This is my umpteenth show for Fight Club Pro but my first eyewitness review for them. It’s safe to say the UK scene is buzzing at the moment and this Midlands based company is right at the front of it. While other promotions might get more plaudits and attention, this little family is killing it every show and it’s rabid fan base knows how special their Friday nights are. This Friday might be the most special of all. With packed shows in Manchester and London for the first ever Dream Tag Team Invitational, (thus making it Fight Club Friday, Saturday and Sunday) I can’t see it being Wolverhampton’s secret for much longer!
Another change in venue (for one night only) sees us in the adjacent Diamond Suite, a stones throw away from it’s now regular haunt; Fixxon Warehouse. Its capacity stretched to nearly 1200 – a huge increase from Fixxon’s 200 packed attendance. All eyes are on them today and boy they didn’t disappoint. Let’s get right to it.
First up is a fatal 6 Way match, originally set to be Dan Moloney, Omari, Chris Brookes and Mark Haskins. A late addition to the card sees Jimmy Havoc and Nixon Newell, showing just what Fight Club Pro means to these individuals. As expected, the match is fast and frantic, bodies flying around in an attempt to gain some momentum and take someone out for a little while. Nixon managing to do damage to everyone involved with an insane 450 splash from the top turnbuckle.
The Girl with the Shiniest Wizard was unable to capitalise on her earlier offence as the match continued. She planted Havoc head first with a devastating destroyer but this was broken up before the 3 count. Exhaustion got the better of the wrestlers and the ring became less crowded as the match wore on. Haskins got the victory with a sharpshooter meaning he climbs higher in the rankings and possibly towards a potential title shot in the future.
Our next match is the start of the Dream Tag Team Invitational tournament. This pits some of the very best tag teams in the UK against some of the very best tag teams in the rest of the world. This sees our very own Mark Andrews and Eddie Dennis teaming as FSU, against Los Gueros Del Cielo; consisting of Jack Evans and Angélico. This match promised to be high flying and death defying, as all four competitors are known to take risks.
Early on there were some nice double team manoeuvres, highlights including a surfboard by Andrews linking into a crushing back-breaker by Dennis. The contest escalated quickly into a brawl. Both teams seemingly comfortable in the new surroundings of the Diamond Suite, Angélico and Andrews climbed onto the balcony at polar sides and stared each other down. The crowd at fever pitch, willing them to take that leap of faith. Angélico made the first move, leaping with a crashing elbow on Eddie Dennis, Andrews retorted with a somersault onto Jack Evans, all four combatants taking plenty damage in the process.
More stunning high risk offence continued, Andrews launched himself through the ropes with a topei wiping out his opponent. FSU became victorious and advanced to the next round with more high risk double team moves. After celebrating the victorious FSU, chants of “please come back” echoed the building aimed at Angélico and Evans, the latter proclaiming he would love to, if “the cigarettes weren’t so damn expensive!”
The third bout was originally a match between two members of stable JML; Sami Callahan and Shane Strickland, announcer Matt Richards mentioned Lio Rush just “happened” to be in the area and wanted to be added to a match, so it is now a three way dance!
This match started at an incredible pace, both Lio and Shane renowned for their speed and agility had to watch out for Callahan who was still in street clothes. He swung wildly with both feet and fists but was on the receiving end of punishment by both his opponents, eventually this spilled out into the outside.
Sami tried to seize the opportunity to to wrap this up quickly when he grabbed Lio Rush into a powerbomb position and menaced towards the front row. A bark of “move!” parted the seating area pretty quickly. Swerve managed to mount some offence of his own, when all three members were back in the ring he showed his strength in lifting both Lio and Sami in a German suplex, but it was not enough to get the win.
Lio Rush had a slight advantage, being a non-advertised addition meant this opponents had not been able to factor him in their game plan. He used his reserve tank to full effect, going for high impact offence and almost securing the win. Sami eventually became victorious however, with a sick cradle tombstone piledriver for the three count.
The Fight Club Pro championship match was next up. Will Ospreay is only a recent addition to the roster here, but he has made his intention clear as he attempts to take the title belt from the recently crowned Travis Banks. The Areal Assassin no stranger to getting gold early on in his stint with a company; his New Japan and ROH career will testify to this. The Kiwi Buzzsaw, after scratching and clawing for the opportunity for a title match, (and having to cash in his Infinity trophy in the process), would loathe to hand it to someone else so soon into his title reign.
Ospreay is known for his light footed antics in the ring, I feel this is often used as a tactic to throw people off their game early and encourage them to catch up, making mistakes in the process. Banks however, had this scouted early on. When Will did his typical flip into the centre of the ring, Travis smashed into him, feet first to stop any momentum.
The upper hand was reversed early on in the match. Ospreay, perhaps getting tips from other CHAOS members, took a leaf out of Nakamura’s play book. Using his long legs to his advantage and even borrowing mannerisms from the “King of Strong Style”, he kept Travis in the corner and was relentless in attacking the champion. Eventually the tide was turned, an almighty Michinoku driver seemingly becoming the difference maker.
As the match progressed it seemed like they were evenly matched, a kick out from a devastating Spanish Fly by Ospreay seemed to turn the tide into the champions favour. He hoisted Ospreay in a helicopter to disorientate him, before slamming him down on the matt and straight into a cross-face for a hard fought victory.
The second bout in the Dream Tag Team Invitational pitted Zack Sabre Jr and Marty Scurll AKA The LDRS vs Lee and Jim; The Hunter Brothers. Marty and Jack seem to be back on the same page following high profile issues in other promotions. This saw them rekindle their tag team in an attempt to find the previous magic and add to their already crowded mantelpieces.
Both teams applied brutal double team moves during the match, the Hunters with their lung blower / neck breaker combo causing the LDRS to regroup. Later on in the match Marty applied a submission hold while ZSJ almost took a Hunter’s head off with a penalty kick that could only manage a 2 count. The Hunters became victorious after seizing the opportunity to roll up for a quick pin while an arm bar was applied. It only takes 3 seconds for the victory, the fully fledged tag team holding on for the win when in some obvious discomfort from the submission hold.
We then had an interval which built up anticipation for the final two matches. It is a rare treat that we are able to have some of the best luchadores in the world next, in an exhibition between two brothers who will team up later in the weekend to go for tag team glory. Tonight they take part in singles competition against each other, Rey Fenix enters the ring first, about to take on Penta El 0M.
The match has the aura of a big fight, the Lucha Brothers must have wrestled on opposite sides countless times, but never in the heart of Wolverhampton. . This was the ultimate in sibling rivalry, trying to get the upper hand on their brother before banding together in an attempt to capture the ultimate prize of the weekend.
Penta started off early, a Tanahashi slingblade into quite a sloppy cover, he knew he wouldn’t get the win so easily, this was just another attempt at one-upmanship that has probably happened their entire lives. A flip pile driver later, and we were in business.
Fenix took a lot of damage early on in the bout, the knife edge chops creating considerable noise which echoed through the air. The crowd were heavily into it at this point, people who were perhaps uninitiated in the way Penta commands silence were being shushed before he cuts the air with an almighty crack against his own flesh and blood. The more knowledgable of crowd in a euphoric state at this point, shouting “uno mas” to encourage the brutality further.
Rey hits back with a rolling splash and a phenomenal Street Fighter style spinning kick into a Yakuza the opposite side of the ring, it looked like the tide had turned. Penta had a few more tricks up his sleeve, annihilating Rey with a cradle pile driver on the apron and the win shortly after. The crowd were amazing for the whole match, cries of “Cero Miedo” and “Animo” came from all areas of the Diamond Suite. In my opinion, this match was worth the entrance alone, but we weren’t done yet.
The main event of Fridays card was a once in a lifetime match. We have Trent Seven, Tyler Bate and Pete Dunne; collectively known as British Strong Style going up against The Elite, made up of Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks. Everyone in this last fight is making history in their own way. This was a chance to show the world that British wrestling is here to stay.
One of B.S.S shouted near the beginning of the match “Do something athletic!” and this was almost like the opening to Aladdin’s Cave, the treasure we seek in this case was over the top carnage from all parties. From the initial stare down and the triple pedigree at the beginning, British Strong Style were confident in their own ability, and pumped by being in their own back yard. This was more than a contest, the trio from the Midlands wanted to show they could hang with the best.
We saw a great German suplex on Omega by Pete Dunn, Kenny’s head getting slammed against all four Young Bucks feet in a quick reversal and a spine tingling brainbuster for good measure. The patented superkick party had to move aside for a dragon suplex party and plenty more besides. Tyler Bate saw an opportunity to gracefully fly over the top rope and perform a modified Meltzer driver on two members of The Elite.
Not to be outdone though, the visitors wouldn’t leave without a Terminator dive through the ropes, a senton and a Meltzer of their own. The Cleaner secured the pinfall with his One Winged Angel before joining the Bucks in agreeing that British Strong Style had pushed them to their limit and gloating about the merch they had shifted so far in their tour.
If this was your first taste of a Fight Club Pro show, I have no doubt that you left with a smile on your face. They started as a small company with a handful of fans, they are now able to hold a tournament bringing over some of the worlds best wrestlers. The talent they had on every match of this show could easily match those of any other promotion, this was the first night in a weekend of immense highs for the company. I am so excited for what’s to come. I hope to see you there.