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Radican’s DVD review
Feb. 16, 2008
Crystal River, Fla.
By Sean Radican, PWTorch Columnist
-The show began with Dave Prazak coming out with Davey Richards. He said Richards was the newest member of DP Associates. Austin Aries then came out and said he had unfinished business with DP Associates. He then challenged Prazak to put up his managerial license if he could beat Richards. Prazak said yes, but only agreed to the terms if Aries would put his career in FIP on the line.
(1) Austin Aries vs. Davey Richards (w/DP Associates). Lenny Leonard introduced the show and said FIP was re-launching tonight. Aries had the advantage early, but Prazak took his attention away from Richards on the outside, which allowed Richards to nail him with a surprise clothesline as he was chasing Prazak around the ring. Mr. Milo Beasley also interfered and got out of his wheelchair to nail Aries with a senton off the apron as Richards distracted the ref. Aries made a comeback and hit the heat seeking missile to the outside as the crowd chanted Aries’s name. Aries went for the brainbuster, but Richards countered and hit a gutbuster. Prazak tried to interfere and Aries went after him. Richards charged at Aries, but he got out of the way and Richards ended up nailing Prazak. Aries then hit a series of knee strikes and got the submission victory with the horns of Aries. (***)
-After the match, Leonard said that Prazak’s reign of terror in FIP was over. Prazak threw a tantrum in the ring as Aries lead the crowd in singing goodbye to Prazak.
-Shawn Murphy came out and said Machete had been attacked at his home and might not make it. He appeared to be upset and walked to the back.
-The YRR arrived in the building in a fancy car outside the building. They walked inside and jawed with the crowd. Kenny King asked the camera where the Briscoes were. Chasyn Rance got on the mic and bragged about the men and women of the YRR. Kenny King got on the mic and called out the Briscoes. The sound during this segment was difficult to listen to, as the crowd noise drowned out the in-ring mic. Jason Blade got on the mic and jawed with the crowd. Two fans (Robert Anthony and Shawn Osbourne) stepped up to the guardrail. Anthony got on the mic and challenged King and Blade to put the FIP Tag Titles on the line in a match later that night. Blade and King appeared to accept the challenge.
Seth Delay then came out and grabbed the mic from Anthony. I think he asked them to go to the back. Delay then ran to the ring and the YRR bailed. Leonard told us he wanted a piece of Chasyn Rance.
(2) Seth Delay vs. Chasyn Rance (w/The YRR). Prazak came in on commentary and said he hadn’t lost his contract to call the matches. Rance threw Rain into Delay to gain the upper hand on the outside and threw him back into the ring, but Delay cut him off quickly. Lacey ended up getting on the apron and slapping Delay across the face. Rance then came up from behind Delay and rolled him up for the pin. (n/a)
-Allison Danger and Trenesha came down to ringside and appeared to want to get at Rain and Lacey. Rain’s facial expressions are great.
(3) The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew (Lacey & Rain w/ The YRR) vs. Allison Danger & Trenesha. Danger got a “slut” going for Lacey during the early stages of the match. Rain looked absolutely horrified on the apron every time danger got the upper hand on Lacey while they were doing chain wrestling, which was hilarious. Trenesha finally tagged in and signaled for the claw on Rain, but Lacey broke it up. Rain ended up hitting Danger from behind when she bounced off the ropes, which gave her team the advantage. The MHWC tagged in and out to work over Danger, who couldn’t quite get back to her corner to tag in Trenesha. Danger cut Rain off with an STO, but was slow to get up. Danger finally rolled over to her corner and tagged in Trenesha. Rain also tagged out. Trenesha ran wild on Lacey and hit a big forearm, but Lacey nicely countered a bodyslam into a back stabber. Trenesha hit a double claw slam on the MHWC, but Rance distracted the ref. Lacey then submitted Trenesha with a triangle choke for the win. This was really good women’s action. (**3/4)
-Kenny King and Jason Blade came out and looked to be ready to defend the FIP Tag Team Titles. Tyler Black came out and told Lacey she knew she wasn’t where she belonged. He said the YRR wasn’t for Lacey. Black said the Age of the Fall is not an option. Lacey looked confused and left the ring. Lacey went back into the ring and asked Rain to join her. Prazak said Lacey and Rain were a package deal. Black told the YRR that this was a revolution.
(4) FIP Tag Team Champions Kenny King & Jason Blade (w/ The YRR) vs. Robert Anthony & Shawn Osbourne. Anthony ran wild on Blade early and looked impressive. Prazak asked where Anthony came from and seemed to be impressed. Anthony & Osbourne continued to tag in and out to dominate King. Blade interfered from the apron and grabbed Anthony as he went for a springboard on King to give his team the upper hand. King has gotten a lot better since the last time I saw him wrestle last year. He carries himself with a lot of confidence in the ring. Anthony finally hit a clothesline on Blade and tagged in Osbourne, who ran wild on King. King & Blade ended up hitting a double team DDT for the pin on Osbourne. Anthony & Osbourne were impressive in their FIP debut. (***)
(5) Anything Goes match: Necro Butcher (w/ Tyler Black) vs. ROH World Champion Nigel McGuinness (non-title). After some back and fourth action in the ring, they went to the outside and Necro tricked McGuinness by playing possum and threw a chair into his legs. They brawled into the crowd and Necro bodyslammed McGuinness while holding a chair. Necro began picking up chairs and slammed several onto McGuinness, who appeared to be in a lot of pain. McGuinness countered a slam from Necro and backdropped him onto a pile of chairs. McGuinness began working Necro’s arm. He slammed it several times into the barricade and then placed it in the hammerlock position before throwing him into a pile of chairs. McGuinness continued to work over Necro’s arm for several minutes. Necro finally cut McGuinness off when he blocked a lariat and hit a chokeslam. Necro went up top, but McGuinness cut him off and hit the tower of London on a chair. McGuinness then locked in the London dungeon submission for the win. This was a really good brawl with some wrestler vs. brawler psychology nicely brought together. (***1/4)
-An ad for the Best of C.M. Punk in FIP Vol. 2 aired.
-Sal Rinauro came to the ring and cut a promo. He bragged about being the Florida Heritage Champion. He then spit on the belt and said every time he steps in the ring, he proves he’s the best. Rinauro called out Tyler Black for taking his “babes.” Black came out with Lacey & Rain, who were dressed in black attire. He charged the ring and Rinauro bailed. Black said he treated the belt and the girls with no respect. Black accepted Rinauro’s challenge and it was on!
(6) FIP Florida Heritage Champion Sal Rinauro vs. Tyler Black (w/Lacey & Rain). Black went for the small package driver early and Rinauro bailed to the floor. Black continued to dominate Rinauro once he got back inside the ring. Rinauro cut off Black several minutes later by countering a charging Black with a hip-toss into the turnbuckles. Black tried to make a comeback, but Rinauro went after his eyes. Rinauro hit an elbow drop and did the “sexy party” dance for Lacey and Rain. Black rolled out of the way of an attempted springboard legdrop, which brought out the YRR. Rinauro made a big comeback and hit a nice quebrada for a two count. The YRR interfered, but Black fended them off with a double DDT. Black went for a clothesline off the ropes, but Rance grabbed his leg. Black continued to fend off the YRR, but Rinauro finally cut him off with a leg lariat. Black had the win after a superkick, but King grabbed the ref. Black went after King, but ended up turning around into a springboard kick from Rinauro, who got the pin. This match featured too much interference for my taste. (**3/4)
-Shawn Murphy came out and said Machete had been jumped by two people at his house. The Heartbreak Express came out. Sean Davis got on the mic and said they didn’t care about Machete. He said Black Market had signed a contract with the stipulation of the losing team never being able to wrestle in FIP team. Davis offered Murphy the option of forfeiting the match or getting his ass kicked.
(7) Handicap match – losing team can never wrestle in FIP again: Shawn Murphy of Black Market vs. The Heartbreak Express (Sean Davis & Phil Davis). Murphy jumped both men on the outside and they brawled into the ring with Murphy on the advantage. The announcers said the HBX had set up Machete to be attacked at his house. The HBX cut Murphy off and busted him open with a series of shots from a cookie sheet. Several babyfaces came out from the back to support Murphy at ringside, as the HBX attacked Murphy’s forehead with a fork. Allison Danger tripped Sean, which allowed Murphy to hit a spear on Phil. Murphy got a trashcan and laid out the HBX. Sean came up bleeding a gusher. The announcers talked about the history between the HBX and Black Market in Crystal River. Sean got a chain and whipped Murphy across the back. Murphy clotheslined Sean with the chain to get the pin. This match told a really good story and felt really dramatic given how the babyfaces came out to support Murphy. (***)
-After the match, two men in masks attacked Murphy. The announcers speculated that they weren’t sure whether or not it was the same people who attacked Machete. The babyfaces ran in to help Murphy, but got beat down by the men in ski masks. The masked men then wrapped a chain around Murphy’s neck and Prazak asked where Machete was sarcastically. The babyfaces helped Murphy get to his feet and the crowd applauded as he was helped to the back.
-Lenny Leonard introduced the main event featuring FIP Hvt. Champion Erick Stevens vs. Roderick Strong. Austin Aries came out from the back and said he would be keeping a close eye on the main event. Lacey came out from the back and offered him a spot in the Age of the Fall, but Aries didn’t accept and headed to the back.
(8) FIP World Hvt. Champion Erick Stevens vs. Roderick Strong. The announcers talked about Stevens beating Austin Aries and Bryan Danielson since capturing the title from Strong at ROH’s “Final Battle 2007.” Both men took the action to the mat during the early stages of the match and exchanged submissions, but ended up coming to a stalemate. Stevens countered a leg scissors from Strong on the mat and locked in a nasty submission of his own, but Strong countered and regained the advantage on the mat. Strong and Stevens went face to face and began exchanging brutal chops in the center of the ring. Stevens chopped the living hell out of Strong’s chest as the sound of his chops reverberated through the building. That was brutal!
Strong fired back with forearms and chops. Strong absolutely lit up Stevens with some of the stiffest chops I’ve seen this side of Joe-Kobashi. Strong then laid out Stevens with a wicked Forearm. Strong locked Stevens in an abdominal stretch on the mat that forced Stevens to carry all of Strong’s weight on his back as he crawled to the ropes to break the hold. Stevens fired back with chops and forearms. Both men then exchanged some brutal forearms, but Strong sent Stevens to the mat with a chop to the face! Stevens fired back again and hit the “Choo Choo” on the second try. Both men then hit a double clothesline and collapsed to the mat as the ref administered the 10 count.
Stevens was up first and both men really picked up the pace with some fast-paced exchanges off the ropes. Stevens dominated Strong and hit the jackhammer for a two count. Strong cut Stevens off with a yokuza kick. Stevens fought Strong off on the apron and pushed him to the floor. Stevens then hit a running forearm off the apron to the floor and the crowd chanted “FIP, FIP.” Strong wrestled the FIP World Hvt. Title from a ringside attendant. When the attendant let go, Strong’s momentum took the belt right into Stevens’s head. The ref went to signal for the bell, but Strong tackled him and begged him not to call for the DQ. The fans chanted “let them fight,” as Stevens was shown bleeding a gusher on the outside. Strong apologized to Stevens and rolled him back into the ring. Strong gave Stevens the opportunity to recover.
The ref signaled for the match to continue and Strong charged at Stevens and obliterated him with a clothesline in the corner and a huge backbreaker. Strong pushed Stevens into the corner and lit him up with a big chop and another stiff forearm and Stevens collapsed to the mat. Strong brought a wobbly Stevens to his feet and helped him up and slapped him across the face. Strong then laid into Stevens with chops and forearms. Strong finished the flurry with a discus chop. Strong locked in a Boston crab on Stevens, who screamed in pain the center of the ring. Stevens teased tapping multiple times, but ended up getting the ropes.
Stevens knocked Strong off the ropes several times, but couldn’t capitalize. Stevens finally sent Strong to the mat and hit a shoulder tackle off the ropes. Stevens caught Strong coming out of the corner and elevated him and then clotheslined him to the mat for a two count. Stevens sit a sit out pump-handle slam for another nearfall. Stevens hit an overhead German release suplex and went for a clothesline, but Strong grabbed the ref and pushed him in Steven’s path. Prazak tried to claim Strong’s actions were unintentional, but Leonard called him out on it. Strong hit a big chairshot to Stevens’s head on the outside and tried to revive the ref. Stevens was shown on the outside twitching against the guardrail as the ref counted him out (the belt can change hands on a countout in FIP). Stevens finally began crawling towards the ring as the ref’s count got close to 20. Stevens had a hold of the ropes, but could not make it back into the ring.
This was one of the best FIP matches I’ve seen in years. It was one of the most dramatic matches I can recall seeing in FIP. The action was hard-hitting and crisp from start to finish. Some people might not like the countout finish, but Stevens made it dramatic enough that it didn’t feel like a flat ending to the match. (****1/2)
-Replays aired of some of the stiff exchanges between both men after Leonard and Prazak signed off.
-Stevens was shown sitting backstage. A ref told him that “Roddy won the belt.” Stevens flipped out and began throwing chairs around the backstage area.
-A graphic aired for FIP owner Sal Hamaoui’s wife, Tammie, who passed away last December.
Overall score: (7.5) FIP went on a hiatus after Owner Sal Hamaoui’s wife tragically passed away last December. This release, which was put out quickly, marked FIP’s return to the wrestling scene this past February. FIP has decided to go in a new direction upon re-launching, as ROH’s sister promotion is now only going to run one show per month and do live commentary to ensure the DVDs are put out in a more timely manner than they have been in the past. The promotion is also going to now incorporate ROH storylines.
There was a lot to like on this release, which I enjoyed quite a bit. The big attraction on this show is the Stevens-Strong FIP World Hvt. Title match, which ranks among the better matches I’ve seen this year. Stevens and Strong have been generating a lot of buzz in recent months with their work in FIP and ROH and this disc showcases the heights their feud has reached. The undercard was good, but it got annoying after awhile when the YRR interfered in every match one of their members was involved in.
“Redefined” earns high marks, as there isn’t a bad match to be found on the card. Among the highlights of this release are several solid contests, which include McGuinness-Necro, Aries-Richards, and Murphy-HBX. I really like the YRR, who are involved in several matches, but their act didn’t translate as well as it could have because the house mic took a back seat to crowd chatter during the promos, which is something FIP needs to fix ASAP. I just couldn’t hear much of anything clearly during all of the promo work on this show.
This was a night of shifting the pieces in place for FIP, as several talents were shifted around to their new position since FIP is now going to be following ROH storylines. This got a bit tiring at times, but it wasn’t that much of a distraction. I think future FIP shows will be less busy in that sense.
I highly recommend this release for the main event alone. The Stevens-Strong match was really good. It featured a lot of great work on the mat early, but once both men turned things up several notches, it was a really exciting and dramatic match, which was stiff as hell to boot. You really can’t go wrong, as this release also includes the Strong-Stevens match as a bonus from ROH’s “Final Battle 2007.”
There’s more than enough on the undercard to satisfy people purchasing this show. If FIP can fix some of their production problems, I feel the new direction of the company will be a positive thing. Thumbs up.