It's a new year, and that means that it's the traditional time of forgetting your mistakes from last year so that you can repeat them again this year. Here in BRM's monthly "This Day in Wrestling History" review series, the mistake we are going to repeat is taking a chance on another one-match show. Today's is brought to us by Gabe Sapolsky's middle child, the Florida-based Full Impact Pro, and the one-match show in question is the early 2006 offering FIP Strong vs. Evans.
OPENING SEGMENT - Fine. Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro come out and get everyone up to speed on Erick Stevens & Steve Madison screwing them out of the tag titles last night, then call them out for a fight but the heels don't come out.
VIC SLOWHAND INTERVIEWS JACK EVANS - Fine. Jack built up his main event #1 contendership match against Roderick Strong tonight. A fifteen-year veteran named Angel Armoni then came out, got some cheap heat, and complained that a young punk like Jack was getting a big opportunity and he wasn't. Stuff was said, shoving happened, and eventually we got...
JACK EVANS vs. ANGEL ARMONI - 1.5/10
Jack got shined up a bit but Armoni cut him off and began choking him with a concealed chain. Roderick Strong came out and pointed this out to the referee. Jack kicked Armoni in the head and pinned him.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Vic Slowhand asked Roddy why he intervened to stop Jack from behind hurt here when they have a #1 contendership match later in the night. Roddy said that he wants a fair main event so that when he wins the main event and goes on to win the title, no one can claim that he isn't the best in the world. Roddy offers Jack a handshake and Jack accepts.
BENNY BLANCO, CHASYN RANCE, & SETH DELAY vs. KORY CHAVIS & THE HEARTBREAK EXPRESS (w/SoCal Val) - 4/10
A fine win for the babyfaces, though Chavis was the guy who really shined in the ring.
PEOPLE CALL EACH OTHER OUT - First Cabana & Rinauro came out to call out Madison & Stevens again. Instead they got The Fast & The Furious, who said that they respected Cabana & Sal's beef with Madison & Stevens because they have beef with them, too. Then Cabana & Rinauro just disappeared and Jerrelle Clark called out Bryan Danielson, saying he wanted a rematch from last month's Florida Rumble. Danielson's manager Dave Prazak came out and said that Clark would not get a rematch against Danielson but would have to face Austin Aries instead. Prazak then went backstage, leaving us with...
JERRELLE CLARK vs. AUSTIN ARIES (w/Bryan Danielson & Mr. Milo Beasley) - 6.25/10
Good babyface vs. heel match with a well-executed heel victory of Danielson pushing Clark off the top rope while Aries kept the referee distracted, continuing the issues between those two. This also led to Jay Fury cutting a promo challenging Danielson to the match, so as Clark went to the back selling his head, the everyone else squared up for...
JAY FURY vs. BRYAN DANIELSON (w/Austin Aries & Mr. Milo Beasley) - 6.5/10
Danielson takes a page out of CM Punk's book of how to be a goofy southern heel by getting your rights pulled down, but unlike Punk, he didn't leave his bare ass hanging out for several minutes. The match was good.
COLT CABANA & SAL RINAURO ARE BACK - Now they're going to sit with the crowd and wait until Stevens & Madison came out, and when they do, they're going to attack them.
BLACK MARKET vs. MASKED FIPPER #9 & MASKED FIPPER #10 - Good squash
The guy in Black Market who does the talking cut a good promo after the match.
DAVE PRAZAK PROMO - He notes that DP Associates are undefeated tonight, and they will remain undefeated because there is no competition for Jimmy Rave. Tony Mamaluke then came out and challenged Rave to a match, so we got...
TONY MAMALUKE vs. JIMMY RAVE (w/Dave Prazak & Mr. Milo Beasley) - 6/10
Rave took F*CKING FOREVER to even so much as get into the ring. It's like watching a Cody Rhodes match in ROH. Once the match actually started it was good, but it took way too long to get us to that point.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Mamaluke won, so Dave Prazak threw a temper tantrum. This served to distract everyone so that Erick Stevens & Steve Madison could run in from a side door and attack Colt Cabana & Sal Rinauro from behind, which turned into...
COLT CABANA & SAL RINAURO vs. MIRACLE VIOLENCE CONNECTION 2006 (Erick Stevens & Steve Madison) - 5.75/10
The match was mostly good, but too much of what Cabana and especially Rinauro do is just too cartoonish and goofy for me to be able to take it seriously and get invested in it. The heels cheated to win, so Colt Cabana cut a promo after the match challenging them to separate singles matches when FIP returns here next month, with Cabana's logic being that if the heels cheat when they are together then the best way to prevent them from cheating is by separating them.
FIP HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE #1 CONTENDERSHIP MATCH:
Roderick Strong vs. Jack Evans - 8.5/10
Roddy worked the back as you'd expect, while Jack... was Jack. He did cool flippy moves and kicks that targeted the head, and showed off his ability to be twisted into painful positions against his will. The match was quite awesome (one of the best I've seen from FIP thus far), but due to just how much cache had been built up by shows that Gabe bestowed the "X vs. Y" name upon so far (just Joe vs. Punk II and Joe vs. Kobashi- as well as the other shows so far he had named exclusively after one match after the show happened, which where Joe and Punk's first World Title Classic and the Bryan Danielson vs. Paul London Epic Encounter) this match can't help but feel disappointing. I have learned to lower my expectations for FIP, but I didn't think that would apply to something Gabe had kept as rare and sacred as this as well. I was wrong. I'm not saying the match wasn't awesome (it certainly was), but I don't think lives up to the legacy of the honor that was bestowed upon it.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Roddy showed Jack respect after the match. Jack's selling was excellent. They showed us Roddy walking backstage, including Gabe congratulating him (something rarely seen on camera, and not acknowledged in any way), and Jack having to be helped backstage, with the camera taking the time to focus on his chop-induced welts.
The undercard here was definitely more solid than usual for FIP and the main event was better than usual as well, but due to this being a one-match show, my major impression of it is one of disappointment for the reasons expressed in my review of the main event. It's certainly above par for FIP, but it is still an FIP show so it still feels like it fails to deliver to the level you'd expect based solely on the match listing on the back of the jewel case. Throw in the problematic audio and you've got a show that has finally convinced me to take a break from FIP for a while.
As for next month, my assumption is that the bad decisions will continue, but part of the reason for doing this series was to force myself to actually watch some of the DVDs I have lying around, so we're going to watch what I believe is one of the DVDs I've had for the longest without getting around to watching it. What show is it? You'll have to tune in next month to find out.