Welcome to the year 2009 here on Never Hand Over! I just wanted to briefly make mention that you'll be seeing less output from yours truly for awhile. I'm taking a leave of absence from my job to focus on this upcoming semester at school as it'll be a real challenging one. I'm also going to try to get content posted more regularly over at Review the World, too. I'll continue experimenting more with doing audio and video reviews here on NHO, and text ones when I get some spare time or see a show or DVD that really motivates me to write. Enjoy!
1. Jigsaw vs. Chasyn Rance - 3
2. Rex Sterling vs. Chris Jones - 3
3. Damien Wayne vs. Seth Delay - 3
4. Sal Rinauro vs. Delirious - 3
5. Black Market vs. Dark City Fight Club - 6
6. Tyler Black vs. Davey Richards - 5
7. Kenny King and Jason Blade vs. Jay Briscoe and Austin Aries - 5
8. Roderick Strong vs. Erick Stevens - Last Man Standing Match - 9
Full Impact Pro is arguably my second favorite American company behind WWE. I’d been bugging Adam for this disc for a while. Started off with Jigsaw, who I still get a chuckle at without his mask, and Rance. Chasyn has down all the cocky mannerisms of the conceited, arrogant heel, but dude’s barely five-foot tall, so it’s difficult accepting him as any sort of badass or threat. Match was short, just a few minutes, but kept simple enough that they didn’t risk blowing any spots, and Jigsaw’s facials were only moderately hilarious, as for so long they were hidden by a cheap knockoff mask, and his pencil neck and pointy nose make him look like the kid you shot spitwads at in study hall in middle school. I guess FIP were impressed by Sterling and Wayne from the recent ROH southern shows so now they’re on the roster and part of a new faction called Heartbreak Enterprises with The Heartbreak Express and their new valet, none other than Tully Blanchard’s old “Perfect 10”, Babydoll in the (slightly sagging) flesh. Rex is kind of chunky and also has a look that for me makes him slightly harder to get into. His unimpressive physique, chubby face, and bad, red hair remind me of far too many from my embarrassingly backwoods hometown. Chris Jones, on the other hand, basically has the look and character of Evan Bourne’s younger cousin essentially. He’s rocking the same tights, kick pads, and haircut. We’re still in the opening stretch of a show in front of 100 people tops, so nobody leaves first gear, but outside of that this isn’t objectionable.
This leads right into our next match, as Delay cuts a flawed local face promo, eliciting what little excitement could be gained from the Florida crowd, and runs down to work Wayne. Now Damien has been around the circuit for a long time, it shows, while a guy his age shouldn’t be wearing glossy black latex pants and a do-rag, he is considerably more skilled at the mechanics of wrestling than anyone else showcased thus far. This is another in a string of relatively quick and inoffensive matches. The next match gets a bit more time, as Rinauro holds the FIP Florida Heritage championship, but most of that increased time is burnt up by loads of Sal stalling. While its standard heel tactics, it doesn’t do this match any favors, as there’s little to no explosiveness or excitement on display. Delirious just seems to be there, I’m not a huge fan, but you’d suspect being a more established name he could really get over in front of a smaller crowd, but he puts worth little to no effort in a disappointing bout. One highlight I will mention, Rinauro gets backdropped over the top rope out onto the floor onto the YRR (his faction of fellow nubile heels) but nobody caught him and he ends up taking a sick bump as a result.
The next tag is just a wild, chaotic brawl that I really enjoyed. Dark City starts it off by attacking Black Market (imagine a less annoying version of Da Baldies) and from there on the majority of the action takes places on the floor. Both members of DCFC get tossed into the audience and land directly on some community college guys in the front row. Kory Chavis does a Mike Awesome dive over the rail into the crowd, the Black Market piles chairs on Jon Davis, and mayhem ensues. I’m usually not a fan of non-finishes, but this one works, as the DCFC pull out a can of gasoline and soak their opponents, but right before they can burn them alive all of the faces run out from the back and prevent the double homicide. Dark City Fight Club remind me of Doom (physically intimidating and athletic) but as crazy as The Gangstas.
The next match showcased two of ROH's brightest prospects Richards and Black, and while physical enough, felt more like an exhibition than anything else. The momentum changes a couple times, they attempt to include the crowd a bit, so there's pieces that are there but the overall whole feels hollow. The thing that bugged me the most was Davey hitting a freaking German suplex from the top turnbuckles onto Black, only for Tyler to kick out after a two-count and go on to do more spots. That's a crazy dangerous spot and shouldn't be done for filler. Black sells one of Davey's spinkicks to the gut like a member of the Putty Patrol in Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, soaring backwards into the turnbuckle. The tag match was enjoyable, starting off with a wild brawl, including a suplex spot on the floor, and then morphing into a regular tag encounter with the heels working over Aries for a good chunk. King does a nice Ura-nage into a backbreaker, which looked smooth and I preferred Kenny in large part over the more pimped Briscoe and Aries (although Austin's torpedo tope is always fun and hurty looking).
Before I tackle the main, I've got to mention a quote, as Tyler Black came out and did a short interview about bringing in his partner Jimmy Jacobs to the next FIP show. Black kept talking about the revolution, and some fan yelled, "the revolution won't be televised!" and Black replied hastily "but it will be on DVD!" sounding like a giant ignoramus.
The next match is spectacular, and certainly the key component in me tracking this show down. The Stevens vs. Strong feud has been phenomenal in '08, and while this might not be the most heavily pimped match of their devastating series together, I thought it was a thing of beauty albeit a physical war. One funny thing I noticed before I begin covering the action, as soon as Erick comes out he swings a major high-five and the recipient dude in the crowd pulls his hand back before the contact and you can tell this totally pissed off Stevens who chewed the dude out and continued steaming about it as he did a lap around the ring slapping hands with rubes. Now, onto the action--let me just start by saying that mere words aren't good enough to express the physicality on display here. You really owe it to yourself to see this, as my humble words describing a bunch of bumps and spots just don't do due justice. I've provided you a two-minute highlight video from YouTube (but keep in mind, this is just a sampling, and is missing some huge spots including one of my favorite gnarly bumps as Strong get slammed on a stack of unopened, upside-down tables and lands right on the folded legs, etc.):
So, as you can get a glimpse of, this was just insane and these guys are certifiably nuts. I can hear some smarks online bitching about Stevens not going down sooner and taking an unrealistic amount of punishment but that's bollocks. I love that a lot of the big bumps aren't giant productions like in old, shitty ECW matches, but just mean-spirited and hurty things that only a sick mind could concoct. I give a ton of credit to Erick, who just took an ass-whooping of enormous proportions and did so like a trooper. Strong is awesome, too; I'm fond of saying that while not the flashiest guy on the Indy scene, Strong is easily one of the most consistent, as he puts in hard work each and every night out and that's commendable.
I loved all the insane spots, the bumps on the floor, chairs, stiff strikes and Yakuza kicks, etc. When they brawled back near the concession stand which was clearly family operated, you could see the patriarch guarding his children from within amidst pizza stank while these two tore each other apart right next to the tip jar. There was a beautiful moment where a teenage girl in the crowd grabbed Stevens' desperately reaching hand and helped him to his feet when it looked like he may be finished--if WWE attempted this act of tenderness it'd be scripted and come off jejune and flat (like Stephanie pre-op).
This was also a crowning moment in breaking in my 52-inch plasma HD TV, as it really came in handy, seeing all of the rips, bruises, and lacerations opening up on both guys as the match went on. Most people will go through their entire lives never being hit this hard, not once, but these guys turned each other into beef jerky to tell a story and that's why I still love wrestling.