I’ve had this DVD in my collection for a while but never given it a full watch, so I decided to watch it in aid of having something fresh to write about, seeing as I’ve never done an FIP review before. The Main Event is a match you might have either heard of before or seen some clips from, especially for one particular spot in it, so it should be fun to review it hopefully.
For those not au fait, FIP is a company based out of Florida that operated for quite a while as a sister promotion to ROH. The FIP Title was even defended on ROH shows sometimes, with Roderick Strong in particular having an impressive reign with it.
Most of the people on this show will have turned out for ROH, TNA or even WWE in some cases, so I’m hoping that it will be an enjoyable enough show to watch.
Let’s watch some chuffing wrestling!
The event is emanating from Tampa, Florida
Calling the action are Marc Nulty and Dave Prazak, with Lenny Leonard playing the Mean Gene role and holding the mic for people when they cut promos.
Mikey Batts Vs Don Juan
In a nice touch, some of the guys get a chance to cut a promo in the entrance way before the match starts, which is a good way to help them develop some mic skills. Juan is unhappy about his girlfriend getting spanked the previous night, and the crowd doesn’t seem to like him. He’s especially annoyed that she didn’t feel up for some rumpy pumpy following the whole ordeal.
Batts gets a bit of a shine with some fast paced attacks, but Juan cuts him off with a back breaker and works some heat. Juan doesn’t do anything especially flashy in the heat, but he does take time to jaw with the fans now and then, which is a good thing. At least he isn’t ignoring them and is actively trying to get them to dislike him.
Batts sells things okay, but he has his head down quite a lot, which doesn’t really give the fans a chance to empathise with him. It’s usually better to sell outwards than inwards. The match has quite an abrupt finish, as Batts doesn’t really do a proper comeback and just catches Juan with a Yoshi Tonic out of nowhere for the three count.
WINNER: MIKEY BATTS
This was every opening match from a small promotion you’ve ever seen, as they went out there and did a basic opener in case there was anyone in the crowd who hadn’t really seen a wrestling match before. It could have done with a proper comeback for Batts, but it was fine.
Batts does a quick celebration and we cut to the next segment.
Erick Stevens Vs Kahagas
Stevens had a run in ROH in the second half of the 00’s and notably feuded with Roderick Strong. In fact, they had an excellent match at Final Battle 2007 that is worth seeking out if you’ve never seen it. Kahagas is a guy I don’t know a lot about, but he has a feel of Judo SUWA to him with the way he looks and dresses. He would actually go on to become the NWA Champion in 2012 before dropping it to Rob Conway after a four month reign.
Both men trade chops and slaps in the early going, which leads to them trading high impact moves. Stevens manages to catch Kahagas with a power slam and starts working him over, as it looks like he’s taking on the role as the heel here. I quite like Stevens and enjoyed his ROH work for the most part, and he’s not bad here either as he does some nice strikes a power moves. However, we get another out of nowhere babyface win, as Kahagas gets a reverse suplex to pick up the quick win.
What is with the abrupt match finishes with no comeback? That match was pretty short, but if they’d gone a bit longer it might have been rated higher.
We’re again straight on to the next match
Jared Steel Vs Antonio Banks
Banks would be better known as Montel Vontavious Porter these days. Steel is another guy I don’t really know much about, but he mostly seems to have worked the independent scene and done some shots for WWE as enhancement talent on the weekend shows during the mid 00’s. He’s got a decent looking physique, so that makes sense.
We get a handshake to start and both guys commence grappling. Both men do some chain wrestling and it’s a tad sloppy but it’s not awful or anything. It’s mostly just them trading holds, but it looks like they are actually trying to wrestle one another and not just going through the motions at least. Things turn into a bit more of a slug fest at points, with the two men trading strikes, and again it’s fine if a bit on the sloppy side.
Banks gets a nice near fall from a Yakuza Kick, as you can see he had something here, although watching this you probably wouldn’t think he’d be on the main roster of WWE in less than two years. He looks like he has talent but also someone in need of polish. I think getting the MVP gimmick gave him something to get his teeth into and allowed him to kick on. He’s more of a generic babyface here.
Both men up the ante with some more moves, as this has been more of a traditional Indy outing here with both men just having a match and not really working any defined roles. Steel gets a nice Lionsault for two, but Banks comes back with a spinning kick to the face for the three count.
WINNER: ANTONIO BANKS
This was just two guys doing stuff, but the stuff was fine for the most part and it was fun to see a younger MVP who hadn’t quite found himself yet.
I was hoping we’d get a Banks promo, but instead it’s straight on to the next match
911 Incorporated (Mike Shane and Rod Steel) w/ Ron Niemi Vs Double Deuce (Frankie Capone and Marcus Dillon)
Mike Shane would eventually get a gig in WWE as one half of the short-lived Gymini tag team. Steel did some stuff for the NWA and also worked a lot for IPW Hardcore. Niemi also did work for IPW Hardcore and could both manage and colour commentate. Capone is still wrestling in 2020 and was briefly under a WWE developmental deal in the failed Deep South Wrestling project they tried. Dillon seemed to drop off the radar in 2005 if Cagematch is anything to go by.
Niemi cuts a good promo before the match, explaining that Steel is filling in for Todd Shane who is injured. Shane looks like a tank and moves pretty smoothly in the ring, so it’s no surprise that WWE eventually decided to take a chance on him. He was also in the early days of TNA, which saw them dress him in a flesh coloured body suit and make his name an actual penis pun, because TNA. This one is mostly back and forth, with Shane and Steel looking to be the more heelish of the two teams.
Shane and Steel eventually cut Capone off and work him over in their half of the ring. Shane’s stuff has a better snap to it than Steel’s does, but it’s a perfectly serviceable heat segment. Capone manages to hip toss out of an abdominal stretch and makes the tag to Dillon, who does a pretty tepid hot tag segment. It works for his team however, as Capone comes in to help him take out Shane which allows for a Spear to Steel for the three count.
WINNERS: DOUBLE DEUCE
Shane looked good, Steel looked adequate and Double Deuce were a bit below average. Overall though it was fine for a brusque tag team match on the under card.
We’ve had four matches and we’re only just half an hour into the run time. This has been a very easy watch thus far, even if it hasn’t been an overly exciting one.
BJ Whitmer Vs Roderick Strong
Whitmer is playing heel here, and cuts a generic promo before the match saying that he’s going to beat Strong up because there is no one in the state of Florida who is tough. Roddy gets a quick promo in too, saying he’s going to defend the state of Florida’s good name here in this contest. It’s weird seeing Strong with his long tights as I’m so used to seeing him wear trunks these days. Changing the look was definitely a good idea on his part, he looks much better with the trunks.
Whiter goes to the eye poke early to ram home the point that he is a bad person that we should dislike, but Roddy fights back starts dishing out some of his trademark chops. I was backstage at a show once and saw him warming up by chopping the wall like he was Tong Po in Kickboxer or something. It must be like getting slapped in the chest with a baseball bat sometimes if he catches you just right.
The wrestling here is decent for the most part, as both men are mechanically sound, and Whitmer decides to start targeting the neck of Roddy for the heat. Roddy does a decent job of selling during the heat and Whiter doesn’t go over the top with his offence. It’s a solid heat segment, with my only critique being that it perhaps goes on for a bit too long. Roddy manages to catch Whitmer with one of his many back breaker variants and that’s enough for the double down.
Roddy makes the comeback following that, finishing it off with a nice dropkick for two. Another back breaker gets another two, but Whitmer replies with an attempt at multiple German Suplexes. Roddy fights that off, so Whitmer folds him up with a power bomb instead for a near fall. The near falls have been well done here. Roddy eventually manages to get the fireman’s carry onto the double knees for the three count.
WINNER: RODERICK STRONG
Nothing fancy or overly exciting, but the work was solid and both men played their respective roles well. Not something worth going out of your way to see, but a good outing over all.
The announcers push the idea that Roddy could now be in the Title picture.
Four Way Fray (Elimination Rules)
Azrieal w/ CM Punk Vs Sal Rinauro Vs Rainman Vs Dan Maff
Punk was in a stable with Azrieal called “The New Dawn” at this stage. Punk insults the fans and says he’s going to beat Homicide all over Florida later on. He thinks Azrieal has this all in order and that he doesn’t need his help, so heads to the back. Rainman worked in CZW as Kory Chavis, whilst Maff worked in ROH and other places. Rinauro also worked in ROH amongst other promotions.
Maff clobbers everyone in the early going, especially targeting Azrieal as he had cost him a match against CM Punk on Night One. The action in general is decent enough, with everyone being legal and in the ring at the same time. It’s not long until Maff puts Sal away with a Burning Hammer, which leads to both he and Rainman laying a whupping on Azrieal for a bit.
Well, being a lackey for a cult like stable leader will often lead to you taking your fair share of kicking’s. Rainman eventually tries to eliminate Azrieal with a sit out Pump Handle Slam, but Maff breaks up the cover so that he can get the pin himself. Thus we’re left with Rainman and Maff, which leads to Maff working Rainman over with his usual array of stiff strikes and throws.
Working Maff looks like it would be a bit of an ordeal to be honest. You’d need a decent bump card that wasn’t overly worn out, that’s for sure. Rainman takes the beating well, but the crowd don’t really know how to react as Maff is working pretty heelish here when I think he’s supposed to be a face. I could be wrong, but the fact he was feuding with The New Dawn would suggest he was on the face side of things, as Punk is clearly a heel.
Rainman eventually makes the comeback and it’s not a bad one either for the most part. The only downside is that his punches don’t look great, but he does deliver a lovely looking dropkick. Rainman eventually gets a backpack Stunner, but sells for a while before pinning which allows Maff to kick out at two. Maff ducks a Shining Wizard, but stops to taunt and gets dropkicked before taking a Quebrada for two.
Maff replies with a lariat for a two of his own, as this is starting to get a bit sloppy. Another backpack Stunner comes from Rainman, and that’s enough for the three count.
This wasn’t horrible or anything but it kind of fell apart towards the end. I think just a normal single pin four way would have worked better, as that part of the match when everyone was in working with one another was probably the best section of the match.
Someone in the crowd yells “another one bites the dust” following Rainman’s big win. Someone on the Indy scene definitely needs to bring that one back as an entrance theme. For a long time it was by far the best thing about JYD’s act.
Jimmy Rave and Fast Eddie w/ Dave Prazak Vs Jerrelle Clark and Insane Dragon
Rave would have a pretty sizable heel run in ROH that would see him feud with the likes of AJ Styles and CM Punk. Fast Eddie was a Rudy Boy Gonzales trainee that would work for ROH quite a few times during this period. Prazak was playing a crazed heel manager here but he would probably be best known for his commentary work. Clark worked for TNA and ROH during this period. Dragon also wrestled under the name Izzy and was a member of Special K in ROH.
Prazak cuts a promo saying that Rave and Eddie will make Clark and Dragon pay for not accepting one of his previous offers to manage them. We get some back and forth mat wrestling from both teams to start us out and that goes on for a while. It all looks fine for the most part and eventually Clark and Dragon get to do a bit of a proper face shine, by bumping the heels around and clearing the ring.
The heels rebound though and manage to cut off Dragon thanks to an unseen blind tag from Eddie. Dragon gets worked over for a bit, getting the odd hope spot here and there. Rave and Eddie aren’t an amazing team or anything, but they work together well enough. Dragon eventually manages to catch Eddie with a wacky flippy DDT out of nowhere and makes the hot tag to Clark.
Clark makes the mistake of running after everyone in the hot tag, when it’s smoother to wait for them to come to you, but I’ve seen worse hot tag segments. Clark gets a nice 450 splash on Eddie, but Rave breaks up the pin attempt. Rave and Clark fight outside, which allows Eddie to get a Tombstone on Dragon back inside the ring.
Clark comes back in and deals with him before snapping off a power slam for two on Rave. Clark ends up catching Dragon with a Trouble in Paradise by mistake, which leads to Dragon attacking him in response. Rave pounces the Paige Turner and that’s enough for the three count.
WINNERS: FAST EDDIE AND JIMMY RAVE
This one probably went on for a bit too long, but it was fine for the most part. Not much to write home about but nothing terrible either.
Insane Dragon helps the heels put the boots to Clark following the match. Hey, at least it kind of makes sense as Clark did kick him in the face, even if it was accidental.
Falls Count Anywhere
Champ: Homicide Vs CM Punk
I’m guessing you’ll know who both of these two are. Punk cuts a pre-match promo where he says they are going to take it to the streets tonight. This one is a brawl right from the off, as you’d expect with stipulations like this. Azrieal quickly runs down to help his boss, which makes sense as there aren’t any disqualifications. I like how they didn’t wait till the match had already been going on for a while and just brought out Punk’s help right away, because that’s what you’d do in such a situation.
Rainman runs down to deal with Azrieal, which gives us a proper storyline reason for why this can now be a fair fight. With Azrieal dealt with, Homicide and Punk proceed to fight all over the building, having a fun brawl in the process. Just like No Mercy on the N64 the two men fight on a pool table, but sadly no one goes through it like you can do on that game. It’s not long before they are fighting outside the building.
Punk climbs up the ring truck and Homicide follows him for a fight up on the roof. Punk tries the Pepsi Plunge up there, but Homicide is able to fight him off and they actually trade near falls on the roof. Both men eventually brawl from the car park over to a strip club called Tootsie’s (Which is hiring by the way if a sign outside is to be believed).
This leads to both men actually brawling into the club itself, which is kind of amazing. They had to clear this with the club before fighting inside right? If not, the bouncers would have not only chucked them out but probably given them a good hiding as well before calling the police. Both guys fight onto the dance area, which leads to Punk doing a 619 on a stripper pole for two in one of the more creative near falls I’ve ever seen.
The ladies decide to keep dancing despite the two sweaty men pretending to fight one another right in front of them, which causes Punk to yell at them in classic heel fashion. We get a quick cut to the two men fighting outside the club again, where Homicide gets a piledriver on the concrete to retain the Title.
WINNER AND STILL CHAMPION: HOMICIDE
That was a lot of fun. I can see why this match is thought of fondly. Cutting a chunk of the match out so obviously wasn’t something I was pleased about, but nothing was topping the segment in the strip club so it made sense to take it home straight away after that.
Homicide heads back into the club to celebrate his victory by putting money in the strippers bikinis. I think we can all agree that this would be the best way to enjoy a successful Title defence.
At just 1 hour and 47 minutes this was a pretty breezy show and the Main Event was an enjoyable fight. There’s also a bonus match between Sandman and New Jack from August 2003, which is basically exactly what you’d expect from those two if they had a match in 2003.
I’d struggle to recommend this one as it really is just a one match show, but it’s still available on the World Wrestling Network website for $9.99, so it’s probably not going to break the bank if you fancy picking it up.