Our latest pair of FWA TV features an appearance from Steve Corino, as the Old School took control over the company.

Episode 19 opens with a promo from Corino in an old-fashioned dressing room, complete with lightbulbs around the mirror. Steve muses over the definition of “new school”, and promises to take down Scott Parker and the New School. We’re straight into action after the opening titles:

Jack Xavier vs. James Tighe
Tighe takes down Xavier early with a headlock, but Xavier pushes free and monkey flips Tighe, only to run into a series of armdrags.

Xavier gets sent outside where the previously unannounced Mark Sloan beats on the youngster. Back inside, they block each others’ armdrags, before Xavier springs off the middle rope for a reverse leapfrog and sends Tighe to the outside. Sloan gets involved again as he grabbed Xavier’s leg as he went up to the top rope, and that sparked a comeback for Tighe with a clothesline and a chinlock.

Tighe hits a standing shooting star press for a two-count, then a German suplex for a near-fall… before getting another pair of Germans for another near-fall. Sloan leaps onto the apron after the kick-out for some reason, but the distraction comes to nought as Xavier hits a sit-out spinebuster for a near-fall.

Sloan gets involved once more as he grabs onto Xavier as he went for a running attack in the corner – and as Jack gives chase on the outside, an unnamed woman comes into the ring and lands a baseball slide dropkick to a seated Tighe. She was identified as Callie – one of Alex Shane’s former lady-friends – and she left Xavier free to hit the Xaviator (a Styles Clash with one arm hooked) for the win. Decent enough opener, but like most matches, this felt like it’d been edited to fit a timeslot. **½

No filler segments here, and we’re straight into our main event.

Steve Corino vs. Scott Parker
Parker was the “home” favourite here, but he was taken into the ropes as… we went to a commercial break. Eh? At least they didn’t start a thousand miles an hour…

We return as Corino’s outside the ring, jaw-jacking with the crowd, before taking Parker into the turnbuckles for some chops. Corino thought he’d outsmarted Parker when he ducked a supposed crossbody, but instead Parker waited before landing a missile dropkick. After a chase, Parker’s stomped by Corino in the ring as the pace is kept deliberate, but “Solid Gold” clotheslines Corino back to the floor, where he followed up with a tope, diving over the turnbuckles to crash into the “King of Old School”.

Corino was whipped into the front row, going over the crowd barriers, before he had his face ground into the mesh on the barriers. They went deeper into the crowd, which was barely visible on the cameras, before they were picked up on the stage, where Corino used a broom to choke Parker with. Parker went to powerbomb Corino on the stage, but was instead given a back body drop… and popped straight back up. Corino followed up by throwing Parker off the stage and into a crowd barrier in the aisle – a move that turned Corino babyface. After reversing a throw into the ringpost, Parker took the upper hand in the ring, but a distraction from Corino’s valet Avalon allowed Corino to blast Parker with a punch.

That punch got Corino a two-count, and he continued the underhanded tactics by using his wrist-tape to choke away at Parker in the ropes. Avalon got involved again, choking Parker in the ropes, but Parker hit back with an old-school shoulder breaker after Corino telegraphed a back body drop. Ironic!

Parker landed a standing moonsault for a two-count, before he was tripped again in the ropes by Avalon, which led to Corino hitting a superkick to knock Parker down once more. Corino kept on top of Parker by hooking away at his face, before landing some punches that sent Parker into the ropes. A sleeperhold followed, with Corino making liberal use of the ropes for extra torque, before Parker eventually fought free.

Corino took several elbows and punches from Parker, who then went to the corner for the mounted punches – how very old school – for a near-fall. Another back elbow from Parker got a near-fall, before Corino ducked a clothesline and went for a reverse DDT, only for Parker to counter that with a Golden Arrow… but before the pin could be made, Dino Scarlo and Drew McDonald hit the ring as we crashed to the end-of-show titles. They’ll pick up in the next episode, so I’ll leave the rating for, ooh, the next paragraph.

Episode 20 picked up with the conclusion of the Parker/Corino match – with Drew McDonald and Dino Scarlo’s interference resulting in Parker getting the win by DQ. A decent enough match before the finish, but I’d have preferred that being a one-match show than have it split across two episodes. ***¼

The post-show stuff saw the locker room empty, but they were unable to fight off Scarlo, McDonald and Corino. All babyface/heel alignments were tossed out of the window as the FWA roster struggled against the veterans, until Alex Shane led the fightback. He ended up grabbing the microphone, and demanded a match with Drew McDonald. Cue a load of catchphrases, and has Alex Shane turned face? I think he has…

We’re back in Harrow for this episode, taped at the High School Hell event in November 2001… and my God the screen is badly over-exposed from the hard camera. Either we’re going to get a lot of mobile camera footage, or this is going to be nigh-on unwatchable. Straight into action, then:

Brandon Thomas & Ian Da Silva vs. La Familia (Jorge Castano & Alex Castano)
On FWA TV, Thomas and Da Silva have been nothing more than glorified jobbers, and their match started out just like that as the Castanos threw them out at the bell. Alex Castano hit a tope onto Da Silva and Jorge, before Thomas added in a flip senton to the pile on the floor.

He followed up with a suplex for a near-fall, before da Silva landed a spin-out flapjack for a near-fall on Alex. Thomas came in and hit a leg lariat that barely grazes Alex, who returned with a spinning heel kick for a two-count. Another leg lariat connects from Brandon for a near-fall, before Alex replied with a DDT.

The overexposed hard camera catches an Alex Castano powerbomb for a near-fall, before Thomas ducked and hit the Castanos with a double clothesline. Finally da Silva tags in and hits a series of clotheslines, then dropkicks, before Jorge’s thrown to the floor. Back in the ring, Thomas gets taken down with some spinning headscissors from Alex, then a quebrada for a near-fall… but neither were the legal man? Another quebrada gets another near-fall as the “fan cam” picked up the returning Kappo Khan, who distracts Alex Castano for long enough for Brandon Thomas to score the win via a schoolboy roll-up. It was what you’d expect from an opening tag match in this era. **

During the first match, you could clearly see that this was taped at night. How on earth did they mess up the lighting this bad? It looked like they were filming on the surface of the sun from that hard camera.

Speaking of over-exposed (the lighting, not as in “he’s on too much”), we get a promo from Ulf Hermann. He’s wearing white, and because of the exposure issues we struggle to see anything apart from his face and his forearms. Ulf’s facing Doug Williams for the title next week, and this did a pretty good job of introducing Ulf to the TV audience.

Mark Sloan vs. Jonny Storm
The winner of this gets a shot at Paul Travell’s FWA All England championship down the line – and as always, Sloan was accompanied by James Tighe. Storm starts with a headlock, then a shoulder block takedown before sliding to the outside for some reason. Sloan then mocks Storm’s sequence, and ends up taking a somersault plancha as they go to a commercial break.

After the break, Sloan broke the referee’s 10 count, before returning to the ring as James Tighe had Storm trapped in a full nelson against the ropes… but Storm moved and Sloan’s kicks took down Tighe instead. How was Tighe’s interference not an instant DQ?

Storm gets a near-fall from a schoolboy then follows up with an armdrag, before Sloan reversed a wristlock. That too gets reversed, and Sloan fails to switch it back after flipping off the ropes… so instead he heads to the ropes, but that’s not a rope break, as instead the over-exposed camera barely picks up another flip as Sloan crashes and burns to the mat. A superkick from Sloan cuts off another aerial attack from Storm, which allows Sloan to follow up with a rear chinlock, then a stalling suplex for a near-fall.

Storm tried to fight back, but he was caught in a corner with chops before finally landing a springboard dropkick to the FWA’s head trainer. Sloan instantly replied with a hotshot, dropping Storm on the top rope, before a backbreaker and a slingshot senton led to Storm being thrown outside. Sloan used the crowd barriers to choke away on the high-flier, then crotched Storm on the as the pair eventually brawled into the crowd. They brawl into the crowd as Storm slams Sloan on the stage, before Sloan’s head is sent into a fire door. Eventually they return to the ring, where Tighe gets involved again as he caught Storm on the middle rope, allowing Sloan to come in with a powerbomb for a really slow two-count.

A wheelbarrow DDT saw Storm hit back for a near-fall, but Tighe got involved on the apron yet again and took a punch, before Sloan hit his “Speci-Slam” (Angel Wings), with Tighe grabbing Storm’s legs under the ropes to ensure that there would be no kick-out. Mark Sloan wins and gets a title shot after a match that seemed to have little in the way of a clear flow to it. **¾

The show ends with a Breed TV segment, with Curve having a pop at Ashe and Kruiz ahead of next week’s triple-threat, loser-leaves-the-breed match. Ashe comes in with a copy of Power Slam magazine, before Curve whinges and leaves, as Ashe says that he doesn’t really care what happens. So… why should we?

As a pair of shows, these were really good. Save for the Breed TV segment, there were no trashy backstage segments, and the wrestling – for the most part – was as good as you’d be getting in this era. If only that Harrow show wasn’t so badly overlit…!