Monday, 17 September 2007

FWA Academy Supercard III - DVD Review

Another first for The Two Sheds Review….well….kind of, as we take a look at the Frontier Wrestling Alliance Academy, an off-shoot of the now defunct Frontier Wrestling Alliance here in Britain, who, until recently, held regular shows in Portsmouth on the south coast of England. The show we’re going to look at here is Supercard III, filmed in April 2006, and headlined by a non-title bout between FWA British Champion Hade Vansen and FWA Academy Champion Dan Head, with the winner getting a shot at the loser’s title.
The show begins with a three way match, with the winner getting a title shot at a later event, between Stixx, Eamon Shrahan and James Tighe. This was certainly an interesting opener. While it was fast and extremely action packed, there were moments, particularly at the beginning of the match, where things were a little sloppy. But credit to the guys here, they managed to get past these mistakes to put on a good match, with Tighe pinning Shrahan with his Tighe-tanic finishing move to become the number one contender to the Academy title.

Next up it’s a battle of the two smallest wrestlers in Britain, as Wade Fitzgerald takes on Spud. Some of you American readers may know Spud from his recent trip to Ring of Honor, and here, for the first time, he was going up against a wrestler smaller than him. A distinct clash of styles here, with Spud’s high-flying going up against Fitzgerald’s MMA stylings, and it provided a very intriguing contest. Fitzgerald put on a great showing here, and I’m sure he has a tremendous future in wrestling ahead of him, if he were to mix his MMA style with more technical wrestling. The experience of Spud shone through in the end, pinning Fitzgerald after a frog splash off the top rope. A great little match here.

Streetfight action next, as former FWA Champion Justin Richards faces Gallagher, who had apparently been feuding for eight months before this match. This is the first time I’ve seen Richards in action since I attended the FWA’s Carpe Diem show in 2002 when he was a member of Dean Ayass’ Old School faction. Certainly not the best street fight I’ve ever seen. Somewhat dodgy camera work as both men fought through the crowd made it difficult to follow the action most of the time, and because of this it spoiled the flow of a match that seemed to drag on a little. Gallagher came out on top in this one, throwing a bag of powder into Richards’ eyes, and then getting the pin with a schoolboy roll-up.

Then it’s on to a four-way battle of the high-flyers featuring Max Voltage, Pac, Jody Fleisch and Jonny Storm. High spots aplenty in this fast paced match which saw all four men unleash their full arsenals of aerial moves in a highly impressive match. All four men put in a good account for themselves, especially Pac and Voltage against their more experienced opponents, with Storm getting the win, pinning Pac after a reverse hurricanrana from the top rope.

The first ever steel cage match ever to be held at an FWA:A show is up next, with the team of Harry Mills and Dan James facing Mark Sloan and Ollie Burns. The cage is quite an impressive looking structure by British wrestling standards. This one is little more than a fight, as both teams proceed to knock seven sorts of you know what out of each other, and putting on a damn good show while doing it. All four men looked good, with the cage being used to good effect, with the Chavs getting the win after executing a falcon arrow superplex off the top rope on Burns.

Normal service is then resumed with an IPW:UK title match, as Martin Stone defends the title against former champion Aviv Mayaan. Once again Martin Stone puts in a hell of a performance, again proving that he is without a doubt one of the top stars in Britain at the moment. Everything he did from start to finish was impressive. But as the old saying goes, it takes two to tango, and kudos also to Mayaan for putting in another great showing. The end of this great match came when Stone took Mayaan out after his London Bridge variation of the DDT.

The final match sees the battle of the champions, with FWA British Champion Hade Vansen facing FWA Academy Champion Dan Head in a non title match, with the winner getting a shot at the loser’s title. An interesting one this one. Vansen dominated for the most part, as always putting in a great performance, but whenever he did anything the crowd were totally silent. Head looked good in places, but his inexperience was too much for Vansen who, with a little help from James Tighe, was able to beat Head after a South City Drilla DDT from the top rope.

Plenty of extras in this one, mainly in the form of wrestler promos, but also in the former of an extra match between academy wrestlers Jake McClusky and Tom Langford.

In conclusion - this was my first taste of FWA Academy action, and for the most part I enjoyed it. As I said before the street fight between Justin Richards and Gallagher didn’t really grab my attention, but the other matches ranged from good to great, and this has certainly got me in the mood for watching more FWA Academy action in the future.

With thanks to Mark Sloan at A-Merchandise for supplying a copy of this DVD.