Welcome one and all to a very special edition of the UK Scene. Instead of bringing you my usual roundup of news this week I am bringing you a one off special tribute to one of my good friends in the UK Scene Alex Shane. No Alex is not dead, nor is he leaving the wrestling game but this week he announced after years of bringing the FWA up from a local Portsmouth promotion to a nationwide promotion that garners attention from around the world that he will be selling his share in FWA ltd. So sit back and relax as I chronicle some of the times and the stories of Alex Shane and the FWA.
I had been following the UK Scene and had known of Alex for years before I first met up with him. I first heard of Alex when he started training with NWA-UK and it was no surprise to me when he won his first title at FWA Black Country Chaos in 2000. Alex’s reign may only have been for a few months but in those months you knew whenever there was a major card or a new major promotion starting up that they would be after Alex to headline it.
Alex has been involved in every major attempt to get British wrestling back in to the mainstream. He was involved in UWA’s attempt when they got on to Live TV in 1999 and once again Alex put his all in and chanced everything on its success but was never given the chance to show his full potential due to internal issues within the organisation.
Following Alex’s involvement with UWA he next had a part to play in one of the next big attempts to get British Wrestling off the ground Wrestlexpress. This time Alex was a bit more wary and rightfully so this time as he and Elisar Cabrerra decided to distance themselves and the FWA brand from the company which eventually died before ever promoting a show.
In March of 2002 Alex suffered a big set back as during a match with Karl Krammer at Urban Legends he suffered a massive neck injury that put him out of wrestling for six months. After witnessing the event for a time I thought this would be the last we saw of the cocky cockney but undeterred Alex put all his efforts in behind the scene during his lay-off until he could eventually return to the ring.
During this time Alex was establishing himself as the face of British Wrestling and he struck gold when he was invited on with Tommy Boyd to co-host a weekly wrestling radio show on TalkSport. Alex used his time on the show to promote British wrestling to the best of his ability pimping shows live on air, developing storylines live on air and just causing an interest and debate in to British wrestling.
Off the back of this Show Alex was instrumental in the running and promoting of Revival which was the first show since the UWA to get a deal with a major sky channel with the show airing on Bravo. The show also played to one of the largest crowds of the year in 2002 as 2000 people crammed in to the Crystal Palace indoor arena.
After this event Alex with his knowledge and experience of being involved in big shows put all his efforts and energies in to the FWA and getting FWA to promote big shows of their own which started with British Uprising 1. From then on in Alex made all their monthly events big events which saw the FWA achieving record attendances every month. Some of the highlights from the new big events were British Uprising being made in to an annual supercard event and the big Frontiers of Honor show which saw stars from RoH compete in a night competition against the stars of the FWA.
Alex then achieved one of his two goals, he managed to secure a TV deal for the FWA which saw them having weekly TV shows on The Wrestling Channel. Alex really got on board with this new channel helping them out with contacts and getting advertising because he wanted FWA to have a weekly spot.
Alex was a savvy business man and with the bigger events he was now promoting he managed to draw in the internet fans who were willing to pay high prices for good tickets and with this money he was able to build the FWA to the stage where last year on their own steam the FWA promoted a show from the Coventry Skydome – British Uprising 3. I knew this was always Alex’s dream to promote from this arena ever since the Wrestlexpress debacle and was so glad when he announced the event.
With this goal achieved I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach that Alex may take this time to step back especially after the ups and downs of his life over the last few years from losing TalkSport due to no fault of his own from the retirement of his good friend Jody Fleisch and the stress and strain of being the only one running FWA on a full time basis.
I forgot one half of his 2nd dream though and that was he wanted to sell out the Coventry Skydome which he came back to do by running The Wrestling Channel supercard International Showdown and with that he then decided to make his statement public that he was to step down from the day to day running.
I first met Alex for a proper chat at FWA No Surprises 3. I had emailed in the wrestling radio show the night before to find out what they were doing with the card due to a wrestler not being able to make it and although not answered on the show I still made the voyage up to Portsmouth the day after and bumped in to Alex before the show. As soon as I mentioned my name Alex knew me and the email straight away and although visibly wanting to get in to the venue stopped and chatted outside with me about wrestling and my column. I chatted with him again after the show and it felt like we had known each other for ages.
We stayed in touch after the event and he helped me get involved with the FWA website helping with their interviews section. A funny story to tell about that, one of the last interviews I did for the website was with Jonny Storm and during this time he was doing his rant against the FWA to build his character and the interview was signed by AS but in actual fact it was another AS that scripted that interview.
In 2003 Alex and I became business partners as I came in as backer for one of the Breakout Tour events in Portsmouth. Now during this time Alex would be on the blower to me non stop helping me out whenever I had a problem or needed advice as well as divulging stories that I will not repeat about the wrestling world but he had trust in me to bring me in to the wrestling circle which I thank him for.
During these months I managed to see a side of Alex’s character that not many people get to see. Alex cares a lot about what people think about him and through the time I spent with him he was always trying to look after everyone else before himself. For instance, ticket sales were not going well for my show, he came down to Portsmouth with me and helped poster the local area at this time Alex was not at all well and was suffering but because he knew the situation with tickets he came down from London to help when many people wouldn’t of bothered.
2003 was a time when many people knew that Alex had a lot to do with the running of FWA and it was made no secret of and because of this Alex didn’t book himself as champion due to thinking that the fans would say he gave himself the title no matter how much he deserved it and like I say what people thought meant a lot to Alex. Well getting back to the story on the night of my event some of Alex’s friends had come down to watch him and one of their brothers was disabled but wanted to come to the event because he was a big Alex Shane fan. Knowing he was in the crowd Alex changed the ending of his match so that he and Ulf Herman could win the tag belts from the Family that night and give them back on the next night of the tour. At the end of the match Alex whilst celebrating pointed and waved to the boy in questions holding his tag belt up high which to me was a great moment.
These are just a few of the wonderful memories of Alex I have which I thought I would share to honour his time in charge of the FWA. I got to say one thing though on a lot of boards I have viewed threads on this story and most of them start with well I didn’t or I never saw eye to eye with Alex which at a time like this I really hate to read. I don’t see eye to eye all the time with my friends, I don’t see eye to eye with the post service when they lose my post but this is what makes the world go round if everyone saw eye to eye on everything we would live in a very boring world where nothing would get done.
At the end of the day I will always remember Alex as someone who put the business before himself did he make some mistakes? Yes. Did he do some things he regrets? Possibly but above everything else I choose to think of Alex as someone who gave his all for wrestling and a man who made a change for the better in British wrestling.
Thanks for reading guys and Alex if you’re reading sorry if I gave away too many personal stories you can give me your finisher next time I see you. If you want to read more of my work this week you can go to TheSun.co.uk/sport as part of the Lilsboys build up to Wrestlemania you can read my thoughts and predictions running up to this years extravaganza and Simon Lilsboy if you’re reading this from LA don’t lose too much money in Vegas.
Until next time,
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