We’re back to September 2001 for more from Frontier Wrestling, featuring a challenge from Alex Shane.
Episode 11 opened with Jasmin St Claire coming to the ring, answering a challenge made by Alex Shane on the talkSPORT radio station. But first… the opening titles! After those, Jasmin asks for some applause for the FWA flying her in, before dropping some bad news… the Blue Meanie isn’t there to accept Alex Shane’s challenge.
Literally as soon as she said that Meanie wasn’t there, Shane’s music hit… and she kept talking. Eventually Shane hits the ring, and launched into a tirade at the crowd, rather than at Jasmin. We’ve got the UWA heel playbook as Shane demands some “goddamn respect”, before Shane brings up his challenge from the talkSPORT radio show. Shane reckons that the Blue Meanie didn’t have the £1,000 for his side of the fight. Jasmin keeps interrupting Shane to try and say that they have the money… he grabs her by the hair, and the old ECW theme hits, as some other music is quickly dubbed in as Little Guido makes an appearance… and this is going to be our match, in the “semi main event”.
The picture buzzes out as “Breed TV” returns… they’re still joking about losing their tag titles, and the subsequent rematch. They promise to unveil a “new move”. After a bad joke, they dub in some sound effects as Ashe “beat up” Curve. I guess it’s a way of keeping the New Breed on TV, but this wasn’t good.
So, we’re onto our only match this week, but before the match gets going, the referee orders Shane’s bodyguards to the back. We go to a commercial break, then return for the match:
Alex Shane vs. Little Guido
From the bell, Guido takes down Shane with a drop toe hold before some mounted slaps back and forth leads Guido into a cross armbreaker – a hold that Shane rolls free from.
Shane grabs a full nelson after rolling to his feet, but Guido rolls out… and back into it, before Guido elbowed free and ran into a Fireman’s carry. The One Night Stand’s blocked, as they go back and forth with pinning attempts, before a load of missed elbows and dropkicks lead to a stand-off.
Shane punches Guido in the midsection before a wheelbarrow’s countered into a Fujiwara armbar by the former ECW star. Guido tries to flip over Shane, but he’s caught and shoved onto the entrance ramp, where “Mr Blonde” runs out and attacks Guido behind the referee’s back. After being thrown back into the ring, Guido avoids a ripcord forearm, before a kick knocked him down.
After throwing Guido to the outside, Shane stamps on the ring, prompting “Mr Blonde” to re-emerge from under there and mug Guido once more. Back in the ring, Guido counters a side slam attempt into another Fujiwara armbar, then chops away at the “Showstealer, only to fall into a choke-bomb for a near-fall. Another full nelson sees Guido drop out, but he’s met with a wheelbarrow facebuster for a two-count, and he’s again thrown out for another mugging from “Mr Blonde”. Shane uses a big boot to choke Guido a la Kevin Nash, before he goes up top and misses a somersault legdrop off the middle rope.
Guido made a comeback with a DDT before throwing Shane out and stomping on the mat… but Blonde almost attacked his boss, before a tope from Guido knocked both men down. For some reason, as the referee was counting out Shane, one of his women at ringside – Cammy – came in and caught Guido in a chicken wing. It’s not a DQ, as it’s an opening for a catfight between Cammy and Jasmin.
Shane returns to the ring as they try and separate their women. A low blow from Jasmin leads to a schoolboy on Shane for a two-count, before a Sicilian slice legdrop sends Shane onto the entrance ramp. They return back to the ring as Guido lands a dropkick off the middle rope, then another dropkick, and finally one to a seated Shane in the corner.
However, Shane ends up stealing the win with the One Night Stand, after Mr Blonde used a chair on Guido in the ropes. A bit of a cheap finish, but it made sense to put the “home” guy over. This was actually a decent match that Shane and Guido had, and whilst I liked the “stomping” signal for the interference, they came dangerously close to overdoing the gag. ***
The show ends as Shane heads to the back, so we skip to episode 12, which opens with a replay from the Alex Shane vs. Guy Thunder match from several weeks earlier. This is apparently acting as a set-up for Thunder vs. Mr Blonde…
We’re taken backstage as Thunder’s sitting in a stairway, before Angel approaches him. Apparently she’s been trying to get hold of Scott Parker, but he won’t pick up her calls… not that Guy’s listening, he’s too busy staring at her chest. Apparently the storyline is that she walked on Scott Parker a few weeks ago (which would have been that awkward “wave goodbye” spot after the handicap match).
This episode was apparently filmed at Harrow High School, at the FWA’s “Back 2 School” event in September 2001. Unfortunately, the hard camera showed several rows of empty seats, which may explain some camera choices during the show.
James Tighe vs. Justin Richards
This was Richards’ FWA TV debut, and he starts by having to fight out of a hammerlock, then a headlock, before he’s schooled on the ground. He fights back with a takedown and some slaps, before a distraction from Mark Sloan on the outside gave Tighe an opening.
Tighe kicks away at Richards, before handing out a suplex. We keep switching to a fish-eye camera here, which I’m guessing was meant to be “Fan Cam” footage- either way, it was odd having the match change between regular and fish-eye lenses… Richards gets a leg lariat on Tighe, but Sloan distracts the referee to prevent a count. A legdrop gets Richards a near-fall, before he and Tighe work wristlocks and hammerlocks once more. Tighe sends Richards into the corner, and follows with a back body drop from the rebound, before a snapmare leads to a surfboard stretch. Richards fights out from a rear chinlock, but Mark Sloan again interferes by tripping the youngster, as Tighe hits a forearm smash on Richards.
Richards surprises Tighe with a schoolboy for a near-fall, but Sloan again interjects himself to create more distractions. Nevertheless, a diving boot and a dropkick from Richards gets him a near-fall as Sloan places Tighe’s boot on the bottom rope, only for Richards to keep on top with some corner clotheslines. The end comes after the pair reverse out of a couple of suplexes, with Richards scoring the pin with a bridging Dragon suplex. A decent enough match given the lack of experience of these guys, and the crowd seemed to be into it by the end too, which is never a bad thing. **½
After a quick plug for the FWA’s CD, we get an appearance from Jody Fleisch, who’s appearing on TV for the first time since dislocating his elbow doing a shooting star press in the earlier episodes of this show. Before Jody can say anything, Doug Williams runs out and tries to attack him. Jody ducks the attacks and went for a springboard off the middle rope, but Doug catches him in a Fujiwara armbar, before attacking the arm.
Apparently we were meant to get a Doug Williams vs. Jody Fleisch title match announced here, but that’s now in doubt due to this attack… Jonny Storm runs in for the save, and hits a nice missile dropkick onto Williams, sending him flying. Storm – who’s now a babyface having debuted as a weird stalker a few weeks back – challenged Williams to a title match “right here in Harrow”. Williams accepts, but it’s not going to be for this week…
After commercial, we have another segment with Victoria, who’s getting those malicious calls again. But we just saw Jonny Storm?! Victoria makes a call for “Mr Scarlo” and says that she needs to speak to him. After hanging up, she resumes her segment, but we’re interrupted by another “episode” of “Breed TV”. Just… why is this a thing?
The New Breed are still playing with their action figures, and reading WOW Magazine. Apparently they’re getting a title shot next week on FWA TV against the Castanos. At least they kept it short… We return to the ring for another match with “Mr Blonde”, who’s got the rest of Alex Shane’s security detail with him for some reason.
Mr Blonde vs. Guy Thunder
Blonde clubs away on Thunder early on, before a shoulder tackle knocks him down. Thunder counters an armdrag with a series of clotheslines, as a dropkick sent Blonde to the outside, and into the path of a flip senton from Thunder on the floor.
Back inside, Thunder hits a Vader Bomb before a big splash off the top gets him a near-fall. A second big splash is blocked by Blonde’s knees, which leads to some stomps and punches on a grounded Thunder. Blonde raked the eyes of Thunder, before a snapmare and a kick to the back kept him down. Blonde snapmares Thunder again and ties him in a grounded abdominal stretch, before chopping Thunder in the ropes. A clothesline’s ducked as Thunder eventually tries for an Ace crusher, before settling for a German suplex for a near-fall. Thunder gets another two-count from a belly-to-belly suplex, but Blonde again goes back to the eye rakes.
Thunder gets thrown outside for the predictable mugging by the rest of the bodyguards, but once he joins them outside, Blonde accidentally nailed “Mr Yellow” with a right hand. Both men return to the ring, as Thunder drills Blonde with a spear for a near-fall, before he’s thrown out to the floor once more.
They fight outside again, with Thunder ducking a chop as Blonde chops the ringpost, before he’s suplexed back into the ring. An arm whip takes Blonde down again, as Thunder lands a flip senton onto the arm and goes for an armbar to force the submission… which would have had more impact, had we not seen Barker casually walk to the back literally seconds after tapping out! **½ for a decent-enough match by the standards of the time, I guess.
The show ends with Mark Priest confirming that Storm vs. Williams for the FWA title is happening next week, and we crash to the closing credits.
Perhaps it’s the change of venue, but the Harrow show felt a lot brighter than the prior eleven episodes from Portsmouth. Towards the end of the Portsmouth tapings, we were getting a lot of incongruous crowd shots – showing a well-lit section of the crowd, before cutting back to a noticably darker “live” shot. Still, this was a massive improvement from the earlier shows that were full of squash matches and no selling. It’s good to see they were learning as they went along!