Fight Club Pro Wrestlehouse
January 26 2018
We’re in Wolverhampton at the Starworks Warehouse. This is one of the first FCP shows I’ve seen on VOD for ages because I’m always at these shows and I never get a chance to rewatch. Well, I was at work for this one and missed it completely, hence the catch-up on VOD.
ATTACK! Tag Team Championship
Bowl-a-rama (c) vs. Session Mouse vs. Nothing To Prove vs. The Anti-Fun Police
I like that ATTACK! and FCP basically have the same continuity so them doing a crossover show isn’t an issue. There is one exception; Drew Parker is a heel in ATTACK! He’s a babyface in FCP, mainly thanks to his performance at Death House. Anti-Fun cops is Dunne and his buddy Los Federales Santos Jr. Don’t get to see them wrestle as a team very often but I’m very into Santos’ act. We get a minor embarrassment at the start as there’s no bell to ring. Luckily this is a crowd accustomed to ATTACK! where they have no ring bell. Session Mouse is the team of Martina and the Love Making Demon. Not sure which of the two Demon’s it is but the movements are familiar and that little tuft of blonde hair isn’t sticking out the back of the mask today. Santos is the clear-cut MVP here for me. Not only demonstrating his powerhouse offence but also his knack at timing comedy.
However my biggest chuckle in this comes from Demon shutting down Damian’s “freeze” spot by swatting his arm away. They attempt some ambitious multi-man stuff, which leads to a few dodgy bumps. Fat Cat struggles to get Santos over on one of the multi-man suplexes for example. The match breaks down pretty rapidly after Session Mouse-Police early antics. Bowl-a-rama become the focal point when it does break down, demonstrating their superior tag teaming abilities. Which is why they’re coming in as champions. The other team that looks strong is Nothing to Prove, as they’re ATTACK’s leading heel faction. It’s notable that Dunne is the one isolated to take More Bowl For Your Buck and the pinfall, rather than one of Elijah and Parker. This was fun. Santos is one of my favourite characters in the UK Indies at the moment.
Final Rating: ***
Team SPLX (Zack Sabre Jr & Angelico) vs. Aussie Open
FCP seems obsessed with making Sabre & Angelico a team. Sabre has been a little playful on his recent UK appearances. Playing foil to the more serious Suzuki in Rev Pro and flat-out working a comedy match in Progress. Here he seems somewhere in between and you feel he has to behave seriously in order to get over Aussie Open, who are all business.
Davis plays the role of Big Man perfectly. Just enough vulnerability in there to make him human but an aura of devastation in everything he does. Angelico definitely tries to imitate Sabre in his approach. His wrestling is more expansive but he is technically proficient and that’s the basis of the team. Fletcher and Angelico are very similar in terms of size and style and that makes for an intriguing contest without a contest, until Sabre tags in and dismantles the poor Aussie kid. Aussie Open have started relying on formula but there’s a reason for this. Fletcher is much smaller, has stacks of sympathy and Davis is a killer hot tag. It makes sense. Zack is exceptionally mean here, turning the crowd on him in short order after receiving a degree of love to start with. Mark’s hot tag is suitably fiery and the chops he unleashes on Sabre are vicious. There are some clever spots here, like Davis going for his patented pull-up piledriver and Sabre turning it into an armbar, leading right into Davis powering him up and Fletcher flying in with a dropkick on the exposed Zack. Close Your Eyes and Count to Fuck puts Sabre down and Kyle Fletcher gets the unexpected pin. Big win for the Aussies but they looked good in the process. I’d like to see them lean a little less on formula but they’re doing good work right now.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Adam Brooks vs. El Phantasmo
A question here; is it cool that lots of foreign talent jump at the chance to live in the UK so they can get higher profile matches? Or is it a detriment to the UK talent whose bookings are inevitability reduced due to the higher proliferation of regular foreigners? It’s a double edged sword. I personally like all of these guys (Phantasmo, Brooks and Aussie Open) so it’s probably not a big issue and the cream does always rise. However if you’re a British wrestler, in a strong scene, how disappointed are you at being shunted to one side? Even if it’s only temporary. Here we have Australia vs. Canada. Brooks sides heel, which is his natural demeanour, leaving Phantasmo to be the dancing babyface. The crowd are audibly disinterested here and a problem with the expansive Starworks, over the intimate Fixxion, is that conversations are likely to break out amongst those in attendance more regularly. I’m as guilty of not paying attention as anyone. We’re in an age of low attention spans. They do some decent work here but like the crowd my attention span drifts. Especially with Phantasmo going from sick topes to ineffectual top rope moves. There’s barely any contact at times, although that’s largely due to the danger factor. Phantasmo wins with a senton into a double jump moonsault. I don’t know why but I struggled to get into this.
Final Rating: **1/2
Omari vs. Keith Lee
I was at the first match in the series where I was so blown away by the work I not only went to shake Keith’s hand but also hugged Omari on my way out of the building. The difference in hype is palpable from the last match to this one. No offence to Phantasmo and Brooks but this has hype and a story, albeit basic. Keith came in here last year and got beaten by Omari. The Big O went on to win Infinity and is now considered one of FCP’s top dogs but Keith has unfinished business.
Keith is a wonderful personality and Omari has started to round out his character so we know what to expect of him. He’s a cheeky fella. I dig that. The approach here is cool with Keith showing his all-round knowledge of wrestling. Omari showing what he knows. There are definite tips of the hat to lucha-libre. The crowd singing Cranberries and 2 Unlimited. Someone dares to heckle and Keith actually leaves the ring. “When I’m done with him, your ass is next bitch”. Imagine heckling Keith Lee?
— Arn~! (@ArnoldFurious) February 7, 2018
That’s what you get. Keith makes a point of not taking Omari lightly here. He lost that first match and while he still does a lot of Keith-esque showboating, he’s super focused. Massive biels, heavy hands, dominant wrestling. He doesn’t give Omari time to breathe, even, with those huge overhand chops. It’s a very different match to their back and forth first contest. The match is a little untidy around the edges, which is a pity, but it adds to the ragged ‘two big guys fighting’ vibe. The actuality of the situation is Omari is inexperienced. For his level of experience he’s really good but he’s still inexperienced. Omari shows what he learned the first time around but Keith is better prepared for this. Keith is outstanding at control periods because of his size and ability to move around the ring. It makes him an intriguing guy to watch. The charisma helps. Some of Omari’s selling here is wonderful. He lets his body go limp after taking strikes and it’s perfect. Omari kicking out of the Spirit Bomb at one is nuts. That’s when the match steps it up. That’s when Omari stops taking the beating and starts taking it to Keith only to get shut down. Keith remembers last time and he’s not taking Omari lightly. I get very worried when they get on the ropes as Omari struggles to power Keith over, due to Keith’s sheer size. The Spanish Fly is extremely ill-advised. Keith survives that and finishes with Ground Zero. This was a bit good. Like I say, it was rough and untidy at times but had a sense of epic attached and fatigue that makes those moments make sense.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Post Match: Keith gets the microphone and says it was a fluke when Omari beat him last time. He points out this time Omari took him to his limit. Keith points out they’re now 1-1 so he thinks they should have one more match.
Next time he’s in FCP Keith wants a tiebreaker, with Omari’s #1 contendership on the line!
Ten Man Elimination Match
Team Calamari (Chris Brookes, Jordan Devlin, Mark Haskins, Dan Moloney & Chief Deputy Dunne) vs. Team Sexy (Travis Banks, Clint Margera, Trent Seven, MK McKinnan & Millie McKenzie)
No one was announced here before the show so this came as a surprise. FCP change their cards so much they might as well run mystery shows all the time. Travis Banks wants his team to dress alike in order to make them a proper team so we get a Stupid Sexy team in string vests. Dunne kills some time, while the costume changes occur, and for some reason “Mark Haskins is not amused” makes me laugh out loud.
— Arn~! (@ArnoldFurious) February 7, 2018
The Stupid Sexy lads, and lass, do a grand job of being all stupid and sexy. Dan does a magnificent job here of staring dead-eyed into the camera and completely no selling all this. As a heel it’s key that you don’t accidentally crack up at goofballs doing goofy shit, which is harder said than done when you’re facing a very dramatic Travis Banks with Trent Seven behind him. We get a little picture in picture action for the inevitable carnage that occurs. When you’ve got ten people fighting all over the ringside area it’s impossible to capture the action but the ‘hard-cam’ does a good job. FCP have developed a habit of brawling all over the building, because the Starworks is so big, but it’s very hard to follow and I’m glad they basically stick to ringside here.
When the match gets into the ring it improves considerably with hard-hitting fast-paced action with frequent tags. There’s a lot of talent out here. Most of it has been around in FCP for some time too so they have a natural chemistry from being around each other. Millie goes on one of her patented suplex rampages but gets countered by Haskins and superkicked by all five guys on the other team. It’s a good sequence, establishing Millie as being as good as any of the chaps but also the heels lack of morality. They’ve no compunctions about beating up the only woman in the match. From there we get lots of dives, including Clint coming out of the ring, off a ladder, into the front row. A major highlight is MK, who looks in good shape here. He’s not had many matches since coming back (I count three since May 2016) but this is the most polished he’s looked. It’ll take time to get the conditioning back but there is definite improvement over the last couple of bouts. I like how Trent is presented here. He’s the hard-hitting badass I grew to love on the Indies a few years back, rather than the walking comedy reel that’s he’s become in most of his main gigs. Not to say I don’t love that too but it’s nice to see him revert to that in his home promotion. Dan is out first, tapped by MK and Devlin jumps him with a Package Piledriver to level the scores. Trent’s piledriver gets rid of Dunne. Brookes submits Clint and we’re down to 3 on 3. Trent also gets rid of Devlin with the Seven Stars lariat and Seven is on a roll. This is why I love Trent when he brings out that badass persona because he’s such a different prospect. He’s next out though thanks to Haskins and Brookes trapping him in a Star Armbar with stomps. Now it’s a straight up tag; Travis and his trainee Millie vs. Haskins and Brookes. Both those feel like genuinely good tag teams and I’d pay to see that as a straight up tag. Haskins tries the Star Armbar on Travis but gets countered into the Lion’s Clutch and taps out. Jay Driller, following a plunder shot, gets rid of Travis and it’s down to Brookes vs. Millie. The latter having been taken out of the match with a neckbreaker over some chairs by Brookes earlier on but comes storming back out here.
There is a nice dynamic here as Brookes is considered a wanker in FCP and he picks on Millie and treats her like crap. So Millie, who’s known for her fire, can make comebacks against that. She does a marvellous job of it too, selling a bad leg throughout.
Brookes always had that rivalry with Nixon Newell and Millie feels like the natural replacement for Nixon in FCP. It makes a lot of sense for them to have the same issues. Millie’s story is about to get more expansive though as Jinny runs down to interfere.
In case you’re wondering; Jinny has never wrestled for FCP and this marks her first appearance in Millie’s home promotion. Is it because she’s annoyed with Millie invading all her places? Progress, Rev Pro etc? Millie has to tap to Brookes’ Octopus stretch but give the assist to Jinny. This was a big old match with a lot happening. There were definite issues with the pacing as it started with a load of aimless brawling before the multi-man stuff and then the eliminations started. The eliminations came thick and fast and felt like ‘your turn to get eliminated’ rather than actual finishes. Despite the issues this was solid entertainment and I liked the Millie storyline that existed throughout the match. As with Omari they’re doing a fine job of taking one of their own and turning them into a huge star.
Final Rating: ***3/4
I loved Lee-Omari. That’s basically why I got the VOD and shelled out my £7.50. Most of the rest of the card was good fun and I like that they’re building something around Omari and Millie McKenzie. Those are FCP’s guys so working with them helps to promote the idea that they have a training hot bed right now. However putting on matches like Phantasmo-Brooks doesn’t exactly send out a message to the youngsters who are coming through in the Midlands. I’m sure they’re lovely lads but it didn’t add a lot to the show for me. Still everything else worked so it’s an easy thumbs up. I shall be at the next show, hopefully, and I’m excited to see what occurs.