THE TWO SHEDS REVIEW by Julian Radbourne – now in it’s 10th year!
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He’s the current TNA X Division Champion, and a former World Tag-Team Champion, but long before he ventured into the Impact Zone Doug Williams was recognised as Britain’s best wrestler, and the now defunct Wrestling Channel paid tribute to the man by giving him his own four hour Supercard Sunday slot, featuring matches from the Frontier Wrestling Alliance, Ring of Honor and Pro Wrestling NOAH.
The first match saw a battle of the future superstars in ROH was Williams faced C.M. Punk in the second round of the Pure Wrestling title tournament.
This was considered a dream match back then, and is a great example of their work. It began with some great exchanges before Punk began to work over Williams’ knee after he missed the bomb scare knee drop from the top rope. (See! I told you he wasn’t scared of heights!)
But in the end Punk out-smarted Williams, who thought he had the pin after the bridging chaos theory suplex. Williams didn’t realise that his shoulders were on the mat when the referee made the count. Punk raised his at the final moment, giving the straight edged one the win.
The next match saw Williams taking on former ECW World Champion Jerry Lynn and the FWA’s first British Uprising show.
Now when you’ve got two guys who can have good matches with anyone you know what kind of match you’re going to get.
This was one of those matches you just couldn’t take your eyes off, because you knew you’d miss something special. It was filled with countless tremendous moves, and two displays from men at the top of their game. It really was an awesome encounter.
But sadly it had to end, with Williams finally able to put Lynn away with the chaos theory. Afterwards both men received a standing ovation, and rightfully so.
Then it was on to a tough match for Williams as he challenged Samoa Joe for the ROH World title. Joe had been the champion for about eighteen months at this point.
These two against each other was a mouth watering prospect back then. It’s a tremendous hard-hitting encounter, and you can see here why these two have been so successful in TNA.
In essence you’ve got two of the best wrestlers in the world at the top of their game, with Williams almost getting the win a number of times before Joe finally put his man away with a lariat clothesline.
The ROH action continued with Williams going up against an old enemy as he challenged Christopher Daniels for the FWA British title. Daniels had won the title in Britain, defeating Williams and champion Jody Fleisch in a three-way dance. But as he refused to return here to defend it Williams was forced to challenge him for the title on an ROH show.
These two knew each other so well they could probably have done this match with their eyes closed. Daniels was at his heelish best here as the leader of the cult-like Prophecy, wanting to destroy the company’s strict code of honour.
In short, it’s another great back and forth encounter, with Daniels working over Williams’ ribs, before the challenger eventually got the win and the title back when he took Daniels down with the chaos theory. Great stuff.
Action from Japan featured in the next match as Williams teamed with Scorpio against Yoshinari Ogawa and Mitsuharu Misawa for Pro Wrestling NOAH.
It’s an altogether different kind of match here, contested at a much slower pace. The technical exchanges between Williams and Ogawa in the opening stages were a joy to behold.
The slow, methodical approach was the order of the day in a very entertaining affair, with all four men putting in good performances and pulling off some great double team moves before Williams took Ogawa down with the chaos theory and Scorpio sealed the deal after a 450 splash.
The following match saw Williams defending the FWA British title against “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson in a best of three falls encounter.
The main thing I remember about this match was the reaction from the smart marks. Danielson went into this one wearing his mask, and a lot of the fans were actually convinced that it wasn’t him under the hood. Those crazy internet types, eh?
This was a classic, and if it had been contested over the rounds system it would have fitted in perfectly in the World of Sport era.
In what has to be one of the most even contests I’ve ever seen Williams and Danielson matched each other hold for hold and move for move. It made for a tremendous spectacle.
Danielson took the first fall as Williams quickly submitted to the cattle mutilation. Williams evened things up with a roll-up after a cyclone suplex, and took the winning fall after a bridging double under hook suplex, retaining his title in the process. An awesome encounter.
It was back to Ring of Honor for the next two matches, beginning with Williams going up against tag-team specialist Jay Briscoe.
The first thing I noticed was how different Briscoe looked back then, a lot smaller than he is now. Mind you, he looks a lot better since he put on all of that muscle in the past couple of years or so.
It’s a completely different style of match, and also a relatively short encounter. Briscoe put on a good display here, but it wasn’t enough as Williams took the win after the chaos theory.
Then it was on to Williams taking on Chris Sabin in the first round of the Pure Wrestling title tournament. A little strange that this wasn’t shown before the C.M. Punk match.
If you’ve only seen Sabin’s recent TNA matches you may be a little surprised by this one. There are times where Sabin matches Williams move for move, and there are also times where the Anarchist tries to match Sabin’s high flying style.
But given the order in which these matches are show it’s obvious who got the win here, Williams with the chaos theory.
The final match of the collection came from The Wrestling Channel’s International Showdown event, as Williams teamed with Scorpio and James Tighe against Tiger Emperor, Mitsuharu Misawa and Yoshinari Ogawa.
I was actually given a free ticket for this show by The Wrestling Channel, but I had to sell it to a friend because I had to report on a show put on by some other promotion the same day, a promotion that now bans people from ever mentioning my name on their forum. But that’s another story for another time.
On a show featuring talent such as A.J. Styles, Samoa Joe, C.M. Punk, Raven, Christopher Daniels and a ton of Britain’s top stars these six men put on a great display of tag-team wrestling which was very much in the Pro Wrestling NOAH mould.
It’s full of great action throughout, and I remember that many people thought that young Brit Tighe wouldn’t be able to keep up with the Japanese stars. Well, he’d kept up with A.J. Styles a few months before, so this was nothing new to him.
Plenty of action towards the end here as all six men hit their big moves before Williams pinned Tiger Emperor with the chaos theory. I’d forgotten just how great this match was.
In conclusion – looking back at this collection made me realise two things.
Long before he stepped into the Impact Zone to help cover up Brutus Magnus’ failings as a wrestler Doug Williams was, and still is, the best wrestler this country has produced over the past ten years.
These matches show that he’s capable of adapting to any style, whether it be American indy, American-influenced British, or Japanese strong style. Williams can do it all, and this collection was a great example of the Anarchist at his best.
The other thing I realised was how much I missed The Wrestling Channel, and how their Supercard Sunday show were the highlight of my weekend!
Now if you’re looking to get any of these matches, please don’t ask me. My copy of this, which I taped off the television, is getting a bit rough around the edges as it were.
But you may be able to get some of the other matches elsewhere.
The shows that feature Williams’ ROH matches should be available from www.rohwrestling.com, while you can get the TWC International Showdown show from www.amerchandise.co.uk.
As for the Pro Wrestling NOAH and the FWA matches, I’m not sure. The recently re-launched FWA are advertising an FWA classics-type series, so I’d advise keeping an eye on www.fwauk.com. As for NOAH, try and find a decent tape trader, although you can get some of Williams’ later NOAH matches, with English commentary, from A Merchandise.