SHANE MARX vs. JOSHUA CUTSHALL - no rating, bad segment
They did meh stuff for a minute or two that was interrupted by The End coming out and somehow just turning it into a tag title match. They didn't even really make a challenge or anything. They just came out and Drennan cut a promo declaring them to be "the welcoming committee" (which triggered terrifying flashbacks to 2017 Smackdown) and that these new guys had to learn who was in charge, and then it was suddenly just a tag title match.
FIP TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
The End (Drennan & Parrow)(c) (w/Odinson) vs. Joshua Cutshall & Shane Marx - 4.5/10
During this match we were informed that FIP, which used to have "no rules" now has one rule: you can't put your hands on a referee. Good. The match itself was a mediocre brawl, but the round-about way they set it up did do a good job of getting the crowd into the show.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine. The End kept beating Marx and Cutshall up after the match, then Drennan cut a promo challenging Jon Davis to come out and have his scheduled FIP Florida Heritage Title defense against Odinson right now. Davis did, in fact, come out, and agreed that now was a perfectly good time for the...
FIP FLORIDA HERITAGE TITLE MATCH:
Jon Davis(c) vs. Odinson (w/The End) - 6.25/10
They had a good hoss fight, trading strikes early on, until a Jon Davis lariat went errant and accidentally hit a concrete post. Odinson worked Davis' arm over after that, which greatly affected Davis' ability to throw strikes, but Davis toughed it out and was able to find a way to win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - The End seemed like they were cornering Davis but Drennan then slapped Odinson and shouted at him for losing before ordering him to go to the back. He then ordered Parrow to the back as well and walked to the back himself, leaving Davis alone.
EFFY vs. BILLY BARBOZA (w/Weevil Whitaker) - 2.5/10
If I wanted to see a clown show I'd be watching the circus.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Meh. Francisco Ciatso comes out because he has beef with Effy. Security held Ciatso back, and Effy left because they already have a match scheduled tomorrow night for IPW Hardcore's Days of Future Past, which will also be airing on Club WWN. Ciatso demanded that "someone with some balls" come out and fight him. I don't know anything about this Ciatso vs. Effy feud, so it's possible that this comment was less a criticism of Effy for not fighting him now and more intended as a homophobic remark, but I don't know. Either way, with Effy's character being what it is, it did kind of come off that way.
The person who came out to answer this challenge was the big, scary Logan Creed. These guys had a brawl, but because this is FIP, that immediately turned into...
LOGAN CREED vs. FRANCISCO CIATSO - DUD!
They had a relatively dull brawl that ended- for us, anyway- when they brawled out the doors and disappeared off into the night.
BRYAN IDOL vs. FRED YEHI - 7/10
When it was clear Ciatso and Creed weren't coming back, Bryan Idol came out and demanded that his match with Fred Yehi take place right now. This is the second time we've done this angle in the past half an hour, and it's not like this is something like TNA's "Open Fight Night" where the gimmick of this show is people coming out and demanding matches.
This match was a nice break from a lot of the other stuff we've seen so far tonight because it was actually quite good. These two had pretty great match with Yehi as the angry, aggressive babyface who is fed up with the annoying heel. He controlled a good chunk of the match, but had opportunities to put Idol away thwarted first by Priscilla Kelly and then later by a Singapore Cane-wielding Zeda Zhang. Yehi's getting rough with the two ladies- especially Zhang- was very well-done in that it was completely justified, but the way he threw them down and off of him still felt like a clear sign of his anger escalating in a way he usually wouldn't allow it to do. After tossing Chang out of the ring he was rolled up by Idol for the win.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - GREAT! Idol fled the scene as an angry Yehi grabbed the Singapore Cane Zhang had hit him with and smashed it on the mat in anger. Then Austin Theory came out and cut a promo mocking Yehi for both his loss tonight and losing the FIP World Heavyweight Title to Theory (back in December at Evolve 97). Theory said that he would break Yehi's record for longest-reigning FIP World Champion of all time (a bold claim, as Yehi has 348 days on him as of this moment, and a big title defense in tonight's main event) and said that Yehi was now at the bottom of the totem pole. This just made Yehi even more furious, and he eventually shoved down the referee who was trying to restrain him... which violates FIP's new rule about not putting your hands on a referee, so whatever punishment Yehi surely receives from this will serve the dual purposes of establishing that this rule is going to be a real thing with real consequences, and also probably keeping Yehi off of some number of shows or doing some similar thing to prevent him from getting a shot at Theory for a while, allowing Theory to creep closer to breaking Yehi's record while Yehi can't do anything about it.
EFFY PROMO - Fine. He insists to us that he is a serious wrestler, and he is going to prove it by making an open challenge right here, right now. This resulted in...
EFFY vs. SERPENTICO - 6.75/10
Serious wrestler Effy starts off this match by lifting up Serpentico's decorative loincloth so he can try to size up his package. After that they had what turned out to be a pretty good ten-minute match, with some weapon use, some good athleticism on display, and good babyface/heel dynamics, although the last of those were somewhat undermined by the supposed babyface beginning the match by sexually harassing his opponent, and doing so moments after he had promised to be a serious wrestler.
SNOOP STRIKES & TRACER X vs. DARIUS LOCKHART & TROY HOLLYWOOD - 7.75/10
This was your "PWG-style" crazy athletic spotfest. It was very fun.
FIP WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Austin Theory(c) (w/Priscilla Kelly) vs. Darby Allin - 7.75/10
This was one of the best matches I've ever seen under ten minutes (it went about 9:20) and while a main event world title match between two young stars going under ten minutes is usually a very disappointing thing, these two still managed to make it feel like a war. The crowd, which was hot all night, was super-hot here, and were FURIOUS when Theory kicked out at 2.9999999. Theory ultimately retained his tile thanks to Priscilla Kelly serving as a distraction to Darby, whether of her own initiative, or, as happened at the end, Theory pulled her in the way of a Darby Allin shotgun dropkick and Darby went to check on her, allowing Theory to hit him from behind. Theory pulling Priscilla in the way sounds like something that should lead to a break-up, but from over-dramatic selling (almost like a stage faint) in the corner after doing down for Darby's dropkick, I'm more inclined to think that she is perfectly fine with this tactic, and improvised that extra bit of selling to really try to catch Darby's attention, making herself a willing accomplice, albeit post-facto.
The lure of a Jon Davis vs. Odinson title match hoss fight and the thought that the main event would be important to EVOLVE storylines are pretty much the only reasons I watched this show (the fact that it was under two hours certainly helped my decision, too). I went into this with pretty realistic expectations about what to expect from FIP at this point, and while several chunks of the show were hard to sit through, this show definitely exceeded my expectations in the ring. If the next show is relatively short and the card looks good, I might well drop in for it.