FIND out about the history of XWA here with our 10 year trail through the highs and lows of the North West of England’s best wrestling promotion and its adventures in the seaside town of Morecambe, Lancashire…
Before there was XWA, there was the FWA. The Frontier Wrestling Alliance had existed for four years before it debuted at The Dome in Morecambe on Thursday night, April 21 2003. For boyhood best friends and local lads, Greg Lambert and Mark Kay, this would be their first live event as wrestling promoters. A packed house at The Dome saw the first ever match in what would later be re-named the XWA, as James Tighe defeated Raj Ghosh. Also on the show, Flash Barker pinned Jack Xavier and future WWE star Paul Burchill made an explosive entrance to crush Andy Simmonz after his victory over future WWE signing Hade Vansen. Local personality DJ Pep was rescued from a beatdown by British Tag Team Champions The Family, leading to the evil cult’s victory later that evening over the charismatic Alex Shane and Nikita (who would go on to international fame in WWE as Katie Lea and in TNA as Winter). That first Morecambe show also saw a title change as the American Chris Hamrick beat The Zebra Kid for the All-England belt. And in the main event, FWA Heavyweight Champion, British wrestling great and future TNA star ‘The Anarchist’ Doug Williams retained the linear British Heavyweight Championship in a draw with former WWE and WCW flyer Juventud Guerrera. The XWA Title has direct lineage back to the FWA championship originated in 1999 and held at this time by Williams, recognised as one of the most prestigious championships in British Wrestling today.
Doug Williams would return to The Dome on August 2 to successfully defend his championship against none other than his fellow TNA IMPACT star ‘The Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels. Jody Fleisch also made his first and only appearance to date, defeating Jack Xavier. Jonny Storm beat James Tighe, and Burchill annihilated Simmonz and Mark Sloan in a handicap match. And the legendary Stevie Knight made his return to the ring after retirement, teaming with Alex Shane to beat The Family for the British Tag Team Titles.
By the time the new year rolled around, Alex Shane had turned to the dark side. But when FWA returned to The Dome on April 8, the newly-evil Showstealer was put in his place by a loss to young Aviv Maayan. Also on a classic show, top American independent star Sonjay Dutt downed James Tighe and British Heavyweight Champion Doug Williams survived a tough challenge from Mark ‘Five Star’ Belton. North West star Damon Leigh made his Morecambe debut, teaming with European wrestler Murat Bhosporus in a loss to The Family. And in the main event, the popular former WWF Intercontinental Champion D-Lo Brown blew the roof off The Dome en route to victory over Jonny Storm.
Storm’s big headed nature would get the better of him on the next Dome show on May 29. The Wonderkid put his career on the line but would lose to James Tighe, sending him into temporary retirement. Also at this event, the colourful Dirk Feelgood debuted but was crushed by Burchill. Alex Shane and Hade Vansen teamed up to beat Jack Xavier and Aviv Maayan, while Mark Belton upset The Zebra Kid, Simmonz defeated Paul Travell and Nikita embarrassed the misogynist Stevie Knight in a male versus female bout! Many of these matches were televised on Sky TV’s new outlet for professional wrestling and MMA, The Wrestling Channel. This was also the night when The Morecambe Raffle became a cult craze which lasts to this day!
The following month, Doug Williams put his British Heavyweight Championship on the line again and managed to retain the strap in a three-way with Tighe and Zebra Kid. This June 26 event would see the Morecambe debuts of four men who would help shape XWA’s future, as Stixx defeated Ross Jordan (the future RJ Singh) while a bright youngster named Spud defeated Cameron Knite and an 18-year-old prodigy named Joey Hayes became Burchill’s latest victim. The veteran Ricky Knight, father of The Zebra Kid, also wrestled on this show.
July 31 2004 saw Doug Williams beat Maayan, while female wrestler Sweet Saraya became the third member of the Knight family to appear in Morecambe, obliterating her opponent Minx. Stevie Knight and Dirk Feelgood teamed up but could not wrest the British Tag Team Titles from The Duke of Danger and Simmonz, while Tighe beat Jordan and Burchill’s final ever Morecambe appearance would turn out to also be the first outing in the Morecambe ring for his defeated adversary, an intense and glowering individual by the name of Johnny Phere…
2004 ended with a super-hot show at The Dome, which kicked off with a match between two young men who would go on to join forces over the years to come; Joey Hayes and Declan O’Connor. Leroy Kincaide made his only visit to Morecambe to date, beating Ross Jordan. American superstar Steve Corino also made a welcome appearance in The Dome, defeating Vansen, while Corino’s fellow countryman Colt Cabana made his first of three visits to the seaside, although he was on the losing end against Tighe. But the highlight of this September 4 show was the aftermath of former WWE superstar Joe Legend’s DQ loss to Doug Williams, as Alex Shane kicked ‘The Anarchist’ in the face, busted him open and stole the title belt in a memorable televised segment. This helped establish The Dome as an iconic British wrestling venue and rounded off a fantastic year of combat by the seafront!
One of the greatest events in the history of Morecambe wrestling kicked off 2005 on March 26, as former WWE, WCW and ECW legend Raven came to town. Headlining a brand new annual event appropriately-titled War on the Shore, Raven duelled with Alex Shane over the British Heavyweight Title in front of a sold-out crowd at The Dome. The entire event was aired on The Wrestling Channel, the first and only time a three-hour Morecambe wrestling event was broadcast in its entirety on TV. Shane’s tainted victory was not the only happening on the show. James Tighe and Mark Belton upset Doug Williams and Aviv Maayan, Jack Xavier beat Declan O’Connor, Stevie Lynn downed Stevie Knight, Max Voltage beat Mark Sloan and Spud defeated Jack Storm.
We followed this up with another historic event, NOAH Limits on June 18, welcoming visitors from one of the world’s top wrestling promotions, Japan’s Pro Wrestling NOAH. This event marked the first time the GHC World Tag Team Championships were defended in the UK, gaining international media coverage for The Morecambe Dome in the Japanese wrestling magazines. Naomichi Marufuji and Minoru Suzuki beat Doug Williams and Scorpio to lift the gold. The show was also memorable for Stevie Knight’s return to popularity, as he was challenged by the loudmouthed champion Alex Shane. Shane won a classic brawl but Knight won the respect and love of the Morecambe fans. Also the British Tag Team Championships changed hands as Stixx and Martin Stone beat Hampton Court. Hade Vansen beat Stevie Lynn, Ross Jordan beat Aviv Maayan and Damon Leigh pinned Joey Hayes.
We were back in Morecambe on July 30 for a show headlined by a lumberjack grudge match between Stevie Knight and Alex Shane, where ‘The Shining Light’ got his revenge in what was supposed to be his final match before moving abroad to start a new life. But Stevie was then attacked afterwards by a face from his past, his old rival the veteran Johnny Angel. Colt Cabana also returned to Morecambe, losing to Jonny Storm – by now back from his own short-lived retirement. Greg Lambert, under his hated heel manager persona of ‘The Truth’, introduced his ‘Insane Icon’ Iceman who crushed Stevie Lynn then blasted him through a ringside table. Jack Xavier beat Dirk Feelgood, now under his new gimmick as a wrestling ‘doctor’, while Ross Jordan became the first ever British Flyweight Champion with a victory over Spud. And those precocious chavs Joey Hayes and Declan O’Connor also teamed as The Manchester Massive for the first time at this event, losing to Damon Leigh and Aviv Maayan.
A comparatively unremarkable show on August 27 included Alex Shane keeping hold of the title with a victory over Andy Simmonz, the debut of the Young Doctors tag team (Dirk Feelgood and Jason Allbetter) who beat The Manchester Massive, the bully Johnny Angel destroyed Aviv Maayan, while Stixx and Martin Stone did much the same to a debuting young pair of Bubblegum and the masked Mexican El Ligero. Jack Xavier’s final Morecambe match before he left wrestling for good came in a wild double disqualification against Iceman. While James Tighe beat Stevie Lynn, Dave Rayne made his first appearance at The Dome in a show-opening six man rookie tag team encounter. Also appearing in this match was the late Dom Travis.
The year closed with the first ever Last Fight at the Prom event. The main event saw Joe Legend return to team with Jonny Storm, this unlikely pair defeating Alex Shane and Johnny Angel. This would be Shane’s final appearance in Morecambe for several years. Soon afterwards he lost the British Heavyweight Championship and slipped into semi-retirement. Other notable happenings on the October 22 event were Spud’s victory over Jack Storm and Bubblegum in a high-flying three-way match, Nikita’s victory over American star Simply Luscious, Dirk Feelgood beating Joey Hayes by countout and Stixx’s shock defeat to Irishman Eamon O’Neil.
The Dome was completely sold out on February 4 2006 for the second annual War on the Shore, which began with Johnny Angel getting a massive shock as Stevie Knight returned, from under the ring, and attacked him in revenge for what had happened six months earlier. The warring pair would end up the final two in that night’s main event – the Goldrush rumble, but fans were robbed of a conclusive winner when All-Star Wrestling’s Robbie Brookside ran in to attack and eliminate both. This ignited the bitter war between the FWA and All-Star. Also on the bill, new FWA Champion Hade Vansen retained his title with a controversial victory over Damon Leigh. The arrogant South City Thriller was accompanied by his new associate, the beautiful Nikita.
The FWA v All-Star feud needed settling. Who was the better promotion? We found out on May 13 2006 when a squad from Morecambe battled a team from All-Star in a best of five series. Five Star Flash, who had aligned himself with ASW, kicked things off with a victory over Spud. Jonny Storm squared things by beating Dean Allmark in a classic. Hade Vansen (accompanied by Nikita, in her final Dome appearance before signing for WWE) downed Robbie Dynamite but Robbie Brookside beat an injured Stevie Knight, to make the score 2-2. Then in a heated and dramatic show-closing match of survival, Jonny Storm ended up pinning Five Star Flash to win the series for the FWA. The fans were so delirious with delight, they invaded the ring and carried ‘The Wonderkid’ shoulder-high in celebration!
Brookside was not finished in his vendetta against the FWA and got the ultimate revenge at FWA Summer Classic on July 15, when he won the title of the promotion he despised. The veteran Liverpudlian shocked the Morecambe Dome by defeating Jonny Storm and Hade Vansen in a three-way main event to lift the championship, then added injury to insult when he decked FWA promoter Greg Lambert with a right hand punch, leaving him lying in the ring as Brookside paraded the title in front of the furious fans. Also on this classic show, the incredible ‘Man Gravity Forgot’ Pac made his only appearance to date in a Morecambe ring, beating Ross Jordan. The massive UK Pitbulls made a dominant debut, crushing The Manchester Massive, and Ollie Burns and Mark Sloan, in a three-way tag. Also debuting was the cheeky Essex boy Darren Burridge, who pinned Five Star Flash. And Johnny Phere made his return to Morecambe, only to fall in defeat to Dirk Feelgood.
An eventful year at The Dome closed on September 30 as Brookside retained his championship by pinning James Tighe thanks to a betrayal by rogue referee Lance Lenehan. This led to a show-closing challenge by Stevie Knight to a six-man tag, which Knight, Tighe and Spud won by defeating Brookside, Five Star and Lenehan! In other notable happenings, Johnny Phere notched his first ever Morecambe victory by defeating Bubblegum, then vowed that in 2007 he would go the entire calendar year undefeated. And in a thrilling Last Man Standing match, the plucky Spud beat Ross Jordan.
February 3 2007 would turn out to be the final Morecambe show under the banner of the FWA, but what a memorable send-off Goldrush 2007 was. From top to bottom, this was a historic show, starting with Johnny Phere beginning his self-professed ‘Year of Phere’ with a victory over the up-and-coming masked man El Ligero. Then came a joyous moment in The Dome as the fans improbably got behind the cheeky chavs Declan O’Connor and Joey Hayes in their quest to finally win a match…then exploded with delight as The Manchester Massive upset Ross Jordan and Andy Simmonz! The show continued as Robbie Brookside retained the title with a victory in a ‘British Rules’ match over Darren Burridge. Then came a shocking moment. The much-loved Stevie Knight was knocked out cold and had to be helped from the ring after Johnny Angel delivered a piledriver at the end of their ‘I Quit’ grudge match. But the show would end on a high as Jonny Storm outlasted 14 other competitors to win the annual Goldrush rumble, ensuring he would receive a chance to finally lift the British Heavyweight Title which had always eluded him, against his hated rival Robbie Brookside no less!
This historic matchup took place on April 7 2007, at the Easter Saturday Showdown at War on the Shore III. It was the first event under the company’s new name of the XWA, and yet another sell-out at The Morecambe Dome. And when all was said and done, following a distraction by Greg Lambert, ‘The Wonderkid’ Jonny Storm pinned Robbie Brookside to wrest the now XWA linear British Heavyweight Championship back from the hated interloper, leading to another happy invasion of the ring by the fans. Also at this show, the XWA was challenged for the British Inter-Federation Cup they held by another rival British wrestling promotion, the World Association of Wrestling (WAW) led by grizzled veteran ‘Rowdy’ Ricky Knight. Knight’s team would upset Team XWA (captained by Darren Burridge) in shocking circumstances. Stevie Knight, upset that he’d been omitted from Team XWA due to his injuries suffered at Goldrush, stabbed the XWA in the back and returned to his devilish ways as his interference helped Ricky Knight pin Burridge to win a four-on-four elimination match and the cup for WAW.
Stevie Knight, wearing an unforgettable all-white ‘Man from Del Monte suit’, was almost booed out of the building by XWA fans furious at his betrayal when he appeared at the next Morecambe Dome event, Vendetta 2007, on June 30. ‘The Shining Light’, who had recently won over £10,000 on Noel Edmonds’ TV game show Deal or No Deal, rechristened himself ‘Mr Deal or No Deal’ and demanded respect from the XWA supporters. But he’d reckoned without the cheek of The Manchester Massive, who mocked ‘Mr Deal or No Deal’ by distributing Mr Blobby masks to the XWA fans! However, Knight had the last laugh when he brutalised and defeated O’Connor. Meanwhile, the WAW faction, led by Ricky Knight and his teenage son Zak Zodiac, spent most of the night cockily revelling in their War on the Shore victory. But they had reckoned without the debut of XWA’s ‘Secret Weapon’, a diamond in the rough, an incredible raw talent named Sam Slam! Sam became a star in one night at Vendetta, receiving the kind of insane crowd reactions normally reserved for established veterans. First, the powerful newcomer obliterated ex-referee Lance Lenehan – who was campaigning to get his job back with XWA – and his obnoxious nephew Jamie Flynt in a handicap match. Then when Ricky Knight issued an open challenge, Sam Slam accepted and defeated the veteran by disqualification when Stevie Knight interfered. But Sam wasn’t finished. He closed the show with a jaw-dropping 450 splash from the top rope on the hapless Zak Zodiac which had the entire Morecambe Dome on its feet going wild in awe and amazement!
The XWA moved on to the weekend of September 29 and 30 2007, the company’s first ever double header. An eight-man elimination tournament, held across two shows over this ‘Battle of Britain’ weekend, would determine the next challenger to Jonny Storm’s British Heavyweight Championship. And it would be Johnny Phere, continuing his undefeated ‘Year of Phere’ streak, who would emerge the shocking victor after he scored wins over Simon Valour, Darren Burridge and then in a pulsating final, achieved a major upset by pinning Sam Slam at XWA’s first ever event at The Hexagon, Lancaster and Morecambe College…but only after Slam had been attacked by Ricky Knight’s Team WAW, been blasted with a briefcase by Stevie Knight and blasted through a table by Phere and his new finishing move the Ram Slam!
Phere was on an absolute roll, and the ‘Psychotic Warrior’ was convinced that his ‘Year of Phere’ would continue on November 24 2007 at XWA Last Fight at the Prom. But the madman had reckoned without the resourcefulness and skills of ‘The Wonderkid’. Jonny pinned Phere at the end of a terrific match to retain the belt and afterwards, the lunatic Johnny was unable or unwilling to accept that he had failed to make good on his prediction. The psycho refused to leave the ring and tried to hold the venue hostage, until he was eventually dragged from the building by security! Also on the bill, Ricky Knight and Stevie Knight teamed to beat Sam Slam and Darren Burridge by disqualification, although Sam did gain a measure of revenge by caning both Knights with a kendo stick, The Manchester Massive beat the mysterious UK Spidermen, unmasking them as Lance Lenehan and Jamie Flynt, and El Ligero lifted his first major championship, the XWA British Flyweight Title, after beating ‘The Bombay Dream’ Ross Jordan – now a self-professed ‘Bollywood superstar’ – in a chaotic ‘Mexican Streetfight’. It was a thrilling end to a thrilling year…the first year of the XWA!
If 2007 was wild, then 2008 started out even crazier. When the hated Stevie Knight cheated to oust Sam Slam and win the 2008 Goldrush rumble on February 2 2008, the atmosphere inside the Morecambe Dome reached a whole new level. The phrase “It’s Real in Morecambe” was coined as the XWA fans showed their outrage by pelting the victorious Knight with rubbish, in what became known as The Great Riot of Morecambe! Earlier in the evening, Knight had tried to get one-up on Sam Slam by introducing his new bodyguard, the returning ‘Heavyweight House of Pain’ Stixx. But Sam pinned Stixx, who then turned on the angry Knight and embraced the fans for the first time in his career. This loss would be the last Stixx would experience for over four years. Also in the Goldrush, the rivalry between Jonny Storm and Johnny Phere escalated. Knight only won the rumble because the officials were distracted by a brawl outside the ring between Storm and Phere, meaning they did not see Sam Slam eliminate Stevie. It seemed these four legendary XWA stars’ paths would be intertwined for some months to come. This was also the night when the deranged Mad Man Manson entered the XWA for the first time and managed to get The Morecambe Raffle and the Goldrush rumble mixed up! It was hilarious to see him try to 'eliminate' Greg Lambert from the Raffle and then try to sell Raffle tickets during the rumble...
There was another first for the XWA on March 1 2008, as we hosted the first ever ‘Best of the North West’ event at The Hexagon. Determined to champion North West talent, Greg Lambert booked a show featuring nothing but the best wrestlers from XWA’s home region. And it was a tremendous show, capped by a memorable six-way main event to crown the first ever winner of the Best of the North West Championship. After Simon Valour, CJ Banks, Dirk Feelgood and Damon Leigh were eliminated, it came down to Robbie Brookside and young Joey Hayes. With his partner Declan O’Connor cheering him on, Hayes scored the mammoth upset over the former XWA Champion to lift the North West trophy. The fans were delighted as the show ended with The Manchester Massive members standing tall!
Stevie Knight received his title shot as Greg Lambert celebrated five years of wrestling shows in Morecambe at War on the Shore IV on April 12 2008. With Stixx appointed special ringside enforcer, Stevie couldn’t get away with his usual dirty tricks, and Jonny Storm emerged victorious and still British Heavyweight Champion. But then, the lights went out. What was going on? After they came back on, the XWA fans were shocked to see Martin Stone and his cohorts The Kartel in the ring! These invaders from down south attacked and annihilated Storm, Stixx, and the entire XWA roster. It seems Stone, who had won the match in Orpington, Kent that killed off the FWA back in March 2007, was personally offended that Lambert was still running shows in Morecambe under a new name and was there to make a huge and violent statement! Also at War on the Shore, Dirk Feelgood beat Damon Leigh, Sam Slam got revenge on Johnny Phere by beating him in a hard-hitting No Disqualification Match, El Ligero pinned Spud in a terrific battle of two fan favourites, and The Kartel –Terry Frazier and Sha Samuels – debuted with a victory over The Manchester Massive.
Martin Stone’s invasion of the XWA reached frightening levels on July 5 2008 at Vendetta. His unsanctioned brawl with former tag team partner Stixx ended when the violent Guv’nor attacked and seriously injured Stixx with a lump hammer, then dragged Greg Lambert into the ring and roughed him up in front of his family and friends. The fans were also shocked when the previously much-loved Spud, frustrated at his inability to beat El Ligero for the XWA Flyweight Championship, beat the Mexican Sensation in a Last Man Standing match after he accepted the help of Stone and The Kartel. This signified loveable underdog Spud’s metamorphosis into the obnoxious egomaniac ‘The RockStar’ Spud. Vendetta ended with more bad news for the XWA fans, as Stevie Knight somehow got his hands on the biggest prize in British Wrestling when he outlasted Johnny Phere, Sam Slam and finally pinned Jonny Storm to become the XWA British Heavyweight Champion!
The fans were itching for Sam Slam to finally get revenge on the new XWA Champion Stevie Knight, and they got their wish on an emotional night at The Dome on September 4 2008. At XWA Last Fight at the Prom, the popular muscleman pinned ‘The Shining Light’ conclusively to become the British Heavyweight Champion to joyous scenes in the iconic Lancashire venue. Also at this pivotal event, Johnny Phere put everything on the line in his desperation to finally beat Jonny Storm. But in a Career vs Career best-of-three-falls match, ‘The Psychotic Warrior’ failed to upend his bogeyman yet again. Storm beat a devastated Phere, who was forced to retire and leave British Wrestling, seemingly for good. Meanwhile the stakes were raised high in the war between Martin Stone and the XWA. Greg Lambert agreed to sign Stone to a limited-dates contract for four XWA matches against opponents of his choosing. Should Stone win all four, then Lambert would close down the XWA for good. But should Stone lose any of the four, he would leave the XWA and never come back. The outlook was bleak for XWA though, as this was another dominant night for The Guv’nor and his Firm faction. First, Spud and The Kartel beat Dirk Feelgood and The Manchester Massive. Then Stone himself pinned El Ligero. One match down, three to go. Facing its biggest ever threat, the future of the XWA was definitely uncertain.
2008 closed with a memorable event at The Hexagon on November 30 2008, although this would be the XWA’s last at this particular venue for nearly four years. The special guest of the XWA on the night was TV personality Luke Marsden, fresh out of the Big Brother house. But Marsden turned out to be as money-obsessed as he’d been on the reality TV show, as his interference helped Spud retain the British Flyweight Title in a Mexican Streetfight against El Ligero. Also on this show, cracks in the relationship between The Manchester Massive continued to show. Declan O’Connor had been taunted for months from various sources that he was ‘the weak link’ in The Massive team. On this night, The Massive would defeat Robbie Brookside and Damon Leigh by disqualification…but were left battered and bruised by a post-match attack by Brookside, and also DDL and his new tag team partner CJ Banks, who had earlier beaten Dirk Feelgood. Also at Battle of Britain, Greg Lambert welcomed into the ring a newcomer, his cousin, the overenthusiastic dreamer Tom Lambert, who was about to travel to American to train to become a professional wrestler. This was the start of an emotional two-year journey that would go down in history as Tom Lambert's Dream...
The traditional first show of the year, Goldrush on February 7 2009, saw a shocking turn of events. Sick of being perceived as The Manchester Massive's weak link, Declan O'Connor turned on Joey Hayes at the end of the Goldrush rumble, costing him certain victory and enabling RockStar Spud to become the number one contender to Sam Slam's British Heavyweight Title. Slam himself was victorious in his first defence against Terry Frazier, while El Ligero pinned his good friend Bubblegum in an all-time classic Flyweight encounter.
War on the Shore V on Saturday, April 11 2009, is regarded as one of XWA's best shows ever. It marked two major returns. First, the re-appearance of the retired Alex Shane for the first time in four years, who appeared to receive an award for services to Morecambe wrestling, only to be confronted and humiliated by Martin Stone. Later on in the evening, Stone challenged Sam Slam for the British Heavyweight Title in a classic. Shane returned and attacked Stone, but was laid out. Then the lights went out, and when they came back on, Johnny Phere was in the ring! Phere nailed Stone with a Ram Slam, enabling Sam Slam to pick up the win and send The Guv'nor and The Firm packing from the XWA for good. So began 'The Psychotic Warrior's campaign to be reinstated as an active wrestler. Also on this memorable show, Tom Lambert stepped up his own campaign to be allowed to follow his dream to become a professional wrestler, but cousin Greg Lambert was reluctant. So loveable Tom helped El Ligero and Bubblegum beat The Kartel. RJ Singh and the new team of Deadly Serious (Damon Leigh and CJ Banks) beat the 'Crazy Sexy Cool' trio of Mad Man Manson, the camp Jules Lambrini and Dirk Feelgood - in his final XWA appearance. And Joey Hayes pinned Declan O'Connor in a battle of the former partners, only to then be laid out with a low blow by his turncoat former friend.
The feud between O'Connor and Hayes took another twist at Vendetta when Declan beat Joey by submission in a Manchester streetfight to capture Hayes' Best of the North West Cup and, in his own mind, finally emerge from the shadow of his more talented former partner. This show also saw the return, temporarily, of Stevie Knight, who was sitting in the crowd watching the show with his good friend, former XWA referee and ring announcer Richard Young. The despicable Spud goaded Stevie into leaving his seat with insults and the two engaged in a short brawl, until Spud pinned Stevie. The main event of the summer show saw the UK Superpowers of Sam Slam and Jonny Storm (in his final Morecambe appearance to date) beat Deadly Serious thanks to a distraction from Johnny Phere. The separate campaigns of Phere and Tom Lambert (who helped Sam Bailey score a major upset over RJ Singh on this show) were really growing in fan support, however unlikely that may have seemed! But XWA owner Greg Lambert was determined to stick to his principles. In Greg's mind, Phere would not be reinstated, and the hapless Tom simply didn't have the credentials to become a professional wrestler.
Both campaigns reached fever pitch at Last Fight at the Prom 2009 on September 12 as Johnny Phere was granted the chance to be reinstated - all he had to do was beat Deadly Serious in a handicap match. And to the delight of The Morecambe Dome faithful, that's exactly what 'The Psychotic Warrior' did by defeating Damon Leigh and CJ Banks, one against two! Greg Lambert, who had become irritated by the fans' support of Johnny Phere, was forced to sign a contract bringing the madman back to the British ring full-time. Later on the show, Greg also appeared to cave in to the fans' demand when he granted the delighted Cousin Tom a chance to wrestle his first ever proper match at Goldrush 2010. LastFight 2009 will also be remembered for the rise of Team RockStar, as Spud was given a ridiculous amount of help from his new lackeys Stallion and The Blackpool Blonds (Axl Rage and JD Sassoon) in scoring a monumental upset over Sam Slam. The reigning British Flyweight Champion duly became the first man ever to hold both the Flyweight and XWA British Heavyweight Titles at the same time. Also on the show Joey Hayes pinned Marty Scurll and Stixx crushed Declan O'Connor in just six seconds, continuing his ever-growing undefeated 'Stixx Streak', and the XWA saw a bizarre inter-gender encounter as the Champ of Camp Jules Lambrini beat female wrestler Jetta!
Some incredibly sad news at the start of this year: The Morecambe Dome, the spiritual home of the XWA and wrestling in Morecambe in general, was to close down due to cutbacks by its owners Lancaster City Council. Goldrush 2010 on January 30 definitely gave the XWA's old friend one hell of a send off, and this has to be in most XWA fans' list of the top five Morecambe wrestling events of all time. It opened with a cracking four-way Flyweight battle. The injured RockStar Spud had been stripped of the Flyweight Title, so El Ligero emerged victorious in a superb four-way over Marty Scurll, Sam Bailey and CJ Banks to regain the strap. Sam Slam then beat RockStar Spud (who wasn't that badly injured after all) by disqualification after the 400lb Toxic Terror, and Spud's latest Team RockStar associate, Cyanide debuted and interfered. Johnny Phere capped his reinstatement by eliminating RJ Singh to become number one contender to the XWA Title. But it's Tom Lambert's wrestling debut that everyone who witnessed it will remember from this show. Tom fought valiantly, he was certainly more talented than many expected, only to fall foul of RJ Singh's lethal finisher Sweet Bollywood Dreams. As Singh delivered the move over and over again, Tom's cousin Greg Lambert stood impassively at ringside, refusing to throw the towel in, then walked out and left Tom to receive the beating of his life, to teach him a lesson. As medics stood over the badly injured Tom, the unrepentant Greg Lambert received the boos of the Morecambe fans for the first time in over four years.
The elder Lambert plumbed new depths when XWA re-emerged at a new Morecambe venue, The Carleton, on April 3 2010. Even before the event began, it was announced that 'The Truth' had banned the XWA's People's Champion, Sam Slam, from the promotion. Despite this unpopular piece of news, it was a strong start to the first show at the new venue, as Joey Hayes beat CJ Banks and Stixx continued his streak against Stallion's hired gun Bam Bam Barton. Then in his first match in Morecambe since October 2005, Alex Shane teamed with XWA Training School graduate Jynkz to down The Blackpool Blonds. There were also THREE title changes on this show. Firstly, RJ Singh pinned his old rival El Ligero to become a three-time British Flyweight Champion. Then Johnny Phere pinned RockStar Spud to become the XWA Champion. But then out came Greg Lambert - a different Greg Lambert - one wearing black leather gloves and talking in a sinister, twisted tone about how the XWA fans had "told him what to do" one too many times. Suddenly, Alex Shane blindsided the victorious Phere, Lambert called for the bell, and Shane pinned Johnny in less than a minute to become XWA Champion in the most shocking circumstances imaginable. As Shane and Lambert stood over the fallen 'Psychotic Warrior', so began the darkest era in XWA history. The era of The Authority.
Tom Lambert made a brave and triumphant return at Vendetta 2010, disguising himself as El Ligero to help the masked Mexican recapture the Flyweight Title and gain a measure of revenge on RJ Singh in the XWA's first and only ever ladder match. But the show ended with Johnny Phere and Tom Lambert at the mercy of The Authority, as they both took a vicious beating from Alex Shane and his new followers, Lambert, Singh and The Minions - Aaron Inferno and Faith Tanner. In other happenings, Stixx pinned RockStar Spud, Axl Rage beat the debuting XWA trainee Action Jackson, and Nathan Cruz also made his XWA debut, pinning Joey Hayes.
LastFight at the Prom on October 2 2010 saw Cousin Tom finally score the ultimate revenge on RJ Singh, Alex Shane and Greg Lambert. After Shane and Singh had beaten Phere and Ligero in a tag team main event, the stipulation meant that young Tom was forced to wrestle the fearsome Alex Shane. But despite taking a horrendous beating, Tom somehow managed to defeat 'The Ascension' and end the show standing tall in celebration. Also on this show, RockStar Spud began hearing the cheers of the fans again after he took a beating from the arrogant Nathan Cruz and his massive cohort Colossus, and Stixx overcame the gargantuan challenge of Cyanide.
Goldrush on February 19 saw the Stixx Streak continue as 'The Heavyweight House of Pain' battled past 14 men to lastly eliminate Colossus and win British Wrestling's Biggest Rumble. After his victory, Stixx was confronted by The Authority, angry that the Nottingham star had refused to toe the line and join their faction. But Shane, Lambert and their cronies were left in shock as the new co-owner of the XWA was unveiled to be none other than the returning Sam Slam! Also during the rumble, Spud severed ties with Team RockStar when he gave The Blackpool Blonds and Stallion a good hiding for daring to strike a deal with Nathan Cruz. Also on the show, El Ligero retained the Flyweight belt after a hard-fought victory over Jack Gallagher, and Declan O'Connor returned to the XWA for the first time in over a year in an attempt to make peace with Joey Hayes, helping his former pal score a win over JD Sassoon of The Blackpool Blonds. However, an untrusting Joey refused Declan's handshake, refusing to forgive and forget quite so easily. Ricky J McKenzie also made his XWA debut on this show at The Carleton, losing to Jynkz. Afterwards RJM joined The Authority in giving Jynkz a beating, which led to Johnny Phere bursting into the arena to take on the entire Authority and give the female Minion Faith Tanner a Ram Slam!
At War on the Shore VIII on June 4, XWA was proud to welcome Europe's top all-female wrestling promotion Pro Wrestling:EVE to Morecambe, and particularly its champion, Britani Knight. Britani was the fifth member of the famous Knight family to compete for FWA/XWA in Morecambe, and although she lost her EVE Title to Sweden's 'Female Fight Machine' Jenny Sjodin, the teenager from Norfolk put on a gutsy display in one of her final matches before signing for WWE. Also WWE- bound, and making his Morecambe debut, was Joel Redman. The 'Wrestling Cyborg' from Devon was hired by The Authority in their latest attempt to take out Johnny Phere, but failed as he was pinned by 'The Psychotic Warrior'. Sam Slam had his first match in Morecambe for 18 months, defeating Cyanide, Jynkz beat Ricky J McKenzie for the second straight show, and The Blackpool Blonds upset El Ligero and Joey Hayes when Declan O'Connor mysteriously failed to show as promised for reconciliation talks with Joey, although it was later revealed The Blonds were responsible. The main event saw Stixx finally get his long awaited and much-deserved XWA Title shot, but Alex Shane didn't seem to have the guts to face him. Making the rules up as they went along, The Authority instead drafted in 'Wrestling Royalty' in Her Majesty the Queen's footman and pro wrestler, David Deville to defend the title on behalf of the 'injured' Shane. Having friends in high places helped The Authority maintain their grip on the gold. Stixx won the match, but only by disqualification meaning Shane remained champion...
But at Last Fight at the Prom on October 8, 'The Ascension's machinations backfired. This time, Shane didn't bother to show up at all, instead assigning Authority associate Dave Rayne to replace him as the 'XWA Champion' in a six-man main event in a team managed by Greg Lambert. Rayne's partners were Nathan Cruz and Colossus, and their opponents were XWA's three biggest heroes Sam Slam, Stixx and Johnny Phere. The stipulation was that if The Authority team won, Sam Slam would sign full ownership of the XWA over to The Authority. But if the heroes' team won, whoever scored the fall would get an XWA Title shot. After a gripping brawl, Phere pinned Cruz to earn a title shot, supposedly at Goldrush 2012. But using his powers as co-owner, Sam stunned Lambert and Rayne by demanding the title be defended by Rayne right there and then! 'The Psychotic Warrior' duly destroyed Rayne in double quick time with a Ram Slam to regain the belt he should never have lost in the first place, then delighted the XWA faithful by giving Greg Lambert what he richly deserved - a Ram Slam of his own! Also at Last Fight 2011, the fans were overjoyed to see The Manchester Massive finally reunite, saw victories for Joey Hayes over debutant Max Angelus and Spud over Axl Rage, and after El Ligero defeated RJM and CJ Banks in a three-way, bore witness to the beginnings of the feud between XWA and their North West rivals GPW, as GPW wrestlers Dylan Roberts and Ste 'Bin' Mann were thrown out of The Carleton for causing a disturbance in the crowd.
The XWA visited The Carleton for the final time on February 4 2012, as this venue would also become a victim of the recession. But this was a memorable show, starting with The Manchester Massive scoring a victorious comeback win over those thorns in their side, The Blackpool Blonds. But when Jynkz upset El Ligero to become the unified Best of the North West and British Flyweight Champion, his celebration in front of his hometown fans was cut short when the GPW faction of Dylan Roberts, Ste 'Bin' Mann and Ricky J McKenzie invaded the ring and beat him up. Worse was to follow, as McKenzie decked Jynkz's brother Dean - who is not a wrestler - with a vicious right-hand punch, knocking him out. Greg Lambert, who had earlier disbanded The Authority and apologised to the fans for his tyrannical behaviour of the previous two years, was absolutely furious as the cackling GPW invaders were forcibly escorted from the arena, their damage done. The show ended with Stixx becoming the first man to win back-to-back Goldrush rumbles, lastly eliminating the plucky Joey Hayes who continued to be always the bridesmaid, never the bride when it came to earning an XWA Title shot. Val Kabious also made his XWA debut, getting to the final three of the Goldrush, as did XWA's fearsome zombie wrestler The Creeper who gave the obnoxious Stallion a well-deserved body slam! Johnny Phere also made a successful defence of the XWA Title, forcing Nathan Cruz to submit.
May 12 saw a return for the XWA to the Hexagon, Lancaster and Morecambe College, and a monumental escalation in the XWA v GPW feud. Hoping to end the issues between the two promotions, Greg Lambert had invited GPW promoter Johnnie Brannigan to XWA War on the Shore VIII in an attempt to make peace. But although the two chiefs shook hands, Brannigan soon showed his true colours, kicking Lambert in the groin and throwing Morecambe Bay shrimps all over him, ruining his suit and causing the XWA head honcho untold embarrassment. Later in the evening, Johnny Phere defended the XWA Title against Stixx in an absolute war of attrition. But the match had no conclusive winner. XWA ring announcer Richard Parker joined forces with GPW, ringing the bell when unauthorised to do so before laying out veteran referee Mike Bishop with a blow to the head with the championship belt. This opened the doors for the GPW faction to invade an XWA ring yet again and cause a no-contest as they attacked Phere and Stixx like a pack of wolves. With The Hexagon in bedlam, XWA wrestlers rushed the ring and a hellacious brawl broke out between the rivals all over the building until XWA got on top and drove the GPW interlopers out of the back door! Also on the show, Sam Slam beat Colossus in a dramatic tables match, XWA star trainee Craig Kollins scored a career-boosting win over Jack Gallagher, The Blackpool Blonds beat the debuting young team of 2Dimension, and Joey Hayes finally earned himself a British Heavyweight Title match after eight years with the promotion, beating Dave Rayne, Jynkz, Nathan Cruz, El Ligero and 'RockStar' Spud in a six-way.
And then came the events of Saturday, July 28 at XWA v GPW Vendetta. Is this the end for the XWA....?