BG Says: FIP First Annual Eddie Graham Memorial Battle of the Belts
March 10, 2007 – Crystal River, Florida
When we last left FIP
Roderick Strong put down Davey Richards for a second time, defeating him in a 2/3 falls match and pretty much ensuring that he had no leg to stand on asking for a title shot anymore. Shingo, Erick Stevens & Larry Sweeney all qualified for the First Annual Eddie Graham Memorial Battle of the Belts tournament to crowd the first Florida Heritage Champion. Also the Briscoe Brothers had a lot of trouble with Necro Butcher & Mad Man Pondo in a tag title defense as the match went to a no contest when the violence couldn’t be contained.
Dave Prazak & Lenny Leonard handle commentary for this show.
There’s a new song playing during the opening video for the DVD. It’s got a very ‘70s feel to it and for some reason reminds me of Quentin Tarantino.
Jonathan Gold brings Mike Graham, son of Eddie Graham, out to the ring. Graham is wearing the Florida Heritage title and some very silly looking tattoos. Remember kids, those things look silly when you get older. Graham puts over his father’s legacy and thanks the fans for their support. He says he’s glad he doesn’t have to compete in the tournament tonight because of the level of competition in FIP but he’s happy to be at the show. The tournament is being held to pay tribute to the great wrestlers who’ve come through Florida. Dave Prazak and the members of his team that are in the tournament come out to the ring. That’d be Shingo, Delirious and Rave (the latter two getting in by virtue of Prazak’s business prowess). Prazak suggests that in the spirit of Anything Goes rather than a tournament his three charges should simply have a battle royal to decide the champion. Graham says no and tells the angry wrestlers to come get the belt from him. As they slink into the ring Roderick Strong and Erick Stevens rush in to head them off. Strong says he’s got Rave in the opening round and he wants to start the match right now.
Strong and the Briscoes are in the tournament because FIP wanted the belt to be important, and to do that all the current champions would get a shot at it. Rave grabs a headlock to start. Strong hits a shoulder tackle and Rave bails. Delirious tries to interfere but Strong kicks him off the apron. Rave gets back in the ring and they knuckle up. Strong stomps on Rave’s hands and puts on an armbar. He gets a crucifix pin for 2. He puts on a front facelock and tosses Rave across the ring by his hair after chopping him. Rave bails again so Strong goes out after him. He crotches Rave on the barricade and slugs him down back in the ring. He hits a hard chop for 2. Rave blocks a blind charge and whips Strong hard into the turnbuckle. He chokes Strong on the ropes and distracts the referee so Milo Beasley can do the same. Strong comes back with a sunset flip for 2. Rave hits a clothesline but then the worst spot in wrestling involving a referee happens so I have to boycott play by play until the end of this match. The finish comes a few minutes later when Strong ducks a shot with the Florida Heritage title belt and hits the gutbuster and the Sick Kick for the win at 9:01. The crowd was on fire for this and hopefully will remain so for the rest of the night. This match was more fun when Strong was killing Rave, and since that was the majority of the match I really enjoyed this opener.
Jay powers Sweeney to the corner to start. Sweeney does the same to Jay and slaps him across the face. Jay slaps Sweeney back, causing him to bail. Back in the ring Jay hits a shoulder tackle and a hiptoss. He hits an armdrag and a bodyslam. He gets Sweeney stuck in the ropes and slugs away. He slingshots Sweeney back into the ring and hits a clothesline in the corner. He hits a snap suplex for 2. He hits a dropkick and Sweeney bails again. Jay follows him out but gets attacked back inside after chasing Sweeney around the ring. Sweeney dodges a blind charge and Jay’s shoulder goes into the post. Sweeney hits a butterfly suplex for 2. He puts on a chinlock and hits a knee to the gut. He hits a series of fistdrops for 2. He throws Jay to the floor and takes down the straps. He goes to the eyes but Jay hits a back elbow and a blockbuster neckbreaker. He hits a Yakuza kick and the DVD for 2. Sweeney hits a facebuster for 2. He clubs Jay’s back and climbs the ropes. Jay crotches him but Sweeney goes to the eyes to regain control. Sweeney pins Jay with his feet on the ropes but the referee catches it. Jay comes back with the Jay Driller out of nowhere for the win at 10:11. That was about as average as a match gets.
Shingo comes out with a ROH tag title belt. I’d actually forgotten that he was champion at this point. He attacks Stevens from behind to start. He chokes Stevens with the Japanese flag and puts on a headlock. They exchange shoulder tackles until Shingo goes down. Shingo stalls until Stevens hits him with a back suplex for 2. Stevens hits a delayed bodyslam and an elbowdrop for 2. Shingo comes back with a Manhattan drop and a kick to the midsection. He hits a fistdrop for 2. He puts on a chinlock and hits a chinbreaker. He hits a kneedrop for 2. Beasley trips Stevens and Shingo knocks him to the floor. Beasley puts the boots to him and hits a somersault senton off the apron. Back in the ring Shingo hits a vertical suplex and puts on a half crab. He switches to a crossface but Stevens gets to the ropes. Stevens fires up and they trade chops. Shingo goes to the eyes but Stevens catches him with back elbows. He hits a back bodydrop and the Choo Choo Avalanche. He hits the TKO for 2. Shingo hits a gutbuster and a DDT. They retreat to opposite corners and Shingo hits a pair of clotheslines for 2. Shingo hits another clothesline but Stevens counters the Blood Fall to a crucifix pin for the win at 9:12. Really good stuff, as you’d expect from these two.
After the match Delirious and Rave help Shingo put the boots to Stevens. Mark Briscoe and Roderick Strong make the save and Mark gets his match with Delirious going.
Mark sends Delirious to the floor and dives onto him and Beasley. Back in the ring Mark hits the yelping dropkick but Delirious blocks a blind charge. Mark baits Delirious into going for the Shadows and puts his knees up. He hits a leg lariat and the yelping splash for 2. Delirious hits a neckbreaker for 2. He elbows Mark down for 2. Mark hits an enziguiri and a moonsault press. He hits another enziguiri for 2. He hits a bodyslam and climbs the ropes. Prazak crotches him and Delirious rolls him up for 2 before putting on the Cobra Stretch for the win at 3:40. This was too short and too chaotic.
And now it’s time for some YRR action. Chasyn Rance, Kenny King and Sal Rinauro bring three relatively good looking girls out with them. They don’t care about the Eddie Graham Memorial tournament because in 25 years there will be a Young Rich and Ready (for action) Memorial tournament. They try to start a party in the ring but Kory Chavis, Jerrelle Clark and Seth Delay chase them to the back and challenge them to a match for later on.
I’ve actually been dying to see this particular match up since the well renowned eight-man tag match from ROH: Generation Next. Don’t believe me? Go check out the review for proof! They lock up and fight on the mat. They knuckle up and Strong forces Jay back and stomps on his chest. He puts on an armbar but Jay gets to the corner. They trade armdrags and Strong backs off. Jay grabs a headlock but Strong comes back with a head scissors takedown. Jay hits a hurricanrana but Strong hits a snap suplex for 2. He hits a backbreaker for 2. He hits a slingshot suplex for 2. They trade chops and Jay goes down. Jay hits a back elbow for 2. He puts on the Stretch Plum but Strong fights out. Jay hits a snap suplex for 2. Strong comes back with a chop. Jay hits a clothesline in the corner and a seated dropkick for 2. He puts on a stranglehold but Strong blocks a blind charge and drops Jay’s face on the turnbuckle. He hits a back elbow and a dropkick for 2. Jay hits the DVD for 2. Strong gets a roll up for 2. He cradles Jay for 2. Jay gets a backslide for 2. He cradles Strong for 2. Strong hits an enziguiri and pulls Jay to the apron. He hits a back suplex on the apron and gets a sunset flip back in the ring. Jay comes back with a stunner and a Yakuza kick for 2. Strong hits the gutbuster, the Sick Kick and the tiger driver for the win at 13:26. Now the tournament has kicked into high great with a great performance from both Strong and Jay.
After the match Mark comes to the ring and Jay gets on the microphone. Jay brings up Mad Man Pondo and Necro Butcher. The Deathmatch Kings tried to steal the belts but the Briscoes beat them up and got them back. Next month they’re going to defend the titles against them in a Bar Room Brawl, right here in Crystal River!
Delirious flips out at the sound of the bell and throws a chair into the ring. He gets so worked up that he rolls Beasley’s wheelchair into the barricade. Once in the ring Delirious stalls quite a bit. Stevens grabs a headlock but Delirious gets to the corner. Delirious puts on a headlock so Stevens sets him up top. Stevens goes back to his headlock but Delirious escapes and stalls. Stevens puts on a wristlock but Delirious escapes and grabs a chair. He makes the chair phallic, upsetting a couple fathers at ringside. He puts on a headlock but Stevens comes back with shoulder tackles. Delirious chops Stevens and then hides under the ring. Stevens drags him out and chops him against the barricade. Prazak rakes Stevens’s back so Stevens goes after him. Delirious pokes the distracted Stevens’s eyes and rams him into the post. Back in the ring Delirious rakes Stevens’s eyes against the ropes. He pokes Stevens’s eyes again and then tosses him to the floor. Beasley hits Stevens with the Cactus elbow and Delirious rolls him back into the ring to hit a senton. Stevens counters a bodyslam to a crossbody for 2. Delirious hits a knee to the gut and puts on a double fishhook. He hits a back suplex and climbs the ropes. Stevens dodges a flying elbowdrop and hits a bodyslam. He hits The Original powerslam for 2. He misses the avalanche and Delirious dropkicks him into the corner. Delirious hits the Panic Attack and climbs the ropes. He hits the Shadows for 2 and puts on the Cobra Stretch. Stevens powers out and they trade elbows. Stevens hits a clothesline and the Dr. Bomb for the win at 15:12. This was all cheap heel tricks and not much action. Delirious’s game plan made sense and kept him in control for the majority of the match, but Strong showed his power by coming back with only a few power moves to take the match.
Chavis and King start. King grabs a headlock but Chavis comes back with a Japanese armdrag. Clark tags in and gets clubbed down. Rance tags in and gets hit with an armdrag. Clark hits a shoulder tackle for 1. He hits a clothesline and an armdrag into an armbar. Rinauro tags in but Clark hits both opponents with a double armdrag. The YRR regroups on the floor so Clark dives out onto them, getting 2 on Rinauro back in the ring. Delay tags in and gets stuck in a headlock. He bites Delay’s face but Delay comes back with a hurricanrana. He hits a back bodydrop and tags to Chavis. King tags in and gets laid out with a leaping forearm. Chavis hits a dropkick for 2. Delay tags in and hits a bodyslam and a kneedrop for 2. Clark tags in and hits a head scissors takedown. King tags in and also hits a head scissors takedown. He hits a dropkick for 2. King comes back with an over-the-shoulder gutbuster for 2. Rance tags in and shoves Delay onto the bottom rope. His valets start choking Delay as Rinauro tags in. Rinauro hits a delayed vertical suplex and a fistdrop. King tags in and hits a dropkick in the corner. Rance hits an enziguiri and Rinauro hits a tiger flip kick for 2. King puts on the body scissors but Delay rolls back for 2. King hits a clothesline for 2. Rance tags in and hits a snapmare for 2. He puts on a front facelock and makes sure the referee is distracted so that he misses Chavis tagging in. Rinauro comes in and hits a chinbreaker and a dropkick for 2. Rance tags in and hits a kneedrop against the ropes. King hits a legdrop over the second rope from the apron, getting 2 for Rance. Rinauro tags in but Delay dodges a double vertical suplex and tags to Clark. Clark cleans house, hitting clotheslines and elbows on everything that moves. He shoves Rance into Rinauro and then hits a handspring moonsault on Rinauro for 2. He hits a swinging DDT on King and tags to Chavis. Chavis hits a double clothesline on Rance and Rinauro and hits a sit-out powerslam on King. He hits the Rydeen Bomb on Rance and a swinging implant DDT on Rinauro for 2. Clark dumps King to the floor but misses a dive out onto him. Rance hits Delay with a foreign object and Sal rolls him up for the win at 17:12. This was solid all the way through but really picked up nicely down the stretch. Delay plays a great face-in-peril.
Mike Graham brings the belt out to the ring before the match. Strong takes Stevens down to start. He puts on a front facelock but Stevens gets to the ropes. Stevens puts on a toehold but Strong gets to the ropes. They trade chops and Strong hits a bodyslam. He hits an elbowdrop for 2. He hits a snapmare for 2. He puts on a hammerlock but Stevens rolls to the ropes. Strong gets another takedown and pounds and kicks the crap out of Stevens. He dropkicks Stevens to the floor and follows him out with a slingshot dive. He picks Stevens up and rams his back into the post. Stevens comes back by shoving Strong’s back into the apron. He sits Strong in a chair and chops him. Strong hits a vertical suplex on the floor and rolls back into the ring. He tries to dive off the apron with a hurricanrana but Stevens turns it into a powerbomb onto the apron. Back in the ring they trade takedowns and mounted punches. Strong pokes Stevens’s eyes and rams his head into the turnbuckle. He hits a back suplex for 2. He puts on a waistlock but Stevens gets to the ropes. Strong hogties Stevens in the ropes and punts his face from the floor for 2. He goes back to the waistlock and hits a back heel kick. Stevens hits The Original to cut off Strong’s momentum. They trade chops and Stevens takes control. He hits a flapjack and stands strong through a big boot to hit a powerslam and a senton for 2. He hits the Choo Choo Avalanche and the Oklahoma TKO for 2. Strong hits a lungblower and the Sick Kick to the chest for 2. He chops Stevens down in the corner and sets him up top. He hits a superplex for 2. He climbs the ropes and hits a flying elbowdrop for 2. He sets Stevens up top again but and hits a backbreaker on the turnbuckle! That only gets 2, but totally could have been the finish. Strong hits the gutbuster and the tiger driver for 2. He drags Stevens up top and goes for a super tiger driver but Stevens fights back and hits a powerslam off the second rope for 2. He hits an avalanche but Strong rolls him up for 2. Stevens hits a German suplex, a lariat and the Dr. Bomb for the win at 21:15. This was fantastic. The whole match saw both guys try to destroy the other’s back. Since they use the exact same style the whole match was high impact, intense action. Strong is unbeatable in FIP right now, and he gave Stevens the beating of a lifetime but Stevens came back for the win to prove he deserves to be the first champion. The crowd was largely behind Strong when the match started but gave Stevens a huge ovation after he won, jumping out of their seats after the three count. FIP keeps putting on better and better main events. In my opinion this is the best match in the company’s history.
After the match Rave, Shingo and Delirious attack Strong and Stevens. Prazak yells at Mike Graham so Graham goes after him. Delirious grabs the Florida Heritage title belt, which is enough of a distraction for DP Associates for Strong and Stevens to fight them off. Graham chases Prazak into the ring and slugs him down. Stevens praises Strong, tells Prazak that any of his wrestlers can have a title shot and celebrates with the belt to close out the show.
This was Stevens’s coming out party. If you ever wonder why ROH started booking him look no further than this show. The main event is more than enough reason to get this show, but the rest of the tournament is very entertaining and the six-man tag is quite good as well. Pick this up at ROHWrestling.com or FullImpactPro.com.
|Final Score: 8.5 [ Very Good ] legend|