Jack Reviews FIP Establish Dominance 2017
One more gosh darn show and then, I think, you’ll be able to find a review of everything of relevance that’s available to view from Wrestlemania weekend, whether from Larry Csonka and/or Kevin Pantoja (hooray!) or me, Jack (oh Jesus Christ no not that guy, ugh, what the fuck). The afternoon before ‘Mania, Full Impact Pro ran a tailgate party featuring the Broken Hardyz and live pro wrestling. FIP has been really good fun this year since rebranding themselves as not just WWN’s little brother, but WWN’s angry weirdo deranged little brother with a penchant for getting in eight man brawls. The card for this show looks really nice, far more than just background wrestling while everyone eats and drinks and gets all hyped up for Dean Ambrose vs. Baron Corbin. I have big hopes that it will continue the little hotstreak FIP had been on.
Broken Matt and Brother Nero begin the show in the ring, with Matt suggesting that this event will be far superior to anything that MeekMahan would offer us. Nero sings the Obsolete song. Just as a note, this is taking place outside in the glorious Orlando sunshine and looks soooooo much nice than any of the Evolve events that took place over the weekend, which were dark and dingy and just ugly to look at for an evening.
1- Uncle John’s Friends (Callihan, Fox, D. Crist & J. Crist) vs. A.C.H, Michael Elgin, Sammy Guevara & Keith Lee
The six and eight man tags with Uncle John’s Friends at the last couple of FIP shows have been delirious amounts of fun. I genuinely think this could be a Match of the Year candidate.
It’s not a Match of the Year candidate, guys. But it is really good. The reason the previous two Uncle John’s Friends tags have occupied spots in my personal top ten this year is because they felt genuinely unhinged, the brawl spilling all over the building and people diving all over the place and hurling bombs at each other rapid fire. This one instead was rigidly formulaic, just two people in the ring doing a sequence, one guy getting knocked out, another guy taking his place. The action wasn’t so manic that it could disguise the pattern it was following and it made the match a bit less satisfying as a result. But still, it’s eight super talented guys whizzing in and out the ring unleashing some of their best stuff on each other, and while nobody was going out after an exhausting weekend, they kept the pace high and the action constant. There was a cool mixture of styles, from brawlers to powerhouses and high fliers, and so some impressive variety on display. It was a darn good time on the whole, but it’s kind of a pity that we’ve probably already seen the best match on the show. Uncle John’s Friends picked up the win with a Spike Tombstone on Guevara, Fox coming off the top with a double stomp to assist Jake Crist with the piledriver. *** 1/2.
2- FIP World Heavyweight Championship- Fred Yehi vs. Dezmond Xavier
From the looks of things, they seem to be doing the card backwards, the biggest matches going on first and the undercard matches on top. I guess people are filtering away to get ready for ‘Mania or something? Not sure what the point is otherwise. I mean, to be honest, I don’t even know what a tailgate party is. We don’t have them in England.
The mat wrestling that started this was so deliciously slick. Both of these guys are such bright pro wrestlers! They ended up playing this fascinating game of cat and mouse, with Yehi tenaciously pursuing Xavier with his technical skills, and Xavier trying to just flip his way to freedom. Yehi is a wrestler I admire but whose idiosyncratic style is not always my cup of tea. Matching him with someone like Xavier turned out to be a fabulous way to keep the match kind of loose and jazzy. I’m not sure I can accurately convey how different this match felt, it was like their styles clashed so strongly that they had to enter sequences and perform ordinary moves in a different way. Fred Yehi suddenly snares Xavier in the Koji Clutch to pick up the win. I might be going super generous with the star rating (Voices of Wrestling went for a more measured *** 1/2), but on a Wrestlemania weekend where you think you’ve seen everything at least once, this match was short, understated, subtle, and an absolute breath of fresh air between two guys whose futures are ridiculously exciting. **** 1/4.
3- Florida Heritage Championship- Martin Stone vs. Jon Davis
The first move of this match was a pop-up powerbomb from Jon Davis, to give you an idea of how utterly no bullshit this was. Stone absorbed that and started to whittle away at Jon with tough strikes, but of course Davis was willing to reciprocate that in kind. They then exchanged a couple of chair shots, and then it was back to the ring and big strikes and power moves until the finish. It didn’t feel quite as tight and clever as the previous match, and was so relentlessly back and forth that it lacked some necessary ebb and flow, but by large it delivered what you could reasonably expect from it. Gooooooood wrestling. Davis reels off a pop-up powerbomb, a German suplex and a lariat in quick succession to win the title! *** 1/2. Both of these men have been in EVOLVE before, and both absolutely deserve a return.
Martin Stone unexpectedly gives Jon Davis some props for the title win after the match.
4- Austin Theory vs. Caleb Konley
The weakest match on the show so far, but still decent. There’s not a ton to say about this because it was basically just two good athletes working a simple match. The experienced Konley dominated his much younger opponent, and did so in adequate fashion. Theory made a fiery comeback. Konley has a very lovely moonsault, and as it happened it was enough for him to get the win. ** 3/4.
5- Aria Blake vs. Priscilla Kelly
Priscilla Kelly began the match by biting Aria Blake on the bottom. I don’t understand why otherwise serious women’s wrestlers still do butt related spots. Otherwise, Kelly looked a more polished wrestler than Blake, and it’s good that she was the one in control of the match. She finished Blake off in quick fashion with a Half Nelson suplex and a pretty unconvincing Implant Buster. This was too short to rate really.
6- Jason Cade vs. Anthony Henry
This is our defacto main event of the evening. This one started with some slick counters and counter counters, and while some it looked overly choreographed (and I really don’t care about that sort of thing usually), it was still fairly impressive. Within a couple of minutes of this they were throwing German suplexes and big double stomps and Tiger Drivers. I can get behind such a sprint. Just hurling big moves at each other and trying to impress. I have seen about a million Canadian Destroyers while watching this weekend shows, and Cade and Henry pulled off one of the prettiest here. Bonus credit! A million different big moves were kicked out of at two and a half, and eventually Henry just slapped on an Ankle Lock and earned the submission victory. ***. Extremely rushed and indie as anything, but good fun in its own way.
Post match, Teddy Stigma cleans out Anthony Henry with a barbed wire baseball bat, attempting to claim the bounty that Dontay Brown had put on him. And that’s the show!