to do so at Powerplay 1.

‘Showstealer’ Alex Shane vs Paul Travell vs Ross Jordan (Falls Count Anywhere)

The last two Academy shows have displayed the shocking change in Alex Shane to full effect. At Revolt on January 4th, Shane shocked onlookers by turning on Jordan, his tag partner, in the middle of a match; revealing his earlier offer of an FWA contract to Jordan to be a cruel stunt. The ‘Showstealer’ wanted to make an example out of Jordan to show that he had no desire to offer any Academy stars FWA contracts. Two weeks later Shane teamed with the maniacal Paul Travell against Ross Jordan and Jack Xavier. The finish of this encounter highlighted Alex Shane’s new-found desire to take all the glory and spotlight for himself, as he knocked down Travell to enable himself to finish off Jordan, when Travell had done all the hard work. Travell took exception to this, but was unsuccessful in his attempt to hit Shane with a chair, and inadvertently hit Jordan instead. As a result, Travell is now involved in a triple threat match against both Shane and Jordan, which will be fought under ‘falls count anywhere’ rules. This stipulation appears to be to the severe disadvantage of Ross Jordan, given the hardcore battles that both Shane and Travell have been through in the past. However, after taking recent beatings at the hands of both men, Jordan has a massive point to prove, and will have the whole of the Buckland Community Centre at his disposal in his quest to do so.

One Night Tournament : Semi-Finals : Dan Head (ranked 7th) vs Max Voltage (ranked 9th); ‘Specialist’ Mark Sloan (ranked 6th) vs Aviv Maayan (ranked 4th)

A One-Night Tournament will take place on Saturday 24th January, featuring 4 of the most consistent performers in the Academy.

The first semi-final sees Dan Head taking on Max Voltage in what is sure to be a lighting-fast affair. Head & Voltage have teamed together on the last few Academy shows; so will know each other better than any other competitor. It will be interesting to see whether the team will still function after one member eliminates the other to progress in this tournament.

The second semi-final sees ‘Specialist’ Mark Sloan up against Aviv Maayan. Aviv is currently perhaps the most-talked about Academy star, and has been forging a reputation that he richly deserves. As the Academy trainer, Mark Sloan has to be considered the favourite for the entire tournament, as he has vastly more experience of situations that require great endurance than any of the other competitors. However, Sloan has lost to Aviv on both of their previous two outings, so will have to upset the formbook to progress to the final.

All four participants in this tournament have displayed a great deal of respect for oneanother. Whenever Aviv Maayan has been victim to an attack or had his credentials questioned, Sloan has always been there to back him up. In matches involving any number of these four, respect has always been displayed at the end. Last Saturday this mutual respect between these wrestlers was again brought into focus when Sloan, Voltage and Head all supported Aviv at ringside after Doug Williams questioned the quality of both Aviv and the FWA Academy itself. Botched interference from Max Voltage however ended up costing Aviv this match; and Aviv was visibly upset at Max for this. Whether all four will still be friends at the end of the night is certainly questionable.

Stixx (ranked 3rd) vs Harry Mills & Dan James

By virtue of his victory over James Tighe last week in Winchester, Stixx will receive a shot at the FWA Academy Title in the near future. At Powerplay 1 however, he will certainly face a challenge as he single-handedly takes on the most successful tag team in the Academy – Mills & James. Single-handedly actually probably is not an accurate phrase to use, as whenever Stixx is in the ring it is certain that his manager, Kaos will exploit any opportunity she can to aid her charge. Stixx was able to upset the odds back in July 2003 and defeat both Mills & James, albeit predictably with plently of assistance from Kaos. Since that defeat however, Mills & James have acquired the services of Tyrone Johnson as their manager; who will surely neutralise the outside threat posed by Kaos. With a hugely impressive amount of victories in tag team competition Mills & James would have to be bet on to defeat one man, even if it is one as powerful as Stixx. Tyrone may have to have eyes in the back of his head to deal with not only Kaos, but also possibly with members of the new alliance that Stixx is a part of. The alliance of Birchall, Stixx, Mark Underwood and Brad Bennett was formed in order to bring more power and success to all four; so if Stixx looks to be in trouble it seems likely that help will be at hand.

Raj & Rishi Ghosh vs Mark Underwood & Brad Bennett

A repeat of the final of the tag team tournament held at Revolt 2004 will also take place at Powerplay 1. Underwood & Bennett are a brutal, destructive force the likes of which the Academy tag division has never seen. Since their first appearance as a team in December 2003, the team has yet to be defeated. However, if any team can end this record, then it has to be the Ghosh Brothers. Raj Ghosh is the Number One Contender to the FWA Academy Title for good reason, and has proven time and time again that he can deal with any style of wrestler put in front of him. Rishi Ghosh has perhaps more guts than any other Academy wrestler, as was clearly displayed for all to see last Saturday when he took on Birchall alone after Raj was found unconscious backstage. Kaos’ baseball bat was found alongside the prone Raj; which infers that someone in the group Kaos manages carried out the attack. As two members of the group, Underwood and Bennett have to be held as prime suspects for the attack. Raj and Rishi will be looking to beat an answer out of Mark and Brad, but whether anyone can stop the powerful force this group now represents is open to debate.

Thanks to Paul2J for the review