FCP Dream Tag Team Invitational Night 3
April 16 2017
We’re in London at Bush Hall for the third night of Fight Club Pro’s ambitious Easter tour. The first two nights were sensational entertainment. I was at Wolverhampton for the first show and saw Manchester on VOD. Both great experiences. Now we’re into the final night and kicking us off is the familiar strains of Triple H’s theme music…
British Strong Style vs. Sami Callihan & Pals
Speaking of entrance music; Sami Callihan’s has never felt more out of place than in London, where Jim Smallman uses it. Sami’s tag team partner’s are none other than Marty Scurll and Jimmy Havoc. That makes this quite the incredible line up for an opening match. The only defined heel in the match is Pete Dunne but it becomes apparent that BSS lean heel due to the Progress implications. This is what happens when you put on a show in Progress’ back yard. Scurll brings a lot of banter to the dance, including calling for the superkick and actually hitting it. Everyone else brings wacky dives. The match is all over the place with Sami stealing a shoe and using it to hit ‘superkicks’ and Marty using a small child as a weapon. It’s not so much a match as six guys fucking around and having a laugh. At one point BSS stop the match so they can spit water like Hunter.
— Arnold Furious (@ArnoldFurious) May 12, 2017
For once Marty Scurll’s umbrella love pays off too, with the brollies being used to block a water spit into the ring. When they eventually get into the business of actual wrestling it’s very solid, thanks to the devotion to Strong Style. Increasingly BSS are hugely entertaining in promotions where they don’t have to concern themselves with remaining heel. Tyler Bate throws out some absolutely ridiculous spots during this, including a standing SSP off the back of a lariat, off the back of the Matt Cross rebound off the ropes spot. The three-way spots are wonderfully executed throughout. Eventually BSS get the win by all hitting Pedigrees at the same time after all escaping Marty style Chickenwing set ups. Yelling “Chickenwing” is a dead giveaway lads. This was a tremendous opener. Everyone was on form and every spot seems to land. I hope these BSS trios matches go on forever. The trouble with having an opening match this fantastic is where do you go from here? Start with the main event and it’s all downhill surely?
Final Rating: ****1/2
Tangent: ring announcer for this show is none other than Vicky Haskins, wife of wrestler Mark Haskins. She’s actually really good at it. I’ve never seen her do ring announcing before but if anyone is looking for a ring announcer, and presumably interested in booking Mark, there’s an easy fix for you.
The Hunter Brothers vs. #CCK
This is a semi-final match in the DTTI with the two qualifying teams going at it. With Brookes involved there’s yet more water spitting. This might be the wettest show on record. Apart from that WWF one where it pissed it down with rain. The banter towards Lykos, for being a shit wolf, is fairly intense. Kid Lykos is excellent at cutting a forlorn figure when he’s being abused. You almost feel sorry for him until he starts yelling “shut up”. The haven of the uncreative comebacks. It’s also the hallmark of a good heel. There has to be humanity there but the kind of humanity you really dislike. Like Tories, Trump supporters and people who try to get on the train before anyone has gotten off. The Hunter’s are feeling ambitious here, clearly wanting to justify their spot in the semi’s, and the double jump moonsault suitably freaks the crowd out. When Will Ospreay does a flip nowadays it’s just expected but when people like Pete Dunne and Lee Hunter are doing crazy moves it seems to have more impact. There’s a lot to be said for not being very good at high spots and then pulling one out of your ass every now and again. See Simmons, Jurn and his very moonsault. The Hunter’s are on fire here with fluid offence and #CCK are a great team so it all comes together beautifully. #CCK double team their way to the finals, showing the talent behind the dickishness. It’s ok to be a cock but if you can back it up then people….will probably hate you more.
Final Rating: ***3/4
The Lucha Brothers vs. FSU
As Andrew WK kicks in a party erupts in old London Village. That is until Pentagon says Spanish swear words at Eddie Dennis. Eddie probably shouldn’t be upset; Penta has probably called everyone in the business a motherfucker at this point. “I too am a luchadore” yells Eddie before pulling a mask out of his tights and doing a few flying headscissors. Pentagon does not like this. The match contains some slightly dodgy Welsh lucha and a lot of flippydos, including Shay Pursor being powerbombed to the floor, which is surely a DQ.
Both the Lucha lads love a strike and dismantle Eddie with them. Either one would be a great fit for a singles match against any of the FCP regulars. Eddie takes some bumps in this match that I thought were beyond the man. I don’t think he has any say in how he lands a couple of times. Pentagon Jr loves a chop. He fucking loves them. He doesn’t care if he’s giving or receiving. He just loves chops that much. You can see how happy he is when Mark Andrews gets a nice loud sound off his chest. As with the opener, they don’t bother with tagging for the majority of the time, but that’s fine because they substitute cool looking spots. Both Luchadores as in the mood to stand out and bust their asses. They’re very nice about murdering Eddie Dennis at the finish, with Pentagon protecting him huge on the package piledriver. This was balls to the wall, non-stop action. I imagine it’s what TNA wanted to showcase when they started out. The match is so good it pops a standing ovation.
Final Rating: ****
Fight Club Pro Championship
Travis Banks (c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr
The first time these two went at it in FCP they had a ****1/2 blinder. It put Travis Banks on the map and he’s been on an upward trajectory ever since. Now he’s the FCP Champion and he has the chance to right that loss at Sabre’s hands almost a year ago.
This is also Travis’ chance to prove he can go on the mat against Sabre, which a lot of people attempt but few get anywhere near Zacky Three Belts. Travis shows what he learned before and controls chunks of the mat work, albeit occasionally caught out by a wacky Sabre hold. The crowd is very pro-Travis and chant “Three Belts, No Fans” at Sabre. It’s the first time I’ve seen Sabre triggered by the fans when one yells “you’re a Tory and so’s your Dad”. There’s a line here lads. The story of the match is Travis taking abuse and surviving. That was the story of their first FCP match too, albeit with the added caveat of Travis looking good but always losing. Sabre is a versatile wrestler, mixing up technical skill with vicious striking and he puts Travis through the ringer here. Sabre is a seasoned veteran and almost always dictates the pace. The way he runs through Japanese finishes (two PK’s followed by a Ligerbomb at one point) shows the depth of his move set and allows Travis yet more stuff to survive. The crowd is molten throughout this, as they were for Travis’ title match with Will Ospreay two days earlier. Divided by the FCP fans being totally into Banks and the newly attracted fans being into the more established Sabre.
It’s Sabre’s aggression that makes him the heel while Travis never backs down and never quits. Zack completely freaks him out by kicking out at one from the Slice of Heaven so Travis slaps him in the crossface and Sabre goes out. I loved this. It might be a touch below their first match but the sheer effort and tenacity of both guys came through in spades.
Final Rating: ****1/4
Angelico vs. Shane Strickland vs. Mark Haskins
The crowd are in fine voice for Chaka Khan. When the crowd is so rowdy they sing your entrance music and drown it out you know they’re proper feisty. If the pace was ever likely to falter, during the course of the night, then it would be during this total throwaway three-way dance. It doesn’t because they all come flying out here at 100mph. Haskins vs. Strickland is so good it’s almost a pity that Angelico is involved. I don’t even dislike Angelico, but I’m now eager for that singles match. The interaction between these three men is so smooth that on any other day, in any other promotion, it’d be a total showstealer. The sequences are mint, the strikes are tidy and all three men look terrific. It’s not just wall to wall spots either with them making a big deal out of Angelico going for his crucifix bomb into the corner, with it teased repeatedly before it lands. The rest of the match is on the spotty side but the chemistry and fluidity is incredible. It felt like a filler match but the action was wild. Strickland in particular looked to be on his game. This fucking show lads. It’s a banger.
Final Rating: ***3/4
Jack Evans vs. Will Ospreay
Evans kicks off with some banter into the house microphone and tries to carry on while Will is attacking him. Naturally this match has Flipz and lots of them. It’s a dream match for some, one of the flippiest guys from ten years ago versus one of the flippiest modern era flippers. Jack Evans was doing unreal stuff in the early years of ROH and it took until Ricochet and Ospreay came along to outdo him. Jack makes a point of bantering his way through the contest and like Scurll earlier is on rare form. The flipping is as expected. It’s highly choreographed, although occasionally the choreography is wonderful and resembles something out of a kung-fu flick.
Shay Pursor continues his involvement as the fighting referee and pops the hell out of the crowd by hitting a running rana that freaks out all concerned. Shay misses off the top and as Jack goes up to “show him how it’s done” Will catches him in mid air with the Oscutter for the pin. This was lots of flips and Jack Evans being a prick so naturally I loved it.
Final Rating: ***1/2
Post Match: Uptown Funk kicks in and Ospreay gets challenged to a dance off. Will gets served so he returns with the entire locker room for a conga line around the room. Wrestling.
Dream Tag Team Invitational Final
#CCK vs. The Lucha Brothers
This is the culmination of the tournament and what it stands for; bringing in the best from around the globe and proving that the local talent is equal to them.
As with the majority of the tag matches in this tournament they barely pay the slightest of attention to the rules. I do not care. These are two teams I love and they’re about the fuck each other up for my amusement. Penta chopped Eddie Dennis down to size with minimum of effort earlier tonight and he gives Brookes the same treatment. Size advantage is nothing if you’ve got a broken leg from those stiff kicks. Everything the Lucha Hermanos land is high impact. It makes the match feel like it could end at any moment. Like when Lykos does the Zero Miedo sign to Penta and gets executed with a superkick. If that’s not enough he follows up by hitting a Canadian Destroyer on the apron. Lykos is dead.
Penta feels so legitimate. From the look to his choice of moves to his presence in the ring he’s got it all and he doesn’t even speak English. Lykos is the surprise performer of 2017 so far for me. He continually steps up to bigger and tougher opponents, takes everything they have to dish out and comes firing back. Here he eliminates Penta with dives and then assists Brookes in pinning Fenix. This felt important. 2017 is the year of #CCK, whether it’s this pairing or Brookes & Travis Banks.
— Chris Brookes (@OBEYBrookes) April 17, 2017
Final Rating: ****
This whole weekend was a joyous occasion and Fight Club Pro nailed their big tag team tournament. The list of talent that appeared across the weekend was astonishing. It didn’t disappoint. Fight Club Pro is a good show normally but adding in top level talent and having them work within that Fight Club Pro style was magnificent. All three shows were fantastic. Miss them at your peril.