Fight Club: PRO marked their seventh anniversary back in September, with their Project Mayhem V event – headlined by a brutal Fans Bring The Weapons Death Match.
Also on the card are the Hunter Brothers (uh oh…) and a best-of-three-falls match between Travis Banks and Tyler Bate. Why’d I wait so long to watch this??
The show opened with the arrival of Pete Dunne interrupting the usual festivities, wanting to cash in his trophy for a title show. Apparently Sami Callihan – the Fight Club: PRO champion wasn’t there… so Pete challenged Trent Seven instead. What he got, was Metallica’s “For Whom The Bell Tolls”, and Sami Callihan. Guess what we opened with? A match that probably would have gone in the main event on any other card:
Fight Club: PRO Championship – Pete Dunne vs. Sami Callihan (c)
The match starts with both men immediately flooring each other with pump kicks at the same time, before they sit up and move into a slug-fest. Really fast-paced and hard hitting stuff as they again end a sequence with simultaneous pump kicks.
After teasing a double count-out, they retreat to the apron before they rushed into each other once more, this time with Callihan decking Dunne with a pump kick on the floor. I must say, the lighting at the Fixxion Warehouse has massively been upgraded, as we can actually see the outside-the-ring stuff here, including Dunne’s now-trademark chop of the ringpost. Dunne gets placed in a chair for a spittle-laden chop from Callihan, before a second one sent the challenger into the wall. Dunne’s sent into the wall yet again, this time courtesy of a cannonball senton, before Callihan’s lap of honour into a strike ended with him taking a forearm. Back inside, Dunne pulls out a sit-out powerbomb for a near-fall, before a leg sweep from Callihan took his challenger into the turnbuckles. A slap countered a running knee into the corner, as they went back and forth once more, ending with Callihan catching a leapfrog and sending Dunne into the turnbuckles with a death valley driver.
They exchange running strikes into the ropes, with Dunne landing an enziguiri, then a lariat to take Callihan back down. The finger biting follows, but Callihan adds some biting of his own before they trade some no-sell German suplexes. Dunne then tries for the Drop Dead, but it’s turned into a DDT for a near-fall. Callihan tries to springboard off the ropes, but he takes a forearm from Dunne instead, before countering a piledriver on the apron and knocking Dunne to the floor with one instead, bringing chants of “Pete’s dead, he’s dead he’s dead he’s dead” from the crowd. At least until he arose and beat the sudden 20-count. Yeah, that one surprised me as well…
Dunne surprises Callihan with a small package for a near-fall, before he gets bitten… and then takes a package tombstone piledriver after one of his own was reversed. Callihan only got a near-fall from that, before going back to pump kicks on the Bruiserweight… who used the referee for a distraction. From there, he actually landed the Drop Dead for a near-fall, before taking a load of paintbrush-style slaps from the champion, before the finish came out of nowhere: Dunne popped out of a prawn hold pin and caught Callihan in a rear naked choke for a flash submission. That was a surprise, but not in the smarky “oh, the wrong man won” way. This was an epic match that we’d have come to expect from these guys. ****¼
What is it with this promotion and starting their shows with absolute belters of a match?
Nixon Newell vs. Jessicka Havok
A rematch from “International Tekkers”, they started by shaking hands, before Havok kicked Newell down for a quick heel turn. Newell gets thrown from corner-to-corner, before she slipped out and hit an overhead kick from the apron, then a series of kicks to the legs of Havok.
Newell caught Havok in an Octopus hold after a tilt-a-whirl, but it was too early in the match as Havok easily dumped her in the corner. The bad times kept coming as a crossbody was caught by Havok, who responded by press slamming Newell out of the ring. Havok throws Newell back in, but the woman from the Valleys sprung back into life with a couple of topes, before a third one was cruelly cut-off with an uppercut in the ropes.
Newell takes the wall head-first as Havok rushes towards the ring to break the count, before casually turfing Newell into the seats by ringside. After eventually returning to the ring, Havok slaps away at Newell, who Hulks up and… headbutts the monster Havok. We get some leaping knees into the corner from Nixon, before she missed a back elbow and recovered to take down Havok with a crossbody for a near-fall.
Havok backdrops free from a Welsh Destroyer attempt, before missing an Earthquake sit-out splash, which leaves her open for a Shining Wizard for a near-fall. A chokeslam attempt is turned into a DDT by Newell for a near-fall, and she goes back to the Octopus hold, which this time is held on… until Havok pushed out of it, and turned the hold into a tombstone piledriver for the win. I guess we’re going to get a rubber match, and I’m not going to complain, because this was really entertaining stuff from both women. ***
Tables Match: Hunter Brothers (Jim Hunter & Lee Hunter) vs. Face Smashers (Wild Boar & Dan Moloney)
Insert my usual “sorry if I get Jim and Lee wrong” disclaimer here, and we get a jump start here as the Hunters and the Smashers lay into each other from the off. Moloney whips one of the Hunters into the turnbuckle, whilst the other works over Boar in the opposite corner. We get Lee laying into Boar whilst Jim takes a knee to the head from Moloney, before Lee backdrops the Boar out of the ring. The Hunters follow up with a pair of somersault planchas to the Face Smashers after Moloney had been sent outside.
The Hunters bring a table into the ring, with Lee setting it up against the corner. Lee and Moloney tease being whipped into the corner, before leaving the ring in search of more wood… which leaves Boar and Jim to fight in the ring. The crowd burst into a chorus of “Boar Boar Boar! Nobody likes you, nobody likes you” (to the tune of Larry Sweeney’s old theme music “More, More, More” by Andrea True), which got a smile here. Boar clubs away at Jim, before heading out to confront a heckler, and eventually returning with a second table.
Boar sets up the table like it’s meant to be used, and goes to powerbomb Jim… but he blocks it and instead hits a DDT in the middle of the ring. Moloney returns with such aplomb that the leg on a table collapses, and we’re back into two-on-one stuff. Jim blocks an Electric Chair drop, before Lee returns to deliver a Blockbuster neckbreaker onto Moloney, who landed on Jim’s knees. Moloney then gets eliminated with a double-team hiptoss into a powerbomb through a table, leaving the Boar all alone. Boar goes to work on Lee with some forearms, after turfing Jim onto the apron. Dan Moloney brings another table into the ring – which indicates this isn’t an elimination match – and that new piece of hardware quickly meets the Boar as Lee throws it at his head.
The Hunters look to put the Boar through a table with a superplex, but Moloney moves the table so the Boar just lands on the mat instead. Moloney keeps up by trying to powerbomb Lee into a table that was propped up, but instead they switch a series of waistlocks, before Moloney leaps up… allowing the Boar to spear Lee Hunter into the table. That leaves us with just a Boar and Jim Hunter, with the latter having a piece of broken table thrown at his head. Moloney goes to powerbomb Jim through the last table, but he works free and fights off both of the Face Smashers by himself. Lee moves the table as Boar had looked to powerbomb Jim through it, before Moloney goes to the outside and gets a chair to the face from Lee.
Lee’s suplexed through a table in the aisle – but that doesn’t count because he’s already taken a table. Jim and Boar start to trade blows once more in the ring, before the latter pulls off a bodyslam. Boar takes down Jim once more as he looks to finish off the last remaining Hunter with a Trapper Keeper (package piledriver) off the middle rope and through the table. Jim holds tight though, and works his way free, before powerbombing the Boar onto the table. The table cracked, but it didn’t break… so he rushes up top for a big splash, which again cracks the table, but also doesn’t break it.
With the table legs bent out of shape, Jim set up the table – with Lee Hunter running in to steady it. Referee Shay holds the table still as well, but a senton bomb off the top also failed to smash the wood. As the match firmly entered Botchamania territory (and it’s already made it – Botchamania 327), the referee held the table in place as both Hunters climbed up top for a pair of double stomps that finally cracked the table to end the match. Save for the drawn-out finish, this was a pretty good brawl, and I pitied the poor Boar by the end for having to take so many table spots! ***
After the match, Dan Moloney booted down the Boar, which I guess signals the end of the Face Smashers!
Best-Two-out-of-Three-Falls: Travis Banks vs. Tyler Bate
Tyler’s brought his CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas (tag team) title belt with him, just to show off… They start by gingerly going for a tie-up, as we start with some good ol’ wrestling! Banks and Bate give each other a thumbs up after teasing a cheapshot in the ropes, before a test of strength ends up with Banks working Bate into a torture rack, then into an armbar for the briefest of moments.
Before too long, it descends away from a catch-as-catch-can contest, and into a shoving match, before Bate starts to invite the Kiwi to slap him. They go back and forth again with this wince-inducing series of chops and slaps, to the point where you end up really hoping you don’t end up on either of these guys’ wrong sides! They repeat the Ishii/Shibata sequence of inviting the other to kick them in the spine, before Bate pops up with a slam as the tit-for-tat exchange continues. Bate heels on Banks by punching him in the gut before taking the match outside, where the youngster takes a hard slam onto the warehouse floor.
Back inside, Banks drills Bate with a cannonball in the corner, before reversing a suplex and kicking Bate’s head off. A brainbuster follows for a near-fall for the Kiwi, before he runs into Bate’s boot and takes a diving kneedrop to the neck. Bate keeps up the pressure with a suplex, and gets the first fall from that – keeping up the tradition of best-of-three-falls matches having pins from non-traditional finishers!
Bate waits for Banks to get to his feet, just so he can clothesline him, but instead Banks ducks it and ends up drilling Bate with a knee to the face. He followed that up with a running kick off the apron as Bate tried to head outside for safety, where he absorbed a tope for good effect. A backslide nearly ends the match for Bate, before Banks sat down on an attempted La Magistral for a near-fall as they went back and forth with an indyriffic pinning sequence that blew up the referee! Moments after that, Banks scored the equalising fall with a springboard roundhouse kick out of the middle turnbuckle.
The final fall started with the pair smashing forearms into each other, leading to the Newton’s cradle-esque forearms, and finally a leaping lariat from Banks. Bate returns the favour, as they move to giving each other German suplexes, with Banks holding onto his in the end to rattle off a series of three rolling Germans.
A shotgun dropkick and another springboard roundhouse saw Banks get a near-fall, before they went back to dishing out the back-and-forth forearms. Bate low-bridges Banks to the outside, and quickly follows with a no-hands plancha, before scoring a swandive headbutt back in the ring. Bate gets a near-fall out of a brainbuster, before a running belly-to-back piledriver, and a spike tombstone piledriver did the job.
A fantastic match – I can see why some would criticise the over-use of “mirror moves”, but this was a tremendous effort from both men who went toe-to-toe, move-for-move, and held nothing back. ****¼
Trent Seven vs. Mark Haskins
Incredibly, this was only the third time these men had met; the first in this promotion in 2013, and the previous… about three months earlier for Rev Pro at a Cockpit show. Trent brought his half of the CHIKARA Campeonatos de Parejas belts with him and his long intro, whilst Mark Haskins had his usual intro that was so short that I’m convinced he’s not wanting people to look up his ring music on Shazam.
Haskins was a replacement for the injured Drew Galloway (with one fan seemingly wanting to see Nailz instead…), and yes, the crowd came unglued when the first bars of Haskins’ Crobot song hit. Haskins starts with a takedown as he tried to go for a triangle armbar, but Seven fought free as they opened up on the mat. Seven misses some chops as Haskins ducks and replies with kicks to the chest, before finally getting one back in return. Another missed chop sees Haskins taken down with a back suplex, before Seven goes flying with a low-pe, sending Haskins into the front row.
The favour was quickly returned as Haskins was thrown back into the ring, only for his tope to end up with them brawling outside where Seven eventually chopped the ring post in error. Haskins returned to the ring with his outside-in dropkick, before grounding Trent with some figure-four headscissors. They went back and forth with forearms in the ropes, before Seven dished out some chops, and then a Samoan driver for a near-fall.
A bicycle knee put paid to a ripcord lariat from Seven, who then took a superkick to the head before Haskins rolled through into a cross arm breaker, then a crossface. Seven just about reached the rope with his foot as Haskins stretched him on the mat, before Haskins rolled through and got a Sharpshooter… but Trent was too close to the ropes. Another roll-through followed from Haskins as he went for the Sharpshooter once more, before being pushed off… and rebounding into a roll-through Fireman’s carry facebuster. Seven hit back with a spinning backfist, a half-and-half suplex, then a piledriver for a near-fall. Haskins kicked out at one after a ripcord lariat, and from there both guys invited – and received – slaps and chops.
Trent hurt his own hand chopping Haskins, before delivering a second ripcord lariat and a spinning piledriver for the win. Well, with both these guys, it’d had have to have been something special for this match *not* to have been good… They didn’t disappoint, and my word, this is cementing itself as one of the better shows of the year, is it not? ****
After the match, Seven put over Mark as “the real Mark Haskins” there, as opposed to the “Star Attraction” he was in their match three years earlier. Apparently Seven’s old school teacher was in the crowd, so naturally he got called out, before Trent addressed Pete Dunne.
Out came the newly-crowned Fight Club: PRO champion, who went straight for Seven and beat him into the corner… until Sami Callihan made the save. Or so we thought – as he decked Seven with a pump kick, and it looks like the new and former champion have an alliance, naming themselves the Bruisercats, before dumping Trent with a spike piledriver. That team name may need a little work… Given Pete Dunne’s had a phase of “Young and Bitter”, how about “Young and Litter”? Or have I just found an even worse name?
Fans Bring The Weapons Deathmatch: Chris Brookes vs. Clint Margera
After Brookes won their last two matches, it seems a little odd that we have a rubber match here, but there you go. Since Brookes wiped out Margera’s girlfriend after their I quit chain match, I guess Clint needs some payback.
Margera came out with a piñata, and a trash can full of goodies, just in case nobody else had brought any. Referee Shay Purser had upgraded from black latex gloves to something more substantial, which makes me fear that there’s something sharp coming into play… but first, Margera waffles Brookes with a baking tray to the back of the head during the ring introductions.
Brookes popped up and hit a thrust kick, before being sent outside for a somersault plancha from Margera, which is where the good stuff came into play. A green chair was used back and forth, with Margera taking what looked to be an unprotected shot to the head, before taking a shotgun dropkick out of a chair from Brookes. Margera sends him into the wall, before the pair wander around the ring towards the bin full of goodies. A Guitar Hero guitar gets smashed over Margera’s back, leaving shards of plastic digging into his shirt, and Brookes takes some time out to grab some toys from last time out – including a staple gun, some lemon juice… and a barbed wire dildo?! Brookes tries to give Margera a wet willie, but instead Clint powers out and grabs that staple gun, firing a shot into Brookes’ left hand.
Margera grabbed a chair and gave Brookes a drop toe hold into it as he pulled out the staple… which just meant that he needed more staples, so Margera stapled a bar sign to his cheek. Yes… Brookes ended up with some paper stapled to his head. Holy Hell. It got worse for Chris, as one of his own 8x10s was stapled to his forehead, before it was ripped off… that had to have sucked. How the hell do you fake that?!
Brookes fought back with some chops in the ropes, before being taken down by a neckbreaker. A flip senton followed from Brookes after he took Margera to the outside, and you know that that means… more goodies! A table came out as Margera went back to his bin to grab a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner, which was used on the head of Brookes, before he took a back suplex onto the apron.
Margera moved Brookes off the apron and onto the table, then grabbed a ladder and set it up next to said table for a dive spot. Brookes moved, which meant that Margera’s elbow drop saw him get nothing but the table… which at least broke at the first attempt! Back in the ring, Brookes threw another chair into play, but instead of using it as a weapon, he set two folded-open chairs side-by-side on the mat… and eventually took a Falcon arrow onto the side of those two chairs. My back hurt just watching that… but Brookes found a way to kick out before three. More goodies came from Margera in the form of a bag full of drawing pins that were spread onto the mat.
Instead of the usual wrestling logic – where the guy in a t-shirt takes the thumbtack bump – Margera sent Brookes into the shiny metal pins after throwing him off the turnbuckle a la Ric Flair. After stamping Brookes’ hand into the pins, Margera placed the piñata on the pile… but as he went for a death valley driver, Brookes spat some lemon juice into his bloodied face, then stuffed a handful of drawing pins into Margera’s beardy face.
A kick to the pinned face followed, but that only got Brookes a near-fall, as he looked to go for a Coast-to-Coast dropkick. Margera took the shot, as Brookes seemed to land in some of the errant drawing pins as well, before getting another two-count from that. Brookes next brought in some salt, pouring it onto the pile of pins and the piñata, then rubbing a handful of salt into Margera’s wounds. Poetic.
Brookes got a near-fall after that when he gave Margera a Michinoku driver into the tacks, salt and piñata pile, before getting into a shoving fight with referee Shay from that near-fall. The result? Shay took a whiplash/rope hung spinning neckbreaker, almost surely landing in some of the tacks, as Brookes looked to finish off Margera. Clint fought back on the top rope and managed to drive Brookes with an avalanche death valley driver into the hazardous pile… but by the time replacement referee Joel Allen made his way to ringside, he was only able to get a two-count out of it. Margera goes to the back and returns with a bit of wood with barbed wire stapled to it – to the discomfort of some fans in the front row! – and it’s only going to spell bad news for Brookes…
The wood is propped against the top turnbuckle, but after some back and forth, Brookes picks up Margera in a Fireman’s carry, only for Clint to fight free, kick Chris low, and deliver an avalanche death-valley driver onto the board, which imploded on impact… and that was enough to end the match without killing Brookes.
What. A. War.
I’m not usually a fan of deathmatch-style matches, and this one wasn’t going to change my mind. If you can get past things like bumps into drawing pins only getting two-counts, and have a strong stomach to be able to watch things like salt and lemon juice being rubbed in wounds, then I’m sure you’ll get on fine with this match! ***¼
After the match, we see Flash Morgan Webster (of all people) shuffle through the crowd before Margera shares a beer with a fan. Brookes actually gets some grudging respect from the crowd after the fall… and on the fifth anniversary of his debut in the promotion, he gave a moving promo, before swerving everyone at the last minute. What a pro!
So… as a major show, I’d have to say this delivered on all fronts. This truly had something for everyone, without anything close to a bad match, this would have to go up there in contention for the best show of the year. Granted, it’s not the family-friendly product you’d get from ATTACK!, nor does it have the production values of a WCPW, nor is it even the polished product you’d get from PROGRESS, but as a show for a hardcore wrestling fan, this is something you absolutely have to see.