1. Kahagas vs. “Black Nature Boy” Scoot Andrews – 4
2. Joshua Masters vs. Lex Lovett – 3
3. Slim J vs. “Mr. 630” Jerrelle Clark – 6
4. CM Punk vs. “The Shooter” Vordell Walker – 5
5. “The Role Model” Jason Cross vs. “The Soul Assassian” Rainman – 4
6. “The Wrestling Machine” Austin Aries vs. “Master of the Backbreaker” Roderick Strong – 6
7. Justin Credible vs. “Roughhouse” Ralph Mosca – 2
8. “The Notorious 187” Homicide vs. “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles – 6
This was the initial effort by relatively new promotion FIP. Essentially, they used a crop of talent from other, better known and established, independent companies, such as ROH and NWA Wildside. This was the first round of a tournament to crown their first champion. Right off the bat, I need to tackle the pros and cons of this freshman effort. Let’s get the bad out of the way first; well, it looked like only about 75 people showed up for this event. The announcers tried to use an excuse of an ongoing hurricane to deflect the minuscule attendance, which is worse than telling the truth, and that’s that they didn’t market, nor promote, this show properly. The good news is that the set-up and production are pretty smooth, if not altogether indistinguishable from the average independent group, and the roster is pretty varied and talented. Another good thing, for me, is that although there are several similarities to ROH, FIP doesn’t strike me as nearly as pompous as them, and there’s no built-in base of fans that brainlessly cheer whatever they see.
With the exception of sumo competitors, Kahagas is easily the fattest Asian I’ve had the displeasure of seeing in quite some time. In the debut match of FIP, he and independent mainstay Andrews had a pretty bland match, all things considered. There were some miscommunications, and Andrews disgraces the “Nature Boy” moniker every time he puts on a pair of trunks. Masters’ was probably the worst guy on the DVD, looking like he should be swapping dated VHS tapes, and history books, to losers at a flea market somewhere. His opponent, Lex Lovett, is the poster boy for generic muscular wrestlers void of any natural talent or charisma.
Slim J kind of impressed me, he looked a lot like Jack Evans, but is everything that hopeless idiot is totally not. He’s still young, and a little rough around the edges, but he’s got potential and loads of agility. I really dug the pace of his encounter with Clark, and feel it flowed easily and was one of the more effortlessly enjoyable matches of the entire show. CM Punk played the role of the pussy heel as good as most, but his match consisted of killing a lot of time, and not amounting to a whole hell of a lot. I was interested in seeing Walker, as having the moniker “Shooter”; I’d hoped he was a guy whom incorporated MMA into his work. Boy, was I ever wrong! He looked like a graduate of the Lex Lovett school of mundane, and only showed any emotion when doing horrible Lil’ Jon impersonations randomly. Cross and Rainman had arguably the most forgettable match on the show. Cross played a cocky heel, and Rainman, who looked akin to headliner Homicide, didn’t showcase any character or creativity. It was a pretty one-sided and unspectacular throwaway bout.
I lost a little respect for Aries; when on the way to the ring, cut a short promo mentioning how disappointed he was in the turnout for the show. It wasn’t in character, either, he was genuinely showing his bad attitude and it made him look like an asshole. That aside, he and Strong, who are very familiar with each other, had the most solid wrestling match on the DVD. The build was extremely slow, almost brutally so, but the match was ultimately satisfying. There were some nice chops and forearm shots, innovative submissions, and a semi-surprising finish. I’ve harped on Credible before, and wow, did he ever further diminish my opinion of him in this utter load of shit! His opponent Ralph Mosca, a big burly guy, looked totally out of place next to all of these skinny dudes on the roster that wear hair gel and listen to Kayne West on their iPod, but he threw a pretty decent punch and was strangely not that bad. Credible immediately turned this into to a very sloppy brawl, where they ventured into the crowd, and Credible even tried to bump down some bleachers, not doing it half as successfully as Raven did back on poor ECW handheld tapes in ’97. AJ and Homicide didn’t totally disappoint, although their match was marred and essentially ruined by crappy interference. It was kind of pleasant seeing them beat the shit out of Joshua “I’d rather be beating off to Tina Turner videos while wearing my Dad’s sweatpants” Masters afterwards. I’d recommend this not to the mainstream fan, but to anyone who’s ever enjoyed an independent show at some point during their stint as fans. Apparently, independent wrestling isn’t dead.