Saturday, 30 March 2013

Fight Club PRO: A Fighting Chance (29/3/13) Review By Derrie Catton

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Fight Club: PRO offers many things - a 5pm gathering at Nandos beforehand, and a late night transition to the Giffard pub or Babylon club afterwards - but where they excel is with their main content which in this case they served up on the 29th of March under the title of A Fighting Chance. As usual they promised a top night featuring reliable favourites with a side of unpredictability for their unfolding drama. Their raw atmosphere has seen a delivery on all of these promises before, yet the question remains, on this occasion did it go off?

Tyler Bate vs. Daniel Moloney

In what was a titled a Fight Club: PRO Dojo Rematch, audiences saw two young upstarts from the promotion, each wanting to make themselves known and embark on a bright career. The collision appeared to be a mix of practice and review, getting used to operating in such an atmosphere and perhaps under scrutiny from the match makers with regards to their future, but in either event the fans embraced their efforts in what was a quick match up. Receiving little in the way of unique music and each only donning black trunks, they had only their presence and ability to rely on. There was no doubt that the two were technically sound in the execution of their polished moves and sequences. They also took their licks in that style that FCP likes to call strong and British. Each also managed to bring in some impressive fresh content, be it a Moloney combination or a Bate submission. Many moments were well received with applause and an impressive German Suplex saw Bate take the victory in what was a promising match up. There was no error big enough to taint the match, however neither had yet found a presence that lives up to the rest of the roster, though that is expected to develop in time and there are glimmers of a future on the horizon for them. Impressive and promising are good adjectives for an early match, and one looks forward to having their vocabulary expanded.

The Hunter Brothers vs. Mark Haskins & Chris Brookes

As the first bars of Glenn Frey’s The Heat Is On hit, Tipton’s own Hunter Brothers are always well received by audiences.  Mark Haskins isn’t so lucky, though his partner Brookes shares favourable comparison to his fellow Tiptonites. All four competitors have proven themselves in the past and the cards were set for a good throwdown. It was Haskins that managed to steal attention quickly, roughing up ring announcer Mark Adams before announcing himself as the main attraction. He proceeded to veto himself as the legal man on grounds that he had the flu and kept focus with his humorous antics, tending to himself with a tissue and checking his temperature with a thermometer. Continuing to bring a unique edge to the match, Haskins’ bad tactics turned more lethal, garnering a negative reaction as he landed cheap shots wherever he could and demanded Brookes do the same. An interesting dynamic came as Brookes refused such demands and fell out with his partner over the course of the match. In between that interaction came the strong wrestling associated with a Hunter Brothers match, as the pair displayed their trademark tag team prowess with clever teamwork and impressive maneuvers. Brookes too managed to show some good flurries when not hampered by double teaming or his own partner. Haskins also put out a convincing performance when he wasn’t doing a good job of disenchanting the gathered fans. As things developed it was Brookes putting out Haskins that cost him the match at the hands of a Tombstone Piledriver, bringing a satisfying conclusion to a strong match. The Hunter Brothers again proved why they a reliable staple of the FCP roster, while Haskins has come as a welcome addition to the fold, fitting the role of antagonist well. Additionally, as one of the younger competitors, Brookes is showing progress from his earlier appearance and put in possibly his best FCP showing.

Dave Mastiff vs. Clint Margera

Not simply for pride but for the right to cash in a title opportunity whenever the challenger pleases. Margera had already earned that right by winning a tournament, but Mastiff and his dominant streak demanded such an opportunity. The chants of ‘Bastard’ towards Mastiff are actually more endearing than they look on paper, yet Margera on the other hand is a perennial fan favourite with lots of support for his efforts which came quickly as he beat the bell and came out strong. Trademark roaring elbows were on display and a dive to the outside before Mastiff’s strength took over and the back and forth began. Mastiff gave more forth than he got back, but he needs not to land a great deal of strikes, only to land one that looks like it could put down a whale. Thusly, his offence is slow and merciless which establishes him as a formidable force. Margera’s most attractive quality is his heart despite how he is put down, and he is no stranger to enduring punishment. On the floor outside the ring is a curb-like drop which is as unforgiving as it looks and to see him land his back on it was one of those unbelievable moments. The crowd were hot for the match, exchanging chants and cheers for their favourite as Mastiff and Margera worked around each other. Margera’s dodges and brave fronts were a sight to get behind, but the likes of a Turnbuckle Powerbomb and the always impressive Cannonball Splash were enough to make Mastiff a number one contender at his leisure. A dejected Margera left to applause in what was a hard fought battle that the crowd was well behind.

Trent Seven vs. “Wild Boar” Mike Hitchman

Looking to re-establish his ‘Super Don’ title, Seven put out a British Strong Style challenge to any wrestler in the UK which allowed for Mike Hitchman to make his FCP debut. Hitchman’s “Wild Boar” moniker comes with good presence, as he hits the ring like an angry, spitting…. well boar.  Tossing his water at the fans and pacing the ring like an animal establishes him before he even wrestles. The two went at it in the traditional strong style manner, which saw them trading tough blows and then calling on the other to try and come back stronger. Chops, forearms and headbutts were delivered as stiffly as the fans demanded and trade off was often kept interesting. A highlight saw Boar put Seven through one of the metal fences that surrounds the ring area and up to that point had endured so much action. Seven returned in kind putting severe ware on another fence and leaving MK with little choice as to which direction his trademark cannonball dive could go in the main event. Seven shined with the personality that fans feel akin with and following a close call from his Piledriver, he put down the Boar with the most lariatest Lariat that ever lariated. He paid his respected to Boar after the match and they were showered with deserved applause.

MK McKinnan vs. ???

The Fight Club: PRO championship holder was tasked with little chance to prepare for his opponent, as the challenger would be picked at random in the Fighting Chance draw. In a twist of fate an already battered Clint Margera would be regifted his title shot. As the deathmatch specialist limped up onto the Apron, MK jumped the bell and kicked him to the floor before hitting his signature Cannonball Dive and rolling Margera in for what looked set to be a quick victory. Margera’s heart prevailed though and a contest was underway as the crowd carried the match loudly after splitting on their commitment to a competitor. McKinnan was able to show off his attacking flurries, but also added some memorable moves focusing on Margera’s injured back. Margera put up a fight though, even managing to deliver a Swanton Bomb, and as his trademark moves landed a clean title change was teased. It was a match high on emotion with the surrounding fences shaking from the fan’s excitement, and it closed in on a finish when a top rope Dropkick from McKinnan missed Margera and knocked down the referee. In that moment, Margera’s previous enemy T-Bone hit the ring to put out both competitors before leaving his nemesis covering the champion. Departing with a smile, the referee stirred to make the title change official. There was plenty of support for Margera but as people dealt with the fallout, Mastiff hit the scene and called in his title shot. Margera had the heart to kickout after a cannonball Splash but he didn’t have enough will to endure a second barrage, leading to another title change. While Mastiff departed as the new champion, fans were left in awe of the chain of events they had witnessed. The atmosphere was electric and the unfolding of drama perfect.

After a tremendous close to the show, fans should have little question about attending FCP’s next event to see how things develop. There are however many more things to remember A Fighting Chance for. From a consistent showing of favourite wrestlers, to promising debuts from new and fresh talents. There are match highlights still passing between friends in conversation, and matches on record that the company can be proud. Five matches for five pounds and none of it feels like a chore. As usual, not enough praise can be given to Fight Club: Pro, so perhaps just a sincere thank you on this occasion for a great night of entertainment and a consistently strong product.

The article writer can be found on twitter, @DerrieCatton, and as always you can find Wrestling’s Last Hope at

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