As regular readers will know, Royal Ramblings have been on tour, taking in the very best that the UK indy scene has to offer.
In April, we were privileged to attend a slightly different type of indy event. The Wolves-based 'Fight Club Pro' promotion had been working in partnership with others including Attack! Pro, to bring over the stars of the notorious US Lucha style promotion Chikara.
The 'Enter Chikara' series was a set of pre-show bouts before the main Chikara card that allowed the promotion to play host to some of the UK's top talents.
Delivering significant value for money, the London event featured no less than four different bouts. First, was an 'inter-promotional' match, which pitted Chikara's Frightmare against Lucha Britannia's Neo Britannico (a somewhat striking resemblance to Will Ospreay), Attack! Pro's Wild Boar and Fight Club Pro's Chris Brookes. This was a magnificent starter with some excellent spots. Seeing one man bent over the turnbuckle, with head between legs, only to have another deliver a sharp kick to it, is quite something. So too, seeing 'Neo Britannico' fly off the turnbuckle with a shooting star press, at such close quarters, was just brilliant. There were tornado DDT's, amazing drivers and more. It was a fast-paced opener and as one might perhaps have expected, Chikara's Frightmare took the win, capitalising on other's offence.
The second match was completely different to the first and saw MK Mckinnan facing Drew Gulak. Gulak delivered a masterclass of submission holds. So good was he at keeping Mckinnan on his back that the crowd cheered MK simply standing up. Whilst it was a strong facebuster/running knee combination from McKinnan that put Gulak away, it seemed an unlikely result given Gulak's mastery of McKinnan throughout the bout. Perhaps a veteran giving a promising star the rub...
The Hunter Brothers (themselves Southside champions) were next out to offer an open challenge, which was met head-on by 'The Pride of Wales' Eddie Dennis and surprise partner, TNA star Mark Andrews. Collectively FSU, as Andrews and Dennis are known, took it to the Hunters. The energy and enthusiasm of FSU had the crowd fully engaged and they won with a modified spike piledriver double team.
The Enter Chikara main event saw Jimmy Havoc and KYS (Pete & Damien Dunne) facing 'Moustache Mountain' (Trent Seven & Tyler Bate) and Clint Margera. Despite their cheeky, tongue-in-cheek entrance, Trent, Tyler and Clint were facing very serious opponents. The Dunne brothers were keen to dampen the Moustache's enthusiasm and matched one another's styles well in delivering some good offensive. This match however, as with so many others, was all about Jimmy Havoc. As the fan cruelly despatched for asking him for a photo post-show came to realise, Havoc is not a part-time bad guy. He draws the fans in with attitude and devastates with in-ring talent.
Having taken his opponents round the Highbury Garage, slammed them into chairs, walls and the bar, Havoc went back to the ring and introduced frying pans and a staple gun. There were subsequent brutal chair and frying pan shots, piledrivers, chokeslams, frog splashes and more. A staple to the crotch probably had havoc wishing he hadn't brought the gun to the ring but having regained his composure and delivered some frying pan shots of his own, it was Havoc who took the match after a long series of rainmakers. Ultimately, it was a great main event, shining a light on one of Britain's foremost wrestling talents.
It is established protocol for wrestling veterans to put over younger stars. In a related manner, it is important that visiting US promotions like Chikara (or Dragon Gate, or Ring of Honour etc) make room at their events for the burgeoning list of UK talents. There is mutual benefit and at this show, Fight Club Pro, Attack! Pro and others demonstrated the advantages of such joint working. It was a wonderful showcase and we hope to see more of this in the future.
Our review of the Chikara show will be posted separately. Our next and final stop on the Royal Ramblings tour will be at ICW in late April.