We’re in Manchester for the second night of Fight Club Pro’s Dream Tag Team Invitational weekender. It’s a packed venue, although nowhere near as full as night one in Wolverhampton which was their first ever four figure house.
Fight Club: Pro
Dream Tag Team Invitational: Night 2
April 15, 2017
Zack Sabre Jr. def. Angelico
Zacky Three Belts is the crowd favourite despite wrestling heel in Wolves. It speaks volumes about this tour that a talent who usually main events like 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 isn’t his strongest suit. 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. In the end it’s Zack who insists upon change, challenging Angelico to trade 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 incorporating any lucha. It ended up as a technical battle and there was only ever one winner of that. ***1/4
Dan Moloney def. Mark Andrews
Dan uses his raw power several 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 Bomb 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. **1/2
Travis Banks def. 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 found 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 always looks outstanding in FCP. The strikes, counters and selling in this match are all 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 first 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. ****1/4
DTTI First Round Match
#CCK def. 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 flying.
The match is littered with fun spots though where the two teams’ tropes collide beautifully. Whether it’s ‘bop & bang’ or the use of ref as a weapon, almost every spot lands in this. Trent Seven is surely a big 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. ****
Shane Strickland def. 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”, the anthem of rival football team Liverpool. 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. 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. ***1/4
DTTI First Round Match
Lucha Brothers def. The Bruiser Cats
This is a Dream Tag Team Invitational 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 0M and Rey Fenix.
The atmosphere is electric with all the guys being suitably over. They don’t disappoint either, coming out of the gate at a 100 miles per hour. 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.
It’s utter carnage at every turn. Pete uses the 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 even more. 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 though, Pete Dunne is on fire. ****1/2
Almost on a par with the stunning first night in Wolverhampton, and certainly worth checking out, the second night of the Dream Tag Team Invitational certainly delivered. The main event was blowaway good but I also loved the title defence and the other tournament match was very strong. It’s tough to argue with cards of this quality. Long may these days continue in BritWres.