Sunday, 21 February 2016

Live Event Review: Fight Club: Pro All the Best 2016 (Lee vs. Seven *TNA X Division Championship*)

On 5th February 2016, Fight Club: Pro presented All the Best 2016 in the Planet Nightclub in Wolverhampton, West Midlands, England. Trevor Lee defended his TNA X Division Championship against Trent Seven and Pete Dunne put his Infinity Trophy on the line against Tyler Bate...but was it any good? Let's find out.

match card

Match 1 - Tag Team - KYS (FCP Champion MK McKinnan & Damian Dunne) vs. Nixon Newell & Mike Bird

Match 2 - Singles - Chris Brookes vs. Travis Banks

Match 3 - Infinity Trophy - Tyler Bate vs. Pete Dunne (C)

Match 4 - Tag Team - The Hunter Brothers vs. Dan Maloney & Wild Boar

Match 5 - TNA X Division Championship - Trent Seven vs. Trevor Lee (C)

trent seven addresses the planet nightclub

The show kicked off with former FCP Champion Trent Seven heading out to the ring to welcome the fans to the show and thank them for heading out to the Planet that evening. As Seven said 2016, obviously referencing the first show of said year for FCP, I thought it was a good idea to shout out 2006, in reference to the idiotic boob Bram's recent botch on TNA Impact Wrestling. I'm not sure if this was the best idea I've ever had or a moment of utter insanity that lead to me being labelled a "walking calendar" by Seven. Either way this whole opening segment was a nice bit of fun that buoyed that crowd up for some action with Seven managing to hold the attention of a good-sized crowd of boozed-up Midlanders with his cheeky swagger and charm.

nixon newell and mike bird defeat kys

This was an open challenge bout laid out by current FCP Champion, MK McKinnan and KYS stablemate Damian Dunne. The duo kicked things off by complaining about having to start off the show and began typically running down the FCP fanbase, with McKinnan ripping into anyone who caught his attention. Whilst, the team of Nixon Newell and Mike Bird hadn't been particularly high on my list of teams to answer the open challenge, the booking here made me want to see the match a lot more than if it had just been announced before hand. We had Nixon come out first, with McKinnan cutting a misogynistic promo offering Nixon "the chance" to suck his dick, before Clint Margera made his entrance, only to be taken out by KYS member Pete Dunne with a steel chair and Bird (who presumably was just kicking about backstage) turned up to join in the fight.

The tag match itself was a cracking opening contest with the two teams forming a solid dynamic that the crowd quickly bought into. As one of the most likable faces in British wrestling at the moment, Nixon worked well as the face in peril for this one, with McKinnan and Dunne excelling in their roles also, keeping the match in their favour with a series of underhanded tactics. Bird kept things going at ringside and delivered with a good hot tag sequence, before the heels pulled out a great flurry of offense and got a convincing near fall off a double superkick and rope hung DDT from McKinnan. However, it was Nixon who picked up the win for her team with a Vulture Culture Destroyer on Dunne, and whilst the move didn't look quite a clean as it could have, it seemed there were no injuries and the messy look actually worked in the favour of the type of bout the two teams were having. A smashing way to kick off the show, with a strong heel/face dynamic, it'll be interesting to see how this victory effects McKinnan's title run and whether we'll see Nixon and Bird continue as a team in FCP going forward.

chris brookes defeats travis banks

This was my first opportunity to see New Zealander Travis Banks in action and I have to say I was impressed with the 2 time IPW New Zealand Heavyweight Champion. Banks worked a very technical bout with FCP regular Chris Brookes, and despite being the less well known worker to the Wolverhampton crowd, seemed to quickly gain the respect of those in attendance, helped along by the fact that Brookes is one of the most hated men in the promotion. Despite the technicality of the bout, one of it's stand out moments was a big highspot that saw Brookes push Banks off the top and send him into the cage that surrounds the ringside area, with the Kiwi almost going right over the top. Banks gained a number of sweet near falls via a Fisherman's Buster and Bridging German Suplex before Brookes claimed a surprisingly clean victory with a Michonoku Driver. Good use of Banks that showcased his skills and allowed him to look impressive enough that a return would be welcomed, whilst also allowing a regular to build some momentum heading into the next show on March 18th.

pete dunne defeats tyler bate to retain the infinity trophy

The first half main event was a superbly physical outing between KYS member Pete Dunne and one half of Mustache Mountain, Tyler Bate. The pairs first one on one outing for FCP, these two have a long history in the promotion going all the way back to Rise Against: End of Dave? in May 2014, having six bouts of varying stipulations, all the way up to the last show of 2015, Infinity 2015 when Dunne outlasted Bate in the Four Way Dance Semi-Final of the Infinity Trophy Tournament. If this match was the culmination of two years of waiting to get their hands on each other one on one in an FCP ring, boy did it deliver. There was lots of hard strikes and kicks to the face here, in a real show of British Strong Style as both men took a great deal of punishment from each other. This looked like two men who genuinely couldn't stand each other. The crowd was all over Dunne for the whole match and the well-rounded performer produced some quality character work as he showed frustration at the chants for Bate's mustache to give this bout a little bit of variety.

Numerous times through the match Dunne had attempted to hit his DT3 finish (Pumphandle Facebuster) and never quite hit it, this lead to blistering conclusion. With Dunne once again unable to put Bate away following another close near fall, we saw Bate begin to fire up for the second time in the match, only for Dunne to deliver a series of wicked strikes to the head and finally hit the DT3 for the win. A tremendous closing sequence that had the Planet rocking, these are two talents that have grown and grown over the last two or three years. Both men put in excellent efforts here and you have to think that there's only more to come as they continue to add different aspects to their game. 

fast-forward...Following the interval, Clint Margera hit the ring and challenged Pete Dunne to a Death Match on 18th March...

dan maloney and wild boar defeat the hunter brothers

The second half of the show kicked off with Dan Maloney and Wild Boar avenging their only loss as a tag team in FCP, by defeating the Hunter Brothers in a rematch from December's Infinity 2015. The crowd quickly picked up on Maloney's new choice of ring attire which included what appeared to be black rubber gloves, and heckled him with chants about marigolds and questions about washing up. The match itself went back and forth, with the fan-favourite Hunter Brothers putting together a lot of nice quick paced action and trading near falls with Maloney and Boar. The finish featured a lot of fun shenanigans, as the heel duo attempted to get steel chairs involved in the match, however this was a mere distraction for the referee, as Maloney would eventually clobbered a Hunter with a mallet to the knee that would eventually give his team the victory. A lot of fun to be had here, and there's surely a rematch to settle the score coming on 18th March or later on in the year.

trevor lee defeats trent seven to retain the tna x division championship

What a veritable smorgasbord of wrestling action was on offer here. Things began with Trent Seven challenging Trevor Lee to put his TNA X Division Championship on the line. Of course, Lee wasn't going to just give Seven a title, oh no, he was gonna make him dance for his shot. What followed was one of those moment in a wrestling fans life, where you look at your pals and they're all losing their shit for two grown adult males dancing to Taylor Swift and you think "Haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate". Wrestling is the best and I won't have anyone say other wise. As far as I can find this was the first X Division title bout at non-TNA show in the UK since Samoa Joe defended the belt against AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels at 1PW All or Nothing - Day 2 in Doncaster on 5th March 2006 (Someone tell me I'm wrong, that's the last I could find on

The earlier part of the bout featured a lot of stalling from Trevor Lee, and plenty of sports-entertainment style tomfoolery. From Lee continually going to the outside at the start of the match, to later seemingly losing his temper and grabbing a steel chair only to use it as a step up to the ring apron, this all seemed to be designed to get under the skin of the Wolverhampton crowd. The champ was certainly working the heel role throughout, with numerous underhanded tactics in blatant sight of the referee, with the excuse that "It was legal in the US" working well due to the inexperienced appearance of the ref himself. The crowd however didn't seem to want to get on Lee's back too much here, perhaps due to being more familiar with his exploits in promotions like PWG and EVOLVE, than his villainous run alongside Gregory Shane Helms in TNA (in fact, the episode where Lee won the title from Tigre Uno wouldn't air until that coming Sunday on Challenge in the UK!). The crowd however were more or less on the side of regular Trent Seven, and I didn't feel that the crowd being more amused than angry with Lee's antics effected the contest on a whole.

Once things really got going Lee and Seven put on a superb main event, choc-full of hard strikes and chops with the crowd getting hotter and hotter as the action went on. Then came one of the best false finishes I have ever seen, as Seven hit a series of moves, capped off with a jumping piledriver and seemingly got the three count on Lee. Even the most smarky of fans were seemingly fooled by this one as the roof almost got blown off the Planet. Removing what would have been one of the main negatives of having another promotions title defended on the show, the crowd for a moment genuinely believed that the title not only could change hands, but had changed hands. Of course, it wasn't to be as the inexperience of the referee was used again, as after initially awarding the bout to Seven, he realised Lee's foot was under the ropes and restarted the match! For me, the actual finish of the match was a little too similar to what had come earlier between Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate, as Seven took a number of stiff shots from Lee and continued to fire up, before eventually falling to a Small Package Driver, as Lee made his third successful title defense.

atpw scale rating - 6.95/10

Fight Club:Pro start of their year with a strong card of British Strong-Style action, with all five matches providing some quality action. The Infinity Trophy bout and the main event for the TNA X Division Championship could both have arguments put forward for why they deserved to be Match of the Night, as they both delivered lots of hard-hitting moments, and managed to tell mostly different stories inside the ring. For me, Dunne and Bate edges it, thanks to the history between the two in the promotion and my personal intrigue to see where both of the performers will go over the next year of so in FCP. 

There's lots to look forward to in the near future, with Clint Margera and Pete Dunne already scheduled to clash in Death Match on the next show on 18th March, whilst a new contender for MK McKinnan's FCP title still needs to be crowned, and despite suffering defeat in tag team action there still seems to be no cracks in KYS faction. Interesting times ahead for sure, this is a promotion that should be on every British wrestling fans radar.

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