FCP Dream Tag Team Invitational Night Two
April 15 2017
We’re in Manchester for the second night of Fight Club Pro’s Dream Tag Team weekender. It’s a packed venue, although nowhere near as full as night one in Wolverhampton where they drew over 1000. I was at the Wolves show but had to work on the Saturday and therefore missed out on this Manchester outing. This is a slightly longer than usual FCP show, running over 2h23m but that’s purely because of the sheer volume of talent drafted into the UK for the tour.
Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Angelico
Zacky Three Belts, who I might have called a “belt mark” the previous night, is the crowd favourite despite wrestling heel in Wolves. It speaks volumes about this tour that a talent who usually main events in the UK, in Sabre, is in the opener here and somewhere in the midcard last night. Sabre entertains on the mat, where he’s out of the stand-outs in world wrestling. In particular when he bridges to avoid a roll up. Who does that? Unfortunately Sabre’s approach stunts Angelico, who like in Rev Pro, is reduced to mat work, which is not his strongest suit. Especially when he’s up against Sabre, who is one of the premier mat grapplers in the business. It doesn’t deter the energetic crowd who happily clap along but it’s not how I wanted this match to play out. Zack is at his level best when he’s defending against more exciting wrestlers, rather than trading with them on the mat. Angelico’s approach is what scuppers the match. It’s Zack who insists upon change, challenging Angelico to trade on strikes. Angelico doesn’t make it any better for himself with his attempts to get a Crucifix Bomb, which vary in competence before falling to an armbar after coming off the top (a rarity in this match). This went long, over twenty minutes, without Angelico bringing his lucha business. It ended up as a technical battle and there was only ever one winner of that.
Final Rating: ***1/4
Dan Moloney vs. Mark Andrews
Andrews comes out to Junior but changes his mind and comes back out to “Party Hard” by Andrew WK. That party finishes rapidly. I blame Scott. This is followed by Rollin’ by Limp Bizkit and FSU disappearing into the back of the building somewhere before re-emerging on a bicycle. Those FSU boys love a party. Perhaps predictably Moloney is unimpressed. Dan uses his raw power during this match to prevent things from going wrong, which is a handy tool to fall back on. Dan, already having shit boots and shit gloves, triples down on the gimmick by having shit hair here. It’s an astonishing commitment to heeldom. Andrews tries to flip around Dan a bit but gets met with the Blue Thunder and that’s it. This was really short, if you remove the pre-match amble around the building. Moloney basically wins short undercard matches for FCP. That’s what he does. I’d like to see him utilised higher up the card as he’s clearly improving.
Final Rating: **1/2
Fight Club Pro Championship
Travis Banks (c) vs. Mark Haskins
This is the kind of match that I watch wrestling for. Two guys who love the business and are determined to go out there, night after night and steal the show regardless of card position. They’ve earned the right to be in main events up and down the country and deserve international recognition. In Fight Club Pro they’re two young men who adhere to the rules too, making this a good old fashioned clean-cut babyface scrap. I love both these guys and find it hard to route for one or the other. Especially when they both hit sick dives. Who can argue with sick dives? I normally hate the concept of “both these guys” but I find it hard to route for one over the other. When the crowd do that chant it’s met by someone yelling “get off the fence”. Amazing. Haskins has the better of the match, outwitting Travis on the floor and outwrestling him in the ring. It’s a tough track back for the Kiwi Buzzsaw, who normally looks outstanding in FCP before losing (until he won the title). In his defence he had a gruelling match with Will Ospreay the night before. Some of the strikes, counters and selling in this is immaculate. Haskins’ timing and positioning is so good and Travis is rapidly approaching that level. This is the kind of match that, given some more familiarity, could be downright excellent. Instead it’s merely a very strong opening match in what I hope will be a series. They certainly have the basis of a wonderful match sorted out here. The transitions and counters are all ready to go. It just needs an extra bit of fluidity. They shoot for epic with Travis escaping multiple submissions and Haskins kicking out of the Slice of Heaven twice before getting caught in the crossface for the finish. I loved this but I know they can do better next time. I really hope I’m there to see it, wherever it is.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Post Match: Zack Sabre Jr. comes out here to confront Travis. They’ll be wrestling again. Remember Travis Banks losing to Sabre at the first show in the Fixxion? We’re back to where we started with Travis on top. No doubt Sabre thinks he can win.
Dream Tag Team Invitational First Round
#CCK (Chris Brookes & Kid Lykos) vs. Moustache Mountain
Brookes has a much larger water bottle than usual, allowing for extended water spit shenanigans. I’ve had a hard time with Moustache Mountain as babyfaces recently because of how strongly heel they are in Progress but they’re a lot easier to love here due to CCK being such capable heels. When you cut to brass tacks I love all four of them but from a character stand-point Moustache Mountain have been troubled by the WWE involvement. The crowd happily latch onto Lykos, who is a heat magnet and chant “you’re a fucking furry” at him. Meanwhile Moustache Mountain mess about with a towel drawing the ire of Brookes, who throws it into the crowd twice. Once the action gets underway the mucking around continues with Moustache Mountain doing their pass-to-the-partner suplex and Brookes using Lykos as a shield. #CCK have been sneakily rising the ranks of UK tag team wrestling with Brookes’ dickish heel character blending well with Lykos’ irritating high flier.
I’m particularly fond of the wet willy spot and the failed brainbusters. The match is littered with fun spots though where the two teams tropes collide beautifully. Whether it’s bop and bang or the use of referee Shay Pursor as a weapon, almost every spot lands in this. Trent Seven is surely a big Chris Brookes fan, having utilised him in Fight Club Pro for years, but this is a bigger audience and a chance for one of their own to shine. The feeling that Brookes has been ready to break out for a while is in evidence here. The match is an absolute barnburner with all four men delivering big time. They do botch the finish ever so slightly with Lykos not landing the Codebreaker on Trent but otherwise this was top notch entertainment throughout.
Final Rating: ****
Shane Strickland vs. Jack Evans
Jack Evans cuts a tremendous heel promo blaming Mancunians for the state of the world today. Just when it appears he’s done he launches into “You’ll Never Walk Alone”. My word. This mutates into some crazy American dance-off. Which in turn leads to the fans chopping Jack Evans. Some of those fans have got some pretty mean chops. Props to the girl who nailed him with the knife edge. It was a beauty. With a heavy emphasis on antics, interspersed with flipping the two visiting Americans have a jolly good time. Some of the spots include delightful flippery such as a springboard super reverse rana being countered into a flip. Strickland comes up with the win in a match that had something for everyone. A healthy dose of comedy and a tidy number of flips.
Final Rating: ***1/4
The Bruiser Cats vs. The Lucha Brothers
This is a DTTI match and this evening’s main event. The Bruiser Cats, if you’re not familiar with them, are Sami Callihan and Pete Dunne with whiskers drawn on. The Lucha Brothers are Penta El Zero M (Pentagon Jr) and Rey Fenix.
The atmosphere is electric with all the guys being suitably over for a main event. They don’t disappoint either, coming out of the gate at 100mph. With a lack of interest in adhering to the rules they just go balls to the wall and switch guys Lucha style. No need for tags. The match is littered with excitement regardless of who is in the driving seat. When you’ve got babyface Pete hitting moonsaults to the floor it’s a fun match. Shay gets so pissed off with everyone diving that he hits a senton to the floor himself. That’s where this match exists. Outside of the boundaries of normal wrestling. It’s been fun-zoned. This is especially evident as the crowd chant Meow to the tune of “No Limits” by 2 Unlimited. It’s utter carnage at every turn. Pete uses the fucking Canadian Destroyer as a transition to get to the Pedigree. If it wasn’t for my disdain for the whole ‘Sami is a cat’ gimmick I would probably love this. I can’t stress enough how many crazy spots they do here and how they pile up, one after another without any regard to the rules of tag team wrestling. The Lucha Brothers murder Sami for the pinfall and this was one hell of a car crash match. If you love matches that are wall to wall spots and wackiness then this is for you. I would say it’s the best match of it’s kind I’ve seen all year but the one The Elite had against British Strong Style the night before is possibly even better. However you look at it, Pete Dunne is on fire.
Final Rating: ****1/2
Almost on a par with the stunning first night in Wolverhampton but certainly worth checking out. Another great card from a stacked FCP weekend. The main event was blowaway good but I also loved the title defence and the other tag match was very strong. It’s tough to argue with cards of this quality. Long may these days continue in BritWres.