Fight Club returned for its biggest show to date in its short eight year history for the first of three nights of wrestling action which they called Fight Club: PRO Dream Tag Team Invitational. The company had throughout its existence primarily run smaller venues like the Fixxion, the Planet and a scout hut in Wolverhampton. So moving over the road to the 1,200 Diamond Banqueting Suite was a massive deal indeed for its owners Martin Zaki and Trent Seven but not just them of course as well its loyal fan base.
Having been a fan of Fight Club: PRO for the last 14 months I was eager to see this little promotion that could run a bigger venue especially one of this size. Would moving the show over the road from the Fixxion ruin the ambience of the interment setting these shows are set in? Would the dark and dingy (that makes sense as it’s called Fight Club:PRO of course) look that is so appealing to fans of FC:P and myself be ruined in a bigger venue? In all honestly no I felt it did not and I was happy to see Fight Club be able to make the transition over the road from its home the Fixxion to the Diamond Banqueting Suite.
I also have my fingers crossed FC:P run that venue again maybe next year for the DTTI 2. In all honestly It was very similar situation which PROGRESS faced in London last year when they ran outside of Electric Ballroom for the first time in two and a half years by doing a bigger show in Brixton at the O2 Academy and that show did not look out of place from a regular chapter show. Thankfully I was there along with BritWres review head honcho Darren Dyer to see the action unfold for ourselves that night in Wolverhampton. Now you’re probably asking with such a big venue surely Fight Club: PRO would need a big match to fill the 1,200 seats and thankfully again they had just that as they booked British Strong Style (Pete Dunne, Trent Seven and WWE UK Champion Tyler Bate) to wrestle the incredibly popular (over) Elite (The Young Bucks and Mr six stars himself Kenny Omega). Essentially it was WWE vs NJPW. Well sort of.
Not surprisingly the show sold out fairly quickly and caught the wrestling worlds attention with that match announcement. For the first time in it’s history all eyes were on Wolverhampton for this historic show. So rather than me keep going on about it lets get right into the review.
From here on out I’m not going to be relying just on memory of the show as I’ve got my hands on the DVD of the event so the review will mostly be from me sitting watching at home retrospective rather than as a live experience. Basically due to me not taking notes on the night due to me wanting to enjoy the show for its live experience but I will drop in a few notes from a live retrospective every now and then. On the night Trent Seven came out to cut a thank you promo to the crowd and had his usual banter with the punters in the crowd before we got into the action.
On the DVD the opening is right into the action as we got a shot of the larger than normal crowd and Chris Brookes makes his way out to the ring for tonight’s opener.
Fatal Four Way Match: Chris Brookes/with Mondai Lykos Vs ‘The Big O’ Omari Vs ‘Remorseless’ Dan Maloney Vs Mark Haskins
After the ring announcements Jimmy Havoc’s music hits and the ‘King of the Goths’ makes his way out to the ring. Jimmy grabs a microphone and says how can Fight Club: PRO have its biggest show to date without Jimmy fucking Havoc and this is now a five way. This was actually not much of a surprise as Jimmy had been spotted earlier that day in Wolverhampton but the next surprise was a genuine surprise.
Five Way Match: Jimmy Havoc Vs Chris Brookes/with Mondai Lykos Vs Omari Vs Dan Maloney Vs Mark Haskins
After Havoc promo finished some familiar music hit as the First Female of Fight Club Nixon Newell made her way out to the ring and this was now a six way.
Six Way Match: Nixon Newell Vs Jimmy Havoc Vs Chris Brookes/with Mondai Lykos Vs Omari Vs Remorseless Dan Maloney Vs Mark Haskins
This was probably the best way to kick off a show like this for Fight Club: PRO as it was basically the six person cluster fuck that used to be so prominent with indy wrestling in mid-to-late noughties. Early on there was a nice exchange between Haskins and DAN Moloney that got sick when they enough spat on each other. Nixon Newell and Chris Brookes did some great call back spots to their near two year feud which went down well with longtime Fight Club: PRO fans and newer ones. Omari thankfully didn’t look out of place. Yes he wasn’t asked to do to much but what he did looked solid.
Haskins was the first one to take to the sky’s as he dived out onto first Havoc, then Moloney, then Brookes and Lykos and finally Omari. Nixon followed that up with an insane looking shooting star press out onto all the five men on the outside. Back in the ring Havoc and Haskins trapped Moloney and Brookes in a pair of sharpshooters respectively. Then they began exchanging elbow smashes with one another while they had the holds on Brookes and Moloney. Omari then came in a applied to two arm bars to Haskins and Havoc as they still had the holds on Brookes and Moloney. Nixon joined in the fun and jumped on Omari’s back and locked the youngster in a sleeper hold. Meanwhile Brookes broke free and did his sickening wet willy spot to the First Female of Fight Club Nixon Newell.
After lots of back and forth and everyone hitting kicks to the other, Haskins did his roll through Death Valley Driver to Havoc for a near fall. Brookes took out Haskins with a swinging neckbreaker. Nixon entered the fray and gave Brookes a reverse rana. Havoc came in and gave Brookes an Acid Rainmaker. He went for the same thing on Nixon but she countered and gave Jimmy a Canadian Destroyer. Omari came in and caught Nixon, who was going for a crossbody, and gave her his big move the O zone. Omari went for the same thing on Moloney but he countered with an electric chair into a powerbomb. Haskins was back and he gave Dan a big pump handle cradle Bomb. Omari was back in but he got caught in the sharpshooter by Haskins and Omari was forced to tap out.
Logical outcome to this match as Haskins was going up against the Fight Club: PRO champion the next night in Manchester, whomever that would be after champion Travis Banks took on Will Ospreay on this show.
Winner: Mark Haskins
DTTI First Round Tournament Match: Los Gueros Del Cielo (Jack Evans & Angelico) Vs FSU (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews)
This was the weakest match on the show in my opinion and that is underselling just how good this match was. It was simply due to the fact this show had so many good matches on it and that was why in my opinion it was the weakest of the bunch (sorry Eddie). It was highlighted by two balcony dives by Andrews and Angelico which really popped this crowd. There was a sweet near fall towards during the closing stages of this match as Jack missed his 630 splash and then walked into a reverse rana by Andrews. Eddie then drilled Jack with a reverse impaler DDT for the nearest of near falls. FSU then hoisted Jack up for the emerald flowison and that was all she wrote and FSU were through to the next round.
Winners: FSU (Eddie Dennis & Mark Andrews)
Triple Threat Match: Shane Strickland Vs Sami Callihan Vs Lio Rush
This was a much better match to watch live than on dvd. It just felt like watching a very typical indy match from any other promotion. On the night I really enjoyed it but on DVD I didn’t as much If im honest. Sami worked his socks off to keep this match from falling apart and kept the match from becoming a cluster. Say If sami wasn’t there then and someone less experienced then I believe this match would have suffered. As good as Shane and Lio are, they still aren’t good enough in my opinion to carry a coherent match without it falling apart.
There was some sweet looking innovative spots early on which all lead to a ton of dives. Sami gave Lio a sick looking powerbomb on the apron as well. Back in the ring Sami nailed Shane with a tusion fusion for a nearfall. Lio came back into the match with a sick looking spin kick for a two count. Sami then gave shane a German onto Lio who was in the corner. All three men’s strikes looked incredibly impressive late on in the match. No one throws a knee like Sami Callihan in my opinion and Lio does a hell of a back kick and Shane’s wheel kick and headbutt strikes are damn near perfect at times.
Lio hit a reverse rana and 450 splash for the near fall late on. Then shane nailed Lio with a jumping RKO and double foot stomp. Sami was back and he whipped out Shane with a GTS then a tombstone to Lio for the three count.
Winner: Sami Callihan
Fight Club: PRO Title Match: Travis Banks (Champion) Vs Will Ospreay
To start out both men lock up and then get into a shoving match with one another. Will knocks the champ on his ass but the Banks is back up and applies a headlock. Will tosses Travis into the ropes and Travis rolls over will with a shoulder tackle. Will goes for an arm drag but Travis cartwheels out of it. Will gives Travis a headscissors take down and follows it up with a big dropkick sending Travis to the outside. Travis comes back in and mows down Will with the Daniel Bryan running knee smash. Travis works over Will in the corner with chops then will fires back with a running dropkick.
On the outside the two trade strikes then Will does a head spring moonsault out onto Travis. The two trade strikes around ringside an on top of punters. Back in the ring Will covers Travis for a one count. Travis chops OSpreay back but then gets dropped with a double under hook DDT for a two count. Will begins to get some heat when he winds up some of the regulars at ringside then drops Banks with a corkscrew neck breaker. Will applies a chin lock but The Kiwi Buzzsaw eventually fights back. Ospreay cuts him off with a knee to the gut. Both men jockey for position in a suplex. ‘The Aerial Assassin’ then gets dropped with a big roundhouse kick by Travis who comes back with a number of elbow strikes and a cannonball to the challenger in the corner.
Travis scores with a brain buster for the two count. Will comes back with his handspring spin kick and then works over Travis with some elbows of his own which gets big heat. The champion fires up but gets off and Will follows it up with a phenomenal forearm smash. Will goes for a Rainmaker but Travis no sells it and takes down Ospreay and begins to stomp on his head. Travis leaps up to the second rope and goes for the tridal kick but Will catches him in an Oscutter for a near fall. Will misses a moonsualt but not a standing shooting star and goes back up top for another attempt at a Moonsault but Travis catches him in a cross face this time. Will rolls out of it and drills Travis with a reverse rana (Yep another one but I have a feeling that won’t be the last time I’ll see that move this Easter or on this show in fact).
Will goes for another Oscutter but Travis catches him and German suplexes the Aerial Assassin. Will is back up quickly and drills Banks with a German but he pops right back up and the two trade strikes with one another. A Big lariat and brain buster by Travis gets him a near fall on the challenger. Will crawls to the outside as Travis hits the ropes and dives out onto Will. Back in the ring Travis goes up top but Ospreay jumps up to the top rope and nails Travis with a damn fine looking Spanish fly for a near fall.
Will goes up top and nails travis with a 450 splash for a nearfall. Will can’t believe it and begins to kick at the champs head. Both men trade strikes again then both men jump up to the middle rope and come off in doing so Travis nails Will with a tridal kick (holy shit that spot ruled) and applies the crossface to Will and tries to teach the ropes but Travis blocks him. Will eventually counters but Travis hoists him up for the rarely seen these days spinning E. coli Bomb (I haven’t seen anyone use that since the days of Swiss money holding). Travis gets a two count but goes straight into a crossface and the Aerial Assassin is forced to tap out.
That was a great match. Both men flowed effortlessly from spot to spot and made it a pure joy to watch live and back on DVD. Honestly my blow for blow account can’t do that match justice. So go and buy the DVD or Vimeo video now to check this match out now.
Winner: Travis Banks (And Still Fight Club: PRO Champion)
DTTI First Round Tournament Match: LDRS (Zack Sabre Jr & Marty Scurll) Vs The Hunter Brothers (Lee & Jim Hunter)
It was actually before this match I expected it to be a intermission after a match of that high calibre and to be honest the crowd probably needed it. So I decided to rush to the bar as I was a little thirsty and got my two Corona’s. I then quickly hit the streets of Wolverhampton like many others for a quick cigarette break and talked to some local Wolverhampton wrestling fans who were attending their first Fight Club: PRO show. After the quick chat, cigarette and drinking my beer I returned to found out the Hunters successfully putting away Marty and Zack to my surprise. Yeah I was a little annoyed by the fact that I had missed the match and the fact it was now time for intermission.
But thankfully I’ve now seen the match back on DVD obviously and I can tell you this was actually quite a decent effort. I have to applaud Zack and Marty giving the rub to Midlands BritWres regulars in the Hunter Brothers. At the time I wondered why the Hunters were chosen to go over but then seeing Marty working OTT the next night it kind of made sense.
The highlight before the match was Marty cutting a great heel promo by shooting on the fans and how shit England was compared to the States. Marty then calls it a squash match and tells Zack “let’s beat these two and get out of here!” Then Marty and Zack did their best e&c tribute by offering to do a 5 second pose with all the gold belts they had with them (Marty holds the ROH world TV title and Zack is the current PWG, EVOLVE and Rev Pro champion) which got them quiet a bit of heat from this crowd. I heard someone shout on the DVD “fuck you Zack you fucking belt mark!” which made me laugh.
Early on Zack and Marty did their best Bob Mortimer tributes by Rubbing there legs and acted like complete goofs in general but it was needed after a number of serious bouts. The Hunter’s were unfortunately out classed here but the LDRS tried there best to make Jim and Lee look like a serious threat. After some solid action but nothing special Jim rolled up Zack out of nowhere and pinned him clean for the win.
Afterwards the LDRS got very comical over their lose towards the crowd. Going as far as stealing someones walker as well referee joel allen. Which popped the crowd and this reviewer.
Winners: The Hunter Brothers (Jim & Lee Hunter)
This intermission was long very long in fact as it went well over an hour but it did give me the chance to have another two tasty cold beverages and hit the merch tables. After the show starting almost an hour late it was almost 11pm before the restart and after working a 12 hour night shift the previous night I was beginning to feel it to be honest with you.
Brother Vs Brother Match: Fenix Vs Penta El Zero M
For this match I have to be honest really wasn’t up for it on the night and was starting to feel really rather tired. Maybe if the intermission wasn’t so long I would have been more up for this match but alas it wasn’t.
Both men got rather decent reactions coming out. Which was no surprise considering there was a few Penta and Fenix shirts in the crowd. Early on both brothers go back and fourth hitting kicks, arm drags, small packages, topes and hurricanranas among many other lucha things which this crowd really eats up. On the outside the two brothers brawl around ringside with one another. Back in the ring Penta works over Fenix’s knee which goes nowhere and doesn’t have a impact on the finish whatsoever. Penta chops the shit out of Fenix’s chest over and over. Fenix comes back with a rolling cutter for the two. Fenix and Penta trade elbow strikes and kicks in the middle of the ring. Penta then nails Fenix with a sling blade for a two count. Penta hits the canadian destroyer for a nearfall that no one believed would be the finish and why would they? This move is so over used these days and is just a set up spot.
Fenix battles back with a superkick and a hurricanrana. Penta then catches his brother and drills him with a pump handle bomb for another near fall. Both brothers nail one another with a big kick and now both men are down. Both men get up and Fenix drills Penta with a reverse rana and another fucking Canadian Destroyer for, you guessed it, a nearfall. Penta and Fenix then battle on the ring apron and Penta whips out his brother with a package piledriver on the ring apron. After a few seconds Penta rolls his brother in the ring and covers him for another fucking two count! Hey remember when that was a finish as well? Penta the hits his brother with a superkick and a normal package piledriver for the three count. For fuck sake that match was fun but really pissed me off in places especially the ending.
I’m still sticking to my guns that they did far too much and it was a bit unbelievable in places. The package piledriver on the apron spot should have been the finisher. Hell either one of the Canadian Destroyers could have been the finish. You could also argue when Fenix did the over used Canadian Destroyer and reverse rana spot that could have been the finish but these moves are so over used it has been become meaningless and ain’t used properly in this reviewers opinion. It’s just something that in modern wrestling that guys use too much and are killing once meaningful spots or finishers to send fans home happy. Anyway that’s my gripe out of the way about modern wrestling and this match. I get it. The business evolves and moves on. So I’ll just say I liked this match. Honest I really did watching it back on DVD, but not really on the night. But then that was because I was so tired and exhausted by this point.
Winner: Penta El Zero M
Six Man Tag: British Strong Style (Bruiserweight Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven) Vs The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks Matt&Nick Jackson)
British Strong Style get a standing ovation for obvious reasons and by GAWD they deserved it. They really are the hardest working guys in BritWres at the moment last year all three were three hard working guys who were considered good hands but now they’ve become stars thanks to their heel turn in PROGRESS, great matches in both PROGRESS and Fight Club: PRO as well as exposure on the award winning WWE Network. During their entrance they did the Triple H water spitting spot which this crowd and reviewer loves. The Elite got a good reaction especially Mr six stars Kenny Omega.
Pete locks up with Matt and both work a arm bar as the crowd chant Kenny give us a wave and he doesn’t. They then start the same chant for Tyler to give them a wave and after a few seconds he gives us a wave. Meanwhile Pete and matt continue to work the bar arm spot and the chant of kenny give us a wave starts up again and again Kenny ignores his fans. Matt then pokes Pete in the eyes and matt then gets clothes lined out his boots and gets given a suck it crotch chop by Pete. Trent comes in and matt tags his brother Nick. Nick holds up the “too sweet” but Trent whips him off the ropes and applies a headlock. Nick drops down onto his back as does a “suck it” crotch chop of his own which Trent seems puzzled by. They continue this for a few moments as the crowd eat it up. Nick then teases a superkick and tags in Kenny while Trent tags in Tyler.
The crowd sing “Na na na na Tyler Bate” and then Tyler waves out to the crowd and then the crowd chant “Kenny give us a wave” and he finally musters up a shit wave to the crowd. The crowd continue to be hot chanting “fuck him up Tyler!” and “be Elite” while the two circle one another. The crowd goes mental with a test of strength spot. It’s actually a testament to how over these two are to get a reaction like that for one of simplest spots in wrestling. After the test of strength both men go back and forth missing kicks and elbow drops then kenny grabs a microphone. Kenny takes a while to talk as the crowd chant for both teams. Well, that was what happened on the DVD. In actual fact Kenny and the Elite pretty much shot on British Strong Style’s WWE contracts and said that they probably made more at the merch table today than those WWE deals pay. That was a brutal insult but probably all too real as well. Hence why I believe it got left off the DVD version of this show.
Then all six men square up to one another as The Elite “too sweet” one another and then offer BSS a “too sweet”. After considering it they give The Elite a trio of Pedigrees. The Elite roll to the outside and Pete then moonsaults out onto them from the second rope. Back in the ring Tyler gives Kenny a German suplex and then Trent is tagged in. Kenny drops Trent with a big European uppercut. Kenny tags the bucks who double team both Trent and Tyler. The Elite the do the Terminator dive spot out onto all of BSS. Kenny rolls Pete onto the ring and drops a Great Muta elbow drop onto Dunne.
Nick is tagged in and he works over Pete to boos and chants of “fuck The Young Bucks”. Kenny is back in and he chops Pete’s chest over and over. Kenny then drives Pete into Matt and Nick’s boots in the corner then the crowd chant for “four boots” and they do the spot again. This spot was perfect as The Elite did it every night of there mini UK tour and got the right reaction each and every time. It just goes to show you how good these guys are at working the crowd and getting the desired reaction. Kenny then teases a brain buster but Pete cuts him off with an elbow smash. All of The Elite do this spot with Pete. Then all three go for the move on BSS but they counter it as give The Elite the brain buster spot. Meanwhile Tyler gives Kenny an aeroplane spin and Matt a big swing at the same time. Tyler, Trent and Pete give Matt a vertical suplex by passing him from member to member. BSS do a bunch of quick tags while working over Matt. Tyler gives matt a sick looking European uppercut then Matt counters a back drop and tags in ‘The Cleaner’.
Omega nails Tyler and Trent with a running bulldog and then a pair of running elbow smashes. The Bucks come in and do some sick double team moves to BSS including a double stomp powerbomb combo move for a near fall. Then The Bucks nail Trent and Pete with superkicks. Kenny then drills all three members of BSS with a explosive quick release German suplex. Then The Elite have a disagreement and begin to slap one another (they also did this same spot in Rev pro and OTT) then out of nowhere Matt superkicks Pete for a near fall. All six men square up to one another and the Elite nail BSS with a superkick each but BSS no sell this and give their opponents the short punch each which rocks The Elite. Pete gets set to the outside and then Nick gives Trent a springboard face buster. Nick follows that up with a moonsault out onto the floor as Pete moves out of the way and then dives out onto Nick but along with Kenny they catch Pete and Nick hoists him up into the tombstone position. Kenny then does the same to Seven while Matt gets ready to dive but Tyler cuts him off. Meanwhile Trent and Pete reverse Kenny and Nick and Tyler then does a dive out onto all four and BSS drill Nick and Kenny with indytakers.
Back in the ring Pete drills Nick with the Bitter End while Tyler nails him with a deadlift German for a near fall. Then the Bucks come back with a pair of superkicks. Nick dives right into an elbow smash by Pete. Matt comes in and superkicks Pete. Trent is in and he nails Matt with a short Gotch style piledriver. Kenny gives Trent a gut wrench powerbomb for a two which Tyler breaks it up by lifting up Kenny and drilling him with a German. Nick breaks up the pin attempt with a Swanton Bomb. Pete then nails Kenny and Nick with a number of superkicks but they don’t go down. ‘The Bruiserweight’ gets caught and is back dropped into matt who holds Pete in a tombstone position and the Bucks do the indytaker to Pete. Kenny then grabs Pete who’s upside down and still being held onto by matt and hoists Pete up onto his shoulders for the One Winged Angel for the one, two and three.
This was a worthy main event in my opinion which the crowd and this reviewer were on the each of their seat to see. I must admit like everyone else at this show I marked out big time for the big spots, goofy comedy spots, the near falls and superkicks. Obviously I could moan about BBS not going over but I ain’t because that was secondary on my mind to seeing how this match unfolded and the story it told.
Winners: The Elite (Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks Matt & Nick Jackson)
Overall this was a tremendous show to watch back on DVD and see live and in person that day. It was a long old day but certainly worth it and a show I will never forget. Every match was actually good and I couldn’t really moan. Maybe a few things like the overkill of once meaningful spots but hey, I didn’t do that on the night. Seriously if you’re sitting on fence about this show, go out of your way to see it and pay the cheap as chips £35 for all three nights on DVD from Fight Club: PRO’s website now or even go to Vimeo and search Fight Club: PRO and pay £15 for the VOD of the show you won’t be disappointed. Even if you’re familiar with the product or unfamiliar with it you will love this show. Thanks again for reading my review and I’ll finish as always by ripping off Bill Apter with see you at the matches.
Part two and three coming next week