(Left: MK McKinnan dropkicks Eddie Edwards from the top turnbuckle - Picture credit to John Searle)
Highly anticipated would be the words to plaster all over the poster for Fight Club: Pro’s latest show. Die Harder boasted the return of an international star and champion, as well as the much sought after opportunity for a homegrown fighter. It’s an event which hinges on the main event, but in true FCP fashion they a still intend to offer much more in only four matches.
Trent Seven & Dave Mastiff vs. Rockstar Spud, Dave Williams, Dan Ryder & Bobby Barratt
The problem with only boasting four matches however, is that once you tie up feuds and guest stars in their respective battles, there’s not much room for the wealth of talent that fans want to see. Cue this match. Trent Seven, a man more akin to the main event, opens the show with talk of how he is unneeded. Enter the undefeated Dave Mastiff, who is quick to think of a need for Seven and challenge him to match. Just before said match can get underway, we are joined by the ever entertaining Rockstar Spud and his posse who feel the need to get involved. Just like that we have a 2 on 4 Handicap Match, and an opportunity to showcase wrestlers who if absent would have left audience members saying “You know who I wish were here.”
The match was an opportunity for Mastiff and Seven to please fans, as they dominated the early going and delivered impressively stiff chops. Against them, Spud is once again the man capable of stealing the show with everything he does, whether it be in the ring wrestling or just outside as he watches. One hopes that if this event hits DVD there is a special feature called ‘Spud Cam.’ Surrounding Spud are three wrestlers who just exude the power of being disliked as they naturally generate chants of “Purple Wanker” simply for a choice of attire, and receive an Addams Family theme rendition simply for a lack of a hair. Never the less, they fed of the hate from the crowd as they get their shots in. Extending a feud, the previously wronged Blue Dragon hit the ring to take revenge on Dan Ryder with a Diving Hurracanrana which would then see the pair depart, evening the scales a little. It was on Mastiff to make the comeback with a great display as he cannonballed two opponents in one corner before powerbombing one onto the other. However as Seven tried to pick up the pieces, Mastiff had heated words for the man trying to steal his victory. Before they could come to blows they decided to first deal with the attacking Bobby Barratt. In keeping with the Die Harder theme, Barratt made like John McClane and became ‘the wrong man, in the wrong place, at the wrong time’ as he received a flurry of trademark maneuvers which gave Mastiff and Seven the victory. As usual, the man to watch was Spud who had been comically sneaking around the ring on all fours and after being caught entering the ring with a weapon, quickly scampered. To wrap things up, Mastiff had strong words for Seven before he departed.
It was match which showed off wrestlers who fans were glad to see and each showed the talents well, whether it be British Strong Style, total dominance or pure entertainment. It also presented the prospect of a possible collision between Seven and Mastiff in Fight Club: Pro’s future.
The Leaders vs. The Hunter Brothers
Some confusion was shared through The Planet as electronic/techno theme for Marty Scurll and Zack Sabre Jr boomed through the room. Not only was the music a change from the norm, but the team itself looked out of place among FCP’s alumni. One cannot deny however that Scurll has attracted a lot of attention for his appearance on Take Me Out and is considered by some as a big name. Their opponents however, hailing for Tipton and debuting their own t-shirt this month, are perennial favourites in the FCP collective and considered to be one of the top teams in the UK. This leaves both with something to prove in this clash.
From the beginning of the match and going forward, the Leaders began to squash belief that they didn’t belong here, as each in turn showed off their strengths with Sabre Jr holding up on technical wrestling and with good use of his feet. Scurll brought some interesting cards to the table, with a few unique moments that made him stand out between a good showing of strength and technical ability. What they seemed to miss however was the tag team prowess that Hunters could claim to have written the book on. They relied on each other more, utilised each other better and flowed well together, while their opposition simply looked like a pair of singles wrestlers. Impressive singles wrestlers however, Scurll surprised everyone with a sudden dive through the ropes to the outside and Sabre brought the crowd in on reciting a one count as he repeatedly exchanged pins with a Hunter Brother. As the match progressed however, The Leaders showed more cohesion as they reeled of a double team combination which saw the Hunters tied up and held in Camel Clutches simultaneously and this would be followed by more tag team ingenuity. The Hunter Brothers could rival that however as came back with their trademark moves which always invigorate the crowd. The Hunters were determined to match The Leaders in every way they could. When Scurll an amazing Tornado DDT, Lee hit a great Flipping Inverted DDT. When the Leaders reeled of a devastating double team maneuver, The Hunters reeled of a famously devastating double team maneuver. As this battle progressed the real winners were the fans, and a chant of ‘this is awesome’ was evoked. After continually strong displays, it was on Scurll to steal a pin with his feet on the ropes.
Both teams looked very strong, whether it was expected or a pleasant surprise. As Fight Club: Pro are so capable of doing, they invited down stars which the audience can now put on their list of favourite wrestlers. The true fan favourites are still the Hunter Brothers though, who are always loved in the Wolverhampton based promotion.
Death Match - Chris Brookes vs. Clint Margera
The journey Chris Brookes has been filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and has always been interesting. Away from his collisions with Spud for the moment, Brookes is currently locked in a three match trial designed to make him prove himself and earn a spot on the FCP roster. At the mid-way point comes another speed bump Brookes must overcome in the form of a Death Match against a Death match connoisseur. Clint Margera has spent the past few months building his name as a death match works, and he’s always looking to build a little further. The concept enough is enough to make mouths water.
Brookes received the always encouraging ‘please don’t die’ chant as he nervously awaited his opponent. The two started gently, but Brookes set Margera off with a well delivered kick which would see him bounced from ringposts to cage wall repeatedly. Margera would quickly move to a kendo stick which he put to good use, then present a board with electrical plugs attached to it, which would ominously show its blunt prongs in the corner of the ring. Margera then sought to unlock a mean streak from Brookes, provoking him to again use his best asset in the form of his legs and return the kendo stick to its sender with strong shots. The match had seen some shakey moments but was now fully underway, as Margera continued to collect weapons and the two traded offences that were befitting of a death match. Brookes would show blood after taking a VCR to the face and Margera would make sure a chair was never used as seating again after being backdropped on it. With Brookes taking the lead, he decided to bring in the weapon that always gets a warm welcome from the crowd, drawing pins. With those scattered in another corner, the crowd now hanging on the moment that one might take the fall on to a nasty looking item. Brookes was the one driven into the tacks, but moments later Margera would take a Hip Toss onto the plug ends which would do his back no kind favours. It was however a Death Valley Driver onto a chair wrapped in barbed wire that would secure Margera a victory.
While there were some moments of sloppiness (one feels for Margera’s knee which came down hard on the thumbtacks after a misplaced dropkick) the match delivered on its promise as a Death Match by presented a lot of violence and some awe evoking moments. Margera again looks good as a Death Match specialist and probably has a lot more where that came from. Brookes while sporting a losing effort has earned more respect for what he was willing to do to earn his spot and is only becoming more recognised by the Fight Club: Pro crowd. After the interesting road he’s taken, one excitedly waits his third and final trial match.
Fight Club: Pro Championship Match – MK McKinnan vs. Eddie Edwards
After a solid show, this is the match everyone has been waiting for. McKinnan has received a lot fan support towards getting a title shot and this is the culmination in which the deserving homegrown star can establish himself as the best on the roster. Eddie Edwards is however, by many meanings of phrase, the best in the world. A former Ring of Honour champion being no small accolade, Eddie Edwards has been touring the world with the Fight Club: Pro championship in his possession which he managed to pry from Trent Seven and keep from him in defence. Not only does McKinnan have a fanbase to please, he also has FCP’s crown jewel to retrieve, making for an intense battle before the bell even rings.
When that bell does ring, the atmosphere is loud as dueling chants switch between support for the challenger and champion. While McKinnan is a fan favourite, there are pockets of respect and love for Edwards which rival his support. The chants endure for several minutes at a time without dying, and one could argue that it’s the most excited a Fight Club: Pro crowd has ever been. The two begin well with technical wrestling and they exchange blocks and counters as they tease what they are capable off. The two then collide and exchange offences, making their rounds by the cage walls and putting them to good use. The crowd is fifty/fifty as they invent new chants to support their chosen favourite. Eddie Edwards work is always impressive as he flows seamlessly from move to move and displays that famous ‘Die Hard’ attitude as he battles with his opponent. The crowd blows up however when McKinnan manages to land his offence, and the audience seems to have more invested in bringing the title home. McKinnan manages to show off trademarks such as cannonballing to the outside of the ring, and he also manages to present flowing combinations of moves which compete with Edwards. Edwards manages to be slight more dominate however as he continues to lock in submissions and works towards victory. In time Edwards reels off his own trademark moves including the Backpack Stunner. With so much still to go, a ‘this is awesome’ chant surfaces, the first several as things continue The two continued to trade offences which never lost the crowd until they hit the highlight of the night. As Eddie seemed to have knocked McKinnan out in the same way he had with Seven, the referee looked set to end the match before McKinnan came to life and grabbed his foot. With emotions now running high, McKinnan would soon reverse another submission attempt into a small package to get the tree count and ignite the crowd who promptly blew the roof of The Planet with cheers and applause.
Eddie Edwards put in an impressive performance and there was no doubt that he would, but what was more impressive was how McKinnan matched him and went the distance. More important than all of this was how the match created investment from the fans, and created ultimate satisfaction when the victory brought the title home. A more deserving competitor could not be found and an exciting title run awaits him.
Die Harder was an event that was solid in its first three matches alone, before it put on it’s tremendous finale which was not to be missed. As usual they presented some special guests, complete with a chance to meet and greet. And as always you will be reminded that this high quality of wrestling only asks for five pounds, and that if you have not yet been willing to take the plunge, you must.
Derrie Catton can be found on twitter at www.twitter.com/DerrieCatton just as Fight Club: Pro can and should be found on both twitter and facebook at www.twiter.com/FightClubPRO and www.facebook.com/pages/Fight-Club-PRO/234516669556