In eager anticipation of the Zebra Kid's debut for the most publicised wrestling company in the U.K., I made my way to the F.W.A.'s Carpe Diem show, eager to get a taste of a company I had heard so much of in the past year. The show actually started later than advertised (an ominous sign, perhaps?), but at least I was getting the chance to sample another promotion.
THE DUKE OF DANGER (with Simmonds) v HADE VANSON
A contest pitting two of the F.W.A.'s recent trainees. The Duke I had never heard of before, whereas Vanson had impressed me in his match against Bash in Sheringham a month earlier.
The Duke seemed a rather odd hybrid of early, pre-DX Triple H and William Regal. Indeed, one of the fans a couple of rows in front of me commented on this.
With interference from his butler, the Duke pitted his power against Vanson's high flying and technical ability. At times things seemed a little messy, but for the majority of the match, things went well.
The Duke won after reversing Vanson's top rope hurricanrana-like move, turning it into a power bomb. Vanson once again impressed me, whereas the Duke is probably an acquired taste.
Before our MC, the lovely Jane Childs (hi Jane!), could announce the next match, the Old School faction came to the ring. I had heard and read much about this Old School/New School feud, and had wondered how it would play out this evening. With the heel faction insulting the locals, the so-called "Twisted Genius" Dean Ayas gloated over the fact that Jonny Storm, Jodie Fleisch and Doug Williams were not in attendance. He then spoke of Flash Barker's non-title match with Robbie Brookside. Ayas tore up the contract, saying that he wanted to turn it into a title shot. With Drew MacDonald and Justin Richards waiting on stage, Ayas called Brookside out. Twice Brookside's music played, and twice he no-showed. Ayas dispatched his troops backstage to go and look for Robbie. As Ayas and Barker waited in the ring, Robbie, chair in hand, came through the crowd and whacked Barker from behind, before walloping Ayas with the clipboard the Twisted Genius was carrying.
JACK XAVIER (with Cammy) v JUSTIN RICHARDS (with Dean Ayas)
Two more F.W.A. stalwarts going at it as the Old School made their first proper wrestling appearance of the evening in the form of Richards.
Now, I know I'm going to get into a little trouble here, but this match, for me, was very slow at times, and a little unimpressive. While Richards showed some good moves, Xavier seemed a little clumsy at times, like he was unsure of himself.
Probably the best part of the match was when those parading outside the ring got into the action. Ayas had been Irish Whipped into the corner, and as he slumped in the corner, Cammy ran in and delivered a drop-kick to the nether regions. But the Twisted Genius had planned ahead, having worn a metal cup in his trousers. However, Dean's supposed intellectual abilities let him down. Removing the cup from his trousers, holding it high in the air, and telling everyone how clever he was, Cammy came up from behind with a well placed fist. Looked like his genius wasn't the only thing of his that was twisted!
Richards notched up one for the Old School as he synched in a sleeper hold on Xavier. A largely unimpressive bout, only really saved by the extracurricular activities.
To the roar of the crowd, Jane Childs introduced the Show Stealer himself, Alex Shane. Unable to compete because of his neck injury, Alex told us that there was nothing that would keep him away from an F.W.A. show. A dedicated man if ever there was one! Alex then introduced the next tag-team contest.
THE NEW BREED v JAMES TIGHE and KRUIZ
With the Breed's title match against the U.K. Pitbulls put back to the Vendetta show in Telford next month, Ashe and Curve went up against James Tighe and one-time Breed member Kruiz, replacing Chris Justice, apparently in Ibiza, competing in a dance contest or something.
Although a small part of me had originally wanted to see the Breed go at it with the Pitbulls, this contest more than made up for any disappointment I had been feeling. This was an example of tag-team wrestling at it's finest, with both duos putting in some excellent work. Both teams seemed evenly matched, not just in size but in skill as well.
The night belonged to the New Breed as they levelled Kruiz with an old Eliminators-style move, a high kick/leg sweep combination. Always an impressive move when executed correctly, as it was on this occasion.
But that wasn't the end of it as the Breed attacked Tighe. With Tighe slumped in one corner, Ashe and Curve placed folding chairs on his prone body before launching themselves of the top rope, showing signs of R.V.D.
With the third match complete, Jane Childs announced the interval. However, two disgruntled former employees of Alex Shane had other ideas as Stix and Pliers, The Boyz, came to the ring. The Boyz demanded a match with anyone, Old School, New School, they didn't care. However, they weren't expecting a seven-foot tall German!
THE BOYZ v ULF HERMAN
A dose of hardcore for the evening as Ulf answering the Boyz's challenge, stormed down to the ring with on thing in mind - destruction, and for all intents and purposes, he accomplished his mission.
I had been largely unimpressed the last time I saw Ulf wrestle, against Brian Christopher at Revival, but this was an impressive outing from the big man, showing that he was well suited to the hardcore environment. Ulf's left-handed chokeslam through a table was extremely well executed.
Ulf completed his mission after delivering a top rope superplex on Stix.
Ulf then confused everyone with his actions. Never one to mince his words, Ulf badmouthed the crowd, particularly condemning the efforts of the England football team. So what gives Ulf? Do you love us or hate us? Ah, who gives a damn!
After the interval, and a well-earned can of Coca Cola, I moved up to the balcony section to get a better view. No disrespect to the fans around me on the ground floor, but did they have to constantly jump up and down in front of me? So from my new position, I watched as Jane Childs introduced us to the F.W.A.'s number one babe, Nikita, announcing her as the number one female wrestler in the country. However, this did not sit well with someone who was in attendance.
From out of nowhere, W.A.W. World and Unified British Champion, the Sweet Saraya, appeared. Running through the crowd and jumping the guard-rail, Saraya stormed into the ring like a house afire, taking Nikita by surprise and literally wiping the floor with the F.W.A.'s pride and joy. Calling Jane Childs a slut, Saraya took exception at Nikita being called the U.K.'s number one female wrestler, as if Hade Vanson hadn't arrived on the scene, Saraya would have probably caused some serious damage. Nikita, you have been warned!
ZEBRA KID v PAUL TRAVELL v SCOTTY ROCK v MARK SLOAN
This was the match I had travelled to Walthamstow for, pitting three of the F.W.A.'s finest against the "outsider" who had drawn the ire of the die-hard F.W.A. Internet fans, and although it will probably take a while to win over the sternest of the F.W.A. fans, the Zebra Kid certainly impressed those in attendance with his performance.
As a reported I often find it difficult to observe everything that is going on in a match of this type, especially when the four men broke off into two pairings, and while I mean no disrespect to Rock or Travell, the two men I watched the most were Sloan and Zebra, Zebra for obvious reasons, and Sloan because I had heard so much about him.
While the Zebra Kid was again impressive, Sloan was the opposite. He showed some good moves, but really didn't do it for me.
The crux of the contest got down to Sloan and Zebra. Zebra, having shown his hardcore tendencies, dispatched Sloan with an awesome looking top-rope elbow. A three count later and he had earned a shot at Sloan's All-England title next month.
The Zebra Kid came into this show with the fans not knowing what to expect of him, and yearning for the likes of Storm and Fleisch. But by the end of his performance, he had them literally eating out of the palm of his hand.
"SOLID GOLD" SCOTT PARKER v DREW MacDONALD
An interesting stipulation here - if Parker won, Old School crony Dino Scarlo would have to leave the F.W.A. If Drew won, Parker would be forced to join the heel faction.
Before the match began, the ref, in an attempt to get a fair contest, ordered Scarlo from the ringside area. Scarlo was reluctant to leave, until the ref informed him that Drew would forfeit the match unless he did as he was told.
Both me impressed me in this contest. Drew, the wily old vetera, using all the tricks of the trade, and Parker, with his youthful vigour.
At times though, what was happening in the ring was somewhat overshadowed by the fan's verbal altercations. The die-hard fans near the stage, annoyed when others were chanting "solid shit" replied by shouting "shut the fuck up!" Moments later, when the die-hards began their "solid gold" chant, the others responded with, well, I think you get my drift.
The match ended in favour of Parker. Scarlo, despite the previous ruling, returned to the ring with a cricket bat. His attempt to attack with the bat having failed, Parker somehow got the bat and gave Scarlo a taste of his own medicine. In all the confusion, Robbie Brookside arrived, and Drew was counted out.
Incensed by what had happened, Scarlo was reluctant to keep his end of the bargain, until he was persuaded to leave by security.
F.W.A. British Championship
FLASH BARKER (with Dean Ayas, champion) v ROBBIE BROOKSIDENow a title match, the Twisted Genius, with other parts of his body now untwisted, told us all of how Robbie was always second rate, reminding us of Robbie's former comrades, Messrs, Regal and Dean.
If being "old school" means that you wrestle in a style that makes you think of Saturday afternoons in years gone by, then I'm starting to think that perhaps this Old School thing isn't a bad idea.
Robbie and Barker put on a match that reminded me of the good old days, probably because Robbie was around back then. Well executed moves from both men made for a good match. But it wasn't all technical, as Robbie's kick to Barker's nads while the champ sat on the top rope showed us that they could get down and dirty.
Despite the good moves, the ending was a tad confusing though. As one ref was laid out with a drop-kick, a second official came to the ring to make the count after Robbie hit his finishing move, where he flips his opponent over his head from the middle rope. The second ref counted the pin, but somehow got hit. Barker then attacked as the first ref came to, getting the three count moments later. This was the signal for the Old School contingent to strike. This brought Scott Parker to the rescue, but he was soon decked himself.
Dean Ayas than grabbed the microphone, proclaiming that the New School was dead and buried. Then, confusion reigned as Ulf returned. Earlier on, Ulf had made us cheer, then boo. Now, seemingly on the side of the New School, Ulf sent the heels running for cover, With the ring cleared, an uneasy truce was made between Ulf, Robbie and Parker.
In conclusion - as a first taste of F.W.A. action, this wasn't that bad! An enjoyable card, despite one or two hiccups, and while I fell that the F.W.A.'s reputation as the best promotion in the country is not wholly justified, they can rightfully claim to be one of the best.
Match of the night - my fellow Internet geeks are going to give me a lot of heat for this - the four way pitting Rock, Sloan, Travell and Zebra was the highlight of the evening. Parker and Drew was close, just for the sheer drama of it, but my W.A.W. tendencies did it for me. Me thinks that F.W.A. gold could be coming to Norwich quite soon!