The second episode of the Indies 20 Years Ago Podcast takes us to June 2001, and what a bumper show we have in store: Mickie James, Doug Williams, Ian Rotten (Billy's quota for the month), the podcasts first "listener match" and... Tony Atlas (thanks Dan!).
Adam's First Match: Jody Fleisch vs Doug Willams - FWA Title Tournament 1st Round
While this match was taped at the end of May it wasn't broadcast for a couple of weeks so I think it's fair to put it out this month.
Having watched the first month of the FWA TV it is very much a mixed bag but this match is most definitely the highlight of the month. It is a sign of things to come from this company as it becomes the biggest drawing company in the UK a couple of years later with matches like this, a number featuring these men, being the cornerstone. The match itself was a great showcase from both guys showing just why they were 2 of the best guys in the country delivering great action that would have fit on any card from any company of the era in front of a crowd who were into everything they were doing.
One of the reasons when I started this project was to go back and watch this absolute gem of a match. ROH would be born a year later and a lot of its early shows would feature multi man scrambles similar to this. Some said at the time this match was revolutionary and you can see a lot of these spots and ideas from here which can now be seen in any of the big two promotions these days.
Dan's First Match: Sean Lei vs. Alexis Laree (Mickie James) - NFW
Picking this match as it's good to see an intergender match and with a future bug name in Mickie James, Alexis Laree back then.
The Listener Match
A new innovation for the second episode of the show is the introduction of a "listener match", each month - after Dan, Billy and Adam have chosen their two matches each, they will also submit a third to be part of a Twitter vote.
Over 60% of you voted for the Christopher Daniels vs Lance Storm match! Get following @IndyWres20Yrs for the poll for July's show!
Listener Match - Christopher Daniels vs Lance Storm - Stampede Wrestling
I selected this match simply because it’s Lance Storm Vs Chris Daniels. Also it’s Storm's last Indy match for 5 years. Storm doesn’t phone it in even though he’s just got that fed job and makes Chris look like a star and considering Chris was blowing up on the indies and this stock would only rise thanks to Lance here.
Adam's Second Match: Low Ki vs Xavier - Ladder Match - ICW
(Note this video is part 1 of 4)
When it comes to what was happening on the indies around this time there was a sense of transition. For the previous few years there had been a number of ECW knock off promotions but the end of WCW and the raise in popularity of strong style saw more smaller guy matches. This would be emphasised 6 months later when these two would become cornerstones of the fledgling ROH promotion that focused heavily on this style. Here is a great early example of that in the form of a ladder match and a preview of the match they would have the following year for the ROH title. Some great looking stuff here but with only the one ladder in place it meant that the action could stay believable without there being overly contrived spots that made no sense. It was just 2 guys wailing on each other until one was victorious. Sometimes that's all you need to keep your audience happy.
Billy's Second Match: Ian Rotten vs Sick Nick Mondo - IWA Mid-South King Of The Death Match
Highspots Video Link (subscription required)
The second match I’m picking this month is Ian Rotten Vs Sick Nick Mondo. It’s everyone’s favourite plastic Geordie Ian Rotten going up against one of CZW premier death match workers in Sick Nick Mondo. It was kind of new to see CZW wrestlers going to Ian’s IWA MS for its annual KOTDM tournament at the time. Also it’s quiet funny to see Ian having a extremely difficult time keeping up with Nick who was just as good at Cruiserweight wrestling as he was death match wrestling. Of course Ian put himself over the much more over Mondo and would of course go on to win annual tournament once again but then he’s booking it so he might of well put himself over right?
Dan's Second Match: Tony Atlas vs The Barbarian - NACW
Picking this one as it's just so out of place for 2001. I know barbarian was still in WCW towards the end but Tony Atlas!?