(Left: Here we have Trent Seven before he squared off with MK McKinnan - Picture credit to John Searle)
On June 15th 2012 you could have watched England in Euro 2012, you could have even watched Bridget Jones’s Diary on Channel 5, or you could have visited the Planet to see a Fight Club: Pro event live. FCP aren’t boasting any guest stars on this occasion, instead their intention is to put on a solid show consisting of the core roster. The card looks like goldmine after a quick read through, but as with everything it is the execution that matters.
The Hunter Brothers vs. Dan Ryder & Dave Williams (w/ Bobby Barratt)
Always hated in the Fight Club: Pro zone, Dan Ryder managed to amplify that reaction when he returned several months ago after attacking a fan favourite, and now he steps back into action for the first time this year with no love lost between him and the crowd. The feeling towards Dave Williams is not too dissimilar after his decision to back Rockstar Spud in taking out and mocking several popular wrestlers. The two are not afraid to throw abuse at the crowd and receive it in turn, receiving chants of “Penis Ryder” (I cleaned that up) and “Uncle Fester” respectively. Their opponents, hailing from Tipton, were looking to avenge the assault on their fellow Tiptonite (a term I wish I could take credit for) and the fans welcomed the prospect with a warm reception for Jim and Lee Hunter.
The Hunters were great at getting the crowd behind them, leading many interactions even during the introductions. Ryder and Williams gave the fans verbal abuse which squashed any chance of support, and they kicked off the match with a surprise attack on the Hunters. However it was mere moments before the Hunters were on top and showing off their sound wrestling ability and always outstanding teamwork which includes a variety of impressive trademark maneuvers. It was the involvement of Ryder and Williams’ affiliate, Bobby Barratt at ringside, that would turn the tide and see the pair steal momentum. The duo would then continue to get the crowd worked up with their dirty tactics and remarks, while a lone Hunter successfully did all he could to keep the fans behind them. The Hunter’s found their stride again in a comeback after Bobby Barratt was ejected from ringside, and one would assume the match was coming to a natural close, but like a pleasant surprise it kept going and building on itself. Each player in the game reeled off a least one impressive move and teased nearfall after nearfall. Eventually Barratt would return and be the deciding factor. After taking a Dropkick from a Hunter then inadvertently taking out his own team, it was an Assisted Tombstone Piledriver that got the job done for The Hunters.
Not only a match in which strong wrestling ability was on display, this match shined with it’s ability to keep a hold of the fans. Be it the Hunters making sure the crowd were supporting them with chants, or Ryder and Williams throwing abuse at the fans, or each giving notable reactions to the match content itself. The interaction with the fans hooked the quickly and kept them involved to make the match engaging and fun. The Tiptonites (please put it on a shirt) came out looking good on top, and there was a fallout between Bobby Barratt and the team he had cost victory,
Dave Mastiff vs. Chris Brookes
Chris Brookes has earned himself a spotlight at Fight Club: Pro, with the rivalry between him and Rockstar Spud having become integral to the promotion. After months of having Spud trample his hopes and opportunities at establishing himself, he now has a new opening with which he can earn an official place on the roster. It’s a trial series of three matches with which he must proof himself. On any other day that would be good news, but on this day his match was against The Bastard Dave Mastiff, let’s call him ‘Bad News’ for short. Bad News is monster who has yet to taste singles defeat. He’s flattened the cream of independent wrestling and top imports, and in this case he looks set to murder Brookes. No hashtag can save him now.
Both wrestlers received a good ovation upon their entrance, Mastiff being a well-established wrestler and Brookes starting to gain more faith from the crowd. Despite his height, Brookes had to play the little man and tried to use his quickness to avoid The Bastard. Bad News soon had him though and an impressive beatdown was what followed. A slow approach saw Brookes suffer stiff chops, clotheslines and drops among some moments of pure brilliance. One such moment saw Brookes trapped in the corner Tree Of Woe style, only to receive a big Splash after he had pulled himself up to untie his trapped foot, thus turning him into an accordion. Another moment saw Brookes placed on the top turnbuckle, only to be propped so that he could drop into a European Uppercut. Each was a unique and impressive offence. Brookes wasn’t complacent however, and had a few surging moments of attack. When a man with Chris Brookes’ tall and slim figure hits a running Big Boot to a cornered opponent, it is always impressive, and Brookes’ best moments came from the use of his feet. Mastiff held control however, toying with Brookes by pulling him out of pins and slowly working up to a powerbomb that puts the stiff in Mastiff. No surprises on a convincing win.
Mastiff receives the same adjectives he has for the past year; Dominant and Impressive. The man satisfies fans with his roll of destruction, and is still the man to beat in the promotion. While suffering a losing effort, Brookes has earned the fans support with the few flashes of skills he manages to show off and his heart to keep going and earn his place at FCP. One looks at who his next two opponents might be with interest.
The Rockstar Spud vs. Clint Margera – Death Match
For many, this already feels like the highlight of the night. The Rockstar Spud is simply the most entertaining person on the FCP roster and possibly the most entertaining person in the British wrestling industry, that’s why they call him the Baby Jesus. His style is fun to watch, comical at times and always engaging. His recent engagement has been gaining hate with his actions of knocking off Fight Club: Pro favourites with underhanded tactics and plenty of support. So when the small star is trapped in the ring with FCP’s resident death match worker, fans can already imagine the entertainment value of such an occurrence, making this match unmissable. His opponent is synonymous with Fight Club: Pro’s most hardcore matches and comes off the back an intense match up with a death match champion. Funny isn’t the word Clint Margera looks to embody as he steps in the ring with Spud.
Usually confident and flamboyant on his entrance, Spud shuffles into the arena nervously with his jacket zipped up, bubble wrap hanging out of his top and a safety helmet under one arm. The audience laps up the fear as Spud’s legs are visibly shaking. Margera then hit the ring to a strong reaction. On announcements, Spud’s weight was said to include 3 stone of mass padding, and it was now that Margera decided to bring in some of the toys he had left over from his last death match, prominently a chair wrapped in barbed wire and a kendo stick. In humorous fashion, Spud jumped on the mic to reason why this match shouldn’t happen, only to be subsequently decked by Margera much to the fans delight. The match was under way and the two played cat and mouse as Margera pursued Spud who would try several avenues of escape including climbing the metal fence that surrounds the ring only to be pulled back by his opponent or held off by fans. The cage door too was held shut by the crowd as Margera had instructed, and the sight of Rockstar Spud begging for release was ate up by fans. Loud chants were the obvious sign that everyone wanted Spud to get what he deserved and it was met with a great cheer when he finally received a big kendo stick shot to the head. One might think they’d take it easy, but no such ideal occurred. More weapons were retrieved. Margera took a VCR straight to the head and got dropped on barbed wire, while Spud was thrown onto a ladder. All the while, Spud’s reactions made the match. His fear of dangerous weapons and his desperation to escape were fantastic. Towards the end, the two teased around a patch of thumbtacks for several minutes until Spud took a Back Drop onto them to huge cheers from the fans. The match ended there on a great high.
This was another match that exceeded already high expectations. There was a certain amount of respect for what Spud had suffered through, but all in all it was a joy to see the man people love to hate get what he deserves. Even while being on the backfoot for a lot of the match, he was the most entertaining element to the match and off the night. Despite the fact he is going to receive boos, every single fan in that venue wants him back for future shows. Clint Margera came out strong, showing what he is best at but also shattering his losing streak and hopefully setting out on the road to even stronger showings in his future matches. Margera took to the mic after the match, to talk down on Spud and talk up on the main event.
Trent Seven vs. MK McKinnan
Part II. Rematches are always exciting. Two men who know each other inside and out can elevate the quality of a match. The slow build up has already been done in thirty minutes or so on another night and the competitors can pick up where they left off to tare the house down. Trent Seven has often been referred to as the face of Fight Club: Pro, still leading the promotion even if the title isn’t around his waist. In recent events however he has failed to come out on top in his matches, and it has given ground for the well deserving MK McKinnan to catch up and challenge Seven for his spot at the top of the mountain. McKinnan already has a title shot against Eddie Edwards set in stone, but a match against the former champion gives him an opportunity to say a lot about what position he should take in the company. Seven won’t want to give his spot up so easily.
Seven came out to theme music so good at getting the crowd going that they play it at the Euros every time someone scores a goal. McKinnan too would evoke a strong response with the electric guitar rift of his theme. The atmosphere was electric with an almost even split between the support for Seven and the support for McKinnan. It was so loud and emphatic that at times it could carry the match, not that it needed carrying. After an intense staredown and a tease of trademark strikes, the two connected and went off like a rocket. The two went back and forth, and the audiences’ emotions were played with as trademark moves were set up, then blocked and then finally hit out of nowhere keeping the contest interesting. Some great moments of originality arose, such as Seven pulling McKinnan by his leg from the top rope into a clothesline. In control, Seven delivered chops to The Future and as fans across from the ring indicated that they couldn’t hear said chops, Seven took McKinnan from corner to corner and obliged in letting them get a up close rendition. McKinnan got his offense in too and set up his trademark cannonball flip to the outside. When it hit, the whole cage was shifted over half a meter and yet somehow managed to stay whole. The two collided in an outstanding moment on the ring apron which saw McKinnan thrown down face first before receiving a Death Valley Driver on that spot. Luckily McKinnan barely caught the ring apron as he was brought down, but it was the unpadded floor below that really upset him. Once back in the ring, the two continued to go strong with fast and hard hitting sequences. It was enough to ignite a ‘This Is Awesome, the first of several. The two would also dip into each other’s arsenals, gaining great reactions as Seven hit a Superkick and McKinnan hit a Lariat. After more gripping back and forth, the latter would go further and steal Seven’s Piledriver finish, which many would have called as the ending for sure. McKinnan would then lead off on Reverse Hurricanrana (or Futurana from what I’m told) and a Shining Wizard to secure his victory.
No one can doubt this match’s status as main event, it was the match that the crowd was most invested in and truly the climax of the night. MK McKinnan was on top form again and looking capable of being the man to take the title off Eddie Edwards and lead the promotion in the future. Seven, while still presenting a strong presence, has added to his recent losing streak and must now set out on rebuilding his record. Following the match, McKinnan took to the mic and thanked the fans who chose FCP over football. He then asked for respect from Seven and received a handshake and a hug before the Super Don departed, leaving him to voice his intentions to bring the Fight Club: Pro title back to it’s home ground.
It was another great showing by Fight Club: Pro. One that met expectations and exceeded them which is always a great result to a show that only costs five pounds. If the promotion proved anything that night, it was that they have a solid roster capable of presenting a strong show without the need for guest stars. This also means that when they do import a wrestler, you are getting more than what is already more than your money’s worth, making the choice between wrestling and football a no brainer (Hint: You should choose the first one).
The next Fight Club: Pro event lands on the 6th of July and for any and all updates you should follow the promotion on Facebook or Twitter.
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