So, there was quite the build up to this match…
You have to go all the way back to May 2003 and Frontiers of Honor – the joint FWA/ROH show for the original genesis. Corino had been originally lined up to be part of the ROH team, however this came at a time when in storyline he had formed the imaginatively titled ‘The Group’ that was trying to fight against the company, so as he’s revealed in interviews since he didn’t think it made the most logical sense. Whatever the exact reasons, he didn’t end up appearing on the show which led to Shane going on his wrestling radio show to publically criticise Corino. Eventually the two would bury the hatchet behind the scenes, but publically there was no acknowledgement and so when Corino ‘unexpectedly’ came out of the crowd at New Frontiers in March 2004, the internet savvy FWA crowd were all over this ‘shoot’ angle.
At New Frontiers Corino confronted Shane, effectively taking that show hostage and with both cutting some personal promo’s on one another. Rather than having them clash that early they wisely held off on a Shane/Corino match, instead Corino faced Doug Williams for the FWA Title that night (the beginning of the long build-up to Shane and Williams for British Uprising III) which Shane ending up interfering in to cost Corino his chance of winning the belt.
In June 04 Corino and Shane were then set to be on either side of a tag match at Carpe Diem but this time flight problems prevented the match. While obviously a blow at the time for that show, in the long term it ended up adding even more heat and anticipation for the one-on-one match between them.
Before we finally get to the match itself, Hotwired is also remembered as being the show where the FWA managed to get some fairly decent mainstream publicity for an angle between Shane (spinning multiple feuds at the same time) and British boxer Danny Williams who had got notoriety for knocking out Mike Tyson in his comeback match shortly before this. While not on an Austin/Tyson level from 98, it was all shot and carried off pretty convincingly with officials separating the two when it kicked off. The end result was FWA management stripping Shane of his title as the company’s Managing Director and setting the stage for this match.
With the great build for this match, there is a real buzz amongst the crowd and thankfully we don’t get any lockup to start – they fire off on each other with forearms right from the start. Shane plays his role really well in the beginning, trying to bail to the outside to buy time and get away from Corino’s fury, but without going full chicken shit heel, which wouldn’t feel natural given his size.
You get that sense of hatred coming through in Corino’s work and the crowd brawling on the outside has energy and intensity to it, rather than the somewhat limp walk and brawl that can often turn into. With Shane trying to escape through the crowd, Corino channels his inner ECW and takes him up and down the bleachers and across the staging area. As I’ve mentioned before the way the Broxbourne Civic Hall was set up made for a great building to brawl across. When they are on the stage, Shane ends up pile driving Corino on it and the result is one of the legendary Corino bladejobs – it’s a nasty amount of blood, but again, fits exactly with the story of the match.
While the brawl between the two is fun, it’s the home stretch and the different run in’s that make it memorable. When the ref gets bumped, we get Shane’s personal security goons (including Martin Stone/NXT’s Danny Burch) getting involved before being fought off by Jack Xavier, Aviv Mayan and Ross Jordan who had already teamed up against the security earlier on this show, all of whom had also had issues with Shane during the past several months. With them fighting round the building we then get Shane’s protégé Hade Vansen looking to take out Corino, until he’s taken care of by the FWA Commissioner Flash Barker to a massive pop. Showing the strength of the storytelling in FWA in 2003/04, in storyline terms Vansen was the one held responsible for injuring Barker’s leg at British Uprising II the year before and that had forced his retirement so it’s fantastically cathartic to see Barker getting to pummel the cocky Vansen with punches.
We get a number of really good false finishes and near falls until karma captures up with Shane in the form of Doug Williams hitting him with the FWA title belt allowing Corino to hit the lariat for the win and a great reaction. While the Williams interference at the end might not feel natural given it’s a babyface helping to outnumber the heel – it again works in the context of the story. The show before, Shane and his cronies had ambushed Williams, and wiped his blood on the title in a great angle, before stealing the belt. In blowing off one feud they were also using the match to build up the Williams/Shane title match for British Uprising III.
Watched in isolation, I’m not sure people would get too carried away by this match – on a technical level it’s a fairly bog standard brawl, although there is great intensity and time isn’t spent setting up over choreographed plunder spots that would take you out of the moment of feeling the hatred - but it’s all elevated by the build-up, over a year in the making and which had seen several plot twists and turns to get there.
In the match itself there are lots of run-ins and ref bumps, what you might describe as ‘over-booking’ and seen in a negative light. This of course, when done too much and done to excess can be a turn-off, but when done right it can be a fantastic storytelling tool. In this match the context means it all makes sense, interweaving several long running and interconnected storylines, to both blowoff the Corino/Shane rivalry but also build-up multiple matches for British Uprising. It’s great pro wrestling. (*** ¾)