Sunday, 20 May 2012

Fight Club: Pro Margera vs. Masada (18/5/12) – Review By Derrie Catton

Fight Club: Pro appear to have a good working relationship with Combat Zone Wrestling which they make the best of on occasion. They did so last year with their three night super show entitled Project Mayhem and they did it again with this year’s May 18th show known simply by its main event. The promotion broke from the norm a little to mix talents with the company across the pond, but they didn’t completely ditch their hallmarks. What they presented was a show full of variety, culminating with the titular death match. So how did that work out?

Chuck Taylor vs. MK McKinnan

An International Dream match and it’s no surprise to see MK McKinnan taking on this month’s guest star as he is often tasked with this role. McKinnan never fails to be fan favourite, it’s partly because of his hometown but it’s mostly because of his ability. Chuck Taylor on the other hand is popularly known for his numerous appearances with Chikara and often watched YouTube clips featuring invisible slow-motion inducing grenades and the scaring of small children. While all entertaining in their own right, one finds interest in how he’ll fit into the FCP collective.

Taylor received some boos as he entered if only for the fact that he’s facing McKinnan who got a unsurprisingly loud ovation. The two displayed some good technical wrestling in the early going before Taylor took the lead. One thing that sinks in very quickly is Chuck Taylor’s charisma. He exudes a personality which makes him stand out and even though the crowd is against him, they are entertained by his antics. His actions and speech were funny while never sacrificing the credibility that an aforementioned hand grenade might have lost him. In time McKinnan came back in a ferocious manner, reeling off his best forearms and kicks. He followed up with some new maneuvers that impressed all, and kept things flowing smoothly. McKinnan had never looked so good. His trademark dive to the outside was just the latest in a long line of torturing dives directed at the fence that borders the ring. A prominent bend in frame now places it at the point of no repair. The match soon came to a good end with an impressive blitz from McKinnan (If you don’t like reverse hurracanranas, let’s not be friends).

When all was said and done, Taylor and McKinnan were two wrestlers that worked really well together. Their styles connect perfectly, and both were smooth and on form. Chuck Taylor certainly made an impression and showed that his popularity was well deserved. MK McKinnan put in one of his best performances which bodes well as he moves towards a title match with Eddie Edwards in the future.

DJ Hyde vs. Dave Mastiff

The Booker versus The Bastard. The owner of CZW steps between the ropes to take on a man who has yet to taste defeat in singles competition at FCP. One might feel sorry for the former if he weren’t such a big man himself and a formidable looking opponent. But he is still in for a challenge against Mastiff who continues to establish himself as a dominant force in Fight Club: Pro.

DJ Hyde received little response from the audience and Mastiff received a more solid reception which was soon to be strengthened when he was announced as hailing from the Black Country. Hyde got the crowd firmly against him by taking to the mic and talking trash to those gathered. This put everyone firmly behind seeing Mastiff put him down. At times Hyde’s wrestling ability came off as weak, but when they turned to big man against big man the crowd was into it. The two exchanged tough slaps, tough shoulder blocks and the crowd were always on The Bastard’s side. Mastiff shined with his trademark cannonball to a cornered Hyde, and the ring managed to hold up for a big superplex, soon after which the match reached its culmination.

Following the match which had kept Mastiff firmly established as a monster, Hyde took to the mic to talk more trash on Fight Club: Pro. It didn’t take long to provoke a response from Trent Seven and MK McKinnan, two wrestlers at the core of FCP, who hit the ring and defended the promotion. An intense war of words debating which was the better company eventually built to an announcement that pleased the audience. Project Mayhem II (and that is exactly how it should be stylised), and it would be FCP pitted against CZW. The pocket of fans who had come for CZW were now sure to come back, but before Seven departed he was keen to set up a match which would see him take on Hyde when the event took place in late October. Mark your calendars.

The Hunter Brothers vs. Rockstar Spud & Bobby Barratt (w/ Dave Williams) vs. Jonathan Gresham & Chris Brookes

The likes of The Hunters, Spud and Gresham aren’t quite the core of Fight Club: Pro, but it just wouldn’t be the same without them. They are some of the best and brightest wrestlers around and this match is a treat that makes sure they aren’t tossed aside while CZW are in town. And the plot thickens as a feud or two weaves itself through this match. Chris Brookes is the young wrestler on the rise, or at least he would be on the rise if The Rockstar Spud hadn’t been putting him down at every opportunity. With Gresham in his corner, maybe this was his chance to finally get one over on the Spud, and break out at FCP. Meanwhile, Spud and his partner in crime, Dave Williams, have also upset one Blue Dragon (just a wrestler, not a mythical creature) by stealing his mask and laying the proverbial smackdown on him several times. This feud has been integral to FCP for many months now and it’s good to see it extended at this show.

The Hunter’s receive a good response as always, if only for coming out to Glenn Fry’s The Heat Is On. Rockstar Spud, who has been subdued in recent months due to outrage at being booked against Brookes, displayed a welcome return to form on his ring entrance as he strutted, gyrated and pouted his way to the ring in a manner that makes audiences love him before he even attempts a lock up. They still hate him though, but the entertainment factor isn’t in doubt. Next to the ring, it’s an always welcome return for Gresham and a lesser reaction for Brookes who’s lost momentum in recent months. With everyone ready for action, it’s time for the announcement of a special referee. Enter the previously mentioned Blue Dragon. Once the match was underway, some great technicality was shown by Gresham and the Hunters. Soon however, the match would descend into Spud’s vendetta against Brookes. Back to his usual antics, Rockstar Spud was on top form. Whether in the ring, out the ring or not even remotely involved what was going on, Spud was always the man to watch to see how he was reacting and hear what he was saying. Between arguments with crowd members, to arguments with his opponents, to arguments with his own tag team partner, he was stealing the show in hilarious fashion. In time, The Hunter’s took control and showed why they are such a renowned tag team with their and teamwork. Imagine one Hunter swinging an opponent by the legs while another Hunter catches said opponent in the head with a dropkick, and you’ve got a taste of the Hunter Brothers’ quality. Brookes would finally get his moment, and after a few moves the crowd were behind him again. There then came a point where Gresham took control and shined with a stunner and RKO combo that dreams are made of, and by finally hitting that ever elusive 450 splash. The match rounded off with an exciting finish that put the exclamation point on a great match, seeing Blue Dragon making a dive to the outside while Brookes made a save for Gresham and picked up a victory over Spud.

The match was a rollercoaster ride of enjoyment featuring the best talent that Fight Club: Pro invites in on a regular basis. The Hunter’s and Gresham shined, as did Spud in his own way, but it was Brookes picking up the win which was a satisfying advancement in their feud, setting up a possible future for the young and aspiring wrestler.

Trent Seven vs. Sami Callihan

The Super Don takes on the Death Machine. Trent Seven is on top of the mountain known as Mount FCP, making The Super Don a rather appropriate nickname. As is often said, if there is a head to the promotion, he is it. But Sami Callihan is still the number one independent wrestler in the world. The stature of these two makes it an exciting match in mind alone. What makes it more exciting is the previous two encounters the two have had at Fight Club: Pro, which have set a high standard. No need for lock ups here, these two are gonna go at it for the FCP faithful who want to see it.

Trent Seven gets a loud response, as fans bash the fence that surrounds the ring to the beat of his ring entrance. Callihan is less interested in entrances and hit the ring before called for introductions to be scrapped and the bell to be rung immediately. The tension was built, and even after the bell rung the two were locked in a stare down as each waited for the other to move for. Then they finally struck, and broke out into a brawl. The competition was vicious with Callihan trying to tare Seven’s mouth open as he held him in the corner, and Seven delivering incredibly stiff chops to Callihan. Intense is the word that became closely linked with this match. The two went hell for leather in the ring and out, with Callihan delivering an outstanding suplex into the fence. Seven was still giving back though with hard strikes whenever possible and the crowd were firmly behind his shots. At one point Callihan retired Seven with a tigerbomb into a shoulder breaker that evoked awe from everyone in the venue, and then Callihan showed smarts as he targeted Seven’s leg. Seven managed to work through his moveset, hitting the always impressive piledriver and frogsplash, but Callihan’s use of a submission that twisted and contorted Seven’s leg was enough to make him tap.

The crowd were into this match all the way, begging for Seven not to tap and both gutted and exhausted when the match finished. It was another stand out match that personifies Fight Club: Pro and showed off both their star and the top independent star. With the addition of that victory to one Callihan achieved over Seven at CZW’s recent Best of the Best event, he had brought the playing field level with two victories each. Before departing, Callihan took the mic and called Combat Zone Wrestling his home, making his allegiance clear for Project Mayhem II and alluding to a deciding match in the future. As Seven exited he received much applause and everyone was left looking forward to his next effort against the Callihan Death Machine.

Margera vs. Masada

It’s in the name and it’s on the poster so one would assume that this match is pretty important. It is of course the main event and it’s and FCP favourite versus CZW’s heavyweight champion. And it’s a death match. Many things could be said about death matches but let’s take them for what they are. Those who like death matches want vivid violence, and heavy dose of violence is what Margera and Masada promised when they labelled this contest. The former has a great history of hardcore matches in this promotion alone, while the latter bares a championship bely for his efforts, meaning hopes are high for what these two will achieve.

Chairs. Barbed wire. Barbed wire chairs. These things have been placed in and around the ring as a prelude to the carnage ahead. The ever likeable Margera gets a good reception and a good amount of streamers thrown for him while Masada manages to raise the volume of the CZW fans in attendance. The two began with some futile lock ups and quickly turned to a steel chair each and went at it. When a steel chair wasn’t enough Margera went for one that was wrapped in barbed wire and things built from there. We soon saw blood, from a laceration on Margera’s head and a rogue cut on Masada’s arm. The two would then start bringing in all sorts of toys. A few astute fans had supplied a cheese grater and a keyboard, and the way the keyboard exploded over Magera’s head made it a must use weapon for all future death matches. The stand out weapon of the night however was a collection of BBQ sticks designed for making sheesh kababs out of opponents and I am fairly confident in saying that no one will forget Margera being drilled in head with these, so hard in fact that they were left embedded in his head. Those who witnessed it are not likely to forget it. There were also a bag of thumbtacks spread onto the mat which each wrestler took a tumble on. Another outstanding sight was Masada taking an armdrag on to a set up chair – rest in piece chair. Margera’s crash and burns onto precariously placed guard rails and barbed wire boards were noteworthy, but the exclamation point was Margera driving Masada’s head into a television screen, and sometime after that the match found its end by referee stoppage.

Well it was violent. It was at times scary and at many points awe inspiring. It was further impressive how Margera and Masada crafted a match with ups and downs around showcase of violence. Masada won chants from the audience, and both earned great respect from the crowd for the punishment they’d put themselves through. After Masada bigged up Margera’s effort on the mic, both received lengthy applause as they departed. Clint Margera received a well deserved chant of his own.

After a month’s absence, FCP came back with a stacked card and gave the crowd all they could handle. They had the home crowd favourites, the talented additions, the guest star treats and then a little extra from CZW and their match stipulation. It was worth far more than the price of admission, and whatever you look for in wrestling there was something to enjoy. Does anyone else offer entertainment this good for five pounds? Does anyone else invite you down the pub for a drink after the show? Does anyone else sell Hunter Brother hot pants at the merch stand? Simply put, you should be a part of this atmosphere. I haven’t seen every promotion in the UK, but that doesn’t stop me thinking that Fight Club: Pro is the UK’s best promotion.

Fight Club Pro returns in June and has Project Mayhem II scheduled for late October. Look for them on Twitter or Facebook and follow them to catch further details.

I can be found on twitter @DerrieCatton

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