Friday, 15 March 2019

RE-POST: Alex Shane - The Showstealer Has Arrived (2004)

Alex Shane is probably the best-known wrestler in Britain at the moment. With his massive size, his in-ring skill, and his ability to talk like no other, many consider him the total package as far as the wrestling business is concerned.

A lifelong wrestling fan, like many youngsters in Britain, Alex's interested in wrestling grew when he discovered the World Wrestling Federation in 1990. During the next few years, Alex attended several wrestling shows, especially when the WWF and World Championship Wrestling came to these shores. His interest grew to such an extent that after attending a WCW event at the Royal Albert Hall, he decided he wanted to become a professional wrestler.

For weeks he looked high and low, until he found the telephone number for Brian Dixon's All-Star Wrestling promotion. Going to their show at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon, Alex approached Brian about training, and Brian referred him to the then-newly opened Hammerlock School of Wrestling, and it's trainer, Andre Baker.

At first, training was somewhat difficult. Alex was not a natural in the ring. But as time went on, he got better and better, to the point where, one year later, at the age of 15, he competed in his first match, teaming with Muscles Mansfield, Mr. Vain and VIP against Tony Macmillan and Mass Appeal in Folkestone. Alex would continue to compete for Hammerlock, often losing his battles and sustaining several injuries, including a ruptured shoulder joint, a twisted pelvis, and several broken ribs.

A disagreement with the Hammerlock management led to his departure in 1998. Alex offered to continue to wrestle for Hammerlock, promoting the company while working for other promoters. However, when he signed to wrestle for the Ultimate Wrestling Alliance during their television tapings in April 1999, Alex was informed by Hammerlock that his services were no longer required.

To this day, Alex acknowledges that without Hammerlock, he wouldn't have been able to start his wrestling career. However, he also realises that his career has blossomed since he left the Hammerlock camp.

After leaving Hammerlock, Alex joined with fellow trainee Guy Thunder to form the Double Impact tag-team. Appearing for the UWA on the Live TV shows, the team really took off when they began to compete for the fledgling Frontier Wrestling Alliance. Debuting at the FWA's No Surprises show in July 1999, they defeated fellow newcomers The New Breed. However, it wasn't just Alex's wrestling ability that caught the attention of the fans. His work on the microphone was starting to get him noticed as well. He began to show that he was a natural talker.

Alex's desire to move into the singles ranks caused the break-up of the Double Impact team. This proved to be a move in the right direction, as in February 2000, Alex defeated "The Specialist" Mark Sloan to win the FWA Heavyweight title.

Around this time, Alex and wrestling promoter Cab Kennedy set up Capital City Pro Wrestling, an FWA regional promotion. His first show as a promoter was the FWA's Urban Legends show in March 2000, in which he reunited with Thunder to once again take on the New Breed. Things didn't go well for the team as they lost their match, thanks to interference from four Hammerlock wrestlers.

Around this time, Alex received a big money off from another wrestling promotion, UCW. Joining this upstart promotion would mean leaving the FWA and CCPW, but also offered him the chance to transform his character.

Before leaving the FWA, Alex wanted to cause some controversy. Arriving at the July show with fellow UCW wrestler Jonny Storm and UCW director Ross Gordon, they went looking for trouble, and found it in the form of Thunder, Justin Richards and Jody Fleisch. The FWA team challenged Alex and his men to a winner takes all, championship v company shares match.

The match proved to be very eventful. With the referee taking a hit, Alex and Thunder ended up in a double pinning combination. As a second referee raced in to make the count, the original referee began to come to, and he administered a count as well. Both men were declared winners, and the FWA Heavyweight title was declared vacant. However, the FWA's head referee would later declare that Thunder was the winner.

With his FWA business concluded, Alex moved on to UCW, and morphed into the L.X. Blade character. This wasn't a move in the right direction. The old Alex Shane was gone, replaced by a slow, plodding monster who, by his own admission, didn't have any good matches. His UCW stint lasted just six months. As the company went out of business, Alex was released from his contract.

Now free from his UCW obligations, Alex and Kennedy reformed CCPW, and opened the CCPW Training Academy, which would ultimately lead to his return to the FWA. Around this time, former children's television presenter Tommy Boyd began his Talk Wrestling radio show on Talksport. However, realising that his knowledge of the business was somewhat limited, Tommy recruited Alex as his co-host. Alex proved to be a natural. Now calling himself "The Showstealer", Alex, in his new role as a spokesman for the FWA, was able to use the show to promote the company, raising it's profile tenfold. His wrestling return, against "Solid Gold" Scott Parker, also silenced the critics after his poor run in UCW.

In February 2002, Alex helped Boyd promote the successful "Revival" show in Crystal Palace, which not only featured the top FWA stars, but also WWF's stars Eddie Guerrero and Brian "Grandmaster Sexay" Lawler. The event was shown on Bravo, and was a great success.

However, disaster struck just a month later. At the Urban Legends event in March 2002, Alex suffered the kind of injury all wrestlers fear, injuring his neck in a match against Karl Kramer. To say that he was devastated by this injury would be an understatement. A statement on his web site thanked the fans for their support.

It would be eight long months before Alex would return to action. Returning at the FWA's British Uprising show, and targeting the Old School stable who had put him out of action, he was attacked by his old nemesis Mark Sloan. Later that night, as Sloan tried to interfere in the main event pitting Flash Barker and Jody Fleisch in a ladder match for the FWA title, Alex took him out with his trademark "One Night Stand" move.

Alex's first match back a few weeks later proved to be a championship-winning effort. At London Calling" in October 2002, then-FWA Tag-Team Champions the U.K. Pitbulls sent out an open challenge, Alex teamed with German powerhouse Ulf Hermann to defeat the Sheringham strongmen and win the gold.

Alex would hold the title on-and-off for most of 2003, teaming with Ulf, Stevie Knight and Nikita as they battled Greg Lambert's stable, The Family. Their matches were regarded as some of the best, and most brutal, in Britain in 2003. Alex and Ulf would eventually lost the titles to The Family in August 2003. However, a few months later at British Uprising 2, Alex would turn on his partner. The Bethnal Green crowd were stunned.

During this time, Alex won his second singles title, defeating James Mason for The Wrestling Alliance's vacant British Heavyweight title in March 2003. The reign was short-lived however. After a controversial title defence against Jake "The Snake" Roberts, TWA promoter stripped Alex of the title.

During this time Alex continued to promote the FWA outside the ring as much as he could. The loss of the Talk Wrestling radio show, which he had taken over after Tommy Boyd's departure from the station, was a great blow, but in his new-found role as FWA Managing Director, Alex continued to promote the company in any way he could, and with his natural charisma, he has proven to be very good at his job.

His arrival in WAW, and his encounters with WAW owner "Rowdy" Ricky Knight, have proven to be somewhat controversial, to say the least. Knight views Alex as everything that's wrong with British wrestling today, as the figurehead of a company that plays up to the Internet, to the "smart marks", far too much. Just what Alex Shane is looking to accomplish in WAW remains to be seen. But one thing is for sure, there's two things the Rowdy Man can do about it - nothing, and like it!

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