Episode: FCW TV #197
Recorded: 07 June 2012
Aired: 15 July 2012
Match Duration: 13:43 minutes (plus one commercial break & 3:48 aftermath)
“I don’t want to finish my career quite yet and he will finish it for me if I let him.”
(Text: PW Insider; Gifs: Empty Coliseum)
They circle each other before locking up and Regal with a punch and he goes for the injured shoulder. Ambrose goes for the leg but Regal goes for the injured arm. Regal with a hammer lock and he takes Ambrose to the mat and he turns it into a key lock and then he gets the first near fall of the match. Regal rubs his leg against Ambrose’s arm.
Ambrose backs Regal into the turnbuckles and Regal takes his time letting go of the hold. Regal with an arm drag take down into an arm bar and he manipulates the wrist. Regal drops his knees across the injured arm and he rubs his knee against the arm as he gets a near fall.
Regal returns to the wrist and he starts to bend the fingers. Regal drops his weight onto the shoulder. Ambrose with a kick and punch but Regal returns to the arm as he stops Ambrose’s offense. They lock up and Ambrose backs Regal into the corner and Regal with a forearm across the chest and then the head. Regal with more forearms across the chest.
Regal wrings the injured arm as he takes Ambrose back to the mat and Regal drops another knee to the arm. Regal rubs his forearm across Ambrose’s face but Ambrose wants more. Regal lets Ambrose get back to his feet. Ambrose tells Regal that he better take the arm home with him tonight. Regal with another take down and he applies a cross face chicken wing on the mat but Ambrose bites the arm to escape.
Regal with knees to the head followed by a punch to the head. Regal with a hammer lock Exploder suplex and Ambrose rolls to the floor. Regal goes after Ambrose and he slams Ambrose’s arm into the steps. Regal puts Ambrose’s arm between the steps and ring post and Regal kicks the steps. Regal steps on Ambrose’s head when he climbs the steps. Regal pulls Ambrose’s arm and then Regal advises the referee that he knows the rules.
Ambrose unties the bottom turnbuckle pad and we go to commercial while Ambrose finally gets free from the steps.
We are back and Regal wrings the arm as he sends Ambrose across the ring and to the floor. Ambrose sends Regal into the ring post and Regal is having trouble getting back to his feet. Ambrose tries to get his shoulder back into the socket while Regal stays on his knees as he tries to get some equilibrium back. Regal returns to the ring and Ambrose kicks Regal in the head.
Regal cannot get back to his feet and Ambrose with punches to the head. The referee warns Ambrose as he continues to work on the head. Regal remains in the corner and he cannot get back to his feet. Ambrose tries to reel Regal back in and Regal goes back to his knees. Regal staggers around the ring and Ambrose with a forearm to the head followed by a biel. Ambrose yells at Regal and punches him in the head as the referee warns Ambrose with a count. Ambrose stands on the head and then he exposes the turnbuckle. Ambrose puts Regal’s head against the exposed turnbuckle and Ambrose with a series of knees to the head and Regal is bleeding from the ear.
The medical staff checks on Regal while Ambrose yells at Regal. Regal tries to get back to his feet but the trainer comes into the ring to check on Regal because he cannot stay on his feet. Regal with a forearm to Ambrose and both men go down.
More officials come to the ring to stop the match.
Result: No Contest
Ambrose cannot believe that the match has been stopped. Ambrose pushes the referees away and wants more of Regal. Ambrose tells the trainer to clean him up. Ambrose moves around the ring and then he goes after the referees again. Some wrestlers come to the ring and Ambrose keeps them out of the ring. Ambrose wants Regal to get up and then he kicks Regal in the head. Ambrose pushes the referee into the turnbuckle.
Ambrose puts Regal in the Regal Stretch to add insult to injury. Ambrose pulls down the knee pad while Regal holds up his hands to protect himself. Ambrose waits to attack Regal and Regal applauds Ambrose and then he turns his head to allow Ambrose to hit the Knee Trembler and Regal goes down.
More wrestlers come from the back to separate Ambrose from Regal.
We go to credits for the final time.
Match Analysis & Interpretation
I honestly don’t know anymore when I watched this match for the first time or for how many times. I might have already reached a three-digit number. This match just had everything: two brilliant opponents, an almost one year built-up, an almost one-year-long feud with all its rich history and the commentary by Jim Ross and “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes for the very last match in FCW ever.
We still knew that William Regal injured Dean Ambrose’s left arm in their first match against each other. To make sure everyone remembered about it and this match gimmick could be used again, Dean Ambrose re-injured this very arm on the episode from 24 June 2012 in his match against Seth Rollins. William Regal was on commentary for this match and he talked about the arm and how he injured it almost a year ago. So, this injury was fresh in everybody’s minds again.
Going after Ambrose’s left arm also brought an old saga to life, the one of Beowulf in his fight against the monster Grendel. Beowulf fought Grendel in a hard and brutal fight but was only able to cut off one of Grendel’s arms. The monster survived the fight but later died in his swamp because of all the blood he lost. While Beowulf – being quite a wicked individual himself – hung the arm on the roof of the big townhouse like a trophy for everyone to see.
So, unlike in their first match, William Regal well knew after which body part he had to go. He knew Dean Ambrose’s weakness, his Achilles’ heel, he didn’t need to cause another injury. He went for the left arm from the second the match started. And what William Regal showed here, basically was a whole book of “How to torture the human form with hitting, punching, rubbing, twisting and bending”. This was mat wrestling to near perfection. And everyone who was watching this knew that Dean Ambrose had to go through it until he would get his revenge and final solution to this feud. Or how Dusty Rhodes called it in quoting David Allan Coe, “If you’re big star bound, it’s a long, hard ride”. This very quote was later on used by Dean Ambrose again on the RAW episode of 13 October 2014, so we got a little reference back more than two years on.
I have to quote a rather long passage from the commentary of that before mentioned match from 24 June 2012, so you’ll get a better idea what I’m talking about:
D’you know, while I’m sat here, I’m starting to get that desire again. And it’s not that I’m seeing a wounded man in front of me. But it’s the fact that… I’m remembering every… every blow that took place between me and Dean Ambrose and perhaps it’s time for me to give it all I’ve got and finish myself off if need be.
See, I think that may make Dean even more dangerous that his arm is hurt, because he knows now that Seth… as soon as Seth will get a chance, he’ll go after that arm. And now he has to do everything…
‘Course it is. It’s like cornering a rat. It will attack with everything that it has.
Maybe that’s why you’d like to wrestling him right now because you thrive for those challenges.
It’s true, yes. That’s what I live for. Whom I kidding? That’s the reason I like Dean Ambrose. I’m a villain. That’s what I love about myself, you know, that’s I’ve… I’ve managed to steer the course in this industry. And I love seeing that.
Cesaro was picking Regal’s brain here and kind of manipulated the older man into this re-match almost one month later. And more than one year after this fatal match, Cesaro would go on to actually be the very man who finished William Regal off for good. On 25 December 2013 every little before mentioned detail went into place; every still loose thread moved into this big bang that was the final say to this feud. Regal said himself that he knew that an injured Ambrose is an even more evil Ambrose. Like a cornered rat he would claw and bite with everything he has and he experienced that himself almost one month later when he worked Ambrose’s arm once again, just to take a blow himself to offer a weakened self to an injured Ambrose who would now take everything that he had left out on the older man – just like Cesaro more than one year later took out everything he had on Regal with only his legs working properly.
So this was a match of literally two halves. The first half was dominated entirely by William Regal. He tortured Dean Ambrose all around inside and outside of the ring. He also re-created the scene from their first match when he put Dean Ambrose’s arm in between the steel steps. But even after everything he had done to Ambrose within these first ten minutes of the match, you still felt heavily for the man being down on the mat later on, getting blow after blow from his young counterpart who just didn’t think about letting go. After the commercial break Ambrose finally was able to hit back with pushing Regal into the ringpost head first. And the older man wasn’t the same after that blow. He seemed dazed and confused and he lost – like Jim Ross didn’t fail to inform us for a couple of times – his equilibrium.
The way Ambrose worked Regal’s head was only possible due to own physical pain received earlier in this match and the longer lasting pain in Ambrose’s heart. He also saw a kindred spirit but Regal didn’t want to grant him a second match for the longest time which caused love turning into hate and finally all this venom and evilness Ambrose doused all over Regal. He lost focus. His main target wasn’t to win this match. His main target was to destroy the man who ignored him for so long that all this admiration and love he once had for the older man disappeared step by step until none of it remained.
During their feud Ambrose always wanted to impress Regal. But Regal felt that Ambrose could only grow into a really great villain if he would let go to focus on the old villain but focus on himself and the far bigger surroundings besides Regal. So Regal made Ambrose hating on him, so he was able to have a bigger picture on things again. Regal pushed Ambrose right to the edge, for example when he literally stepped down on him when he used Ambrose’s head to climb back into the ring. And Ambrose finally overcame this own prison he himself created when he unhooked the turnbuckle and shove Regal’s head right into the exposed steel to make him bleeding from his ear.
Right before Ambrose went completely nuts because referees stopped “his” match, one camera caught one glimpse of a moment that didn’t really belong to the match but it’s still one of my most favourite moments. You can read it regularly from people who don’t get wrestling that wrestling is “fake” and they even feel the need to tell us that these hits and punches aren’t “real”. Well, we do know that and we still love it. Why? Because wrestling is an art of illusion and magic. And if you have two great actors as well as technicians like William Regal and Dean Ambrose you come to a point during a match when you forget that these two men are just acting. You can feel the pain and the anger of Dean Ambrose, and you feel for William Regal.
But then there was this tiny little moment when Dean Ambrose wasn’t Dean Ambrose but Jonathan Good who went for assurance that everything was alright with Darren Matthews – not William Regal – and that he was able to go forward with the original plan. It was quite visible that William Regal was injured for real and if that happens you aren’t able to discuss it in the middle of a match. For the audience you have to maintain the illusion, so one tiny glance, one little wink, a touch with a hand has to be enough to make sure that the original booking is still on. So when caught on camera it might be a mistake and for some people out there it might take away from the illusion.
But for me it doesn’t take away from the beauty if you know that these two men inside the squared circle don’t really hate each other. It actually adds to the beauty when you know that both men trust each other that much that they can act like they would do the most evil things towards the other man and make it look believable.
The epilogue to this match was heartbreaking and symbolic and kind of a glance to the future when the trainers cared for William Regal but Dean Ambrose still didn’t want to let go. For almost an entire year he had hit Regal’s finishing moves on other wrestlers. Now he finally wanted to hit them on the man himself. Like I previously said, Regal wanted for Ambrose to get himself out of this narrow focus he had put himself into. And right at the end when Regal applauded Ambrose and then offered the younger man to hit him with the Knee Trembler, he seemed to tell everyone who watched this, including Ambrose, that the young man now finally learned his lesson and that he was now able to walk on – away from Regal to write his own destiny.