Its time for another pair of FWA TV shows from 2001 now, and it’s more from Hoddesdon’s “Trick or Treat” event.

Episode 17 opens with Jorge Castano already in the ring for singles action before we’re sent crashing to the opening titles.

Jorge Castano vs. Jonny Storm
Apparently this is a not-quite-a-number-one-contender’s match for Paul Travell’s FWA All England title. From the bell, both men push the other into the ropes, with Castano climbing the turnbuckles whilst still in a tie-up… which means he just falls face-first to the mat when Storm walked away.

An attempted ‘rana from Storm got no co-operation, so he landed a forearm before a series of leg trips from Castano got single-counts before the pair squared off. Castano rolled to the outside to yell at the crowd, before Storm flew to the outside with a chop to the head, and then threw Castano over the railings, into the crowd. The pair fought up the stairs in the crowd, before they ended up in the aisle as Storm threw Castano into a railing near the FWA sign.

Finally back in the ring, Storm takes down Jorge with a satellite ‘rana, before a second attempt was turned into a tiltawhirl backbreaker. A moonsault out of the corner was caught, but Storm quickly came back by dumping Castano on the top rope before dropkicking him to the outside. Castano turned the tables back again with a tope, then scored a near-fall from an inside cradle.

Castano kept the pressure up with a dropkick to the back of a seated Storm, but the “Wonderkid” slipped out of a slam and hit Castano with a Michinoku driver, before missing a top rope moonsault. Storm found himself placed on the top rope by Jorge, who sent him flying with a capture superplex to get another two-count. Storm almost won the match with a sit-out choke bomb, before a rewind ‘rana out of the corner did the job. A fun match, a little sloppy at times – with way too much in the way of “Fan Cam” camera cuts, but this was a good match given the time they had. ***

We return to see Brandon Thomas and Ian Da Silva in the ring. The last time we saw Thomas, he was being casually beaten up by Alex Shane, so this may not go too well, especially as he’s putting down the “Old Fools”. Only Drew McDonald is here tonight, and their comedy act is quickly put to bed.

Ian Da Silva & Brandon Thomas vs. Drew McDonald
Thomas runs into McDonald with a clothesline, then Da Silva, and they go to a break as Drew knocks down the two rookies with ease. We return to see both Da Silva and Thomas caught in separate Trees of Woe, whilst we’re shown a picture-in-picture recap of McDonald mauling the two rookies during commercial. McDonald then did the “cut a promo while wrestling” act, just without a switched-on microphone. The segment then just ended without any result… the live crowd saw McDonald beat the two rookies, but the TV version was just nothing. DUD

We cut to Scott Parker in the ring, as we’re shown a recap of Dino Scarlo beating Jody Fleisch with a cricket bat last week. Parker mocks Drew McDonald’s accent, then reminds us that he beat him (at the Harrow shows; which we get a picture-in-picture recap). Parker sort-of downplays the cricket bat shots, and then turns his attention to Dino Scarlo.

Fleisch promises to kick Scarlo’s rear-end, and of course, that led to Dino’s arrival. Jody gives Dino the microphone, after a bit of dialogue that was drowned out by the crowd. Scarlo throws down the microphone, and tells the New School pairing to “look and learn”. The next thing we see is Steve Corino via the Fan Cam, before the King of Old School wanders down to the ring.

Corino cuts the heel promo for Scarlo, declaring that he knows everything, before telling Parker that he had to beg the FWA to let him come, because he wanted to beat him up. Scarlo parrotted Corino’s lines, as Corino ended by saying that “to beat me, you’ll have to kill me”. So we’re going to have Parker vs. Corino soon… but not this week, as that’s the end of this episode!

Episode 18 opened with a recap of the Steve Corino segment from the prior show, before we go straight into action with another debut.

Rajah Ghosh vs. Mark Sloan
Sloan was accompanied by James Tighe again, facing one of his trainees in Raj Ghosh.

Sloan took Ghosh into the corner at the bell, before Sloan poked his trainee in the eye. That opened up the door for some hair-assisted throws across the ring. A third hair-mare was blocked and turned into a hiptoss, as Sloan protested that his hair had been pulled. Regardless, Sloan regained the advantage with a series of kicks, before a sunset flip out of the corner got Ghosh a near-fall.

A leg lariat takes Sloan down again, before Ghosh threw Sloan outside as he shrugged off a waistlock. Sloan gets a two-count with a schoolboy, before slingshotting himself into the ring… and running into the path of a dropkick. Ghosh followed up eventually with a springboard knee strike, as Sloan went back outside yet again, this time falling to a plancha. Ghosh continued to get some offence, landing a clothesline, before a Rocker dropper attempt was countered, with Sloan getting a clothesline of his own. Sloan smashed a bottle of water into Ghosh’s head, but Raj came back with a kick to the head from the apron… only to springboard into a low blow as the Angel’s Wings earned Sloan the win. This match did nothing for me – they killed way too much time, and this just felt like a match that looked good on paper, but didn’t adapt to the crowd at all. *½

After the match, James Tighe carried Ghosh to the back as Sloan celebrated.

We get replays from a match between Alex Shane and Guy Thunder from a few months back; then a follow-up match between Thunder and Mr Blonde, and that brings us to the challenge from two weeks ago for a last man standing match.

Last Man Standing: Alex Shane vs. Guy Thunder
This was billed as the first last man standing match in the FWA – but in truth, it was actually the second, unless FWA canon ignores everything pre-TV show era…

The match starts with the two men charging into each other, before Thunder is forced to wriggle free of an attempt at the One Night Stand. Shane side-steps a spear, but takes the move at the second attempt after Shane had played to the crowd. That gets a four-count, before an Alex Shane choke bomb was turned into a gullotine by Thunder. Shane tried to take Thunder into the corner for a Shane-sation kick, but Thunder moved away, ensuring the “Showstealer” sent himself out of the ring without anyone joining him.

Thunder joined Shane outside with a somersault plancha, before the pair clonked into each other as Shane tried to send Thunder into the post. Guy upped the ante with a tornado DDT off the apron and onto the floor, before Thunder tried to keep Shane down with a double axehandle off the top rope… except Shane had grabbed a chair and used it to hit Thunder on the way down. Shane tries for a powerbomb on the floor, but he gets backdropped onto the chair. Thunder grabs a second chair as they duel it out – ending with a really nonchalant backhanded chairshot from Shane. They brawl in the entrance way, alongside the bodyguards who were mean to be banned from this match, as Shane gets suplexed onto the floor.

Thunder picked up Shane and returned to the ring (“in a last man standing match…”), before a double clothesline knocked both men to the mat. Drew McDonald and Dino Scarlo came out for no reason, with Drew knocking Shane in the head with a (protected) chairshot, before leaving the ring. Scarlo tried to attack Shane, who’d recovered from that chairshot in record time, but Shane knocked down Dino before landing a somersault senton from the middle turnbuckle to Thunder on the floor. That was certainly, erm, different.

With Dino and Drew still around ringside, Shane took his time on the apron, but waited too long as Guy hit the “Thunder Strikes” spear through the ropes and to the floor. And what happened after the move that was proclaimed “the most devastating in the FWA”? Well, Shane just popped up and rolled back into the ring… something which isn’t a shot solely at him, but against the whole product and era.

Thunder returned to the ring and laid into Shane with punches in the corner as McDonald and Scarlo continued to stalk around ringside. More shots followed from Thunder, some of which looked to bust open Shane’s right eye. Shane dragged himself back up, and into the path of another spear, which almost ended the match at the count of nine. As Shane was holding himself up by the ropes in the corner, Thunder finally took the offer of a chair from McDonald, and used it to swipe Shane with as he came out of the corner. That had less of an effect than a spear… so Thunder tried again, sending Shane into the ropes with two more swiping shots, before a final shot to the head knocked Shane down. Yet again, Shane got to his feet, so Thunder pulled a table out from under the ring, setting it up in the corner.

They immediately teased a table spot, as Shane whipped Thunder towards it, but Guy put on the brakes and went for another spear, this time catching the referee and sending him out of the ring after Shane sidestepped him. Shane hit back with a superkick, then the One Night Stand, but with no referee, there was nobody to start the count. The crowd counted to ten, and celebrated like that mattered… of course it didn’t.

Thunder got himself back up as Shane looked to the referee, and of course that got Shane a fourth spear, as this time he went through the table. Shane got up at eight, but he was tripped by McDonald behind the referee’s back… and that’s the match. Wow… a screwjob finish. The ring was already getting full of screwed up paper, and the nWo-esque shower of garbage continued after the decision. *½

This was a real marmite match for me – not helped by the inconsistent selling. I get with the style of the time, you’d start with the big moves, but this one match single-handedly killed a Guy Thunder’s big spot. I’m guessing this was the start of a face turn for Shane, as he showed babyface fire and apparently called off his bodyguards for this match.

The show ended with a promo from Scott Parker, building up his match with Steve Corino on next week’s TV.

Overall, these two shows were a real mixed bag that – for me at least – didn’t hold up to the standards of the modern era. An overly long trainee match, a last man standing match that was wildly inconsistent, and a handicap match with no finish? Thank God for that decent Storm/Castano match that we opened with!