FWA:A Honor Academy

by on 28th August 2008

Suppiler: A-Merchandise.co.uk
Certificate: 15
Number of Discs: 1
Price: £10.00
To Purchase:
Click Here
Reviewed by:
Julian Radbourne

This edition of The Two Sheds Review sees me continuing an occasional series which began at the beginning of July. Having reviewed the DVD release of Ring of Honor’s first full show here in Britain, “Unified”, and their collaboration with the Frontier Wrestling Alliance for “Frontiers of Honor”, I’m once again going to look at another FWA/ROH collaboration, but with a slight difference. This time I’m going to look at ROH’s visit to the FWA Academy, with a review of Honor Academy, held two years ago. The show features the cream of ROH talent going up against the best the FWA Academy has to offer, and is headlined by then-ROH Champion Bryan Danielson taking on the head trainer of the academy and former FWA Champion, Mark Sloan.

The opening encounter is actually between two FWA:A stars, Wade Fitzgerald and Jake McClusky. An interesting match this one, pitting Fitzgerald’s MMA stylings against McClusky’s more flamboyant attitude. Fitzgerald’s martial arts training is apparent for all to see early on with his leg kicks and submission attempts. We then get the fast-paced stuff for a while, with McClusky pulling off some good looking high-flying moves. There’s a couple of dodgy moments towards the end, but the match is interrupted when L.T. Summers comes down to the ring and attacks both wrestlers, taking both of them out at the same time, with the match being ruled a no contest. Despite the poor moments, this was proving to be a very entertaining contest, with both wrestlers coming across well. It’s just a shame that it was spoiled by the run-in at the end.

Then it’s on to the ROH v FWA:A matches, beginning with Jamie Brum taking on the crown jewel of the Embassy, Jimmy Rave. Rave is, of course, accompanied by Prince Nana for this encounter, and neither of them are too pleased when the toilet rolls are thrown at them. A very good match here, despite the fact that the idiotic fans continued to throw the toilet rolls into the ring as the match was going on. Brum more than kept up with Rave, and looked good late on into the match after Rave had dominated the majority of the contest. Rave wasn’t helped by the customary interference of Nana, who took his shots whenever Rave drew the referee’s attention to people in the crowd who were taunting him. Brum got several near falls, but it was Rave who came out on top, finishing him off with a spear and a pedigree. Good stuff here.

The only tag-team match of the show follows, as the Briscoe Brothers face Max Voltage and Dan Head. This match is a good example of just how good the Briscoes have become. Everything they did impressed me, and it’s not often that I say that. Voltage and Head had their moments as well, putting together some good double team moves, but I’m going to have to use the dodgy moments phrase again as far as a couple of moves from Voltage are concerned. In the end it was the Academy boys who won through. After the obligatory brawl, Voltage got the pin with the double-team blockbuster headucation move – Head held his opponent high, while Voltage came off the top rope and connected with a neck breaker. Another very good match.

Back to singles action, with Austin Aries taking on Ollie Burns. This was your classic rookie versus veteran match, with Aries taunting Burns early on, and underestimating just what the youngster was capable of as Burns pulled off a ton of good moves to take the tag-team champ down. Both guys pulled off some excellent combinations and individual moves, making for a good match, with Aries growing increasingly annoyed with his inability to put the rookie away, which ultimately he just couldn’t do. After a fast counter-exchange of moves, Aries lifted Burns onto his shoulders. But Burns shifted his weight, moved into a crucifix position, and pulled Aries down to the mat to get the three count. A very good match, telling a great story.

Then it’s on to B.J. Whitmer taking on James Tighe, once thought of as one of the brightest prospects of the wrestling business, but whose profile has slipped considerably in the past couple of years. Anyway, this was one of those matches that looked good on paper, and one I was looking forward to seeing. Despite the fact that the somewhat sparse crowd were all but silent, this was another great match, showcasing the excellent technical talents of both men, with hardly a foul committed between them. After Tighe injured his arm missing a moonsault, it wasn’t long before Whitmer got the win, pinning Tighe after an exploder suplex. Enjoyable stuff.

The action continues with Roderick Strong facing Harry Mills, who came to the ring with his entire chav faction. I’ve never been a fan of chavs or chav gimmicks, so I was looking forward to seeing Strong beat the crap out of this guy. Thankfully Strong did as I hoped, and it was good to see several of those skin shredding chops of his. But credit where credit’s due, Mills did some good stuff here as he took it to the tag team champion, and earned the distinction of being the first FWA Academy wrestler on this show to be heckled and booed by the fans in attendance. Sadly, Mills got the win, connecting with a low blow while his chav mates distracted the referee, then taking him down with an off the shoulder DDT. A good match, and did I tell you just how much I dislike the whole chav culture?

Main event time, the match I was really looking forward to, with ROH World Champion Bryan Danielson facing former FWA Champion and head trainer of the academy Mark Sloan. Although devoid of overly flashy moves, this was the sort of match that got me interested in wrestling in the first place. A good old fashioned technical contest with two excellent performances saw Sloan and Danielson pull out all the stops as they attempted to gain victory. In the end that victory went to Danielson. When his attempt at the cattle mutilation failed, he pinned Sloan with a simple roll-up, a simple move to enter a great technical bout, and the best bout I’ve ever seen from Sloan.

In conclusion – a very enjoyable DVD release from Mark Sloan and his crew. Okay, there were a couple of sloppy moments, but overall every match was good, and accomplished what it set out to do. The rookies more than held their own against the more established ROH stars, which was good to see, and it’s a shame that the FWA Academy is now, like the FWA itself, a thing of the past, and that we only have these DVD releases to remind us how good they could be at times. This one is certainly recommended viewing.

“FWA Academy: Honor Academy” is available to buy online at www.a-merchandise.co.uk, official sponsor of The Two Sheds Review website.

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