Saturday, 11 November 2017

Day of the Dead Review // Aussie Open vs. Moustache Mountain

On 27th October 2017, Fight Club: Pro held Day of the Dead at Starworks Warehouse in Wolverhampton, West Midlands. The show featured a clash between Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) and Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven), Mark Haskins taking on David Starr in a first time encounter, as well as appearances from Penta El Zero M, Pete Dunne, Rey Fenix, the Callous Hearts (Jimmy Havoc & Clint Margera) and Kay Lee Ray. But was it any good? Lets take a look! 

All event photos courtesy of Fight Club: Pro and The Ringside Perspective.

Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate & Trent Seven) def. Aussie Open ("Dunkzilla" Mark Davis & "The Aussie Arrow" Kyle Fletcher) via pinfall // 17:01

Before the next match began, loud duelling chants echoed around Starworks Warehouse creating an incredible atmosphere inside the building that both teams played into.

A terrific tag team match, that started red-hot and somehow managed to take get hotter by the time it reached it's climax. A near twenty minutes of four lads going nuts on each other, hitting big strikes, big moves and getting big pops. Things started simple enough, Mark Davis hit Trent Seven really hard and often then Tyler Bate and Kyle Fletcher did a cute mirror sequence, before Fletcher dropped into the Aussie Arrow in peril role. But things didn't stay in your regular tag team format for long as Davis came blaring in with a rambunctious hot tag, Bate accidentally gave Seven bop n' bang and from that moment on we were off to proverbial races. With Aussie Open rolling and the pace lifting and lifting, almost everything that happened seemed to be a hit. Davis caught Seven in wristlock and then somehow also hit a powerbomb on Bate, Tyler took a pop-up diving cutter situation and the big boy Davis did a freakin' Arabian press onto everyone and it was just silly. Silly, silly wrestling. 

The bout powered towards its finish as the momentum swayed back and forth and the relentless nature of the contest continued. It felt like the crowd didn't stop popping, constantly being surprised by what these four were capable of doing together and just how much they were going to pull out. Building from kneeling forearms featuring all four men, the bout built to it's crescendo well with the rookie team of Aussie Open pushing Moustache Mountain to the limit, as they themselves looked for their first win in Wolverhampton since April 2015. The strongest near fall came off a Fidget Spinner from Aussie Open that came moments after Davis nailed Bate with his magnificent pull-up piledriver, but after some lvoely back and forth it was Bate & Seven who walked out with the W, after Bate countered Fletcher to hit a mid-rope exploder suplex and following a Seven burning hammer to Davis, Bate picked up the pin with Tyler Driver '97. Part of what made this match so well was that all four gave so much and it was full of action, but I ended up wanting more. I wanted to see these teams wrestle again and again and then again, because even with so much crammed into it, knowing these teams and what they've done elsewhere, you know that there's a bucket load of more cool shit and different directions they could take it.

Mark Haskins def. David Starr via submission (16:40) 

I adored this match. Having spoke to others, I know that it didn't do it for everyone, but by Jove it did it for me, so fuck those nobbers. It perhaps didn't have the crowd interaction and atmosphere that was present for some of the other bouts, there was no storyline to get your teeth into and both lads worked babyface, but the wrestling was fucking gorgeous. From the Goldie Lookin' Chain wrestling of the opening sequence, a pair of wicked suicide dive from both men, some tasty well-hit forearms, kicks and strikes off all shapes into a wonderful series of submission exchanges with Starr able to escape a number of leg-based holds from Haskins, the Star Attraction and the Cream in Your Coffee were flowing, smooth and physical as fuck. For me, this was sexy wrestling. 

A couple of sequences and moments stand out in particular from this one. The first saw Haskins nailed a ridiculous suicide dive, before a series of reversals ended up with Starr nailing his Cherry Mint DDT, followed up with a lariat for a near fall. Each step of the way felt logical and the momentum swing of the two big moves that bookended the sequence produced spikes at the right moments. The second sequence was the finish as the two ran through a series of near misses of signature moves, at sick pace, before Haskins was able to hook in a modified sharpshooter, making the most of the work he'd put in previously and picking up the submission win. Haskins has had a good 2017 in FCP with wins (in various formats) over Chuck Taylor, Tyler Bate, Angelico, Jimmy Havoc and now David Starr, I'd love to see him get a shot at Chris Brookes' FCP title, because they'd have a hell of a match together and seeing as they haven't met in FCP since 2013, it's about time. 

"Bruiserweight" Pete Dunne def. Omari via pinfall // 14:56 

Pete Dunne cut a vicious promo on Omari, initially seeming to be complimenting the Big O, before ripping into the prospect, describing him as "pathetic".

It feels like it's been a while since I've seen utter bastard Pete Dunne, like complete and utter bastard who no one would want to cheer for Pete Dunne. But by gawd was that what we got at Day of the Dead as he beat the ever loving shit into our boy Omari. Just over a year after debuting in dark matches, Omari has become a massive part of FCP, gradually improving and winning fans over every time he performs. So, seeing him scrap from underneath against the WWE United Kingdom Champion, eat a beating on the outside, withstand Dunne's underhanded tactics and skullduggery for nearly fifteen minutes and kick out of Dunne's Bitter End finish was a pro wrestling rollercoaster. The bout played on Omari's shock victory over Keith Lee from July, playing on similar themes (with added Dunne chicanery), with some tremendous near falls in the stretch, including a well-timed roll-up sequence and Omari's O-Zone standing out, alongside the Bitter End kick-out. Eventually, Dunne would hit another Bitter End to take the victory, but here's hoping that this won't be the last time these lads get to tangle inside Starworks Warehouse.

"The Kiwi Buzzsaw" Travis Banks def. Rey Fenix via submission // 14:04

This international first-time clash took a little while to find it's feet, but once it settled produced some great action as the pair threw the kitchen sink at each other. Coming directly after Aussie Open vs. Moustache Mountain was the first knock the match took, with a crowd that was more than ready for an interval taking a while to re-energise, whilst a wonderful creative arm-drag sequence using the ropes was let down by the slackness of the apparatus. The second two-thirds to a half of the match saw the two take things up a notch, trading big moves, near falls and hitting nasty chops and kicks along the way.  Fenix almost had the former FCP Champion beaten with a Crucifix Driver, Fire Thunder Driver and superb Spanish Fly, whilst the Slice of Heaven, Kiwi Krusher and Lion Clutch almost did it for Banks. Throw into the mix a pair of diving double stomps from both men and a post-Lion Clutch reverse rana and by the time it was over, the match had developed in an absolute PWG-style belter. Banks have to unload all of his signature arsenal to get the victory was the cherry on top, bringing the match to a fitting conclusion.

FCP Championship Match: Chris Brookes (C) def. Penta El Zero M [Pentagon Jr.] via pinfall // 13:46

After a killer show, I couldn't help being a little underwhelmed by this relatively short main event. However, on many other shows, this would've been the showstealer, as it was still a high-quality wrestling match. A good portion of the bout was a wild brawl around ringside and into the crowd, with Penta taking it to Brookes, with chops, whips into the barricade and even the signature CCK baking tray. Talking of CCK, that pesky Kid Lykos also played a big part in the match, despite having a cast on his arm, like some kind of canine Bob Orton. The outside interference gave the match a different edge to the rest of the show and also created a real moment when Penta's brother Rey Fenix came out to counter the numbers game (after Lykos got involved following a Panama Sunrise from Penta) and then that bothersome wolf took a package piledriver on the apron from the current Lucha Underground Champion. The highlight for me came directly after this with Penta able to escape the Death by Roll-up, a move that had previously proved fruitful during Brookes' reign, nailed a pumphandle half-nelson driver and got a late two count. The reaction for the roll-up kick out was nice and there's potential there to develop more interesting situations and near falls in future matches. A different roll-up would be enough to see Brookes retain, because he's a slug pellet.

After the match, Penta had a man dressed as Jesus Christ come in the ring to bless him and Fenix, in one of the trippier moments of a pretty trippy 2017 in wrestling.

Jack Sexsmith def. Kay Lee Ray, "Flash" Morgan Webster, Eddie Dennis, Stevie Boy, Dan Moloney, El Phantasmo and Shay Purser // 11:36

During the entrances for the opening match, Dan Moloney attacked Shay Purser, seemingly taking him out of the bout...

A varied eight-way opening match with a cast of characters, both regulars and new faces. Stevie Boy impressed on his debut, with a lovely sequence with Morgan Webster as the rest brawled, whilst Dan Moloney was at the centre of most of the action, initially denying a tower of power, only to end up at it's peak later on. There was also Shay Purser... who returned to the match with a sword drawn on his chest and to the sounds of Brock Lesnar "Next Big Thing" entrance theme and took us all on a detour to Shay-plex city. Perhaps, not everyone's bag, but Purser locking Moloney in the Kimura was a brilliant moment and got a good pop. There was the usual multi-man goings on as well with some lovely dives from Jack Sexsmith, Xavier, El Phantasmo and Webster, as well as Dennis' crucifix powerbomb to Purser. The bout was let down slightly by some timing issues in the stretch, with Phantasmo seeming to miss his cue on a save for Purser and the finish seemingly coming out of nowhere as Sexsmith hit a sick diving double stomp on Xavier and got the pin. It looked like there was potentially more to come, but perhaps that was to enhance the surprise of Sexsmith getting the pinfall. 

Callous Hearts (Clint Margera & Jimmy Havoc) & "Session Goth" Martina def. the Anti Fun Police (Chief Deputy Dunne, James Obstruction [Jim Hunter], Leigh Obstruction [Leigh Hunter] & Los Federales Super Santos Jr.) // 6:59

Callous Hearts wanted a fight and after the Anti-Fun Police (including the former Hunter Brothers, James Obstruction & Leigh Obstruction) answered the challenge, Martina would end up joining Clint Margera & Jimmy Havoc, as the "Session Goth"

A comedy match pre-main event, which settled the crowd nicely followed the emotional rollercoaster of Omari vs. Dunne. There were sweets everywheres, Los Federales Super Santos Jr. did a suicide dive and Martina doing various Undertaker inspired moves, including a ridiculous assisted version of Old School. The comedy was done well, the match was kept short and sweet, featuring mostly babyface offence. It won't make any match of the year lists, but in it's slot on the card, it was a fun jaunt, that gave the show a little more variety, which is never a bad thing. Martina picked up the win with the Wombstone on Dunne.

After the match, Martina wanted to celebrate in the proper Goth way, but Callous Hearts decided to leave her to it when she started rocking out to Avril Lavinge's 2002 hit Sk8r Boi.

Another good show from Fight Club: Pro as they continue to have a wonderful 2017. For me, the card could have done with a re-shuffle, as it felt a little disjointed a times. However, this was one of the most varied FCP shows of the year, with a lot of different styles on offer. Whether that be the big boy relentless tag match between Aussie Open and Moustache Mountain, the slick, liquid sexy wrestling of Starr vs. Haskins, the firey Dunne vs. Omari, the comedy sweet fight or the pacey spot-fest (with Shay-Plex city detour) there was nothing on the card that felt similar to something else. With just one show left in 2017, I'm looking forward to seeing the direction that FCP takes now that it appears to be settled in Starworks Warehouse. Personally, I'd like to see more of the heated feuds that were a highlight of the Fixxion shows and it'll make more sense to do something like that now that the larger Starworks crowd is more familiar with the performers.

Review by James Marston 

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