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DVD Review: FIP, "Heat Stroke '05, Night 1," Aug. 5, 2005, with Homicide-Madison, Steel-Punk, Joe-Spanky

Jul 10, 2006 - 3:40:00 PM
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By Chris Vetter, Torch Contributor

Full Impact Pro held “Heat Stroke ’05, Night 1” on Aug. 5, 2005, in Crystal River, Fla. This building has bare white walls and a really high ceiling, and the crowd is perhaps 250-300 … a far cry from FIP’s first few DVDs, where the crowds were literally 30-60 fans. This show was filmed with multiple cameras with good editing, and lighting is good here (that’s also been a problem on some of the early FIP releases.)

On commentary is Lenny Leonard & Dave Prazak. Prazak is a heel here, and he spent more time at ringside, managing wrestlers, than he did in the booth. I’ve said this before about FIP – this promotion stresses an ‘old school vibe,’ where all action, interviews, etc., are done in front of the crowd.

* The DVD opens with Leonard introducing Prazak & Mr. Milo Beasley, who is in a wheelchair, and the tag champs of Fast Eddie & Jimmy Rave. Prazak offered a non-title match to any challenger. This brought out the Ring Crew Express, Dunn & Marcos!

(1) Dunn & Marcos defeat Jimmy Rave & Fast Eddie (w/Prazak & Beasley) at 10:35. Good opener. All four wrestlers fought in the ring. Marcos hit some armdrags and a dropkick on Rave. This building has a loud echo! Fast Eddie entered and hit some armdrags. The Ring Crew did a ‘double air guitar,’ and they slammed Rave into Eddie at 4:00. The heels hit a team backbody drop on Dunn. Fast Eddie hit a second-rope elbow drop for a nearfall, and he posed, drawing great heel heat. Milo cheated. Eddie hit a spine kick.

At 8:30, the top rope snapped!!! Dunn clutched his back in pain. The champs continued to work over Dunn. Fast Eddie missed a second-rope moonsault. Marcos made the hot tag, and he hit an enziguri on Rave, then a Falcon Arrow on Fast Eddie. Dunn put Marcos on his shoulders, and Marcos hit the senton splash on Rave for the pin! Solid match.

* CM Punk came out and got on the mic, saying he’s never coming back to this town again! He told the fans that he has signed a WWE contract, and he’s here to beat his trainer, Ace Steel, in his final FIP match. Adam Pearce, who was with Punk, ripped on the crowd and told them to shut up.

(2) Jerrelle Clark defeats Jay Fury and Azrieal and Roderick Strong in a four-way elimination match at 11:07. Really good action. The bottom rope is now gone (it was moved to replace the broken top rope). All four of these guys are faces here. Prazak joined Leonard for commentary, and he complained that the tag champs’ loss (it was a non-title match) should be nullified because the top rope had broken. Fury hit a nice headscissors takedown on Strong. Clark hit a springboard crossbody block on Strong. Strong hit a spinebuster for a nearfall on Clark, then a delayed vertical suplex on Clark for a nearfall.

Clark hit a springboard DDT on Strong, then a nice dropkick for a nearfall on Azrieal at 3:00. Fury hit an awesome missile dropkick on Azrieal. Azrieal applied a Cobra Clutch, then he hit some spine kicks, on Fury. Strong made the save (which was pretty dumb in an elimination match.) Azrieal hit a doublestomp on Strong’s necke, then he hit a flip dive to the floor. Back in the ring, Strong hit a backbreaker to pin Azrieal at 6:06. Clark & Fury hit simultaneous enziguris on Strong, and Leonard noted these two were working well together (foreshadowing! I like it!). Fury & Clark then pinned Strong at 7:22 with a team crossbody block & sunset flip move. Cool.

Fury hit the JayTrix/back bump-kip up-enziguri. Fury then hit a nice snap suplex. Clark came back with a spinebuster for a nearfall. Clark hit a Pele Kick, then he hit a nice handspring-back-moonsault for a nearfall. Jerrelle placed Fury’s feet on the top rope, and Jerrelle hit an Ace Crusher, that almost looked like a Death Valley Driver, for the pin. Cool move. Good four-way.

* Jerrelle spoke on the mic, but I couldn’t understand him. He & Fury shook hands and hugged, and the crowd cheered. It appears they’ve agreed to be tag partners!

* Steve Madison came out, got on the mic, and talked about his title shot. James Gibson came out of the back, and Madison ran away. (I’ve enjoyed this storyline, as the Gibson-Madison feud has built nicely.)

(3) Tony Mamaluke defeats James Gibson at 18:11. WOW. A really, really good, underrated mat-based match, and my pick for match of the show. Prazak talked about how this submission-style match could be affected with no bottom rope. Intriguing. They traded good mat holds and had a standoff. Mamaluke grapevined the leg, applied a headscissorslock, and they had another standoff at 5:00. Gibson hit a shoulder tackle. Mamaluke applied a cross-armbreaker, and the crowd was hot! Gibson hit a plancha to the floor at 8:00.

On commentary, Leonard boasted that the crowd topped 500 fans. (I’ll stick with my estimate of 300. There is no way this crowd averages 125 fans per side of the ring.) Mamaluke applied an arm submission hold, and he bridged backward, and he focused on Gibson’s arm. Gibson applied a nice Texas Cloverleaf, and Mamaluke was in pain, but he reached the ropes at 11:00. Gibson hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, and he planted his knee in the lower back. Mamaluke came back with a headscissors takedown, sending Gibson crashing into the second turnbuckle.

Mamaluke applied a Front Guillotine Choke, but Gibson rammed him into the corner to escape. Mamaluke nailed a German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall at 15:00. They traded some stiff, clubbing forearms, and Mamaluke hit some spin kicks to Gibson’s side. Gibson fired back with a spinebuster, and both men were down, and the crowd was hot! Gibson hit some knee strikes to the head and a brainbuster for a believable nearfall. Mamaluke applied a Triangle Choke, then a Fujiwara Armbar, and Gibson tapped out. Really good match.

(4) Sal Rinauro defeats Adam Pearce (w/Prazak) at 10:10. Pearce wore his blue Flair-style robe, and he jawed with the fans on his way to ringside; this is Pearce’s FIP debut. Rinauro wore his teal trunks, and he’s popular. Pearce is much taller & thicker. Sal hit a shoulder tackle, and Pearce bailed. Rinauro did a ‘chicken dance’ in the ring, and the crowd taunted Pearce with “chicken” chants, as he stalled much of the early stages of this match. Rinauro worked on the left arm, and Pearce (who is bald) complained to the ref that Rinauro was pulling his hair.

Pearce hit a spinebuster at 5:00, drawing lots of boos! Pearce is a heat machine! Prazak choked Rinauro in the ropes. Sal hit some punches. Pearce pulled Rinauro down by his long hair. Pearce worked over the left knee, and he applied a Figure Four Leglock in the middle of the ring at 8:00. Rinauro came back with an enziguri and a clothesline. Pearce again went for a Figure Four Leglock, when Sal got an inside cradle for the pin. Solid match.

* Samoa Joe hit the ring and attacked Sal after his match. Spanky made the save, setting up the next match!

(5) Samoa Joe (w/Prazak) defeats Spanky at 11:41. When Samoa Joe debuted in FIP, he was wearing some god-awful makeup, like CM Punk did here. That’s gone now, and he looked like he usually does. Joe overpowered Spanky, pushing him to the mat. Spanky hit some armdrags, and Joe bailed to the floor. Spanky hit three dropkicks. Joe hit a shoulder tackle, then a buttsplash in the corner, some stomps and headbutts. At 4:30, he hit the back chop & front kick & knee drop combo, then he bit Spanky, and he choked him in the ropes!

The crowd rallied behind Spanky. Prazak choked Spanky, and Milo Beasley attacked Spanky too. Spanky nailed a Superkick at 9:00, then he hit a Tornado DDT, and they were both down. Joe hit a powerslam and a hard clothesline for a nearfall, but he missed a senton splash. Spanky hit a back heel kick and a frogsplash for a nearfall at 11:00. Spanky went for the Slice Bread #2/flip bulldog, but Prazak grabbed Spanky’s ankle as Spanky scaled the ropes; this interference allowed Joe to slap on the rear-naked choke, and Spanky tapped out. Good match, but not a must-see classic, either.

(6) Antonio Banks & Rainman defeat Sean & Phil Davis (the Heartbreak Express) at 6:34. Solid, short match. The faces charged the ring, and the HBE bailed. Rainman wore a black singlet, and Banks wore black trunks. Sean Davis – the heavy one – lewdly rubbed his body, drawing groans from the crowd. Rainman hit a leg lariat on Phil. Phil and Sean’s heads crashed into each other, and they bailed to the floor. Banks hit a shoulder tackle on Phil, then a clothesline.

The crowd hates the Heartbreak Express, and they loudly booed them! (There are three ropes now; a new rope must have been added at intermission.) Sean hit a running buttsplash on Rainman’s face in the corner at 3:00. Sean hit a standing neckbreaker for a nearfall, but he missed a splash. Banks made the hot tag at 6:00, and he hit a backbody drop on Phil, then he slapped a Crippler Crossface on Sean, and Sean tapped out. Basic match.

* After the match, Rainmain attacked Banks! He nailed a short-arm clothesline and a backpack stunner. (Why did he do this? There was no hint that this heel turn was coming. Nonsensical.) The crowd booed Rainman.

(7) CM Punk (w/Prazak) defeats Ace Steel at 10:48. I thought this match was going to run 20 minutes, when it suddenly ended, and I felt short-changed. Steel wore yellow & black trunks. They traded chops, and Punk bailed, and he taunted the crowd. Ace hit some stomps on the left arm, and he slammed the arm on the turnbuckle. Ace hit and armdrag, and he was in control. Prazak distracted Steel, allowing Punk to hit a clothesline at 5:00. Punk hit a backbreaker for a nearfall, and Prazak choked Steel.

They traded punched, then chops, and Ace hit a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall at 9:00. Ace nailed a running dropkick to the face in the corner, and he slapped the Claw on Punk’s head! Prazak distracted the ref, allowing Punk to hit a low blow! Samoa Joe ran in the ring, clipped Steel’s leg, knocking Steel to the mat. Punk then covered Ace for the cheap pin. This felt like the first half to a really good 20- to 25-minute match.

(8) Homicide defeats Steve Madison (w/Erick Stevens) at 11:48 to retain the FIP title. I’ve said this before, but Madison has a Randy Orton-type of heel charisma. They started with an intense lockup, while Prazak & Leonard continued to argue about the tag title match that opened the show! Funny. Madison hit a shoulder tackle, some armdrags, and blows to the back. Homicide hit a belly-to-belly overhead suplex for a nearfall at 4:00, then a European Uppercut and some stiff forearms. Madison applied a headscissorslock, then he got in a powerslam for a nearfall. Leonard talked about Madison’s success in a Japanese promotion.

Homicide nailed a tope con helo on Madison & Stevens on the floor. Homicide nailed a flying headbutt for a nearfall in the ring. Madison hit a brainbuster for a nearfall at 8:00, then a clothesline for a nearfall. Homicide hit a Tornado DDT for a nearfall. Madison hit a top-rope superplex, and they were both down. Homicide hit a second-rope Ace Crusher, then a hard lariat! Homicide applied a mid-ring Octopus, and Madison tapped out to the Octopus! Good match, surprising finish.

* Gibson ran out of the back, and he attacked Stevens & Madison, to end the show.

Final thoughts:
DVD runs 2 hours 16 minutes, and I like that FIP has broken out of the mold that “the show must end in 2 hours flat.” By going a few minutes over, it allowed each of the eight matches to fully develop.

I attended many, many Steel Domain Wrestling shows in 2000 & 2001, when CM Punk had some amazing matches with Colt Cabana and Ace Steel. On an FIP show a month earlier, Punk had another classic match with Colt Cabana. I expected the same here. Instead, this felt like a ‘half-match’ that was cut short just as it got going. I don’t know how else to describe this match; it was disappointing, as it was the main reason I picked up this DVD.

Match of the night goes to the mat classic between Gibson and Mamaluke, as they kept the moves quick and crisp, and the crowd was hot for all their reversals. I really enjoyed the four-way elimination match and that got second best. The Homicide-Madison match was a good main event, and that earned third-best, just ahead of Samoa Joe-Spanky. That is a good top-four. Punk-Steel, while disappointing, was still fifth-best.

I know I’m probably in the minority, but I really miss Fast Eddie in ROH/FIP. He oozes heel charisma, and he was a perfect teammate for Rave.

This was a far better show than the FIP shows just a few months ago. Gone are the bad workers like Evan Starsmore, Ryze, LaDuke Jakes, and the solid-but-not-spectacular guys like Erick Stevens, Jared Steel and Don Juan. The roster for this show is one of the best I’ve seen for one, single FIP show. In fact, I only described one match here as ‘below average’ (the HBE tag match), and those guys always get good heat.

One complaint I have about FIP right now is that Prazak seems to be managing almost every heel! He spent more time at ringside than he did in the commentary booth. I love Prazak on commentary, but I’m not a big fan of ‘heel Prazak,’ like he is in FIP.

The crowd was hot and into this entire show. FIP has definitely turned the corner from some bad shows early on, and I recommend this DVD. Thumbs up, and it can be purchased at www.rohwrestling.com for $15.


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