Saturday, 17 June 2017

FCP DTTI Hangover (Live) Review

On 19th May, Fight Club: Pro found itself a new home at Starworks Warehouse in Wolverhampton and hosted the aftermath of their epic Dream Tag Team Invitational Easter weekender. The show featured a Six Man Scramble with Angelico, Jimmy Havoc, Jordan Devlin, Eddie Dennis, Dan Moloney and Clint Margera, the DTTI winners #CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) facing off with the debuting Scarlet & Graves (Dezmond Xavier & Zachary Wentz) and The Hunter Brothers (Lee & Jim) and Travis Banks defending the FCP Championship against Trent Seven, as well as appearances from Kay Lee Ray, Joe Coffey, "The Regulator" Wolfgang, Kris Wolf and "Session Moth" Martina...but was it any good? Let's take a look, shall we? 

Omari def. Dallaway, Johnny T & Fletcher 

These multi-man trainee "dark" matches had become a bit of a tradition towards the end of FCP's run at Fixxion, so it was nice to see them return for the Starworks show. These usually short and pacy matches work quite nicely at whetting the appetite for some a more substantial graps feast to come, like a nice soup with a crusty cob or whatever your starter of choice is...prawn cocktail, whatever. The first half of the bout was 1i1o type stuff, with a number of big strikes that left Omari with a bright red chest, then into the obligatory dive sequence, before a double german suplex spot was aided with an Omari enziguiri. For me, the best action on offer came when Kyle Fletcher and Omari went at it, putting together hard-hitting slick strike sequence as well cool spot with The Big O slingshotting to the inside and straight into a Fletcher superkick. Overall, the timing could have been better at points, but nothing that had a major effect and with this technically being a trainee dark match those kind of things are to be expected as the four being to iron out their creases. As with any starter this was a nice lead in for what was to come, without ever threatening to fully satisfy the hunger.   

Wolfgang def. Coffey 

The opener of the show proper was an interesting choice, as Wolfgang and Joe Coffey met in their most Southern match to date. Originally, Coffey and Wolfgang were scheduled to take part in a six man match, but Wolfie cut a quick promo and we had an all Scottish affair to kick things off in Wolverhampton. Now, I've thought about how to review this match more than probably any other match on the card, because in the moment, I just didn't get it. Not that I felt I'd seen a bad match, but one that just hadn't grabbed me in the way I perhaps expected it to do. Being the conscientious reviewer that I am and knowing that I'd enjoyed both guys on previous occasions, I thought I'd ask some of my wrassle pals what they thought and almost every single one of them seemed to have a higher opinion of the bout than I did.  I wouldn't say anyone raved about it, but they enjoyed the big lads battle, Marc Pearson noted the psychology in particular, but I still wasn't buying into it. 

I'm not sure why I did...not enjoy isn't the right phrase, because there was some lovely stuff and a few spots that I'll always pop for (Coffey's triple jump crossbody) perhaps the best term is fully appreciate. I'm not sure why I didn't fully appreciate this match. I've purposefully not gone back and watched it since, because I wanted to give my feelings on it from being there in the space and how it affected me. Perhaps it was the new venue, which is much more spacious than Fixxion and it took some getting used to the new atmosphere. Perhaps it was the ring breaking early on, when it looked like one of the board came at the very least loose on a bodyslam, which threw me a little off. Perhaps it was coming off a four man into a singles match that I expected to be a six man did something to me. I'm not sure. Looking back on my notes, it reads like a decent opener with some big spots like Coffey's running jump over the barricade and mid-rope moonsault from Wolfgang, before Wolfie picked up his first FCP after blocking a superplex and nailing The Howling. I'm looking forward to rewatching this and hopefully reappraising in the future, as well as getting to see how both fit into Starworks plans going forward. 

KLR def. Wolf

Kay Lee Ray's first FCP singles win against the debuting Kris Wolf from Stardom was a fun bout whilst it lasted but I came away a little disappointed. There was absolutely nothing wrong with this bout and I had a ball of a time watching it, but there just wasn't enough of it. After a technical start, the two had some jokes revolving around the height differential (KLR is 5' 8'' and Wolf just 4' 10'') including a surprise appearance from Viper to even the odds, we had KLR replying to Wolf biting her arm, by biting Wolf's tail and the two looking to use the new FCP set-up as much as possible. Kay Lee jumped off the barricade with a forearm and then Wolf used the new entrance way as a set off monkey bars, initially thrusting out for a kick and then transitioning into hurricanrana onto the floor. Creative stuff on the outside with the exploration of the new venue being a bit of theme for the whole show. 

Once the action returned to the ring I was expecting business to pick up. We'd seen flashes throughout the match with some fast paced roped running stuff and a cool succession of near falls, but by this point I was chomping at the bit to see Wolf and KLR hit top gear and by the bouts conclusion I don't think we got anywhere close to seeing what the pair could have done together. A couple of near falls for each, KLR off a Gory bomb and a wheelbarrow suplex for Wolf and it seemed like the bout was heading towards it's crescendo and then Kay Lee slapped on a koji clutch and that was that. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting, perhaps some more firey exchanges, perhaps a gear change, perhaps some cool submission escapes and just a general build up of aggression towards a conclusion, but I certainly wasn't expecting Wolf to tap so quickly. I'm hoping we get a rematch between the two, depending on how long Wolf spends in the country, because a second match building on the stellar work done here would take away my needy complaints. I want more, dammit.    

#CCK def. Scarlet & Graves and Hunter Brothers 

With Mark Andrews off the card, The Hunter Brothers joined #CCK's Chris Brookes and Kid Lykos and the debuting Rockstar Pro regular's Scarlet & Graves' Dezmond Xavier and Zachary Wentz in a superb three way tag team match as the first half main event. I both hate and love #CCK, sometimes at the same time. I don't know when it happened but Brookes & Lykos have developed into one of the slickest tag team acts in the world. Ever little detail they've added over the past year or so, after branching out from Attack! into FCP, IPW:UK, Southside and elsewhere, Brookes spitting and chucking water at lads, Lykos never shutting up and never being able to hit a brainbuster and also those sicking fucking tag moves, those little details make them so easy to hate, but so entertaining to watch at the same time. When the best boys controlled, first Wentz and then Jim Hunter, they held the crowd in just the right place for the madness that was about to come our way. 

Christ, once the momentum swung towards the Tipton and Ohio connection, as Jim tagged in Xavier things became a balls to the wall sprint, with a shed load of highspots and more sicking fucking tag moves than you could shake a shitty stick at. Dives to the outside from all four of our heroes, big strikes, the Hunters swinging into dropkick, the sweet gory blockbuster that CCK do and that's not even the half of it, as Scarlet & Graves also won over a number of new fans with their high energy offence. My notes on this match got gradually less descriptive as the bout went on, to the point where my final bullet point was "Finish is a series of ridiculous things seemingly all happening simultaneously. It is fucking marvellous". If that's not a good enough description for you, go and watch the match and come back and tell me I didn't get it spot on.  

Devlin def. Angelico, Havoc, Dennis, Moloney and Margera 

OTT's Jordan Devlin picked up a big win on his FCP debut in an eclectic six man scramble, that showcased a real mixed bag of performers and went all over the building. With a variety of different styles, movesets and personas, this was never going to be boring, especially with the crowd so intent on trying to get the attention of Dan Moloney. The mach started with a series of strikes, before the six men worked a lovely sequence where Devlin and Moloney thwarted dive attempts from Angelico and Eddie Dennis, before Jimmy Havoc and Clint Margera got the better of the villain, hit stereo suicide dives and Dennis and Angelico went up and over to the floor. It was a structurally simple opening, but non the less it was effective, with the initial denial of the fan favourite flips meaning they meant a whole lot more when we got them, and more, shortly after. 

Then, of course, there was the crowd brawling. Boy was there some crowd brawling. Starworks is much larger than Fixxion so it seemed like everyone decided to make the most of the extra space. The enjoyment of this kind of stuff usually depends on where you happen to situated in the room and how much you can actually see and with most of the action happening towards the bar area at the far end of the room and me sitting front row towards the entrance way, I didn't manage to catch a whole lot of this. There certainly was some brawling, in different combinations. With six men in the match it would've been cool to have seen them split off into pairs and head into different sections of the crowd, so there was something different for each area to focus their attentions on, but unfortunately the bulk seemed to occur in the large space at the far end of the room. There was a great spot with Devlin reversing a Havoc piledriver into a backbody drop on the bar, which caused an odd series of hanging lightbulbs to swing about, as well as a sequence of back and forth forearms with the six sat opposite each other, however. 

Once back in the ring, the match produced its best action with some interesting combinations battling it out. Dennis cleaned house with forearms out of various situations, Margera and Moloney put together a good section together, Margera took an acid rainmaker as Havoc shouted "I'm sorry, I love you" for a nice pop and Dennis took out both the Callous Hearts with a Fallaway Slam/Samoan drop combination, a solid mixture of sleek sequences, back and forth wrestling, comedic near falls and multi-man spots. I would've liked to have seen a few more highspots making the most of the sheer numbers involved in the match, but that nitpicking didn't make this any less enjoyable. The finish saw each man consecutively taken out of contention with the aforementioned combination move from Dennis keeping Margera and Havoc down, before Moloney removed Dennis from the equation with a sitout fireman's carry facebuster, Angelico took out Moloney with a turnbuckle crucifix powerbomb, leading into a wicked Devlin package piledriver that gave the WWE UK competitor a surprising debut victory. 

Purser def. Martina in a Fans Bring the Alcohol Match 

I'm still trying to come to terms with the Fans Bring the Alcohol match and to be honest with you, I don't think that I ever will completely. Referee Shay Purser's first FCP show since turning 18 saw him facing off with notorious boozehound and potential sexual deviant Martina with the fans supplying the alcohol, because it would've been weird if they'd bought their own booze with them. Most of my notes on this bout were single words, written in all caps, for example..."CHRIST". There was drinking, there was singing, there was referee Joel Allen wearing a bin bag, there was a pissed up version of an international, there was bronco busters for anyone who wanted one and it all felt like some kind of glorious dream. The kind of dream that you awake from with a start, slightly confused and questioning everything you once knew to be true. This probably wasn't a match for all, I'm not even sure if it was for me, but it certainly was an experience I won't forget in a hurry. 

Banks def. Seven to retain FCP Championship 

Trent Seven and Travis Banks had been to war with each other before in FCP. Back at Rise Against in March 2016 when a frustrated came out with the victory in only Banks' second match in the promotion, before nine months Trav picked up his first singles win in FCP in a thrilling conclusion to the Infinity tournament. This match took a slightly different angle, as whilst Trent had become the default heel back in December due to the sheer investment the Fixxion crowd had in Banks' losing streak story, there was no mistaking that Seven was the villain here as the challenger cheap shotted the champion out of a handshake and we were off to the races. These two lads are two of the hardest hitters currently residing on our island and holy balls on a typewriter did they hit each other hard here. Strong style kicks and forearms and chops, brawling out into the crowd and doing a wonderful version of the spot where Seven misses a chop using the trussing for the lighting rig, when Seven and Banks face off you know you're going to get something physical, the kind of wrestling that makes you wince in a weird pleasure you're not quite sure how to deal with. 

Once the early brawling was done with, the two found the kitchen sink and through that at each other as well (obviously metaphorically, just in case you were wondering). The two went back and forth hitting big high impact moves, including a series of german suplexes one after the other, a dragon suplex, a seven star lariat and a burning hammer from Seven, a springboard roundhouse kick, a ringpost crotching and double stomp from Banks. Each move looked great, hit with ferocity and intent and that's not even the half of it. The proceedings seemed to get sillier and the reactions got louder as the match went on with each near fall seeming more improbable than the last. Banks kicked out a piledriver, Seven kicked out of a ridiculous coast to coast and then the champ kicked out of an avalanche piledriver, because why the fuck not? The best (or worst, if you're a miserable old bellend) part is that that wasn't even the daftest part of the match. Oh no, as we learned that Travis is pretty much indestructible as he took his third piledriver of the match and bounced back to his feet and the crowd went apeshit, before taking another dragon suplex and no selling the fuck out of that bad boy as well. A roundhouse kick and Kiwi Crusher later and Banks was still our Fight Club: Pro Champion after a thrilling 20 minutes of international strong style professional wrestling. I could watch Travis Banks v Trent Seven every day for the rest of my life and twice on Sundays and never get bored. Each of their matches in FCP has had it's own flavour, using different stories and situations to drive them, but always include great striking, crisp and dynamic big moves, some wonderful facial expression and terrific, awe-inspiring near falls. 


ATPW Scale Rating - 6.88/10

A very good debut show at Starworks for Fight Club: Pro and whilst I'm not completely sold on the new venue just yet, I am still sold on the wrestling content. Was the show on the same level as the Dream Tag Team Invitational weekend? No, but it didn't particularly need to be. I think the show took a while to find it's stride, but once the first half main event had blown me away with #CCK, Scarlet & Graves & The Hunter Brothers, the show didn't look back with a wonderfully varied second half, that concluded with main event owning the match of the night spot as Travis Banks and Trent Seven did what they do best. I can't wait to see what FCP has in store for us as we had into the summer, especially when Pete Dunne and Tyler Bate are available and there's not a chance I'm missing a single show.

Photo Credit - The Ringside Perspective.

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