Frontier Wrestling (FWA on MyTV) Reviews – Episodes 7 and 8

With Doug Williams installed as the FWA British Heavyweight Champion, we return to 2001’s Frontier Wrestling to find out… what’s next?

Show number seven opens with Alex Shane (of course) in a warehouse with his bouncers. I think it’s meant to be a snooker club or something, but it’s straight out of a London gangster movie. Shane decides to rebrand all of his bouncers and insists that their real backgrounds are hidden. The oh so imaginative Poochie comes up with Mr Brown, Mr White, Mr Blue, Mr Blonde and Mr Yellow – the latter of which is because he’s apparently a coward. They argue over their colours, and this firmly stays in “amateur drama class” territory.

After the opening credits, we’re actually on a new set of tapings! Apparently this show was culled from “No Surprises 3” in July 2001, which only had the 11 matches, so perhaps we’ll have some lengthy matches? La Familia are in the ring, ahead of their FWA tag title defence:

FWA Tag Team Championship: La Familia (Jorge Castano & Alex Castano) (c) vs. Paul Travell & Jack Xavier
Xavier was picked by Travell after beating Paul Sloan last week in a number one contender’s match, and it’s the challengers who start on the offence, taking down the Castanos with a double dropkick.

We get the fan cam footage again, before the Castanos land a pair of headscissor takedowns as Jorge follows up with a tope to the outside, as an Asai moonsault from Alex takes the challengers down. Your heels, ladies and gentlemen… Travell, who seemed to have lost his ring gear, pulls off a spinebuster, but before the match can go any further, the New Breed run in and try to powerbomb Alex Castano. Jorge makes the save, and this ends up as a no contest. Just for the rigmarole of the number one contender’s match that led to this brief affair, I’m calling this a DUD.

After the Castanos leave, Travell and Xavier go toe-to-toe with the New Breed, and of course a brawl breaks out. The post-match almost went as long as the match itself…

We’re taken to a flashback from last month where Doug Williams beat Jody Fleisch in the FWA title tournament… then again to Williams’ title win over Scott Parker. This leads us to an in-ring promo with the new champion, who derides the Portsmouth crowd. We’re still in the UWA playbook as the heel demands respect from the crowd, and Doug’s interrupted by the FWA’s Commissioner. Who still has that hideous music.

The Fan-cam shows the entrance of Victoria (no-last-name), and she’s apparently playing babyface after being a flat-out heel last time. She’s not happy at Williams’ plan to create “anarchy in the FWA”, so she’s going to find someone to take the title off of him. Victoria’s found someone from outside the FWA – a man from Doug’s past… Kerry Cabrero. Oh my God, two years on from its demise, they’re having a UWA reunion!

After commercial, we’ve got Kerry Cabrero in the ring for a promo. Kerry goads Williams into a title shot. Williams turns down the shot, because Kerry’s “done nothing in the FWA”. In the end, Doug agrees to the shot, if Cabrero beats an opponent of Doug’s choosing. We’ll find out who… next week!

We’re shown another flashback to last month, when Alex Shane offered Guy Thunder a place on his security team… and of course, Thunder rejected it. That led to an attack on Thunder, who then returned fire on last week’s show. The editing team save us from another over-long Alex Shane entrance, and instead we’re taken to the ring where Shane orders out Thunder for their match. It’s the match we never got in the UWA, with the former Leon Murphy!

Alex Shane vs. Guy Thunder
Thunder escapes an early One Night Stand, before powerbombing Alex Shane and clotheslining him to the outside. Shane’s security surrounds him as Thunder rushes into them with a somersault senton to the outside. After being thrown back inside, Shane takes a big boot, before a distraction from one of his goons gives him a window for the Shane-sation kick. On the outside, Thunder backdrops Shane to avoid a powerbomb, as Alex gets posted and slammed on the floor.

Thunder uses a folding table on Shane, then sets it up at ringside as Shane crawled back into the ring. Shane takes control with a pumphandle into an Ace crusher, then a slam, before the a somersault legdrop off the middle rope gets him a near-fall. Shane tried to go up top, but was thrown to the mat by Thunder, whose aerial attempt was also cut-off and turned into a chokebomb for a near-fall.

That folding table’s brought into the ring, but before we get our 2001 table spot, we get our 2001 ref bump, with an errant spear taking down the official. Thunder turned a choke bomb attempt into a tornado DDT, but Steve Lynskey just about recovered to count a near-fall as Shane’s security pulled Thunder out and mugged him as Lynskey’s brains were picked for selling tips. Well, he’s the only bugger in this match who’s selling for more than a few seconds at a time!

Thunder dumps two of Shane’s goons with a DDT, then another pair with a double spear, before returning to the ring… and we got our 2001 table spot as Thunder speared himself into the table. Seconds later, Shane gets the One Night Stand and that’s your lot. I’m guessing Alex Shane’s hype came from the behind the camera stuff, because his in-ring stuff I’ve seen so far in UWA and FWA has left me decidedly non-plussed. **

They hurriedly sign-off the show as Guy Thunder’s left selling the table spear… and I swear that list of credits on the Frontier Wrestling show is expanding every week.

Episode 8 opens with commissioner Victoria taking a phone call… it’s badly acted (naturally), and she puts the phone down on her malicious caller. Who calls back to apologise… and the gag here is that he wanted to talk, but Victoria suggested he called an adult chatline instead.

We’re taken into the kitchen where she’s making popcorn, and this time it’s her mobile that rings. It’s the same guy, who she tells she’s about to watch a “boring wrestling video” (which suspiciously looked like a bit of product placement from Strong Style Tapes… the tape she was holding, not the “boring” video part). The mystery caller asks her who her favourite wrestler is, and it’s Alex Shane. Because of course it bloody well is.

The malicious caller apparently likes Doug Williams, someone Victoria says she used to like until he became a bad guy. This turns into a booking, as the mystery man asks to wrestle against Scottie Rock. It’s only at this point that the mystery man, after asking to wrestle a match, asks who he’s speaking to… and it’s because he “wants to know who he’s looking at”. A quick camera cut shows our man pulling off a Scream mask, and it’s Jonny Storm. He seems pleased that he’s gotten himself a title match, which confuses me, because Scottie Rock sure wasn’t acknowledged as a champion a few weeks ago…

Influenced on the DDP stalker angle that WWE had at around this time, the FWA’s commissioner booked this unknown man in a wrestling match, for a title, seemingly because he asked her about wrestling.

The show opens with Kerry Cabrero in the ring, so I guess we have his title contendership match. But first, it’s another backstage segment from “earlier today” where Alex Shane is in his warehouse base. He flubs Doug William’s nickname on purpose, and says that Williams asked for someone to use as a roadblock.

Doug apparently picked Alex Shane, but he backs out of the match because he’s busy… so instead he looks for a volunteer, and picks out “Mr Blonde”. Who suddenly gets a name – it’s Flash Barker, and we’re continuing the UWA reunions here!

Kerry Cabrero vs. “Mr Blonde” Flash Barker
Mr Blonde takes Cabrero into the corner and clubs away with forearms and chops, only for Cabrero to quickly turn the tables, and take him down with a heel kick.

Blonde gets thrown into the turnbuckle on the apron, before Cabrero bulldogs him out of the ring and onto the guard railings. Cabrero tries to suplex Blonde back in, but he ended up being suplexed onto the entrance ramp. Back inside, the referee falls for an easy distraction as Blonde punches Cabrero below the belt, before a bodyslam gets Blonde a two-count. Cabrero blocks a suplex in response, and hits a suplex to take his foe down. Doug Williams makes an appearance here, which distracts Cabrero, allowing Blonde to take him down with a falling knee, then a legdrop for a near-fall.

Out of nowhere, Blonde connects with a Michinoku driver for a near-fall, before he goes to pull off the turnbuckle padding. As the referee gets distracted yet again to replace the pad, Williams goes to the apron to try and hit Cabrero with a belt shot… but he misses and hits Blonde instead, allowing Cabrero to hit the Flatliner (sit-out spinebuster) for the win. A decent, but still short match, and Cabrero looked pretty good in the brief time they had. ***

We’ve got another segment with the commissioner and her porno-themed music. She’s with Scottie Rock, and this time she’s breaking the news to him of his impromptu title defence. Rock throws in that he’s the FWA’s All England champion. According to Cagematch, that was a title created just for him, since there’s no record of him winning it.

Despite this being one of those “cameras pick up on two people talking” segments, this turns into a standard wrestling promo as Rock addresses the camera, promising to keep the championship. That felt like an odd mash-up of segments…

After a commercial break, we’ve got yet another segment with the commissioner’s music, as she’s in a waiting room with Jack Xavier, Paul Travell and the Castanos. In comes the New Breed, who get a dressing down for being late; and this is apparently a follow-up segment from last week’s no-contest. Travell’s unhappy with his tag title shot being interrupted, and somehow our commissioner brought up the idea of “just giving the titles to Travell and Xavier”. Eh?! In the end, we get a decision: it’ll be a three-way tag title match on next week’s show.

Well, if they lifted the DDP Stalker thing earlier in the show, they returned the favour by having Victoria as the “beta version” of the browbeating Stephanie McMahon character in WWE in later years…

I wonder if Mark Priest still listens to the FWA Music CD when he gets down at funky parties?

FWA All England Championship: Jonny Storm vs. Scottie Rock (c)
Neither man got entrances here, and we started with Rock attacking Storm as he played to the crowd. Thankfully, Mark Priest explains the surroundings behind the All England title,saying that Victoria Demonfort gave him the title to recognise how he fought all over the country. Fair enough…

This really is the first time the title’s been contested for, and we get our first pinfall attempt as Rock lands a suplex for a near-fall. A sidewalk slam gets another two-count for the champion, before he goes into a rear chinlock. Storm elbows free and swings around into a bulldog takedown, which he follows up with a missile dropkick off the middle rope. Rock returns fire with a lariat that turns Storm inside out, before he eventually misses a corner charge and has to kick out of a sunset flip at two. After choking away at Storm with his boot, Rock misses another corner charge, then falls into a Michinoku driver and a split-legged moonsault as Storm picked up another two-count.

Storm looked to follow up off the top rope, only for Rock to block him and bring him back in with a top rope ‘rana for a two-count. Rock goes outside to grab a chair from the crowd, but the referee grabbed it off him as he went to use it… and then said ref ate a superkick through the chair. Another superkick from Storm took down Rock for a visual pin, but the referee – despite stirring – didn’t make the count.

Instead, the same referee who just took a superkick through a chair was able to get back up and make the count, as Rock kicked out at two. So… a referee takes a steel chair superkick and recovers before the wrestler who took a bog standard superkick. Logic! Undeterred, Storm went up for a moonsault, which was punctuated of a completely out-of-context crowd shot from much earlier in the show, as Rock punched him low.

Rock followed up with a powerbomb out of the corner for a near-fall, then a guillotine legdrop, but again Storm kicked out after a slow count. The end came shortly after, when Rock popped up Storm into the corner, but Jonny leapt back for a rewind ‘rana, before folding forward to score the winning fall and become the second All England champion. Given the TV time limits, this was a decent match, with some good action aside from that questionable ref bump. ***

Well, if you take out the acting from episode eight, this was easily the best episode of the show to date. Two really solid matches, and a segment that actually made sense in terms of piecing together the inconclusive tag team title match and provided a resolution. Ideally, this would have been better in front of a live crowd, but a really solid effort given the time restrictions.