Live wrestling! There’s a lot of it. This weekend Fight Club: PRO, ATTACK!, PROGRESS, Kamikaze Pro and countless other British promotions are running shows. This provided me with ample opportunities to go to a lot of them and make a tit of myself. So I did! The first stop was FCP in a sweaty warehouse in Wolverhampton. Listen, you wanted a fight club, you got a fight club. This show, Project Mayhem V (the fifth Project Mayhem, funnily enough) featured all of the regular FCP crew with a deathmatch between blood rivals Clint Margera and Chris Brookes in the main event to end their feud once and for all.

Pete Dunne opened the show and reminded everyone that, as the Infinity trophy holder, he had a right to a Fight Club: PRO title match at any time. However, Sami Callihan wasn’t here. Trent Seven was without an opponent due to Drew Galloway suffering an injury days before the show so Pete went to challenge him, only for Sami Callihan’s music to hit. He was there after all! With the cat mask!

1. Pete Dunne def. Sami Callihan to win the Fight Club: PRO title with a choke. 

Insane opener that started at a frantic pace and never slowed down. There was a lot of mirrored offence in this early on, from “ordinary” stuff like strike exchanges to slightly less ordinary techniques like Pete biting Sami’s hand and Sami responding by biting right back. The action spilled the the floor where Sami mostly dominated, giving Pete a front row seat before cannonballing into him. Pete fought back by countering a springboard with a leaping forearm and scoring with a big Liger Bomb on the inside but Sami countered Drop Dead into a DDT to save himself. At one point Sami gave Pete a piledriver on the apron and Pete barely made it back into the ring at the count of 19. That got a “He’s dead” chant to the “Ole” tune. However, he was not dead. He was very much alive. Pete recovered and attempted to hit the TWOmbstone, only for Sami counter and hit the Thrill of the Kill for a nearfall. Sami followed this with a series of running knee strikes that Pete somehow kicked out of. Pete stopped further punishment using referee Joel as a momentary distraction, allowing him to enzuigiri and choke Sami out to win the title. This match got a massive standing ovation and was an absolutely incredible start to the show. Troubling note: Pete Dunne was not poison rana’d in this match.

2. Jessika Havok def. Nixon Newell with a tombstone piledriver.

Decent match while it lasted. Nixon’s one of the best babyfaces in the UK at the moment and, as you might expect, much of this was built around Havok beating her up and Nixon making the big comeback. Havok jumped Nixon at the bell after initially giving the impression she was fighting fair and beat Nixon around ringside, with Nixon firing back with a series of dives. Nixon tried numerous times to slow her larger opponent with persistent submission holds, going for the win with the Cristo headscissors armbar. She went to the well one too many times with that one as Havok countered to a tombstone piledriver for the win, presumably setting up a third match to settle the feud.

3. The Hunter Bros (Jim & Lee Hunter) def. The Facesmashers (Wild Boar & Dan Moloney) in an elimination tables match.

If you thought that Havok and Sami were the only imports on this show you’d be wrong because FCP flew in a table straight from Japan as a special guest for this. There were no intros as the Hunters attacked as soon as they made their entrance and a big brawl ensued. At one point Moloney and Lee Hunter brawled backstage leaving Jim and Boar in the ring. Moloney returned first, leading to a two on one advantage, but he was also the first eliminated courtesy of a H-Bomb through a table. Since these matches are technically no DQ he just decided to stay around and be a nuisance. Dan and Lee Hunter both attempted to German suplex one another through a table in the corner (actually a gigantic slab of MDF, a massive crowd favourite despite technically not being a table), only for Boar to burst onto the scene and gore Lee through it to eliminate him. This is where the fun really started. 

Lee and Moloney kept brawling and crashed through something I didn’t have a good view of, I suspect the merchandise table. In the ring Boar tried to package piledriver Jim off the top through the last table but Jim slipped down and powerbombed Boar onto it. It didn’t break. A splash off the top, it didn’t break. A swanton bomb, it still refused to break. A double double stomp from both Hunters finally shattered the table and may have got the biggest reaction of the night. The BritWres war on furniture continues. Tonight the wrestlers won.

After the match Moloney turned heel on Wild Boar by booting him in the face, dissolving the Facesmashers. People shouting “DAN” at him triggers me in a major way.

4. Tyler Bate def. Travis Banks in a Best of Three Falls match (2-1). 

  • Tyler Bate def. Travis Banks to win the first fall with a brainbuster
  • Travis Banks def. Tyler Bate to win the second fall with a second rope spinning gamenguiri
  • Tyler Bate def. Travis Banks to win the third and final fall with an Omori Driver followed by a Gotch-style tombstone piledriver

Incredible match between two of the best wrestlers on the UK indies today. This started as a friendly competition between two fan favourites and overall good sports, only to transform into an increasingly violent war. This story was told almost entirely in the first fall, with the second and third being nonstop action that built on what had occurred in the earlier falls. An early strike exchange turned heated as chops turned into forearms and those forearms turned into open hand slaps. This is when the pace picked up, with both men throwing big strikes, connecting with big duplexes and executing big dives. I have no idea how long this match actually was, I suspect it was pretty long, but the pace they worked at was terrifying yet entirely appropriate. After playing nice for a while neither man had time for the other’s shit and wanted to end it as quickly as possible. Tyler took the first fall with a brainbuster and tried to quickly take the second once the match had been restarted, only for Travis to evade him and connect with a tope to the floor before eventually taking the second fall with a flying kick. Deep into the third Tyler flew with a tope suicida over the top and a rapid fire Kokeshi after throwing Travis back into the ring, but Travis kicked out of a second brainbuster, much to Tyler’s shock. Travis also hit a second kick off the ropes but that also failed this time round. A couple of huge drivers finally did the job to give Tyler the hard fought win. This match also received a huge ovation (and massive duelling chants throughout) and was right up there with the opener as the best match of the night. Both men shook hands afterwards to close the loop in their rivalry. These guys should be wrestling everywhere. They’re that good.

Trent Seven came out for his match against an unknown opponent who he didn’t even know. That opponent was not the much suggested Glacier. Oh no. It was Mark Haskins! Everyone was VERY excited.

5. Trent Seven def. Mark Haskins with a spinning piledriver.

Fantastic match as you’d expect, with Haskins trying to earn a submission victory with all of the tools in his arsenal, including a double armbar and numerous sharpshooters. Both men were liked (and Haskins’ introduction got a huge reaction) but Trent was the people’s favourite as you might expect. He refused to give in and launched himself onto Haskins on the row with a low tope that spread the fans like the Red Sea. 

Haskins regained control and tried to finish it with Doi 555 followed by a superkick but Trent survived. Trent scored with a snap dragon suplex and a piledriver but Haskins refused to stay down. After a rapid strike exchange Trent scored with a Rainmaker and followed it up with a spinning piledriver that finally kept Haskins down for the count. Haskins received “Please come back” chants and raised Trent’s hand afterwards despite initially appearing angry at the loss.

Trent thanked Haskins on the microphone after the match, noting that Haskins last wrestled in FCP in 2013. He was no longer “The Star Attraction”, Trent didn’t even think he was underrated. What we just saw was the real Mark Haskins. Big cheer! Trent then challenged Pete Dunne to face him since Pete wanted a fight earlier and Pete now had the title. Pete obliged and attacked Trent, only for Sami Callihan to make the save. Despite chants of “triple threat” Sami hit Trent and shook Pete’s hand. Sami said it was personal between him and Trent, and although he may have his differences with Pete they have a hell of a lot more in common. Namely, hating Trent Seven. They’re now called the BruiserCats which is just an adorable name, and a match with Moustache Mountain would now seem to make a certain amount of sense?

Also if note is that Trent Seven’s year 6 teacher was in attendance. Big “education” chants for that incredile announcement.

6. Clint Margera def. Chris Brookes in a Fans Bring The Weapons match with a death valley driver through a barbed wire board.

This was not a World of Sport match. This was one of those matches for better or worse, if you’re not into deathmatches it might be a bit much, but I thought it was an appropriate end to the feud and a hell of a match to experience live. The violence definitely escalated until it ended at the most gruesome part of the match which was good stuff. Deathmatches are kinda like high flying spotfests in that way, the moves are very different but the underlying psychology’s the same. Clint jumped Brookes at the bell and that set the tone for everything that followed. Chris Brookes isn’t a deathmatch wrestler so he really is a tough motherfucker for taking some of the stuff he took in this match, including getting launched off the top rope into thumbtacks, getting a picture of his own face stapled to his face, and a falcon arrow onto the side of an opened steel chair that looked incredibly uncomfortable. Clint also stomped Brookes’ hand into the thumbtacks, giving the gruesome visual of Brookes lifting his hand from the mat to realise he was suddenly wearing an extremely painful golden glove.

Clint took his fair share as you’d expect, including a Van Terminator, the dreaded deathmatch dildo, and a missed elbow off a ladder that sent him crashing through a table. There was also a deathmatch piñata that survived a startling amount of time before finding its final resting place in the thumbtack pile. Brookes literally poured salt into Margera’s wounds before stuffing tacks in his mouth and connecting with a superkick for a nearfall. This caused Brookes to become frustrated with referee Shay (of ATTACK! and vitamin addiction fame), so of course he laid him out with an Ego Trip neckbreaker (one of the most out of order things in this match), bringing Joel out as a replacement. Nobody starts on Joel and lives to tell the tale. The end came when Clint grabbed a barbed wire MDF (!) board and, after a few reversals, gave Brookes the death valley driver through it to earn the win.

After the match Brookes took the microphone as everyone gave him a standing ovation. He said that five years ago he was the rookie passing the weapons to Clint Margera and selling the merchandise, and to main event Project Mayhem V and receive such an ovation from the fans… it meant absolutely fuck all to him. He then stormed out without clearing up the mess he’d made in the ring. Absolute scumbag.

This show was brilliant. Fight Club: PRO seem to ebb closer to “quality” than “quantity” with their cards, as this was announced as a five match card. Those five matches delivered (both in quality and variety), plus we got a bonus sixth match that was one of the best matches I’ve seen live this year. You should definitely seek out that Dunne vs. Callihan match and Banks vs. Bate but these shows fly by on VOD and this will be no different so you should watch the whole thing when you can.

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