Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Live Review: Fight Club: Pro International Tekkers 2015

Just six weeks removed from Rockstar, which saw MK McKinnan succesful hold onto the Fight Club: Pro over Tyler Bate and Rockstar Spud, Fight Club: Pro was back at the Planet Night Club in Wolverhampton, England to present the 2015 edition of International Tekkers. With a big championship ladder match pitting McKinnan against Clint Margera in the main event, as well as Dan Maloney, Eddie Dennis, KYS, Mike Bird, Moustache Mountain, Ophidian and The Wolves all being on hand for the show. Could Fight Club: Pro prove their Tekkers on the night?

Two performers who produced stand-out matches (End against Adam Cole, Brookes against Zack Sabre, Jr.) on the previous International Tekkers, I was expecting this bout to end up in a similar position and whilst it was a good bout, it didn't quite live up to my expectations heading in. That being said, there was still a lot to enjoy with some good story-telling that saw Brookes focus his attention on the leg of one half of the Sumerian Death Squad, with a number of nice submission holds, which sold very well by End. The highlight of the bout for me was a Diving Double Stomp by End, which saw wXw regular unable to get the pin because of the injured leg. The match felt a little too short to fully reach it's potential (coming in at just over 8 minutes), as End picked up the victory in his first match since dropping the FCP title in May.

The villainous KYS duo of Pete and Damian Dunne took on Dennis and Mike Bird in a quality tag team encounter, with the dynamics of the two teams playing well into each other and both getting a loud reaction out of the Planet. Eddie Dennis was your Pride of Wales in Peril, with KYS's working the crowd well, making it easy to get behind Dennis and will him on to make the tag to Bird, that's what tag team wrestling is about at it's core. The sequence that built to Dennis' hot tag was marvelous, edging into the realm of the OTT but worked well in this environment as Dennis crawled across the ring and fought off both Pete and Damian in order to get the tag. KYS continued their strong run of form with Pete able to get a sneaky roll-up victory like the dirty heel that he is, but not before a superb sequence that saw both of KYS taping out in the middle of the ring, only for the referee to point out that the combinations were wrong and no legal man was taping out another legal man.

This was the best match of the first half for me, as Ophidian and Dan Maloney put on a much better match than I had expected going in. That isn't to say that I don't believe in the talents of the two men, I simply wasn't expecting them to gel as well as did here. The two bought a power vs. speed style, as Maloney attempted to dominate the former CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas Champion. The pair bought a different style to anything else on the show, with a superb sequence that saw both men get near falls (Ophidian with a Double Knee attack in the corner and Maloney with a TKO) before both attempted the moves again but had them reversed, with the pace really picking up at this point. It was a big win for Maloney who was picked up the victory with a huge powerbomb and a second TKO, looking impressive doing so.

As has been seen a few times at Fight Club: Pro, putting two babyfaces opposite each other leads to a crowd that doesn't know who to get behind and therefore gets behind no one. This left the match feeling a little bit flat, with no one attempting to get the crowd involved in the action in the ring. The match was rather short, but didn't exactly come across as a squash with Robbie getting plenty of offence in on the bigger Mastiff. There was some interesting elements with Robbie attempting to use his speed, but it was Mastiff's power that came out on top as he caught Robbie with a big lariat after Robbie attempted a handspring cutter. The finish didn't quite look as convincing as it could have and I wasn't expecting the bout to end at that point. Both men are talented but this wasn't their best work.

The big international attraction of the night was The Wolves, who squared off against fan favourites Moustache Mountain. The Wolves quickly took advantage of just how over Tyler Bate and Trent Seven's team is in the promotion, by quickly turning heel, with a sizzling promo about how much of a shithole Wolverhampton is, whilst also making a number of references to their home promotion, TNA. With some fantastic work, the tone was set for the match, with a lively crowd chomping at the bit.

This was a lot of fun to watch, helped along by a red-hot and creative crowd who got on the back of the Wolves throughout the match for their relationship with TNA and especially, Dixie Carter. Edwards and Richards lapped it up and gave it all back to the fans, whipping them up even more and the cycle continued. It was helped, of course, by the fact that Bate and Seven are two of the most over performers in the promotion, and that the Wolves pull out a series of dirty tricks to stay in control of the match, making good use the promotions cage set up.

Whilst the character and crowd work was of the highest quality, the action in the ring was able to match it. Things were very physical inside the ropes with a number of tasty chops and forearms thrown either. With a handful of lovely false finishes for both teams with The Wolves coming close with their version of Chasing the Dragon, whilst the crowd seemed convinced that Moustache Mountain had been able to pull of the victory with a moonsault and splash combination. Davey's "This is For Dixie" Double Stomp was also a nice touch. The Wolves were able to pick up the victory, but Moustache Mountain proved they can hang with one of the most polished tag team duos in the world today.

A marvellously brutal affair, this was a fitting main event of the show, highlighting two of Fight Club: Pro's most prolific performers, MK McKinnan and Clint Margera, in a ladder match for the FC:P Championship. McKinnan's heel persona has developed into one of the most easy to hate anywhere in the country and the fans certainly let him know how they felt about him, with some rather vicious chants at times. McKinnan revelled in it, of course, even getting engaged with the crowd and at one point reminding me that I am indeed a "fat cunt". This character work provided a good groundwork for the pair to batter each other for nearly twenty minutes!

This match was chock-full with sweet highspots, like Margera jumping off the top of the entrance way to put McKinnan through a bit of wood (not quite a table), which looked magnificent inside the Planet. The ladder got plenty of action also, with both men taking some nasty bumps onto the hardware, as well an occasion where McKinnan sent into into the face of Margera on the outside. There was one section however that everyone was talking about post-match, that saw McKinnan's KYS bedfellows get involved and tie Margera's hands behind his back and allow McKinnan to deliver a series of vicious chair shots. This kind of violence in wrestling is either going to Me your bag or it's not, but it certainly made for a great reaction out of the crowd. For me, perhaps this should have been the finish of the match, based on the sheer brutality alone, but Margera getting sent off the top of the ladder to the outside through another bit of wood worked well enough.


ATPW Scale Rating - 7.14

Another top notch show from Fight Club: Pro with a good variety of action on display. Dan Maloney impressed in his big match with Ophidian, whilst The Wolves killed their heel persona and knew exactly how to work the crowd opposite Moustache Moutain and the main event ladder match was a true specactle, I wouldn't argue with anyone who suggested either of those three matches as the best on offer.

There's more to come from Fight Club: Pro as they will be back in action on 23rd October. FCP announcing the date of their next show made me a very happy chappy. Find out more about the promotion here.

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